Blacksmithing, Extreme Mens-Tech(™)!

Looking down with it in your hand, wondering how it happened and swearing, swearing that it’s not going to happen again. Even though somewhere at the core of our being, in the place where must face ourselves honestly, we know it will again. Shooting that last one felt good.

We’ve all be there Team.

I’d felt the high and now the low was coming…

I’d just shot down the last dragon in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I was still holding the controller to my XBOX, with contempt and disgust.   That was how I felt after completing another marathon session with my XBOX.

I’m a physically active man; my body is my temple. I love training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with my team at Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu and eating healthy in order to keep myself competitive.  My XBOX, and video games in general work hard to destroy my temple. When I play marathon sessions of XBOX, they are fueled with a profane mix of honey-mustard pretzel nuggets tossed in a bowl with banana chips and washed down with pure grape juice.  A trifecta of salt, sugar, and carbohydrates.

When I finished slaying the last dragon, I knew that I had to do something to exercise my mind and body to an extreme that might atone for my sloth.  I needed Mens-Tech™.  Loosely defined, Mens-Tech™ is anything that requires a disproportionate amount of physical labor and mental complexity to do something that would be easier to buy or to simply pay someone else to do for you. A random example might just be building a forge and an anvil just so you can blacksmith your own knives! Essentially becoming a living, breathing Rube Goldberg Machine.

YouTube to the rescue!  After watching a lot of videos by or recommended by Preppers, I came across “backyard blacksmiths”.  Non-professional men who enjoy the heat, the burns, and the physical toll it takes to imbue steel with fire and make a blade.

I decided to teach myself to blacksmith!

Hand, burned

Hand, burned.

I put the word out to my friends that I am going to be a blacksmith, and that to make it even harder I am going to be a “scrapper” as well.  That meant all my materials had to be recycled and repurposed.  I decided to go with a Brake Drum Forge, it’s simple and effective.  A brake drum forge is great for a first timer.  My friend Jessy is an expert at dismantling and rebuilding engines to make them faster, meaner, and tougher.  He has an overabundance of car parts strewn around, in between all the cars and trucks he takes apart and puts back together in clever ways.  He didn’t disappoint. Within the week I had a brake drum from Jessy, a neighbor gave me the shell of a gas grill he’d just replaced.  I tracked down a local rail yard and convinced them to not only give me a box of used railroad spikes, but a 2-foot length of railroad tie to mount to a tree stump as my mighty anvil! I combined all that with the box of assorted metals that my friends gave me to trial and error my way into being a blacksmith.

Blade of Busted Clouds forged - 1Blacksmithing is just as hard as I thought it would be, especially considering I didn’t bother with any actual, legitimate instruction.  Mens-Tech™ often disregards such trivial inconveniences. I read a few books on it that I’ll list below. Then I just went to work! I spent hours figuring out how hot is too hot, how much air the fire needs, how hard to hit.  The list goes on and on.  It was a very, very labor intensive process.  I loved every minute of it! To the right is a snapshot of what the forge looks like when I am blacksmithing at night when the steel is in the fire.


Quenching the blade in hot, filtered, used motor oil to harden the edge.

Blade of Busted Clouds

Everything came together and I transformed a lawnmower blade into The Blade Of Busted Clouds!

Over the months that came after that, I experimented with various shapes and configurations of metal.  I’ve become comfortable with my temperatures and what I need to do to coax a clever configuration from the steel.

Elk Bone Skinner With Brass Pins.

The Paleolithic Die, forged from a railroad spike.

RR spike knife and sheath

(Unnamed) forged from a railroad spike, with its handmade leather sheath.

Alright Team, if you are interested in seeing the info I used to get started,  as well as the videos that I used for inspiration, keep reading.  If not, I suggest just scrolling to the bottom to rate, and leave a reply.

If what I wrote helps, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.

It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!





YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com


These are the videos that made me think “If these guys can do it, I’m certain I can too.”

Books I read:

Wayne Goddard’s $50 Knife Shop, Revised, by Wayne Goddard

Knifemaking Unplugged, by Tim Lively

Tub Forge, by Tim Lively

Robb Gunter’s Super Quench

An excellent resource for info, this is my number one tool for Q&A


Google “brake drum forge” to see other designs.  The one I made cost less than $50 I’m materials. If you have any mechanic friends they should be able to give you a free brake drum with no problem.  They are scrapyard material.  Just weld a plate, or use bolts to cover all the holes except the one in the middle.

1, 1 ft pipe (down)

1 joint

Connect it to 1, 2ft pipe.

I use an Electric Air Mattress Pump, like the kind for a camping bed.  Like this –

For air, go to the Goodwill and buy an old hairdryer that has a “cool” button.  That’s fastest an easiest.


Lump Mesquite Charcoal. I am sure you can google a local supplier.  Sams Club and Cosco have it at $11 a bag.  This is the king you need

My hammers:

I use these pliers instead of tongs:

Safety glasses, (I have an extra pair if you want them)

Thats all you need.  All in, its less than $50.  For you , even less because you’ll get an employee discount!

Everything else is just nice to have but you can get it later.

Angle grinder:


Vice, this thing makes life A LOT easier:

Examples of what can be done:

I am going to try this for my next knife ->

Tutorials, none of it will really matter until AFTER you have tried it and felt the hammer. Once I had a point of reference I was better able to understand the tutorials.

f what I wrote helps, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.

It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!



YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com

BONUS: If the Zombie Apocalypse hits and we can’t spend days blacksmithing, we can break down forge into a WarHammer!

The Pummel Pipe Melee Weapon!

Originally posted here. ->


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