Day 16 of our 30 Days in May Challenge: Blacksmithing.

I’m really rather excited today as I’m looking forward to a taster blacksmithing workshop which is down at Sacrewell Farm near Wansford!

I first came across this when I was visiting the Laxton Square Craft Market (which happens every first Saturday of the month on Midgate) and the Blacksmith David was there with a stall showing all the handmade items. Having a chat with him about what they are now doing up at Sacrewell, it was an enticement to do a small half hour taster session – so here I am!

On with the goggles, if you don’t wear glasses, a blacksmith’s apron and thick gloves. Tip: Don’t wear white as the forge area is obviously black and it’s hot next to the forge as you work. I’m given a choice of 3 items to make; a bottle opener, a coat hook or a heart pendant. I chose the heart pendant (guess why)!

It all starts off with an oblong piece of metal….and a hammer on the anvil. David is controlling the metal in and out of the forge I just need to concentrate on where and how hard the hammer’s hitting… the first thing is to create a midway point first so the metal can be bent at the end which will create the base of the heart shape. Maybe it’s a woman thing but I didn’t want to hammer too hard, but apparently, I won’t break it, so give it a bit of welly but not too much. We don’t need a Thor hit but enough to shape into the metal piece. Once done we are on to the long process of the sides: they need to have more length and be tapered to the ends. Hitting from the end section, it takes a while as we aim to flatten it out slowly. In and out of the forge constantly as it cools from a bright red to a black. However, don’t be fooled that when the red’s gone that it’s cold – It’s still a whopping 300degrees – so DON’T TOUCH IT!

After getting a flattened point of some resemblance our aim now is to lengthen it out so it tapers nicely.  Again in and out of the forge constantly as you work on the middle to end section as if you were rolling pastry (not). Anyway, back to the forge and now we have a squarish-shaped tapered side. We have to flatten out those 4 edges to 8, then 16 and then it will be a lot smoother and a lot rounder. Phew, really pleased as it has taken shape…. now I just need to do the same for the other side! 🙂

After completing round two, we’re ready to work on the shaping. This is more delicate as we now have thinner, pointed ends which require less hammer. These are placed on the rounded edge of the anvil and gentle tapping is required to make it bend to the curve we need… it’s all precision and working with both sides to get them to curl up. You still use the same hammer but have less weight behind it ending up with a curly moustache shape. Gently and slowly you tap it round to shape it more and make the sides bend inwards to make our heart shape – then flatten it to ensure that you have a flat pendant when finished.

One last blast in the forge and a rubbing off of the top covering of metal with a brush. A dip in the water to cool it right down and…Hey Presto! One finished gorgeous We Love Peterborough heart pendant.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at actually completing this activity. It was great fun and a huge sense of achievement under the guidance of this very skilled Blacksmith David.

Taster sessions £20.
Longer workshop session 3 hours £80.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to try something completely different. Well done Sacrewell and Fire Monkey for coming up with such a brilliant idea.

For more info on this and other workshops they have visit Sacrwell Farm’s website:

#WeLovePeterborough #WeLoveActivities #WeLoveLearningSomethingNew #Blacksmithing #Forge #BlacksmithForge #Workshop #Learning #Education #Achievement

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