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coal versus propane
December 20, 2017
8:59 pm
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Marleyk
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December 13, 2017
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Hi folks,

who wants to discuss the pros and cons of propane versus coal? I learned using coal and I like the quietness of it and ability to control the heat but I don’t like the smoke. What little propane I have used has hurt my ears, given me a sunburn and a lot of other burns from scale flying off the metal. Does anyone still use coal?

December 21, 2017
9:14 pm
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4elements
Granite Falls, WA
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I started off with coal but the smoke and clinker were objectionable to me too. My forge was also too deep, not allowing me to heap the coal above the fire pot. Last year I built a V- trough forge similar to the Whitlox and burning charcoal. I like the charcoal much better but not so much the forge style. I’m planning to make a wash tub side blast forge for charcoal and maybe occasionally coal. The only propane forges I’ve used are those at the mentoring center. They’re OK but I like solid fuel as a hobbyist. Maybe if I was a professional I’d think differently. I like the way I can control where I heat my metal, rather than covering more than I can work in one heat

December 22, 2017
7:54 pm
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Morgan A. Kirk
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That’s one way of looking at it, 4elements.

 

I myself have two forges, one for propane and one for coal. 

The coal forge I like to use for forge welding, as I know for certain it will get to forge welding temperatures. It is also useful for heating up certain sections, something that is difficult without a heating torch. Changing things up is also fun.

My propane forge is probably more used, since I can heat up long sections pretty evenly, and it is very easy to start up. It’s loud, yeah, but ear protection ought to be always worn in the shop anyway, in my opinion. I like propane.

 

Do you have a chimney for your forge? Smoke used to be a problem for me with my coal too until I made a hood and flue for it. Interestingly, it sort of sucks the smoke out without needing an extraction fan. Might be something to look into if you continue using coal. As for clinkers, I actually enjoy taking them out of the fire. . . sort of therapeutic.

Another option would be buying coal coke. It doesn’t smoke so badly, and there are far less clinkers. The downside to this is it has a tendency to go out if an electric blower isn’t used to keep a constant airflow.

My Youtube channel: Cave of Skarzs

Just having some fun messing around with whatever I have a mind to do.

December 24, 2017
11:38 pm
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4elements
Granite Falls, WA
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555.jpgImage Enlarger

Here’s a pic of my forge and hood. The chimney isn’t adequate at 8″ and the hood not attaching to the forge doesn’t collect all the smoke. With charcoal I can just live with it as the smithy is open on one side. I have forge welded chain links with charcoal in this set up but I want to improve. The time and effort are the hold up. I may someday build a propane forge but I’d rather do other things for now, including improving my skills and making tools.20171224_223646.jpgImage Enlarger
These are a couple of coat hooks I made today for a Christmas present.

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