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I Forge Iron


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  1. Thank you for the advice. Averaging the opinions from this thread, I think I'll be searching out some hickory trees, and some 1045 steel. I'll post my results when I'm done. Hopefully. ;)
  2. I do have an enormous mulberry tree hanging over my deck. Might try a handle out of that, just because I won't even have to put on shoes to get it... ;) I will locate some hickory; 3 out of 4 replies mention it, it seems to be a good consensus. As for the steel, I imagine that the typical hot-rolled stuff probably won't be that good then, if I'm wanting a slightly higher carbon-content?
  3. Hello! So many beautiful axes in this thread, I feel completely humbled by all of the artistry. I am working towards making my first axe. I still have to make my drifts before I can do it, but hopefully soon after that I'll be starting. I had a couple of simple questions though; at least, hopefully simple questions. One, how many sizes of drift do you think I need? I have a slit punch that I made, but I am curious if I should do a 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch drift, or if just a 3/4 and a 1 inch will do the job? Wouldn't be difficult to make the extra one, but I'm just curious what the experts think. I am leaning towards making square drifts for my first ones; seems like it will be easier to carve a square handle than a round one. Two, what type of wood do you prefer for your handles? I have 20-some wooded acres, so I imagine I have access to just about any kind of tree that grows in Southern Indiana, and I would like to source the handle material from something locally here on my property, and carve the handle myself. Even if it does wind up far more "rustic" than intended. :) Three, starting material. For ease of use, I thought that I might just pick up a 4" piece of 1x1 steel at the local warehouse. Rather than trying to forge my first hawk out of scrap that may require more work, (and skill,) I thought I might start with something simple and then move on to making them out of other things. I don't want to over-complicate my first one. I appreciate in advance any responses to this question, and I hope that I am not over-reaching with a project of this size at my current level of experience, (or lack thereof.)
  4. With 34 acres, I can hide my clay mine VERY well. ;) As for the original topic of this thread, I have also talked it over with a local smith, (in addition to you fine gentlemen,) and he is going to give me a hand putting in the chimney later this summer, before it gets cold. Otherwise, I am just practicing away. Maybe one day I'll make something pretty enough to take a picture of. ;) Thank you all for your help.
  5. Got it. High-quality Grade-A backyard mud. From only the finest of backyards. ;)
  6. I'd like something hard enough to let me move coal around on it with the scraper, so I can manage my fire better. So I think the ash is probably out. Any kind of mud in particular, or just muddy mud?
  7. Ok. Thank you all for the advice. I think I'm going to go with the 12" galvanized then, when I go to install this permanently in my shop. For now though, I will continue to drag it outside when I want to use it. The chimney can come in a few months, before winter hits. And I may leave the opening this size for now, rather than enlarging it. My next quest is a cheap source of refractory; the brake rotor being used as a firepot sits about half an inch up above the top of the drum, and I would like to line the rest of the drum with enough refractory to level it out with that, and give me a bigger working surface. Going to be researching DIY solutions for that later today. Thanks all for the help. :)
  8. Well, where I was pricing it earlier, I could get 12" black stove pipe for something over a dollar an INCH, in 20 or 24 inch sections. Whereas galvanized 12" pipe was about $16 for 5 feet. Big cost difference, around here anyway. Perhaps I'll order a piece of black stove pipe for the first few feet, and then run the rest with galvanized. Once I'm more than a couple of feet up above the forge, it should be cool enough to not burn the galvanized. Do you think? Now for the life of me I cannot find where I found that price on the black stuff. Only thing I can find now is more than twice as expensive as the already exorbitant price I quoted a minute ago...reading up more on the details of zinc fumes though, it looks like they aren't given off until the galvanized piece reaches a pretty high level of heat, normally only achieved by welding or similar activities. If that is true, then using some of it in a well ventilated area 4 or 5 feet above the fire should be ok, at least until the building catches fire. At that point though, I'm leaving anyway, zinc or no zinc. My only other question is to where I should vent this thing out of. My shop already has a hole high up on one wall, where a six-inch pipe went out. Could I use an angle or two to be able to utilize the existing hole, (although I will have to enlarge it,) or will I have to punch a hole in my roof as well? And how would you recommend I seal said hole if I'm putting it on the roof of my metal-roofed building? Some sort of caulking material or something? Thanks so much for all the help. :)
  9. Here is a picture of the forge. I plan on widening the bottom of the opening in that upper barrel, so that I have better access to the fire from a wider angle. Do you think that will negatively effect the drafting abilities of the "hood," or will the 12" stovepipe pretty much take care of the draft easily enough when attached to the top of the drum? Something similar to this, but probably not quite as far back. I will need more material than that around the bottom of the top barrel for structural reasons, as the top barrel is just resting on the bottom one, and I don't own a welder to permanently attach them. (Note: the picture below is not mine, just a random picture sources from Google.) Also, I will try to find something non-galvanized to use as the first foot or two of the stovepipe, and a larger piece to use as a double-wall where it comes into contact with the building. Alternatively, after reading around here for awhile, would it be easier to convert the bottom half of this forge to a side-draft? Expert and in-expert opinions welcome. :)
  10. Hey all! I recently built a forge, and am going to be moving it inside eventually. I originally planned on using the existing 6" stovepipe that I have in the barn, but based on my reading, that won't handle the smoke from my coal forge. So I started looking at 10 and 12 inch stove pipe. After recovering from the minor heart attack that the prices gave me, I started looking for alternatives. Would something like this work for a chimney? 12" galvanized ducting from Lowes, $16 per 60 inches. I currently have a 55 gallon drum acting as my hood, and it will have to pass through either the wall, (preferable, as there is already a hole there,) or ceiling of my shop to get outside. The shop is metal-sided, wood-studded, with foam-like insulation board between the metal and wood. What sort of insulation would I need where it passes through the wall? Additionally, would I need something OTHER than galvanized metal to sit right at the top of the forge? I don't want to gas myself out, obviously, from zinc fumes. Would the top of the upper drum get hot enough to cause that, and if so, what should I use to bridge the gap between the drum and the stovepipe. Thanks for all the answers!
  11. My first forge...brake-rotor forge set into the top of a drum. 2" black iron pipe and floor flange for air and ash cleanout, (cap on the bottom piece.) Another drum on top to act as a hood. Air supply is a $10 hair dryer, which is working like a charm. Anvil is a piece of rail road track on a "custom built" scrap 4x4 stand. Drums are not actually attached to each other, the upper one just has the lip cut off and the edge peened in a little bit so that it sits inside the lip of the lower one. I use it outside now, so being able to lift it apart and move it easily is a big thing. The top drum just has a hole in the top, roughly 5x5, for the smoke to get out. It smokes like crazy without a pipe or anything on the top. I recently added about 18" of "stovepipe" that I fashioned from some scrap I had lying around, but I have not yet tested to see if it improves the smokiness any. Ultimately, I would like to move this inside, to where I have a bit of 6" stovepipe already hanging off of the wall and leading outside. I am just concerned that it might not be enough draft to keep it from smoking me out. I am hoping that being inside away from the wind, and having 10 feet or so of stove pipe coming off the top would be enough to stop the smoke from rolling out the front quite as badly. My reading here indicates that I should upgrade to a 10 or 12 inch duct...however, enough 10" stovepipe to do what I need would be prohibitively expensive. I'm going to make a post over in the ChimneyHoods and Stacks forum to get more ideas on this....
  12. I know this topic is a bit older, but as another beginner, I'd like to chime in. I made a pair of simple tongs as my first project, out of some scrap rebar I had lying around. I heated it and hammered it flat, leaving a bit of the ridges along the narrow edges. Then heated one end, and stood it on the narrow side and hammered the last inch and a half flat, to make one jaw. Did the same thing again on another piece to get the other jaw. The hardest part for me was getting them to work well together; they kept catching against each other, one way or another. What finally did it for me was saying "screw it," and riveting them together with a pice of 1/4" steel rod, and then sticking the jaws back into the forge. Now that they were attached, (and hot,) a couple of good wacks with a small hammer brought them right into alignment, and they work like a charm. They look super rough, but even using rebar, I think I put less than 4 hours into the project, over a couple of days. I probably could've shaved an hour off if I had went ahead and attached them sooner to get the final adjustment done. They will work for now, and I have the pride of knowing that I made my own first set of tongs, before buying a set. I feel like it was a decent project for a beginner, as it let me practice a lot of different things throughout the process.
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