The forge is the heart with the blacksmith's shop. It's from the forge that the blacksmith heats metal until it reaches a temperature and becomes malleable enough for him to use his other equipment to shape it.
The regular blacksmith's forge has evolved and grow more sophisticated with time, but the fundamental principles remain unchanged. The most frequent forge will be the one fired by coal, charcoal or coke. The forge can be a specially designed fire where the temperature may be controlled in order that the metal is heated on the temperature the blacksmith wants, depending on what he intends to do - shaping, annealing or drawing. The there main elements of the forge are:
· The hearth in which the burning coke (or another fuel) is contained and over that the metal lies and heated.
· The Tuyere that is a pipe leading to the hearth through which air is forced. The strength of the hearth and the heat it makes will depend on how much air being fed for it with the Tuyere tube.
· The bellows include the mechanism by which air is forced with the Tuyere tube in to the hearth. While earlier bellows were pumps operated by muscles power, modern forges have high power fans or bowers to force air in the Tuyere
The blacksmith adjusts the mix of air and fuel in the hearth the make the exact temperature had to heat the metal. A conventional blacksmith's forge have a flat bottomed hearth with the Tuyere entering it from below. The core in the fire would have been a mass of burning coke during the fireside. Around this burning coke would have been a wall of hot, and not burning coal. This wall of coal serves two purposes. It provided insulation possesses and focuses the temperature from the fire to a limited area, allowing the blacksmith to heat the metal inside a precise manner. The new coal also becomes transformed in coke that may then be harnessed for fuel for your hearth.
The outer wall from the fire is made up of a layer of raw coal, which are often kept damp so as to control heat in the inner layer of hot coal to ensure that is may slowly "cook" into coke.
The size of the hearth and also the heat it generates could be changed by either adding or removing fuel from that as well and adjusting mid-air flow. By changing the shape of the outer layers of coal, the shape in the fire may also be modified to accommodate the contour with the metal piece being heated.
Many modern blacksmiths use gas forges. They are fueled by either gas or propane. The gas is fed to the hearth, which is lined by ceramic refractory materials, and mixed with air and ignited. Pressure at which the gas will be fed to the hearth might be adjusted to alter the temperature. While gas forges are easier to use and need less cleaning and maintenance, the downside is, unlike a coal fired forge, the form with the fire is fixed and should not be changed to accommodate the form and size of the metal being heated.
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