Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here! Before you read any further, please watch this first. Done? Awesome. You’ll need something to get your steel hot (a forge), something to hit your steel with (a hammer), and something to hit your steel against (an anvil). Check out our equipment recommendations for some specifics.
We don’t recommend using either railroad track or I-beam as anvil substitutes. The reasons for this are twofold; both are very noisy, and neither offers very good rebound, meaning you will have to put more effort into each hammer blow. Check out our anvil recommendations for some better alternatives.
Neither is “better” for all applications; both have their uses, and many smiths run both gas and solid fuel. A more relevant question might be which one is better suited to your needs. Propane is more widely available than coal, but it can get expensive. If solid fuel is accessible in your area, it can be a much less expensive alternative; that said, solid fuel forges must either be run outdoors or in a shop with a chimney and hood. Gas forges can be run inside a garage or workshop with proper ventilation. Gas forges are also better suited to smaller projects, which can easily get “lost” in a solid fuel forge.

Of necessity, forge linings must be able to withstand extremely high temperatures. Because of this constraint, things like cinderblocks, most kinds of masonry brick, stone, and plaster are all poor choices for forge linings.

Instead, line your forge with refractory brick rated to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Alternatively, use a rigidized ceramic wool blanket coated with castable refractory. Check out some tried-and-true forge builds for inspiration.