journey333

Open Air Smithy Design

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I am about to start building my shop, which will be an open air smithy until I can afford to build a shed for it. I would appreciate suggestions as to layout. Here are some of the details:
I live in the high desert of Oregon. The annual precipitation averages 11.7 in (300 mm), with an annual average snowfall of 27.6 inches (70.1 cm).
The area I plan on using (without storage area) is 12' x 18'.
It is mostly under a couple of large Ponderosa pine trees, between the house and a small storage shed that is overflowing with my tools and household stuff. I will probably remove the lowest branches of the trees, but they are not really in the way currently. I think having it under the trees is a good idea, as it gets really hot and bright here.
I plan on putting down gravel, after I have set my leg vise in place (I have an 8"x8"x4.5' pressure treated board for that).
My anvil is on a stand that I built out of 4x4's, and will of necessity be moveable. I might even put a handle and wheels on it like this one:

Rd3lih.jpg



Though the wheels would have to be bigger to go over gravel.

I have a welding table that is 4'x4'. It will serve as my layout table for the time being.

MjImz.jpg



I have a small coal forge that looks similar to this one in size, though someone added 4" walls around half of the pan:

IMG_0066-5.jpg



What considerations should I use in planning the layout, other than the 2 stride triangle of forge/anvil/post vise?

How should I minimize the fire danger of a coal forge under pine trees in desert dry conditions? I was thinking of building a chimney/wall that would help not only remove the smoke, but provide some shade for checking the color of the heated metal.

Any suggestions are appreciated, as I am new to this and most of you have seen many shop set ups in your time, I image.

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Journey,

Don't mean to threadjack, but I'm getting ready to change my anvil stand from something like yours to a stump I just got ahold of. I had the thought of doing something very similar in terms of putting wheels and a handle on it to make it easier to move around. Does the handle in the picture come out of the holder fairly easily? I was considering pinning it in place with a bolt or something so I could get the handle out of the way when I'm working.

Thanks in advance.

I'm looking forward to seeing the suggestions for your shop build. I am thinking of doing something similar in the near future.

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Journey,

Don't mean to threadjack, but I'm getting ready to change my anvil stand from something like yours to a stump I just got ahold of. I had the thought of doing something very similar in terms of putting wheels and a handle on it to make it easier to move around. Does the handle in the picture come out of the holder fairly easily? I was considering pinning it in place with a bolt or something so I could get the handle out of the way when I'm working.

Thanks in advance.

I'm looking forward to seeing the suggestions for your shop build. I am thinking of doing something similar in the near future.


That isn't my stand, I was using it as an illustration of what I would like to do. I think I would do the same as you suggest, make the handle adjustable and serve double duty as a tool holder.

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Right on - that's an even more gooder idea - rigging the handle to double as a tool rack. I think that might work best as a 'here, hold this for a second' affair rather than a regular storage location, but either way it's worth some thought.

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I use a hand truck for moving my post vise and anvil. Big pneumatic tires are nice. I work on a gravel driveway, have to move everything out every time. I used to have a shade tree, but it broke last week and I cut it the rest of the way down this week...

Here is my vise with the hand truck.

Phil

post-9443-0-94075900-1341631174_thumb.jp

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I use a hand truck for moving my post vise and anvil. Big pneumatic tires are nice. I work on a gravel driveway, have to move everything out every time. I used to have a shade tree, but it broke last week and I cut it the rest of the way down this week...

Here is my vise with the hand truck.

Phil

I really like that post vice stand you have.  I think I may try to put something like that together.

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Surround the forge hearth with a sheet metal wall except for a little "doorway entrance." This will keep the wind from driving you nuts. You can also see the heat colors more easily in the enclosed shade. I have no solution regarding a brush or tree fire that you may start; it's a crap shoot.

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I move my anvil from time to time with a hand truck. First thing I became aware of first time I moved it; All the weight is at the top. It can get away from you when you least suspect it. For instance; that crack in the driveway that is wider than you thought or "Where did that rock come from??"

 

Just an FYI. Be careful :)

Scott

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For some reason i cant get my pictures off the camera to the puter :angry: . but i have a portable anvil and vise set up on old truck wheels with 6 inch thick wall pipe for the stands. I put a plywood bottom in the wheel and poured the wheel and pipe full of concrete and let it set up. gives it weight and very stable. i just tip them over sideways and roll them from storage to where i need them, like you would do a oxygen bottle. I use 2 big beach umbrellas for shade, get them at costco rather cheep. made wheel stands for the umbrellas can move them where ever i need them. :wacko:  dang a  picture sure would be easier then trying to describe it in words, not my best subject..... :unsure: .. .just my 2c worth. live like no other,.................... so later you can live like no others

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Just an aside, I almost lost my outdoor smithy this weekend - massive storm blew through and took down three very large branches of a very old pecan tree.   Friends were helping me try to cut it all up and bring down the branches that were hanging by a bark-thread to the main body, they wisely suggested we might move the forge off of the bench it was screwed down to just underneath the tree.  First branch we got down slammed so hard into the bench that it actually drove the posts-in-concrete legs about 6" further into the ground!   yikes!   I'm reconsidering whether that forge bench might need to be more portable now!    I had previously taken some anti-theft comfort in it being screwed down to a bench that was concreted into the ground.   Now I'm weighing theft versus falling objects in wind/tornado prone Alabama!

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Hmmm, trim pecan tree down leaving stump for anvil.  Move forge closer.  Worry less about tree and more about theft...

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Having nearly lost a fight with a vegetable it gives me the willies reading stories like that Spanky! It can be deadly dangerous doing anything under broken branches.

 

It's about perspective, is it more important to move an ANVIL or protect your head? How much damage do you think a tree branch would do to your anvil? I can list some of the damage a tree can do to the body in general, I have the scars to prove it.

 

I'd rather read about you having to replace some tools or equipment than your obit. I ain't got enough friends I can afford to lose any avoidably.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The tree is an old growth, very wide and very tall pecan tree - one of the primary reasons I bought my house is that tree.  She's a beaut, and gives me more pecans than I can possibly give away every couple of years (it gets to the point of me face to the sky screaming "STOP ALREADY, I HAVE ENOUGH PECANS!")   I'm emotionally attached to it, and pecan trees just shed branches every once in a while, part of how they work.   I'm very lucky these didn't hit the house, they missed by about 6 inches.  I have an arborist coming out this week to quote me on some judicious pruning, but the tree stays.    In my very large yard underneath the tree is the most amenable to forging all day - everywhere else is in FULL Alabama sun.  But ... all that said, since I now have to rebuild the bench the forge was on anyway, I might consider a reconfiguration of the outdoor shop!

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I wish some of you who work outdoors would post some photos of your outdoor smithys.  Like Journey, I'd be interested in seeing how others have theirs set up.  After the storms I'm going to have to do at least a little rebuilding, reconfiguring - would love to see how some of you have them set up. 

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I'm not suggesting you get rid of the tree! What I was trying to say is ANY limb that's NOT attached as it grew is a potential WIDOW MAKER. My core message is be careful, very VERY careful around hangers. Having the limbs pruned THEN moving the heavy iron is so much safer. It doesn't take much of a breeze to bring broken limbs down, eventually they'll come down on their own anyway. The less time a person spends under them the less likely I'll have someone to talk TBIs with in the first person.

 

Proper pruning is not only a much better way to be as safe as you can under a tree it's good for the tree.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The three that came down this weekend weren't "hangers" waiting to come down, they got brought down by a storm, one very large one got pushed over by 85mph winds, and it took two around it down in the process!!     I've got someone coming out later this week to quote me on doing a judicious trimming to mitigate against any that might come down on the house or my head the next time we get a big storm, which around here is way too often.    But I'm touched to know you're concerned about my head, Frosty!   :D

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We get wind too though rarely over 120mph. and I suppose you've heard about my luck with trees. Yes?

 

What's worse than having a tree fall on your car? Having a tree fall on both your cars.

 

It missed the house though.

 

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post-975-0-21463800-1402470218_thumb.jpg

 

post-975-0-55776500-1402470265_thumb.jpg

 

Maybe I'm just over cautions around trees, eh?

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I see all these pictures of the big pines falling and all the snow, and living in central Texas I have had almost 0 experience with either. Geography related difficulties seem more powerful than I realized.

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Sold and delivered a very expensive Swedish Car to a customer also neighbor a few years ago.  After a couple hours he called and told me to stop on the way home as his new car had a dent in the roof.  I went into the shop and read the prep guys the riot act for not noticing.  They both swore up and down there was no dent in the roof when it was delivered.  When I arrived to see there was the top half of his Maple tree through the roof of his almost new car. 

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Good grief, how could your prep guys miss a maple tree poking through the car roof!?

 

A spruce tree got both of our cars in a wind storm a few years back. What is it about trees?

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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To address the original question about setup, the 3 step rule is a good one, nothing you need to work on during a hot piece forge, should be further than 3 steps away, 2 is better. and the quench bucket can be further if you keep a small jar or pitcher full handy. Everyone on this site seems to espouse the triangle theory, but I have not needed that to be so needed in my shops, just accessible. A clear working area is most valuable to me, I hate bumping into, and stumbling around stuff. So I surround my forge area with racks of tooling, so it is about waist high, easy to grab stuff, visible, and out of the way. Always keep your medical stuff close, I keep pine tar close for burns, extra safety glasses close, for some reason I knock mine off or turn quickly and they fly off cause I'm sweaty etc. Gotta have a stereo located at the entrance, on when in, off on the way out. Fire extinguisher near the exit as well, don't want to be running toward the fire when it hits the fan, get away, decide if you can put it out, then get the extinguisher.that's all I can think of for now, good luck.

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