Blacksmithing is an ancient and powerful craft.
The art of blacksmithing has been around since Egyptian times, according to historians.
Blacksmithing helped society to evolve by creating tools, goods, and weapons of war. There are still blacksmiths today, though it is not nearly as common a practice as it was 200 years ago. If you are searching for a unique skill, look no further.
Before you start hammering a hot piece of red metal, you will need to buy your equipment.
The biggest investment you will make is a forge. There are a few options from which to choose. You can purchase a coal, charcoal, or propane fueled forge. Coal is the cheaper and more common option. It burns hotter, longer, and is easier to light than its charcoal competitor, but because of environmental concerns, it is not as readily available in every state, due to regulations.
Charcoal is the same substance used to light your grill and is available at most supermarkets. Although it is cheap and readily accessible, it may not be the best option. Without the proper conditions, it can be difficult to get hot enough. One negative that both charcoal and coal share is that they are often messy and non-transportable. Propane fuel, on the other hand, can be portable and clean. It burns hot like coal but may be more expensive.
Next up on your tool supply list will be an anvil, a ball-peen hammer, and tongs. These are just your basic starter tools. There are other hammers you can purchase along the way that could assist you, such as a mini sledgehammer. Besides tongs, you can also use vises or clamps. With time and practice, you will discover what works best for you. When obtaining your metal to heat up, you can heat up scrap metal if you wish. Just ensure it is not galvanized, as it can become toxic when it reaches 392 F.
Now that you have all your supplies, you can begin practicing your new craft.
Fire up your forge, select your metal, and decide what you are going to create. It takes a long time to master blacksmithing. There are three basic ways to apply force to your heated metal to get it to start moving the way you need it to move. To make it longer and thinner you will need to “draw out” the metal. This can be achieved by hitting the metal on all four sides by turning it over creating almost a pointed tip at the end.
“Upsetting” is another technique you can use to add bulk to the end of a piece by applying force to the end. The ball on the back of your ball-peen hammer can be used for a process called “peining.” Peining moves and curves the metal in a certain direction. Get the metal nice and hot and roll the ball along the metal move the metal around.
If you make a mistake, stick it back in the fire and try again. Few mistakes are permanent in blacksmithing. It just takes time and patience. One benefit of not living in 1750 is the internet. Look up tutorials and seek out information if you are not sure how to do something or have a question. Blacksmithing is a great way to meet new people and there are plenty of online forums and local events you can attend to show off your masterpiece. Get to smithing!