Glenn

Forges and Fires

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In my home made 22 inch coal forge with a hand crank blower, I can get by with less than 5 lbs of coal for an all day session, depending on the thickness of the stock or if I'm forge welding. It's rare if I use more than is my red coal bucket which can be seen on the floor.

The picture was lost so I put it in with a quote.

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Definitely feeling some forge and tool envy!!  Very nice setup and your defiantly comfortable, rocking the jammies at the forge! Lol.  

Happy forging! 

Brian

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Hi , Obviously new here and to forging . I am using a shop vac for my blower . I tried making tongs today and the rebar barely got red/orange .

 

I was never really able to get embers/coals , I am using wood for fuel . 

 

My guess is the shop vac is just too much air ? it burns up the coals before the new wood gets to coals . Any advice would be helpful Thanks 

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14 minutes ago, Florida said:

I was never really able to get embers/coals , I am using wood for fuel . 

Well your problem for sure is not the shop vac, it is the wood. Wood will not get hot enough for the needs of blacksmithing. I would strongly recommend purchasing some coal off of centaur forge. Or if you want a cheaper and cleaner fuel you can get anthracite which is "hard" coal. I started using anthracite and it burns much longer than bituminous coal. You can get anthracite at many places like tractor supply. 

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12 minutes ago, Sander Huff said:

Wood will not get hot enough for the needs of blacksmithing. 

They have used wood as a forging fuel for centuries. 

Coal and charcoal have similar BTU values on a pound for pound basis. You need a lot more charcoal to get the same BTUs as it does not weigh as much as coal. 

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As a former user of a shop vac as a blower, I can confidently say that you are using WAY too much air. Angle the nozzle of your hose so that most of the blast goes elsewhere. Then make your fire really deep, so that the wood has a chance to convert to charcoal as it works its way down to the level of your workpiece.

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Remember forging with real charcoal you want a deep fire and make sure the work piece is way up off the bottom of it!

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Question (Maybe a dumb one):  I have an outdoor wood stove that heats the house, as well as the water for the house and pump house radiator.  Does anyone know if this would/does get hot enough to serve as a forge? 

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44 minutes ago, animalspooker said:

Question (Maybe a dumb one):  I have an outdoor wood stove that heats the house, as well as the water for the house and pump house radiator.  Does anyone know if this would/does get hot enough to serve as a forge? 

Probably not. Stoves like that are designed to heat up water to just below the boiling point, not to quickly and reliably get metal up to forging temperatures. 

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I am a noob as well.  i made a 4" by 8" (roughly) forge using a coffee can cut lengthwise.  i lathered on a good 1' of firebrick cement and have an air supply ribbon with lots of holes coming in along the bottom.  I have used it (with Charcoal) several times and only got metal yellow hot once-it was very thin strapping.  I usually build a fire with sticks and light that, then pile on as much charcoal as can fit and fire up the hairdryer type blower.  I tried heating up an old rusty pipe wrench and it got pretty orange but i quickly discovered that it couldn't balance in the forge.  My eventual goal is to make knives and machetes.  I would like to have enough heat to get steel to yellow hot and to prevent items from tipping out due to length.  Do i need a bigger forge or what else can i do better?  please tear my description apart.  sorry no pics working on it.  

(M)

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Ah, nothing to tear apart (M), you're no fun at all. :lol: 

The fire's not deep enough to use much air. How small did you break up the charcoal, for that small a fire it'd need to be the size of corn kernels. Even then it's a really low air depth.

Refractory (fire brick) cement really isn't designed to be IN the fire but it's okay. Ramming damp sandy clay works just fine and is easy to replace. The liner will need to be repaired and replaced, don't be surprised.

 How about this, find an old steel box and cut a corner out of it so you have a V shaped body. Think of it like you split the coffee can but along one side or end of a steel box. This is where a saber saw comes in REALLY handy. Old electrical boxes are primo but all it needs do is hold some rammed dirt. You can prop it with rocks to keep it up. Easy greasy. A "V" shaped trench is primo for causing the charcoal to settle where you need it. 

You can deliver air to the fire with a perforated pipe like you did or use a side blast, heck you can make it convertible till you decide what works best for you.

Good job so far, keep it up.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Anthracite and charcoal are not going to be much fun in that rivet forge. Anthracite will go out if you spend more than a minute not cranking and unless you set a deep fence (coffee can deep, with notches to put the steel in about 6" up) you just won't have a deal enough charcoal fire, I have seen nice charcoal setups molded from Adobe or clay that work, essentially mold a 4-6" wide trench a foot deep cross wise. 

If you can't crank slow enugh for charcoal, open the ash dump part to all the way, 

Opening the ash gate between heats will also help keep anthracite burning but it is a PITA. Easier to pull the blower and drop in a blow drier and regulate air with the ash dump.  

As to break drum forges, not a huge fan. They work, and can work very well, but compared to other options they are much more work and often more expensive than other forges. 

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so i would be better off to get some kind of steel "v" and ram it with like soil?  could you point me to an example of such a forge?  I kinda-sorta have a "v" shape already but more like a "u". I built it in 15 minutes just cause i was tired of planning planning planning etc etc.  ^_^  And for the size of the charcoal chunks, i was using lump charcoal right out the bag, anywhere from eraser size thru computer mouse size, in all different shapes.  Do smaller chunks burn better due to surface area? and the forge is about 3" deep.  i usually mound it up to 4" high.  i try to psition the stock about 1" away from the vents as that is all i can do to cover it with 1" of charcoal.  and the cement said it was ok to be in direct heat applications-- troweled on-- but it is cracking.  it's just a something to get the metal hot.  and for the blower i had a hijacked hairdryer fan and it is powered by a 12v dc source.  there is no ash release it sort of follows the design in this link 

his seems to be working better though.......:unsure: maybe tis the contained space

thanks,

(M)

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Honestly a box of dirt is the fastest (and cheapest) way to get a charcoal forge going. Below you see my wood burning forge, it is fire brick with a bottom tuyere, but for charcoal you will see my mark I&II just a box of dirt forges. I acualy preferre the Mark I with the hand pump. You will also see an ironage reproduction one of our members uses with a pair of bellows, I plan to mate the hand pump with that style of trench for the mark III. A 3/4" schedual pipe tuyere, 3 1/2 " bellow  table with a 4" wide trench about a foot long works well with the side walls about 4" high. The tuyere goes in side ways. This gives you the slopes sided bowl in about the most effecent configuration I have Coke up with (note that this is exactly how many forges in the historical record are built) 

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Ah, nothing to tear apart (M), you're no fun at all.

Actually, there IS something to tear apart:

2 hours ago, (M) said:

i made a 4" by 8" (roughly) forge using a coffee can cut lengthwise.  i lathered on a good 1' of firebrick cement

How on earth did you fit one FOOT of firebrick cement inside a four INCH by eight INCH coffee can?!??! ;) 

33 minutes ago, (M) said:

could you point me to an example of such a forge? 

(M), look at the JABOD threads in the solid fuels section of the forum. @Charles R. Stevens started it with his "Just a box of dirt" thread, and I followed up with my own picture-heavy construction thread. There are a few others worth looking at, too.

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As Charles said all you need is a box of dirt. The picture below is what I made when I first started this craft but I never actually got to use it for blacksmithing. I made it off of a YouTube video and it failed 1st because my friend gave me mud instead of clay and I used pvc as it said in the video which melted. This design will work with just a hair dryer and dirt instead of clay but it won't be as clean if using clay. I made this forge in one afternoon. If you would like the link to the video or help on how to build it let me know.

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I wouldn't go with that obviusly failed desighn, as the pvc pipe melted, and one would need 2" schedual 40 black pipe fittings (I just checked it's about $50 worth) and a way to regulat the air, as a hairdryer is way to much for charcoal. The bed pump and a peice of 3/4" schedual 40 gas pipe, hand full of nailes and a pallet are going to run you less than $20, even if you buy a used oil drum and make a 55 sideblast forge (add dirt, Adobe or clay) you are going to be $20-25. I have cut plaenty of drums with either a chisel or hacksaw. There are plenty of ways to expensively make Ineffective forges out there on the web. 

Let me explane why I would go with either the 55 sideblast or jabod type sideblast. They work, we did our research into what has worked for the last few mellinia with charcoal, we experimented with what we thaught we new from our research untile we knew what worked with the materials we wer working with, then we presented it here, here we knew it would be vetted buy experianced, expert and profecinal smiths. Who vets a YouTube vidio?   

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For a forge designed for blades and charcoal I would suggest the Tim Lively Wash Tub Forge. (and remember Youtube follows Sturgeon's Law in the strict application!)

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The tim lively forge is good for heat treating and even for raw wood, but not the most effecent desighn for general forging. Even japoneise sword forges are side blast, admittedly with multiple tuyere. I would theories moving the tuyere from the bottom to the side (just a inch or two relocation) and spacing slits or holes out to make muddling up the un used ones for general forging. I have acualy considered making a side blast based on the same washtub 

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here's the picture of my current forge

the fire is smaller than i usually run it in the last pic

(M)

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On 3/4/2017 at 9:26 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

In my home made 22 inch coal forge with a hand crank blower, I can get by with less than 5 lbs of coal for an all day session, depending on the thickness of the stock

 

218263881_Showpictures006.thumb.jpg.06fefe081f44aecf4633b8291708a8a8.jpg

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