JustinJ1982

Lighting my Forge

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Well, got off work tonight with plans on lighting up my forge for the first time. Tried and tried with no success. I have good coal for sure I guess I was just rushing things. Used the balled up newspaper method but couldn't really get a good lasting flame to ignite my coal. Try again tomorrow I guess.

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try puttin a little oil in the news paper and keep just a little bit of air movin around it always works for me

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Is a little oil more or less than an gallon? What type oil, 90wt, maybe?

DO NOT USE ACCELERATES when building a fire in the forge, They are not needed.

For solid fuel forges, build a fire that would make a boy scout proud (or earn him a merit badge) from twigs, and sticks. Then add larger sticks or kindling until you have a bed of coals from the wood. Next add a double hand full of coal and let the coal get it started, Keep a hole in the top of the coal for the fire to escape and burn off any smoke. Add another double hand full of coal, let it catch fire, then add more coal as needed.

Another method that can be used, (once you know how) is to cut a strip of cardboard about 2 to 3 inches wide and maybe 3-4 feet long. Roll it up into a cylinder and place it on a burning sheet of paper. The paper will ignite the cardboard cylinder. Add a double hand full of coal around the edges of the cylinder and sprinkle a bit of coal (maybe 1/4 inch or so) on the top of the cylinder. When the coal starts to catch fire, add another double hand full of coal, keeping a hole in the top for the fire to escape and burn any smoke. Add more coal as needed until you get the size fire you need for the work you are doing.

With either method, you should only add as much air as is needed to keep the fire burning well. There is no need to try to create a Cat 5 hurricane force wind as the fire struggles to burn due to all the air. Just enough air to encourage good burning is all that is needed because you are trying to build up a bed of coals.

The idea is not to see who can build the fastest fire. If you want a fast fire use an Ox/Ac torch with a ruse bud tip. A fast fire will not build the bed of coals you need to forge with. Take the 15 minutes or so and build a proper fire.

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Thx Glenn. Im gonna try the stick method tomorrow. I know my problem was trying to get it done too quickly. I was too excited!!! I will have more time tomorrow so hopefully I will have better luck.

Again, thanks for the info.

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Cedar kindling or a piece of birch bark will make it easy ...be connected to the earth in what you do... when we start the fire we honor the the elements... good things will follow.

Peter

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I "cheat" and load up a double handful of lump charcoal, whip out the plumber's torch and get that lit nice, then add my fuel choice for the day.

Maybe I am lazy, maybe I get so little forge time lately I can't tolerate a failure to have fire.

Phil

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I use the BBQ charcoal chimney, fill about half way with lump charcoal and in the 10 minutes it takes to get that burning, set up the forge, uncover the anvil and vises.

when the charcoal is going good, I dump THAT in the bottom of the firepot, mound up the coal around it and gently crank the blower to get the coal going. Works every time.

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Justin,

I started my fire Saturday, by tee-peeing some bark around some paper and cardboard,

07282012704.jpg

I lit the paper with a match. When the paper and cardboard began to burn, I slowly began to turn my blower. Too fast and you will blow out your fire. I then added coal around the outside of the wood fire and added some more fine coal to the wood fire. In another 30 seconds to a minute the fire was going fairly well.

07282012705.jpg

A couple of more minutes of cranking and the fire was ready to go.

Dan

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If you have access to bamboo, it makes an awesome tinder for lighting a forge!

Be careful to crush each joint before putting bamboo into the fire. It has a great report (steam explosion) from many of the joints when it finally starts to burning.

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I too use lump charcoal from my grill to get a fire going. Works good, but creates a lot of forge fleas.

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I start my fire with flint and steel. My side draft forge draws so well it blows out a match but makes char cloth glow very well.
I use 3 pc of 2x3 char cloth a big double handful pine shavings the kind you use for pet litter, & coke from the last fire if I don't have coke I use lump charcoal. Put the shaving on one side of the fire pot. coke in a pile beside the shaving turn the blower on as low as it will go. I fold the charcloth over so I have 6 edges lay it on top of the flint, strike the steel on the flint 1 or 2 tries will always get me 2 or 3 edges glowing put the glowing side down in the fire pot you cannot put the char cloth out with too much air it will only burn faster, pull the shavings over the cloth it will start smoking right away increase the air but don't blow the the shaving out of the pot. As soon as the flame appears put the coke/charcoal over the fire increase the blast slowly. It never fails even out side in the wind. From first strike to flame less than 30 sec. to loading steel into fire about 5 minutes for 1/2 inch and under. A $6 bag of pine shavings will last me 5 years. Once you open the bag store in plastic buckets with lids to keep it dry.

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I've found myself struggling as well. Two things that have helped me immensely. #1 use dry coal or coke. Damp coal or coke takes it's sweet time getting to combustion. #2 build a significant fire. As Glenn put it "build a fire a Boy Scout would be proud of" a real fire as opposed to a tinder blaze gives a rookie time to get the coal going. I've tried the various paper tricks and they've never panned out. Reading Glen's post, it may be I'm working the bellows too much.

I must resist the urge to bring on the hurricane! With only a few hours once a week to forge, I'm rarely patient about getting started. That said, the frustration of not getting it lit is worse. I hope this helps.

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I use lump charcoal, 3 sheets of newspaper and a match. I get the charcoal going well and add on the coal. Im up and forging in about 10 min. Just my $.02.

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Clean, cheap, and effective: I just dump the Kingsford charcoal into the fire pot, liberally pour 90% alcohol (both available at Walmart) over it, and light it up. I maintain a steady blast until the charcoal is alight.

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liberally pour 90% alcohol

Liberally - is that more or less than a liter?

No reason to use accelerates, the alcohol is better used as a disinfectant. Besides it id difficult to find 90% as most times the same size bottle at the same price now only has 70%, or only 50% alcohol.

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I use the little wad of burning paper and turn on the gas valve, it'll be at forging heat in about 3-4 minutes.

When I use coal I use the rolled cardboard method as letting it spring open a little lets the flame blow through it like a torch. I load the outside of the roll with 3/4" or larger coal and allow it to cover the top except about an inch in the center. Then I pack the outside of the pile with damp fines. I have good luck lighting the roll with a wooden match dropped in a center(ish) gap with a very gentle blast going. Once the roll catches you can turn up the blast a LITTLE and place more coal over it just so long as the flame can pass through the coal it'll go.

Building a tinder and stick fire works as well or better depending on how you hold your tongue. I haven't has as much luck with pine cones but I've watched guys who do.

The one method I don't like at all is the big wad of newspaper over the air grate, takes too much fiddling and is too slow. Of course that's just my experience, I only gave it a couple tries.

Well, that's probably more than enough opining from a gas forge guy, eh?

Frosty The Lucky.

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I used the kindling method at home for a long time, but when I started doing demos a fellow smith taught me a good newspaper way. Wad up four or five sheets then flatten it back out and roll it from a corner into a ball leaving a few inches at the bottom like a stalk. It looks like a mushroom. Light the bottom of the stalk and put it down on the grate. A little air and pull your fuel of choice all around, leaving the small hole at the top. If you use leftover breeze/coke this method will work very fast. Then just shape your fire with green coal, dampen it and go to work.
The original wadding up and flattening just provides air space, and as I learned those bargain papers are free at kwik stops when you forget to bring you secret firewood concoction.

Chuck

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Liberally - is that more or less than a liter?

No reason to use accelerates, the alcohol is better used as a disinfectant. Besides it id difficult to find 90% as most times the same size bottle at the same price now only has 70%, or only 50% alcohol.


Glenn, I use less than a cup of alcohol. It lights wet fuel, even on a windy day, leaves no additional ash, and smells good when it burns. Walmart sells 90% in the pharmacy area. Alcohol- it's not just for lacerations any more.

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