AZBL

Beginner looking for First Forge Advice

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Hey everyone, so I am trying to find out what forge I should get. I am a complete beginner and just came back from poking around at a local open forge night (which makes me even more anxious to get started). My question is what propane forge would you all recommend for a beginner. I need to stick with propane due to living in a suburban area with an HOA. I found "Devil-Forge" online and the "DFSW" or "DFSW2" model seems to be a nice beginner forge for the price. As well as "Hell's-Forge" on Ebay which looks similar to the other forge mentioned. What do you all think of this? Any other suggestions/opinions are welcome! 

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Well, I was going to say build a JABOD and run charcoal. Does your HOA permit BBQ's?

I believe there are some reviews in the gas forge threads.

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Check out the Build a Gas Forge attachment at the Forge Supplies page on my web-site.  You can build a better, cheaper, more efficient forge than those commercially available.  Couple the attachment with the Frosty T Burner instructions on this site.

Let me know if I can help you.  You can find my url and other contact info on my profiles page.  I prefer e-mails.

Wayne

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Note by not telling us what type of blacksmithing you intend to do it makes forge suggestions pretty much a guess---example: I need to buy a vehicle; should I get a 15 person van, a dumptruck or a bass boat?

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Re: devil-forge, I think you'll find that the experts here at IFI rate them as... well, adequate.

 Personally, I bought one because I liked the price, but I found that I needed to buy more wool, the brick provided didn't work well as a forge floor, and I would probably build a Frosty T-burner over using the one provided. 

Which means at the end of the day, I bought an expensive forge shell with a bit of ceramic blanket inside it. Your mileage may vary. 

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8 hours ago, WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith said:

You can build a better, cheaper, more efficient forge than those commercially available.  Couple the attachment with the Frosty T Burner instructions on this site.

Thank you for the awesome suggestions! Unfortunately, I am a broke college student who has no fancy tools, so I doubt I would be able to make this as of right now. That's why I was looking at buying an already assembled forge. I was definately utilize you're instructions in the near future though!

4 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Note by not telling us what type of blacksmithing you intend to do it makes forge suggestions pretty much a guess---example: I need to buy a vehicle; should I get a 15 person van, a dumptruck, or a bass boat?

Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what type of blacksmithing I want to do. Since I have zero experience I plan to utilize some of the basic blacksmithing classes that areniffered in my area and then be able to practice what I learned there at home with my own setup. 

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4 minutes ago, AZBL said:

I am a broke college student who has no fancy tools

If you can purchase a NEW forge, then you can purchase the tools and other items you need to build your own gas forge, and use the remainder to pay off part of your student loan. After you get the forge built, you will still have the tools, which will make the tools effectively free.

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Do you have a place away from home to work? Have you checked at the school for metalworking programs? I took blacksmithing classes at my community college at night. Some high schools offer adult night classes as well.

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2 hours ago, Glenn said:

If you can purchase a NEW forge, then you can purchase the tools and other items you need to build your own gas forge, and use the remainder to pay off part of your student loan. After you get the forge built, you will still have the tools, which will make the tools effectively free.

I could always buy used tools, never thought about that. I'll start looking around, thanks!

51 minutes ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Do you have a place away from home to work? Have you checked at the school for metalworking programs? I took blacksmithing classes at my community college at night. Some high schools offer adult night classes as well.

I did look, unfortunately the only school that offers actual blacksmithing courses is a few cities over which would not be economical for me to drive there and back. My local community college only offers welding classes (which I might take down the road anyway). 

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The tools you would need to make a forge would be; an angle grinder, a drill, and some bits to use on the drill. Ryobi makes great tools and you can get their angle grinder new for around $40. I'm sure they have a corded drill in that bracket too. The bits you can just buy what you need and get away around $10. The burner itself I believe requires a tap? I'm not sure, but you can get that at around $3-5. 

Over all I think you'd be better off getting the tools, you will use them often, and making your own forge.

Are you sure a JABOD is out of the question? Take a look at mine made from a cheap BBQ grill. It runs lump charcoal and looks just like any other BBQ until you open it up.

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I was going to ask what the recommended tools would be, thank you! And now that everyone is suggesting a JABOD, I will be looking into what my HOA would allow and not allow.

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Ask if they will allow a BBQ grill, which is something they will recognize. If you say forge, they may not have any idea as to what it is, how it works, or any other information and slam on the brakes for lack of information. Explaining will not help. 

You can still grill a stake or two using the forge and real charcoal if you want. 

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I would scour your rental agreement prior to forging, just so you have the details and understand the implications. Also, I would verify your renter’s insurance to see if there are clauses for these types of activities. Just know what you are getting into before you commence

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No newbie has any business doing hot work outside of something like a welding class, or some other area dedicated to hot work.

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Mikey people gotta learn somehow.  If there is no one around to teach you go with trial and error.  It also helps finding places like this to ask questions.

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The reason I am wanting to have my own setup is to practice what I learn from blacksmithing classes I take. Though of course, it'll be for experimenting on my own as well.

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If you watch Craigslist there is someone in Sun City that seems to get a bunch vises and tools and sells them off once in a while,. Every time I go to my sisters house (also in Peoria) I forget to go check him out. Look into the Az Artists Blacksmiths Association. They have a bunch of members in Phoenix area

 

Bob

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Ditto on the tools; From time to time I will build a gas forge using only a hacksaw and an portable electric drill.  You don't need a welder or a machine shop. So I tend to read these sorts of posts as "I can't afford to spend $20 on tools I can reuse for years; so I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars for stuff that will wear out over time and have to be replaced anyway."

Learn how to evaluate used tools. a top of the line tool that's seen a lot of use may still have a decade or two more life in it than a brand new HF tool. (I use an arc welder that's probably older than I am and I can count the years to retirement on one hand...)

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On 3/8/2018 at 9:18 AM, Exo313 said:

Re: devil-forge, I think you'll find that the experts here at IFI rate them as... well, adequate.

I would call their single burner tunnel forges as adequate; their more expensive forges I consider a bad deal.

For about the same amount of money as their cheapest forges, you could build your own turn-key helium cylinder or Freon cylinder forge and get a much better finished product, and a couple of tools to boot.

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7 hours ago, Mikey98118 said:

would call their single burner tunnel forges as adequate; their more expensive forges I consider a bad deal.

100% agree the thing no one takes in to consideration with DF or many of the other "cheap" brands is they are not turn key.  You are basicly buying a very expensive shell.  

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They also come with an adequate burner; I think most builders get into a lot more trouble getting the burner right, then building the rest of a forge; First with overconfidence, and ending with high anxiety :D

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I am in a similar situation in as far as I'm looking  to buy a forge. I have started forging with a  soft firebrick and torch forge. using a claw hammer and HF small anvil! I wish to find some classes near me and so far I have only attended youtube university. I have picked up a few more items but I do not yet have a welder. I have been looking at forges in the $400 range. I am looking very hard at the Mathewson metals metalsmith forge. The only thing holding me back is the small size. I was looking at the majestic but they seem to be several shortcomings with the design. If anyone has any experience with ready made forges in my price ranges I would love to hear them. I want something that I already lined. I will attach some of my work so far.

Thanks Russ

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On 3/8/2018 at 2:26 PM, AZBL said:

I could always buy used tools, never thought about that. I'll start looking around, thanks!

While you are buying those tools, spend some time learning what makes a good burner and a good forge. Whether you build or buy, the ignorance tax on forges and burners is quite steep. The more you learn the more you will buy with your time and money.

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Well I built my first two propane forges at forge building workshops put on by a local ABANA affiliate; as I recall the more expensive one was around US$125 and I've been using it for over 15 years now with a reline every x number of years...

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