Monday, December 23, 2013

Wooden Forge

Greetings, of the season, which is Advent, soon to be Christmas (with all due respect to my readers who do not celebrate such a joyous time of rejoicing)!

Today I want to share with you all the forge that I constructed from scrap lumber, steel fence-posts and wire mesh, all found around my house. The screws were mostly extras that my dad had laying around, and everything was done with minimal tools.
I want to show what CAN be done, and that you don't have to go fancy to make beautiful artwork.

First of all, after I first bought my Champion 400 blower and Whirlwind Firepot, I knew I needed a place to put them, so that I could forge efficiently.
This was my original set up. I did work like this for about 6 or 7 months, which was a real drag. The fuel always fell out of the heap, as you can see from the bricks surrounding the pot.

So, with a little help from my dad, we scrounged some scrap wood and build this table: 

As you can see, the forge is wood, with a plywood top and adobe/mud topped with firebricks. This was amazing, forging on top of this puppy. Unfortunately, the first forging only lasted a few minutes...

We have smoke! Ignition! Fire!

The Champion 400 doing its thing, me, doing my thing in my Franciscan U T-shirt

Look how happy I am, posing for the camera! This was way before I had a big ole' beard. (although now I am down to a mustache. Go figure!)

Can you guess the obvious design flaw? 

(this one is my avatar for

So, this forge caught fire. The plyboard was only an inch away from a hot firepot, and so it reached critical temperatures.... Back to the drawing board! 

I knew that I was not going back to this rubble pile of a forge. It was just plain inconvenient!

So, I measured, and began to cut the fence posts! (note the bending forks in the background! I did a post on them while at school, featuring MS Paint in all its glory!)

The fence posts spanned the wood, now devoid of the plywood. Note the T shape of the fence posts: I had to cut a notch to accommodate the posts in each piece of wood.

A test fitting of my firepot! This is the general idea of my wooden forge. There is between 8 and 12 inches from the wood to the firepot in any direction. 

The next step, accomplished many months later, when the snow was long gone:
I covered the whole thing with wire mesh, and doused it with dissolved borax in water. Its a fireproofing thing. 

The back needed to be cut out, and so I did that and added reinforcements so it didn't cave in. I used old flex tubing for the air pipe. It works great!

This is the underside. I added cut open steel food cans as deflectors to reflect the heat back from the wood. This added layer of insurance is great, it works like a charm.

It is tied with wire to the mesh up top.

The forge, finished for now, and with a bright fire licking coal smoke off those smooth black rocks.

The fire bricks are movable and temporary. I am not quite done modifying the forge; I would like a steel top rather than the wire mesh, but that will come whenever I can find a filing cabinet or a washing machine shell...

Here's the whole smithy, under the sprawling elm tree or whatever the poet wrote. I'd rather have a roof.

After the fire was all raked away. The mesh holds the coal well enough!

A view of the ash dump, held there by wire. Slightly primitive, but its what I've got.

A view of the underside after I raked away the coals.

The blower, the thing that makes it hotttttt!!!

And an artsy shot!

I have the feet cut off and the tube goes straight int the stump, which has holes drilled to accommodate the piping.

There was enough airflow to keep the coals glowing hot for a little while. Amazing!

Thus, I completed my forge, in all of its glory! Its not DONE, but its getting there. 

God Bless us all, and to all a good night!

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