Monday, July 14, 2014

Bottom Draft Forge Clogs | How to Prevent It?

 Hi there David hope you and your family are well and hope you busy with your work and lots of sales I have a problem that you may have an answer too , I have 2 forges one side draft which works well the other is a bottom draft and it keeps clogging up with small coke clumps coke dust and molten clinker ,the opening on the forge  is 3.5 inches maybe I may need more airflow I'n not sure , it becomes a pain cleaning the forge and restarting it, would you know how to stop this problem hope to hear from you , will send some photos so you can have a look , thank you .
 Hi Petar
This is a universal problem with bottom draft forges. The rate at which it clogs up depends on the quality of coal you can get and the type of work that you do. Eg. heavy forge welding lots more clogging. 
With coal that has a lot of clinker in it we have to clean perhaps every two hours. Usually not a big problem though. I just scoop the large quantity of coke from the top of the fire, on to the side pan of the forge then scoop out the heart of the fire with the clicker and coals. Toss this into a metal bucket for screening later to get the good bits of coke . Give the clinker breaker a good rattle and make sure all is clear then pile the coals that I originally put aside back into the fire pot and crank the air again.
The coals at the side of the forge stay lit for about 1/2 an hour if they are piled up so it is easy to get them back up to temperature with a little air blast. The whole clean out process takes about 3 minutes so it is fast turn around if the coal is bad. Good coal I can get about 4 hours out of before I have to clean out.

Another option if you are in the middle of something important is I use a "clinker picker" Just a rod about 30 inches long with a small 1/2 inch diameter hook on one end that I can place down in the fire pot and grab large chunks of clinker that form and hall them out of the air opening and carry on work. Very fast and often all that is required to carry on work for another hour.

I hope this helps.
Take Care
David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to make a Calla Lily


Since seeing your video on forging a rose some time ago, I have enjoyed making flowers of all kinds and am continually amazed at the accuracy one can achieve with a little heat and a lot of patience.

I wanted to seek your advice on a flower I was trying to forge; it has a deceivingly simple shape so I thought I would get some help before going through all of my steel!

Because of its bell shape, I wasn't sure if I should raise it, roll it, or some other technique, also, it has that distinct "sweeping" head to it that I can't figure out how to imitate. Any guidance you might have would be very much appreciated.



Hi Anthony
Thanks for the email.
The calla lily is a distinctive flower and you have a couple of options to work with depending on the size that you wish to create.

The most common way to make these is to use a thin gage sheet such as 16 to 20 gage. Then cut out the flat pattern and do some texturing on the surface and the edges and then roll into the shape. Electric weld or forge weld onto the stem and the stamens. This technique allows you to create one of any size. Make a card board template first so you can see how it rolls and the final shape that you get. The sweeping head is simply worked hot over the horn until you get the right shape. Gentle hammer strokes.

The second way which is suitable for smaller flowers and is more work but allows for some variations, is to use 1.25 inch black pipe or 1.5 inch black pipe. This needs to be cut on a strong diagonal and then "sculpted" to the small point on tip of the flower with a grinder. Then forge the cone or funnel shape of the base which again can be electrically or forge welded to the stem and the stamens. Once the taper is forged or partly forged you may want to add the cut or split down the side to create the over lap for added realism.

I hope this helps.
Take Care

David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith
For more tips and questions answered go to the Blacksmith Forum on the main website. You can also get feedback and ideas from other members as well.