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I Forge Iron

My First Attempt (Picture Heavy)


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Nah, I'm gonna wait.  If I start picking up pieces and parts, then I'm going to want to start putting it together, and if I do that, then I won't be able to wait to get the rest, and...just gonna wait.  besides, I have a lot of reading and studying to do on forge designs, building techniques, burners, materials, etc before I start acquiring parts for one.  I really want this to be a one-time build and get it (mostly) right, at least for a first forge.  Call it a personality quirk, but I really don't cherish the idea of messing with kaowool and refractory mixes.  I despise concrete work or anything remotely resembling it and to me, this does.

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Alright then, best of luck I look forward to seeing how yours turns out. I would just advise to do what youre doing. This forum is a wealth of knowledge. Glean all you can. Dont be bashful about asking for help.

On a side note, I got into a fight with an angle grinder today and after an 8cm gash and 19 stitches to the left forearm.(not forge related) I guess I will have time to tune burners and reduce the internal volume of my firebox. Above all else, please be careful. We are dealing with some dangerous stuff! For what its worth, I had on double eye protection, ear plugs kevlar gloves long pants and composite toes. Even with extreme precaution, things can go side ways.

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  • 2 weeks later...

tinkertim, great idea with the fire brick to reduce volume! I'm in the research phase of building my forge, but have an air tank my dad is giving me to make it out of. I suspect that due to it's length (I'm picking it up tomorrow and will measure it then) I'll either need 2 burners or another work around in the build phase so I have ample heat. That said, once I can take a few measurements I'll have a heck of a lot better idea.

tank.JPG

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Remember that hard firebrick is a heat sink and soft firebrick dislikes thermal cycling. (There is some new stuff out there that is supposed to be better for this issue.)

Check the volume to burner ratios and see if that will work for you.  My NA burner forge was built from a welding O2 tank and has worked well for me for around 20 years now.

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Great advice, Thomas. Do you have a thread with pictures of your rig? 

Kraitok, my air tank was approx 11" in diameter and 19" not including the doors. I have approx 2" or so of wool/refractory inside which gives me something in the neighborhood of 7"x19" fire box. If i build another one, I am going to either do one that has more girth and less lemght or a square one. Said somewhere in this thread, 350 or so cu.in. is the sweet spot between using a single burner and not wasting excess fuel. 

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North State, thanks for the rough idea, that actually helps a lot! Rough estimate, but that should put me in the 700-750 ci range using 2 inches of insulation. I was hoping to get to the 250-300 ci neighborhood. I suppose there are several potential options, starting with the obvious of just using about half the tank. Going with a third layer of kaowool insulation would potentially be an option. Doing a mix of both (maybe a thicker roof and floor both for insulating purposes as well as to remove volume) might be pretty viable too, although I'm not sure if that would force the burner too close to the floor and cause major longevity issues / headaches. Luckily there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum, and folks that both understand the science and the practicality of what newbies like me are after!

I'm not sure on proper forum etiquette so I'd be happy to delete this if needed, but does anyone with experience have input on this? I've never used a forge before, just been interested in learning my whole life (dad was a ferrier). I'm not trying to forge a claymore, but having the ability (perhaps not the skill haha!) to make something bowie knife sized would be nice. I'd also like to be able to forge weld with a weld executed 3/4" Frosty T burner. 

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Kraitok, except for heat treating you can't work more than about six inches of hot steel. So you could potentially forge a claymore in a 300 ci. forge so long as there's a pass through for the stock to stick out of the end of the forge. If you're heating up more stock than you can work before it loses it's heat you're just causing excessive decarburization when using high carbon steel.

A well built and tuned T-burner will heat a well insulated forge with  a 300- 350 ci  inner volume to welding heat. 

Pnut

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6 hours ago, Kraitok said:

I suppose there are several potential options, starting with the obvious of just using about half the tank

The even more obvious (or perhaps less) option would be to use something else. Just because you have material and need doesn't mean you have to use this material for this need.

Find something smaller to use as a forge shell and use this for a quench tank.

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IIRC my forge was made from a section of O2 tank 9" in diameter and 14" long, originally with doors at either end. (weld failed on the front one and I'm just using fire bricks for that now.)

The firebrick front allows me to space the bricks out and heat stock cross ways for large 2D ornamental stuff.

Just like most folks don't expect to own only 1 car their entire life; don't expect to own only 1 gas forge. Build a "learner" and go on to build one with the features you decide you need form EXPERIENCE not guesses.

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Looks like you may still be cooking off some excess moisture too - assuming that's steam coming from the forge body - and that can affect the maximum temperature you can reach.  It still looks rather large to me for a hobby forge or for small items.  If the colors are shown accurately it would be ok for general forging, but probably not hot enough for forge welding.

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Thanks, Buzzkill. Yes i think that was some of the chemical moisture cooking off as its been set up for a couple months before being ran this hard. I am either going to trowel in a forge floor to use up some reale state or cut about 2.5 inches off either end. If I cut the ends, i am going to have to relocate the hinges and latches. I havent heated up anything significant yet. As for my purpose, I plan on experimenting with seeing how different metals heat, move  and forge. Then i plan on moving to small things like leaves, bottle openers, steak turners and maybe oyster shuckers as I live in a coastal town. Ultimately, I dont plan on forging a claymore or anything huge, but I definitely would like to forge a knife. Thanks again for all the help and advice! 

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  • 9 months later...

Wow! Has it been almost a year since I posted? Well in some ways I fell like I have been dragging my feet. In other ways, I feel like I have been making some measured forward progress. I did narrow the length of the overall body by 4-5 inches. I also flattened out the forge floor and sides. Thus making the interior volume smaller by about 1/3. My thinking is that with less volume, I hope to be able to reach forging temperature quicker and with less fuel. I hope to be able to fashion an idle/full control valve so I will have to rotate my burners so I can arrange the pipe fittings. Maybe I can use one burner for standard forging, and if I need the second for welding etc, I will have it already in place. The biggest advice I can offer to the rest of the newbies like me, is read and take the sage advice of the forge veterans on the forum. Unfortunately, I began assembling my forge before I found the forum and what I spent a lot of time and effort making what would  take about 20 minutes with both burners going north of 15psi. My regret and stubbornness has brought me right back to some of the advice found earlier in this thread with a much smaller design.

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