Metal bending – my first attempt to tame steel

Imaginary Karin - smithy

I did something new today: I went to the local smithy to try my hand at forging! :D

Earlier this year Markus took a couple of classes and really liked it. Since then he’s been asking me to come with him to the smithy some time, but until now I’ve always declined. I have a slight phobia of heat and fire, so the thought of being in a closed space surrounded by flames and red hot metal didn’t sound very appealing.

But I also believe that facing your fears is good for you, so this time I came along, and you know what, it was actually fun! I wasn’t even that scared of the flames, and I’m quite proud of myself for that.

Imaginary Karin - smithy

Imaginary Karin - smithy lamp

We have a park in town where a lot of old buildings are preserved, one of them being the old smithy.
It’s somewhere around 100 years old and looks pretty much the same now as it did when it was new.

They’ve put in electric lights and installed an electric forge blower, but that’s about it. It’s small and dark and very very dirty. Looks pretty cool imo.

Imaginary Karin - Markus in the smithy

Imaginary Karin - smithy metal
This is a railroad spike. Markus is going to make an axe head of it.
Imaginary Karin - smithy metal

Since it was my first time and we didn’t want to be there all night, we decided to make something small and relatively easy. Markus suggested we should make troll crosses, using little round steel bars.

Hammering the metal into shape was tricky, but honestly, the most difficult part was managing the pliers. I think I spent more time dropping the metal pieces and trying to pick them up again than actually beating on them. :P

But it was fun, and we did get a pair of troll crosses out of it:

Imaginary Karin - troll crosses

The most common design is to have the arms crossing each other, but that would probably have taken me forever so we went with this simpler shape. As a finish we rubbed linseed oil on them. It reacts with the hot metal and makes it black.

I’m very pleased with them, they came out much better than anticipated. :)

The clothes I wore are covered in dust and smell of fire now, I’m blowing black snot out of my nose, and my throat is raw from breathing the smokey air – but it was worth it.

It’s always fun to work with your hands, and there’s something raw and primitive about forging that I found very appealing. It doesn’t get much more metal than this!


  1. 30 November 2015

    That is such a cool thing to do. It’s not something that you get to do everyday and you have something to show for your hard work! :D Thankfully there were no injuries!

  2. 2 December 2015

    Wow, that’s really cool! That looks like a fun experience, and your troll crosses look great :D I’m glad the flames weren’t scary!

  3. Ann-Kristin
    4 December 2015

    Vad kul det verkar! Jag är glad att Markus tyckte smideskursen var kul och vill fortsätta. Det var ju en chansning när jag gav han den. Roligt att du också gillar att smida. Ni är duktiga båda två . Skulle vara kul att få prova på tycker jag. Kanske det går att boka smedjan när vi kommer upp nån gång. ?

    • 12 December 2015

      Ja, boka smedjan skulle vi definitivt kunna göra. Eller åtminstone borde vi fara dit så ni får kolla :)

  4. 27 December 2015

    Wow, that looks awesome! I know what you mean about the fear of fire and hot metal, it is kind of terrifying but seems like it was worth the risk for you :)

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