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Archive for the ‘Forge construction’ Category

This may not be the fastest forge to build, but it was worth the time. These ingredients have been used on all my clayed forges. The secret is slowly curing and really rehydrating the kitty litter before hand:

A dirt cheap recipe for fire hardening clay in forges— Works great for projects big or small; I just winged it loosely off of some other recipes. This is an approximation. That was modified as I went along and needed more. I just went for something that “looked right”.. not that I knew what that was. I started off drier and got wetter to keep the large mass from cracking:

-1 20lb Bag kitty litter (the unscented bentonite clay kind) is barely covered with water in a wheel barrel.
-Add three full shovels of sifted red ground clay. (Sifting is really just a formality, but it should be done dry.. if it’s from a deep enough hole.. like a charcoal barrel pit then it’ll be well clumped and moist almost pure clay)

-Stir it all together and wait at least 24 hours. Occasionally stir to make yourself feel productive. =P This will soften the clay pellets as they absorb the water. Additional stirring will make sure all the mix stays wet. (The weather was mild, but cool at night when I did this so use less water in winter, and possibly more in summer)

- Once about half the standing water is soaked up or evaporated. Then add about equal parts wood ash and kitty litter to the mix until it’s to the desired consistency. For a single layer about an inch that’s something that clumps together in your hand without crumbling.
This mixture should to cure very slowly.

I would apply it in about one inch thick layers around firebricks letting them dry 24-48+ hours in between. I used a heater and halogen light at night because it was getting into the high low 60’s. I’d check on each layer to keep the outermost “skin” moist. The goal was to avoid lots of steam from the inside escaping and cracking a dry outside. After many layers were applied I waited maybe just over a week with 75-degree heat and air movement. Then I built a small wood fire in my new forge. I built it up to a nice sized fire taking up the whole forge over a few hours and then let it burn HOT for half an hour before letting it slowly cool.

This forge wasn’t a single afternoon project, but it’s served me for a long time now:

I used coal in the forge, but wasn’t really happy with it compared to charcoal. I may try it again with coked coal now that I have a nice supply.

 

The PVC goes to a steel pipe.

 

The end can be used or the lid can be opened.
I’ve actually loaded a lot of wood on top of charcoal. The heat with out a lot of O2 (with the lid closed) can allow for charcoal production while forging. But sap is something to consider with green wood.. And be CAREFUL when opening the lid us a fire rake or pair of tongs, the flames will flare up.

 

The entire leangth of the forge can be used or clay can also be used to block off air holes in the pipe.

A tip with all clayed forges used with coal is to leave a thin layer of ash in the forge, or even apply a layer mixed with very little water. This will help prevent clinker from bonding with the clay. Instead it bonds with the ash.

Hardwood charcoal or bamboo charcoal are what I prefer to use n the trench forge. But coal can be used in a pinch.
Some relative information on clay:
Clay when used in bladesmithing for heat treatment.
I went on a quest to find out the science of how clay hardens… Instead I found debate!
I’ve been introduced to some new vocabulary that is very interesting: Sintering.

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I’ve tried a lot of methods to start a fire, my favoured is simply a sheet of news paper and charcoal. They produce a clean fire quickly. Everything should be self explanatory, except perhaps F: drier lint is useful, but smelly if you happen to have a hairy family =P. P: A wind and sun screen is useful when the fire is in it’s infancy.


Here you can see a close up of coal, coke, and charcoal respectively.


N: When using an electric blower controlling the air flow can be done in many ways. I use a shop vac directed to a T fitting. On the side of the fitting, opposite from the opening and going toward the forge, I’ve fitted a ball valve to allow excess air to be channelled to a side draft style hood/chimney.


O: Additional air can be vented from the ash dump as well by sliding it open a bit.


Before a new day’s hearth can be lit: sifting the ashes must be done, removing occasional bits of clinker. I toss the coke into one bucket and more questionable sifted shovels go into a bucket of water. The coke floats, and the ash clinker and coal sinks.


First a ring of coke is made at the bottom of the firepot. Some charcoal is present.


A little more charcoal is added. Charcoal or dried wood tender will ignite much easier than coke. If wood is used do so sparingly. I don’t know that you can’t weld in a fire with burning wood, but I do know it takes up hearth space and doesn’t burn as hot as the coked coal will.


A single sheet of newspaper is lit and placed in the center of the hearth.
Many people will use lots of paper or ball up coke/coal fines into the paper. I’ve tried many methods; this is what works for me. Although a separate wood fire is always nice to steal burning coals from.


Some larger chunks of charcoal are quickly added while the air supply is on very low.
I would use less kindling, just enough to catch fire before the paper burns out.
The kindling or charcoal only need to burn long enough for the coke to catch.


The key at this point is not suffocating the fire. The blower is still on but you may find too much air causes smouldering kindling that won’t catch. Once again charcoal or even charred wood is much more forgiving.
This bamboo charcoal burns hot but quickly. I use it to supplement my coal more than primary forging, so I added more than necessary.


Some coked coal is added.


When you are sure the coke has caught pile more on. The blower is blowing lightly. If you used kindling you can even carefully pull out the burning wood and seal it in an airtight container, or extinguish it some other way. This will make for an easier fire next time.

Remember that floating coke, now is a perfect time to layer it on. This will buy the coal a little time to cook. You may increase the air some, but you don’t need a lot of air yet. Just enough to keep things going.


Pile your wet coal around the center of the hearth/firepot. I snapped this picture right after the wet coke lit, just before cutting the blower off.


A handful of mostly uncoked coal (from the bottom of the water bucket) was then placed on top.
Then a small scoop of wet coal was added. (This picture didn’t turn out well and I failed to notice at the time.)


The coal has heated up around the hearth and begun to melt and stick together as it’s coking. You can make a small entrance with your rake. Within this cave you’ll be able to keep an eye on your steel and see the color of it while still surrounding it with heat from almost every direction. The fire pot is 3 inches deep and the mound is about 5-6 inches above the forge table.
Note – the fire is about at welding temperature.

This is the fire after welding. You can see it’s beginning to burn hollow– there isn’t enough burning coke inside the cave. While enough fuel is present inside this cave to work, use less air and water to allow coking to catch up.
A hollow fire is a result of not enough coal coking because you’re keeping it too wet, or too much air being introduced. Too much air and not enough burning coke will cool your fire and create scale.


I use a ladle that’s easily held with my tongs to avoid steam. I can’t tell you when exactly you need to sprinkle the fire and surrounding coal with water, but the idea is to keep the fire from migrating out of the firepot (generally whenever you see large sooty flames). If the perimeter of the firepot becomes well coked it may need to be watered until it’s time to be slid inwards. Occasionally, after the blower is stopped, the coking coal atop the fire will ignite and go out as soon as the blower is cut on again. That is often a good sign to add more coal. I believe it also means the burning coke just below the top of the mound is consuming excess atmosphere from around the fire.
This post is about building and maintaining a coal fire. Forging completely with coke is an entirely different animal.
Heat cokes coal. Coal will burn, and it’ll stay aflame simply from atmospheric air. Coke needs more air introduced or blown towards it to stay lit. I know of no reason to burn coal other than to create a supply of coke and help maintain the shape of certain types of fire.


It’s time to sprinkle some water on the fire.


Time to add more fuel.


If heat becomes a problem then clinker build up could be the source. Clinker can be prevented from blocking the air orifice by firepot design, installed clinker breakers or simply by pulling it all out in one large sticky clump with your fire rake.
To the left you can see clinker and flux from lots of welding. The middle and right are two different types of clinker from seperate coal sources.


I’ve found this sort of fire useful to heat several inches of steel. In this particular fire I forge welded a small hook out of 6 inches of half-inch square. Then finished working out the edge of a knife with a seven-inch blade.
I use many different types of fires and I am by no means an expert. Working odd bends and unusual shape or sizes without destroying a coal fire is difficult for me. It’s easier when extra coked coal is on hand, but coke still has to be raked back or added. Time must be spent waiting for the fire to get back up to temperature once burning coke is displaced. Proper fire management is one of the most basic skills anyone wanting to learn blacksmithing should know. I’ve had to teach myself most of these skills but I’ve by no means done it without the advice of others. I’ve not seen a good step-by-step pictorial on the subject so hopefully some may find this helpful. I plan to post a similar post over at Iforgeiron.com. It has been asked about an awful lot lately and I know many people like me are unable to attend classes. Around here, even at the events I’ve been able to attend, gas forges have been prominent or coal fires were started early and maintained irregularly and without discussion.

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My hearth has been in a constant state of flux. Flowing from fire-pot to fire pot as my whims or work requires. When I first started working on my latest forge I decided to try as many types of fire pots as I could. having never used a real forge I wasn’t positive the advantages of one style over another. You’re first forge can be as simple as you’d like see my first forge it was awkward and ill designed, but it worked!. A quick youtube search for a simple forge and you’ll find a ton of great idea’s to get started hitting hot metal. Once the bug bites you’ll probably find a brake drum or hole in the ground just doesn’t cut it for all you want to do.
Charcoal is a great fuel. I love it, I’d use it all the time if I had time to make it in vast quantities efficiently. But it doesn’t contain its self very well. Coal on the other hand when it gets hot sticks and clumps together on the outside with the aid of a little water. It’s often referred to as self insulating, but I haven’t observed that. I’ve found it’s radiating. The outside of the coking coal may provide nominal heat retention, but it’s the inside that is coked and glowing that radiates heat. This means that a fire can burn hot with just a shell of slightly coked coal around an air inlet, or tuyere. If there are no coke fines, small bits of coke, burning inside this shell your fire is burning hollow. That means atmosphere is allowed inside your hearth and your work will scale rapidly because it’s inside of an oxidizing flame.
An ideal fire is one where just enough atmosphere, or oxygen, is introduced to feed the fire up to the desired temperature.
This is especially important when making tools, knives or anything else where carbon content is valuable. To get the sort of fire I like to work in is a laborious task that is more time-consuming than difficult. It involves getting a nice sized fire going with newspaper, wood shaving and kindling. Adding coke fines about the size of dimes. Hitting the blower lightly and waiting until I have a decent start to a fire. Wood and paper do create a lot of ash which isn’t a problem for me as the ash tends to gather in the small cracks here and there and doesn’t need to be removed till the next day.
Once the fire is going well enough I toss on some more coke, and then surround the whole fire top bottom and sides with coal to coke up. At this point I tend to turn the blower to full throttle just until the coal catches light and then I cut the air off, open the ash dump and sprinkle the coal with water. I simply walk away at this point and do something else for a little while. 5-15 minutes later sometimes more or less I have a very well coked fire that has started to draw air on its own from the ash dump below the tuyere. Sprinkling a bit of water to contain the fire while waiting for a drafting fire is important to keep the fire from spreading outside of the fire-pot. I can often get a deep orange above the curie temperature without any forced air. I believe a big reason for this is the large diameter of the air pipe between the open ash dump and fire-pot. To me this is the best way to create a tool making fire, and is the way I make most of my fires. (for a pictorial on building and managing a coal fire click here)

I’ve tried more than a few fire-pot configurations and have found hard fire bricks, really insulate a fire and trap the heat, soaking up the heat and radiating it back inwards. After a forging session, when the fire is scattered, the bricks turned inside-out they have a bright glow. Because I was using a raised fire-pot above the level of my table, I’d often have a huge mound of coal. It’s easier to rake around a level fire pot. Keeping coal on top and at the end of a fire wasn’t a problem. But coking coal from the sides is difficult. This types of hearth required a lot of attention not to tear down a well made fire by sliding bricks around or worse removing all that glowing coke from the pot when inserting or removing irons. This leads to a lot of down time as you fill the fire-pot with more coke (you’re not making as much coke on the sides) and either let it naturally build back up, or introduce a lot of air to get things rolling again.

I needed a better way to do things. I had an idea of what I liked. Also I knew what I didn’t like. I really like the forge at the Dixie clasic fairgrounds. This “real forge” made things were very clear. So the other day I fabricated and installed a new fire-pot. Along the sides I installed a slurry of wood ash and coke dust/ash. This was mostly because the fire-pot is a bit larger than necessary and it can be reshaped to fit my needs. I’m not certain which is more detrimental to a fire pots lifespan. Direct Heat or rust formed from rain mixing with the ash.

I’ve had a really good time using it the past couple days and while I still have a lot of work to do on my forge; I feel this has been a step in the right direction. I use a bit more fuel because I’m able to keep coal all around the fire easily. While I haven’t worked any great lengths of stock with it yet, I’ve had a much easier time working without destroying my fire. Thats what my trench forge is for anyway.

Here are some photos of my forge still in the works and a few of the fire pots I tried out.










–Greg

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(Updated-01-7-13 BS physics is still in progress as this simple pirate tries to gather his thoughts)
I’ve been chugging along toward a smithy I’m proud of for a while now. I was using an old hard wood log buried only a couple inches in the ground. Certainly seemed to work well when securely fastened. But a Concrete floor is useful for a lot of things. So I fashioned an inside-out stump. I added a little iron to the the earth and buried it in plywood. The anvil rest on top of two 4×4″, these had already been cut and were scraps from another project. the corner insects are wood pickets from a decking project The plywood is 3/4″. It’s nailed screwed and glued with liquid nails. I need to paint the inside to help preserve the wood but for the moment it’s filled with cast iron and dirt. With a layer of sand above that and finally topped off with wood ash all of it was pack from the bottom and then the top after it was flipped over. It’s very heavy and the anvil sits firmly on a small bed of wood ash.

This is not an ideal solution but it’s a very nice temporary one. (Update 1-7-13) The anvil stand has held up well. It does need to be topped off after the first few heavy uses. but other wise I’m still happy until I can gather scrap for a metal stand.





It was a dirt simple project but I’m really happy with the results.

BS Physics*

I’ve been trying to understand the physics of hammering by hand. But it’s a complicated subject… theoretically. Practically it’s simple.. but I’m well aware of the power of being subjected to preconceived notions. I was pointed in the right direction when discussing the subject and given the formula for kinetic energy e=1/2mv^2. A good nudge can get a ball rolling. (There is a bad physics joke in there somewhere!) Now to apply work, energy and power.
So what size or shape hammer to use? When? Why? How does an anvil work? Well the best way to find out is by swinging a hammer to hot metal and experimenting. Closely watching and talking to a more experience smith. But if you’re here and you want a good understanding of a simple idea expressed very complicatedly.. or even if you know what your doing but not why you’re doing it! Maybe you just like applied math by a casual thinker and tinkerer of plinking and plunking on steel.
Kinetic energy of rigid object in a linear motion:
e=1/2m*v^2

Now we know how to find e. The amount of energy delivered in the swing of a hammer. Half of mass times the sum of velocity times itself.
Mass can’t simply be measured in pounds. Presumably none of us are swinging a hammer on the moon, but these equations were not discovered simply for the sake of your humble blacksmith.
For this equation to work with say, a 3 pound hammer, we need divide by the downward force on a mass and the rate in which it accelerates due to gravity. Approximately 32.174 ft/s^2. Plugged into this equation we need get something like this:
Mass of a 3lb hammer = 3 divided by 32.174 = 3/(32.174*0^0) = approximately 0.0932
So now our energy equation looks like this:
3lb hammer: 1/2*0.0932*v^2 = 0.0466*v^2 = e
Lets do the same with a 4.5lb hammer.
4.5lb hammer: 0.07*v^2 = e

Before moving on lets solve for the kinetic energy of the two hammers free falling from a height of 6 feet. My anvil face rest at 32 inches. They’ll both travel 40 inches or about 3.3334 feet.
I can now use the distance traveled and the known acceleration of gravity to find the time it takes to travel the 40 inches. We can find the square root of (d/v)^1/2=t (3.3334/32.174)^1/2 =0.322

Our two hammers will both hit the anvil in less than half a second!

So how can you assume the velocity? Lets think about what makes a hammer move. Your shoulder. Your elbow. Your wrist. Your fingers. All of these can be applied to how fast you can possible move a hammer head. All of these move in an angular velocity to increase the linear velocity of the hammer head. (well close enough to linear in this case.) In the same way a major league baseball player can pitch a fast ball at over 100 mph. it’s the combination linear and several angular movements from the feet to the tips of his fingers. No one part alone moves as fast as the ball leaving the hand so fast but the combination will lead to remarkable speeds.

I can assist a heavier hammer down almost as fast as I assist a lighter hammer. Can’t I? My downward speed seems to cap out around the same for a 3lb hammer and 2.2lb hammer. It’s hard to be objective. I’d like to try to do the same with a 4.5lb hammer though!

F=m*a

rebound (r)= e – (d + l + a)
d = deformation of work piece (decreases as the work piece cools)
l = lost energy from anvil movement
a = additional movement (deformation) of the hammer and anvil after collision

Material size is always considered as well as impact area (I’ll get into that in a moment)..
But for now lets look at an example..
If I start out swinging with a high arcing force. Giving the hammer a maximum distance to gain velocity I’ll be returned r (rebound) to lift the hammer..
Energy can be reinvested at this point to either lift the hammer back to the maximum hight and then accelerate m1 (the hammer) past the point that the r value would (rebound).. We’ll call that human investment 1, (h1). Or alternatively I can only invest energy in increasing the velocity without obtaining maximum hight (h2). Lastly I could choose to let m1 fall with gravity accelerating at about 32.2 feet per second^2 (h3)
With out graphing out arbitrary unknown variable I can’t be sure what hammer weight is best.. I don’t know how much I’m really capable of accelerating a given mass, but the human investment seems lower over time to me if I make it once with a larger mass (A bigger hammer) in a single heat only when starting at h1 phasing into h2 and finishing with h3, but thats all under ideal circumstances… And it’s forgetting a very important fact about blacksmithing. Getting it hot!

Are you bored yet?
.

In reality sometimes I have to swing a hammer at an odd angle or on an odd arc and that is when I use an odd group of muscles differently.

Energy efficiency to me means two things. How much fuel I need and how much fuel the fire needs. So it’s kind of a personal answer biased off of physique.
Bringing up the million dollar question: what burns more calories? Aerobic exorcise burns more calories per hour than weightlifting for most people. But a higher percentage of muscle on a persons BMI equals more calories spent a day to maintain that mass. So perhaps obtaining those huge biceps isn’t more energy efficient. But the duration of the human effort is more sustainable the better your physique so fuel cost may be saved.
So.. how does all that energy talk translate into cost efficiency.
A 1/2 pound of turkey, 1/4 pound of bread, a few slice of tomatoes and lettuce and carrots another 1/4 pound. It’s all about $5.20 (The average healthy person eats about a pound of food a day at least. The more energy I expend I can almost double at times so I’ll say 1.5 lb/day or $7.80; 2.60 of which is from extra exertion)
Propane is $.85/lb ( I really have to estimate this but I’ve used as much as 18lb, but on average I’d say 12lb-20lb a day or $10.20-$17)
Coal is $.16/lb (on average I could use between 5-15lbs, so I’ll say 10lb/day or $1.60)
Working with coal is more cost effective as a hobbyist getting started blacksmithing or even aspiring professional. You spend more time tending the fire until you learn to manage several irons with out burning any. You may not get as much done as you could with a gas forge. But you’ll build up the endurance and learn an important part of the craft: Fire management.

Tip: I like to always keep my working material at a more mailable state and only working lightly at a dull heat to refine surface texture. I’d have to say that a heavier hammer is more useful only with slightly slower well aimed blows making the most of the energy returned. It’s Between all the possible variables I truly can’t explain it all. But the bottom line is a hammer and anvil need to be comfortable and appropriately sized to work to be efficient.
Simply said.. strike the iron while it’s hot! Hard.
I’m probably missing something fairly obvious, but here are a few of my sources from which I’ve drawn my conclusions.

Lifting a one pound bar one foot:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot-pound_%28energy%29
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_calories_are_burned_for_one_foot-pound_of_work_like_lifting_a_1_lb_bar_up_one_foot

Little g:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_of_Earth

Nerds fitness:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/02/01/what-burns-more-calories-cardio-intervals-or-weight-training/

blacksmithing:
http://assets.calsmith.org/cba-cdn/647/anvilph_update_4-18_original.pdf
http://independent.academia.edu/KevinPeffers/Papers/515111/Blacksmithing_Its_all_about_energy_and_power

Physics:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080207015315AAjwrxo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastic_collision

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy

http://www.thudscave.com/npaa/articles/howhard.htm (ballistic energy)

Sports and martial arts speeds:

http://www.thecompletepitcher.com/pitching_speeds.htm

http://www.chongdosys.com/essays/hammer.html

–Greg

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(*update*- You can see how the anvil stand is used around the shop here.)
I’m moving my smithy to a larger shop indoors without power (tired of fighting rust!). I’d also like to bring my tools with me to events. So I’ve been working on an anvil stand and hand cranked blower.

Since I had my anvil off the stand I took the chance to snap some photos.

The blower in works:



I’ve tried get my shop optimized and that means repairing some of my power tools that are used less often. Both the grinder and portable band saw were second-hand and needed the power cords repaired.


I’ve got a couple other projects in the works; I’ll post something on them later.

–Greg

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Keep going to smell the roses.

I’ve been making some random stuff lately. I seldom work on one project from start to finish in a single forging session. When I do, I feel like I make mistakes. I like to let idea sit and soak in the few brain cells I’ve got.

I’ve made 3 or 4 attempts at one piece, hand forged roses in the past, some have turned out better that others. They’ve all been out of bar stock around half an inch. It’s really important to me personally that I can make these using the most traditional methods I can. There are a few ways to cut corners that I’m aware of, but I want to know I can do it with the most basic tools.

So today after working on a candle holder I decided to make a few of really small rose blanks out of 1/4″ round. I forged out the pedals and leaf. Everything except for cutting the pedals, rolling and twisting them.. and the loop and twist.. Basically I just did the “easy” part.. The “easy” part would have been intimidating to me a few months ago, hitting something the same size as your hammer face (using a crosspein to spread the metal wider) wasn’t something that came naturally to me, but I’ve been really making an effort to practice regularly again and it’s paying off… When working metal this size you can almost do most of the hammering and bending ‘black hot’. But without giving it some heat the work can become stressed and potentially break.


I only got around to finishing one. It turned out alright. I had it looking better before I decided to keep “fixing” it… I would like to form the blossoming effect and leaf to where it hides the unsightly underside while also forming a tighter inside.. I’m proud of it.. but it could be better. I haven’t seen more than one of these in person, but the best roses I’ve seen are almost impossible to tell from something living and growing from the garden.


Tomorrow (today as off this posting!) I think I’m going to try to clay up a fire-pot for my forge. I’m a little worried about the sheet metal. I’m not sure what kinda of steel it is, although I have an idea . I’m worried it’s getting too hot, it’s kinda thin and the mild steel plate and firebricks aren’t protecting it enough and I’m a little worried about my health.. I’m a smoker and I hang around a coal fire probably breathing c02, sulfur, metal fumes and burning oil carcinogens. I’m turning 24 today! But I’ll be lucky to make it to a ripe old age if I keep going like this. Ignorance isn’t always bliss, I work with a ton of things I barely understand, too much chemistry for me at times. I kinda prefer keeping it simple.

–Greg

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Doing, not writing. A new coal forge.

I haven’t updated in a few days, So prepare yourself for a content bonanza filled with enough pictures to make a 56k modem sweat blood!
I love my new propane forge, it’s a darn powerful beast! My old trench style coal forge served me well for a long time, but I want to convert it to a more specialized purpose.
Here is what it looks like now, it was made when I was burning charcoal and it’s a darn good forge, a little awkward at times it’s hard to keep the heat isolated in one area once the clay blocking off the undesired air holes starts cracking up.


So I needed a new general forging solid fuel hearth. I’ve only used a handful of coal forges in my day. I like versatility and I wasn’t sure what kind of fire-pot to make. I was seriously considering 10″x6″ 4″ deep, It’s fairly close to what a lot of folks make. After talking it over with Braden and using his coal forge I decided I’d rather not spend a lot of time fabricating something I wouldn’t like later. So decided to make a table forge and try out lots of different firepots with hard firebrick.




I tried to implement a sliding back pressure release valve so I could control the air blast from my shopvac a little more. It didn’t give the level of control I was hoping for but I hope to try to rework the idea sometime. (update: how I control the forge air supply now)

I’ve been toying around with a homemade hand cranked blower. Sadly I could only get out one set of bearing before welding. Sure enough the bearings locked up. It should still work with some retooling but it’s on the back burner. I still need a housing and drive train to increase the rotation ratio a bit.




Once I got the forge going I worked on my blueprint blade a bit more and made some tools.

I plan to do a post in the future specifically covering tools keep an eye out.

–Greg

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So I finished my gas forge recently! And so I started on forging some hooks. I have a few more planed. Some are twisty some are bendy and I’d like to do a rose or two. But I’ve got to get back to my two knives I have in the works eventually but before that I’ve got a set of fire place tools to make!


The hooks aren’t finished yet, but they’re well on their way. I need to play with the bends a bit more and make another hole in each of them. These were more or less to try out my new bending forks. I need to make a bunch of punches and tongs and the like maybe soon!


–Greg

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So much to do; so little time.. down into the rabbit hole I go..
I’ve been working on my new forge. It’s coming together very nicely. I managed to get the ceramic blanket in, and cast the refractory cement. It has taken a little bit of fooling around with to get it just right. I had to contact Rex Price for some help with his burner and the guy is every bit as helpful as I’ve read! Building a propane burner is something I’d like to do at some point; but for a first burner I’d have to recommend buying one that you know works.




I can’t wait for this big bad burner to see it’s full glory unleashed inside a completed forge. I fired the burner a bit today just to speed things along and cure the coated wool before I throw a layer of IR coating (Plistex 900) on to amp up heat. Boy oh boy! What a thrill!

I’m very excited to finish it as a kind lady down the road discovered me online. She’d like me to make her mounting hooks for a couple lanterns to go on her and her husbands lovely log cabin.


She sent me a picture of a couple rustic looking hooks she liked and I plan to try and mimic them, but I’d also like to make a few with some personal flair; just to see what she likes. I haven’t really made a lot of these sort of things because knives, axes and the like have just always drawn my attention. Something about growing up a fantasy geek. As I’ve explored the world of metal work more and more over the past few years I’ve grown to have a real appreciation for decorative ironwork. I’m glad to have a reason to make something. Direction is something I’ve struggled with at times and with a growing list of to-dos it’s nice to have more things to do than I can handle. Now lets just hope my fuel cost and j-o-b obligations don’t threaten to keep me from swinging a hammer too much!

–Greg

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Wow it’s been a really long day! Braden and I welded up the forge body this afternoon. We had a couple hinges laying around, otherwise there probably would have been a little more forging today. We were almost done. I realized that I wanted a forge to swing a hammer yet I was standing next to a working forge and all we were doing was cutting and grinding! So I very quickly tapered two pieces or 1/4″ square and gave them a few bends on the anvil. They were used to keep the doors and clamshell aligned. I’m posting a lot of pictures because.. well.. welding is just full of shiny, sparkly stuffs that I think makes for fun photos!










–Greg

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