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Posted (edited)

Good morning,

     Ill preface with the fact that I am very new to forging and have next to no idea what I am doing. I spent some time looking for the answer to my question on the site before I posted this but if it exists, I did not find it. I was given what seems to be a very nice Propane forge by a close friend when he heard that I was trying to get a new hobby now that I was out of school and had some free time and was looking at forging. I am learning about the forge through trial and error. Located on the gas line is a magnetic solenoid valve, it looks like its a K3A model. When under pressure this valve leaks around a metal ring that is supposed to act like an O-ring. I tried for quite a while to get it into a position that would stop the gas leak to no avail. I'm wondering if this valve is actually necessary or if I could replace it with just a ball valve. I am worried about some unforeseen problems that could come with removing a component of a system I'm this uneducated on.

Thanks for the time folks I really appreciate it,

Jake  

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Edited by Jake Cole
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You could probably replace it with a ball valve, it's just there as a safety device. That said, I have never seen a forge built like that, can we have pics of the whole thing?

 

Also, this goes in Tools and Toolmaking.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/10/2022 at 7:46 AM, Alan Longmire said:

You could probably replace it with a ball valve, it's just there as a safety device. That said, I have never seen a forge built like that, can we have pics of the whole thing?

 

Also, this goes in Tools and Toolmaking.

Alright thank you. I'll grab some pictures and make a new post. I'll get those on as soon as I can get back on. Copy on the tools and toolmaking also, I apologize for that.

Edited by Jake Cole
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12 hours ago, Dan Hertzson said:

Always interests me when people post a question, then not only don't respond to feedback, but don't even visit to see if there is feedback.

Always interests me how some people have developed that virtue of patience and others have not. Was away from my computer for work, but I apologize if my work does not fit into your schedule 3rd shift tends to do that.

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On 5/10/2022 at 7:46 AM, Alan Longmire said:

You could probably replace it with a ball valve, it's just there as a safety device. That said, I have never seen a forge built like that, can we have pics of the whole thing?

 

Also, this goes in Tools and Toolmaking.

For those interested,

     Here is a little bit better picture of what I am working with. like I mentioned previously, this system and this adventure is almost brand new to me. So forgive me if I miss represent or label something, corrections are welcome. seen below, I have a 20 pound propane take with a turkey cooker adjustable regulator. from there I go into a diverter that seems to just be used for heating up the thermocouple and then to the magnetic solenoid valve that sparked this conversation. 4 burners, hadn't gotten a chance to lite all of them before the pressure on the ring gave out and had a small thermal event. I appreciate all comments and criticisms as this is my first hobby since college wiped them all out. Limited life experiences so far and all. 

 

Thank you for your time,

Jake

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It's interesting.  From the look of it it will use an enormous amount of gas to run it.  It does have the look of thing built for shop that had certain regulations to abide by.  It's very complicated and it doesn't really need to be.

If it's all hard surface in the fire box, that is the first issue.  It will be slow to heat to working temps, and expensive to keep at working temps.  It probably was designed to run 24/7 so that you would only have to pay the startup cost once over several days.

Out of curiosity, how big are the injector jets?  For propane they should be on the order of .060, if they are larger, like .1250, then it's setup for NG and it really won't run well on propane.

I would suggest you read through this thread (yes, I am the perpetrator of this thing, don't let that put you off).  It talks about a completely different style of forge, but one that might serve you better.  

If it were me I would discard pretty much all of this.  A single blown burner would heat all of the space for a lot less cost.  I would discard the brick, or just put a single wrap of ceramic wool inside the box and fit a new burner.

As a hobby smith (and even those of us who are full time makers only forge infrequently) you want a forge that comes to heat quickly.  This one, as built, will probably take an hour to come to heat, and it might never make welding heat.  My "everyday" forge (which I most don't use for welding) is ready to heat steel about 90 seconds after I light it.  That is a big deal.  I can forge all day in it, or I can do a quick project and only spend a few minutes (and a few minutes of fuel) waiting for my material to get hot.

 

Geoff

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Hi Jake

 

Sorry for a slight hijack (I know this isn’t answering your original question; I know nothing about magnetic solenoids) but I have to ask…Your forge is quite an interesting one.

So you have 4 offset burners coming in the bottom. I assume the flames pass through the shell and inner lining coming out of the floor. If the floor is level with the bottom of the opening and the holes straight, it looks like the flames will come out in a straight line in the bottom. Is the work heated directly by the burners? Could you perhaps, when you get a chance, also post a photo of the interior?

 

Thanks

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"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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That looks more like a dedicated heat treaters oven than a forge, and looks like it would run on the oxidizing end of things, not unlike the old Johnson trench forges used for repointing jackhammer bits.  Maybe a glassblower's oven?  Geoff has good advice. 

 

The solenoid was just to cut the gas if electricity went out, which doesn't make much sense if there's not a forced air source for the thing.  

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Posted (edited)

I would be interested in a more detailed overall photo, especially the front door.

 

Just from that, I found several pictures similiar online.

 

Johnson gas makes several kinds of ovens/forges/heaters... and is still in business 100+ years later.

 

You could definately contact them, and learn more about it. Especially how it was originally configured, and what it was made to do/ handle.

 

https://www.johnsongas.com/product-category/industrial-furnaces/forge-furnaces/

Edited by Welsh joel
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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The solenoid was just to cut the gas if electricity went out, which doesn't make much sense if there's not a forced air source for the thing. 

I couldn't figure that either! I had a Johnson very much like that except it had a blower and said somewhere on it heat treat forge. I left it covered outside for some years then got the guy who gave it to me to take it back when I was cleaning up. It's now sitting outside his shop. 

 

Geoff makes lots of good points. 

 

At our last guild meet a fellow brought a pretty nice looking 1 burner forge he picked up on Amazon complete with hose and regulator for under $100. Less than the cost of the #100 bottle you will need to run that Johnson. I'm betting that forge will freeze your small tank before it gets half empty. If in-fact its even set up for propane. Lots of things like this were meant for industrial application where natural gas is available and cost isn't the factor it is for small operators like us.

 

3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

the old Johnson trench forges

Alan, did you ever see the one Spring Service in Johnson City used running? It was large and I can't imagine the fuel it used!

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2 hours ago, Matt Walker said:

Alan, did you ever see the one Spring Service in Johnson City used running? It was large and I can't imagine the fuel it used!

 

Nope, never did.  

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15 hours ago, Matt Walker said:

I couldn't figure that either! I had a Johnson very much like that except it had a blower and said somewhere on it heat treat forge. I left it covered outside for some years then got the guy who gave it to me to take it back when I was cleaning up. It's now sitting outside his shop. 

 

Geoff makes lots of good points. 

 

At our last guild meet a fellow brought a pretty nice looking 1 burner forge he picked up on Amazon complete with hose and regulator for under $100. Less than the cost of the #100 bottle you will need to run that Johnson. I'm betting that forge will freeze your small tank before it gets half empty. If in-fact its even set up for propane. Lots of things like this were meant for industrial application where natural gas is available and cost isn't the factor it is for small operators like us.

 

Alan, did you ever see the one Spring Service in Johnson City used running? It was large and I can't imagine the fuel it used!

I am familiar with the idea of pressure drop causing cold temperatures and potential for freezing from my degree but no practical experience, Is that something I only have to be concerned with because of how inefficient this system seems to be or will that be something I run into with a single burner as well? 

 

Does seem like the common consensus is for me to pitch this set up and start a new, I have watched a few YouTube videos with guys testing single burner forges from amazon https://youtu.be/gniZXNxXL60. This was the one that seemed the best. I would prefer to keep this endeavor pretty cheap but I also don't want to skimp on quality too drastically. Ill get some pictures from the front and interior but as far as the door goes, its a cast iron hinge that broke before it was given to me and I don't have any experience or anything that can get hot enough to repair. 

 

Thanks for all the interest and advise, it has been very infromative.

 

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Freezing a tank is a function of how fast the gas is pulled off and volume of the container. I can't explain the physics but you should be fine with one burner and the bottle you have.

 

Yes, that's the forge the fellow had at our meeting that impressed several of our more experienced members. The beauty of it is the cost for what you get. Lots of people here can build a better forge but we can't do it faster for less money. The burner seemed especially nicely built and designed. The same people offer a two burner model. 

 

The experience you gain building and running that atmospheric forge will be valuable when you decide to step up. Over 30 years of experimenting this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmunsYUvA_Q is what works well for me making damascus in the size billets I liked to work with. Other designs may/would better suit doing other things. 

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The reviewer makes mention of the lack of "dragons breath" as being a good thing.  Perhaps for his use that's a good thing.

If you have no flame out the door, you have what is called an oxidizing environment.  There is free O2 in the fire box.  This contributes to scale.  Even in a fairly scale free atmosphere you can lose 1% of your material per heat.  It makes for pits and holes and other sorts of issues.  In particular, it makes welding operations difficult.

If you have flame out the door, that is called a reducing environment.  You are burning up all of the O2 in the fire box and the leftover gas is combusting as it finds free O2 outside of the forge.  Yes, it's a little bit less efficient, you are wasting some gas.  OTOH, your material stays cleaner and needs less cleanup, saving you work (and grinder disks and belts) down the road.  It also makes for better welding operations.

On the third hand, if the burner is easily adjustable, the you should be able to adjust it to create a reducing atmosphere.

 

Geoff

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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