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I Forge Iron

New in northern IL


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Hello from Lake County, IL.  I came into an old anvil and vise from by great uncle several years back and life slowed down just enough to start setting up a work space.  I'm gathering and making tools and Iforge has been a wealth of information on how to get started.  I've been able to pull off everything from the Frosty T Burner which is the core of my first forge, to some basic techniques and ideas that made getting started a little less scary.  Only been at it for a few weeks but the advice here has already kept me from killing myself buy running a forge in a poorly ventilated, but very cold garage, and not repeatedly quenching my tongs till they crack to pieces. 

I'm still looking to build up some more basic tools, but also I'm looking for people to connect with in Chicago or northern Illinois.  It would be great to connect with one or two experienced smiths before all the bad habits I know I'm building get too set in stone.  Also, I would love to have someone walk me through forge welding because it looks super simple on YouTube, but YouTube does not translate to how things work in my garage. 

A couple pics of some of first projects and tools I'm pulling together.  Thank you all for such a well run and informative site.  It's been a lot of help so far. 








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Welcome aboard Quinton, glad to have you. Snodganistan? :huh:

A couple things about your forge: First the fittings on the burner have a lot of leverage against and weight hanging. You'll probably find it hard to keep the jet aligned if you have to move it and tripping over the hose is likely to snap the 90 Ebow off the last brass fitting.

Secondly, the bricks you're using in the forge are a poor choice. First they're heavy and so a strong heat sink and poor insulation they WILL cost a lot more fuel to reach and maintain heat and they aren't going to last long. 

Take a look at the Forges 101 thread for some good basic designs from the classic brick pile built with modern high temp insulating fire brick to the classic refractory blanket and hard refractory lined forges. There area lot of new products that are really upping the bar on good propane forges. 

If you WERE to rebuild your forge and mount the burner horizontally+/- the long nipple from the elbow to the needle valve and hose can be eliminate as the hose is away from the HOTness.

Enjoy the addiction, we'll help. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks Frosty, I've done, and will probably continue to make some modifications to the forge.  I added a support bracket for the hose and fixture up top so all the weight wasn't pulling on my brass fitting.  I also added a second layer of bricks all around, and to reduce the interior volume of heating space.  Also got some Kiln wash, but not applied it yet.  The bricks didn't impress me, but they were what I could get a hold of and a local ceramic place wants $8 per brick, vs box retail $16 for six.  If I coat the interior really well with refractory Kiln wash will that help?

When I rebuild it completely I will probably move towards a propane tank style, with two burners, ceramic wool and a nice door with window and pass through port in the back, but I sort of just wanted to get the burner figured out and get to hammering on something. That and i'm trying to keep cost down till my better half sees the value of her getting a hand made pot rack, closet hooks, and various pretty lady things.  After that my budget and bargaining power goes up tremendously. 

Also, last name Snodgrass, so president of our own one acre state...Snodganistan

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Snodganistan, perfect name for the homestead.B) I knew there was a backstory and we love good stories. I call our driveway, "Frosty's Way," though I've never gotten a street sign printed up, I'd love to see it on maps. Oh well.

Look for a local HVAC service or supply company and give them a call. Online isn't a good way to ask questions and email almost always just goes away. A phone call on the other hand puts you in contact with a human, probably the receptionist who is actually THE one in the business that knows what's going on. If they don't carry what you're looking for they'll know who does. Our club gets all it's refractory supplies from a HVAC service and supply company who treat us very well. We not only get a commercial discount we get another few % as the club. Of course we send everybody we talk with to them. 

If you want to stay with the Brick pile forge, an excellent choice for reasons we've discussed at length in Forges 101 section. You'll want Morgan Thermal Ceramics, K-26 IFBs. (Insulating Fire Brick) K-26 are rated for a max sustained working temperature of 2,600F., withstand rapid thermal cycling, easily, remain hard at temp and aren't particularly susceptible to caustics like molten borax forge welding flux. 

K-26 IFBs and a coat of Plistex or Matrikote kiln wash makes an excellent forge. They heat fast and don't bleed heat through the liner, I can hold my finger on the other side of a yellow hot K-26 and guys pick them up by hand. 

I'm a huge fan of these IFBs the old kind are rated to 2,200F. but don't like much thermal cycling, they'd start breaking up in two maybe three firings and be rubble shortly after. They cost around $8.75 ea but the K-26 are under $4.00. In Alaska shipping included. Our supplier doesn't carry the old type brick anymore, the counter guys say the old brick is being phased out most places. 

And about modifying your forge. . . :rolleyes: Well DUH! Propane forges especially home builds get modified all the time, the first time I lit my last one only confirmed the glaring mistakes I'd made. Pics are in the "NARB Lives" thread. The next one will be a treasure trove of brand new mistakes! :D My first gasser continues to gather dust in an out of the way corner and a more couple frames and husks are around somewhere. I think most of us old guys have old forges gathering dust.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thomas is just being silly Quinton, he knows I like to show folks where to set anvils gently. It's the best way to avoid weighwords, you know the words you say when the weight of an anvil you drop lands on your foot. 

No need to run either, I'll be happy to shoot the breeze for a while, even set you a place for dinner. It can be an emotional experience fostering an anvil out. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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