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  1. Damascus - Prep

    My prep is quite similar. Usually 60 grit ceramic belt to get a fresh steel surface. IMO ceramic belts leave very little residue on the steel, but I wipe each one before stacking just in case. JPH posted a tip somewhere that leaving grinding lines at roughly a 45 degree angle on the surface(s) to be welded helps pull flux in with capillary action so I do that as well. If there will be any significant delay between stacking and heating I hit the stack with WD-40 to help keep oxygen from the weld surfaces. It burns off cleanly in the forge and does not appear to impede welding at all. I normally use rebar for the handle. For some reason to me it doesn't seem like the heat travels as far or fast up the handle when I use rebar compared to straight round stock. I usually only weld the stack on the handle end though. For thin pieces you can get some buckling in the outer layers of the stack while it's heating up if you tack both ends. Some people tie the other end with wire instead. I've had good success without doing that, but I'm usually welding 1/8" or thicker pieces together. As long as you have clean and un-oxidized mating surfaces, with the correct temperature and a little coaxing from the hammer your success rate should be high.
  2. My first projects

    Agreed. Take a little time to read through some of the pinned topics in the gas forge section. There are some that deal specifically with the burner to forge volume issue. Without knowing the dimensions and insulating materials of you new forge I can't recommend the burner(s) size, but I can guess that the torch will no longer be sufficient for your needs. The Forges 101 and Burners 101 topics are very active and contain answers to almost any question you can imagine regarding the construction of forges and burners. However, they are a bit lengthy so you need to grab a comfy chair, some snacks, and a cold beverage when you have a few hours to invest in learning the details.
  3. Is plaster of Paris mixed with sand a good liner for a forge?

    You made Damascus blades from mild steel? The point is mild steel has a higher forge welding temperature than high carbon steel. Regardless, if you are able to forge weld high carbon steel with it you are getting pretty darn hot. However, the fact that the plaster of paris DIY "refractory" is a heat sink compared to commercial refractory and ceramic fiber blanket still remains. If/when you change your lining or build a new forge with more appropriate materials you will most likely notice a difference in fuel consumption. Is that 1400 degrees C or F? If you like how everything is working then more power to you, but it's almost a certainty that you are burning significantly more fuel than you would be with the recommended materials. If you do a fair amount of forging then the cost of the extra propane will probably exceed the savings of using plaster of paris in a short period of time even if it holds up well and doesn't fail in a way that injures you or anyone else.
  4. Heat Treating Railroad Anvil

    Just a minor point here. I haven't ever messed with trying to harden a piece of rail, but does anyone know if it would even contain enough carbon to pass the file test with a successful quench for maximum hardness?
  5. Naturally Aspirated Ribbon Burner. Photo heavy.

    Thanks Frosty. Your advice and insights have been invaluable in getting me this far on the project.
  6. Naturally Aspirated Ribbon Burner. Photo heavy.

    At fairly low pressure I get some flame lift outside the forge, but it does not blow the flames out. When I mounted mine in the forge it definitely made a difference. Before you mount it in the forge make sure all your holes are clean the full length of the block. If it blows the flames off in the forge with the holes all clear then you don't have enough holes. If it backfires a lot at medium to high pressure then you have too many holes.
  7. In general, yes. If you were going with side blast then for sure it's just in the way. If you want to supply air from the bottom it changes things a little. The drum you have is still way bigger than you need for a fire pot, and as Charles pointed out you will have a hard time getting your stock in the right part of the fire with the current drum location. A smaller drum, or better yet, a brake rotor will provide a more reasonably sized fire pot. However, you will still need to raise the fire pot up close to level with the top edge of the grill in order to make it reasonable to work with. That could be accomplished by using fill material of course, but you still have to attach your air supply/ash dump piping to the pot, which usually means bolting on an adapter plate of some kind. Getting good welds to drums or rotors is usually beyond the capabilities of hobby weldors with cheap welders. If you go with a side blast all you have to do is create one hole in the side to introduce your air supply, fill your grill, and shape the bowl. If you don't like it then you just remove the dirt/clay and try again.
  8. Kast o lite layering or joints

    The main purpose of the Kastolite is to provide a durable shell inside the forge to protect the insulation, mostly from mechanical damage as you move pieces in and out of the forge. It only needs to be able to support its own weight when hot rather than have significant load bearing properties. The point is even if you do not get a good bond to the layer you already cast it's not a big deal. As long as it covers the insulation layer you're fine. A lot of us make 2 piece forges with a cast floor and then a shell that sits on top of it, so there's no bonding at all between the pieces of the forge.
  9. Forge burner

    Been there, done that. Bad idea. You can make it work if you put your mind to it, but there are MUCH better options out there. Grab some snacks and a cold beverage and spend some time in the solid fuel forge section to get some good ideas. What JHCC posted above is probably the simplest, least expensive yet effective way to get up and running.
  10. Forge burner

    It's a little hard to tell from that picture, but the burner appears to be made of cast iron or steel. If so, it will not last long at forge temperatures. Based on what appears to be a handsaw handle I'd also say it's very large compared to what we normally recommend for a first forge. You can build your own ribbon burner out of materials that will last significantly longer and be a more suitable size for a small forge for about the same money. Personally, I'd pass on it.
  11. Absolutely. What I was referring to was once it's going.
  12. Another thing is bid quickly and with confidence right up to your cutoff point. If you look like you're trying to decide about going higher that encourages other bidders to stay in just a bit longer to see if they can outbid you. If it appears you are nowhere near your limit some people will give up when they get close to their own. On the off chance you run into someone who is just staying with you to run the price up on an item they don't really want they will stop after getting stuck a couple times when you suddenly quit bidding.
  13. Tuning a TEE burner

    Pictures of the flame burning inside the forge would give us more information to work with. Some of the refractories, like Kastolite, tend to change the flame color to decidedly orange for several forging sessions. From what I can see it looks like you are getting quite close to where you want to be though. Keep in mind that in these pictures you have extra space around the burner as it enters the forge. This can allow additional air to be pulled into the forge. You may have to do some final tuning after installing your burner mount, especially if you eliminate that extra space. The bottom line is if it does what you want it to do and how you want it done then it's good, or very close to it.
  14. Any tips?

    "Soak" in this context refers to time spent at temperature. In this case it is the amount of time spent at, or just above, critical temperature before quenching.
  15. It would require little to no extra money to convert what you have to a JABOD style forge, assuming the legs and wheels on the grill can handle the weight.