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I Forge Iron

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Just picked up my first forge today. It is a Buffalo brand with a hand blower and in pretty good condition.
I will be using it to harden jackhammer chisels. What is the best fuel to use and where in Perth can I get it from. Thanks chaps..:)

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G'day Slugger,
Charcoal would be your best choice for forge fuel. You might try ABR Firewood in Beechboro. They were stocking it in 20kg. bags, earlier this year for $30 per bag. They are probably the only place in Perth where you can buy charcoal in 20kg. bags. Your other choice would be coke, but you would probably have to get that from over in the east, as forging coke is not available in W.A. as far as I know. You could also make your own charcoal in 200 lt. drums. Malcolm Paine's excellent book, "The General Blacksmith" explains how to go about that.
Cheers, Brian.

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G'day Rob,
Regarding coal as a forge fuel. The coal that is mined in Collie in the south west of W.A. , apparently doesn't coke and is unsuitable for forge fuel. I believe that they make a product from Collie coal, called "coal char". I don't know anyone over here using it, so I don't know what it's like as a forge fuel. There is some info. on the internet regarding coal char and going on the technical info, it sounds like it'd be worth giving it a crack. If anyone is using it, I'd certainly be interested to hear how it performs as a forge fuel.
Regards, Brian.

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Brian,

It would have to coke, wouldn't it? When you burn the stuff you burn off the volatiles then you are basically left with the carbon/charcoal/breeze/coke and that is what we really forge with. You can't get a small sample to give it a bash??

See ya

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G'day Rob, to be honest, I've never used coal of any kind in the forge. However, one of our group's life members, is a retired professional smith, having started his career as a fourteen year old in England, in 1945. He told us a couple of years ago that Collie coal doesn't coke, like the coal over east does and wasn't much good as a forge fuel. Given his many years in the trade, we simply accepted his advice. But I'd still like to get hold of some to try it out. I think the problem would be, getting a small amount. Charcoal is getting increasingly more difficult to source here in W.A. I'd love to have a crack at making my own, but I reckon my neighbours wouldn't share my enthusiasm.
Regards, Brian.

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G'day Rob, yep, I will gladly give it a try if I can get hold of some. I was on the net last night, checking out that coal char that I mentioned previously. It's marketed by Wesfarmers Premier Coal and just going by the specs. on their website, it sounds like it would work in the forge?? Again, I think the problem would be trying to buy it in small amounts. Perhaps someone out there has already tried it and could let us know what it's like. Having given my new forge it's maiden run today, I now have some work to do, to get the blower up to speed, as it's just reaching forging temp. and that's all. I think I can fix the problem by playing around with different pulley set ups, hopefully! Hooroo for now. Cheers, Brian.

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I would love to see a jackhammer chisel bit properly sharpened and hardened with my own 2 eyes instead of watching it on youtube etc. Any ideas on who might have some time to show me, I can supply the chisel bit from a box full that I have. I am located south of Perth but will travel anywhere to cop a look if possible.
Cheers Steve

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G'day Steve, Regarding your jack hammer bits. You could try contacting David Moir at The Blacksmith Shop in Belvue for some advice. I believe he has done a lot of that kind of work over the years. You'll find him in the yellow pages under Blacksmiths. It's worth a try.
Regards, Brian.

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  • 7 years later...

hi steve im fairly new to this whole forum thing (if you cant already tell) but I lived in collie for 20 years and the coal is too high of a grade to coke it is what they call thermal coal which is used in the power stations to heat the water and give us all power but I am in the process of constructing my forge at the moment I will attach pictures in the daylight I've just begun digging the footing but plan to lay the walls of it tomorrow and the mesh for the table.

 

also ii am just wondering if jarrah when it burns down would be suitable to use the coals from that for forging

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1 hour ago, kev said:

also ii am just wondering if jarrah when it burns down would be suitable to use the coals from that for forging

I would think it just fine, about all I use for fuel is charcoal.  I actually prefer it over coal for stock under 25mm.  The reduced scaling from the oxygen depleted fire is very noticeable, very little no scale. 

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  • 3 years later...

I have been buying lump charcoal from Bunnings in Midland,  it mostly works fine in my Buffalo Forge.  I am located at Gidgegannup.  A local artisan smith  make his own charcoal,  I am yet to find time to do it. 

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