Inside: Forging kitchen hardware can be a daunting task. Take a look at the process I used to design my own, and what I learned from forging a cabinet pull.
Since finishing the installation of our new kitchen cabinets it became apparent that we needed some new hardware soon. Not wanting the cheap quality from the big box store, and having more time than money. I set out to forge my own. I will admit that I am not sure that I fully understood the scope of this project when I first set out. With 60 doors and drawers, here is what I learned forging a cabinet pull.
Forging an Idea
Looking for ideas on the internet, just did not give me the results that I was looking for. I wanted something that was simple in nature and used little material. So I began drawing a few cabinet knob style sketches. I tried to be cognisant of other project styles that I had forged so far such as the forged towel hooks. I kind of finalized my idea around a chunky looking 4 faceted upset knob design and decided to make a prototype. After working out a few measurements, I pursued the next phase with excitement.
Forging the Prototype
Deciding to use 3/4 in. square bar for my material, I forged on. I fullered the base, about 1 1/4 in. from the end. I then upset the end to form the 4 faceted diamond shape. I straightened it out as a slight twist had developed, and cleaned up the fullered section. After a good wire brushing to remove scale, and letting it cool, I then cut the pull from the parent bar using the bandsaw. I finished up by drilling and tapping the base to accept a #8 – 32 cabinet screw.
Now I must say, that this first prototype was not perfect, as I had developed a cold shut in the base, an it had taken me over an hour to complete this first forging. So I set out to see how I could correct my mistakes and speed up the process.
Forging a Failure
When the realization hit me that I had sixty more of these to go, I set out to figure out a way to speed up the process. I came across this unique scrolling/bending jig from Cloverdale forge and decided that I should try to make a jig for my application. I thought of forging a jig, that I would upset the cabinet pull into. This became one of those ideas that worked great in theory, but not so much in practicality. The second pull that I upset into the jig, decided to remain there. So I decided to go back to the original process and just work in multiples to speed up the process.
Forging a Finish
Once I dialed in on this forging a cabinet pull process, I found that I could forge about 4 per hour. As of writing this, I still have about thirty more to go. For finishing I decided for now to bring it to a blue heat and give it a vegetable oil finish, which seems to hold up well indoors. Also since these are cabinet pulls, they should get alot of hand use over time. I must admit, I am still researching and learning the different options available in finishes. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.