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As long as you are bundled up and none of your extremities are in danger of freezing I don't see any dangers.  Because your anvil is a great heat sink any hot metal held against it will cool faster.  If you stand on an insulated surface such as a foam mat or something similar, even a piece of plywood, your feet will stay warmer.  I've found that it is my feet which get cold first.  I suppose the coldest weather in which I've ever forged was zero or a bit below in Laramie, WY.  Not the most fun I've ever had.

 

Endothermically,

George M.

 

PS Your slack tube tends to freeze over unless you are doing a lot of quenching.

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The anvil heat sink issue is a bear. You can preheat the anvil, I often put a couple pieces of steel in the forge while it's heating up then lay them on the anvil face. I have electric engine heaters that aren't enough to take much chill of the anvil but work pretty well keeping the propane tank from freezing up.

 

You can hang a coffee can of burning coals under the horn and heal. This works best if you have a wood stove in the shop you can shovel coals out of while the shop warms up a bit.

 

Probably the most practical thing I've done is develop a cold day habit of holding the work a fraction of an inch off the anvil's face letting the hammer blow carry it into contact. This helps minimize heat loss to conduction.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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In sub zero teps, one of corse is to dres right (you want to be unconfortably cold, but not shivering just standing around. In leu of proper foot gear (thick wool felt insole) the wood, ruber or fole mat os a good idea.
I also suggest keeping hydrated, use a stock tank heater in your slack tub (gives you 40 degre water, heat a large block of steel to pre heat your anvil or rap the bigest bit of water pipe heat tape you can find around the base. Again it will keep it at 40 degrees (or try, cover it with a blanket) i also sugest taking your faverite hamers in with you. Not a fan of risking apalding anvil and hammer edges when its sub zero. Haven't had to wory about it here (single didgets) i bring out a bucket of hot water and I heat up a block of 2" to pre heat the anvil.

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If you are using a Propane Forge, make sure you have fresh air. Carbon Monoxide is the Silent Killer.

I guess the same is with coal/coke.

Heat some scrap and place the scrap on the anvil to warm it up. You will learn not to lean on the Anvil after a warm reminder!! :) :)

You will warm up and the chill will diminish with motion.

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Or just decide if all of the above is worth the effort, and stay inside and do the forging at a more hospitable time.  Do you have to produce to make your living at this?  If so, work towards making your shop more "heat" friendly.

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Practically the only benefit gained in the aging process, ... is the ability to differentiate between the things you "CAN" do, ... and those you "SHOULD" do.

 

We call it "judgement".  :P

 

It's been my experience, ... that the Work you don't do today, ... will still be there tomorrow.

 

 

Of course, ... if there's a serious financial element, ... all bets are off.

 

 

 

.

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Agree on the Judgment point. Just because I know how to do it doesn't mean I do unless it's important. In the last decade or so I only light a fire in temps colder than the mid 20's if a student really wants to. Then the lesson is more in how to than making something specifically.

 

Heck, I don't even have the power turned on to the shop right now, not till it's back up into the mid 20's or above. Supposed to be in the 30's+ today but Deb has something planned so it can stay dark.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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One of the cold weather tricks I use is to preheat all of the steel tools I'm using in the dragon's breath of the gas forge. Nasty grabbing cold tools...

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Actually I warm the hammer handles in the gasser as well. Take the tongs hold the wrong end of the bar in the fire till it is warm enough to hold on to, then you can heat up the end your working on;-) I don't mind roasting my front side, its freezing my backside, feet, and hands that I object to... I used to do quite a bit of work after dark in the dead of winter in an unheated brick shop. My new big shop isn't fully closed in yet so its no warmer than the old shop, maybe worse most of the time I wasn't standing in snow in the shop in Attica...

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If you are going the sub zero route, get yourself a weed burner and preheat the anvil to take the chill off. Works great for large scale portable directed heat. They us them at the ski area to thaw frozen snow making system valves. It was 19 below here the other day, the slack tank (plastic chem drum) is frozen solid, round like a dome on the bottom. Should be thawed out by April. Next time I biuld a shop, I'm putting in radiant floor heating.

Peter

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You northerners are doing it tough. Warming the anvil, freezing your backside off, keeping the tongs warm, frozen quench tubs ...
Right now, in tropical North Queensland, my problem is steamed up safety glasses and keeping the sweat drips off my anvil.

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I am so glad I have walls  for my shop ;)

Steve, I missed you Sat at the Maumee Valley blacksmith meeting. It was only -4. Actually I was the only one who showed up. Says a lot about me I guess.

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I use household electric irons, one on my anvil, one on the side of my hand cranked blower (Champion 400); when it does get colder (-25Cº), I also heat up my wood stove, This done, I come back home, have breakfast and go the forge with a hot pail of water (no running water in the forge).

 

When its -30Cº even when its -20Cº if that day I feel older than usual, I stay home. These are the days to design stuff, prepare interviews with clients, etc, the soft part of the blacksmith's work.

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"So, forging in sub zero temperature outside. how often should i do this and how safe is it."........

 

wellll........you can do it as often as yer able,..... concerning safety we can't tell from here.

 

If'n yer desperate (dumb) enough to do it to excess, I guess we will know come Spring.  -_-

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seems like I end up doing this more than I should, I do have a shop but it is only heated by the forge. every year I think I should do my taxes on the cold days and forge on the nicer days. Then I put off the taxes until the day before they are due...... The main risk is that your frends will learn what a dummy you are.

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For me forging in the "winter" is a dream! Being that it average like, 105 in the summer here. When the temperatures drop into the 40's You'll all know exactly where to find me!

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My 35 gallon steel drum slack tub froze over this winter I just threw a chunk of hot scrap on it when I needed it. This was not a problem until the seem blew out of the bottom from the expanding ice during an unexpected deep freeze.

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My 35 gallon steel drum slack tub froze over this winter I just threw a chunk of hot scrap on it when I needed it. This was not a problem until the seem blew out of the bottom from the expanding ice during an unexpected deep freeze.

​I hate it when that happens. I drain mine at the end of the day in winter.

Frosty The Lucky.

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