Blacksmithing transforms metals in its
physical structure and appearance by
heating and hammering.
In this brief, materials are restricted
ferrous metals, that is, the range of irons
The smithy contains five main things to
aid the blacksmith in their work. There
needs to be a heat source or hearth to get
the material red hot to be able to mould
it. There must be a cooling system close
to hand, not only for quenching material
when it has been worked, but also as a
safety aspect in case of embers rising/ or
burning taking place while the blacksmith
Figure 1: The Azagarafa Blacksmith Society of
Azagarafa village in the North Darfur region of
Sudan. Photo: Practical Action.
Experience is critical to the skilled smith: skills still require practise.
The essentials for blacksmithing are:
A means of heating.
A means of rapid cooling.
Support for the work pieces.
Shaping and deforming implements.
A form of heating hearth or forge is needed in which a fire
can be maintained. Forced air will be required to assist in
the generation of sufficient heat for workpieces to reach at
least forging temperature, say 1000°C and preferably
welding heat which is another 100/2000°C higher
depending on the materials involved.
The hearth can be formed by a stone or brick structure or a
metal table structure. A hood or chimney is required when
the hearth is indoors.
Figure 2: A man working
his forge blower. Photo
credit: Zul / Practical Action.
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