Without the wonderful blacksmiths of the world, we would not have some of the loveliest creations with iron that we display around our workplaces and homes. These intricate craftsman take much pride in what they do, and develop their skills over years and years of practice. Many times, a blacksmith will not initially be one, but simply an artist of some sort, which is a much needed skill in this craft. The best ones in the world realize this, and turn this hobby into a trade that they can accumulate many well-paying clients from.
The average person who doesn’t know much about blacksmithing will probably see it as somewhat of an ancient craft, and they are right. Paul Gilbert is one popular blacksmith who appreciates the history of the craft. “Blacksmithing has been around for over 2,000 years, when man discovered how to get iron and forge it to shape with fire,” he explains in one NooFoo Video entitled Craft: Blacksmith. “Blacksmithing hasn’t changed much over that period – we still use the same techniques and the same sorts of tooling. I would say that some things have changed with technology, but, at the end of the day, it’s down to the individual craftsman.”
Many folks have only seen an anvil as it fell on Wile E. Coyote’s head while he tried to chase down the Road Runner in the old Looney Tune cartoons! But, an anvil is a real tool, a fundamental one that a blacksmith needs to do his job. The Consummate Dabbler ran one video entitled Essentials of Blacksmithing which breaks down how basically all a blacksmith needs (other than creativity) is something to heat the iron up, something that they can pound on the iron with, and something to work the iron on, which is the anvil that you saw in the cartoons. The pounding tool is a hammer, and the forge (fire) is used to heat the iron.
After being a blacksmith for a while, you may even develop enough skill to create your own instruments for working. Walter Howell is an award winning metal artist who says that he finds it easier to create his own instead of buying them. “I made all my own tools,” he said in one YouTube video entitled The Art of Blacksmithing: Walter Howell of Walter’s Forge. “I basically just use whatever I need to get the shape I need. Ya know, this isn’t rocket science, all you’re doing is heating up metal and bending it….”
The average person would beg to differ, because of the creative skill that’s needed in a great blacksmith. For example, at the beginning of the video, Walter shows a wonderful metal bent mailbox holder that is a sight to behold. All it really takes is interest, and you can become a blacksmith before you know it. “I’d always been interested in metal, and in the streets of New York I’d pick up metal pieces and was always fascinated by the metal work everywhere,” says Zack Noble of Noble Forge. “I took a couple of blacksmithing classes, and sort of watched and learned what other people were doing. I took it all in, and fell in love with it.” – by Limus Woods
23 April 2014. Essentials of Blacksmithing. The Consummate Dabbler. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToka1-8oQA
Stowe, M. 24 Aug 2014. The Art of Blacksmithing: Walter Howell of Walter’s Forge. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N38Kwbr1jnk
9 April 2016. Craft: Blacksmith. NooFoo Media. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgpbAuraeAo