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Building a home forge


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I read other posts trying to determine what to do but I figured ya'll need to see this yourselves. I have soooo many questions. Feel free to give any advice about this setup.

Box is roughly 12"x14"x24" with half inch plate steel, the burners are on a 0-30psi adjustable regulator and they are roughly 4" spaced apart, I was thinking of decreasing the spacing between the burners, and I was going to double line the inside of the steel box with Inswool 2300F, mount that with Hellcote 3000 Refractory Cement, and then have firebrick walls and floor as my working area.

I thought the insulation would take up plenty volume that I'd have a small enough working area, and I thought I could always add more insulation to close in more volume if need be.

My forge starts to choke out when its vertical like this right now, I wasn't sure if I should try using it on its side, or maybe angle the burners in there to help create more convection? before I tried putting in insulation I wanted to know if i should basically just scrap this or if I can still make this work.

Sorry in advance for my ignorance, this is mostly me googling things, comparing, and reverse engineering. I appreciate all help and responses.

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Why so long?  Do you plan to do a lot of railing balusters?  Not many things require heating more length than you can hammer before it cools; though ornamental ironwork where you may be bending spirals in one go and doing long twists in  a single heat.  Heating more than you can work is TERRIBLE for large blades as it allows for grain growth, decarburization and scale losses.

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Cause I'm an idiot and very new to this lol

I have never done any blacksmithing so I basically have no idea what I'm doing. figured getting a heat source was the first step so thats what this was supposed to be.

I thought I could burn one burner at a time if need be but that doesn't really seem like an option, so now the plan is to bring the burners closer together, and then maybe close in the back area with 3-4 layers of firebrick to cut down on that length.

I'm not sure if over insulating is a problem inside the forge? I guess the biggest downside would be that it would take longer to heat up?

If over insulating is a problem, then I could just cut off some length to shorten it up.

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Welcome to the forum.  If you haven't already done so, it would benefit you to take a little time to read through the Read This First topic, which you can access from the blue bar at the top of the page.  That will help you get the most out of the forum.

It appears to me that at the time that picture was taken your burners have an excessive amount of gas compared to the air they are inducing.  The more burners you have in a given space the more opportunity there is for conflicts between the burners.  They can compete for air at the inlet side, although with the design you used it's not likely to be the main problem.  On the flame end back pressure is created, and back pressure from one or more of the burners can impact the performance of other burners.  The closer they are together the more likely that is to happen.

You posted this in the Ribbon Burner section of the forum.  A ribbon burner may be a good option for you, especially if you are going to decrease the length of the forge a bit.  Half inch plate is extreme overkill for a forge shell.  A sixteenth of an inch is more than sufficient.

It would most likely be worth your time to peruse our Forges 101 and Burners 101 topics.  They are quite lengthy, but they do contain the answers to most questions that people have about forge and burner design:



If you still have a lot of questions after reading those topics and/or others in the Gas Forge section that catch your attention let us know and we'll try to get you operating as quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively as we reasonably can.

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The main reason I used most materials there is because they were laying around and free. I figured more would be better but I’m learning a lot lol


ill definitely read through those other topics, thank y’all so much for everything so far, it’s already been tremendously helpful!!

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Would you use a free car engine that got 8 mpg or one that cost several hundred dollars and got 40 mpg?  We say that "free stock isn't free if you have to spend hours pounding it down to a usable size/shape!"  For propane forges the main expense over time is the propane so you want to build one that's just right for what you want to do the most of, expecting to build others for special projects over the years.

Research First then build!  (Or follow an acknowledged known good plan *EXACTLY*!)  I'm down on folks who don't know the design details on complex systems who "design their own" and then want other people to figure out how they can make it work.  (This is different from folks who know something about things and enjoy tinkering on their own to come up with design improvements.  Of course I just swapped Frosty T burners into my 20 year old forge I built at a forge building workshop put on by an ABANA Affiliate.  (Relined more times than I can remember during that 20 years...)

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it was free and I thought more insulation would be better, even though steel isn’t an insulator, also it was going off other homemade forge design videos that I saw, that didn’t talk about some of the finer details I’ve seen here.. and I basically found this forum way too late in my “project”

I will be reading the other threads tonight and if it’s addressed there, then no need to reply, but is it accurate to say the more insulation/thickness of material in a forge the longer it takes to heat up that forge to working temperature?

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It depends entirely on the insulating material.

2" of 2600 degree Ceramic wool coated with a refractory cement, and a coating of radiant flame face coating like plistix or the like- think of that like a heat mirror. It will keep the heat in the forge while being durable. The forge will also cool faster when turned off.

A hard fire brick- while fire & heat resistant... will work. But they're like a heat sink. Think of them like a sponge- that will soak up the heat from the interior of the forge. Eventually they'll get up to temp, but will take alot longer, and more fuel to do so. The forge will retain heat longer when turned off. Great for an oven, not so much for a forge.

I kind of explain like this- the burner isn't to heat the steel. The burners heat the forge, then the forge retains the heat, and transfers it evenly to the steel when inserted.

So the less effort to heat and maintain the temperature in the forge- the faster and hotter it'll heat steel.

If your forge is sucking up the heat, and not retaining it... only so much of it will go to your steel.

I built mine from light Guage water tank. 2" of wool, satanite refractory. Then cut it half, as i wasn't getting hot enough to forge weld... less space to heat, more heat to use. Theres a mathematical equation for burner size/output to forge volume/area... A few weeks back- I completed my first pattern welded damascus.

I use a 1" thick fire brick for the floor of mine. The rest of my forge will be yellow hot in 5-10 minutes... the edges of that brick will barely be bright orange at that time. 20-30 minutes in, and its glowing like in the bottom pic.




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Gotcha! That helps so much, In that case it seems like I could still use this box just fill lots of the volume with the wool, and then be sure to coat it with the 2 appropriate coatings you mentioned.


Since i have an excess of insulating material it seems I could still salvage this forge and shape an appropriate interior with the insulating materials.


Starting to read the other threads now, i really appreciate all the comments here, lots of very helpful information.

I'm also thinking I should bring my burners closer together and go to a double burner instead.. I wanted to do swords at some point and I have a small single burner forge I'm using for the time being that has been teaching me a lot about heat in a forge and what not.. Im mostly trying to get this ready to do some bigger blades when I'm able to do that once I figure out smaller blades.

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Too easy..

I did the same- I watched youtube videos, and other sites... and built my forge. Thinking bigger is better.

Then I found this forumn, and several people here got me steered in the right direction. Without them, I'd still be frustrated beating on steel and never getting the results I wanted... safely.

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Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better.

Im lucky now because I didn't realize my brother bought a nice small single burner round forge that I started using, so I'll still build this one a little bit larger to use later on for swords if i ever get there (but I realized its still way too big lol)

Since then Ive found this group, so now I'd like to ideally work on figuring out the blacksmithing/bladesmithing part, while also attempting to build a decent functioning larger forge.

I really appreciate the helpfulness and kindness of this group. I would still be scouring the internet for unreliable examples.

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If you go into your user profile/control panel area on the board here- and update your location info, etc...

any post you make, we can then click on your name and see where you are.. it'll give us an idea of where you are, might be somebody local to you to help out or even just be able to advise you on where to go to get stuff.

This is a world wide forumn. I'm in Ohio in the US. Me telling you to go to ace hardware- wouldn't help you if you were in Japan for example. Lol...

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Have you hooked up with the local ABANA affiliate yet?  When things open back up you will want to attend some demos and meet the local smiths and learn what resources are local.  Balcones Forge is out your way IIRC; ahh yes http://www.balconesforge.org   Looks like they are still planning a conference the end of January 2021!!!!!

I used to visit Austin when I worked for DELL, I worked in Juarez MX, but would visit the mothership at least once a year.

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