Nauman’s Northern School for Blacksmiths
Commonly Asked Questions, and Answers
Q.- When will you be holding the next workshop?
- Forging workshops are scheduled based on interest in specific workshops, i.e. “Forging Workshop I: Beginning Forging”. A complete list of workshops can be seen on the “Workshop Curriculum” on the top of the main page. Let Dan Nauman know by e-mail which workshop you wish to attend.
- When two or more people have show interest in a specific workshop, these individuals are contacted by e-mail, and asked which weekends they have open over the next two months.
- Based on the replies, a weekend is chosen to hold the workshop, and the interested individuals are contacted. If there is still an opening in the workshop for another student, a general e-mail will be sent out to other potential students.
Q.- How do I register for a workshop?
- A workshop registration form, along with a waiver of liability, are filled out and sent along with a 50% deposit for the workshop fee, to Bighorn Forge. These forms will be sent to you via e-mail after the specific workshop weekend has been scheduled, or click “Registration” on the top of the main page, then print out the registration, and mail it via US Mail, along with your deposit, to Dan.
- You must be 16 or older*, and in good physical condition to attend a workshop.
- Your spot in the workshop is confirmed once your registration form, waiver form and down payment have been received. Verbal commitments are not honored.
- Note: Those who do not complete the workshop, or do not attend altogether, though registered, forfeit their workshop fee.
- “Forging Workshop 4 Kids”: Child must be at least 10 years old.
Q.- How many students are in a workshop?
- Workshops are limited to four (4) individuals, and are on a first come, first served basis.
- “Forging Workshop 4 Kids” is limited to three families of two (one child, and one parent or guardian.)
Q.- Which workshop should I take, and do I need to take them in order?
- Workshops do not have to be taken in order. However, some workshops require more knowledge and experience in specific skill sets and procedures. If you are uncertain if you have enough experience for a specific workshop, please call me to discuss your level of experience regarding the intended workshop.
- Beginners should take Workshops I, and II in order, and perhaps take III, and IV before taking other Bighorn Forge workshops.
- Experience with forge welding, as well as experience with high carbon steel is required for Workshop V, and VI, and VII.
Q.- When are the workshops held, and what are the times?
- Workshops begin on Saturday’s, at 8 AM, break for a group lunch in town at 12 PM (cost of lunch is on you), resume after lunch, and work until 6:00, sometimes until 7PM. Sunday will begin at 8 AM, and we will work until 6PM to 7PM.
- Kid’s workshops are Saturday only, begin at 8:30, have lunch at 12:00, and work until 4:30.
Q.- What should I wear?
- You should wear either cotton or wool clothing, long pants, and leather shoes, preferably boots with steel toes. Synthetics are to be avoided, as they burn easier, and can melt onto the skin, causing a more severe burn.
- OSHA approved eye protection* is mandatory. Ear protection* is optional. Gloves* are not recommended, however, you may wish to bring a pair along in the event blisters form. White adhesive medical type tape*, and band-aids* are also recommended in the event of blister
- ( * these items are not supplied by Bighorn Forge.)
Q.- What is the nature of the working environment?
- The environment in the workshop is industrial in nature. Be prepared to get dirty, as there is dust, dirt, coal, and oil present. Much dust from coal, ash, and a gravel floor will be inhaled. Some individuals may wish to wear a dust mask if they are concerned about respiratory problems.
- Blisters, and cuts may occur.
- Accidental burns may occur, typically first and second degree in nature.
- Basic forging requires a strong grip, and an ability to stand for long periods. (You can increase your grip strength by squeezing a tennis ball, and by doing wrist exercises with small weights.)
- It can be very hot in the shop, especially in the summer months.
Q.- What should I bring to the workshop?
- Balance of workshop fee.
- Cross peen hammer (Note: “Workshop I” students will be given a cross peen hammer, included in the cost of the workshop).
- New half 8” to 10” round bastard file with handle.
- Notebook, pencil.
- Camera (optional).
- Mug for water… to keep hydrated, especially in warm weather.
- OSHA approved safety glasses.
- Hearing protection (optional).
- Gloves (optional).
- Band-aids, white adhesive medical tape (optional).
- Cash for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Q.- What are the qualifications of the instructor?
- Dan Nauman has been forging since 1979, and professionally since 1993. He began teaching in 1993, and since has taught, demonstrated, and lectured around the country at blacksmith conferences, workshops, craft schools, colleges, and museums. He has won several awards for his designs and workmanship. In 2006, he was offered a position as Forging Professor for the junior and senior students at the “American College of the Building Arts” in Charleston, SC. (He reluctantly refused the position.) In 2010, “Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum” (Milwaukee, WI) sponsored a one-man exhibition of his work, entitled, “Dan Nauman: Expressions in Iron.” Nauman has also written numerous articles and lessons for metalworking trade magazines, and also wrote a chapter for the book, “Cyril Colnik, Man of Iron.” Nauman is also the editor of the Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA) publications, The Hammer’s Blow, and The Anvil’s Ring. Professionally, he forges gates, railings, furniture, lighting, fireplace tools, door hardware, sculpture, and more through private and corporate commissions.
Q.- What is his teaching style like?
- There is an old European saying, “The lyfe so short, the trade so long to lerne”. This is especially true of forging.
- Dan’s approach to teaching is more intense than most instructors. His workshops are designed to teach individuals who are very serious about learning to forge, so he teaches them as if every one of them might be forging full-time sometime in the future. His approach focuses on forging fundamentals, processes handed down from the great master smiths of Europe.
- Of all his workshops, perhaps “Workshop I” is the most intense, as Dan tries to put the beginner in a correct and positive mindset, as these processes take determination and dedication to master them. That said, be prepared for much discussion early in “Workshop I”, as Dan believes that it is more important to mentally prepare the student for forging with solid groundwork, before placing them in front of the fire and the anvil.
- In 2013, Dan decided that since there was such an enormous amount of information dispensed in “Workshop I”, that it was important to put together a study guide to accompany the workshop, and make it available to his more serious students. This study guide is another example of his dedication to teaching, how much importance he places on learning correctly, and how thorough he strives to be in every way. This guide used to be optional, but Dan now includes it in the workshop fee, as he feels it is important for the student to have for reference during and after the workshop.
- Dan’s goal is to have you leave his workshops filled with forging knowledge. The projects are designed to help with this. Since he is more concerned with teaching proper process, he isn’t quick to “help you” by grabbing your hammer to make your project look or work better…he rather helps by showing and telling you what to do, and what corrections to make, so you get the needed experience. Again, his focus is on the importance of the processes, not as much as you going home with a perfect piece. That all said, sometimes it is absolutely necessary for him to step in, as the corrections needed might be beyond the student’s capacity.
- Beyond all of this, though Dan is an intense instructor, he is lighthearted, and has a sense of humor. His interests outside of forging are his Christian life, fishing, hunting, home restoration and remodeling, taxidermy, horses and more.
Lastly, Dan believes that forging is more than just a means of work, it can be a lifestyle that will shape you, much as you shape the material. To learn more about the workshops, and the work of Dan Nauman, please see http://www.bighornforge.com and the informative blog at http://www.bighornforge.wordpress.com