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Losing pressure after roughly 45 minutes of use.


Jacob Boehme

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Hello everyone, I have recently started working with my double burner forge and have been thoroughly enjoying the learning experience. The main issue I keep running into is that after about 45 minutes of work (running my forge at 5psi) I start to lose pressure. I try to adjust but once the drop starts, it eventually gets to the point of sputtering and goes out. I have a theory that my regulator is freezing up and restricting the flow. Unfortunately, living in Wisconsin and being in an unheated shop, I feel this may be a problem until spring. I run off of a 30lb propane cylinder and, again, usually only run at 5 psi. Any tips to prevent this from happening? Would buying a higher quality regulator help? I'd like to be able to work for more than an hour at a time (even if my arm may say otherwise lol). Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'll add a photo of the tongs I'm working on (my first project) so I'll gladly take any and all critiques offered. Thank you in advance! I didn't get the hole put in the right spot, is this a "scrap and start over" or can it be salvaged? 

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I think you are probably right that freeze up is the issue.  I assume that you have venturi burners of some sort.  I'm kind of surprised that they will run at 5psi, but that's not the issue.  The problem is the tank, when you pull gas out of the tank it gets cold, cold enough to freeze the valve.  There aren't a lot of solutions.  You could wrap some heat tape around the valve, the safety inspector in my cringes at the thought, but it's probably fine, though it may not work.  You could place the tank in a water bath, the tank will chill the water and keep the tank from freezing quite so fast, though if you're working long enough it may still freeze.  The best solution I have seen is either gang a couple of tanks together (that way you are only pulling half the amount of gas from each tank, keeping the valves open) or, go to a larger tank.  I went from a BBQ style tank to a 100 lb tank.  It never froze.  Now is have what's called a 420 tank (120 gallon).  Even in sub zero temps, with the tank outside, it has never frozen.

 

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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I agree with Geoff, and will add/emphasize that if you plan on forging for a while, and I mean in terms of years, not minutes, get a 100# tank or bigger.  After the cost of the tank (~$150 nowadays, Id guess), you'll save money with less trips to fill up, and no longer have the frustration of freezing.   When I had my own place in the foothills of Mt Rainier, I used one all year without problems.  Not quite as cold as WI but still snow in the winter. 

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RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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I used to have the same problem. What is probably actually happening is the propane is freezing up (Bernoulli's principle). I used to make propane slushys at times when I was forging in the winter. As one of Geoff's suggestions, my solution was to get a large galvanized tub, put the tank in the tub, and fill it about 1/2 - 3/4 full with the hottest water I can get out of the tap. During the forging session, I will use it to cool my tongs to help keep the water warm. I've done forging in 15 degree weather and never had it freeze up. Due to my set up and situation, I can only use 40 pound tanks but I've done this with the 20 pound BBQ tanks on aspirated burners and not had a freeze problem.

Edited by Bill Schmalhofer
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Thank you all the advice, I do appreciate it! I definitely plan on getting a 100#+ tank, I have the room, and realistically they aren't that expensive, besides, if paying a little money can help alleviate my frustrations, it's worth it! I definitely plan on keeping this hobby around, I absolutely love working with metal (I must, I weld for ten hours a day and forge on my days off lol, very therapeutic). I will admit, blacksmithing is definitely not as easy as some make it look (shocking I know!) but I truly love the challenge. It's a great change of pace for me going from picky, light gauge, stainless steel welding during the week to beating heavy steel to my whim during the weekends, couldn't ask for more! Now I just need to get better at making the metal do what I want it to lol

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This one solution.  Not the best, but it makes me laugh

 

https://asciimation.co.nz/beer/

 

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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15 hours ago, Geoff Keyes said:

This one solution.  Not the best, but it makes me laugh

 

LOL!

Exactly opposite of what we are trying to do but displays the principle very nicely :D.

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Echoing those who've already said all the right things:

Bigger tank, or ganging multiple smaller tanks together, sometimes you can use a warm water bath to help delay the freezing up... but depressurizing a small container will always result in extreme cold. 

I switched to house gas for this reason, and the expense, since I'm comfortable using a blown forge... but for portable, those are the only solutions.

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The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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