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forge shell wall thickness


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Hey, so I'm building a gas forge, and found a nice piece of 12 inch diameter steel pipe. The wall thickness is 1/4 inch, and I was just wondering if having this thick of a wall would pose any significant heating problems - that is, the large mass of the thick walls acting as a heatsink. I know I'm probably overthinking it, and in the end it probably makes little difference, but this is my first gas forge, and I want to make sure that I'm not making some big mistake.


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If you have proper insulation i.e. at least 2" of ceramic blanket such as Koawool or Inswool etc, or a castable or ramable liner the shell would be insignificant in the roll of heating, IMHO. The key being "proper". Too little insulation, and your forge won't heat efficiently regardless of the shell.
Hope this is helpful. I sure others will confirm deny this with additional input :D

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A heavy shell can be an advantage for a stay in one place forge as you can weld all sorts of bells and whistles to it. My second gasser was made from welding cylinder material and the first thing I did was to weld a section of sq tubing along each side. then slid in some nesting sq stock with one end bent into an L; so I have a third arm to rest longer pieces on and one for the front and one for the back as well!

If the insulation is good the outside material has a nominal effect of the efficiency.

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I used stove pipe, worked well. Fastened with sheet metal screws, also works well.

Others have used chicken wire for temporary gas forges. The shell is just a container for the ceramic wool. Thicker does have advantage of attachment choices- welding, drill and tap..thin limits you to pop rivets and sheet metal screws. Electrical conduit attachment rings work with thin and thick.


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My welding cylinder shell is a pain to travel with because it is so heavy and often gets loaded in the truck *hot*.

I have also seen a gas forge made just by taking a roll of kaowool and making a tube from it and using a couple of pieces of baling wire to keep it from unrolling---no shell whatsoever.

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