Sign in to follow this  
ohdougles

Made a Forge, Doesn't Work

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

I know I'm probably like the hundredth post about building my first forge, but here I am following suit.

Firstly, it was my first time using a mig welder and didn't know that you use it as any other welder, whoops :)

Secondly, I haven't done the most research because I'm on a time crunch for Christmas, but i have done some thanks a lot to your site and Youtube.

Thirdly, I'm very close to being broke so hopefully any major adjustments aren't needed.

Fourthly, I'm grateful for any and all responses and advice.

Alright so,

My forge doesn't get hot enough, like not even to where the metal gets a little glowing, just turns them black and kinda blue after 30 minutes. It will get kind of red hot if i hold a piece of steel outside the opening. If i close the opening with that loose fire brick it will snuff the burner out, but i will still get flames that will shoot out of the air holes in the burner (not safe). 

It's a propane burner from Harbor Freight, I don't have a regulator on it, and i never adjusted any tip or anything like that. They are hard fire bricks from Menards 9 x 4.5 x 1.25. I already had to use some J. B. Weld on the top and sides where a ton of flames were escaping. I also don't have a bottom plate only a bar welded in the middle to hold the bricks in place. I think the problem I had is i tried a few too many different methods and combined them and threw out the hard and/or expensive parts. 

I'm just trying to heat treat knives that I cut from pieces of weldable steel, yeah i know i cheated. I've seen the posts where everyone suggests those kaowool blankets so that'll be my next step, but should i put them inside or outside or both? 

tl;dr - I don't know what I'm doing, please help me, I'm broke, too far along, and Christmas is in 13 days.

20171207_190210[1].jpg

20171207_190222[1].jpg

20171207_190230[1].jpg

20171207_190238[1].jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Burner was not designed to work in a forge environment. Weed burners also induce a ton of oxygen. Time crunch or not I'd recommend reading the forges 101 and burner 101 threads. In the long run it will save you a bunch of time and money!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, just wow.... There is hope! but not with that stuff. What is shown in the photos isn't going to work in any way shape or form. I'm not trying to discourage you but at some point you need to shift gears, cut your losses and move on. If you are willing to take the steps you can have your blades HT by tomorrow afternoon without spending over a few dollars. Go buy a bag of WOOD Charcoal and then come home and do a search for JABOD Forge. If you own a hammer and a shovel and you can scrounge some scrap wood, short pieces of pipe and a hair drier you can get forging heat no problem. You can throw one of these together in an hour, get your blades hardened, assuming they are HC steel, and when you're ready to go back to building a gas forge, when you have more time, come back here and read, read, read. Then read some more. Stay away from YT! Best wishes and good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With your time crunch and current setup I suggest you temporarily abandon the forge entirely and use a borrowed oxyacetylene torch with rosebud to heat treat your blade blanks (and a kitchen oven to temper them afterwards).  Hopefully you used known steel for your stock removal and you have a simple heat treatment required.  You won't get good normalization and your grain structure may be questionable, but using a weed burner and hard fire bricks with no regulator is likely not going to get you there anyway (at least as a beginner knife maker).

You will also need a bunch of time to finish the blades after heat treatment (assuming none of them fail during the process) and to add handles.  Just remember the guys that complete blades in 6 hrs on FIF are experienced bladesmiths working with good equipment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off there should be a blck turn knob on the handle of that weed burner....that is your regulator.  Second off it can be made to work but not well or effecient and it will cost you a lot more than fixing it.  I will give you some recomendations on thatblater when i have more time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it appears you are using your weed burner forge indoors, make sure you have plenty of fresh air coming in to offset all the carbon monoxide that is pumping out and filling the house, or it may well be the last Christmas presents you ever have to worry about.

A proper burner can be built relatively inexpensive, depending on your tools and abilities, and used in you firebrick setup, but the fastest way to get where you want to be is as stated above, dig a hole, light the charcoal and induce some forced air to get the metal hot. Better get digging before the ground freezes too hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note Weldable steel from a big box store WON'T HARDEN correctly for a knife.   You can get good knife steel for FREE and if you  read this site you will find many recommendations  for it.

(Automotive coil springs and leaf springs for instance)  Research saves you time; so by NOT doing it you are throwing your time, (and MONEY), away!

A jabod forge burning real chunk charcoal---which you can make yourself for free.  Is probably your fastest and cheapest route between you and Christmas Presents!   Remember you need to PRACTICE to get things right so I hope you factored that into your critical path.  (Otherwise it's like not playing the piano and yet promising to play a concerto for Christmas---very unlikely to have a worthy gift!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you guys a ton for your feedback, it sucks because those are the answers I didn't want to hear haha. I didn't want to abandon this forge after reading the other posts regarding first forges, but it's not like i have a choice haha. I'll most likely do the in ground one. Also I did start reading burners101 it's kind of confusing to me, but I'm sure I'll catch on. Thanks again. 

6 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Note Weldable steel from a big box store WON'T HARDEN correctly for a knife.   You can get good knife steel for FREE and if you  read this site you will find many recommendations  for it.

(Automotive coil springs and leaf springs for instance)  Research saves you time; so by NOT doing it you are throwing your time, (and MONEY), away!

A jabod forge burning real chunk charcoal---which you can make yourself for free.  Is probably your fastest and cheapest route between you and Christmas Presents!   Remember you need to PRACTICE to get things right so I hope you factored that into your critical path.  (Otherwise it's like not playing the piano and yet promising to play a concerto for Christmas---very unlikely to have a worthy gift!)

That's a very good tip, because I've made knives in the past using weldable steel (this is before i knew how to heat treat them properly not with a bernzomatic torch and channel locks) and i didn't run into many problems other than when it came to sharpening, it was like i couldn't not get a proper edge on it even using a lansky sharpening set. And yes research is key. Hopefully next year my family can get real knives haha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most important thing in building your first burner is to take *one* known good design and follow it *EXACTLY*!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading your post when I had a little more time. I see your primary issues is that you are attempting to make knives for Christmas presents. As it is apparent from your Forge build you have never forged a knife. I would highly recommend against doing this to try and make a present. Your cheapest and best route to accomplish what you were attempting to do. To go to your local metal distributor purchase 1/8 inch thick by 2 inch wide 304 stainless steel it should only run you about $5 a foot. Use that to fabricate knives for Christmas. 304 cannot be hardened so you don't need to worry about heat treating it. In its base form it is hard enough to hold a decent Edge at least far harder then any weldable steel you're going to get from a big box store. As for the forge probably best to throw it out read forges 101 and burners 101 and start from scratch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind using charcoal is it needs less air than coal would. A hair dryer on low is a bit much. To get around this I used a simple air gate found at any box store. I did need to remove one screw and half of the lip from the lid but other than that it's quick and simple. 

image.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bottle openers would be good starting Christmas presents; but expect to mess up a couple of them while getting the hang of things.

General comment:  Ever notice the tendency of some folks to spend hundreds of hours learning a video game but expect to be an expert forger their first go at it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Doug, congrats with your first attempt to build a gas forge. It tucks me 25 years and a lot of preparations to build my first gas forge. Results in wrong set up burners, too big cask and the burners not strong another in the first place. The forge cask become a nice flower tray in my backyard.  Thanks to curmudgeons like Frosty & Co. I’m on the right track now.

Please read some of the welding threats on IFI to, regarding MIG amperage, wire speed and shielding gasses.

Good luck, Hans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not far from you. If you like you can use my forge to heat treat, and while your over maybe we can build you a proper burner. Let me know if you're interested, I'll be in the shop tonight and tomorrow night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Elliry said:

I'm not far from you. If you like you can use my forge to heat treat, and while your over maybe we can build you a proper burner. Let me know if you're interested, I'll be in the shop tonight and tomorrow night.

I messaged you. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately the whole heat treatment thing may be out the door if you just used mild steel from a hardware store.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Latticino said:

Unfortunately the whole heat treatment thing may be out the door if you just used mild steel from a hardware store.  

True. There's a steel mill right by where I work so I'm going pick up the 304 stainless

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, ohdougles said:

I messaged you. Thanks!

Replied.

 

You can still give it a shot at trying to harden your blades. If nothing else you will at least get to experience the process of heating and quenching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Elliry said:

You can still give it a shot at trying to harden your blades. If nothing else you will at least get to experience the process of heating and quenching.

Seeing the process is a plus but the chances of mild steel hardening without superquench is pretty slim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

21 minutes ago, ohdougles said:

There's a steel mill right by where I work so I'm going pick up the 304 stainles

I haven't played with a lot of stainless forging, but my understanding is that it is far from a beginner material.  In addition to the potential issues with difficult heat treatment I believe that you need a special process to shine it up (passivate and electropolish?).  Might want to check with an expert before purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick glance online told me 304 stainless cannot be hardened by heat treatment. But can be cold work hardened. Why would you choose that alloy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Daswulf said:

Just a quick glance online told me 304 stainless cannot be hardened by heat treatment. But can be cold work hardened. Why would you choose that alloy?

Because he has no forge to forge anything.  He can however fabricate knives.  304 is a good alloy for fabricating since you dont need to heat treat it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this