PROSPECT HILL FORGE: The Blacksmithing Classroom

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Mike - 617 230 9572 or Carl - 781 608 0900


Safety in the forge.

Blacksmithing has a number of dangers associated with it, keep them in mind and, especially when trying something new, take a moment and imagine what could go wrong, what could fly, what could drop, what's going to be hot and where, then adjust your actions to minimize the repercussions.

Since we can't control all of our students' actions, we have a "Release and Waiver of Responsibility" that all our students are required to sign before taking classes. Feel free to print out the PDF version of the waiver and bring a signed copy with you to your first class, or you can sign it in our office.

Smithing is usually loud, ear protection is required .
We have a variety of types of ear muffs and ear plugs available. If you have something suitable of your own, feel free to bring it. Due to personal experience, we're trying to make darned sure that you don't damage your hearing in our shop!

We're working with fire, you can get burned.
Either by the fire directly or by things that have been heated in it. Most people recognize fire and glowing metal items as being hot and avoid them as a learned reponse; the biggest danger in this regard is the unsuspected piece of hot, but black, iron. Occasional minor burns are to be expected though. Suitable caution and modest protective clothing (described below), should be sufficient to avoid anything worse.

Many things in the forge, both tools and materials, are sharp; you can cut yourself, both by tools that are supposed to be sharp and by bits of work or stock that may or may not be intentionally sharp.

Lots of force is being applied in an abrupt fashion. Sometimes objects suddenly take flight. Sometimes those objects are small. Eye protection is required. Sometimes bigger objects are involved, and they drop more than they fly. Solid shoes are a good idea; closed toe shoes are required.

Proper Attire:
Natural fiber clothing (synthetics tend to either melt and stick to skin, or burn far too well).
Closed toe shoes (preferably leather, preferably high-topped. Sneakers are sufficient.).
Long pants that cover the tops of the shoes (yes, even in the summer).
Long sleeves are not required, gloves are discouraged.
(Only if the student has a future as a hand or arm model might gloves and long sleeves be in order.)

If you imagine that someone will be tossing hot coals at you and that you don't want them to lodge anywhere, you'll be thinking along the correct lines. No one tosses hot coals on purpose, but they do get loose now and again and even ONE hot coal inside your shoe or caught in a pants cuff is too many.

Dangly things like long hair and some jewelry will need to be restrained.
Long dangly or chunky earrings can be difficult with the earmuffs.

Leather aprons, safety glasses, and hearing protection will be provided.

Staying hydrated while smithing:
We have a (wonderfully cold) water cooler and a paper cup dispenser. Feel free to bring your own bottle of water, sports bottle, or travel mug.


Oh, and remember that blacksmithing is work.
You will sweat.
You will get dirty; dress accordingly.
The first time out, you will end up sore, and there's a fair chance you'll get a friction blister or two on your hammer hand.