A brief intro into some facts and terms surrounding blacksmithing.

Well as I’ve said in the past I’m interested in blacksmithing, more specifically I plan on doing armor smithing decorative for myself and a select few others. For those not knowledgeable of blacksmithing there are a number of sub trade under the larger heading of blacksmithing. I certainty do not know if all of them have English names beyond the ones I’ll give here, but these are the sub categories as I’ve heard them.

Blacksmith: a trades person whom works with iron in a forge and anvil.

The name Blacksmith derives from how iron blackens as you work it. There are other types of smith such as Tinsmith who works tin, coppersmith or redsmiths that work copper and brass, bronze smiths, and so on

Decorative blacksmith: A blacksmith working primarily on decorative (mostly) iron work. Railings, Stair cases, gates, and fences are all typical fair.

Farrier: A blacksmith who works primarily with tending to repairing and fitting horse shoes.

Bladesmith: A blacksmith who primarily creates bladed tools. Knifes and swords chief among them.

Armorsmith: Those blacksmiths whom make and fit armor.

Whitesmiths: A largely defunct trade of finishing iron work, polishing and/or bluing, mostly in conjunction with armor smiths, but not exclusively so.

Bluing armor is a way of treating armor to prevent rust with turns the finished product slightly blue.

Whitesmiths have largely been phased out with the advent of easy and fast way of polishing iron (like sand paper for example, historically you would use a stick dipped in oil and sand to sand things with that *cringe*) Most finishing work is done by the blade/armorsmith themselves these days.

These days most trades people are responsible for creating a whole sword or suit of armor, but historically this hasn’t been the case, there was a great deal of specialization in the hay days of steel armor and melee weapons (1400-1700’s or there about) back then in Europe a blade smith would forge a blade, send it off to have a hilt fitted but a specialist, then a scabbard created but yet another person. Armor on the other had was shaped by the armorsmith, finished by a whitesmith, and then all the fitting would be created and attached by a highly skilled leather worker (or equivalent in the binding where not leather).

Everything above is a broad simplification, but it’s probably a lot more then most folk know. It’s certainly more then I knew before I dove into blacksmithing myself.


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