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Size of forge buildings?

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Fairly basic question i expect, but a quick search didnt come up with much. 

How big are the buildings you forge in? And what would be a minimum safe size?

Some details: 
Forge - Not yet built - Likely to be a side draft, water cooled bosh and tue (already owned), 1' x1' or just over, burning charcoal. 
Shed - Currently have a concrete walled 12' x 8' shed. Low wooden roof, about 7' high. Concrete floor which is nice.

Now obviously i dont want to set it on fire, so what would be the minimum distances from walls and other things? And are there any immediate issues i havent spotted.

An issue for the future is that this shed is old and leaky and falling over slowly, so will be taken down in about a years time. Its replacement will be a shed around 20' x 15' and 8' high, but has to be made of wood. It should have a concrete floor though. 
Not sure how much of an issue this would be. I have only ever hit hot metal at a forge twice. Once at a large double hearth coke forge which was in a wooden building but i dont remember any other details such as metal cladding the walls etc.
The other time was in a very small clay charcoal forge in an authentic recreation of an anglo saxon forge building. This is on a dirt floor and the forge has no hood or chimney. The forge gets regular use, however it never gets left unattended due to the large amounts of historical evidence of anglo saxon wooden forge buildings burning down!

I would love to make a bigger shed from brick and not worry about it. Sadly, gardens around here (south-east england) are generally much smaller than they are in the US, and land is prohibitively expensive. This new shed will take nearly half of my garden. 

Apologies for what i expect is a typical question of the uneducated newbie who cant use the search function properly!

Many thanks,


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Like many popular topics, a little research shows it has been discussed before and is in the archive. Some of the discussions already started include:

Building a smith's shed

Forge building size ---> Click here

I'm curious about bare minimum size ---> Click here

Building the Ultimate Personal Blacksmith Shop ---> click here



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How did you do your search?  The built in search function for IFI is generally acknowledged to be "not of great worth".  Searching using a browser search function and including iforgeiron.com as one of the search terms works much better.

You may be greatly constrained by what you are allowed to build. (Living in a rural area in a rural state makes things very very easy for me...)

Can you use the shed with perhaps a bad wall removed as part of a larger structure?  Having the "hot room" concrete walled area makes for a more serene evening...(replacing the roof of course with a non-flammable one...) 12' x 8'  is not a bad size for  a forge---depending on what you are making.  If you need to swing 6 meter long steel pieces for a gate, a 15 meter work space works better. Doing knives I had my forging set up with tool rack work bench and two post vises in a 9'x9' space and it felt very comfortable. I really like high walls and a roof that doesn't get hit with tools or stock.  The smithy I built has 10' high walls and a peaked roof. (and is almost all made from steel; just 4 wooden utility poles to hold up the roof and a boundaryo pressure treated lumber to hold the floor in place---sand/gravel from the local arroyo.)

I'd suggest buying a pint for anyone who could shut you down; fire crew, zoning, etc and getting their suggestions upfront.   (The contractor for the first 1/2 of my shop used to be the building inspector for that area.  I believe that all the required inspections were done by phone...)

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Its only going to be small occasional hobby use making knives mostly. Our regulations specifically for sheds have a maximum allowable size which you can build without any application for permission to build or any building regulations, (50sq ft, 8.2 ft at highest point) but i am limited by the garden size and the wife strongly objecting to the whole garden being a shed. 

Having looked at the links provided and searched the way you have described, i have found a fair amount of information which helps. It may be that i repair the shed i have and put a tin roof on it, unless i can make a new one from concrete blocks. 

Thanks for the help and info

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Look at some of the shops where people have made the outside very nice to look at; Spouses tend to approve of items that people ooh and ahh over...

Mine is built on the side of the house where there is only 1 transparent window and a large evergreen shrub between that window and the shop....(a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel!)

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I have the same building code - 50sqf without permit. I’ve posted this before - I sectioned off part of a wooden shed I built (and need) for storage and made a tiny smithy at a whopping 33sqf of space. I also made it mostly sound proof since my free time is mainly at night. 

I wanted to see how much I was going to blacksmith before building a new shed. If you want to see how I did it and the safety precautions I took, look up eviltwinx on YouTube. I have a series called Building a Tiny and Soundproof Smithy.

Don’t over think it. Just do it.


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