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Eric Dennis

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Posts posted by Eric Dennis

  1. I have been  using a ribbon burner I built for around 6 months now. The temps outside (where the forge is) is about 15-20 degrees F in the morning when I start it up. The burner is made of mizzou and seems to be holding up great, no cracks or nothing. The kasto o lite 30 that i lined the forge with on the other hand hand checked pretty bad in a number of places from the thermal cycling. Not enough for chunks to fall out of it, but some of the cracks are 3/16" wide. Mine is built from a 20# propane tank. The next one I build I am going to try a smaller tank (maybe a freon tank, maybe something else even smaller). I forge a lot of strange 3-dimentional stuff, so the larger area in the forge is nice, but I often wish I had an even smaller and more efficient one for smaller pieces and blades that don't need the large inside diameter. 

    Here is a thread over at iforgeiron where I went through the entire process of building the burner and forge. Lots of photos too.




  2. Hey Folks,

    Just saw this on craigslist with very little information on its make. The seller calls it a "shaft straightening press" and guesses it's "half a ton".

    Could this be converted into something useful? Has anyone seen a similar press and maybe know it's original purpose?

    screw press.jpg

  3. I'm certainly no expert on the subject. But since no one else has posted, i'll chime in:

    From my understanding you want to roast the ore- ideally bringing it up to a cherry red or-there-abouts for bit, followed by crushing it to "pea sized". Smaller is good. Some slightly larger pieces are ok too. No need to roast a second time. Just the once to force molecular water out and to start the oxide changes. My experience is with Lee's furnace design that he discusses in the papers that can be found on his website, so I can't speak to other furnace designs.

    I look forward to seeing your progress on a charcoal retort. I'm starting to gather the necessary information to start building one as well, so I would be interested to see another build. 

  4. I've been wondering about blowers as well lately as I'm hoping to find a reliable one soon.

    Forgive me as I don't know a lot about electronic parts. Is there a blower that others have used and been happy with that doesn't require modifying or adding further vdc's and such? More of a "plug-n-play", so to speak? I'm looking for an example to compare specs with in my search. 

    Any help would be appreciated as my last smelt (and first) I used a shop-vac that was far too powerful and had to be kept outside of the copper tuyere. The bloom ended up coming out in pieces and was not ideal.




  5. I've done it. The propane should be gone but the residues and inner nasty stuff is still there. I recommend cutting it with a cutting wheel and not a torch. I've done the latter and you end up with a LOT of nasty smoke. Once it's opened up just build a camp fire in it and walk away for a while to burn it all out. 

  6. Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it. Can you explain what a drop choil is?  I am unfamiliar with that phrase. The ricasso/guard area always proves tricky for me to get clean and even, so any advice on ways to tidy that up is valuable to me. 

    I used to have a makers mark, but was unhappy with it. It's taking me a while to come up with anything that I like. But I take the advice, and will think harder about it now.

    Rumney, yes! Franconia Notch, Yes! Some of my favorite places in the world. 

    Thanks again

  7. A blade hot off the press. I call it "Sun Iron" because of all the gold and yellow in the brass and handle.

    It was a commission for a knife that would be used as an outdoor/survival type blade that would be very rugged and stand up to a heavy beating. I had a couple of issues with pin alignment and thus the grey halo around a few pins and an imperfect fit between one of the scales and guard, but the gap is filled with JB Weld so I'm not too worried about it besides aesthetics. I've never made a guard in this style before, so that was interesting. I ended up drilling two 1/16" holes all the way through the guard and blade, which was difficult to line up and drill straight, but worked well in the end I think. 

    Thanks for looking. Critique always welcome.


    OAL: 10 7/8" 

    Blade Length: 6"

    Blade Material: 80CRV2

    Scales: Curly Yellow Birch

    Guard and Pins: Brass

    Weigth:  9.6 oz.


    DSC_0012 EDIT.jpg

    DSC_0016 EDIT.jpg



    • Like 2
  8. The closest thing in the mousehole book is a circa 1879. The serial numbers appear to have started being printed from  1876 onward. The book  doesn't give info on specific serial numbers. Just that the highest recorded was 27274, and the lowest is 1731 made in 1877 or 1978. 

    Another interesting note is that around the time serial numbers were first put onto the anvils, the bottom of the horn where it meets the body changed from the older angular shape, to a round shape. Yours appears to be the angular type which corresponds to being earlier in the "serial stamped series". 

    Otherwise, a nice anvil! I love Mousehole anvils. 

  9. If cobalt still doesn't work for you, go for solid carbide. They are expensive! But if used very carefully and only when needed they last a long time. I have a set of 3 or 4 that I know are the same size as the pins I like to use. 

    I recommend http://www.carbideconnection.com/  I've had very good experience buying from them. I specifically recommend the "screw machine drills" as they are shorter and less prone to snapping. They will pretty much go through anything. 


    • Like 1
  10. I have a Millermatic 140 (now they make the 141) that I picked up on craigslist about a year ago. It can weld 1/4" material. And with a little preheating and multiple passes I can weld larger thickness too (though I wouldn't necessarily weld load bearing parts that large). I can say that considering its a 110v machine, it handles way better than I originally expected.

    That said, if you have a little extra money, the 211 is  beast of a machine, and is super adaptable as it can be plugged into either 110 or 220. 

  11. I couldn't find a  gate valve locally, so for now I am using a 1.5" pvc ball valve to control the air flow. It instantly works more or less as should. Take a little while to  come to  heat, but I think the kiln shelf along with the fact that I wasn't cranking it contributed to this. Once it was to heat I was able to hold it at a forge welding temp at 1 psi propane coming in. The vibration noise is gone as  well which  made me really happy.

    The blower seems to be plenty strong enough. At around 1.5  psi propane I have the gate on the actual blower slightly open,  and  the ball  valve 3/4 closed. After about   an hour running it didn't feel too hot which was good. 

    Jan, I'm not sure which block of ceramic you are referring to. Do you mean the ribbon burner itself creating more resistance. In that case I believe you are correct that a slightly high pressure is required to overcome the resistance and back pressure created in the forge. There  are  14 crayon holes, each crayon I believe is 5/16" across. This comes out to 1.078" area combined.

    The 1/6" hole is a design I learned from a blacksmith on a different burner design that I've borrowed for this ribbon burner. It creates a nice, high pressure stream of propane that can mix with the air. I have never tried a blown burner without  this  design so I'm  not sure how it compared to a simple 1/4" propane pipe dumping the propane into the forge. Maybe it is redundant to have this after a  needle valve? It seems to work well on my other forge though, so I figured I'd try it again. 

    Now that I have this thing  running more or less properly, I will  post pictures of the setup on the iforgeiron thread




  12. Also Wayne, what sort of cfm/pressure is the blower you  are using on your ribbon forge. It sounds like I made a design very close to your recommendations so I am curious where mine differs from yours. What sort of gas pressure do you usually run it  at?

  13. I just finished building a ribbon burner forge, fired  it  up, and I'm not getting  the heat from it I would expect. I can  bring it to a bright  orange, but it's having a hard time getting past that. I feel like  the forge build should allow for forge welding temps as I followed a pretty standard procedure. So, my guess is an issue with the burner/blower, plumbing, etc. At this point I think my blower is a bit too  strong, so I need to set up a second baffle after the blower it seems that I need  to keep the gate on the front totally shut. Also, as I bring the atmosphere toward neutral (no dragon's breath), I begin to get an intense, low, vibration noise. I'm assuming this is the burner beginning to blow itself out? Because of this it feels like I can't quite bring it to a true neutral flame. So far i've been running it between 2-4 psi propane.

    I will give a very quick low-down on the forge build otherwise I can answer questions. Also I posted a  pretty  detailed forge build over at iforgeiron with lots  of pics and a video of it running the first time (in the video I didn't quite have the atmosphere correct) , etc. HERE: https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/50761-questions-on-ribbon-burners/

    Forge:  20# propane tank shell, 2" rigidized kaowool, 1/2"-ish kast-o-lite 30 over the wool, high alumina kiln shelf floor, everything covered in plistix, insulating firebrick doors.

    Burner: Followed Emmerling's design, used mizzou to cast with. 


    I can post pictures here, but I already have on the thread linked above, so unless someone asked for a specific photo I will wait for now. 


    Ok, that's a start. Looking for suggestions on tuning this thing up to its full potential, which I believe is attainable.

    Thanks in advance,



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