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Preferred Teaching Scenario (There are exceptions)

For insurance reasons I cannot have students within my Show or Primary shop..

Further, my primary smithy is laid out and furnished with tools exclusively of my choosing to meet my specific needs. Therefore, it is preferable to work with the student’s selection and within their smithy. That way, when the day’s instruction is over, the student knows how to use their own tools

The range of what the student wants or believes they want can be extremely narrow to all encompassing. To illustrate; One may desire to carry on the blacksmith traditions, while another may just want a knife, while yet another always wanted to be a smith. Clearly, their needs are vastly different and it would be a disservice to impose a rigid, cookie cutter style curriculum.

The mission of instruction by Iron Leaf Forge, LLC will be to provide an atmosphere where:

The student will learn traditional and modern methods of blacksmithing in a manner customized to their current skill level, and within the parameters of their defined objectives.

With this as our frame work, the student will receive hands-on training and guidance in the following: This is not an exhaustive list.

The Basics

  • Safety in the shop and during work

  • Building self confidence and skill

  • Coal fire maintenance & control

  • Proper hammer control & technique

  • Choosing an anvil to fit your needs

  • Forge construction

  • Shop layout

  • Project conceptualizing, design, layout

Hands-on work utilizing Forge and Anvil

  • Projects completed by Student are theirs to keep

  • Fundamental techniques: drawing out, twisting, upsetting, bending, punching, hot cutting, riveting, forge welding, hardening, annealing, tempering, scrolling, decorative elements.

  • Jewelry making

  • Pattern welding

  • Bladesmithing

Note: With the exception of safety, not all students will be exposed to all techniques.

Ready? Then just strike to get started!


The following are general thoughts and/or rules-of-thumb to assist in the choosing of an anvil. For the purpose of this discussion it is assumed that the material of the anvil be high carbon, manganese steel or equivalent. Weights are roughly calculated by: Your most used hammer weight times 50 pounds. As always, purchase the best quality that you can afford.

Some things to keep in mind.

1. Any anvil will produce any item, provided you have the skill to carry it out.

2. An anvil is just a stationary hammer. Newton’s 3rd law which is why we want a high quality anvil with 90%+ rebound.-Cuts our physical effort by about 45%!

My primary anvil is the one pictured on the top right. It is designed to be most useful for the work done in Europe, that is, ornamental. So, mostly heavy hammering, various scrolling, upsetting, etc., very generalized work, which is what I specialize in. Looking at my primary replica work, Celt and Viking, it is known that their ‘anvils’ were just huge flat blocks. This anvil fits that bill also.

Another way to look at it is, What style of product will be your primary output? The product you will need to produce repeatedly and consistently? The anvil that allows you to efficiently produce that item determines your anvil style.

By reducing your primary blacksmithing project, into its simplest form, the following is the basic thought process.

A. Primarily knife/sword work = Banging on flat stuff.

Hammer = 1 to 3 pounds

Anvil weight = 3 x 50 = 150 pounds with a long flat surface, very slight radius on edges, blunt horn

Conclusion- 150+ pound anvil similar to mine.

B. Primary horseshoes = Making ‘U’s with holes and most likely portable.

Hammer = 1 to 2 pounds

Anvil weight = 80 to 100 pounds, long tapered horn, short flat surface with varying radii on edges and a pritchel hole

Conclusion- Farrier’s anvil of about 70 to 85 pounds portable or 100+ stationary, as seen bottom right.