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I Forge Iron

A few questions about blacksmithing

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Hey, guys, I'm currently making a game centered in Blacksmithing and I would like it to be as accurate as possible. If you don't mind and I don't know if it's ok to ask here but I need a few questions answered.

Which type of Anvil is the best and worst or a ranking of them and the same for hammers.

How many types of Forges are there and again a ranking of them if possible.

Which are the most important tools for a Blacksmith

Are there many types of Blacksmith? I know there is baldesmith for example but I'm also positive a normal blacksmith can create weapons too.

Which materials do Blacksmith use and which ones are the best and worst or a ranking

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Pretty much each of those questions are meaningless without more specification. They are like asking "which is the best vehicle to use to travel in?"  without telling us---well it needs to be able to cross water, or get to the moon, or be economical to run, or carry 32 people, or to carry 16 tons of coal, or to win Formula 1 races, or...

The "best" anvil, forge, materials depend a LOT on what you will be using it for---a forge that fits a train car (and yes they do make them) is absolutely horrible for knifemaking and a bladesmithing forge is useless for heating the drive shaft of a battleship Which is *BEST*?  I work with a 25# Y1K style anvil at times and with a 469# at other times. Each one is *BEST* for the project I am working on.  The best material, well something that would make a great knife may make a terrible structural support, which is best depends on WHAT you are trying to make and use it for!

There are *many* types of forges often categorized by fuel type: (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Electric), and subdivided in each category---like Natural Gas, Propane or Bituminous, Anthracite, Charcoal, Peat, Corn, Wood, etc and even those subdivisions can be subdivided: Good smithing Bituminous coal is very different from mediocre or bad Bituminous coal.

A forge can be anything from a hole in the ground to a high tech induction unit being run in a vacuum.  It's more the skills of the smith that control the output----I once forged a pattern welded billet using charcoal sieved from bonfires, a claw hammer and a chunk of RR Rail.

So can you tell me the *BEST* way to make a game in 25 words or less and I won't tell you if it must be able to be played without access to electricity?  WHY NOT?

If you are in the USA I strongly suggest you learn to smith before trying to make a game about it.  Look around for an ABANA Affiliate and attend some meetings. (Especially helpful if you get to attend a large one like SOFA where I saw demos of everything from simple hooks and twisting to forging damascus gun barrels!)  If you are not in the USA, were many other countries have other blacksmithing associations. We've had over 100 different countries participate here on the World Wide Web!

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Locate a blacksmith organization in your area and go to the meetings. You will learn more in just a few hours than you can ever imagine and can come away with a wealth of information.  Then build a simple and inexpensive forge set up which will allow you to learn what is actually needed to move metal. This allows your game have a more realistic flavor. 

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I get a pretty good number of folks coming up to me when I demo in public and tell me they know all about blacksmithing as they are expert smiths on some video game. This used to annoy me. Now they amuse me as I invite them into the forge area, hand them safety glasses, an apron, a hammer and some stock and ask them to show me something.  The ones who take that challenge generally demonstrate that playing a game is NOT a replacement for time at the anvil as they can't judge heat, hit precisely and with stamina and hold onto the workpiece.  (The real fun ones are the ones that want to quench high carbon steel in water all the time when working it and are surprised when it falls apart...)  I've consulted on books and games before, I hope yours succeeds!

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The most important tool for a blacksmith? It is the same tool for any profession. That big hunk of grey matter behind your eyes and between your ears. 

Since it will be a game and i am assuming that there will be levels. I would say something like level 1 a wood block for an anvil, 2 a flat stone, 3 a piece of bronze maybe, then 4 a wiley coyote style anvil. See how each is progressively better than the last. Same with hammers and other tools. Green sticks are still used as tongs in some remote areas of the world. 

Also it is not that hard to do some searches for modern blacksmiths equipment, 18th century, medieval, Roman, etc., etc., going on the premise that the newer the better the technology. 

Anyway good luck and give us a holler and we may give it a go and give some feed back on what needs improved or what is right. 

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