WELCOME TO BIG BEYNON'S BLACKSMITHING
Blacksmith, Bladesmith and Historical Interpreter
THOMAS B TIMBRELL
A.K.A BIG BEYNON
While obtaining his history degree at the University of Leicester, Tom decided that office work was not for him and gave blacksmithing a try (naturally). After attending some night classes, he was hooked and upon completion of his degree, went to learn Blacksmithing and Metalworking at Warwick college in 2011. With a great interest in history, Tom started providing Tudor blacksmithing demonstrations for Mary Arden's Farm in Stratford-Upon Avon while he studied at College. Beyond just learning to forge, he looked into the life and craft and social status of the Blacksmith in the 16th Century while sharing his research with visitors of the farm.
Now in 2019, Tom is providing historic blacksmithing demonstrations across the UK, showing the life of Blacksmiths from the Early Iron Age to the Victorians, all the while running his blacksmithing business making both modern and historical knives, artistic work and just about anything else- as long as its not horseshoes!
HISTORIC DEMONSTRATIONS, INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION DAYS
Delivered with energy, passion and humour, Tom's historic demonstrations are a popular display at many events across the country. With clients such as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Chalke Valley History Festival and Ludlow Medieval Festival to name a few, Tom has experience providing entertaining and informative displays to passing visitors, groups of school children and large crowds at festivals.
Every blacksmithing demonstration is well researched, involves a continuous live forging demonstration with an engaging and lively commentary and all while using period correct tools and equipment- even the food he eats and the clothes he wears will be correct to the period displayed. There is even a chance for public participation.
Tom's historic demonstrations are highly mobile and can set up in most outdoor spaces and can be tailored to suit most sites/periods in history, budgets. For a full list of prices and displays, please do get in touch, he'd love to hear from you!
(Picture: Early Iron Age Blacksmith, Chalke Valley History Festival. Taken by AWD Photography)
When not providing historic demonstrations, Tom specialises in reproducing historic metalwork. His passion here is mainly directed at the reproduction of knives from the Iron Age through to the 1650's as well as reproducing the swords of Iron Age Europe. Accuracy is key and he spends a lot of time researching each item, studying the archaeological records and, where possible, going to view the item so that when he comes to make it, he can do so accurately and with confidence, getting the dimensions, weight and materials as close to the original as possible.
Many of the items Tom use for his displays have been made by himself so that he can better understand and demonstrate their effectiveness and the skills of our ancestors.
(Picture: Dacian Falx, Mainz Gladius, British Iron Age Sword)
As well as historic knives and swords, Tom produces knives for cooking, camping, crafting... and general cutting! Every knife is made using traditional techniques as far as possible. What does this mean? It means the blades are not laser cut and stamped out, they're not ground to shape from flat bar stock and they are not brought in from another supplier. Each knife is forged by Tom with hammer and anvil as close to its end shape as possible, with the use of power tools kept to a minimum- usually only drilling and polishing the blade. The handle materials are then shaped and fitted by Tom, again using traditional techniques.
What is the end result? When you purchase a knife from Tom, you are buying an item lovingly hand crafted by someone who enjoys what they do and is dedicated to you getting a unique, beautiful and functional blade that is set apart from those available on the High Street.
There is always time for exploring new designs and ideas in the forge. To this end, Tom is open to small scale artistic work in his forge, ranging from a simple bottle opener to a stylish gate for your garden. Get in touch to find out just what is possible!
BLACKSMITHING/BLADESMITHING EXPERIENCE DAYS
Tom welcomes you to come and join him in his forge and try your hand at being a blacksmith for a day. With a firm belief in learning by doing, you will spend the day discovering the skills of the blacksmith while Tom guides you towards producing different items at the forge, all of which you get to take home with pride. Offered at competitive rates and with all materials provided, there are two different experience days available;
Blacksmithing Experience Day- A great day for those wishing for an introduction into the world of blacksmithing or for those who have always wanted to give it a go. After a safety briefing you will dive straight into working at the forge. Firstly, by learning to make nails- simple, yet tricky to master. Then moving on to small scale items such as bottle openers and finally larger and more complex items depending on skill level.
Bladesmithing Experience Day- A more intensive day for those over the age of 18. It includes not just forge work but also the use of power tools and other equipment and you will learn a different set of skills, relevant to the world of bladesmithing and knife making. After a safety briefing, you will start the day getting to grips with the forge by making a simple ring knife out of low carbon steel. Following on from this, you will then forge a scale tang knife from carbon steel using the skills you have learnt. Once forged, you will tidy and grind the blade and then heat treat it on the forge, leaving it to cool over the lunch break. Upon returning to the forge, you will finish the constructing, polishing and sharpening of the knife which you will then take home with you.
Announcement: Due remedial work needing to be carried out in the forge and the current situation with C19, the booking of experience days is currently suspended. We hope to resume running courses in the Autumn.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.