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I Forge Iron


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Posts posted by CrazySmithy

  1. Okay. Me and my dad have plans to eventually build a heat treating oven. I just searched it up, and google says to temper 5160 at 375F-400F. 

    So now I have another question, is that number found on google just what you would temper 5160 at? Or are there different temperatures that 5160 can be tempered at?  

    Simplifying the question, is the tempering temperature that I'll find on google for whatever steel I may be using just the set temp for that steel? That's the temp for everything you might use the steel for?

    Also you're saying that the time it is tempered doesn't really matter, as long as it is long enough the relieve the stress on the steel (1-3 hours?)

    Also I'm adding this on, but I am currently at school (I'm enrolled in a technical college learning CNC machining) and my instructor just gave me a Metallurgy Fundamentals book. This ought to help a lot too, perfect timing. =D

  2. I'm looking through the heat treating stuff, just need to study it over and over now. When you say tempering to the color blue you are talking about to color/temperature spectrum right? I have a book... The Modern Blacksmith? I think? I can't remember the name but it is very informative. It talks about heat treating and tempering, but it really only mostly talks about the scratch/watch the color/quench method of tempering.

    If I am thinking of this right, after I quench my piece I would stick it in the oven for an hour, And like Steve has said in one of his posts let it cool and sit for a day and then temper it for another hour. What should the oven temperature be? And do I just leave it in the oven until it turns the wanted color?  

    Also is 5150 the steel number for most leaf springs? 

    And yeah, definitely. It wasn't so much about learning blacksmithing then it was just introducing kids to building something, welding, grinding and building things.

    Also, I don't want to try to be spoonfed, so if I'm asking too many redundant questions I apologize. I just like having conversations with people and learning from them.

    Okay, I just went over Steve's heat treating post again. He says 320F-350F. I take it that just depending on the temperature and how long you leave it in, the softness/hardness will vary with it? Is this just something that you have to get a feel for and decide which "Recipe" you like best?

  3. Hey guys, I don't know whether this exists already but I figured I'd just go ahead and start one.

    Anyways, I have a couple questions. Around 6ish years ago (I'm 18 now) when I first tried blacksmithing, my dad was running a "Build Camp" for kids. We have a large shop and almost all the tools you could ever need including many machines. For this camp, we decided to try blacksmithing, building a forge and trying to make something. My dad had done a little bit when he was a teen, but still, he didn't really know what he was doing, he just had a basic knowledge of it. It was still fun, everyone enjoyed it and we all learned something anyways which is the important part. 

    So, in regards to this topic, when we hosted that build camp we tried making some small "Tomahawks" out of leaf spring. First off we never really got the stell that hot, maybe just barely an almost bright cherry. And we weren't making quality tomahawks, just a little thing the kids could take home. 

    Needless to say they were all trash. Ugly, pine dowel handles, not flat at all and just... Bad. But for kids it was still freaking awesome. 

    I remember some of them cracking. and breaking and such because we weren't heat treating the steel right I don't think. So I think my question is, do I need to handle leaf spring steel delicately? I have never really worked with high carbon steel, just mild steels so far. I might just need some overall tips on how to handle high carbon steel without cracking it, breaking it, making a situation that seems fit for a string of profanities, etc. 

    I plan to try making a wrapped tomahawk head, a real one, from a leaf spring. After I read all the threads on here about forge welding first. And all the heat treating forums too.


    I believe that is what I want to ask, I just need some advice on handling high carbon steels. (Also, a thought, if I ever have to leave a high carbon piece to finish later, it would be best to leave it in the coals wouldn't it? So it doesn't cool down so fast?... This is the kind of stuff I'm asking about. Thanks!)

  4. I'm not sure what kind of coal it is, and it's probably more likely just household coal, we got it when we helped a neighbor tear a shed down. The pieces are just random sized pieces, from pea sized to soft ball sized pieces.

    It is a side blast forge, the tuyere is water cooled coming in at a slight angle, stopping at the edge of the brake drum I have in a 55 gallon barrel as a fire pot.

    And I have not tried charcoal, I would, but I have tons of coal on hand and I'd rather use that first.

  5. Hello! So I am currently talking to some people about this in my other topic, but I figured it might be nice to just have a subject about it for beginners like me.

    I am curious about how much air certain fuels need. I am using coal, but answers for coke and charcoal would be great to for others. 

    For me, I don't believe I am getting enough air to my fire. I don't have any obstructions, maybe some clinker, but not enough to stop my fire from getting hot enough.

    I am using either a small Chinese hand crank blower or a small squirrel cage blower. The fire would get hot, but it was small and it seemed like a lot of work to get it to get the whole fire hot. I had trouble heating up a 3/8" bar. 

    I tired using a shop vac on the blow side, and it lit it up easily, though I had to restrict air flow a lot, and even when I was blowing as little air as possible, I think I was just burning through fuel.

    So I think, I don't know, but I think I need a bigger blower then the small ones, and a smaller blower then the vaccum.

    Also, my coal has been sitting outside for years, so it is quite crumbly which I am sure means something, I just don't know what.

    And... I believe that's all my questions! Thanks for any help you give!

  6. There wasn't any obstructions, and I used 1" pipe for the tuyere. But I don't think my blower is pushing a sufficient amount of air.

    What is the "Sufficient amount" of air? Is there a way to measure it? Also, does your fire usually roar? Rather then just... Purr I guess?... I just don't think I'm moving enough air.

  7. Okay! So I went out and lit it up today. I turned it into a side blast over the last couple of days.

    It worked, but only barely. And I think I know what the problem is. I don't think I have enough air volume. It wasn't getting hot enough, and unless my steel was in just the right spot, my steel would actually cool down. 

    So, naturally, I took off the small hand crank blower and switched to an electric blower. It had about the same results, just less tiring.

    So I hooked up a Rigid shop vac on blow. 

    Lit it up like a Christmas tree. 

    It was too much air, but I could adjust it a bit, and it got plenty hot enough. Though I think I was burning through coal like crazy. Has that just been my problem? I need more air? 

    Also, I have a video pre-shop vac, but I don't know if I can post it. I'm trying though.


  8. Thanks Glenn, solid advice. As far as the fines goes, to let it clump up in water and then let it dry? Or throw it on the fire while it's wet?

    And also, as far as coke goes. Is coke the really light burned up kinda "crispy" coal? Pretty much like charred wood or charcoal? And Thomas, you're saying that you basically cake the coal pile with wet fines and it'll dry into small coke chunks?

  9. Okay, here are the photos. 

    And what about water cooling the pipe? I know how to make a sleeve over the pipe, but how do I supply the water to the sleeve? And as far as coal does, I don't want coal dust do I? I want the good solid small chunks in a big pile, so there's no dust stopping the air from getting to the coal, and so I can just push my work pieces into the coal without having to "Find the sweet spot".





  10. Hey again! It's been a long time since I've been on here. I posted a while ago asking for help with a brake drum forge that wasn't getting hot enough. Or I wasn't using right. I got a lot of good help and advice, but I quickly learned it wasn't quite built right, so of course I go on a hiatus. 

    Now with all this time on my hands due to Covid-19, I went out and started building a shop with a chimney so I could stop adding smoke damage to the porch roof. 

    I disassembled the old forge and grabbed a 55 gallon barrel. I cut a door out of it, a chimney hole in the top and a big hole in the bottom. I set the brake drum into the hole on the inside.

    One of the things I learned is that I needed a grate in my tuyere pipe to help keep it clear (Who woulda thunk?) So I made one out of two 1 1/2" x 2" strips of steel "slotted" together to make a tall "X" that I just slid into the pipe.

    So, I went out today and lit it up, and started working on a simple J-hook. Not long into it though, I needed to completely reset the fire to get it hot again. I had to do this many times. It took me 2 1/2 hours to make half of a J-hook out of 3/8" x 3/8" stock.

    I might not be doing it right, I might need to adjust it, but I'm done messing with the bottom blast design.

    So I am thinking about drilling a hole in the side of the barrel and just shoving a pipe in to make a side blast forge. Would that work better? The way I see it is then the pipe isn't really getting clogged, because it isn't moving down into the airflow. 

    So with this, is it better to have the pipe blowing directly into the fire, or is it better to off-set it to circle the air around the fire? 


    Also, here are pictures of it. I need to make a proper bracket for the blower still. Also, the bottom wall of the barrel is 6" tall. Is that perhaps too tall? I can get more pictures if it would help. 

    Thank you guys so much for your help!

    Em... Apparently it's not uploading the photos on the phone, I'll have to get on the computer. 

  11. Back! Okay, the tuyere pipe was good. I just wasn't getting enough airflow to really light the coal. So I went and grabbed a bellows we made a while ago, and kinda jerry-rigged it to the tuyere. It got it lit, but it kept sucking fire back through the pipe, so I pulled it off and put the blower back on, and at that point it was pushing enough air to heat up the fire. I got the steel hotter then I have before, and I was able to get half of a flint striker forged! I'm incredibly happy, this is the first time I've done this in maybe 3-4 years. It feels good. 


    Also, question regarding coal: What's a good way to break it down to the smaller golf ball sizes? And how big do you want your chunks to generally be?

  12. Oh, thanks Glenn! That helps a lot. I just updated my info, so I live in Uintah Utah. Basically Ogden Utah. I have a lot of coal on hand, just from a neighbor's old shed as well as my uncle's shed. It's not a lot, at least for a professional full time blacksmith, but I have at least 2 55 gallon drums worth which should be plenty for now. Though I'm not sure what kind of coal it is. 

    As far as the forge goes, I see what you mean. I'm thinking I could weld on some more sheet metal to hold more coal to increase the fuel depth. I have some fire brick I could probably use too. I also just bought some 3/8" bar stock I could use for a grate. 

    And thanks for the tip Irondragon, live and learn. 

    EDIT: I forgot to mention that I am using an electric blower. Although I do happen to have an old hand crank grinder that I snagged at the same shed I got most of my coal from, and I am curious if I could turn it into a hand crank blower... 

    EDIT 2: My dad has just confirmed that it is in fact not a hand crank grinder, but an old movie reel winder. So... yeah. XD

  13. Hey guys! I've posted and talk about a propane tank enclosed forge me and my dad are building, but now I have some questions about our old brake drum forge we built maybe 4 years ago.

    It's pretty open, (Check pics) though it holds a decent enough amount of coal. But the problem is that I'm not getting enough heat. It take a long time to heat up the steel, and it's hard to heat up even just a rail road spike to bright orange. So... What can I improve on this forge to fix this? We only have the one pipe at the bottom of the forge for airflow with a little door at the bottom to let out xxxx, and I am using a little electric squirrel cage blower as a bellows. I think it might be possible that the air is hitting the metal, so it cools it off rather then just blowing the fire. I also am getting a lot of small coke and small clinkers down the pipe, but I think just welding a grate over it would fix it. What do you think? What would help? Do I need more airflow, and the airflow spread out more rather then just the one spot? 

    Also, we don't have an anvil but we do have this big 150-200 lb. steel block that's perfect, it just doesn't have a horn. Though, I'm thinking I can just turn a cone on the lathe out of 3"-4" steel bar and weld it on. Would that work do you think?









  14. Hello there! New member here, me and my dad are in the middle of building a propane tank forge. So far it is all put together, cut open and ready for refractories. Here's our issue: He have some ceramic wool to line the inside, 1" thick. We know that it is better to do 2", and I think we have enough for 2". We Also have 2 5-gallon buckets of unknown refractory cement (We don't know what kind/brand it is, we just know that it is refractory cement). Our original plan was to line the forge with the wool, and then coat it with the refractory. But as I've been reading and looking around, I've heard about rigidizer and that wool insulates better, etc. So we are wondering what we should do. I think we are going to line it and try a thin layer of the cement on the bottom to test the cement and to see how well it adheres and such to the wool. We just need advice and tips, what we should do, etc... We haven't built one of theses before (Obviously) but we have built a brake drum open forge.

    The other thing we want to do is to use a blower and coal rather then propane because we have a TON of coal. We are making it so we can use coal or we will be able to switch out the fan for a propane burner. We are going to have a rounded bottom in the forge, rather then flat so that when we put coal in it the coal will make a flat bed to put the steel/knives/etc. on top of it. We have put the face of the forge on a hinge so we can open it and clean it out, shovel the coal out, etc. Thoughts on this? 

    The last thing for right now is that we have seen people put a hole in the back of the forge, and we aren't sure if it is for anything other then just long pieces of bar stock, so insight on this would be great. 

    And, literally anything you could tell me about blacksmithing! Any tips, tricks, advice, literally anything would be helpful. We have a shop with lots of tools and machines, and we have both done a bit of blacksmithing, but I want to really expand my blacksmithing knowledge and skill this year, Thanks!

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