Blacksmithing isn’t as easy as it looks

My oldest son is completing his infantry training in the Army down in Georgia right now, so all his forging tools are just sitting in my garage being neglected. I figured I could build some cool stuff for my hunting gear, but it didn’t go as planned.

While my son Colby is down in Georgia learning how to be an Army of One, his blacksmithing tools are just gathering dust. I got to thinking I could use some of his scrap steel to build some racks for my hunting equipment to keep it organized in the shop and the barn.

So I went out into the shop last weekend and fired up the forge. I would have asked Colby if it was OK to use his stuff, but he can’t get phone calls down there, and it takes months for letters to get to him. Besides, I paid for the propane for the forge, and he uses my tools all the time, so I figured it was fair game.

I also figured it couldn’t be that hard to heat up metal and bang it into various shapes. I was right about some of that. Bending metal is easy, as long as you’re just bending it in one direction. It got pretty tricky when I tried to twist the steel to make a decorative shape for my bow holder. I ended up with something that looks like it got run over by a dump truck several times.

The other tricky thing was putting holes in the metal so I could screw the newly created bow and arrow racks to the wall. I tried to drill it, but I ended up just dulling my drill bit. Then I got the brilliant idea to heat the metal up with the forge to make it soft, then drill the hot steel. But all that accomplished was melting the drill bit. I finally had to use one of Colby’s metal punches to bang the holes into the metal. And that caused the steel to jump on the anvil. Now’s a good time to warn you to never, ever try to catch a chunk of steel that’s falling off the anvil.

But ugly finished products, ruined drill bits and third-degree burns aside, I got it done. My gear has new racks to keep it organized, even if they look like they were built by a kindergartener.