Turning an AK-47 into a serving ladle

This is the story of an AK-47 and a dead man named Isaiah.  Because of Isaiah, I forged this AK-47 into a serving ladle.


This fully automatic AK-47 was used by the Romanian army during the Cold War.  It could shoot 600 rounds per minute with an effective range of 400 yards.  It was an instrument of death; but now, it is an instrument of life.  It has been redeemed.

You see, 2500 years ago the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

I want Isaiah’s vision to become reality.

the rifle

This is the rifle fully disassembled.


This is a closeup of the the barrel assembly that I actually made into a spoon.  I’m still looking for ideas on what to make out of everything else.


Here’s a closeup of the end where the bullet enters the barrel.  On top is the “rear sights.”  This is adjustable to shoot at targets anywhere from 0-800 meters away.


Notice that there’s actually many pieces of metal here—the barrel itself and two large blocks of steel attached to it.  These blocks are held in place by “pinions.”  These are the circle shaped pieces.  If I had a hydraulic press I could push out the pinions and then remove the big metal blocks.  But I don’t, so I’ll just beat them off with my forging hammer!


Looking down the barrel.  This is where we would insert the bullet when firing.


Now for the business end.  Here I have the flash suppressor removed.  The forward sight (the tall thing jutting out to the right) will make a great handle for the future ladle.


Building the Forge

In order to turn this chunk of metal into a spoon, I needed to build a forge.  I bought a basic anvil and 5 lbs hammer on the internet for about $80, and the stump came from craigslist for free:


Next, I needed a way to heat the metal.  I decided to build a propane forge, because I already had a good burner.  The burner came out of a portable stove that we’ve used to serve free chili with a group called Food not Bombs.  The base of the stove is below the bricks, but I unscrewed the burner and placed it on the bricks.


Then, I simply stacked the bricks on top of each other to create a nice chamber for the flames.  Here’s a picture of a test run with a piece of rebar.


The flame is actually gigantic, shooting 1-2 feet past the opening of the forge.  The middle of the rebar is a bright glowing orange-yellow, over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.  My camera just can’t do it justice.

The bricks are also really cheap.  I payed 25 cents each at Lowes.  Overall, the whole set up cost less than $100.

Forging the metal

Let the hammering begin!  You have to work quickly to hit the metal while it’s still hot from the forge!


Oooohhh…. glowing……  purty…..


After just a few hammer blows, look how much the blocks have shrunk.  Also, I did NOT have a flash for this.  The metal is so hot it’s putting off enough light to light up the wall I’m holding it next to!


I had to stop hammering after about an hour because of blisters.  This is what I was starting with on the next day.  Notice that you can still make out the serial number!


And here’s a view from the bottom up.


After a few more hours hammering, everything’s much flatter.  The serial number has long since been flattened away.


Here’s the same view from the bottom.  It looks like a ghost!


The layers of metal from the attached blocks are quite distinct and starting to get in the way.


After a lot of wrestling with some pliers, I’ve finally managed to remove the blocks of metal.  All that remains is this “shrapnel.”


And the gun barrel itself is now the world’s coolest spatula.


And from the bottom:


Rounding out the bowl

All that’s left is to turn this spatula into a spoon.  The metal is still pretty thick, so I flattened it out as much as I could.


Then I made a spoon shape.  I did this by just holding the spatula at a slight angle while hammering.  Every blow bent the metal just a little bit until the full bowl shape was complete.


I made my spoon about 2 inches too long.  Whoops!  No worries, I used a Dremel to cut the extra bits off.  I also used it to smooth around some of the edges.


Notice that there’s a little hole in the middle of the spoon.  I accidentally hammered the steel too thin and went all the way through.  Meh. It’s still good.  It’s just a straining spoon now!

There’s also a little bit of burnt steel along the sides.  Seriously?!  Steel can burn?  Thankfully, a soak in vinegar and scrubbing brought it out.  Thanks to the folks at iforgeiron.com for giving me the tip!


Here’s the final product:


That’s it!

I wish I had some pictures of me eating from the spoon, but unfortunately it’s not food safe.  Real gunpowder has been detonated countless times inside this barrel.  I tried cleaning it as best as I could, but I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of little cancer molecules still hanging out in there.

One gun down, only 874,999,999 to go.  Depressing.

  1. Brian’s avatar

    This is really cool! Thanks for sharing. Only 874,999,999 to go… we can do that, right?


  2. Dave’s avatar

    Great concept, but I actually like the plowshare idea better. Then it is actually helping to promote life. It looks like it could be easily converted to a hoe? Then you don’t have to worry about eating from it.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      But the chemicals could still get into the ground, and into plants.


  3. Henry’s avatar

    See http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/build-yourself/179192-diy-shovel-ak-photo-tsunami-warning.html

    Boris built an AK47 out of a shovel.

    It’s not the tool, it’s how it’s used, that makes the difference between destruction and preservation of life.

    The family in Croatia who held on to their AK47 and survived the roaming Serbian gangs is more thank thankful they had the tool they needed.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      That’s actually really awesome from a technical perspective. But I still believe that it’s both the tool and how it’s used that’s important. Some tools are just too tempting for us sinners to have. At least, I don’t want the temptation.


  4. mattb’s avatar

    Mike: you mean you are actually tempted to pick up an AK-47 and wreak havoc and bloodshed? That’s a disturbing thought. By that logic, cars are “too tempting” also…after all, a flick of the steering wheel in busy two-way traffic would most certainly cause far more death and destruction than one guy going Rambo with an AK-47. Similarly, knives cannot be let out to the public either, apparently….it’s not hard to slash someone with a knife, and actually much easier to conceal.

    I do not understand the logic of people who think everyone is a bloodthirsty killer just waiting for an opportunity and means to strike. I also don’t understand the logic that one would be “tempted” to commit an act that one finds reprehensible and horrific.

    As to the original article: horrible abuse of an increasingly rare commodity (appears to be an original Romanian barrel in this kit….would easily fetch $600 on the US market these days). And if you’re really concerned with saving lives….well, let me put it this way: the guy defending himself with an AK-47 is going to fare much better than the guy defending with a ladle. Gun control (restriction) is NOT about compassion or saving lives, it’s about an agenda.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      No Matt, you’re putting words in my mouth. I’m tempted to defend myself and my property. I’m tempted to hurt people attacking me.

      That is not the Christian way.

      Christ calls us to love our enemies. My goal is to be a humble servant, just as Christ was. This means not worrying about petty issues like my personal safety.


      1. John’s avatar

        Isn’t Christ the one that’s giving AIDS to children in Africa?


        1. Mike’s avatar

          What makes you say that?!


          1. Larry’s avatar

            Luke 22:36 my friend. “And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

          2. Mike’s avatar

            In the next paragraph, Peter tries to use one of those swords to prevent Jesus’s arrest. But Jesus rebukes him, then heals the man Peter wounded!

            In a commentary on this passage, Tertulllian writes that “When Jesus disarmed Peter, he disarmed every soldier.” Tertullian lived in the 2nd century AD at a time when Christians were essentially unanimous that Jesus taught pacifism.

  5. Darrell’s avatar


    I have three general comments here:

    As Blacksmith : Technically a lot of errors. You did start with the most basic of (poor quality) tools. You did start with virtually no knowledge of what you were attempting to do.
    I hope part of your journey to wisdom was a better understanding of the skills and efforts involved. Historically the role of the blacksmith was as tool *maker*.

    As ex-Military : ‘There are no such things as dangerous weapons – there are only dangerous men.’

    As a Practical Observation :

    It is absolutely true that functionally a skilled blacksmith can ‘beat a sword into a plowshare’
    What everyone forgets is that same smith can take a plowshare and forge it *back* into a sword.

    Repeat as situation demands…


  6. this is wrong’s avatar

    you just spent about a 780 dollars worth of equipment and hours of effort and hard work on nothing you know that what you’re asking people to do will never happen from the first moment god put men on earth , men made weapons to use either to kill fellow men or animals and they will always make weapons instead you could just have given that money to poor families or for Charity and you could have used the time for helping others ,,, my brother there is no excuse for this action and don’t give me the oh ……. weapons…… and oh ….. I am gone to make them disappear , everybody hold each other hands and start kissing…………. , well guess what ? ain’t gonah happen , you are my friend are a (fame seeker) and ( a hypocrite) .

    I’ve done the math for you ……….
    the AK 700 $
    the hammers 80 $
    total 780 $
    how many people could have gotten free meals with that money .


    1. Mike’s avatar

      The AK was free actually :)


  7. jamf’s avatar

    Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who didn’t


    1. Mike’s avatar

      In fact, as Jesus commands, I’ll plow twice as much as you ask!


  8. Mike’s avatar

    Seems like you just wasted time and money to produce an unsafe spoon. And “beating your swords into plowshares” is just fine, if you don’t mind plowing for those who didn’t. Christ wanted you peaceful not stupid. You have failed him.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      You’re at least right that I’ve failed Jesus. I fail him every day by not caring enough for my neighbors and the homeless around me. Lord have mercy.


  9. Robert’s avatar

    You’re a pussy-ass, fascist ,cock gobbler.

    I am a firearms designer and I have a rifle that I am designing that will be coming out in the next few years, I will make sure there is a special edition of a few hundred to make up for you wrecking a perfectly harmless parts kit.

    How would you like if I made puppy and kitten soup?


    1. Mike’s avatar

      I’d share a bowl of soup with you some day :)


  10. aaron’s avatar

    “Instrument of death”? It’s an animate object, steel and wood. It can commit no crimes, it kills nobody. The man behind it determines the object’s function and purpose. If this is your logic, im guessing all knives, hammers, nails, and everything else capable of killing in the wrong hands are “Instruments of death.”? Also, congratulations, you have successfully vandalized harmless already demilled, parts kit. While you are at it, why don’t you destroy your car? I mean, what if someone were to steal your car and run over people? Is it really worth it to have something that can be easily stolen and used as an “Instrument of death.” Might as well take it to the crusher now, after all, if it has the remote possibility of saving even one life it’s worth it right?


  11. nynco’s avatar

    I thought you might find this article interesting. Forging an AK from a shovel. Its rather funny too. http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/179192-DIY-Shovel-AK-photo-tsunami-warning!?p=2695046&viewfull=1#post2695046

    A hammer can be used to build a house or tear one down. A gun can be used to kill or defend life. The difference is the intent of the user. I am liberal, and I understand that guns serve an invaluable purpose in the world. They keep you and I safe from people who would do us harm. Its just the facts of human nature.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      I love that project just from the technical coolness perspective!


  12. Josh’s avatar

    What a waste of a perfectly good parts kit.


  13. Andre’s avatar

    Couldn’t you have bought a sword or a spear and do that to it! That is a collectible item worth quite a bit and the end result cant even be used because of the parkerizing chemicals, chrome lining, and lead can not be good for the diet! If you still have the furniture, bolt and carrier I really really need a bolt and carrier. I am a Christian but have slightly different views and hobby’s. Good luck in your future endeavors.


    1. Mike’s avatar

      I actually have a small collection of naval swords that I’m hoping to do similar things to in the future. I’ve also got plans for the rest of the parts from the kit as well.


  14. John McNair’s avatar

    What and idiot! During WWII there were two kinds of Jews; those who thought like you and those who chose to help themselves. The ones who thought like you ended up in ovens and the ones who helped themselves help bring peace to the whole world. They didn’t use spoons. God blessed you with a weapon that you could use to protect you and your family but you chose the ovens for your family. Obama hates America and hates Jews. War is coming…there will be a time when you wished you had built an AK-47 not a useless spoon.


  15. Jeff K’s avatar

    Why on Earth would you destroy this? Do you have any idea of the value of even Romanian parts kits with their original barrels? You disgust me. Stay away from guns.


  16. Anonymous’s avatar

    What an unbelievably stupid and naive project, and what clumsy, amateurish execution. I am cringing just looking at it.


  17. really’s avatar

    “cancer molecules”? Really?


      1. They're inanimate objects’s avatar

        It can’t cause cancer, who told you this? That is literally the most pants on head retarded thing I have ever heard.
        In smokeless powder you have around 6 different ingredients at any given time, all of which are relatively safe and won’t kill you.
        You fried the hell out of them in your completely unsafe forge already, and the lead? Lead is dangerous when introduced to the blood stream, via fine dust breathed into your lungs. The chrome is just sitting there, doing nothing.
        You could eat off that spoon no problem.

        You know nothing, you just destroyed a perfectly good piece of history, and you’re smug about it.

        NOWHERE in the bible does God say that you shouldn’t defend yourself, or others. Defending innocence is not only okay, it is JUST. If someone is threatening to rape my wife or hurt my kids, their brain will be jelly at the rate of 2,600 feet per second.

        Read your bible: at times, war is just. God never says don’t wage war. We are called to wage war against sin and Satan, you realize this right?
        We are ordered to not MURDER in the ten commandments, it is perfectly acceptable to kill. Murder is the selfish and unjust taking of life. Killing is simply the taking of life, reasons unknown. There is just killing, and unjust killing.
        Self defense is just killing.

        And we haven’t even STARTED with the fact that firearms can be used for target practice an the shooting sports, they’re amazing pieces of mechanical art, and are COMPLETELY HARMLESS INANIMATE OBJECTS.

        Your ignorance is strong, oh foolish one.


  18. Chimps’s avatar

    So you took something that was once used to defend someone’s life and country, and turned it into something that will never be used for anything ever again. That barrel is more likely to cause death in the configuration it is in now when somebody uses it to prepare food and they get heavy metal poisoning. It’s not like it was anything more than a club in the configuration it was in beforehand. What a noble act.

    You say that some tools are too tempting for “us sinners”. So don’t buy them. Nobody is forcing you to. I respect that you are a pacifist. I respect that you would rather watch your wife and children get beaten, raped, and killed before your eyes, rather than using a gun to defend yourself because you believe your religion instructs you to do so. That is your very right. But you ruining a parts kit like this isn’t going to change the fact that when the bad guy busts your door down, he’ll have a gun and you won’t. You’ve destroyed a piece of history and changed nothing for the better. You’re delusional. Seek help.


  19. John’s avatar

    As a devout Christian, I find this article and what you’ve done to that rifle appalling.



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