Blacksmith

Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would shape heated metal into practical and decorative objects including gates, railings, furniture, tools and horseshoes.

You’d heat a piece of a metal such as steel, iron, brass, copper or bronze in a very hot fire until it is soft and workable. You’d then hammer, bend, cut and join the hot metal before it cools and hardens.

You could specialise in industrial work and make items such as specialist tools, fire escapes or security grills.

Or you could produce artistic or architectural metalwork such as decorative ironwork, gates, sculptures and furniture. You’d either make your own designs or create pieces based on instructions from clients.

Depending on the type of blacksmithing you do, you’d use this equipment:

  • A forge or furnace
  • Traditional hand tools such as hammers, punches and tongs or anvils
  • Power tools, such as power hammers, drills, grinders, air chisels and hydraulic presses
  • Engineering machinery such as pillar drills, centre lathes, milling machines and welding equipment

You would:

  • Work with various metals, including wrought iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper
  • Heat metal to the right temperature so that it can be shaped
  • Join metals together using various blacksmithing methods
  • Apply 'finishings' to metal or products

If you specialise in artistic work, you would normally be self-employed. You’d sell your work at craft shows, galleries and fairs, and do the administration needed for running a business.

Some blacksmiths are trained and registered as farriers and also fit shoes to horses.

Working conditions

Hours

You may work between 35 and 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You would often be self-employed or work in a small business, so your hours would depend on your workload.

Environment

Forges vary in size from small sheds to large engineering workshops. You would need to wear protective clothing such as boots, an apron, gloves, safety glasses or a visor, and ear defenders. Your work would be physically demanding. Industrial blacksmithing, in particular, can involve lifting, although you would use power tools for the heavier work.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Adaptability
  • Taking initiative
  • Developing a plan
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Innovative
  • Designing
  • Creative
  • Problem Solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You can learn on the job, completing a work-based qualification such as a Modern Apprenticeship. Or you can complete a National Certificate (SCQF level 2-6) or Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) in Fabrication and Welding.

To enter a Fabrication & Welding National Certificate/National Qualification may require no formal entry qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications and may involve an aptitude test.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) requires National 5 qualifications and one to two Highers. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • A science subject, in particular physics
  • Technologies subjects, such as engineering sciences or practical metalwork.
  • Design and manufacture
  • Design and technologies
  • Craft Skills

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate skills and experience of working with metal such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF 4) may be helpful.

Once in a job you may be able to gain further specialist qualifications through the British Artist Blacksmiths Association (BABA). 

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