David R.

Building my forge

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Finally getting my forge built. Only wish I had made the building larger.  Judiciouslly placed I think I will still be able to fit in a small bench and post vise, anvil, of course, post drill and bellows overhead. Any ideas for getting dirt floor packed down to cut down on dust?

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hey david, nice looking shop. I don't know how much your looking to put into it but you could put down a type of crushed asphalt on top of the dirt to help with the dust. just an idea 

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Hopefully it won't be too hot. I have a four foot wide door next to the forge and three windows I can open with dirt floor and no ceiling it should be tolerable.

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Not exactly on target, but  can you easily reach the handle on the clinker breaker ?  If not, then it's better to fix that now or it will plauge you forever. I know this from experience. 

 

 

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What I did for the dirt floor in my smithy: weld a 4' steel pipe to a 2'x2'  1/4" steel plate (metric: 120 cm long pipe, 60x60 cm plate, 6 mm thick). Wet the dirt with a garden hose and pack it down with your newly built tamper. If you have no access to a welder, I've seen it done with a sheet of plywood and a few people walking all over it. Either way, it packs the dirt really well and makes it feel quite hard. Over time it will loosen (from you shuffling your feet, dropping things, etc.) This can be combatted by sprinkling quick setting concrete on top of the wet dirt before tamping, or just re tamping it every once in a while. Hope that helps!

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I used to have a simple dirt floor- nothing too fancy. The dust didn't become a huge problem, even during the Maryland summers. There would usually be the finer stuff sitting on top of the packed earth, but it never got airbourne. 

 

Alternatively, you could get crusher fines or fine gravel and pack it down. After 5 or 6 years, whatever you have will be some sort of metal/scale/ dust/ debris mix that'll be fine as a floor. 

 

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In my shop I rented a gas tamping machine and spread out some "quickcrete" concrete then used a rake to mix it around a little, wet the top and tamped it until it was hard packed. Haven't had any problems yet and it's been about 3 years. 

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Dickb, I left a tall opening on the left side that allows easy access to the handle. I did have to bend and reshape the lever to get it to clear everything inside and allow full motion of the clinker breaker. I thought about extending it to outside the forge but figured I would be bumping into it then.

Thanks for the input on the floor. I have a fine layer of powdery dust that seems to grow. If it is raining I end up with muddy feet and anything you drop is coated with dust. I didn't want a hard (concrete) floor because of issues I already have with my feet.

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I had a shop with fine pea gravel as a floor. It always seemed to be moving under me, if it hadn't been for my wife"encouragement" I would have left the floor dirt.

If dust become a problem, lightly water it down at the end of the day. It will stay soft and hold dust down. 

Al

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Crusher run limestone with choke will pack down well. 

To reduce the water / moisture in the floor, you may want to pipe the downspouts from the house and the shop some distance away from the shop. There is still time to put in a drain with lots of gravel around the drain, under the shop floor. Add perimeter drains around the building to divert any water away from the building.

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4 hours ago, PVF Al said:

I had a shop with fine pea gravel as a floor. It always seemed to be moving under me, if it hadn't been for my wife"encouragement" I would have left the floor dirt.

I'll file that away in my mind for future reference.  But FWIW, I was kind of thinking of a thin layer packed down into the soil rather than a layer on top.  Not sure what I envision  is possible though. 

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I'm in a dry area so moisture is not an issue, I just used fine sand/gravel  from the local arroyo and boxed in the floor of the bents of my forge shop with pressure treated lumber and filled them in and struck the line.  Very easy on the feet/back; but you can lose stuff if you are not careful.  The soil where my shop is located is rated for direct concrete pour on top of it so much like subsoil in other places.

If I was in a damp area I would probably excavate, lay down heavy duty plastic and fill to get a drier floor; french drains around the outsides in the extreme cases.

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I need to be clarify. My floor is dry even when raining, but if I come into it out of the rain the dust sticks to the wet boots  and  then I have muddy feet going back to the house.

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11 hours ago, David R. said:

I need to be clarify. My floor is dry even when raining, but if I come into it out of the rain the dust sticks to the wet boots  and  then I have muddy feet going back to the house.

I think if you substitute the soil dust for crusher fines, you might find its a different story. 

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18 hours ago, David R. said:

I need to be clarify. My floor is dry even when raining, but if I come into it out of the rain the dust sticks to the wet boots  and  then I have muddy feet going back to the house.

Sounds like you have a necessary beginner project for your shop. A porch boot brush and perhaps drying rack. Don't your boots get dirty and muddy outside now?

Frosty The Lucky.

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