Forced to Rearrange The Shop.

All I need is one more distraction in my shop, but here I have happily stepped up to the plate to go about modifying my entire shop set up to make room for this.

It's a small forge (I'm told it's called a rivet forge) with a lever action blower.It needs a little clean up and a little TLC but everything is there or can be made. 

I've had this anvil for ages. It was given to me by my father in law. I've used it some as a hammering surface here and there, and when I put together a small soup can propane forge late 2013, (that experiment was more one and done as the forge deteriorated quickly after the first firing) but mostly it's been waiting to be paired with real fire.

I've done a decent amount of reading, as I always tend to do, and realize serious blacksmiths don't like these small forges. They're too small for a lot of work that can be done at a forge. The air bellows is inefficient and insufficient for quickly heating up large stock and the fire is more difficult to manage than on a full sized forge like the fantastic one in Master Tom Latane's shop

My response . . . duh. 

Would I love to work everyday out of a forge like that? Hell yes. 

But here's the thing. I don't want to spend my time as a blacksmith. I am a woodworker. I want to be a woodworker who has the access and ability to make his own hinges, nails, and possibly a tool from time to time and there by become less beholden to others. Less dependant on others and more self sufficient. 

Besides. living in a small city as I do, I think a large forge like Tom's may invalidate any homeowner's insurance and run into any number of city ordinances. This small forge in akin to a charcoal grill. In fact that's the fuel I intend to burn to forge with, hardwood pieces and lump charcoal. 

This past weekend I took some time and drove to Tom Latane's shop to take a little beginner's instruction on forging the simple things I'm after. Tom's been extremely generous with me and is fast becoming a very good friend. We finished a pair of gimlet hinges (aka snipe hinges) and a half a dozen nails. Mine need a lot more work, but it's satisfying work. 

First I have to make a couple exciting things. A nail heading tool and a cut off hardy tool. But first I have to finish piecing the forge together and get it up and working. Of course all this means changing the shop around to make a safe area for this new diversion. If you ask me that's a small price to pay.

Ratione et Passionis


  1. The size of the pot will limit the depth of the fire. Deep fires work better for welding because they let the oxygen burn in the bottom before it gets to the metal. For what you are describing the rivet forge will work quite well.
    A couple suggestions.
    Charcoal is a great fuel. Less sulfur smell and it heats well. You will go through a lot of it.
    Sparks in a wood shop can be a problem. I keep the forge in a separate building from the garage shop and away from the house. No wood working in the blacksmith shop allowed.
    PS. This is how I started. I was just going to make a few things. Now I had to have a special 116 X10 shed put in the yard to hold the blacksmith shop after we moved. It's addictive.

  2. By coincidence, this morning I explained the old ways of rivets forging and throwing to my son.

  3. Very cool little forge and perfect anvil. I am in almost the same spot. I spent a day forging a knife and was hooked from the get-go. Found a little knife-makers anvil a couple of weeks ago, and am debating whether to get or make a little forge like that, or go with gas - coal is out because of the neighbors. The knife maker I learned from had scavenged a sheet of steel and built a little hut for his forge against a brick wall - said the risk of fire was too high and the smoke was too much to put it in his garage/shop. I think I'm going to go that route too.


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