Every blacksmith wants to make cool things by pounding hot metal but aside from the craft itself, I’ve received a lot of questions about what blacksmiths should wear. Let me be very clear right here from the start. Wear whatever you want to and try to make sure your feet, hands and eyes are well protected while you do it. I’ve worn shorts, tank tops, no shirt at all and I’ve gone barefoot. In hindsight I know that was dumb but the point is that blacksmith clothing doesn’t have to be all that special. But, since you’re here and since some have asked, let’s do this! So, all this being said, we all know blacksmiths have been wearing some type work boot, jean, long sleeve work shirt combination for about 200 years now and I don’t think that trend it going to change anytime soon.
Since it’s my blog and since I’m the one who often gets asked I’m going to give you some blacksmithing fashion (did we just create a thing?) advice to ensure you look great and stay safe while molding hot iron.
Red Wings are the way to go and I really like the “Classic Moc” look. It comes in a number of styles and colors, all of which are awesome. Steel toe aren’t usually necessary when blacksmithing unless you’re fabricating big heavy chunks of metal which isn’t what most of us are doing. Just get a good, high quality work boot with great stitching and a quality build so you can look cool in the forge and anywhere else you go.
Here’s a photo of my Red Wings with a link to click and see if you like these or a different style.
Jeans are probably my most typical choice for messing around in a blacksmith forge on Saturday morning but my favorite pants are a good type of “tactical” pant because they protect you well but are very comfortable to wear in any work condition. They also have a couple more pockets than jeans do and that often comes in handy when working quickly at your anvil.
I’ve linked to a great pair to help you get the idea, just click the image.
Don’t overthink this one. You just have to be able to tuck it in. I prefer a nice, thick, long sleeve flannel shirt. There are certainly other great materials but I like the comfort and thickness I can find in flannel. You can also run into some safety issues if you don’t have a shirt that is tucked in so a flannel shirt works perfectly to ensure you have all the coverage your torso and arms need while still being able to move without limitation. Even if you workout like I do and want to show off those arms, don’t. Cover your body when blacksmithing, that hot metal will leave marks on your bare skin like nothing else and it ain’t pretty.
Aww man a great flannel looks good anywhere doesn’t it? Click photo for a link.
I’m not even going to lie. I need to get a better pair of safety glasses so I’m going to link to two kinds I’m thinking about picking up currently, both really cheap but really good for blacksmithing.
This one is completely up to preference, but I personally don’t like wearing an apron while blacksmithing. Some people do, I just don’t. The clothing I wear is very protective and I rarely work with big pieces of hot metal so having it fall onto my body really isn’t much of a concern. But, if you are concerned, get yourself a high quality apron with some nice attachment points so it can stay secure and also be taken off quickly if needed.
Here’s are two great examples of ones I would buy if I wore an apron while working iron.
I saved this one for last because it is absolutely essential to blacksmithing in my opinion. You’re just risking too much if you go into the forge without a quality pair of gloves on. Like everything else, don’t overthink this one. Find a pair of gloves that will help protect from contact with hot metal or the forge fire itself. Some gloves are designed specifically to be fire resistant. That’s cool but I’m not sure you really need that, you just need something of high quality to cover your hands for the split second when you touch a hot piece of iron – that’s really it.
Here are two pair I really like and have used.
So let’s wrap-up here my friends. No need to keep going into tremendous detail. Let’s face it, there are no blacksmiths in high fashion magazines so let’s keep things simple. And, for those of you who have asked, I hope this level of simplicity isn’t disappointing. I appreciate your questions.
Keep pounding iron my friends!