8 Quick, Easy & Simple Blacksmith Beginner Project Ideas (With Videos)
If you are a beginner blacksmith, getting started on good-looking and functional projects may seem intimidating due to the array of different tools and techniques used within the trade. Luckily, even the newest of smiths can create projects that are inexpensive, easy to make, and can help you fund larger projects due to their sellability.
With so much free information online, it is easier than ever before to find appropriate projects for your skill level. YouTube has some great beginner video tutorials that inspired this article, and it is a good place to look for project ideas and techniques.
Below are 8 projects perfect for beginner blacksmiths that are quick, simple, aesthetically pleasing and could even make some extra beer money on the side!
What Tools Do I Need for These Beginner Projects?
Beginner blacksmiths can make really cool items with basic tools. As long as you have a forge, a hammer, tongs, and a metal surface area to work on, you’re all set! That’s right, you do not even need a traditional anvil when you are first starting out. Any heavy block of metal will do the trick, but if you’d like to pick up a proper anvil, check our recommended models here.
A few of the projects described in this article call for additional tools like punches and a press. Punches allow you to make holes in your projects, and a press helps flatten and shape metal. These are also good tools to have on hand as you progress in blacksmithing.
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List of Quick, Easy & Simple Blacksmith Projects for Beginning Smiths
1) Simple J Hook
Possibly the easiest project for beginner blacksmiths, a J hook is a handy item to have around the home and a fast project that will help you hone your skills. J hooks can be used for hanging an endless array of items.
To get started creating your own hooks, you will need a ⅜ steel bar, a forge, a metal surface or anvil to work on, a hammer, a chisel, and tongs. Begin by heating the end of the rod in the forge and then use your hammer to create a point. Strike the end of the rod and rotate it after each strike to make the point and extend the taper of the point to 1 ½ inches.
Once you have your tapered end, reheat the rod and smooth the edges into a “rough round” by rotating and striking the taper more frequently. This will create a more rounded shape and get rid of any defined edges. After blending your taper to the desired effect, reheat the metal and shape into a U shape and bend the tapered point in on itself to create a curled end.
The next step is to find the desired length that you want the hook to be and hot cut it using a chisel. After the hook is cut, straighten it out as needed and hammer the straight end flat to make a mounting spot. For a step-by-step visual guide, check out this video.
2) Coat Hook
A coat hook is a great piece to make and sell online or at local craft fairs, or gift to friends and family. Coat hooks are functional statement pieces that many people like to buy handmade. The rustic style of forged coat hooks looks great in most homes and are unique items to add to your walls.
To make your own coat hook, you will need a 10 inch piece of ½ inch round stock, a forge and metal work surface, a hammer, tongs, and a ¼ inch punch. The first step in making your coat hook is to heat the ends of the rod and strike the ends of it to upset them. This will create a decorative spearpoint end. Then, create two flat mounting points by striking into the rod in two places and creating a flat edge.
When the bar is cold, use your punch to lay your punch marks, then reheat the bar and punch through at the marks you created. The last steps in this project are creating a curved end for the hook and straightening out any misalignments in the piece. The original video tutorial for this project can be found here.
A punch is a necessary tool for all blacksmiths. Punches help you create holes in projects that require them. A punch can be made out of any sized rod depending on your needs. In the video that corresponds with this written tutorial, the blacksmith uses an old coil spring. So really, any metal rod or item will work!
The only other tools you will need are a small forge, anvil or metal surface to shape your punch, tongs, and a hammer. Start by cutting the rod down and heating it. Then, using a hammer, taper the end into a point. The point should still be flat on the end and not too dramatic. Round out the edges of the taper by striking the rod repeatedly and rotating it as you go.
You can finish the punch by grinding it down and polishing it, or leave it unfinished for a rougher look.
4) Fire Poker
A fire poker is a great beginner project that you can use in your daily life, sell, or give as a gift. Fire pokers are essential for tending fireplaces, so they are a great idea for a functional blacksmith project.
To make your fire poker you will need a forge, anvil (or other heavy metal surface), tongs and a vice. Begin with a long metal bar and make a long, thin taper at one end. Curl this end around itself to make a loop. Reheat and shape as needed to get a smooth coil. Twist the very end of this taper around the rod while the rod is in a vice. Then create a shorter tapered point on the other end of the bar. Check out the original video for a more detailed visual tutorial.
5) Bottle Opener
If you want to make a small project that can easily be sold or gifted, a bottle opener is a great option. To complete this project, you will need a forge, an anvil or other working area, a hammer, and punches. You can use any metal bar or even a length of rebar, which is used in the original tutorial.
This project is easy because it only requires you to heat and flatten one end of a bar, punch and shape a large hole, and create a lip to catch and pull open bottle tops.
6) Decorative Heart
If you want to make a gift for a loved one or create items to sell, a decorative heart is the perfect beginner project for you. The heart can be used as a display piece or a paper weight.
To make the heart, you will need a length of ½ inch square bar, a forge, anvil, tongs, and a hammer. Shape the rod using the anvil to create the curved shape of a heart. Taper the ends of the bar with your hammer to create the top of the heart, and curl them in on themselves until they meet in the middle to form the heart shape.
The shape of the heart can vary depending on your personal preferences, but for a better idea of what it might look like as you work, check out the original video.
7) Leaf Key Chain
For beginner blacksmiths looking for a challenge, try making a leaf-shaped key chain. For this project, you will need a forge, anvil/workspace, hammer, and metal bar.
To start, make a taper at the end of the bar that ends in a point. Then, you’ll be making a series of opposing, two sided tapers to create a stem for the leaf. Hammer the taper at the end of the bar down to form a flat leaf shape and curl the stem to create a closed loop.
The process for making this key chain is more involved than the other projects listed, so make sure to watch the video tutorial for further instructions and tips.
8) Decorative Cobra
A metal cobra looks great as a lawn ornament or indoor decoration. For this project, you will need round stock of any size, an anvil, forge, and a hammer. A press is an optional tool that may be helpful in shaping the head of the cobra.
To make the cobra’s head, start by tapering one end of the bar into the shape of a snake head and flatten the metal below to make the shape of a cobra’s hood. The rest of the body is made by curving sections of the bar to give the appearance of a snake in motion. Where you place the curves is up to you, but check out the original video for inspiration and further instruction.