Snydertech

My New Coal Forge - looking for advice

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Good morning all!  I am new to smithing and new to this site.  I am attempting to build a coal forge from some parts I have and want to get some feedback before I finish it.  I had a metal cart and put in a truck hub into it.  I notched out the sides to be able to put a longer piece in it in the future.  At the Bottom, I plan to put a pipe feeding air with a tee in it and attach a blower to the end.  The blower I want to put on a dimmer (not sure if this will work yet) so I can control the air flow.  I already have the blower, just needing to buy the piping. Does this look like a good approach so far?  What would you have done different?  I left some room on the side of the pot to be able to put up some fire bricks to build a side/top if needed.  Do I need to line the pot with anything? Thanks for the advice. 

 

Dave

 

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From what I see the table is fine. You will have difficulty adding fuel to the fire with the tall lip. Personally I prefer using a rear Rotor that used the inner drum style e brake. Around 8"dia. And 2-3" deep. The rotor lip holds it in the table and is low enough to rake fresh coal into the pot. 

For bottom blast I use 2" black pipe for the T. I have heard of people using 3" as well but 2" works great for me. A tractor exhaust flap cap with a weighted handle works great for the bottom ash dump. 

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You can use expandable metal clothes dryer vent to get the air from the blower to the twyere. Just leave an air gap between the blower and the dryer vent. Air the blower more directly to the pipe for more air, not so directly for less air. 

You will want a fireball about the size of a melon. You will want additional coal on top of that to replace the coal as it is consumed. Place the metal 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the fire ball to get it hot.

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1 hour ago, Daswulf said:

From what I see the table is fine. You will have difficulty adding fuel to the fire with the tall lip. Personally I prefer using a rear Rotor that used the inner drum style e brake.

That is exactly what I set out looking for but could not find.  I went to metal scrap  yards and they wouldn't sell me anything at all, they just wanted to buy.  I went to several brake repair places and they didn't have anything.  I ended up going to autozone and had them find me something new.  Crazy!  In retrospect, I should have bought something with less of a lip.  It is about 3" deep, but has that huge lip on it so it extends above the table.  I figured I would place it in the table so I could pile some coal around it and make it work.

Regarding the pipe, I don't have a welder.  The only pipe I can find threaded that I can put a 'flange' on it and feed it into the pipe is 1" from the local box store.  I suppose I should take that back and check with a plumbing shop to see what they have.  I love the idea of the tractor exhaust flap.  I did just read your earlier post regarding that and will incorporate.  What about lining the bowl?  Any need?

My blower is very powerful, and I think too powerful.  It is actually made to pump up those big backyard inflatables.  Perhaps a hair dryer would work better for this application?

Thanks for the input!

1 hour ago, Glenn said:

You can use expandable metal clothes dryer vent to get the air from the blower to the twyere. Just leave an air gap between the blower and the dryer vent. Air the blower more directly to the pipe for more air, not so directly for less air.

Thank you for the input!

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Snyder, you don't need to weld anything in your air supply and ash dump.  Welding makes it more or less permanent and a pain if you want to change anything.  If you can find a plumbing supply shop or large hardware store, try to use 2" black pipe as Daswulf suggested.  You can't make small pipe larger, but you can always reduce the air supply from larger pipe.  Determine the lengths of the pipe pieces you need and if they don't have precut and threaded pieces, they can cut and thread them for you.  Threaded is easier to use than welding.

Here is what some 2" threaded black iron pipe looks like on a forge I built a few years ago.  Bathroom fan for air, sliding air gate to control air.  Ash dump is now a hinged lid...the cap is a pain.

 

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Brake drum forges have been around since some one discovered that a model “T” drum and a pipe “T” would go to gether. The 2” pipe fittings will run a guy $50 or so, as well as the $ you invested in a drum. They work hut are a PITA to assemble.

a box of dirt, an 8” long 3/4” schedule 40 pipe nipple and a double action bed pump makes a nice little forge that handles 1” stock.

I wish you new guys would come here first.

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The box of dirt forge is simple and cheap. Tho I don't think a rotor forge is a pita. If you use a rotor that will work well it's a set it and forget it deal. You only buy the 2" fittings once since they will last. I'm still using my original setup after around 4 years and it gets the job done every time. Even if the rotor wears out you can switch the pipe to another one easy enough.  If I had known about a box of dirt forge from the get go no doubt I'd have made one. 

only one big box store in my area carries 2" black pipe.HD. I didn't need a bolted flange since I have a welder. I'm fairly certain a plumbing supply can get you what you need. 

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For the 55 forge bottom blast forge I used auto exhaust pipe from a dumpster. Anything smaller than 2 inch is a pain as it clogs up with ash. For a couple of bucks, the garage or muffler repair place will weld 2 pieces into a T for you. Just be sure to cut an opening in the T for the air to cross over. (do not ask).

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Auto supply stores carry an assortment of exhaust pipe repair pieces that will assemble with U- bolts, no welding, no threading. I haven't seen a T but maybe you could find a Y. They also have flex.

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I guess having a welder and tons of brake rotors makes some things easier on building the rotor forge. And the whole rotor forge is way cheaper then even buying just a new ready made forge pot. 

It's really just two sides of the cheaper forge coin in my opinion. I built a rotor forge setup ( same as mine)for my friend and having made a few already it was quick and easy. 

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1 hour ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Brake drum forges have been around since some one discovered that a model “T” drum and a pipe “T” would go to gether. The 2” pipe fittings will run a guy $50 or so, as well as the $ you invested in a drum. They work hut are a PITA to assemble.

a box of dirt, an 8” long 3/4” schedule 40 pipe nipple and a double action bed pump makes a nice little forge that handles 1” stock.

I wish you new guys would come here first.

That is awesome, and looks pretty danged easy to build.  You are absolutely right that it would have saved me some heartache and cash, however, I already am going down the road, might as well finish now.  Hey, at least I asked about the 1" pipe before using it ;-), do I get half credit there?  So... I am taking back the 1", searching for 2".  Swapping my huge blower for a smaller one and I need to make sure I put an air gate of some sort.  As for the air gate, do I 'need' this or can I get a rheostat type of device and just control current to the fan?  

~Dave

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17 minutes ago, 4elements said:

Auto supply stores carry an assortment of exhaust pipe repair pieces that will assemble with U- bolts, no welding, no threading. I haven't seen a T but maybe you could find a Y. They also have flex.

Good idea... I go to the auto parts stuff almost weekly anyway, not sure why I didn't think of exhaust parts.  I have the exhaust pipe from an old diesel truck I used to own, I will see if I can use that.  

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If your fan will work with a " dimmer" switch then yeah. 

I use a variable speed router controller from HF on mine. Has the plug and outlet already on it and full on, off, and variable switch on it. before that I made a gate to go over the inlet of my blower to adjust the amount of air flow by hand. 

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9 minutes ago, Daswulf said:

I guess having a welder and tons of brake rotors makes some things easier on building the rotor forge. And the whole rotor forge is way cheaper then even buying just a new ready made forge pot. 

It's really just two sides of the cheaper forge coin in my opinion. I built a rotor forge setup ( same as mine)for my friend and having made a few already it was quick and easy. 

Having the right tool for the job definitely does make life easier.  Maybe one of these days I will learn to weld.  Before having an interest in building a forge, I scrapped dozens of brake drums/rotors.  I guess I need to be more of a hoarder!  

Just now, Daswulf said:

If your fan will work with a " dimmer" switch then yeah. 

I use a variable speed router controller from HF on mine. Has the plug and outlet already on it and full on, off, and variable switch on it. before that I made a gate to go over the inlet of my blower to adjust the amount of air flow by hand. 

Perfect!  Will go to HF today to see what they have. 

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I'd say your outer two rows of drilled holes are probably redundant. No great issue just leaving them there (as long as nothing flamable is under your forge, as hot ash and small coals may drop through them)

I'd widen up the entry slot / notch, (give you a bit more room to move) back side is probably fine as is.

Otherwise looking good!

 

I've just dropped my coke forge in to a similar tray. So I am really hoping your idea works well  :)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

In the future, rotate the fire pot 90. Working from the side is traditinal, especially when you get around to adding a side draft hood

Are you saying rotate my pot so the notches are from front to back instead of left to right?  

10 minutes ago, Jackdawg said:

I'd say your outer two rows of drilled holes are probably redundant. No great issue just leaving them there (as long as nothing flamable is under your forge, as hot ash and small coals may drop through them)

I'd widen up the entry slot / notch, (give you a bit more room to move) back side is probably fine as is.

Otherwise looking good!

 

I've just dropped my coke forge in to a similar tray. So I am really hoping your idea works well  :)

 

 

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The holes in the bottom as you see it is actually holes in a cast floor drain that I plan on using.  There are 5 'lug' holes already there that I plan to use bolts to hold the drain disc on.  that will go on top of the flange that I still need to buy and drop in the top.  basically the flange will just give me the threaded 2" bottom hole that I can attach a pipe to.  

What do I need to think about now to integrate a 'clinker breaker' in the design?

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Jackdawg, if you are set on using that forge pot in a table like that ( which will make holding extra fuel to be raked in easier) , cutting off those sides of the pot will make your life a lot easier. 

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Yes. So now you stand facing the forge from the long side and can place long rods across the table, using coal the extra fuel can be stored on the table. As well as tools and pieces to strong side. Bricks to fill in that 1/2 the table gives you a nice place to lay hot stuff, tools and parts. Ad a side draft hood were the existing slot is and you will have a very nice traditinal looking forge. 

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22 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Jackdawg, if you are set on using that forge pot in a table like that ( which will make holding extra fuel to be raked in easier) , cutting off those sides of the pot will make your life a lot easier. 

yeah, she was originally built to burn charcoal /wood, and sit in a skeleton frame, first go she wasn't deep enough, hence the higher sides which worked a treat.  I have since moved to coke, so the extra depth I added is redundant now, it doesn't annoy me, so I have not cut it off - yet!

No doubt with it now sitting in the tray it wont be long before I go and get the angle grinder!.

Or perhaps I just might make another pot and put this old girl in the shed, we get periodic coke shortages here, so no doubt I'll be back to burning charcoal / wood sooner rather than later!

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