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July 03, 2013
Survival Skills: Become a Backyard Blacksmith - 1
by Tim MacWelch
The town blacksmith was still an integral part of American life just 150 years ago. And before that, you didn’t have a town without a smith. Though the industrial age brought about a decline in the number of smiths and the need for that trade, blacksmithing has never gone away. It’s still an amazing way to make a knife, and can be used to create a host of other useful items for the home, garden, farm, and ranch.
Makeshift Equipment or The Real Deal?
You might be able to pick up the real tools of the trade at a good price if you get lucky at a flea market or estate sale. If you’re going that route, you’ll need a proper anvil, an assortment of hammers and sledges, tongs, a hand crank or electric bellows (or a wood stove blower), hardies, fullers, swages and punches. You may even need even more unusual tools, based on your intended products. You’ll also need some coal. If you find a local heating fuel supplier, they can usually tell you where to buy small amounts of coal.
Acquiring the metal you’ll work on is usually the easiest part of the operation. You can find some great metal at the junkyard or a salvage yard. You can also buy steel straps at any home improvement store. And you can order any kind of metal you like, in a variety of sizes and shapes, from metal supply companies.
Are any of you interested in trying this? Would you like to make? Tell us your story by leaving a comment.