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I did some smithing today and brought out the anvil too. I would say you are correct, the pit is too deep, or rather the air intake is too far down.  I think it would be OK if I had the same overall depth but the intake was higher. But that would probably be wasteful. I am gonna reshape the bowl to move the intake higher up and make it shallower. I think I have designed this forge a bit too much like a charcoal forge rather than a coke forge. A charcoal forge wants a deeper firepit as I understand it.

Once it's  up and going coke has no smoke at all, so I think this coke is neighbor friendly. Anvil doesn't ring much either anymore though I think it can be improved.

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I was going to make this poker thing for moving the coals about in the forge

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I was thinning out the other side and was intending to draw it out and fold it back over itself to make a handle and hook to hang it from, but it suddenly went from sunny to a downpour. I had to put the fire out (removed the air source, closed the lid and put the chimney roof back on) and get the anvil back indoors and wipe it down and oil it.

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I need a proper smithing hammer, this one I used is 4.3 lbs small one handed sledge hammer, not really ideal. I found a smaller ball peen hammer that felt like it was a bit heavier than an ordinary 16oz hammer and I used this towards the end. Felt it was too light, but easier to work with.

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On 8/24/2020 at 1:09 PM, pnut said:

Looks like you may need to adjust the depth of the firepot so it's a tad shallower and you don't have to angle the stock down into the sweet spot. Looks good else wise. 

Rebuilt it last night. It's now 7-8cm deep, used to be 13cm deep (5") and the tuyere was moved upwards so the top of the pipe now sits 1" below the rim of the firepot instead of 2".  Based on asking around and looking at others I really thought I had the tuyere in the right place. But it's smaller in diameter than most.

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I have a followup question, I am wondering if my tuyere pipe is on the smaller side. I have read 3/4" pipe, but I am not sure if this refers to the actual ID of the pipe, or if it's just a name and has no connection to size. I have some half inch pipe clamps at home and I realized, nothing anywhere on these pipes was half an inch, so maybe it's a misstake to think this refers to the ID. I double checked and it's 18-19mm ID on my pipe so below 3/4",

I also watched this video, he seems to say you need a much bigger firepot and I reduced mine to be even smaller, but he is talking bottom blast only, not a mention of side blasts. Well I guess the only way to see if to test it out.

I have this old cabin space heater for my car, it gives quite a lot of air but not a lot of pressure and the heating can be turned off, I wonder if it is more suitable for the forge than the dryer, but less pressure and a small pipe might not work as well either, so again I wonder if I need a bigger pipe and lower pressure but more volume.

 

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My JABOD side blast is running a 3/4" "black pipe" from the box store. I believe 3/4 is the ID on mine as it required a slightly larger than 1" hole to go into the box. I added a cheap-ish ball valve on the end that I hook my blower up to so that I can control the amount of air. I started with a battery operated air mattress pump, but the batteries would get too hot after about 30 minutes and either need swapped out or it had to cool for a few hours. So now I've got a little 2 HP, 1.5 gal shop vac set to blow. Works wonders with the ball valve controlling the air flow.

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On 8/24/2020 at 6:35 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Hair dryers generally provide too much air.  Do you have a tuyere to get air into the middle/base of the fire?   If so getting a good fire going and closing the open door should use the chimney effect to pull air in through the tue pipe!  (You will have to learn how long to leave the front door closed between working the metal though.)

I am quoting this because of the latet exchange of messages above this one. Is this suggestion made with regards to using coke or charcoal?

 

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Oh and my tuyere is a pipe that ends at the side of the firepot. I could push the pipe into the center of the fire, but I understood the point of a side blast is for the air to enter the firepot from the side.

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Make what ever forge design you want. Run that forge for a week (40 hours) so you learn what that design does.  Then make only one change to see if the one change improves or does not improve the performance. Run that new modified forge for a week (40 hours) before making another (one) change.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use a new blower now, engine room fan with a PWM for controlling the fan speed and it moves more air than a blow dryer does I would say. The coke fire seems to be working better with the increased air blast, I also put in a bigger pile of coke this time so I coule heap it up, I understood this was good for retaining the heat. Someone (a sword smithing guy) also said it might be good to line the backside of the forge with more bricks to reflect the heat, even a small roof over the coal fire would be good.

I removed the metal pipe entirely and just left the hole the pipe made in the clay, that way I have a slightly larger hole of 20mm for the air. I got the forge hot enough to burn some steel by misstake. Might also have been running the fan too fast, it seemed to me once it got really hot it needed less air to keep going so I could turn down the fan.

One problem I have is that coke keeps falling out the front and down on the grass. Gonna make a small ledge with a narrow opening for inserting material.

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If you are referring to me using a bigger pile of coke, I was thinking in terms of insulation rather than burning more coke, as was explained to me, if you pile a load of coke in a forge, it will only burn where there is fresh air, as coke does not self combust, so piling more coke on means the hot spot in the forge gets buried, i.e. insulated and doesn't lose heat ot the surroundings as quickly.

I suppose a wall or room of bricks around the fire would do a similar thing.

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You've got it right.  You can use bricks as a wall to reduce the quantity of coke that you need to pile up to reach the same height, if that is convenient or useful for the task at hand. 

[Note for charcoal burners: charcoal will all combust and burn away just from the oxygen in the air, so you cannot just pile up fuel higher and higher.  In this case, the bricks are more necessary to avoid burning excess fuel.] 

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Arranged some bricks, will try it later and see if it makes any difference. Could adjust the one brick to close it up more. Also need a more permanent way to attach the air hose than duct tape.

HIs7Kzs.png

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Not sure if the forum can embed video, but I hard to burn it in again with charcoal, just used the hair dryer for this. Rained alot overnight and the inside was soggy and wet despite the cover. I have sealed up the joint between the two barrels whch I think might be responsible for the excessive water ingress. But, just a look at the forge running on full blast, too much blast for forging, but cool looking.

https://i.imgur.com/70BVMSR.mp4

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True but I need to dry it out for the same reasons, just gotta do a burn in again, maybe several times. It's very annoying. The bricks don't seem to get so wet though, it's mostly the mix. There are some bricks buried in the sand/clay mix but I think they are pretty well insulated at all times.

I wonder if a small hole in the bottom of the drum would be a good idea, so water can drain.

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I have to say I am not finding a lot of clinker after forging, less than a fist full after a 4 hour session, I went through the fuel after it had cooled down and picked out the clinker and put the coal back in the bucket I fed the fire from, overall level in the bucket didn't shrink that much, seems I am not going through it very fast. I assume this coke is very clean stuff too given how little clinker it seems to produce.

I have been doing some fire management errors though I realize , such as disturbing the fire too much, I watched this video and got some helpful hints, next time I won't be disturbing the fire near the bottom.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been using the forge for a while now. I think the main weakness is the small size of the pipe and not getting enough air. Sometimes it's like it's enough, the time before the last I got a good fire going and it got to forge welding temp by misstake. But last time I had issues the whole time with the forge and getting it hot enough. No difference in setup, I clean out the pit every time and sort out the coke and only reuse the stuff that looks good. I think it's very sensitive to how the coals are lying, which is a radom factor.

I am eyeing this massive 2" pipe I have with a 1" hole.

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