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Hello everybody,

I have been reading alot of peoples post and I am still lost. :( I am completely new to the craft of bladesmithing but I am very interested in learning everything there is to learn, I don't know what materials I need, I don't know how to do the kind of things that some of you know how to do. Which is better for making swords (medieval style) a gas forge or a coal/coke forge? I am not trying to sound stupid but I don't know what some tools are for,also I don't know which hammers and other tools I need to use for creating my swords. Don't get me wrong I have always wanted to make my own weapons because there is no one who makes what I want so I figured I would make my own. I know that there is a sea of knowledge on these forums and Iam asking for help in my quest. I have a 15 to 30 gal. barrel that I thought of using for a forge, is this a good idea? I really want to get started and with all of your help I can finally begin my process. Mr. Fogg thank you for providing a place where all of us can get help, advice and lend our support to others in this wonderful craft. So what all do I need to have to start being a bladesmith in training other than the obvious ( a forge, anvil, hammers etc.). Another question I have is what is quenching, what does it do?


I am looking forward to hearing for everyone and I would like to thank everybody in advance for all their help. :)



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Hey there!! Welcome to the forum!! :)


If you are wanting to learn the craft from the right people, than this is the place to do it!!!


and I am a perfect example of it!

The guys on this site has taught me so much!


I’m only 18, and me and my 2 friends started Bladesmithing in the winter of 2004.


We kept, did research, asked questions, LOTS of questions!!! (there are no stupid questions when it comes to bladesmithing!!..) We experimented, hunted at farm auctions for old blacksmithing equipment. And today after all of our work we finally are making swords and knives we only used to DREAM about years ago!


we even have a website for our bladesmithing that we sell our work on. Check it out! MADdwarfWorkshop.com


one of the best tips we learned was to "start small" you cant forge a damascus broadsword if you don’t know how to forge an S hook!... :)


So dont feel bad if your making small simple stuff. The big projects take time and patience.


but all in all we are still not "pros" or "experts" and never will be, because in my opinion, you can never stop learning in bladesmithing, and thus never get to a final level of understanding. you just got to keep striving to higher goals. :)



So keep at it, there are plenty of great resources here on the web for bladesmith’s, it’s just a matter of sitting down and looking hard for them. And you have already found one!!



Keep at it!! Hunt for tools at old farm sales, read the posts on this forum, search the web for bladesmithing sites, Read Tolkien!!!... and don’t give up! ;)




God Bless!


David D.

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Have you read this, it's a good place to start?


I suggest you post specific quetions, if you search of this forum did not provide the answer.


And welcome.



Edited by matkins101
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I am with david,...

dont try a sword for your first project, you will only get discouraged. try something in the same field, like a utility knife, something with one edge bevel.

you know what type of steel to use.

what i did for my bladesmithing hammer was simple. i went to a local hardware store and bought a 6 lbs. sledge hammer. I cut one of the faces off, to reduce the weight, and shift the center of gravity more forward. I then cut the handle to around 18". this is the hammer that i have been useing for about 3 years. my only complaint is that the face is too soft, so you cant strike the face of an anvil hardie tool without marring the hammer. I over came this by useing the other side of the hammer, the side i cut off. I have several anvils, but my favorite is just an 80 lbs chunk of mild steel that was given to me to start my journey into bladesmithing by a fellow blacksmith and friend. It works great for knife making, and with the addition of a large peice of rectangular stock that i salvaged (it has a perfectly flat face) it works well for my sword work.


said hammer and anvil


I would suggest craftsman files with their lifetime deal. just dont loose the sleeve they come in, and dont forge them into a knife. If you buy them at a Sears store, you can just bring them back when you dull them and swap them out. get a bastard mill file, and a cross cut, in the longest they have them, and get a set of thier needle files.

If you live in an urban environment, and you want to use coal, I hope you have understanding neighbors. I used a coal forge for about 3 years, and i live in Virginia Beach. my neighbors thought it was cool. I would suggest propane for ease of fuel replenishment, not everyone can just go out and buy themselves a ton of coal. it has alot to do with your location.

if you go propane, you might want to build some version of Mr. Foggs vertical style forge. there are other plans out on the net for different style forges, but his forge is the mmost well tailored to the perpose.

also, read the post in this forum about propane safety.

I would not suggest investing in belt grinder untill you are sure that you are hooked. A lot of people over look bench grinders. I have an 8" stone wheel, 1\4 hp bench grinder, and i use it to refine my knives profile after forging, and i set my base hollow grinds on my knives. its not the best, but it works, and it was cheap as grinders go.

If you get hooked and you want ot increase your productivity a little, i would suggest that you get the belt grinder that Grizzly makes. It is a 1 hp 72 x 2" grinder. i own one, and it does everything that i want it to do.

dont go out and buy a KMG unless you have a lot of "spare money"

careful file work, and hand sanding will get it done well. there are a lot of tuutorials out there where guys mention thier favorite tools for the specific areas of knifemaking. you should browse through and compare prices and ease of creation.

you will settle into your own groove after you get yourself established.

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David, Micheal and Mike,

Thanks for the warm welcomes. I am already hooked on the craft so there is no turnning back now. So from what I've read it is better, cost wise at least to use a gas forge. Thank you for all the useful info it will be a big help. No I do not know what the best kind of steel is other than it needs to be of high carbon content. So since I have that drum for my forge and I want it to be a horizontal one, what do I need to make it a forge, what kind of burner do I need etc. ? If you need to know the demensions of it let me know and I will get them. Again thank you for the advice I can't wait to get started.


swordsmith_in_training :)

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you can get everything you need from one of our fellow smiths. here is his website.




you can go to the main section of his page if you are going to order the insulating wool from him too.

this is not the only place to get the stuff needed, but if you are going to buy it from someone, why not a fellow craftsman?


i believe that he sells burner kits ready to be assembled, and he has a tutorial on making a horizantal forge on his website, look around at it, i think that is where i baised my first forge plans on.


now if you are a more do it yourselfer, you could go to a plumbing store and ask them to order you in all of the parts for the burners.

in my experiance, they dont stock ward reducing tees, and or they dont label them properly, and you get the inferior brand for the burner made by anvil.

you have to order your own stainless steel pipe nipples to make the burner flares out of (which you need a forge to set the flare angle)

you have to drill and tap the holes to hold the injectors (you probibly have to do this regardless of where you get them)

you have to find a place that sells propane regulators, and then you have to match all of the pipe fittings to make the connection.

and i dont think you save any money by finding it yourself (aside from shipping)


I just built 10 venturi burners, and in between home depot, and a local industial plumbing supplier i got everything that i needed. it is simple when you have done it before and you know what you need.


Mr. Zoellers website makes it pretty stupid proof.


and in regards to steel. A good choice for begginers is to go to your local do it all automotive shop and do a little bit of dumpster diving. Coil springs at least 1\2" in diameter will make a good knife. if you feel like reducing the stock of a leaf spring, that is also a good steel to start with. these guys will probibly give them to you for free or with a small charge.

junkyards are also a good place to look.

If you have any farms around and any one is trying to get rid of any sort of plowing equiptment, try to get it from them, this is a good steel to use also.

Lawn mover blade make a fair knife blade. I would not suggest buying new ones to make your knives out of, rather asking any lawn mowing companies what they do with thier old ones, and try to get them from them.

on your question about quenching,...

you should read around about heat treating knives. there is alot of good info on this forum about it.

it is what makes a knife a cutting tool, not just a peice of metal.

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Hey Mike,

Thank you for this information about our fellow craftsman, I will definitely go and look over his site and see about ordering my items that I need to get started. I just have one question about the burners; you said that zoller has burner kits that are ready to be assembled, do you need any special tools to do these burners and also does a gas forge have to use a venturi burner?

Ok I have one more ? for my barrel how much wool do I need and is ther anything else I need besides the burners,plumbing and the propane to create this forge? Please let me know.


swordsmith_in_training :unsure:

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you are going to need to take the outside diameter of your barrel, and divide by two (raduis) and multipy by pi (3.14) and that should tell you how much insulation you need for your width. then your length is how long your forge is.

i think he sells insulation in a two foot width, so just measure out your forges length to the nearest foot, and order that much of the two foot wide stuff.

you are going to need to drill a few holes, so you will need proper size drill bits. you are then going to need to tap one of these holes for a set screw, so you will need the proper size tap.

a venturi burner is just the name of the style of air injection. It means that your burner pulls its own air in with the propane jet. there are forced air burners, but i would not suggest it for your first propane burner. so no, you dont have to use a venturi, but i suggest it.


The forge could all be put together in a nut and bolt assembly, but if you can weld, I would suggest that you weld it all together. it would be stronger and faster to produce.

Edited by Mike Lambiase
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