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I am new to this forum and to forging itself, so please bear with me :)

I have always been fascinated by the concept of molding metal to your will, into things that you imagine and can use afterwards. (A cool sword with a scabbard is my end goal) I chose a solid fuel for my first forge and I can't seem to get the charcoal hot enough to get  to red for whatever reason? I know I should easily get orange/yellow temperatures with steel, but for some reason, which I suspect to be my air supply, it's just frustration and a lack of forging going on.

I'm using Crown Oak natural charcoal (broken into 1-2" pieces), hair dryer, 2800 degree rated fire brick (2 or so inches thick), and a 2-3/8" chain link pole cut to size with slots pointed to the fire (side blower). My very first attempt, I used a metal vent metal thing with hose clamps for a tube, pointed directly into the briquettes (again I switched to real charcoal) and managed redish/low orange heat but ran out of fuel halfway so I made a compromised butter knife haha. Now, I can't get even red heat for some reason, and I feel like I am going crazy. The first forge was just inn the dirt with walls and a ceiling. The new one I built a little higher and made the floor, walls and ceiling out of brick now. Again, I suspect air flow is the culprit as the amount of charcoal isn't a problem (micro tabletop forges got orange heat that were inside of a literal bread pan). I don't know if I need more air flow and/or volume (wider tubes?) 

Yes, I looked for classes and they were booked until October near November and I would lose interest by then haha. I might try joining a blacksmithing group in plain township (Ohio) if they have one so they can help me out? Was also looking at a simple forge like this as I don't want to fork out 150-250  dollars for a welder for a brake drum forge. 




I very much want to explore this craft as I've basically not started it technically. I am slightly discouraged, but I don't give up that easily haha. Here is my sad, deformed, scratched (but shiny) butter knife I made, which, I am oddly proud of. The plus is I used a bolt, so it has those serrations that look cool (which I totally planned for... yup) Mind my hound lol she wouldn't move. I was also wondering about this mask I bought for zinc fumes. 






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Welcome to IFI! If you haven’t yet, please READ THIS FIRST!!!

First of all, if you aren’t creating zinc fumes, you won’t need a mask for them. Keep anything galvanized away from your fire!

Go read the JABOD threads in the Solid Fuel Forges section; lots of great info there for making an effective, low-cost forge. 

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Can you get some pictures of your forge you have now? Empty and one with it running. 

You might be getting too much air. There are still a few unknowns to say about your setup right now. Some pictures might show us what problems might exist. 

As far as the video, I'd recommend staying away from pc pipe unless it's just an extension of the horizontal air inlet. 


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Are the air holes now clogged with ash? How big are the slots?

Ohio has a bunch of smithing groups including the 800 pound gorilla one---SOFA -we used to carpool from Columbus to go to SOFA meetings.

Check the ABANA affiliate list for one of the northern ones that would be closer to you.

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Das, with what looks like at least 3” of insulation (Clayed soil) between the pvc and the fire it’s should be fine, but bottom blast, very large bowl and an unregulated hair drier are all problematic. I see no real reason for the stove cement or hi temp paint exept as security theater. 

So for some reason bottom blast forges and charcoal require deep beds of fuel to reach welding heat.

charcoal needs very little air and infact tomuch will acualy cool the fire.

as fire spread is an issue with charcoal (coal for the most part burns only in the presence of forced air), one can only hand forge about 6” at a time and unnesisaraly heating steel (particularly higher carbon content) can lead to grain growth and decarbersization a large fire bowl just wastes fuel. 

As one can see the Mark III forge is only about 1” above the tuyer, with a 1-2” pile of fuel. In topical operation the fire is just above working heat, steel heats rather slowly but thoroley. To come to welding heat the higher fuel pile and vigorous pumping is required but it works best if one brings it up to forging temp first, then begins pumping more vigorously. 

Can any one link the video of the grey building a JABOD and forging with it, I can’t find it.

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11 hours ago, Gavin L said:

I might try joining a blacksmithing group in plain township (Ohio)

There are Plain Townships in Stark, Wood, Franklin, and Wayne Counties; which one are you in?

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18 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

That’s the one Master Russell. 

I noticed the rocks cracked from the heat in the video @Dale Russell  shared, but I have firericks rated for 2800 f so that should work. I also dug up and refined a good paint can sized lump of natural clay to use for joint/dirt. This design looks good, I noticed he has a very big hole that centers the heat which I assume is the firepot, which might be why I couldn't get heat smh. I heard manual pumps are better for conservation of fuel and for charcoal so I'll swap out the hairdryer if it's too much air. 

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I have melted fire brick, lol.  Adobe/cob will work if you don’t want to go to the expense. In the case of the Mark III JABOD forge inside brick to make it portable, the mark I and the Original JABOD forge just used the clay rich soil under my feet. 

If you leave an air gap you can adjust air flow buy moving the hair drier in or out, making the gap larger or smaller. I like the pump as it is quit and I don’t get distracted and burn steel as often.

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