In compiling this book on Blacksmith work, I have in mind the many little difficulties which arise from time to time in this class of work. In my own experience, and also in that of my fellow workmen, problems both of time saving and labour saving have had to be solved, and the tricks of the trade and wrinkles which have been learned thereby, are passed on in this book to anyone who can make use of them. I trust that they will be found of real service to the young and ambitious smith.
The smith who is well equipped with tools will often finish his job in one heat, whereas the smith using antiquated methods will require three or four heats for the same job. Some of the tools illustrated in this book might almost be called labour-saving gadgets, as in many cases they have no resemblance to the orthodox tool. The smith who has to rely on his striker has obviously to use different methods from the smith who has the advantage of the steam hammer. Rapid calculations plays an important part in modern smith work, and the smith who can reckon in figures the required length of material necessary to do a certain job has the advantage of his fellow workman who merely relies on guesswork. I do not suggest that the working blacksmith should be a skilled mathematician, and I have therefore embodied in this work one or two simple formulas for calculating length, which will be found to work out very well in practice. These formulas can quickly be acquired by memory, and the smith will then be saved the worry of wondering whether he has cut enough material for a job, or whether he is going to have a big waste of bar.
Blacksmithing is a trade difficult to learn. Well termed the King of Trades, practically every kindred trade depends on it in some shape or form.