Brasilikilt

I need a 'real' Smithy...some building advice please?

Recommended Posts

Hey all

I am tired of my blacksmithing activities being governed by the weather. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's either too cold, too rainy, too windy, or a combination of all of the above......an exposed, outdoor smithy clearly is not a good choice for my area :(

An unappealing picture of mud, rust and gloom. Photo 1

My current shed is wooden-floored, and is being used for woodworking and such, so building forge fires inside is not a good idea.....

My goal is to build an addition that would expand the existing shed to make it half wood shop and half smithy...preferably with some kind of door or opening between the two.
I figure I could use wood scraps and sawdust to help get the forge going, and the forge could possibly provide a little heat for the whole structure.

Apparently, moving a 'Tuff Shed' is not as hard as it seems.....especially if it's only a few feet. I have space on the other side of the shed..why not take out a short section of fence and slide it over to allow more room for the smithy?

Photo 2

Plus, my friend who owns the forge deserves a proper place to put his anvil and set his tool box.....When we were both working there we got in the other's way a lot....It seems like it would be only a matter of time before somebody gets branded.

So after all of this, my question to all of you: After looking at the photos, what kind of structure would you suggest?

I was thinking that a lean-to with a tin roof would be cheap, and relatively easy to build.

Are there any blacksmith-specific considerations that I'm missing here?

I know plenty of you have been in the same boat as me, and any feedback will quite likely keep me from making costly mistakes.

Please share photos of your home-built smithy as I would enjoy seeing what other 'backyard blacksmiths' have done.

Photo 3



Thanks, and take care

Iain

19942.attach

19943.attach

19944.attach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The smithy I used for 15 years was 12' by 12', but that is all I did in it. It was cramped but I got the job done. I wish I had pictures but I don't, sorry. My best advice for you is to set your forge, anvil, vice etc up outside in the configuration that suits your way of smithing. Measure the area and that is the size your shop should be. Give yourself a little extra room for growth. Set some 4" by 4" posts how ever high you want the shed to be then put a roof on. Later on when you have the money add the walls. I had half walls on mine and covered the upper half with canvas, when it got warm I rolled the canvas up and tied it. You can leave the floor dirt but after awhile I poured concrete in mine. It's not fancy but it worked for me. Hope this helps.
Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, slap up a leanto on your existing shed that covers your current working area. As time and money allows clad the sides BUT try to put a chimney on the forge at the same time as the leanto to keep your air clean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with rlarkin on the last photo!! LOL. I too would set up your work area to see what size you need and then build a leanto. You can close it in with cheap tarps, temporarily. But, as Rob said, put in some sort of a chimney to vent the forge and keep the air as clean as you can. Good luck, and keep us posted. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks like a sizable tree there, is it staying(I hope so)? I think that you idea of a lean to shed extension to your existing shed is a good idea. I don't know what you summer temps are like up there but with the humidity it may be a bit uncomfortable so if you made your outer walls movable or at least with large openings that could be raised to provide addition ventilation and shade it would be nice. It would also increase you square footage of usable space for work in nice weather, do you have that up there? I don't know how much heat transfer you will get form the forge to the wood shop but I'm sure that a lot of that will depend on the location of such things as the forge and the flue. A pea gravel floor may suit your needs as your Tuff Shed is a temporary building, it's turning green, and concrete is for a more permanent situation. I would suggest that you run a 3/4" water line out to your shop if you haven't already as it's nice to have a hose bib handy when smithing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check your local building code before you start. There may be offsets, permits, and all sorts of things that must be considered.

That said, the best solution is to start at the offset required from the property boundary and build walls. Next figure out the snow, wind and rain load on a roof that size and build the roof. When your finished it should look like an industrial warehouse covering the entire property, including the house. Ok maybe not the house, but everything else. That will leave just enough space for the wife's car and a lawn mower, but DO NOT be tempted to put the wife's car under the roof of your new smithy. If you do, it will get dinged, dented, scratched, or the window broken as smithy's do not like to share space with the wife's car.

I understand Boeing has an aircraft assembly hanger for sale. You may want to consider that option and move the family a short ways down the road. (grin).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for that area ide go poles and tin roof and run ir higher than your current shed a foot or 2 . a chimney if you are going coal or a vent for propane (like leaving the gap betwween current shed hight and new shed hight open ) and walls with a big door so you can get stuff in in out.you might go gravel or pavers for the floor (your in a wet area so dirt turns muddy) oho and DONT go pea gravel (made that mistake it never settles)! i like a fan to suck out the smoke and dust. have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a "tough shed" that looks to be the same size as the one in your pic. I just extended the roof off of one end about 12 ft and that gave me 10'x12' of forge space. I won't be re-tiring wagons in there but it works for the mostly small stuff I do. Granted, Arizona and the Pacific NW are about as different climate-wise as two places can be, still it would surprize many just how hard it can rain here when it gets around to it. On the floor, I put 3-1/2 inches of fine, clean sand held in place by 1 x 4's nailed around the outter side of the poles. It's easier on the feet than concrete, wont spall if (when) I drop hot stuff on it and it serves as an anywhere place to normalize projects or a makeshift clamping system for fitting up. The down side is that you never want to drop a small tool or project on the floor. Finding it can mean a bit of sifting. :mad:


19964.attach

Edited by Sukellos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're on the right track with a lean-to - you'll get the most bang for your construction buck that way as you've got one wall already completed. The other guys covered most of the advantages, but I might add a couple things:

1) If you want to try to trick some of the heat from the forge into the shed I would recommend cutting 3-4 vent holes through the side of the shed immediately below the lean-to roof. That way the warm air will follow the roof up and into the shed.

2) Consider the typical wind direction and the highest storm winds you might see. Not only for your smoke-free comfort, but a lean-to in high winds can get nasty uplift and torque on it in the wrong configuration. Consider things pushing UP on it as well as gravity as you build it. As always, 45 braces from your posts to rafters will help immensely. Triangles are your friend :)

But then again I live in the windy part of the NW rather than the rainy, so I'm a little paranoid about these things... Good luck and keep us posted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watch craigslist for materials. I see steel roofing and other building goodies all the time. Good Luck!!
I'm not sure I would try to heat the wood shop with the forge... How often are you working wood and smithing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use the existing wall in photo 1 and cut back the roof and slide some 2x6s on top of it. Sorry before that build 3 other walls matching a slope of at least a 1/4" per foot fall...Maybe even a little more do to you living in Oregon..You will be able to get away with just building three walls instead of four. If you plan on a 10' section then you outside wall will need to be 5" shorter then your existing wall. I hope this helps...If you already know all this then just disregard...good luck

edit: 1/4 inch per foot would be 2.5" my mistake...but I would go 5" my self

Edited by GOT14U

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you short-sheeting yourself and want to hear you need a big shop? I think you need a 24 x 36 foot pole barn, insulated and sheetrocked, 12 foot walls. It will fill up faster than the humidity, trust me, but it will take a couple years before you have to pick and choose what equipment you buy at auctions to run you out of walking space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you didnt mention the most important part, what kind of budget are you working with? ideally a separate location that is a building up to code and with plenty of lighting and electricity would be ideal, but thats ideal...
do you have a welding machine? i would say just start with your lean to idea, i would (and did) start with pipe holding up a roof supporting structure with a tin roof on top. once you get started, the beast will tend to grow on its own. adding more metal to metal is easy, but also i just dont like working with wood, confuses me, two boards to line up and you cant just weld across the gap or beat it into submission, but i digress.
i wouldnt recommend trying to get building permits as i know in my case, it absolutely wasnt going to get approved, which brings me to another important point...
how well do you get along with your neighbors? assuming the structure is safe(not a fire hazard, or not likely to fall on someone) there is little reason for a building inspector to show up, unless someone calls them to complain. so if you think your neighbors may complain, go ahead and get some permits and do it right.
at least thats the way it is down here in bass ackwards Louisiana, a good friend of mine works for the city in land use and zoning and shudders everytime she she sees the "structure" (building isn't quite the right word, i may get around to posting pics, but frankly, im a little embarrassed, whatever, it gets the job done, roof with tools underneath)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you short-sheeting yourself and want to hear you need a big shop? I think you need a 24 x 36 foot pole barn, insulated and sheetrocked, 12 foot walls. It will fill up faster than the humidity, trust me, but it will take a couple years before you have to pick and choose what equipment you buy at auctions to run you out of walking space.


Are you joking Mike? Any competent scrounge could fill a 24' x 36' x 12' building to the rafters in a weekend. My 30' x 40' x 14' steel shop was crowded before the roof was on it! Ametures, SHEESH!

Frosty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you didnt mention the most important part, what kind of budget are you working with? ideally a separate location that is a building up to code and with plenty of lighting and electricity would be ideal, but thats ideal...
do you have a welding machine? i would say just start with your lean to idea, i would (and did) start with pipe holding up a roof supporting structure with a tin roof on top. once you get started, the beast will tend to grow on its own. adding more metal to metal is easy, but also i just dont like working with wood, confuses me, two boards to line up and you cant just weld across the gap or beat it into submission, but i digress.
i wouldnt recommend trying to get building permits as i know in my case, it absolutely wasnt going to get approved, which brings me to another important point...
how well do you get along with your neighbors? assuming the structure is safe(not a fire hazard, or not likely to fall on someone) there is little reason for a building inspector to show up, unless someone calls them to complain. so if you think your neighbors may complain, go ahead and get some permits and do it right.
at least thats the way it is down here in bass ackwards Louisiana, a good friend of mine works for the city in land use and zoning and shudders everytime she she sees the "structure" (building isn't quite the right word, i may get around to posting pics, but frankly, im a little embarrassed, whatever, it gets the job done, roof with tools underneath)


Ah Rustyman, I LIKE your style. :cool:

Under the radar is always good. Keeping on the neighbor's good side is always a wise path. I used to smith and do fab work in a trailer court with a neighbor less than 30' from my anvil. I sharpened knives and did minor repairs like welding a cracked kitchen chair, mower deck, etc. gratis, I also minded the time trying to NEVER make noisy from dinner hour on or before morning coffee break time and in nearly 15 years of fairly frequent smithing and fab never got a single complaint. Lots of repair, etc. requests of course but no complaints.

Good PR is your friend.

Frosty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You need to find one of the small drag along magnets.HF has them i think. 12-20 inch
Finds tools and all the little rust makers.
Ken



Good Idea Dragon! I have one and use it. I also keep one on my drill press and one on the side of my anvil and one on my vise to stick bits, chuck keys, small tools and such to so I don't misplace or drop them. (okay, not as OFTEN!:rolleyes:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of your excellent replies....
Every once in a while a guy has to discuss his plans with other like-minded individuals just to see if he's on the right track.

To answer a few of your questions: #1 The tree is staying as long as it's alive and doesn't look like it's going to fall down.....

My budget is severely limited, but having done a little recon mission at the local Home Depot revealed that prices of materials aren't as much as I figured, and I haven't even done any serious shopping for better prices yet.
I can likely sink some 4X4 pressure treated posts in some concrete, and throw some galvanized roofing over the top to get the rain off my head.......
Later, as time and funds permit I will throw some sheeting on the sides......They have stuff to match the tuff shed at Home Depot, which will ease my wife's concerns :-)

Sukellos............I really like your setup, and it just makes me jones for a similar little smithy of my own!
I like the sand idea, and was thinking that I could throw a little sand on the ground as I wet it and tamped it down, and that would make the dirt a little more solid.....a little like adobe I think.

I do have a welding machine, and considering the humid climate I live in, and the likelihood of thievery (I've been ripped off twice already) I think I will keep it in the garage.....the only 220V outlet is there anyways, and it's only 10 feet away from the smithy, so it just makes sense.

I'm short on time now, so I will write more later

thanks again for the excellent feedback..........I'll certainly keep everyone posted on the progress.

Iain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.