This is an old revision of the document!
Basic information for running the Natural Gas Forge safely and efficiently:
Clothing should be only natural fabrics: Leather, Cotton, Wool, etc. Polyester, Acrylic, Nylon, Rayon, and other oil derived fabrics will burn when sparked, and fuse into your skin as they burn. They might have to cut you shirt out of you at the ER!
Gloves are very useful for keeping dirt off your hands, but can never be trusted to keep you from getting burnt! You can actually burn yourself worse grabbing a hot piece with a glove than without. Steel only starts to glow visibly at around 800 degrees F. 799 degree steel looks like room temperature steel. Use tongs if you are not absolutely sure something is cool enough to touch.
Long pants and closed toed shoes are highly recommended. Hot scale will fall from the anvil and occasionally give you 1st degree burns when it hits bare skin if you happen to have a really large flake come off.
Eye protection. Things can go flying, and they hurt if they hit you in the eye, hot or cold.
Keep the gas valve tightly closed unless you are using the forge! This is the valve on the forge manifold (yellow handle).
If anything goes wrong and you are unable to reach this valve. There is a emergency shutoff valve on the wall to the left of the forge, along side the hot work table, it has a blue handle.
If you cannot reach that shutoff, there is another shutoff valve that controls all tools in the forge area. It is further east, along the south wall of the room. It is labeled with a sign that says “main gas shutoff”.
You should be aware of what unburned natural gas smells like (rotten eggs is similar).
In the event that you smell it:
There is a gas safety alarm in the forge area. It will monitor 2 things we care about:
#1: Carbon Monoxide: If too much of this builds up, it kills people
#2: Explosive Gas:
Use the minimum speed necessary to prevent a visible flame from shooting out the mouth of the forge. Any additional air supply will reduce the heating efficiency of the forge and greatly increase scale formation on your piece. Ideally you want a perfect ratio of oxygen to fuel in the burner so that there is no remaining oxygen left after combustion.
This is an acquired skill, you need to eyeball the temperature of the forge and your steel by using the color of its glow. In general you'll want to be working at what is referred to as “yellow” to “orange” heat. You can get a rough guide by looking at this chart.
Keep in mind that ambient light will dramatically change your observed color. This reference was intended to be used in a much darker room than the makerspace.