The Construction of My 1st Smithy

Because my shop was designed and built primarily for one specific purpose, that of being a blacksmithing shop/decorative metal working studio, I decided to dedicate a page to its construction. I should add that I do not plan to use this shop as a typical "smithy" most of the time, but more of a metal arts studio where I incorporate blacksmithing with other metal arts techniques. This is a narrative of sorts, providing both a periodic progress update sequence and a discussion of the various special features incorporated into the shop. I hope this page will serve as a source for ideas that others may wish to consider when building their own shops.

I should also explain that the images and narrative are time transgressive. Images towards the top of the page are superceeded by images later in the narrative. I did not go back and update earlier parts of the narrative as I accomplished various new tasks in the shop's construction sequence so as to preserve the full sequence of the shop construction. So be aware that each image you look at has probably been updated further down as new work was completed.

I created a new page, My Shop at a Glance, that will allow you to quickly see the various features in my shop without reading through the detailed text below. If you then wish to dig deeper into the various special features in my shop, such as the induced draft hood and floor sockets, you may then want to return to this page.



(Click picture for full sized image)
Shop on 6 Aug 01
First Real Snowfall of Winter 01/02

An Interesting Curl of Snow on the Roof

The Day has Arrived!
My Shop is Born
A Narrative of its Construction


Jump to Updates
Power Hammer Installation
The Easy Hammer is Up and Running!
Shop's First Use
Foundry Bench Construction - The Last Step
First Shop Demonstration

The New Anvil Arrives


Update Notes

(19 Oct 01) Almost all of the various parts of the shop mentioned below are now complete, including the 3" wide by 1/8" steel kick strip around the base of the walls of the shop. The only important thing that has not been completed at this writing is the high "R" value compressed 8" batt ceiling insulation, which should be installed sometime in the next two weeks....just in time for winter weather. I have become somewhat distracted from work on the shop by "real" metal working projects, such as a rattlesnake paper towel rack for the shop, which I completed two days ago. I guess I got worn out with construction projects, and needed to get my hands dirty working iron for a change. The only two shop construction projects still waiting to be done are the steel storage rack, and the foundry bench. The steel storage rack will be done in the next month or so I suspect, but the bench will have to wait until I get "a round tuit," and round tuits are hard to find.  

(25 May 02) The only task remaining at this time is to build the foundry bench. The ceiling insulation is complete, as well as the 10' x 10' steel storage rack on the SW wall. All the "to be built" items discussed below are now all complete and part of the shop. The shop is a working smithy/metalworking studio now, complete with plumbed in double regulated propane, and CO/CO2 detectors and alarms. I finally found a "round tuit."

(6 Aug 02) The foundry bench is complete now also, see bottom of page for details. This completes the original list of major shop construction items I made almost two years ago. It is hard to believe that so much time, labor, and money, have been expended to get to this point in time. I still have many small things that I will do, shelves, hammer rack, exhaust fan, etc., but all of the big items are now complete. What is even better is that I now feel free to return to building new equipment; foundry sand muller, air and foot powered treadle hammer, clamshell forge, foundry melting furnace, heat treating oven, etc. Truly, this marks the end of the shop construction, and the beginning of a whole new phase of my life, and my metalworking. There are so many possibilities...where to begin!


The Beginning

Finally the day has come that I now have my own long awaited "dream shop." Click the thumbnail image above for a full size image of the finished building. It is not actually finished in this image. The interior still has a lot of work left to be done. However, the electrical is 90% complete, and the insulation about 30%. The building was constructed with 2" blanket insulation throughout, but it will have additional insulation on top of that, and then it will be covered with chip-board and painted. I still have to mount the 4' x 5' steel exhaust hood for the forges, and install and tie in the 12" diameter stainless tri-wall chimney pipe. It will penetrate the roof in the corner of the building nearest the camera.

This building was designed from the top down to be a blacksmith shop/metalworking studio. The concrete floor slab varies in thickness from 6" in the "patio" slab, up to to 2' where the power hammers will sit, and where the three 18" deep by 8" square floor sockets are embedded. All concrete is 4000 psi fiber and rebar reinforced. The outside covered "patio" slab is 10' by 18', and connected to the interior by a 10' by 10' insulated industrial garage door, which makes it convenient to work both inside and outside, and to aid in cooling in the summer. The interior has a back, upper corner mounted, thermostatically controlled, 5 KW heating unit that blows down across the shop to the opposite lower back corner. Mounted in the middle of the back half of the center roof support truss is an industrial variable speed ceiling fan to pull the excess forging heat down from the ceiling in the winter to circulate it throughout the shop evenly, as well as to circulate the heat from the heating unit in a likewise manor. This will save on heating costs in the winter. I want the shop to be comfortably warm at all times in the winter, both for my comfort, and to prevent sweating and rusting of my tools. The big ceiling fan also helps in the summer when it becomes too hot.

You can't see it in the picture, but there is an additional thermo-pane window in the back corner to help ventilate the building. All windows are 4' x 4' thermopane. The building is a "pole building," and is built on 8" square treated posts set 3' in the ground, and bedded in concrete. The total floor area is a small 500 SF (20' x 25'), because of P&Z set-back requirements. The additional "patio" slab was put in to help offset the loss of interior floor area that I had originally planned to have. It is very useful when doing grinding to keep the grinding dust out of the shop.

Although I have not put them in yet, there will be continuous strip mounted 110V power outlets along all sides of the shop, and also 220V outlets where needed to service the welders, power hammer(s), compressor, and plasma cutter. I am waiting on these until I complete the insulation and walls. Presently there is a temporary bank of 110 and 220 volt outlets in the corner under the electrical box. Also, the shop may have a compressed air line with a number of quick disconnects routed around the perimeter of the shop. Along side the air line will be a propane line, also with four quick disconnects, where the forges will be used, and where hot work will be done on counter or table tops. The propane bottles will be outside in back where the first regulator is located to set the upper end pressure of 15 psi for the interior supply line. There will be a shut off valve inside the building where the pipe line enters to isolate the building from the pressure tanks after I am done forging, and another regulator at the forge to adjust for operating pressure needs.

I was vary fortunate because my house electrical service had enough spare capacity that I was able to have a line brought over to the near corner of the shop by trench from my existing electrical service to service the shop with 100 amp 220V capacity, thus saving the cost of a new service and its associated monthly billing expense.

One of the floor sockets will have an 8" square timber post mounted in it to provide a mounting post for my 6" and 8" post vises, which will be mounted opposite to each other. I have three other post vises that will be mounted on various benches. You can't have too many post vises. The second floor socket will have another 8" wood post to mount my two post drills, one big and one small, also on opposite sides of the post. The third floor socket is a spare for whatever comes along. I fabricated the floor sockets out of 3/8" wall x 8" square steel tubing sections, 18" long. They have a steel plate welded across the bottom, and concrete bonding steel welded on the outside to provide a solid bond to the concrete. "Moose Milk" was applied to all surfaces prior to embedment to provide a rock solid bond to the concrete. When the floor slab was placed we put in 2' square block-outs where each socket would go. This made it easy to precisely align and position the floor socket "cans" prior to embedment, which was done at a later date. I wanted them to be as plumb as possible, and by drilling and placing rebar studs in the walls of the block-out openings we were able to lock them firmly in place. There was no movement when the concrete was vibrated into each deep socket hole. I highly recommend this method, even though you end up with a contact line between the two pours.

I thought long and hard about the lighting. I opted to use incandescent lights due to their superior light quality and true temper color appearance when working with metal, even though they cost more to operate. The shop has four banks of five 150 watt lights. Each bank is individually switched to allow me to use only what is needed. I may replace the on/off switches with variable switches to vary the lighting intensity as needed. I don't like other kinds of lighting due to a variety of reasons, among them being they are hard on the eyes, don't like to start in cold temperatures, and the light has a false color spectrum which results in false temper colors. 

Well, there is a lot more to relate about the shop, but I need to give it up for tonight. I have been putting in 12-14 hour days for weeks now, and it is beginning to have its effect on me. Check back for updates as time permits, such as the jet inductor in the chimney, and other features I am adding.


Updates

(25 June 01) The shop is coming along very well.  This image shows the forced draft hood which I completed today. The draft is created by the inducer blower, seen at the top right, and is connected to the 12" diameter chimney by the black horizontal 2" diameter rubber flex pipe. The heavy gage chimney pipe provides all the needed stability for the hood so that no additional bracing is required. The hood is rock solid when pushed or rotated. This was possible due to the heavy gage chimney pipe that I used between the hood and the chimney box in the roof. The hood has a 3' section of 12" diameter, 16 gage pipe which connects to the roof box through a removable 17" length of 20 gage pipe. If I had used the much lighter commercial weight (about 26 gage) stove pipe it would not have had the strength to transfer the structural integrity provided by the roof box to the hood, and I would have had to use additional hood bracing. Notice in the image the faint trace of the cross breaks I had put in each face of the hood. This prevents the hood from "booming" when the metal expands as it heats and cools. All the metal is under tension, with no flex in any face. Flat faces can be noisy. Also, the cross breaks provide a visually pleasing raised pattern on each face. The hood is fabricated out of 16 gage steel, and putting the breaks in, and getting everything to line up for welding caused some fabrication challenges, but worked out very well in the end.

The hood is suspended on 1/2" "all-thread." This allows the hood to be lowered for insertion of the 17" length of stove pipe, and then raised into its final position. It also made it easy to set the hood elevation to whatever I desired. In this case its 1/2" above the top of my head. Also, the four upper nuts on the all-thread made it easy to precisely level the hood. The vertical alignment was controlled through use of a plumb-bob which hung at the center point of the future roof penetration throughout the hood mounting process. It worked well enough that the chimney lined up perfectly with the nipple on the roof box, so that the chimney section between the roof box and hood is perfectly plumb, at least within the limits of my levels. It was very gratifying when I installed the 17" pipe section and everything lined up perfectly the first time. Using care and careful measurement throughout the construction process pays back big dividends in the end. An example I am proud of is the wooden 2x6 suspension frame for the hood. When it was finished I strung two diagonal string lines between its corners, passing under the point of the reference plumb-bob, and the string intersection point, and point of the plumb-bob, matched within 1/32", and that precision carried over to the center-line location of the hood's 3' chimney pipe. Everything is square, level, and plumb.

You can see the forge running in this image. Before I fired up the forge I wanted to see if my inducer jet was creating the draft I wanted. I threw a piece of crumpled up paper up into the hood while it was running, and the paper was sucked up and blown out the top of the chimney. When the forge is running the draft is strong enough that I can feel it on my legs. The air being drawn up into the hood pulls the forge gasses directly up and away so that there is no contact with them. This will be a very big benefit for my lungs, to be sure. During the winter I will close the damper to balance the input from the forge, but during the summer will keep the damper wide open to use it for its ventilating ability.

The wall board, and wall insulation, are in place now, and only need to be prepped and painted. I am going to install a 1/8" x 2" steel "kick strip" along the base of all the walls to prevent hot-cut ends from sliding over to the walls and coming in contact with something flammable. I rarely lose a hot-cut end, but it does happen on occasion. I still need to install my 8" post vise on the white post in the lower left of the image. I need to fabricate a steel cap to reinforce the 8" square post first however. I also need to finish the electrical work now that the wall board is in place. Each "bay" of the shop has separate 110 volt, 20 amp, and 220 volt, 20 amp, junction boxes to allow installation of receptacles for each voltage in each bay. There is a separate 220 volt 50 amp circuit that will service all the heavy draw tools, such as welders, compressor, and plasma cutter. I have a number of 6' long, 110 volt, receptacle strips with receptacles every 6" that will be installed over each work bench location.

As you can see, my "dream shop" is coming along very well. I have been putting in very long days, up to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, so it shouldn't be too much longer before the shop is up and running. One beneficial side effect is that I have lost 24 pounds so far due to the long days working in the shop. The chimney was quite a piece of work. It is a 12" diameter "tri-wall rated," actually double wall pipe, that I installed during three long, very hot, days. It only sticks 5 feet above the roof, so by code, and by the chimney pipe company instructions, I didn't need any guy wires. I had second thoughts after it was done, and the next morning I installed guy wires, which took all play out of the chimney that was caused by the twist lock joints in the pipe. The next day we were hit by a very powerful wind and dust storm, with winds of 45-60 mph. I was very glad to have the guy wires in place as the chimney didn't move at all, even in the heaviest gusts. Today it has been raining and there hasn't been any leakage, so apparently it has passed the test and I have a sound installation.


(30 June 01) I achieved a dream that I have had for 5-6 years yesterday when I completed the mounting of two of my post vises on one of the 8" floor socket posts. The vise on the right in the image is an 8" Colombian that I obtained 5 or 6 years ago after driving 750 miles round trip to Walla Walla, Washington to a fellow's ranch after he had told me he had a "big" post vise for sale. The vise turned out to be a superb, almost new, Colombian vise, so I bought it and returned home a tired but happy smith. The vise has been stored in my shed for all of this time waiting for the day when I would have a shop to mount it in. Yesterday that day finally arrived. The vise is so big that its mounting plate can barely fit on the top of an 8" diameter post, so I made an 8 sided steel cap for the post to reinforce it and prevent the 1/2" x 6" lag bolts from splitting out the sides of the post. It does have 8 sides due to the small flats that are in the corners to match where the post has 3/4" bevels on its corners. I also welded on an additional mounting plate in order to mount a 7" Colombian on the opposite side of the post. It has the copper jaw covers on it in the image. I have two additional post vises that will be installed in the shop on the work benches, a 5" and a 4" vise, all in very good to excellent condition. I have been buying, reconditioning, and selling vises for quite some time, and have kept the very best ones for my shop. The 8" Colombian is the best of the best. To improve the utility of the vise work stations I added a tray between the vises to hold tools such as files, hammers, etc. This is a big help when working at one of the vises. 


(9 July 01) Although it has been really hot and humid lately, the shop is still coming along on schedule. I completed the painting of the first 1/3 of the shop today. This was by far the hardest part of the paint job, due to the garage door, walk door, two windows, hood support structure, and various other things that make painting tedious. I also installed the molding around the door and windows, closing them in and giving them a finished look. I am very pleased with how it is coming out, but displeased with the Glidden paint I am using. The white paint is easily seen through with just one coat, and even with a white primer underneath it. If I didn't already have all the paint needed to complete the shop I would switch to a different higher quality brand. The gray paint performs fine, and it is Glidden also, so apparently its just the white paint that has problems.

When I was picking up the molding and lumber to finish the windows and door, I also picked up the steel to make the "kick strips" for the base of the walls. I ended up getting 1/8" x 3" steel instead of the 2" wide steel I had planned on. Not because I changed my mind, but because the steel yard was out of the 2" stock. I am now pleased that I am using 3" as it will look much better, even if it will have no additional practical value in preventing fires when hot cut pieces of steel take off for parts unknown. I will spray it with flat black BBQ paint prior to installing it.

BTW, in the above image, a structure can be seen above the door that may be a source of curiosity. It was just an opening left after the framing to support the awning structure outside was completed, and instead of simply filling it with insulation and closing it in, I decided to make a decorative inset shelf out of it to place some of my ironwork and gifts for display. It would have been easier to just cover it up, but I think it will add something to the shop, so I insulated it with bead-board and finished it with the same chip-board that the walls of the shop are done with. The bottom board sticks out 3" beyond the wall face providing a nice 8" deep area for a few pieces of metalwork. A shop doesn't need to be a barren sterile place to work.

The gray color I am using in the shop was suggest by Nahum Hersom a couple weeks ago during one of his many visits to my shop. I had planned to use nothing but white paint. I am now very glad that he made the suggestion, because it not only looks a lot better, but has the practical value that it will not show the dirt as much, and is a high gloss paint so it is more easily cleaned than the semi-gloss white paint above it. As you can see in the image, the white paint really makes a huge difference in the light level in the shop, as compared with the previous images posted here. With only two of the overhead light banks on it was almost too bright for the camera, where before, I was unable to get enough light in my images with all four banks of lights on. It should be quite impressive when the whole shop has been painted. I may have to wear my welding hood in the shop to cut the light level....grin. I plan to put one bank of lights on a dimmer switch so that I can cut the light level to a minimum while forging to more easily see the temperature color of the metal. The other three banks of lights will be switched off during forging. Just for information, I have a total of 3000 watts of incandescent lighting, made up of four banks of five 150 watt bulbs, in order to be able to get the needed light levels for any kind of work I may be engaged in. This lighting was "engineered" to deliver the proper lumens from their 12-15 foot distance above the floor. At first I thought it would be excessive, but not now after having used them when the shop was white inside due to the exposed insulation. Normally I will use no more than two banks at any one time. 


(29 July 01) A lot has been accomplished on the shop since my last entry. The painting is now complete! That was one of the most difficult jobs of the entire project of building this structure, or at least the one I most disliked doing. I finally determined that I could get a good result with the Glidden paint if I used a roller and applied two coats of the white top-coat. I went back and rolled all the areas I had painted with a brush, and they now look smooth and uniform. The gray lower paint was really a wonderful idea as it cuts the starkness of the bright white paint, and provides a pleasing effect overall. I have Nahum Hersom to thank for that. He has offered many suggestions during his numerous visits to my "shop in progress," and most of them I have incorporated into its design.

Following the completion of the painting I didn't sit around long enjoying the shop before I started in on the next important step, that of building the propane shed (second image with door closed) and getting it plumbed into the shop. I don't like having propane bottles in a building, and especially not around an operating forge. My goal was to build a well designed and constructed propane bottle storage shed, where a regulator on the bottle in use would step the pressure down to 15 psi before it entered the shop's interior propane distribution pipe line. There would be a second regulator at the point of use. I am happy to report that this system is now complete, except for a latch on the propane shed door, which I will forge today after completing this update. The exterior dimensions of the shed, before sheathing, are 4' x 4' x 2', and it can hold three of the medium sized bottles  of propane and one smaller one. The medium sized bottles, about 12 gallons, are as big as I wish to lift to haul to the filling station.

The storage structure and distribution system are now a reality, and a very successful one. The propane shed, shown in the image linked above, was constructed almost entirely out of materials left over from the construction of my shop building. The only "new" materials are the four treated 4x4 support posts that are set into the ground 3', to get below the frost line, and concreted in place. The shed is very heavily built, as is my practice when I build things for myself. The basic frame structure is constructed from 2x4 and 2x6 lumber, with OSB chip-board on top. I used the leftover steel sheathing and trim from the shop to cover the exterior. I was very fortunate that there was enough of everything to finish the job.

 The only difficult part was the cutting to size of the sheet metal. I have various aircraft sheet metal shears, and they proved to be very valuable for cutting the corrugations of the sheathing. The only down side is that it made my hands VERY sore after a full day of cutting steel sheet and trim. I do not like working with sheet metal, so was very happy to see the end of this phase of the work.

The shed has a 3/8", heavy wall, brass pipe line that enters it from the under side. I installed the pipe very close to the shop building, prior to the shed being built, so that the shed needed to be very close also in order to allow the pipe to enter through the floor and come up the inside face of the back wall of the shed. The pipe enters the ground from the shed and travels up inside one of the corrugations in the shop wall, and then makes a 90 degree turn and penetrates into the shop interior where it has its first ball valve. I didn't want to put any holes into the siding of the shop, and this system worked very well.

Once the propane storage shed was built, I found that it got excessively hot inside during the three hours of exposure it gets to the sun each mid-day. I have two sets of  1" diameter ventilation holes in the shed, one set in the  upper back wall, and one set in the perimeter of the floor to drain away any leaking propane, but they were not enough to keep it cool inside. I had a lot of left over 1" insulation board, so installed a full lining of insulation in the interior of the shed, except for the back wall, which isn't exposed to the sun. The insulation can be seen behind the propane bottle on the right in the image. That took care of the heating problems. It now remains relatively cool inside, even when the temperature outside reaches over 100 degrees, as we have been experiencing lately.

You may have noticed the white shed door in the image. I was going to sheath the door with the same steel sheathing used on the rest of the shed, but decided that it would look better if it were painted white instead. The door is very heavily constructed out of ripped 2x6 lumber and OSB chip-board. There are no butted joints in the door. All the lumber was cut with 45 degree miter angles on the ends for proper framing of the door. It was then glued and screwed to the OSB board to make a rock solid and heavy door. I don't have problems with uninvited guests entering my yard, but it will be good to have the security the heavy construction offers, once I have the latch forged and installed. BTW, the angle of the image makes the door look out of alignment...it isn't. Everything is plumb and square within a 32nd of an inch. The hinges on the door are solid brass. I took my magnet to the store when I went to get them to be sure that they were indeed solid brass. I found that the packages labelled "brass hinge" are in fact steel with brass plating. The packages labelled "solid brass" are truly solid brass. I wanted solid brass because the door will only be used occasionally, and the location of the shed is prone to dampness in the winter, so the hinges might rust and freeze if they were made of steel. It cost more, but will be worth it over the years ahead. It pays to go with first class materials.

One of my goals in the construction of the shed was to make it tight enough to prevent entry of spiders and other bugs. I want the interior to remain clean. To this end I caulked all the joints, and will install screening over the ventilation holes soon. I still have the door latch to make, and once that is completed, and the door is "bug-proofed" with weather stripping, I will finish the rest of the bug-proofing. It may seem to be excessive, but we have a lot of Black Widow spiders here, and keeping the interior of the shed spider free is desirable. It would make a perfect home for them otherwise. (Finished door latch)   Note: Its now been almost a year (25 May 02) and there are no spider webs or signs of insects in the propane shed.

The propane distribution system provides four "quick-disconnect" propane source points to supply propane to all locations in the shop conveniently. There are two safety shut-off ball valves in the line also, one where it enters the shop, and one just upstream of the quick-disconnect that services the main forge station under the exhaust hood. That way if something ever goes wrong, I can reach over and instantly close the gas line. Also, each evening when I am finished for the day I will close the ball valve where the line enters the shop and bleed the line as I shut down for the day. I will not bother to shut off the tank in the shed because of the reduced pressure in the system downstream of the first regulator which is mounted on the tank.

The actual pipe line that is mounted on the wall of the shop is a 1/2" diameter type "L" copper pipe. This is a heavy wall pipe, and is overkill, but with propane I feel better with overkill. The line has four quick-disconnects in it, two ball valves, and routes around two columns. One of the columns has a number of electrical junction boxes on it, so the line also had to turn downwards 90 degrees for a foot, then around the post, turn back up, and continue on around the shop. There are a lot of solder joints in the system, and I was very gratified to discover that all were tight, when I finally charged the system to 30 psi. I performed an over night pressure check on the system by setting the pressure precisely to 30 psi and then closing the tank valve. In the morning the pressure in the line was still very close to 30 psi. I do have one "leaker." One of the four quick-disconnects is defective and has a very slow leak. I determined this when I initially charged the system and isolated that quick-disconnect from the system for the pressure check. I will return that one and get another good one on Monday. BTW, the quick-disconnects I used are not the lightly built ones available for BBQs in your local hardware store. These are very heavy duty, and designed specifically for industrial propane use. They are also quite expensive, but hopefully are worth it. I am not happy about finding a defective one already.

Well, that about covers everything to date. I will add more shortly, after I get the next phase of the shop construction completed, the surface mounted electrical outlets, both 110 and 220 volt. I presently have only eight 110 volt outlets and one 220 volt outlet. That will change considerably soon.  


(6 Aug 01)  The shop is beginning  to come together into its final form. The propane shed is now complete, as well as the copper 1/2" diameter heavy wall propane distribution pipe line that routes to all work centers in the shop. I have also completed all the wood work involved with the front "patio awning." This included installing the remaining OSB chip-board up under the metal roof in order to provide it more support to handle the heavy snow loads it will receive on occasion. It receives all the snow the roof of the shop sheds on one side, and that snow has to fall a foot before it lands on the patio roof. The building contractor says that the steel roofing is plenty strong enough to take the load, but I feel better knowing it is rock solid now. I still have to paint it. I also bevelled the three posts in the front of the patio, and they will receive paint today, after I take care of some chores I need to do in town.

The copper propane distribution pipe line has four quick disconnects, and two Jomar ball valves, incorporated into its length. There is one main shut-off valve where the pipe line enters the shop, and another just upstream of the quick disconnect that services the forge and exhaust hood work area. This valve is an emergency shut-off valve. I wanted one in reach of the forge in case a hose breaks, or some other disaster may occur. The entire copper line took one very long day to solder together. I used 60/40 lead/tin solder, and rosin flux, since there is no concern about drinking water and lead in this instance. The 60/40 solder is easier to work with than the lead free solder, so I use it whenever the application will allow.

While I was getting the quick disconnect valve replaced, I also had Andy's Supply, who has been very helpful in supplying me the very highest quality in fittings, make up a 12' long rubber propane hose to go between my forge and the quick disconnect on the wall. I really only need 6', but opted to make it longer to give me some extra length to move the forge to whatever position I wish it to be in under the hood. I was also concerned about the safety aspect of a rubber hose laying on the floor where hot iron is being handled. There is potential for a bad accident if a dropped piece of red hot iron landed on a charged hose. I had Andy's Supply solve that danger for me by adding a flexable spiral wrap spring steel armor over the hose.

I was very surprised the first time I operated the forge without the propane tank there next to it. I never realized how noisy the tank and regulator are. That background hiss suddenly was very apparent by its absence. The forge runs much quieter now that the tank and regulator are safely out in the propane shed. Presently, I have the line pressure set to 5-1/2 psi, where I normally set it for running my forge. I do not have the second regulator in the line next to the forge yet. I am setting the regulator up with a male and female quick disconnect, presently on back order, so that I can remove it and connect it as needed to any one of the four quick disconnect gas distribution points around the shop. Andy's Supply ran out of the quick disconnects and I am waiting until they come in to finish the regulator modification. Once its in the system I will charge the propane line to 15 psi and moderate it with the second regulator....double regulation.

There is an advantage gained by running two regulators in the system, other than just being able to adjust the pressure as needed at the work station. Typically, when you start up a propane forge and spend a day working iron, you will have to tweak the gas pressure on several occasions due to the internal tank pressure changing over time, and that change being reflected in a smaller change in the regulator output pressure. By using two regulators, you in effect create a two stage regulator, and it will not change its output pressure in response to changing internal tank pressures. The pressure you set on it will remain stable until the propane supply runs out, no matter what the temperature and pressure inside the propane tank.

Enough about the gas system. When I added the extra support under the patio awning roof I used 2" x 2", actually 1-1/2" square, to completely frame in each OSB chip-board panel I installed, including where there were breaks in the board due to the length of the panel being greater than 8'. It took two days to complete the job, but the results justify the time. It looks very good now, and will look even better once its all painted white. Best of all, its ready for the snow.

Yesterday morning when I went out to start cutting the bevels on the awning support posts, I got out my saw and nailed up a guide board to guide the cut along the first corner of the first post. I got so far as to pick up the saw and place it on the timber, and then had second thoughts. The look of saw cut bevels is not as good as when they are hand cut with other tools, due to the nature of the curvature of the facet that is produced, as well as the lack of saw lines in the hand cut bevels. After considerable thought, I opted to put away the saw and got out a 100+ year old adz that had belonged to my grandfather who had been a millwright in a lumber mill in northern California. I also got out a draw knife and three rasps, course, medium and fine, for the knots I had to cut through. With these tools I did the 1" bevels on each corner of the three posts.

I started each bevel by doing a rough cut with the adz. It is razor sharp and provided the means to remove a lot of wood very quickly. I had to be very careful however where knots were, and the grain changed direction. It is very easy to split the chip into the wood that is below the cut line. I was easily able to quickly remove all the wood down to within an eighth of an inch of the finished surface with the adz. I then used the draw-knife to finish it to to the final surface, and the rasps to cut away any knots that were in the way. It took about 45 minute per bevel overall, including the learning curve. I started early in the morning in the cool morning air, and finished at 5:00 PM in the blistering sun, and a temperature of 100+ degrees! I was very glad to make the last draw-knife cut and put away the tools. My right wrist was totally shot due to the draw-knife action being done at an angle, but the results are worth it. I hope to get the posts painted today, and they should look far superior to either the unbeveled posts or posts beveled with a saw. And yes, I could have saw cut them, and then gone over the saw cut surfaces to create a similar effect, but I just preferred to do it the old fashioned slow way. I had never made use of that adz, and now I know how it handles, and what an efficient tool it is to use. It was worth the time and effort to do it this way.

I am finally nearing the end of this project. I still have to complete the surface electrical work, both the 220 and 110 volt outlets, fabricate and mount the 10' high steel storage rack, construct the foundry work bench with its "hidden" green sand bin, and last of all, mount my power hammer on its elastomeric pad, and reassemble it for use after tending to a damaged babbit bearing. The end is in sight at long last. There are other things yet to be done also, but they are small things that can be done at any time in the future, and in any weather. It is very exciting to have this project drawing to a close and the next chapter opening up, that of getting into some really serious metal art work. Speaking of art, I need to add that two days ago a friend dropped by to give me a gift. He is a potter, and does exceedingly fine pottery work. He presented me with a big pot that stands a little over a foot tall. It now occupies the center of the little art niche that I built into the wall above the walk through door. Next to it are a dragon that was a gift from a smith in California, and one of my railroad spike snakes, a cobra. I also have a pottery "road runner" hanging from a wire that is attached to the main truss over against the back wall, high up under the truss. So my shop now has a touch of class that sets it apart from most shops that you might visit.  


(6 Aug 01)  This will be a quick update. I have posted a new shop image at the top of the page. It shows the newly painted front posts that I beveled yesterday. I was amazed today when I painted them. The three posts required over 3/4 of a gallon of primer, the paint that is on them in this image. They will get a top coat tomorrow. These treated posts, once they dry out, are like sponges and suck up paint in an amazing manor.


 (10 Aug 01) Today marked a mile-stone in the shop construction work. The painting is complete! I finished the underside of the patio awning today, after three coats of paint. All outside work is now complete, so winter can come tomorrow and it will not be any bother. In fact, in this 100 degree weather it would be quite welcome.

My back-ordered quick disconnects for the propane system came in yesterday as well, so the propane system is now complete and in its final form. I thought a description of it might be of value to some people because it is a little different than normally found in a shop.

I put a male and female quick disconnect directly on the input and output of my second regulator, with no hoses involved. I have it set up so I can clip in the regulator wherever I wish, at any one of the 4 gas drop locations, and then clip in a propane hose or burner hose. It is far better than having a regulator at one fixed location on the wall. Also, I am free to put the regulator at the gas drop location, right on the wall, or have it on the other end of the propane hose, if I am using an "extension hose," of which I have two now, but will have several more of different lengths shortly. Each extension hose is fitted with a male and female quick disconnect. That way I have control over the pressure right were I am working, and also have a gage to monitor the pressure right on the regulator. It cost a little more to set up, but will be well worth it. Overall, it probably will be cost effective because I will no longer put separate propane hoses on each separate burner or device, like the Freon Tank mini-forge, just a male quick disconnect, and use an "extension hose" to connect it to the gas when needed, just like an extension cord for electrical devices.

The secondary regulator clips right on to my big forge's quick disconnect, and the hose from the gas line on to it. It nests right in perfectly on the lower front of the forge, and is far better, location wise, than before when it was on the tank. There is one noticeable difference, however its not of any consequence. When I adjust the "idle/full" operating pressure for the forge, there used to be a pressure drop of about 1/2 psi from static no flow pressure when I opened the valve on the forge and let the gas flow, but now there is about a 2 psi drop. This is due to the added friction of the pipe line, and also because the head pressure the regulator is working with is now only 15 psi, instead of tank pressure, which can be as high as 180 psi. It makes no difference because I just set up my idle/full adjustments accordingly, but it is a noticeable change over the way it was without the pipe line involved.

I am extremely pleased with the way the propane line is now set up. I may find I will want to modify something in the future, but I can't imagine what that would be. I think it is the ultimate in safety and convenience now. Presently I have the little Freon Tank forge sitting on the back corner of a work table, and right in back of it is a quick disconnect. Its an almost instant use situation. I just clip in the hose and turn on the little forge if its needed. I can add the regulator into the system, or not, as I choose. With a static head pressure of only 15 psi, the regulator is not a necessity for safety reasons because the gas is already regulated at the source tank with the other regulator. Having such low line pressure on the hose is a good safety feature, and the gas flow can be controlled by use of the ball valve easily enough, although this is not good for the ball valve over time. Overall, I am elated with the whole system as its now configured. Even the door on the propane shed is now working fine, no longer any sticking paint, and everything is in good order there. It is locked up tight, and when I open it I don't see any evidence of spiders at all, so apparently the screening , tight fitting door, and spider-proofing is doing its job.  

Well, the next two jobs are the tying in of the surface mounted electrical outlets, and the fabrication and mounting of the 10' high steel storage rack.


(17 Aug 01)  A lot of progress has been made since the last update. The touch-up painting is now complete under the junction boxes, the electrical is complete, the awning reinforcement and painting is complete, and best of all, as of 11:00 AM today the power hammer is now mounted, and even wired in so the drive motor runs when I flip the switch. I still have a babbit bearing to work on, so the clutch is out of the hammer and waiting to be installed. Lifting a thousand pound power hammer 10" off the ground, to lower it gently over four mounting bolts without the use of any lifting devices, is a slow and tedious operation. I had it thought out in advance, and it went flawlessly. I have three images of the hammer below. I wish I had thought to take one when the hammer was on the ramp.

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Image 1 shows the ramp and level platform that I constructed next to the gray power hammer base platform. Zeph Foster, shown in image 2, and I rolled the hammer up the ramp on 2" diameter pipe rollers. I had wooden wedges handy to tap under the back of the hammer to prevent it from rolling back as we progressed up the ramp. When it was safely on the level, I inserted two steel bars under it, after having oiled them on the top side, and removed the rollers by lifting the hammer with a pry bar on each end. Once the hammer was on the oiled steel skids it was an amazingly easy matter to slide it sideways until it was directly over the four mounting bolts.

Once the bolt holes in the hammer were perfectly aligned over the four bolts sticking up under it, I lifted one end of the hammer with the pry bar and removed one cribbing board, then lowered the hammer down on the remaining stack of boards still holding it up. I then went to the other end and repeated the process. When the base of the hammer was almost in contact with the top of the bolts I placed a low profile jack under the middle of the hammer, between the two gray support platforms, and brought the jack up far enough to take the load off the front support boards. I lifted the front end just a little with the jack, removed the remaining boards, and slowly lowered the front end down over its two mounting bolts. Once it was down and had two security nuts screwed on the bolts, I lowered the jack enough to slide it 3" back, past the hammer's balance point and lifted the back end, repeating the process and slowly lowered the back end down over its bolts also. See image 2, which shows Zeph standing next to the hammer safely anchored on its bolts. It went so perfectly that we never even scuffed the new gray paint on the base platform. It was a tremendous relief to have it safely anchored on its mounting bolts.

Image 3 shows the hammer after the area was cleaned up. The variable speed drive motor assembly has been installed too. Zeph helped me with that because its very heavy, and a bear to handle alone. The hammer was not wired in yet when this image was taken. You can see the end of the power cord laying between the hammer mounting pads.

The 4x6 plank pads were contact glued to a special neoprene elastomeric conveyor belting material that has friction beads on one side. These are down on the concrete, and have also been contact glued. The glue is a special high strength contact cement carried by McMaster-Carr. I used one full quart to glue the pads to the wood plank pads, and then the base of the pads to the floor. This glue is tricky to use. One touch and the pieces are permanently joined, so great care has to be used in making the contact. The glue only has to prevent the hammer from "walking" forward when its running, so it only takes shear, no tension in this application. I do not expect to have any problems with it moving. I used glue because I didn't wish to drill bolt holes in my concrete floor. Also, the additional height of the hammer makes it easier on the back when using it. In image 3 notice the wrap-around solid 1" diameter wrought iron foot brace ring around the hammer control treadle. Its FAR superior to a block of wood to rest the foot on for accurate hammer control. I forged it out of wrought iron to be in keeping with the age of the hammer.


(19 Aug 01)  Today was another big day, and another milestone. The power hammer is now up and running. I had to scrape the babbit bearings, polish the main shaft, and tighten the flywheel on its tapered key, before putting it all back together. Tightening the flywheel involved adding some very thin shims under the tapered key, and expanding the key sideways. When everything was reassembled I switched it on and the clutch ran very smoothly and quietly. I put a board between the dies, touched the treadle with my toe, and the hammer lifted a few inches. A little more toe pressure on the treadle and the hammer cycled once, so gently that you could have broken the shell of an egg without damaging the interior. Prior to running it I had adjusted its drive speed to the very low end, so that it can run gently while the bearings are worked in. I had to do some "drawing out" of a board between the dies before breaking out the beer for a well deserved rest, and a little admiration of the hammer.  

The hammer is quieter and tighter than it was prior to my mini-overhaul. It also has a totally different sound when it hammers. Before, when it was on the patio, it had a hollow thud sound. Now it is a very solid sound. I suspect the difference is caused by several things, the neoprene shock pad under the wooden platform, being glued solidly down, and the thickness of reinforced concrete under it now, compared with 4" in the patio slab. Whatever the reason, it is a much better sound. I suspect the energy transferred to the work will be greater now than before. I am anxious to try it with some hot iron between the dies.

I took the following series of images of the shop as it now looks. They are listed below the short description. The window shades are vertical blinds, necessary to block the glare of the sun.

Looking NW at the forge, hood and entry door, with the little "art niche" above the door.

Image 1

This image of the NE wall shows the two hammer racks, power hammer, thermostatically controlled heater in the upper right, the forge, forge hood, and the end of the foundry bench. There will be a third 4' long hammer rack added to the right of the longer one of the two when I get a little extra time.

Image 1a

This is a close-up of the hammer rack. The long wall brackets are needed to reach up to tie in to a 2x8 behind the wall board in order to support the considerable weight of all the hammers. This hammer rack is 4' long, but it is about 2' too short to hold all my hammers. I will be adding a similar 2' long rack to the left of the coiled power cords shown in the image.

Image 1b

Looking SE at my "office." I spend a lot of time at the computer answering e-mails, and I like to have a pleasant place to work. The snowshoes on the wall are my only attempt at starting totally from scratch to make something of that nature from wood. A friend and I received permission to cut down two White Ash trees in a farmer's field in New Hampshire, and with the rails that we split from the two 12" trees we carved the staves which we steam bent into the Ojibway pattern frames, and after curing, hand laced them. I have roughtly 200 hours in the pair on the left, and about half that for the pair on the right. I had to make the steam bending jig, and a shaving horse to hand carve the wood staves for the frames. No power tools were used in their construction, only a draw knife, spoke shaves, chisel, and hand drill. In use, there is no comparison with commercially made "snowclubs." These are like using trampolines on your feet, and weigh about half as much as commercial snowshoes. They are very springy because of the cambium layer wood frames and the lacing, and you can run at a dead run with them without tripping, even in deep powder snow. I have done as much as 20 miles in a day with the pair on the left, and have also made week long snowshoe camping trips on them with a 70 pound pack on my back. They are exceptional in all regards.

The paintings on the wall were done by my mother before she passed away. She was a very fine and well known Oregon coast artist, specializing in Oregon coast sea-scapes, many of which are in my home. The center picture of the sailing yacht is of my little yacht Sea Dart when I was attempting to sail her around the world in 1972. The little boat has since achieved world-wide fame and is now owned by the State of Idaho. See my Sea Dart pages for further information if you are interested.

Image 3 - Before Hanging Paintings on East (left) Wall
Image 3a - After Paintings

Looking SSW at the wall, to the right of my desk, where the steel storage rack has now been constructed. The big post in the center of the image is the 8" square post drill post.

Image 4

The steel storage rack is now a reality. It is not very heavily loaded at this point, but that will change. Next time I have to make a steel run, I will buy a good supply of all those most used sections, and some of the lessor used sections also. I can now have the steel on hand to carry me through the winter without having to make any steel runs in the snow and miserable weather.

Image 4a

This image is of the finished power hammer. I have a close-up previously posted image of the power supply that may be of interest too.

Image 5

Well that is it for today. The shop is nearing completion, at least so far as the initial work is concerned. After the foundry bench is done, there still remains cupboards and drawers for storage of tools and supplies. Right now there is little space for storage. I think they can wait until later however. At this point I am about worn out and ready to enjoy using the shop for a change.


(21 Aug 01)  I don't have any new shop progress to report today. Actually today the shop was used for its intended purpose for the first time. I made a new hammer out of an old ball peen hammer head, and it turned out so nicely that I thought I would include it here as a closing to this narrative. I still have more work to do, but it is work that will be done as time allows, and be ongoing for a long time. The main thrust is complete, and punctuated by the forging of this beautiful new tool. It was fully heat treated, normalized, annealed, hardened, and drawn. This is the first real blacksmithing I have done since last October, almost a year ago. I was extremely ill for 6 months, and then the shop took over my time. Anyway, thank you for following along. I hope there has been something in this writing that will help you in the future. Here is an image of the tool that took the virginity from my new shop. It is a 45 degree diagonal peen, square faced, remake of a big high quality ball peen hammer head.  

Hammer Image

(2 Nov 01)  Friday was a big day. I had an insulation crew in and they insulated the shop ceiling for a total insulation value of R-40, counting the 2" blanket I had up there already. I have been very lucky with the weather because its still not cold or snowing yet, but now all is ready. Bring on the cold and snow, my shop is ready. That should be the last time any work will be done on the shop by anyone but me.    


The Last Step - The Foundry Bench

(11 July 02) The last major step of the construction process is finally underway, the foundry bench. I am building it to be extremely strong, due to the 10' length, and the 1200+ pounds of Petrobond sand that it will support in its center mounted sand bin. Up to now the NE corner of my shop has been mostly for storage, but that has now changed. The foundry bench is at the midway point in its construction as of this update. The following images show the progress to date.

End View

Front View

Top Panels in Place

Finished Bench Before Sand Bin Installation

The images show the doubled, glued, and bolted 2x8 frame that measures 10' x 2'-4", and the glued and screwed 2x6 sand bin support frame. The bin support opening is 4'-3" x 20", and the sand bin will be 20" deep. It is being fabricated at this time of 10 gage steel, and should be ready to install in a week or so. The top of the bench is made up of four separate 3/4" thick, fine grained, particle board panels. All four will receive a 10 gage steel top covering before it's completed. The two end panels are permanently screwed to the bench frame. The two center panels lift off to reveal the sand bin and sliding flask platform/table underneath. There will be a hermetictally sealed inner cover to prevent the sand from drying out over time. The bench will receive a coating of gray paint today to match the walls of the shop behind it.

The closest cross member in the first image, the discolored one, has had four additional "plies" of 2x6 planking added to it to give it a total wood thickness of 7.5". This is to provide a sound lag bolting base for the shop's 4th post vise. Above the bench, mounted on the wall, will be a double floodlight bar, and above that a shelf to place miscellaneous items related to foundry work. There will also be a narrow full length shelf just above the bench for miscellaneous small items.

I fabricated the bench legs from 3" x 3" x 1/4" angle iron sections 33-1/4" long, and have 4" x 8" x 1/4" bolt plates welded to the top edges. There are also 3" x 3" x 1/4" foot pads welded to the bottoms of the legs. The legs are each bolted on with four 1/2" diameter carriage bolts. I had my two daughters help me drift the sixteen 1/2" round bolt holes out to a square shape so the carriage bolts would seat down into the steel plate properly. My oldest daughter, Kimberly, handled the torch, my youngest daughter, Natalie, was the "holder" to hold the leg in position over the hardy hole, and I drove the drift pin. It took two heats per hole, and the entire job was completed in about an hour. I elected to use my All-States oxy/propane torch, instead of the forge, in order to keep the heated area of the metal as small as possible to limit distortion. This allowed me to drift the holes out, but not deform the bolt plate edges in any significant way. It couldn't have gone any better, and both of my girls enjoyed their part of the operation.  

I am going to discuss each of the following images separately in a paragraph above each image. This sequence shows the stages leading to the final completion, and the decorative post vise bracket mounting on the bench. enjoy!

The image below shows the 10 gage steel sand bin after painting, and ready for lowering into the slot in the foundry bench. It took two of us to lift it into position. Lowering it into place took some advanced planning. I cribbed up under where the bin would rest, so that we could release it while it was still well above its final resting place. This was to prevent us from smashing any fingers. I used a jack to gently lower the bin into place, while removing cribbing as I steadily lowered it. The cribbing acted as a safety net. It lowered into place very smoothly, even though there was only 1/8" of clearance between the sides of the bin and the wooden frame!

Painted Sand Bin Ready For Installation

The sand bin has been installed in the bench. The black angle iron cross bars support the bench top panels, and are removed for use of the foundry bin. They simply sit in slots in the wood frame of the bin and lift out as needed.

Sand Bin in Place in the Bench

This is a front view of the bench with the two center panels removed, but the support cross bars are still in place. The framework under the sand bin is completely unnecesasry structurally. I just felt better having it there, so I built it to make sure the bench would never sag with its 1200-1500 pounds of sand weighing it down.

Another View of the Installed Sand Bin

The cross bars are still in place, but under them is the hermetically sealed 10 gage steel foundry bin cover to prevent drying out of the sand. The steel bench top is still not installed.

Sand Bin With Hermetically Sealed Top Cover in Place (2 Sept 02)

The next image shows the completed foundry bench with the 1/8" thick steel top installed, and the post vise partially installed also. The vise still needs a steel leg bracket to be forged and installed to prevent it from moving when in use.  

The Finished Foundry Bench with 1/8" Steel Top

This is the final image for the bench construction. It shows the decorative bracket I forged to lock the post vise jaw leg to the bench. The bracket is forged from 3/16" x 1-1/2" steel, and provides a rock solid anchor for the leg. There is also a T-shaped wedge behind the vise leg, with the two ears of the T resting on the top edge of the bracket. You can just see the corner of the right ear of the wedge in the upper right corner between the bracket and the vise leg. The scrolled bracket may seem like overkill, but I like nice ironwork in my shop, so it's worth the time to me to make such items.

Decorative Post Vise Mounting Bracket

Well, that describes the foundry bench construction. The sand bin is now fully anchored, caulked, and painted into position. The steel support fame under the bin is not really necessary because the bench was designed to carry the weight of the full bin, 2000 pounds, but I wanted to be sure the bench would not sag over time. I hope this information will be of use to you when building your own foundry bench. If you have any questions feel free to write. Thank you.  


First Shop Demonstration

(5 Aug 02)  Today the shop was the scene for my first public blacksmithing demonstration. I hosted a meeting of the "Idaho Tools & Trades Historical Society" at 7:00 PM, and had a group of about 20 guys and gals show up for the meeting and demonstration. After the business portion of the meeting I conducted a tour of the tools and features in my shop, then lit off the forge and went to work on a BBQ poker. I elected to do the back folded and forge welded point the night before so that no one would be injured by the white hot flux when I struck the weld, but everything else was done as the group watched.

The meeting ended at 9:00 PM, but the forge work was not yet complete. The group president officially ended the meeting, and everyone was free to go home, but no one left until the metal work and door prize drawing were completed an hour later. I had given out tickets for a door prize drawing as people arrived, which would be for the as yet unforged poker. I particularly enjoyed the moment of the door prize drawing. When I called off the ticket number on the winning ticket the gentleman who won had to have it repeated twice before he would believe he had really won. It was very gratifying to me to see the winner so happy at winning the poker. I had supplied beer, soda, and chips, for the group, and seeing the appreciation expressed by the gentleman who won the poker really made it all worth while for me. It was a very enjoyable gathering of some fine people, and a good time was had by all.  


The New Baby Arrives

The shop received a new baby today, 26 Nov 02, that has been a long time in coming. The new anvil is a Peddinghaus #12 with bumping block, and weighs in at 275 pounds. It is seated on a sandwich of lead, an inch thick piece of Ironwood, then two sheets of lead on top of that, which the anvil sits on. The lead did the job it was intended to do remarkably well. Before the anvil was on the stand it was sitting on a plank on the floor. When struck with a hammer the ring was so loud it hurt the ears, and it rang for a long time, just like a bell. On the lead, it now has only a dull thud when struck. I think the lead is worth its weight in hearing aids. The stand is an antique milking machine stand which is made of 3/8"-1/2" thick cast iron. I have two of these stands in use in the shop, the other is under my swage block. The anvil stand has 3/8" thick, high friction, elastomeric rubber attached to the two feet so it will not slide or slip on the concrete. There are two "anvil tools" brackets mounted in the holes in the stand. They mount inside the body of the stand and hold hardy tools of various kinds. Each bracket is forged of 3/8" rod on the new anvil.  

The base of the stand looks very small, but some of that is due to the foreshortening caused by the camera angle. However, I adding two 1/4" x 2"  high carbon steel straps (see the bottom of the Peddinghaus anvil image), forged flush to the floor, across the base to extend the footprint, making it very stable, since I have others working in the shop now too. The height of the anvil face is 5" higher than my other anvils, 37", which comes out to waist height for me. With the ability to place my foot under the stand, and the waist high level of the face, I expect this will go a long ways to help my back problems. Also, in the small amount of forging I have done on it, I have found the visibility to be much better. It is certainly an unorthodox height, but I think this may be far superior for me and my particular back condition. I hope it will prevent me from having as much back pain after a long day's work, and also will allow me to work longer without as much fatigue. Time will tell. Whatever, I am thrilled to have my long awaited anvil. My other two anvils are conveniently located in the shop so that my apprentice will have a place to hammer, because he won't be hammering on the new baby. The next new shop tool will be a #6 fly press.

Image of the 275# Peddinghaus Anvil and Stand, with Tool Brackets

*Image of My Two Most Used Anvils

* Image Note: The 160# Kohlswa anvil in the foreground is mounted on "slide-out bracket" mounted casters so that the anvil can be moved easily to a convenient location near the forge for use by my apprentice. It can then be lowered to the floor, using a special tool made for that purpose, for a solid base on its elastomeric cushion. After use it can be easily raised back on to the casters and rolled into a corner to keep the shop floor clear. This arrangement is so successful that I am planning to mount my new fly press, when it arrives, and my other "anvil/work station," on casters that are removable in the same way.

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Golden Age Forge

23 Nov 07