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blacksmith and striker forging a hammer head

Want to be an expert? Here’s what you need the most of: luck

It’s not 10,000 hours of experience, it’s not hard work, it’s not the best equipment.

Truth is, no-one really knows.

The secret to becoming an expert could be your personality, the age you started, intelligence, or even something else entirely.

Want to get BETTER at something? Here’s what you need the most of: practice mistakes

Bladesmith Matthew McVicar teaching a student how to make a knife

Big parts of taking yourself to the next level are optimizing your workflow, getting the most out of the equipment you do have, developing muscle memory, and getting a feel for how your materials behave.

But most of all it’s about learning from your mistakes, which is hard to do on your own.

Which is pretty obvious.

What isn’t obvious is that everyone has a way of making mistakes that works best for who they are and how they learn.

Making mistakes - the right way - is the quickest path to the next level.

Hammer striking hot steel and making sparks at Tharwa Valley Forge

What we offer for makers of all experience levels is an environment where you can make as many mistakes as possible in the time you have available. We have a massive campus specifically designed for teaching, filled with top-notch equipment and staffed with expert instructors.

Our team teach hundreds of courses a year, largely to people who have never made a knife before. They’ve seen it all and then some. Every single student, at some point in a class, has to be enabled to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

If you’re ready to make an investment in yourself you would have a hard time finding a better team to work with. Our team is so good at showing you how to make mistakes the right way because of our professional background in education, training, and personal development.

Don’t just take our word for it...

Jason Heineman using a power hammer to make Damascus steel at Tharwa Valley Forge

Jason Heineman is a maker who has taken a few courses with us. He started with a Knifemaking Foundations course in 2018, followed in a few months time by a one-day Damascus Steel course. As his skill grew, Jason made an investment in himself with a five-day Damascus Foundations course in mid-2019.

Here’s what he has to say:

The three courses I have attended at Tharwa Valley Forge have enabled my skills to develop in a way not possible working alone from my home forge.


The knowledge and skills taught by the experienced teaching staff in a one week course, would have taken me a frustrating year or more at home to obtain and develop.


The class sizes are kept small, which enables plenty of one on one time if required. I found the courses enjoyable and incredibly rewarding. I have always left Tharwa, motivated and with the confidence to always lift the bar a little higher in my knife making.


Although I am far from where I want to be as a maker, I am very satisfied and attribute much of my current standards to the teachings and influence obtained at Tharwa Forge.

If you want to take your work to the next level like Jason did, take a peek at our courses or get in touch to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We even do one-on-one coaching with a few makers who want to get an edge on the competition, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

Here’s a small gallery of Jason’s work from 2019, he’s come a long way and is destined to go even further.

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