Points on Blacksmithing
1. A clean, deep, compact fire is the first requirement for good blacksmithing.
2. Put the irons in the fire in a horizontal position-never point them down into the fire.
3. Use tongs that fit the work. If they do not fit, heat them and reshape the jaws over the piece to be held.
4. Always work the irons at a good forging heat-a bright red or nearly white heat for mild steel.
5. Never allow the irons to get hot enough to sparkle, except in welding, and even then very little.
6. In bending, use bending or leverage blows-not mashing blows.
7. In drawing, strike square, direct blows straight down-not forward-pushing, or glancing blows.
8. In drawing round rods, always make them square first and do the drawing while square. When drawn sufficiently, make them eightsided and finally round.
9. To smooth up a round rod, roll it slowly on the anvil while striking a series of light, quick blows.
10. In pointing rods, work on the far edge of the anvil. Raise the back end of the rod and strike with the toe of the hammer tilted down.
11. In upsetting use a high heat, and strike extra-heavy blows.
12. To make a good twist, have the section to be twisted at a uniform temperature.
13. To punch a hole in a hot iron, start in on the flat face of the anvil. Then turn it over and drive the punch back from the other side. Move the iron over a hole in the anvil face for finally driving out the pellet.
14. In cutting on the hardy, be careful not to let the hammer strike the cutting edge.
15. Use the chipping block for cutting with the cold chisel-not the flat face of the anvil.
16. To estimate the amount of stock required for curved pieces estimate the length of the mid-line.
17. Strike light hammer blows with wrist motion only; medium blows' with motion from both the wrist and the elbow; and heavy blows with motion from the shoulder, wrist, and elbow.
18. Blacking a forging gives it a better appearance and provides some protection against rust. To black, simply rub the piece with an oily rag when it is just hot enough to make the rag smoke.
I did not create this list. I got it from this publication. More blacksmith practice here This was designed to help farmers with repairs on the farm. It's loaded with tons of practical information for anyone interested in learning more about starting blacksmithing. You'll also find a few other post with exerts from the War Dept.
War Department Education Manual