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I Forge Iron

Pros/Cons of building a new forge


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Ok, I've been using my rivet forge for a while and I've got some questions about it as pertaining to "Fire health" as forging progresses.

I don't have any specs on the forge other than it is basically a cast iron basin about two to three inches high supported by 4 pipe legs. There is a steel plate with holes drilled into it that forms the air grate. Below that is a length of steel pipe with a T in it that goes to where the blower is attached and a screw in end that seals the bottom of the T.

What I find is that when I first start with a clean forge and new coal things work great. But as things progress it seems that I have problems attaining the higher heat associated with forge welding, etc. So that if I turn off the blower for any length of time the coals go out completely. It also seems that I am using a heck of a lot more coal than I should.

Also with it having the high walls all the way around, I am limited in the lengths of steel that I can put in and heat. I either have to build a very high fire or bend the bar to get it to where I need to apply heat. This is primarily the reason why I'm thinking of making another forge. But I want to also try and figure out if there is something I need to do to resolve the issue to improve the fire health over the entire forging session.

Let me know if this makes sense or if you can make any suggestions. Thanks.


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I have an old rivet forge similar to what you describe though I haven't used it in quite a while.

What I did was make a duck's nest around the air grate with damp fire clay. A duck's nest is a shallow depression surrounding the air grate.

It doesn't really serve as a fire pot but does contain the fire somewhat. I place fire brick around it to make whatever size "fire pot" I need at the time.

When I built my "big" forge I did the same thing though the duck's nest is larger, about 5" sq. x 2 1/2" deep and works as a small fire pot without fire bricks around it.

Before you build another forge for yourself you might get together with smiths in your area and see how you like different types of forge.

Once you decide what you like building a forge is about as difficult as putting a top on a table.

Cool name for your smithy by the way. ;)


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Good excuse to play with Sketchup Frosty :D

Like I need an excuse? Maybe Dan needs to download Sketchup?

Seriously though except for making sure the pieces fit I wouldn't make more than a quick sketch of a forge.

What I prefer is a largish 3' x 4' table with a refractory top, fire brick for the one I have now. About 1' from the back 3' from the front is the air grate and duck's nest. In this one the nest is a gap in the fire brick table top that's been smoothed with rammed in fire clay.

The rest is just 4 legs, spreaders, tuyere and blower mount. simple, simple, simple.

A side draft hood requires some planning but not the forge, they're just too simple.

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