NRBA Blacksmith Curriculum - Level I

NRBA Level I Training 2015

Level I Finished Projects

Level I Gatehook

Level I Class Checklist

Level I Gatehook Drawings

More Pictures Level I Training 2015

NRBA Level I: Apprentice

Printable PDF Version

This certificate will be awarded to NRBA members who have completed the Level 1, basic training. Interested members will receive a check list of required skills to complete to guide them through the program. Ongoing educational activities will be published in the NRBA Newsletter. There is no guarantee that a teaching opportunity will exist at a time a student is seeking one.

Students will have to prove to their instructor(s) that they understand and can perform the 21 skills listed below. Instructor(s) must sign off on the check list for each separate skill. Students will also present to their instructor(s) a completed project. The farm gate latch (drawing provided) is a suggested project but students have the freedom to make a different project as long as it incorporates all of the same skills. Alternate projects should be pre-approved by the education committee by submitting a drawing with dimensions. Suggested books to use as reference are: The Skills of a Blacksmith Vol.1, Mark Aspery; The New Edge of the Anvil, Jack Andrews and The Back Yard Blacksmith, Lorelei Sims, all available for loan through the NRBA library.

Suggested books to use as reference are:

The Skills of a Blacksmith Vol.1 by Mark Aspery

The New Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews

The Back Yard Blacksmith by Lorelei Sims

all available for loan through the NRBA library.


Required Skills for NRBA Level 1 (Checklist):

  • Safety (see NRBA’s Safety Plan and Guide)

  • Understand the difference between a solid fuel forge and a gas forge

  • Understand the different parts of an anvil

  • Understand different hammer types and nomenclature of the hammers

  • Demonstrate different types of hammer blows

  • Understand the proper fit and use of tongs

  • Demonstrate different tapers (Square, octagon, round)

  • Make a hand held hot cut and know how to use it

  • Understand basic heat treatment for carbon steel

  • Make a handheld round punch and know how to use it

  • Make a 7/8 x 1/8 slot Punch

  • Make a hammer eye drift (½ by 7/8)

  • Make a monkey tool using slot punch and hammer eye drift

  • Demonstrate upsetting

  • Make a hand held butcher tool

  • Know how to use a smoosh-a-matic, guillotine tool or spring swage

  • Make a round tenon

  • Demonstrate simple forge welding by making a flux spoon

  • Demonstrate controlled bending over the bick or horn

  • Make a pair of tongs of your choice (square bit, round bit, bolt, etc.)

  • Complete an approved project using all the above skills and tools.

Links to More Curriculum Information

NRBA Safety Policy

Anvils Ring Article about NRBA Education Program

Guidelines for Assessing Student Work

List of NRBA Certified Blacksmiths and Instructors

The ABANA Curriculum as of July 2011

Curriculum articles in ABANA's Hammer's Blow Magazine

Curriculum education of California Blacksmith Association