Lupercal

First forge

Recommended Posts

So I've just started blacksmithing. Currently I've been practicing hammer control on making miniature swords out of old nails using a blowtorch for heating but I'm really looking to get an actual coal fire going. I've seen a lot of posts, videos. etc about ways to go about this but they all have varying concerns for me and so I decided to make my own post so you guys can help me decide how to go about this. I'd prefer to go "old school " where possible as a large part of learning to Smith is the medieval history aspect so I want to do coal and manual bellows. I'd seen some stuff that i can use clay? I live in an area that red clay is abundant. Could I form and shape an "oven" forge out of red clay? Any suggestions are welcome and I'll reply with my concerns if any so you can help me decide. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a fellow beginner, I'd recommend this. It's worked great for me so far for making small hooks, house numbers, and pantry handles:

It's a bread pan with a square tube going through it, and a 50/50 mix of Plaster of Paris and play sand as a refractory. I did not come up with this design myself, and if you want more details on  (link does not work)

 

Forge.thumb.JPG.4ea6c4702bd0879f194617e1a46b2402.JPG

 

I then used this blower that I made as an air supply: https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/60184-beginner-blower-idea/

 

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well most medieval forging was done with charcoal, coal was the new dangled fuel and fairly used in Europe. Might I recommend looking at the Just a box of dirt pined post in solid fuel forges, go and look at the illustrated information on sideblast forges and then look at the mark III JABOD forge. This will help you get your midieval forge up and going. I would also look at the pined post about improvised anvils. A 4” square block is much more midieval than a London pattern. 

Chelonian, I would recommend against plaster of Paris and sand for refractory. Unlike YouTube IFI is an interactive pier revued  document. Any bad advice will quickly be corrected. If you see somthing in YouTube I highly recommend you come here and ask us what we think. 

The bread pan is riminisant of the tim lively forge, just smaller and he used adobe clay. I would suggest yours is to small to safely contain hot coals. I would direct you to goodly Tim lively wash tub forge or go to the stickies and look at the JABOD forge and look at the JAPOB forges. These are safer, faster to build, cheaper  and more fuel efecent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard Lupercal, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the gang live within visiting distance. 

Ditto Charles advice, medieval is side blast charcoal forges. Do a little reading here, there are tens of thousands of posts organized in hundreds of categories and sub categories. Skim the category subjects, pick one that interests you and skim the thread titles till you find one you're interested in then skim the posts. THEN do some sit down reading. The site is just too huge to sit down and read. 

Chelonian: Do you think you should maybe know a LITTLE about a subject before you start giving advice? I don't want to discourage you from helping folks but passing on stuff you don't understand isn't really helping. Most of the junk you see on Youtube is . . . "stuff" passed on by folk with no more expertise than a camera and ISP. 

The only place plaster of Paris has in a blacksmith shop is the walls and molding. It can be dangerous in a forge, not as dangerous as Portland Cement but still worthless as a refractory. 

Please don't go away, we want you to be successful in the craft, I LOVE seeing the eye candy folks post pictures of here and would DOUBLE LOVE to see what your imagination and hands bring to be.

Give the method for reading the site I suggested to Lupercal a try. Once you get a handle on the jargon and some of the processes you'll be able to ask good questions and understand our answers.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem being that plaster of Paris starts degrading about 1000 degF below good forging temps and so it's not a long term heavy use solution.  As clay can be found free or cheaper and can be a long term solution we generally suggest going straight to that.  You are not the first to make such a "detour"...  (What is neat is out here at White Sands National Park the dunes are gypsum and indigenous people living out here built fires that baked the "sand" into plaster of Paris and when the rare rains would hit their firesites would harden up and then the winds would blow away the surround sand leaving a "mushroom" to make it easy to find such sites by the archaeologists/anthropologists!)

For a good take on the washtub forge search on Tim Lively and the NeoTribal Metalsmiths.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No need to apologize, we all pass on bad info unintentionally. Some of the stuff I "knew" was so for decades, isn't. Life is a learning curve, stop learning when you stop breathing. The Plaster of Paris refractory myth is so common it pops up constantly, especially on Youtube. Nobody's born knowing anything, we get together here to swap knowledge, tips, tricks, solve problems and tell tall tales. It's a good place to hang.

I learned about POP the hard way in the mid-late '70s because I didn't have an internet to ask. One of the things I really like about Iforge is everything you say gets read by someone who  knows a LOT more than you do and if you get something seriously wrong you get corrected. I live for having my mistakes pointed out, I'd much rather BE right than think I was. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of us are familiar with the taste of corvids  and many of us probably have a favorite recipe for their consumption...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

"...coal was the new dangled fuel..."

Ok, was I the only one who giggled when I read this? That gosh darn new dangled fuel. If only it was "new dangled fool." That would've been perfect.

Lupercal, seriously, Charles's JABOD III is a great place to start because it's cheap and it totally works. Build one and you'll find out quickly whether blacksmithing is for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Ohio said:

Ok, was I the only one who giggled when I read this? That gosh darn new dangled fuel. If only it was "new dangled fool." That would've been perfect.

No you weren't but in Charles corner of Ok coal comes on a string and they make coke on a rope.

Charles isn't only a font of blacksmithing knowledge and wisdom he's a joy to read for just this reason. He gets at least as big a laugh out of his spelling as we do. Heck I'll bet any computer crash on his machine can be traced back to an overloaded spell check.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think CRS does it on purpose so that folks will have to read his posts carefully and cogitate on them for a spell thereby getting more out of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If only A.I. was that devious TP. But Jerry has the right of it. After 40 years of of a third grade spelling level I just exept it. The only time I get my dander up is when some fool equates my inibility to spell with low intelligence. Other wise your merriment at my spelling is fine with me, and yes i do laugh right along with you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did 770 out of 800 on the English section of the SATs and I can't spell worth a hoot. Had to have my wife proofread my papers as I was getting my second degree. Most of my edits for posts are for errors spell check has missed.  (And I love a good typo and word play!)

There are all sorts of intelligence people can have.  My grandfather never made it past 6th grade; yet I remember folks coming to consult with him on business deals as his opinion was well respected in that area.  I know people who take a full week to pick up a new instrument and be playing to a good standard on it; I can only play records.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CRS, I have yet to run across a post of yours where I didn't understand what you were trying to communicate, a real mark of brain power. And like a lot of people, it was your JABOD effort that inspired me to jump in to the craft.

Lupercal, Charles's JABOD efforts really are worth following. He combines deep knowledge of smithing with down-and-dirty (literal) tips so you end up not just hitting up metal and moving it with a hammer (which is amazing) but grasping the basic principles of forge design. A generous gift from that fellow---the typos are just a fringe benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent a number of years writing computer hardware, software, and programming manuals that were based on engineers' notes. I found that there was no direct correlation between their grammatical prowess and their ability to communicate effectively. There were a few engineers whose spelling was horrific and couldn't construct a proper sentence, but the content and their thought processes came across clearly. Conversely, there were those who demonstrated perfect grammar, syntax, etc., but could not organize their thoughts, which led to many personal interviews so that I could figure out what the heck they were trying to say. One of the better communicators among them, who recognized his own grammatical shortcomings, used to joke, "I always wanted to be an engineer and now I are one."

I haven't had any trouble figuring out what CRS is saying (and I've read many of his posts).

Al (Steamboat)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.