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I Forge Iron

How to build my first forge


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Sup everyone. Was thinking of building my first forge and had actually a dream about it :) I was thinking that is should be 3 layered. Around a 50-40-10 ratio. Mainly wood then and inner layer of fire bricks then a last layer of clay. Also it would have an overhead with a vent. What ya think?


~Tony

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Solid fuel forges are -- or at least can be -- dead simple. Just be aware that hard bricks conduct heat pretty well, so be sure there's plenty of material in there to protect the wood.

What fuel are you planning to use? Are you thinking of side blast or bottom blast? Are you planning to build this inside or outside?

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  • 3 weeks later...

With 2 layers of firebrick, you don't even need the clay.
This is my charcoal forge. The box is 1.25" ash planks, the firebox is 2 layers of soft firebrick sitting on a plate steel shelf.
It's also a side-blast design, the 2 standing firebricks act as a firewall.
I've run this forge ALL DAY at demos and the planks don't even get warm (well, barely).

So, a charcoal forge can be pretty simple.

A friend of mine uses a table full of sand for his charcoal forge - saves him from digging a hole in the dirt and stooping all day.

Good luck.
Hope this helps.

Sam

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post-4558-052737300 1276041187_thumb.jpg

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love the wash tub forge design - it is one of my favourites and I can't count how many times I've recommended this forge idea to new smiths I've met.
Short of a hole in the ground - I can't think of a better design that shows how simple a forge can be - and also how cheap setting up your first forge could be.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When you are using firebricks, you can actually crush used firebricks to put inside any generic cheap cement to make it more fireproof. I use Taconite and Bentonite myself for my forge, but I just have mine setup with cinderblocks with a layer of fireclay/bentonite on top. It hasn't given me greif yet, so I'm really liking your clay/wood/firebrick design. You will need to put enough clay on though so firebrick doesn't burn the wood like it has already been mentioned.

@Bill: Awesome pictures. Love the design. I've heard about something similar to it but never seen it for myself. Very well done, mate!

Staff Note: WARNING this can explode, do NOT use standard cement for a fire box.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice forges! Here's my Lively Design for charcoal. Question: if I want to burn coal, whats a good homemade design that'll allow me to shed the clinkers? I've got an extra blower laying around that needs to be breathing!

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Note: instead of capping the other end, if you make a steel "ramrod" that fits in the forge you can control the length of the fire with it rather than blocking tuyere holes from the top. (I used that method back in 1981 when I built my first charcoal forge in an old farm sink...found a steel pully that was a good fit in my pipe and used a steel rod in the shaft hole to make my "ramrod")

Thomas AKA Bog Iron over at the neo-tribal metalsmiths forum "Primal Fires"

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Nice forges! Here's my Lively Design for charcoal. Question: if I want to burn coal, whats a good homemade design that'll allow me to shed the clinkers? I've got an extra blower laying around that needs to be breathing!


One of the guys in the local club started with a pipe with holes like the Lively style forge. He found that with coal the clinker would soon plug the holes. His very simple solution was to change the holes to a slot and make his poker so he could slide it done the slot to clear clinker. I don't know if it is the best solution but it is simple.

ron
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  • 3 weeks later...

The filler/refractory in my tub is 1:1 clay cat litter and sand with several handfuls of clean ashes thrown in also. Mixed to concrete consistency and applied. It takes several days to a week dry depending on how much water is in it.

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I have some questions about the wash tub forge design. first can this be used for coal, second what is the actual tub made out of and lastly what do you line it with, clay or something else.

Many Thanks to you.

This design can be used for all solid fuels, and the tub is a galzanized washtub. the clay combo mentioned by zampilot will work, as well as just plain old out ofthe back yard clay, mixed with sand, or you can buy refractory cement. I'm just not sure where to find the cement.
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This design can be used for all solid fuels, and the tub is a galzanized washtub. the clay combo mentioned by zampilot will work, as well as just plain old out ofthe back yard clay, mixed with sand, or you can buy refractory cement. I'm just not sure where to find the cement.


I have made a livey style forge this month also, one thing I altered was the blower system, I made the mine with the straight pipe also, but instead of capping the end off, I made a swivel plate on the end. The reason for this was that I use a 20 dollar vacuum (wet/dry vac cap for 5 gallon buckets) on exhust to push the air into the pipe. the plate acts as a governor on the air flow, The more I block the end of the pipe the high the air pressure exiting into the forge. Biggest draw back so far is the noise of a small vac while heating metal, but the process works great.

As for the adobe mix I used potter's clay from a craft store, sand, and a couple of handfuls of wood ash to make it. Equal parts sand/clay, just enough water to make it mix together, and the two handfuls of ash. takes a good 5 days to a week to dry enough to put any fire into it. And while the adobe is a great insulator, you'll prolly want a bench or stand to mount the forge on so you're not bending over all day while working. great examples in the pics above.
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I found a place that sells Refractory Cement, figure it has to be the same thing. It is called Homesaver Flue Goo, it can withstand temps up to 3000 degrees. It can bond Masonry to masonry, steel to steel and masonry to steel. Hope that helps.

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