Category: Kagi ba-Forging shop

Breathing Fire-Part Two

Mad Scientist

I have to admit to feeling some affinity to the crazed scientist depicted in movies. Or maybe Rube Goldberg would be a more accurate  comparison. I have to continually fight the urge to over-engineer stuff.
At left is my $32 anemometer measuring  wind velocity of 54 feet per second or around 37 miles an hour. Not exactly a hurricane but a mighty stiff breeze. One that would certainly fan the flames.

Oh No! Math

We are going to take a minute to explain the math that is the quantifier for these experiments. When I was in school I saw no point to mathematics-my mistake. Maybe some blame can be assigned to the way it was/is taught, but still my mistake. The truth is that mathematics is a beautiful, concise language that allows us to understand and describe things in a quantifiable way.

“How hard is that blowing there Dan?”
“Um, not sure. Harder than before-I think”

“How much air are you getting out of that pipe every minute?”
“No idea”

But the mathematics is useless without well designed experiments and a way to accurately measure the results. Hence my cobbled together wind box and the nifty little anemometer. ( I love that little yellow instrument. It is the perfect tool at a very reasonable price).

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Breathing Fire

Lets take a minute and talk about aspiration. No, not our desire to be great swordsmiths but rather the process of forcing air into the fire.
Fire needs oxygen to burn. Take away oxygen and the fire dies. Feed it oxygen and it lives. The more oxygen it gets the more it lives.
Give it enough oxygen and it can become a raging, living monster.

A standard car engine is naturally aspirated. A top fuel dragster is turbocharged. Air is forced into the system under pressure. In order to reach forging and welding heats we need to turbocharge our fire.

Methods of Aspiration

There are many ways to to this. An electric blower will certainly work. Plus, there are all sorts of manually operated designs. After all working metals with fire predates electricity by several millennium. As you might expect, we are shooting for a traditional approach.

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Building the Forge-Part One

Fire in the Hole

We now need to make the moisture proof forge container. We could simply dig the forge into the ground and it would work. I have done it may times.

But this is a permanent installation and I am trying make everything as efficient as possible. Moisture around the forge robs it of heat.

I built a concrete block enclosure. Blocks on the bottom and sides.  The blocks were reclaimed from my original charcoal making kiln. More on that later. I then covered it in waterproof surface bond.

Next I layered dirt over the bottom and built a fire. The surface bond has a little acrylic in and does not like fire.

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Its The Real Pits

We set the stage here.

Now it is time to get down to business

We figured out how much space we needed for the forge and that told us were to start the dig for the pit. We also placed string lines from the top of the perimeter beams to establish a level plane. The top of the  beams are going to be the floor level. We will put gravel in level with the top of the beams. I determined that 26 inches deep was good for me. It is comfortable height to sit while using the fuigo and it puts the forge at the right height for me. And I can get in and out of it easily. Three courses of 8″ blocks with a 2″ cap works out to 26″

Here I am setting the treated wood foundation. I did not want to stack the blocks directly on the dirt but I saw no  need for a concrete foundation. The treated wood is more than sufficient. I “re-purposed” some treated lumber I had sitting in my wood pile.

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Setting the stage

Let’s set the stage for the first act

Here is the general plan

Build forge
Make swords
Cut stuff (non-living stuff)

I am guessing that we need a few more specifics-a road map if you will.

The first post showed the beginning of the dig.

But what did we have to know before shovel ever bit the dirt?

5 essential things
Where to put the

Forge
Fuigo
Pit
Anvil
Power hammer

All of these things influence the arrangement but the location of the forge and where I stand to operate it are pretty much the star players.

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