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I Forge Iron

speaking of bellows....


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I am new to blacksmithing and in the process of getting my shop set up. So ....there is this old guy down the road that I knew had been around some metal work like my dad. I spoke to Jim asking about any area blacksmiths that he knew that could give me some pointers.  He mentioned Joe a retired coal miner. Joe retired from the same coal mine my dad did.  I call Joe and starting asking him questions.  Joe tells me that he has a bellow that he used for several years and it had been given to him by a local blacksmith many years ago.   Joe told me that I could have the bellow all I had to do was load it up as it had been given to him.  He said it was about 4 to 4 1/2 feet long.

I started looking at pics on IFI of bellows.

I had plans to use a electric blower of some sort for my forge.  However upon looking at some of the forges that use bellows posted by guys on here has now got me interested.

If the bellows that I am about to get needs leather work[he said it did need work] where would I get the leather/parts?  Is there a supplier that specializes in bellows?  or should I thank the guy and go with a electric blower. 

Thanks in advance


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Leather can be purchased from any leather supplier, or you could use rubber roofing material, plain tight weave canvas, or rubberized canvas (think Tool Dip), or fake leather-like upholstery material.


I posted a fairly complete set of step-by-step instructions on building a bellows.  Repairing is the same processes.



As far as I know, no one builds bellows for sale due to the high cost of materials.  When materials for the bellows shown in the pictures reached $500, I stopped counting the dollar cost.  Adding the labor over a two month period to construct it (gluing and curing each part takes time), and one would be hard-pressed to find a frugal smith that would pay for materials and labor. 


My advise is that if someone is offering you a free bellows, to run as fast as you can and get it.  Even bellows in very poor shape go for over $800.00

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got the bellows home. He told me the bellow is over 100 yrs old and its in very good condition. Most of the leather is still good however there is a section or two that needs replaced.


how do I get a cell phone pic of the bellow on here?  

Upon thinking about my forge I am not going to use this bellow and upon posting pics would consider selling or trading it.

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