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I Forge Iron

Very basic back garden forge complete!

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Hello all!

Just a very brief post to show you all the 55 style forge I have just finished putting together. I followed the 55 blueprint for the most part (very much appreciated!) and although the end product is pretty basic, I am very pleased with the result. The entire build cost £5 as the brake drum was the only bit of kit I had to pay for, everything else was a freebie. Pictures/videos paint a thousand words, and there are an (admittedly fairly random) assortment of photos attached. The vast majority of the progress was captured on video however, the link for which is below if you are interested in a bit of insight into the build. Thanks for the material, this would never have been completed with such ease without the assistance of IFI. Paddy. 

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuyeBmRzl4E&t=31s




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I would cut away more of the rim on just over one half, a 1 or 1-1/2" rim is enugh to hold extra fuel and provide beter access. Please remember to do somthing about the sharp edges. Not my favorite styel of forge but it sould do a fine job with coal.

another improvement would be to rebuild your tuyere as a "T", so to have an ash dump. 

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I agree with what Charles said. Without the T your blower will get blocked up with junk and possibly ruined quickly. 

Something like this, doesn't need to be fittings, it can be welded. I only use fittings because I find it easier to deal with. Also some kind of weighted flap cap on the bottom makes for easy ash dump. 


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For a cheep and easy build the $50 in 2" pipe fittings is a bummer, the welded tubing works well and is cheaper, square works as well as round and is easier to fabricate (no fish mouth). Honestly as most rivit forges lacked a true firepot a cut off drum with the tuyere attached directly to the bottom and a bucket of dirt thrown in works very well 

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Cut a piece of metal, ring, from the circumference of the drum about 2 or more inches wide. Fold it in half the long way to form 1 in U shape about 6 feet long. Place this over the SHARP edge of the drum to protect yourself from being cut.

DO NOT connect the hair dryer directly to the air pipe. Leave a 3 inch gap. If you need more air aim the hair dryer more directly to the air pipe. If you need less air, do not air the hair dryer so directly and let some of the air miss the air pipe. Full air control that way LOL

And yes you should have a T air pipe so you can dump the ash when needed.

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  • 3 months later...

Same subject posts have been merged

Evening all! 

I wanted to post this brief update for a couple of reasons, the first of which is to provide a bit of a catch-up from my previous post back in September, but secondly (and more importantly) to document all of the generosity of others associated with setting up the forge over the past few months. 

The first part of this generosity took place back in October, when a family friend called John found out that I had shown an interest in blacksmithing, and insisted that I have the tools that he had used as a young man in order to begin to furnish my forge. Even though I had known John for a long time, I had no idea he had any of this equipment! I told him that as soon as I had set everything up I would bring him down to see all of his equipment being put to good use again (as he would not accept any payment other than a few bottles of wine, I felt this was the least I could do). 

(John's equipment)

Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to take John to the forge as he sadly, and very unexpectedly, passed away shortly before Christmas. I know he would have absolutely loved to see all his old stuff being used again, and his family have asked if I can get a photograph of the new forge made up to be placed in his grave along with other photographs celebrating his life. I owe John and his family a huge debt of gratitude for this generosity, and will think of this every time I am hammering away on his old anvil.  

Having cleaned up John's equipment, I managed to get myself a good space for the forge on my girlfriend's family farm, which was kindly leant to me by her uncle. 

(The forge space, pre-clean up)

I spent a lot of time after Christmas cleaning up the space and slowly bringing in tools and equipment to give the whole thing the resemblance of an actual forge and not just a big room! 




(Equipment being moved into the forge space- the anvil has not been properly secured here)

Although it is a very simplistic set up I have over here, it's been a great experience getting it all to come together. Having got everything how I want it, I fired up the forge for the very first time a few days ago and made a couple of coat hooks (although admittedly they were a bit rough around the edges!).
One final thank you is in order- thanks to John and Dave from Glendon Forge for their hospitality and mentor-ship during a number of one-on-one courses I have taken with them over the past few months, the lessons have been invaluable. 


(My oil drum forge previously made. The forge is being used outdoors for the moment due to a lack of ventilation!)


(Main working area and bolted down anvil)


(My shoddy craftsmanship!!)

I would be happy to answer any questions about specifics etc, as I have tried to keep this brief and so have skimmed over a lot of the details about the set up! If anyone has any suggestions or comments, or indeed any information about the origins of some of the equipment I have, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks for reading!


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Make some U shaped loops and drive them into the wooden stump to keep the hammers off the floor. Bending down to pick up a hammer will get very old very fast.

Check to see that the anvil face is about wrist high. It appears a bit low to me. Look up the thread on proper anvil height.  Once you find the right anvil height, build a solid full platform of bricks or whatever to place the anvil stump on so it can not walk around and fall off into the floor.

If the forge is outside move the anvil just inside the door.  This saves on the walking and saves the hot metal from cooling off during the trip from the forge to the anvil.

The set up looks great. Enjoy the elbow room. 


Only other suggestion is to get a radio. The distraction helps you loose track of time as you work. (grin)

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it is so nice to see tools passed down. Clearly your friend must have known somehow that his time was up. Folks do know most of the time.

I remember a neighbour we had in the seventies. We had just moved in freshly married and made his acquaintance. He was a writer and a bit of a celebrity. In his seventies he was very healthy and was asked to give conferences all over the place. He used to invite us to chat a lot because his only son never came to visit.

 One day he called us over and pulled out old family photos and spent hours with me and my wife talking about his past, gave us some books and things and insisted for me to give him a run down of the value of all his possessions he dutifully listed. I did my best and then he told us he was booked the next week for a conference and he went on to give us the whole conference before we left at one in the morning. He passed away that night. 


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It can be a warning sign; a friends Father, a retired Metallurgist, once invited me over and proceeded to give me several shelves of old ASM handbooks and metallurgy texts and ASM books for the general public like "The Story of Metals",1951; "Man Metals and Modern Magic" 1958. I was very grateful and my friend told me he was very happy they they would actually get read and used. I was not surprised to later learn that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

When younger people start giving away their treasures it can be a warning sign of depression and possible suicide!

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