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Ellis Forge

This forge was built for my by Darren Ellis, who runs Ellis Custom Knife Works. He is a good source for forges, refractory supplies and forge parts, and other hard-to-come-by supplies like Parks quench oils.

The forge measures about 13 inches long and 6 inches wide. With the liner installed, the chamber is only about 3 inches in diameter. It's heated by a small venturi-style burner, which I can control by way of a propane regulator to modulate the gas flow and a choke plate that adjusts air intake. I can crank it up to forge-welding heat or run it steady around 1500 degrees F for heat treating. 

Peter Wright Anvil

My first anvil was an 89-pound Mousehole that I found after some searching on It was a good size for bladesmithing and had a decent rebound to it, but I started looking to upgrade. At the 2008 Ashokan Bladesmithing Seminar, this 141-pound Peter Wright caught my eye. I was originally looking at a smaller (and cheaper) anvil, but Aldo "Steel Baron" Bruno and a couple of the other guys encouraged me to go for the Wright. It was a good decision, and I'm grateful for the arm-twisting.

This thing rang like a bell when I got it. I was worried that it would get to be a problem in my smallish, suburban garage. After I built this stand out of 2x4s, though, I used construction adhesive to stick the anvil in place, and it completely deadened the ringing. Now it just gives satisfying thuds when I'm beating out a blade.

2x72" Belt Grinder

This grinder was built for me by my father-in-law, who has worked for years as a  mechanic and metal-worker. Right now he's building drilling equipment for natural gas exploration, so a lot of the metal for this beast came from the machines he works on. (The base is two pieces of 2x8" channel iron that used to be a bumper.) He likes to build stuff to last, and I think this thing could survive a bomb blast. 

The motor is a single speed, but I can slow it down with a step pulley. The grinder runs smoothly and hasn't given me a bit of trouble--a tribute to his skill. He had never seen a knife grinder before, but I gave him some photos and plans to work from, and he adapted them to the materials he had on hand. I got a kick out of doing a demonstration for him when it was all done so he could see how it worked.

This is the flat platen attachment, which I use for tangs and for flattening out scales. I do most of my hollow grinding on 5-inch and 8-inch contact wheels.

The drive wheels and other miscellaneous parts came from MSC and USA Knife Maker Supply, a small dealer that I highly recommend.


Making Sparks

Me and my grinder in action...