Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives

Casting a Liner

After using this forge for about 4 years I decided to replace one of the ceramic wool liners with a castable refractory liner. The forge works just fine without this type of liner except for two things: one, this forge can easily get hot enough to melt the ceramic wool I used and then it collapses into the interior and I have to stop work and replace the wool liner. Two, even when I'm careful about the heat the wool is still delicate and easily damaged by a big billet flopping around in there. So, I thought maybe a castable liner which has a much higher melting point and a much tougher material might last longer.

Everyone knows that forges made with wool liners heat up much faster than cast forges. On the other hand, cast forges will probably use less fuel once they get hot because they hold their heat better. Therefore, I decided to try out one of my oddball ideas by replacing only one of my wool layers with a cast layer to see if it would still heat up quickly and perhaps be a little more fuel efficient.

To start, I built a form for the liner from some steel and aluminum flashing I had laying around. The flashing was screwed to a board so that it would hold the desired shape. Then, a layer of heavy wire screen with 1/2" square holes was attached to the form so that it was about a half inch from the inside liner. My goal was a liner that would be about 1" thick.

Here you can see the outer shell of the form has been screwed on. The wire is between the two layers of flashing but it doesn't really show in the picture.

This is the casting after the outer shell of flashing has been removed.

The inner layer of flashing and the board have been removed. The wire layer is now inside the cast material.

Finally, the cast layer is slipped into the forge. A new bottom is poured into the forge also, sealing up to the liner. After four years the bottom was in pretty bad shape! I also poured the back end of the forge full of castable. The tubes you see are cardboard rolls that were used to hold open the holes for the burners. The cardboard and some bits of tape will burn away when I fire the forge for the first time. My casting work isn't perfect, especially since I had to piece the flashing material together, but the interior still looks smoother than the wool liners.

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Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives