Metal Arts

Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and in an attempt to keep our staff and public safe, all classes and workshops through August 2020 have been cancelled. If you had booked a spot in a class impacted by this, you will receive a full refund.

Take a class or weekend-long workshop to learn a new skill or build on your prior blacksmithing or metals experience. Metal arts classes are taught by skilled instructors in small group settings. Most classes are great for those with little to no experience in the field.

Jump to:

History
Beginners Blacksmithing
Bladesmithing
Bronze Casting

Man works at a traditional 18th century style forge

History of Metal Arts at the Museum

Blacksmithing at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began in 1989 during construction of the replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II. Since local hardware stores understandably do not carry fittings for Revolutionary War gunboats, our team had to create ironwork for the replica themselves. An 18th century-style forge was built on site, with a central stone chimney and hearth, a massive, hand-operated bellows of wood and leather hanging from the ceiling, and cast iron anvil secured in a sturdy stump.

Today, our metal arts and blacksmithing instruction spaces have grown to include the Rhinehart Blacksmith Center and the Metal Shop as well as our 18th century-style forge. We welcome thousands of students of all ages on campus each year to introduce them to blacksmithing and other metal art techniques.


A girl works a forge fire

Beginners Blacksmithing

This weekend-long class is open to students with no prior forging experience. Students will learn the basic tools and their uses, how to manage a coal forge/fire, and several controlled hand forging techniques. If you have some prior experience feel free to join as well in order to enhance your skills, explore new techniques, and perhaps create an heirloom.

Class meets for a full weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. Please bring a lunch and water, and wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and preferably clothing made from natural fibers. Class is open to students ages 14 and up.

Maximum class size: 5 students
Minimum class size: 4 students
Tuition: $245 ($220 for Museum Members)

Spring/Summer 2020 Dates

  • March 21-22, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • April 11-12, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • May 9-10, 2020 – CANCELLED

Notes: More dates will be added to make up for canceled courses in Summer and Fall 2020


Metal knife being formed

Bladesmithing

This two-day course will teach students how to forge a hidden tang knife blade including the basics of how to heat-treat and temper blades. Each student goes home with a completed knife. Students start with a 6″ piece of high carbon steel, and will spend the first day forging it into a knife, and learning about the heat treatment process. The second day covers the finishing processes and putting a handle on the blade.

Class meets for a full weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. Please bring a lunch and water, and wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and preferably clothing made from natłral fibers. This class is open to students ages 14 and up. 

Maximum class size: 5 students
Minimum class size: 4 students
Tuition: $245 ($220 for Museum Members)

Spring/Summer 2020 Dates:

  • March 28-29, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • April 25-26, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • May 30-21, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • June 27-28, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • July 25-26, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • August 29-30, 2020 – CANCELLED
  • September 26-27, 2020
  • October 24-25, 2020
  • November 14-15, 2020
  • December 12-13, 2020
  • January, 23-24, 2021
  • February 20-21, 2021
  • March 20-21, 2021
  • April 17-18, 2021

Bronze Casting

This is a one-day hands-on introduction to the sand casting process. Participants will experience sand casting bronze objects by doing it themselves: ramming up the mold, attaching gates and vents, lighting the furnace, and pouring the molten metal. By the end of the day they will have enough experience to be able to purchase equipment and supplies to begin working on their own.

Class meet from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. Please bring a lunch and water, and wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and preferably clothing made from natłral fibers. This class is open to students ages 14 and up. 

Tuition: $150 ($130 for Museum Members)
Minimum Enrollment: Four
Maximum Enrollment: Six

Spring/Summer 2020 Dates:

  • April 25, 2020 – CANCELLED