Blacksmithing is the process of shaping iron when it is exposed to very high temperatures. Iron is a ductile, grey, relatively soft metal and is a moderately good conductor of heat and electricity.
Wrought iron has little carbon content; it is tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded. It was traditionally smelted at a low temperature to produce a sponge-like mass of metal called ‘bloom’. The impurities are then hammered off as ‘liquid slag’ hence the name ‘wrought iron’, which means ‘worked’ iron. Now that the wrought iron is pure it is not susceptible to corrosion from weathering.
What does a blacksmith do?
Blacksmith fabrication engineers shape and weld metals to make the following items:
- Driveway gates
- Metal railings
- Safety handrailing
- Metal sculptures
- Security grilles
- Architectural metalwork
They need a working knowledge of business if they are working independently. Good spatial skills are essential when reading blueprints to create products. Blacksmiths must be adept at reading and interpreting work orders and diagrams, as they may be asked to replicate a part when given a sample
A blacksmiths scope of works includes working with a furnace in heating metals, welding skills, Mig, Tig, stainless steel welding and aluminium welding. They have to be proficient at using power for tools, grinders, lathes and hydraulic bench machinery.
What skills does a blacksmith need?
A blacksmith, male or female needs good hand/eye coordination, practical skills and a reasonable level of numeracy.
If you enjoy working with your hands, tools and machinery and you like creating things from start to finish, then this work could be ideal for you.