15 Different Types of Forging Tools and Their Uses

Different Types of Forging Tools
Photo by ptdh

If you’re an avid DIYer, chances are you’ve come across the term forging and aren’t sure exactly what it means, let alone how to do it properly. There are different types of forging tools.  

Forging tools are used to shape and cut metal. This makes them an essential part of many different manufacturing and construction processes.

Although there are different types of forging tools, most fall into one of four categories: direct drive, indirect drive, rotary hammer, and hydraulic transfer punch presses.

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about forging. Also, include why and how to do it and the different types of forging tools best suited for your next project.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the incredible world of generating! 

1. Forging Dies

Forging dies are tools that serve a specific purpose, such as extruding and spinning. One type of forging die is a press die.

Press dies have a hefty cutting edge. They push through metal to form shapes like bends, curves, angles, and rolls. They’re often shaped into cylinders with tapered ends called shears or punches to cut metal away.

This die removes unwanted material after punching down sheets into flat parts or forming hot wire slices into pieces with holes.

Another forging due is the open die. The open die forging process involves shaping a piece by striking it from one side and pushing it out from the other side. The sheet is held securely on one side while being hit from the other.  

Punching and shearing die also come in various sizes, from small tools that can be handheld to huge ones used in industrial forging.

Some die work only in specific directions, while others are reversible, so they can push through metal in either direction. 

Other types of forging dies may do nothing more than add decorative elements to your projects or serve as finishing touches.

For example, one type you may use on special occasions is a collar die that forms collars onto headings or bookends that loop around bolts or screws.

2. Set hammer

The hand-held forging hammer is one of the different types of forging tools that come in various shapes and sizes.

The design affects how you use it and the result you can create. When choosing one, consider how much strength you want to put into your blows. 

Also, what type of material are you working with? Whether or not you will be striking in sequence or alternately, and if any additional handles might be needed to reduce fatigue.

If a hold is necessary (they often are), your options include using an outstretched arm as an extended handle or leaning over at an angle so that your upper body bears part of the weight.

Majorly, it is used for making surface planes and forming and making corner radii. It comprises two pieces: the hammer and its steel face plate clamped e metal. 

The smith would strike small areas on the workpiece by putting pressure on them with their hand or a tool. Tools such as a chasing hammer or ball peen hammer while maintaining contact between the two pieces of the set hammer.

Hammering may also be done without tools by simply using pressure from one’s hands. This process is called drawing down.

3. Clamping Vice

A clamping vice is a machine or tool that secures objects with vise-like jaws. It’s typically used in manufacturing with the right one.

You can have at-home power to craft or restore any household item. Clamping vices are one of the different types of forging tools that provide stability without sacrificing flexibility.

That means you can work on shapes and areas where it would be impossible to use other types of clamps, like round tubing and curved steel.

Because we know your projects are one-of-a-kind, we want to ensure you find a perfect clamping vice for your needs.

4. Swage Block

A swage block is a piece of equipment that is used in metalworking. It has several punches on its face, corresponding to different-sized holes on the opposite side.

When used correctly, these punches can be hammered into those holes and then withdrawn. Then forming a round bar with the desired shape and cross-section. 

Also, swage blocks are often used when making pieces requiring complex conditions or fitting large diameters into small areas.

The amount and variety of fixtures you will need depend mainly on what it is you are trying to make. Including what metals you will be working with. It’s not uncommon for a shop to always keep many different sizes and shapes in stock.

5. Flatter

The flatter is arguably one of the most essential and versatile tools in a blacksmith’s toolbox among the different types of forging tools.

It has many different uses, such as: 

  • Flattening metal
  • Adjusting steel to right angles
  • Decorating metal with punches and chisels.
  • Twisting (torsion) metal.
  • Demagnetizing or magnetizing steel parts by bringing them together or spreading them apart, respectively (a friction stir welding technique). 
  • Propping up heavy metal sections so they can be welded without sagging under their weight.

6. Swage

Swages are typically made from copper or bronze, ranging from simple bolt-forming swages to more complex types like taper and threading swages.

They’re made in various sizes that correspond to the bolt diameters so that you can make all sorts of shapes depending on your needs.

The most common type is bearing swage. This tool upholds materials while you form them with your punch by pushing through them. They’re worth investigating if you’ve never had to use a swage before!

7. Punch and Drift

Punch and drift tools have been used to create items from delicate hand-forged steel jewelry to enormous railroad components since the 1800s.

Punching and drifting create various shapes that can be used in other types of forge work. Work such as ornamental iron work, forging a leaf on a curtain rod, or shaping handlebars on a bike. 

A punch tool looks like an ice pick made from tempered high-carbon steel. The punch tool is driven into the metal with a hammer. This creates an indentation or pattern that can then be shaped by drift or another punch tool.

8. Fuller

A fuller tool is among the different types of forging tools used to sharpen and clean metal surfaces. The top end is beveled, allowing it to work like a large file. Sometimes, the face or helping side can also be beveled. 

A fuller helps a smith create an even and well-defined edge on tools, shapes, or plates. The face side can also serve as a counterweight in either hands-on or powered hammering methods.

9. Hammer

The most common type of forging tool, a hammer, is essential to any blacksmithing kit. Hammers are primarily used for shaping hot metal into various shapes. They’re often forged from steel, unlike more durable metals like titanium and brass. 

While many hammers look relatively similar at first glance, there are significant differences in weight and weight distribution. The weight will affect your productivity when it comes to forming and shaping metal.

A lot goes into purchasing a hammer. High demand for customer satisfaction can make or break your next blacksmithing project.

Additionally, there are types of hammers:

  • Drop-hammers: These types of hammers use kinetic energy to drive down with force onto the head of the hammer. Drop-hammers work well for heavy-duty jobs that require a large amount of power to be applied quickly. When using this type of hammer, you want to strike downward with all your might. Using an up-and-down motion will not generate enough force for this task. 
  • Hammer & punch: These tools are helpful when you need to pound something (usually sheet metal) flat against an object (like an anvil). Many people prefer using them over tongs. This is because they provide more stability than pinchers while still being able to squeeze tightly. This is, so they won’t slip off whatever they’re holding onto.
  • Power hammer: Sometimes called drop hammers, these are usually powered by electricity, hydraulics, or steam. These machines feature a heavy weight attached to a long arm that pulls down on the opposite end, delivering immense force. Power hammers come in different shapes and sizes depending on their intended purpose. Some may be designed for general blacksmithing tasks, while others specialize in working with specific materials such as aluminum.

10. Tong

For many professional blacksmiths, tongs are among the different types of forging tools they use daily. The primary purpose of a tong is to hold an object securely while they strike it with another thing, typically a hammer.

Tongs come in many different styles and shapes to best suit whatever you need to do at that moment. Some tongs will allow you to grip onto an object to move it closer or farther away from your forge as required.

These types are typically called live-hand tongs. Another type of tong that is more common among professionals is ratchet-grip tongs; these allow you to work continuously on pieces such as horseshoes and nails by moving them forward with each stroke, increasing your production exponentially.

11. Chisel

A chisel is a forging tool that cuts and shapes metal, wood, or other hard materials. It is a bladed instrument with a long handle attached perpendicular to the cutting edge. 

The chisel can be made from any rigid material, such as steel, iron, stone, plastic, or ceramic. The handles vary in size and style depending on what function it is intended to perform.

For example, a typical riveting chisel will have an octagonal-shaped handle that fits into one’s palm like the handle on a hammer.

12. Furnace or hearth

Forging tools are a blacksmith’s bread and butter. They are what make up the majority of what they do. Metal, heated to specific temperatures, is manipulated by hammers in the right spots to create any number of things you can imagine.  

A furnace or hearth is among the different types of forging tools used in blacksmithing to heat metal at high temperatures. The metal is then hammered with a hammer into the desired shape. 

As you might expect, this process takes patience and skill, especially since the furnace or hearth must always maintain the high temperature required for shaping metals. Several furnaces are available on the coke-fired open hearths and coal-fired closed systems. 

One common thing about these two types of furnaces is that coal fires burn hotter than coke fires. This makes them ideal for heavier work like horseshoes and railings where more strength is needed from the metal being forged. Some believe it may also contribute to more excellent corrosion resistance than coke-fired units.

13. Anvil

An anvil is one most essential tools in your arsenal of all the different types of forging tools. This is not just because it looks fantastic. An anvil can take a lot of weight, and it is easy to move around because it is light. 

This means you can forge all day without worrying about hurting your back. The size and shape depend on what you’re going to do with it. But more miniature anvils will do more precise work, while larger ones will take heavier loads.

14. Bick iron

Bick iron is one of the different types of forging tools found at the center stage in most blacksmith shops. It’s a versatile metal that can be forged into a wide range of products. So it’s worth learning how to develop with back iron. 

Bick iron comes in various shapes and sizes, which may look confusing when you’re starting. But after a bit of practice, you’ll find it’s not as hard as it seems.

The size and shape will depend on what kind of forging project you’re working on and your personal preference. Typically back irons are either flat or round bars with diameters from 0.5 inches to 2 inches.

15. Press

Press forging equipment uses excessive pressure to fold metal into the desired shape. With this being said, it is not considered one of the more versatile tools in your arsenal. 

One way to use this tool effectively is if you need to give someone a small gift, such as jewelry or cufflinks. Presses have come in various shapes and sizes; some are explicitly designed for jewelry making! There are different types of press forging; these are: 

Mechanical press forging: It’s recommended that beginners start with it. This is because it doesn’t require much skill and will allow you to explore without getting too deep into the details. 

Unlike other forms of pressing, this process requires less brute force. It relies heavily on mechanics. This makes it very efficient. They are perfect for beginners who want to learn how forging works before they tackle any other form. 

While they may be easier than different types of presses, don’t let their simplicity fool you. They produce high-quality results!

Hydraulic press forging: If you’re looking for something more substantial and aggressive, hydraulic press forging is the correct route. Like mechanical presses, they rely on mechanics and sheer power to quickly get the job done. 

They’re an excellent option for those who plan on doing large-scale projects that require extra force. However, keep in mind that they need plenty of experience to operate successfully. This is due to their sheer size and potential risk factors (such as fluid leakage).

Conclusion

When it comes to your blacksmithing project, you will find that forging tools can make or break the job. The different types of forging tools are explicitly designed to hammer metal into shape. 

So, If you don’t use the right tool at the right time, you can end up causing significant damage to your project and yourself.

Look above for some of the most commonly used tools that describe how they help shape metal into its final form.

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