Ronny and Matt from Church invited some youth to try simple forging. Ronny brought an anvil and some know-how. Matt brought a little propane forge.
Starting from some simple rod stock, a couple guys each got to pound on the red hot metal:
to make a stylish little letter-opener:
I didn't do much of the metal - i just supplied some dumb hammering while Ronny moved the work - but I was proud of the handle:
I cut off 5" of an oak branch that had fallen during the recent storm, shaped it with a rasp, then burned it with a blowtorch to get the color. I sealed it with a quick clear coat spray. The handle only took about 90 minutes (mostly the rasp), and I was pleased with the comfort and color.
I mounted it on the blade by drilling a hole in the wood (slightly undersized for the tang), heating up the metal to really hot, and shoving them together. The hot metal burned its shape into the wood and it's holding quite well.
I would definitely do the burned wood again.