Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued

Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued

Notes: cross peen or rounding hammer would be used

  • forge the point first
  • keep it straight as you go
  • keep refining the profile within each section as you go
  • for the entire blade profile (we’ll do the tang after)
  • after the profile is formed forge the edge
  • forge one section at a time
  • Remember to use the right side of the hammer  to pull the steel (round side or cross peen side)
  • rough profile the length a section at a time
  • go back and smooth it after
  • Keep the knife bigger than the patter
  • Blade is 5 1/2″
  • Overall Length is 9 3/4″
  • The blade was blued with gun blue (cold blue)

This knife was forged from an implement tine.  This should be close to 5150 if the information on the internet is correct. I found it to be a little harder to forge than the 108x.

I drew out the blade first, shaping it as I went. From a forging perspective it was much different than the last knife I forged except this was to be a full tang.

Wetting the anvil and hammer helps get rid of the scale. Just dip your hammer in your water bucket a few times and throw the water on the anvil and continue as normal.

After forging, I started with a 36-grit ceramic belt and worked my way up to 220. I think I’m starting to hit the other end of the learning curve. Grinding is getting easier. I still did some hand sanding, I only sanded to 180 grit then hit it with a course finishing belt.

There are times when I get closer and into finish sanding, I have the belt going as slow as it will go. It allows better control and mistakes become much smaller and easier to overcome. At this stage taking your time and constant focus is the best advice I can give.

This time I didn’t forget to normalize. I almost forgot my makers mark, but added it in between the first and second normalizing cycle.

Normalizing Your Knife

  • When a knife is forged it needs to be normalized. Forging adds stress to the steel. If you research this, you will find it has to do with the grain structure of the steel. But for now, just know it needs to be done.
  • Normalizing is a pretty simple process. Heat the metal to nonmagnetic then let it air cool. For most metals we’ll talk about in this book, doing this three times should do the trick. After annealing you can go straight to heat treatment.
  • Typically normalizing is not required with stock removal but I recommend you normalize recycled steel. If in doubt, normalize.

Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
the original tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
wetting the anvil to help remove the scale
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine

Adding the Jimping

I marked out and drilled the tang holes and added the Jimping to “Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued”.

I marked the tang for the spline embellishment. I marked about every quarter inch and marked the center line. I drilled holes at each intersection. Then using the corner of a square file, I cut a V in-between each hole on both sides of the spline.

Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine

Cold Bluing

The blade of this Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued was blued using a cold bluing technique. This will help keep the high carbon blades from rusting.

Here is my technique.

  • Polish the blade to the desired finish. A polished blade takes blue better, but it’s not a requirement.
  • Wipe the blue on and let it sit for a minute or so. Buff it out.
  • Repeat the entire process until it reaches the texture you like, or it stops changing.

Forging a Custom Made Knife

Forging a Custom Made Knife

Forging a Custom Made Knife is the process of forming metal after heating it to forging temperatures. This can be accomplished with a fire typically controlled by air. It’s then formed by hitting it with hammers or presses. These can be blacksmith hammers, power hammers, hydraulic presses, or other means.

There is not one definitive way to Forging a Custom Made Knife, and different Smith’s will have different methods and opinions, but a few basic rules will help guide you.

I’ve tried to give detailed instructions with the knives I forge.

Being able to forge is not a requirement for knife making but it can have a place in any knife making hobby if one chooses. There are many knife makers who never forge and make beautiful knives. You can decide at what point, if any, you’d like to add forging to your skill set.

No matter how much you forge, or how good you get at it, there will always be stock removal involved. So, you can forge and file, or forge and grind, either way, you’ll need to remove some stock to finish your knife.

If you have experience forging already, then the stock removal become a bit easier. However, if it is yet another skill you need to learn, then start slow.

You will often hear that forging a knife has less metal waste than stock removal. You will need to stop and think about that for a moment. Look at your design and think about what will be removed compared to the time to forge the knife.

On a basic knife design, and even some more advanced designs, I think the waste is somewhat insignificant. There is the corner snips and the bevel grinds, but for these basic designs, the time you save over forging will make up for it.

However, there are designs that forging will save a lot of metal and a lot of time as well, so working this skill into your learning curve will definitely be a benefit at some point in your knife and edge tool making.

You can stop the forging process and move to stock removal at any point in the process. Starting with just a little forging as you learn and develop, will help add another toolset to your abilities.

Forging is simply the process of heating metal to a working temperature and forming it with a hammer. You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to start.

Get a cross peen or rounding hammer and a hard chunk of metal. An anvil is nice to have, but not a requirement. Any heavy solid chunk of hard metal will do. A sledgehammer head or piece of railroad tract are common anvil starters. It’s also a common misconception that you will need to flatten the top of the railroad track, but the curve is quite nice when creating the bevel. If you find the flat easier to use, turn the track upside down, it’s flat on the bottom. You may even like it turned end up.

Now you just need a source of heat.  This can be anything from a campfire, or a hole in the ground, or a real forge. All will work. If you’re not using a real forge, then adding some air helps a lot. A hair dryer piped in, or small blower of some kind works well.

To begin forging a forge of some kind is needed. The basic options are coal or propane. I currently have both.

coal forge
My Coal Forge

I don’t use the coal forge much when Forging a Custom Made Knife. I can’t find a local source for blacksmith coal, and the home heating coal doesn’t perform very well.  I Still plan to continue to use it from time to time, but I find the propane much more convenient for what I am currently doing, and propane is much easier to get.

For fuel for a coal forge you should get bituminous coal. Coal for heating is anthracite, which doesn’t work nearly as well. It needs a lot more air. It will work in a pinch, however. Regular barbecue charcoal does not work well either.

I chose to build my propane forge to save some budget. There are two things I’d change if I had to do it over. First, I would have just bought my burners from a reliable source. By the time I bought all the little parts for the burners, the savings compared to just buying the burner didn’t make sense, and I wouldn’t have put a second burner on. I almost never turn the second one on. It wasn’t necessary.

Keep in mind a forge can simply be a hole in the ground with something to provide some air, like a hair dryer. You don’t need to let not having a forge, stop you from trying on your own.

You can also make a very simple forge by stacking some fire brick. Dill a hole for a propane or map torch to go through. There are many examples and instructions available both online and in blacksmithing books.

You can also just use some good hardwood firewood. It takes longer as you need to let it burn to a hot charcoal like fire.

And of course, if you have a coal or propane forge, that is the optimal setup.

Now just heat the metal to a bright orange, almost yellow color. Using a set of tongs, or long handled pliers, work the metal with the hammer. Heat it often and work from one end of your blade to the other.

This chapter could easily turn into a book itself, so for now we’ll keep it simple. I suggest you start forming the point of your knife then the bevel and then switch to stock removal. After that you can move into other areas. Just keep practicing and researching as you go.

My Journey into Bladesmithing

My Journey into Blacksmithing & Bladesmithing


post any questions or comments on the forum

I made my first knife when I was a young teenager. So that would put it about 50 years ago now. Back then we didn’t have internet, or Google, or YouTube, so information was much harder to come by.

The knife was stock removal (although i didn’t know what that was back then) from a piece of leaf spring. I used an old angle grinder. I somehow knew I had to heat treat it, but I had no idea what that meant.

I remember I made two knives. They looked a little like  Bowie knives and I went around the farm bouncing them off trees and stumps and whatever else I could find to throw them at. I’m not sure they ever stuck in anything. They were not at all balanced.

Today, with all the abilities to gather information, it’s easier to take up and learn different techniques and processes.

I’m not sure what sparked the resurgence of my desire to form metal into things shaped like axes and knives, but I’ll share the journey. If you, learning from my mistakes, makes your journey better, I’ve done my job.

I tend to like to make tools I use if possible. And that’s an attribute of most blacksmiths. Now I get I can’t really call myself a blacksmith or a bladesmith, but I’m certainly undertaking some of the activities of one. That’s what this is about. Learning. Never stop learning.

Most of use can’t just go out and buy a new shop when a mood strikes, so we learn to use what’s available. That was my approach when this started.

I had bought an anvil a few years ago from Tim Bailey. As usual, Tim gave me a good price, and since it was something I’ve wanted since build that first knife 50 years ago, it came home with me.

The first thing I did was built a stand from an old stump. You’ll note a blacksmith vise in the photo as well. That was a flea market find from a few years ago as well. At $35 I couldn’t leave it behind. You will want some kind of vise, but a leg vise like this isn’t a requirement. I tend to use my bench vise more, but if your beating hard on hot metal, the leg vise is constructed to take a little more punishment. For now, even a few clamps will probably do you.

Don’t think you’ll need either of these for your start. You really don’t need an anvil to make knives, but you will if you plan to forge knives. But even then, almost any heavy solid chunk of flat steel will work. A chunk of railroad track is an often used anvil replacement.

You can easily start your journey with stock removal. Stock removal is simply taking a piece of metal and cutting and grinding away to shape your piece. Many bladesmiths never forge, they make all of their knives with this method.

In this stage of my journey, I do both. Some of my knives are stock removal, and some are forged. My journey will include blacksmithing and bladesmithing, so both makes sense.

In line with using what I had, I started my stock removal using a belt sander. I made a stand for it. This worked and to be honest if I had taken the time to build some jigs, it would have worked much better.

Belt grinder in a DIY Stand

My next step to improve this was to build this 2″ x 72″ grinder. This of course made a huge difference, but it’s definitely not a requirement. Use what you have or what you have access to to start.

I made my fist knives out of found metal. An old file, or a piece of leaf spring. But the first really decent knife was from a brand new piece of 1080 high carbon steel. My recommendation is start with a few pieces of known steel.

One of my first Knives

Choosing Stock

I chose 1080 because after some extensive research I found that 1080 is a long standing standard for making knives. It makes exceptional knives, is somewhat forgiving in heat treatment, and of the good steels to work with, it’s one of the easier metals to work with and find. It’s also reasonably priced.

Heat treatment

Next I needed a way to heat treat my knife. I decided since I’d also like to forge, I needed a forge. Your basic choices are coal or propane. I currently have both. If you’d rather not have a forge at this point, you can either find someone to heat treat them for you, or send the blades to be done. Many bladesmiths offer this service.

My Propane forge build is here

Other forge links

I don’t use the coal forge much. I can’t find a local source for blacksmith coal, and the home heating coal at Tractor Supply is a pain to use in my opinion. It works, and I plan to continue to use it from time to time, but I find the propane much more convenient for what I am currently doing.

I chose to build my propane forge to save some budget. There are two things I’d change if I had to do it over. First, I would have just bought my burners from Zinger……… and I wouldn’t have put a second burner on. I almost never turn the second one on. It wasn’t necessary. By the time I bought all the little parts, the savings compared to just buying the burner didn’t make sense.

Please join in the bladesmith conversation on the forum

The Oldest American Blacksmith in 1901

The Oldest American Black smith. 

Reprint from “The American Blacksmith” 1901 

 In response to the request made by The American Blacksmith for the name of the oldest blacksmith in America, a large number of names of aged and very interesting smiths was received. The result was surely most astonishing, for in the brief space during which the offer remained open we have been sent the names of three smiths over ninety years of age, twenty two over eighty, and a baker’s fifty more than seventy years of age, all still working at the anvil. This showing is a most gratifying one, as it seems to say most unmistakably that the grand old craft in its individual members is hale, hearty and healthful as of old. Answers came from every part of the country, so that we believe we have obtained the name of the oldest smith in America. The honor of being America’s oldest blacksmith belongs therefore to Mr. Samuel Brock, of Falmouth, Grant County, Kentucky, ninety-four years of age, whose photograph is reproduced on this page for the benefit of our readers. The name was sent in by Mr. W. D. Lemmon, of Falmouth, Kentucky. The following taken from the Williamstown (Ky.), Courier is of interest :

“S. Brock has been putting on horse shoes for seventy-six years. He will be ninety-five years old on the 26th day of October next. He was born in Virginia, October 26th, 1807, and migrated to Kentucky, August 26th, 1840. Mr. Brock has been married three times, and has raised a family of sixteen children, eight of whom are dead. He is a Democrat in politics. His father died at the extreme old age of 113 years, and his mother died at almost as great an age, 106. Mr. Brock is a blacksmith by trade, and is yet able, as he says, to put a shoe on a mule. He lives seventeen miles from town and rides or drives to town alone.He is a conspicuous figure in Grant County history on account of his extreme old age.”


Mr. Joe Bragg Turner, of Warsaw, N. Y., and Mr. Hyatt of Lake Charles, Iowa, are each ninety-two years old, but not knowing the months of birth, we are unable to say which is older. In addition to

a few notes regarding these two smiths, we show a most interesting photograph of Joe Bragg, well bearing out the description of the old gentleman. Following the mention of these two smiths are given brief details of all we have heard from, who have journeyed along life’s pathway for more than three-quarters of a century.


 Joe (Bragg) Turner was born in 1810, being now ninety-two years of age. At an early age he was bound out to a blacksmith to learn the trade, which in those days meant a seven-years apprenticeship. His aptitude for the business made him a good workman, and for seventy years he has worked at his

trade, sixty-five of which have been in the county of Wyoming, and forty in the village of Warsaw. He is better known in this section as “Joe Bragg,” than by his legitimate cognomen, from the fact that he is always bragging of his work, and claims that he is the best steel worker in the county, if not in

Western New York. He is to-day as agile as a man of sixty, and per forms his daily duties regularly. He claims to be the oldest working blacksmith in the State, and up to this time his claim has not been disputed. The photograph is by Salisbury, and we are indebted to Richards and Sullivan of Warsaw, N. Y., for the details.


“Mr. Hyatt was in town Monday. He has resigned his position as black smith for the Industrial Lumber Company. Mr. Hyatt is ninety-two years old and his occupation, that of black smith, is an indication of his physical condition, says the Vinton Herald. He does not use glasses even to read, and

is certainly the strongest and brightest specimen of manhood nearing the century mark with whom the Vinton folks have ever come in contact.” 

Thomas Downs, Patesville, Ky., born June 16th, 1814, is almost eighty-eight years old. He still works at his trade and runs a grist mill two days each week. The mill is one and one-half miles from his residence. He has lived in the same place fifty-eight years, and is prominent in church matters. 

William Tubbs, 271 Washington Street, Norwich, Conn., aged eighty-five, was born in Lisbon, Conn., September 10th, 1816. He has been sixty nine years at the trade and is still working at the anvil. His specialty is iron work for large buildings, and a cushioned axle hand freight truck of his own patent. His name was received from E. A. Spaulding, one of the forty who learned their trade from him. 

W. H. Richards, Monongahela, Pa., eight-five years old, was born October 8th, 1816, and is still working at his trade and is very active for his age. Walter Stickney, Meriden, Conn., will be eighty-five years old on the 16th of November, 1902. He has worked at blacksmithing for years, and is actively working at the forge and anvil to this day.

John Staley was born at Millbrook, on May 10th, 1817. At the age of fifteen he went to Blairstown as an apprentice in the shop of Robert Bonnell, coming to Stillwater township six years later, in which township he still resides, and has worked at the anvil continuously ever since. He has never been sick, nor has he worn glasses at any time. His early life being spent where the log schoolhouse seemed tO be all that was required, and obliged to support himself at an early age, his education was therefore necessarily limited, in consequence of which the memory became more acute, and his work to be put on account was therefore stored in memory for days at a time, or until some kind friends would do the charging, and it was a rare thing when the smallest of items was forgotten.

Albert Avery, Hartwick, Otsego Co., N. Y., eighty-four years old, is still working at his trade of shoeing horses. He commenced at the age of nineteen and has always lived at Hartwick. 

Daniel Gorman, Lima, Ohio, eighty four years of age, was born in Ireland, coming to this country in 1859. He is always at his place in the blacksmith shop of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway Company, and has not lost thirty days time on account of ill health in the past ten years, all told. Mr. Gorman may not be the oldest man in the craft now in active service, but is getting along in years. 

Daniel Bid well, Cute, Tenn., born September 5th, 1818, is eighty-three years of age. He went through the Civil War, going to the front with his company, and doing blacksmithing in the army at times when there was no fighting going on.

John S. Edwards, Leeds, Greene County, N. Y., eighty-two years old, is still working in his shop and doing a good business. 

Nathan Moseley, Limestone, Tenn., born at Huntsville, Ala., May 7th, 1821, is eighty-two years old and still works at the anvil to this day. 

Frank Miller, Potosi, Mo., eighty one years old, works at the forge every day.

Stephen H. Abies, Esperence, N. Y., eighty years old, is working every day at his trade. 

L. D. Krum, Krums Corners, N. Y., is eighty years old and has run a shop at one place for fifty-three years. He started at the age of nineteen. Mr. Krum has in his shop a foot power trip hammer, which has always been quite a curiosity, and many a student of Cornell has stopped to see the old gentle man work with his feet, as well as with his hands. Now for fifty-seven years his hammer and anvil have rung out their work notes every morning, but his work with them will soon be over.

S. D. Bolander, Allentown, Ohio, is eighty years of age. Thomas Davey, 23rd and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia, Pa., is eighty years old and still working hard at the anvil.

G. W. M. Drake, Monticello, Minn., is eighty years old, and one of the best blacksmiths in the State of Minnesota.

H. W. Dodge, Stromness, Ontario, Canada, eighty years old, can shoe horses as well as he could Twenty years ago.

James E. Marcum, Troy, Kansas, is eighty years old. He works at his trade every day at most all kinds of work, and has ever since the first part of 1836. He was born April 10, 1822, and was in the mexican War, fifty-five years ago. Still an active smith.

John S. Baichtal, Sac City, Iowa, was born July 18th, 1822, and is seventy nine years old. Charles Johnson, West Point, Pa., seventy-nine years of age, is working at horseshoeing at the present time.

Robert McKell, Spanish Fork, Utah, seventy-nine years of age, still works at the blacksmith trade.

John Brocht, Mastersonville, Pa., seventy-eight years old, is still working at the forge.

William Crater, Glen Gardner, N. J., was born February 9th, 1824, is seventy eight years old.

James Kane of Oshkosh, Wis., seventy-eight years old, whose portrait is given above, is a blacksmith with a record of sixty-three years continuous service at the anvil. He was born in Inniskerry, Ireland, February 14th, 1824. At the age of fifteen he began work with the village smithy, serving seven years as an apprentice, and four as a journeyman. His work was horseshoeing and general blacksmithing. After eleven years in his native town, he removed to Boston, Mass., and then to Oshkosh in 1856. Here he established himself to remain, and for forty-six years has worked at his chosen trade. endowed with a strong constitution and temperate in his habits, his sterling integrity and native honesty has made him comfortably wealthy and won for him good friends. Still he continues to work at his anvil, and attributes his excellent health at the age of seventy to hard work and plenty of sleep. While his earlier working years were confined to horseshoeing, at which he is a master, and which still forms the greater part of his business, his work of late years has been somewhat diversified, and general repairing is carried on. Mr. Kane says to-day that he feels good for ten years more of active work.

William Higgins, Salisbury Mills, N. Y., seventy-eight years old, has worked in one place forty-five years. Isaac Schohe, Mastersonville, Pa., seventy-eight years of age, is still working at the forge. 

Lawrence M. Vanbuskirk, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, seventy-eight years old, still works at the forge in the shop where he has worked forty years. 

Adam Barboe, Burnt Prairie, 111., is seventy-seven years old. Stephen Miller, Wallbridge, Ontario, Canada, seventy-six years old, has worked at the trade for sixty years.

Melchior Smith, Reading, Pa., seventy-six years old, is employed by the Greth Machine Works in Reading.

W. W. Bryant, Petersburg, 111., was born on March 4th, 1827. 

Charles Waugh, Hillsdale, Ontario, Canada, is seventy-five years old. 

“My name is Tobias Zophee. I was born in City Spwander, Court DeGlaris, Switzerland, May 17th, 1827. Began my trade at thirteen years old, and struck for my father when I had to stand on a box to reach the anvil. I came to Courtland, Ala., in 1869. I worked at my trade for General Joseph Wheeler in 1870. I am five feet, six inches high, and weigh one hundred and forty-three pounds. l am seventy five years old, and have not a gray hair in my head. I am active, work at my trade every day, and* can do any work that any other blacksmith can. I am the father of fourteen children, am now a widower and in search of a handsome rich widow. If The Blacksmith would aid me in finding this one desire of my heart you would very greatLy oblige. Tobias Zophee.”

My Propane Forge Build

Here is my journey building my propane forge. I’m not looking at this as a coal forge replacement,  but an addition to my blacksmithing tool set.
This forge is a compilation of watching a whole bunch of YouTube videos, reading blogs and websites. You don’t typically find two the same, so it seems it’s best to pick a design and go with it. was especially helpful and I wound up ordering everything I couldn’t find local from there.
Here is a list of what I used:
A 7 gallon  air tank (an old tank that’s been around forever)
For the burners
(2) 3/4″ black iron pipe tee
(2) 3/4″ x 8″ black iron pipe
(2) 3/4″ to 1″ adapter (this is because I couldn’t find a 3/4″ x 1 1/4″ adapter)
(2) 1″ to 1 1/4″ adapter (flare)
(2) 1/4″ plug (drilled and tapped with 1/4″ x 28 for nozzle)
(2) .035 nozzle for mig welder.
(2) The ball valve came with the connection kit from Zoeller Forge
Here was what I bought from Zoeller Forge (for 2 burners)
(1) Two burner connection kit
(4) 9″ x 4 1/2″ x 3/4″  3000°F heavy duty fire bricks  (2 extra for when I use flux to forge weld)
(2) 2 1/2″ x 9″ x 4 1/2″  2600°F insulated firebricks
4 lbs Plistix 900F
(2 each) Propane Quick Disconnect and Coupler
(4 running feet) 1″  8# density 2300°F Durablanket 24″ wide
Building the burner.
This was pretty simple once I figured it out. I drilled a 1/2″ hole in the top of the tee. With just a little filling, the plug fit through the hole. Next time I think I will tap it for the plug.
I drilled and tapped the plug 1/4″ x 28 to accept the .035 nozzle. The plug fits through the hole and the ball valve threads on it to hole it in place nice and tight.
The propane connections added per Larry’s instructions.
Building the forge body
I cut the front of the tank off following the original weld line. This is just to facilitate the ability to work inside it. This cut was made with a 4 1/2″ grinder with a cut off wheel.
I used a 2″ hole saw to cut the holes for the burners.  You can obviously use a different technique  like drilling a series of holes around and knocking it out and grinding or filing it round.
The black pipe adapters were welded to the tank
I just made a few brackets to bolt the front back on.
I have seen a few designs where the door was hinged. The front opening on mine isn’t much smaller than the size of the box, so I didn’t see an advantage
I made the back opening the size of the insulated fire brick. This allows me to slide the brick in to reduce the box size and use a single burner.
The shelves on the front and back are just 1/8″ plate steel.
The front opening  is also the height of the firebrick, but wider. I can use the brick as a door to  close down the opening when appropriate.



Here is the back view. The firebrick is just closing the door. This allows me to slide the brick in to reduce the box size and use a single burner.


The firebrick can be slid to open or close the front opening


Here is the 3/4″ to 1″ adapter (this is because I couldn’t find a 3/4″ x 1 1/4″ adapter) then the 1″ to 1 1/4″ adapter to create the flare





A simple bracket to hold the front back on. The tank is threaded to accept the 1/4″ x 20 bolts cut to length.


I had trouble getting one burner to work correctly. It wound up being the nozzle was partially plugged. After figuring it out, I replaced the nozzle and everything was good.



The Backyard Coal forge build

This is my make shift back yard red neck coal burning forge. What a learning experience this has been.
This is an old wood stove that was in my shop. I used it to heat the shop for a couple years but it was was bit worn out. The fire box leaks and it’s warped bad. The doors no longer shut right and I replaced it with a better stove several years ago. It actually sat in my shop, thinking someday I’d make a forge out of it.
I gave it away 3 or 4 times but nobody ever came to pick it up. Finally i stripped the outer sheet metal shell and started to convert.
While in Tractor Supply I grabbed a bag of Nut coal. The smart thing to do would have been to do a little research first, but I was there and they had two choices, rice coal or nut coal. It seems i picked wrong.
My first attempt was to just light a fire on top. I’ve never burnt coal before so I just assumed it was similar to wood…….NOPE.

Coal Forge 01

This attempted failed and failed again. I think I used a half a tank of propane, then a half a tank of mapp gas trying to get it going.

Coal Forge 02

A bit of advice i picked up after the fact:You have to make sure you have the right kind of coal. You need bituminous and most coal sold at tractor supply is anthracite,( it too hard) it’s meant for heating homes, blacksmithing coal is softer and needs less oxygen, and for the best results if you can try and get the air to come up from underneath the fire.”


Doing a little research on the subject I thought this read was very helpful,

Coal Forge 03

My only goal for this fine Saturday morning was to turn this bolt into a coat hook. Seemed simple enough, right?

Coal Forge 04

I found this bolt on an early morning walk in the middle of a partly dirt, partly black top road. A quick session on the wire wheel and it looked a little better.

Coal Forge 05

Others say the rice coal Tractor Supply burns a little better. (I’ll let you know in future post)

Coal Forge 06

Many attempts to light this failed. Even scrapping the whole thing and starting wood fire first failed. After a quick google search I found that one of the complaint of Nut Coal is it’s very hard to get burning. I probably should have done that research first.

Coal Forge 07

Coal Forge 07

So scraping the idea of a small fire on top I turned to the inside. I started a bit bigger wood fire and added some coal.

Coal Forge 08

So now it seems to actually be working. The rigging I had for the air underneath didn’t do anything, so a new plan emerged.
This is a heat gun. I really didn’t dare borrow  my wife’s hair dryer and I assumed this would work. And it did for a while.

Coal Forge 09

Coal Forge 010

Coal Forge 011

But problems prevailed. I just couldn’t keep the fire going. I eventually gave up and grabbed the propane forge to finish the coat hook. Not a master piece, but once hung, it will hold a coat.

Coal Forge 012

Coal Forge 013

But tomorrow will prove to be a little better. Look for the next installment when I talk about making my first partially forged adze. I did manage to make this set up work (well sorta)
And thanks to my friends at Blacksmith for Beginners  I see this in my future.

Coal Forge 014

I’ve heard a rotor from a car and a mower deck works for this setup. Off to find some junk!!



The Coal Forge Remake From Lessons Learned

After my initial design and a few days of forging I decided it was time to make some major changes to the forge.

I’ve left images of several iterations I went through before landing on this final configuration. It was truly a learning experience. I put the forge on wheels so I can wheel it outdoors. My anvil is close to an overhead door, so the coal forge can be outside. When I’m done forging, I just shut the air down, separate the coal, let it cool for just a few minutes and wheel it inside.

I like it better than the propane forge that cost almost 10 times as much and took a bunch more work to build. The propane is noisier, and try making a dinner bell in it! All in all however, I’m glad I now have both. If I get the urge to forge in bad weather I can use propane.

My only supply of coal I can find local is Tractor Supply. They have Nut coal and Rice coal. I started with the Nut Coal. It was near impossible to get started and keep burning. I tried the Rice Coal and that was much better. In trying to just use up the bag of Nut Coal I found that mixing the two worked best. Both of these coals are anthracite coal. I hope to find Bituminous coal, which is softer and works much better (so I’ve heard).

Coal Forge 1

Coal Forge 2

My air flow is a broken vacuum cleaner. I removed all the unwanted parts from it and cobbed up an air hose. I do want to find a way to regulate the air flow.

The bottom of this forge is actually the top of the wood stove turned upside down. It just makes up the stand for the fire box section.

So here is a few things I’ve learned.

  • The sides should be just high enough to stop the coal from falling off. If its to high it makes it hard to get the piece in the hot spot. The lower the sides, the more convenient it will be. If a table top was big enough to not need and side, that would be awesome.
  • You don’t want the firebox to deep. I always wondered why some of the commercial made forges didn’t have a firebox at all. No firebox will work far better than a firebox to deep.
  • How big the forge is isn’t of great importance,  you typically only work about 6″ or so of heated metal at a time. Support outside the forge can be helpful to help hold longer pieces however.
  • Bituminous coal is blacksmith coal.
  • If you are going to put a coal forge inside, think of it like a hood over a cook stove, not a chimney on a wood stove.
  • I didn’t believe you could burn metal quicker in a coal forge than a propane forge. Believe it!

Coal Forge 4

I ordered some 2″ black pipe fitting to get the air from under the fire. Getting the air under the fire seems to be the best way to go.

Coal Forge 5

Here is all you need.

  • 2″ Black Cap
  • 2″ Black Floor Flange
  • 2″ x 2-1/2″ Black Nipple
  • 2″ x 4″ Black Nipple
  • 2″ x 5″ Black Nipple
  • 2″ Black Cast Iron Steam Tee

Think of how you will connect your air. You may want the side intake longer. I also reduced mine with a shop vac end.

I forgot to order the floor drain so I wound up making the screen section to keep the coal from falling down into the pipe.

Coal Forge 6

Here are some of the “Not so good” ideas……….

Coal Forge 7

To say this didn’t really work very well was a bit of an understatement. I still wanted to use this old wood stove, if for no other reason than pure stubbornness, but I also felt if modified correctly, it could work out well.

Coal Forge 6

Next was to find a rotor. The best way to go about a forge is to have a fire basket. And I soon learned bigger isn’t necessarily better. This truck rotor is actually a little to big based on most opinions I’ve heard, but not really by much. I believe it would have worked, but I found one a little shallower and I went with that one.

The larger deeper rotor would have burnt more coal to get the fire high enough to use.

Coal Forge 9

Here is the one I ended up using.

Coal Forge 10

I started the transition by cutting the opening in the front. This was more or less a design on the fly kind of project, which is typically what my projects are anyhow. It wasn’t a good design for a forge. A fireplace maybe, but not a forge.

Coal Forge 11

Coal Forge 12

Coal Forge 13

Coal Forge 15

Coal Forge 16

Coal Forge 16

Coal Forge 17

So lots of things wrong with this original design. But doing it all wrong taught me why what I ended with was right. Low sides, High fire hot spot, and lots of air.

And the first real projects from the finished product. Dinner Bells made from some 100 year old rod.

Hand Forged Dinner Bell