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Blacksmith Forge worker, artist blacksmith

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Blacksmiths work with different metals to make and repair 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:

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

Experience in welding, metalwork or art and design may give you an advantage when looking for a trainee position.

The British Artist Blacksmiths Association (BABA) has details about training and work experience.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship in welding or metal fabrication. 

Creative Choices has more information about working as an artist blacksmith.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills
  • problem solving skills
  • design skills and creative ideas for decorative work
  • communication skills
  • the ability to follow technical plans
  • maths skills for measuring and making calculations

3. What you'll do

You could specialise in:

  • industrial work, making things like railings, staircases and security grills
  • artistic work, designing items like decorative garden gates, furniture or one-off pieces for customers

You’ll work with different metals like wrought iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper. For each job, you'll:

  • sketch out new design plans or follow customer instructions
  • heat metals to the right temperature in a forge or furnace
  • shape metals with hand tools like hammers, punches and anvils
  • use power tools, like drills, lathes and hydraulic presses
  • join metal parts together using riveting and welding methods
  • apply finishes

If you specialise in artistic work, you'd usually be self-employed and sell your work at craft shows, galleries and fairs. You’d also do your own business administration and marketing.

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're self-employed you'll negotiate your prices.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work about 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, if you're employed by a company.

If you're self-employed, your hours will depend on how many customer orders you have.

The work is physically demanding and you'll wear protective clothing like boots, an apron and safety glasses or visor.

6. Career path and progression

As an experienced artist blacksmith you could set up your own gallery. You could also teach craft skills.

As an industrial blacksmith, you could move into workshop management. You could also train to become a design engineer.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018