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Shop build

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Very amateur driveway smith here, looking for some advice on a new shop/forge build.

I'm very fortunate in that I've got ample space at my current property so I've got a few possible options, and I'm trying to figure out what my best bet is. Coal forge, powered air supply. Options as I see them are as follows:

1) Behind my garage. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6LfaziCkxieA3wu27

Approximately 10' wide, far longer than I'll ever make use of (behind a 3-car garage).

Advantages: Lots of space. Power. Lights. Well protected from elements. Floor/walls mostly appropriate for a forge (once I protect that zip board). Option for installing a door into garage for more possibilities.

Disadvantages: Long exhaust pipe needed to get above roof peak (~20') I think. Need to enclose some 20-30' of open bay doors to keep wildlife out, preferably with something that moves so I can close/open it depending on season.

2) Behind a shed. https://photos.app.goo.gl/sGpLkUvBH8Q34b5W7

Approximately 12'x8' concrete pad.

Advantages: Far from other structures. Very easy to modify (no expectations regarding the roof/structural integrity of shed).

Disadvantages: More cramped. No power without running an extension cord. Maybe-probably-wasps. Not protected from elements. Would probably need to do some fireproofing around the whole wall/grass area.

3) Inside my garage. No picture due to too much stuff in garage.

Very large, 3-bay garage. Have clearance for 10' in front of any vehicles, and I'll only ever use two bays.

Advantages: Huge, lots of power, lots of possibilities for equipment/design layouts. High ceilings, so ample room for stuff in general. Obviously protected from elements. Very well designed for working with fire (insulated aluminum walls, concrete, power in conduit). Most of exhaust is interior so much easier to manage for me.

Disadvantages: Must modify a very nice garage. Pretty much dedicated layout once I cut a hole in the aluminum(?) ceiling. Have to clear out stuff.

Wild question on top of above, is there a minimum acceptable threshold for space size before monoxide poisoning is no longer a concern? 3-bay garage, additional door, 3 windows. Would I have the airflow to support forging without venting? Second wild question, would the heat generated actually affect an aluminum(?) ceiling at a ~14' height? Or should I not even consider this and anticipate exhausting no matter what?

I'm handy enough with wood and caulk to get by, but cutting into roofs and installing exhaust pipes, redoing flashing and shingles... makes me nervous.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

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Welcome aboard.

Stop by my shop and see how full a 10X30 foot shop can get over 30 years. We had to add a 12X14 addition recently.:D Is the garage attached to the residence? Coal smoke infiltrating might be a problem if it is. If it were me, I would go with the garage because who knows what the shop will evolve into with a lot of powered equipment needing power. I would also look into installing a Hofi super sucker system, that will go through a wall instead of the roof. I would go with the awning style doors which will give more working room for moveable equipment (think propane forge).

BP1048 Side Draft Chimney - BP 1000 Hofi Series - I Forge Iron

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Quote removed as outlined here.   The quote feature

Thank you for the response.  I should have included this, but the garage is not attached.  It's got a 100 amp circuit in it, so it was really built as a workshop which I'm thankful for.


I love the idea of that venting system, which might be workable.  If I were using the inside if the garage, one side of the corner that I'd be working from would actually exit into that 'behind the garage' area in my first picture.  Into that corner, in fact.  The other side of the wall would exit near a walkway which could be moved vertically enough to stay out of the way, I'm thinking an up-side-up configuration, rather than a strict L.  I would still be cutting a hole, but it's through a wall instead which is a little more in my comfort zone.

Edited by Mod30
Remove excessive quote.
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Good Morning DHT,

Don't restrict your possibilities. Make everything portable, put wheels on the sides so you can tip it and the wheels will contact the dirt. Weld a section of trailer hitch receiver on each item, weld a piece of 2" ID, square tube on a hand-cart. You can move things with the hand-cart. If the wind is blowing the wrong way, move to another location. Coal Forge you need a chimney, Propane Forge you need ventilation. Absolute necessity, work safe, wear your PPE.


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