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I Forge Iron

Hello from Michigan


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Hello all.  I'm a long time fan of smithing that finally decided to set up a little hobby forge.  I'd like to use it for some utility and decorative stuff and eventually I would be totally thrilled to make a few knives.

I'm not quite ready yet, I'm waiting for a local place to get a shipment of refractory bricks to build a forge, but i have a fairly well appointed shop in other respects (my dad was a millwright and handyman, so lots of general tools.)

Anyway, I don't plan on posting a lot for a while.  There's too much to read up on and learn and it's not like I have a lot to add (yet.)

Thanks for looking.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. What kind of forge fuel do you want to use? What does the local place call "refractory" bricks, fire brick or something special? 

If you're going to use coal, charcoal, etc. the Solid Fuel forge section is loaded with info, anecdotes and some wildly silly stuff. Same for the gas forge section. Currently there are a couple good threads going in gas forges. Burners 101 and Forges 101.

Doing some reading will really help but don't feel you have to read it all we write too fast to ever read it all. I believe there are around 45,000 subscribers from around the world and I don't know how many posts in a day. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I plan on a propane gas forge.  The brick I'm talking about is the soft fire brick.  I have to buy it by the case (12 bricks.)  I plan on using half of them to make a small one burner forge.  I'm going to buy some refractory cement to line the chamber and stick the bricks together.  I might buy some hard fire brick just to set the thing on and protect my work table, but that might not be necessary.  Heading over to Burners and Forges 101, now.


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Well, I'm sure you're right.  I'm only making preliminary plans, not even on paper yet.  I have 1-1.5 months before the bricks arrive, so I plan to do quite a bit of research.

Btw, the bricks are 9"x4.5"x2.5".  So two bricks for a floor, two bricks for walls, and two bricks for a roof ought to give me a 4.5"x4.5" chamber.  Some angle iron or metal bands to clamp it together and I might be able to forgo the cement.

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Just be aware that soft fire bricks come in a variety of ratings (usually by temperature) and you will need to use at least 2600 deg. F bricks for a gas forge interior unless you protect the inner face with a higher rated refractory (and you still may want to have something rated higher directly across from the burner outlet that can take extreme temperatures, like a half thickness hard fire brick or high alumina kiln shelf).

I've also seen some recent reports of soft firebrick being damaged in transit (they are rather fragile and the manufacturer's packing is typically not all that great for shipping individual boxes instead of palletized case lots).  If the box is costing you, and I'm sure it is, then I recommend that you have someone on hand to inspect  it before the shipper leaves.

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Thanks for the warnings.

I'm getting 2800 deg bricks.  One reason I'm buying them local instead of ordering online is so I can inspect them before buying.  The other reason is the shipping cost.  One fellow on eBay was selling a box of 12 for $30, very reasonable.  The shipping was an additional $44!

My local source is actually an international supplier, they just happen to have a local office.

HarbisonWalker International


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