Who’s it for?
Held in conjunction with Kaos Blacksmiths, this unique 5 day course combines the ancient art of blacksmithing with traditional bodging and essential bushcraft skills. We’ve put it together for anyone with an interest in learning to work with metal, green wood working, woodland skills or traditional woodland craft work.
What will I do?
You will be taken on a trip back in time and taught some of the skills of our ancestors.
Ross Berry, our resident blacksmith, will show you how to use an iron age pit forge and guide you through the techniques to make your own unique items. On past courses people have made:
Crook knives and mokotagens,
Traditional fire steels (we’ve got plenty of flint you can take with you),
Arrow heads and
Bushcraft and Viking knives (complete with leather sheath).
Bodgers were highly-skilled wood-turners who lived and worked in the woods because it was easier to work where the timber was than to transport it to a workshop. On this course we will introduce you to some of the skills used by bodgers:
- You will be shown how to safely use an axe to fell a tree and use a variety of techniques to cross cut it for the raw materials.
- You will be shown how to cleft greenwood and use an axe and a shave horse to shape the wood.
- Previous customers have made charcoal burner’s stools and handles for axes and bill hooks.
You will then get to use a traditional woodland pole lathe where students have turned:
- Rolling pins,
- Honey drizzlers,
- Chair legs and
- Potato mashers!
You will also use a wide variety of axes and knives to split and carve wood and make spoons, spreaders and spatulas.
You will get ample opportunity to practice all of these skills and once you have a good grasp you’ll be let loose to make your own beautiful things to take home with you.
In between all of this you will be shown, and given time to practice, essential bushcraft skills such as fire lighting, natural navigation, natural cordage, tree & plant identification, back country cooking etc.
All tools and materials are included in the cost of this course.
By making a booking you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions.
You can see our complete course schedule here.
Location: Westwell, Kent
Duration: 5 days
Start: 9am Wednesday
End: 4pm Sunday
Course size: Maximum of 6
Catering: Fully catered
Note: There is a short walk from the meeting point to the camp. We’ll transport your bags in our 4×4.
You might also find these Frequently Asked Questions useful.
What our customers say
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My second time doing this course and my sixth course with Jack Raven (and I live in Dorset when there are lots of bushcraft courses!)The Blacksmithing, Bodging & Bushcraft course is perhaps the best; it includes pole lathe work and blacksmithing with Ross, the very skilled, friendly and unforgettable blacksmith. The feelings of achievement and satisfaction in having created something unique and yours is emense. Other aspects of the bushcraft kind were taken by Gary, a very clever, experienced and personable man who, with Nicola who organises the truly delicious food provided, makes up the team of "Jack Raven". The camp organisation and facilities tick all the boxes of excellence. I'll be back.
This was my 2nd course this year with Jack Raven. This course is fantastic active holiday and great escape from concrete city. We all learnt so much over 5 days, we`ve been using pole lathe, did some carving, forged our own knives and made leather sheaths for them. Company was excellent. Food was delicious. Sleeping in the woodland is also great fun. Taking this course few months before Christmas is also benefit as you can give handmade items with rustic finish to your family as a present. Come along and you won`t regret. I`ll definitely come again 3rd time. Thanks Gary, Ross and Nicola.
Absolutely awesome week learnt so many things I had no idea how to do. Big thank you to Gary and Nicola for being such great hosts and a special thank you to Ross a man of many talents who was super patient with all of us.Great fun.See you next year!
Cannot rate this highly enough very experienced - well informed instructors, great food and an excellent course for all interested in learning some bushcraft skills. Book it you will not regret itPS its also great to mingle and learn from likeminded people
Just recently completed the Bodging Blacksmithing & Bushcraft course and it was fantastic. Learning how to use a pole lathe was an interesting challenge but with patience from Ross Berry and perseverance from me I got to grips with it and came away with some lovely usable items. The blacksmithing was a joy to learn, hammering away at red hot steel in an Iron Age pit forge and coming away with some very decorative knives. I'll be visiting Ross in Canterbury to do some more blacksmithing.I undertook some bark stripping under the expert guidance of Gary and turned it into a very practical hand woven basket, he also showed me how to cut, stitch and shape my own leather sheaths for my handmade knives. I also had the opportunity to carve a beautiful knife handle out of yew wood. All the above plus there was tree and plant identification too.Nicola does an amazing job of creating a variety of beautiful tasting meals incorporating ingredients that grow wildly in the woods and she has a wonderful smile to top it off. The weather wasn't the best but there was never a dull moment, it just added an additional element to living and learning in the woods and it didn't dampen anyone's spirit.Mustn't forget Willow the gorgeous Labrador that is absolutely in her element in the woods and a joy to have around.Once again I met an amazing bunch of people from all walks of life and we shared great stories around the fire and in the yurt into the dark hours.I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I could give Gary and his team more than 5 stars I would. I have once again come away feeling exhilarated and rejuvenated, I'll be returning for more stories, crafting and adventure.