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So...

After years of using a modified rivet forge I want to build my own forge for burning coal that is more functional and hopefully one that holds a better fire. I have plans for the forge body and chimney, but I'm still undecided about the firepot, so Instead of asking about a specific design I would love to hear folk's opinions on what they recommend...

I want you to defend your firepot!

Do you prefer cast iron? Side drafts? Swedish styles? Whatever it may be I want to hear what you like about a specific design in the hopes of gaining some insight. I'm not currently interested in hearing about gas forged. I've build a ribbon burner forge and love it, but ultimately solid fuel is where my heart is. 

Much appreciated,

Eric

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I traded for a used Centaur cast iron firepot/tuyere/ash dump years ago and have used it a lot with no complaints. This with a Canedy/Otto hand-crank blower.

Clinker is a given, so once you learn to deal with that, a deep bottom-blast is hard to beat in my opinion. Good fire management skills are a must.

I've used a side blast a lot with charcoal, but never with coal, so I can't speak to that.

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I agree with Don on the Centaur with hand crank blower, that's what I've used for the last 18 years after graduating from a little rivet forge.  There's another kind out of Ohio I don't like nearly as well.  It has a lot more dead space on the bottom with steeper sides, which translates to more clinker faster.  My local guild uses one of them.

I have only used a British-style side blast with coke fuel once, doing a demo no less.  I liked it, but it seemed trickier to find the reduction zone than in a deep bottom blast pot.  More practice would make that easy no doubt.  

Suppposedly clinker doesn't stick to cast iron nearly as badly as it does to steel, but steel won't crack if you spill water in it hot.  I do water my fire quite a bit, you just have to watch where and how much you add.

The only thing I don't like about the Centaur pot is the price.

Also, if you are thinking charcoal, that really doesn't like a bottom blast pot designed for coal.  You end up wearing a lot of it.

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As long as they follow the design of the Centaur et al., i.e. a ca. 5" deep inverted truncated pyramid, and are between 3/8" and 1/2" thick, they're just as good.  Fabbing the clinker breaker may or may not be an issue for you, but they are important.Centaur uses a triangular ball, Buffalo used a slotted ball.  Somewhere on this site there are pics and dimensions of mine, and I know Charles DuPreeze made one based off that that works well.  Gerald Boggs made a nice side blast with a water cooled tuyere and a clay fire bowl that worked well too.

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Hi. For completeness, here are the photos of mine. It works absolutely fine but I can’t really compare it to others as I’ve only used this one.

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In hindsight, I should probably have gone for a fluted ball clinker breaker rather than the flat circle. The flat circle can sometimes disturb the coals a bit much for my liking. It was made to spec by a local blacksmith/fabricator as my welder didn’t have the oomph for such thick plate.

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Neat.  That looks pretty slick. The rivet forge I've been using has an arc to the bottom and the air hole is just in the bottom of that. I modified it by building it up flat and building a  fire pot out smelting clay. It's worked really well, and better than the rivet forge prior to this modification. That said,  i'm getting inspired by reading about  people's different designs.

 

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