All Bladesmithing courses will be taught in Washington, Arkansas in a replica of a one-room schoolhouse and a stable/barn that blends in with the old-time atmosphere of the town, also known as Old Washington Historic Park. The school consists of a modern classroom in addition to the work area which includes six forges, 12 anvils, six grinders, four hammers, work benches and related tools.

Washington is located in Southwest Arkansas, 8 miles north of Hope, on State Hwy 4, approximately 35 miles from Texarkana. This restored village of fewer than 150 residents dates back to 1824.



This 2-week course is designed for anyone interested in making quality hand-forged blades and includes lecture and hands-on work. Metal selection, function, and different blade designs will be discussed. Hammer forging to shape, annealing, heat treating, grinding, and tempering will be taught. These semi-finished blades will be tested for their cutting ability, edge holding, hardness and flexibility. Most participants should be able to make a blade that is capable of passing the American Bladesmith Society Journeyman test for cutting and bending by the end of this course.


Basic patterns will be included in this detailed study of Damascus. Attention will also be given to pattern variations, pattern manipulation, etc. By the completion of this course a student is expected to be able to consistently produce Damascus blades of excellent quality in a variety of patterns. As a prerequisite, participants should have completed Introduction to Bladesmithing at Texarkana College, or reached the level of Journeyman Smith.


The Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing in Washington, AR, is one of the few places in the world where people can train in the art of making knives. “There is a sort of romance to the art of forging,” said B. R. Hughes, former Dean of Students at Texarkana College and a founder of the American Bladesmith Society (ABS). Through an established program, bladesmiths at the school are certified at Journeyman and Master Bladesmith levels. Over the years, the school, which is run in connection with Texarkana College, has drawn students from Australia, England, France,and South Africa, as well as from most of the states that make up the  U.S. The instructors include world-class bladesmiths sanctioned by the ABS. Pioneer Washington is the home of the Bowie Knife. James Bowie visited Washington, AR, during the winter of 183031 and purchased a knife from James Black, a Washington blacksmith. An extensive exhibit on the history of the Bowie Knife can be found at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.


Includes detailed information on handles, both the full-tang and narrow tang, guards, butt caps, decorative file work, spiral dagger handles, silver inlay work, finished blades, etc. Students will be instructed on how to make a professional looking knife. Participants are expected to possess the skill and knowledge necessary to forge and grind blades before taking this course. Students should bring finished blades to class.


This class will involve the use of 52100 and 5160 round bar to produce knives of integral construction.  The course will cover the use of power equipment as well as basic forging techniques needed to produce the integral. Both hidden tang and full tang construction will be introduced to students, depending on skill level, and will have the opportunity to make one of each.  All phases of knife making will include basic forging to waxing the blade when finished.

Recent Bladesmithing news

Upcoming classes & Events

Mon 24

Integral Knives

April 24
Sep 25
Sep 30

Fall Hammer-In

September 30 - October 1
Oct 09

Damascus Steel

October 9
Oct 30

Don McIntosh

Coordinator of Bladesmithing