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Found 93 results

  1. I'm a hobby level smith in North Georgia, with a small brake disc forge I made by modifying a lawnmower. It works great, but I have trouble getting coal. The closest blacksmith coal, (pea size anthracite) takes around a 3 hour trip, and is around 20 bucks for a fifty lb sack. Or I can go 25 minutes away and get a 40 lb bag of heating coal (also anthracite) for less than 7 bucks. First thing I learned about lighting coal, is that it's hard as all get out to light heating coal and keep it going. So, I usually end up buying the heating stuff and busting it up with a hammer and a boulder. Grant you, I've learned tricks to get faster, but this sucks. I've played with making charcoal, but it's time intensive, and burns up a lot more quickly (although I love to use it to start the fire). I've made gas burners, (mostly for casting) but had trouble getting past 2200 degrees. What do you do? Does the bigger stuff work for you?
  2. I just recently built a brake rotor forge. Can I use coal in it even if I don't have a clinker breaker? would it be a problem if I don't have one? I attached a picture of my fire pot.
  3. I figured I'd go ahead and show my progress with my forge and let people make suggestions or critiques. I am open to any and all opinions... and don't worry, I don't get XXXX hurt easily. Firstly... just because the title says $0.00 doesn't mean I am insistant on not spending any money to build it, just that I haven't had to yet. I do need to keep it as cheap as I can, but if I end up needing to buy something I will. So far I've put my firepot and piping togethether, cut a hole in the 4' x 8' metal table I had sitting unused out in the shed and have gathered the materials I intend to build my anvil 'stand' (a wood block made from nine 4"x4" square posts bolted and strapped together on end.). I still need to come up with a hood and flue. Thinking of using the inner shell of an old gas oven for the sides and back. Would cut a pass-through hole in the back for long stock. Anyway, here are the pictures. (The 'lid' is an old plow disc. It fits over the brake drum perfectly... 1/4" overhang all around.)
  4. I have a question for all of you experienced blacksmiths, my brother has been experimenting with forging using a firepit and bricks as a makeshift forge. He asked me if i would like to come out and help make a knife with him out of a railroad spike. Long story short i got hooked on blacksmithing. Anyway's we have recently required a nice metal tank and were thinking about making it into a better forge than the fire pit that we have been working out of. We are thinking of cutting the top half of the tank off and using the bottom half as our new forge. My question is to prevent the coal from heating through the metal at its high temps, would lining the sides using wood ash as a refractory be sufficient enough to run a safe forge to make knives in? Or do i need to coat it in something else or nothing at all? Hope that makes sense and thanks!
  5. Im finally done building my shop and wanna put a permanent forge in it but dont wanna spend a ton of money but dont want one that looks like u set it on top of a bar stool and taped it together.I need some ideas and im new to blacksmithing. Any help would be great. thanks
  6. After some failed attempts at trying my hand at Google-fu I've come up with nothing so I'll just ask, sorry if it's a repost.. :lol: Just picked up my first portable forge with a champion blower tonight after playing around with my old brake drum setup and I'd like to try my hand at using coal as a fuel. I've been using Cowboy charcoal along with my own when I get the wood to make it and while searching I noticed that they sell both bags of coal and bags of coke. Knowing that coke is the bi-product of burning the impurities out of coal, is there any advantage to buying straight coke vs buying the same weight in coal and coking it myself? I've never lit a coal fire myself or forged with it so I'm wanting to give it a shot and figured I'd consult a few experts on the matter before making my purchase. Thanks in advance, just in my time lurking here I've learned tons of little tips and tricks that has saved me a lot of headaches not having to figure out on my own!
  7. hello there. just started in blacksmithing and i am trying to order coal for the forge, because i am from Cyprus the price of coal is very expensive here because there is only one supplier in my area with no competition so he sets the price to one euro per kg so i thought it will be a better choice to order online a tone or two tones of coal from the supplier asked me some questions which i do not have the knowledge to answer. the questions are: 1. coal fixed carbon content? 2. Sulphur Content? 3. Volatile Matter? 4. Ash Content? 5. Size? and which one is best to get, Calcined Coal ,Coal,Anthracite Coal? can someone help me answer these questions? any help would be appreciated. thanks in advance.
  8. Hey guys, now I finally installed the smoke flue I ordered. It is not yet 100% finished, cause it needs to be stabilized, the hole in the roof has to be made tight and the flue needs a roof. But it already does its job great! Thank you again for your good advise! Here are a few pics of the installation: If you want to built a similar installation and need some advise feel free to ask! - Daniel
  9. 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.
  10. Hey Folks, today I got two bags from a company called "PPS Stade" located in the near of Hamburg Germany. One bag bituminous coal from Sweden and one bag blacksmith coke. Of course I inspected the coal and the coke by taking one glass of each and look through it. The coal is very clean and has no "stuff" in it. But the one glass of coke contained three stones, one white one (I think quartz) with black dots and one looking like flint stone and one that looks kind of like basalt. Of course the stones originally appeared black from the dust but I felt that they are different from the coke and washed them. My question now is whether that is normal and acceptable or whether I will have to raise a complaint against the coal supplier where I bought the stuff? I mean I actually paid money for stones that will have no heating function but clock up my forge... Here are some pictures: Thak you for your advise in anticipation! - Daniel
  11. Hello, all, I'm a new blacksmith, and since I'm probably wasting a lot of energy using poor form with the hammer, I get tired out quickly. After 15 or 30 minutes of forging, I'm tired. As a result, I probably spend more time starting a fire than actually using the fire. So my question is, what is the best way to put the coke/coal fire out, in order to save as much fuel as possible, and to be safest, etc.? Should I dump a bunch of water on it? Will it go out if I spread out the "duck's nest" center of the fire, so the coke is all spread apart and mixed in with the raw coal? Should I try to smother it by covering it with something big and metallic that will deprive it of oxygen and chill the fire by soaking up/conducting away its heat? If it matters, I'm using a tire/wheel forge that I made myself. And it's kind of tricky to separate the "firebox" part from the "pile of coal" that surrounds it, if that makes any sense (I'll try to take and post a pic later if that helps). Thanks for any advice.
  12. Hey Guys, I've been lurking here for awhile and finally decided to sign up after I bought a forge this weekend. While I have built a few in the past years, I couldn't pass up this offer, and wanted to share it with you guys. This is the Forge, it is a Champion Blower and Forge from Livingston PA patented in 1902. The forge and blower are both in great shape. I payed $200 for it, granted I could have built 3 more forges for the same cost, But like I said I couldn't pass up this piece of history. Please let me know what you guys think and if you have any insight of the history of this types of forges I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it. Thanks, Sakadt
  13. I new in the smithing world and am looking for a coal supplier somewhere in south central British Columbia. Does anyone have any hints? Any help would be great as for my luck so far has been nil.
  14. Does anyone know of a coal or coke source in West Texas specifically Lubbock? I have looked high and low, checked the yellow pages, talked to the local farriers and farm supply stores and can not find anything. I am beginning to think I will either have to use charcoal, corn, or have it shipped in.
  15. I'm looking at building a forge for a combination of general purpose work and for tempering long items such as swords. I've decided on using an electric blower for the air supply, and already know to use radial/centrifugal type blowers. I've done a bit of searching and have come across information stating to use a blower with a flow rate of about 150-400 cfm, and suitable for anywhere from 1.5 to 6 inches of static pressure. My first question is: Is this information accurate? To design the forge for general purpose work, would it be easiest to design a forge with long firepot with multiple tuyere "branches" going to separate grates in the bottom of the firepot, or perhaps make one long grate with an air gate just underneath that could slide out to adjust the amount and size of the air blast? Perhaps there are better ideas than this that I couldn't find? With the multiple branches, an air gate on each branch could control the size of the blast, but I'm afraid of uneven heating causing problems for hardening. The final problem is how much air flow will all this require. Going from what was stated before, for a typical forge an average of 250 cfm could be a basic reference point. With 4 tuyere "branches" or the equivalent thereof, the needed cfm would be more around 1000. Does this sound correct, and if there is any information I missed or anyone has a better idea please let me know!
  16. greetings everbody im going to be making a trip to the scrap yard this summer here in MN and im going to look for somethings to make a new forge anyone got any ideas as to what i should look for for the firepot, the table and the tool holders. if anyone could give me some pictures to give me an idea it would be greatly apreiciated. :D
  17. Howdy yall, Got another question for the ol' I forge Iron. I have been blacksmithing about a year and I am looking for a fire pot; either to make one or buy one. I would like any ideas, plans and or places to buy one. If yall got any ideas I would like to hear them. Right now I'm using a break drum. It is doing fine but if I have a piece too long it won't fit into the forge. So I have to use gas, well I don't like gas (sorry). So again if you have any ideas or plans PLEASE tell them to me. As always thanks. Steven The Blacksmith This is what the forge looks like.
  18. I got ahold of some pretty rough coal, it finally rained and I started the forge with a sheet of newspapaer as usual, about 15 minutes after the yellow and green smoke dissapeared, and the fire burned down enough, I put a rail road spike in the fire to heat. When I went to take the spike out, the bloomin' thing stuck to my tongs! To my absolute surprise, the spike and my tongs were stuck together with a clinker. I am now looking into ordering a 1/2 ton of coal. Best places to get coal, shoot...