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Hey all, just starting to get into doing some hobby blacksmithing. I've always wanted to learn blacksmithing, so now at the young age of 43 I finally decided to pull the trigger :)! I have a few books on the way (The Complete Modern Blacksmith & The Backyard Blacksmith) and will be attending a couple courses to help get me started.

I was planning on building a solid fuel forge, but would appreciate some opinions on another option I have. I purchased a truck load of items last winter and amoung the items was an old forge.

All the info I can pull off it is the following:

Blower: Champion Blower & Forge Company / Lancaster Geared Blower #40

Pan: Superior / The A.S.M. Co Inc. / Springfield Ohio USA

The forge is in pretty rough shape, so I decided to tear it down to see if it could be salvaged. The gear box was remarkably clean, considering it had a lot of water in it. I can turn the shaft by hand and the gears run smooth, bearings also seem fine. I'm assuming the gear box should be either in a wet bath or periodically oiled.

The top air plate in the pan is broken, as is one of the lugs below the pan.

My plan is to remove the major rust with an electrolysis bath and then use my mig welder to patch up the cracks and broken item. I could either patch the top air plate back together, or build a new one. Was also looking at the possibility using some fire brick in the pan or plating it somehow to beef it up a little.

It's got four tapped leg mounted, that appear to be either 3/4" or 1" NPT threads, so I was planning on making a stand for it once I figure out what the appropiate height should be.

My main question at this point - is this forge worth rebuilding? I don't want to spend a ton of time building back a forge that wasn't that great new, and since I'm a complete noob at this point, I have no idea what I have. Somebody commented that I need to go back and talk to the guy that I got it from and see if I can find the tuyere, but if I'm not mistaken, it's on the bottom of the forge now?

I hope to be able to perform some basic work (taper, twist, roll, etc) with steel rod (5/16" - 3/8"), So that will be mostly the extent of my work at this point. I was planning on using hard wood charcoal until I can get my hands on some decent coal.

Not really sure what direction to go here. Any opinions will be very much appreciated.

Thanks again.











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the pan is a CAST Iron rivet forge as a welder its not worth welding back together & has no fire pot
just make a steel pan with a fire pot & you will have a good forge that will last, now the blower is worth fixing

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Ok, this is the feedback I'm looking for.

So if I were to build a pan out of 1/4" plate and line the bottom and sides with fire brick, then have the fan ducted in from either the side or bottom I would be in business? My plasma cutter can cut 1/4" with no problem, it can severe up to 1/2", so I could step the thickness up if need be.

I would rather build my own forge from scratch, rather than use a 55-gallon drum, since I weld on a regualr basis.

I've been trying to search through the blueprints, but not having much luck so far.


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the blower is easily workable i usually soak them in kerosene than wire brush off the buildup. for the pan if you can cut and weld plate make something like this as the pan and chimney. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A2eJtP7gz8&feature=g-all-u . for the firepot i do not really like his design so let others comment and see if we can find a better design that will last.

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What about cutting the center out of the existing pan and dropping a brake drum down in the hole for a pot, possible welding the lip of the drum to the pan in a few places, then attaching the exisitng air tube to the bottom of the drum with a small grate in it?

I'd hate to trash the pan I have if it could be reused, but if it doesn't gain me anything I guess I could scrap it and build a new one from scratch.

I was thinking that I could cut the existing air tube at the red line below and then adapt it to a new steel tee for the air supply/ash clean out.

I haven't studied the brake drum plans any yet, but what I was thinking was to cut out a round 1/4" plate with the plasma cutter and then use the existing wheel stud holes to bolt the plate to the bottom of the drum. Then weld the new steel tee to the bottom of the plate (or thread a close nipple into the tee and weld the nipple to the bottom of the plate).


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Welding up the cast iron forge pan and other broken parts calls for experience and the right equipment. Do you have a pre/post heat oven? If not it's not very doable, not impossible but . . .

You don't need 1/4" plate for a forge table unless you're planning on forging pieces weighing several hundred lbs. My big coal forge has a 14ga. table with a little 1x1 angle for supports to help keep it from warping. It's lined with with firebrick to make a flat table and the duck's nest is fire clay and stacked brick. The rim is 2" x 1/8" angle and it has 2" sq light wall sq tubing for legs, there's a fancy custom shelf under it to help stiffen the legs and present a place to put a bucket to catch ash.

Don't get over complicated a forge only has to hold a fire and the work you're putting on it. My forge's biggest challenge is supporting itself the way I built it. <grin> all you need is a table large enough to hold your fire, as a kid my first "real" forge was an old washing machine I turned the lid over on and made a hole for a brake drum, powered by a hair drier. It burned charcoal after the wood fire burned down and after the first couple firings I rammed it full of adobe. Worked just fine for what I knew about smithing at 10.

In the field I used the camp fire, dug trenches and on one occasion I built a forge on a pile of sand held in place by steel rods driven in a river bar, the blast was provided by a prevailing wind coming down the river. I used some pipe and a little tin for a funnel, fueled with wood. That forge was a fire breathing monster.

I guess my point is just get something working, you can decide on what you really need to do what you want after you've tried some things. There's no rush, it's not like you have to forge special spear points and knives to fight off a zombie invasion. . . I HOPE!

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ha, thanks for the input guys!

After doing some reading, I've got a grand scheme in my mind.......I guess you know how those typically turn out :)!

Anyways, I've incorporated a lot of other peoples ideas into what I think will work well for me. I have plenty of scrap steel laying around my shop to build it. I have welded cast with some success in the past, but I had to pre-heat, post-heat, use heat blanks to control cool down, etc.....I'd rather burn plate steel personally.

I'm kind of playing off the guy's design on this board that used a 2" pipe cap the was protruding above the bottom of the fire box and has a 3/4" hole drilled in it to control clinker. I'm planning on using 3" schedule 40 pipe (since I can get it for free) and instead of using a cap with a single hole, I'm going to use 1/2" rebar welded across the opening to control the larger chunks of ash. I was looking at using a pipe cap and cutting slots in it with the plasma cutter, but I think the rebar approach will keep the tuyere lower in the box.

Instead of messing with cutting up the old air tube, I believe I'll just fabricate a new one that will still clamp onto the blower outlet with the factory hardware. I really need the tube to exit the cart straight anyways. I'm going to build a frame off the side of the cart to support the fan.forge1.jpg

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I would lower the bottom of the ash dump to allow some accumulation before it obstructs the blower airlow. Looks good though, nice save on the blower!
I made my brake drum ash dump using an exhaust flap-cap (like the big rigs have) I bought at tractor supply. You just need to weight the flap end down when you flip it upside down. (I used a small bar that I could kick to dump the ash. Eventually i'd like to make a dragon head for it!)

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Thanks Jim - good catch, I didn't leave near enough dirt leg on that.

OK, did a little redesign. I won't bore you guys anymore with my scrambled thoughts as I build this forge. I'm going to start building tonight, if anybody's interest in seeing the finish product I'll post it up.

I appreciate everyone's help with this.

After taking inventory in the shop, I have a lot of 14 ga. sheet metal sitting around, so I'll use that to build the table top.
Was thinking about building the pot out of 1/4" plate and then welding it to the bottom of the table top. Then put fire bricks around the opening on top of the table, leaving each end open, weld small angle for brick retainers.
I think I'll cut slots in a 3" pipe cap and use that as a grate. I'll weld a plate flange to the pipe once I set the correct depth, then bolt it to the bottom of the pot so it can be replaced easily.

This revised layout will give me a 13" long x 9" wide fire pot surface.

I decided to go ahead and cut the old tuyere, it was in bad shape, but where I cut it back to is solid. I actually need the radius bend in the tube to keep my gear box at the correct angle. I'm going to use a short section of metallic flex tube to connect the fan air tube to the tuyere under the pot. The tube is going to get a nice electrolysis bath on Friday.




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Ok I lied, I have a couple more details I need help hashing out :).

Somebody mentioned that the fire brick around the perimeter of the pot (sitting on the surface of the table) wasn't really necessary. I was thinking about putting the brick around just to help contain the coal/fire, but maybe that isn't necessary???? I found that fire brick is expensive, and since I need eight bricks, it would cost almost as much as the rest of the materials I have to buy.

If I ditch the brick, all the materials would be $137 out the door.

What about buying fire mortar in the caulking tubes from Lowes and covering the inside of the fire box with it? Would that help prevent warping, or would it be too thin to really do anything?

I'll be working with 5/16" and 3/8" steel rod mostly, just need to do tapers, scrolls, and twist on small sections. I'm now wondering if a 14" x 9" fire pot is too large and would be wasting fuel?

To use a 3" tuyere, I'm about as small on the fire pot as I can get, unless I make the sides angle steeper, which I don't really want to do. I was planning on making the bottom of the pot 4" below the surface of the table. Then the top of the tuyere would be about 2" below the suraface of the table? Maybe setting the bottom of the pot at 3" or 3-1/2" below the table would work better?

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1. I how much did you get that old forge and hand crank blower for? 2. I hate you for finding an actual hand crank blower. They don't exist where I live apparently. They go for tons of money around here. I really like the forge plans you have drawn up. I don't see the fire bricks as neccasary just a preference. And for 1$ a piece I'd do it too.

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1. I how much did you get that old forge and hand crank blower for? 2. I hate you for finding an actual hand crank blower. They don't exist where I live apparently. They go for tons of money around here. I really like the forge plans you have drawn up. I don't see the fire bricks as neccasary just a preference. And for 1$ a piece I'd do it too.

I actually bought a truck load of stuff off Craigslist for $300 and the forge was in it, apparently the oven and cooler I picked up are worth some money.



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Very nice design.

I don't see the need to line the steel with refractory or firebricks. The old cast iron pans needed lining because of the differential heating and cooling that caused cracking in the pans. Oddly enough, I've never seen a cast iron fire pot that cracked like the pans so often do. Of course, I have to wonder if a lot of those cracks were caused by being tipped over.

Your design, as is, looks very solid. The only caveat I would offer is the overall table dimensions. Unless storage is an issue, I'm partial to a larger deck area for fuel and tool storage.

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Why is the tuyere 2" higher than the bottom of the pan? Shouldn't it be flush at the bottom?
The 2 forges i've restored had it that way, in fact the lining actually covered the edges of the tuyeres.

I also used the 3 parts sand to 1 part portland cement (not concrete) recipe for my linings and have had no issues yet (Thanks Old 'n Rusty!)

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Jim, the thought is that by raising the tue a good bit above the pan you give the clinkers room below the air blast to consolidate. With gravity and the air blast working in your favor, the clinkers don't clog the grate and you don't have to break up the fire as often to clean them away from the air holes.

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Jim, the thought is that by raising the tue a good bit above the pan you give the clinkers room below the air blast to consolidate. With gravity and the air blast working in your favor, the clinkers don't clog the grate and you don't have to break up the fire as often to clean them away from the air holes.

You shouldnt have to "break up the fire" to remove clinker, allow it to cool and solidify before attempting to remove it, and it should come out fairly cleanly in one doughnut shape.

Once fished out you can restart the air blast and start again
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I read about raising the tuyere on here and it appeared that it worked well for the guy? The way I'm building the pot, it will be easy to change it up if I don't like it. It's only going to stick up the height of the pipe cap. I'm dropping the depth to 4-1/2" in the pot as well.


Started giving the air tube an electrolysis bath last night, appears to be working good.

Picking up the steel today to build the table and forge. I'm trying to keep the table a little on the small side (36"x24") due to lack of space in my shop. But since I'm basically making it a travel style so I can roll it out in the driveway, I could make it a little larger?

Still trying to find a source with a lathe so I can have a replacement wood handle spindle made.



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Looks like you've really got it going on. I've been wanting to try that electrolysis technique for awhile, but I've never gotten around to giving it a whirl. Think you could repurpose a file handle to replace the blower's handle? Drilling through the center might be tough, and getting the right length might be an issue. Something to think about....

John, if the clinker blocks the grate before you're done forging, you'd have to reach in there to move it out of the way before you could let the fire cool down. With the raised grate, the clinker settles around the perimeter so you can forge all day without worrying about obstructed airflow.

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My $0.02.

My forge table is 14 gauge sheet welded all around to the angle iron perimeter (about 36" x 36"), no additional support needed. The fire box is 3/8" plate welded with a thin support frame around the top. I cut a rectangular hole in the table top and dropped the fire box in, so it sits nearly flush with the table top. I can pull it out any time it needs repair but that hasn't happened in 8 years yet. I don't use fire brick or any kind of refractory and there has been no distortion or erosion/corrosion of the fire box.

Good luck with yours.

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Well I got a little side tracked on building the forge this weekend, my father fell on Friday so I spent the day in the VA emergency room making sure he was OK.....

I did pick up all the steel and will probably sneak some time in next weekend to get it built.

The electrolysis bath worked like a champ, I was surprised when I pulled the air tube out. Threw it in a warm bucket of water with some dish soap and hit it with a small wire brush to knock the black residue off.

I suppose I should go ahead and apologize to any woodworkers on here for bastardizing their trade......but I had to work with the tools I had to make a handle spindle, and all my tools happen to be for metal work. Bought a 1" diameter Oak dowel from Lowes for $4 and used it to make the handle. Cut about 5" off the dowel, drilled a 3/8" hole through the center and then wrapped electrical tape an inch from each end, then chucked it up in the drill press. Used narrow sanding belts to turn down the ends of the handle, then hit it with a few coats of tongue oil. Used a 6" Grade 5 bolt and square nuts for the mounting pin, ground the head off round so it looks similar to the original pin. Someday when I get the forge running, I'll probably go back and make a real pin for it, but this will have to do for now.

I thoroughly scrubbed all the fan parts in diesel, then finished cleaning them up and painted everything with hi-temp paint. Hit the brass oil port with polishing compound and the dremel for a little added bling :). Put chainsaw bar oil in the gearbox and cranked her up, I was surprised by how much air this little fan moves, it runs very smooth.







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Very nice job!

Did the electrolysis get the rust out of the inside of the tube?

That handle looks great. If you hadn't said you weren't a woodwright, I wouldn't have known by the looks of your product! Very nice all around.

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