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Colopast

Looking for a Propane Forge

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Sure. We have lots and LOTS of advise. Some good, some bad, some just plain sarcastic, but we will save that for later.

First off, what are your limitations? Open air spot in the yard, having to cram everything back in a closet sized shed at the end of every day?  Empty 60' x 100' pole barn with 20' walls and 3 phase power? Something in between?

How about your finances? 14 year old cutting lawns for the neighborhood? Retiree on a fixed budget? Bored IT exec with a high six figure income?

NC Tool is a farrier supply house that makes an entire line of gas forges, from really portable single burner knifemaker models, up to huge 12 burner tunnel forges for ornamental ironworkers. All are venturi propane models, no electric fan, so no power needed. I am using a 20 year old Whisper Momma that needs to be relined due to student abuse and a mouse that decided the door insulation looked useful for a nest, but reline kits are available.

Many knifemakers swear by the Chili Forge models. Any knife magazine in a store display rack will have ads for a few different makers and sources.

I would suggest looking at a couple of blacksmith and farrier supply catalogs, and not just on-line searches. Shop where the pros spend their money.

YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

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(So here is the sarcasm): Not telling us the details is like me asking you "I need to buy a vehicle. What should I buy?" without telling you if it needs to be fuel efficient to commute long distances; or carry 16 tons of coal, or carry 16 people; or cross open water; or fly to the international space station!

So please supply details like:  how big of work will you be doing and how often?  Will you be forge welding with it?  Budget constraints.  WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU IN?  (If you don't supply a location we have to assume you are willing to pay international shipping as over 100 countries participate in these forums...)

Given such information we can make some focused suggestions for you.  (as so many questions have a location factor in them; we generally suggest you edit your profile and give a general location like is under my name on this post.)

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If you wanted to know you could have looked at the gas forge section where I am relocating this now

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Preferably, I want a gas forge that has open end ports. It would also be best if it has a hinged top as well. I will use it for general blacksmithing.

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I'm sorry but general blacksmithing doesn't describe what you will be doing, how large of pieces you will be working and how many of them, etc.  General Blacksmithing ornamental work, General Blacksmithing tool making, etc too many ways you can go.

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Check out the Build a Gas Forge attachment at the Forge Supplies page at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com for instructions on how to build your own forge.  It really is much simper than you might think.

Let me know how I can help you

 Wayne

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7 hours ago, Colopast said:

Preferably, I want a gas forge that has open end ports. It would also be best if it has a hinged top as well. I will use it for general blacksmithing.

Sounds to me like you already have a basic design in mind. Might better just build one of your own. That can benefit you in multiple ways. One you know what kind of craftsmanship went into is making, two if you want to tweak something you can before it gets too far along, and three when it comes time to reline it (and you WILL have to reline it) you'll know exactly what do to and what materials you need without having to do tons of research before you buy a kit that is gonna end up causing you more headaches.

Also, I agree with Thomas. There's no such thing as "general blacksmithing." That would be like saying you're a "general pilot." There are just too many focuses to narrow it down by that one phrase.

Wayne's page is awesome! The best part is that once you figure out what you wanna do you can order all the materials you need in the quantity you'll need from his site. Save the basics that you can find at the local hardware store.

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I don't know if we can help you yet Colopast, you evidently don't know enough about blacksmithing to understand basic terms. I suggest you start reading the archived posts on Iforge. They're organized by subject and cover pretty much everything. Perhaps start in with the basics and the gas forge sections. Reading will give you a handle on the craft and at a minimum you'll start to learn the craft jargon. 

The jargon is a craft language that allows us to talk without having to explain everything we say. If we have to question you to find out what your question means then we have to explain our answers simple discussions become WAY too much talking for the info exchanged and the folk you  really want advice from go do something else. 

Does that make sense?

I'll try and clarify a couple points for you. Thomas asked you where you are in a too subtle way I admit but you've been asked to include your general location in the header already. It's not mandatory but it can make a huge difference, there may be an Iforge member living on the next street but doesn't know it.

Clarification 2. Asking general questions and expecting specific answers is unrealistic in the realm of fantasy. For example, "General blacksmith" is almost a nonsense term. General smiting where, in a ship's chandlery or a hospital? The forge in a shipyard is often large enough they load it with over sized tong on heavy duty front end loaders. Seriously forges large enough to fit several average size living rooms!

We'd like to help you but I'm afraid YOU are the one who has to adapt. The best we can do is present information and advice, learning is on YOUR shoulders. Give us a break eh?

Frosty The Lucky.

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One thing is certain; he is not going to find such a forge, and will have a very bad time trying to design one. Top opening?

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Top opening is not to hard to find, called a furnace, no reason you couldn't use it to beat metal as well as melt it, wont be very efficient, but it would work.  A lot of them actually have removable sides as well, to make it easier / safer to remove the crucible. Perhaps he has seen one of these in use in a video .

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I have a top loading trench forge I'd be pleased to get out of the yard. A Johnson Appliance 122a. You can still get parts, manuals and probably service for them. There's a good reason it's been sitting on my help yourself pile for 20 years, its a gas hog and loads from the top so every time you open the door you expose the whole darned thing. It not only loses a LOT of heat that heat scorches everything within about 25'. The only reason I have it was it was part of a take it or leave it all deal at an estate sale. 

I would've junked it long ago but I keep seeing a blower that might be useful. . . someday.

A tool designed to do everything does nothing well.

Frosty The Lucky.

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As I recall Frosty has been building his own propane forges for a decade of two and so probably does not need to get a commercially made one...

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'Strue but I still haven't really gotten one right.

I would've let this one lay but the Scrambler's remark about, 'better knowing his own BUT,' is a straight line I'm having a horrible time resisting. :rolleyes:

Frosty The Lucky.

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17 hours ago, Frosty said:

I have a top loading trench forge I'd be pleased to get out of the yard. A Johnson Appliance 122a. You can still get parts, manuals and probably service for them. There's a good reason it's been sitting on my help yourself pile for 20 years, its a gas hog and loads from the top so every time you open the door you expose the whole darned thing. It not only loses a LOT of heat that heat scorches everything within about 25'. The only reason I have it was it was part of a take it or leave it all deal at an estate sale. 

I would've junked it long ago but I keep seeing a blower that might be useful. . . someday.

A tool designed to do everything does nothing well.

Frosty The Lucky.

I remember those old Johnson Natural Gas forges.  They still have one in use over in the Metal Sculpture shop over at Rochester Institute of Technology (where Bill Moran taught a class back in the '80s that I unfortunately missed).  As Frosty says, horribly inefficient, huge thermal mass, with a ribbon style burner with a metal slide to change the outlet length (if I recall correctly).  The best that can be said about those forges is that they are pretty much bulletproof, which is why they ended up in so many educational institutions (back when they were actually teaching tradecraft that is).  There is a young man over there currently who is turning out some nice pattern welded billets and making knives from them.  I'm not certain if he is using the gas forge, but I don't recall seeing any other forges in the shop.

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The definitely were designed when energy costs were much much lower, and to a more "industrial" standard where you would get it hot and run it for a week straight and may even keep it on "low" over the weekend.

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We had Johnson Appliance forges in shop class just not the trench forges, they were the little box forges, just about perfect for turning hay hooks, grapnels, wall brackets, etc. jr & high school shop project size work. The melters were Johnson Appliance too. IIRC they were about a size to hold a crucible with a capacity larger than a 3lb. coffee can. It was also more than capable of melting bronze though most class casting was aluminum. We poured bronze on Saturdays by invitation only for safety reasons.

The 122a is all hard fire brick with a wall thickness around 5", the lid is cast hard refractory and heavy as you'd expect. All that thermal mass with that kind of 4 port burner set up is designed for cycling a lot of steel fast. I think the only times they shut these things down was to reline them, like power plant boilers. They aren't hobby or small shop forges.

At one time I was going to rebuild it with an insulating liner and end access but just couldn't think of what I'd do with it. The kit to convert it to propane was about $6.00 when I checked but that was a good 20+ years ago, before I met Deb. It wouldn't be hard to make it a lot more economical but it's still odd sized and BIG. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

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I had one of those "heat treat forges" on the pedestal; got it at a school auction cheap and moved it out there; but never got it hooked up and finally sold it on to another smith.  I found that the propane forges I had made suited my work fine and took up a lot less floor space! (and were portable)

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On June 13, 2017 at 7:38 AM, Scrambler82 said:

 Colopast

How is the search for a forge going ?

 

No luck at all. I think I need to get a good burner before the forge.

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4 hours ago, Scrambler82 said:

I kind of got a good Mikey posting about the Diamomdback, at least I read it that way... So I got one.

You read it right. After coming across nothing but positive reviews from long time owners (Actually some of them where down right smug!), I ran across a YouTube video showing an owner relining his old single burner model, and understood why owners give rave reviews about how easy it is to maintain. I was impressed by what I saw. This forge can be improved with a heat reflecting coating, which is an add-on item. The burner is good enoughto give the forge all the heat it needs. And the construction is rugged.

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I am no expert on anvils, and they are really off topic on this group, but...the last thing you want ringing out in a hosing tract, is a first rate anvil!!!

There are several alternatives for falling into that TRAP, as well as numerous advice about how to live with it, once you do. My advice is to make sure you don't gp tjere, in the first place. Contact me off group, and we can continue this discussion without rustling a lot of feathers.

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