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I Forge Iron

Help for Newbie to refurbish old forge


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I am just starting to learn about blacksmithing and had a chance to purchase
a cast iron forge. The forge is 22" x 36" with built in firepot with a clinker
breaker. It has no cracks but has a lot of surface rust. Any advise on how
to clean? Is a wire brush the best way? How to keep the rust from coming
back? It also had a Champion 40 blower, which turns easily. The person I purchased it from had taken the top off and cleaned the old oil out and left it out so it would not leak when transporting. What kind of oil should I put in it?
Is there supposed to be any type of gasket between the top and bottom
of the blower housing?
I know this is a lot of questions, but have no one close to help me.

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Just wear one of those little white dust mask when you wire brush it .
As long as you are using it regularly it shouldnt rust too bad.
But I would paint it ( GRAY ) :) :) :)
Dont even ask about what kind of oil to use on here as you will get at least 6 different reccomendations and get really confused.
Heres the first one ---- straight 30 weight motor oil.

Mike Tanner

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If I know what you are talking about, there is no gasket, the oil stays on the bottom and is carried up with the gears as you turn it. Mine seeps a little here and there I think the last time that I put oil in it I used 30 weight or 90 weight I can't remember and it didnt' seem to make much difference. That was a good find you got. good luck.

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get yourself an angle grinder and a cup brush....clean it up and then go get some rustoleum high temp paint and do her up. that is standord operating procedure for old rusty things i rebuild and install. works great!....also tell us where you are from.....

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ron, that sounds exactly like the forge i have. champion all the way.

if yours is like mine, it is rounded on one side, the other side has a little depression in it for coal or slack. on the rounded end you can see holes drilled on the rim, this was for a smoke hood. personally, i decided to butt the square end against the wall so i could use the handcrank blower more easily. mine is permanently attached to the forge plate with a cast arm. unfortunately it is in a left hand configuration, so i have to crank with the left hand and switch the steel to the left hand when i go to the anvil. i used a new firebox and tuyere from a local foundry in town. the forge came with a champion whirlwind firebox that was paper-thin.

i chose not to grind and paint the forge plate; why bother? it will be filthy after the first five minutes, and its older than i am, so why hide the age of it. it wont rust significantly if it is left indoors. as for your champion 400 blower, i would use 80W90 gear oil as that's what is in it, gears. 30W may give you a bit less drag, but not enough to really notice. lighter oil will leak more. if youre doing everything right you will be turning the handle slowly when everythings up to temp.

no the gearbox does not have a gasket, mines never been apart. if theres any water in the housing nhow, get it out of there. flush it out with brake cleaner aerosol, available at your favorite auto parts store. if youre lucky, youve still got the brass oil cup on top of the cover plate. an oil can spout will fit perfectly in it. with the cover off, fill to about an inch below the top, put the plate on, and give it a few squirts once in awhile if it leaks. again id use 80W90 oil for this task. check slop in all bearings, use channellocks to take the steel caps off, adjust till you feel the nut bottom and leave it finger tight. you just want to take the slop out of the bearings so the gears will mesh properly.

let us know how everything works out and take pictures if you can.

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I think you are right about our forge being the same. Mine has the
cast arm mounted to hold the blower also.
Thank you for all of your help. Am slowly getting the rust off.
Is there supposed to be any type of plate etc that lays over
the clinker breaker?
In another thread it was suggested that a person starting out
get a copy of "The Blacksmith Primer" to use as a reference and
learning guide. I cannot find this book but a book titled
"The Blacksmith Craft" keeps coming up when I search for the
primer. Is this book the same or are they different books?

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I forgot to mention one thing - you said you used a new fire pot-
the firepot in mine in actually formed in the bottom of the forge. It
is a depression about 10" in diameter and about 3" deep. The Tuyere
is then mounted on the bottom of this depression. Am I looking
at this wrong?

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hi ron,
why do you think a plate should be over the clinker breaker? if it's the original firebox and it is a champion forge plate, there will be three slats in the bottom of the firebox. if you see holes or bolts around the opening, those are to hold the tuyere in place. some coal fines will pour through into the tuyere, but really those holes need to be there so the air can get through. the clinker will tend to settle at the bottom and plug the holes, when this happens give the breaker lever a wiggle to clear them, or just dig in with a poker and pull them out.

im not familiar with the blacksmith primer, perhaps others are but i have my own favorite books, the new edge of the anvil was my textbook and it goes pretty deep into the getting started end of things. round that out with the complete modern blacksmith and youve got a pretty good start.

one thing that i do differently from most texts ive seen is that i keep my coal wet when i burn it. i find this helps with dust control, and seems to reduce smoking when it is on the side coking up. the crappier coal also seems more forgiving when its wet. ive never had the fire pop once yet. your mileage may vary.

take a look at the pictures in my gallery, does yours look the same as mine? are you sure your firebox is integral with the forge plate? could it just be overly rusty and hiding the seam? i dont think its a problem mind you, if it is in otherwise good condition you probably wont ever have to replace it.

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Rond, my trailer forge is that model. It has set in rainstorms for years. This pic is several years old and before I put the hood on it. The little Champion blower that hung from the ears has died long time ago and I have a Canedy Otto freestanding blower. This forge travels in my trailer to I guess 8 rondys or shows a year. Outstanding forge. Was my first ( 20 years ago ). OK I found another pic that shows the hood when it was new ( I believe 2004 ). This unit was my shop forge for long time. Excellent unit. Ruben has seen this forge at Midwest Old Threshers when water was runnin out of it ( pre hood ) after a storm. We both agreed the best way to dry it was "light it" . :)



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