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I Forge Iron

Buffalo Forge Restoration (resteration) help

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I had found Ya’lls site while researching 2 Anvils that recently acquired; A Peter Wright 202 lb and a Mouse Hole Forge 109 lb.
I’m not a blacksmith, but love recreate historical armor such as helms and various body parts (no weapons,, yet) and have a strong liking to restore/ repair things.
It’s more of a hobby, but leads me to some interesting finds.

This leads me to asking for help, I also acquired 2 forges.
The smaller of the 2 is in really bad shape as it is cracked all the way across the pan and firepit plus the ash/ air tube is badly rusted.

But the large one is a Buffalo Forge “electric”. this one was outside in a combine trailer upside down, and almost didn’t take it.

I started with the motor and blower, figuring it would have to be replaced. Though badly rusted, bugged up and dirty, it cleaned up very well and fired right up when I plugged it in (runs like its brand new), only thing I have to replace is the cord.
The plate has a patent date of 18 Feb 1913! The blower blades and body are pitted but solid enough for many more years of use, I couldn’t save the gasket or bolts though.

So if I could draw on your knowledge and assistance, it would be of great appreciation! here we go:

1) Does anyone have pictures of this model or type of forge? I have searched for images but feel my lack of knowledge is not getting me to the right sites.

2) The motor states it is to be used with a rheostat. I would be interested in seeing/ finding one to restore or replace it.

3) I would like to make a hood or find a replacement for it; what gauge is the metal usually? Finding steel isn’t a problem but finding a pattern is proving to be a challenge!

4) Based on what I’ve learned so far, this would not be a good forge for me, too big, too nice for a novice, and I live dead in the city so charcoal or propane would probably be better options.
I understand that Buffalo has no interest in their history, but is there anyone else Ya’ll might suggest that would be interested?

Heres a link of what I’ve got so far-

My link

P.S. the add in the album is the best I could find as a reference to it
Thanks in advance!


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"I’m not a blacksmith, but love recreate historical armor such as helms and various body parts (no weapons,, yet) and have a strong liking to restore/ repair things. It’s more of a hobby, but leads me to some interesting finds."

sounds to me like you are a blacksmith!!. Maybe a period blacksmith, the question is just what period.

sorry, I';m going to be of no helpwith your project, but I would like to see some pictures of some of your work.

as for a rheostat, that would be a dimmer swith...of sorts

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Take a look here: http://cgi.ebay.com/1942-Antique-Buffalo-Blacksmith-Forge-Tool-Vintage-Ad-/400139703882?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d2a2f564a. It has a Buffalo 243H forge with a hood on it. The seller seems to find a lot of old tool catalogs and pages them out. It might be worth looking deeper. He isn't the only one doing that. It might help. Heck, eBay is good for pictures period of "vintage" tools. There is also a gentleman that sells half hoods like the one in the catalog. You might not be able to get a pattern out of him but maybe some advice.

There isn't any reason you couldn't use the forge with charcoal. It is a nice job on the restoration.

Hope it helps.


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Thanks for the replys so far,

Tim, hehe, yea, more of an Armorsmith I would think- I lean towards the 11th and 12th century. Mostly focus on helms because the body protection of the day was mail. I'm not sure if you can see them, but I have afew on the facebook page in the albums. let me know if you can see them!

Brian, thanks for the link, I've seen this gentleman and his adds; managed to capture an image that looks real close to what I think I have. I've seen the ebay add for the hood, thats a great suggestion on trying to contact him for a pattern.

Mark, thanks!

post-14512-069047100 1280313040_thumb.jp

post-14512-000097000 1280313242_thumb.jp

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The thin sheet metal on the hood and the detachable water trough on the other end never seem to last, but that would be expecting a couple of lifetimes from a disposable component. I do not recall seeing an original anywhere. I looked at all of my museum photos, and could not find anything. Vintage photos sometimes show them, and the rheostat, but not well.

OTOH, the catalog image that you display has the same forge showing the hood and trough, but not the placement of the rheostat and on/off button. If you look in the upper right hand page corner, you can see them with the bare motor. The modern equivalent would be a light dimmer or multi-position switch from a box fan.

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Thanks for searching for me. I've looked at that motor closely and have been trying to figure out how to replicate it. same with the hood, I have a basit pattern and am going to try and replicate a pattern with cardboard first to try and get the "look" prior to getting the steel. the next challenge is to find 20 gauge that isn't galvinized!

I have a speed control that may be a good fit for ya'll; from Harbor Frieght, it will run about 20 bucks but you can plug right into it. (picture attached.)

Rob, thanks for the complement! your right on the smithing and I really would like a means of heating better than my plumbers torch for raising sheet.

heres a couple of my helms, all these are for SCA heavy weapons fighting.

post-14512-011178000 1280399503_thumb.jp

post-14512-077204400 1280399522_thumb.jp

post-14512-052674700 1280399543_thumb.jp

post-14512-027952900 1280399565_thumb.jp

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That's a real nice forge and restoration job, very nice!
"I understand that Buffalo has no interest in their history"--thats an understatement, I contacted them about new gears for a oil-less hand cranked blower that had chipped gear teeth, they wanted $250 per gear (3) to start!!

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the original rheostats on buffalo and champion forges are extremely hard to come by. I have an extra rheostat for my large champion forge, but I dare not sell it for fear that the one I am currently using might fail on me. If you want, I acquire numerous blacksmith tools, which I restore as a sideline to my tool forging business, and can find you a rheostat for your forge if I beat the bushes hard enough. As far as the cowl is concerned, I made an humongous error when my last cowl burned out from decades of use. I tossed the old cowl, without cutting a piece of cardboard as a pattern to make a new one. Big mistake! I went to my local junkyard, and cut my hands to shreds while trial-and-erroring a new cowl out of sheet metal and a pair of tinsnips, along with a pop riveter. I had to do this, after talking to that guy on ebay who sells cowls, when he told me that there is no easy way to ship a large cowl. I actually cut my hands so badly making my new cowl, that I had cuts on the BACKS of both hands! When this new one that I made eventually burns out in about a decade, trust me, I will save the pieces, to use them as a pattern for the next cowl! Let me let you in on a little secret I discovered. It is an old chinese trick to make your cowl draw ALL the smoke out of your shop. Conventional cowls, attached to a smokestack, sometimes do not draw all the smoke. After going to a chinese restaurant, and seeing their vent hoods, I had an epiphany. They afix a turbine to the top of the ventpipes. When the wind blows, these turbines catch the wind like a sail on a ship, creating a vortex in your stovepipe, which sucks the smoke right out!. In my shop, with two giant forges, one cannnot sniff ONE IOTA of smoke in my shop. With turbines afixxed atop both vent pipes, both of my forges draw like a vaccuum cleaner, keeping my shop smoke free!

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Thanks for the info and heads up on the sheetmetal. any chance I could get you to give me an idea of how high the front of the hood should sit above the firepot?
I think I have the general shape down (using butcher paper layered) but am concerned on how high, and how far over, the hood should be.

originaly the plan had the bend around the hood and riveted in the back but that makes the pattern about 6.5 ft by roughly 24 in. after fiddling with it and cutting it sraight up the center of the hood, I can get the whole thing cut out of a 4' by 4' piece of sheet. If (when)this works I'll post the demensions and pattern for Ya'll.

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dragon, because the turbine at the top of my stovepipes is 12 inches in diameter, and the 45 foot high stovepipe is also 12 inches in diameter(my shop is in the basement of a huge cowbarn), a turbine that big draws the living daylights out of smoke, even though the pipes rise 45 feet high. After two right angle bends of this 12 inch pipe reach my cowl, believe it or not, the front of the cowl is approximately 30 inches above the forge, and it still draws like a vaccuum. "drawability" of a forge-cowl-stovepipe setup seems to be solely contingent upon how big the turbine is at the top of the pipes. Make absolutely sure that the turbine rises at least 3 feet over the peak of the roof. If you want, next week, I can take pictures of my stovepipes going up the side of my barn. One more thing.....my stovepipes are held by brackets up the side of my barn which have 8 inches of clearance from the side of the wooden barn, because they draw so well, the stovepipes get HOT!!!!!!!!!!! This precludes the pipes getting so hot that they catch your barnboards on fire.

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