Build Your Own Metalworking Shop From Scratch: Book Review


Book Review: Build Your Own Metalworking Shop from Scrap: Series Set
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Mr. Gingery is a legend. He made a living solving $500 problems with $50 solutions. You can only do that with skill and thought.

He created this set of books that allow someone to build your own metalworking shop using only hand tools. Each book covers a specific machine tool – it has detailed construction diagrams, and step by step instructions.

Each tool is used to create the next tool in line. First you build a small aluminum foundry and learn to cast metal, you use that to build a metal lathe. Which metal castings and a lathe, you can build a metal shaper that allow you to build a milling machine….

The education is priceless, the equipment is functional. The books are cheap. if you are a prepper, and worried about when SHTF, then you owe it to yourself to throw this set on your shelf – with this set and some gumption you can recreate the industrial revolution.
Buy it.

I have only finished the first book, but my foundry was very easy to build following David Gingery’s simple instructions.  I am very excited about following his other books – especially the lathe building book.

Following the Build Your Own Metalworking Shop from Scrap series is my plan for retirement, I want to do every project and build my own shop

How to Make a Simple One Brick Forge

How to Make a Simple One Brick Forge


How to Make a Simple One Brick Forge
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I built this one brick forge because lately I have been involved some with metal working (most noteworthy was my homemade Rabbit Wringer).  As a metalworker, I need work.  However, I still have both eyes and I haven’t burned anything down so I am happy with my results.

I started my needing to make some tools for my new foundry, and decided to “blacksmith” some from some bar steel I bought. My propane torch was used to heat everything up, but that was slow going and not very satisfactory.

Luckily I remembered a book I bought a few years ago –  Wayne Goddard’s $50 Knife Shop, Revised. In this book Mr. Goddard gives some advice to beginning knife makers on both the basics of metalwork, knifemaking, and shop tools. (IMHO this book is worth buying for the shop advice even if you never want to make a knife.) There is a chapter on how to make a small and very inexpensive forge for heating, tempering, or annealing small bits of metal. Of course I had to make one.

The basis of the forge is a single soft firebrick.

I found one at the local ceramic supply store for $5.00. Soft firebrick is very light and crumbly – almost like an airy Styrofoam, that is what makes it perfect for this use.

All you need to do is to take an old 1 inch spade bit and drill out the center of the brick along its longest axis. Next turn the brick on its side and drill a hole halfway through the brick until you meet the hole you just drilled.

If you take a mapgas or propane torch and place it just outside the hole in the side of the brick and allow the flames to lap around the inside of the brick the center of the forge will get very hot. It will heat any metal placed inside the long drilled out hole to cherry red in just a few minutes.

The only problem being is that the porous structure of the brick tends to hold moisture and if you get it hot very quickly it can crack. In his book, Mr. Goddard suggests wrapping iron wire around the brick to hold it in place even if it cracks. I went a little overboard since I just got my welder. I welded up an angle iron box, inserted the brick, and then welded it shut. It was the first thing I welded that actually looked like a decent weld.

This forge works great for small pieces and I have used it a lot with no problems. It’s a great piece of equipment to have in your shop.

The Blacksmith’s Craft

The Blacksmith’s Craft contains everything you need to know to make and repair your own metal tools, household items, hardware, or farm equipment.

It is full of simple and clear instructions, supplemented by step-by-step photography, and shows how to build a forge, make or acquire tools, and use those tools to create items of lasting beauty and durability.

In my opinion the ability to shape metal is what caused Humans to grow into societies and develop technology.  Blacksmiths have, for centuries, been the cornerstone of society.

While blacksmiths is no longer an essential function in a modern town, someone with the metal working skill to make and repair metal objects is still vital to the operation of industry in said town.

I find The Blacksmith’s Craft to be one of the better beginning blacksmith books, and I have learned a lot from it.  Between it and The Complete Modern Blacksmith, most beginner smiths can have a good start

While I think Weyger’s Complete Modern Blacksmith is more useful as a single book (which is unfair as it is actually three books combined) – I did get a lot of useful information from the Blacksmith’s Craft.

As a prepper, I think having books on essential skills is vital.  You won’t have the internet after a collapse.  As a guy though, I  think blacksmithing is awesome.  I suck at it, but I do love beating on hot metal and bending it to my will.