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I Forge Iron

Sharkbait's Projects Post


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I figured since I'm a newbie and I'm really excited about everything and posting up a storm I should make a thread for my stuff and stop spamming the "what did you make in the shop today?" thread. 

I've been trying really hard to get my propane forge up and running, but while the enthusiasm and the research are there the money just isn't (sorry Glenn, I promise I do intend to complete that order sometime).

When we bought this house it had these two just truly awful sheds in the back yard. We refer to them as the Murder Sheds. They were both built on top of plywood stacks and in Wisconsin that's basically just a recipe for rot. I took down the plywood one this summer and am just now starting to pull the sheet metal off the other one. And I thought to myself "Hey, I could make a box out of some of this sheet metal. And the yard is basically made of dirt. What's stopping me?" 

So I've decided to make a JABOD forge until I can get the propane forge running. I banged out the box today, out of siding from the shed. It's not what I would call professional work, but it's probably good enough for me. As an added bonus, when I started pulling the front off the shed I realized I could probably leave it open-faced and use it as a space to forge in.

Bonus shot of the current progress on the propane forge. 

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Your shop shed looks like an excellent place to work. You need a window on the far side for cross draft, propane forges are CO making machines. Good call on dirt being a good place to play with HOT stuff. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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One construction site I worked on had a portable workshop shed that had a big door that split horizontally: one half folded up to make a porch, and the other folded down to make a deck space.

 

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My plan was to pull the whole front off and use it as an open-faced space.

10 hours ago, horse said:

that shed looks awesome. What am I missing?

It's partially disassembled in this shot. They built it on plywood over pallets over dirt, and it had what appears to be a prison door, hard external door with a single tiny window high enough up that it is hard to look through for me and I'm 6'1". It literally looked like they built it to keep someone in. So really the problem is that there's a saggy rotten floor with what I'm pretty sure are voles living in an old pile of rotting chord wood in one side of it and it looked creepy. It actually looks about 30 times better with just one part of the sheet metal pulled off. Once I get the floor out and have just dirt under it (and maybe put down brick inside? I dunno.) I will feel much better about it.

9 hours ago, Frosty said:

You need a window on the far side for cross draft, propane forges are CO making machines.

Do you think pulling the rest of the front off is sufficient, or do I still need an opening in the back?

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An open front is better than an open door, a cross draft is better, not as good as a forced exhaust near the forge but that's overkill. CO monitors are a very good idea around propane forges where ever they are except maybe outdoors. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Finished my box of dirt forge. And then was humbled by the apparently difficult prospect of lighting coal. I guess I should have shown more respect for those rats who worked for Ebenezer Scrooge, because they apparently had it down. 

I did that thing where you do way more research than necessary and try to mash together all the parts you liked of like 8 different people's designs and I may have overdone it. I guess I'll find out if I can ever get the coal lit. 

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Cut a 2 inch wide strip of cardboard and roll it into a 3 inch diameter cylinder.  Light a bit of newspaper, lay the cardboard on top, and add your forge fuel and a little air.  It may not be instant fire, but can be close.

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You can also build a kindling fire out of wood strips, arrange the coal around the outside and add some coal when it is going good. Then add some air (don't over do it) to the fire and when the coal has started keep adding more. I make a nest out of a Kraft paper bag, add wood chips or stove pellets and coke from a previous fire. Use a propane torch to get the bag edges burning and add a little air, when that's going good I add more coke and line the outside with green coal to start it coking up. It takes me less time to get the coal forge roaring, than it does to hook up the propane forge.

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When I don’t have bituminous coal available, I’ll start the fire with a little charcoal. Then feed the anthracite coal in slowly. Note, anthracite takes a constant or nearly air blast to stay lit. (Given a choice, I won’t use anthracite. My first choice is good bituminous coal, then lump charcoal, but use what you have...)

David

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58 minutes ago, Goods said:

My first choice is good bituminous coal, then lump charcoal, but use what you have...

Is charcoal an option? I wasn't sure if it was. Coal of the non-charcoal variety isn't readily available around here except for the few months in the fall when Tractor Supply has nut coal to throw into your haunted house bonfires for that spooky old world smell. At least I assume that's what its for because why else would you only sell it from August through October?

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Yes, lump charcoal, not briquettes. Charcoal does burn different from coal, there’s lots of information on this site about it but it is spread around quite a bit.

It’s a several hour drive to get good blacksmith coal, but I can buy it from my local IBA chapter. I don’t do that often, I don’t want to run them out. Catch up with your local ABANA affiliate, they can tell you were to get good coal in your area. Of course if you have used blacksmith coal (high quality: low clinker, low sulfur low ash) there’s technique to read up on there to, but it’s so much better than anthracite.
Depending we’re you live coke may be an option as well. Less smoke and suffer smell, not a bad idea in town. I’m considering tracking some down.

David

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People have been forging with charcoal about 3 times LONGER than they have been with coal; from the start of the iron age until now.  Where people run into problems is wanting to use equipment and techniques developed for coal to burn charcoal.  (What happens if you put diesel in a gas engine---or vice versa?)

Anthracite works; but pretty much requires powered air; what are you using for air?  Getting started a good bed of coals from a wood fire and then adding the blast and anthracite slowly can work.  

Did you talk to the local ABANA affiliate to find out where good smithing coal can be sourced?

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4 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

what are you using for air?

Shopvac exhaust taped into the pipe. 

4 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Did you talk to the local ABANA affiliate to find out where good smithing coal can be sourced?

I have not figured out if we have a local ABANA affiliate or how I might contact them. I do think I found a fun event nearby around Halloween but that's about as close as I came. 

46 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Also, get that roasting pan out of your forge. I don't know what it's made of, but it ain't going to withstand forging temperatures.

I was trying to get the coal going in the pan before I dumped it in the pit, rather than trying to build a teepee in a hole. Is that bad? I can stop if it's bad. 

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Yes stop it, how were you getting the air to the fire in the pan?  If you got a fire going then dumping it would be very likely to put anthracite out.

I would check for affiliates on the abana.org affiliate list and remember; you are not restricted to just those in your state if another is closer!

Many of the affiliates have webpages with contact information on them 

I don't know if either of the Badgerblacksmiths.org locations are near you.

I'd check UMBA Upper Midwest Blacksmiths Association too; I noticed there was an outdoor tong forging workshop still on  October 30 in Janesviller WI. Also the fall meeting Nov 7 in Burlington WI.   website umba.name

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14 hours ago, SharkBait said:

Is that bad? I can stop if it's bad. 

Yes, it's bad. Building a teepee (or tipi, if you prefer) is just fine. However, a shopvac exhaust is probably more air than you need, and you want to think about how you can dump some of the excess. The simplest way to do that is to put a gap between the hose and the air intake of the forge; by adjusting the size and the alignment of the gap, you can get a surprising amount of control over the air flow.

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46 minutes ago, Jealdi said:

2 hours from Centaur Forge.

I had no heard of them. Tha KS for pointing this out. Can you tell me about how much you pay for a 50 lb bag? I see I can get a 50 lb bag shipped from them for $60 and it may be cheaper shipped than a 4 hour round trip drive when I factor in gas and such. 

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I believe their website says if you pick it up... it's $29 for a 50 pound bag. I'm 4 hours each way to them, so I have it shipped. It is cheaper if you purchase multiple bags for shipping, but you would have to buy A LOT of bags to get it down to $29 per bag shipped.

I would drive up there, but that means taking a day off work for me since I believe you can only drive up M-F (I would have to recheck their site, haven't looked at it in a while on that).

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I managed to get a usable fire going by lighting some lump charcoal and then feeding in anthracite. It was exhilarating to actually have a forge going. I put some hits into a piece of rebar. I suspect I didn't have enough coal going to put a good heat on it, but I managed to get it to a bright orange a few times, pound it into a point, lengthen an inch into two inches of bar, and then flatten it into a sort of spade poker tip. 

I've got to get better at heating this thing, and then I might be able to start some real practice. 

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