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Forging while it's 107° outside.


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Well it's been months since I fired up the forge and I was getting an itchy finger waiting for it to cool off, but really, here in Southern Az., cool weather is still months away. It was 107° outside and 106° in my shop. So I got a small portable swamp cooler setup in my shop and dropped the temp inside to 93°. Much nicer than 106°. So I fired up the forge, which is outside. I worked on two PW billets I made a couple months ago. I got both billets, one ladder and one raindrop, hammered flat since my press didn't have enough oomph to completely flatten the grooves and drill holes out. Got them flattened out so now next time I fire up the forge, I can forge them into something. The big raindrop billet I want to forge a Perseus style short sword from it. The smaller ladder billet I want to make a large camp chopping knife. 

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It can really be hot an humid here in Illinois so I know what you mean.  Don't push yourself and keep hydrated and when you start to feel like it's starting to get to you turn your forge off and get to someplace you can cool down.

 

One the side, I'm a little alarmed to see the uncoated fiber matting lining your forge.  You need to get something like a castable refractory or at least Satanite over it to keep loose fibers from getting into your lungs.

 

Doug

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2 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

IOne the side, I'm a little alarmed to see the uncoated fiber matting lining your forge.  You need to get something like a castable refractory or at least Satanite over it to keep loose fibers from getting into your lungs.

 

Doug

Thank you for the tip. I never even thought about that, nor has anyone ever said anything about it. This is how the forge came when I bought it, so I never gave it second thought. Thanks for watching out for us newbies!

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I'm guilty of running my forge without a castable refractory over the wool.  Ive found the forge gets quite a bit hotter without it. I have read that it will kill you in short order and I've also heard that it's nothing like asbestos and it's not as dangerous as it's made out to be. I'm not the safety nut some people are. I've lived my whole life on the edge. With that said castable refractory will save your kaowool from getting damaged and falling apart. I have to re-line my forge all the time but I have a lifetime's worth of blanket so it's not a big deal to me to forge weld in it and just reline it the next time I wanna use it which lately hasn't been much because I've been using the solid fuel forge. 

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I've known and seen many home built forges where there is no cast-able on the wool.  Nor will you ever see it used in an industrial setting that way.  It will however degrade over time more rapidly than if it's coated. As it degrades the fibers will become air born and there's the minor risk involved with it.

 

No it is no like asbestos, its like ceramic. If I recall correctly like any ceramic dust or partials that accumulate in your lungs over time it will lead to Silicosis.  You do want to avoid it. 

 

Not a terrible worry for someone just having a hobby, if your stuck in an industrial setting, different story. Still best to avoid exposure however minimal to live as healthy as long as you can. 

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We have several threads about that around here in various places.  The general consensus is that a thin coating of any refractory is a good idea, that the fired wool is not nearly as bad as asbestos, but it's still a fine airborne dust you shouldn't breathe, and that wool does not work the way it's supposed to if it's filled with refractory.  Topcoat only, don't soak it in the stuff.  

Uncoated wool gets brittle when fired, and mechanical damage is very easy once it's brittle.  Once again a thin coating will protect it.  Too thick a coating, or a coating that fills the wool, does indeed act like a heat sink and takes a lot longer to get hot.  Makes a big difference if you're a pro or industrial smith versus a hobby smith.  Most of us run the forge a few hours at a time.  Serious guys may run at welding heat for eight to ten hours a day, so the extra efficiency over time of a heavy coat of castable makes the half-hour it takes to come up to heat a worthwhile tradeoff.  For weekender like myself, I may fire it up for two hours because that's how much time I've got, and a lighter coating to get to max heat in the fastest time is a good thing.  I weld and do my heavy forging in coal, though, the gasser is for light work only.  And yeah, coal smoke and dust is even worse for you than kaowool dust.  Ventilation is your friend!  

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