Making a New Forge - Part 1


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 38x100 cm and the top is level when it stands still.

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