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Hello, and what is the most basic forge?


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Hello.
I'm new here. My name is Archie Zietman, and I'm 14, living in the dead center of Salem MA. Got interested in blacksmithing last year, but haven't done much with iron yet, since there's been school going on.
So now it's time for some summer hammering. But before I hammer, I need a forge, what is the utmost basic of forges besides a hole in the ground? I have no welding facilities, so it can't have anything to do with welding.
Thanks,
Archie

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One of the most simplistic forges around is the 55 gallon drum forge. All you need is the bottom of a 55 gallon drum, about 4 inches of it or so and a steel pipe, airsorce and a few other small things. Im sure Glenn can send you a link to the blueprint of it. Welcome to the club.

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Archie, I see no shame in the hole in the ground forge. It would be a great thing to show your mates at school, something you've created out it. Why get tangled up with fancy contraptions that require resources not available to you at the moment and that will only consume the time that could have been used to actually forge something. When it all boils down all the "you beaut" forges you see are really just glorified holes in the ground raised up to a more convenient height. Personally I would be crippled with a hole in the ground because my back wouldn't cope but you are young and, no doubt, a lot more supple. I suppose I could easily dig another hole next to the forge hole to stand in. :)

The point is you need a "container" to hold hot coals and a controllable supply of air into the container. All you need then is the imagination and enthusiasm to achieve what you have set out to achieve. I wish you every success. If I wasn't half a world away I'd be over at your place getting you started. Join a blacksmithing group too, that's bound to help a great deal. Good luck to you

What about it fellas? Is someone living near the dead centre of Salem MA (where ever that is) that can lend Archie a hand and get him started in a pursuit that is desperate for younger participants.

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Mr. Strine, where do you live? :D I'm just curious. I can't do the hole in the ground because it's been raining for the past week, and will rain for another week, because of a Nor-Easter storm coming in from the coast. The non-hole in the ground would allow me to forge independantly of the weather. :D

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I'm flattered that you add the Mr, Archie I don't get it much and when I do it's usually in jest, anyway where I come from we don't stand on ceremony too much, Strine will do just fine. I'm in the south east corner of Australia, cobber.

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A,

He's in 'stralia - see his nom de plume... :?:

You need: some type of blower or bellows, something to hold the fire (can be firebricks), something to beat on. The whole forge can be out of wood so you don't need to be able to weld (if'n you can't drive nails, then you shouldn't try blacksmithing :wink:). A piece of pipe to conduct the air and you are set to at least build a fire. If you can't find BS coal, then look for natural charcoal - briquettes work to a point but aren't really suitable for serious work. Glenn's 55 forge is good but you may have to think about screwing or bolting pieces that would normally be welded.

Good luck and let us know how you progress.

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I have come up with a design, which I think will work: The forge-pan is 1.5 feet across made of a thick steel plate on the bottom, bolted to wooden sides which are about as high as the width of a man's palm. Firebrick, or clay is packed in, with a dip in the middle, which is the fire-pit thing. (The steel plate is exposed by the dip in the middle) There are holes drilled in the bottom of the fire-pit so that ash can fall through. Underneath, to catch the ashes, is a big pipe with an openable /closeable bpttom flap for the ash dump. Then, instead of a bellows, or hairdryer, or whathaveyou, I am going to use an airbed inflator, which is basically a plastic bellows which you step on. This is linked to the ash dump-pipe, so that air can go up through the holes in the fire-pit. The whole thing is on legs.
I hope this will work?
Thanks,
Archie

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Ooh, good idea with the airbed inflator! The design sounds basically workable. Will depend on the execution :) If the bellows doesn't give enough air (and I doubt it will...) a small venturi setup may help a bit, but it may just mean that it's time to move up to a hair dryer. Good luck!

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. .

This the quick version of the now famous 55 Forge.

BOOM is NOT a nice noise and cutting the drum can be dangerous with explosive results. Have some one else cut it for you - and do not stand close while they do the cutting.

The pan is 6" from the end of a 55 gallon drum, the twyere is a section of exhaust pipe from an atuomobile welded into a "T" (standard pipe and pipe fitings work just as well), and the grate is 2 pieces of 1/4" round stock. The photo is for demonstration purposes. You may add clay or sand to the bottom of the forge for insulate the bottom of the pan from the fire. Ashes were used with this forge.

This is not a permenant forge, but one that can get you started. Work safely at all times and keep any fire maintained and under control. When they send the big red trucks full of water to your location, sirens screaming, the fire is NOT considered under control. Use caution at all times.

A side blast version of the 55 Forge is shown on thread "Forging Trouble" in the blacksmithing section. The same pan is used, but the twere is a bit simplier in the side draft version.
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My first forge was a home built job. Consited of a metal 5 gallon bucket packed with fire clay. The top had a piece of stove pipe, and it was a side blast model. I cut a 6"x6" slot in the side to serve as a work door, and the blower was a vacuum cleaner motor with a lighting dimmer switch on it. Screw a few legs to it, and you are ready to work.

Bare hands and hot iron do not mix
Jason M. Duncan :mrgreen:

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