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I Forge Iron

Homemade Coal Forge, Railroad Anvil

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Hello, new member here.  After much youtubing and lurking on this forum, as well as taking a couple night courses in blacksmithing and welding, I've decided to go ahead and try to make a coal forge and post anvil.  It's still very much a work in progress, and I'm still scrounging up materials.

For the forge I've got a brake rotor and the lower half of a bar stool.  The bar appears to be relatively thin steel, comprised of approximately 5/8" square tube.  I've no idea if it can stand up to the heat that will be close to it (but not directly in contact with) but since it's designed to bear the weight of a drunken human I suspect load bearing won't be an issue.  The top of the stool is a frame made of the 5/8" steel, and is about 17" in diameter.  The rounding of the legs extend the diameter at the widest point of the frame to about 21".  My idea was to weld 14 gauge sheet metal over the top, with a hole in the center to accommodate the bowl of the brake rotor (leaving a lip of about an inch on the top of the sheet to help support it in case the welding starts to go, as I've read might happen.  Is 14 gauge thick enough, or should I try for 1/4 inch?  I'm also unsure of how wide I can make this sheet.  I don't want to make it too tippy, but I'd like as much space up there as I can fit.

As for the fire pot, I've got to decide how to block up the holes around the center hole.  For the center hole, which is about 2 3/4", I am considering a 2" black iron end cap (OD is 3") with one or more holes drilled into the top.  I read somewhere on this forum that a single 3/4" hole in the top of the cap is a good choice for a coal forge, provided the cap extends about an inch above the bottom of the bowl.  I can grind the cap down some to make it shorter if need be, because I think it's at least 1 1/2" as is.  A flange will be welded(/bolted?) to the bottom of the rotor, to which a 4 inch segment of 2" iron piping will be connected.  That piping will connect to a T elbow, and 5 1/2" inches of 2" will lead down from that as my ash catcher.  I was planning on welding a piece of angle and bolting in a small circular plate running flush to the bottom of the 2" pipe that I could just push aside to let the ash fall out and close it after.  For my air intake I'm having a 4" segment of 2" pipe connect to the T elbow, and I'll attach 3" aluminum duct to that.  The duct will connect to a cheap bathroom fan I'll use as a blower.  I'll adjust fan speed with a dimmer switch type cord that's plugged in between the power source and the fan.  I had wanted to use a valve between the fan and the piping to control air flow w/out having to slow the fan down, but it looked a bit heavy and was too expensive to rationalize buying at the time.  I don't have a clinker breaker.

I'm still mulling over anvil ideas, mostly to do with how to mount it on the stand.  I picked up about a foot of railroad track, but then later found a very interesting piece.  It's from a railroad, but it doesn't have a rail (though it's about the same width)  It's about two feet long and weighs at least 70 pounds, possibly more.  It's broader on one end than the other.  It looks like a support of some kind.  I'll take some pictures when it's been cleaned up.

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I used floor flanges to cover the center hole and hold the tuyere pipe in place. one on top and one underneath.  Remember you are simulating a hole in the ground---you don't have to get too fancy.   I used a stool frame too; but just dropped my brake drum in place and put a fence inside it since I didn't have a "table" .   No problem with heat on the thin metal frame.  Probably no problem with 14 gauge sheet metal. 

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I used a pipe cap on my first forge with a lot of holes in it, the more the better. Now I just have a couple peices of 1/4 bar tacked in place as a grate, workin out pretty good for me. You just have to keep coal In the fire pot. A little furnace cement, clay, kitty litter will fill/cover the holes in the rotor or drop a couple bolts in and tack in place. 

For an anvil just find a heavy peice of steel from a scrap yard or the like. I started with a peice of rr track, some people on here do some amazing work with one. But it just needs to have some mass, you don't née ca big contact area, bigger than the hammer head and your good. If you can find something bigger great, but it's not required. 


And also, read, you might have to dig, but the answer to most any question you have is covered somewhere

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Are my pictures not showing up?

Thank you for your replies.  The large piece of steel might weigh a bit less than 70+, I haven't actually put it on a scale.  Might have felt heavier when I was hauling it out of the swamp.  It's labelled GT 80 A639.  The GT indicates it was from Grand Truck Railway, which later became Canadian National.  It operated from 1853-1923.  I don't know what this piece is for, but I think it was part of a rail switching assembly.




Hopefully these might work.

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