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Blacksmithing Tools and Techniques

geoff & ChrisThe term “blacksmith” comes from the activity of working iron or the “Black” metal – so named due to the colour of the metal after being heated

The Blacksmith uses the following:
• The hearth or Forge – Blacksmiths work by heating pieces of wrought iron or steel, until the metal becomes soft enough to be shaped. Colour is important for indicating the temperature and workability of the metal: As iron is heated to increasing temperatures, it first glows red, then orange, yellow, and finally white. The ideal heat for most forging is the bright yellow-orange colour appropriately known as a “forging heat”. Because they must be able to see the glowing colour of the metal, some blacksmiths work in dim, low-light conditions
• Hammers – Blacksmiths use a range of hammers all have a special function
• An anvil is a block of metal with a hard surface on which hot metal is formed and is mad of a number Anvilof components
o Bick, Beck or Horn is used to bend metal
o Table of the anvil, is used for cutting
o Face is used when stricking hot metal to shape it
o The Hardy hole is a square hole into which specialized forming and cutting tools, called hardy tools, are placed. It is also used in punching and bending operations.
o Punch Hole
o Tongs to hold the hot steel while it is worked
o Swages and forming tools
Blacksmith Techniques
• Drawing – Drawing lengthens the metal by reducing one or both of the other two dimensions. As the depth is reduced, the width narrowed, or the piece is both lengthened or “drawn out.”
• Upsetting – Upsetting is the process of making metal thicker in one dimension through shortening in the other.
• Shrinking – while similar to upsetting, is essentially opposite the process of drawing.
• Bending – Bending can be done with the hammer over the horn or edge of the anvil or by inserting a bending fork into the Hardy Hole (the square hole in the top of the anvil), placing the work piece between the tines of the fork, and bending the material to the desired angle.
• Punching – Punching may be done to create a decorative pattern, or to make a hole. Punching is not limited to depressions and holes. It also includes cutting, slitting, and drifting—all done with a chisel
• Welding is the joining of metal of the same or similar kind of metal. In forge welding the pieces to be joined are heated to what is generally referred to as “welding heat”. This temperature by colour: the metal will glow an intense yellow or white.
Early Blacksmiths were both shoeing smith (farrier) and Blacksmiths due to the hot fabrication of metal shoes for horses however the job divided into two professions and today’s Farriers have to complete a 7 year apprenticeship.

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