Firestarter

New Forge First Fire

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Hello. I'm new here. I wanted a forge, so I built this one. It's mostly scrap scrounged at work, with a few bits bought at the scrap-yard. Probably 10 hrs build time, but I wasted about 5 more looking for perfection.

Firebox dimensions taken from: Here

It still needs some curved gussets made to tie in with the legs and the circle braces, but it's ready enough for a fire.


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Undercarriage:

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Table covered in clay (needs work), first fire. Blower on low, ran well enough. It roars on high without being choked off a bit.

 

(That's my coal breaking anvil on the left of the table)

 

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Obligatory new guy's first fire rake (starting stock on right):

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Forgot a pic. Air is supplied by a hair dryer.

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Welcome aboard Firestarter, glad to have you. That's a pretty nice forge you put together there, I don't have any significant suggestions and don't see anything like a mistake.

Instead of gusseting the legs I like spreaders with a shelf about half way down the legs. A shelf is REALLY handy I used expanded metal and it's THE place to toss things to cool down or keep out of the way without becoming trip hazards.  With spreaders the rings you have are plenty of gusset to prevent swaying.

If you weld a heavyish piece of plate to the end of a piece of pipe say 6-9" long it makes a much better coal mortar than trying to break it up over an anvil. It keeps the pieces contained and a piece of bar makes a perfect pestle. You want to break your coal up smaller too, pea size is really nice some guys like rice but larger than peanut is max, acorn needs a little breaking up  or enough fines to close it up so it'll coke more readily.

All round well done.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well I would have put the air intake up closer to the forge pot to have more room for ash and small coke/charcoal build up in the tube.  It's possible if you are working with a lot of fines to get a forge fire burning in the ash tube with the air intake so low.  I would also add a couple of fire bricks along the raised edges to help make your fire a bit narrower and deeper for general use.  Remove them when you need extra width.

(my set of "hot brick tongs" is one of my handiest tools bot both propane and coal forges that use firebricks to adjust the working area.)

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Thanks, Frosty. Your kind words and advice are appreciated.  I'm seriously pondering a shelf now, and I will definitely make a mortar and pestle set. The curved gussets will happen either way, because style. Those round corners just look unfinished to me. One condition of my wife allowing me to put a forge in the front yard is that it has to look like a nice lawn ornament. I must oblige.

This cheap tractor supply Anthracite was tricky to burn. It's definitely too big as sold... at least that's the best I could figure after experimenting with air flow and such for a few hours. This coal stuff burns way different from charcoal or wood. Mixing more fines will help, I'm sure.

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Thomas: What's the goal with a narrower fire? Is it a fuel burn reduction measure, or does that improve heating at the top of the firepot somehow? I did notice that I had to get the whole firepot completely full of glowing coal before I could get metal to a forging heat above the rim of the pot. If bricks help that, I'm all ears.

As for the intake, my thinking was to design around keeping the fan away from the fire and the motor cool, while making the ash dump easy to kick open and dump often. One fire worked well on both fronts, but time will tell. I suppose if the day comes when I burn up a dryer I can extend the bottom of the ash dump pipe.

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Firestarter, welcome. You're on the right track breaking up the TSC anthracite; the more surface area you have burning, the more radiant heat it puts out and the faster you'll heat your metal. (You'll also burn the stuff up faster, but that's another story.) Keeping the fire contained means that you'll not be using more fuel than you need to heat the metal.

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Got it, gotta keep the missus happy, a little style is a small price. Heck paint it and forge some flowers. Style is a good thing, I'm going to hunt me up some one of these days.

Check with a farrier supply or call a farrier. There are guys shoeing horses who burn coal so the farrier supply or a farrier will know who if they don't know where to buy smithing coal. The phone book and yellow pages is far superior to the internet for this sort of hunt.

The blower is pushing cool air past so heat can't migrate down and back from the fire. However, that will change very quickly is a fire gets going in the tuyere. I make mine from exhaust pipe, 3" semi stack for the vertical and 2" for the horizontal and a clamp on exhaust flap cap for the ash dump. If you want to change it, just cut yours lose and flip it over. The blow drier will be a bit close to hot so extend the horizontal section say 6" or so and it's good to go.

The bricks are to let you determine what size and shape to use as you need to. For almost everything you do you don't need to heat more than maybe 6" or so. You can't practically forge more than that while it stays hot. There are exceptions of course say twisting long sections but you can draw the piece back and forth through the fire.

Heat treating long sections is a whole different thing a gas forge works very well for this though smiths have been heat treating in solid fuel forges for millennia.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

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On 4/19/2016 at 10:24 AM, Peter Newman said:

Hey FIRE where in the NW are you?

 

If your in oregon there is a very limited supply for coal but i can help you with that!

I'm East of the mountains, quite a ways. I appreciate the offer, Peter, but shipping or driving to your side is prohibitive cost-wise.

This TSC anthracite seems to burn plenty hot, and is super cheap; but maybe I just don't know what I'm missing when it comes to smithing-grade bituminous coal. There is a supplier of heating grade soft coal here, but research tells me grades matter, and the stuff I've got works, so I haven't checked it out.

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Fire, One of the NWBA board members supplies coal. He has several places in the Pac NW where coal is kept for pickup. Not sure how close you are to one of his supply dumps. PS May is the NWBA spring conference, I'm more then reasonably sure there will be a limited supply of coal there. If you contact him he can have some sitting there waiting for you. PM me for details if you so desire or look him up and welcome to IFI.

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