How to Bend Wrought Iron

Written by dannah swift
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Bending and shaping wrought iron is the speciality of a blacksmith. Unless you are repeatedly forging the same size bend in a piece of metal--in which case you would want some kind of jig to ensure consistency--the only tools required for bending wrought iron are a metal forge (a very, very hot fire), a hammer and an anvil. With some basic knowledge and plenty of safety equipment, you can make your own wrought iron utensils.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Low-carbon steel
  • Blacksmith's coal
  • Wolf-jaw tongs
  • Metal forge
  • 1361gr blacksmith's hammer
  • Shaded eye protection
  • Leather apron or cape
  • Welding gloves

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Wear all protective equipment, including shaded eye protection, a leather blacksmith's apron or cape, and welding gloves.

  2. 2

    Grip the steel with the wolf-jaw tongs and hold it in the coals of the fire. Let it sit in the coals until it has reached the desired temperature.

  3. 3

    Heat the steel until it becomes soft enough to shape with tools. You will know it has reached its desired malleability when the metal glows a bright yellow-orange colour. This is its "forging heat."

  4. 4

    Remove the hot steel with the tongs.

  5. 5

    Lay the hot metal on the anvil with part of the metal stock extending over the edge.

  6. 6

    Strike the unsupported stock with the hammer a few times to force it downward. You have just bent wrought iron at a 90-degree angle.

  7. 7

    Make a rounded bend by wrapping the hot metal around the anvil's horn, tapping it with the hammer so it conforms to the shape of the horn.

  8. 8

    Continue to shape the bend, by laying the metal on the anvil's surface, turned-end up. If you strike it on the inside of the bend, you will open it up, while striking it on the outside tightens the bend.

  9. 9

    Refine the bend by bracing it against the horn or the face and side of the anvil (depending on which type of bend you have made).

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