Northwest Blacksmith Association

Archive for How To Articles

Arnon Kartmazov: Lightweight Tongs

Arnon Kartmazov was the guest instructor for October 2016 4th Saturday event at the mentoring center in Longview. His Bridgetown Forge in North Portland welcomes visitors but does require a phone call setting an appointment (503-804- 1524) rather than just dropping in. Please check the Forge website for classes and product off erings. A mix of Uri Hofi (Israel) and traditional Japanese cutlery training have created a unique blend of techniques and the system that he presents, is not claimed to be anything more than what he does and what works for him. His systems have developed over a long period of study and practical application but are always growing and evolving; always open to a better idea or process.

read the whole article in the pdf below: 

Download (PDF, 409KB)

Nitzan Lilie: decorative spiral, various animal heads, and flowers

From November 12, 2016 Mentoring Center Demonstration  Photos by Dan Bowyer

A pictorial essay of Nitzan Lilie’s demonstration:
Working bar stock into a decorative spiral, various animal heads, and flowers…

Download (PDF, 630KB)

Mark Aspery’s Stag Horn Hinge

Stag Horn HingeStag Horn Hinge: Mark Aspery Demo, 12 March 2016, Longview, WA. Notes by Ike Bay

Editor note: Dan Bowyer took extensive pics of this demo.  See the full gallery of images HERE.

Best Quote: “Find the difference between handmade and custom made”

General info: This style hinge can be in pairs of matched sides, unmatched sides or on pintles. Suggested referances, “Professional Smithing” by Donald Streeter which gives a detailed how-to section. Examples of original pieces can be found in “Early American Wrought Iron” by Albert Sonn and Colonial Wrought Iron, The Sorber Collection” by Don Plummer.  This demo was for a non pintle style hinge.

Stock: 1 1/4″ X 1/4″ was used, Mark would have preferred 1 1/4″ X 3/16″

Draw an even, centered taper 4 to 4.5″ long, 3.5″ is rather short. Do not put a fine point on the end, as is mass needed here when the piece is cut in half length wise.

Cutting: point bar on anvil to strong light source so shadow does not distort your vision of center line. Index end and a few other points on proposed cut line as witness marks.  Use chisel with slight radius face and walk up cut line. (1/16″ good radius on this type chisel).  Start on end of taper and walk up to end of cut point. Cut from one side and use cut plate for last part of process.  Cutting from one side like this results in a ragged edge, but forging two sides in the “S” curve in will eliminate this.  Chisel with front and side cutting edges gives you a sight reference when using the front cutting edge.  Use narrow fuller to clean up the cleft of the cut.

Spread horns: First push one side down so both sides are accessible to the hammer. Then bend the horizontal “S” shape over the horn.  Forge so both sides are equal in form that pleases your eye.  Get both sides close and then tweak, rather than getting one side right and then trying to match it.  Flip back and forth to eyeball for uniformity.

Draw out (peen and dress) humps, Do both top first and then both bottom. Keep things even with eye.  DO NOT LET GET OUT OF EVEN/UNIFORM AND PLAN TO CORRECT LATER. Through all steps keep sides even and uniform.

Prongs: can cut now or later but do not turn out. When cutting prongs, give them a tall root or will be too thing when you form them later. Use round face chisel as before. Technique- tongs between legs, chisel and hammer in hand.  Remember tool migrates to path of least resistance when cutting, punching, slitting, Etc.

In retrospect might do face and barrel first.

Face: Preform to spreading/fullering face is two half face notches with a “butcher profile” on outside. This is below the horns and before the barrel of the hinge. Work inside notches with fullers that are fir for the space. Take bar to slightly less than half thickness and move extra mass evenly to sides.

Barrel Math: how much length needed to form barrel. Bend takes place in the neutral axis of the bar (center line) not inside.  If bar tapered still the same but a different calculation.  3/8″ ID plus two half wall thickness less a little for taper = about 1.5 inches.

Bend such: bend in a bar will produce a cup on the outside of bend. This makes for loose hinges if not compensated for. Counter bend is solution. Face up to counter bend and face down to start rolling barrel. If nesting barrel with another parts of barrel must be removed.  Barrel is divided into three sections, center (major) is always larger than outer two (minor).  When cutting layout lines for major/minor determinations cut outside lines, not on them, so you have a snug fit in final hinge, not bad if parts do not fit and careful file work needed to fit.  For this demo Mark anticipated major and did a slot punch without removing tab.  This allowed him to break off major at end of process.

Spread prongs at this point. Push to one side of horn so accessible by hammer, work over horn for curve. Mark used special tongs to hold hinge by barrel while finishing up the final forms.


hammer  fuller side  Fuller front  hinge tongs  hinge tongs 2  Tools in rack  Tools on deck

Editor note: Dan Bowyer took extensive pics of this demo.  See the full gallery of images HERE.




Darryl Nelson’s Rams Head

Sorry, but you do not have permission to view this content. You must be logged in, and be a current NWBA member. To access this content and you are already a registered web user and are a member of the NWBA, simply log in. If you are not already a registered web user, register now, and make sure your NWBA membwership is up to date. There are many advantages to NWBA membership. Find out more HERE

If you are a current NWBA member and you still do not have access to this page when logged in, contact  to upgrade your account.

Gothic Candle Stand

Making a Gothic Candle StandA nice candle holder or two should be on every blacksmith’s bucket list. Here is a fancy one that takes two to three days to build.


Read More→

Wrapped Rose

Wrapped roseIntermediate Level

The petals and stem of this rose are made from one continuous piece of iron. It requires a little bit of MIG or TIG welding.

Read More→

Adjustable Bending Fork

Adjustable bending forkThis adjustable bending fork gets more use in my shop than any other type of bending fork.

Read More→

Magnetic Blade Clamp

Magnetic blade clampSanding or filing a blade can be a dangerous project. Minimize the risk of serious injury by using a magnetic blade clamp that shields all sharp points and edges while leaving the blade unobstructed.

Read More→

Oak Branch Door Knocker

Oak branch door knockerThis article was published in the January 2013 issue of Hot Iron News.
It describes all the steps in making the oak branch door knocker shown here.

Read More→

A Beginner’s First Project: Rebar Tent Stakes

Rebar Tent StakesThis is the first project I give a raw beginner. It involves several of the basic operations: drawing out, tapering, bending, straightening and cutting.

Read More→

Make Brace Bits: Center Bit

Center Brace BitDoes it look impossibly difficult to make drill bits?

Have no fear: it’s actually not difficult at all.

Read More→

Ripple Stake

Ripple StakeMake a ripple stake for shaping the edges of leaves and flower petals.

Read More→

Easy Charcoal Maker

Easy Charcoal MakerDetailed instructions on how to make and operate a simple charcoal maker.

After working with the charcoal maker for a while, it has become apparent that several improvements are in order. The suggested improvements, along with related correspondence, are posted below the article pdf.

Read More→

David Kailey’s Tool Holder

David Kailey's Tool HolderDavid’s interchangeable handle for punches, drifts, chisels, slitters & fullers.

Read More→

Forge Welding Flux Recipes

Flux Recipe TableThis is a link to a table of recipes for forge welding fluxes. The table is compiled from a large number of blacksmithing books dating back to the late 1800’s. Also included are sources and current costs for the ingredients.

Read More→

Making Nails

Making NailsHere are detailed instructions on how to make nails, and how to make the tools you need to make nails.

Read More→

Double Diagonal Peen Hammer

Double diagonal peenThe double diagonal peen hammer is one of the most useful kinds of hammer in my shop.

Read More→

Forging a Corkscrew

CorkscrewHow to forge a corkscrew.

Read More→

Spreading Tongs

Spreading TongsIntermediate Level

Spreading tongs: a valuable tool for scrolls, spiral baskets, and any other detailed bending & adjusting.

Read More→

Making a Simple Hinge

Simple hingeIntermediate Level

How to make a simple hinge.

Read More→