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Fuel for your fire

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Mike, I would like to see that fuller. Bet a farrier could make an artful looking one.



I'll see if my wife will help me post a pic when she gets home from work. She's the one who knows how to use the cheap digital camera we have. There isn't anything artful about it. I just cranked it out so I'd have it to use. You can see the design in the iforge section of anvilfire.com. Like most of my other good ideas it was some one elses first. LOL It's just a long piece of round stock bent like a hair pin with the working ends shaped how you want. I welded on some pieces of angle iron for a base and guid and a piece of heavy pipe to sit in the hardy hole or the vise.

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I started with charcoal because that's what I had. coal is a much more involved process, whereas charcoal/wooddoes not require the coking, de-clinkering etc.


Recently I've been using scrap pine chunks, corn cobs and chicken poo, which burns insanely hot! And with the oil line I can get it ridiculously hot with a huge flame coming out of the top, but it can be too hot. If I can get some horse poo, that would be even better, as there is far less nitrogen to be cooked out before the burnables get going. Though poo does leave clinker, which can get very annoying.

Edited by Archie Zietman
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Is there a reason to prefer some fuel over another for a beginner? Is it OK to start with charcoal or would it be easier with coal/anthracite?


charcoal (hardwood) is a very clean fuel.. makes things a bit easier... if you go by coal or coke be ready to really learn how to properly tend the fire... it needs to be cleaned, as there will be often a lot of "slag" at the bottom. ... need to learn how to add coal / coke without messing up the clean atmosphere...

it's more difficult to start as well...

so all in all, charcoal is fairly easy and very very good... coke / coal might be cheaper depending on where you live... but harder to "maintain".


LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) is a clean fuel too... and gas forges are easy to make and operate...


so I recommend for you & your first forge to go either by charcoal (hardwood!!) or LPG... both will give you a decent and easy fire.


Coke & Coal... it might be best to first stick around with a blacksmith/bladesmith or at least do some serious reading.



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I use coal mostly, I also have a gas forge that I'm quite fond of. However the best fuel I've ever used was a small batch of charcoal that I made from local birch last summer, it was a sweet fuel and I have to make some more of it sooner or later.

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I just got back from the local market here down in Mexico and picked up 11 pounds of pine charcoal for 4 bucks. I figured that was a pretty good deal. Also got my hands on a couple of leaf springs (it`s all I can still find right now) Both are an eith inch thick by 2" by 20" and cost me another 4 bucks. I figure I`m doing pretty good as down here I`m quite fair skinned and blonde compared to most and unfortunately when they see me coming $$$$$$(peso) signs start going off and I usually have to work hard at getting the real price from people. Will be annealing tonight and showing a friend how its done as he wants to watch the whole process as I make his knife. Will post pics as progress moves along.

Some really exotic woods can be found down here and I`ll pass those along too.


Changing subject. In regards to using horn, domost use buffalo horn or have others used good old steer horn as well. The reason I ask is that there is a slaughter house here and they huck the horns in the garbage - would be nice if they work well.


Hasta luego!

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