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Fire Pots?


Joe Davo

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Hey, I'm pretty new to the art of blacksmithing and have just hit a stumbling point.
Most of the forges that I have seen have a fire pot, but I was just wondering if it is a
necessary part of the forge. Can you get by with out one?

Thanks, and sorry if it has already been asked just couldn't find an answer. It's probably common knowledge.

Joe

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Depends on what fuel you are going to be using using and what you want to make, bottom blast or side blast, hand bellows or powered, many factors to be taken into consideration before starting construction

I don't think this question has been specifically asked in this manner, but there is information on the site with videos and other pics showing primitive but effective hearths/forges directly onto the earth through to various other types, sizes and layouts.

More information from you would be helpful

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Okay thanks, I'm hoping to make it bottom blast and hand powered. The overall size is going to be quiet small, probably half a metre to a metre square. Most likely charcoal or coal fuel. In the end it is very flexible, as still in the planing stages.

I will keep checking out different ideas, thanks for the help. Much appreciated.

Joe

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While you technically don't need a firepot, having a firepot especially a very nice firepot can make life easier and reduce frustration. With reduced frustration a smith is less likely to give up blacksmithing. My advice is to locate a blacksmithing group near you, if possible take a few courses, and use coal forges that belong to other people so that you can find out what type of forge arrangement fits your needs and style of working.

Over the past 39 years I have seen a *lot* of people come and go from blacksmithing. So far a big part of my theory about this turnover in membership is frustration and folks reaching what they consider to be their limits. The solution that I recommend is to strategize to reduce frustration though instruction and decent equipment, and find and attempt projects that you consider a bit beyond your skill level.

Compared to a minimalistic forge fire, an excellently managed neutral welding heat forge fire can reduce work time on a project from hours to minutes.

Excellent firepots are available from companies such as Centaurforge www.centaurforge.com/ Kayne and Son https://www.blacksmi...nd_Ash_Dum.xml/ and from other suppliers and even blacksmithing guilds

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Okay, thanks for all the great advice.
I'm fairly remote were I am with the nearest blacksmith guild interstate. But I do know one smith that I will go and check out his set up
in depth.
I might try and build a few different types over coming years depending on what I can get my hands on to try and find a setup that works for me.

Thanks again for all the advice

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Welcome aboard Joe, glad to have you.

The short answer is no you don't NEED a firepot. I don't have one in either of my coal forges but I hardly use coal or charcoal, I'm more a propane forge guy. My coal forges have a duck's nest, a depression in the clay liner with the air grate at the bottom and I customize the fire size by placing fire brick around the nest. This set up allows me to have a small deep fire, large deep fire, large shallow fire trench fire, deep or shallow even odd shaped fires. That's just me though, I'm happy with a camp fire and prevailing wind. <grin>

However, Dave makes a great point about setting yourself up for success, especially when you're just getting into the craft. This said it makes good sense to get the best performing set up you can afford or conditions allow. A proper fire pot has a lot of advantages it's hard to ignore.

One last thing, where are you Joe? You never know who and how many smiths live within visiting distance and there are a LOT of guys on IFI. If you'll put your general location in your header it'll save us old farts having to use our memories when we're traveling in your neighborhood and want to drop in for a snack or nap.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I took a rivet forge and lined it with refractory clay, making a small firepot in the process, it worked out way better with the firepot than without, I think it kept heat far better, and gave me a much wider range to work in, depth wise. As you read about coal fires, the middle is where you wanna be, and you need a bit of depth that is not all stacked pile.

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I am an amateur, however I started out with a brake drum and extremely quickly decided to save up my change for a real fire pot. You can use anything for a blower, and easily exchange blowers when you decide to upgrade, but a good firepot makes a huge difference. In my opinion, spending some money on a good fire pot is really worth your while, as you might waste your time, and also wind up spending a whole a lot of money trying to make secondhand materials work for you. Although for all I know you might be much more of a do-it-yourself guy than I am, and actually have a lot of fun with fabricating something for yourself.
Good luck!
Robert

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Thanks for all the great replys.
Yesterday I put together a small forge with no fire pot, and I think I will use it just to start learn the basics and save up for a fire pot.
Then I'll try making a better forge with a fire pot and a larger area to work in to.

To frosty, I live in South Australia. So a fair way away from most you :)

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Opposite sides of the planet eh Joe? No worry, lots of Ausies here, Kiwis too.

I've always wanted to visit down under, ever since I was a kid and read water swirled the other direction when you flush the toilet. As I aged I wonder if the room spins the other direction when your drunk.

Ah, the life so short and so much to see, taste and try.

Frosty The Lucky.

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This small forge has no fire pot. It works real well for what I use it for. The biggest items I make w/this forge are 7/16" thick 13" long 7/8" wide horse shoes. It will burn up a horse shoe of that dimention in short order. The size looks intimidating, and my blacksmithing students destroy their work on this as they are mezmorized by the turning of the crank and glow of the fire. LOL. I get a kick out of that because they all report the same; "I didn't think that little thing would get that hot"

If you don't stir the fire like apple butter, the clinkers remain at the bottom of the shallow fire. I pile the green coal up around and that makes an effective "so called fire pot"

It will not hold the fire as long as on with a proper fire pot. If you walk away for 1/2 hr it will pretty much be out, where as a proper fire pot will hold a fire for 3 1/5 hrs w/o any air flow.

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G'Day Joe,
Hope the hints and tricks are helping you out. Where abouts are you in S.A. We have an association with 60 members if you wish to work in with other smiths locally. Check out our site at www.artistblacksmithsa.org.au if you need someone to contact.

Cheers,
Rob Kenning
Secretary
Artist Blacksmiths Association South Australia.

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I had a scrap 1/2" thick plate that my neighbor welded into a square/pyramidal fire pot. The difference between this an my old brake drum forge is profound because the cone shape lets the fire consolidate on it's own. The heat of the fire has a similar shape. With a brake drum the fire shape is upside down meaning there's a lot of hot coal at the bottom and very little up where you'd like to be working. Simply sticking the iron down into the coals gets you past the neutral zone which amps up the scaling on the steel every heat. It's absolutely amazing what a difference this makes.

I also tried a trick Phil wrote about in that I put a water pipe 2" above the bottom of my fire pot. the pipe has a cap threaded on it with a 3/4" hole in the center. This allows clinkers to trickle down past the air inlet and collect below the fire. I don't need a clinker breaker because the fire doesn't plug up! The clinker is doughnut shaped and easy to remove once the draft is off.

I don't know of a commercially made fire pot with this type of tuyere. Now that I've tried it, I don't know that I'd go back- it's really great.

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That sounds interesting rockstar, still trying to get my head around it.
Is there any chance of a diagram, if not does, the water pipe enter the fire pot sideways or through the middle of the air inlet?

Thanks

Joe

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... Phil wrote about in that I put a water pipe 2" above the bottom of my fire pot. the pipe has a cap threaded on it with a 3/4" hole in the center. This allows clinkers to trickle down past the air inlet and collect below the fire. I don't need a clinker breaker because the fire doesn't plug up! The clinker is doughnut shaped and easy to remove once the draft is off...
Can you post a picture of this? It sounds interesting, but I'm having a hard time visualing.
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I am no match for Phil's webjitsu! Seriously Phil, thanks for putting the links up. My pot looks just like the first photo of the first link. The 2" diameter water pipe nipple is centered in a hole in the bottom of the pot coming straight up about 2". The water pipe is welded to the pot with the remainder of the nipple threaded into a Tee fitting. I believe I used a 4" long nipple for this. I've got a weighted trap door welded to the bottom of the tee so I can ash dump and the other side of the tee is tied to my bellows. I used standard black iron pipe so I could buy a cap for it. The cap has a 3/4" hole drilled in it's center. I put some anti-seize on the cap before I threaded it on and it's still easy to remove after 10+ fires.

In use the clinkers flow down the fire to the cap where they flow down past the inlet and collect around the base of the pot. The clinkers just congeal together there below the fire. Sometimes small pieces of coal fall through the cap and get hung up at the tee. I just open the ash dump and poke them out from above.

About the only difficult thing about this arrangement is cleaning out the pot when you're done because the dust collects with the clinkers at the bottom corners of the whole thing. I love that I don't have to fuss with clinkers at all because the design is almost entirely self cleaning.

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That's cleared it up, thanks.
it looks like am great idea, I think that I might use the idea for my next forge, aswell as a fire pot and more room and a better air source :)
Thanks again
Joe

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