Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Building a Coal/Coke Forge

Blacksmith Jim

Recommended Posts

So I thought I'd post a basic description of my forge fabrication plans so far. Please feel free to offer suggestions.

I want to build the frame using angle iron, and sheet (16 gauge?) for the table / firepot / walls. I'm planning on 2' wide by 3' deep by 3' tall. I plan on putting wheels on two leg posts on one side. Hopefully this will make it semi portable since I don't have permanent shop space yet.

The forge itself will be a side blast, but not water cooled to start with.

Here is some rough ascii of a cross section of the forge table.

 ____                      ____________________________

|    |                     |

|    |              _______|           

=======            |

|    |_____________|

In the front I want to leave a foot or a little more table space. Both steps down will be about 2 inches. The first step down will be about 8 inchest wide, and the bottom step will be about 10 inches. I figure I'll leave the side blast coming about 2-3 inchest into the pot.

I want to build guides so I can drop in different walls around the firepot. I'm thinking that I want to have some walls with gates that swing open so long stock could all go in the firepot.

I think thats about the most of what I'm currently thinking about. Any critiques, ideas or suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi regional,
That looks like an interesting idea for a side blast. One thing I am wondering is if you intend to use the 16 gauge for the spot underneath the fire/tuyere? 16 ga seems awful light to be under a blown fire. I have seen suggestions for building a bottom blast that call for at least 1/4 or 3/8 plate for the firepot. Personally, I figured if 3/8" was good, 1" would be great... unfortunately not as easy to work with... or cut... or grind... or weld together...lesson learned. My forge pan is made of 1/4" plate lined with fire brick for good measure. It probably doesn't need the firebrick, but I made the trip to buy the firebrick for a welding/cutting station, so I figured I'd pick up enough extra to line the forge.

One thing I especially like about your design is the "stair-stepped" recess going down to the fire pot. This should allow you to slide a workpiece more or less horizontally into the fire's "sweet spot," and still have plenty of flat area to support the workpiece.

Great start, and keep pics posted of the progress!!

-Aaron @ the SCF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't water cool your pipe, it will burn off. The way I fixed this in my "forge-b-q" (converted from a grill) is to make the last couple of inches of "pipe" from brick. That means the pipe has a brick on either side and one on top to form the last bit of airway prior to the coals. 16 gauge is definatly too thin for the bottom unless you line the bottom. One my design I've found the blast pipe works best if it slopes downhill into the fire just a bit. Before I did this, the ash/clinker would clog the pipe something terrible (stopping about every hour to clean it out. You'll probably do a lot of tweeking to get optimal results and may want to make a trial forge with found material to learn the eccentricities of a side blast if you haven't played with one.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips and advice. I'll plan on using heavier metal for the base of the firepot. I like the tip about extending the pipe with brick. Personnally I just want to get some coal/coke burning, so I can heat some metal up and bang on it. I don't care too much about burning off a few pipes (tuyeres). In fact, I was thinking of having the last foot and a half or so of the pipe be bolted on and easy to replace. That way when it goes, I can just pull the end off and slap a new one on. If it works OK then I figure I'll eventually (say in a year or so) order a water cooled tuyere from europe somewhere. I don't want to spend the $150 or so for one now, but eventually I could be into it. Also, do you guys know of a good place to order them? I've had a difficult time sourcing them.

Things are getting closer to having a small shop set up at home, it's exciting :) I picked up some basic hammers recently (3lb sledge, 2lb cross pien, and an old 1.5lb ball pien my Dad made years and years ago) and my anvil is pretty much ready to forge on. I'm planning on stump mounting it sometime in the next month or so, and putting the forge together :) I found a good forest product supply yard about a mile from my house, so getting a good stump should be no problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

R.C., I recall seeing in a book some pics and description of an ancient forge site found somewhere in Persia (Iran). The setup was very simple. A shallow hole in the ground served as the "firepot". Air was delivered from two goatskin bellows, one bag under each arm. Alternately squeezing one bag and then the other produced a constant stream of air. I don't understand, or it wasn't explained how the bags filled with air. Air left the bag and traveled down a wooden stem, or reed, which terminated in a ceramic tip, right at the coals. If there is a ceramics shop or school in your area, perhaps you could have some sort of sacrificial tips such as these made up to suit your setup. They may prove to last quite a while, would be cheap and easily replaced. Food for thought. Good luck and keep on hammerin'. Dan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

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

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.

  • Create New...