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Blacksmithing a Coin

This is a tutorial where I take you through the process of how I figured out how to blacksmith a coin. It's an interesting process and it isn't 100% complete. I have more work to do on on this project.

I will show you the coin that I have so far. But I am doing some more work to get a better looking coin.




There are different ways to make coins. And using a press is the most common. You stamp the coins with extreme high pressure. That's an efficient way to do it. But I really wanted to actually "blacksmith" a coin.

In this tutorial I will take you through the process that I followed.

And a project like this encompasses a whole lot of different skills and techniques. Let's have some fun exploring how to blacksmith a coin!


I also have a comprehensive list of tools and materials I used for this project. You can see that list here. If you are interested in making coins this list will help, particularly with the metals.





Quick Overview

Concept picture 1

This picture shows the concept of how the coins will be struck. There are two dies. Those are the cylindrical objects. A blank coin is heated and placed between the dies. And the top die is struck with a hammer.

The dies have the coin pattern engraved on them as you can see in the next picture. Because the coin blank is red hot it is soft. And this means that when the dies strike the coin they will mold it, leaving an impression on the hot coin on both sides.

Concept picture 2


Initial Design Work

The process starts with two things. First I decided what size coin that I wanted to make. I cut out circles of paper and looked at a variety of round objects like bottle caps. I also went through a lot of coins that I have. I settled on a coin that is 1.5 inches in diameter.

It's a beefy sized coin. But that's exactly what I wanted.

From there I started drawing out ideas both for the head side of the coin and the tail side. This is a fun part of the process.

Practice designs on paper


But there were some definite limitations for me. I did not know how any of the coin making process would go and in particular how much detail I would be able to get out of the coin. So I kept the designs simple.

I settled on a simple sword on one side and a simple castle tower on the other side.


Sculpting Samples

A coin, with an impression on it, is a three dimensional bas-relief. It has depth. So, how should it be carved? You see we are not actually carving the coin. We are carving something called a die set. These dies will be pressed against the coin to shape it.

Here is a look at the concept.

There are two dies. I will carve the coin on each of these. A coin blank will go inside the collar then I will strike the top die. This will squeeze the coin blank and impress on it the pattern on the top and bottom die.

I started figuring this out by carving two different coins of a sword. The one on the left has the sword cut into the clay. The one on the right has the coin raised up out of the clay. Can you see how when pressed into a hot coin blank they will create very different coins?

The negative image on the left will leave a positive on the coin.

And the positive image on the right will create a negative in the actual coin.

To do these tests I used a product called "Green Stuff" or "Kneadatite". It is a two part modeling epoxy. You mix the two parts together then you have about two hours to sculpt until it hardens.


I also have a tutorial on sculpting miniature fantasy figures with a product just like this. You can watch a video and see how this sculpting material works: How to Sculpt a Fantasy Miniature


Engraving and Carving the Dies

There are a few things to consider when engraving the dies.

Let's continue with the tutorial and do it!


Do you want to get started in blacksmithing but don't know what to do or what to get? My ebook answers all your questions and gets you blacksmithing! Learn more about it on my webpage right here.