Wandin Blacksmithing Group, Mont De Lancey, Wandin, YARRA VALLEY, Victoria, Australia. Workshops each Sunday in the grounds of historic Mont De Lancey Homestead

Wandin Blacksmithing Group at Mont De Lancey

Handy Hints for Blacksmithing

What do I need to set up?

You will need something solid to hit on, such as an anvil. Anvils have traditionally taken on many shapes and sizes with the English and European styles proving to be the most versatile shapes for virtually all types of metalwork.

50kg is considered by us to be a good size for hobby work as it still maintains its portability which is vital should you choose to move it frequently.

You will need something to hit with, such as a common type of ball peen (or engineer's hammer) which is adequate for much of the hard work encountered. Try a few hammers of different weight until you find one that suits you.

You will also need something to hold hot steel with. Vice grips are sometimes used, a pair of good quality utility tongs are a good start. Tongs are purpose built to hold several shapes at a comfortable distance from the heat. Like hammers, these are added to as your skills increase.

You will need to consider your own safety. Safety glasses, ear plugs/muffs, leather gloves, safety boots, fire resistant clothing are all highly recommended.

You will also need a means to cut steel. The most economical way in terms of equipment outlay is a 125mm angle grinder using ultra thin good quality cutoff discs.

You will need a solid vice. If you plan to strike and hammer on a vice we recommend that you obtain a blacksmith's leg vice, or as an alternative a solid and (if possible) a fabricated rather than than cast iron bench vice. (Cast iron vices can break by being repeatedly struck by a hammer)

Marketing your products

This is a complex subject with no simple formulae, however amongst our group we have some with decades of experience in design, manufacture, and marketing who would be more than happy to share their experience.

Using Coke instead of Charcoal or Gas

Almost any fuel that is pressurised, or has fan forced air, will heat a piece of steel enough to be forged. LPG is convenient and works well but is quite a noisy means of heat source. Charcoal is also a popular fuel for forges and when coke is not available it becomes the preferred option.

A coke forge compared with all the other solid fuel forges is by far the hottest most compact and versatile of fires, and once going probably the cleanest of fuel fires.