cmbaker82

Anthracite JABOD Forge

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So i have decided to build a forge and get into blacksmithing after my daughter and I took a class on it, at conner prairie (www.connerprairie.org) for anyone local.    I tend to over analyze and read a ton of information before getting started on a project which i've done with this already.

In this area I haven't found a fuel source more affordable than anthracite coal which i can get for about $6 for 40lbs so that is likely the fuel I will be using.

I'm planning on using pallet wood to build the frame for the forge and likely clay from my yard to fill it and make the firepot and bricks if needed.  From my unfired tests the clay here does not crack much even when untempered.  

After reading a large number of posts I'm still not sure what is the best setup regarding the tuyere size and placement.   I can get whatever size pipe is recommended.    My understanding is that it should be slightly angled down towards the firepot.   

I don't plan to work with much better than 1" stock for the foreseeable future so i'm thinking the firepot should be about 4"x8".  

I've read recommendations for the depth of the pop and placement of the tuyere for charcoal and bituminous coal and charcoal but have not seen anything specific for anthracite.  

I've read lots of the JABOD builds that ended up needing to either dig down or raise the firepot to get the heart of the fire at the right level.  I'm hoping to have it at the right level so i can put stock in flat against the top of the forge and have the fire at right zone there.  

I would appreciate any suggestions, especially with regard to size and placement of the tuyere for anthracite.

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If you can source pallets you should be able to make your own charcoal for free. I'd suggest checking with the IBA ABANA Affiliate where to get Bituminous coal they should know any locations in your area---last time I went to the annual IBA conference is was held an hour above Indianapolis... (Indiana Blacksmiths Association)

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Thank you for the suggestion.  I checked previous posts on Indiana Blacksmiths Association's facebook page and the closest suppliers are over an hour away and costs $20 per bag 50lbs.   I understand anthracite is harder to work with but is it really worth paying three times as much for?

Not really interested in making charcoal, although the cost is right the time and effort spent i would rather put into something I enjoy doing.  Unless i'm missing something I would need to cut up the wood into manageable chunks then "burn" it to make it into charcoal and then break it up more to make it usable for forging.  

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I forge mostly with anthracite for the same reasons: availability and low cost. If I had a decent local supply of affordable bituminous, I'd be all over it. However, if you're going to use anthracite, there's a discussion of its challenges here:

 

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Did you actually talk with IBA people at a  meeting?  On-line is not the best way to go about finding things locally.

As to good coal for smithing: I pick up a couple of hundred pounds every time I can get to Quad-State, it's a 1500 mile drive for me...

As for using charcoal; I just build a fire in a raised firepit and transfer hot coals to the forge with a shovel.  Nicer to do in the winter than in the summer.

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Thanks for the link, I did read through that entire post and all the comments before posting this question

1 minute ago, ThomasPowers said:

Did you actually talk with IBA people at a  meeting? 

I have not been to one of their meetings yet.

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Very good. Nice to see someone doing their research.

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Just in case anyone else reads this from around here, the two suppliers i found for bituminous are Booth Machinery in Crawfordsville, IN  50lbs for $20, and Graber Farm and Home in Odon, IN 50lbs for $12.  

 

18 minutes ago, JHCC said:

I forge mostly with anthracite for the same reasons:

Given your experience working with anthracite, do you have any suggestions for firepot/tuyere design differences for anthracite vs bituminous, or do they both work off the same 

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I think any differences are not so important that you can't use the same firepot for both -- and I have! One of the nice things about a JABOD is that you can reshape the pot to suit the job.

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So from all the the posts i've read it seems like the tuyere should be placed about 1" above the bottom of the firepot and 2 inches below the top of the forge?

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About that. You could make it with a little more height above the tuyere, since anthracite likes a slightly deeper fire (as does charcoal, for that matter).

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2-3. 4 would be excessive, unless you're making a really big forge to do large-scale pieces..

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The depth of the firepot depends of all the other dimensions and the air source, not only fuel.

As for fuel, i mix bituminous with coke to start the fire

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I'm not looking to do anything huge so I'm thinking 4x8 size Firebox about 4 to 5 inches deep. Thinking 3/4in iron pipe for tuyere. 

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It's just a box of dirt you can change the size and shape as you learn  and to suit the job at hand.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thats true.  I'll just go for it and see what I get.  Thanks for all the information.  

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You'll learn more from making and fixing your own mistakes than you ever will from trying to research the "perfect" solution beforehand. Get out there and mess up!

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1 hour ago, JHCC said:

 Get out there and mess up!

I just did that Tuesday night. Fire ball wasn't where I thought it was.... Oops20190108_210410.thumb.jpg.0d6e2e34228c5414f6274950a8c4eb79.jpg

That WAS the bottom of the box. But that's ok. I'm going a different route thanks to another design that caught my attention and someone letting me pick their brain a  bit. The weatherman is calling for more snow this weekend so I might have to work but I'm excited to start the other project.

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Okay, now go make a different mistake!

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Do you know why the heart (fireball) wasn't where you thought it was going to be? At least HOPE your next mistake is a different one! ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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This why I put two bricks in the bottom. 2” is the minimum to prevent wood from infighting (600f). Charcoal and coal forge design is almost identical when it comes to side blast /JABOD forges. The chart in the side blast forge design artical is acualy for coal, as I find charcoal to be happy at a bit shallower depth. 

I wish you had done just a bit more reading first. No sense in duplicating my mistakes when you can go on to make new and invintive mistakes if your own

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10 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

No sense in duplicating my mistakes when you can go on to make new and invintive mistakes if your own

And this is why i posted the original question on this thread to make sure my understanding was correct.  

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On 1/9/2019 at 11:44 AM, cmbaker82 said:

 I understand anthracite is harder to work with but is it really worth paying three times as much for?

The answer to this is yes. There is plenty  of info here on why. It cokes, its is a cleaner heat source by a magnitude, you need far less air to maintain your fire. This means you have a neutral to reducing fire, not an oxidizing one. Less air also means consume less coal, making it cost effective.

 

On 1/9/2019 at 11:56 AM, ThomasPowers said:

As to good coal for smithing: I pick up a couple of hundred pounds every time I can get to Quad-State, it's a 1500 mile drive for me...

 Good advice. A days trip to a mine was always my way to get met coal. 

There are many ways to come by met coal with a little checking. Including dealing with your local farriers and blacksmiths. There may even be a mine close.

 

You want 4" of coke under your work and 2" on the top for a good "1" shop. It's pretty much a minimum dimension for any firepot.

For what it's worth, charcoal and met(bituminous coking coal) are the best fuel. Anth is a poor third place.

The reason is charcoal is ~100% carbon. And with proper fire management, when using met coal your actual heat source is coke, which is ~100% carbon.

Anth is never anywhere near 100% carbon, and all the impurities within are always affecting your iron. 

 

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