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Zeb Camper

Forging in the wind

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Forging in windy conditions... 

It's either been raining or windy almost every weekend this year. Haven't been able to get my smelt on since January I think <_<, but there have been days that were questionable about the possibility of forging indoors. 

Is it safe to forge in an enclosed but ventilated area when it's dry and windy? I would imagine not, but wanted to see what you guys think. Today is very gusty and I think out of the question, but tomorrow it will only be half as bad. 

Does indoor forging count as "open burning"? Just looking at local burn laws. 

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I forge indoors all the time, but I do make sure there is good ventilation (IE) an open door on the leeward side and a fan blowin towards it...

Dealing with emphysema makes that necessary for me. I also use propane instead of coal or charcoal for the same reason..............

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Be careful what you eat before forging. That should lessen the amount of "wind". :P

BTW - the local weatherman, (NBC12), said that there has not been a single 7 day period without rain since mid November. I'm guessing that's probably one of the stations you get.

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41 minutes ago, Ron Benson said:

I'm guessing that's probably one of the stations you get.

Howdy neighbor! Not quite, Im a little further west. But yeah, its been brutal aint it? Went to Lowe's last Saturday (first dry one in a long time); the place was so full there were no carts and hardly any parking to be had! 

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Posted (edited)

Using charcoal briqquets for forge fuel on a windy day is the WORST!  They burn up fast enough l, so when you add the wind you can use a whole bag of charcoal in half an hour.   But my 10x15 shed does not allow my to forge indoors.  I have no room in there, I’m building a work table so I’ll be able to store all my tools under it, but I’m currently filing knife bevels on the ground with an unbolted vice.

Edited by Conner Michaux
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Charcoal briquets will work for forging and JJ Simon even melted nails down into a bloom with some but I'm not sure they are the best. Wal-Mart sells natural oak charcoal, I use it for smelting; not sure how it compares in price and performance, but you might look into it. You might also look into making it yourself; be it Viking style or in a barrel with a lid. 

I know it's safe to forge indoors and do it often, but not sure about when it's 10-15-20 mph winds outside. Part of me thinks "it'll be fine" and the other half is like "dont even try it". 

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I forge Indoors with coal all the time.  But I have a good chimney and hood.

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any concerns with heat accumulation in the rafters of your shop when you forge indoors???

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If you have a hood and chimney, not so much.  If you're using propane and you don't have a powered exhaust fan it can get pretty hot up there.  Larry Harley had a chimney, but also low ceilings.  He could tell it was time to open the door in winter when the fluorescent lights started going out.  I only saw this happen when we were making crucible steel, running the big gas forge for three to four hours at full blast welding heat.  Old-style magnetic ballasts start acting up when they hit 120 degrees F or so.

Here in the southern US, shops in the days of charcoal-only forging didn't usually have chimneys, but rather a cupola at the roof peak that could be opened and closed.  With coal a chimney is a must to get that nasty smoke out of the shop.  

In the winter when the shop is closed up tight I will sometimes crack a window to let in a little extra air, and I also have an old ceiling fan I run in reverse to keep things circulating. In the summer I have a gable vent fan running as well.

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Posted (edited)

Forging in a confined environment is always going to have it's troubles.  Particularly on the size of space above you if your worried about gasses. 

To put together a truly safe environment would be to make up a work space that replaces the air within.  Meaning that your not just trying to get the gasses out of the shop but you are also trying to bring in and replace the air within the shop with fresh air.  This is more a problem with propane because of how fast the gasses build up.  I forge in my garage with both doors half open (to get some privacy) two windows completely open, the door way completely open, and a shop fan pointed toward the rafters to push the gasses out while working.  Without the fan running, the gas will build up too much within an hour to work.

This summer I have plans to put a better ridge vent on the roof to improve air circulation, and to rig up some kind of exhaust fan to sit over top the forge.  For the time being, the real plan is to one day move to an actual work shop that has better ventilation and fire prevention. 

it's a good idea to put up a CO2 detector, just above head height or a little more.  Don't skimp on one of these and get one with a digital read out that can show if any CO2 levels are present in the environment.  Again more of a problem with propane users.  If you have a good and properly made chimney and flue, most of the nasty gasses go up and out.  

However I do also do work at my local club's forge that does not have good enough ventilation for their coal burning, and it can get pretty nasty in there depending on who is working the fire. 

Edited by Daniel W
grammer again and again.

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