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Need help with my first forge


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Hi everyone 

I'm still in the planning stages of set up the forge. I'm thinking of use the sand and clay mix for the base of my 36" fire pit but I'm wondering how it holds up to the weather like rain and snow. Also wondering what type of clay you guys use . I'm going to use a air mattress pump and pipes.

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I always used the clay in the local creek.  (Lets see it's been a half dozen different creeks over the years and moves).

Keep a lid on it so rain and snow don't affect it.  (I've seen some nice JABODish forges done in old propane grills with nice lids you can close for protection when they are not in use.)

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I have good luck with 2-3 pts sand to 1 pt. clay. Unless you're going to fire it like a brick rain will turn it to mud. What I do with the mix I use to clay my rivet forge is I scrape it out and keep it in a bucket till next time.

I don't recall what kind of forge you have but in general the layer of "clay" disperses the heat over a large area. Cast iron doesn't like a big temperature differential say RED around the air grate and black 2" away, it's not very flexible so the difference in expansion over a short range teds to cause cracking. 

All that said, I ram in a little better than an inch, two won't hurt, leaving a shallow bowl shaped depression down to the air grate. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Classic adobe mixes work, say 30% clay to 50% or more sand. A bit of wood ash will help stabilize the mix but yes, keeping it covered is your best bet. Wet soil isn’t heir the issue of wet brick. 

When you go to actually build the forge  you have options with an adobe mix and that is it can be tamed in a box, made into bricks or formed into cobs. The later two eliminate the need for a box but don’t like being left in the rain so much (rain and ash kill steel and iron forges as well) 

 

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  • 11 months later...

I know it's been a year since I originally posted but I finally made my first forge. I used a metal drum cut in thirds and double layered the inside. Now I have to wait 2 week or more do to fire bans in the area but at least it can fully dry.

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That's awfully deep, and unless you take some substantial cutouts from the sides, you'll need to build some pretty huge fires to get your stock into the fire's hotspot.

The pipe looks like you couldn't make up your mind whether you wanted a bottom blast or a side blast. That pipe also looks too thin to stand up to the heat for very long, especially since it's not covered particularly well by the dirt fill.

I would strongly suggest that you get a piece of 3/4" schedule 40 pipe to use as a tuyere and have it come in much higher in the forge -- say, 4" down from the rim. Angling it down slightly would be better than having it angled up so dramatically. You've got enough space above your existing fill that you could easily pull out or cut off your existing pipe and just build a new setup on top of the old.

You might want to take a look at Charles R. Stevens's "Anatomy and a brief history of simple side blast forges" thread.

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First time doing it so I made a mistake with the amount of water. It was all good until I hit the bottom of the mixing bucket but It has time to dry. The pipe can be moved at anytime. I'm not planning on doing big projects until I get used to moving metal. So how high the sides don't really matter yet.

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8 hours ago, Red53 said:

So how high the sides don't really matter yet.

You only say that because you don't know what it takes to move metal. 

That's okay though, most of us have been there and done that. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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It matters a great deal. Your workpiece should go into the fire horizontally, as it needs to be in the neutral heart of the fire in order to heat quickly and without too much scaling:

image.png.186ca22cd133f7482a22e07611e551d9.png
You need to either cut down the sides of your forge or build up the floor: 
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15 hours ago, Red53 said:

The pipe can be moved at anytime.

If you leave it as-is, it will have to be moved sooner rather than later, once it gets burned up in the fire. Also, a slight downward angle will keep the oxidizing zone of the fire concentrated at the bottom, rather than extending it farther upward than you’d want. 

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Even if you don't plan to do any "big projects", it's nice to be able to put a long piece of stock in the fire so you have something to hold on to... Unless you have a collection of tongs to hold whatever you plan to be making..?

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When hand forging shoes the round ends prevent fish mouths when you forge the heal tapers, so I would imagine they are common to find. 
there are other farrier specialized hardies  such as the half rounds with the tit in the middle for forging round into rim shoe blanks. 1/2 inch round is nice to carry as you can forge either 5/16x3/4 fullered plates, 7/8x1/4 sliders or rim. shoes of corse 3/4” & 1” round for the occasional draft horse. 

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I like to use the curved hardy to cut the stock for bottle openers, nice curve on each end makes it faster and easier to hammer into shape.

(Dang Nabbit; I just gave away another secret tip; like the one about cutting stock to be pointed at an angle rather than at 90 deg,....double dang nabbit!)

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I have 2 weeks to figure out what I going to do with it. I'm planning on adding another layer of mix but I ran out. I don't even know when I can fire it up do to the fire ban in affect. so I probably work on mounting a railway track on end and a bar that's about 2x3in and maybe 4ft long to the stump 

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You can always dump out the mix you have and just fill the bottom half of your can with sand, gravel or plain old dirt and then put your Adobe mix back on top. For a 3/4-2” ID tuyere putting the pipe so that the top of it is about 4” down from the rim is about right, then form a slit about 4” wide and about a foot long sloping from the long ends tied the tuyere. I would also make two mounds of your mix on each side above the rim. Alternatively you can notch the rim and put the tuyere about 8” down, making the mounds backed by the can. 

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Here's a picture of the first jabod trench style firepot I made. The tuyere is one inch schedule forty pipe that's ~3in below the top of the box and about three quarters of an inch above the bottom of the trench floor so I could burn coal also. I later substituted bricks for the mounds I made from clay because I made them too thin and they cracked. Hard to believe that was almost three years ago.

Pnut

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19 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

(Dang Nabbit; I just gave away another secret tip; like the one about cutting stock to be pointed at an angle rather than at 90 deg,....double dang nabbit!)

It's in the Mark Aspery books too but it's a secret so please try to keep it under your hatB)

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