- Blacksmithing Anvils - I have a real time listing of anvils on the ebay site, right here on this website.
- Hardy Tools - These are among the most important part of any blacksmithing shop and they can make the job so much easier. Here is a real time listing on ebay.
- Forges and Forge accessories like coal This is the heart of the blacksmith shop and it can be expensive. But you can get some great deals on ebay.
- Blacksmithing Products - Here I have a selection of various products you can buy.
A Look at Blacksmithing Equipment
If you are new to the art and craft of blacksmithing I have put together a little guide for you. This is a look at blacksmithing equipment.
The Big Three!
First let's take a look at the biggest three equipment needs. Big as in size and cost.
- The Forge - This is, of course, where you will heat up the metal you are smithing. And it isn't just a matter of heating up wood or coal. It has to be specially made to contain very hot flames and it has to have a way to inject air into the fire (bellows or fan) . It also has to have a way to easily remove the used up materials as in klinkers. You can make one like I have in my tutorial here. Or you can buy one.
- There are two major types of forges named by what type of fuel they burn: Coal Forges and Gas Forges. The coal forge is the more traditonal and it comes in a very wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. They are usually made from steel, cast iron, stone, or brick. And they will have some kind of a system to blow air into the fire. This could be by bellows or by an electric fan.
- Gas Stove - These use propane or natural gas as the fuel. They have benefits and drawbacks. One of the benefits is the ease of acquiring propane or gas. Another benefit is that you can get a very uniform heat in a large area so you can put more objects in the fire without burning any of them. Some of the drawbacks include the inherent dangers of gas and propane and that these forges tend to be small which limits size of items you can work on.
- A Very important consideration: When considering a forge you really have to think about a few different factors like the size of your blacksmithing area, the layout of the forge, anvil and tools and how you will guide the fumes and heat away from the work area through a chimney or flue.
- The Anvil - Everybody knows what an anvil on . It is where a blacksmith hammers his work right? Well yes but there is a lot more to an anvil than that. They are carefully designed and made to suit a wide variety of smithing functions. To get started you can make an anvil out of a section of railroad track. But if you want to get serious you will need to have a real anvil. They vary in weight from about 100 pounds upward of over 300 pounds. If you are just getting started a 100 pound anvil is a good all purpose beginners size. Generally, if you intend to keep after blacksmithing you should get something bigger. Get one as big as you can afford and fit! Amazon has anvils here
- One last thought on anvils: Something very important to consider is what you are going to set your anvil on. This is very important. It makes a difference in how the anvil reacts to your hammering and it makes a big difference in your fatigue. The picture of the anvil on the right shows how it is set on a very solid and sturdy wooden log that is oriented with the grain vertical. Some blacksmiths will even set the log a foot or more into the earth which makes it even better
- The Fuel - This is a regular expense and it is worth some consideration when choosing a forge. Natural Gas can be piped in and propane can be bought in tanks. This ease of procuring fuel is one of the benefits of a gas forge. But if you are using a coal forge you have to plan your procurement of fuel more carefully: You can't use briquets in the bag like you would use in a barbecue. It just doesn't get hot enough. You have to get real coal or get wood that has been burnt into coal.
- Buying Coal - There is a type of coal called "Blacksmiths coal" It is a metallurgical grade coal and it is the best choice for smithing. You can buy this by the hundred pound weight and even by the ton. I recommend you buy a small sample first so you can try it before you commit to a larger amount.
- Making Coal - This is a good option to make some excellent coal for your own use. But it does take some time and some extra equipment. This is what all blacksmiths used to use. I have a tutorial on how to make your own coal here: How to make Blacksmithing coal You pressure heat split logs of wood in this process. And the picture here on the left shows a batch of this homemade charcoal.
- Bags of Lump Hardwood Charcoal - You are probably familiar with the bags of charcoal briquets you can buy for barbecuing. You can also buy something called Lump Charcoal that comes in similar sized bags. This is the same kind of coal that you would make yourself. In the bag it doesn't look like briquets. It looks like (and is) pieces of wood that have been burnt into coal. It works very well for smithing. They even have it on amazon.com : HARDWOOD LUMP CHARCOAL 20LB - 20 Pound - Black
Just like any other art, craft or trade we could talk about hand tools forever. There is a practically infinite variety of tools that a blacksmith can use and one of the neat things about blacksmithing is that you can make your own tools too. Even tools for very specialized jobs like holding uniquely shaped pieces of metal and more. But let me review some of the basic tools for a beginner to get started with. Amazon has a whole section devoted to blacksmith tools right here
- Hammers: These come in a very wide variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Typically you can start out with a cross peen blacksmith hammer that weighs three pounds and has a hickory handle. This is my recommendation for a good start. As you work more with smithing you will want and need different hammers with all kinds of variations including different head shapes so you can easily manipulate your work in different ways.
- Tongs - You are manipulating and handling very hot metal! You need something to hold it while you are moving it or working on it. This is done with tongs. Normally you would use tongs that have longer handles than the tongs shown in the picture. And tongs come in a variety of specialty shapes including plain bar tongs and flat tongs and tongs made for holding bolts and links. You can of course make your own tongs too. Amazon has tongs right here
- Leg Vise - This is a large vise that you mount to the side of a bench or the side of a wooden stand or log. You can clamp pieces into it. The thing about a leg vise that makes it special is that it actually has a leg on it that extends down to the ground. This makes it capable of taking the hammering that a blacksmith will do on it.
Anvil related Tools and equipment
- Hardie Tools (aka Hardy Tools) You can see in the picture on the right the anvil has two holes in the surface. The square hole is called a Hardie hole and you place tools in this. The square shape of the hole is important because it prevents the tool from rotating while you are using it. Hardie tools are extremely useful and you will find yourself using them all the time for a wide variety of functions. The most common type of hardie tool is the cutoff tool. It is shaped like a wedge with the sharp end facing up. The sharp edge is a cutting edge. You place the heated metal on this edge then hammer down on it and it cuts off the metal. Another type of hardie tool is the bending tool like shown in the second picture. You can use the posts to bend metal into a variety of shapes.
- Amazon - Just a couple of years ago there were no anvils on amazon. Now there are and because of like I said, there is a demand for them. Anvils on amazon
- Other Tools: You will also need a variety of other tools including wire brushes, and an assortment of files and rasps. And there are fire and forge maintenance tools you will need including a poker, and a hooked poker. You will also need a quenching tub for quenching your hot metal.
Books are a very important piece of related material
when it comes to blacksmithing. They might not be traditionally
thought of as "equipment" but they are a valuable additon to your
I have a selection of recommended blacksmithing books here
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