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Forging Classes

Penn Highlands Community College has partnered with the Center for Metal Arts to offer classes in forging.

Throughout the development of humankind, forging has played an important role in the advancement of society and technology. Despite “blacksmithing” being an ancient craft, it has almost single-handedly ushered us into and through the industrial revolution, is still performed on an industrial scale, and is responsible for the technology we take for granted. Few things have had a stronger impact than the creation and use of tools, the discovery of metals, and the forging process.


Forging Classes

Penn Highlands offers four forging classes through the Center for Metal Arts as technical electives within the College’s Entrepreneurship program. Classes include:

  • FRG 101 – Introduction to Forging

    In this exciting hands-on course, students will be introduced to the tools and techniques necessary to perform basic forging operations at the anvil. The goal is to create a solid foundation on which to begin and advance a forging and metalworking career. This semester-long forging introduction will familiarize students with the manipulation of carbon steel through heat and pressure.  Techniques covered in this course include but are not limited to tapering, shouldering, bending, forming, cutting, punching, drifting, texturing, striking, finishing & heat treating. Students will be expected to create a variety of forgings that include functional objects and tools. Their final projects will be critiqued and graded based on a visible understanding of the process, cleanliness, execution, and function.

    Credits: 4 (Lecture: 2, Lab: 2)

  • FRG 150 – Intermediate Forging I: Power Hammer

    In this Level 2 course, students will gain a solid understanding of the operating principles of a self-contained power hammer. Having already gained a firm understanding of forging by hand at the anvil students will now translate those skills to the power hammer. Emphasis will be placed on similarities and differences of performing fundamental forging skills at the anvil and power hammer. Stock size will be increased to demonstrate the functionality of these machines as well as stressing the finesse and accuracy possible when forging at a hammer. Techniques covered in this course include, but are not limited to, the efficient and effective use of forging various shapes on flat dies, creation of dimensional stock, tapering, fullering, butchering, proficient use of kiss blocks, shouldering, isolating mass, using a variety of top and bottom tools, and using spring swages. Some basic joinery techniques will be covered.

    Credits: 4 (Lecture: 2, Lab: 2)
    Pre-requisite(s): FRG 101 Introduction to Forging

  • FRG 200 – Intermediate Forging II: Joinery

    In this course, students’ comprehension of joinery will be challenged with the introduction of more intricately joined projects. Having a firm understanding now of the basic forging principles both at the anvil and hammer, students will now demonstrate that understanding while being challenged with projects that involve more complex joinery. This level three course will emphasize accurate layout, forging multiple matches, and execution of joinery that consists of accurate forgings and tightly fitting parts. Topics covered consist of, but are not limited to, riveting, mortise & tenon, and forging hardware. Success this semester will rely heavily on attention to detail, ability to organize and execute a project with multiple parts of different varieties, patience, and care.

    Credits: 4 (Lecture: 2, Lab: 2)
    Pre-requisite(s): FRG 150 Intermediate Forging I: Power Hammer

  • FRG 250 – Advanced Forging: Design and Execution

    Designing work is one of the hardest things to do and a necessary skill if students want to venture out on their own and create commission work with clients or develop a product line of their own. Nothing in the physical craft of forging has not been done before, it’s the design that plays a strong role in setting one’s work apart from others or creating new and interesting forgings and compositions. Students will work very closely with the instructors on assigned project topics of which they are challenged to design their own versions of. Ascetics, function, and logistics play a huge role in the successful execution of a self-designed and forged piece. Instructors will mentor students through what might be the right or wrong decisions based on successful completion and help guide them through the design process to help ensure success.

    Credits: 4 (Lecture: 2, Lab: 2)
    Pre-requisite(s): FRG 200 Intermediate Forging II: Joinery


These classes aim to give students a hands-on experience in the craft of forging. Starting with the basics, students receive a solid foundation on which to grow their skills and forging practice. Then students, will transition from hammer and anvil to self-contained air-powered hammers, transitioning students from a “village smithy” approach to a more industrial-inspired one. After comprehension of anvil and power hammer, traditional joinery techniques and assembly is explored (i.e. tight-fitting parts, forging multiple matched pieces, riveting, and hardware).

Students advance beyond forging one bar to the possibilities of creation through multiple pieces. By the end students are focused on design, the aspect of the craft that creates the most attractive and functional forge work. Design and execution work together hand in hand, creating harmony and some of the most striking and innovative forge work.

Skills learned in these classes will help successful students start their own business, add forging components to an existing business, or will translate to any other hands-on job.


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