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small forge building on skids

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I am looking at building a small forge on ' skids ' - zoning issues - will probably never move but . . . 

My question is about whether or not insulating it is practical or not.  I live in central Saskatchewan (Canada) and our winters are cold -40 is not unusual,  snow etc. This will be a hobby thing for now, but I'm mostly retired, and who knows? This will likely be used mostly in winter, as my wife and I are gardeners, and have lots to do in the growing season.

The building plans are fluid now, but will probably be in the 10-12' X 16' range, with overhang for outside storage, etc.

I am looking at using a small propane forge, but mostly  charcoal (30 acres to work on, more-or-less free wood, + steel drums. . .)

Any thoughts on insulation, ventilation, ceiling height, etc., would be appreciated.

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You will need good ventilation with propane, and a gas detector. With solid fuel you can see smoke and a good chimney will take most of it outside. Either way you will have to draw in the same amount (or more) of outside air that you send up the chimney. With solid fuel that outside air can be piped directly into the fire and up the chimney rather than into the room and then the room air up the chimney. A good chimney hood will be a large help with either forge. Consider a gable fan for cooling during the summer.

Wind proofing the building during the winter would be a must. Window light and being able to see outside will help you remain in touch with the world. The snow will insulate the building and roof some, as well as wind proof the structure to a certain extent. 

Calculate the snow load for the building and add a little more for safety.

Some of the folks from the Great White North will add based on experience with their forge and building.set ups. 

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As a guy who tried to work in the winter here in northern Illinois, in an uninsulated garage, I'd definitely recommend insulating it.  I don't have coal forge experience, but a well insulated gas forge does not put much heat into the room.  At least that is how it seems in the winter.  Yesterday was a different story.  


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Insulating th roof is a must in almost all latitudes, as even in the “cool” north the roof and south (opposite for the southern latitudes) awall will radiate heat in in the summer and the roof and north wall will radiate heat out in the winter. So I recommend insulation.


a properly designed fire place is a good adjunct to heat and forge fuel in the summer.    

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We are also looking at building a greenhouse - possibly with a shared wall or at least near the forge building.

Has anyone given any thought to the possibility of using waste heat from a solid fuel forge fire for using for something like this? We will be building a rocket mass heater for another project, and it looks to me like running the (or at least some)  of the forge heat through a similar exhaust/heat exchanger should work for the greenhouse.

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