Back from Outer Space

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Hi Guys!

We are almost 2 months into the new year, wow. I have been semi productive since returning to Shkoder the end of January. Verona was beautiful and we had a terrific time. First thing I set out to do was find a forge for charcoal. The regulator I have on my gas forge doesn’t allow me to get it hot enough to forge weld and I have several projects that I want to do that require that ability. Plus gas is a bit costly here and charcoal is suppose to be less expensive to use, current estimate is about 1/2 per hour less.

I bought a forge and blower, for more than I would have paid in the US, but I am not in the US so…. I did get it off of a guy I knew and feel confident that I paid the going value. Having said that I was really only interested in the blower, but it was a package deal. The forge was made out of sheet tin with a 1/8″ perforated plate for the inside plate. I did give it a try and it did work in that configuration, but the heat was limited to a very small work area about 2-1/2″ in diameter. You will see it in the picture. I heated up a couple of pieces of rod and attempted a drop the tongs weld and was unsuccessful. Next I tried to do a small faggot weld and while it welded I wasn’t satisfied with the results of the weld. So as I thought I needed to build a forge and blower stand. No problem I have an arc welder and I know where to get a piece of plate for the forge top.

Sheet tin forge, set up for a side blower

Sheet tin forge, set up for a side blower

The blower when I first got it on the 11 Feb. I clean and lubed it as best

The blower when I first got it on the 11 Feb. I clean and lubed it as best

I wound up getting a 1/8″ piece of deck plate and some 4″ x 1/2″ flat for the actual pot. I made the pot very shallow only about 1-3/4 deep. For charcoal this should work out just fine. I started out using charcoal in 99′, but I had a Centaur Forge brand forge and blower. The pot was about 7″ deep and I always had it full and never mounded over like I did when I switched to coke. The blower blew thru some serious charcoal, way to powerful for it. The blower I have now did a pretty good job, but as I was using it on the new forge I was concerned about the volume of air. It had plenty of force, but the volume didn’t seem to be there. I forged a 1″ x 1-1/4″ leaf and made a key ring out of it. It is a bit large, but good for garden shed keys.

Drop in Pot - w/o grate

Drop in Pot – w/o grate

backside of pot before tuyere is tack welded on.

backside of pot before tuyere is tacked welded on.

Tuyere tack welded in place

Tuyere tack welded in place

Then I started to make the basic tools for the forge; rake and shovel. I have a small picker for the gas forge and I can use that as a poker for the forge instead of making one. Okay I have the shovel head (Pan?) made. I flattened out all the deck ridges on the one side and formed the handle end to fit the shovel head.

New forge and table in use today 2-21-14

New forge and table in use today 2-21-14

Forge and blower in use today 2-21-14

Forge and blower in use today 2-21-14

At this point I am pretty happy and looking forward to finishing the shovel handle and moving on to the rake. I decided to attempt a faggot weld on a piece of 1/8 x 1″ and while I was cranking it up all of a sudden it froze up!

Bummer!  I couldn’t believe it. I have to admit there was a scraping noise when I picked it. I did clean it up as best I could before using it, but I couldn’t do much because I couldn’t get it apart without cutting solder joints, etc. I thought this was a direct drive blower, but come to find out there is a small gear drive unit and the shaft drive gear isn’t engaging anymore nor are the other two gears moving now. Now I could only know this because I took the entire blower apart, well almost. I have to borrow some wrenches to finish the disassembly tomorrow. My friend who lives next door loaned me the wrenches and also decided that I needed better lighting in the shop. He gave me a new socket and some wire to run the line for them tomorrow as well. I would have done it tonight, but I had already cleaned up for the day and didn’t feel like getting my better clothes dirty. Yes I have shirts without burn holes in them. :))

Blower disassembly

Blower disassembly

Blower disassembly

Blower disassembly

Here you can see the missing fan blade and the edge of the larger gear.

Here you can see the missing fan blade and the edge of the larger gear.

Now I have to tell you the tool guy tells me I should improve the blower since I am working on it and once I get it all apart I will decide if I am going with the existing version or making a few modifications: Increase blower blade size, I can make them wider without increasing their diameter allowing me to use the existing case, Add a small flywheel at both or either end of the crank shaft, Increase the exhaust port and tubing. I am pretty sure I will do both the 1st and last mods. The flywheels will depend on if I can find them or not. Of course I guess I could use my 1/2″ x 4″ and make a couple of small ones, but I don’t think that size will add much of a bang for the effort. I could weld two pieces together and then have an 8″ diameter wheel and that might add a small advantage. I will let you know what I decide to do as soon as I make the modifications.

Thanks for stopping by and I am sure we will have a happy ending from out of this. :))) I get a chance to fix and improve something! hahaha.

See ya at the Forge!!!

Vince

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