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Course Subjects

Our Courses

Tharwa Valley Forge runs courses every weekend and most days of the week. We provide everyone from novices to experts with the opportunity to experience traditional crafts and to learn new skills. No need to have ever swung a hammer or have used machines before - our courses are for everyone!

Leather diary covers made on a course at Tharwa Valley Forge

We operate a large, modern, and fully-equipped leatherwork studio at Cuppacumbalong Homestead. Intimate class sizes and expert instruction ensure the highest quality experience for our students.

Explore Leatherworking
Grinding a forged blade on a belt grinder

Teaching people how to make knives is why Tharwa Valley Forge was started. Our award winning bladesmiths teach classes every weekend and most weekdays, all year round to a diverse range of people of all ages.

Our instructors and facilities are of the highest standard and our waiting list is a testament to the reputation of our classes. Our knifemaking courses range from one-day to one-week and are suitable for ages 16 and up.

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Spherical garden sculpture

Our fully-equipped workshops, the diverse skillsets of our expert instructors, and strong connection with the Canberra art community allow us to offer a range of courses in sculpture. We are able to facilitate courses covering indoor & outdoor sculpture, ephemeral installations, botanic installations, functional sculpture, and of course most forms of sculpture involving metalwork. Our courses are suitable for absolute novices through to creatives and practicing artists looking for a challenge outside of their usual disciplines and design thinking.

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Blacksmithing is an essential part of the Tharwa Valley Forge. We have a well equipped smithy with anvils, forges, hammers, tongs, power hammers, presses and piles of rusty metal. We have a range of courses available to help people hammer hot metal. If you have no experience the Introduction to Blacksmithing or the Blacksmithing Foundations will help you get some. Some of the courses require prior experience working with hot metal.

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Keyhole bolster produced during Tharwa Valley Forge Masterclass with Rodrigo Sfreddo

From time to time we host Master Artisans from around the world and offer the public the opportunity to attend intimate Masterclasses.

Previous guests have included Karl Royer, Rodrigo Sfreddo, and Kevin Cashen.

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Examining the sharpened edge of a blade

One of the biggest mysteries faced by amateur and professional knife-users alike is how to sharpen and care for their blades. A well-made knife is a long term investment that only realises dividends if you care for it properly.

Respected Razor Maker Dean Jard knows a thing-or-two about keeping edges razor sharp. Dean teaches an evening course that shows you the secrets of getting and maintaining a fine edge on different types of blades. In addition to sharpening every blade you bring with you (bring as many knives, scissors, axes, garden shears, etc as you like) you'll learn about proper blade care and storage to make sure your blades last at least a lifetime.

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Kamisori Razor engraved with Aboriginal art

Taught by Dean Jard, one of Australia's premier razor makers, our Razor Making classes are ideal for anyone who never wants to pay for razor blades again. Many people find traditional razors intimidating to use because of the sharpness of the blade. In addition to helping you make the razors, we demystify the use of razors and teach you how to care and maintain them - ensuring that the razors you make will be the last razors you ever need.

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Damascus steel kitchen knife made by bladesmiths at Tharwa Valley Forge

Damascus Steel is surrounded by a significant amount of history and mythology. The original Damascus Steel dates from the 3rd Century CE and was made from Wootz Steel, and Modern Damascus Steel is more accurately called pattern welded steel. Although contemporary metallurgy produces alloys that exceed the strength of historical Damascus Steel, nothing matches it in terms of beauty.

Tharwa Valley Forge offers you the opportunity to learn how to create your own pattern welded Damascus Steel in our fully equipped workshop with the assistance of our expert instructors.

Explore Damascus Steel
Man drawing a bow and arrow

Get hands-on with a wide range of rare and unique learning experiences steeped in traditional crafts and facilitated by experts. Immerse yourself in exciting and rewarding experiences you won't find anywhere else.

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