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I Forge Iron


matei campan

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hello all
until recently I was using charcoal in my forge, but bought as bbq charcoal, it's quiet expensive and of varied quality. so I was looking for alternatives and an acquaintance of mine found a source of coke and "scrap" graphite, meaning worn out electrodes (I think used in metallurgy). at the beginning, It was hard to start and maintain even the coke fire, but I changed a bit the motor/blower pulley ratio to get more air blown, and, little by little, I'm starting to learn the coke fire. at the beginning, when I wasn't able to maintain the coke fire very well, trying to burn graphite it sucked from the beginning. as my coke supply seems going to an end soon, I've returned to graphite again. now, I use to start a little charcoal fire (started by some newspaper), then to add coke, and, when is burning well, I'm starting to add graphite and the things are going just fine. from time to time I'm adding some coke to help the burning, as my forge is not a powerful enough one (at the origin, a small portable pedal forge, now powered by a washing machine old motor). I feel that the graphite burns cleaner than the coke, doesn't seem to smell at all. I already saw graphite used as combustible in some small foundries.

so, have you ever have had any experience with burning graphite in the forge?

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I doubt many have used it for fuel due to the high cost of graphite. I used to machine crucibles, and dies for a continous casting unit at a dental metals foundry I worked at. IIRC or main supplier was Toyo Tanso. As I remember it was not inexpensive at all. I can get a ton of coal for $130, and I could easily hold $130 of graphite with one hand.

What you have may be leftovers from a die sinker EDM.

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  • 1 month later...

meantime, I've got used to the graphite fire and it seems to burn easier than the coke I was using, at least needs less air to keep burning, and the beauty of it is that you can burn it all day long, it doesn't get self suffocated by ash, clinkers, etc. the graphite "nuts" just seem to "evaporate", you can't find smaller pieces than, let's say, almost 1,5-2 centimeters in diameter... very interesting.
once you start the fire, you just add graphite and burn it as long as you need, it's maintenance free. I start it burning with a little charcoal fire, it starts easier than my coke.

the not so fine aspect of it it's the fact that I have to chop it down to usable size. another aspect is the toxicity fact mentioned previously - at the beginning there's a smell and some blue flames, but then, once it's burning right, there's little smell, lot less than coke. I don't if it's harmful or not...

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