List of Cool Things to Forge 2023 [Updated]
Are you stuck in a forging rut, finding yourself making the same items again and again? It can be easy to fall into mindless forging once you master the necessary skills, but if you want to get outside of your comfort zone, the following projects may be for you!
The projects are appropriate for beginner through advanced blacksmiths and require basic forging tools. As usual, feel free to customize these projects to match your skills and preferences or use the videos as a springboard for your own unique creations!
In the is article we found 10 unique project ideas from talented creators (be sure to check out their other videos!) that you can sell or give as gifts. In fact, they are so cool you may want to make an extra one for yourself!
What Tools are Needed for These Projects?
These projects range from beginner level to experienced, but nevertheless require similar tools and equipment. The following materials are required to make the projects discussed below:
- Forge or torch
- Anvil or other heavy metal work surface
- Hammers– standard and rawhide are helpful or a press
- Drifts in a range of sizes depending on project and personal preference
- Vise grips
- Files and sandpaper
- Circular saw, or other type of saw for any cutting
- Beeswax finish
- Swage block
- Wire brush
- Metal in the form of bars, railroad spikes, angle iron
10 Cool Things to Forge for Beginner Blacksmiths
1) Quillon Dagger
To begin making this dagger, heat a railroad spike in a forge or other heat source and press or hammer the spike to flatten the blade. Hammer flat and even on your anvil.
Chisel markings into the blade to determine where the guard of the handle will go. Chisel where you placed your initial markings and draw these pieces away from the blade to create a decorative guard. Place the handle of the dagger in a vise and continue to hammer the guard pieces until they are parallel with the vise. Hammer the guard flat and even.
Press or hammer the blade again on both sides and create a slight taper at the end of the blade. Hammer the blade again to shape and further flatten it and reheat as needed throughout this process.
Heat the handle of the dagger and place the blade side into the vise. Using vise grips, twist the handle several times in the vise to make a decorative twisted shape. Brush the piece as needed, grind the blade down and file the handle to complete the dagger.
2) Barn Door Handles
Begin with an iron bar and heat it with a torch or in a forge. Hammer one end of the bar flat, reheat, and begin curling the flattened end on the horn of your anvil. Reheat and continue to shape this scroll you have made. Quench.
Heat the other end of the bar and put a bend in the bar just above the very end. Cut off the excess with your preferred cutting tool so only the bent part of the bar remains. Repeat all of these steps again on another bar to make a matching handle.
Heat the middle of each handle and place them in a vise. Twist several times. Wrap a decorative strip of metal around each handle for decoration. Hammer two pieces of metal flat and attach the handles to the plates. Grind and finish as desired.
3) Cobra Bottle Opener
Heat a 12mm x 12mm x 150 mm iron bar in your forge. Shape the head of the cobra with your hammer as shown in the video. Hammer the eye position making small indents in the worked end of the bar. Quench.
Saw a mouth into the head of the cobra and use a chisel to open the mouth for working. Hammer the lower jaw down and lengthen it out. Close the mouth back up and punch in the eyes.
Shape the body of the cobra by hammering it round near the other end and tapering the tail to a sharp point. Round up the tail and hammer the head to define. Then, just below the head, forge the body flat to create the cobra’s hood. Reopen the mouth of the cobra and hammer it into a curve.
Place the hood of the snake on the horn of your anvil and begin working it around. Hammer the body of the snake into an “S” shape so it can stand on its own and bend the body as shown in the video. Scrub the snake to clean it up and apply a wax finish if desired.
4) Fire Basket/Brazier
This project is best suited for advanced smiths, and is made up of many pieces. Please watch the video carefully for full instructions. In total, you will be making: 21 pieces, 16 finials, 4 scrolls, 90 holes, and 45 rivets.
Flatten out each end of your metal bars and punch holes at even intervals as shown in the video. Drift each hole. Weld the bars together to make a circle for the basket shape of the finished piece.
Round off the ends of the remaining bars and flatten into decorative finials. Repeat for each bar. Curve these ends slightly and curve each bar. Create legs for the basket by scrolling the feet.
All of these pieces are then assembled using hand crafted rivets.
5) Candle Holder
Heat the end of a 3/8 inch square bar, flare the ends, and curl them in. Repeat three more times for 4 legs of the candle holder.
Clamp the legs together and weld. Bend the upper part of these bars down to create the arms of the holder. This is discussed in detail in the video. Tack a round bar in between the square bars for support and twist in a vise. Remove the round bar, heat the ends of the top bars and bend them for a decorative effect.
Taking different sizes of washers, grind them and stack them to create the base on which the candles will sit. Weld the washers together and weld them to the arms of the holder.
Attach decorative bands to the body of the candle holder to hide any weld marks. Sand the piece as desired and coat with linseed oil or beeswax to finish.
6) Creature Figurine
Heat the end of a metal bar and hammer as shown in the tutorial. The shapes you are making are organic and easier to understand by watching the video.
Taper the other end of the bar into a point and round it out. File down the tapered end and continue hammering the entire piece to shape the creature. Chisel decorative designs onto the creature like the video shows, or use your imagination to make your own designs.
Curl the tapered end of the creature to make its tail. Brush down the entire piece and apply beeswax or another finishing product of your choice to complete this project.
7) Banana Hanger
Using a circular saw, split half of a steel bar. Taper the other end of the piece. Punch a hole in the bar above where you made the slit and drift it wide using several sizes of drifts. This is explained well in the video, so follow along with his instruction.
Hammer the hole to even out its shape and continue the drifting process as needed. Once this is completed, open the split to create the legs of the banana hanger. Hammer them outwards and taper them up as shown. Create a scroll at the end of each leg and gradually curl them in towards the body of the hanger.
Hammer the scrolls to lay flat until the entire piece can stand on its own. Brush as needed to clean it up. Then, hammer the tapered end to begin bending it. Do this until the tapered end is able to pass through the hole created earlier.
Bend the very end of the taper around the anvil horn to create the portion that the bananas will hang from.
8) Saw Blade Bowl
Anneal the saw blade to start. Then heat and place in your swage block. Begin to hammer and reheat as needed throughout the process. The saw blade cools quickly, so expect to reheat often.
Hammer using a rawhide mallet to prevent hammer marks and continue to hammer until the blade is the concave shape of a bowl. Clean and apply finishing product as desired.
9) Wizard Face
Hammer or press one end of a metal bar into a taper. This video incorporates both heavy equipment and hand tools, but hand tools alone can work just as well. Shape the wizard’s nose into a rounded, bulbous shape. Use a punch of your choice to create eye sockets.
Place the bar in a vise and work on the details of the wizard’s face. Chisel out nostrils and eyebrows. Reheat the entire head and chisel the wizard’s beard and hat details. Curve the point of the hat as desired and brush the piece to clean.
10) Cat Figurine
Begin by making a custom stamp for the cat’s eyes. Cut a piece off of a metal coil or use any scrap metal you have on hand. Hammer this piece straight and taper one end. Saw off the very end of the taper and punch a divot in the end. Grind down the sides of the stamp into an almond shape of a cat’s eye.
Split the end of a piece of angle iron and draw it away from the main portion of the piece. Shape it with a hammer to lengthen and taper it. Begin hammering an “S” shaped curve in this tapered bit to make the cat’s tail.
Using your custom stamp, place the cat’s eyes near the top of the angle iron. Heat the piece and chisel out a nose, paws, and whiskers as shown in the video.
Place the piece in a vise and grind or saw out the shape of the cat’s head and ears. File down the piece as needed to finish.
1 thought on “10 Really Cool Things to Forge 2023 [Updated]”
Great ideas, and explanation. I will try soon.