Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Trying to build first forge and need some advice


Recommended Posts

I have been researching for a long time and I am just about ready to build.
Im thinking of a pretty basic horizontal forge. With Kaowool liner, rigidizer, satanite, ITC-100 and bubble alumina for the floor. Useing Reil burners. Firebrick wall for front and a small opening with firebrick at back.
Dimentions 24"deep and 10"diameter plus 2-3" for the liner.
This is for small projects, knives and such. I am trying to reach welding temperature with this.

Does this design sound about right ?

Im trying to find a balance between size and efficency. I might want to do one or two projects that are a bit wide like the head of an axe. So 12" inner working diameter would be better. I just dont know how this would effect the efficiency.

I am also having a VERY difficult time tracking down the refractory materials where I live in Canada.
What I do find is usually three times the reasonable cost. I could use some help here.

The Kaowool I have found comes in a box its 1" thick by 24" wide by 25' long for a few hundred dollars.
I cant find anything on layering the wool to make 2-3 inches from a one inch sheet. Can it be done and is there any trick to it ?

I saw read someplace that a three inch thick liner is best but most people seem to use two inches. Cost being a factor... Is three inches thick that much better or will two work fine ?

With regular dayly use how often should I expect to have to replace the full liner ? (Again a cost thing)

My last question is. I noticed there are quite a few types of firebrick. Im looking for the best insulating brick I can get. Which one should I be looking at ?

This is also my first post at this great forum ! Thanks for your time !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you have the basics but the fuel will cost a fortune. Check out some of the many links including what wpearson posted


But for starters:

"Dimentions 24"deep and 10"diameter plus 2-3" for the liner." So, a 24" x 14" - 16" diameter tube?

24" x 10" diameter chamber  yields a 1884 cubic inch chamber. You will need approximately 6 burners.


"This is for small projects, knives and such." You only need to heat 2" or 3" of anything at a time as this is about all you can forge in one heat. Especially blades. They cool off too fast. Think small such as half an old air tank or a small freon tank. You will only need one burner then.


Giant forges such as you propose would only be needed if you are heat treating swords or auto axles


Hope this helps


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read my tutorial at http://waynecoeartistblacksmith.com/Forge_Supplies.html.  I can help you with the supplies so that you only have to buy what you need.

I suggest that you use a Freon bottle.  You can get one, probably for free, from you local heating and air conditioning company.  This will yield a forge with 1" of Inswool and 1/2" of castable refractory (Kast-0-Lite) of about 350 cu in which is what you need for forge welding with a 3/4" atmospheric burner if you want to forge weld.  The altitude where you live will also effect the heat output.  It you are above 3,000 feet you may need to go to a blown forge.

Let me know if I can help you.  You can call or e-mail me with any questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks this all helps a lot !
The plan is coming along rather well.
I was going with a 24" length because thats the width of most of the wool ive found. Im going to cut that in half now. I may go with a 12x12 interior work area or something like that. Bound to change agan im sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for the information in my first post.
I am still deep in research.
It seems like there are several ways of doing everything and just when ive decided on one way I change my mind. I want to get get going with this build I think ive been testing the water for too long.

To start im in BC Canada so I would love to hear from anybody in my part of the world that has experience or links to resources. Ive found it can be difficult to find materials and such.
Other than highscool im pretty new to forging.
I have pretty much got my forge all designed now im just trying to settle on a few last details.
I want to reach welding temperature 2300 with room to spare.
I took some measurements of the largest piece I will be forging. The inner area of the forge needs to be at least 11 inches wide by 4 tall. So I'm settling on an 11 wide by 12 long forge. I believe the volume is around 1400 cubic inches. Open front small opening at rear with firebrick front and back to change the openings as needed. I was thinking freon or propane bottle but its probably easier for me to just get some thin steel tube in my situation.

If I go with ITC-100 and spray it on. What sort of sprayer will work for this and how much IR coating do I need for a forge of this size. I have heard 1pint of ITC-100 will be enough if sprayed is that correct ?

I know that soft thermal bricks are usually used and they crack easily and hard brick is a heat-sink. What I cant find is how much either factor is an issue. If I use hard thermal brick for front and back of forge and forge floor will it work... Explode... Melt down... Or just take a bit longer to heat up ?

These seem to be the best options for brick that ive found but I cant decide... Just too many choices. Could somebody help me narrow it down.


How much rigidizer, refractory mortar will I need.

Ive been reading that satanite is used as the refractory mortar. I want to make this layer thick like half inch or so... Will any refractory mortar work and where can I fond some in my area ?
There is some listed on the euclids site but im not sure if its what I need or what quantity.

For ITC-100 This seems to be the best option in my area:


Automatic temperature control ive found these:

To make the temperature control for these automatic do I need any other hardware ?

Can anybody tell me if the links ove found have a good rep or no ? Ive been ripped off once or twice ordering online... Tends to make a person paranoid lol
Ive been reading so much... Countless hours the information i find has been repeating the same stuff for a long time. What few questions I have left are things I just cant seem to find answers too.

Im sure more questions to come im a bit of an airhead please let me know if theres anything I may have overlooked.

Thanks again !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats not a bad idea. Sort of what I have in mind. The problem is any wool liner I've found in my area is 24" x 25'
Theres a heat treat company near me that seems to have the best price I've found but they want to sell me a full box 25 feet. They didnt give exact price just said a few hundred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For youir forge you may want to reread wot Wayne Coe wrote above..He is the man with experience to make this item work...a lot of folks come on here and look for plans, products etc and then change a lot of things when tey build..and it doea not work well when they try and us it to forge. Some wills ay it works great but does not heat metal hot enough to forge and will cetainly heat enough to forge weld  in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...