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I Forge Iron

Optimizing my Forge's Coal Usage


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Hi all,

New blacksmith here again. So, I've been working on my brake drum forge now for about..probably two months. Still a newb but I'm learning.

The brake drum forge that I built works fine for heating steel but it's burning my coal faster than I think it needs to.

What I'm considering, is using some fire cement around the inside and shaping it so that it slopes from the rim to the center where the air blows in. What I'm really wanting to know is if this will help to more efficiently burn my coal and if the fire cement is a viable option for what I'm trying to achieve.

I'll attach a picture of my forge also....aaaand it uploaded sideways again for some reason. 20151205_223712.thumb.jpg.e7cc048f0bdf9f

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I use charcoal with hand bellows......

I use refractory bricks to taylor the size and shape of my fire as turbo is outlining above, I also don't draft the fire when I'm actually forging the work.

If you are only working one iron at a time, turning down the blower while you are forging will reduce your fuel bill, it's the air that eats the coals.

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Looks like way too much air.  Have you tried running it with the ash dump open?  SOFA had a nice bit in their shop: the blowers run off a foot switch that you have to stand on to run and stop when you move---lots less coal, (and steel), burnt up.  They also have an override switch for constant use for things like forge welding large stock.

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13 hours ago, MrDarkNebulah said:

Yes i had the same issue when i started out, it was too much air. You can either wire up a dimmer, which is not recommended, or put in a way to vent some air on the pipe. The second option is what i went with and it works very well


As did I. My air supply is a shop vac set on Blow; when I first set it up, I jammed the hose up the ash dump of my old rivet forge, which was MUCH too much air. Now, I have it set up so that the end of the hose overlaps the dump by about 1/2" only, and the rest of the air blows past the bottom of the tuyere. Even then, it's still a bit too much sometimes.

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