of Blacksmith Terms
are some words that we used on some of the pages in the blacksmithing
section of the site that may not be familiar to everyone. If you
find other words that are not on this list, and would like to see
them here, send us an email
with the word. Thanks!
We call the finial or ornament on the top and sometimes the bottom
of a grip, latch, latch bar, etc. a cusp. There are
three main styles we do bean, heart and ball and spear.
of Drifting from Plain and Ornamental Forging by Ernst
A tool used in blacksmithing to make holes
the correct size and shape. A hole is punched or cut in the material
and a drift is forced through that hole to enlarge it to a particular
size and/or to change its shape (make a round hole square, for example).
The drift is tapered at both ends so that it starts easily in the
hole and when the final size/shape is reached will then fall out
of the hole after a few more blows of the hammer without getting
stuck. Drifting is done while the metal is hot so that the metal
will stretch to fit the intended shape.
A process of shaping hot metal using a special tool or the long,
narrow peen of a hammer to force metal to each side of the blow.
A number of fullering blows spread the metal much like a rolling
pin on dough only it is a slower and harder process in metal.
Mild Steel, Tool Steel:
Iron exists in two forms, wrought or cast. Formerly blacksmiths
worked with low carbon wrought iron. Cast iron is cast in molds
at a foundry. Little wrought iron is made today. What the blacksmith
has to work with is mild steel which has more carbon and alloys
than wrought iron. It is generally tougher harder to work
and stronger. Tool steel is a high carbon (plus alloys) material
that is used for surfaces that must hold an edge or have wearing
qualities. It is harder still to work than mild steel, and must
usually be hardened and tempered.
A swage is a tool that shapes metal into a particular form: flat
to round, or round to diamond shape for example. The swage can be
driven into the metal, the metal can be driven into a swage, or
hot metal can be placed between top and bottom swages to be shaped
Websters defines this as a nozzle through which an air blast
is delivered to a forge. Generally, in modern forges, the
tuyere is that area below the fire pot where the air enters the
forge and strikes the burning coke. The tuyere can also be considered
the whole fire pot, with the clinker breaker, intake fitting and
The process of driving metal back onto itself to create a bulge
or increase the mass. When upsetting metal for the latch cusps it
becomes thicker and wider while becoming shorter from the hammer