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Making a Blacksmith’s forge out of a hot water heater tank part #1.
My hybrid hot water heater went out and had to be replaced this past month. Decided to turn the tank into a combination fire pot and smoke hood.

I also wanted to have some fun with the project and decided to use a cartoon character from the movie “Despicable Me 2”. I picked one of the evil minions to design the forge after.


Sat down and drew up some concept drawings for the planned forge build.


The outer metal shell on the tank had to be cut off, used a sawzall to make three length wise cuts and then peeled the sheet metal off. The foam insulation had to be scraped off the tank with a putty knife and framing hammer.


After getting most of the foam off with the putty knife, used a four inch grinder with a wire brush to clean of the stuck on residue.



After cutting, cleaned up the edges with a grinder and removed the cold water down tube and the sacrificial anode rod. You can see all the scale from my well water after 6 years at the bottom of the tank.



Hunted around in my junk pile and came up with metal for the forge stand and 4” conduit for the blower tube to the fire pot.


Notched out the tubing so I could weld up a “T” out of the conduit to make a blower inlet (air tube to the fire pot and an ash dump at the bottom).



I cut a 3-1/2” hole into the riser pipe then welded the notched pipe over the hole keeping the tubes square to each other.


Welded on a hinged flapper to act as an ash dump at the bottom of the blower tube “T”. Welded on a worn out wrench to act as a weight to keep flap shut and as a handle to open dump. The floor jack is a handy tool to help hold parts up into place to weld them.





Blower tube welded into place with enough of the tube sticking through to have the cast iron fire pot almost level with the outer edges of the forge.



Bought a cast iron pot at a yard sale for the forge’s fire pot. Cut a hole in the bottom to sit on top of the blower tube.


Welded the pot onto the blower tube so the rim of the pot is just below the outer edges of the forge in preparation for the refractory mix to be rammed around it.


Welded the stand to fit and added the goggle ring for the eye that was a drive wheel hub in it’s first life. Lucked up and one of the plugs for the electric heater element is the pupil of the eye.



Capped off all the inlet/outlet pipes at the top of the tank.


Cut a 4” hole in top of tank and welded on a 5” collar ring hammered out of 1” flat bar for the 5” stove pipe to slide down into.


Cut out a tongue shape then welded flat bar around the outer edge to make a coal table in front of the fire pot.


Welded the tongue onto the front of the forge.




Now it’s ready to have the refractory mix rammed around the fire pot. This is the link for the homemade refractory mix that I followed…..some what.
Homemade furnace refractories

Broke up brick into ½” pieces for “GROG”.


Blended 25 lbs of cheap kitty litter into moon dust.


Mixed sand, grog, cement and kitty litter dust (clay) together to make a refractory mix.

NOTE: this is the first time I’ve tried this homemade refractory mix…..I’ve got my fingers crossed that it works good!!


Ramming mix up underneath the fire pot.


Continuing to add mix until forge bowl is full and rammed solid.


Smoothed out refractory mix with wet hands, slapping it into a downward sloped bowl to the fire pot rim.


Now is the hard part….waiting for the refractory mix to dry out enough to fire up the forge slowly and to glaze over the mix to harden it.
End of part #1
 

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Kevin,
Hope you got the blender washed out before the wife found out what you were using it for.:sidelaugh
MikeC
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bought her a very nice barely used OSTER work station from the 1980's a few months back, I wouldn't touch that one to save my life. :hide: Has meat grinder, bread hooks / bowl, blender and a couple more attachments I'm not sure of what they do.

The blender I used was a $2.00 yard sale find, love yard sales!. Was waiting for blender to let the magic smoke out and toast itself after about an hour and a half of constantly blending kitty litter.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
More pics of the build.
 

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EDIT of hot water heater Blacksmith’s forge out of a tank part #1.

I became interested in Blacksmithing after taking a welding course in high school. Was a hobby of mine for several years until I got married, then came the babies and then I took a traveling job installing paint booth equipment so Smithing got put away for awhile.
I also worked overseas for many years, when I got back a friend and fellow Smithy talked me into taking up the hammer an getting back into the art of metal working.
I welded up a portable forge first and have enjoyed it ever since. http://www.mytractorforum.com/108-welding-metalwork-fabricating/801626-firing-up-forge.html

Now I've decided to build a more stationary forge for my barn. I'm hoping to turn Blacksmithing from a hobby into at least a self supporting business/hobby. I'm planning on hammering out items to sell such as oyster knives, bottle openers, ornamental iron works.
I'll do this until I get my name out there and then hopefully I'll be able to get some larger projects from customers.
Well that's the plan anyway.

Making a Blacksmith’s forge out of a hot water heater tank

My hybrid hot water heater went out and had to be replaced this past month. Decided to turn the tank into a combination fire pot and smoke hood.

I also wanted to have some fun with the project and decided to use a cartoon character from the movie “Despicable Me 2”. I picked one of the evil minions to design the forge after.


Sat down and drew up some concept drawings for the planned forge build.


The outer metal shell on the tank had to be cut off, used a sawzall to make three length wise cuts and then peeled the sheet metal off. The foam insulation had to be scraped off the tank with a putty knife and framing hammer.


After getting most of the foam off with the putty knife, used a four inch grinder with a wire brush to clean of the stuck on residue.



After cutting, cleaned up the edges with a grinder and removed the cold water down tube and the sacrificial anode rod. You can see all the scale from my well water after 6 years at the bottom of the tank.



Hunted around in my junk pile and came up with metal for the forge stand and 4” conduit for the blower tube to the fire pot.


Notched out the tubing so I could weld up a “T” out of the conduit to make a blower inlet (air tube to the fire pot and an ash dump at the bottom).



I cut a 3-1/2” hole into the riser pipe then welded the notched pipe over the hole keeping the tubes square to each other.


Welded on a hinged flapper to act as an ash dump at the bottom of the blower tube “T”. Welded on a worn out wrench to act as a weight to keep flap shut and as a handle to open dump. The floor jack is a handy tool to help hold parts up into place to weld them.





Blower tube welded into place with enough of the tube sticking through to have the cast iron fire pot almost level with the outer edges of the forge.



Bought a cast iron pot at a yard sale for the forge’s fire pot. Cut a hole in the bottom to sit on top of the blower tube.


Welded the pot onto the blower tube so the rim of the pot is just below the outer edges of the forge in preparation for the refractory mix to be rammed around it.


Welded the stand to fit and added the goggle ring for the eye that was a drive wheel hub in it’s first life. Lucked up and one of the plugs for the electric heater element is the pupil of the eye.



Capped off all the inlet/outlet pipes at the top of the tank.


Cut a 4” hole in top of tank and welded on a 5” collar ring hammered out of 1” flat bar for the 5” stove pipe to slide down into.


Cut out a tongue shape then welded flat bar around the outer edge to make a coal table in front of the fire pot.


Welded the tongue onto the front of the forge.




Now it’s ready to have the refractory mix rammed around the fire pot. This is the link for the homemade refractory mix that I followed…..some what.
Homemade furnace refractories

Broke up brick into ½” pieces for “GROG”.


Blended 25 lbs of cheap kitty litter into moon dust.


Mixed sand, grog, cement and kitty litter dust (clay) together to make a refractory mix.

NOTE: this is the first time I’ve tried this homemade refractory mix…..I’ve got my fingers crossed that it works good!!


Ramming mix up underneath the fire pot.


Continuing to add mix until forge bowl is full and rammed solid.


Smoothed out refractory mix with wet hands, slapping it into a downward sloped bowl to the fire pot rim.


Now is the hard part…waiting for the refractory mix to dry out enough to fire up the forge slowly and to glaze over the mix to harden it.
That's the end of the build, but stay tuned for part 2 when I fire it up and try it out.
 
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