Blacksmiths are specialised craftsmen who use anvils and forges to create everything from iron tools to home decor items. They pour and heat iron into a cast, or pound it into shape. Blacksmiths were essential to life in early America, but the craft has carried over to modern society, in which artists also employ modern power tools to create metal crafts. Blacksmith project ideas may include tools used for working with iron, cookware and decorative items.
Horseshoes have long been associated with blacksmiths because blacksmiths, or farriers, are the ones who make the horseshoes, fit them to hooves and attach them to horse hooves. Making horseshoes is an ideal project idea for beginners to blacksmith work. They can still be made to apply to horse's hooves, but modern farriers more often buy them in bulk. Even without a horse to shod, horseshoes are popular with a wide range of people. They are a widely used symbol of Western culture and can be used for home decor. Horseshoes are also associated with luck; making them a good gift choice.
There is no shortage of demand for hand-forged iron home decorations, particularly among those homeowners with country, Western or primitive decorating styles. There are a wide range of decor items, which range in difficulty depending on the skill level of the blacksmith. Start off simple with iron latches or coat hooks that require minimal bending and twisting, and that make use of only one piece of iron. As the skill is honed, ornamentation such as iron leaves and twists can be added. Candle holders are another project to try after mastering basic skills. The candle holder may be for a single votive, taper or pillar candle, or a more advanced project like a candelabra. Other decor projects to consider include making iron cabinet handles and drawer pulls or creating an elaborate iron chandelier.
Tools and Utensils
Blacksmiths can make a wide variety of tools and utensils, including their own blacksmith tools. A pair of blacksmith tongs can make working with hot metal much easier. A simple iron stick with a curved end is helpful in raking the hot coals. A simple project would be to make several S-shaped hangers that can be used to hang tools, equipment or even pots and pans in the kitchen. A fireplace set, including a shovel, poker, tongs and a broom with a metal handle, makes a nice gift. A blacksmith can even forge weapons, such as knives, axes, swords and armour.
Molds, or casts, can be used to make a wide range of cast iron cookware. Those who have a piece of cast iron cookware understand the value and versatility of these items in the kitchen. They are commonly used to cook over open fires and can last a lifetime or longer with proper care. Consider making different sized skillets, which can be used to cook just about anything. Dutch ovens or cauldrons are another blacksmith project to try. Tea kettles are elaborate pieces that advanced blacksmiths can make. An iron pot rack can even be made to hang the cookware with S-shaped hooks. If these projects are too ambitious, the blacksmith could start small with spoons, forks and spatulas.
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