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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

06 July 2009

Propane Forge Progress

My boss decided to close the office for Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday creating the Canada Day Extra Long weekend.  For some very strange reason I decided to be industrious for the entire weekend and  Mrs. Bugbear was excited until she realized that I was going to spend most of the weekend in my garage. It's traditional to celebrate Canada Day with fireworks and in that vein I decided to work on my propane forge.  I'm constructing the forge from a used 20lb propane tank as per the book by Michael Porter mentioned in my previous post.

I removed the valve from the empty tank and filled it with water and then cut an opening in the end that I removed the valve from.   On Canada Day I decided to burn the tank out.  Disdaining the game of discovering which neighbor will call the fire department I decided to visit my parents who live in a rural area with much more understanding neighbors.  I loaded the tank with charcoal, liberally doused the charcoal with lighter fluid and threw in a match.  I still have my eyebrows but it was a near thing.  Imagine my chagrin when after narrowly escaping with intact eyebrows I discovered that the opening I'd cut at the top of the tank wasn't large enough to keep the charcoal going.  I was also embarrassed to find out that I was out of lighter fluid.  Well, Papa McBugbear had a gas can so lighter fluid wasn't a problem but how to get the charcoal going?

My father is not a pack rat but there are a fair number of miscellaneous items spread about his workshop in a seemingly random pattern.  From the miscellany I selected a piece of 8" round duct.  I also grabbed an electric fence post.  I set the post upright in the charcoal and then placed the dryer vent over the hole in the propane tank after liberally dousing the charcoal with gasoline.  Once again risking life, limbs and eyebrows I threw a lit match in the top of the duct.  The flames shot four feet out of the duct and the charcoal was lit.

The duct acted in much the same fashion as the stovepipe on a wood stove drawing air in at the bottom to feed the charcoal which had been starved for air when I lit it the first time without the chimney in place.

After this long narrative you might be wondering why I was BBQ'ing my propane tank.  Propane sometimes has parafin in it which can create a sludge in the tank.  Roasting the tank gets rid of the paraffin and any propane trapped in the grain structure of the steel walls.

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