Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hephaestus -- a mini-furnace

I really should be posting on the garden, which is my main preoccupation at this time. But I'll do that later. Meanwhile, I would like to tell you about my mini-furnace. I did not invent this thing; I got it straight out of the internet. (Google on "soup can furnace".)

One of the problems with doing mini-blacksmithing as I do is that it takes quite a long time to heat up the work. Maybe five minutes to red-hot. After that it goes faster. Still, it is time and gas wasted. You are heating the atmosphere as well as your work. So I built Hephaestus, the tin can furnace.

 It could not be simpler. A tin can. In my case a roast beef hash can. Drill three holes. Mount it on some L-brackets. Fill the tin can with equal parts of sand and plaster of paris. Use a former (I used a broomstick and neglected to spray it with Pam) for the hole in the middle. But do oil your former. Any oil will do. The filler sets up in five minutes. I had to drill it out and then burn off the remaining broomstick remnants.Silly me.

You note the propane torch at the left. This fits in a hole you drill in the can. A spreader tip works better than a pencil tip. Fire up the torch and stick it in. It is amazing. It goes from zero to orange in under a minute! That is, you stick your steel piece into the furnace and light off. One minute later start forging. Amazing! Do use vise-grips on your piece -- it gets very hot indeed.

This thing really will save time and propane. But now it's time to garden, and I have no spare time. Next post I'll get into that.

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