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  1. If you're smelling the stuff they put in propane then you need to check all your connections/fittings/valves for leaks. If everything is sealed up tight you should not notice the smell when the forge is running - at least that's been my experience. Even with fairly rich mixtures I've not noticed the smell with a leak free setup. If you have checked everything and have no leaks you may have a more sensitive sniffer than I have. To put it another way, maybe I don't smell as good as you do.
  2. You make a good point, but with a lot of beginners I suspect 1095 is more like 1084 by time they get to heat treating. All those extra heats will gradually decrease the carbon content of the steel.
  3. Looking forward to your results. A tamping tool may be helpful to get the refractory where you want it, but vibrating the whole mold form before the refractory begins to set up should help give you the best results.
  4. I have yet to use a power hammer or a press for forging. From what I have gleaned from others that have, if you try to use those devices before you learn how hot steel moves you will just make mistakes faster and be less likely to be able to correct those mistakes due to the amount of metal that moves using those machines. Having said that, if you are dead set on combining those two pieces for an anvil then it's your time and materials so you can do whatever you would like. The best results would be from full penetration welds, but that's very time consuming to prepare for and then accomplish. If I had those plates and felt I must make one bigger piece of steel I would probably not take the time and effort to do full penetration welds. I'd probably first check with machine shops or other places I could possibly get a single bigger piece to avoid the time and cost of welding the two pieces together. If unsuccessful there then I'd do a full perimeter weld. If the both plates have matching holes I'd bolt them together using those holes and cut a decent channel between the two plates around the full perimeter and get to welding. I'd still use it on end, which with your updated dimensions would give you a 4x6 inch working surface with 19 inches of steel under the hammer. I'd probably hard face the intended main working surface if I already had the rods laying around, grind it flat and get to work. Combined those two pieces should come in around 130 pounds and that's not bad at all for starting out. If you are creative with your mounting you could use your anvil in more than one orientation and build in different features in different places. You have a total of 6 sides to work with and their corresponding edges. There's nothing wrong with modifying each and every one of them to be usable for you. However, you may need to get a little hammer time in before you know which features would serve you best.
  5. You may find this related topic interesting:
  6. If you haven't already done so, you may want to look through this topic: By my calculations each of your plates weighs nearly 75 pounds. On end that would give you a 2x8 inch working surface with a good amount of steel under your hammer with just one plate. Two inches doesn't sound very wide, and for some things it is desirable to have a little more real estate to work with, but my suggestion would be to mount a plate on end and use it for a little while. You can always weld them up later if the mood hits you. In the meantime you have a working anvil and can possibly make items that will finance the anvil of your dreams. As long as you work the metal hot, your mild steel work surface will be harder than the item you are hammering on. It will wear or deform faster than a hardened surface of course, but unless you miss a lot of hammer blows it will take a while to significantly affect that area. If you already have the hard surfacing rods you could even lay a couple layers down and see how you like the results. The point is if your goal is to get hammering on hot steel with a reasonably good anvil then you already have 2 of them that just need to be mounted securely at the right height for you.
  7. Forget about anything zinc plated. In general you can remove zinc by a soak in an acid bath like vinegar, but to make sure you get every little bit of zinc out of there would be difficult to ensure. As I'm sure you are aware, when zinc is heated to (before actually) forging temperatures it gives off toxic fumes. Prolonged exposure or even brief exposure if you have breathing issues can make you sick or even be fatal in the worst case. On top of that I believe that most protective coatings tend to inhibit good forge welds. Unless you are already experienced at forging knives I'd recommend getting some good uncoated mono-steel to work with before diving way into the deep end of the pool. 1095, 1084, 1070, 5160, and a few other alloys are good blade steels for starting out as they have reasonably wide forging ranges and are fairly forgiving in heat treatment. My advice is pick one alloy and work with it for a while before moving to another one. After you've successfully completed some fully functional knives that are heat treated well and can stand up to some heavy use/abuse then you might want to think about working with pattern welding (damascus to some people). Even then it would be advisable to practice forge welding a few billets for decorative or non-critical functions before trying to forge a knife. You don't want any delaminations or slag/flux inclusions in any item that is likely to see flexing or impact in a way that it will possibly injure the user or someone nearby if it fails. Regardless of whether you take any of the other advice, please forget about anything that has a zinc coating as a source for forging stock of any kind unless you can absolutely ensure you have removed all of the zinc coating - and don't burn or grind it off.
  8. I'm not convinced there is a direct, or at least easily to calculate, correlation. I just did the math on the NARB that I posted (page 6 in the NARB thread I think). The inlet pipe area comes out to 0.302 square inches for a 1/2" schedule 40 pipe. If I did my math correctly the sum of the combined areas for the 14 holes of 9/32" diameter is 0.870 square inches - nearly 3 times the total area. I had way more holes to begin with and plugged them off until I got a stable running burner which didn't backfire until really hot at low (2 psi or less) pressure. So, regardless of what the conventional wisdom may happen to be, what really matters is how the burner performs in your forge. For a naturally aspirated burner, the feed tube diameter is important with regards to getting a good fuel/air mixture. For a blown burner the feed tube doesn't have as much effect on the fuel/air ratio. My advice is start with a design known to work well and maybe extrapolate a little from there if that design isn't perfect for your needs.
  9. If you have the time and inclination, I would be interested in the combination of performance/fuel efficiency with and without your device in place. If you end up with a hotter forge with less fuel burned it may be worth the effort. If the difference is negligible or non-existent then it's probably not worth the time and effort to create such a device.
  10. matrixiam, it may not be your intention, but a lot of this comes across as someone who is asking a question for the sole purpose of demonstrating that they have superior knowledge/understanding of the topic. We get that from time to time, so the guys who have been around for a while tend to be a little guarded when things seem to be going that way. In general we are DIY types of folks and we try to keep most of the construction materials and methods to something that people are likely to already have or can easily obtain. If something requires a high level of technical expertise or specialized tooling to produce we are probably going to recommend purchasing such an item from someone who specializes in that area. On the other hand we are always looking for new and easy ways to improve our understanding and our DIY projects. If you come up with a way to improve the air/fuel mixing on a blown burner which can be made with tools, materials, and skills that are common we are definitely interested in whatever you come up with. Discussing conflicting information in a civil manner is not attacking. Just like you are asking questions and doing research to further your understanding, the people here whose understanding or information is different than what you provide will also ask questions about what you presented to further their own understanding and make sure whatever is on the site is accurate. It's just peer review.
  11. Aldo has been out of 15N20 for a while now. Not sure when it will be back in stock.
  12. Hot glue sticks are both solid and flexible. However, if you want to have them aimed a certain way then you'll need a block at both ends to hold them in place while the casting material cures. IIRC the sticks I used had an actual diameter of 9/32". I'm not sure how that compares to crayon diameter.
  13. There's a brief discussion relating to your question on this thread - partway through. I think Ted Ewert posted a picture somewhere of a device he created to get good mixture for a blown burner, but I could not find it in my brief search.
  14. I got a little tinker time in today. I used half a IFB and then cut that down by about an inch, which gave me a depth of about 3.5 inches for the burner block. Using a piece of a computer case where there were vent holes for a template I drilled 1/8 inch holes in the IFB. I believe I ended up with 68 usable holes in the 2.5 by 4.5 inch burner face. A few holes were a little too close to the edge, so I filled them in with refractory cement. Then I built a plenum from an old washer door - around 16 gauge I think. The plenum is 3.5 inches deep and the brick is inserted about half an inch in and then sealed with refractory cement. I fed the burner with the same T burner setup I used in my previous NARB (3/4" schedule 80 pipe and .023 mig tip). For the open air test burn I had quite a bit of flame lift under 5 psi, so I could probably use more holes, but I'd have to go longer since more holes would weaken the IFB too much I fear. Once in the forge the flame lift was minimal while the forge was cool and of course there was none once the forge was up to temperature. I ran it up to high yellow, nearly white heat for about 20 minutes or so and then turned it down. I was able to turn it down to the point where no pressure was showing on the regulator and no backfires at all. There were a couple interesting observations. Like Dan's forge, mine "sang" to me when I started it up. The sound was somewhat similar to the noise you get from blowing across the opening of a bottle. It changed with pressure from the regulator and how much the front opening was blocked off. After the forge was up to temperature the noise went away. In general though, this thing is really quiet. My previous NARB was loud by comparison. The only thing that is louder is the bang when I shut off the fuel. That was significantly louder than I was used to. The plenum stayed cool the entire time the burner was running and was still cool a few minutes after shutdown when I checked it, but that's not too surprising since my burner is floor mounted and facing up. I don't expect the IFB burner block to last long. This was basically a proof of concept exercise for me. I may get some of those Morgan K26 bricks to see if it's a viable option. Personally I'd rather drill holes than cast a burner if I can get good results.
  15. 70 psi on the regulator?!?!? That would certainly explain the excessive dragon's breath! Not all burners behave the same way, but most of the NA propane burners I've used or seen tend to operate between about 5 psi and 30 psi in the forge.