What Do I Need?

The most common question we get from new blacksmiths is “what equipment do I need to get started?”

This article hopes to answer that very question.


These things are non-optional no matter your budget.

Eye protection and hearing protection are essential equipment - don’t skip this section. Even if you aren’t using power tools, extended exposure to the noise associated with hammering can do lasting damage to your hearing. Likewise, bits of flying metal are always a risk in any workshop - make sure this shrapnel hits your eye pro instead of your eyes. Eyeglasses or sunglasses will work, but a pair of dedicated safety glasses or a face shield are better choices. A respirator is generally not required for general forging activities, but is a really good thing to have on hand for preparing your propane forge for its first use, burning off harmful compounds, or grinding.

  • Eye protection - ANSI-rated face shield or safety glasses
  • Hearing protection - earplugs or muffs
  • Lung protection (for grinding and handling particulates) - P100 or better respirator

The Basics: Everything you need to get started

The core requirements for a blacksmith’s shop are a hammer, an anvil, a forge, and probably some tongs. While it is possible to make tongs without having tongs, there’s no shame in buying your first (or first several) set of tongs. If you’re on a tight budget, Ken’s Custom Iron tong blanks are a great middle-ground option.

These are our core equipment recommendations for every budget.


Suggestions for those looking to get started as cheaply as possible.


If you’ve got a little more cash to burn, these options might make your life a little easier.


Fine goods for the discerning aspiring blacksmith

Nice-to-Haves: Upgrading your shop

Forging with just the basics will get frustrating fast. A post vise is an excellent upgrade - unlike conventional bench vises, a post vise is designed to stand up to repeated heavy hammering by transferring the force of the hammer blows through the post into the floor.

For folks interested in bladesmithing, a belt grinder is ideal; the bulk of bladesmithing operations take place at the grinder. If you’re on a budget, a 1x30 belt grinder will get you started, but if you have a bit more to spend, a 2x72 is a worthwhile investment. However, if a belt grinder isn’t an option for you, an angle grinder or even a set of files, together with a bit of patience, will yield perfectly respectable results.

Our recommendations:

Going pro (as in production)

None of the equipment mentioned in this section is needed in a beginner’s shop, but if you’re looking to produce at scale, you may want to consider investing in a machine or two.\

Our recommendations:\