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I Forge Iron
Louie DeBono

My first attempt at a forge. Critique please and any tips are appreciated

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Hey folks. Just finished my first attempt at making a forge. I used an old propane tank. Being a proud and ever cautious single parent of an eight year old little girl, I actually chose to place it in the ground, partially covered with soil. I lined the hole with red brick. I used a heavy steel pipe for a chimney of sorts and also as an access point for a bellows. Which is where I got stuck for a bit. No local stores had any old school bellows, so I was forced to make do with what I had I hand and used an old electric sir mattress inflator, which I converted to cordless using a battery pack from a busted dremel tool. I'm a little sketchy on this item as I didn't have any real heat resistant tubing and had to make due with heavy gage rubber hose, with a brass coupling on the end, which hopefully will so the job. Any recommendations on fuel? I live in a rural area and have a pine forest along our property. So that's convenient. I included some photos of this monstrosity. 

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for a solid fuel forge for charcoal, coke, coal and most other fuels you dont want a forge enclosed like that, see the JABOD thread for a very simple and cheap design

also you are going to be getting hot enough inside it to burn steel and the case is made of steel

a simple b ox filled with dirt and with a non galvanised steel pipe into the bottom will be far better

 

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All you needed was a hole in the ground and that pipe you used for the flue would suffice for a tuyree. That are many ways to mke a hand powered bellows, I use a Japanese style box bellows. For fuel, pine is fine, you can either burn down seasoned wood (including pine cones) or you can make your own charcoal. It's all been fully explained here on IFI many times over.

In fact you could probably make use of that tank as a charcoal retort. Cut the flue off, make the door sealable, fill it with wood and turn it flue hole down and sit it on a wood fire on your hole in the ground forge.

 

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Louie, I'm at a loss as to what you have made there. A simple box of dirt forge would serve you fine with only needing the 3/4" steel pipe feeding into the dirt/clay formed fire pot from the air source. You could even build it into the ground kinda like you did there if you wanted to but I'm at a loss what the chamber is and how the air is fueling the fuel. 

You certainly could use dry pine as a fuel source if you wanted. Either making charcoal or burning it and transferring the coals. 

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Strongly suggest you attend a local ABANA affiliate meeting and learn the characteristics of types of forges before you build one. That looks like you have heard of forges but never seen one before---and certainly never used one.

I've built and used my own forges for 37 years now and I can't tell how that would work as a forge!  I did once build an Y1K style forge bellows for less than US$1 for bought parts. Oak veneered plywood from a tossed out printer cabinet  (back in the old days when printers were noisy), trashed vinyl  from an awning, old *1960"s?) tubular table leg for the snout, etc. Only stuff I bought was a some staples and some nails. 

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Brother, I don’t know were to start. You have some kind of furnace, not exactly a forge. Lots off work went into designing somthing that probably isn’t very efferent.

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A long forge or furnace for for heat treating a a blade is only used for less than 1% of knife work, much less general forging. For thousands of years some kind of pipe or galery led to the bottom of a shallow hole, say 3-5” deep bottom blast forges started coming along in the Industrial Age, with threaded pipe and cast iron. Again this is generally a small fire from 8-12 across. Now your furnace may work well for heat treat and heating large crosssection stock but I don’t imagine it’s to good for general hand forging as you can only work less than 6” buy hand at a time, and repeatable and unessisary hearing generally leads to grain growth. 

Simple side blast forges and  simple bottom blast forges are pretty easy to build, A simple box of dirt with either a 3/4” schedual 40 pipe coming in from the side at about 4” from the hearth or a two inch pipe coming up with a pipe cap with a 3/4” hole drilled in it coming about the same hight from the hearth are about the simplest. From here it’s just fancier materials. 

the Gas bottle you have would make a heavy wall gas forge shell. 

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