The blacksmiths were very important to the functioning of the mission, and only strong, bright Indians who showed an aptitude for working with their hands were chosen.
The blacksmith shops were often located away from the main mission buildings because of the danger of fire.
The blacksmiths used equipment similar to what was used elsewhere in the early 19th century: a forge, bellows and an anvil on which to pound the metal after it was heated.
The blacksmiths made all kinds of things, plows, tools, nails, cattle brands, hinges. The San Fernando Rey blacksmiths were known to be particularly skilled and made such objects