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Portable forge

philip in china

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I need to make a portable forge. None of you has seen any of my work but portable is rarely used as a term to describe it. (It is a cruel slander that someone was crushed to death when trying to use one of my letter openers.)

I have got the T shaped pipe for the blower, ash dump and firepot. The firepot end has a round flange which will be ideal. I have also got a suitable electric blower.

Could anybody give me a bit of advice please on plans etc. I shall be forging handles for water pumps in a nearby village where we are going to do a clean drinking water project.

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I don't have a digital camera so I can not post a picture of my forge

I made my forge from a scap sheet of 1/8 plate from an old tank. It was all ready cut up in small pieces so I did not to be concerned with the safey issues of explosion etc cutting up a tank.

I esentially made a table this 1/8" thick plate apprximately 24" wide and 18" long. The table was edged with 1-1/4" by 1/8" angle to prevent coal from falling of. I notched the angles on the 18" long side so I could lay long peices in th fire.

I fabricated a "Bob Patrick" firepot from 1/4" steel plate and welded this in a hole in the center of the "table". The Bob Patrick firepot design is listed several times in IforgeIron.com and can be easily located with a Google search.

I fabricated a tee pipe from scrap 2" threaded pipe and installed a Buffalo # 400 hand blower on the forge.

The forge has 1" scrap steel pipe,

Subsequently I installed a 4" post vise on one corner of the forge.

This forge performs well and has heated 2.5"-3" round for a replacement anvil horn to forging heat in a appropriate amount of time. Thanks to Bob Patrick firepot design and the #400 blower.

Feel fee to contact me for a more detailed discussion

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Gday Philip,

My forge does not have a fire pot as such, the fire is built up not down. The disk plough is slightly dished, with a 1 and a bit inch hole in the center, over this I put a round disk about 2 inches in diameter, this has a number of holes drilled in it. This 2 inch disk is mounted on 3 small weld legs, built up above the plough disk about 1/4 inch to give open space all the way around through which air can flow, as well as through the holes in the plate. Hope this makes sense. I build the fire around and above this. It will burn coal, coke & charcoal. I can forge weld no problem, I just build the fire up a bit higher.

hope this helps.

Brisbane, Oz.

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This is my portable junk yard forge. The firepot is a brake rotor, the rim is a spacer from a truck, the deck is an old saw blade, and the legs are from a bed frame. The blower is a cheap bathroom exaust fan with a 3" air gate from a woodshop dust collecting system. It works quite well and gets plenty hot enough. I can't open the air gate more than 1/4 way or steel starts burning.
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Philip in China Re:“Portable Forge Design”
I listened up when you said: “I need to make a portable forge”. I would have to presume through deduction that you meant a solid fuel type forge.
I thought “No problem”. To make a portable forge sounds easy enough if you lived in the USA. But, the additional information you provided about the product you intended to produce (Pump handles) in conjunction with the additional circumstances you described such as the words “village”, and “clean drinking water project and China”) caused me to re-think about what your needs really are.
It sounds to me like you’re in a somewhat of a remote area with out a lot of modern conveniences available.
From what I sense you meant when you said “portable”, I also get the feeling that the “compact” would be an asset also.
I would suggest the term “Portable” requires some additional refining and adjustment to reflect what it is that you are really in need of.
I believe the term “portable” would be relevant to what a person’s ability to transport a forge would be.
An un-known aspect that would be important to know is: “what type of transportation is available to you”? That could change everything I am saying here.
Transportation type and availability would have a huge bearing on what is considered “PORTABLE” to you as opposed to me who is fortunate enough to have a truck and trailers.
I get the idea that size (compactness) and weight may be an issue to you for portability of a forge.
But then as I often do, it may well be that I have read too much into what I think your needs are.
Many times I have thought about designing a portable (compact) coal/coke forge that was designed to be assembled or disassembled into smaller component parts easily for reasons of transporting.
I always thought it would be convenient and possible to design a portable (compact) forge that the legs, table, and blower would fold up like my grand kids “TRANSFORMER” toys.
I envisioned a forge that would fold up in such a fashion that it would have collapsible handles and a wheel that would unfold and or could be attached to it so it could be wheeled away like a wheel barrow.
Philip, would you please elaborate on just exactly your needs are? Please include the type of fuel and transportation you will use.
If I am way off on my presumptions, please, just hit: “DELETE”, or the “Never Mind” button.
But, If I am close to being correct, maybe we could have a Design Contest to design a Portable Solid Fuel Forge with some type of blower that has the following attributes:
a. Compactness (collapsed size space taken) b. Portability (ease of moving around or loading) c. Light weight
d. Ease of set up and disassembly e. Availability of materials to construct the forge, and f. Function ability.
Be Safe!
Old Rusty Ted

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Just use an old wheel barrow Weld a pipe in the center straight up to a brake drum, bolt a blower to the side, put the clinker breaker in the bottom of the brake drum, and a slide clean out. Just fill the area surrounding the brake drum with coal and make your fire in the brake drum. It's cheap and DEFINATLY portable.

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One of my friends just digs a hole in the ground & lights a fire in it. You've guessed it, he earns a part of his living demonstrating iron-age forging - even has someone pumping bellows rather than a fan. It works remarkably well & would probably be the ultimate in portable forges. ;)

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Ted, Thank you for the time and thought you put into your response.
Solid fuel will be used. High grade hard smithing coal to be precise.
Portable rather than my current masonry forge. I have access to a truck so it does not need to be small but that would be an advantage.
Currently I have the 2" water pipe T piece to use for the airway and a 220 volt electric blower. Plenty of scrap angle, etc.
A bit of funding which would cover buying some new plate for the tray ad probably a pot to mate to the flange on the water pipe.

part of the project is to make hand pumping of water easier so I am just going to replace the current pump handles (about the size of a pencil) with a piece of rebar with a pipe handle. I could do it at my fixed shop but want to get the locals involved. We might end up setting up a shop for the village if it all goes well.

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The original 55 Forge was designed to be a forge that could be made most anywhere in the world from local materials, a 55 gallon drum and pipe. The side blast version is even simpler as there is no assembly needed. As for portability, it is very portable, or materials are already on location.

Hopefully you also show the locals how to use the forge to get the metal hot, and work the metal. When you leave, give the forge to the village elders as a present.

What better gift when you finished with the project, than to leave the village with their own village blacksmith.

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If you are looking to build a forge to be left behind after a demo you might want to look at some pictures of American forges from 1860 to 1920s. Many forges were tables framed with rough cut lumber and filled with clay or sand and the fire pot was nothing more than hollowed out clay with a pipe to the blower or bellows forming a side blast forge. The whole setup could be built in less than an hour depending on the air source, with little or no cost.


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Thank you for your answers to my enquiry. I am pleased at the overview of what you described about your situation and your intent to assist people in order to help them up-grade there circumstances.
I know that I am guilty of practicing “over kill” in trying to assist members in solving problems they pose. It is just a bad habit I have. But I do it in fun and the spirit of "group thinking" as an approach to assist in solving issues.
I know that if I say something “CAN’T BE DONE”, the members here at IFI will respond with 23 ways of HOW TO DO IT! So, sometime my response is just to prod the members into action who have the answers to set things straight.
I find it refreshing to be able to come to this site and have the freedom to ask for an opinion or assistance when I have needed help.
The more established members come to understand that we can post our opinion without fear of being attacked personally, but we do attack issues with vigor.
I think if it was possible to do what Glenn suggested, that would be awesome.
Glenn Said: “Hopefully you also show the locals how to use the forge to get the metal hot, and work the metal. When you leave, give the forge to the village elders as a present.
What better gift when you finished with the project, than to leave the village with their own village blacksmith.”
Sounds like something to consider if it is possible.
The best to you Philip in what ever you do.
Be safe!
Old Rusty Ted

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Part of my plan for the place actually is to equip a smithy for them. I can show them some basics on tool making, steel hardening etc. and then leave them to it. I have a Chinese type anvil I can leave and will either construct a brick forge like my own or leave them the portable one. If this ever gets done I shall post some pictures of course.

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