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New Coal Forge - Any luck with 8" chimney pipe and half hood?


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OK anthracite does not do well with cutting the air off between heats.  I'm sorry you can't find bituminous.

Turning down the air or wasting it through the ash dump and controlling the size of the fire with walls might be you best bet.

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If you're using anthracite, scratch the recommendation for a deadman switch; anthracite needs a constant air supply, or it goes out. Have you read the "Recommendations" article?

 

Note that because anthracite produces less smoke than bituminous, you really don't need the larger size of flue after all. If you do switch to soft coal, consider an upgrade. Otherwise, leave it alone.

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I did read that article and decided on anthracite because I can get it from TractorSupply near my house.  I did also try bituminous but it was SO SMOKY.  I find that the anthracite works great between heats though so I am not sure why it says otherwise in the article. I have turned off my fan for 20 minutes and come back to turn it on and it heats up again very quickly. There is a coal supply company in my state that can deliver me bituminous but I am very  happy with the tractor supply price for anthracite.

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Once the pandemic is over, link up with the New England Blacksmiths chapter of ABANA. Really great folks, and I think they do group buys of smithing coal.

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Your bituminous smokes because you are burning it mixed with the coke it makes in your firepot. This is called a dirty fire. Once it gets going you will end up with coke. Just burn coke and keep the green coal around it. As the green coal burns it makes coke. As you use up the coke in your fire, use your poker/rake and move the fresh made coke into the firepot. Add more coal outside your ring of green coal to replace the green coal as it cokes and you use the coke.  Coke won't smoke if there is no green coal mixed with it. Coke is far better for forging than Anthracite. As the green coal cokes, it produces very little smoke. At the end of the day, be sure you make enough coke to start your next fire. It will start with a couple 3 sheets of newspaper and a match.

With the coke you make,and green coal around the outside, and a good supply of coal around this, you will be able to maintain your fire size with water. So don't get rid of your bituminous just because you don't know how to use it. Since you have access to bituminous, learn how to maintain your coking coal(bituminous), then make a decision based on experience. For what its worth, it took me a few years to learn this lesson.  

Find a hand crank blower. If not, yes you can figure out how to put in an air gate. Even a temporary rheostat wired in will work. Depending on your motor, this might be bad on your motor. It doesn't affect some motors. Im not a electric blower guy. ;) I like my hand crank. Simple tools for simple folks, you might say. 

Pipe size: the pipe diameter should be 1/3 the diameter of your hood or forge. Thus, if you have a 30" diameter forge, you need a mininum 10" dia pipe.  a 12" dia is better. Compliments of Francis Whitaker.

Oh, one more thing. Lol nobody has ever said that learning to be a blacksmith is easy.  ;)

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When you have a established fire in the fire pot, adding green coal around the edge allows the heat from the fire to drive the volatiles off the green coal and turn it into coke.  The smoke is the same amount of smoke but it is being drawn toward, and burned by, the fire.  As the embers of the fire are consumed for heat, move a like amount of the coke into the fire to replace them.  Then add more green coal to the outside of the fire to be transformed into coke.  It is a fire maintenance dance that goes unseen by the casual viewer.

When done carefully you can have very little smoke produced. 

If you see smoke starting to form, poke a hole in the top of the fire (think volcano) and let the fire escape and burn the smoke.

You only need a fire large enough to heat the amount of metal you are working.  And only enough air to support that size fire.

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Blacksmithing is MUCH easier to learn if you can watch someone who knows what they are doing---in their shop not youtube!  This is especially true if they are local to use and so using the same coal/coke/charcoal sources and blower type.

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I agree! I wish I had the option of going to watch a pro but its impossible for me to leave my farm pretty much all day, every day.  I mounted a nice flat screen near my forge so I can watch YouTube videos and learn but I do hope to have someone with a lot of experience come out at some point and give me some private lessons. 

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Try to figure out how to get to an affiliate meeting or conference!   We have a diabetic pet that ties my wife to the house; but are making arrangements to take a couple of days off in October.  (Helps that about 100 miles north of us our eldest Daughter is a Veterinarian...)

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You hit the nail right on the head Thomas!  We both run our businesses out of the farm we own and adding to the constant work we have two senior dogs, one with cancer and it makes things tough. Haven't had a vacation in 7 years but am not complaining. Love the property we have so very glad to be able to call it home.

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Get in touch with the local group and see if they would like to have a meeting at your place.  Many groups don't have their own shop and so rotate amongst member's shops.  Some folks are willing to demo; but don't have room for a meeting so arrangements might be made!

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Start talking with them now and find out if they are willing and what is needed.  We're on a septic tank; so we rented a portapotty for the meeting at my place.  I did the demo's and so had all the equipment necessary to hand.  (Using another person's set up sets you up for amusing failures if you are not used to using it.  However smiths realize that and are very understanding often less than half laugh themselves sick when you pull the sparking remains of your demo project out of the forge...(Knowing you will return the favour when they demo with an unknown forge!)

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Aw, come ON Thomas, sticking the demonstrator with strange equipment is half the fun! Like the rather well known demonstrator we had at a meeting a few years ago who spent a few minutes lecturing us about how a propane forge can't get hot enough to weld. I just turned up the regulator and let him discover how fast Pat's gun burner will melt 1 1/2" square stock.

When I screw up a demo I usually just raise my hands palm up and invite the audience to laugh. If I were embarrassed by screwing up I'd never do anything.

Frosty The Lucky.

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My general comment to the "Propane forges don't get as hot as coal forges" is: "I've melted steel in mine---how much hotter do you need to go?"

Very much similar to "You can't forge weld with charcoal".  If you point out that they were forge welding with charcoal for about 2000 years before they started using coal to forge with and things like Japanese Swords or the Indonesian Kris are still forge welded with charcoal until this day; they tend to get annoyed...The proper statement would have been "I can't forge weld with charcoal using the forge and air supply I use."

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I considered propane however most of the things I want to make would be too large to fit inside of a propane forge. I want to make hangers and hooks and things with scrolls.  I also don't want to hear the sound of propane burning while I work.  I do hope to grab a cheap one to have on hand once I get much better at coal forging.  For some reason I really enjoy starting up the forge by lighting the coal. 

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I'm impressed!  I've seen gas forges that you roll railroad cars into.  Coal does have more flexibility in a single system though.  I love the coal I used to buy in Ohio and am not happy with the coal out here, So I use propane when possible and reserve my hoarded coal for projects that need it---and buy a couple of bags of the good stuff when I attend Quad-State, a measly 1500 mile drive each way...(making the trip in my wife's vehicle and so I have a limit on "dirty" stuff I can bring back. I did bring back 50 pounds of coal as checked luggage on a plane once...)

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1500 Miles!!! That is a hike! Ever since you all explained to me that bituminous is easier to control I have been looking on getting a pallet of it delivered to me. I found a good price but its much more expensive than anthracite

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I started out on coal and still have a coal forge, but most of my forging is with propane these days. My shop time is limited, so I really appreciate the ability to fire up and power down quickly, plus the ability to "set it and forget it" with the temperature of a gas forge means that I can be working on multiple pieces without having to worry about things either cooling off or burning.

Still love coal, but the convenience of gas is hard to beat.

2 minutes ago, LemonAden said:

its much more expensive than anthracite

But worth it!

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I cheat:  The first day's drive puts us at one set of our kids and grandkids in NW AR, we take a day to visit with them. The second day's drive takes us through Concord Grape country near St Louis and we try to get to friends in western Ohio.  Then we all go to "Wool Gathering" near Yellow Springs Ohio and then drive over to Columbus where another set of kids & grandkids live and spend the next several days with them.  Finally we go to Quad-State and high tail it home!

We haven't figured a way to add in a stop at our kids&grandkids place in Okinawa...yet.  (4 kids, 8 grandkids.)

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I wouldn't call it a cheat making a long drive count and visiting the kids lets you take it in easy stages. I'm hoping Deb and I can make Wool Gathering and Quad State in 2021. I doubt Deb will let me put much dirty blacksmith stuff in her RV though. S'Okay though, I have lots of dirty blacksmith stuff already, it'll be good not to be too tempted. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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2 minutes ago, Frosty said:

I'm hoping Deb and I can make Wool Gathering and Quad State in 2021.

16 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

We still only get out there every 2 to 3 years.  Maybe when I'm retired...We're doing a push for 2021 though.

Missed you last year, no Q-S this year. Hoping to see you all in 2021!

 

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