Blacksmithing: Current Classes

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Our instructors:
Brad Buxton began his blacksmith/metalwork journey in 2009, taking classes through the Guild of Metalsmiths, North House Folk School and with nationally recognized blacksmiths. He works out of his shop, Acme Project Shop, making metal sculpture, bottle openers, campfire cooking tools and other utilitarian pieces. He teaches copper chasing/repousse blacksmith classes, to adults and high school students. His philosophy for teaching blacksmith classes is to focus on five basic processes: drawing and tapering, slitting and punching, bending, twisting, and upsetting.

Nick Heinen looks back to kindergarten for his first experience as a "mechanic," when he started taking things apart without being asked. He studied industrial arts in high school and machining in vo-tech school after that. After a tour in Vietnam, he returned home and ran a remodeling business for 28 years, eventually building his own carpentry, machine, and forging shop. He is a member of the Guild of Metalsmiths and glad to be sharing his lengthy experience at CAFAC.

David Mariette has been a practicing blacksmith for more than twenty years. He joined CAFAC as one if its first instructors and has developed curriculum for all levels of blacksmithing classes. As a member of The Guild of Metalsmiths, David is a recipient of the Juare-Hubler Award for service and education to blacksmiths, and has taught blacksmithing from beginner to advanced levels of experience. He has honed his skills through furniture design as well as architectural and artistic ironworks.

Jim Ricci is a jack-of-all-trades with decades of experience in woodworking and construction, who discovered his passion for metalworking right here at CAFAC. Once a student under David Mariette, Jim has been independently metalworking ever since. Some of his work can be seen in the gardens of the Circus Juventas Big Top. Jim attributes his love for craftsmanship in part to his grandfather, whose favorite saying was: “you can learn something new every day of your life.”

Blacksmithing Project Shop: Bottle Openers for Beginners
Build your blacksmith skills with a fun and useful project: making a bottle opener. They’re quick to make and can incorporate all basic blacksmithing processes in one compact project. We'll end class with a celebratory bottle-opening to try out your new tool (that means a beer or soda is included!). Open to all experience levels.

Fee: $65 ($50 tuition + $15 materials)

Blacksmithing Basics 1
If you had a hammer, would you use it to drive a nail? Or would you use it as a means to discover the fundamentals of forging iron? This course is designed to ignite your passion for blacksmithing and to introduce you to the seemingly endless ways of expressing yourself by shaping iron with fire and hammer. You'll gain basic knowledge of iron and its characteristics, and understanding of the dynamics of forging, and the ability to safely shape iron with heat and a hammer. You'll have the opportunity to learn by making basic forging tools and then use those tools to make some really cool stuff!

Fee: $355 ($300 tuition + $55 materials)

Get a Handle On It: Forging a Rustic Thumb Latch
Door hardware is a supreme vehicle for blacksmiths of all levels to express their artistry. From the most rudimentary hinge to the finest of locks, they present seemingly infinite possibilities. A devoted study into these functional objects will benefit the beginner student with the knowledge required to grasp fundamental forging techniques, as all may be applied to this medium, while also providing an experienced blacksmith with opportunity to pursue more sophisticated skills. Throughout this course, we’ll examine the various styles of the Suffolk latch, referring to “Early American Wrought Iron,” by Albert H. Sonn. However, our focus will aim towards the completion of a latch in its most basic form. You will forge all parts from handle to nail, ready to be fastened to your garden gate.

Please check here for required/recommended tools to bring to class.

Prerequisite: Some forging experience, such as our Blacksmithing Basics 1 class, is needed to be successful in this class.

Instructor: Mike Fasold's journey as a blacksmith began as a volunteer apprentice at the Fort Vancouver Blacksmith Shop. For the past 16 years, he's devoted his interests towards historical ironwork and traditional technique, investing countless hours at the forge and attending number workshops with renowned masters.

Fee: $195 ($150 tuition + $45 materials)

Open Forge Time
Designed for continuing blacksmithing students (who've taken Blacksmithing Basics 1 or have similar experience), in this workshop we'll fire up the forges for you to work on personal projects. It's a great opportunity to build your punches, drifts, tongs, and other tools. Experience is required; please contact instructor Brad Buxton at if you're wondering if this class is for you.

Fee: $65

Build Your Own Propane Forge
Build a propane blacksmithing forge of your own to take home! In this introductory course, we will begin by learning the metal fabrication and welding techniques needed to build your own propane forge. This process will provide you with an intimate understanding of the equipment and how to safely operate and maintain it, inspiring the confidence to use it on your own. All supplies and materials needed to build your own forge are included.

Please bring or wear the following personal protective equipment to class: safety glasses, head covering, long sleeves and long pants. Loose-fitting welding gloves are optional. Open to ages 18 and up.

Fee: $440 ($240 tuition + $200 materials)

Blacksmithing Basics 2
Are you ready to take blacksmithing and kick it up a notch? Building on Blacksmithing Basics 1, this course continues to develop your knowledge and skill sets. We will start with a review of learned skills and quickly move on to new challenges including slitting, punching and drifting as lead in to forged joinery, along with variations on twists that require slitting and multiple passes. You'll practice drawing and tapering multiple splits in wider bar by making leaves. You'll leave this class able to design projects that combine multiple elements either in a single piece or multiple parts. Prerequisite: Blacksmithing Basics 1 or equivalent experience/permission from instructor.

Fee: $355 ($300 tuition + $55 materials)

Blacksmithing Intermediate
Designed to take student who've completed Blacksmithing Basics 2 to the next stage, this course will continue to focus on forging technique, tool making, and heat treating. However, we will take a project-based focus in this course, covering new methods of joinery as well as techniques learned in previous classes. You will submit a plan for a small project that makes use of these methods and, after consultation and approval from the instructor, you will execute your designs. The course aims to provide opportunities for more creative expression in your work, while also adding another dimension to your skill set: putting an original design on paper, presenting it to the instructor for feedback and guidance, and then seeing that design come to life in the forge. Prerequisite: Blacksmithing Basics 2 or equivalent experience/permission from instructor.

Fee: $355 ($300 tuition + $55 materials)