The blacksmith is a craftsman who creates objects from wrought iron, steel, and other metals.
Blacksmiths work with the metal in its solid form, using tools to hammer it into shape. This craft has been around for centuries and continues to be practiced today by many hobbyists.
In this article, you will find 30 tools that are considered essential for beginner blacksmiths.
A forge is a device that heats metal until it’s hot enough for shaping. It also provides the necessary air and fuel to produce a flame.
A small version of this forging tool can be made with just bricks, mud or clay, hay, and straw; whereas larger versions are typically built near the actual smithy.
The design used in blacksmithing matches almost exactly what you would find in any modern kitchen stove: rectangular box with an opening at one end covered by a mesh grate where heat escapes up into the chimney above which feeds more oxygen to keep combustion going strong as well as pushing out spent gases through exhaust vents below.
An anvil is a heavy block of metal with a hole in the top. It was traditionally used by smiths and armorers to form, shape, or compress pieces of hot steel within their tongs by using hammers on its smooth flat surface.
The advent of power tools has made this largely unnecessary as they only require one hand – leaving the other free for holding things that are being worked on and reducing strain from repetitive hammering movements which can cause hazards such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
It’s typically large enough to hold anything up to 25 lbs (11 kg). People who work professionally would need something even bigger than that because it needs to be sturdy enough not just for use but also for longevity.
Tongs are used by blacksmiths to hold pieces of hot steel so they can hammer on them with the other hand. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on what kind of metal is being worked, but typically they’re big enough to hold things up to 30 pounds.
People often mistake tongs for a clamping device or large pairs of pliers due to their shape; however, this isn’t how they behave when holding red-hot objects. The handles for tongs are typically made from wood or metal, but when holding pieces of hot steel they get heated as well. It’s important that the blacksmith doesn’t touch them with bare hands because it would cause burns.
Blacksmiths use hammers to do a variety of things, such as shaping metal into different shapes and sizes. There are many types of hammers depending on what they’re used for: ball peen hammer is wide at the top with grooves in it so that sparks fly off when struck; cross-peen hammer has two ridges running across the face which splits hot metals apart more efficiently than a regular straight or flat-faced one; mallet is usually made from wood but can also be steel and features either concave or convex faces depending on what it’s being used for (e.g., forging dies).
It’s important not to just grab any old hammer out there because most will have their own shape, weight, and balance that works better for certain tasks than others. For example, blacksmiths use a light handle hammer with a heavy head to work on small details (e.g., shaping metal into more detail like leaves).
A grinder is a machine that uses abrasives to shape or cut metal. The two main types of grinders are rotary and stationary, with the latter being more common in business settings. Grinders can be used for many purposes including cutting, shaping, sharpening edges, creating tapers/chamfers as well as removing material from hard surfaces such as concrete floors (grinding wheels). In blacksmithing, it can be used to sharpen blades or flatten plates.
The grinding wheel is mounted on a spindle which is fixed into place by means of one set screw at the top end and bottom ball bearing assembly at the other end.
The grinding wheel is typically made out of a sheet metal with sharp edges on the perimeter and may have abrasive material embedded inside it. The size, shape and hardness of edge can be adjusted to suit various applications – for example, smaller wheels are used for shaping or removing volume while larger ones are better suited for cutting through thick steel plates.
In addition to common circular shapes such as disks and drums, other cross-sections including squares, rectangles or triangles can also be used depending on application needs.
The sander is a tool that’s used to sand down the rough edges of metal. It works by vibrating and spinning sandpaper on an orbital motion to remove material from surfaces. The sander is often used to remove burrs or sharp edges on metal.
Blacksmiths use sanders when they need to smooth out uneven surfaces, and also want the surface of their products looking like it came from a factory rather than having an unfinished look.
The belt grinder works in conjunction with the sander by using abrasive belts as opposed to sandpaper, which provides a more fine finished product. The belt grinder will grind down material that has been removed by the sander until everything looks uniformed. This tool is much better for those who are interested in working on small detailed projects such as jewelry making and knife crafting.
Heat resistant aprons are typically made of canvas and maintained for protection against the intense heat that is generated from welding. They can be used by blacksmiths to prevent burns or discoloration on their skin.
Aprons also protect clothing, especially when working with molten steel, which may leave burn marks in the fabric. The apron should cover all exposed skin as it will inevitably get dirty along with any clothes worn underneath.
Plus, heat and fire resistance is a must when you’re working in a blacksmithing workshop.
The glove is one of the most protective equipment for a blacksmith. It’s used to protect your hand from heat. The best gloves are made out of leather and lined with cotton batting, but you can also find them in other materials like canvas or plastic depending on what they’re needed for and where they’ll be used.
Blacksmith boots are one of the important things you need to work in a blacksmith workshop. They protect your feet from sparks, slag, and other hot materials that come into contact with them during metal-working operations.
This protection is very important for people who want to become full-time professional blacksmiths as an accidental spill can cause severe injury.
Boots should be water-resistant and must not retain heat so they would be comfortable throughout an entire day’s work without having aches all over the foot while walking up hillsides at night after finishing working hours. The material used for making these shoes should also provide support such as leather which will make standing still more bearable. There are a lot of different types of boots so choosing the right one can be difficult.
The best option would probably be a steel-toed work boot, which is made with high-quality leather and will provide enough protection while working on hot materials that may come into contact with our feet. Those who want more comfort might like this type because it uses gel cushions in the heels for added support and insulation against heat. This means all-day footwear without having aches or soreness after hours of standing still longer periods than usual!
10. Heat Shield
A shield is a large piece of protective barrier that can prevent the heat from reaching you. A blacksmith’s work often involves intense fires and forge, so the part of their body in contact with these areas needs to be protected as much as possible.
The best way to do this is by wearing something like a heavy coat or leather pants over your clothing – but it may not always be feasible when working as those apparells makes it hard to move around.
One solution comes in the form of a sheet-like device that prevents direct exposure to flames while still allowing them enough room for movement around. It consists of two wall sections connected by hinges; one shielding the top half (from shoulders up) and another guarding below (typically from the waist down). The front section will typically have a metal grate over the top to protect from sparks and flames, often made of steel or iron.
With this shield in place, the blacksmith is able to work as needed and get up close to the fire without fear of injury.
11. Face Shield
Faceshield is another key component in a blacksmith’s toolbox. It’s a transparent face covering that can protect your face from sparks and heat while allowing you to see through it. This lightweight face wear is made of plastic, glass, and metal with cushioning inside for comfort.
You can use safety goggles instead of a face shield, in case you are not comfortable with it.
Chisels are among the most basic blacksmithing tools. They come in many shapes and sizes, to fit all sorts of tasks. The angles on their edges can be anything from a few degrees up to nearly perpendicular with the ground surface – these ones are called “beveled.” Chisel blades also vary in widths, thicknesses, lengths — even colors!
Chisels are typically used for shaping metal, especially in the process of forging. They can also be useful as cutting tools to form joints with other pieces of sheet metal — but they’re not at all necessary for blacksmithing! You can do their job with other tools, but that’ll take more time than expected.
Blacksmiths commonly use chisels on anvils or hardy blocks; these surfaces provide a smooth surface against which sharp blades can strike without damaging them too much.
Blacksmiths also use chisels to create decorative cuts in the metal, like beading along edges or designs on the surface of pieces. These can give them more personality and make them easier to identify later if they get mixed up with similar-looking items!
Chisels often have a blade width between 12mm and 14mm; narrower blades will not usually work well because blacksmith tools need some heft behind their blows when shaping metal.
Larger blades might leave dents in softer metals though so it’s important to know what you’re working with before buying any new tool! The shape of these blades is typically either triangular (called “diamond cut”) or rectangular (called “square cut”).
Square blades are good for cutting chunks of metal out to create a hollow space, while the triangular shape is often better suited to making smoother curves.
Chisels can be used as punches too! They’re also handy for striking against anvils in order to pound dents into steel pieces, which helps them keep their strength.
The difference between chisels and punches is that chisels have a longer reach than punches do because they extend all the way from one end of the handle (the part you hold) down to the other side where it’s shaped like a blade.
Chisels are generally made of steel or carbide, but some blacksmiths will also use softer metals if they’re working on copper because it can be easier to control the chisel’s movement and get more detail in their work that way.
The blades for these tools should always be sharpened before each new project – especially when you start using them as punches- otherwise, they might end up catching on corners and causing damage to your metal piece instead of cutting smoothly through it! If you plan on pushing heavy weight with your punch (like punching holes into thicker materials), then make sure that the handle is long enough so you don’t put too much strain on your wrist muscles while hammering away.
Use a vise to hold work in place while shaping it with metalworking tools. A vice can be as simple, or complex, as the smith needs them to be – from one jawed craftsman’s clamp, all the way up to industrial equipment found at factories and shipyards.
For most jobs though you’ll want an adjustable three-jaw (or more) model that will grip round pieces of stock securely without damaging the edges, and allow for precision placement on your anvil.
A fuller is a forging tool used for shaping metal, typically one with a concave blade and convex edge that resembles the letter “D”. The D-shaped cross section of the Fuller creates two narrow bands on either side of a wider band in which it cuts. This leaves an indentation or fullering on the surface of the object being shaped. Fullers are also known as ‘rippers’ because they tear out material from inside corners to make them smooth when bent around sharp curves while forging flat panels together.
This tool is great for spreading the metal efficiently which is pretty hard to achieve with a regular hammer. However, you’ll need to use hammer to even out the surface because fullers make uneven spreads of the metal piece.
15. Forging Press
A forging press is a type of machine used to shape metal using pressure. It consists of two parts: the lower die and upper punch which are brought together by means of connecting rods or levers in order to exert force on the workpiece (usually heated first).
The process begins with heating the bar stock, then placing it between the dies. Applying high amounts of pressure from above, this causes an intense squeezing action as well as sudden localized heating due to contact with both surfaces at once which allows for shaping that would not be achievable through cold working alone.
Some people may get confused between a shop press and a forging press. Remember this to easily distinguish them, the Earlier one goes slow while the latter one works like an automatic hammer.
16. Forging Dies
Blacksmithing Dies are used to shaping metal, cut through it, and perform other complicated tasks. Die-cutting dies can be made of many different materials including steel or aluminum with carbide inserts that help them last longer. Forging dies come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the type of product being created.
When creating forged products from flat bar stock, for example, you might need something like a U-die. This U-shaped die creates three pieces at once when placed around the edge of a piece of flat bar.
17. Punch Set
A punch set is essential for every blacksmith. It can be used to mark, shape, and bend metal into desired shapes using different punches on the end of a shaft (most often made from steel).
The other tools in this list are also very important but the punch set is one that cannot be overlooked. A popular use of this tool would be marking hot iron with nails or pins before it cools off so an artisan knows where they want to cut. This way you don’t have to guess!
A drift is a hand tool used by blacksmiths. Blacksmiths use drifts to make holes in metal, typically using the pointed end of the tool as a punch. You may also see references to other tools that do not have handles and are called punches or dollies (especially for smaller work).
Drifts are used by blacksmiths who need to create specific shapes when forging metal. This includes making holes where they want, shaping edges into decorative curves, punching out circles so they can be cut out with an “eyeing saw” or shearing them off with cold cutting methods like an angle grinder.
Drift punches come in many different sizes from small ones made specifically for jewelry makers all the way up to massive ones designed for heavy-duty industrial jobs.
Swages can be used to shape pieces of metal or other materials. They are typically cylindrical and have a convex curvature that forces material into the interior where it is then worked with an additional tool, such as a die-swage or punch swage for forming large hollows in steel plates which will form molds for casting molten iron.
Some common uses include: bending edges down onto surfaces they abut; bending sheets around corners by placing one edge over another while maintaining contact between them at all points; and forcing flat shapes into shallow basins so that their outer surface becomes concave (a “dish”).
In addition to shaping metal, swages are also used for other purposes: forming wire into loops and eyelets; cutting off the excess length from a bolt or screw thread so that it may be threaded more easily in the opposite direction.
Flatter is an important part of a blacksmith’s toolset. They are used to flatten metal for forging purposes and can be made from either steel or iron. A plate may also be referred to as a smooth-faced hammer, and will typically have more mass than other hammers such as the ball-pein hammer.
Mandrels are a very important blacksmithing tool. They’re used to hold the metal in place for shaping and forming, as well as for drawing out wire into long lengths or shapes.
Mandrel shaft sizes can vary from small (just big enough to grip with your fingers) up through massive mandrels that require several people just to turn them by hand!
The most common size is about 12-14 inches in length and an inch wide, but you’ll need at least one of each size if not more. These are great in turning metal into a circular shape.
22. Bolster Plate
A bolster plate is a flat piece that attaches to the anvil at one end and then hangs over the edge of the anvil. It’s commonly used for holding pieces in place while striking them with another metal tool, like a chisel or punch.
You can also use it for drawing out (elongating) iron bars so they become more flexible and easier to bend into various shapes—like horseshoes!
The bolster plate has two holes near each end that you slide your tools through when using them on the workpiece below. Bolster plates are available commercially from specialty blacksmith supply shops; however, if you want something specific made just for what you need, try making it yourself by cutting out any kind of rigid material like metal or steel to size and then drilling the necessary holes.
A reamer is a forging tool used for enlarging holes. A blacksmith can use reamers to make holes larger in order to add or remove parts of an object.
The process usually starts with using the reamer’s cutting edge, which has teeth that are shaped like a half-moon and have deep grooves on one side, to cut away some metal from the opening. The backside of the blade will simply push the material outwards so it doesn’t get caught up when going through.
24. Hardy Tools
A good blacksmith needs all of the tools listed, but if you’re just starting out some good place to start would be a hardy tool. Hardy tools are used for shaping metal by tearing it with different angles and shapes along its length.
These types of hand tools were originally made from iron, which is still common today. However, because steel does not break as easily or distort when hammered like iron can do, we now mostly use high-carbon steel.
25. Tuning Forks
Tuning forks are used for bending metal pieces by using the two iron rods. You can insert a hot metal piece in between the rods and then hammer the workpiece to achieve a perfect bend.
The tuning fork is struck by a hammer then held firmly against the surface being bent until it reaches full relaxation when its vibrations slow down over time. This causes microscopic fractures in the material which become stresses that work together with natural forces and produce deformation around the area where they intersect; this process will continue until all parts have been uniformly heated up enough for permanent shaping to take place.
26. Anvil Devils
Anvil Devil is a common type of anvil used in forging. They are usually made out of cast iron and can weigh up to a ton, though some may be smaller or lighter depending on their size.
Anvils have two sides, one flat side for striking metal with a hammer and another that is rounder called “the face.” The shape at the top of the anvil which faces upwards is known as “The Horn”. This part has good weight distribution because it’s positioned right above where you would grab hold when using your arm strength to strike an object down onto it with a hammer or striker rather than trying to force all your bodyweight like you would have to do with a table-top anvil.
However, the anvil devil is a triangular-shaped metal piece on which you can rest the heated metal piece and use hammer blows to create V-shaped notches.
27. Monkey Tools
A monkey tool is a metal rod with an open slot cut along the length of the rod. Monkey tools are used as simple punches, or they can be heated up and used to bend other metals over them.
They’re typically made from round steel bar stock that has been ground flat on one side for punching work and curved inwards at each end so it may be gripped securely by tongs when heating (to avoid injury). Other materials such as brass, copper, aluminum, lead solder will also get hot enough if not hotter than iron but may require more effort.
28. Marking Tools
Marking tools are used to mark or create lines in the metal.
Lines can be straight, curved, or angled as long as there is a point of reference for measurement. Some marking tools include files and rasps which are generally cutting and shaping tools with different shapes on their edge and face.
You should get a set of blacksmith marking tools that allow you to create all kinds of marking on the workpiece without touching the hot metal piece.
29. Wire Brush
A wire brush is a hand tool with long, stiff bristles set into a head at an angle. The bristles remove rust and paint from metal surfaces.
Blacksmith uses this to create their own finish on the product they are making or repairing in order to give it that nice luster it should have. It also helps them get rid of any dirt or other debris left behind by sanding so there aren’t any visible marks when you’re finished working.
A pyrometer is a tool that measures the temperature of objects through infrared radiation. A blacksmith may use a pyrometer to measure the temperature of an object before beginning the process. The blacksmith also can make adjustments to his work as necessary if he notices that it’s too hot or cold.
With all these tools at your fingertips, there is no excuse to not have a good quality result. Whether you’re an expert or just getting started with the blacksmithing hobby, this list of 30 forging tools should be enough for any blacksmith enthusiast.
If you have limitations, start with basic tools (1-11) at first and expand your tools once you are seriously into the profession.