Brake Drum Forge - Beginning Blacksmithing




About: I enjoy making and doing all sorts of things. Check back often to see my newest Instructables.

About a year ago I decided that I wanted to try blacksmithing. To me, It seemed like an amazing hobby to pick up. The shaping and forming of metal meant that I could make any tool that I would need for any project. It also allowed me to use metal like no other tool could. I was fortunate enough to have an anvil already. All I needed was a forge...

Step 1: Materials

I picked up all the materials I needed from Menards and together they only cost me about $85

You will need:

  • A 9 inch brake drum
  • A 4 inch wide pipe flange that fits onto a 2 inch pipe
  • Two threaded pipe nipples
  • A 2 inch end cap (To catch the ashes)
  • A 2 inch tee joint
  • A foot long section of 2 inch steel pipe
  • A 5 inch wide cast iron drain
  • Bolts,nuts, and washers to hold stuff together

You will also need to run the forge:

  • An old hairdryer
  • Charcoal or coal to use as fuel
  • 4 large cinder blocks to set it up on

Step 2: Assembly: Brake Drum

I was lucky enough to have the holes in my brake drum align with the holes in my pipe flange and cast iron drain. I simply put the drain in the inside of the drum, slid a bolt through, and secured that bolt with a washer and nut to the pipe flange. I decided only to use two bolts to secure this all together because only two of the holes lined up perfectly. You could use a drill to create your own holes but I didn't have one available when I made this.

Step 3: Assembly: the Pipes

To assemble the pipes you need to start by attaching the foot-long section of pipe to the side of the tee joint. This will be your air intake pipe. On the top and bottom of the tee join screw in your pipe nipples. On one of them, lightly screw on the end cap, This will catch ashes that fall from inside the forge and make it a lot easier to clean up.

After you have all the pipes put together I would recommend tightening them with a pipe wrench so that they don't fall apart when you have 2500 degree coals in them.

After your pipe assembly is tight, screw it onto the pipe flange that is at the bottom of the brake drum.

Step 4: Setting It Up

To set up the forge, I made two stacks each of two cinder blocks that were close together. I slide the air intake pipe through one of the holes in their sides and put a hairdryer into it.

To light the forge, fill it with charcoal (You could use coal but I use charcoal because it is cleaner), light the charcoal and turn on the hairdryer. Let it warm up for about 10 minutes before attempting to heat up metal in the fire.

Step 5: Make Anything

Now that you know how to make a forge that can heat metal to the point where it can easily be shaped, you can make anything! Make a tool, a decoration, a gift, whatever you want!

Please leave a comment telling me what you thought or asking any questions you have.

See you in my next instructable!

Build a Tool Contest 2017

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017



    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I used an old brake drum off a semi (free from most any big truck repair shop or trucking company) rest is pretty much the same.


    2 years ago

    Could you use wood as your fuel source instead of coal or charcoal?

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    lump charcoal is a good was to go if coal is tuff...not bricketts itmost bbq supply spots


    Reply 2 years ago

    You might look into making your own charcoal rather than using wood - charcoal is wood whose long chain hydrocarbons (tars) have been cooked off, leaving a much cleaner burning fuel. Using wood can be done, but it is A) smokier because of those long-chain things, B) not as hot - long chain things don't burn as well, and C) you're liable to be introducing impurities (unburned long chain things) into your metal - perhaps not a big deal for decorative work, but as soon as you want something like a tool, you will want predictable, clean metal to work with....


    Reply 2 years ago

    I haven't tried it myself but have read about how to. I think it would be harder with this small of a forge but you could try. It definitely would be cheaper than running it on lump charcoal. Here's a helpful link I found:


    2 years ago

    I have been wanting to do this for a while now, seems simple enough. thanks for sharing. I have a wood burner I use in my house and barn, can you start the fire like that then add the coal or charcoal ? I don't see why not but Idk thanks

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I would think it would be fine to light a fire with normal wood first. Anything that lights the charcoal to the point that the hairdryer won't just blow it out will work.


    2 years ago

    This is exactly how I started about 2 years ago. Nicely done.