Archive for the ‘Blacksmith’ Category

Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmithing Books

In the past, many people who became blacksmiths first started as an apprentice.  Those new to blacksmithing may not have a role model to follow and learn from today.  With the internet there is plenty of knowledge out there to learn how to be a blacksmith, what blacksmith supplies you need, and techniques to shape metal.  Although the internet is a great resource , including websites dedicated to blacksmithing, its always good to have a resource that has everything at the tip of your fingers.  In other words, a good blacksmithing book is very helpful when starting out in the world of blacksmithing.  A very good book for a new blacksmith is the The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smithblacksmith

Its full of good information from an experienced blacksmith and will guide you in how to correctly forge and shape metal into anything that you want.

Here is a video of the author, Lorelei Sims, teaching some blacksmith techniques.  Not sure the reason why the video is compiled the way it is but the info from Lorelei Sims is good.

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Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmith Anvil Stand

Another major component to your blacksmith supplies is an anvil stand.  It is vital that you place an anvil on a stand that is the correct height.  If the anvil is not at the correct height, the faster you will become fatigued when hammering metal into shape.  The height of the anvil stand is different for every blacksmith.  Many blacksmiths use the knuckle rule which means that when the anvil is placed on the anvil stand it will reach your knuckles when you loosely ball your fists with your arms at your side.  This usually enables a blacksmith to get maximum swing and velocity  of the hammer without straining your back.  Of course the knuckle technique is no magic bullet and you should adjust the height of the anvil stand to fit your body and needs.

Blacksmiths use various materials to make an anvil stand or you could just buy a stand.  Some anvil stands are just a big piece of oak from a fallen tree or if you are in your backyard you can cut down a tree and place the anvil on the stump.  Whatever type of anvil stand you use, it must be secure and level.  If the stand is not sturdy enough it will just bounce around all over your blacksmith shop.  The anvil stand must also be able to secure the anvil from moving around when hammering.  If the anvil stand or the anvil itself moves around when you are hammering you will lose efficiency and it will take more time and energy to create the metalwork.

Below is a good video I found on how to make an anvil stand:

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Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmith Tongs

Another very vital component to your blacksmith supplies are blacksmith tongs.  You will need tongs in order to move hot metal from the forge to the anvil and to assist in shaping the metal.  Some of the common types of tongs are box jaw tongs, blot head tongs, scrolling tongs, flat nose tongs, pick up and rivet tongs, Vi-bit tongs, round nose tongs, and wolf jaw tongs. Tongs can vary in length but most blacksmith tongs are usually longer than 12 inches.

Box jaw tongs are designed to securely hold bar stock. Bolt head tongs are used are great for holding curved shapes such as old style bolts. Scrolling tongs are used to bend iron without damaging the surface of the ironwork. Flat nose tongs are useful for picking up metal sheet or flat stock.  Pick up and rivet tongs are designed to pick up and handle round iron stock.  Vi-bit tongs are designed to handle both round or square iron stock.  As the name implies, round nose tongs are designed to only pick up round iron stock  Wolf jaw tongs can handle various sizes of stock.

You can buy tongs from various places but any true blacksmith will make their own tongs.  For those of you that have never created their own tongs below is a good video I found to get you started:

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Blacksmith Supplies – Choosing a Blacksmith Anvil

One of the most important of the blacksmith supplies is a blacksmith anvil.  Having a quality anvil is the foundation for creating quality ironwork and, therefore, it’s important that you choose wisely.  When choosing a blacksmith anvil you must take several things into consideration before you buy an anvil:

  1. First and foremost, NEVER buy a cast iron anvil.  These types of anvils are worthless and make it difficult to produce quality iron work.  Although more expensive, you should always buy a forged tool steel or cast tool steel anvil.  If you have a cast iron anvil, I am sure you understand what experienced blacksmiths means by “Anvil Shaped Object”.
  2. Decide whether or not to buy a new or used anvil.  New anvils can be expensive but prices have come down some;
  3. Decide on the size of the anvil you want to have. As a blacksmith, the heavier the anvil the better it is for forging.  Forging anvils can weigh 100-500 pounds.  Buy the heaviest anvil that you can afford.  A 200-300 pound anvil is usually sufficient for heavy work.  If you need an anvil that is portable for onsite light forging, go with a 100 pound anvil;
  4. If you are going to buy a used anvil, be sure the surface of the anvil is flat.  If you do not have a flat anvil then you will not be able to obtain straight ironwork;
  5. Make sure the anvil you purchase is able to accept a standard Hardie and that it has a pritchel or punching hole.

Some well known anvil manufacturers (old and new) are Refflinghaus, Kohlswa, Peddinghaus, Nimba, Vaughns, Branco, Emerson, Habermann, Euroanvil and Rathole.


Choose your blacksmith anvil wisely and you will create quality workmanship.

As mentioned above, below is an Anvil Shaped Object (Cast iron junk)!  Never buy this type of anvil.

 

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