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Some questions from a newbie in MN


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Heyo! my name is Carl (i know it says Carlos, I had to Carl was taken) and i wanted some questions answered.

1: Which is cheaper? Gas or Charcoal/Coal

2: What should i use for a Coal/Charcoal forge, like what type of brick or whatever.

3: Can I use a fireplace(outside) or grill?

Please and Thank You for the responses.

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Cost all depends on where you are. I don't know of a good supplier of charcoal or coal around where I live, so propane is much cheaper for me.

 

As for a forge, probably the simplest one I know of is to just take an old weber grill (the simple circular charcoal kind), drill a hole through the side for a tuyere (pipe that lets in air, this can be just a simple steel pipe (NOT GALVANIZED) with some holes drilled in it) and fill it with sand up to where you have the holes. Then, use hard fire bricks (they should carry these at your local hardware store) to build a fire pot around the tuyere. I had such a setup and used a hair dryer (heavily duct taped to the tuyere) for an air supply. It's nice because it's very simple and you have an adjustable fire pot.

 

Good luck!

 

-Dan

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Gas is probably the cheapest, cleanist, and easist to use. Charcoal is probably the easiest to build a forge for. You could line it with an adobe made from clay kitty litter, sand, and pearlite. It also doesn't require as much fire tending as coal does or as strong of an air supply. Dan's suggestion on building a charcoal forge is real good. A coal forge is a little more complicated because you have to have some sort of a pan surrounding the fire pot, also refered to as a duck's nest, to burn the coal to coke before it is burned in the fire pot where you will be heating the steel. Coal burns hotter than charcoal and you can form a cavity in the fuel to heat the steel in. However, coal is a lot dirtier to burn and may make you unpopular with the neighbors. You can get around that by buying coke instead of coal but you will need even a stronger air source. Unless you have a supplier of low sulfur coal or coke nearby you could end up paying more to ship bags of coal or coke than the fuel costs.

 

Doug

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Carl,

 

Welcomesmile.gif.. Yes a ball peen will work... to start anyways... there are many hammer shapes and sizes... there is no one size fits all and if

 

you stay with this you will accumulate a few hammers in the course of your quest... But to start out a ball peen will work OK...

 

Cost is not the only thing to consider for fuel... as has been mentioned where you live or work has a lot to do with what your neighbors will

 

think... another is what kind of work do you want to do... If it is just knives it is hard to beat the gas ... but if you are want to do

 

blacksmithing as well a gas forge will really limit the size of the work you can do in it... For general blacksmithing I think coal is the best.

 

Dick

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Carlos,

 

Go on YouTube, and look. There are MANY great forge set up vids.

The old break drum charcoal forge is a great starter.

 

Mark

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The only smell that I get from the propane comes from the short time the gas is on until I get it lit which is probably less that one second. As Geoff says the smell of the gas means you have a leak. Use a spray bottle of soapy water to find where it is and correct it. Another thing, if you do go with a charcoal forge use lump charcoal. Charcoal brickets have a binder in them that sometimes causes problles and often the lump charcoal will burn hotter. Charcoal is the orignal blacksmithing fuel. The reason that I gave up on charcoal, though the forge is sitting in the back of my shed, is that I felt like I was doing more fire tending than forging and I think that's why most of us have given up on solid fuel forges. I do miss the glowing coals though.

 

Doug

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So I've been warned that zinc gives off a poisonous white smoke. Not like deadly poison, but it contributed to the death of at least one man.

 

You can use galvinized steel like in the clay-lined wash tub forge. The zinc won't get hot there.

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This person that died from the zinc fume exposure was burning off a lot galvanized pipe and had an underlying respiratory condition but why risk it. If it is something that is going to go into the fire use black pipe or uncoated sheat steel.

 

Doug

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While burning off the zinc probobaly wont kill you it sure isn't good for you. I could be wrong but I believe that heavy metal poisoning is cumulative, ie. a little here a little a few years from now etc., it builds up and can cause nuerological damage as well as organ damage. Best to avoid it in high temp applications.

So have you built a forge yet? If not here is a great designDon Fogg's vertical forge

there is also a ton of info on Ron Reil's sight.

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Also i need an estimate on a Coal/Charcoal forge, i couldnt find any cheap ones (that look cheap to me) so yea thatd be great!

 

Go here: www.metalsmith.org and root around. They offer forge building (all manner of) classes from beginner to advanced stuff.

 

You are right across the river from the MN School of Horsehoeing. The Guild of Metalsmiths keeps a large pile of coal there for sale to members. The next meeting, referrred to as the Corn Feed, is August 10th east and south of Northfield. I would recommend showing up if you can. There will be someone there to further infect you with the disease of steel in all its forms. The next gathering is the Almelund Threshing Show NE of the cities. After that is the big conference south of Hastings in September.

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