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I Forge Iron

Jazzing up an old Champion # 401 forge


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I got this old #401 forge the other day. I cleaned it up and primed it and painted it black. I should have stopped there, but instead wondered how it would look with certain parts painted red. After carefully masking the areas I didn't want red, I grabbed the red spray paint can and went to work. Only when I was done did I realize I'd grabbed the high gloss red instead of the low gloss. To continue the foolishness, I'm going to also paint red the rivet heads and the little sign that says "No 401" on the outside of the forge pan. The finishing touch will be to paint the letters and numbers in the sign black, so it really stands out.

About now many of you are thinking, "This guy has way too much time on his hands!" Which is true, but it was a learning experience. The masking off took HOURS and was a big mistake! When I do the outside, instead of all that masking off, and then spray painting, I'm planning on limited masking and using a painters brush. This should be quicker and there's no overspray.


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I purchased mine painted. It was paint over rust and was blue and black. After I removed every nut and bolt, I removed every bit of paint, then the rust. I used high temp black for the forge.

I too have much time as I then took the Champion blower apart to see what it's made of. That was fun,,,,,, not. I had found it in terriffic shape. I polished the castings, again, after removing all of that paint.

It functions quite well and also serves as a decorative piece. I hope to buy another small forge very soon, of a different brand and perform same.

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I finished the outside of the forge pan today. The trickiest part was painting the "No 401" sign. I wanted to have the background of the sign red and the letters and numbers painted black, so it would really stand out. When the sign had dried for two day, after being painted red, I covered it with blue masking tape, the kind that doesn't stick super hard and is easy to remove. I pushed it around all the raised parts of the sign as close as I could. Next I traced around all those same raised parts with a ball point pen. This forced the tape even closer and tighter and provided an ink line to follow. Then, using a utility knife with a new blade, I carefully cut around all the raised parts. When the cut out sections were removed, I was ready to paint over the sign in black.









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I guess I'm a bit confused about a blacksmith tool being made pretty but not to be used?

I am just rolling with it.

What he is doing will not prevent it from being used in the future (a good thing) and will in fact preserve it against decay, and make it more likely that his heirs will see it as a useful thing instead of just more rust, so it is more likely to be passed on to a future generation.

And he can still clay it and use it.

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@Phil Krankowski...........I like the way you think. My problem is when I see a neat old piece of equipment I'm drawn to the inherent art and beauty in it as much as its utility. I also suspect younger people might be more interested in this particular item if it comes across as a little out of the ordinary. The blower that goes with the forge is fully functional and I'm hoping to dress it up as well. Thanks for your input.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The clay protects the steel pan and provides a firepot shape The thin sheet metal forges and thin cast iron forges suffer from having heat directly on the pan. Ash may build up and serve the same purpose, or I have this as a different type of forge and this does not need the clay.


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