Having attended a one day blacksmiths day at Oldfield Forge in deepest darkest Herefordshire to learn the basics, we have now built our own small coke forge at Pool Cottage.
Made using re-cycled bits we seem to have collected over the years, as well as managements hair drier and bedroom dimmer switch (oops) for a blower and controller, the forge was fired up for the first time using BBQ coal. The first thing to be made were some basic hooks forged from nails, the results were pretty good if we say so ourselves.
Although the BBQ coal worked well we wanted to use proper blacksmiths coke. It's quite interesting the search results you get if you Google "Coke dealers Shropshire"! Once we amended the search we discovered Ridge Fuels who are based in Shrewsbury. They were extremely helpful and we now have bags and bags of forge coke, and it's cheaper than BBQ coal.
Having found a source of coke, we now need some decent steel to work with. She who must be obeyed, dispatched herself to Christmas Steel, again in Shrewsbury. Having charmed the guys there, she donned a hard hat and promptly went skip diving, returning with much metal of all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Since that first firing we have made a number of bits and pieces, including a much needed poker for our log burner, medieval hair grips, pizza cutters and more hooks.
As ours skills develop, we will get more adventurous with designs and hope to develop our ability to up-cycle old bits of scrap.
Watch this space.