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Starting up my first forge, I've done the research, I have the first draft of my forge plans, what now? Materials and thicknesses and the like get confusing when one person says one thing then another site says another thing! Some help from the pros?

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Well, what are you planning to do? I assume solid fuel (since this is in the solid fuel forges section), but what fuel, for what kind of work, stationary or portable, what? We need specifics to give you a decent answer!

(Oh, and since this is your first post on IFI, please READ THIS FIRST.)

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Be sure to include in your reply:

what fuel you intend to use,

What supplies you have (pictures help),

what you intend to make,

your air supply,

side blast or bottom blast,

your budget.

 

Im sure I forgot stuff but that's a great start.  In no time you will have tons of great ideas and support.

 

welcome to the forum!

Lou

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18 hours ago, Lou L said:

Be sure to include in your reply:

what fuel you intend to use,

What supplies you have (pictures help),

what you intend to make,

your air supply,

side blast or bottom blast,

your budget.

 

Im sure I forgot stuff but that's a great start.  In no time you will have tons of great ideas and support.

 

welcome to the forum!

Lou

1: I'm using a combination (per availability) of coal and charcoal,

2: I have a chunk anvil (I have no idea what it used to be...) a three pound hammer and the intent to make (or buy, depending on difficulty) any other tools I might need!

3: I'm going to be forging equipment and tools for our homestead!

4-5: I have a squirrel cage fan and it's going to be bottom blast with a sculpted forge bed to feed new coal slowly into the blast.

6: I have roughly two-thousand to start, and from there it will depend on what I can sell, or what I can make working on our homestead! 

I love blacksmithing and there's a lot of material opportunity where I'm located! Thanks for the help everyone!

I'm sure I've missed some details, so if there's anything else, just message me back!!

(P.S. I don't have any pictures,  but I'll try to describe as best as I can)

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For homestead stuff here in the USA; may I commend to your attention: "Country Blacksmithing" by Charles McRaven and "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander Weygers;

Of course if your homestead is in Africa the UN Manuals on Blacksmithing might be a better fit; over 100 countries participate here from Iceland to New Zealand which is why we suggest you edit your profile to put in a general location... 

It took me years of blacksmithing before I even got close to having spent US$2K!  (and that included a couple of powerhammers too!)

What kind of coal are you using?

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I've read the first book! I'll look into the other book, too! I updated my location a short bit ago, but I'll put it here for convenience. Guthrie, Oklahoma, USA.

As for the coal, I have a blacksmithing group that I'm going to join that offers premium coal, I can ask about the specifics if that'd help?

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Biggest thing we needed to know about coal was bituminous or anthracite. If it's from a smithing group it should be a decent bituminous!

I spent several years in OKC when I was a geologist in the oil patch back in the early 1980's.  I tried my best to help clear out old smithing stuff from OK; including buying a 25# Little Giant in Shawnee...for US$75.  Of course I was single back then and could throw around the $$.

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Welcome aboard Jon, glad to have you. Don't get fancy with your first forge my personal experience is most will either be unnecessary, counter productive or outright mistakes. Keep it simple a bottom blast can be as simple as a table, a hole an air grate and air supply. Many a factory made forge is nothing but a sheet metal pan, air grate, tuyere and blower. I have one that's cast iron and requires a layer of clay to help prevent cracking. 

Check out the JABOD forge. It's slightly fancier than a hole in the ground but the type is a millennia old proven type of forge. Wanting to burn two types of fuel, makes a trench forge the more appropriate choice. Charcoal requires much less air than coal and the shape of the fireball or sweet spot in the fire is much easier to control with a side blast. Bottom blast tends to make the fire spread well beyond what you need for the work and to maintain the proper atmosphere you need to keep fuel piled over the sweet spot to keep fresh air off and concentrate the heat.

Fire management is one of the trickier skills to learn. Make it as easy for yourself as possible. Once you've used a forge a while you'll know what works and or doesn't work for YOU so you'll be able to incorporate your experience in the next forge. Gong to meetings and hammer ins will teach you more in a couple hours than days or even weeks of trying to figure it out yourself. ESPECIALLY forges, you'll get to try out different types and have an experienced smith show you the tricks.

Don't get in a hurry, all rushing does is make your mistakes permanent faster and injure you. I have the scars and dust collector forges to prove both points. Honest.;)

You have what you need for an anvil and smooth faced hammers around 2lbs. are everywhere for next to nothing at yard, garage, etc. sales. Don't get stuck thinking there is A blacksmith hammer. There are a couple basic types that have stood the test of time like the ball pein, the rounding hammer is a relative new comer but a very effective one and the good old cross pein. I highly recommend the 2lb. drill hammer largely for it's shorter handle which gives you better control while being heavy enough to do good work. 

Keep your eyes open for tongs but once you've developed a few basic skills you can make your own. No, they're not good entry level beginner projects but once you're proficient in some of the basic skills they're excellent projects and you'll need the things. You need to know how to: measure and mark, Isolate material, set the boss, punch draw the bits and long tapers for the reins, form the bits and set rivets. A web search will provide some good and some horribly BAD how to videos. Iforge has a whole section providing good tong how tos.  

Unfortunately the Iforge search function isn't the best but if you use another, say Google and include "Iforge" in the search terms it'll locate the good stuff here. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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If your an Okie, Saltfork is the way to go, lol. I would suggest considering a side blast forg if you plan to continue to very your fuel type, as they burn charcoal and both soft and hard coal just as well. Air control with a mechanical blower is very important. Hand cranked and bellows you just crank/pump slower (and change weights on some bellows).

i had almost forgot you were an oilfield geologist in the dime forgotten past, TP. I have two buddies, one working on his masters between saving up enugh coin and another working on his PH.D. (Mat is part of the group studying the injection well/earthquake conection). 

Oklahoma is a great place to find usable scrap (so much falls off oilfield trucks),sucker rod is good stuff. I would still recommend basic/intermediate and advanced blacksmithing from the UN agricultural engineering department. The tool making sections are worth it. Also look at online sources for pre copyright blacksmithing books and trade publications. You will be surprised what you can find. All the wood and iron work for a wagon box is in the back of one old school text wile the procedure for blocking out stock to forge steam engine parts helps you see how to get from billet to finished project by going from large gross fullering to fine forging and flatter work. 

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Ancient history Charles; back when working 84 hour weeks a 3 hour drive from the house seemed like a reasonable thing to do.  My savings did support me working a year with a Swordmaker in a rather "traditional" manner (6 days a week in the shop, no pay but 2 meals a day with the family) when the  bust occurred.

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On buying hammers, I recommend a trip to Tractor Supply. Over in horse stuff they have a descent rounding hammer for $50 and some change (tho a trip to Percel and hitting the pawnshops will score you some nice farrier related tools) and then over in tools they have a nice cross pein with a square pein. Not as much work needed to dress it, and fare cheaper than the rounding hammer. Don't get crazy, Viking hammers were 1-1/2 to 2#  a trip to harbor fright scored me a cheep set of 3# double jacks that I re ground. All thre have full with radieye on the back face, one cross wise. One strait wise and one half sphere. They move a lot of metal used on the horn or a large round drop. I keep a forth as a sacrificial beater, keeps dad from jacking up the other ones. 

On tools, yard sales generally suck down here unless you need baby cloths, but estate sales, swap meets and road side tool venders can have gems. Old ball piens, even a 2# japanise  cross pein, cross and strait pein sledges old monkey wrenches and such. Cation at auctions, often the feeding frenzy leads to spending more than new. Use google to find the new or used price, set your limit and be prepared to walk away.

also use Thommas's anvil accutison method. It will bring anvils, vices, forges ect to your door. 

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I used to drive through small towns in OK and look for the blacksmith shop and when finding the abandoned crumbling building visit the local diner and have a piece of pie and ask about the shop.  Didn't pay off a lot but was a lot of fun!

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