Jonathan Ward

I developed a severe metalworking obsession in high school. To satisfy my craving, I made several charcoal fired forges and even the propane forge that is pictured below. Sadly, I could not take all my equipment with me when I moved to California after college. Land is really expensive in California and I knew that I wouldn't have any space where I could work safely.

I designed the forge with inspiration from Ron Reil's forge website. The body was made out of a steel 5 gallon paint bucket with steel legs. I think the legs turned out really great considering that I made them by bending steel stock in a bench vise. The forge was lined with a refractory called Kaowool, which is supposed to be a safe asbestos replacement. From working with it, however, it seems to be just as dangerous as asbestos. There were warnings all over the packaging about breathing it in. Also, if any of the fibers got on your skin, they would itch like crazy for several days. It was truly nasty stuff.