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irgunr

Noob with first charcoal forge

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Hi everyone! I have been lurking around the forum for the last 9 months this weekend I finally built a forge and tried making a knife. I built a side blast charcoal forge from an old BBQ grill and a few Hard Fire Bricks. I used the fire bricks because they where free. the teyure is a piece of 2 inch horse fence pipe. My wife got me a 15 pound HF ASO and a HF1x30 belt grinder for my birthday. I'm working with used farriers rasps because I get them for $1 each. I checked the rasp for hardness by heating them to non magnetic then water quenching it. after it cooled I placed it on the ASO and gave it a smack with a 18oz framing hammer and it broke clean in half. I know working with mystery steel isn't the best way to start but I figured for learning how to grind and shape its a start for really cheap. the forge has 3 bricks on the bottom to make a flat shelf then 6 bricks to make the fire pit. I have a large cotton wood tree that fell and have cut my wood from that. I started the fire with just plane wood then placed the steel into the charcoal once it burns down some. for a air source I have a 2 speed heat gun that I'm currently using.  so far I have made one blade and I feel pretty good about the setup. there is a few tweaks. I have to give everyone on this forum a huge THANK YOU for all the information you provide. Looking at the hobby it looked like I could never get into it but ready the forum made me realize I could get started with a little scrounging. I have $0 into the forge and other then what my wife has bought me I have used tools I already had in my shop.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. 

A couple tweaks for your forge: Look at the JABOD forge and arrange yours in that manner. A charcoal fire is hard enough to control without giving it a bushel of fuel when you need a double handful. 

You're air supply "Tuyere" is too large and WAY too high in the fire. Specifics are laid out in the JABOD threads but in general you need to have a fire deep enough all the oxygen is consumed before it reaches the steel or the steel itself will burn. The tuyere needs to have an inch or two of space under it so ash and clinker can settle without getting in your way. 

By directing the air into a trench from the side, (picture a soda straw poked into the side of a taco shell) the fire is contained and you can insert the steel down the trench. This limit how much fuel is burning while keeping the steel buried in fuel. Burying the fuel slows the heat's escape so the steel can absorb it and it keeps the oxygen in ambient air off.

What you have now is more like a cooking fire, large and open. Sure it'll heat a piece of steel but not effectively nor economically. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Not to mention that it is an oxidizing fire and so lowers the carbon content of your blade steel!

Have you hooked up with the New Mexico Artist Blacksmith Association yet?  Most meetings will be around the Albuquerque area.  Working with folks that know the ropes already put the afterburners on as you power up the learning curve!  There is an experienced smith in  Bosque Farms IIRC.

I'm sometimes in the Socorro area; but don't expect to be around much for a while.  (I work in Mexico; so don't get to visit my smithy very often.)

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Thank you for your input Frosty. I will rearrange the material to make more of a trench, Taco shell and straw! I will source a smaller pipe and make the V trench deeper to get the pipe lower in the bed of fuel/coals.

 

Thomas, I did look at the NMABA site but it looks like it hasn't been updated in a year. If you have more info on the smith in Bosque Farms that would be great. I actually live in Bosque Farms. I put LL on my profile because its easier to find on a map and reference to people.

 

All do these reworks to night when I get off work and see how it goes. Thank you guys for you input!!!

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Hair driers are way to much air. Set it in a stool and just aim it at the pipe.

the JAPOB forge might be worth looking at for inspiration. Not you can melt fire brick...

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Charles Thank you for the input I looked a few of the JAPOB forges. I'm trying to keep thing contained in the grill shell for ease of moving in and out of my shop, for now.

I rearranged my brick layout last night but didn't get a chance to try it out. O moved the brick into a more V shape, moved the tuyere to the bottom, and changed out to a 1 inch ID pipe. Is my V shape to wide? I have a LB from a electrical project that I'm going to but the hairdryer on to use as a waste gate to help limit the amount of air I push to the fire. I will keep my eyes open for small fans. has anyone tried a computer case fan? I have a couple of those sitting around but they run on 5 volts DC.  

Thomas. I emailed the NMABA contact account last night I'll see if I hear back from them. Again thanks to everyone

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2 hours ago, Pr3ssure said:

I don't think that's a hair drier, it looks just like the heat gun I just got.

It is a heat gun Pr3ssure, maybe Charles uses one to dry his hair and why he wears a hat. Eh?

That looks a lot better Gunr. Next time try putting the air cross ways to the V. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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14 hours ago, irgunr said:

I will keep my eyes open for small fans. has anyone tried a computer case fan? I have a couple of those sitting around but they run on 5 volts DC.  

I think the better setup is a high pressure (strong) fan, with low flow rate. (The opposite of a computer fan)

You need the pressure to overcome resistance of the fuel, and to keep a constant flow when the resistance changes (as the fuel pieces shift).

A bleed valve will help control the flow rate, and also help reduce unwanted load on the fan - It's better to let it blow "free" than to choke it.

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It is a HF heat gun that I was using. it has a little less power then a normal hairdryer. my wife wants me to make her a letter opener so that will be the 1st, beer, project that I actually put hammer to steel. since the knife build was really stock removal. I only used the fire to anneal, then heat treat after it was formed. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to give me the feedback so I can get started in this hobby.

Frosty If i'm picturing what your saying is to put the air coming in in the middle of the V with it pointing at the opposite "V" wall. instead of at the end of the channel pointing down the trough  

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Your set up is fine, it just looks funny to us old coots because of the vagarities of putting it in a gas BQ. Flat wall for the tue works good, angled sides for the long ends of the trench aid in clean out and encoding the fuel to settle. The funky thing for us is we would usually set up to put the steel perpendicular to the tue. 

 

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This is a side blast fire pot I built for my new forge, and the orientation for use.

Here is the tuyere and air supply

 

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Do you see why it looks funky to Jerry?

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If you stack up bricks on the tuyere and opposite side to make the walls to your trench you will have a deeper fire, with more fuel on top.  Charcoal with the double action pump I use on my demo forge works well with shallow fires, but with more air, a bigger and deeper fire works better.

 

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Charles. Thanks for the pictures that helped explain a lot. I can see how deep your fire box is and how the air comes in from the side vs how mine is at the end. I think it will be a easy mod to cut a hole in my container and move the air in to the side of the V. Is that a foot petal to turn the air pump on and off? and is that a air mattress pump?

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I wouldn't say it looks funky, it's just a harder arrangement to control the fire. Being new to the craft a person needs things as easy and straight forward as reasonable. A little experience and a person can use anything, A HOT fire isn't hard to make, it's getting it to do what you want. Below is a pic of an improvised forge I used to straighten and weld a log tong I was moving logs with, powered by a back hoe. 

The yellow thing between me and the pickup is a 12v mattress inflater, the power switch is close enough to reach. There is a piece of pipe and some dirt scooped and piled to control the fire. For fuel I'd blocked a birch log about 4" long and split it into small pieces. The guy who took the picture spent days raving about how amazing I was. :rolleyes: No, it's nothing but a hole in the ground, wood and an air source, I used two anvils, a wood block to straighten the tines and a boulder to weld on. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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my I wouldn’t put it from the slope. Myself I would drill a hole on the hing side and make the back and from to of the grill the flat sides and slope the long way in the grill. This gives you a slightly longer landing to hold stock.

 

 

And buy the way, thanks for your service “this I will defend”

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Frosty, you look nothing like i imagined. That profile pic is just to small for my old eyes.

igunr, thank you for serving. I chewed some of that ME sand myself with the 1st AD and 3rd ID. 

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1 hour ago, BillyBones said:

Frosty, you look nothing like i imagined.

Your imagination is probably more accurate currently than that picture. We were doing gross land clearing right after closing on the land, say June 1997. Fun memories.

Frosty The Lucky.

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so I tried it last night and one of the biggest lessons you can get is by trying things! I am starting to understand more of what you all are saying. It was hard to control the fire and the only spot hot enough was near the air. I will work on a reshaping of it this weekend. Its hard to picture and understand what you guys are saying until it try it. Charles and Billy thanks for the support. I have enjoyed most of my time being able to serve. 2.5 more years to go. I'm thinking I'll get some black pipe, a ball valve, and some sand. I'll remove the bottom bricks to make the fire pit deeper. I'll use the black pipe to run the air into the hinged side of the grill with the V still going in this direction. and I'm also going to remove the lid it serves no function and it a large chunk of aluminum. my only other thought and I will listen to what you all recommend would be to leave the air coming in from the side it is now and make the V 90* from its current direction while making it deeper.  

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It's the best kind. At least till someone buys the gross land down the hill, subdivide and you end up looking in people's back windows. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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If you are leaving th the tuyere were it is, don’t rotate the “V”, instead raise the sides and put the stock 90 degrees to the tuyere. 

The fire pot is essentially a 7” square cut on the diagonal for the flat sides with two 6”x7” peices forming the sloping sides. In your set up turn the brick the other way and pile up bricks on each flat end. This gives you a 4”x 13” trench. The tuyere coming in under a 4” brick would be about righ, with a level of brick higher on the flat ends. 

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