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I Forge Iron

New member in SW Iowa - new to everything!


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Hello all!  As I said in the topic, I am new to everything in regards to blacksmithing.  I am currently researching what type of forge to build to start.  As I read all of the opinions, seems like it all comes down to personal preference and amount of $ I want to spend.  I hope to learn from all of the members here as I do have a ton to learn!  Anyone in the vicinity of Atlantic, IA - I am always up for a meet and greet to inundate you with questions....;-)

Regards,

Chad

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Welcome aboard, the best thing about blacksmithing is there is no "right way" to do things. Some ways are easier than others but you will find six smith's may do the same thing in different ways and have ten answers to the same question. Don't be shy when asking questions just try to do some research first. The best way to search IFI is to use your favorite search engine and add site:iforgeiron.com to the search string. The search function on the forum leaves a lot to be desired.

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Forge design depends on what you are making. Gas forges work great for items that are relatively flat and can fit through the door. Solid fuel forges lend themselves to larger items due to no box around the flame. Induction heaters also have their place, especially when speed, fumes, and flame are an issue.

For solid fuel I would go side blast as opposed to bottom, especially for coal since clinkers are less of an issue.

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Welcome aboard Chad, glad to have you. What kind of (fuel) forge are you thinking about? Whatever you build making it small to start is a good thing, learning projects are rarely very large. A small brick pile forge works a treat IF you use Morgan, Thermal ceramics, K-26 insulating firebrick, (IFB)  and a small propane burner. 

A JABOD is (Just A Box Of Dirt) side blast forge. There is a thread discussing it and there are even plans. It's super simple and works very well with charcoal and well with coal.

I don't know if you really want to learn from ALL the members here, some of us are just full of IT. :ph34r:

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks all for the welcome. I was thinking about building a brake drum forge, so I went to the local scrap yard and thinking “bigger is better” bought a semi drum....  now that I have done some more reading, I am thinking about a side blast made out of a 55 gallon drum. I want to use coal as my fuel source and will be setting it up inside my garage, so thought maybe the 55 gallon drum would work for the hood as well. Planning to get the forge built this coming weekend and hoping to start practicing soon. Question on basic ventilation - can I tee off of an existing vent pipe currently being used for a wood burning stove and have both vent to the same external chimney?

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Good Morning and welcome!

Take little steps, Grasshopper!! Bigger is not better. Simple is make a small propane forge! There is never going to be one forge and one design, most Blacksmiths have umpteen different concoctions. Everything works, sometimes something works better, no Constant. When you try to use the semi-drum, you will understand, start simple.

Play-Doh is your teacher (ok Plasticene, modelling clay, whatever), you can make something with Play-Doh in your hands. It works identical to hot metal except you can hold it. Don't buy a Magic Hammer that hasn't been to school, they are a lump on a stick. All different shapes, all different purposes, all different reasons, the one you have is the best one!! Tongs are just larger tweezers, same thing, none are perfect, use what you have even Vice-grips.

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simply Simple. There is no wrong way, you will learn all kinds of different ways, some will work better than others.

Enjoy the Journey,  Neil

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On 8/10/2020 at 11:14 PM, Cbrockman said:

on basic ventilation - can I tee off of an existing vent pipe currently being used for a wood burning stove and have both vent to the same external chimney?

No.  One chimney for each point of use.  The chimney for a solid fuel forge is recommended to be 10-12 inches in diameter.  Straight up is better than bends in the chimney.

A side draft hood is the way to go.  It will suck the smoke up and out of the work area when you place it nest to the fire.  Look at the side draft, through the wall, chimney by HOFI, or the side draft called the super sucker also on the site.

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I had a student that tried making a forge from a semi drum.  First he had the tuyere in the bottom and found that since the workpiece should slide into the hot spot  horizontally that he could forge anything longer than a pretty small length and even that was hard to maneuver.  He also burnt up a lot of steel as sticking the workpiece in at a steep angle helps that happen a lot!  So he filled it with dirt to get the tuyere up closer to the top.  He ended up with a terribly heavy inefficient forge that was a pain to use.  When he moved, he abandoned it at his old place!

I have made a brake drum forge from a car brake drum and added a sheet metal fence inside it shaped like a C that extended several inches above the drum rim. The open section was where work went in and I used a cold chisel to cut a "mousehole" opposite the open end so that long pieces could go all the way through and out the other side.  The hotspot was about at the rim level. The fence allowed me to pile the fuel to a proper height without it getting knocked to the ground all the time.  It was my primary billet welding forge for several years.  Total cost with blower was around 5 bucks. Fanciest tool used was a 1/4" electric drill.

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