A person who creates objects from iron or steel by forging the metal: by using tools to hammer, bend and cut. Blacksmiths produce things like gates, grills railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, weapons and sometime horse shoes.
Blacksmiths work with “black” metals. The color comes from the fire scale, a layer of oxide that forms on the surface of the metal during heating. The term ‘Smith’ originates from the word ‘smite’ which means ‘to hit’. Thus, a blacksmith is a person who hits black metal.
Blacksmiths work heating metal by the use of coal, coke or propane in a forge. Heating it till it becomes soft enough to be shapes with hand tools, such as a hammer, anvil and chisel. The shop is usually kept dim in light in order to see the glowing temperature of the metal. As the temperature increases it glows from red then orange, yellow and finally white; then melts around 2500 degrees. The ideal heat is bright yellow-orange known as forging heat around 2100-2300 degrees.
Forging is also referred to as sculpting because it is the process of shaping metal. Forging is different from machining metal. Material is not removed, but rather hammered or moved into shape.