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I Forge Iron

Wood pellets


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Has anyone tried to forge with the wood pellets that are used in pellet stoves? I have seen a thread somewhere (here?) on the use of fuel corn for forging that had some sucess. I ask because the local feed store has wood pelets on clearance for $3.00/50# bag. I've used charcoal and can "live" with the "Fleas" ;).

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yes, I used a couple handfulls on top of a charcoal fire, and it smoked like CRAZY. I probably just need to let the pellets coke up in a way or something, but now I just use a handful of them on top of a wood or charcoal fire to help light the coal, works pretty well. Haven't actually tried forging anything with pellets alone though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought a bag of pellets last week, $3.50/50lbs what the heck. I was plesently supprised. The bags were rated at 4000 btu/lb that is about half that of good blacksmith coal. The pellets were easy to light and burned hot with a good clean flame and no clinker. It was interesting that when I tried to control the spread of the fire with a hand full of water the pellets swelled up and broke apart into a damp mass of saw dust that coutinued to coal and stick together like a coal fire of good coke. VERY little water is needed!

The fire started with a lot of white smoke but soon settled down to a tall flame that consumed the smoke and one eye brow. The fire needs to be built deep like a charcoal fire to get a neutral fire, but the nice side was that there was no popping or flea sparks like charcoal. The heart of the fire just turned the edges of the mound to charcoal and fell into the heart. Pound for pound you need two to three times the pellets to get the btu's that you get from coal, but welding heat was no problem. The pellets burn fast and you have to closely tend the fire. I use an electric fan on my forge and found I could cut the blast to almost nothing and the fire still burned hot. I use a foot switch to turn off the fan between heats, the fire quickly started even after a half hour "rest".

You must keep the pellets in a sealed bucket out of moist conditions or you will a have a bucket of saw dust.

Over all, I found the pellets to be a better for my uses than charcoal, and will use it again when I need a fire that is not going to run all day. I do think that good coal makes a better "working" fire, but I also think the very clean fire might be better for my feable forge welding skills .

Good coal in Colorado is running about $40/100# so the price per btu is still good for me.

YMMV (your mileage may vary)

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  • 4 years later...

That's interesting... Honestly hadn't thought of that. Coal is a PITA to get around here and I've been making charcoal from cut offs from a local log home manufacturer. Not much cost for a pickup bed full of cut offs. But to save on the time investment, I might look at pellets...

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