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Top view of a swage block showing various sized holes and sections
Right side view of the above swage block

A swage block is a large, heavy block of cast iron or steel used in smithing, with variously-sized holes in its face and usually with forms on the sides.

The through-holes are of various shapes and sizes and are used to hold, support or back up a hot bar of metal for further shaping. Operations performed on a swage block include but are not limited to bending, cutting, punching and forming. The sides are scalloped to present formed shapes for forging operations. Shapes are for example the curve of a wheel, which could be used to finish a wheel rim, using a suitable hammer. Other shapes, such as the half hexagon, can be used with a matching top swage to form a hexagonal cross-section on a bar. The various shapes around the edge of the swage block all have corresponding shapes in the form of top swages to shape iron bar into various sections.

The image shows a 15-inch, square swage block with various semi-circular, hexagonal, and square shapes around its perimeter along with a selection of through-holes.

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