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I Forge Iron

Fire pot questions?


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Guys, I have a couple of questions.
I have a cast iron forge table that has been lined with some type of refractory
cement. This was done before I purchased the forge.
I formed a large clinker that went around the entire circumference of the tuyere. The clinker was stuck to the cement lining,and when I removed the clinker, the cement came with it.

QUESTION #1: How do I keep my clinkers from sticking to the cement lining.

My fire pot is 4" deep. The tuyere is 3" diameter. The fire pot tapers up to 12"
I am concerned that my fire pot is to large, and consumes to much coal.
Since I need to repair the liner in the bottom of my fire pot around the tuyere,
I am considering using the refractory cement to make my fire pot 9" diameter.

QUETSION #2:What are your thoughts on my fire pot dimensions, and the idea of modifing its size?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.

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I think you will always have trouble with hot clinker sticking to concrete, which is why the fire carrying area of bottom blast forges is typically cast iron.

A 12" pot is about right for general work. If excess fuel consumption is a concern, build your fires with wet coal - that will concentrate the blast and cut down on the fire size.

Might be a good plan for you to buy a factory pot and fit it to your hearth. You could then reline the area around the pot to whatever unbroken refractory is left.

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How much coal you burn is generally a function of how much air you provide it. learn fire control and you burn a lot less!

Unless you are using charcoal. Charcoal will naturally spread the fire unless you water it or contain the fire by stacking firebrick or angle iron around it to get a deeper but narrower fire.

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1. What is the thickness of your fire pot? If it is 3/8" or more, don't line it. Also the size of the pot is fine.

2. If you forge table is cast, and most castings are at least 1/4" to 1/2" anyway, there really is no reason to line it with anything. Unless you are forging 8-12 a day, everyday as a business even then it would be iffy.

3. As far as fuel consumption, you did not say what type of air system you are using. The type you are using and how you use it can be the issue with the amount of fuel you are burning.

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I am using a Champion 400 blower.
It is entirely possible that I am not properly managing my fire properly.
I am burning coal that I purchased from Tillers International, the place that I took my blacksmithing classes. When I say I took classes, I mean 4 days total training.
My fire is constatnly spreading larger than I think that it should.
I am constantly watering around the fire to contain it.
The coal around the outer part of the fire pot flames up, which makes it difficult for me to see my iron in the fire, particularily when welding. I can water the coal to get rid of the flames,but they return within one or two heats.
This may be normal. This is a hobby, and I have little experience.
My fire pot has been fabricated from an old farm implement wheel. It is 1/8" thick or so.
I know there are variables, but how much coal do you consume in an 8 hour day?
Thanks again.

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Fill a 5 gallon plastic bucket about half full with your coal and pour about a quart of water on it. Mix this up with your shovel and let it sit while you start your fire. Start the fire with a ball of paper and put some dry coke/coal on top to get it going then pack the wet coal on the left and right sides of the pot using the shovel. Don't cover the fresh fire or you may extinguish it. The wet coal will act as an insulator, coke up nicely and keep the fire contained. You may also have some coal with a lot of volatiles, which is why you have large flames. I bought 1000 lbs from Alabama many years ago with the same issue - it was good clean fuel and got very hot but made alot of excess flames that were a beast to work around in the middle of August. On the other hand, you need some amount of volatiles when using a hand blower or the fire will go out pretty quickly after a heat. With electric, you can leave it idling with only a breath to keep the fire lit.

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