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I Forge Iron

Which commercial forge to buy.


Robert Simmons

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I have been having trouble getting a forge going for 2 months. I have spent countless hours on it and I cant get any of them to anywhere near welding heat. I have now spent easily 600 bucks on parts. I am debating throwing in the towel and buying one. Of course that makes all the stuff I have useless and I will have to find around 1000 bucks or more I assume to get one. Unfortunately this could be months down the road but what the hey.

http://www.piehtoolco.com/contents/en-us/d808.html

Does anyone have experience with any of these forges. I want it to weld and be versitile.

Thanks in advance.

Now i just have to figure out what to do with all the fire bricks and other crap.

-- Signed, Frustrated...

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Robert,

Whether you buy or build, I suggest you rethink your plan to make a large capacity forge. A small propane tank type forge will come up to welding heat fast and easily. You dont need a large chamber to do big work. I use a very small forge and I rarely put anything in the chamber except sometimes when doing a weld. The rest of the time, I lay the work across the mouth of the forge with some kind of brick arrangement to reflect back the heat. Chili makes forges of this type for about $300. But there are reliable designs you can copy.

Here's an idea: I am near Santa Fe NM which is almost a straight shot down I25. If you want to come by my shop, we can spend a day making one of those forges. I've made a bunch of them and I guarantee welding heat! Your cost would be chump change, mostly the refractory materials and perhaps you already have that. I have all the other stuff lying around my back yard.

Once you have made one forge that works well you will be dialed in and ready to make others if you want.

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Whether you buy or build, I suggest you rethink your plan to make a large capacity forge.


Currently the "brick pile" forge I am trying to run has a chamber the size of two bricks and that is all. Its tiny, not large at all. And I still cant even get it up past orange with 5/8ths steel round in it.

I wanted to join this hobby to hit metal, not become a forge engineer. WIth the money I have spent on this already Id be halfway to a brand new forge.

Oh and I absolutely cant do KOA Wool. THe risk of ceramic fibers combined with my asthma puts it out of the question. I have to use castable or bricks. I dont want to lose my life for a hobby.

I appreciate the offer but right now I am just too frustrated. Right now I was hoping to have made some stuff now. The only thing Ive made in 2 months is a dent in my wallet and a total waste of money at that.
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Robert,
Before you dump a bunch more cash into this, give me a call (my number is on the contact page at www.diamondbackironworks.com). I am not trying to sell you a forge, I think we can get what you already have running properly without too much trouble. I'm in the shop usually from 8am to 5pm EST.
Dennis

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Robert,
Before you dump a bunch more cash into this, give me a call (my number is on the contact page at www.diamondbackironworks.com). I am not trying to sell you a forge, I think we can get what you already have running properly without too much trouble. I'm in the shop usually from 8am to 5pm EST.
Dennis


Thanks. I can get it running and get it hot enough to get metal yellow but it takes a hell of a lot of gas and I dont think it honestly has a prayer of welding. It also takes maybe 5 minutes to achieve a heat from red to bright yellow on 1/2" bar stock. So clearly I will be spending a fortune on gas. Given that I don't have a lot of cash right now, I don't have a choice but if I did I would like to have a forge that just works. I didn't get into this to be a burner design expert.

Like I siad I am very frustrated. I would rather use a coal forge but as I live in a residential subdivision in a city, it is out of the question.

-- Robert
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Take a step back, take some breaths, then look for a blacksmith or farrier near you to see some things first hand....I am sure there is someone near you that can help get you started. You seem to be focused on forge welding temperatures; there is a lot that can be learned and done at normal forging temps (red to orange)that does not require welding temps. Some basic experience will be a good thing and there are surely people within driving range for you to check out. Good luck.

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Robert,
I have read most all of your posts. You have been given the best advice that I can imagine. It seems that maybe you havnt quite understood the advise or something has gotten lost in the translation. You now have a very generous offer on the table to take a little road trip to build a forge that will do the job for you. May i suggest you swallow that lump in your throat called pride and take the man up on his offer. We all want to do things for ourselves but sometimes we need a little guidence. I dont know your personal skill set but if you have had this much trouble getting a forge going with all the information available, imagine your frustration trying to get your first forge weld. :unsure: Dont give up just get some help.

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I have a three burner mankel it is great but I never forge weld in it I forge weld in my coal forge. The mankel will heat a dozen pieces 2' long very well so for making scrolls and pickets its great. I have been planning to make a smaller one singel burner for small stuff But I keep going back to coal. The 3 burner mankel will go through a 20# tank in three hours so I have a couple 100# tanks. Maybe you need a larger burner and gas orifist. one other thing is the damage that the flux does to the linner of your forge.

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I have one of dennis' 2 burner blacksmith forges. It has served me very well needs a minor :rolleyes: overhaul.... anyhow i think when i get that overhaul kit i am going to get him to send me one of the new 3 burner metalsmith forges. now that is my opinion of versatility!

-----this post was not solicited by dennis in any way these are my honest opinions-----

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Robert,
I have read most all of your posts. You have been given the best advice that I can imagine. It seems that maybe you havnt quite understood the advise or something has gotten lost in the translation. You now have a very generous offer on the table to take a little road trip to build a forge that will do the job for you. May i suggest you swallow that lump in your throat called pride and take the man up on his offer. We all want to do things for ourselves but sometimes we need a little guidence. I dont know your personal skill set but if you have had this much trouble getting a forge going with all the information available, imagine your frustration trying to get your first forge weld. :unsure: Dont give up just get some help.



I have not been at all heedless of the guidance an I have been in communication with several members of this forum via email. On the contrary I have listened carefully to many things said here and adopted a ton of stuff said here. I simply can not travel a long distance with my work schedule and family and whatnot. I respect and appreciate the offers of assistance in person and I would like nothing more than to take them up on that offer but my family and job must come first. This is but a hobby and if I must stop annoying people and not post here anymore and not do smithing anymore, it will be a minor loss in the grand scheme of my life. Perhaps it is a selfish indulgence to spend hours in the garage in the first place.

I would love to have an ozark pattern anvil, the best forge, a coal forge and ability to use it, the best tools, a power hammer, a great post vise and so on. Alas I can not afford any of that and I have to make do with what I can afford and do. Sure, I can build a brake drum forge but using coal in a residential subdivision is impossible (heck even some of my neighbors bitch about the noise as it is) and selling my house to move out to the country for a hobby is a bit extreme. I would love to have a spot in the country but again, I am not stacked with money, I get by with a modest budget for amusements. Yes, I am a green newbie smith, I have never claimed to be otherwise. However I can only do the best I can.

Your post, and others like it, seems to admonish me to imply I am being stubborn, but the reality is that I am only working within the bounds of finances and time available to me. I apologize if that annoys people. Honestly posts like yours make me wonder why I bothered getting interested in this to begin with.
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So why are you not using chunk charcoal? No smoke! It's what was used for the first 2000 years of smithing---all the viking pattern welded swords were forged in charcoal forges and the traditional japanese katanas are forged in charcoal forges to this day!

I've forgewelded in a hole in the ground forge blown by a hairdryer.

However if you have no experience smithing I would NOT get hung up with forge welding until you have a lot more experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shoot, you should be able to make and sell enough trinkets to pay for a top of the line forge *before* you are ready to concentrate in forge welding.

When you are learning to drive you do not spend all your time worrying about Formula 1 racing!

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I just built a chile style forge I have asthma and the thought of breathing that stuff scared the crap out of me so what I did was use the rigidizer and the itc 100 nothing is coming out of that forge but heat. I had the same trouble as you I built a forge with lots of firebrick and three burners and thought oh yea we have built the gates of hell, well it sucked up fuel and didnt get real hot and took forever to get to orange. The new forge gets blazin hot and gets to yellow heat and burned my eyes while looking into it(not to bad) The kaowole is the ticket and coating it with itc after using the rigidizer made all the difference.

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I also have been in search of a great gas forge for some time. I would look at Mankel, Chile, and Diamondback forges. Of course there are many many others. But, I am leaning toward the Mankel as most people who have had them swear they last forever, get very hot, and come with a blower. They are versatile because of their design shape, and have some adjustments to them. I hope this helps. I am in your position in terms of house location, noise level, and AQMD requirements that don't allow for coal/coke forges. Good luck and please post what forge you have chosen and if you can forge weld with it.

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ROBERT!
Don't give up!!!!
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to make the tools required for doing what you really want to do. The rewards for persistence can be phenomenal.

Kaowool and the like are the best products to line a forge IMO. Coating with a regidizer of some sort will reduce the silica particles a bunch.

Having said all that, Chili Forge and Diamond Back both make great products. I made a basic copy of the Chili Forge because I wanted the experience and I had the time. For sure, it cost me more $$ in time than buying one but the experiance is priceless.

Good Luck!!!

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So why are you not using chunk charcoal? No smoke! It's what was used for the first 2000 years of smithing---all the viking pattern welded swords were forged in charcoal forges and the traditional japanese katanas are forged in charcoal forges to this day!


I had thought of that but again remember my only possible workshop is the garage. I tried doing some charcoal in just a grill and heating it up hot. The only thing I managed to do is nearly melt the grill *smirk*. The carbon monoxide detector in my garage spiked like crazy even with the 1000cfm fan on. Furthermore the hardwaood charcoal snapped and popped and threw off sparks like no tomorrow. It was like getting stuck with a million needles not to mention the fire hazzard to my house. My garage is 5/8ths fire code drywall and heat resistant paint but even that has limits.

Of course solid fuel also puts off polutants that I am not so sure are good for my ashtmatic lungs. My asthma isnt that bad and I would like to keep it that way.
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What was wrong with the driveway? Build your forge into a gas grill cart and wheel it out to use. It will be cold in the winter but you CAN'T use a propane forge in a garage in the winter without opening all the doors and windows anyway.


Driveway is tilted at 15 deg. Even if it wasn't, my neighbors can be asses. I wish I had the change to move out of the xxxx city.
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With practice you can smith on a tilted surface. To start it helps to have the forge on the tilt and the anvil inside on the flat.

Sounds like you have too much going against you there and should look for the local smithing group and hook up with someone who will let you use their equipment.

I had one student who was a freshman in college; he got the forging bug and he managed to set up a forge living out of a DORM ROOM!

Built a gas forge into a gas grill cart and parked it out back of the dorm with the other grills, changed out his desk for a workbench with postvise, had scrap steel stored under his bed and ran through roommates at a pretty good clip...

Gas forges without massive ventilation in garages can be deadly!
With massive ventilation you are almost outside anyway....

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Sounds like you have too much going against you there and should look for the local smithing group and hook up with someone who will let you use their equipment.


I started in my back yard with a washtub charcoal forge. Then moved to waste oil (looked like a plane crash if the mix got too rich, and I sometimes feared that the radiant heat would set the house or fence on fire), then to propane. Did I mention that I live in a townhouse in a suburban townhouse? The neighbors were none to keen on some of this, especially when I made charcoal. Funny odors, loud noises, bright light, etc. My wife wasn't thrilled, either, even less so when she ended up fielding complaints from the dissatisfied neighbors. So I made her a deal: I cease operations in the yard (except for occasional grinding and cutting, etc.), and in return I get to take a class and join the local smithing group, which has a shop that members and guests can use. It has worked out pretty well.
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I have not been at all heedless of the guidance an I have been in communication with several members of this forum via email. On the contrary I have listened carefully to many things said here and adopted a ton of stuff said here. I simply can not travel a long distance with my work schedule and family and whatnot. I respect and appreciate the offers of assistance in person and I would like nothing more than to take them up on that offer but my family and job must come first. This is but a hobby and if I must stop annoying people and not post here anymore and not do smithing anymore, it will be a minor loss in the grand scheme of my life. Perhaps it is a selfish indulgence to spend hours in the garage in the first place.

I would love to have an ozark pattern anvil, the best forge, a coal forge and ability to use it, the best tools, a power hammer, a great post vise and so on. Alas I can not afford any of that and I have to make do with what I can afford and do. Sure, I can build a brake drum forge but using coal in a residential subdivision is impossible (heck even some of my neighbors bitch about the noise as it is) and selling my house to move out to the country for a hobby is a bit extreme. I would love to have a spot in the country but again, I am not stacked with money, I get by with a modest budget for amusements. Yes, I am a green newbie smith, I have never claimed to be otherwise. However I can only do the best I can.

Your post, and others like it, seems to admonish me to imply I am being stubborn, but the reality is that I am only working within the bounds of finances and time available to me. I apologize if that annoys people. Honestly posts like yours make me wonder why I bothered getting interested in this to begin with.


Robert,
Im sorry you feel that way. I was only keeping it real! I wish you the best and hope you can have some succsess.
tlreif
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