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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 08-15-2017, 11:15 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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new forge

Hey guys so I need a new forge. my small heat treating forge that I made way back isn't standing up to the use for making a Damascus billet. and since I have the new press that is something I want to do. So kinda going back and forth on either buying a air tank more wool and satinite and spending the time to make one...or just buy one that I wont have to spend time messing with. However doing searches online all the forges labeled "knifemaker forge" are square not circular. I always thought it should be the other way around. Do any of you guys have experience with a square forge? I would love to know how they operate compared to a round one
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Old 08-15-2017, 08:05 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Some of the square forges are for Farrier work Dave so watch out for that and looking at the prices I do believe I would make my own even if I had an extra $500 sitting around, that is mammoth ivory for handles money if ya know what I mean?
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2017, 04:00 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I DO UNDERSTAND the attraction of ready to use, "out of the box" and not dinking around assembling parts and building yourself. I've looked at ready made and like you, mostly find square. Nothing says a square forge won't work. They will, and lots of knifemakers use them. NC Tools makes some nice forges, and even have some specific to knifemaking.
But as easy as it is to build a forge, and burners, to my mind it makes no sense to buy. Not when you can build to your specs, rather than settling on what's available. Mine is made with plumbing parts from Lowes and a piece of stovepipe. You can make a very short, tight chamber or longer with more volume to handle longer steel.
As I'm sure you know, you just have to have something that will get up to welding temperatures for damascus so yes, a certain amount of efficiency is necessary...which goes a little beyond just heat treating.

Heck, I've built a coal forge out of half an old air tank, bottom tuyere is a 1 1/2" pipe with holes drilled, the firepot is "V" shaped and formed with dampened kitty litter/sand. I use an air mattress inflator as an air supply. It will melt steel. It works great and enables me to heat specific parts of the blade rather than the whole blade. You can just build a box, fill it with dirt, add a pipe, and make a side blast forge that will burn charcoal or coal, and melt steel.
Many a knife and sword has been made with nothing but a hole in the ground and charcoal long before this generation came about.

My point is, forges don't have to be complicated affairs. I understand you'd probably prefer gas as it's easy, convenient and cleaner.

Anyway, IIRC didn't you build one of Rays forced air burners? With the right forge design/dimensions and a well tuned burner, I believe you should be able to get to welding temperatures without even forced air, but just with an atmospheric burner. There are T-burner plans, heck all sorts of plans, nearly all of them very simple (and cheap) to build.

But I agree with Jim, just build it. The money saved will buy a lot of steel to experiment and learn to do the damascus. Even with the right equipment, you're likely to ruin some billets along the way.


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Last edited by WNC Goater; 08-16-2017 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:14 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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And I suppose neither of us answered your question as to whether we had experience with a square forge. Nothing like a goober weigh-in with opinions without any knowledge of what you actually asked for!
The answer for me is "No".
But I have seen them in use and as I stated, they do indeed work. What I have noticed is they tend to have a hot spot which is much more pronounced than in a round forge. As you know, ideally on a round forge the burner is inserted at an angle and thus, the flame swirls around, more efficiently heating the whole forge. Square forges/burners that I've seen, can't do that and the burners are typically pointed right at the bottom, producing the hot spot. (Or Two hot spots if it is a two burner) That may work fine for forging, or heat treating. But with Damascus welding, I't think it would be important to have more even heating.
And they may work fine for Damascus. Like I said, I'm a goober answering your question without any hands-on knowledge.


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Old 08-16-2017, 06:41 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is online now
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My first forge was an NC Lowboy $500 square forge. It worked, as Goater said, but there were hot spots and the "brick-stuff" interior got soft when it was hot and was much more trouble to replace than wool. And for big billets of the kind you would make with a press, well forget that not near hot enough. The forges I've built out of cheap crap work much better....


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Old 08-17-2017, 10:58 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Thanks guys...yeh I am going to build it...ya know some one pointed out to me that I complain about not having enough time to do what I want to do and adding another project will just take more time...however sleeping on it yeh I just cant justify paying for one especially when all I need ins the shell I already have wool and satinite from the last build.

My last forge is long and has 2 burner ports (I only use 1 most of the time one is enough to get to welding temp) but the diameter is very small. Its also made out of vent pipe. So i had mad this one for HT ing a short sword before i had my oven. So for that it worked great but between the small diameter and the fact that when its that long and made from thin vent pipe once you put the wool and satinite on the top sags a little making it even smaller in diameter. When i used it to do the first Damascus billet with the press the billet was so big it was har not to knock into the walls and in a few spots i tore it up enough that it needs repair. NO more Damascus till i get a new forge....I have a air compressor that the motor blew that would be perfect but i already promised it to my bro in law as he has the same one and he wants it for parts and the tank is one of the things he wants....cant tell him no the guy does a lot for us...anytime i need help with something he is the one i call. I tried to pick up a air tank at home depot with no luck so tomorrow i will have to take a ride to harbor freight..

So this one is deffinitly going to be a horizontal with 2 blown burners...i may not use both burners all the time....However i did see pictures of Ed's vertictal forge build and it looks nice beside the huge amount of castable and only can imagine how long it takes to heat up. Like i said for now its going to be horizontal but maybe down the road i might see how a vertical one works. I have never even seen a vertical one in person Have any of you any thoughts on it?
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:31 AM
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Naboyle Naboyle is offline
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If you're going to use it to make Damascus I'd suggest a blown vertical forge. I built one similar to Ed's and it's awesome. Check out the build Ed did. You can make something similar just scale down the size. You won't regret it I promise
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:38 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Yeh Ed shared some pics with me the other day it does look very cool, I actually already built the new one did a little work with it but today I am re stacking a billet and just going to see how far I can get its a lil cooler here today I had to stop the other day it was just way to hot to stand in front of a forge. I did mine horizontal just cause I knew I could make it quick and I had the material to do so...I have been really busy lately both with knife making and just life in general...when I get some down time I think I will make a vertical one...If I had the castable I might of tried it with this build but didn't have it and I knew I could get a horizontal one up and running much quicker....but your right the pics ed shared with me look very cool ......Naboyle may I ask 2 things well maybe 3 things first what are the dimensions INSIDE the forge you built Second How much castable did you use....Thrid How long does it take to heat up? And what kind and size burners do you have and is it 1 burner? Any Pics ??
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