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I Forge Iron

Help? Welding in my charcoal side-draft forge

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Hi all.  I've recently set up my little smithy, and the forge is a side-draft JBOD style.  


Ihave decent clay, so built up a firepot.


Though I can weld in coal and propane (often enough, but I can't call it second nature yet), my only choice of fuel here and now is lump (not briquettes) charcoal.  I've also never welded in a side-draft forge.

I get plenty of heat - after my attempts today, it appears I've fired the clay around half the firepot - it's ceramic pottery in there.  But in that section of the fire there's so much oxygen that my piece just burns up.  Higher up in the fire, I get to orange heat, almost yellow, but not to clear white.  I do, however, not burn up my material.

I've tried at 3 different levels in the fire today, each one split higher than before.  I found no joy.  I have no pintles for garden gate.

How do I move my white heat further up the fire?  Any other advice?




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Good Morning Paul,

It looks like your fire-pot may be a little deep for burning Charcoal. Don't put your work-piece deep into the fire-ball, stay just above it and have some charcoal above the work-piece. Consumption of charcoal is more than Coal or Coke. Home Hardware can order Coal from St. Jacobs, Ont. but they also charge freight.

PM me if you want your questions answered.


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A 5deg. Tilt will move the center of the fire ball out from the wall and toured the center of the trench. Try pulling the bricks out and see if Making the bowl shallower.it will also make you sides taller to get more fuel on top.since they are split bricks it’s 1” change. Then try 2” one should work. 

Also slow roasting the stock is beter than trying to heat it to fast. The outside gets hot but the inside remains cool. Like a marshmallow, that is toasty brown and all gooey in the center instead of Burt on the outside and cold in the middle.


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Ok, shallower pot, ~5 degree tuyere tilt.  Definitely moved the heat further into the pot - a real improvement even for general work.

I managed to get a simple faggot weld to hold, so that's an improvement.  But it was a heck of an effort on the bellows getting to and keeping the heat up at welding temperatures - it was very difficult to keep it up at a bright lemon yellow, and for the second heat it seems to take just as painfully long to get it up there again - the fire basically collapses and it's as if the blast has to burn its way past a pile more charcoal before forming the hot spot, each time.  Is that normal?  Or am I too impatient and working too low in this fire?

Still no pintle weld.  Running out of excuses to hang the gate, so I think my next fire will bend a couple of simple ones to make do.


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Fuel consumption is rapid in a charcoal forge.  Have you tried starting with the work piece higher in the fuel stack to let it preheat and gradually shift lower as the fuel burns below it until it's at the right temp to go for a welding heat just when it enters the hottest part of the fire?  And yes it takes experience with your particular set up to get good at it.

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