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A forge is a hearth used for forging. The term "forge" can also refer to the workplace of a smith or a blacksmith, although the term smithy is then more commonly used.

The basic smithy contains a forge, also known as a hearth, for heating metals. The forge heats the workpiece to a malleable temperature (a temperature where the metal becomes easier to shape) or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs. The workpiece is transported to and from the forge using tongs. The tongs are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy's anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Finally the workpiece is transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water. The slack tub also provides water to control the fire in the forge.


Types of forges

Coal/coke/charcoal forge

A forge typically uses bituminous coal, industrial coke or charcoal as the fuel to heat metal. The designs of these forges have varied over time, but whether the fuel is coal, coke or charcoal the basic design has remained the same.

A forge of this type is essentially a hearth or fireplace designed to allow a fire to be controlled such that metal introduced to the fire may be brought to a malleable state or to bring about other metallurgical effects (hardening, annealing, and drawing temper as examples). The forge fire in this type of forge is controlled in three ways: amount of air, volume of fuel, and shape of the fuel/fire.

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