Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Joss

What's the minimum size for a forge shop?

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I am looking for a house, hopefully somewhere where I could set up a forge. In Seattle (where I live), most houses have a basement, but I think a forge is probably not a good thing to have indoor, for obvious reasons... :o

 

So I'm looking for a house with a detached garage. However, those are hard to come by, and sometimes carry a hefty premium. Plus, I've found a really nice house, with a garden but without a garage.

 

Given the footprint, it's unlikely that I could get a permit to build anything in hard the size of a 1-car garage. It might be possible to build a smaller shed-like structure in wood (I could set it up on an area of the back yard covered with concrete). However, I wouldn't be able to get power in.

 

I am trying to think creatively. I can set up a shop indoor for the cold work, including grinding, and only do the actual forging and HT outside (ideally, that would include salt baths eventually). I could do some heavy grinding on damascus billets, etc, directly outside.

 

In such a case, what would be the size required for the forging only portion?

 

I am interested in hearing about anyone who has direct or indirect experience forging in an urban environment and a constrained space. (And although I realize that the ideal place is larger and out of town, it's just not an option at this time.)

 

Thanks,

 

JD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My entire operation presently is in a 16 X 16 foot space. tight but workable.

 

Run a cord outside...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Joss.

I made my first sword, in a crowded urban setting. my unfinished basement was my "shop". I put my bench next to the biggest basement window. I modified it so I could hinge the window and put a high powered fan in it to exit the crud. it seemed to work fairly well. My neighbors finally asked me what the heck I was doing in my basement, as they saw flashes of light and heard grinding tools going. I told them that I'm an "artist" and need my space. Ohhhhh.. was the reply. :lol: My actual forge was 5 miles away in the country Though. Good luck buddy, Jerry

 

P.S. wear some good resporation/ventiltion if you choose the basement. There is always induction heating. not much residual haet at all. Ask Lee how to make one. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My forge is outdoors. Of course, I have a fairly large yard and a thoroughly muffled anvil. Most of my neighbors are anaware of what I'm up to. Besides, most of my neighbors make more noise than I do!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on the part of Seattle you're in. Lake City is populated with LOTS of 2 stories with attached garages (usually taking up the better part of the basement) and have nice yards. I live in Lynnwood and last year the wife and I found a 3 bed, 2 bath rambler with a 2 (almost 3) car garage attached. Enough room for her car, my shop equipment AND crap storage in the rafters. Shall I make you even more envious that there is about 30 feet on either side and the back has a small grove of fruit trees :) And I'm not talking the sticks of Lynnwood- we can spit and hit Alderwood mall, and the new Transit Center is about 4 blocks away.

 

Ok, enough trying to get you to look at another house. :) Double check the codes for Seattle, but you can probably make an open structure that uses the house for one wall, or that stands free on the property (so no "walls" but you could drape canvas on the sides so it's like a perma-tent. ) Also, dig up the clay layer that will likely be about 4-6" below the surface, fill that hole with dirt or other fill, put the clay back on top and make a hard-dirt floor. Then, should you decide to move, you just dig up the floor, remove the posts (maybe even have them on the concrete risers) and lay down some sod to cover your tracks. Come to think of it, I think you CAN build a non permanent, non-dwelling structure without needing any permits.... but don't quote me on that :D

 

A friend and I converted a small 8X8 storage shed in Bothell into a wood working space. It wasn't fancy. The table saw had to come out before you could work, and there was hardly room to turn around, but it got the job done for a half dozen book shelves, some wood boxes and some crazy stuff for his theater projects (he's a lighting designer and prop guy). We ran 2 outdoor rated extension cords from the 2 circuits in the house to the shop and then had a power strip on one for the lights, and the other was dedicated to the power tool that we were using at the time.

 

I don't have a lot of fancy stuff, so if I had to, I could probably get away with 12X12 or less if I made the propane forge more free standing (like a BBQ stand with the forge over the propane bottle) and gave up my benches; which is probably what I'd do with your space and make some sturdy benches in the basement for my power tool and hand tool uses... actually, if I just had forge, anvil, tool rack and quench, I could do it in a 6X6. Beyond that I'd be using the space for layout and to store steel and my bandsaw.

 

I know you'll figure something out- if you didn't think you could make it work, your brain would have told you to stop looking at the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joss-

 

 

 

Great question... kinda hard to answer though.

 

 

With our weather, I'd definitely keep as much of the work inside as you can. At least be able to store the tools inside. Anvils and hammers will rust like crazy overnight here.

 

You've seen my shop, and it's stuffed at 24'X26' But then again, most people don't have 3 freezers and a fridge in their garage either!

 

A friend of mine has a garden shed that's 11' X 14' and it could make a very usable shop with some ingenuity and drive.

 

You should move a little bit south and build a 46'X68' shop!!! :D

 

-Nick-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put a 9 x 14 foot shed roof (no walls) on the side of my 12x16 shed. I put a level frame of 2 x 4s around the bottom edge and filled it with half a truckload of gravelly sand fill for a level floor with drainage. The shed has power so I run an extension cord out for the grinders and (when I use it) the forge blower. In the outside space I have two coal forges, one permanent with a chimney and one movable; a gas forge, that sits on top of the second coal forge when it's not in use; a belt grinder, a hand crank forge blower, a post vise, two anvils on big stumps, a barrel of charcoal (that's the grinder stand), a small pile of scrap steel, a fish cooker, three propane tanks, the lawnmower, a double chamber bellows, and a couple of plastic storage containers filled with miscellaneous stuff. I put a shelf on the shed wall that holds a few other things. The inside space holds five stationary power tools for woodworking and has a bench along the 12 foot back wall where I have another post vise and a Beverly shear. There are piles of other stuff everywhere in there too. I like to do draw filing and finish work inside, and messier stuff like forging and grinding outside. So more space is better, but an awful lot can be fit into a rather small area if that's all you have. Good luck with it; I've recently found out I will have to move to another state, and I haven't seen any properties there that have what I would consider an adequate size shop space. So please share what you end up going with, I may have to do something similar soon.

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Perkins

My shop is probably the smallest you'll find on this site.

 

It's an 8x8 foot shed that I built outside in the woods by my house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Makes me feel bad about sniveling about the 15 x 25 I'm working in. Joss, I am thinking about selling my place in Lynnwood and moving to larger digs, interested in buying?

 

One place I looked at the other day was 6 bays, 30 x 70, with a 30 x 30 loft, and enough room to turn a propane tanker around, if only the house wasn't a '70's swingers wet dream. Another place I looked at had 7000 sq ft of sheds and shops and barns, plenty of space, but the house needed some help.

 

I dream about the 30 x 70, from time to time.

 

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Makes me feel bad about sniveling about the 15 x 25 I'm working in.  Joss, I am thinking about selling my place in Lynnwood and moving to larger digs, interested in buying?

25060[/snapback]

I need to buy something in Seattle proper - as in, Ballard is borderline for me (I commute to Redmond everyday, but I don't want to live on the east side for a variety of reasons.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to try and convince you, but it's no harder, perhaps easier, to get from where I live to Redmond. Now Georgetown, that's a haul, Redmond, piece of Kuchen.

 

g

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

im running a 12x12x14 foot tall cuzz thats the biggest you could bild at the time with out a permit (grrrrr found out that latter it went up to 14x14x15 the bastards) i have all my grinders heat treating and my forge inside my propaine is out side my oxy set is in and a wire feed a small welding table with large vice a ladder to get to the second floor were i do all my file work and leather stuff and some times i have been known to use a 10ft bar to make some smithy type stuff in said shop

 

heres how i mounted my forge its hard to see but its on a swing arm so i can move it in and out of the corner for longer stuff

 

http://dragoncutlery.bravepages.com/images/simage/DC11.html

 

oh and theres a bench mill on the second floor to

 

:D

 

you can do a lot with a little space

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 by 12 over here...... made it nice and tall... an easy way to do it is use those base blocks for patios.... fits 4by4's for the corners.... this way you have a nice solid frame and no worries.. .... buy your wood from a little saw mill..... it's much cheaper..

 

put a big barn door on the side...... you'll love it... and open it up on those lovely days..

-- also good for getting rid of smoke !!

 

-- made my roof outa that ripply looking steel.... and insulated it to keep the sound down..

 

-- just don't let the boss paint it....... cause it'll end up being pink.... trust me on this... and then you'll have nightmares like me... :angry:

 

 

 

Greg and the shocking pinks :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My shops rougly 23 by 20 feet (7m x 6.3m, 44sq. meters)...

and if all goes well by the end of the year will be a proud 120 square meters...

Now I know that is large :)

 

but when I started out my first "real" shop (after the old backyard and cellar) was approx. 3 by 4.5 m [~ 9.8 by 14.8 feet] (an old wooden garage with some space outside as well..

 

the anvil forges and the steel was resting outside under a crude but functional roof I had built...

inside was even a small powerhammer (taking up most of the space), welding equipment and such things...

 

here's a picture

first_shop1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

when I started I had a 30 x 40 building already and I have the space split up into a finishing area wich can be heated in the winter (and soon) cooled in the summer and then a non insulated hot work area, welding area, and 7 yrd pistol shooting area. It is nice having the extra room but that leads to extra walking and moving and wasted time going to get things. If I were to set-up fresh, I would go with no more than a garage size (24 x 24) even though I have 2 large and 2 med sized pcs of equiptment.

 

csc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...