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I Forge Iron

Charles R. Stevens

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About Charles R. Stevens

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    Apprentice Curmudgeon

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  • Location
    Bradley Oklahoma
  • Interests
    Horses, horse drawn equipment, and blacksmithing.


  • Location
    Bradley, Oklahoma
  • Biography
    J.O.T., father, son and freind
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  1. Classic adobe mixes work, say 30% clay to 50% or more sand. A bit of wood ash will help stabilize the mix but yes, keeping it covered is your best bet. Wet soil isn’t heir the issue of wet brick. When you go to actually build the forge you have options with an adobe mix and that is it can be tamed in a box, made into bricks or formed into cobs. The later two eliminate the need for a box but don’t like being left in the rain so much (rain and ash kill steel and iron forges as well)
  2. You only need just over red heat for heat treating (the temp that table salt melts) is all you need for heat treating steels. So even a less efficient set up can work for heat treating while we need the most efficiency for forging and welding. The truth is a pile of bricks, and a piece of perforated pipe stacked in the corner until you need to set up a 36” trench out in the garden to heat treat that great sword. Works.
  3. Interesting, I had always thought about putting a vice on the other end, against the flange. Nice.
  4. I get that, but at my end of the internet I think your stuck on a big forge that can be made into a little one, and I am recommending a small one that can be made big if need be. I just think you’ll find it more efficient in the long run.
  5. Plan of forge welding an edge or a bit into it if your making a tool.
  6. The problem is that you end up with a bottom blast and charcoal isn’t so efferent in that configuration. I have built and used willox and lively style forges and tho they work well this is a reason why the Asians , Africans, romans, and northern eropoens used small side blast forges with charcoal. Now sometimes they build brick furnaces over the top for special operations. Bull but hey your plan, your forge. I was just hoping you would learn from my mistakes and go forth and make new and inventIve ones. Now if you make a long trench with the tuyere at the end, you could then have a pipe that you layed in the trench for long fires, and a bricks to fill it in when you didn’t have the long tuyere in place...
  7. Unless you have a way to put the trench and the tuyere your going to hate that fuel hog, unless you build it as a two part unit. You will only use 4x8” of it 90% of the time or better. Even doing heat treating you won’t need a long trench most of the time. Let me a schetch a blue print up real fast.
  8. If your using charcoal, it really only likes one tuyere size and that is 3/4-1” I’d. Thus 1” square bare or smaller and a 6” heat. To go bigger takes multiple tuyere. 3 thralls pumping bellows will get you up into the 3” and 9” fire range. Believe me 1 1/4 by hand sucks. I have made splitting wedges from sway a way hitch stabilizer bars with a 4# hammer with a 7/8id tuyere (3/4” schedule 40 pipe) and charcoal. Hot cut those SOBs as well. 1” is plenty big for most of us, but with a side-blast you can always modify it to make a bigger or specialized fire.
  9. It’s a brick base with an aproximently 30x60” expanded metal hearth (table top) and a commercial bottom blast pot. Main gala away is 90% or more of the time he is forging in the fire pot. But he has a manifold made up of pipe that drops in to slow him to build a fire on the hearth instead of in the pot. If you build a 4x8” trench as I suggest, with with one permanent wall and one removable wall to hold the fuel that is piled above the table you can take a piece of pipe the length of your hearth, two elbows and a pipe Nipple and make up a manifold to aloe you to make an 18” long fire for heat treating. Drill 3/8” or so holes in the pipe in a row and on the same plane, assemble so that one elbow meats the side blast tuyere, then use dirt, brick or steel to make a long trench about 4” wide on top of your hearth. A bit of mud will seal the tuyere to the elbow. If you fit a slug or pair of disks to a rod that fits inside the pipe you now can adjust the length as described buy TP. You don’t need welding heat for heat treating so this can be simple. Note the regular fire pot can heat treat a longish knife any way, say 10” blade if you move the blade back and forth. Frankly a 6” blade for most knives is long, 2-4” being enough for most tasks slicing steaks and chopping jungle undergrowth need something longer. You don’t have to heat the tang when you harden as you will just have to anneal it later anyway.
  10. A drum in that orientation will work, but My experience says to change a few things. First trim down your top cut off so that the side draft hood section is 12” long. You can then fit a 10” flue pipe wile having a 22” square hearth. for the forge bowl, charcoal likes a small fire and tuyere. Stay with the small single opening in the 3/4-1” ID range. Historacle evidence indicates a 6” heat zone, so an 8” fire bowl works best, and fore efficiency typically a 4” wide trench. Most smiths prefer to work from the side, so you can stick long bars threw the fire and out the other side. if you chose the right fill and an over sized feed for the tuyere you can then reconfigure your fire bowl to accommodate a longer fire with a multiple fire hole fire for heat treating long tools and working long scrolls. Also, eliminate the cut in the front, and fill to the top with fill, you can’t bank charcoal and even a 1/2” lip will keep it on the table. If not you end up with the whole hearth ablaze. We have all gone over bored in the beginning An example of changing the configuration is Steve Sell’s set up, he has a bottom blast with a classic hearth, so to heat treat swords he inserts a pipe with a 90d bend and holes down its length he piles coal on the table and away he goes. Like all mortals he forges swords 6” at a time. Try combining Steve’s set up and TP’s your off and running. Oh, and table furniture is a good idea, hard fire brick woks, as dose simple adobe, but pieces of 4” angle works best.
  11. We all get in a rush. We end up scaling the outside or even burning it trying to heat the steel to fast. You weld tool steel at yellow, and other steels can be welded cooler than you think. Clean, flat, heat and pressure are what makes forge welds. As Tap is fond of pointing out, NASA had problems with parts desire welding in space. So that was perfectly clean, perfectly mated and under pressure (bolted or riveted) but not glowing hot... so their is hope for us mere mortals. Get is as clean as you can, as well matched as you can (forging slightly curved surfaces together matches them) and just hot enough with just the right pressure.
  12. My trick is to slowly heat it up to just bellow the scale point. Flux it and then heat it up to welding temp. Think of it as roasting the perfect marshmallow. You know the one, the toasty tan one that is so gooey in the middle it falls of the stick.
  13. It has been done a few times... sorry, I had a dad moment. As charcoal was the original forge fuel, and forge welding was how money bars were made. Faggot welded to make larger stock I believe the answer is yes. For at least 2,000 years anyway. .
  14. I think that the air actually dwells longer in the bottom of the forge, as it changes direction due to the heating of the air. as ash is an only once a day issue I wouldn’t bother with the clinker breaker/ash dump. Remember that the historical iron work clearly shows a 6” working heat, to say heat treat a sword or bend a large scroll on would build a a multi tuyere trench forge.
  15. Ash isn’t a problem during operation, especially with pine. It just blows away, but using hard wood it really fills up when you shut down and let the coals go out on their own. I guess a slit down the middle with a bar on one side of a round to act as a floor would work, just make it a 8” triangle so you can clip the corner to maintain depth. But honestly you can either crank up the air and blow out the ash or just kleen it out once when you start a new fire (I sift out the charcoal) and away we go. Now coal is going to need more ash management but it still won’t be much more than once at the beginning of a session.
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