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Cast iron rivet forge & Bufco blower

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#1 Holzkohle


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Posted 19 September 2008 - 08:20 PM

I picked up this forge and blower at the Alabama Forge Council gathering the first weekend of this month. Had a great time with a lot friendly, helpful people for a newbie blacksmith.

I have a few questions about the forge and the blower. The forge appears to have had a replacement plate through the air flows into the coal. Some local smiths have recommended lining the forge with fire clay, refactory clay, fire brick, etc. Since I want to use this forge as a demo unit, I would like to keep the weight down. Is it necessary/desirable to line the forge?

The Buffalo Forge Co blower, a small one, is in pretty good shape. Today I disassembled the unit to find that it had been lubed with what appears to be solidified axle/wheel bearing grease. There is an oil fill hole in the top of the housing. I wanted to completely disassemble the unit to completely clean and lube it but was unable to separate the impeller from the shaft (set screw was removed)? Any suggestions.

Current plans are to lube it with a lithium base grease.

I would like to paint the unit to it's original color. Any Idea as to what this color was?

Thanks Jerry

#2 Finnr


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Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:42 PM

If it's one of the sheet metal ones. Most I have seen were painted kind of a nasty minty green. I repainted the one for my demo forge with black hammer paint. Hides teh rough spots, looks pretty good. Dosen't make the critter sound less like an air raid siren , but I'm used to that.
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#3 crij



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Posted 22 September 2008 - 11:06 AM

With the clay question, I have 2 rivet forges and neither have clay.

My first one is an oval Buffalo forge with a pump handle, the pan is cast iron, and I use one of the stamped & lasered tuyeres that are available on eBay. My second one, which I just finished cleaning & painting is a Columbia 400, which I replaced the welded sheet metal pan, that needed clay with a 20" cast iron skillet from Cabella's and a tuyere made from a scrap stainless block. I have had no problems running with bare cast iron, all anyone needs to remember is to let the CI cool slowly (pull fire off tuyere and let it cool till the coals are warm to the touch) if it cools too fast it can crack.

Personally I keep mine without clay for two reasons, one is that I carry both in the bed of my truck and can see the clay popping out after the first pothole or rut. Second is the desire to keep the fire clean, as everytime your work, and firetools scrape the clay the sand will pollute the fire slightly (or that is what my head says). Third is that refractory clay produces a mildly acidic solution when it gets damp and since I store my equipment in a barn, I didn't want condensation to get between the clay and CI to accelerates the rust that would normally form from trapped water.

Have fun,

Rich C.

#4 ironrosefarms


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Posted 22 September 2008 - 07:53 PM

Jerry, congrats on your new forge!

My cast iron rivet forge has clay right out of my backyard in it (we have some good quality clay, we have 4 brick plants within 20 miles of here), I worked with it with no clay for some time but had fits keeping the fire the size and shape I wanted. The worse part of my forge isn't so much the clay as it is the spacing on the legs. Mine uses a ratchet handle and wheel and it doesn't take much to pull the whole forge over. I have created two stakes that I use to hold the forge down to help cure this. The other problem is I use a two wheeled hand truck to move my stuff outside to my working area, the legs are just exactly the wrong distance apart to be able to put the hand truck under it and move it. So for this I keep a piece of plywood around for the forge to be moved with for now, but I do have plans for a metal bar that will run between two legs that will be installed about 1 inch above the bottom of the legs so I don't have to use the plywood anymore.

My Cast Iron "bowl" was cracked when I got it, instead of trying to have it welded I bolted 1/4" by 1" flat stock formed to the side of the bowl and bolted it in place. Then at the start of the crack near the center whole I drilled a small hole to keep the crack from furthering. This has held quite well now for about 18 years. Be sure to allow the cast iron to cool slowly or you will be finding the need for just this such a repair or worse...

“He who allows his day to pass by without practicing love, generosity, mercy and praising God is like a blacksmith's bellows: he breathes but does not live.”

#5 Sam Falzone

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 08:16 PM

Nice forge Jerry - picked one up similar to it just a few weeks ago at auction (Check out the "Auction Score" thread). A more experienced friend of mine suggested using 4 firebricks to make a firebox around the tuyere to give you a deeper fire that won't ash up so quickly (apparently this style of forge is notorious for ashing up).

I suppose it's a lighter alternative to lining the pan with clay (easy to remove and pack away). My pan has some corrosion holes in it and needs a patch job too. Although a decent layer of refractory clay would make my patch job last longer, and the lining with the brick box might be even better. :confused:

Anyway, I don't think a layer of fireclay will make the rig too heavy - think on it, weigh the advantages to the disadvantages (I know I will :D)
"The ability to work and shape metal unlocked the human potential as hunters, builders, artificers, craftsmen, inventors, conquerors and explorers."
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#6 JerryCarroll


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Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:19 PM

I have a Sears farm forge from the early 1900's that I found being used as a flower pot on a patio of a friend. I rebuilt the blower and ratchet assembly and put on a new pump handle. I had heard the pan needed a clay lining so didn't use it right away. I meet a fellow at a show that had been a riveter in NY a loooong time ago and he suggested using a layer of the ash from my shop forge a couple of inches deep and at the end of a session pour the lining into the empty slack tub for saving and easy transfer at the next location. That has worked for many years without any damage to the pan.
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#7 Holzkohle


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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:48 PM

I would like to thank all for the info/advice about my new forge. At this point, I think that I will start using the forge without any lining and advance through the suggestions from minimum work/labor to what seems to work best for me and the longevity of the forge. Would hate to destroy/damage a piece of history.

Thanks Jerry

#8 CurlyGeorge


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Posted 24 September 2008 - 08:47 PM

Jerry, I have a rivet forge that I use on demos and I've never had clay or anything else like it in the forge. It works just fine. Even with the big crack down the side where I think some ding dong put water in the forge to kill the fire. It was like that when I got it, BTW. LOL

#9 Holzkohle


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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:10 PM

Well, survived my first demo yesterday without no major problems, using the forge as is. It seemed that the fire wanted to spread out a bit so I think I will try some thin ( 1inch) fire brick inside. Other that worked just fire. Sold about $130 worth misc items and received orders for about $ 200 more. So A good day for the first time out.

Finner. The original color appears to have been black. And as you mentioned, the
blower is a bit noisy.


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