Using a Forge

Heat is a good way to shape metal. It softens the metal until it is malleable enough to be bent or flattened. Smiths have long used forges to make knives, swords, horseshoes and metal wagon parts. Modern smiths often use their forges to create works of art. They begin with a solid piece of metal. Over time, they heat the metal and hammer it into shape. They sometimes use heavy pliers to bend the metal and create new shapes. Once they have achieved their desired form, they reheat the metal once more to temper it.

Working with metal to create pieces of art requires strong muscles, steady hands and good insulation. The fire in the forge is heated to extreme temperatures by the use of bellows. These blow air into the burning material to make it burn hotter. This is done because not all metals have a low melting point. The smith must get metal near its melting point in order to create the desired shape.