We have already looked at master masons earlier in this series. Another vital craftsman was the blacksmith.
|Blacksmith at Guédelon|
When working the abrasive sandstone, a stonemason could wear out an entire set of tools in a single day! Each craftsman had two sets of tools so he could keep working. Near the forge was a set of wooden pigeonholes, one for each craftsman to leave the tools that needed sharpening or mending.
Iron was difficult to produce so no piece of iron was ever thrown away, but reworked into something else. Even small pieces could be made into nails. The blacksmiths knew by the colour of the metal when it was ready to be worked on.
- At 270°C (520°F) the metal is scarlet and ready to begin to be worked.
- At 750°C (1,380°F) the metal is cherry red and ready to be tempered by plunging it into oil or water to rapidly cool it.
- At 1,200-1,300°C (2,190-2,370°F) the metal turns pale yellow to white hot and is ready to be welded into shape.
|Decorative hinges at Aigen Parish Church|
[adapted from The Medieval Castle Haynes Manual by Charles Phillips]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz