Glenn

A simple side blast forge

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This is about as simple as it gets, and it works. 

 

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Yep, that pretty much removes all obstacles -

I can see that being linked to for any thread that starts out with "I'm going to make a sword show me how to build a forge".

Robert Taylor

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I think this will have to be my forge while I save up for a Whitlock. :lol:

Kaleb

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Save up for a Whitlock? Why? The things are as simple as it gets, you don't need a welder, a: hack saw, hand drill & bits, nuts & bolts and a few feet of scrounged steel. This is dirt simple, you might even find an old steel electrical box, ammo can or such. Then just mount a blast pipe, lay a layer of split fire brick on the floor and lean bricks from the sides to the floor. 

A Whitlock is a lot more complicated than necessary, the sides don't need to be supported full length, back them with dirt if necessary. Heck, just fill the box with dirt and light the fire.

The forge shown in the above video is a good example of how simple this really is. Don't sweat it, we all tend to over complicate things when we're breaking into a new craft, it's human nature to want to cover as many contingencies as we can think of. A forge is just a fire place with an air blast, you can do all of it in a camp fire with a little ingenuity. Honest, it's a fun way to play in the fire and your companions get new toasting forks, fire pokers, etc. It's fun, really.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yes I've always thought the Whitlock was just a way to get people to pay for what they could get even better for free!

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6 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Yes I've always thought the Whitlock was just a way to get people to pay for what they could get even better for free!

Yeah, my thoughts exactly but a lot of youngsters today have zero school experience doing things with their hands so making something can seem pretty insurmountable. I had a couple students who never so much as held a hammer let alone used one. 

I don't mind helping if they want to learn practical skills. Not going to argue with them though, waste of time.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I personally was going to do barebones with the Whitlock and buy just the mini one with no stand or any additions. The only advantage to the Whitlock is that I can burn any of my wood scraps from woodworking. I know that you can probably burn wood in any forge but it seems that the V shape body makes sense in cooking the wood into charcoal as the fuel underneath burns. If I am making any sense.

20 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Yeah, my thoughts exactly but a lot of youngsters today have zero school experience doing things with their hands so making something can seem pretty insurmountable. I had a couple students who never so much as held a hammer let alone used one. 

 I agree entirely with this, but I simply do not have the time or the resources to build a forge myself. Also, I specialize in making things out of wood, not steel or metals and that's why I kinda am edging myself into blacksmithing. 

Kaleb ;)

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33 minutes ago, Kaleb said:

I simply do not have the time or the resources to build a forge myself.

Kaleb, speaking as a former professional woodworker, "I simply do not have the time or the resources to build a forge myself" is utter nonsense. Check out the threads on the JABOD forge; my own took me half an hour to build and cost me less than ten bucks (and that's only because I ran out of screws). A JABOD isn't a metalworking project -- it's a woodworking project with some dirt.

The deep V of a Whitlock is easily duplicated with rammed dirt or some extra firebrick. You are right; it does make sense to have that depth for converting the wood to charcoal, but there's no reason to spend money to get it.

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Hey, it's your money but making a simple screwed together angle iron frame on an old cake pan makes me wonder if you have the time and resource to blacksmith. Heck screw together a wooden box ala JABOD you don't need any kind of brick at all.

We're not picking on you but it's a little dismaying to think someone who's good with their hands needs to buy something like a Whitlock forge to burn scrap lumber. I've forged with wood in my bottom blast Buffalo rivet forge, I've done it in a campfire with a piece of pipe and a couple pieces of scrap sheet funnel aimed into the wind for the blast.

Making nice wood is much pickier than making utilitarian steel.

Frosty The Lucky.

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3 minutes ago, Frosty said:

an old cake pan

Thank you. You have just got my gears turning right now. I'll have to draw plans out eventually but you just gave me the darndest idea ever and it should only cost me two cake pans and some bricks.

Kaleb

 

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Take a shovel and take one good shovelful of dirt out of the backyard; voila you have a forge.  If you don't have the time or materials do you really have enough to smith? Most "modern" forges can be considered as  variations on just a hole in the dirt raised to a convenient height.  I used an old sink as a forge with creek clay mixed with wood ashes to make the V, back in 1981...

As a woodworker Alexander Weygers has a lot of making woodcarving chisels in his "The Complete Modern Blacksmith"  You may remember a mention of his book back in the 1980's Fine Woodworking mags. (page 53 of volume 44, January/February 1984)

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7 hours ago, Kaleb said:

Thank you. You have just got my gears turning right now. I'll have to draw plans out eventually but you just gave me the darndest idea ever and it should only cost me two cake pans and some bricks.

Bonus points if you already have the cake pans. If not, check out your local flea market and garage sales.

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Goodwill or similar second hand stores as well. But really... Don't overcomplicate simple. ;) 

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1 minute ago, Daswulf said:

Don't overcomplicate simple

Trust me I am known for makings things much more complicated than necessary ...

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Ok, I have plans drawn out but I think I'm the only one who would understand them.

Plan #1: I wanna stick with the V shape just because I like the idea and it makes sense to me (by the time I get to building the forge I bet I'll be over it). But I was thinking that I could place either firebricks or some sorta clay or plaster mix in the cake pans. And once set stand them up at an angle to form a v. Then I just need to add something to the front and back of the forge to keep coals in (Maybe a cut up cookie tray?). Then last of all hook up an air supply and then we are all set, I think? It might be too complicated.

Plan #2: So if the first plan is complicated then this one is not at all. If I were to build a JABOD... Maybe a bit scaled down... 

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Go with the JABOD. You can always deepen the V with bricks. You can also have a fire burning in another container and transfer the hot coals with a shovel as needed.

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With the JABOD what is the recommended depth of the pit? And what about the other dimensions on a minimum? 

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Make it to suit you and what you make or use.  Using wood, then what size wood will you be burning. Pallet planks, split wood of what size? smaller tree limbs? 

The Good thing about JABOD is that it is easy to reform if one style dosnt fit your needs. You may find you need it larger, smaller, taller, shallower..... it's just reshaping the dirt. If you find a shape that seems to work the best then maybe think about something more permanent if you like. 

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2 hours ago, Kaleb said:

With the JABOD what is the recommended depth of the pit? And what about the other dimensions on a minimum? 

There's a good discussion of pit dimensions in Charles R. Stevens's original JABOD post, but those will vary depending on your fuel. Take some time to read the other posts in the Solid Fuel Forge section; you'll learn a lot and be better equipped to make a good judgement call. But remember, as @Daswulf says, dirt is easy to reshape. I must have re-clayed my old rivet forge half a dozen times before I found a firepot shape that I liked. Learned a lot doing it, though.

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I hesitate to call this a "build".  As you can see it's just some parts cobbled together.  Half an old air tank, a pipe tuyere in the bottom.  Then some sand and kitty litter with firebrick from Tractor supply laid on top.  Old vacuum cleaner hose fits into the end of the pipe and a WalMart air mattress inflator supplies air at the other end.  I hook that to an old sewing machine pedal.  Step on it and it blows.  Step off & it stops while you're pounding the steel.   I've used it with charcoal.  It can be used with wood scraps as well, just easier to tend the fire with charcoal.  It will get hot enough to melt the steel.    It's all atop an old drill press base and table.  The Maxwell House can has a 25# bag of bird shot in it just to stabilize in case I bump into it but it's pretty stable without.  Note I have bolts installed to block air holes.  Those can be removed if I want a long fire.

Maybe $20 excluding the air mattress inflator. Most of it was junk I had around.

 

B8E68C82-7107-4EBE-A471-F1E8798E6F4D_zps

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12 minutes ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

... and viola... you have clay that will work.

et Voilà !  ;)  Pour une fois que je peux écrire dans ma langue ! :)

I've made this little one last week end.  I've just mocked it up... I have to finish the welds, clean and grind a little and... enjoy it !  100% from scrap sheet metal (former trailer fenders)

 

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Kaleb: Plan 1. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It's a stinker. See Goater's V trench forge. You can forget the brick if you mix aproxx 1 pt.clay and 2pts.  sand. Dampen just enough it'll ram hard with a mallet, end of a board, etc. and ram it into a V trench. You can place the air supply like Goater's with a series of holes along it's length or use it like a more traditional side blast. Place the end of the air pipe a couple inches off the bottom of the trench at one end. It's a forge.

If you're going to pyrolize your wood into charcoal in the forge you're going to discover what unpleasantly HOT means. A wood to charcoal forge I built on a river bend many years ago was so unpleasantly hot burning down to coals I had to modify it with a 15gl. grease barrel on end with through holes a couple inches off thee bottom. I packed the bottom with a mix of silt and sand, what was available. I built the fire and just tossed wood in the top of the drum as needed, the openings were nothing but really, REALLY hot coals. I had to make a wind break to deflect the draft or the steel was just burning up. It worked excellently but the grease barrel cherried out really quickly and it was still TOO DANGED HOT!

I went back to old dump combing and brought back 55gl drum, did a little chisel work on it and made a heat shield. 

It worked a treat as a forge drawing it's own air. However there was this pesky prevailing wind blowing down the river and we were going to be camped there for at least 3 weeks probably longer. Soooo, I rebuilt the whole thing. Drove scrounged bar into the sand and used old tin to help contain a taller forge so I could stand comfortably but as I laid that out I put a couple pieces of salvaged pipe in the thing. It angled from the fire downward and windward to near the ground where I made a wind collector from scrounged tin. Then I mounted my grease barrel wood colliery and 55gl drum heat shield on it and it was DE BOMB wood fire forge from when I was a field guy and doing that kind of thing.

The river is near a town nearly wiped out by the 1964 Good Friday earth quake. In the aftermath the river up stream of the main road into town was where they dumped a LOT of the debris from the quake. What wasn't used to make road embankments, break waters, etc. We did a lot of tidewater jobs over the years but this one had the most usable earthquake scrounge, I still kick myself for not bringing the axle I used for an anvil home with me. It was a beast of an axle, just the shaft was probably 5" dia. and the flange had to be about 10". Buried on end flange up It was one crazy good field expedient anvil.

This little river bank smithy and some of the less cool ones I set up at tidewater with earthquake debris was the basis I used to try and get a blacksmith based RPG going last summer. Maybe we'll do it again if I can get someone with more experience to co-DM with me.

Frosty The Lucky.

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38 minutes ago, blacksmith-450 said:
56 minutes ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

... and viola... you have clay that will work.

et Voilà !  ;)  Pour une fois que je peux écrire dans ma langue ! :)

I think Irondragon F&C was suggesting that an excellent forge can be made from the second smallest orchestral string instrument, n'est-ce pas?

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