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I Forge Iron

Fixing my forge


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I have a drum rake forge (picture below) and after talking to a more experienced blacksmith I learned it had a few problems. First it isn't deep enough and I need to be able to put the metal im working on into the fire flat and not dipping towards the bottom. It also needs a way to control the air flow. I was thinking of adding a plow disk around it but then realized I need a flatter piece of metal, or I would ust be recreating the problem. Also I am trying to keep everything either really cheap or free.

The second picture is of the plow disk




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A table around the drum wouldn't hurt. That would allow you to pile up more coal and build the fire. However your drum may not be the most efficient as it is. You could clay the bottom and reduce the size of the drum at the sides concentrating the fire in the center allowing you a taller more compact fire. Just taper the clay down from the sides to the center. There's plenty of threads here on claying forges and how to make up the mixes.


I'd use something else for the table myself and save the disk for a different project, maybe a wok. All you really need is some sheet metal. The sides of an old washer would work with a bit of frame around the edges. Just cut a hole and insert your drum.


As far as air flow, you can just turn on and off the dryer as needed. A 2nd option would be to add a T that you can open and vent off some air when required to drop your volume if you are getting too much air.

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An automotive or pickup brake drum is more than enough unless you're doing darned large work. Old top loader washing machines are dandy, I like flipping the door upside down so there's a little rim around the edges. Just cut a hole so the brake drum rests on the rim around it, then you can ram clay on the table for a heat resistant table. I think front loaders are better suited though, gutting the washer first gives you some handy components for the resource store yard and plenty of room for your air supply, ash and such. What makes it better IMO the front door gives you access to the air supply and a not unhandy place to store forge tools.


Controlling the air with a blow drier has one issue, the motor is cooled by the air flow through the drier so you have to redirect it rather than gate it. This just means a way to let the air blow but not blow into the fire pot. A "T" with a butterfly valve works well but a quick and dirty method is to just mount the blow drier so you can move it that way part of the air just blows past the tuyere rather than into it.


I believe you want about 5" of fuel below the work with enough over it to keep air off and contain the heat. It just doesn't need to be big truck, big. An easy way to control the size of the fire pot you have is to fill it partially with fire brick. They're easy to shape, a little practice and a chisel has worked for a couple thousand years. What I found is easier is a carbide blade in a Skill saw, just don't hog the cut, slow and easy does the deed.


Frosty The Lucky.

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