Fun with a coal forge

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Fun with a coal forge

Postby Oklahoma Leatherman » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:32 am

Last Saturday it was cold and windy so Matthew and Joshua and I, me supervising, got out and lit the coal forge. I have challenged the boys to make a throwing tomahawk from a railroad spike. They both took me up on it, but Matt lost interest but did help Josh get his to completion. Much to my surprise the little hawk throws and sticks in a stump very nicely!

Image

Matthew did manage to start another knife while we had the coals going. Here is a snap shot of both of their creations. Hopefully I can get Matt away from his electronics long enough to finish a knife or two before Ojam. I told him he would be proud to show off his work there but he had to motivate himself to get out and finish one or two of them.

Image

Anyone else played with a forge recently?
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Greywolf » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:19 pm

That is cool !!! How much heat is required to do that?
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby TradRag » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:35 pm

Very cool! Would not want to be on receiving end of that.
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Oklahoma Leatherman » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:46 am

Thank you gentlemen. These spikes are stamped MC which I believe is mild steel so the heat in our little forge was probably around 900-1,100 degrees. I have played with some HC spikes before and even some old files so we can generate enough heat with that little coal forge to get the job done.

It is a blast. I have a good friend that is an accomplished blacksmith, and he says it is like a 4th grader playing with play-do except our medium is over a 1,000 degrees when we are reshaping it.
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Winter Hawk » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:15 pm

Is that a home made forge, or did you score an old commercial one? Electric blower or hand crank? I wouldn't mind seeing a photo of it.

In another lifetime I did some horseshoeing using commercial cold shoes, always wanted a real forge to make my own. It has been many years since I was under a horse and my back wouldn't take it anymore if I tried it now, but the urge to get a forge surfaces now and again. It would drive the neighbors nuts to hear me pounding on iron in the back yard!

Neat use of RR spikes. I walk the dogs along the tracks here locally and there are tons of spikes lying around. I bet you could make a pretty little patch knife from one!

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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:17 am

:applaud: Very good K.C., your a great dad to be teaching your boys such useful things :applaud:

Their creations are very, very cool, I never had thought about anything like this, so never would have thought one could do such cool things with a railroad spike. And to think I used "find" buckest of them every summer, wish I still had a bucket of them lying around.

Please show us some pictures of the forge, I have never seen one before, tell me more how it works, how much coal, tell me all the juciey details please.

Thanks and looking forward to hear more about this, your giving me ideas ;) and I dont think the wife is gonna like this :rolf:
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby zeek from coon creek » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:18 pm

I rode up to the Mennonite community about 30 miles north of here with a friend this morning. We stopped in at the blacksmith's shop and the smith was showing off a tomahawk he had forged from a railroad spike. The only real difference in his "professional" job and your's was that he punched an eye for the handle, but I don't think the handle would ever stay tight if you used the hawk because the eye was so "short". He had polished his head up and installed a beautiful handle of curly ash wood. I chatted with him for a bit and when I asked him about his forged knives he said that by far he sells the most of them to folks from outside the mennonite community. I find that interesting. We all know that you can go to Walmart or BassPro or about a millon other places and buy good servicable knives much cheaper than this guys hand forged creations. But those commercially made "cookie cutter" knives have no soul. I think that for me is the allure of traditional archery and muzzleloading and making my own stuff. It's all real. It all has "soul".
Zeek;

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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Oklahoma Leatherman » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:19 am

Well said Zeek! Thanks for the nice compliments everyone. I have always been interested in blacksmithing items every since I met a couple of members of the local Saltfork Blacksmith club. I have been a member from time to time, and probably need to re-up my membership. I find that when we have interest in things of the past, and we take action to learn more about the "lost art of...", then we will find like minded people that are happy to share or teach what they have been taught.

Again, like Zeek said, it is a way of passing it on to the next generation. The projects we make have soal; have a meaning and purpose. Sure we can buy a tomahawk for a small amount up to a large sum of money if we want, but why not make it ourselves or seek out a local craftsman and support him? If we do this it may cost us a little more money and certainly our time, but when we get what we are looking for then it makes it worth the "investment". Plus we have something to pass on to our children or to teach to the next person we meet that is fascinated by the "why" we would make our own.

This is one of the many reasons I am drawn to make my own traditional archery equipment. From bows to arrows to quivers, it's all good and it all has a purpose. It definitely has more "meaning" to me when I get to use or show off my arsenal and explain that it is hand made.

I'll try to get more pictures of my little coal forge posted latter today or latter this week. Funny story real quick about it. I went to an antique tractor show one summer because some of the local blacksmiths were there demonstrating. I wanted to visit with a few of them and see what items they had on the table for sale. One of my friends took me over to a mans vending booth and showed me what at first glance looked to be an old barbecue grill. This friend of mine knew what it was he was showing me, but it took me a minute to figure out there was a hand crank blower on this BBQ grill. And the hand crank blower worked! It just needed a little TLC, oil and using it to get it in good working order. The vendor gladly sold me the "old BBQ grill for $35.00 and I was the happiest man at this antique tractor show. That is until I realized weeks latter that my friend was as happy as I, or maybe even more, for passing on his love of blacksmithing to me and my family.

Not to wax philosophic with everyone, but isn't that why we all have a love of the traditional life style?
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby campcook » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:45 pm

KC next time you're going fire up the barbie give me a hollar cause I've got some steel that's been begging to become a hawk.
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Re: Fun with a coal forge

Postby Winter Hawk » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:00 am

Oklahoma Leatherman wrote:I'll try to get more pictures of my little coal forge posted latter today or latter this week.


Still waiting for photos... :lol: Hand cranked barbeque? I am most jealous!

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