It’s about time for an update from the crew here. My wife has taken on a bigger and more direct role in how we do things in the forge. I’m grateful for her presence and dedication. We fully expected the pandemic to slam our business into the ground but it had the exact opposite effect. This website, and our Etsy shop, helped make 2020 one of our best years yet. That was the impetus for my wife to devote more of her time helping me with Reforged Ironworks.
A trend we noticed last year, despite the obvious move to purchasing online, was the renewed interest in “do-it-yourself” and buying local. This phenomenon helped drive interest in our gardening tools, which has always been the main purpose of creating our business. Also, the crazy increases in material prices for things such as newly manufactured wood and steel has reaffirmed our decision to make as much of our product with old and reclaimed materials.
In a lot of ways, it seemed that we were ahead of the curve. Can we stay ahead of it in the second year of a pandemic and with all the other shifting variables and concerns out there in the world? We won’t know until it’s come and past. I can say with some certainty, however, that not chasing fads and instead staying true to our focus and reason for doing the work we do, i.e. to create heirloom quality garden and homestead tools by hand from reclaimed materials, will most likely see us through any challenges that come our way.
In this video I show the steps I take to finish the forged and tempered hori hori. It’s broken down into four essential steps:
Grind bevels to final shape – using files and/or a bench grinder with various grits of belts, I take the edges down on both sides of the blade to their final shape. The finished angle of the bevel is about 30 degrees, to ensure a robust edge since the knife is used primarily for digging
File serrations into one edge – using a round file, I file in serrations into one edge. This helps with sawing through fibrous roots and woody stems.
Wrap the handle – The handle is wrapped with brightly coloured paracord so that if the knife happens to be left in the garden, it’s easy to spot.
Sharpen the edges – Finally, I use a sharpening stone to get the edges to their final sharpness. I don’t go as far as making the edges razor sharp because they would lose that edge pretty quickly digging in soil anyways. The knife is still sharp enough to cut paper, and it chops through wood readily.
Lorinda demonstrates how the kama is an ideal tool for selective harvesting and cutting of green plants and herbs. Here she is specifically harvesting leaves and flower buds from a comfrey patch.
The kama can be used for many other applications such as harvesting garden greens, squash, and cutting grasses and weeds around trees and other sensitive perennials. To find out more about the kama and how it’s made, visit this page.
Lorinda and I love using this tool around the garden for pretty much any cutting job for herbaceous plants.
It’s harvesting time once again, and here we’re showing you how we get our garlic out of the ground. The broadfork is an indispensable tool for harvesting because it 1) digs up the plant we want and 2) loosens and aerates the soil at the same time and thus prepping the bed for spring all in one go.
Lorinda and the hens are the stars of this video. No music this time as I wanted to highlight how quiet it is working with hand tools as opposed to machinery.
This spring my wife and I recorded us preparing a garden bed for planting using three tools that I make: the broadfork, the russian hoe and the hori hori. Each tool has specific functions that complement one another, culminating in a garden bed that’s weed free and cultivated without putting through the equivalent of a soil blender (powered roto-tiller). We had a bit of fun with this as well!