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I Forge Iron

"Coaless" coal forge.


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I'd give a shot at introducing yourself and showing your wares and why the coal is important to you. I used to go to places that normally wouldn't deal with one man shops and I'd take my portfolio to show them. Pictures of my shop and what I was doing. It amazed me at the doors that opened. Even make a leaf key chain or something and give it to them. Might be surprised at what happens. Maybe at night you could get a bucket load off of the tracks first to see if it is any good for how you work?

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I think you missed this statement of fuel in the opening post.

Hi Steve,
Nope, oil burners I am not particularly familiar with, but having looked at some, an open chamber would work best IMHO as opposed to trying to heat ceramics/similar and get that heat to transfer to the workpiece. I was just trying to highlight its how you utilise a forge to heat your workpiece, not the size of the forge chamber, this applies with gas (and similarly Oil) or solid fuel

The large forge shown is gas powered, so you should be able to substitute oil burners to heat a large chamber,

I don't know about the price of oil or gas in the US, but in the UK solid fuels are more economic, unless you have a free waste oil supply.

But from the information, still not entirely clear on material sizes with gas ( and oil would not be so different I am led to believe) I can easily get a 32" long x 12" wide up to 3" + thick to a nice orange heat using three burners and a temporary constructed forge. Its a bigger problem handling and manipulating items than getting the workpieces up to heat

Is there not an ABANA chapter or other group nearby that could help source a coal supply?
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Hi

I am in South Africa and there are very few blacksmiths here. Those that have web pages are all over 800-1000 kms from me. Have tried all avenues with the mines and coal terminal - it's against corporate company policy and the only way would be to do it under the table and I am not willing to go that route. The closest supplier is 300 kms away and that makes it very uneconomical. Trust me - if I could get my hands on coal again I would only use coal, but I moved to the coast and it's too hot here for anyone to justify selling it locally. Have just been given 180 ltrs of used veg oil and have a constant supply of that, so when my Hago nozzle arrives I will be looking at re modding the forge. I think that my current setup is not allowing enough fuel through to get optimum heat output. But like all blacksmiths I am used to having to make a plan and building my own tools - so back to the drawing board.
Will possibly try the clam shell as an option for a extra forge though. Have four now so one more can't hurt.

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Ok, I don't want to sound like I'm flogging a dead horse here - one more, then I'll shut up, I promise.

You say you'd prefer a coal forge. You have a supplier 300 kms away. You can haul a couple of tonnes of coal on a borrowed / rented trailer behind just about any 4x4. You'd be back by lunchtime if you set off early - enough coal to last for a long time? ***** you even have free waste veg oil to throw in the diesel tank.

Failing that, I bet shifting a 1 or 2 tonne pallet 300kms isn't a lot of money out there? Costs about £50 here - hundred US bucks ish.

It just doesn't *sound* like you've 'tried all avenues'?

?? Al.

Ok, now I'll be quiet.

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One other thought: is there a company that analyzes coal to grade if before shipment? If there is one of those locally they probably have quite large samples on hand they need to deal with after the testing is done.

(My wife once ended up with massive amounts of cotton for her hand spinning that way; couldn't get it from the cotton processors in less than a ton lot but was *given* as much as we could haul off by the local cotton test facility. ISTR a smith that was getting his coal that way too.)

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Have you tried the townships? I got 50kg bags of coal out in a township from a few guys that were breaking them down to distribute to people for heating. While I was living there, I got around SA quite a bit, and in 90% of the townships I was in people heated with coal. Some one has to supply all that coal. That was where I went, and where I would direct you.

Edit: I had my wife put out some feelers to her old work mates from RB to see where they would recomend you look.

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Ok, I don't want to sound like I'm flogging a dead horse here - one more, then I'll shut up, I promise.

You say you'd prefer a coal forge. You have a supplier 300 kms away. You can haul a couple of tonnes of coal on a borrowed / rented trailer behind just about any 4x4. You'd be back by lunchtime if you set off early - enough coal to last for a long time? ***** you even have free waste veg oil to throw in the diesel tank.

Failing that, I bet shifting a 1 or 2 tonne pallet 300kms isn't a lot of money out there? Costs about £50 here - hundred US bucks ish.

It just doesn't *sound* like you've 'tried all avenues'?

?? Al.

Ok, now I'll be quiet.


The trip alone will cost me around 150 pounds and municipal bylaws won't allow me to keep more than 500 kgs let alone 3 tonnes. I've done the math - not economical.
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One other thought: is there a company that analyzes coal to grade if before shipment? If there is one of those locally they probably have quite large samples on hand they need to deal with after the testing is done.


Haven't ever heard of one. Will research that option
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Have you tried the townships? I got 50kg bags of coal out in a township from a few guys that were breaking them down to distribute to people for heating. While I was living there, I got around SA quite a bit, and in 90% of the townships I was in people heated with coal. Some one has to supply all that coal. That was where I went, and where I would direct you.

Edit: I had my wife put out some feelers to her old work mates from RB to see where they would recomend you look.


That is an option that I have some African friends looking into - there were a few places that sold to the local townships but they have closed doors. Appreciate the help. Where in SA were you.
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