Trip

Fire Pot for new forge & how I start a forge fire

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Hey yall,

Well I just came in from working on my new masonry forge (I will post photo's when it's done), I am getting close to having to build a fire pot. Although it is a masonry forge it will have a metal fire pot, I know I want to make it out of 3/4" thick steel, but I don't know how big I should make it, 10"X12" OR 12"X14", and how deep 4" OR 4.5"? Also, should I put in a clinker breaker?

Also I would like to share with yall how I start my forge fires. I am posting this because my good friend Dave Custer of Fiery Furnace Forge LLC, has a REAL problem on how I do it. What I do is go down to the corn field and pick up corn cobs the combine discards, then when I get back to the shop I soak them in kerosene over nigh, then I set them back for when I want to start a forge fire. So what I do is, I take one KCC (kerosene corn cobs) and set it over the clinker breaker. Then all I have to do is light it with a match and put coke on it, and with just a little air I have a fire that is hot enough for forging in less then a minute. So what do yall think about it?

Chase

Check out my blogs at
http://chewinthefatwithchase.blogspot.com/
&
http://kentuckyheritagehomestead.blogspot.com/

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Chase, I start my coal fire with balled up newspaper, or a couple of pine cones, or a small wood fire (lightwood). Anyway you can get a fire started and it works for you is great but the KCC method seems a bit unsafe. Storing presoaked cobs could be potentially dangerous as in an unwanted fire. At some point in the year you will no longer have the cobs to glean from the field and you will have to find another method. Listen to Dave. Dave is a very smart young man and whatever advice he gives you I would give serious consideration. Not saying to follow blindly because we are to be discerning in all we hear. You are lucky to have him as a friend.

Mark <><

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Burning corn cobs as a substitute for coal, was a common practice on farms in Iowa in the30's, 40's & early 50's in Iin in coal stoves and kitchen stoves. They burn fairly fast so it was common during the day when you could mind the fire and then coal was banked up to burn through the night when you were sleeping.
Cheap as a by product of corn production, and comonly available. So I can't fault their use to start a fire or even as a fuel substitute.
But as was stated before, soaking them in kerosene could be a dangerous practice. Storing kerosene soaked cobs in an envoirnment where sparks could ignite them, seems like an accident looking for a place to happen.

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When I first started blacksmithing I would just put a pile of small pieces of pine in the fire pot and soak it in lighter fluid!!

I don't store the KCC in the shop, but in a small shack that has a tin roof and wood lattice for walls, so it has plenty of ventilation. I think I freaked Dave out when I was all out of corn cobs and used just kerosene..... BAD IDEA!!!!!!!! LOL I don't know who's eye's were bigger, mine or Daves LOL So I know not to do that again.

I have never heard of substituting corn cobs for a fuel.. hmmmm might have to try that some time, but it doesn't seam like it would get the fire hot enough to do any thing.

I tried the saw dust and wax fire starters on a camp fire, but never a forge fire, I will have to give that a try when I get my new forge finished.

Speaking of the forge, are there any "cut Sheets" for a fire pot???

Thanks,
Trip

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I often burn corn instead of coal. Shelled corn (just the kernels) are used as stove fuel. The kernels coke up fine, but it is lightweight so it burns faster than coal. Corn also has about 1/2 the heating value of coal or charcoal per published values. The smell is much more pleasant to me than coal, especially since I do not have a flue, just out on the driveway.

I know a person who heated at least one winter on corn cob in a wood stove. He said that a particular field near my mother-in-law's house was flooded bad, and frozen over. The farmer was letting people go in and pick for $1 per bag, and the bags were 50# bags!

I typically light my forge with a double handful of lump charcoal and a plumber's torch. I get the charcoal going then add the fuel of choice. Takes a couple minute but it is no fuss and little effort.

Now, on your fire pot choice.
http://www.blksmth.com/mild_steel_firepot.htm

As for a clinker breaker, the choice is yours. I haven't used a forge with one (only used 3 forges so far) but I can tell you to make sure that whatever you use for the grate cannot be accidentally hooked out when you are cleaning your fire. Fasten the grate in somehow.

Phil

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