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The photo above is of tmib_seattle’s home-built gas forge — something I’ve been considering for some time.  My father was into blacksmithing, and you’ve heard his (and my) friend Ray Robinson on the Tool Talk podcast before talking about how to get started.  The problem for me is that my shop space isn’t condusive to coal burning.

This is definitely the answer, especially if you’re into bladesmithing as the space inside is a bit small for table tops and such.  I’ve seen some commercially-made models that are more portable, but tmib_seattle’s looks more solid and usable.

Check out the Toolmonger Flickr pool for photos of the forge in operation and pictures of some of his other tools, including a sheet-metal brake and an English wheel.  And if you get the chance, sign up and drop us some pictures of your favorite tools and projects.

Toolmonger’s Flickr Pool [Flickr]

(Thanks, tmib_seattle for sharing your pictures, and hopefully you can stop by and tell us a little more about your forge in comments.)

 

5 Responses to From The Flickr Pool: A Home-Built Gas Forge

  1. Tom says:

    I need to build me a forge. I have seen them as basic as bricks in an old charcoal grill with ash insulation and a hairdryed bellows.

  2. l_bilyk says:

    Really cool. I’ve wanted to get into smithing some plane irons for some time

  3. Tracy Lauricella (TMIB_Seattle) says:

    Sure!

    There’s more forge pics in my LJ gallery: http://pics.livejournal.com/tmib/gallery/0000bsst

    The forge was made from an old water heater, cut in half to make a half-round shape. The stand is something I dragged out of a junkyard and modified.

    The base of the forge is an expanded steel mesh in a steel frame. (this used to be the landing at the top of a metal ladder used to climb up from the beach at my grandparents’ place on Hood Canal.) It made a nice rectangular pan to start with, and the water heater shell sits nicely inside it.

    I bought some cheap firebrick from The Clay Art Center (clayartcenter.net) here locally, and used that to line the bottom of the forge.

    Initially, I just lined everything with Kaowool, but over the winter the carport where the forge was housed got blown down and the forge got soaked with water. The lining was badly damaged, so I rebuilt it by coating the Kaowool with Mazzou castable refractory. This works quite well and makes the lining much more durable as well as refracts the heat quite nicely. I had to slowly “bake” the lining to cure it and drive out the water without cracking it, but it works well now.

    The bottom of the forge is a couple inches of Kaowool with a kiln shelf on top. This all sets on top of the firebrick.

    The burners are sidearm burners from Zoeller Forge, running to a propane tank. I’m currently using a 5 gallon tank, but I plan to move up to a larger tank, or add a second 5 gallon tank and tee off the connection. As it is now, after running the forge for about an hour, the tank starts to ice up. I’ve alleviated this somewhat by setting it in a water bath.

    When first fired up, the forge will heat what’s placed directly under the burner quite quickly, but that’s about it. It takes about 10 minutes or so to really start to come up to temperature, and by 20 minutes, the whole thing is glowing bright orange inside (including the refractory lining).

    When fully up to temperature, a 1/4″ steel rod gets to bright orange heat in under a minute, and a 3/4″ steel rod gets to bright orange heat in under 5.

    The front and back of the forge is just stacked firebrick, so I can adjust the size of the opening depending on what I’m working on.

    –TMIB

  4. Tracy Lauricella (TMIB_Seattle) says:

    Oh, just wanted to add:

    The forge is about 24″ long inside (plus about 8″ or so for the “porch” on the front) and about a foot across inside.

    I built it in such a way that I can lift the forge body & lining off the base and remove the firebrick if I ever need to move it a significant distance (like into the back of a truck.) It’s not easily portable, but it can be moved if needed. I’ve been thinking about adding wheels to one side of it so I can lift one end and push it around like a cart.

    One important thing not shown in these pictures: I have a pair of plugs that thread into the air intake in each burner. These are very important to put in when the forge is shut down (or if I’m only running one burner). Otherwise the burner tubes can act like chimneys to vent the heat from the forge, and potentially cause damage to the burner assembly or gas connections.

    –TMIB

  5. Tim Underwood says:

    I have enclosed a link to Ron Reil’s forge and burner page. This is one of the best resources on the net for info on the design and construction of gas forges/burners.
    This comes with a warning-Going to this websight may be addictive if you’re a learning blacksmith. I got lost in the pure mass of information on his site.
    http://ronreil.abana.org/Forge1.shtml
    And then some other gas forge pages to ponder.

    http://metalcast.boorman.us/reil_1.html

    http://www.jamesriser.com/Machinery/GasForge/PropaneForge.html

    http://www.anvilfire.com/FAQs/reb_faq_index.htm

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/green51.html

    http://www.anvilfire.com/

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