First I will show you the long-ish ground forge, what i used, how I put it together and lit it, then how I made the sword blade (note not full tang) and handle ect.
Step 1: Materials
!!Important lots of heat and fumes given off so out side is a must for this type of forge, when the worked mettle is taken out it will be red-white hot, you will feel the heat from a distance so don’t let it get any where near your or any ones skin or body or it will hurt, a lot!!
The materials needed for constructing a non-permanent forge depends on the size and shape, this forge was made for the job of forging the blade of my sword, so I will list the materials as if u was replicating this exactly (or kind of).
•Building bricks with 2-3 holes, x8
•Solid building bricks (sand stone bricks not as good due to the heat) aprox x40
•Roofing tiles x5
•Breeze block x1
•Slabs x2-3 (depending on size of slabs)
•Hair dryer x2 (similar powers)
•Soft clay about 1kg
Sword (if making)
•Steel to work, suggest part of a small car leaf spring because of the high carbon factor and easy to work size another easy option is a car coil spring cut up. But for testing any steel can be used, a good thing to play with is reinforcing rods as you can make tongs for later use with the forge
•Length of reinforcing rod or other steel rod, 1.5-2 cm diameter and about 23 cm long.
•Steel plate about 4cm x8cm for hand guard, can use a section of leaf spring as I did.
•Wood for handle, 26cm x20cm and 1.5cm in thickness, suggest a hard wood because it makes turning a smooth finish easier.
•Bolt aprox 2.5-4cm brass or steel depending on preference.
•Washer, fancy as it will be on the hilt or but plane is fine.
•Making the forge
•Working the forge
oBucket of water incase something happens (note tern off power to the hear dryers first, sounds silly but funny things happen when you panic).
oWater but for quenching, if you need to make hard brittle items.
oHeat proof gloves that reach up the arm.
oTongs, I found mole grips very useful but longer reach tongs may be found safer for retrieving smaller items from the forge.
oA solid lump of flat cast steel or iron. I used the back part pf a vice sat on a wall, this is far from ideal (just look at picture..).
oSelection of hammers with different heads and weights, tack up to club.
•Bench vice, on a bench this time.
•Lathe for turning handle, not a must but quicker than trying to plan it.
•Angel grinder for first sharpening and fine tuning.
•Bench water-stone, not a must but gives a better edge.
•Drill with sander attachment and a buffer attachment.
•Tap and die set.
Step 2: The Forge - Layout, Construction and Lighting
1. First thing, find a good spot to set the forge up, not under any thing, where it wont have to be moved, but still shielded from any winds.
2. Place the slabs on the floor adjacent to each other with the breeze block at one end to act as the back.
3. This next part is the hardest to describe it’s the making of the air ways, the object is to have even amounts of air flowing into the forge all the way along its length on both sides. Lay the solid bricks along the edge of the slabs on there sides from the back to the front on both sides of the slabs with a gap for the air in let in the middle.
4. Now place the building bricks also on there sides with the holes in them approximately 8cm away from the other bricks laying them from the back to the front.
5. To cap of the air way use the solid bricks laid so they overhang on top of the other bricks.
6. Lay another course of bricks on the inner wall to make it higher, some chopping of bricks will be required to make them fit. Studding the pictures will help but in the drawn one I have it with 5 rows of bricks when it should have 4 but this make no difference the principles are the same. It is beneficial to have a lip at the front of the forge to stop the coke from falling out.
7. The outlet holes that are most near the air in let need to be closed up slightly, using the clay make a rim around the holes halving the diameter and feathering off as it gets further away from the air inlet.
8. Rolling the clay into strips seal the bricks with the clay so that little air can escape. Do not attach the hair dryers yet.
9. Have the tiles near by as they will act as semi lid to keep the heat in once the forge is going. Set out the tools you will be using, the bucket of water, the water but, the mettle you will be working on and the thing that you have chosen to work the mettle on all out so that it is in easy reach.
10. The best way that I found to light the coke is to put the coke in that you need (up to the first two layers of bricks), then to burry some soft and hard wood in the coke then build up a layer of wood on top of the coke so that it is higher than the top brick. To light use lighting fluid or diesel, do not use petrol or methonal as they are far to combustible and will go out before heating up the wood so it burns properly.
11. Doing this should make a fire on top of the coke and once the fire has died down, heated up the forge and the coke underneath, attach the hair dryers and seal with some clay once attached play with the settings until you get the right heat. Don’t have them on full if it isn’t in use for a bit because it will burn up the coke and having them on full power may make the forge to hot as it can reach temperatures that will destroy the bricks and the mettle you are working on!
Step 3: Forging a Blade and Making Good
Take the (suggest hi carbon as lots will be lost in the heating) steel cut it into a workable size, but have the mass so that when it is drawn out it will be approximately 50 cm long.
Using tongs place the steel into the forge, put the tiles over the top still leaving gaps. If you have never done anything like this before you may now see in a new light why smithy’s are depicted with arms like cow legs, it takes some time and effort to draw out that steel and shape it. When it is heated red-white hot it can be shaped, drawn out and cut with a chisel and hammer.
Once the desired shape is accomplished with a semi edge to it quickly quench it in the water but and then take out the blade so not to much heat is lost, let it slowly cool down, this will hopefully give some hardness and flexibility to the blade.
The easiest way to fix a hand guard is to cut a rebate up the blade slightly and make a slot in the guard. No easy task with leaf spring steel so plate steel may be a better option, just drill holes along where the slot wants to be and grind and file a-way until it fits the rebate on the sword. Cut a section on the bottom so that it can be rounded and threaded. It is hard to explain hopefully the picture shows what I mean. Drill a hole in both ends of the steel rod and thread them one to fit the sword and one to fit the bolt. It can be easer to weld the guard and rod to the sword but I prefer threading it so that I can disassemble it.
In a vice use the angel grinder to put an edge on the blade, and then refine on a bench grinder or water stone.
Clamp the blade in a wood clad vice so that it won’t bite the blade and with the drill sander bit take off the rusty looking surface, to reduce the time polishing use a finer sanding bit, once sanded polish with the drill polishing bit and abrasive wax.
Step 4: The Handel
A easy way of making a round griped handle is to use four layers of wood, cut the plank into four strips grain long ways chisel a semi circle on one side of two strips of wood so that when put together it will slip up the handle. Nearing the top it will have to be chiseled out to incorporate the bottom of the blade. Once done glue together the two strips with the other two and clamp them together.
Once dry put the handle on sword and cut off the bottom overhand keeping 0.5-1cm so when the bolt and washer is put on and done up it will hold the handle on hard. You can ether carve, plane or turn the handle in to the wanted shape. I used French polish on the handle to finish it but it is up to you. If you do decide to do this or something like this it’s nice to engrave the date and your name.
Step 5: Finished!
I hope this has been of some interest as it was to me! I know there will be a whole bunch of spelling mistakes and that there are perhaps better ways of doing some of the things I have mentioned but this is what I done and enjoyed it!