Friday, July 01, 2005

More tools

One of the big ones. I've mentioned before the portable forge I take to fairs and Scottish festivals, and here it is:

It's a Champion forge with a crank blower. The pan is about 18" across and heavy cast iron, the legs are steel pipe, and the blower body is cast iron machined to final dimensions with(I assume) steel gearing inside. You can't see it here, but there's a pipe that runs from the blower to the bottom center, where a 'T' junction has one arm coming up in the pan, and the other going down. The lever you see sticking out from the bottom is attached to a hinged gate; ash that falls through the grate collects at the bottom, and you can lift the lever to open the gate and dump it.

This shot shows the other side of the blower, including the crank:

If used in one place, you were supposed to line the pan with fireclay to protect it. Since I have to carry it around, and the clay always fractured and fell out, I use it bare. After a weekend is done, I clean it off thoroughly, then brush a coat of linseed oil on; the linseed dries and makes a nice protective layer over the metal. So far it's done a fine job of preventing rust.

I've had a lot of people ask me where I got it, and many of them follow that with will I sell it?(No, hell no, etc.) They can be found sometimes at flea markets, or farm or estate sales. I've seen a number of them over time set up in yards as planters, with moss roses or something growing in them(which always makes me cringe). You can buy them new; the last time I looked at Centaur Forge they were-JEEZ! I just went to the site to check since it's been a while. $1245!! Damn, they've gone up! There are other models, including some designed to fit on the back of a truck for use, that are considerably less, so if you're looking for new it might be worth it to get one of those and make a stand for it. 'Course, if you just want one to set up in a shop, check out the others.

Where did I get mine? Enough years ago I hate to think about it I was riding with my dad and we stopped at an antique shop in a small town, just to look around. Scanned the inside and one of the owners mentioned there was more stuff out back, so I went out and around the corner and there it was. No ash gate, no windscreen, but everything else was there and worked. Asked price, and the two guys looked at each other, then the one who'd spoken before said they had a truckload of stuff coming in tomorrow for a sale and needed room, so how did $45 sound? A check was written and we wrapped it up and put it in the back seat and headed home. This, I was informed, was an early Christmas present, and damn right I accepted gratefully. If I'd realized just how good a deal we'd gotten I might have screamed. As it was, I was just very, very happy. It took a few hours in the garage to make an ash gate and handle, then cut, shape, drill and bolt on some thin sheet steel for a windscreen. I later drilled a piece of steel plate for a grate to fit over the air hole, and I'm still using it. I've burned out a number of grates, but everything else is still going along.

No, it's still not for sale. But I will, in the future, post on how to make a portable. Not as good as this one(yes, I'm prejudiced), but one that will work quite well.

3 comments:

BULLSEYE said...

That is cool. Looks like a Webber grill with a turbocharger. I bet that would cook up some awsome Johnsonville saugages for the fourth of July.

og said...

Sweeeet. And what Bullseye said! Look, that's a dang cottage industry- if they can sell those suckers for that much, so can you! I bet you can make one that folds, with a foot treadle, and outsell the original!

Firehand said...

One of the standard comments from people at fairs is "When do you start the hot dogs?"

Folding with a treadle, that is an idea...