All About Furnaces with John Bouley

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 | Blackbird TV

Take a deep dive and learn about furnaces, with John Bouley of Furnace Brokers International, and David Fiegel of Blackbird Auctions. #BlackbirdTV

About this segment of Blackbird TV

Guest: John Bouley, President, Furnace Brokers International. To learn more about our guest, visit, or call 860-875-3712.

Recorded: February 24, 2021

Published: November 9, 2021

Segment transcript

Like to welcome John Bouley from Furnace Brokers, John, today I would like to talk about furnaces. Thanks for being with us. Oh, thank you for inviting me. John, let’s get right to it. I’ve got a picture here. It’s a beautiful furnace. Tell us about this. So when I look at the picture, it’s a gas fired. You can see the burners at the lower third. What I see is like a door that swings open. And so if you look at to the left…I mean to the right, excuse me, that’s the door. And it has a really good shot of the inside, which is really critical in a case of either furnace or an oven. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I already said, these are furnaces, because I know that…Why is this a furnace and not an oven? Well, because as you can see when you look inside. An oven is sheet metal lined, in and out. There’s no sheet metal inside this, so this has some type of refractory. I’m looking at it here, it looks like it has what they call lightweight refractory. Let me see if I can blow this up a little. Yeah, it’s brick lined is what it is, and the way this works is the car that’s out in front. Rolls into the furnace and then you close the front door. A variation on this would be a door that went up and down in the front or a door that’s attached to the car. They are all called, they would all be called car bottoms. And so this is in pretty decent shape. The refractory looks to be in good condition. And so when you’re looking at it, that’s what you want to do. Is there any brick falling down inside? And… I’m sorry to interrupt you. You can replace that brick. And so if you were selling this at a liquidation or an auction, the buyer would probably want to have his rigger, you know, brace the inside up. for shipping. Put a box in there. They have these air bags you can put in there, but you don’t want to put a lot of pressure on it. It’s just to keep the brick where it is, when it’s bouncing around on the truck and the air bags are not that expensive. Whereas with an oven, you just load it on a truck, you don’t have to do anything falling off. So if you’ve got a furnace that’s lined with refractory, you better be paying attention to it. Your rigger better be paying attention to it. Let’s look at the green, the green one. Why is this different than the other one? I mean, other than probably the apparent age of it, but from a conditioned perspective, what do you think of this? And again, this is a furnace. This looks a little older, but it’s bigger. It’s got a lot more burners to it, and you can see the the burners there on the bottom. And it looks like there’s some burners up at the top also, but it’s the same style. This one has the side swing door, which is again one of the variations, and this one is the same. It’s refractory lined. And it’s this one looks like it is lightweight fiber and lightweight fiber is the easiest way to describe it. It’s like cotton, you know, that’s what it looks like. If it’s lightweight fiber, you won’t need to to shore up the inside. You can ship it just like it is. The benefit to the lightweight fiber and why it’s usually worth more money in an appraisal is these things come up to temperature very quickly. If this furnace were brick lined, you might have to start it up five or six hours before you wanted to use it to get it up to 2000 degrees. It takes that long for the brick to absorb all that heat. But with this lightweight fiber, you can have that up to 2000 degrees in an hour or less. So that’s going to be a lot more efficient to run a lot less costly. I mean, there are some factories that 40 years ago used to leave their furnaces, their 2000 degree operating furnaces idling at 1800 or 1700 over the weekend. Wow. Just so when they came in at 6:00 Monday morning, that thing could be up to 2000 in an hour or so. And now they don’t have that furnace running all weekend or all night, or, you know, they just turn it off at the end of the shift and, you know, somebody comes in an hour early starts it up, and when it’s when the factory opens up, they’re ready to roll. So the lightweight refractory is is is a good seller. It’s a good value. And in the case of collateral, if you had to move that and put it in a warehouse, it will be cheaper because you won’t have to have it all shored up, just disconnect it and store it. Great information there. Stuff I’ve never heard and I appreciate that. This last one I want to talk about this is also a furnace, but it looks completely different than the other ones. Tell us about this. All right. This is what’s classified as a box furnace, and It’s different from the last one, which would be a car furnace in that the work area is elevated above the ground. But it works the same way in this particular case. This is not gas, however. This is electric, but it’s got the side swing door. And again. The vast majority of this type of furnace would have a vertical lift door air operated or hand operated, but there are side swing doors out there and this is one of them. It’s brick lined and the controls are state of the art—somewhat—controls. So, digital controls came out in force in heat treating in the early nineties mid-nineties. They’d been out before that, but heat treat was very slow to the… to the party, and so in the early to mid-nineties, digital control, so if it’s got digital controls, that’s a good way of figuring out. But we’ve got a picture of the data tag here and this is 2450 degrees maximum temperature, so that’s important that’s got some value over if it was 2000. How much more? You know this could bring… 10% or more value, just because it’s 450 degrees higher max temperature. An item like this, does this make good collateral? Excellent collateral. You pick it up and throw it on the truck, pretty much. In this, you might not have to shore it up. I can’t see enough of the inside, but this would be easy to shore up. Just put an air bag in it and some cardboard on the walls. Yes, this would be excellent collateral. And what about those two giant car bottom ones that we talked about at the beginning of this segment? Do those make good collateral? They’re awfully hard to move. What about general use? Do they have a good broad use? So there’s a big enough market that a banker can be confident that they’ll get the value out of those? Yes, they’re good collateral. The car bottoms we looked at earlier were probably designed for some type of ceramic processing, but they’re used in metal processing all the time. There’s there’s nothing wrong with them and the car bottom is a very fast moving item on the market today. There’s a lot of people looking for them. There’s not a lot of them available. Wow. And it’s a mystery to most of us in this industry, in the appraisers, in the auctioneers out there, we see them. And if we all understood them at the level that you do, we’d all be better for that. John, really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us today. Oh, thank you. Thank you for inviting me.