Nick Owen

Suggestions for a cheap smithy building

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Hello again!

I have a limited amount of space, about 8ft x 12ft to put a small workshop in the back garden. I want somewhere shaded that can at least isolate some of the noise of banging away. The area that it would go over would be a gravel patch. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with using the little metal sheds as a smithy area? They can be picked up for a few hundred pounds and I can probably put one together by myself. 

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those metal sheds are paper thin and may even make things sound louder also they are very low roofed.

foliage outside will dampen sound more

the old fast growing leylandii would do well but need the tip cutting when tall enough or they get to be monsters and they are a bit flammable

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If your anvil is ringing like a church bell, bed it in silicone caulk.  Squeeze a tube of caulk out on the stump, set the anvil on it, let it dry.... boom, nice and quiet -- or as quiet as a non-cast-iron anvil can get.

Metal buildings are echo chambers and magnify sounds far more than they diminish them.  They also increase the heat inside the building when the sun is shining on them!

I'd opt to make something on my own, using pallets as the mainstay for the walls.  With some posts on the corners to secure things, you can have pallets up and secured in a day.  Just make sure you can get enough pallets of the same size so you don't have to cut too much.  Think of it like the old wattle-n-daub construction once so prevalent in Europe.  The main beams carry the load, and the infill between the beams supports the outer sheathing.

You can even rip the pallets apart and use the planks as shingles of a sort.  

The upside to using old pallets is that they're relatively cheap and give you room on the inside for storing things.  

Go with as high a roof as you can manage.  Even if it's a lean-to style roof, getting it up well above your head will help to keep things cooler in the summertime.  Ideally, you should have windows way up at the top so you can open them and allow air to flow out, keeping things even cooler.

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If your concern is disturbing the neighbors I'd go with a basic wood framed structure with T-111 siding and fiberglass insulation. Roofed as you like. It's more expensive than a tin shed but it won't have any of the disadvantages, inside temps will be moderated, noise will be muted outside and you won't be working in an echo chamber. Maybe best of all anybody looking from the outside will see a nice small shed rather than another tacky tin shed.

Heck, if you have relatives visiting longer than you like move them out to the shed.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Is the size based on what is allowed without planning permission?   And some of the virtues of a shed will be counteracted by needing excessive ventilation to prevent CO poisoning.  Unfortunately all the methods I know of making a anechoic wall do not play well with fire unless lots of money is involved.  Orienting the structure so there are no windows or opening toward that neighbor *and* not having the windows or doors facing a structure in your place that will bounce the sound back at them can do a lot.

Of course an induction forge would totally obviate the forge sounds...   A coke forge may be your best bet with a quiet blower, low smoke and availability in the UK.

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I'm not much of a builder really. I do have a small room at the back of my extension that I could convert into a smithy. I would have to keep the forge outside as that room connects to my laundry room and don't want to stink it out with burning charcoal and coke. I think that may be my best option but it will be a little awkward brining my hot metal through a door repeatedly. 

I thought that a metal shed wouldn't really hold the noise well but thought I would ask anyway. Was hoping it would be better than just out in the open. My garden is connected to six other gardens as I'm on an end row house and it goes down between the middle of several others. Not ideal for noisy garden activities! 

I finally got my anvil up on its stand and it has been caulked in but it is still super loud. Will try magnets and other things but no getting away from it.. Its going to be unsociable lol 

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Okay maybe it's not so practical to install a quiet building or run through the laundry with hot steel. Perhaps a little PR would do the trick for you. How about you make nice garden products for the people sharing the area? Hand rakes, spades, weeding forks and hoes are pretty decent beginner projects and you can work up to a garden trellises or gates and railings. 

I used to live in a trailer park, my nearest neighbor was less than 30' from my mobile home and I used to set up and beat on my Soderfors anvil in my yard. I got away with it by doing minor  metal repair work and sharpened knives gratis. If you've never heard one a Swedish cast steel anvil has a ring that will damage your ears with a missed blow. :wacko:

Good PR can buy you a lot of slack. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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If you can forge, you can build. Our ancestors build their own buildings well enough. As mentioned pallets are a, inexpensive resource. If one lays two end to end so the skids (the 2x4 lumber or 75x175mm) form 3 lines. Place them face down, take another pallet and lay it so it bridges the seam between the first two. Now cut the next pallet acros the skids. And lay them top and bottom. You now have a 8’ high but 40” wide section of wall, ad two more whole pallets to the end. Now nail, screw or bolt the skids laying parrellel to one another together. Now we have a 10’x8’ Wall section. Cutting  two pallets so they only have two skids and cutting one acros the skids makes a 8’x 20” Wall section to finish out one long wall ad a 2x6 top and bottom. Lay the second one out so that it mirrors that one. That way the joints in the end walls don’t line up with the long wall gaps. Now we build end walls, the same way exept we build them 3 pallets high. And  two pallets wide. Now after adding a 2x6 to the bottom of the end wall, you will cut your gable ends and cap them with 2x6. Again making sure they are Laued out so the side wall and end wall splices don’t meet. Now take two pallets (scrap from the end gables will work if you pre plan) and lay them side by side and attach them. Cutting them to match the end gable, topping with 2x6. This makes one truss you need 2 or 3. You then can cover the roof with similar assemblies to the walls.  

Old rail sleepers are treated so make a good foundation to erect your walls on, you can side as you pleas, and shingle the roof. The walls can be insulated or packed with cob or clay/straw. Which will give you density. Insulate the roof as even in your climate the sun will heat the roof and it will radiate down on you. From here you can vent the forge threw the roof or an end wall (side sucker hoods work well and are simple) a coopala is a classic saluting to ventilation and one can either use luvored vents or even plastic drain pipe under the foundation to bring in make up air wile containing the sound. 

I think a classic cob or straw with clay slip wall infill would be great, as it fire proof and classic. Side and roof to match the house and walla, only you and the neighbors who watched you build it will know it’s pallets. 

 

 

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A very detailed response. I have thought about pallet build but I really am terrible at building anything that can't be held by hand lol. 

I will try using the extention first. It's not that bad. The forge will be right next to the back door so I'm only having to lift it through the door. I'll just need to fireproof the room by stripping out the carpet and it should be good to go. 

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Never a bad idea ;) I have coursework and mock exams to mark at all hours for the next week or two but I will be over again soon. 

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Pole barn structures are some of the most cost effective here. Wood posts in dirt (best if sandy soils), wood girts, scrim reinforced plastic faced insulation rolls, whatever floor type you want, whatever siding type you want (will need to be vertically oriented and will drive girt spacing), whatever type of roofing you want, limit the quantity of openings to keep cost down. At 8’x12’, you’d only need a few posts. Single slope roof will keep the cost down too. 

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I'm with Charles, basic framing is really simple. Here in the States there are some really popular basic how to books called the, "For Dummies" books that cover all sorts of useful skills. They might be available in stores your side of the pond, if not they're available online. Following is a link.

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=Awr9Dt9l1_haMFMAUiNXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTExM2Jia211BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDREZENl8xBHNlYwNzYw--?p=Framing+for+dummies&fr=crmas

Then there are I don't know how many Youtube videos some better than others but seeing as lumber framing is a pretty well known craft here there appear to be fewer idiot framing youtubes. The following link could be a little clearer, it appears the video starts after he laid out the wall. (Measured and marked stud, door, , etc. locations. This is head shakingly easy once you know the trick.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQWjA7u9LzM

And a shed build. The menu on the side has LOTS more. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh_QMJALct4

Build a deck, frame the walls, stand the walls, sheath the walls, roll or frame the trusses, lay the roof. roof the roof, shingles, shakes, steel, etc. Hang the doors, windows, etc. Paint and trim it. Two guys with a little practice can have a 12' x 24'. weathered in over an easy weekend. I don't know what standard  dimensions for lumber is your side of the pond here it's based on even multiples of 16" and later 24" A 12' x 24' structure can be built almost without cutting lumber at all. Door and window frames are the main exceptions, the outside sheeting provides a shear wall so there's no need for diagonal bracing to make walls strong. 

This is actually so simple I can roll this stuff off my memory and I'm not a frame carpenter nor have I ever played one on TV.

Nail guns RULE!

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I think I will have a go at some point framing up a workshop building but I literally have zero equipment :) I think I own a saw. I recently had to buy a claw hammer to remove some nails that were sticking out of a door frame. 

That's my construction experience and equipment :P

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What's the budget? Are you wanting to throw something together as quickly and cheaply as possible, or do you want something a bit more aesthetically  pleasing and conventional for the usual UK garden?

Nothing wrong with a wooden shed rather than a metal one, and plenty of options. B&Q, Argos, Tesco Direct all stock a fairly standard range, and there's  also the likes of Waltons with a bigger range of specs and sizes all for not too much money.

The other option is to find a local company and get one custom built... that way you can specify no floor, and they'll take care of the measurements + install for you. More expensive, but can be a lot less hassle... the whole time vs money aspect of it.

This is my own 'forge' shed (9x9):

zSmQpJ4.jpg

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That is an attractive little shed JAV, what is it used for?

Frosty The Lucky.

3 hours ago, Nick Owen said:

That's my construction experience and equipment

You're only lacking a square then, though a snap/chalk line is REALLY handy and can replace the square. You can square walls, floors, etc. more accurately with a tape measure than a framing square, we call it. "Pulling a 3,4,5". Using a tape measure mark one edge 3' or meters, doesn't matter, from the corner you want to define. Then mark the other edge at 4' from the corner. The two marks MUST be 5' (or whatevers) for the corner to be square, bump the frame till it is. You can do the same thing in the middle of a surface by drawing arcs from any given point and one straight line. The Egyptians used knotted lines/strings to pull 3,4,5s and laid out pyramids, temples, cities, an empire.

I pull 3,4,5s to square corners laying pasture fences. You COULD use a surveyor's transit but I can pull a corner faster than they can get the instrument leveled. However they CAN lay all the corners of the whole barnyard from one point using a little math. 

Seriously Nick, the learning curve on basic lumber framing is so short and shallow and the skill sets are so satisfying to apply it's worth the little time necessary to pick it up. Think of building a niece a play house. Not only will you get the pleasure of building it but you'll be her hero for the rest of both your lives. 

Honest brother you'll never regret it. Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, it's my forge shed. Decided I didn't want a big brown wooden box, and if I decided blacksmithing wasn't for me, I could always use it for the bike or a small bar or something. 

Here's a quick 'walk around'. Small and basic, but it does the job!

 

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I think I'd use some of that expanded metal to armour the door windows on the inside.  Working in a constrained space can result in unintended impacts!

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Funnily enough it is an offcut from an armoured land rover windshield cover... Unfortunately that's all I have of it. 

Had been used as part of a bbq for a few years, but it's rusted away, so will be reusing it for the same purpose. 

It's toughened glass, and the angle of the doors when I'm working keeps the glass out the firing line... To be fair I've already etched the windows from grinding sparks, so replacing a panel wouldn't be the end of the world or break the bank. 

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I trust you have good ventilation for the forge or roll it outside when in use. YES?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Double doors open, both windows open, CO alarm mounted beside it. 

Usually get a decent cross breeze, but have set off the alarm on the odd occasion when there has been no wind and had it running a couple of hours. Good to know it works. 

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Yeah, good ventilation is important, I don't have so many friends I can afford to lose one if I can help it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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My uncle gave me a sign that holds true for many things.  It's a triangle with the top point having the word "Cheap" and the lower points of the triangles having the words "Fast" & "Good".  The poster says this:  You Can Only Have 2 (meaning two points of the triangle), Fast and Cheap is not Good, Fast and Good is not Cheap, and Good and Cheap is not Fast.  I find this applies to most things including building a blacksmith shop.  You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a shop, but I find this little bit of wisdom applies.  I've tried to find ways around this little poster, but I always find it to be true in the end.  I always end up on the "Good and Cheap is not Fast" end of things usually <_<  Oh, and I'm breaking ground on my shop this week finally!  Memyselfandi builders are finally breaking ground on the foundation.

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