Archive for the ‘Blacksmith Tools’ Category

Blacksmith Supplies – Swage Block

Another tool in your blacksmith supplies that is more of a creative and artistic tool is a Swage Block.  A swage block is used by blacksmiths, artists/sculptors to form various tools such as spoons, ladles, shovels, bowls, stacks and .  When blacksmithing, the blacksmith can use a swage block like an anvil to shape metal into one of the molds in the swage block. A good site to visit to learn how to use a swage block is at

Below is a good example of how one can use a swage block to shape a ladle:

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Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmith Leg Vise

Another arsenal in your blacksmith supplies is a blacksmith leg vise.  When buying a vise you should buy a leg vise instead of a bench vise.  A blacksmith leg vise has a “leg” that can be extended and anchored to the floor to give it strength and stability.  Most leg vises are steel (not cast iron) and are made to take the abuse of heavy hammering of metalwork while being held in the vise.  You should be able to find a blacksmith leg vise at your local flea market.  Most modern leg vises are very expensive.  When choosing a leg vise make sure that the jaws are at least 4-5 inches wide and that the jaws are not damaged and line up evenly. Because the vise has a leg it can be mounted to more locations than a regular bench vise.  You can mount a blacksmith leg vise to a tree stump, a post or a workbench. The leg vise can be used to bend iron at 90 degree angles, twisting and as a third helping hand.

Below is a short video of a Columbian blacksmith leg vise:

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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 Gas Forge Fundamentals

To supplement my previous post about gas forges, below is an article providing the fundamentals of a blacksmith gas forge:

Blacksmith Gas Forge Fundamentals

Author: David

Blacksmith Gas Forges are an Economical and Clean Alternative to Coal Forges

The basic flame for a blacksmith is the forge. Traditionally the forge used charcoal or coal as the fuel. These are generally still used today and are referred to as solid fuel forges or most often coal forges.

In recent times with the availability of propane gas, an alternate form of heat source developed. The blacksmith gas forge is really a small convenient tool that allows similar temperatures while not quite as hot as a coal forge but with out the mess or even the smoke, and it is quite portable.

A gas forge has many advantages and some disadvantages as a heat source for a blacksmith. The main disadvantage is the fact that it usually has a lower heat than coal forge. Another disadvantage is that no matter what you\’re heating, it needs to easily fit in the box. Large complex shapes become very difficult to work with.

The blacksmith gas forge is ideal for knife makers and many artistic blacksmiths use it too. Knife makers are often working long straight bars for their knives. they can also employ the gas forge for heat treating many alloys of steel. It typically has a longer more uniform heat
than the usual coal forge. This means you are able to heat treat a longer blade in a gas forge than the usual standard coal forge.

In several parts of the world propane is easily available and it is cost effective in comparison with coal or charcoal. The bottom price of a blacksmith gas forge is greater than a coal forge as there are many parts that have to be synchronized as well as some exact tolerances.

It is a fact that a coal forge is more versatile and cheaper to construct however it does require a supply of coal and isn\’t very portable. What this means is you need a dedicated spot to do your blacksmithing. This location needs to be within an area where smoke isn\’t an issue.

Gas forges and solid fuel forges consume oxygen and produce both deadly carbon monoxide (poisonous) and carbon dioxide. Smoke is a major by product of the coal forge. Proper ventilation is essential for both. The propane forge can be vented just with keeping the windows open and doors or with a collector and vent above the forge.

A coal forge needs a chimney to draw the smoke from the building. A well constructed chimney will remove all the smoke easily. Look for plans for any side draft forge for just one of the best options. For chimneys which have under optimum draw you can also add a fan
within the stack so that it will be a power exhaust for that smoke. This is effective.

Although a coal forge reaches higher temperatures, the heat is more concentrated. A properly constructed fire radiates hardly any heat into the room. A gas forge radiates a great deal of heat into a work shop. This is fine during the cold months but can be horrible in the summer time.

Many blacksmiths love the tradition of the coal forge. Lots of other blacksmiths have discovered the simplicity with the propane forge, and it is a great place to start or a versatile supplemental tool. Some blacksmiths utilize it as his or her main heat source for all their work.

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It is possible to build a gas forge and save money as well as being able to customize it for individual blacksmith needs. For details on building your own gas forge visit Blacksmith Gas Forge Plans.

Many blacksmiths wish to buy a ready made gas forges which can be found at Blacksmith Gas Forges

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Blacksmith Supplies – Chisels and Punches

In shaping iron two blacksmith supplies, chisels and punches, are important in forming the metalwork exactly the way you want it.  Blacksmiths use chisels is cut both cold and hot iron.  Punches are used to created holes in the metalwork and to add design details.  Most blacksmiths do make their own chisels and punches and making these tools should be an easy project for you to do.

Below is a series of four videos on how to make a blacksmith chisel with a handle and two videos on how to make a hot punch:

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Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmith Forge

A blacksmith forge is the most important of the blacksmith supplies.  All blacksmiths have a forge or hearth which is needed to heat the metal to a malleable temperature  in order to shape it.  Without a forge you cannot shape metal.  Many blacksmiths create their own forges with the supplies they have lying around in their shop.  Forges can be made out of anything from old barbecue grills to old tire rims or brake drums. You can certainly buy a forge but they can be quite expensive.

There are various fuels that can be used for a forge including bituminous coal, coke, charcoal, oil and gas (propane).  Many blacksmiths still use coal but coal is not a clean burning fuel such as propane.  In addition to the forge you will need an air blower and tuyere in order to increase the temperature of the fire so the metal can reach a malleable temperature which is usually around 1300 to 1600 Fahrenheit for tool steel.

Here is a great video on how you can create your own blacksmith forge:

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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 – Blacksmith Hammer

The most important tools of your blacksmith supplies is a hammer.  The hammer is vital for a blacksmith just like a paint brush is for a painter.  With a hammer the blacksmith creates his master piece of metalwork.  He shapes iron into whatever form he desires.  Without a hammer there is no blacksmith.  The most common blacksmith hammers are Cross Peen Hammers and Ball Peen Hammers.  The Cross Peen Hammer (see below photo) has a flat striking end and a wedge-shaped surface on the other end.

blacksmith hammer

A Ball Peen Hammer (see below photo) has a similar striking face as a regular hammer and the other end is ball shaped.

blacksmith hammer

Both hammers are designed to assist a blacksmith in shaping the iron with their unique ends.  For most blacksmith work you should not use a hammer that weighs more than 3 pounds.  The heavier the hammer the faster you will get tired when striking against the anvil.  When starting out as a blacksmith you should obtain several hammers of different weights to determine the one that best suits your size and strength.

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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.



Blacksmith Supplies – The Basic Supplies That All Blacksmiths Need

blacksmith suppliesThe blacksmith has many tools and supplies.  The most recognizable tool of a blacksmith is the anvil.  The anvil is a heavy piece of cast iron or steel that a blacksmith uses to shape a piece of iron. 

Steel anvils are preferable over cast iron anvils.   The next most recognizable tool of a blacksmith is a hammer.  There are several different types of hammers but the main thing is that it should be heavy enough when striking the iron and anvil, but not too heavy to wear you out and cause fatigue.  Most work can be handled by two hammers, one weighing 1 1/2 or 2 lbs and another hammer weighing 3 or 3 1/2 lbs.

Another important tool of a blacksmith is the tong.  Tongs are used to hold and manipulate the hot metal.  Tongs are vital in moving the iron from the forge to the anvil and/or vise grip.  The blacksmith also has a forge which is where he has created a hot fire.  The forge usually contains coal, charcoal or some type of gas in order to heat the iron to extreme high temperatures.  Bitimunous coal is the preferred fuel since it burns slow and at very high temperatures.  You will also need a blower attached to the forge in order to increase the temperature of the forge fire that is needed to form the iron.

Other supplies such as swages for the anvil help form the iron to the shape you want.  Of course you will need raw pieces of iron that you can use in blacksmithing and creating new objects.  

Once you have created an object, finishing supplies such as bees wax will help protect the finish of the object.  You should also have a metal brush to remove oxidation during the forging process. 

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