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I Forge Iron

Another New One from the Hoosier State


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 I was a carpenter by trade and have since retired, I've got a fairly decent wood shop and believe the mechanical whereabouts to just about make or replicate most anything i see from wood. Now I realize Blacksmithing is a whole different world  but I've always believed mechanical ability in general is a good start for most any trade. A good friend peaked my interest in Smithing when he showed me a knife he made from a RR Spike. And so it begins. I'm certain I'm at the point were every beginner was at the....the beginning. I've poured over hundreds of post on this Forum .....everything from building a small shop forge, DIY burners, Anvils or alternatives, and then there's the tools..... I find myself getting pulled from one topic to another. Then there's the thousands of Youtube videos on Blacksmithing... a before you know it's TOTAL INFORMATION OVERLOAD. Bottom line this is something that I just have to give a shot.. I just have to shut off the darn computer and start doing something. So in the last week I've put together a Frosty "T" Burner and waiting on a high pressure (0-30)psi adjustable regulator to be delivered this week. Scouring the various ideas for a forge, I've settled (for now) on a coffee can style to get me pounding something. The guy who turned me on to this made a simple coffee can one with nothing but sand a plaster of paris ( which by the way already needs to be replaced)  I have an inherited liking for the older things. My dad and my grand dad always toted me around while growing up to farm sales, flea markets and estate auctions. Inherited meaning I can't pass up a good place to find something form years gone by. I wish I'd have spent more time with my Grand Dad before he passed. He had a home shop I'd die for right now. Including a 150# to 170# anvil and coal forge. Have no clue where that stuff all got off to when he passed. But knowing several people in the area who collect, trade and sell old finds, I've actually got a line on a few anvils. We'll see how that goes when I get to the (How much) question. So even after a month or so of lurking on this site, reading tons of good post and finally signing up I still have some questions. (Gas Forge Insulation) Soft fire brick seem to be few and far between in my area. Shipping cost is prohibited at this point. I've got a formula from Portland Cement, Bentonite and Perlite that i will try for my first small forge. My question is the bentonite that  I can buy from a local well co. is "chipped bentonite" I'm guessing this will work if when I mix the chipped bentonite with the required portion of water to dissolve it first before adding the portland and perlite. Am I even close to right? Going to add a piece of hard firebrick to the floor to help with wear. (Burner Port Angle) I've seen various locations used. Top port center- 90* to floor..... Side port  parallel to floor offset of center..... and angled port -  30* to 45* and pointed at center of floor. In this small of a forge what would be the best location? 

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Why not Kaowool for a proven low cost insulative refractory lining?  Portland cement tends to degrade at forge temperatures.  That mix sounds better than some; but still sounds like it will eat up a lot more fuel to heat up than kaowool.  We get a regular stream of folks who save $20 by not using kaowool (or similar refractories) and then spend an extra $100 in propane heating their forge and brag about their savings...

I don't like top burners as they tend to recycle exhaust (increasing CO production) and have issues with the chimney effect when they are shut down. I'd go for a side port above the center line and try for a swirl effect.

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