Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Starting my work place

Recommended Posts


A started my workplace .. somehow I would like some advice on my forge
does not seem to get the needed heat .. But could also be because of the coal I use bbq :-( have to make my own since there is no supplier of any kinds in my area ..

Any how..
very soon i will place some pictures of the forge and maybe some kind more experienced blacksmith will have a look and say what can be improved ...

Thanks for now ...
It concerns a sideblast forge build from (old) bricks and loam ...
Blower seems to havy (from a car 12 v with adaptor) blast like 3 cm diameter
into a one brick width pot.

How ever some questions for making your own coal .. (early days they didnot have suppliers for the coal either still plenty of blacksmiths there has to be a TRADITIONAL way to make coal yourself :-) ... I have see the youtubes on making charcoal in a big iron been andlead the gas to ignite beneath the been bu you have to burn a lot of wood first and the outcome is minimal of what i have seen ..

Hmm ..long storry for the first message ..

Love, peace and harmony to you all
And thanks for any suggestions ..
Pictures are comming ... have to figure it out how it works on this forum ..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard Gabriel, glad to have you.

A couple pictures will help us make suggestions about your forge. Charcoal, chared wood, is what I assume you're referring to as coal. It will give you all the heat you need and more once you get your forge squared away.

Making charcoal in the "old" way involved making a large tightly packed mound in a specific way from similarly sized wood and covering it with sod and leaves to keep excess air away. Small air holes were positioned around the bottom of the mound and a single larger smoke hole top center.

Once lit, from the bottom of the smoke hole, the collier spent as much as several days awake tending the fire. Preventing flare ups was the biggest concern by opening and closing air vents to control the burn. Stomping the mound down was the most dangerous part. As the wood burned it shrank and to keep it burning properly it's important to keep gaps to a minimum so the collier would climb onto the thinly covered pile of burning wood and force it to settle by stomping on it. Many colliers were burned to death by falling into the mound and with the new opening for air to enter the pile would flare up. Ugly way to die.

Using a steel drum and feeding the smoke back under it to provide heat is more efficient and a LOT safer than "traditional" methods.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charcoal making doesn't have to be complicated. Much depends on how efficient you want to be, and how much smoke you can afford to make. Here's a reasonably efficient solution:

Picasa webbalbum - eklof - The simplest ...

A very simple solution is just to use a large steel drum with several holes around the bottom. This drum will be very similar to the outer drum in the link above, but make the holes smaller. You want to give the fire enough oxygen to sustain combustion, but not much more. This isn't a campfire; you want the fire producing enough heat to force the wood to offgas all the volatiles, but only that much. For the most part the fire should be starved for oxygen. You'll also need a lid for the drum.

Pack the drum full with dry wood, leaving a little room for heat and gasses to circulate. (I use a lot of cut-up hardwood pallets for feed stock. They char fast and uniformly, and I can usually get them for free.) Light the wood from the top. You'll be surprised at how cleanly this burns. As the wood in the drum burns down you can pile a little extra feed stock on top; there's no point wasting the heat. When the steel around the holes at the bottom turns orange, you're just about done. Let it go another fifteen minutes or so, then plug the holes with clay, mud, etc., put the lid on the drum, and leave it to cool.

I haven't weighed my raw materials and completed product to calculate the efficiency of this method, but it works well enough for my purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the way, there's a neat series of videos on YouTube about making charcoal the old-fashioned way. The guy who made them is kind of an amateur historian. They're pretty well done, I think. Search [Pennsylvania charcoal making pit] on YouTube and you should find them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1.start your fire, brush, logs ,scrap lumber, small pieces are good.
2. Let the fire burn to coals, nice glowing red, like cooking coals.
3. Use a shovel, quench coals in barrel of water or spray with garden hose.

I have found charcoal made in this manner does not spark as much as the retort made charcoal. I'm not sure but Probably the water washes off the fines.

I made 2, 55 gallon drums of charcoal with this method, enjoyed a couple sausages on a stick, at the same time. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe you're correct that fines cause sparks. I make charcoal by the method you describe, except I shovel the the hot coals into a barrel and cover it with a tight lid to smother the fire, then sift in wire mesh to remove the ashes and small particles. I'd think charcoal by any method could benefit from washing or sifting.

With washing though, how to you dry it, spread it out on tin roof?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...