Farm Blacksmithing

by J.M.Drew St. Paul Publishing Company 1918


A workshop on a farm is always a good sign. It is an indication that the farmer believes in having a place where he may profitably spend his time on stormy days that would otherwise be wasted. To such farmers, and their sons, this book is addressed, in the hope that they may learn from it some useful lessons in an easier way than by hard experience. Several years ago a series of articles on "Farm Blacksmithing" appeared in Farm, Stock and Home. There was then, and has since been, some inquiry for a book embodying those articles and covering the subject of iron and steel work, or so much of it as the farm mechanic would need to know. Such a book has now been prepared, and the author has added to it such knowledge as he has gained by an experience of seven years in teaching blacksmithing to the farmer boys in the Minnesota School of Agriculture.

If the expert blacksmith complains that he finds nothing to interest him in the book, let him remember that it is not intended that he should. It was written for beginners. The chapter on "Saw Filing" was written by Mr. William Boss, Instructor in Carpentry at the School of Agriculture. The thoughtful reader will at once recognize the difficulty of teaching even the elements of a trade on paper; but I hope by the aid of illustrations to make reasonably plain all the operations which enter into the work which the farm blacksmith will be called upon to do.

Nowadays a farm blacksmith shop may be very cheaply furnished with all the tools necessary for ordinary work, and the convenience-yes, the necessity-of a forge on every farm needs no argument. The time that may often be saved by having at hand the means and skill to repair damages to machinery and tools is often a much more important matter than the cash saved by doing one's own work. What farmer has not often been obliged, by some slight breakage, to go to the town or village shop,-perhaps several miles away,-and there find that he must wait for several horses to be shod before his little job, (which he might have done himself if he had the proper tools), could be attended to by the blacksmith. We are too apt to think that we cannot do a thing simply because we have never tried to do it, or anything like it.

“ Our doubts are traitors; they make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” There is no good reason why every farmer who has any mechanical ability, cannot do nine-tenths of the work which he usually hires done by the blacksmith.