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I Forge Iron

Solid Fuel Forge Problems


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Hello i am starting in blacksmithing and i am having some trouble producing the heat , I've tried charcoal but the ash blocks my blower pipe and i use so much of it to get a decent heat and i tried anthracite coal yesterday and it didn't even light so i need some help! i have an hand crank blower so nothing fancy.. but i just cannot get the heat , I'm from the Uk and all the coal and solid fuel merchants say use Anthracite coal because it produces heat but i couldn't even get it to light Plz help! , my workshop so far has one wall so i practically open aired .. so i need some help , any ideas I've tried anthracite coal and charcoal ... the annoying thing is charcoal is alright but there isn't the supply and in the Uk there are grades of coal and coke so help! ?


Any Ideas?? 


Any reply will be help full ! how can i start in blacksmithing if i can't produce the heat ?? 



Thanks Toby . 

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Anthracite can be a pain to learn, it takes a lot of air to keep going compared with bituminous, and tends to burn hot, so you have to watch your work.


For starters, how big are your pieces? Large lumps are very difficult to start with, although you can toss them on top of a working fire, and they'll break up, kinda, sorta.....but I much prefer to use "nut" size or smaller, preferably 1.5" down to say .5" for preference, although it doesn't have to be exact.  You can always break it up with a hammer, if you don't mind the tedium. Try to avoid getting a lot of fines into the fire.


2. Start your anthracite fire by using charcoal or wood! A very easy cheat. Paper, then charcoal, then anthracite.


3. Is your charcoal lump charcoal? Because briquettes just flat out don't work well. They're made from charcoal fines and silica (sand) mostly. It's not too hard to make if you can't afford it, but you need someplace that doesn't mind a fair amount of smoke.


4.  How's your tuyere (blower pipe) and your ash dump set up? The ash should never really be at a point where it's blocking air coming in, or not for long anyways.


The good mr powers has the best advice so far.....get somebody experienced to learn from if possible. Learning to play with anthracite on my own was.......frustrating.

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