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Hi all,

   New to the forums and to smithing. I see a lot of good info here, so I wanted to ask the question. To build or to buy? I've seen a lot of forges online  priced $350 and up, that's a big pill for a newbie like me, so I was wondering if it'd be cheaper/smarter to build. I need everything for anvils to hammers and would like to be as economical as possible. So i did some googling, found this site, bummed around Amazon and eBay, and I noticed that buying the materials plus shipping as about the same if not more than buying a pre-made forge. Now, all I looked for was sheet metal, Fire brick (3k degree), KaoWool, and rigidizer. No itc-100, and I figure I can make some Sodium Silicate Glue. The big questions I have are:  Can the Perlite-n-Playsand DIY bricks hold up to the heat as well as the Factory made? Is there a DIY KaoWool equivalent? Is the ITC necessary on the forge walls/Ceiling? I have a supply/warehouse within 15  miles of home so sheet metal and Stock shouldn't be an issue. I have drafted a forge design from some pics I have seen around, I also have several tanks around the house (Propane, air tanks, Grills) that I could chop up If my design isn't feasible, seeing as I built it around what I found on eBay for what looked like cheaper than average prices.The bricks I found are keyed so one would need cut in half to square the ends for the forge floor.

The inner cavity of my design seems to come out to: 9.5"W x 3"H x 17"L

 Pics ahoy and thanks for the help in advance!

Cut Key Brick Layout.bmp

Base.png

Exploded.png

No Case.png

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Cheaper yes, but smarter is up to you. Your design mistakes tell me that you need to read through the Forges 101 thread. Your pattern of burners is totally wrong, and your forge is too short to allow any burner pattern to heat your forge without turning it into a flamethrower.

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Welcome aboard Alaric, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many f the gang live within visiting distance. 

Uh, let's see. Your first question:  Yes you can build better and cheaper than you can buy but not with poor plans and even if the best plans on the planet are in your lap you have to know enough to use them. 

Okay, another one. NO, perlite and sand will NOT make an adequate refractory let alone as good as commercially made fire brick. In the same vain, NO there are no viable home made replacements for ceramic blanket refractory insulation, Kaowool is one brand in many. 

There are more affordable and effective products than ITC-100 and a number of guys are working on a promising looking home made version. NO a kiln wash is NOT necessary to weld in a gas forge, smiths have been doing it for more than a century.

Find and use a set (ONE SET) of forge plans. No offense but you just don't know enough to be designing your own at this point. If I or one of the guys were to start listing the mistakes in the drawing you've posted it'd sound like we were picking on you. We wouldn't be but it'd sound like it. We really want you to get involved in the craft and have good equipment to work with but you need to do some research and NO, Youtube is NOT a good source of information until you know enough to sift through the bad and often outright dangerous (Insert the adult term for bovine exhaust matter of your choice here)  BLECK.

Frosty The Lucky.

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 If near me you could come over for a visit.  Have you looked at the Build a Gas Forge attachment on the Forge Supplies page of my web-site?  It will tell you how to build a superior, tough, efficient, long lasting forge.

You can get all of my contact information on my profiles page.  I prefer e-mail.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

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Currently I'm in NE Ga. 'bout 4 hrs from you, Wayne

Oh, and feel free to tear my design to shreds! I'm no Snowflake. The whole reason I'm here is to learn, and that works best if you have mentors willing to tell you where you're going wrong, I'm not trying to repaint the shop walls with my charred remains.

Currently making my way through Mikes book.  Took his advice from 101 and downloaded it from Scribd.com.

The Design I made was based purely off what images I have seen online, with absolutely no Idea of the size/shapes that are required to A: Work, Period, and B: Work efficiently.

I use Blender as a Graphic Designer and was playing with shapes; when I do know more about the process I'll more than likely, again, render it in Blender before I build it.

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Welcome aboard. 

 

I can tell you i recently purchased ceramic blanket/kastolite 30/and metrokite from wayne to build a forge with shipping it was 90.us i then picked up a piece of 10"ID by 10"long 10gauge irrigation pipe (i would have prefered an old propane tank but the pipe was free) then vought the supplies from ace hardware to making a burner for 25.us.   So for 115us and a lot of helpfull advice from the people on this forum (THANKYOU ALL) i now have a fully functional forge and the joy of using a tool i created.

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Alaric, You may want to make an appointment to come up and visit.  You will be able to see my forge, see it work, visit and play in the fire some and pick up your supplies to save shipping costs.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

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I would recommend building: 

1.  because you can get a great forge for less than cost of a cheap one

2. Gas forges are a wear item and even if you buy one at some point you'll need to re-line it. Easier to do if know how it's built

3. Even if you buy one you'll still need to rigidize and seal with refactory (every forge I've seen forsale)

 

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P.T.Barnum would have LOVED the internet!  So many people believing you when you tell them that *your* way to do *anything* is a great way.  Buying stuff on the internet is often much more expensive too.  (I did a recent demo at my Church's Country Fair (and Dachshund Races).  Met a fellow and his son that were interested in forging.  Turns out the father runs a fireplace/woodstove business and buys kaowool by the roll on a regular basis; he also gets requests for custom fireplace tools.  His son was ready to take lesson 1 right then and their; but was watching his kids at the fair.  I hope a mutually beneficent deal can be worked out...)

It's hard to use the internet for good research because the lack of "peer review"  "Liking" does NOT mean peer review as the people doing the liking may be clueless about the subject too...

You may notice that folks here will freely criticize things they don't agree with.  They will generally provide an explanation of why they think that it's wrong.  If you are lucky they will go on and coach you on how to do it right.

Of course; before we can make too many suggestions on building a forge we need to know what you want it to do?  A forge for forge welding, roasting chestnuts and slumping glass may be different than one designed to be fuel efficient,  good for ornamental ironwork and accidental branding...(yup scar's still there...)

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Hello! I'm quite new to the craft - just an observer up to now. But I have a shed/shop I can build a forge in, and would like to start planning.

Any advice where I can look to start figuring out build costs and a forge blueprint/plan? 

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Welcome aboard Sir Breven, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll be surprised how many of the gang live within visiting distance. 

That is just too vague a question to expect a meaningful answer. I know you're knew but do you have any idea how many different BASIC types of forge there are? For example the 3 most basic types are by fuel type: solid, gas or liquid and there a number of sub types within those vague categories.  

We'll be more than happy to help you out, it's why a lot of us are here but we need details or you'll have guys making wild suggestions that I can guarantee won't have anything to do with what you wish to do. Honest, there are more than 50,000 members from around 150 countries all over the planet. 

Help us out here and we'll be on it.;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Costs will run from zero to several thousand dollars---depending on info you  haven't provided: 0 hole in the ground or jabod if you scrounge well; several thousand dollars: large induction forge or small one that needs power run a goodly distance or a large custom built masonry forge.

The forges I use the most: propane---cost me a Saturday and around US$125 at a build a gas forge workshop put on by an ABANA affiliate. All I needed to start forging was a propane tank.

My coal forge ran $3 + some friend's welding help.

Forges for forging 200# anchors tend to be larger and more expensive than forges for making earrings. (Its a lot like saying "I need a vehicle, what should I buy?" without telling us if it needs to haul 16 people or 16 yards of gravel or cross open water or get to the international space station. Hard to give good advice!)

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