- Work will involve wearing protective clothing such as boots, an apron and eye protection
- Work can be physically demanding, and industrial blacksmithing can involve lifting
- Requires practical skills, technical ability, and good hand-to-eye coordination
You can specialise in industrial work (making items like specialist tools, fire escapes or security grills) or artistic or architectural work (making items like decorative iron gates, furniture or one-off commissions).
If you specialise in artistic work, you are likely to be self-employed and sell your work at craft shows, galleries and fairs. You may produce your own designs or follow instructions from clients. Trainee salaries will be in line with National Minimum Wage rates.
- Working with a forge or furnace to heat metal
- Shaping metal with hand tools like hammers, punches, tongs and anvils
- Using power tools like drills, grinders and hydraulic presses
- Working with different metals including wrought iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper
- Joining metals together using blacksmithing and welding methods
- Applying finishes
As blacksmith, you could work in a factory or in a workshop. Your working environment may be physically demanding, hot and noisy and you may need to wear protective clothing.
If you work on commissions you'll negotiate your prices, but will also need to cover your own costs. If you're self-employed, your hours would depend on your workload. Industrial blacksmiths usually work in major mining and engineering sites, though small-scale forges can be no larger than a workshop. You'll wear protective clothing such as boots, an apron and eye protection. Industrial blacksmithing can involve lifting, although you'll use machines for heavier work.
To get started you could take an introductory college course, or a course by a private training provider in blacksmithing or working with metal.
This will help you decide if it's a suitable career and may be useful if you plan to look for a training position.
There is a degree course in Artist Blacksmithing available at Hereford College of Arts. Alternatively, there are Level 2 in Diplomas in Blacksmithing and Metalworking available at a small number of colleges. There is also the option to do a Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding, which may lead you into industrial blacksmith work.
A course in general metalwork or art and design may also give you an advantage when looking for a job.
Alternatively, you can get into industrial blacksmithing through an engineering or welding intermediate or advanced apprenticeship. Which you may be able to use to find a trainee job with a specialist metalwork company.
Another route you can take is to work as an assistant or apprentice to an experienced blacksmith and learn the craft on the job.
The British Artist Blacksmiths Association has more details on training organisations, and ways you can get started.
As an experienced artist blacksmith you could set up your own gallery. You could also teach craft skills. As an industrial blacksmith, you could move into workshop management. You could also train to become a design engineer.