Copyright (c) 2011 Morel Hudson
Blacksmiths create objects from metal such as wrought iron and steel by forging the metal into shape. Forging refers to using tools to shape and bend and cut with hammers and machinery to create many different objects. However today the most blacksmiths and or forging business create tools. Usually hand made tools for custom applications like lifters for drain covers and many railway specific work tools as an example
The actual name "blacksmith" derives from the process of actually forging iron or the Black Metal used; this was named Black Metal named due to the colour of the metal after being heated. Heating the metal is one of the key components in the blacksmithing process.
Blacksmiths work iron and steel through a very high heating process and create or forge the hand tools you specify. And commonly tools need to be specifically engineered as a custom die from which many of the same hand tools can be forged. The process is hard work and today there are very few true Blacksmiths providing these services.
When the Blacksmith commences forging by heating the various pieces of metal be it wrought iron or steel the metal becomes soft and malleable so that the necessary shaping can be performed. This shaping occurs with hammer and anvil and chisel and each hand tool needs to be created this way. Machinery can replicate certain parts of the process to assist in the forging however primarily making custom hand made tools is still a piece by piece process.
The malleability of metal and its temperature is indicated by the colour of the metal itself. For example as iron's temperature increases it glows red then orange to yellow and finally turns white just before it melts. The ideal temperature for forging is considered to be the bright yellow to orange colour, which can be referred to as forging heat.
Most forging businesses will have more than one Blacksmith and they will be highly capable of creating whatever hand tools you require. The trade or the skill sets are able to be applied to many various tool applications as long as there is the die created or the engineering drawings from which the Blacksmith is able to forge your hand tool.
Blacksmiths today work across many industries which require specialised hand tools for the vast armies of trades. Forging occurs for the construction industry, the mining industry the telecom industry and rail to name just a few.
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