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what size brake drum to use?

brake drum forge building a forge

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#1 Mike R

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:08 PM

Hello

My son and I are just starting on this for a hobby. We are going to build a forge and have been looking for tools at second hand sales and such.

The question is what size brake drum to use for the forge. I have read what I could find and looked at the posts on hear but I havn't seen any discussion on the advantages of different sized drums.

We have an option to use a truck drum that is about 16 inches across and 8 inches deep. It seems to me that bigger gives more options but is it going to waste a lot of fuel? Can I just build a small fire in the bottom or do I have to fill it up to make it work properly?

I am figuring on using coal of charcoal I suppose. I really havn't had a chance to research cost and efficianies and such. Any info on where to aquire fuel in the central oregon area would be appricated.

I want to get the forge built in the next week so any input on size is appreciated.


Thanks
Mike

#2 Glenn

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:29 PM

Before you build anything, locate a source for fuel. Once you have fuel you can then build a forge to utilize that type fuel.

Most any brake drum will do for the first forge as you want to build a fire and get started. Just build a stand that is strong enough to support the drum you choose. You DO NOT want the brake drum from a 18 wheeled semi, or bus, as it is too large. The drum is only a container to hold the fire and provide a little more depth to the fire. You want to set the drum in a piece of plate so you can build the fire above the edges of the drum, and to hold some reserve fuel to bring into the fire as needed.

Search the site for the now famous 55 Forge, Blueprint 0133. Or cut the bottom 4-6 inches off a 55 gallon drum. Simply pay a 1 inch pipe horizontally about 3 inches above the bottom of the lid and build a fire. Blow air through the pipe for a fast and easy side blast forge. You can do the same thing on a flat metal plate and build the side walls from brick.

I have one forge that is no more than 4 inches in diameter and maybe 3-4 inches deep set into a piece of plate. The thing is wonderful for heating ends and middles (for twists) and will run on a couple of double hands full of coal. I have another forge that is 13-1/2 inches diameter and about 3-4 inches deep that takes 2-3 gallons of coal to get started.

No one ever said you had to build a perfect forge the first time. You just need A FORGE to get started. As you play in the fire you will learn how the fire works. It will also give you time to read and research different styles and shapes of forges and then decide what you want your second forge to look like. And once you have two, you will most likely want another style for forge #3. (grin)

If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.


#3 Old N Rusty

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:31 PM

I would line that brake drum with a sand + cement mix - 3 parts sand - one part PORTLAND cement (not concrete) mix water in so it is just moist and will mold into a bowl shape. Lining it so insulates the fire from the massive heat sink of all that steel and reduces the amount of fuel you will need . I assume you will have a grate fire for a starter forge , it is easier than any other kind. a cast iron drain cover with holes works well ( plumbing supply) What kind of blower do you plan on using?

#4 Mike R

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:32 PM

do charcoal and coal take a different forge design? I thought a fire pot was a fire pot.

#5 Mike R

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:36 PM

Lining sound like it mite me a good idea. I am just going to drill some holes in a piece of steel plate like I saw on one of the posts for a grate. I will be using some type of electric fan for now. I have a couple of small fans or I may use a hair dryer.
What do you mean by a grate fire?


#6 Elemental Ironworks

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 10:28 PM

If yoy are going to use charcoal you need a deeper fire. I have a brake drum forge and was not real happy with it burning charcoal, it worked but not as well as I thought it should. I cut 2 pieces of 3" angle iron to fit in the drum and put bricks on top of them to give me a deeper fire and it works much better. I now have a fire about 4" wide. 8" long and 8" deep.
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#7 Glenn

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 10:56 PM

If you looked at the 55 Forge, Blueprint 0133 (click here) you would have seen the grate suggested for that type forge. Unless you are going to drill A LOT of holes, I would suggest you rethink your design. If a small amount of air reaches the fire due to a small number of holes, or holes that are small in size, you can only produce a small fire. You want all the air possible to get to the fire. You then control the air flow to control the heat of the fire.

If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.


#8 Mike R

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:56 PM

I quite using search and just went thru the posts and I found a lot of information I missed. It seems the drum I have may be a little deep however lining was suggested as it saves fuel. It seems I mite be ahead to use the larg drum and line it to the size I need (still not exactly shure what that size should be)? I saw some info about clinkers sticking and makeing the fire deeper to stop this. I will need to look at fuel type available to determine the size to make it is what I got from all this.

Glenn, I saw a lot of different grates from the bar accross the hole to floor drains and the drilled plate I saw on a post hear. I just saw a post about aiming the air to the center of the pot with a triangle grate to control the heat and size of the fire. I did look at the 55 forge also, thank you.

#9 Marksnagel

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:35 PM

Y'all know I had to put in my two cents worth.

http://www.iforgeiro...-forge-rebuild/

The diameter of my brake drum is 12 inches.

Mark <><
His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of a mans work. -- Paul the apostle.





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