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Blacksmithing FAQ


Here are answers to many common questions about blacksmithing.


  • What is blacksmithing? It is the art and craft of shaping metal by heating it up to high temperatures.
  • How old is blacksmithing? Well, great question. It is pretty darn old. There are traces of blacksmithing going back all the way to ancient times.
  • What is a forge? It is some kind of a setup that gets a really really hot fire.
  • What does the bellows or air blower do? They blow air onto the coal causing them to burn even hotter.
  • Can I use barbeque briquets for blacksmithing? Technically you could use them. The temperature of briquets can go up to around 2000 degrees fahrenheit which is enough. But... they aren't a good idea to use because they have a lot of chemicals and impurities in them. And those affect the steel or iron you are working on.
  • When making a sword or a knife why do I have to use the fire? Why cant I just use tools to cut it to shape? This is a great question. One of the most important parts of forging a sword or knife is the characteristics of the steel in terms of strong it is , how flexibile it is and how well it holds a sharp edge. These things ar all achieved with fire. Without the fire the blade will not be good enough for real use.
  • Is blacksmithing dangerous? Yes it is. You have to be careful. The fire is 2000 degrees and even steel that isn't glowing can still be hot enough to cause serious injury. You must be careful and wear all safety gear.
  • How much does it cost to get started? This depends on how crafty you are. If you scrounge up parts and weld them together you can start for nothing. You can even make an anvil out of a foot long section of railroad track. I have tutorials here on my website on how to start cheap, particularly how to make your own forge.
  • How do I get an anvil? Your best bet is to try craigslist or ebay. Find one that is local so you can go pick it up. Shipping an anvil is expensive. A store called Harbor Freight often carries small ones.
  • What size anvil should you get? Hard to say. My advice is the biggest one you can afford? Three hundred pounder if you can get one. But, 150 pounds is a good start. Also depends on how much blacksmiting you intend to do.






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