When someone comes into the shop/store and is fairly new to blacksmithing, one of the first questions we ask them is "WHY"?

No, it is not "why are you interested in blacksmithing?".... and its surely not as rude as "why are you here?"

They usually have asked a question or made a comment that suggest they have not asked why things are done the way they are.

Perhaps they tell me they have a sore back or elbow. Why? Most often they think that its just the way their body was designed. You know...bad genes and all.

That actually maybe true, but its usually exasperated by poor equipment setup.

Well..... Here are a few common ones for all of us to think about:

  • Anvil Height - Where did the idea to use nuckle height as the measurement to the top of the anvil come from?
  • Physics - What physics principles are used every time i swing my hammer and anvil?
  • Anvil Weight - How much weight do i need to get the most energy into my work?
  • Hammer Weight - What size hammer i should be using? 
  • How many forging hammers do i need?
  • Hammer Dressing - Why are many commercially made forging hammers not dressed?
  • Handle Dressing - Why do many commercially made forging hammers have such fat handles?
  • Tong Names - Do tong names directly corrolate to the shape of material to be used in them?
  • Tong Material - does it matter what tongs are made out of?
  • Leg Vice - Why is a bench vise not great for forging on?
  • forge fuel - What fuel is best?
  • Why are fundamentals, the answers to the questions above, not taught in most classes?

Get the answers to these and more in future blogs and a good book.


The Skills of a Blacksmith - Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing -  Volume 1    by Mark Aspery