Nick Owen

Refractory inhalation

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Good morning, afternoon and night to all!

I am trying to get a forge set up (UK) and keep tossing between gas and coal/coke. I would prefer gas but I have serious issue with inhalation of refractory. Clearly coal/coke has it's own health issues but I had a health scare with spending days carrying/cutting huge quantities of what was likely asbestos (turned out otherwise after lab tests thankfully) and now I really don't like dealing with ceramic fibres. 

Are there any refractory materials that are body safe and could be used in a gas forge or should I just go with coal/coke and deal with what would likely be just as bad but less anxiety inducing?

Thanks in advance and go gentle, I am very aware of how absurd this anxiety is but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there that have fears of things I couldn't give a toss about either ;) 

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My understanding is that the ceramic fibers are safe until they have been exposed to forge temp. So handling them and installation is safe. Rigidizer is highly recommended as to trap the fibers and render them safe after they have been heated (aplied before initial heat) further for durability it is recommended to install a thin coat of castable refractory for mechanical protection. 

Their apears to be at least one type of soft (insulating) fire brick that will servive the repeated heating and cooling of hobie forges, and I believe their are castables. 

The forge 101 thread would be a good place to catch up.

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Thanks for the replies. I think after spending the last few hours of research (including a number of posts here) I will just go coal/coke. The only issue that I'm getting is that being in the UK the only reasonably priced kit doesn't seem to have a fire pot but is flat bottomed so will need to do some reading on how well that works/how to best work it if I'm going to purchase one.

I am aware of the health issues with being around coal/coke burning as well but ceramic fibres/dust just scare the xxxx out of me and they are just so pervasive. As I will be working in an area that my daughter also plays in (not at the same time) I will feel better not using refractory. 

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If you're wanting to go down the gas route, vitcas sell body soluble ceramic fibre, ridgidiser, and castable refractory. 

They're based in Bristol, but postage on the mainland shouldn't be too bad. 

I ended up paying 50 quid postage to NI, but overall it wasn't too pricey considering I got two large forges out of what I bought from them. 

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Contact the Iron Dwarf on this forum. He makes a nice solid fuel forge.

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There are soluble refractory blanket materials which will be cleared from lungs, sinuses, etc. Thank you JAV, contact info for the supplier and everything. :)

There are breathing hazards associated with ceramic fiber refractories, make no mistake but like mesothelioma it takes pretty long term exposure or everybody over 40 or so would be dead. Take the precautions of using the: safer blanket, proper PPE, work with an exhaust fan, wet it down before handling, cutting, etc. to contain the fibers and lastly rigidize it. When encapsulated vitrified fibers can't break off and become airborne. And yes vitrified ceramic fibers are more dangerous than as made from the factory. Still you don't want to be breathing it if you can avoid it. Avoiding a hazard doesn't mean running screaming like you see advised for galvanized steel, there are reasonable and effective precautions that make it safe for long term use.

Oh yeah, a hard inner liner of: 3,000 f. water set, high alumina, castable refractory provides mechanically robust thermal and physical armor for the blanket. It also encapsulates the blanket in a concrete hard material.

Don't give up, it can be done safely and we'll help. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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hi Nick

how you line my forges depends on fuel you use, coke, coal, charcoal, peat and many more, simplest is coke, one shovel of sand in the bottom, coal or coal some firebricks, peat not sure yet

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2 hours ago, Glenn said:

Contact the Iron Dwarf on this forum. He makes a nice solid fuel forge.

Funny you say that, it was from him that I was going to buy ;) 

24 minutes ago, the iron dwarf said:

hi Nick

how you line my forges depends on fuel you use, coke, coal, charcoal, peat and many more, simplest is coke, one shovel of sand in the bottom, coal or coal some firebricks, peat not sure yet

And then here is the man himself ;) It's a small and very helpful world :P

Coke seems reasonable, if more difficult to get hold of. Do you just need to stack the burning coke up to make a deeper pile to forge in (as the bottom is flat). Does the sand just help with heat retention? 

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Not so strange, I have my setting to alert me via email or a little floating flag if I'm on a web site if my name comes up in a thread.

Frosty The Lucky.

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the fire in my forges is roughly conical, it is controlled by depth of fuel and airflow, airflow is controlled by a ball valve.

turning the air down to no more than is needed saves fuel, come and visit for a chat when you can.

have just got back tonight from a weekend of demoing at stratford on avon and need a little rest now and then to unpack and to get ready for the next event

I got a message from someone here, thank you to that person

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One of your forges is my preferred choice right now. I just need to find a time to come over (it was me emailing you ;)

I think that just for the fact that you are happy to demo is a great selling point. Just can't wait to get set up!

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lat me know when is convenient for you, we are normally open from about 9.30am to 5 pm, the forge may be going from about 11am most days

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