What is a home forge and how do you set one up? Continue reading below to build your own!
Setting Up A Home Forge
Forging metal is one of man’s greatest accomplishments. The entire ages of man are documented by the very metals they used to make tools and fight wars. These metals have been used both to make enormous skyscrapers and tiny motherboards.
At the time of the first contact, the native Americans taught Europeans lots of things and vice versa. However, nothing moved the tribes the way that metal did. Imagine being a person who literally survives, by and large, using bone and stone blades and points. Suddenly the “pale faces” show up and they bring these weapons and tools that seemingly never dull!
That is one example of the power in forging metal.
To the average person, this seems like something that only a specially trained and outfitted blacksmith could do. In reality, you can build a homemade forge out of many things. Let’s look at a couple of easy DIY setups for a home forge.
#10 Can Forge
Chances are, you have a few of these large cans laying around. They might be filled with food. I hope some of them are filled with long term food storage! There are some great companies who package meals in these #10 cans.
With some refractory cement, 2”x ½ inch black pipe nipple and a small propane torch, you can create a simple forge for small fixes around the home or making things like S hooks or small knives. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by cleaning out your #10 can.
- Next cut or drill a ½ inch hole in the side of your can that is the same size as the 2” x ½” black pipe nipple.
- Screw the nipple into the hole that you drilled.
- Fill the bottom of the with about 2 inches of refractory cement and then set another can on top of that or a plastic cup.
- Fill the can the rest of the way with the cement and allow it to dry a bit before removing the can. The hole left behind will be where you can forge your metal.
- Before everything hardens up you need to clear out the black pipe.
I have seen people use the torch to dry out the forge from the inside by placing it into the nipple and turning it on. Or you can allow it to dry overnight.
You might also want to use L brackets to stabilize the forge, too!
Ground Forge with a Hairdryer
Did you know that you can literally forge metal on the ground? It’s simple.
You need to first create a base of earth and sand or just earth. This base can be created using layers of decorative stones, sort of like a fire pit filled with dirt. Dig a cavity in this dirt to assure you have a place to put your charcoal and your coke. These are both essential to heating the metal enough to shape it.
Using a simple piece of flexible dryer venting you can either bury this under more dirt or affix it to your pit. You must simply face the vent so that the output will blow into the cavity where the fuel will burn. Crimp the opposite edge around your blow dryer, and this will be how you force air into your forge. This will increase the heat of the fire and allow the metal to begin glowing.
Simply by running air through the dryer vent, using your blow dryer, and into the cavity that you have created will incite such a temperature in your fire that you can manipulate metal with your hammers and other tools.
This basic forge is especially important because it is a reminder of what can be done with minimal resources. You see, there could come a time when you run out of propane or your larger forge breaks. A simple method like this reminds you that there is always another way.
Prepping and survival are so much about adaptation.
Many look at prepping as a means to an end. As though it is merely a checklist to be filled out. The reality is prepping is part of the journey. I like to refer to it as a river with many tributaries. Homesteading, woodworking, foraging, community and so on all become parts of a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence.
Blacksmithing is one such tributary and if you are smart about your early stages setup, you can get into this artisanal skill for much less money than you think. Not only is it a great hobby, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important skills for long term survival that you can practice.
Combine one of these simple forges with a pair of vice grips, a decent hammer, and a piece of railroad track that you can buy on eBay, and you will have a highly affordable blacksmithing setup that you can test the waters with.
No point in buying a $400 anvil just to find out you hate pounding metal, right?
Are you ready to build your home forge yet? If you have questions, feel free to let us know in the comments section!
- I MADE IT MYSELF: Forging a Knife from Rebar
- Blacksmithing: Useful Hobby and Survival Skill
- Knifemaking: Make A Knife From An Old Wrench