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I Forge Iron

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I'm currently building my first shop, and I need a design for a forge. I just wanted to know what you guys preferred in a forge, specific qualities, design, things to avoid etc... I use anthracite, there are no suppliers of bituminous near me. Also I go to a local trade school for welding and I can make everything from steel. So im trying to make a forge that lasts and is preferably made from steel. Thanks for the help guys!!

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Have you read the solid fuel forge section here? There are more forge designs than a boy could want and some excellent examples of mistakes.

For instance the subject line says a "Permanent" forge. Then you go on to ask some of the most basic questions a beginner can. A really common mistake we've all made getting into the craft is building something permanent without knowing what we need. You should see my coal forge, it's a beaut but getting good metallurgical coal here is a serious PITA so that forge sits out by the Connex and I burn propane in the shop.

My advice to you is: learn from OUR mistakes so you don't have to make your own. Build something smallish and definitely NOT permanent to start with. That way if it turns out to be a bad forge for you it won't hurt to shove it in a corner or haul it to the dump and build another. Glenn's "55 forge" is really inexpensive, is a good size and works really well. Once you start developing the skill sets a blacksmith needs you'll develop product lines and these will determine what equipment and tools you need.

Frosty The Lucky.

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If your Building a shop it wouldn't hurt to look at others shop designs. One thing to look into is where you will put your forge and How you will vent it. There are a lot of discussions here on side draft versus hood vents. Different people have done different styles of venting with success and failure so that is something to look into. I vent straight out of the roof so I could swap out my forge if I needed to as it is separate from the vent. Or if I wanted to switch to a side draft I could make it and plum it in. 

Do some research, there are a lot of good options out there that work fine and a lot that arnt but doing a little reading you can usually tell what's what. After that it's personal preference. You can get elaborate or keep it simple. Mine is fairly simple and works great for me but as Frosty said once you get the experience you'll learn what works for you. I agree with Frosty . Keep it simple at first, you won't lose your welding skills to make something more elaborate later if you want. 

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