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Request for help with forge plans


Scott.Rapp

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Hello all!

Thanks to all of you who answered some of my questions in my other thread. I was hoping, now that I have decided to build my own forge, that you would help me with the design.

Here is what I have figured so far:

 

12" I.D. Pipe (what king of pipe should I use for this?) How long should I made this forge? I was thinking 2 feet long, but that would require 3 Venturi burners - would something like 18" be good?

2" x 24" x 5' Inswool Lining

1/4" Layer of Satanite

Topcoat of ITC-100 over the Satanite

9" x 4.5" x 1" Hard Fire Brick (2 of these to go across the bottom of the insulated pipe)

3/4" Venturi Burners (either 2 or 3) from http://refractory.elliscustomknifeworks.com/

 

 

The back of the forge, I would like to have a steel plate (also insulated) that I could remove, or keep in place with a few bolts or something, how possible is this?

 

At the front of the forge, should I try to put another insulated steel plate with a hole cut out or should I try to use firebricks?

 

 

How do I connect the burners to the forge? I've seen pictures of some on eBay, but I'm not sure I understand how exactly they work.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

As a quick side-note ---- as soon as I finish my preliminary diagrams should I post them so you can see?

Edited by Scott.Rapp
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If you haven't seen it already, zoellerforge.com walks through a basic build. I think it would be easy to follow and adjust for different materials and different tools (eg. welder). You may not need quite so big a forge. The forges Darren E. sells gives a feel for practical sizes that do real well with only one burner, and less overall materials. Also, if you haven't seen it, take a look at Ron Reil's web pages for easy to follow build explanations.

 

Best of luck, Craig

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Scott,

I agree with Craig, You don't need a big long forge. It will use a lot of gas and keep you broke. I too wanted to build a long forge when I started out, so later if I wanted to make swords I could. Well its not needed. You can only work on a section at a time so there is no need to heat the whole sword. Just make an opening in the front and back so you can pass your work out the back. A 12' or 13" forge is long enough and much more fuel efficient. If you ever do get into swords you can still make them in this forge, and then just make a heat treating forge like Don made out of a 55 gallon drum. If you want to weld, a smaller forge gets up to welding temp faster and with less gas then a large long forge. Hope this helps.

 

Tony G

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I think that we all do this when we first try to build a forge, we over-complicate the design, and we try to build one forge for every task.

 

12" I.D. Pipe (what king of pipe should I use for this?) How long should I made this forge? I was thinking 2 feet long, but that would require 3 Venturi burners - would something like 18" be good?

 

What are you planning to make? A forge like this makes an OK general purpose forge, but not the best for forging knives. A vertical forge lets you heat a short length of steel, but anywhere on a long bar.

 

9" x 4.5" x 1" Hard Fire Brick (2 of these to go across the bottom of the insulated pipe)

 

You only need (or perhaps need is too strong, would like is better) a hard floor if you are welding, for forging it just robs heat and slows the forge down. My vertical forge comes up to heat in about a minute, my welding forge (which has a brick floor, a layer of Seraset and a layer of ITC100 needs 15-20 minutes to come up to a welding heat. That is gas burning that you don't get much work from.

 

The back of the forge, I would like to have a steel plate (also insulated) that I could remove, or keep in place with a few bolts or something, how possible is this?

 

I think this is too complicated. Hard firebrick works pretty well. You could build a door frame that holds a chunk of Kaowool or brick, that hinges, I don't see any reason to bolt it up.

 

Gas forges are simple machines, I have yet to see one that gained much of anything from complex engineering. The first gas forge I ever saw (way back in the mists of time, the early 1980's) was just a pile of brick on a steel table. A piece of pipe was shoved in one side, a 1/4 inch copper line came off a standard 5 gallon propane tank (no regulator, no anti-flashback valve, I don't recommend it) and entered the pipe about half way down. An old hair drier provided the air. There was very little control, the drier was two speed and the tank valve controlled the gas. It squirted fire out of every crack, burned a ton of gas, but it heated steel.

 

This is just my .02, but I have built 10 or 12 of these things over the years, and worked on at least that many more.

 

What ever you do, be safe. Check your connections, don't cheap out on the important parts, regulators and the like.

 

Geoff

"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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Little forge.

 

Perhaps 10" diameter pipe, no longer than 12" long, with 2" of ceramic wool, a coat or two of ITC 100to hold down the fibers and increase the heat retention, and one 3\4" venturi burner.

 

Thats what I suggest to everyone that I start on the path to this addiction at my shop

 

For your first one, I would suggest that you build a horizontal forge (one that lays on its side) with a door that can open at the back. That way you can work on smaller knives and little blacksmith projects (I love my vertical forge to death for forging swords, but it pisses me off when i want to do little stuff. a vertical forge is difficult to work on small stuff, because you can't lay it down, you have to hold it the whole time and your tongs get red hot). (this is mostly after I cut my knife balde off of the larger stock and I am forging in the tang.)

 

You put the burner into a pipe that is welded (or rivited\bolted... <_< I guess...) to the outside with a passage through the outside of the pipe and through the ceramic insulation. The burner is held in place with 8 set screws that are drilled and tapped into the pipe that is welded to the body of the forge.

 

Mr. Zoeller sells almost everything you need and he has a tutorial (I think).

 

The most limiting aspect of most gas forges is that you cant work on anything big without having a really big forge ( Trivets, scroll work, fireplace tools, large bladed axes, stuff of that nature). If you are interested in doing any ornamental blacksmithing work, you might also want to consider a coal\charcoal forge. there is almost unlimited work room in a properly designed open coal forge.

 

Mike Lambiase

Edited by Mike Lambiase

Mike Lambiase

Burning Man Forge

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YES. Listen to these guys. Don't even worry about forge welding and damascus right now. When you want to do that you should just build another forge specifically for that. So don't worry about those fire bricks in your forge, but use them for your doors, just like Geoff said. DON'T make a sword sized forge right now. Like what was mentioned before you can worry about making a forge for heat treating a sword later when you get into that. Right now I think you should go no longer than 12". and use 2 of the burners you are getting. I do have 2 for my forge as well. They work well for general forge work. I made the mistake of trying to make a sword forge first...dumbbutt is all i could call myself after doing that. So I built my current forge. 8"pipe, castable refractory 12" in length, 2 burner ports (I should have just stuck with the inswool with satanite and itc-100 since it was being used for just basic forge work and heat treating) Now I went and wanted to do damascus so I switched to my blown burner and put fire bricks in the bottom...dumb. Now I am in the middle of building a forge just for damascus and redoing the other one for just basic forge work. Live and learn I guess.

 

I am glad that those sites I sent you to were helpful. BTW you can use just windex to check for leaks...or even just soapy water in a spray bottle. i check the connections to mine EVERY TIME I want to light up the forge. Think about getting safety glasses and other such safety equipment before you even start forging...ask me how I know.

 

I hope I wasn't stepping on anybodies toes. I just wanted to enforce what you guys said with dumb things I did in the past.

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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Okay, so if I drop my design down in size to:

 

10" diameter pipe

2" x 24" x 5' Inswool

(Would you recommend satanite, or ITC-100?) to cover it

 

I wanted to place the brick in there so that I could set thing on it, but are you saying I can set pieces right on top of the insulation?

 

I guess perhaps I am a little confused, I sure wish I had opportunity to see a bladesmith at work < <

 

I know what damascus is, and I'm not planning on doing that right now. What is the different between the terms you guys are using. Forge welding, forging, and all that? Is welding putting multiple layers of steel together, like damascus? what is forging then? I feel so stupid, lol :P

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Use both satanite and the itc-100 as the last thing you put on over the satanite.

Yes just put the work right onto the bottom of the forge.

 

LOL sorry. Forge welding is the process you use to make damascus...well not dendritic steel, the pattern welded stuff...CRAP sorry this is pattern welded steel or steel that has been forge welded together. http://www.dfoggknives.com/earwig.htm We now tend to call this damascus as well as dendritic steel made in a crucible...but thats a realm that I am as far away as I can be.

 

Back in the day before mig and tig electric welding you would have to use the process of forge welding to bond steel or iron together.

 

Don't feel stupid. No one here came into this world knowing what we know, we had to learn it. Just as you are doing now. Best wishes.

Edited by Mike Sheffield

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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Ok, so layering steel should be done in a vertical forge I gather, but a horizontal one is good for smaller pieces that you can just set right into it... correct?

 

Layering steel, and then drawing out the colors, is damascus --- so then is a layered blade always damascus, or do they call it damascus when it is patterned?

 

I would like to, at some nearer point in the future, get into layering steel...

 

 

hmmm ... I'm confused again ... forge welding then would be layering steel ... but if I'm not layering steel, how hot do I need a forge to get to be able to work with it? Same temperature?

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Basic stuff.

 

Forging: heating a piece of metal (you can forge copper, bronze, even aluminum) and changing it's shape by striking or pressing it.

 

Welding (forge welding): Fusing two (or more) pieces of metal by heating and striking or pressing them together.

 

Forge welding is hard on the forge because the slag and flux eats up the Kaowool (inswool, what have you). If you are not doing damascus (yet, everybody wants to do damascus (well, except for Ray, but most everyone else)) then a hard bottom on the forge is not needed, you can lay your work piece right on the floor of the forge. Be a little gentle with the Kaowool, but if you put a hole in the coating, you can patch it after it cools down, NBD.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Geoff

"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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Thanks! I understand the difference now.

 

Net question: If I simply start with forging then, and then wish to do forge welding in a few months (or whatever) - what would I need to do then? Build another forge?

If I did build another forge, can I simply use the same burner, and just transfer it between the two forges when I decide what I want to do?

 

Heat treating --- can I heat treat in the same forge I forge in? haha - or should I have something different for that? Can I use a regular oven or something? How hot do I need to have it to heat treat?

 

Ah! another question: Where would I find a thermometer to use in a forge? I haven't seen any on the sites I've been at...

Edited by Scott.Rapp
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for a beginer, the thermometer is your eyes, and many trials to get a feel for it. and you have to hold your tounge in your mouth in that special way, and pray to the tinker fairy.

 

In all seriousness, be prepared to lose a few knives. it happens to most every one.

 

When you heat treat a blade, you are looking to get it to "critical temp" it is a dull red in a fairly dim room. when you have it at tihs temp you have to move it quickly into a quenchant (oil, water, polymer, low temp salts) in essence it is taking all of the heat out of the metal quickly enough to harden it (provided that the necesary elements (carbon) are present in your metal in the proper quantities)

 

If you do a little bit of searching on this forum you will find that there is more info on heat treating than you can shake a substantial stick at. a few weeks of careful reading and thoughtful digestion will put you in the right direction. I think that if you go through the bigginer posts you will find every "stupid" question has been asked, and thouroughly answered. If you are unfamiliar with a term, look it up on google, you can usually find a reasonable aproximation of the definition.

 

The difference between forge welding and forging temps is determined by the size burner, or to some extent the PSI of propane you are injecting.

 

You should probibly not bother with any notion of forge welding at this point. make a few knives so the time put into a damascus billet is not thrown out the window because of an ill placed hammer stroke. (by a few I mean like 30-40)

 

also dont worry about advanced heat treating procedures (clay coating, marquenching\ martempering, cryogenics, anything of the advanced nature.) God only knows what would happen if there were a bunch of guys running around making bainite blades before thier concept of what goes into a good blade is fully conceived and hard earned :mellow: ,.. *points finger towards self*

 

You dont need a 24" forge. that is excessive for getting into general blade smithing.

 

The first forge that i built for myself was a 45 inch long, 3 burner, sword forge. I made it a long time ago (i think 3-4 years), and I am only now at the point where I am using it, and that is only on the occasion that i finish up a batch of swords to the point where i have to heat treat them. I use it less that 4 times a year. It lives under my workbench and it is quite an event to get it out and fired up.

 

Mr. Graham is a highly respected swordsmith, and to my knowlage he uses a very small forge to both forge out and to heat treat all of his blades.

 

bottom line is that the smaller your forge, the less time it will take to get up to heat, and the hotter it can get with the same size burner as a larger forge.

 

A 12" long forge is more than enough. If you forge out a longer blade than 12" you can pass the whole thing through the hot part of the forge untill it is all an even heat.

 

in respect to a forge, bigger is not always better. (there are very specific tasks that forges can be built for, and if you get there you should build them then.)

 

Mike Lambiase

Edited by Mike Lambiase

Mike Lambiase

Burning Man Forge

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Thanks for the post Mike. I appreciate it.

 

I'm still reading much - more than I should perhaps - and sad to say I'm finding the answers to questions I'd previously asked. I'll try a little harder to find answers before I flood the forums with questions :D

 

I'm seeing now what is meant by a smaller forge is better for starting. I'm going to rework my design here shortly, taking in all of the info I've gotten from you guys.

 

I've been on the ABANA site, but I'm curious, how do I find a list of members in my area from that? I think someone mentioned being able to do that? I can't seem to find anything in my google searches, or in the ABANA site itself. Do I have to be a member?

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You can weld in a horizontal forge too. Just have one that is dedicated to that task. It depends on your burner if you can just transfer it to do the forge welding. My two 3/4" burners with a little increase on the regulator I can forge weld, but it uses up my propane like no one's business. So I have my blown burner, but I got tired of having to use the electricity. So Now I'm waiting on my 1" burner from Rex Price. Like what the other guys said don't even attempt to do any damascus work until you get the basics down.

Edited by Mike Sheffield

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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You might want to go to www.elliscustomknifeworks.com and take a look at some pictures of home made gas forges that some smiths have posted. You don't need to use pipe for the forge wall. The wall only holds the insulation and refractory in. Sheet metal rolled up and bound with wire, even though it might be more primative than you want to go, will do the same thing. Fire bricks are great for blocking the ends. The burner can be held on some sort of a frame with the nozzle inserted through a hole in the side of the wall. The forge only need to be about as long as the blade that you are going to heat treat. You can only forge abut 3-4" inches of steel at a time so you don't need any great lenght for just forging.

 

Start with with small knives with a simple design and learn the basics. Accept that you are going to fail as much, or more, as you succeed to start with. If you don't learn from your mistakes, you waist all your effort that you have put into the blade. If you learn something from ruining a blade then you have profitted from your efforts. We all want to make great blades when we start out but you have to crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run, and run before you can fly. Their not my rules, their natures rules. Yes, I too want to make a sword in the worst way and maybe some day I will...make a sword in the worst way.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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LOL. make a sword...in the worst way. LOL. That made my day. Thanks.

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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