• We run quite a lot of knifemaking courses at Tharwa Valley Forge, so it’s no surprise that we field a lot of questions from students about how to get into knifemaking at home.

    As with any creative pursuit, we meet a lot of people who delay getting into knifemaking because they are overwhelmed by options; at the other extreme we see quite a few people who rush out and buy a huge amount of expensive equipment but don’t have any idea how to use it.

  • Want to get started in blacksmithing but not sure where to begin? Learn everything you need to know and make all the equipment you need to start blacksmithing at home. This week long intensive helps you build your skills as you build your own tools. Learn to make your own hammers and tongs as well as other useful tools. Go home with a gas forge and all the hammers, tongs, and other tools you need to start blacksmithing at home.

    The week will cover:

    • workshop safety
    • using a gas forge
    • using hammers and tongs to move and hold metal
    • forging a point
    • flattening metal
    • bending, twisting metal into shapes
    • punching holes

    By the end of of the week you will have a range of tools that are more than enough to setup your own blacksmith workshop, including:

    • drifts
    • punches
    • chisels
    • hammers
    • tongs
    • rivetting tools
    • "Blacksmith's Helper" with cutter and fullering tools
    • gas forge

    Cost - $2500 (inc GST)

    Cost includes: Tuition, insurance, materials, use of tools, gas forge components, workshop consumables, safety gear, morning and afternoon tea, photo USB.

    Need to bring: Lunch, appropriate clothing and covered footwear

    Accommodation available onsite at Cuppacumbalong Homestead

    Course Dates

  • Damascus - the ancient art of folding iron to make steel, with delicate watermarks like woodgrain. This is a one day introductory course, suitable to beginners,  where you will make your own 100 layered billet that you keep for use in future projects.

  • Iron rose on an anvilLearn how to coax steel into organic shapes on this one-day course. Our experienced instructors will introduce you to using fullers and hammers to form organic shapes, culminating in the creation of a spectacular iron rose. This course is ideal for both absolute beginners looking to try blacksmithing and blacksmiths who are seeking to broaden their repertoire under the guidance of an expert.


  • This is a introductory one day course for those who want to learn to hammer hot steel. Tool usage, working with heat, heat treatment will be covered along with practical projects. 

  • Japanese kitchen knives have distinct elegance in both form and function. In this intensive weekend course you will build two traditional style Japanese kitchen knives. Options include hammer finished or polished blades, chisel grind or V grind and a variety of handles choices. These blades will provide you with years of excellent service in your kitchen.

  • Traditional Japanese straight razors, Kamisori, have been used for centuries to provide an outstanding shave. Their off-set hollow ground blade make a very keen edge. This one day course takes you through the process of making two Kamisori, as well as cases and a strop.

  • Knife resting on a sharpening stone

    Never pay for knife sharpening again. This evening course teaches you the secrets of getting and maintaining a fine edge. Protect your investment in quality knives - proper care and maintenance ensures a lifetime of use. Using the correct equipment and techniques, you'll save time and money by keeping your edges sharp using minimal effort.

    The evening covers:

    • The science behind sharpening
    • How to properly care and store knives
    • Choosing the right sharpening equipment
    • Five different sharpening methods
    • Burr removal and honing
    • Stropping and touching up
    • Sharpening scissors, garden tools, and serrated edges
    You'll learn by doing - sharpening your own blades under the guidance of our experts. Please make sure you bring plenty of knives, scissors, garden cutters, bread knives, etc to practice on (at least 6 items).

    If you work in the hospitality industry, you can claim this course on tax.

    Only $100 per person for the evening.
    7:00pm until 10:00pm.

    Enrol Now

  • Always wanted to make a knife but didn't know where to begin? This extensive weekend workshop will give you the opportunity not only to learn these skills, but to put them into practice making two hand forged knives of your own. We will show you techniques, tools and hints on how to get started making your own knives.

  • This course focus on making a wet- moulded leather sheath for your knife. The sheath is moulded to the exact shape of the knife and as it dries shrinks, providing a tight fit. Please bring the knives you want to make the sheaths for so they can made to fit. Two sheaths will be made in the evening.


  • In this comprehensive weekend long workshop you will fashion a longbow of sustainable Australian hardwood and beautiful bamboo, custom crafted to your own specifications. You will learn the theory, science and art of turning dead timber into dynamic and fearsome longbows. You will also learn how to craft bowstrings, and if you don't already know - be introduced to the rewarding pursuit of shooting a longbow.

  • Introduction to making knives by stock removal. This one day workshop will help you get started into knifemaking. Knife design, grinding, heat treating, blade finishes, scale making and sharpening are all covered.

    We will show you techniques, tools and hints on how to get started making your own knives with minimal equipment, as you make your own knife today.

    The course goes from 8am until 5:30pm in one very packed day. 

    The stock removal process makes knives from grinding them out of steel blanks. No forging or hammering is used in the method. It is a great way to get into knifemaking as it needs much less equipment.

    After an overview of the day, we select a design for the knife from a number of templates. The design is traced onto the carbon steel blank then profiled using a the grinder and bandsaw. Bevels are ground in, with the edge ground to about 1mm thick. Then holes in the tang are drilled and tapped to attach the scales.

    Handle scales are selected from a range of timber then milled flat, drilled and profiled. 

    The blade is hardened and tempered before finally grinding the edge down to less than .3mm. Higher grits are used to get a good working finish on the blade. There is an option to acid etch and tumble finish the blade.

    The handle scales are then shaped for a comfortable fit and then finished before being screwed onto the blade.

    A very busy day where you create you own knife from scratch.

    Cost - $500 (incl GST)
    Cost includes: Tuition, insurance, materials, use of tools, workshop consumables, safety gear, morning and afternoon tea, photo USB.
    Need to bring: Lunch, appropriate clothing and covered footwear
    Booking in advance is essential

    Course Dates

  • Handmade leather pet collarsDesign and make the perfect collar for your four-legged friend. Over the course of an evening you will make a custom collar by hand using premium materials. With the guidance of our experienced artisans and the use of our fully-equipped modern leather work studio you will learn the technical skills for producing collars and more - including belt making and leather repairs.

  • “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert CamusMurrumbidgee river corridor in autumn

    The Murrumbidgee River Corridor provides an awe-inspiring experience in autumn. Sun light suffuses the golden leaves of the riverside poplar trees, evoking visions of pillars of fire. The visual contrast of seasonal change elicits a unique frisson from visitors to Tharwa at this time of year.

    Experience and respond to this landscape under the aegis of three renowned local artists. Explore the heritage listed Cuppacumbalong gardens, De Salis cemetery and Murrumbidgee River Corridor then use foraged materials to create ephemeral outdoor sculptural installations and a permanent small-scale installation.

    This is a unique opportunity for creatives seeking to challenge their design thinking, artists exploring other mediums, or anyone who desires to express themselves.

    Acclaimed sculptors Tess Horwitz and Tony Steel will lead you on an inspiring walk to scout locations and source materials, then provide expert guidance as you create outdoor sculptural installations.

    Following lunch, floral designer and botanical installation artist Narelle Phillips will take you on a foraging expedition through Cuppacumbalong's historic gardens. Draw upon Narelle's experience and the resources of our modern studio workshop to transform found objects and foraged plant materials into small-scale botanical sculptures to take home with you.

    Join us on on the veranda at the end of the day and toast your creativity with a glass of bubbly as the sun sets over the river below.

    Price includes light refreshments, photography of the event, and provision of photographs on USB at the end of the day.

    Course Dates

  • Creating a folding knife adds a level of complexity and precision to knife making, and our course makes this achievable by anyone. Learn about some of the common mechanisms used in locking and non-locking folding knives before beginning the process of making your own single blade slip joint folder.

    The course goes from Friday night 7pm until 9:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am until 5:30pm, a very packed weekend.

    The course will be run by knifemaker Alistair Phillips, the first Australian to ever design a production knife for Spyderco.

    Friday night we will go over the various mechanisms used in folding knives before delving in depth into the working of a slip joint folding knife. Then we will choose a pattern and layout the parts and drill our pivot holes ready for fitting and grinding on Saturday.

    Saturday begins with the shaping of our spring, followed by fitting the tang to the spring we have just made. Once the action of the knife is done we will grind the bevels of the blade and clean them up ready for Heat treatment. Heat Treatment is the last thing we do before calling it a day.

    Sunday we will set the pre-tension on our knives and assemble them for the first time and feel them in action. Then we will shape our handle and prepare and shape our handle scales ready for final assembly. At this point we can do any final adjustments to our spring tension for a nice walk and talk. The last thing we do before assembling our knives is to clean up the blade and then we will pin the knife together. After a final clean up of the pins and polishing the handle we are done.

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable course that sees you create something amazing that you can carry and use everyday.

    Cost - $850 (incl GST)
    Cost includes: Tuition, insurance, materials, use of tools, workshop consumables, safety gear, morning and afternoon tea, photo disk.
    Need to bring: Lunch, appropriate clothing and covered footwear

    Course Dates

  • Carbon Fibre Straight RazorThere's a reason people still go to the barber for a Straight Razor shave. Disposable razors are convenient, but the results can't compare to a Straight Razor.

    A Straight Razor will virtually melt the hair off your face, yet despite its keen edge is just as safe as a disposable razor when used with correct technique. Make the last razor you will ever use - a razor that if properly cared for will be handed down across generations.

    This course is conducted by Dean Jard, Australia's largest custom razor maker and an expert at restoring heirloom razors. Dean has been teaching razor making and sharpening courses since 2012, and makes his own range of razors and strops that are sold to customers around the world.

    This is a busy two day course that will see you design and make your own straight razor, strop, and more. You'll walk away from the course with the knowledge and equipment to ensure a lifetime of superlative shaving.

    When you arrive, Dean will welcome you to the Forge and explain the theory behind straight razors over a cup of tea or coffee. You'll then be given a choice of materials and patterns to design your razor. Choose from a range of classic and contemporary designs and express yourself with your choice of natural and synthetic materials, including a range of Australian Hardwoods and high-tech composite materials.

    Then its into the workshop to grind profile your blades. Razor making is a mindful and precise art, and Dean is there to ensure your success. You will make this razor with your own hands; Dean is there guide you and help you recover from mistakes, but this will be a creation of your own.

    After giving the blades a precise asymmetrical hollow grind on the linisher, the blades are ready heat treatment. The blades will heated till they lose magnetism, then quenched in oil to harden the steel. To ensure the right mix of toughness, sharpness, and edge retentions, the blades are then tempered in an oven.

    We'll then get to work on the handle scales, as well as making a strop to keep your blade razor sharp. Once the blades have cooled down, it's time to clean them up and bring it all together. It's always a pleasure for the instructors to see the students' reactions at this point, as the results you will achieve are incredible.

    No experience required - even if you have never used a tool in your life, we have a track record of ensuring absolutely everyone who attends our courses achieves excellent results.

    This course is popular amongst people irrespective of their ability to grow facial hair: we see many people attending these courses to make gifts for the hirsute person in their life.

    Price includes:

    • Use of workshop, machinery, and materials
    • Expert instruction
    • Light refreshments
    • Creation of a straight razor of your own design
    • Creation of a strop, and time permitting, creation of other shaving accouterments

    Course Dates

  • The tactical knife is the ultimate survival tool in extreme conditions. This extensive weekend workshop will give you the opportunity not only to learn knifemaking skills, but to put them into practice making two tactical knives of your own. We will show you techniques, tools and hints on how to get started making your own knives.

    The course goes from Friday night 7pm until 9:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am until 5:30pm, a very packed weekend.

    Friday night focus on getting an overview of the process of making a tactical knife, looking at design and material selection and a shop tour. The knife dimensions will need to fit in a piece of steel 50 x 250mm.

    Saturday starts early marking out the blade on a steel blank. The blades are then rougly cut out before being profiled on the grinder. After making the blades flat on the surface grinder, the bevels are ground in. After various grits on the linisher, the blades are ready for hand sanding to get all the scratches out. By the end of the day, both blades are edge hardened and put in the oven overnight to temper.

    Sunday begins with work on cutting out the G10 blade scales, drilling holes and grinding to shape. Tangs are tapped to take the scale screws. The blades are then cleaned up for either a cerakote or stone washed finish. Finally the knives are assembled and sharpened.

    You make two blades so you reinforce the lessons as we go. Our job is to guide, instruct and help you recover from any mistakes.

    You will enjoy it and have two amazing knives to show off.

    Cost - $850 (incl GST)
    Cost includes: Tuition, insurance, materials, use of tools, workshop consumables, safety gear, morning and afternoon tea, photo USB.
    Need to bring: Lunch, appropriate clothing and covered footwear
    Booking in advance is essential

    Course Dates

  • This is a one day holiday class for younger people (12 - 16 years old) interested in reconnecting with their hands and learning some creative skills. This is an especially good course for younger people interested in blacksmithing or metalwork.

    It is hard work and you need to be able to follow instructions and concentrate for the day. But it is very rewarding to learn new and exciting skills to make things and bring your creations home.

  • Leather tote bagIntroduce yourself to leatherwork and express your personality by making a custom tote bag from premium leather. Our expert artisans will guide you towards an end result that will leave you glowing with pride and serve you for many years to come. Personalise your tote using decorative tooling and add your own monogram for a bag that is as individual as you are.

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