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fordmustangbrad

Coal or Charcoal for Santa?

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I have a small forge/foundry that I am using to heat my iron stock in.  I called it Santa because it has a tacky scene on the side of Santa Claus.  I have seen many plans for forges but since I had already made this one I figured I would give it a try.  I had been using charcoal and it gets the iron cherry red but I would like for it to get hotter.  I even used wood chunks today and that was a mega fail.  The wood burns too fast and shoots embers out of the top, and the iron is only red for about 15 seconds. 

 

I do not know where to buy coal, and I looked online today unsuccessfully. 

Where do you guys get your coal?

 

Bradley

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Hi Brad,

wood and coal both have the same problem, they need to be pre-burnt to consume the dozens of chemical reactions that rob massive amounts of energy from the fire. once the coal becomes coke or wood is charcoal these reactions are finished, only then can the heat start to build to the temperatures you need to work steel properly.

 

When I work with wood I have a fire going on the side and pick and chop the charcoal to the right size as it is forming with a shovel and stoke the forge with that. With coal you mound it up over the burning coke in the forge so that any escaped heat from the burning fire cooks the coal down to coke ready to use.

 

the other two things you should keep in mind is that there are techniques to use in building your fire that insulate and reflect the heat back into the center I am guessing you are loosing a lot of heat out the top and you need to be able to create a hotspot that the steel can be gently slid into, outside that area red heat is about all that is possible.

 

Santa is not the easiest shape to work with to get a good forge fire going. If you have some loose house bricks it is possible to make a temporary forge on the ground just stack them so you have two little walls a couple inches apart and feed the blower pipe into the middle from underneath sort of angled upwards and pile the charcoal on top. then you can spear the steel into the hot part of the fire from the side and the nice layer of charcoal on top keeps the heat in.

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yahoo I have certainly realized that my foundry/forge is not the best design.  The way the folks do it in the videos I see on youtube makes me see that my forge is not up to par.  Maybe I will look into making a different design tomorrow.  I really appreciate your thorough explanation regarding coal and wood.  The charcoal I was referring to was the charcoal cakes folks use in their grills for cooking.  That is what I used first and had mediocre success.

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It's possible to get coal and coke from blacksmithing supply houses. I'm pretty sure Blacksmiths Supply, Centaur Forge and Pieh tool all carry one or the other just to name places off the top of my head. Down side is shipping usually kills you if they aren't near by. I believe Kayne & Son ( Blacksmiths' depot) is located in NC.

 

http://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/about-us

 

Coal can be found for home heating and various supply yards. You might also check and see if there is a coal fired railroad around that might sell you some. Check because not all of it is really suitable for smithing. Best is usually soft coal vs the hard coal that's often available for heating.

 

As mentioned several local blacksmithing groups near me have coal available to members. In some cases commercial smithies bring it in for themselves and then make quantities available to members at a reasonable cost.

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 The charcoal I was referring to was the charcoal cakes folks use in their grills for cooking.  That is what I used first and had mediocre success.

 

I was going to ask what charcoal you were using. the briquettes are usually pulverized and compressed straw, not a huge amount of energy to be got from them. Charcoal made from pine burns really hot but you need a fair supply of it because the fire doesn't stop when the blower is switched off like using coke.

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