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I Forge Iron

The Temporary Janky Forge


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Out of the gate, I know this looks a bit sketchy. I wanted to test out my newly-made box bellows, so I made a temporary set up to try things out. If I just so happened to move my anvil out there too so that I could move some metal for the first time on my own, well, these things happen. :)


This next picture is after I let it burn down a bit. I really didn't have anything I wanted to work on this time around. I just wanted to see how well I could heat up the metal.


I basically just tapered a piece of 3/8 square bar.


And a bonus shot of the type of anvil. I found this on craigslist back in January. I ended up paying $3.25/pound, but it came with the stand which fits it perfectly.


Excited to finally heat some metal up. Maybe today I'll try to make some tongs without tongs. :)

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Yeah, very. I was a bit worried about the wooden valves, as I've never done anything like that before. No reason to worry though, it works so well. I could blow the charcoal out of the makeshift trench if I tried to. If anything, I actually think I made the bellows a bit too tight. I've got two bags of sand under the bellows there because it does take a bit of force to pump right now and I wanted to be absolutely sure the hot coals didn't get tipped over. I'm a bit tempted to go in there and take some shavings off the internal piston, but I don't want to take the fabric off and go through all that. Plus, I think it'll tend to loosen up a bit over time.

I was amazed at how hot it got with just steady, constant air. At one point I wanted to see how hot I could get it, and it easily turned the end of that taper into a sparkler. Which I know isn't good for the steel, but showed me at least that charcoal and these bellows are easily able to provide the heat I need. Pretty pumped. See? Pumped? Bellows? I'll show myself out...

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Good new on both fronts. Successful build and health improving!

A box bellows like this could work really well for a demo setup. I imagine it can be made much lighter than a cast iron crank blow, not to mention that it has a bit of an ancient feel to it.

stay healthy, 


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You don't fool around do you Selph? That's a heck of a box bellows and yeah, it'll loosen up as it wears in. A little wax will help too.

Are those IFBs in your forge? If so you REALLY want to replace them with hard fire brick, a blown charcoal fire will quickly destroy IFBs you're looking at well in excess of 3,000f in the fire's heart.

Of course you sparkled a piece of steel to see how hot your forge would get. You wouldn't be a normal human guy if you hadn't, we all have and do a little destructive testing with new tools ad equipment. Not all tools and equipment of course but pushing the envelope is normal stuff. If your forge wouldn't melt steel it'd need some more work. Yes?

Well done. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Haha, nope! If I'm going to do something, I tend to really commit.

Thanks for the compliment on the box bellows. I actually milled all of that maple myself from a tree that died at my dad's place. Then I resawed it, flattened it, did all of that good woodworking stuff with a combination of hand and power tools. At some point, woodworking tools is something I'd like to really get into making, though I plan to start much more simply than jumping straight into forge welding tool/high carbon steel bits into mild steel bodies for tools.

And yes, those are IFBs, but I'm already trying to move to something else. I had, uhh, purchased those kind of in error a while back. I decided to use the broken ones here as a one-off to see how well things worked and to get a sense for where exactly my tuyere should be and how large I should make my trench for the charcoal. I've got some sand and kitty litter sitting in a bucket right now to make adobe that I was hoping to use for a more permanent forge setup. Maybe tomorrow if I got the ratios right. I followed the advice here as best as I could, but it looks really dry right now. The sand I dug up was a bit wet though, so I only added maybe 2 cups of water to my mixture. I'll see tomorrow if I need to add more I guess. :)

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