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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Wed 12 Sep, 2007 1:51 pm    Post subject: Propane forge         Reply with quote

I am looking to buy a modestly priced propane forge. Does anybody have experience with Chile Forges from Arizona or have a favorite forge to recommend?

Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Sep, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have been looking as well, hoping to make one as a winter project. I have not seen one of these Chileforges personally, but recognize the style of construction. If you are thinking of a possible do it yourself type, check out the plans and pre-made burner components at Zoeller Forge. http://www.zoellerforge.com/simplegasforge.html

The price of the Chileforges looks reasonable. The one burner "Tabasco" model is probably enough for this size. You might want to add a small gas supply bypass valve and main gas supply shutoff valve (described schematically and sold as kits at Zoeller Forge) for lighting burners and inserting/ removing stock. The Chileforge examples appear to be built in pretty much the same manner as what Zoeller is describing. If you price refractory and shipping for items like the ceramic floor, stainless burners, etc, labor of welding and fabricating, the do it yourself style is not actually saving a tremendous amount.

If you do get one, please let me know how you like it!

Best luck with the new hobby.

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Ben Sweet




Location: 831
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 512

PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own a Forgemaster 2burner, 2port w/front door. I did so much reading about forges on what the knife/sword makers were using that at one point I just got disgusted with all the childish bickering from the pros on 'mine is better than yours' and just decided to go with what I was looking for...I was lucky to have a multi-brand forge dealer a few miles from the house...after seeing what forges he/they were using in the farrier business I chose to go with the Forgemaster. My reasons for the Forgemaster were (1) ease of replacement parts (2) portability (3) has to get hot enough to forge weld (yet to do) ...my main plan was just to use the forge for heat treating but once you pound that hot steel things change... Go with the forge you want that will fit best to what you are looking for, read all you can (scrap the "VS." garbage from the kids), request photos from the owners who say they own this or that (not thieved photos but actual owner photos)..repeat..read all you can...

any photo requests just ask



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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input guys. I have been researching on line and it's like threading through a maze -too much info. Unfortunately there is no one locally that sells forges for me to look at. I prefer to handle a piece of equipment before I buy.

i'm definately going to get something with a larger door for working on bigger pieces, I want to try some axe heads and tomahawks as well as knives and maybe a sword a little later on.

I was a welder by trade for many years and made specialty hand tools for our shop using an acetylene torch, an anvil and a hydraulic press for bending and shaping. I made hunting knives for myself and my buddies from planer steels, saw mill band saw blades and old files. I did a combination of stock removal and forging - using a rosebud and propane torches for heating and a firebrick and kao wool box for a forge. I'm looking forward to having something more professional to work with.

Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Curt Cummins wrote:
Thanks for the input guys. I have been researching on line and it's like threading through a maze -too much info. Unfortunately there is no one locally that sells forges for me to look at. I prefer to handle a piece of equipment before I buy.

i'm definately going to get something with a larger door for working on bigger pieces, I want to try some axe heads and tomahawks as well as knives and maybe a sword a little later on.

I was a welder by trade for many years and made specialty hand tools for our shop using an acetylene torch, an anvil and a hydraulic press for bending and shaping. I made hunting knives for myself and my buddies from planer steels, saw mill band saw blades and old files. I did a combination of stock removal and forging - using a rosebud and propane torches for heating and a firebrick and kao wool box for a forge. I'm looking forward to having something more professional to work with.

Curt


Greetings,

I am a novice at bladesmithing...I did attend the two week ABS bladesmithing course and am a certified journeyman bladesmith, but circumstances have kept me from being able to set up my own workspace...until now!

I just recently purchased a habenero propane forge from chile forge, and, while I haven't gotten to put it to use yet (still waiting on my anvil), working with the folks at chile forge was a pleasure. They answered many questions, and even volunteered a lot of info on use and repair of their forges...in short, they are very friendly, professional people. The forge itself, though I don't have anything to compare it to, is very very solidly built, is easy to use, and the components look high quality.

One thing, the forge seems optimized for bladesmithing...it's long and skinny...it won't fit large/strangely shaped stock.

Good luck!

Dustin
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am interested in "how repairable" the Habanero forge is. The Kaowool will have to be , recoated, patched, and eventually replaced with use due to flux corrosion. As a forge "optimized" for bladesmiths, disassembly capability seems essential. On their web site it was not easy to spot fasteners for removal of the forges ends.
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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I am interested in "how repairable" the Habanero forge is. The Kaowool will have to be , recoated, patched, and eventually replaced with use due to flux corrosion. As a forge "optimized" for bladesmiths, disassembly capability seems essential. On their web site it was not easy to spot fasteners for removal of the forges ends.


Since my original post, I started looking at some different forges. I've settled on getting one with a side door so I can do larger pieces and for ease of maintenance. Their are several outfits that make forges with these features for no too much more than the Chile forge.

Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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P Ballou




Location: N California
Joined: 05 Oct 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm getting my Chile Habanero this week, so what I'm saying here may be a little premature. What I understand of the Chile forges is that the real art is in the burner. These slide into a standard 2" pipe fitting, so are easily removed from the forge so they can be handheld, mounted on a stand, or installed in a different forge. I'm planning to use the Habenero for smaller work, and when I need something bigger, I'll rent some time down to the local blacksmithing school or build a bigger forge to hold the Chile burners.

My experience talking with David at Chile Forge has been excellent. If you have any questions about what his burners and forges can and cannot do, you should give him a call. You can also learn more about David and his forge designs at the Metal Artist forum:

http://www.innovationaliron.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=41

Good luck with your forge.

Phil
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another interesting "budget priced" forge offering I saw this past week was by Diamondback Ironworks. They have low prices, but seem to offer the general blacksmith style of forge that is of obviously easy to repair, and versatile in terms of what one can do with it. If their burners work acceptably well, then it would be a good value.
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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I finally settled on a Diamondback Ironworks two burner blacksmith model. It has a side door which will allow me to work on larger pieces, and is lined with Kaowool, which I can get from work free. The maker assures me it will easily reach welding heat, although it is not as economical as the knifemakers models.


My new 260lb. Euroanvil came in yesterday and is beautiful and much larger than I expected. The forge should come in next week.

I'll be ordering a Cootes grinder -72" X 6" next Friday (payday). I had a lovely conversation with the maker - he was very helpful, and I prefer to spend my money with small business any time.

Any suggestions, for setting up the anvil / forge etc., would be greatly appreciated. I have a small detached garage that I am working out of, but is already kind of crowded with my bow making operation. I'll have to be able to move the anvil and forge into place for blade making and put it away when I'm using the woodshop tools.

CC

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am really looking forward to hearing how this goes for you. My Diamondback "Knife Maker's model" is sitting here beside me as I type, but I can not open the shipping box yet as it is a "no surprise" birthday present!

If you plan to attempt pattern welding, please comment further as this is my ultimate goal. Alas, a fly press will not be budgeted for another year, and a power hammer will probably not be feasible in my current residence.......

The tri-cycle style anvil stand shown gives excellent portability. My kids can move it out onto the driveway one handed. Oak timber would have been much better, but none was conveniently available at the time. Spring tensioned tie down straps will be added once I can forge some roughly to the shape of the feet. This one is seated on lead. I do not want to wrap a chain around it as this would obstruct access to the upsetting block. The Acme screws are available as veneer presses through woodworking supplies for about $30 each. They are plenty strong even for a 300 lb anvil. I wish my welding skills were better (this was a first welding project.)



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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared,

The guy I bought the anvil suggected bedding it in sheet metal box filled with sand - this apparently definately cuts down on ring. I'm going to try something like this made with heavy plywood and 4x4's. I'll let you know if it works, I cant see any reason why I can't combine the tricycle with a sandbox.

I am going to try pattern welding eventually, but its been 15 years since I did any forging so I'll need to go back to the basics first.

What kind of grinder do you have?

CC

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Nov, 2007 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No grinder yet, but I have access to a multitude of good ones at a friend's shop. Eventually I will consider getting one of my own. You already gave me a good suggestion on an inexpensive one. I am interested in how well you like yours.

I plan to start on pattern welding. I realize its difficult, and also often a specialty. Having a clear emphasis in mind from the beginning could be good. I figure I will have to learn to draw out homogenous scrap material by hand, and suffer a lot of failed welds until I can get some type of press and power hammer. There are a couple of knife makers who do it by hand with smaller sized billets though.....

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought I would update this with my opinion of the Diamondback Ironworks brand propane forge.

I have been using my two burner "knife maker-welding" series Diamondback Ironworks brand propane forge for the past two years on a hobby maker basis. I am pleased with it. I have used it for pattern welding 1095 and L6 / 8670. I mounted a type K thermocouple in a corner by one of the doors. (Newest models for welding don't have a door, but mine does as it is about two years old.) I can regulate the interior reflected heat (this is what you measure in a corner) to between 1500 F and 2200 F using 2 to 9 psig propane pressure (measured on three separate gauges including one at the injection manifold.) A single small 20 lb propane tank will run it at the upper range for a few hours. The dense firebrick floor is starting to deform into a slight bowl shape since it has had borax flux on it nearly the entire time. The other experienced pattern welders who work in our ABANA group say it looks like the forge will last considerably longer without having to reline it. Given that this is one of the least expensive brands to purchase, easy to maintain, and is effective based upon my own experiences, I do recommend it to others considering a propane forge.

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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: Maine
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Sweet wrote:
I own a Forgemaster 2burner, 2port w/front door.


This is the exact same forge that my school has. I was using it to forge 1" square stock (into an axe head, coincidentally), and it seems to work pretty well. I haven't tried forge welding with it, because I haven't learned how as my project didn't require it (will hopefully be getting to that this summer though).

My only issue with it is that my tank only has one regulator for both burners, so the cold propane seems to cycle to the bottom and eventually the tank freezes up and won't hold pressure (this is the explanation I was given at any rate). Admittedly this is more of an issue with the regulator set-up than the forge itself.

Other issues included the starter has broken after about a year of use, and the brass knob for adjusting pressure (I think) seems to be broken as well (at least I think it's for adjusting pressure, it broke before I started using it so I don't really know). The forge is open to student use though, so it gets a lot more use (and abuse) than an individual person using it Wink

I've seen a lot of similar forges on eBay for not too much money; often below $500.00 . They look decent enough.

www.addisondelisle.com
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr, 2010 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Addison C. de Lisle wrote:

My only issue with it is that my tank only has one regulator for both burners, so the cold propane seems to cycle to the bottom and eventually the tank freezes up and won't hold pressure (this is the explanation I was given at any rate). Admittedly this is more of an issue with the regulator set-up than the forge itself.


If you are using the small tanks, such as U.S. "20 lb" tanks for gas grills and such, you can manifold two tanks together using some threaded steel plumbing fittings. (Then feed the pair into the regulator.) The current ACME plastic tank connectors can also be purchased to allow you to gang them together. (Get the RED COLOR or high throughput ACME propane connectors. In most weather conditions, these will permit enough flow from one warm tank to run the forge using standard connectors.) With two of these tanks, you should not have many problems with freeze up of the propane for a small two burner welding forge like this.

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