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I Forge Iron

Forge ready for firing!


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It was a perfect day for some back yard construction. I have been gathering the parts of the forge for some time now and today it all came together.

The fire pot is an old 16" 8 bolt wheel rim with one edge cut away. That sits on an old iron table frame. I also found an old 1/4" thick iron plate while I was walking through a field and this makes a nice side table top for the forge.

The air is supplied by a 1 1/4" pipe. I found a shut off valve at a second hand store and this is used for the monitoring of the air flow. Works real good. I can have anything from a whisper to a full on flow.

The air is pumped by an old Electrolux vacuum. Works real good and is not too noisy.

So I put it all together and now I will add some clay around the edges of the fire pot to fill out the shape and stop up some holes. I couldn't resist painting it blue. I have lots of old paint. It will be interesting to see how much of it burns off and where.

This will be used outside. I have some old fire bricks I will use to help shield the fire if needed.

I don't know if I've done this right, but, ignorance is bliss.










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Looks good, that's real similar to how I did mine, with the wheel, but I used a bigger table, just because I found it getting thrown out at work and just couldn't see it going to the scrapyard just because it was no longer needed, plus it was free.
Mine works good, hope your's does too.
Good luck


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  • 2 weeks later...

Bobby, I just scooped some clay up out of my back yard. We tore out some big bushes a few years ago and just back filled the holes with green clay. Clay breathes when it is not glazed, so I don't think air bubbles will be a problem.

The pioneers didn't have fancy clay so I guess I'm in good company. I chose clay because I'm cheap and didn't want to spring for cement for such a small amount. This way too, I can change it around as I please.

Tek, I still haven't set a match to it yet, but I will get some pix. The weather has not cooperated, to hot, to windy or the "Honey Do" list get in the way. This forge will be fired with brickets as no coal within 100 miles around here, and yet train loads of the stuff go right by my house all the time.

My vacuum is an old Electrolux and is not very noisy, but still the noise is a constant din I can do without, so I got me a piece of old hose the right size about 40 feet long so I can put the vacuum in the shed and close the door and still run the forge.

Soon to be a forgin'! ;)


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Nice looking unit. One thing you can do is cure the clay while it is damp. By building fire. First do yourself a favor, take a length of wire, and push it into clay all over to vent the steam generated.

Happy Hammerin'

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Ok, laugh if you want to, but this works, I have used it in several foreign countries when I was in the Seabees to make working forges, usually burning native charcoal, but it will work well for coal also.

1. Get a somewhat large low sided tub for a mixing basin or just use a wheelbarrow which is best.

2. Get a couple of buckets of dry bank clay and crumble it up well so it has the consistancy of mortar sand.

3. Find some nice DRY Horse Manure, its mostly fiber and break it up but don't destroy the long fibers.

4. In the mixing container of choice, put 3 parts clay by volume to one part crumbled horse pukey in layers. Get a garden hoe and cut or mix the ingredients like you would mortar. but do it gently.

5. Add water to the mix a little at a time and cut or mix it in like you would mortar. You want a dry mix, just so that a handful squeezed in your hand will stick together well. IF ITS TOO WET AND WATER RUNS OUT WHEN YOU SQUEEZE IT, THROW IT OUT AND START OVER. Its best to just sprinkle some water over the top each time, and then work it in till you get the consistancy you want.

6. Find a Short Squat Flower Pot of any material, that is about 4.5 to 5 inches across the flat bottom and has flared sides.

7. Take a handful or so of the mix and spread on the bottom of the forge fire pot to insulate the bottom and pack it down and smooth it out with a slightly damp small trowel or a kitchen spatula. (see step 10 below)

8. Spray the flower pot with WD40 or some other release agent, including the bottom, and set it centered over your air outlet in the bottom.

9. Using handfulls at a time, pack the damp clay/pukey mixture well around the flower pot evenly so you don't disturb the flower pot off center. You may have to use one hand in the flower pot to stabilize it.

10. Using a short piece of 2 by 4 as a ram, use the end of the 2 by 4 to pack the clay well in layers, but not to forcefully. Make it at least 5 inches deep around the flower pot and the top flat and level all the way around for your coal or charcoal or coke to rest on.

11. When you think you have it right, grab the flower pot top on opposite sides and with a gentle lifting motion twist the flower pot till it comes loose.

12. Now you have 2 options, leave it like it is or using a wet kitchen butter knife cut out the ends to make the firepot longer than wider like a factory cast iron fire pot. (See fig B below)

13. When you have what you think is right round the top edges of the fire pot a little to prevent them from crumbling off, and then with your wet hand or the spatula or trowel smooth the inside and top of the new clay firepot, just don't get it to wet. (See fig A below)

14. The horse pukey acts just like the straw in Adobe Brick as a binder, but does not burn well.


Now to address the problem of a dumping ASH GATE at the bottom.

1. Measure the outside diameter of your Ash Collection Pipe. Go to a Farm Store or Automotive Store and get a Self Closing Tractor Exhaust Rain Cap that will fit your ash pipe, you know the ones that are counter balanced on the exhaust pipe and close automatically when the engine is shut off. They have a screw or bolt to secure them to the pipe.

2. Weld a scrap piece of flat iron on the counter balance and then a short piece of scrap shaft 1.5 or so in diameter and an inch or so long on the end of the flat iron. This will counter balance the cap the other way like you need it.

3. You now have an easily dumpable ash gate.


The best type of blower for a forge and relatively quiet can be obtained as a unit, with blower and motor together from an old clothes dryer. They are made just like a forge blower with an impeller on the inside, older ones will have an aluminum or potmetal housing, newer ones will have a plastic housing. and they have a 3 inch outlet like a forge blower.

OH Yes, Don't worry about handling the dry horse pukey, it won't hurt you to handle it when its dry and it won't smell when hot.

Let the Clay mixture dry naturally and build a wood fire in it without any air pressure to harden it after drying.

Caution don't do a lot of violent poking around in this firepot as its easily damaged, gut it is easily repaired if damage occurs by mixing some more clay and smoothing it around inside the fire pot. You will have to rough the inside up some and clean it well with a wire brush to get it to bond well after the high heat has glazed the inside of the fire pot.

I hope this helps some people. I know the horse pukey sounds like a joke but it is for real.



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Larry, I was thinking to build a wood fire first to make sure the clay was dry. Thanks for crystallizing that idea.

Thanks for the ideas, Irnsrgn! Really good ideas and battle tested too. It's an honor to meet a Seabee and learn some good tips. I'm going to copy your post in to my notes for further study and contemplation.

One thing I think I have gleaned from this, is I think my fire pot is too wide. I think perhaps I will have trouble containing the heat and if my fire pot was deeper, like in your drawing, it would be better to help keep the heat focused.

Again, thank you.


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