Forging metal is one of the oldest known process for shaping metal and now you can make your own forge to practice this ancient art. With a few commonly found items at the nearby hardware store, you can create your very own forge to heat metals to their point of malleability, then shape them as you like. Through the use of insulation, you can safely and effectively isolate heat and focus it on a relatively small piece of metal, heating it to a red hot temperature, but be careful when handling such metal, it can be dangerous.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Large old coffee can
- Kaowool fabric sheeting
- All metal garden sprinkler head
- Propane gas tank with a regulator and hose
Remove one flat side of your coffee can.
Line the inside of the can with kaowool fabric, about 2 inches around the bottom and sides should do it. Kaowool is a ceramic fabric invented to replace asbestos. It has incredible heat retention properties and can be found and some hardware or pottery stores. Cut out a circular piece of kaowool fabric to use as a cover for the open side of the can as well.
Drill a 1-inch diameter hole in the side of the can and remove some of the kaowool fabric from the inside to allow air to pass through the hole into the can. This is the hole you will use to attach the burner, so the gas must be able to penetrate the kaowool.
Thread the all-metal constructed garden sprinkler head onto the hose coming from the regulator and propane tank. Gently open the regulator and tank valve; hold a flame to the tip and test for functionality. You will use this sprinkler head as it will allow more gas to flow through it and ultimately more heat, than conventional torch elements.
Place the piece of metal inside the can, resting on the kaowool, light the sprinkler head and hold it up to the hole in the can, but do not insert it. Cover the open side of the can with the circular piece of kaowool and check on the metal regularly for a red hot hue. Do not insert the tip of the burner head into the can as the heat from the flame builds up inside the can and may increase to the point where it will melt the sprinkler head.
Tips and warnings
- Always handle heated metal using tongs or other tools, never with bare hands.
- Always wear appropriate eye, face, body and foot protection when forging or handling hot metal.
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