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Basics Of Blacksmithing, Part One “The Basic Tool Kit”


In this video Trenton Tye, from Purgatory Ironworks in Morgan Georgia, talks about putting together the basic hand tools needed for blacksmithing. According to Trenton all you really need is "Something to hammer with, something to hold with and something to cut with."

Trent takes you by means of scrounging standard gear for little or no money. He explains that hand tools can be found in a variety of places -- antique stores, garage or car boot sales, as well as brand new tools from hardware stores or big box DIY warehouses. It's not so important where the tools have come from, only that they are sufficient enough for the work you wish to do.

The Hammer

While you can make do with an ordinary carpenter's claw hammer, what you're really looking for is a nice, solid engineers ball pein hammer of a good weight. What I mean by "a good weight" is something that you're comfortable with using. Something which you can swing day in, day out.

If you're really lucky you might come across an old blacksmith's cross pein hammer. These hammers are substantially built and the cross pein allows you to "lengthen" metal easily by hammering out incrementally along the length of it.

Pliers & Tongs

Next up is something to hold the work with. As it's often red hot as you're working it you want a tool that will hold the stock well and won't allow it to slip from your grasp easily. A pair of vice-grip, or similar, locking pliers is the most obvious (and common). Later on you will want to arm yourself with a variety of tongs designed for holding specific shapes. These very basic tools can be made quite easily however and should be among the first of your blacksmithing projects.

The Hacksaw

For cutting metal a very basic and cheap tool is the common hacksaw. Though its only been around for 130 years or so, a hacksaw is invaluable when it comes to cutting small sections of metal quickly and efficiently. Of course there are faster and better tools available for cutting metal, but a good hacksaw is your basic "entry level" tool for the job.

These three basic tools, along with a brake drum forge and suitable anvil, can be used for making a variety of tools, equipment and household items.

Video Rating: 4 / 5

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26 Responses to Basics Of Blacksmithing, Part One “The Basic Tool Kit”

  1. mainewilderness on December 13, 2010 at 3:47 am

    can anyone tell me where to get a anvil. aint quite sure where to get any in my area

  2. activechaos128 on December 13, 2010 at 3:58 am

    very helpful. thank you.

  3. RaySulz on December 13, 2010 at 4:30 am

    2.5 lb Smith’s hammer – bought one for $17.99 Home Depot
    Hacksaw – got one
    Vice grips – have 3
    Anvil – none
    Forge – none ( have a brake drum and 3 old BBQ’s )

  4. moseseseseses on December 13, 2010 at 4:40 am

    OFFSHORE WELDERS EARN $2,775.00 PER 84 HR. WORK WEEK. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN WORKING OFFSHORE AS A WELDER, AND OR WELDER’S HELPER, OR GALLEY HAND, OR COOK, PLEASE SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

  5. FFabber on December 13, 2010 at 5:18 am

    @cocy3000 Any flat surface that can take a pounding will work! The original anvil was simply a large rock

  6. slorrgperson on December 13, 2010 at 6:18 am

    @Pard68 you can make your own chisel pretty easily, just get a bit of tool steel and put a chisel point on it, heat temper it to how soft you want it and your sorted : )

  7. slorrgperson on December 13, 2010 at 7:02 am

    huh? days of antiquity? they still make tongs and every type of hammer today!

  8. LauchRIf on December 13, 2010 at 7:16 am

    @cocy3000 steal a railroad track and flip it upside down. thats what I’ve got

  9. Pard68 on December 13, 2010 at 7:19 am

    What weight do you recommend? I got a 5 and a 10 pound cross-peen (FYI Home Depot for 20$).

    And visegrip for tongs? You should make a video to teach people how to use those vise grips to make REAL tongs! Best part of blacksmithing is every tool you will ever need (besides the hammer, chisel, and anvil) can and SHOULD be made at your own forge!

  10. yearsmith on December 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Keep em coming Trent. Got a comment about the cross pein for the begginer. You can also take a trip to a flea market, or wholesale outlet. They may be chinese, and have a fiberglass handle, but they can be had for less than 10 bucks. Great videos, and keep up the good work.

  11. MarshmallowMasta on December 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

    40$ for a simple pair of tongs, no thanks.

  12. Lakesideforge on December 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Hey Go to Blacksmiths Depot to buy all your blacksmithing needs

  13. Lakesideforge on December 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hey, it’s Steven (superscoutman, lakesideforge) I have made something you might like. I think if all of us blacksmiths get together and form a group on youtube, and help up coming blacksmiths. I have made a video response I hope it’s ok. But I think we can do it if I talk to my smithing friends on youtube and you talk to yours. If you can help me send me a youtube mail. Oh and by the way you forgot one tool that realy helps, a blacksmith council. I go to the ocmulgee council. Thanks alot. Steven

  14. tubeid43 on December 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

    FYI lowes has 3lb cross pean hammers for 19.99 and craftsman has a wood handled on for the same price.

  15. bob18sandy on December 13, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Great!!!!! videos I have been looking for this info and I finally found it. Trying to start this new hobby on the cheep( to keep the wife quiet). Keep the “basic” stuff coming. Thanks alot

  16. banjodan99 on December 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    You don’t even need tongs to make fireplace pokers! I get all my tools at flea markets. I laugh when I see people paying 10 times the customary flea market rate in the hardware store.

  17. cocy3000 on December 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    hahaha, ok!

    it just sayit cause i dont know if i’ll stick to it untill i start pounding stuff, and buying and anvil to figure that out its not an option for me right now

  18. purgatoryironworks on December 13, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Patience! Its part four! 🙂

  19. cocy3000 on December 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    And what about something to pound on?… down here its not easy to find an anvil, i’s seen those crapy china anvils tho but even those are hard to find.

    any tip on somethin to star with? i’v heard something about anvils made of concrete and some made in a box shape with metal plates filled with concrete, whold something like that work?

  20. purgatoryironworks on December 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I was sweating it 🙂 I looked the picture up and stared…..”Thats a damned hacksaw” I must admit Id never really dug that question as Jay had always said that is was late 19th century that the metal hacksaw came about. Now we know!

  21. Brasilikilt on December 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Well, it probably wasn’t a very good hacksaw 🙂

  22. purgatoryironworks on December 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Im staring at the photo and I promise you, the metallurgy of those days simply wouldn’t be able to produce what was needed for a metal cutting hacksaw. Regardless of what it looks like, it comes down to the teeth and if they could resist breaking when “set”. If you know anything about blister steel, its all guesswork and fracture tests! I even made a phone call to Clyde Peyton, one of the heavy hitters in the smithing world to consult. I was worried I’d eat crow..:)

  23. Brasilikilt on December 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, but seriously…check out that Mastermyr collection….There’s a picture catalog of the artifacts, and #36 is a hacksaw.

    If a ‘stock saw’ is a saw that butchers use to process animals, then yes I am familiar with them.
    Keep the vids coming…they are very informative and I enjoy them quite a bit!
    take care

  24. purgatoryironworks on December 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Almost a good catch! Tell me, are you aware of the difference between a “Stock Saw” and a “hack Saw”. Not many folks are. See, the frame design has been around for centuries but not the -blade for metal cutting-. Its what makes the difference between the two. Damn fine citation on that as well, thats what I like to see!

  25. Brasilikilt on December 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Dude……Hacksaws have been around as long as people have been working metal…….a long time before 1890.
    Check out the Mastermyr find…..a collection of 1,000 year old blacksmith tools…….among the items is a hacksaw.

  26. Leland Stone on April 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    An anvil:

    Real ones aren’t going to be cheap. I own my great-grandfather’s c. 1920 Trenton anvil, and even with its chipped face, I wouldn’t sell it, period. Others who are less attached to their anvils know their value, and a 100-pounder typically fetches north of $200. eBay and Craigslist are good sources, though standard caveats apply.

    Anvil Shaped Objects (ASO’s) can often be pressed into service, and as noted before, Tubal Cain (or whoever the first blacksmith was) didn’t have a nice, shiny, steel-faced Peter Wright anvil on which to forge. The Chinese pig iron anvil sold at Harbor Freight is every bit as crappy as you’ve read elsewhere, HOWEVER: Since it has no moving parts, it’s ONE of two tools HF has sold me that I’ve actually used successfully (the other was a dial caliper from India which is quite accurate — ALL other HF tools, IMO, make good landfill). The cast iron Harbor Freight anvil was on sale for $25, and it makes a serviceable lump on which I do cold forging and shaping.

    “Serviceable lump” pretty much describes what you’ll need for a starter anvil. This could be nothing more than a block of mild steel sold as a “rem” (short for “remnant”) at your local steel distributor, warehouse, or scrap yard. A 30 second search online should put you in touch with such a vendor in your area. Here’s one I found as an example for Phoenix:

    http://www.sw-steel.com/

    Remnant mild steel runs around 38-45 cents per pound, and rems come in nice, big blocks ideal for forgin’. A fifty-pound block will be more than adequate for initials forays into forgery, and you’ll probably spend more on the stump or wood block you’ll need to support it than on the ‘anvil’ itself.

    Speaking of which, yes, wood is the ideal material to support your anvil, and a tree stump works great. Scrounge one from your local tree trimmer or firewood vendor if you can, but make sure the end cuts are parallel to each other and roughly perpendicular to the stump’s long axis. Failing that, a 12′ 4×6 from Home Depot can be cross-cut into 3′ sections and laminated into a stump. Secure it somehow so it won’t tip, and then secure your new anvil in place — you do NOT want falling 50 lbs of anything forging your instep into an emergency room visit!

    The Forge:

    Easy to cobble together from industrial leftovers and plumbing pipe. 2″ black pipe makes an adequate ‘tuyere,’ and a bathroom vent fan from Home Depot delivers plenty of CFM to the fire. You CAN use plain ol’ charcoal briquettes, real charcoal, or even your own cordwood to fuel your forge, but you’ll burn it quick. According to legend, blacksmiths were responsible for clear cutting the Sahara Forest…

    I’ll just leave this right here:

    http://ps-survival.com/PS/Blacksmithing/Forge/Homestead_Forge_And_Fabricate_Your_Own_Hardware_1995.pdf

    Cheers,
    Leland Stone

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