The blacksmith's shop must be laid out so as to minimize the amount of movement needed to work efficiently. The layout will generally be dictated by the smith's preference, but the anvil should be only about one pace from the fire in order to permit rapid positioning and working of the metal. Both bench and vice should be within easy reach and at a comfortable working height. The cooling tank should also be within easy reach. All the tools needed for a particular operation should be ready and close at hand.
The work area should be shaded but well ventilated. For a right-handed person the beak of the anvil should be to the smith's left and to the right for a left-handed person.
Safety is a case of common sense, but a few pointers may be in order.
The most used tool is the hand hammer. This must be gripped as near to the end of its shaft as is comfortable (Fig. 24). Most hammering is done using a wrist-and-elbow action. Shoulder action is needed only for heavy hammering. For accurate work, a "snapping" action of elbow and wrist produces the best results and least fatigue. Sledgehammers are used with both hands and a straight up-and-down action is required, not the swinging action used for other work.
All hammering must be positive. Avoid the tendency to "stroke" the work with the hammer. Even light blows must be direct and positive if effort is not to be wasted.