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Reader tmib seattle is setting up and constructing his own gas forge. From the pictures we’ve seen, he looks to be rounding out the process already. This photo of his home setup shows the forge after he painted it and added the castable refractory.

Even though it’s not a huge forge, you can make tons of stuff with this type of setup, from square nails to your own tools.  Of course, there’s more to it than just throwing an iron in the fire and pulling out a newly formed Snap-on wrench — but that’s half the fun.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


6 Responses to From the Flickr Pool: Gas Forge

  1. tmib_seattle says:

    You folks featured the version 1.0 of my forge a while back. After attending a 3-day smithing workshop a few weeks back, I’ve been doing a lot more smithing, and as a result I’m really trying to get my shop up to a better level than it was at.

    Some stuff, like the forge will probably always be seeing some small improvements over time. The next step for me is to add another tong rack to the other side of the forge. I also want to get a t-manifold so I can run it off of two propane tanks at once; they tend to ice up when I run 8-10 PSI for a few hours.

    I don’t plan to increase the size of the forge; it’s actually a bit on the large size for one person use. For two people (one running from each end) it’s about ideal.

    However, one nice thing about smithing is that it doesn’t have to be expensive; you just build your own tools as you go, from hammers and tongs to punches, fullering tools, and cutters.

    I’m teaching the metalwork merit badge to my son’s scout troop and we’re scheduled to do the workshop day later this month; so I’m having to “clean up my act” a bit, and make sure my shop is presentable, as well as safe. It also means I’m kind of going into “production mode” to ensure there are enough tools for all the boys to use.

    I’m building out a couple of coal forges for the boys to use. Those will have to be run outdoors, rather than in the garage, but will allow for 6-8 boys to be working at once. I may see if I can put together another coffee-can sized small forge using the leftovers from this one as well. A lot depends on how much I can get done in a short period of time.

    Fun stuff!

  2. james b says:

    Nice forge. I’ve been wanting to make one for years, but just use a rosebud on my OA welder to heat things up for now. Did you design the burner yourself, or use a Reil design, or buy one? just curious

  3. tmib_seattle says:

    I started with a Reil design and was messing around with different setups for the choke as I built the forge. I eventually got a good flame out of the burners, but didn’t like the way I had the gas fittings running, and wanted a cleaner design.

    Then I saw the sidearm burners from Zoeller forge, which included burner flares as part of the kit. I ended up going with those, and have used them since. I like the fact that the burner nozzles are mounted directly in the end of a length of 1/8″ id pipe mounted in a bushing. With that setup the burner is always concentric with the burner tube, so there’s no worry about trying to keep the flame centered, which was a problem with the Reil burners I built originally.

    I still use a rosebud tip on my OA welder to heat stuff ocassionally. If you just need a quick localized heat it’s much more efficient for that. However if you’re going to be blacksmithing, firing up the forge is the way to go. I usually try and work on at least two things at once so I can swap back and forth- one is in the fire reheating while I work the second item on the anvil.

  4. tmib_seattle says:

    One more note; the forge is pictured here as it sits when not running. The sidearm burners are capped off by threaded plugs. I put those in as soon as I turn the forge off. It keeps the burners from turning into chimneys for the heat, which I imagine would not be too good for the fittings.

  5. James B says:

    Zoeller forge is awsome. Looks like they would save hours digging through pipe fittings at the home store, and don’t charge that much. Plus they ship firebrick. Maybe when I get through with my arcade cabinet, pool table restoration, slot car track, nightstand, plumbing and wiring lockers on the jeep, and building a motorized equatorial fork mount for my telescope, I can set up a forge.

  6. tmib_seattle says:

    I’d imagine shipping firebrick wouldn’t be too cost effective unless you have no way at all of getting it locally. Shop around before you pay to ship bricks; fireplace stores might carry it, though I found a ceramics & clay supply store in my area that stocks it.

    Getting pre-built burners like the Zoeller ones seemed to me to be a cop-out at first, and expensive for something that was intended to be mostly done on the cheap.

    But you’re right, it’s a big time saver. When I built my Reil burners, I found all kinds of different bell reducers with different tapers- the same size reducer would have different tapers and shapes from different manufacturers. Compared to trying to go through trial and error to find the ideal setup, then tuning the burner, as well as keeping the burner nozzle centered in the tube, the Zoeller burners are cheap in comparison.

    I’m not using a choke plate on mine, though I’ve been thinking about trying one. Thus far it has not been neccesary. It’s a little oxygen rich until the forge warms up, so I could probably use one then. Once the forge is hot, the gasses going into the forge are expanding a great deal and I think it’s a little more reducing then. It gives me a small bit of flame coming out the forge openings at that point as well, since it doesn’t all burn off inside the forge when it’s at full heat.

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