How Does a Forge Work? (2024)

How Does a Forge Work? (1)

Wonder of the Day #2456

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How Does a Forge Work? (17)

TECHNOLOGYInventions

Have You Ever Wondered...

  • What does a blacksmith do?
  • How does a forge work?
  • Are there still blacksmiths today?

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  • Technology,
  • Inventions,
  • Forge,
  • Blacksmith,
  • Metal,
  • Iron,
  • Heat,
  • Bellows,
  • Coal,
  • Gas,
  • Solar Energy,
  • Industrial Revolution,
  • Technology,
  • Inventions,
  • Forge,
  • Blacksmith,
  • Metal,
  • Iron,
  • Heat,
  • Bellows,
  • Coal,
  • Gas,
  • Solar Energy,
  • Industrial Revolution

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Spencer . Spencer Wonders, “How can you forge?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Spencer !

Quick! Grab a piece of metal. It can be any piece of metal—a fork would even work. Just find the closest metallic object to you and hold it in your hands. Okay, now concentrate. Hold the metal firmly.

Now, bend it! Turn it into something new. Shape the metal into a flower, a diamond, or even a big circle. Be imaginative! Turn that piece of metal into anything you’d like.

Wait, what? You can’t shape the metal? It’s too strong to bend? Oh, we forgot to tell you! Before you can turn that metal into something new, you’ll need your own forge.

“Forge” refers to a couple of different things. Sometimes, it’s what people call a blacksmith’s workspace. Blacksmiths are people who make things with metal, usually iron. And to do that job, blacksmiths use a hearth that heats their materials. This hearth is also called a forge.

Okay, so now you know what a forge is. But how exactly does it work? Think back to what it was like trying to bend that piece of metal. If you had something small, like a paperclip, it probably wasn’t too hard. But any metal much sturdier than that is pretty unwieldy. In order to work metal, blacksmiths have to heat it first.

The forge itself can work in a few different ways. Picture a fireplace or wood-burning stove—a forge looks a lot like that. For heat, many forges use coal. To work a coal forge, a blacksmith will also need bellows to force air into the fire. Other forges use gas or solar power.

Once the forge is heated using one of these energy sources, it’s time to get to work. The blacksmith holds the metal using a pair of tongs and heats it up in the forge. Then, they hold the metal over a large anvil and hit it with a hammer, shaping it into the desired form.

For thousands of years, blacksmiths made just about every metal object needed for daily life. They made hammers, nails, and screws used for building. They created plows for farmers, weapons for soldiers, and shoes for horses. Blacksmiths even made all the metal household items, like candlesticks and utensils, for everyday people.

After the Industrial Revolution, forging changed. The development of the steam hammer and other technologies have made forging a largely automated process today. However, some people still practice traditional forging as both a career and a hobby.

Would you like to learn to use a forge? Maybe you could become a blacksmith’s apprentice! They can teach you how to safely heat and work metal to make something that’s both useful and beautiful.

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, C3.D2.Civ.3, NGSS.PS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow's Wonder of the Day is VILLAIN up your brain with new knowledge!

Try It Out

Are you forging a real interest in this topic? Find an adult friend or family member who can help you with one or more of these activities:

  • Read about what it’s like to be a modern-day blacksmith. What’s interesting to you about this story? What are you still WONDERing? Summarize what you learned for a friend or family member. Then, discuss what you’re still curious about when it comes to blacksmithing.
  • Imagine you’re a blacksmith in the pre-Industrial Revolution world. What would your everyday life be like? What objects might you make out of metal? Would you have a favorite metal to work with? What problems might you run into? How would you solve them? Write a story about what it would be like.
  • Learn more about what it’s like to work as a blacksmith. Would you be interested in blacksmithing as a career? Why or why not? Discuss with a friend or family member.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Forge (accessed 06 Sept. 2019)
  • https://www.britannica.com/technology/forging (accessed 06 Sept. 2019)
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/blacksmith (accessed 06 Sept. 2019)
  • https://hackaday.com/2019/03/07/blacksmithing-for-the-uninitiated-what-is-a-forge/ (accessed 06 Sept. 2019)
  • https://cantondropforge.com/history-of-forging/ (accessed 06 Sept. 2019)

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Wonder Contributors

We’d like to thank:

brode
for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

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Wonder Words

  • coal
  • solar
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  • apprentice
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How Does a Forge Work? (2024)

FAQs

How Does a Forge Work? ›

A blacksmithing forge is a type of hearth that a blacksmith uses to heat and shape metals into objects, tools, and more. It is typically a basin that consists of a heat source and an oxygen input to bring metals up to a temperature where they can be easily worked and shaped.

What are the basics of a forge? ›

The forge is what you'll use to heat the metal that you're working. It consists of a firepot to hold the fire, a work surface and a blower. The firepot should be about 4-5 inches deep and can be made from an old brake drum.

What fuel is used in a forge? ›

A forge typically uses bituminous coal, industrial co*ke or charcoal as the fuel to heat metal. The designs of these forges have varied over time, but whether the fuel is coal, co*ke or charcoal the basic design has remained the same.

What happens to metal in a forge? ›

At its core, forging is the process of forming raw metal without allowing the material to completely melt. The metal remains in a solid state while an operator performs any combination of forming techniques such as hammering, rolling, or pressing.

What is the process of forging? ›

Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of a metal through hammering, pressing, or rolling. These compressive forces are delivered with a hammer or die. Forging is often categorized according to the temperature at which it is performed—cold, warm, or hot forging. A wide range of metals can be forged.

How do modern forges work? ›

Modern forges utilize fans. The oxygen enters the forge through the tuyere, which is a pipe on the forge. The oxygen raises the temperature of the fire and allows the forge to burn hotter. It must get to a temperature where it becomes easier to shape metal, or to the point where hardening no longer occurs.

What is the easiest material to forge with? ›

Steel is the best metal to work with as a beginner blacksmith. However, not all types of steel are equal for blacksmithing purposes. Look for low- and medium-carbon steels. Carbon steels may contain various metals, including chromium, titanium, nickel, cobalt, and more.

What is co*ke used for in forge? ›

co*ke is an important industrial product, used mainly in iron ore smelting, but also as a fuel in stoves and forges.

Can I run my forge on natural gas? ›

Yes, you can. But its not as simple as a propane tank and regulator. Typical US Household natural gas delivery pressure is only 7" WC, less than 1/2 PSIG. Burners to handle this end up requiring a blower and a pretty large diameter gas pipe in order to handle the volume of gas that must be moved at these low pressures.

Why do blacksmiths hit the steel when forging? ›

The only reasons that you strike an anvil while forging are to communicate with one or more strikers or to keep rhythm while looking at the work piece to decide where the next strike will be.

What flakes off during forging? ›

When forging, what is the thing falling off the metal, and why? oxide scale. At high temperatures, surface oxidizes. Forging hammer separates the oxide scale from the workpiece.

What is the best metal for a forge? ›

Carbon steel

Lower carbon steels are more ductile and malleable, while higher carbon steels are harder and more wear-resistant. This metal responds exceptionally well to the forging process, which enhances its mechanical properties by refining its grain structure, thus making it tougher and more durable.

What metals cannot be forged? ›

What metals cannot be forged? Because of their limited ductility, some metals such as cast iron and select high-carbon steels, cannot be forged.

What are the three types of forging? ›

These metal forging processes include impression die forging (closed die), open die forging, cold forging, and seamless rolled ring forging.

How long does it take to forge steel? ›

Normally, it will take about 30-40 working days to finish forging dies and samples, and another 35-45 working days for mass production after sample is approved. 9.

What are the parts of a forge called? ›

Anatomy of a Forge
  • #1 The Forge.
  • #2 The Stand.
  • #3 The Torch.
  • #4 Anvil.
  • #5 Mjölnir (Thor's Hammer)
  • #6 Tongs.
May 22, 2015

What is the concept of forge? ›

: to form (something, such as metal) by heating and hammering. forged pieces of iron into hooks. b. : to form (metal) by a mechanical or hydraulic press with or without heat.

What were the parts of the medieval forge? ›

They were generally divided into three groups. The first is the hearth with its bellows, water trough, shovels, tongs, rake, poker, and a water container for damping down the fire and cooling objects. The second group consists of the anvil, sledges, tongs, swages, cutters, chisels, and hammers.

What is the difference between a forge and a smithy? ›

The workshop where a smith works iron to make tools and other artefacts is commonly known as a forge. The smithy is the technical term used to indicate the workshop of a blacksmith who makes and fits shoes for horses and tow cattle.

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