Viking Style Throwing Axe From an Old Woodman’s Axe

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Viking Style Throwing Axe From an Old Woodman’s Axe This article has a little bit of metal working and a little bit of wood working involved. It is the supreme repurposing of a tool in to a new and more impressive tool or weapon. I love the idea of being able to take old tools …

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How To Make A Backyard ‘Survival Forge’ … From A Brake Drum

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How To Make A Backyard ‘Survival Forge’ … From A Brake Drum

Image source: Pixabay.com

So many backyard blacksmithing projects, so little time…

And then there’s the whole thing about not actually owning a forge, which also might throw a wrench into things. Yet when things get pricey, that’s when you can look to the trusty DIY-method of doing things. In this case, the solution is actually a strangely simple one: the time-tested brake drum forge.

Really? This actually works? Short answer: Yes, and it works like a charm (at least in my own personal experience).

The concept of the forge itself is rather straightforward. All you need is a bowl, made of some pretty beefy steel, and a method of feeding it oxygen. Then add charcoal, light ‘er up, and whamo … it’s hammer time. Because it’s made out of things we already may have, let’s call it a “survival forge.”

But before we begin, there is something EXTREMELY crucial to keep in mind.

It’s called “metal fume fever,” which is basically what happens when you inhale a bunch of vaporized zinc oxide, which builds up in your lungs. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself feeling nauseous, coughing and wheezing, then likely passing out (among other things), and if enough zinc oxide was inhaled, dying.

When galvanized steel gets red hot, it releases zinc oxide vapor — a toxin that you’d inevitably breath in if you’re not wearing a full-blown commercial-grade hazmat suit. The stuff is extremely poisonous, so whatever you do: please, please, PLEASE do not construct your forge out of anything galvanized.

Ok, glad we got that out of the way. On we go.

Let’s Get Started, Shall We?

First, you’re going to need a brake drum. Even better, grab a big old truck brake drum from the junkyard, since its size will make it far easier to

How To Make A Backyard ‘Survival Forge’ … From A Brake Drum

Brake drum.

work with. Now, here are a few additional components to acquire:

  • 2-inch black iron piping with standard threading
    • (1) 2-foot long piece
    • (2) 1.5-foot long pieces
    • (1) Tee fitting
    • (1) End cap fitting
    • (1) Hat fitting
  • A table stand to hold the forge in place (you can either construct one yourself, but I just used cinder blocks to prop mine up).
  • Electric or hand-pump blower. Even a hair dryer will do — and those are always available during garage sale season.
  • Your charcoal screen (for keeping the fire inside the brake drum, and not falling into the piping). This doesn’t have to be too complicated, as I found a simple steel plate with several holes drilled into it works just fine.
  • Non-galvanized bolts, nuts & washers, roughly the same diameter as the holes that brake drums already have, because they were formerly attached to the truck somehow, right?
  • Metal plate (This is optional, in case your brake drum and iron hat-fitting don’t line up properly. Simply drill out holes to line up with both, just to keep the dern thing in place.)

Now thankfully, assembly is pretty easy …

  1. Put together your piping by making a “T.” Make sure the 2-foot pipe is your stem, then thread the end cap on one end and the hat fitting on the other.
  2. Next, line up the brake drum holes to those on the hat fitting. Granted, the hat fitting might not be big enough for the brake drum itself, so that’s where the last item on our component inventory comes into play.
  3. Fix the hat fitting and the brake drum into place with your (non-galvanized) hardware.
  4. Set the brake drum and assembly on your stand or cinder blocks with the brake drum’s concave side facing skyward.
  5. Drop your charcoal screen into the belly of your brake drum. Make sure to cover the big hole that drops down to the end cap.
  6. Line up your blower to the 2-foot-long pipe that’s sticking out horizontally.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, you have a forge.

Operating the Forge

All that’s left is to acquire your charcoal, but this is a bit more complicated than it may seem. Unfortunately, you can’t just kindle a fire in this puppy and expect to heat your project evenly.

Some have noted that they’ve used grilling charcoal bricks in a pinch; however, having tried this myself, I just don’t think those things can get hot enough (because I’m working with steel, not steak). So, with that said, I have actually seen blacksmithing charcoal available for purchase on eBay — but if you can track down any local blacksmiths, I’ve found that they’ll often just sell you a bag or two for a decent price.

As for the blacksmithing, well, I shall leave that one to you.

If you’re still confused, then watch the video below from a YouTuber making his own forge. (He does things a bit different.)

Have you ever made a forge? What blacksmithing advice would you add? Share your tops in the section below:

 

One Brick Forge

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Lately I have been involved some with metal working, I am not very good, but I still have both eyes and I haven’t burned anything down so I am happy with my results. I started my needing to make some tools for my new foundry, and decided to “blacksmith” some from some bar steel I […]

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Full-Sized Whitlox Wood-Fired Blacksmithing Forge

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Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge

Yes, it says wood-fired, making this blacksmithing forge ideal for Preppers and for anyone that currently has the skills, and for those also wanting to learn Blacksmithing skills. Now you can make and shape using just wood as a heat source with the Full-Sized Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge.

Blacksmithing skills will be invaluable during a grid down situation, and being able to forge on, if you will, using just wood as a fuel source is the best case scenario. Propane will be in short supply during a crisis as well as, coal/coke for any forge. The Whitlox Forge uses wood efficiently, and best of all, you do not need to make charcoal first, because it burns seasoned chunks right from the wood pile.

Wood will be easier to acquire and store during a crisis than would propane, coal or coke. Even if available the prices would undoubtedly rise considerably due to the demand. Having a fuel that is readily available to most people is ideal, and you can of course begin stockpiling it now. Keep in mind wood does not store forever, it will rot if stored outdoors, exposed to the elements, so consider this as you begin gathering it.

Here Are the Manufactures Specifications

  • The trench shaped fire box is designed so wood burns down to charcoal and at the same time concentrates it at the draft line
  • Made from 11 gauge steel 
  • Has a fire bed lined with one half inch thick “kaowool” mineral fiber batting that insulates and protects the forge body and helps keep the work area cooler
  • Lined with fire bricks for added durability and heat retention, and this also helps you to maintain a smokeless fire
  • Has dividers that can easily be moved and secured to concentrate the fire and helps you maintain the right size fire for any project
  • There is a cutaway that allows longer bars to lay across the fire
  • The adjustable tuyere is one of the most innovative features of the full-size forge a tube within a tube design allows you to dial up just the number of holes you want open, for perfect control of air flow

 Blower and Forge Stand Sold Separately As an Option

Optional blowers (3 to choose from) are available, and can be purchased as you order the forge. A stand is also available for purchase.

Blowers available: Light duty electric fan (50 cfm) with a “stomp switch” that latches on/off or the stamped steel hand cranked blower, or the Cast Aluminum hand-crank blower. Any of them will come with a mounting bracket, and duct, along with the applicable hardware when ordered with the forge from the website.

The forge stand available is 26″ tall, of welded construction. It has two rubber wheels making it easy to roll out for work or put away when not in use.

Whitlox Wood-Fired Blacksmithing Forge

Blacksmithing

At one time if you needed something made out of metal you had either to do it yourself or visit the local blacksmith. Horseshoes, metal bands for wooden wheels, knives, arrow heads, and spear heads, hinges, nails/spikes are just a few of the things a Blacksmith can make, and the list goes on.

During an extended crisis goods and materials will not be available, so if you need or want something you will have to make it or have it made. The reality is to have it made will cost you, so having blacksmithing skills will not only save you money or save you the goods needed to trade for that skill, it will also make you invaluable to others. You can barter with the skills you have, and barter with the tools you can make as well.

You of course will need to work to acquire the skills now before a crisis and this also means you need supplies, metal in particular that can be heated and shaped. You can now start gathering a stockpile of what is essentially scrap metal at this point, but during a crisis it will be as valuable as any gemstone or bar of silver.

However, before you can do anything you need a forge, and a forge such as the Whitlox Wood-Fired Blacksmithing Forge that uses wood is almost the perfect situation for those wanting to get started, or for those that want to upgrade and hone their skills for when the SHTF.

There are classes you can take or you can teach yourself, but to become skilled, you need to put in the time and effort so you can make your own tools and material.

The basics would allow you to make nails/spikes knives, swords, axes, and arrow and spear heads, but to make more sophisticated tools and implements it will require extensive hands on training.

Final Thoughts

This forge was the perfect option for me since I don’t have a designated area set up yet for blacksmithing, I can just store it in my shed and roll it out when I need to use it. I also didn’t want to have to deal with coal or propane, being able to fire up the forge with wood or charcoal leaves me with few less things I would have to stockpile.

The Whitlox Forge comes in two sizes the full size and the mini forge, which is great if you want to start out small and work your way up as your skills improve. The full-size forge sells for $385.00 without the stand or blower and can be purchased at whitloxhomestead.com.

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