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  #1  
Old 01-03-2008, 01:13 PM
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Harry Mathews Harry Mathews is offline
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ceramic tile for forge floor?

Has anyone used ceramic tile for the floor of a forge? I have a forge I am getting ready to rebuild and thought I might try ceramic tile for the bottom. I have used pieces of ceramic on the bottom of a forge before to provide a more durable floor and better heat circulation. It holds up well to regular forging heat, but I don't know about welding heat and flux. It is cheap(read free) and readily available locally. I just don't know if it is worth wasting time on or not.


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Old 01-03-2008, 08:17 PM
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In my experience, No, it wont work, at least not for long. It will hold up for light duty use, for awhile, but not for any serious forge. Unless it is a hard refractory tile made specifically for such use it will crack and melt. Ceramic tile for floors, etc is low-fire, not even stone-ware, much less refractory. Any brick & Block supplier will have the ordinary hard yellow fire brick as used to line fireplaces, etc. Much better; even this is not all that good. You really need a high temp refractory material. Chat up all the potters you can and haunt the ceramics supply houses, the materials sold for use in constructing Kilns are more what you need. If you can find a potter who has some broken kiln shelves, they work well. The hard silicon carbide shelves are best, but no longer generally available. The Alum Oxide shelves are OK, eventually a forge will eat them. Do some Google research for refractories, paying attention to CERAMICS and Industrial Heat
Treating. This is where you will find the goodies. I have had good results with home made moldable refractories using common FIRE CLAY. The same Brick & block suppliers sell dry fire-clay dry in bags to mix half & half with mortar mix for use in fireplaces by commercial masons. IF you have a lot of free tile I would bust it up into gravel (OK, OK coarse GROG) and mix it with refractory cement to make a ramable plastic refractory. As I have said many times in Fora, the POTTERS are your friends. Get to know them and their suppliers and all their wondertful catalogs.


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Old 01-03-2008, 08:22 PM
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Harry
My verticle welding forge has a S.S. sauce pan floor (sans handle) that I fill with cat litter or vermiculite, what ever is on hand. Works as an insulator and a cleanable flux trap.
I've used the ceramic tile in my horizontal forge same as you.
The tile should hold up to the heat with no problem, not sure what the flux will do to it.


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Old 01-03-2008, 08:33 PM
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Makes sense CRUX. Gas forges are a little different. My experience is with Coal.


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Old 01-04-2008, 12:05 AM
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Thanks, guys, for the information. I think I'll try a combination of the ceramic and cat litter or vermiculite. Carl do you use the scented or regular cat litter? I also assume that it is not recycled cat litter? I forged some cable damascus in the big old forge knowing that it would be rebuilt into a vertical forge and the ceramic in the bottom just took on a glaze and stuck together. It didn't melt. I just don't know how it will hold up over time. I think that if I use ceramic for the bottom and cover it with a few inches of cat litter it should do ok and not cost much at all. I'm going to cut out some of the soft fire brick and put in a new liner. I think it should work ok for one that doesn't get moved around much.


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Old 01-04-2008, 01:32 AM
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Another option offen overlooked is dolamite rock. It is usualy a smooth pink and cheam swirly colors and is natures refractory stone. I hade mde a small forge out of this stone like a one brick forge and it worked well on small blades. It isnt that hard to cut. A masonary wheel or dry diamond sawblade in a circular saw cuts it like butter. Just aviod the stuff if it has been soaking in water for a long period of time. rain is ok.


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Old 01-04-2008, 09:34 AM
Martin Brandt Martin Brandt is offline
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I've been very happy with castable refractory cement for the floor of my horizontal forge for years. It takes it a little longer to reach welding heat, but seems all but impervious to the flux. I throw a small piece of a thin firebrick in to keep things out of the old flux on the floor. Got the info on this years ago from Bill Fiorini at a damascus class in Washington.
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