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Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 5:47 AM

Any ideas for simplest, cheapest, smallest way to make a small forge suiatble for forgeing medieval style arrowheads?
I've just bought 5 and they aren't quite how I want 'em... too light for my repro' crossbow, I'm pretty sure I could forge some better myself anyhow.
Many years ago I had an ex WD portable blacksmiths forge (the used 'em for shoing horses...that shows how old it was)...it got ditched when me moved house, the pan had rusted anyhow.
Del

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#1

Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 7:56 AM

This is a true story, as you see we still have farrier's here...

bout 2 years ago some friends of mine with horses took me & them to a local farrier..I was just along for the ride

When you replace shoes, you have to make sure of the fit & function, and this requires that the radius & curvature be correct

This guy did all this outside - he had a pit built with heavy cinderblock on the outside & fire-brick lining the thing - nothing big, just enough to hold a good pile of hard coal. He ran a 4" ceramic pipe into the bottom of the pit, along the ground....the coal burnt either over the pipe or just to the opening of it.

Now - he comes out of a shed with an extension cord & one of those old hair dryers that had the domed lid on them - you used to place the base on a table & sit under them - remember?

anyhow, he had removed the old dryer dome & had a metal flex pipe running from the outflow duct on the dryer - he would put the end of the duct in that ceramic pipe & run the dryer wide open at first & the reduce speed as necessary - that coal took off in no time, as soon he was banging away on his anvil

All homemade & pretty cool if you asked me.....and cheap to build....good luck!

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#2
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Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 8:13 AM

Nice...
I'm torn between good old coal, which means out doors, (and there's not much spare room in the garden) or maybe a butane/propane...(I dunno) flame into a very small fire brick hearth (think big enough for a tin of beans) obviously it would need forced air.
Oxy accetylene would do it...but I dunno how easy it is to get hold of and it's a bit explosive shhhh don't tell Mrs Cat.
Del

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#3

Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 8:14 AM

Look here...

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-14925670.html

Or, try a google search for "$10.00 forge tire rim"

HTH....

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 8:27 AM

Cheers, I shall do some armchair design work.
I shall keep my eyes open for old rims....
Del

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#7
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Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 10:16 AM

The other contributors use the word "rims". My brother told me some time back, that the brake "drums'' could be used as forges due to the type of steel used to make them.

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#5

Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 8:53 AM

Like here

http://www.countrysidemag.com/issues/89/89-2/Ken_Scharabok.html

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#6

Re: Mini Forge

05/22/2009 10:13 AM

Verrry handy to have in any shop. I use mine for my steam generator (bending wood), and to melt lead for ballasts. Uses propane, but I doubt if would get hot enough for steel unless you took the spreader off the burner top. Then you could expect a flame about 3 foot high.

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#8

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 10:19 AM

Possibly build a small induction forge?

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#9
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 10:32 AM

Not sure how you get the high frequency RF on a budget - but damned handy to have around!

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#32
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 8:36 AM

Were budget not an issue - damn this induction heating is cool

http://www.itherm.com/Applications.html

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#33
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 8:48 AM

Yeah the buget is approx £0 +/- £10
Del

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#34
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 8:57 AM

Disk from harrow, chunk of pipe in ground for stand, tin can, hair dryer, 90 degree pipe underneath for hair blower (tin venting pipe), charcoal.

You haven't moved since the earth was created, so rattling in the garage I'm thinking 20 quid.

Unless you cleaned out the garage

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#10

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 11:10 AM

Del, as the quantities of metal are very small, how about using your cat like instincts to build a carbon arc furnace! Here is a link to start you off!

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#11

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 3:11 PM

Thanks guys, some good ideas there, I shall keep my eyes peeled for all of the above.
I do have an arc welder... you'd think there'd be a cunning way of using it to heat up steel without actually welding it...sort of like the carbon arc thing...

Maybe if I could harness the power of one of Mrs Cat's hard stares? .

Or ... perhaps I could burn some water
Del

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#12
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 3:38 PM

You figure out how to harness "the hard stare" and we'll have solved the energy crisis

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#29
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 7:20 AM

Del,

You could burn water if your arc welder is DC. Use the previously mentioned battery carbon rods for electrodes. Capture the H in one tube and the O in another. Take precautions to prevent mixing until right at the torch tip. Use back flow preventers. The oxy-hydrogen flame should easily heat the small amounts of metal you are using. The water is almost free, the electricity will cost something, but only as you use it. You don't need to buy several cubic feet at a time.

I have seen videos of this arrangement suffering explosions, which are significant when they occur. You should probably build in some allowance for explosion in your design, maybe even locate the apparatus outdoors with some blast shielding. Careful indoors also, since unburned H can collect at the ceiling and explode.

Dave

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#91
In reply to #11

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 6:23 PM

oh..oh....HHO is the way to go....Make Arrows Go Faster an more efficient too..

Sorry, couldn't Help myself.

If you are starting from scratch (pardon the pun): -

A brake Drum off a 4WD or Truck from the wreckers make good fire pots, and for your arrow heads, Charcoal (not heat beads) would be a cheap way to go, less sulfur and other nasties than coal. This is important for small jobs like the arrow head.

If you are modifying the ones you have: -

A rich burning Propane or Oxy-Acetelene torch would be the way to go. Use a cutting head or large burner to get an even heat.

This is not so much to add carbon (it wont), but will reduce the amount of carbon you will lose from the steel. A torch has the added benefit of not scaling the work up to much and giving better control, making the finished job look much nicer.

This is also not a bad way to start from scratch, as you can see how the material is behaving and where the heat needs to be, takes less space too.

Also find a piece either Railway track (flatten the top) or a large block 100mmX100mm X200mm as an anvil for this kind of work.

There are a whole lot of different designs for forges at: -

http://www.anvilfire.com/

May take a while to sort through though, also has tips on forging.

Have Fun,

Regards,
Sapper

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#174
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

11/25/2009 10:49 PM

I made a carbon arc torch about 20 years ago from found bits and it was so good someone stole it, as they do. I haven't found any suitable brass or copper bars to make another (probably too annoyed at the theft to look). I used Air / Arc gouging rods for electrodes. One electrode and bar assembly was fixed and the other moveable over about 50mm so I could strike the arc and adjust its length. The handle was cast with Scotchcast into a piece of PVC pipe. The heat was extremely intense, confined and great for freeing up frozen up (corrosion) parts. If was better for heating than oxy and cheap to run on my 200amp welder.

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#13

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 4:24 PM

I'd use MAPP gas, a small kiln or ponder a bit

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#14
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 4:32 PM

Funky kilns...

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#15
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 11:19 PM
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#22
In reply to #13

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 1:24 AM

wow,

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#16

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 11:20 PM

We (my wife's horses) have a farrier who comes out with his portable forge. It looks like a small barrel stove. About 24 inches long and maybe 14-18 inches in diameter. Propane fired, sounds like a jet engine. Last time he was out I wandered around the yard looking for the low-flying jet...

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#17

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/22/2009 11:40 PM

Del -- There is a lot of hobby interest in blacksmithing and also knife making here in the colonies. There are abundant web sources of information much of it from amateurs who want to share their tricks and ideas. Some Google searching on the search phrases like Blacksmith forge, gas forge, propane forge will turn up a lot of information. Things to consider are the difficulty of obtaining good coal or coke if you are thinking of a coal forge, whether your neighbors will be tolerant of coal smoke, the time it takes to get a good hot coke bed going in the forge, the possible danger of coal gas mixing with an electric fan that doesn't have an explosion proof motor. You can use an air bypass valve to regulate air flow from a constant speed blower fan. A truck brake drum makes a decent forge if you line it with some formable refractory. It may be easier to make it rectangular and cut up firebrick to line it. A decent grate to cover the air inlet can be made from some 12mm square steel bar. If you don't have access to a welder put it together with machine screws or even rivets as long as you have a drill press to drill the holes.

You may want to go with a gas forge. They are quicker to get started and easier to deal with in general. No fan is needed; but you need to know how to make the burners correctly. and of course you will need to obtain a gas tank and regulator. It is also possible to run a gas forge off natural gas but the burners will be different from the propane burners. You build a rectangular steel box lined with firebrick or preferably a higher grade refractory especially on the ceiling of the forge box. You need an insulated door that you can open easily. The burners come down from the top and need to be placed correctly to get the right heat level and distribution. The burner design is important. Do your research and you are likely going to find a decent DIY design. If you can find an experienced maker of gas forge burners the purchase of that item will probably save you a lot of experimentation.

I can provide additional written info in MS Word format and links if you want to pursue this. I did a good bit of research on this before I decided to save up and buy a gas forge rather than build my own.

Ed Weldon

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#18

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:01 AM

I don't know about melting steel, but out in the jungle a friend of mine built a forge for melting brass and lead, powered by natural gas with a very powerful extraction fan ducted properly. Like another poster said, it sounded like a jet engine. Very easy to control the heat by controlling the air flow (the duct had a damper arrangement, if I remember rightly. The burner was simply a metal tube with holes in it- I am sure there was more to the design than I remember. He would special build the oven itself out of stacked fire brick for each project he had to do. When the metal was all melted and recast for whatever he was working on, he would disassemble the whole thing and pack it away for another day...

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#19

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:14 AM

Back in the day, I saw an amatuer smith using a small home made forge that would be just about right for your arrowhead project. He had a small can (tin for you Brits) about the size of a beer can holding a charcoal fire, yes the stuff you cook your burgers and steaks over. He force fed this with air from a (once again) hair dryer. He had his built into a large steel disk around two inches thick with various shapes cut into the rim which he used for his anvil. He would feed another charcoal briquet from time to time and managed to do some remarkable smithing at county fairs and the like.

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#31
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 8:26 AM

Along these lines - as in completely off - but apropo to previous threads about survival skills

I was signed up for a smithing class in New Mexico when we hit the downturn - hope they are still in business when I can afford to go back

BUT as I was trying to get to, I used to follow a web group that actually is engaged in recreating iron from ore by burning it ala tribesmen in the bush. A clay chimney is built up out of mud, no more than waist high, and the ore loaded into the top and brush into the bottom. Keep feeding brush until the whole ball of ore slags into the bottom suddenly. Wait to cool and then go pick out the ball. Interestingly the carbon from the open fire gets entrained in the ore, moving you closer to crude steel - roughly comparable to real forged iron.

Fascinating fun - wish I coulda played instead of read - but work had me in California

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#20

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:16 AM
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#23
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 1:42 AM

really glad my wife's idea of roughing it is , buffet service, or i'd need a bigger shed...

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#21

Re: Mini Forge

05/23/2009 1:00 AM

wow, sweet !

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#24

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 2:23 AM

Thanks guys, more great links and ideas.
I have a torch with a long barrel which sucks in air and sounds like a jet engine, uses a MAPP bottle. The barrel glows red after a while.

I could make a thick steel can lined with fire brick and mount this onto the side, If I can keep the heat in a small volume it should do the trick, without coal and smoke.... but plenty of noise to make up for it.

Cheers
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#26
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 3:07 AM

hi Del

i'm wondering,

the noise suppression studies done on the acoustic properties of cowling inlets might be of service here to help reduce dba...im thinking of the patterns in the panels..

have a "shell "?.. , many types of accustic absorbing materials...

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#27
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 4:00 AM

The noise shouldn't be too much of a problem...It'll be drowned out by the hammering.

Whooooooshhhhhhh roaaarrrrr BANG..BANG..BANG..BANG...thud..YOWWWLLLL...BANG.
Del

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#30
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 7:28 AM

whew, for a minute , i thought that sound was the vacuum between my ear drums cycling.. thankz...

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#35
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 10:46 AM

A simpler method may be to use a pedal actuated generator or old stick welder and switch to positive ground and construct a small box lined with sheet rock (gypsum)material

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#36
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 10:53 AM

More please - why positive ground?

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#38
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 11:27 AM

On the old stick welder if I use the positive gnd setting and then gradually increase the amps the electrode will begin to fume then glow and with increased amps eventually droop and become molten globules on the bench top. I dunno why does not occur when switched to neg gnd

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#25

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 2:46 AM

I used to have an old BBQ, loaded it with charcoal, then used a 12v blower from a car heating system. It will heat steel until white sparks come off.

I could not melt steel until I got the Oxy Acetelene torches. Torches are not expensive. Tank rental is several hundred dollars a year.

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#28

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 5:33 AM

Forge Smorge - forges were only "the in thing" when the industrial revolution was composed of charcoal and hammers; and a bellows.

The issue is to get the part up to "heat" or hot enough to make is plastic enough to reshape it with said hammer.

2 issue; development of heat and containment of heat.

The simplest form of heat is a fire - be it from solids, liquids or gas's.

The easiest way to contain the heat is to minimise radiation and convection.

Since the arrow heads are small, the production run is short; I'd be fitting a 200mm length of about 50mm ID pipe with a tin can at the bottom - with a few holes about 1/2 way down, pouring some alcohol in it, lighting it and then using the tube over that (adjust height to suit, and then suspending your arrow heads over the top of said pipe.

A slightly carbon rich flame would be ideal, and it ought to not take more than a few minutes to heat each head.

Simple, easy and cheap.

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#37

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 11:01 AM

Y'know, we may be being dense

http://www.ajwindow.co.uk/

This guy is right down the street - LOOKS like he'd enjoy arrow heads - and may just rent you forge time?

Might be the cheapest.

Had a smith in my neighborhood used to get intriged and only charge me gas....

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#39

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 11:41 AM

A subject dear to my heart, Del. Please post pictures of your setup and tell us how it works out!

Mini-forge/torch/fire setups for home metal work are a thorny issue, per conversations with others in our local metal arts guild. While oxyacetylene torch is the preferred tool for working with precious metal, the insurance companies seriously freak about these setups in the home.

I've been trying to come up with a setup, similar to your problem in scale, that would be just right for use in the home fireplace or so, for the whitesmithing.

Just read a chapter out of "The Art of Blacksmithing" by Alex W. Bealer (great little book with lots of sketches) describing various forge designs. This is what I figure:

- the cleanest fuel to use would be charcoal (minimal emissions). This is perfectly suitable for the purpose, as long as there's a good air control setup. Indoor (fireplace) or out. For coal, you should have a chimney setup to draw off smoke and fumes.

- I doubt I'll be building a bellows, myself. Modern tech for air control seems the way to go unless you have time to tan the hide of a local beast, etc. (Or use the KrisDel ready-to-wear beast hide?...)

- Heat containment is an important issue so making it a "mini-forge" is on the right track. This is also good because it's no big deal to build an arrowhead sized (or crucible sized) forge. Couple firebricks? It would certainly fit in a fireplace...

- Bealer says for welding work (to minimize oxidation to the metal) the forge is built as deep as it is wide.

How to do the air input and controls.... hmmm

I gotta go hammer some metal...

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:17 PM

Artsmith --- "How to do the air input and controls.... hmmm"

Look at the diagram in my post. A simple metal plate valve in the air discharge line from the blower or even across the blower inlet will work. All of these small blowers can run against a closed line because such fans inherently draw less current with lower air flow and very little if any airflow is needed to cool the motor. A simple actuating rod or lever close at hand for the forge operator is all that is needed.

Ed Weldon

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#51
In reply to #42

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 6:56 AM

Ed: I had a look at some designs and I think I prefer the "side blast forge" (mainly in observance of Murphy's Law - if anything does go wrong I'd rather have it in sight on the side rather than underneath a fire).

I notice that some of the side blast designs involve a water jacket to cool the tuyere. Is this necessary? Do I expect a lot of heat transfer up the tuyere in the direction of the blower, and if so, can I optimize the length to prevent heating of the blower?

Also reading about the air systems and explosions caused by "blowback" with the old bellows type setup. Seems like the basic issues are the same, at least, from the moment you switch off the blower when you're done, flue gases can be drawn into the tuyere. I'm thinking, for a fireplace setup, it might be optimal to be able to disconnect the blower and direct any tuyere outflow of gases up the chimney, when the work is finished. Is that a reasonable approach, or do you have other thoughts about this possible safety issue?

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#56
In reply to #51

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 11:36 AM

Artsmith -- I'm not what you'd call any kind of expert on forge design. I'm not at all familiar with any kind of side blast gas forge. To me this is the stuff of blast furnaces or maybe multi ton per day cupolas. It strikes me that water cooling in a hobby size forge would be way overkill and even counterproductive in that it would remove heat that would otherwise be needed to reach forging temperatures in a short time. Proper selection and design for gas burners should eliminate such issues. 304 stainless steel is an ideal material. As for coal forges low carbon steel at 5-7mm thickness seems to be what's commonly used for the firepot with 7-20mm wall thickness on the tuyere depending on what compromise the builder must make between life of the part and available materials and shop fabrication methods.

I think the danger of explosions is overstated with respect to small forges. I suppose if you are going to use a fan with a brush type universal or dc motor it would probably be a good idea to make it so you can disconnect it.

But think about this for a minute. Have you ever worked with an ordinary gas barbeque where the spark igniter didn't work for the first few tries and then it caught fire and the whole thing went off with a somewhat scary "WHUMP"? Now compare the volume of air/gas under the barbee hood with the volume of maybe 18 inches of 3 inch steel pipe with a fan on one end and a 6mm thick tuyere full of holes on the other end. I don't envision much of a whump there although a few times like that may be a bit rough on a fan with a plastic impeller.

If a backfire still worries you then put a tee between blower and firepot and fabricate a little hinged and counterbalanced swinging door over the branch. This becomes your blowoff valve. Add just enough weight or spring force to hold it closed against the closed discharge pressure of the blower.

About doing any coal forging in a fireplace; I think that is a terrible idea. Coal forges produce a lot of carbon monoxide. You better be 100% certain of your chimney draft to try it. There is also the chance of loose sparks creating unwelcome mischief. Unless I were planning a suicide I wouldn't dream of bringing any coal forge under a roof without a properly designed chimney, nothing very flammable nearby and at least one fully open side of the building at my back. I note here the importance of being able to read the temperature of the steel by the redness of the glow, something hard to do with the sun or a bright sky beating down on you.

Hope I've answered your questions here.

Ed Weldon

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#59
In reply to #56

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 1:03 PM

I agree with you, not inside and not anywhere where combustible stuff is lying around.

A hose, connected up to a water supply might be a good idea, sxomething that I myself never thought of then.....

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#62
In reply to #56

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 3:23 PM

Good advice - I like the idea of a blow-off valve for a pipe tuyere setup: too easy. (But see Andy's design! Pipe not needed )

Re: gas and explosions. Of course you're right about the scale. I don't have much experience with gas, so I appreciate your take on it. ( I was blown out of the kitchen by an exploding gas stove when I was ten, and have stayed away from the stuff ever since, as much as possible. Biggish whump that time...)

If a mini-forge can fit right into my fireplace, it should be safe to use charcoal.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 5:02 PM

Artsmith --

If I were going to set up something like that in the fireplace I'd set up a good CO meter in the room until I was sure I knew the chimney was drafting OK. The nice thing about a portable forge is that if you make it safe to carry you can put it outside when you are done working for the day.

It might be worth your while to chat with the local fire department folks about their take on setting up small portable barbeques or hibachis in a fireplace for cooking (like when it's bad weather outdoors). If they say no to the idea ask them why that is any different from an ordinary fire in the fireplace. Then let us know the answer.

Ed Weldon

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#74
In reply to #63

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 11:26 AM

Ed Weldon:

You are spot on about the carbon monoxide/fumes safety hazard. I spoke to the local fire safety people. They do not approve the use of BBQ / charcoal fuel in a fireplace nor in open garages (this apparently is the more common approach to foul weather/power outage use of the BBQs - which wouldn't ordinarily fit in a fireplace.)

Where charcoal briquets are used indoors - by a restaurant - it is licensed and inspected and of course, involves a large fume hood which has a fan and actively sucks off CO and other fumes.

He says if I want to build a small forge I have to bring the plans to them first and have it approved.

So the short answer to 'where to put a mini-forge' is: outdoors.

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#78
In reply to #74

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 2:25 PM

As usual ignorance is bliss when dealing with the local safety officials,

"Gee I didn't know" is better than being told you need a foam fire suppression system for your backyard, that by the way isn't zoned 'industrial" LOL

Del what are you trying to shoot?

old cars

How are you going to attach em to the shafts?

Whats the objective authenticity, functionality?

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#79
In reply to #78

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 2:36 PM

Objective: Destruction!

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#80
In reply to #78

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 2:47 PM

The original reason for building it was 'to see what it was like to shoot'

I'm refurbishing it so I can show it to some of the people at the archery club and because it was sad to see it in a state of dissrepair.
I've tinkered with forgeing stuff before, it should be fun to make vaugely authentic heads, they will have a socket for the shaft to fit into, and I'll maybe rivet them too (Don't mention the epoxy shhhh)
I find a good way to work out how to forge a shape is to do it cold with plasticine first! The plasticine allows you to quickly work out how much to flatten out to get the right end result.
I'll flatten the end of a rod and then wrap the flattened portion around a mandrel, cut off the rod and forge the end into a diamond cross section which is correct for a croosbow bolt or 'quarrel' from the French 'Carreau'= 'diamond', the shape is sort of shown below but the long axis would be horizontal.

/\
\/

I'll shoot it a few times a demo's, maybe the odd Sumer Fete and then hang it up on the garage wall again. It always comes in handy if I need to humanely put down any houshold appliances or cars...
Interestingly the bolts often had just 2 flights, put on at an angle to spin the bolt in flight.
It needs a nice heavy bolt to shoot correctly...they are also quite fun to throw back and forth...it makes for an exciting game of catch.
I s'pose it begs the question why do we build anything?... to learn new skills and just for the pure fun of it.
If I had to define myself it would be firstly by my family and secondly as a maker of things. (And by my magnificant stripey tail)
Del

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#81
In reply to #80

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 2:53 PM

Stripey tail?!

Your photo was so pale I assumed .....

Not to get too personal or nuttin'

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 2:58 PM

You don't remember my Christmas Card?


Doing serious research...something to do with muons if I recall
Del

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#83
In reply to #82

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 3:18 PM

Musta been before my time?

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#84
In reply to #80

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 3:56 PM

Did you ever shoot all metal bolts?

how about twisting the arrowheads, instead of the flights?

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#87
In reply to #84

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 5:01 PM

Did you ever shoot all metal bolts?
Nope... contemplated it, but not done it...
But then I've contemplated all sorts of things
Del

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#86
In reply to #80

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 4:04 PM

Don't mention "nether regions" on CR4 please....even struck through!!

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#66
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 8:04 PM
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#69
In reply to #56

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 3:41 AM

Small tuyeres are frequently made with a water jacket because the end burns out quite rapidly if you don't.

The standard design uses natural convection into the quench water tub.

This design is at least 200 years old, probably older.

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#48
In reply to #39

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 9:25 PM

Mini-forge/torch/fire setups for home metal work are a thorny issue, per conversations with others in our local metal arts guild. While oxyacetylene torch is the preferred tool for working with precious metal, the insurance companies seriously freak about these setups in the home.

Here is the replacement for acetylene: http://www.airgas.com/browse/product.aspx?Msg=RecID&recIds=260348&WT.svl=260348 similar to propane insurance wise.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 6:05 AM

Thanks, Garth. I will look into it.

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#40

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 11:50 AM

35 years ago my ex-wife was a silversmith (probably still does it!). I built a small forger from 1/4" steel, with fire bicks and I used a variable speed fan and coke.....it melted silver and almost anything else.

Coke is better than coal, it burns hotter....Charcoal is also good.

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#50
In reply to #40

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 6:41 AM

Do you remember the dimensions of the forge you built? I'm reading these great tips and links to figure an optimum size.. the guy at beautifuliron.com says the heart of the fire should be seven inches deep for optimum temperature. Guest reports a functional beer-can sized forge (but fuel had to be added periodically) and Mark Stockman's Hibachi setup (shallower) worked with bigger fuel not briquets.

I'm thinking maybe a foot square and deep would be about optimum for a small work setup to allow for seven inch depth of hottest coals. With a work surface attached or near by on the side - this is recommended because small items cool quickly.

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#52
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 9:02 AM

It was about 10" square and 2' high. A potter made the fire bricks, we burnt them in slowly....the bricks were around 1" thick, so the fire was about 8"x8", but taller, probably about 14" deep. I cut slits in the side to allow tools to be lowered onto the hot coals....

It was ridiculously fast for silver.....really OTT.....

With a fan with speed control you can control the temperature easily.....I used a variable (variac) transformer on a single phase induction motor....

For melting 8 oz. of silver in a crucible, it would take less than 2 minutes.....one fueling was enough....

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 9:35 AM

Thanks Andy, it sounds like a great design! From what you're saying I imagine it's a bit like a rook tower with a parapet only the "archery" slits are holding the tongs!! Optimal containment and complete access: beautiful.

Did you pipe the air in from the side or the bottom?

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 10:02 AM

The air came in technically from the bottom of the fire, through the grate, but in fact it was a motor with a fan on each end and I simply sat it on the floor. I hope the diagram helps. The brown is the fire brick....I forgot to label it.....

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 11:01 AM

Very cool, Andy! That is the simplest air setup I've seen.. very straightforward.

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#58
In reply to #55

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 1:01 PM

...and it worked a treat......my wife cast about once a month and one bag of coke lasted a year or more.

Can one still buy coke???

If not charcoal should also work well......

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#60
In reply to #58

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 1:31 PM

Andy -- The way a coal forge works is that it actually creates coke as the coal close to and within the firepot burns off its volatiles. As the glowing coke coals diminish in size the smith moves nearby coal chunks closer to the burning center to enable their burning down to coke form before they become part of the main fire.

As for availability of coke I suppose in most modern societies the only use of coke is in steel making blast furnace operations and the mills tend to make their own coke or buy it in trainload quantities from specialized producers. If you had an inside connection to some of that it would be neat; but you'd still be faced with breaking up large lumps into the small chunks you need for a forge.

Here in western USA the blacksmith subculture has only a few sources of decent metallurgical grade coal and for most those sources require shipping which doubles the cost of the stuff. Coke is essentially unobtainable from retail sources.

Even the best charcoal is regarded as inferior to good coal because it is consumed may times faster than the coal. But some use it because blacksmith quality coal is unavailable or because they have built there own kiln to reduce firewood to charcoal on a somewhat larger scale than most hobbyists would require.

Ed Weldon

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 1:54 PM

What you say is completely true technically, but a small home/hobby "coal" fire will still never achieve the temperatures of a "Coke" fire of the same size.

Neither will a small "wood" fire achieve the same temperatures of a "Charcoal" fire (made from the same wood!)......

If it were possible, there would be little reason to produce either coke or charcoal....but both were (are?) needed for steel making......for several thousand years....well charcoal at least!!!

In a larger furnace you can use the method you mention, but when working in a small/tiny home furnace, you need to have all coke/charcoal to get a good temperature in a small place....my experience at least.....

Also both coke and charcoal burn smoke free, a distinct advantage!

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#64
In reply to #61

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 5:12 PM

Andy -- What you say about coke burning hotter than coal makes sense since because the process of gasifying the volatiles in coal absorbs some of the energy that would otherwise heat the bed of "coals" and the blower tends to push the burning mixture away into the surrounding air as rising flame where most of it's useful heat will be lost.

This is conjecture on my part since my coal forge is sitting half built right where it was the day I received the gas forge.

Ed Weldon

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#65
In reply to #58

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 8:00 PM
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#67
In reply to #65

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 9:43 PM

OTOH here's where to find places in USA and Canada (sorry, Del) where you can actually buy blacksmith coke in reasonable quantities:

http://www.fholder.com/Blacksmithing/coal.htm

BlacksmithsGazette home page:

http://www.blacksmithsgazette.com/Blacksmithing/

Here's other related links:

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4572012_blacksmithing-with-charcoal.html

http://www.abavic.org.au/

Ed Weldon

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#41

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:06 PM

Del -- Relative to coal forges for anyone interested:

http://www.knifenetwork.com/workshop/tut_coal_forge_warner.shtml

Here's a diagram from the above link:

On the other hand serious blacksmiths (who generally work with things larger than an arrowhead) may share the opinion of this fellow:

http://www.beautifuliron.com/forge_brakedrum.htm

One other point that is important for what you are doing: An arrowhead is going to be a relatively small mass compared with its surface area. That means it will cool relatively quickly, especially in the last stage of heating and forming. Therefore you should plan your forge setup with the idea that you will have to work very rapidly while the metal stays at forging temperature or you will end up with too many heating cycles wrecking the structure and integrity of the metal. The aformentioned little charcoal forge (#20 posted by Guest) with the can mounted in the center of a steel plate with various tools built in is worth taking a second look at because it reflects the obvious evolution of its creator's design to meet a problem like I've described here where small forgings have to be worked rapidly and money is to be made from the enterprise.

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#43

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:31 PM

Blimey...
More great links...
I've got more ideas than my furry brain can cope with.
Mrs Cat has just rescued me...
I was re-furbishing my repro medieval crossbow...
The binding holding the ring onto the front end was rotting, but I just had to try and cock it.
Wellllll, it's 275lb draw weight and needs a cocking lever...
The binding broke... The lever flew across the garage and the D ring (hand made, cut from gauge plate about 20years ago) dissapeared.
I cleared out about 75% of the garage...no joy...
Mrs Cat says.
'Let me have a look, I'll work out where it's gone' (well she'd just been watching Hercule Poirot on the TV.)
I show her how it happened...She looks around....
'It must've rolled under the garge door (up and over type) open it up' she says.
Well, I've opened that door a dozen times since I lost that D ring....
But this time, as I raise it...clatter the ring pops out from behind one of the door bracing struts and rolls onto the floor.

That's my gal

Anyhow I'll post some pics of the cat-astrophic failure, also if I build the micro forge (I've decided a mini-forge is too big) I'll keep you all posted.
Del

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#44
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 12:32 PM

There are reasons we are married!

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#45
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 1:40 PM

That's about as far as reason goes

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#46

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 3:15 PM

We had a forge at home in the Northampton workshop of my grandfather, who among other things used to construct windpumps. It was on the first floor so we had a hole in the roof with a turned over bucket minus bottom cemented onto the roof tiles to act as a chimney outlet for the fumes. We always used coke, and had a hand cranked bellows under the hearth which led into the coke. The handle was a b.... as you would catch your hand between the extension and the metal crank.

A better alternative to coke nowadays would be to use charcoal. I used an upturned oil drum minus its top and bottom, together with an iron grid on the top to hold the fuel and the firebricks out of electric storage heaters to build the surround.

The Africans in the south would build a pit for the furnace. Two tubes led from the pit and the apprentice would sit down with a hand on each of a skin and alternatively pump these up and down. There must have been some form of valve at the skin end.

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#47

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/23/2009 5:19 PM

I actually used a Hibachi grill and an ancient hair dryer to do some smith work when I was younger. I used lump charcoal- the briquettes don't cut it.

Of the above, the brake drum from a heavy truck would be the best option, although for something as small as arrowheads a car or light truck brake drum will work. If you decide to keep using the forge, I would suggest lining the brake drum with fire clay.

As to the arrowheads- do you want antipersonnel or antiarmor capability? That affects the design. Medieval crossbowmen did occasionally use iron/steel bolts also- smaller diameter, so less air/penetration resistance, and stronger than wood. But they were hyperexpensive military hardware- iron and steel were still scarce.

A knight's helmet was worth as much as a prosperous farm, and so a fully armored knight on an armored warhorse must have been worth as much as an M2A3 Abrams tank or a F-22 Raptor fighter.

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#57

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/24/2009 12:23 PM

There is a company called Lindsay's Technical Books. Located in Bradley Illinois. They have a book for sale; Building an Atmospheric Forge, & Heat Treat Oven. page 63 in the free catalog I recieved. $16.00 not counting shipping fee. Looks to me like they use an old bar-b-que grill. Might be in your library. ( Authors - Bill Goodman and Bob Holmes ) Books about making your own charcoal also. Lot's of neat stuff. (www.lindsaybks.com) This is off track; but look into osage orange/hedgeapple shafts. I just finished transplanting about a hundred seedlings from one 'apple'.

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#68

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 1:54 AM

Hey Del, First I would go check into your fuel source availability. I buy blacksmith coal for a small fraction of of the cost of gas or liquid fuel.

I would use the smallest brake drum I could find and use Ed's design with a few mods.

Add another T with a gate valve off the pipe between the blower and existing pipe Tee. This will let you fine tune the air flow better than what a rheostat will do alone.

If you have a scrap iron yard that will still let you in to buy scrap before it is shipped out, the parts here will cost $.20 a pound.

The grate is just a piece of steel with a bunch of small holes drilled in it. The air charge keeps it cool most of the time. No bigger than you need, I wouldn't even bother with a reducing tubing.

Arrow heads are much smaller than horse shoes and much thinner. The heat will need to be carefully controlled.

If you opt for the electric furnace you may need to use inert gas to keep from oxidising your thin edges to much or plan to file and grind.

Brad

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#70
In reply to #68

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 6:46 AM

I'm probably not going to use it very often so I'm after max convenience, minimum size (Minimum Mrs Cat antagonsation/impact...eg don't build a blast furnace on her patio)
It's a Bank Holiday here today, so I'll take a trip around the back of some of the metlworking places and rummage in their scrap bins....
I do love a good rummage.
I've found some good cheapish firebricks on the internet..but I'll see what I can find lying around.
Is there any short term substitute for firebick for a one off..or doe anything else crack up/explode?

Del

BTW Please consider this as a thanks to all other posters too...this is a good informative interesting thread.

(In fact I'm surprized it hasn't got 5 stars yet)

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#76
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 11:40 AM

Is there any short term substitute for firebick for a one off..or doe anything else crack up/explode?

http://www.traditionaloven.com/wwwboard/index.html

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#71

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 9:46 AM

Hey guys, I found these broken bricks round the back of a small factory unit amongst some rubish...they look like they may be fire bricks and I one a quick burst with the torch (but the MAPP is just about run out). It didn't go bang...
Whaddaya reckon eh? eh?
Does it look like fire brick to you? They look a bit like they are made of plaster rather than cement, one looks like it's been cut with a saw and there are possible heat marks on 'em.

Oh yes, while I'm here...steel for arrowheads. How much carbon is there in Rebar? I do have some nice EN8, but I don't really want to saw it up. rebar is a nice size to start with...I want a steel with just enough carbon to harden and temper, just a tad up from mild steel. (I've found conflicting stuff on the web saying it's good, patchy etc)

Del

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#72
In reply to #71

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 10:34 AM

Hello Del.

The advantage of the firebricks from the old heavy electric storage heaters is that they are uniform size and have holes moulded in, so can be built up stable fashion, no fire cement needed.

The 45 gal drum also ensures the working height is fairly optimal, and there is no need for fancy blowers once your fire is lit and the charcoal gets going, there is adequate updraught.

It is more than adequate for iron and steel - you're not after melting it.

Best place is not on the patio and not too near pine trees.

And it is cheap if you can obtain the old drum. The firebricks are heavy, though.

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#73
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 10:59 AM

Does it look like fire brick to you?

No has appearance of used brick possibly exposed to fire.

How much carbon is there in Re-bar?

Carbon content of re-bar is solely dependant upon the recycled feed stock, patchy etc. very inconsistent exactly.

Drill rod is preferable for consistency.

While you're scavenging find a fabrication facility and pick up pieces of scrap sheet or steel plate:

1045

1045 hot roll plate has a wide variety of applications. It is used for machinery parts, excellent for die forging and hot upsetting, gears, bolster plates, base plates, wear plates, brake dies etc. 1045 hot roll plate can be flame cut to various shapes for a multitude of uses, both in the hardened or annealed condition. Can be hammer forged. 1045 can be used where greater strength is required than can be obtained from the lower carbon steels. It responds to heat treatment, and a wide range of properties can be obtained. In thicker sections, partial hardening increases strength substantially, and flame or induction hardening produces a high surface hardness.

ASTM A-36

ASTM A36 is used for general purpose structural, machinery parts, frames, fixtures, automotive and agricultural implements and equipment, brackets, stakes, ornamental works, forgings, base plates, gears, cams, sprockets, jigs, rings, templates, fixtures, bearing plates, tanks, bins, various parts obtained by flame cutting, and miscellaneous non-critical applications that involve mild cold bending, mild hot forming, punching, machining, and welding.

ASTM A572 Grade 50 is considered a "workhorse" grade and is widely used in many applications. Steel mills produce channel and heavy beams with Grade 50. It is commonly used in structural applications, heavy construction equipment, building structures, heavy duty anchoring systems, truck frames, poles, liners, conveyors, boom sections, structural steel shapes, and applications that require high strength per weight ratio.

Flat Bar

1018 has a wide variety of applications. It is used for parts requiring cold forming, such as crimping, swaging or bending. For severe bends, stress relieving may be necessary to prevent cracking. It is highly suitable for carburized parts, such as gears, ratchets, worms, pinions, pins, chain pins, dowels, machine parts, non-critical components of tool and die sets, tool holders, etc. It is used when good workability is required, on parts requiring threading, drilling, punching and machining. It is extensively used for mounting plates, spacers and fixtures. C1018 is suitable for all applications that do not require the greater strength of high carbon and alloy steels.

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#75
In reply to #73

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 11:28 AM

Cheers, I went round the back of a couple of engineering firms but the skips were empty.

Still I'll try those bricks with the torch on 'em to see how they stand up... this whole project could just be a one shot operation. Make half a dozen heads and then drink beer. If I really get into it, then I could build a decent forge.


Del(couldn't you lie just a little and say...Oooh Del they look like super fire bricks)

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#77
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 11:46 AM

Sure complete with safety extrapolation body armor etc..

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#85
In reply to #75

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 4:00 PM

Hey Del the brake drum will be fine without any fire brick as long as you are not going into mass production. Most farrier forges are sheet steel with a cast grate. Ash and chinkers/clinkers will fill the bottom of the brake drum giving better insulation than fire brick. Ideal would be a 6 to 8 inch drum the same hight as your anvil and very close. (small parts loose heat quick)

Who knows you may even try to weld some carbide steel blades edges to the socket.

like these medieval reproductions.

Brad

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#88
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 5:02 PM

Nice...
I'm aiming at something a bit like the middle one..
Del

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#89
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 5:28 PM

Refractory Concrete Tutorial - Recipe and Instructions for Mixing it on Site Without Using a Concrete Mixer,

Heat resistant refractory concrete:

http://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/concrete.html

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#90
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/25/2009 5:39 PM

oooh don't... you've made me want a pizza now

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#92

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 5:06 AM

There was a step by step guide to building a forge from a car rim & brake drum on CR4 a while ago.

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#93
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 5:43 AM

Cheers, yeah, I remember that, just had another look....excellent but a bit full on for what I want.
I'm going for a small torch fired job. I just got 4 firebricks cheap...local shop had bought 4 in for a customer, but they were wrong size so I got 'em for £9, gotta be a bargain.
Del

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#142
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

06/01/2009 2:22 AM

Ya I definitely over engineered that one and boy does it work well. I'm still trying to find the time to build the shed to put it in.

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#94

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 5:52 AM

Oooh, I just found this 'Coffee can' gas torch forge which is the sort of thing I'm trying to do.
Seems daft posting a link to myself... but others may be interested.
Shows its feasible...(I can save a fortune on that consultancy I was planning to hire for the feasibility study)
Del

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#102
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 11:09 AM

Del -- I think you are on the right track here. And I really like mastrsmth's suggestion to try just the firebrick "box" approach. This'll get you some great fast and cheap experience with this project at a relatively small and safe scale. You can always go on from there to build something better as the need arises. And the good part is that the firebrick can become a useful part of your "kit" for other projects.

Ed Weldon

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#95

Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 6:17 AM

Del,

Best mini forge I have seen made was nothing more than firebricks made into a box, one of the bricks with a hole in the side with a standard over the counter propane torch in it. Plenty big enough for arrow heads and other small items, and easy to set up and tear down. Can be used in a garage or outside.

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#96
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 6:23 AM

...Yup, excellent, that sounds like what I need.
I shall have a play tonight....
I shall dampen my fur as a precaution
Watch this space...
Del

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#98
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Re: Mini Forge for Medieval-Style Arrowheads

05/26/2009 7:55 AM

If you do something silly and give yourself a real scare, your fur might just "Dampen" without any extra effort on your part.....!.......

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