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I Forge Iron

Seeking clarification


Oberu

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Greetings!

     I've been lurking and trolling this place since I found it and reading pretty much every day either on my pc or on my phone during lunch.  Great bunch of minds here and lots of good advice as far as I can tell.  I've settled on a forge design by Zoeller using a five gallon metal pail (mainly because I'm tired of looking for another suitable candidate). I'm a bit shocked at all the things I've read about, "what not to do" that I've heard so many others say was the way to do it.  I'm rambling... I apologize...  So on to my queries.

1.  I've read quite a bit about volumes on the inside of a forge and I've never found if this is just the inside of your forge body or the inner chamber with refractories actually installed.

2.  Have any of you made a similar forge, and if so how did it work for you?

I appreciate the feedback and hope all is well with you and yours!

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There has been a lot of talk recently regarding this very question. Your answers are in the current History, over and over. Don't kick the Bucket or Pail!!!

There was a Blacksmith Yard Sale in downtown Seattle this past weekend(?), Check out www.blacksmith.org N.W.B.A. There is HUGE knowledge in your Town get away from your keyboard and take a Bus or a Car. Ask a local NWBA member in your Town.

Not trying to be Cranky, just being an "Ol' Goat".

Neil

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It's the interior volume, (clear space inside the forge, so inside the refractories.)

5 gallon pail is pretty large; do you need that much space?  I;ve done a couple of propane forges using the Helium party balloon canisters that get discarded all over.

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Thomas,

It's kind of like trying to tell a kid about the misery of boot camp beforehand; you can try all you want to tell 'em they how very much they ain't  going to like it, and they just nod and wait for you to run down; seems like they allays know better.

At least he can use extra layers of Kaowool to slowdown the drain from is wallet, once he realizes propane ain't cheap. The problems from that  straight-in burner position is going to be a lot harder to cope with. But a sadder and wiser newbie can fix that as well.

Don't you just love "easy" forge designs. There is never enough time to do things right in the first time, but always time enough to do things over. After he makes all the changes needed to turn the first unusable mess into a workable, if clumsy looking forge, he can contemplate how much easier it would have been if he had just listen to your advice...

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I've always liked the "I'm saving US$20 in kaowool by spending US$200 in extra propane"  forges and of course the "but they did it that way on youtube" forges.  I admit that it took me a while to find out that bigger is not always better in smithing equipment; but I figured it out a couple of decades ago.

 I haven't searched for a "do it yourself appendectomy using a chainsaw"; but would not be surprised to find it.   Ahh well I guess when we get away from Nature we have to come up with our own Darwinian protocols...

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Lighten up, Francis! (Sorry for the "Stripes" reference).  The OP didn't fly way off the rails here.  He said what he was planning to use and asked if anyone else had done this and if so what their experience was.

IIRC the inside diameter of 5 gallon buckets tends to be around 10.5 to 11 inches for most of them.   A couple layers of 1 inch thick kaowool brings the ID down to 6.5 to 7 inches.  That's probably still larger than needed, especially for a first forge, but it's not crazy big.  One more layer would yield an inside diameter around 4.5 to 5 inches.  Sure the amount of insulation is overkill, but it will be that much easier to re-line later when needed. 

Oberu, if you're set on using that pail then just use extra kaowool layers to bring the diameter down and try to keep your total inside volume under 350 cubic inches.  That way you can heat it with a single 3/4 inch diameter NA burner (or a couple smaller burners).

As already mentioned, there is a wealth of information on here about good gas forge design and construction. It would be a good use of your time to make sure you have a decent handle on as many of the specifics as possible before moving forward. I'm guessing that you can find a smaller option fairly easily, but your pail will also fit the bill if you handle it correctly.

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As I mentioned the party balloon helium tanks are pretty easy to find for free here in the United States and are "safe" to cut abrasively with no cleanout needed.

A couple of years ago I built a forge from one not using a welder or any "fancy" tools  save for my electric drill.  I sawed a piece of pipe along the axis for about 2 inches and then heated it up and bent the ends out and then drilled and riveted it to the tank to make the burner holder, (used a pipeclamp to adjust how far the burner tube would stick into the forge through it.  The burner hole I used a cheap "hole saw" bit bought for a buck at the fleamarket to cut it.  Riveted the legs on, (Bolts could be used but I'm familiar with riveting and used rivets made from 16 penny nails...) You can use the same hole saw to make a pass through for long pieces...

Used it as an extra forge for smithing classes; about time for a reline for it...

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On 7/26/2016 at 11:52 AM, Mikey98118 said:

It's kind of like trying to tell a kid about the misery of boot camp beforehand; you can try all you want to tell 'em they how very much they ain't  going to like it, and they just nod and wait for you to run down; seems like they allays know better.

Some of us do listen. I intended to start with an air tank about the size of a 5gal, and I am so glad I asked questions! Currently I am getting exactly what I wanted from a well designed, albeit, crude coffee can. I truly take every comment to heart, and I still will make that bigger forge one day, but I will take my time and plan it right. I definitely listened and learned from all of the past experiences you all shared and I cannot express the gratitude I have for everyone that took the time to help me.

To any newbies like me reading, LISTEN TO THESE GUYS! They really know their stuff and they will be a huge help if you ask informed complete questions, just do some research on your own first. Understand that these guys get asked the same questions a million times over by guys like you and me, so do them a favor and use some of your own time self learning.   

Thanks for putting up with us newbies!

Viking

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I am listening and taking things in.  The bucket will be lined in two inches of blanket, then half an inch of mizzou, then about a quarter inch of ITC.  This brings the thing down to 330-360 cubic inches.  One thing I would ask.. Please guys don't be so harsh.  I'm not an idiot.. I may be new to this but that's why I am asking.  I've asked a few questions over the past few months and I've been met with nothing but scorn.  At one time I was even given some sort of demerit for using a another word for hades.. You know the one in the bible?  Seriously. "Ask them" they say.. well I'm asking.  

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These guys can be grumpy and I think some get a sense of accomplishment from it, but most are good folks and are helpful.  I will let you in on a secret, research and read then ask a question that references what you have read.  Don't do this just to appease the grumps.  It helps to formulate a much more direct and answerable question.  There are a lot of specifics in forge building that, if left out make a question unanswerable.  The questions you are asking have answers here somewhere but the search function being what it is (junk) makes it impossible to search effectively.  Go to google.  In the search bar type the address of the site. Then in the results you will see a search bar under the link.  That is a worthy search method.  You will find much more that way.  Search burner size and you will find a lot of good information.  Cubic inches are needed for burner size choice.

Glenn does not tolerate any type of foul language.  His sandbox, his rules, no use complaining.  All of us have had our hands slapped; some more than once. 

Depending on what you plan to do with the forge you will be looking at 1-2 3/4 burners.  2 will be overkill and one will be not enough.  That is the predicament I am in.

Being in Seattleish I would totally look up some local folks to talk to.  This is the internet and in no way a substitute for actual human connection.  I envy folks who have locals to talk to.

 

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        Anytime you get a simple 1 line answer to a smithing question it's probably only valid for a specific set of circumstances which you may or may not share with the person answering.  Many questions have answers that may have dependencies on altitude, humidity, type of work, available skills and tools, alloy(s), etc.  If you don't supply all the details when you ask the answer may not be the right one for *you*.

For instance I live in a hot desert; I could just give answers about finishing items based on my local experience which would be very very wrong for someone asking on the Main seashore.  As my mind reader is currently on the fritz I need the person asking to give all the details and I hate playing twenty questions.  I also dislike giving answers that may not be applicable and may often go on and on about exceptions and special cases---and I have a personal dislike for question that use the term "best" with no details---*Best* way to store steel so it doesn't rust is to put it into orbit and who cares about the cost or ease of retrieval....

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I thank you for your feedback.  This is pretty expensive stuff after a time and I just wanted to know if anyone in this group had made something similar and if I should or shouldn't try it out.  In a last ditch effort I talked to my local mechanic and asked if he knew where any empty Freon bottles might be had, as he services air conditioning.  He pointed me to a parts store and my hopes sank but I went anyway.  This kind fellow gave me three empty bottles so now I'm back on track with my original plan.  I picked up a kiln shelf and a some ITC in Seattle and are they ever proud of a pint of that stuff!  To Nate and Thomas, thank you.  I just moved to the Northwest myself a few years ago from a little town in Texas called Sweetwater to the East of you Thomas so I understand.  I had so many friends there that were ranchers that we'd just fire up one of their coal forges and I could play anytime I wished.  Now I'm in a different place with new culture/cultures of people that I'm not accustomed to and it's harder than you'd imagine meeting folk.   I just purchased and put a stand under a good anvil and this is the last step before I can play again.  To the others, I get a bit grumpy myself and I'd imagine that getting the same question a zillion times does get under even the thickest skin at times.  I've been a soldier, an auto and helicopter mechanic, a certified welder, a machinist, drafter, and since the old back is shot... a finish carpenter now days.  It's tough to get things across in a body of words on a screen.  If I can ever be of help to any of you in information I am keen on let me know.  This is something new to me and I just don't want to waste what little time and money I have to play with on a failed attempt which is why I am here.

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I was right were you are not too long ago Oberu. I would say, the single most important thing that was said to me was; Figure out what you want your forge to do. My plans far outreached my intentions for it, for now anyway, so I scaled way down. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish with a coffee can, some Kaowool, and a good propane torch. By scaling down first, it allowed me to better understand the science behind it, and what I need to add, change or remove in the future. I've already made a second improved coffee can forge, and I have plans to gradually go bigger the more I learn. I totally understand how you feel with regards to some of the replies you've received, I got the excrement knocked out of me after my first post. But I have learned that most of these guys would love nothing more than to see you succeed and will do all they can to help....except the work. I'm glad you are taking it all in, because I can say for myself, a few well constructed questions to these guys made up for years of wasted time searching the web on my own. Lastly, thank you for your service, I may not be American, but I sure appreciate all that NATO service men and women do to keep us safe. 

Viking

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 I have built coffee-can forges and coffee-can casting furnaces and am still fond of them, and will continue playing with them; especially after some brands went to plastic lids on the three lbs. cans (thus necessitating the tittle 1/2" rib at their tops). But if I were a newbie, I would go through the initial extra effort to use a little helium cylinder, and jet my full efforts worth.

Most of the "advantages" conferred by coffee-can construction is illusory; not least of which is the ability to use a propane canister mount torch; you will find it easier and a whole lot less money to mount a 1/2" "T" burner to a 20 lbs. propane cylinder via a regular fuel hose and 0-20 regulator than putting up with all the trouble you will get out of that torch setup. 

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Thanks! Built a "T" and working on a shell now.  I'll weld it up very soon now that all the paint and galvanized junk is gone.  I'm not sure why the pictures want to come in rotated like this.. sorry : /

 

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Awesome!  Thanks man!  Spent some time today working on getting the shell lined out a bit more.  It was a little 110v MIG with no gas so the welds aren't something I'm proud of but they should do!

 

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I'm not sure where else to post this and I've made so many posts now that in hindsight seem pretty dumb so I'll just clump it up into this one.  I'd love some advice on the opening where my burner comes into the chamber through the mizzou castable. I'm planning on using some of Frosty's advice and I've welded my burner holdfast aiming to a tangental angle where it will form a swirl.  I'm not sure how to shape this.  My insight tells me to round things out as sharp bits will be thin and wear off quickly.  I plan on covering even the blanket in castable where my burner comes through.  My plan, as it sits, is to spread the opening a bit making a very slight conical opening with soft round edges.  If anyone has any sort of advice I'd be stoked.  I'm close but I want to make this thing right.  

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The pipe you welded to the forge is the burner mount yes?

I think you have it right enough. The castable is to protect the ceramic blanket which is the insulator. Making the burner port slightly conical and rounding corners off is a good thing. I think you're doing fine, can't wait to see a fire in it. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Update:  I'm working a lot lately and don't have much time to tinker but I'm trying to document what I'm doing.  If you lot like it or have suggestions let me know.  I'd like to possibly make a picture heavy build along so possibly what I'm learning might help others.  Let me know how you feel about it and what you think I should change.

Body is finished and the ceramic blanket goes in. I've got my kiln shelf cut and fitted.

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The excess blanket hanging out gets trimmed off and the lower half ends up being flat across.  

IMG_2340.JPGStarting to lay in the castable refractory.  I took this picture after I'd trowled the mizzou on and afterwards I used a drill with a pieces of bar bent into a 90 to create a "shaker" to bump out the bubbles.

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 The upper portion of the body needs to be rotated so the surface tension of the refractory keeps it inside the lip of the shell.  It gets rotated after a flat portion is set so I can fill in the rest of the arc by rotating the top half bit by bit.

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Next up.. a final layer of sifted refractory so it's finer and then off to the the IR coating

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I like the burner aimed down at about twenty degrees from top dead center, so that it tends to strike the floor shelf closer to the near end of the shelf, but that isn't critical in a forge that has a good layer of refractory over the Kaowool.

Avoid making the burner port from pipe that is very close the burner tube diameter,  because that doesn't allow you to finely tune the burner's aim. on the kiln shelf.

Take your sweet time cutting end the edges of the top and bottom portions of the refractory layers, because large gaps between them will cause you grief. What constitutes a large gap? A lot less once the forge is hot then while you are working to get them right to start with; fortunately you can use rigidized de-laminated Kaowool layers to go back over any such gaps until you get them just right

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  • 1 month later...

Well it's alive...  as for tuned or effecient I do not know.  What I know is it will take this 1 1/4" round bar to a yellow heat in 25 minutes.  I am going to make proper doors next.  This was the third and final heat to get the ITC ready as per specs I can find.  I'm psyched as it is but I'd love some advice if you see anything that can improved upon.  I do not yet have a pressure guage but it couldn't be more than 10 psi I'm confident.  I've been picking brains on this and I thank you for your advice up to this point and further yet.  *Happy Dance*

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