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I Forge Iron

Building my first forge- a couple of questions


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I've done a little bit of hand hammering in the past, using an oxy-fuel torch to heat with, and made a few knives, but don't have a whole lot of experence with using a forge. I've been kicking around ideas for building my own forge for a while, primarily for knife making. Now, I have a job coming up building steel braces for wood trusses, and we want to heat up the steel strap and give it a little bit of "hand forged" apperance. Considering the amount of heating, the forge suddenly becomes a priority item. I need to be able to work on some fairly long pieces, so the forge I build would have to allow pieces to pass through.

I have access to about 8' of 8" square tube (1/4" wall, 7.5" square inside), which I can cut, weld, and shape how ever works best.
I was intending to use a weed burner for the flame.
I am picturing a T shaped forge, with the work being run through the main tube, and the weed burner blowing in the side tube.
my questions are:

I've seen forges lined with fire brick, fire clay, and thermal blankets. Which would work best? How thick of lining would I need?

I've heard that weed burner forges often create a reducing flame, would adding venting or forced air help? (I've got an old vacuume that I modified into an air blower with a rheostat switch) If I added venting or the blower, where would be the best location to add it?

Is there an optimum length for each leg of the T?

I'm assuming that the advantage of a large forge is fitting larger pieces, but is there any advantage of making the forge smaller?

Should I be running the weed burner through a pressure regulator, and if so, what pressure would I be looking for?

Any other questions/ comments?

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