Metal, Fire, ‘Hitting Stuff Hard’: Everybody Wants to Be a Blacksmith Now

The amateur blacksmiths were hard at work: heating metal rods, then hammering them into shape. Reheating, hammering some more, twisting and bending, and finally, hours later, creating small metal hooks.

It was hot, slow, painful work. For some, it was also thrilling.

“Metal and fire and hitting stuff hard? You can’t go too far wrong,” Chris Doherty, an artist and blacksmith in Brookfield, Conn., said as he watched his students work on a recent Saturday morning.

Chris Doherty places one of his students’ hooks into the fire, heating it up enough to bend and manipulate the metal.Credit…Jordan Semanick for The New York Times

Amateur blacksmithing has gained traction in recent years. (So has bladesmithing, the art of making knives and daggers.) Weekend classes can fill up months in advance. “Forged in Fire,” a bladesmithing competition show on the History Channel that has inspired many hobbyists, keeps getting renewed. And as more enthusiasts join the fray, the price of anvils has risen.

“We can’t offer enough intro classes,” said Matthew Berry, who owns Dragon’s Breath Forge in Wolcott, Conn., with two other champions of “Forged in Fire.” An introductory class costs about $185 per person.

“I’ll typically book out two to four months in advance,” said Brandon Hyner, 25, another blacksmith in Connecticut. He usually works in New London and charges about $275 for a half-day intro class. “I fill up every time.”

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