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Blacksmithing: Useful Hobby and Survival Skill

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blacksmithing, forging, knifemaking, make your own weapons

When it comes to survival skills, blacksmithing is one that often seems to go overlooked. Survivalists tend to focus more on learning survival skills like hunting, finding and building shelter, navigation and self-defense. Of course all of these skills are extremely important, but important skills like blacksmithing and forging your own weapons shouldn’t fall by the wayside.

When left to our own devices, whether because of a natural disaster, a world war or other SHTF scenario, self-sufficiency becomes the key to survival. Supplies will surely run out especially when you have bugged out for a long time. In fact, even bugging in you will still have to deal with dwindling resources. When your world becomes a wasteland, there is no better way to survive than go back to the primitive tools and knowledge that kept our ancestors mastered long before modern technology.

Blacksmithing for Survival

When SHTF, you will obviously need to know how to hunt and trap food, and all those other survival skills that you’ve devoted years to learning. But your preparedness shouldn’t end there.

You will also need to learn how to make your own weapons. If you know how to use blacksmithing techniques then you have increased your chances of surviving a long-term crisis since you can create useful tools and items. As the weapons you make help you defend your home, the tools will give you an opportunity to make money through a trade.

Here is some basic information on how to get started blacksmithing.

For the full post click here.

Blacksmithing: Useful Hobby and Survival Skill

 Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal

PM’s home and auto editors took a weekend out to teach themselves how to heat and hammer metal the old-fashioned way. They started by ordering an anvil and making their owUsen blacksmith forge. The sparks flew from there. Click here to download an updated version of the forge plans published in Popular Mechanics in 1941.

BY ROY BERENDSOHN

If you want to work with metal, there’s one thing you have to confront: You need heat. With it, you can make the toughest metal submit to your will. Without it, you’ll never gain full mastery over this stubborn material.

Over the years, I have been frustrated by my inability to work hot steel. I’ve bolted metal together, welded it and soldered it. But I couldn’t shape it, and so large swaths of the mechanical realm were off-limits to me.

But blacksmithing never felt alien. My father is a metallurgist, descended from generations of 19th-century blacksmiths and born in Germany to shipbuilders whose forges scattered sparks over the shores of the Elbe River and the North Sea. I grew up in rural Connecticut among Yankee mechanics who could forge anything, machine anything, build anything, fix anything–and I’ve been trying to live up to those old-timers’ standards all my life. It wasn’t hard to finally decide to take another step, and teach myself some blacksmithing skills.

Building the Forge

Maybe it’s because our smokestack industries are in decline that a rising number of Americans feel the need to get their metalworking fix in home workshops. The Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America counts a membership of 4000 hobbyists and professionals. Some people estimate there are more blacksmiths in this country today than there were during the 1800s. And you don’t have to poke around long to find dozens of Web sites offering friendly–even passionate–advice from artisans, along with equipment ranging from anvils and tongs to air-driven power hammers.

via Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal – Popular Mechanics.

It’s a given that you should already have your blacksmithing tools. You will need the raw material which is metal. There would probably be plenty of this material scattered everywhere; if not you can look for a junk shop. If you cannot find any scrap metal, you can use a magnet to collect black sand, which is readily available along beaches and some can also be found along a dirt or gravel road.

Smelting the small amounts of black sand would not be ideal for blacksmithing in any survival situation though. It is more practical to search for scrap metal because it is easier to forge large chunks of metal than start by smelting iron ore. The latter may be the most basic process of blacksmithing but it could take months for you to complete a small tool. Remember, time is of the essence in any given survival situation.

Blacksmithing can be demanding work and it will take a lot of time and effort. However, it’s better to make your own tools and weapons and produce some wealth for yourself than give up and wait for a miracle that will never happen.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Conquer the Frontier Like An American Pioneer

The Two Most Important Survival Tools – Skills

Best Survival Weapons: Bows or Guns?




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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Bruce Smith

    December 31, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Love this… I want so badly to learn some of this.. I have very limited ability in this area.. I’m mechanically declined LOL.. I bought a book called “Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance” Pretty good book and teaches a lot.. But my skillsets are Foraging, edible foods, gardening, herbs, wildcrafting etc.. Bruce

  2. Mahatma Muhjesbude

    December 31, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    While any lost ‘arts’ or skills are worth having instructions in, the actual pragmatic usage of black smithing and the time wasted with making a forge and hammering metal ‘in the event of’ is minimal these days. If we ever get ‘disastered’ back to the stone age then perhaps it may produce some value but what’s the use, then, anyway?

    A better skill set would developing a handy mechanical and construction base of knowledge with a few good tools like grinders and cutters and welding and then advance to some machine work. Even in an all out devastation, there will still be plenty of scrap metal around to ‘re-make’ things without going to all the trouble to ‘smelt them from scratch’. especially if their is a real bad zombie psycho anarchy initially. You don’t want to be making that much noise hammering stuff or having a smoke plume from your forge that can lead them right to you and take you out while you’re busy concentrating on not burning yourself.

    • Mason

      December 31, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Mahatma, you may be correct in some aspects, but when SHTF, AND IT WILL, those resources will only be around and available for a certain amount of time. And what then? We may not have electricity on for a while. So learning how you can melt down unusable metals that no longer have a purpose and transforming them into something useful is a great skill everyone should have the knowledge to. Thanks again Joe for your words of wisdom!!

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude

        January 6, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        I apologize for my inability to get my point across. So please let me try again? I’m not a succinct person, but I’ll force myself to be terse in this paragraph and if anybody has any questions on my logic, i’ll answer them specifically.

        The issue i am confronting is that there so much dead ‘timber’ in the prepper forest that you can’t see the ‘reality forest from the trees’.

        So when you mention ‘great skills’, you must put these into perspective and priorty…otherwise they won’t do you any good at best, and at worst, they could be a hidden liability because you wasted time and money on something when you weren’t completely up to speed on other things. This is part of human nature. And of course everybody thinks their proprietary methodology is better than everybody elses. But the truth is far narrower than that. Especially when profit is involved, lol!

        • Mahatma Muhjesbude

          January 6, 2015 at 12:07 PM

          cmac, a couple things are also obvious in your reply. First, you can’t conceive of THAT of which you have no knowledge. But even in your failed attempt to be ‘mind reader’you should re-read your statement to fully experience the epiphany of how stupid you sound. How do you know that i don’t actually INSTRUCT ‘living without electricity’ as of my specialties of instruction in my courses? While I cover repairs and parts forming, I teach that blacksmithing, even basically, is an unnecessary option, if you PREPARE CORRECTLY!

          And secondly, If you haven’t prepared well enough to withstand the so-called coveted massive completely debilitating all out end of the world back to the stone age event, you won’t have time to working on your little blacksmithing hobby making ego-satisfying tools and repairs. You’ll be too busy barely trying to stay alive. And for those of you who have never tried the rigorous physical manifestations of blacksmith work, or any other kind of physical LABOR, i’ve got breaking news for you, lol, especially if you aren’t up to max physical fitness.

          But secondly, you did not actually read this article or my comments to a point of understanding any reality of logic. The whole purpose of being ‘Prepared’ when all else failed, is to have back up and alternatives to what actually failed, to minimalize the change in your lifestyle. NOT submit to reducing yourself to going back to ancient times?

          My personal system for never failing electrical back up for my emergency modern repair and fabrication’blacksmithing’-which will be barely of any use because i have failsafe redundancy of virtually all foreseeable tools and implements needed and just from the vast resource of red-neck front yard metal collections, and oceans of junkyards in between of anything you imagine across the country where the owners will gladly barter for what they failed to stock up on! But if i did, my stock of welding tanks (no electricity needed) and battery powered power tools with solar recharging and mechanicalhand power tools will be more than adequate for any foreseeable future eventualities. Even an all out collapse with no stores open.

          So the bottom line is, that if you are not ALREADY set up like that, you have NO real advantage over those who are and you shouldn’t be risking your family’s security on ‘entertainment’ hobbies like blacksmithing until you are.

          By the way to all you wishful thinkers. Even if the major power grids ever meet the criteria of a total collapse, there are still numerous local power grids and more than a few pockets of self-sustaining power will be brought back up and running for locals. Like the original power turbine on the small town creek dam i’m not far from. In case everybody forgot, before humongous centralized power grids came into their greedy little existence, MOST rural communities that were set up on rivers and large creeks or spring fed dammed lakes for their local electricity. These things are virtually all across the country and are virtually indestructible with numerous back up parts.

          And Even in an all out nuclear war there will be many smart people on their own off grid systems which will provide a reasonable alternative to normal power. But, again, if you are going to try to ‘survive’ at length without electricity, the Amish survive with the lowest level of its usage. And they don’t do much, if any, hand blacksmithing. They do use, however, gas/fuel/propane for their engines lanterns when they’re not using wood.

          But very contrary to prepping myths mostly immortalized by those selling guides for profit involving things like EMP’s, the fact remains that one single one, even a bad one, will NOT fry every single diode in the country. The sun would literally have to explode to do that. Then you’ll be a bona-fide blacksmith…in hell.

          If you can’t see this and absent your mental prison at least of its proprietary intransigence, and think that investing in blacksmith skills is worth it over everything else most preppers STILL don’t have in place, then you’ll likely decease with the other 70 percent of inadequately prepared ‘survivalists’ when we go from bullshit mode to real time.

          But maybe in the meantime, cmac, anybody who reads an article with such clairvoyance that even though it does not mention something but knows that the author is talking about a major EMP , when he isn’t, should easily be able to find a job in the current government administration…as a blacksmith, LMAO!

          There’s a reason for the author’s first statement that blacksmithing often goes overlooked when nothing ever goes ‘overlooked’ in this world. If it does, it’s really not worth it as even a minor priority. again in my point–ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T HAVE ALL YOUR OTHER DUCKS PERFECTLY IN PLACE!

    • cmac

      December 31, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      A couple of things are obvious from your reply. One, you cannot conceive of being without electricity and gas for more than a couple of days. Two you did not actually read the article but just read the headline then did a spotty skimming of the article. The author never said smelting your own metal was practical or preferred he said it was possible when all else failed. While he did not specifically mention it he is talking about a situation such as a major EMP that totally shuts down the power grid which will necessarily affect all other energy sources.

    • left coast chuck

      December 31, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Unless you have a grinding wheel that is water or hand powered or have an electrical generator that was not disabled by some high powered electrical event, welding and power grinding, electrical cutting are going to be gone. It is my view that in the event of a massive electrical event, large portions of the world will be instantaneously transported back to 1815, except that none of us know the common every day skills that everyone had at the point in time. How many men know how to shear a sheep? How many women know how to run a spindle to make thread from cotton or wool? How many folks have a hand loom in their home or a spinning wheel? How many men know how to saddle a horse let alone hitch a team to a wagon? Are there any households left that have a brace and bit for drilling holes? Does anyone reading this even have a hand operated drill? See what I mean? Although I will say that it is my impression that blacksmithing was a specialized task in days gone by and not everyone had blacksmith skills or the forge and bellow necessary for working metal, although every small town usually had a “village blacksmith.” With 4,000 blacksmiths spread across the country, it leave us a little thin in populating every village with one.

  3. Ron Wood

    December 31, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    I order two flashlight the little ones 5 dollars each I never receive them can you look into for me THANKS

  4. Michael Barrett

    January 2, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    For many years, I have visited some of the many scrap, recycling businesses in my city to look for and purchase raw materials and equipment, which can be remanufactured and/or repurposed. This includes, but is not limited to: steel, aluminum, copper, plumbing parts, and electrical parts. Each visit is an adventure in contemporary archeology. The volume and variety of scrapped materials, much of which is ultimately sold to Asian manufacturers, is unbelievable.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude

      January 6, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      Hey Chuck, mentalities often coincide with the territory, easily seen in your case. If you reside in the rural Midwest you wouldn’t worry about working a spinning wheel, lol, or how to sheer a sheep etc. If you really really wanted to find someone who did, there are plenty of Amish around me where that wouldn’t be a problem, even in an ‘All out EMP’.

      Not many aftermath ‘villages’ would even need a blacksmith. Every town has a nearby welding/fabricating shop, auto mechanics/shops parts stores, and last, but not least. HARDWARE STORES! Please free your mind! we don’t want to lose you but you’ll die if you keep thinking like that.

      I could let them use my Bosch battery powered second set back power tool set if they needed it for something in trade. The Faraday cage my back up electronics in my below ground storage will preclude any damage. Anybody can set this up for not much more or maybe even less if you opt for the cheaper stuff? Likely for less time and money to a workable Black smith set up. Hell, just the right Anvil could cost hundreds with shipping?

      So much BS spread by so few to so many…just to profit off their ignorance.

  5. geraldc

    January 3, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    blacksmithing is not hard to do. If EMP or attack or just plain electrical failure were to happen, hand tools such as hammers, different sizes, files, replace grinders, hand hack saws, replace chow saws and hand drills for metals or wood would be nice to have. Like my 2 anvils, 2 different sizes, with cutoff tools and hole making tools will do me good. Horses would be good to have but right now feed is costly, but riding, training and shoeing are not a problem. Having these skills may be a good trading tool for other things. If one has a forge this could all so be a cooking stove if build right. Does any one have water storage? This can be done by collecting rain water and a filtering system, hot water could be done thr solar water heater if done right to have hot water at 11 pm for family of 4 maybe.

    • NKT

      January 5, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      If you’ve got a forge and a length of steel or copper pipe you’ll have all the hot water you can deal with if you want it!

      Heat it hot enough and you’ll be one of the few around (without a well) who can totally not worry about cryptosporidium and other bugs without spending ages boiling your little pot of water – just turn the tap!

  6. vinnie

    January 11, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    good tip, have been smithing some time now. in the process of getting my shop back in order

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