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I Forge Iron


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  1. I just tested the forge after increasing the hole size. Works perfectly. Problem solved, it seems! The gas forge is huge and it's poorly lit. It's SUPER loud when it's on, and it was so hot you couldn't even stand near it. I got burned once and it was SO painful (and my hand smelled like cooked meat. I'm very lucky it didn't scar). The part that made me wary of gas was the fact that after using it I would feel dizzy, nauseous, and sleepy. I'm pretty sure it's not the metal I used I asked if it was safe to blacksmith with, and the teacher (who knows what he's doing) said yes. It might have been because it was in a confined space but we have amazing ventilation so I doubt that. Nobody else got sick besides me, so I'm blaming it on my MCS. Whatever it is, I haven't felt the same thing working with charcoal. Now that I have a working washtub forge, I would definitely recommend it. I almost would think you don't need a washtub at all - the refractory adobe that I made is very strong and could probably sit there by itself. You certainly don't need to buy a big fancy one like I did.
  2. Hi everyone. I followed some instructions to make Tim Lively's washtub forge. It only sort of worked though, and because I followed the instructions as closely as I could I think the problem is my technique. The rebar I am using becomes a dull red, rather than orange or yellow. It's extremely hard to move and I maybe get two to three hits out of it before it gets cold. I also notice that while the portion near the pipe is glowing, the coals on the top aren't very hot. Some things I have tried so far: Leaving the steel in longer (Up to 5 minutes) Turning the crank as fast as I can Turning the crank at a moderate pace, only as fast as it takes to hear some roaring. Tamping down the charcoal to make sure its compact Putting the rebar near the top Putting the rebar right where the charcoal is glowing Raising up the walls so that I can have more charcoal at once. I also noticed that I missed a step, which was that the holes are supposed to be 1/4", not 1/8". I increased them just now. I haven't tried to use it since then. Here are some Pictures of my forge. I do not normally put a brick on top, I just put it to provide a shadow. The coals were glowing when I took a picture but even with the shadow you can't see it. I am using a Zomax hand blower and Lump Charcoal. Lastly, I have done some basic blacksmithing at my university, but we used a gas forge (which also scared the xxxx out of me). I do not have any prior experience using charcoal or any other solid fuel, but I already know that I prefer it because it is much more pleasant to work around - also I like the antiquity associated with it. Thanks! Let me know if you need more info.
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