homemade forge questions

Do people ever successfully use 55 gallon drums to make forges.? I wondering if such would have a large enough diameter for a 'newbie' to
start with? I'm considering putting 2 inches of firebrick in the bottom with a rim about 8 inches higher, for the coal. Then welding on bipod legs with a wheel barrel type third support, making it movable. 2 slide out pipe handles. A breeze protector and a smoke cone would finish it. I've located a hand forge blower setup..complete with tuyree. I would sure appreciate any comments. . . . charlie
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My range of experience isn't broad but it's been my observation that you need a structure to hold your insulation together and that's about it. The more beating the forge will get the stouter the structure needs to be. I use a gas forge that is not much more that inswool held together with wire mesh. If you're doing coal and using brick for insulation then you want a reasonably sturdy structure to hold it together... Don't see why a cut off 55 gallan drum won't do the trick.
GA

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charles wrote:

Okay, structural sheetmetal 101. If you cut a hole in the bottom of the barrel to let the air in, you need to reinforce the opening with a 'doubler plate'. The doubler plate is made from the same sheetmetal as the barrel. If the inlet is round, then the doubler needs to be at least three times the opening diameter. Fab this out of the top of the barrel and rivit or bolt/screw to the bottom. Two rings of six fasteners staggered around the rim should do it. The purpose of the doubler is to spread the load of the bricks, etc., around the opening, which acts as a stress concentration, into the main body of the bottom. Metal moves under heat, it gets bigger. This movement will be concentrated around the opening, hence the need for reinforcment. I'd go with two layers of firebrick in the bottom, so when the top layer gets fouled with flux, you can change it out. Firebrick and refractory are considered expendable tooling. It's liable to weigh in a fair amount, so be sure to consider where the center of balance is when you build a stand. A forge that falls over in the middle of the job is a Bad Thing. Make the footprint on the ground larger than the diameter of the barrel. the higher you stand it, the wider the base needs to be, or you need to load the base with weight to make it stable. With these thoughs in mind, go for it. One other thing; a deep small diameter fire concentrates more heat than a large flat fire. You're not doing burgers. Leave some room down from the lip, a refractory bucket if you will.
Charly
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wrote:

You can't make a long-lasting _barbecue_ out of an oil drum. Find something thicker. If you're building a duck's nest, then a truck brake drum is a good start (actually IMHE buses and post-office vans are better, as they wear their brake drums out more frequently). You could also cut the end off a propane cylinder (cutting advice and safety notes posted in the past)
Oil drums though - you heat them once and you've lost the paint. Put them through two winters after that and you're looking at rust holes in them. Just not worth the trouble.
Personally, given that firebricks are more usually square than round, I'd build a rectangular forge out of L-section and sheet. Weld it if you can, otherwise bolt the corners.
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charles wrote:

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charles wrote:

Charlie,
I used a 55 gallon drum forge successfully for a couple of years before I bought a more permanent setup. It worked great, but I didn't keep it outside, so rust was not a big problem. Here's what I did.
1. Got a used drum with the lid and clamp to close it. 2. I cut a three inch hole in the center of the top and attached a cast iron floor drain grate to keep the coal from falling through into the drum. 3. I cut another hole in the side of the drum and attached a small electric squirrel cage blower. I attached a piece of sheet metal to the side of the squirrel cage with a single screw so I could control the air flow by sliding this damper over the blower intake. 4. Took a big old split rim truck wheel and set it on top of the drum. 5. That's it. It worked great. I picked out the clinker as needed and the ash fell through the grate into the barrel,
Once I had the parts it took about an hour to put together. Never had any problem with burnthrough even though I did not line it with anything.
John
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Doc wrote:

Try the link from here:
http://ccgi.workshop-projects.com/tools.php
Forge made from an old sink
--
BigEgg

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Hi Charles, I have a nice metal drum coal forge. Got it from a farrier school in Rockwood, Ontario, that was converting to gas forges. It works well, though for larger pieces I may cut out holes in the sides to handle long pieces. I can send you a couple pictures, if you wish. Big_al snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com. Allan.
charles wrote:

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Hi Charles, I have a nice metal drum coal forge. Got it from a farrier school in Rockwood, Ontario, that was converting to gas forges. It works well, though for larger pieces I may cut out holes in the sides to handle long pieces. I can send you a couple pictures, if you wish. Big_al snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com. Allan.
charles wrote:

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