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I Forge Iron

wont get hot enough


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hello everyone im new and still have alot of q's so i have all my basic tools but i need to figure out why my forge wont get the metal to at least above cherry red hot but it is below that and i find it harder to forge that way and commetns would be aprecieated thank you :)
Well, a lot depends on your set up. I'm going to assume that you are burning coal and have a blower of some type. I would guess that you are either blowing too hard, or not hard enough. Also you could have the metal either too low or too high in the fire. I know, very vague. Teel us what your set up is and that will help us figure out what the problem is.
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Ditto on what Drewed said. The more info you give us the more advice we can offer. If you have any pictures of your setup that will help out also. What type of fuel are you using? Coal/coke, charcoal (briquets or lump), corn, etc. Too many variables.
Welcome to IFI, we'll help all we can. I still need all the help I can get. :blink:


Oh yea, let us know where you are located. A nearby smith may be able to help you.

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A lot of beginners using a shallow forge try to skimp on their fuel, whether it be coal of charcoal, and end up with too shallow a fire.

You need depth for consistant heat. Rule of thumb is generally 4" fuel below the piece, 4" fuel above the piece. This would come from a 4" deep fire pot with a 4" mound of coal or charcoal above it. And as said above, only enough air to get the heat you need.

In a shallow fire, people tend to use too much air out of frustration. This only burns more fuel while the iron refuses to retain heat.

If you are using a rivet forge or something shallow, use some fire brick or clay or something to gain some depth.

For mild steel and iron you need to be up in the yellow range... much hotter than cherry red. Learn to make good heat and control your fire before you worry about making a bunch of stuff. This will make your life much easier as you progress.

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.... Learn to make good heat and control your fire before you worry about making a bunch of stuff. This will make your life much easier as you progress.

agreed. I spent over 2 hours with my new forge pretty much just burning steel to clinkers trying to under how it burned and what shape fire it liked. I gave up and asked for help on IFI!
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When I had the same problem, I was advised to start with a Known fact - am I using the right type of coal?? All coal is not created equal. I went and bought a bag of blacksmith coal (expensive - $38.00 a 50# bag) and tried it -that was my problem. A blacksmith told me " If you have mixed variations you will get mixed results".

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  • 1 month later...

I tried to find an already running post about fire control so this one will do.

Today while setting up my fire I decided to take a few pictures and do some "splainin". Experienced blacksmiths know this process and since I'm still learning I decided to share what I have learned because I actually remembered to take a few pics.

Because my coal comes in various sizes up to fist size I need to break it up smaller prior to forging. I set myself up with enough coal for several days worth of fires. During this breaking up process I wind up with a fair amount of fines. These get saved for later, nothing to waste. The following pictures show what later is. After I have a good fire going, I take a goodly amount of fines and cover the fire mound. Then I sprinkle the top of the mound with water as I learned here on IFI. This makes a nice hard dome over the fire, creating an oven suitable for welding. As I work I feed new coal/coke into the "oven door". Also as I forge, the dome collapses from the inside adding more coke to the fire.

Hopefully the pictures will do it justice.

This is the hardened fines dome and the opening to the fire in the front with a few pieces of iron in it:

Same fire but seen in the 55 Forge:

Mark <º))><

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