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Howdy yall,
Got another question for the ol' I forge Iron. I have been blacksmithing about a year and I am looking for a fire pot; either to make one or buy one. I would like any ideas, plans and or places to buy one. If yall got any ideas I would like to hear them. Right now I'm using a break drum. It is doing fine but if I have a piece too long it won't fit into the forge. So I have to use gas, well I don't like gas (sorry). So again if you have any ideas or plans PLEASE tell them to me. As always thanks.
Steven The Blacksmith
This is what the forge looks like.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE8hdrSFdW0

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Hi Steven,
By your video you seem to be pretty invested in the system you are creating. It looks good and should serve you. I administer the casting program for New England Blacksmiths and we have a cast iron fire pot we market. The pot is aprox. 1" thick and is cast from an alloy that is used in commercial boiler parts to resist warping or cracking under normal use. The dimensions are around 10" x 14" at the top and it is 5" deep. It comes with a clinker breaker that would still have to have a handle welded on.

You can purchase the pot and clinker breaker alone or a tuyre can be purchased also. The tuyre design is pretty easy to fabricate if you have some of the parts laying around. But if you have to buy a piece of 3" square tubing and a piece of 3" sched. 40 pipe that brings the cost well above the price of the tuyre.

If anyone is interested please contact me PM

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The brake drum is just a handy shape to hold the fire. The clay is used to plug holes or shape the fire to your liking as the brake drum can stand the heat of the fire and usually need no additional protection.

Build a fire using the brake drum and figure out where the sweet spot is located. The sweet spot should be about 2/3 of the way up the fire. Place this above the top of the table in the final assembly of the forge. That way you can just lay the steel on the table and know it is about the right location in the fire. A larger fire will have the sweet spot higher in elevation simply because of the size of the fire.

I have two forges, one for small stuff and one for larger material. The smaller forge of course uses less fuel and heats only about 4 inches of steel. This is great for points, ends, and twists. The larger forge is used when you need a lot of heat or a long heat as you can slide the steel through the fire and out the other side to provide a longer heated section. You only need to heat what you are able to work at one time. If you can only work 8 inches of metal under your hammer, you do not need 3 feet of metal hot.

We sometimes get caught up in building the right forge once. It is a good concept and you most likely will build the right forge for that period of time as it related to your blacksmithing knowledge. As you progress in your skill you may want a different forge, a different shape, etc, so build it. You may want to build your forge so that you can interchange fire pots.


And no one said you could only have one forge. (grin).

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I humbly suggest trying as many forges belonging to other smiths to get the feel of what is right for you.

That said I would advise spending time with a smith experienced in maintaining a really good coal fire that has a zone neutral of both oxygen and carbon, while utilizing a really nice firepot. While working with a so-so firepot will get the job done, there is something to be said for getting the job done faster and with less destruction of the surface of the iron, and less smoke, that results from a good firepot and proper coal-fire maintenance.

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Looks plenty workable Steven though Dave makes a very valid point about using other forges to get a feel for them. You can learn to use virtually anything, especially after you get experienced using whatever's handy.

I have a suggestion about claying forges. It looks like you clayed with a pretty wet mix, this will shrink check as it dries, just like any dried mud hole will. If you add only enough moisture to make it clump when you squeeze it hard and then ram it into the pot with a wood dowel, hammer handle, etc. it won't check nearly as much and you'll be able to start curing it in a couple days.

Remember to break it in with a small fire, let it cool and then build a little bigger fire and a moderate but working fire for the third. This will go a long way to curing it with minimum heat checking and crumbling. If you added enough sand to the clay heat checking will be minimized.

Thanks for the video, keep em coming please.

Frosty the Lucky.

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