Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Mr. McDaniel began his experience in blacksmithing with a class from an 81-year-old blacksmith in 1972, 50 years ago! The class was a couple of hours for four Saturdays and it cost $2.00! That was the spark that ignited his passion for forging hot metal. Randy also learned from other “retired” smiths who taught him not only how things were done, but also why and how things worked. He also researched the craft in libraries, by taking craft schools classes from various skilled mastersmiths such as Frank Turley, Francis Whitaker and Ivan Bailey, and by participating in blacksmithing conferences. Mr. McDaniel traveled to England in 1987 to participate in the British Artist Blacksmith Association’s International Conference in Hereford and to study ironwork in London. In 1988 Randy was baptized as a mastersmith by Manfred Bredhol from Aachen, Germany. In 2016 he returned to Europe and went to eastern Spain to study the medieval ironworks and the modernist ironwork and buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi. This was followed by a couple of days in Paris, France, for more ironwork.
Originally specializing in Colonial reproduction ironwork taught him the basics of forging hot metal. He became a skilled craftsman in this field and was sought out by the National Park Service, the Maryland Park Service and many restoration projects nationwide. Randy recreated most of the ironwork for the first barracks at Fort Frederick, which included lighting, fireplace cooking equipment and tools for the fort, such as hammers, axes and shovels all made using the techniques of that era. He also recreated ironwork for the mill at Union Mills, MD, the Cookes House in York, PA, and the Mordecai Lincoln House, the home of Abraham Lincoln’s great-great-grandfather near Birdsboro, PA, are just a few of these projects.
Frank Turley, the granddaddy of blacksmithing, who not only taught Mr. McDaniel so much about how-to blacksmith but also in knowing how to teach it, became great friends with Randy. Frank had this to say about him in 2014: "Randy was a short course student of mine when he was getting started, in the 1970's. I now acknowledge him as an accomplished smith. He has done small work and monumental work of high quality."
Unfortunately, Mr. Turley passed on in order to work on the pearly gates in November of 2020. He is greatly missed.
Randy’s blacksmithing experience covers a wide diversity of works that runs the gamut from designing and producing personal and whimsical items from business card holders and furniture to large-scale lighting, gates, grilles, fountains, belt buckles and sculptural pieces. His design and forging of the artwork for the Children’s Garden entrance arbor at Hershey Gardens is an excellent example of his art and whimsy. Currently he specializes in work done on the hydraulic forging press. Besides forging steel he enjoys working in copper, bronze and titanium.
Check out the Portfolio Page for photos of his works and travels!
Mr. McDaniel gained recognition and acclaim for writing and illustrating the award winning book, “A Blacksmithing Primer, A Course In Basic And Intermediate Blacksmithing” in 1998. Blacksmiths, blacksmithing groups and even colleges and schools around the world are using this book to teach basic to intermediate forging. Currently it has sold over 30,000 copies. This book has also been professionally filmed as a 3 DVD set which is almost 6 hours long, with Randy’s instruction and demonstration.
In the summer of 2014, he wrote his second book, “Hydraulic Forging Press for the Blacksmith”. This book points out the versatility of this machine and the tooling
needed to achieve the most from it.
All are available online.
Randy has taught basic and advanced workshops for more than forty years. These include workshops at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, Penland School of Crafts, J.C. Campbell Craft School, Appalachian Center for Crafts, New England School of Metalwork, Peters Valley Craft School, Touchstone Center for Craft, CanIron and for many regional blacksmithing groups Nationwide and even to Newfoundland.
Mr. McDaniel was also a lecturer and demonstrator for the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America’s International Conferences at Alfred, New York in 1990 and at LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 2002.
Mr. McDaniel prides himself with teaching personal classes by only taking three students in a class. He passes on what made such a big difference in his learning, the basics that everything is built upon and going back to the tried and proven ways of forging hot metals. He does this with patience and good humor. Besides the class schedule, classes can be tailored to days of the week and what topics are being taught. His fully equipped shop and school is conveniently located south of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
Berkeley Springs is a historic, spa and art filled town nestled in the West Virginia mountains in the eastern panhandle. It is America's first spa!
Conveniently located where West Virginia,
Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia all come together.
Just 30 miles from Winchester, VA,
45 miles from Hagerstown, MD,
100 miles from Baltimore, MD or Washington, DC, where both have major airports!
145 miles from Pittsburgh, PA, and
180 miles from Philadelphia, PA.
It has lovely stores, antiques, restaurants, art galleries, historic spas, classic inns, B&B’s, a beautiful new lodge, cabin rentals, glamping, inexpensive hotels, motels, live music, festivals, beautiful vistas plus TWO state parks!
Architectural Digest named it one of America's 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in 2022!
The USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice Travel Award Contest has been awarded to Berkeley Springs the 9th best Historic Small Town. Berkeley Springs' nomination was carefully picked by an expert panel and the public's votes presented Berkeley Springs with this great honor.
Now Berkeley Springs is also listed as one of the
"9 Best Small Towns in the U.S. for Art Lovers"
in Travel + Leisure (July 11, 2022
Mr. McDaniel has been interviewed on several television programs, is featured in a number of books on blacksmiths, and has had numerous newspaper articles written about him and his metal work. Most recently there is an article in the Spring 2023 edition of WV Living magazine and soon in Wonderful WV magazine.
Here is a video of the schools' location, the fully equipped facilities, a class in action and Mr. McDaniel's background in blacksmithing and in teaching blacksmithing.