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Bellow question


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I am in the process of making a bellows based on the little red book
The plan calls for leather for the "bag". Has anyone out there built a bellows using CANVAS? I have some 10 ounce "sunforger flame resistant mildew resistant canvas and was thinking of using it in place of leather.
how 'bout it folks?

Any other tricks hints or ideas GRATE FULLY accepted

Mulvane Kansas

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Yes by all means use canvas, good choice. It even seems you have the right canvas for the job already so I won't bore you with the borax wash fire retardant treatment.

Other folk have built bellows, heck some of them have probably built more than the times I've used them.

One tip I know for sure is don't try scaling them down too much, capacity increases or decreased geometrically. For instance 1/2 size means 1/4 the air, a buddy of mine made that mistake and ended up with something useful for birthday cakes and such.


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Here are a couple of pix of the forge that I use at a state historic site that my wife and I volunteer at. The big feller in the yellow shirt made the forge and cart. It's a two stage bellows and it took me awhile to get on to using it. But once you pick up on it's quirks, it is a lot of fun to use. Hope this helps.
Boy_Scout_Camp-2007_041 - Blacksmith Photo Gallery
Lincoln_Log_Cabin_8-4_5-_07_014 - Blacksmith Photo Gallery
Good luck and have fun.

Edited by CurlyGeorge
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canvas will work ! i went leather tho... and i second frosty on size and depth ! if you downsize go as deep as you can ... it will make them work better... also go big on valves cause they are another spot that can be a bottleneck..i use bellows on a portable forge when i demo.It is based on a woodcut from 1790s of a tinsmiths forge.the picture isnt a good one but its the only one i have in my current album . it was taken at the oregon state fair . the person next to it is a fellow smith who makes knifes. we work the booth together so once in a wile we can take a break and see the fair.as you can see the forge isnt that big but what you cant see is that the bellows bottom is only 6 inches from touching the ground... it has enough air to forge weld tommahawks.

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If you don't let it get too cold and therefore stiff I recommend Naguahide, or vinyl based fake leather, as a low cost alternative to leather or canvass. Available at most fabric stores for a lot less money than canvass, and holes can be patched by gluing another piece over top of the hole with contact cement.

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