Jump to content
I Forge Iron

New Forge and a Question About the Pot


Recommended Posts

Picked up this Champion 400 a couple weeks back. Looks like its in pretty good shape, other than the classic grease leak issue, and one bearing is making a little noise. There is enough sticky grease in the gear case I think the gears are spared from undue wear. I'm optimistic that this blower might serve me well for a little while.

Lots of grease inside the fan and all along the pipes. I've been chiseling it away with a screwdriver but I wonder if there is a better way. I've been thinking the whole thing could use a sandblasting, but I don't have the means to do that.

My main question is the pot. The blower hole is rather large... will need some kind of grating for sure, and the pot is as you can see in the pictures... large and loose. I'm debating whether I should make a clay insert to lift it about two inches and even everything out. What think ye? What would you do with this thing if it was yours?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are not meant to be filled with oil as the Buffalo blowers were. Most old timers greased the gears with hard grease and periodically a few drops of oil thru the oiler. Then you wont be blowing oil down the pipe and all over the fan.Most of the time there are just a few pitted bearings from sitting for years and moisture from condensation causing rust, thus the roaring noise you get from most of these. The bearings in the 400's that I've restored have all been .25" ball bearings but I mic the most intact bearings just to make sure every time anyway. I use white lithium grease on these because it seems to let the fan move more freely. the grease cap on the fan shaft is THREADED on. I've seen several of these damaged from seal pullers because people didn't realize this. I had a hard time finding ball bearings this size for some reason then finally found that they are the most common size in bicycles so I get them from the local bike shop now. As for the other concerns, I have not worked on any portable forges like yours so I'm not sure what to tell you but I have seen the replacement tyure (sp?) that should work for you on ebay in a store called Poorboy blacksmithing or something like that.
Hope this helps, good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hooligan, you mention that the buffalo blowers were meant to be filled with oil, not the Champion's. I just got my hands on a Buffalo 300 blower and while I can put oil in it, if I filled the gear reservoir, it would certainly drip out from right behind the fan casing for a while.

How full of oil are these meant to be and is there some sort of a seal or gasket that I need to replace/fabricate.

Thanks, I'm very much looking forward to getting away from the squirrel cage blower on the forge.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Just finished rebuilding one myself.

Blower - The bearing balls can be found at McMaster-Carr. I used the 1/4" stainless ones, part number 9642K39, one pack of 50 did the job for all 6 bearing sets, I think I only had 2-3 balls left. If you are careful you can pull open the ball cage on the crank shaft and reload it with new balls, just be careful as it is easy to deform the separator fingers and it is easy to make them too tight, the balls should have a little wiggle room. If you want to desolve the old grease just remove the crank and submerge the blower assembly in diesel or Kerosene for a week or two and clean with soap and water (I disassembled the blower before submerging it so I could get everything clean). For this one I tried and had good results with Zep Concrete & Driveway cleaner, it took a little longer but was safe to wash down the drain. When removing the spur gears (the gears no connected to the blower fan) be careful as they are both held with square head set screws and there is a shoulder on the shafts, so they can only be removed by pressing them out in one direction.

Pan - Since I planed on bringing my forge to various gatherings, I knew clay would not last (also I worried about contaminating the fire with clay dust when digging for clinkers) and since my pan was just rusty lace I replaced it with a new 20" cast iron skillet from Cabella's. With the pan, I removed one handle, to center the air hole in the pan, the other handle I use for hanging my forge tools. The pan it thick enough that I detect no flex when I use the remaining handle and the u-bend below the blower as the grip points when carrying it to and from my truck.

Tuyere - since the air hole is larger then the tuyeres that I could find on the web, I took a piece of 1/2" thick stainless from the scrap pile at work and made one. On the backside I created a pocket deep enough to clear the air pipe (which stuck above the pan) and then drilled a bunch of 5/16 - 3/8 holes in a diamond pattern to allow the air through. After that to allow the air to flow into the holes easier, on the back side I took a 3/4 (might have been larger) drill and created countersinks that would funnel the air into the holes and minimize the flat back face of the tuyere (anytime air or fluids hit a flat wall the force gets reflected [basically ricochets] back on itself creating back pressure, minimizing the quantity of fluid passing through an orifice hole).

Take care and have fun,

Rich Cizik
Willimantic, Ct

On another note, has anyone else tried stainless for tuyeres? I seem to notice something interesting when I compare the chinkers produced by this forge when compared to my Buffalo forge which has a carbon steel tuyere. Namely that the I find almost no clinkers in the pan during or after use. All I will find are small clinkers, largest one was about the size of a small marble, most were about the size of a BB, where as with the same coal I will pull tea cup plate or larger clinkers from the Buffalo. I know that stainless absorbs and releases heat slower then carbon steel, could it be that the tuyere doesn't get hot enough for the clinkers to grow and thus just drop though the ash trap or side off to the side???

Edited by crij
Forgot to mention something
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a classic Champion 400 rivet forge. They made a boatload of them for the structural iron industry to allow hot riveting before welding became the standard. The regular grate is a plate with three or four lengthwise slots and no clinker breaker.

Different models of blowers from all manufacturers held oil while others used grease. It's pretty much common sense to look at what you have and make a good decision. Many will hold oil to a certain level and not drip much. Others will hold oil at rest but the gear action will make them leak. As noted, the C400 works fine with grease in the main bearings and a few drops of oil; the latter primarily protects the brass gear and steel worm that drives the fan.

Stainless steel makes a good grate due to its corrosion resistance but it is unlikely to affect clinker formation. The main contributor to clinker comes from impurities in the fuel with excessive blast a secondary cause.

I've mentioned elsewhere that I believe that a few slots are superior to holes in a grate but it's probably best that everyone experiment and learn what works best for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michael, Sorry so late with a reply. I'm not realy familiar with the BF blowers. What little I know about them I learned when I was at Mike's forge (Yesteryear) I was still working on rebuilding my first Champion and he showed me one of his Buffalo blowers and explained the oiling differences. He could give you better answers on your Buffalo than me. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...