Arthur210

Workshop Plans

49 posts in this topic

Over the summer, I am building a larger shed in the back yard to host most of my tools, including a small forge that I plan to build. I've read a lot about blacksmithing over the last year, including much on this wonderful site over the last few weeks. So I thought I would share my plans and how they change as I realize the project.

Since I am mostly interested in historical recreation blacksmithing, I plan on using a charcoal forge. As I live in the suburbs I feel that the smell will be less offensive to the neighbours than a bituminous coal woud be. I may eventually also build myself a propane forge, but that will be much later.

The shed will be 10' x 16' but the area I will be able to use for forging will be much smaller. In order to gauge how much space I will have and how things will be organized when forging, I made a drawing of the space. The actual placement of the anvil, vise and other tools will change as I try things out. Note that I am left-handed.

Workshop_Layout.jpg

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Why do you have both a water barrel and a quench tank?  Where will you be standing at that forge---it looks like the work triangle is off.  The bandsaw and belt sander need to be as far from the forge as is Possible!  Is that a gasoline mower?  If so it shouldn't be in the same location as the forge.

Can you set up that setup on your driveway and do several projects to see how it works for you?

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Some more details about the workshop:

  • It will be built on a concrete slab.
  • As I live in a place that gets quite cold in the winter, with a lot of snowfall, the workshop will be fully insulated.
  • I will use the attic space for storage, with 8-foot high ceilings.
  • The smithing I plan on doing will be fairly small stuff like tools, camping gear, and knives. I'd like to make swords eventually, but I am aware that it is a much more advanced skill set and that it will be a long time before I am ready for that.
  • The chimney will be a super sucker with an 8" insulated pipe. Insulated because of the city code. I got the pipe used at a very good price ($80 for 4 sections totaling 10' in length). But I am aware that it would be better to have 10" or even 12" for the chimney. If I find out that it doesn't draw enough I will install a second pipe to increase the pull.
12 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Why do you have both a water barrel and a quench tank?  Where will you be standing at that forge---it looks like the work triangle is off.  The bandsaw and belt sander need to be as far from the forge as is Possible!  Is that a gasoline mower?  If so it shouldn't be in the same location as the forge.

Can you set up that setup on your driveway and do several projects to see how it works for you?

Regarding the water barrel vs quench tank: that is just to get a sense of the space I may need. From what I understand, when making blades it is better to use oil to prevent cracks. Having plenty of water nearby seems like a good idea when playing with fire. ;)

I would be standing just by the door. As I mentioned, I am left-handed. But neither the anvil nor the vise will be fixed in place. Each will be on a heavy stump or a sturdy table. So I'll be able to re-arrange stuff as I try them out. Furthermore, when I am not working with the forge everything will be compacted into the corner to leave space to do something else.

The lawnmower is electric. The belt sander and all the other stuff is only displayed to get a feeling of the space available.

For now I have nothing to set up. I'm a newcomer to the craft and still have to buy or build anything for the shop. Everything is still in the planning stage. :)

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I strongly suggest you get some experience with the craft before trying to design a smithy.  Have you met the local smiths and seen/tried their setups yet?

Using charcoal for smallish projects you may want to enclose the forge table to help control the sparks. Burning charcoal in an enclosed structure you will need massive ventilation. Having an enclosed forge with access to makeup air might prevent you from having to work with the doors and windows open.

 I don't usually have water in my shop; of course I live in a desert with almost continual burn bans and high fire danger warnings. I have several good fire extinguishers which I have never used in 36 years so far...gotta change them out due to age!

 

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Thanks for the advice, Thomas. Enclosing the forge table will certainly be possible when I reach that stage. I do plan on working with one or both windows open, even in the winter. The door as well on warmer days. I have no desire to suffer carbon poisoning! There will be a CO detector in there. And I put a fire extinguisher in the plan, near the work table and labeled "Fire safety".

I do indeed plan on visiting local smiths over the summer as time allows, before I finalize my forge setup. For now my main project over the summer is to get the shed built and roofed. So the main concern at this time is the location of the chimney so that I can put it in place at the same time that I build the roof. I think it is much easier to do it this way instead of retrofitting one into an already-built building.

Everything else will be mobile, so that I can rearrange it as I gain experience on what works and what doesn't.

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I ran my chimney out the wall and so avoided the whole roof penetration issues

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10 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

I ran my chimney out the wall and so avoided the whole roof penetration issues

I considered it seriously, but unfortunately it does not appear practical in my case. The shed will close to neighbours' backyard on two fronts (those without windows or door). And the presence of a wall chimney beside the shed's door might prove to be a safety hazard when my grandson visits and plays in my small back yard. So my wife wouldn't agree to a wall chimney. :P

I'll try to post a picture of the space soon. This might clarify things.

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Welcome aboard Arthur, glad to have you.

Your current concept drawing of a shop layout shows you don't have any experience with the craft. That's not a knock it's just an observation. 

Lose the water tank, if you think it'd be handy in a fire you don't have experience fighting fires either. Put a hose bib in the shop, a water hose is handy and loose HOT bits aren't nearly as attracted to a hose as a water tank.

Your quench tank isn't going to be that large, honest even if you're quenching battle axes. Light wall pipe welded to a foot plate is the new norm.

You show your forge in a corner, the one next to the neighbor. You really want access to it from at least two sides, three is better. Were that my shop I'd put the forge between the windows even though the natural light at the work bench is a GOOD thing. Still, that location makes the forge accessible from both sides and in an extreme case you could heat the center of a 16' bar to bend or twist and you have a door on one side to allow really long work. Basically it opens the shop up to making decent size railings, grills, etc. where the corner eliminates much of anything longer than 2' without putting an access door in the wall.

Point out to your wife the stack will come out the wall 6' off the ground, it's easy ennough to place the stack's through fittings too high for small kids to touch. Put a decorative fox brick enclosure around it and ugly is cured. Hmmm? The stack isn't near your neighbor's yard so that's taken care of.

Store the mower and shop vac under the bottom shelf on the shelving unit or hang the mower on the wall out of the way. YOur belt sander wants to be near the shop vac so you can control the dust. Do NOT as in never, Never, NEVER use the same vac or dust comp for steel as you do for wood!!! Shop vacs are cheap. 

Band saws aren't that large unless you want a monster big one and they need to be in the center of a wall too for access to cut larger pieces, wood metal, etc. If you're looking at a cut off band saw it needs to be in the corner by the door and on wheels, they are long and narrow but the steel stock you're cutting is clamped in the saw perpendicularly. A cut off saw takes up a lot of room in use but hot saws make a LOT of sparks and are LOUD. A horizontal vertical band saw is VERY handy. You can cut your stock to length and stand it up, screw on the table and use it to cut shapes. I use mine all the time, almost as handy as the grinders and drill press.

Okay, I think that's my "first blush" bunch of suggestions: Forge between windows. No water barrel though a 5gl. bucket with a lid kept under a bench is okay. Work bench on wall opposite to the forge. Going to have to hang good lights over the bench of course. Band saw in corner by the door. Mower, vac, etc. under the shelves grinder close to the vac. Tool racks where the balance of handy and in the way say they should be.

Oh, fire extinguishers, hang one on the inside of the big door near the hinge. One next to the work bench is good too.

Oh, one last bit of advice don't mount anything permanently till you know what works for you.

Frosty The Lucky.

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First, let me tank you for the advice Frosty. Much of what you say is useful, although there are some elements in there that I've answered already. A few are not applicable because of details I have not mentioned. I'll try to complete the description to answer your comments.

The main thing is that you wouldn't place the forge in a corner, but rather along one of the long walls, in order to accomodate longer stock and pieces being worked on. Unfortunately, between the windows isn't possible because that would put the chimney in the branches of a tree which is located at the bottom right corner of the new shed. I could place it near the middle of the window-less long wall, however. I think that would put the stack far enough from the branches of the tree. I am already removing one of the tree from the backyard to enlarge the shed, but city regulations wouldn't allow me to remove the other one, even if I wanted to.

About the band saw, I mistranslated the name (my primary language is French). I meant a table saw. It is actually a radial arm saw, and its table is actually that large. Yes, I know how dangerous a tool this is. I am very careful when I use it. Eventually, I will inherit my dad's extra-large table saw (36"x60") when he is no longer able to use it.

Moving the lawn mower and shop vac under the shelves frees up floor space, but eliminates some of the shelf space. I will see how this will work in practice. I am planning on shelves built on the wall with close-fitting wooden boxes to avoid dust gathering on store items.

Here's a modified layout. As I mentioned previously (several times), the anvil and vise will be moveable. I show the saw and belt sander in their location when forging.

Everything would be carefully vaccumed to remove any wood dust before I fire up the forge. I understand the need for a seperate shop vac to clean up metal dust after forging.

Is this better? (Note that the anvil and vise orientation are off, I just didn't bother realigning the graphics.)

Workshop_Layout.jpg

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I like that one much better. The work triangle seems to "work" and for smallish items to be sufficient.

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As a newbie, I like the second plan better because it appears less cluttered.

I would run the chimney straight through the roof, there are sleeves/roof-jacks to seal up the through hole and if sealed well it should never leak and provide a better flow without an air moving device, (powered exhaust vent).

I also like work "triangle" that appears in the upper left corner of the shop, looks like you can heat a piece and get it to either the anvil or vice, Dependant on what is happening.

Again, a novice's outlook but I like it !

 

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Here's a picture of where the shed will be. The existing one is a bit over 9'x9'. The tree on the left will be removed. As you can see, the neighbours are quite close.

20170517_181440.jpg

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Don't start apologizing about us not understanding what the other meant, that happens all the time. We ask questions make suggestings and over a little while we get to know each other better and understand different terms and slang. After a while we'll be on track. 

That's much more workable. I take it the doors will be facing to our right in the picture? The back end next to the short chain link?

A radial arm saw can sure be a big piece of machinery alright. It might do well on rollers so you can move it out to use and park it out of the way. Heck I put everything on rollers I could when I was space limited. I used to live in a mobile home and kept my smithing tools in an arctic entry and a shed out back. I had to move everything to use anything.

Fire danger is #1 consideration and feeding a smoke stack into a tree's branches is NOT recommended procedure.  I agree, do something else. ;)

how you store things like the mower is a balancing act between what you'd like available under the bottom shelf and floor space. I don't know how tall an electric mower is with the handle folded for storage but maybe 12", not 18" is it? Even so it frees up a lot of floor space and you can make or buy larger storage boxes for the space under the bottom shelf. It's a good place for the heavy and awkward stuff anyway. I'm a big fan of those cheap plastic tubs with snap on lids. They're light and cheap so I'm not lifting more weight than I like my lazy old self to and if I break, spill badness or just get tired of one, they're cheap.

I'm not trying to convince you of anything I'm just brainstorming this with you okay? Brainstorming is just tossing out ideas to see what sticks. The more folk brainstorming the wilder the ideas get and the more options and combinations you have to work with. THAT is what I'm doing. Sure I have experience with what you want to do and have worked in spaces larger and smaller so I have some game tested opinions. That's it though they're opinions. Like Thomas' opinion about having a slack tub open in the shop, beginners tend to stick things in water they shouldn't and everybody drops HOT stuff. Thomas teaches a lot more than I do so his experience is of lots more beginners than mine.

I keep a covered bucket of water close by, not in easy dropping into distance but close, occasionally someone will drop a hot cut off in a shoe, it'll go down a glove or a glove will heat shrink on a hand. At that time nothing but NOTHING stops the burn like sticking the burning body part in a bucket of water. It cools the hot steel piece even if steam might do some burning too it's better than HOT steel trapped and pressed against your skin. The water will soak gloves or leather boots and loosen them up so they slip off more easily and do less damage. Be aware though I've never had to dunk myself and have only been around when someone needed to once in my life and that wasn't in a blacksmith shop situation. Still a hot shop is a hot shop.

Anyway, your shop plans are starting to look better.

Lets do this some more. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Can you build a cabinet on the outside of the shed for lawn and garden stuff?

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This is my current shop. It is a 30x30 with  Office and bathroom that take up 15x10 feet which leaves me with an L shape. I am standing on the loft above the office/bathroom and snapped these pics working my way clockwise around the L shape. but these pictures are 6 months old so I will have to take some current ones because a lot has changed.

20160302_080338.thumb.jpg.945e6ffd77665baeaeebc011ecefc480.jpg20160302_080346.thumb.jpg.09747ac2dbd5411e8e09d920ad95153c.jpg20160302_080356.thumb.jpg.cbc408f5272241708a1ef59e5d4e655e.jpg

I built these custom shelving brackets because I needed steel rack, work bench, storage shelves all in one

20160229_185413.thumb.jpg.a8d43ce84c6cc837515fca5b19bbe683.jpg

 

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Frosty, I wasn't aware I sounded apologetic. I'm not going to apologize for that. But I'm Canadian and we are generally polite people. ;) But what I did want to express was that I was appreciative of the advice being given to me, even though not all of it may be applicable. I understand about brainstorming, I just don't want you to believe I'm not listening if I discard some of the ideas you and others bring forward.

I may be new to the smithing craft, but I've worked with my hands before and I've got some experience under my belt in other crafts. I'm 47 and I grew up on a farm, though my education and career is as a software analyst. I tend to think and plan quite a lot before I tackle a new building/renovation project, so that I can understand the pros and cons of various configurations and various ways to obtain the results I am seeking. That's professional deformation, so to speak.

Now, back to the shop, I do indeed plan on putting everything I can on rollers, either permanently or using rolling trays. That will make reconfiguring the shop faster and easier.

The orientation of the shop will be so that the door is to the left of the picture I posted, with the long windowless wall will parallel the neighbour's chainlink fence we can see in the back. That means the door will face the entrance to my driveway, which is not shown in the picture but is to the left of it. So the stack will be about where the far-left corner of the current shed is.

I'll certainly keep a bucket or small tub of water in the shop, just not something as large as the barrel shown in the original drawing. The shelevs will indeed bigin with just plastic tubs for storage, but I find them less effective space-wise because of their slanted sides. They also let dust gather between them. Which is why I plan on testing home-made replacements that fit more closely together. I'll use some tubs to store stuf in the small attic space, as well as the out-of-season home equipment (tires, camping gear, etc.)

Thomas, a cabinet for the gardening tools might be a good idea. I'll see how things go before I invest time/money in that. But I'll certainly keep it in mind!

David, that's a nice shop you have there. Good idea about the configurable shelves/racks/workbench. I may not be able to do something like that, but it is sure interesting to see them.

I'll post more pictures as work progresses on the building. Right now I am emptying the current shed and relocating its content in various places (under the patio or in the basement). I had quite a lot stored in there. The tree should be removed within the next two weeks. I may start deconstructing the current shed before that, if I can find the time to do so. My weekends are already full with other stuff. :P 

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The current shed. Will the city allow two sheds. I assume not because you have not mentioned utilizing it. But I think it would be cool to move that somewhere else and use as storage then the new shop could be a dedicated work shop.  I'm planning on a shed so I can get the lawn mowers, atv,shovels,weed whip,etc.etc out of my work space.

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Unfortunately, I don't have the space on my small plot to keep both sheds, even if the city allowed it. It is only 4800 sqare feet, including the house itself, the driveway and the front yard. You're seeing over half of the backyard in that single picture. Got to keep some space for the grandson (and future other grandchildren) to play. :D

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Shades of "Arthur 'Two-Sheds' Jackson"....

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of Ulm...

What we see a lot of is people making elaborate plans *before* they have the requirements. As a Software Analyst you probably are aware of what that leads to... Some time spent finalizing the requirements will pay off in the long run---if not the short run.  Hence the suggestion to spend more time smithing, visit other people's shops, etc.

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45 minutes ago, JHCC said:

"Arthur 'Two-Sheds' Jackson"....

I laughed a little TOO hard at this lol...

 

I have a side draft hood on my forge as well, now I've only used that single one so I'm no expert, but it seems to me that you would want that forge (and hood, consequently) far from the door. Otherwise the hood and the draft from the door may be conflicting, leading to a smoky shop. Mine is on the other end of my shop from the doors and I've had 0 problems with it. Just my speculation, hope it helps! 

Good luck. 

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19 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

of Ulm...

What we see a lot of is people making elaborate plans *before* they have the requirements. As a Software Analyst you probably are aware of what that leads to... Some time spent finalizing the requirements will pay off in the long run---if not the short run.  Hence the suggestion to spend more time smithing, visit other people's shops, etc.

Very well understood. And, as I've written before, I plan on doing that as well over the summer. The plans of the inside aren't final, but I need at least some idea of where to put the chimney as I build the new shed. Since just building the structure and roofing it will probably take most of my summer's spare time, I need to get started on that so that it can at least be weather-tight before mid-fall.

The rest of the shop's design is only tentative until I've "finalized the requirements" for forging by trying it out. Right now what I'm doing is more along the lines of getting familiar with the constraints of the project before I start it.

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15 minutes ago, Will W. said:

it seems to me that you would want that forge (and hood, consequently) far from the door.

And keep the fire extinguisher by the door, so that you pause to spray the conflagration before making your escape.

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Or as you run back to the smithy you can grab it as you go in!

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15 minutes ago, Will W. said:

I have a side draft hood on my forge as well, now I've only used that single one so I'm no expert, but it seems to me that you would want that forge (and hood, consequently) far from the door. Otherwise the hood and the draft from the door may be conflicting, leading to a smoky shop. Mine is on the other end of my shop from the doors and I've had 0 problems with it. Just my speculation, hope it helps! 

Prevailing winds here blow from where the windows are located to where the chimney will be, so just opening the windows should give me a nice draft moving up the chimney. But thanks for the reminder.

20 minutes ago, JHCC said:

And keep the fire extinguisher by the door, so that you pause to spray the conflagration before making your escape.

It's on the plan. Two short steps away from the forge for the fire extinguisher. With another two steps in the same direction, I'm outside the door. :)

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