Inside: Find the answers to, how are blacksmith punches and chisels made? What is the difference between a blacksmith punch and chisel? And why should we pursue this knowledge and skill?
Blacksmith Punches and Chisels!! What are they used for and how do you make them.
Why should you learn more about Blacksmith Punches and Chisels?
As you start this process of learning to forge, you will find that you will have more and more need for these specialty tools. These punches and chisels for the blacksmith, can sometimes be hard to find for sale, or above the price you are initially willing to spend. So as a blacksmith, learning to forge your own tools, is a skill worth practicing. Not only do you end up with more tools for your kit that you can then use, but also the knowledge and skill that you gain from the process will be invaluable as you progress.
Blacksmith Punches vs. Chisels: What is the Difference?
I like to define the difference that I see in Punches vs. Chisels.
Punches are tool used to create a specific feature in the piece that you are working. This could be a hole; whether it is round, square, or a slot. Or it could be a specific texture; whether it is veining, fullering, or single use. Probably the common one you will need to make as you are getting started is the basic blacksmith hole punch.
Chisels on the other hand are used for cutting or separating material. These to can have a variety of specialized uses; such as a straight or curved slits, or corner removal with a cape chisel. The first one that I made and my go to for cutting small hot work is the basic blacksmith slitting chisel.
How are Blacksmith Punches and Chisels Made?
I have come to learn that most of these chisels or punches start out being made the same basic way. If I am working from a longer piece of stock, I will forge the working end the tool first. To do this I will forge a square taper, getting the end to rough geometry size I will need to have enough material to finish in the end. Once this is roughed in; I will then measure 8 to 9 inches, depending on your preference, and cut the tool to length. Next I will, work at forging the hammer end. When I began blacksmithing, I would forge it into and octagon with a slight taper to it, but now I prefer forging a hexagon slight taper. Go ahead and try both, and see which one you prefer. The reason that I forge this hammer end at this point, is so that I can line up the finish tool end with one of the facets of the hexagon, or octagon, that I have created. After I finish forging the working end, I will let it cool slowly to aid in any filing that may need to be done. Once filing is complete and the tool is finish to my satisfactory, It will then be ready for heat treatment. I usually only heat treat the working end, keeping the hammer end softer.
If you found this article helpful, check out my other article “Essential Blacksmith Tools for Beginners”
If you are like me starting out and learning as you go, you are probably using whatever steel you can find in the free or cheap category as you practice your skills. Here is a good article I found to help decipher what type of metal you may be using and if it will be good for making punches and chisels as I have discussed here.