Making a Forge

Here are some notes and photos from a forge building class I took last year.

This is a photo of the stainless steel mixing bowl that we started with. Dan had already filled the end with ceramic casting material about 2 inches deep. A cardboard tube or can was used to mold the inside of the forge opening.

We were using a section of stove pipe from an old fireplace. The width of the pipe almost fit the bowl. Dan had reduced the opening slightly so that there would be a snug fit when the tube was slipped over the opening of the bowl.

This is a photo of the Dan's completed forge which we were using as a model.

Here is a photo which shows how much of an overlap will be needed.

We punched 6 holes in the tube with a punch or in some cases a drill.

We marked the depth of the bowl and then insert it into the tube until the proper depth is achived. When the bowl is in position, we marked the holes on the bowl which needed to be punched. I also marked a couple other lines to ensure that the seam would line up and the holes would match up in the proper order.

We used 6 stainless steel rivets into the matching holes. In some cases some folks had to use a drill to clean up the holes when the didn't align exactly.

Here's a shot of the inside of the tube. You need to place washers on the inside of the rivets to prevent pull out.

Drill two holes in the front and two in back for the ¼ inch bolts which were used as legs. They should be two inches off the center seam line and two inches from each end of the tube. There should be a washer on the inside and outside of the tube.

The washer was rounded slightly to match up with the shape of the tube by striking it while placed on a wooden stump.

This is the channel stock and hinge which was used to mount a door on the back of the forge. The edges of the channel stock was rounded over and shaped so that it would fit snug over the firebrick being used for the door.

The hinge was placed and the holes were drilled in the forge.

This photo shows the hardware and the cut brick. The brick was cut with diamond blade tile saw to a dimension of 5 X 5 ½ inches.

To allow for the door to close snug, the hinge had to be trimmed a slight amount to fit over the lip of the mixing bowl. The channel stock was then welded to the hinge using plug welds and small tacks on the side of the hinge.

This photo shows the future placement of the hinge. Note we also drilled a hole in each end of the channel stock for the future placement of the bolts.

The hinge was then shaped with a ball peen hammer on the stump to make a snug fit on the rounded end of the forge. These images show the door assembly in place. Note that the head of the bold is on the inside of the forge to minimize the surface area which would snag on the wool to be inserted later.

You can see that the set up will allow for easy replacement of a broken brick. The door length is also easily lengthened by simply using longer bolt or threaded rod.

Next we had to add the bracket where the burner would be inserted. Dan had created these brackets before the class. A hole was drilled in the bracket to match the width of the tube which was welded to to. This was to fit the burner assembly. The bracket was punched with four holes in the corners and then riveted to the body of the forge using stainless steel rivets.. The bracket were installed at the mid-way point of the body. They were installed either flat or slightly angled upward.

The burner assembly was next. This is a photo of some of the parts. For final assembly the threads were taped and tightened.

These are the parts needed. They are all readily available and purchased at Menards.

Note that the mig tip was made for .022 wire. The black pipe was 12 inches long. Dan's model we were copying was only 8 inches. The pipe can be shortened if desired.

Cutting and installing the wool is next. The wool was cut to size based on the outside circumference. That seemed larger than was needed, but the wool packed in easily.

After the wool was inserted it was sprayed heavily with a solidifier. Some of us chose to install a second layer of wool. The bricks were inserted in the base of the forge and the second layer of wool held the bricks in place.

After a final coating of solidifier on the second layer of wool, the forges were fired up to harden the coating on the wool. They are now ready for use.