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How to build a blacksmith's forge from common materials.

Updated on February 27, 2012

Do-it-yourself

The backyard tool shed is where most men turn to solve life's unforeseen mechanical failures and with the right tools can be the answer in most cases.No matter how many building tools,power tools or mechanics tools you have no tool shed is complete without a genuine functional smithing forge.A forge can be used to bend,weld,straighten,or create parts or tools,making it a very handy addition to the independent man's arsenal and this Hub will show how to build a forge from common materials usually lying around most tool sheds or barns.

What you will need.

To build a forge a few things must be found/acquired,and may be stacked up or tossed behind the house or shed.Here is a list of materials and a list of tools needed to build a fully functional forge for heating or melting a variety of metals.

Materials

  1. 1 Steel automotive wheel(car or truck)
  2. 4'ft.-2 to 4inch Round or square steel or cast iron tubing.(can be taken from an old gym set)
  3. 4-4ft. Sticks of 1.5 to 3inch angle iron.(metal bed frame can be used)
  4. 1 electric blower fan motor.(an old bathroom exhaust fan or hair dryer)
  5. 1-4inch x 4inch Piece of expanded steel or grate(old driveway drainage grate or heavy charcoal grill grate)
  6. 1 Box of 6013 or equivalent welding rods.

Tools needed

  1. Hacksaw, reciprocating saw or graphite bladed cut-off saw.
  2. Welder(small or large and can be a wire feed)
  3. Welding "slag" hammer.
  4. Wire brush
  5. Welding hood
  6. Safety glasses
  7. Heavy leather welding gloves
  8. Tape measure
  9. Soapstone or crayon for marking
  10. Bucket of water on hand for cooling parts or dowsing fires.

This may seem to be a lot but if you are familiar with any kind of welding/fabricating it's not.If you do not own a welder it is possible to assemble the forge by drilling holes and bolting it together ,although for a sturdy dependable forge it is recommended to weld the materials during assembly. Maybe a friend or relative has one and will come over and do the welding for you.

Caution:During use the forge top can reach temps around !,000 degrees F. If your ability to make good strong binding welds is in question have the welding done by an experienced fabricator. If a weld fails the forge could potentially tip over or spill hot coals resulting in severe burns and injury and/or fire damage to surroundings.As always use extreme caution while welding and wear approved protective equipment.Never look at or in the direction of the plasma arc produced while welding,severe damage or total loss of eyesight can and will occur.Always keep an approved chemical fire extinguisher handy and don't weld in non ventilated buildings or tight spaces as the fumes are dangerous.

Getting started

These steps are accompanied by the corresponding illustrations,numbered for assembly.

  1. Cut a piece of the round or square tubing approximately 3 ft long
  2. After cutting measure from end and make marks at 6 inches, 71/2 inches and at 9 inches
  3. Using a triangle square make a line at 45 degrees from the 6 inch mark to the 71/2 inch mark. Then make a line from the 9 inch mark bake to the 71/2. It should look like the marking in the illustration.
  4. Carefully cut out the piece marked being careful not to cut all the way through the tubing
  5. Now mark another piece of tubing approximately 11/2 ft to 3 ft and cut
  6. Hold a piece of tubing against the short piece you just cut and trace around it to make a half moon shape.
  7. Cut along the line and check for a uniform clean fit,use a grinder to fine tune until you achieve a uniform fit.
  8. When you are happy with the fit tack the pieces together,allow to cool,brush clean with wire brush and carefully weld the remainder.
  9. Lay the wheel with the shallow side facing up,align the 3 ft. piece of tubing with the hole in the wheel,and again tack,cool,clean and finish the weld attaching the tubing to the wheel
  10. Weld the 4 pieces of angle iron on the outer rim of the wheel directly opposite one another.
  11. Turn the whole assembly over and stand it up right on the angle iron legs.
  12. Place an empty soup can or similar over open end of tube facing the ground.You can use a self tapping metal screw to hold the can in place.This will serve as the ash clean-out door after the forge has been used a few times.
  13. Place exhaust fan housing over short horizontal piece of tubing and secure with sheet metal screws or pop rivets.
  14. Wire in or plug in the fan, place grate over the hole in the center of the wheel, add coal and you have a forge.

There are plenty of resources on the internet to learn a few tricks and guide lines dealing with different types of metals.With the addition of this tool the possibilities of the tool shed enter a whole new level. Anything from alternator brackets to wrought iron patio furniture can be made at home in the backyard.With practice and a little patience high strength high quality tools and knives are just hammer blows away.

Fuel for the forge can be found at most home centers or along most rail road tracks. Charcoal can be used but doesn't get quite as hot.Enjoy and be safe.

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