This is my make shift back yard red neck coal burning forge. What a learning experience this has been.
This is an old wood stove that was in my shop. I used it to heat the shop for a couple years but it was was bit worn out. The fire box leaks and it’s warped bad. The doors no longer shut right and I replaced it with a better stove several years ago. It actually sat in my shop, thinking someday I’d make a forge out of it.
I gave it away 3 or 4 times but nobody ever came to pick it up. Finally i stripped the outer sheet metal shell and started to convert.
While in Tractor Supply I grabbed a bag of Nut coal. The smart thing to do would have been to do a little research first, but I was there and they had two choices, rice coal or nut coal. It seems i picked wrong.
My first attempt was to just light a fire on top. I’ve never burnt coal before so I just assumed it was similar to wood…….NOPE.

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This attempted failed and failed again. I think I used a half a tank of propane, then a half a tank of mapp gas trying to get it going.

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A bit of advice i picked up after the fact:You have to make sure you have the right kind of coal. You need bituminous and most coal sold at tractor supply is anthracite,( it too hard) it’s meant for heating homes, blacksmithing coal is softer and needs less oxygen, and for the best results if you can try and get the air to come up from underneath the fire.”

 

Doing a little research on the subject I thought this read was very helpful, https://www.sustainlife.org/coal-for-blacksmithing/

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My only goal for this fine Saturday morning was to turn this bolt into a coat hook. Seemed simple enough, right?

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I found this bolt on an early morning walk in the middle of a partly dirt, partly black top road. A quick session on the wire wheel and it looked a little better.

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Others say the rice coal Tractor Supply burns a little better. (I’ll let you know in future post)

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Many attempts to light this failed. Even scrapping the whole thing and starting wood fire first failed. After a quick google search I found that one of the complaint of Nut Coal is it’s very hard to get burning. I probably should have done that research first.

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So scraping the idea of a small fire on top I turned to the inside. I started a bit bigger wood fire and added some coal.

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So now it seems to actually be working. The rigging I had for the air underneath didn’t do anything, so a new plan emerged.
This is a heat gun. I really didn’t dare borrow  my wife’s hair dryer and I assumed this would work. And it did for a while.

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But problems prevailed. I just couldn’t keep the fire going. I eventually gave up and grabbed the propane forge to finish the coat hook. Not a master piece, but once hung, it will hold a coat.

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But tomorrow will prove to be a little better. Look for the next installment when I talk about making my first partially forged adze. I did manage to make this set up work (well sorta)
And thanks to my friends at Blacksmith for Beginners  I see this in my future.

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I’ve heard a rotor from a car and a mower deck works for this setup. Off to find some junk!!