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Getting started in blacksmithing usually requires a pretty decent start-up cost. But if you want to do it on the cheap, the instructions on Zoeller Forge’s site will show you how to build a gas forge without a welder or a cutting torch. With a drill, hole saw, tap, vise grips, and a workbench, you can make your own atmospheric gas forge.

Atmospheric Gas Forge [Zoeller Forge]

 
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TM reader NickNaylo posted this great pic of his brake drum forge to TM’s photo pool, providing once and for all that you don’t need major cash to try your hand at blacksmithing.  He says he assembled this little rig for a whopping $75 in parts — including a scavenged squirrel cage fan, some pipe fittings, and, of course, a brake drum.

It even looks like he’s rigged up a dimmer to control the speed of the fan — handy for controlling fire temp to avoid simply burning your workpiece into nothingness.

Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

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The photo above is of tmib_seattle’s home-built gas forge — something I’ve been considering for some time.  My father was into blacksmithing, and you’ve heard his (and my) friend Ray Robinson on the Tool Talk podcast before talking about how to get started.  The problem for me is that my shop space isn’t condusive to coal burning.

This is definitely the answer, especially if you’re into bladesmithing as the space inside is a bit small for table tops and such.  I’ve seen some commercially-made models that are more portable, but tmib_seattle’s looks more solid and usable.

Check out the Toolmonger Flickr pool for photos of the forge in operation and pictures of some of his other tools, including a sheet-metal brake and an English wheel.  And if you get the chance, sign up and drop us some pictures of your favorite tools and projects.

Toolmonger’s Flickr Pool [Flickr]

(Thanks, tmib_seattle for sharing your pictures, and hopefully you can stop by and tell us a little more about your forge in comments.)

 
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Rick sent us this link to an interesting history of nails compiled by the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association.  My first experience blacksmithing was making square nails — much like some of those in the picture above — and I found this to be a great read.

If you’d like to hear more about this kind of blacksmithing, zip back and check out Tool Talk Podcast #3 where we’re joined by our friend (and artisan blacksmith) Ray Robinson.

All About Nails [Appalachian Blacksmiths Association]

 
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After hearing to our discussion with artisan blacksmith Ray Robinson in Tool Talk Podcast #3, a number of listeners asked for pictures of the corkscrew and fork I have which Ray made.  I’m sorry I didn’t post them earlier, but better late than never, right?

The photo above is the corkscrew.  Remember, this was made with a three pound hammer.  Read on past the jump for more pictures.

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