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Question about building a forge for scrolling


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#1 Christopher Rice

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:41 AM

So I have a couple of big projects coming up and I'm in need of building a new forge big enough to accomodate for some large scroll work. Was wondering if any of you have built something like this and have some recommendations for me. I currently have a small 16"x9"x9" forge with two Zoeller forge gas burners in it. The new one will be built with firebrick and I'm thinking along the lines of something short and wide possibly 3ft. x 3ft. with a 6" opening. Some questions I have are what do you use if anything to glue the firebrick together, and do you need to coat it? These are the real nice bricks that are real strong and durable. Also wondering how I would get them to stay on the ceiling of the forge. How many burners should it have? I've been reading around on different forums and I think I have information overload. Is there a good website or internet information that someone can recommend? I was just hoping that someone here has something similar that can help me out. Maybe it's time for me to build a coal forge!? Thanks as always for all your help.
-chris
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#2 K. Bryan Morgan

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:42 AM

Hey there Christopher, I'm not a production smith, just a hobbiest. However, if I were in your shoes, I would use coal. Depending on where in the country you are, it could be alot cheaper fuel wise and a large open coal fire can and does a better job heating longer or smaller pieces for that type of work. I can get coal here in Alaska for $120 a ton, deliviered to my door. Thats a huge savings over propane. Which here is slightly over a $1 a pound. So on a purely economic level using coal is an order of magnatude less expensive. A coal fire is easy to control. Has a huge range of sizes you can work at and besides all that is just plain fun to work with. I much prefer it to gas. Although in colder times I use gas. Anyway I hope this helps. I'm sure that people with more experiance than me will chime in.

#3 trez

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:19 PM

I would have to second the coal forge. I have even dug a trench 6' long and twisted 7 pieces of 3/8" round rod to make a rope. worked very well. doing gas 3'X3' you would need at least 20 burners a burner covers about a 8" area. I have also seen a blacksmith just use a rose bud on his oxy acc tourch and work small areas at a time.
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#4 Christopher Rice

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 04:22 AM

I had a feeling this might be the way to go, time to start looking in that direction...
s
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#5 prburner

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:53 AM

Hi Chris,

If you should decide to go with gas, one option would be a "stack up" type forge. A burner is is attached to a table made of castable refractory and the forge is stacked up with loose bricks. You can use kiln shelves (used in pottery kilns) for a roof on larger forges. The forge can be reconfigured to accommodate different sizes of work.

Tom

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#6 John B

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:11 AM

So I have a couple of big projects coming up and I'm in need of building a new forge big enough to accomodate for some large scroll work. Was wondering if any of you have built something like this and have some recommendations for me. I currently have a small 16"x9"x9" forge with two Zoeller forge gas burners in it. The new one will be built with firebrick and I'm thinking along the lines of something short and wide possibly 3ft. x 3ft. with a 6" opening. Some questions I have are what do you use if anything to glue the firebrick together, and do you need to coat it? These are the real nice bricks that are real strong and durable. Also wondering how I would get them to stay on the ceiling of the forge. How many burners should it have? I've been reading around on different forums and I think I have information overload. Is there a good website or internet information that someone can recommend? I was just hoping that someone here has something similar that can help me out. Maybe it's time for me to build a coal forge!? Thanks as always for all your help.
-chris


Hi Chris, Firstly if you go with the gas forge, you could drill holes through the refrectory bricks and pass steel rods through them to support them, Fireclay as mortar can be used to fill the gaps,

I would like to query why you think you need a three foot square heated chamber, so before you jump into making a coal forge and all that entails, can we clarify a few things and provide a possible solution so a better judgement can be made.

What size of scrolls are you wanting to make in this forge. You don't need a forge chamber as large as the scroll you are making
a)Roughly the overall diameter of the finished scroll end ?

b)How long will be the piece of metal to produce this particular scroll end ?

c) Will you be making them on a former/jig ?

The reason I ask is I had a large number of scrolls to make, and normally I would do them in my coke forge, however it was taking a long time and only relatively short (area) heats could be achieved at a time, I tried using a gas forge with a 12" square chamber and had the same problem,

The solution I came up with was to construct a roughly made gas forge using three standard off the shelf gas burners through a partially open fronted refrectory brick construction that was 39" long,( Used 1 metre stair tread as a base) with openings at each end to allow the passage of the bars through, the rear wall opposite to the burner location was solid bricks, the front having apertures for the burners to be used through (I did first try to mount the burners through the roof of the tunnel formed by the bricks, but got too much reflected heat and problems with maintaining the burner's flames, no problems with going in horizontally from the front at a slight angle to the radial axis, this gave a vortexing effect inside the chamber spreading the heat better and not using as much gas)

The tunnel was constructed from recycled refrectory bricks, the top and base bricks crosswise gave the tunnel a width of about 7". Inside this chamber I was heating 6 off 5/8" square bars at a time, and achieving a more than adequate heat over 34" long to allow them to be manipulated around a former in one heat, There was no waiting time as one came, out another was fed in, and it was all I could do to keep up with them,

After the initial warm up, there was no waiting time, after use I just dismantled the bricks and stacked them ready for use later as and when needed.

If you need a longer heat for the scroll end, you can replace the material with the part made scroll sticking out at the end of the tunnel (make a rack to support them if necessary) and heat the next 30+", repeat as necessary

From an economics point, it was less expensive to use more gas than to be busy using working them in the coke with the risk of burning the bars through or having to wait for the optimum time.

Just my experience but one possible solution (if hopefully it makes sense)

#7 Christopher Rice

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 05:52 AM

You know I never even thought of making a jig for the scrolls and being able to bend them all at once. I usually make them as I need them without jigs, don't ask me why I guess I'm just stubborn. This might be a possibility if I can make the jig big enough. Thanks everyone so much for all your help, this place rocks. John, I'm pretty sure I understand your idea, only question I may have is about burner placement, and how did you support the burners in the brick?
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#8 John B

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:48 PM

You know I never even thought of making a jig for the scrolls and being able to bend them all at once. I usually make them as I need them without jigs, don't ask me why I guess I'm just stubborn. This might be a possibility if I can make the jig big enough. Thanks everyone so much for all your help, this place rocks. John, I'm pretty sure I understand your idea, only question I may have is about burner placement, and how did you support the burners in the brick?

Jigs for scrolls, I too like to turn them individually, and they do naturally come out very similar without too much thought or effort, however if they have to match or there are large quantities to produce, time spent making a jig is well spent, On larger scrolls I find it easier to make the jig so it rotates on a central pivot, drawing the metal into the scroll shape, rather than walking a bar around a fixed jig.

The burners I use are fitted to a trident type manifold which rigidly supports all three, this assembly was clamped to an old large engineers scribing block and this bank of burners just pointed through the side apertures between the stacked fire bricks

This set up also gives me other options, (I have a single manifold, twin manifold and triple manifold)I can just use one burner, two burners, or three burners (They look like what I understand are popularly known as 'weedburners', or used for melting pitch for flat roofing, or making pitch compound for repousse work if you are into repousse work) and they can be adjusted to suit any angle of approach I need on a particular project, or I can hold them and direct heat to where it is needed

Versatility is always a bonus with a tool, easily accessible/sourced also helps

Here is a link to what I am talking about, http://www.socal.co....CFYpB4QodXEi5Ng Burners are ref 1260 (19.6KW output) manifolds are called adaptors 1122, 1123, and extension tubes 1112, 1124, and fit to a standard handle 1340, I use an adjustable regulator to obtain best effect

#9 Rich Waugh

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:58 PM

My two burner forge is really a three burner, as I have one additional burner located in the "front porch" or hearth area. I use this when I need to heat small sections of stock or the middle of something too big to get in the forge itself. Works pretty well for me. I also have two forge burners set up on oversize "third hand" stands so I can use them for pre-heating for welding or heating large awkward things.
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