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WIP first forge build


Jason Burk
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Hello everyone,

This is my first build and first post.  After scouring the beginners section, I found an old air compressor tank at my local scrap yard and started building my forge based on all the advice you've all given.  I am very aware that the tank is way bigger than I need for knives, but it's what I have.  I started by cutting out the front and back windows and cleaning it out. 

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I took it down to bare metal and plan to spray paint next after drilling and welding on the burner ports, but I'm having design questions at the next step.  I'm sure this has been covered, but I wasn't able to find it.  Do I go with a two burner or three burner for this size tank?  The tank is about 14 inches in diameter and 25 inches long.  I am expecting to put in at least 2 inches thick ceramic blanket, maybe 3?  I'm not sure where you start to hit the diminishing returns... and where cost effectiveness ends, with refractory cement covering that.

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You should build a much smaller forge, especially for a first forge. The biggest mistake most new builders make is to build a too large forge. That size forge will cost much more to build, use a lot of fuel, build excessive scale and grain growth. Check out the Build a Gas Forge and the Ribbon Burner attachments on the Forge Supplies page at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com. Let me know if I can help you. About $100.00 plus the hose, regulator and burner using a 20# Propane tank.

Wayne Coe
Artist Blacksmith
729 Peters Ford Road
Sunbright, Tennessee
706-273-8017
waynecoe@highland.net
www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com

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You could cut it in half and make two forges.  Three inches of wool and half an inch of refractory will bring the interior volume closer to a realistic size.  

 

Or, keep it whole, use one inch of wool, and run a single burner.  Then it's a heat treat drum forge for big knives and short swords.

 

As for burners, a single blown burner will run a wide range of forge sizes, and a good venturi burner (and there a lot of bad ones out there) will max out at 350 cubic inches. Plan accordingly.

 

If I absolutely had to use that tank as a forge without shortening it, I'd consider making it a vertical design with a blown burner.  That would mitigate the volume-related oxidation issues that go along with huge forges.

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Okay, I've learned my lesson in the past from not listening to advise when it's given.  It's hard to temper excitement over a first build.  I'll set it aside for now and make plans to revisit it once I have some more experience.  Thank you for the insight, I'll look into a smaller build.

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I would take Alan's other advise too.  Don't cut it apart just yet, save that tank for a heat treating forge.  In a couple of years you're going to want one and wish you still had it.  Find yourself a 20lb propane or used up helium tank.. They make great general use forges.

Edited by Alex Middleton
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I Have.  Thank you Alan and Alex, my plan is to put it aside for now and make it into a heat treat drum later.  When I revisit the project, I think I'd like to try Wane's idea with a ribbon burner.  I looked over the PDF of the burner build and I like the design, thank you for the info.  Wane, I'll contact you for advice on that burner build when I'm ready to move forward.  Hopefully my next WIP will be my first knife!

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