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I Forge Iron

Another guy from the Great Land.

Mr. B

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So in the way of an introduction, My name is Robert. I live just north of Fox, Alaska with my wife Kristine and a spoiled Chocolate Lab named Brandy. We live off-grid, haul our water and poop in a bucket when it's -40'f outside. We live in an unfinished house as most "Alaska Bush People" do, but it's paid for and it's warm. I'm hear to tell ya it's no place for a Yuppie, they will not even come inside.  ;-)  We paint with oils, we hunt, we fish, we trap, (sorta) and mostly stay to ourselves.

About 18 months ago I had my first grandchild enter our life and decided to build him a nice Diamond Willow cradle.


After the cradle was finished I had a nice piece of willow left over, while twirling it around in my hand, I thought it would make a nice handle for a knife. That was the last reasonable thought I had. So... many thousands of dollars and hours of shop time later I can say with all Honesty. "Hi my name is Rob and I'm a blade a'holic".  It was not long after my first few knife builds that I noticed a show on T.V. called Forged in Fire, I took it as a sign from the Gods and sat down to watch. From then on it's been my goal to not just do stock removal, but also learn how to forge my blades. I'm getting there slow, but sure. I've sold a few knives and try to be reasonable about things. Folks seem to like what I've made, so that is a start.


Anyway that's pretty much it. I enjoy this and if I can make a few bucks so much the better, but I mostly work now to support my knife making habit.






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Welcome aboard Rob, glad to have you. Where about in Fox are you? Folk in the lower 48 think that narrows things down but they have no idea how large the Fox area really is.

It's been quite a while since I was through Fox, early '90s maybe. Nice diamond willow country. Have you hooked up with any of the guys in the FBKs area? There are a number but they're not really talkative. Bryan Morgan in North Pole will have a much better line than I do.

How are you set up for blacksmithing?

Frosty The Lucky. 

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Thanks for the welcome, Gentlemen.

I'm north of Fox on the Elliot, in the Haystack area.

There is a local blade smith group that gets together at Mark Knapp's shop, but they meet at night and I live 45 minutes away, I visit with Mark and Angel during the day and pick his brain, but I don't really interact much with the other guys. North Pole is about 1hr and 1/2 from the house.

My shop is getting there. I have a couple chunks  of Railroad track for an anvil. I'm building my first gas forge presently and I cut a hole in the bottom of an old steel dishpan and set in a caste-iron grate in it. Then got a little blower plumbed into some black iron as a coal forge. I still have to build a hood for it. Other than that it's pretty much set up as a Homestead type shop with lots of old tools and a few new ones.

The one draw back, I can't get Fire Insurance out there. So as you can imagine, the wife is terrified of all this hot flame and shooting slag in my old wooden shop. It sits about 10' from the house. If the shop goes the house goes. I must say I can see her point on the matter. I have covered most of the floor with cement board and I am cautions about proceeding huckaldy-buck  into disaster. You see the problem is.......

I don't have to make knives and pound on hot steel, I have to make knives and pound on hot steel.  ;-)    This little hobby of mine has me rethinking my whole life.  LOL 

That little faded red building is my shop. It was the original Homestead, built in the 60's. This is an old picture from the day we moved in, please excuse the mattress.


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Good news, you shouldn't have any trouble at all talking the wife into letting you build a shop farther from the house. :)

Till then try and eliminate nooks and crannies, any little crack or space is exactly where that one errant spark WILL land. Murphy's law demands it. Another thing you can do is make a saturated solution of Borax in water and spray or mop everything with it, let it dry and do it again. It will make wood and such fire resistant, not proof, resistant. sometimes that's all it takes to stop a spark from turning into a fire.

I wouldn't think a 90min. rd trip is that much effort for getting the kind of help and instruction those guys can offer. You ARE just recently hooked so I forgive you. :rolleyes:

Nice country there, is it as dry as I remember? Winters are brutally dry I know but I recall summers being pretty dry as well. I ask because it has bearing in the Forges 101 thread.   

Frosty The Lucky.

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It is a sub-arctic desert here, There are two season up here. Winter and Fire Season. All around us burned back in 07, a few million acres that year.


Looks like summer will be next weekend. We will probably cook out.



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Yeah, we have winter and construction seasons. You're barely SUB arctic, what about 40 miles? Fire season started last weekend here and I'm seeing green here and there. I'd sure like to see some rain, all the undergrowth and forest duff is tinder dry as soon as the snow melts off it. Heck there's hardly any runoff it's melting and soaking in. 

We've had enough dry years for a while, spruce bark beetles are having it too easy. Then again the woodpeckers are getting fat so maybe that's okay. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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