Joshua Taylor

Wood Floored Smithy?

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I was just curious about whether or not having a plywood floor in my smithy is a good idea. Yes, I know wood + sparks = fire, but in all honesty how big of a hazard is it? Should I just use a dirt floor like I have planned?

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I have large pieces of cardboard (like washers and dryers come in) all over the floor in my shop for cushioning and to catch any oil or other liquids that might spill.  If red hot iron lands on it it will scorch but I have never had more than that.  Of course I do pick it right up, I don't just let it sit there.  I have been doing this for over 10 years.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne 

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Interesting. I never thought of using cardboard. I want to ideally make my shack disassemble-able, being a Marine I tend to move from house to house. If it comes around to it, I wanna be able to separate it between walls, floor, and roof so I can pack it away and take it with me. It'll be a bit more work in order to make it work, but in my mind if I spend the time on doing it right now it'll pay out in the long run.

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You can dissolve borax in water and spray it onto the wood for additional protection. 

Hammering hot metal directly ontop of wood is pretty common practice and it just chars. 

Wood floor is fine, just practice some common sense. After shutting down the forge, go back out to check on things half an hour later and look/smell for any signs of smouldering. 

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I have a dirt floor in my shop, but I had a piece of plywood leftover from some remodeling in my house. It needed a home, so I just dropped it down to stand on. The few times I've dropped something on it, it gives a small flame until you pick it up and then it's nothing but a scorch mark. Like JAV said, just a little common sense and you should be just fine.

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It was common practice at one time to have wooden floors with an area framed and either stepping down to the earth or filled up with earth, gravel etc (probbably ash and clinker) were the forge and anvil were. As mentioned wooden Floors work well, as the flashpoint for wood is in excess of 500f and the smoksignals help find stray off cuts. It was advised buy some to mix sawdust into the gravel or dirt floored shops for this reason. 

Again a trailer has merit, and it can include tilt outs. So one can nearly double your floor space when it is deployed, but in transit or storage it is more compact. 

If marine bases are anything like Army basses you have automotive and woodshops as part of your red-centers, and if your attached to a navy base you certainly do. This would make trailer building and modification doable. 

Check the regs for shipping household items, perhaps they will ship 20’ conexes. Again these can be built out and side loaders are available. They also provide secure storage wile you are deployed. 

 

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Would the traditional floor not have been end grain rather than with the grain like ply?

I am purely assuming the end grain is harder wearing and less combustible than a ply, please correct me if I am wrong, my knowledge of wood is almost non existent

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End grain I have seen tended to be industrial and mainly in the last 150 years or so. Dirt/ashes/clay was the "Traditional floor"

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Wood is old school good flooring most anywhere. You'd have to have pretty poor or nonexistent situational awareness to miss streamers of smoke rising from the floor so long it lit the shop on fire! Do NOT forget the smell, OH MY GOODNESS the SMELL of burning wood in a place that should smell like burning coal or blue jeans. It's like a slap in the face. :o  Ignore the smelly smoking shop floor till your shop burns down and you don't deserve one. Heck you're safer taking up a safe hobby, no fire, no sharp things, etc. 

End grain or puncheon floors predate sawmills in colony and frontier areas. They were often made from branches and roots that weren't otherwise useful size. Saw them roughly equal lengths and either lay them on END like cobbles perhaps drive them in for solidity. The overall pattern is made of various dia.  pieces, the smaller filling the gaps between the larger and so on down to sand or clay to fill the spaces between. 

With modern tools like a chain saw and log splitter it'd be pretty easy to make a puncheon floor from split wood that fit together like a mosaic and be nearly as solid as solid wood. Of course I suppose if a boy/girl were to lubricate the pieces s/he were driving in with Liquid Nails It would be a solid piece. 

Hmmmm?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Puncheon floors are when you split logs in two and put the split side up and leave the rounded side alone underneath.  An adze can help smooth out the floor.

 

The wooden building catty corner from my smithy in Columbus OH caught on fire once and nobody called the fire department---I asked why and they said they just thought I was running the forge. I had the discussion of coal smoke vs wood smoke with them. (and collected charcoal to help the owner clean up...)

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DANG! We've had this discussion before haven't we? My Yahoofu says you're right. . . . AGAIN! There's also reference to puncheons being short pieces of wood pointed on one end flat on the other and used for various things. One being driven into the ground for a solid surface, post, etc. I sure wish I remembered where I put the book I read it originally. There were drawings, photos and archaeological examples, I'm sure it's one of the few hundred lbs. of books in the basement but . . . .<sigh>

I believe I conceded the point last time. Dito now. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Par for the course, there will be exactly three copies ever printed. One will be buried in your basement, one will be proudly displayed on Thomas's bookshelves after having been found by Thomas at an obscure auction held only in the 27th dimesnion, buried under a stack of old Necronomicons, and the third will be at a library in Weehauken, which he will suggest that we get an interlibrary loan to obtain.

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Maybe, then again the only surviving copy may be in my head, I might be putting a couple things together it's only been maybe 40 years. Maybe I can get an Inter Lobe Loan! :D

Frosty The Lucky.

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Wooden floors in Blacksmith shops were very common.  Thinking back on the many in my town growing up they were all  wooden.  I have tracked down and Photo'd many others in the last 40 yrs   . and have a bunch of historical pictures of shops through out the US and very safe saying the majority were wooden.  Found one I had read about that when he rebuilt the shop when cars became a sideline for him he installed concrete except for a 12' x 12' section near the forges that he put a wooden section into it to shoe on. 

I have noted a number of original shops I've visited that the roof beams and roof boards are black and burned to charcoal in places from being on fire.  One or two walls I've seen burned but no floors to date.  I have concrete as it work for me.

Just my observation

 

 

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Gents, beside of the fire hazard you (maybe) mentioned, most of the wood composites are self-extinguishing if no other source of the fire fife-angle is added (ignition source, temperature, catalyst, mixture, composition or extra oxygen)

As a work safety advisor I’m more worried about the possible high formaldehyde contain (in the glue) of the possible used card board, plywood  how’s come straight from the construction site. If it used for furniture its maybe an E1 quality board with low formaldehyde contain. For the rest be careful of FAH exposure which come free at higher temperature an in closed rooms. Caused in headache after exposure or cancer at an long time period. IKEA had a serious problem with it not so long ago with some of their furniture’s.    

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I had thought of laying down cement board in the areas where the forge will reside as well as on the wall behind it.  whats the thought on that?  I currently have concrete, but am contemplating a 12x24 smithy

 

 

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I'd use wood and then mop it every once in a while with a borax solution. If you want to fireproof a wall I'd go with with sheetmetal and if sound is an issue sheetrock armoured with sheetmetal.

(I've never been a fan of the Alhazred translation....)

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