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I Forge Iron

It basically blows


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Back in 1999 it seemed only prudent to get gone from our dying local shipyard and return to the ornamental iron business. So during one of the many layoffs I hired on to a local metal arts shop, to see if they could teach me anything new. And therein came my first site of a gas fired forge; it taught two good lessons in short order. In the first place it became obvious that bending metal hot beat cold bending all hollow. Equally plain came the knowledge that something better than that dragon was needed for such a central tool.

You see it was a fan-blown forge, run on natural gas; just about the worth combination you could ask for containing heat in the forge interior, instead of spilling out all over the shop; that monster was keeping a 2000 square foot building toasty warm in the middle of December! Thoughts of putting up with that in my little garage was not welcome; and so began the search for a compact heat source, and my encounter with naturally aspirated burners.

Back then, there was a battle going on between the devotees of  fan-blown and NA burners, which I wanted no part of.  And over the years I've let the controversy slip happily past my notice. But, with the introduction of ribbon burners it is time to say enough is enough. Just like every other piece of heating equipment from lighters to torches, ribbon burners are designed to contain heat, so as to get as much work as possible from the energy being expended; not so with old stye plain fan-blown burners.

So, what is left to the credit of these out of date forges? They are simple to build; nothing more...logically, no forge at all is even simpler to construct. Of course plenty of people would rather avoid the hassle of building one of the more complex forges, and lots of them don't have the funds to buy one of the standard commercial forges.

But, there is a growing number of low price gas forges coming onto the market recently; they are between one and two hundred dollars, which is about how much the materials for that old fan-blown forge is going to cost anyway. You don't have to settle for a poor forge; just take a look at all your options.


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