If you’re a beginner blacksmith looking to get started, something that you can’t do without is a proper forge. Now, I’ve written before on how you can set up your own DIY forge for around $100. However, at some point, you’re going to need to invest in a proper blacksmith forge of some kind.
Serious work requires the proper tools for the job. Now, I’ll freely admit that even the cheaper forges on the market will set you back a few hundred dollars, if not more. However, at some point in your blacksmithing career, you’re going to have to make the switch to using proper equipment.
Overall, the best blacksmith forges for beginners are the Simond’s Portable Gas Burner, the Hell’s Forge HF2 burner, the Majestic Forget 2 Burner Deluxe, and the Atlas Mini forge.
September 2021 Update: Simond’s Portable Gas Burner
I wrote this article back in 2020, but since then, I’ve changed my list a bit. Although all of these forges are still fantastic, I wanted to include one more forge right now while I still can. I’ll tell you why in a second.
Simond’s Store has a portable, double-burner, knifemaking forge that I think has become my new favorite. It’s small, light, and easy to carry. As far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty much an equivalent, if not better, version of the Hell’s Forge Burner you’ll read about in a minute.
Why am I recommending it now in 2021?
Firstly, it’s cheaper than the Hell’s Forge. Around $100 cheaper. You can buy one for around $200, instead of the $300+ you’ll pay for a Hell’s Forge.
Secondly, you can get a Simond’s Double Gas Burner shipped to you almost anywhere around the world. In contrast, the Hell’s Forge burner is made in the U.S., and can only be shipped domestically.
As far as I’m concerned, as of September 2021, Simond’s Double Burner is easily the best forge I’d recommend to beginner blacksmiths.
1. Hell’s Forge HF2 Burner
If there was a single forge I could recommend, it’s the Hell’s Forge. Not only is this little thing extremely easy to use for beginners, it’s also very portable and easy to move. Most of the time, forges can be a hassle to transport. But this particular Hell’s Forge HF2 Burner remains one of the best forges money can buy.
You can read the details for yourself, but it’s not that heavy, around 25 pounds, and is 20 inches by 12 inches. It’s not massive, by any means, but for the vast majority of projects out there, a two-foot forge is more than enough for what need.
It’s double-burner, propane-powered (gas) forge, so you won’t need to deal with messy coals. Maximum temperatures can go up to 2,300 Fahrenheit, and it can heat up to maximum temperature in around ten minutes. The one downside is that the shape of the forge lends itself more towards longer, slender projects, like forging blades. If you’re interested in working with bulkier objects, it might be a little awkward getting it to fit inside the forge. However, it’s a tiny grievance for what’s otherwise an excellent blacksmithing forge for beginners.
Best of all, the price is fairly decent. On Amazon, you can find Hell’s Forge HF2 for around $250 or so, depending on where you live.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s a pretty darn good deal.
2. Majestic Burner Knifemaker Deluxe
While the fellas over at Majestic Forge’s might call this thing a knifemaker, it’s still large enough that you can do a variety of projects with it. Also a double-burner, propane-powered forge, the Majestic Burner Knifemaker Deluxe is a fair bit more expensive than the Hell Forge showed above. Coming in at $350, not including shipping and handling, you’re going to end up paying a fair bit for this blacksmiths forge.
However, it’s a pretty high-quality forge that’s also a fair bit larger as well. Coming in at 17 inches by 13 inches, it’s the largest forge on this list. It’s also the heaviest as well, around 45 pounds. As such, it’s definitely not as easy to move as the Hell’s Forge, but you can also find many heavier forges out there as well.
For beginners, it’s recommended to keep to smaller forges until you better know what you’re doing. If you feel like you need some more size and aren’t as worried about moving your forge around, then the Majestic Forge Knifemaker Deluxe could be a good fit for you. Just be prepared to fork out close to $400 in total to buy it. In comparison, the miniature Hell’s Forge would cost half that amount, all expenses included.
3. Atlas Knifemaker Forge
When you look at the Atlas Forge in comparison to the other two on this list, it definitely looks like a forge designed for blades. From knives, swords, to other long objects, this forge is perfect if you’re looking to make something along those lines. The chamber itself is around 11 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter, with a maximum temperature of 2,500 Fahrenheit.
While it definitely is a smaller forge with less in the way of chamber space, it is quite light, coming in at less than 20 pounds. That’s to be expected for dedicated knifemaking forges, as they tend to be smaller.
Of course, just because this is blacksmith forge is meant for knives and blades doesn’t mean it can’t be used for anything else. Ornaments, basic farm tools, or anything else you can imagine can likely fit in the chamber as well. However, for something more complicated that involves plenty of bending (horseshoes, perhaps), then things could get a little tricky for you.
The price for the Atlas Knifemaker is around $295, roughly in the middle between the Hell’s Forge and the Majestic Burner.
What Do I Recommend?
If I could go back in time a few years ago, I wish I would have bought something close to the Simond’s Double Gas Burner. Don’t get me wrong, double-burners are great, but even a small, single-burner forge is good enough for what most beginners need. At the same time, it’s light enough to move around and transport if needed, and definitely is on the cheap side.
In the end, any of these blacksmith forges will do well for beginners looking to get started. They are all much better for beginners than the many $500, $700, or even $1,000 forges out there.
The one thing you will notice is that I haven’t included any coal forges on this list. While in the long run, it would likely be less expensive going for coal than it is with gas, I think it’s easier for beginners to use a gas forge is they are able to. It’s a personal preference. You can definitely out for a simple coal forge (or even make a basic DIY version). However, if you’re willing to fork out money on a forge, go for gas.
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