|Basic forge designs|
With a few metalworkers frequenting the farm and a recent betterArts residency application from a blacksmither, this past weekend was spent putting the beginning touches on a homemade forge for metalworking.
A forge is the hearth upon or inside of which fire is kept for the purpose of heating iron or steel until it is soft enough to be bent (usually on an anvil). The forge provides a safe, fire-resistant structure in which to keep the fire, and to which a source of air blast can be piped to increase the heat of the fire. Most modern shop forges incorporate a chimney structure to remove smoke from the fire, out of the shop safely. The blast of air raises the heat of the fire in the same way as blowing softly on a small flame to help light a campfire.
The blacksmith's forge has remained similar in design and purpose for millenniums. Some of the differences being in the materials we now use to build our forges and the source of air supply and delivery. Despite its modern look, the modern forge works exactly the same as those of its predecessors. Over thousands of years of forging, these devices have evolved in one form or another as the essential features of this type of forge:
- Tuyere -- a pipe through which air can be forced into the fire
- Bellows or blower -- a means for forcing air into the tuyere
- Firepot or hearth -- a place where the burning fuel can be contained over or against the tuyere opening.
To make our forge, we decided to forage. Found objects included old tire rims and a steel water tank. Here's a small schematic:
Then Adam and Greg got to work:
A forge of the type we're creating is essentially a hearth or fireplace designed to allow a fire to be controlled such that metal introduced to the fire may be brought to a malleable state or to bring about other metallurgical effects (hardening, annealing, and drawing temper as examples). The forge fire in this type of forge is controlled in three ways: 1) amount of air, 2) volume of fuel, and 3) shape of the fuel/fire.
Stay tuned for images of the finished product!