AaronForgeNewbie

Aaron the Newbie from Ga (pics included)

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Hey guys Aaron here from Macon, Georgia. I'm a newcomer to the forging playground. I got an interest in forging when my friend brought a book (The $50 knife shop) to work for me to check out considering we both love knives. Ever since I started reading it I wanted to start hitting metal. I recently just finished my make shift coal burning forge made out of a 55 gallon drum and shopvac. I'm excited just being able to make a fire hotter than sticking wood into a fire pit  and hope this will be a good start for me. I'm glad to of found this site today and am sure there are many helpful articles to get me on my way. Happy forging my friends. 

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Just a fancy oil drum I was able to acquire and cut at work. Sprayed down with grill high temperature paint. Hopefully this will preserve it a little longer. Now I just need some tools to work with and coke to burn. 

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Looks like a hungry forge. As far as tools go you can use almost anything you find at the local hardware or *mart. Have you figured out an anvil yet? Rr track is good for starting out as is any heavy thick chunk of steel. Welcome to the addiction.

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Thanks for the welcomes. Yes I've gotten ahold of a small 10" long piece of RR track and I have an abundant source of used hydraulic and motor oil to quench with. Now all I need is some coke (made or bought) and I'm on the way to practice to my hearts desire. Is there any type of clothes for a safe forging process to wear bc in one to go out there barefoot and go after it. Everything I have acquired here I received for free so if there is some article of clothing I could make rather than buy I'd prefer to try and do that.  

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Remember you want to be able to slide your work in horizontally into the middle of a deep fire.  I would add two parallel walls of firebrick or adobe to that set up about 6" apart and cut slots down the side walls so you can stick stock into the fire.

As to clothing; well most of us wear bluejeans and cotton shirts.  Making your own seems a large waste of forging time when you can get them at garage sales so cheap.  Leather shoes are suggested as hot metal heads down and even a casual ER visit will chew a big hole in your savings...

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That looks real close to the setup I worked with in Nicaragua. if you get tired of looking for coke and coal start feeding it scrap lumber and brush,,it'll work.

 

Russell

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Remember you want to be able to slide your work in horizontally into the middle of a deep fire.  I would add two parallel walls of firebrick or adobe to that set up about 6" apart and cut slots down the side walls so you can stick stock into the fire.

As to clothing; well most of us wear bluejeans and cotton shirts.  Making your own seems a large waste of forging time when you can get them at garage sales so cheap.  Leather shoes are suggested as hot metal heads down and even a casual ER visit will chew a big hole in your savings...

Thats a good Idea. I was wondering about that bc I actually cut out a machete black from an old greens mower blade and I didnt know how I was going to get it into the fire very well. I might know someone with firebrick as well so 4-6 pieces should work rather well. Thank you for the helpful advice.

That looks real close to the setup I worked with in Nicaragua. if you get tired of looking for coke and coal start feeding it scrap lumber and brush,,it'll work.

 

Russell

What do you mean by brush? I started this fire with some hickory that I cut up into small  pieces and then I put some larger pieces in to hopefully char and later use for coke but as of today I only learned the meaning of coke and coal so Im still trying to figure out how I want to do this.

Another question. I have a 10'x6' shed in my back yard that I actually keep my split wood in from the weather. I was pondering in my mind moving my forge into there since my wood would be nearby and I would have a place to call my forge room. I was planning on cutting a hole in the roof and making a smoke stack. What are yall's thoughts on this idea? 

Edited by AaronForgeNewbie

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I use more wood scraps as fuel than I do anythin. I've bought and made charcoal and I've used coal but I keep coming back to wood scraps. I bring home from work all sorts of leftover cuts of clean non treated lumber and feed it to my forge. Any time I do yard work and have to cut back tree limbs or bushes I'll feed it to the forge as well. My operating 'budget' for all my smithin is pretty much nothing so I've learned to find alternatives to most of my needs. Don't get me wrong, I'll spend money when I need to get something like new files and know high carbon steels but otherwise I am cheap as I can be.

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6x10 is real tight. It will keep the rain off but you will quikly outgrow it. If it is a shed roof start adding on ;-)

fire brick, adobe/cob will all work, best to shrink her down, say 6x6"

If you make it a trench 12-18" thats fine, just pak dirt back in it to make a small effecent  fire or a trench to heat treat that mechety

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Cotton, leather and wool all make good fabrics for use around hot metal and flames. Synthetics are BAD! Nylon and so on melt and stick to your skin and keep on burning. They are also a nightmare to remove when you get to the burn ward and are almost a guarantee you'll need grafts. It drives me nuts to see guys using those cheap nylon leather mechanics gloves to do hot work. They just don't realize the serious risk they are taking.

 

Never skimp on good personal protective equipment. No matter what the cost upfront, it's always a lot cheaper than the injury. Eye protection, hearing protection and good solid clothing is a must.

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Welcome aboard Aaron, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

The shop vac is WAY more air than you need, a blow drier will more than do the job.

Turning wood into charcoal is the same thing as turning coal into coke both are relatively pure carbon and both will do anything to steel you want. A common beginner's mistake is to build too big a fire. You can only work maybe 6" of stock at a time so making a fire that'll heat a foot or two is wasting fuel and time.

My recommendation to the beginner bladesmith is "Learn blacksmithing first" Once you become a proficient blacksmith learning to forge blades is adjusting to new materials and learning a little more about heat treatment. You need to know how to blacksmith to produce decent blades anyway. Trying to learn both at once is a lot harder and far more prone to discourage a fellow to the point they just quit.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Like M Cochran said, construction scrap works fine and by brush I mean limbs and such that you clear from trees.  one thing I found funny when burning wood in a forge was that I got more clinker with it than I did coal.  I had to pull out a baseball size lump about every 2 hours.  this probably had to do with the fact that the construction scrap I was using down there had been a live tree a few weeks before,  and all of the scrap was covered in a thin film of mud.

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In hind sight I know I was using to much air and had the fire built to big, but I was working with what I had and on a tight schedule.

Russell

10-19-15 228.MOV

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Definitely wood scraps creates some clinker. Most of the time mine was where there was some mud on it or some nails I didn't see and get out before puttin it in the fire. For the most part construction debris that I've used burned up clean and left a little ash to deal with. I have a habit of too much air when burnin wood scraps on occasion but finally found a sweet spot on my air just recently.

One quick side note. Woods fires are hot, too me anyways, they seem to be hotter than when I burn coal. If I'm using a coal fire the shop temp raises only slightly but with wood it's noticably warmer.

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The nature of coal is to provide a bit of insulation when you bank it to coke, and as it produces less visible flame it contributes less radiant heat.

The nature of coal is to provide a bit of insulation when you bank it to coke, and as it produces less visible flame it contributes less radiant heat.

I find the same isue with "coking" scrap wood, the dust, dirt and nailes form clinker, lot as much as coal (looks cool with half melted nailes in it)

pine containes less silica than, say oak so produces less ash, or ash that is blown away by the air blast, I use a lot of construction scrap. 

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Thanks guys y'all are really making me itch to get off work and start forging. Ive got some rail spikes and a huge half inch spring that prob weighs around 60lbs so I was thinking of trying to forge some tongs as my first project. Maybe a punch there after and a hammer to add to the collection of tools. 

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