How to Bend Wrought Iron

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Bending and shaping wrought iron is the specialty of a blacksmith. Unless you are repeatedly forging the same size bend in a piece of metal--in which case you would want some kind of jig to ensure consistency--the only tools required for bending wrought iron are a metal forge (a very, very hot fire), a hammer and an anvil. With some basic knowledge and plenty of safety equipment, you can make your own wrought iron utensils.

Things You'll Need

  • Low-carbon steel
  • Blacksmith’s coal
  • Wolf-jaw tongs
  • Metal forge
  • 48-ounce blacksmith’s hammer
  • Shaded eye protection
  • Leather apron or cape
  • Welding gloves

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Wear all protective equipment, including shaded eye protection, a leather blacksmith's apron or cape, and welding gloves.

Grip the steel with the wolf-jaw tongs and hold it in the coals of the fire. Let it sit in the coals until it has reached the desired temperature.

Heat the steel until it becomes soft enough to shape with tools. You will know it has reached its desired malleability when the metal glows a bright yellow-orange color. This is its "forging heat."

Remove the hot steel with the tongs.

Lay the hot metal on the anvil with part of the metal stock extending over the edge.

Strike the unsupported stock with the hammer a few times to force it downward. You have just bent wrought iron at a 90-degree angle.

Make a rounded bend by wrapping the hot metal around the anvil’s horn, tapping it with the hammer so it conforms to the shape of the horn.

Continue to shape the bend, by laying the metal on the anvil’s surface, turned-end up. If you strike it on the inside of the bend, you will open it up, while striking it on the outside tightens the bend.

Refine the bend by bracing it against the horn or the face and side of the anvil (depending on which type of bend you have made).


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