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I Forge Iron

Thoughts on Gas Forges.


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I'm new here- So I apologize if this is in the wrong place!

I'm in the process of building my studio. It is a Multi-purpose studio, and one of it's purposes will be blacksmithing. The Studio area is about 900 square feet, and is broken up into a 'clean' area where the drawing/painting goes on, and a 'dirty' area where I do the wood/metal work. The 'dirty' side has a roll-up door, which opens to an outside work area that can be used in nice weather.

I have decided to use a Gas forge- Although most of my training and experience is on a coal forge. I did work quite a bit on a gas forge when I worked in a production shop for a while, But I really didn't pay that much attention to it!

I am looking in to a 2 burner forge, and have been attracted to the Diamondback Ironworks forges. I have read some old posts on here, and it seems that people like them. The LOOK well constructed as well. Any thoughts/opinions on them?

I Like the fact that you can get to welding temps in them- I haven't done much forge welding in the past, but like to have that as an option.

My other concern is how much gas they are going to burn- and what size tank I should look in to purchasing. I also see that they make an 'idler' valve that allows you to throttle back the gas flow while you are forging- Has anyone used this?

Thanks in advance,


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I haven't heard anything bad about Diamond back forge, the main dude (sorry I forgot your name) is a regular on IFI. I hope I didn't just stick my foot in my mouth AGAIN. On the other hand I like talking to Glenn.

Sorry for the digression Diamond back seems to be a fine piece of equipment and affordable as well. Chile forges are well built and highly thought of as well. Then there are kits available from Larry Zoeller, Jay Hays and others. (Forgive me for not recalling your names guys.)

Then there's the build it yourself zone. I do them myself but I like tinkering with equipment and stuff.

You're asking some good questions too. How much a forge burns depends on how efficient it is and how many burners you're using. Seems pretty obvious but it needs to be brought up.

All things being equal I can get about 7hrs from a 20gl. tank using one 3/4" burner. I was getting 8hrs. from a 40lb tank using one 1" burner of the same type. This tells me my 1" burner was more efficient. What my "T" burners are not is a sophisticated burner like Rex Price builds or Mike Porter designed and builds. (for himself, not for sale I believe) What my burners are: is simple, straightforward to build and tune and inexpensive.

They do not perform like a Rex or Porter type 5.

After the basic burner's efficiency the next thing is forge insulation. Some forges rely solely on a hard refractory liner and lose a lot of heat through the shell, they of course require a LOT more gas to keep at temp.

A pretty typical forge now has 2" of ceramic blanket insulation and many are coated with ITC-100. These forges will use maybe half as much fuel and will reach a higher internal temperature.

At either extreme you can get welding temps when the burner is properly tuned and heating an appropriate volume.

Another forge type that might interest you as an artist is the "brick pile" forge. This is exactly what it sounds like a stack of bricks in whatever size or shape you need at the time. They're not usually a person's primary forge but a lot of guys keep a bunch of fire brick handy for those times you need to heat an odd shape or large size. you still need to observe the rules of thumb about volume to burner output.

I wouldn't use smaller than a 40lb propane tank and even then they'll freeze up running two 3/4" burners or one 1" burner. A 100lb tank is better and if you're not going portable you can get a price break on propane delivered to a large, say 100gls. tank at your studio.

If you are going mobile you can keep a 20 or 40 lb tank from freezing by standing it in a tub of water. Cold water works just fine even when there's a couple inches of ice on the bottle.


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I recently bought a 2 burner blacksmith model,I am very pleased with it.I usually run it at 5 psi I haven't tried welding in it yet, but I have no doubt it's up to it.Dennis is a very nice guy and I picked it up at his shop.The idler valve is nothing but a ball valve with a stop to keep it from closing all the way.You can't beat the price either.If you can, invest in a 100 lb. tank,lasts a good long time and won't freeze up on you---Regards Butch

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Thanks... I had been leaning towards the 100 lb tank, the price wasn't too much higher than the 40 lb, and I got a price break when filling the larger size as well... I am kind of still kicking the idea of an even larger, permanent tank- But I think I'll wait and see.

Frosty- I had considered building one myself, But between the time and money involved, I think I'm better off buying!


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