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Hello everyone, I was wondering how many people on here besides myself Forge with a wood Forge and what people's take on it was. I use a Whitlock wood fire Forge with an open top and a hand crank blower it works great for me so far. Just wanted to see what other people have and use wood fire wise.

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Hello, Hess. First off, would you care to show us a few (dozen) pictures of your rig? I am quite interested myself.

I so far predominantly have used wood charcoal, but I prefer, by far, to use charcoal I have made myself. At times I have started with raw wood, but my setup is inefficient.

I have been able to puddle my own iron ore with the rig hanging there in my avatar, with strictly wood charcoal (See Image).

I am working on a multifuel design, and have had fun with a coke-charcoal mix.

Robert Taylor

 

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I thought you puddle cast iron to get wrought iron and smelt iron ore to get wrought iron.

I forge fairly often with wood as part of historical demo's---twin single action bellows with an adobe side blown forge.  However I tend to coal the wood separately and just transfer the hot coals over and so not have the smoke and heat issues right at the forge...You may want to search on the Tim Lively washtub forge for a bunch of folks using charcoal/wood for forging the last several decades...NeoTribal Metalsmiths 

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I have two 55gal drums with side blast pipes at the base and solid lids to convert scrap wood from work to all the charcoal I need & then some.

I use that charcoal exclusively in an old rivet forge with a cranked blower.  I haven't done anything with larger than 1.5"stock & you have to feed fuel pretty fast, but for smaller items it gets the job done fine.  Used anthracite years ago & the scaling was much worse.  For hobby work, I see no need to change.

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 Here is a few pictures of my forge I recently have changed the connecter to the crank so it doesn't kink which gets me way more air flow. These forges have an adjustable baffle running through the bottom with holes you turn the baffle to open more holes. All the wood I use is 2x4s and 4x4s split in half gets hot enough to forge weld just fine and I can fit pieces all the way to 30"+ in it.

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I also do not pre make charcoal at all I just use wood scraps.

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Quite right, Thomas - my tendency to err increases sharply between the hours of one and two-thirty p.m............

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My first forge was made from a farmhouse "dry sink" where I ran a piece of pipe up the drainhole and across the bottom of it and out a hole I drilled in the end---multiple holes and then breaking the cast iron out between them. I filled in the sides with creek clay and drilled a bunch of 1/4" holes in the top third.  I controlled how long a fire I had by using a "ramrod"  A solid disk of steel on a rod running in the pipe.  Built that one in 1981 and worked well for bladesmithing monosteel blades using charcoal as the fuel.

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I have forged with wood such as trees, lumber, and old wood from buildings. All work well for me. Just run the fire a little deeper so the wood burns turning to charcoal and the charcoal then turns to embers.

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2x4x4 inches long. Split down to 2x2x4 works well. Small stuff burns faster and makes coals faster than large pieces.

A lot depends on the forge and the size of the forge.

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I started out with wood. Wood works well even in a standard forge. It's cutting it up into small chunks that is such a headache. The Whitlock forge eliminates that need. I've never used one, but it seams like a good design.

 

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Thanks to all of you. I get really encouraged reading about success with wood. I will try it soon!

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Hi,

I'm very new to blacksmithing (first post too), and have had good success with wood in the <10 times I've gotten the "forge" going.

I use a camp fire in the back yard, I've tried side blast, and also have a couple pipes I've drilled one is 3/8" holes the other 1/4". Then this connects to an electric blower fan we already had.

I tend to use short chunks of scrap lumber or pallets but really just use whatever is laying around.

I can consistently get the metal to forging temperatures, but only in a small area, and I am continually poking the coals around, to maintain a nice bed of coals above and below the metal where I want to heat it. So far, getting enough heat in the right place is more challenging than hammering the metal into the correct shape.

New guy introduction - mid 30's family man from western Colorado, mechanical engineer, some experience in fabrication and machining, 1888 Fisher 60 lb anvil, minimal blacksmithing specific tools.

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"Nice" is not very specific; can you tell us how many inches of charcoal is on the top and bottom and if your blower is putting out too much air?

Charcoal was the fuel used for forging until the high middle ages when coal started to be introduced. There are probably more charcoal forges running today than coal ones as many areas do not have access to good smithing coal!  Viking/Frankish pattern welded swords were forge in charcoal forges as were katanas so heat issues will be with the set up.

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Build a jabod forge. The coals must be banked when using a campfire. A jabod is a simple and effective proven design. There's many threads on them.

Pnut

 

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Witlox forges and their like are fuel hungry beasts and just a bit shallow in my opinion.

Botom blast forges just are not the most effecent for charcoal, which is what wood is after it is reduced to coals, the wood fire just isn’t hot enugh until the wood is pyrolized. So essentially a wood fired forge is a charcoal forge, the forge is essentially the same, just with an added component to convert the wood to usable coals. Not unlike a cooking fire.

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Welcome aboard Cleave, glad to have you. 

You'll want to take a look through the solid fuel forge section and specifically charcoal forges to get an idea of what guys are using. Charcoal likes a side blast better than a bottom blast. A bottom blast tends to cause larger fires and burn significantly more fuel for the work you get out of it. Check out the JABOD forge, you can make the same configuration with what's on hand, a hole in the ground works a treat. Bricks are good to shape the trench but don't get fancy. Be VERY careful if you use rocks, they can explode if there is water trapped in the stone when the temp raises above boiling.

NO portland cement concrete, none it's a dangerously BAD thing to put in a HOT fire.

Frosty The Lucky.

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