The Art and Science of Bloomery Smelting


Instructor: Lee Sauder

Level: All Skill Levels

Dates: October 5th – 9th ( 9  a.m. – 5 p.m. )

Materials Included

In this class you will learn the basic aspects of bloomery smelting, the ancient method of winning metallic iron from iron-bearing stone. We will cover furnace construction, the theory of iron reduction, and smelting high quality forgeable iron.   According to time and student interest, we will continue with techniques for forging this iron, converting this iron into hardenable steel, or just smelt more iron. Everyone can expect to go home with a piece of iron that you yourself have liberated from earth.

With its rich history in iron and steel production, Johnstown, PA, is a great setting to host this workshop. This city was integral in developing the process large scale steel manufacturers relied on for modern steel making. By the 1870’s the Cambria Iron Company was a leading producer of steel and performed early experiments with the Kelly converter and built the first blooming mill. Come immerse yourself in this historic setting, participate in a workshop that is extremely relevant for this location, and create iron from ore in Johnstown, PA for the first time in over 27 years.


2 in stock

SKU: CMA-Workshops-13 Categories: ,


  • Lee began blacksmithing in 1973 at the age of 12, when he began his apprenticeship to Larry Mann. He has been a member of ABANA since 1974. After a 2 year flirtation with higher education, Lee’s journeyman years included stints with OK Barnes of Camden Maine, Chris Axelson of Carmel California, and Vaclav Jaros of Prague (then) Czechoslovakia. He returned home to Lexington, Va. to take over Woods Creek Forge from Larry Mann in1984. He has continued in the blacksmithing business to this day, forging sculpture, custom furniture, architectural iron, hardware, and tools. He is perhaps best known in the blacksmithing community for his researches into ancient ironsmelting techniques, which has been the primary focus of his work since 1998. He has traveled widely, from the British Isles to the Middle east and Africa, both to teach iron smelting and to assist archaeologists in understanding ancient iron smelting technologies.