AggieBlacksmith

What's YOUR forge made of?

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I'm in the processing of creating a new forge and I want to know what YOURS is made of. Any recommendations on where to buy fire pots, blowers, sheet metal, etc.? How's it working for ya? Also, for those with a forge but WITHOUT a welder, did you have your forge pieces welder for you?

Thanks!

(below is the kind of forge I'm going for)

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Lets see:

Current project: propane forge made using only hand tools, body is a balloon helium tank, liner kaowool. (using 20 penny nails for rivets as I have a bucket of bent up ones...)

In Use:  NA Propane Forge, body is oxygen cylinder, liner kaowool

Retired: Blown Propane Forge, body is grain auger tubing, liner kaowool

In Use: Coal forge, forge pot is axle cover from a 1937 Banjo Rear End; been using it since the mid 80's it's in it's 3? forge body

In Waiting: Coal forge, large champion RR forge came equipped with firepot and blower US$80

As Needed: adobe charcoal forge used with twin single action bellows; part of the Y1K demo kit and the forge gets build from local clay/adobe on site.

As for where I get my stuff; mainly the local scrap yard.  Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to get in touch with the local blacksmithing organization and find out where they are getting this stuff local to yourself rather than asking the folks in Australia, Iceland, South Africa, Belgium, the UK...

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a section of 3 inch pipe, 2  pallets of bricks, 5 flue tiles, and a sheet of 3/8 diamond plate

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ThomasPowers I appreciate it! I live in College Station, TX and I'm about 3 hrs away from the NTBA so I plan on going by and asking. I'm more of a touch it, see it kinda guy so I like getting my stuff from local stores and shops because I can see it up close. Too often I've ordered things offline and its ended up being different from what I was expecting. Even though there's alot of non-US members on the forum, it looks like probably the majority of members are in the US, so I'm hoping for some responses that recommend local shops and stores where they buy their metal, hardware, etc. from. 

I'm also seeking out local blacksmiths to see how they got their materials.

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Any closer to http://www.balconesforge.org/  ?  They have a meeting this Saturday IIRC.

First question when you introduce yourself would be: Anybody smithing closer to College Station?

Second would be the traditional---where do you get your coal...

When I lived in Central Ohio we used to carpool 2+ hours to get to the SOFA meetings; saved money and was a lot more fun having a bunch of smiths doing a road trip---we always stopped at a good fleamarket on the way and had a piece of pie at the FFA booth....

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I'm a touch it, see it kind of guy too. That's why I collect a lot of scrap when I see uses for it, or that it could be useful. 

Mine is made up of an old table saw base for the legs, stainless steel table with a hole cut in it for the 8"dis. 2" deep brake rotor I'm using for the fire pot. ( also have one that's 3"deep for the rare times I need it. Fencing around the table was some kind of stainless front hood deflector thing. The 2" black pipe for the T I did buy at Home Depot, tho now I source it way cheaper at restores and wherever. The Dayton blower was given to me by a friend at work when I was talking with him about making a forge. ( they are still available new)  I bought a variable speed router control from harbor freight to control the blower. 

I have a welder so I welded most of the stuff together. It could be bolted as well. 

 

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Note: the blower is still available under a new model number. It will pop up in a Google search. 

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

But Charles; where are you buying your dirt?

Keeping in mind that the price of dirt can vary considerably. We have members all over the globe; some parts of the world have very expensive soils, and in others, it's dirt cheap.

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Even I am not so cheap as to use *used* kitty litter; (although I have a continuously replenished supply---see thread on blacksmith pets).  But I find it odd when folks start asking for specific details on what was a "built from what I could scrounge" type of project.  I remember back in the Junkyard hammer days when folks wanted to know *what* type of engine block one builder had used.  Now a general question as to what type of things have you used for a firepot might be more useful. (when I first got started I had used the "cup on a pipe" PTO guards as a firepot but they didn't last long, for example.)

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Mines an old dryer. The dryer fan is ducted through a sliding air gate to the pot. Fire pot is a disk brake rotor 8 in.x2.5inch deep. 

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Brick, controls can be run from both sides - depending on what LG Power hammer I need to use. Forge controls are designed to resemble a blacksmith/wheelwright "traveler".

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That's a nice shop, jeremy. Don't let my wife see that.
My forge is an old electrical enclosure with a 1" stainless pipe running through it, a few air holes, a bed of refractory cement and an old blower I've been hanging on to for a few years.
The only things not scrounged are the pieces of 2" black pipe. It's not ideal by any means but it seems to work for now. I have a brake rotor that will be making the transformation to a forge soon, as I find time to work on it.

 

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My coal forge is a cut down semi 26 inch wheel that was donated the table is a cast iron man hole ring and the fire pot is home made with a commercial grate set in fire clay. The Champion hand crank blower was donated. The only cost I had was for the 3 inch pipe for the tuyere.

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The propane forge is home made, an old 20 lb tank with a commercial GACO kiln burner home made salvaged BBQ cart for table.

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Fire pot? I don't need no steenkeen fire pot! The large coal forge out by the old tarp tent on a connex shop is a 3' x 4' sheet of 14ga. with a 2" angle iron rim and a couple 1" angle stiffeners under it. The air supply is 3" exhaust pipe and 2" exhaust pipe. The 3" is the vertical running from a welded on bolt flange that connects it to the bottom of the table. The other end of the vertical is closed with a clamp on 3" exhaust flap cap about 10" +/- below the grate. The 2" is welded into a 2" dia. hole in the vertical section about 2" below the fire grate at 90*. Everything needing a large hole has a hole saw. I LOVE hole saws.

Legs are scrounged sq tubing, spreaders are scrounged angle iron similar to the table rim. The spreaders are at a handy height for a shelf. 

The fire grate is an over thought piece of plate with a bunch of 3/8" holes drilled in it, most of which are blocked. The forge is a "Duck's Nest" the fire rests in a depression in the rammed clay that covers the forge table. I shape and size fires with bricks. I have an old blower of some brand I found hooked up to a 13 HP ac motor I got on a trade. The blower clamps directly to the 2" horizontal exhaust pipe and I have the blower about as choked as I can get it or it's WAY too much air even for a pretty darned large fire. 

The more portable is a Buffalo rivet forge with a Champion 400 hand crank blower. Another Duck's Nest forge.

Frosty The Lucky.

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IronDragon; You know you should have used that handle for a tail and made a pig snout for the front door and painted the whole thing bright red...

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Haha, Aggie Blacksmith, That picture of the forge looks familiar...Steep hollow?

Go to Bryan Iron and metal and pick up some plate and put together a forge, though do you not have a welder? That would be the cheapest is to get scrap plate rather than new. You are more than welcome to stop by here and I can show you my shop and set up, and do some forging demos if you'd like. Also have coke for sale if you need some, looks like you are wanting a coke or coal forge. Mack bolt and steel most times has anything that Bryan Iron and metal doesn't. My particular forge is an old cast iron pot from about the 1920s, but if I didn't have that I would fab up a fire pot out of some plate and put that on a steel plate table that way I have a place to store extra coke and tools.

                                                                                                                                  Littleblacksmith 

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littleblacksmith, Hey man! heh, yeah that's Steephollow. Before yall's demo in February I'd been looking for a good forge setup, and I really liked theirs. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and since I'm having to start out with just a RR anvil, I figure I could make it up by making a long-lasting, decent-looking forge to start with.

I've been to Bryan I&M and I sure haven't seen anything near as big as what I'm looking for. Am I missing something? Also, thanks for the heads up on the coke! I'll be coming by hopefully this semester to use some for my first heat. I'd love to come by your forge sometime soon as well. 

 

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Note that the forge design depends on what you are doing and how you do it. A forge that's "perfect" for working 2" sq stock will probably be pretty bad for doing bottle openers...

I suggest you abjure perfection and go for "good" while you learn how you want to explore the craft.  (And expect to change the forge that's "best" for you over time.  (Just like the car that your "learner" is probably not the one that's best when you have a family...)

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AggieBlacksmith - Under the covered pavilion with all the new steel they sell plate. I think in 4x4' and 4x8' sections if I'm not mistaken. the thickest they have is maybe 1/4" though. Mack bolt and steel just a little way from there sells whatever size you need, just a little higher priced. I have seen sheets of plate in the scrap section that I pass up, but the scrap yard changes so much that what's there one day may not be there the next day. 

Just give me a holler when you want some coke or wanna see the shop.
                                                                                                                                         Littleblacksmith 

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A 1/4” thick fire pot will live, but 3/8 or even 1/2 bar would probably be less expensive in say 12” width than plate (unless your making a welding table. 

Mic you are looking to build yourself a perfect for you forge, I would recomend starting with a JABAD type unit. You can use adobe to moldjust about any shape of fire bowl side or bottom blast and modify it al lot easer than you can steel. Once you get exactly what you like reproduce it in steel

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