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What tools should you get to start out in blacksmithing

This is a question I get a lot. And for some reason I have never done a web page about it. But here it is. Some advice on what tools to get if you are starting out in blacksmithing.

And, I am going to assume that you are a beginner so I will also give you insights as to what some of these tools are and what they do.


I have a printer friendly page for this list here (pdf, 1 page)

If you have no tools at all then you are going to have to spend some money. There isn't any way around it. This is because blacksmithing nowadays is a little bit more than you think. For example, you really should get a belt sander. It makes things so much easier. And, if you plan on doing some knifemaking you are really going to want oner. It will save you a lot of time and work.

Let me break this article down into two parts. In the first part I will give you the basic "Blacksmithing" oriented tools so you can do some forging. And in the second part of this article I will expand the tool list. This way you can get started right away. And if you already have an assortment of regular type tools you can cross them off the second list.

Safety gear first:

  • Leather Apron
  • Leather gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • good pair of boots
  • Fire extinguisher

About the Leather gloves - Experienced blacksmiths will sometimes recommend no gloves. I strongly recommend a glove on your not-hammer hand. At least just to start. This will prevent burns. Later, as you get more experienced with blacksmithing you can decide what you like.

About the boots - This is important because you are going to be dropping hot pieces of steel and you want a solid pair of boots to protect your feet from burns. If you plan on handling heavy pieces of iron and steel then I would go with steel-toed shoes.

Basic Tools and supplies:

  • 3 pound cross pein hammer
  • 2 pound cross pein hammer
  • Wolf jaw tongs - Don't start out with flat tongs that are just two flat plates in the jaw section. These are awkward for beginners to use. Wolf-jaw tongs have ridges and shapes that will help you grasp different shaped objects.
  • Some kind of coal rake to manipulate the coal and fire. You could make yourself one ( I have a tutorial on how to make one right here)
  • 2 metal buckets, one is for water quenching, the other is for sand
  • 1 large metal bucket for ash
  • some kind of a small shovel for coal and ash
  • Anvil
  • Borax - This is a laundry detergent and it is used when you are forge welding steel pieces together


Really really good to have but not necessary to get started:

  • A hardy hot cut off tool - This isn't absolutely necessary but really good to have. You are going to use it a lot. And if you can afford it, you will be glad that you got it. If you don't get one to start you should plan on getting one soon.
  • Several large Bastard Files


Moving Forward with common shop and metal working tools to get next

  • 4 inch belt sander
  • Vise
  • 1 inch belt sander
  • electric angle grinder
  • Bench grinder
  • Hardy Bending tool


Let's Take a look at some of the less common blacksmithing items on the list

What is a hardy cut off tool?

This next picture shows two hardy tools. The one on the left is a hardy cut-off tool. You place it in the hardy hole of the anvil and then you can heat a piece of steel, place it on that tool and hammer it. This will cut the steel.

Notice the bottoms of these tools. They have a square bar that fits into a square hole in the anvil. Get your anvil first so you can measure the hardy hole and get a hardy tool with the correct size.

Hardy Tools

This next picture shows how it is used.

Using a hardy cut off tool


What is a cross-pein hammer?

It is a hammer with a typical hammer head on one end and on the other end it has a thin section that goes side to side. Here is a picture:

Cross pein on a hammer


About the Anvil, of some kind (Don't listen to anvil snobs! Even though they are right.)

Get yourself something cheap at Harbor Freight, Amazon or Tractor Supply. Just to get you started. You can get one for less than a hundred bucks. As you get more experienced you can upgrade to a better anvil. But a small and cheap anvil will get you started. People talk about these small anvils not holding up to a lot of work and that is true. But if you have done several thousand hammer blows on it you got your moneys worth and by that time you will know what kind of real anvil you want. You have committed the time into the art and can upgrade.

What are wolf jaw tongs:

They have a variety of ridges in them so you can hold different shape pieces of hot steel in different ways including holding square and round bars.

Wolf jaw tongs

For now, if you can avoid them don't get plain jaw tongs. They seem like they would be good general purpose tongs but they take some skill and beginners have trouble with them.


Plain Jaw tongs


All of these tools and materials are available on Amazon, even the forge and the anvil. I have a list here. (Hand-picked by Will)



A cross pein hammer

2 lb, anti-vibe blacksmithing hammer -

Patented tuning fork design reduces harmful vibration that can cause wrist and arm injuries. Forged, one-piece steel construction for increased strength and durability. Rim temper reduces incidences of chipping or spalling. Traditional New England pattern head design. Ergonomically designed handle with rubber grip for increased comfort and performance.


TongsWolf's Jaw Tongs (12") - Compact 300mm wolf-jaw tongs are great for a variety of small stock, up to 1/2" round or square. Picard has been producing blacksmith tools with German precision for over 150 years.


Hammer3 Pound Cross Pein Blacksmith Hammer -

  • Cross pein hammer
  • Used to strike, shape, and bend unhardened metal
  • Also use to shape block, brick, and stone
  • 16-Inch hickory handle
  • 3-Pound head


Old World Blacksmith Forged Steel 100#Pound Anvil Pritchel Hardy Hole Step Horn

Ridgid 69642 Model 12 Forged Anvil

The Ridgid 69642 Model 12 Peddinghaus anvil has a reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Peddinghaus anvils are drop-forged and produced entirely from high-grade steel for maximum durability. The top face is ground and induction hardened to provide a lively surface to work on.



Welding Gloves - Blue-lined leather welding gloves (400) by US Forge are designed to provide complete protection from molten metal and ultraviolet rays which cause severe skin burns. Soft and supple top grain leather for comfort and pliability. Internal liner gives more comfort and durability.




Leather Welding Apron - One size fits most. Lining: Unlined, Product Style: Leather, Size: One size fits most, Color: Brown, Material Type: Split cowhide, Product Type: Apron





Blacksmithing Coal - 25lbs of high BTU Stove Coal. 1.5" to 2.5" nugget size. Coal can be used in model railroading, stoves, forges and foundrys as well as landscaping. Comes shipped in a 12"x12"x6" box.