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Wrought Iron

 

The blacksmith pumps the bellows to bring the forge up to nearly 3000 degrees before putting in the mild steel he is planning to work on. He needs to get that steel up to 2500 degrees, and he watches it to judge its temperature by the changing color of the metal. He pulls it out with tongs, and then uses the same kinds of tools that have been used for thousands of years—the hammer and anvil, vises, swedges, cutters and fullers—to craft all kinds of useful and beautiful wrought iron objects. As the metal is worked, the blacksmith returns it to the fire again and again; the number of “heats” depends on the project. For example, each tool in one of the fireplace sets takes between 20 and 30 heats. Then he cleans and burnishes with wire brushes, before hand-waxing for a soft, natural gleam