Forge Commitee meeting - 15MAY21

The Forge Committee had their initial ‘getting our poop in a group’ meeting.

In attendance:
*James Seymour
*Mike Atherton
*Shaun Sigley

James Began the meeting reiterating the fact that it is unlikely we will have financial support from the board in the foreseeable future.

The committee is declaring itself with the following members:
*James Seymour - Chairman
*Michael Atherton -Vice Chairman
*Shaun Sigley
*Brett Headford
*David Hanson
*Ian Cazabat
*Rustin Atkeisson
*John Withers

The committee is has come together to hammer out a path forward for bringing a forge program to MakeICT. Ensuring it’s safe use among the membership is our primary focus. This will include classes, authorizations, preventative maintenance, and requirements for use. We will do this by using a simple coal forge to teach classes with, and use the money we make to build a nicer gas forge.

Mike is going to look into getting a simple coal forge up and running.
James is going to help with the forced air system.
Shaun is going to touch base with Rustin about doing some basic classes in making coal and making a knife from a railroad spike, or file.
James is going to touch base with the woodshop about their scrap generation (to use for coal making) schmooze the board, and… well… this post.

@pwhutchi We would like to be added to the next board meeting, and I’m prepared to answer any questions the board might have.


Sorry I couldn’t make the meeting.

BTW, I think mother nature has the coal making process down pretty well, even if she’s a little slow at it.

Just read the rest of that. You just mean charcoal?

We are putting a tar pit out back…

Yea charcoal. But char-coal seems like it’s a type of coal… so am I really wrong?

I -think- I found a way to make a small coal forge in a small form factor. I’m going to run some numbers but I think we could make three that could be stored in roughly the space of what a single 55gal forge would have taken. That would allow a basic forge class to be in more of a class atmosphere instead of a demo with a single forge.

Might need a good welder to weld up some legs for each drum forge with some of the scrap in metal shop. I’d do it myself but haven’t taken the time to get authorized at Make and Transit doesn’t allow personal projects.

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Whilst both coal and charcoal are rich in carbon, how they are formed, and the energy density is vastly different. Charcoal is made by heating (typically) wood in the absence of oxygen. What’s left is the non-volatile remnants of the wood. Coal is a rock formed by applying high amounts of heat and pressure for many many years to the remains of plant and animal life (carbon lifeforms). Coal burns hotter and with less ash than charcoal since it isn’t made of wood. I have read that charcoal is “more efficient”, but I don’t know how true that is. Much like saying hot water freezes faster than cold water, there is probably some truth to it, bounded by some caveats. Anyway, coal can be treated the same way wood is made into charcoal to produce coke. Like charcoal to wood, coke is hotter and cleaner than coal.

So, while both produce, fire, yes, you are really wrong. Sorry, not sorry. I don’t like it when people propagate falsehoods because they are convenient. Maybe it’s okay for an analogy, but when presented as a fact, it’s just wrong.


While I am known for disseminating misleading information, it is typically for entertainment purposes only (like sending someone to the basement for a board stretcher) when it comes to forging and metalworking I definitely defer to others and consider myself more of a conduit between the board and the forge masters.

Though I do have every intention of learning a bit about it as I go.

Gas forges are not that hard to make from materials readily available at your local hardware store. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube for easy make gas forges. My apologies for not being available for the meeting time zones and work make that difficult but I will endeavour to add information when I can.

I’d like to eventually see a set of three classes where we first forge the blade in the metal shop, then build the handle in the wood shop, then a leather sheath in textiles.


That would be a awesome class series.

You’re right, they really are pretty easy to make. I have a digital book that goes step by step into making the high preassure line and the burner, along with safety precautions.

It also has some good lighting effects in the book that the garden might like for future night time garden parties.

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I like the way you think

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looking forward to the classes.

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My initial mock up of a ‘classroom’ forge. Leg brace and overall dimensions will depend on the scrap drums we can get our hands on but can be welded together with metalshop scrap at least for the first. I’d like to make 3 or 4 to really make it feel like a class where members are participating 100% from start to finish.

And for now they will be named Larry, Curly, Moe, and maybe Shemp.

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Love it!!! The Four Forges lol

Fëanor, Celebrimbor, Telchar, Eöl?

All I hear in my head is “But they were all of them deceived…”.

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Would a semi brake drum be too large? Have a large pile of them at the moment…. We used some as tool stand bases, I’d donate them if they are desired. I might have a few that are from the front wheels and they are smaller.

Jeff Eck


Have a couple of questions; the drawing is for a coal forge, is coal going to be the main forge? Coal vs charcoal: using charcoal will take about 5x the amount of coal, that is a lot of fuel that will need to be kept somewhere, besides, charcoal and coal is available but not cheap. Coal produces A LOT of smoke, if you are going to have the forge inside, is there enough exhaust? I personally prefer a coal forge over a gas forge, but a gas forge is much more “user friendly” and burn and run cleaner. Is a gas forge something you are looking as?



At the moment we are discussing building a few coal starter forges. We also have a plan to generate charcoal. As we teach classes the money we make as well as donations will go to a gas forge, but it will likely be more permanent and will require lengthy discussions with the board, city officials, and planning committees. So I don’t want to think about what that would look like until we “get that hen laid” as my grandmother would say.

Which up until this point in life I always assumed she meant the laying the egg that will hatch the chicken that will become the hen… kind of a cart before the horse colloquialism. Now it just sounds dirty.