Coal blacksmith forges may be a little more challenging to control than other types of forges. And to control the flames on a gas or propane forge, turn a knob. However, there are a few more processes required for a coal or coke forge.
How can you control a coal forge? The quickest method of controlling a coal-fire forge is to cut off the air supply and dig out the burning coals, exposing them to cool air. There are a few more steps you can take to expedite the process, but with just those two, your fire should be extinguished within a few minutes.
Assume you've just completed a day's worth of blacksmithing and need to go someplace quickly. How can you control your coal fire fast and easily before you leave?
To control a coal fire, the first task is to disperse the flames. In this manner, the heat will be distributed more evenly and more cool air around it. Spread the red coals as much as possible using a rake or other hand instrument. As the coals cool, you'll notice that they get darker.
In order to continue burning, a fire requires oxygen. If you can extinguish the oxygen in your coal fire completely, it will burn out relatively fast. If your forge is equipped with a lid, you may close it to eliminate oxygen. Close any vents and switch off any fans or other forms of ventilation that may allow oxygen to reach the fire. If you need to extinguish a fire without using water quickly, you may also smother it with a layer of sand. However, this method is a little more challenging to clean up afterward. The time required to extinguish your fire will vary according to the size of your forge and the quantity of coal you've used.
In order to cool down charcoal-fueled barbeques, it's customary to sprinkle the embers with water from a hose. This works by turning a large portion of the excess heat to steam, and the water also prevents oxygen from reaching the coals, extinguishing them. However, you should avoid drenching your coal forge with water.
A blacksmith forge's temperatures are much greater than those of a standard barbecue. Pouring water on your forge will almost certainly shatter it because of the rapid and severe temperature change. If you're using a rivet forge or another kind of tiny coal forge. Another reason to avoid immediately adding water to your forge is that coal may contain sulfuric acid. When water is sprayed on coal while still in the forge, it leeches out and prematurely ages the forge.
Occasionally, blacksmiths would gently sprinkle water on their coal fire to regulate the temperature. However, never aim a garden hose towards a smoking forge and spray! Apart from possibly damaging your forge, you risk knocking hot coals from the forge and burning yourself or other nearby objects.
Outside of your forge, water poses little risk to the coal itself. The worst-case scenario is that it will wash away part of the ash, which serves no use in any case. Therefore, it is OK to immerse your coals in water to cool them rapidly. Once they have dried out, they may be reused. Use a metal container since plastic would likely burn through your coals before they have a chance to cool.
Ascertain that the vessel is big enough to contain all of your coal as well as a sufficient quantity of water. If you run out of water, your coal will almost quickly bring it to a boil. Your coal will continue to cool down in this manner since most of its energy is transferred to heating the water. However, the greater the capacity of your container, the more effective it will be. To prevent splashing, use tongs or a shovel to drop your coals into the water gently.
Once the coals have cooled to a safe temperature, you may take them out of the water. The ash will settle to the bottom of the container, often on top of the coal and any coke. Your coal and coke are now dry and ready to be repurposed. If desired, you may use a screen or cloth to remove fine dust and other tiny particles that you do not want to retain. Bear in mind that coal is an element that occurs naturally. It occurs naturally on the sides of mountains and is transported on open barges and train carriages exposed to the weather. Thus, getting your coal wet is nothing to fear.
After you've finished working with your coal forge, you'll probably want to spend five or ten minutes storing your equipment and cleaning up. Usually, the fire will have extinguished itself in that length of time. However, if you leave coal to cool in the air, it would likely take many hours for the heat to dissipate entirely. This implies that concealed embers may continue to burn and may re-ignite until they are wholly destroyed. The half-used coal from extinguishing a fire in this manner is helpful if you want to extend the life of your fire after a blacksmithing session without adding additional brand new coal.
A gas forge eliminates most of the labor involved in cooling down your forge. You are not required to cool your coals. Removing the fuel source is as simple as twisting a knob as a stove or gas grill. For novices, I believe a gas forge is simpler to use and more convenient.
Occasionally, if you are not paying attention, a significant flare-up may occur in your coal forge. If your coal fire becomes out of control, or if you need a method to control it immediately, you'll want to have things on hand to do so. As part of their basic safety supplies and equipment, all blacksmiths should have a fire extinguisher in their shop.
The best method is to use a dry powder extinguisher. On coals, this is the most effective and safest kind of extinguisher to use. Oils, gas, and flammable liquids may all be treated using the dry powder. This kind of extinguisher works by eliminating oxygen from the fire, suffocating it, controlling it, and preventing it from spreading
Learning how to start a coal fire is often one of the first lessons given to a novice blacksmith. However, knowing how to safely and swiftly control fire is often overlooked. It may seem so easy that you are ashamed to inquire! However, ideally, you now have a decent understanding of properly controlling your coal forge after you're through for the day.
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