You're talking about the sources below, right?
I'll certainly try this later, and thanks for posting, but for now I
think a bottle of ITC-100 will suit my needs better. For one, I'm
pretty much out of fun money for a while, and the $30 bottle more
affordable right now.
I have a forge made of stacked firebricks, but I I'm going to make
another out of an air pig and some ceramic blanket (w/ceramic board for
the doors). All I'll need to do is coat that furnace lining, and that
will hold me for a year or so. (Well, I hope it'll last that long...)
Also, I'm a little worried that the home-brew ITC-100 won't protect me
against inhaling ceramic fibers as well as the retail stuff. I don't
really know one way ot the other, but I think the real ITC-100 will do
a better job gluing down the fibers.
I'd love to try some of the home-brew stuff, but in a year or so...
I'll pick up "The Glass blowers Companion" in a couple of months, when
I know a little more about blacksmithing and have a better idea of what
I'm looking for...
Two sources for #200 mesh milled Zircon (Zirconium Silicate) are:
Ceramic Color & Chemical Co.
New Brighton, PA, 15066
110 N. Main
Florida, N.Y. 10921
The reason you use ITC100 is to improve the IR reflectivity of your
forge's wall material. It also does a good job of tying down loose fibers.
If you only are concerned about the fibers, ITC100 is incredibly
expensive. There are any number of products that do a good job of
holding the fibers. I use a product called Satanite. I'd guess you can
get 50 *pounds* for something like $30, but it's been years since I
Trust me, and about 1000 glassblowers. The home brew, "Z-Wash"
does everything the ITC-100 does and actually seems to extend the need
for recoating. The coloidial silica, (CS) penetrates the frax blanket,
binds and toughens the fibers and creates a better bond to subsequent
such as ITC, Z-wash or Satanite. The thing is that Frax gets kind of
"loose" at high temperatures making the bond with other coatings tenuous
at best. The coloidial silica solution substantially improves this bond
and prevents the coatings from spalling. A bag of Satanite is a
lifetime supply for most of us. It's well worth the $30. The silica
solution VASTLY improves it's bond to Frax. Check Zircar's web site . A
gallon of coloidial silica is around $60.
Forget buying hard board insulation for the doors just dilute the CS by
about 1/2 with water, soak your blanket in it and compress it between
wooden boards 'til it dries out overnight and you will have just about
the same thing as hard board insulation for a lot less $$$.
I'll give the Satanite, colloidal silica and Zircon a try, if I can
scare up everything for not too much more than $100 or so. I'm sure the
increased efficiency will pay off over few months. I'll write up my
experience and post it to my site, too.
Glen, you mentioned making "shaped, cast burner ports to improve burner
tip life an efficiency". Would you mind commenting further?
I have a two of Reil-type burners that I've been using. I think they
aren't tuned right, so I was going to play around with them and see if
I can make them more efficient. Will cast ports will work with
Reil-type burners w/out problems?
Thanks for your excellent advice!
You should read Michael Porter's new book "Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces
& Kilns". Whole lot of solid research in there. Mr. Porter did a lot of
the research for Ron Reil (see rreil's page to confirm) and his premise is
that the state of the art is a long long ways ahead of the Reil-type burners.
I have made one of Mike's coaxial-style burners including all of the beveling,
and it works very well, but I don't have any hard data yet. His book does go
in detail into how to cast burner ports, in fact his largest pipe burners
require it because they're too hot for a stainless steel nozzle.
I'm not affiliated. This book isn't perfect, either. It needed editing it
didn't get, but it's a whole lot better than what's on the Web.
I have not seen Michael Porter's book, it's on my "want list" though.
As far as the shaped burner ports go. They extend the life of burner
nozzles by reflecting heat back towards the forge interior instead of
having heat build up around the nozzle. They are basically conical
shaped, hard refractory ports. They are secured to the forge where the
burner enters the forge. They are dimensioned to surround the burner
nozzle. Might be more trouble than they are worth in a forge but if you
have the time. A glass "tank" furnace runs 24/7 at between 1850? and
2400?f. so nozzle erosion is a much bigger problem than in a forge that
Been paying 10 dollars for 5 pounds of the Satanite but it costs me 20 by
the time it's shipped to me. Neat stuff and I found that purely reflective
heat doesn't hold well when you put the metal to it. Heat soaks are a good
way to stabilize temperture - just so it all stays inside the forge...
Why the big hurry?
"takes me longer when I get in a hurry" -alvin
If you were just a regular-joe I'd be nicer but you got .edu at the
end of your address. :)
Information first, constuction and use later, not the other way
around you big dummy. :/
Ever heard the phrase "educated idiot" before, JP? ;)
Alvin in AZ
Well, I figured I'd get roughly one years worth of work out of the
forge, more-or-less. I just don't think ther's going to be a big rush
on recoating it.
Uh... I'm really not sure what to say about this. Are you trying to say
"regular Joes" can't work at a university? There's all sorts who work
here: janitors, groundskeepers and Nobel Lauriat's.
What's the worst that'll happen--I waste ten or twenty pounds of
propane because the burner isn't as efecient as possible? I realize
it's important to understand what you're doing, but don't you think
there's a time to just get on with it and start pounding some metal?
You are right J.P. sometimes too much information is NOT a
good thing. To many choices, to many decisions can lead to indecision.
For a newbie wanting to get at it asap, Get the ITC and have at it.
Just get the forge lit! All the rest is just tweaking. Leave that to
Ok. Sorry 'bout all that. :/
Let me start over?
Yesterday after posting (and on the way into town for the gov't)
I decided to offer this...
Get the book/s recommended, and after reading them you don't want to
keep them, I'll buy them from you. I want to get them anyway, might
as well get them from you as get them straight from Amazon? (save
the packaging it'll make it easier)
Maybe processing too much information is a problem for some but not
JP (the .edu janitor?) and what he's fixing to play with?
"heck if I'd known -that- I could have saved some money and
accomplished what I was after sooner" -what I picture you
saying after diving in, then reading
You claim to be short of money, a tiny bit of reading here on a.c.b
already helped there. Or did it? :/
Alvin in AZ
Thanks! I have gotten the brick pile lit a few times, and bashed a
couple of pieces real good! I should have about 6 hours on Sunday to do
some more, and I'm really looking forward to it!
To be honest, I'd like to stop spending money for a little while... I
spent over $1,200 for an anvil (the 460 pound Habermann from
oldworldanvils.com), maybe $150 on ceramic blankets, bricks, propane
tanks, burner components, pressure gauge, fittings, etc.. for the
forge, and about $300 for hammers, tongs, fire extinguishers, buzz box
welder, (*) etc... At some point I just need to stop acquiring tools
and get to work. After all, I don't want to be a *tool collector* or a
technician, I want to be a *craftsman*!
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the kind offer, and I plan on getting
the books eventually, but I'm going to get to pounding some metal for a
I've done a lot of research on the web, and think that, even though my
forge & burners aren't going to be perfect, they certainly will be good
enough for now. They will be as good as the tools that most smiths used
for hundreds, if not thousands of years... and that'll be good enough
Well, I'm certainly not a Nobel laureate. I fixin' to bash the crap out
of some metal, and maybe making couple of useful items out of the deal.
There are a lot of very useful resources other than these books.
There's a lot available on the internet. Don't think I'm just making
this up as I go along... I've joined ABANA, done a lot of research,
bought books, magazines from the ABANA sale. I have a fairly complete
shop at home, and I can MIG/Stick/TIG weld. I have a pretty good idea
what I'm getting into.
Yes, ti helped. Through google groups there's a lto more available that
just the last couple of months worth of postings. And yes, with the
above purchases and going through a divorce, I am a little short of
cash right now. :-(
*One thing that I'm especially happy I got was a hand operated
tractor-trailer lift that has a 1-1/2" dia. acme screw in it. I'm going
to make it into a fly press. Should be a fun project! There's nothing
about blacksmithg right now, but I'll post more at my web site
As the saying goes, 'there comes a time when you have to shoot the
engineers and put the darned thing into production.' Reading is
invaluable, the NG is invaluable, hanging around other smiths is
invaluable, but at some point you've got to start pounding iron.
Which is truly invaluable.
I recall a fellow who started out heating small steel stock on his
kitchen range. He made some very nice small items.
In hubris, a friend and I, who'd been smithing for a few years, almost
wrote him off as a dilletante. Truth be told we were more newcomers to
that particular market than he.
"Nothing much likely to come from that source," we thought.
Don't you believe it!
He started with what he had and worked from there. He is now an
excellent smith/businessman who manufactures some magnificent products
for the reenactor trade.
Talent will out, but excellence is a choice, earned by persistence.
But it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't started working iron somehow,
There's really no other way to learn blacksmithing than to do it.
Studying the books is great: I go back to the books and refresh my
knowledge of techniques I don't use often. Many working professional
smiths do too.
Learn the feel of hot steel under your hammer; how it moves; how it
sounds when the steel is cooling down and you need another heat; how it
looks or feels when you get it too hot. (Or worse, after you do, but
it's too late)
If nothing else, you'll develop a consistent hammer swing, more
endurance in your hammering arm, and a glimmer of how addicted you're
about to become. :)
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