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Building a gas forge as an experienced smith - any design aspects you wish your forge has?

somber crow

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Hello. I have a 2 burner diamondback forge that is.. on its way out. Looking to finally just build my own, and was wondering if there are any design aspects or features that people have messed around with that they really like. As well as forge shape/style, etc.

My current one is a blacksmith model, so a box forge with a main opening and small ones on the sides. Has anyone ever transitioned from that style to any form of cylindrical forge? Did you miss the box model at all, or was it fine? I should note I mostly work on a smallish scale anyways.

Anyone ever use a forge with a foot pedal to open the main door? Worth it or not?

Any thoughts or tips are appreciated. I'm expecting to spend some money on the build to make sure I've got something really worth using for a long time.

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How small is smallish, will a single burner work for you? 

My first propane forge was cylindrical and I didn't much care for it though it worked fine. Since that one I've mostly built rectangular forges, some more cubical than others. 

My most recent was built to fit NARBs and I messed that up by mounting them end to end rather than in parallel. 

I've given thought to building another forge without the mistakes of the last one but need to experiment with multi outlet burners other than ribbons first. 

I've thought about foot actuated doorways but once I've built and used a forge a while haven't thought it an improvement on that release. It's not like you can close off a forge powered by a naturally aspirated burner or back pressure stops it working. If I have to leave an opening anyway I poke the work in through it.

Frosty The Lucky.


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Honestly I've only ever used double burners (and coal forges), I feel like if I went with a single one I'd be disappointed with the results. Would also appreciate having welding temps, but I don't do it often. The current one I'm running is 14" long, 12" wide, 9" high (exterior dimensions minus burners). I don't know what the cubic space is.

I also have no experience with NARBs, but always thought they looked interesting. I had been thinking I'd most likely just reuse the burners from my current one, but maybe there is a benefit to keeping an old one functional for doing actual welds in if you're gonna tear up the bricks anyways.

I appreciate the point about the door though. I imagine if I built a rectangular one that was open on both ends, I could just use bricks (or another system) to adjust the opening based on the work piece. It's tempting to over engineer a bit but it probably just isn't worth it.

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There is a problem with subjective terms;  I have a friend who works at a place where "smallish" refers to 12" sq stock and their tongs have wheels and a seat on them, (once sent me pictures of working 40" dia Ti pieces...)  So sticking some numbers in can help a lot. I generally have been working under 1" stock and usually 1/2" and under.  With the powerhammer(s) coming on line I hope to up that a bit.

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14 hours ago, somber crow said:

I don't know what the cubic space is.

I have the same forge and if memory serves correctly it's right around 350 cubic inches on the interior. I coated the interior with Plistix and after I get it up to heat I can turn it down quite a bit and maintain forging temperature. 


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I rarely use stock over 1" thick, however I definitely need an opening at least 5-6" wide for certain projects I do. For that diamondback I find myself using the side openings 90% of the time, but having that big door is nice for when you need it.

1 hour ago, Mikey98118 said:

Morgan K26 semi-hard highly insulating bricks can be combined in several configurations to make box forges. If you aren't sure what you need, such a forge (AKA a brick pile forge) might be just what you are looking for.

That is sort of what I'm leaning towards. I think the interior space overall can mostly remain consistent, but it would be nice to adjust the opening for the smaller pieces. My current one has brick on the bottom, but uses that fiber board stuff for the other walls, which I find kind of falls apart a bit fast if it gets bumped by whatever your forging from time to time.

I'm sure there is info on here about the benefits between a full brick forge, kaowool, or fiber board in regards to temps, heat up times, etc. Although I know that all depends on the cubic feet of the interior as well.

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Heating times between 2" thick walls of Morgan K26 brick and 2" thick walls of rigidized ceramic wool are going to be about equal. I strongly recommend a flame face of Plistex 900 on the inner surface of whatever you choose for the walls, ceiling, and floor. How much further you go with protective layers (cast refractory layer, then Plistex) is a personal choice; none of it will go to waste.

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