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I Forge Iron

Belt material

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I was wondering what you guys would use for belt to go from the pulley to the blower on a small, rivet forge. It had a rotten leather belt on it when I got it, I replaced that with a temporary fabric one, then another fabric one when that melted.
Last night I replaced it with a leather belt, that I thought could not melt, I guess I was wrong... the belt burnt most of the way through in one place and cupped almost the whole length in just an hour and a half.

I kept it at least slowly moving the whole time so it would not heat up in one place too much.

I removed the belt from the large pulley wheel before I went inside for the night, but I could not remove it from the blower end because of some braces that hold the little pulley.

If fabric does not work and neither does leather, what do I use?


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Have you thought of moving your blower further away from the forge? You could rig up a stand for it and connect it with a bit of flexible exhaust pipe. If the heat is enough to wreck a leather belt so quickly it must not be nice cranking the blower for you either.

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Thanks for the reply. It might be worth a look, but I bet it will be permanently rusted on. A hack saw can take care of that if need be. The forge is not in what you would call great shape, but I would like to use it til it falls completely apart...I'll just hope I am not beside it when that happens.

I'll see how hard it would be or if it would be worth it to "customize" with your idea.

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Sounds as though you have a lever action forge with the blower mounted directly under the fire pan which is turned by a larger wheel. If this is the case you need to line the fire pan with some type of clay or refractory, thereby insulating the pan. Your belt is getting hot from the radiant heat off of the pan. I have 2 of these forges, (one is sold, I hope!) and the other is my demo/traveling forge. I have used my demo forge for a solid 10 hrs doing all sorts of forging and forge welding and never any problem with the belt getting hot...now ME getting hot is another story! There is a "sticky" that has an excellent formula for making an inexpensive clay liner, posted by Hollis Woolridge. MPO is that this will solve your problem...but I have been wrong before.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just another thought. My neighbor has one and we smith together, at rendesvoues, and we attached a bracket to two legs and put a sheetmetal heat shield over the belt and pully. 1. Less weight. 2. Didn't lose fire pan depth. When he bought it there were remanents of a cloth belt and wire belt coupler rusted to the large pulley. Also bailing wire around same legs presumably for a heat shield.

Last thought. I bet when forge was manufactured the belt was an asbestos material, the modern replacement would be a fireproof fibreglass material.

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