I won't re-iterate the previous good reviews on this book. However, there's one review in which the author mentions the cupola furnace is "small". A furnace that melts upwards of 600 pounds of grey iron per hour is nothing to sneeze at. And, the furnace can provide approximately 200 lbs of iron per tap. That's more than one man can handle. Besides, he gives you all the information necessary to build whatever size you want! As for the requirement of welding equipment, lathe, etc. - if you don't own or have access to this equipment and the knowledge to use it correctly, you shouldn't be attempting to build anything of this sort to begin with. This is an excellent book written by someone with the practical knowledge that uses the furnace the way an above average machinist/mechainc/repairman would. This book will give an individual an opportunity to make him/herself an excellent living.