How to build a propane forge: simple, powerful, inexpensive

First the Burner Build…

Then the Forge…

Can you make a knife from low carbon steel?

Is it really possible to harden low carbon steel and make a knife that will hold an edge? (Spoiler: Yes…Sort of)

In this video I’ll be making a sheep’s foot style knife from a scrap of structural steel. The knife will be hardened with a water quench and tempered at 425 degrees. Will it hold an edge?

Of course this may not be the most practical build, as a properly heat treated knife made from quality high carbon steel will hold an edge much longer, but it is good practice and a fun way to demonstrate the strength and versatility of steel (even cheap “mystery steel” that I picked up from a scrap heap). Also, in a survival situation or other situation that requires an expedient tool, you may not have the option of picking out the best steel for the project.

NOTE: This project is related to another knife build from December of 2017. At that time I made a cleaver/wood chopper using a scrap of structural or “mild” steel. For that project I used an angle grinder as my only power tool and I showed how to put a decent age on a knife made of mild steel. An edge that WILL chop and cut wood without going dull… at least for a while. At that time I noticed large bursts coming from the sparks while grinding that scrap of steel. That’s usually an indication of higher carbon content so for this video I’m testing to see if that steel can actually be hardened and tempered. (See video below ad…also check out the ad. Just sayin’)

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FargoFX’s first real collaboration was a roaring success! Much thanks to PyroTech1999

The long awaited, much anticipated joint venture between bladesmithing/DIY channels FargoFX and pyrotech1999 has finally arrived!

The Story: About six weeks ago, the owner of pyrotech1999 noticed that I was approaching 1,000 subscribers (a milestone he had recently reached). So he contacted me and suggested a collaboration between our two premium DIY channels. After a few emails back and forth we hammered out the details… He would design a knife for me and I would design one for him. Then each of us would build the knife and release a video detailing the process and calling on our subscribers to visit the other’s channel.

The Glory: First the video from pyrotech1999

…Then from FargoFX

Enjoy these videos, and please do consider subbing to both our channels if you find these videos entertaining or helpful. Both he and I have dozens more videos that I’m sure you’ll enjoy, and there’s more on the way!

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Ads you see on this site are generated using Amazon’s Affiliate plug-in and should be completely safe to click. WE WILL NOT SPAM YOU!

 

Custom wood chopping knife from mild steel, will it hold an edge?

Last week I tried something new. In the past I’ve made knives from mild steel for practice or prototyping, but this was the first time I made an unhardened knife with the intention of actually putting it to work. I started with a scrap of structural steel sourced from a local welding shop…

First some quick background. I started forging and bladesmithing less than a year ago and since then I’ve been learning as much as I can, exploring many aspects of this very old yet very modern craft, and cataloging my progress on YouTube (see FargoFX channel).

It’s been fascinating to discover how closely related knifemaking is to the science of metallurgy. This may seem obvious to experienced bladesmiths, but as a novice I naively assumed that making a knife came down to selecting a slab of suitable steel (e.g. 1095, O-1, 440C) and getting to work.

And, truthfully, that’s pretty much what I did last winter. But I quickly discovered that even a beginner has to learn a few things about the science of steel, particularly the science of heat-treating different steels in different media. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this aspect of knifemaking nearly as much as the forging, shaping, sharpening, selling, and especially “showing off” aspects. But the more I studied, the more intrigued I became. And, to make a long story just a little longer, I discovered a zillion different flavors of steel, each with it’s own unique hardening and heat treating processes. In some cases steels come with different formulas for “proper” heat treating depending on which specific characteristics you’re hoping to get out of the finished knife or tool.

But really that’s a discussion for a another day. The point is that all this study led me to wonder what would happen if I used a simple piece of mild steel (low carbon and “can’t” be hardened) to make a knife and completely IGNORED the heat treating process all together.

So here’s the video if you want to see what I did and how it turned out.
(Spoiler alert: the knife cuts)

You will notice that I did NOT try for a narrow bevel cross-section and fine edge on this cleaver. I left as much beef behind the edge as I could, wanting to avoid damage, especially “rolling” that would render the knife virtually useless until resharpened.

In the video you’ll see me run the knife through about 5 minutes of chopping and splitting with absolutely no damage to the blade edge. I guess there isn’t any big, earth shattering conclusion to draw from this, but it’s worth noting that a piece of structural steel (probably A-36 “mild” steel) can in fact be fashioned into a functional knife. Not a fillet knife, maybe not a skinner, but certainly an adequate chopper.

Expect this knife to resurface in future videos. Plans are in the works for a variety of tests including possible attempts to heat treat despite the low carbon content. If nothing else, it should be interesting watching me fail. 😉

Go make stuff! Cheers!

PS: This entire build was done with a simple angle grinder that cost less than $50. If you’ve been thinking about getting into this hobby, but don’t think you can afford it…Think again.

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Ads you see on this site are generated using Amazon’s Affiliate plug-in and should be completely safe to click. WE WILL NOT SPAM YOU!

 

FargoFX Presents: The “Mowie Knife”*

*That’s my sort of “dad joke” for a Bowie made from a lawnmower blade.

You never know what might be available to you after the apocalypse so here’s how to make a big, Bowie style (or “Mowie”) knife from a lawnmower blade. Or you can just think of it as a fun way to make something useful by upcycling some steel scrap.

This is my second really big knife from a lawnmower blade and it’s a project I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I wanted a big, bold chopper/camp/fighting knife with a nice sharp edge and plenty of belly for skinning, butchering and just about any other task you can ask of a big knife.

This is not exactly a “bushcraft” knife, but it would definitely serve you well in the bush, on the hunt, in a survival situation, after the apocalypse or just about any other place/time you can think of. (Though probably not a great choice for EDC!)

Tools used on this project included: Homemade forge, metal files, sandpaper, Harbor Freight belt sander, bench vice angle grinder and more.

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Craftsman Review, Subscriber Builds Episode 2 (plus a scorpion build!)

Welcome to another anvil top review, today we’re looking at the 19.2 Volt Craftsman tools. Sure they don’t cost much, but are they truly a bargain or just cheap tools? Well, I’m not going to beat around the bush, these tools are excellent, especially for the money. I bout these for about $185, but I’ve seen them as cheap as $150 on the internet. These are fairly rugged tools with good power and good battery life, certainly more than adequate to deal with most of the tasks you might subject them to. From small woodworking and metal working projects to framing, roofing, siding and more, these tools have stood up to two and half years of abuse and keep coming back for more.

NOTE: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Ads you see on this site are generated using Amazon’s Affiliate plug-in and should be completely safe to click. WE WILL NOT SPAM YOU!

This is episode 2 of our new “Subscriber Builds” series at FargoFX, showcasing subscriber built knives, blacksmithing, metalwork, woodwork, custom NAA revolver grips and other projetcs. (In some ways this will be similar to “viewers knives” that you’ve seen on “Simple Little Life” but we’ll showcase more than just knives.) Today we’re featuring projects from Fritz H.CustomKnives and Geogrpahy Czar. Fritz H. Custom Knives: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvCw… Dave (aka GeographyCzar): https://www.youtube.com/user/Geograph… The first episode can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6nk2…

Here’s how I made a metal sculpture of a scorpion for the garden. If you’re interested making metal sculpture, especially with found objects or scrap metal, this video is for you. I’ll be using a cheap Harbor Freight welder for most of the work. Also, we’ll have a recap of some of our other October builds and some Pumpkin mayhem at the end. This project was inspired by the works of various metal sculptors including Kevin Caron and others that I’ve seen around Youtube and web. Follow along and make your own sculpture, or just sit back and enjoy the show! Tools used include Craftsman cordless drill, Harbor Freight metal files, Bostitch angle grinder, hammers, propane torches etc… If you enjoyed this video please consider subscribing and watching a few of my other videos. Cheers!

Making the grandaddy of all trench knives: “The French Nail”

How to make the World War I “French Nail” trench knife from rebar using a simple backyard forge.

In the early stages of World War I the allied forces fighting in the trenches in France realized the need for a capable hand-to-hand combat weapon. Unfortunately they weren’t issued one, so they quickly improvised a solution. The grandaddy of all trench knives–the “French Nail”–was born out of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the common soldier fighting in the trenches.

These crude knives were forged from a single rod of steel, forged into a blade at one end and bent around to form a handle at the other.

Follow a long and make your own trench knife or just sit back and enjoy the show. If you need to build a quick backyard forge you can do it in a manner of minutes here’s how:

If you enjoyed this video please consider subscribing and watching a few of my other videos. Cheers!

Apocalypse Zombie Destroyer Thing!

How to make your very own apocalypse destroyer weapon thing with interchangeable devastating… um… whatever you call ’ems. Continuing with the October theme of fun over function we’ll be making a post-apocalypse style staff weapon with interchangeable tips to suit your specific zombie smashing needs.

Assuming you have a shop full of power tools, including a MIG welder, this build should only cost around $20. One thing I’ve learned from watching zombie shows is that in the first few days or weeks after the outbreak you’ll a need a weapon with good power and deep penetration to do proper central nervous system damage. But later, after the zombies have aged a bit, they’ll be much easier to dispatch with even fairly light blows.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could build one weapon to do it all. Well now’s your chance! Follow along a prepare for the inevitable zombie virus outbreak, or just sit back and enjoy the show. Tools used include Craftsman cordless drills and saws, Bostitch angle grinder, Harbor Freight MIG welder, chains, threaded brass insert, hard wood rake handle, metallic paint, bolts, propane torches etc… If you enjoyed this video please consider subscribing and watching a few of my other videos. Cheers!