Charles R. Stevens

Just a box of dirt, or a simple side blast forge

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Well, I know what I'm building myself for Christmas! I already have a suitable box. Oddly enough, it was the one my forge was packed in...

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Lol, works. The reason I used clay is because it's under my feet... Sand works, but if you use it I recommend putting two bricks (fire or clay) in the center. Keeps one from digging down to close to the floor when cleaning out the fire. 

Experience shows that the local clay will vitrify around the fire bowl. 

Leave an inch between the tuyere and the bottom of the hole, to catch ash and slag (if using coal) but if you don't use clay and form around the tuyere the slag will get under it and it's a bear to get out, if not cut a notch between two bricks and set the tuyere back a bit. 

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I just remembered where I can find some clay on the farm. That day was blocked from my memory - it involved heavy clay soil and a thirty post fence I dug by hand - but the knowledge just came in handy. Unfortunately this means breaking out the post hole diggers again. *sigh*

Which reminds me, I should work on forging a pair of post hole diggers in the old style. The new ones just don't work the as well. Same for bush axes....

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Charles,

Once again you have me wanting to build one of these. I have all the materials for this one, although I will have to wait for spring to dig up the clay. It's frozen as hard as iron right now.

 

Quick question: what is the functional difference between this design (hole in clay) versus a Viking style side blast? The Viking style seems to be more horizontal for the fire. Yours looks more like a bottom blast tuyere. Is there any difference?

 

Also, if you are using that much clay and you use a thin walled pipe for the air supply would it even matter that the pipe will wear away? Or should you put a couple fire bricks in to block some of the heat? I understand the reason for water cooling, I just don't see its necessity. Am I wrong?

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If I lived on a pile of sand I would use sand, lol as I live on a pile of clayI used clay. I am using a peice of 3/4" schedule 40 pipe for a tuyere. As one can see it is mounted horizontally coming into the side of the bowl. 

As one needs to pile up some charcoal on top of the hearth I use fire brick to contain it and shape the fire. 

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" ... I will have to wait for spring to dig up the clay. It's frozen as hard as iron right now.  ..."

light a fire on it......:D

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If your ground is frozen just build a bonfire on it. I live on top of the Pocono Mountains, and they tell me that the frost line is 40 inches deep. I've never had a problem digging in the dead of winter, after burning a bonfire for an hour or a little more.

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Thank you!  I was wondering how I was going to build an economy forge.  I have an anvil, and now that I've seen this, I have so much more hope about getting started soon!  I was wondering if you could do it, but I haven't seen anyone actually do it.  Now that I've seen it, I know that it can be done.

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On 1/7/2016 at 6:00 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Steal sand from your neighbors kids sand box ;-)

You mean the neighborhood litter box? I think that idea stinks! :wacko:

Frosty The Lucky.

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10 minutes ago, MrDarkNebulah said:

Im just starting out and i just got some coal. Ive hear stuff about clinkers and stuff, would coal work with a sideblast forge with this design?

What grade of coal are you burning? I can't speak for bituminous coal but the anthracite I've been burning seems to like a side blast more than a bottom blast. The clinker is easier to deal with as well.

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size matters, especially with coal. "Nut coal" is to big by about a factor of 4, wile "rice" is just about right 

as to life expectancy of the tuyere, the 1/2" one in the other dirt box is over a year old and I estimate it has 200 hours on it, no degrigation. With the clay acting as a "bellows stone" it protects the tuyere. Note the clay will vitrify to some extent

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On January 13, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

as to life expectancy of the tuyere, the 1/2" one in the other dirt box is over a year old and I estimate it has 200 hours on it, no degrigation. With the clay acting as a "bellows stone" it protects the tuyere. Note the clay will vitrify to some extent

Thank you Charles. That is what I was hoping you would say.

I have an endless supply of very good quality clay since we live in a massive and ancient flood plain. It is about 6" under our feet and goes forever seemingly. I can access seams that are pure clay and compressed into solid layers. Good enough for pottery.

I was thinking that it is easy enough to create a clay forge that would probably harden quite well and last for many years. As long as you don't hit it with too much iron.

Should it be designed to harden or not? Is that a bad idea?

I should clarify by saying that anything I built would be on a pallet that can be lifted by our tractor and moved as needed. 

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I really wouldn't actively try to make bricks or a ceramic bowl (tho I have seen at least one large tower pot turned into a forge) the fire will vitrify the clay closest to it. Now this is a damp clay/silt/ sand mix (native to my yard) 

If I wanted to work it wet I would suggest adding a bunch of straw and form cobs or adobe ( 10-35% clay works well) 

min Africa they take two small termite mounds and place them side by side with the fire between, lots of ways to skin this cat. I am still experimenting, I use bricks on the table to contain the fuel, but simply rakeing it into a mound works just fine. 

The wet look is from a spray bottle to help smooth things

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Don't know about Eastern Europe but around here folks restore them. So an old wood/coal cook stove is worth a bit of money. Enugh to buy materials for a decent forge. Look at Glenn's "55 side blast.

You need about twice as much chimney for a forge (think open fire place) than a wood stove, where 5-6" works for your wood stove you need 10-12" for a forge. You can zip two stove pipes together to make a big one.  

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On 12/25/2015 at 0:15 AM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Lol, works. The reason I used clay is because it's under my feet... Sand works, but if you use it I recommend putting two bricks (fire or clay) in the center. Keeps one from digging down to close to the floor when cleaning out the fire. 

Experience shows that the local clay will vitrify around the fire bowl. 

Leave an inch between the tuyere and the bottom of the hole, to catch ash and slag (if using coal) but if you don't use clay and form around the tuyere the slag will get under it and it's a bear to get out, if not cut a notch between two bricks and set the tuyere back a bit. 

Charles, could you give us a photo of the inside of the fire bowl, sans fire and fuel? Thanks!

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