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Dave Wood

Dragon Head Forge WIP

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It is finally time to build myself a new forge! I have been planning to do this for about 9 years now and was never able to get around to it or have a place I could really work on building a new forge. But now I am all set up in a very small shed that is adequate to do this project as well as more blades once the forge is built.

My current forge is an old furriers forge and is very good at oxidizing steel. There are two burners and only one of them has a way to regulate the flow of air. My main problem with this forge and the reason I am building a new one is that it is very hard to get this forge up to welding heat. The fire box is so large it takes around 15 to 20 psi and about 20 minutes to get it almost to welding heat.

Here is a pic.

 

AtC2RRR.jpg

 

I have found a great source for a good size steel tank to build the forge out of. This will be a two burner propane forge. The body I found is a brand new Husky portable compressor tank and cost me a wopping $35. I ended up getting some punches to push the order over $40 for free shipping from home depot.com. So far I have cut one end of the tank off with my oxy acetylene torch and cut the stock ports in the front and back of the tank. I wanted to make sure that the forge is large enough to make very large knives as well as swords as my skill permits. I will be putting a kind of plug inside the forge to shorten the fire box so I can use only one burner for smaller blades and this will make the forge even more efficient.

Here is my progress so far.

 

TyLG2uD.jpg

Torch cut the end of the tank off

idOcZTo.jpg

Then torched out the ports

U3DbOA7.jpg

I fabricated a latch from some bar stock

iEiDPJB.jpg

Then welded a hinge and the latch to make the cut off end into a door. The gap between the door and the body is intentional. I will explain why latter on.

ilu5sTe.jpg

abfPjbe.jpg

 

At this point you all might be wondering where the Dragon Head part of my title comes in. I am going to work that up in a 3D rendering program tonight and I will add that image to this topic as soon as I can. I will be adding more updates as I do more work on the forge. I am waiting for all of my insulation supplies to arrive here in the next couple days!

 

I would appreciate any comments and suggestions that you fine gentlemen may have. I am doing this WIP so that others may fined some helpful ideas in building their own propane forge. I also want to learn from any of you if I should do something different or cold do something better. :)

Edited by Dave Wood

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Fun fun fun! I am excited to see more Dave. What are you going to use for refractory?

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This'll be very helpful for when I upgrade. Thanks!

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Looks like it's going to be neat. I know what you mean about not being able to get the forge to welding temps! Mine's huge and poorly insulated so I gave up on trying to weld until I can make a smaller forge.

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What are you going to use for refractory?

Hey Wes, I ordered INS wool and Kast-o-light castable refractory, and I will coat the INS wool with the Kast-o-light and coat the Kast-o-light with Metrikote IR reflective to get the inside as hot as possible!

 

This'll be very helpful for when I upgrade. Thanks!

Glad to help Caleb! We will see how well this little forge works when it's all done! Im a little anxious as this is the first time I have built something as involved as this. But I have done a TONE of research so I feel I will end up with a good working forge.

 

 

Looks like it's going to be neat. I know what you mean about not being able to get the forge to welding temps! Mine's huge and poorly insulated so I gave up on trying to weld until I can make a smaller forge.

Thanks VaughnT, The inside of this forge once I get all of the refractory in should be between 4" and 5" in diameter. and with two burners I expect it to be rip roaring Hot!

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That's looking good Dave! I like the way you made the door!

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Looking good Dave, I am very interested in seeing this unfold.

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Hey Wes, I ordered INS wool and Kast-o-light castable refractory, and I will coat the INS wool with the Kast-o-light and coat the Kast-o-light with Metrikote IR reflective to get the inside as hot as possible!

 

Excellent! I am curious to how the Metrikote IR goes. I do not want to pay $80 a pint for ITC-100, so I am hoping that it works just as well (I'll even settle for mostly as good).

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I picked up a used compressor tank this same size on "Man bunker" (a locals only craigslist alternative.) Planning to do this same project so I really appreciate the step by step here. I will watch with enthusiasm as you go. I'd be most interested in the specific materials and parts (links?) you use like burners and the weight of the refractory as well as details on the process of applying the castable material. I would also love to have a no-nonsense assessment of how it works when complete. This will really help.

 

Thanks for posting this!

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Thanks Miles and Rob!

 

 

Excellent! I am curious to how the Metrikote IR goes. I do not want to pay $80 a pint for ITC-100, so I am hoping that it works just as well (I'll even settle for mostly as good).

That is the exact reason I didn't go with the normal Kaowool and ITC-100. I was actually able to get all of my material for a little more then it would have cost to just get enough Kaowool shipped. Once I receive the materials I will add my thoughts on my source for the materials.

 

 

I'd be most interested in the specific materials and parts (links?) you use like burners and the weight of the refractory as well as details on the process of applying the castable material. I would also love to have a no-nonsense assessment of how it works when complete. This will really help.

Glad to help Jason! That's awesome that you found a good tank! Your requests are exactly what I hope to provide with this topic. Being that this is my first forge build I don't have much to compare the materials to but I do know how they are supposed to work and I will be putting up pics all along the way. Including if I can get some steel to forge weld together or even start sparking. As far as I know it would be asking a lot of a propane forge to get steel hot enough to spark but we will see.

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Here is the 3D render I was able to get together last night. (actually it was more like 2am this morning. Don't know why but couldn't sleep) This is the basic idea that I have in my head. It will come out a little different once I start putting it together with sheet metal. I want to make the teeth rounded and maybe put the large canines on the outside of the lip. It really helps me to build things in 3D to work out design. Let me know what you all think.

 

e2TbMJ9.jpg

BlIMLnU.jpg

Edited by Dave Wood

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Ha that looks great,Dave!!!

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when you get it complete some info on heat times vs. temps by stock size would be very welcome info as well.

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Thanks Miles!

 

Okay Jason, I normally work with between 1/4" and 3/4" round bar stock. I do plan to do some work with 1" square bar stock to make a few different hardy tools I am in desperate need of. I will take some notes on how well the forge does on these different part stocks.

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Here is my progress from today!

 

Im still waiting on my supplies so I am keeping busy putting together my gas plumbing. I got the idea and design for this plumbing work from Ron Reil's website, use the link and scroll down till you find the "Some Gas Forge Designs" heading. Link

 

In this first image I have my version of his burn idle design. I am using all 1/4 fittings. The hardest part was putting in the needle valve as these valves are connected with 1/4 thin wall copper pipe and pressure fittings. As you can see it was a very tight fit to get everything hooked up the way I wanted it

 

nBNTvOU.jpg

VC1xfqM.jpg

 

Once I got all the fittings together I used the old spray bottle with soap water trick to check if I had any leaks. I did have three leaks but they were easily fixed with some tightening of the pressure fittings.

 

efRJJCv.jpg

 

In this next image I have taken the old valves off of my old forge and mounted them to the top of the idle assembly. Starting from the far left of the image the gas comes in. Then the gas is split to both a ball valve on the top and the needle valve on the bottom. When starting the forge the ball valve is opened all the way and the burners are lit at say 15psi. Then the needle valve is opened all the way and the ball valve is closed. Then the needle valve is slowly closed until the burners are running very low,say 3 to 5 psi. This makes it possible to open the ball valve and have the forge running at full to heat steel then just before you pull out the glowing metal you close the ball valve putting the forge in idle wile you work. The lower psi will keep the forge hot but use much less gas wile you are working at the anvil, thus cutting down on gas usage.

 

tex7n55.jpg

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Now that's a cool setup! I have to manualy ajust mine with a tap valve!

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HA Ha Dave...look out Smaug..now. I really want to see this

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That's a great idea on the idle jet setup. Would also help with not burning steel if one has multiple pieces in the forge while at the anvil. Thanks for sharing.

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My thoughts exactlly!

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that is great! Good work on the fittings too.

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Cool design!

 

A friend of mine made a vertical dragon forge several years ago:

 

Mark's dragon.jpg

 

Mark's dragon 2.jpg

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I think the forge looks great. I would think those upper teeth are gong to be a pain in the ass though?

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Now that's a cool setup! I have to manualy ajust mine with a tap valve!

Thanks Miles, It's not exactly a cheap set up but I feel that it will be worth the extra expense in the long run.

 

HA Ha Dave...look out Smaug..now. I really want to see this

haha, Love the Hobbit reference! Such a good movie! And book. I can see in my imagination how the forge is going to look once it is fired up and I have to say I am very excited myself!

 

That's a great idea on the idle jet setup. Would also help with not burning steel if one has multiple pieces in the forge while at the anvil. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Jaka, I actually hadn't thought about using it that way! I will be doing that in the future.

 

that is great!  Good work on the fittings too.  

Thanks Jason, Im very happy with how it turned out!

 

Cool design!

 

A friend of mine made a vertical dragon forge several years ago:

Thanks Alan! Your friends Forge is pretty awesome! I have never used a vertical forge before. For some reason I have always liked the horizontal ones. Thought vertical forges are more efficient right?

 

I think the forge looks great. I would think those upper teeth are gong to be a pain in the ass though?

I share your same concern Shawn, it's hard to tell in the image but the opening between the teeth is the same size as the cut out in the front and back. So I feel that the teeth won't be in the way. I can always do a little dental work if I get fed up with having them.

 

Edited by Dave Wood

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I had about 5 hours to work on the forge today and I was able to get one of the burners marginally operational. My materials also arrived today so I will be adding refractory tomorrow!

 

Here are the fittings for the gas jet. I have two sizes of mig tip to see if smaller or bigger is better. One is .024 and the other is .035.

ahRSsws.jpg

 

I drilled and tapped the two 1/4 caps to accept the mig tips. I found out that the mig tips need a metric tap.

yVuEXmL.jpg

 

Here I ground smooth the caps for the burner body. It would have been very difficult to drill my hole exactly in the middle with all of the writing.

dd6WGXd.jpg

RUX5f8z.jpg

 

After drilling the hole in the top of the cap I drilled and tapped three holes in the sides so I can adjust the position of the mig tip to point down the exact center of the burner tube. I found it easier to adjust the screws once I ground the tips to a bit of a point.

pp0gQ9H.jpg

PEHCruq.jpg

 

Next I started working on making slits in the sides of the burner body. I started with a smaller drill then a little larger. I finished up the edges with a chisel and files, thought I still need to clean up the slits a bit more.

YAlFqzE.jpg

TLtPYuM.jpg

uNBT7Qt.jpg

 

Here is what the burner looks like all put together and lit. You can see it is not getting very much air at all. This is because I tried it with only the two slits in the burner body. I will be adding 6 more slits for a total of 8. Then the PVC coupling will be used to adjust the air flow so I can tune it to a neutral flame.

gH7SkZx.jpg

 

Thanks for fallowing along as I do this project! I haven't had this much fun in a long time!

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You're not using a blower?

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