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I Forge Iron

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Heya! Just found this forum and i figured I'd join up. 

My name is Yamez (its a nickname) and i have always been interested in working with metal. I recently was forced to move to a new area and the upside is that i am now in a location where it makes it easier to build a forge. So I did!

I've always learned by doing, i built a forge out of half (longways) of a 55 gal drum. It's been up for about a week now and I've only so far made a pair of tongs and a fire poker. But in doing so i have been making tweaks to my forge and area based on what i feel makes it more efficient. Ive uploaded a few pics of it and my first creations and hope to learn to forge on and increase my knowledge and skills. 20171119_163013.thumb.jpg.76b4388a51852be393dac7d1aabde017.jpg






I am aware of the quality of my current anvil and on the lookout for a different one



Thank you for reading. I will and have done some research and look forward to checking back in

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Welcome to Glenn's international block party. 

Unless your forging small anvils you have a bit more forge than you need for general forging, as you have  discovered you can only effectively forge about 6" before running out of heat. As fuel effecency can be a thing (especially using charcoal) using Adobe mud to  block off part of the tuyere and fire bowl will help. You can always dig it out when you need a bigger/ longer fire. The extra realastate makes for a nice place to lay tools and hot stock. 

Your anvil looks to be a cast iron ASO. Tho some descent anvils are cast from maluable iron and very good ones from steel, plane cast seems to suck up a lot of the energy from your blows. A solid piece of steel scrap works much better for the money. 

Otherwise you look to be well on your way to accruing a new addictive hobby. Check out the pinned posts in the foge section under solid fuel forges and the anvil section. Infact reading all the pinned posts will held jump start the old grey matter. 

Now for a couple of questions, did you use plane cement to line the forge? If so be aware that spallding is a real issue, but a coating of Adobe will probably fix it. 

Whats witht he "gravel"


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56 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Now for a couple of questions, did you use plane cement to line the forge? If so be aware that spallding is a real issue, but a coating of Adobe will probably fix it. 

Whats witht he "gravel"

I used quicrete concrete,  

The build is intended for future growth and my first forge

It is a barrel half with a piece of conduit for air flow from a shopvac.

It is filled with rarge gravel for insulation then a layer of smaller gravel followed by a few inches of sand, was thinking along the lines of insulation and air flow.

The sand made a masive mess and was tough to control the air so i removed it and replaced it with concrete. It is about one inch thick because thats all i had and was intending to get more. (I will look into adobe) its really more of an air shield, not a burn surface. 

The gravel is where the airflow comes from. Its actually pretty efficient as far a i can tell. I have the vaccum blower on a fan controlled switch.

Always planing on improvements.  

The anvil is cast iron 55lb (on the lookout for a better option)

Trailer hitches make for a sort of pien fuller i suppose. Ive mostly been experimenting. 

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Cement/concreat are not good ideas around high heat. And as you need depth of fuel under the stock being heated the gravel is taking up space that you need fuel burning up O2 and generating heat. Besides it will just clog with ash. So insted of the sand on top of cement I would recomend Adobe wich is apoximently 30% clay and 50-70% sand. A simple bottle test will tell you wat kind of dirt you have. Take a jar, 1/3 dirt, fill with water and shake let sit over night. Clay is the top layer and sand is the bottom.  This won't spalled, you can remodel it easily and it's cheap. A lot of bad information floating around out their. 

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Thank you for the heads up on the spalling issue. I have some kiln bricks i just found in the attic to add around the burn area, the sand in the forge is gone and the concrete pad is just to seal the large unused area. The idea is to build an oven so to speak around the gravel spot, which will be the floor. I pile up fuel on top of the gravel and use the walls of kiln brick to keep it off the concrete. Air flows through the gravel and after forging i clean out the ash.  

I re wrote that as best i could without a video example at the moment because i felt there was a bit of miscommunication as to how i have it planned. I will try later to upload and link a video showing my forge so far. And when i do, i will copy and paste this thread into the forge section so that it is thread appropriate. :) thanks again!

As for dirt around here i am coastal so its pretty much all sand, 

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The gravel kind of throws me too, Das. But it seems to work for him. If it tames the blast from the vacuum its all good. It dose remind you of a gas grill tho.

As to using a drum, it gives you a 2x3 hearth, so even with a more conventional JABOD or Mark III configuration it just provides a box. 

Yamez, be warned I have melted hard fire brick and if you ever use coal the slag will stick to the kiln shelf. 

As Das points out, cheapncatlitter is bentonite Clay, so one scoop of catt litter and two scoops of sand will get you a usable Adobe mix.  Some folks add ash to the mix (it stops the clay form expanding when wet) as it seems to help with the coal slag sticking issue. 

The thing with cement, it's basicly artifisal limestone, and lime stone when heated produces lime. So cement breaks down in high heat and as it also containes a lot of molecular water steam formes and pop..just be aware and keep the concrete seperate from the high heat

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Welcome aboard. Interesting design. A big improvement would be to shape dirt in sort of a U along the length of the drum, cutting the ends of the drum to match the U in the dirt. In the center, you could make just enough of an additional bowl shape to expose about 6" of the pipe. Since you are working with wood that is in more or less sticks rather than chunks, the U shape would really help keep your fire contained and let the hot coals concentrate in the center. BUT you should get a non-galvanized pipe if you make any changes that will expose the pipe to the heat of the fire. I also noticed that your poker lookes like it was repurposed from something that could very well have been zinc coated. I strongly suggest that you read up on the risks of zink fumes and how to avoid them. 

Here are a couple rough illustrations:

drum forge 1.JPG

drum forge 2.JPG


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Y'all are awesome! I am going to gather supplies (adobe/refractory cement, kiln bricks, ect) and work on some improvements. I may first improve on and test my original design and post a video before i completely re-work the forge. When i do that i will make a new thread in the proper place here.

Thank you all for your advice. 

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Of course learning from other people's experiments can leapfrog your progress.  With too much air flow you might do better with the end of the tue pipe open.  Myself back in 1981 I used a ramrod in the tue pipe to control the length of the fire to match my needs---and used a nice quiet much smaller blower, (picked it up for US$1.14 at the scrapyard. I don't know what the fan originally powered but it was good for a forge!)

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