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Blacksmiths are masters at turning simple pieces of metal into functional tools and unique works of art. One type of metal that many blacksmiths experiment with is rebar.
While controversial in the blacksmithing world due to its lower quality steel content, the end result of forged rebar can take on a very industrial, modern look.
If you are interested in using rebar in your next blacksmithing project, keep in mind that your options for projects are more limited because rebar is known to snap during the forging process when making certain items.
Simple tools and decorative pieces are the best projects to stick to when working with rebar.
Below are a few rebar YouTube tutorials for a variety of items that will help you succeed in forging with this unconventional material.
What Tools Do I Need for These Rebar Projects?
The basic tools required for the following projects include an anvil or other heavy metal work surface, a forge or heat source of some kind, hammers, and tongs.
A press is also recommended to flatten out metal evenly and efficiently. A grinder is nice to have on hand if you want to give your projects a more finished, smooth look.
A few cutting tools that are necessary for some of the projects listed below are a bandsaw and a cut-off wheel. Depending on your desired outcome for these projects, more or less tools may be required.
Most of these projects can be completed with the most basic tools, so feel free to experiment with the equipment you already have on hand.
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List of Rebar Blacksmith Projects Ideas (With Videos & Advice)
1) Rebar Dagger
A dagger can make a great gift or item to sell at local art fairs. To make a dagger from rebar of any size, begin by heating and flattening out one end with a heavy hammer.
Create a taper at the end to create a pointed-blade shape. Once the blade end of the dagger is formed into the desired shape, heat the other end of the rebar and create a small taper. Hammer the taper in on itself at a 45 degree angle and continuously rotate the bar to create a decorative end for the dagger.
In the original tutorial, the blacksmith places a large nut on the end of the rebar and works the metal back towards the nut to create the end. This is optional, but is an easy trick for making a decorative handle.
The last step in making the dagger is to grind the blade down to polish and sharpen it.
2) Rebar Fork
A fork is a functional and easy project for blacksmiths new to working with rebar. To begin, heat one end of the rebar and flatten it out using a hammer. Cut the rebar and make the fork tines using a cut-off wheel.
Once the tines are cut, use a grinder to smooth out the edges of the fork and its tines. Polish the fork down to the desired look and coat it with beeswax for a protective finish.
3) Rebar Chisel
Another easy and functional tool that you can make from rebar is a chisel. Begin by heating the rebar and forging the point of the chisel. Grind down the the unworked end of the rebar and the chisel end to smooth and sharpen it.
Reheat the rebar to get rid of any brittle parts of the metal so it will withstand regular use. For the full, in-depth tutorial, check out this link.
4) Rebar Cross Pendant
Pendants are great small projects that are easily sellable online or at local fairs. Start with a ⅜ inch piece of rebar and cut into it using a bandsaw. For a detailed visual tutorial of the series of cuts required to make the pendant, check out the original video here.
After the cuts have been made, the next step is to split the rebar and flatten it with a hammer into the shape of a cross. Grind down the edges of the rebar for a smooth, finished look. The last step is to loop a piece of leather cord or other material through the center hole to make a wearable pendant.
5) Rebar Snake
Make your own cool rebar snake from a 16 inch length of 3/8 inch rebar. Heat one end of the rebar and form a blunt taper. This will be the head of the snake.
For a simple snake design, draw out the rebar below the head to thin it out and isolate the head from the body. If you want to make a cobra, flatten the rebar below the head to make the cobra’s hood. All other steps of the process are the same for a simple snake or cobra.
Refine the shape of the snake’s head as shown in the video. Then heat the other end of the rebar and taper out the tail of the snake into a sharper point than the head.
Round the edges of the snakes tail so it blends with the rest of the rebar body. Punch eyes into the head.
The final steps involve shaping the body of the snake. You can do this around the horn or your anvil, or by using a bending jig as shown in the video. This makes it super simple to get smooth curves in the body.
Brush the snake with a wire brush and apply a coat of beeswax to finish, if desired.
6) Kiridashi Style Knife
A kiridashi style knife is the perfect rebar project for beginners because it involves only a few simple forging techniques.
Heat and hammer the end of a piece of 3/8 inch rebar to flatten it out. Cut the piece down to your desired size and cut an angular blade at the end of the piece.
Harden the knife by quenching in water and tempering in a stove. Once the knife is hardened, bevel the blade with a file and sharpen the blade with a belt grinder or similar equipment.
Clean up the knife with a wire brush. To make a decorative handle, drill a hole in the end of the handle and wrap with hemp twine or another type of cord.
7) Arrowhead from Rebar
To make your own arrowhead out of rebar, begin by upsetting the metal for the arrow socket and shape the socket into a wide fishtail. Fold the socket into a rounded shape and check the size to make sure it fits the arrow well.
Cut the rebar down to size and then heat and taper the other end for the arrowhead. Flatten out the arrowhead as shown in the tutorial. Cut the arrowhead into the desired shape and grind down the edges.
Quench and temper the arrowhead, fit it to an arrow, and you’re ready to fire!
8) Tea Light Candle Holder
These simple tea light candle holders are fast and simple to make with the right equipment. Consider gifting and selling these fun little rebar items.
Begin by cutting a length of wide rebar. Hammer the piece by hand or by using a power hammer to make the job easy and faster. The shape of the candle holder should be very squat and round.
Hollow out the center of the holder where the tea light will sit. Brush the piece with a wire brush and finish with a coat of spray paint and/or varnish.
9) Small Crowbar from Rebar
A small crowbar is an easy and handy project to make from rebar scraps. Begin by cutting a length of rebar down to your desired size. Then heat and taper the end into a blunt taper. Split the taper with a chisel as shown.
To make a curved crowbar, hammer the rebar below the taper to shape it. Otherwise, you can keep the crowbar straight.
Finish this fast project by quenching your crowbar.
10) Rebar Towel Hook
Hooks are classic projects for beginner blacksmiths because they require several fundamental techniques. This rebar towel hook is both practical and visually appealing.
Begin by heating the end of a length of rebar and tapering it into a long and sharp point. Round out the edges of the taper as you go to make it smooth.
Curl the end of the taper in on itself to make a decorative finial. Then continue to curve the end of the rebar around to form a hook. You can do this around the horn of your anvil.
Heat the body of the hook and cut to size. Then hammer the end of the hook flat so it can be attached to a wall. Drill a few holes in the flattened portion of the hook for hanging, and your rebar towel hook is complete!