”The Merry Blacksmith” , one of my favorite Irish fiddle tunes.
An ancient trade indeed! Skill in working metal has gone hand in hand with human development since the dawn of civilization. My fascination with this history and these skills, led me to set up my own backyard outdoor blacksmith shop.
Here I will share how I got my start in blacksmithing, beginning with building a brake drum forge and buying the initial tools. I am an amateur, and I do not claim expertise regarding blacksmithing, but this has been a great activity to get started in and I am happy to share here how I got started.
Some photos of products from the smithy:
Newel post bracket.
Fixed the newel post! 1/2" square stock, boiled linseed oil finish.
Washington Island Stavkirke Door Latch
The wonderful Stave Church (Stavkirke) on Washington Island , Wisconsin was missing some door latch hardware so I made the missing pieces and mailed them to the church. I was honored that they installed them.
Made from large stock (relative to my little forge) 5/8" and 3/4" square stock and hooks fastened with rivets.
Hanging Basket Bracket
Big Fire Poker:
My first railroad spike hatchet:
A very practical and easy product to make, hooks are a common product for those starting out in blacksmith. They are very useful and make fun gifts.
Books I used for reference:
- "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. Very helpful book on blacksmithing for those that want to get started.
- "The Blacksmith, Ironworker and Farrier", by Aldren A. Watson. This is wonderful reference book on the history and traditional methods of blacksmithing.
- Centaur Forge www.centaurforge.com, was a great place to find tools and anvils. They are nearby for me so I drove over to see them. I was like a kid in a candy shop looking at everything in stock at their shop.