Fathers Day Projects from the Blacksmith Shop

Fathers Day Projects - Brown County Forge

Making Fathers Day projects in the shop!

Before the family cookout in an 87+ degree shop, I had the pleasure to make some Fathers Day projects with the Salupo family today.

They came down from the Indy area to take the Beginners Class. Mom Stacy set it up for her boys and her husband.

In the Beginners Class we usually do one of three projects:

  • J hooks
  • Fire pokers
  • Bar top bottle openers

The guys all opted to make personalized bar top bottle openers like the one below:

Fathers Day Projects - Brown County Forge 2

How we make the bottle openers

  1. We start off with a piece of 3/8-inch square steel bar that is 6 inches long.
  2. After bringing it up to over 1500-degrees Fahrenheit in the forge, we start to draw it out (lengthen and taper it).
  3. Then we curl the tip.
  4. After that comes quenching the tip and bending the loop around the horn of the anvil.
  5. Next is flattening the business end of the bottle opener and curling it over so it can grab a bottle cap and pry it off.
  6. Finally, we put a twist right in the middle for a decorative touch.
  7. After it cools, we heat it with a torch and melt beeswax on it to seal it against rust and moisture.
Fathers Day Projects - Brown County Forge 3
Bottle Opener Handle
Fathers Day - Brown County Forge
Bottle Opener Business End

The whole process from my forging demonstration through finishing their pieces takes between 2 and 3 hours.

This is the typical length of the Beginners Class even if folks have never seen a blacksmith’s forge in action.

It’s pretty amazing to see what people can do with some clear coaching and the freedom to experiment.

A Big Thank You to the Salupo Family!

Fathers Day Class - Brown County Forge

It was great meeting all of you and getting to spend part of Father’s Day swinging hammers and making ironwork.

Dutch Oven Lid Lifter – Student Work

Darin York - Dutch Oven Lid Lifter - Brown County Forge

Former Student Makes His Own Dutch Oven Lid Lifter

Darin took the Beginners Class at Brown County Forge back in April. After the class was over he built his own forge out of an air tank and got to work.

After a very short period of tinkering, he decided to tackle a dutch oven lid lifter, a gift for his dad for Father’s Day.

We sent a couple emails back and forth to talk about tips and tricks for making the bends. Within a week, Darin had it sorted on his first try.

It’s a great project executed admirably. I’m sure his dad will enjoy it!

Darin York - Dutch Oven Lid Lifter 2 - Brown County Forge

Darin fashioned  a wooden handle using the woodworking talent he already had.

Darin York - Dutch Oven Lid Lifter 3 - Brown County Forge

He also put an excellent reverse twist in the handle.


It’s extremely satisfying to see the work that my students create after they take a class. Darin’s work is no exception. He definitely has a knack for it.

Busy Morning in the Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmith Shop - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

Brown County Forge is a full-service blacksmith shop. When weekend classes aren’t in session, we’re making home hardware for folks around the world.

Today was a busy one with a few projects:

  • Door handles for a tiny mobile bakery.
  • Personalized bottle openers and hooks for Etsy.
  • Oar hooks for a customer in Pennsylvania.

Blacksmith Shop Methods

To make each item, Terran heats up pieces of steel that have been cut to specific lengths.

When they’re glowing hot and yellow-orange in color, he starts to bend and shape them with his hammer and anvil.

Depending on the piece, it might take a few heats to make a piece.

A typical hook like you see in the photo above can take as few as 4 heats from start to finish.

  • One heat to flare the ends.
  • A second heat to bend the decorative hook tip.
  • The third heat to quench that tip and make the bend of the hook.
  • And the final fourth heat to undo the quenching and loosen any scale so it can be brushed off.

Simple, Rustic Hardware

Blacksmith Shop - Unbreakable Bottle Opener Close Up - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

Terran likes to keep things simple. To his artistic eye, simple rustic curves and bends are the most beautiful.

A long-time perfectionist, Terran used blacksmithing to train himself to “let things go.” Blacksmithing is good therapy!

The rest of the week at Brown County Forge will be spent cleaning and organizing to get ready for the next set of projects and classes.

Want to see more pictures and videos?

Take a look a the Brown County Forge Facebook page for hundreds of photos and videos. 

What Is a Blacksmith?


Terran Marks - Blacksmith - Brown County Forge

What is a blacksmith?

Who is a blacksmith?

What do blacksmiths do?

A Blacksmith Shapes Hot Steel


Above all else, a blacksmith works with fire and iron-based metal (steel).

The “black” in blacksmith refers to the “black metal” or iron that smiths have worked for millenia.

We take pieces of steel and heat them up to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then using a hammer and anvil, we bend, beat, and shape them into tools, railings, knives, and hardware.

Knife Making Classes Indiana

Over 1 Million Blacksmiths

Estimating the number of blacksmiths in the world is tricky. They are known for making a lot of noise, but not talking much.

You might have a blacksmith in your neighborhood. Someone who tinkers in their garage or barn with a hammer and anvil can call themselves a blacksmith.

The talented people who complete classes at Brown County Forge can call themselves blacksmiths, too.

Rustic and Rugged - Brown County Forge

Different Types of Blacksmiths

There are a lot of different types of blacksmiths out there. Some specialize in a specific area of blacksmithing.

Shipsmiths focus on the hardware used on ships.

Bladesmiths mostly work on blades. Think: Japanese bladesmiths

Architectural Blacksmiths make things like railings, gates, beam brackets, and large hardware for buildings.

Artist-Blacksmiths often make decorative sculptures along with useful items.

Farriers are blacksmiths who shoe horses for a living. This is the most stable blacksmithing specialty in the 21st Century.

Hobby Blacksmiths might dabble in a few different areas.

What Type of Blacksmith Shop is Brown County Forge?

Terran Marks, the owner-blacksmith at BC Forge, is an Artist-Blacksmith. He makes decorative home hardware and teaches.

Architectural Blacksmithing is one of his interests. Shoeing horses is something he respects a lot, but doesn’t have the nerve to try.

If you have questions about blacksmithing or visiting the forge, please contact us!


What is a Blacksmith - Brown County Forge

Historic Anvils Are Hiding In Plain Sight

William Foster Anvil 1833 - Brown County Forge

Two weeks ago, I had a father and son in the Beginners Class. After going through the equipment briefing, we got to talking about old anvils.

Matt, the dad, started describing an anvil they had at home. It had been in the family for quite a while.

He said it had some markings on the side that you could barely make out.

I asked him to text me some photos when he got the chance.

Old Historic Anvils and the English Hundredweight System

A couple days after the class, Matt texted some photos over.

He also told me that he dated the anvil back to 1833 and figured out the manufacturer: William Foster.

One of the photos he sent of the William Foster showed some faint markings:

William Foster - English Hundredweight System - Brown County Forge

It’s hard to read, but it says: “1  1  19”

It would be amazing if we could read those as the weight of this anvil. Sadly, it doesn’t weigh 1,119 pounds.

The 1  1  19  is part of a system developed long ago called the English Hundredweight System.

The first 1 is a single hundredweight or 112 lbs.

The second 1 is a quarter hundredweight or 28 lbs.

The 19 is simply the pounds left over.

To get the total weight, you add the numbers together:

112 + 28 + 19 = 159 lbs.

That’s a decent sized anvil.

Here’s a handy calculator at AnvilFire.com for calculating hundredweight.

William Foster 1833 Anvil - Brown County Forge

Old Anvils are Pieces of History

If you live a long time, you’re bound to show some signs of wear and tear. The same is true for anvils.

This anvil was made in 1833. That’s creeping up on 200 years!

In 1833:

A big Thank You to Matt and Luke for Coming out the Forge and sharing this piece of history!

Father and Son Blackmith Class - Brown County Forge