2003-02-23 – Forging at home

No, not how to copy a drivers license!
I have just spent the weekend making a small knife forge, for the princely sum of £20, and half a dozen dremel cutting wheels, and half a bag of 1600 castable left over from making the furnace.
I got the basic design from the \”Primal fire\” message boards, but couldn’t get a tin bath anywhere. I used a big turkey tray from Poundstretcher – hence 5 of the £20, cos I went for the expensive thick-walled stainless steel one – which is also why I used so many cutting wheels!!
First I used my new 10lb sledge and a few bricks to bend the pan a bit deeper, then tried to cut the holes for the gas pipe, which I got from BSS for the other £15, with various connectors and stuff too. I had to use my cheap version of a Dremel, since the stainless was insanely hard, and I had to cut a 2\” outside diameter hole in both end of the tray. I heated it to red hot after the first few hours(!) and it softened it a fraction, then I sharpened one end of the pipe on the bench grinder and used a lump hammer to make the holes bigger by hammering the pipe through!
If you try this, either drill the holes in your pipe with a hand drill or make sure your pillar drill can reach, or drill the air holes in the pipe before you start hammering. Lineing them up might be fun, though!
Weld on your end cap next. Then I mixed up the castable and spend an hour or two sculpting it to the right shape. I made the mix really badly, though, and it was too wet to keep the shape, so I added more that was too dry, and then the old saying about “two wrongs don’t make a right” was true yet again! The end result seems ok, though, and it is currently drying (in the rain).
I have a rather nice Range Rover cooling fan that I might use for the blower, but I am going to try the mains powered one that came with my inflatable spare bed first. The smaller battery powered ones aren’t worth the money, I have found.
The next step is to get hold of some nice steel to forge (I guess I could just cast it myself though!) and try to make something nice.
Pictures soon, I hope.

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