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Hey i was wondering if some one could post a good forge plan, im haveing troubles comeing up with one of my own. i donsent need to have a hood but needs to hold long items, wont be moved much so dosent need to be portable. and i am getting a hand crank blower for it, i do have some ideas in my head but want to compare with others to make up my mind on what to do.

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If you forge small items your set up will be much different than if you forge large items such as double gates, long fences, spiral staircases, or hand railings.

The easiest forge plan is to set up a forge in a field. Place the forge, anvil, vise as you will and then move them as needed. In a years time (maybe less) you will have everything in its place to fit your way of doing things. Now build the building around your set up, only build it 2 times larger. It will fill with tools, tables and other blacksmithing stuff sooner than you think.

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cinderblock 3 sided enclosure (built to whatever length and depth)
+ Catalan barrel vault for a floor + tuyere(s)

custom size, fireproof, cheap materials, can even be adapted to have a second barrel vault above the hot pot for a masonry hood (forced ventilation)

a bit more ambitious clay study model (includes crucible furnace and small enameling kiln)

note MIT link is a groin vault rather than a barrel vault which is even simpler


Edited by Ice Czar
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hand cranked blower = coal, coke or charcoal
large items = architectural, traditional open hearth type designs often done in masonry, one end in the forge other end halfway across the shop

lots of "traditional" open hearth designs in here
Iforgeiron's Ian Lowe's World Tour
w full hoods, side drafts ect

of course they don't show how the hearth floor is supported most of the time, hense my first link as a cheap easy and elegant solution

Edited by Ice Czar
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what im doing is building helping my bro build his forge, he works with me and he wants one at his house, i have a good idea to make it a 2x3 table with a square fire pot 3in deep. the table will have a 4 lip to hold the coal with part of the side cut out to to long items, what do yall think?

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that you didn't mention what you lining the floor with or how your supporting it? or what the firepot is made out of?

basic considerations
combined weight of the workpiece(s), coal and refractory lining
access to tuyere(s) and and ash dump
thermal transfer to the support structure and its ability to thermally cycle

if you look at Ian's tour you'll see alot of heavy cast iron tables firepots
or masonry lined tables supported in various ways.

the ability for the floor to wick away heat from the work zone and its heat capacity as a thermal mass (how much heat it will hold) will determine the thermal inertia of the workzone, ideally you want to limit the thermal mass to something reasonable, it needs to be strong and abrasion resistant but not soak up so much heat as to be inefficient. On the other hand it needs to be able to deal with long term thermal cycling without mechanical falure.

Insulated firebricks as a liner have low thermal mass but no abrasive strength and would need to be lined. And no structural strength.

Thick cast iron excellent abrasion resistance, good thermal cycling but has high thermal mass.

Sheet metal has good abrasion resistance, low thermal mass but a poor long term thermal cycling prognosis

Normal bricks supported by angle iron or other supports have reasonably good abrasion resistance, excellent thermal cycling (and could be individually replaced in need) and middling thermal mass

The Catalan vault table Im working on has a lower thermal mass than full bricks, doesnt require additional support structure, has good abrasion resistance and thermal cycling. the potential drawback is how the changing depth of the table floor will impact use (working of the assumption one deep end is the firepot with additional refractory slightly higher thermal mass and the other well is "storage" with a very shallow arch, its primary job isnt even as a forge hearth but rather when cleaned up as a sand filled molten metal pouring table, that optionally can be used as a large architectural hearth)

somewhere around here there is a photo of an ancient wooden hearth table with a mud refractory liner, it works, might scare local enforcement to death but it combines a support structure with poor thermal transfer with a refractory of a reasonable thermal mass thick enough to ensure the support structure doesn't burst into flames.

lots of trade offs, ease of fabrication, long term use, materials at hand...

Edited by Ice Czar
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