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  1. Hi, I'm currently setting up a backyard smithy with hopes of one day having an actual shop to work in. I have the basics i.e. Anvil, Post vise, Workbench, and tongs. I'm working on getting a forge set up. I do need some help finding a good coal supplier in southern NH as well as any tips and or tricks to a blower for a forge like do I need to get a blower or can I use something else in its place? Any tips and tricks or helpful hints are greatly welcome. Thanks
  2. So this is the left over coke and coal from my first attempt at smithing with coal and I was just wondering if I should try and strain out the dust? Or will it still be useful? My coal comes with quite a bit of dust out of the bag and if it's better to use just solid pieces I'll filter out the fines. All opinions are appreciated, thanks.
  3. Zyphiza

    Forge I'm getting

    From the album: New forge

    Forge I'm picking up
  4. I recently picked up complete Buffalo #3 boilermaker forge and have found some info stating that it should be lined with refractory clay or refractory cement. Where can one get these refractory materials, locally in the PNW? How thick of a layer is needed? Should the cement be formed around the tuyere to create a fire pot? Here's some pictures:
  5. I know this is probably an over-posted topic, but I've been looking for an answer for quite a while and I haven't found it. I've seen several pros and cons lists about coal vs. gas stoves. I've seen a lot of the same information, but also a lot of conflicting information. I'm looking to build a mid-size forge to be my first forge. I am a complete novice at blacksmithy. That being said, I've seen some people who say that coal stoves are the way to go for beginners. According to some, because of the versatility and better heat available with a coal forge, that is where all beginners should start. People also say that the larger surface area and ease of welding are major pros that help beginners. However, some people say that because coal forges burn hotter, it's easier to burn your project, it's harder to replicate results, and controlling the fire and the metal is too much for a beginner to handle. There are also obvious health risks. Proponents of gas stoves claim that the forge itself is much easier to operate, it's easy to reach welding temps, it's cleaner, it's harder to burn your steel, and they don't require maintenance. Opponents say that gas stoves are touchy, they don't get as hot as coal, they restrict the beginner's ability to learn how to use the heat, and that gas is much more expensive. I live in Vermont, and I'm fairly certain that both anthracite and bituminous coal are readily available to me. Propane and MAPP are also available. I don't know, however, which will end up being more expensive. TL;DR- I have 3 questions. As a complete novice, should I work with a Coal or Gas forge? Which type of forge will cost me more to operate? (Ignore costs of making the forge)Just in general, what sort of forge will serve me best? (I plan to bladesmith, and probably construction of pieces with welding, brazing, riveting are in my future..)Thanks All! JNP
  6. Hey guys this my first post here:) just starting out as a blacksmith. im am in the process of getting all my supplies together. its a little hard as i am in an urban city none the less im still trying to find scrape instead of buying. Now to the point of this post. i been looking for a break drum for a while now finally found one at one of my local repair shop. the problem is the break drum is only about 3 inches deep. i feel like that is going to be a problem. What do you guys think? from what i have gather most break drums that are used are about 5-6 inches deep. Can i use it as is? Another problem is i dont have a way to weld. So i was thinking maybe making some sort of cone that i put on top to increase the depth and i could go to a local welding place and get it done. i dont know how much he will charge but rather not spend more than i have to as i dont know if i like blacksmith yet. tdlr i have a 3inch brake drum will that work? or will i need to modify it to make it work?
  7. First and foremost, I'm a noob (major noob). I've only fired my forge maybe a dozen times. So I'm still trying different fuel options. In my area (northern Rhode island) I'm limited to one coal supplier. They specialize in anthracite coal but from time to time they get bituminous coal. Yesterday I went to buy a few more bags of coal in varying sizes (1 40lb bag of peat size and 1 40lb bag of nut sized coal). When I got there I was surprised to find they had gotten a small supply of blacksmith coal so I grabbed a bag of that as well (can't have to much right?). I have since found out that this stuff is awesome (the metal even feels like it responds better). here is my problem.. My chances of going back and finding more blacksmith coal for purchase are slim (they sell out FAST). Can I mix anthracite coal and blacksmith coal together to extend my supply? I don't really like the anthracite coal. I feel like it gets to hot. I'm always melting what I'm practicing on. But I didn't have that problem with the blacksmith coal. I'm currently using a hair dryer as my bellows because the anthracite coal is a pain to keep hot with my hand crank blower (it's not the best). Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you Oh yeah.. Hello! I'm new if you haven't noticed.
  8. Hello all, I have been using a brake drum forge I made much like the ones seen on the internet. It works and can reach the temperatures I need, so much so I ended up burning off some hard work I put into some rebar :( Part of learning I guess! My problem is this, to keep coal from falling down my tuyere I believe it's called, I got some sheet metal I found at the Brimfield Faire. It was like this really thin tinny looking sheet used for decorating restaurants, sort of like corrugated steel. Anyways, I cut a circle of it and put it in the bottom of the forge and drilled holes into the center. It worked for a little while but now I have air coming up out and around the plate rather than just through the holes. I think it's because it has warped so much from the heat it was never meant to experience. I couldn't get a clear picture since its filled with coal. I am now burning basically an entire brake drum of coal constantly, I don't really have a center of heat, its all going. This is really wasteful I feel. I was wondering if you guys knew of any good material or piece to put in the bottom of a brake drum forge (or any forge) that will work much better? I do have some old BBQ grill....grill. The bars seem too far apart though. Whatever you guys could recommend would be great, thanks! EDIT: I was perusing more, I have no way of actually welding something, I don't mean forge welding. So it would be next to impossible for me to weld some bars into the pipe.
  9. Hi. Im not sure if there is another forum on this that ive misses but im striking out on a specific how to. So i have a basic brake drum forge and am trying to do a long heat (longer than 8 inches, closer to 24 inches), so i can do long twists. Whats the best way to do this? I can only get the 8 inches at best from the brake drum and the torch only goes so far as well. Is there any way to get a long heat without a propane forge? (Not had luck with the propane latley). Has any body done a long trench style coal forge? Thanks for any suggestions!
  10. I finally got the materials and time to put together a new solid fuel forge. I looking forward to using it as soon as I pick up some flexible tubing for the blower. It's built out of scrap, I assume fab shop drops and stuff. I cut off a brake drum and practiced my welding. My welds are ugly as sin, but they stick. Also, I found a few places in most of the welds that actually looked decent. Now if I can just repeat the right way instead of the wrong way. Welding in holes was a new thing for me. That turned out ok. Does anyone know of a good bituminous coal source in Colorado? I usually use home made or lump charcoal, but I'd like to try coal
  11. Built a coal forge in my back yard. My first time hitting hot metal. Dug a hole about a shovel deep, put a metal grated shelf piece I found in the shed, ran a metal pipe out the side. Had some curved garden stone laying around. Put it around the hole. Added an air mattress pump I had and voila! The only cost to me was a 20lb bag of lump coal Lowes ($14) And a metal rod ($6) I had part of a railroad rail that I'm using as a makeshift anvil. It seems to work pretty well, granted the construction has some limits, but I figure I can use this to practice swinging, maybe make a few cool things. It's fun so far. Looking forward to doing more with it! Nathan
  12. Hello all! Would anyone happen to know if there are any places in or around the Kansas City, Kansas or Kansas City, Missouri are to purchase coal? Any info would be much appreciated. Have been using homemade lump charcoal which works fine..... But would like to try coal and can't see paying between $45-$60 a bag to have it shipped to me. Thank you
  13. And the search goes on. I just got off the phone with David, one of the owners of Alaska Feed. He can get blacksmiths coal from Mountain Brook Forge in Oregon. But the cost is rather prohibitive at $56.50 per 50# bag. Another detail is. he needs payment in Advance. So that works out to: $ 2260. I just can't afford to pay that much in advance for coal. We would need to collect the money from the various people in the interior who want it and then make payment. Wait until the coal arrives then divide it up. I don't know that sounds like a lot of work for little gain. As I was talking to David he went over his coal sails and was telling me how little he sold. It worked out to about a bag a month. Which for him doesn't make it worth it. I can certainly understand. That's why he wants all the money in advance. I wouldn't want a ton of coal sitting around in inventory just taking up space either. I have a call into the Usibelli coal mine office here in Fairbanks and left a message with their purchasing person and am waiting for a call back on that. I'll keep plugging away.
  14. Intro.. Name is Jeff, living in Fairbanks. I have been playing with a homebuilt coal forge for several months and using the local coal. What do you guys think of the coal we get from Healy? Is there a supply of coal that is better for smithing, here in Alaska? Thanks, Jeff
  15. I hope this is posted in the correct category. Anyone know how to go about crushing coke or coal to a smaller size? I have got some that needs to be smaller to work better with my forge and the way I smith.
  16. Okay so I'm going to start assembling parts to build my starter forge. Just something simple to get me going. The basic design is similar to this one http://www.stormthecastle.com/blacksmithing/how-to-make-an-easy-cheap-blacksmith-forge.htm but with a few modifications. For starters the frame is going to be hotrolled steel struts, like so http://www.lowes.com/pd_69795-37672-11705_4294684420__?productId=3059249&Ntt=metal&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dmetal&facetInfo= 4 angled struts for the corners, and 7 flat struts for the supports. Welded in a shape similar to this... Front View Side View Front View Open Top View Lawn mower deck Lawn Mower Deck Lawn Mower Deck Lawn Mower Deck l I I l V V V V l l _ _ _ _ _ _ l l l l _ _ _ _ _ _ l l l l _ _ _ _ _ _l l _ _ _ _ _ _ l l / l l <Steel Struts > l l l l l l [ ] l l l l l l / l l_ l l blower l l Fire pot -^ l l l fire pot l___ l l / l l_O l l O l l l l_ _ _ _ l O l__ l l l / l l l l = = = = = = l l blower tube>l _ _ _ _ O l l l l < blower tube l l / l l l l l l l l l l l l l l / l l l l l l Ash Trap>[ ] l_ _ _ _ _ _ l With the "X" support struts on 3 sides, the forth will be a horizontal piece to support the blower tube. The blower tube will stick out a little bit and then right angle. In theory this will keep the blower close enough that I can pump air into the fire without having to step away from the forge, allowing me to always keep an eye on the coals. The ash trap will probably be just a screw on cap, if I can't find something spring loaded. The measurements make the top of the forge at around knuckle high with my arms held loose at my sides making a loose fist (as if holding a hammer). The length and width of the forge though is still up in the air. I'm looking at a small push mower deck, so something about 24" diameter The blower will not be a hairdryer but instead a hand cranked blower. As for the fire pot, I'm thinking of keeping the brake drum idea. Now my biggest concern is the piping used to connect the blower to the fire pot. My first thought was 2" stainless steel piping, or 2" black gas piping, but after checking around I'm not seeing anything that would work diameter wise. This will also be my first time welding so that will be a fun learning experience. Practice on scrap metal until I get the hang of it, then move onto welding the forge together. I will be getting the pieces for the forge a little at a time so, don't expect completed pictures quite yet. I just want to know if this a solid plan before making any purchases. So... this is basically my plan to get started. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  17. I am building a forge but I think buying a cast firepot assembly may be more functional in the long run. Do any of you know a good place to buy an inexpensive firepot assembly?
  18. Being that i am somewhat new to blacksmithing and only 18 years old i do not have a wealth of knowledge on Building a forges, but i and dying to upgrade from my current small charcoal forge. I am wondering why i do not see more plans for Brick forges, as i have recently purchased a couple of tons of bricks to build myself a more permanent and higher quality forge. If anyone has plans for a simple brick forge i would love to see them. Keep in mind that i have never done any real masonry work, but i learn quite quickly. Im looking to build something similar to this,but with only one work station. Any help is appreciated Thanks, -Nick
  19. so after being on this site for awhile and looking through posts and posting a decent amount myself and talking about building a low budget brake drum coal/charcol forge here is what i have so far, i got the drum from the scrap bin at the auto parts store before they canned me, the pipe i found spelunking in my dads old and very very tired garage, its 2.5 inch diameter pipe which is perfect because that was the size of the hub hole on the drum, the plate welded to the drum is 1/4 steel, i stick welded the wheel stud holes to the backing plate and then stick welded the pipe to the plate, which was probably the hardest part so far( i miss the tig welder i used when i was taking classes) reading through the threads i ran across several that were discussing wooden forges so that is what i decided to make since i have plenty of lumber laying around, i cut four pieces of 2x5.5" and sanded them down then stained what i intend to be the outside and beings as i am in washington and it isnt exactly optimal staining conditions the wood is sitting in the garage to cure then i will assemble it. now comes to my questions, would it be a good idea to stain the entire thing then coat it in polyurethane to protect it against the weather or would that be a rather large fire hazard? im going to fill the main box of the forge with sand so i will get good spacing from the wood that way, as far as a blower i havent decided yet what i will use. Ideas and criticisim are both welcomed gratefully, oh and i almost forgot, would it be a good idea to line the forge with refractory cement to shrink the area the charcol is going to sit in? i was thinking of an upside down funnel style. thank you everyone for your time.
  20. So first off let me say how much I appreciate this forum. I'm very much a newbie smith, but no stranger to fabrication and metalwork. That said I am getting ready to dive head first into this fun little rabbit hole. I'm in the process of laying out and building a new outdoor workspace for the forge and such but I wanted to get some input from you knowledgeable oldsters... My space is limited as are the funds. What I do have is access to all manner of kegs, bottles, racks, 55gal drums, and all the various parts to build a shell. I even have a big pile of nice hard fire bricks that are in good shape. I can easily weld the frame, and there are some really great plans on here and elsewhere. I've even got the skill and ability to plumb gas lines. My question is should I go propane or coal if I'm only going to have ONE forge. My only source of coal is about a 2 hour round trip. I do have a truck I can haul it in, but storage and such are a factor. I can get a propane tank filled right down the street... Primarily the stuff I'm going to be working will be fairly small, but I don't like the idea of being so limited like one of the coffee can style forges since I do "artsy" stuff that is often larger or at least more cumbersome. I can see the appeal of a nicer large coal guy and a little can forge for quick small stuff but I am REALLY space limited and that would require both propane and coal storage... I'm just trying to find that happy medium of space and fuel consumption. I realize a lot of that will be determined by what I'm doing on any given day, but you can fit a bigger chunk of metal on an open coal fire than in a closed box. Also building a gas forge using my hard fire bricks will make it a total gas hog... Meaning my up front costs will be much higher due to refractory materials and extra insulation. I know you can make your own refractory, but as I've got no knowledge there I'm reluctant. I'm also of the "you build it once, correctly" school of thought, so don't want to deal with it all cracking up after a year or two of use. If I'm going to go gas I'll spend the extra money to get the good stuff, but that will have to come out of something else I really want... Although the wife would be pretty happy if I used those bricks for a pizza oven instead... I'd also like to eventually do a bit of Al and copper smelting so there is the need to be able to put in a crucible (which also rules out anything coffee can sized). Again, coal versus propane... Which is better there? I'm taking a basic smithing course at the John C. Campbell folk school in May so I'm in no hurry to do anything big. I'm a firm believer in safety and learning from someone with experience, esp as far as the smelting and casting go. There is a great group of artists here I can tap into once I get that far, so don't worry about me pouring any hot metals about without some serious schooling beforehand. I've read all through the forum here and loved everyone's different setups. They are all quite inspirational. I'm sure once I take some classes my thoughts will change even more, but I just wanted to see what you all thought given what I'm working with. I thought a good debate might get some thoughts flowing...
  21. Hello all, I live near Los Angeles, CA, and I was wondering if there's a good supplier of bituminous coal, ideally within a few hours drive, but I'd have it shipped if need be. And if you don't know, is there some directory or list I could find suppliers in?
  22. Every single "Coal forge upkeep" article i have read says to keep the coal damp. That's it. I need to know, how damp is damp? all the way through? On top of the fire? distance? etc etc. I am using Bituminous coal BTW. thanks in advance!
  23. The small coal pile at the place I was working this week.
  24. Hi there. Some people have tried asking about coal in southern alberta. I know this because I have come across threads while searching for myself. You will need to get in contact with Amy at the stampede grounds agricultural centre. $20 a bag but there are some limitations as to how much or little one can procure at one time. Anyways. This is what I have found. Amy Osborn Agriculture Programming Coordinator Calgary Stampede T 403.261.9159 F 403.262.3067 aosborn@calgarystampede.com
  25. Nobody Special


    Just some coal. Small bitumous, and some anthracite heating coal..
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