Ranmatt

First Forge and Burner Build Questions - 5 Gallon Bucket forge and hybrid Forced/Venturi burner

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Hello Everyone,

 

I recently took a blacksmithing class and decided I would like to get into it, I lucked out and managed to scrounge up an assortment of tools and a railroad track anvil to get started at a recent blacksmithing swap meet in Seattle, WA

 

And so I am looking to build my first forge and 1-2 burners so I can really get started, I would appreciate any advice you have.

 

I am planning to forge a bit of everything so I would like something that has some versatility size wise.

 

So far I am looking at the 5 Gallon Bucket design located here: http://www.zoellerfo...legasforge.html

With this design the interior will be around 460cc which would require 2 Venturi style burners to reach proper welding temp.

 

I would like to make a burner similar to the one by Geoff Keyes, 6th post down: http://www.bladesmit...13368&hl=burner

 

And Emre Kipmen https://picasaweb.go...548571629256866

 

So they could be swapped from forced air to venturi with interchangeable tips with relative ease.

 

One question I haven’t found an answer to yet is could a single forced air burner reach welding temperatures in the above 460cc 5 gallon bucket build? So far digging around I have not found any rule of thumb for cc to a forced air burner.

 

From looking around on these forums and other sites, it sounds like a rounded 2-3” Ceramic Wool and ITC-100 refractory forge is the best bet for heating, time, and gas cost, and is more important than the burner type.

 

But burner wise it sounds like forced air is easier to manage and is less likely to freeze up a 20lb propane tank due to the lower PSI required.

 

Also if this forge doesn’t seem like a good build for a first one could you recommend one or explain why.

 

Should I give up on the idea of one forge for all and instead go for the 5 Gallon bucket forge build with a single burner just for forging and then make a second Brick forge build for forge welding?

 

Thank you very much,

 

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I just posted this in answer to your post over on www.Bladesmithsforum.com.

Check out the attachments on the Forge Supplies page at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.  The Build a Gas Forge attachment will show you how I like to build a good, long lasting efficient forge.  I wrote this when I was using a venturi burner but now I use a Ribbon Burner.  If you want to use a venturi burner Frosty's T Burner is probably the simpilest to build and the materials are easy to get.  You can find lots of posts about this on www.IForgeIron.com.  Go there and just do a search.

 

Let me know if I can help you.

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Ranmatt, welcome to the forum.  Just a couple comments here. If cost is an issue for you at all for the forge components and then for operation I'd suggest going a bit smaller than that. After building one that seemed right to me when I started, but was really far larger than needed, I built one from a disposable helium tank - which is also the same size as a freon/R134 tank.  I mainly forge blades and have been able to forge everything I've attempted in it so far, with the largest being a kukri style knife with an overall length of about 23 inches.

Blown burners are dead simple to make and you quickly learn how to adjust them, but you do have adjust the air every time you increase or decrease the fuel in order to maintain your preferred forge atmosphere.   I used one for a while then went back to naturally aspirated, mostly because I forge outside and like to be able to move to shaded areas without power cords and/or tubing for air being an issue.

Your comment about forced air being less likely to freeze up the propane tank is inaccurate. Whether you are using forced air or a naturally aspirated burner, if the fuel to air ratio is proper, it will take the same amount of propane to get the heat you want in either case.  The difference is the naturally aspirated burner will have a small orifice to introduce the fuel to the burner and it will be running at higher pressure (most likely) than the blown burner.  However, the amount (volume) of propane leaving the tank is the same in either case.  In the blown burner it's typically lower pressure at the fuel inlet for the burner, but that's because it's entering through a much larger diameter tube.

Remember, you can typically only work on about 6 inches of hot steel at a time before it cools to the point where it needs to go back into the fire.  So if you have a forge with a slightly longer chamber than that and a pass through opening at the rear of the forge you should be able to work on any length of straight stock that will fit through the openings. Obviously if you are working on oddball shapes then opening and chamber size become more of an issue.

Spend some time reading on here and head over to Wayne's website and you'll get lots of good info.

And yes, I would give up the idea of one forge for all.  It's tempting, but normally things that are multipurpose can do several things in a mediocre way, but probably none of them as well as you'd like. 

Again, start small.  Why spend more money on building supplies and propane to run 2 burners if you can do what you want to do with lower startup and operating costs?

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Greetings,

     Disclaimer: I am by no means knowledgeable in this.  I have asked this very question not very long ago at all actually.  From what I've been able to gleen from what I've had in response, a five gallon forge is largish.  I'm willing to bet it can be done but it will most likely eat up a lot of fuel and resources.  I'm starting a freon tank myself.  You shop in Seattle that means you must be fairly close.  I found three freon cans in a single shot after months of hunting everywhere.  I'm happy to pass one of them to you if you wish.  I'll warn you to read some, read some more, and then reread.  There are some very knowledgeable folk here but they answer the same questions over and over and they get a bit grumpy.  So read, learn, and pass on what you find!

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Thank you very much for the quick and helpful responses everyone, it is very much appreciated.

++Wayne, Thanks again for the site and all the good info.

++Buzzkill, I am going to stick with the 5 gallon build and see how it goes, I lucked out and a local pottery store in Seattle sells everything but refractory for a nice price.
I am definitely going to focus on a blown burner to start and will then see about modifying it to be a venturi style to see how I like em.
Good to know on the tank freezing, thank you.
I plan on building a back door in the 5 gallon forge.
This site, Wayne’s ,and bladesmithsforum have such a wonderful amount of info for a newbie and very nice community.
It seems I will a have a 50lb bag of Kast-o-lite so I think once my first forge is done I will look into using that and firebrick to make a smaller forge for just welding.

++Oberu, I plan on sticking with the 5 gallon forge to start, and thank you very much for the Freon bottle offer especially since you had to hunt them down that long. For now though I am going to just try the 5 gallon forge. Since your close to Seattle I would recommend looking at http://www.seattlepotterysupply.com/ they carry; insulating blanket, Mizzou/Kast-O-Lite, and firebricks all for a good price, and ITC-100 which is a little pricey for me.

Thank you very much everyone, the biggest thing I’ve noticed since gaining an interest in Blacksmithing is that the community is very helpful and welcoming, I look forward to becoming a part of it and hope to return the kindness once I’ve gotten some experience.

I plan on getting everything for the forge bought and ordered by this weekend, and will hopefully have it built by Mid September. If I run into any snags with the burner/forge build I will update the thread otherwise I will post a pic of the completed forge in all its 5 gallon glory.

Thanks Again!

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Hello,

Seattle pottery does have quite a bit.  I picked up a kiln shelf and some ITC there. Another good spot is Hard Luck Forge. Nice fellow and prices.

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Hello again everyone, I've made some progress and had a few more questions come up.

 

I now have 10sq ft of ceramic wool, a 50lb bag of Kast-O-Lite, a bunch of firebrick, and all the 1" black pipe needed to make a forced air burner.

 

Through Craigslist someone was getting rid of their forge and so I was able to acquire a 100lb full propane tank /hookups for it, a 14"T x 12"D Pipe forge, and a 50 cfm blower.

 

My first question is if you look at these pictures of the forge: http://imgur.com/gallery/PNX9X the forced air burner sits below the forge and shoot up, I have only seen side forced air burners, none that shoot upwards at an angle. Would this still work without issue or should I change it so it is more like a side burner? Also that pipe blowing into the forge is 2 ¼” should I make that smaller so it is 1”?

Second Question: How thick should I put the Kast-o-Lite onto the ceramic wool? So far I’ve seen mention of ½”

 

Thanks again for all your help!

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The hot rodder side of my brain would really like to see that beast.

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Hello Everyone and sorry for the long Delay, but I've finally gotten everything put together, thanks again for all your advice and help.

 

Here is a link showing some pictures of its first run.

 

http://imgur.com/a/Sx1K8

 

That is just with the Ceramic Wool and Kast-O-Lite 30, once it cooled down I then painted on the ITC-100 and will try it out next week.

 

In the pictures you can see the pipe inside the forge, next time I plan on making it flush and or a little inside the burner connector.

 

Let me know what you think or if you have any more advice.

 

Thanks again!

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That's a huge chamber but okay if that's what you want or need. I think all of us have a huge forge collecting dust somewhere in our shops. Yes, pull the end of the burner back inside the liner or it'll melt off. Rotate the burner assembly on the 90 elbow so it's below the forge. It'll work just fine with the blower under the forge and the heat won't chimney up and damage it when you shut down at the end of a session. It will also be less of a trip hazard in the shop.

If you want a flat floor just lay some kaowool (or whatever ceramic blanket you're using) on the bottom, peal the edges so it makes a smooth transition to the round forge liner then coat it with KastOLite, and ITC-100 as you did the rest and you're golden. A flat floor isn't necessary though especially in a forge that big. You have the correct process to line your forge down pat.

Have you brought the whole chamber up to screaming HOT yellow yet? After you do and it cools eyeball where the flame hits the line for flame erosion. The KastOLite is formulated for exactly that and they recommend inspecting it after the first couple full temp runs and regularly afterwards.

It looks good to me, keep us posted on how it works and what you make with it please.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you Frosty, because this is my first forge I wanted to make it multipurpose since I would like to try a bit of everything blacksmithing wise. Once I get an idea of what i'm really doing I plan on making a smaller one.

I did not think about the heat rising into the fan, it just sits in the pipe at the top so I can just pull it out when I am done forging. I still need to put some bolts into the burner holder so I can hold the burner in place.

I do have some extra Ceramic Wool and Kast-O-Lite so making a flat insert sounds like a good use for it.

I have not gotten it up to Yellow yet as I shut it down after that final picture, so I could let it cool off before applying the ITC-100, I will watch for Flame erosion though.

I will be heating it up again next week and then I'll see how hot I can get it.

I will continue to update this thread with my progress.

Thank you!

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In my experience (with a small forge) and with zirconium silicate/kaolin clay mixed with rigidizer and water, it took 2  firings to have that mixture completely set.  That was on top of rigidized ceramic wool Without the castable. In my small chamber, the coating sped up the time to heat and also the heat retention while cooling. I am sure you will notice a difference when you apply the coating but I am sure some one else will be a better source for the specific combination of materials you are using. Seems to me though that besides a big volume you are on the right track :)

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Adding the wool to the floor should help alot. As its making the chamber smaller... maybe make it a D shape....just a suggestion

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You will most likely learn (eventually) that a forge that does "everything" doesn't do a particularly great job on anything.  I'm on forge #5.  Two brick forges, two bean cans, and one Freon can forge.  I have already started collecting parts for forge #6, which will be my dedicated welding forge, and I have a plan for #7, which will be a small, small forge for doing light stuff, economically.  

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Good Morning, Mr Ran

You live in the hotbed of the North West Blacksmith Association. There are so many people in your town who can show you what to do and what not to do.

The web-site is blacksmith.org

They have monthly get togethers at the Fairgrounds in Longview, Wa. There is a Spring Conference as well.

I am just across the pond, in Victoria

Neil

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