Goolsby7

Seeking advice for my begginings

Recommended Posts

Alright! So here's the thing, I'm starting from scratch with my "shop" and I'm using that term extremely loosly. Prior warning, I'm being more scrouge then mister scrouge before the ghosts because I have to be.

My backyard is soon to be where I plan to start creating the necessary things for getting stuff up and running. I'm planning on making a JABOD forge that will utilize solid fules, specifically charcoal. I'm planning on making a charcoal retort in order to supply my fuel needs once I have everything up and running.

Now here's where things start getting complicated.

The tools I do have now I keep inside because I am without shed nor a form of safe outdoor storage. So I'm not sure how this may affect how I should plan the builds of my forge/charcoal retort/anvil setup.

I'm planning on using pallets to help with my construction of my JABOD, and I know a good number of places where I can get a good bit of Georgian Sandy clay for it. So this part isn't super hard.

The charcoal retort on the other hand, is going to be trickier... Most designs I've seen utalized large metal drums, and understandably so. The problem is I don't know where I can find any where I'm not having to chop an arm off to get one.

The "anvil" I plan on using is a piece of railroad tracks. Thankfully not an ASO. (I've heard that the small anvils from harborfrieght might as well be ASOs so I've refained from getting one because of this, as well as their very small size.) My biggest question relating to this is just, how should I set it up? I know that my grandfather uses an oak log/stump for his anvil base, but this is a bit different. I'm sure I should follow suit but how should I set it up so that it will be secured and stable for use. And which way (and it's base or on one end) is the best for general usage?

My final and biggest question is really this however: while I know I can make my JABOD forge sooner, should I wait until I can make a charcoal retort so that I can supply it with fuel?

I'm an adept firemaker, but forging fires are of a different breed. While I can and have created 'furnace like' conditions using regular wood and logs, I feel this would be inefficient and waste fuel.

So I look to y'all for advice on the beggining steps of my journey. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To get the most from the site READ THIS FIRST

Find a blacksmith group or organization near you and go to the meetings. You will learn more in a few hours than you can imagine. Besides they know where anvils are located.

As to the steel drums, GTTS or Go To The Source, that is the place that use the contents (something you can pronounce) as they have to dispose of the empty containers.  For charcoal, go to the restaurants that use charcoal. Farriers know there coal and charcoal are located.

When building a forge, find a local and cheap fuel and build the forge to use that fuel. If you have wood, then you can build a deep fire and it will convert the wood to charcoal for you as it burns. You want the embers at the bottom to use for forging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't have to wait to build a retort. Just build a fire and transfer the hot coals from the bottom of the fire to your forge for use. 

Improvised anvil section has some good mounting methods for rail track. 

There is no one best way for everything, keep things simple and versatile. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to buy tomato paste drums.  Smooth sided 55 gallon and BEST OF ALL NON-TOXIC PREVIOUS CONTENTS.

Out here they are listing them on craigslist. Big tractor and machinery places buy hydraulic by the 55 gallon drum and have to dispose of the drums...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are far enough out of town to have a retort and not anger all the neibors with the smoke you can also build a old fasiond charcoal mound 

Craigslist is where i find barrels when i meed them usually for 10-20$ each

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if this applies to you, but your post reminds me of a hard learned lesson.   I spent years struggling to enjoy blacksmithing because I spent so much time trying to make basic stuff the hard way.  

I think I'd convinced myself that I would rapidly outgrow "lesser" solutions so I did a fair bit of reinventing the wheel.  Making charcoal is a huge undertaking that won't teach a thing about blacksmithing.  Coal is $20-$25 a 50lb bag.  If your time is worth anything at all, it would be difficult to produce an equal amount of fuel for less.  Forging only smaller stuff on summer weekends, that bag would last me about a year.  

None of which is to suggest that people get into blacksmithing to save money.  My point is that time is ultimately the only thing we really have.  I've met a fair number of smiths who are younger and more skilled than I am because they didn't waste time chasing stuff tangential to actually forging metal.  Many of them got to where they could make stuff faster, easier, and more precisely than my "fabricobbled" solutions.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate all y'all help and advice! I've hunted around a good bit on Craigslist locally to almost no avail, and I'm not sure where I can go to find any places that actually use drums near me. So that kinda sucks a bit heh. I may end up trying to make a bottom blast forge that uses coal instead of the JABOD as I feel It could be somewhat more portable and potentially collapsible for storing inside. Although eventually I would still like to make a retort, its likely to be a side project at some point.

 

All in all, I'll start hunting around for schematics and plans that I can use to make said forge, as well as checking the other sections I haven't delved to deep into yet for more information :D I really do appreciate all of the input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can't get specific items why are you hunting for plans that require specific items?  Coming into fall: take a junked gas grill cart and build it into a forge. If you go JBOD you can use the original grill area but probably need to put on better wheels, (junked lawn mower perhaps). It will also have a lid you can close to keep out rain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Goolsby7, I use a side blast burning coal and/or coke.  Although a lot of people go to the work of vitrifying clay, it's not actually necessary to make a functional side blast forge.  I have an old electrical panel tub that I use as my "sand box". If I want to make it lighter, I shovel the ash/sand into a bucket then I use a two wheeled cart to move the bucket. The whole thing weighs less than a brake drum forge but it gives me more room to support the stock and somewhere close to store extra fuel.  I went with a side blast to save money, but now that I've used one for a year, I've come to prefer it over bottom blasts.  I find it's much easier to keep at working heats because the clinker forms below the tuyere.  I've used it with a few different types of coal and coke, all of them formed a solid mass of clinker below the tuyere.  I just let up on the blast for a few minutes to let the clinker harden so it's easy to hook out. 

About the only downside of a sand bed is that you can't really pry against anything when working the fire, or else you can mess up the sand "pot".  My first fire with it, I inadvertently buried some burning coke.  I've found that a fire paddle with a bent end works better than a "rake" with a sand bottomed forge.  The paddle looks like a fly swatter with the tip end bent 90 degrees. I can slide it sideways into the fire to pick up fuel to move it around without disturbing everything else.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.