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LastRonin

My $0.00 dollar forge build so far.

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I figured I'd go ahead and show my progress with my forge and let people make suggestions or critiques. I am open to any and all opinions... and don't worry, I don't get XXXX hurt easily.

 

Firstly... just because the title says $0.00 doesn't mean I am insistant on not spending any money to build it, just that I haven't had to yet. I do need to keep it as cheap as I can, but if I end up needing to buy something I will.

 

So far I've put my firepot and piping togethether, cut a hole in the 4' x 8' metal table I had sitting unused out in the shed and have gathered the materials I intend to build my anvil 'stand' (a wood block made from nine 4"x4" square posts bolted and strapped together on end.).

I still need to come up with a hood and flue. Thinking of using the inner shell of an old gas oven for the sides and back. Would cut a pass-through hole in the back for long stock.

 

Anyway, here are the pictures. (The 'lid' is an old plow disc. It fits over the brake drum perfectly... 1/4" overhang all around.)

Forgetable1.jpg

Forgetable2.jpg

ForgeTableWithPitcover.jpg

ForgeTableWithPitcoverOff.jpg

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Very nice bit of work, LR!  The only thing to do is put a rim around the table so your coal doesn't fall off the edges.

 

Love the lid!

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Thanks VaughnT. I plan to put a hood which will fill that role for part of it. And I have some angle iron that I will put around the rest except for a space in the front for material to fit in. I just wish I had more time, money and materials to get it done quicker. (I loved the lid too, lol. I stuck it on top of the pit when I had it set up temporary on cinderblocks to keep rain out of it and was really happy with how it fit and looked. Definitely a lot of repurposing going into this build.)

 

One question about the rim to hold the coal... the table is BIG! 4 feet by eight feet. I shouldn't need to rim all of it should I? I was thinking maybe only about a two or three foot by four foot area around the firepit.

 

Let's see... the list of things needed done:

 1) Base for anvil.

 2) Ash dump.

{These two are enough to get it fired up. so are next priority}

 

{The rest of these can come in various order. Some have some priority over others, but for the most part have more leeway on whether I can heat and beat or not.}

 3) Coal catch rim.

 4) Hood and flue.

 5) TONGS. (So I can quit using large pliers.)

 6) Quench tanks. 

 7) Cutting torch.

 8) Grinder.

 9) Sander.

 

If there is anything important I missed ( besides of course the need for material to work with ), please let me know. Any suggestions  or ideas for me to be able to accomplish any of the above items in a timely, efficient and economical manner would be greatly appreciated.

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1)  Landscape timbers (preferably pressure-treated) cut and stacked to for a bug-proof "stump".  Best bet I've seen, and very easy to build.

 

2)  Easy to make after you have the forge running and can make something decorative.

 

3)  Highest priority.  You simply have no room between the fire pot and the leading edge of the forge, plus it will help when working at the forge.  You certainly don't need to surround the entire 4x8 top, but you definitely want to surround the area around the fire pot.  Give yourself a 4'x4' "box" to work in.  The other 4'x4' can be used for tool storage (which will act like a fourth wall). And don't forget a built-in stock rest since you don't have any room before the table ends.

 

4)  Good if you're working indoors.  A wind shield is handy if you're outside, and a hood can give you shade to see the color of the metal.  But neither are 100% necessary unless you need to get the smoke out of the way.

 

5)  Can't have too many of them.  Make them as you need them.

6)  Anything you have handy.  I use a plastic pail, and am careful to not touch the rim with hot iron.

7)  Handy, but certainly not needed for the smith.

8)  Save your pennies and build a grinder-in-a-box or KMG clone.  Well worth the money!!

9)  See #8

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1)  Landscape timbers (preferably pressure-treated) cut and stacked to for a bug-proof "stump".  Best bet I've seen, and very easy to build.

That's what I have and am gonna use.

2)  Easy to make after you have the forge running and can make something decorative.

Yeah, that was also in my plans. Debating on what to make for the counterweight... maybe an elephant head. (ROLL TIDE!)

3)  Highest priority.  You simply have no room between the fire pot and the leading edge of the forge, plus it will help when working at the forge.  You certainly don't need to surround the entire 4x8 top, but you definitely want to surround the area around the fire pot.  Give yourself a 4'x4' "box" to work in.  The other 4'x4' can be used for tool storage (which will act like a fourth wall). And don't forget a built-in stock rest since you don't have any room before the table ends.

Already have the angle iron and had started marking for the dimensions, will redo the measurements and markings to incorporate your advice on going to 4'x4'. I had to put the firepot that close to the edge because there is a structural beam lengthwise through the middle of the table. Without a welder I couldn't rework the table that much. Already have plans turning about in my head for swing out stock supports.

4)  Good if you're working indoors.  A wind shield is handy if you're outside, and a hood can give you shade to see the color of the metal.  But neither are 100% necessary unless you need to get the smoke out of the way.

I'm mainly wanting this for the wind shielding and color visibility. will probably start before i get this part done and incorporate it later.

5)  Can't have too many of them.  Make them as you need them.

Been searching the forum an internet for info on how to make these. Have picked a couple ones to start with and made a 'shopping list' of materials to acquire to make them.

6)  Anything you have handy.  I use a plastic pail, and am careful to not touch the rim with hot iron.

 I have a 20"W x 20"L x 6"H stainless pan I plan to use for oil quenching small items. Also have a 55 gal drum I was thinking of cutting down for larger items and then there the old galvanized tin washing tub we have out back.

7)  Handy, but certainly not needed for the smith.

Yeah, but I need one for other uses as well. But as far as the forge goes, this one is definitely not a top priority.

8)  Save your pennies and build a grinder-in-a-box or KMG clone.  Well worth the money!!

Grinder-in-a-box? KMG clone? Um... ok... time for Google, I don't know what these are.

9)  See #8

See my #8 reply just above...lol.

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You'll absolutely love the KMG clone, also called a knife-maker's belt grinder.  Yep, they are spendy even if you do 90% of the build yourself, but soooo worth the money!  I honestly don't know how I got along without mine for all these years.  Wood or metal, rough grinding or fine finishing, it can do it all.  Certainly the most used tool in my "shop"!

 

"I had to put the firepot that close to the edge because there is a structural beam lengthwise through the middle of the table. Without a welder I couldn't rework the table that much."

 

Hardly a valid excuse.  You have a hacksaw and bailing wire in your toolbox, I'm sure, and everything is possible with that combo!

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Open up the air way to the forge. Those little bitty holes will not allow enough air to get to the fire. I have a 2-1/4 inch pipe to the bottom of my forge with a single piece of 1/4 inch rod across the opening. LOTS of air can get to the fire. The other forge has a 3 inch pipe with 2 each 3/8 bolts across the opening. And I can use coal dust or fines with this set up with no problems.

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VaughnT: "Hardly a valid excuse. You have a hacksaw and bailing wire in your toolbox, I'm sure, and everything is possible with that combo!"

LOL. True, I didn't think about how close it was to the side. No more excuses. I was just in too much of a hurry to try to get it together.

 

Glenn: "Open up the air way to the forge. Those little bitty holes will not allow enough air to get to the fire. I have a 2-1/4 inch pipe to the bottom of my forge with a single piece of 1/4 inch rod across the opening. LOTS of air can get to the fire. The other forge has a 3 inch pipe with 2 each 3/8 bolts across the opening. And I can use coal dust or fines with this set up with no problems."

OK. I'll remove the pipecap and put a piece of 3/8 rebar I have across it.

 

Thank you guys. Soon as I get more done I'll post more pics. Can't wait til I get to post my first project (other than the forge itself... lol)

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First fire use the pipe cap, just leave a couple of threads holding it in place. Make the forge and fire work by heating some say 1/2 inch material several times. Try to get 30 minutes or more forge time.

 

Make a TT from 1/4 inch stock with the legs of the TT so they fit into the pipe. Rake the fire away from the air hole and with a pair of pliers remove the pipe cap and drop the TT into the pipe. Rebuild the fire and turn on the air.  Make the forge and fire work by heating some say 1/2 inch material several times. Try to get 30 minutes or more forge time.

 

By now you have invested less than an hour into the test and KNOW which works better for you, in your location, using YOUR forge. Please post the results for the rest of us to read.

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"I didn't think..."

 

That's okay.  You did say you're an Alabama fan....

 

Ya know, looking at your table, I was a bit concerned about the lack of room before that edge.... but then I saw those bolt holes.  It wouldn't be anything troubling to bend some sheet-metal and form a small table extension that could bolt directly to the table.  Wouldn't take much of an extension, and you wouldn't have to form a wall around it to hold the coal back because it's just peeking out through the gap in the rim around the main table area.  Would make a great stock rest for all that small stuff we find ourselves working on.  No welding needed, either.  Fold, rivet, attach.  So easy, a "Roll Tide!"-er could do it.

 

As for the pipe cap, I'd continue using it, but I'd open the holes making it a long slot (say 1/2"x1-1/2") instead of a series of small holes.  See that on a lot of old forges.  Gives you the benefit of a raised entryway (so clinker drops below it) and you don't need to fab another piece.

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VaughnT said:

"I didn't think..."

 

That's okay.  You did say you're an Alabama fan....

 

Ya know, looking at your table, I was a bit concerned about the lack of room before that edge.... but then I saw those bolt holes.  It wouldn't be anything troubling to bend some sheet-metal and form a small table extension that could bolt directly to the table.  Wouldn't take much of an extension, and you wouldn't have to form a wall around it to hold the coal back because it's just peeking out through the gap in the rim around the main table area.  Would make a great stock rest for all that small stuff we find ourselves working on.  No welding needed, either.  Fold, rivet, attach.  So easy, a "Roll Tide!"-er could do it.

 

As for the pipe cap, I'd continue using it, but I'd open the holes making it a long slot (say 1/2"x1-1/2") instead of a series of small holes.  See that on a lot of old forges.  Gives you the benefit of a raised entryway (so clinker drops below it) and you don't need to fab another piece.

 

LOL, I started the extension last night. Made  6" by 24" frame out of 1"x1" angle iron I had laying around. Gotta cut a piece out of a 15" by 24" piec of 12Ga sheet metal that's laying back in the scrap pile. Gonna run a couple pieces of the angle iron from the front edge down to the cross brace pipe you see in the pics.

 

I will take your advice on the slots in the pipe cap.

 

 

Glenn: I already have about four hours time at it. I had set it up on stacked cinder blocks to make sure it would work at all before cutting into the table. It got plenty hot. I left a piece of 1/4"x1/2" in a 'little' too long.... burn't three inches off the end. I made a coal poker out of a piece of 1/4" round stock. Then I started straightening and drawing out a piece of 3/8" by 1/2" mild steel... thinking of trying to turn it into a spoon.

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I have to say now, that the title of the thread is not exactly accurate anymore. I bought something for the forge... a dimmer switch to regulate the speed of the shop-vac. Total cost for the forge so far.... $0.81. I got the switch at a overstock/outlet store.

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I did some more work on my forge. Put te extension in front like was suggested, put the angle iron frame around to hold the coal in and took out the pipe cap so I could put a piece of rr spike cut to fit in the hole. Then I fired her up!

 

P122212_1708_zpsc7b4d6c1.jpg

P122212_1705_zpsb0a4f3ad.jpg

 

The frame around it is 24" x 36". Sorry for the crappy photos. But I did get to see (and use) the 'ball' of fire Glenn talks about.

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That's awesome!  I really like all the room you have around the sides and rear.  Plenty of place to store tools and fuel.

 

Good job.

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Dump 3-4 gallons of coal onto the table and add about 4 inches of coal over your existing fire. Then turn the air down until you have a forging fire, not a rocket exhaust.

You want that ball of fire to consist of hot coals so you can insert the metal about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up in the fire and let the oxygen deprived coals transfer heat to the metal.

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Dump 3-4 gallons of coal onto the table and add about 4 inches of coal over your existing fire. Then turn the air down until you have a forging fire, not a rocket exhaust.

You want that ball of fire to consist of hot coals so you can insert the metal about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up in the fire and let the oxygen deprived coals transfer heat to the metal.

Lol.. That is about an hour and a half into a five gallon bucket of coal I dumped on the table. I had about six inches of coke in the middle. The flames look WAY more intense than they were. When I first turned the air to max it was like a rocket exhaust so I played with the dimmer switch settings, found that 3/4 felt right to me. In the pic, my phone's camera doesn't show that the majority of that huge flame is thin and much darker than it looks. Right in the middle of it was about a six inch ball of bright flame. Are you saying the WHOLE flame should only be about six to eight inches?

I am thinking of using some fire brick or something to limit the flame.

Thanks to everyone for all the help and information. I have learned so much so quickly by having this site available. I speak of so much in a comparative way though, knowing that I have only just started this (hopefully) long journey. I look forward to learning a whole lot more.

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