Picture of Make a small, practical forge
forge mk 2 woodpile .jpg
forge mk 2 avec lead.jpg

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.
curvy773 years ago
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.
NinjaDude4 years ago
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.
hobbitboy4 years ago
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
josh13246 years ago
Great Instructable! I was looking at how to make a forge and all the other ones were too hard and expensive. :)
khaeotixs (author)  josh13246 years ago
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
plz make an insatructable fir it
bakabr5 years ago
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...
Crail6 years ago
So, what's the deal with a burn permit on this. Yes, no, depends on...?
Crail Crail6 years ago
nevermind, just figured out it wasn't an open flame
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.
joey25426677 years ago
Is it possible to melt alunimum foil?
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
could it melt steel?
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)  Aar000n3y7 years ago
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
lol, OK well I have an air compressor.
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.
OK thanks
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.
Ice IN hot water. Weird typo, only missed by half the keyboard. lol
lol ok, thanks
With this forge.
With this forge or in general?
ardo69696 years ago
could it harden and temper steel
ardo69696 years ago
could it melt steel or not
Sora_1_26 years ago
Is the roofing slate or whatever I decide to use just to keep the ground from burning or what?
octavian2347 years ago
what are the melting points of some metals like nickel, iron, copper, aluminum, tin, lead, and steel
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
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.
zerrodach7 years ago
cool instructable but can it melt anything besides lead? because lead is soft and poisenous, and i dont like handling it
thegamer2117 years ago
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)  thegamer2117 years ago
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?
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 thoraxe7 years ago
not to be rude but they arent the same. charcoal is made from wood briquets and coal is mined.
thoraxe zach9117 years ago
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 thoraxe7 years ago
diamonds are also carbon:)now i will go crush some coal with my 100 ton press :) then sell those
thoraxe Derin7 years ago
sorry to burst your bubble, but you also need heat, and an oxygen free environment:) look up artificial diamonds
Derin thoraxe7 years ago
my bubble was not bursted,i was jk
thoraxe Derin7 years ago
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.

from: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-artificial-diamonds.htm
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...
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?
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...
Beans as in, smashing into small pieces?
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...
hmmm... well, your very lucky to have an anthracite pile right next 2 your house. And peat briquettes? Weird...
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...
workshop i mean....
I don't work down there anymore, I'm still friendly with the guy that owns it now, the business was my dads, then he passed away and left it to the guy that worked for him because I was too young to run it with him. He's been doing well, I can still go down and use the workshop and our containers from the houses full of stuff are there, they're slowly emptying though, I want to make them into a kind of 'shippable apartment'.
very interesting...what kind of business was it?
Tyre fitting and manufacture of bulletproof tyres, for industrial scrapyards etc.
cool, very interesting thank you
Well having access to industrial scal polyurethane polymers is interesting, my dad and I developed several interesting items, including a thing similar to a nerf except if flew faster and bounced on impact, compared to the vortex, which destroys most in it's path, when I throw it anyway, then again things fall over when I walk in to rooms... I have to go down to do a handy tricks 'ible the insane things that are down there a forklift over 50 years old that runs like a beast, has a modern starter system add and several odd mods, the blaster, a homebrew tyre filler, made for when a bead wont seal, so you shoot 20L of air in at 90psi... also makes a cannon with the right attachments...
khaeotixs (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
*blushes* Ooops... that's what i meant. Anthracite.
I asked because I wasn't sure... There are quite a lot of types of coal, lignite being another one, closer to the peat end of the spectrum...
khaeotixs (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
Yeah, but amtheyst isn't even flammable... ooops...
Yeah the typo made me think that it wasn't amethyst you meant... durr..
If you're still looking for lead go down to a tire shop and ask if they've got any wheel weights they want to get rid of. they're the little peices of lead on a steel clip used to balance tires. Most auto shops have a bucket of unusable ones lying around.
gibsonlp967 years ago
can this melt tin and copper, cuz i have a copper sword and tons of tin around, and wanted to make a bronze blade
hey try melting pennies b4 you ruin your sword. Make sure they're pre 1984 pennies though. After that they contain zinc, which will burn and be poisonous. If you do get it melted, put the tin into the copper after it's melted, or else the tin will burn away.
I don't mean to be rude but pennies shifted from 95% copper in 1982. Starting in 1983 all pennies are 97.5% zinc. In 1982 pennies were made of copper and zinc so just to be safe and make sure you're getting copper don't use any after 1981.
really? so thats why i found melted zinc and saw green flames when i melted that 84 penny.....hmm..thanks for that
Smug but wrong. The reason you saw green flames is because a penny minted in 1984 has an outer shell of pure copper with a zinc core. In fact the penny you melted was copper-plated-zinc, 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. Would you have weighed it on a fine scale you'd have noticed it weighed only 2.5g rather than 3.1g that a mostly copper penny weighs. I would suggest you do some research on the subject starting with www.usmint.gov so that you can be better informed when attempting to cast metals of potentially hazardous composition.
yeah that's what i meant it contained zinc. I cut a modern penny and half and saw zinc in the center of it, but when i cut a 74 penny it was difficult and i saw no silver metal in between. Same goes for the 84 penny, i coundn't cut it and i saw no silver metal, so i guessed it was pure copper all the way through
khaeotixs (author)  gibsonlp967 years ago
tbh i don't know. Try it.
Rocky8187 years ago
If i was to use more brick and make the top of the forge closed, do u think it would be able to melt steel or iron?
khaeotixs (author)  Rocky8187 years ago
if you were to do that i would reccomend raising it up off the floor, and changing the fuel from wood to coal. you would also need a carbon crucible, as (in the photo), corrugated iron sheet won't suffice. Obviously... :) I may add an instructable on converting it into an iron/steel smelter, but expect a wait. I'll PM you a link when it's finished and post a link on this instructable.
Thanks for the help, but were can i get a carbon crucible?
khaeotixs (author)  Rocky8187 years ago
I've googled it, and i can't actually find anywhere that sells them unfortunately. A better option my be to obtain a cast-iron pot and melt tin or similar in it.

I'm sorry i can't find a carbon crucible for you... =[
jewelry supply stores have them
lol dont worry about it, thanx for everything
most jewelry supply stores have them, actually.
yeah, it takes a great amount of heat to melt iron or steel. You need at least 2900 degrees Farenheit to effectively melt steel/iron. You should experiment with copper, bronze, brass, or other metals with lower melting points. Copper melts at about 2000 degrees, bronze and brass about 1500-1600.
thoraxe thoraxe7 years ago
this forge is kinda sucky though, you would be better of using a propane stove and a metal container to melty lead, less spill and stuff, but this is still nice. Also, if u used coal or charcoal, you could actually forge kvifes and steel with it.
I heard carbon crucibles actually aren't all that hard to make.
Kaveman57 years ago
hey, dont no if any1 asked this yet, but can this melt aluminum, and if it can, where could i get som? would aluminum cans work
lmn Kaveman57 years ago
Aluminum cans should work...cuz they are so thin we melted a bar. my friend and i have melted aluminum in just a well fanned fire pit Lead melting point 621 degrees Aluminum 1220 degrees ...so you'd have to double it but it can be done
khaeotixs (author)  lmn7 years ago
Not that hard to double the heat, i was getting iron bars to red heat... Was a fun day, need to do that again now its stopped raining so damned much.
Hey, a good idea would be to push a pipe into the fire and pump some air into it, it will increase the heat tenfold.
khaeotixs (author)  Kaveman57 years ago
Hmm... I'm not sure on that. If you keep it well fueled and ventialted, then sure. Just make sure that your fire is kept in heat, and is not allowed to let off smoke... If it smokes, then it's not hot enough, i've found.
Kaveman57 years ago
1 more thing, what could i melt it in. would a cast iron pot work, or would i have to find one of those carbon things u were talking about?
khaeotixs (author)  Kaveman57 years ago
This place shows you
how to make a crucible. I think it would be effective. A cast iron pot will do it as well though. A few notes on using that with this forge though:

#1 Make sure you have a decent pair of thick gloves, or a hook to pick the
crucible out.

#2 Build up the fire using coal, in small increments, say half a shovel at a time.

#3 Wait till the crucible is at a high heat. Like, red hot or something similar.

#4 KEEP WATER NEARBY. A LOT OF WATER. and a mobile/cell phone, for calling emergency services. With lead, there's less of a problem.

#5 Remember, keep this supervised! Although inside bricks, if you're melting aluminium the heat might become to great depending on your brick quality, and they may shatter, releasing a pile of hot coals. A bucket of water or two standing nearby will be helpful.
dude i did this its awesome 2 bad theres a burn ban :(
khaeotixs (author)  i kill stuffs8 years ago
Burn ban? Also, it can use a lot of wood to get it up to temperature. I'd recommend coal or amthesyte for a longer lasting heatwave.
yea u know a burn ban u cant burn...cus..its um banded (duh) but that never stoped me be 4
khaeotixs (author)  i kill stuffs8 years ago
Poor u.... It's rainin outside so if they told me to stop burnin stuff id tell em to go f**k emselves... lol... Also, i'm surprised no-one else has built one like this Fair confusing really, that i built this AND put an instructable on it, but no-one else has had a similar idea...
andy608 years ago
great idea!
nepheron8 years ago
very cool
lemonie8 years ago
This is the sort of thing I want to use my blower on...