Blacksmiths shape and join metals such as steel, iron, copper and bronze to make decorative and everyday items. These can include wrought iron gates, railings, furniture, tools and horseshoes.
To do this job, you will need to have good hand-to-eye coordination and practical skills. If you enjoy working with tools and machinery and you like being creative, then this job could be ideal for you.
- working with a forge or furnace
- using traditional hand tools such as hammers, punches and tongs or anvils
- using power tools, such as power hammers, drills, grinders, air chisels and hydraulic presses
- using engineering machinery such as pillar drills, centre lathes, milling machines and welding equipment
- working with various metals, including wrought iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper
- heating metal to the right temperature so that it can be shaped
- joining metals together using various blacksmithing methods
- applying 'finishings' to metal or products.
- good hand-to-eye coordination
- practical skills and technical ability
- problem solving skills
- creative and design skills if you want to specialise in artistic work
- motivation and self-discipline as you would often work alone
- good communication skills for dealing with customers
- maths ability for measuring and making calculations.
- business skills for preparing quotes and managing your accounts if you are self-employed.
Average salary (2013):
The United Kingdom: £12,000 a year.
Qualifications and training required:
You can become a blacksmith by:
- learning the trade from an experienced blacksmith who is willing to offer on-the-job training
- completing a full-time college course.
If you want to train on the job, you will need to get in touch with individual blacksmiths to see if they will take you on.
You may be able to train for industrial blacksmithing by doing an Apprenticeship in engineering, combining training for NVQs in Fabrication and Welding with working for a blacksmith or specialist company.