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I Forge Iron

My JABOD forge build

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Got a chance to work on getting my JABOD build today!

It's built from reclaimed skid wood from my work, even the screws are reclaimed, so cost so far is $0 for the wood and screws, and $10 or so for my piece of 18" x 3/4" black pipe (not pictured). Still need to grab a few more bricks from the pile, but I grabbed all the orangier ones (I read that there might be a higher percentage of fire clay in the orange-to-tan bricks?? Figured it couldn't hurt!) They don't look as orange as they are in the picture though...


I wasn't sure if it was deep enough at first, so I built an additional rim to add some height to the box in case it's needed (my tape measure seems to have gone walkabout, but I estimate it's roughly 6 3/4 deep without the additional rim, and 8 1/2 - 8 3/4 high with the rim added)



Still have to drill the hole for the tuyere, and will likely need to build some support for it since it's 18" long. 


Any glaring mistakes or anything that I should fix before I move on?

Thanks for the advice and all the great posts on building one of these. I'd have done this years ago if I'd realized how easy it is to build one :)



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  • 1 month later...

It's been so rainy here for the last month, I haven't had a chance to finish it or dig up any dirt (too wet) but we've had a couple days of warmer weather again, so I might be able to get it finished before the cold returns for good.

In the mean time, I've managed to build a small anvil stand for my track anvil and am working on clearing out and cladding the inside of an old shelter on my property to have a place to set up shop. Still haven't actually put hammer to iron, and it may become too cold soon, but trying to get as much done as I can while it's still warm enough to work outside :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I made fire! :D

First test fire of my forge build today. Just wanted to at least fire it up before winter truly sets in, as I am in an unfinished, uninsulated building. Was able to get an orange heat on a piece of scrap with little effort. (The picture makes it look yellow, but it was really only orange) Whacked it a couple times just for fun. If it stays as warm tomorrow as today, I may actually try and make something out of a rail spike ;)

Already some changes I’ll need to make, will need some notches cut out of the sides for longer stock, a more stable base I think, and rig up a way to mount the air pump I’m using. 

Its not much yet, but I’m super happy to finally get to even this point :)



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1 hour ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

It weelll heat. Looks good from here. Probably won't even need the rim extension.

Hahaha! Thank you for that LOL.
Yeah, the box is already actually too deep I think, unless I double up the bricks, so I'm pretty sure the rim extension will not be needed (which is also good because it kinda fell apart when I moved it a while back LOL fortunately the rest of the forge is a bit more sturdy)

1 hour ago, Frazer said:

Very nice! That oughta serve you well. I'm sure you'll tweak it along the way, but that's half the fun.

I look forward to seeing some of the stuff you're making with it!

Thanks Frazer, yeah, I'm looking forward to learning the ins and outs of how it's going to work, and how it's going to work for *me* :) 


1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Looks good from here. If at some time you need more depth for a job laying another brick blat on the one opposite the fire back will work a treat.

Nice job. Now we want to see pics of projects. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Thanks Frosty, that's a good tip! 
I'll be sure to post pictures of projects - once I get something done lol

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Uh HUH, that piece of strap stock in the pic looked hot enough to project some hammer blows to. Maybe even bending the end 90* to make a brick scraper.

Rather than putting more bricks under it maybe more dirt? If it's flimsy how about a couple 2" x 4"s and a piece of plywood or 1 x boards and elevate the box. It'd: raise the fire, stiffen up the box and give you a 1 1/2" deep space you could use to keep: stock, poker, tongs, etc. handy at the forge.


It's just a thought, the voices keep giving me ideas.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I didn't see a picture of the abuse you inflicted on that poor innocent piece of HOT steel, if we can't see it it didn't happen. 

What's a brick scraper?!?!:o COULD it POSSIBLY be a tool to scrape crud off the bricks? OOOR could it be something I made:ph34r: up while I was typing? Get to know me a little and decide.  

The voices are pleased Mel. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Lol I will leave it to time to decide the correct answer ;D


And as requested some pictures of yesterday’s inaugural metal whacking





And here are some from today’s attempt. Wanted to play with a railway spike, but I do not have the proper tongs yet so switched to a 1/4 rod of mild steel instead. It was a bit awkward as it’s five feet long, but managed to hammer out what will become a little rake for the fire.

Need to dress my hammers still, they leave al kinds of marks. Had better results with the heavier 3lbs hammer but it’s a bit heavy.

After a couple hours, I have to say, It’s certainly not as easy as it looks! I expected flattening it to be a little faster than it was (though I was using a lighter hammer at that point) but the bend went even easier than I anticipated! Tried to even up the edges but ended up putting a bit of a twist in the flat part that was difficult to get out again.

All of it was made more difficult by the unwieldy length of my stock, and the awkwardness of holding it in the fire while pumping the air pump that’s not affixed to anything. All things that can be improved.

Overall not bad for my first go, but lots lots lots to learn.












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Ayup, we believe! THAT'S been heated and beated! Congratulations, a forge tool. Pro tip: If anyone remarks on or even notices the marks, be sure to tell them how many YEARS it was before you could forge a texture like that. It's true! Any new project took (your age in years) to get that good. 

Let the good times roll!

Frosty The Lucky.


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Fantastic! A poker and a rake were the first things I made as well. I'm still in the making-blacksmith-tooling mode. By the time I've built up a useful number of tools, I believe I should have pretty decent start with respect to forging and fire control. Still so much to learn, but soooooo cold outside right now.

Keep up the good work.

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Sounds like you need a hacksaw and a vise. Hacksaw to trim the stock to working size and a vise to help remove twists.   I once made a nice little 1/4" sq stock fire rake for my travelling forge, until my wife decided that it was perfect for her to work the house's wood stove...I generally make then so I can hang them from the rim of the forge to keep them handy!

Part of it being harder is the very light anvil, an 80# block of steel will work a lot better than a small chunk of rail, You have a nice anvil stand that will work with a larger improvised anvil!

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Thanks wirerabbit!! Tools are definitely on the menu, since I don’t have many/any yet lol! And, like you say, good practice! And it’s getting pretty cold here too! Don’t know that I’m have many more opportunities before spring now, since all my stuff is n an open air space, sadly. 


Hey Thomas, yeah, I actually have a couple post vises I picked up last month, the big one needs a spring forged and the handle replaced, but beyond that, I’m not yet set up to mount it, but I have procured a giant stump for when I get the shop expanded in the spring. I knew just looking at the twist that I could have easily straightened it out in the vise, just didn’t have it available yet :) 

Definitely going to cut it down to a more manageable size, and if I get another shot at the forge this year, I’ll try and taper and put a loop on the end to be able to hang it  :) 

Nice of you to let your wife have your tools :) and nice that you have someone who appreciates them!! 





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Good Morning Mel,

Welcome to this forum.

You live in the heart of 'Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association', check out their web-site. I know there are a lot of their members down the other end of the Lake, but there also are quite a few near you. Yes, I am a member, but I am on the Left Coast.

The only way to figure it out, is by the School of Hard Knocks or get a little guidance from someone close to you. One of the "Rules" is "S.O.R.". When drawing out (stretching) your material, whether you have flat, square or round, forge it Square, forge it Octagonal, forge it round. The reason for this is, our wrists will turn a quarter turn, a quarter turn equals a flat on the top from the Hammer and a flat on the bottom from the Anvil. If you have a radius edge on your Anvil (if you don't, take a grinder and make a round edge), use the radius on the bottom of your piece (hold your material at an angle). This will make an effect like pinching the material between your thumb and fore-finger. Get a container of Play-Doh ($1.00 at Wally World, in the Toy section), Play-Doh works identical to hot iron/steel except you can move it in your fingers.  Keep the Play-Doh in your Tool Box, it is golden!!

Enjoy the Journey, there is no final destination, but there are a ton of Side Roads that you can explore!!


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Mel, before we had even married; but had comingled our "sparse" funds; she told me that I should buy a 165# Peter Wright at a yard sale for US$100.  She has supported my hobbies and I hers for 36 years now...(I even built a custom box to ship a spinning wheel home from a German trip we made.)

I used to live in Central Ohio and have forged in 20 degF weather before; lots of tricks to it, like preheating your anvil and tools and having a scrap piece of plywood to stand on rather than the snow.  Just avoid windy days and it's not too bad.  Now I'm in the desert and 45 degF and no wind *yesterday* felt fine in a short sleeve shirt and bluejeans---as long as you were in the sun.

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Thanks for the advise swedefiddle! One edge of my little piece of rail is rounded a bit, so I will definitely give that a try next time! 
I'm a bit confused on why you;'d make round stock square and then bring it back to round before flattening it out? Will that aid in keeping all the edges straight and flat? 


Thomas, that is surely a sign that you were meant to be together :) My husband and I are much the same (for about 24 years now, you have a few on us ;) )
Ooh, good idea with the plywood, that's one to try for sure, and thanks for the 'tricks of the trade' ;) The biggest hurdle will be whether or not I can make myself go out there when it's -22 F LOL Hmmm, I think I may need to make myself some wool forging garb!

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Well if there is no wind; you can make yourself a micro clime to work in; but when it got past my comfort level back in Ohio I built a one soft firebrick forge run off a plumber's propane torch and forged in the basement of my drafty 100 year old house.  Only could work small items but there are a lot of small things one can do!  Carrying an anvil down the rickety steps was *interesting*....I found that I could comfortably work sitting down on the small items.

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3 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

comfortably work sitting down on the small items.

You sat on the small items? Did that help keep you warm? 

At -22f. I hang out in front of the TV and keep the wood stove stoked. Just warming the anvil up enough it won't draw the stock's temp below black heat on the first blow takes a bunch of propane. I have a piece of 2" plate I lay on top of the barrel stove while it takes the chill off the shop. When I come back out in half an hour or so to re-stoke the stove I lay the plate o the anvil and go back in for another cup of coffee. I have magnetic engine heaters on the 100 lb. propane tank.

Anyway, much below 20f. it takes an hour or better before it's worth lighting the forge. I've hung coffee cans with charcoal briquettes burning in them from the horn and heel and got them nice and warm. Unfortunately it didn't do a lot for the center of the anvil where I do most of my hammering. 

I've thought about building a fire directly under my anvil, easy with my steel tripod stand, but I'm not so entranced with smithing I want to work in the cold anymore. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Oh yeah, good point about the anvil being too cold to work on... Huh. I am obviously going to have to work out a way to weather proof the shop and maybe get a small stove eventually... if only money were no object!

I decided to pick up a 110 LBS cast steel ‘beginner’ anvil for a couple hundred bucks. It will give me more mass to work on, a hardie hole and pritchell hole, and a horn, so I figured it was worth it considering the price of anvils around here. The face seems pretty consistent, only one side next to the hardie hole was a bit ‘dead-er’ than the rest, and the holes are both fairly clean and should only need minor cleaning. Going to leave everything else as is until I work on it and learn what I’m doing a bit. 

Right now it’s just sitting in the floor of my shop until I either swap it out for my railroad track on my existing stand or build another stand for it. Sprayed it liberally with WD40 to protect it since my shop is not fully enclosed, hopefully that will do the trick. Want to try and get out there this weekend, but also have other chores and commitments this weekend :/ 

here’s a couple pics, should suit me for a good while at least

theres some sort of oil/wax on the surface from packing/shipping - all those marks are not surface dings or anything :)






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