List of Essential Tools Needed for Blacksmithing 2020 (Updated)


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List of Tools Needed for Modern Blacksmithing & Workshops (Beginner & Premium Tools)

Blacksmithing is a complex craft that can involve the use of many different tools. Although there are some staple tools that every blacksmith should own, there are many other modern tools that can be found in most blacksmithing workshops as well.

These supplementary tools can serve very specific purposes that allow the blacksmith to fashion their workpiece into more refined shapes or sizes. It is important to understand the purpose of each tool to determine if it is suitable for your intended application.


List of Essential Blacksmithing Tools (The “Must Haves”)

The essential tools for blacksmithing are tools that every blacksmith probably owns or should own in order to complete basic blacksmithing projects, whether as a hobbyist or upcoming professional

1) A Forge

One of the most important pieces of equipment in a blacksmith’s workshop is the forge. The forge is an indispensable aspect of the hot and warm forging blacksmithing processes. It is the primary way in which blacksmiths heat up their workpieces in order to be able to easily form them into their desired shape. Since some metals have very high deformation temperatures, the most practical way to reshape them is through hot forging or warm forging, which are forging processes that require some sort of forge!

Check here for our list of recommended forges for beginners and experts alike!

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2) Hammers

Hammers are also invaluable tools in the blacksmithing trade. They act as a powerful extension of our arms to facilitate the shaping of a workpiece. A good hammer or mallet can allow a blacksmith to efficiently achieve a desired workpiece shape without requiring the blacksmith to use excess force.

However, not all hammers are created equal, there are many different types and shapes of hammers that can serve multiple purposes and some that are more specialized. Nevertheless, they add a lot of value to the blacksmithing craft. For a full list of hammer types, and what we recommend for beginners, check our detailed hammer article here.

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3) An Anvil

The anvil is another critical component of many blacksmithing workshops. It is the surface that must properly sustain the force of the hammer acting on the workpiece, all while having enough surface rebound to make it efficient.

The anvil also features different parts with shapes on which a blacksmith can mold the workpiece’s shape through hammer blows. Many of them feature square and rounded surfaces that can serve as guides for different shaping applications.

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4) Tongs

Tongs are great blacksmithing tools that allow us to easily move and grasp our workpieces without having to directly grab them with our hands. There are also many different shapes of tongs to accommodate parts of different shapes and even aspect ratios. It would be very difficult to manipulate a scalding workpiece at its deformation temperature without this essential tool.

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5) Chisels

Chisels are also important tools to have in a blacksmithing workshop. They are hand tools that have a metal blade characteristic at one end. The blade feature makes this tool great for carving and cutting metal into intricate shapes.

The opposite end of the tool is usually made of wood and has a wider face that can be easily struck with a hammer or mallet to deform the workpiece if a more powerful force is necessary.

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6) Vises

A vise is a very helpful tool for any type of metal workshop. It allows you to hold a workpiece hands-free, almost like a stationary tong. It can steadily hold a hot metal piece while you work on it. Although there are different types and styles of vises out there, the blacksmith leg vise, or solid box vise is the best type of vise for the blacksmithing application. It can handle the constant stresses and shock that are an integral part of the blacksmithing trade.

Part of the reason why leg vises are so resistant to wear and tear is the fact that they are actually wrought iron and steel forgings themselves, strengthened through the blacksmithing process. They are not as brittle as cast iron.  As referenced in their name, leg vises also consist of a “leg” that reaches the floor or a stable lower surface as a means of support. The pin joint hinge further allows the vice to withstand stress because it is very durable and can be easily replaced if degraded over time.

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List of Supplementary Blacksmithing Tools 

Besides the essential tools that many blacksmiths own, there are many supplementary tools that can aid in the process of reshaping a metal. These tools are a little more specialized and may not have many general purposes. Despite their lack of versatility, they can be very helpful for many projects depending on the application and desired shape.

7) Drifts

A blacksmithing drift, sometimes referred to as a drift punch or drift pin, is a blacksmithing tool that looks like a tapered rod. The main use of this tool is to enlarge holes. The larger face of the rod can be struck by a hammer to drive the drift into a hold.

The tapered shape of the drift causes a heated metal workpiece to be displaced when the drift is driven into it. It is important to note that it is only appropriate to apply force on the large end of the drift, not the smaller one.

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8) Punches

Blacksmithing punches are similar to drifts in the sense that they aid in the creation of holes in workpieces. Punches can be used in both hot and cold working processes. They vary in size to accommodate many different applications. Punches can literally punch a hole through a workpiece.

They are often aided by a hammer and some may even have handles perpendicular to the punch piece for safety reasons. If using manual force is something you would prefer to avoid, punching machines are also available for your use.

Some stationary types of punching machines are generally meant for larger applications, but there are also handheld punching machines that have more leverage than a simple punch.

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9) Wire Brushes 

A commonly used blacksmithing tool is a hand brush. These hand brushes are block wire brushes that can be used on hot surfaces. Hand brushes are often used by blacksmiths to brush away excess material from the workpiece and leave a nicer finish on the forging. The excess material that is scraped off by hand brushes is known as scale. Although wire brushes are meant to clean up the surface of the workpiece, due to their coarse nature, they can mark up the surface of the workpiece.

Just like many blacksmithing tools, there are many different kinds and sizes of block wire brushes available to suit many different applications. Wire brushes are typically more expensive than regular brushes, but they are very durable.

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10) Swages

Blacksmithing swages are tools made up of dies that form the metal workpiece into the shape that is hollowed out in the die. Spring swages are actually made up of both the top and bottom die blocks, working together to shape a heated workpiece.

Swage blocks are blocks of metal that feature different depressed shapes and holes that also aid in shaping a metal workpiece. Swage blocks can be used in many different applications and can have many different characteristics


11) Twisting Tools

Using blacksmithing twisting tools is a great way to form a forging. They can help you achieve the desired look of your workpiece since bending and twisting are some of the major actions involved in blacksmithing.

Twisting wrenches can be used in conjunction with a vise to twist a heated workpiece into the desired shape. These wrenches can have different styles. Some twisting wrenches are adjustable and others have a characteristic “z” shape. There are also different kinds of twisting machines available to achieve different types of twists. The types of twists that can be made using these tools include plain twists, rope twists, veined twists, basket twists, braid twists, pineapple twists and even stair twists.


List of Blacksmithing Safety Gear 

Blacksmithing safety equipment is a very important aspect of the trade. Prior to working on a project, it is critical that you take all the suggested safety and personal protection precautions needed to safely work on your project. Personal protective equipment can help prevent injury and keep you out of harm’s way. It is highly recommended that you cover your whole body to avoid burns.

12) Aprons

Many blacksmiths wear aprons to protect themselves. Blacksmithing aprons are typically made of leather and cover a large portion of the body to prevent serious burns and damage to clothing. Some aprons have very practical features, such as pockets for holding blacksmithing tools, which can come in very handy when working with multiple tools on a specific project.

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13) Heat Resistant Gloves

Blacksmithing heat-resistant gloves are another important piece of personal protective gear that blacksmiths should wear when working with hot materials. Although there is some debate among blacksmiths about whether or not it is best to wear gloves in certain situations, gloves remain an important safety measure that can prevent you from causing serious damage to your hands and arms.

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14) Safety Glasses

Blacksmithing safety glasses are very important to protect your vision when working on forging projects. Good blacksmithing safety glasses are typically made of didymium lenses, which act as filters between your eyes and the ultraviolet light emitted by superheated gases in a propane forge, preventing eye strain.

If you this safety measure is not taken, your eyes could be subjected to continuous damage while blacksmithing with a gas forge. Although these lenses work great for blacksmithing, you can also use them for glass-blowing projects and they will protect you from the bright yellow lights.

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Advanced & Electrical Blacksmithing Equipment

Some blacksmiths work with electrical equipment that can be very beneficial to some types of projects. It is important to have a basic understanding of how the equipment works before trying to use it, as anything electric can be potentially very dangerous when used improperly.

15) Pyrometers

A pyrometer is a good example of an electronic device that blacksmiths often use. This device has the ability to measure the temperature of a surface. In blacksmithing, this surface is typically a forge or a hot metal.

The pyrometer can give you an idea of how hot the surface is without relying on intuition or direct contact with the surface. This is a great tool to use for blacksmiths of all skill levels, especially if you are a beginner who would like a better grasp on working with different high temperatures.

The main downside of this type of equipment is that it can be very expensive, so a hobbyist may not want to invest that much on a thermometer. For this reason, some blacksmiths actually build their own forge pyrometers. If purchasing a pyrometer or building your own is not something you want to invest in, you can also consider an infrared thermometer, which has a similar application.

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16) Induction Forges   

An induction forge is a type of electric forge that can heat objects through electromagnetic induction. This forge is typically more expensive than other types of forges, but it is also more energy efficient than other types of forges.

It consists of an electromagnet and an electronic oscillator that passes an alternating current at high frequencies. This mechanism allows the induction forge to generate resistive heat from eddy currents. This heater has a metal coil that radiates heat and can heat up a workpiece without the use of fire.

Because of the relatively higher cost, some blacksmiths actually build their own induction forges, but it is important to understand the science and electrical knowledge behind it before attempting to do it yourself. These types of forges can reach temperatures up to 1000°C, similar to the temperatures of other types of forges.

15KW 30-80 KHz High Frequency Induction Heater Furnace 220 V
  • APPLICATION: smelting gold, silver, copper, aluminum, etc with weight between 0.5-2 kg; bar heating;...
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17) Electric Saws

Electric saws are another type of electrical equipment that blacksmiths use. This tool can be very advantageous when a blacksmith needs to cut large pieces of metal into smaller, workable pieces  without exerting too much forge.

However, there are many safety concerns that should be addressed when working with an electric saw. Using an electric saw that has safety guards and features and inherently safe design is always a good thing. Cutting metal with an electric tool is bound to cause some sparking to occur, so wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment is very important.

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18) Electric Buffers 

Buffer blacksmithing tools can create a nice, polished finish to a forging. They can smooth out any imperfections to achieve a uniform design. Although many forgings typically have a rustic appearance buffing the surface of some projects can make the piece have a more professional-looking aspect.

POWERTEC BF600 Heavy Duty Bench Buffer, 6-Inch
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