WoodFireMetal

Forge pot replacement?

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I’m buying a modern-ish portable forge soon, but the metal bowl is rusting out.  I think it’s about 20” or so in diameter.   The closest thing I’ve seen online to replace it is a cooking wok. Is that a suitable replacement, or is it feasible to buy maybe a slightly thicker sheet metal and hammer out a bowl-ish shape from it? 

 

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A pic of your forge would help. I doubt a wok will work. Check the internet for cast iron firepots. You can find them via google.

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You could use a pan from an outdoor fireplace if you clay it. I have one I'm about to make into a forge whenever I can get around to doing it. 

Pnut

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This is me using it last weekend at an 1812 event. No, it’s not period correct, but it’s super light and easy to use and will mainly be used at home, though will be great for traveling, as needed.  It’s not in my possession yet.  

F955289B-FFAC-4F4F-A853-6E83C46134CA.jpeg

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My forge is an old light casting "ranch" forge. Its 2'x3' flat bottomed. I cut out the flat bottom and dropped in a centaur forge rectangular firepot. That was a long time ago and its still going strong.

Centaur forge has a round firepot that would drop right in

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It comes with a tuyere pipe and a cap that has little slits to prevent the coal from falling through. The blower also comes with. 

What I need is a replacement bowl/pan. It’s rusting through. The wok seems to be around the same size/shape.  A Weber grill is way too deep. If I were to try and hammer one out from sheet steel, what thickness would work? 

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Replace the sheet steel pan with the end of a 55gl. barrel You don't need exact you need something that'll work. Right?

Frosty The Lucky.

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If the bottom of the pan is where it's rusting through, I would get a piece of plate about the same thickness and shape it to cover the rusted portion and bolt or weld it to the original pan. Hard to tell how rusted it is from the picture with it full of coal, but the top edge doesn't look too bad. If it's just some small holes put a layer of clay over them.

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You seem pretty focused on using a wok to fix your problem.  So whats your plan? Are you going to cut out the rusty parts and drop in the wok? And then cut a hole in the wok and refit the grate and associated pieces?

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I’m not necessarily “focused on using a wok”. Prior to posting my question, it was the only thing I found online that resembled the pan it currently has and they come in different diameters, upwards to 24”, maybe more.  My initial idea was to replace the whole pan with a wok, if that turned out to be a suitable replacement. Weber grills seem to me to be much too deep. If I cut most of the height off, I’m liable to have too little width left to work with.   I also considered buying some sheet steel and forging out a new pan, if it came to that.   I would try and create an actual bowl for the fire pot area and grate, then a higher plateau area for coal storage, then a lip to contain it.  Or maybe that’s wishful thinking, with my lack of experience/skill.   My opinion upon acquiring the forge was that it was too pitted and rusted through in several places to try and keep patching. If I’m wrong in that opinion, then I’m open to other ideas on how to keep patching it.  It does have some very thin areas that have broken through and crumbled, the whole center has already been patched at least once, which is also old and pitted.  

Irondragon mentioned using clay around the grate...are we talking about digging the dirt out of the yard, or is there a special clay I should look for? Cat litter, maybe?  

Pnut mentioned using a fire pit bowl and they seem to also be around the same diameter, so that’s got possibility.  

I want to keep this forge light and portable and able to be rested on its side (which may negate the clay idea) for travel in my truck. If that means replacing the bowl every several years, then I can probably deal with that. Given the level of pitting in this bowl, I’d guess it’s had many years of service.  

I’ve included photos of some items I’ve found. Woks seem prohibitively expensive with shipping, so that may be out.  

The 2nd and 3rd photo are almost exactly how I described what I would hammer out if I ended up with the sheet steel option.  

Again, I’m up for options. Clay may be out since it will be rested on its side for travel. 

 

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Take a look at agricultural disc blades.

They come in many diameters, thicknesses, dish heights, and center hole dimensions.

And a lot cheaper than cooking woks.

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I'd second the agriculture disc blades in that application of what you are asking about. 

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Uhh; are you looking online for stuff and then complaining it's expensive?  Online is one of the most expensive ways to get stuff---like going into Tiffany's looking for a wedding ring and then complaining that wedding rings are too expensive!

If I wanted to get a wok for use in patching a forge I would go to a large thrift store---and be sure to look at things like round bases for pedestal tables, etc.

I had a  forge with a rusted out round firepot and I started patching it with PTO guards; but they are thin and needed replacing too often so I went to the axle covers from a 30's banjo rear end---they were often made into jack stands and I found a pair for US$3 at the fleamarket. Took one and ground out the internal ribs and had a friend weld on the air connection.  Been using that since around 1986; looks to be outlasting me so the "backup" is probably not going to get used.

As for transport: why not cut the legs off about an inch longer than the tue pipe and ash dump and make a simple adaptor on top of the legs to drop it back on top of them. Say nesting pipe sections---you don't even need a welder as you can bolt them to the bottom section of the legs and if you want to make it easier to move around get some hitch pin clips that you can slip through a drilled hole on the upper legs and nesting tube.  Then you can set it in the truck flat and toss the legs in on their side.

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Uhh; are you looking online for stuff and then complaining it's expensive?  Online is one of the most expensive ways to get stuff---like going into Tiffany's looking for a wedding ring and then complaining that wedding rings are too expensive!

If I knew where to look, in person, I probably wouldn’t be trying to buy online, nor would I be asking for help. I don’t have machinist, mechanic, or farming background, sorry. Nor do I have building experience, short of putting together a few small wooden goat and chicken houses.

  I’m a 37 year old female who is self/youtube-taught and has been putzing with blacksmithing alone a few times a month at a tiny museum for a couple of years. 

By prohibitively expensive, I meant that the shipping for the wok I had found was more than the wok, itself. I’ve never used one, nor have I seen one in person.  It just happened to be the only thing I found online that had the correct shape. 

This is all completely new to me, so pardon me for being a bit clueless. I came here for help, not sarcasm and belittling. 

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A couple points about your current forge pan. It is a "Duck's Nest" type forge, meaning there's only a shallow depression around the air grate. You make the size and shape of your fire with sand stone rocks or fire bricks. Be VARY careful using stones, they can have moisture trapped internally and heating them quickly can cause steam explosions with sharp shattered stone shrapnel. :o

Claying the forge pan isn't a permanent thing, you just ram damp at the wettest, clayey soil into the pan to disperse the heat more evenly in cast iron pans or shield from direct contact with the fire in sheet steel pans. An inch or so is usually plenty unless you plan on doing BIG work. I carry it to the location in a bucket and ram it in the pan once it's where I want it. I scrape it out to haul it home in the bucket when I'm finished. I ram it in with my wooden mallet that started life as a wooden B'ball bat.

If your pan is thin and rusting through I'd maybe lay it somewhere to display occasionally and make a new pan. I've already mentioned using the end of a 55 gl. drum, about 2" is a good depth and it leaves lots for a wind screen and home rolled stack. Rebuilding a worn out pan forge this way is VERY blacksmitherly. Look at the blue prints of Glenn's 55 forge for examples of what high performance forges can be made from a drum.

Thomas isn't being sarcastic, he often uses analogy to make points. His point is the internet is the expensive place to shop. Search out the TAAAP if you'd like a more effective method. Don't be fooled by the name the technique works for anything you want to find. 

Frosty The Lucky. 

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I appreciate those who mentioned the ag disc blades, but in a quick search, I didn’t recognize any supplier name to have an actual store. They all seem to be online sources, which Thomas seems to think is a dumb resource.

The only ag related store I know of in my area is Tractor Supply. The biggest one they have is 22”. I don’t know the size of the pan I have, but it might work.  

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Without comparing prices the first hit had new 22 in. plain harrowing discs for $32.  They would certainly work. If there's a farm co-op near you I'm sure you could get a used one.

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Well, considering you have been putzing around for a few years in this craft means you might consider a step up with your primary tools. 

Depending on your experience with conventional tools, by the time you retrofit a wok, or whatever into your forge and fit the twyre and grate to the wok, you will have a lot of time and or money invested in this "restoration". Money if you need to hire out the work.

So I suggest that you check out forge suppliers and buy a cast iron round or rectangular firepot setup. Yup, its expensive, but it will blow you away when you use it. 

Its against board policy to post an addy to their site because we aren't supposed to advertise here. 

Check it out. I recommend the round one because its most likely a drop in unit. Do not sweat the coal vs coke titles as both burn coke very well.

And, drum roll, etc, I do not know what shipping is, but I have an old, well used rectangular centaur forge firepot. Its cracked do to usage but serviceable for many years. I may have an extra CF twyre as well. Ill check when I get home. The firepots are "consumables", the twyre wont wear out. You can replace the firepot in the future once you are rich and famous.  ;)

You can have them for the cost of shipping. Just check the dimensions for the rectangular pot to make sure it will fit.

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In consideration of making a 55 drum base, would the metal be sturdy enough to leave a T shaped “backsplash”, where the top T part comes together to create a flu? Or will that require thicker metal? Or bracing to keep it up? 

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The original 55 forge WITH the supercharger attached. Placed on 55 gallon drums as a stand for the photo. opening is 16 inches wide (revised version) 4 inches below the 2nd ring and 2 inches above the bottom of the drum. Revised version has an arched opening.

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Left outside in the weather, it has lasted 3-4 years before the bottom of the pan where it joins the sides rusts out. The forge was made again this year and took about an hour to cut the holes and put on the forge stand. If you need to pass metal through the forge, then cut a small hole in the back side of the forge.  

The height of the opening is based on where you stand and can still see the back of the fire.

One drum alone as a chimney does not work for spit. Add the second drum and the draft will suck the fleas off a dogs back as he walks past. (grin)

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Anvil, thank you for the offer. It’s definitely a possibility.   The new ones are out of my budget right now. The forge I have has a tuyere that is currently bolted to the pan. It fits well for the crank blower that came with it.  The intention was to cut a hole and bolt it to whatever the replacement ends up being.  

Thomas- I’ll wait to cut the legs for the additional ease of travel until I know what the final height of pan and tuyere will be, but that is a great idea.  I can probably lathe turn a wooden plug of some kind to fit in the holes of the legs to get it back to original height for use.  

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Good idea for using the pegs; however have you every turned any nylon or other turnable plastics?  Wood will expand when it gets wet and you are in the damp end of the country---I spent 6 years in McLean VA during the 60's---I grew up in suburbia!  My father was an electrical engineer and went into management.  However I have lived poor when I went out on my own.  Taught my kids that it's better to own used high quality stuff than new low quality stuff; hence knowing about flea markets, junk stores, thrift stores and scrapyards.  Also remember that while you may have a personal question the answers are being written to the whole world and often will be aimed at the many folks who have not posted their questions. (Many people do not know that the density of anvils was higher in cities than on farms!).

If I was looking for a disk, I would check my local scrap yard, a tractor repair company or any old farm with a line of abandoned farm equipment with trees growing up through it---last time I visited Manassas VA there was a new development going in and there was a bunch of old wrought iron and HC scrap being bulldozed out of a hedgerow. Unfortunately I flew in...Out here they are commonly recycled into "discos" a open fire cooking implement used a bit like a wok.

Please note: Gender has nothing to do with smithing. I can document women working in smithies during the renaissance, the president of ABANA has been a woman smith and I teach gender neutral smithing classes---save that I will admit that the female students tend to be easier to teach and much less likely to damage themselves at the forge or anvil.

A quick search on Farm Equipment repair north eastern MD had some interesting hits especially if you ignore the lawn tractor ones...

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