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I Forge Iron

Just wonering if this set up would work?


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Hello there,

I've recently decided that I'm going to join the blacksmithing community so I've decided to set up my own wee workspace and that is where the problem is.

I currently live close to the centre of Edinburgh and the only reason I have a garden is because the railway line has to be a certain distance away from the apartments so this isn't really an potion as I would have to make sure forging would be ok with 48 separate apartments.

Instead I've decided to build a portable forge, use my jewlers anvil and mount the lot on a trailer adjusted to go on a bicylce as I can't drive so that whenever I plan to forge I go for about a 40 minute cycle to the edge of edinburgh to a field somewhere to work.

What I was really wondering before I embarked on building all this is whether or not this minimal forge set up would allow me to forge small items effectively and allow me to work without any hasstle from whoever wishes to cause it?

Thanks for replies in advance.

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I'd just check your aloud, to set up where your going to go, check with the owner etc.

And it could be rather heavy to take on a bike ride.. Guess it'll do you some good though :P

I think the biggest jewler's anvil i've seen on ebay is about 3 lb's, so depending on the size of what you want to make, is it going to be big enough? and is it going to bounce around? should you plant it into a log or something to keep it steady?

I'm new to this as well.. But they were just some of the concerns i had when starting my forge up.

Good luck mate,


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Thanks for the responses so far I'm slightly more confident that it could be feasible already.

I'm starting to think I used the wrong term when I said jewler's anvil, the one I have is 14lb although I do have another but it is around 100lb so not suitable for being moved.

I'm hoping to use charcoal as I figure that with making a retort which a friend has volunteered to be stored in their garden would give a ready supply

And I'm hoping to be making shield parts, helmets, buckles, axes, spears, knives, etc. Generally re-enactment equipment.

Thanks again for replies.

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Hi Jami, I know of some who have tried this, but none that have been succesful.

I would suggest finding a smith in the local area, there are at least a dozen in the Edinburgh area, and seeing if you could use a corner of their facilities.

Alternatively is there a city farm or other craft based centre where they may let you set up? Friendly farmers on the outskirts who may have an empty outbuilding?

It would be more practical to have a permanent base to work from, You could work in copper from home to develop skills before moving on to hot forging as you only need to be able to anneal the copper occasionally, and this can be done with a gas blowtorch. You will learn techniques relevant to making armour, helms, breastplates etc and it does not make much noise or fumes to aggravate neighbours.

Good luck with your quest.

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If you were making small buckles and stuff like that a 14 pound anvil would work. Just make sure it is anchored to something fairly solid. Also if you are working on small stuff you don't need a big forge. One thing that might be worth thinking about is a combined vice and anvil. Before everybody jumps down my throat not one of the junk (dare I say Chinese made) ones. Get a Record or a Paramo machinists vice- the professional one- which has a hammering point on it. that way you would have 2 tools in 1 and as much mass as you need. Also you can put standard hardy tools in the vice jaws. If you are making only very small stuff this would be fine. Of course a machinists vice is no good for larger sized forging as it will disintegrate under the blows! Then if ever you get a full sized shop the vice will fit to a bench somewhere

Edited by philip in china
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Thanks all for the replies, I hadn't considered a corner of an existing workshop but for various reasons I couldn't smith regularly enough to feel right occupying space. A farmers outbuilding may be an option and I'll ask once I know the area a bit more.

I like the thought of combined although on the budget I have I'm going to have to settle for using my vice to clamp one of my flat stakes in place hoping that will be sturdy enough.

I was intending to aquire a big cunk of hard wood around 2ft by 1.5ft by 1.5ft and building a dish in for basic cold metal dishing, altering it to allow the anvil to be placed securly on it ans secure the vice to it, each on a separate surface so that one block can be used for every purpose just by rotating it. And I will get back to you all over the next few months with pictures of the solutions, I can already see this is going to be a steep learning curve.

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