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I Forge Iron

BBQ tools

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My daughters kindergarden class is raffling off a complete grilling set up. They are asking the parents to donate stuff for it. I was thinking about forging the cooking tools. I was wondering if y'all would post some pics of the cooking utensils you have made to give me some ideas.



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Fork, steak flipper, spatula should cover things nicely. TONS of ways to do them---wizard head, horse head, pineapple twist, basket handles, etc and so on.

My main suggestion would be choose a method you can do *WELL* and in the time you have to do it in. Far better a simple item that's *perfect* than a complex item botched together!

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Vegetable oil on a terrycloth rag applied hot is the finish I use. Just like seasoning cast iron. This is the same finish Brian Brazeal uses for alot of his work. You do need to watch the temperature of the steel, as it will burn the rag if too hot. Dab at the piece until you see the steel blackening and smoking a little. The finish acts somewhat like a semi-gloss paint, and is applied like a paint, wiping over and over until you get a good black finish. After it has cooled too much to take any more color, you want to cool the piece then buff it with a "clean" rag (no oil). These oil rags work best when the oil is well "seasoned"... at first, they will finish a dark grey, but in time, they will start finishing a nice black. I've found one shortcut to aging the rags, if you have an old toaster oven, you can bake them in it at around 300-350 or so, being sure to turn it often and not allow it to flare up. I bake it at the temperature where the oil JUST begins to smoke. I am guessing this causes some sort of transition in the oil, removing volatiles or something. It takes an hour or so at this temperature to get it nice and happy. The rag will feel almost waxy rather than oily when it is baked to the optimum.

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I used to make BBQ tools for craft shows and fairs. Here are three examples - I lifted the handle design from Streeter's book so it's not an original idea. These start out as 1/4x1/2 flat then the tails and necks are fullered and swaged on the power hammer; the "ears" are pulled out on the treadle hammer. Spatula and ladle pieces are 16 ga sheet metal; the fork tines are split and forged. You can make bigger ones from 1/4x1 flat (my favorite size) or a real "Texas" tool from 3/8x1 flat.

I sandblast to remove scale, gunblue the piece, then abrade the highlights. Wash the piece in clean water with soap then spray with Pam vegetable oil - hot or cold doesn't make much difference as it will wash off the first time the customer cleans it with soap unless they reoil. I sold a bunch of these at $30 each or a 3 piece set with forged hanger for $90.




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