Hot metal forging, or steel forging, is a process that has been used for thousands of years. How does metal forging work? Metal forging renders stronger products than casting because the metal used in forgings is typically a better grade of steel. Additionally, the process requires a more controlled metal working process than the type of poured metal products that casting normally gives. The art of metalsmithing is a difficult process to conduct, however the basics are easy to learn, the intricacies of the craft take years to perfect.
Place the precut iron or steel in a metal forge, charcoal fire or campfire. Make sure that sufficient air is introduced to maintain the proper temperature.
Heat the metal forging material in the fire until it is red hot. Determine proper temperature by holding a magnet to the heated metal, which loses its magnetic charge when heated sufficiently.
Remove the heated metal from the forge with duck-billed tongs. Use the proper-size tongs to handle the steel safely and securely. Wear safety goggles and gloves to prevent burns and injuries.
Position the heated, precut metal on a flat anvil. Use a heavy hammer to shape the steel by hammering. Work quickly and continue pounding the metal to shape it until all the scale is removed. Reheat the metal as needed to complete the shaping.
Use a universal anvil to shape spoons, ladles or bowls of various sizes. Use the sides of the universal anvil to create curved shapes.
Plunge the shaped metal into oil or water, or let it cool in the air, depending on the hardening technique that is required.
Understand that steel forging is both an art and a craft. Experiment with different techniques, metals, forge types and tools to perfect a signature style.
Now when someone asks you what is metal forging? you will be able to tell them.