How To Blacksmith

Learning how to be a blacksmith is not as hard as you might think, especially if you have a passion for it. Some basic tools and knowledge of basic techniques can go a long way in teaching you how to be a blacksmith. In fact, apart from forging and shaping metals for practical use, you can even express your creativity by creating decorative items from a wide range of metals. So before you begin learning how to be a blacksmith, you need to decide on the direction you want your blacksmithing to take.

Basic Blacksmith Supplies

First and foremost, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic blacksmith supplies. The supplies include the metal you wish to work with, as well as the tools used in blacksmithing. Some common metals used for blacksmithing include iron, stainless steel, copper and titanium. For decorative items, you can also use glass, wood or stone along with the metals. The basic tools of a blacksmith include forge, tongs, anvil and stand, hammers, shaping tools, punches and drifts, chisels, hardies, files and water trough.

To begin with, the forge, a shallow metal tray containing fire from coal, charcoal, diesel or natural gases, is used to heat up the metal. The heated metal, which is now softened, is transferred to the anvil with the aid of tongs. The anvil comes with a steady stand, on which you place the metal for hammering. Hammers of various shapes and sizes are needed for shaping the metal. You can even shape the metal using swage blocks. Further, you can make holes in the metal using tools such as punches. To prevent these holes from closing up while you are working, drifts are used. The Chisel, another important tool, is a cutting device. The hardy, a variety of chisel, is especially required for cold cutting. You can use files to smoothen your finished product. To cool down the heated metal, immerse it in the water trough. If you are interested in creating decorative items, you may also include painting equipment and designing software in your supplies.

Blacksmith Tools

Now, that you have a fair idea about the tools, the next steps you need to follow include: Get the forge up and running and assemble all the tools you will need. After you have the metal and the tools ready, build the fire in the forge carefully. Once you have inserted the metal into the fire, wait patiently for the color of the metal to change to a dark orange. This ensures that it has reached the desired temperature. You can begin practicing the basic techniques with simpler tasks such as flattening, bending and tapering the metal and later move on to complex tasks.

Make sure that there are no inflammable items near the fire and keep a hose pipe, buckets of water or a fire extinguisher handy at all times. Further, always wear gloves and glasses while working in your workshop and maintain your tools properly to avoid accidents. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the fire, as well as the tools.

For further research, enroll yourself into any online blacksmith forum or join local hobby clubs, to ensure you get enough practice. If none of these options are available to you, open a club on your own with other enthusiasts. Visit a workshop, if any, in your neighborhood to watch other blacksmiths at work. You can even go through some good books such as "The Art of blacksmithing" by Alex W. Bealer, "A Blacksmithing Primer: A Course in Basic and Intermediate Blacksmithing" by Randy McDaniel to know more about how to be a blacksmith.

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