Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Unable to start fire

Flying Sparks

Recommended Posts

Help Please

I'm having trouble lighting a fire. Im using somthing branded as Forge Breeze, it is a smokelss fuel some where between coal and coke. I have tried various methods of lighting the fire including balled newspaper, wood, firelighters and barbcue lighter fuel and combinations of all. The best I can get is when after about 20 minutes the flames die down, everything now looks promising, there is an area about the size of a small apple glowing red hot, but even if I turn the air supply on faster it just dies out, I cannot make it spread any more.
I'm getting very frustrated and seem to be incapable of getting my forge going.

Has anyone got any ideas please.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Tell us about your forge ie: air supply, air grate size, firepot type, etc.

That way we can help solve your problem by looking at possible glitches you may have.

Pictures are great for helping us to know your setup.

Also, refer in the Blueprint sections to the Following BP numbers:

BP0037,BP0042,BP0045, and BP0046

Aaron C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live at the edge of some woods, so I keep a fist-full of dead twigs handy (usually hickory). I'll build a small wood or charcoal fire in the center of the pot and then ease the coke in around it, keeping a slow, steady blast of air going. Just be sure to give it a good poke after the coke gets going; the wood will burn out quickly and leave a hollow spot in your fire.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's what happens when I lite my fire.
Wide open fire pot, couple of wads a newspaper, lite the paper, dump coal on top, hit the blower switch!
The progression of these photos is what happens in about a 1 minute time slot:

Let that blower BLOW!! Get that coal HOT!
She'll burn.
Then you'll have:





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your suggestions guys, keep them coming.

My forge is about 2 feet square and sides about 4 inches deep. The sides are made from sheet steel and the bottom is made from 1/4 inche plate. In the centre is another 1/4 inch plate with 23 8mm holes drilled through in an area of about 4 inch diameter. Below these holes is a pipe with an ash dump at the bottom and a pipe coming in from the side for the air to enter.

I will post some photos when I can, every picture is worth a thousand words....

I could try some charcaol as suggested for the initial fire. I feel that I need a bit more heat to get this stuff to burn properly.

I will checkout the blueprints suggested.

Thanks once again.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lessons in Metalworking > Blacksmithing has material on how to start a fire.

Also see the following Blueprints. Some of these duplicate what Keykeeper posted but I gathered them from a different search.

BP0036 Fire and Smoke
BP0037 Fire and Smoke
BP0042 Fire and Smoke
BP0045 Fire and Smoke
BP0046 Fire and Smoke
BP0048 Fire and Smoke
BP0137 Fire Starter

These two Blueprints may be of help
BP0036 How to build a Coal Fire
BP0384 Using Coal Fines

First build a "good" fire then add the coal. Depending on the type of coal depends on what a "good" fire means. With soft bituminous coal you can use a couple of sheets of newspaper, but with other fuels you need a fire from wood, sticks etc, to reach the ignition point of that type fuel. Use enough air to get the fire burning but not so much as to cool the fire or blow it out.

You will need to keep moving fuel into the fire to replace what is consumed. Attached photos shows an area that has burned out and left an open area or cave in the fire. (They are not all this large but you can get the idea) You want to keep the coals together. Just poke it down with a poker, then drag more fuel toward the fire to keep the volume constant.

Photos are always nice as we can see what you are doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

kbaknife, where are you located?

You have a 6 or 8 foot horizontal run of pipe at the top of your forge hood. According to some, this can not and does not work. But I guess you did not know that and used it anyway :) And bumble bees according to the engineers can not fly, but no one told the bumble bee.

Try putting 2-3 sheets of newspaper on fire and let the heat start a draft up the chimney before you start the fire. Wait a bit for the draft to get established. Then light a couple more sheets and as they burn to about half, set the forge on fire. It should eliminate a lot of the smoke that is getting loose into your forge building.

You can also put a piece of steel (sheet metal) on the away side of the forge pot and lean it up against the forge hood. This cuts off the flow of air from that direction and channels the smoke toward the chimney. It could even have a 90 degree bend * 7 * (the shape of a seven) to extend the hood a bit and capture more smoke.

I like the forge set up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a 5 foot horizontal run on two different chimneys I used, and the draft was not an issue. I am sure it would have been better with a straight up chimney but that was not available.

My comment was point out that it may not be recommended to have a horizontal run in a chimney, but it can work. Your photos prove that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did it, I did it!!!!!

I got a fire going today with the help I got from this forum. I moved the forge back outside, stood some kindling on end, sneaked in a couple of fire lighters, used a small propane burner just to get the wood burning, then banked my coal around the wood leaving the centre of the wood clear of coal, cracked open the air supply , hey presto after about 20 minutes I had a steel rod in the fire heating up.
I made myself a couple of fire tools, then just for good measure before I shut the fire down I opened up the air valve and quickly got a piece steel up to welding temperature and spakling nicely.

Thanks guys, I could not have done this without your help, I so excited and have got so much to learn about this wonderful art of blacksmithing

Bye for now


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...