Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making

with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901

Blacksmith Sledge Hammer


In Europe great importance is laid upon the position taken by the apprentice and the manner he holds the sledge. The sledge is held so that the end of it will be under his right armpit, when the right hand is next to the sledge, and under his left arm when the left hand is nearer the sledge. In this unnatural position it is next to impossible to strike hard and do it for any time. This is another article imported free of duty, but few Americans have been foolish enough to use it. In this country the apprentice will be taught to use the tools in a proper way.

Blacksmiths using Sledge hammer

The end of the sledge-handle will be to one side; at the left, if the left hand is at the end of the handle and at the right if the right hand is at the end of the handle; and be down between his feet when the handle's end must be low. The apprentice should stand directly in front of the anvil. In swinging, the sledge should describe a circle from the anvil close down to the helper's feet and up over his head and down to the anvil; this is a perpendicular circle blow. Be sure not to give it a horizontal start; that is, with one hand close to the sledge the apprentice starts out either in the direction of the horn or the butt end of the anvil, and then up while both hands should clasp the extreme end of the handle close together the sledge should be dropped down to the feet then up.

The hold taken should not be changed, but the hands held in the same place. (See figure 4.) For ordinary use a nine-pound sledge is heavy enough, a large sledge will give a bump, while a small one will give a quick good blow, it is only occasionally and for special purposes a large sledge is needed, even an eight-pound sledge will do. Try it, and you will be surprised how nice it works. With these preliminary remarks we shall now begin to make a few tools. We will begin with the blacksmith's tongs. I shall only give an idea how to forge the jaws, and every man that needs to make them has seen enough of this simple tool to know what kind is needed, and what he has not seen will suggest it to every sensible smith.