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Forge build


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Hello, new here. Just joined. Need advice building a forge. This is what I have so far. (Pics below) 

limited knowledge but gotta start somewhere. Just insterested in knife making for now. Debating where to utilize this chimney flue for added heat barrier. Or just go with the brick and angle iron for support. No welder... yet. Plan on using propane as my heat source. Any advice or tell me I'm all wrong... I'm ok with that too. 






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Looks to be a real fuel hog and will run through enough propane to pay for a more insulative refractory in a short amount of time.  Is this based on a design posted somewhere; or are you designing it without the background in smithing needed? (Would you drive a car designed by someone who has never driven one?)

There is a thread of forge building for propane forges: under Forges, Gas Forges, Forges 101; may I commend it to your attention before you go any farther?

(the firebrick splits will make doors and maybe a wear plate for the bottom of the forge, (kiln shelf is better for the floor though).

If you were in the USA you could try to find a local ABANA Affiliate and attend some meetings and ask to see various proven in forge designs.  There is an association in Canada and the UK as well.

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We are not trying to pick on you, 81. We have just been around the block a few times. I acualy think the clay flue has a cool factor as a forge body, but as pointed out your combination for a forge that will not be running 24/7 is not effecent. First, for raging knives a single burner about 8" deep is what you need, for heat treatment a longer forge, but many knifemakers are recommending single burner vertical forges for that. 


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On 9/5/2017 at 1:19 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Looks to be a real fuel hog and will run through enough propane to pay for a more insulative refractory in a short amount of time.

Just based on a few videos I have seen online. Space is limited where I am but I don't want that to limit my ability to make a knife, very green to this craft

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First what country are you in?  Over 150 have participated here and knowing which one will help us to make specific suggestions.

Second do you want to forge weld in this forge?

(to jump ahead a bit Wayne Coe has plans and sells materials for building a good gas forge on his website and he will ship internationally...)

And those RR spikes have me nervous; you do know that they are not a good alloy for knives---even if such knives sell well?

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Welcome aboard 81, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the Iforge gang live within visiting distance. 

In general brick pile forges are useful for testing: shape, size, burner alignments or as quick expedient forges.  In general hard fire brick has an insulating value of an equal thickness of lime stone. R1= 1 foot of limestone. It's the basis of the R Value numbers .

Anyway, hard brick is a serious heat sink, it takes a lot of fuel to bring to the desired temperature, say mid yellow around 2,600f. The heat will be conducted through and radiate or conduct away on the outside. Light, insulating fire brick is significantly better insulation and not so much of a heat sink but it's fragile and only takes a few thermal cycles before starting to degrade. (crumbles)

Recently Mike posted information about a high temperature insulating refractory ceramic that looks very promising. I haven't tried it and am waiting for people to use it and report in. 

Your current post just came in.

I'm not the Dwarf but  AM known as a butttinsky on occasion.:) Were I you I'd take a breath and do some reading. It's good to jump into new things but its even better to know which end of the pool you're diving into and how deep it is. Rushing is how I make my worst mistakes, that and making decisions when angry. Anyway, take some time, do some reading and things will work out better. Patience will be rewarded.

I'd keep the split brick handy, I have a box of hard and a box of soft fire brick close to my forge in case. Some things just need a fire brick and nothing else will do. You can bolt screw and rivet most everything necessary for a gas forge. Welders are nice but not necessary.

Charles is exactly right, you can only forge a few inches at a time, 6" is a good number. Heating more than you can work is that extra steel suffering high temp changes without being refined under the hammer. Heated above critical and steel starts to crystalize, common term is (grain growth) and crystal boundaries are weak points that make steel brittle. Heat treating blades is a matter of watching the steel in the forge and moving it back and forth to keep the temperature even. A short forge works as well as a long one and it's much easier to keep even heat in a short forge.

Thomas just posted, good. Check out Wayne's site if nothing else he sells reasonable amounts of the materials you need to build a gas forge. The plans on his site are sound and proven good designs.

Reading will not only give you a handle on forges but will give you a handle on the craft jargon so you can ask good questions and understand the answers.

We'll be around and answer questions. They've been answered already, many times but I'm hanging around.

Frosty The Lucky.

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find someone local who can show you the basics and maybe let you have a go, either  make a jabod or a coffee can forge to get some practice, you will need lots of practice.

read lots on here

read and practice more whilst looking for tools you will need

do what frosty, mikey, TP, charles of the interesting spelling, and others tell you and you may learn.

at the moment you are like a guy who does not understand the principles that make a bicycle work but wants to make the worlds fastest dragster by the weekend

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You've been given some great advice so far. Just adding my two cents. This website is the best place on the internet for blacksmithing and related information bar none (I may be biased, but I don't think so). YouTube videos you have to take with a grain of salt, so to speak - you need to be able to tell the few good ones with valid info from the many, many bad ones with terrible, and sometime very dangerous info. Take a look at the Blacksmithing/Forges/Gas Forges section of this site at what some people have done with old propane tanks to build a forge from. Read and study the info. That'll give you ideas heading in the right direction. Good luck with it. Keep posting and asking questions. Post pics of any progress. And don't get too addicted to this craft - ha ha, like that's possible!

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81: We're blacksmiths and aren't going to remember where you are from telling us in one post. If you put it in the header it'll be there on every post you make so we can look. Seriously, a lot of us are TBI and Stroke survivors so memory is something I remember people talking about but don't remember.

RR spikes are okay stock but you can get in more trouble than you want if a RR cop want's to make an example or is just one of those by the book guys. Legally you are trespassing in a RR crossing and in illegal trespass if you walk on the right of way. With the terrorist activity they're getting more serious. 

Spikes make marketable items but getting them legally is an issue. Picking them up off the right of way is not safe legally.

Frosty The Lucky.

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17 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

not a good  nor legal Idea. the RR will prosecute if they catch you

Yes I learned that after the fact. There was a large chunk of rr track I wanted so I emailed the rr company. And they informed me of the law. Spikes found were off rr property so I was allowed to keep them

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81 welcome aboard.  Like you i am pretty new to this whole thing.  I built my first forge following youtube videos.  It was a giant mistake and the knowledgeable folks on here pointed that out quickly.  Im still using that mistake for the moment but only because im waiting on parts i ordered from wayne to arrive.  As for price honestly i think building the forge priperly is going to be cheaper then following the youtube guide.  Ill be making a square 6x6 10 inch long.  With 2 layers of 1 inch thick insuwool each ridgidized.  $27 for insuwool from wayne $5 for fumed silica from hobby loby.  Ill put in about a 1/2 inch thick coating of kast-o-liye 30 $15 from wayne followed by a coating of plistix $20 from wayne.  For the shell im going to use some 3/32 sheet metal 12x36 cost $10 from a local supplier.  So before a burner im less than $100 in.


Honestly i get the work on a budget but what ive found in my short time on this site is this.  Listening to the wisdom of the people on here and doing it right is the cheap way.

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1 hour ago, 81pistolsfiring said:

You guys think if I made a small one out of just the brick I have and lined the inside with koawoll it would work ok? I realize now I purchased the wrong fire brick 

I can only speak to this as theoretical as i have not done so personally.  My understanding from research is that with 2 to 3 inches of insowool the outer shell is somewhat irrelevant (other then staying away from anyrhing with zinc).  I have seen videos of people rolling insowool up holding it in place with a piece of wire and using it as a forge.  Again this is theory and if im qrong hopefully someone with experience will correct me.  Either way be sure to rigidize the wool before use.

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