Plans for a forge

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Hey everyone this is my first post here, but I've been lurking for awhile.

I would love to make a small forge for some smithing work, and my idea was to make a small forge from bricks.

Is it necessary to have a cover on top or could it be simply open?

Any other hints/tips would be appreciated. :)

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I have a large forge, but built this little one to save fuel on small projects, which is most of my stuff. Suprisingly I can do way more with it then I imagined.
First things first, unless you want to be frustrated get insulating fire brick. Look in yellow pages under "refractory"
for suppliers, otherwise they can be fould on the internet they are worth about $3/e. they are soft and you can cut them easily. I used a hole saw, just so it was straight. you can use them without a coating if you don't weld. flux will eat the bricks, so I coated mine with ITC. I suspect that clay would protect them as well.

I welded a little frame, but when I first made it they were just bound together with bailing wire.
picture #1 is my very well used forge, I have a LOT of run time on it and it is showing some cracks. but the frame has held it together.
The rest of the pix are from another one I made for a local smith. When I started out my burner was a propane torch, which worked well but couldn't reach weld heat. the curly bit is a holder for a torch head.
Later I added a burner using Frosty's design. Scaled down to 1/2 iron pipe size. but that is another story.
I also made a arm that slides under it to hold small stock.
It is all easy enough to do, especially if you take it in steps, start by getting some insulating bricks and a torch head, you will be able to do a lot. ;)
Good luck and play safe!




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Hey Apollo,

Welcome to IFI. This is the place to get your questions answered. Now I have a question for you.

Do you plan on burning gas or solid fuels ie coal, charcoal, wood...

Answering this will put people in the right area of (perceived) expertise ready to help you. Teenylittlemetalguy has a really cool gasser. Others like myself have a simple coal forge and some will have really elaborite coal forges and others will be able to help you get started from the ground up. Give us as much info about yourself as you can such as any experience with welding or other metal work. You do not need to have any prior experience with these, only a desire to learn. Do you live in rural or city. All these things add up to help get you the right info.

Also let us know where abouts in the world you are located. Chances are good there is another blacksmith nearby that can help and there are blacksmith associations all around the world that you may be able to join.


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Hey Mark thanks for the reply, I guess some info from me could have helped eh?

Well the plan is to make a solid fuel forge, I was just gonna buy some charcoal from Canadian Tire,

and I guess that answers another question, I live in Canada, BC to be exact, and I'm about 1.5 hours east from Vancouver, so its not really a city, we have a pretty large lot, no shop atm, I was just gonna plunk the forge down on some 24x24" pavers.

As for previous metal work, not a lot, I took a course in high school, have done some welding here and there, have my own MIG, but I tend to be a quick learner when I get excited about something.

So ya, Solid Fuel, rural-ish area, Chilliwack BC, some experience, good to be here :D

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Generally solid fuel forges have no top on them. Making them from brick is usually overkill---especially when you haven't figured out what *you* want in a forge.

A simple starter forge can be made with an old brake drum. Smaller is better over larger. Using charcoal it helps to make a "fence" for the brake drum from NON coated steel. NOT GALVANIZED! Just take a strip about 6" taller than the wall of the brake drum and bend it into a "C" that fits by spring pressure against the wall. The open end of the C is where you stick work through and cutting a "mousehole" on the side opposite the C right over where the brake drum wall ends can help sticking large stock through.

Charcoal likes a DEEP fire but doesn't profit much from a wide fire which burns up fuel without contributing much to heating your metal.
When I burn charcoal in my coal forge I add a couple of firebricks to it to make walls next to the firepot so I can get extra depth and not have burning charcoal spread over the forge table BBQ'ing my hands as I work!

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