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Modifications and add-ons to Champion 401


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Hey guys, so I'm going to line my champion 401 forge, which you can see more here, but before I do I wanted to know if anyone had cut slots into the side of there rivet forges to be able to work longer pieces? Or if this is a bad idea.

Also I'm trying to decide which kind of line to use as I've heard that Trapping water under the liner can be a problem but living here in Arizona it it very hot and dry plus I just my forge weekly.

But I am thinking about doing the sand/portland mix with some clay in it as well.

Any feedback or insight would be great thanks.


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Most smiths I know recommend lining even rivet forges because it helps to funnel the fuel and gives you a good bed of coals between the metal and the air coming in. This neutral zone minimizes the amount of scale, and that's a good thing.

If you laid in a good bed of cement and sand, you could raise up the floor and form a fire pot. Would this get you high enough that you didn't need to cut slots in the sides for longer pieces? Looking at the pictures, I'm thinking that you could form the cement/clay mix so it would leave a 5" deep pot shape, with sloping sides, over the tuyere. This would leave you a nice bit of table around the fire pot and maybe and inch or so of rim to prevent coal from just dropping off the edge and onto the ground.

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Mine was cut and I welded in steel and cleaned it up so it appears original. Sorta wish I had left it as is, but I seldom use the 401 as I have two other forges I utalize. I do like the 401 best. It is a nice set-up and my 400 blower is like new, so it is a pleasure to use.

My other Champion rivet forge is not as deep and I don't have to cut out the sides, but it will not hold the fire. If you walk away for 20 minutes, the fire is out. The 401 holds a fire for a very long time.

You can set some fire brick in the bottom to form a "fire pot", but you would still need to cut a small notch in the pan at opposite locations to make fire tools like fire pokers,rakes etc.etc. I make a lot of those, and you have to work the center of the long fire pokers etc. to make a set of back to back twists.

Another mod you will need is the tool rack. I used flat stock 1/2" wide and maybe 1/8 thick and welded it to the side. It acts as a handle to carry the forge and holds my fire tools. I don't recommend hanging the fire tools right on the edge of the pan. They get a tad warm. You'll want the fire tool handles a bit below the top of the pan and set back from it about 1/2 inch-one inch. They never get hot.

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Just wanted to share these with you guys.

First I mounted it to a cart dolly to make this thing a lot easier to move around .
Secondly I cut 2 slot roughly 1.5" by 3.5' in to each side of the pan, allowing me to be able to work long pieces with ease.

Third as you can see in the picture above I lined the pan with the sand and Portland mix.

I still have a few thing I want to so here such as building a tool rack just below the push handle for the cart, probably will do that today.



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Beautiful job! I like that cart idea and might just have to purloin it!

One thing I did see in another thread that I thought was rather thoughtful was a gate to close the notch on the far side of the forge. The reasoning was that rarely did you have to pass through the notch to heat the middle of a bar.... but you were always dropping coal through the notch as you're working. Using the cut out bit and hinging it allow you to pass through when you want, but keep it otherwise closed for 75% of the work you do.

I thought that was rather smart.

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