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Keith Erickson

Too cold to Work?

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Hey all,

quick question for all of those that know... Its been hovering right around (and below) 0 degrees Fahrenheit for the last few days where I live and I suspect it will be keeping that up for a while... my "shop" consists of moving my anvil, tools, and forge etc outside to work so

I am concerned that it may be too cold for a propane forge to function properly and could damage parts of it. am I correct or just being overly cautious? what about an air compressor for a air over hydraulic bottle jack for a 20 ton mini press? is any of that kind of setup cold sensitive?

 

I really hope to have an indoors work space built eventually but for now I do what I must.

 

(diamondback two burner blacksmith forge with a 20Lb propane tank)

 

Thanks for the tips :)

 

tried search function but had no idea what to look up

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Hi Keith I was forging outside yesterday at -20 C and done it alot colder in the past in a un insulated garage, no wind but just as cold considering you have to keep good ventilation <_<

 

The biggest problem is your small tanks gonna freeze up if your using up the propane too fast, your pressure will drop and your line will form frost on it... you shouldn't break anything but a real pain if your trying to forge weld. I ended up buying a 100lbs tank so I dont have to worry to much anymore.

 

but I'm not the safest person so maybe don't listen to me either :P

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I work outside in the cold as well, like Michael said, your biggest problem is going to be your tank freezing, if you're running your forge hard it's not hard at all to freeze a 20 lb tank :( as far as the press goes, I doubt you'll have much an issue, it may run a little slower as the hydraulic fluid is thicker in cold weather.

 

Zeb

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I had to buy and oil heater for my press. If it gets below 20F in the shop the press moves like molasses and the belt slips on the pump..... figured it couldn't be good for it.

 

25$ at the auto parts store got a magnetic block heater that works wonders.

 

Keep Warm!

 

~~DJ

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my air compressor is a bit tight and will blow the breaker if it real cold out but other than that it has been running for 8 years now im sure it will break in some day

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thanks for the tips guys! think I'm going to look into that block heater and larger tank for sure since I plan on doing tons of forge welding with the press here soon. :)

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Hell, my 20lb bottles freeze here in NC. I have to sit them in a tub of water, that I use to cool stuff down in to keep it warm. But, I'm running full open most of the time, squishing bloom.

 

The bigger tank ices up, but does not loose pressure unless it is starting to get low.

 

Mark

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My propane was freezing up today, half way through welding up a sword blade. My quick fix was to turn the parafin space heater on and have that slowly warming the bottle up, from a safe distance I might add. One thing I always do when its very cold is to preheat the anvil before I start forging. All I use is a 1/2" thick plate about 7 x 4". Put this in the forge till its yellow and put on the face of the anvil. The anvil weighs about 550 lbs and the heat from the plate will warm the face up and about 2 - 3" of the body, directly under the plate.

 

Mick.

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One thing to consider if you do have a flame out is that in cold weather propane does not disapate well. It will lay right there in the forge unless there is a breeze to move it. So be careful about relighting the forge if it goes out. If you don't have a wind to move the fumes out throw a fan on for a few minutes, before relighting!

 

Did you see the recent piece on the ESPN reporter who had her barbacue grill blow up on her in cold weather, it is the same principal with a forge!

Edited by C Craft

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It's been between -2 and 18 degrees F here for a few days. I had trouble with my air compressor overloading the circuit, so I gave up squishing until it warms up a bit. Who knows what that Indian/Chinese made bottle jack cylinder is going to do when its cold.

 

The steel yard nearby won't use any of their metalworking equipment in these temperatures. They're mostly concerned with breaking the blades on the plate shear, but the extra load on the pumps and motors also makes it dangerous.

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I haven't run a propane forge yet, but I will tell you this. If you are using an anvil or any forging surface with a mass over 10 lbs. warm that puppy up with a small torch first. I think the last three weeks has seen more expletives from me than the previous six months! A cold working face will fight you like Mike Tyson when he's hungry!

 

I am now collecting signatures for a petition to Congress that would outlaw Winter from entering United States borders, thereby forcing Jack Frost to spend his vacation in North Korea! :lol:

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Well I picked up a 100# tank the other day so hopefully that solves that problem. the tips about heating the anvil have been helpful as well I use a 100#er don't know who makes it but its got an eagle on an anchor crest.

 

the air compressor I've got is a husky 25gal 5.2 hp that does 3.5 cfm at 90psi is that to slow to be effective for forge welding with a 20 ton press? I'm used to forge welding Damascus by hand so this press thing is new and hopefully a lot more productive. if it is to slow would it be possible to get a faster compressor motor and mount it on that tank? or is a entirely new compressor needed?

 

thanks again! :)

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