Also known as “smith forging” or “hand forging”, this forging technique is the one perennially associated with blacksmiths. If you’re imagining someone hammering a hot piece of metal on an anvil, that’s what this is. Except the die doesn’t have to be a flat anvil; it can be rounded, or concave, or it can be a tool to form a certain shape. And this process isn’t limited to pieces of a certain size; open-die forges can be enormous.
It’s called “open-die forging” because the die, in this case the anvil, is a flat surface that doesn’t enclose the hot metal. In “closed-die forging”, the die completely surrounds the hot metal; the piece is moulded, rather than hammered.
Did You Know?
Open-die forging is how E.J. Hadaway first got its start in 1919. We have literally been perfecting this technique for almost 100 years.
Increased Strength, Ductility and Toughness
The process of open-die forging reinforces the grain of the metal, making it stronger in the required direction, while also preparing the metal for later metalworking processes. Pieces that have been prepped with open-die forging have improved wear and toughness over pieces that have been cast or machined.
This process is the ultimate in bespoke blacksmithing. It depends very much upon the skill and craftsmanship of the operator. In theory, even complex shapes can be open-die forged.