Category Archives: Blacksmithing

The Mysterious Suit of Armor – Is it real?

I got an email from the proprietor of a shop in Florida who acquired a suit of armor from the Higgins Armory. She is very sure that it actually was in the Higgins. And if that is the case then we are looking at a real suit of armor. Which is rather cool – particularly because it is for sale.

I advised her to not sell it or break up the set until we can gather more information about it. I really want to get an assessment of it. If it is real then it could be worth thousands of dollars. Heck, I might even buy it.  I mean after all, an actual, and real suit of armor! Who knows, maybe it even saw battle!!! Wow!

Well, for now the shop owner is going to take it apart and see if there are any maker marks on the inside of it. That would be quite wonderful.  And it would prove the authenticity.

The only thing that bothers me about this suit is the mismatch  between head and armor. The head just seems to big for the rest of it. The neck , too long. I think that helmet at one time belonged with a larger suit of armor.  Anyway, I have more pictures of this suit of armor on my website right here: The Mysterious suit of armor.

If you can lend some insight or know about this particular suit then send me an email!!!

Here’s a picture. (More pics on the webpage)

Coal or Lump Charcoal for forging

Blacksmithing is experiencing a renaissance. This is for a couple of different reasons. First off there is the internet! That has changed just about everything in the world.  Now you can learn about all kinds of things including blacksmithing. Everything is on youtube or google.

Secondly video games have had a tremendous influence on blacksmithing. There are so many games that have swords, knives, armor, shields and all kinds of medieval period weapons. And in many of these games you have to blacksmith the stuff up! Yup, it’s true. Video games have helped with the Renaissance of blacksmithing!!!

Now to my point. Coal for forging used to be difficult to come by? Who the heck was buying coal. Years ago I couldn’t get small amounts. And by small amounts I mean 50 pounds or less. I could get 100 pound deliveries but sorry. I just can’t keep that much coal around.

I even went as far as making my own hardwood lump charcoal for forging. that tutorial is here:


How to make hardwood lump charcoal for forging


But nowadays you can very easily get small quantities of coal. Yay!

The decision now is what kind of fuel should you use for forging? I have done a video showing some options and what the benefits of each are. Want to see a forge in action with a couple of different types of fuels? Check out my youtube video right here: Coal vs Hardwood Lump Charcoal 


The New Blacksmithing setup

I now have a new blacksmithing setup. It is a covered area and I like it a lot! There  are a couple of nice advantages to this new setup including being sheltered from the weather. There was a point on my first day of using it when it started to rain, but it didn’t matter. That was nice. And being shaded means I can see the hot steel much better. You have to be able to judge the heat of metals when forging them and the color is important.

I will also be able to make better videos now that the area is shaded. Yay!

And I have a nice work triangle where it is very comfortable for me to grab metal out of the forge and bring it to the anvil without moving much. It is much more efficient and much more safer.

If you want to check it out you can watch my  youtube video here:

The New Blacksmithing setup

Blacksmithing and Stamp Collecting

After a 30 year hiatus I have finally returned to stamp collecting. When I was a kid and teen I used to love the hobby. It was something I really enjoyed. But life got in the way. Now that I am enjoying it again there are some differences. The first difference being that I have the money to buy stamps! lol! good feeling to not have to figure out how to spend ten dollars for a packet of stamps. Back then it was a big deal.

The second difference now is that I am finding all these wonderful overlaps between stamp collecting and the rest of my pursuits. For example, there is one stamp in the United States collection of stamps about Blacksmithing. Yup! There is one. And I have it!


blacksmith-stamp-soloIt was issued in 1977, which was right around the time I was actively stamp collecting. So, I probably had it then too. I just don’t remember because blacksmithing wasn’t one of the things I did as a kid.

But I am glad to have it now.



It is part of a set of four stamps issued that year. The four stamps were called “Skilled Hands for Independence”. And they commemorate the skills that helped us achieve our independence. The other three stamps were seamstress, wheelwright and leatherworker.


A quick blurb about the stamp is that the blacksmith shod horses and constructed metal fittings for the cannons. Kind of cool 🙂

Anyway, It just is one of those wonderful things about stamp collecting. It isn’t just about the stamps it is also about the history of the United States and the things that the stamps commemorate.




Mild Winter perfect for a few extra blacksmithing projects

Well, December and the first few days of January have been unseasonably warm and I am very grateful for that.  Partially because it is quite unexpected and quite welcome. But also because it has given me a few extra days at the forge – Two easy knives


A railroad spike throwing axe – This is a fun one with some good basic blacksmithing lessons in it, foremost of which is how to pierce an irregular shaped hole in hot steel.








The second project is how to make a nice looking knife out of a piece of rebar. In this tutorial I show you a bit about turning metal.erce an oblong hole in steel.




two-man-hammerFinally, I have started but have not yet finished a two man job. We are turning a sledge hammer into an axe. Takes some pretty beefy moving of hot steel to shape this one.

So, been having a lot of fun at the forge. And hoping the weather will hold out for a while longer.

If you are interested in the art of blacksmithing you might want to check out my tutorials right here: The Art of Blacksmithing




The Latest Knife forged up – A Subhilt Knife








I wasn’t aware of this particular type of knife but ran across it while watching a movie. And my interest was piqued. It is called a subhilt knife and it has an extra guard on it.  That extra guard is a sort of finger lock. When you hold the knife you put your index finger in between those two guards. this prevents the knife from being pulled out of your hand.  This next picture gives you an idea of that concept. I am not holding the knife firmly but the grip I have here gives you an idea of how you would have your index finger in there.









It is an interesting knife and something I have never made before. And it did pose some new blacksmithing challenges for me. In particular the addition of that sub hilt was a bit of a riddle. But it was a whole lot of fun figuring out how to do it.  If you are interested in learning how to make a knife like this I have a complete video tutorial on my youtube channel here: How to Make a Subhilt knife. 

And here is one more picture of the knife. This is during the build process. The knife is nowhere near done here but this picture gives you a bit of an idea on how this knife is made.


It’s Blacksmithing Season!

The weather has turned and we are in early summer and I am so excited to get back to the blacksmithing. I already have done a little bit and am looking forward to a whole lot more!  The first thing I did was rebuild the backyard forge. The old one was starting to rot through and it needed replacing. I have a tutorial on how to make a forge just like this on my youtube channel here: Epic fantasy make a blacksmithing forge.











I have already started a few projects including a reworking of a bush axe, also known as a bill hook. This is an interesting little project.








And I have started a new knife project. This is a sub-hilt fighting knife. The extra hilt on the knife is to protect the knife from being pulled out of your hand. A video tutorial is coming shortly for this project.



So, stay tuned! Lots more blacksmithing stuff coming! If you want to check out all my blacksmithing videos you can view my youtube playlist right here: Blacksmithing videos.



Making Sting the sword from the Hobbit

Three weeks ago yesterday I was looking for a fun and challenging project to make.   I thought to myself that I wanted something challenging and something that was relevant. Well, talking to one of the employees we started discussing the new Hobbit movie.

One thing lead to another and the idea of making Sting out of steel popped. In the past we had discussed making something steel from a video game or a movie. Seemed like the right thing to do.

Well, I really bit off a lot with this project because in the three weeks it took me to make it I spent somewhere around 60 hours on the sword. Yikes! But it was worth it. I learned a few things, tried some new techniques and improved my skill set a little bit.









The blade shape is quite unique but that was easy to achieve with a little cutting. Something new for me was the custom shaping of the wood handle so it fit the guard and the pommel. That was a good process. And The guard ( Made out of Aluminum) has some nice scroll work on it. That was all carved with a dremel tool.

Overall I had a lot of fun with the project. But wow, I fell behind on a lot of other stuff ( including this blog!). So now it is back to the normal work for me and it is time to get caught up!!

If you want to see the youtube video tutorial on how to make this sword it is right here: How to Make Sting from the Hobbit 

The game of Thrones – Mini Throne

I just finished a fun little project. It is the throne from GoT. The fun thing about it is that I actually used mini swords to make it. Somebody had sent me the idea of forging duplex nails into tiny swords.

Sure enough that was a pretty neat idea and they come out great. BUt, somewhere along the line it hit me that they might be nice for making the Throne. So, here it is. It is composed of around 100 or so nail swords of varying sizes.

I started out with 18D nails to establish the major shapes. Then I filled things in with smaller nails.

You can watch a video of how this is made right here. If you want to learn more about the nail forging into swords thats on my website here. throne-game-of-thrones-2

The Great Helm is done yay!

I finally finished the helmet. I would say it probably took me a couple of weeks, not because it takes that long but because I just couldn’t get to it!

But I am very happy with the results and I learned a whole lot about armor making. Mainly that is more difficult than I thought! LOL


I used 16 gauge steel for it , which made it a bit of a challenge. And the riveting was challenging. I am going to have to get some more riveting tools.

Well, I have more armor coming so stay tuned. Hopefully I will do a complete set.

If you want to see how to make a medieval great helm the web based tutorial is on my website here: Make a Medieval Great Helm