The alternative to a coal forge is a propane blacksmith forge. These forges are designed to use propane gas as the fuel. Propane is easy to obtain and is fairly reasonably priced. Often you can get it at your local gas station. Propane blacksmith forges are easy to use and involve a lot less mess and space than a coal forge.
The basic construction of a propane forge involves a burner and an insulated chamber. The burner is fixed to the chamber either in the side or on the top. The forge is the either mounted on a table or a stand. The catch is that everything that you work on has to fit into the chamber. This means you are often limited to smaller pieces or straight pieces.
The above are 3 different types of Blacksmith Forges that run on propane. Each of these forges are commercially available. Just click on the image for more details. These forges are consider atmospheric forges as they don’t have blowers and don’t require electricity. They are extremely portable and will heat small pieces of steel quite quickly.
The one on the left allows a pass through of a straight bar. The two on the right are for smaller pieces that can be place directly inside the chamber.
The advantage of the atmospheric forge is the simplicity. You simple attach the hose and regulator and it is ready for use. Heat control is provided by changing the regulator pressure. More pressure means more propane which in turn draws more air in creating a hotter burn.
Other gas blacksmith forges may have an electric blower attached to the burner. The blower forces air past the gas orifice and carries the gas into the chamber to burn. There is a valve controlling the air flow. By adjusting both the air flow and the propane pressure you can reach optimum temperatures for hot working the steel. It is more like an oxygen acetylene torch with separate controls.
The benefit to this system is that you can usually reach hotter temperatures and control the environment inside the chamber better. The downside is of course having to have electricity to run the forge.
It is not that hard to save a great deal of money building your own forge. You do have to be cautious and sure of your welding abilities. You don’t want propane leaking where it shouldn’t. Essentially your build a high temperature insulated chamber and a burner either atmospheric or blower driven and you have a perfectly functional forge. Care needs to be taken to have the right proportions for functionality.
This ebook is dedicated to building your own blacksmith gas forge. It goes into great detail for both atmospheric burners and blower forges. It is step by step and 83 pages long with many photos or the process.
It also provides information on expanding the forges or changing the design to accommodate different projects. These plans could also be used to make a small furnace for casting Bronze, Silver, or gold as it easily reaches these temperatures.
Be aware that you use any information in this ebook completely at your own risk. It is the authors intent to provide the information for educational purposes only.
To get more information on these Gas Forge Plans just click on the image.
The video below gives you some samples of what you have to do to construct a gas forge.
The traditional heat source for the black smith is a solid fuel forge. Originally using charcoal then switching to coal as the wood supplies dwindled. Coal is commonly used as a fuel because of versatility and cost effectiveness.
The design of a coal forge is quite simple. It is a largish pan shaped table with a depression in the center called a fire pot. This depression is usually a separate cast steel basin that holds the burning coals. There is a 2 inch hole in the bottom with either a grate or a rotating nut to prevent the coals from falling down but still allows the air to pass.
The air is blown through a tube from either a fan, blower or traditionally a bellows. With a fan or a blower there needs to be a way of controlling the air blast. The tube connects to the bottom of the fire pot in a Tee configuration. This allows any ash and small coals to fall past the air blast and not clog the air supply.
The fire pot itself is either square or round and often 3 to 5 inches deep, tapering to the air inlet. Sort of funnel shaped. The air connection is below this structure. This is called a bottom blast forge. Charcoal forges were typically side blast.
The pan that holds the fire pot has to be large enough to hold the coals. There were small riveters forges that were about 18 inches in diameter up to large railway forges that could heat many hundreds of pounds of steel at a time. A common size for a general blacksmith would have the pan about 24 inches by 36 inches. This would allow the coal to be heaped up over the work as well as having the burning coals under the work piece in the fire pot.
There are two big advantages of using a coal blacksmith forge. Coal produces more heat than many other fuel sources. If the steel is hotter it is easier to work. There is a down side to this. There is enough heat generated by a coal fire that it can actually burn the steel. Careful fire control and air management are required to successfully operate this style of forge.
The other major benefit to the blacksmith coal forge is that has an open top. This allows you to put almost any shaped piece of steel in in the fire to be heated. Think of a large scroll that has to be heated on the end or perhaps back in the center of the scroll for adjusting. In a blacksmith propane forge everything that has to be heated has to fit inside the insulated chamber.
The first disadvantage is that coal can be hard to get. If you happen to live near a source of good smithing coal it can be quite cheap. If you have to ship it any distance the price starts to add up.
The second disadvantage of blacksmith coal forges is that they produce a lot of smoke, especially when they are first fired up. The blacksmith uses bituminous coal. This is a soft coal that converts to coke. In the process of converting the coal to coke a lot of smoke is released. Once you are burning mostly coke there is very little smoke produced from the fire.
The third disadvantage of the coal forge is that it requires constant fire maintenance and attention to what is happening in the fire itself. With the added heat available it is easy to burn a piece that you are working on and thus wasting it.
As traditional as the blacksmith coal forge is, it is being replaced or assisted by propane blacksmith forges. Many professional blacksmiths use both propane and coal depending on their needs.
Welcome To BlacksmithForge.net
This site helps explain what a blacksmith forge is and how they are used.
Where to find blacksmith forges and what you should consider when buying one.
The blacksmith forge is the primary heat source for a blacksmith. It is used to heat the steel to a point that it is soft enough to be shaped and formed under the hammer. Usually this is around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit .
In general blacksmith forges are either designed to burn solid fuel such as a coal forge. Alternatively forges are designed to burn gaseous fuel such as propane. Each has different applications and benefits and detriments.
In the following pages you will find information about the different forges and what to look for in you particular blacksmithing applications.
For Added information you can see my companion website on Blacksmithing.