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Forge a Medieval Rondel out of a Railroad spike

A rondel is a peculiar weapon from the middle ages. It is a sticking weapon like a dagger and it is particularly good against armor because of it's penetrating power.

We make a small Rondel in this tutorial but typically they are longer. Anywhere from 12 to 18 inches in length.

In this tutorial we make a rondel out of a railroad spike. And I give you a little bit of insight in terms of heating and tempering because we do some of the work at the forge and some of the work with a plumbers torch.

I also have a video tutorial at the bottom of this page.

This game is based on Will's adventure in India. Want to watch a video of it? It's on my youtube channel here.



The Rondel we make in this tutorial.

The Rondel


The hot railroad spike

Get the fire going and heat up the railroad spike. Look at that! These old railroad spikes usually take a really wonderful and really even heat. I love the look of this spike as it heat up.

When it comes to smithing out the shape of this knife we are going to do it in two steps. In the first step I just round it out a bit. I am not worried about stretching it's length I just want to round it out. In the second step that is where I stretch it out longer and bring it to a point.

These next two pictures show how I am rotating the spike with a pair of tongs. All the while I am hammering on it. This makes for a nice smooth process and for an easy rounding of the spike. One of the biggest things a blacksmith does it figure out efficient ways to work on the hot metal. This includes what tools to use and how to move.

Blacksmith motion Blacksmith motion 2


Railroad spikes

Need Railroad Spikes? 10 Vintage Railroad Spikes 6.5" long Blacksmithing




Rounding the corners

So, to start I am using a moderatly heavy hammer and just spinning it and knocking down those edges, rounding it out. For now I am not concerned about lengthening it or bringing it to a point. At this stage I just round it out a bit.


Round it out

It is starting to round out.


Draw out the point

Now we start stretching it out, making it longer and bringing it to a point.

I start at the middle portion nearer the butt of the spike, heat it and hammer it, always turning it so it stays round. See how the center section is a little bit thinner than the point. With repeated heatings we will continue to move toward the point, squeezing the metal toward the point by hammering.

This will thin it, stretch it and bring it to a point.


Work toward the point

With repeated heatings I am working out toward the point.


Coming into shape

It is looking pretty good. Coming right along. Getting long and tapering toward a point.


Lighter hammer

When most of the heavy work is done and I near the point I switch to a lighter hammer. This gives me more control.


Finsh the tip

The only thing remaining is finish off the tip.



Ok! It looks great and the forging is complete.

forging is complete


NextLet's take it into the shop and make a rondel out of it! (You can also watch the video tutorial to see the blacksmithing action)


The Video Tutorial


ChainmailHow to make chainmail: This is a tutorial that shows you step-by-step how to make chain mail. I show you which wire to use, how to create the rings and how to weave the actual mail. How to make chainmail. I will also be doing a tutorial on how to make a piece of chainmail armor.



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