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problem with forge. Welding temp


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hello. I am wondering if anyone can help me with setting up to welding temp. The forge is running but tried to weld with it and its not happening. Im new to forging so tepms all a problem for me but I tried to blast the forge to 4 bars of gas and still did not weld the piece. Home made burners with 0.8 mig tip in them. The last pictures of the forege are at 2psi and last ones at 1psi of gas














insulation all around with ceramic blanket and bottom soft fire fricks. There is picture from when i fist made the forge since then I added ceramic blanket to smaller the volume but i have tried today welding mild steel and no luck . 


It does not take long to heat up steel to orange temp. Maybe just over 2 min. 


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4 hours ago, Mikishelby said:

hello. I am wondering if anyone can help me with setting up to welding temp.

to begin with, there is a lot to admire about your forge, and shop. Your choice of shell was all around smart. So was your choice in fuel hose.


Three improvements that will raise forge temperature are:

(1) reverse its front and back ends, so that those burners rest deeper in the forge.

(2) Put a flame coating on its inside, so that it can help the burners raise temperature by doing a much better job of re-emitting radiant energy, and then help protect the ceramic fiber insulation from direct contact with the increased heat.

(3) After you have done steps one and two--not before--we need to help you retool those burners; they are heavily reducing.

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Ceramic blanket refractory releases vitrified particles in your breathing air, think silicosis or mesotheleoma. It needs to be encapsulated by a hard refractory to protect it from the flame and mechanical damage done by the work you put in it. WHILE it prevents YOU fro breathing dangerous stuff.

Your burners are pretty out of tune. 

Ditto Mike regarding to their positions. Working out of the other end will improve your results. You have them shoved WAY too far into the forge, the very ENDS maybe 1/2" inside the shell is as far as they really need to go. That way you can shape the intake ports through the ceramic blanket to by a proper nozzle flare.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hi Mikishelby,

Welcome to IFI.

I'm guessing you are in the UK, from the Calor gas cylinder and the Vitcas box from the first picture.  Add your location to your profile, so other members can see where you are based, as it can make a difference to what materials are available in which countries, and what advice you might be given.  Also you might find other members nearby that you can meet up with ( Covid-permitting of course!)

I also noticed that your flares, at the exit of your burners, appear to be protruding into your forge.  Normally you try and position your flares so that they are recessed into the ceramic wool insulation, as they will burn-up/melt in their current position as you manage to raise the temperatures in your forge.

I'm very jealous of your workshop!  If only I had that much space to devote to tinkering!  Keep us posted with your progress.
All the best,
Tinker Tim

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Thank you all for all your replies.

The shop is thanks to my good friend, he is fabricating and welding and let me set up a forge in his workshop only 15min from me. 

I ment to set it up in the garage but I'm actually separated and don't know what is going to happen with the house so did not really wanted to do it there. I was watching and admiring people forging and making things mainly knifes for good few years now . I must have watched all Alec Steel videos on YouTube. Thats part of the reason why I have eventually done it because my friend let me use his space and had some cash that I could spare for starting up. Everything is so expensive and that too was always putting me back . I am fabricator/ welder full time so I thought after watching the videos that forging would be my thing and it suldynt be too hard, but  most of the stuff I have made so far since I made the forge about 2 months ago did not go so well in fact I was loosing hope that I can actually do it. I admire making stuff but its completely different ball game to what I know. I have no idea about diffrent steels what steels are good for what and forging temperatures are completely new to me . I have a little knowledge from videos on YouTube but I am far away from actually knowing what I am doing. The day I have posted this question abut forging I have made one thing for my sister that is not great but 

I'm actually happy with, coming to Halloween next weekend I think she and her kids will like it.  I am forging for a hobby and spend 2 months now setting up with as little cost as possible, I'm still not there but I'm trying to do something every weekend and just keep learning.


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so when it comes to the forge guys when i first build the forge ill post a picture i had it regirazed and burners reesest in blanket . The rigirazer was just colorless maybe white , I have let it dry for 24h and on the regiraze dries in 30 min so a lot longer than i should and then I first turned the forge then the rigirazer went all black. I guess the burners wer not tuned  it took me a little bit of tweeking to get them to run what i consider clean but as you know i dont exactly know how it sould be running so i tought they are running good. Then i have tried weld forging with few small leyers of 15n20 and 80crv2. What did not go well then i tought the forge was to big for the burners and I have added extra half brick to one side and another 1" around the rest of the forge to smaller the volume and thats the time I have not used regirazer for the extra layer and left the burners sticking out


56 minutes ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

I'm betting your sister will love that jack-o-lantern in steel. I think it's great.

:) thanks . I know I can do better but I think I'd did not turn out too bad

On 10/25/2020 at 2:53 PM, Mikey98118 said:

to begin with, there is a lot to admire about your forge, and shop. Your choice of shell was all around smart. So was your choice in fuel hose.

What do you mean reverse its front and back ends? 

Sould I remove the extra 1" layer that is not coated or just coat it with te rigirazer?

I have added it to get some volume of the forge down because I tought that was the problem the first time 

20 hours ago, Frosty said:

Ceramic blanket refractory releases vitrified particles in your breathing air, think silicosis or mesotheleoma. It needs to be encapsulated by a hard refractory to protect it from the flame and mechanical damage done by the work you put in it. WHILE it prevents YOU fro breathing dangerous stuff.

Should I remove the flares from the end of the burners when I am ressesing them back in to the blanket or just keep them? Thank you for reply

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10 hours ago, tinkertim said:

I'm guessing you are in the UK

Thanks for reply. Yes I'm from UK. My friend has his workshop in Ballymena Northern Ireland thats where I am set up. I am from Antrim so only 15 min away. Regarding steel I only found the GFS  knife supplies for the steel. I jave messaged few places in Northern Irleand and few places in England for spring steel but on the websides they only have o1  and never got reply of any of them about spring steel   especially 80crv2 and 15n20. I know in UK these steels have diffrent names but I cant find it how you call them . Thanks for the tip about the burners .

I dont know anyone else who would have a forge or have any knowledge about forging. So I'm finding it hard to tweek everything to get it right. All my knowledge is from YouTube videos whom I have ben watching for few years now. But it only looks easy on videos ;) I'm quite a good fabricator working in a small company making everything and nothing what is nice because you're are challenged how to do things a lot of time but forging is a completely diffeent ball game 

Thank you for all your replies guys I really appreciate it and I am so glad I found somewhere where I can speak to someone who knows something about it . To be honest I am quiet and not really talkative most of the time so this is definitely a big change for me . Thank you again . 

I will be in the shop over the weekend and I will make those adjustments and keep you posted . For now the work picked up and doing overtime at the moment. 

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Thanks for reply. The down side is i know noone who forges so I was trying to figure it out on my own . By the looks of it it did not work;) I would say that forging is much harder than I first tought . 

My sister kids love Halloween and that gave me the idea to make something like that after my failures of forge welding. 

Thats exactly what I was thinking to put a small led in it because its to small for a candle . I haven't done it yet 

Thanks Thomas

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Forge welding is generally considered one of the more difficult processes.  Were you upset when you first started driving to find you didn't win formula 1 races?  That is a great piece of ornamental work and shows that you *do* know a lot about working with metal.  Now on to making christmas presents---got any friends---like the one who offered you space---that could use a custom bottle opener?  Doesn't require welding and you can do "bespoke" ones to build up funds for what you need to buy.

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35 minutes ago, Mikishelby said:

I'm from UK

We won't remember that once leaving this thread, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it. There are many members here in the UK, never know some may be close enough to visit and give some pointers. Yes you should leave the extra wool in and rigidize it.

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Hi Miki,

Two things.

One is the metal flares at the end of your burners.


As you can see from the zoomed-in picture you posted, your flare is glowing at the same temperature as the inside of your forge. If you do get your forge to run hotter, you will melt the flare!  As the flare is there to give a region where the Fuel/Air Mix (FAM) slows down and burns, many people form this flare shape in the insulating lining of their forge, which can take the higher temperatures.


The other is, as others have said, you need to coat the rigidised Ceramic fiber blanket to make a safer and more robust "Flame face" for your forge.

There are typically two choices in the types of Flame face you can use, but the availability in your Country can affect which one you go for.

First choice:
In the USA the preferred/recommended coating is called Kast-o-lite 30, which is a High-Alumina water-setting refractory coating that contains bubbles of Alumina to make it highly insulating, while being very tough and resistant to the fluxes you might use to assist in forge-welding. You would buy a sack, mix it up like a concrete, and apply it in a layer of a half to 3/4 of an inch all over the inside of your forge and wait for it to set.

It sounds epic stuff, but is not easy to find in "affordable" volumes for a hobbyist in the UK (~£240 for a 25kg bag delivered). I know, I looked for Months. 

Second choice:
Having read the complete Forges-101 and Burners-101 threads (yes it takes ages, but there is so much invaluable information from very experienced people, it would almost be crazy not to) I came across an alternative Flame face coating method.

A forum member called D.Rotblatt had been doing slipcasting of metals, and had been making and using a high-temperature slurry to coat the inside of his ceramic blanket for decades. Unlike Kast-o-lite, which sets to a rigid, concrete-like finish, this slurry is mixed up in a pot and painted on over the rigidised blanket and then heated to
set. You need to paint and set a good few layers to build up a protective crust of Flame face. 

This slurry is a mix of Zircopax(Zirconium Silicate powder) and a Colloidial Silica liquid. When it dries and is heated, the Zircopax acts like an Infra-Red re-emitter, and radiates heat back into your forge. It is not as strong a coating as Kast-o-lite30, but it heats up very fast (so is cheaper on gas), is easy to patch, will protect the surface of ceramic blanket and soft fire bricks (which are damaged over time with too much direct flame impact), and it is pretty cheap. Ideal for a hobbyist!

Here's a link to a thread where I built a forge and used and tested this Zircopax slurry with great success.

Scroll through the thread for more info.

As you have used soft fire bricks and ceramic blanket as I have, you might find it effective. Also as some of the materials I ordered were from Ulster, you might get them even cheaper where you are.

Sorry for the long post, but hope this helps.

If you have any questions about the Zirconium slurry coating option please drop me a line.

All the best with getting happy with forging. As others have said, forge-welding is an advanced skill, so don't try it as a first training job, as other things have to be sorted before you have the right environment to even start trying.

I love your Halloween Pumpkin model. it is really cool, and shows you are already on the right track. That and your fabricating skills (a beautifully constructed, if a little large, forge) means you should have no trouble getting there.

Also, a good place for practice steel is Automotive Servicing places.  All those broken coil springs from car/van suspensions are great steel to practice on, as they will be a spring steel, so will contain carbon, so will be  hardenable if you wish to make tools or knives. Also I believe carbon steel is easier to forge-weld than mild steel, for when you eventually get there.  I've just walked into the garages and asked the mechanics if they have any broken springs to practice blacksmithing on. They usually say help yourself.



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On 10/27/2020 at 12:23 PM, tinkertim said:

As you can see from the zoomed-in picture you posted,

Amazing stuff Tinkertim, thank you for your reply and all of the guys replies. I will look in to it and research what I can get regarding coating for the blanket. Im super busy at work at the moment and just back home now . I will let you know what I had found once I do. My posts are super long as well so dont worry about that i am enjoying reading it :) .

The only thing is I had used vitcas ceramic fibre rigidiser. For the coating of the blanket and from what I have found when I started building a forge that this would be enough to protect it and anything else would be an option thats why I never went for cast coating. Fair enough all my info was from YouTube videos gathered up here and there and I tried to take best info and ideas that would suit me to make the forge. Back then I did not even know that this forum existed ...  Thank you again guys 

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Ceramic blanket is very fragile at forging temperatures and is degrading into it's component compounds at welding temps. A propane forge gets a LOT hotter than most applications ceramic blanket is designed for. What we see on Youtube and such is most often wrong and sometimes dangerously wrong. 

A hard refractory inner liner / flame face is also physical armor against mechanical damage. Kastolite 30 is concrete hard at 3,000f. and reasonably resistant to caustic compounds like molten borax welding fluxes. 

I'm glad Tink spoke up. Being a LOT closer to you makes his advice easier to follow. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I for one have always been a quiet introverted person. Til my wife and time in the army forced a change... lol. One of my favorite sayings- "normal people worry me."

Now- something you asked, and I didn't see totally touched on- your burner positioning in the actual forge body- other than the depth. Is there any reason why you put them so close together, and so close to the front of the shell?

My thoughts would be that it would probably be more advantageous to spread them out more, and away from the door. Its not so much the actual flame heating the steel directly that you want. Its the overall internal heat of the forge that you're looking for.

In short- the burner heats the forge, the forge heats the steel. It gives you even heat in the whole piece, vs a bright hot spot in one area, and colder steel around it.

By moving the burners back into the body, you also stop some heat loss- being closer to the door, more heat will exhaust out, vs being retained in the forge.

Am I thinking right folks?

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On 10/27/2020 at 12:23 PM, tinkertim said:

One is the metal flares at the end of your burners.our fabricating skills (a beautifully constructed, if a little large, forge) means you should have no trouble getting there.

I have e-mailed couple of places if they sell Kast o lite 30 as you have suggested.I have found Zirconium for the second option but Cant seem to find Silica liquid  commercial link removed


Thanks a million


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I decided to put those burners tilted in the front because majority of videos i had found of hand build forges were close to the front and close together. When i was building the forge my friend that let me use his workshop space for the forge asked me the same thing... at the time I thought I am doing the right thing. when i had looked up forges to buy they had the burners in the centre but the size of them is s lot smaller than the one i had build, I was not sure what size the forge should be for my needs because till now I am not entirely sure what things i would be making hence the bigger forge that i tought i can work with in the future. example, if i need to make it smaller by addning more blanket, as i did already.

I haven't done a proper research before. I was finding it hard to find info about it that's why i have based my decisions on videos of others and if i could improve what they did i would do it and that's what i have ended up with.

Ultimately I just love The look of Damascus steels and the fact that they are hand forged i think it is amazing how people are making it and it is amazing craft.

I cant afford to buy a power hammer but i will be able to make one and then i would love to work with making Damascus myself, making my own stuff. things like  chisel, punch, knifes etc

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