Does a wood fire get hot enough to blacksmith?
**Absolutely. The forge will even reach welding heat provided the fire is deep enough, the coals are sized well, and the draft is properly adjusted. If you live where wood is easy to get, using it for free forging fuel is a wise path to self-sufficiency.
Does a wood fire make excess sparks or smoke?
**A cold fire smokes. A fire that is still burning off volatiles throws off sparks. While the fire is getting going and burning down to charcoal, you may have a few minutes of tall flames and some sparks. Wait until you have a hot fire and a bed of coals, and you will have a fire that isn't throwing sparks and smoking. This only takes a few minutes. Locate your forge where it won't pose a risk to buildings and use a hood or spark arrester to protect people and property when needed. Make sure you don't put too much new fuel on at once and you'll find smoke is kept to a minimum.
Why do you mention charcoal when this is a wood-fired forge?
**The forge is designed to use raw wood as a fuel but it is actually the partially combusted wood--charcoal--that supplies the intense heat as it completes combustion. You can make the charcoal ahead, or do as we do and just use raw wood.
Can I use coal or coke in this forge?
**You can, but the forge doesn't have a clinker breaker like a forge designed for coal--you'd have to break out the clinker manually.
Can you use charcoal in the forge?
**You can use pure wood charcoal. HOWEVER, the "charcoal" briquets sold for barbequing are not ideal, due to the binders used which introduce impurities that provide a colder fire. Charcoal is an excellent and sustainable forge fuel.
Can you cook on it?
**Actually, yes. Put a grate on the top of forge. Use hardwoods like oak, maple, or apple for the fire. Turn on the blast to get a good hot fire going and burn it until the flames die down and there is a good bed of coals. Turn the blast off--if it smokes, you need to run it a bit longer. Makes WONDERFULLY flavorful meats!
How much wood does it take to work for an hour?
**It depends on how big your fire is, but five gallons of wood chunks can allow you to have a fire for about an hour.