DungeonX

my forge is finally operating. Can I get some advice?

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20# propane forge is operating Kaowool, refractory cement and plistix. double sidearm 3/4" burners with stainless flares. Good blue flame seems to jump out a good 2 or more inches.

Q1. How long should a single railroad spike take to heat up to forging temp? Avg.. just to have something to expect or compare too.

Q2. Should the stainless flares get red hot or does that mean I should get them pulled back a little more? 

Q3. Flames run blue but have an occasional orange flame puff and then continue blue. Does this mean something else needs adjusting?

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#1 Depends on if the forge is up to temperature, if it's up to yellow I'd say 10 min or so from cold.

#2 I would pull the flares back into the refractory.

#3 I would say normal until all the new is worn off and the forge settles in. A picture of it running at temp would help.

BTW the forge looks good to me. Others with much more experience will be along shortly I'm sure.

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Move the burners back before they melt.

Change out the brick floor for something better.

You need angle on the forge face to use bricks to control heat loss.

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Ok I will move back the burners. What would be a better floor, I was thinking that using the brick would allow it to be replaced easily later. and I'm not sure what you mean by "You need angle on the forge face to use bricks to control heat loss."

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ahhhhhh, haha yes I should have known that. Yes I do plan on doing that. I still have to learn how to weld

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Ok I will look in on the kiln shelf. I couldn't wait I went back outside. It took less than 8 minutes and the spike was red hot.

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I  have porches front and back.  set some work on it but they allow me to set bricks on for doors, or take away easily if not wanted.  I didn't find kiln shelf locally and went with the split hard bricks 2600 degree for the floor.  coated them with plistix.  I have a single burner and it doesn't seem to hurt me too bad.  with two burners, I don't expect it to be a problem.   Looks like a nice build

 

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Typically, a 2600 F rated brick is made up with at least semi-insulating refractory, and should work okay. Coated with Plistex, I would move that okay rating up to fine and dandy :)

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Ok so this afternoon I ran the forge for an hour and hammered my first spike in to something resembling a knife shape(to me anyway). The forge ran well and the refractory actually  was glowing a soft orange.

Q1. is that expected? I am assuming yes.

Q2. I am trying to draw out some length and width while battling the tendency to twist. Any advice?

I need to work on my grip strength cause after swinging the 2lb hammer for an hour I can barely type this message... haha

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Gripping too tightly may be a problem too.  Is your hammer handle the correct size for your hand?  (We come from over a million years of tool using monkeys---we are allowed to modify our tools to work best for *us*!)

Twisting: hammer control and use your postvise to untwist before it gets too severe.

Any issues with sabering?

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The handle is an old antique wooden handle. I don't think it seems oversized to my hand.

What is sabering can you give me a quick run through.

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Sabering  is when the blade starts curving like a saber due to the bevels being pounded out on only one side.  Common starting mistake---like using a mild steel RR spike for a knife blade. (HC spikes to out at 30 points the line between mild steel and medium carbon steel)

Looking at the impact dings on your piece you need to change the height or your anvil and/or dress your hammer face and work on your hammer control.

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Yep, assuming you are gripping it from the head end, I'd guess your anvil is too low.  

12 hours ago, Mikey98118 said:

...semi-insulating refractory...fine and dandy :)

I didn't know that Mike.  thanks

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Rhomboids are a part of life as a blackmith [at least *this* one].

The main thin I have learned about forging is to watch what your material is doing and make corrections as soon as you notice anything is not exactly what you want. Not after one more strike, or on the next heat. Stop everything you are doing, right now, and look over the material carefully and decide what you must do to make it exactly the way you want it.

If you do anything else the problem is going to get worse, and may go beyond saving the work you have already done.

This, for me, was my main breakthrough to forging decent work. Once this becomes your main focus your work will start to improve immediately. As you gain experience you will be able to make better corrections and throw less things in the scrap pile.

I usually take a good heat, rotate my material so the 'high' edge is up, and pound it down. Rotate to the next high spot. Rinse and repeat.

The vise is also useful to correct twists, as mentioned above, while material is good and hot.

Keep swinging the hammer- it gets easier!

Dave

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2 hours ago, DungeonX said:

I need to work on my grip strength cause after swinging the 2lb hammer for an hour I can barely type this message... haha

There is more than one way to grip and swing a hammer without causing yourself any problems.  However, there are some "techniques" which are indeed known to cause problems.  For instance, resting your thumb along the length of the hammer handle when striking will send the shock of the impact through your thumb and into your arm, and that will cause damage over time.  Another known issue is, as TP said, gripping the handle too tightly.  If you do this you'll most likely feel pain on the top of your arm (with your hand palm down) near your elbow.  If you are gripping too tightly and continue to hammer that way you will end up with tennis elbow. The grip on the hammer should be loose enough that someone could fairly easily pull it from your grasp.  To avoid it slipping out of your hand while you are working you can leave a flare or knob at the end of the handle which is larger than the rest of the handle.  I was surprised at how much material I removed from "standard" hammer handles sold at big box stores in order for them to be comfortable to me when smithing.  YMMV.

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