Chapter 56 – The Anvil and the Horseshoe
Starting from Eiji, the other 6 disciples, including Pietro, had gathered in the workshop.
The place, which would be usually spacious, was now congested to the extent of possibly hitting each other’s shoulders if one was not careful.
– Heh? So this is the workshop. I’ve always wanted to see it, but now I finally get to.
– Well, I guess the ceiling is a little bit low for me. It feels like I’m being oppressed.
– Isn’t it because Dante-kun is unnecessarily big?
– Seriously, it’s not.
It was the first time for the group of 5 people from Nazioni to be shown the workshop by Eiji.
They have been working till now as blacksmiths; nevertheless, not even once were they brought to the workshop.
Every day, they would do nothing but head toward the mining place.
Because of that, everything that appeared now in front of them was novel and intriguing.
Their eyes would look around restlessly without calming down.
– Hey, Pietro-senpai, this is?
– It’s called a revolving whetstone. You use this for grinding blade tips.
– Oi, Pietro-san, how about this guy? Somehow, it has a pillar breaking through the wall, but…
– It’s the watermill’s shaft. And then, this one is the cog-wheel. With this, the power will be passed to rotate the stone.
Standing in front of the furnace, Eiji enjoyably watched his pupils’ behavior.
He compared their figures to his past self.
Eiji would always stare at his father’s back, not from inside the workshop but from the door which separated their house with that place.
His father’s back, which faced toward the fire, would captivate Eiji.
Therefore, the first day he stepped inside the workshop made his whole body, not just his legs, tremble with excitement.
It was already a story from quite a long time ago.
Eiji recalled the first time he had received a warning from his father.
For a blacksmith, no rather, for a laborer, what was the first thing they should be told?
It was by no means something related to the way the hammer should be gripped.
Eiji looked over.
Dante, Katharina, as well as the other three disciples, had their eyes shining brightly.
He could understand their heart throbbing and excitement well.
– Well then, before I explain, I will give you a single warning. By no means should you casually touch the placed items and devices.
Shortly after being told so, the 5 of them trembled with their shoulders.
Perhaps, a moment ago they tried to touch things while being eager.
– The tools of an artisan are the holder’s soul. Those who use them casually can’t complain about whatever injury they sustain. You guys still don’t have your own tools, so I’ll lend you mine. But pay a close attention. Once you are done using the tools, return them to their original place. Please bear these two things in your heart.
– Aye. Got it.
Together with Dante, who was composed, Katharina nodded energetically.
– Well then, let’s show you how to use them in practice.
Eiji took the tools in his hand and displayed them one by one.
The anvil, which is the foundation of hammering.
The metal hammer that is the tool of striking.
The pair of fire tongs used for holding the iron.
The chisel, furnished with an incision for cutting and separating the made iron.
The metal brush, clipper, and the file, used for removing the oxidized membrane on the iron’s surface.
All of these were handmade by Eiji.
Things that were made, stored, and improved little by little during his work breaks.
He has been using the tools for this whole year.
And becoming familiar with each of them.
Each time Eiji took a tool and introduced, the pupils would nod while pouring their sights on him.
Their eyes were saying that they too wanted to use them.
Their wish wasn’t far from its realization.
First, it was necessary to increase the number of anvils, or perhaps you could say the foundation of work.
The anvil is the support on which one strikes the iron. It’s also called kanashiki and kanatoko.
The iron is placed on the flat anvil and struck with a hammer.
An anvil that is used for hammering manually is relatively thin but big enough to do the job, but in case a strong force is exerted, such as the one from a water-powered hammer, a much thicker anvil is needed, since the weight will increase significantly.
Due to its large size, cast iron is often used to make them.
The characteristic sound generated during hammering is high-pitched and clear.
An anvil is like a musical tool that is used on stage to play a classic song called ‘The Polka of the Blacksmith’
Assuming a furnace is used to make small things, two, and even three items can be heated at the same time.
With an anvil, however, only one set of the forging process can be performed on it.
Eiji brought a single, big piece of lumber.
Once again, everyone’s sights gathered on him, and then, questions were drawn on their faces.
They probably wondered about the purpose of the single piece of wood.
– From now on, we are going to forge the anvil. This wood, which is made from oak, will be used as the pedestal, and the iron plate will be stretched over the top of it.
– Ah, so not everything is made using iron, is it?
– It’s fine. But, the process of making one is troublesome.
At Katharina’s impression, Eiji answered with a wry smile.
The heavier an anvil is, the more balanced it becomes.
That’s why, even if it’s solely made from iron, it wouldn’t be a problem.
However, when it becomes large, it will obtain a size which won’t be applicable for striking with a water-powered hammer, making it difficult to craft things.
A long time ago, there was a custom where all the members from the same school would craft and present an anvil to the person that had just become an independent artisan.
Everyone would be holding a big hammer near the riverbed and strike earnestly and powerfully while forming the anvil.
And that alone was heavy labor.
– Saying so, now we will make the anvil. As for today, everybody will be watching and observing. Pietro, begin the preparations.
Eiji kindled the fire in the furnace.
Rapidly delivering the wind, the charcoal burned deeply red.
In addition to the large number of people, the inside of the workshop filled with an awful heat.
Eiji opened the louver door.
As the wind blew in, the hot air escaped a bit.
While wiping the sweat from his forehead, Dante said.
– It’s indeed hot.
– Once the summertime arrives it will be even hotter. It’s better to get adjusted while it’s still early.
– I’m completely fine when it’s hot. It’s just that I’m not good at dealing with the cold, still…
– Even during winter, the workplace is considerably warm, so you might like it.
Burning the charcoal intensely, Eiji threw in the lump of iron.
Once a considerable amount of heat transfers, the work will commence.
He was going to make the anvil on top of an anvil.
Eiji swung with a small mallet, whereas Pietro stretched the iron with a large mallet.
The sound of the struck iron was surprisingly noisy.
A talking voice wouldn’t pass through.
Both Dante and Katharina held their tongue while having amazed faces.
Just like clay or a melt toffee, the iron changed its shape.
The heated iron was already moving unrestrictedly, and the thick lump of iron began to form a sheet as it spread its surface.
As soon as the iron becomes hard due to the lowering temperature, it will again be thrown in and coated with the charcoal.
Sending in the wind, the heat increased.
And once more, the iron turned red.
The metal was beaten in a regular rhythm without its sound stopping.
There was already no one among the watching disciples who would say a word.
Everyone’s eyes were fixed upon the artisan who earnestly repeated the standard procedure and formed the shape while making the item.
– Alright, put it on.
– Like this?
– That’s right. You have done enough using the big mallet. Use the small one.
Forming the shape considerably, they placed the iron plate on top of the oak wood. The iron plate was spacious, to the extent of covering up things.
The heat coming from the brightly radiating iron burned the oak material a bit.
– Excellent, bend it while striking diagonally.
Eiji gave out a big voice which wouldn’t lose to the sound of the striking hammer. Whereas, Pietro replied to that as if shouting at it.
Each time the mallet was swung, the anvil would bend, and go along the wooden form.
The iron, changed.
From a simple object it, began forming into a tool.
The life was breathed into the tool from material.
Are you watching? – Eiji gave a signal toward his disciples without letting out his voice.
Having a chance to see an anvil being made was rare.
It was supposed to become a precious experience.
The reason why this work was showed to them as the first wasn’t just because it was necessary.
Eiji thought that it would be easiest to leave an impression at the very beginning.
Perhaps, in 5, 10 years, as long they remember this day, it will turn a useful experience at the time they become independent.
Without interjecting, Eiji watched his pupils, who were staring in concentration.
Finally, the work concluded,
– We made it. Pietro, thanks for your hard work.
– Thank you for your hard work.
What they made was an anvil of about 12 kg in weight.
It was reasonably light and had a shape similar to the bottom of an iron.
The deep black iron covered the top of the pedestal made from oak as if surrounding it.
And then, only the legs were made from tree bark.
A profound feeling of exhaustion rose up inside Eiji’s body. His right arm and his shoulders felt especially awful.
This time he forged it without using the water-powered hammer.
It was because he thought about showing them how the blacksmith’s work look like as much as possible.
Nevertheless, for that reason, Eiji wore out his arm.
Even Pietro was probably quite tired from swinging the big mallet.
You have done well – he rewarded Pietro.
Eiji passed the anvil to each of his pupils.
Won’t it be too heavy for Katharina? – Eiji worried a bit; nevertheless, his anxiety was a needless one.
Despite her hands looking small, she was an energetic woman with the strength to swing her pickaxe all day long.
– I-It’s heavyy.
While saying things like that, she checked the anvil from various angles.
– Despite saying so, Katharina is lifting it quite easily, isn’t she?
– I’m barely strong. A long time ago, I would be somehow misunderstood, and told that I’d smile whatever trouble had occurred to me. Isn’t Dante-kun much stronger?
– Well, as for me, I won’t lose in terms of strength.
– Hmm. Well, whatever.
– Oh my, at any rate, this brightly shining black light somehow makes my heart beat fast.
Dante’s anger, which was showing through his face, didn’t seem to reach Katharina.
She would gaze at the anvil zealously and ecstatically, to the extent of rubbing it together with her cheek.
Katharina has changed a bit, no rather, she has changed considerably, but it seems that her passion for iron-related things is real.
Eiji’s attention was a bit drawn to her speech and conduct, however, he agreed with her being passionate.
A few months of manual labor isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly with a woman’s body.
Dante, too, was studying and observing seriously.
His sulky remark a while ago fell silent, but despite his childish attitude, Dante would work genuinely each day.
It was high time to teach them about a blacksmith’s job.
– Well then, everyone. Tomorrow, shouldn’t you try making tools for your own use in turns?
– Is that fine?!
At Eiji’s statement, the workshop was filled with excitement.
Translator and reference notes:
: A sound you give when seeing or hearing something you dislike, but different from ‘yuck!’
: Both mean anvil.
: The one you used for ironing cloth.