This page is a pictorial history of my furnaces. In the future I will be adding more detailed descriptions on construction of the furnaces and burners.

See my article on "Building a Small Casting Furnace." This describes how I built the "Helium Tank Furnace" shown below.


This is my first furnace, made in the mid 80's. It was intended as an experiment, and took about 3 hours to build. The body was made from an old 5 gal can labeled "Freon" - not a pressurized can, but one with a screw off cap! It has a couple of inches of castable refractory on the bottom, and was lined with inswool ceramic fiber. The top is a piece of sheet metal with inswool wired to it with binding wire. It was powered by two propane venturi burners made by NC Tool Co. It looked like hell, but it worked great and I ended up using it for at least 5 years and upwards of a hundred melts. I think I replaced the ceramic fiber once, and relined the bottom by adding an inch of castable refractory on the bottom twice.


The Helium Tank Furnace

Here's the upgrade from the original furnace. This furnace is a workhorse; it will melt 30 lb. of bronze in 35 minutes. The whole thing, including the regulator and hose costs under $150. The burner is made from the plans on Ron Reils website - easy to make from easy to obtain pipe fittings. Like my original furnace the helium tank furnace has a castable refractory floor and lid and is lined with ceramic fiber blanket. It just holds a #10 crucible, and so it will melt 30 lb. of bronze or 10 lb. of aluminum. I have made a number of these furnaces, both in workshops and for friends. They have proven to be reliable and efficient. See my article on "Building a Small Casting Furnace" which describes how i built this furnace

HeliumTankFurnace3 HeliumTankFurnace3b

Click on the thumbnails for a schematic of the Helium Tank Furnace


#30 Forced Air Furnace

This is my most recent furnace. It takes up to a #30 crucible, 90 lb. of bronze or 30 lb. of aluminum. The forced air propane burner just uses a rabbit cage blower and so is not very loud (in consideration of my neighbors). The construction of this furnace is similar to the Helium Tank Furnace - castable bottom and top with ceramic fiber sides. The ceramic fiber is painted with a zircon flour/colloidal silica mix which protects the fiber from abrasion.

Update: I've finally had a chance do a larger melt with this baby a couple of weeks ago - it works great! Not very loud, melted 45 lbs of bronze in under 30 minutes. The zircon/colloidal mix on the walls does a nice job of heat reflection. The only problem was that it froze up the 40 lb propane tank in under 10 minutes - I had to put the tank in a bucket of water, which kept it warm enough to hold the pressure. Since the melt, I purchased another 40 lb tank and I'll hook up the regulator to both. It was a two man pour, my friend Jim helped out as the deadman. It was a lot of fun; I'm still working on the sculpture (I'm chasing the part I poured the other week and I have to make and pour one or two more sections), when I post it in the Bronze Gallery I'll put a link here.

Back to Top