CreekSideForge

New Forge Design

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Hey guys,

This is my first post on this forum. First off, I want to say I'm not a complete newbie to forging, I have taken several classes on blacksmithing and knife making at Tillers International in Scotts, MI and have several books on knivemaking and blacksmithing. I built my first forge out of a tire rim fill with cement and that worked alright for a couple of years. However, I'm building a new forge and I could use some help with the design. I recently acquired a patio fireplace from the side of the road that had some kind of fire cement in it that I knocked out. I want to cut a hole for the firepot into it but my question is should I lay some brick down on top of the metal to have a more solid surface and what kind should I use? All hard brick or hard brick with soft brick surrounding the pot?

I also have looked around this forum and a couple others but couldn't really find a straight answer. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Thanks,

Mike

P.S.- I'm a college student that usually just does this on the weekends and not a whole lot of money

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What is it that you want to do with the forge?  (will you want to heat the middle of a 5' long piece of steel for ornamental work or architectural or cooking gear?)

What fuel are you using?  (Coal, Coke, Charcoal, Lignite, Wood?...

I would want the bed of the forge to slope down to the firepot so you can rake fuel in from the bed to the firepot.  How steep the slope depends on the fuel and proposed use.  How you make the bed could be---replace the cement you removed, infill with clay/adobe, use fire bricks & clay, etc

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I mostly want to do knife work or small ornamental work. It will be a coal forge, I have a large amount of coal that I got from one of my dad's friends.

The pot was just placed on the piece to show what I had.

What kind of brick should I use?

Mike

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around the firepot I'd use fire brick, or clay or adobe whatever I can find cheap. So burning coal you can use a flatish bed with a low slope towards the firepot.

Even planning for short items I'd make provisions for a pass through.

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Even knife work requires starting with long stock, and building tools to do your chosen work may make the pot tucked to far back a pain. As far forward as practical to get good draw will make the forge more manageable. 

Hard fire brick close to the pot and good old fashion brick farther away (tho fire brick threw out works)

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I'd move the fire pot out from under the hood so you can lay long stock across the fire and not need a pass through. I've often regretted not grabbing one of those old free standing fire places when the fad died up here and they were everywhere for the taking everywhere you looked. 

You can dry lay split fire brick, fill and sweep the spaces with clay, ash, etc. and it's golden. Better still you can rearrange it as you're skills sets grow.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Awesome thanks for the input. I'll move the pot forward for sure

One last question though: Where do you get your fire brick? Off of ebay or amazon or through some supplier?

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Rather than pay shipping on bricks I go to the local masonry supply place---or get it from torn down fireplaces.  (or land fills)  My last bunch came from a Junktique store that was selling them for  US$1 apiece and I pass it every time I visit my parents.

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Concrete plants sometimes carry fire brick along with other stuff you wouldn't expect. If you call a wood stove store they can probably tell you if they don't carry it themselves. Brick is in the yellow pages here.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Alright thank you all. I have a fireplace store  or whatever nearby that I'll try out. I'm going to try to post a picture of it when it's together and see if you guys approve.

 

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You might try one of those "repurposing" stores. We have one run by Habitat for Humanity, where they take materials from house demolition/deconstruction and resell it. Or see if you have any deconstruction companies in your area. You might be able to get the brick out of a torn down fireplace for cheap.

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Alright, I have the majority of the bricks laid out. I need to get two more for the side parts and then I'll be set I think. I will cut the back bricks down to a even size, I just ran out of time. Should I fill in the gaps with sand or just leave them be and let them fill up with ash?

 

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Those itty bitty cracks don't mean anything, let ash and whatever fill them. Just be careful with small projects like nails till they're full. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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The gaps on the side I'd fill with clay so you are not wasting fuel filling gaps in the table.

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Yes it is at anvil height. Probably just gonna go with a few handfuls of sand. 

Next problem is the chimney stack. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing here. It's in an old metal roofed barn and I don't know what to do. Kinda hoping you guys had examples of what you did or just suggestions on what to do. The pipe on it is 9 and 1/4  inches in diameter.

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A 10" or larger stack is usually considered appropriate.  I use used spiral seamed ductwork for mine.  Stacks can penetrate roofs with an appropriate thimble or go out a side wall and then up, like Hoffi uses in his school forges.  I split the difference: as my shop is all steel and one of the side walls had a hole in it. (it was a hail damaged roof that was replaced and a friend gave it to me).  The hole was originally for a wood stove chimney.  I have my coal forge under it and ran a 10' section of 10' spiral seamed duct work out that hole at a sharp angle and it seems to work fine for my set up.  Coal forges tend to run a cooler stack than wood stoves strangely enough.

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Well, I got everything all set up and tested it. Tried to do 10" pipe but I had no way to support the weight and its pretty windy where I live so I went with 8" pipe that extends about 2 feet about the roof. During testing, the smoke mostly went up the stack but there was some spill out that I don't think matters because the barn is well vented.

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Look into the side sucker designs as that one is still mostly taking in ambient air and so has a lower efficiency. (But if it works ok for you...)

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