DIY blacksmithing and knife-making
For a long time I was in search of
knives that fit my hands, my
use, and my budget. Frankly there wasn't much out there that
cost an arm and a leg, so I looked into how to make my own knives.
found a great video from Purgatory
Ironworks on youtube that
through how to make a Brake Drum Forge. By simply taking an old
drum & some metal piping you can create a working forge. I
around the local auto repair shops and was offered 3 drums in just 5
minutes, but selected the largest for ease of work. After
the simple black pipes to the bottom and attaching a hairdryer for air
supply I was off and running. On other youtube videos that Trent
Purgatory does, he also shows you how to make your own charcoal, a
great thing for a beginning blacksmith to know how to do.
to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the
RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.
So once I got my forge built and
my charcoal made, the next step was to make an anvil. I
visited our local scrapyard and bought not only a 24" piece of railroad
track, but a 1" thick 6x15" piece of plate steel and a 2" square tubing
piece to weld onto it. By welding the plate steel and the tubing
the track, I was able to get a smooth flat surface with a hole to be
used for driving holes through red hot metal.
With my charcoal
going, I simply turn my hair dryer on, get the fire and coals nice and
hot, and put my metal in to begin. The metals I usually use are
hand files that are now dull and have little value to most people, so
they can be obtained pretty cheap from a flea market or garage
also use alot of old railroad steel found near local tracks by my
parents. Most of the time it's railroad spikes but every so often
are other random pieces of steel. The railroad spikes are then
divided into 2 piles, the
regular spikes and the high carbon spikes (you can tell by the HC on
the head of the spike). The high carbons are used on tracks in
of stress or curves.
From the forge, the metal is
extremely hot and
usually an orange to red color. I then take my tongs and put the
on the anvil, then using my 3# Cross Peen or my 2# ball peen hammers, I
start to shape, draw out, and work the metal to my desired
does take many heatings and repeated sessions on the anvil, but in the
end the product is then quenched in used motor oil to cool
it. I then
clean all of the oil off the item, polish it to the smoothness I want
that item (higher polish for knife blades, less for tomahawks, tools,
and other items) and temper it in an oven for around an hour.
Once the metal is out of the
oven, it's usually set in a handle, I make a leather sheath,
and it's done. The only thing I'm actually paying for now
use my forge is the little electricity to run the dryer/blower, and if
you're worried about that you can use a hand bellows just like in the
1800s. I've made knives, tomahawks and hatchets, chisels,
flint strikers, and other items out of the scrap steel found along the
tracks or out of used files. The next goal is to forge weld some
cables into billets to make knives, and maybe even a sword out of.
Note: I asked David how much his startup costs were and he estimates it
cost him $20 to make the forge, $13 for tools he didn't already have,
and $38 to build the anvil; everything else was supplies he already had
on hand. I suspect the setup would have paid for itself nearly
immediately if he charged the friends who have put in orders for
specific items like a lightweight hatchet/tomahawk with a hammer head,
Japanese style blades, and filet knives for processing game.