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A HOT project I’ve been working on


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So I have been into blacksmithing since before TV knife making made it popular. I found my Great Grandfather’s hand crank forge blower in the barn and that started the downward spiral so to speak. Some time in June I decided I wanted to move from a hand crank coal forge to a propane powered unit that was quicker to heat up and cleaner to use while forge welding. Off I went to the World Wide Web in search of what I should build. Burner plans came from YouTube along with an idea of how to plumb things. The rest of it was my own. Here’s some pics of the work in progress. I fired it for the first time today and still have some tuning to do and probably a larger blower to install.  

First pics are building the burner. The crayons are a space saver while casting the refractory cement.  





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Fitting the burner and pouring the 2” thick refractory walls and “porches”. The anvil is holding the form into the top. It was not fun making a semi circle form that was 2” smaller than the top and uniform while being rigid enough to hold the cement in place. 








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The walls, top, and porches are 2” thick.  The floor is 2.5” thick. In total I used 120lbs of Kast-O-Lite 30 which is rated for 3000°. That isn’t counting the steel case it’s poured into. She’s heavy. 








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The blower and the thermocouple are both actuated by the switch on the side. The thermocouple reads from inside the forge and give me a close reading of inside temps. The pic of the readout didn’t turn out well. It is showing 1436°.  This is where I sit currently. Propane is regulated to around 5psi and comes in via a needle valve and is blown in with the air from the blower. I don’t think I have enough air to get to the temps I want to see (2300°) and since I don’t have a manual and nobody I know of has built a forge body quite like this one I am to the trial and error phase. The burner and propane setup are capable of over 2500° so my setback has to be the air. 







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i was always intrigued when we went to the local welding guy as a kid, his name was harold and he had a shop with a coal forge in the middle of his building and all of these big old belts/pulleys that ran all these aparatus, i know one was some kind of hammer thing - i thought it was so cool how he used the bellows and he was always dirty, and sweaty, and he could fabricate and make anything you wanted, he wore overalls and one of those polka dot hats. 

pretty neat heat box you made there should help keep the shop warm too!!

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14 minutes ago, Bleedinred said:

Nice work so far, Todd. Glad to know no Algebra was involved. ? That Century in the background looks very familiar. We get along OK with ours for a small farm shop.


Yup, no algebra was harmed in the making of this forge.

The Century is a 225 and has been a good machine for me. I purchased it used probably 5 years ago. 

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.........splendid bit of work there, Todd.......The art of the Blacksmith is great to watch........but hard to find a Blacksmith in action !!  As a humble welder , by trade,  I really enjoy seeing the odd bloke plying   his craft........and just south of Lexington , Kentucky,  there is a 1300  acre   "equine    park"...(  my words....can't remember the correct title.....).....a fantastic place to visit......complete with a real live Blacksmith and his well equipped    work shop......Great to see....Probably made a million horse shoes  , whilst the peasants watch !!

You might be able to get a contract from your Democratic water melons.....building   wagon wheel rims and the like......:rolleyes:.....Yeah, the Boy and I watch things like 'Blacksmithing' on You Tube, also...very interesting ....

Thought your tensioner strap and  the wooden  "dimension accessory"  were very clever :)


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1 hour ago, Ihfan4life said:

That looks like a fun build! How long did it take for you to build it? 

I started gathering parts in June and life got busy for a while. Probably should have kept track of hours. Since the forge body is  12 separate pieces, many of them torch cut and ground to size, it took a while. I’m no professional welder like AK Welder or Finney, I just play around when I have time.   I could have done it faster but it’s awfully hard to tell a 2-1/2yr old not to look at the welder ?  

New blower and a variable speed control should arrive on Monday. Then I get to hack part of it all apart and start over....

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Awesome job. Hopefully you can get the right combination without waisting too much time on finding it to get the results you are after. 

I hope those weren't MTO's crayons from his safe space ........ 



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No practical experience with the type of burner youv'e built. It seems to me in order to increase airflow you have to increase plenum pressure. Increaseing blower size may do that. It seems fit of wheel inside housing would be just as important. Think of setting paddles on a silage blower. Side clearence would be just as important. Think how a hydraulic pump loses pressure. Just my thoughts.

I did work for an asphalt company where they used aburner that used compressed air and propane. They always ran the air wide open and adjusted gas to burn. When they had compressor trouble. I bolted in a bigger compressor. They came back with burner in a c shape. They said in two minutes the whole thing was yellow hot. So I think your on the right track.

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1 hour ago, oldtanker said:

Pete, he doesn't play with crayons.........that's lunch?!



Only when I’m out of glue ?

58 minutes ago, MTO said:

Good lord Sledge, that is a cool fab job!

Did your wife leave you?

Why I ask is when mine did, I got ALL kinds of stuff done.

Oh, and ain`t that lucky that the tank radius fit the base perfectly!

Great project.

I built the bottom to fit the tank radius.  The wife is still there.  She doesn’t even bat an eyelash anymore at my silly projects. 

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