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Glasshamer

Best Forge to Buy

20 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

There are a lot of forges out there marketed to knife makers. I know I could make one, but I am interested in making knives with what little free time I have. I would like to buy one that runs off propane that I can use for heat treating & forging medium sized billets. Any opinions from forge owners out there?

 

Thanks,

Doug

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Just make sure the one you get will swirl the flame and not just blow torch a single hot spot in the center. Most of the ones built for farriers don't. Without the even heat of a vortex flame you will have to deal with excessive heat pitting and warpage of your blades.

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Thanks for the comments. Sounds like Chile Forge users are pretty happy. Regarding hot spots, the Ellis vertical forges are supposed to eliminate this problem. Does anyone have experience with these forges, or similar ones?

 

Appreciate the comments,

Doug

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Darrin Ellis is a great person, and his products are top notch. Either Chile or Ellis will serve you well.

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Thanks for the suggestion Arthur.

 

The vertical design seems to make sense for achieving even temperatures. The only disadvantage I can think of is the size is large relative to the length of the chamber. Now that I think about it, it probably uses more fuel due to the larger internal volume (vs a horizontal design).

 

Their site does not provide much information. I emailed them. I am curious as to how its lined, does it come w/ regulator & hose, etc.

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Doug,

 

There are a lot of variables that come into play with forges and fuel consumption. One big one is the size of the openings. Horizontal forges tend to have larger ones and also to use more fuel. The intended use of the forge also has a big affect on fuel consumption. Welding forges, operate at higher temperatures and have larger interior volumes to allow for the size of a billet. A lot of welding forges are horizontal forges because a long bar can fit inside and be heated to welding temperatures. The Riverside Machine Forge, I would classify as a welding forge, it has enough room to heat up about 10" of a bar. Compared to a horizontal forge, the Riverside Forge probably uses a bit less fuel, at least when comparing welding temperatures between the two, mostly because the openings are smaller than on a horizontal type. The Riverside Forge is used at the Bill Moran School in Old Washington because, students can forge and heat treat blades in it (although they have an electric kiln for heat treating also) and also turn up the gas a make damascus. Vertical forges, setup for bladesmithing, only heat a few inches at a time. Don Foggs' vertical forge is a good example of this, it is based on an 8" diameter pipe, has 1" insulation (which reduces interior volume by more than 2") and heats up about a 4" section of blade at a time. You can easily forge a sword in one of these small forges because, you do not really need to work on more than a 4" section at a time anyway. General purpose blacksmithing forges (like the Chile Forge) tend to be of the horizontal type because odd shaped pieces, S scrolls for example, will fit. The most important question to ask yourself is, "What will I be using this forge for?" If the answer is forging blades, than a vertical, Fogg style, forge will work great with minimal fuel consumption. However, the minute you need to heat treat the blade you just forged, you will need a bigger forge, at least, if the blade is longer than 4 inches! You can either choose a forge that will do everything you need, and pay for the gas to run it. Or... Have several forges, each with a specific intended use, and save money on your fuel. I hope this gives you something to think about.

 

~Bruce~

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if you watch walter sorrels dvds, he heat treats long swords by moving them through the hot zone until the whole blade is at an even heat and hence is able to heat treat a sword much longer than the size of his forge..........

Edited by john marcus

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I use the Riverside/Uncle AL forge because I learned to forge at the ABS school and thats what they use...After two weeks of using it under the supervision of a mastersmith I felt cofident enough to buy one while I was there,bring it home and use it ....I knew if I had problems setting up another type I was on my own.

 

Now I wonder how many other smiths learned at the ABS school and choose to keep using the Riverside or have gone on to other forges...and I wonder how many are happy with their decisions....

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Thanks for the additional comments.

 

Bruce: you definitely gave me some things to think about. I will be using the forge for heat treating & fuel cost is not a concern for me as I only work on my knives on the weekend. Maybe a horizontal forge Might be a better choice for me. I'm eager to step up from the one-brick forge I have been using. I has worked pretty well, but it is difficult with larger blades.

 

BTW: Al at Riverside Machine returned my email regarding additional detail on their vertical forges. Here are the vital stats in case any one is interested:

- lined with KO-WOOL

- burner is built by Riverside

- hose and regulator is included

- cost to ship to Calif is $60 to $90.

 

Thanks again for the comments,

Doug

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Thanks for the additional comments.

 

Bruce: you definitely gave me some things to think about. I will be using the forge for heat treating & fuel cost is not a concern for me as I only work on my knives on the weekend. Maybe a horizontal forge Might be a better choice for me. I'm eager to step up from the one-brick forge I have been using. I has worked pretty well, but it is difficult with larger blades.

 

BTW: Al at Riverside Machine returned my email regarding additional detail on their vertical forges. Here are the vital stats in case any one is interested:

- lined with KO-WOOL

- burner is built by Riverside

- hose and regulator is included

- cost to ship to Calif is $60 to $90.

 

Thanks again for the comments,

Doug

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I have the two burner diamondback and love it,I also forge at 4 psi and find it very fuel efficient.

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Thanks for all of the great comments & recommendations.

 

In looking at pictures of the Chile, Ellis, & Diamondback forges, it appears the placement of the burner is most tangential to the forge body in the Ellis design. I would think that this would produce the most "swirl" effect, which seems to be good for eliminating hot/cold spots. Is my thinking correct, or am I missing something? For instance, could the opening for the burner, or the end of the burner itself have characteristics that would direct the flame so that the angel of the burner is not as important?

 

The other think I am wondering about is: two burners vs. one used with a blower. My guess is that the heat output could end up being the same, but two burners is going to even out the heat better...but there is probably more to this than I imagine.

 

Any advice or thoughts?

 

Thanks,

Doug

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Why are you not building your own? Its cheaper and it will be configured exactly as you want it. Where are you located? Do you know of any makers near you who can help you through your first build?

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doug, have you read the diamondbackironworks front page carefully? When you put something in the forge, it interrupts the flow or swirl. With my two burner forge from him, I have no hot spots. LITERALLY. Only at the two openings is it slightly cooler.

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Tim:I have thought about making a forge, but my time for knife making is very limited. I would much rather spend those extra hours making knives than setting up a forge. I do not mind spending some some money on a forge if it will last me several years while meeting my needs...however, I am tempted to build my own, but I am resisting.

 

John: thanks for the comment. I had read the FAQ & forge page, but not the homepage. Diamondback makes a good case for their design.

 

Thanks,

Doug

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