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I Forge Iron

Building my first workshop(UK)

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I probably should have asked in DIY or some other forum. But seeing as I mainly want to be working with metal (blacksmithing/welding) I thought I'd post here.


I'm 21 and have always love the idea of blacksmithing but never had the finances to do it. I have finally got a job and want to start building a small workshop area in my parents garden until I move to a bigger place(only have a one bed flat at the minute). I'm pretty sure I'm going to build a shed or buy a prebuilt and mod it(unsure of size). And I will have the forge just outside the door and maybe the anvil as well with a overhang on the shed to prevent it/me getting wet.


I have no tools what so ever and not much experience with power tools. I used to use them fairly often at school and at my grandads yard but that was a long time ago.


I'm pretty sure I will build the brake drum forge for starters or maybe a propane forge, not really sure.


I was looking for some advice on must have tools in general(not only to do with metal but with wood as well). Any advice would be amazing, thanks! Also I'm struggling to find a decent belt grinder in the UK for a decent price any suggestions?


Budget is around £1500.. And room to add to this later.


Oh, one last thing. I'm going to be building a shed for this any tips on what materiel and size.


Lots of questions I know haha. Hopefully someone can/will answer them :)

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Several hundred threads on how to equip a shop for cheap, and building a shed to do it in.


Look into youtube videos of third-world blacksmiths working with what they can find and you'll get a good idea of how little it actually takes to make good iron products.

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Basic tools for building a shed, Claw hammer, allows you to drive nails and pull ones when you mess up. Some type of saw, hand or power. A tape measure. A shovel or post hole digger if your area requires some type of footing or that you secure posts in the ground. That's about it as far as the very bare basics. Other tools would depend on what you build with. These are wood working tools and don't really translate to metal work well.


The list of tools I used to build a shed last year is much longer, but I could get away with just those basics for the most part if I really needed to.

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which part of the UK?

for metalwork there are more fireproof things than wood, ask around for anyone replacing a concrete sectional garage or shed, you can often get them very cheap or even free, they can also be easily made to various sizes from the same parts, eg a 20 foot by 10 foot garage could be a 10 by 10.

what you want to make will determin you tools, get good used tools rather than cheap new tools if you can.

if local call in and we can talk ( NN14 1QF), I also go to tool and engineering events and there is one im going to 65 miles away in 2 weeks.

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I'm in the east midlands(aroun the Boston area about 60miles from you).


One of my biggest concerns is getting elecric into the shed/workshop. Not sure how this works.. I will end up paying someone to it but it's probably going to be very expensive.


Just checked eBay and the concerate sectional garage seems like a good idea, thanks for the tip!

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S Wright
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Wecome aboard SWright, glad to have you. There are many hundreds of pages about setting up shops on low budgets.j In truth, getting deals is a very blacksmith thing so we're always keeping our eyes open for bargains. Start visiting whatever version of Yard, garage rummage, etc. sales folk on your side of the pond have. For a minimum kit you need a hammer, a ball pein is good, a cross pein is as well, don't get something too heavy to start, keep it under 2lbs. you'll want heavier hammers but it takes greater control and you need to learn good technique and hammer control so keep it light to start. You need something to cut steel with, cold chisels are a good choice but it's hard to beat a hack saw for salvaging working stock and cutting work pieces.


Let's see, hammer, cutters, okay. An anvil can be anything heavy and hard enough to abuse hot steel on, boulders have been used longer than we've had iron and steel. Steel is better than stone and all you need is something with a face area a little larger than the hammer face, call it 3-4" square or round. It should weigh enough it doesn't bounce around too much under the hammer, 100lbs. is a good place to start. It can be almost any shape, lots of us used/use Rail Road rail, a piece of shaft on end is excellent but it can almost anything, train coupler is a favorite. You get the idea, just learn to tell what cast iron looks like and avoid it, it's not very good as an anvil. It's better than a dirt clod or Datsun fender though.


I think that leaves us the fire. You need a HOT fire, not a big one, I believe you can buy coal or coke so a coke forge is a good one. However you can burn coal and coke just fine in a charcoal forge or vise versa. Making a fire pot is usually the hardest challenge most folk have but you can do it with an old brake drum, a washing machine door and a hatchet. Just get a normal brake drum, large truck drums tend to be way larger than most folk need, especially learning. an old blow drier and some pipe and you''re got the parts. There are lots of drawings and pics of the air supply so I'm not going to get into it now.


If you want a side blast forge that's even easier, just a longish table with a "V" shaped trench down the middle and the air blast (Tue) at one end a couple inches off the bottom. A side blast will eat tue irons so don't get attached to the idea you can make them last. Even a water bosh burns up eventually so just get used to it.


I think that covers the basics. Oh what about tongs you say? those are darned good learning projects and you can use stock long enough you don't need tongs. The perfect boot strap blacksmithing projects.


Frosty The Lucky.

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