I have searched through the Instructables and found a lot of things on Fire Pits and Fire Starters, but not much in the way of controlling those fires once you get them started. This project is great because it requires a minimum amount of materials, allows the maker to add their own touches to the finished project, only needs basic metal working tools, and needs only basic skills to complete.
Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together
The material you will need is:
4 pieces of 1/4" steel rod, each 20" long.
1 piece of 1/2" round or square rod, 28" to 32" long. (I made this for a fire pit. If you wish to make one for a fireplace or wood stove, you may want to make this piece shorter)
1 piece of 3/16" or 1/4" plate at least 1 3/4" by 3"
Step 2: The Handle (Let's Do the Cool Part First!)
The handle of this poker really gets a lot of attention. It is a project I learned from an old blacksmith and I am pleased to pass the knowledge along.
Step 3: Start the Handle
The first step is to weld the ends of all four ends together. You want to have them in a square pattern.
I used an OA torch, but a MIG weld would be fine, also
Step 4: Setup for Tying
Place rods, welded end down, into a vise.
How far down into the vise depends on how you wish to finish the end of the handle. If you want to bend the end into hook or do another artistic finish, you will want to mount it in the vise deeper. There are a couple of examples of the end finish later.
Step 5: Let's Start Tying
The first thing is to pick two rods that are diagonally opposite one another.
Take these two rods and heat them with a OA torch right at the vise and bend them 90 degrees in opposite directions.
Then take the torch to the other rods and bend them 90 degrees over the first two rods.
1. Heat rods right where you want them to bend.
2. Only add enough heat to start the bend. Take the torch away once they start bending and only add enough heat to complete the bend.
3. Keep the tying as tight as possible. It will look a lot better in the end.
Step 6: If You Get a Gap....
Use pliers and a little heat to help keep them tight.
Step 7: And Repeat....
Continue tying the handle until you are satisfied with the length of it.
If you controlled the amount of heat and kept the tying tight, you should have a nice handle.
Step 8: The Poker Shaft.
I made both a square shaft and a round shaft for this Instructable.
The square shaft got a good twisting.
To point the shaft, you can be done one of two ways:
1. You can use a grinder. or
2. You can use a rosebud tip and heat the end up and pound it to a point.
If you use a torch and pounding method, it is fairly easy.
Heat the end to red hot, hold the anvil at a low angle, and hammer the end as you rotate the shaft between blows. It goes fairly quickly.
Step 9: The Hook
On the small plate of steel, draw out a hook using soapstone. Mine was about 1 3/4" high and 2" in length.
I used a hand held plasma cutter to cut the shape out. You could also use a cutting torch or a grinder with a cutting wheel.
Once you have the rough shape, use a grinder to smooth the edges.
Step 10: Put It All Together
Weld the three parts together. Remember to tack weld and then check to made sure the parts are lined up together. If it looks good, finish the welds.
Step 11: Finsh It Up!
What to do with the extra metal on the handle.
1. Trim it off
2. Wrap it around the shaft.
3. Make a hook.
4. Split the ends and mount something around the rods. (Not shown)
5. Use a wire wheel to clean it up.
6. Now go use it to poke a fire.