We'll be kincking off at 9am both mornings. Breakfast wise there’s an awesome shop called Legges of Bromyard on the road in, which sells bacon sandwiches the likes of which you’ll pine after for months - its almost worth doing the course if only to be introduced to these. I’ll provide lunch, be it sandwiches, bread and cheese etc, and there will be tea and coffee available (and most definitely biscuits). If you’ve any dietary requirements please ping me an e-mail and I’ll make a note of it.
The course is pretty hard physically, I supply all of the PPE glasses, masks, ear defenders etc, but its worth bearing in mind that your clothes may get dirty, greasy etc. Sensible footwear is a must, sturdy leather shoes, or something of that ilk, steel toecaps preferably. the forge can be a dangerous place, there’s lots of tools that are powerful enough to squash steel, and abrasives that cut and grind it away, I will give you a brief health and safety talk upon arrival, its mostly common sense, and will cover the basics.
Day one in the forge, we will talk a little about what we’re going to do, I’ll give you a run through of the tools and machines that we’ll be using. If you have any particular designs or knife you want to make, its best to discuss it first, then draw out a profile and we can go from there. Once introduced it’ll be straight into lighting the forge, and making your metal, we will be using two different types of steel, forging them under the power hammer at a very high heat and drastically changing the shape of it. Once the first forging process is complete, it’ll be time for a spot of lunch, I’ll sort out the steel a little (clean cut and re-stack) so we can get straight back into forging after lunch. By the end of day one you should have a knife shape, made from forged layered carbon steel, this will be annealed/thermal cycled over night.
Day two, the morning will be drilling holes for pins heat treating and tempering the steel. This is where the steel becomes hard enough to use for a knife, I’ll explain more on the day. It does involve a period where we cook the knife so this will give us an opportunity to sort out material for the handle and I can take you through the grinding process. Once shaped and ground the knife gets polished up, cleaned then etched in acid. We’ll probably squeeze in lunch then.
The afternoon will be spent putting a handle on the blade, fixing it and shaping it. once thats done the final part of the process is putting an edge on it, it’s silly to work on a sharp knife. I’ll show you how to sharpen a knife on wet stones, once thats done the knife is ready to take home!
Both days will start at 9am, I’ll aim to be finished each day for around 5ish, but I’m happy to stay longer if things run over, the whole idea is that you will definitely have a knife to take home at the end of day two. I’m tailoring the course and tooling to be as simple as I can make it so that everyone can produce a knife!
The course is held at the forge, which is located at Moors Meadow Gardens in Collington, just outside Bromyard in Herefordshire. The place is easy to find, a sat-nav will take you pretty much to the door. You will see a yellow sign for Moors Meadow Gardens from the main road, where you turn down the lane and continue past two houses - then bear right to take you to the forge. There’s parking for a few cars, it can be muddy and in the summer I’m told it can get quite busy.
I recommend checking AirBNB for local places to stay in Bromyard if you're down for the course only. If you're making a trip of it and planning on trying out Hereford's amazing food scene then staying in Hereford and driving in is your best bet. We reccomend East Friars b&b on Greyfriars Avenue near the Rowing Club, and Helen's Place, available on airbnb. Both of these places are run by people we love and respect and we promise you will be looked after there!
As for food, there are several great independent restaurants in the centre of Hereford (we’ve worked in some of them) and we know they are run by passionate, ethical people. Good starting places to visit would be The Bookshop (best Steak restaurant we know, and winner of the Observer's award for best Sunday roast in the country!), The Burger Shop, Beefy Boys, La Madeleine and The Cellar Door, on a Friday night Sensory & Rye will provide you with a genuine German schnitzel, and there’s also Madam & Adam which is opposite a great dutch-style coffee shop which opens late as a bar where you can sit in front of the fire pits in the courtyard by the river, and often have live bands and a series of art exhibitions inside the barn.
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask - we are very accommodating and we want you to have the best experience possible.