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Blacksmithing Classes

Current Blacksmithing Courses Offered at Our Smithies at Both Our Fields Pond Campus and Our Newfield Campus ( We Have Two Smithies At This Location)

Starting Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Six Weeks, Tuesday & Thursday Evenings, 6PM-9PM, Beginning Blacksmithing Class at Fields Pond. This is an introduction to coal fired forging. You will learn safety, building a coal fire, and fire maintenance. The class will introduce you to various hammering techniques for shaping, cutting, and bending steel. Students will create a punch, j-hooks, s-hooks, fork, spoon and other projects with embellishments. The class will introduce forge welding. There are opportunities for students to get additional time in the smithy on Saturdays through arrangement. Instructor: Dwight King. Tuition: $395, tools and material provided except for a 2lb. hammer that students should bring with them. Gloves optional. A set of safety glasses, natural fiber clothing and work boots required. Reservations required. Limited to six students. First to pay first served. Check or credit card accepted. Call: (207) 745-4426

Sat. & Sun. March 25 & 26, 9-4. Two Day Weekend Bladesmithing: Make a Knife Class.

We will use a propane fired forge and produce your knife blade and tang using spring steel. You will file and polish the blade. Harden it using oil and heat. Refine the blade and prepare the tang with brass rivets to receive a hard wood handle. You will temper the blade and apply your handle. Some refinements as homework for your handle due to time restraints but will in  two days almost entirely complete a knife. Instructor: Frank Vivier. Tools and materials provided except for a 2lb hammer you supply and use. Bring your own safety glasses, wear natural fiber clothing, and work boots First pay, first serve. For info: 207-205-4849, thecurranhomestead@gmail.com. To register; call 207-745-4426. Limited to five students. $195.


START: Sat., April 1 , 9-4. THREE WEEKENDS, Sat. & Sun., 9AM-4PM, OF BEGINNING BLACKSMITHING CLASSES at Curran Homestead Village at Newfield, 70 Elm St., Newfield, ME. (36 Hours plus 2 hours on a weekday for catch-up & practice). Tuition: $395. Three weekends of projects. In addition to projects, students will learn to build a coal forge fire and maintain it. They will understand the tools necessitated to forge and how to use them for shaping, cutting, twisting and bending steel. Students will eventually be introduced to the concept of forge welding. Visit:www.curranhomestead.org/blacksmithingclasses

Email: thecurranhomestead@gmail.com For info. (207) 205-4849, For registration, first pay first serve. Limited to six students. (207) 745-4426.

Four Nights Over Two Weeks, Two Tuesdays & Two Thurs. Evenings, April 4, 6, 11 & 13, 6-9PM (12 Hours) . Intermediate Level Blacksmithing Class: Learn Coal Fired Forge Welding with Blacksmith Sam Smith.

This is a challenging class for the intermediate level student who has mastered coal fired forge use and is competent with their hammer work. Students will learn to forge two pieces of metal together using a Borax flux. A fire poker, eyelet/ grab hook and a pair of strap hinges are the projects to be completed. $195

 

Starting Tuesday, February 21. Six Weeks, Tuesday & Thursday Evenings, 6PM-9PM, Beginning Blacksmithing Class at Newfield. This is an introduction to coal fired forging. You will learn safety, building a coal fire, and fire maintenance. The class will introduce you to various hammering techniques for shaping, cutting, and bending steel. Students will create a punch, j-hooks, s-hooks, fork, spoon and other projects with embellishments. The class will introduce forge welding. There are opportunities for students to get additional time in the smithy on Saturdays through arrangement. Instructor: Sam Smith. Tuition: $395, tools and material provided except for a 2lb. hammer that students should bring with them. Gloves optional. A set of safety glasses, natural fiber clothing and work boots required.  Reservation required. Limited to six students. First to pay first served. Check or credit card accepted. Call: (207) 745-4426

Saturday & Sunday, March 11 & 12, 9AM-4PM. Blacksmithing: Make a Knife. Students will learn some of the basic of blacksmithing in this beginner to intermediate level class. Using spring steel students will form a blade and handle tang. Students will polish and file their blades using various techniques. The blade will be hardened with oil. Students will create brass rivets and a hard wood handle that they will fit to their blade after the process of tempering. Students will walk home with a nearly completed; their wooden handle will require further sanding and finish. but will be set with epoxy. Students will provide their own 2 lb. hammer, but all other tools and materials provided.Reservations required. Limited to six students. First to pay first served. Check or credit card accepted. Call: (207) 745-4426

THREE WEEKS OF WEEKENDS, Sat. & Sun., 9AM-4PM BEGINNING BLACKSMITHING CLASSES. Start: Sat., March 17, 9-4. (36 Hours plus 2 hours on a weekday for catch-up & practice). $395

Three weekends of projects. In addition to projects, students will learn to build a coal forge fire and maintain it. They will understand the tools necessitated to forge and how to use them for shaping, cutting, twisting and bending steel. Safety will be emphasized in using tools and maintaining a coal fire. Students will eventually be introduced to the concept of forge welding; students should anticipate understanding beginning competency rather than mastery in this first blacksmithing class

  • Week 1, Saturday: Safety, Fire Control, & Tool Usage; Hooks & Twists
  • .Week 1, Sunday: Forks, Spoons & Bottle Opener
  • Week 2, Saturday: Simple Nails and Rivets
  • Week 2, Sunday:  Punches, Punching Holes & Simple Coat Rack
  • Week 3, Saturday: Coat Rack & Punched Hole Trammel, & Simple Candle Holder
  • Week 3, Sunday: and  Bracelet & Simple Leaf  Key Chain

Be safe, and strike when the metal is hot!

Please practice good care of our equipment, as some of it has lasted for more than a century!


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A History of Blacksmithing Programming at the Curran Homestead Village at Fields Pond

Since 2009, The Curran Homestead has significantly increased its collection holdings of tools and equipment relevant to metalworking and blacksmithing. Before this time there were a number of items in the collection that had come through the efforts of the late Bob Robinson, master blacksmith from Stockton Springs, Maine.  Robinson had grown up under the tutelage of his father, a Philadelphia-area blacksmith. His father had learned the trade through the then-prevalent practice of apprenticeships  as he too would later complete a formal apprenticeship seeking a livelihood as a blacksmith, but by this time the demand for blacksmiths was on the wane. He pursued building contracting instead, but often made use of his blacksmithing skills.

After a move to Maine in the early 1960’s, Robinson built Split-Rock Forge in Stockton Springs. He continued to keep the traditional art alive, doing custom forge work for clients both local and nationwide. His interest in sharing his skills and the historical significance of the art form led him to his connection with a number of non-profit organizations, including 19th Century Willowbrook Village of Newfield, ME, which was recently gifted to Curran Homestead Village. Eventually, Robinson became a fixture at The Curran Homestead’s “gatherings,” working as a hired for pay blacksmith and setting up a portable forge in the barnyard and doing demonstrations. Public interest in these demonstrations inspired thoughts about creating a permanent blacksmithing shop at the farm.

Brick_Forge

This double side draft forge was built entirely by volunteers during the Winter of 2010.

Taking the idea of building a permanent smithy on the farm was brought a step further when Robinson secured a portable forge, an anvil and some tongs  from donors. Ceramic flue and masonry were also purchased at this time, but actual construction was temporarily stalled for lack of funds to complete the wood frame, siding, and roofing for such a structure that was necessitated for a year-round facility.

Before the portable forge, anvil, and selection of hand tools came to the farm there were only a few pairs of farrier’s tongs that were likely from the Currans’ own use of work horses. Before 1914, Arthur Conquest (with assistance from his son Edward) ran a Fields Pond Farm as a horse farm, and this would have lent itself to frequent visits to the site by local farriers. Blacksmiths, even until mid-century and rural communities,  would have been called out to farm locations for tasks like parts fabrication and repair; “carriage ironers,” as they were often called, served the farmer in his maintenance of wagons, carriages, and horse-drawn farm equipment. We know of several permanent smithies in Orrington that were functioning well into the 20th century, and trips to these establishments to seek repairs and part fabrication were part of the Curran farm’s history.

side draft forge archive five

One of the initial sketches that inspired the construction of the double side draft forge in the Curran Smithy.

The construction of a permanent structure for demonstrations, instruction and collections storage was deemed necessary to share the traditional art of blacksmithing with the public, and it was in no way meant to re-write history or deceive the public by insinuating that a smithy ever existed on the farm site. With the change of our mission in our current endeavor to build a museum village we may have several.

During its history, the Museum has sought to develop educational offerings that focus on arts and crafts characteristic of 19th- and early 20th-century rural Maine life; the development of a permanent blacksmithing facility at the farm has been a monumental step in realizing this plan. The blacksmithing we intially presented was exclusively demonstration, but we have been offering beginning blacksmithing classes and other related metal working class almost continuously since 2009.

Building a smithy on our site insured that we could offer hands-on learning over a time period longer than our usual and seasonal one-day events. With both a structure and additional tools and equipment to satisfy the needs of a class of beginning blacksmithing students we believed that we could make an important step forward in the development of our educational mission to share skills and knowledge of Maine’s rural past, and this goal has continued to be fulfilled. The smithy has allowed us to offer classes in beginning blacksmithing to students who may not otherwise have had the opportunity.

See the following article on the Fields Pond Smithy: Build a Smithy, and They Will Come; Strategies for Museum Development, by Robert Schmick, Museum Director, Curran Homestead Village. Maine Archives & Museums Newsletter, November 2009. This article identifies the origins of the smithy and the anticipated blacksmithing programming located at The Curran Homestead.

Curran blacksmithing at maple Syrup festival