Recommend a forge and forging hammer(s)

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I've been using a home made coffee can forge for some time now. For what it is, it's done remarkably well. But obviously it has it's limits. I have all the parts to make a two burner forge, but it's been languishing for several reasons. Mostly because my welder isn't up to finishing the job.

So...I've been looking very seriously at the Atlas Knife Forge. It certainly is an excellent forge. Which would work great, except at some point I would like to try making some items that wouldn't fit in the Atlas; such as a Kukri.

So my conundrum is whether to get the Atlas forge until I can put my two burner together? Or, go ahead and get something bigger such as the Firestorm forge that Atlas makes, and forget about my languishing two burner forge?

I'm on a tight budget, so cost is a big driver. I'd like to keep everything under $400 if at all possible.

As far as hammers go, I've been looking at the one's on Blacksmith's Depot and I have no idea what type to get. Weight wise, I think 2 - 2.5 would work best for me. My current hammer is a piece of junk and too heavy.

Any input or help appreciated.
Thanks
 
Last edited:

Wayne Coe

Forum Owner - Moderator
Check out the Build a Gas Forge and the Ribbon Burner attachments on the Forge Supplies page at
www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.
Let me know if I can help you.
About $100.00 plus the hose, regulator and burner using a 20# Propane tank.
Unless you are going to build a Ribbon Burner you can adapt these plans using nuts and bolts and adapting your burner holder.
You can build your forge cheaper and better than buying a pre built forge.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I've been using a home made coffee can forge for some time now. For what it is, it's done remarkably well. But obviously it has it's limits. I have all the parts to make a two burner forge, but it's been languishing for several reasons. Mostly because my welder isn't up to finishing the job.

So...I've been looking very seriously at the Atlas Knife Forge. It certainly is an excellent forge. Which would work great, except at some point I would like to try making some items that wouldn't fit in the Atlas; such as a Kukri.

So my conundrum is whether to get the Atlas forge until I can put my two burner together? Or, go ahead and get something bigger such as the Firestorm forge that Atlas makes, and forget about my languishing two burner forge?

I'm on a tight budget, so cost is a big driver. I'd like to keep everything under $400 if at all possible.

As far as hammers go, I've been looking at the one's on Blacksmith's Depot and I have no idea what type to get. Weight wise, I think 2 - 2.5 would work best for me. My current hammer is a piece of junk and too heavy.

Any input or help appreciated.
Thanks

I can't help you much with the forge but you can get hammers cheap at a big box store or even cheaper at yard sales. If you have a decent belt grinder or even an angle grinder you can cut/grind/shape and reduce weight in any manner you want. I've modified several hammers this way to get a variety of weights and shapes.

You can do a lot of blade smithing with nothing more than a cheap cross peen hammer. Maybe tweak and dress/polish the faces.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
You folks know how pointed my views on forges are. :) It sounds as if you are intent on buying..... so with that in mind, I will says this....

-Buy a SINGLE burner forge, one that is large enough to do whatever you need/want to do, and avoid multiple burners. (if you need more info, just let me know)
-A single burner will only work well in a circular/round design.... so to that end a round forge.
-Make sure the burner is set up correctly...as in at a tangent, that forces the flame to follow the interior contour of the forge.

Unless they have changed, I never understood why Chile forge does what they do.... a round body, then set up the burner so that it is directed at whatever work piece is place into the forge. If you buy the Atlas Firestorm, your in the same place too... a nice forge body, with messed up burner placement.:confused:

Now, all that being said, IF this forge is a temporary thing, until you build a better/larger, and IF you are going to follow through on the build, I'd say go with whatever YOU like, that will get you buy. If the purchased forge is going to be a "long term use" thing, I just don't know where to direct you..... the Atlas, while not what I consider ideal, comes as close as I know of on the commercial market.... it's just too small. Chile has the sizing correct, but IMO one of their forges would require extensive burner placement modification. So.... if comes down to the lesser of evils in buying a forge.

I wish it were different, but that's the reason I always advocate building your own if at all possible... because there just isn't anything out there that I believe is worth buying in terms of a full sized, long term use forge.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
Just my opinion. As far as hammers go, buy a two pound engineers hammer form harbor freight. Put a decent handle on it if you wish and do your best to grind the face of the hammer resemble a squished ball rounded shape and you will be in business. This is called dressing the hammer face and it is the main difference in a hammer purchased from a blacksmith for forging and an off the shelf hammer. As far as a forge goes after reading Ed's good advice above I have an addition. If your purchased forge is going to be temporary, until you build a round forge then I would say do not buy a round forge. Buy something different so that when you build your round forge you will have an option that is completely different for an odd job perhaps like a kukri. I have two forges, one is a two burner Artisan's Deluxe forge from Majestic Forge. It is a square forge with the burner pointed down and it does my larger projects that will not fit in round forge. I like the square forge because I have many options on how to place my workpiece in the forge and it will hold much larger and awkwardly shaped pieces than my round forge. My round forge is a Matthewson single burner round forge. It is built like a tank and insulated very well. It does all of my forge welding, knifemaking and any other smaller project I can fit inside. It is my go to forge and does everything except for what will not fit inside. Remember I do general blacksmithing works as well so I need the option to do larger work and it has saved me from time to time on blades too. I will also neither confirm or deny that I have placed the forges front to back (in a safe manner) to build the occasional sword.

If you are going to buy the forge and it will be your only forge and you are going to mostly make blades and you want it in the $400 range then the Matthewson is your best bet (maybe only bet) in that realm. It does have the burner issue Ed mentioned above but There is enough room to get your piece out of the line of fire so to speak in most cases. Again just my opinion.
 

AkWildman

Well-Known Member
I own one of the small Atlas knife forges and it's a awesome little portable forge,it gets up to temp fast and I use it for small stuff, I have 3 forges ,a large ribbon burner a coal forge and the Atlas. My favorite is the ribbon burner but as I said the Atlas is great for small stuff and is portable. If you want to weld in it it definitely will get hot enough but the interior is just Fire brick and flux will eat it out like pouring hot water in a ice cube.As far as hammers go I have a bunch but probably use my 2.5 pound french hammer the most,get a few different hammers and dress them properly and use them and you will soon find a favorite. The most important thing about hammers is learn how to properly hold it and strike with it or you will find out very fast that your elbow is not indestructible !
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
You folks know how pointed my views on forges are. :) It sounds as if you are intent on buying..... so with that in mind, I will says this....

-Buy a SINGLE burner forge, one that is large enough to do whatever you need/want to do, and avoid multiple burners. (if you need more info, just let me know)
-A single burner will only work well in a circular/round design.... so to that end a round forge.
-Make sure the burner is set up correctly...as in at a tangent, that forces the flame to follow the interior contour of the forge.

Unless they have changed, I never understood why Chile forge does what they do.... a round body, then set up the burner so that it is directed at whatever work piece is place into the forge. If you buy the Atlas Firestorm, your in the same place too... a nice forge body, with messed up burner placement.:confused:

Now, all that being said, IF this forge is a temporary thing, until you build a better/larger, and IF you are going to follow through on the build, I'd say go with whatever YOU like, that will get you buy. If the purchased forge is going to be a "long term use" thing, I just don't know where to direct you..... the Atlas, while not what I consider ideal, comes as close as I know of on the commercial market.... it's just too small. Chile has the sizing correct, but IMO one of their forges would require extensive burner placement modification. So.... if comes down to the lesser of evils in buying a forge.

I wish it were different, but that's the reason I always advocate building your own if at all possible... because there just isn't anything out there that I believe is worth buying in terms of a full sized, long term use forge.
Thanks Ed

This really gives me something to think and mull over. I prefer something that I won't have to mess with for a while, so I'll do some thinking about this. And you mentioning the Atlas forge as being too small. I agree with that. If it was just a bit bigger I'd be all over it.

Time for some thinkum dinkum
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I can't help you much with the forge but you can get hammers cheap at a big box store or even cheaper at yard sales. If you have a decent belt grinder or even an angle grinder you can cut/grind/shape and reduce weight in any manner you want. I've modified several hammers this way to get a variety of weights and shapes.

You can do a lot of blade smithing with nothing more than a cheap cross peen hammer. Maybe tweak and dress/polish the faces.
Thanks John. I never even considered that. I have a four pound and a three pound and they are simply too heavy. The four pound is used mostly for pounding something hard when I don't know what else to do with it. I should name it the mangler.

I need to go by Lowes today. I'll see what they have.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
Just my opinion. As far as hammers go, buy a two pound engineers hammer form harbor freight. Put a decent handle on it if you wish and do your best to grind the face of the hammer resemble a squished ball rounded shape and you will be in business. This is called dressing the hammer face and it is the main difference in a hammer purchased from a blacksmith for forging and an off the shelf hammer. As far as a forge goes after reading Ed's good advice above I have an addition. If your purchased forge is going to be temporary, until you build a round forge then I would say do not buy a round forge. Buy something different so that when you build your round forge you will have an option that is completely different for an odd job perhaps like a kukri. I have two forges, one is a two burner Artisan's Deluxe forge from Majestic Forge. It is a square forge with the burner pointed down and it does my larger projects that will not fit in round forge. I like the square forge because I have many options on how to place my workpiece in the forge and it will hold much larger and awkwardly shaped pieces than my round forge. My round forge is a Matthewson single burner round forge. It is built like a tank and insulated very well. It does all of my forge welding, knifemaking and any other smaller project I can fit inside. It is my go to forge and does everything except for what will not fit inside. Remember I do general blacksmithing works as well so I need the option to do larger work and it has saved me from time to time on blades too. I will also neither confirm or deny that I have placed the forges front to back (in a safe manner) to build the occasional sword.

If you are going to buy the forge and it will be your only forge and you are going to mostly make blades and you want it in the $400 range then the Matthewson is your best bet (maybe only bet) in that realm. It does have the burner issue Ed mentioned above but There is enough room to get your piece out of the line of fire so to speak in most cases. Again just my opinion.
I saw the Matthewson forge and I've given it some thought.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I own one of the small Atlas knife forges and it's a awesome little portable forge,it gets up to temp fast and I use it for small stuff, I have 3 forges ,a large ribbon burner a coal forge and the Atlas. My favorite is the ribbon burner but as I said the Atlas is great for small stuff and is portable. If you want to weld in it it definitely will get hot enough but the interior is just Fire brick and flux will eat it out like pouring hot water in a ice cube.As far as hammers go I have a bunch but probably use my 2.5 pound french hammer the most,get a few different hammers and dress them properly and use them and you will soon find a favorite. The most important thing about hammers is learn how to properly hold it and strike with it or you will find out very fast that your elbow is not indestructible !
Thanks for the tip on the hammers. I took a beginning forging class about three years ago and the instructor was quite helpful on how to hold and use the hammer.

I like the french hammer I saw on Blacksmiths Depot.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
The first couple of forges I had used venturi burners and they worked good. no problems at all. Then I built a blower - what a difference. Next was the forge body and burner placement - even bigger difference.

Go to your local propane dealer who most likely will have a few old propane tanks that have been condemned. A 30 lb tank is the perfect size. Buy yourself a $150 to $200 meg welder and watch a few youtube videos on learning to weld, spend a couple hours practicing, then do all the welding you need to build your own forge.

Weld the burner tube in the front 1/3, angled toward the rear and at an angle. Ed has the exact specs posted somewhere. With this setup a 12" billet laying on forge floor will be an even orange/reddish color from end to end with no hot spots. While the square forge with burner pointing straight down will work, you have to keep moving the billet for even heat.

I purchased my first forge because I didn't think I could build a forge - a forge is easier to make than a nice knife.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
The first couple of forges I had used venturi burners and they worked good. no problems at all. Then I built a blower - what a difference. Next was the forge body and burner placement - even bigger difference.

Go to your local propane dealer who most likely will have a few old propane tanks that have been condemned. A 30 lb tank is the perfect size. Buy yourself a $150 to $200 meg welder and watch a few youtube videos on learning to weld, spend a couple hours practicing, then do all the welding you need to build your own forge.

Weld the burner tube in the front 1/3, angled toward the rear and at an angle. Ed has the exact specs posted somewhere. With this setup a 12" billet laying on forge floor will be an even orange/reddish color from end to end with no hot spots. While the square forge with burner pointing straight down will work, you have to keep moving the billet for even heat.

I purchased my first forge because I didn't think I could build a forge - a forge is easier to make than a nice knife.
Thanks Ken. Like I mentioned my current welder simply doesn't work very well. I bought it used for $30 At first I thought it was me, and it partially was. But it's simply not up to doing anything other than welding bubble gun wrappers. Or so it seems. I hate struggling with bad equipment. And being the cheap bastard that I am, I do that far more than I should.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I bought 2 Brent Bailey hammers and really like them alot. I have traditional Engineers Hammer, Rounding and a slew of Ball pien. I always find myself reaching for the smaller Bailey I have. I like the bigger one but I need to make the handle fit me better.
 
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