Making a Basic Forge

Making your own portable forge can be an interesting first project for a beginning blacksmith. Some blacksmiths build their forges from old car or truck wheels, or use a heavy duty metal bucket as a base. This simple blacksmith's forge uses a 24-inch charcoal grill as the body and can help you understand the basic principles of building a forge so that you can go on to design your own from other materials.

Screw an end cap on the end of each 6-inch piece of pipe.

Drill holes in the 6-inch pieces of pipe using a hand press or a drill with a 1/4-inch drill bit. The holes should be in rows 1/2 inch apart, with each row offset by half an inch, as in Figure 1. The holes should not go all the way around the pipe, since you only want the air to flow upward through the flames.

Measure and mark a line 3/4 inch inward from threading on one side of the T connector. Drill three holes 1/2 inch apart along that line. Repeat on other side.

Screw the 6-inch pipes into the two sides of the T connector, making sure that all of the holes are facing upward.

Screw the 8-inch piece of pipe into the stem of the T connector.

Assemble the charcoal grill. You'll only need to attach the grill pan to the tripod since you won't be using the rack or the rack holder.

Drill a 1-inch hole in the centre of the bottom of the grill pan for the 1-inch pipe to fit through.

Spread a layer of ashes or sand in the bottom of the grill to create a firm, level surface.

Arrange six fire bricks in the bottom of the grill, leaving the bottom opening uncovered.

Place the tuyere in the grill, with the 8-inch piece extending down through the hole and the arms resting on the fire bricks.

Screw one arm of the elbow connector to the threading on the bottom of the 8-inch pipe. Attach the 18-inch piece of pipe to the other arm of the elbow connector.

Attach one end of the shop vac hose to the exhaust on the shop vac. Attach the other end to the end of the 18-inch pipe.

Use the remaining fire bricks to form walls for a fire box for your forge.


Use a hand drill with a 1/4-inch bit to drill the holes in the metal pipes and the bottom of the charcoal grill.


Make certain that you connect the hose to the exhaust on the shop vac and not on the intake valve.

Things You'll Need

  • 24-inch charcoal grill
  • 18-inch piece of black 1-inch pipe, threaded on both ends
  • 2 6-inch pieces of black 1-inch pipe. threaded on both ends
  • 2 pipe caps
  • Rlbow connector
  • T connector
  • 12 fire bricks
  • Shop vac
  • Electric drill with metal bits
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About the Author

Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and is collaborating with a coffee roaster to publish a cookbook highlighting coffee as a culinary ingredient.