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Ok so i have looked through this forum for the past two days and i cant find the answer to my question.  i am currently planning my first blown propane forge while i am out to sea so i can build it when i return home.  I was wondering what diameter of pipe is best used for the mixing pipe that leads into the forge.  i have seen people use all the way up to 2.5 in pipe.  that seems a little large for me.  i think that i will be making the forge out of a 7 gallon or so airtank.  i have been thinking of running a dual burner set up mainly for better heat distribution.  i would have valves on each individual burner to be able to control them individually.  Also is using the precision nozzle like in a venturi burner required for a blown burner or will simply a piece of 1/4in. pipe sufficient.  I think i will be building something similar to a peot forge.  what is everyone thoughts?

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If you calculate the interior volume of the forge chamber the ratio of one 3/4" burner nozzle per 350 cu/in holds. It doesn't have the fudge factor = 300-350 cu/in a naturally aspirated burner does because a gun burner is much easier to turn up so even heating is more the limiting condition than volume. I estimated that ration by measuring a couple Johnson appliance gas forges, one mine and another smaller one I ran across.

 Another factor that makes more smaller nozzles more efficient than one large one besides even heat in the chamber is flame velocity. The heat in the forge is dependent on how much burning fuel air mix you can put in the volume per second. The smaller the nozzle the faster it has to go to put enough in. The faster the flow the faster it's going to exit the forge so slowing it down means it has longer to transfer heat to the forge walls.

This is why ribbon burners are so much more efficient, they're a BUNCH of little nozzles so the flame speed is much slower and it's spread out. More even heat and the fire sticks around a lot longer.

In general the gas jet isn't very critical though guys do get pretty fancy. The gas doesn't do anything but mix with the air so entering with enough psi the blower psi won't force it back into the gas line is probably the most important detail. Putting a 90* bend in the mixing tube between the blower and propane jet and the forge produces a strong turbulence so the air fuel mixes well. 

You'll need a way to control gas flow and air flow to change the temp in the forge. Change one and you have to change the other to maintain the proper ratio.

I think that's the basics. There are guys who make and use gun burners a lot more than I do, I'm sure we'll hear from them soon enough.

Frosty The Lucky.

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so two or three smaller burners would be ideal.  each one will have adjustments for air and fuel.  i have been thinking about having a regulator per burner to have the best control at every burner.  and as in any good system check valves and flame arrestors to keep the fire were it is supposed to be.  with the burners at 3/4in, i should be able to use some ball valves to control airflow yes?  the other thing i have been debating is the angle at which the burner enters the forge.  i know you dont want it pointing straight down at the working area but i have seen some that are horizontal and everything in between.  i would figure that having direct impingement on the kaowool would be bad for it over time.  i have heard that placing the burners in at a bit of a angle to create a vortex in the forge is  necessary. 

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One regulator into a main fuel hose or pipe; copper tubing from a fitting out of the hose or pipe; three needle valves for fine control of each burner's flame. A regulator does best to limit maximum pressure into a burner system, and fine control of an individual burner, or more than one burners, is best accomplished by flow control within that variable limit.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 11:40 PM, f18framer said:

 i think that i will be making the forge out of a 7 gallon or so airtank.  i have been thinking of running a dual burner set up mainly for better heat distribution.  i would have valves on each individual burner to be able to control them individually.  Also is using the precision nozzle like in a venturi burner required for a blown burner or will simply a piece of 1/4in. pipe sufficient.  I think i will be building something similar to a peot forge.  what is everyone thoughts?

A precision nozzle is not really required for a blown burner, but correct orifice sizing will make it a bit easier to modulate the gas output.  I'd have to check my notes at home, but I believe that the propane orifice size (at 1/4" for each of two burners) is a bit large.  You likely only need 1/8" at the outlet, but will want a larger tube leading up to that orifice, of course.  The method I've seen/used for forced air/propane burner construction is to weld or braze a piece of 3/8 or 1/4" pipe into a hole cut centered on a pipe plug.  Then either directly cap the pipe with a fitting that has a 1/8" hole drilled in it or add a fitting or bend to point the gas outlet towards the blower (for mixing) once the plug is put into the mixer Tee fitting and cap that with a similarly drilled orifice.

For gas metering I would use the assembly that Michael is suggesting.  It is an economical and proven design.

My larger Natural Gas/forced air forge was made from an 11 gallon air tank (Harbor Freight floor special: $10 as it was missing the air pressure gage that I didn't need anyway).  I cut it down about 8" in length, and wish that I had made it even shorter.  In my opinion, short and wide is a good choice for forge geometry, but I guess it matters what you plan on forging.  I have only one burner in it currently and it reaches welding temperatures for high carbon steel just fine, but it is a 1 1/2" mixing tube outlet I believe.  Things are a bit different for natural gas though, as you need more volume of air gas mixture to get the same BTU output.

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You can optimize but there's really no such thing as ideal or perfect. Aiming for a good balance between good enough and overkill is a practical goal.

No, just one regulator and control individual burners with shutoff valves. It's not practical to try making each nozzle individually adjustable, just shutting one off is going to cause changes in the others. KISS it. 

This kind of burner system is not more than one burner, it's one burner with more than one outlet or flame nozzle. Does that make sense? Trying to control air and fuel flow to more than one is a major can of worms. It's not like you have more than one forge running at the same time. Some shops do exactly that but we're not talking a large operation with several work stations.

I don't usually deal with gun burners much so I probably could have been more clear. If you'll bear with me I'll see if I can adjust my usual way of thinking about burners and we'll get you up and running, Okay?

Orienting the burners in the chamber has a lot to do with what you need and want. A lot of guys have burners aimed straight down and it suits their needs. Others aim them down at an angle with a flame impingement zone at varying places on the floor, near side, center or far side. Others are aimed across the top of the chamber. There are a lot of reasons pro and con for each orientation. What you end up liking comes with experience.

The flame's effects on the liner can be mitigated with how it's lined. You don't really want uncoated ceramic blanket in the flame. Currently the most efficient and effective small scale furnace liner is an insulating backer, 2 layers" of 1"  rigidized ceramic blanket. This is then covered with a HARD high alumina castable refractory. The current popular favorite is looking like Kast-O-Lite-30. You can search Iforge for details about Kastolite and folk's reports & opinions so I won't go into it now. Lastly an IR re-radiating "kiln wash" has a lot of benefits and those are discussed extensively in the gas forge and Forges 101 thread. Where to find and buy all these are  part of the section on Iforge as well.

Having never built or maybe used a gas forge I recommend you scale yours down quite a bit. A 7gl shell is going to be one BIG forge. We all build forges WAY too big when we started, I still make forges too large. Have you calculated what the volume of the chamber is going to be? Telling us you want to use a 7gl. tank isn't information we can really use to help. For practical purposes you can't forge more than about 6" at a time so heating more than that is degrading your projects through thermal cycling, grain growth, decarburization and oxidization for no good reason. Does that make sense?

If you made a sword with a 36" long blade it's MUCH easier to heat it evenly by passing back and forth lengthwise through a short forge than it is to try and build a 36" long forge that heats evenly enough to do an okay job of heat treating the blade. Were I to make that long a blade I'd send it to a professional heat treater with instructions as to what properties I want. They have the equipment, instruments and expertise to do it right. Some specialize in heat treating knives, swords, etc. You'll have to look one up on the web, I only know there are some out there.

I see folk are responding ahead of me, I had to give my response some thought, Gun burners aren't really my thing but that doesn't stop me from talking about them within my knowledge and experience base. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

 

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Ok i got some good info here.  so now i think i will make a smaller forge.  i will still get the 7 gallon tank but i can just cut it in half and make two forges out of it lol.  i think i will make a two smaller burner set up.  for the burner i will use a 1/8 in orfice placed before a 90 degree bend for proper mixing.  now i thnk that the last burner question i have is for a blown burner do i need the flare on the end?  i have seen it both ways.  from what i understand the flare is more import for venturi style burners.  also what are your thoughts about outting the burners in the shell of the forge staggered but on opposing sides?  like one in the front and one in the back and put at like a 25 degree angle on each side.  for the forge insulation, there is a forge wash goes on the skin of the forge under the ceramic wool correct.  is that the ITC-100? this is used for the IR reflectivity yes?  The refractory cement is applied to the wool as a hardening agent?  and i want a high alumina cement.  this helps with the wool with getting burnt up.  for the bottom of the forge i can use a fire brick.  would it be a good idea to weld some stand offs made of some old like 14in round stock to push up through the wool to support the weight of the brick to prevent the compression of the wool?  i know that the insulating properties of say like home insulation comes from the airspace it creates.  compressing it makes it lose its insulating properties.  is the same true of the ceramic wool?

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Before I start answering your questions I have a couple tips that'll make this process easier on everybody: 

First, Please break your posts up by paragraph, it's just too hard to understand what you're saying as one block of text. It makes your questions, ideas and such run together and we have to read everything several times. One question, one paragraph, I hit return rather than indenting new paragraphs as you can see. Please something to separate questions by question.

Second, The internet is just full of people who post "expert" how to videos but they have no actual knowledge or experience and until your knowledge base grows to a level of proficiency you won't know what to ignore, what to laugh at and want to copy. We've all been there, nobody's born knowing this stuff, you're ahead of a lot of folk asking good questions and at least thinking about the answers. Makes you a joy to help.

That's it, on to your questions. :)

If you build two forges from the same tank it becomes pretty easy to make them together end to end for when you need a long forge. 

Gun burners don't "Need" flared nozzles. It's possible to use one as a "flame holder" to slow the flame speed but we're talking about adding a couple levels of complexity to the project and I don't think it's worth the work. Sort of like using super sonic aerodynamics to build a biplane.

You are right flared burner nozzles are a LOT  more important on naturally aspirated burners for reasons that just don't exist with gun burners.

Orienting burners on opposite sides done correctly will induce about as powerful a vortex as possible. I'm not clear about what you mean in your 25* statement, can you clarify it please? To work as a vortex generator the flames have to reinforce the action of the other. Just sketch this on a piece of paper, it's only an illustration to help you see what the flame is doing, NOT a forge design as such. Visualize a circle, one burner (an arrow) pointing in to the left at the top, the other (arrow) pointing in to the right from the bottom. The flame swirls ( the arrows extend, following the circle) around inside the circle each burner pushing WITH the flow. Got a good visual of what you want happening IN the forge chamber?

This isn't a must, not a lot of guys orient their burners for max vortex, plumbing them is a hassle, you don't want your forge looking like the steam plumbing in the ship's engine room unless it REALLY helps do you? My advice is to put the idea in a file of ideas to play with at a later date. We're back to knowing more before you start extreme experiments. 

KISS it. Decide where you want your burners aimed, at this point (first forge with the long list of glorious mistakes you'll discover as you use it) for this forge don't worry about getting the burner orientation much better than good enough. You need to cut the burner ports in the shell BEFORE you start lining it. It's not a must but it makes life so much easier down the road a bit. I'm not talking about making and welding on the burner nozzle support sleaves or anything else, JUST making the necessary holes in the shell. My favorite tool is for this is a "hole saw" and hand drill. Use the hole saw that makes a hole only slightly smaller than the OD of the sleave you want to use.

If you read many of my posts you'll discover I LOVE my hole saws, I have them from 1" up to 4.5" bi metal blades. Don't put much pressure on them when you drill, they're saws, not drill bits, let them work at their own pace, listen to them they'll tell you whats going on. Use something thin for a cutting lube, I like charcoal lighter fluid or a thin mix of water soluble oil.  Thick cutting oil tends to make the chips stick in the saw teeth and that's a BAD thing.

NO furnace cement! It is completely unsuited anywhere in a propane forge no matter how many people on Youtube claim otherwise! Cement is for gluing things like bricks together, it's not intended to survive the fire on it's own. ZERO use in a gas forge though better than ANY Plaster of Paris as a forge liner. Do yourself a favor stop watching Youtube how to videos until you have a better understanding of how forges and burners work it's just confusing you with BAD ideas right now. Some folk use furnace cement because it's what they have available but it's FAR from a good forge lining material.

Here's how you line a forge. cut 1" 8lb. ceramic blanket slightly (1" is  plenty) longer/wider than needed to roll up and fit around the inside of your forge shell. Put it in seam down SLIGHTLY to one side. The extra material will hold the blanket in by compression. This works just like putting fiberglass insulation between studs in a house wall. Spray or paint it with fumed silica rigidizer, as per Mike's directions and let it dry. You can if you like overkill spray rigidizer on the inside of the forge shell before you put the first layer in, it's a, "Can't hurt, MIGHT help" thing.

For the second layer. Spray rigidizer on the first right before inserting the second layer to help stick the two layers together then. Repeat the process for the second layer of blanket with the seam on the bottom SLIGHTLY to the other side so the seams don't line up,  spray it with rigidizer and let it dry.

The other dimension of the layers of the ceramic blanket is the length of the cylinder I just realized I didn't mention that and REALLY don't want to re-write so it makes sense, give me a shout if it doesn't.

This is a good time to cut the burner ports through the blanket. Simply use a knife, narrow serrated blades work a treat. Use a sawing motion and follow the hole in the  shell. I've even used a hole saw to cut the ports through the Kaowool but a knife works better. Trim it about 1/2" wider around the shell hole so there's room for the hard refractory flame face.

The next step is the flame face. You want a water set, high alumina castable refractory. The current popular one is KastO-Lite 30 which also contains evacuated hollow spheres that reduce weight and improve insulation. There are a number of methods for applying it in about a 1/2" layer covering the forge's ceramic blanket interior. This stuff hardens like concrete, withstands up to 3,000f working temperature and is impervious to the borax erosion that will dissolve fire brick and unprotected ceramic blanket. A number of techniques have been discussed in Forges 101. don't forget to apply a layer to the burner ports, they REALLY need it. No reason to do anything fancy shaping the burner ports using gun burners.

If you use KastOLite 30 this is a general set, dry and cure procedure. Being a water SET refractory it hydrates and cures it doesn't harden by drying. The dry part of this bit is about losing the extra moisture that didn't bond with the refractory. 

Once set and dry to the touch light up the burners for a few minutes, shut it down and let it cool. This will drive off moisture trapped in the blanket and help prevent potential problems. Once it's cooled for a while fire it up again and bring it to mid red heat and let it cool off over night. Next day if examination doesn't reveal cracks spalling, etc. fire it up to as hot as it'll go, a gun should hit yellow heat easily and hold it there an hour or so. Heck do some hammering. This will finish curing the refractory.

The last step is the "kiln Wash." This isn't mandatory with the right refractory but it's beneficial with virtually any. ITC-100 is the most recognized kiln wash around though there are as good or better and MUCH cheaper. Check with Wayne Coe about Metrikote and Plistex, these are excellent products and his pricing is good. The kiln wash is the final layer of armor and effective heat control in a gs forge. The washes containing Zirconium silicate or zirconium phosphate flour are IR reradiators meaning they absorb heat from the fire and radiate it back as infra red in a VERY efficient way. The stuff is also chemically almost inert and hard as heck. Zirconium aluminum silicate is what they make ceramic knives with.

Once heat cured spray the hard refractory with water and paint on the kiln wash. Let it dry, wet and spray on another coat and once dry a little time at yellow heat and it's ready to go to work.

I hope that long wordy post is less confusing than I'm afraid it might be. Please feel free to ask your questions. Though you might learn enough just reading the gas forge section with what we've passed here.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Jasent said:

Have you looked into a ribbon burner? 

I have Jason, see "NARB lives." But our new swabbie friend is only just getting started and can't experiment on the ship. Let's not confuse him with advanced builds yet. He's only going to be home for a short time on leave and just won't have time for anything but simple straight forward for now.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty dont worry i dont even have access to youtube for another few months lol.  i am on a ship right now were the internet has barely enough to band with to load this page haha.  everything i have learned about forges has been from this forum.  that is why i joined.  it didnt look like a huge community but it looked like a group of people that have had years of experience doing what i have been wanting to do for years just never had the facilities for it.  i just bought my first house a few months ago and got super lucky and scored a 3000sqft garage to make into my man cave. 

Ok so there is no coating that goes on the metal itself inside the forge i could put ridgizer if i wanted to but it is not needed.  so it would go wool, ridgidizer, wool ridgidizer, cure the ridgidizer, refractory, then ITC 100 for the final coating.  how thick do i want the ridgidizer between the two layers of wool?  the outer layer of refractory should be about 1/2in thick.  i like the idea if using the 1" wool.  it is cheaper.  for the back of the forge i would insulate using the same process but waiting on the final layer of refractory untill the sides of the forge are done in order to cover the seam between the sides and back.  the floor of the forge in order to make it flat could i just build up the refractory to a flat surface or would that make it to thick and prone to cracking?  i could use a brick and coat with the refractory and ITC100 if that fails i suppose. 

the burner idea i had if you were to look at the forge straight from the front and drew a line vertically through the center then put the burners at about a 25 degree angle to the left side and the other burner 25 degrees off to the stbd side of the centerline.  i just figured it would be another one of them things were it isnt really necessary but it really couldnt hurt.  would 1 inch pipe be adequate diameter of the burner pipe that goes into the forge.  most of the blown burners i have seen use a 2in pipe leading into the forge this seems a little excessive for what i am trying to accomplish.  i think that i would come off the blower with 2in pipe then split it into two 1 in pipes to go into the forge. 

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Good deal, there's enough faulty text and photo info without videos. Oh MAN a 3,000sq/ft garage! SWEET! Search around about ventilation a propane forge IS a CO generator no matter how it's tuned. If it's an attached garage you need CO monitors and alarms in the house. They make monitor/alarms that alert on CO and flammable gasses. It's hard to be too careful about CO, it's BAD stuff.

You have the sequence of lining the forge right. Yes, two layers of 1" blanket works better for a couple reasons. If you're making a cylindrical forge 1" rolls up more smoothly so there aren't as many nor large wrinkles on  the interior surface. Second, the liner in a forge is a wear item, it WILL need replacing eventually and it's WAY easier to rip out the inner layer of blanket and maybe be able to reuse the outer but if it all needs replacing it's still much easier to rip it out one at a time.

2" has beneficial properties in square forges as it bridges the roof without sagging as much. Unfortunately it's not used nearly as much so  it's not in the dumpster very often. If I want to try some I have to buy a roll. It'd be cheaper to buy a forge.

Fumed or colloidal silica is incredibly small (molecular or close I think?) bits of silica powder, small enough it stays in suspension in water. The solution we're using as a rigidizer is VERY thin so how thick you apply it doesn't really apply. I forgot to mention, spray water on the blanket before spraying the rigidizer on and it makes for MUCH better: penetration, contact and bond. Drenching the blanket isn't really better than just wetting it but it doesn't hurt. I don't think, Mike?

Pre-wetting is called "buttering" ask a mason about buttering. If you apply mortar to dry bricks, cinder blocks, stone, etc. the dry masonry dries the mortar on contact leaving a layer of dust between it and the masonry and prevents bonding. Wetting the surface prevents flash drying and allows the mortar to inter the pores of the masonry and cure properly. Mortar doesn't dry to harden it hydrates and sets so flash drying makes it dirt instead of cement.

Buttering allows the rigidizer to wick along the ceramic wool's fibers and cement them together where they touch. Rigidizer doesn't seal the blanket it penetrates and becomes stiff. Rigidizer dries, it doesn't hydrate but buttering with water allows deeper penetration and more uniform distribution.

Just wet and spritz the layers when you install the second one, if it feels wet to your touch it's wet enough. WASH you hands soonest! It's not toxic but it can be an irritant, especially if you're mixing our own rigidizer. Mike covers mixing your own too, I'll be following his lead next batch I make, including the food coloring.

Mike has much better description and explanations of rigidizers and how they work. Forges 101 again. Searching the site and threads speeds things up but use Google with Iforgeiron in the search terms, the search engine provided by the site is pretty bad, I've been ignoring it almost since it . . . Nevermind the griping, use Google. ;)

Have you bought the ITC-100 yet? If not I recommend buying Metricote or Plistex. ITC-100 is a good product but it's not as good as it is pricey, it's popular on reputation being one of the very first kiln washes to come to the awareness of the blacksmithing community in general. Doing some research into pottery kilns you discover kiln washes have been in use for thousands of years. It's used in Ceramic kilns to keep glazes from bonding to the shelves, prevent glazes from dissolving the kiln and make them more efficient by absorbing and re-radiating heat. 

We usually don't care about glazes sticking, unless you're forge enameling, we're interested in protecting our forge liners from high temperature chemical erosion mostly from borax containing welding fluxes. AND we like our forges as hot as we can get for the fuel bill so the IR reradiating properties of some kiln washes draws us like moths to a flame.  The prime IR re-radiator is "zirconium" and Metricote and Plistex contain just as much as the ITC product but it's in a stickier matrix so it doesn't need re-finishing nearly as often.

A couple coats about as thick as latex paint is plenty. It's water based and darned non-toxic. I don't believe either has a reportable quantity if EPA dpesn't care how much you spill on a sidewalk I'm not going to sweat dripping some on the bench. WASH your hands, and flush your eyes thoroughly it is a potential irritant. I believe that's IT for 1st aid. Same for ITC-100 it's really benign stuff, a spoonfull would probably settle an upset stomach just fine. It's zirconium silicate and kaolin clay.

I see your idea for orienting the burners now, (BZZZZZZT) not good, no cookie for you!:lol: One burner will induce a clock wise vortex and the other a counter clockwise vortex. They will fight each other in the forge. Visualize squirting water in a bucket with a hose so it makes a whirlpool. Now visualize another hose trying to make it go the other direction at the same time. The two self damp, it's turbulent but not the kind you want.

It would be detrimental on another level if you were using naturally aspirated NA burners, you don't want them aimed at each other and spinning the flame in opposite directions is aiming them at each other. Guns aren't so sensitive though.

It's good thinking but this one won't do what you want, think of something else and bounce it off us. I LOVE brainstorming, it keeps me from making so many of my own mistakes.;)

I'm not really a gun burner guy, hopefully someone with more experience will jump in on your burner nozzle, manifold, etc. pipe size questions. I'd have to build one and start experimenting. GUYS?

You're going to do great at this. Remember, blacksmithing is fun.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I am pretty excited to get this garage up and running.  i t is gonna be a while until i get it finished.  i attempted to upload some pictures but of course the great Navy internet isnt up to the task. i am definitely going to be putting some CO monitors in the garage to warn me of that.  at the last place i was stationed, i also was a volunteer firefighter and have had to deal with the CO alarms and such and have seen the consequences of not having one.

I do like the idea of using the idea of using the two 1in blankets.  it seems like it is better in more ways that the two inch.  i like the idea of only having to replace half of the blanket potentially once the other gets worn.  i have not purchased anything yet.  i am waiting untill i return home so that i have the internet to look around and find some good prices on this stuff.  do you guys have any suggestions on retailers?  I will definitely look into that other stuff though.  I have heard a lot about that ITC-100 and i think it is because it is like you said it was one of the first products to come out. 

The only way i can see the burner set up working is if i got the vortex just right and as the flame vortex came around the circumference of the forge and was re-accelerated by the new burner.  i think i may have much more fancy idea of how the flame will actually behave in my head that will be reality haha.

I am still trying to find some of the other supplies that i will need to get started.  I have a feeling finding an anvil is going to be an adventure.

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For over 2000 years blacksmiths have used a large block of iron/steel for an anvil.  So the adventure would be going to a scrapyard and picking one up or going to a steel dealer and buying a chunk or going to a shop that will sell you a drop---probably much less adventurous than being onboard a ship...

Sometime check out the section of "Living Treasures of Japan", National Geographic, that deals with the swordsmith.  Look at his anvil and think that if he can do world class masterwork on a hunk of steel you can start learning to smith on one...

Shoot if you ever get down by El Paso let me know as I have a 16 pound sledge head that works as an anvil, or 80 pound chunks of steel that I paid US 20 cents a pound for.

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i agree with you can do some good work on a good heavy chunk of steel.  i have a machine shop a few blocks away that could smooth out a side for me if need be im sure.  is there any good spots to find tongs and such?  vice grips dont work so good.  they are a little short lol. 

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I generally get my tongs at fleamarkets for under US$10 and yes in the last year! Blacksmith meetings and conferences may have some for sale and there are the various blacksmith supply companies though they generally go for higher costs! I tend to like the shorter lighter shoeing tongs for many projects; but I do pick up the big ones when they fit my budget. My forging has ranged from 16 gauge sheetmetal to 2.5" sq stock over the years. If you buy old tongs learn how to reshape them to suit the stuff you are doing.

Ken sells tong kits with your background I figure his will give you ideas for future variants.

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also, do you guys know of any good books (with pictures, i like pictures)  or videos that give some good techniques for shaping metal?  i have scoured amazon and all of the books i found all have the same info and it is too basic.  it just talks about simple things like drawing out metal and such. 

i will have to look around my area for some flea markets.  i know were there is one but it is a good 90 miles away and really only has random crap from peoples house there.  never anything good really.

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Don't knock drawing out. All smithing is doing the right combinations of the basic processes: drawing out, upsetting, bending, etc. 

A good basic book is The Backyard Blacksmith by Lorelei Sims. Progresses through increasingly sophisticated techniques and projects. 

There are some good instructional videos from Mark Aspery (whose books are also excellent), Andy McKenzie (IFI's own @Everything Mac), and DF - In The Shop, (aka Denis Frechette) on YouTube. 

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yea it is just like welding.  I am also a aeronautical welder in the Navy and have taught a lot of my friends how to weld.  the concept and action of welding is very simple.  it is getting the setting up of the machine and the steady hand and the eye of were to keep your arc as well as when and were to add your filler that takes the practice.

i am just the kind of guy that likes to read (look at pictures) and learn as much as i can about something before and during doing it.  i wish i was back home were i could go to stuhr museum and take a class or two.  i know one of the guys that is on this forum works there as the blacksmith.  i have seen the pictures in the gallery.   im not sure if it was the same guy as when i was a kid, but they had summer classes for kids out there and that was my first experience with blacksmithing.  that is were i fell in love with metal work in general.  probably one of the reasons that i took the path i did in life.

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