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I Forge Iron

Forge redesign


Lou L

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I fully admit and accept the fact that I'm one of the new guys who went overboard in designing and building my first forge.  I read everything I could (including reams of info here on IFI) before building but went whole hog anyway....knowing I was likely "doing it wrong".  I'll never regret it.  I learned too much already and am still learning from my forge.  Point being, a recent visit from JHCC was instrumental in helping me identify problems with my forge.  Prior to getting a new blower it was "good" but the weaker blower revealed some serious problems.  Thanks to John again for the insights and motivation he gave me to give the old forge a once over.

 

The original design followed the English side draft style with a water cooler tuyere and a sand bed fore the fire.

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   The sand, though, was causing some serious clinker issues that my old dirt devil blower simply blasted through.  When I switched to a more quiet blower everything went crooked on me.  I decided to give the forge a fire pot to separate the coal from the sand so I cut a notch out of a brake drum my mechanic gave me.  I was left with a nice fire pot that fit snugly around the tuyere but still had limited access to the fire.  John instilled in me the need for a more open area around the fire to allow access to stock and I couldn't deny his wisdom.  I grabbed some old bricks that were left by the original owner of my house and used the old sand bed as a foundation for the bricks.  I'm happy with the results and ,y forge, with the quiet blower, is now able to melt steel easily using rice coal.  It still has problems with larger coal sizes and I'm deciding on whether or not i should use my small champion manual blower as a seconds air source or just crush up my remaining pea coal to use it.

Either way, here is the forge in its new form.  Not that much change but it is so much better.  Thanks John!

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What size stock do you use the most? 

Try putting bricks on edge and make a container (wall) for the fire. This should give a bit deeper fire. You want the sweet spot of the fire so you can slide the metal into that area. See how much air, or how little air, is required to make only the amount of heat you need.

Add extra fuel on top of the fire to hold the heat down into the fire ball. It will also coke up the new fuel. Iron Dwarf has a diagram posted on the side blast forge somewhere on the site.

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This would suggest that the sweet spot of the fire would be about level with the top of the box that contains your air pipe, and you should have that much more coal above sweet spot. 

Side Blast Fuel View..jpg

Try it and tell us how it works at your forge.

 

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When the forge is running the coal does cover the tuyere pipe but it has been difficult to keep the pile high enough because it all wants to roll downhill.  Funny, Glen, I was planning on using some brick to create a deeper firepot prior to this redesign (even told JHCC as much) but I didn't follow through after the redesign.  Thanks for the prodding!  Do you think regular bricks will able to handle the heat or should I get some hard firebrick to do the job?

 

Ive been using this forge with the concept youmoutlined as the constant goal.  Having that deep fire is the whole design.  In the diagram it is shaped with sand, as was mine, but I found that the weaker blower caused serious clinker issues and suspected the sand to be a big part of the problem.  I'm really doing backflips trying to make this quiet blower viable.

 

Oh yeah, I tend to use smaller stock (1/4 to 1" normally) but I have some larger stock waiting in the wings and want to be able to get to those projects by end of summer.  I've decided I can't move on to bigger stuff until I'm able to easily whip out a decent pair of tongs that can handle it well.

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I used regular recycled house tricks in my forge. They should be far enough away from intense heat to be ok. Let them warm up and dry out before you turn up the heat. Or use fire brick is you think there is a concern.

Dig out the sand and replace it with ash. It should eliminate some of the clinker issues and still insulate the bottom of the forge. Build a small fire and watch how the fire ball builds at first, then adjust as needed.

Once you find the sweet spot for the fire, build up the containment wall to match the height of the sweet spot. This way when you are level with the top of the wall you are in the sweet spot. Add more wall height (keeping an opening for the sweet spot height) to let the fuel reach the level you want.  As long as the fuel reaches the top height, your good. Metal stock through the gap in the wall and your in the sweet spot. It will take some trying but once you have the numbers dialed in, it is so easy to just hit the right spot without thinking.

All this has been inserting the metal perpendicular to the air flow, You can also insert the metal between two parallel walls and in line with the air flow is that suits you better. 

Do not be afraid to make adjustments. Compare the old to the new and use what works the best. 

 

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19 hours ago, Glenn said:

 Do not be afraid to make adjustments. Compare the old to the new and use what works the best. 

 

That describes the situation perfectly, thanks for the input!

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