Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Propane Costs and Refills UK - Starting Up - Looking for advice


Aappleyard

Recommended Posts

So I am looking at getting into Blacksmithing here in the UK in Yorkshire and I am trying to work out a few things before I start buying bits to get started but the hardest thing I am finding is information on Propane in the UK.

How much is the average cost for a Bottle of Propane is quite easy as I can google that and the prices are about £40 for 19KG.

How long would someone expect that 19KG of Propane to last in a Propane Forge?

How easy is it to get refills of Propane?

Is it cheaper to get Propane refills than buying a whole new bottle and if so what is the price differene?

Is propane in the UK more expensive than in the USA?

 

I am very new to it all and looking for a bit of advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to IFI! You should put your location in your profile settings, as we probably won't remember Yorkshire once it gets buried in a thread.

I don't have any answers to your questions, other than to recommend you contact local dealers to see what they charge and what their refill policies are. With any luck, some of our UK members will be along soon to offer UK-based advise.

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apple; your questions tend to be indeterminate: exp can you tell me what mpg *my* vehicle gets?  How much propane your forge uses depends on the forge and how you are using it. 

How easy it is to get refills depends on LOCATION; are you 400 meters from a place that does refills or is it 60 km? 

Refills are almost always cheaper than buying a new bottle; as you are not paying for another bottle! (a 20# Bottle, appx 4.6 american gallons, costs about US$45 new, and gas at US$3.75 a gallon; trade ins usually run higher or come with less gas; so refills are the way to go!)

Is there anyone in BABA, British Artist Blacksmith Association, in your area that can help you with location specific information?

Here in the USA last time I checked I was spending a bit more than US$2 an hour running my two Frosty T burner forge.  I run my forge from a 100# tank in the shop and 2 bbq tanks, (20#) on the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the responces guys I do appreciate it. Sorry for the indeterminate questions. My issues is that online I have found it hard to find any details on what the difference between a refill and a new bottle costs as they usually only state the cost of a whole new bottle so maybe this is where I have to get in contact with a local dealer who offers refills and ask them what their costs are. I thought it would have been easier to just google Propane Refills UK and find costs but I have yet to actually find any helpful information.

Thanks again for the responces and I will check with BABA or a local-ish blacksmith about it.

 

Kind regards

 

Arron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in the USA, bottle exchange places are common at larger stores for BBQ sized bottles, and where I live is a rural area; so we don't have natural gas piped to houses. Many rely on larger tanks of propane for home heating and other uses---we have a propane kitchen range for instance. This tank is refilled by a truck that delivers it and refills the tank on site.  These propane dealers will also refill smaller tanks brought to them.  The prices I quoted were from TSC a sort of DIY place that also sells propane as a means of luring customers in...

Are you in a city, rural, suburbia?

Definitely ask around, prices may vary between dealers!   I used to live in the inner city of a pretty good sized city just south of an expensive to live in "Historical district" known for not having any out buildings for storage and so every year in the fall people would junk their propane grills and bottles---often still with propane in them!  I could see them in the alleyway and ask and so I am up to 6 BBQ bottles now for the cost of being alert and willing to ask.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Apple,

Given the numbers you provided you would be paying about $US 2.93/kg for propane.  My supplier, for refills, charges $US 3.29/US gallon or $US 1.71/kg. (And assuming I did all the conversions correctly ;-))

There may be differences in availability and costs between the UK and the US.  In the US propane is used for heating and cooking in rural areas that do not have access to natural gas and for barbeque grills, usually in 20 pound tanks, and on trailers (caravans).  It is sold in bulk/refills by propane dealers, farm stores, and some hardware stores and lumber yards.  There are also exchange stations at many convenience stores, super markets, and even large drug stores.

It is always much more expensive to exchange tanks than it is to refill.

While the internet is a good place to do initial research you really need to actually contact people to get the information you need.  Either telephone calls or, better yet, on your bike and make personal contact.  I realize that for some in the younger generation it seems weird to get info except from a screen but doing it the old fashioned analog way is surprisingly effective.

How much you will use depends on the size of your forge.  Without knowing more its like asking what the mileage will be for a car you haven't looked at yet.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last time I looked, which was over a decade back, the UK  sold what they called LPG mixtures of mostly propane and butane; not straight propane.

I have been told that difference mostly comes when a cylinder gets low; then, it can become a little hard to draw the remaining butane in called temperatures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hiya Apple,
As other have said, welcome to the forum.

The main LPG supplier in the UK is Calor, but there are other independent suppliers around who will supply Calor refills for less than a main Calor distributor will, so you need to find who is local to you.
Regarding cost, the Calor site lists their Bottle + Gas and Refill-only prices. GOOGLE: calor lpg prices

On their site they post prices up to 13kg size (which is what I use) but for 19kg and 47kg you have to contact them.

For a 13kg size, they say that Bottle+Gas is £78.49, while a refill is £38.50.   I think my last refill cost £35 inc delivery from a local independent distributor.

 

Back to the real question. You say you want to get into Blacksmithing. We need to know if you mean as a hobby or as a business.  We also need to know how much money and resources you have available to put into this endeavour.

Depending on your answers, we will be able to advise you better.

For example:  I'm a hobby smith. I went on a one-day Blade-making course near London and got hooked.  I make my own first forge out of Insulating Fire Bricks and a bought AMAL burner, hose, regulator and 13kg LPG bottle.  I started with a 10kg block of steel as an Anvil-Shaped-Object (ASO) and made a few tools to start with.  I then found an old anvil that a local Farrier didn't want any more, at a good price.  Then I decided I wanted to make a more efficient and flexible forge that heats up quickly, to save money as a Hobbyist, but it wouldn't have a tough enough lining for everyday business use.

If you are going to be starting Blacksmithing as a business, then you would want a forge that has a heavier-duty lining. It would take longer to heat-up, but the lining would hold that heat better, so it would transfer that heat to your steel stock quicker.

At the end of the day, the biggest thing to impact LPG cost and usage is the size of your forge, the thermal efficiency of its lining, and the efficiency of your burner.  As has been said 100's of times previously on this site, go for the smallest forge that will do the job.  It is not uncommon for Smiths to have various sizes of forge, to handle the various types of job they are working on.  The most common request from new Smiths is advice about a huge forge that they have bought/built that can fit anything from spoons to Sabres in it, but that gets through a ton of LPG to heat up.

Sorry to ramble, but in conclusion, tell us a bit more about what you want to do, what your level of experience is, and what resources you already have available, and we can then make a start on advising you.
 

Hope this helps,

Tink!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Tink; *we*---the net blacksmiths, coined the term ASO to refer to cast iron "anvil shaped objects" that have the form of a london pattern anvil but made from cheap grey cast iron can't be used as an anvil as they degrade too quickly.  What you have is an "Improvised Anvil"  made of steel and a perfectly good starter anvil!

We've noticed folks misusing the term on YT lately and would like your help to keep the term used correctly to avoid misleading people as "improvised anvils" can be very good indeed!  While ASO's are basically trash made to mislead folks who know nothing about anvils into spending good money on bad metal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, tinkertim said:

At the end of the day, the biggest thing to impact LPG cost and usage is the size of your forge, the thermal efficiency of its lining, and the efficiency of your burner.

SO TRUE!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never understood the folks building forges that say "I can't spend US$30 for good insulating refractories; but am willing to spend hundreds of extra dollars buying fuel not to mention having to stop and go to buy the fuel!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the correction Thomas.

What I started with was an offcut billet of stainless steel, 5" diameter and 4" tall, with a 3/4" hole bored most of the way through the center of the base.

It weighs around 10kg, and I drilled and screwed in a large bolt into the top of a tree-stump-sized log, and ground the head of the bolt down until my Improvised Anvil was a snug fit over it. As the edge of this billet cylinder was pretty sharp, I ground a varying radius along part of the top edge, so that I could choose my desired curvature for striking my hot steel.

It wasn't perfect, but for a beginner it was fine, and I made a number of tools on it.

Tink!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks!  the biggest single impediment to many people trying to get into blacksmithing is thinking they need to buy a London Pattern Anvil.  (Which are $$$$$ these days.)  I find this odd as the London Pattern Anvil has only been around a couple of hundred years while blacksmithing has been around about 3000 years.  Showing them they can get started cheaply with an improvised anvil can get more people into the craft!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Thanks!  the biggest single impediment to many people trying to get into blacksmithing is thinking they need to buy a London Pattern Anvil. 

Thinking I needed this or that to get started helped me waste a LOT of time that could have been spent actually blacksmithing. Finally running across the JABOD and improvised anvil threads here was an eye opening experience. I was beating hot steel within a few days. I always tell people, "Just get started with whatever you have access too because waiting on the perfect forge, perfect anvil, perfect hammer or whatever will have you waiting forever."

Pnut

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And as I post here way too often: "1000 hours forging on a US$100 anvil will make you a better smith than forging 100 hours on a US$1000 anvil!"  (I've done a pattern welded billet using a chunk of rail and a claw hammer before---it's the skills over the equipment!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...