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I Forge Iron

Observations of building my first forge and putting it out there for criticism.


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Neat, yeah it was a bright orange colour and I wasn't entirely sure if that was right or if I had them misplaced.  One of those things where what people gloss over knowing already.  

 

To be clear, you're saying put the ITC-100 in a clear container, add water and stir it up cause it's kind of a paste, then let it settle out and then paint with what doesn't drop out over the existing ITC I put on previously? 

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Just put a little bit of it in the glass, at a time.

The paste becomes more like watery paint.

It settles out in seconds.

What remains in solution is, by definition, colloidal. Colloidal particles are tiny, The amount of re-emmision from particulates--of any kind-- rises as particle sizes reduce. ITC 100 advertises that it is "up to" ninety something percent IR reflecting. It can also be as little of 76%; the difference is up to you.

And, yes, paint right over what you already put the cruder particles on.

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This was my own method for improving how their very expensive product works. after trying this method In my own forge, the interior went from orange to yellow heat. There are several other improvements that can be made in yours, beginning exterior baffle walls (even firebrick will work fine for this). You should work on improving/finishing your forge FIRST and only work on improving your burner second. Why? because, how well your burner will combust its fuel, will greatly improve in a finished forge. It is kind of like pointing out that the tail can wag the dog :)

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Yeah I've got tedious meetings for the next few hours and then I'll run the forge and get some better video and pictures this afternoon.  I do get a nice solid orange throughout when I'm using it but I definitely don't get a yellow in it.  I'm not to worried about running out a propane tank in learning to get this right. 

 

You make a good point about taking the time to make this one work and getting all the way finished before I decide to go "squirrel!" and start another one.  

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I don't think you need to start a second forge; this one is quite fixable. To begin with, if there was anything seriously wrong with either forge or burner design you would not get to orange. The step between orange and yellow is way shorter than red to orange :)

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Well that's a relief, and probably just as much fun to troubleshoot this one as it is to build another one.

If I get Kast-o-lite can I paint it over top the existing ITC-100 or is that a bad idea? Since I'm basically going to be multi layering the ITC right now.

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You would be taking a step backward. If, you are out of the ITC coating, look into the various Zircopax coatings that members have come up with; every one of them would be an improvement.

Why should this be so ? Zircopax is zirconium silicate. This is made up of  zirconium molecules, mixed with silicate moletuces, in a molecular bond, so it already has maximum heat reflecting built in, without needing to be stabilized to work in a hard refractory. Normally, I don't much recommend silicon content in a refractory, that you want to be insulating. But here, it is all to the good, Because silicon is transparent, allowing radiant energy to pass right through it; a very good thing for a heat reflector. Also, Zirconium silicate, and the various binding materials it can safely be combined with ex, fumed silica; bentonite clay, etc.) all make nice hard refractory surfaces. What's not to love?

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Nah I have half the ITC left, I was just curious if it was a good or bad idea.  I may just suffer with the fire brick floor until I can get some kastolite and deal with the heat sink problems since I have it running and work on the other aspects first.

 

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Yeah, something to build on. I need to figure out where I can get some known types of steel cheap locally, I found a couple metal shops but I think they're more industrial. I should harass my welder buddy too sometime about it.

I found some chunks of flat iron in a metal dumpster so xxxxxx knows what the metal actually is but it's giving me something to beat on that I don't feel bad or wasteful using.

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Here in the USA Hot rolled "mild" steel is usually A-36 and is what is cheap at a steel supplier.  Cold rolled mild steel may be 1020---though I have read that they are now doing it in A-36 as well.  It's considerable more expensive and if going to be forged anyway the P&O, pickled and oiled, finish is wasted.  However it does generally forge softer under the hammer than A-36 and so may be worth it for certain ornamental projects. Note offering to buy rusted or damaged or shorts in cold rolled steel from a dealer sometimes will get you a MUCH better price and a dealer happy to work with you.  I cleaned out a dealers 1/4" sq stock bin for them once and got it for 30% off!

If you need higher carbon steel for tooling;  jackhammer bits are generally around 1050;  car axles 1050H for smaller ones and 1541H for larger ones. (with 1 3/8" unforged diameter being the line of demarcation and 1 3/8 being on the 1050H side). Check out tool rental places for used/broken bits and a local mechanic for axles.  Coil and Leaf spring were generally 5160; but no guarantee nowadays---always test a bit for hardening before doing a project that depends on hardening them!  They make good tooling for getting started people.

Sucker rod from oilfield donkey engine pumps is generally a medium carbon steel and good for things like fullers and tongs---just don't heat your tongs to red in the forge and quench them!!!!!!   If they get that hot let them air cool.

Now most things you run into have been discussed here before and so using your browser to search will turn up previous discussions; exp:  car axle site:iforgeiron.com  turns up 724 results on my system ALL specific to iforgeiron!

High alloy steels are hard to find in the scrap stream. I usually get some at Blacksmithing Conferences  where H-13 pins from plastic molding industries can show up...a local source may be machine shops that may have drops from previous projects.  It does make much better hot working tools but is expensive and hard to work!

Note there are several Junkyard steel lists on the net---treat them with caution as they may not be accurate; as an example one lists jackhammer bits as S7, a smith I know whose career was repointing jackhammer bits told us that out of the MILLION he had repointed only a handful were anything but 1050. (Machinerys Handbook has S7 listed as being great for jackhammer bits; of course Titanium is GREAT for car bodies---you seen any Ti cars on the road?  "Cheapest that will do the job" is the mantra of production work in factories!)

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That makes sense, one of my neighbours has a pair of old coil springs the garbage guys refuse to pick up so I may go see if he minds me disposing of them for him.  I have the sneaking suspicion I should start with mild steel at any rate and start asking around. 

I don't have the tools handy to really do anything with a leaf spring or car axle yet so I'm not feeling terribly ambitious that way, I have a lot of tools I need to build and/or buy before I get to high on my own supply.

I'm wondering if sucker rod is different in the US? Up here it's almost an inch thick on drilling rigs or at least the supply we have on the farm is.  

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In the USA Sucker rod is not used on oil drilling rigs, its the solid rod that goes to the downhole pump.  Drill pipe with a hollow center is used on oil drilling rigs.  Casing is pipe used to line the hole to keep it from leaking or eroding or...

Sucker rod comes in different diameters with 1/2", 3/4", 1", etc being common. I usually pick up 3/4" for tooling; but do have some 1/2" for making smaller fullers from. New Mexico is not a major oil drilling state; but we are near Texas...

"A sucker rod is a steel rod, typically between 25 and 30 feet in length, and threaded at both ends, used in the oil industry to join together the surface and downhole components of a reciprocating piston pump installed in an oil well." Wikipedia

Now drill collar would make a great improvised anvil especially if you get the 8" diameter stuff with a 2" center hole...

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That tracks with local terminology drift, I think I described it poorly but it was very soft metal and didn't weld well when we used it.  We got thousands of feet of it and made livestock corrals out of it.

This may be the ignorance shining through but I'm struggling to see what you would use 3/4" or larger material for in common usage? It seems excessively big and difficult to work with anything that easily comes to mind. 

The picture attached is definitely the same stuff. 23-Used-Sucker-Rod.jpg

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After you have been doing this for a while you will find that 3/4" is not that big. 1/2" is about the most common size i use but i have chucked a piece or 2 of 2+" in the forge and went to town on it. If it comes to hardy tooling 3/4" is to small to make the shank out of for me so i have to go bigger if i am making hardy tools. But yes there are many uses for 3/4". 

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That's the stuff!  Did it harden in a water quench?  Welding issues sound more like alloy problems and not a plain steel.  I usually save the male ends and forge them down to fit the hardy hole and then attach hardy hole tooling to them---like making ball stakes for armouring.  I did take one of the female ends and make a small dishing tool from it---I mainly seem to use it for forming flowers. The newer once have 2 male ends and use a union to put them together.

3/4"---the better the smith the less "extra" they need to make something and the less time they want to waste in the making of it.  Well I have  lot of University Students who really need to practice hammer control and don't fuss about time; so....(It started with one student who saw a YT video on making tongs out of 3/4"...I said OK; he wouldn't listen to my suggestions because he had seen a YT video on making tongs...If he keeps up with smithing I am sure he will get those tongs made the perhaps third or fourth time....luckily scrap sucker rod is cheap!

I've been experimenting in making tongs from lug wrenches as they are usually quite good steel.  What I have mainly found is that finding two lug wrenches about the same size in the local scrap yard is a difficult thing indeed.  I think I have 8 now and keep hoping the *next* one will have to match one I already have!

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It never even occurred to me to think about making Hardy tools. I was picturing handles, hooks, etc... but yeah there is no reason you couldn't make the hardy tools now that it occurs to me.

 

Edit: Thomas replied right as I hit go, I never attempted quenching it. We had tons of it on the farm and I haven't touched it in years I just remember using it and cussing trying to stick weld it.  With the covid and the farm being 5 hours away I haven't gone since October but the next time I'm up I'm going to go scavenging. 

I might be wrong but just the idea of using 3/4" handles for tongs makes my hand cramp. I also grew up hammering nails and fencing every summer so my technique with steel needs work but my hammer skills are excellent.

Lug wrenches do seem like they would be fantastic material for that purpose, other than buying them new is prohibitively expensive.  I need to refill my 30lb propane tank today (I figure I got about 6-8 hours total burn out of it) and it gives me an excuse to do a tour and look for anywhere I might be able to score scrap steel.

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Learn something new every day.  I grew up with race horses so I'm familiar to a degree with various farrier bits and terminologies that don't quite overlap either.

Plus side the neighbour had no issue with me getting the 2 coil springs he pulled out when lowering his wifes SUV for who knows what reason.

 

Edit: Relevant question, I have 2 pieces of refractory board I'm planning to make doors out of, I assume I will want to rigidize and coat them in refractory too? They seem like they will have the same fibre problem the wool does.

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Lowering it would keep her home when the snow gets high.  I did a rescue run for an idiot in the oil patch.  He was working as a mudlogger, 84 hour weeks, and ran out and bought a corvette and then drove it out to the well when a storm was expected.  Bad roads and snow and ice.  The two mudloggers ran out of food, water, PROPANE and my boss asked me to take my 1968 Ford ex-phone company van out on a rescue mission.  I only slid off the road 3 times but had a com-a-long, 25' of log chain and 40' of wire rope with loops on the ends. Got out there and saw the issue: front wind dam on the vet had about 2" of clearance.

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I worked as a Millwright apprentice for 2 years 20 years ago so know exactly how bad those roads are, a corvette at all on those is asking for it. 

I'm not familiar with what a Mudlogger is though, not a term I've heard before.

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