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So i am a blacksmith who has been smithing for a short time i consider myself still green, i would like to ask peoples opinions on what i should be using a fuel and where i can find it cheaply or even better make it myself quickly and cheaply. I was using charcoal burquettes as fuel but it will not heat my steal fast enough, is this an issues with my forge design and airflow or is it my fuel like i think it is. Please any tips and tricks would be much appreciated.

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Good Morning,

Are you on Planet Earth? Where are you making a shadow? If you put your location in your Avatar, we may know someone close to where you live. It is better to find information from someone local to you, than through the keyboard. There are people who are burning wood for heat, some are turning waste wood into a form of Coke/Charcoal. I have forged using this material, you use quite a bit and has lots of sparks.

The simplest way is to forget about what you have and build a Propane Forge. Good Heat, not hard to get fuel, not expensive. You just have to chop down the barrier wall in your mind. You need a Heat Source, something to heat, something to work on (an Anvil shape or not), a Hammer to work with (or a Rock on a stick) and an Idea what to try to turn rubbish into.

Don't keep putting up the wall inside your Head!! Enjoy the Journey!!

Neil

 

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Thank you neil! My name is sean smith i live in medford oregon. I have a coal forge and id like to try and stay away from propane if possible. It is an ideal way to heat your steel dont get me wrong but i enjoy the old school coal way much much better. Only for the feeling get from doing it that way, the design of my forge could be what is preventing my heat. I just cant figure out why burquettes wont get my steel hot enough quick enough

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NWBA Spring Conference is at the Fairgrounds, Longview Wash. Plan to be there May 12-14.

Demonstrators, Tail-Gate sales, New Tool sales, real people to ask questions of, Not far from Home. Check out www blacksmith.org. There are members in your Town.

Briquettes work, but are not the best. Stop banging your Head!!

Neil

 

Put your location in your Avatar, nobody will look back to the above posting to see where you make shadows. You may not care, we do.

Neil

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At this time i have no funds to join an association or i would have just to talk with some of the smiths!(: if you know of some blacksmiths extremely close to me that i could talk with that would be amazing but my area is rather short on blacksmiths. But i am open to any names or number you could possibly shoot my way. I agree the internet is a terrible source of information but as for meeting people and setting up meets it is a wonderful tool!(:

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"Close to you"

where are you?

Members, here, come from all over the world.

SLAG.

p.s. google abana and your location, if you are in North America

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TAKE THE HINT, DUDE! Take five minutes and post your location in your avatar, please. That means click on your own name and do some editing.

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Are you using brickets or hardwood charcoal   do not use the preformed brickets  but hardwood charcoal should work I used it when I started until I found a coal source  

 

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Hardwood lump charcoal is the way to go. Go light on the air: too vigorous a blast will actually cool the fire off. Slow and steady is the name of the game.

Now, go update your profile settings! While you're at it, go put a post on the "Introduce Yourself" page to tell us all who you are, but be sure to READ THIS FIRST.

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Sean, I've heard not to use the charcoal briquettes. Use lump charcoal, real charcoal, not the pressed stuff. 

You mention it may be your forge setup. Have any pictures of it? Those would help determine if there could be an issue there. 

 

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Briquettes are engineered to burn slowly and limit the heat produced.  They contain a lot of stuff in them that does not contribute to using them as a forge fuel---like clay.  Plain chunk charcoal, you can make your own for free, is the longest used forge fuel in the world---from the start of the iron age through today.  HOWEVER it works best in forged designed to use it as it burns differently than coal.  (See the Tim Lively Washtub Forge for one example or Weyger's "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" for several others.

I must speak on your money statements:  As I read it you are saying that you work for free and are willing to spend 100's of hours re-inventing the wheel rather than moving a lawn or two, or cleaning out a garage and getting training that will save you hundreds of hours of flailing around on your own.  

(If you are really willing to work for nothing I have a chainmail bungalow I'm interested in having built...)

As for location---just put oregon in your profile and be done with it. *Many* blacksmithing questions have a location factor in them even if it's hidden---like "Stop by my forge and I'll teach you how to forge weld." Doesn't work if you are on the other side of the world form the person offering.  Once it's in the profile you don't have to type it in every time you post something here.

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Thank you daswulf i will indeed add some, and i had researched the burquettes and found what thomas has spoke of then i researched the lump charcoal and found some for sale near by me so im going to try the new heat source then asses weather  the issue is my construction or was indeed my heat source

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Well a couple good photos could help you save even the cost of one bag of charcoal. I'm sure if there were anything obviously wrong with the setup we could point it out.  Or just run with it and find out if you can afford to experiment. 

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Im going to my forge today and i will upload them when i get there so you all can look over my design. I see no flaw in the design thats why i figured it was my heat source, i have made 2 knives with the burqettes but i know for a fact the metal should have been getting hotter. It was hot enough to move but it would not get past a darker yellow. If i cant even forge weld obviously im having a heat issue lol weather it be fuel or construction i know im losing heat thank you all so much for the advice sorry its taking me so long to upload some photos, like i said i will upload some today while at the forge

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Well we like pictures as sometimes the issue is not what they thought it was.  Just recently we had a thread where someone thought the forge they had built had no flaw in the design but it had been built after a flawed design shown on youtube.  Had a bit of a discussion on how making an accurate copy of a bad design did not count as a good design.  New people often don't have the background to tell a good design from a bad one and often rely on the person who posted it's description as a "good one".  (P.T.Barnum would have *LOVED* the internet!).

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I understand and fully agree! Well this is where it gets interesting for the pros, because my design is a one of a kind and i havnt see anything like it before. It was designed by me and a buddy whos an ex smith, it is designed as a 2 in 1 forge. Its a table top forge with angle iron mounted below the table so i can slide a smaller brake drum forge beneath it and have a larger forge. Now i thought that too much air must be escaping from in between the table bottom and the brake drum top right where the two meet. But again i was using burquettes and i did get enough heat to make a knife so i believe i have the right amount of airflow with an alright design but i was using the wrong fuel source. Again i will post pictures but if you can give me your opinions off of my brief descriptio it would be much appreciated. Thanks again for all the advice so far (:

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here are some photos i had on my phone already these do not show the construction perfectly but it will help you with an idea of what i have. I will post more in dept ones today when i reach the forge but here are some alright ones. The wood table is not attached to any of the metal.

20170222_153121.jpg

20170222_153126.jpg

20170222_153129.jpg

20170222_160542.jpg

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Need a taller fuel pile for one thing. And I'd guess looking at those forge fleas that you need to tone down the air a bit.

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Really could use pictures with it cleaned out a bit. Little details matter when diagnosing things. 

A leaf blower is way too powerful a blower for charcoal without an air gate or diverted to control the amount. 

Is there a cap on the ash dump? 

 

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There is not ileft it open because i figured the force of the small blower would have been to much, that is also the reason the brake drum is not airtight on the bottom allowing very little air to escape but enough to keep the underside of my table cool as well

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Yes better fuel = more heat you should be able to burn up steel with no problem.  Still too much air!

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You CAN use briquettes but you have to break them up to about -3/4" pieces to increase the surface area. This increases the chemical reaction of the fire which makes a hotter fire, more fuel burning per second means hotter. The increase in surface area also consumes the oxygen more completely so the steel won't scale as much on it's way to heat.

A blow drier is far superior to a leaf blower, I use an electric leaf blower to burn slash piles, limbs, logs and stumps.

Bust the briquettes into acorn size pieces, it'll work a LOT better. 

If you reinvest the time and effort you used making a bottom blast forge and turn it into a side draft you'll have a fine working forge. Check out Charles' "Box of Dirt Forge" posts here and there's a current thread about the "JABOD" forge with build and use pics. 

Briquettes WILL work there are just better fuels. Heck, if you set it up properly and have some experience briquettes work better in some ways. Still, buy lump, build a retort or shovel it out of a camp fire as you need it.

 Frosty The Lucky.

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