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i posted a pic of my anvil/tool/vice stand i made for doing demos. I made it when i was doing the anderson fair it was a 10 day thing so i took allot of tools with me. its a little heavey but not hard to move i made the handels removable and from an old tiller. just run it up on the traler and away i go. planing on building something simmler for a forge i just like puting things on wheels i guess.


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I made a portable set-up for craft shows and demos. The forge is a 12" round Centaur pot mounted in one end of a 55 gal drum. The other end is cut open to let ashes fall on the ground. There are also two cutouts in the barrel - one for the air duct and the other to reach the clinker breaker handle. I reused the piece of sheet metal cut from the end of the drum by cutting it down the middle then mounting a piece on either side of the pot so I can pile coal up against them. They also act as a small wind break so the smoke doesn't blow willy-nilly in the breeze.

People want to see coal or charcoal - they think gas is too "modern".

Post vise is mounted to another 55 gal drum. I fill the drum with water so I have a slack tub plus the vise is anchored. Dump the water when finished and you are good to go.

My blower is a manual type (Tiger 300) with a piece of 3" heater duct for an air pipe. It is mounted on three legs and completely portable. For a while, I used a good Champion electric blower but found I could not always find consistent electrical hookups so I switched to the hand blower.

Anvil is a good quality, no-name, wrought 100 lb. It can be placed in a separate stand and locked into place. The stand has an angle iron top to fit the anvil, which is welded to a 4x4 piece of box tubing. The other end of the tubing is welded to a 55 lb plate. The stand weighs about 100 lbs so the whole thing is around 200 when assembled. The stand has a tool rack welded to it so I can drop about 10 hardy tools in place and have ready access to them.

I will not work where I can't find shade so will either set up under a "pop-up" tent or a tree. It does not matter if it's bright - I just don't like direct sunlight.

I ALWAYS rope off where I am working and do not make exceptions to this rule because I don't want people walking up and sticking their nose on top of the work. I once went to a demo at a living history museum where they encouraged people to crowd the smith so they could see him work. One youngster walked up and started tapping a piece of scrap on the horn while I was forging a piece and talking to the crowd. I was not rude but finished the piece and let him wander off, then I went to the truck and got a piece of rope to keep the throng back at a safe distance. Sure enough, the show coordinator came by and started complaining - I stopped him in mid-sentence and said either the rope stayed or I left...end of conversation.

I precut everything I plan to demo/make and often do preliminary steps at home, then complete the final assembly in front of the crowd. I find very few people know the difference plus I don't try to hide it - I simply say that I did such and such at the home shop and explain as I go. I demo for both the general public and for blacksmiths so I tailor the demo for the audience. I put all of my tools in two or three 5 gallon plastic buckets and work from there. Don't try to take your entire home shop - plan your demo and only take what is needed.

I can fit everything in my short-bed truck and also can dolly everything to the work site. I thought long and hard about having to move it all by myself and designed it with that goal in mind.

It does not have to be very scientific if you plan to only do it once or twice but you really should put some thought into it if you plan to make demonstrations a regular habit.

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Hollis covered most of the points. Make it simple and easy to handle and set up. I keep everything to 100# or less because at the end of a long day you still have to carry it to the truck and load up for the trip home.

The one item you must bring is a "extra" hammer. One broken handle or a hammer that walks off can ruin the rest of your day.

You are responsible for safety in your area. If at any time it becomes unsafe for either you or the audiance, shut down and fix it, or pack up and leave.

If there is ever a question about safety, it is NOT safe enough yet.

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Coal can be quite annoying to your "neighbors". Charcoal is a bit more friendly. If you do use a gasser make a sheetmetal cover for it like a dragon's mouth---impresses folks missing the coal.

One trick I learned from a peripitatic smith is for a post vise stand.

Take a 55 gal steel drum with a bung on the side near one end. Cut out the other end.

Take a chunk of 2x8 or 2x12, water bed frames are often discarded with nice sideboards for reuse...place it ontop of the open end and scrible the *INSIDE* curve on it so it just touches one flat edge. Cut out the arc and mount inside the barrel with lagbolts.

Mount your post vise to the board in the barrel with removable mounting system.

To use: mount vise and fill with water---about 400# of weight for stability, water for fire safety/quench tank. At the end of the day remove bung and let barrel empty. Remove vise and the empty barrel is light an can be used to haul stuff in---I like using it for my scrap as it can't poke holes in things like the tarp or bellows if it's in the barrel.

To make it a bit better you can weld a holder for the vise foot to it. Or since I usually demo on grass or gravel I took a rr fish plate and welded a piece of pipe to it and then "stake" it to the ground to hold the foot---holds for anything I should be doing in a demo situation...


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  • 1 year later...

I've seen 2 things so far that I thought useful - one was a post vice adapted so that the fixing plate had a post welded underneath to fit the demo anvil's hardy hole - coupled with a tube welded on the anvil frame for th epost to fit through. The post vice just drops into place when needed.

The other thing was a set-up that Pete Oberon has in his shop (I beleive that he won't mind me mentioning this as he did say to take any photos & ideas we wanted to).
What he'd done was make a small table / bench with a vice mounted on it. The legs were steel angle iron, and welded to the bottom trusses was the wheel & frame from a wheel barrow. This enables him to wheel the (reasonably heavy) bench outside in good weather so that any angle grinding is done there. It's amazing the difference it makes in the noise level inside the workshop.
I was so impressed with the idea that I've been thinking of ways to adapt it for future use.

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I built a nice 10 foot long ramp out of expanded metal and angle iron, with a pivoting attachment bar on one end. I take the tailgate off the pickup, pull the ramp off the contractor rack, and attach with pins to the lip of the pickup bed. All my tables, forges, etc. have at least one bar welded across the legs, pretty low, so a handtruck can scoop them up easily. We use a cheap HF offroad version handtruck with higher quality tires and the whole system works real good.

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just thinking here....

but what if your setup area, which you may not get to choose has ground that is a bit too soft for say the legs of an anvil stand? A few spikes with a small plate on top might do the trick, could be the first demonstration. If the ground is OK the metal you hauled out to make the spikes is used for something else

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looking for tips on how you handle the portability of your set ups for demonstrations , festivals, hammer-ins etc
coal ?
I use coal
what size anvil ?
Right now 107# was 87# and first 187#. 107# works well, 87# ok but a little small 187# was nice but hard to move
set up for your vise ?
hooked up to forge table
tool racks ?
On side of forge table
material handling ?
?? I put long pieces under forge and smaller or pieces partially blanked at home in wooden boxes beside the forge
truck , trailer , canopies , saftey issues , etc
Truck is F350 4 wheel drive, tandem axle 6 x 12 trailer, trader tent with fly(canopy) extends out from tent. I use a side draft hood with smoke stack due to local fire marshal wanting me to get heat out from under fly(I try to keep them happy). I move everything with a two wheel cart and try to make everything collapsable for easy setup and tear down.



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