Paint can forge

I’ve always wanted to get into backyard blacksmithing.  I finally found the time to make a small forge.


Paint can (clean one) – I got mine from Rona.  $7 seemed expensive and you can probably find it cheaper somewhere else.

Furnace Cement –  High temperature cement.  Also found mine at Rona.  Was $16

Ceramic fiber matting – I ordered this one off ebay.  You want enough to line the bottom and the whole outside.

Propane Torch – Typical propane torch…  Not sure how else to explain it.


I started with drilling a hole into the can about 2″ above the bottom.  I used a small drill bit and increased the size to make the larger hole.    Eventually it was large enough to fit the fitting into it.  It doesn’t matter right now if there is gaps around it.  We will deal with that later. It will just need to be someone secure.

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I got pretty dirty doing this.


Once I had it inside there I took the blow torch and heated up around the fitting.  This made the metal malleable and able to bend easily.  Once it was warm I stuck a screwdriver into it to bend it.  Worked like a charm and it was now aimed more to the side instead of straight into the middle.


















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Next up I took the ceramic fabric matting and lined the inside. I cut the bottom one to fit.  Unfortunately I didn’t order enough to completely circle the sides, so I took the edges I cut off the bottom and stuck them in the gaps.  It worked well but it isn’t the best solution and next time I’ll do better.

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After lining the can it’s time to use that fancy cement you bought.  Add some water to make it a little easier to work with.  The fabric matting will soak up a lot so you may need several coats of this stuff.  to make it work.  Do the bottom first, then put in the matting on the sides and do those.  I also put some around the fitting on the outside.  This is why I said gaps didn’t matter that much because they would be sealed by the cement.  It’s a big gooey mess.



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Drying time is dependent on your brand.  Some brands say 24 hours, mine unfortunately seemed to take 72 hours.  it also needs to be heated to cured properly. Luckily its a forge and heating just kind of goes with it.  The cement changes colour when curing and turns a lighter grey.  It also bubbled a little bit as you can see in the pictures..

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I had some issues with the blow torch not staying on initially as I was lighting the torch outside and sticking the end into the fitting.  Once I stuck the torch in first and lit it from the inside it worked perfectly.  Now to figure out what to make with it!

I acquired this book through a reddit secret Santa gift exchange two years ago and am pretty pumped to actually look through and try some things in it!

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Beeswax Candles

Money is tight around the holidays.  This year I opted to make a lot of my own gifts.  I’ve made these before but I figured it’d be good to make and give out to teachers and such.

I acquired my beeswax from a local beekeeper (Zee Bee Honey), however Amazon has some good items as well if this isn’t an option.  I also used Coconut Oil since beeswax burns quickish and the oil will slow it down.  The ratio I used was one of these 500g jars to a one kg brick. For more information on ratios, this website has a whole section on them.


one kg Beeswax

444 g Coconut Oil


small wooden dowels



I first melted the wax in my double burner.  You use a double burner because the beeswax is finicky about how you heat it.  You don’t want to heat it too quick or you may have a fire on your hands.  If you want it to melt quicker cut it into smaller pieces.  I didn’t and it took quite a while to melt fully.  Always make sure you still have water in the bottom pot while you’re doing this.



While it was melting I got my jar’s ready with the wicks.  Wicks come in a couple different forms.  You can get the ones with the metal bottom end that helps anchor it to the bottom or you can get a roll of wick.  I used a roll in this process.  I then tied it to the middle of the dowel and hung it over the jar.  You can see the positioning in the pictures.



As the beeswax was still melting I scooped out the coconut oil and weighed it just to make sure I had a good amount.  Once the beeswax was fully melted I slowly added it while stirring with a wooden down.



Start the pouring slowly.  If you are using wick without a weight in the bottom then pour a little wax in the bottom of the jar.  Then position the wick into the middle of the jar to stabilize it.  Wait a couple seconds for the wax to solidify before filling the jar the rest of the way.  You can see in the first picture the solid wax on the bottom and the newly added wax on the top.  Make sure you cover the wick when you pour as well.  Use a piece of tin foil or something underneath as beeswax is really hard to get out of anything!





I also made a lotion bar when I did this just to see how it would turn out.  I made the cast for it out of paper and it seemed to go okay.  Once the candles are all solid (I waited 24 hours) then you can snip the dowel off the wick.  Viola!  Beeswax candles!  I put the lids back on, attached a ribbon to the jar and handed them out.  Everyone really liked them and I have people wanting more!  I may acquire a mold for the next batch!


I also am going to make a bunch of tea lights for my survival kits.  Beeswax burns longer than traditional paraffin candles as well as hotter so they are much better for a survival kit.

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Mt. Etna Paper Mache Volcano!

Damian and I had some time over a couple days and finally got to do something we’ve had on the agenda for a while now.  We made a paper mache volcano!

The geological construction!

Unfortunatly my starting pictures have disapeared.  We took a 591 mL bottle and taped it to a base.  Our base was one of those large plastic bin lids.  I chose this because it had a lip and would catch any excess “lava” that may spill over.  Then we took masking tape and started at the lip of the bottle and taped down to the edges of the base to create a pyramid.

After that step we mixed up some paper mache paste from flour, water, and we added in some white glue for extra sticky power. You can apparently buy paper mache paste but I don’t see why you would.  It’s pretty easy to make.  Then we proceeded to put strips of newspaper over the masking tape to create our structure.  Start with a couple lateral strips to create more of a stable structure with the masking tape.  After you have that first layer down then add strips going from top to bottom (or bottom to top).  Eventually we got this:IMG_20151205_094437

It took about a day and a half to dry.  Then the painting began!  I took one half and Damian took the other half.  Note the blue water fall coming off Damian’s side.  We did this right after Mt. Etna erupted so we added in the sign.

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Loading the ‘cano!

I created a funnel using paper and tape.  You cut a circle, then a line straight from the outside to the middle and a little circle in the middle.  Then form a cone, tape it and pow, makeshift funnel (also useful if you forget a funnel and need to put oil in your car)  I put about 1/4 cup of baking soda into the bottle, then about 1/4 bottle of food colouring, I also added a bunch of dish soap (dawn) for extra bubble effect.  Once this was set up I poured in white vinegar and stood back with my camera.


The Eruption!

Here is some photos of the eruption along with the video.  Damian and I really had fun doing this.  We used it as a learning experience about the different types of volcanoes, eruptions, etc.

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The best part is that the paint never came off and we can use it again!

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Hello world!


Hello World!

My name is Matt and I like to build, experiment and learn. I am 32 with three kids.  I am an avid outdoors enthusiast as well as a geology student.  Knowledge is power!

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