In this Instructable I will show you how to start up a foundry of your own. Now I am in no means saying this is the only way to do it, I am just showing you how I did it. So, let's get started!!!

Step 1: Forge

Now, before you even start thinking about getting an anvil or hammers, I suggest you start looking for a nice forge. This will probably be the most expensive thing you will have to buy if you are getting a gas forge, so this will really decide wither or not you really want to get into blacksmithing. Now you have two choices: coal or gas. There are benefits to both.

With a gas forge it's a lot cleaner and easier to use. They are also more portable. But they have less control over temperature and can get very pricey for gas and the initial cost of the forge.

With a coal forge it's a lot cheaper (next to nothing) to buy/make and you can control the temperature better. But coal is also very messy and depending on where you live you might not have a source of coal nearby.

The choice is up to you. I went with a gas forge because it fit my needs better, but do some research to see which one is best for you.
Unless you want to be headed to the E.R with third degree burns I suggest buying the right gear and tools instead of burning your hand off. AND WHAT kind of idiot says don't where gloves while forging.
<p>hi guys my name is Adam and I am 14.I've made a furnace by myself all out of scrap it heats up steel within 50 seconds I am not talking wire thin I am talking 5cm thick solid steel. </p>
<p>Metal doesn't start to &quot;glow&quot; in daylight until it's well over 900 degrees F. Always check heat with the back of your hand as it's more sensitive. Plus anything that holds the metal (tongs, and notably bench or post vice) will get stupid hot before you know it. Have a nice scar to remind me of that.</p>
<p>What you really want to do is hit up a roadwork or construction site and try to get the rebar that has x patterns up and down the side. This stuff can take a bit of hardness when quenched in brine ( very salty water ) from a medium red heat and the x pattern gives an ok grip in a gloved hand if you're making chisels and punches. The ladder pattern stuff like you have there is ok to play on the cheap with but not really trustworthy for anything else. Best is to look up metal distributers like ALRO and there is usually one pretty close. Every so often go raid their &quot;Cutoff pile&quot;. It's pretty cheap and sometimes you can get some good steel for things like tool &amp; blade making for pennies on the pound. The real problem with rebar is that it is a mishmash of steel. buying something where you know what it is (like A-36, 5160 (aka leaf springs), or even s-7) you can read up and get a feel for how it handles when it's hot and what different heat treating processes (quenching in oil, quenching in water, normalizing, annealing) do to the steel. Because no rebar is the same you never really get that. Another good source is walking along railroad tracks and looking for spikes. You're really hoping for ones that have HC marked on the head as they are high carbon and can be used for more intense things but when without steel any steel will do.</p>
<p>Like the below comment I will state that there are hammers and hammer shaped objects. A good tool steel forging hammer can easily go for in excess of $100 and if you get hooked it's a solid investment. When I was starting out and felt &gt;$20 was a bit steep the best thing I did was go garage sailing and get some older hammers. Turns out that a new non-custom hammer requires a bit of work to be forging ready and the heat treating is quite tricky when you don't know the steel. Lucky for us time and (ab)use does very similar things to hammers. Finding a selection of 30+ year old hammers in different weights and shapes in garage sales and at pawn shops is really the way to go. You might have to sand the face a bit to smooth it as dents in the hammer leave (equal and opposite) dents in the forging. That being said some deform a hammer face to do this on purpose. Either way grab a sander and a few files/rasps and/or a cheap plane and spend a minute shaping the (wood) handle to better fit your hand. I've done that to all my hammers and it is worth the strain and fatigue of overgripping a handle that doesn't fit well in your hands. You should be able to grip the hammer loosely and be comfortable. Also if you wear gloves than wear a glove when you do fitup. As a personal preference I leave mine a little boxy and uneven ( a flat under finger tip side when face is down) so I can program into muscle memory that a certain feel directly relates to how the hammer is orientated and is the same for every hammer. This speeds up when you are grabbing blindly for the hammer and can tell how it's orientated in your hand before you make a swing without looking.</p>
<p>hi. I am new to forging and I was wondering how to actually make my own forge.</p>
<p>Several different 'Ibles on that very subject, amigo. Just search &quot;forge.&quot;</p>
<p>Hey people I am new to forging, and I am marking stuff off my checklist and need some help getting the rest. 1 I need charcoal for my forge but where would I get that, and is there a specific brand to get. 2 I need an Anvil, and I am on a small budget so a good anvil but at the same time not too pricey, I have one now but its days are numbered...and its really small. 3 I also need some tongs, I would forge my own except my anvil is just about completely out of commission and I need fuel for the forge. I kind of need Tongs to make Tongs lol</p><p>Any help, or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!</p>
<p>I got a bunch of coal for about a bit less than a dollar a pound on ebay. about 75 lb for about 60 bucks. </p><p>I believe it's the Book of Mormon that lists tongs as a miracle because you need tongs to make tongs. But yeah, vice grips or pliers. </p>
<p>shipping included in that figure, by the way. </p>
depending on what you are doing vice grips are a godsend
<p>I got my coal from an energy company that primarily sells propane. You could see if you can find a Ferrier (someone who fits horse shoes) in the area on the off chance they know of a place. </p><p>Harbor freight has some anvils for under $100 but the quality isn't great. </p><p>Maybe some big pliers would work until you can make your tongs?</p>
<p>rebar is a usless for making tools of any kind as you cannot heat treat it</p>
<p>Really good info on the COSIRA, thanks for that. Here is the link;</p><p><a href="http://www.hlcollege.ac.uk/Downloads/craftpublications.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.hlcollege.ac.uk/Downloads/craftpublications.html</a></p>
I &quot;do&quot; suggest wearing gloves, mine forge is an open coal forge. The fire can burn the hairs of yer hand and arm pretty quick. I use a leather glove on my hammer hand and a welder's glove on my tong hand. Make sure they fit!the leather glove is to protect against blisters from swingin the hammer all day. The welder's glove is so I can rout around my forge a little more and from the occasional &quot;firebugs&quot; (how I explained sparks to my kids) that jumps off when I strike. <br>Good instructional though.
<p>I've known a few guys that hobby forge knives and farm implements. Most use old time portable farriers forges. Charcoal is one of the things that they all need. I was told by a friend that he puts chord wood in a 55 gallon drum, puts a lid on it and lights a fire under it. Make sure there is a vent hole or the gasses will turn it into a 55 gallon bomb. a 1/2&quot;-1&quot; hole is plenty. I watched him actually light the wood gas coming out of the pipe. </p><p>Many good books on this subject, good youtube videos as well. I like Foxfire 5. </p>
<p>If you go to the trouble of making your own charcoal, capture the gas from the exhaust. Its &quot;Wood Gas&quot; . Some people have used that exact gas to bypass carburetors and power a gas engine. It is extremely flammable and a &quot;free&quot; fuel source.</p><p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator</a></p><p>Buddy here at work made his own charcoal the same way....</p>
im going to make a katana do you know how to get that bend in it
I would not know, I am not nearly that skilled yet
the bend is due to the tempering process that japanese blacksmiths would use at the final heat. they would first make it straight with the edge on one side then they would pack the other side with clay . the difference in heat would cause the blade to bend, the clay made sure that the back of the blade was not tempered while the blade itself was heated to tempering temperatures, the combination of the two caused the sword to be more flexible. <br> <br>this was important as japanese steel has much more impurities and thus is naturally more brittle than european or american steels which are entirely different stories altogether. there's lots of literature on this subject and you would not lose anything to read some of it here and there.
<p>You have to be careful about details. The back of the blade is partly covered with clay, with the edge exposed. The whole thing is heated above the hardening temperature. Both the blade and clay get really hot and then dunked into a cooling medium (water, but other steels could be oil-hardened). The edge chills instantly and hardens to a high degree; the back, covered by clay cools much slower and ends up only partly hardened---the slow cooling tempers it, reducing hardness but also giving it more plasticity and toughness, i.e. less brittleness. </p><p>The hardened part is actually a different phase of iron, and a little less dense, so it pushes back against the rest of the blade and gives it the bend. The phase boundary is actually visible when polished and slightly etched; the shape of the interface is called a 'hamon' and can be shaped into waves and patterns by pinching and shaping the edge of the clay:</p><p>http://www.masamune-store.com/site/medias/hamon.jpg</p>
i heard that they coat the back of the blade in refractive clay before the final firing is that true?
I use small chunks of dry wood in my forge (due to no coal or charcoal source... yet), and although I am sure it doesn't get as hot as charcoal or coal, it seems to get the job done. Just don't expect to forge weld anything I suppose.
The Japanese steels were actually far superior, and contained minimal amounts of impurities. Watch Secrets of the Samarai Sword. It's a pbs Nova special all about there superior sword technology
Nice Instructable. <br> <br>Thank you!
A servesable 17 pound anvil can be had from Northern Tool in the $ 30.00 range with shipping. I had to sand Mine off to clean the strikeing surfaces to keep projects clean. Only a bit of cleaning with a Palm Sander.
I don't mean to tear you apart here, and while you can go along with a lot of this guide, I would like to point out a lot of stuff that is pretty unsafe/ not recommended and add some of what I've learned to help out as well. I'm sure I'm repeating some points other people made, but here are some edits you may want to add:<br> FORGE:<br> -Should be least expensive thing to get, brake drum forges are very popular as coal is a very good starting point for beginner smiths. While I also prefer gas forges for many reasons, coal forges can be made basically for free. The only purchase you will have to make is for a decent crank blower, but if you don't feel like spending the money I've seen people rig up blow dryers and shop vacs to do the same thing. As for the coal you're looking for blacksmiths or farriers coal, its a lot easier to find than you would think and you can get plenty of videos online showing you how to work/ make a coal forge.<br> HAMMER AND ANVIL:<br> -Lets start with the hammers. The small sledge is a must, I would recommend a 2lb but you could go up to 3, anything more is sort of overkill, its just meant for pushing thick metal into shape. The ball peen is a really nice addition, use it if you have it, but its not as important as a cross peen hammer (shown in the picture for step 6). The cross peen is made to thin and widen specific sections of metal along an axis, where the ball peen is limited to small circular depressions.<br> -As a general note for the hammers make sure that the end that contacts the metal is flat and smooth, any circular marks or bumps on the face of the hammer get transferred over to the piece that you're working on.<br> -On to the anvil- this will be the biggest purchase/ decision you will make in regards to this trade. Yes- you can use a railroad track &quot;anvil,&quot; but I highly, HIGHLY recommend you use it as a strictly temporary arrangement. Anvils are specifically made to properly transfer the energy that you put into your hammer blows in a way that railroad tracks do not. Because of this regular use of a non-anvil object can and will destroy your shoulder after long time use because of all the extra strain put on it due to uneven energy distribution.<br> -Anvils are expensive and somewhat hard to find decent ones, but your best bet is to wait until you find a nice one on craigslist or at a garage sale or something. This is where you really need to be committed to the trade because of the cost of these suckers, mine cost me roughly $300 and that's cheap. Yes you can get them for much cheaper at Harbor Freight or somewhere else, but they are made with different steel in different ways and lack the quality of a real blacksmiths anvil. With that in mind they are still the best alternative. When getting an anvil you have to decide what style you want (single horn, double horn, what size hardy hole, etc.) and weight. Typically you'll want to get a minimum of an 80lb anvil, and even that's really light- about the 120lb range is much more ideal, otherwise it will jump around all over the place every time you strike your piece. Additionally you want to make sure it has a face that is smooth and clean, if the top is filled with dents and is all cracked the anvil is useless. There is so much more to the whole anvil aspect but that's the short version, if you are committing to buying one do some more serious research first.<br> METAL: -Galvanized, like you said, is a big no-no, the fumes are pretty toxic. I would also stay away from rebar, but for a different reason. Rebar is just melted scraps of different steels in a bar form, and because of this the metal composition is incredibly inconsistent in different parts of the bar- some may be soft, others very hard. The *only* thing I would use rebar for is making simple tools that will see abuse that you wouldn't want to put on a &quot;nice&quot; tool.<br> -This bit varies depending on what you plan on making. For general purpose blacksmithing just buy yourself some cheap rods and bars, it saves yourself a lot of hassle, otherwise just stay away from galvanized and rebar. But, as a bladesmith (yes, I'm adding my two cents here) higher carbon steels are your best bet, you can get things like car leaf springs and old files for free at a lot of places, both of which are nice high carbon steel, perfect for knives. If you do plan on buying higher carbon steel get something like 1070 (read as &quot;ten-seventy&quot;) to start with, it will do you well. (Quick lesson on those numbers- the &quot;10&quot; denotes that it is carbon steel, and the two numbers after it, 70 in our case, identifies how many points of carbon in it. Bigger number, more carbon!)<br> OPTIONAL ITEMS: -Chisels can be tricky. Anvils have hardy and pritchel holes meant for special tools that you insert to use on the metal, a common one being a hot-cut chisel. As the name suggests, and as the trend is for most of these tools, you can only use them when the metal you are working is hot (by hot I mean usually it needs to be glowing), otherwise you will damage the tool. Make sure you know if your tool is meant for hot or cold use.<br> -Tongs can be replaced by any large grabbing tool for the time being, pliers and the like all can work so long as you don't mind them getting a little ruined by the heat.<br> STARTING THE FORGE:<br> -The only thing to add here- and what I wish someone told me- was that this is one of the longest parts of the process. Gas forges get up to heat fast, and by fast I mean usually 15-30 minutes on a good day. Coal forges can take about an hour or so depending on how impatient you are (very) and how much you poke around with the damn thing while it gets started (whoops).<br> HAMMERING:<br> -No! Bad! I DO suggest you wear gloves when you start, until you have any idea of the new &quot;physics&quot; of the hammer and anvil, you're going to inevitably do something stupid and send super hot metal flying, the more protection the better. Yes, gloves do get in the way, BUT, you need to know when it is and is not OK to take them off. If you have a very long piece of metal you are working on, then you will have a safe, cool end to get a firm grip on and do not need gloves, or tongs for that matter. Basically, the moment that metal gets too short/hot to hold and you have to use tongs, you should be using gloves.<br> -Note- while something like hammering may seem simple, this is the hardest thing to learn. Some things require you to hammer at an angle (knives), others require straight blows (grooves and depressions), while others need a pushing motion when you connect the with the piece (fulling out and shaping), with all sorts of other possible ways to hammer. Don't underestimate this part.<br> <br> Hopefully that was some help. I know I probably have a bunch of spelling/ grammar mistakes that I'm too lazy to go back to, and a bunch of stuff that probably doesn't make any sense, so if you have any further questions or anything else you want to know I'll do my best to clarify.
Happy &amp; Healthy 2014 Draxis, Great advice I see the why of it all better now. I was told by a professional VW mechanic the leafs from the front axel tubes make great knife blades.
Look, I was stating what I learned. This is not a guide for professional smithing. It is to help start out. Like I said there are many ways to do it.
i'd like to point out here how dangerous dealing with galvanized metal is to both blacksmiths and welders. zinc and chrome which are the most common galvanizing metals are easily burned off long before the steel starts glowing, the smoke that is generated is either chrome or zinc oxide obviously. breathing this in will kill you in a week, painfully, unless you are getting paid well i wouldn't even bother with it.
That's why you cook it off, and/or only use forges with galvanized parts outdoors...but he's right, lots of ventilation and no enclosed spaces if you have to use galvanized parts. My forge has galvanized pipe in it, it's not a problem once you have burned it off, but initially it can kill you.
Thanks for all the advice, I will be sure to add on soon
I hope this sparks some interest in Blacksmithing, but there is SO much more information you need to put out there. <br>If you are serious, I would highly recommend going to www.iforgeiron.com and start reading all the pinned threads. There is information there on everything you could ever need and is a valuable resource for both new and old smiths. <br>You could build a coal forge for under 50 bucks, using a brake rotor drum for your forge (The complete how-to is on the site) and the members there are always willing to help out with a question or two.
If the anvil don't ring don't buy it.
if u fancy doing an internet search i'd recommend looking for COSIRA it was a correspondence course launched in the 50's (i beleive) and its a complete blacksmithing course - i found it on the university of cardiff's websight free to download, amongst the starter projects is how to make a set of forge tongs
Nice free anvil is a piece of I beam from a construction site.
I would suggest that you make the chisels and punches rather than buying ad you will need to regularely harden and temper them anyways. Tongs can be substituted by a decent set of pliers in the short term until you get skilled enough to pound a proper set out of rebar :)
Ya, i might try to make some. I bought the chisels because they were on sale for real cheap.
I would point out that it's not a foundry - it's a smithy, as you're not doing any casting (foundry work).
Haha, true, but i thought it would get the point across. I have never heard of it being called a smithy before.
There are anvils and ASOs (Anvil Shaped Objects). the cheaper anvils like the one harbor freight sell are made of cast iron, It is soft and will break easily. You want Cast Steel if you really want an Anvil. I love my railroad chuck they are great for shaping.
Thank you your instructable was informative. I have always wanted to try blacksmithing and this gives me a way forward
If you could vote for me in the Manly Crafts contest I would really appreciate it.
Thanks rimar2000. I haven't tried any of that yet, I will make sure I do though!
Stems of old car shock absorbers has good steel to make tools. Also ball/roll bearings, piston pins, old suspension springs/blades, etc. <br> <br>Good instructable. <br> <br>

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