In praise of the ceramic chip forge


Before I moved house, I had a ceramic chip forge running off mains
gas. Useful but not used very often. Here we have no mains gas being
'out in the sticks', so it has remained packed and not recomissioned.
So yesterday I needed to flatten a 1/2" plate ( mounting flange for a
digger bucket). Dug out the ceramic forge, coupled to a propane
cylinder , and in minutes it was red hot and ready for thumping on the
anvil. Today I needed a starting handle for an old tractor - involved
two tight 90 degree bends in a 1" bar. You guessed it - roll out the
ceramic chip forge and in minutes the bends were made effortlessly.
I'd swear it runs far better off a propanne cylinder than it did off
mains gas!
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
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It probably does, carbon to hydrogen ratio is higher. All it needs now is a bit of oxygen and you'll be able to forge weld bricks with it. Think of the savings in mortar :-)
Mark Rand RTFM
Reply to
Mark Rand
It will do. We live in the sticks and have LPG for central heating and cooking. LPG is propane. All domestic gas powered stuff must be ''jetted down'' if used on LPG and not natural gas, and the thermocouple in our boiler must be a special nickel plated heavy duty affair - a standard one would not last long due to the extra heat of the pilot light flame.
I have a large blowtorch which runs of a propane cylinder, I use it for heating large lumps of metal, but I like the idea of your ceramic chip forge - have you any details?
Julian.
Reply to
Julian
message
''jetted
standard one
Like this one:
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AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Being a retired chemistry teacher I must be a bit pedantic. Although not relevant for this use, LPG has a variable composition depending on its source. It is mainly a mixture of propane and butane with a small quantity of a nasty organic thionyl compound (ie containing sulphur) to give it a smell. The composition varies between mainly propane to mainly butane with the usual composition being around 60% propane to 40% butane.
Alan
Reply to
Alan Dawes
Alan, I'm sure you know what you are talking about regarding the composition of LPG eg for road fuel. But I assume the Propane and Butane purchased in the colour coded cylinders are largely what they say on the tin(!) plus some smelly stuff?
Bob
Reply to
Bob Minchin
Andrew
Mounting flange for a digger bucket? Starting handle for a tractor? Glad to see that you've buckled down to some precision engineering after all this time building your workshops - oops chicken sheds
Charles
Reply to
Charles
In article , Alan Dawes writes
Being an ex-chemist myself, and having done a lot of work in the gas industry, I can be equally pedantic about these facts. The usual stenching agents for inflammable gas are either thiols (commonly called mercaptans, -SH) or alkyl disulphides (R-S-R) and not thionyl compounds (>S=O). The particular thiol used varies around the world; in the UK, t-butyl mercaptan is used in the gas distribution network below 7 bar (the higher pressure lines are exempt), but the agent used in LPG or bottled gas is often ethyl mercaptan. They really, really stink!
AIUI, the gas sold in the red cylinders is mostly propane. Butane has a higher CV but a much higher boiling point, and can give problems with pressure drop on fast withdrawal.
David
Reply to
David Littlewood
My gas comes from Stanlow in Cheshire. I don't think there's much butane in it because it was still working just fine at -15 in the winter - the pressure gauge on the tank was showing about 30psi as gas was consumed. By contrast my portable butane powered workshop heater had to have a fan heater permanently blowing on the gas bottle before it would play the game!
Anyhow, LPG has about twice the calorific value of natural gas (methane) I think, I found this on wiki:
LPG has a higher calorific value (94 MJ/m3 equivalent to 26.1kWh/m³) than natural gas (methane) (38 MJ/m3 equivalent to 10.6 kWh/m3), which means that LPG cannot simply be substituted for natural gas. In order to allow the use of the same burner controls and to provide for similar combustion characteristics, LPG can be mixed with air to produce a synthetic natural gas (SNG) that can be easily substituted. LPG/air mixing ratios average 60/40, though this is widely variable based on the gases making up the LPG. The method for determining the mixing ratios is by calculating the Wobbe index of the mix. Gases having the same Wobbe index are held to be interchangeable.
PS, can the kids still ignite magnesium tape in the Bunsen like we did, or is that banned on 'elf and safety?
Julian.
Reply to
Julian
recomissioned.
involved
Andrew
Mounting flange for a digger bucket? Starting handle for a tractor? Glad to see that you've buckled down to some precision engineering after all this time building your workshops - oops chicken sheds
Charles
Oh yes! I've even managed to get the one ton pallets of pig, lamb and chicken feed out of the chicken shed (aka wood work shop) so now I can see the floor ready to move in the appropriate machinery Next construction is to be a 'car port' type cover at the back of the dairy (aka welding shop) to house my blacksmiths power hammer and coke forge.
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Stop it! You're making me jealous. I had a demo of a blacksmith power hammer a few years ago (Bartington Forge, near Warrington) and all I could think was ''I want one of those!''
Julian.
Reply to
Julian
Andrew,
Do you actually use coke?. The reason I ask is that I recently bought a mate an anvil for his 50th birthday as forging/blacksmithing is something he always enjoyed doing when at college, and he now needs to sort out some form of forge. I asked another mate that's a blacksmith what to use for fuel, propane, coke, etc and he said not to use propane due to cost and not to use coke due to its tendency to spit if at all damp, loss of eyesight was mentioned as a result, and giving off carbon monoxide as a major constituent of its combustion so not good in an area without good ventilation. He recommended Welsh steam coal as a cheapish safe fuel.
Do you have any comment?.
Reply to
David Billington
mains
effortlessly.
tractor?
forging/blacksmithing is
blacksmith
propane
cheapish
As I use very little I buy the bags of pre-packed 'smokeless fuel' sold at garages, and have found it entirely satisfactory
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
. He recommended Welsh steam coal as a cheapish
Dry Welsh steam coal used by the GWR is non existent nowadays. Please let me know at once if you find any (large or cobbles) and you'll get a reward!
One good coal (that I use) is Columbian, it's low on ash and bitumens - it smokes only a little, doesn't clinker and only fills the ashpan slowly. One can only get trebles nowadays, there's none available in the country in large or cobbles size. And it's over £300/ton :-(
Julian

Reply to
Julian
Columbian coal - is that a euphemism. Similar to the "Columbian Marching Powder" perhaps?
Charles
Reply to
Charles
Did you ever get the flail mower going and actually mutilate the grass?
Henry
Reply to
Dragon
Yes the flail mower did it's job and now the yard high 'grass' and reeds has all (all 13 acres) been tamed, and now has about 40 sheep and four horses and three goats grazing it to keep it down. However the odd little buggy thing that drove the flail mower is out of commission waiting for me to cut some internal splines for its gearbox output shaft, but I've hacked the actual flail so it will fit on the three point linkage of my Ford 4000 in the mean time.
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Too clever for me, you'll need to explain. All I know is that it comes from Columbia, is probably mined by children, comes into the UK via one of the east coast ports and burns!
Julian.
Reply to
Julian
Yes they should be, my point was that LPG covers a variety of products not just propane.
Alan
Reply to
Alan P Dawes
Provided there is an educational reason for doing so and that the teacher knows the pupils and has taken appropriate and reasonable precautions against any risk involved then I can see nothing under H&S which would ban that experiment. In other words there should be no difference between what was done by a responsible chemistry teacher before and after H&S legislation. (I retired after more than 30 years of teaching chemistry 13 years ago) What H&S legislation did do was make the Authorities pay for safety equipment eg goggles from central funds rather than from the meagre science budget in school, which ironically for me meant that more experiments could be done by the pupils rather than as a demo since as well as better protection for the pupils, more money could be spent on chemicals.
Alan
Reply to
Alan Dawes

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