Apprentice | Blacksmith | Forge | Forge Wagon | Forging | Furnace | Furniture/Tools | Metals | Payment | Products | Verbs



  • Boys would be apprenticed to a master blacksmith at 15 years of age (or older). They would live with the blacksmith’s family (though they usually slept in the forge)
  • They were part student, part servant, and would do all the cleaning and menial chores in the forge and the blacksmith’s home
  • They would be responsible for the forge’s upkeep, cleanliness and ensuring the forge was lit and ready to use
  • Initially, the apprentice would just observe the master blacksmith at work. Over time, he would be allowed to participate in minor aspects of the forging process, until the Master decided could perform simple blacksmith jobs on his own. Once the master blacksmith was confident of the apprentice’ skills, he would be given more complex work to do, always under the supervision of his Master.
  • When the Master was satisfied that the apprentice had learned all he could teach, the apprentice was allowed to go forth and set up his own forge.



  • A smith who works in iron metal, especially by hammering it when it is hot and malleable. Uses a forge to make iron utensils, horseshoes, weapons and to repair armor
  • Might also double as a veterinarian
  • Village Blacksmith
    • Lived in a small rural community
    • Made various tools, household objects and weapons
  • Castle Blacksmith
    • Lived in the protection of the castle
    • Required to make and maintain the weapons and armor of lords, knights and men-at-arms
  • City/Town Blacksmith
    • Lived in a town/city
    • Belonged to a guild
  • Monastery/Abbey Blacksmith
    • Some monks were also blacksmiths



  • a.k.a. Smithy
  • A workplace where metal is manipulated by a blacksmith using heating and hammering. The metal is heated in a furnace with a special hearth before shaping
  • Could be entered through double barn doors or through a customer side entrance
  • Usually located within castle walls
  • A portable forge was a light and compact blacksmith’s forge, with bellows, etc., that could be moved from place to place.


Forge Wagon

  • A wagon fitted up for transporting a blackmith’s (portable) forge and tools



  • The act of shaping metal
    • The metal is usually molten in the furnace and then shaped in a small mold
  • The iron gets flaky (very thin and light) if overheated



  • Used to (partially) melt metal
  • Powered by bellows and coal or charcoal (or sometimes wood)



  • Anvils
    • A heavy block of iron or steel on which hot metals are shaped by hammering
    • The pointy end is used to create lots of shapes (is where you do most of the molding of the piece into exactly what you want)
    • You used the curved nose end of the anvil to gently hammer a piece into shape.
  • Auger Bit
    • A bit with a cutting edge or blade
  • Axe
  • Bellows
    • A mechanical device that blows air onto a fire to make it burn more fiercely
    • Powered by water
      • Some were even based on the induction of air into water falling through a tube
  • Bit
    • A tool for boring
    • Came in various shapes and forms
  • Bucket
  • Chisels
  • Drifts/Broach
    • Slightly tapered steel tools for enlarging or shaping a hole in metal, by forcing or driving the tool through the metal
  • Forge
  • Fuller/Creaser
    • A half-round set hammer, used by a blacksmith for forming grooves and spreading iron
  • Furnace
  • Hammers (various sizes)
    • Used for shaping and finishing
  • Molds
    • Used for making popular and everyday items
  • Nails
  • Punches
    • Tools for making (usually circular) holes
  • Shelves
  • Sledge Hammers
  • Stool
  • Swage/Swage Block
    • A perforated block of iron, having grooved sides and adapted for use in heading bolts and swaging objects of a large size
  • Swages
    • Tools, variously shaped or grooved on the end or face, used by blacksmiths for shaping their work by holding the swage upon the work, or the work upon the swage, and striking with a sledge hammer
  • Table
  • Tongs
  • Workbenches



  • Iron
    • Valuable because it’s easy to work with
    • When heated iron is malleable and ductile, and can be easily welded and forged at a high temperature
    • As cast iron, it is easily fusible
    • As steel, is very tough, and (when tempered) very hard and elastic
  • Steel
    • Is a variety of iron containing more carbon than wrought (beaten by a hammer) iron
    • Is very tough
    • When tempered (reheated and then cooled), it is very hard and elastic
    • An excellent metal for making weapons
  • Cast Iron
    • Is a variety of iron containing more carbon than steel
    • Is hard and relatively brittle
    • Can be readily cast in a mold



  • He would be paid for the work he did or the items he produced or both. He wasn’t paid a salary
    • Exceptions:
      • A smith working at a foundry (workshop or factory for casting metal) of some kind might expect a regular wage for his labor
      • A smith retained by a noble would be able to expect some kind of annual income because he would be working exclusively for that particular noble
  • Depending on who the work was done for or the item sold to the form of payment could vary from coins (copper or silver much more often than gold) to goods to services. There would likely be a good deal of bargaining before settling on a payment. Trading services/goods was very common
    • e.g. If a farmer needed a scythe repaired, the farmer and the blacksmith might strike a deal where the farmer would trade produce he grew for the repair of the blade.
    • The smith would often accept old metal and recycle them into new items and make that part of the deal
      • Iron and steel were harder to come by in the middle ages than they are in the modern world
    • On the other hand if a traveler passing through needed new shoes for his horse, the smith would likely expect to be paid in coin, and part of the bargain would be that the smith would get to keep the old shoes.
  • Apprentice
    • Would be working for a master smith, and aside from food and clothing his only pay would be the education he was receiving in the craft
  • Journeyman
    • Could work independently and expect to be paid as was typical for his locale
  • Master
    • Might not command more money than a journeyman for his work, but because of his skill he could produce more work and do more complicated tasks and so bring in more money and goods



  • Armor
  • Church and Castle Doors
    • Also hinges, locks, and keys
  • Decorative Objects
  • Heavy Plows
  • Household Objects
    • e.g. knives, light fittings, pokers, etc.
  • Jewelry
  • Nails
  • Ornaments
  • Portcullis
  • Shields
  • Tools
  • Torture Instruments and Chains
  • Weapons
    • e.g. swords, daggers, lances, arrow heads, siege weapons, etc.



  • Carburize
    • Add carbon to (iron or steel), in particular by heating the metal in the presence of carbon to harden the surface
    • Is the addition of a small amount of carbon (between 0.5%–2%) to the iron, heating it, and then quenching it to turn the iron into steel suitable for making weapons and tool manufacture
    • Done by repeatedly heating the iron in a forge and hammering it
  • Smite
    • Strike with a firm blow (e.g. of a hammer)
  • Smelt
    • Extract metal from its ore by a process involving heating and melting
  • Temper
    • Improve the hardness and elasticity of (steel or other metal) by reheating and then cooling it
    • (As a noun) The degree of hardness and elasticity in steel or other metal
  • Wrought
    • Beat or shape metals by hammering
    • (As a noun) Metals beaten out or shaped by hammering
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