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Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, and Kilns

4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1879535206
ISBN-10: 1879535203
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Editorial Reviews


Michael Porter’s fine illustrations match his excellent writing style. "Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, & Kilns" is absolutely the best. -- David W. Wilson, 10 February 2004

About the Author

Mike began learning ornamental ironwork at twelve in his father’s shop during the fifeties building boom. Low profit margin and high demand combined to make Southern California a center for technical innovation in trade work. First rate tooling was simply a matter of survival. Over the years his passions for exceptional tooling and for the crafts merged into a unified veiw of art; that vision and tooling are inseperable, for one will not outpace the other. His book is meant to help address the disparity between desire and ability that is holding up progress in the crafts today.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Skipjack Press, Inc. (February 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879535203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879535206
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It took some time to figure out what I liked about this book. Eventually it became clear: All of it. The whole treatment and presentation takes me back to a time when books were intended to convey information which you could put to use.
The author wrote from the assumption that you were an adult with some measure of skill and common sense. Words weren't wasted and pictures were there for their information value instead of decoration. Often there were no photos because line art was easier to reproduce and could more clearly convey necessary details.
That is exactly what Mike Porter has done with this book. It is clear and easily understandable without wasting words. It is illustrated by hand-drawn line art... the perfect match for the information presented.
And there is a lot of information here... probably more than in most books with twice as many pages. It is presented in a matter-of-fact manner without "talking down" to the reader or using show off buzzwords.
The first burner I built from this book came entirely from my scrap pile. I have no doubt that, in only three months, this burner has cut my oxygen/acetylene bill enough to pay for the book.
Herein lies another tip: although the details are there and you can use a cookbook approach to burner building, there is also plenty of discussion to allow one to "freelance" a bit in fabrication. You CAN go to the hardware store and buy everything you need exactly 'by the book" or a skilled junkmeister can improvise from materials on-hand.
The range of burners, furnaces, kilns and forge projects presented in this book make it a sure bet to be well worthwhile to anybody who plays with fire.... lots of very intense fire.
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Format: Paperback
First, the good news:

Michael Porter's book is one that has been sorely needed by those of us who are experimenting with building our own propane burners, furnaces, forges, and kilns. It is chock-full of detailed plans, with gorgeous, carefully executed pencil drawings showing the parts and assembly of each item. Full parts lists and construction details are provided. Mr. Porter also begins the book as he should, with an extensive chapter on safety. Several burner designs, along with plans for forges and metal and glass-melting furnaces follow. A nice chapter on brazing is included.

And now, the not-so-good news:

I have to admit to some surprise upon seeing all the five-star reviews here. Perhaps it's because it's so hard to find the kind of useful detail one uncovers in this book. (It's certainly been useful for me.)

Unfortunately, the book appears to be rushed to print without proofreading for spelling or grammar, and could surely use an editor's eye to improve its organization and consistency of style. Nearly every page contains an error. In many places sentences are missing one or two words, words are just plain wrong, measurements conflict, chemical formulae are wrong, typographical style changes from page to page, etc. Examples: a project requires "3 linear feet (or 42 inches)" of refractory insulation -- which one is correct? Hydrogen is wrongly listed as "H3" (with subscript [which I can't show here], but on other pages, some chemical formulae appear without subscripting).

There are also frequent cross-references to other chapters, and to a "Notes" appendix so long that one wonders if some of the material would be better placed in the original chapters, either as part of the text, or as footnotes on the citing page.
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Format: Paperback
Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, & Kilns by Michael Porter
216 pages and 111 illustrations by the author
ISBN 1879535203 Publisher: Skipjack Press 2004
Mike Porter has written a great book for the person who needs to build a gas forge, a melting furnace, a gas burner for an existing forge or needs knowledge about propane and burners in general. This book begins with a discussion of the safety required when storing and using propane, the proper use of tools, and doing shop work in general. The author emphasizes safety throughout the book. Chapter two includes a detailed discussion of just what a burner is, the considerations that go into an efficient design, discusses the fuel, propane, at some length, and describes the hardware that is involved in a successful, proper design. The remainder of the book describes how to build different size burners, forges, forge carts and furnaces. Each chapter/project has a list of materials needed, the tools needed for the basic project and some extensions of the design to make the design more efficient. To avoid lengthy repetition of processes, the author refers one back to an earlier chapter where the process is described in detail. Included at the end of the book are a glossary of terms, a list of notes cited in the text, and an extensive list of resources.
This book contains all the knowledge needed for a reasonably mechanically-handy person to build and operate a state-of-the-art, gas-fired burner, forge or furnace. The author gives credit to others who helped develop and refine the designs used in this book.
Is this the ultimate book of burner or forge design? No, it's not. However, it is the best book we have at the present time. This book is well worth its cost. I encourage people to buy this book either as a reference for propane-fired equipment or as a guide to build your own propane-fired equipment or just as a reminder of how incredibly resourceful the human mind is.
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