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My smithy is outside and I have sand and gravel - no dirt. I had a pile of railroad tie plates, the ones that go on top of the wood tie and the rail lays across it. I flipped them upside down, the swept sand over them to set them.  Works pretty good. acceesories_image1.jpg

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 The brick floors I've seen were common hard fired red brick.  They were laid tight to each other with no mortar

The sand slurry was pit run glacial sand  mixed with enough water to make it flow and level out like wet concrete.  

The sand  slurry was screed flat and level with a long straight  board and then allowed to firm up as it dried.  

The slurry method was a fairly quick one  way to get a firm level compacted substrate for the brick floor, but this could have also been done with a compactor and shovel ,  rake and level.

After the bricks were laid on top of the sand , more sand was sprinkled on top and then swept clean, filling in any cracks.

It's a nice floor for a blacksmith shop with just enough give to be easy on your body,  good traction ,fireproof, drains any spills and can be easily repaired or taken up to run wires or piping under the floor.

If I was going to build a new blacksmith shop from scratch , this is  or  compacted dirt  is the kind of floor I would put down.

I personally don't like spending my day working on a concrete slab and think using the floor as a layout surface is inconvenient and in the way.

My preference  instead is to have a couple of  steel tables dedicated for the purpose. Large or heavy pieces get moved around or in and out of the shop with an overhead jib crane

I mostly do large pieces like gates, stair railings  and staircases and like having the work up at a comfortable height where I can get all around it.

 

 

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I have worked on concrete, dirt, sand, wood and crushed stone. Concrete kills the body, sand kills the machines, wood (not end grain) burns, dirt can be messy.I have found crushed stone to be a great compromise. That's what I have now, and love it. Only drawback is you cannot move heavy objects around as easily, but that can be overcome with overhead lifting options or in my case, a tractor with a lifting boom. I have poured concrete under my hammer, and as a vise base etc. Very economical and low maintenance. Just my solution over the years, I hope you find yours, good luck.

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A classic compromise was a wooden floor surrounding a gravel floore  surrounding the forge and anvil. A bit of sawdust mixed in provide smoke plumes to find hot offcuts

Typicaly screenings from a rock crusher are corset than sand and pack solid like cement. Acasinaly raking and wetting keeps it in good order. Reject sand is another animal, being clay, silt and large sand/small gravel. Makes a good adobe flore (as dose roadbase from a material yard). 

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Any thoughts out there on a possible fire resistant floor mat to have under aching feet

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Something with a fire rating of 2500*F ?

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Due to the fact, that my workshop kind of developed over time i've got several floor types (concrete plate, brick, dirt). A cast concrete plate has the disadvantage that it transmits the vibration of everything directly to the walls which makes everything a bit louder for your neighbors. Standing on concrete all the day also isn't pretty good for your joints. The dirt floor on the other hand is good for standing on it, but when you loose something, especially tiny parts.... And you carry the dirty everywhere. The brick floor without mortar ist the best floor in my eyes. If you want to mount something heavier you just remove the bricks and cast a concrete socket. 

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 10:37 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

I have found that aching feet is a symptom of improper footwear. Might want to read through this thread.

Or even post traumatic arthritis from 6 breaks in both ankles 

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24 minutes ago, Reeltree said:

Or even post traumatic arthritis from 6 breaks in both ankles 

Or post chemo neuropathy of the feet, which I've found that proper boots and compression hose help to relieve.

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yepper,, what ever it takes for ya, I do understand,,believe me,,   I was just pondering a somewhat high temp resistant matting out there somewhere floating around under the normal radar of consumerism.

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I've been thinking heavily about using the floating brick system for the floor of my forge someday.  Because of where the build will take place, I won't be able to have concrete poured there.  My regular shop is an old single wide trailer so the forge added on to it will have to support it's own load (trailers frames can only support the load they were manufactured with).  I debated on building a dedicated shop somewhere else, but this trailer has electric, bathroom and heat right there.  Why recreate those things?  The structure is insured as an outbuilding because it's a workshop separate from my house that I use to flintknapp in.  I'm thinking the floating brick floor would be way cheaper than a poured concrete pad.  Any thoughts on there of bricks vs. concrete on the cost?

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Dirt is my preference. For all the above reasons. 

Magnesium chloride, or what the highway company uses for dust control on non paved roads is great for hardening your floor surface.

With use, the major areas of work and travel will create low spots.

So, for Maintainance, if you spray your shop floor once a week or so, wet enough to puddle in the low spots and wet enough to rake the highs, rake the highs into the lows to keep your floor level. This will dry and maintain your hardness as well.

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Depends a lot on your location; dirt is not necessarily a good choice in a low swampy area with a high water table.  Works fine out here in the high and dry.

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Dirt would be a bad idea at my place.  I plan to heat the forge someday so every critter imaginable would be burrowing up through the dirt to keep their keister warm in the winter.  I would think the moist dirt would also wreak havoc with your tools over time, but I guess all the old time smithies had dirt floors and they did just fine.

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