We all have our favorite blacksmiths from history, fiction, and other media, but have you ever wondered whether this career is still relevant today? When many people think of blacksmiths, they picture the profession from its medieval days. But you might be surprised to learn about the current status of blacksmithing as a profession. Keep reading to learn whether blacksmiths still exist in the modern day.
Do Modern-Day Blacksmiths Exist?
The short answer: yes, blacksmiths still exist in the modern day. However, their workshops and applications look a lot different from those of blacksmiths throughout history or the blacksmiths you see in video games and other fictional media. Today’s blacksmiths use modern technology combined with traditional smithing techniques to create everything from beautiful art pieces to tools we use every day. Modern blacksmiths use state-of-the-art furnaces to smelt metals, which they then craft into tools, accessories, art, and even replica weapons. Many smiths practice their skills professionally, but even more use blacksmithing as a hobby and create or sell their art on a smaller scale.
Different Types of Modern-Day Blacksmiths
“Blacksmith” is a general term for a profession that has many distinct branches and applications and that produces a variety of products. There are many different types of blacksmiths even in the modern day. Keep reading to learn more about the different categories of blacksmiths, what their work consists of, and the products they produce.
Artisan blacksmiths are smiths that use blacksmithing techniques to create art out of metal materials. Artisan blacksmiths might offer their works for sale in local galleries or art shows. Some artisan smiths even take their wares to local craft fairs or flea markets and set up their own booths. You might find an artisan smith this summer when visiting your local Renaissance fair. These professional-level blacksmiths often host workshops and show their skills at fairs and reenactment events.
Silversmiths are a type of blacksmith that work with silver to create handmade jewelry and other decorative pieces. In fact, jewelrysmithing is its own type of metal smithing that artisan blacksmiths often practice.
Blacksmithing techniques are utilized in many industrial careers today. Many professions aren’t specifically called blacksmiths, but industrial workers such as welders, construction workers, and metalworkers, utilize and practice the same techniques as many blacksmiths. In fact, many of the tools, utensils, and mass-produced items we use daily are thanks to these techniques.
Hobbyist blacksmiths have a range of skill levels and experience. Someone just getting into the blacksmithing craft and people who craft alongside holding another full-time job would fall into the hobbyist blacksmith category. Hobbyists may set up their own workshops at home, rent out spaces, take blacksmithing classes locally, and more. Some hobbyists practice their skills just for fun, while others may choose to sell their creations locally or online. Craft fairs and markets are popular places to find blacksmithing creations and creators from a range of ability and experience levels.
Other Types of Smiths
Television shows such as Forged in Fire have brought attention to the smithing community. The smiths on these shows use blacksmithing techniques to craft weapons as a bladesmith would. Bladesmiths often craft replica weapons, swords, knives, and more. They study blade creation and repair, and some even run their own repair shops. Some other types of smiths include brownsmiths, coinsmiths, locksmiths, gunsmiths, arrowsmiths, and more.
Many people picture farriers in place of blacksmiths. When the average person thinks of a blacksmith, odds are, they think of someone who shoes horses. It’s true that blacksmiths can craft horseshoes, but farriers are the ones who fit the horseshoes and tend to the horses’ hooves. Blacksmiths might create horseshoes, but they don’t always know how to attach them and care for the horses themselves.
How To Become a Modern Blacksmith
Anyone can become a modern blacksmith with the right training, equipment, and practice. If you’re interested in learning the craft, consider taking a local smithing course to learn the basics. Be sure you have a grasp of the equipment and safety measures that professional smiths use before you attempt to create anything on your own. Once you feel comfortable, work your way up to rental spaces or even consider investing in your own personal equipment to create a home workshop.
If you’re looking for a career in blacksmithing, you’ll want to start with a high school diploma or degree from a relevant major or trade school. Consider taking any local courses that colleges and experienced smiths have to offer. Once you understand the basics, you can collect your own tools and equipment to practice with and build your own portfolio of work. Finally, you’ll need to market your skills and reach out to other local blacksmiths who are searching for apprentices.
Equipment Modern Blacksmiths Use
Modern smiths utilize a range of tools and equipment. Whether you’re a trained professional or a hobbyist who’s just getting started, the blacksmithing basics that everyone needs include a forge or furnace, a crucible, hammers, an anvil, and safety gear. Never start smithing on your own without safety equipment such as heat-resistant gloves, goggles, a mask or respirator, and steel-toed boots. You’ll also need metals to start melting. Many blacksmiths work with steel or iron to start, though some choose to work with precious metals. Each metal has its own unique melting point, which the blacksmith will need to know for the smelting process.
We hope this in-depth look at modern blacksmithing has helped you realize that, yes, blacksmiths do still exist in the modern day and that smithing is a very profitable and rewarding career for many people. The blacksmithing profession is still alive and well, and many other types of smiths are active and selling their wares today.
If you’re interested in exploring the various smithing careers, consider stocking up on your own smelting equipment, which we offer right here at Cast Master Elite. We can answer any questions you may have about the tools and techniques you need for blacksmithing.