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The Shop & Forge

Glad You Could Stop By!!

When you drop by Toad hall here in Corn Patch, one thing will become pretty apparent.  There ain’t much glamour, nor is there anything for show.  You’ll see for yourself, a busy, messy,  frills gun smithy, and sometimes smokey gun smithy. A debt of gratitude is owed to the folks who got me started: my mentor & friend, the late Robin C. Hale, well known Southern rifle expert and the late Kit Ravenshear.  He personally took time out to teach me how to make a decent spring, and not by his little books on the subject, either!

Now, there’s been a tremendous ammount of firearms built here, but we’ve changed our primary focus from that of building rifles to that of welding barrels by hand and related operations, such as rifling.  So, put your apron on and c’mon around back.  Ye old Yeller Tom Cat Forge  is still a-burnin’ coal an’ we’re…..



Photo from the 2010 barrel welding seminar in Corn Patch.

At one time ‘er other, ever piece of gun furniture from locks, barrels, trigger guards an’ such has been hammered out in here.  This page may take a while to download as there are beau coup photos posted here.  Just wanted to show a little bit what of goes on inside the blacksmith shop so you can see some of the things that get whomped up on rainy days or whenever we get bored and crave excitement.  You know, like breathin’ coal smoke, gettin’ blisters on yer hands an’ arms, or perhaps ketchin’ yer clothes on fire!  If this is yer kind of fun, like it is mine, set back and scroll down through the gallery.  Some of these photos have been on earlier editions of this web site, but others have never been published before.  Click on the pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!


A hand forged, copper brazed, 2 piece butt plate.

An early 1 piece butt plate.

2 barrels.  One finished all bright and shiny.  The other, scaly & ugly lookin’.

Some of my hand made double sett triggers.  If you think these look good, wait’ll you see a set that Ken Guy has made!


Henrik tending the forge and some of the tongs used in the shop.  ‘Spose Henrik’s smoking too much lately?  The last shot is a close up of kasenit being applied to a set of triggers to case harden them.  A scrap steel “hood” covers the triggers to keep the heat in better.



Hammering out the components for an iron trigger guard and what they look like before assembly .

The end result.

     A closing note about clinkers:  Learn to HATE clinkers!!  They can prevent you from welding.  They get on your metal and cause all sorts of mischief.  They slow the flow of blast to the fire pot.  So, it’s like I said, learn to HATE clinkers! It really takes skill, but a good blacksmith can remove clinkers without disturbing the fire.

“Dan’s Rock”

This clinker was on top of the tuyere iron after a barrel welding session.  It came out in one piece and it’s been saved for “show & tell”.


And yes, the stories are true….I have accepted old Iowa banknotes, Danish og Norwegian kroner, dollars from Australia & Taiwan, Euros, South African Rands, MPC, silver Thalers from Austria, English Pounds, and even genuine Confederate currency in payment for my books.  If you’re ever near “Corn Patch”, give me a call and drop by.  We’ll have a chew, swap some lies an’ become friends…..oh yeah, I almost fergot.  Bring MOON PIES!!

Please be patient if you are expecting a reply from me.  Work in the shop requires much of my time and I do receive several emails from all over the world on a daily basis.   Fear not, I will respond as work load will allow.

Click on the photo below if you take a closer look at my favorite chopper in ‘Nam.  A Huey “H” model. I had a crew of four besides myself…and yes, those are “kill” markings.

Steve's Lightship AOl’ “437”.  My last mount in Vietnam.

 Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day.   A few were even awarded.