Teaching beginning forging

Hello Orchid,

I am teaching a forging class for beginners at my local parks and
rec and I am kind of having a hard time deciding how to go about
teaching the class. I am fairly new to teaching, I have taught more
advanced students and workshops on specific techniques but never a
beginning level class. I am worried that I may loose some people
because most of them have minimal metalsmithing experience and just
take the classes as a hobby. I have scoured the archives in hope of
finding some techniques or ideas for teaching beginning forging but
haven’t found much. If anyone has any techniques or ideas they would
like to share they would be very much appreciated. :slight_smile:

Sean M. Terry
S. AZ Jewelry Designs and Metalwork
Sedona/Phoenix, AZ

Sean, I taught classes at a community art school when I was
attending college. I found I got better attendance if I had them
start on a simple design project. Some came up with their own piece,
and others needed to be lead into a project. Bottom line, they got
to take a piece home with them.

Good Luck, Craig


One of the most rewarding and immediately gratifying processes in
metalsmithing has got to be forging. It’s certainly one of the
things that hooked me. Actually seeing the material grow in direct
response to the hammer–an extension of the hand–is magic.

One thing that I do to show students how metal reacts to the hammer
is to give them each a strip of, say, 18ga copper. With a cross peen
hammer have them hit the strip squarely and with the axis of the peen
perpendicular to the strip’s length. A few whacks and the strip grows
in a more or less straight direction.

Now have them move to one side of the strip and forge one half for
about an inch. The strip will, of course, bend away from the blows as
one side stretches. Then have them repeat this on the other side,
further up the strip.

This gives students an immediate idea of how the metal responds and
what is happening. It also clues them in to the reality of deep or
misplaced cross peen blows. I also have them “planish” out some of
the blows with a ball peen or dome peened hammer.

From there they can forge square stock draw tapers, etc.

Take care,
Andy Cooperman

Hi Sean…

I’m currently teaching a continuing ed class at museum school which
does not have the type of shop and tools that I’m accustomed to. So,
for a basic forging project I am having the students make a forged
bracelet. The directions can be found in the Professional
Goldsmithing book by Alan Revere. There are many variations that can
be made of this bracelet, so the students feel as if they have made
a decision in the design of their piece.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me off line.

Good Luck!

cheers… tracey

Dear Sean

When i was in college the first lesson in forging they taught us was
to forge a spoon…so a square bar however long u want your spoon to
be and then place the one end of the bar in a crucible and melt that
end into a ball…thereafter the can forget the handle flat, square,
tapered, using their own imagination, and the ball gets forged round,
that will teach then good control with a jewellers hammer, and u can
instruct that there soould be minimal filing to make it round…then
once the round area is about 1mm thick then using a ball punch
clamped in a vice, starting with a raw hide mallet dome the area that
will be the spoon…and then alernating with the jewellery hammer and
the mallet forge the dome…There are two more projects that i can
suggest if u want to contact me off the forum. @raakhi_rana.

Take care

Raakhi Rana
Jewellery Designer