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Western Chief blowers?


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Im looking at possibly buying a western chief hand cranked blower for a demo forge build. Problem is I cant lay my hands on it before I buy..Seller says it has good gears and it smooth..Are these pretty good blowers?

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I have two western chief blowers, they are very smooth and considered one of the finest made. However both of mine are broke. The early model blower had the axles supported on only one side, and they made one gear from aluminum, and another one from brass, along with the steel gears. I suppose this was a good thing, until the aluminum gear stripped one day. The later model had axles supported on both sides, no aluminim gear, but one brass gear. It was a great machine until one day the brass gear stripped. They used simple square cut teeth, I suppose some day I'll get bored enough to see if I could track down replacements, or get even more bored, and try to make some on the mill with the rotary table.

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I have 4 Cannady Otto Western Chiefs. One is on my shop forge, one is intended for my next forge trailer and the other two are spares. I love these machines. Well made and they usually don't leak oil all over.
Therein lies the rub. Since they did not leak, they often were filled and never changed. This will normally provide a gunk filled gear box. I soak mine for a couple of weeks in a bucket of kerosene with the drain and fill plugs out and drain occasionalyy till I get pretty clean kero out. Then I fill with 50:50 kero and ATF. Turn slow and easy. You will probably find they turn easier one way. Since these were able to go both ways and give equal air, the smiths preference is what they were run and worn in to. Once you find the easy way to turn, try and avoid the other way as this can sometimes break worn gears.
After some gentle turning I drain the now again dirty oil and refill with kero/ATF till I am sastified I have the gunk out. Then I fill with ATF and enjoy. I painted a big arrow to show direction on mine as this helps others figure the right direction.
Proper orientation has the fill hole straight up, and the try cock about a 45 degree angle down.
Try Cock you ask? That is the term for a valve that is opened to check fill level. You open and fill till oil starts to drip out. Once in a while you open, and if no drip add till it does. I check every weekend I use the shop blower. I add a little about every 3 months. There is also an oil spot on the hand chank bearing boss. That gets a drip or three every session.

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  • 2 months later...

What do I have? I'm cleaning up two Cannedy Ottos or else they are knockoffs. They are old. One has what appears to be an original stand with a casting at the top, reading "890 TIGER." There are no Western Chief markings on the cast fan covers, just "C 897" on one half and "C 898" on the other. On the other blower, no markings at all except the fill information on the round gear case. Both gear cases have that information.

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