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I Forge Iron

Greetings from Tokyo Japan

Stu in Tokyo

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Hello All! :)

Alan DuBoff told me about your place here, so now I'm bumping around and see what is here, which should take me some time, as it looks like there is a LOT here :D

I'm mainly a wood worker, but I do dabble in steel, recently I went to make curved bowl rest for my lathe, and after a frustrating evening of trying to heat a 3/4" thick rod to bend it, I realize, I need a forge.

I'm looking to make a small gas forge, then some more lathe tools, as well as some sharp stuff too.

My homepage is here is you would like to have a look.....

Welcome to the Dungeon


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Welcome to the IFI site.

Would you operate a coal forge with all the smoke it produces in your dungeon? Then may I caution you about using a gas forge in your dungeon. The dungeon interior may be large but you need large amounts of ventalation when you operate a gas forge. The 4 foot square opening concerns me in that reguard.

Look at Blueprint BP0300 for gas forges.

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Welcome Stu! Irashaaaaaiiiiiii!

Glenn, I think Stu has a roof to work off of also, and will most likely end up with gas. But I bet he could run solid fuel on the roof if he wanted. In Japan the top of the apartment complexes has a kinda patio area typically, and the owners of the building have it for their family typically. I think Stu's In-Laws may own the building.

I used to live a couple miles from Stu in Shinjuku, but I was there about 20+ years ago ('82-'87). I lived in a small 9 tatami apartment, could barley fit my fat backside in there for the 5 years I lived in Japan.:rolleyes:

That dungeon is something, heh?

EDIT: there's a couple good threads on forges, and Fred Frontine has a great web site with a great rendition of a mini-forge.:cool:

(linky pic)


Lots of great smiths that will certainly be able to help you figure out what is best for your needs.

Oh, and BTW, you'll find Jr. hangs around here! ;)

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From his web site

I have a space in the basement of our building, it is only accessible through a 4 foot square hatch from the 1st floor parking area of my building, thus I call this workshop "The Dungeon".
From this, I did not imagine a roof location.
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Well guys, thanks for the welcome!

Hi Alan! :D

The roof would be a good choice, but a coal fired forge up there would put off a fair bit of smoke, and TRUST me, the locals would call the FD, we had a BBQ party and were roasting a nice big haunch of venison, and someone called the FD, flashing red lights and everything :o

It was actually funny, the firemen left with some venison, most had never had it before.

I have a LARGE built in exhaust fan in the Dungeon, it will empty the Dungeon of air in minutes, cannot remember the CFM but it was large, it runs a 10" inlet and outlet pipes, with the hatch open, I'd have a LOT of airflow, so much in fact, I have to be careful when MIG welding, or it will cause enough draft to blow my co2+argon gas off the arc.

I found this on auction here......

36cm x 17cm x 20 cm (14" x 6 3/4" x 8") Might buy that.

I also found a guy who used a clay type hibachi thing for an electric forge, makes me wonder if I could not adapt this to a gas forge, on it's side....?

Here he is using the gas range under it to help the heating, I guess.


He lined it with what he is calling "Kao-wool" which I looked up here and find out is a type of ceramic fiber blanket, they say the "Kao" is from "Kaolinite"..... there a bunch of links to pages that have the stuff, so I hope I can get some.

Now I was thinking, if I were to get one of these hibachi things, and put a metal liner on it, do you think I could make a forge out of it?

Sure would be the quick, cheap, easy way to go..... ;):D


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The anvil looks like some type of ASO (Anvil Shaped Object) and should work fine. You could do edge tools on there no problem.

For the forge, think about this...if you decide to go gas, you won't want anything like that electric forge you pictured as you'll most likely want a venturi setup, which doesn't require air, it blows it in from the burner. Because of that, they're most often enclosed and why you see them made out of sections or pipe, or cans, freon tanks, etc...

This is a much simpler setup as it elliminates the blower, and only requires propane be refilled.

Once you start thinking about a solid fuel forge, you need to think about a blower also, even if it's a hair dryer.

Great story about the venison, do you bag it in Tokyo? :o You didn't take that back from Canada with you, did you? I don't think they would let you do that these days, not sure...now I'm curious how you'd bag a deer in Japan, few folks have guns, maybe you used a bow. My wife's cousin bag'd a wild boar for a Sho-Gatsu party about 8 years ago, but they live in Kagoshima, out in farmland (he used a rifle). I used to mostly chase 2-legged deer when I lived in Tokyo, that was until I married my wife!

Anyway, you can sometimes setup with the fire department and let them know what you're doing, but I'm not sure how that works in Japan. If you were back home in Canada, no problem of course...

I would think this would make propane your choice. If that is the case, you need to decide what type of tank you will use, wether the small 1 lb. tanks, or a 20gal tank, you can use either. The bigger factor may be what is available locally for you, but it seems that you mentioned Joyful Honda has gas to refill tanks with. Remember that you can burn those tips on the burners if not careful, so make sure you come up with a decent setup that will continue to work for you.

You should be able to order kaowool blanket/board/brick from some of the places online, such as Zoeller's Forge, if he'll ship international. If you can find kaowool locally, all that much better.

Before you jump into it, think it out first, so that you have a slack tub, some tongs, proper eye protection, and safety attire. You can use pliers for tong replacements if the stock is small, but just keep those things in mind, red/yellow/white hot metal is HOT! :rolleyes: We have 2 rules in the smithy I am learning at. 1) fire/metal is good, 2) fire/hot-metal/hand is not good. You need to follow those simple rules! ;)

OTOH, there's a lot of old blacksmiths in Japan, who have their own traditional methods of smithin', but probably not suitable with you in Tokyo. I've seen small forges built into the ground which they use. But this tells me there must be some place that sells tongs, hammers, stuff like that, even if you need to mail order them. They make a lot of chisels, and saws, and other edge tools, and those Japanese guys sure know how to market their forged products, stock up today before the master dies, this could be the last chance, possibly the last batch, get on the list now! :p

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Hey Alan!

The deer was bagged in Hokkaido, I have a good buddy that goes up there twice a year, so I always have some on hand. I went with him once in the winter, it was GREAT, I could not hunt, as I don't have a license, I was just along to haul the meat out :D Fun just the same!

I'm not planning on building an electric forge, the reason I mentioned that one and showed the pics was I was wondering if the round charcoal brazier thing could be used for a gas forge?

The Kaowool seems to be hard to get here, the pages that my wife and I looked at seem to point to some special license to buy it :rolleyes: and use it :rolleyes: typical BS here.....

I can buy a 20lbs tank of LPG and build a torch, I'm sure, I even have MIG tips to use for the jet. :D

I was just wondering if the charcoal brazier can be used for a forge...........? (Called a Shichirinn in Japanese)

I did some digging...... and found some guys here using them for sand casting etc.

One guy used a blower with charcoal, and after 7 or 8 uses the brazier was worn out.....? I wonder if this is because of the charcoal, and with the cleaner gas, it would last longer?

Surely if I can easily get some of the Kaowool, I'd just do that, with a pipe etc, but I'll see.

BTW, I checked, my workshop exhaust fan does 650 cubic meters of air an hour, or 22950 cubic feet/hour which is 382.5 cubic feet a minute, think that is enough ventilation?

A couple pics of the charcoal brazier........



There are many sizes and shapes, these are just examples I found on the web, the grate on the bottom comes out and there is another 2" or so of space below it.


PS, maybe a mod or admin could split this thread and move it to the right area, we seem to have gotten off on a tangent here.....


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I'm no expert on this as I'm fairly new to all of this smithy stuff, but from what I have been researching and seeing, most gas forges either use venturi style to blow the air in, or use a seperate blower.

The ceramic deal you pictured would require some type of air to heat things enough, unless you had a venturi type burner blowin' in from the side/bottom. In this case you would need to enclose the forge area so that it would get hot enough, I believe.

I wouldn't let the difficulty in getting kaowool stop you from ordering that through mail, or finding a place to get it in Japan, I would think they would have it for sale somewhere. It seems about the safest.

I was just wondering if the charcoal brazier can be used for a forge...........? (Called a Shichirinn in Japanese)
You can almost use it for a solid fuel forge using charcoal, but still have the air problem to solve.
One guy used a blower with charcoal, and after 7 or 8 uses the brazier was worn out.....? I wonder if this is because of the charcoal, and with the cleaner gas, it would last longer?
One reason is that when you start adding air to the fire, it gets a lot hotter, hence why it is able to heat metal to welding temps. You could build some type of enclosed area with firebrick as well, which is how I'm most likely going to end up using my portable solid fuel forge.
PS, maybe a mod or admin could split this thread and move it to the right area, we seem to have gotten off on a tangent here.....
Glenn might be able to do that. Or just start another thread in "Blacksmithing" about a gas forge.
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