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ABANA National Curriculum

Overview

" The ABANA National Curriculum for Blacksmiths and Blacksmith Instructors gets you trained, certified, and recognized as a professional blacksmith.  Our core mission is to perpetuate the noble art of blacksmithing across North America. As part of this mission, it is vital to share a successful and practical working curriculum with members, affiliates, and the blacksmithing world at large.

We present the curriculum as a structured way to learn and teach blacksmithing. Certifications recognized by the global blacksmith community will give:

  • A sense of achievement to both the hobbyist and the professional

  • Better jobs for certified blacksmiths

  • Competitive advantage for shop owners with certified employees

  • More visibility for schools with certified instructors

The ABANA National Curriculum (NC) is a departure point for those who seek a structured program of study. Yes, it will challenge you. But it will also make you proud of yourself once you have completed a certain level. Overall, there are 3 levels of proficiency: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Who is eligible to learn from the curriculum?  Anyone and everyone is welcome to learn from this self-paced curriculum.  One does not need to be an ABANA member to follow the curriculum; however, being a member will have some perks.  ABANA members who satisfactorily complete each level will receive a certificate that recognizes their hard work and achievement.

ABANA first introduced the National Curriculum in 2015, then more thoroughly in 2020. Our Curriculum is based on the European model of trade education. It had first been introduced in North America by the California Blacksmith Association (CBA), an ABANA affiliate.  CBA graciously shared it with us.

On this website, you will find a detailed description of each of the levels (I, II, and III), the requirements for achieving each level, and the requirements for instructors to teach and certify each level.

Level 1

The first level of the curriculum is designed as an introduction to blacksmithing and culminates in the gate latch project.  Completing the gate latch is a prerequisite for moving on to Level II.

Currently, you can get the first third of the skills and projects checked off by taking the One-day intro and the two-day NC Part 2 course that we offer.

The forge welding portions of this certification will be added in the summer once we have finished building our new coal forges! SO KEEP AN EYE OUT!


In the meantime you can practice your skills with our open studio times!

Level 2

The National Curriculum Level II ventures deeper into small-scale joinery, forge welding, and tool making. It covers most types of classic scrolls and teaches to forge to dimension.

Level 3

A student that reaches Level III can call himself/herself an Advanced Blacksmith with good reason. It will take years of practice to reach this level. Level III requires advanced skills in leaf work, forge welding, and forging to dimension. To produce the final classic Level III grille (see drawing), the student has to make a number of tools, including swages, hardy stakes, hammers, and more. A detailed list of projects can be found here. As with the other levels, there is a requirement to get each project signed off by an instructor.

NC Instructor

Our National Curriculum Instructors are responsible for not only teaching the curriculum, but also ascertaining student’s skills.  Just as there are 3 levels of curriculum, there are also 3 distinct instructor accreditation levels. These accredited National Curriculum instructors will evaluate the progress of students during workshops and conferences.

To be certified as an instructor you have to show proficiency in more than just the level you are teaching. We require our Level I Instructors to have completed most of Level II and our Level II Instructors to have completed most of Level III. Our Level III instructors have to complete projects in Large Scale Joinery and Repousse in addition to their Level III projects. For details see the requirements below.

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