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I Forge Iron


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About Phantom309

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    Nottingham, UK
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    Erm... blacksmithing?

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  1. Wow, there have been a lot of posts on this thread since I was last here. It looks like people are really refining their designs for burners. Anyway, here is an update on my (very primitive looking)1” NARB... I’ve been meaning to write this for months but for various reasons haven’t been doing much forging lately and wanted to wait until I’d at least used my new forge a bit before I reported back. I’m also struggling to find any pictures as my phone that I used for pics and videos has since died, but if I find any I’ll add them later on. So, I built a forge out of an old 18kg propane bottle with the customary 2” of ceramic wool and a refractory layer to seal it. It’s a big heavy beast. I then made a burner with a 11/2x11/2x1” T-piece, 8” mixing pipe, 9” x 2” plenum and 40 outlet holes done with the crayon method. I can’t remember the size of the mig tip I used right now but I initially tried a smaller one better suited to a 3/4 but it didn’t have the mojo to run the larger burner so it was soon swapped for a 0.9mm or 1mm tip. The outlet hole number seemed to be bang on, no back burning or blowing out. The only issue was that there was a lot of dragon’s breath with a blue tinge so I got the impression there wasn’t enough air in the mix. I tried grinding the mig tip back a bit but it didn’t make any noticeable difference so I swapped the T-piece for a 2x2x1” and used a 10” mixing tube. This seemed to do the trick and while there was still dragon’s breath it was at least a healthier orange colour. The sums might not make sense to those of you who are mathematically inclined (ie that’s a lot of air and mixing) but hey, that’s what seemed to work. The burner ran fairly well and would tick away at around 4 psi although below this and it would quite often start to backfire. I also found that as it heated up after about an hour I would need to start cranking up the pressure to prevent backburning, as is to be expected. The downsides of the build are what you would expect - the forge takes some heating up, and by the time it’s properly hot I’m usually done with what I was making, but that’s not a reflection on the burner. I’d like to give figures on temperatures and times but, ironically, my thermometer sensor caught fire so can’t (I’m pretty shambolic and probably shouldn’t be allowed near large cylinders of explosive gas). I didn’t attempt to get to forge welding heat and maybe with the wick turned up it would, but I’m not entirely convinced it would get that hot. Maybe the forge is a bit of a heat sink. Unfortunately, when I went to fire up my forge the other day the burner just kept backburning and igniting gas in the T-piece. Not wanting to die in a massive fireball just yet I now need to build another one. On inspection the burner had cracked, which I suspect means it is leaking and so the whole thing is lacking the pressure it needs. Why the block has cracked I don’t know, but I suspect I had it sat too low into the forge and that it would benefit from being retracted a bit back up into the forge liner. I used the highest temperature castable I could find from a major company for the block and the liner, although the liner has cracked a fair bit already. I didn’t use any heat reflecting wash (I forget what it’s called) due to not being able to find any that I didn’t think was silly expensive, but I might look into it for my next build. Speaking of which - time to make a smaller forge with a 3/4 burner tube. So basically, a 1” tube NARB is just as easy to build and it works. Whether it is worth it over making two 3/4 to run a large forge I don’t know, but it might make you happy. I don’t have figures on gas usage as mine didn’t last that long and I didn’t take any notes but I suspect mine was a thirsty beast. There you go, more grist for the NARB mill. I will try and find some pics and add them later. Thanks to Frosty for his input.
  2. I've also used themetalstore a couple of times. It's not that hard to get into their free delivery amount and the delivery is decent (although the driver's often seem bemused by why on earth you want all these lengths of heavy stuff). I have ordered off cuts of EN19 from Jenkins Steel via their Ebay shop but haven't found a carbon steel supplier to get tool steel and the like from beyond bits of flat O1, so I'll be checking out the highgradesteel link above. If you want bar for knife or blade making the gfsknifesupplies.com are really good and the only people I've found with much more than O1. Really good service, too.
  3. Thanks for the info Frosty, I feel a bit of experimenting is on the cards. I assume a slightly larger MIG tip would be necessary in a 1" tube? I'll order up some different sized parts so I can see what works. The tank I intend using is currently full of propane so i should really hook it up and actually hit some hot metal instead of reading this forum. I'll let you know how it goes when I get round to building the forge.
  4. Just a couple of questions on performance - How are people finding the performance of their NARBs compares to a regular T burner? I ask as I'm looking at building a forge that will be approx 7" x 18" cylindrical after the insulation and refractory, giving it a volume pushing 700 cubic inches (it's long I know, and I may cut is down a few inches, I've just been doing long twists lately in a little beginner forge and it's been a long and inefficient experience. I also have long-term pretensions towards blade making). From what I have read I'd need two 3/4" T burners, but is a NARB efficient enough to enable me to cut it down to just one burner for this sort of volume? I think I read somewhere else that Frosty reckoned a well-tuned 3/4 fed NARB could just about manage it but I'm looking for further opinions/confirmation of this as it sounds like it would be a bit of a stretch and I may be better off with two NARBs. I was wondering if the NARB could be scaled up to use a 1" T burner and drive a larger outlet, but I'm guessing that without a blower this would run into problems with a lack of pressure that I'm not clever enough to work out the maths for or fully understand.
  5. You're right, that's a better way of looking at it. I may try a basic Habermann in a heavier weight and let people know what I think after using it for a bit. It's a much more realistic and expedient option for me right now than forging my own, despite the pressure from some on here to do that. I once crippled my arm for a week thrashing away at a piece of axle steel to make cut off tool and don't fancy trying to forge a 3lb+ hammer just yet. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Hofi. Thanks mate, I was just about to pm you on Glenn's recommendation as he said you are the purveyor of many interesting things. I have plans to build myself a better gas forge and am plumbing the depths of knowledge about burners and Frosty's NARB. I'm not desperate for a rounding hammer but would appreciate you keeping an eye out. I found a few on Etsy from eastern Europe, and I would rather give my money to a smith than a farrier supply shop, if that smith could be local (ie the UK) to me then all the better.
  6. Not on my own, by hand and with my pathetic little forge I'm afraid.
  7. Hello everyone, I'm thinking about treating myself to a new toy. I've mainly been using a pretty standard German pattern cross pein hammer of a little over two lbs. It's fine but I'd like to try out something new and was looking for a Hofi or a Hofi-esque style hammer when I came across the Habermann hammer that Angele in Germany sell. I've done a little reading and site searching and while they crop up in conversation I've not read much in the way of opinion. I realize hammer preference is almost entirely subjective but was wondering what opinions people had about quality etc. I also notice they have a stainless steel version for a chunk more money (110 euro vs 62 euro for the standard) and was wondering what if anything made a stainless hammer better than a non-stainless one. I could go for a Hofi or the Hofi-esque one from Balbach Forge but i don't want to be rocking back and forth in a corner over how expensive they are if I decide I don't like it. In other words, have a punt at a standard Habermann or save my pennies for something more expensive, which will obviously magically transform my forging into god-like perfection due to the hammer's inherent awesomeness? While I have your attention, does anyone know of a place in the UK that makes rounding hammers other than farrier supply places? There was a chap on Ebay that sold a couple he made every so often but I've not seen any for a while now. Wotan Forge I think it was called.
  8. Right, I'm educating myself about ribbon burners now, so thanks for the suggestion. I doubt I can incorporate one into my existing forge so some DIY may be in order to make something suitable, although I guess I can probably use the burner I have and feed it into a ribbon burner. The plot has thickened with the neighbours - they have sold the house and are obviously worried about the sale falling through due to their monstrously noisy and clearly satanic neighbour. I've assured them that I will try to find ways of reducing the noise or doing whatever to make sure nobody gets annoyed, but that equally I can't accept a blanket ban on forging because it can potentially disturb them. I then got a load of "It's a fire hazard", "It could set fire to my garden," "What if the kids blah blah" and my personal favourite, a slightly imploring and somewhat admonishing "It's not a normal thing to have in a garden, is it?" Anyway, sound proofing, ribbon burners and coal forges all to be investigated.
  9. Thanks for the replies. I'll see what I can do to insulate the sound. Failing that, it looks like the Iron Dwarf isn't a million miles from me anyway and his forges look reasonably priced.
  10. Yeah, they do go away for stretches as they are a retired couple. The downside is that being retired they are always in, so if I'm about during work hours it's still a no go. Might look into coal forge plans and get an idea for what sort of costs I'm looking at.
  11. Just resurrecting this thread as I have a similar problem. I've been forging in my back yard in a suburban area in the UK off and on over the winter and have just put up a roof to cover my anvil etc so that I'm not limited to only forging when the weather is good. Yesterday I did my first bit of work in the hot weather we've been having (I've previously only forged in colder weather). I've not had any complaints from the neighbours before, but today one of them came over to say that the noise was unbearable as, due to the hot weather, they now wanted to sit outside and have windows open. The issue isn't the anvil noise but the (admittedly very loud) little propane forge I'm using. Trouble is we're at an impasse - I can't see how I can quiet the thing down significantly and that means no forging without some seriously UPSET neighbours. I get that I could just give them two fingers and keep going until the council get involved but that's not a very productive long term approach. My forge is a single burner, open-ended setup so I'm wondering if forges with doors on are much quieter or if I need to be looking into a coal forge with a hand crank blower or something. Not that I have the money to spend at the minute. And advice or further recommendations appreciated. Watch your language the way you did it is just as bad as using the word.
  12. Hi, I took the course in South Wales near Carmarthen (bit of a trek but worth it). I was looking at some of the online metal guys like metal4u but have no frame of reference for whether their prices are competitive. I'm about 5 miles from Adey Steel in Loughborough so may just call in there, although I don't know how much steel I'll be fitting in my hatchback.
  13. Thank you everyone, I'll post some pics of embarrassingly bad initial projects to feed the beast. ThomasPowers, I personally like the silliness.
  14. Hi everyone, I'm a blacksmithing noob and just wanted to say hello before I go posting on the forum and asking inane questions. I have a whole two days of blacksmithing course under my belt and a lot of youtube time so I've got plenty to learn. I'm in the East Midlands of the UK, if there are any UK based guys out there that could give me info on the best place to source metal and the like please let me know (I'll now go use the search function to do some research). Cheers!
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