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I just made this design for a workbench to put my forge and railroad track anvil on, it is made out of 2x4s and plywood. (yes I am aware it's missing 3 legs). the big square on top of the table is where the foorge would go and the smaller square is where i make a makeshift hardy hole. the main table measures 24x48 inches. I made this design because cause I am very short on money and room and i needed to make a semi movable anvil stand and place to put my forge. What do you guys think, and do you have any better ideas? Thank you

Workbench.PNG

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Dear Tracemaster,

First, take a look at the "Read This First" in the blue banner at the top of the page.

Second, please post your location in your profile.  It will help us give you relevant answers since a particular response may be controlled by where you are in the world.

Third, and this is my personal take on your plans, but I would move your forge as far to the left as you can, assuming that there is not a flammable wall there.  this is to separate you as much a possible from the heat of the forge while you are doing other work on the work bench.  I'm assuming that you have or will have a propane forge.  Many propane forges have a LOT of radiant heat and "dragon's breath" coming off them and you don't want to be too close both for comfort and safety.  If you have to place you forge on the workbench make sure you place something under it.  I have had good luck with concrete backer board that us used under tile floors.  You don't want to burn down your new work bench.  Ideally, you want to have a decent work triangle between the forge, anvil, and vise.  The workbench can be a bit further away but still reasonably close.

It might help us give an opinion if you told us or posted a schematic of your work shop space.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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One thing I see is that the portable hardy hole is located somewhere that can flex, and that also doesn't give you maximum access around it. I would place it as close to a leg as possible while still leaving a through hole. Do be mindful of where hot things could go -- make sure that you can see and access whatever falls through the hardy hole or where a cut-off or punched out slugs go. 

What is the 2x4 structure on the nearside right corner? That is where I would intuitively put the hardy hole (my first preference would be a stand-alone hardy hole), but I don't know what you are using that corner for. 

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Not to mention that using the hardy hole will shock the forge and increase breakdown of any castable refractory in it---NOT a money saver!  Have the forge stand/workbench and anvil/hardy stand separated!

Now if you lived in the United States, I would suggest building the forge stand from a FREE discarded propane grill cart. Putting the propane forge inside the grill body if it will be stored outside and removing the grill body and replacing it with a piece of sheet metal and placing the forge on top of that if it will be stored inside.

For the anvil stand I would need to see what you are using for an anvil. Same for the hardy hole.

It's faster and easier moving separate small items than a large convoluted one!

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20 hours ago, George N. M. said:

It might help us give an opinion if you told us or posted a schematic of your work shop space.

I have my front yard as a shop about a 2 and a half foot wide sidewalk to my door that is surrounded by grass that i cannot do a lot of damage to as i do not own the place. I looked at the read this first and i am located in cheyenne wyoming.

13 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

It's faster and easier moving separate small items than a large convoluted one!

As i said i have very limited space, only about a 2 and a half foot side walk up to my door that is surrounded by grass that, i can stand on but not destroy to badly. I have a 17 inch long piece of railroad track as an anvil, and i do not generally have access to things such as propane grill carts, as I have to rely on my mother to take me from place to place, and all free stuff is gone within an hour here.

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14 hours ago, Chris Williams said:

What is the 2x4 structure on the nearside right corner? That is where I would intuitively put the hardy hole (my first preference would be a stand-alone hardy hole), but I don't know what you are using that corner for. 

So you think put the hardy hold closer to the anvil stand? The anvil stand is the structure on the corner.

20 hours ago, George N. M. said:

Third, and this is my personal take on your plans, but I would move your forge as far to the left as you can

Doing this would cause me to have to travel well over 4 feet to access the anvil, isn't that a little far?

14 hours ago, Chris Williams said:

One thing I see is that the portable hardy hole is located somewhere that can flex

My first thought was to put the hard hole over the leg and support,  but my main 2 problems was that i was concerned for anything i punched out to burn my leg on the way down (both my own and the workbenches. The other thing is how would i attach the flat bar without interfering with putting tools in the hardy hole?

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You may want to reread the section on unnecessary/excessive use of quotes. Generally speaking you don't need to quote something that was said in the previous post. If there is a specific part of a persons comment that you're looking to respond to, you can highlight that part with your mouse and click that little "Quote selection" box that appears. I'm not trying to pile on, it just reduces clutter and time spent rereading the same comment multiple times.

Whether you're using solid fuel or gas, I would be very hesitant to put my forge on a wooden surface like you propose. Like George said the forge and everything around it gets very hot and you will want to situate it were it will be a comfortable distance from you when you're working and with some sort of barrier between the bottom of the forge and the tabletop. Although I would recommend, if space is a concern, making the table smaller and having the forge as a standalone item not on the bench itself.

If you're going to add a hardie hole to the table in it's current location, you will want to reinforce that area with an additional foot directly underneath the hole to support your hammer blows. If that area isn't rigid, much of your force will be absorbed by the table flexing under your tool.

I too am unable to understand what the purpose of that structure that extends out beyond the one leg you show.  Is that for your anvil? If so are you planning to mount it? Vvertically or horizontally?

"All the free stuff is gone within an hour here" is quite an absurd statement. No one in your family/your friends/your friends family has something (it doesn't have to be a propane grill exactly) that may be able to serve the purpose T.P describes? There is no scrapyard or junkyard within an hour of you that you might be able to find some still useful materials at? It's really easy to get tunnel vision and think "this is the only way it can be done, and to do it I need to buy it brand new".

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I would also advise trying to find a way to mount your railroad track vertically, as from looking at this design I believe you intend for it to sit horizontally on that bridge/leg coming off of the table? Many of the posts on here recommend a vertical mount when using rail road track.

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Please elaborate on what you mean by mount vertically. I plan to mount the anvil in the same direction as if you were laying railroad track.

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I have found my carts by walking and talking to people. Of course it was easier when I lived in the city than in rural areas.  We had designated heavy trash pickup days; right before the "season" and after the "season" was the best times---sometimes I even got them with good full propane tanks!   I can find them on CL free section pretty often.    (I used to live in the inner city of Columbus Ohio; just south of an old historic district that had been very "Yuppiefied".  Unfortunately the tightly packed houses there had no storage and so a lot of people would buy a new grill in the spring and then get rid of it in the autumn tanks included!)

It is always a good idea to ask if you can have something that looks to be thrown out.

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Tracemaster,

Something like this... vertical, not horizontal. 

20200725_153309.jpg

 

This link has a lot of improvised anvils. It will give you lots of ideas on how to mount them.

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My railroad track has a horn cut into it on one side would this still work and what are the advantages to such a mount?

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Ah. If someone has already shaped it to have a horn, then it might not be something you could mount vertically. From my limited understanding with reading through posts here, the idea behind the vertical mount is efficiency when hammering. Having more mass under your hammer blows compared to a horizontal orientation. I'm sure some of the others could explain it better. But, if that is not an option, that is understandable.

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That makes a lot of sense actually, in fact my original  plan for an anvil stand was to make one that you could stand on for  this exact purpose.

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Have you contacted the Rocky Mountain Smiths to see if there is anybody close to you that might be able to help?  I dump stuff on smiths starting out near me on a fairly regular basis.  I can find stuff way faster than I can use it. Does the local Historical Museum have a smithy as part of it?

My Daughter graduated from CSU in Fort Collins and I know there is stuff down there.

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I can't go to fort collins but this is the first i have heard of the rocky mountain smiths do they charge?

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I believe they are an ABANA Affiliate; I would suggest you look over their web pages and send them an email through their contact page. They may know smiths in Cheyenne.  I am a member of the New Mexico Artist Blacksmith Association and do not know the details of the Rocky Mountain folks.

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Now that I think that I better understand what you are doing with your drawing, I recommend making separate stands so that you have better access to all sides of your anvil. You can make the workbench and a combination anvil/hardy hole stand, or the workbench and a stand each for your anvil and hardy hole. I would have to know more about the exact materials and exact space to plan it myself, but I am confident that you can think of how you could arrange those items to suit your space. You can use a scale drawing of the footprint that you have available plus some cutout scale drawings of your planned bench and stand(s); you can rearrange the cutouts on your scale drawing to test the fit and find a good arrangement. Then you can chalk or put objects in your real space and walk around it to make sure that you like it. Then build per plan. 

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Ok cool, i just thought of how to show you  the workspace. This is a 3d model built to scale, i would just take a picture but nobody else is here. I am 6 foot tall and I can step outside the grey area. to the left a short ways is tree branches and to the right is my front porch. the structure you see in the picture represents the workbench i designed. the area at which i can put thing such as the anvil and forge ends where the grey area stops.

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Thanks for the updated drawing. You have clearly described your space limitations. My strong personal preference would be to have a smaller workbench and separate anvil/hardy hole stand rather than a larger all-in-one bench/stand if I were using that space. Beyond my preferences in work area setup, Thomas Powers' advice to separate the forge from impacts makes sense to me to preserve your investment in your forge. I use solid fuels and would not have thought about damaging refractory in a propane forge. 

Hot cutoffs, slugs, and your workpieces will be something that you need to watch for with your wooden structures no matter where you place your anvil and hardy hole.  For yourself, wear long pants and closed toe shoes -- no synthetics, as they have a nasty habit of melting onto you (or burning) and making burns much worse! Keep a bucket of water and primed water hose ready, especially when working near your house. 

If you decide to build your design as drawn, please let us know what works, what parts you like, and what you would improve on in the future.  I've presented my opinion, but am not here to talk you into it.  I would follow Frazer's advice on adding a support for the hardy hole at a bare minimum, but again would prefer the hardy hole in the corner near your anvil stand if I were constrained to use an all-in-one bench.

 

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It would be beneficial for you to take inventory, so to speak, of the space you have available to you. A space which you know better than any of us do, and better than your model is able to portray to my perhaps simple mind when I have to consider trees and a porch etc. I think setting yourself up where the bench, anvil stand/improvised hardie and forge stands are independent will give you the most effective use of limited space (since you can arrange them around you rather than in a straight line) and the most flexibility to move things around as you see fit down the line.

I feel obligated to ask, what kind of forge do you have and what size is it? Did you have a shop set up in another location and are moving it or is this the first time you're getting going? If this is your first time then I'm glad to see you taking the time to plan it out. I only recommend setting yourself up in such a way that things can move around since, in my comparatively short time blacksmithing, I have moved the shop to a new location once and have reorganized it several times. Moving existing items around to place new ones in the most convenient places. It's just something to think about. Best to leave things as mobile as possible before you lock them in a specific orientation to one another. 

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Frazier: I agree with this especially considering when I am done for the day I will have to literally move all of my things into the house or in a different location outside. This is my first shop and I am here to get as much information as possible before I go to home depot.  I have a propane forge made out of a 15 pound propane tank.

Chris Williams: I will create some designs for what you suggested and figure it out from there. what do you think about attaching a piece of square tubing to the anvil stand to use as a hardy hole?

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to everybody who has replied, I thank you, I have re read everything that you have said and everything I have said and came to the conclusion that I may have seemed like a jerk some of the times. This however is not my intention, I tend to get caught up in my own thoughts and what is said, so that when my questions are answered It often times brings up more questions, and the longer this goes on the worse it gets. So i apologize it was never my intention, you have all been incredibly helpful. 

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Dear Tracemaster,

You asked if 4 feet from anvil to forge was too much.  I went out to the shop and measured the distances and it is 4.5' from the center of my coal forge to the center of my anvil and 5.5' from the door of my propane forge to the center of my anvil.  You want to make a smooth pivot from the forge to the anvil carrying the hot metal/tongs in your left hand (assuming that you are right handed).  A step or a half step is OK.

Also, you're just over the hill from me.  Once this Covid-19 social distancing is over we may want to visit.  Also, once Rocky Mountain Smiths starts having demos and meetings again I may be able to swing through Cheyenne and offer you a ride.  It is only slightly longer to go through Cheyenne to get to Colorado from Laramie as it is to go down directly via US 287.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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