Thursday, April 30, 2009

Forge Welding In Gas Forge

Forge Welding in a Gas Forge is Tricky

Propane gas forges are becoming common place for blacksmiths now. They offer versatility and ease of use, and the fuel is easily obtained. Mostly the gas forge is suited for forging smaller objects, as everything has to fit inside the box. Forge Welding can be done in many gas forges although not all.

The forge welding process requires sustained high heat to soak inot the bars that are being welded. These temperatures are near the top end for propane to support so we have to compensate with good insulation in the forge. Coal forges produce a much higher temperature so you can reach the forge welding temperature sooner.

The environment inside the forge is just as important as the temperature reached. If you have an excess of oxygen available you will find that your bar will scale up. Scale doesn't weld and will contaminate forge weld preventing it from sticking. We try to prevent scale build up with flux (Boric acid, Borax).

Flux will attack the insulation of most forges so you must be careful to have a drip pan of sheet steel to catch the drips. Or else you will end up replacing your forge insulation sooner than you would like.

The Forge Welding Process
  • Scarf your weld area (shape the bars so that they thin out on the edge and are upset in the meat of the weld area)
  • Bing up to a medium orange
  • Wire brush to remove all the scale
  • Coat with Borax while still showing color
  • Put at the entrance of the gas forge until flux melted
  • Put into the heart of the heat of the forge and take a full forge welding heat. This color is a lemon yellow or the color of melted butter.
  • Rotate your bar frequently to get an even heat
  • Pull the bar out of the gas forge and attempt the weld with solid penetrating hammer blows. This is not a really hard stroke as this can dislodge the pieces but more of a solid stroke.
  • You only have about 2 second to complete the weld. Do not Hesitate!
  • Repeat this process several times until you have a full and complete weld.

The Welding process is best learned in a coal forge then the techniques transfered over to gas forges. This is a skill that takes practice and patience.

The video below gives you some tips on building a gas forge and how I insulate it for forge welding.

<a href="">LinkedTube</a>

You will also find more information on my Blacksmithing website.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Making Your Own Electricity For Your Shop

Can You Make Enough Electricity To Supply Your Work Shop?

Homemade electricity is a hot topic. We all hate paying to our utility company month after month. Yes we use the electricity but it is almost a necessity to have in our modern world. Almost everything we use in a daily basis will have some form of electricity associated with it.

In my area our electrical infrastructure is begining to age and needs some extensive repair. In the past we have had electrical failures lasting for several days. When you are a home owner this can be inconvenient or a small scale disaster as when your sump pump doesn't work at the same time. Not a good combination.

If you run a business from hom as I do with my blacksmithing business then any day without power can cut into your income significantly. After a number of years struggling with this I finally invested in a small generator and an inverter to power the shop or the house as need be. Both these options work well although I have to be careful about welding as this pulls a lot of current.

Another couple of options are Wind Power and Solar Power. This on the surface is simple. Just put up solar pannels or a wind generator and have free power. Bill Ford has created a book on Solar and Wind power that may answer your questions in. Home Made Energy

I am involved with a local hydro-electric generating plant in my small town. Be aware that producing electricity for your own consumption is one thing but actually selling back to the power company can be a huge hassel. On a small scale I would suggest it is not worth it. If you have the option on a larger scale yes it can be profitable, but be prepared for huge red tape.

I do recommend looking at having a backup electrical system if you run a workshop. Even just for your home for the convenience of not getting stuck without electricity. Make sure that what ever your backup system that it has enough powerto run your welder.

Oh as a side note I also burn wood in my workshop as it is for me the most economical fuel. But of course to do this I had to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw. Once mastered (it is really not that hard) cutting the wood for my heat was quite easy. Working with a dull chain is dangerous as well as tedius.

There are ways to save money and be a bit more selfsufficient. Two good things in my book.