Joe Meineke

DIY Campfire Poker & Dutch Oven Lid Lifter

I’m gearing up for a camping trip with a Priest friend, my brother and my nephew.  I’ve been wanting to make a  fire poker for some time now for use in our backyard and this was the motivation I needed to get it done.

One of the things I’ve wanted to try while camping is cooking in a Dutch Oven over an open campfire.  So, I purchased a Lodge Logic Dutch Oven and decided to make, rather than buy, a lid lifter.  I’m also planning on making a set of charcoal tongs, but that’s a project for another day.

The fire poker was made out of 1/2″ square bar stock and the lid lifter was made with 5/16″ round bar.

Making the Poker

To make the fire poker, I heated about 5″ of one end of the square stock and then drew it out on the anvil into an even taper.  I then cut the rod to what looked to be about right length (factoring in a handle) and started work on the handle.

Using another drawing technique, I tapered the end but kept the bar flat and then forged the taper into a scroll.  Next, I heated up the rod and bent it back around to form the grip.  The result is a nice feeling handle.  The scroll acts as a nice stop for the index finger.  I can also move my finger to the front for pulling with the hook.

To make the hook, I took another piece of square stock and drew it out using the same technique to form the poker end.  I then applied the curve to the hook, beveled the edges to prep for a weld and then MIG welded it onto the body.  Once welded, I used an angle grinder to give it a seamless appearance.  I made my welds extra thick to compensate for the grinding.

I will probably eventually add a decorative twist to the rod all along its length to add that final touch.  For now, though, it is ready to poke a fire!

The finished piece measures 33.5″

Making the Lid Lifter

I kept the lid lifter simple.  I first started with the hook on the end.  Nothing fancy here – just heated it up and bent it around the horn of my anvil.  To make the eyelet, I brought the rod to forging temperature about 15″ from the hook end and bent it at about 80 degrees perpendicular to the hook.  Then, heating the area just beyond that, I formed the eyelet over the anvil horn.

Next, I placed the eyelet into the vise and began heating (with a torch) and wrapping the rod around the end to form a handle.

Finally, I forged out the lid stabilizer rod and MIG welded it to the handle and then prettied up the welds.  The last and final step was to heat it up to a black heat and apply a natural coat of beeswax & boiled linseed oil.  That’s it!

The finished lifter measures 16.5″

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