March 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm #3648
Blacksmithing is a field in which I’m extremely curious, yet lack good knowledge on, and having a small background on some metal work and welding, I’d really like to try my hand at making a few things here and there.
Anyone on here do anything of that nature? Got any tips or important pieces of knowledge to pass on?
Personally I feel that this is a trade that could be highly valuable in a large scale breakdown, since one would have to make/repair their own tools, or know someone who can do it. Plus it’d be a fun thing to do during the cold winter months when you don’t want to be sitting up in the house.
Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.March 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm #4477
Mr Red – sorry to say I don’t but our blacksmith is a lady and I love to watch what she does/how she does it. Thought I’d reply to bump this maybe some of the latest people visiting can help youMarch 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm #4486
Funny you should bring this up. My boy apprentices with a blacksmith. Without giving too much away, there’s a state historical site not far from us. Spinners, weavers, candlemakers, whitesmiths, blacksmiths, coppersmiths, woodworkers, etc. We were touring the place a couple years ago and my boy volunteered to run the bellows for the old blacksmith. Been back a few times and chatted him up… he agreed to take my boy on as a blacksmith. Told my boy that if he showed promise and grit, I would build him his own shop, complete with a wee foundry.
Tips? Well, the ‘smithy usually takes on the intricate work, while the apprentice either cleans up or makes nails.
Let me say that again- makes nails.
See, from what I understand, the bread and butter of a smithy shop isn’t the big projects. It’s the little things. Hardware. Nails. Hinges. Things like that. His apprentice would crank out as many nails as possible if he didn’t have anything else better to do, because people ALWAYS will need nails…
By the way, some partially useless nail facts – when you go into a Big Box store and look for a box of nails, ever wonder why they’re denoted in “d” for size? Because of the Romans. The little “d” stands for “denarius”, which was the old Roman “dollar” a couple thousand years ago. One “denarius” would buy “X” number of nails a certain size. Bigger the nail, the smaller the number a denarius would buy. The Brits held it over from the Romans when they eventually left, and we held it over from the Brits…
Nails were so valuable and hard to come by on the frontier, that if a family was going to go West, they would burn their house down right before they left, then sift through the ashes for the nails, hinges, etc. The nails were more valuable than the structure itself, and there was no assurance that they could procure nails when they got to wherever they were going… makes em a pretty valuable commodity.
This also gave rise to the “trennel”, which is actually a bastardization of the words “tree-nail” (a nail made of wood). This was usually a wooden peg carved with a slight taper. Two pieces of wood would be drilled through, then the trennel was hammered home until it could not go any farther. The the trennel ends were then cut off even to make it nice and neat. Usually, trennels were made of a harder wood than the structure, such as hickory or osage orange. Eventually, the wood would swell and it would lock the trennel in place pretty much forever.
Last bit – just in case you were wondering, a square cut blacksmith made nail has 400% more holding power than a round cut machine made wire nail of the same size. If the wood isn’t properly normalized before you build your (fill in the blank) and you use round wire nails, the wood will shrink, which releases the nails (which is why all the stairways creak like a pirate ship about a year after a new house is built).
In case you were wondering how I know all this useless stuff, I got into woodworking all hot and heavy about 10 years ago. Invested in a bunch of antique hand tools, learned everything I could not only about how to make things out of wood (mostly Arts & Crafts style from the late 19th century), but also joinery, cabinetmaking, Japanese woodworking, then studied under a Master, and even studied how to make the tools you need to make the thing you need… it’s so much cooler to make a self-locking joint and not use nails… baffles people.
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1March 29, 2014 at 2:51 am #4706
Malgus my friend, your knowledge makes me happy haha. I always love learning neat tidbits of information like that.
Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.March 29, 2014 at 3:26 am #4713
I did some blacksmithing & metalwork for a couple years a while back when I was into medieval reenactment. Fun. We used a coal forge, and coal may not be something you have access to, but a well-designed rocket stove burning wood will reach the temperatures necessary to shape metal, and if combined with forced air, possibly even forge-weld.
Hang onto your used motor oil. In the movies, the smith always quenches hot iron/steel in water, but the truth is, if you quench steel quickly it will be super hard but brittle, possibly giving you a blade or a part that will chip or snap under use or shatter on impact. Oil holds heat without vaporizing, so it cools the steel more slowly and tempers it, giving it better strength. Clay cat litter is also good to bury the hot stuff in so it cools slowly.March 29, 2014 at 6:04 am #4779
One of my guys just made himself a forge. He learned how off youtube. He made a propane forge to “play with”. He plans on making himself a charcoal forge later one when he has things figured out a little.
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