I connected the blow side of my shop vac to the forge and checked that that worked.
Even if it's a rubbish forge at least I'll have a ping pong ball levitator...
We'd given a lift to the workshop to some of my OH's friends who were visiting the pottery a couple of units down. They brought some coal with them which I used to build a small fire on the grid of the forge. It took a while to get burning (and a shed load of BBQ fluid) but eventually it lit, switching the shop-vac on made the coals glow nicely...
And allowed me to heat some bar up to red hot.
At this point I was a bit limited by the lack of a suitable anvil, even red hot the breeze block gave way before the rod but I did manage to bend it.
Here is a shot of me being all blacksmithy..
As a proof of concept I think it worked pretty good, but I think there were problems with the choice of fuel. The donated coal was smokeless which I think may have contributed to it being hard to light. I've got some charcoal lying about the place somewhere so I'll try with that at some point.