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My first forge WIP


Sakura
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Well after browsing this forum for ages and sucking up information, I decided to start and build my own forge. I only wanted to start posting if I had anything usefull to say, so here's my first one. I wanted to keep it as cheap and simple as possible since I have no idea if this hobby will satisfy me and I won't go nuts afer breaking all my first blades hehe. As a basic design guideline I took what I've seen from the traditional japanese forges in books and movies and adapted it to a more easy and basic form. Then I just bought my stuff and started, engineering as I went.

 

Needs:

-36 heat resistant bricks

-One bag of heat resistant cement

-Two 20x100x6cm concrete strips as fundament

-Basic masonry needs

Total cost around €125,- or $150,-

 

First I dug and flattened the ground under my forge and added some white sand. On this bed I placed the concrete strips as a fundament. Make sure they are nice and even and pound them down so they won't shift under the added weight, don't break them when pounding. I found the best way was to just jump on them. Then I cut some of my blocks to a slanted profile and layed out my basic form.

ruwe layout.JPG

 

I dissasembled this again and poured a layer of my cement mixture over the bottom and added the bricks of the first layer. Repeated this for layer two. Still a bit messy but at this stage cosmetics weren't my concern. I fixated the airtube with little pieces of shattered brick and some extra thick cement. Make sure to wet the bricks before laying them. I left this setup to dry in the sun for a week. After it was dry I smoothed the edges of some parts with a hammer and chisel to give the final result a smoother look and feel.

fase1 ruw gemetseld.JPG

And off course the cat came to take a look, curious as allways.

fase1 ruw gemetseld poes.JPG

 

 

After drying for a week I added the final layer. First a dry fit and some light reworking for a tight fit with a hammer and chisel.

fase3 ruwe layout.JPG

 

 

And then I layed the final bricks with cement and smoothed the surfaces. I used some extra watery cement to fill up all the nooks and cracks. I allso smeared in the concrete strips with cement to give the total a finished look and fixate the fundament.

fase3 klaar.JPG

fase3 klaar2.JPG

 

 

I used some extra thick cement, my hands and a rough brush to shape and smoothe the fire area, allways looking out not to fill up the airtube with cement.

vuurgat.JPG

vuurgat2.JPG

 

 

Im actually quite happy with the final result.

finished.JPG

 

 

Mind me this is a first time so it's not a masterpiece. I just wanted a simple design to start with that got the job done (hopefully). I hope it might show another firsttimer that it's not that hard if you just take the time, and some money, to start. I might add a second layer of bricks on the sides to give it a bit more heating capacity and heat spreading to prevent cracking.

Now I only have to dig up some old blower for the air and I'm ready for my first knife. I work as an engineer at a chemical company. The technical department has a beautifull collection of high grade scrap steels that they were willing to part with in exchange for a piece of good-ol Dutch apple pie. I have all the basics, some spring steel and low carbon alloy to start with but allso high carbon axles, high speed steel (M42 & M32) with infused titanium nitride and even some titanium alloy piping if I really feel cocky after some good initial results.

 

Thanks for reading and watching. You guys run a killer forum! None of the european or Dutch forums I know of has the kind of indepth and professional knowledge you share here. And even better, you guys are professional enough to allways stay polite and open to eachother. That maybe is the biggest virtue a forum can have in this modern era of internet, trolling, flaming and biting.

 

Any tips, suggestions or commentary if very welcome.

Edited by Sakura

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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That's a damn fine looking forge! I hope it does well for you, I don't have the experience to predict anything, but it seems like you have all the necessary features.

 

What I really want to know, though, is where you got that anvil, and for how much! it's quite a beaut.

I work at a brewery where we do historical tools, and there's a peter wright anvil in the cooperage. Just sitting there!! No one uses it, it's a damned crime. Maybe I can convince somewhat to turn a blind eye for a faithful employee, eh?

 

Lookin good - Happy forging!

Morgan C. Davison

 

In order to bring spirit, originality, and excellence to everything you do, you must make living an art, a journey, and a discipline. Through one thing, know ten thousand things.

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That's a damn fine looking forge! I hope it does well for you, I don't have the experience to predict anything, but it seems like you have all the necessary features.

 

What I really want to know, though, is where you got that anvil, and for how much! it's quite a beaut.

I work at a brewery where we do historical tools, and there's a peter wright anvil in the cooperage. Just sitting there!! No one uses it, it's a damned crime. Maybe I can convince somewhat to turn a blind eye for a faithful employee, eh?

 

Lookin good - Happy forging!

 

Thanks for the nice words!

Well I actually found the anvil by accident lying around in the toolshop when I was buying some hammers etc. it costed me 120 euro's so that might be around $150 (have to check exchange rates). It's 50 kilo's, thats about the minimum you need for a decent setup, the do come lighter and cheaper though. I just bought it right away because the shop is close to my house. You can easily find it cheaper on ebay but then with delivering and extra costs you'll probably end up with allmost the same price. It's heavy so shipping/delivering is usually as expensive as the part itself.

 

Thanks again!

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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I suggest explaining things to that very suspicious looking Tabby before you fire it up. I don't think he trusts it!

That fine tabby is indeed a force to be reckoned with, I suspect him of being undercover. Doing his dirty job for ze Germanz, never underestimate your neighbours ;)

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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Nice forge, instead of trying to dig up some old blower, just build a box bellows, it'd fit the style quite well as it's what the japanese use.

Yes I did think about it. I even have a pretty clear image about how a fuigo looks on the inside and works. Problem is that my forge will stay outside until I really get going or find a better place and a fuigo wouldn't survive the rain, wind and temperature changes. Allso a blower is an easy and cheap alternative, I know I'm a lazy man.

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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Just get a big hair dryer. It works pretty well, not the best, but it works.

ps. nice anvil! Im a bit jealous of you now. :lol:

"I have surprised myself with what I can make with simple tools when a definite need arose. I don't think a man knows what he actually can do until he is challenged."- Dick Proennke

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Hair dryers really don't work well, they work better than if you stuck your mouth to the pipe, but compared to a real blower they just don't compare.

 

http://angele.de/

 

try them for a good blower.

 

well done forge!

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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Thanks for the nice words bigfoot and sam!

 

Well the box bellows wouldn't be heavy, just get one of those hose clamps that you press open with fingers, and use it to attach to the tuyere, and when done, unclamp and take inside =]

 

I think I'm going for a blower. Building a fuigo is the way to go if you want to do it traditional but I thinkt it might be a lot harder then it looks to build one that is really good. I remember one video of one of japans contemporary named smiths (can't look up the name at work :P) and even he was complaining about his own built fuigo. he said that it wasn't nearly as good as the one of his teacher, which was built by a specialised fuigo builder a proffesion that sadly died out in the fifties.

 

If anyone has a good plan or drawings I'd love to see them. It could be cool to upgrade this topic with a Fuigo WIP!

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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Yeah , tabby does look suspectlaugh.gif Cool set up... show us a pic with some firecool.gif

 

Make yourself a "shade" that you can move around to keep the anvil and forge out of direct sunlight. Jugging heat of hot steel in the sun it next to impossible...

 

Don Fogg is the one to thank for the " well behaved manors" . He set the tone , the rest of us do as best we can to follow alongsmile.gif

Dick

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Thanks for the nice words bigfoot and sam!

 

 

 

I think I'm going for a blower. Building a fuigo is the way to go if you want to do it traditional but I thinkt it might be a lot harder then it looks to build one that is really good. I remember one video of one of japans contemporary named smiths (can't look up the name at work :P) and even he was complaining about his own built fuigo. he said that it wasn't nearly as good as the one of his teacher, which was built by a specialised fuigo builder a proffesion that sadly died out in the fifties.

 

If anyone has a good plan or drawings I'd love to see them. It could be cool to upgrade this topic with a Fuigo WIP!

 

 

This site should be helpful in making your Fuigo

http://www.twinoaksforge.com/BLADSMITHING/BOX%20BELLOWS.HTM

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Those look like soft fire bricks. If so, they don't like repeated soakings from rain. They tend to crumble and crack over time. It probably won't be a problem, but I would put a piece of sheet metal over it to keep the rain off.

I have boxes full of soft fire brick pieces, but the hard fire bricks don't break unless I drop them.

It looks very good though. I like this style forge the best.

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Those look like soft fire bricks. If so, they don't like repeated soakings from rain. They tend to crumble and crack over time. It probably won't be a problem, but I would put a piece of sheet metal over it to keep the rain off.

I have boxes full of soft fire brick pieces, but the hard fire bricks don't break unless I drop them.

It looks very good though. I like this style forge the best.

These bricks are actually quite hard, harder then you'd expect judging the foto's. They'll only shatter if you give them a firm blow with a hammer, they are also quite easy to shatter along a desired ridge if you scratch them deep. But I will cover it up in the rain and winter, I also smeared it in with cement to fill up all cracks and close the surfaces for that reason.

 

And thanks for the link Shaun I'm allready negotiating a handbuilt Fuigo together with a collegue who is a hobby carpenter. I'll make sure to place some foto's if they're decent. And off course some pictures in use, with some fire and redhot metal. give me two weeks untill my vacation starts and I'll be forging (hopefully) now I'm just a bit too busy.

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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If you get the right air source it will serve you well

 

My dad is adapting an industrial blower for me as we speak, I hope it works well. The fuigo turned out to be a bit too expensive to have it made and I'm not sure my woodworking skills are good enough to build one alone. It looks simple but to make it work like I'd want to might prove a bit ambitious.

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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This site should be helpful in making your Fuigo

http://www.twinoaksforge.com/BLADSMITHING/BOX%20BELLOWS.HTM

 

Sakura,

 

That is actually my site. The box bellows described works fairly well. It was built to be a light portable bellows like you need. At the time I had an outside forge as well.

 

After building several of these and having a few years to think about it I have been redesigning it. Looking at airflow, friction and ease of use.

 

Will spend the next few weeks running tests then build a test bellows. A lot of little things add up to a really efficient Fuigo that is a pleasure to use.

 

Here is a preliminary illustration-It will not be portable but will be intended as a permanent fixture in the forge.

 

boxbellows.jpg

 

Let me know if you have any questions

 

Ain't nothing wrong with a blower though. Sometimes you spend so much time getting ready you don't make anything. The forging is the important part.

Edited by Danocon
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The last charcoal forge that I built was powered by a foot bellows pump that was designed to inflate rafts with. Just an idea for anyone facing a air supply problem.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Sakura,

 

 

Will spend the next few weeks running tests then build a test bellows. A lot of little things add up to a really efficient Fuigo that is a pleasure to use.

 

Ain't nothing wrong with a blower though. Sometimes you spend so much time getting ready you don't make anything. The forging is the important part.

 

Thanks for the info, you have a nice and clear site! But the things you say are exactly the reasons I'll go for a blower first. Maybe this winter I'll start on a fuigo too, so I have the time to make it work without haste, but for now I want to concetrate on hammering metal.

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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Nice forge! I recently built my first forge out of a 55 gallon drum and some fire bricks. A hair dryer will work fine until you get a real blower. I'm still using a hair dryer and my forge gets hot enough to melt the steel. I am going to switch to a vacuum cleaner blower soon though. This is a great forum. Very experienced helpful people here. I've made nine knives so far and everytime I had a question I came here and got several good answers.

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Thanks for the info, you have a nice and clear site! But the things you say are exactly the reasons I'll go for a blower first. Maybe this winter I'll start on a fuigo too, so I have the time to make it work without haste, but for now I want to concentrate on hammering metal.

 

 

Good for you.

 

My problem is I get caught up in the mechanics of it all. How and why does the forge work, what is the most efficient box bellows, why is the Japanese charcoal I have seen so different than the stuff I have made. I dunno, maybe it is my lot to figure all this mundane stuff out and leave the actual forging to others-------Nahhhhh! Pounding hot steel is just too much fun.

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Well I fired it up for the first time today.

I got me a while before I had the right air/charcoal ratio, and at the end I got lazy so I went into turbine engine mode (far too much air). But it burns, I even managed to make something, I did cost me 2,5 kilo's of charcoal though. It doesn't look like much, and the wharped end annoys me but the edge is nice and center. It's an old axle of one of our machines. I gave it a 1mm thick edge so I can use it to split or put edges and notches in future workpieces when needed.

 

Thanks for looking and the nice suggestions!

 

resise1.JPGresise2.JPGresise3.JPGresise4.JPG

For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,

Being itself is the product of Not-being.

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