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I Forge Iron

Building a forge


SinDoc

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Being a relatively new person to the craft and reading around, it almost seems like a right of passage to build a forge. I am looking into building one out of an old 20lb propane tank(s) I have acquired from a family member. I know the very VERY first thing to be done is to make sure they are empty and if they are not, to safely empty them and clean them out with soap water/bleach overnight.

Is this a project someone like me could undertake? I very little experience in something like this. I think (much emphasis one that) I can do it. Worse case I suppose is I ruin a tank. Ive been reading this site for quite some time and after getting to use a Chili forge the other day, I am a bit jealous :lol: but can't justify spending that much yet (although I somewhat plan on using their burner). 

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SinDoc, 

My first was a coal forge built from my dad's old propane grill. Gutted, lined and hair dryer crudely attached. After that, with no other experience, I built a propane forge from what I learned on YouTube. The propane forge works, but I have since built 2 charcoal forges, the 2nd of which I am very happy with. It has also caused me to look back and ask myself why I didn't just stick with the first coal/charcoal forge I built. I feel safer when using it, I make my own charcoal so my fuel is renewable, and in my limited experience, solid fuel is not only easier to work with as a beginner but it brings about in me that warm primitive attachment to nature we all have. Dig a hole in the ground, fill it with charcoal from last night's bonfire, supply some air and heat some steel and you will see what I mean. 

All that aside, is a propane forge a project someone like you could undertake? If you avoid the YouTubes and spend some time in the gas forge threads here on IFI, you can certainly make it happen. I wish I had done more research here before I built mine, that's for sure. However, I have read that a scrapped propane tank is not the best object to start with because of its volume. That being said, I have seen a couple very successful ones built from them on here, but they seemed to follow the best instructions to a T.

Be safe, patient, stay determined, read as much as you can, and you can make it happen. 

Red

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Posted (edited)

Red:

I was going to reduce the size of it as I do believe it would be too big. I know it somewhat defeats the purpose but I don't trust my plumbing ability when it comes to gas hence me ordering a burner. Kinda just a weekend warrior project to see if I can. I also thought of building a JABOD in an old grill, but my house is next to an apartment complex and I am unsure if if the smoke and such would cause people to be less than happy with me.

Thomas:

I will check and see. Thanks for the info!

Edited by SinDoc
Added to my response to Red
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I hear ya, I think everyone should keep a project/hobby to work on.

That first grill forge I mentioned, I built and used that on the first floor patio of the apartment complex my (then) fiancé and I lived in. Got away with using store-bought charcoal for a few months with no problems. It wasn't until I used Bituminous coal for the first time that I ran into some issues with other neighbors. At a high enough heat, charcoal does not produce a whole lot of smoke; by the scent, most people just think you're grilling or smoking meat all day when you use charcoal. An anvil's ring tends to give you away though haha. 

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Thankfully me and my neighbors are all friends and on very good terms. When I first started he came out and said "what in the ---- is that tinking!" as he looked over and seen me banging on the anvil. Sadly the majority of the people in the apartment complex ~4 houses down are less than nice. I burned a small bit of dried grass a few years ago (like MAYBE half a yard waste bag) and by the whining the came from there you would have thought I was burning tires!

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1 hour ago, SinDoc said:

Being a relatively new person to the craft and reading around, it almost seems like a right of passage to build a forge.

Just so, SinDoc; it is a right of passage, and the first hurtle that separates winners from kidders. As to the Chilly forges; they are as good as they look, but you can make  a better forge, if you listen patiently to instructions. The big difference is the the confidence and insight you will gain before you start using your forge. Of course, the savings are nothing to sneeze at :)

You, by being patient, can also include features that a Chili forge doesn't have, like a ribbon burner for maximum fuel savings from a really hot forge, a hinged and latched Front opening for maximum building ease, and moving the occasional oversize work piece, or crucible, in and out; not to mention making repairs...

The Chile forges are aimed primarily at commercial buyers, who need a very hot forge for fast turn around of work pieces, but don't care about "all the bells and whistles" that a hobbyist treasures.

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Mikey, I have been reading the forge section for quite awhile now. Learning about your burner, Frosties T burner and ribbon burner, JABODS etc. I really and I mean REALLY like the NARB design, but I am not super confident in my gas plumbing abilities which is why even after building the forge body I was messing with the idea of buying the burner. Could I do it? Certainly but I would be sweating bullets the first time I lit it lol.

Me and a buddy will probably build a JABOD this weekend for the fun of it, even if it never sees much use. I want to get the propane tank prepped and ready and see if I am still feeling confident in that its a project I can do.

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I would recommend starting with a Frosty T burner. They are easy and work great. For $15 in parts you owe it to yourself to try. Plus it is not as big of a next step to a  build a NARB. I love T burners and honestly I like lighting the forge without thinking about the burner and getting on with what I REALLY want to do, which is forge...

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Plus, the "T" burner can be reycled into the NARB; a win, win situation.

Ah, but what about the changes needed in the forge later on? A  rotary tool can cut out the rectangular opening in the shell quick and easy. If he includes a hinged door in its design, the rotary tool can cut out the refractory layer quick and easy too.

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In building the forge from a propane tank, this thread will pretty much walk you through the process and if you get stuck there are a lot of us to help you out just ask. When we built our propane forge, I didn't have a clue how to do it and everyone here helped us. We now have a nice good working safe forge.

 

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Sindoc: I understand and encourage being careful with any fuel gas but if you follow procedures it's plenty safe. Do what I do with a new burner light it outside or a spot in the shop without flammables around. I have a 1/4 turn ball valve right after the regulator so if a connection of fitting catches fire I can shut the propane off instantly.

Soapy water and small brush will tell you if you have a problem BEFORE it's a scary problem.

We'll talk you through a build.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Have you looked into a blown burner? They don't seem to be as fussy about things like gas jet alignment and mixing tube length etc. because they don't use a mig tip. They don't seem to require such tight tolerances to function properly.  Just a thought. 

Pnut

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