From Chemist to World Renowned Blacksmith: James Austin

Craft & Design Metalworking Workshop
From Chemist to World Renowned Blacksmith: James Austin
Now in his 40th year of Blacksmithing, James Austin opened up his teaching shop to give us an inside look at metalworking.
James Austin in his blacksmithing shop.


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Now in his 40th year of blacksmithing, San Francisco Bay Area blacksmith James Austin has spent a lifetime researching little-known or lost metalworking techniques, and developing his own. Unable to deny his love for metal fabrication, James apprenticed to a blacksmith in Germany in the early 1980s after receiving his degree and a brief career in chemical engineering.

In 1990 James started Alchemy Metalworks, a name he still fabricates under, and in 2011 he decided to get serious about doing American educational blacksmithing instruction. A patient and capable teacher, he offers workshops once or twice per year geared at demonstrating traditional techniques of ax making, hammer making, and forge skills that students can easily incorporate into their own small-scale blacksmithing productions. James was kind enough to open up his teaching shop to give Make: an inside look at metalworking and a brief history of his metalworking career.


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You can find James Austin online at or on Facebook. If you are interested in getting started in blacksmithing, be sure to check out his website in May for the next set of workshops and classes.

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