Charles R. Stevens

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

Recommended Posts

I decided to modify my firepot from straight dirt to hard firebrick on the sides. My soil is very sandy and the walls would collapse throughout the day and what started as a 4 inch wide firepot would be 6 inches before long. Ran it for about 5 hours today and it held up much better. I also made sure to pile up my coal high and as it started to coke up it formed almost an oven in the forge which helped me heat material much better. Between the new firepot and better managing my coal I had no heat related issues all day. I am also starting to get the hang of setting just the right amount of air coming in through trial and error. Practice makes permanent!

image.png.ffdba4277e02cd92adbde1cb6dbe08ce.png

image.png.3a71683a2dd402e18ce26949466b5378.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you seen the MarkIII jabod thread?

Pnut (Mike)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I was just reading that thread last night lol. I may try kitter litter at some point. In the end I think I'd like to make the fire pot out of fireclay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regular old clay out of the ground mixed with sand will vitrify. Fire clay is really unnecessary. 

If you try the kitty litter are you planning on leaving it dry?  If so you can dump it back into a bucket when you're done. Dry kitty litter and bricks make for a more easily portable set up. 

If you plan on mixing it up you can mix 3 parts sand to 1 part kitty litter. Add just a little water to the sand and mix it  into the kitty litter in a bucket with a lid or plastic tote garbage bag etc. And let it temper over night. The moisture will disperse naturally throughout the kitty litter. Bentonite clay loves water. I don't mean it likes a lot of water I mean it's hydrophilic so little water goes a long way.  

The jabod is a great way to experiment and find out what works best for you so you can then make something more permanent and know it's going to be what you actually want.

Pnut (Mike)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike appreciate the advice. The soil around me has nearly zero clay unfortunately. By fireclay I meant making my own out of bentonite and sand as you suggested, not the store bought stuff. In the mixture you mention do you grind up the litter into a dust or do you just mix it whole?

Being able to experiment is why I went with the jabod. I don't know what works best and it makes it easy to change things up as I learn.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You can grind it up it'll make it easier to mix. After you add water to the sand and mix it with the clay you let it case overnight. You'll be able to tell it's ready when you can squeeze it and it makes a clump that will break cleanly without leaving dirt on your hand. If it crumbles add some more water and re temper for another day. If it's too moist and leaves mud on your hand add more dry mix and retemper. It's finicky getting it right. Using Dry bentonite and bricks a la Charles R. Stevens Mark III jabod would be simpler but some of the fun I think is trying to do it many different ways and seeing how they each turn out plus you'll get a broader base of experience in the bargain. 

Pnut (Mike)

Full disclosure, I haven't used bentonite in my forge.I've only mixed small batches to see how it mixes and dries up to this point. 

I'm only on jabod v2.0

Edited by pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I don't know If bentonite would need any help absorbing moisture. It sucks up water pretty readily but I'll give it a try and see how it goes next time I mix some up. Looks like a good shortcut. It might shorten the casing time. Thanks IF&C

Pnut (Mike)

Edited by pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that as “casing” as the clay absorbs the moisture and it is equally distributed. As to mixing clay and sand, one can also mix a pancake batter thick clay slurry and add dry clay. If it is to wet then let it dry in your bucket and then when it is the right consistency clamp the lid n for a day or two to rehydrate the crusties. Beats the old stomp  the clay into the sand trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles, I am sure you're right. When it comes to terms involved in ceramics I'm clueless. I was using tempering in place of casing. I thought they were interchangeable. Jargon does matter though so casing it is. Thanks

Pnut (Mike)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just because that’s what I know the operation buy, does not men i’m right, lol. But unlike some I am happy to be corrected buy the more knowledgeable. Thus so I learn.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

But unlike some I am happy to be corrected buy the more knowledgeable. Thus so I learn.   

That's my view also. I'd rather someone tell me I'm wrong If I'm wrong rather than let me go on saying or doing something that's not right. Every time I'm wrong is an opportunity to learn .

Pnut (Mike)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That only holds true for the more knowledgeable. For those who are charter members of the cult of ignorance I get my curmudgeon on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Casing is a term also used for veg tanned leather, moistening it, getting it ready for tooling---or forming blade sheathes from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

For those who are charter members of the cult of ignorance I get my curmudgeon on.

Willful ignorance, aka laziness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/22/2019 at 4:54 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Casing is also called wedging, kinda like needing bread dough to thoroughly mix it.

And "Tempering" is a term used in green sand casting. Casting sand has to have the right amount of moisture evenly distributed or bad things can happen. From the mold just crumbling when molten metal hits it or you can get steam explosions lowing molten metal out the sprue and risers. The latter is rare though and it usually indicates a wet spot in the sand. 

Tempering is what we called it casting.

I like to dampen the sand and mix the dry bentonite into it. The moisture is distributed fairly evenly to start and bentonite will take it's share quickly. Kitty litter chips mix a LOT easier than powdered bentonite. Heck casting sand it typically sand and bentonite clay. 

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.