MaxRV

Confused about Fire Bricks

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Yes, I am a brand new hobbyist.  I have decided to build a small propane gas forge but have become very confused on what type of fire bricks to use.  I have read dozens of posts and watched numerous videos but no one really explains the types of bricks required.  I have heard of soft bricks, hard bricks, refractory bricks, ceramic bricks, etc., yet have no idea what I need to get started.  What I am looking to build is something where I can start out with a simple torch and a propane canister like you would buy at the hardware store.  Starting out, I just want to make simple tools (punches and stuff) and little things like bottle openers, just to develop some basic skills.  Is there a certain typeof brick I should purchase that would work best with the type of torch I am looking to use and the small size of the forge?  If I am totally off-base, I won't get offended.  Feel free to tell me the direction to go.  Thanks.

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Their are two kinds of fire bricks commonly referd to, both being refractory (heat resistant) to a greater or lesser degree. Hard brick resists mechanical damage, but being dense are heat sinks not insulation. Wile soft bricks are insulation but not resistant to mechanical damage. Their are only a few soft bricks that will withstand the thermal cycling of a hobbies forge ( one not running 24/7)  mike knows the brands and part numbers not me. 

Oh, as far as I know all rife bricks are ceramic. 

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You can make a one or two brick forge with a propane hand torch.  It's not optimal, but it will work.  You'll be using soft, insulting fire bricks - I'd recommend the ones rated for 2600 degrees F - you can buy them at Zoeller Forge or from Axner Pottery supply, or EBay. The soft brick can easily be carved out to make a small heating chamber.  I'd recommend instead that  you make a coffee-can forge and make a 1/2" frosty t-burner, you'll spend about as much money over the course of a year and have a lot more versatility.  PM if you want to discuss further.

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7 hours ago, MaxRV said:

Starting out, I just want to make simple tools (punches and stuff) and little things like bottle openers, just to develop some basic skills. 

 

then you don't need brick at all. What you want is a coffee-can forge. If you build a 1/2" Frosty T" burner, then you can use a none refillable Freon or helium cylinder to make the next size up knife maker's forge; this is what I would suggest you do.

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ditto, coffee can forge lined with kaowool and that coated on the interior.

search on coffee can forge,  soup can forge, bean can forge, microforge for ideas and remember to use a browser search with site:iforgeiron.com  rather than the forum search!

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Thank you for all the great advice. I have found a wealth of design info doing a browser search and think I have enough to put one together. I'll post pics or a video once It's complete so yall can tell me everything I did wrong. Thanks again.

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Well, with everyones guidance and recommendations I started with a small Bean Can Forge as a learning platform. Since then I've built a 1/2 Frosty T Burner and started a Coffee Can Forge (Pics attached).  I hope to have it ready to fire up by Sunday. Thank you everyone for your help!

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I'd check with Frosty on the configuration of your 1/2" TEE burner.  From the photo it appears that you may have the following issues:

  1. Used standard TEE instead of reducing TEE
  2. MIG tip orifice has visual burr (orifice size is critical for these, what size tip did you use?)
  3. MIG tip may be already cut too short, making it difficult to tune
  4. MIG tip for this size burner may need to be a tapered type

Otherwise it looks like you are well on your way.  What were you planning on using for forge insulation?

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Thank you for the input and I will certainly check those things out. I did go with a half inch by half inch t just based on someone else's recommendation who used to use a half inch T burner. The length of the Mig tip was just an estimate based on some photos I saw. As far as my insulation I'm using wool, rigidizer, and ITC 100 HT. I'm just starting out in making very small projects I'm hoping that I'll be able to reach a suitable temperature to learn.

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