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Monday, May 13, 2013

Medieval Blacksmith Tools

Picture Credit: http://www.stainedglass-
I mentioned in an earlier post that my main character is not a blacksmith, nor does she ever watch a blacksmith work. But her master is a blacksmith. I found a few times that I was at a loss when it came to blacksmith tools and terms that she would hear as his slave.

To help me make my character's life more believable, I did research on common tools and the type of work the average medieval blacksmith did, but I didn't go much into the flow of work. This posting will not prepare anyone to actually do work at the forge--it simply will go over some of the basics about small blacksmith shops in the middle ages.

I found much of my information from a medieval blacksmithing blog. Click here to learn more.

First, let's take a look at what blacksmith means. A smith is a crafts-person who works with metal. A blacksmith works with the dark metals, mainly iron, as opposed to precious metals, tin, or even specializing in weaponry.

Items Made by a City Blacksmith Shop

  • Chains
  • Decorations
  • Hinges
  • Household objects such as knives, light fittings, pokers, etc.
  • Jewlrey
  • Locks and Keys
  • Nails
  • Ornaments
  • Tools

Tools, Equipment, and Shop

  • Avil- a heavy block of iron or steel used to place hot metals against while hammering
  • Axe
  • Bellows- a device that blows air onto a fire to make it burn more fiercely
  • Bit- a tool for boring various forms and sizes
    • Auger Bit- a bit with a cutting edge or blade
  • Chisels
  • Drifts- steel tools that are tapered to enlarge or shape holes in metal by being driven through it, also called a broach
  • Forge- the blacksmith workplace, also called a smithy
  • Fullers- a half-round set hammer that is used to form grooves and spread iron, also called a creaser
  • Hammers- these will be various sizes and are used for shaping and finishing
  • Molds- used for everyday items
  • Nails
  • Punchers- tools used to make circular holes
  • Sledge Hammers
  • Swages- tools that are shaped or grooved in various ways (either on the end or the face of the tool), they are used to shape by holding them onto the metal while striking them with the hammer
  • Swage Block- a block of iron with perforations on its sides, it is used for heading bolts and swaging large objects
  • Table, stools, shelves, etc.
  • Tongs


  1. Must've been a lot of work to be a blacksmith! I'd hate to spend hours over a hot fire, and I can't really hammer anything, except my thumb :)

  2. No joke! I sure couldn't do it. Give me central air and a computer any day. :) I guess, on the flip side, they didn't have to worry about spending time exercising to keep off the fat--their lives were exercise.

    1. Life of exercise. I shudder at the thought!
      Anyway, here's a reply to the comment you left on my blog just in case you didn't see my reply. It'd help a lot to be a visiting author on your blog. Any little push you know, thanks for offering :) and I'd be MORE than happy to do the same for you when your books are ready. :D
      And definitely, computer and air conditioning, that's my ideal job!