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  1. 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 level area always in the shade. I had to snip some of the sheet metal to get a length of pipe thru. The pipe isn't sched 40, but similar, with an ID of 1". I got it from my neighbor, who is a blacksmith and thinks I'm insane using charcoal (then he admits it's kind of neat, which is how our friendship usually goes---Me: "I have an idea!" Him: "You crazy. Can I try?") I used the firebrick to build a little chamber for holding the charcoal and pipe, and then filled in with dirt. I mixed a pound of powdered Lincoln fire clay I've had forever in with a bit of water for the are around the pipe, then added a little water to the rest of the dirt, screeded it, and compacted with a firebrick. I think I have some first-rate dirtmanship going on here. The next afternoon, I grabbed my bag of blacksmithing tools, a RR track anvil my neighbor gave me, a piece of mild steel I had smithed into the Worst Leaf Ever Made in the History of FireTM, and a bag of lump charcoal I bought at the store. Ok, yeah, I spent some money. But I already cheated on Goal #1 because I didn't think my blower plan would work. I had an old beekeeping smoker that uses a small bellows and I was tempted to try it as my air source just for fun. Then I realized that was taking the No Spending Money goal a bridge too far and got an Intex air mattress pump (a la the Mark III) that cost less than the bag of charcoal. We spent almost twenty year heating houses with wood, so I know how to build a fire. That charcoal started glowing quickly and I realized maybe playing with fire on the hottest day of the year was again the mark the slightly insane. Oh, well. Once the coals were glowing, I slipped in the mild steel with the Worst Leaf Ever Made in the History of Fire. The leaf was so thin it got to temp really fast and I tapped it over into a loop with half a tap of my totally undressed Harbor Freight hammer. Yes, I have to dress those hammers and I will---I even know how because there's a thread here with how to do it, which is awesome. But today I was just seeing if the JAGOD was a cromulent idea. I quenched the end of the mild steel and slid the opposite end into the fire. Gave it some puffs with the Intex pump and when it was bright red, took it out and gave it two taps to bend into a little coal rake. Two taps. With a cheapo HF ball peen hammer. And I had a tool. I immediately put it to work raking the charcoal into a mountain for the next piece. I also had a 12" length of cold roll steel my blacksmith neighbor had given me (he also gave me two pairs of tongs because he's a great guy and he treats me like the son he never had). He didn't tell me what kind of steel it was, but that I should try working with it for experience. (FYI, that's the fire rake I just made on the left. I am stupidly proud.) I got it to temp and whaled on it and it hardly moved. Back into the fire. Whack whack whack. Hardly moved. Not at all like the mild steel. Back into the fire... I managed to square up the end and draw a taper, but man, it took forever. I'm going to bet he gave me a piece of something he knew would teach me a lesson. IOW, I believe I was the object of a blacksmith version of a snipe hunt. High. Larious. I used less than 1/4 of the bag of charcoal I bought. I'm already re-designing the JAGOD to make it easier to work with---probably more like a Japanese-style forge. I got a taste of smithing with charcoal, which I really liked. I need to dress those hammers, get my anvil at a better height (either lower the forge a la Tim Lively so I can sit or raise the anvil), and buy some mild steel stock I can practice making simple things with-----hooks, leaf key chains, etc. Build a charcoal retort because man oh man have I source material for charcoal. Then I'll focus on fire management and hammer control. I want to say thanks to the knowledge and inspiration here and I wanted to give you all an opportunity to point and laugh. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go teach my neighbor a lesson.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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 to be sure my plan worked: Everything looked good, so I proceeded with steel. I used pieces from a wood stove I took apart last year. The plates are 3/16" thick. Should be thick enough to last me a good while, considering that I spend less than 10 hours a week. Overall, it took me about 3 hours to cut the pieces, fit and weld them together. I immediately moved it into place in my existing forge. I only had time for a quick test burn. Worked well, although the sides are higher than what I was using by about an inch. It still took less charcoal to fill than the JABOD. Even better, it was much faster and easier to clean up. I should be able to do more complete testing tomorrow and deteemine whether I need to shorten it a bit. Once that is determined, I may add a rim to finish it. Cheers! Arthur
  5. 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 steel chimney pipe covered at one end. We'll see if I can scale it up. I am extremely happy right now. This is my first step beyond hardware-acquisition and planning toward actually heating up steel.
  6. 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, so that I know the charcoal has been made properly, to make sure my firepot works, and to tie me over until I get my charcoal retort made. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and I’ve realized that if I have the fire going for more than 4 hours, (give it take,) I’ll get these weird clumps of mineral looking things. I know that charcoal doesn’t produce clinkers, but that’s the best way to describe them. I have asked a friend of mine, and he told me he doesn’t know what they are, but suggested that they could be pieces of brick, which made sense at the time. I have since removed the bricks from around my firepot, (I had them there for extra depth when I used Anthracite,) but I still found some of the weird things when I cleaned the firepot out. I’m not concerned, I was just hoping to figure out what they are so I could use them for something rather than just throw them away. I did have a picture that I was going to put up, however it wouldn't upload... I'll put a YouTube link, here. Thanks, Chris.
  7. 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 cut the branches to size, and with the good air flow, I had the whole pile burned down in a few hours. I soaked it with a hose to stop the burning. It isn't an efficient way to make charcoal, but I can't complain about the speed. The "after" pic also included a little spilled anthracite, charcoal, and a few bits of forgotten wood from the driveway that I tossed in, but I had basically filled up the drum without that. Long term, I would like to make a retort and get a better return on the wood. However, I had this setup ready to go and made a quantity of useful fuel without a big time investment. Hopefully someone sees possibility in their resources after seeing this.
  8. 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 lurking around. Is it best to heat stock, similarily to coal, in which you lay it across and pile charcoal over top? Should I size the charcoal smaller like 2”-3” or is there reasons to keep some of the large chunks for deeper in the fire? Do I control the heat tighter to the center using a spritzer of water on the outside pieces or easier to shrink the ID of my forge? I’m working with 15mm Rebar, which I’ve cut to 2-1/2 foot lengths, to learn and practice on. Thinking I need to shorten them a bit to work on a little easier given the depth of my forge potentially. (Will post photos when I’m on my computer... doesn’t like my phone) Any information is good, I anticipate a lot will be just through experimentation but I hope to be doing this for a long time. You all seem to be full of useful info and very helpful!
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 dryer and a shopvac hose I am thinking I could create a regulator for. Thoughts?
  13. 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 a slide pipe on to make it more adjustable for my hair dryer. But this really worked well when I tested it. Let me know what you guys think.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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 entire brick where my charcoal is normally put. Another idea was the online have one side of that instead of both sides. Currently i use a standard hair dryer with a black iron pipe (2inch diameter i think) going in the gap between those two upright bricks. The charcoal (about to shift to either coke or coal) sits on the single horizontal brick between the two angled vertical bricks. All those bricks are fire bricks. The bricks not on the table are standard bricks meant to hold up longer pieces of steel stock while working.
  17. 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 injuries, thankfully just a few extremely minor burns and a bit of soot in my nose afterwards. If I counted correctly I burned myself at least 6 times. Once was when a piece of scale flew off my piece and landed right on my hand! Thankfully, I didn't drop what I was holding in my tongs. And the other one that left a mark was when I got my hand too close to the hood over the fire and sizzled myself a bit. Today I learned how to make simple wall hooks with a small scroll and a twist. I managed to get two of them done over the course of 6 hours, which I'm really proud of. Our forge is charcoal, 18th century style, and has an old historic and busted double chambered bellow. (There's literally duct tape all over it they need to really get it replaced and put the original in a museum.) So it took a bit longer/more work to get the fire going as much as I needed it too. Here come the pictures! Here's what our forge looks like! I really love the bricked forge so when I finally can build something like this it's going to happen. Our working anvil, in the 18th century they wouldn't have had an anvil in this style, but it works for what we need. Getting the fire going, alas it's commercial charcoal so it pops and sparks a lot but hey it works so I can't complain too much. I just don't appreciate the fact that my fire is trying to be the 4th of July in the end of September. And the two hooks I made today! First one on the left, second on the right. The second one is shorter because the scroll broke twice... Ugh. Thankfully Frank (my teacher) was able to help me fix it. Techniques in the project for anyone curious are: Temperature gaging/fire managing, Drawing out a taper, gently creating a scroll, dulling down sharp edges, creating a hook on the bick, 1/4" half faced blow, drawing out shoulders, upsetting, punching a hole, and finally twisting. (and obviously removing scale) These bad boys were finally warmed and sprayed with cooking spray to help keep them rust free and make them look a little nicer. I'm extremely happy with how these turned out, and my significant other has already stolen one... Guess I'll have to make more! EDIT: I forgot to mention that I did all of the work with only a hammer. Frank helped me correct a few things with needlenose pliars where necessary but besides that, it was hammer and eventually, twisting wrench.
  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. I’ve tried varying the speed and strength of my bellow strokes, but can’t seem to get to welding heat. And I’m making sure to keep an inch or three of coals above the steel. Wondering what I am doing wrong. Are my pieces of charcoal still too big? Is my tuyere too large, resulting in too much concentrated air? Suggestions on how I could improve my forge would be welcome.
  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 initial thought is to use firebricks to create a deeper and narrow fire pot but I’m not sure. Also, with charcoal, where do I want my piece to sit in the fire? I try to keep a good mound of charcoal in the shallow pot but I think it oxidizes too much at times. Thanks!
  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 and wouldn't require quite as much firewood to get up to heat, especially if the outside is well-insulated. Thoughts? Addendum: another video from the same guy shows a similar retort that he build with bricks and clay, not even using a drum.
  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 at the top, 100mm x 100mm at the bottom and is 125mm deep. The surface is 550mm in diameter. (10"x8" top, 4"x4" bottom, 5" deep, 21" dia) The construction is all 5mm thick mild steel with the exception of the 100 x 100 bottom plate which is 10mm. It is TIG welded together. The blower is a buffalo forge co. number 210. It may look a little rough but it runs beautifully. I'm not really interested in cleaning things up for aesthetic appeal, though I admire it when others do it well. I have quite a small shop in an old shed in the bush, so the rivet forge serves me well. I intend to put a lip around the edge in sections for banking fuel up against but decided I would use it for a while first and decide exactly where I want them to be as to not block the steel's path to lay flat. I want to feel it out a bit first. For the moment I use charcoal that I make from off cuts of Australian hardwoods. I'm happy with the way it turned out and the fire burns beautifully. Thanks for looking. I'm interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions. Cheers, TD.
  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 as getting a uniform even temp on the spike. Not sure what I am doing wrong, because I know it gets hot enough, I melted one of my spikes in half. I have spent almost 50 hrs trying to make a single knife, so I am getting discouraged. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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