I am now offering private lessons in basic forging, knife making, damascus steel and axe/tool making. I charge $175 per 8 hour day or $20/hour. Material cost will depend on the subject matter that I teach. My lessons are intense and I place a strong emphasis on fundamental craftsmanship and the aesthetics of the craft. Students should expect to take home something that they’ve made with me and have it (at least) to a state in which they can do fine finishing at their own home/shop. I live in an incredible part of the world with an abundance of attractions such as the Lake Superior fishing port of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. My home and shop are on 10 acres of sand/oak barrens adjacent to Chequamegon National Forest and 10 minutes from Ashland, Wisconsin.
One of the benefits of taking lessons here at my shop is my proximity to one of the best travel destinations in the world. I live 20 minutes from Bayfield and the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore and 10 minutes fromo Lake Superior. From fishing, hiking, sailing, visiting sea/ice caves, hunting, sea kayaking, Bayfield Apple Fest, and driving the famous ‘ice road’ to Madeline Island in the winter… there is something to do every season.
“Can not put into words the value I got from lessons at big rock forge. Thank you so much for the entire experience. It was amazing being guided through the whole process having every question answered and every concern addressed. Thank you for teaching me about lines and symmetry and why one shape is pleasing to my eye and another is not. Other than the lessons I think my favorite part was archery with the hand made bow, or shooting the .70 caliber flint-lock gun or just being out in the country away from distractions and able to concentrate on why I was there. And your family was an absolute joy to be around. I will definitely be back when I’m ready to go to the next level. I hope to make it out there for the hammer-in and thanks again” -Alan Klinner, Alabama
The following gallery contains images from a week of private lessons that I just completed with Alan Klinner, a new knife maker from Alabama. Alan had some experience with stock removal knife making and wanted to learn forging and stated that he wanted to go home and ‘make a knife he could put his name on’. He was interested in some of the Japanese style knives I’ve done in the past and I offered to help him make something like this. Knives like this are deceptively simple and require a very high degree of attention to detail at every step in the process. The fitment in every dimension has to be near perfect so that the tang can slide into the handle for an absolutely ‘wiggle free’ friction fit and the blade must be firmly seated in the scabbard in a way that A. doesn’t split the wood B. stays put and C. doesn’t get scratched up. This requires very precise inletting skills. Something like this is a bit ‘outside the box’ for new makers but we figured that even if it resulted in failure that a lot of valuable lessons would be learned. Well… it did not fail and Alan took home the foundation for what will be a beautiful, heirloom quality blade. The lesson started with a brief introduction to forge welding as we started his blade with a pile of 1/8″ thick 1080. The following images show how we spent the 4 days: