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Laertius

Your Old Desk My new forge

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Hello all -- Been on here for a while checking out posts an soaking up as much as I can as I read through all the posts.

I got into this with the intention of making a few tools and playing with fire -- and also the appeal of doing something creative as opposed to maintaining systems like the house, car, day job, family etc. There is an appeal to working with metal as the blacksmith does -- play doh for pyro....

So here is my forge. It is an old steel school desk that was originally restored for my girlfriends daughter by her uncle - Once outgrown it collected dust for a while

I was just beginning to research this trade and became interested in the brake drum forge as a starting point. I thought sure-- I have a little mig welder to make a base, a few old drums and rotors, and I can hit get the pipe from a local plumb shop. I knew the limitations of the drum set up, but hey, the plans, parts and ideas are abundant, and it was fun and easy. Then I thought why build a base when that desk is just sitting there?

Anyways- You can see the pictures but here is a rough parts list

1 old kids folding lid kids desk
1 rear drum rotor from a 2005 maxima
sheet of 3/16 mild steel cut to fit the desktop with a hole for the bottom of the fire pot
used bathroom exhaust fan,
empty chilli can with make shift damper
length of shop vac hose
2 2.5''x8'' ish pipe lenghts
2.5'' pipe flange
2.5'' pipe t
2.5'' plug
1 small tub of refractory stove cement to shape the fire pot and hold grate

I have used it a few times with success, charcoal as fuel. It provides a good even heat and the base does not get too hot. Looking forward to trying it with coal.

Some limitations and future improvements: the fire pot is not deep enough for a really hot fire so some fire bricks that I can move and stack will help. I will also need some kind of a half hood to help contain the mess and fire fleas, finish the wiring, cover the motor, and lastly wheels on the front to level it off and create easy portability. I may also rig it up to accept the old blower in the last pic....pretty cool find and it still works, but I would like to clean it up and change the oil.

I look forward to comments, this forum has so many fine craftsman and artists!

forge.pdf

forge 2.pdf

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Yes, Yes, Yes and of course Yes! I heartily approve of using a desk in this manner. Jake P. and I made an axe using a desk drawer forge. His was side draft and it worked very very well. You don't need a lot to get work done. I love this.

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20160811_145722.jpgSo i have been using this forge along with a propane forge I later built since my original post.  Over time i realized that I pretty much use whatever fuel I have around (charcoal, powdered black coal of unknown origin, proper bituminous coal etc etc...), so I decided to heed the advice of some on here to convert to sideblast in an effort to accommodate the various fuels.  Took about 2 hours to re route the plumbing, 3/4 pipe nipples and a hunk of 1/2 steel as a disposable boss tacked to the end of the pipe where it enters the ducks nest.  nothing fancy as you see in the pics, but I will put a solid mount for the airflow valve.  Used left over fire brick and wood stove ash to make the nest and table base,

So.. first fire:  Started with a small wood fire and added coke and powder as i went ( the powder coal i get cokes into dense coke piles after a while),  All was good at first but I added a brick on one side to stop the from falling as it coked -- The top of the tue is 2 1/4 below table surface -- A nice fist size fire ball was easily achieved in about 20 minutes.  

I forged for about 2 and a half hours, and all went well-- not much work done as I was still getting used to the fire arrangement playing with air speed and coal piles, but all in all it worked well!  the sweet spot was more stable, and I was able to lay the pieces across the table without nearly as much oxidation as before.  Also noticed that there were less fire fleas at the beginning  when i was burning the wood -- horizontal vs vertical air flow seemed to make a diff.

The air supply on the outside of the forge stayed warm, but not too hot to touch until after the fire was out. And then warmed up a bit, but nothing crazy.

Once it cooled I was able to scoop out a nice chunk of clinker at the bottom.  which makes sense as that is why I shut it down - the fire started to give me trouble finding the sweet spot - I will need to get the hang out of scooping these out without killing the fire!

All in all, I am looking forward to another go at it : )

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Looks like a winner to me. With a little practice and you'll figure out how to hook the clinker and rake it out without messing the fire up too badly. It'll need a minute to heal up and get burning properly again but it's not so bad, honest. And heck I rarely burn coal but a guy who burns whatever's at hand will figure it out quickly.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Check out the projects thread!  Forge is running great.... will def stick with side blast when I get a bigger table....

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