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I Forge Iron

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Youjust need something that burns clean - the closer to 100% carbon the better. ( cept diamonds)

The best is coke, second is pure charcoal then comes mined coal and then low quality mined coal. You could use anything that burns basicly altho some material produce too much smoke or ash and dont get too hot. SOme people forge with corn or olive pips.
I use charcoal even tho it burns up rather quickly but it gets really hot.

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First thousand years of the iron age charcoal was the *only* fuel used; it burns hot and clean with little smoke and NO SULFUR and so has continued to be used as a forge fuel to this day.

If you are just starting out, real chunk charcoal is a lot easier to learn on than coal or coke.

Note: Briquettes are NOT charcoal they are a bunch of stuff mixed up with just a tad of charcoal in the mix and are not a very good forge fuel at all!

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I have tried charcoal and found it very good if somewhat expensive. The coal I use burns VERY clean but you have to plan your fire a bit more and have it coking around the edges of the fire all the time, another thing to worry about when you are working. Also, you have to ensure you have a supply of coked coal to start the fire next time but that is as easy task.

Personally, I like the coal as it lasts longer and I find it easier to use, and cheaper :)

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Does cheaper include the 150 mile trip to buy coal vs the 4.5 mile trip to buy charcoal? Or the 0 mile trip to make charcoal at home? Or do you have a local source?

In general I forge primarily with Propane and then coal and then charcoal; sifting the woodstove ashes to get it for free...

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I love working with charcoal but have found that my brake drum forge isn't really deep enough for welding. Even piled high I've got maybe 5 inches from tuyere to the top of the fire. the brake drum has an enclosed rim around the inside, currently looking for some 3 or 4 inch wide stock to make a fence so I can pile the charcoal higher.

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Run the fence right inside the rim side and not just in a shallow groove that some rims have.

On mine that I used as a billet welder for several years I left the spot where the ends of the sheetmetal would meet open a C shape bit with only a 2+ or so gap so I could slide the billet in through it where ever in the coal stack I wanted it and then cut a mousehole opposite it to stick long pieces through the hot spot and out the back.

Does not need to be very thick stock have you looked at the black stove pipe they sell for wood stoves?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think Irnsrgn and Coalforge have pictures in the gallery of corn being used as fuel.
Also, if you use the 'search' feature at the top of the forums page and type in "corn,fuel" you will discover several threads where corn is discussed as a solid fuel.

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