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Found 40 results

  1. Hi, I fired up my homemade coal forge for the first time today - it was not a great success. I have an old steel sink lined with foundry cement, with a leaf blower piping air through the plughole. The whole thing is outdoor and on a wooden frame. I'm burning house coal. My biggest problem is that the fire is quite out of control. Once it's properly lit I can only run the blower for about 30 seconds before thumb sized, white hot coals start blowing into the air. I've tried to weight the smaller, lit coals under bigger fresh ones but the whole thing is so hot within a minute everything is on fire and the showering fireballs resume. This is my second problem: in all the videos I've seen of coal forges there is a firey core beneath a layer of cooler coals. In mine everything on top just burns like a bonfire. Every time I bury the fire it burns back through. All this is meaning I spend most of my forging time messing with the fire and putting out bits of the surrounding shrubbery. The only actual metal work I accomplished today was slightly tapering some rebar.... I've got a couple of books and have googled, but everything I've seen just kind of says "light the forge." Any beginners advice would be massively appreciated.
  2. Hi all, I am a newbie to this site. I had previously tried my hand at some backyard/ hobby blacksmithing before, but it was not very successful. The forge I was using previously had air blowing in from the side and I could not figure out how to get concentrated heat (I know realize air coming in from the bottom is much more efficient). I have now obtained a brake drum (which for some reason is pretty difficult in my area) and will be making a simple brake drum forge. *edit: I no longer have the side hole forge My problem is I live in a residential area with a small back yard and am worried about possible embers flying up into the neighborhood. I was thinking of possibly making the forge stand out of red clay bricks and maybe making some sort of simple overhead structure (maybe a piece of sheet metal sandwiched between some bricks) to rest a few feet above the forge. Does anyone else have a simple solution to the ember problem? (other than using a propane forge). I also DO NOT have access to a welder currently. oh also, the forge will not be located in a shop if that wasn't already clear
  3. Hi folks, I am looking for experienced input on large forging in an open coal forge. I have been heating and working with 3" square in an open coal forge which we open to be about 1.5" x 3" in cross section. So far, my best bet has been to try to manage the fire under the steel and build in "heat lines" in order to fire a fresh cover of coal over the top in order to light it and keep something close to a surrounding heat. Obviously, this isn't going to be nearly good enough by itself and it requires turning the piece repeatedly which breaks up my blanket and heat lines and I have to kersmudge some semblance of it back together for each turn until I get a relatively even heat throughout. This problem of turning is exacerbated by the fact that I cannot heat into welding temp in the base of my fire or I will burn one surface while the other remains cold which means that the whole process takes a long time while I "rotisserie" the large piece. Does anyone have any fire management experience with large pieces like this who can share some insights? Thanks, RB
  4. 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!
  5. Hello, I'm quite new to blacksmithing. I have some questions about fire pots for coal forges. I understand what kind of design/shape I need. But I don't know what to use for material. I know I could use steel, but I scared of it warping or melting through. I could also use some sort of fire brick, but I don't have any experience with that. So it would be extremely helpful if someone could point me in the right direction. I didn't see any threads on this already so if I missed one sorry, If you could point me in the direction of it that'd be great. Thanks
  6. So finally stopped messing around and got my coal forge setup. This is the basic design. I used my old brake rotors to create a dead air space between the non fire bricks. All black pipe was used in the construction, except where PVC is noted. Still working on a baffle system for the top vent hole, but figured it would work for now. The grate is the end of an long lost hand meat grinder. Was lost in the move but this little guy stuck around. More for the cause I suppose. I though for a little bit about sealing up the gaps, but decided to leave them for now. Would like expert advice on this if at all possible. Have a cheap mig welder, ~$90, with low and high settings. No gas, just flux core wire. Few tacs and I felt ready to go. For the underside I placed a number 10 can filled with ~6in on water under the open ash dump. Plan on setting up a full dump system in the future. The coal I'm using came from a ebay purchase. 25lbs for $25, Shudder. I now can get anthracite from Tractor Supply for $0.15/ lbs. I hesitantly call this Nut sized coal? Mini candy bar for reference. Blower source is a leaf blower. I find out later that this may be too much for this, but I adjust the best I can. I start a small fire according to information found here. Get some coals, build up and pile and start the blower. Initially there is a lot of smoke, which I knew to expect, from the new coal. It gradually subsided, however I notice that the whole forge needed to get smoke off, took about 20 min all told. No one called the fire department so all to the good. I shortly noted a small flaw in my forge placement. The exposed beams in the background, while not getting hot, did cause me concern. I took the precaution and placed a long piece of metal on the wall. I furthermore placed a piece on the top, attempting to make a temporary hood, until a better solution could be made. I ran the forge for another 30 min or so. Noted good white heat in the heart, and took off the air to let the forge die down. I then, after all color had disapeared, turned the pot onto a steel bottom of a air conditioner and poured water over the coal. Just want to minimize any chance of a problem. Things I need to do and questions. 1. Make an adequate vent system 2. Make pan to fit over forge for holding additional coal/ work. 3. Find more appropriate source of air to feed forge. Questions: 1. I have a metal pan from a disassembled air conditioner. Its decent weight and I want to use as my pan, but i'm concerned about possible galvanized steel. Have not preformed a magnet test, but did take off a layer of paint and left outside to see if it would rust. If so, ill use it as my pan for the top of forge. I welcome any questions or comments. You guys are a font of info and I would be forever grateful.
  7. Finally got my permanent forge built, nice centerpiece to the shop, all reclaimed brick. I built a smoke shelf into it and lined the inside of the brick chimney to hold heat and improve convection. I only hooked into the 7" wood stove chimney flue but had done that with my previous temporary forge and it worked perfect so duplicated the design with the brick forge and worked a charm. I know you should use 10 or 12 inch diameter for the flue because the coal forge does not put out the same flu gas temps but it worked just fine. I built the fire pot out of 1/2 inch mild steel with interchangeable inserts for a slotted fire grate and a 2" black iron pipe cap with 3/8" holes in it. the slotted grate gives me a low but wide fire good for pans and large objects where as the pipe cap with the holes gives me a focused and taller column which has turned out really good for working smaller items in the fire. I've heard arguments as to mild steel or cast being better, after having built one I feel they were cast for expediency as building the fire pot took a long time to cut, scarf edges and get good weld penetration and enough of it. anyways lots of fun and it turned out better than I had Imagined.
  8. I just finished up my new coal forge over the weekend. Laurel Machine and Foundry firepot. I built the hearth from 1/4" x 3" angle for the frame, 1/4" steel plate top. The blower and airgate is from Kayne and Son's, and was on my other setup. I'm very impressed with the Laurel Machine firepot. It's around 1" thick and a very clean castings. Great people to deal with. I had previously been using a steel firepot that I fabricated from 1/2" plate. And it is still holding up great after 3 years of service. I'm donating it to a friend who is getting started in the craft along with a champion hand cranked blower I rebuilt.
  9. Greetings all, been a lurker for 3 years now, finally decided to make an account and join the discussion. Been running a really small what I like to call a Franken forge for 3 years. Basically an old charcoal bbq converted to a forge with a hair dryer to make the whole thing chooch. It worked alright for a while. Pretty right? Well it is time to say adieu to the Franken forge. She served me well while I lived in the city. New job finds me back in my hometown, on 15 acres and lots of room to play! So I got the go ahead from my beautiful lady to get all set up! And here we go. Will post pics as I get progress done. Day 1 had me really not knowing what the heck I was doing. Bought a bunch of metal at the metal supermarket in the city and decided it was time to put it to use. Cut all the pieces for putting it all together. The table that is. Doesn't look like much yet right? Here is the space I can call my own with a bunch of metal on my makers table. Day 2 ended with something that resembled a table top. Got my feet wet with welding. Never done that before. I don't think I will ever call myself a welder, but I can make metal stick together. And that brings us to today. Only able to be out in the shop for 3 hours today as we are in the middle of demolition on the basement and that is apparently the priority. Lol oh well, more welding and have a decent table now. Next will be to build the firepot, cut a hole in the table to insert it, build the tuyere with clinkerbreaker and build a side draft hood, then a mounting bracket for my vintage Thompson hand crank blower. Another month or so and I will have a nice little forge. Here are some details for you all Table built with 1.5 x 1.5 angle iron 36 x 48" total size Table plate is 1/8" lower shelf on the left not yet put in but will be 12 ga. For projects to cool on. If it looks a little backwards to some of you i'm a south paw so it will all be set up for a lefty. I added an extra 1.5" on 2 sides of the table so I can have a little extra coal on the bench.
  10. I found this sitting outside a turquoise shop in Austin nv today. It was a steal. It has like a centrifical clutch on the big wheel running the blower. All the belts are long gone and the cross member on the top is broken. One of the leather belts are still intact but the other is broke. The blower is free and spinning but will need sealed up. There is one oil port that still has the screw on cap but the other 3 are missing and will need cleaned out. is this a common type of drive system? All I have seen before was gearbox and crank. It also came with another bowl and blower. The other blower is pretty roached but might be salvageable. Any information would be appreciated.
  11. I started out with what I think a lot of blacksmiths started out with: a 5$ hairdryer bellows, and charcoal. That worked pretty well, but it conked out on me a while back. One of my friends, as it turns out, used to own a bouncy castle, and still had the air blower for it. He was kind enough to let me have it, so I hooked it up to my bellows. It's much more powerful than the hairdryer, and has varied results. Sometimes it works great and gets really hot and powerful, sometimes it gets the inside of my forge glowing red, but there is no flame or heat at all (I can even put my hand over the top and it feels like a stove). My question is; is it possible to have a blower that puts in so much air that it's bad for the fire? or is this just an issue of me needing to build a better fire before turning it on?
  12. Hello I am new to this forum and am just getting started in blacksmithing. I have taken a few classes here and there and enjoy it very much... Anyway back to the topic, so I received some coal for Christmas (haha) and I tried starting it up for forging but the coal did not want to catch, I even built a fire before adding the coal and had it going for an hour straight while adding coal every so often, but with no success... Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong or how to fix this? Thank you very much, ACforge
  13. Hello, this is my first time posting here. I started forging about a year ago and I decided I needed a better forge. It is all 1/4" steel, 4" tuyere with 2-1/2" inlet. The firepot is 11x6x5, don't know if that is too big. Trial and error for the first build I suppose. Still have to make a lever for the air gate. I will be using coal as coke is hard to come by in my area. Any advice / criticism on improvements / upgrades would be appreciated.
  14. I have made a kind of a box out of brick for the structure of my forge and I was wondering how thick i should make the refactory cement layer. I also need to know how to get the cement i already have to dry. It's about a half inch layer in the base that still forms depressions when i poke it, and it's been that way for well over a week.
  15. hello, So i started building my new coal forge and im to the point now where its time to make my tuyere, air supply line, and the ash dump. i've got a pretty good idea of how im going to build it. my question is on air flow adjustment ive seen a couple different setups (via pictures on the internet ) 1. the "air gate" and 2. putting a door on the intake of the blower to damper down the air. im going to be using a Fasco B45227 115 Volt 265 CFM Centrifugal Blower. which one provides the best control while at the same time now over working the blower? I just want to make sure im not going to overheat and blow this blower up like i did the 3 salvaged ones on my other forge. i think my other 3 didn't make it because i was putting more of a load on them than they were meant to handle. the first 2 were squirrel cages out of old microwaves, and the last one was out of an old dishwasher. pictures of the forge to come later! as soon as my blower shows up haha.
  16. The Berkshire Blacksmiths put on another great Age of Iron weekend at Hancock Shaker Village, Mass. recently and one of the highlights for me was the military issue Portable Blacksmith Forge, circa WW I. I would love to get my hands on one of these, so if you have one or know someone who does then I would like to hear from you. I did find one on Ebay, but the shipping from CA could make it cost prohibitive. I've just started looking, so I don't know how common they are in the New England area. Portable Blacksmith Forge.wmv
  17. Hi guys, First post here but I've been getting lots of inspiration from you all recently! I'm currently in the process of building my coal forge and hope to have it completed tonight. I'll post a build report later, I think you'll like it... Anyway, I have a quick question for you - I am looking to attach my blower to the inlet pipe on my tuyere. It has a square outlet around 3 1/2 ". My fabricated inlet pipe is 3" square. I have also fabricated an air gate with a 3" square opening which will be operated from the side, forming a more or less rectangular opening depending on the position. My question is - should I mount the blower directly to the air gate, which will then be welded onto the tuyere inlet pipe or should I fab up a reducing cone with the air gate further down in line from the blower? Although it would be easier to mount the blower directly, my concern is that the air gate positioned directly at the blower outlet would interfere with the air flow and lead to inefficiency in the air flow. I'm probably over thinking it I know, but I have a choice to make and plenty of 3mm sheet for fabrication, so I'd rather get it right now than have to correct later... Any advice would be greatly appreciated Vince P.S. apologies for the craps pictures, the camera on my phone make whacky colours...
  18. I know this is probably an over-posted topic, but I've been looking for an answer for quite a while and I haven't found it. I've seen several pros and cons lists about coal vs. gas stoves. I've seen a lot of the same information, but also a lot of conflicting information. I'm looking to build a mid-size forge to be my first forge. I am a complete novice at blacksmithy. That being said, I've seen some people who say that coal stoves are the way to go for beginners. According to some, because of the versatility and better heat available with a coal forge, that is where all beginners should start. People also say that the larger surface area and ease of welding are major pros that help beginners. However, some people say that because coal forges burn hotter, it's easier to burn your project, it's harder to replicate results, and controlling the fire and the metal is too much for a beginner to handle. There are also obvious health risks. Proponents of gas stoves claim that the forge itself is much easier to operate, it's easy to reach welding temps, it's cleaner, it's harder to burn your steel, and they don't require maintenance. Opponents say that gas stoves are touchy, they don't get as hot as coal, they restrict the beginner's ability to learn how to use the heat, and that gas is much more expensive. I live in Vermont, and I'm fairly certain that both anthracite and bituminous coal are readily available to me. Propane and MAPP are also available. I don't know, however, which will end up being more expensive. TL;DR- I have 3 questions. As a complete novice, should I work with a Coal or Gas forge? Which type of forge will cost me more to operate? (Ignore costs of making the forge)Just in general, what sort of forge will serve me best? (I plan to bladesmith, and probably construction of pieces with welding, brazing, riveting are in my future..)Thanks All! JNP
  19. Hello! I'm gearing up for blacksmithing and will be taking some local courses in Blacksmithing and welding here in the Baltimore Area. I have a backyard where I can smith but I need to be able to move the forge up some stairs into my basement at the end of the weekend. So I've set out to design a folding coal forge. Any comments/suggestions are appreciated! The top will be some light plate steel, probably 1/8 or 3/16 inch with some angle-iron welded around the edge to keep the coal on the table. Square or round stock pegs will be welded to the base of the plate to allow it to sit on top of the square tube of the table frame. It will have a circular cut out for the brake drum/rotor will will be attached to the standard 2" black pipe setup for a brake drum forge. Air will be courtesy of an old vacuum blower that I tore out of an old vaccum and have converted to act as a blower, handily it comes with it's own electrical already wired it (but only one speed at this point). I'm considering adding an air gate. I'll be using a McMaster-Carr cast iron shower drain in the firepot, surrounded with either clay or refractory cement to create a nice bowl in the drum/rotor. The folding table frame will be fabricated from square tube steel with butt welds. The top cross bars will be welded to hinges, which will in turn be welded to the corner posts to allow the table to fold once I remove the plate top (side view of folded table picture). The bottom cross bars for the table will have small pieces of flat stock welded onto the ends so that they can be dropped into place, fitting into small slot-boxes welded onto the upright corner posts. The rotor/drum firepot will probably be welded to the plate top and will have a 2" pipe flange welded onto the bottom so I can screw in the 2" pipe tuyere and suspend it from the top plate in a way that still allows it to be broken down. The salvaged vacuum cleaner blower will be mounted (probably) on a wooden board that will be clamped to a cross bar between the corner posts (or something like that). Anyhow, that's the plan. Any advice, recommendations, etc. is very welcome. Also, any locals in the Baltimore area who can recommend steel supplies, salvage yards, or a good junk yard (still need to find a rotor or drum) or if you have an anvil that you're looking to sell.
  20. Hello! I'm starting in on Blacksmithing as a new hobby after several attempts over the years (burned my hand in high school shop using the gas forge). I've signed up to take a beginner class with my local guild - Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland, but the class isn't until October and I'm itching to get started. Have also signed up for a beginning welding class here in Baltimore so I can assembly my forge after than - will be posting some plans in the coal forge section. Big challenge after that is going to be getting something like a starter anvil (probably some railroad track or an excavator pin) and some coal (considering I won't be buying a ton at a time I might have to buy it off a real blacksmith or truck up to The Mill at Bel Air) but hopefully the guys at the guild can give me some pointers. I live in Baltimore but have a decent backyard where I can do some outdoor smithing, so my forge is going to be designed to fold up so I can carry in into the house (also so I can transport it from the public workshop where I'll be welding it together to my home in the trunk of a four-door sedan). I've found a good local supplier for the structural steel (Boulevard Sales Corp) I'll need for the forge and can use the plasma cutter and welder at my public workshop, the Baltimore Foundry (once I take the welding class). So if anyone is looking to sell an anvil or any other random blacksmith tools, or if you have a good local scrap yard to recommend please let me know!
  21. ATTENTION: Coal Forge Demo and forging play day this Saturday (5/30/15) in Wasilla - ALL WELCOME Several forge beginners (like myself) have asked about some forge time, so I will be running my coal forge on Saturday (5/30/15) from noon to whenever. Please stop by if you can. I have everything you need, but you are welcome to bring anything you'd like to try yourself. I will be unwinding 20' of garage door spring so the forge will be good and hot if you want to make something. To get to my house in Wasilla: we are basically at mile 10 Wasilla Fishhook Road directly across from McCasey Drive. More specifically, we are at 8485 North Wasilla Fishhook Road. If your not familiar with valley roads: Turn up Main Street in Wasilla (the one with the post office, and credit union on it) and go 10 miles and we are on the right (just before our house, there is a 25 MPH warning sign and we are the 2nd driveway past the sign). Look for a grey house with white trim and a basketball hoop on the detached garage. We are very easy to find, but if you get lost, give me a call at 745-2733. You don't have to, but if possible, give me a call to let me know you are planning to come or you can send me an email at [email protected] Hope to see you on Saturday. John Mielke on Fishhook
  22. Well, as I just blew my last fuze running my garage 2'nd phase meaning I can no longer weld tonight, figure I would take a picture to show my current progress, and a few steps earlier. That and I need to take a break anyway, welding in a closed garage sucks. Time to let the smoke die down a bit. Was about 99% done welding too :( Guess after a break I will go out and begin fabricating my Tuyere, just will not be able to tack weld any of it together tonight, have to go see if I can find any fuzes for this old antique power box I have in my garage tomorrow before work.
  23. Ok...I'm a math flunky and I'm trying to build a new fire pot for my coal forge. What I can't figure out is at what angle do I cut the sides so that I have a square or rectangular pot that fits together?! There is probably an easy way to figure this, but is unbeknownst to me. Could someone give a pointer or two? Is there a calculator for geometry dummies out there or do I have to use online pyramid equation/calculators (which still keep me lost). I want to build a relatively standard firepot and I have 5'' by 1/4 plate. I thought 13 or 14'' sides would be good and about a 4''ish base for a 3'' pipe. Would love some help figuring this...Thanks!
  24. Hi guys, I'm searching for a nice little forge, this got my attention and I would like to get some advice, the guy demands 350 for it. What are you thinking about it. Thanks a lot for the help