Introduction: Make a Small, Practical Forge

Picture of Make a Small, Practical Forge


i'mma making another instructable, showing what you can upgrade this to without much work. coming soon!

This instructable will show you how to make a small (no more than 2 feet by two feet) forge for melting lead and/or heating thin-ish steel to shape it.

Unfortunately, i only have pics of the forge in action, as i didnt think of making an instructable until i came in.

Be careful with this, as it can produce high temperatures and will almost certainly injure you if you touch the bricks after use. Give it about a 2 day cooldown period just to be safe.

Step 1: Bricks!

Picture of Bricks!

You need them. anything from 5-11 will work fine. If you only have 5, you can only make one layer though :(

Also, something to put underneath it. I used roofing slate, and although it cracked because of the heat, it kept it burning REAL hot.

Step 2: The Build Stage...

Picture of The Build Stage...

Place the slate on the floor. Now, make a pentagon using 5 bricks on their sides. Move two apart to make a small gap, so that you can light your forge etc. Add your second layer in much the same way, except (if you only have 10 bricks like me) only using four. If you have more, use 5, but stagger them from the ones below.

Step 3: Fuel!

Picture of Fuel!

I found that wood works best for me, as most of mine is dry + easy to cut. But, im sure coal will work fine, as will charcoal etc. Experiment, and see what results you get. To make it melt lead, add a piece of metal over the top, on a slant (this is what the extra brick is for XD) and place your lead in the centre of the metal over the fire. This WILL melt the lead, after it has gotten to heat, and it almost certainly will direct flame out one side flamethrower-style (if not with the range).



curvy77 (author)2011-12-01

i have based my forge design of of this and has worked great. (kinda). after using both charcoal and wood i have found that while charcoal burns longer, wood burns hotter. perfect example is that my forge when first used had charcoal and burned well in a closed area for more heat.

howver when i switched to wood with an open furnace the briicks started exploding from intense heat.

NinjaDude (author)2011-02-25

I start with wood, then add some coal. It burns longer and plenty hot. Works well for me, I like the low tech approach of this.

hobbitboy (author)2010-12-27

i cot my wood in potroleam jelly and hand sanitizer it makes the flame hoter but dont get any on your hands or it will but them

josh1324 (author)2009-03-28

Great Instructable! I was looking at how to make a forge and all the other ones were too hard and expensive. :)

khaeotixs (author)josh13242009-03-28

ayeaye, but i wouldn't recommend building this for anything other than melting lead/heating thin steel When i build my new one, there'll be step-by-step instructions on how to build it and it should be grand. the one i'm working with at the minute is amazing, it follows the same basic design as this, but is square and uses a lot more bricks. if you want more info on my new forge, send me a message or a comment and i'll be glad to help

bobo64 (author)khaeotixs2009-10-08

plz make an insatructable fir it

bakabr (author)2009-09-12

c'mon guy, just melting lead is a noob thing. u know what? u can do this simply using a tin/aluminum container and ur stove, c'mon, i know u r more intelligent than this guy, c'mon...

Crail (author)2009-08-07

So, what's the deal with a burn permit on this. Yes, no, depends on...?

Crail (author)Crail2009-08-07

nevermind, just figured out it wasn't an open flame

the mechanical engineer (author)2009-03-25

no offense, and i realize that i am not an expert in this area, but lets just say there are better ibles.

There are. i've improved this massively since then. it now runs on coal and is highly efficient... melted thin steel plate a while ago :( it was my crucible for melting lead... i looked back and had lost the bottom of the crucible.

joey2542667 (author)2008-02-06

Is it possible to melt alunimum foil?

Aar000n3y (author)joey25426672008-09-01

Unless you super size this, no. The melting point of aluminum is 1220 degrees F, and he said it can melt lead, so the forge probably goes up to about 621 degrees F (melting point of lead). Just google the material and 'melting point' and you can usually find the temperature pretty easily

your plain old average campfire can get steel and iron red hot as well as melting lead

volquete (author)Aar000n3y2009-01-01

could it melt steel?

joey2542667 (author)volquete2009-01-01

It would take alot of heat but it may be possible. just make sure that for the crucible you use something that has a much higher melting temperature than steel.

khaeotixs (author)Aar000n3y2008-09-01

you could do it if you added a better air system... mostly what i used was my own lungs and the natural draw, which usually lead to me being out of breath

joey2542667 (author)khaeotixs2008-09-01

lol, OK well I have an air compressor.

Grey_Wolfe (author)joey25426672008-10-02

Blow dryer works good too. btw. And a cheap low-power one will be less expensive to run then your compressor. You won't get as much air pressure, but that really shouldn't be an issue. It should be plenty for aluminum. Aluminum foil melted can be used like paint. Very neat effect.

joey2542667 (author)Grey_Wolfe2008-10-02

OK thanks

Grey_Wolfe (author)joey25426672008-10-02

If you decide to use the paint idea, be careful. If you use it on glass make sure the glass is fairly warm first. Think ice is hot water, only more dangerous. You probably already realize that, but I figured it was worth saying.

Grey_Wolfe (author)Grey_Wolfe2008-10-02

Ice IN hot water. Weird typo, only missed by half the keyboard. lol

joey2542667 (author)Grey_Wolfe2008-10-02

lol ok, thanks

joey2542667 (author)Aar000n3y2008-09-01


joey2542667 (author)joey25426672008-05-12

With this forge.

thoraxe (author)joey25426672008-05-12

With this forge or in general?

ardo6969 (author)2009-01-19

could it harden and temper steel

ardo6969 (author)2009-01-19

could it melt steel or not

Sora_1_2 (author)2008-09-25

Is the roofing slate or whatever I decide to use just to keep the ground from burning or what?

octavian234 (author)2008-07-10

what are the melting points of some metals like nickel, iron, copper, aluminum, tin, lead, and steel

halberdear (author)octavian2342008-09-19

well copper is about 2000 degrees tins is about 600 degrees steel is like 5000 degrees aluminum is 1200 degrees iron is about 1800 degrees and nickel is 2700 dgre

Gryle (author)octavian2342008-07-27

With the exception of steel, all of your listed metals are elements. A good periodic table should tell you what you want know. Wikipedia and a Material Safety Data Sheet are also good sources for information on metals.

zerrodach (author)2008-08-28

cool instructable but can it melt anything besides lead? because lead is soft and poisenous, and i dont like handling it

thegamer211 (author)2007-11-23

Great Instructable, easy to make/understand! But will this melt (with just a wood fire) anything other than lead? And also, can anyone think of any household item besides fishing weights that are made of lead?

khaeotixs (author)thegamer2112007-11-25

hmm... you'll be surprised. However, id recommend coal or amthesyte. It'll melt things like aluminium, but you might want to make a crucible for that. Also, if you're going to melt aluminium you may just want to stockpile at least 3 pallets worth of chopped up wood (I.E. chopping up 3 pallets ;))

Did you mean anthracite?

thoraxe (author)killerjackalope2008-05-12

antracite is hard 2 get and expensive... USE CHARCOAL! Its just as good as coal, they are actually the same. They both have roughly the same BTU's per pound, its just that coal is just so much more dense, it looks like it has more energy, but coal and charcoal are equivelant.

zach911 (author)thoraxe2008-06-27

not to be rude but they arent the same. charcoal is made from wood briquets and coal is mined.

thoraxe (author)zach9112008-06-27

pound per pound they contain the same BTU's. they are not physically the same, as coal is denser because it is compacted from it's creation process. charcoal is much purer than coal. you are correct, they are not the same thing but there main composition and BTU's per pound are equal. They are both primarily carbon. Graphite and jet are also types of coal, they are extremely hard to ignite and form after anthracite.

Derin (author)thoraxe2008-07-13

diamonds are also carbon:)now i will go crush some coal with my 100 ton press :) then sell those

thoraxe (author)Derin2008-07-13

sorry to burst your bubble, but you also need heat, and an oxygen free environment:) look up artificial diamonds

Derin (author)thoraxe2008-07-13

my bubble was not bursted,i was jk

thoraxe (author)Derin2008-07-13

So far, there are two reliable methods of making artificial diamonds large enough for jewlery. One uses a "seed" of a smaller diamond and puts additional molten graphite (a form of coal) under enormous pressure and temperature until it is added to the crystalline structure and makes the seed larger. Another method, called chemical vapor deposition, CVD, creates a chamber where tiny pieces of diamond precipitate and condense together, like ice crystals, in layers to form a solid deposit. These specimens can easily be colored and usually have no imperfections.


killerjackalope (author)thoraxe2008-05-12

Well charcoal is better simply because it's purer carbon, otherwise no difference, since the other elements in coal don't affect the energy output or denstiy... Anthracite isn't expensive, theres a coalyard next door to the workyard, and the railway sleeper fences have breaks where coal falls into ours... one was me but accidentally, dropped the clutch in the forklift and put it clean through, there's a guy I know on the other side shifting the remnants of a pile in a bobcat... I can get anthracite or black diamond smokeless...

thoraxe (author)killerjackalope2008-05-14

well, thats you, you get it FREE! Us, on the other hand, have 2 buy and ship it (i live in Florida, not known for coal) Also, why do all the blacksmiths use bituminous coal instead of anthracite, when anthracite has more BTU, burns longer, and is cleaner? I guess its the fact that it burns slower, thus not as intense heat?

killerjackalope (author)thoraxe2008-05-14

You give it the beans and it'll burn like hell, at a toung age I made the link between hot air and hot fires, hence the hairdryer blowing in through the ash takeout, unfortunately my antics caused the glass on the front to disintegrate, one just flopped out and shattered on the floor the other snapped in half...

thoraxe (author)killerjackalope2008-05-14

Beans as in, smashing into small pieces?

killerjackalope (author)thoraxe2008-05-14

well generally give it the beans means go full throttle but can mean lots of things... the stuff I get is falling from the bottom of the pile so its small most of the time, though whenever I was doing work in there we used to get free peat briquettes which are great, they start dead easy, even if they're bought theyre cheap and burn suprisingly hot, basically just dried and compressed peat...

thoraxe (author)killerjackalope2008-05-14

hmmm... well, your very lucky to have an anthracite pile right next 2 your house. And peat briquettes? Weird...

killerjackalope (author)thoraxe2008-05-14

not next to my house, that would be crazy cool though and I may end up living in there, depending on how my grand plans for our shipping containers go...

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