Friday, October 02, 2015


Tentative Course Offerings - 2016

(Visit the web site as details are finalized!)

Introduction to Blacksmithing

Typically the second weekend each month
February through December

Basic Bladesmithing

June 28 -29

Forge Welding

March 26 - 27

Introduction to Layered Steels

August 27 - 28

Basics of Metal Casting (Pewter & Bronze)

February 27 - 28

Build a Zombie Killer

July 23 - 24

Forging the Viking Age

October 22 - 23

Basics of Bloomery Iron Smelting

May 21 - 22

Working with Bloomery Iron

November 26 - 27
NEW program!

Additional Courses Possible 
(based on demand)
Forge to Blade (one week)
Blacksmithing for Re-Enactors

Instructor: Darrell Markewitz
Darrell has been working with forged metals since the late 1970's, starting as a student at Ontario College of Art. Early work included 5 years at Black Creek Pioneer Village, finishing as primary interpreter/artisan blacksmith. In 1992 he started the Wareham Forge, full time as artisan, trainer and museum consultant. Since 1993 he has held a regular series of workshops at the Wareham Forge, as well as sessions at folk festivals, community colleges, and universities. A recognized specialist in the objects and techniques of the Viking Age at an international level, he has also trained staff, undertaken workshops and presentations at numerous museums, living history programs and academic specialty conferences. Since 2001 he has been involved in, and and instigator of, the "Early Iron' / bloomery iron smelting movement focusing on experimental archaeology related to the Northern European ' Dark Ages'. His personal work employs his signature 'Rivendale' design style, and ranges from pattern welded blades, sculptural objects, through to intermediate scale architectural commissions.

Facilities: the Wareham Forge
The shop combines traditional and modern equipment. employing both coal and propane forges. Powered equipment includes an air hammer, hydraulic press, MIG welder and oxy-propane torches, drill press, grinding and polishing machinery. There is also fully equipped fine metals studio available.
The Wareham Forge is located in Grey County (Central Ontario), about half way between Orangeville and Owen Sound. We are about 5 miles SE of the village of Flesherton, just off highway 10, (about 2 hours drive NW of Toronto).

Note that only 4 students will be accepted for each session. Each student will be provided with their own work station with two students sharing a single forge. Taken together this means close personal supervision and lots of hands on working time!

Available courses start with 'Introduction to Blacksmithing', to second level and advanced programs like 'Basic Bladesmithing', 'Forge Welding' and 'Layered Steels'
Unique are specialist historic metalworking programs such as  Iron Smelting', 'Aristotle Furnace' or 'Forging the Viking Age'.

Also available
Private Session (per day)
Group Session (discount plus custom content)
Remote Session (at your location)
Educational / Institutional Programs
For more details visit the Wareham Forge web site:
Course Details :
e-mail :

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aristotle Furnace Demo - at Quad State

 This coming weekend holds the annual Quad State Roundup blacksmithing event held at Troy Ohio by the Southern Ohio Forge & Anvil group.
 I have attended Quad State as a participant for a good number of years now (since the early 1990's). I was one of the featured demonstrators in 2008 (iron smelt - overview).
The event has grown to one of the largest regional blacksmithing conferences, attracting 800 + people. In the past the core demonstrations have centred on four primary areas : traditional joinery/ forging : bladesmithing : contemporary via air hammer : non ferrous metalworking. In recent years the range and number of demonstrators has expanded greatly. One of the features of these demonstrations is that most typically individuals are chosen for their ability to *communicate* - as well as displaying good skills and wide variations in approaches to forge work. The 'tailgate' sales area has become nothing short of massive, making Quad State an excellent place to pick up everything from small sundries, hand tools, raw materials to large equipment like machines. All this for an extremely low entry fee (US - $55 pre-registered, camp on site for $10 per night).
I strongly recommend Quad State to anyone interested in forged metalworking.

This year, the organizers have shifted from a smaller number of featured demonstrators to include a larger number of smaller scale demonstrations :

One of the things we are trying to do this year is to give as many of the schools that include blacksmithing in their curriculum, the opportunity to do a demonstration during Quadstate 2015. Our thought is to have each institution do a full three-hour demo that will be geared to show what was typically covered in a cource at their institution. It could be done by their "resident smith" or someone that they may be using as an instructor. We see this as a chance for these schools to advertise and promote their programs as well as a chance for all attendees to see a broad range of demonstrators that would otherwise not available at many of the smaller conferences.
I'm happy to say that I have been selected to present one of those demonstrations:

Demonstration Description:

The Aristotle Re-melting Furnace.

The Aristotle is a small (table top) furnace which provides an alternative to larger scale bloomery iron smelters. Using roughly 5 lbs of charcoal, in 30 - 35 minutes it can convert *any* iron based material into a roughly 1 lb 'puck' of unique material. The resulting puck has the physical structure and texture of ancient bloomery iron. Importantly, but controlling the base structure of the furnace, the resulting carbon content of the metal can be modified.
This makes the easy to build and operate Aristotle Furnace the ideal method for those wishing to investigate the properties of bloomery iron - in a size easy for standard forging methods. The ability to vary the carbon content (either increasing or decreasing) is of special interest to the bladesmith.
Darrell Markewitz was part of the 'Smeltfest' team which originally developed this furnace. He will explain the working principles and construction of the furnace. Then he will demonstrate several operation cycles, including forging one of the produced pucks down into a working bar.

School / Workshop description:

Blacksmithing and Specialized workshop programs at the Wareham Forge

Since 1992, Darrell Markewitz has been offering weekend to week long training sessions, primarily from his home shop located about 2 hours drive NW of Toronto in Ontario. Classes are small, limited to four students, each with their own full anvil / tool set, with both coal and propane fired forges used for general blacksmithing programs. Currently there is one basic level (2nd weekend) and one specialized course ( 4th weekend) offered each month. As well as more standard blacksmithing workshops (such as Basic Bladesmithing, Forge Welding Tools, Introduction to Layered Steels) there are a number of historic metalworking programs (Bloomery Iron Smelting, Aristotle Furnace, Viking Age Forgework). Private sessions, either for individual instruction or project related, can also be provided.
see :
Darrell is also available as a demonstrator or workshop leader at your location, be it museum, college or blacksmith's group.
see :

Personal Description:

Darrell Markewitz first picked up the smith's hammer while a student at Ontario College of Art in the late 1970's. His keen interest in history continued as his forging skills developed, he was the blacksmith / interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto during the 1980's. In 1992 he started full time as an independent artisan as 'the Wareham Forge'. For over 20 years this work has been multifaceted, with architectural projects, custom bladesmithing, and individual objects all showing a stress on design and hand forging. A significant additional area has been work on museum projects based on the Viking Age. This has included interpretive program design (Parks Canada), stand alone exhibit creation (Cranbrooke Institute of Science), and work on major exhibits (Smithsonian, Newfoundland Museum). In 2001, he started research into bloomery iron smelting, becoming a core member of the 'Early Iron' group with Lee Sauder. He continues to undertake an extensive series of experimental archaeology projects related to Northern European iron smelting and other fire based physical techniques. He has published a number of DVDs related to blacksmithing and historic methods, as well as journal articles and delivering academic papers. He has demonstrated and lead workshops at blacksmithing events, universities and museums in Canada, the USA and in Europe.

web site :
iron smelting : http//
blog :

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Forge Blowers for Sale

As part of the ongoing structural repairs and general clean up at the Wareham Forge, I will be selling some of the extras of equipment I have stock piled over the last two decades.

First up - two forge blowers:

One is a 'Champion - No 1/2'
This blower is mounted on a wood base with an attached electric motor.
The unit is excellent working condition (if a bit noisy in operation). The drive motor has a standard electrical plug attached.
Price $100

Second is a 'Champion - 400'
This blower is in very good working condition (don't let the minor surface rust fool you).
It has the original three legged stand.
Price $150

Both have been stored inside at the Wareham Forge since I purchased them.
Either would be ideal for setting up a home forge set up.

Prices quoted are Canadian Dollars.
Payment via major credit card / paypal / cash at Wareham. (contact me)
A deposit will be required to hold either unit for purchase.
Units to be picked up at the Wareham Forge.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Have you been doing Experimental Archaeology?

DARC (the Dark Ages Re-creation Company) is hosting a session at (the International Congress for Medieval Studies ) Kalamazoo in May where we are looking to have people speak about their recent experimental archaeological work.

Expect some details forthcoming over on the DARC blog

If you are interested in speaking please reach out to me - I'm happy to talk over what is involved, the expectations and so on.

Session Chair / Organizer is Neil Peterson (e-mail)

modified from an original posting by Neil
Refining the Bloom - 2013 ICMS demonstration (image by Michigan Live )
As many readers are likely aware, both Neil and I have been presenting papers related to applied experimental archaeology at the International Congress for Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo for the last several years. This has included several (well received) physical demonstrations, themselves a further departure from the typical ICMS focus on manuscripts. This will be the second year that DARC has directly sponsored an individual session.

DARC is calling on serious independent researchers to present their ongoing work as part of the session : 
Archaeology & Experiment: Moving beyond the artifacts
Session Type: Papers
Archaeological sessions tend to focus on presentation of results from
excavations or preliminary analysis. Experimental archaeology moves
beyond the artifacts, allowing researchers to examine the underlying
question of "how" related to artifact finds. Ideally, experiments can
provide a preliminary answer to the question "Does this theory of how it
was done actually work". A keystone of experimental archaeology (and a
differentiator from reenactment/recreation) is that it follows the
scientific method of question, setup, and result - whether that result
is positive or negative. Presentations in this session will be expected
to review all three key elements in the discussion of their paper.
Papers submitted for these sessions would be good candidates for
publication in the EXARC Journal.
• Although DARC itself is focused on the Viking Age, presentations into any experimental archaeology project centred on roughly 450 - 1650 AD, ideally within Europe, is welcome.

• Remember that you need not actually write / submit a document. (Although DARC would love to have some, and these could easily be published on the 'Articles' part of the DARC web site.)  
• Many Re-enactors who are enguaged in serious long term experimental archaeology research happen to also have extensive experience communicating before the public! Often years of careful background study and practical trials remains hidden, despite the massive effort it often entails. Our individual strengths are as *presenters* and in the past Neil and I have found our presentations well attended and received - based on our long experience working a crowd.
• Individual presentations are limited to roughly 20 minutes (with time for introductions and follow up questions). Ideally one session would include three presentations.
• The submission deadline is September 30.

I can imagine the travel distance and related costs might pose more of a limitation to participation for many reading this (Kalamazoo is in mid Michigan, west of Detroit). As DARC is at best a loose collective of individuals, I'm afraid there is no institutional support for expenses that can be offered to participants.

February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE