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More stupid questions from a newbie

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Thanks latticino for dragging me back to modern times where my toilet actually flushes :=)

Yes my plan was to lay out two layers of one inch woll on the floor and then put in 4.5" by 9" .5 thick or what ever the thinnest i can get is... or I was thinking perhaps One of the kiln shelves I have read about on top of the insulation

I'm planing on using borax and understand the stuff just eats insulation like a room full of kids with cotton candy... this is how someone explained it to me, 


Edited by cranky
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I get the enjoyment of playing with one's toys. As I do so myself, though not often enough for my own desires.

the simple point being, you're over complicating things. that is all.

I understand no running water, and single source heating as my family has a cabin in the mountains that was built in the early 1900s with a single wood stove in the center of the living room as it's primary heat source and no running water.

In fact I'm building my first gas forge right now so I can finish a new fire rack for the cabin's fire place right now. any way, I digress. I'm just a fan of the KISS method I guess.

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My Grandmother, Mom or Suzi talked about winter showers as standing in a wash tub, her Mother poured a dipper of water over them, they soaped up, scrubbed then her mother rinsed them with TWO dippers of water! The boys got a wash rag and soap, rinsed with a clean wet hand towel, one rinse of the towel and dry off. EVERY Sunday morning before church.

Mom and her sisters had all the dolls they could make from grass and colored paper when they had colored paper. They used to giggle about naked dolls when they didn't have colored paper.

When she was 6 they got an . . . OIL stove! When she was something like 8-9 lightning struck the tree out front and ball lightning came down the clothes line in the kitchen window and lit the oil tank on fire. Mom still had scars on her arms where she helped her sister Hazel carried the burning fuel tank outside to save the house. They went back to cooking with coal.

Oh BABY a hot shower outside at -30f is a grand experience but I'll take rolling in the snow outside the Banya (Sauna) any day. If I ever find myself living in a cabin in the woods again forget the shower, I'll take a sauna any day. Nothing like a good sweat and a cool dipper of water to make a boy smell fresh as a daisy. . . Oh wait, that was probably the cologne wasn't it. A drop of vanilla extract makes you smell like cookies, I LIKE cookies. :)

Frosty The Lucky.


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Okay what I was trying to say when I was attacked by the forbidden syndrome

Yes my plan was to lay out two layers of one inch wool on the floor and then put in (2) 4.5" by 9" .5 thick or what ever the thinnest i can get is... or I was thinking perhaps One of the kiln shelves I have read about on top of the insulation. 

So first I need to decide a form so I can start creating

My options are

(1) 9" by 36" 18 ga sheet, rolled into a 11" diameter cylinder with two inches ceramic wool inside and with insulating brick ends with a single hard firebrick for a floor...this would give a usable chamber of 7" dia. by 9" long minus the fire brick......or about 346 cubic inches as excited as I was to think SS to begin with this one is becoming my least favorite, even with my abundance of toys (Thor, I'm not picking on you with this term...for your information you are not the first person to use that term with me just a couple weeks ago a coworker asked me..... "hey being the man that owns everything do you happen to have a acme thread pitch gage and center finder and if so can I borrow or buy it from you?"  reply, yeah I think I got one or two, if I can find an extra one you can have them, the dude is now the proud owner of his own starrett pitch gage and center finder!.... so on with my dilemma I have no tig welder which is the only way i have ever welded stainless...I think I could MIG it but dont wanna waste a learning curve just on welding SS which I won't do very much no matter what 

(2) 12" ID 3/8 walled pipe 9 inches long bottom cut off to create a D shape which will rest on the bottom with a  8" by 9" hard brick or kiln shelf floor with 2" insulation below floor and also overhead, with soft firebrick ends.... so far I am really digging this idea this should result in a 8" by 9" floor with a 8 inch radius circle above it  which should give me in the neighborhood of 350 cubic inches ( complicated math aint my thing  even with your guys going as far as finding me the formula..thanks by the way..so I just figured the volume of the cylinder subtracted 1/3 for the D and said Yeppers I'm close)

So question about #2 my very first post mentioned this pipe and my forge plan of 8" by 24" final size and everyone said "typical newbie way too big" I took that to mean the 8" was too big... was it the 8" or the 24" that got me into trouble?

(3) 8" dia ID 3/8 walled pipe 9" long2 " of insulation with firebrick ends and one brick for a floor

Decisions decisions

I really like the D shape and I believe charles and charlotte are also intrigued 

now I wonder if I get forbidden again

Now I wonder..... if we made a deal with IPS... every time we get a forbidden  statement the give us a dollar....every time we post with no issues they give us a dollar.....I wonder who would make money...my guess  frosty retire again as a billionaire 


I MAKE MONEY ON THIS ONE..those suckers owe me 5 bucks!!!!

Edited by cranky
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Kiln shelf is good for a forge floor, they're generally high alumina and more resistant to fluxes. Pop rivet the SS cylinder. Orrrrr. Insert a Tig tip in the orifice of your mig contact tip AFTER pulling the wire of course and you have a scratch start tig welder. Use Argon for the shielding gas.

Yeah, it's a hokey set up and doesn't have the power control, and isn't as comfortable as using a proper tig torch but it will work. I'd use pop rivets though but that's me.

I like the mail box shape better than a cylinder, it has the best of the vault shape roof for better IR radiation heat transfer into the stock and a naturally flat floor so stuff doesn't roll around.

Tristan installed the burner in his mail box forge in the bottom aiming up and it works a treat. A LOT better than I thought it would, just doesn't fall into the burner at all, he doesn't have to worry about heat convecting up it when he shuts it down so he runs the rubber propane hose directly to it.

Most of the other decisions you're asking about are up to your preference. Believe me your preferences WILL change once you start using these things so keep it simple for your first couple forges is my real suggestion.

Frosty The Lucky.

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YAY!!!!! winner winner chicken dinner I got two....count em two stamps of approval on my idea, so we have mailbox design (what a cool name,  way better then my sideways D)

with kiln shelf floor

so installing the burners from the bottom, I first imagined the burner coming straight up from the bottom with the metal sitting right on top of it....this sounded like a very bad idea,so may I assume that this tristan fellow installed the burner at about the 4 or

So next week I start cutting steel and welding

And starting Immediately I am changing my alter ego's name from "The complicator" to "David the Simpleton"  somehow it makes me think of saying "hold my beer and watch this"  maybe "KISSWD" Keeping It Simply Stupid With Dave" 

Photos will most definitely be included as I make headway now



Edited by cranky
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A mail box or Quonset shaped forge is a good design. It's basically what you get by putting a brick or kiln shelf in a cylindrical shell without the middleman. Tristan, known here as Teenylittlemetalguy put the burners almost against one wall aiming straight up. The flame makes a strong vortex up over the top for pretty even heat in the forge and heats steel nicely.

Perhaps you didn't know how a propane forge actually works. The flame doesn't really heat the steel directly, it heats the forge walls and they heat the steel via strong Infra red radiation. This is known as a "reverberatory forge." Unlike a solid fuel forge, coal, charcoal, corn, antelope dung, etc. which heat the work directly via the fire.

Naw, I don't like Simpleton Dave, it's a level of false modesty we aren't going to buy. Even if I exercise my ability to suspend disbelief at max capacity it's too much to swallow. I know you too well already.

I'll accept, "Simple Dave." It's a level of self deprecation we can live with even if we're snickering on the side.

Frosty The Lucky.

Edited by Frosty
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One aspect of shell thickness:  A heavy shell can be used to mount lots of things to.  I have a sliding third arm on my forge that was made from an oxy tank and am designing a twisting set up where I can twist pieces inside the forge!  Light gauge shells don't work as well.  OTOH they sure are easier to move!

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Dave writes: "My reasoning for heavy wall pipe is simple.......I also farm and have a farm shop where I do all my dirty work which is where the forge will be located, during the busy seasons of spring summer and fall there is about 100% chance of something big being placed on top of anything not being used that day which I'm afraid would crush a paint can or stove pipe or such so big pipe I think is better."

On the other hand the typical homemade forge or casting furnace is light and highly portable; as in store under the workbench when not in use. I understand the urge to protect sensitive equipment in a shop environment, but all a monstrously thick shell will protect is...the shell; it can't prevent the refractory layers from damage if your forge is knocked on the floor, nor protect the burner, valves and piping, which are all external. So the best plan is to store this equipment out of harms way when not in use.

Try stainless steel chimney pipe; it comes in several diameters.

My first forge was patterned after Ron Riel's Mini-forge, which is made from a two gallon Freon cylinder (this size and shape cylinder is also used for helium tanks, so check with HVAC companies and balloon supply sources for an empty). I changed some of his building methods and used a five gallon propane cylinder in my book for three different pieces of equipment; one of them being a multi-hole glass and metal furnace. Ironically this latter piece of equipment turned out to be a popular item for builders, but they changed the furnace size back to two-gallon cylinders, which also became a favorite size for blade smithing. Both sizes come with a wall thickness which is just about perfect for the size forge they are used on. Gas cylinders and small air tanks have rounded corners and are completely enclosed. They are high strength to weight shell choices. Plus, you can look on the Riel Burner Pages to find detailed instructions for his forge, or Google Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, & Kilns PDF to find mine online; I'd suggest looking up both of them, to get yourself a more solid idea of what you want to build, and how. You also need to keep on reading these threads to find updates to that knowledge. For instance hand held rotary tools have replaced 4-1/2"  angle grinders, and 3" 280 watt angle grinder/rotary tools trump both of the other choices.

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