matrix2362

Trying to restore a Champion 401 rivet forge

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Hello everyone,

 

I believe this is my first post on I Forge Iron. I am in some need of some help and advice. I purchased a rough Champion 401 rivet forge from a blacksmith in Townsend, DE for about $50. The blower is in pretty much mint condition, minus the wasp's nests and caked on grease and dirt I cleaned out of the fan area. The  rusted out legs were basically fused into the mounting brackets, but managed to free them and replace them (took a month of chiseling and filing). I will be replacing the rusted out, paper thin base pan bottom with a new 1/8" thick plate. The only problem I am having is that the end of the blower tube and the front part of the frame is rotted. Is there anyone out there with a 401 frame and a matching blower tube that I can buy. There is a guy who lives four and a half hours from where I live that has what I need but refuses to mail it to me unless I pay double for it. He was asking $50 if I were to go there and take the blower he wants off it, but said last night that if he has take it off himself and ship it to me he is going to charge $100 (not including shipping). I just can't see justifying a final cost of around $150 for 1/5 of a forge that usually goes for $200 to $300. Driving there would cost basically the same. Can one be made? I am always up to a challege and I am not worried about historical preservation of the forge. I have a plan to make multiple style base pans for it and have it to be easliy swappable depending on the project. I will post pictures of what I have as soon as I get them taken and loaded.

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You can always fabricate something to repair the damaged area.  Post some pics of what you have and we'll go from there.  Oh, and watch ebay; a lot of times you'll see rivet forge parts being listed, especially when the owner doesn't know what exactly it is.

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I am hoping to have pictures up this weekend, too busy during the week. I examined it a little last night, got excited and made a few sketches. I originally thought the front end of the frame was rotted through. Once I clean it up a bit, I might be able to get certain parts welded back together and reinforced in some areas. I will probably have to fabricate the blower pipe end that goes into the fire pot and has the ash dump. Maybe I can scan in my sketches too. :)

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Certainly looking forward to seeing what you've got.  Put your general location into your profile and you might be surprised at who's nearby and has parts to spare....

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I want to post some images of the parts I am currently working on. How do I go about that on this site? I couldn't find any guides. I also want to share over 200 pics/video of the 2012 Seki (Japan) Sword & Knife festival, which includes a sword-smithing demonstration and pictures from their museum.

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Here are a few pics to show what I am dealing with. I just recently had the frame fixed and was able to unscrew the two halves of the blower pipe. Since I can't seem to find a replacement pipe end (the rotted part), my plan is to salvage the bottom of the ash dump and cut and replace the top half that goes to the fire pot. I will have to cut a piece of pipe to match and  have it welded.100_8378_zps9155e8c3.jpg100_8376_zpsf0584997.jpg100_8390_zps22f92ebe.jpg100_8386_zps0ed4e95b.jpg100_8384_zps611d38cd.jpg

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I will get pictures of the rest of the forge later. Any one with advice on how to show picture thumbnails instead of large pictures? The only way I can figure how to post pictures here is through linking them.

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Parts like that come up on ebay rather regularly.  Saw one of the tuyere systems just the other day, and it was in near perfect condition.

 

The cast-iron support bracket could be brazed back together without much fuss.

 

The rim of the tuyere is a bit more problematic, but not nearly as bad as I was thinking.  Are you wanting to go 100% original in appearance, or are you just looking for something functional?  You could cut a soup can and rivet it to the end of that pipe to get a good seal between the table and the tuyere, though something heavier might be better if you're not planning on lining the pot.

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I regularly check eBay and craigslist, however, the one that I have seen is for a Buffalo forge. The Buffalo one in not interchangeable with my Champion 401. There is a person in an upper part of NY state, selling a blower, frame, and pipe for about $300. His blower looks poorly maintained by the way. He refuses to sell me just the pipe end because he apparently doesn't actually do anything on eBay, he pays people to post his stuff and doesn't want to pay to relist it. As I mentioned before, I will probably just have to cut and replace the rotted top half of the pipe end. I will be lining my fire pot and will actually be making bolt-on interchangeable fire pots for the forge, to accommodate different projects.

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