Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nailing the Art of Blacksmithing

Yesterday I had another lesson with Rusty the blacksmith.  This time, we made nails.  No joke.  

Left to right, in the order that they were made.

It was great practice for squaring up a round rod and tapering it to a point.  After 4 nails, I started to make some real progress.  I'm getting pretty good at swinging that hammer!  Last week I would hit the anvil or miss the mark, smooshing everything the wrong way.  I had to get help squaring everything up since I liked to swing the hammer at an angle, pushing everything off center. 

With the nails, my first started off as a huge mess.  I was doing everything wrong, but Rusty was great and talked me through how to fix it instead of doing it for me.  Of course, that meant it took longer to make a nail, but he gave me a great chance to learn.  By the end, I wasn't messing up nearly as bad, and my nail was very passable.  That being said, I really didn't put any effort into the nail heads and they are all off center and more like railroad ties.  But that was totally on purpose and not at all related to my inability to swing a hammer with any force...

Added bonus: My arms aren't as jelly-like today as they were last week.  I hope that means I'm building some muscle!

We discussed future projects, but I couldn't think of anything easy to make.  Eventually, I would like to make a hatchet and tools, but none of that is appropriate for a beginner. 

All in all, I need my own forge now.  I want to play and make more nails.  Rusty said he can make them in one heating (as opposed to the 10+ I did for each of mine), so that will be a goal for me.

Funny looking heads.


  1. When making nails, is that done by blacksmiths? Or is that done in a manufacturing plant nowadays?