Charles R. Stevens

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

89 posts in this topic

 

It's still going, and on a small forge (3/4" tuyere) they work fine. Change the set up by installing a 3/4" "T" and putting the valve in it, restricting the air outlet makes it more noisy (or atleast the tone more irritating).

i run about 3/4-7/8 open for coal and about 1/3-1/2 for charcoal. 

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On 12/24/2015 at 10:16 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

24" square box, 7 1/2" deap, 3/4" pipe tuyere and a bed inflator with a 3/4" ball valve. 

1x8 lumber but pallet wood can be used, or ? 

I assume this is burning charcoal? And if so, can you also use this design to burn coal/coke?

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15 minutes ago, Logan Bryant said:

Can you also use this design to burn coal/coke?

(A) Yes. 

(B) Please delete all photos out of quoted passages, unless there's a specific detail that you're asking about. It eats up bandwidth.

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I apologize and thank you..brand new to this forum. I literally just signed up an hour ago

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Charles, clay is not readily available to me where i live..what would u suggest i use to build a design such as this..and in my design im thinking of a way to install a clinker breaker of some sort and also an ash dump..able to be done you suppose??

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I'm sorry you are not in the USA; we can get clay at feed stores where it's sold as a cattle feed additive or even cheaper at places like Walmart where the really cheap plain kitty litter is clay.

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I am in the US and thank you for that information..i would say i am rather ignorant to this field of work as i have only been doing it for a month or so. I did not even think of using kitty litter..would that hold up to temperatures of a coke fire? And how do you recommend i prepare litter to make it into workable clay. 

Thanks, Logan

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29 minutes ago, Logan Bryant said:

Charles, clay is not readily available to me where i live..what would u suggest i use to build a design such as this..and in my design im thinking of a way to install a clinker breaker of some sort and also an ash dump..able to be done you suppose??

Re: clay, what TP says about using kitty litter is quite true, but the whole point of this kind of forge is that you can use just about any dirt you can get your hands on. 

As for the clinker breaker, the whole point of a side-blast forge is to eliminate the need for a clinker breaker and ash dump. The clinker settles in the bottom of the firepot (below the tuyere) and can be hooked out in a solid lump, while the fine ash just becomes part of the dirt.

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Look into how folks make a "Tim Lively wash tub forge"; as I recall there was a description of wetting down the cheapest kitty litter.  Note that you said clay was not readily available where you live.  Perhaps it would have worked better to ask "where can I find a source of clay in the XYZ area."  

I've been part of a bloomery team that used the cattle feed clay to build a smelting furnaces in NW Pennsylvania; but for my forges I generally use creek bed clay back in Ohio and Arkansas and Oklahoma and New Mexico or even old adobe bricks.  We also have an arroyo near my shop and when we have a flash flood we can get a nice large puddle that will produce 1" thick clay "mud cracks".  I have a 55 gallon barrel of pieces I picked up and tossed in the back of the truck when I was getting gravel for the shop floor.

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Fantastic sir. Thank you for the help. One last question: would 2" piping be suitable for the tueyere as i use a hair dryer as my blower?

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1 minute ago, Logan Bryant said:

One last question: would 2" piping be suitable for the tueyere as i use a hair dryer as my blower?

Tuyere size is covered higher up in the thread.

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Where are you located in the USA? It makes a difference as to the answers and assistance you can expect.

You need to size your forge and fire pot to the work you are doing. Side blast is one of the easiest solid fuel forges to make.

Keep asking questions and please include photos so we can see what you are talking about. Many times there is something in the photos that folks see that can also be improved to make life easier.

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As I eluded to in my original post, and in several answers, I used clay as that is what's under my feet. Just about any mineral soil will work. Pure sand needs to have the fire bowl remade often (this is where you want to put a couple of bricks in the bottom so you don't dig down to close to the wood floor). If you have good Adobe soil (1/3 clay and atleast a 1/3 sand) then (from what others have said) clinker from coal won't stick. 

No clinker breaker is needed as the clinker collects below  the tuyere instead of on top of it. No as dump is needed with the clay version, as coal clinker will stick so you use charcoal and the light ash blows away. For sand you rebuild the fire bowl every session so the ash gets mixed in and improves the forge bed. With Adobe I would assume one would stir the ash and ally the blower (that has worked with my coal experiments in the clay forge. Yes those experiments have been degrading the original forge).

side blast forges are very simple animals, they are literally just a hole in the ground with an air passage into the side to up the heat out put. 

We put them in boxes to bring them to a convenient hight. It can be wood, brick, a large peice of pipe, oil drum, wash tub, Adobe or even a stack of tires rammed full with earth. 

The down side is a raised up off the ground hole in the ground isn't as portable as a fabricated bottom blast, up side is the are cheaper and easer to build, and charcoal dosnt like bottom blasts so much, wile coal dost care witch you use. 

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Thank you so much. You have been a great help. I am currently working on the box and stand for this all to fit into.

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At only 6" deap, you may need to build a bit of a mound. This isn't hard, two bricks on edge, and two laying flat across the ends over the hole will work. One can sculpt clay or Adobe to aproximate (this is an Asian/African style forge) one can also just build a bank toardthe back and bank your coals against it. This is more European. Or it might work just fine. Finish your build (make the finished forge anvil high) and experiment, many of us have old bricks or large angel/c chanel cut offs we use to "sculpt" or fires to a particular need. 

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Genius. Thanks i will keep you updated as i move along over the next day or 2. Thanks again

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I have one forge that uses a double action bed pump, it likes the lower bowl (tuyere closer to the top) I had to cut the sides down

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So with a hair dryer only having high/low setting, i bought an air control valve. As a start, with the box only being 5 inches deep for the moment whats a safe depth for the very bottom of the bowl in relation to the bottom of the box. Bottom of the pot should be maybe 2 inches above the box?

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I use 4" from the bottom of the tuyere to the floor for coal, 2" for charcoal. So that's 2" of dirt or brick (I guess you could get fancy with some kind of insulatev refractory, but then it just defeats the cheep) and 1" for slag to collect below the tuyere. 

So you will only have about 2" from the top of the tuyere to the top of the forge. My experiance says you will be about an inch shy of the sweet spot (it will be about an inch high of the deck) but try it and see, you can sculp what you need, add fire safe rocks, bricks what ever. Going around next to the edge and placing brick or stone proud of the wood an inch would look cool and give you that inch and protect the wood. What ever appeals to you and gets the job done. 

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If I was making a forge out of that set up I would pile dirt in on two opposing sides to the top of the walls making a valley where the tuyere would be in one end with a pile of dirt covering it.  The I would start forging and see if I need a slot to put long through to heat areas not near the ends.  If so add it.  When I didn't need it block it off with a firebrick of a handful of dirt/mud.   Have you contacted the local ABANA affiliate?

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She isn't pretty, but at no cost aside from my time and a little material scrounging work, it'll get me going. I built a scrap wood base, lined it with a bit of Tyvek, a layer of old tile to protect the bottom, and then packed in red clay. With a piece of scrap black iron pipe for the tuyere and some aluminum siding cut-offs for a rain cover, it works rather well. I built a rough-around-the-edges box bellows (Japanese fuigo) for the blower. I'll be using charcoal (homemade pieces once I get my retort built), and I think this combo of blower and dirt/clay fire pot will work well. Approximately 2'x2'. The video is a short clip of the first time I lit some scrap paper in it to see how the blower and tuyere worked. I'll be sure to report back on how well is works as I use it more.

Thanks again, Charles, for the inspirational nudge via this thread to get me to make one of these simple forges. I can already tell it's going to work much better than my brake drum forge.

 

ScrapWood-DirtForge-Fire.mp4

ScrapWood-DirtForge-Build (2).JPG

ScrapWood-DirtForge-Build (3).JPG

ScrapWood-DirtForge-Build (1).JPG

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