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Hello there! New member here, me and my dad are in the middle of building a propane tank forge. So far it is all put together, cut open and ready for refractories. Here's our issue: He have some ceramic wool to line the inside, 1" thick. We know that it is better to do 2", and I think we have enough for 2". We Also have 2 5-gallon buckets of unknown refractory cement (We don't know what kind/brand it is, we just know that it is refractory cement). Our original plan was to line the forge with the wool, and then coat it with the refractory. But as I've been reading and looking around, I've heard about rigidizer and that wool insulates better, etc. So we are wondering what we should do. I think we are going to line it and try a thin layer of the cement on the bottom to test the cement and to see how well it adheres and such to the wool. We just need advice and tips, what we should do, etc... We haven't built one of theses before (Obviously) but we have built a brake drum open forge.

The other thing we want to do is to use a blower and coal rather then propane because we have a TON of coal. We are making it so we can use coal or we will be able to switch out the fan for a propane burner. We are going to have a rounded bottom in the forge, rather then flat so that when we put coal in it the coal will make a flat bed to put the steel/knives/etc. on top of it. We have put the face of the forge on a hinge so we can open it and clean it out, shovel the coal out, etc. Thoughts on this? 

The last thing for right now is that we have seen people put a hole in the back of the forge, and we aren't sure if it is for anything other then just long pieces of bar stock, so insight on this would be great. 

And, literally anything you could tell me about blacksmithing! Any tips, tricks, advice, literally anything would be helpful. We have a shop with lots of tools and machines, and we have both done a bit of blacksmithing, but I want to really expand my blacksmithing knowledge and skill this year, Thanks!

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We always recommend two 1" thick layers of ceramic fiber blanket anyway; this  gives a much smoother finished surface than a single layer of 2" thick blanket.

The colloidal silica rigidizer is used to toughen the blanket for longevity; not to improve its insulating value.

Cement will not work as a hot-face coating on a surface exposed to flame; it will crack and peel off. Use Plistex; it is dirt cheap and works very well.

You would be far better off to build two forges; one for coal, and one for propane.

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Crazysmith, if no one has welcomed you to the forum let me be the first. Like Mikey said refractory cement is no good in a propane forge unless it's a brick forge and you are sticking the bricks together. If you want to harden it up use Satanite or Kast-O-lite 30 (available here) then coat that with Plistex.

Also if you haven't read this yet I highly recommend it for getting the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST  and browsing the sticky threads to save a lot of headache's. Trying to make a dual fuel propane/coal forge is a mistake as it will do neither well.

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