Let’s begin our descent down the rabbit hole of blacksmithing. today, I’m going to show you how to make a propane forge. And when I say forge, I mean it in the most general sense—it’s not actually for shaping metal with hammer and anvil! Using a propane forge is a great entry point into blacksmithing because you don’t have to be as worried about the fire/flames/burning yourself or other people, which makes it ideal if these aren't skills you feel comfortable learning first.
By following my method carefully, you'll discover for yourself just how easy it is to make a forge that works regardless of where you are in the world!
To build our forge, we decided to use fire brick that was 1.25" in thickness. After arranging the fire bricks into a rectangular box with an opening at the front, we used an angle grinder fitted with a masonry cutting disc to cut out one of the bricks to fit into the rear box space. To create smaller openings for the front opening, we also cut some of the fire brick in half so they would be movable doors for this opening.
To strengthen the bricks, which stack unevenly, I decided to build an iron frame around the brick border. I wanted to make sure that the welded frame didn't prevent me from being able to change out the fire bricks in the future if they begin to break down. The frame helped solidify the forge and it gave some rigidity to the "front porch" area that is meant to hold the longer pieces of metal not being heated throughout my entire build.
A stovetop burner is like the heart of your project. However, the oven of the converter would simply be a box with the heat source. Though there are several videos on YouTube that show how to make a forge-style burner, I watched most of them and made my very own in the style of those using readily available plumbing components.
The burner assembly is comprised of a high-pressure regulator like the one you would find on a grill (the one that lets you adjust the flow of propane), a pipe and a custom nozzled tip that allows the propane to shoot out of this pipe and mix with air.
I chose to make a custom nozzle in my design and creation by cutting a hole in a brass square plug. I knew that the size of the hole may have been too big, but decided to go with it anyway and hope for the best. When lit, the fire would burn blue with some residual orange flames.
Apparently, we discovered we had a dangerous fuel burn issue. I changed the nozzle with a tip meant for MIG welding and adjusted the position of the tip inside the pipe as well as how close I was standing to it as you can read in this journal entry. The fire was much more stable and the chamber got quite hot; metal smelts were possible!
I was thrilled to have a fire that can be used over and over again, preventing me from additional costs. I’m happy I chose this forge with its capacity to retain the heat inside of it.
I was told by my good friend that one of the most important things about using a metal hammer is to make sure it's hot enough so as not to burn your hand. Bright yellow colour is what you are looking for, but not by just looking at it, I had to throw it into my forge fire for a few minutes until I knew its temperature was just right.
Of course I'm no expert in blacksmithing. Still, I'm excited to learn all about it and learn what tools and equipment that I need in order to be successful at blacksmithing. Since I love learning new skills and increasing my ability to make different kinds of things, I decided to learn how to blacksmith. If you want to try your hand at blacksmithing, check out the wealth of knowledge available online.
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