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I Forge Iron

Just add the campfire

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Been wanting to make a nice campfire tripod since I saw this design on one of the forums a few months back.

Since rebar's cheap and plentiful at the scrapyard I figured it'd be good enough for the prototype before I go buy 5/8" HR.

'Course if you're gonna hang a bean pot off the thing you gotta have pot hooks, so I made them, and a fancy twisted S hook to get it close to the fire.




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Nice prototype Yancey. I specially like the bail you made for the dutch oven.

There's another tripod design that allows you to use the three legs separately to make a spit but rebar wouldn't work so well.

I can smell the beans now.

Mmmmmmmmmm . . . beeeeans.


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A trammel is good for height adjustment, but a length of chain and s-hooks that fit in the links works fine too.

Your dutch oven is the stove top style. All of mine have three legs, a flat rimmed lid, and already have a bail for campfire cooking.

Here's another campfire idea.


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A bunch of S hooks are more multipurpose---I got out to an event once with all my camp cooking equipment and started hanging S hooks out---I had 50 of them and used them all over my camp: holding tarps, holding lanterns, holding cook pots bot on and off the fire, etc.

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Just add the campfire? How about the beans? I should be able to smell them from here.

Actually Ken there WERE beans in in the pot, my Texas buddy's recipe for Camp Beans. If I had a fire under 'em you probably could have smelled them.:D Easy enough to do over the fire, and quick enough to get fed in a hurry.

3 16 oz cans of your favorite beans, pintos, whites, Pork 'n' Beans (no kidney or lima or "baked" beans)
1 cup each, brown sugar, Pace Picante sauce, your favorite BBQ sauce
1 lb of so of ground beef seasoned to you taste with Lawrey's Seasoned Salt

Brown the seasoned beef, (I add a chopped onion), add the beans, brown sugar, and sauces. Simmer 'til thickened to suit yer taste. Edited by Yance
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Aaaah, campfire beans -- with a little fresh cornbread for soppin!

How to do that top of the tripod is always a tricky choice. Most people make an eye loop on each leg, but leave the eye on one open a bit to loop through the other two. Some people use a separate hook or chain to lock all three together. And a lot also depends upon how tall you need it to be. I had to make on a few years go that stood 7 feet tall when set up - to hang their "kettle" from at the right height. And had to use 3/4 square for the strength needed. Their "kettle" held 8 gallons! So each leg of that tripod started out at 10 feet long!!!!! With the eye loop at the end, and 1+ foot stuck in the ground, and spread out around their "firepit", it just turned out right.

Here's a couple picks of a Chuckwagon campfire iron set I made based on pictures of originals from the 1870's to 1890's. It can be set up as a tripod, but usually gets set up as a crossbar with uprights. It is from 5/8's round stock.



And then herer are a couple pics of a Viking era tripod. The original was found on the one burial ship - the Ausberg. It is made from 1/2 square stock. The feet are split into three, and bent out like the claws of a bird. And the twists were done in 6 to 8 inch sections - like the original. A limitation on their forge sizes. One knife maker from Norway that has seen the original in the Museum saw one of these I made a few years ago. He said it looked "... dead on..." compared to the original.



R-bar can be nice to work with. And occasionally you can find some of the really old stuff. Instead of those lines/ridges formed into it, it has little raised X's down the sides. That little "touch" of decoration really sets your work off. But it is hard to find. I've only found a few feet over the years. Three pieces of 4 foot long that were already made into stakes for tying a rope around, and one twisted up chunk about 8 foot long. The really hard part is keeping my buddies from chopping it up to make fire pokers! One was very upset when I stopped him. He thought it was the PERFECT piece of "scrap iron" to make a 2 foot long fire poker!

But rebar can also give you problems working it. It usually is made from remelted scrap. And so it can contain most any metal alloy in it. A friend once found a whole large ballbearing in a piece - unmelted and not mixed in! He went through two hacksaw blades before he found out why in wouldn't cut!

Nice work Yance. Keep them beans warm, and get that cornbread made!

p.s. more pics in my Historic Ironwork album

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Thanks for posting the pics of the Chuckwagon fire irons. I'd seen that style a good while back, (before I ever thought I'd be making 'em) but didn't remember how the tops were made, or how they went together. Guess I'll be making a set like that in the near future.

Since I doubt I'll be doing any "period" pieces for reenactors any time soon, rebar will still serve my needs nicely. If someone just HAS to have nice, new HR stock it'll be priced accordingly.

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Well Yance, you got me thinking, I'm gonna be doin some Adirondack camping next month, and I really liked your stuff, so I hope you didn't mind me goin out and making some, I even tried to make a small forge like the one in the Lively knives video, just need to downsize the blower opening to fit the pipe size in the forge, I tried it with a small bellows and charcoal, and it was a no go!! So I have the 3 fireplace supports, the over the fire pot stand, a dinner bell, a fork and the forge, that's gotta be a record for me in 1 day products finished! p.s. I had some rebar laying around as well, good call there!

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Hey Yance, I was taught gun control is hitting what you aim at.

Yeah, that too. I hope I have it for tomorrow's BPCR match. I'll be buring some "high sulfur coal". The match and travel eats near the whole day, so no more hammerin' 'til Wednesday dangit!
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just got back from a week in the Adirondacks, the 2nd night there we roasted 2 big tri tip sirloins on the new grill, never had tried it on an open fire before, and it was spectacular, I had remembered the hearths being a bit rough at the campground, and we got put in a site where even the grill was missing, so the grill I brought was a fortunate timing sincronicity!! when we were packing up I decided to take a pic of it sitting on the firepit. Thanks for the inspiration Yance.

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