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I know it's been covered a bit before. I'm working on putting a new forging area together. It's an old building, and the floor is about 2"-3" slab concrete that is cracked and heaved. 

I have a few thoughts, I could just fill over the floor with sand/gravel/put run, I could reconcrete, I could break out the slab and just use the dirt. 

What's your preference?

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You'll probably get as many opinions as there are smiths with different floor types in their shop. Might also help if you mention what kind of equipment you have/plan to have, and how big the shop is. 

I like having a smooth concrete floor myself. Makes moving things on wheels easy, among other benefits I find with it.  

A downside is that it can be rough on your feet. I have rubber stall mats where I might stand a lot like at my anvil. I'm on concrete all day at my day job too so good boots help a bit as well. 

 

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Interested in the responses to this.

I've just built a new shop with a plain concrete floor internally. I wanted this for fireproofing. The concrete was left rough so it wouldn't ever be slippy when wet. Only issue is the surface is always dusty/gritty as there is always a tiny amount of degredation occuring, especially when sweeping. Might be that my concrete contractors left too much surface water but whats done is done!

Considering giving it a coat of epoxy resin paint to protect the surface. Anyone got any thoughts on that? I could leave the forging area without any paint if its likely to cause issues.

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In the forging area it will be the normal manual equipment. Gas forge. Welder, torch. I have an MZ75 hammer on order, and was going to put that on wood slabs over an area that still has intact concrete. The compressor is going in its own room on the other side of the building in a sound isolation area.

The concrete is bad in some areas and OK in others. Multiple pours over time by the looks of it. 

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Jon, there are rental places (atleast in my area) that rent out concrete grinders that could put a better finish on your concrete floor. I used one once helping a friend out with his basement concrete floor. You dont need to fully polish it but could get it smooth and able to be swept up. 

 

 

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Hi Chuck, I've worked on dirt, gravel, bare concrete, and concrete with pads on it. I believe that for comfort the hands down winner is dirt. Equipment can be placed on pads if necessary.

If you have a place to change shoes EVERYTIME you enter the house, it will keep the house cleaner. Good luck. Al 

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Living in the desert: when I built the 20x30 addition to my shop, I ran a pressure treated 2"x6"s between the 4 uprights, (2 bays, the original shop building served as the third set of uprights; so perimeter and middle) and filled the boxes in with fine sand/gravel from the arroyo.  Very easy on the feet and it teaches you to pick up stuff you drop in a timely manner.  Oil spills are easy clean up, shovel it out and pour a bucket of fresh arroyo gleanings in.   In a wet environment there might be more issues with water wicking and a damp course might be in order.

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I like dirt/packed gravel.  I don't have anything in the way of power hammers or presses, but if I did, I'd pour a pad for it.

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I'm dirt around the forge works.  Cement with a light color in the bench/finish area and machine shop area. Welding area is cement as well.  I call cement and concrete the same thing though from what people tell me it's different. 

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I prefer dirt except dirt becomes mud when it rains (forge is outside).

Soon it will be brick. Not for comfort. Strictly to satisfy the fire chief so I can get a permit to forge outside during burn bans. I would go with concrete, but the brick is free. Paver-base and sand isn’t but isn’t that expensive. 

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That's for the input everyone. I'm leaning towards breaking out the slab in the forging area and seeing the dirt underneath looks like, but then probably making a pressure treated box and filling a sand/gravel mix from my neighbors pit. 

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The best floor is one that does not make your knees sore.  some do ok on concrete some do better on dirt.  If someone is only forging a few days a week or once a month the floor will become even more important as the body will never have a chance to adapt with so little exposure. 

I've been in old shops that the floor is thick wood planking.  I was also in a shop that the floor was solidly packed clinker from the forge. Not sure how long it took to get the floor packed in.. :) Have also been in an old shop that the floor was indeed dirt but it looked like concrete. some will put down a layer of lime and this would harden the surface some. 

My knees do best on even ground that is solid. Dirt around the forge area allows for water to be drawn in that is used for cooling the anvil, metal, etc, etc. Easy to re-level also easy to move items around as a person experiments with how they work as the old way to do it is to bury the stump into the ground 3ft or so.  Also as a person moves from one type of forging into others experimenting and needing the vise to be closer or further away.  (dig a hole throw the chunk of wood in and bury it) vise is now moved. 

Today though it can be quite different. 

With today's cheap steels and the easy of weld fabrication, there is no limit to what can be welded up,  a heavy stand can be made that is both portable and solid all at the same time.  Same with anvil stands or what have you. 

 

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