WillS

Renovating bellows

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Hey folks.

I've recently started forging in a beautiful old farm forge, and amongst the random wonderful gems left in the building are a couple of sets of bellows.

One is up on the wall and is a huge pear shaped set of Alldays & Onions, which I've not even looked at yet, but there's also a large set of double acting drum bellows, which look like Alldays but have the makers plate on top saying "T Reynolds & Sons, Bristol".  

Firstly, does anybody know anything about the maker?  Google has failed me...

Secondly, they're not working and I'd love to restore them.  They blow air on the first stroke, but the top chamber doesn't lift and there's no air on the down stroke.  The leather is old and needs some careful attention and has some holes, but is there a procedure to follow or things to check for?  I really don't want to pull them apart unless I absolutely have to!

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Is the inside free of any debris such as a mouse or bird nest?

A strong light and dental mirror could be the first choice for inspection. 

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If the leather is brittle and/or stiff you can try a home brew leather treatment which works a treat.

1part bees wax

1 part coconut oil

2 parts castor oil

2 parts sweet almond oil (olive oil also works)

Combine in a double boiler or carefully on very low heat (dont boil/burn which can cause crystalization and ruin the mixture) once combined allow to cool, and the end result should be the consistency of a medium to light weight grease. Apply liberally with hands or a brush.

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