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My JABOD


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My first forge will be a JABOD. It’s mostly complete with the exception of adding the dirt. I’m waiting to get a wire reel from work before I put any dirt in it. Once full, it will weigh ~300lbs and I don’t want to have to pick that up to move it. It took me ~8 hours to build with a hand saw (This is the first time I’ve used one) and cordless drill. I could have halved that time if I had paid better attention to the measurements on Charles’s original post. The first iteration measured 31x34, making it entirely too big to be moved at all (it would have weighed 500lbs+). 

 

I haven’t decided on an air source yet but I’m leaning toward the hand pump Charles used on his MkIII. I’m horrible about remembering to shut off my air supply while working on a piece. I’m debating on a fuel source as well. There is a blacksmith shop less than an hour from me that sells coal. I live in a neighborhood though so charcoal might be more welcome to the neighbors. 
 

It measures 24x24x7. The sides are made from two 2x4’s (scavenged from work) stacked on the long side. The bottom is some old wood snap-together flooring I had laying around. The tuyere is old 1” sch40 pipe I kept when we replaced the gas line to the house. It sits 3” off the bottom to allow for 2” of dirt and a 1” cavity in the fire box. I plan on dumping a can of brake cleaner through the pipe before I use it.

 

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Made some upgrades yesterday and today: put legs on it instead of using a reel; upgraded the bottom to 1x6’s; found out the hard way that, while 1 1/4” screws are great for holding 1x’s down, they are not great at holding 1x’s up (Fortunately, I didn’t have very much dirt in there at the time); and got a nice little reminder about hammer control while tamping the dirt in with a mallet and 2x4. 

It stands 3ft tall. The fire box is ~7” in circumference and ~6” deep. There are more roots in the dirt than I really wanted; but, not enough to cause a problem (I hope). Decided to go with a manual air pump and coal for now. She should be up and running next weekend. I am hoping to pick up a couple bags of coal on Friday, and my anvil and air pump should be here late next week. Once the anvil is here, I can get measurements for height and build the base. 
 

Please excuse the mess, my workspace doubles as my lead refinery. 

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Remember it will take a while to get used to it, (and have it get used to you!).  In forges bigger is not always better; just right uses a lot less fuel and air.  Nice thing about a JABOD is you can modify it as you decide what you really need.

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I’m not expecting perfection right out of the gate by any means. My first priorities once everything gets here are a couple sets of tongs and a hot cut hardy (from a jackhammer rod). If this JABOD works well enough for that, I’ll consider it a successful experiment. 

I really wanted the fire pot to be a little smaller but the dirt was being contrary. I could either have the 6” circumference I wanted and have the tuyere flush with the bottom of the of the pot, or have a 6.5-7” circumference with the bottom 1” below the tuyere. If I feel like I’m wasting coal, I can try to reform the fire box; but, it took me well over an hour of toying with it just to get it as small as it is. Wetting it down some might help but gumbo soil gets extremely sticky when damp/wet. So, it would be a crapshoot. 

Right now, the plan is to burn coal (I can get it locally for $16/50lbs). I built the box and laid the tile in a way that will allow me to switch to a trench if I need to heat longer stock or switch to charcoal for the neighbors. 

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You may want to put boards attached to the legs under the ends of the 1”x6s for extra support. I’d hate to see those screws break loose while your going for a welding heat!

David

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They are held on by 2 1/2” decking screws now. I put two screws in each end of the boards. In theory, even full of dirt, I should be able to jump on top of the thing without the bottom giving out. I’ll definitely keep an eye on them though and adjust if I see them starting to separate. 

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If you're having problems keeping the firepot from falling in try some bricks to stabilize it kinda like a Japanese style forge surrounded by dirt. Also since you'll be using coal having an inch under the tuyere will make somewhere for the slag/clinker to collect without clogging up the blast. 

Pnut

 

 

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10 hours ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

To fix the sticky, mix in some builders sand and straw, which will turn into adobe like bricks.

I may wind up having to do that. I was trying to keep this build at $0 cost using materials I have on hand. Money is tight right now and I’m already a little over $300USD in on materials to start smithing between my anvil, hammer, air pump, coal, and raw materials. 

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I use red clay bricks that I scavenged and dried in an oven with the addition of a couple hard firebricks I had laying around. I think the only thing I've bought for any of the jabods I've built was an electric mattress pump and eventually upgraded to a buffalo 700 blower. The first JABOD I built cost less than ten dollars. You just have to be resourceful. I used a night stand turned on it's back as the box. I got it free when the hotel I work at was remodeled. It held up for about a year outside which was a surprise. I used the clay in it for the next couple. I've since settled on a MARKIII style jabod with a brick firepot surrounded by dry cat litter. It's good for stock up to an inch thick.  After you get used to using a jabod you'll see how devilishly simple they really are. I noticed you're tuyere was angled down a little in the picture. That's usually a good thing. A slight downward angle moved the hotspot away from the wall of mine and increased it's size a little. 

Pnut

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Now is that anthracite coal or bituminous coal?   Makes a difference!

I once built a complete beginner's set up for under US$25: Coal Forge, blower, anvil, basic tools. I did it one Saturday just because some folks were telling people you had to spend a LOT of money to get into smithing.  Nice forge I used it as my billet welding forge for several years...

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What a Great Build!! I have alot more lumber laying around than plate steel(expensive). Did i miss the dimensions on your build? I didnt notice them in this post? I would appreciate the dimensions and also didnt understand the cat litter and where it was to be added other than the dirt and brick? I like this idea better than the 55 gallon drum forge. Also wondered if there was still a place or need for my truck brake drum or does the dirt or mud shaped like a firepot take care of that? Sorry about all the questions, i like your build.

respectfully:

Joe Bill Moad

Antelope Hills Oklahoma

Scratch my last post. Sorry. I just found the questions i asked just now. 
 

Jbm

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5 hours ago, pnut said:

I use red clay bricks that I scavenged and dried in an oven with the addition of a couple hard firebricks I had laying around. I think the only thing I've bought for any of the jabods I've built was an electric mattress pump and eventually upgraded to a buffalo 700 blower. The first JABOD I built cost less than ten dollars. I noticed you're tuyere was angled down a little in the picture. That's usually a good thing. A slight downward angle moved the hotspot away from the wall of mine and increased it's size a little. 

Pnut

The only thing I’ve spend money on for this JABOD is the air supply and about $50 in tools that I needed anyway. I went with the same hand pump Charles has on his Mark III. Cost me just over $23 from Amazon. My biggest expense was the 66lb cast steel anvil at $170. I think my cross peen was around $20 at the local hardware store.  I still need to pick up or scrounge some stock to make my tongs. I’m getting 100lbs of coal Friday for $32+tax.  

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4 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Now is that anthracite coal or bituminous coal?   Makes a difference!

I once built a complete beginner's set up for under US$25: Coal Forge, blower, anvil, basic tools. I did it one Saturday just because some folks were telling people you had to spend a LOT of money to get into smithing.  Nice forge I used it as my billet welding forge for several years...

It’s bituminous. There is a blacksmith shop about an hour south of me that has it shipped in via train and sells the excess at just over cost. The only down side is that the size is larger than ideal so you have to break some of it up. I took my first class from them and will be taking more as money allows. The master smith supposedly spent some time in Israel training under Hofi. 
 

I more than likely could have gotten into smithing cheaper, but I decided to splurge on a 66lb Acciaio anvil instead of scrounging a piece of steel to hammer on. I wanted something with a horn, hardy, and pritchel and I’ve heard good things about them.

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9 hours ago, Joe Bill Moad said:

. Did i miss the dimensions on your build? I didnt notice them in this post? I would appreciate the dimensions and also didnt understand the cat litter and where it was to be added other than the dirt and brick

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/44842-just-a-box-of-dirt-or-a-simple-side-blast-forge/

Or 

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/55467-mark-iii-jabod-forge/

Good luck be safe and remember it's supposed to be fun. 

Pnut

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Glenn said:

Try putting some of the lumps on an existing fire and once it gets hot, whack it with a shovel or other object.  Many times it will just fall apart.

I’ll give that a try. We were just hitting them with the pointed side of the cross peen before putting them on the hearth during the class. It worked as long as you didn’t mind chasing the odd piece of coal across the forge lol. 

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Bigger the propane forge the more it costs to run, I've spent over US$150 on propane this year already.  May be cheaper to have both a big propane forge and a little one and only use the big one when you have to!

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And the same burner easily brings these to welding heat in about 3 minutes. A number of our club members are bladesmiths and have stopped wanting larger.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Interesting. I had read solid refractory forges could not achieve welding heat, though no reason given... But I was given to understand stuff like kaowool was to be preferred, with refractory for the floor only.

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Most hard refractories are lousy insulators. Therefore, while it is theoretically possible for a solid refractory forge to reach welding heat, it takes a LOT more fuel in a much more powerful burner to compensate for the heat lost to the outside air. Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? Probably not.

The bricks shown in the photos above are (I believe) soft firebrick, which is a much better insulator than either hard firebrick or hard refractory. Also, since the working volume of the forge is much smaller, it's easier to reach high temperatures without increasing the size of the burner.

Kaowool is a great insulator, but it's fragile and can shed microscopic particles into the air; these are VERY bad for you to breathe. Two inches of rigidized kaowool give great insulation, and a 1/2" layer of hard refractory around the entire inside of the forge will protect the kaowool from bumps and tears.

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