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Blacksmithing comprises forging processes used for manufacturing objects of steel as well as non-ferrous metals and their alloys. Such processes include:

  • preparation of material for forging, i.e. cutting, cleaning, pre-heating,
  • forging,
  • finishing of forgings, i.e. burnishing, straightening, punching, trimming.

Distinction can be made between manual and mechanical (machine) forging. Manual forging operations involve an anvil and various tools, while mechanical forging is carried out using forging machines.

The following forging methods can be distinguished: blacksmith forging, swaging and drop forging.

Manual forging is usually a hot process conducted after heating the material to an optimum temperature in a forge. Examples of hand tools are shown in fig. 7-1.

Basic blacksmithing operations include: cutting, piercing, drawing, upsetting, bending, offsetting and welding.

Cutting is conducted on an anvil, using sets and chisels.

Piercing can be executed on an anvil or swage block.

Material drawing is executed using hammer or fullers on an anvil (fig. 7-2). Wavy surface of the workpiece resulting from fuller use is smoothed out with a set hammer.

Upsetting consists in hammering a workpiece placed on an anvil in a vertical position (fig. 7-3a, b) in order to make it shorter in one dimension and thicker in the other. In order to upset a specific section of a workpiece (e.g. its middle or end), it should be spot-heated.

Bending operation is shown in fig 7-3c, d.

Offsetting refers to the operation of decreasing workpiece thickness at its end by extending the offset section by blacksmith forging on an anvil, using a fuller.

Welding consists in joining low-carbon steel elements by heating them to a high temperature (ca. 1200°C) and hammering them together (fig. 7-3e, f, g). Ends of welded workpieces are cut at an angle, thoroughly cleaned to remove scale and joined under sufficient pressure.

Swaging involves the use of various swage blocks, top swages, dies, and suitable swages.