If you love to create things and shape metals, blacksmithing could be a better option. However, to do this, you need proper guidance to learn about the necessary tools. When it comes to blacksmithing tools, these are numerous. Hence, you need to know how they work and what type of tool will work for you.
Especially, beginners looking to learn the blacksmithing techniques must try to get the essential information about the tools and safety equipment. To assist such enthusiasts, we have compiled a list of blacksmithing tools, which will help them to learn the art of shaping metals.
To get all the relevant information, just keep on reading.
Safety gear includes some must-have equipment for every blacksmith. Whether you are professional or a beginner learning blacksmithing techniques, you must wear the safety gear at the job site. Following are the basic safety gear equipment.
– Leather Apron
– Safety Glasses
– Ear Plugs
– Safety shoes
Basic Tools and supplies
If you have decided to learn the blacksmithing techniques or you have already learned most of them, you need some basic tools and supplies to complete a particular task. Here are a few of these tools and supplies.
Metals are essential for any blacksmith job. Steel, Copper, Aluminum, Brass, and Iron are some of the widely used metals. You can obtain your desired metal through different available options, including metal suppliers (online/local) or scrap yard.
Steel is a commonly used metal, which is preferred due to its strength and flexibility. It also serves as a basic metal to create blacksmithing tools. Following are different types of steel being widely used by the blacksmiths.
– Stainless Steel
– Carbon Steel
– Tool Steel
– Alloy Steel
A forge is used by blacksmiths to heat the metal and shape it accordingly. It’s a type of hearth, offering excessively high temperatures to melt down the metals. The fuel used may be coal, propane or gas, depending on the type of forge.
A forge is composed of these four essential parts.
Bellows or Blower: A blower provides the required amount of air into the fire pot to speed up the burning process.
Fire Pot: It is the central part of a forge where the burning process takes place.
Tuyere (tweer): This is the bottom part of a fire pot and functions as a drain.
Chimney: Indoor forges have chimneys to expel the gases and smoke coming out of the fire pot.
There are two basic types of forges, which are commonly in use.
– Coal Forges
– Gas Forges
This forge uses coal as its fuel. Coke (commercially prepared) and coal are the preferred types of fuels, which allow achieving temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gas forges utilize natural gas or propane as basic fuel. Both these options are a cleaner alternative to coal. However, they can’t reach the temperatures achieved by a coal forge. Hence, these fuels usually serve the purpose of small tasks like knife making.
The vertical firing mechanism and oval design of this single burner forge allow maximum exposure to the flame. It provides a more even and faster flame for accurate heating. The maximum temperatures can reach up to 2300F. Hence, it serves the purpose well for melting any metal including copper, steel, lead, aluminum, bronze, or brass.
An anvil is a large tool made up of hard steel, which allows you to cut and shape various metals to create a particular item. It helps to complete the task with less effort and fatigue. Normally, a perfect anvil has a flat face. This part is made up of tool steel, which is hard and offers a bouncy reaction. It allows you to work on the metal with less effort.
The anvils that you mostly see are known as the London style anvils. These anvils have a simple yet performance oriented structure. Some of the basic parts of an anvil include the face, horn, heel, hardy hole, shoulder, and pritchel hole.
The face of an anvil is the most prominent part, which receives most of the striking and hammering. The horn helps to shape metal into a circular structure or shape. The hardy hole is close to the heel. It is a square hole, which helps to hold hardy tools securely.
The pritchel holes, on the other hand, are circular in shape and are usually smaller than the hardy holes. The basic purpose of these holes is to punch the metal, bend the rods and make bolt heads.
Depending on the structure and purpose, there are different types of anvils. Some of them are explained below.
These are the massive steel structures with various cavities available on the face. The most common purposes of these anvils include bending, forming, and cutting. Blacksmiths usually prefer to customize swage anvils in accordance with their needs and preferences. Hence, you can see these anvils in different shapes from hexagonal, diamond-shaped to octagonal.
This kind of anvil is identical to a London style anvil. The only distinctive feature is that a pritchel hole is missing these anvils.
These anvils are less common but they are ubiquitous when it comes to using them. Stake anvils are small in size and are mounted on a stake. It is possible to insert these anvils into ground or stump with the help of a stake. These anvils turn out to be handy for farmers during a quick fixture of farm equipment.
Given below are a few high-quality anvils, you can avail for your next project.
PMC Supplies – 15 Lb Bench Horn Anvil
This Bench Horn anvil is constructed with solid cast iron. It can serve as an all-purpose anvil. You can use it for flattening, repairing, and forming the metals. The work surface offers a 9/16” area. Hardy hole is capable of securing different tools.
It is a portable Anvil by NC Tool. Its flatter style horn top helps to shape or bend any metal. The pritchel hole and 1″ Hardy hole are close to the heel. It is the best choice for those who are learning to shape the metals. This anvil is easy to work with and performs well with different types of metals.
What type of hammer is ideal for blacksmithing? This is the common question asked by most of the beginner blacksmiths. The answer is simple, each of the hammers used in forging has its specific purpose and distinguished features. Hence, relying on a particular type of hammer would not be a wise decision. Depending on the weight, length, width, and shape of a Peen, hammers can be divided into different types.
Types of Hammers
Some of the major types of hammers and their purposes are explained below.
Ball Peen Hammer
It is a commonly used hammer with a ball-shaped peen. This type of hammer is ideal for rivet work or to create a round shaped crater.
The peen of this hammer is shaped like a sharp wedge. It can serve as a useful tool while cutting a piece of stock.
It has a round striking face. Hence, farriers commonly use this hammer to clip the horseshoe.
Cross Peen Hammer
It is a common blacksmithing tool, which features a long peen. This makes it wider than its height. Apart from other useful applications, you can also use it to strike a dent in a stock.
Straight Peen Hammer
The peen in this hammer runs parallel to the handle. This is what distinguishes it from a cross peen hammer.
Tongs are used to cut, bend or forge different metals. These tools are available in different shapes and sizes. However, they all have one thing in common “Long Handle”. Only the right type of tong can perform a specific task efficiently. Depending on their shapes and purposes, the following are the various kinds of tongs used by blacksmiths.
Flat Jaw Tong
This is the most basic tong and helps to firmly hold the flat sheet of iron when hammering it. A flat jaw tong is simple in design and available at a reasonable price.
V Bit Tong
Its V-shaped bottom and jaws allow you to clamp down any square or round object. The large jaws work precisely when grabbing the big items.
Wolf Jaw Tong
This versatile type of tong has ridges, which allows you to hold the metal straight or from its side. It can securely grip a hot iron and move it to the desired location. It is extremely popular among the blacksmiths for their efficiency.
You can easily bend a piece of iron into scroll by using this type of tong. It helps to perform the scroll operations more precisely. The rounded sides of its pointed jaws allow you to quickly bend the iron when it is still hot.
The Caliburn Tongs are made in the USA. These tongs are of superior quality, hence backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. This suggests that you will get the products, capable of withstanding job site abuse.
This Wolf Jaw tong is 16 inches (400mm) long. It is a lightweight tong with just 1.5lbs of weight. The tong is constructed with strong material for extended use. Most of the blacksmiths prefer it due to its perfect shape and easy to handle design.
Apart from slitting metal, there are numerous other uses of chisels. For instance, hand chisels are extremely helpful when making small notches or cuts in a piece of metal. The length of handle and cutting edges of a chisel depend on its specific purpose.
Here are some of the common types of chisels used by the blacksmiths.
These chisels have short shanks and obtuse edges. Cold chisels are identical to cold hardy cutters. As suggested by the name, these chisels are perfect for cutting a cold piece of stock. Hence, avoid using them with hot metals, as it will damage the chisel and affect its performance.
The basic purpose of cold chisels is to create fracture lines in stock. After creating a fracture line, it is much easier for a blacksmith to work on the metal and break off the piece. These chisels make cutting so easy that you can cut a piece of stock by simply using a pair of pliers and a vice.
Often termed as splitting chisels, hot chisels work in an opposite fashion to the cold chisels. These chisels have required hardness and are designed in a way to cut hot metal. The cutting edges are relatively sharper and don’t receive any kind of heat treatment. This enhances the strength and performance of hot chisels.
Gouges or Cow Mouth Chisels
These chisels have a distinctive curved shape. This particular design helps to cut a circular section of a piece of stock. Cow Mouth Chisel turns out to be a handy option when you want to work on any type of arc.
Here are a few chisels that can serve the purpose.
This chisel and punch set is ideal for a wide range of applications. There are 16 different designs and shapes for multitude uses. You can use them for spreading steering knuckles, hole alignment, and center punching.
This precision ground chisel kit is a great option for blacksmiths. You can use them for shaping, cutting and removing the metal. It works well when you want to cut a cold metal. However, these chisels are not appropriate for using with forges or torches. These chisels are built to last and can cut rivets, metal rods or split nuts.
This tool is used to punch a hole in a hot piece of metal. The pointed hard face is placed on hot metal and hammered to get a precise hole. These are simplest yet satisfying tools to use. In ancient times, punches served to create holes in stock. However, they still perform this task efficiently.
Blacksmiths also use punches to create an indentation on a piece of work to sign and mark it as their work. Some punches also come with a handle for better control and safety. Usually, the hot metal is first secured to an anvil and then punched.
Here are different punch tools that you may consider to avail.
ProlineMax – 5 Pc Steel Punch Set
This set of 5 steel punches is an ideal option for blacksmiths and other metal workers. Availability in different sizes helps to perform the task without any issues. Perfect to be used for punching different metals with precision.
This set comes with 16 different designs and shapes. All these punch and chisels are ideal for ball joint separation, bolt hole alignment, center punching, spreading steering knuckles, and driving out pins and bolts. The punches and chisels have hex-shaped shanks, making it easy to grip them.
Dynamic Tools – Pin Punch Set (7 Piece)
This punch set is made to meet the needs of blacksmiths who are looking for quality tools. The research inspired products offer performance and durability. Manufactured with premium steel and treated with heat. This makes these tools strong and durable. The body receives phosphate finish for anti-corrosion properties.
A Leg vice is a tool, which allows you to secure different pipes or rods of metal and work on them. It has a strong jaw to clip an object securely. It is a handy tool offering a wide range of utility options. Although there are various types of vices, a leg vice is most common among all.
Its long leg extends downward and touches the floor. This structural design offers great stability to the vice. It also allows dispersing the excessive amount of force into the floor. Hence, the piece of metal being hammered receives the right amount of force.
This type of vice can withstand extensive pounding and abuse. You can’t expect such strength and stability from a regular vice. Hence, this purpose-built vice is ideal to be used by the blacksmiths. Especially, when forging a metal, leg vice can absorb the impact of heavy hammering.
It has a fast moving thread that allows you to start working on the hot stock, almost immediately as it comes out of the forge. A leg vice is normally positioned to a comfortable height (waist-high). It ensures the highest level of comfort and efficiency while working on metal.
Following are the best leg vices with their specifications and features.
Estnik – Bench Vise with Blue Cast (5″)
This vise has a heavy-duty cast iron construction. Hence, it has perfect hardness and strength. It also has a flat portion, which serves as an anvil or extra work surface. The jaws are strong too, as they are made up of high-quality steel.
Yost LV-4 Home Vise 4-1/2″
The Yost LV-4 Home vise has a cast iron structure. The steel jaws offer ideal grip for any metal. You can position it easily as the vise can rotate up to 240-Degree. It has a durable exterior with blue powder coat.
Yost Vises FSV-4 4″ with 360-Degree Swivel Base
This vise has a swivel base. The 4″ jaw width helps to hold pipes and rods with different diameters. It also allows you to perform clamping action for various applications. The swivel can rotate in 360-degree, allowing you to get perfect placement.
A blower provides the required amount of air into the forge and speeds up the burning process. It provides a controlled amount of air into the fire pot to facilitate the efficient burning of the fuel (coal gas or propane). It is an integral part of any forge, which helps to achieve required temperatures to melt almost any metal. You can use either hand-crack or electric blower for this purpose.
Hand Crank Blower
As evident from the name, it works manually without any electric motor attached to it. The gears provide maximum speed with less effort. It allows you to carry out blacksmithing operation at places where there is no power source.
These blowers are efficient and provide a continuous amount of air supply into the forge. An electric blower is convenient to use and helps to achieve maximum forge temperature within less time.
Given below are the different forge blowers, each with specific features.
Active Heavy Duty Hand Crank Blacksmith Forge Blower
Aforge blower is an essential tool for blacksmiths. This hand-crank blacksmith forge blower is strong and its impellers are made up of aluminum. It is a heavy-duty blower, capable of performing its task in a perfect manner.
Manual Blacksmith Forge Blower (hand crank)
This hand-crank blower provides maximum air for generating more heat in a forge. It has a 1:28 gear ratio, making it easy to operate. The provision of bearings ensures a smooth operation.
Sunlar 110V 250W US Style Electric Blacksmith Forge Blower
The Sunlar 110V electric blacksmith forge Blower is a great option for beginners. It has a 4MM aluminum material for strength and durability. It produces enough air for forge or barbecue apparatus. Works with a variable speed controller.
This tool is just a large cone, usually made up of tool steel. It has a pointed top and a wide base. The basic purpose of cone mandrel is to give a perfectly round shape to hot metal. The metal is heated to a specific temperature to minimize its hardness.
After that, the hot loop of metal is placed on the cone mandrel. Once in place, blacksmith hammer it to remove any spaces between the cone and hot loop of metal. In this manner, the loop gets a perfect and flawless circular shape.
Hold Down Tools
These are the tools, which can assist a blacksmith to hold down hot metal. Especially, when you are working alone, these tools prove to be quite helpful. The hot iron is dangerous and it is sometimes hard to control it. To deal with this issue, blacksmiths have developed hold down tools, which firmly grip the iron while working on it.
The two most commonly used hold down tools are explained below.
Chain Hold Down
As the name suggests, this holds down tool uses a chain to securely hold the hot metal. The chain is secured at the front part of an anvil. Weight is tied to chain’s other end to put pressure on the metal and minimize any chances of its movement. Hence, you can work on the metal without any fear of hearting yourself of damaging the piece of stock.
Pritchel Hold Down
This hold down tool is created with spring steel and it tends to bend slightly when pressure is applied. One end of this hold down is fixed into the pritchel hole of an anvil while the other end holds on the hot metal. The pressure exerted by the spring steel firmly secures the metal placed on the surface of the anvil. This makes it possible for the blacksmith to work on the hot piece of metal without any fear of injury.
To sum up, learning about the types and uses of blacksmithing tools is essential. Each of the tools mentioned above has a specific purpose. Hence, the beginner blacksmiths must have sufficient knowledge about these tools and their specification.
Initially you may require a few of these tools but later on, you will need most of them. Hence, to become a professional blacksmith or improve your skills, you have to learn the proper use of these tools.