I am just starting out doing some smithing...well I have't actually STARTED...but...y'know. It has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy. I was in a place in British Columbia called "Barkerville" and I saw a smithy hammering out a gold-mining pan. It's a memory that will always stick with me.
Now that I am older and own my own house and a large garage, I have the means to finally start following that dream...
I have began collecting tools and a few pairs of tongs (that I will be resurfacing). I have aquired a few large (3 foot) sections of 1" thick I-Beam that I am going to substitute as an anvil until I manage to acquire one (I have a friend that might be bringing one back for me today from a road trip). I also have safety gear (leather gloves, glasses, leather smock, etc.). Of course I also have a large vise, a bench grinder, etc. Basic stuff.
The only thing I need now is a forge. I am going to be building a propane forge utilizing 2" fire bricks and refractory mortar. It's just going to be a tiny forge as all I want to do for now is get used to the whole process. I am a very fast learner, but I don't expect to just be able to pull of a masterpiece by throwing some random piece of metal into the forge and hitting it with my cross-pein. I want to see how the metal works, moves, bends and folds. I want to see how hot I need to make it and when to quench, etc. To be honest, I expect it to be a year before I forge anything even half decent.
Now to the whole purpose of this post. I want to make sure that I don't kill myself or anyone else in the process. My fiancee fully supports what I want to do, but she is concerned about me burning down the garage. I have been relentlessly reading the forums here and haven't really found any solid answers to my questions.
1.) If I am running a tiny propane forge in a large, 2 car garage, do I require any ventilation?
-I have read a few posts that say yes, and some that say no. I can obviously leave a window or the overhead doors open, but is that enough? The last thing I need is to leave my fiancee a widow shortly after I marry her.
2.) The garage is made out of wood and has a gravel floor. Is there any precautions I need to take as far as fireproofing is concerned? If a hot piece of metal hits one of the walls, is it going to instantly combust?
I have been working in the paint industry (industrial, architectural and marine coatings) for over 11 years now. I easily have access to fire-resistant coatings, but they are extremely expensive...even for me. So if I can help it, I would prefer to not have to use them.
The other thing you guys need to know is that I will be selling this house next year and we will be purchasing one together. Yes, a shop with a concrete floor is mandatory...or the property for me to build one. So I don't want to sink vast amounts of money into the building itself. I am already renovating the entire house myself, I don't want to add the garage to it if I can help it.
Any advice from you awesome people would be greatly appreciated - and more importantly - listened to.
P.S. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful online community.