How to Forge a Fork for Beginners 2021 [Updated]
Forging your own flatware does not have to be difficult! In this article, we will explore fork forging projects that are perfect for beginner and advanced beginner smiths.
The skills covered in these tutorials will be useful to you as you progress in your learning and include hammering, bending, cutting, grinding, drill, polishing, and refining.
There are a few styles of forks that are commonly forged, but this tutorial covers how to make traditional three/four tined forks with two handle options.
The first project is suitable for beginners with a knowledge of basic forging techniques and the operation of standard metalworking equipment. The finished project is a fork with a rebar handle.
The second project uses many of the same tools and techniques to create a fork with a foldable handle similar to butterfly style knifes. This optional also uses rebar but incorporates some more advanced beginner techniques to achieve the folded handle design.
What Tools are Needed to Make a Fork?
Each version of this fork project requires similar tools and equipment, most of which are common in backyard forges. If you have been working metal for a while, you likely already have most of these items.
For these projects, you will need:
- 1/2 inch rebar (any length that can be cut down to fork length)
- anvil or other heavy metal work surface
- angle grinder
- bench grinder
- wire wheel
- sandpaper and/or flap wheel sander
For folding fork (more advanced option) you will need all the above items plus:
Project 1) Forging a Fork (Beginner)
Heat the end of your 1/2 inch rebar in your forge and transfer to your work surface to begin hammering.
Hammer the heated end of rebar flat until it is approximately the width of your hammer face. Refine the shape of this flattened portion by hammering the sides flat and even. This will give the flattened end a uniform, squared off shape.
Hammer where the flattened portion of rebar (which will be the fork tongs) meets the handle. Hammer it until it curves back, then turn the piece and hammer another gentle curve just above the first curve. This will give a sloping shape to the tines.
Cut the rebar to the length of a fork, 6 inches from the base of the tines.
Draw where you would like your tines to be so that you have guidelines for step 6.
Using your angle grinder, cut tines into the flattened portion of the fork. Follow the lines you drew in the previous step and cut into the piece gradually to avoid going too far. Go over the tines as many times as you need to in order to achieve the desired result.
Using a bench grinder, grind down the ends of the tines until they are a uniform length.
Grind down the sides of the fork tines, and the front and back of the tines to clean up the shape and remove any sharp edges.
Grind the handle surface down and round out the end of the handle to make it smooth and shiny. Work back and forth as many times as you need and take your time.
Use your wire wheel to brush the entire fork. This will polish up the piece and remove any lingering imperfections.
Heat the fork once more in your forge until it is cherry red in color. Then carefully wipe on a layer of beeswax while the fork is still hot, let it cool, and buff the beeswax out to protect your finished piece.
Project 2) Forging a Folding Fork (Advanced)
Making the Handle
Using a band saw, split 1/2 inch rebar down the middle. The length you should cut is 10 inches.
Cut off the split portion from the main length of rebar. You will now have 3 pieces: 2 split pieces and an unworked piece.
Using your grinder, grind down the two split pieces of rebar until they are smooth and uniform in shape. These pieces will make the folded handle of your fork, so try your best to make them identical.
Heat the split pieces in your forge and transfer them to an anvil or other heavy metal work surface.
Fold each split piece in half by hammering it over a sheet of metal. This sheet will help stabilize the rebar as you hammer it and will allow for a gap between the folded pieces where the fork will fit.
Reheat the folded pieces and hammer again to refine the shape. The ends should more or less match and each side should line up nicely.
If the ends of the pieces are not perfect, cut off any uneven lengths with your saw.
Grind the ends to smooth out and refine the shape.
Decide where you want to place holes for steel pins that will hold the pieces of the folding fork together. These should be placed going through both sides of the folded rebar pieces. Use your drill press to create the holes.
Using a wire wheel, brush up the surface of both folded handle pieces and apply a coat of beeswax to finish this portion of the project.
Making the Fork
Heat the third, unworked piece of rebar in your forge and transfer to your anvil or work station.
Hammer the end of the rebar flat for the fork. The flattened piece should measure 4 inches. Hammer along the sides of the piece to give the fork a rectangular, uniform shape.
Using your band saw, cut the flattened portion off of the rest of the rebar. From now on, only the flattened piece will be used. Cut off any rounded edges if needed.
Nestle the flat fork piece between the handle pieces previously made and line up all pieces as desired.
Drill through the holes you previously made to make matching holes through the flat fork portion. This will ensure the holes line up for final assembly.
Additional holes and pins are needed to ensure the butterfly folding handle functions properly and remains secure. Drill two more holes through the flat fork piece only, in between the folding handle pieces.
With the piece in its folded position, grind down the sides of the flat fork piece until they line up with the folded handle. The entire piece should now be a uniform shape with the flat fork portion hidden neatly within the folded handle.
Unfold the fork from the handle and grind down the shape of the fork.
Using an angle grinder, cut tines into the end of the fork. Take your time and work slowly to gradually achieve the desired look.
Use sandpaper to remove any sharp bits from the tines.
Using a sanding wheel, clean up and buff the entire surface of the fork.
Assemble the pieces and place steel pins into each hole created in Steps 15 and 16. Tighten them by hammering them down with a ball peen hammer. Experiment with opening and closing the fork to ensure a secure join.