On the subject of shaping hard metals into various shapes, it might be near impossible to do when the metal is in it's natural state and hard. To be able to shape metal it needs to be more supple so it can be shaped effortlessly. The way in which blacksmiths get metals into a soft state is by heating them. Heating a metal changes its composition into a molten form. As you can envision the temperature of the fire utilized in order to change the structure of metal must be incredibly hot.
The fire must be created in what is called a forge also known as the hearth. The blacksmith carries the metal object needed to be heated to the forge with tongs and places it inside, the fire then heats the metal and the blacksmith carries the piece on his anvil. The blacksmith then starts the operation of shaping the metal with his hammer. He will need to move the metal item to and fro until the piece is complete. Once complete the item is then placed in water to quickly cool it down.
A forge is basically a burning pot where the coals are heated with a fan and a pipe through which the air is forced to fan the flames. The fan serves to raise the temperature of the coal and so is also utilized to control temperatures. This is very important as different metals have different melting points and and so the blacksmith would need to meticulously control the fire. If the fire inside the forge is too hot, or he can reduce the volume of air being pumped into the fire pot , lessen the amount of fuel as well as the change the form of the fire. If the coals are heaped the temperature at the center of the heap will be greater, whereas if the coals are distributed the temperature will be much less.
There are 3 types of forges which differ not in the style but due to the fuel used to create the fire. You will find coal forges, gas forges as well as finery forges.
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