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I Forge Iron

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Had a session at the forge yesterday, and when finished I pulled the fire apart and left all the coke on the table for use today. Well, It came a hard blowing rain last night for an hour or three.  All the coke got soaked through, The table was soaked, the pot and what ash was left in the corners got drenched as well.  All the sticks and twigs that I usually use for kindling were also soaked.  Took me two tries to get the fire going. Finally started it off with a small handfull of green coal to get the coke dried out enough to burn. Hoo Wee, I ain't had that much smoke since I first fired the coal forge several years ago.  ;)  Once the coal got started, I piled the coke on, then the smoke turned to steam. But didn't take long for the coke to dry out after that.

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When I had access to smithing coal I'd make breeze by the bucket before going to demos by turning the mound, raking out the fireball and dumping it into a bucket of water. A nice byproduct being the shale dropped to the bottom and ash floated. I let it drain for a while on a slanted piece of plywood and it was ready to light up.

I light coal or breeze over a coil of corrugated cardboard. I cut or tear a strip about 1 1/2" wide and 12"+ long, roll it into a tight coil, place it over the fire grate, let is spring open slightly and pin it in place with coal, larger pieces, say walnut max against the coil and smaller out to a pile of wet fines on the outside. I build it up with larger coal on the coil and packed around with fines into a crater.

Drop a wood match in with a very gentle blast or the ash dump open till the coil catches, then rake coarse coal over the coil and apply blast. Given decent coal I can be working in maybe 5+ minutes, Breeze even wet is ready to go almost before the coil is gone. 

It's probably just me but I've NEVER liked wadding up a couple sheets of newspaper, I always seem to get a chasm I have to hammer down to eventually get a working fire. Sticks and twigs work a treat for me.

Of course that's just me, YMMV.

Frosty The Lucky.


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I use brown kraft paper (grocery bags) to make a ducks nest, news paper burns too fast and not hot enough to suit me. Fill it with coke from prior fire and some stove pellets. Then use my propane torch to light it all around the base. When the base is going, I rake more coke around it and like Frosty have a roaring fire in about 5 min, all the wile turning the blower handle for a gentle air blast. Then rake green coal around the perimeter to start coking up.

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