"Do you teach blacksmithing classes?"
I am asked this question frequently and while I have taught students blacksmithing and bladesmithing in the past (and for free, I might add), I will no longer teach students in my personal shop. Unfortunately, allowing individuals onto my property puts the burden of liability squarely on my shoulders should an injury occur and no number of waivers or other documentation can adequately protect me and my assets from litigation. This is the simply the society we live in now.
That said, I now offer blacksmithing and bladesmithing classes within the context of a materials science course I teach at St. Mary's School! St. Mary's School is an independent, co-ed, college preparatory school in Medford, Oregon that serves students in grades 5-12 and offers a rich student-centered curriculum.
Forging, principles of alloying, heat-treating, welding, machining, 3d printing to lostPLA metal casting, and other forms of metalworking fit perfectly within the context of materials science and as such, students may still pursue their dream of working hot metal. I personally feel that there is great value in hands on experience with respect to working with the materials that make our modern world possible and have dedicated myself wholeheartedly to the task of creating the next generation of builders.
And yes, students get to make knives - the only catch is that they have to be "politically correct" knives since we are working in the context of an school setting ;)
Read about my materials science course offering below and check out St. Mary's School while you're at it!
“All hands on all the time” is the name of the game in Materials Science, and students get to keep everything they make! Materials Science is an introductory level course focused on covering the four primary categories of physical materials that make modern everyday life possible: metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Students will become proficient at utilizing a variety of industrial tools with the goal of building practical skills through practical projects including, but not limited to constructing a functional forge for heat treating steel and examining solid-state diffusion welding, developing ferrous and non-ferrous alloys for investment casting, inventing lightweight composite plating from the ground up using everyday “hardware store” materials combined with epoxy polymers, and analyzing the qualities of various materials through destructive testing. Materials Science is a serious course that covers college-level engineering concepts, but does so in a manner accessible to the high school student.