Start Blacksmithing




About: Freshman Mechanical Engineer at UMBC

In this Instructable I will show you how to start up a foundry of your own. Now I am in no means saying this is the only way to do it, I am just showing you how I did it. So, let's get started!!!


Step 1: Forge

Now, before you even start thinking about getting an anvil or hammers, I suggest you start looking for a nice forge. This will probably be the most expensive thing you will have to buy if you are getting a gas forge, so this will really decide wither or not you really want to get into blacksmithing. Now you have two choices: coal or gas. There are benefits to both.

With a gas forge it's a lot cleaner and easier to use. They are also more portable. But they have less control over temperature and can get very pricey for gas and the initial cost of the forge.

With a coal forge it's a lot cheaper (next to nothing) to buy/make and you can control the temperature better. But coal is also very messy and depending on where you live you might not have a source of coal nearby.

The choice is up to you. I went with a gas forge because it fit my needs better, but do some research to see which one is best for you.

Step 2: Anvil/Hammers

Now comes anvils and hammers. As you can see there isn't a whole lot to it. I got the hammers at Harbor Freight, but there are some nice ones at Lowe's or Home Depot. What I suggest you start out with is a good ball-pine hammer and a mini sledge hammer. Make sure they are not to heavy for you, because you will be swinging them for hours at a time.
As for the anvil, I got a small piece of railroad track to start out with. Anything big, flat and metal should work fine. It doesn't have to be shaped like an anvil to work. Also, make sure you have something to attach the anvil to, like a big log. I suggest you look on Craigslist for anything. I know Harbor Freight had a small 15 pound anvil at one point. If you want to get serious about blacksmithing, you will want to put some money behind a real anvil. They will work much better and allow you to have more control, but they are very expensive.

Step 3: Metal

Your are going to need some metal for smithing. You can get some rebar or any scrap bar metal you have lying around as long as its not galvanized. Galvanized metal is very dangerous and if you are not careful it can kill you. If you do want to use galvanized metal (not recommended at all) make sure you are in an open space with very good ventilation. But, again, i would suggest to just stay away from it.   I used some old radiator bolts and rebar. Again, check on craigslist for anything someone wants to get ride of before going out and buying some.

Step 4: Optional Items

You can also get some chisels and punches to cut and punch your metal. Another thing that I still need to get are some good tongs. They are very useful for holding the metal when it gets to be small. You don't need them though it you keep the piece long until the last heat and cut it, but if you want to really get into smithing these will be a must have.

Step 5: Staring the Forge

By this point you have the bare essentials needed to start smithing. Your going to want to get you forge all set up and do an initial start up. Make sure you use precaution, as these things get insanely hot. Keep the forge well away from anything flammable, and be mindful about your surroundings. Always asume what you are picking up is hot!!!

Step 6: Start Hammering

Start pounding on that metal!!!! I don't suggest you wear gloves as they get in the way and can catch fire. But it's all a matter of preference. Also, hammering is not as easy as it looks. It takes months to even learn how to do it right, and years to master it.

Step 7: Example

I made a little holder for my hammer. There are numerous things you can make. Go onto YouTube for some great blacksmithing tutorials.

Step 8: Hope I Helped!

I hope this Instructable helped you in starting up in blacksmithing. Please feal free to leave comments on what you liked and didn't like, and post any pictures if you get started. Thanks for reading and hope you have fun blacksmithing!

Step 9: Pictures

The pictures of the coal forge, the second anvil, the blacksmith tongs, and the guy hammering are not mine. I found them on Google images to better help you with this tutorial.



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    48 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago

    is there a faster way to cool it??????????

    it takes soooooooooooo long!


    1 year ago

    I like your back yard setup. How do you protect it from the weather?

    1 reply
    nat the maker

    1 year ago

    how could I get my parents to let me start before taking any classes I'm 11

    1 reply
    BenS364nat the maker

    Reply 1 year ago

    i'd say wait until you're at least 15 or 16 then talk about it helping your future. If you want to make a living off of it, save b-day money and maybe don't learn to drive, depends how much money you are willing to spend on it and how much you have. Before you start, get a small job anything like paper rounds or gardening for neighbours but whatever takes up less time in your day for education on finances, pricing, etc. jolly smithing kiddo


    2 years ago

    thank u this will help me in the future

    hi guys my name is Adam and I am 14.I've made a furnace by myself all out of scrap it heats up steel within 50 seconds I am not talking wire thin I am talking 5cm thick solid steel.


    3 years ago on Step 5

    Metal doesn't start to "glow" in daylight until it's well over 900 degrees F. Always check heat with the back of your hand as it's more sensitive. Plus anything that holds the metal (tongs, and notably bench or post vice) will get stupid hot before you know it. Have a nice scar to remind me of that.


    3 years ago on Step 3

    What you really want to do is hit up a roadwork or construction site and try to get the rebar that has x patterns up and down the side. This stuff can take a bit of hardness when quenched in brine ( very salty water ) from a medium red heat and the x pattern gives an ok grip in a gloved hand if you're making chisels and punches. The ladder pattern stuff like you have there is ok to play on the cheap with but not really trustworthy for anything else. Best is to look up metal distributers like ALRO and there is usually one pretty close. Every so often go raid their "Cutoff pile". It's pretty cheap and sometimes you can get some good steel for things like tool & blade making for pennies on the pound. The real problem with rebar is that it is a mishmash of steel. buying something where you know what it is (like A-36, 5160 (aka leaf springs), or even s-7) you can read up and get a feel for how it handles when it's hot and what different heat treating processes (quenching in oil, quenching in water, normalizing, annealing) do to the steel. Because no rebar is the same you never really get that. Another good source is walking along railroad tracks and looking for spikes. You're really hoping for ones that have HC marked on the head as they are high carbon and can be used for more intense things but when without steel any steel will do.


    3 years ago on Step 2

    Like the below comment I will state that there are hammers and hammer shaped objects. A good tool steel forging hammer can easily go for in excess of $100 and if you get hooked it's a solid investment. When I was starting out and felt >$20 was a bit steep the best thing I did was go garage sailing and get some older hammers. Turns out that a new non-custom hammer requires a bit of work to be forging ready and the heat treating is quite tricky when you don't know the steel. Lucky for us time and (ab)use does very similar things to hammers. Finding a selection of 30+ year old hammers in different weights and shapes in garage sales and at pawn shops is really the way to go. You might have to sand the face a bit to smooth it as dents in the hammer leave (equal and opposite) dents in the forging. That being said some deform a hammer face to do this on purpose. Either way grab a sander and a few files/rasps and/or a cheap plane and spend a minute shaping the (wood) handle to better fit your hand. I've done that to all my hammers and it is worth the strain and fatigue of overgripping a handle that doesn't fit well in your hands. You should be able to grip the hammer loosely and be comfortable. Also if you wear gloves than wear a glove when you do fitup. As a personal preference I leave mine a little boxy and uneven ( a flat under finger tip side when face is down) so I can program into muscle memory that a certain feel directly relates to how the hammer is orientated and is the same for every hammer. This speeds up when you are grabbing blindly for the hammer and can tell how it's orientated in your hand before you make a swing without looking.


    4 years ago on Step 8

    hi. I am new to forging and I was wondering how to actually make my own forge.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Step 8

    Several different 'Ibles on that very subject, amigo. Just search "forge."


    Hey people I am new to forging, and I am marking stuff off my checklist and need some help getting the rest. 1 I need charcoal for my forge but where would I get that, and is there a specific brand to get. 2 I need an Anvil, and I am on a small budget so a good anvil but at the same time not too pricey, I have one now but its days are numbered...and its really small. 3 I also need some tongs, I would forge my own except my anvil is just about completely out of commission and I need fuel for the forge. I kind of need Tongs to make Tongs lol

    Any help, or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    4 replies

    I got a bunch of coal for about a bit less than a dollar a pound on ebay. about 75 lb for about 60 bucks.

    I believe it's the Book of Mormon that lists tongs as a miracle because you need tongs to make tongs. But yeah, vice grips or pliers.

    I got my coal from an energy company that primarily sells propane. You could see if you can find a Ferrier (someone who fits horse shoes) in the area on the off chance they know of a place.

    Harbor freight has some anvils for under $100 but the quality isn't great.

    Maybe some big pliers would work until you can make your tongs?


    4 years ago on Step 3

    rebar is a usless for making tools of any kind as you cannot heat treat it