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Forge design


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I am a beginner blade smith and have created my own forge in my welding class (just graduated high school). My question is: Based on the pictures will it do the job, and if not what kind of modifications do i need to do to try and make it work better. I have fired it 2 times to try and find the hot spot, once using kingsford charcoal and the second was with some coal i scrounged out of a failed batch that i tried to make myself

Thank You.

2012-06-24 14.30.18.jpg

2012-06-24 14.30.09.jpg

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Hi, I would recomend cutting the grill out. Then I would fix a tube to the end of your burner port that extends to the end of your forge. This tube would have 1/2 inch holes drilled every 3 inched down the entire length. Cap the end of the pipe In each of these holes put a short length of 1/2 outside diameter tube with a cap on the end. drill a hole in each of these caps.The caps/tube will just sit loosly in the forge. This will allow you to vary the length of heat, by pulling out tubes and blocking the holes with carage bolts or some such, and then burying the section of tube not in use. For most work you will only need three. Now fill the bottom of the forge with something righ to the top of the pipe. Some folks use adobe but ashes and such work well. I'll draw a pic and show you. I have a friend who has been using a forge like what i just described for something like 30 or more years now. You will also need to cut a port out of the far end of the forge. Cut it to the level of the blower pipe

Edited by J. Helmes
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1) Well done !


2) Do what J.Helmes suggests


3) Keep the mesh though - if you forge using charcoal then any fuel left after you have finished is great for a quick BBQ ( I'm not kidding ;) )

Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims

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I have a solution that will save you on work and it's worth trying before you do any modifications, then if you don't like it go with the above comments. I use a forge similar to this that I built for coal, just at waist high working level and it fires onto a flat surface of firebrick. What you have as a bottom is thick enough steel that it should be a problem though, just make sure you have a poker ( my first one was just a piece of rebar I heated, brought to a points then curved into an L shape. My coal forge remained sideblown just as yours looks now, coming straight from a one inch pipe. I modified it to bottom blown and didn't like it and came back to the model you're using now. I just build my fire right at the hole and pull coal in to turn to coke as I'm working, then shuffle ash off the back as it burns (with the poker). It doesn't take much to get used to at all, and your hot spot is bam, right there in front of the air source. If you build a deep coal pile the heat rises through it almost in a gentle arc, and its not that far off from bottom blown, just a J shaped hot spot rather then a straight up and down shaft. If you've done your reading about the different layers in your fire, you should be able to find them in under 10 seconds even though its not a straight up and down shot. You can see like I said, if you don't like this, then just mod it out like they said. Also if you have trouble finding any sort of adobe or clay, a really cheap resource for that filler that a friend of mine used to make his model exactly like that was cat litter. Just buy a couple bags of the unscented clay litter, and thats exactly what it is. Mix down with water in a 5 gallon bucket, sloooowly. You don't want to overwet it or you're kind of stuck buying more litter to thicken it up. but its cheap so hey, who cares.




this could help out a bit as far as a visual reference goes, you can see how he crimped the pipe even to get more forced air flow... I never found that necessary, but it depends on your air source too. I use a blower out of an old gas heater. I've heard hair dryers work but poop out eventually.

Hope this helps.


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What you have is neither fish nor foul. The design is wrong for both coal and charcoal.


For coal I would keep the mesh but move the tuyere (air pipe) to the middle of the bottom. Make a T-fitting in the pipe and have the air come in from another pipe to the side. Block the bottom of the pipe with a plug that can easily be opened as an ash dump. Weld a table around the sides of what you have to coke the coal out on. You do not forge with coal; it has to be burned out to coke first. You start a fire in the middle and let that burn to coke then pile coal on the table around the fire so that it will coke out as the central fire burns down. You just keep pulling the new coke into the fire and replacing the coal on the perimeter as needed. Also, I doubt that a hair dryer will supply enough air for forging. You could get around burning the coal to coke by buying smithing coke to begin with but you will definitely need more air. If you go with coal, make sure it is blacksmithing coal or the sulfur will be absorbed into the steel and make it brittle.


For charcoal you could probably leave it side shot like you have it or replace it with a tuyere that runs the length with 3/4" drilled in it about every inch and line it like J. said. Also the fire box is too shallow for a charcoal fire. To get a good heat it is better to have about four inches of charcoal under the work and about two inches over it. You could get some fire brick and build up the sides of it.


Eventually you will probably go the way of the rest of us who have started out with solid fuel forges once we get tired of doing all the fire tending and occasionally not being able to get a good heat and build a gas forge. Solid fuel forges do have an advantage with irregularly shaped pieces, such as axes, though. That's why I still have the last charcoal forge that I built setting at the back of my hot shop.



Edited by Doug Lester

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

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Thanks everyone for the ideas.

I'm going to think long and hard about the way I want to go about this, but Doug your probably right, I might just break down and build a fire brick gas forge.

I'll post pics when I get it figured out.

Thanks All :D

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