Learning Resources

Over the years, I’ve made sketches and instruction guides to help other blacksmiths tackle new projects.  As I talk to more and more aspiring smiths, I get more and more requests for this kind of information.  So I’ve decided to offer some of these learning guides for you to download and add to your blacksmithing library.  Each project will include sketches and clear descriptive text to explain projects you can try at home.   Supplemented with photographs of finished work, these tutorials will make even complex projects approachable.

I’m a blacksmith, not a web designer, so this will be an evolving project.  Please enjoy the samples posted below, and let me know what else you’d like to see.


The Russian Rose:  There is a theme park in southwest Missouri, near Branson, called Silver Dollar City. In the spring of each year, they hold a festival called ‘World Fest’, where they bring craftsmen, musicians, and entertainers from all over the world to perform. In 1999, they brought a pair of blacksmiths from Russia, Alexander Romanov, and Slava Petrukov. Steve Robinson was the resident blacksmith at Silver Dollar City at the time, and he brought the Russians, along with their translator Natasha Varlamov, to visit me at the BPS Fabrications metal shop.

Because the timing was right, I was able to take them with me to the annual conference of BAM, Blacksmiths’ Association of Missouri, where they did an impromptu demonstration of this one piece, rolled rose. The process was written up by BAM’s newsletter editor, and since blacksmithing newsletters share articles all over the continent, it wasn’t long before the ‘Russian Rose’ had made its way from coast to coast! As in the game ‘Telephone’, when different people interpreted the writeups, the rose changed from maker to maker. I don’t think anyone has quite captured the easy grace of the Russian original. But since Slava gifted me with a rose as a thank you for being his host, I have had one of the originals as my model, and I think I get closer than most.

Here is a detailed write-up of the construction of the Russian Rose. Here is your opportunity to give it your own twist!






The Adjustable-Height Anvil Stand: One of the first things a new blacksmith needs to do is mount an anvil on a functional stand. It may take some time to work out the proper height for your anvil, though, or you may share a shop with several people. The answer may be an adjustable anvil stand like this one! I first saw these with the teaching trailer for Blacksmiths Association of Missouri (BAM). I’ve made 11 of them, and they’re really useful when you teach students who come in a variety of sizes.

Anvil Stand 2.0 merged




The Octopus:

2006 ABANA ring project
Reverse side of the 2006 ABANA ring project










Basic Octopus Primer v1.1