3.A04 | Fall 2008 | Undergraduate

Modern Blacksmithing and Physical Metallurgy


The Fire
The Anvil
The Hammer
Basic Techniques
Other Equipment

The first few sessions are spent orienting students to the forge space, equipment, safety, and basic blacksmithing techniques. MIT’s blacksmithing lab contains three coal forges and six anvils, a coal bin, storage for tools, stock, and finished pieces, and a cutoff wheel and wire brush tool for finishing. It shares space with the MIT Glass Lab.

The Fire

To light the forge, place a ball of newspaper in the fire pot, light it, turn on the blower, and cover with coal. Take care not to smother the flames, and/or make sure the airflow is sufficient. As the coal heats up, it will start to offgas. The exhaust should be taken up by the hood, not released into the room, as it contains sulfur dioxide and other hazardous materials. Too much airflow tends to blow the fumes away from the exhaust and into the room. Eventually, flames should start poking through the coal bed. From here, you can add more coal, rearrange the coals, and turn the airflow up or down to build a fire of the desired size and temperature.

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The Anvil

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2008
Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery