Join Date: May 2006
Mr. Ross, gas is indeed very easy to use, making damascus with gas is easier than baking a chocolate cake, but the big thing I don't like about it is that although it is great for welding, it is in my opinion less good for welding and , again for me, close to useless for heat treating.
With coke & charcoal you can control the heat in any part of the blade, so you can bring the edge of a blade to critical, and leave the back relatively soft. Effectively you can apply heat to a piece of work wherever you need it, and at whatever level you need, but with the gas forges I've used this is simply not possible, you get a fast, even, overall heat, no real control at all.
I've never used bellows, even in Jawa I've used electric blowers. A cheap electric blower is a worn out vacuum cleaner on blow cycle. Tending the fire is what makes coke & charcoal so manageable, its talking to you the whole time.