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Homemade washtub forge
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Having moved three times in the last three years, I sold my first "Tim Lively" washtub forge rather than lug it along. Tim is the neotribal blacksmith who perfected this simple design. The propane forge is much faster to heat, but I missed the simplicity of forging with charcoal and the rhythm of the slower heats and cranking the old cast iron forge blower.
At the recent Steam Up in Brooks, Oregon, I spotted a nice old Buffalo Climax blower at a great price, and decided I needed a second washtub forge.
Here's the blower:


The forge is made of a 3.75 gallon or 5.5 gallon oval washtub, notched at the ends and with holes cut to admit some one-inch iron pipe. Drilling holes in the pipe to feed air into the charcoal makes it a "tuyere." With the tuyere in place, you mix up your insulation using clay, sand, some wood ashes and a bit of organic material; I used some sawdust and some fir needles for this.
Then you pack the bottom and sides with your clay mixture forming a valley down the center where the charcoal burns, fed oxygen via the tuyere, which is connected to the blower. This will have to dry for a few days before I set it all up on a bench I made out of a 2X12.





There's something about forging with charcoal that is satisfying and relaxing -- and you can get your charcoal free from slash burn piles in the woods. Even more satisfying is making something useful out of old bits of scrap iron found objects. Another nice thing about a charcoal forge is that you can let the fire die down and then put a finished, polished piece in the embers and draw the steel to bronze or iridescent purple, then quench to lock in the color.

Here's a Youtube of my first washtub forge that I put up six years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRrimSk6LzA


There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.
– John Green, author
 
Posts: 14084 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Have they gotten to be that expensive? that we have to make our own?


Ray Atkinson
Atkinson Hunting Adventures
10 Ward Lane,
Filer, Idaho, 83328
208-731-4120

rayatkinsonhunting@gmail.com
 
Posts: 38051 | Location: Twin Falls, Idaho | Registered: 04 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ray, you are living in ranch and farm country where you can still find portable rivet forges at decent prices. Here in urban Oregon, rickety, rusted ones needing parts can go for north of $150 as "purty antiques."


There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.
– John Green, author
 
Posts: 14084 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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WOW! I need to get out there and find us a couple of them Bill..


Ray Atkinson
Atkinson Hunting Adventures
10 Ward Lane,
Filer, Idaho, 83328
208-731-4120

rayatkinsonhunting@gmail.com
 
Posts: 38051 | Location: Twin Falls, Idaho | Registered: 04 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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