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  1. I made charcoal. On Tuesday night my lady and I made a little fire while we had our video call with the Community Group crew. I filled a green bean can with some thicker sticks, then pressed it into the fire open side down. We built the fire around it. When we were ready to go inside for the evening, I spread the fire out, but left the can in place. This morning, I dumped the contents of the can onto this old pan. The result is black, glassy, and sounds crispy. There is no un-pyrolized wood in the center of the sticks. Success! Next step: try this again, but with a piece of s
  2. After a year using a JABOD forge (using charcoal), I decided to solidify make a steel fire pot. I was tired of having to reform the sides because they'd crumble. So, inspired by the fire pot that Charles R. Stevens showed us in a different topic, I made my own. I work mostly on small items (hooks, leaves, etc.), so I wanted a shape that would conserve fuel as much as possible. This is why I added a slope on the wall opposite the tuyere. A slightly more complex shape but the bottom is only 2" by 3", while the top is 5" by 10". Total height is 6". First I made a cardboard mockup t
  3. Hi, this is my first post, so I’m not quite sure if I’m doing this right... I’ve worked in a coal fire for a little over a year, but I’ve figured out that if I buy wood, turn it into charcoal, and use that instead, I can run the forge for 10X cheaper. I just tacked a plate with holes drilled into it on top of the grate of my coal firepot, (that I welded together myself; not cast iron,) and I’m now using that. I’ll build a side draft or Whitlox design (V shaped firepot) soon, however it works for now. I decided to buy a bit of hardwood lump charcoal from the store just to start with
  4. I recently used the pole saw and cut several big dead branches out of our oak trees in the front yard. My wife wanted them gone before Isaias got here so they weren't a hazard in the wind, so I had the opportunity to make some charcoal. I don't have a retort set up yet, but I was able to use a stainless steel HE washer drum to good effect. The holes in the side do such a good job of letting air in that the windward side was glowing red. I set it on an oak stump to avoid killing any grass, and I got around 2“ of charcoal from the top layer of the stump, too. The kids had fun helping me cu
  5. My Question (TLDR) - Whats the best method for Charcoal Forge Management and heat isolation in material? My Forge: Liam Hoffman inspired Firepot (5”x5” - 6” deep) with a tuyere and hair dryer blower. (See Pictures) Just started blacksmithing for the first time last week and giving my homemade forge its maiden voyage. With the design as it stands and just starting out I decided charcoal would be the easiest, accessible fuel for me. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed there’s a lot more smiths who either use propane or coal forges in comparison, info seems a little harder to come by lurki
  6. 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
  7. Has anyone tried making charcoal from leaves? I was thinking about it while working under my gargantuan silver maple on--you guessed it--clearing the gutters and deck. Initially it seemed far-fetched. The more I think about it, the more it seems plausible. You take a steel 55 gallon drum, pack it firmly with leaves, drill a couple holes for the gases to escape, and cook it over a fire. I imagine you'd be left with something similar to fines. I see moisture and low density/return rates being a problem. Likely very inefficient. Thoughts?
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Hello everyone, I've read through a lot of the beginner stuff and haven't seen this covered yet. I'm working on the "Weber grill forge" thing for my first forge and I was going to buy refractory, but then thought, "Hey, I work in a foundry. If the green sand can survive liquid iron, it should survive steel heating temperatures ok." The sand is bentonite bonded silica sand (with some extras) that I could obtain for free. I planned to wet it and slap it into the grill to keep it from burning through. Forge details: I plan on feeding it through the bottom of the grill with a hair
  11. 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
  12. Hey guys I just wanted to show y'all my newest forge I just built and tested. It works pretty good but still needs a few things before it's finished. I built it from a piece of tube iron I cut one side off of and I'm gonna put 2 slits in that side so I can slide it down on one end to keep the fuel source in and will make it adjustable for smaller projects. I may add a spot on top of one of the sides to hold the charcoal before it goes into the fire. I still gotta add legs too and I am gonna add a bleeder valve to make the air flow adjustable with a hole in the side of the tuyere that I can put
  13. Hey everyone! I built my first forge ever yesterday out of some bricks in an old grill. I’m using a black iron pipe and a hair dryer with a shop vac attachment as my air source. Charcoal is the fuel. Mid anyone has any suggestions or recommendations please let me know what I need to do to forge properly and safely. Thanks Dallas
  14. 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
  15. So, I just started blacksmithing about a month ago...mostly teching myself with some help from youtube videos, trial and error, and a video course by Alec Steele. I've posted some pics of my current forge that I've been using and I was hoping for some advice for improvements on either its construction or my technique. Sorry for not having an pics of the forge in use since I normally don't take time to take pictures while crafting. The piping pictured is an idea I had for increasing airflow. My idea was to drill holes along the length of the pipes so that air was sent along the enti
  16. Today was the fated first day of my blacksmithing apprenticeship at the Daniel Boone Homestead! And I would just like to take a moment...to yell from the rooftops about how much fun it was!! I expected to work my butt off today and I was not disappointed! My master/teacher (honestly not sure about the propper terms these days) said that for the first day of me tending a forge or hammering anything on an anvil I did a really good job. (And according to one of our other smiths at the Homestead, if he says you're doing good you're really doing good!) As for burns, nicks, and other inj
  17. When our beloved propane grill finally died broke, I decided to take all the inspiration I'd gotten reading about the JABOD Mark III (thanks, Charles R. Stevens) and make Just a Grill of Dirt. A JAGOD, if you will. I had two goals: Spend as little money as possible Forge using charcoal I'll just admit now that I am way better at spending money than not spending money. I scrounged up some thin firebrick I'd stashed and since I had to dig footings for some pier blocks, I rough-screened a couple of 5-gallon buckets of that dirt. I put the grill in a
  18. Hi there I am a twelve year old boy wanting to start blacksmithing, I have found and anvil and wanted help on how to make a forge. I have lots of wood and I am probably able to make charcoal. Probably not gas or coal. My forge will probably be an old wheelbarrow with some refractory cement, some metal plumbing and a hair dryer or large leaf blower, many thanks Bruno. The measurements are in imperial sorry! I live near Rogate, petersfield, West Sussex, England.
  19. Here’s my first forge. It is basically a box of dirt with a few fire bricks on top to keep the edges firmer. I’m using a 1” black pipe for the tuyere and a box bellows for an air source. The V-shaped trench is approximately 4” by 9” in dimension and 6” deep. The tuyere sits 1” from the bottom of the trench. I’m using lump hardwood charcoal for fuel, broken into pieces about 1” in size. I’ve done a few tests with a half-inch piece of mild steel to see how well it works, and in general I am satisfied. My only problem is that I can’t seem to get my steel hotter that dark yellow.
  20. My daughter and I were given this cast iron forge with champion blower after she got into blacksmithing. I clay lined it with the intention of using coal. We were lucky enough to spend a weekend with Lorelei Sims as our initial instruction in smithing and she taught us a good deal about fire management. HOWEVER, we live in the middle of a neighborhood and have only used charcoal. Obviously this forge isn’t ideal for charcoal and I’m wondering what would be the best way to modify it for charcoal use. We’ve actually used it quite a bit and it’s worked great but I know it can be better. My initia
  21. While doing research on various designs for charcoal retorts both on IFI and elsewhere, I ran across this interesting variation that I wanted to get folks' thoughts on. It's an indirect-method retort, but rather than a double-barrel design with the fire around the outside, it appears to be essentially a 55 gal drum with a rocket stove in the middle, fueled by the wood gasses being piped back in through the fresh air intake. Has anyone here ever seen/tried/used/built anything like this, and would they recommend it? On the face of it, it looks like it wouldn't be terribly complicated to build an
  22. 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.
  23. Hey everyone, I'm a bit of a lurker here, having only posted once or twice before. I thought I should contribute to the content as I use the forum a lot for inspiration, ideas and information and find it extremely useful. This is my improved rivet forge. My blacksmith friend from up in the high country who I obtained the blower and stand from had already welded the feet on, which I think is a great, simple improvement on the original splayed feet. It's very sturdy. A friend and I spent the afternoon putting together the new fire pot and surface. The fire pot is 250mm x 200mm
  24. I am new to blacksmithing, and I just started to make my second forge. This one will be a significant upgrade from my last one; it was cheap and started to break down after a few uses. I am in the process of claying it, but I have no idea how deep to make my firepot. It is a bottom blast forge, has a 2 inch pipe for air supply, and uses charcoal as its fuel source. Any help will be appreciated.
  25. Hey all, So I know this has been asked before, but I am new to the world of forging and am on a limited budget so I built a brake drum forge, with a 1.5 inch flange and pipe welded onto the bottom, with the tee fitting to allow for an ash dump and an air supply (two speed hair dryer). I initially made the mistake of using anthracite coal, so I switched to lump charcoal, because I cant find bituminous. I am able to get the forge hot enough to bring my rail road spike up to a nice glowing red, but after the first heat it's a constant battle to get the spike back up to a good temp as well a
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