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So, today I officially tested positive for COVID-19. Since I’m not in school for a couple weeks, I had figured I could use my time to finally do some forge work (if anyone happens to remember, though you may not, I’ve been really busy with school and haven’t had time or energy to light up the forge), but I did have a question. I am currently almost entirely asymptomatic, my only symptoms being loss of taste and smell. Do y’all think that if I were to do some forging that the coal smoke and/or heat and/or exertion would pose a danger to me? My main concern is the coal smoke, which y'all know about so I thought you might be able to answer my question.

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If you can see it, taste it, or smell it, then it is not air and could be bad for the lungs.  With Covid you could be compromised anyway, so try to avoid exposure to bad air from any source. 

Exertion is something you want to avoid, Covid or not.  Listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you.  When you get enough, then stop.

These are general rules, Covid or not. With Covid you have to turn up the sensitivity meter, and recognize things a lot sooner.

 

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Ok that also brings me to my secondary question. Where I work, there’s a tree which ends up blocking the wind. This requires me to be standing in a big cloud of hot air and coal smoke. Should I wear a respirator? And what should I do in the summer when it’s too hot for a respirator? Or will the smoke not be that big of an issue? Currently I don’t have too much smoke to deal with as I’m burning anthracite, but I hope to change to bituminous after I get some other tools I wanted for Christmas, and this will be a much bigger issue then. Thanks, and sorry if I am annoyingly ignorant LOL!

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Does your outdoor forge have any chimney at all? Do you have access to electricity so you can hang a box fan from a tree branch to blow the smoke away and keep you cooler in the summer? (I used to forge summers in OKC!)

Remember that anthracite is emitting CO;  I like nasty smoke as it clearly tells you DON'T BREATHE THIS! vs things like  propane which will cheerfully and quietly kill you. (I mainly use propane these days but take precautions!)

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For years, until I had my own permanent shop I did not have a hood or chimney on my coal forge.  I would drag it just outside the door and forge there.  Here in Wyoming there is usually a constant wind.  Set up the forge so that the wind is blowing from left to right or right to left.  Obviously, you don't want it blowing across the forge at you.  If the wind is at your back it will form eddies and turbulence on your downwind side, closest to the forge, and that will pull smoke back into your face.  This is the same strategy for standing around a camp fire.

The same is true for buildings, trees, cars, etc.. They will all form low pressure areas on their downwind sides and will distort the normal flow of the wind.  For example, you are on the east side of a building and there is a wind from the west blowing.  Where you are standing, on the downwind side of the building you may well feel the air moving into your face, opposite of the direction of the wind, because of the wind shadow and turbulence around the building.  

If you are burning anthracite or coke with no visible smoke throw something into the fire that will smoke, e.g. some wood or dampish leaves, and see what the smoke is doing.

Since you are covid positive even if semi-asymptomatic.  Be careful about exertion and keep your distance from other humans, including your family, and stay masked.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

 

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  • Mod42 changed the title to Smoke

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, without some very creative thinking I don’t believe there’s a layout where I can have the forge in that orientation without my mum yelling at me. I will however be very careful about exertion, and am already distancing from all outside people (my entire family has it, knock on wood were all asymptomatic)

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Covid stresses your lungs at almost any level of infection, ANY smoke stresses them further, wear the respirator, if it's too hot to wear then it's too hot to do any forging. 

Please don't make a hopefully mild case into a permanent disability. You may be mostly asymptomatic now but you don't want to cause more and worse symptoms do you?

Frosty The Lucky.

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don’t worry, I have absolutely no intentions of letting this become a serious thing. I had already figured that the smoke wouldn’t be great, just thought I might ask. Does anyone have ideas for easy to make hoods I could make with a trip to Lowe’s or something (I can order online and my dad can drive me up and we pick it up, no contact)? I don’t have a welder and I don’t know what bough about that kind of metal working/forming/building to have any idea where to start with joints and the like. 

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Chimneys can be anything that takes the smoke out of the work place.  The do not have to be round, they can be square, triangles, hex angular or what ever is available.  The do not have to be metal, although that is convenient, but stone, brick, cinder block, etc also work.    Internal size and height are the critical factors for a chimney.  10 to 12 inch diameter is a good starting size and a suggested height of 3-4 feet above anything that would be 10 feet away.  Watch for air currents caused by buildings, trees, etc.  Anything to get smoke out of the work place.

You can assemble many things using bolts, rivets, etc.

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Nathan:  Before I or anyone else can really answer that we need to know the size and shape of your forge.  What will work for a round rivet forge may not be what is needed for a square JABOD. 

For my round forge I took light weight sheet metal (20 gauge IIRC) and made a cone and then cut out one side to access the fire.  I fastened the seam with pop rivets but small nuts and bolts or sheet metal screws would work.  At the top I cut off the point of the cone so that a piece of 8" stove pipe would fit on it with tabs bent up to pop rivet the hood to the stove pipe. Or, you could make short cuts in the end of the stove pipe and flare them out to match the slope of the hood.  Ideally, you should probably use un-galvanized sheet metal but if galvanized is all you can get I don't think the hood should get hot enough to cause bad things to come off the galvanizing.

If you have a square or rectangular forge you could basically use 3 triangles fastened together to make a hood and then make 4 cuts in a piece of stove pipe for the top.

If you are going to use sheet metal you will spend less to buy it at a sheet metal or HVAC shop than a big box store.  they may even cut it to the shape you need for free or a reasonable price if you can give them precise measurements.  CALL them on the telephone rather than emailing or texting.  Explain who you are and what you are doing. 

Work out a model using paper or cardboard either in miniature or full sized before you start buying or cutting metal.

You may need to use your high school solid geometry to work out dimensions and shapes.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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If your forge is next to/under a tree, consider hanging a length of stovepipe from one of the branches. Properly positioned over the forge, it should get enough of a draft going to help clear the air where you're smithing.

Anthracite doesn't put out much visible smoke, but it's still producing CO, CO2, and SO2, not to mention prodigious quantities of fine soot. You don't want any of that in your lungs, especially when dealing with any respiratory disease. 

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10 minutes ago, Paul TIKI said:

I don't have any real knowledge to contribute, but I will say that I hope you and your family recover quickly.  Get well soon, mate!

Thanks. As it is we’re all pretty lucky as far as symptoms go so far, knock on wood. It also looks like we’ll all recover pretty quickly hopefully.

5 minutes ago, JHCC said:

If your forge is next to/under a tree, consider hanging a length of stovepipe from one of the branches. Properly positioned over the forge, it should get enough of a draft going to help clear the air where you're smithing

So you mean not making  a hood at all and rather allowing the pipe alone to use the draft to suck the smoke up like a vacuum cleaner?

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37 minutes ago, Nathan Kraft said:

So you mean not making  a hood at all and rather allowing the pipe alone to use the draft to suck the smoke up like a vacuum cleaner?

The heat from the fire produces the draft, but you need to channel the heat to the pipe, hence the hood.

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Well; it doesn't have to be very fancy.  My shop wall had an opening where the previous owner of the propanel had a wood stove chimney going through his roof.  After hail damage and an insurance paid new roof; he gave me the old roof for my shop walls and I stuck a 10" spiral seamed duct through the pre-existing hole and bent a piece of sheet metal held in place with baling wire and had a working smoke extractor for about US$4 for the ductwork at a ReStore Sale...No welding, no drilling, no riveting...Adaption to a JABOD is left as an exercise for the student...

forge.jpg.559ae657c75f80c8bbfe52fabf7eeb02.jpg

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I’m prolly gonna use sheet metal and make almost a fully enclosed structure. Would it be better to have it go up in a pyramidal shape from the edges of my forge, or have it go straight up and then pyramid in? Then just cut the pieces with tabs, then use rivets or sheet metal screws to attach it? Then my last question is how to I support the chimney? The tree isn’t big enough to support any weight so I couldn’t suspend it like JHCC suggested. The chimney definitely won’t stand up by itself won’t it?

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If there is no where to suspend it, it would make sense to go up from and attached to the hearth structure at the back and part of the sides,   

search for Super-sucker chimneys on this site to see how they work

Leave access at the sides to pass your longer work pieces through

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John; with work like that you will be welcome in the Ozarks, Appalachians; or other "hill folk" enclaves!  

After seeing so many fancy setups here; I was embarrassed to post my "pipe with a piece of sheet metal bent around it and held in place with baling wire"  until I realized that we need to show folks how simple they can be as well as how fancy they can be.  Got the time, materials and skills to make a fancy one? DO IT! But don't let the lack  of them keep you from smithing!

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