Australia Network
English Bites

Print | Close


print friendly page for http://australianetwork.com/englishbites/stories/s1593834.htm

24 March 2006

Friday review - Royal Show

On today's Friday review, we'll have a look back at our visit to the Royal Show.


We're going to meet Ben the blacksmith again. Listen to him talk about what blacksmithing is, and how he makes a horseshoe.
Okay, yes, my name is Ben Truman, we're at the blacksmiths' stand here, making horseshoes with people's names on it. And the basic process of making a horseshoe is putting it in the forge which is in the background there, starting with a piece of straight steel, getting it in there, getting it hot and then just shaping the shoe. So you know, you usually start about the middle of the shoe, get a bit of a toe bend in it and then you do the branch on the horn of the anvil, and you do that to both sides and make it all look pretty, and you've got your horseshoe.

Well, on the anvil there is a very pointy bit called the horn of the anvil, and it's rounded very like a cone almost, and you just tap it when it's nice and red hot over the horn and it just seems to take its shape. But it takes a bit of practice to get used to.

The horn of the anvil is on the left hand side which is the very pointy bit and then you've got the face of the anvil which is the bit you put your hot steel on to work on and then you've got the back of the anvil you use for doing your toe clips of the shoe which helps to hold the shoe on.

Farriers these days don't usually make their own shoes unless the horse has got a problem with its hoof, because you can buy them pre-made, but a lot of decorative work is done still, but there is a lack of people in the trade still.

Okay, the bellows in the background, they just keep the fire going so the more air you put into the fire in the forge, where the fire is held, the hotter the fire gets so you can heat your steel up quicker, and the water is just to cool it down but with the horseshoe you don't just bend the shape. You've got to put a groove in it for your nail holes and, depending on the style of shoe, there's different processes that you can go through.

OK, so Ben is a blacksmith.

A blacksmith is a person who makes iron tools. It's an old trade that isn't very common anymore.

There aren't very many blacksmiths around anymore.

Listen to Ben explaining why:
Farriers these days don't usually make their own shoes unless the horse has got a problem with its hoof, because you can buy them pre-made, but a lot of decorative work is done still, but there is a lack of people in the trade still.

He says farriers don't usually make their own shoes anymore.

A farrier is a type of blacksmith. It's a blacksmith who makes horseshoes.

People don't usually make their own horseshoes anymore, because you can buy them, pre-made, already made. People don't buy hand-made ones from farriers much anymore.

The word made can be used in lots of phrases like these. We can say also say custom-made, man-made, ready-made, tailor-made, self-made.

Ben's horseshoes are handmade. At the show, they are also custom-made, he makes them for each individual customer, with their names on them.

Listen to Ben describe how he makes a horseshoe.
And the basic process of making a horseshoe is putting it in the forge which is in the background there, starting with a piece of straight steel, getting it in there, getting it hot and then just shaping the shoe. So you know, you usually start about the middle of the shoe, get a bit of a toe bend in it and then you do the branch on the horn of the anvil, and you do that to both sides and make it all look pretty, and you've got your horseshoe.

As you saw, a horseshoe is a U shaped piece of metal that is fixed to a horse's hoof.

But a horseshoe is also a symbol for good luck. People sometimes hang them in their houses, but only with the open end pointing upwards. Otherwise, so they say, all the good luck runs out.

Ben used some words very specific to his trade

He talks about the forge, the special fire that he uses to heat up the steel.

And he talks about the anvil.

The anvil is the big block of iron that he uses as a base to shape the hot metal, once it has come out of the fire.

You'll often need to learn a set of new words when you come across a new trade or job. Listen to Ben continue to talk about the process. He uses another very specific word.
The bellows in the background, they just keep the fire going so the more air you put into the fire in the forge, where the fire is held, the hotter the fire gets so you can heat your steel up quicker, and the water is just to cool it down but with the horseshoe you don't just bend the shape. You've got to put a groove in it for your nail holes and, depending on the style of shoe, there's different processes that you can go through.

He says the bellows are in the background.

The bellows are the things that create a gust of wind or air, to keep the fire burning strongly.

So blacksmiths use bellows, forges and anvils.

Listen to Ben again, and see if you can follow the process
Okay, yes, my name is Ben Truman, we're at the blacksmiths' stand here, making horseshoes with people's names on it. And the basic process of making a horseshoe is putting it in the forge which is in the background there, starting with a piece of straight steel, getting it in there, getting it hot and then just shaping the shoe. So you know, you usually start about the middle of the shoe, get a bit of a toe bend in it and then you do the branch on the horn of the anvil, and you do that to both sides and make it all look pretty, and you've got your horseshoe.

Well, on the anvil there is a very pointy bit called the horn of the anvil, and it's rounded very like a cone almost, and you just tap it when it's nice and red hot over the horn and it just seems to take its shape. But it takes a bit of practice to get used to.

The horn of the anvil is on the left hand side which is the very pointy bit and then you've got the face of the anvil which is the bit you put your hot steel on to work on and then you've got the back of the anvil you use for doing your toe clips of the shoe which helps to hold the shoe on.

Farriers these days don't usually make their own shoes unless the horse has got a problem with its hoof, because you can buy them pre-made, but a lot of decorative work is done still, but there is a lack of people in the trade still.

Okay, the bellows in the background, they just keep the fire going so the more air you put into the fire in the forge, where the fire is held, the hotter the fire gets so you can heat your steel up quicker, and the water is just to cool it down but with the horseshoe you don't just bend the shape. You've got to put a groove in it for your nail holes and, depending on the style of shoe, there's different processes that you can go through.

We've talked about lots of old trades like blacksmithing before on English Bites.

Don't forget that you can find them all along with Ben's story, on our website.


story notes

 blacksmiths'
 
A blacksmith is a person who makes iron tools and horseshoes. Notice that the possessive apostrophe is placed after the 's' when we are referring to more than one blacksmith. Follow the link below to the language library to find out more.
 
more information: possessive apostrophe

 horseshoes
 
A horseshoe is a U shaped piece of metal that is fixed to a horse's hoof.

 people's
 
Notice again the use of the possessive apostrophe. With plurals that don't end with 's', such as men and people, we add an 's' to form the possessive and put the apostrophe before it.

 anvil
 
The anvil is the big block of iron that Ben used as a base to shape the hot metal.