How to Make a Ribbon Burner

Written by amy lea
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How to Make a Ribbon Burner
A large forge or oven needs a longer ribbon burner. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A ribbon burner is needed when a continuous high heat flame is necessary for production. The ribbon burner is a long tube or block that regulates where flame is centred and the amount of gas and air used to create the flame. In businesses, such as bakeries and glass blowers, that need specific flames and heat amounts, the ribbon burner is the best tool to use to reach the desired effect. A homemade ribbon burner is a careful project that pays off after a few uses.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 10-inch square pipe, 3-inches-by-3-inches
  • 2-inch threaded round pipe
  • 2-inch metal squares
  • 3-inch diameter metal circle
  • Torch cutter
  • Metal sander
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch bit
  • 5/16-inch bit
  • Welder
  • Welding sticks
  • 3-inch-by-10-inch plywood, 3/4-inch thick
  • Crayons without paper, 28
  • Drill press
  • 1-inch-by-1-inch metal boxes, 2
  • 29-inch long 2-by-4
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Bag of castable refractory
  • Water
  • WD-40
  • Measure tape
  • Metal marker

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure and draw a square 1/2-inch in from the sides and edges on one side of the square pipe. Measure and draw one 3-inch circle directly in the middle of the other side of the square pipe. Cut both drawings out of the square pipe with a torch cutter.

  2. 2

    Sand the edges of the 3-inch circle to flatten them by 1/4-inch with a metal sander. Drill nine holes into the centre of the circle with a 3/8-inch bit and drill. The metal circle is now called a baffle.

  3. 3

    Weld the baffle to the inside of the square tube over the 3-inch hole. The welding must make the baffle sit about 5/8-inch above the tube inside. This will allow for air and gas to pass through the sides and the holes in the baffle.

  4. 4

    Weld the threaded pipe to the outside of the square pipe around the circle opening with the welder and welding sticks. Weld the 3-inch metal squares into the ends of the square pipe to close them off. Make sure there are no holes or voids in the welding. Sand down the ends to make the surfaces smooth with the metal sander.

  5. 5

    Tack weld, which is placing small beads of welding on something so it can easily be knocked off later, two 1-inch-by-1-inch bars to the ends of the metal box 3/4-inch from the opening.

  6. 6

    Mark a square 1/2-inch in from the edges and sides on a piece of 10-inch-by-3-inch plywood of 3/4-inch thickness. Draw three lines equidistant from each other and parallel with the 10-inch side inside the drawn square. On these three lines, draw 24 circles.

  7. 7

    Set a drill press depth for 3/8-inch and use a 5/16-inch bit. Drill holes into the 24 spots on the plywood. Set 24 crayons into the holes without the papers. Make sure the crayons are facing point up.

    How to Make a Ribbon Burner
    A drill press provides perfectly equal holes. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)
  8. 8

    Cut a 29-inch 2-by-4 into two pieces 11 1/4-inches long and two pieces 3 1/4-inches long. Nail the 3-inch pieces on the ends of one 11-inch long piece and then nail the other 11-inch long piece onto the other sides of the 3-inch pieces with hammer and nails. This creates a wooden frame. Set this frame onto the plywood with the crayons so that the crayons are inside the frame. Nail the frame to the plywood with hammer and nails.

  9. 9

    Spray the inside of the wooden box with WD-40 with a gentle mist. Mix 4-cups of castable refractory and enough water until the refractory is the consistency of peanut butter. Pour the refractory inside the wooden box making sure to keep the crayons sitting up straight.

  10. 10

    Push the metal box into the wooden box carefully to avoid moving the crayons. You will not be able to see the crayons any longer to straighten them, so move very slowly to keep from displacing the crayons. The squares on the side of the metal box will only allow the box to go inside so far. That is intentional to give space between the refractory and the baffle. This space will allow for small amounts of gas build-up creating a stronger flame from the ribbon burner.

  11. 11

    Allow the refractory to set for 24 hours. Set the ribbon burner on its side and allow it to dry for 3 to 7 days. Once it is dry, remove the tack welded bars on the sides, the wooden box, and the crayons. To remove the crayons, drill them out with a smaller drill bit or melt them with the forge.

Tips and warnings

  • For the first few burnings with the new ribbon burner, burn at a lower temperature and at minimal lengths of time to allow for the refractory to cure better.
  • Keep the wood box to make a ribbon burner later as homemade ribbon burners last about 5 years and will need replaced.
  • Keep all power tools away from children.
  • Castable refractory gets hot when it is mixed with water. Keep fingers and hands out of the mixture.

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