If the smile on the guys face was anything to go by then a Gransfors Axe forging course would be a must for any wanabee blacksmith!
We visited Gransfors in the autumn of 2016 to soak up the atmosphere and see where all those axes we sell are produced. There happened to be an axe forging course happening that weekend and we shared our cottage (the old nail-makers bungalow) with a man up from Stockholm who was on the course. He came in at the end of his first day completely stoked having spent the day mastering hand forging and smiting his very own axe head.
Day one sees each course member using their own fire, anvil and hammer to beat the living daylights out of a piece of metal and create an axe head. We had dropped in to the training forge earlier that day and the atmosphere was hot and intense. There was a lot of banging, i mean learning going on!
Day two is spent grinding, hardening, annealing, polishing and fitting a handle so that each course member goes home with a complete axe.
It’s a two day intensive course with Fredrik Thelin and instructions are in English as well as Swedish. Want more? Then there’s an in depth five day axe forging course too. Here you will make the tools you need to make your own axe later in the week.
Gransfors is a pretty little town
Gransfors is a sleepy little village to the East of Sweden about four hours drive north of Stockholm. There is a small town nearby for food essentials but don’t expect a nightlife. There are some pretty walks near-by and a wood fired sauna if the heat from the forge is not enough for you. (Light your own fire and plunge into the stream to cool off. Very Swedish!!) The forge has a shop selling Gransfors axes and accessories and a ramshackle museum/treasure trove of hundreds of axes and tools.
Check the link to the Gransfors.com web site for the full axe forging course programme and what’s included. That’s lunch, dinner and one nights accommodation on the two day courses. Accommodation is extra on the longer courses.
Logistics and getting to the Gransfors Bruks Forge
Flights are available daily to Stockholm from Manchester, London and other UK airports. Booking ahead could see fares around £100 return. A hire car was definitely the way to go from here. Public transport would have meant train and bus and several changes making the journey too long. The driving was easy though and going with a friend kept the cost manageable. If your flight arrives at night you could do worse than booking a night at the Jumbo Hotel. A converted Jumbo jet on the airport grounds which is easy to find on the free airport shuttle bus. It is also convenient hop across the road to the car rental place the following morning.