7 Best Blacksmith Forges in 2022

Jeffrey
December 15, 2021
Best Blacksmith Forges

Let’s be honest here. All knives, be they pocket, hunting, or cooking knives, are absolutely badass. However, there’s nothing cooler than an automatic knife that slides out with a push of a button. 

Unfortunately, these knives can get a little expensive, but being a knife-enthusiast myself, I’ve done some digging around and found some great automatic knives that cost less than $50, the best of which is the Smith & Wesson 8.6-Inch In Knife.

Not only does this knife have an edgy and modern look, but it’s also quite sturdy and comes with a reliable safety lock. Best of all, it has a rubber handle that prevents it from slipping, but you can still take it out in mere seconds in case of an emergency due to its pocket clip. 

Now, if your knife enthusiasm doesn’t just stop at buying excellent knives and you’ve fallen in love with the idea of making your own knife, then as a beginner, you first have to know which type of steel to use. 

Moreover, you need to choose a good blacksmith forge, gas or otherwise, that’ll allow you to make the knife of your dreams. Accordingly, I’ve listed below 7 of the best forges in 2021, and at the end of the article, you’ll find a small buying guide that’ll help you make your final decision. 

Here Are the Best Blacksmith Forges – Tried & Tested

1. Hell’s Forge MAX Propane Forge

Hell's Forge MAX Propane Forge

If you’re a beginner knife maker and you’ve never set up and used a forge by yourself, then Hell’s Forge MAX Propane Forge will be an excellent choice to get you started. This forge is extremely easy to set up, unlike many other forges. As such, a quick look at the instructions will be all you need.

Furthermore, it’s highly fuel-efficient and comes with everything you may need for making knives or any other small-scale project. To top it off, this forge is lightweight and easy to move and maneuver, making it perfect for people who have to constantly travel and move around, such as farriers who fit horses for metal shoes. 

Still, don’t let this forge’s portability make you think it’s not large enough for knife-making. Quite the opposite, it’s just the right size for making knives, and its design allows the steel to always be in the fire’s “sweet spot.”

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Hell’s Forge
  • Country of Origin: ‎USA
  • Item Weight: ‎29 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: ‎19 x 8 x 8 inches
  • Material: ‎Steel
  • Color: Black
  • Power Source: ‎Propane
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2300°F 
  • Included Components: ‎Forge, 2 burner assemblies, ceramic blanket, regulator, 2 firebricks, 1 container of HELLCOAT 3000 refractory cement

Pros

  • High-quality forge with top-notch construction
  • Easy to set up
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Company provides excellent customer service 

Cons

  • Exterior is sometimes not adequate due to shipping issues 

2. 15KW 30-80 KHz High Frequency Induction Heater Furnace 220 V

15KW 30-80 KHz High Frequency Induction Heater Furnace 220 V

For a high-end forge, consider getting the 15KW 30-80 KHz High Frequency Induction Heater Furnace. Honestly, this furnace can melt almost anything, so if you like to work with stainless steel, aluminum, or even silver and gold, you can be at ease and know that this furnace will serve you well.

Impressively, it can work for a full 24 hours with no problem, and it also comes with numerous excellent features, the best of which is being able to adjust the heating, cooling, and insulating times individually. 

Even more impressively, it has an infrared temperature detector that ensures the best possible temperature control. Finally, this furnace can work with both MOSFET and IGBT transistors, and it has a status display to inform you of any problems that may occur. 

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: ‎U.S Solid
  • Country of Origin: ‎USA
  • Item Weight: ‎70.5 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: ‎20.5 x 17.3 x 9.1 inches 
  • Color: Black
  • Power Source: Electricity 
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2192°F
  • Input Voltage: Single Phase, 220V
  • Output Power: 7 KW
  • Fluctuating Frequency: 30-80 kHz
  • Fluctuating Heating Current: 200-600 A
  • Thermal Insulation Current: 200-600 A
  • Cooling Timing: 1-99 s (auto)
  • Thermal Insulation Timing: 1-99 s (auto)
  • Heating Timing: 1-99 s (auto)
  • Flow Rate of Cooling Water: 7.5 L/Min, 0.06-0.12 Mpa
  • Lift of Cooling Water: ≥ 30 m
  • Water Temp. Protection Point: 104°F
  • Included Components: Induction heater, 40 x 18 mm heating coil, footswitch, user manual

Pros

  • Perfect for heating up steel quickly and efficiently
  • Cleaner than a gas furnace or torch
  • Great for melting precious metals 
  • Provides constant working temperature 
  • Consumes minimal amounts of energy
  • Has adjustable frequencies

Cons

  • Vendor doesn’t always respond to customer calls
  • Only has a maximum output power of 7 KW

3. Mini Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge

Mini Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge

If you’re not a fan of electric or gas forges, then the Mini Whitlox Wood-fired Forge will be just the thing for you. This forge can work with both wood and charcoal, and its trench-shaped design is unquestionably ingenious. 

I say so because such a design allows the heat to become concentrated at the bottom of the forge as it makes its way down from the fuel burning at the top. Consequently, when you come to place your metals at the bottom, you’ll find that they heat up in no time.

Additionally, this forge comes with firebricks to further concentrate the heat. As such, you can easily work with most metals using this forge, but you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged from the resultant heat as it comes with an effective Kaowool insulator. 

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: ‎Whitlox Homestead
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Item Weight: ‎40 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: ‎13 x 9 x 12 inches
  • Material: 11 gauge steel 
  • Color: Black 
  • Power Source: Raw wood or charcoal 
  • Max. Heating Temperature: Unspecified, but hot enough to melt steel
  • Included Components: Steel body, firebricks, Kaowool insulator, bolts 

Pros

  • Small size makes it perfect for limited working spaces
  • Can use either raw wood or charcoal
  • Has a removable back so that a bar can easily be placed across the fire 

Cons

  • A bit difficult to assemble due to vague instructions, but company has tutorial on Youtube
  • Forge can sometimes have missing or broken parts, but company will provide replacements
  • Doesn’t come with a blower, stand, or hood 

4. Hell’s Forge Portable Propane Forge

Hell's Forge Portable Propane Forge

Another great product by Hell’s Forge is their Portable Propane Forge. This forge is just the right size for knife-making, and it can reach the perfect temperature to melt steel quite quickly due to its one-of-a-kind oval design. 

Additionally, it comes with a ceramic fiber blanket and a full-sized firebrick to ensure proper heat distribution and insulation. 

Still, the best thing about it is that it’s so easy to assemble and set up. All you have to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you can get started right away. 

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: ‎Hell’s Forge
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Item Weight: ‎23 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 10 x 8.75 x 8.13 inches
  • Material: 1/8″ roll-formed steel body
  • Color: ‎Black
  • Power Source: ‎Propane
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2300°F 
  • Included Components: ‎Forge, 1 burner assembly, ceramic blanket, regulator, 1 firebrick, 1 container of powdered HELLCOAT 3000 refractory cement

Pros

  • Portable
  • Has low fuel consumption
  • Provides excellent heat production and distribution
  • Handle doesn’t get too hot to touch

Cons

  • Refractory powder has to be applied by the user, which can be tricky for a beginner
  • Gas line is a bit too short

5. Blacksmiths Single Burner Propane Forge

Blacksmiths Single Burner Propane Forge

Blacksmiths Single Burner Propane Forge is the real deal when it comes to gas-powered forges, and I’ll tell why. First off, its size makes it easy to transport, yet it still provides the perfect space needed for making knives and other small-scale blacksmithing projects. 

Secondly, it can go up to a maximum heating temperature of 2600°F, and the fire will always be a bright blue color due to the high-quality air-choke valve and nozzle that ensure the perfect union between air and fuel. So, not only will the forge get quite hot, but it’ll also decrease the amount of oxidation and scaling that may happen to your metals.

Still, you’ll never have to worry about this forge getting damaged from the high temperatures as it comes with dependable ceramic fiber insulation as well as a firebrick to prevent high-velocity firing. 

To wrap it up, this forge comes with a metal holding stand, which is something that other forges don’t include, even though it can make your blacksmithing project a bit easier and smoother. 

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: ‎Spectra Overseas
  • Country of Origin: ‎India
  • Item Weight: ‎24.5 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 11 inches
  • Material: ‎Mild steel
  • Color: Black 
  • Power Source: Propane
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2600°F
  • Included Components: Forge body, single burner, air-choke valve, gas-inlet pipe, gas hose, firebrick, gas regulator, Teflon tape, metal stand, user manual

Pros

  • Heats up pretty fast
  • Simple to assemble and use
  • Withstands direct flame
  • Minimal scaling and oxidation

Cons

  • Gas pressure regulator isn’t suitable for all countries
  • Stand doesn’t sit well but can be fixed with a few tools

6. USA Cast Master Elite Portable Double Burner Forge

USA Cast Master Elite Portable Double Burner Forge

If you’re looking for a forge that’s highly effective and simple to operate, then go with the USA Cast Master Elite Portable Double Burner Forge. It has everything you need to make knives, tools, or jewelry, from fast heat generation to stable heat distribution. 

Moreover, it’s very beginner-friendly and comes with simple but detailed instructions that’ll allow any person to put it together in a matter of minutes. 

Of course, once you do set it up, you’ll be impressed by its performance and solid construction. Just take care that the forge is made out of conventional steel, not stainless steel, as many users have been mistaken about this point and were disappointed when they found out it wasn’t made of stainless steel.

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: CAST MASTERS
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Item Dimensions: 21 x 13.8 x 13.6 inches
  • Item Weight: 37 pounds
  • Material: Heavy steel
  • Color: Silver
  • Power Source: Propane
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2000°F
  • Included Components: CMF 2000 forge, 2 burner air-intake pipes, gas regulator, firebricks

Pros

  • Comes with CSA-certified gas regulator to ensure proper heat maintenance
  • Oval design and vertical firing system allow fast and even flame exposure
  • Comes with Kaowool insulation and firebricks

Cons

  • Finishing touches aren’t great
  • Kaowool isn’t treated with refractory material

7. FASTTOBUY 6 KG Propane Melting Furnace

FASTTOBUY 6 KG Propane Melting Furnace

My last pick for the best blacksmith forges of this year is the FASTTOBUY Propane Melting Furnace. This product can work with not only propane but liquified and natural gases as well. Furthermore, it’s ideal for melting precious and non-precious metals alike, so whether you’re working with gold, silver, copper, or aluminum, this furnace will have you covered. 

Now, to talk about its unique features, you should know that it comes with a spacious graphite crucible that’ll allow you to quickly melt and pour any metal you’re working with. 

To give you an idea about how big it is, the crucible can hold about 12 Kg of gold or 6 Kg of copper. Similarly, the ingot mold that comes with this furnace can contain a significant amount of metal measuring up to 2.2 Kg of gold and 1 Kg of copper. 

However, what’s really impressive about this furnace is that it can reach a temperature close to 2300°F in no time, giving you a completely melted metal in under 20 minutes. All in all, I’d recommend this product to any novice or expert knife maker.

Key Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: FASTTOBUY
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Item Weight: 16.53 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 15.2 x 14.4 x 14.2 inches, 6 Kg crucible, and 113 ml mold
  • Material: Metal and graphite 
  • Color: Black
  • Power Source: Propane 
  • Max. Heating Temperature: 2372°F
  • Included Components: Propane furnace, single burner set, crucible, ingot mold, audible gas regulator, tongs, high-temperature gloves, user manual 

Pros

  • Made of natural graphite, which is an excellent heat-tolerating material
  • Comes with 2-inch ceramic cotton lining and 1-inch refractory coating
  • Crucible has huge capacity
  • Comes with high-quality burner and 18-inch steel tongs allowing safe and easy maneuvering of crucible
  • Can melt any metal with melting point under 2372°F

Cons

  • Gas connector and gas regulator aren’t of best quality
  • Gas line is a bit short

Buying Guide: What Should You Consider When Buying a Forge?

If you’ve fallen in love with creating metal tools from scratch and you want to get your own forge, then there are some factors you should consider before going ahead with your purchase. 

As you know, forges aren’t all that cheap, and if you get one that doesn’t suit your purposes, you’ll only end up wasting your time and money.

So, what exactly should you think about and look for when buying a forge? Let’s take a look, shall we? 

Power Source, Intended Usage, and Maintenance

The power source of any forge can significantly impact its usage. For instance, solid-fuel forges like wood, coal, and coke forges can reach higher temperatures than gas ones, making them ideal for forge welding and large projects that need a long time. 

However, they can be a bit hard to prepare and maintain, and that’s why they’re generally not recommended for beginners. For instance, they require constant cleaning and proper selection of the size and amount of fuel. Moreover, the resultant ash needs to be constantly cleared out to prevent the blockage of the air course.

Alternatively, gas forges are absolutely great for novice blacksmiths and metal workers. Not only are they easy to set up, but they’re also easy to use and require minimal training. 

However, they’re usually relatively compact, which makes them only suitable for farriers or people who do small-scale metal-working projects like jewelry and knife makers. 

Still, gas forges are much cleaner than coal ones as they burn without leaving any ashes or residues. So, if you don’t want to have frequent cleaning sessions for your forge, then go with a gas-powered one. In addition, gases like propane are readily available at any grocery store.

Of course, an electric furnace, also known as an induction forge, can be another great option if you want to choose a mess-free forge. However, keep in mind that this type of forge is usually much more expensive than its gas and solid-fuel counterparts.

Safety

Solid-fuel forges are typically more dangerous than gas or electric furnaces. This is primarily due to the hazards of having an open fire as well as the possibility of the fuel accidentally catching on fire. That’s why it’s essential that you take safety and fire management training before operating a solid-fuel forge. 

Moreover, you should always use a hood or a windshield with these types of forges when working outside to reduce the chance of any mishaps.

Now, it’s perfectly fine if you want to operate such a forge within a building. Bringing a solid-fuel forge inside can certainly limit the effects of mother nature and make using this forge a bit safer. However, you’ll have to purchase a chimney to ensure you don’t choke on the smoke.

Finally, whether you’re working inside or outside, you have to thoroughly clean your forge after finishing your work to make sure no stray fuel is still burning. 

As you can see, operating a solid-fuel forge needs various safety measures and precautions. So, if you feel that you’re not up to the task, then get a gas forge and take the safety issue off your hands.

Temperature Control 

If your work requires meticulous temperature control, then you can never go wrong with an electric furnace. Solid-fuel sources can also provide reasonable control, but they need quite a bit of training before you get the hang of it. 

On the other hand, gas forges aren’t really built for fine control, but they can provide one hell of a fire in practically no time.

That being so, it’s essential you know what’s more important for you to have in a forge so that you can make the correct choice.

Size, Available Workspace, and Mobility 

Now, you can’t go buying a forge without considering its size.

For example, if you’re going to make a large-sized construction, then you can’t exactly buy a small forge. 

Likewise, buying a sizable forge just to make a knife or an earring is an equally bad idea. Not only will you end up wasting a lot of time and fuel, but you’ll also have a harder time managing the forge. 

The space in which you’ll set up your forge is another thing that’ll determine how big of a forge you can get, so make sure to take the measurements of your workspace and the forge you’re getting.

Of course, if you do on-site jobs or trade shows, then make sure to choose something light and compact that’s easy to assemble and disassemble and with handles to ease transportation.

However, if you’re going to set up a blacksmithing shop, then it is best to get a heavier and sturdier forge that’ll last you a long time for better stability and flexibility, especially when working with heavier metals.

Cost 

Your budget will be a notable determining factor when it comes to deciding on which type of forge to get. It’s not just the cost of the actual forge, but you also need to consider the cost of the fuel required to run the forge. 

In general, gas forges are the cheapest of the bunch as their fuel is readily available and less expensive than other types of fuels. Conversely, induction forges can be pretty pricey and will rack up quite the electricity bill. Solid-fuel forges lie somewhere in the middle between the other two, but they can cost a pretty penny depending on their quality.

You could also consider buying a used forge to save some of the cost but be sure that you check the age of the forge and the wear and tear on it. The cost of a used forge can sometimes be close to that of a new one because of the high demand, so weigh up your options, and if the difference is that close, then you’d be better off buying a new forge.

What Type of Fuel Is Best for Blacksmithing?

What Type of Fuel Is Best for Blacksmithing?

Weirdly enough, you’ll find that no two individuals can agree on the best type of fuel for blacksmithing. Each person has something that they prefer to work with, and honestly, they’re entitled to their opinion. 

To tell the truth, you can’t decide on the best type of fuel for blacksmithing as it all comes down to what the fuel will be used to make. 

For instance, I’ve found that gas forges are best suited for knife making and for blacksmiths who are just starting out. However, solid-fuel forges that use wood, coal, coke, barbeque briquettes, or charcoal are much more appropriate for forge welding and should only be used by experienced blacksmiths, or, at least, under the watchful eye of one. 

To reiterate, there’s no one fuel that’s considered the absolute best. Just find the fuel that’s right for you, and you’ll be fine. Some factors that can help you make your decision are a fuel’s burn time, maximum heating temperature, specific energy, and, most importantly, the resultant smoke/environmental effect.

So, make sure to look into those things if you’re having a hard time deciding between two fuels, and you can always ask the established blacksmiths around you for their expert opinion. 

Verdict

It can be extremely challenging having to choose a forge nowadays due to the numerous options available. However, now that you’ve read this article, you hopefully have a much better understanding of which type of forge you’ll need for your knife-making endeavors. 

Generally, for knife lovers and makers, I’d recommend Hell's Forge MAX Propane Forge or Blacksmiths Single Burner Propane Forge. These forges work quite well, and they’re just the right size for making a knife.

Nevertheless, if you’re not a fan of gas forges, then you can go with 15KW 30-80 kHz High-Frequency Induction Heater Furnace from U.S Solid or the Mini Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge. Whatever forge you decide to go with, just make sure it suits your budget, but, otherwise, you can rest assured that any of these forges will allow you to make one hell of a knife. 

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