ABSTRACT : Basic BLADESMITHING, an intermediate level training course for blacksmiths and knife makers. Artisan Blacksmith Darrell Markewitz offers a regular series of weekend long programs in a number of aspects of traditional Blacksmithing. Special courses include : layered steels (pattern welding), bladesmithing / knife making, bronze casting, iron smelting. Programs held at the Wareham Forge in Ontario Canada, with remote teaching offered at other facilities.

Learn the Art of the Smith

Basic Bladesmithing

NOTE : This information only available as documentation

This program is NOT being offered in 2021


Policy for COVID-19

This 16 hour hands on session will introduce the student to the basic techniques required in the forging of blades. Each student will create a number of rough forged blades, both single and double edged types. Initial practice work will be done with mild steel, followed by using a high carbon steel. The process of simple polishing and the basics of heat treating will be discussed and demonstrated. This program focuses on the *forging* of blades however.

It is required that students already have a basic level of experience at the forge. (Ability to control the hammer, assess heat colours - see Course Requirements) Session limited to TWO students, with each provided with their own, physically separated, work station. Course fee of $425 (+ HST) includes all materials.
Your instructor is professional blacksmith Darrell Markewitz of the Wareham Forge. Please look over Darrell's past work with Bladesmithing and Historic Reproductions.

Programs are open to any physically able people, from young adults onwards. (Aged 16 an up - see a special note : Teens as Students). Any students with "learning \ physical disabilities" need to refer to the detail section on Course Requirements. English is the language of instruction. Sorry - the Wareham Forge is not really wheel chair accessible.

Each student will start Saturday by working up mild steel flat bar into a number of blade blanks. The stress is on smaller blades which can be more quickly competed (allowing more finished blanks to be created). Both single and double edged types will be undertaken, using a number of possible tang methods. A general consideration of not only materials for cutting edges, but an overview of historic and modern blades will be made.

On Sunday, the material switches to a high carbon steel. Students will either chose one of their test designs from the day before, or even forge a new pattern. The stress of this program is forging rather than finishing. There will be a detailed examination of heat treating processes, and how they apply to specific blade types. In late afternoon, students can either start grinding or polishing, or continue at the forge with additional blade forging.

forged blades
Instructor: Darrell Markewitz

Darrell has been working with forged metals since the late 1970's. After 4 years at Ontario College of Art, he worked as the blacksmith / interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village. He now makes his living as an artistic blacksmith and museum consultant. Since 1993 he has held a regular series of workshops at the Wareham Forge - a full slate of basic, intermediate and specialized programs. As well as sessions at folk festivals and special programs at museums and universities, he has trained historic interpreters for museums and living history programs in Canada, the USA and the UK.
Darrell provides decades of experience as an artisan blacksmith, technical instructor, and historic researcher with all his programs.
His work as bladesmith has included specialist tool and combat blades - ranging from small 'hideout' knives to full sized swords. He has reproduced many historic axes and woodworking tools.

For some indication of the teaching style, check these clips on YouTube:
Twisting Bars (from Introduction to Smithing)
Forging a Tang (from Historic Bladesmithing)

Facilities: the Wareham Forge

The shop combines traditional and modern equipment, with the main forge coal fired (for forge welding) and two gas forges for general forging steps. There will be one anvil per student, all basic tools will be provided. Equipment includes the related grinding and polishing machinery, as well as a fully equipped fine metals studio.

The Wareham Forge is located in Grey County (Central Ontario), about half way between Orangeville and Owen Sound. We are about 5 miles SE of the village of Flesherton, just off highway 10, (about 2 hours drive NW of Toronto).

Remember: to guarantee a place, ensure your application & deposit will be received at least 30 days before the course date you desire.
A cancelation may result in the loss of your deposit.

On recieving your deposit, a set of instructions detailing how to get to the Wareham Forge will be sent. (For planning, Wareham is near Flesherton, Ontario - about 45 minutes drive north of Orangeville.)

Special - One Week 'Forge to Blade'

This program only offered if specifically requested for 2021
Only dates from through Summer to Early Fall - as available

I have had an increasing number of people ask about a personal one week - Forge to Blade program. This would entail :

Day 1 & 2 - Basics of Blacksmithing (stance, safety, tools, basic forging practice as the Introduction program)

Day 3 - Introduction to forge welding (including practice work)

Day 4 & 5 - Basics of Bladesmithing ( shapes, design, heat treating, alloys, basic forging practice as the Bladesmith program)

In total this would be a 5 day long, 8 hours working per day (total 40 hours). Cost for this program would be $1500 (+HST). As with other programs, basic materials & fuels would be included, all tools and safety gear provided. If two people booked together, the cost would be $1000 + each. No more than two students. Dates would have to fit into my existing work commitments, available at the Wareham Forge only.

For detailed outlines and applications contact:

the Wareham Forge

Darrell Markewitz
RR # 2, Proton Station, Ont. N0C 1L0
phone/fax 519-923-9219


Can't make it to Wareham?

Take a look at the educational DVD's / CD-ROMs produced by the Wareham Forge
Introduction to BLACKSMITHING
Forging the VIKING AGE
IRON SMELTING in the Viking Age
Exploring the Viking Age in Denmark

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Text & images Darrell Markewitz