Dave Hammer

Build Your Own Burner Video

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I posted a new video on YouTube this morning which shows how to build a simple propane burner. It can be viewed at

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxzdqcPzXj8&feature=channel

It's long for a YouTube video, but I can assure you that you will, with minimal tools, be able to build a burner that will produce forge welding temps in a properly insulated (and sized) forge.

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this is just a nice well put together video i know that there are many people out there like me who just need to see how something is put together to really have a good grip on how something is made
this is a fantastic teaching video thanks for taking the time to put this together

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Dave, I was forwarded your video by another member of my local blacksmith guild. The detailed explanations and parts listings were great, and I am getting the parts together to build one of these burners for myself. Since I will have to buy a tap set, I'm wondering what type of threads would the mig tip have? NPT or NC?

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Justin...

You need to get your mig tip first, then determine what the threads are. I have found the one's I have bought have been either 1/4 20, or 1/4 28. Neither were pipe thread (I don't think I've ever seen a pipe thread on a mig tip). You shouldn't need to buy a whole tap set. You can buy just a single tap (big box store) that includes the proper sized drill bit. Good luck.....

If you don't have a thread gauge (most of us wouldn't), you can compare the threads to that on a regular 1/4 inch bolt (not fine thread) at a hardware store. That would would be 1/4-20. If the thread on your mig tip is a little finer... it is most likely 1/4-28. I'm not sure I've seen a "tap and drill bit" set for 1/4-28, but I have bought several 1/4-20 sets.

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Hi Gang, Dave I've been working on 3 burners of your design. I'm building a forge oven that is 16" long x 12" round. It's two 20 propane tanks with the ends cut off ( justing the body) and welded togeather making it 16" long.

What I wondering is if I use three burners in that 16" will it be to hot, or not hot enough. I did build 4 just in case.

What I may do is install 3 burners each with it's own ball valve to shut off gas, so I can burn 1, 2, or all 3 burners.
But if 1 or 2 are shut off will the heat ruin them. Guess I'm kinda askin about what temp are the burners.

This is my frist forge build and I got this far, Just guessing the next step

Thank You

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Roy.... I hope you had fun making the burners...

First of all, I'd like to clarify that don't consider myself an expert at making burners or forges, only someone with a fair amount of experience building and using them..... and I like showing others what I have learned.

I don't know what your actual needs are, but from my perspective, the forge you are building is very large. If there is a reason you need one that large (project wise), that is fine, but if you are like most of us when we started playing with gas forges.... and are going to be working on small projects, a smaller forge may be more suitable, at least for your general everyday use.

In my case, currently.... my most used propane forge has an eight inch shell (outside diameter) and is about eight and one half inches long. I use two layers of (ridigized) one inch thermal blanket (like Kaowool) and cover that with a reflective coating. The thermal blanket is pressed to about 1.5 inches thick. I have a hard flat refractory floor (actually put in after the first inch of thermal blanket, so it only has an inch of thermal blanket under it. This size forge has well under 200 cubic inches of burn chamber. I use a single burner (made with 3/4 inch pipe). I have made (and use) other smaller and larger forges, but still use the one I just described the most.

There is information on the net referencing how many cubic inches of burn chamber can be supported by each burner. This will vary with the capability of the burner (and the efficiency of the forge), but for the most part, the consensus seems to be up to 350 cubic inches per burner made with 3/4 inch pipe. Assuming that you are going to have a two inch layer of insulation, your burn chamber would be a little over 1800 cubic inches (pi*radius squared*length...actual cubic inches will be less if you have a flat floor). So, the guidelines would indicate that you need at least five burners. How many burners you would actually need would be a consequence of how you manage the use of propane and the efficiency of the forge. Personally, I wouldn't put more than four burners on a forge. If I needed more heat than 3/4 inch burners could put out, I would consider a larger diameter pipe for the burners or consider a blown burner design. I have used one inch pipe for burners.... not for the design in my video, but I see no reason it wouldn't work (I'd expect you would need a larger mig tip).

Concerning putting shut off valves on each burner.... Two issues there.... First, if the burner is on the top of the forge and is not burning, and the aspiration holes are not covered, it will act as a chiminey, letting heat out. I don't know for sure if this would damage the burner orifice, but I would expect it would shorten the life of the flare. Secondly, generally, the burners heat the forge to forging temp, and radiant heat heats your project. If you are not running enough burners to heat the entire burn chamber to forging temps, it is unlikely you will get your metal to a forging temp. The only exception would be if you only need a hot spot in the forge (directly under the burner) to heat your project.

Another topic needs to be addressed.... Your forge needs to have a proper lining to work in an efficient manner. How are you planning to line your forge and what type of doors, if any, are you going to use?

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Thanks Dave for your fast responce,
1, I plan to use 2" of the blanket you mention. And fire brick doors on 3" channel

2, I was building it like a 40# propane tank. Cause I was going to twist 1/2 " square for a porch rail.
Till I learned not to heat the stock because an uneven heat will twist stock uneven.

So I just kept the same plans. Your thinkin that 3 burners with/out ball valves for shut offs, will not work right ?
Then I'll just use 1, 20 # tank. Whats crazy I did make 4 burners....LOL I just think that 5 burners will eat the propane
faster then I can buy it. And natural gas is to far to pipe. 4 may cost to much if the price don't slow down

Thanks, for input :) :) :)

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Hi dave. Man this video is just what i have been looking for. I have been researching for about 5 months about blacksmithing. I am very new to this and have read and watched so much stuff it can start being confusing as to what i need to start with. I recently purchased an old vulcan anvil. Now im ready to build a forge. I will be building your design of burner. I was wondering if you had some more details or info on the forge in your video. I have an old freon tank, but not sure if it will work . Thanks for any input an thanks for such a great video.

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kwp....

I will be putting together a video covering how I make the forge I put the video burner in. It may be a couple months before it comes up on YouTube, so I will give you some advance info here....

I have seen LOTS of forges made with freon tanks. They make good forges. One issue though, the Freon tank forges I’ve seen have simple swinging doors.

There are lots of forge designs that work well, but if you want to make one similar to the one in my burner video, I’m not sure a Freon tank would be suitable. How you make your forge may be dependent upon what skills you have. If you don’t do welding, you will either need to find a friend that does, or use a design that doesn’t require welding. A Freon tank is a great shell to build a forge with if you don’t have welding skills. Doors and legs can be put on with hinges using rivets, screws or small bolts. Some folks just make a platform and use soft (or hard) bricks in front of the openings.

I have also built forges just out of soft brick, stacking them to the size and configuration I need. The burner will need to be supported somehow if you do this to get started.

If you are a really skilled welder, you could probably use a Freon tank to make the design I use. Personally, I like my forge bodies heavier than a Freon tank (I’m not that good at welding yet). For my round forges, I generally use a section of a large oxygen cylinder (however, any steel cylinder heavy enough to weld channel to would work). I cut the oxygen cylinder with zip discs. For my doors, I weld (regular weight) 3 inch “C” channel on the forge body and use soft fire brick for sliding doors. I also cut a horizontal slot in the side, weld on a small table on the bottom of the opening and use soft fire brick to close that slot when I don’t need it open.

Soft firebrick can be cut with a handsaw or shaped with a farrier’s rasp. It will ruin the saw, so don’t use one that you need to cut wood with (I buy old saws at yard sales and flea markets for this).

Generally, I put my forges on a pipe with a round base so they are easy to move around my shop (tilt and roll). I cut a coupler (for the pipe size) in half and weld it onto the bottom of the forge. Doing that lets me take the forge off of the pipe for transporting it to a demo or ??.

I line my forges with one inch thermal wool (like Kaowool). I use sodium silicate (buy from a ceramics supply store) to hold the blanket in place (brush onto both surfaces). I put one layer all the way around the forge first, then fit a floor over that one inch blanket that sticks up a little higher than the shelf on the bottom of the horizontal slot. Then I add a second layer of thermal blanket from the floor…. up and around to the horizontal opening (again using sodium silicate to adhere the two layers together.

I use a refractory for the floor that will stand up to flux. I use Plastek 85P, which I order from ANH (55 lb box of ramable). If you could find a source for a solid refractory board (like for a kiln) you could cut to size (diamond blade in an angle grinder), it would be less expensive. Another alternative is to buy refractory powder and cast a floor. I have used thin hard brick (half inch is best, but 1 inch will work also) for floors, but only in small forges (this is a good choice if you are satisfied with a 4.5 x 9 inch floor (I’m not in my most_used forge). That size floor may work in a freon tank forge. The floor needs to be thin so it doesn’t take too long to heat up to forging temperatures.

After the sodium silicate has dried, I use a ridigizer (like Ins-Tuff…. Google for sources) to make the thermal blanket stiff. After this step, I recommend you use some product to put a coating on the thermal blanket, like ITC-100 or something you can use as a thin layer of refractory rated at 2400-2600 degrees or more. The refractory could be covered with a reflective coating also. Putting some kind of coating on the thermal blanket is important to get an efficient forge (thermal blanket can be used alone, but your forge will not get as hot).

Using just thermal blanket, a ridigizer and ITC-100 (or similar product) should produce an acceptable forge.

The lining can even be made more efficient……

I use a mix of colidal silica and milled zircon (zirconium silicate) as my coating over the ridigizer. I also sometimes use AP Green T-36 mortar mix as a refractory layer over that mix (after it has been fired and dries), then put another coating of the colidal silica/milled zircon mix. This…. I learned from a friend that makes and uses glass blower’s glory holes. I haven’t found a source that will sell me milled zircon (I buy mine from my glass making friend). Ins-Tuff (easily available) is colidal silica.

North American Refractories (Narco) sells milled zircon, but didn’t respond to my inquires. I buy mine from my glass_bead making friend (a favor to me from him). I believe I could find a source if I need to, but I’m not sure small quantities could be purchased. I do intend to follow up on this. This stuff is (apparently) usually only sold to industrial customers.

I suspect ITC-100 could be used successfully over the T-36 mortar successfully, but I have not tested it. A scientist I know says he thinks ITC-100 has milled zircon in it.

This is a lot of information. Don't let it scare you into thinking making your own forge is difficult. If you are handy and have some fabrication skills, it is easy.

One other thing... before I started using sodium silicate to hold thermal blanket in place, I used inconel wire to hold up the thermal blanket. These pictures were taken long ago and show how that was done. I drilled holes in the forge casing and bent inconel wire into staples, pushed them through the blanket and bent them over on the inside of the blanket to hold it up.... That works also. I purchased inconel wire from ceramic supply houses.

Lots of luck.

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Dave, Thanks for posting the video. One question what size is the stainless steel pipe ? I know you said 3" long but you didn't mention a diameter, I'll probable have to order this over the internet and want to make sure I get what I need. You were talking about the powder refactory cement that you mix yourself, that can be bought at any brickyard. I have a home made firepot and lined the bottom of it with it, just remember the less water added the stronger the cement will be. Paul

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Thanks a lot Dave. I have access to a torch an welder. I am a brick mason by trade an I have plenty of firebrick at my house, so i may play with stacking them to the size forge i need. I have a brick saw to do any cutting required. Thanks again.

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Thanks a lot Dave. I have access to a torch an welder. I am a brick mason by trade an I have plenty of firebrick at my house, so i may play with stacking them to the size forge i need. I have a brick saw to do any cutting required. Thanks again.


Are the firebrick you have soft or hard? Folks use both kinds, but it takes a LOT longer to heat a forge made with hard fire brick (the brick absorb a lot of heat)... Good luck with whichever you use. Also, there are more than one kind of soft brick. Some have a smooth surface, and some have a rough surface. The smooth surface bricks break apart easier. I recommend the rough surface soft fire bricks. I have used both.

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Dave, Thanks for posting the video. One question what size is the stainless steel pipe ? I know you said 3" long but you didn't mention a diameter, I'll probable have to order this over the internet and want to make sure I get what I need. You were talking about the powder refactory cement that you mix yourself, that can be bought at any brickyard. I have a home made firepot and lined the bottom of it with it, just remember the less water added the stronger the cement will be. Paul


The stainless pipe needs to slip over the main burner body, which determines the "insided diameter" size of the narrow end of the flare. If you order a stainless flare, you need to specify your burner pipe size. There should be flares available for 1/2", 3/4" and 1" pipe burners. Be aware, if you use pipe (for your burner bodies) other than "schedule 40" pipe, all bets are off whether or not a commercially available flare will fit. Schedule 40 pipe is the common size and thickess you would find in any hardware store.

When I look at recycling yards for stainless pipe (to make flares with), I carry a short piece of schedule 40 pipe with me to see if the stainless pipe will slide over it. The fit doesn't need to be super tight, but there shouldn't be a lot of slop either.

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kwp if you are using hard firebrick it will take much more to heat it as they don't insulate the way soft fire brick dose the soft ones you can cut with a drywall knife and carve with a spoon

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Well i guess im on the hunt for some soft fire brick. All the ones i have are hard. Thanks. I got the burner built today, gonna try it out tommorrow.

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Well i guess im on the hunt for some soft fire brick. All the ones i have are hard. Thanks. I got the burner built today, gonna try it out tommorrow.


Soft fire brick can be bought from (or through) a ceramics supply store (local or online) or some of the folks that sell blacksmith supplies online. Look for the rough surface bricks and they will last longer (I buy 2600 degree soft bricks).

Did you make a flare, or are you going to order one? In general, burners will not run (outside forges) without a flare. I use stainless flares because they are supposed to stand up to the the heat from the burn chamber better than just steel. I also need to mention that the tip of the burner (flare) needs to be up in the thermal blanket (or hole in brick or refractory) about an inch or so (don't stick the end down into the burn chamber or it will burn right away). A short term flare can be made using a 3 inch length of 1 inch pipe slid over the burner body and held with a set screw (set it half way on, then adjust it's position while running the burner to get the best looking blue flame). That flare substitute will work without a taper (just less efficiently). You can replace it later with a stainless flare.

I should also mention that you can build a quick simple forge and use it with just thermal blanket in your freon tank without ridigizer or reflective coating. It is just a less efficent forge (and not quite as healthy, because it can blow out burned particles of thermal blanket). You could even get away without a floor, although I wouldn't recommend that. If you don't put in the horizontal slot, you don't need sodium silicate to hold the thermal blanket in place (just cut it a little long and stuff the ends of the thermal blanket together as you put it in and it will stay in place). I used a forge like that for a long time before I learned the advantages of adding the reflective coating, sliding doors and a horizontal slot. If you do this and want to upgrade it later (ridgidize and add reflective coating), you may have to replace the thermal blanket.

The simplest forge might not even have a pass through opening in the back.... or you could cut a small hole in the back before lining, then line the forge as if that hole isn't there. After the lining is in, us a thin kitchen knife to cut the insulation away (like you are carving a pumpkin) from the outside (you may need to hold the insulation on the inside end with your hand as you cut through (carefully). That small hole can be plugged with a piece of thermal blanket when you don't need it open.

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Dave, I geuss I should have explained a little better. I undestand using 3/4" sch 40 pipe for the main body, but I was planning on buying stainless steel pipe to make my own flares. Thinking on it the scrap yard does have a lot of stainless scrap so that is probably the way to go.

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Dave, you knocked a home run with this excellently correlated and articulated instructional video.
And then you added the icing on the cake by addressing the questions posed on the thread.
I do not recall having ever seen a video that was more detailed, complete, yet put into simple understandable terms as this one.

When I say you knocked a home run, I mean you cleared a way for all of us who were on base to come home with a good understand of "Exactly" what to do without interference.

You should go into the business of making/teaching and producing Videos also!
Please keep it up. You have raised the standards up several notches.

My best to you ~ And Thank You
Ted Throckmorton

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Dave. I did make a flare by heating with my torch an using the horn on my anvil. Not sure it was 12 degrees but I got it put together an man did it blow! I didnt put a needle valve yet but was able to get a nice blue flame. I think im gonna use a pc of pipe an try to mimic your forge. I will just order what I need to for insulation. once again you have been a big help. Thanks

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Do you have a file that we can save? YouTube won't let me save it.

Thanks

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