CHUCK M

Setting up shop in a 12x7 shed

34 posts in this topic

Going to be setting  up a new shop in my back yard 12 x 7 shed, not huge but certainly should enough room especially for a beginner.  Figured I would post from the beginning with the hope that people will follow along, giving advice along the way.  Plan is to do some general blacksmithing stuff, light tool making, and of course the occasional knife.  Just got a nice anvil, and ordered a crappy eBay canister forge to get me started.  The shed is just used for storage now going to start cleaning out tomorrow.  There is electricity but lighting is an issue, has one receptacle for a temporary solution until I can wire up something permanent.  Also, building a 4ft work table between the doors, back walls have metal shelving.  I do have a couple (probably more I can't think of right now) of concerns:

1. Noise-it's kind of close to the neighbors houses, and hope it's not to loud, only plan on forging a few hours a week, but it will be in the late evening hours, this is my only time I have free. Hopefully, forging inside will keep noise to a tolerable level?

2. Fire danger-This is my biggest worry.  The inside of the structure is completely covered in plywood, floors and walls.  I will be keeping my forge on a rolling rack, and plan on keeping it just off the wooden landing on the grass outside the door, seems the best way rather than it in confined area and will still be only a few steps to the anvil.  Through research, have read a borax/water solution soaked in the flooring and walls is an adequate way of fireproofing the plywood, also sealing any gaps between the flooring and wall panels.  Would this be good enough for forging and usuing an angle grinder inside?  Would everybody feel comfortable working inside?

This is enough rambling for now, appreciate any all advice. Will post pics of progress if anyone wants to follow.

IMG_0246.JPG

IMG_0247.JPG

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My goodness Chuck, that's a mighty pretty little building. How'd you convince the wife to let you have it? 

Insulating the walls with fiberglass and having the anvil stand on the ground or something other than a wooden floor will go a long way towards not disturbing the neighbors. A wooden floor can be like a drumhead.

What kind of fuel are you going to burn, I don't recognize a . . . canister forge Ebay or not: coal, charcoal, propane, camel dung?

That should be enough room but try not to build things you imagine you'll want until you've spent tie working there. For instance, bearing in mind I haven't been there either. Putting a work bench under the windows would make for good light but blacksmithing involves mucho brute force and things sometimes get away from you. For my pocketbook and love for sweeping I like to keep my glass away from potentially flying objects. 

Adequate light and power is always a big thing. LED lights operate on about 18% per lumen of incandescents. The price is dropping like a rock so break even point on the price compared to the light bill is darned close. I picked up a couple 4' 80 watt equivalent LED strip lights and they are DE BOMB for light. Florescents don't work here in winter and cold start florescents are just plain expensive.

It'll be a nice shop, more than enough room to do serious work buy you a bigger one dontcha know. B)

Frosty The Lucky.

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The forge is propane, standard paint can-ish size that are all over eBay for $165.  As for the windows, the front is plastic, have to double check the side never really took notice to be honest.  I have read in other threads concerning the issue about the anvil on the wooden floor not being stable enough as well, really want to get in there and work a little to really see how it goes, and to gauge how loud it is before I decide to do any major changes to it.....but will consider it the future if proves necessary.  The wifey is happy she has her own arts and crafts room in a good size office in the house, so no problems there thankfully.

This is the forge, intend on building one in time, after I have some experience and know what I want.....did however strongly consider buying the diamondback 2 burner blacksmith model but decided against it.

gas forge.jpg

 

 

 

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Wow, kind of spendy but not too bad if a person just wants to get their feet wet. I'd highly recommend kiln washing the interior, that looks like bare ceramic blanket. It's very fragile at forging temperature and tends to shed fibers. The split fire brick isn't the best for a forge floor either.

Don't despair though! It'll be a easy rebuild after you decide if you want to keep at it and you can just hook this up and light it. 

If you have good ventilation in the shop you can run that inside. Place a piece of cement backer board on a couple stand offs to keep it off the bench and it won't light anything on fire. The backer board makes a good place to let things cool down and not scorch bench tops.

Keeping the forge outside is safer of course but that leaves you running back and forth. That's not really a big deal unless you're working something thin but the stock loses heat fast so the closer the anvil and fire the better. Thinking about it I guess it's more a matter of how you arrange things. It's something to think about though.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Nice looking smithy you have there Chuck.  I don't see any vents in the roof, you are going to need them, even with the doors and windows open, trust me on this.  And Chuck I strongly suggest you buy a Carbon Monoxide detector for that small space especially with a new forge, it will not only protect you but help you tune your forge correctly.  Costco has battery operated detectors for $28, the battery operates for 10 years which is several years longer than a CO element will last and it operates as a thermometer when not detecting CO.  You are going to have fun in there. 

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1 hour ago, stockmaker said:

Nice looking smithy you have there Chuck.  I don't see any vents in the roof, you are going to need them, even with the doors and windows open, trust me on this.  And Chuck I strongly suggest you buy a Carbon Monoxide detector for that small space especially with a new forge, it will not only protect you but help you tune your forge correctly.  Costco has battery operated detectors for $28, the battery operates for 10 years which is several years longer than a CO element will last and it operates as a thermometer when not detecting CO.  You are going to have fun in there. 

Absolutely, I won't be skimping on on safety equipment, that is my primary concern.

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Safety Equipment for a Blacksmith Shop !

Could be a great topic to run a thread on !

I never thought of a CO2 Detector, maybe some sort of Propane Level Detector for gas laying around at floor level... Is something like that even available ?

 

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CO detector not CO2, and yes they make gas detectors of various sorts, the most common being the nose---which is why they add an odorant to propane to make it easily detectable.  The Davy safety lamp has been around since 1815 as a gas detector for coal mines---I have one I guess I could use it in the shop...  However my hot shop is open to the air and not likely to allow a buildup of gas.  I used to have to test and maintain a hydrogen sulphide detector when I worked a job in the oilpatch.

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Hi Chuck, I recently finished turning a small portion of my shed into a smithy. Most of my free time is at night so I needed to find a way to do it quietly and as safely as possible. I used rock wool for sound proofing and fire safety along with old corrugated metal sheets. I'm using coal which is much different in regards to oxygen depletion. You can check out my build series on YouTube. Look up exiltwinx.

I'm not saying everything I did is to code and perfect, but I did take the time to problem solve a few issues that might relate to what you're planning on going through.

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Actually coal is not that different with regards to oxygen depletion and CO production, it's just that coal smoke has so much other crud in it that you *have* to vent it and it's obvious that that stuff will kill you and you are extremely unlikely to work in a closed up shop in cold weather if you are burning coal and do not have a chimney!

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47 minutes ago, mutant said:

Hi Chuck, I recently finished turning a small portion of my shed into a smithy. Most of my free time is at night so I needed to find a way to do it quietly and as safely as possible. I used rock wool for sound proofing and fire safety along with old corrugated metal sheets. I'm using coal which is much different in regards to oxygen depletion. You can check out my build series on YouTube. Look up exiltwinx.

I'm not saying everything I did is to code and perfect, but I did take the time to problem solve a few issues that might relate to what you're planning on going through.

Awesome, I will certainly check it out.

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Nice building, I have my forge area in a 9x12 horse stall and that includes a coal forge and a power hammer. Unless you are making gates etc more than one step out of the triangle is just wasted heat.

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YES you want a CO (Carbon Monoxide) detector and yes they make CO, Flammable gas detector alarms. Kidde Safety, "Nighthawk," explosive gas & CO monitor, alarm. Is highly spoken of. I just happen to have that written on a sticky on my laptop cover so I'll remember to check when I go to Home Depot. My shop isn't air tight enough for propane to build up without me smelling it but CO is a concern and I like the Nighthawk's alarm, it's supposed to be a loud one.

Oh, hang a fire extinguisher by each door.

Frosty The Lucky.

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6 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

CO detector not CO2

I was thinking Carbon Dioxide not Monoxide !  Sorry bout that !

 

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22 hours ago, CHUCK M said:

 

This is the forge, intend on building one in time, after I have some experience and know what I want.....did however strongly consider buying the diamondback 2 burner blacksmith model but decided against it.

gas forge.jpg

 

 

 

I have one very similar to this, except the burner is on top. The only issues I have run in to is heat loss, heat treating larger knives, and doing projects that require a wider opening. The heat loss can be somewhat prevented by placing a fire brick against the opposite opening.

If you are looking to drown out some of the noise, nail egg cartons around the room. The part that holds the eggs works as a sound dampener. I once had a quiet room that had egg flats checkerboarded on the walls and ceiling.

Also I have found that neighbors tend to be more tolerable of late night shop noise if they get a free item and an apology note. I have worked till 2 am and have had no complaints from neighbors, and all it cost me was 4 of my first horseshoe hearts.

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I've had the cops called on me when I went past 9 pm with the powerhammer. I apologized profusely that the time had gotten away from me; shut everything down but the lights and spent most of the next hour talking knives with the cops! (wow that was over 25 years ago...)

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Last night went to clean, organize and start to cut wood for workbench, then discovered a rodent infestation.  The amount of droppings is staggering covering most surfaces with some spots so dense cant even see the wood underneath. Setting up the forging area is going to be delayed, so that the offending party is evicted, and the interior thoroughly cleaned.  Definitely not happy about this at and the last thing i feel like doing.

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18 hours ago, Nate Thiessen said:

If you are looking to drown out some of the noise, nail egg cartons around the room. The part that holds the eggs works as a sound dampener. I once had a quiet room that had egg flats checkerboarded on the walls and ceiling.

 

i will try this.

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A plastic bucket with a few inches of water with a few drops of dish soap mixed in will go a long way towards cleaning out the rodentia. I found for the stubborn ones a little smear of peanut butter half way to the water did the trick. Keep it cleaned out if they can get solid footing they'll jump our AFTER eating the peanut butter or a previous tenant.  The dish soap is to clean the natural oils out of their fur so they don't float and drown faster.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Chuck M.  Frosty's idea is the best, go to You Tube, search Bucket Mouse trap.  It is easy and cheap to make, and it sounds like you have a bunch of mice, this is the easy way to get rid of them. 

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I am trying a few different types of store bought repellant, giving them the option to leave the area alive......after that it's bucket time.

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Has anyone considered befriending a stray cat at the local humane society (or its equivalent), and giving it a home?

They make ferocious rodent hunters and great pets.

SLAG.

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1 hour ago, SLAG said:

Has anyone considered befriending a stray cat at the local humane society (or its equivalent), and giving it a home?

They make ferocious rodent hunters and great pets.

SLAG.

I remember when my (then) 12 yo daughter brought in a stray cat. Kitten really snow white and lovely but I was determined not to have any cats ... My verdict was, give her a bit of milk and off she goes.

We were all around the cat watching her drink the milk when she turned around slowly and in a millisecond jumped behind the fridge and caught a mouse. Chomped on it to kill it and jumped again just in time to get a second one. 

The cat stayed at home for the next 15 years until she passed away in her sleep. Still miss her :)

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I have indoor cats, but we do have 3-4 neighbor cats from the surrounding houses that I see in my backyard daily.

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