Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Hello from Connecticut


Recommended Posts

Hello all, my name is Justin. I live in Connecticut and am currently working toward a B.S. degree in history and hoping to take up metal smithing as a hobby. I have always harbored a love for crafting with my hands but have never done any form of metal working.

I have recently decided to build a forge for use in my backyard but have not begun construction yet, merely research (how I happened upon this site). Because I have been in need of a new shed I am going to construct a lean to shed which I hope to divide in half using one half for storage, and the other half for a smithy if I may so call it.

As it stands right now I will attempt to construct a steel side draft forge. Of course it is very possible that I am ignorant of obstacles that may make this impractical for my first forge but it seems to be achievable (although not without hard work and the help of a few welding buddies I have that happen to be significantly more experienced in construction then I am).

Anywho, I hope to get to know a good number of you and am very happy to have access to the forums and all the knowledge they contain. If anyone out there has any suggestions feel free to voice them, I am inexperienced and open to ideas!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Justin, welcome to Iforgeiron!
There's a great section on the 'home' page ( or front ) page called "Getting Started". Just follow the links.......lots of good information there.
Do a search on the '55 forge'........there's a bottom blast version and a side blast version. Both are easy to make and inexpensive.
If you have any questions, just ask.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Justin “Welcome to I Forge Iron”
I am on a tight schedule this morning, but your post caught my eye. I had just intended to quickly scan the posts on the site and then get busy in the shop.
After reading your post, I felt willing to spend a few minutes responding to you and to welcome you to I Forge Iron.
It sounds to me like you have your ducks pretty well lined up as to your approach to getting started with the blacksmithing craft.
You said; “As it stands right now I will attempt to construct a steel side draft forge. Of course it is very possible that I am ignorant of obstacles that may make this impractical for my first forge but it seems to be achievable (although not without hard work and the help of a few welding buddies I have that happen to be significantly more experienced in construction then I am).” which impressed me with your thinking process.
Based on what you shared with us, I would suggest that you consider some of the following ideas.
One reason I enjoy being active with I Forge Iron is because this is the place where I find people who will help me overcome the obstacles that I still encounter as a blacksmith, although I have been at it for well over 50+ years.
Concept: It is nice to get a new rifle for Christmas. But if you are un-able to find ammunition to use in it, the rifle is of no use to you.
The same principle is true when selecting the type of forge for you to build or buy. Availability of fuel and legal considerations must be addressed up front in order to guarantee a good outcome.

I would suggest that you consider the following ideas to help you determine what type of forge that would be appropriate for you to build:
#1. Check to make sure that you have the appropriate fuel resources available to you in your area for the type of forge you intend to build or buy.
#2. That you have enough room for the size of forge you want to build, and room for fuel storage.
The most commonly used fuel for a solid fuel forge is coal, coke, or charcoal.
I believe that most gas heated forges (gassers) use natural gas or propane gas.
#3. Make sure you would be able to legally operate a sold fuel forge in the location where you plan to use it.
a. Products of combustion such as smoke and the presence of a smoke stack (chimney) are many times not popular with neighbors.
b. Local Building codes may prohibit the use of such things.
There, I have said it. This is because I have had first hand knowledge of situations where blacksmiths have become very up-set and disappointed when the local law enforcement knocks on there door and issues them a citation for a code violation and shuts them down.

I believe it would be a good thing for you to get hooked up with a local blacksmith group or blacksmith that lives in your area. They will most likely be able to answer a lot of questions real quick.
Here is a suggestion, contact: Connecticut Blacksmith's Guild
Just make sure you have fun in the process!
Ted Throckmorton

Edited by Ted T
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard Justin.

I have to second Ted's opinion, I like your attitude and approach. He's made some very important points about building a forge. I'll only add you check to make sure a propane forge is okay as well, some places are absolutely down on open flame gas appliances, let alone homemade ones. I don't think there's an insurance company in the US that likes the idea of a homemade gas appliance.

Blacksmithing boils down to two basic things. Knowledge and practice.

Research is good, very good so long as you remember one thing. It can't teach you to actually do it. Practice is key, you can do like I did, learn most of the craft by building fires and beating steel without even knowing there were books or blacksmiths still around. I don't recommend the approach though, it takes WAY too long to reinvent a wheel, let alone all of them. However, it CAN be done, you CAN teach yourself the craft start to finish without books, instruction, or help at all.

Or you can take the better approach. Reading and talking and taking classes will make a HUGE difference though, cuts the learning curve from a lifetime to merely a few handsfull of years. So long as you're building fires and making things. Making mistakes is probably the most important thing a person should make.

What you can't do is research yourself into a blacksmith, knowledge alone won't do it, there is no feel to knowledge, no sound, nor color, nor smell. There are no aching muscles, nor painful burns, nor sweat, nor blood, nor bruises. All these go towards learning the craft. (Oh okay, studying most certainly CAN make a person sweat, I sure did)

What I'm saying is, don't wait till you have all the tools and have read all the books and asked all the questions. They'll never end, there are always questions, new tools and new things to learn if you wait for it all to be answered you'll never get there at all.

Heck, even if you go out right now and build a fire you'll never reach the end, it's always out of reach. Besides, it's the journey that's fun, getting THERE only means it's time to stop.


Edited by Frosty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Jayco, Jimmy, Ted, and Frosty let me start with a thanks to you guys for the great replies and the warm welcomes!

----Jayco I had actually already happened across the 55 forge and it certainly seems like a great and easy way to get started pretty quick. I really connected with (as I'm sure many beginners do) the poster's mind set about the time he saved using that construction method. I also love that he did it with very few measurements as with all of my projects I am notorious for preferring to go by eye and gut when able :D; however I feel that if I was going to go with any of the convenient construction methods I would use the adobe washtub forge plan that I am sure you are familiar with.

I will openly admit that I have a habit of starting off bigger or better then I should, but it drives me nuts to have to upgrade frequently. It is undoubtedly a stupid and some times costly way to do things, but I always accept it's my own doing when it becomes an issue and am very accepting of it =P. That being said I am still hoping to use a solid fuel steel forge table type design similar to the one at Steel Sidedraft Forge Again I am aware it may be stupidly ambitious for my first forge but (although I may be ignorant) it does seem achievable.

----Ted you certainly bring up some good points. I am aware of a few "near by" smithies but have thus far relied on having fuel shipped to me if it comes to it but I surely plan on figuring out what my source will be before I get going =). As far as room although my backyard isn't exactly big I do have the stated "convenience" of starting the building I plan to situate this all in from scratch. I will post my intended dimensions soon so they may be scrutinized if thought unsuitable by anyone.

As far as the legal issues of forging I tend to agree with the "it's only illegal if you get caught" type thing. Not to say I believe laws never have sound basis but I fear that if I ask any local officials any suspicious or odd questions that it will only get me attention that could stop me from doing what I would have gotten away with. It's not that I am unconcerned it is just thus far I have been unable to find the information I need through research. I do have a good relationship with my neighbors and believe I can coax them into accepting my new hobby and as many here suggest I will perhaps give them some gifts =D.

----Frosty I like your style! I couldn't be happier with your advice about getting out there and practicing and learning through experience. Currently I am just waiting for a friend of mine (in fact one of my neighbors so that's one who is already fully aware of my intentions and on board ;) ) to help me start building; although I have constructed some tree houses and things of that nature I have never done so with much worry about weathering effects and certainly not issues with fire, so I am taking a funding, observing, and hands on stand by role on this one.

Generally speaking when I can get away with it I enjoy learning things on my own through experience while learning what I can through research, and so I am likely to attempt to mainly teach myself the craft while reading and taking all the advice I can garner from fine folks like you guys here.

Thanks again to you all!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The steel table forge is a nice setup, I built a version myself some years ago though I use propane as my mainstay fuel.

I'd advise against building the forge in a tree. Not that it wouldn't be really REALLY cool mind, you could call it the "Swiss Family Robinson Forge." Still. . .


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Day All, another smith from CT coming. My name is Cliff, I'm out of Eastern CT.

I started smithing about 15 years ago with my Dad in Maine where I grew up. I wanted to make a suit of armor. The more work I do, the farther from that goal I realize I am. But that is a comfy place to be.

To Wannabe smith, Check how far it is to the Nearest Aubuchon Hardware, the can order Blacksmith coal, 40# about 9.37 w/tax. I like it. The one in Putnam keeps it in stock.

Always looking for inspiration and suggestions. I do this as a hobby, but one that almost supports itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haha frosty it would certainly be interesting to have the forge up in a tree! I didn't mean to imply that I was thinking of it when I said I'd built tree houses but that would be a pretty amusing set up. Would be even more interesting because I am on top of a hill, you'd see smoke pouring out of my little tree top smithy from quite a distance! =D I certainly wont be trying that though!

Thanks for the tip CBrann, I looked it up and the Stafford springs location is closer to me but is still 72 miles away hehe. I may have just been out near you picking up a friend at Eastern University depending on how east ya are.

Thanks again guys always appreciate the input!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I knew you weren't planning on building a smithy in a tree. . . Assumed so anyway. It just brought on an amusing visualization and I thought I'd share is all.

On the other hand, consider what kind of draft you'd get setting up in a hollow redwood!

Welcome aboard Cliff.

If you'll click on "User CP" at the top of the page and edit your profile to show your location you might discover you have playmates living close by. . . Something a little more narrowed down than just the state would be nice.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...