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You could fit what I know about forge work on a matchbook cover and have space left over. I do know a little about being a tightwad though, and I take my hat off to reader diluded000 for his excellent custom forge built from cheap materials he could find around the shop.

The fan-hood top and HF workbench bottom are strokes of genius, my friend, seriously.  With this project diluded000 said, “Screw that!” to convention, and he got on with his interests without waiting till he had tons of cash — and we bet he had a blast making cool steel gear in his shop.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


6 Responses to Flickr Pool: Homebrew Coal Forge

  1. asbestos says:

    volunteer firefighter/emt all I can say is

    “looks good for business”

  2. TMIB_Seattle says:

    That looks like a house fire waiting to happen. There are ways to run a forge indoors, this doesn’t look like one of them.

    If you’re reading this diluded000, please take some precautions. The forge body is awful close to the walls in this pic, and after a bit of use it’s going to get rather hot.

    Also, what are you doing for ventilation? Exhausting the forge smoke isn’t going to do anything about getting fresh air into the shop. Carbon Monoxide is a big danger for anyone doing welding or smithing in a small shop, and this setup certainly appears to be a problem. Judging from your other pictures, there’s no fresh air coming into the area where the forge is. Even if you have windows or doors open somewhere not shown in the pictures, without a lot of fresh air flow blowing in, that whole corner of the room is a major danger zone.

    Also, with the smaller chimney exiting into the larger one, what prevents backflow from putting smoke (and more carbon monoxide) back into the room?

    You’ve got a good start, but PLEASE, move it outdoors. If you want to run a forge indoors, you need a lot more space from the walls or fiberboard/brick insulation. Look at how woodstoves are installed for an example. In particular, consider how the chimney vents, both in regards to the diameter of the opening (and how airtight it is) and how high the chimney rises above your roof peak. You can’t just vent it out a dryer vent and expect it to work properly, even with a stove range hood/fan setup like you have tacked on there.

    I run a gas forge in my garage, but it’s in the middle of an open area, away from the walls, and lined with 3+ inches of ceramic blanket. It’s also right up against where my rollup garage doors are, so it’s essentially outside when I open the garage doors (which I always do when forging.) Even so, I normally have fans going to blow in fresh air, and I have a carbon monoxide detector and several fire extinguishers close at hand. I wouldn’t dream of running a coal forge the way that you are.

    Smithing is a great hobby, but you need to be alive to enjoy it. Stop what you’re doing, take a step back, and fix the problems. Talk to other smiths on sites like anvilfire.com or iforgeiron.com for advice.

  3. james b says:

    You draw a lot of conclusions about the setup and my knowledge of safety, just from looking at a couple of pictures. Your conclusions are all pretty much dead wrong, so much so I’m not going to defend how I did all this. I’ll drop a note here if I’m not overcome by carbon monoxide before I can escape my burning house. Sissy.


  4. TMIB_Seattle says:


    Yes, I drew a lot of conclusions based on your pictures. I certainly hope I am wrong.

    One thing to consider though, when learning to smith. There’s a lot of folks that have done this before, and if you go into this hobby with the attitude of not wanting to learn from those with more experience, you’re not going to get nearly as much out of it. I’m just a novice myself, but I know when someone that’s done smithing before tells me something, I should try and learn from it, even if I disagree.

    The best smiths (and frankly the most skilled workers in general) that I have met are those that come to the craft with humility and try and learn as much as they can wherever they can.

    Good luck with your hobby, I hope you’re able to stay safe and get some good experience out of it.


  5. Bob The Drywall Guy says:

    Alright, you can be an ass if you want.

    Seriously though I hope you’ve got a CO sensor in the shop. And As far as a layer of firebrick goes, on the inside of your forge, you’ll keep much more heat in then your sheet metal. Also, with that angled design in the back, I don’t think you’re going to be able heat longer pieces, please reply with the exact size of your forge, and how you find working with it.

    I’d also consider turning your air supply to run along the wall, this would open up some room for a slack tub. you seem a little cramped without running the hose through the middle of the place.

    your attitude on here, combined with the fact that you thought you could use a plastic fan in your range hood… and don’t mind the draw on the exhaust without a fan lead me to worry. But hey man, if it works for you, and you feel you’re knowledgable and safe, then people on the internet aren’t going to stop you. The Fire marshall might… and your insurance company…

  6. ben s says:

    yes, this is extremly unsafe, when forges, and kilns are used indoors, the have brick or concrete walls and a -lot- of ventilation(not just a dryer vent)

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