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I Forge Iron

horrizontal forge from 55gal drum with multiple uses


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Hi all,

My next project I want to work on is building a horrizontal forge out of a 55gal metal drum.

Let me try to describe:
Horrizontal with the 'lids' taken off, metal wall welded halfway to decrease size of forge, half forge/half charcoal maker and evaporator. Able to work on long pieces through 'door' cut into metal wall. Vent pipe on top with blower pipe coming into

Do you think this would work/ any suggestions?

What should I line the barrel with to protect it as well as insulate?
I've read several threads about linings but I think I'm more confused now after reading them.

Trying to remain as low cost as possible

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Guest Moderator52

Not being one of the brightest bulbs in the chandoleer, could you make a drawing please? 

I am a visual learner. I need to be able to visualize what you are talking about.

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Greetings Cwat,


Sounds to me like you are building a smoke tube ..  What makes you think the smoke won't come out the ends... I suggest a drawing before you get to involved....   I always applaud new thinking but I need more detail....



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We need more information to develop opinions but it sounds to me like you want to generate charcoal in a retort heated by the forge fire. I'm afraid the energy budget isn't going to balance for you.


If by evaporator you're talking about a wood gassifier, it''ll generate enough heat by burning the flammable gasses from the pyrolizing wood but it's going to be way too hot to be near let alone stand next to while forging.


Even a half barrel stove is more than enough to heat a modest sized house.


Frosty the Lucky

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heres the drawing (sorry i'm not too artistic
its a metal 55 gallon drum
there is a metal baffle to increase efficiency and functionality
there is a door in the baffle so long piece could be worked
'L' bracket welded to side to hold pan (evaporator)
aprox 3" metal vent pipe on each side
bottom metal pipe to provide air from blower

i was gonna cut the lid aprox 4in into barrel and bend the ends up to be used as a lid/door when not in use

i do not plan to use both the forge and charcoal at the same time, but i may in the future.
evaporator is for maple sugar

my main question right now are with general design and what to line it with?
paint, insulation, refractory cement, brick, clay...
hope this helps for you guys to help me!


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I'm afraid I still don't know what you're trying to do. What's  more efficient, at what Not going to burn charcoal and forge, or are you saying you won't be making charcoal whie you're forging? A pan for evaporating maple syrup? HUH?


A tool or machine that does everything does NOTHING well. You're trying to pack too much into a simple design, the 55 forge. the rest are items that won't work well unless the idea is to make it a poor forge.


You want three machine, make three machines.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for the link, I tried to search the web before posting to see if I could answer my questions.

I'm really interested in a horrizontal forge.

Can you help with the linings?
What is best to line a 55gal drum with to protect the metal skin and increase heat?

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Sure, you can build a forge from a 55gl drum. What's the fuel? If it's a solid fuel forge a refractory lining isn't much use except under the fire itself. If you need to enclose the fire, say make a heat treating oven, fire bricks are perfect. If you want a gas forge a 55gl. drum, even half is just too big unless you're making really big things.


Frosty The Lucky.

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I would use plain kitty litter.  Basicly clay.  Unscented with no additives.  It will say on the ingredients, clay, and nothing else.  Some people use a clay and sand mix.  Make sure the sand is clean.  Others use clay, sand and a little bit of concrete or lime as a binder.  My coal forge is a car break drum set in a 2' sq. piece of floor plate, with 2" black iron pipe for the blast.   It works very well and has been in use for over 3 years. 




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