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Yes I forged last night until the fire was shallow. I scooped it all out and put it in a bucket full of water. I figure I'll do that after every firing until the bucket gets somewhat full. Then I can screen it and let it dry to use later. Does that sound like a good idea to y'all?

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I believe that would be a very good idea. You won't have to worry about hot coals laying in the forge and hoping that they go out. Charcoal is a great heat source. Just be careful of the little fire fleas flying around, especially if you forge indoors. :)

My smithy is indoor. It's sand floor now with the plan to pea gravel it soon. I played it safe checking the stack exhaust and embers from the firepot and having a bucket of water handy for a quick toss. Thanks for everyone's post.
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I do not mean to take away from the talk but this topic is about Charcoal.
How bad does the charcoal smoke at start up and how bad does it spark while the blower is on.
I have been reading about the sparking and that and the smoke may stop me from useing it where I live. can anyone explain how much there is thanks

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I'd often finish off a forging session as the charcoal fire burned down to almost nothing, trying to get a final small bend or something with a little fire a couple inches deep. Using CowboyBrand charcoal, the fleas would get worse and worse as the fire burned down.

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Charcoal if properly charred doesn't smoke---not a bit!

Some gourmet charcoals are improperly charred to provide "flavour" to food cooked over them. Don't use those! (Mesquite is often done this way)

Another method of dealing with charcoal is to shovel it into an airtight container where it will put itself out. You must be sure that the container is air tight and is not near anything combustable as the outside will get hot until the fire is out.

Like others, I tend to let the fire burn down at the end of the day and go out on it's own. (or cook dinner on it)

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I wouldn't worry about the lye too much from forging charcoal ashes, especially if your forge has an ash dump that you empty regularly. I once tried to make lye out of forge charcoal ashes. The residence time is too short. Ashes originally contain potassium carbonate. This undergoes a metastasis and converts to potassium hydroxide after reacting with the limed calcium carbonate in the ashes. For normal bottom tyuere forge maintenance, the residence time is too shortfor the second reaction to occur appreciably, and you mostly get potassium carbonate in the liquor. This doesn't burn quite as bad ;) Technically, the liquor is not lye. It is caustic potash.

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Spent about 2 hours last night in my little smithy using Kingsford - yep, you gotta watch out for the little "fireflys" when inside. I agree with those that start letting the size of the fire get smaller as you near the end of your work. Once I was done I spread out the remaining fire/coals and covered it with a 1' square piece of scrap ... most of what was left was 1" or less in size. Next time I forge I will dump the down tube/ash dump ... I use pressed briquets but prefer lump charcoal (after coke and coal) as it seems to produce much less flying ash and residue around the forge. Any fire requires attention at the end especially if you don't have a set up that will allow the fire to be unattended.

There is seldom much smoke at the beginning of my charcoal fires, I start with kindling made from construction site cutoffs and some small card board and crank enough to keep a steady flame until I get that stuff glowing ... then it is on it's own. During forging I get little or no smoke, but can generate some hefty flames ... deeper fires work really well with charcoal for generating enough heat to do almost anything.

Tim

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I just wad up a couple of sheets of newspaper light it turn the blower on low and dump the charcoal on it. Lights real easy no smoke and the fleas aren't to bag as long as I don't run the blower to high which isn't needed any way. When I shut down I just cover the forge with a piech of plate or sheet metal. sometimes it will all burn up and sometimes it will go out. doesn't matter much because there isn't much left anyway.

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I shovel my fire, coal, charcoal or corn, into a steel bucket with a tight lid. Pop the lid on, leave it at the end of the drive and it cools down overnight. No draining, although I do have to sort ash from coke or charcoal, clinker, and unburnt fuel.

I "cheat" and use a plumber's torch to light a double handful of charcoal, then add the fuel I am using that day to the charcoal.

Phil

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I'll use the BBQ chimney to light the charcoal. Dump it on the firepot and go. Same with coal, about a half a chimney full of charcoal, light it, get set up and pile coal on top of the burning charcoal. It burns hollow pretty fast, but after that its all coal and coke.

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With a waterbucket full of charcoal, watch that it doesn't turn the water into Lye. It burns really bad! (don't ask me how I know that! <_< )


"Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!"
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I don't like charcoal, it hurts. :wacko: I ran low on burn ointment. How to put it out? Don't waste a good fire, roast some hot dogs over it or make some smores. :D Really though, I couldn't get a consistant fire from the stuff. It was either too hot or not hot enough. I think it had to do with the inconsistant sizes of the chunks. Blue flame = oxidizing = really hot but you'll see a lot more scale.

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You don't want it to burn blue, that's excess oxy making the pretty flames which will burn the steel, say oxidize it. You need a deeper fire so all the oxy is consumed before it gets to your work. The heart of your fire should be yellow or high orange if you're just forging. And yes, break the charcoal up so it's walnut size give or take, it's not an exact thing but you don't want large pieces it lets oxy past.

Pile your charcoal deeper and insert your steel into the pile at an angle aimed at the heart. Leaving a layer of cooler charcoal over the work helps protect it from oxy and insulates the fire itself so it doesn't radiate valuable heat as readily.

Knife guy: why are you getting burned, flying sparks? Less air, deeper fire so the cooler charcoal on top helps filter the gleaties. Gleaties are the burning sparks and such from fires, it's a real word believe it or not.

Frosty The Lucky.

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