Jump to content
Warner Smith

Propane tank forge body - dangerous?

Recommended Posts

I'm getting ready to build a forge using one of the empty propane tanks that I have as the body of the forge.  I cut the top ring off and was able to remove the valve.  Then I filled it with water and let it soak for a bit and dumped the water out.  Thinking I'm ready to start cutting on it, I start looking at different designs when I came across some info from another forum that cutting these empty tanks can be dangerous.  I'm thinking....if I filled the tank with water to purge any remaining propane from it, how in the Hell could it be dangerous?   Anyone have any feedback on this before I start cutting?  I know, safety first....but someone has to explain how this is still dangerous after the valve has been removed and the tank flushed with water.   

                                                          Thanks in advance,

                                                                  Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you've purged it with water, you shouldn't have a problem.  At a last check, fill it with water again, and see if you can light the open valve hole.  There shouldn't anything, and then you're fine.

 

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

If you've purged it with water, you shouldn't have a problem.  At a last check, fill it with water again, and see if you can light the open valve hole.  There shouldn't anything, and then you're fine.

 

Geoff

That's what I'm thinking.  Thanks for the response Geoff.

                               Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done it. The propane should be gone but the residues and inner nasty stuff is still there. I recommend cutting it with a cutting wheel and not a torch. I've done the latter and you end up with a LOT of nasty smoke. Once it's opened up just build a camp fire in it and walk away for a while to burn it all out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Eric Dennis said:

I've done it. The propane should be gone but the residues and inner nasty stuff is still there. I recommend cutting it with a cutting wheel and not a torch. I've done the latter and you end up with a LOT of nasty smoke. Once it's opened up just build a camp fire in it and walk away for a while to burn it all out. 

Thanks Eric....I don't have a cutting torch, so that won't be an issue.  How about just putting the whole tank in the fire pit for a while after cutting the opening in it?  Any issues with that?  It may actually burn off some of the paint, too....thoughts?

                                                  Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out the Build A Gas Forge at the Forge Supplies page at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com for instructions on how I like to build a gas forge.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Warner Smith said:

I'm getting ready to build a forge using one of the empty propane tanks that I have as the body of the forge.  I cut the top ring off and was able to remove the valve.  Then I filled it with water and let it soak for a bit and dumped the water out.  Thinking I'm ready to start cutting on it, I start looking at different designs when I came across some info from another forum that cutting these empty tanks can be dangerous.  I'm thinking....if I filled the tank with water to purge any remaining propane from it, how in the Hell could it be dangerous?   Anyone have any feedback on this before I start cutting?  I know, safety first....but someone has to explain how this is still dangerous after the valve has been removed and the tank flushed with water.   

                                                          Thanks in advance,

                                                                  Warner

The warning means if you don't have enough sense to purge the tank, it may go BOOM! Large propane tanks (like the farm tanks) are best cut full of water. Steel is porous and after those big tanks have been used for a time. The propane gets in those pores. Most scrap yards won't take them unless they are cut in two because of that. I have filled them and cut them with water pouring out the cut if it was one that worried me! When in doubt fill them with water, not only does it filter out any propane left behind, it displaces the oxygen/fumes in the tank!!

My wife had a cousin killed opening a 50 gal. drum with a big wide cold chisel, he had made out of great big thick file. Whatever had been in the drum was highly flammable/explosive. He was using a 3lb hammer to drive the chisel he had to cut the top out of the drum. The first lick cut into the top and it also let in oxygen the next lick sparked and the whole top blew out of the drum, it hit him in the head killing him right out!!

Edited by C Craft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, the paint is hard to get off otherwise. Putting it in a fire is an easier way to do it- after you've purged it with water of course!

Edited by Eric Dennis
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Eric Dennis said:

Yup, the paint is hard to get off otherwise. Putting it in a fire is an easier way to do it- after you've purged it with water of course!

I filled it overnight, then drained it.  I have water in it now as well.  I'll empty it again when I get home from work tomorrow night.  Then I'll feel pretty safe cutting the hole in it.  And after the hole is cut, I'll probably put it in my fire pit for a while to burn anything off that's still inside of it, and also to burn off the paint on the outside.....or at least make it easier to wire brush off.

                               Thanks guys,

                                   Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just don't cut it with a torch.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Just don't cut it with a torch.  

No worries on that....I don't own a cutting torch.  Thanks for the reply though.

                                   Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are using an abrasive cutting wheel, wear gloves and eye and ear protection....I had a cutting wheel blow up on me while cutting a tank, and even with welding gloves on, it hurt my knuckles. Safety glasses and a face shield are my recommendation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK....hole is cut.  It's 4" x 5".  I also cut the bottom ring off and ground down all the welds and leftover metal from taking the top and bottom off.  Then I started a fire in the fire pit and let it sit in there for about an hour, moving it all around in there.  Thanks for everyone's replies and help with this.  

                                               Warner

Here's the photos:

Forge 1.jpg

Forge 2.jpg

Forge 3.jpg

Forge 4.jpg

Forge 5.jpg

Forge 6.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Wayne Coe said:

Check out the Build A Gas Forge at the Forge Supplies page at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com for instructions on how I like to build a gas forge.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

 

Thanks Wayne.....I'll go check it out now.

                      Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to work on longer stock, an opening in the back will come in handy and help the forge to breathe better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, SteveShimanek said:

If you want to work on longer stock, an opening in the back will come in handy and help the forge to breathe better.

Yeah, I figure that's something I can always add down the road if I want to.  I think initially my plan is to work on smaller, EDC type knives.  I have no freaking CLUE what I'm doing...better to mess up something small than something large.  Haha.  My goal is to be able to make damascus blades....that's my goal.  It seems like there is a lot of equipment needed to do that, though.....at least that's my impression now.   Tell me I'm wrong and I'll be happy.

           Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2nd knife was pattern welded, and I've only made 3 monosteel knives since then.  I did it all with a propane tank forge, a hammer and small anvil for 3 years.  I don't really recommend it, but lots of people do it with nothing else :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

My 2nd knife was pattern welded, and I've only made 3 monosteel knives since then.  I did it all with a propane tank forge, a hammer and small anvil for 3 years.  I don't really recommend it, but lots of people do it with nothing else :)

I feel like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber...."So you're telling me there's a chance ".  Thanks Brian.

       Warner

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen guys use small home made hydraulic presses that costed them roughly 300$ for welding. I say that because I'm afraid your wagon wheel might not be ideal for heavy hammering...

Also, if you plan to forge weld, make sure your forge floor is thick enough to resist the flux.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joël Mercier said:

I have seen guys use small home made hydraulic presses that costed them roughly 300$ for welding. I say that because I'm afraid your wagon wheel might not be ideal for heavy hammering...

Also, if you plan to forge weld, make sure your forge floor is thick enough to resist the flux.

OK....thanks Joel.   By make sure the floor is thick enough, what does that mean exactly?  HOW thick is "thick enough"?   I need to do a lot more studying on welding metals.  It looks like you just stack up a bunch of different metals and heat them up hot enough, then press (or I suppose hammering is possible) them together.  Then fold or cut them and keep stacking and welding until you achieve the desired number of layers.  Is that about it?

And I was at an estate sale yesterday and they actually HAD a press sitting there in this huge out building.....but it was already sold. :(     (and cheap, I think!).

                           Warner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is basically it, but like anything, there are a lot of nuances that can go wrong.  Generally people seem to struggle with the pieces not being clean enough, or not getting them hot enough.  However, there are a lot of other things that can go wrong.

Don't worry about the floor of the forge too much.  If you make it 1/2" thick, it will last long enough for you to decide you want to change your forge setup anyway :)

Since you are just starting the quest for knowledge, I highly recommend the books by Jim Hrisoulas.  I was actually intentionally avoiding making knives until I saw the pattern welded knife on the cover of one of his books, and decided I had to try it.  I think many people on this board have Jim to blame for being here as well.  I'm only a few years down this rabbit hole, but I don't see myself getting out of it any time soon.

https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Hrisoulas/e/B001KILV4A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1504875698&sr=8-1-spell 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Brian and Joel.....I have seen that book....and references to it.  I'll pick that up and start reading....I've seen them on Ebay for under $30.

                   Warner

UPDATE:  Just bought one off Ebay for $26.77 including shipping

Edited by Warner Smith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

heh heh heh....another victim falls into my well laid trap...wha ha ha haaaaaa...

Oh the sweet taste of a fresh mind corrupted dances upon my tongue like a fine wine...

Have some Madeira, my dear???

JPH

Edited by JPH
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...