I will start by saying that I am not a master bladesmith, but I have forged knives, axes, and a couple of spearheads over the years. When I see some recipes for melee weapons there are a few things that I think can be improved.
Note: the recipes shown are brainstormed, they need more thought.
A good example is the steel spear. It needs a crucible/clay crucible and a tool with “chiseling of 3.”
The issue with the crucible is that there is no use for it here. Crucibles are for melting metal, not forging. If we were talking about a bronze/copper spear, a crucible would be fine. However, the recipe for bronze at the moment has the components: tin powder (12) and 2 scrap copper or copper (100).
In real life, “bronze” comprises many alloys. we can make bronze by combining copper with different metals such as lead, aluminum, and bismuth. Copper and zinc would be brass, I will not touch upon this because I think there might be something planned for this alloy, namely bullet casings.
For an expanded bronze recipe, I propose: copper scrap or copper + 12 tin powder or 12 aluminum powder or aluminum cans or aluminum ingot or bismuth or lead.
One thing we could consider adding for casted weapons would be a sand casting mold. This is a traditional method of metal casting used throughout the ancient world. The recipe for the sand mold is fairly simple too:
8 planks and 2 or 3? sand
The planks keep the sand in place. I suppose you could ignore this if it seems too complicated since technically, you could cast a crude weapon on a dry section of dirt too.
A tool with chiseling of 3, the issue with this is that we do not need to chisel anything to get a perfectly useful spearhead. The spear is such a simple weapon, you would not need much at all to make it, It is quite effective as is just out of the forge. This requirement extends to so many weapons; we do not need a chisel to make a warhammer, an axe, or knife. I know traditional Japanese bladesmiths use chisels for aesthetic purposes in what is called horimono . Chiseling is mostly for aesthetics, but hardly ever a requirement for tools and weapons (an exemption would be forging a file).
In terms of realism, I can not see any reason to have this requirement for the current amount of recipes. In balance terms, it just adds an extra step. If the reason behind “chiseling of 3” is game balance, there are better options that I will name below.
But that brings me to another requirement: hotcut
The hotcut is a useful tool when forging, but is the old way the only way? You can also cut metal with a hacksaw (wait for the piece to cool down), you can use an angle grinder. Also, if you already have a chisel, you could use that as hotcut too, you could even hammer the chisel into the dirt for convenience. My brother and I used a stone chisel as hotcut back in the day. The point here is that needing both a chisel and a hotcut is a bit redundant since they can be interchangeable, and we can cut with other existing tools.
Some recipes have the drift and the hotcut as interchangeable like in the case of the battle axe. This is possible in real life, but theoretically, it could also be done with a chisel. If instead of removing the chisel should we consider it as an alternative to the hotcut and the drift, that would work. It is possible for, chisels, hotcuts, and drifts to be interchangeable.
Note: the fire axe, pickaxe, crash axe, wood axe, throwing axe, hammer and sledgehamer do not currently need a drift to craft, but should.
A better option than “chiseling “, and which is important for smithing is the following: the requirement of stock removing tools like grindstones. These are necessary to finish the product after forging and to sharpen it, if necessary. This could be included in the form of grindstones and sanders.
Polishing stone = large rock + sand + a long time
Some traditional knife makers from Finland that I know of use this as well as Japanese swordsmiths. It is essentially a rock with a flat surface upon which you manually grind your sword, knife, etc.
Pedal grindstone= large rock + foot pedals + short rope + 5 planks
Popularly depicted in media, it is a pedal-powered machine, the stone is circular and spins. An alternative recipe could be an electric-powered grindstone, these examples also exist.
Angle grinder/bench grinder: lootable from hardware stores
The angle grinder is already in-game, these are great multi-purpose tools. They can cut metal, saw wood, grind metal, cut concrete, and more. The bench grinder would be similar, added mostly for flavor.
Belt sander: lootable or craftable
Essentially another grindstone. I made my own, so it is possible to craft.
Small electric motor + 4 pipes + sandpaper (5) + 4 wooden cart wheels
Note: Stock removal is also possible with files, car polishers, hot rasping, and scrapers. Scrapers could be made in a forge, the Japanese use a tool called sen a metal draw knife, for example. Angle grinders (already have grinding of 2), electric polishers, and files are already in-game. Hot rasping can be left out. Surely, I am missing other methods.
The pros of adding this requirement are:
- they are realistic
- not too complicated
- can be an alternative to some recipes which require forging, you could make knives, drifts, hotcuts with the grinding tools instead of a forge AKA “stock removal method”. Small benefit I know, but still.
- they could be used for a sharpening mechanic should it ever be included.
The following has to do with forges:
In order to reach high enough temperatures, you need to force air in the forge, otherwise, it is just another campfire. This is easily achieved with a hairdryer/leafblower. The problem with this is that they require electricity, the good thing is less work.
The other option is with bellows. There are many ways of crafting them. With clay and rags, or wood and leather, or a wooden fuigo box bellows, like what the Japanese use.
Bellows: 2 claypots or 4 planks and leather 5 or rags 5 or fur 5
Bellows: wooden box + long stout branch
Note:The idea of the rag and clay bellows comes from a video called “smelting iron in Africa (A DEMONSTRATION)”.
There are also hand crank blowers, very old school. Maybe could spawn in antiques shops or farms.
Forges right now are a bit limited. Rock forge, charcoal forge, electric forge. While all these are possible, in real life there are other materials you can make a forge out of.
X number of lumps of clay + withered plant 10 + air source = clay forge
X number of any brick + air source = brick forge
any metal tank, oxygen tank, fire extinguisher tank, scuba tank, steel drum, and more recipients can be made into a forge if you have a metal sawing tool.
In real life we also have gas forges, There is plenty of gas forges recipes that I can think of, but since there are no plans of including gas bottles (that I know of), I will not touch on this.
I do not know about the consensus on various steel types or more anvil options so I let that discussion for later. The last thing I want is to add unnecessary clutter to the game.