Jump to content
I Forge Iron

First forge, up and running


Recommended Posts

Hello! I put my forge together today so I decided to post some pics. I have had the base for years, it is from a model T wheel, that I put some cement in to protect the metal. Since I have a tape showing Tai Goo's forge so I decided to copy that design, I used a wash tub, and put together a twier out of steel pipe about 18" long with a slit down the center. I can put a plug in the "T" connector and just use half of the twier also. I am using a hair dryer for right now for a blower, but I would like to switch a squirrel cage on a controller. Right now I am working with 1/2" round steel, trying to flatten it out into a blank for a knife. I am wondering...how much lump coal do you usually put in the forge for this type of project. I can get the steel to a bright red, but it cools quickly and seems to take a while to heat back up. I am only using a small pile of coal and I "think" I would do better with a larger pile to start. My next step is to try to fit my hot cut chisel into the hardy hole with the edge up so that I can try to cut this bar. Right now I am having a real hard time cutting the bar by holding the chisel with tongs. Anyway enjoy the pics!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Give some thought to pulling out the cement unless it's refractory and putting in a layer of clay. Cement is going to spall in no time when you subject it to heat. One other worri I have is the wash tub. Zinc fumes are just plain un healthy. Other than that. Looks like you are up and running!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was wondering about that myself, is there a way of telling if the tub is getting hot enough to put off fumes? The ash of course is there to insulate the tub, but is there a tell tale sign that its getting too hot? So far (one entire fire!) the sides did not discolor, or seem to really get hot. Do they make these tubs out of other material....this is the only type I think I have seen. Thank you all for the info!:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The tub will start to discolor first, turns to dull dark grey, then when it starts to burn you will see a yellowish smoke and ashy coating on the tub. If breathed you will get what is known as metal fume fever (no fun!!!!) best thing to do for a mild case is drink a lot of milk, but if it's too bad you'll need to go to the hospital, first thing you'll get is dificulty breathing which will continue to worsen till you think your going to die, which you can if you breath enough.
You should be ok if you don't get the fire directly on the walls of the tub but personally I wouldn't chance it.
1- hope for the best and leave it as is
2- wear a respirator when forging
3- wear a respirator and burn or grind the zinc off
4- get a piece of sheetmetal and form it to the tub and leave a gap between the tub and sheetmetal
I would go with #4 if it were me.
Good luck and be careful.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice first setup . . . You are very lucky to have an anvil like that ..so take care of it :D

I'm also concerned about the fumes. ..so you should only use pure iron/steel components around the fire .. nothing plated or galvanized. Everyone knows about Paw Paw Wilson ( may he rest in peace). He was very experienced, but after even he fell victim to this "metal fume fever".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good for you- looks like you are on your way!
Ditch the galvy, stacked bricks will serve the same purpose.
Ain't it all so cool- "Ta play with fire & hit things":cool:
Also a bit of anvil envy, she looks like the twin sister of one I have, give her a makeover with a wire cup on an angle grinder (safety glasses/faceshield/full sleeves/gloves/apron) and she'll shine in all her glory. Using her a lot will keep her in fine form that way.
Is there a serial number struck into her front right foot?
The anvil I have which resembles this one has a horn just like this- long and slender, I love it! Have not seen another like it until you posted these pics.

On the side of mine is a stamped logo of a horseshoe overwhich it says "AMERICAN WROUGHT" and below the shoe "114". In the case of my anvil I found this does not mean 144 lbs in the English stoneweight system, it actually weighs exactly 114 lbs and the numbers are not spaced apart.
Mine also has the same step or lip on the edges of the feet as does yours.
I have not positively identified mine, the only reference I have found (without reference of the book "Anvils in America") is that "AMERICAN WROUGHT" anvils were sold through Montgomery Ward circa 1910 so I don't know for sure where it was made or what company made it.
So please do clean her up and show us those marks you find hidden there under all that crust. I don't think I'm the only one with the affliction of anvil envy, you have a real nice anvil there and I'm gonna lose sleep now until I see her sparkle.
Ditch the galvanised and go with the bricks, stone or cinder blocks.:)Dan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the desire for that first forge should not compromise safety. Anything but galvanized! You can drink all the milk you want, you may stop heaving your guts out but the damage is not neutralized by the milk just a symptom is relieved. Used a large truck rim for several years. Then went to a welded firepot. Even a car rim would be better. Get rid of the galvanized....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody for the info, funds are a little low and I don't have access to a welder so I am kinda going with what I have got for right now. The first thing I did after reading about problems with using the tub was to start a hot fire in a burn barrel with some firewood and after it got good and hot I left the tub on it to burn off as much of the shiny as I could. It worked really well, 98% of the finish was gone when I went back out a couple of hours later. I am planning on taking the tub off and trying just the old hub again too, because I have learned that the first time that I tried to use the original forge I did not use near enough charcoal. Today I was able to heat up the 1/2 round stock and cut it into lengths, I also got the steel hot enough to work with much easier. My biggest problem it that time just seems to fly by while I am working on this stuff, if it had not been for my two little helpers I would have forgotten about lunch! I am ashamed of the condition I let that anvil get into, it was never left out in the elements, but it was left untouched in the shed for years, I am going to make her shine again. Also when I do I will post any markings that are on it. Anyway I just wanted to update you folks with some pics and thank you again for all of your help so far.:D







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those 2 little helpers are cute. Now think about this: Where did the zinc go that you burned off the tub? Air? Water Supply? TO THE KIDS? It's never gone, just vaporized and redistributed somewhere else. :o

Lose the tub, the zinc is probably not all gone, although it may appear to be. I hate to repeat what the others have said, but safety is everyone's first concern here.

Nuff said on that. Now:

You have a nice start, keep up the good work, and be safe. Nice anvil, also. You might want to try the electrolytic rust removal process on it, does a real good job. There's a blueprint on it here: I Forge Iron - Blacksmithing and Metalworking

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look up the Blueprint BP0133 The 55 Forge and use that instead of the wash tub.

My I suggest you wire brush (hand or electric) the anvil and coat it with ATF (automatic transmission fluid) or another oil handy.

I am not sure the weight of the hammer, but it looks a bit heavy to start blacksmithing. Look for a 2 pound hammer. Doesn't have to be a cross peen, a ball peen hammer will do. The lighter weight will allow you to have better control (read aim) and you can use it for several hours without fatigue.

Loosing track of time?? Well, is not the whole idea of blacksmithing to have fun?

Keep us informed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Careful about the zinc. I usually try to avoid burning it off, especially around kids..

I made a Tim Lively style washtub forge. The galvanized sheet metal does not even get hot with all the homemade refractory. The zinc is your friend :). This forge is 4 years old and I have left it out in the weather. It is starting to develop some rust spots on the galvy. I don't think that it has many years left in it. That's OK. I have a table forge with a nice Centaur firepot and hand crank blower that can take over. Welds better too.

Put enough refractory up, and you don't even need sheet metal. Wood will do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what makes one insulation better than another is its ability to really trap air, as opposed to just slowing it down. A blanket of mineral wool (vermiculite, ash ect) alone works OK but if its got an air barrier containing it, it will work even better.

The best 2 insulators there are
1. Dewars Flask (Vacuum Insulation]
2. Aerogel (an Unobtanium :P)

on a budget
a box in a box or cylinder in a cylinder thats relatively air tight will make the R-value of whatever insulation is in between the walls perform much closer to its rated value. (Because thats how they get tested)

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...