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I Forge Iron

Bellows vrs Fans

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My main smithy is at the Union Mills Homestead dated 1797. 4 years ago they built a bellows for the forge. I have used all three types of systems, crank; electric, and bellows.

I like the bellows for the more even air flow they provide and when you are hammering your fuel is not burning at an excellerated rate.

Crank blowers are alright in providing air but not at the steady flow of the bellows unless your cranking is steady. Air pressure tends to vary.

Electric blowers need to watched. Work fine if you have a rheostat, so you can adjust the air flow and cut off switch to turn off the blower while hammering. If you don't turn off the blower while hammering, you'll build up clinker and waste your coal because it is still burning at a fast rate. If no rheostat, an air gate and cut off switch will work . Needed if working with coke.

But I prefer the bellows though.


The Civil War Blacksmith

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the best way i've seen for electric bellows, but which takes a bit of work, is to have the bellows treadle operated with a variable resistor, like a sewing machine pedal, so that you can control airflow with how far you push the treadle, and have it turn off altogether when you step off to work the metal.

A box bellows is pretty simple to build and i'm thinking of putting one together myself this summer

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