Blacksmithing is the process of modeling hot metal with the use of hand tools, such as cross peen hammers, chisels, anvils, etc. The work “blacksmithing” comes from the “black” metal, the layer of the oxide that appears on the surface of the metal during heating (also known as fire scale), and the “smith”-“smite” which means to hit. So, a blacksmith is someone who hits the hot metal, to give it the shape he wants. The blacksmithing process is divided into smaller tasks and techniques, such as forging, drawing, shrinking, bending, upsetting, punching, welding, and finishing. We will focus on the tasks which require the use of the cross peen hammer.
This is basically modeling the material into shape, without removing any amount of material. A blacksmith heats the metal and, using a cross peen hammer, he gives it the shape he wants. For advanced shapes, other tools are used too.
Drawing consists of lengthening the metal by working around with the other two dimensions: width and depth. The most commonly used tools for drawing are a cross peen hammer and an anvil. The procedure involves hammering on the horn of the anvil, and using the cross peen to hammer on the anvil face. Another drawing technique is fullering, but it requires the use of another tool, called fuller to do it, so we won’t get deeper into that.
Basically it’s just the opposite of drawing. To give out a very good example, think of making a bowl shape. On the inside, because the material has to fit in a shorter radius, some waves will appear. If heated, the material can be hammered into place, and thus the waves removed.
Another process that uses intense hammering is bending. If a metal is heated enough, it will be possible to bend it by hammering it over the anvil. Also, using the cross peen hammer you can tighten or widen the bends.
Somehow like drawing, but instead it’s used to make the metal thicker in one dimension while tempering with the others. For example, for upsetting a metal bar, you heat it up at one end, and then either hammer it on the hot end, or you can place the hot end on an anvil and hit on the other end, thus making the hot end bag in.
Use a hammer and a chisel to punch holes or apply a pattern of your choice to the metal piece.
Usually applied to copper and bronze, hardening consists of light hammering a piece of material, causing crystalline changes that will make it more resistant. This technique was mostly used in the past and by hardening only parts of a piece, making that part more resistant to stress and wear, while leaving the other parts softer, thus more resistant to cracking.
The seven techniques presented above can be combined in blacksmithing to give out spectacular results, using one of the most common tools ever made – the hammer.