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I Forge Iron

Safety questions for new forgers


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Hi everyone,

My son, who is 13, has put together a forge of sorts using a grill and charcoal embers. Using a blower and a graphite crucible he has melted aluminum. When I realized what he was doing I made him stop because he has no safety equipment. I don’t want to keep him from doing it as it Is something he’s really interested in but I’m terrified he could hurt himself. He’s smart and careful but I know accidents happen. Does anyone have any advice as to how to keep him safe? Classes, information, advice? Thanks!

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There is a metal casting forum called alloyavenue.com. They would be best to know the dangers of foundry work.

Just from melting lead for sinkers I can tell you that you want ABSOLUTELY NO MOISTURE to get into the melted metal. It turns to steam and can blow the metal all over the place.

Some YouTube videos can get you killed or injured. Good thing you are taking this seriously.

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Well, since I don't know your location, I can't help you as far as classes go, but metal pouring is definitely something to stay away from until you know what you are doing. Protective clothing is a must, but he will never be safe without a clear head and proper education. Liquid metal doesn't care how many fingers you think you should have.

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We do not know where you are nor if there any art colleges smith associations nearby. Some art schools teach smithing and some teach foundry work.

He may wish to try black smithing before any handling of molten metal. The latter is vey dangerous work and some people with little knowledge get maimed or even killed every year doing same.

The net videos and information is often written by uneducated inexperienced and presumptuous fools. Following some of their suggestions and recommendations can your son killed.

Young fellows can learn and do blacksmithing. Glenn's youngest son started at 6 years old or younger. He is not the only one. But supervision by an experienced smith is important. Especially when starting out. There may be a blacksmith association near by where he can try hammering hot steel at their get togethers.

Where are you?

I suggest that you read the thread entitled "getting started" it is invaluable.

Incidentally, a member Mr. JHCC has compiled a list of knowledgeable smith video authors, for this site.

Welcome to you and your son. Let him join I. F. I. too.



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Education is the first safety equipment needed. Followed by protecting everything he would like to keep, clear safety glasses, gas welding glasses at shade 3 to cut down on the IR/UV from the fire, a full face shield, hearing protection, cotton clothing, etc. Most important a Plan B for when (not if) something goes wrong. Fire extinguishers should always be handy.

Yes it can be done. Doing it safely is the key.

If you nudge him into blacksmithing he can still play with fire, hot metal, and a related craft. The dangers are still there but more manageable. 

Either way get involved with him and learn with him. Having some you trust watching out and assisting is a great help. 

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Welcome Jill, please see the Example

Kiln both the ingot moulds on top of the melting furnace before casting (bronze). However, during pouring there was still a drop of water in between the welding joints. Glad to wear the complete ‘Mounty’ of PPE’s while the hydrogen explosion. My brother in law made by casualty a video from a safe distance where the screenshots from below.

This can happen with all liquid metals, so if you start melting and casting take care of proper and complete PPE and know what you are doing.


Hydrogen 1.JPG

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Many community colleges offer classes in jewelry making that include casting as a segment.  I learned at an "out of hours" (non-credit) Brass casting class that was taught through a university's art department. I strongly suggest you don't try casting without experienced mentoring!  I consider molten lead to be far more dangerous than steel that's twice it's temperature---but still a solid! (and I have been smithing for 37 years now and casting for 34.)

As a parent I tried to help my kids live dangerously in as safe a manner as possible!

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