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Clinker breaker and air gate instructions


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OK I was asked for some elaboration on the clinker breaker and air gate assembly I used in my new forge. So here it is.



First let's start with some drawings.


Here is a basic drawing of the fire pot, air pipe, and ash dump. The air gate I used is located right where the air pipe joins the ash dump and is represented by the colored in area. This is just a general overview, so you know what parts are what.




Here is another drawing. This drawing is from the viewpoint of looking down the air pipe. It shows the shape of the flat bar that is bent around the air pipe and houses the air gate.




OK now let's look at some actual pictures.

I put my air gate right up against my ash dump pipe. You could also put it in the middle of you air pipe anywhere. It would take some minor modification of the flat bar to do this, but it would not be difficult.

Here is a general look at the front of the air gate.



This is a view from the back.



Let's talk about the anatomy of an air gate. Basically, you need a slide channel for the gate to slide smoothly in and out of. Then you need a pipe going in and a pipe going out. Finally you need the gate itself.


So here is what I did. I cut my air gate pipe to length. Then I cut a piece of flat bar, 0.25-inch by 1-inch material long enough to wrap half way around my air pipe plus a couple inches on the top and bottom for a guide.
I also cut a couple of pieces to fill in the gaps where air leaked out. You can see the collar that wraps around and the stop pieces as well. In this photo I'm using a file as a pointer, pointing out the clearance slot where the air-gate handle slides in.



This is the air gate here. It was made from 1/4-inch plate. It was torch cut to the same curve as the pipe.



When I welded my flat bar collar to my air pipe, I hung the flat bar 1/4-inch over the end of the pipe. When welded to the ash-dump pipe, this forms the slide for the air gate to go into. A file points out the area I am talking about.



Here the file is pointing out the gap at the top as well.




Now, since I decided to put my air gate right against my ash dump, I had to route my air gate handle in a zig-zag patter. You will need to put a guide on your handle if you use this method, because if you do not, your point of pull will not be straight in line with the steel gate. It will bind in the hole. Make sure your point of pull is straight in line with the air gate.


This air gate is extremely tight and is extremely easy to make. I welded the flat bar to my pipe on one end, and then used the torch to bend it around. It could be heated in the forge and bent around, or even cold bent.




Lets look at the clinker break now.


A clinker breaker is not a piece of rocket science. However, there are some things you can do to make your world a little nicer.


My fire pot is 10-inches by 12-inches on top, and 5-inches by 6 inches on the bottom. It's about 3.5-inches deep. I LOVE IT!

The hole in the bottom is about 3-inches square. Make your clinker breaker so that there is about a 1/4-inch gap all of the way around the clinker breaker. This allows a nice amount of air through without allowing large chunks of coal to fall through.


Here is a drawing of the clearance hole in the ash dump pipe.



Here is a drawing of the clinker breaker and handle from two directions.



And here is a picture of my clinker breaker turned at an angle for a better view.



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Excuse my ignorance of forges and fire pots, but it is it assumed the "clinker" will always be directly on top of air inlet, and that "breaker" will always (so to speak) break up clinker and dispose of small chunks in ash dump...


I have seen many posts that state they no longer use or believe in clinker breaker...


Also is "clinker" the tan colored chunks found in bottom of fire pot (on grate) because my brake drum forge does not have clinker breaker...


So tough to be new to all this and so much to learn...



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Yes you know what clinkers are. The tan chunks of metallic junk in the bottom of the firepot.


A clinker breaker is not intended to get rid of the clinkers in the firepot. If you've got a really dirty fire late in the day and you want to do some forge welding, you need to dig down inside the firepot with a poker or spoon and dig all of the clinker out. (I usually don't worry about clinkers when it comes to welding. I've never had too much problem with them.)


The clinker breaker's function is, when the clinker gets pretty thick and starts to block air flow, you turn the breaker and it clears out the area where the are comes into the firepot. It does so, without disturbing the fire much.


It also makes the morning firepot cleaning a lot easier by allowing you to just dump all your dust and small coal and clinkers out, instead of having to try to feed all of that stuff out of little holes or a bar great.

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