Gijotoole

stainless instead of shelving forge floor?

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BLUF: I have a .375" thick piece of *tough* stainless steel. Can I use this as a floor to keep my flux from eating my forge?

So my (homemade) forge is pretty small - about 200 ci of usable space insulated with 2" all-around of wool and another .75" of refractory (kastolite). I did my first welded blade about a month ago with not-so-great results (didn't get it hot *enough* for consistent, complete welds throughout). I would like to continue to practice my welding, but want to save my floor. I don't have access to kiln shelving for the floor and probably can't use it anyway because it would take all the remaining space. I'd imagine that the stainless would keep the flux away from the billets and give me some help with retaining some heat under the billet for the reheats. I'm trying to not have to build another forge just for welding.

The stainless is found and is remarkably tough - eating through my cutoff wheels with ease. I'll probably end up cutting it with my torch.

Thoughts?

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Thought #1. Can't cut stainless with a torch. #2. buy better cutoff wheels, they're rated on the package. #3. you're probably wasting your time making a stainless drip pan, I don't think many if any guys are still doing that, not since folk learned to NOT use silicate based refractories or at least kiln wash the floors.

Which Kast-O-Lite refractory are you using? If it's a high alumina refractory it doesn't care if you get hot flux on it it isn't susceptible.

Frosty The Lucky.

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2 hours ago, ianinsa said:

310 is "furnace grade" s/s.

Hard to find though, and usually horrendously expensive if you do find it.

It's pretty good for cycling up to around 1100 degC, 2012 degF, but if you take it higher, it tends to lose a layer to Oxide every time it cycles through that temperature.

In a welding forge, it would definitely be a consumable.

If someone is in an industry where scrap/surplus type 310 S/S is available, it's quite likely to be an industry where other scrap/surplus refractory materials are also available.  

If it comes my way, I'll use it, but in a smithing context, the only application for which I'll actively seek it out is burner nozzles, where it lasts much better than 304 or 316.

 

As for using an unknown grade of found S/S, why not? It will be consumed. At 3/8" thick, it'll probably take a while.

I'd be looking to introduce some fall to direct the flux run-off to where it can do no harm. It will probably need clearance all round, since most of the Stainless Steels seem to have high expansion coefficients and you don't want to crack the Kast-o-lite.

 

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4 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

kitty litter makes for a cheap and easy to replace floor

That sounds like advice from the crazy cat lady's house keeper, Steve.

Bentonite / clay kitty litter works. Rather than SS pan how about picking up some Kiln shelf and not worry about it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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22 hours ago, Gijotoole said:

I don't have access to kiln shelving for the floor and probably can't use it anyway because it would take all the remaining space.

 

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Kiln shelving comes in a bunch of different sizes and thicknesses and is not very expensive for the benefit--it still might be worth doing a search.  Some is even carried on Amazon.

The only reason I am poking the issue after your rejection is to point out for others that it might be worth planning around a standard kiln shelf when doing a design.  Once you find a standard kiln shelf that is within your budget and rough size needs, it's a lot easier to design the rest of the forge around it than it is the other way around.  People spend a lot of time and money focusing on burners so why not a little time and some pocket change for the part the burners are pointing at?

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I have kastolite 3000 refractory. It's not melting or anything, but I was worried that if I continued to *attempt* to weld then it will fall apart on me.

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12 hours ago, Gijotoole said:

I have kastolite 3000 refractory. It's not melting or anything, but I was worried that if I continued to *attempt* to weld then it will fall apart on me.

That's a high alumina refractory and doesn't care how much borax you get on it, it'll take it honest. Now, stop attempting to weld in it and start welding in it. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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I like to hear the other guy's view. If someone wants to lean into the idea of "temporary" for handling a messy surface, and the side affects aren't too expensive, why not?  Would I do things that way? No; but without some reasoned disagreements life would get boring. As long as the other guy  has a reason for his view, we should spend more time considering it than arguing it.

Kozzy writes: "People spend a lot of time and money focusing on burners so why not a little time and some pocket change for the part the burners are pointing at?"

I couldn't agree with you more. Nevertheless, people seem to view burners as more important to get right than other parts; maybe because getting them wrong is usually more dramatic than all the other parts on a forge. To me, everything done wrong is crippling. Maybe what is wrong with high alumina kiln shelves is that they are ti straightforward and easy. With a high alumina castable shapes could be figured in them; hollow parts; etc...

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Ok, so I built (am building) a new forge out o a propane tank - I live on base and epitome are literally giving them away. I did it safe, though; I drained it, took off the valve, filled it with water and soap and rinsed a few times over a few days - no issues. Grabbed some supplies from htt and started packing yesterday. It has about 3" of kaowool with about 3/8" of kastolite 3k. I have a 1" burner coming from hybrid and plan to be burning next week. My old forge held up great with the k3k but it was too small. This new one has about 7" x 11" of chamber space and should let me get into the axe heads that I want to do. I'll post pics of it when it's more assembled.

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I will soon be building a forge and have a question that has been bugging me for weeks.... Can Kiln Shelf be cut?  The stuff I have found on line comes in square shapes, or is rather large for a forge.  How do you get it to the dimensions you need?

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I score it with the diamond wheel on my dremel, then a short tap with cold chisel will break it at the score line.

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I have used a masonry cut off wheel on an angle grinder but I'd do it outside and wear PPE.

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Ice been told that kastolite 3k is pretty resistant to flux, which is why I used it on my first forge, and so I went with it again for my new one. I have clad the incident of the forge with about 3/16 of k3k and gave it a layer of metrikote. I still need to make a kastolite floor brick, to hold pieces when I'm welding, but he's almost done.

Carl.

image.jpeg

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