In a busy world where everything revolves around industry, one of the most essential materials, at the same time most taken for granted, is metal.
Metal is found and used everywhere from the common household and carpentry work, to the highly technical and industrial workplace such as construction sites and factories. Metal is also an important material in the medical field. And as much as metal is important to have in our busy world, the one who wields and molds it is just as important. No one can wield metal better than a blacksmith.
A blacksmith is someone who manufactures items that are derived from iron. Sometimes, to make metals even more durable, a blacksmith is also responsible for forging them together to form steel. Forging is a process done by a blacksmith to mold, bend and shape metals by using instruments and tools such as hammers and anvils. They produce objects such as wrought iron gates, railings, light fixtures and tools that we use in our daily living. They are also capable of making weapons that are primarily made of iron such as guns.
Black smiths work through iron and steel by heating these metals until they are malleable enough to be molded using simple hand tools like the hammers, chisels, and anvils. The process of blazing these metals in heat is done by using a forge fed by organic materials such as natural gases, propane and charcoal.
Blacksmiths today may also utilize oxyacetylene which is similar to a blowtorch for a more precise heating. During the heating period, the color of the metal is a very vital indication of the metal’s temperature and workability. For example, iron being blazed through fire will glow red at first, then turns to orange or yellow, then eventually to white when the heat reaches its peak. That is when the iron melts.
The best heat indicator for most forging is the bright yellow-orange color which is known as the forging heat. In order for blacksmiths to determine the glow of metal when it heats up, they must work in a dim-lighted environment.
When the iron ore is being merged into a usable piece of metal, there are certain amounts of carbon alloyed along with the iron. The levels of carbon can greatly affect the attributes of the metal the blacksmith is working on. If the levels of carbon exceeds 2%, it can have a low melting point and is easily cast, hence the name, cast iron. However, because of the brittleness it has, it’s not used for blacksmithing. If the levels of carbon is between 0.25% and 2%, the end product would be steel which is conducive for heat treatment. And if the carbon content falls under below 0.25%, the result of it will be mild steel which is easily malleable Today World Info
The methods for smithing are categorized into forging, welding, treatment using heat, and finishing.
Forging is done through shaping the metal by the use of a hammer whereas welding is the process of fusing metals of the same kind. They accomplish this by forge welding and by using oxacetylene and arc welding.
Heat treatment is simply immersing the metal in fire until it becomes conducive for molding. Finishing is done through polishing to smoothen uneven metal surfaces in order for the finished product to have that furnished look and quality.
Blacksmiths also face some dangers in the workplace. Most of the time, they are faced with fire and scalding is a common issue. Spark of metal flying around can affect the eyes and repetitive strain injuries are also common. Moreover, there are also hidden dangers such as heavy metal poisonings and heat exhaustion during the summer seasons.