While professional blacksmiths have entire workshops full of equipment, all you really need to start blacksmithing is a handful of key tools. If you’re interested in pursuing a hobby or career in blacksmithing, try collecting some of these five essential tools every blacksmith needs to get started. You’ll be surprised how much you can create with just a forge and the rest of these tools. These tools will help you practice metal shaping and other crucial blacksmithing skills, which you can then use to build up to more advanced techniques over time.
The Main Tools for Blacksmithing
Fortunately for beginner blacksmiths, you don’t need an entire workshop of flashy equipment to start blacksmithing. To try your hand at the craft, all you need is a few main pieces of equipment, which you can find outlined below in more detail.
The forge is probably the most important piece of equipment for the blacksmithing process. Without a source of heat, you’d have quite a hard time shaping materials by hand. Blacksmiths use a forge or furnace to heat their working materials to hot enough temperatures that allow them to bend and shape the material. Blacksmiths also use forges to melt and smelt metallic materials to create new shapes, like during the jewelry-making process.
The anvil is the surface where you transfer the heated metals and other materials to shape and flatten them. An anvil has a large, flat surface on top that can stand up to some of the toughest conditions. Anvils are commonly made of wrought iron or cast iron and utilize a hardened steel surface. These sturdy materials are heat-resistant in order to withstand the searing heat of the metal and other working materials. Anvils also withstand repeated strikes from heavy blacksmithing hammers, which are another workshop necessity.
Blacksmithing hammers are crucial tools during the metal shaping and forming process. Hammers must also be able to handle the intense temperature of heated metal that’s been taken fresh off the forge. Blacksmithing hammers range in style, size, and shape, which creates an almost endless variety of hammers on the market. Each hammer has a different “head,” which blacksmiths use to strike the metal into distinct directions depending on the hammer. Some blacksmiths even choose to craft their own unique hammers to fit their exact needs in the workshop.
Even with the most heat-resistant gloves on the market, it would be extremely unsafe to handle forged metals without a sturdy set of tongs. Having a heavy-duty pair of tongs helps you transport heated metal safely throughout the workshop. You’ll need tongs to move your metal between the forge and the anvil, which is often a time-sensitive process.
Like tongs, vices also help you hold and support hot metallic materials in the workshop. However, instead of transporting the materials, vices lock to hold them in one place for you. This allows you more freedom to strike and shape the material with both hands instead of holding the tongs in one.
Additional Tools You Might Need
Once you have your five main blacksmithing tools, you’re ready to get started on a wide variety of metal-shaping projects and exercises. However, once you start to master these basic tools, you might want to start introducing some more advanced techniques into your work. If you’re ready to expand your blacksmithing expertise, you can also start to expand your toolshed with additional pieces of equipment. The following tools aren’t required to start blacksmithing, but they can help streamline some of the blacksmithing process and open possibilities for creating new products.
Crucibles are containers that can stand up to the heat and conditions of the blacksmithing forge. You need a crucible to start melting down metals and start smelting materials. Crucibles come in a variety of sizes and different manufacturing materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, alumina, graphite, and more. Most smiths try to avoid mixing materials in the same crucible, which means they can form quite a collection of crucibles over time.
Advanced blacksmithing techniques may require you to cool a piece of metal rapidly before heating and reshaping it again. Rather than waiting for the material to cool as it rests, blacksmiths will use a quenching fluid in a heat-safe container. Quenching materials consist of water, animal fats, and mineral oils, but some smiths even use compressed air to quickly cool their working materials. As a beginner, try using water or compressed air for your quenching techniques, as they are the most accessible to blacksmiths who are just starting out.
Blacksmithing Safety Equipment (PPE)
Finally, you should never start any type of blacksmithing project without the proper safety equipment. Blacksmithing involves working under intense conditions, such as elevated temperatures in which you breathe in smoke and fumes and break and shape sharp metal pieces. To keep yourself safe during this process, always wear and maintain the proper personal protective equipment. Safety equipment for blacksmiths includes a pair of safety goggles or glasses, a mask or respirator, heat-resistant gloves, steel-toed boots, and the right clothing. Never wear baggy or loose clothing when working near the forge. Once you have the right PPE included in your workshop, you’re ready to start forging.
Where To Find These Blacksmithing Essentials
Now that you know which tools you should be looking for, you might be wondering where to find them. Fortunately, you can find all the beginner blacksmithing tools and kits you need right here at Cast Master Elite. Browse our online store for everything from blacksmith furnaces and accessories to safety equipment. Practice with these essential tools until you start to feel more comfortable with the blacksmithing process and the techniques involved. Eventually, you’ll be ready to collect more advanced tools and start practicing new techniques.
Don’t let the pages-long glossary of blacksmithing tools and materials intimidate you. While there are many useful pieces of equipment out there that can streamline the blacksmithing process, all every blacksmith really needs is these five essential tools (and the proper safety gear) in their workshop. To get started today, you can find everything you need to start blacksmithing here at Cast Master Elite.