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Shop Renovation & Stone Forge Construction

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Stone foundation for new stone forge completed June 14, 2024Stone foundation for new stone forge completed June 14, 2024June 16, 2024. Shop update. First layer of rock has been layed down. This is a milestone event because after spending 5 weeks pumping water out of the trench every day, the top surface of the stone masonry is now above the ground water level, and ground water flooding is unlikely to impose any more problems. Construction work can finally proceed witout any further delays.

Photos at right show the first layer of stonework finished. This is a foundation layer. The only material that will be visible above ground will be stone masonry.

With rain storms threatening almost daily I finished the stonework as quickly as possible. This first layer of stone was finished only two days ago (June 14th, 2024), and last night rain arrived again and has partially flooded the trench, again, but only a couple inches in depth (photos at right were taken before the rain storms arrived). The stone layer is roughly 3-1/2 inches thick, and the water is only 2 inches high in the trench, so the stone is still above the water level. This little bit of water is not a problem and I expect the stone mortar to cure just fine. In a few more days the mortar should be cured well enough to allow me to walk on it and start the main stone construction in earnest. As of now I don't expect rain and high ground water to cause any more delays.

Construction notes. During the open trench construction, forge work is impossible. I wanted to forge some tools while waiting for the ground water level to go down, but realized immediately what folly this would have been. Dirt walls in the trench are unstable. The dirt walls crumble continuously and the dirt falls into the hole. This problem is compounded by ground water because the ground water softens the dirt and causes the dirt to move slowly and back-fill the trench. Dirt weakens mortar and concrete if it gets mixed in accidentally, and so all dirt must be cleaned out and off of any ongoing masonry or concrete work. Any vibration, shaking, or pounding of ground nearby the trench will increase this falling dirt problem AND can cause the dirt walls of the trench to completely cave in - making a total mess of the work. The best course of action is to get all open trench work done as soon as possible and backfill the trench with the desired material before the dirt backfills itself into this space and makes it impossible. And don't do any forging or operate power hammers nearby the open trench until the trench is backfilled.



May 11th, 2024. Shop update. Foundation work finished. Storms and high ground water level created many delays but the bulk of the work below ground level is finished. Storms arriving roughly every two to three days brought much needed rain. But in my area this also means high ground water levels.

There is no space in the shop for storing conrete indoors. So when the rain comes, the bagged concrete was covered up. Breathing raw uncured concrete dust is dangerous and can be fatal, so mixing concrete with a mixer must be done outside. So again, when rain comes, everything must be shut down and covered up. Storms threatened almost every day, and while these storms actually arrived every two to three days, just a threat of a nearby storm system was enough to prevent uncovering everything and starting concrete work. Even though these storms often bypassed my location, they did bring small amounts of rain.

Spent most of the time pumping water out of the trench so that concrete work and block construction could proceed. Water that gets under mortar will thin out and weaken the mortar, so it was necessary to pump out water and keep it off the top surface of the concrete pad. This problem can be seen in the photo at far right. The pump can only pick up water to a depth of 1/4". It was necessary to dig a small hole outside of the concrete pad so as to get the pump down below surface of the concrete pad and get the water drained off of the pad.

Photos at right show water being pumped out after flooding the trench during construction. In one of the photos, the blocks are completely submerged under water. Even after pumping out the trench, the individual holes in each of the concrete blocks still needed to be pumped out with a shop vac. And even today water removal continues day and night to keep ground water from refilling the trench while concrete work cures. But the good news is that the most important part of the foundation is complete and curing in preparation for stone chimney construction.

More concrete will be poured to fill in gaps around the sides of the foundation while the block work is curing.



April 15th, 2024. Shop update. Concrete has had time to cure. Waiting on time to begin construction of forge foundation. This will take a while as other tasks are more urgent including running new electrical cables, garden work, repairing 2 other buildings, and yard cleanup. Shop is a disaster zone, need time to clean up shop, put tools away, clean equipment, and prepare for next stage of forge foundation construction. Fences and gates need mainenance work. Horses turned wild again, need to take time to catch them and train them. Got tired of all the construction work so I am planning some down time to forge some tools. Mostly horseshoeing tongs and other tools. Maybe forging a bit of animal head handles for other tools for fun.

The open trench was wet and muddy and caused a high humidity problem that started to rust the surface of the anvils and tools again. This section of floor where the new forge is being built was once the wettest section of floor in the building. It was first to start getting wet during rainy weather, and took the longest to get dried out. For many years since the shop was built, this wet section of floor was the cause of the high humidity and rusting tools. With the concrete pad now sealing the bottom of the trench, the humidity problem has been significantly reduced, but not entirely eliminated yet. The encouraging news is that the amount of rusting of tools is noticably less in just a few days after concrete began to cure. This upcoming weekend I will begin building the concrete block part of the forge foundation and fill in the open ground around it and further reduce the humidity problem by maybe 75%. And humidity problems should be almost entirely eliminated after the actual forge and chimney construction begin on top of the foundation and rust should never be a problem ever again. This new forge project will satify one of the goals of my original shop renovation plan namely to eliminate or greatly reduce the humidity and rust problems.


Finished concrete foundation pad for new stone forgeApril 6th, 2024. First photo (near right) shows the concrete foundation pad poured and finished last night. Now we wait for a week for the concrete to cure before begining main construction.

Photo at far right shows the rebar and wooden concrete form in place and ready for pouring concrete. Lots of hurry up and wait. Weather caused delays but finally got a good stretch of weather for concrete work. And just in time, rain will arrive again today - just hours after the concrete work was completed.

Pad is 7 inches thick. Rebar throughout the pad and vertical rebar carefully placed to go through the holes in the concrete blocks. This will be a stone forge, so concrete blocks are only used below ground level in the unseen part of the foundation. The only material that will be visible above ground will be the cobblestones that the forge is built from.

I decided to increase the size of the pad after digging the trench. So the new larger wooden concrete box form was now too large for the trench. I removed the back section of wooden box to allow another inch and a half length, and simply cast concrete right up to the rear of the trench. Wooden spreaders were used to hold the sides of the wooden form apart until concrete could fill in wooden form and the spreaders could be removed to finish filling with concrete. This is a bear of a job. Can't kneel beside the concrete form because the pad is down inside a hole. The only way to finish the concrete was to place the spreaders on the sides of the wooden box and kneel on the spreaders, moving them around as needed to be able to trowel all parts of the concrete surface.




Planning location of new stone forge and anvilPlanning location of new stone forge and anvilJanuary 5th, 2024. Holidayat the smithy.January 5th, 2024. Holidayat the smithy.March 24th, 2024. Updated 2024 show dates for steam power shows on the Steam Power & Antique Engine Shows page. 

Photos of the shop ( 2 at near right - top row of photos) was taken just days after the New Year holiday. Christmas season photos always make a good set. Piles of new building materials and construction rubble everywhere. Far right two photos show mockup and layout of new forge template. A piece of plywood is cut to the approximate dimensions of the new forge and chimney. Plywood rests on adjustable sawhorses to get a feel for location and height. The new anvil is much larger than the older anvils but the new anvil is to heavy to move around easily. So a plywood template of the top face of the new anvil was set on top of the the older lighter anvils as a mockup of the heavier anvil, and this helped with measuring and testing for best location of new forge and anvil. In the second row of photos (near right), this plywood anvil template is more easily seen. The shop is very small and I want to make sure there is enough space around forge and anvil to work efficiently while at the same time keeping as much free space on the opposit side of the forge for another forging area. A laser level is used to align the forge mockup. In the last photo (top row, far right), a faint green vertical line can be seen extending up the wall from the left rear corner of the plywood mockup. The laser level line extends from floor to ceiling, and aftter carefully centering the lazer stand in the shop, this laser line can be seen and measured by moving a board or tape measure and adjusting the position of the plywood mockup. The small laser is seen mounted on the orange and black laser stand at the right side of this photo.

Foundation work for new stone forge 2024Foundation work for new stone forge 2024Foundation work for new stone forge 2024Planning location of new stone forge and anvilIn the second row of photos at right, the piers have been poured and the rebar reinforcements are tied to overhead wooden planks to support them upright while the concrete cures. The bottom of the trench is wet due to high ground water level, and rock was dumped on the bottom of the trench so I could walk and kneel on a dry surface while working. More of this same rock will be spread on the floor of the trench before pouring the concrete foundation pad. I ordered an auger for drilling concrete pier holes in mid-December. It arrived in February - more than 6 weeks later. This was a waste of time. The drill hit rocks and was unable to drill pier holes. I ended up digging the trench by hand. Next problem was high ground water. The high water level turned the excavation work into a muddy mess. Next came a hard freeze during the time that I planned to pour the concrete pier holes. More delays waiting for warm enough weather to pour concrete. Finally the weather broke and I was able to pour the piers. While waiting for good weather for mixing concrete, my concrete stash has been sitting under a tarp. Very bad. Moisture/humidity comes up from below the pallet and seeps into the bags of concrete, and despite the plastic lining of the bags, the moisture seeps in and ruins some of the concrete.

460 lbs. Fontanini anvil on Oak block460 lbs. Fontanini anvil on Oak blockThe last/third row of photos is the anvil and block that I put together in late summer of 2023. Forgot to show the progress on this item last year. The iron banding still needs flower-head nails to secure the bands in place. The flower nails will be made later. For now the anvil and block are ready to forge some of the parts that are going into the new stone forge.







November 13th, 2023. Work is currently stalled as I am cleaning up around the property while I still have a helper. Also need to clean up wood shop workspace as well so that renovation and construction work on the shop and house can continue more easily. It is nice to be able to find tools again and actually have more clean space for working.

Shop Update. Before work stopped, the back of the shop was cleared out to make space for building a new forge. Welding table was also cleaned off. Forging area was tested (forged a pair of spring handles for a a couple new spring swages) to make sure that the everything works well before proceeding with forge construction.

Plans changed again. A plywood mock-up has been set up to help visualize size and lcoation of the new forge. It appears that there may not be enough space for a double forge, so back to the orginal plan for 3 single forges.



Shop before moving everything out to make space for new stone forge constructionNew 460 lbs. Fontanini anvil set up for constructing new stone forgeOctober 20th, 2023.  An urgent task kept me away for 3 weeks but I am back. With luck, I will be able to stay on new forge construction until it's complete.

Shop Update. Patched hole in floor near older temporary steel forge. The new 460 lbs Fontannini anvil is mounted on the new anvil block and moved over onto the patched floor area. The iron banding on the anvil block still needs decorative nails to permanently fasten them in place, but the block is useable without them for now. This new larger anvil will be used for most of the forging work during construction of the new stone forge. In the photo at near right, the new anvil is seen in its new location near the temporary steel forge. The blue streak on the front of the anvil block creates a bright visual highlight. The blue glitter-filled epoxy repair really stands out, where once was a serious flaw in the original wooden block is now an attractive visual highlight.

The shop photo at far right is the last photo of the rear wall taken before construction work begins. There will never again be any equipment stored near the rear wall - a new stone forge will occupy that space permanently. The welding table at the left side of photo is piled high with tools and stuff left over from renovating the building, and all of this stuff must be cleared off and put away to make space for forge construction work. Moving and cleanup begins today.


Midwest Old Threshers Reunion 2023 - Steam TrainSeptember 27th, 2023.  Steam Power & Antique Engine Shows page updated with highphotos from the 2023 season. I will be posting hundreds more photos from these shows soon. Show dates for the 2024 season will be added later as they are announced.

Shop Update. Switching tasks to begin building the stone forge. Designing and building a good stone forge by hand takes a couple months to complete. Forge construction is now a priority as forge construction must be finished before freezing temperatures and possibility of wintry weather arrive in the next two months. Materials for this project are being gathered now. The first two tons of river rock cobblestones for use in constructing the new forge can be seen in one of the photos at right. Rosette nails and tool making can wait until after the new forge is finished and snow is on the ground.

Plans continually change. The new stone forge will be a double forge - two firepots and two blowers/bellows. I was originally planning three individual forges but the shop does not have enough space for this. However there is enough space for one double forge and one single forge. The only downside to this plan is that one forging area becomes a modified left-handed work space. Some blacksmiths may find this orientation a little bit awkward but still works fine for most tasks. On the other hand this modified arrangement allows plenty of work space for three blacksmith's forging stations and offers two of the blacksmiths an opportunity to work at a stone forge with a stone chimney and bellows. Some smiths actually choose to build their shops with this forge and anvil orientation, and I have worked at one shop years ago that was built with this anvil forge arrangement and it worked out ok. So I expect this new plan to work out well 

Prep for construction begins now. All equipment and machinery must be moved out of the area to make space for the new forge. A path thru the middle of the shop must be cleared to make way for moving materials and scaffolding in and out of the shop. All anvils are now placed on new oak blocks, and all are ready for use. The new 460 lbs. anvil is much larger than the others, so to help clear a pathway thru the middle of the shop for construction work, the 460 will be moved into the old forging area for making parts for the new stone forge. The banded block can be used despite having not yet installed the rosette nails to secure the iron bands in place. But as said before, the special nails for the banding can be made later after wintry weather arrives and the new forge is finished. Floor space near the temporary forge must be patched before moving the anvil, and this is being done now. Patching will require several days for concrete to cure. I have other work to do around the farm while the concrete is curing, including cutting up trees that were blown down in a recent storm. If it's not one thing, it's another.  One of those downed trees will be cut up to be used for swage block stands and other useful items.



Iron Banding - Making wooden anvil block for 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilIron Banding - Making wooden anvil block for 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilIron Banding - Making wooden anvil block for 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilIron Banding - Making wooden anvil block for 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilSeptember 15, 2023. Took some time off to visit a few steam power and antique engine farm shows. Photos will be posted on the Steam Power & Antique Engine Shows page soon. Also took some time off from renovation work to test the new shop setup by forging some small hardware items and animal heads.

Shop update. Finished forging the iron banding for the anvil block. The banding still needs handmade rosettes and flower head nails to permanently fasten the the banding in place, and these nails will be forged soon. To create a completely hand-made look, every inch of the iron banding was forged and the ends of the bands were riveted together. The iron banding needed to be heated red hot to bend them around the corners of anvil block. By so doing, this created a scorched area around the corners that I think adds hand-made character to the overall appearance.

Currently there are some urgent tasks that need to be done around the farm and this has reduced my shop time all week. But I do have some evenings coming up that I plan on spending some time finishing up construction of tools for making the flower head nails and rosettes that will soon permanently fasten the iron banding on this anvil block.



Forged iron banding for wooden anvil block - 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilForged iron banding for wooden anvil block - 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilForged iron banding for wooden anvil block - 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilForged iron banding for wooden anvil block - 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilForged iron banding for wooden anvil block - 460 lbs Fontanini AnvilAugust 30th, 2023.  Shop update. Last minute work on large wooden anvil stand. First iron band is ready for nailing. Second band nearly complete. After the second iron band is ready for nailing, work changes to making other items for upcoming show and tell. Photos here at right show the band material being prepared and finally the first band is finished and wrapped around the block. Decorative flower head nails will be made soon for permanently attaching the bands to the block. The wooden anvil block has tapered sides and thus the iron bands must wrap around a tapered surface. The easiest way to make the band material lay flat against the sides of the block, is to bend the iron on edge at each location where the band wraps around the corner of the block. In the last photo at right this can be seen where I have pre-bent the band material before heating and wrapping around the wooden anvil block. These bands were 8 feet long and required work stands to support both ends during the forging process. Two work stands at the forge, anvil, and air hammer - for a total of 6 workstands. With the shop still full of construction tools and equipment and blowers for the new forges, this didn't leave much room to move around.

I wanted a handmade look as much possible for the anvil block. This means lots of forging to modify the cross section of the band material Edges of the banding were tapered with round faced hammer tool on air hammer to help draw out the edges. The surface of the material was intentionally left in a rough forged condtion - not flattered. A dull hot cut tool was used to incise dual lines along the center of the bands for additional eye appeal. The effect was perfect.



August 7th, 2023. Steam power shows coming up every weekend from now thru September. While I list only a few annual events on the Steam Power Shows page, there are many more in other states. See the Steam Power Shows page for upcoming show dates and photos from past steam shows events. All of these steam power show events have at least one working blacksmithing demonstration. The Midwest Old Threshsers has three working blacksmith exhibits. These shows offer an opportunity for the beginner to see how blacksmith tools are set up and used.

Shop Update. Waiting for sealant on bottom of anvil log to dry. Preparing to make banding for anvil log. Weather is raining nearly every day for past week. We have had 6-1/4 inches of rain in just 2-1/2 days. Total of around 9 inches for the week. Very high humidity. Ground was terribly dry so this rain is a very welcome relief. As rain clowds were developing, I moved everything inside in anticipation of heavy rain, so work is progressing with no delays. Forging the banding will be an interesting task. Bands are made from long bars (3/16" x 1-1/2" stock) and require saw-horses and/or work rests to support both ends of the bar. There is limited space available so fitting two each sawhorses and work rests at the air hammer, anvil, and forge will create an awkward workspace.


August 3rd, 2023. Shop update. In between farm repairs and maintenance and a tremendous work schedule at another location lasting from June right through July (and contining through the first part of this month), I did manage to get a new and better anvil log stand started for the 460 lbs anvil. Photo at far right show this latest log stand nearing completion. The new log came from a white oak tree that was partially dead and partly living. I chose blue glitter to color the epoxy that was used to fill the large crack on one side of the anvil log. There is no hiding the gap in the side of the log, so the idea here was to turn this flaw into an attractive feature.

A major delay in finishing this log was caused by delamination around one side of the log as it began drying out. Initially this resulted in a huge broken gap on one side of the log, but as it dried out, this gap closed in a bit. And then another huge crack began developing in the center of the log which threatened to split the log completely in half. These cracks needed to be stabilized to save the log. So I filled both cracks with epoxy. The center crack was easily dammed up on the bottom of the log and filled with clear epoxy from the top. But the huge delamination on the side of the log required a major effort to dam and fill. The side crack was first cut away to open up the damaged area, and dammed with window caulking and tape. This turned into a disaster. The epoxy wets the area that the caulking sticks to and bursts through the dammed area - making a huge mess as the epoxy floods down the sides of the log and glueing the log to floor. A strong mechanical dam is needed to seal the epoxy in place. This turned out to be a slow-curing epoxy so I had to wait 3 days for it to cure before making another attempt.

After the first epoxy fiasco attempt, I cut up some pieces of plywood, taped the epoxy side of the plywood to make easy separation later, sealed around the fill-area with window caulking again, and screwed the plywood down tight over the sealant. After waiting for the caulking to cure for at least a day, the second pour was successful. The blue glitter filling was a great color for this project. My only mistake was in using too much. It takes only a pinch of glitter to make the epoxy completely opaque. I wanted a semi-transparent bluish epoxy finish, but after using a quarter teaspoon, the result is opaque. Despite this mistake, the color turned out to be nice enough for this task. Note for next time - just a pinch is all that is needed.

You can see the second pour in the photos (below right). The very dark black streaks on the left side are the remains of the epoxy that broke out and spilled down the sides of the log. The dark stains in the center of the log indicate hardware grew inside this tree. I hit multiple nails while cutting with a chain saw and while machining with router. It was necessary to finish cutting through the nails. After the slabs were cut off, the nails were easy to chip out with a chisel.

The sides of the log are both chain saw cut and hand hewn with hammer and chisel. Nothing is flat so it was necessary to sand the epoxy until level with the surrounding wood. The epoxy was then scrubbed with a treated 3-M pad that was made for polishing, and then buffed with a cotton disk and polishing compound.

As of today, the log has already been given a second coat of water sealant and protectant. This requires at least 48 hours to dry. The bottom needs the same treatment twice. This anvil log will be ready for banding in 5 days.

Everything delays were terribly this past month. Pardon my discombabulated grammar here but literally everything you can think of, was taking me away from getting any work done. I was called in for several very large projects and unable to get any work done in the shop except for working on the replacement anvil stump shown in the photos here. Talking with another guy that has a line on some stone for constructing the new forge. Buying concrete block for the foundation. researching and looking at different types of materials. And all this while working some huge projects for the past two months at another location. Prepping the shop for forge construction comes next week.



New anvils and log standsLarge anvil log wood work finishedJuly 2nd, 2023. Shop update.  Got another larger log (30" by 32" diameter slightly oval shaped) from a friend and this one is much better for a 460 lbs. anvil. The last anvil log stand was a bit too small for the new anvil. So one more round of machining a new anvil log. Weather delays. Rained out 3 days. And more work around the farm. Machining of a new version of this anvil log is now more than 50% complete. Another 4-5 hours of woodwork yet to be done. The reason it takes so long is because after the machining is done I finish the sides with drawknife, mallet, and chisel.

Giving away this log. The log (photos at right) will be given away to somebody that needs a good anvil stand log. The log was intended to finish at an overall anvil height of 31" for use with a 460 lbs Fontanini anvil. Log height is 17-5/8". Anvil depression in the top of the log stand was machined 1-1/8" deep. This allowed the anvil to sit down in a 5/8" depth well, with 1/2" depth layer of sand underneath to deaden noise.  If a new owner wishes to use a different brand or size of anvil, this log can be machined flat again to 16-1/2" total height. Log is made of White Oak and was partically treated, beginning with two coats of Cabot all around, and with Thompson's Waterseal on bottom surface. Top surface was coated with Tung Oil before work was stopped. There is nothing actually wrong with the log, I just don't like the finished product and I expect to do a better job with the next one. So I will give this one away to anyone that wants it.

How to measure for correct height of an anvil. While standing next to a table or flat surface, wearing work shoes that you normally wear while working, stand up straight with arm relaxed and straight down at your side, with fingers curled loosely as though holding a hammer. Measure from the second finger joint knuckles to the floor. This is ideal total working height of the top surface of the anvil.

To verify this measurement, set up a temporary work surface at this measured height. An adustable drill press table works great for this task. Select the main hammer that you work with the most. Imagine that you are standing beside your anvil and holding a hammer with the face of the hammer resting flat and level on the anvil. While standing straight up with arm and hand straight at your side, (with hammer in hand) the hammer face should rest perfectly flat and level on the anvil surface and the hammer handle should be horizonal and level also. Both of these methods will give the same exact measurement.


New anvils and log standsJune 12th, 2023 re-edited. Shop update. Two new anvils have been mounted on new log stands. A third anvil waits for one more log stand to be finished. Photos at right. I included closeups of only one anvil, but there are two finished 250 lbs. setups and both are identical. The large anvil log stand will also be getting iron banding and custom ornamental nails to prevent the edges breaking out along with three more coats of sealant. This wasn't part of the original plan, but I think the result will be quite spectacular.So there will be another two weeks before I can finish the last one. I have yard work and repair work to take care of so all work in the shop will stop for a week. When that is finished, I will be back in the shop to finish the third anvil log stand.

There is a good reason for everything taking so long. From this point forward, I am literally making three of everything, and thus everything now takes three times longer to finish. Three anvils, three forges, three sets of tools, three sets of vise stands, etc.

Staggered completion dates. There is around a 5-day interval between starting dates for each of the log stands. The anvil log stand in right side foreground of the first photo received its final sealant coating last week but the anvil needed repainting after sitting on the dirty shop floor for over a year. This second anvil was mounted on its log stand yesterday. In the second photo is a close up of how the anvils look after the log stands are finished.

Dirt-covered anvils. One of the hazards of building renovation is the tremendous amount of sawdust and other kinds of dust that fall and cover everything in the work area. And to complicate that further, I still have a damp floor in the shop that raises humidity to very high levels and causes all steel surfaces to rust. So to protect the anvil surfaces from rust for the long term, I coated unprotected surfaces with bees wax and linseed oil. This stuff is sticky, and construction dust sticks to it like glue. That is why the anvils are so dirty - construction dust and saw dust covered this sticky stuff on the anvils while I worked to rebuild the shop. This should be easy to clean up after the floor is fixed. The floor will get fixed after the new forges are built.

Tracing outline of anvil on wood templateRouter Template, large flat transparent router base plate, trimming cutout bitTools for cutting anvil depression in top of anvil logRouter Sled Platform - Machining anvil logs flatRouter Sled Platform - Machining anvil logs flatRunning the router sled. This series of photos shows the work that went into making log stands like these. I wanted anvil mounts there are perfectly level and flat, and I didn't trust that I could do this accurately enough freehand with a chainsaw. The tree service that gave me these logs - cut them any way that can to get the trees out of the customer's yards. This means cuts are not straight. So the logs must be jacked up and shimmed in place to be as straight up as possible. The router and sled will mill the top surface flat and level. This flat new surface is then placed down on a flat level platform and the opposite end can be machined after simply setting up sled frame level with the platform.

But there is a a problem. I bought commercially made steel saw horses with adjustable legs. The saw horses legs can be adjusted only so far down. After the initial end of each log was planed flat with the router and sled, the logs were then trimmed with a chain saw to get them closer to the finished length. After the half-finished logs are trimmed down close to their finished length, they are now too short to continue machining with the pair of saw horses that I am using for the router sled. The solution was to set up a steel plate that was made as level as possible, and them making a wooden platform to raise each of the logs up to a height that would work with the adjustable saw horses and router sled. What a misuse of time. I wish I had simply looked into a better way to achieve this with a chainsaw. However this work did result in logs that were perfectly flat and level after the ends were machined.


Sides trimmed and taper cutAnvil depression routered into top of log standTempplate routering anvil depression in top of log standTemplate for routering anvil depression in top of log standRoutering the anvil shape in top of the log. Sand deadens the high noise level of steel anvils. I saw this in a YouTube video by another Fontanini anvil owner; he routed this same depression in the top of his log stand and filled it half-full of sand. The depression is cut roughly an inch or more deep, a half inch of sand fills the bottom of the depression, and the anvil sets in the upper half inch or so of the depression. The top surface of the sand would be level with the height that anvil would have been mounted if the anvil had been instead mounted to a plain wooden log. My anvils are set at 31". So to plan this style of anvil mount, my log would be 5/8ths of an inch taller (longer) than I would normally cut them. This is because my anvil would sit down 5/8ths of an inch in the depression. And the depression would be cut an additional 1/2-inch deeper for a 1/2-inch fill of sand. In summary, my anvil logs would be cut 5/8ths of an inch longer, and a 1-1/8ths inches deep depression would be routered in the top of the log.

Template routering. So to make a router template for this work, an anvil was placed on a piece of 1/2-inch plywood, and the bottom footprint of the anvil was traced on the plywood with a pencil. The plywood was then cut out and trimmed to make it easier to handle. The finished template was screwed to the top of the log. A special transparent router base plate was made from lexan plastic and attached to the router base. This clear base plate helps float the router on top of the hole in the template and allows the user to see the router work being done underneath. With this template and large transparent router plate, the work took only minutes to complete - and left a perfect smooth flat and level depression in the top of the anvil log. Router bits leave round corners. A carpenter's chisel and mallet were used to chip out the corner for the feet of the anvil and make the sqare so that the anvil would fit perfectly in the depression.

Tapered anvil blocks. The anvil blocks are tapered slightly to make it easier to work all around the anvils. If the anvil had simply be set on top of a log without tapering the sides, then taccess to and around the anvil would have been restricted. Tapering the sides allows larger/bulky work pieces to be worked on and around the anvil. First the anvil depressions were cut in the top of the log stands. The anvil depressions make it easy to see where the anvil will finally be mounted. The tapered slabs were then cut from the sides of the logs. And then the sides of the logs were cleaned up with a carpenter's chisel and mallet and drawknife. After the log was cleaned up, the top and bottom edges were rounded with a router and round-over bit. This left smooth rounded edges on top and bottom to reduce chances of the top or bottom edges splintering.

1/2-inch of sand in bottom of depression under anvilRidiculous paint jobs. Multiple coating of wood preservatives and treatments were applied all around the anvil log stands- top, sides, bottom, especially the bottom. Cabot, Thompson's Waterseal, Boiled Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, Beez Wax Turpentine Linseed Oil, whatever seemed to be the best for this task.

Sound deadening. The anvil depression on tops of the logs are filled with a 1/2-inch layer of sand and smoothed flat, anvils are carefully lowered onto the stands. A bed of sand absorbs the extremely loud ringing of the anvil. This will make it easier to talk to people while working.

Two down, one to go. Ok one anvil log left to finish. This one will take a while. The block was a little small for this anvil. This larger oak log was oval shaped, roughly 22" x 26". This was actually a bit small for an avil with a base of the 460 lbs. anvil. A 28" diamter round log would have been better. To reduce splintering or breaking out of the edges of the log, iron banding must be made to fit tightly around the top edge of the log. And it might as well be decorative. And the nails too. Can't hide the nails, so they might as well be flower heads. This will take a few days to make.

And I am out of the shop for a week again. There are outdoor repairs and yardwork that urgently needs done. So I am out of the shop for another week.

And yuck Next up is moving time. The floor space will need to be cleared to make room for building a new stone forge. In the photo with the anvil, you can see a ladder, drill press, and other equipment leaning up against the back wall. All of this stuff must be moved out of here so that the floor can be torn out and a new forge foundation built in its place. So there is still quite a bit of work to be done before the floor demolition can begin.




Anvil Logs Need Ends Machined Flat and StraightLog Surfaces Machined Perfectly FlatRouter Sled Set Up For Machining Anvil LogsRouter Sled Set Up For Machining Anvil LogsAnvil LogsMay 2nd, 2023. Work in shop is still halted for now. House renovation and landscaping have priority.

Latest additions for the shop include logs for mounting new anvils. These are oak and very heavy. These oak logs are just under 22 inches in diameter and the ends are not cut straight. The ends of these logs need to be flattened and plumb before they can be used for anvil stands. And for this work a router sled was assembled and used for machining the ends of the logs plumb and flat.

As I write this update, these anvil logs are only half finished. A flat and level platform still needs to be set up for final machining of the top anvil surfaces of the logs. I am working on three of these logs, and that is why it takes much time to do this work. In many cases I make multiples of a given item. Imagine making tongs for example, what it takes to make one pair, then multiply that by the number of different sizes that are needed, and then multiply that number by two or three again to equip multiple forging stations with each of those same tools. Three new anvils - three new anvil logs.

The photos at right show these logs and the router sled. Look closely at the photos and see just how far out of square that these logs were cut - one of the logs required 3 each 2 x 6s to shim it up straight for machining with the router sled. The bottoms of the logs are machined first. The flat bottoms are the reference surface from which the total length is measured for cutting, and for mounting square and plumb under the router sled for final machining of the top anvil surface of the logs.

A router sled is a simple box frame and a pair of rails. The rails have a perfect straight surface on top and are mounted with the upper surfaces perfectly level both along their length and perpendicularly across both rails. A router box slides freely on top of the rails. The router is placed in the box with the tool bit protruding through the bottom. The router and sled act like a planing machine to roughly cut a flat surface on the workpiece underneath. The router box is placed over the surface that is intended to be machined. The router is adjusted to cut a specific depth in the work piece underneath the box and is slid back and forth in the box to cut a series of flat grooves in the work piece. The box is slid across the rails as needed to allow the router to cut large or long surfaces. Guide rails inside the box limit or guide travel of the router as desired. The frame (sawhorses) that supports the rails must be adjustable for height. My sawhorses are steel with adjustable leg lengths and side hangers that were meant to support 2 x 4s, but I used 2 x 6 rails instead. Rails must be perfectly straight. Lumber is typically not straight enough for this purpose, but can be made straight by machining the edges on a jointer or, by cutting with a track saw (first edge) and then on a table saw (second edge).

This turned into a huge amount of work. Partly because these logs are green and very heavy and very difficult to move, and because the frame rails must be re-leveled and re-shimmed each time the machining progresses beyond the range of the router adjustments - which then requires the sled frame saw horses are lowered one notch. Saw horses with adjustable-height legs are necessary for this work. The waste left over from cutting straight edges on the 2 x 6 rails made perfect material for shims to get the rails perfectly level.

The router sled worked excellent. The machined surfaces of the logs are dead flat. As of today, this work is only half complete.

April 11th, 2023. The Anvil page has been updated with new links for buying new two-horn anvils. Forge construction is still on hold as I am still working on house renovation and landscaping. New landscaping equipment that arrived last month took up quite a bit of time to assemble and prepare for work. New photos for this website are being prepared and there are literally hundreds of photos. I will be adding new content here very soon. To see the new format that is being used for all 2020 and later photos, have a look at some of the photo on the Steam Power Shows events page: Steam Power Shows. There are still a few errors on this page, but all of the new photos will be fully updated by tomorrow.

What makes these photos different is their larger size, both the thumbnails and the full size photos are larger and higher resolution. Compared with much older photos and thumbnails that were much smaller in size and resolution. This difference goes back to the old age of this website. When I first built this website, nearly everyone had only very low-speed dial-up internet connections. This meant files took a very long time to download because nobody had high-speed internet connections. And thus early photos were very low quality and size to allow them to download quickly for the slow internet speeds available way back then. As computer memory and monitor resolution increased, and the higher monitor resolution caused low resolution photos to be displayed in smaller and smaller sizes. Font size was affected and shrank in size also. So when visitors look at many of these pages that were created years ago, all of the old photos and thumbnailed photos are tiny and of poor quality. I am working to replace some of these but this is a terribly slow process. Preparing and editing photos to re-introduce them in higher resolution and quality is terribly time consuming - because there are literally hundreds and hundreds of photos to replace - and I have hundreds more of new photos to add.

Solution. This greatly speeds up the photo introduction process, and you will begin seeing many of these here soon. I have chosen a standard format and photo size and will introduce these photos into a single location - where they can be quickly selected and moved into final content pages. This makes the webpage-photo transition faster and easier, reduces searching for misplaced photos, and makes it easier to select the best photos for each article.

And this last part is HUGE! All amateur photographers are familar with this problem, and here is a fantastic and wonderful solution. For example, when making photos in a darkened blacksmith shop with sunlight streaming through a window or doorway, and the sunlight or flash overexposure causes color washout, and very dark areas behind the light. The extreme differences in light and shadow areas is a serious problem when taking documentary style photos. But there is a very fast and easy way to correct washed out color from the overeposed areas of a photo while simultaneously increasing exposure of dark sections of those same photos. This tool is available in Adobe Photoshop by using the Shadows & Highlights editing tool. And visitors here will be seeing some of these photos here soon.



Larger 6-inch vise replaces smaller 5-inch vise on vise benchTools cleaned and paintedShop cleanup almost finishedShop almost ready to open againOctober 27th, 2022. Shop renovation work has ended. New permanent shop forge will be built during the upcoming winter season, and floor will be fixed after the new forge. Now is time for clean up and getting machines, tools, and equipment ready for service again.

A larger 6-inch vise has been mounted on the three-cornerd vise bench, this vise replaces the smaller 5-inch vise that was originally mounted on the vise bench. The three-corned vise bench was originally planned as a temporary and semi-portable tool storage and vise platform but it ended up becoming a permanent part of the shop. The smaller vise that was originally mounted to this bench was too small for the regular work that I do, so it was necessary to mount a larger vise. The new vise was a perfect fit and makes this vise platform much more practical and useful.

Cleaning rusty tools is more time-consuming than I expected. This has been going on all week. Tongs, hammers, top tools, hardies, the high humidity from a continuously wet floor made for a terrible rust problem. New whiskey barrels are hit and miss. Some are good and some are not. I bought a new half whiskey barrel earlier this past summer and then spent the entire summer trying to soak it and keep it water tight. Last week it developed a series of leaks all around despite being full all summer. So I bought another half whiskey barrel and this one sealed up quickly. The new whiskey barrel can be seen in the photos here, it is in the vise bench and will be filled up slowly all week. Despite being dried out, this new barrel is already water tight up to a water depth of 6 inches, and I just started filling it with water 4 days ago. It also helped to have 2 long rainy days, the rain sped up the water soaking process. The barrel was outside in the rain for the entire 2 days and was already filled with water 1-1/2 inches deep after the rain stopped. It should be able to be filled completely full of water in a week.

There is more cleanup to do in the shop yet. At the end of this week I will halt shop upgrades to free up time to work on the house again. The shop is nearly ready to open up again.


First forge fire lit since renovation began in 2018First forge fire lit since renovation began in 2018First forge fire lit since renovation began in 2018First forge fire lit since renovation began in 2018October 12th, 2022. Shop renovation update. The forge fire has been lit. Way behind schedule, like around 4 months behind. Some of this work took far longer than expected. Old forge and chimney are  now back in their orignial locations. The old forge will be used for making many of the parts for building a new permanent shop forge, and that is why it was necessary to temporarily put it back in its original location. The hole in the roof for the old chimney was still there. This time I made a permanent little hoodie above the chimney smoke entrance.

And tonight the forge fire has been lit for the first time since renovation work began. The chimney has now been tested and it draws very well - there is no smoke in the shop. The shop is once again back in operation. The floor around the anvil has been leveled, the old corn crib foundation broken up and removed to make the floor more comfortable to work around the anvil.

Now comes clean up. Tools and lumber that were left over from renovation work must now be removed and put away. Tools and machines need to be cleaned and lubricated and readied for use. Still have a bit more work to get the shop back in service such as making a new fireback for the wood stove and install one more welding outlet to allow the stick welder to be moved off the welding table. There is a big mess of stuff that needs cleaning. What is built for now is a temporary setup to allow the blacksmith shop to be used while waiting for the new shop forge to be built. The next few days up to the weekend will be devoted to cleaning up the shop and putting everything back in service to re-open the shop. And not a minute too soon, the fall season (they call it "climate change" now) is here and I have a huge backlog of things that need fixing or making.


Shop renovation 2022 - Last wall finishedShop renovation 2022 - Framing and working last section of wallOctober 1st, 2022. Upgraded website to HTTPS. Huge amount of new material is being prepared. I will be adding roughly 500 new photos over the next few months. This is time-consuming work. Photos take tremendous amounts of time to prepare, edit, insert, and link. All new photos are larger and with higher resolution than past photos. New updates coming very soon for the Post drill page, Coal Forge series, and the Anvils pages - plus a whole new category/series of pages.

Shop renovation is nearly finished for the year. Renovation took roughly 3 months longer than expected, but the finished result was much better than originally planned. First 2 photos at right show the final section of wall in front of the shop being framed and electrical work installed. And final photo of the finished wall. This was the last section of wall and the most expensive, difficult, and time-consuming to rebuild. New welding outlet was also mounted flush inside the wall. All walls now insulated and new electric, and none too soon, materials for this work are becoming crazy expensive.

Old temporary coal forge and chimney are now being readied to put back in their original location temporarily. The old forge will be used to make custom steel parts for the new forge and chimney - and that is why I must temporarily reinstall the old forge.

Shop renovation 2022 - preparing to reinstall old forgeShop renovation 2022 - preparing to reinstall old forgeThe old forge and chimney suffered serious rust damage after being left under a leaky area of roof for several years. The worst of the damage was to the sheet metal in the bottom of the chimney. In the second pair of photos at right, the rust-damaged lower section of chimney smoke box is clearly visible. And the second photo shows patches weld in place to repair the lower section of chimeny. This is meant as a temporary fix and I do not plan to continue using this old chimney and stand after the new forges are built.

With the chimney/smoke box patched and cleaned up, I am now preparing to install the chimney flue. This forge will be fired up soon.


September 16th, 2022. Steam Power Show schedule page has been updated with photos and links from most recent shows and 2023 show schedule posted. More photos from these shows will be posted later.

Shop update. Photos will be posted here soon. New walls and electrical outlets were finished three days ago. Some of the old benches and tools storage are being moved to temporary new locations in preparation for building the new shop forge. The old forge is being put back into its original position temporarily for making some of the parts that will be needed for the new forge.

Renovation is 3 months behind schedule but it is getting done. Part of the delay was due to another project in the house that had a higher priority. But another part of the delay was actually the result of adding additional improvements to the renovation work that were not originally planned such as fully enclosed wiring for the north wall, new welding outlets, additional machine outlets, and an additional wall section that was not originally planned, and vacation away from home for the first time in years. The  final section of wall was the most difficult of all. Every part of the frame was out of plumb in two directions, and not straight. New framing needed to conform to the old wall structure on one side and present a good plumb straight mounting surface on the inside. Putting a 60amp circuit through a wall with limited space for a flush mount outlet was exceedingly difficult and time-consuming. This final section of wall (including the welding circuit) is the most expensive section of wall that I have ever put in. Total cost was around $600 for a five-foot section of wall, and was worth every penny to build. My biggest concern with this section of wall was that the original electrical boxes had been exposed and were a safety hazard. New internal and flush-mounted outlets dramatically improve electrical safety on this wall. Equipment can now be moved back into permanent or temporary locations for building the new shop forge.


Rebuilding final section of wall - fill to make plumbRebuilding final section of wall - laser shows huge out-of-plumb North wall finishedAugust 16, 2022. Shop update. Work is over two months behind schedule. Other work came up that pulled me away from shop construction. Walls work is almost done. North wall was finished a few weeks ago in mid July. See nearest photo at right. Electric was connected and tested to make sure everything was correct. Shop now has electrical service on 3 of the four walls. One last section of wall. This one is the smallest, only 6 feet wide, and this wall is the worst of all. Out of plumb in two directions. This building was never intended to be a workshop. New frame must be plumb before new wall can be put in. In the last two photos at right, the laser line shows just how out-of-plumb that the frame is.

Steam power show page is updated. The Steam Power Show page keeps keeps track of dates of Steam Power shows nearest me. These shows are often a good source of old tools and equipment. And for beginner blacksmiths these shows offer live demonstrations of blacksmiths working.

Change number 867, new main forge will likely be brick or stone or some combination. This means hole must be dug in floor for foundation. Temporary old forge will be put back in its original location to make hardware and parts for new forge. This starts in 3 weeks.



July 11th, 2022. Improving size of photos on several pages including the Old Thresher's Reunion, Mt.Pleasant coal forge page. Many of the photos on this website were very low resolution to avoid using up large amounts of bandwidth more than a decade ago before most people had high speed internet. Computers have much higher resolution monitors and thus all of my original thumbnailed photos appear very tiny on a typical computer screen today. I am making another push at replacing some of the older photos and thumbnailed photos again. This is a huge ungoing project because there are literally thousands of photos on this website. I am also re-writing some of the pages on this site. Currently I am looking for the original photos for re-scanning at higher resolution. I will be posting some of the webpage links here and on the home page as improved photos and thumbnails are added.

I am using a Canon T6 Rebel.SLR. The Pella Historical Village Blacksmith page is the first that I have published using photos from this camera, and boy oh boy , what difference it makes. The new camera has made a gigantic improvement in quality of photos.The new Pella Historical Village Blacksmith Coal Forge page was created on May 13th, 2022 and the link is here:   This is the first new edition to the Coal Forge series in over a decade. It is the 5th entry on the Coal Forge 3 page.  Lots more stuff coming for this website in the future.

The Pella Historical Village is located in Pella, Iowa, and the blacksmith shops depicts a rural blacksmith shop from the mid or late 1800s. These photos were from a visit during the Pella Tulip Time festival in Pella, Iowa on May 7, 2022. Find more information about this event here:

Shop renovation is one 6 weeks behind schedule. I had to temporarily stop working on the shop to take to work on some other things. But now I am back in the shop finishing up the last section of wall replacment.


We now have 3 two-horn anvilsStarting new third wall in shop.April 30th, 2022. Latest new edition to the shop - the second of two new anvils has just arrived (on April 21st), the shop now has a total of three good two-horn anvils. (See photo at second right) After shop reconstruction is finished, all 3 forging stations will each have a high quality anvil. All anvils are (or were) purchased new. No broken down worn out junk antiques.

Shop renovation update. Rear wall and part of opposit side wall are now finished. (See photo near right) This puts shop renovation at a convenient stopping point and now back to house renovation work. Despite intermittant renovation schedule, shop reconstrution is progressing towards completion this summer as planned. Next renovation task is cleanup work to remove construction debris and trash that now covers the floor, and then move everything from the right side of the shop to the rear to make room for finishing the second side wall.

Replacing the subframe is frustrating, tedious, and agonizingly slow work. I can still only work an average of 2 hours per day in the shop at this time. What a mess, some of the decades-old wall repairs project inward into the new sub-frame, and much of the sub-frame must be built around those projections while still maintaining an overall standard frame spacing. And thus framing and finishing the back wall and first half of the side wall has taken literally a month. While it would have been so much faster and easier to have simply torn down the building and built new, this project was completely unplanned and is being done with zero budget. A new building would have cost around $30,000. When this project is complete, I will have paid 1/3 of that. There will be little, or no increase in taxes or insurance costs, as these are repair and maintenance expenditures rather than new construction. Not bad for taking a dilapidated and near-worthless structure and making it fully usable again.

Plans have changed again. A contractor will be replacing the concrete floor for me early this summer.

Boy oh boy what a difference it makes to have an insulated shop. Work on the rear wall was done during some very cold days, and this work was made much more pleasant by having a nice warm shop - heated in minutes by a small fire in the stove. This means the shop will be warm and cozy for seminars and workshops held during winter. I don't know yet for sure what the temperature will be like during summer. But I can say for sure that the insulation dramatically reduces heat penetrating through the roof. Just a few days ago we had temperatures in the 40s, and then on the following day temperatures suddenly in the upper 70s - and the shop was actually a little too chilly to work in without a jacket.

March 18th, 2022. Shop renovation and preparation for re-opening this summer are continuing slowly. Most of this work has been delayed to allow some house renovation projects to be completed. But I got a little bored with the house upgrades and decided to sneak back into the shop for a week to do a little more shop renovation. So now it's back and forth between house renovation and shop renovation. More photos coming a couple weeks.

January 24th, 2022. Capel Garmon Firedog - Lillies War group project blacksmith training workshops CANCELLED - Postponed Indefinitely. Let it be known here and now - I do NOT make any demands, nor will I enforce anyone elses demands requiring dangerous or unwanted medical procedures, nor will I ever enforce satanic conversion practices such as forced mask wearing or ritual satanic isolation and indoctrination. Not for any reason. Ever. Period. As of today ALL SCA-related workshops are cancelled indefinitely. The SCA board of directors is a group of nazi freaks with no medical training and they are pushing a requirement that all participants take the death vax, destroy their health, participate in their nazi show-me-your-papers-bitte games, forcing participants to wear diseased face diapers, and participate in their disgusting satanic distancing garbage. After months of preparation to finally open the Capel Garmon Firedog - Lillies War project training workshops, this series of workshops must now be cancelled indefinitely. My policy precludes me from making demands on participants that deliberately harm their health or well being or cause permanent injury or death, nor will I enforce such demands on behalf of others. The new policy dictated by the leftist freaks in the SCA board of directors do all of thoses things. We are witnessing the death of an organization that had been a lot of fun for a lot of years. One solution to this problem is to start an alternative group or community effort. Forget about what "they" are doing. We are the solution to the problem. We need only step up and do something. It's time for us to step up.

Good News: There is some very good news that comes out of this mess. The Firedog training events would have absorbed huge amounts of time and resources. Now the same time and resources can be directed exclusively to a much better series of workshops and seminars. Shop renovations are on temporary hold for now due to the need to finish renovating more rooms in the house, but sometime this spring shop renovation gets priority again. This only gets better. An old and fun organization has died, but a new one has been born. New upcoming classes and workshops will focus on ironwork that is a lot more fun to make and blacksmith work of a more practical use. Get ready. What is coming will be a game-changer. More on this later.

Sequence of shop updates. One of the first things readers saw on this page during the autumn and winter of of 2021 (below) were the updates on shop renovation. My shop was in a terrible dilapidated condition which created an uncomfortable and unsafe working environment. Renovation of the shop was/is the first step in eliminating these problems and preparing the shop for upcoming classes, workshops, seminars, and specifically the Capel Garmon workshops that I was planning to host beginning in autumn of 2022. Roof replacement and blown insulation was completed during December of 2020, and by early September of 2021 I had begun structural and electrical renovation. Shop renovation updates began appearing on my home page in October of 2021, and here on this page in early November. I had given myself a deadline of mid-June of 2022 to have the shop finished and ready for classes and workshops. I am still working towards that completion deadline.

The plan as of right now, is to be ready for workshops and seminars to begin in mid-autumn (sometime around October) of 2022. If everything works out as well as I hope, there will be a total of 3 forges in the shop, each with a good two-horn anvil. There are some tools that will need to be made prior to these workshops opening, such as anvil tools and tongs. These take some time to make and thus the need to finish shop renovation in summer - leaving time to make these tools later in early autumn before hosting workshops.

How has renovation work changed the shop environment so far? Even though renovation is only partially complete at this time, these improvements are far better than originally planned. One of the biggest problems was the lack of insulation and inability to heat the shop during the coldest part of winter. Even with renovation only partially complete, it is far easier and more economical now to heat the shop. This means workshops and seminars can be offered during the winter. Winter is actually a great time to for workshops and seminars because it is easier to control temperature, quite unlike summer. During winter, if the shop is too warm, simply open the doors enough to cool the shop down. If too cold, close the doors and let the fires warm it up again. Inusulation in the roof has also greatly improved summer tempertures inside the shop for at least a  few hours longer each day. Outdoor summer heat can't be stopped, but the heat radiated down through the roof as a result of summer sun is greatly reduced. I have not worked a forge inside the shop yet, so I don't truly know how heat from the forges will affect shop temperature during summer. This is why I am currently planning worshops and seminars for fall, winter, and spring. Any type of roof mounted ventilation to remove trapped hot air during summer events will have wait until next year.

Looking into the idea of hammer-ins. No plans as of yet. Only considering it.


January 1st, 2022 - Snow storm arrivesLumber moved inside - ready for winterTools and equipment ready for use in half of the shopJanuary 2nd. 2022. Shop renovation update. Most of the work planned for the second half of 2021 has been completed. The only items not finished are the rear half of the floor replacement and construction of new forge. These tasks will be completed in spring 2022.  Half of the shop floor space and most of the equipment is now accessible. The most difficult tasks of 2021 are now complete. New roof, new insulation, new windows and wall on one side of the shop. New electrical outlets on south side of shop. Equipment moved back to south side of shop. Ready for winter and ready for operation again.

In the photos at right, the near right photo shows equipment has been cleared out of the middle of the shop and a clear path is now available for walking through to the back of the shop. This was necessary for moving back and forth and carrying lumber sheeting to work on the rear wall of the shop. Drill presses are set up in their permanent positions and need only cleaned and oiled to begin working again. Hand cranked drill is moved to the rear wall near a window. If power goes out, I now have access to this drill for repair work. Welding table is moved to its permanent position and welding equipment needs only cleaning and they are ready for use. Those dark rusty objects in front of the welding table are a pair of Edwards Shears awaiting replacement blades. Very heavy and difficult to move. I'll find a place for them later. Air hammer can now be operated again for maintenance. Triangular vise bench has been moved to allow the vise to be closer to the new windows - more light for repair work if power goes out. Anvils moved to temporary location for easy use when needed, and out of the way during construction in rear half of shop. Basically everything in the middle and the left half of the photo is ready for full use again.    In middle photo, lumber has been brought inside. Ready for winter.    And the final photo (at far right) was taken just 8 hours later on New Year's Day 2022 - Snow storm!

Shop renovation will now stop temporarily while I begin working on house again. Two rooms of house almost complete and need only drywall sanded and painted and new electric outlets installed, and then 2 more need only electrical outlets finished. Then start on 3 more - full tear down to the frame, and rebuild. Shop renovation is still on schedule to be completed sometime in the upcoming spring of 2022.   BUT this might possibly be delayed until late spring or early smmer because I must speed up some of the renovations in the house.

It was necessary to finish enough of the renovation work to allow equipment to be cleared out of the middle of the building, so that all lumber and tools could be moved inside before the snow flies. We were lucky this year to have snow come so late. It allowed a large part of the renovation to be done while these things were stored outside. Weather suddenly became very cold during the last two weeks of December. Working longer and longer hours became necessary to finish enough of this project to get to a stopping point.

At 12 o'clock, midnight December 31st, 2021 - New Year's Eve, the shop was finally cleaned up enough to allow space for lumber and equipment to be brought inside. And not a moment too soon. By early morning on the following day - New Year's Day (January 1st, 2022) the snow came. We had roughly 9 inches of snow that day, and temperatures dropped to sub-zero that night. But the lumber is inside and there is enough space to work inside the shop and continue renovation during cold and inclement weather.

New walls, new spray-foam insulation all around, and new fiberglass insulation in the walls, have all contributed to making it much faste and easier to heat the shop with a smaller fire consuming less wood. On December 31st, the temperature was 5 degrees (F) and dropping fast. Before shop renovation this would have meant a cold shop that would have taken hours to warm up enough to work bare handed, and doors would have been sealed shut to try to conserve some of the heat. But now because of the new insulation and new walls, I needed only a tiny fire to keep enough heat to do much of the work. New walls also meant more light. Previously the old dilapidated walls absorbed so much light and caused the shop to be very dark and gloomy at night. The new walls reflect much of this light back into the shop now.

New electrical outlets were upgraded to heavier circuits for higher loads and these circuits are up to building code for improved safety. The number of outlets were increased so that there would be plenty of open outlets despite some outlets being blocked by equipment. This is why there appears to be an excessive number of outlets in the photos - because there really is an excessive number of outlets built into the walls. Cover any outlet up, and another is just a few feet away in either direction. Steel outlet cover plates protect the outlets, reducing the likelyhood of an outlet cover being broken when struck by something.

Winter is finally here. The vaccinated have a lot to fear this winter. Don't be one of the stupid sheeple. Don't take the fake "vaccine". It's called a bio-weapon for a reason. The vaccinated covidiots are called "mudbloods" for a reason. Look at blood samples of an injected sheeple under a microscope. Compare with blood samples from purebloods. The damage to the blood is shockingly horrific. Upon injection with the fake "vaccine," their blood curdles and turns literally into a sort of mud. The fake vaccine causes all sorts of other auto-immunity, and immune system damage, and cancer problems that I won't describe here. There is no cure for the damage caused by the "vaccine" bio-weapon. There is no antidote. Quit believing the lying quacks in the fake news. A die-off is coming - but it is the vaccinated who have a real reason to fear. The disease is a hoax created to frighten sheeple into taking the bio-weapon. All "C.o.V.ID" tests are a fraud. Notice the spelling? It's not a name of a thing! Look at the original spelling - C.o.V.ID. Certificate of Vaccination ID. It's NOT a virus!!! It's a vaccine passport program. I have worked closely with "infected" covidiots for 2 years now. If the disease was actually a real disease, and the disease was super-contagious as we have been told repeatedly, then I should have caught the disease and died 2 years ago. I am not immune to it. It is simply not real. You can't catch the fake virus. It's a lie designed to frighten sheeple into taking a bio-weapon that they think will protect them from their big bad boogieman. It's fake. All of the medical malpractice that hospitals around the country are using to hurt, and sicken, and kill people - is aimed at frightening the sheeple into believing that there really is some "virus" that is contagious and is out to get us - to frighten them into taking the vaccine bio-weapon. Governments around the world have granted immunity from prosecution for all hospitals that participate in the program. It's winter now. The die-off is coming soon. Globalist totalitarian scumbags like to call it "Dark Winter." The vaccinated fear it. There is no way to undo what the vaccinated have done to themselves. There is no stopping what is coming. Only purebloods will survive. Don't take the fake "vaccine."

DragonForger is coming - Only young Purebloods may enter the DragonForger. Arrival end of summer 2022.



Clearing center of shop partially completeOne wall finishedDecember 16th, 2021. Renovation update.  First phase of blacksmith shop renovation project is complete. One wall is finished and part of the rear wall is partially done. Walls fully insulated and new electric installed. Now cleanup is needed before moving equipment in the shop.

UPDATED WITH PHOTOS: A huge amount of equipment and tools had been piled through the center of the shop to make space for construction work around the walls and roof. Photo at near right show wall finished. Photo at far right shows the drills and welding table moved against the wall, and a path has been cleared to the center of the shop. All of this stuff had to be sorted, separated, roughly cleaned and moved. This turned into a 4 day project and required increasingly longer and longer work days to accomplish. Winter weather is coming very soon and this phase of the renovation work must be finished before the snow flies.

It's amazing how much sawdust and wood scraps accumulate in the woodworking areas during carpentry projects. Sawdust coats everything despite using dust collection. Thus I must pull out all tools and supplies from cabinets and work benches and storage areas to clean out those areas. Clean and orderly storage areas make it easier to gather and properly store tools and supplies from the work area. This is a two-day project it seems.

Severe storms delayed work for a day, but back at it again now.

Getting ready for the big move. After moving half of the equipment in the blacksmith shop back to their proper locations, it should be much easier to work on the phase of the renovation. Everything still on schedule despite additional tasks that were added during the project. See the December 5th update below. \

The biggest problem right now are the shortages of everything. To get around this problem, I begin purchasing and accumulating materials and supplies weeks in advance of the work. Lumber is back in stock in very small quantities and the quality is very low. Electrical components such as boxes, outlets, wire and cable, are all in very short supply. If there is something I know I will need for the new electric installation - I buy whatever quantity is available and take it home. Returning every week to see if more arrived. It's that bad. For example, to wire just half of my shop, I need at least 12-14 outlet boxes. But the stores might have anywhere from 0-8 of any item. I need 4 bulk packs of outlets to complete the shop and another small project, but the stores had only two packs of outlets, and I already bought and installed those. I went back two weeks later - still no new bulk packs of outlets. At this time I can build half of my remaining shop wall project, but I can't put in electric until more inventory arrives in the stores. In some cases I have been forced to order from wholesalers, but this means ordering more than double or triple what I need for the entire project. Electric cable is outrageously priced. For just 50ft of 10-3, the price is literally $200. Plywood quality is awful, warped, gouged, frayed and separated edges, some almost unusable. So the strategy is to visit various stores weekly and buy whatever they have, until enough parts and supplies are accumulated to complete a project. Bulk packs of construction screws and nailer nails are also in very short supply. The shelves are full of these items, but the sizes used most often for framing and construction are the ones in very short supply. And prices are sky high - if you can get them.



December, 5th, 2021. Renovation update. Building upgrades are nearly half way completed. Weather is turning colder. Winter is almost here. I still have one additional task to complete on outside of shop and two very small tasks to finish inside. And the building construction phase will have reached the half-way point and I can finally move half of the equipment back to the side of the shop and start construction of a new main forge. Everything is still on track to partially re-open shop around the end of this month...

And just in time too, weather is becoming colder and uncomfortable for carpentry work unsheltered outside. And in addition to colder temps, winter brings shortened daylight hours, thus requiring light sets for some carpentry work outside.

But the good news is, I fired up the stove for the first time since construction/renovation started - and the result was even better than I expected. It took only minutes to heat the shop enough to work in freezing weather. Before the renovation began, it would have taken a couple hours to heat the shop to the same temperature. New insulation and weatherproofing has tremendously improved heating/cooling the shop. And insulation and wall construction is only half complete! Conditions inside the shop will improve even more as renovation work nears completion. New electrical installation has eliminated past problems and added plenty of new outlets.

Just one half day of work to finish the last remaining carpentry tasks for the current phase of renovation, and it will finally be time to move half of the equipment back where it belongs. I expect opening the center of the shop will increase speed and efficiency of second half of shop renovation. You should have seen me in ridiculous contortions moving large sheets of plywood and lumber through the corners and tight areas along the walls during the first half of renovation. That's done.

Planning next phase;

begin second phase of renovation - rear wall,

begin tear out/replace part of floor,

build new main forge, (by end of December 2021)

complete renovation of second half of shop,

build two new forges (for a total of 3 forges if space allows - spring of 2022).


2021 November shop renovation - new windows2021 November shop renovation workNovember 7th, 2021.  Shop renovation is continuing slowly and steadily, a partial re-opening planned for early winter sometime in December this year, and new additional forging stations will be completed and ready for work around late winter or early spring of 2022. New windows for more light and ventilation. New walls will be insulated to allow work during the coldest part of the winter. And during the hottest part of the summer, insulation will help reduce the amount of heat radiated through the roof into the shop by sunlight. New floor to replace some of the roughest and dirtiest/wettest areas. Fitting a new frame into an poorly built and old framed building is slow and tedious work, and this is why renovation is taking so long. More photos coming as renovation work begins speeding up.


Shop layout will be changed to allow multiple forges again, a total of three forges this time if space will allow. Part of this upgrade will include new two-horn anvils for each of the new forging stations. The first of the new two-horn anvils has already arrived. Photos lower right. Both of the new forging stations will have one of these anvils.


2021 shop upgrade - new anvil2021 shop upgrade - new anvilAfter shop renovation is finished, I will again offer hands-on workshops and seminars tentatively planned to begin in spring of 2022. Seminars will include tongs making (flats, bolts, hollow bits, etc.), forging animals and flowers, and ornamental work. These seminars and workshops will be starting at a time when we might very well be seeing a large die-off of the sheeple that took the dangerous fake 'vaccines'. Workshops and seminars will go on no matter what is happening to the sheeple and their scamdemic. There will be NO face diapers, NO satanic distancing, NO covidiots, and NO asinine 'vaccine' mandate garbage. Period. Do not take the fake 'vaccines'. Purebloods will be given priority on all upcoming seminars and workshops.

Dragon forger is coming. Be ready.




Pinterest search "blacksmith leg vise"Image Search for "Blacksmith leg vise"April 23, 2020.  NOTE:    I DO NOT post any items for sale on the Pinterest website!!!  If one of my tools or machines is shown as "for sale" on the Pinterest website -BE WARNED - I did not post that offer on Pinterest.  All tools and machines I offer for sale are posted here on my website (Beautiful Iron) and will be found at this page:  

Re-Update. September 27, 2021.  I have reconsidered my previous post and have edited this page accordingly.

Recently a visitor wrote me to inquire about a blacksmith leg vise for sale. He found a photo of one of my blacksmith vises on the Pinterest website along with the comment "Blacksmith leg vise. I have one For Sale, for the price of $100.00". The problem is - I was not offering any vises for sale at that time. And I have never posted any offers to sell anything at Pinterest.

See photos (near right) showing my leg vise and text that reads;  "Blacksmith leg vise. I have one For Sal...".

I clicked on the link and it took me to the Pinterest image (picture at far right). Full text reads "Blacksmith leg vise. I have one For Sale, for the price of $100." It did look like I was the one offering this vise for sale. The link on the Pinterest page takes visitors back to my website. But I never offered this vise for sale - this is one of the most-used tools in my shop.

Maybe the person that posted my photos was making legitimate sale offer of a vise they had, and maybe they had no photos of their vise, and simply found one of my photos and used my vise photos as an example of what they were offering for sale.


Image search for "blacksmith post vise"Original comment for my photo at "blacksmith post vise"About Pinterest postings. Pinterest is best viewed on a real computer screen. Cell phone users will get a more stripped down or abreviated version of Pinterest content and this can cause confusion if the viewer is looking for more information about a specific posting. Put the cell phone down and use a real computer.

I like Pinterest. They have some great photos of work created by some great artists. Pinterest credits the original photo sources by posting links back to the website where the photo was taken. This keeps the owners of the original photos happy. But at the same time, this can cause confusion or expectation that the owner of the photos is the same person posting them at Pinterest along with whatever offer appears at the Pinterest photo website. Again, I don't make sales offeres there. If anyone wants to see what tools or equipment I might have for sale, then see my Blacksmith Tools For Sales Page. the page is linked at the bottom of this article.