Q: Will the outside of the Handy Forge get hot?
A: Yes, treat it like you would a charcoal grill. The outside doesn't get as hot as the inside but you wouldn't want to touch it! The firebrick and thick steel walls will hold the heat for a while after the unit is turned off. Give it ample time to cool down and make sure you touch it gently, to check for heat, before you grab it.
Q: How big is the forge chamber?
A: It's a 2" hole that is 4.5" long. So, it's 14 Cubic Inches.
Q: Should the forge be smoking?
A: Much like a new BBQ grill, the forge may smoke a little the first couple times it is used. This is totally normal.
Q: How long should it take for my forge to get hot enough to forge steel?
A: That depends on your burner. With a high BTU plumbers torch and starting with a totally cold forge it may take 4 to 5 minutes. You'll know it is ready when the
brick starts to glow bright orange inside. Play with it a bit and you'll learn when it's hot and when it's not.
Q: How long does it take to heat up the metal?
A: That will depend on your burner and the material you are heating. Using a high BTU plumbers torch with propane I was able to get a railroad spike up to forging temperature in about a minute to a minute and a half. That was after the initial heat which always takes longer. Smaller stock like 1/4" I'm able to forge in less than a minute. If I'm forging two 1/4" rods then I'll have one in the forge while I'm working the other one. When the one I'm working on is ready to go back into the forge, the one that's in the forge is ready to go.
Keep in mind the first time you put a cold piece of metal into the forge it will take longer than all subsequent times. The first heat always takes the longest. How long will depend on how thick the metal is you're trying to heat. For example 3/4" steel bar will take longer to heat than 1/4" but it will hold it's heat longer. 1/4" will heat up faster but also loose it's heat quicker.
Q: I received a small black piece of steel channel and a hose clamp with my Handy Forge. what's that for?
A: The channel is a riser that you can use to boost up the height of your burner if needed. I wanted to give the user as many options as possible so I set the burner support bracket low for large burners and supplied the riser to lift up smaller burners if needed. The hose clamp is used to secure the burner to the support bracket for safety.
Q: I need to enlarge the burner inlet hole for my burner, what is the best way to do this?
A: You can use any standard drill bit or even a round file. just be careful not to move the drill too much while you're drilling because you may end up with a larger hole than what you need. Also, make sure you follow the upward angle of the hole when you are drilling. It's super easy but still, take your time.
Q: If I mess up the firebrick do I need to buy a whole new forge?
A: Not at all. Send it back to us and we'll do a complete overhaul for $40
Q: How long does the gas last?
A: If you want to forge for hours then you will need a BBQ grill style tank. they sell adapters on places like Amazon that will let you connect your plumbers torch to that style of tank. I can forge all day with one of those. If you're using the Handy Forge for purposes other than quick projects then that's the way to go. Personally, I use a Bernzomatic TS8000 plumbers torch as my burner. If I were to use a small plumbers style tank and open it up full blast until it runs out I would get around 1.5 hours out of it. Keep in mind that for smaller pieces running the burner at full blast is not always needed which means you would get more time. For larger projects I always recommend the BBQ tank. As a reminder, I sell the forges; the burner that you buy or make is totally up to you.
Q: Can I use the forge inside as long as I open a window?
A: Don't do that. You really want to be outdoors or in an area with really great ventilation and away from anything flammable for your own safety.
Q: Can I forge-weld with the Handy Forge? I want to make Damascus steel knives.
A: The firebrick is rated for up to 2600 degrees so yes, if you have a burner that is putting out enough BTUs then you certainly could. You will need to make or buy a burner that will put out that kind of heat as a plumbers torch wont get the forge hot enough to weld steel. It will get it hot enough to forge a knife if you already have a billet of Damascus you want to work with. I have forged several railroad spikes into knives using only a plumbers torch hooked up to a BBQ gill style propane tank.
Q: I have an old plumbers torch but the tip is too small to fit snugly into the burner hole. Can I use it anyway?
A: The plumbers torches that I have tried with small tips did not put out enough BTUs to heat the forge sufficiently. The ones
that have a 5/8" tip seem to do pretty well and are very common these days. Look for a high BTU output plumbers torch which is readily available in most big hardware stores. Keep in mind
that's not the only option. Many people make there own burners so they can customize the forge to their own needs.
Q: My burn chamber looks like it has a big crack in it! is that normal?
A: Yes, the line you see in the middle of your forge is where 2 bricks come together. The line may look a little ruff from the drilling process but this will not hinder the operation of the forge. Also, over time you may notice a hairline crack or two inside your forge. This is normal wear and tear due to constant expansion and contraction of the brick pressing against the steel housing. All of the forges I have used over the years develop hairline cracks with no noticeable decrease in their function. So, forge ahead!