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Hey everyone! I built my first forge ever yesterday out of some bricks in an old grill. I’m using a black iron pipe and a hair dryer with a shop vac attachment as my air source. Charcoal is the fuel.

Mid anyone has any suggestions or recommendations please let me know what I need to do to forge properly and safely.

Thanks Dallas

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Looks like too much air. If the hair dryer is connected to the pipe disconnect it and just point it at the pipe. It more than likely won't need to be pointed directly at it for adequate air. Play with it and see what works best for you.

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Yup.

Like Laynne said, disconnect it and you can control the amount of air by how direct or indirect it blows At the pipe. 

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Less air, more fuel. You are looking for SOFT AIR going to the forge.

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If you haven't read the JABOD threads, I recommend you do so. Double action bed inflators are popular for charcoal because you are only feeding air when you need it, not when you are at the anvil. It will save on fuel.

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If burning less charcoal is a consideration also look into getting a foot switch so you only have the blower on when there is steel in the forge.

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There are foot switches out there that just plug into the outlet then you plug in whatever you want controlled. There is either an on/off or a "deadman" switch where it is only on if you are holding on the switch. 

 

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I've wired an old sewing machine foot pedal to a box with an outlet on it before.

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Gentlemen.... I HAVE BENT METALL!!!!!

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I had a few extra hours to play around and I was trying to be very mindful of both fire management and hammer accuracy.

I employed your advice about the air and I worked really well. I didn’t realize how fast I was burning through charcoal that I didn’t need to be. It was definitely a learning experience and also very rewarding.

Thanks again everyone!

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Charcoal briquettes? Correct me if I'm wrong guys but won't that create more fireflies and be incredibly less efficient than lump charcoal? Especially if you blow "hard" air at it??

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Nice. Keep at it. Next search on how to make a fire tool rake and make that out of rebar if you like. 

Yes briquettes are not good forge fuel. Hard lump charcoal is the way to go. 

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Cheap! Lol. Any Lump charcoal should be fine. The old kingsford or whatever briquettes are no good or desirable.

It's not really hard to make your own depending on location and whatnot. Or building a raised side fire and transferring the coals to the forge. 

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1 hour ago, Enewguy said:

Charcoal briquettes? Correct me if I'm wrong guys but won't that create more fireflies and be incredibly less efficient than lump charcoal? Especially if you blow "hard" air at it??

They're not the best but you can most certainly work with briquettes. Break them into acorn size pieces and clean your fire regularly. The white ash is IIRC limestone powder added to keep them from burning too hot in a grill. Powdered limestone won't interfere much with forge processes including welding if you don't have it piled in the joint. Lime is added to smelts and melts to act as a flux, it combines with contaminants and floats them for removal. It's not a serious barrier, a little borax takes care of it nicely.

Fewer fire flies, it's actually a byproduct in the production of wood alcohol, various keytone solvents, etc. I believe it was Henry Ford who invented backyard BBQing and briquettes as something to do with mountains of charcoal powder left over from making solvents. Only so much can be used in filters. 

You're better off with lump but if all you have handy briquettes will do the job.

Frosty The Lucky.

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So a little update. I broke the charcoal into smaller pieces and it really seemed to help more.

Also yesterday I was really working on trying to learn tapering and it took me 4 hours but I finally got it. And I made probably the ugliest ring anyone’s ever seen.

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Keep trying, I've seen uglier. :P

Frosty The Lucky.

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Make a set of them and sell them to Hollywood as "steel knuckles" rings for their next post apocalypse flic,  "Escape from Houston".

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On 1/31/2019 at 10:35 AM, DallasRector said:

took me 4 hours but I finally got it. And I made probably the ugliest ring anyone’s ever seen.

I see a heart pendant in potentia, and valentines day is close at hand.

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