About Blacksmiths Forges
A forge is a purpose-made hearth designed for heating metals which are to be worked into serviceable shapes. While there is no longer the need for a local blacksmith to shoe the horses owned by every member of the community, blacksmithing using a forge is still very much a living craft, and many people are eager to get involved.
A typical blacksmith's forge runs on coal, coke or charcoal, is often raised on legs to a practical working height, and is designed to both contain a fire and render it controllable, mainly by manipulating the amount of oxygen available, so that different temperatures can be applied to achieve hardening and tempering effects as well as annealing the metal for malleability. Extra air is blown into the heart of the fire using an integral tuyere or hand-held bellows. A solid fuel forge needs to be connected to a flue.
Some beginners choose instead a gas fired forge, which runs on propane or natural gas, making the heat easier to control. The trade-off is the versatility of a coal fire, which can be reshaped to suit any piece of metal.
Forges are also used by farriers and shoemakers, and many are suitable for use with both hide and metal. Smaller forges are often used by craftspeople, such as jewellers or sculptors, or by tradespeople like plumbers.
Many craftsmen choose to use vintage forges and blacksmithing tools, while some people like to collect related items like horseshoes and other crafted items, blacksmiths' anvils and hammers, simply to add atmosphere to a room. Some unusual antique examples may gain additional value from historical significance or rarity.