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I Forge Iron

My forge Story


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post-13376-003136300 1282486323_thumb.jpLet me begin by telling a little about myself before we get into what I have for a forge. I have been dabbling in the art of blacksmithing for a little over 6 years. I have worked with metals pretty much all my life. My father taught me how to weld with an acetylene torch when I was 10 years old.
I got into the blacksmithing side of things because I built a Marines theme headboard for my son while he was in boot camp. Word got out that I had made this and a guy out OKC has marketed it. Now you say so what does that have to do with blacksmithing? You see I used a rose bud to heat the elements of that first headboard. I soon realized that this was not going to an efficient way to heat the metal.
I began my search for building a gas forge. And of course I was led to Ron Rails web site. Since I knew nothing about this stuff I took everything I read as gospel. I built my first burner. It was the ez burner from the plans he provided. I followed the plans verbatim and the burner worked flawlessly. I read in one of the posts that the ez burner would not work in the wind. Mine worked but had a lot of what I would call kickbacks. I left enough threads in the bell to screw in a 2-inch nipple and this worked much better. Not perfect mind you but acceptable.
So I had a burner the next step was the forge to put it in. I built a brick pile forge. Only I used regular firebrick. It got hot but I felt it should get hotter. So with some more internet research I discovered insulating firebrick. I did all this by the way not knowing that there was a local blacksmith club. That would have been very helpful! So I had a forge I then purchased an anvil from harbor freight. And off I went pounding metal and playing around.
My next forge that I built was the Freon tank forge from Mr Rails web site. Again I followed the instructions verbatim and I had an even better forge. Still using the ez burner. Then I got to reading about the t-rex burner from hybrid burners. It looked cool especially with being endorsed by NASA! (LOL) I bought one and put it on the forge and it worked very well. I got to look at its construction and realized that hey I can make that! So I dimensioned it out and now I make my own. By this time I had discovered the local club and began getting involved. It has been a good source of info.
My latest forge is based on the Freon tank but I used a helium balloon tank that was given me. It is a full 12 inches in diameter and the length is the same. I made the doors as such that I would have the full 12 inches in length. The chamber volume exceeded the volume one burner can handle but under 2 so I put 2 burners in it. I would liken that to putting a 383 in a s10. It has Plenty of power. I have a kiln shelf for the floor with 2 inches of kaowool all the way around. I tried a liner called satonite. I was having trouble keeping the ITC-100 in the Freon tank forge. I was trying to be careful but sometimes you get too big a piece in there. The satonite works great but it takes about 15 minutes to get up to temp. I can reach forge welding temps easily at 4 psi. according to my gauge. I know this because I have a high temp thermocouple and have measured the temps.
Well that’s about it check out the pics and we can discuss what I have done. I guess one point to all this is I didn’t question what I read mainly because I didn’t know any better and I have had very good luck. Not too many problems.

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Looks like a very serious forge. It is a lot nicer than what I use on a daily basis at my shop. Mind you I'm a professional smith with 15 years under my belt. My only criticism is and this is very minor is that you used aluminum clips on the door. These may soften or melt at some time in the life of the forge. Other than that I should be asking you for advise on gas forge building.

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Yeah, really impressive build quality there! You could probably go into business making forges instead of headboards! ;)

The ITC-100 has the advantage of reflecting heat that the satanite doesn't, but it looks like you've got plenty of heat input so probably not so neccessary! (might let you use a little less propane to maintain temps though.)

I finished my burner the other day. Now I just need to get a photo of it in action.

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That is first-rate work!

Can you say more about the openings/doors? I think I see at least three different shapes in the pics -- a large square, a small square (at the back), and an upside-down "T" shape. Are they interchangeable?

Thanks. Yea the openings is kind of an intersting story. By this time that I made the forge I had become involved with the local club. and in talking with the "old Timers" they assured me that I could leave a large opening in front and not lose too much heat. So when I was testing with the temperature probe I was able to get to forge weling heat at 10 psi. I just knew it could do better so I went with the 7 times the area of the burner tube for the door opening. Now I added about 20% to that number and I came up with the door acrordingly. the pressure to get the same heat was now 4 psi. much better! And then the opening in the back I just simply cut it out so I could put that many parts in at one time. I have a piece of the insulboard to fit in its place when I dont need the long through hole. My whole purpose was to build a forge that was efficient as I could and be as funtional as I could for my needs. I hope this helps. Oh and by the way I havnt made the doors interchangable but I have thought about doing that very thing.
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