Blacksmithing Test

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Blacksmithing Test

Postby Alexander Magnus on December 1st, 2014, 11:11 pm

I've written a small post about my character working at the Iron Works as he's a blacksmith, however before signing up here I knew almost nothing about smithing. Admittedly when I first decided on this job I didn't realize it would require such detailed descriptions. Yet I'm not the type to step away from a challenge. To that end I've been trying to educate myself on how smithing works. I've watched a few tutorials online and read through the process, now I just need to work on putting it into action properly.

Mainly I'm trying to see if I'm able to describe the process properly and accurately enough for it to pass for as an acceptable post. To that end I've posted it here and I would appreciate comments, feedback, and suggestions. This isn't my best writing, right now I'm just working on process, please bare that in mind.
Last edited by Alexander Magnus on December 2nd, 2014, 8:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Alexander Magnus
Apprentice Blacksmith
 
Posts: 20
Words: 20025
Joined roleplay: November 30th, 2014, 8:32 am
Location: Sylira
Race: Human
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Blacksmithing Test

Postby Alexander Magnus on December 1st, 2014, 11:12 pm

One of the many aspects of being a blacksmith in the Iron Works is that even in the winter you never got cold. The fires that burned in the forge were hot enough that many apprentice smiths often passed out if they weren't careful. This was however something that normally faded after the first month when a person began adjusting to the immense heat. This was never a problem for Alexander as he always enjoyed heat. It's not to say that he didn't get light-headed at first, but in short order his body adjusted. Those employed at the Iron Works didn't have assigned stations, but given time people usually settled into one location and worked there day after day. For Alexander his chosen anvil was in the fourth forge where he had first been assigned years ago.

Walking into the forge he passed several other workers exchanging greetings. Even from the doorway one could hear the steady banging of hammers and hissing of cooling metal as the Iron Works turned out some of the finest metal products one could wish for. The red glow of the fires was a welcome feeling, with winter now upon the land it was turning colder day by day. Alexander preferred the heat of the forge to what would soon be the bite of a sharp winter breeze. It didn't take long for his jacket to come off and be held while walking to the station with the anvil that was so well known. Tools already in a belt around the waist Alexander was ready for work.

Near the back he stopped next to an old black anvil hanging the jacket on a hook he'd forged and mounted in the wall some time ago. What was without a doubt one of the single most important rules here was safety first. Not only for the sake of the workers, but the forge as well. To that end Alexander went through his morning routine of checking to make sure everything was clean and proper. Kneeling down he checked the Tuyere to make sure the bellows and the pipe leading to the fire pot were secure and clean. Although it was only required to clean them twice a week Alexander always took time after his shift to clean his station and equipment. More than one forge had exploded in the past due to lack of proper care, but not his.

Alexander always swept the chimney once every five days as well to prevent any build-up that might present a fire hazard. Before starting he filled two large water buckets, one to cool metal in and another to throw on the forge in the unlikely event the fire began to present a safety hazard. Once everything check out he took some tender out of a box nearby and started to place it in the fire pot leaving a small hole in the middle for air from the bellows to move through. Removing the flint and steel from his pocket Alexander used them to light the tender and within a few clean strikes a tiny curl of fire rose up. It spread out with a gentle crackle as the tender was consumed and he took some coke, a byproduct of burnt coal, and began to carefully spread some out on the tender. Once that began to catch Alexander stepped on the bellows, gently at first, sending a gentle breeze up through the fire pot.

The tender and coke flared lightly and reaching around to another larger box on the floor he scooped some coal out by hand. At this point the fire was barely burning so the shovel wasn't required... yet. Alexander stepped on the bellows again with a slow and steady rhythm, but the fire wasn't what he was watching so much as the coals. The pot had to reach a certain temperature before any work could begin and one of the tell-tale signs, rather than the fire itself, was the orange glow of the coals. Having been at this for a number of years now Alexander could tell just by looking if they were too hot or too cold. Once the coals were the right temperature he took a small scrap of paper out of one pocket.

Scribbled on it were notes regarding the work order assigned to him. There was a lot to forge, horseshoes, nails, bolts, tool heads, crowbars. It would have been impossible to complete it all in one day and Alexander had actually been working this order for the past two. Something else he liked about the Iron Works was if you turned out your daily quota and didn't blow anything up, no one bothered you. Instead of working the hardest orders down to the easiest Alexander decided to do the opposite. Today he would handle the easiest orders first. While crowbars came in several different styles the ones in this order weren't very complex. Instead of the bent rods these were the smaller flat designs that most people used around their homes.

Having already gathered the iron materials needed when starting this job Alexander took a flat strip of iron and slid it into the forge using a pair of tongs. By now the fire was hot enough for someone not to want to get their hands near it. One of the more annoying aspects to this was that Alexander didn't always get the metal strips he made as neat as they needed to be when making them. For that reason he removed the strip from the forge once it was glowing a bright orange. Placing it on the anvil Alexander took a hammer from his belt and brought it down causing a loud ring on impact. As he continued to hammer the metal an interesting little personal gesture came into play.

When he first start started smithing Alexander would occasionally spin his hammer around in hand to get a better grip on it, this still occurred however it was now something he did without even consciously thinking about it. A short time later the metal was starting to cool and needed to be reheated so it was placed back in the forge, then upon reaching the proper temperature was again removed. Now in order to continue working Alexander would have to slit both ends of the metal with a chisel. To do this he took a rather oddly shaped piece of metal and slid it down into one of the two holes on the anvil. Known simply as a pritchel hold down it allowed a smith to secure a piece of metal in place while using tools with both hands.

Slitting itself wasn't hard, all Alexander had to do was place a chisel on the end of the bar and strike the back with a hammer. Now there were only three steps left to complete. For the next step Alexander would need a punch, a hammer with a very narrow head on one end specifically designed to punch holes in metal. This would be a little trickier as use of the pritchel hole would be needed for something other than a hold down. For this Alexander used a weighted chain, literally a length of chain with a heavy weight on one end. One end was secured around the anvil horn while the weighted end was laid over the metal. The length of metal was positioned over the pritchel hole and with the punch in his other hand Alexander put it in place and struck three solid times.

After the third strike he cooled the punch in water, if the tool overheated it could dull the head, so every two or three strikes required dousing. It took a total of five strikes to drive a hole into the iron. With the metal being hot enough it wasn't hard to make a small v-shape at the bottom of the hole toward the end of the crowbar. With that finished the only thing left to do was bend and sharpen the metal. For this Alexander once again heated the metal in the forge to make it sure was hot enough. The next step was to use a small piece of metal designed with a peg for the hardie hole. It was little more than a piece of metal with two upright pegs close together than served the purpose of bending. This was the easiest part of the whole process. Placing one end between the pegs Alexander hammered it to a mild ten degree angle, then turned it around and hammered the other to a forty-five degree angle.

Now that the crowbar itself was shaped properly there was one final step that came after cooling it in water. There were a number of sharpening wheels in the forge and walking over to the nearest unoccupied one Alexander stepped on the foot activator to start spinning the wheel. The ends needed to be sharpened and so he held the crowbar against the wheel causing a small stream of sparks to appear. It didn't take long to sharpen both ends and taking back to his workstation afterward Alexander set it on a table for visual inspection.

Image

With a satisfied nod he placed the crowbar in a box for finished work and reached down taking another strip of iron. There were a lot more orders to fill and the shift was just starting.
User avatar
Alexander Magnus
Apprentice Blacksmith
 
Posts: 20
Words: 20025
Joined roleplay: November 30th, 2014, 8:32 am
Location: Sylira
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal


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