Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Finally starting my Forge build...

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 72
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Alright guys I got the inlets and outlet sized up, and I went ahead and took the time to build a set of externally routed inlets to the inner chamber of the bellows, it over complicated the design and build a bit, but it worked and I did not have to tear down the entire build to access the ports on the inner chamber to up scale them. I still want to make a handle for the pushrod. But tomorrow I will shift the focus back to the forge. And hopefully by the end of the day I will have a nice hot fire.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully by this evening I'll be pumping a fire, but i have some plumbing to work out first.  Next time I build one of these, it will be built more or less upside down, to put the exhaust port at the top, more of a straight shot to the plumbing n g if the forge. But hey, its all about knowing more than you did the day before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ITS DONE!!!!!!! I'm super stoked and a little proud, I have birthed my first fire in my box of.... well rocks.(JABOD?) 

I got out of the tattoo shop with some daylight left, and decided to get a fire built. But first I needed to set up some plumbing for the bellows and finish putting together the forge.

I found a pile of red lava rock on the property under some blackberry bushes while I was digging around for some spare scattered red brick and terracotta hunks to use as bracing for the tuyere and fire brick. So i decided to use the lava rock for fill being a nice temporary insulation and back fill for the forge. It is lighter than the wheelbarrow of dirt I had just dug up, so it seemed like the way to go for the moment. But it did the trick well enough for "proof of concept" on this build. 

Then I builta fire from some of the scrap dimensional lumber laying around and started pumping. After I saw that everything was operational I dug through my tool boxes and picked a piece steel to throw in the fire. Found a broken alen wrench to sacrifice to the gods and kept pumping...... 

Next time I start a thread hopefully it will be me asking how to make better tongs!





Not sure why the last post loaded the same clip 2x. But this is the one i wanted to post.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Split the wood into about 3 pieces each to get a quicker bed of coals.  Then add more wood to make a deeper bed of coals.  It is the embers that heat the metal not the flame.  Once you have the bed of coals, back off on the air until you find just how much air is needed (actually very little) in order to provide the heat you need from the coals.  

The metal will heat better and faster if it goes into the coals horizontally, not at a down angle.  Keep a close eye on that ratchet strap so it does not become overheated.

Congratulations, you have it working.  Now to play with the controls and tweak things a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Glenn! Great tips. I will be tweaking the controls form now to forever im sure. I also have some lump coal that I will use when I want to start doing some work. These scraps were about 3 inches maybe 4, but they were just laying around so I threw em in to see how it went. Hopefully I won't have to resort to dimensional lumber for fuel, but its good to know it works in a pinch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pallets are behind every business and are usually free if you ask.  Wood (charcoal) has been used for years.  It would be a shame to go back and tell those blacksmiths that charcoal does not work. (grin)  Clean up the sticks from the yard, wood scraps laying around, etc.  Avoid pressure treated lumber and any pallet that may be marked with a MB in the hot brand on the wood.

Stay with what fuel you have available and at the best price.  All the control settings change when you decide to change fuels.  If you keep switching back and forth between fuels, you will only confuse yourself and not do well with either fuel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking good to see some fire and huffin&puffin going on! As Glenn says cut the wood into smaller pieces, the closer to cubes the better. The trench is a LOT longer than I'd expect but you can probably pyrolize wood off to the sides while you forge in the center. Could be wrong, I'm just thinking of things I'd maybe try.

One thing really stands out to me though. Have you melted the ratchet strap yet? Nylon doesn't like temps 300f and above. If you want to make it easy to remove the hood it'd be easy to rivet tabs on the forge or hood that overlap the other and a single screw per tab would secure it in place. Screws being easy to remove if desired.

I really like it and the pumice is such a good thing I think it's something to recommend to anybody building one of these.

Well done.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haha, yeah the straps are temporary, the old green one above the heat is not nylon, so it should be fine for a fire or two, but they will get replaced with screws bolts exct. When I weld up a proper trolly to put the forge on. Straps are just to secure it to the stand for now. 

Definitely gonna process down my wood when I get to rolling for real. 

I'm already churning over plans of how to build version #2, but ill work with this one until it becomes too burdensome.


Likewise on the lava rock. I was super pumped to find that piled up under the sticker bushes.

Thanks everybody for the great advice!

Really looking forward to many a days of hard work ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Update! Lava rock: try and keep it out of the fire, works fine for back fill around the bricks, but i was finding tons of black glassy hard rock like material left over when picking out leftover charcoal. 

As many of you have suggested my forge body was way too big. Pain in the xxx to move in and out of the garage space by myself.  So I figured i would pick up some locking casters so I could roll it in and out.  

the bellows: way more air power than needed for most projects. While I was hunting for my post vise I found a small Buffalo Forge blower that I talked the guy out of for next to nothing. 

I figure if I am working on projects that require that much air and fire I will likely be using a striker, in which case turns can be had pumping the box bellows. Which I came to the conclusion are way more work than is necessary especially in weather as warm as we have been having. 

So after some consideration and another stack of fire brick I found for free on CL. I made the call to rebuild my forge.  I now have a more normal looking sideblast 55, fuled by scrap dimentional lumber(which is typically free if you know where to look) powered by the Buffalo Forge hand crank blower, which all sits atop a temporary stand(on forementioned casters). This stand will be one of the first projects I do when I get my welder.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one hand crank blower I like using so much that I sourced another as "backup" in case it ever fails.  I actually started with an electric blower; moved to hand crank and decided I liked it better.  I then built and used a double lunged bellows and liked it even better but it took up so much space that after about 20 years use I gave it away when I moved 1500 miles and went back to the hand crank.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

20200908_155035.jpg.ba53d33d1837455ba0a0df6a18ae3c59.jpg20200908_141404.jpg.3fdf25a9c76db7df2ba725cdc35797ed.jpg20200908_155216.jpg.34f550713ba99bd8c7ca87ad99c0c07e.jpgToday the forge got a huge upgrade! I came across a Champion Forge no. 400 hand crank blower. Which is a major upgrade from the tiny Buffalo Forge blower I was running. Now its even less work to keep the fire nice and hot. This thing spins for days when you let go of the handle.  

Also, here is a shot of what I've been heating and beating over the last few weeks.

A couple hand gravers. A round punch a slot punch. A kiridashi. A touch mark punch. A scribe. And a very poor attempt at a knife.20200908_162719.jpg.8a12a47b1fd4319e7e425d6b3db280c8.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

 thanks. The hot cut works pretty well, but I may have tempered it a bit too soft. Probably a good call for my current skill level. But I think I will be dressing the hot cut every couple projects,until I decide to re heat treat. 

As for the forge. I think I like it, especially now that I have upgraded my blower a few times. The Champion no. 400 is a great blower. Previously I was using a tiny Buffalo Forge blower, which required about 3x the cranking power to get the air I needed. And before that I was using a  giant box bellows, which was plenty of air,  but also took about 4x the amount of work and attention at the forge.

I have been burning scrap dimensional lumber for fule, up to recent, where I got tired of processing fule in the rain and cold. And decided to try burning hardwood lump charcoal, Cowboy brand. Which seems to burn a bit hotter and longer, and makes a much more dense coalbed. I finally feel like I'm able to get up to forge welding temps. I definitely got some material up to a bright yellow, shooting a stream of sparks yesterday, oops. Havent attempted to forge welding anything yet though. 

As for the current forge configuration, I won't be in the workshop for a couple days, as I will be at my day job, so it will be tough to give you exact dims on the layout. But if we keep intouch and you remind me to jot down the measurements, I can get you some specs in the next week or so. 

But in the meantime, here is the full thread of the build up to this point.. with some pics of the tuyre relative to the firepot at the time of the build of its current configuration. Also the other members here have dropped some really good design info throughout this thread. Pics are at the top of this page.

I think the tuyre has settled a little bit,, and may sit about an inch or so lower than pictured. I typically will drop a brick in at the back of the forge on an angle so I don't push any fule out the back door, but leaving a little shute to feed fresh fule from the back side as well. The bricks that top the forge, as well as the one that creates the rear shute come and go depending on how much room I need for my work piece. Occasionally I the tuyre will get blocked by fule and shoot an explosion of sparks and charcoal chunks into the air as the air pressure clears the way. But havnt really noticed any major issues or headach trying to keep fule in the fire pot. Although, I do spend a bit of time fiddling with the coals to build up and adjust the fule in and around the hotspot when introducing or adjusting the workpiece or adding fresh fule. But I figured this was just normal fire tending when dealing with a light fule like charcoal. But im still a noob so I could be missing something that would make life easier at the forge. 

Hope this helps.

I may also be willing to say that the entry and exit slots cut in the 55, could be trimmed a bit closer to the top of the bricks of the forge floor, to make for better pass-through capabilities, without really having to worry too much about fule exiting the forge in an unwanted manor.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, M.G. said:

burning hardwood lump charcoal, Cowboy brand

I have found with the bagged charcoal, some of the pieces are a little on the large size. I take a chopper and cut them down to about walnut size, which gives me a better fire and easier to manage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True, I have noticed. Talk about dirty jobs. Breaking up lump is flicking messy. And some of that Cowboy charcoal comes out pretty large.

But it burns great. I noticed that Royal Oak likes to send streams of exploding fire fleas everywhere. I think it's more dusty than the cowboy...???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...