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I Forge Iron

Josh's misguided musings in metal manipulation (Photo Heavy)

Josh Foran

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Hey Everyone,

Just thought I would create a post here to track my scrap pile collection and miss-hits. It's a fun learning process for sure. I'm stealing this first part from my intro post:

My first experience with blacksmithing was the first weekend in November, I went up the Cullman chapter of the Alabama forge council and they let me hit on some hot metal and gave me a really good introduction to blacksmithing. 


He taught me how to make S hooks!


From there I went home and built a cheap propane forge (Not perfect and I have since read a lot and am going to be making a V2 soon)



I wasn't sure if I had enough air going in so I upgraded the inlet:


The flame on the left of this next picture is with that cross and the one on the right is with the valve:


For you burner experts, which one looks better? (I know nothing)

Then I went to to the Tannehill chapter of the the AFC for their Christmas party and was gifted a piece of rail road to use until I can get an anvil. No worries, it will be used properly (vertically). Just need to get around to setting it up. Using a vice till then.

From there I made a mistake with a shape:


Then I wanted to build a small coal/charcoal forge out of a brake rotor... so I did:



Used a $14 dollar fan from home depot as a blower and it seemed to work pretty well.

I had modified a chisel to make a little fuller and decided to use this forge to take another crack at making a leaf.


Then the wife asked me if I could try to make a knife. I don't care about making knives yet, but figured I'd give it a shot. Here it is in all it's poorly ground glory. I wasn't going for anything in particular, just a KSO (Knife Shaped Object).


From there I made another leaf for the Cullman chapter Christmas party:


First one failed twice. When I tried to twist it, I twist it in two.  Then when I tried to draw out what was left,  the leaf fell off. So I have a nail, a messed up looking bolt extractor, and a tiny piece of elvish armor for a chipmunk. 


My wife liked it so I made her another one:



Not pictured is another leaf key chain I made for one of my racing buddies.

My misadventure into this whole blacksmithing deal has encouraged about 7 other people to make this same poor life decision I have. They liked my forge setup, so I have set to making them forges of their own. Starting with the burner, I modeled after the Gameco burner:


Video of it running:


And here is the building process of PROTOFORGE!!!! AKA The Widget Maker. I used 2 layers of 1" inswool coated with 3,000 degree refractory cement.


Hoping to improve upon the short comings of my first all hard cheap fire brick forge:


The forge running to fire the refractory:



The completed forge:





From there I set to making Christmas gifts. I can't post all of them yet, since I use Facespace as my image host and they will see them. But my wife and I exchanged gifts early so I can show you hers:


My lovely wife loved it. She has also slain two deer this season and we are tanning the hides for the first time and I decided we need a fleshing knife. I started on it today and have no idea what I'm doing... which makes it fun! Hoping to have the forging done before Christmas and maybe grinding if I'm lucky.


And that gets me to here! Hope you guys like it. I'm always open to suggestions for improvements. I'm learning and having fun. 

I'll post the skillet I made for my Mom, the Key Chain for my sisters friend, and the leaf necklace for my sister as soon as I give them their gifts. I may try a bottle opener next.


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What ever is comfortable. I use a fleshing beam 8" wide made from maple. Needs to be very smooth so not to cause cuts. I like a double edged flesher with the convex side sharp and concave edge dull. Must the work is done with the concave side but tough flesh or fat is nice to cut off with the sharp side (think top of the arch sharp, inside the arch dull). I like my flesher to have a radius similar to the radius of the fleshing beam. So if your using a mostly flat beam you want a straighter blade. If your beam is more round than flat then a more curved blade. This maximizes your efforts. I like my beam set up at about 65degree angle so the top is about eye level so that most the area is at a comfortable working height with out bending over.   Hope all this makes sense


you flesh what's in reach and then move the hide so the work being done is at a comfortable height.  Having the angle and height adjustment is a big bonus for a fleshing beam. I mount on a frame with a hinge so angle can be adjusted. 

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Michael Cochran - How long is the 6x6? Just so I know if I need to bring a truck or not haha I'd be more than happy to take it off your hands! I plan to be at the Cullman meeting and should have two friends coming as well. I won't be able to make the Tanehill one because I may have a track day that weekend. I hope to make some leather!

Jasent - Do you have a picture of your knife? I may try to radius the 6x6 I get from Michael and then I can match the blade to it later. It's got a curve now, just from shaping the bevel. I plan to straighten it out once I get the the bevels roughed out. We have the hides salting right now and I scraped them pretty well with just a knife. I guess next step is the tanning process? haha Like I said, I'm learning as I go, trying to watch videos, but mostly trial and error... much like my blacksmithing haha. 

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On ‎12‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 11:08 PM, Josh Foran said:

For you burner experts, which one looks better? (I know nothing)

I am trying to figure this out myself. I think the one on the left side is an oxidizing (more oxygen than fuel) and the one on the right is not. One of the people that know will correct me.


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So now that the gifts have been gifted here are a few of the gifts I made for friends and family:

Key chain for sisters friend:


Leaf necklace for my sister:


And last but not least, a skillet I made for my Mom. Inspired by a demonstration put on by Wayne at the Cullman Christmas party!


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Welcome to the addiction Josh, glad to have you. A bit of old timey blacksmith lore. If you ain't cheating you ain't trying. Who do you think invented electric welding?

I like the flame on the right, the left is burning rich but not too badly. Be sure you have GOOD ventilation CO is odorless, colorless and insidious. It attaches to your blood cells something like 80 times faster than oxygen.

A second bit of blacksmith wisdom goes like this, "We don't make mistakes we have happy accidents." What, you guys didn't know Bob Ross was a blacksmith? REALLY? 

Last bit of old timey blacksmith lore for tonight. Blacksmith and bull shooting are abbreviated the same way is NOT a coincident. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Looks hot from here. A pic from the side showing the flame from the door helps judging it. A LITTLE orange in the dragon's breath usually indicates a rich flame however high temp alumina refractories use calcium in the cement as a binder which burns orange. 

Mike is bringing most of us around to tuning for a low velocity neutral flame. Unfortunately most Side Arm, Reil type linear, or T burners aren't stable at a low velocity so the flame needs to be SLIGHTLY rich to prevent an oxidizing atmosphere in the forge. A fast flame will induce turbulence that induces room air in the door which makes oxidizing areas.

It really had Ron Reil scratching his head till we figured out what was going on. His fuel input numbers weren't matching the BTU outputs as calculated and there were different atmosphere zones in his forges. The guy has or had access to some pretty darned sophisticated instrumentation being a science teacher and all.

Mike has a much better eye for judging burner flames than I do, my criteria have changed for a good one and I'm adjusting.

Frosty The Lucky.

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That says a lot. What was the refractory you used for the flame face? Kast-O-Lite 30 shoots orange flame like that for a few hours burning off the calcium in the surface.  

From the shape the dragon's breath says a fast flame, there doesn't appear to be any flutter or rise from convection so it's saying it probably isn't too very rich. It's probably close enough to neutral it'll take Mike's eye to make a closer call. 

I'd be tempted to make  that forge about half again as long and use that fire.

Frosty The Lucky.

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It's  alsey pilot 3000. I talked with a ceramics engineer and he got me my materials and a few pointers. I agree with you on the size.  The one inch burger is probably too much for this size of forge. The burner was super stable but I didn't run it that long. I made this forge with that burner for a friend and he hasn't had the time to use it yet. 

I appreciate your help!

I have a few more of these forges to build for a few people to get them going down this crazy road. Once those are done,  I'm going to try the NARB with this venturi setup. 

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