Primitive Blacksmithing

Hello. I’m looking for information on how to blacksmith in the wilderness; kinda like “Survival Blacksmithing”. Is that even possible? Surely it must be; I mean, God didn’t just decide to say “And let there be a Hammer!” on the Eighth Day of creation lol. XD Somebody must’ve found a way to forge metal with only the use of stone-age tools manufactured via Flintknapping and Carpentry.

I’m guessing that first, they had to have found some clay, probably “Stoneware Clay” as that kind of clay is the kind that handles high temperatures most adequately. Then they had to have made bricks, maybe using wood to help make a brick shape cast. Then they’d have to make enough bricks to build a kiln, a forge, and a bloomery. They’d also have to make a spear or a bow and arrow to go hunt an animal to get some leather, then they’d have to have some basic leathercrafting skills combined with woodworking skills to build themselves a bellows for the bloomery to make it super hot. Then they’d have to have a few sets of rocks that can be used as hammers, maybe secured to the end of a wood handle with leather straps, replacing the rock everytime it broke during the hammering process. They’d then have to have tongs made out of some kind of super dense hardwood; a few sets seeing as they’d literally be burning through them. They might consider making a copper hammer first, and then using that to move onto Iron Ore, eventually creating a first generation set of iron tools.

I dunno…that sound feasible-ish to you? I only have a super basic understanding of blacksmithing currently, but I’d like to get good at it, I just don’t want to use modernized tools to do it; I want to make it all myself lol. I kinda have a thing for independence and self-sufficiency, and this is just the next skill I want to learn how to do. My ultimate goal is to one day reach a level of expertise that I could be dropped off butt naked pretty much anywhere on the planet and then rise through the ranks of stone age to iron age, even to more modern times if possible. Like learning how to make electrical wires out of the metal I smelt; maybe using a bunch of lemons to create a battery, etc, etc. Basically I wanna reverse-engineer thousands of years of human evolution hahaha. XD Call me a dreamer. :slight_smile:

I think you’ll find this guy very inspirational from Primitive Technology :slight_smile:

If you’re looking to go real primitive, you’ll pick up a lot from him - I’m sure he has links to articles where he may have learned how to do some of the things he does too. Quite honestly though, if you’re looking to build everything from scratch, it will be an immense amount of work before you are truly doing blacksmith work. To process and maintain charcoal and then to locate, extract, and process elements out of raw earth without using modern tools and building the needs for those from nothing would be pretty impressive - not saying it can’t be done of course, just saying it’d be extremely difficult.

So really depends on what you want, if you want to be dropped in the woods and advance through the ages - that’d be incredibly impressive because on top of moving towards finding and extracting minerals from the earth (and creating the tools to do that) you’d need to be able to hunt/gather, build shelter, and maintain good health and wherewithal to stay alive. You need to be familiar with the environment you’re in so you can identify migrations, animal habits, and forage, and live off the land very effectively. Most people that would get dropped off in the wilderness would have blacksmithing on one of the last things on their list of “Things to do” - #1 would probably be a clean, reliable water source :wink:

If you want to be more focused on blacksmithing with VERY traditional tools, then I’m sure there are books out there on how to find the right rock, wood, and other materials to use it. You’d be hard pressed to find the necessary soft metal ore out in the wild, so you’ll probably need to go the route finding a modern source.

All that being said, it’s pretty unique desire in the blacksmithing community :slight_smile: You won’t find many people who use rocks as hammer around here. Lots of smiths have varying levels of adaptation from modern society, many prefer to only use hand tools or hand powered tools, other like their 100 lb power hammer and hydraulic presses, but very few don’t deal with iron - which requires a lot of resources to process.

Coolness; thanks for the link, Grant!

And indeed haha; sounds like this would be a major pain in the butt lol; a big ol’ miserable, sweaty, bloody mess lol. Ahhh…but the sense of achievement that would await like a light at the end of the tunnel would be so worth it haha.

And definitely; a lot more skills would be coming into play long before blacksmithing. I was born and raised in the middle of Alaska, and that’s helped a lot with my wilderness survival skills, finding food and water is easier than most people think; you don’t even really have to be a hunter for that. Entomology and Botany are the two main skill on my list to learn that are aimed at food procurement; lots of different plants have high levels of protein, and just about every insect is in incredible source of high protein. But Clay Modeling would probably have to come into play before that; make a ceramic bowl to add some water from a freshwater stream that runs over rocks (almost always a safe source of drinking water) then throw in some different grasses and grains and lettuces, then a bag full of some nice crunchy bugs, when boil it all up together with some berries to sweeten it up a bit to make it easier to choke down lol, and voila: Bug Stew, an extremely high nutritious meal, albeit seemingly unappetizing haha.

The inspiration for this all actually came from my desire to become a Wiccan and get closer with Mother Earth/the Goddess. In “the Craft of the Wise” it’s a standard tradition that all new Initiates spend a Year and Day studying Wicca and Witchcraft before they are truly initiated as a priest, which usually involves a ritual. Most witches just spend their Year and a Day learning from books in the comfort of their bedrooms, but I want to make it a more spiritual journey than that; that just seems too easy and doesn’t really “connect” you with Deity. I feel what would be making a true connection is by submersing oneself into the wilderness and following in the footsteps of one’s ancestors to emerge from the wilderness A Year and a Day later as a newly formed, fully fledged human being with a direct connection to Gaia; feeling the natural rhythms and patterns of Mother Nature; recognizing the movements and behaviors of the plants and animals as easily as breathing.

Metals are also a big part of witchcraft; from Talisman’s and Amulets to being used in making the Athame ritual blade, or the wire holding different crystals together on a magick wand, to making the offering dishes containing salt and water (symbolic of earth and water) to making the candle holders. There’s a lot of different metal objects required for various spells and rituals, but in my mind, the metals just aren’t as magickal unless they were gathered and formed by the witch’s own hands; the metal has far more magick in it if it contains my blood, sweat and tears within the core of it’s foundations; making it literally a part of myself/an extension of my Higher Self. If the metal came from anyone else or was formed using power tools that left a psychic impression in the metal that caused it’s vibrational frequency to get thrown off, it just kinda leaves a sad after-taste/disconnect from Self. The magick tools in my mind always need to be made by the witch themselves 100% from nature; all natural, pure, and raw. The primary tools of the witch are the Book of Shadows, the Athame, the Wand, the Chalice, and Pentacle; thus the skills needed to make them all would be as follows, (in no particular order): Botany/Horticulture, Paper Making, Leather Working, Glue Making, Thread/String/Rope Making, Sewing, Bookbinding, Woodworking, Geography, Geology, Flintknapping, Mining, Smelting, Forging, Cooking, and Chemistry. In a nutshell, haha. Some of them I’m already fairly knowledgeable of, others are going to take some time to get good enough at that I’d be confident I knew what I was doing lol.

After I have a nice little homestead built, I’ll start thinking about going about making a water mill/wheel to provide electricity into copper wires/cables (they’ll probably be a bit bigger wires than factory-made wiring, but it should do okay for basic purposes. Need to learn how to make glass too; I know glass has also been around a lot longer than modern power equipment and technology has, so there’s gotta be a primitive way to make a window too lol.

It’s almost like a big game of which came first, the chicken or the egg? XD

I’d like to be able to make a solar panels and computers from nature too, lol, but I’m guessing those are pretty much impossible to make using primitive methods seeing as they didn’t pop up until the twenty first century. Might be able to make the tech after a while of advancing my own materials to the point I could make a small factory, but that would also take years and years and years of training and education in order to build a computer from scrap lol, but yep, I think that would be the ultimate pinnacle in one’s personal advancement through the ages; going from making fire, to making metal, to making motherboards lol. XD

Give me a good supply of natural soapstone and an active volcano and I bet I can be in the casting business before you :smiley:

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