100 Things: Steel Chopsticks

A few years ago my friend V wheedled and cajoled and talked me into taking a weekend-long blacksmithing workshop in Pittsburgh.

Okay, so she didn’t have to twist my arm that much.

We had a blast! Figuratively AND literally. The place is set up like a camp, with dorms and a dining hall, and the blacksmithing studio was in a converted barn. We each had our own forge, anvil and tools, and we learned how to get the forge started and how to heat the steel and then beat it into various shapes with the hammer and anvil.

V had an agenda – she wanted to make a set of tools for the wood-burning pizza oven that we had made the previous summer. (Yes, I will show pics of that in a future post!) Me, I was along for the fun of it, so I made some fun things, like… Steel Chopsticks!

These were made from 1/4″ square steel stock. I used the hammer and anvil to taper the end to a pretty fine point, then heated the other end and twisted it in a vise. Aren’t they cool? The instructor and her assistants thought so, and I ended up bartering a pair with the one guy for a tiny slice of Damascus steel that he and his brother were making for a sword (!) I made some other cool things too:

Everyone made the hooks, that was how we learned all the techniques. I made four sets of chopsticks (I bartered one pair and gave a set to for a birthday present), three hooks and two kebab skewers.
My Adventure with Blacksmithing!

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