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Hello all, just looking for a little direction/advice.  First off, if there's already a thread on any of these questions I have, feel free to let me know.  I've got a good idea of what I want my forge to look like, side draft, with a semi circle hearth, and a half hood.  I'm also using a bellows and trying to keep things as close to an 1800's period layout as I can.

I'm looking for building techniques/design specifically how to prevent the heat from destroying the brick and mortar.  How many courses of soft fire brick should surround the fire before it's ok to use hard fire brick?  Mortar mix?  Should the soft fire brick that contacts the fire be loose, or have mortar too?  I've seen the mason work wrapped in plastic to slow curing.  How do I build a smoke shelf and still comply with building codes requiring fully lined chimneys?  Is there a way to integrate a smelting furnace?  What metal should the fire pot be built from?  Is plain steel ok?  How thick?  Bellows blue prints?  Materials for bellows construction?

This is what I've got for questions so far, and obviously, it's just the beginning.  Like I said, just let me know if there's threads that already exist that address these questions.  Thanks for your time and input.  Happy smithing!

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There are most definitely threads around the forum that answer most if not all of these questions. Take some time and research, read old threads (especially the pinned ones.). You may learn things that you didn't know you needed to know. 

That is a whole mess of questions you have there. I'll try to help where I can. 

1 hour ago, ddurant311 said:

Is there a way to integrate a smelting furnace?

That depends on what type of furnace youre talking about. Most likely, there probably is. But if you want to get into smelting I recommend doing it with somebody (or a group even) who has experience and a proper set up. 

1 hour ago, ddurant311 said:

What metal should the fire pot be built from?  Is plain steel ok?  How thick?

Mild steel will work, yes. Many (including myself) also have cast iron firepots. I personally would recommend no thinner than 3/8" (~9mm) but 1/2" (~12mm) would be better, IMO. The design of your firepot, however, will differ based on what fuel you are using. 

1 hour ago, ddurant311 said:

Bellows blue prints?

Depends on what kind of bellows you want to make. Check the Bellows section and the Blueprint section and you may find your answer. 

1 hour ago, ddurant311 said:

Materials for bellows construction?

Wood and leather have, historically, been the go to materials. 

 

I have no advice concerning the brick. I would advise heading over to the Solid Fuel Forges section and reading through the threads there. Oh, and don't be surprised if this thread gets moved to that same section. 

Don't bother with the search function on the site BTW, it's... Strange. Just put"iforgeiron" along with your question into your preferred search engine. 

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1800's: so a round cast iron forge with a hand crank blower is perfectly correct---shoot they have them for sale in the 1897 Sears Roebuck catalog!

Or do you mean early 1800's?  PLEASE be as specific as you can!

Do you mean side draft or side blast? Side draft has the chimney to the side of the forge and side blast has the tue pipe entering from the side and not the bottom as in bottom blast (which became more common in the late 1800's)

Early 1800's did not use metal firepots and they were not generally used with side blast forges.  

Now do you really mean a smelting furnace and not a melting furnace?  If so you don't want a smelting furnace inside a building!  Even our short stack scandinavian furnaces (Viking era) tend to have a 6' plume of fire off a 4' furnace at times.

You don't want ANY soft firebrick in the construction of a masonry forge.  Think of how wood fireplaces are built.

I think you really need to get off the internet and go and look at as many forges as you can.  There are some highly trained masonry forge builders out there, Jeremiah Young is one of them in Ohio from the discussion on iforgeiron back in 2011 He's listed on LinkedIn as the blacksmith at Century Village in Grove City Ohio---near Columbus I don't know if any pictures of his work are up on the web; but it's a starting point. It's important to see working forges and not forges built by guess.

 

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Thanks, new to how/where to post which questions, so thanks for the advice.  My phone is on the outs, or I could attach a rough sketch of my idea, and work space lay out.  Until it's remedied, I'll hunt around some more here and see what I can't figure out.

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Protecting brick from heat of a forge is easy, a couple of inches of center and ash. A clasic side blast forge is essentially a box, and for coal the natural accusing wast is used to fill it. One simply digs out a fire bowl when building a new fire. Also remember fire creep in coal isn't much of a problem, kill the air and it will go out, unlike charcoal. This is why you clasicly see fuel piled up on the table and the fire burning in the middle. As to bottom blast, the cast or fabricated fire bowl keeps the hottest part of the fire away from the brick.

their a lot of blacksmith and farrier books and periodicals from the 1800 (pre copy right on line. Look at the illustrations and read the descriptions. A 24" cast iron pipe bell up was used in one farm shop with a side blast tue and filled with rubble, a wide verity of home brew forges are periud correct. Not to mention regional veriations. A small blacksmith shop in Arlington Arizona probably used Adobe brick, and a constitia bellows Wile a blacksmith shop in Arlington Virginia had a dozen forges and a furnes built from red brick and a blower or bellows ran off the same flat belts running the hammers and drill presses, be they water or steam driven. 

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Thanks Charles!  My idea is to build a fairly standard mild steel fire pot, connected to a cast fuyere.  One course of refractory brick to surround the pot, with no mortar so they can be really removed to repair the pot.  Red fire brick for the top course on the hearth, and side draft opening in the chimney, with high temp mortar.  Was thinking this should provide enough protection in the hot areas, so I can use what ever else I want to fill out the hearth.  Raw stone, cement brick, etc.

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Hard to beat a fire pot based on a proven desighn. Easy enugh to look at the description of a cast fire pot, extrapolate the mesurments. This is often an economical choice. An economical tuyere can also be mad from 2" square tubing with one of several styles of clinker breaker fabricated to fit. 

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