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  1. I was wondering if anyone on here knew where to get coal in northern wisonsin. I have some coal that I bought from a friend and I know where he got it but thats around 100 miles away from me and thats a long ways. I know the wausau power plant uses coal was wondering if people knew if they sold some? Any idea are welcome too Im just trying to stay closer to Merrill WI than 100 miles.
  2. I'm long winded. I'd rather say too much than too little.. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the more important things I'll emphasize in bold Nothing can replace learning how to manage a coal fire in person from someone of experience. That said some folks may not have that opportunity. When I started using coal in my forge I wasted a lot of time, energy and fuel. I've learned things from trial and error, but even more from places like this. Proper fire management is one of the most basic skills anyone wanting to learn blacksmithing should know. I’ve had to teach myself most of these skills but I’ve by no means done it without the advice of others. It's not terribly complicated, and it may be common sense to many people. I've always been a visual learner and a little dense so I'm doing this the way I'd have liked to have seen it presented to me. I haven't seen a good step-by-step pictorial on such a simple subject so hopefully it'll be helpful. Perhaps it'll serves as a jumping off point for those just beginning and a nudge in the right direction to those struggling. As a point of reference, not a suggestion: my fire pot is about 14"x10" and just over 3" deep. Some ideas for lighting the fire are newspaper, drier lent, dried sticks, chopped kindling, natural charcoal, wood shavings, pine cones, birch bark and dried leaves. (anything flammable and lightweight can be sent aloft while on fire, always be aware) I don't see a need to buy commercial fire-starters, but if you're somewhere urban or in the midst of a winter-wonderland they're an option.. I’ve tried several ways to start a fire. My favorite method is simply a sheet of news paper and charcoal. They produce a clean fire quickly. Building a separate wood fire to steal live coals from before the work day starts isn't a bad idea and the chard wood can be used to start your next fire easily. I don't recommend using accelerants because they're misleading. It's a waste of time to start a fire only to realize that the only thing burning was lighter fluid and it's gone out before anything else was lit. Here you can see a close up of coal, coke, and charcoal (made of bamboo) respectively. Not all coal is the same and I will not go into the different types, but this is a bituminous coal that was bought locally from an unknown vein. It had both large chunks and lots of fines. Large chunks can be placed on or near a fire and they'll break up easily as they heat. Fines can be lightly moistened to form a slurry mixed with slightly coked coal it'll heat up and bond together to form a brittle coke less suited for use at a later time. I prefer to do this at the beginning of a day not the end. When using an electric blower controlling the air flow is helpful. I use a shop vac directed to a T fitting. On the side of the fitting, opposite from the opening directed toward the forge, I’ve fitted a ball valve to allow excess air to be channelled to a side draft style hood/chimney. Additional air can be vented from the ash dump by sliding it open a bit. An open ash dump may also provide enough draft alone to allow a coal fire to coke up. Before a new day’s hearth can be lit: One must sift the ashes, removing occasional bits of clinker. I toss the coke into an empty bucket and more questionable sifted shovels go into a bucket of water. (<-This tip was actualy given by ThomasPowers) The coke floats, and leftover ash, clinker or coal sinks. Use a dust mask if you value your lungs. I first make a ring of coke at the bottom of the firepot. Some charcoal is present. A little more charcoal is added. Charcoal or dried wood tender will ignite much easier than coke/coal. If wood is used do so sparingly. I don’t know that you can’t weld in a fire with burning wood, but I do know it takes up hearth space and doesn’t burn as hot as the coked coal will. A single sheet of newspaper is lit and placed in the center of the hearth. Many people will use several of paper or they ball up coke/coal fines into many sheets of paper. If you've had trouble try it; this is what works for me. Some charcoal is quickly added while the air supply is on very low. Just enough to catch fire before the paper burns out. The kindling or charcoal only needs to burn long enough for the coke to catch. Coal is more difficult to ignite than coke. If building your first fire use more kindling and expect to wait a little while before forging so the coal can coke. The key from here is not suffocating the fire. The blower is still on but you may find too much air causes smouldering kindling that won’t catch. Once again charcoal or even charred wood is much more forgiving. This bamboo charcoal burns hot but quickly. I use it to supplement my coal more than primary forging, so I added more than necessary. I wouldn't use as much wood kindling. Some coked coal is added. When you are sure the coke has caught pile more on. The blower is blowing lightly. If you used kindling you can even carefully pull out any burning wood and seal it in an airtight container, or extinguish it some other way. This will make for an easier fire next time. Remember that floating coke, now is a perfect time to layer it on. This will buy the coal a little time to cook. You may increase the air some, but you don’t need a lot of air yet, but you can increase it enough to keep things going. Pile your wet coal around the center of the hearth/firepot. I snapped this picture right after the wet coke lit, just before cutting the blower off. A handful of mostly uncoked wet coal from the bottom of the water bucket was then placed on top. Then a small scoop of wet coal was added. (This picture didn’t turn out well and I failed to notice at the time.) The coal has heated up around the hearth and begun to melt and stick together as it’s coking. You can make a small entrance with your rake. Within this cave you’ll be able to keep an eye on your steel and see the color of it while still surrounding it with heat from almost every direction. The fire pot is about 3 inches deep and the mound is at least 5-6 inches above the forge table. Note – the fire is about at welding temperature. This is the fire after welding. You can see it’s beginning to burn hollow– there isn’t enough burning coke inside the cave. While enough fuel is present inside this cave to work, use less air and water to allow coking to catch up. A hollow fire is a result of not enough coal coking because you’re keeping it too wet, or too much air being introduced. This will cool your steel and create scale. I use a ladle that’s easily held with my tongs to avoid steam. I can’t tell you when exactly you need to sprinkle the fire and surrounding coal with water, but the idea is to keep the fire from migrating out of the firepot. Or whenever you see large sooty flames from green coal. If the perimeter of the firepot becomes well coked it may need to be watered until it’s time to be slid inwards. Occasionally, after the blower is stopped, the coking coal atop the fire will ignite. Then go out as soon as the blower is cut on again. For this type of fire that is a good sign to add more coal to coke. I assume this happens because the burning coke just below the top of the mound is consuming excess atmosphere from around the fire and the coal on the top of the mound is coked well enough to require lots of oxigen to stay ignited. Heat cokes coal. Coal will burn, and it’ll stay aflame simply from atmospheric air. Coke needs more air introduced or blown towards it to stay lit. I know of no reason to burn coal other than to create a supply of coke and help maintain the shape of certain types of fire. This sort of fire when well maintained can provide an excess of coked coal, which is a good thing as you explore other types of fires. It’s time to sprinkle some water on the fire. After a little water it's time to add more fuel. If heat becomes a problem, then clinker build up could be the source. Clinker can be prevented from blocking the air orifice by firepot design, installed clinker breakers or simply by pulling it all out in one large sticky clump with your fire rake. To the left you can see clinker mixed with flux from lots of welding. The middle and right are two different types of clinker from separate coal sources. This is just one style of fire; I’ve found a cave style fire like this useful to heat several inches of steel. To give you an idea: In this particular fire I forged and welded a small heart shaped hook out of about 6" of half-inch square bar and a 12" knife with a seven-inch blade. If you're just getting into blacksmithing I highly recommend "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims, that is were I was introduced to this type of fire. I am by no means an expert. I'm presenting this as an educational post. But it's also a chance for me to find out from the rest of you how I may improve, or any misconceptions I may have. Working odd bends and unusual shapes or sizes without destroying a coal fire is still a challenge for me. It’s easier in a well coked open fire. Coke has to be held in place with a rake when steel is inserted or removed. Often it'll still have to be raked back or more added. Then time must be spent waiting for the fire to get back up to temperature if glowing coke is displaced. It's just something you have to get a feel for with experience. These days one may never even use a coal forge. To me it's an intrinsic part of the blacksmith experience worth at least being familiar with and at times even more practical than some modern heat sources.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. Hello IFI, I've been passing through this forum for quite some time and as I just fired my first home built forge I though it time to join. Here's the build out list: Brake Disc, 16x30 metal cart, Buffalo blower, 2 inch piping for tuyere, clay, fire brick, and regular brick. sheet metal. I clayed the entire cart around the disc under the bricks, this leveled things out for the brick mostly, but also added a nice added layer of thermal protection to the cheap cart metal. Fire brick is cut around the disc face, giving me a pot 3.5 inches deep and 7 inches wide. Picked up the blower for a steal on auction, ugly on the outside but beautiful on the inside, once I cleaned it out and re-lubed it turns like brand new. Currently I've got a 2x4 and metal straps holding it rigid with the piping but plan to swap that for some metal brackets in the future, it was just all I had laying around at the time. Lastly I added the simple metal surround for wind protection plus the added benefit of being able to pile extra fuel up that back wall in the corners. Fired for the first time Sunday with some nice lump charcoal, wally world was having a sale so why not... As it was over 100 degrees out I mostly just beat up some rebar I had laying around before shutting things down, test firing was a huge success. I noticed a few odd hot spots underneath the cart and decided to clay in the interior of the pot as well which I should have done it to begin with anyways, but that should take care of my errant heat. We'll see in a few days when I have time to light it up again. Outside of heating things up with a torch and beating them until they submit to my will around the homestead I've only ever worked steel on a lathe and that was a few (read 20) years ago. I've done some forging of specialty tools made out of soft metals like copper and bronze in the distant past as well but never what I would call blacksmithing of anything. I've been wanting to get into this side of things for quite awhile so I'm excited about this forge build and can't wait to see how ugly my first projects turn out. Ha ha. Attaching some pics for your pleasure or verbal destruction, whichever your bent.
  7. Hello everyone out there. I am from Indian River Michigan. I have been reading a bunch of the post, and trying to figure everything out. Maybe I just have not found the right post yet to answer my question. Or I am just so new idk what I am talking about yet. I am trying to figure out the difference between the hard fuels used in a forge. I am looking at building a variation of a JABOD forge and trying to go cheap as possible, but trying to figure out fuel now. I think I know two of them. Charcoal: made from burning/drying out wood? Coal: is dug up from the earth Coke: I have no idea. Is this something you can make? BBQ coal: something you don’t want to use for forging. Why is that? if there is a post out there that explains all this all ready I have not found it and I will be more than happy to go there and read it all just need to know we’re it is at.
  8. Hello everyone out there. I have been looking around this site on and off for a while now. I am relatively new to forging and trying to get a forge up and going. I tried a coffee can forge with a Walmart special propane torch. It does not get hot enough to even get the metal workable. So I have decided to make a coal forge out of a old propane grill. I have been seeing a lot about JABOD forges and I am thinking that is the way I wan to go. What should I know about making one. And any other suggestions or tips I should know. Any help is greatly appreciative. I am mainly looking to make knives. May move up to bigger stuff later.
  9. I'm looking for some help identifying this forge I recently picked up. Instead of a hand crank, it uses a lever/pump action to move the blower. It's definitely been repaired on top at some point over the years as it looks like the pan probably rusted through. Everything else is in original shape and works great, although the legs are pretty wobbly at this point. Should I restore them and make it usable again or leave it as-is and sell it to someone who needs a decoration? The hand crank mechanism works, ie. it blows a bit of air, but it's a lot more work than turning a hand powered version, even one without a flywheel. Just seems very over complicated and inefficient, which is why I'm wondering if it's not somehow "special." I can't find any identifying marks anywhere except for a 526 and 527 on either side of the tuyere. I hadn't ever seen anything like it and figured it had to be worth something!
  10. 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!
  11. Does anyone have any information about this item or it’s value. I’m sorry for the horrible picture & the tiller the way. It was my grandpa’s. Located in Des Moines, Iowa. I appreciate your help-tyi!
  12. The following is a quick summery of the 55 Forge. More in depth design and discussion can be found on the site. The original 55 Forge was bottom blast. The fire shown is a little shallow, so if there is a question, just add more fuel. The tuyere was a piece of auto exhaust pipe with 1/4 inch holes to accept 1/4 inch round bar in a X pattern to form a grate. Lots of open room for air to move up and into the bottom of the fire. The next test modification was to put a brake drum into the 55 forge as a fire pot. You can see the cone shape to the ash and the rim of the fire pot. The bricks were added to give the fire more depth for the project at hand. Ash will build up to the top of the tuyere in the bottom blast in a fire or two. There is a T configuration below the bottom of the forge that is not shown. The T section is close to the bottom of the forge and the down pipe is 12 to 18 inches long (what ever you have on hand). Clinker is not really a problem due to the size of the tuyere. Just let the fire idle for a minute or two and the clinker will solid up and can be hooked out. Ash will at times fill the down pipe and need cleaned out. I have run this forge using coal dust or breeze. Once the fuel starts to coke ( a couple of minutes into the fire ) there is very little fuel that falls into the down pipe. The next modification was to make the 55 Forge a side blast forge. Just cut a slice in the side of the wall and add an air pipe. The depth of the slice was to the top of a house brick laid on its side. It was available. The fire shown is a little shallow, so if there is a question, just add more fuel. I like this design as it is so simple to build and works. That is an aluminum clothes dryer vent pipe being used to transfer air from the blower to the forge. With the side blast version the ash and any clinker builds up under the fire. On either 55 forge, the cut edges of the metal as they are sharp. You can roll them over, or cut a 2 inch piece of metal from the parent drum, fold it in half long ways, and place it over the cut edge of the metal pan. The 55 forge was developed so that any one in any third world country could have a forge with little or no cost. The forge runs on solid fuel, coal, coke, wood, charcoal, lumbar, pallets, etc. As has been stated many times before, Fuel does not make the fire hot, Air makes the fire hot. If there is a question about how hot, then add more fuel and more air. It can and has reached welding heat. It has also melted the metal if you do not pay attention to what your doing. ( Do not ask how I know this as I was not paying attention.) The 55 Forge is a great design that is simple and works. It is easily modified to adjust the size of the fire pot, the depth of the fire pot, different tuyere configurations, and the list goes on and on. Folks thought a brake drum was needed, so I tried both a brake drum and rotor. Each has advantages and disadvantages and in the end were not required. It simply adds a level of complexity to the system and overcomplicates simple. The fun part of the 55 Forge is make one, use it, modify it as you wish. When you finish there is another 55 Forge on the other end of the drum as a spare. The label on a drum is NOT accurate, it only means that is what the drum contained just before the label was applied. I found a empty drum at a auto repair shop. The label said 5W30 motor oil with a brand I immediately recognized. Somehow the top of the drum was hooved or domed a bit. When I removed the bung plug from the bung hole there was release of pressure and an overpowering aroma of gasoline and other very volatile materials. I ask the shop manager about the drum and he said "Oh that was the one they used for racing fuel last weekend." ALWAYS choose a drum that you can pronounce what it contained before you brought it home. NEVER use anything that throws off heat or sparks when you open a closed container or drum. If in doubt, have someone else cut the drum in half while you go get a burger and fries for the both of you for lunch. The 55 Forge is just a way to get you started quickly, so you can play in the fire while you research and plan on what your second forge design will look like.
  13. What's the best coal to use. I am in Australia and heard that Jarrah was great and left nothing behind ?
  14. I've been thinking quite a bit about ways to minimize exposure to coal smoke. Even when my chimney is working well, the smoke sometimes will still linger around in a cloud (the forge is outdoors), resulting in me breathing some in. I'd also rather NOT have a nasty cloud in the backyard, given the choice. Here's my idea, as I imagine it working in a perfect world: Since my chimney is just a side draft from a tall piece of stovepipe, I could cut out a section and make a small hinged door somewhere in the middle of the chimney, and place a grate inside the pipe. Then, before lighting the coal in the forge, I could start a small wood fire on the grate in the middle of the chimney, and maintain it for the duration that I use the forge. Not only would this help with maintaining a strong draft, it would also burn off all the coal smoke that went up the chimney. Hopefully I explained that well enough to get the main points across. Now the questions: Has anyone tried anything similar to this? Would the draft of the chimney make it difficult to keep the small wood fire going? How "much" heat does it take to ignite coal smoke? Would just a small electric arc be sufficient? What about a candle? Perhaps some testing is in order. Would this be dangerous to try? I'm really interested to hear peoples thoughts about this. Thanks!
  15. So I have a question as to the cost of coal. Like many I bought anthracite from TSC. During my quest for a solid fuel, my son found a place in Western Missouri called Continental coal company. He said he called them and it was $65 a ton. Then he couldn't find their number. My local TSC doesn't stock either. No anthracite, or coal of any kind. The stuff I got, I got while out of town visiting family. Finally I located the phone number (according to Google) for them and called. The number listed was their fax machine. After a bit of searching I located another phone number and called it. (I suggested an edit with Google that's in review) The lady answered by saying "Continental". Knowing I finally got the right number I asked if they sell to the public and she said I needed to talk to a gentleman named Chris and gave me his number. I called Chris and asked the same question. Yes they sell to the public at $65 a ton. No minimum. He said he has people come in and buy a tote full for forging with and some that being in trailers. He said it is bituminous, about 11k btu and I think he said size "0"...? Still not sure if I heard the size correct. So here's my question, go or no go? Btw, I have the phone number. IF I'M ALLOWED to post it, I will. I'll wait on admin or Glenn to give me the ok for that.
  16. I managed to get a 55 gallon drum this week that used to have hydraulic fluid in it. I was also able to get 2 different size brake rotors. I started by overflowing it with a garden hose since I could tell there was some fluid left in there. I would rather have water on the shop floor than hydro fluid. Less chance of busting my rear from sliding around. I then cut the front open. Used my plasma cutter to Cut the bottom using a smaller brake rotor as a template. Flipped it over cut a slightly larger hole in the top using a larger rotor as the template Put the large rotor in the bottom hole. It sets perfect in the smaller hole with the flange sitting on the drum floor. Next I built a fire the boy scouts would be proud of. looks worse than what it was. That's just the hydraulic fluid and paint burning of the outside of the drum. After it settled down, I cut a V in the front so I could rest my work piece on and opened it up a bit along the top of the front opening. Since it was all cardboard and paper in there burning and dinner was ready I let it burn out and called it a night.
  17. Anyone know how I could make a Cinder-block coal forge?
  18. Hi, I'm fairly new to blacksmithing and I don't know where I went wrong, but today I broke my blade. I was flattening the handle of a drop forged wrench, and I put it in the forge. It's bituminous coal and I use a hair dryer attached to a pipe as an air source. It gets the metal orange-white hot. I took it out after 5-6 minutes and I noticed a chip out of the blade, it was the spine so I dismissed it. But as I started pounding, a crack appeared that ran next to the chip from the spine to the side that the edge was going to be on. I don't know where I went wrong, but I have a few therioes. The first is that, since I didn't brush the blade each time before I pounded, that I pushed some of those chips that fly off into the blade. Another theory is that I left it in the forge for too long and it got too soft. A third is that, instead of just pounding it into a blade shape and then trying to get it longer, I should've pounded it into a long, rectangular shape, like a piece of barstock looks, then formed the blade shape. Sorry for such a long post, I am just angry that I broke my blade and I dont know why it happened, and I don't want to do it again. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks!
  19. So basically, I built this forge out of an old aluminum grill top. My hopes were to use this as a small coal forge for bladesmithing. My question is, will the aluminum shell be able to withstand these temperatures with proper insulation? The shell is approximately 28" wide, 20" long and 8" deep. Essentially, I did a 3 inch layer of pea gravel on the bottom, around a black steel air intake. I used a mound of foundation sand for the pit, and filled in the empty space with a clay top soil. I'm pretty confident that this will be sufficient insulation on the sides/bottom, however I am concerned about the lip of the shell conducting heat. It is slightly raised above the pit and is as close as 8" in parts. I have included a picture of the set up. This is my first forge and I would love some experienced advice. Thanks in advance.
  20. Well I recently finished up my third forge and thought I'd share the build with you all as I think it turned out pretty well. Sorry about all the pics, but everybody like pics right!?!? Back in about 2007, I built a real nice propane gas forge for my very first forge, and while it worked well, I quickly realized that I needed something that could handle a wider piece. So about a year later, I ended up making a simple coal forge from a wheelbarrow tub and a clothes dryer blower. I figured I'd make something simple, quick and cheap... then when I get more experience and could figure out exactly what I wanted in a forge, I could build one specifically to suit my needs. Well I finally went and did it, and I took pictures too! ... Lots and lots of pictures... To reminisce... here is a picture of my first gas forge, and also my simple wheelbarrow forge. Now, let's get on with the build! I've always considered the the firepot to be the heart of the forge, so that's what I started with. I have a CNC plasma cutting table so I drew up the firepot in Corel Draw, then cut out the pieces from 1/4" A36 HR steel and welded it up. Then I drew up an easy to replace "grate plate" for the bottom of the firpot. I was going to just weld in some bars for the grate, but thought I could easily cut a new one when it gets burnt out, and just drop it in place like this. The extra thickness will help the firpot last longer as well. Next I drew up the floor pan and cut it out from 3/16" steel, then drew up the four sides, cut them out, and welded them to the floor pan. Then I welded on some legs from 2X2 square tubing, welded some feet on them, and added some wheels on the back legs. The finished floor pan height is 32". I tore apart my wheelbarrow forge and used the blower, tuyere, and ash dump from it since it would save time, and it already worked great. I do wish the ash dump was deeper, but I can live with emptying it more often. I also welded on some bracing straps to mount the blower directly to the tuyere. I was going to drill and tap some holes in the bottom of the firepot, but I couldn't find my tap and die set, so I figured out which position I wanted the tuyere, drilled some matching holes in the firepot and the flange, then cut the heads off some 3/8" bolts and welded them in place to use as studs instead. I used blue tape to hold the studs upward in place while I plug welded them from the bottom inside of the firepot. Worked great! Here you can see a close up of them bolted together, a complete shot of my firepot/tuyere/blower/ash dump assembly, and finally with it installed under the forge body. I drew and cut out a piece of 14 guage steel for an air gate, then welded a handle and a stop to it. CNC plasma tables sure are handy! I decided to weld on some bars to hold my tongs, shovel, rake, etc... from 3/8" X 1" bar stock. I put them on three sides since I wanted the versability to be able to use it in lots of orientations. I have these openings on all four sides so I can get longer stock, low into the sweet spot if I need to, but I still wanted to be able to close the openings if I'm not using them so coal won't spill out. (also... the opening on the one end farthest from the firepot is deeper and flush with the floor pan in case I ever want to clean out the forge by sweeping rather than tipping it over) So to close them, I made some sliding "coal gates" that can be partially or fully slid out of the way, or even flipped to the outside when I want to open them. All four of the coal gates are identical for ease of replacement. Then I welded in some cord hangers to hold the 20' power cable. I couldn't decide on where to mount the power switch since I wasn't sure which of the 3 sides I would be using as the front, so I decided to attach the switch to a movable mount that can attach to anywhere on the forge body. I also used flexible steel conduit to help protect the wires from heat. And here it is all finished up! I painted the firepot and floor pan hi temp black, but painted everything else industrial grey since that's what I paint all my home built tools in. I also made a removable support extension for long stock that can mount anywhere on the forge body, and also stores conveniently on any side when I'm not using it. It's exactly 24" long and 12" wide to double as a measuring tool if needed, plus I bolted on a piece of broken measuring tape to it, for smaller measurements. Can't wait to fire it up!
  21. This is my first post and I just started learning but found a good place to get coal if you don't mind a drive depending where you live. It's in xxxx, colorado. Probably a bit of a drive but their coal is $100 per ton, just call xxxxxxxxxxxx at xxx xxx xxxx. Follow their menu to purchasing and they will direct you to the person to buy through. I'm not sure what kind of coal they have as I haven't managed to pick any up yet. Once I do I will update everyone with more detail.
  22. Looking for somewhere I can get coal without the hassle of buying bags or shipping. Anyone have any leads? Thanks!
  23. Good morning all! I am new to smithing and new to this site. I am attempting to build a coal forge from some parts I have and want to get some feedback before I finish it. I had a metal cart and put in a truck hub into it. I notched out the sides to be able to put a longer piece in it in the future. At the Bottom, I plan to put a pipe feeding air with a tee in it and attach a blower to the end. The blower I want to put on a dimmer (not sure if this will work yet) so I can control the air flow. I already have the blower, just needing to buy the piping. Does this look like a good approach so far? What would you have done different? I left some room on the side of the pot to be able to put up some fire bricks to build a side/top if needed. Do I need to line the pot with anything? Thanks for the advice. Dave
  24. Hi All, I've just started out, and the supply of fuel that came with my forge is very close to running out.... Any Smiths in South Central/South East England that have a good supplier?? I can't seem to find anything!!! Sorry if this has been asked before!! James.
  25. Ok so I built a shop recently for blacksmithing. I needed to make a chimney set up so I took an old water pressure tank and used it as the hood. I have 6" chimney single wall going above the roof. The hood opening is 13" tall and about 14" wide. The hood is also resting on the forge. Anyway when I tried using it smoke did go up the chimney but some would puff out towards the top of the hood. The smoke buildup is not good and hard on my lungs. So my question is what am I doing wrong here? I did a little reading on threads and other websites about the chimney needing to be at least 10" or the hood needs to be lower. I can't make the hood lower without cutting more of the tank off because it is resting on the forge. Or should I scrap the hood and buy a professionally made one with 10" chimney?
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