When it comes to survival skills, blacksmithing is one that often seems to go overlooked. Survivalists tend to focus more on learning survival skills like hunting, finding and building shelter, navigation, and self-defense.
Of course, all of these skills are extremely important, but important skills like blacksmithing and forging your own weapons shouldn't fall by the wayside.
When left to our own devices, whether because of a natural disaster, a world war, or another SHTF scenario, self-sufficiency becomes the key to survival.
Supplies will surely run out especially when you have bugged out for a long time. In fact, even bugging in you will still have to deal with dwindling resources.
When your world becomes a wasteland, there is no better way to survive than to go back to the primitive tools and knowledge that kept our ancestors mastered long before modern technology.
Blacksmithing for Survival
When SHTF, you will obviously need to know how to hunt and trap food, and all those other survival skills that you've devoted years to learning. But your preparedness shouldn't end there.
You will also need to learn how to make your own weapons. If you know how to use blacksmithing techniques then you have increased your chances of surviving a long-term crisis since you can create useful tools and items.
As the weapons you make help you defend your home, the tools will give you an opportunity to make money through a trade.
Here is some basic information on how to get started with blacksmithing.
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Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal
PM's home and auto editors took a weekend out to teach themselves how to heat and hammer metal the old-fashioned way.
They started by ordering an anvil and making their own blacksmith forge. The sparks flew from there.
Click here to download an updated version of the forge plans published in Popular Mechanics in 1941.
BY ROY BERENDSOHN
If you want to work with metal, there's one thing you have to confront: You need heat. With it, you can make the toughest metal submit to your will. Without it, you'll never gain full mastery over this stubborn material.
Over the years, I have been frustrated by my inability to work hot steel. I've bolted metal together, welded it, and soldered it. But I couldn't shape it, and so large swaths of the mechanical realm were off-limits to me.
But blacksmithing never felt alien. My father is a metallurgist, descended from generations of 19th-century blacksmiths and born in Germany to shipbuilders whose forges scattered sparks over the shores of the Elbe River and the North Sea.
I grew up in rural Connecticut among Yankee mechanics who could forge anything, machine anything, build anything, fix anything–and I've been trying to live up to those old-timers' standards all my life.
It wasn't hard to finally decide to take another step and teach myself some blacksmithing skills.
Building the Forge
Maybe it's because our smokestack industries are in decline that a rising number of Americans feel the need to get their metalworking fix in-home workshops.
The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America has a membership of 4000 hobbyists and professionals.
Some people estimate there are more blacksmiths in this country today than there were during the 1800s.
And you don't have to poke around long to find dozens of Web sites offering friendly–even passionate–advice from artisans, along with equipment ranging from anvils and tongs to air-driven power hammers.
It's a given that you should already have your blacksmithing tools. You will need the raw material which is metal.
There would probably be plenty of this material scattered everywhere; if not you can look for a junk shop.
If you cannot find any scrap metal, you can use a magnet to collect black sand, which is readily available along beaches and some can also be found along a dirt or gravel road.
Smelting the small amounts of black sand would not be ideal for blacksmithing in any survival situation though.
It is more practical to search for scrap metal because it is easier to forge large chunks of metal than to start by smelting iron ore.
The latter may be the most basic process of blacksmithing but it could take months for you to complete a small tool. Remember, time is of the essence in any given survival situation.
Blacksmithing can be demanding work and it will take a lot of time and effort.
However, it's better to make your own tools and weapons and produce some wealth for yourself than give up and wait for a miracle that will never happen.
Want to know more? Check out these related articles:
- Conquer the Frontier Like An American Pioneer
- The Two Most Important Survival Tools – Skills
- Best Survival Weapons: Bows or Guns?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 21, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.