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About MaxwellB

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    Senior Member

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    Chicagoland, IL
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    Green-as-grass hobbyist just starting out.

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  1. My drums all have removable tops, and contained foodstuffs. Two of them are burn barrels, and the paint burning off the outside while I've got a load of branches and stuff on the inside made pretty sparkles. The insides are all clean as a whistle, so I'm thinking they were either pre-washed before sold, or held stuff in bags or dry goods. There's no staining, no stickiness, no nothing.
  2. Wait... You mean we're NOT supposed to cut drums by standing on top of them and making like we're in a log-rolling competition? Well I'll be... Learn something new every day.
  3. I've got a cap on it. I've been looking at the different types of dump gates and things like that for making it fancy, but for now the cap works fine. Thomas - I was going to use the cannibalized piece of the other drum as a coal fence/chimney/heat shield combo. Something where I can satisfy keeping coal on top, something to keep heat from going out every which way (which I would assume make things more efficient?), and put a chimney of some sort on there to vent what little smoke I get from adding fresh coal to things since it's wet down to keep dust low.
  4. So a bit of an update on this... I built a bigger fire in the pot today, enough to see if I could successfully heat a piece of steel laying across the rim of the rotor. I cut a chunk off a coil spring I have and heated it a little lower than the rim to straighten it out, then laid it across the rim to test. And I have to say, it was a success. So I think I just need to make the attachments of the hair dryer to the pipe more permanent than they are, add the "cap" that'll be cut from another drum, and I'll be in business. Probably should cut an access in the side as well to get to the ash dump now that I'm thinking about it... Hrm. My rotor firepot, "clayed" with leftover Greenpatch: A shot of the "bigger" fire, heating up the mild steel that'd become my quickie coal rake:
  5. I did. And I did steal that. It's just tricky trying to get the hair dryer to stay put. I'm thinking chewing gum, shoe strings, bungee cords, and a few liberally applied rolls of duct tape would work well! I just need to work out a different way to fasten the hair dryer to everything. I'll probably end up getting a reducer bushing for one side just to make sure it's all tight going towards the forge, and for the hair dryer side probably straps of some sort. I've got some spare spools of wire that I might use. I haven't thought that far yet, but since I'm off work for the next few days I'll be tinkering much more.
  6. TP - That's the idea. I just did that little bit last night to make sure that everything would be good to go for building the big fire. I might build the big one tonight. If not tonight, then definitely tomorrow. I just need to think of a better way of mounting the hair dryer until I get a proper blower on there. And I've gotta cut an access panel in the side of that drum so I can slide the ash bucket in and out much easier. Hopefully I'll have something bigger to contribute to the forums in the next few days.
  7. Sham, I just put together a forge very similar to your drum forge. I have mine higher though, so I used the brake rotor in the top and am planning on putting another 1/3 of a drum over it for a coal reserve or the like. How does that work for you? How big is your pipe for the blower? I've got mine set up with 1". I'll have to get a better blower as I don't think the hair dryer will have much life. I did a small little test light tonight with it, to see if everything works like I hoped it would, with just a handful of TSC anthracite over some charcoal. Worked fine with the small amount. Wondering about scaling it up to use bigger stock than the little rivet I buried in the coal just to observe.
  8. Been grabbing odds and ends for it for a little while, now that things have slowed down at work. Finally got around to piecing it together over the weekend, and gave it it's first firing tonight. Little fire as I didn't want to put too much fuel in there and be out in the driveway all night. I'll definitely have to redo the hair dryer/blower setup, and hopefully I'll be able to produce a big enough fireball where I'll be able to lay stock across the top of the rotor. It was just a handful of TSC anthracite on top of a couple charcoal briquette starters. Tossed a spare rivet in there to see if I could get it really toasty. All in all, I think it's a success. A larger blower on there, and the other drum I've got cut down to be a "cap" around the top, and I think we'll be in business. I'm down for any feedback too.
  9. Satanite isn't for structure, it's why it's called a "refractory". It's job is to absorb and even out heat in a forge, giving you a more uniform temperature across the cavity if the forge is constructed right. Cement on the outside of firebricks could possibly be ok, but the problem is cement holds moisture, and moisture + high heat = steam. Steam expands, and trapped steam can cause cracks, breaks, and potentially explode and send shrapnel into places you don't want sharp, high velocity chunks of cement flying into. If you're looking to hold everything together, you can use angle iron and bolts, similar to this: If everything is round, depending on the size, you can use hose clamps too.
  10. The more you add, the more fuel it'll take to bring your forge up to temperature. KOL and other refractory cements will soak up the heat. As such you'll use more fuel to get it up, but you can also use less fuel to keep it at temp versus using bare wool. Having a thicker floor than roof is normal, because the floor takes more abuse. I know this post if a few weeks old, and sorry I didn't see it sooner to chime in, but I wouldn't add more to the roof. That'd be in my opinion a waste of materials, and a waste of fuel to heat that extra mass up. Stick with your 1/2" and slightly thicker floor.
  11. I have a 2 burner devil's forge with a door on the butt. I relined it because I was pretty much throwing whatever I could to the wall and see if it stuck. Here's the nitty gritty: The "refractory" they give you, in my opinion, is garbage. There's no mention of what it is, what it's content is, etc. You're better off getting yourself some hydroPHILIC fumed silica off ebay or amazon (I'll link the one I bought if it's allowed) and mixing that with water and food coloring, and rigidizing the blanket on your own. Then you should coat with a known refractory, like kast-o-lite or satanite or any of the others mentioned throughout here and elsewhere on the interwebs. You can probably go about 1/2" thick on it and you'll be fine. Then when it's all set and cured and you're almost ready to go, coat the top of the refractory with an IR reflective coating like Plistix. This is a thin coating, like coating the surface with a layer of paint. This should get you to where you need to be. It sounds daunting, but it's really not that difficult if you can follow directions. The worst part is mixing up the kast-o-lite (if you go with that particular one) because to me it felt like it was too dry, but it held well. There are a few other members here who have the same brand of forge, and I'm sure they'll chime in shortly with their experiences. I actually haven't had time to forge much, settling into a new job and all. But hopefully I'll pick the hammer back up soon. One more thing, and it's something I'll be doing soon... Look into getting a 40lb tank or bigger for your propane. I find that the 20lb grill tanks just don't last me as long as I'd like them too. And since you said you have access to big box stores, you should be able to find propane refill places, which will always come out cheaper than an exchange. IFI sells refractories at Gas Forge Refractories and Supplies
  12. Perhaps "traditional" was the wrong choice of words. A lot of things I've been reading have pointed towards a general shift in using air supply coming from the bottom. Also part of the reason I was inquiring about the use of drums. Seems many designs these days favor air supply coming up from underneath everything. I figure if I'm going to build this, might as well pick a few brains before I commit.
  13. I've browsed the solid fuel section and read the BP on the 55 Forge. I'm planning on putting one together, so I can see if I prefer propane or solid fuel. So my question is simple... Have there been any NECESSARY/NEEDED changes done to a 55 that should be noted, or are they all "operator preference" types of changes? For example, would it be considered a must to go with side-blast over traditional "up from under"? Does a brake drum make things easier/more efficient or does it make things cumbersome? Things like that are questions I have. I have 2 55 steel drums left out of 4 I bought a few seasons ago to turn into burn barrels, and I really don't need 4 burn barrels in the yard. So I figured I would cannibalize one of them and take a shot at the 55.
  14. The reason the floor is thicker is because of the abuse it takes. You're going to be "stabbing" it with stock as you put it in, regardless of how gentle you are. You don't want to chip or gouge that refractory to the point you're having to reline it. Also, depending on the refractory that you're using, it'll hold up to flux to a certain extent. Thinner refractory will get eaten through faster, and then once you get flux on wool it's game over, like water on cotton candy. So you're giving up some thermal efficiency in exchange for durability. As for the ceiling/walls, they're going to heat/cool faster than the floor, and you're going to experience thermal cycle shock to the refractory and cracking will be catastrophic if you're running a thin coat. Just like the floor, thicker is designed for durability. And keep in mind too that the castable doesn't go as far as you think it will. 10lbs of castable seems like a lot, but it's really not.
  15. Late to the party, but I agree with Event... The coating they ship you falls fully into the "no bueno" side of things. I mean, it's probably ok to rigidize the wool, but in no way shape or form should it be classified as a refractory. I have a 2 burner square DF that I actually relined not too far back. And I'm tweaking that lining further. It's kaowool, kast-o-lite 30, and a topcoat of IR reflective. I made it a little too small, so I ripped out the sides (and most of the top came with... c'est la vie) and re-rigidized the exposed wool. Tomorrow I'll slap on the KOL and let it do it's thing. It's functional, but it's just too narrow. So now I eat my crow when I said I didn't see myself working with anything wider than 4"... My bolt tongs are wider than 4". But back on track... Get yourself some real refractory and you'll be solid. A little extra on top of your investment already, but this will be a few steps closer to optimized.