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Opening the ash dump on an idle bottom blast forge serves another safety purpose as well.  I was at the anvil when I heard a thump.  As I turned to see what happened, I noticed my coal fire landing in the fire pot!  Everything seemed OK, so I kept at it.  As I was cleaning up at the end of the day, I noticed a crack in my fire pot.  Then I noticed that all the bolt heads holding my tuyere to the pot were stretched to where they broke.  

Best guess, is that coal gas piled up in the tuyere pipe until it pushed it's way out of the idle hand-crank blower's intake.  From there, an unlucky breeze took the coal gas over the fire whereupon it caught fire, which carried it's way down the pipe, blowing the pot off the tuyere in the process.

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That's more frisky than I want to be around!

Got me thinking though.  1/4" mild steel bolts are typically rated for 60,000 PSI tensile strength.  That works out to something over 3,000 lbs of instantaneous load to pull just one bolt to breaking.  Four bolts were pulled apart, but I don't know that they were equally tensioned, so they may have failed sequentially.  Either way, I sure as shooting don't want to be in the way of 3,000 lbs on it's way to freedom!

 

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