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A Beginners Charcoal Forge


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Hi

I´m new to this forum and far from a pro, i have made my first forge and was wondering if any of you had some suggestions on modifications i should make to my design to avoid future problems. I have made a video about how i made it and hope it gives a clearer picture of the design.  

 

 

I am looking forward to any suggestions


Best Regards René A

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Charcoal needs up to twice the depth of the firepot as coal does and probably half or less the air.

Take a look at how the Tim Lively washtub forges are built to use charcoal in a less wasteful method. With a U or V shaped firepot

As a coal forge it looks good.

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as folks above have said need a lot deeper firepot for charcoal. some form of an air valve would be good aswell so air isn't blowing full blast while hammering. it helps save fuel plus gives you a better control over your heat.

 

Oh and don't go breathing too close to it for a while. least until all the gal burns off the heads of them bolts you put all around the brake rotor. zinc poisoning is not fun 

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This how I control my charcoal forge. Mine is made grime a brake drum and made cone shape with plaster of Paris and sand mixed. I think I'd like it a bit deeper and steeper sides but it's working good as is. When working little stuff I keep the edges watered down. Also when firing it up I just use paper. Once it's burning hit the air on low and add the charcoal. Hard to see in the pic but my pot is 4" deep

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Plaster of paris is not the best material (nor is standard portland cement) since it is sets by absorbing water into a crystal structure. The water is loosely bound and the structure easily overheats and will then crumble. Sudden strong heat my cause spalling and miniexplosions but that will normally be contained by the coal/charcoal in a forge situation.  Clay (does not need to be high quality) is actually better but should be mixed with sufficient amounts of sand to keep the shrinkage (read cracking) down when drying.

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Is the cheapest type of kitty litter actually harder to source and more expensive than plaster of paris where you live?  It's quite the opposite where I have lived in Ohio, New Jersey, Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana and New Mexico.

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Maybe those cats in Deer Park prefer plaster of Paris. 

Just razzing you Jason. Using bad materials is one of the problems of thinking youtube how to videos is good research. Just plain old garden dirt rammed in damp is better than p-o-p or Portland cement. Carcoal of coal forges don't need a refractory like a gasser does.

Next time take the time to read about building a forge in the solid fuel forge section of Iforge, it'll do you much better.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well, you certainly achieved your goal, it heats metal hot enough to work. Yes there are many things you could do to make it more economical, work better, etc. Some quite good tips already given, but congratulations on a successful project. !

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9 hours ago, Frosty said:

Maybe those cats in Deer Park prefer plaster of Paris. 

Just razzing you Jason. Using bad materials is one of the problems of thinking youtube how to videos is good research. Just plain old garden dirt rammed in damp is better than p-o-p or Portland cement. Carcoal of coal forges don't need a refractory like a gasser does.

Next time take the time to read about building a forge in the solid fuel forge section of Iforge, it'll do you much better.

Frosty The Lucky.

Razz all you want. Dosent bother me.  I used pop because I had it and wanted to used the forge that day. It's still working and cost me nothing. That was back in January when I was layedoff and broke and the garden soil was froze solid.  I'm currently building a new one. I used the pop because the drum I had was way too big and deep.   Needed to fill the space. My plumbing has a T and an ash trap/dump. Total cost at the time of first build was about $3 for a few bolts.  Thanks for the tips and the razzing. 

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23 minutes ago, Jasent said:

That was back in January when I was layedoff and broke and the garden soil was froze solid.  

If you need dirt and the ground is frozen solid, just build a fire where you plan to dig. It will thaw out enough to shovel out what you need.

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Stupid simple! Thanks that's a good tip!  I'll be remembering this one.  

Ill start a new thread for my current builds. Building a new forge and also a long narrow forge for heat treating long blades like daggers which is about ready to use. It is in the ground right now but plan to put it on a table. Haven't found a coal supplier around here yet but I just got in touch with David from incandescent ironworks and will be taking his beginers class on blacksmithing this coming Saturday. Thanks again folks. 

Sorry for the thread jack rené A

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Actually learning from someone who knows what they are doing is rather lighting up the afterburners going through the learner's curve!  Let us know how the class changed your ideas about smithing.

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Add a T below the forge and a foot or so of pipe to collect any asked that fall through the grate. Empty the ash tube often so it does not fill up.

Make a sheet metal cylinder the size of the outside diameter of the rotor and maybe 12 inches or more tall. Leave a opening in one side for your metal to get to the fire. FILL it with charcoal and you should find the fire getting hotter and you use less fuel. 

DO NOT couple the hair dryer directly to the air tube. Leave a 3 inch gap. You can then adjust the amount of air getting to the fire by aiming closer  to the air pipe, or not so close for less air. This will also use less fuel. Fuel does not make a fire hot, air makes the fire how. 

 

Nice set up with the drum.

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One non-forge related comment: whether or not to wear a glove on your non-hammer hand is hotly debated here on IFI, but most folks agree that a glove on your hammer hand is not a good idea. You have to grip the hammer tighter to keep it from flying out of your hand (so your hand gets more tired faster), and you lose a lot of fine control over where your hammer blow is going. 

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On 5/20/2017 at 4:58 AM, gote said:

  Clay (does not need to be high quality) is actually better but should be mixed with sufficient amounts of sand to keep the shrinkage (read cracking) down when drying.

So a question.  Can clay, whether local or kitty litter, and sand be combined with something like satanite or refractory cement and thus hardened into a durable shaped forge that will last?  Admittedly, I haven't made a kitty litter/clay/ash forge or JABOD but my hesitancy has always been, it just seems like it wouldn't be durable.  Seems satanite or refractory cement mixed in with the clay and sand would make a harder substance. But I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this so I assume there's some reason I've never seen it suggested ?

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19 minutes ago, WNC Goater said:

So a question.  Can clay, whether local or kitty litter, and sand be combined with something like satanite or refractory cement and thus hardened into a durable shaped forge that will last?  [...] I assume there's some reason I've never seen it suggested ?

Because it's unnecessary and a waste of money. Dirt is both durable and cheap, and you can break it out and reshape it as much as you like. 

Smiths were doing excellent work in dirt forges long before modern refractories were ever invented. 

The only significant issue with clay is its tendency to vitrify and have clinker stick to it.  (Bulking it out with sand or wood ashes should help.) Otherwise, it's more than durable enough.

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