How to Learn the Craft of a Blacksmith

Some individuals learn the craft of a blacksmith to shoe horses while others enjoy learning metal working to create sculptures, iron railing and decorative fences. One of the best ways to learn the craft of a blacksmith is to apprentice under a practicing blacksmith. Some blacksmiths also teach metal working classes through local community college outreach programs. There are also a number of good books about blacksmithing that can give an excellent overview of the craft.

In addition to an interest in working with metals heated to high temperatures in order to forge, repair or create welds, an individual must possess a good deal of physical strength and coordination in order to handle blacksmithing tools properly. These include a heavy anvil and hammer, as well as tongs and a punch. In addition, the craft of a blacksmith involves learning how to work around a forge, equipment that contains the fire which is blown upwards using air to help heat the metal. Safety is an essential part of blacksmithing and requires eye protection, sturdy footwear along with earplugs.

The art of blacksmithing involves learning basic techniques in working with metals such as curling, splitting, riveting, twisting and flaring to forge heated metal into a variety of objects, including forks, nails, horseshoes, towel bars and railings. Among the basic skills learned from being tutored by a practicing blacksmith or in a blacksmith class are how to work with a gas torch, how to safely handle hot metals, how to control the flame and heat generated by a coal or gas fired forge and perfecting the skills in shaping the hot metal.


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