Blacksmith Gas Forges
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Blacksmith Gas Forges

Blacksmith Forges | What You Should Know

Traditionally a blacksmith would use a coal forge, but today we have the option of gas forges as well.

Gas Forges

A gas forge is a high temperature insulated box that has some form of burner that protrudes into the chamber. Usually propane or natural gas fired. They may have a blower system to increase the amount of oxygen in the flame increasing the temperature, or they may be atmospheric. Atmospheric uses a venturi system to suck the air in with the propane to create the burn.

One of the limitations of the gas forge is that what ever you are trying to heat up has to fit inside the chamber. Bigger objects require bigger forges and require more fuel and more burners. Typical blacksmith forges have one or two burners and may have doors on both ends to allow long bars to pass through.

Propane is easy to come by and the whole unit can be fairly easily transportable.

The down side to a propane gas forge is that it does not reach as high temperatures as a coal forge. So forge welding can be tricky. If the gas forge is well insulated and you have a good burner it is possible to reach forge welding temperature although this is right at the top end of the possible temperatures.

Coal Forges

A coal forge is essentially a pan or table with a fire pot located in it. This fire pot is sunk below the table level by about 3 inches. It has a grate in the bottom and a connection to an air source such as a blower or a bellows. The lit coals fiill the fire pot and surround the steel. by adding more air the coals reach very high temperatures. Easily reaching forge welding temperatures.

One of the down sides to the coal forges is that it can reach such a high temperature that it can melt or burn the steel like a cutting torch. Then your work is damaged.

Both forges produce gasses that need to be ventilated out of the workshop.

Many blacksmiths love the tradition of the coal forge. A lot of other blacksmiths have found the ease of use of the propane forge is a great place to start or as a versatile supplemental tool. It is possible to build a propane gas forge. You will need to keep in mind many safety precautions. Either type of forge is a good place to start when you make your blacksmith shop. You will find that you will start working to your tools in both design and and physical limitations.

The Artist Blacksmith website gives more details on blacksmithing including techniques and discussions about other related tools.


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