Making a New Forge – Part 1

This is one of those posts that will be duplicated on my Knife Blogge as well as here. FtBers will enjoy this post a day earlier. Or not enjoy, your tastes may differ.

Whenever I need to make a bigger blade, like a machete, I must do it in a charcoal fire. That has some advantages, but some disadvantages too. The main disadvantage is that hot coals can fly out of the fire, which is not ideal safety-wise. The second disadvantage is that I have to prepare it impromptu each time, which costs a lot of time. The third disadvantage is that as the coals burn and get smaller, it becomes more difficult to heat the blade properly and evenly. That is why I have decided to try and make a bigger gas forge, hopefully one that allows me to heat-treat spring steel blades up to 70-80 cm.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Starting materials came from an old mason’s wheelbarrow on which a handle broke off due to old age and overloading with gravel. I cut off the second handle and unscrewed the tub from the base. I used both these parts for the new forge.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I have decided to use the wheelbarrow base to make a mobile one for my forge. And because the original tub was not of the proper size and shape for my intentions, I bought a tinplate sheet and made a new tub.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

After I had drawn the outline and the folding lines on the sheet, I cut the outline and formed all folds with two cross-peen hammers – I put the thin side of one hammer on the fold line and used the other hammer to hit it along the whole length.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

First I pre-folded all lines this way, and then I repeated the process along all lines as long as needed for all folds to get into the final position.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Once everything was folded, I fixed the shape with rivets – it does not need to be waterproof, so no soldering was necessary – and I screwed it on the wheelbarrow base.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

In the end, I supported the back side of the tub with two crossed flat steel profiles and I used angle irons to strengthen the edges and provide some handles for manipulation. Thus I have de-facto made a new wheelbarrow, where the tub has a rectangular top ca 38×100 cm and the top is level when it stands still.

About why I have made a new inferior (from masonry POV) wheelbarrow next time.


  1. Jazzlet says

    I like it so far!

    But I am rather fond of wheelbarrows, I seem to think I may have been stopped from playing with one as a child, as the immense satisfaction I have got out of buying my very own wheelbarrows (just two over many years) has been quite out of proportion to the actual utility of the barrows useful as they are.

  2. SchreiberBike says

    I always find these interesting, but seldom take the time to go over to Knife Blogge to see what you are up to. Thanks for posting here too.

  3. Artor says

    Those are some nicely formed corners, for working without a press brake. I am impressed, and inspired to do more metalworking myself, since I didn’t realize folds could be done so cleanly without a shop full of tools.

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