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Thread: A gas fired forge in the making

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    A gas fired forge in the making

    I got another batch heat treated today and it reinforced the notion that I needed a better way to do it than in the kitchen fire. I had been looking at gas forges for a couple of weeks and decided to build one for myself. There are a couple of good videos of how to make them from the 20lb gas bottles so when I was in the city yesterday I went to the metal scrap yard but the only gas bottle on the yard, had the top cut off it but there was a stack of lazer cut 10 3/4 in dia x 3/16 discs there so I got two of them as well as a length of 1 inch black pipe for legs.
    This is the bits I bought home.

    So the first job was to grind the opening out a little to fit the plate which was a simple mark and grind.

    I decided to do the bottom as well because when they were doing them on the youtube it seemed like a bit of a chore to make the insulation conform to the semi rounded shape so I figured that a flat surface woudl be easier.

    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    Then it needed a little clean up to make sure the plate fitted nice and flat. A friend just down the road welded the plates in place for me, so that all needed a clean up. I gave it all a good going over with a heavy flapper disc on the grinder to get rid of the old paint and the bit of surface rust.

    I set it up with a couple of blocks to hold it still and make sure it was more or less secure for the marking out of the next step. Having the flat plate on the ends made this easier so I was pleased that I hadn't started with a complete bottle for a start as I might have had to do it on the curve surface.
    Finding the center of the plate both verticall and horozontally was a simple matter, so after leveling the line accross the front (and rear as well) I was able to do the vertical which allowed me to mark the top center mark where the handle will go.

    I have seen various measurements for the offset of the gas inlet from 10degrees to 30 and as the idea is to make the gas swirl round the inside of the forge I went with 25 degrees. Marking a square on the board and a 25 degree line in, I could go up the line by haf the dia of the bottle and get the measurement away from the center line that would give me a 25 degree offset.

    So that can be marked on the top of the bottle ready to be drilled for the gas inlet.

    That is where it will have to sit till the gas bits and the insulation get here in a few days. I will need to get the exact height of the insulation plus the fire brik floor before I cut the opening at each end.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Plate plinker's Avatar
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    I like this project. Keep going when the parts arrive.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



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    Good luck and post the final results
    Are my kids/grandkids more important than "o"'s kids, to me they are,darn tooting they are!!! They deserve the same armed protection afforded "o"'s kids.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    You getting serious on this knife making! First a 2X72 grinder and now a forge? Do you plan a blown forge? OR venturi burner? I've got venturi, but am thinking about making a blown burner for it.

    Ken H>

  6. #6
    Boolit Master




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    You have my interest. Please keep us informed.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenH View Post
    You getting serious on this knife making! First a 2X72 grinder and now a forge? Do you plan a blown forge? OR venturi burner? I've got venturi, but am thinking about making a blown burner for it.

    Ken H>
    It is to have a venturi burner Ken. Initially it will just be for heat treating knives but when I first saw a cable forged knife written about many (many) years ago, a little niggle settled at the back of my mind so it is not beyond resurfacing at some stage after the forge is finished. A video I watched of a venturi burner in a 20lb gas bottle forge took just 2 1/2 - 3 minutes to get a piece of inch square bar up to forging temp so the capability is there. I have got the same gas burner coming as was used in the video.
    Last edited by Von Gruff; 03-14-2017 at 12:19 PM.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    OH sure, get me all interested and the stop?? Come on man, inquiring minds want to know!
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    I have to wait for the insulation and burner to get here before I do much more although I will cut out the doors today. The supplier said the package should be here tomorrow but being in a small rural township the service can take a coupe of days extra.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Here is the last night I forged from a 2"X1/4" 1080 bar - a copy of the Musso Bowie.

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    It is seeing examples of the forgers and knifemakers art like that, that shows me how far I have to go.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Do I smell some Damascus blanks in the future? I have always wanted to try, but have yet to get as far as the junk yard for a 20 pounder. My hat is off to you.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Von Gruff - thank you for nice words.

    Birch - Yep, I think Von Gruff is looking at some Damascus when he gets the forge going. Not me - while I'd LOVE to do some Damascus, my shoulders don't allow much in the way of forging. After that blade it was days before my shoulders quit hurting. I didn't fully forge that blade, the point was cut sorta to shape, I did have to forge the bevels to make the 2" bar widen to 2-1/4" wide. Still LOTS of grinding on the 2X72 grinder.

    While I enjoy pounding with a hammer, I do not consider myself a real forger - more of a stock removal.

    Ken H>

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    Having the ability (and a little knowledge goes a long way) to change the shape of the steel with heat is a great advance on simple stock removal which I have been doing off and on for about 35+ years. I picked up a piece of what we think was a die head from the scrap yard a couple of trips ago. It is about a foot long of 4x2 and weighs 17 kg with a nice rebound but it really needs surface grinding to clean it up a bit. There are a lot of solid hydrolic shafts there in the 4 in dia range and even three lengths about 8 in long welded under the die head with a decent piece of mild steel under that again to tie everything together and to have a bolt down plate would make for a reasonable pounding anvil.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Several decades ago when in high school, we were able to work with a natural gas forge. Entirely different. It was like a box made of fire bricks. With a natural gas burner. Natural Gas comes in the house about 6lbs of pressure I think. This forge has a compressor on it to bump the pressure up to some way high but kicking blast. The teacher said you need a Govt permit to have one and it has to be installed by some approved kind of gas guru. That forge really rocked. Is that what they refer to as a blown forge?
    AKA hans.pcguy

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    Yes a fan forced gas supply is a blown forge where the gas supply that is fed at regulator pressure into a wider feed tube that drags air in with it is a venturi fed forge.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    The mention of Damascus has me all ears.
    Looking forward to some nice knives.
    "...Some days its rocket science, and some days it just zinc..."

  18. #18
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    A local kid here is making damascus knives from old bicycle chains. Looks good!
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  19. #19
    Boolit Master Von Gruff's Avatar
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    I watched a video last night of a guy who made a knife blank out of 3 tension springs with a length of O1 down the center. Flatened by laying the coil over one way thenforge welded together, cut and folded three times he ended up with a fish scale pattern so there are any number of way to make a damascus from motorcycle chains to chainsaw chains, apart from the traditional layering of different steels, but it is the wire rope damascus that is what I would like to try (first). I may have to end up making a solid fuel forge to do that though. I have plenty of wood to make charcoal (the 44 gallon drum method) as there is only about 6 - 8 hrs in a gas bottle at full forge welding temp or so say those that are doing it and as I m an hour from a gas supply, the gas forge will be best kept for the heat treating where a 20lb bottle will last and with a spare I should be able to last from one city trip to the next.
    Von Gruff.

    Exodus 20:1-17

    Acts 4:10-12

  20. #20
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    waksupi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Von Gruff View Post
    I watched a video last night of a guy who made a knife blank out of 3 tension springs with a length of O1 down the center. Flatened by laying the coil over one way thenforge welded together, cut and folded three times he ended up with a fish scale pattern so there are any number of way to make a damascus from motorcycle chains to chainsaw chains, apart from the traditional layering of different steels, but it is the wire rope damascus that is what I would like to try (first). I may have to end up making a solid fuel forge to do that though. I have plenty of wood to make charcoal (the 44 gallon drum method) as there is only about 6 - 8 hrs in a gas bottle at full forge welding temp or so say those that are doing it and as I m an hour from a gas supply, the gas forge will be best kept for the heat treating where a 20lb bottle will last and with a spare I should be able to last from one city trip to the next.
    I do find it is difficult for me to reach welding temperature with my propane forge. Definitely slower than a solid fuel forge. I block off as much of the external openings as possible with fire brick, to keep the heat in.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check