Blacksmith Badge


Originally uploaded by nodigio

Step One: You tighten the last screw in the hinge you forged yourself on the jewelry box you made for your mother with a screwdriver you made yourself, too. The candles on the mantelpiece flicker brightly in the candleholders you made yourself of raw iron and fire. On a camping trip, you supply the toasting forks that you made yourself, and you cut the strips of steaks you grill on them with a knife you forged yourself. Friends welcome the gifts of your forge and often ask you to make some things for them to buy and gift. And your friends are always up for a game of Stretch with the Stretch Sticks you hammered out on your anvil.

Step Two: Sure you can buy screwdrivers, hinges, candleholders, toasting forks, camp grills, pothooks, coat hooks, fire strikers, tent stakes, and knives from a store, but when you make them yourself, you can make them as plain or pretty as you want. It’s satisfying to take a raw lump of metal and with just a fire and a hammer, make something beautiful and useful from it.

Step Three: Blacksmithing is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It’s not just horse-shoeing anymore. Your best bet for finding a mentor is to visit historical re-enactment places like Colonial Williamsburg or Branson, Missouri, or attend a Renaissance Faire. Most performing blacksmiths are more than willing to talk to you and tell you all about how they got into smithing and show you all the pretties they can make. New books are being written about modern blacksmithing and there’s a magazine devoted to blacksmiths. Find a smith and ask your questions. Examine their set-up and ask who their suppliers are. Ask what they would recommend as a first project.

Step Four: Some blacksmiths offer classes in smithing. This is an excellent way to find out if you really like smithing before you invest in the equipment and build a forge to house it all. You can earn your badge by completing the class and making something yourself.

Step Five: Complete a class on blacksmithing and make something yourself. Display it with pride.

Step Six: Claim your badge.

You can go on to get an advanced blacksmithing badge by setting up your own forge and stocking it and making things in it.