Although mass-produced goods and innovations in fabrication technology have rendered many blacksmiths’ duties to the past, the profession still hangs on, providing custom designed wrought iron services to clients. In some cases, blacksmiths also double as farriers, providing shoeing services to horse owners, although that career field is much different than the role of a traditional blacksmith who concentrates on metalwork.
Blacksmiths’ salaries vary widely across the nation, depending upon their skill level and their ability to market their custom products in the area in which they live. Blacksmiths earn average salaries that range from £17,552 to £41,516 annually as of January 2011, according to PayScale. The average salary for advertised blacksmith positions is £24,038 as of January 2011, according to Salary List, although blacksmiths who work for construction firms may earn more than £39,000 annually.
Salaries Around the Country
A blacksmith’s salary varies depending upon the part of the country in which he works, with areas with high costs of living compensating smiths more than those in areas in which it’s cheaper to live. Blacksmiths who work in New York earn the highest average annual salary, £31,343 as of January 2011, according to Salary Expert. Blacksmiths in Orlando, Florida, earn the smallest average annual salaries of any who work in metropolitan areas, £24,555. Blacksmiths in half of the cities surveyed by Salary Expert earn salaries between £25,584 and £28,156.
Several formal courses educate blacksmiths around the country. Although course work varies widely from program to program and may cover everything from fine-art metalsmithing and jewellery skills to use of a modern power hammer and die work. Many blacksmiths still learn their craft in the traditional way, however, and work alongside one trained in the craft until they develop the skills necessary to work independently.
Comparison to Welder and Fabricator Salaries
Fabrication, the use of welding and shaping to construct metal objects rather than forging them through blacksmithing, pays average salaries that are comparable to those of blacksmiths. The average welder's or fabricator’s salary is between £18,980 and £28,050 as of January 2011, according to PayScale. Although trained blacksmiths have the opportunity to earn higher salaries than those in a welding shop, fabrication and welding is often a more common industry in which consumers turn for customised metal work.