A Lost Art

Searcy (LP) Forge welding is an ancient technique that has been used for thousands of years in blacksmithing. We interviewed Ben Collum a local farrier about this lost art. Ben told us,” Forge welding is a skill used by blacksmiths to join two pieces of metal together in a forge or putting the metal under high heat.” Forge welding has been used for many things from making swords, hammers, tongs, door handles, locks, ship rudders, and almost anything that is made out of metal today. A cool thing to do is look around you and anything metal or any tool was made by someone’s hard work and skilled hands long before you were known. Forge welding is a precise skill all blacksmiths learn.

Forge welding is a short but precise process that takes much practice to master. To forge weld you must have a forge or way to heat the metal to a glowing yellow heat or roughly 2200 degrees fahrenheit. The other must have to do a proper forge weld is borax, which works as a flux so the metal can bond. The molecules in the metal go together and conjoin under high heat when the metal is malleable, but if you only get the metal hot and hammer it together it will not combine it will spread apart. What causes the metal to not splice is when metal gets hot, it oxidizes or rusts and the borax melts over the steel creating a weak thin glass and prevents oxidization making the molecules combine creating a forge weld. A forge weld needs several heats in the forge with a lot of hard hammering. Most professional blacksmiths use a press or hammer press that puts literally tons of force on the metal creating a fast weld but the best welds are hand made with a hammer but take lots of energy and time. Ben uses forge welding making horse shoes and plates. Forge welds are ten times stronger than the best machinist’s arc welds if the forge weld is done properly and last forever.

So if you ever think you would like to blacksmith, forge welding is a very important and useful skill to know and use in your projects and time. They beleive that blacksmithing is a art that should be taught in agriculture classes in school. There are a lot of kids interested in blacksmithing but lack the resources to learn and start this great trade. This is how to forge weld in blacksmithing.

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