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A good, never mind, Great way to start metal forging/casting Answered

I am pretty new, wait, very new to this, ok im a straight complete noob and i only know what i have seen (not much, but i do know how to scavenge anything and modd things to make it work...) and i was just wondering what would be the best way to make a medium sized forge and what to use to fuel it.


So is this all of the advice i am going to get??

What tools and fabricating skills do you have to start with? Where are you (urban, suburb, rural)? Have you looked for blacksmiths locally (esp in historical re-creation groups or local history museums)?

well, i;m in the city so it'd have to be very small... Im starting from scratch this is completely new to me and all i've done before this is random projects of different types and mostly working with clay. i havent checked for local hist. recreatin groups... sounds interesting.. ill have to look into that. I dont have any tools to start out with.

If you are just testing the water, then playing with a campfire, an iron rod/bar, a pair of pliers (or two), a hammer (preferably ball pein) and a chunk of something (hard rock or metal, even a sledge hammer half buried would work) as an anvil would work. You could add a piece of steel pipe and a hairdryer to make the iron heat up faster. You could set up a "bean can" forge, which is a coffee can lined with ceramic fiber or furnace cement mixed with perlite/vermiculte or refractory cement and a hole in the side that you stick a propane torch in (mostly just the flame or the tip can melt). It's only good for small stuff but it's nice and quiet (until you get an anvil...) so you can use it in town. A light-weight/insulating firebrick (sort of a solid sponge rather than a heavy brick, about $5 at a pottery store) can have a hole drilled into it with a second hole in the side for the propane torch. IF you can get something called YTONG brick (aerated gypsum?) you can do the same thing. I really am going to have to make an instructable on temporary forges...

Oh, before I forget, you can melt aluminum in a campfire using a tin can as a crucible. The fire has to be mostly coals (very hot), and you can't poke at the aluminum much or you'll poke threw the bottom of the can. Pop cans work, but something thicker works better like aluminum tube or small engine bits. You can do open face castings by drawing in the dirt and pouring metal on top.

i have a chiminea thing for a fire (i think its steel or cast iron or something) would that work for melting aluminum? it has open sides so it doesn't insulate very well.

Insulation is needed for a gas fire, a solids (charcoal/wood/coal) fire just has to be banked up against the crucible.

ok thats awesome! i can melt stuff fine! would it be a good idea to have a container full of sand for simple castings? i cant dig the grass up just for casting. my wife will get mad...

After you get a feel for how much metal you can melt, you might want to try lost foam casting, where you carve a chunk of (usually blue or pink) foam, bury it in the sand, and quickly pour the metal into it. The metal holds the sand as fast as the foam burns away IF you are quick.

What exactly do you want to do? Casting and forging are very different operations. Are you wanting to get into blacksmithing, or are you wanting to make aluminum parts for a project, or are you wanting to do jewelry type stuff?

well im looking more toward blacksmithing and and jewelery (im thinkin i could make some good $$$...)

Steel and iron jewelery ?

For other metals, normally they are melted in something similar to this kind of furnace and I believe there is at least one instructable here on that very subject.

Most people doing jewelry do their melts with a torch and a rosebud head. A huge piece of jewelry is maybe a troy ounce, which you can melt with the $250 torch that Home Despot sells. Jewelry is a very different tool set from backsmithing.

Well, I am just going by the terms being used (forge, etc) and one would not need to "forge" say an silver ring. One would melt and cast it. The silversmith actually works in a temp range that is very hot, but not at a forge, but rather at a furnace. I guess I am unclear at exactly which direction Luki101 is going there.

well, i want to do both. blacksmithing as a simple (maybe not so simple...) hobby, and silver smithing as sort of a job.

I have no idea how much you know or have done so bear with me if I'm talking way under you here. For just getting started you can do decent jewelry work (I'm thinking fabrication from shaped wire via hard soldering, which is not to be confused with sweat soldering) with a blow torch. You won't be able to do large pieces or casting that way, but you can develop your basic skills, get your tool set built up and crank out small pieces. I like The Complete Metalsmith as an introduction to jewelry work, but it's less thorough than it might be. I've dealt with both Metalliferous and Rio Grande and recommend getting both their catalogs. Just looking at all the stuff that's out there is educational, but don't feel like you have to run right out and spend a ton on tools. I know a guy who does great work whose tool set cost him less than $200 and would fit inside a grocery bag. If you're wanting to do both, I'd recommend starting with jewelry first just because the tools are cheaper and readily available.

A gentleman by the name of D. Noris sells a course on silver smithing using just a propane torch-BUT most of what you need to know to get started he has in various pieces (including several groups on Yahoo) on the web. His stuff includes casting with a propane torch.

I've seen small steam castings done with just a blow torch and made small spheres by melting bits of wire and letting surface tension do it's thing, but I don't have enough experience with it to have faith in the process. I definitely wouldn't try it with a unique wax master.

Blacksmithing, at least on any real scale, is not an inexpensive hobby :-)

Even if one uses a small home made forge, many tools will either be hard to find or good ones difficult to obtain without huge sums of money being outlaid. If patient, one can pick up the odd piece at auctions that have focus on other items. but that will take time.

Blacksmithing is work

(you've read the Village Blacksmith ?)

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

At the time I had to memorize it in school, I wasn't too keen on it, but now I really like it too. :-)

I don't know about making money off them, but I'd love to make myself an iron ring...just seems like it'd be kind of cool.

I have a stainless steel one :-) It looks kind of like a silver wedding band really

Long long ago.....at a metal shop far away LOL HighSchool, a few decades ago.

*sigh* I thought I still had it somewhere (I think I still do), but a half an hour search through 2 drawers and storage containers and it hasn't turned up yet.

I will try to remember to look around for it as I get an opportunity.

I have a magnet with a really decent pull to it (it is odd shaped, but you wouldn't want to get your finger between it and a close piece of steel or iron). But I don't know "where" to look now. I thought I knew where it was....

imagine having a magnet so strong you put it near sand but your hand was in the way and all of those ferromagnetic bits went right through your hand... twisted...

It hurts badly enough if it is a flat piece of iron :-)

It's almost like getting your finger caught in a car door, except there is no "handle" to unlatch the door :-)

I actually made a really fat gangster sort of ring but i didnt melt anything to make it. i just had a piece of metal in my basement and i started to hammer it into shape. it fits quite nicely around my middle finger...

Yeah, at the High School's metal shop we didn't melt or even heat it, really. Cut it, hammered it into shape, filed, then burnished forever.....it was a wee bit big for me at the time though.

If anybody here is into music like me, go to this forumthis forum to talk about musical interests.

I mean like, maybe, 3 feet long and 3 feet wide and about 2- 2 1/2 feet tall.