propane forge question

I'm getting ready to make my first propane forge. I got a nice piece of 12" pipe and now I'm wondering how long to make the forge body. Since I'm
pretty new at this, I don't really know what I'll be making yet. I see forges all the way from 12" long to 24" long, and all the way from 9" diameter up to 14" diameter (OD, that is).
Any ideas as to what's best?
Failing that, can I make a useful forge that's as short as 14"?
Thanks!
Grant Erwin Kirkland, Washington
PS If anyone local to W. Washington is thinking about making a forge too, and wants to pool design energy and scrounging time, drop me an email. To email me, see http://www.tinyisland.com/email.html
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My current forge is made from a five gallon lacquer can, roughly 11" d x 14 or 15" long. It works fine on a single burner, although I don't think I'd go any larger on just one burner. I just moved cross country, so this is all I brought along.
I've also had an outer shell 12" d x 18" long, which seems like a very good general purpose size. I'd use two burners for this. I've had a 14" x 24" forge (three burners, http://www.reil1.net/buildforge.shtml ) . What this ended up being most useful for was when multiple people were using it from both ends. I made it when I needed to profile a lot of long stock; I could do almost a full length heat in the hydraulic press before it got cool. Otherwise, most people won't find much use for one this long.
Consider size (remember that you want pretty good sized support shelves outside each end, at least 6") and fuel consumption. The larger your forge, the more gas it takes. That's why I built my current one, I was tired of how much gas the big three burner consumed.
You'll inevitably end up needing to forge something that won't fit. For oddball stuff I'd stack bricks and insert burners.
Steve Smith
Grant Erwin wrote:

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Barbara and I have built two forges. One for us and one for a friend. At the time we had some 14 gage stainless available so we used it. Since this was sheet we rolled the top and bent flanges out at the bottom. The flanges were plug welded to a flat plate on the bottom. The whole thing looks like a mail box.
What we like about this design is that it has a flat bottom and doesn't require any special rigging to mount. It's nice to be able to put it on a stand when in use and be able to tear it down when it's not. For it's internal size there is very little wasted space. In other words, the forge is overall smaller for an equivalent size of work that can be done in it. Also the opening is a little less likely to erode with the stainless..
The burners are the Reil design.
Cheers,
Kelley
On Fri, 24 Oct 2003 22:14:45 -0700, Grant Erwin

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That's a nice idea. Simplifies construction quite a bit.
Steve Smith
Kelley Mascher wrote:

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If you will visit my Forge and Burner Design Page, http://www.reil1.net/design.shtml , you will find everything you need to design a forge to whatever needs you may have. The link that was given, http://www.reil1.net/buildforge.shtml , is from one perspective, and is one person's story that I thought was good enough to include on my site. The one thing that you don't need is a massive and heavy piece of pipe for your forge shell, unless you don't plan to move it in the future.
Yours,
Ron
--


Golden Age Forge
http://www.reil1.net/gallery.shtml
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wrote:

My gas forge is an old 4,5kg gas bottle - think BBQ bottle wiht a single Reil Mongo burner and lined with 2*25mm layers of Kaowool. It is damn handy, and a useful and portable size. I still use my coal forge for big forging session or scroll work, as it is easier to handle bigger and bulkier items with coal, and it puts out more heat. Wouldn't be without my gas forge for smaller stuff, straight stuff, knives and nails. Geoff
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For what its worth: I needed a small, portable quick-and-dirty forge when my other one and most of my good-junk was in storage. So I bought a cheap steel tool box (like a 16x8x6 from Kmart or some place). I cut a round hole in one of the sides (which now becomes the "top") for my Reil burner, cut a square hole in one end, and screwed some angle onto the bottom (formerly known as a side). So the burner sticks out the top, bottom has angle for feet, and one side is now a hinged door with a convient carrying handle which will melt when you fire it up. Line with Kaowool.
It works pretty well with long skinny stuff going in the hole in the end (just like the tube forges) but if you have something wide you can open up side door and stick in something the length of the box. It was inspired by a NC Forge, but was a lot cheaper and could be put together pretty quickly - I'd rather forge then build a forge. It wont last as long as my other forge which I took longer and more expense to build, but just another idea while you are collecting them.
With regard to expensive and time, I wouldn't invest a ton of time/$ in building your first one, since its likely your interests and direction will evolve as you gain experience, and that might influence what you want/need in the future. The second one is always better...
Good luck, don
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