Posts Tagged ‘Bituminous Coal’

Blacksmith Supplies – Choosing your Forge Fuel

Another vital component to your blacksmith supplies is the type of fuel to use in your blacksmith forge.  There are various fuels that can be used including charcoal, coal/coke, and propane/natural gas. Below we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Charcoal was the first fuel source used by blacksmiths and it is still used today by many blacksmiths.  Charcoal is made by slowly burning wood and is regularly made by blacksmiths.  Making your own charcoal can save you money on fuel costs and since charcoal and coal for blacksmithing is not always widely available, this is one option a lot of blacksmiths choose to do. 

Coal, more specifically bituminous coal, is a soft coal and one of the most abundant types of coals that is mined in the world.  Unlike charcoal, coal does not need to be made and is ready to burn as soon as it is mined out of the ground.  Coal, like charcoal, produces up to approximately 15,500 BTUs.  However, the advantage of coal over charcoal is that pound for pound, it takes less coal to fire your forge and produce your ironwork.  When choosing coal for blacksmithing, be sure that you buy coal that has the least amount of impurities you can find.  Never buy coal with a high level of sulfur because it is not good for steel which makes it more brittle. The disadvantage of coal is that it does produce soot and smoke which can be hazardous for your health.

Coke is made from coal.  Coke is produced when all the impurities in coal, such as oils, gases and liquids, have been burned off.  When using coal, it is the coke that is directly used to heat up the iron and not the coal.  You can buy ready made coke but its really not necessary since coke is produced when burning coal.  It is also harder to start a forge fire with coke compared to coal.  The advantage of using ready made coke is that you will not have the fumes, soot and smoke associated with burning coal into coke.

Many blacksmiths are now using propane or natural gas as their forge fuel for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that a gas forge saves time and allows the blacksmith to focus on creating rather than tending the fire and ensuring the forge fire has adequate fuel.  A gas forge is also easier to use, especially for new blacksmiths, than coal or charcoal forges.  The most important reason to use a gas forge is your health.  Unlike the other fuels discussed above, gas does not give off dangerous smoke or fumes that could be detrimental to your health.  The only disadvantage in using gas is that some gas forges are limited in size compared to coal forges.

I hope this information helps you in choosing the fuel for your forge. 


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Blacksmith Supplies – Blacksmith Forge

A blacksmith forge is the most important of the blacksmith supplies.  All blacksmiths have a forge or hearth which is needed to heat the metal to a malleable temperature  in order to shape it.  Without a forge you cannot shape metal.  Many blacksmiths create their own forges with the supplies they have lying around in their shop.  Forges can be made out of anything from old barbecue grills to old tire rims or brake drums. You can certainly buy a forge but they can be quite expensive.

There are various fuels that can be used for a forge including bituminous coal, coke, charcoal, oil and gas (propane).  Many blacksmiths still use coal but coal is not a clean burning fuel such as propane.  In addition to the forge you will need an air blower and tuyere in order to increase the temperature of the fire so the metal can reach a malleable temperature which is usually around 1300 to 1600 Fahrenheit for tool steel.

Here is a great video on how you can create your own blacksmith forge:

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Blacksmith Supplies – The Basic Supplies That All Blacksmiths Need

blacksmith suppliesThe blacksmith has many tools and supplies.  The most recognizable tool of a blacksmith is the anvil.  The anvil is a heavy piece of cast iron or steel that a blacksmith uses to shape a piece of iron. 

Steel anvils are preferable over cast iron anvils.   The next most recognizable tool of a blacksmith is a hammer.  There are several different types of hammers but the main thing is that it should be heavy enough when striking the iron and anvil, but not too heavy to wear you out and cause fatigue.  Most work can be handled by two hammers, one weighing 1 1/2 or 2 lbs and another hammer weighing 3 or 3 1/2 lbs.

Another important tool of a blacksmith is the tong.  Tongs are used to hold and manipulate the hot metal.  Tongs are vital in moving the iron from the forge to the anvil and/or vise grip.  The blacksmith also has a forge which is where he has created a hot fire.  The forge usually contains coal, charcoal or some type of gas in order to heat the iron to extreme high temperatures.  Bitimunous coal is the preferred fuel since it burns slow and at very high temperatures.  You will also need a blower attached to the forge in order to increase the temperature of the forge fire that is needed to form the iron.

Other supplies such as swages for the anvil help form the iron to the shape you want.  Of course you will need raw pieces of iron that you can use in blacksmithing and creating new objects.  

Once you have created an object, finishing supplies such as bees wax will help protect the finish of the object.  You should also have a metal brush to remove oxidation during the forging process. 

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