Bridgetown Forge offers a variety of smithing classes, based on 35 years of training and work in Japan, Israel and the USA. Having trained under Uri Hofi in Israel and Ashi Hiroshi in Japan, we offer classes that reflect the experience in both architectural and sculptural smithing, as well as in tool-making and knife-making. The essence of Bridgetown Forge approach is directness, focused observation, maximum efficiency, true ergonomics in tooling and motion, a scientific approach to shaping and heat-treating steel, and a cultivation of a relaxed, joyous and curious mind. The latter is essential to expanding one’s skills in an open and exploratory fashion.
We also tend to teach principles of forging rather than the making of a single object — once a principle is understood, it can be applied to anything the student wishes to make in future, rather than just one object.
With that in mind, Bridgetown Forge offers a variety of classes for both the beginner and the more experienced smith wishing to improve their skills in a given area. Classes cover knife-making, tool-making, fundamentals of forging, and power hammer techniques, with more classes being constantly developed and added.
Each student is provided with safety equipment, an anvil and a work station with a full set of tools, a constant access to a forge, and an unlimited amount of steel to forge.
The instruction is conducted in stages, with each stage explained, modeled in plasticine, drawn on a board, and forged, before students go on to emulate it. We always start with the simple and proceed to the more complex. Thus, even a complicated forging sequence can be easily understood, executed, and assimilated.
Throughout the class, the Uri Hofi Ergonomics Forging Technique, which called for intelligent use of the body rather then brute strength, is demonstrated, practiced and reinforced.
It is a common misconception that blacksmithing requires great physical strength. While it’s true that a modicum of fitness helps, the heart of smithing is focus, determination, playfulness, and gumption. These qualities transcend gender, size, strength, and age, as evidenced by the great diversity of graduating students.
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