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I Forge Iron

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Clinkers are normal. They are not bad for the environment. They are good for putting on your driveway and under your tires for traction in the snow. You can clear-spray them and call them art if your forging isn't going so well, which will allow you to still eat while you get your form back.

Super high grade metallurgical coal doesn't have much impurity to it, so won't generate much clinker. Decent bituminous coal that cokes well and generates good heat, will leave a fairly tidy clinker in the firepot. That should be removed when you first build your fire or when it interferes with your fire, but is not that big a deal. With bad coal, you don't get much coke or much of a clinker... you get low heat, a rubble-looking fire, and a lot of fly ash.

Rantalin: Clinker is not caused by too much air, it is just the by-product of burning the coal. If you are wasting coal by running the blower while not heating iron, your clinker will be bigger. You should definitely put a gate in any air system. See this discussion on blowers, particularly the comments made by Hollis about air control:

Does anyone else here remember running track on this stuff???

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Hey buck!, whats a dragon fewmets? Actually I was thinking about selling some clinkers but I didnt think you could get more than 5 cents a piece. Just not worth the gas if you have to haul them to a blacksmith show. Maybe I should just sell my blacksmithing equipment? I only have three grand in equipment now. I was thinking of buying a trip hammer, but maybe I should wait until I sell at least one clinker before I convince myself that this is a good way to make money! If I could just sell one clinker than I could justify a 15,000 trip hammer. Makes good sense to me. Hey squeeze, If I had fairies coming to my forge like you, maybe I wouldnt have to work so Hard to sell them clinkers :D !

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OK. I'm gonna tell you more than I know. Years ago, when I started blacksmithing for a hobby, I asked the same question. From two sources that I trust completely, this is what I came up with. Coal comes from the ground. There are bits of dirt, rock and other debris that are part of the lump of coal. When a smith is looking for coal, there are three things to be sought after. Low sulfer, low ash and high BTU's. Any coal will work but the more it fits these three things, the better it will work. The sulfer burns first and escapes in the form of thick green smoke. The BTU's are given off as the rest of the organics are oxidized (burnt) and leave the ash. Here is your clinker. The glass like composition is the result of melting the rock and stuff. Think about what is melted to make glass. Sand.
Now I'm sure there is more to it, but they felt that the bottom line is, higher ash content - more clinker. Made perfect sense to me.
Now let me ask a question. If all this is said, and I feel it's correct, then it stands to reason that charcoal would leave a different looking clinker since it is all wood ash. Does it? I've never used charcoal but I would like to hear from those that do.
Thanks. Gobbler.

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  • 2 years later...

hehe old post...

anyway i was wondering the same...
i burn charcoal and i seem to awlys get a red hot black glassy mixture after..
i use sand arround my forepot in the cracks and sweep a little in but i doubt its melting!

so is this black glassy mixture clinker from the charcoal?

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