Have you been wondering if it’s possible to build your own forge, to feed a recently discovered interest in blacksmithing? Whether you’re wanting to make medieval axes or just create items for your homestead, it’s possible to become a backyard blacksmith and it all starts with building a forge.
Choose the Right Fuel
In order to shape metal, you need to have enough heat. For blacksmiths, that means finding the right type of coal. Some people do use liquid fuels to feed their forge, but traditionally it comes from large chunks of coal made out of leftover wood scraps or charred wood from your fireplace.
Create a “Fire Pot”
The main part of your forge will be some type of a pot or large bowl to hold the coals and heat up your metal. This can be anything you want, as long as it’s not made from aluminum or galvanized steel (which will give off a toxic gas.) Whatever it is, make sure that it’s heavy duty because the fire can get really hot and may melt or warp thinner materials. Some ideas can be an old lawn mower deck, kitchen sink, or an unused tank that’s been cut in half.
Keep it Elevated
Your fire pot will need to be up off of the ground, so that ashes can drop out of the bottom and you won’t catch the ground on fire. Elevated forges also prevent you from having to lean over repetitively, which could hurt your back if you’re a full-time blacksmith.
In addition to having a pipe out of the bottom of your fire pit for ash to fall out of, you need to have some type of air blowing into it to keep the temperature high. You can get creative, using anything from a hair dryer to an AC motor fan. Any of these is easier than having to use the manual air pump that you’re used to seeing in photos of old blacksmith shops. But remember to keep stoking and feeding the fire, so that it keeps hot and roaring.