We got snowed in with a dusting of snow and I thought I'd share the tools in a blade smiths shop.  Certainly, this isn't every tool and they can vary from shop to shop with what the smith needs to make their style of knife.

The king of the shop is the Anvil.  The most common style, and the one most think of when they hear "anvil" is the London Pattern which began in the late 1700's, sometimes those early ones are referred to as a "colonial".  By the mid 1800's the London Pattern anvil had been fully refined.

Here's an 1830's English wrought/tool steel anvil.  This one has been repaired.

Here's a mid 1800's English Peter Wright.

And finally, an American Fisher which was cast iron with a tool steel top.

The next piece of equipment is the forge.  The two main types of forges are a more traditional coal forge and a propane forge.  Most blade smiths will opt for a propane forge as they are easier/cleaner to operate and are less likely to burn up the steel.

The next tool is the hammer.  A bladsmith and blacksmith will have a lot of hammers of various weights and shapes tailored to the specific job.

To hold the hot steel a smith uses tongs.  These are made to hold certain shapes and sizes of material.  As such a smith will have a large selection of tongs, if asked if he has enough he will reply "no".  

other notable pieces of equipment are:

The blacksmiths post vice.

To do the grinding a 2x72 belt sander.

A surface grinder to true up billets.

A forging press for making those Damascus billets.

Lastly, a heat treat oven

This by far isn't all the equipment but does represent a lot of the equipment seen in a blade smiths shop.  So if you ever wonder how much work goes into making a custom blade this might help understand what it takes to forge a blade.

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Comment by Ken Spielvogel on January 20, 2024 at 8:35

Very nice and inter4sting

Comment by Andy Larrison on January 18, 2024 at 5:56

Not a black smith "forge"....but a drop forge shop....If it hadn't been for blacksmithing throughout time we wouldn't be where we are today in modern industrial forging.

And you are correct.....you can never have enough tongs.

Comment by Lars Ray on January 17, 2024 at 18:46

Thanks James for sharing this - it's a great yet simple tutorial for the likes of me, and those like me. A great tour of your kit as well...particularly your anvils.

I have some basic knowledge of what makes a bladesmith shop beyond what is seen on "Forged In Fire"....scratch that...I have some awareness. Yea - that's a better term to use - your tour here provided some knowledge and depth to my awareness. 

Keep sharing brother....I'm in the mood to learn!

Kevin - are you watching this? :-D

Comment by Jan Carter on January 17, 2024 at 18:19

We got a dusting also but boy are we sitting in some cold!  The shop is downstairs and so is the wood stove so this is the time of year when it is most likely the shop gets a full cleaning. Shop is too small to have a press but I would love to hear one just like the sound of the anvil, that sound is always music to my ears when I am here posting.

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