If you’ve googled about blacksmith tools, you’ve probably come across a whole bunch of them. But the truth is, you don’t need all of them just to get started. In this article, I’ll discuss the essential tools that are used by blacksmiths all over the globe.
A professional blacksmith may use many different types of tools in his career. It all depends on the job. However, some of the most commonly and most-frequently-used tools are:
Merely giving you a list of tools isn’t that helpful. You want to know why these are the must-have tools, right? Let’s discuss why they are some of the essential assets to have if you’re going to get into blacksmithing.
8 Tools That Every Blacksmith Uses
Here’s a list of the eight most critical tools you’ll need if you want to get into blacksmithing.
All of these tools are readily available online, so if you want to begin your journey as a blacksmith, you shouldn’t have too much trouble gathering the required gear.
Forge is the fire where you heat the iron. Forges come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very sophisticated, while others are rather simple.
The key to the forge is its ability to contain the fire you create to heat the metal. A blacksmith needs to make sure that the forge is sturdy, includes a quality means of controlling airflow into the fire, and has an outlet for the smoke that comes off of the fire.
Blacksmiths also have a readily available water source around, just in case something goes wrong.
Most forges are made of brick or cast-iron. Both materials can withstand high temperatures and offer a reliable means of containing your fire.
Read here if you want to know about forge costs.
The hammer is used to pound the metal into shape. Most blacksmiths will acquire many specialized hammers throughout their lifetime.
However, it is only essential to have one type of hammer to begin working with iron. Most blacksmith hammers will weigh between one and a half and three pounds.
Hammers come in various shapes, sizes, and types. A Cross-peen hammer is the most commonly used one.
Blacksmiths use it to move the iron in a direction vertical to the hammer. Another common one is the rounding hammer, which is used to pound metal into shape.
Quality anvils are incredibly durable, and if treated well, could last for hundreds of years. You might be surprised to know that most sought-after anvils tend to be 80 years or older.
But like the hammer, it is not essential to have a quality anvil to begin working iron. Many blacksmiths around the world do fantastic work using whatever hard surface they can find.
Some people use a large piece of solid metal, some find pieces of railroad tracks and use that as an anvil alternative.
In contrast, some others will find an inexpensive cast-iron anvil at a hardware store and begin using that.
In addition to an anvil, you will also need a good stand to put your anvil on. Read more about this here.
Okay, now we have a forge, a hammer, and an anvil. But sometimes, we feel the need to cut things.
One of the best ways to do that is with a simple chisel.
Blacksmiths use chisels to cut both hot and cold metal. Short and thick chisels are used to cut cold metals, while hot metals require thinner and longer chisels.
The blacksmith places the chisel at the part of the metal he wants to slit. Then, he hits the end of the tool with a hammer to create the cut.
It is placed at an angle of 60 degrees if the intent is to cut cold metal and at 30 degrees if the metal is hot. Chisels are often used together with a tool called Hardy. We’ll talk about it in a moment.
Tongs, also known as clamps, come in several different shapes and sizes.
The blacksmith uses tongs to hold the hot metal while he works on it. He may use a variety of them.
The main aim with tongs is to grasp material of any shape or size firmly, so you can heat it in the forge, take it out and hold it securely while working on the metal.
You’ll notice that these tongs usually have a long handle. This is so that you can easily place metal into the forge without taking your hand too close to it.
Depending on the type of operation, a blacksmith may use flat-nose, pick-up, or hollow tongs.
Check the video above if you want to see some punches in action
Punches look a lot like chisels, and a beginner can easily mistake them for chisels. However, the key difference to note is that punches have a very pointy surface.
Blacksmiths use a punch to create holes in the metal. They can be square, round, or almost any other shape, depending on the job.
You can imagine how someone would go about creating holes with this tool.
The blacksmith places the pointy end of the punch on hot metal. Then, he strikes its back end with a hammer until a hole is made.
He also dips the punch in cold water to not dull its pointed face due to overheating.
Chisels are great, but what if you want to shape the metal more effectively and precisely? Hardy tools are designed to do just that.
A hardy tool is an “accessory” that can be inserted in the anvil hardy hole also known as the square hole.
As you can imagine, much like all other blacksmith tools, hardies are of many types as well. But here are three of the most common hardies you’ll find:
- Cutting tool – This tool is shaped like a wedge and has a sharp edge. If you want to cut metal at a particular point, you will use a cutting tool.
- Bending tool – This tool acts as a mold for hot metal. It’s a straightforward way to bend the metal into any shape you want, giving you a clean, perfect bend.
- Swage tool – Swage tools also come in a lot of different shapes. Blacksmiths use them to shape hot metal in particular ways. It helps them mold the metal into final, definite shapes.
Check the video above if you want to see a nice variety of cone mandrel sizes. There is also a huge one.
Bending things around the horn of the anvil is pretty straightforward and works quite well, but it’s not always ideal.
The solution is to have something that is more cylindrical than the horn of the anvil. The horn tapers in funny directions, and its radius isn’t the same around it.
Cone mandrels, or simply mandrels, are used to ensure that pieces of metal are perfectly round.
How do you do it? Well, you take a hot loop of metal and place it on the cone mandrel.
Then, you hammer the metal until you’re sure that there’s no light between the mandrel and the metal loop. Cone mandrels also come in various sizes.
These were some of the most common tools that blacksmiths use. You might have already heard about some or all of these tools.
This article aimed to introduce you to the most-frequently-used tools in the industry. These are the tools that you must have if you’re thinking of getting into blacksmithing.
Other than that, it entirely depends on what kind of objects you’ll be doing.
So if you have these tools in your backyard and have learned how to use them correctly, consider yourself ready to start forging and hammering!
I hope this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your future iron creations!
Cheers tools owners!