Cost is an important consideration when deciding whether to start a blacksmith’s shop or an at-home forge. If you want to start blacksmithing, these costs can be daunting.
The cost of blacksmithing equipment depends on its brand and quality, and beginner’s blacksmith equipment is cheaper than expert equipment. Overall, blacksmithing equipment will likely cost over $1000 if you buy new equipment, and could be about $500-$600 if you purchase it used or make your own.
The main equipment you will need for blacksmithing includes hammers, tongs, anvils, and forges. Read on to learn more about the associated costs of individual equipment.
When purchasing a forge, you could get a coal forge, a gas forge, or make your own.
Typically, the coal and gas forges could cost over $300, while a homemade forge is less than $100 if you already have the necessary equipment.
The forge’s price depends on the brand; however, because coal and gas forges often have comparable pricing, you may find it difficult to choose what type to purchase.
This video compares coal and gas forges in case you need to see tangible differences other than price:
Coal forges emit very intense heat, making them good for wrought iron. Furthermore, they heat from one side, so it is easy to localize heat on one part of your metal.
They are also very versatile and can be used for large or small workpieces due to their large size. A coal forge will last over ten years, making it a worthy investment.
However, coal forges emit a lot of smoke, so if you have lung problems or neighbors who may complain, this choice may not be ideal for you.
They are also dirty and will create ashes and soot, so if you work out of your garage or do not have your own building for forging, you may not want to risk creating a very dirty workspace.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that coal forges, of course, use coal, which may raise your costs of blacksmithing.
You will have to buy coal for your forge, increasing its associated costs, especially if you are new to working with a coal forge and may burn through more coal.
Depending on the brand, coal forges may cost $500-$800 on average.
Gas forges are very easy to regulate, as you can set your temperature and insert your piece, then leave it alone for a while as you work on other pieces.
Generally, these forges require less careful monitoring than a coal forge and may save you time and effort.
Furthermore, they are very clean, making them a great option for at-home blacksmithing.
Unfortunately, gas forge lining tends to wear down over time, so you may have associated costs for maintenance.
Like coal forges, gas forges usually cost $300-$800, but the most expensive forges are very large and may not be necessary for you if you do not work with very large pieces.
For a very cheap forge, you can make your own.
To do this, you would need a solid steel basin such as a charcoal grill or old sink, a black pipe to direct airflow, a grate to cover the pipe, a blower (such as an old hairdryer) and coal.
Overall, this would be very cheap, especially if you already have most of the supplies at home.
Assuming you are able to reuse household supplies to make this forge, you would only have to pay for the coal, such as this Blacksmithing and Heating Coal. (Amazon affiliate link)
Cheaper gas forges, such as this CAST Master Elite USA Portable Double Burner Propane Blacksmith Farrier Caster Kit, can be found on Amazon.
For beginners blacksmiths, gas forges under $400 can be very effective and reliable.
However, many high-quality gas forges run an upwards of $800 and may last longer than a cheaper forge or have enhanced features.
These brands may be larger and offer more flexibility for piece size, making them a great option for seasoned blacksmiths.
Tongs are another vital aspect of blacksmithing, and there are many varieties intended for a multitude of uses.
Some types of tongs include fire tongs and rivet tongs.
Fire tongs are often used to hold horseshoes during shaping and are also used for many versatile practices around the forge. Rivet tongs are used to pull rivets out of the fire and hold them during shaping.
From Centaur Forge’s website, large fire tongs cost about $70, while smaller fire tongs cost about $35. Rivet tongs were $39, and the general price range was about $30-$80.
Anvils can be very large and expensive but are good investments because they can last forever.
Anvil pricing depends on its weight, brand, and quality, but could range from $300 to over $1000.
This may seem like a steep price, but the right anvil will last forever with the proper upkeep, so they can be worth it.
Cheaper brands will range from $300-$500 depending on weight, while more expensive or high-quality anvil brands could cost up to $1500.
You can choose your anvil based on the price that is right for you and on the type of metalworking you will complete with your anvil.
However, if you want to save money on an anvil, you can find used anvils for about $1-2 per pound.
Theoretically, this means you can find a good-size anvil for less than $200. Clearly, anvil pricing depends on needs, but a small used anvil is not a bad option for new or aspiring blacksmiths.
Like other equipment, prices of hammers will range depending on the brand and type of hammer you buy, but blacksmithing hammers can range from $20 to over $100.
Heavier hammers are more expensive, and you will probably want a hammer that is at least two pounds.
A nice two-pound hammer can be found at a good price on Amazon, such as this Picard 0000811-1000 Blacksmiths’ hammer. (Affiliate link)
Blacksmith’s Post Leg Vise
Your blacksmith post leg vise is important, as it withstands very heavy weight and force while you hammer and shape your iron.
A good vise will withstand years of use, but the wrong vise may easily bend or break. Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing a high-quality vise despite the extra price to ensure you do not have to buy a new one after only a few years’ use.
While you could buy a bench vise, purchasing a vise specifically for blacksmithing is important because they are much less likely to break or be worn down with use.
Furthermore, while good vises can be expensive, they will last longer and are less likely to bend than cheaper vises.
In general, a good vise is worth about $2 per pound. If you buy a used vise, you could find one that is cheaper, often for less than $200.
However, if you buy firsthand from a site such as Blacksmiths Depot, a blacksmith post leg vise will likely cost over $300.
Overall, the price of blacksmithing equipment has a vast range depending on quality, size, and how much the equipment has been used.
While new equipment can cost over $1000 or much more if the tools are high-quality, you can find used equipment or make your own to increase the equipment’s affordability.
Price does not necessarily have to be a limiting factor, and with the right scraps, you can create an affordable blacksmith’s forge, saving money while doing something you enjoy.
Cheers, tools owners!