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So I'm finding we have had an extremely wet summer and I have been trying to get more into new projects I've been hobby blacksmithing awhile now and finally made my first 2 knives in the last 2 weeks and I'm realizing that I need a small building but the person we are renting from says we can't add any permanent structures like barns or shops. I was wondering if anyone has experimented with using a wigwam style building like the native Americans built as a smithy. Dirt floor and planning a mud chimney for the forge if all else fails this is just an idea but I was wanting to see you guys opinions on the idea before I pitch it to the landlord and see if she is okay with it. Thanks for your thoughts in advance.

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I actually remember reading that post awhile back but I was thinking more basic and cost efficient I did like the idea and that's on my to do list but I haven't had the money for that as of yet my idea was similar to a traditional wigwam so it would have ventilation through the sticks and no electricity to it. I built a shed about a year ago but it turns out water stays in it for a couple of weeks after it rains so I can't use it for anything but storage. I've been using my front porch but the missus don't like being bit by the fire fleas so she doesn't like that too much.

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I  Was linked in via the post by Irondragon forge and clay...  thanks.. 

  I did know a guy who ran a smithy out of a teepee.. but it was a huge teepee.  must have been 30ft across and it was many years ago.. In fact it was long enough ago that I forgot about it till now..   I dismissed it 30years ago as unfeasible for myself...  He used it for a number of years then got out of smithing. 

The trailer is pretty amazing.. Nearly all the "How to" videos were shot in it..  It is more elaborate than most would consider as a trailer or setup but I wanted something that would meet my needs and allow for more than simple forgings to me done. 

 

I could make do with a 4X8 harbor freight trailer for a few hundred bucks on sale with 20% coupon.  It does not need to be as elaborate as what I built. 

 

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As I recall Jack Andrews who wrote "The New Edge of the Anvil" did his smithing in a Tipi also "Heather McClarty is an artist blacksmith who works out of a teepee in the Los Angeles area"

Both from google searches on  blacksmithing tipi site:iforgeiron.com and: blacksmithing Teepee site:iforgeiron.com

The archives here can answer *many* questions.

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We have a club member who has his forge setup on a flatbed trailer pretty basic forge, slack tub, anvil, leg vise and work table. He sets up a 10X10 easy up for shade on it.

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Probably find a used flatbed trailer cheaper than a Large Tipi!  (Of course you can build your own Ger AKA Yurt...)

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I had read some articles about using a tipi I just thought a wigwam seemed a touch more practical as it can be made to resemble a small longhouse style building and can be set up like a primitive workshop and can be more space versatile than I believe a tipi can be

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How easily removed is a wigwam?  A tee-pee can be taken down in a matter of minutes.  A tee-pee also has a natural updraft that would take any smoke immediately away from your work area.  In fact, you wouldn't even need a chimney, I wouldn't think.   Would a wigwam do that?

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The updraft you mention is why I mentioned the mud chimney idea to assist and it is more difficult than a tipi to break down but also is more resistant to wind but I am also now starting to consider the tipi as well I was just thinking a wigwam is more of a useable shape as far as a workshop than a tipi with the same floorspace.

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I think the key factor here is that the landlord doesn't want a structure and so "visibly movable" is a requirement.   You could always make wattle walls for your flatbed  trailer set up...

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"resistant to wind"?  My ancestors lived on the open plains of America (mighty windy) and they lived very comfortably in tee-pees.  You might get on a mountain man type forum and see if they have any info about tee-pees that would help in your decision. 

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I see your point Thomas I may figure something along those lines as far as the trailer goes in the future and my ancestors were east coast Cherokee I know tipis we're more of a mobile home while wigwams we're considered a semi-permanent (in their time of course) so I was thinking structural sturdiness over portability when I was thinking wigwam I know how to make a tipi using buckskin and poles I was just considering the idea since it seemed there would be more standable space in a wigwam over a tipi I wasn't meaning it's a better or worse idea.

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I use a 2/3 scale sibley tent when I go camping so the "usable space" concern is a well known one.

Only about 1/4 Cherokee as my family is from AR & OK.  Have you ever made a structure from bending pvc pipe over and sticking the ends over rebar stakes driven into the ground and left proud a ways? Lash a central ridge pole and cover with a tarp or canvas.  I did a variant for my pickup to have more head space when camping in the bed...

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I've done that a long time ago just not with pvc more with green tree limbs and using vines and green sapplings shaped into a ring to hold the base in a round shape

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If you use a tipi you probably would not have to worry about a chimney if you set it up correctly.  An open fire in the center of a tipi sends smoke out the top opening very well.  The trick is to have the top opening properly adjusted for the wind using the long poles attached to the outside for that purpose and having a draft deflector just inside the bottom edge of the tipi.  This is sort of a canvas fence 2-3 feet high which directs the draft from under the edge of the tipi up along the inside of the canvas walls to the smoke hole in the top.  There are several good tipi manufacturers around but I have had good luck with Panther Primitives products.  I would have no second thoughts about the idea of setting up a shop in a tipi except for getting one with a large enough useful floor area.  I would consider 14-16 feet diameter a minimum size.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I too would give a thumbs up on a tipi forge. At one time i was offered a tipi for my forge. I set the tipi up, then moved before setting up my shop. There was plenty of space. 

I believe it was about 14'-16' diameter. I did set the top a bit off center to give me a more vertical back "wall"  thus more space. I dont think this would have affected the draw. It did create a more comfortable work space. But again, i did not give it a test. 

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Just my two cents, but have you thought about a yurt style forge, there are some good plans and information available online. You can build it all yourself or purchase a kit. 

A yurt is one of those cool construction projects I have wanted to tackle, but I do not need one currently, and my wife is kind of particular about how our property looks.

Good luck,

W

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I once met a guy who lived off-grid in Alaska somewhere.  He built a Yurt on a platform for his shop.  From the picture he showed me, it must have been a good 30' in diameter.  They definitely will stand up to the weather.  Of course your forge Yurt would be much smaller.  That's a pretty good idea, Steven NY.  (where's that "thumbs up" emoji?)

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Given the choice I'd go with a Ti Pi in a heartbeat. Yurts are sound structures and will stand up to harsh winds but there isn't so much head room, the break down and set up is considerably more work unless you have a large family helping. Ti Pis are very wind resistant and naturally ventilating. 

Room isn't as much an issue in a round space than you'd think you just have to work in a circle. What we do is in a linear sequence anyway: material in / out, storage, cutting, heating, forming, assembly and out. As a right handed guy I work the circle to my left.

Jack Andrews worked in a Ti Pi for years and spoke about them quite a bit in "The Edge of the Anvil" but less so in the "New Edge . . ."

I wouldnt be crazy about working on a platform, I've set up on my car hauler trailer and is was just forgiving enough I noticed how annoying it was. I'm sure I'd get used to it though. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty,  I used 3 different trailers for demos on average about 8-10 a year. Each time was miserable and both my knees and back suffered from it.. If you go and watch the early, early videos there are a few I made back in 2012 or 2014 and you can see just how much the trailer moves with each hammer blow.  

it doesn't seem like a lot of movement but overall the body has to adjust for each hammer strike..  the latest trailer is literally like working on solid floor or footing with a very solid platform. 

the floor still has some give if I am upsetting over the beam of the floor but I don't feel the effects vs the other 3 trailers/. 

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Exactly Jennifer, my 7,000lb.  car hauler reacted to every blow. I was able to work on it but it was tiring compared to just unloading and working on the ground.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I figured when I build me a  trailer I plan on fabricating some stabilizer and leveling jacks to add to it like the ones some campers have. I actually like the yurt idea we bought a camping tent that was a yurt style and I figure I can fabricate some pull apart pvc pieces to build a frame and I can figure out a covering for it if nothing else I could go old school and make some buckskin to use for the covering then I could modify to either a tipi or yurt style as my needs change.

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