Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Some of the parts that I need to make the Mulling machine and the Furnace Mk II need to be forged, so I’m going to need to make myself a new forge. The old forge was just, frankly, rubbish. I used an old stainless steel sink and I drove the forge using the vacuum cleaner. Basically, I lost too much heat and the bed was too small.


Now I need to make something a little more appropriate and I have another 44 gallon drum sitting there doing nothing (but rusting) in my driveway.

The plan is to cut the top off the drum and make a hood and flue for the exhaust and drive the forge (initially) using the vacuum still. The vacuum works well enough for the furnace, so I think that it will work just fine for the forge.

Forge Plan

The plan looks a little bit “Tin Man”, but the design is basic. I’ll cut a port in the front of the drum so that I can place the work-piece into the forge. The second “innovation” is that the forge will be placed in a lean-to attached to the side of my workshop. So I’ll be able to vent the exhaust out of the workshop entirely. I have a couple of pieces of steel that I’m using as anvils and I’ve got a mixture of flat and ball peen hammers that I can use for belting the metal. My first job will be to make some decent tongs. I have some but they are a little short (fireplace tongs). My work surface, apart from the anvils, is a 3’ x 1’ hardwood stump (eucalyptus spp.) that I’ve banded to control the splitting.

I am planning on making a volute fan for the forge that I will drive from the motor of an old bench grinder … but that is a job for later. I’ve drawn up the plans for the fan, I just need to get around to making it. I haven’t yet decided on weather or not to do this by forging, using sheet metal, or molding and casting the fan body … I will probably just take the easiest option and make it from sheet metal.

I think that, because of the priority of tasks, that I need to make the forge before I continue with the furnace or the mulling machine. Besides, my flowerpot furnace is still good for a couple of burns.

My lean-to is big enough for the forge, the furnace and the stump as well as giving me a surface for my molding flasks and tools. Although I think that, before too long, I may need to move into my other lean-to. Fortunately, I have options. I could also clean out the feed shed attached to the back of my workshop and do all of my forging and smelting in there with the added benefit of electricity!

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