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All I've got currently by way of a forge is an acetylene torch (wich is almost out of gas) that is designed for silversmithing and a couple bricks I stack in various ways to contain the heat.

 

So, I obviously need an upgrade. I'm nowhere near MS grade, so I don't need a very large one. A Journeyman I met recommended looking around this one site for general bladesmithing stuff, and I found this: http://usaknifemaker.com/atlas-mini-forge.html?SID=96e63e04535537947d214dadb50d3032

 

My question: do you think it's worth it? Does it look like it is good quality/a good buy?

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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honestly I cant say I bought a Chile tabasco which was 600 some odd dollars. however the real question is solid fuel or gas. I've found a fire pot for coal forging that's only 350 comes with everything you need sept the table but can be stacked on bricks for awhile. As for gas forges there's all types of plans to build your own or there are some that are premade and unfortunately I can help there.

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Caleb,

 

To answer your first question, it is necessary to ask what you expect to be able to do with it?

 

The Atlas forge is designed to be easily portable, fuel efficient, and compact. All of that is good if you have a limited workspace (and budget) and need to be taking things out to use and then putting them away to store. The downside is that it is small and that will be an issue when heat treating. Given a port at the back of the forge to run the work through, you could forge a sword with this forge as long as it would fit widthwise. You could, taking a guess here, probably heat treat something up to 4-5 inches of blade. That is assuming that the back of the forge has a door to pass the work through and keep the tip from overheating. Should it not have this feature, you could still do it but, would have to work a bit harder to get there. Quenching just the tip for example, to keep it from being too hot for too long, while the rest of the blade comes up to temperature.

 

As far as being "good quality/a good buy" - I do not think it would be money poorly spent. Building your own forge to this pattern might be cheaper but, probably not much and that is not allowing for your time. If you decide to go with the Atlas forge, I do recommend spending a little more and buying a pressure regulator to put in there and be able to see what you are running at.

 

~Bruce~

Edited by B. Norris

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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Thank you for your input. @Norris, yes, I would only be using it for small stuff, and not heat treating (unless if you mean getting it to critical). Thanks a lot!

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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Yes. I do mean getting it to critical (austenitizing) temperature before quenching. You could forge and harden small knives with this setup. You could forge but, not harden bigger knives, or swords. You could not weld up tomahawk heads with this setup, nor do any of the steps before welding, for that matter.

 

~Bruce~

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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One thing that I noticed is that this thing reaches 1900 degrees max. I don't know if you see any pattern-welding in your future, but I'm pretty sure that won't cut the mustard if you ever decide to give it a try. For $50 more, you could get an economy forge from Diamondback Ironworks. I've heard they're good. Dave Stephens has one of the knifemaker forges and he says it does the trick.

 

It might be worth a look.

 

Diamondbackironworks.com

 

-Andrew

He that will a good edge win must forge thick, and grind thin.

-Colin Sampson

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Honestly 2 fire bricks, a spoon, some binding wire and a little IR coating wouldn't cost more than $50 and you could built this yourself. If you then wrap 1/2" of kaowool around the bricks and cover it with some refractory like satanite you can go over 2000 F for less than $100.

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Hm. Are there any plans/diagrams/how to's I could see on how to build your own?

Edited by Caleb Harris

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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Caleb, you should read through this thread http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=25573. It is mostly about burner design, but there is some stuff about forges as well.

 

The Atlas forge has some good points, and as a first forge it's not a bad place to start. It has some limitations, size is one. It does depend on what you want to make, and how much you are going to do yourself. You could probably heat treat small blades (3-4 inches) in this forge, but not much more than that. I think that pretty soon you'd find yourself wanting more forge. I use a forge like this one for making and heat treating springs and small parts.

 

There is no one forge design that is good for everything, I have 4, including the two brick one.

 

Before you buy, check out this site and search this forum for threads on forges and forge design. These beasts are simple to build and there are lots of designs.

 

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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Here is a tutorial:

 

http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthread.php?11056-Son-of-Two-Brick-Forge&p=157696

 

If you set the burner inlet at the angle described in the atlas forge you will get a more even heat. I've been using a vertical version of a 2 brick forge for almost 2 years now. Shaved a pocket on the inside to where the brick was about 3/4" thick, painted ITC100 on the inside, and slapped it together with satanite as a mortar. Wrapped the whole thing in 1/2" refractory blanket and covered it with satanite. Set it on end and cut a 2" x 1" hole in the top 30% with a pass through on the other side. I have 2 burner ports, one for a plumbers torch for temps 1200-1600 and a shorty burner from hybrid burners that goes to at least 2000F (my thermocouple stops at 2000F so when the temp was screaming past 1950 I pulled it out). The shorty burner is a little overpowering for this size, but a weed burner would probably be perfect.

 

You can barely make it out in the picture, but the forge is hiding behind the anvil. As you can see, this little forge still allows me to make some pretty good sized blades. Just can't heat treat anything longer than about 5 inches in it.

 

IMG_1152.JPG

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I have a small forge like that one works pretty good for me. My general forge is this one:

 

http://www.majesticforge.com/knifemaker_forges_products.html

 

KInda inexpensive and works real well. I have it sitting on top of a stack of bricks under the tree in my backyard. Comes fairly complete for just $50 more.

”Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor!”

 

George Brackett

American Bladesmith's Society,

Apprentice Member

Hialeah, Florida

Blademark photo 375x75BladeMarkPunch-125-sm_zps2e740d6d.jpg

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Another quick question: would a bernzOmatic torch work well as a burner?

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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If you do, use the TS8000. It has a gas control valve. Full bore it'll get to 1800F, maybe more. Get a converter hose so you can run it off a standard BBQ gas tank instead of the expensive little tanks.

 

I'll fire mine up today and run the TS8000 at full gas and see how high I can get the 2 brick forge going.

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If you do, use the TS8000. It has a gas control valve. Full bore it'll get to 1800F, maybe more. Get a converter hose so you can run it off a standard BBQ gas tank instead of the expensive little tanks.

 

I'll fire mine up today and run the TS8000 at full gas and see how high I can get the 2 brick forge going.

I've got a TS4000; would that work near as well?

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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It will work, how well is the question. For a small forge, like the two brick unit, it's fine. For a bigger space, probably not.

 

The 3/4 inch venturi burners will heat, as a rule of thumb, about 350 ci, which is not a very big forge. My experience is that the burner I showed in the thread above will heat 2-3 times that space. That burner can be built for about $50, plus another $20 or so for the blower.

 

Check out this site. He has a bunch of info you will want. Second, have you looked at any forges running. There are probably smiths around where you are, some of them might be on this forum. Find them and ask if you can look over their shoulder for a couple of hours. Even a couple of hours in a working shop will teach you things you don't even know that you want to know.

 

 

I know that you are trying to do this on the cheap, we all are. But having to build a tool 3 or 4 times, just because you are trying to save a couple of $, makes very little sense.

 

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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I just finished building a forge!!! I got a couple firebricks, a propane torch, and experimented a bit. I got it going, and man does it heat fast!!

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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J Broddrick - when you run it off a standard BBQ gas tank with the converter hose do you connect the TS8000 directly to the converter hose or do you need to use a pressure/gas regulator between the two? Is it safe to run a TS8000 or similar torch off the 25# tanks without any pressure regulator?

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J Broddrick - Thanks, knowing it does work is more comforting than when a friend told me it SHOULD work. Reading so many propane safety concerns and warnings can make a guy a little paranoid at times.

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  • 11 months later...

I have an Atlas Mini Forge Coming. Mostly because I'm a beginner and the other good points people said about it in this forum. I'm interested in doing the hardening with it and right now I'm just performing destructive testing on all my knives so I can have a look at the grain structure.

 

I saw a post somewhere on the internet that you might be able to do 1084, that I mostly work with. In said forum they had some concerns about eveness of heat. They said there is no way you could do any other type of steel. But I havesome CPMD2 steel I would be willing to give a go.

 

I also have a thermocouple rated for > 2000 F and the spec sheet for the metals. I will let you know what I find when I do my tests. They are a few months off because life sometimes gets in the way of my hobby.

 

Does anybody have any ideas or comments on getting a more even heat or doing hardening with this type of forge? I've seen a lot of post where people use a piece of cast iron pipe. But, I guess because of the design of the burner and forge you wouldn't be able to do this.

Edited by Mike Scott from NL
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CPMD2 is an air quenching steel. I would not recommend any air quenching steel be heat treated in a forge. First of all, you cannot normalize it. It has to be annealed to bring to temperature down to a steady rate. Then you may have to preheat the blade then bring it up to austinizing temperatures and soak it for several minutes, maybe even as much as a half an hour all the while keeping the temperature within a narrow range. This is because D2 comes with some carbides that are going to resist going into solution and breaking down to release their carbon. Retained austinite will also be a problem. Avoiding these problems requires a heat treating oven. Now this is not to say that heat treating D2 in a forge is totally impossible, it's just that the odds are greatly against you.

 

It would be better if you stock removal with the CPMD2 and send it out for heat treatment.

 

Doug

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

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While you are starting out stick to the 10XX steels. I harden mine in the forge and heat treat in a kitchen oven. See if you can trade what you have for some 10XX. The Atlas is a nice little forge to start with. When you find you need a larger forge you can use that one for traveling and demo work.

”Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor!”

 

George Brackett

American Bladesmith's Society,

Apprentice Member

Hialeah, Florida

Blademark photo 375x75BladeMarkPunch-125-sm_zps2e740d6d.jpg

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Caleb,

 

I've seen those atlas forges, and they seem pretty nifty as a fully built product. You can build one, but it is a bit of work to get it right (wear a respirator). I would buy a forge instead of building one if you want to forge right away. Chile Forges are great, but I hear good things about Diamandback and NC forges. Depends on what you want to do, and I think the rule is you will end up with more than one forge for different projects.

 

I've built a small forge, and it was expensive and a bit of work..., and probably not as good as the pro's can make.


Forge2.JPG

100_1796.JPG

Fire2.JPG

(Don't have a pic of the little one running)

 

I use a Bernzomatic BZ8250HT 1/2" burner for the Small Forge, which has 2" of InsWool, Satanite Coating and ITC-100 and some Mizzou's for the floor. It works well, but larger stock 3/4" round or more really only heats up when I have both opening's closed off with FireBrick. Get's nice and toasty then, otherwise small stock Heats just fine. I found a Coleman adapter at Walmarts that let me use the Bernzomatic with a regular size propane tank. wasn't expensive, and that torch does have a built in regulator, but I usually run it at full blast. Haven't decided on whether the propane tank needs to be at full open since I need a new valve on them anyways, so they leak. The forge reaches temp at around 15-20 minutes with the openings closed off.

 

Buy a forge if you can. Build one if you can. Either method will get you on your way. Just Remember the materials involved in forge building can be hazardous.

 

I based the design of the smaller forge off Zoellers Website:

http://www.zoellerforge.com/miniforge.html

 

Other designs available as well. The vertical one is based on Don Fogg's Design, and run's a 3/4" Burner. Works Great. The little one I built mostly for small items, like springs, small knives, or anything else that will fit. I've had success in working on a set of tongs using 3/4" round, but mostly on working the jaws, as the forge heats larger stock more slowly, so I avoided working on Drawing reins and the like. I can't say I've specifically heat treated as of yet using the small forge, but for the right size stock, I can't see there would be any problem as I seem to be able to reach Critical Temp with ease when the Openings are closed. Although, I would say there is probably only a 3"x4" effective heating range/space in the smaller forge.

 

Buy the best you can afford, then you will find out if you need something bigger. The next forge I build will either be a monster with like 2" burners or something, or one of the C-Frame designs that allow room for larger/odd shaped work.

 

Good Luck,

 

-Bruno

Edited by Bruno
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