Fixin' to build a wood/charcoal forge

Discussion in 'Neo Tribal Forum - All things Neo' started by jonathan creason, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Well-Known Member

    I've been debating back and forth on what type of forge I wanted (wood/charcoal or gas). Much like grilling I really like the convenience of gas, but I'm not sure I trust myself to build it right and I really don't want any kabloowee's. Also, the materials needed start to add up quickly for this poor boy. I think I've finally settled on burning wood and making charcoal at the same time like Tai does in his basics video. I've always got wood laying around from the bows that I've broken and other hobbies. The main consideration I'm having trouble with at the moment is whether I want an open tub type forge or something enclosed. I'm sure many of you have seen the airtank forge buildalong on other forums. I think something like this would suit my needs better because I'll be forging near the house and this should keep sparks down. Do you all think I would need to insulate the lid on a forge of this type, though? I'm sure it would help keep my fuel needs down by keeping more heat inside the forge, so maybe I'll just go ahead and do it.
  2. Church & Son

    Church & Son Well-Known Member

    Hey Johnathan, I use charcoal simply because it's here. Nature throws limbs at us and we are always burning so charcoal is just a byproduct of that labor. I do use green wood also, I split it into planks and lay it on my fire. It insulates the fire and turns into charcoal. All of my forges have been open and after the fire gets burning good there isn't many sparks or smoke but I live way out in the woods so there is no one to care.
    Tim Livelys style of open forge is very inexpensive to put together and works very well, I use it several times a week. A blower is the only part not laying around and they can be as little as an old bath fan or hairdryer if you have electricity at the forge. I don't so we use hand cranked blowers .
    There are several around here that use old "rivet" style forges bought at yard sales and flea markets. They are self contained with the blower bolted on, maybe they will chime in with pics or help.....
    As the Bible says, " If you think about it, you have committed the sin" so take the plunge brother sinner and just build it....
    I have some stuff on my site that might be helpful, you just have to sort threw the mess......Randy
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  3. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info, Randy. I've studied your forge buildalong many times, and I appreciate you taking the time to put information like that out for the rest of us. My father-in-law told me a while back to come get a forge that he had built out of an old table saw base. I'm thinking what I'll probably end up doing is robbing the squirrel cage blower off it and just using the table to set my forge on. He also has a hand crank blower that's locked up and an anvil that he keeps saying he's going to eventually get around to using. Just have to figure out how to get him to turn loose of those.
  4. Stormcrow

    Stormcrow Well-Known Member

    Not to dissuade you from charcoal (every type of forge has its own advantages and disadvantages), but if you're considering propane, check out Larry Zoeller's burner kits. It's been a while since I ordered one, but at that time, you could get a kit and enough insulation to line a coffee can forge twice for about $135. These little guys will heat car-axle sized stock, though it will take a little while to get to temperature intitially on something that big.

    Here's one a student of mine built:

    I have to say, I got the idea for the coffee can forge from Tai.
  5. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've checked out Larry's stuff. He has very good prices comparatively, but $100 is just more than I can swing right now. I've pretty much got everything I need for charcoal right now, and I'm constantly making a pile of wood for other stuff. I do want a decent propane forge eventually, and something like you've got there is probabaly what I'll go with.

    On another note, I think I might be able to make a deal for an anvil. I'm talking to a guy on a surf fishing forum that's interested in trading one for one of my surf heaver combos.
  6. Stormcrow

    Stormcrow Well-Known Member

    I understand about the $100 being more than you can swing! Charcoal will do you well, I think. Hope you can get the anvil.
  7. grafton

    grafton Well-Known Member

    My only experience is with charcoal and I like it. I like knowing that I can always get it/make it. I think the hand cranked blower makes for a perfect pair and goes well with that line of thinking too.

    In the little bit of forging I have done I have not felt that I needed a lid. A handful or two of charcoal on top of your blade acts as the "lid" and traps the heat.

    Make it with the lid if you want, you can always use it without. Some charcoal sparks more than others but usually only for a short time as it starts to burn The sparks settle down quick after that.

    " If you think about it, you have committed the sin"

    Randy, If this is true I am really screwed. I sinned four times today just driving by joggers.... Anybody got a big quench tank full of holy water? :biggrin:
  8. Church & Son

    Church & Son Well-Known Member

    Bless you my Son, holy water is pretty good with rum.....Randy
  9. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Well-Known Member

    Well, I got an anvil today. The top is nice and flat, and the edges only have a couple of dings. The only markings I can find on it is an "M" stamped on one side. I haven't weighed it yet, but my calibrated arms figure it's around 100-115 lbs. Gonna eat some lunch and watch a little football, then head out and finish up my forge.
  10. Rustyboy

    Rustyboy Well-Known Member

    I can only offer this advice: if you have the means put a lid on your forge, if for no other reason than to keep the rain off. If your fortunate enough to be able to setup indoors or have a roof over you, great. But i can't tell you how much time i have spent having to reline my forge just because the rain wash most of it away.

    here's a good tutorial to peruse.
  11. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Well-Known Member

    Those are the exact plans I've been following, except I used an old propane tank. It's slightly smaller than an air tank, but my neighbor was throwing it out so it was free. It's big enough to heat some pretty long blades though. Got everything put together today and lined it with some of our good ol' buck tallow clay soil. I might should have dug a little deeper to get to solid clay, but I can easily do that later if need be.
  12. Church & Son

    Church & Son Well-Known Member

    Johnathon, the more you fire it the harder and slicker that clay will become. I sprinkle some white sand on the sides (from our creek) when I'm heading for welding temps and the sides are now like ceramic, it really insulates and returns the heat. A lid would be nice, I have a piece of tin roofing on mine, of course a roof would be good also. Maybe it's time for a new build and invite Edison in...
    Hello Rusty..........Randy
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

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