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Will This Questionable Chimney Help With Coal Smoke?


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I've decided I need to do something about the coal smoke from my forge. I don't find forging very enjoyable when I'm trying to maintain a fire, turn the crank on the blower, and dodge coal smoke all at the same time. After poking around a bit on the forum, I saw a few really nice, tall, well built, professional looking forge chimneys. Mine is none of those. I just cobbled this disappointment of a chimney together in a couple hours, and now looking at it, I'm having my doubts about its effectiveness. Anyways, this is just what I could make with lying around materials.

Take a moment to appreciate the j̶u̶n̶k̶y̶ ̶n̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e̶  quality craftsmanship of my creation:



Because I need to be able to replace the top of the barbecue when the forge is not in use (to keep rain out), the chimney has to be easily removable. The forge is a side-blast, if that makes any difference. I'm burning bituminous coal.


1.) Do you have a good idea for keeping the chimney from falling over? Right now I think a stiff breeze would send it toppling, which isn't really ideal. (and this problem would be made worse if I make it taller)

2.) The top is only about 5',10" above the ground, so it's not exactly sky-scraping, but will it be at least better than nothing?

3.) Is there some way I can make it taller without adding too much weight to the top?

4.) If there are any other things you see that could be improved, please let me know!



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It's 8" diameter stove pipe. I've seen 10" generally recommended as a minimum, and I'm not expecting 100% smoke removal from this. Any reduction will be better than none.

That's a good idea for keeping it up. I'll try to rig something like that up.

I read the "Read This First" quite a while ago. Did I infringe upon a rule?

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We recommend the  READ THIS FIRST as it is good information to help folks with the site. New stuff gets added from time to time.

One of the improvements you can make is to add a porch roof and away side wall  to the chimney opening. This will block air and channel the smoke into the opening. The away side wall can be 3 inches above the coal as you may have long stock to go through the fire and under the wall.Thin tin is all that is needed. Any additional height to the chimney can help with the draft. Try one section of stove pipe or a couple of feet at a time to see what works while not getting unreasonably tall.

Upon start up put a couple of sheets of paper on fire and in or near the opening of the chimney to get a draft going. Next build a fire from sticks to increase the draft as well as establish a bed of coals to help the fuel get started. Add a little fuel at a time until it catches fire. This also helps produce less smoke and burns what smoke that is produced.

Fire maintenance is figuring out what works for you.


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the best way to deal with smoke reduction is to learn fire management.  then you will get very little smoke.  never seen a setup like yours, but i dont think it will work. 12" + dia pipe is best. join 2-6" sections lengthwise and you will have a 12. your 8" and a 4" works too. pretty cheap.

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My shop forge just has a 10' section of 10" spiral seamed ducting sticking out at a steep angle through a hole in the wall of my shop. It works quite well. (Wall used to be the roof of a friends house till it was hail damaged and he gave it to me to use for my shop extension---the hole was the chimney penetration for his fireplace...)

So try your set up, preheating the flue to start the draft can help as can extra length and excluding outside air.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Is it working for you? My forge is in an open implement shed and I have been on the search to get the smoke and heat above my head. I also used 8" pipe because it is what I had on hand, a couple of steel posts, baling wire, and part of a coffee can. It drew most all of the smoke and I could tell the difference in the radiant heat. I use charcoal.



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I have extended the height of the chimney since I last posted, so I'll try to post updated photos of it tomorrow. I've found that it works pretty well, at least on days with not much wind. Whenever the wind kicks up, the chimney can't keep up and the head-hunting smoke gets its way.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. It is of course another thing for me to carry back and forth every time I get my forge going, but I still like having to deal with less smoke.

One thing I was wondering about: should the the intake be smaller than the output end? Because I think currently the input is a bit larger. It just seems like it might get better suction if it was the other way around.

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Unfortunately, today was really busy and I was unable to get a photo of it. Basically, all I did was extend the height of it to around 5'6".(that's when it's on the ground, it's quite a bit taller once it's sitting on the forge) I didn't have any more stovepipe, so to make it taller I made a frame out of hardware cloth, and covered the frame with aluminum foil. I'm not sure how long it will hold up, but so far it's been fine.

I'll try to figure out a way to make the input smaller. Thanks!

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