forge question

I got a rivet forge. It has been painted over and used for a bird feeder, but is almost all there, including the squirrel cage.
I want to start heating some metal and forming it. Mostly light bar and rod. Should I clean this up and get it working, or just put my weed burner in the hole and use propane? Seems to me like it might use a lot of propane. But then, it would use a lot of coal or charcoal also.
Steve
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Pretty much the wrong set-up for a gas forge, though it'll work fine for charcoal (you'll just burn more than coal or coke). Keep the weed burner, and either point it into a stack of firebricks (insulating one from a kiln supply would be best, but non-insulating ones from a home center or mason's supply will work, just not as efficiently), or line a coffee can with an inch or so of furnace cement and lay it on it's side. Dealer's choice on whether to point the burner in the open end or cut a hole in the side for it.
It won't be great, but should be good enough to get you going while you research other forges (the "freon can forge" is a classic). If all you need is a few pieces, you may never feel the need to upgrade...
There's a mess of smithing forums out there, too, with all sorts of plans for gas forges, like this one: http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum /
--Glenn Lyford
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"SteveB" wrote: (clip) Seems to me like it might use a lot of

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Not charcoal. Try to find blacksmith's coal You light a little fire over the air inlet, with dampened coal mounded over it. The coal will light on the inside of the mound, and cling together on the outside to form a dome. You put the things that you want to heat into this hot "igloo." Regulate the temp by controlling the air flow.
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Why not?
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"Jim Wilkins" wrote: Why not? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ See last paragraph of post by Spaco.
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Been considering a used farrier forge, as they are plentiful in my neighborhood.
Steve
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Any reason you might not want to make a venturi propane forge? Piece of pipe and some plumbing fixtures and some ceramic wool blanket and you are good to go.
http://ronreil.abana.org/design1.shtml
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Todd, I like that design a lot, and am very tempted to take this route. A lot cleaner and faster to get started, than coal forge. Do you know how much propane it uses? How long would a regular propane last with one burner?
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Typical consumption for my forge on one burner: 8-10 hours running on 5-10 psi input for general forging, 2-3 hours running at 20 psi input for welding. I often use a 20-pound tank. So that's before it empties or freezes up so badly I have to change tanks.
Both burners operating can increase usage by 50%. (only 50 because of shorter reheat times or loading several pieces of material and running at a reducing atmosphere)
Sonuvagun gets really interesting running for welding; it'll throw fire out the door for 3-4 feet. I have to approach taking pieces out from low down with bent-handled tongs. Ah, who needs all that hair on his hands anyway? :)
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wrote:

So, you have to use a regulator on this? Not just the constant pressure type as is on barbecues? I got regular regulators, so no problem.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

I use an adjustable Fisher Scientific (IIRC) unit that goes up to about 30 psi . I seldom get over about 10 though , just don't need that much pressure if everything is running right . One mod that a lot of people do with the Reil design is use a MIG tip for an orifice . Mine are just a hole drilled in the side of a piece of 1/8" pipe and they work just fine .
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(snip)

I've got a 100# tank and while I haven't been keeping close track, I'd say that using it a couple hours a day at 5psi, it should last weeks, if not months. At the rate I have been using it though, I'm refilling it about once a year.
If you use the idler bypass and run it at 1 1/2psi when not actively using it, you would probably get even more life out of it.
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Ignoramus17646 wrote:

I'm using a modified Reil-type burner in my five gallon bucket foundry . I've done about 20 melts and still have about a fifth of a 20 lb propane tank left . Average melt time is around 12-15 minutes . IIRC the forge on that site is built from a freon bottle ? Do some more research , there are many designs out there that work equally well . Your forge should get about twice the "mileage" of my foundry . You'll be heating less space that's much better insulated . Pourable refractory takes a *lot* more BTU's to heat than kaowool type insulation - especially if you're using an IR reflective/binder coating such as ITC100 . I suggest also that you do a search of the Amazon book section for Mike Porter's book on high speed burners . There are some sample pages that should be enough to get you headed the right direction . BTW , I'm melting about three pounds of aluminum from scrap in that 12-15 minutes . After it's in ingot form it melts in the shorter time , especially the third or fourth melt in a session . Inside of the furnace glows yellow/orange when it's fully heated .
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Since this appears to be a fairly simple thing, I probably will build it, as then I can configure the hole and entry ports to match what it is that I want to heat. Also, cost wise, I think I can build it for a lot less than what even a used farrier forge would cost. I am not going to do anything real big, and I think the Reil thing would do fine.
Steve
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this burner is easy to make and works well:
http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/oliverburner1.html
I run mine at about 15psi. You will lose all the heat unless you trap it, even with metal cans. They really make a difference. The sound from this burner is impressive.
With a pin vise, the nozzle can be easily drilled by hand using cutting tapping fluid.
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here's a video of a the burner almost complete. It's probably too dark to tell but the flare at the end is copper pipe adapter. The proper one is sheet steel.
http://www.panix.com/~presence/oliver-burner.html (4.4MB AVI)
There should be no combustion inside the pipe as seen at the start of the video. That's caused by the pressure being too low. Once it's high enough, you can see the flame only burns inside the flare, and it starts to sound "better".
The idea is that the propane/air flow inside the narrower diameter pipe is faster than propane/air can burn. Once it enters the flare, the speed drops because of the diameter change to not be faster than propane itself can burn. This keeps the fire going inside the flare, but keeps it from starting inside the pipe itself.
If you block the flame with something (getting too close) it will flashback like a welding torch. The pop is pretty loud.
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Where are you Steve? I'm in western Wisconsin. I'd be glad to demo various forging setups for you to help you decide what to do next. I'm sure that many other blacksmiths would do that too. I have used a portable "rivet" forge for 20 years when I demo to the public, away from any power source and it works just fine. I can forge weld in it too. This kind of forge is easy to set up temporarily outside if you don't have a place to put a chimney indoors. It just doesn't have the depth of firepot that allows for huge fires. I have heated 1" X 3" stock hot enough to bend and cutoff in mine, though. A lot depends on how much effort you want to put into blacksmithing. Many ABANA affiliates have training clasees, as do our clubs. They are very good for giving you the basics you need to make these decisions.
Find the ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) affiliate closest to you at: www.abana.org
You CAN use charcoal as a forge fuel, just not charcoal briquettes. Several of my friends use it regularly. It's the charcoal made from charring wood scraps in, for instance, a 55 gallon drum. But, blacksmith coal sure is easiest, and hotter, if you can get it. That's another reason to connect with a blacksmith club since most of them have nailed down a source for it and make it available to members. for instance: our club, the Guild of Metalsmiths, uses about 22 tons a year.
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SteveB wrote:

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I am in extreme SW Utah, in a little town north of St. George. I want to do some hot metal shaping for some gates and yard art I want to do. I've done tons with just square tube and bent and curled stuff made by machines and Hossfeld benders. But I like some of the twists and leaves one can make simply by heating some flat bar and hammering. I don't want to get too big, as I can't lift a lot, so just a small one the size of a farrier's or rivet would be good.
I'm sure that there are a lot of locals who could tutor me. A gentleman we knew just died at 95, and this guy would be the envy of any craftsman here. Made wagon wheels by hand, even the outer steel band. Was a welding teacher to women shipbuilders during WW2. A national treasure. I walked around his shop dragging my jaw. It was like being in a shop in the 1890s. And it was all real and used daily.
Looking forward to getting going this year. Getting another container and setting up shop. Last year was lost to health issues. This year looks better.
Now, if I only had some money ..........
Steve

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Steve,
If you will take the previous poster's suggestion and look up your local chapter of ABANA you will be glad you did. They are some truly devoted and talented people. They have a zeal for sharing their knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, blacksmithing that borders on the religious.
Vernon
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If you will take the previous poster's suggestion and look up your local chapter of ABANA you will be glad you did. They are some truly devoted and talented people. They have a zeal for sharing their knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, blacksmithing that borders on the religious.
Vernon
thanks. I'll check when I get back from Hawaii.
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