Treozen

Junk Forge? - noob with scrap to use....

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone.

Let me be clear, I know nothing about forges, forging, blacksmithing, bladesmithing or metalwork really in general, EXCEPT.....I have watched thee seasons of Forged In Fire and I stayed at a Holiday in Express last night, so, I might actually be a total expert.....

 

I've been thinking (and encouraged by my wife) to build a basic forge and whack on some metal with a hammer, and see if it turns into something.....the hammer does all the work...right?.....I probably need to buy a special knife-making hammer....anyway.... I initially thought a propane forge would be the way to go, but came across the idea of JABOD forges, which I actually think would be sort of interesting to build anyway, even if I can't forge my way out of a wet paper sack.  So I was all set on that idea when I came across the idea of a brake drum forge, and I happen to have two drums from a '68 Cadillac just laying around getting in the way.  BUT THEN....I remembered that I had a bunch of junk in a pile, much of which came from the old coal furnace HVAC system in my house (it was built in 1941)and I wondered if there was anything I could use for a forge, rather than scrap it. 

So - my questions are these - Thoughts on JABOD forge versus brake drum forge?  - I am fairly good at building, have fabrication experience, but haven't forged a thing, ever - so....noob.  AND....looking at the pieces of junk pictured...see any potential forge designs that might make use of this stuff? I'd hate to toss it after looking at it for years, only to find out I had the makings of a great beginner forge.

I appreciate any feedback.

 

20190730_183529.jpg

20190730_183540.jpg

20190730_183908.jpg

20190730_183932.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A side blast JABOD forge is less complicated than a brake drum bottom blast and more versatile (less picky) in the fuel used. the side blast will use lump charcoal, coal, coke, and just about anything you can light off. You can change the shape of the fire pot at will. The box in the first picture screams to me side blast forge.

BTW... Welcome, I always suggest reading this to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are looking for quick and easy, I would pull that 5 gallon metal bucket out of the pile, cut 7-8 inches off the bottom and make a side blast forge. All you need to add is a 3/4 or 1 inch piece of pipe from the side for air (about 3-4 inches from the bottom of the bucket, and some fire. Now that you have your first forge, start playing in the fire while you consider different designs for your second forge.  No reason to overcomplicate simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could make a jabod out of any of those things in your picture. The square box sitting on top of the other stuff in the last photo looks like a good prospect. Get a piece of wood to put inside to cover the big opening on the side with a hole drilled through it for the 3/4 or 1 inch pipe to pass through and a stand of some sort to sit it on and you're on your way. I made a jabod from a night stand with a chair frame as a stand and it's still going strong after about six months with no problems.

Pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On ‎8‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 8:16 PM, Glenn said:

 I would pull that 5 gallon metal bucket out of the pile,

I hadn't thought about the drum  - I think I even have a 50g drum around here too.

On ‎8‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 5:46 AM, pnut said:

You could make a jabod out of any of those things in your picture.

I'll take a closer look at the box - I might even have a stand for it  - some sort of metal sawhorse thing that was left in the barn.

Edited by Mod30
Edit quotes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It won't be as portable as the barrel or bucket but it will give you more room on top for tools or fresh coal if you plan on using coal instead of charcoal.

You could use the other pieces to make charcoal if you have access to the wood you'll need. 

Before you get started with the actual build read through all the jabod posts for inspiration and a road map of how to get the most out of your first build because I can almost guarantee after your first jabod you'll learn what you want out of it and your second iteration will be even better suited to your needs. Remember it's supposed to be fun and good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.

Pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blacksmithing is an iterative process and that includes making your tools and equipment!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/1/2019 at 5:18 PM, Treozen said:

the hammer does all the work...right?.....I probably need to buy a special knife-making hammer... 

There are times when specialized hammers are called for, but that is a "future you" problem. Please purchase any tool that you feel that you want or need, but I humbly recommend that you find any cross peen hammer of approximately 2 pounds, and "dress" it as described many times in the hammer forum as your first hammer. Until you have developed your skill set a bit, the only thing truly special about a "special knife-making hammer" is the price. Once you have been at this for a little while, you will better understand what you want out of any future hammer. YOU, rather than your tools, make the knife. 

Also, I would like to echo what Mr. pnut has provided. I started with a brake drum forge, and looking back, would much rather have built a JABOD (or the rough equivalent -- a side blast 55 drum forge). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've learned when teaching that having my favorite hammer gets in the way of some students learning as they think it's the hammer and not the learned skill. Once I realized this I first bought several hammers of the same style but lighter for my students to use. Similar issue about needing a "special" blacksmithing hammer.  Now I bring over a dozen different hammers to class and tell them to take the one that is a good weight and handle for them and when they make a mistake I borrow their hammer and fix it with the one they used to make the issue. I will sometimes suggest they switch to a different hmmer as they have certain issues with their swing and the dressing on different hammers might help out...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brake drum forges typicaly use a 2” flange, three 2” nipples, a 2” “T” and a 2” cap. Unless you have those in your stash that over $50. A Side blast uses a single 8” or so length of 3/4” pipe. Further the brake drum is usually placed in a steel table wile the side blast can use about any box, wood, steel, aluminum, plastic, brick even adobe/cob like many in the Southwest were built.  Heck wooden cribs filled with rocks and dirt were used in many a wooded location.

that said, and tho I went another direction in my experiments, the 55 side blast forge has a lot going for it. Readily available, looks a lot like an Onions and Aldays forge, built in wind shield and hood. A 23” hearth is a nice working size (tho I realy like 30x60”). 

Now as to your scrap pile, take the big box on top, cut a piece out of the scrap sheet to cover the whole from the inside. Block it up so the top is at your anvil hight, fill with dirt, rocks, broken brick etc. to with in 8” of the top. Drill a hole in the side (I would come in from the plenum side were tpyou put the scrap sheet to cover the big hole) now I like to find me two bricks to go an inch below the tuyere. This gives me a hard place I can’t dig threw when cleaning out the forge. Nor put a scrap 2x or brick aganst the tuyere sticking up and fill the rest of the forge up to the rim tamping it in as you go. I don’t recomend sand as it melts and makes slag, traditinaly fly ash and clinker were used, and the original JABOD forge used heavy clayed soil from the bottom of a fence post hole. A good adobe or cob mix works well (1/3 clay and atleast 1/2 sand, remainder being silt). Now pull out the 2x or brick and form your fire bowl. 4” wide and 12” long at the top works well for me. 

Niw take the afore mentioned metal bucket and place it upside down beside the fire and over the tuyere pipe. Add a 10-12” flue and cut an approriate sized hole in the side of the bucket and you have a supper sucker type side draft hood as well.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 6:19 AM, pnut said:

Before you get started with the actual build read through all the jabod posts for inspiration

For sure  - I've been scouting around for various JABOD designs - there's quite a range it seems. Some seem pretty technical ( for what is effectively a box of dirt) while others are literally three bricks and a trench. It may seem strange, but I'm almost more intrigued buy the forge build, than I am the forging....lol. I've gathered up my "scrap metal that might be a forge" pile, so that I can see my options.

On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 2:39 PM, Chris Williams said:

There are times when specialized hammers are called for, but that is a "future you" problem.

LOL - yes - definitely kidding with gong to buy a special knife making-hammer -  My primary mission right now is to have fun designing and building a working forge, then probably tweaking that design a bit, and then probably a bit more.  I'm trying to avoid doing what I usually do - running out to buy "all the things" only to discover some of them are wrong, others are not the best thing and  yet others never really get used....So, for this adventure, I'm actually trying to avoid the store  - sort of a challenge - can I make this work with just what I can find on 5 acres.

 

On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 3:08 PM, ThomasPowers said:

I've learned when teaching that having my favorite hammer gets in the way of some students learning as they think it's the hammer and not the learned skill.

I freely admit - I'm that guy.  Not hammers per-say, but I've been known to be partial to a specific tool or device. Its bad practice of course, but I my have even blamed other "lesser" devices for my inability to get something to work.  Some people say I'm just obsessive, slightly compulsive, somewhat inflexible, disliking of change and prone to think I'm right more often than reality will allow.....but those people are clearly wrong, obviously my success can by tied directly to the mystic powers of my favorite tool.

 

23 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

the 55 side blast forge has a lot going for it.

I do have a 55gal drum available. I had been saving it for pit-firing clay pots (another idea I've been wanting to try) but I don't have any clay pots, or clay, or in fact a kiln to bisque fire, so.....55 gallon drum is available.

A lot to digest there - but I think I follow.  I thought about using firebrick, as you've suggested - but I only have regular brick (and a 1000 metric tones of rocks and boulders) laying around. I was under the impression you would not want to use regular red / yellow brick but only fire brick - is that accurate? If I can avoid firebrick I will - its not a cost factor, but I've set myself a challenge to try build this only with what I can find on the property - That said, I wont compromise the forge if I really need something.

Soil up here is not clay - our property actually sits on a gravel pit - or at least the same material that you'd find in a gravel pit. Digging here is NOT fun (installed 1700 linear feet or horse fence, 200 poles, never again). The composition tends to be rocky, gravel - little sand, not much clay. Lots of magnetic rocks...iron ore or something? Also have piles of 5/8ths-minus and arena mix (pipe bedding and sand mix) and also a pile of course sand (looks nothing like typical sand, but that's what its called). Have some typical "dirt" from old raised beds.

I little less clear on the hood idea - I had planned on something as a wind-break  / Spark shield

I don't actually have an anvil - I was thinking I might use the a-frame "saw horse" thing in the picture as a temporary measure - Its very stout, the top is two lengths of 3/16 to 1/4" angle iron welded together  - either that or I can use it as a tool holder?

 

20190803_180527.jpg

Edited by Mod30
trim excessive quotes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bricks had been used to make brick pile side blast forges, but I think in your situation filling the forge with the sand, gravel and rocks you have to with in 8” of the top and using plain red brick or fire resistant stone to make a box some 12” on a side in the middle of your forge and filing in around it with your available fill is a good idea. This leaves you a smaller area to deal with in making up the fire bowl around the tuyer. This can be filled with a verity of materials from red or fire brick (I have melted both..) to dry cheep cat litter. 

Look at the stickers in th forge hood section. I am suggesting you use the can and the big piece of ducting to make a side draft flue that will suck the coal smoke away from you with out interfearing with your work. 

Tho I like the 55 forge, and it would be more portable, the big box plenum on top will give you a bigger work area. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the diameter of that big pipe the most recent picture? If it is 10"+, it would be a fine candidate for your chimney on top of the super sucker that Mr. Stephens is recommending. 

As for your saw horse, I would recommend leaving that to hold things. It will flex and bounce and generally frustrate you. Do you have a sledge hammer head or any more solid pieces of steel? Anything bigger in top surface area than your smithing hammer with depth of solid steel below it is what you want to look for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

.Look at the stickers in th forge hood section. 

The I think the box itself is only around 8 inches deep. I'll check out the stickies on the hood - sounds like a great idea.

20 hours ago, Chris Williams said:

What is the diameter of that big pipe the most recent picture?

It only 6" across  - standard stove pipe.

Hmm,  closest thing I have might be the "anvil" plate on the back of a bench vice - probably a plate around 3 X 5, but I'll look around for more possibilities.

 

Edited by Mod30
excessive quoting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Eight inches is plenty of room. You can always deepen the firepot with a couple of red bricks. If they've been out in the weather you may want to force any residual moisture out by putting them in an oven on the lowest setting for a couple hours. I also noticed a piece of corrugated sheet metal you can use to block off the opening on the side of the box. If you can find a 3/4 to 1 inch pipe and some clay rich soil on your property you have everything you need to get a working forge except an air source. I see you say no go on the clay soil. Get a bag of cheap unscented cat litter or dry sweep and mix it up with the sand on your property, three parts sand to one part Bentonite clay. That's what cheap kitty litter is made from. The best method is posted in other threads so I'll let you do some research and let us know what you come up with. Good luck and remember it's supposed to be fun. After your first jabod you'll start seeing things you could turn into a forge everywhere you look.

Pnut

 

Edited by pnut
blasted predictive text strikes again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems to me I followed the quote policy - trimmed quotes to just the relevant line of text and only quoted the prior post when there were multiple quotes in series (without quoting the prior post,  it would be really odd to respond to a post without a quote, after a few quoted excerpts from prior posts - would not read well at all and would cause a reader to go searching for context), but in the interests of "When in Rome", no more quoting...and um...you can quote me on that ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you zip two sections of 6’ stove pipe together you have 12”. Nice thing about the self latching seam. 

Yes a 8” deep box is plenty deep.

 

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.