A forged fork is a great project to get started with blacksmithing and make a practical utensil for your kitchen while you’re at it. This is one of our favorite beginner blacksmithing projects–so much so that students learn how to forge their own cutlery set in The Crucible’s Blacksmithing I. Before you pick up the hammer, see the steps below to get started forging your own fork from iron.
Beginner’s Guide To Blacksmithing A Forged Fork
Metal wire brush
Ball peen hammer
Step one: Taper the fork handle
Start with a bar of ¼ inch by ½ inch, and about 4 to 6 inches long. Mark one end of your steel with a center punch in two places: on the very edge and two inches from the edge.
Use flat stock tongs to put the end without the center punch in the forge. Hold it at the taper angle and swing with angled blows until the tip is 3/16 of one inch. Taper to one inch from the center punch, maintaining ¼ inch thickness.
Step two: Shape the neck
Place the edge on the anvil horn to match the hammer radius, midway between the wide end of taper and center punch. Forge the neck to about ½ inch on one side. Flatten neck back to ¼ inch thick.
Place the neck on the horn and forge to less than ½ inch on the wide side. Shape and flatten to ¼ inch thick. Chamfer all four edges. Use the anvil face to taper and the anvil horn for the neck. Flatten all faces with a flat-faced hammer.
Step three: Hot cut the prongs
Secure your piece, center punch face-up, on the faceplate close to the edge of the horn. Line up the flat-edged hot cut with the center punch marks. Hit the hot cut to mark it. Check the placement. Realign if necessary and strike hard. Reset and strike until cut through. Flip the piece and cut it at the union.
Step four: Taper the prongs
Place all of the hot cut material off the face of the anvil. Strike one of the prongs until it is bent at 90 degrees. Rotate it 180 degrees and bend it back to ½ inch from the face. Square then taper the edges from ⅛ to 3/16 of one inch.
Mark the finished length from the edge of the anvil next to the hardy. Work the edges to an octagon, then round. Mark the finished length. Reheat the piece in the forge. Bend the fork prong out of the way to move the flat piece out to taper. Taper from ⅜ to 1/16 of one inch over the distance marked first on the anvil. Reheat in the forge. Work the edges into an octagon, then round to the second length marked on the anvil. Reheat.
Step five: Shape the prongs
Open the prongs to a “Y” shape with both prongs the same angle from the centerline, about 30 degrees. Place the “Y” shape upside-down over the anvil horn and strike the handle end to shape the union. Reheat.
Bend the small curve over the horn away from the centerline. Bend a large curve toward the centerline, so the tips are parallel, about ½ of one inch from the centerline. Place the prongs over the edge of the anvil. Bend down about 15 degrees. Rotate 180 degrees and bend the neck to suit. Now it’s starting to look like a forged fork!
Step six: Finishing
Reheat your forged fork in the forge. Use a metal wire brush to scrape off the slag, the scale that forms from repeatedly heating steel. Directly after removing the slag, repeatedly dip your fork in a bucket of oil to protect it. Once completely covered, if necessary, hold it next to the forge until it turns a matte black.
You now have a completely unique forged fork! Use your new fork on your next project in the kitchen.
The Crucible is a fine and industrial arts nonprofit in Oakland, CA that teaches classes in blacksmithing, ceramics, neon, glass blowing, and more. In these guides, we collect the expertise of our 150+ faculty and master craftspeople to share with anyone interested in learning how to make their own objects by hand.