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Building my first forge, from a grill (Variation JABOD)

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Hey all, 

So I've finally decided it's time for me to build my first forge. I only have a couple issues. Firstly, I'm broke so I'll be scavenging what I can from around the house. Second (Which is more of a challenge not an issue) is that I'm going to be using our old propane grill. It's an old Weber from back when I was a kid so this thing is at least 10-15 years old I think. (It's hard to remember when we got it but I know it was way pre-2010).

I currently know nothing about propane forges yet so here I am getting ready to turn this thing into a solid fuel forge. I'll be able to get pictures in the morning as it's almost 8 pm where I'm at now. However I figured I'd start asking my questions now. (Some of these might seem fairly obvious but my dad always said the only stupid question is the one you don't ask, and I wanna make sure I get this right the first time).

I still have to examine the grill to make sure it's not rusted out or anything weird that I can't handle, I'm not entirely sure what to look for but as long as there's no huge holes in it I should be fine, I think. 


Question #1: How big should I make my fire pot? I've been looking over some of the threads and I keep hearing 4" x 8" getting thrown around. For now I'll be making more simple things like hooks, leaf keychains, etc. (Not planning on doing any blade smithing anytime soon). And I'm wondering if that'll be a good size or if I should go with something a little bigger? Or a little smaller? 


Question #2: I'm planning on using a dirt/clay/sand mix (since my back yard is nothing but clay, thank you Pennsylvania!), from some of the build pictures I've seen it looks like the fire pot is made out of the clay mix that you fill in the "box" part with. I'm only going to be using charcoal, but I'm still wondering if it's okay to have it be a solid bottom fire pot/no clinker breaker (I still haven't learned very much about clinker breakers, however, from what I do know it's more of an issue when forging with coal instead of charcoal. I don't think I need one, but I figure asking is better than not).  


Question #3: Since this grill originally ran on propane tanks (and i'm obviously going to take off the tank before I convert this to a forge). Is it okay to leave the connection line, where you would hook in the propane tank, alone and simply plug it with something or keep the valve off? Or do I need to disconnect it entirely for this to work? Again, never really screwed around with any kind of project like this, and the only time I used the grill was for cooking so I'm not entirely sure how the connection line works in the way of how you get the propane from the tank to the grill in a normal grill situation. (The good news is, I'm the only one that's going to touch this thing so I wouldn't be stupid enough to try and hook a propane tank up to it after the fact). 


Question #4: What kind of pipe should I use for the side blast? I'm going to be using a hairdryer since I don't have a nice pair of bellows lying around (unfortunately). Do I need to get it in a certain material type? Or will just a plain old steel pipe work? (I already know about how dangerous galvanized steel is, and I was going to avoid that with a ten foot pole because I'm only 24 I don't want to die from zinc poisoning thank you much.) I figured a tin can or something of the like should be okay for a connect between the hairdryer and the pipe since I saw someone do that before, but if there's something I need to avoid when figuring that part out too, please let me know. 


I think that's all the questions to start with. Tomorrow I'll get outside and look over that grill and see what I can do with it. Hopefully everything goes well. I literally have everything I need except for a pipe I know for a fact isn't galvanized (There's a couple questionable ones running around but I don't want to chance it). If this works however, you could even say this build is a JAGOD instead of a JABOD! 

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Disconnect and remove everything from the propane grill (hose & regulator, burner) you basically want to start with the empty box. The tuyere pipe should be black pipe with about a 3/4-1 inch ID. Using charcoal you don't need a clinker breaker and the fire pot can be adjusted to suit your work. A hair dryer will put out too much air for charcoal so you will need to find a way to bleed off air. There are many ideas here in the solid fuel section. The easiest is to not hook up the hair dryer but point it at the open tuyere pipe then just move the air blast away from the opening to get the blast you need.

This thread by Ohio is made out of a BBQ and it's pretty good.


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Well charcoal with a 3/4” schedule 40 pipe for a tuyere makes about a 6” hotspot. So a 8” round fire pot is about as big as you can go, but unless your working 1” stock all the time it burns more fuel than nesisary. I found that 4x8 allowed me to heat even 1” stock 6” long for less fuel. 

As you know brick isn’t nesisary but it makes for a fast build, your adobe mix will work just fine. Besides it’s still fun to play in the mud

a cheep bed inflator pump from wall mart works well and is easily addapted to 3/4” pipe, but the electric ones will still vent to much air


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