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Hello all, just looking for a little direction/advice. First off, if there's already a thread on any of these questions I have, feel free to let me know. I've got a good idea of what I want my forge to look like, side draft, with a semi circle hearth, and a half hood. I'm also using a bellows and trying to keep things as close to an 1800's period layout as I can. I'm looking for building techniques/design specifically how to prevent the heat from destroying the brick and mortar. How many courses of soft fire brick should surround the fire before it's ok to use hard fire brick? Mortar mix? Should the soft fire brick that contacts the fire be loose, or have mortar too? I've seen the mason work wrapped in plastic to slow curing. How do I build a smoke shelf and still comply with building codes requiring fully lined chimneys? Is there a way to integrate a smelting furnace? What metal should the fire pot be built from? Is plain steel ok? How thick? Bellows blue prints? Materials for bellows construction? This is what I've got for questions so far, and obviously, it's just the beginning. Like I said, just let me know if there's threads that already exist that address these questions. Thanks for your time and input. Happy smithing!