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Blacksmith Forge worker

Blacksmiths work with different metals to create decorative, industrial and everyday items.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You can become a blacksmith by:

  • learning the craft on-the-job by training with an experienced blacksmith
  • completing a college course then finding a trainee position

Previous experience in welding, metalwork or art and design (using metals) can be very useful and may give you an advantage when looking for a trainee position.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • good hand-to-eye coordination
  • practical skills and technical ability
  • problem-solving skills
  • creative and design skills, for decorative work
  • good communication skills
  • maths skills for measuring and making calculations

3. What you'll do

You could specialise in:

  • industrial work, making items like specialist tools, fire escapes or security grills
  • artistic or architectural work, like decorative iron gates, furniture or one-off commissions

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • 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

If you specialise in artistic work, you would normally be self-employed and sell your work at craft shows, galleries and fairs. You may produce your own designs or follow instructions from clients.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £19,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 or more

Trainee salaries will be in line with National Minimum Wage rates.

If you work on commissions you'll negotiate your prices.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

As an employed blacksmith you'll work about 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. 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.

This work can be physically demanding. Industrial blacksmithing can involve lifting, although you'll use machines for heavier work.

6. Career path and progression

As an experienced blacksmith you could also work in metal fabrication or welding.

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Last updated: 21 December 2016