Homemade mini-forge

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Blog entry by Wayne posted 11-14-2011 10:19 PM 8575 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As my interest into hand tools has grown, so has my interest in the techniques used to make/repair these tools. I read a post on tempering steel using a homemade forge (I have not been able to relocate the post so the only name I know to credit for inspiration is “Visions”) After reading his post the day-dream came : pulling a piece of molten steel from the heaping coals of a clay oven , shirtless of course, and beating it flat with a massive 5lb mallet baptising the persuaded piece into my tub of water , and pulling out a masterfully crafted chisel…... then I realized I was still staring at the computer screen… so after a little research this is what I have so far

1) the parts
All 3 inch “black pipe”
1-18” piece threaded 1 end
2-6”pieces threaded both ends
1-”T” connector
1- floor flange
1- end cap
1- brake rotor
1-hair dryer
(wish i would have went with an old brake drum, but the auto shop was willing to let this one go for free)
total cost-$40

2) attach the floor flange to the bottom (inside) of the brake rotor. if you can browse rotors with the flange in hand, you might could even find a bolt pattern that matches. not the case with mine so my father in law did the welding.

after the weld

my temporary set up

insert the haridryer into the 18” piece

Fire started(without forced air)

With hairdryer on low

My tools- a piece of rail (train) a 2lb ballpeen hammer that I actually found in the yard when we first moved in, and vise grips.

Testing it on some scrap. (also found in the yard)


What Ive learned so far,
1) I orginally had the hole covered with a piece of grate form a BBQ grill, its made to with stand high temps right?...wrong. so now i just am using a piece of 1/4” steel (3”x3”) to cover the hole. I was going to drill a few holes, but without them, it makes the edges a hotspot which seems to be pretty useful.

2) I was using scrap wood as a fuel source for the fire, it just burns up too quickly. Ive found BBQ charcoal to burn longer, but still too fast. Im going to do some research on a longer lasting fuel source.

3) Use grease on all threads, the ash instantly turns metal to rust. I painted it with high temp resistant paint for BBQ grills and coated the threads with all purpose grease.

This is gonna be a learning process, but a fun one for sure. my first real project i hope to be a set of tongs. much practice to do between now and then. It is as much fun as i had hoped and more!

**I hope you are able to see how I assembled the pieces, I skiped the photo shoot for that part. If it is not clear I will disassemble it and show that as well. This is a combination of designs Ive found via google/youtube. I claim no credit other than the assembly.

7 comments so far

View Brit's profile


8303 posts in 3855 days

#1 posted 11-14-2011 10:32 PM

What fun! I hope you manage to get it working well enough to produce something you can be proud of. If you don’t already have one, I would get yourself a thick leather apron. You will only splash molton metal on yourself once. :-)

I’m looking forward to see what you make. Thanks for posting.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4128 days

#2 posted 11-15-2011 01:20 AM

the best sort of fuel is what we call stone coal here in Denmark and can reach higher temp.
than the charcoal and last alot longer

and other thing is you might want to reduce to air from the airgun too so your coal still reach
the temp you want but burn alot longer :-)

to reduce the influence from the wind to cool your iron and forge then build a little shed around it
this will increase your way to see when you reach the right temp on the colour of the iron
when the forge is placed in the shadow /dark so you don´t have to do it in the nighttime
and wake the neighbours …. or the beloved ones ….. you don´t want to see ER becourse
of that ….lol

good luck and enjoy :-)


View mafe's profile


12928 posts in 4102 days

#3 posted 11-15-2011 03:18 AM

So cool, look forward to see what comes out of this.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4686 days

#4 posted 11-15-2011 05:31 PM

Cool idea, but stay safe when using it.

View Wayne's profile


196 posts in 3606 days

#5 posted 11-19-2011 04:54 AM

Thanks fellas. Ive given myself plenty of accidental tatoos, I do take measures to avoid anymore. ;)

Dennis- The thought did come to mind of an “shack” of sorts. I have an equally primitive solution in mind. Thank you for all the advice.

View cdbridge39's profile


167 posts in 3937 days

#6 posted 11-20-2011 02:40 PM

Good project, I really need one of these.

-- If it ain't broke don't fix it, if you fix it make it better than it has to be.

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3706 days

#7 posted 11-20-2011 02:45 PM

I want one! the forced air source is genius.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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