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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
Riffing on the JABOD idea, I decided to use what was handy, namely a pile of scrap 2x and plywood, some old bricks leftover from a neighbor's tumbledown chimney, the wifes long-forgotten hairdryer, and a bit of old fencepost pipe (relax, I am aware of hot zinc issues, and wore a respirator for the welding and first fire, thanks for thinking of me!). The bricks are piled up two-deep on the floor, and arranged so that the gaps between bricks dont line up. Nothing is mortared, so as the bricks burn up, which it will, I can just re-stack it all. The hardware store in town sells smithing coal, and so after a bit of faffing about getting the coal to coke and the bricks warmed up, it works quite nicely! I lost 6" of the rebar shortly after I took these photos, got distracted in the garage and left it in too long, and it melted right off! I just left the dryer on low, and the tuyere pipe swings in front of the dryer to adjust the blast; the pipe stays surprisingly cool in use, and when I was done, I just took it out so it wouldnt burn up in the after-fire heat. I set the dryer off at an angle, so if the blast control line gets knocked off, the fire will die down instead of run away on full blast. It's not perfect, but its not too bad for the investment. This was just a first fire and a test; I'm working on getting my anvil on a stand and so hopefully in the near future I'll actually get to do some work and get to know the forge. Hopefully I can make this little pile of bricks work for awhile.
Almost done with an Aspery style sideblast forge; have a handful of remaining unknowns: 1: I've got a hacked-up clothes dryer fan for an air source, it produces somewhere around 1.5 - 2 water inches of pressure; I have no idea if that will be enough. The tuyere center is 1-1/4" black iron pipe sleeved in heavy wall 4"pipe. I'm going to feed the air via a 2-1/2" blast gate and same size corrugated dust collection hose. I guess I will find out, and upgrade if necessary. 2: I don't know what to fill the forge pan with. I plan to lay brick in the bottom just because I have a bunch, and it is easier to deal with than sand or dirt, but on top of that, I don't know whether to use sand, soil, wood ash, coal ash, or if I can get away with just dumping fuel in like it appears they do in England. I think they use coke, though, which may make a significant difference in not having runaway fires. Opinions are welcome on this. 3: I will need to cut side reliefs in the tub wall for a pass-through, but I decided not to do it up front, because I don't know where exactly the heart of the fire will be, and I'd hate to do it twice. I live in Maine, so I will fill the tuyere tank with plain old green antifreeze so I don't have to worry about freezing. Both tank and forge pan will eventually get sheet metal storage covers to keep wind-driven rain out (I forge in a lean-to, no walls) Currently, my pile of bricks forge has no chimney at all, and so I'm going to do a little futzing with smoke guidance; not sure if a side-draft or a hood will work best for me. I'm loath to cut a hole in the tin roof, and then I would have to figure out how to keep rain out of the forge pan. More to follow on that. Having no walls makes this somewhat less of an issue. Edit: All in, this cost slightly over $200 for all the steel, and another $12 for the can of Rustoleum hammertone. Also used up a $40 Freud ferrous cutting skilsaw blade to chop the steel plate. If I did this right, this looks like a viable alternative to very expen$ive cast firepots if you have access to a welder. Also, had to stop a buy a new bottle of C25 part-way through, and grind the bit of bubbly weld out. Oh well.