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I Forge Iron

Jayco's New Shop


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As some of you may or may not know,I've been building a new shop. It's just a simple wood structure with metal roofing. 12 x 24 ft.
What I plan, is to have a forging station on one end and a workbench/finishing area on the other end( possibly with wood floor in the future.)

I'll be able to have a pot-bellied stove on the finishing end and I'm going with a side-draft flue for the forge.

The major tools I will have will be forge,anvil,post vise, and bench grinder.
(Arc welders, A/o torches and other things are in garage, 40 ft. from the new shop)

As you can see from the pic,there is only the one door and no windows, but that will change as soon as I figure out how I want everything.

I have resisted the urge to start putting stuff in there until I get my plan together. At present, it's empty.

Hopefully, I can get the aforementioned tools in and still have plenty of room.......You never know, I might want to get a gas forge or a power hammer sometime.

So, what do you blacksmiths think would be handy to incorporate into this shop?
All info is appreciated!

James Flannery


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Bentiron, the 'building with the cresent moon is only a hundred feet away.......I haven't installed the electrical panel yet, but the line will be underground.
There's 2 ft. wide roofing metal serving as underpinning all around the inside walls to seal out cold air and also to keep hot sparks,metal, etc from catching the board 'boxing' on fire.
In summer weather, I always keep a loaded garden hose nearby in case of fire, but for winter, I might put in a frost free spigot or hydrant.

Rich, I hadn't thought about the ropes and pulleys for the windows..good idea.....but I know I want windows that open to let in fresh air........summer afternoons get hot here.

Ted, thanks.......now, if I can get the shop set up.....I can have some of that hitting, bending, twisting, fun you mentioned!
If the shop WAS on your property, you'd have to do all the smithing in it........too far for me to drive!!

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Well i think that it whoud be handy to call a preist and have the place blessed when everything is ready.That;s the way it's done over here...in Romania when a construction is finished . That way GOD will be present in the shop and you will be able to sleep better not having to think about that fire hose. You did a nice job ! I bet you will have some nice moments in this new shop !

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Jayco, suggestions,
1. Large sliding or verhead door to allow entry of bigger items.
2. Gable fan in one end, with closable entry vent in opposite end near floor.
3. Large hunk of steel with a flat surface flush with floor near forge for upsetting.
4. Go ahead and put that frostproof hydrant in, right by the door.
5. Figure what size electrical service you need, and put double that in.
6. Sign that announces that this is yOUR shop:)


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I like the look of those siding boards !! Now all you need is a little ironwork on the outside and it would be sweet ;)
It is bigger than my "shop" (which is actually a crusty old granary) But should still be cozy enough in the winter.
Windows on either end would be good for flow-through removal of bad air if you can do it, depending on how you have the inside set up.
Thanks for showing !!

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On my shop I went with an opposite approach to ventilation. Rather then vent smoky air out, I put the fan in the shed adjacent to it, and I push fresh air in. This positive pressure pushes the smoky air up the chimney and through the gaps in the back door, I also put a rod on the back door so I can control how much it props open.

Nice looking shop Jayco, now GET TO WORK!

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James, I love it. It is nearly identical to what I have sketched out. I have 10 large maple logs on my trailer and I am trying to get in touch with a guy that has a portable saw mill to slab out the logs for the siding. He has cut wood for me before but just can't seem to catch up with him. I was really hoping to have a building up before hunting season gets started... not looking likely...

I have most of my upright posts so far, the local electric company puts their broken poles in a yard and so long as you sign in and out of the yard you can take what you want free of charge, the only real catch is if you cut it you still have to take the whole thing. These make great corner posts for fencing as well. Contact your local electric company and see what they do with their old posts, it might prove to be a cheap and sturdy start to the shop of your dreams!

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Longhunter, I placed these posts on field stones, though it would have been much easier to get them plumb in post holes. They're nearly 60 year old poplar barn posts and would rot in post holes.

Valentin, the 'blessing' idea is a good one.......I need all the help I can get!

Guys, thanks for all the compliments and suggestions.

I have pics in the Gallery of the 'build' so far, and there will be more as I progress.


Here's a pic of how I had to brace the posts to get them to stand plumb.

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Since some folks have asked questions or commented on the materials I'm using, I should explain.....I hope this doesn't get long and boring........but here goes........

All the materials (posts and lumber) have been recycled from an old tobacco barn that fell a couple years ago.

Before I was born, in 1950, my dad had a sawmill less than 200 ft. from where I'm building the new shop.
The posts were all round poplars that grew right here on the farm. Only the bark was removed before he used them. They are 30 ft. long. I only had to cut up 2 to make the 6 posts for the new shop.

Dad also sawed all the 2 x 4's and 2 x 6 's and the 'inch' lumber....1 x 6 's ........1 x 8 's, etc.

I should mention that much of the 1 in. thick boards are what we call 'tie siding'.
Dad was also in the business of sawing 7 x 9 in. x 8 and 1/2 ft. cross ties.
Depending on how the log was sawed, there were often 7 in. wide or 9 in. wide boards removed as the log was brought to proper dimensions.

The cross ties were sold and the boards were used as siding , or as we call it 'boxing'. I know.....the terms are confusing.

He sawed all this lumber on an ancient circular saw mill powered by a worn out Packard motor.
He built a 38 ft x 75 ft. tobacco barn from all this lumber. The barn stood until 2005.
I spent all my spare time for several months pulling nails and stacking lumber.
I have enough left for another shop as large as the one I built.
You never know.......I want to build on!

I had also saved metal roofing as well, but my wife insisted I buy new metal for the roof.......probably a good idea.........

It's a new shop for me, but it's already got nearly 60 years of history......
Just thought I'd share.

James Flannery

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No problem Ironrose, If I had a bunch of telephone poles, I'd use 'em.
If I had access to a lot of plywood, concrete blocks or bricks, I would use them also.
I adapt to what materials are available........the stuff I'm using just happened to be right here on the farm, and FREE!
Having a little 'history' attached is just an added bonus


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I have been reading this, green with envy, thinking of all the hoops I would have to jump through just to build a shop on my land. First I would need to get the approval of all my immediate neighbors, then draw up plans to present to the architectural committee, then if I got their approval I would need to submit seven copies to the county building department, county flood control, county zoning, for their approval, then pay all applicable fees and taxes. Now comes the easy part building the thing, well maybe. The construction has to be inspected for foundation, structural insect protection, slab pour, framing, electrical, plumbing, prior to sheet rocking, sheet rock, final and certificate of occupancy before you can use it. About $12,000 according to my neighbor who is a general contractor for a shop of that size built to community standards.:( You got a real gem there.:D

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Guess it depends on local laws, but aren't you allowed to build what you want on your property as long as YOU build it? I thought you didn't need to take it to county or city unless you hired someone to build it for you... I've been day dreaming about framing some walls and adding a roof on the lot we own behind our house..

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You must live in the land of the free, not my neighborhood which is ruled by the Fascists Home Owners Association. Yes I can build it myself after all approvals are acquired, fees and taxes are paid. I can even occupy it after I get a Certificate of Occupancy. Up until the HOA Architectural Committee approves my application to build I can't break wind without their permission outside my front door. Then the county won't let you break ground until they get their pound of flesh and then some. All I can do is dream.:mad: That is why I envy Jayco. I bet he never saw a building inspector, went before an architectural committee or got a building permit. I also bet he didn't have to worry about set backs or variances either that need to be approved by the county supervisors.

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Bentiron, so far there are no building restrictions in my county. There was some talk about 'zoning' the county about 10 years back, but nothing came of it. No popular support for it.
This is pretty much farm country where I live.
The nearest town (6000 people ) is 10 miles away.

I think that 'develoment' and 'progress' are slipping up on all of us a little at a time.
The neighboring towns have restricted communities, 'gated' communities, and such as that.
For the time being, we who live in the country can count ourselves lucky.
I read with some dismay that so many of our members can't forge in the backyard, can't burn coal, can't make charcoal,.....some cannot even have a shop at their home at all.
I guess one could chalk it up as the 'price of progress'........but I have to wonder if the price isn't too high.......

Now........down off my soapbox....

Thanks CurlyGeorge for the well wishes........I'm having a great time planning the new shop!

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