My wife and old man conspired to get me a birthday present

Picked it up today. It's staying at my folks for a while yet until I have room to bring it back.

I can't find a name on it, just the number 100. It is missing the leather  drive belt, probably eaten by mice. 

Once I cleaned the mouse nest out of the blower, everything seems to work. There is a slight hop in the big pulley, should be small enough that the leather belt can 'eat' it.

I think the cover may be a drain cover. 

Anybody have an idea of the rough age of this guy? I've found a few pictures just like it online, but with no info.

I think my wife and father did a pretty good job on this forge.

In album 2014-03-07

I have had a belt for over 10 years

It's getting pretty tired. I've been looking for a replacement for about a year, but haven't found one I like at a price I am willing to pay.

So I made one. Tandy leather has a Steampunk Belt Blank. I bought it on their recent 'gold' sale. I also got some neatsfoot oil and black dye to finish the belt.

I dyed it and distressed it so it looks good to me.  All black, subtle tooling, yet some contrast so more than a casual glance will show how awesome the pattern really is.

Now to forge a belt buckle… I love making stuff!

In album Steampunk Belt

The parts I bought to make my belt. Oil, Dye, and a belt blank.

2nd round of dying. The deeper stamping is dyed a 2nd time for a deeper color.

You can see how badly stretched my old belt is. It’s necking down in a couple of spots and is just generally tired.

Detail of the distressing vs the straight dyed leather.

First round of dying.

Tried to do a panoramic of my old belt and new belt.

Top to bottom. Old belt, dyed belt end cut, dyed & distressed belt.

Got the shade tree smithy set up today

First time I've had it out since last fall.

It ain't much, but there isn't much invested with what is sitting there right now. Maybe $50? Most of it is scrounged or repurposed.

I've two gas grill forges like that. I rebuild the lessor one trying to improve them.

I've got my 5th hunk of metal to use as an anvil coming to me next time I go to my folks.

I real forge and anvil would be nice, but I'd rather make noise and small bits of metal even smaller now than later when I can afford the "real" tools.

Rocket Mass Forge

I think I came up with a novel idea, the rocket mass forge. It is a combination of a side blast, side draft forge and a rocket mass heater. I can do my smithing and heat the garage at the same time!

I built a side blast forge – one who puts air in from the side instead of from underneath in the hopes that it will direct the smoke towards the hood. This is the older style, it’s simpler, and works better for charcoal.

It’s a side draft forge, meaning that the chimney sits beside the forge fire and not over it. It draws the smoke in sideways.

It’s going to be a rocket mass heater, with the insulated inner burn chamber, the outer barrel chamber, and the horizontal ‘chimney’ that dumps heat into the room.

Rocket Mass Forge Concept Drawing
Rocket Mass Forge Concept Drawing

So far, I have… ~ $20 invested in the forge, discounting gasoline used to pick free stuff up. The block is retaining wall block and the fire brick is recycled red clay brick. Most of the ductwork was free, but I bought a few pieces of it. My dad gave me the blower, it was brand new – about 25 years ago. The barrels will be free. Oh, I did buy the perlite.

2 weekends ago I visited a local blacksmith for a few hours, and that really got a fire under my butt. When I got home, I built the base of the forge. I used probably 2/3rds of roughly 160 retaining wall blocks that will be used for a pond next year.

One of two trailer loads of free retraining wall blocks found on freecycle
One of two trailer loads of free retraining wall blocks found on freecycle

They are stacked in a circle with room for a 6 inch stove pipe to do down the back and out the bottom. It is infilled with a mix of block and brick to support the brick top. The brick top is layered in 2 different patterns and 90 degrees offset so I don’t have any seams that overlap. Less likely for hot coals to fall through down to the floor this way.

Start of base of forge
Start of base of forge
Finished forge bed
Finished forge bed
I will be staring at this for hours, just as well make it look nice, right?
I will be staring at this for hours, just as well make it look nice, right?
Initial brick burn chamber on top of the forge bed
Initial brick burn chamber on top of the forge bed

The brick burn chamber did not work at all. Too ‘open’, the smoke poured right out of it. It felt good to get a fire lit there though. The next thing I did was hook up my old pocket rocket to vent out the new rocket mass heater chimney system. This worked a little better. I was able to get it to burn in the right direction.

So I grabbed an old 5 gallon metal bucket of killz paint that had dried up – or so I thought, under about 2 inches of crust was white goo,  not quite paint – that was in the weeds in the back yard when I bought the house. I cleaned that out, burned out the goo, it burned OK once lit with a torch.

The First Iteration of the Rocket Mass Forge
The First Iteration of the Rocket Mass Forge


I made a hat hook on the first fireing of the Rocket Mass Forge
I made a hat hook on the first fireing of the Rocket Mass Forge

The forge didn’t really get hot enough for me, and the rocket mass heater didn’t want to draft for crap.

I need a 55 gallon drum so I have room inside to make a proper insulated heat riser. This should help it draft better. I need a different hose for the forge blower, as what I am using now whistles something obnoxious. I need to make a cold air intake for the forge blower and a mixing box so I can pull some smokey air as well if needed. I need to make a heat exchanger to pull more heat from the system before it leaves the building. I need to make the thermal mass yet too.

Lots of things to do for the next iteration. The important thing is that I got it working, if poorly..