Basic Blacksmithing Tools

Introduction to the blacksmithing tools found in the smithy, including the anvil, vise, water trough or quench tub, hand tools, tongs, files and hacksaws.


| November/December 1975



036-028-01a

The current widespread revival of interest in this old, old craft makes a lot of sense, what with so many poor-quality (and usually expensive) metal items on the market today.


ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Well, folks, MOTHER was good enough to print my article on how to build a forge (MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 35) . . . and the ole gal now thinks that some further information on blacksmithing might be valuable to readers who aspire to learn the skill.

The current widespread revival of interest in this old, old craft makes a lot of sense, what with so many poor-quality (and usually expensive) metal items on the market today. Folks seem to be waking up to the notion that they can "roll their own" when it comes to building in wood and stone, bricklaying, raising food, supplying their own fuel, and handling other functions formerly considered the work of specialists . . . and there's no reason why blacksmithing shouldn't be added to the list. After all, many an old farmer has repaired his own tools and other iron items without any help from the "experts" in town.

The ability to forge metal is one of the most useful skills a homesteader can possess . . . because there are very few items essential to basic living that can't be produced in a well-equipped blacksmith shop. I'm not — of course — referring to television sets, radio receivers, or any of the other electronic-age children which have become so much a part of everyday life in America. But the simpler things — door hardware, fireplace tools, kitchen utensils, woodworking equipment, even the nails that hold down the floor in your house — are within the grasp of the person who's willing to put some thought and work into their making.

Such an individual is not a reviver of a lost art, but part of a tradition which has never died out. The underlying principles of metal-shaping with forge and anvil haven't changed much over time (even though machines now provide the "muscle" behind the hammers in most cases). These articles on the equipment, fuels, and methods used in blacksmithing are for those of you who want to apply the knowledge to your own purposes . . . and, to help you get started, here's a list of the tools you'll need:

The Anvil

Ask someone to name the object which most symbolizes the work of the blacksmith, and he's almost sure to say, "An anvil". That's a good answer, since a solid backstop is absolutely essential to the shaping of hot metal under the blows of a hammer. Without this basic piece of equipment (whether it be a fine new unit, a chunk of wrought iron, or simply a rock) there could have been no such craft as mine.

Anvils come in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes, ranging from a tiny jeweler's version to some 500- and 600-pound giants which rest on the floor. Those of medium size are usually fastened securely to tree butts set into the ground, so they won't move around under heavy hammer strokes.

glennmoon
1/20/2014 3:07:21 PM

hello i am a full time blacksmith i have a business in forging metal heres my web site http://www.springandhammersmith.com/ i also have classes in blacksmithing cheers to all






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