Working Iron: A Primer on Blacksmithing



  • 150 years ago most census records showed that a fifth of the respondents listed their occupation as blacksmith, including my 3rd great-grandfather, Roger Farrer. I don’t know what Grampa Farrer fabricated every day, but if he was like most smiths, he was making everything. Horseshoes were a small part of the job. He was more likely fabricating or repairing a farm implement, making hardware like hinges or pulleys, or even something as mundane as nails. The box of nails we buy at the hardware store for a few dollars were once made one at a time–by hand.Visit a living history site and there will be a crowd around the blacksmith. It pulls people in…How does he do that?

    The methods Grampa Farrer used are essentially unchanged. I call them the Three Hs: Heating, Holding and Hitting.

    Since most people don’t know a blacksmith, I get a lot of questions about the trade. Even strangers walking past my shop (the half of my garage) stop at the sound of hammers on steel and sheepishly wait for me to see them since I’m wearing hearing protection. I usually stop and answer questions, especially if there are children in the group.

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  • @Vicious-Retard Looks like one of the coolest hobbies to have. Let's forge swords ⚔
    Imagine all the hard work blacksmiths had to do at a time of war, in medieval times where they had no machines and needed to make swords for a whole army, they had to work on multiple swords at once!







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