Colonial Household Utensils

"Decorated Iron"


Peter Ross

Class runs: September 11-15

Tuition: $650

Material fee: $50

Skill level: Seasoned beginner and up

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Bright finished tools and utensils can be made more intriguing and precious by incorporating simple surface decorations- filed bevels, inlaid brass or copper, punched and chiseled motifs. This was once a common treatment for the better grades of forged work, though it has become less popular in recent times… Until Now!

    This class can help reverse that sad trend. We will forge a few items (cooking utensils, simple hardware) specifically for the purpose of decorating. Though I anticipate a nice mix of hot and cold work the emphasis will be on the decorating skills, mostly done cold after the forging is completed.

    A quick intro to classical design principles will guide the making the small chisels and punches which form the basis for the applications. We will cover heat treating, filing techniques, discussion of proportions, layout, and details.

    This is not a beginner class on forging. Students will be expected to forge several basic utensils while leaving enough time for decorating. A good (but small) selection of files will be necessary.


Peter Ross took his first blacksmith lesson at Stonybrook Museums, in 1970. After attending the Rhode Island School of Design he worked his way through various shops working as a blacksmith until he moved to be the Master blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg. Peter worked to promote the study of blacksmithing through historically accurate processes. He remained at the museum from 1979 to 2004. Peter has now begun pursuing his own ventures of producing historic hardware reproductions in his own studio.