Blacksmiths work with different metals to create decorative, industrial, and everyday items.Job Category:
What you will do:
Day to day tasks could include:
- sketching out new designs or follow customer instructions
- heating metals to the right temperature in a forge or furnace
- shaping metals with hand tools like hammers, punches and anvils
- creating moulds for casting and apply finishes
- using power tools, like drills, lathes and hydraulic presses
- joining metal parts together using riveting and welding methods
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
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.
- design skills and knowledge
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with your hands
- thinking and reasoning skills
- physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
- the ability to use your initiative (drive)
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
Becoming a blacksmith typically does not require specific GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects, as blacksmithing is a skilled trade that often involves on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or vocational courses rather than formal academic qualifications. However, certain subjects can be helpful and provide a strong foundation for a career in blacksmithing. These subjects include:
- Design and Technology (DT): DT courses can teach you valuable skills in metalwork and design, which are directly relevant to blacksmithing.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential in many aspects of blacksmithing, such as measuring, calculating dimensions, and working with proportions.
- Physics: A basic understanding of physics principles can be useful, especially when working with materials and understanding how different metals behave under heat and pressure.
- Art and Design: Creativity and artistic skills can be beneficial for designing and crafting intricate and aesthetically pleasing metalwork.
- Engineering: If your school offers engineering courses, they can provide valuable knowledge about working with metals, machinery, and tools.
- Welding and Metalwork: If your school offers courses in welding or metalwork, they can provide hands-on experience and a foundation in working with metals.
There are no set 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.
Working Hours 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.
Career Path & Progression:
As an experienced blacksmith you could also work in metal fabrication or welding.