Iron Studio

Penland Iron Program


The Penland iron program offers beginning to advanced workshops in traditional and contemporary blacksmithing, metalworking, and sculpture. The studio provides space and specialty equipment for the exploration of concept and technique in ferrous and nonferrous metals. The scope of each workshop is determined by the instructor with input from our program director and support from our programming staff. Our versatile facility and high caliber artist/educators allow us to provide relevant programming in topics from forging and metal fabrication to mixed media sculpture and everything in between. We strive for a balance of technical and aesthetic content and value all cultural and historical perspectives. We offer workshops that inspire and challenge students from curious beginners to accomplished professionals. Our programming is current in spirit and respectful of craft traditions.

The studios are very flexible and are particularly well equipped for forging, fabrication, casting, hollowware, machining, and finishing techniques. The range of workshop topics includes but is not limited to architectural blacksmithing, furniture design and fabrication, working with recycled and alternative materials, production design and marketing, patination and color, kinetics, toolmaking, moldmaking, iron casting, raising and forming, chasing and repoussé, whitesmithing, and engraving. Materials and techniques are combined in a myriad of ways, and instructors often ground technical exploration with conversations about historic and/or current context, design, or idea generation. Recent instructors include Elizabeth Brim, Peter Ross, Seth Gould, Mike Rossi, Rebekah Frank, Heiner Zimmerman, Hoss Haley, Warren Holzman, Andrew Meers, Vivan Beer, April Franklin, and Patrick Quinn, among many others.

Our workshops take place in a well-equipped, well-maintained, and safe studio designed to accommodate diverse content and working styles. There are workspaces or forges for each student, a well-ventilated welding area, a classroom, and covered outdoor work and meeting spaces.


Click here for a 360° panoramic view of the studio.

Penland Iron Studio


Power Hammers:
– Reiter KB 1 75# self contained air, flat, drawing, steep fullering, and combo dies
– Sahinler SM 50 110# self contained air, flat, and drawing dies
– Say Mak 135# self contained air, flat, and drawing dies
*The larger hammers both have flat dies with holes on side to attach saddle tooling.
*The shop has various power hammer tooling; the inventory varies in condition.

– 50 ton Enerpac hydraulic (slow) w/adjustable down stroke limit switch
– Adams 2 ton #2 screw flywheel press

5’ sq Acorn Platen Table, 2 bench dogs, some square and round bending posts
*special tooling can be made

Gas Forges:
– Whisper Daddy (venturi)
– Tunnel Forge (venturi)
– Large shop-built forge for heavy stock or forge welding (gas with blower)

12 coal forges, side draft

12 anvils

7 mounted post vises

3 mounted machinist vises

Swage Blocks:
– A pair of Yeater pattern blocks
– Large old-style block (holes pass through)
– 2 small blocks (mostly bowl and spoon shapes)

3 Guillotine tool set-ups with various die sets

Hand tools:
– We have more than enough forging hammers for every student, as well as a large selection of tongs.
– We have a wide variety of hammers, tongs, top tools, chisels, drifts, punches, bending forks, and twisting wrenches.
*Please feel free to contact the coordinator for specifics. Small tools get abused – especially chisels, punches, and drifts.

Miscellaneous jigs and random tooling made over the years (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

Cleaning and Finishing:
– Sandblaster, approx. 12″ x 12″ x 48″ interior
– Muriatic acid in lidded tubs
– Neutralizing tubs, baking soda
– Patinas – ferric chloride, ferric nitrate, gun blue
– A wide variety of Sculpt Nouveau products
– Paste wax
– Boiled linseed oil
*Chemical inventory fluctuates, contact coordinator if chemicals are needed for class.

2 Millermatic 250 MIGs

Millermatic 35s MIG (ancient)

Miller Synchrowave 250 TIG with water-cooled torch; steel, stainless, aluminum, bronze rods

Lincoln TIG 175PRO

Airco AC/DC stick welder

Lincoln AC stick welder

2 Victor Oxy/Acetylene outfits


Cutting tools:

Uni-Hydro 42-ton ironworker

Plate shear up to 3/8″ x 14″ or 5/8″ x 6″

Punching station

Interchangeable angle, round, and square shears

Ellis bandsaw (Horizontal)

Roll-In vertical bandsaw

Portaband saw

14″ abrasive chop saw

Pexto 48″ x 16 ga. jump shear

Beverly B-3 throatless mechanical shear cuts up to 3/16″ mild steel sheet

Northern plasma cutter, cuts up to 5/16″

2 Victor oxy/acetylene set-ups

Harris oxy.-propane torch


Drills, etc.:
14″ Powermatic drill press

20″ Powermatic with variable speed

Milwaukee and Makita 1/2″ corded drills

Drill bits: 1/16″ – 1″ by 16ths except as requested

Tap drills #6-32 thru 1/2-13

Hand taps and dies #6 thru 1/2 nc and nf and metric

Rockwell 6″ x 42″ lathe, taper attachment, and basic turning tools
*Not to be used for class projects unless permitted by coordinator

Sanding and Grinding:
2 pedestal grinders – One 3 phase with 2 stones and one 110V with one stone and one wire wheel

16″ disc sander

2 2″ x 72″ belt sanders

6 4-1/2″ angle grinders with rocks, flap discs, and some sanding set-ups

2 9″ angle grinders

Electric die-grinder

4 air die-grinders

Electric band file

Wide variety cold files and hot rasps
*Good files do not last in a teaching facility; contact coordinator if class requires specific types.

48” wide Jet Slip Roller

36” wide sheet metal Brake

A Note on Supplies:

Although we make every attempt to keep the shop well supplied and functional, it is not practical to keep every tool and chemical that each instructor may use in his or her own shop. Penland reserves the right to assess an additional fee to students in classes requiring significant purchases of supplies outside normal inventories.

The school maintains a comprehensive hazardous waste program and asks that you limit the materials you bring on campus to those classified as non-toxic. The material must be in its original packaging. An environmental fee will be assessed for classes generating hazardous waste. In order to limit the hazardous waste generated in the studios, we cannot allow students to bring toxic materials outside of the class supply list into studios.

Studio Fees

All iron classes have a studio fee that is to be paid at the end of the class. The studio fee varies depending individual class need and consumption. The fee pays for a variety of consumables like coal, gases, abrasives, welding supplies, and so on.


We stock primarily hot-rolled mild steel in rounds and squares from 1/8″ – 2″ and a variety of flats, angle, and channel. We have the ability to order steel weekly.

Tool Steel: We can stock most alloys (W1, O1, 4140, H13, 1095, ect.); please request specific needs.

We stock a small variety of non-ferrous bars – contact for availability.
*Please list any specific sizes you would like us to have on hand for your workshop.


The iron studio has a classroom with tables and chairs, an i-Mac computer station with scanner and printer, a blackboard, outside deck, and propane grill. It is intended as a clean space to draw, look at books, do research online, or hold discussions.

Student Workspace

Each student will have his or her own forge with a space to keep tools and current projects nearby. There is adequate space in the classroom for each student to keep a space.


There is no lockable storage or additional space except as mentioned above.

Safety Information

– There is a file of MSDS sheets kept in the studio.

– There is a first aid kit that is regularly checked and re-stocked.

– Emergency and 911 procedures are posted and covered verbally by the studio coordinator before work begins.

– Each student and instructor must fill out an emergency medical information sheet before working.

– The studio is equipped with emergency shower and eyewash stations.

– The coordinator begins each session with a safety tour of the shop before work begins. Coordinator is available for instruction on individual equipment.

– Although the studio is a 24-hour facility, students are not allowed to use any power tools when they are alone in the shop.

– Quiet hours on campus are from 11:00pm to 7:00am. No power hammers or grinders during quiet hours. Hand forging, filing, etc. is fine.

Shared Studio Equipment

If you wish to use equipment in other studios during your session, you must work with the instructor, studio assistant, or coordinator of that studio to request access. They will determine if the desired usage is compatible with their class’s activities and if you are able to work safely and independently with the equipment. Students enrolled in classes in that studio will be given preference in the use of tools and supplies. You must follow all safety rules and procedures in any other studio.

Plan your time at Penland

Your time here will pass quickly. After your all-school introduction and first class meeting on Sunday evening, classes begin on Monday morning with the studio safety tour. Class will end either the afternoon before or the morning of the last day of the session with the shop clean-up and show-and-tell. Clean-up is part of the job. Please do not plan to work on the last day of class. Special arrangements must be made with the coordinator if you cannot participate in clean-up.

If you have questions contact:
Studio Coordinator: Daniel T. Beck