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Propane forge burner. Buy or build your own?


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#1 Brandon Buford

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:03 PM

I am wanting to make a propane forge. Should I buy the burner or make the burner? Need it to get up to welding temp, if that matters at all.

#2 Doug Lester

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:55 PM

Brandon, there is really nothing to building a blown burner, which would be best for welding. Most, if not all, the parts for one can be had at a hardware store. The only thing that I had problems finding locally was a pin valve that wasn't designed to hook up to small diameter plastic tubing and I ended up having to get one from what is now High Temperature Tools and Refractory that was designed to attach to a brass nipple. I also paid $60 for a bounce house blower to power it with. I only had to drill one hole and that was in a plug to thread into the T connector where I brought the gas line into the air tube. I didn't want to drill and tap the plug for the brass nipple so I used a plastic plug, drilled the hole so that the nipple would fit in tightly then reinforced it with some epoxy to make sure it didn't leak. After that, I just screwed everything together with plumbers tape on the threads.

Doug
HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

#3 Brandon Buford

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:51 AM

Brandon, there is really nothing to building a blown burner, which would be best for welding. Most, if not all, the parts for one can be had at a hardware store. The only thing that I had problems finding locally was a pin valve that wasn't designed to hook up to small diameter plastic tubing and I ended up having to get one from what is now High Temperature Tools and Refractory that was designed to attach to a brass nipple. I also paid $60 for a bounce house blower to power it with. I only had to drill one hole and that was in a plug to thread into the T connector where I brought the gas line into the air tube. I didn't want to drill and tap the plug for the brass nipple so I used a plastic plug, drilled the hole so that the nipple would fit in tightly then reinforced it with some epoxy to make sure it didn't leak. After that, I just screwed everything together with plumbers tape on the threads.

Doug


Do have a picture of your setup?

#4 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:56 AM

BrnrExp1.jpg

BrnrExp2.jpg

BrnrT1.jpg

BrnrT2.jpg

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#5 dragoncutlery

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

yeah it really is that easy i do recommend gauges to see what your propane is doing
Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

#6 Brandon Buford

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

In the above pictures. Is that ball valve a special kind and is the electric contraption the fan?

#7 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:25 AM

I believe I got the ball valves here

Yes the thing with the wires sticking out is the fan. I use something like this now. The round flange mates nicely with a standard floor flange, and the metal case is nice for fixing a shutter to the intake of the fan. 60cfm is plenty (with the 100cfm fans that I bought a few years ago I have to shutter the intake about 80% for my vertical forge, and about 50% for my welding forge).

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#8 Brandon Buford

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:05 AM

I believe I got the ball valves here

Yes the thing with the wires sticking out is the fan. I use something like this now. The round flange mates nicely with a standard floor flange, and the metal case is nice for fixing a shutter to the intake of the fan. 60cfm is plenty (with the 100cfm fans that I bought a few years ago I have to shutter the intake about 80% for my vertical forge, and about 50% for my welding forge).

Geoff



Thank you for the detail.

I think I understand the process, but let me ask a few questions to confirm.

I would like to make this out of tube of some sort. I have thought about an old propane bottle or large piece of pipe (roughly 12 in diameter. I have also thought about a pass through door on the back so I can heat larger things.

Lets use the idea of an old propane bottle. I would cut off the top and the bottom (which when laying sideways would actually be the front and back) I would line the inside of the tube with approx. 2 in of Kaowool or the equivilant topped off with refractory cement. Is that sounding correct?

My front would be on a hinge with a smaller door built in to put my metal in. The back would have the kaowool and refractory as well on a hinge that mostly would stay shut, but could open if needed. Using a burner like the one you just showed, I would drill a hole in the side or top of my forge and slip the end pipe in there about an inch or so and weld tight.


Does this all sound right? If not, please set me on the right track.

#9 dragoncutlery

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

gate valves work for to control air flow and surplus has them for reasonable prices fyi
Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

#10 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

There is a lot of traffic on this topic, but I will summarize.

There are two ideas for gas forges. Horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal forges heat the full length of the burn chamber and are good for odd shaped pieces or long billets.

Vertical forges heat a narrow zone, but, with 2 doors, you can heat that short zone anywhere on a bar.

So the kind of forge you build depends on the kind of work you do. My main forge is a vertical design (an old tank with the top cut off) with 2 doors. I forge all of my blades in this one, and I often HT and normalize the shorter ones in it as well. My welding forge is a half tube hood over a flat brick floor, 10 x 6 x 18. I do all of my welding and the heating of billets for drawing there. I also have a HT forge specifically for HT pieces. It's built in a 30 gallon drum with a piece of 4 inch pipe down the middle. It heats a 24 inch zone evenly,

So if your plan is to build one forge to do everything, I think you'll find (as many of us have) that it will do everything less well than a forge that does just one thing very well.

Just my .02

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#11 Brandon Buford

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

Geoff,

That makes sense.

Regardless of the type of forge I decide to build, is the end of the burner just "Stuck" into the forge? Or is there another way to look at this.

While I would like a Jack of All Trades forge, probaly I would use it mainly to forge small knives up to 12 total length as well as heat treat them. I am talking about simple heat treat techniques. 5160, 10xx, Thinner W2.

Should I go Horizontal or Vertical.

#12 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:48 PM

I weld a pipe stub on the case and then use a bit of kaowool wrapped around the end of the burner for a tight fit.

I would build a vertical, with a bit of fiddling you can get a heat on shorter blades for HT'ing. If you are serious about doing this, you are going to end up building a dedicated HT forge some time. I have seen some convertible forges (ones that pivot from vert to horiz) but since they are so simple to build,, why not build several? Aside from money, space, time....... :lol: .

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#13 Brandon Buford

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

Ay chance I could see a pic of your whole vertical forge?

Thanks in advance.

#14 Doug Lester

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:18 AM

On my mailbox forge, which is lined with 3" of ceramic matting and coated with Mizzou, I stuck the burner tube through the side of the mailbox and cut the hole in the matting that it sticks through a little larger than the pipe. I then packed the Mizzou around the pipe all the way to the wall of the mailbox with out the end of the pipe actually entering the fire chamber. On my small forge the burner tube is cast inside the wall of the of the forge body. Again, it does not actually enter the fire chamber. It was done this way because neither of them have anything that I can weld a larger piece of pipe to to hold the burner tube.

Doug
HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

#15 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

Here you go.

Forge1.jpg

Forge2.jpg

This is an earlier build, different shop, different fan, but still pretty much what I'm running today.

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#16 Phil Rosche

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:58 AM

Geoff:

Do you have a write up or a bill of materials on the pipe parts for the burner?

Thanks,

Phil

#17 King Thomas

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

Here you go.

Forge1.jpg

Forge2.jpg

This is an earlier build, different shop, different fan, but still pretty much what I'm running today.

Geoff


Does it matter if the heat goes in the top or bottom or side for a vertical forge? Could I put it on the bottom-- if yes, can the gauge be at the other end of the hose or does it need to be nearest the output?

#18 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:36 PM

Phil, I don't have a list for burner, that is why I posted the pictures of it exploded and in two different configurations in post #4. When I need to build a new one, I go down to the hardware store and lay the pieces out on the floor :lol: . I use either 1.25 or 1.5 inch pipe for them,

King, the burner should go in the side at the bottom of the case. The burner should go in at an angle, so the flame swirls. One of the advantages of the vertical design is that it keeps the steel out of the direct blast of the burner, which cuts down on scale. Where you put the gauge is a matter of choice. The one I use shows the tank pressure on one gauge and the line pressure on the other. The needle valve controls the gas flow into the burner.

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver

#19 King Thomas

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:13 AM

Phil, I don't have a list for burner, that is why I posted the pictures of it exploded and in two different configurations in post #4. When I need to build a new one, I go down to the hardware store and lay the pieces out on the floor :lol:/> . I use either 1.25 or 1.5 inch pipe for them,

King, the burner should go in the side at the bottom of the case. The burner should go in at an angle, so the flame swirls. One of the advantages of the vertical design is that it keeps the steel out of the direct blast of the burner, which cuts down on scale. Where you put the gauge is a matter of choice. The one I use shows the tank pressure on one gauge and the line pressure on the other. The needle valve controls the gas flow into the burner.

Geoff


I think I was looking at it wrong... >.> It looked like you have two input into the forge in those pictures. After I posted that previous reply, I noticed you did indeed have it at the bottom.

#20 Geoff Keyes

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:41 PM

Oh, I see. The top piece is just a piece of tube tacked to the case to have a place for the fan switch.

Geoff
"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

I said that.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
- - -G. K. Chesterton

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

Grant Sarver




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