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I Forge Iron

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I have finally accumulated everything  to start my forging journey. I have rebuilt a rivet forge. I will be using charcoal to start with.  I realize it is not people’s first choice for a charcoal forge. I cut some Diablo fire bricks to make a  fire pot. As I will be trying charcoal for my first go. I added some bricks to get a 5” deep pot. 

Any and all input welcome on my setup of the forge. 


next up is my Anvil. A BIC Omaha #124. I just wire wheeled the face and horn to remove rust. The edges are all chipped but the previous caretaker did smooth them out. I picked up this anvil last year. After many months of haggling with the store owner.  As you may know anvil prices in So Cal are insane. An average of $6-10 per pound. 

I kept going back once a month to try and get it lower. They were asking $550. There was no way I could afford that. Finally after long conversations with the owner and getting to know him a bit. I was able to get it for $300. Not great but at a bit over $2 per pound. I think we both did ok. 



I made the base from plans on the internet. It is pretty stable. 

Anyhow I picked up some hand held drills and a few chisels last weekend. I am going to take the one pictured and draw it. Out longer to make a 1/4” drift. As I will need one to start making tongs. 427F8F50-0B38-47EF-8ED0-043A36D351ED.thumb.jpeg.8d258fb7eea9d8d7321e61ab1fd2b748.jpeg

i will post an update later tonight. As it is about 95 out right now. I think I will start this afternoon. 


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Well. I just made my first fire. I learned many things this first go around. 

1. I am not 30 years old anymore nor am I even 40. Haha. 

2. Do not go out and make a fire when it is in the 90’s

3. Need to have an electric air supply. See lesson 1 for reason. 

Now the good

1. I was able to get the forge up to temp in less than 10 minutes. Not bad for first go. 

2. Charcoal seems to be a very viable option for me. I will be trying other methods in the future. 

3. Once I got the right air flow. I was able to bring the end of my material up to a decent temp in 3-4 minutes. The fire seems to start making a nice sound and inside the embers are a yellowish orange. 

4. I have done my fair share of swinging hammers. But pounding hot steel is a humbling experience. 

5. Really looking forward to this new chapter in life. 


Edit: here is my 3 heats on my punch more when it is cooler. 



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50 minutes ago, billyO said:

$300 for a 124# anvil in that condition????  You did WAY better than OK, my friend.  

That's what I was thinking! And forging in temperatures in the 90s sounds like a cold front compared to what I'm used to in a Texas summer. I've been in the shop and stepped outside and it felt nearly cool at 102°:) Looks like you are up and running. Stay safe and have fun!

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Tomas: You need to break your charcoal into smaller pieces, between acorn and walnut leaning more towards acorn size will work much better.  The smaller size will consume the oxygen more completely before it reaches your work. The heat will be more concentrated in a smaller area where larger pieces allow the blast to blow farther into the pile and much of the heat to blow through and out.

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty will do. I will make sure to break them up. Makes total sense. 

I will be sure to stay hydrated. I seat like a pig normally so I always have my water. I will make sure to drink more when forging. 

Thanks all for the help. 

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Hydration is of utmost importance. Watch your urine, keep it clear. I also sweat like a hog. 

My forge used to be outside with no shade. I got me one of them big old umbrellas and set it in a 5 gal. bucket full of dirt so i could move it around with ease. It also has the tilt feature. Sometimes when tilted i did have to add a support even though it was set in a bucket of dirt. But just that little bit of shade helped tremendously. 

I got me a small fridge i keep my ice tea in, water gets boring after a while, and a couple beers for when i am done and ready to sit in the shade. If you can not get a fridge get a cooler. 

I also got me one of them "as seen on TV" cooling towels. Get one, or at least a wet dish towel. If not hung around your neck a wet towel is great just to wipe off the sweat. I also dunk in my rain barrel every once in a while. I wear a hat to keep my bald spot from getting sun burnt and i have found keeping it wet helps too. 

Good luck and welcome to the club.

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Grew up just outside of Phoenix and work outside, folks look at me funny wearing long sleeve button up elie’s in the summer but they are thinner than t shirts and all cotton, a little bit of a breeze and it’s like ac. As my profile pick shows, a hat preferably straw with a bandana or doo-rag (I use biker scull caps) to sop up the sweat). I do recomend single serving potato chips insted of gator aid as the sugar slows down the absorption of water and courses other issues. In extreme heat and working outside a gallon a day isn’t neer enugh one can consume up to a 1/2 gallon an hour of heavy exertion.



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Search easy tongs. You can make a set in thirty minutes or less. I ran into a little difficulty making a pair yesterday because I tried to punch the rivet hole instead of drilling it like I did on the first pair I made but either way they are the simplest tongs to make I've seen.  It's in the blue print section.


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2 hours ago, BillyBones said:

I also sweat like a hog. 

Pigs don't sweat Billy, they pant and either wallow or dig into the cooler moister ground to regulate body temp. 

I sweat like a HORSE but it doesn't lather up.

Gator aid isn't a good way to keep hydrated, we evolved to drink water though not the over filtered bottled kind, tap water or even a clean bubble stream are better for you, minerals are a good thing. 

Watch your urine is good dark means you need to drink water but clear can be a sign you're low on salt so you want to see color just not dark, bright yellow is okay. Potato chips is a good call, salty and has carbs, protein and fat, more balanced than a person would think. 

If you STOP sweating, you're in trouble get inside and drink up. Do NOT chug a quart of water though, you'll cause electrolyte imbalance which is a B A D thing. If water or, heck Gator aid in this case, and sitting down doesn't bring you back or you're having trouble thinking, feel clumsy, etc. call 911.

Thin long sleeves and pants that allow air to flow and keep the sun off are good, it's no accident folk in the near east wear billowy robes, just moving pumps air through them and across your skin. Not that I'm suggesting you play with fire and HOT steel wearing billowy clothing, I'd REALLY rather not be reading about your dramatic: arms flapping, running, screaming, flaming torch impression. :o

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well Frosty, ya caught me there. I was not thinking when i used the hog reference. What i would usually say is not family friendly. 

About the urine being clear, that was preached to me to no end when i was off in the ME. That may be the reason they also pushed the salt tablets on us, however if i recall correctly i am thinking they were the medi-lyte tabs that irondragon speaks of. I also had a nurse once tell me that if nothing else drink pedilyte, remember that stuff we used to give our kids when they were babies and sick. 

Another thing, take a break. Sit in the shade for a few minutes, or even inside in the AC. Like we say in the shop "it will be here tommorrow." That was one of the hardest lessons i have ever had to learn. 

This is the easiest set of tongs i have ever made. They are just 2 pieces of 1/4 x 1" flat bar, i think about 18" long. Heat both together put in a vice and give a 1/4 twist. Drill the hole through both at the same time and set a rivet or even a small bolt. Mushroom the end over if you use a bolt. I have heated and form the ends many numerous times for different purposes. Watch which way you twist though, i made right handed tongs when i needed left.  



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