Safety Considerations

Staying Safe While Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing is a rewarding, fun craft and getting started young can lead to a lifetime of great experiences.

But there are some risks and safety precautions to keep in mind:

  1. Fire
  2. Eyes
  3. Ears

Let's look at each of these separately.

Fire Safety

In order to be able to forge steel effectively, we need to get the metal extremely hot.

The temperature ranges from 1200 degrees with a cherry red color up to 2200 with a bright yellow color.

For comparison, our oven gets up to 500 degrees.

By getting the steel so much hotter, we're able to hammer it into all sorts of shapes. It becomes very flexible and malleable.

Where Injuries Happen

I have, thankfully, never had a serious injury in my shop since starting classes in 2016.

But there are a few situations where people commonly run into trouble:

  • When the metal no longer glows. It may look cold and still be 900 degrees, enough to give a serious burn.
  • Hammering steel while it is glowing hot often results in small pieces of "scale" breaking free of the steel's surface. These can land on exposed hands and arms.
    • This is the main reason why we wear gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Lighting the forge and maintaining safe distance while it's lit.
    • In this course, we'll talk about how to safely light a gas forge.
  • Sparks from grinding tools.

Protecting the Eyes

It doesn't take much to irritate your eyes. Dust, pet dander, sawdust.

The bummer about working with an iron-based alloy like steel is that if it gets in your eye and stays there, it will start to rust.

*Fair warning about graphic descriptions.*

A trip to the eye doctor could involve removing a sliver of steel from the eye as well as any rusted material.

The healing time is longer than getting wood chips or sawdust in there.

So we always wear safety glasses in the blacksmith shop. 3M makes great ones for less than $5.

Protecting the Ears

Blacksmith shops are loud. Over time this can cause a moderate loss of hearing.

Add any grinding tools or power tools to this an the damage escalates.

I always keep two hearing protection options in the shop for myself and visitors:

  • Foam ear plugs
  • Earmuffs

I prefer to use earmuffs because the block more sound and I can remove them more easily than ear plugs.

Proceed At Your Own Risk

I respect your judgment as the parent/guardian of your child.

If you feel that they are ready to pursue blacksmithing in a safety-minded, step-by-step manner, I'm happy to provide this course to them.

If they or you ever feel unsafe during a process, it's much better to take a break and ask questions than to continue.

I can be reached at my business email with any questions: [email protected]


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