In my first instructable I'm going to show you how I made a forge. I hope it gives you some ideas. Please note that this is just one of many ways to do this, and improvisation is the key to making something that you really love.
Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies
- Hand plane
- Tape measure
- Buckets for mold
- Bucket for mixing
- Mold for the vent cover
- (1) 4x4x8 post
- (3) 2x4's
- (About 100) 3 inch outdoor nails
- Outdoor wood glue
- 4 cement blocks
- Plaster of paris
- Clean sand
- Cold water
Step 2: Cut Your Boards
I cut four, 2 foot pieces of the 4x4x8 post, and eight, 17 inch pieces of the 2x4's. Save your scrap, because it will come in handy later.
Step 3: Assemble the Stand
First, I nailed and glued a smaller board on the side of two post pieces,( you will want to pre-drill your pieces, I thought it would be fun to just whack a nail in and I paid for it.) I repeated this, and then joined the two halves together with smaller boards on the side.
Next, I cut notches in four of my smaller boards and nailed them into place. These boards are really crucial weight bearers and it is much better for them to fit tightly than to be lose.
Next, I nailed and glued another ring of smaller boards below the top, spaced a 2x4's width down. This will help keep the legs straight and steady.
Finally, I evened out the wobbly legs by glueing and nailing two thin pieces of 2x4 to the bottom. I used a hand planer to flatten out the slightly un-even top, and I filed down some of the sharp edges so they looked nicer and so they wouldn't snag.
Step 4: Cast Your Forge
The shape of your forge will be determined by what buckets or other things that you use as a mold. I made mine circular with 2 1/4 inch thick sides and 2 1/2 inch thick bottom. It is 17 inches across,( just because that was the width of the bucket I had laying around), and 12 1/2 inches wide on the inside. The mold for the vent cover I made out of a roll of duct tape and a can lid taped together to make a circular and somewhat thick vent cover.
I poured the plaster, sand, and water, into a bucket and mixed for all I was worth for about three minutes. I used a 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of plaster, sand, and cold water. If I do this again, I will probably use a 1 to 1 to 2/3 ratio. This mix I poured into my mold and it set up surprisingly fast while I held the inner bucket in place. I also filled the mold for the vent cover.
After about one hour I took out the inner bucket and I removed the plaster from the mold for the vent cover. I gave the larger mold about another half hour because I wanted it to harden up a bit more. I was concerned that it might crumble under it's own weight.
After this half hour, I cut away the bucket with my knife. I lifted the forge on top of it's stand to dry faster. I had a feeling that it was still fragile so I was extra careful. I then rounded off the edges and bumps with my file, and cut three blocks with 45 degree angles and glued and nailed them around the forge. I only used three blocks so that I can slide the monstrous forge off, instead of having to lift it off.
Step 5: Add Your Blower
The first thing I did to add an air supply was to pre-drill a hole in the center of the forge. Then I widened the hole with an inch wide paddle bit. Then I used my chisel to make two wide and fairly deep groves in the vent cover. These are so that air can come out from beneath it, while the cover stops charcoal and ash from falling down the blower hole. If/when I use this as a foundry, I will probably take off this cover as it limits air flow.
For the forge's air flow, I chose to install a leaf blower. I had to take the forge off of it's stand and take the stand out of it's cement blocks. I then tied the leaf blower to a main post with paracord with it's nozzle facing close to the hole in the forge. I re-assembled it all, and finally it is done!
I will not run it with full blown heat for several weeks, because it is still slightly soft and it is so thick that I want to be sure that there isn't any water in it so that it won't blow up.