I wanted to see what my mini forge could do in terms of heating metal. I wondered if it would get hot enough for me to actually do some forging. So I decided to try and make some bottle openers out of a broken bar clamp. I figured this way I could practice forging while also making something. In this instructable I also use a brass "coating" technique I saw on a You Tube channel that I watch. The channel I saw it on is called Renaud Bauer - Createur. Check it out he is a great fabricator and has some cool projects. It is a simple technique that can give pretty cool results.
In total I was able to make three bottle openers out of one 12 inch bar clamp. Two I forged the shape on, the third I just cut away excess material and used my sander to shape it. While I was able to do some forging, if you can even call it that, I would love to upgrade to a larger and hotter forge. The steel did get just above red hot to about orange in color so it does get hot but I wouldn't say its ideal for this application. Now on to the write up.
Video of the build:
This is the 12 inch bar from a bar clamp, I heated it up to about red hot and began to try and shape the metal. I am new to forging and wasn't quite sure where I was going with this mainly I just wanted to hammer on the metal and see what it did and how it moved.
I decided to try and close up the holes on the end of the bar and try to compact the metal to make it more square.
As I was working the metal I decided that I would add a twist, one to see how difficult it would be but also because I planned to add a separate flat bottle opener to the end. I needed it to be perpendicular to the handle hence the twist. At this point I also cut off the excess material.
As with many projects I changed my mind and didn't like the way the twist looked so I cut it off. It made the whole piece too long and just didn't look proportional. Time for plan "B".
Since I changed my plan I decided to see if I could flare out the end slightly to give it more of a wedge shape. I didn't want it too flared. I just wanted it to follow the lines that were already there.
I also knew that I wanted to add a slight curve to the bottle opener. I've discovered that I really like the look and feel of a curved handle its hard to explain but to me it just feels right in the hand.
I took a bottle opener that I made a while ago https://www.instructables.com/id/Bottle-Opener-From-Table-Saw-Blade/ and traced the profile of the mouth on to my latest build.
I used my angle grinder to cut out the rough shape of the opener. Then I used several files to refine the shape of the opening. This was a little difficult since the opening was somewhat small. I also used a file to round over the edges and make them a little more comfortable on the hand.
Using some 150 grit and 220 grit sandpaper I sanded everything smooth. I left the tool marks since that was the look I was going for; I wanted it to look like it was hand forged and somewhat primitive.
I put a wire brush in my drill press and cleaned up the bottle opener a little more. This really made the whole piece 'pop' and gave it a real finished look.
To add the brass coating I heated up the bottle opener with a propane torch and scrubbed it with a brass brush. This was a bit of an experiment for me, I first saw Renaud Bauer - Createur do this on his You tube channel and thought it was really cool and wanted to give it a try.
Here is his video if you want to see how he does it.
It is very simple to do you just have to get the piece hot enough to melt the brass on to the metal. I don't know exactly what temperature it has to get too I would just heat the metal with the torch for a while and then scrub it with the brass brush. If it was hot enough the brass stuck if not it wouldn't so I would heat it up more and try again. It was very much a trial and error type of process.
Here is the finished piece.
This one I made using the same forging technique but did not add the brass coating.
This one I did not forge except for the curve. I used my angle grinder and sanders to shape and finish this bottle opener.
A shot of all 3 bottle openers that I made from one 12 inch bar clamp bar.