Hello there! I’m Bunemma, and a pretty cool factoid about me is that I blacksmithed in highschool. I took four years of it, and did a year long apprenticeship with a forge. I’ve since lost a lot of my knowledge and ability to actually forge, (because my arms are now noodles), but I thought I’d share some of what I can remember to spice up your craftsmanship roleplay. Blacksmithing is fairly simple, when you break it down. The basics of forging are these - Heating, Holding, Hitting, and Shaping. Alongside these are some important key terms / items you might reference when roleplaying. Heating the metal is the first step. Metal needs to be heated to the right temperature to be adequately shaped, which is usually signified based on the colour of the metal itself. It ranges from red, to orange, to yellow and then white - between orange and yellow is when you want to strike and shape it. When heating metal, you’ll need a forge. Air needs to be fairly accessible, but not too much so - it’ll slow down the heating of the forge. Older forges tend to run on coal, but this makes the smithing process fairly dirty. In modern times, torches are used to heat up a specific area. These may be possible using clockwork, but the failsafe method is having multiple assistants to help cool and position the work was often used. After heating, a quenching bucket is used. The water within is usually treated with some mineral oils, to facilitate the hardening of the steel and minimizing the formation of unintended gradients and cracks along the material. As for protective gear, a leather apron and gloves are strongly recommended - when hitting, fragments of excess metal called ‘slag’ can chip off, flying around and leaving burns and / or igniting flammable materials. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Holding the metal is the second step. This is done to ensure the safety and precision of the blacksmith. Tongs are incredibly helpful, in that regard - engineered to pick up and hold hot pieces of metal. They’re typically made from wrought iron or steel to prevent them getting too hot whilst handling the material, and are crafted with a flat, smooth jaw to minimize scratching the metal. Vices and clamps are also used, though must be used fairly quickly. They secure the material in place atop the anvil to free the hands of the blacksmith up for chiseling, hammering, or twisting. A variety of different tongs, for different project shapes. Oftentimes, you’re switching between 2-3 types of tongs per big project. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Hitting is the third step. Striking the metal accurately is more important than striking with force - one will further the project, the other often hindering it. The anvil is essential to this process. Typically made from forged or cast steel, they’re made to withstand the brutality of smithing, and rebound the hammer strikes with the same force to make the blacksmith’s job easier. Anvils typically have two holes: the pritchel hole is used for punching through a piece of metal, and the hardy which holds tools. Hammers come in various shapes and sizes, each with a different purpose. Depending on the head shape, the metal will move and shape in various ways. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 》 Raising Hammers Used with a raising stake to form hollow shapes, such as bowls and vases. The hammer is used on the outside surface of the metal, with the sheet (of metal) positioned on the raising stake at a slight angle. The cross sections of both faces are rectangular with a slight vertical curve. Size and weight of these hammers vary depending on the project. 》 Forming Hammers Used on the inside surface of bowls and other hollow objects, it’s the other half to raising hammers. They’re used to create or refine the curved surface and for sinking or stretching such forms. The hammer faces are domed, either slightly or more pronounced and should closely match the curve of the form being hammered. 》 Planishing Hammers Used to refine the outer surfaces of curved and flat forms, removing the hammer marks introduced during raising or forming. The faces can be round or square with a slightly curved or completely flat surface. Because this is a finishing hammer, the faces should be kept polished to a mirror finish. Size and weight vary depending on the project. 》Creasing/Bordering Hammer As a creasing hammer, it is used to form radical crimps, or creases, in a metal disc. This is the first step in some raising techniques. As a bordering hammer, it is used to form the rim on a bowl or platter. Cross section is a narrow rectangle with a pronounced vertical curve. Typical weight is 200-300 grams. 》 Embossing Hammer Similar in shape to a forming hammer, this hammer is used to create elevated areas by striking metal from behind, similar to repoussé. Faces are typically smaller in diameter than a forming hammer and have a higher dome. Each hammer has two different size faces. 》 Chasing Hammer The large face of this specialized strike the end of chasing direct contact with your uniquely shaped handle: where the head is attached. creases hammer control tools and work. Easily bulbous The and reduces hammer is used to punches, not for identified by its at one end and thin “springy” handle in-hand fatigue. 》 Riveting Hammer The wedge-shaped end is perfect for spreading the heads of rivets, while the flat end, which can have either a square or round cross section, works well for refining rivet heads. Also useful as a general purpose hammer. 》 Goldsmith’s Hammer Very similar in design to a riveting hammer, with one cross peen face and one flat face. A well balanced, light- weight hammer used for riveting and light forging. 》 Cross Peen Hammer Although it’s more commonly associated with black-smithing, the cross peen hammer is a good general purpose hammer. Uses include: forging, riveting, strik-ing steel tools, etc. 》 Ball Peen Hammer Probably the most recognizable style of hammer outside of the field of metalsmithing. A good general purpose hammer with one flat face and one rounded “peen” face. Useful for spreading or “peening” rivet heads, striking steel tools, and light forging. 》 Brass Mallet Brass mallets are used in situations where you want to prevent your metal from being thinned or marked by the face of the hammer or for striking steel stamps. When used with stamping tools, the brass mallet prevents unwanted movement because it has less reverberation than steel hammers. 》 Dead Blow Mallet Inside the head of this hammer is a cavity that is filled with steel shot. Upon impact, the shot moves from one end of the head to the other, stabilizing the hammer, reducing reverberation and providing increased driving force. The plastic (or rubber) head prevents the work surface from being marked and further reduces shock. 》 Wood Mallet Simple wood mallets can be adapted for a wide variety of tasks by cutting, filing and sanding the hardwood heads into different shapes. Wedge-shaped wood mallets are especially useful for forming crimps before raising metal forms. Softer than steel and brass, the wood face will not mark your work surface. 》 Rawhide Mallet Similar to a wood mallet because it will not mark your metal, only more durable. The head is made of leather that has been rolled into a cylinder shape and impregnated with shellac. Available in a wide variety of face diameters. Also available with a lead center for increased driving force. 》 Plastic Mallet For hammering in situations where you don’t want to mark your work surface. Available with a metal head that has removable plastic faces or as a one piece head made entirely of plastic. Plastic material is typically high density, non-porous nylon. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Shaping is the fourth, and final step. This all depends on the desired shape and technique the smith wishes to use, but there are three fundamental forces used. Drawing out is hitting the metal on all four sides again and again to draw it into a longer piece, while maintaining the relationship between the sides. Upsetting is applying force to the end of a piece of work to shape the metal out to add volume, while removing some from the other sides. Peining is applying force to move the metal in a certain direction, or to spread it in all directions. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Unbeknownst to many, there exists a process of cold metal blacksmithing. There’s a difference between hot and cold tools, both which are effective only in their respective areas. A good blacksmith makes their own tools by tempering them afterwards. Chisels are the most commonly used hand-made tool, and any good blacksmith has many with various tips. Chisels are used to cut away or make indents in the metal, both hot and cold. Using the wrong type of tool upon the wrong type of metal can damage both the material and the tools, dulling them or weakening them tremendously. Most blacksmiths also have some sort of signature for their work, and their tools, made by making a chisel and imprinting that design onto the metal. Various chisels - some hot, some cold. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Something similar to a chisel is a punch - used for making quick holes in metal. 〚 ⋆┇════════════════ - ‹ •◦ ✫ ◦• › - ════════════════┇⋆ 〛 Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, feel free to either send me a DM or respond on the thread!