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  • Writer's pictureHenry Rogers

Edenbridge & Oxted Show Blacksmithing Competitions 2022

Updated: Mar 11

Every year, on the August Bank Holiday, I compete in the Edenbridge & Oxted Blacksmithing Competition. I look forward to the annual event, as it is a good opportunity to catch up with other local blacksmiths, showcase my work throughout the year, and challenge myself in the competitions.

The competition is split into two main categories: the live forging competitions and the static competition for pre-made show pieces. The static section has different classes depending on the construction method and design of the competition piece. I entered the candelabra into the contemporary subcategory, and a fire companion set into the traditional class. This year, the show had an 'on a stick' class where smiths were challenged to design and make anything on a stick! When the specification is broad like this, it encourages everyone to get creative and demonstrate their styles. In this category, I forged a traditionally made shepherd's crook.

Forged candlestick with four red candles burning on teak wooden table
Contemporary Candelabra
Mild Steel companion set on cream carpet
Traditionally Forged Leaf Handle Companion Set

In the live forging competition, there are three classes - the 30-minute competition, the 90-minute competition, and the 45-minute pairs. For the 30-minute and 90-minute, you have a set amount of materials chosen by the marshals and you have to make a product of quality displaying multiple blacksmithing techniques in the time given. Combine this with a limited amount of tooling and forging in the daylight rather than in the darker forge, and it can be quite challenging - and that's before you factor in your fellow competitors!

Henry forging red hot steel on anvil
Blacksmith Henry Competing in the 90 minute forging competition

With the 45-minute pairs, you are tasked to pair up with a fellow smith and forge as near an identical match to the set piece as possible in the time. When forging in pairs, there is the Smith who is in charge of instructing and lighter forging with a hand hammer, and the Striker who has a sledgehammer and is instructed by the Smith where to hit and how hard.

This year's challenge was a large door knocker. I paired with Rhys Harlin of Darenth Valley Forge, and we both took turns being the Smith and the Striker. We made a good team and came away with a first-place rosette.

For readers who have not been to the Edenbridge and Oxted show before, I would highly recommend it as an opportunity to see traditional forging in action. A range of pieces are exhibited in the blacksmithing tent, from traditional gates and fire grates to contemporary sculptures and log holders. And of course, you will find many blacksmiths like myself eager to talk about the work on show and to get people excited about the craft!

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