Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blacksmith Tool Making: Forging a Flatter.

One of the more unusual tools used in Blacksmithing is the Flatter. It looks like a strange square hammer, but is really a tool that is held on the iron and struck with a hammer. It is used to smooth out bumps and hammer marks from the finished iron.

This is a difficult tool to forge due to the huge difference in size between the square working face and the body of the tool. They could be made by forging from one piece or by forge welding two pieces together. We made one by forging it from one piece.  Blacksmith Eric is shown in these pictures.

The starting size was a bar 1.25 inches in diameter. That was upset while hot until it reached 2.25 inches in diameter. That requires the difficult and repetitive work of upsetting.

The body of the flatter then needs shaping. The hammer hole is hot punched through the body.

The tool is hot filed to get closer to the finished shape.  After it has cooled it can be filed to the finished shize and shape.

The flatter will be cleaned up, get a wooden handle, and be put into use.


  1. That's the great thing about smithing; you can make most of your tools, IF you have the skill.

  2. What kind of steel did you use to make the flatter?

  3. There are two ways to approach making a flatter. One is to make the whole thing out of medium carbon steel that can be hardened on the face. Medium carbon steel like 1045 or 4140 is tough and harder to shape and punch than mild steel. We used a second method that was used on some of our 19th century flatters. We forged the body and punched the handle hole in a billet of low to low medium carbon steel. It was fairly soft and easy to shape. The end was upset for a weld scarf and a 1/2 inch thick plate of tool steel was jump welded on the end. That takes some practice and a large coal forge but is fairly fast once you know what you are doing.


  4. can you please show a way of how to forge a square flat flatter out of two pieces of metal or please describe how thank you very much

  5. Old thread, I hope someone is watching! I have had a flatter hammer sans handle for years. I have never known what it was until this site! I'd like to use it as my son and I are starting to make swords out of scrap, it's great fun.

    So, what type of hammer do you use to hit the flatter? Should I worry about chipping the striking hammer's face or is the flatter soft enough not to worry? I have a two pound drilling hammer that I think would work perfectly.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much!


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