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I Forge Iron

Introduction and a few questions

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Good evening.

I have been lurking and researching on this and other forums for a while with a keen interest in many hands on activities.  I have a few projects that needed a big piece of metal to form aluminum on and placed a local ad for a "large anvil".  Low and behold I get a reply by a retired gentleman a  short distance away who has some old anvils he wants to get rid of since at the age of 85 he can't use them anymore...

Well sure enough I go to his house and find a nice anvil, we start talking and he was a blacksmith instructor at a community college with decades of experience teaching, let alone metalworking.

One thing leads to another and I picked up a little more than an anvil. 

I received 2 hammers, 4 tongs, an anvil with stump, and a forge with blower. 

He delivered the forge to my house tonight (it was at his farm he sold last year and the new owner wanted it gone).

So here are the specifics. 

The Forge is 24" x 24" and built by the Canadian buffalo forge company.  Unfortunately the forge was left outside in the elements the last few years and needs significant remediation.  The blower is functional and smooth and seems to move a lot of air.

The Anvil is a Peter Wright 0-3-15 which appears to be a 99 lb anvil.  The surface has some dings and dents and is crowned in the middle but seems in pretty good shape.  There may be some cracks between the top and the base on the opposite end from the horn.  Maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch on each corner.  The anvil rings a little less when I hit these areas.

The hammers and tongs were pretty rusted but cleaned up really easily.

It also all came with 1/2 a garbage can of blacksmithing coal (4 almost full 5 gallon pails).

So my dilemma is what to do with the forge.  The pan and sides are rusted to the point that you can stick your finger through in a couple places.  The cast iron area in the center is pretty pitted and rusted but should be able to be used.  The stand, legs, and blower mount are all in reasonable shape.

The parts seem to be built from 1/16" thick steel, or at least was at some point.

Should I rebuild the forge with a new floor and sides and try to reuse the cast iron bits or get a metal BBQ and old brake drum and make a new one then attach the blower to that?

Some photos.























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Sounds like you did really well , sometimes we get lucky on finding stuff, give us some Picts so we can help you out . Have fun with your new toys.

Ok the Picts appeared I would just use it as is for a while then you will find out what you like or don't like, again have fun.

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You could replace the corroded parts of the forge, or patch them, weld/pop rivet/bolt a section in or as mentioned above simply clay the forge and fire it up and get started, as for the anvil, if you can supply pictures of any areas you think may be damaged folks will be able to advise you on that but it's highly likely the advise will be to leave well alone.  Add your location to your profile as it helps not only when answering location related questions, but you may find other members close by who you could visit for further help and instruction....you have a very nice starter kit, now do it's previous owner a favour, get forging....oh, and welcome to the forum.:D

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Just for reference I paid $190 Canadian for all of it.  Other than the bottom and sides of the forge I am happy with everything.

Is there any reason I should not clean up the blower and rust on the bottom of the forge?

I am thinking about disassembling the blower and making sure everything is greased up properly, maybe not as it does run smooth...

I'll see if a local company can get me some 1/16 inch steel for the bottom and sides of the forge and get my uncle to weld it all together and attach it to the base. 

Right now I cleaned the heck out of everything and got a sense of what I have.




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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Great score on all counts, First and foremost gaining a new friend. I'll bet he's thankful his tools are going to someone who's going to use them rather than flip them or landscape the garden with them. Second good score on the tools! :)

If the blower is smooth don't open it up, just give it a FEW DROPS of oil in the oil points before use. There is one above the main gear train driving the impeller fan and one on the crank shaft bushing. There may be others on shaft bushings, give them all a few drops of oil and it's good to go. No, that isn't a level plug on the gear case, filling it to the plug with oil is only good if you want to coat your floor with oil. Go ahead, ask me how I know. <_<

How are your metal working skills? There are a lot of remedies for the rusted out forge pan. I'd be more tempted to just build another pan or table to mount the fire pot in. Patching it would be okay but you'd need to rivet or screw the patches it's awfully rusted out to try welding.

If you're concerned with preserving it, it wasn't designed to last as long as it has, sheet iron forge pans were expected to be replaced when they wear out. Keep the old one as a display piece if you want but replacing it is perfectly traditional olde time blacksmitherly.

About the corners of your anvil try doing a rebound test with a light ball pein and listen for dead spots. Work a close pattern across the whole anvil's face but listen closely when you reach suspect areas if the "ring" suddenly goes dead you may have a delamination. You can define the boundaries pretty precisely with a light hammer and avoid heavy work on those spots. Re welding an anvil face is a really risky business so avoiding worsening the failure is probably preferable.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you all!

i will look at getting some sheet metal 1/16 inch thick to rebuild the top of the forge with.

Any particular types of metal to get or to avoid?

i can get standard steel sheet for about $50 locally in a 24" x48" piece.  22 gauge would bring the cost down to $25 but I don't think it would be strong enough.


Here are some photos of the anvil.  I was thinking of using the angle grinder with an abrasive wheel to clean it up a little and remove a few gouges, etc.







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Please don't take a grinder to that perfectly serviceable anvil, you'd only be shortening it's useful life!

Sheet steel comes in gauges rather than fractional thicknesses. Talk to a steel supplier That's pretty darned expensive for what I'd call a drop. It costs by the cut to cut sheet, they're probably covering the cost with each of the 4 pieces that size they sell. It's not a bad thing to make a buck or the company wouldn't be in business. It's just not a good idea to pay more than you have to.

Price a full sheet of 16 ga. you don't really need heavy steel for this pan, it's not the part of the forge holding the real fireball, it just needs to be safe to spread coals on or lay hot work and tools on.

Oh heck keep your eyes open for a kitchen appliance being tossed out that has a door or side about the right size to suit. Something with a rim would be perfect so you don't have to fab one. Of course a simple angle iron frame made flange up is a perfect solution. The flange up rim supports the table, (whatever you make it from) but if you run a couple pieces of 1" angle across the open part to help keep the table face from sagging you're golden. Make up some legs of course and spreaders are a good and HANDY addition. More flange up angle iron between the legs keeps the forge rock steady and provides a nice place for a handy shelf. Is that a WIN WIN or what? ;)

All you need do then is cut a hole the fire pot can slip into and rest on it's rim. Claying it won't hurt a bit but I laid fire brick on my big coal forge table for a hot face. All you need to clay a forge with is sandy ditch or river bank soil. You want mineral soil organics tend to be more flammable though it's not a big issue. No, don't trowel it in as mud it'll shrink check as it dries, ever see a dry mud puddle? Nuff said? All it needs be is just damp enough to ram hard, I like a wooden mallet I made from a base ball bat, I pick up b'ball bats at yard, garage, etc. sales for under a buck. Not that folk don't ask more I just won't pay more, my current supply came in a job lot of 8 bats for $0.50 included in a bundle but those folks were serious about clearing out a piece of property a hoarder had squatted on for some time.

I hope you have a jigsaw, you are going to have to cut that sheet to make it fit and make a port for the fire pot. Much thinner than 16ga. and it's loud unpleasant and kind of . . . I like 14ga. it cuts easy with a jigsaw and 14tpi blades. Much thicker and cutting it's a PITA. Straight lines cut with a composition blade in a sacrificial skill saw but curves and round sections want a plasma cutter, torch or a heavy duty jigsaw, say a Sawzall and a mensch to control that bad boy.

There are a LOT of options to putting a forge to work and I may do it differently and have different suggestions but it doesn't make me right or anybody else wrong.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Don't waste your time with a brake drum. Duplicate what you have, even the cast part can be replaced by a peice of fabricated steel. Claying the pan primarily takes up space and allows you to mold a bowl to contain the fire ball, but letting it fill up with ash and clinker works just fine, you just have to exivate a new bowl when you build a new fire. 

Mine you rebuild her, finding a place out of the weather is a good idea, as rain and fly ash make for nasty corrosive stuff. The down side is now you will need to fabricate a chimney to get red of the smoke. More reading to do, lol. Look at the side draft forge hoods. 

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Well I live in Canada and locally everything is stupid expensive compared to what you guys have...

I checked out 3 metal suppliers locally and everything was about the same price. 

The place I chose will not surcharge for cuts and was able to get me what I needed.  They even took me to the metal rack and helped me choose the thickness.

So for $50 I now have some 12 gauge mild steel sheet for the bottom and sides.  some angle Iron and a single sheet was about the same price. 

I have enough to make up a 24" bottom and 6" sides.

This will need to reside outside so I will need some sort of cover on it.  I may paint it with high heat black stove paint on the top and standard rust paint on the stand.  That I will need to figure out.

I will just let the anvil stay as it is.  Thank you for the advice.  There seems to also be another small crack on the side but I'm just going to leave things.  No matter what this large piece of metal will be useful for many things!!

I'm planning on seeing my uncle on Sunday to get the welding done.

I love building, engineering, and fixing structural types of things.  All of this is just therapy for my mind!

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You don't have to tell me about how shipping drives prices to stupid expensive, I don't know what you guys living down south have to gripe about. :P

Sounds like your steel yard treats you pretty well, that's a huge plus. You can drill and bolt or rivet what I was describing but if you have access  to a welder all the better. Look around Iforge for side draft hoods, they work really well, better than up draft hoods.

Stick around and keep us posted on the project, we LOVE pics and progress pics are tops. When you get to the point you need a pristine anvil face, give us a shout we'll walk you through how to make a bottom tool to do the job. Heck, making tools is some of the most rewarding things a guy can make, nothing feels as good as using a tool you made with your hands.

Frosty The Lucky.


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On 9/9/2016 at 11:11 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Only take off as much of that face as you are willing to take off your own face and do your own first!

Glenn, this quote needs an anvil stickie!

its not in the anvil section, so he would not have seen it anyway.  With so much being asked, this most likely wont be, Pray he learns to read before he post too much moire. I am splitting the rest of this into the forge section,

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I was unable to get the forge finished fast enough and my uncles cancer was very aggressive.  He passed last weekend.


Today I fired up the forge.  I spent most of the time working the fire.  It took forever to heat the steel.  It seems I did not crank the blower fast enough.  I used charcoal and then added some coal near the end.  The coal burned much hotter and lasted better.


My first project was a coal rake out of some 1/2 inch round stock I had sitting around.  I only got 30 seconds of pounding before it got too cold to move the steel.  I'm not thrilled with the round part on the handle.




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