We are gonna builld a usefull size, fuel efficient forge, that is small enough to take along with you to where you need it. We are gonna do
this with the junk I can scrounge from my stash of junk. This puppy will get the steel hot enough to forge weld.
Ok, this is the victim, an old air tank that dont hold air anymore. 'Round here, there are one or two of these in 'bout every garage, carport, and toolshed. Brand new they are like $24 from Harbor Freight.
First we mark for the cut. I had a chunk of steel exactly 6 inches high, so I set it beside it and marked along the sides, and the ends...
This is the dangerous part, cutting out the line. I'm using a cutoff blade on my angle grinder. you can use a jigsaw, cutting torch, anithing that will cut it will do. If you are using the tool that I am, keep in mind that you dont want to plunge too deep... just enough to cut through. if you get the thin disk bound up, BAD things happen!
I'm gonna assume you do not have a welder. I normally, after making the cut down the first side, weld the hinges on, then continue the cut. I'm gonna do this the hard way, just for y'all, with nuts and bolts. Continue the cut on around till you get the top off.
Use your file, sandpaper, or flap disc to dress the edges... them's YOUR fingers after all...
Almost everyone has a set of door hinges stashed somewhere in a junk drawer
Now put the top back on and trace where they go with your Sharpie
Drill the holes for the hinge bolts.
Now set the bottom half on end.
Make several cuts (like an asterisk) centered 2 inches up from the bottom.
Use a hammer to drive the wedges in.
Drive in Your air pipe. I chose 1 1/2 in black iron pipe.
Here's the hole
Now do the same thing for the other end.
The pipe should slide all the way through.
You want to be able to open both ends so that you can remove the ash that builds up in it. Most people use a screw on cap and a threaded pipe, I just made a slip in plug from another piece of pipe that already had an end on it.
Decide which end is gonna be the front, and make two cuts like so... using your high tech bending tool, bend the piece down to make a shelf
Clean up your edges..
You should now have something that resembles this
Now drill a line of holes down the center of the pipe
So here's where we start the day:
Now grab your shovels. Most peoples back yards have clay in them, if you dig a bit. Here, about a foot of topsoil covers that good 'ole Carolina Brickmakin' clay! If you dont have clay in your area, buy a bag of the cheapest clay kitty litter you can find, and soak it for a day in water... mix it in your backyard dirt. It works great.
Time to line the Forge!
Start packing the damp clay sand mix against the walls. Pack it as tight as you can. If your spouse thought something was wrong with you when you started this project, seeing a grown adult playing in the mud might make 'em call the "nice young men in the clean white coats" to pay you a visit!
This is something like what you should have at the end. I didn't bolt the lid on, so you could see what I'm doin better
I had this SS angle iron Base that I scavenged (Legaly!) from work, looks like great forge table material to me!
Add a metal door from an electrical cabinet and Viola! An all metal, non-flamable forge table! Now most of y'all will use one of these to provide airflow. That Hairdryer provides PLENTY of air for a forge of this design. Doh! I got Caught! Well, back to scrounging... I found this old squirrel cage blower in an exhaust fan from a bathroom I demo'd out on the base. It'll do!
Now we have the old Round Peg / Square Hole problem... Let's see... A quick raid of the pantry when the wife wasn't looking netted me a can of pumpkin (leftover from thanksgiving) that's just about the right size...
Empty the contents, and make 4 90 degree bends to make one end square...
The bottom had a circleJUST the rigt size for the pipe... Cut it out, place square end in square hole, round pipe in round hole and You're there!
Fire that thing up!
With the lid on
Dang that air blast is high!
Normally Iwould place a dimmer switch in the circuit But... lemme try something here
Yup! it worked! Looks kinda homegrown though... Lemme see what else I've got..
Perfect! add a screw to make it permanent, and I have an easily adjustable airflow!
Does it work? What do you think?
This was a bit more serious build than the chevy rim forge, and it was intended for a more serious backyard smith. The advantage is this one has a lid, is easily portable (with the hairdryer airsource) will last for years, and is big enough to handle 16 inch blades. If you are working on smaller blades, you can cover up most of the holes with mud and save charcoal. Most of this is based on Tim Lively's design (Tim's a great fellow,you really should check out his site), adapted to what I had laying around.
I purosely used basic tools, to show you that it can be done by just about anyone. Hope you enjoyed, and happy Forging!