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I Forge Iron

Old forge worth fixing?


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Hey guys, I found a forge over the summer and just got around to playing with it a few weeks ago. Information from this website and others tells me it is a Buffalo "rivet forge"... or something...I guess. I have no idea how old it is but it was in the basement of a barn for a long time.

When I first got it it didn't look like it was in too bad shape, the bottom of one leg is rusted to pieces, and it needed a good cleaning. As well as a new belt.

A few weeks ago I finally bought some coal and tried it out. Worked great, no problems at all. The next weekend I lit it up again to attempt some tongs...utter failure.
First off it was acting a little funny, when I pumped the handle it only seemed to "catch" and turn the blower in the last little bit of the push. After a little bit it became harder to pump, enough so I was worried about breaking the handle off. It got to the point that I had to spin the pulley by hand before the handle would move.

That is when I learned my first real lesson, don't let anyone else touch your forge. My old man came over said he could make that handle move, he almost ended up with a full pan of hot coal on his legs when two of the legs came off the ground.

About that time me and my better half (that is, the one finished side of the tongs) called it quits. Before I closed everything down I looked under the forge, where the pan and blower connect, I could see right up though into my coal.

Next morning when I cleaned it out I found cracks from all the bolts that hold the blower to the pan. my blower, just as I expected was ready to fall off as well.

Sorry for the long prelude to my question.
I was wondering if it is worth or even safe to fix and use this thing. I read in an earlier thread that I could weld the cracks but I'm not sure it would be worth it, the pan is so warn out anyway and the blower does not look much better. What do you think, should it be retired to a flower planter? or a birdbath? Or can it be saved?
There are some pictures here


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I looked at your photos and I'd say fix it. Yours is in much better shape than mine. Drill some small holes at the very outer most point in the cracks to keep them from going farther 1/16" or so is plenty. With some new hardware rebolt your blower into place. and that should be fine.

As for being hard to crank, these have a ratchet system that can get finicky to say the least especially if they have been lubed with oil (dry graphite works nicely). When you take it apart be sure to watch which way the dogs lay inside the housing and then once you clean it up you'll be able to put it back together (may need an extra hand?) Check and see that your gears are clear of debris a wire brush to remove rust, scale or other foreign material will help keep from having a catch spot.

Another place to check (before bolting it back up would be easy) is to see that the blower turns easily. Being in storage for a while it could have just about any kind of nasty inside it (mouse nest, wasp nest, dauber nest) or rust you've knocked loose in your first go??? Of course bad bearings are also a possible problem, but look for the easy stuff first.

Another point of catch can be the handle or the linkage from the handle, check to be sure it isn't getting into a bind.

The nearly turned over forge is why I stake mine down, though I know my forge fairly well, it keeps from having an aggressive helper dump it over.

Any other questions let me know and I'll try and help...


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Well its fixable.The one I have did the same thing to me,only I never got around too fixing it.But one thing I noted when useing it, is the gear mesh needed to be adjusted after it was warmed up or they would bind,but mine is made different,so it might not apply to yours.

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