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Build Your Own Forge

Discussion in 'How I Made It: Tutorials' started by BigUglyMan, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    There are probably three placrs that this could have been posted, but Tutorials is about the best place I can think of.

    This is a step-by-step build-your-own-forge tutorial. Now, I'm not any fabrication genius, nor am I the be-all of tutorials. But hopefully I've got all the steps illustrated to show you how to go from a 20lb propane tank to a respectable vertical forge. I didn't illustrate some steps (like water-purging the tank) but hopefully that doesn't detract from the end result too much.

    Now, on to the show...

    Step 1: Purge the tank. You can accomplish this in two steps. First, hook the tank up to any LPG appliance (BBQ, Forge burner etc). Open the valve and the appliance and listen for any hissing. Then unscrew the valve on the top of the tank. Keep in mind that these things are on good and tight. I needed someone to hold the tank and a 4-foot snipe on the end of a crescent wrench to break the bugger loose. Don't chuck the valve just yet. Once you've gotten the valve out of the way you can purge the tank by filling it with water. Propane is heavier than air, but not water. I'm sure that there are other ways to purge a propane tank (I've heard of Argon for gas and diesel tanks) but we all have water at home and a couple of gallons doesn't cost you much.

    Then I marked a line around the tank for the lid to be cut off. In hindsight I should have cut a little further down the tank to make fitting the roof insulation easier. Whaddya gonna do? I screwed the valve back in to hold the water in and then fitted a 1/8" cutoff wheel to my angle grinder. With my brother acting as tank-spinner (and water-spray catcher) I laid into the tank and pruned the top off. Even managed to line up the cut all the way around...pretty nearly.

    Now we marked the front and back doors.
    [​IMG]
    And then used the grinder to cut them out. The tanks have an overlap in the middle where they appear to be press-fit and then welded. Makes as good a place as any to terminate the door, but it might have been just as well to cut below it to simplify the dressing of the edges.
    [​IMG]

    Next to fit is the inlet tube for the burner. What a jerk of a thing. Note to everyone: but a hold-saw, rather than try to cut out a circle with the angle grinder. Still, we got it in and with a bit of judicious filling with the welder, all's well.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now weld on a few tabs to locate the lid. I recommend bending them a hair prior to welding them on (and subsequently snapping your welds trying to bed them afterwards). Three was all the tabs I felt that I needed, lest my OCD cause me to spend an hour getting them spaced perfectly.
    [​IMG]

    Then I dressed the front and rear of the tank to accept the angle-iron brick door guide. I salvaged the angle-iron from the local dump (they were the extended forks on a pedal-bike-chopper). Could have stood to have the next size up but free is free and you shouldn't argue with free.
    [​IMG]

    Thankfully my kawool order arrived from Pottery Supply House a couple of days after I finished cutting and welding. I recommend finding someone closer to you to buy the kaowool from...PSH charged me $25 to ship 4 sq.ft. of wool! The woold didn't even cost that! Moving on...once the Old Man and I got the wool cut and fitted (easier than I thought it would be) we cemented it in using Imperial Hi-Temp Stove and Furnace Cement from Canadian Tire.
    [​IMG]
    This stuff is supposed to work as well as Satanite according to guys on other forums (I know...dreaded second-hand internet knowledge). I'll let you know. It's no amount of fun mixing it and workign all the little lumps out of it as it comes from the store rather dry.

    Once the cement had dried we heat-cured it with a heat gun for about an hour. By the end of that everything was good and toasty. Should be good to go.

    Here is the forge ready to fire for the first time. Thanks to Cal Ganshorn (forum member FORGE) for supplying the burner to the Old Man. Dandy birthday gift. Final photo...
    [​IMG]

    Hope this has helped other people considering their first forge project. Now off to fire it up and see what we can come up with.

    Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
    dancom likes this.
  2. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    Looking good so far.:rockon::rockon:
    So when are we going to see a picture of it fired up?:flame::flame::flame:
     
  3. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    Hopefully some time this week. Might be able to sneak out while the kidlets are napping. Stupid 4-midnight shift!
     
  4. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    Great tutorial, Big! :clap2:

    I was considering an old LP tank for mine as well and you've confirmed it as a good choice. (I just have to find some free time to actually get into the shop.)

    I'm also looking forward to some pics of your forge lit up. I'm curious to see what kind of heat you get out of it with the Canadian Tire refractory. I used the same stuff to coat the inside of my two-brick forge and it works really well with just a store-bought plumbing torch.
     
  5. knottysticks

    knottysticks New Member

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    Great build along Biguglyman , now we need 'Burner Building 101'. :]
     
  6. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    ...Cal...?
     
  7. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    That would be patent infringement.
    Come to the hammerin next week in Tilley ,Alberta I will tell you all about burner design.
     
  8. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    Update...I, have created fire!

    Initial firing
    [​IMG]

    Running at 2.5 lbs. Tried to get the "Dragon's Breath" but it was too bright in the shop
    [​IMG]

    Running full bore at 2.5 lbs with a chunk of blower shaft from the neighbor's furnace. Hew shouldn't notice until late August or so. Thought I'd try to normalize this stuff (unknown steel) and beat on it a bit my next time out. It's hard as hell so it should make a knife of some sort. Don't want to waste my good O1 round bar on my first hammering attempt!
    [​IMG]

    And shut down and about to be sealed up. Total run tiem was likely 25 to 30 minutes.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    Ooooooh! That looks nice!

    The even heating is very apparent in that last shot.

    Any guess on what kind of temps you'e getting?
     
  10. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    Not sure on the temperature, but I'd hazard a guess that it'll do the trick. I'm not looking to make mokume or damascus so I'm certain this rig will do the trick. The doors are too small to fit a mokume rig like Dad's through...built that way by design!
     
  11. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    Looks good.
    Glad to see the burner and everthing worked out for you 2 1/2 psi should give you lots of heat in that size of forge.
     
  12. The Flint&Fly Guy

    The Flint&Fly Guy New Member

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    This is what would be known as a vertical Forge, correct?
     
  13. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    Yes it is VERTICAL
    The only way to build a forge to and get an even heat on the steel, otherwise you have got burners blasting directly on the steel creating hot spots.
     
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