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Afternoon, everybody... As the title suggests, I have registered here with the intention of re-starting the craft that was lost to me over fifteen years ago when a certain individual found it in his best interest to rob me blind of all the gear I had purchased and used within a two year period of time. As such, in the thirteen years I have spent after-the-fact, I have managed to come to realize that there are just those people out there who need your stuff more than you do. What else can you do but whine and complain, right? So to make a long story short, I have over 15 years of R&D experience but have severe limitations as far as actual shop experience is concerned. Does that make sense? Now I'm going to sound rather blunt on this next set so I sincerely hope that those who read this will take everything in good stride, try to understand the situation from MY perspective and refrain from jumping to conclusions. A.) I prefer to purchase steel/pipe from online stores. From my experience a few days ago, there are a couple of members on IFI that I know of (no names given) that frown on this concept to the point that when brought up in general civilized conversation they end up becoming belligerent and down right insulting. The real question to this argument is, who's money is paying for what now? To further elaborate; 1.) I live in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, USA; a place that has pretty much died economically since I made my first move out to California in 1997. Virtually all business that transacts with this part of the state comes from Southern New Hampshire or Maine (Vermont if you need dairy, Canada if you need electricity). There is exactly one structural steel company in and around the town and that went bankrupt over eight years ago. No steel, no scraps. If it is wood you are looking for, then everybody can help you! Logging country. 2.) The junkyard (scrapyard) down the street is NOT open to the public as it is officially a recycling center that has contracts with various larger corporations out-of-state (I've tried). A six-pack of beer will not give you dibs on their dumpster. 3.) If you are a blacksmith in this part of the country (or want to start the trade), you would overall be better off to haul a gigantic granite stone out of the forest and beat on that than to get any sort of steel to fabricate your own anvil. It's been done, so why not? B.) I have a tendency to overthink situations and engineering concepts. Even though I have a piece of paper stating that I have satisfactorily completed a chemical engineering program, this does not make me an expert in all fields. That's why I am here. To receive advice and concepts from more experienced smiths. If you feel there is a better way to go about things (cheap and effective), then feel free to share them. Any constructive feedback is appreciated. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now that I have that mess out of the way, I would like to share some shop concepts with you in this process of rebuilding. Since the snow storms are sitting out on my front doorstep, construction of the shop as a whole won't be scheduled until the spring thaw. So this gives me time. Time, time, time. NOTE: The concept of this shop is to use as little electricity as humanly possible. When it becomes necessary and refinements are needed, a small gas generator will be purchased to power several machines as necessary. Once the refinements are completed, all electrical equipment will be given away or sold. (Reason: A modern blacksmith's shop powered by electricity and without the proper generator during an outage is $ put to little or no use. Wood is what I have and it's wood and man power I will use, per tradition.) THE FORGE (Charcoal) 1. (2X) 55GA. STEEL DRUMS W/CAST IRON DOUBLE BARREL ADAPTER The top barrel will be an enclosed version of Tim Lively's wash tub design, refractory lined, 1" drilled and threaded black pipe tuyere with an elevated medium bellows at the rear for airflow. The bottom barrel will be used for smelting and casting purposes. The rear adapter connecting the two barrels will allow for circulating heat to flow from the bottom to the top with use of the rear flue rig. Airflow will be provided by a larger bellows "on the floor". THE ANVIL I have an idea of what I need but I keep running over tack strips putting it all together. This anvil will be fabricated (block style) but what I am concerned about is cracking the weld when putting two unlike steels together under compression. The idea is a thick 6" base plate of A36 embedded into a sand/concrete stand with a 2" 4140 plate on top. I know something of the sort can be done, I just need a little more advice in this area. If I can reach a total steel weight of 160# or more for relatively cheap, then hurrah, I would have accomplished this goal. The stand itself will weigh approximately 266# alone and must NOT be inground. Total Anvil Dimensions: 8"x5"x10" TREADLE GRINDER (Design only; this treadle grinder doesn't belong to me.) Foot powered grinding capability, less the huge millstone propped between the arms. I will be going with a smaller wheel configuration given cost is a factor in assembly. A belt sander and lathe can be engineered using virtually the same setup here, so I will be using similar types to construct many shop devices. Anyway, small dose of what I have on my plate at the moment. If any of you have any insights or configurations to share, feel free. I'm open to everyone's ideas and am very keen to detail. Thank you for your time and patience! Cheers. :)