Cheap and Easy Backyard Forge




Build a metalworking forge easily and cheaply which can allow you to hammer metal in just a few hours.

The reason I wanted to build this was my interest in being able to get into basic blacksmithing without spending a lot of money.

The project does not take very long to make, but I'm sure mastery blacksmithing could take much longer.

The project was made for about $50+ tools that I already had...

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Step 1: Buying Materials and Tools

Materials Needed:

  • 9 flat concrete blocks(maybe a few more for replacements)
  • Steel rebar(wall hooks and other rounded items)
  • Flat steel bar(best for making blades or other flat tools)
  • a few bricks
  • steel pipe(large enough diameter to connect with the shop vacuum)
  • Firewood and/or Hardwood Charcoal(not briquettes)
  • scrap paper to start fire

Tools Needed:

  • Mini Sledge or Cross-Pein Hammer

(This should be preferably 3+ lbs depending on how much weight you will be comfortable with swinging around for a few hours)

  • Thick leather or workman's gloves (ones that you don't mind getting a little charred)
  • Blacksmith tongs or large pliers (Craftsman Robo-Grips work well)
  • Anvil and table/stump to hold it (or not if you are me)

(This can basically be a huge chunk of metal or a large flat piece of granite. I use an old piece of railroad track which weighs about 15 lbs. It has been plasma cut to have a horn )

  • Large shop vacuum(mine is an older Ridgid branded one)
  • Propane Torch(this makes starting it easier)
  • Lighter

Most of these items can be bought at most home improvement stores.

Step 2: Building the Forge

You should arrange your concrete blocks in order that the blocks form a box with an open front. You should have an extra concrete block to block some airflow from the front and to keep some more heat in when you start forging. Now, attach the large steel pipe to the tube of the shop vacuum using the easiest way possible for you. For me, this was gorilla tape. Place the other end of the pipe sticking into the backside of the forge and try to make the hole decently sealed by placing bricks around it. Your forge should be about ready.

Step 3: Begining to Forge

To start the forge make a small fire using paper and the wood or hardwood charcoal. You should cut a few pieces of wood ahead of time to make sure you have enough once the fire gets started. Once the fire has gotten some embers going in the wood, you can add the air induction. This much air might actually put out your fire if it has not been going long enough, so make sure the fire is really going. Once it starts, you will know if you have it right, as the fire should be very impressive and hot.

Now, it is time for the metalworking...

Step 4: Metalworking

Basic Metalworking

Twisting: This is a simple way of making a piece of metal decorative. Simply put one end of a hot piece of metal in a vice and twist the other end with a pair of tongs.

Flattening: Hit the piece of metal along the lengthwise direction of the anvil.

Upsetting: This is when you take a long piece of metal pointed towards the base of an anvil and hit the opposite end. This causes the metal to form outward at the base.

Step 5: Conclusion

I hope you have greatly enjoyed this Instructable. It was fun building it myself. If you have any questions or comments please ask them below in the comment section. I would love to hear feedback/what would you have done differently.

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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Is that anvil made from railroad track?


    3 years ago

    Is that anvil made from railroad track?


    3 years ago

    Is the concrete cracking from the hammering yet? I recommend a good size tree stump myself. You want the surface of the anvil to be just below the belt line.


    3 years ago

    the high volume of the shopvac might be a bit much for a forge, I did it on my charcoal forge I instructabled, I ended up putting a blast gate on the pipe to reduce flow so I didn't burn through my charcoal too quickly. I've heard, but haven't tried, using a hair dryer works great.
    good luck with your forging, blacksmithing is a ton of fun, I've done it off and on for a while now, my tied for first passion is wood working, but metalworking is only slightly behind :P

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm having a lot of fun smithing already. I didn't seem to be going through the wood too quickly, and the shop vacuum really got the embers to get really hot really quickly.

    Watch me make

    3 years ago

    Nice . but one thing they stopped making cinder 60+ years ago now they are cement blocks . But otherwise a great project

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Looks like it gets really hot! So cool, thanks for sharing!