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A new video series: Forge Diaries

Forge diaries are rough and unpolished videos that allow me to post more frequent updates of some of the work I do at the forge. Similar to the videos, the work at the forge is unpolished, too. You will see frequent failures, experiments and the occasional tips and tricks.

The first epsiode starts with an explosion, literally, but then cover a few other items. Find out more at:

Categories: Forge Diaries, Hacking

Turning Crucible Steel into a Wootz Seax


This Wootz Seax is the first knife we made from our crucible steel. The bolster is copper and bone decorated with a dot and ring motif. The hilt is ironwood left over from a flooring project. The overall length of the knife is about 14 inches with a blade Length of 7 1/4 inches and a blade with of 1 5/8 inches. The steel pattern is very subtle and not easily seen on the photo.

As usual, I also documented the crafting process in a video:
Categories: News

Making Wootz Steel


Our experiments in creating crucible steel with a composition similar to ancient Wootz steel are continuing. In this video, we show the process of making a Wootz ingot and our first successful forging of the ingot into a bar. Our crucibles are charged with wrought iron from wagon tires, pulverized charcoal, some O1 tool steel, calcium carbonate and glass. Watch the video for all the details.
Categories: Hacking

Phone call with a Heavily-Accented Phisher

or How I failed to get the whole story

I am lying on the bed with a stomach bug when the phone is ringing. It says 544 Unknown Name. The following is an abbreviated recollection of the phone call.

Woman: Hello. This is a computer support call. Are you the owner of a Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer?

Me: Thanks for calling.

Woman: Are you the owner of a Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer.

Me: Yes, I own the computer I am using.

Woman: Can you look at your keyboard. In the left bottom corner do you have a key that says CTRL.

Me: I turned off the computer. Do you want me to turn it back on.

Woman: Yes, turn the computer back on. Let me know when it is ready.

Me: OK. I pressed the power button. It says it’s booting.

Deliberate pause for dramatic accent. I wait about 30 seconds. During the whole phone call, I managed to turn the computer off at least 5 times.

Me: It says user name now. What shall I do?

Woman: What is your user name and password. Continue reading "Phone call with a Heavily-Accented Phisher"
Categories: Hacking
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Crucible Steel


Our first experiments with creating crucible steel. The video shows the first run in which we melt wrought iron at 3000F. The ultimate goal is to create crucible steel with high carbon content that can be forged into swords.
Categories: Hacking

Casting a forge-shell from Kast-O-Lite 30 LI

Here are some pictures of my recent forge rebuild. When I originally started to look into refractory concrete as an option, I noticed that there were not a lot of articles on the web describing the process of casting a forge shell from refractory concrete. While many of the steps are pretty straightforward and do not significantly differ from using regular concrete, some people might still find my experience with using Kast-O-Lite 30 LI useful. My need for a new forge arose after some extended forge welding and bloom consolidation caused the roof of my previous forge to cave in. After thinking of different ways to construct a new forge, I decided to go with refractory concrete as it can take more abuse than the kaowool based solution I had employed previously. Kast-O-Lite 30 LI seemed like it fit the bill with a maximum use temperature of 3000F which is not something I am likely to reach unless I am over boiling iron. For general forging, Kast-O-Lite 26 would have been better suited as it provides better heat insulation but I had the 30 LI concrete available. Here is an outline of the process:

The construction used five pieces of concrete: Two sides, one roof, and two pegs. Where the pieces met, I had to split the angle, so used 22.5 degrees on each side of the different pieces. The end result was going to be a shell that would support itself. The first step was creating the forms from 2x4 and some wooden boards. The forge itself is about 13in long, and about 9in high. To get the angles, I used a bandsaw with a swiveling table that I could dial to 22.5 degrees. The measurements that determines the spacing of the pieces were all done on the outside and piece of 2x4 was attached to the board with wood screws. Here is how they looked like.


Continue reading "Casting a forge-shell from Kast-O-Lite 30 LI"
Categories: News
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