How to Make a Vulcan Forge

How to make the Vulcan forge: a simple, yet very effective, forge, including pail, bellows, tool ring, and tuyere.

| September/October 1975

The following directions are for the construction of a small portable forge . . . a useful tool for the homesteader and handyman who occasionally needs to heat and work metal. I made the Vulcan forge version described here in 1972 — mostly from resources I had on hand — at a total cost of $2.07 for fireclay, plastic, and small hardware. Any parts you have to buy these days will be somewhat more expensive than they were at that time . . . but still very reasonable. If you do use these plans, I hope you'll feel free to substitute whatever suitable materials you have available.

Metal Pail 

The basis of my forge is a 5-gallon metal pail (such containers are used for the shipment of soap, roofing cement, and various industrial compounds and are normally thrown away as scrap by stores and contractors). With tin snips or a saber saw, cut away the upper portion of the bucket, 5 inches from the bottom, around three–quarters of the circumference . . . but leave an upstanding curved panel 12 inches high to serve as a reflector (see Figures 1 and 4). Next trim a 1–inch strip from the original top of the pail and fasten it — rolled edge up — with sheet metal screws to the rough edge of the forge, to guard against damage from tools and work pieces. Then fold back the outer 1/8 inch of the reflector and hammer the metal down to form a stiff rim.

Forge Bellows 

Cut two pieces of wood into the shapes shown in Figure 2. One of these — the stationary board — will be attached to the reflector as shown in Figure 3. Drill two holes 1 inch in diameter in the board's upper portion, to serve as air intake ports. Cover these openings with leather flaps — on the face of the stationary board which will be inside the finished bellows — tacked down flat to act as valves.

Turn the same board over, fit a pipe flange to the lower half of its outer face, and scribe the outline of the metal collar on the wood. Within this first circle, mark another 1inch smaller in diameter — and drill a hole 1/2 inch across and off center inside the inner ring. Tack a leather flap over the opening to form a check valve, and mount the flange with screws (over a ring-shaped spacer of 1/4 inch plywood, to prevent interference with the check valve flap). Then fasten the stationary board to the reflector with two 1/4 inch bolts and two 1inch-long pipe spacers.

4/9/2015 1:51:20 AM

Awesome article! I try to do it on my own. Thank you so much for the good quality articles.

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