Age counts for about nothing, condition everything. If you plan to use
it, anyway. Got a blower on it? Crank the blower in one direction, then
the other to see if the gears run smoother in one direction. Check for
excess play in the bearings (usually just the shafts riding in the
castings). Firepot not rusted away? Clinker breaker not rotted away? Air
ducts pretty close to airtight? Ash dump closes properly? Anything you
can't live with? That last one is the biggie.
If it's in good enough shape to satisfy you, get it. It's not like
there is anything resenbling factory parts support.
New manufactured firepots are available, just not affordable unless you
have dumb, loaded clients to sell to.
http://www.centaurforge.com/ has lots of nice stuff but their prices
make my head spin a bit.....
I suspect that if you're a busy farrier you might find it economic to
buy rather than make. Particularly since buying crusty old equipment or
building new equipment requires specialized knowledge that may take a
long time to acquire. 'Course if you're a farrier or smith who has a
lot of down time and a decent home shop, or if you're doing it all as a
hobby, the equation might be different.
Only problem I found with my old forge is that the vanes in the hand cranked
blower had mostly rusted away. I just bunged a piece of 2" copper tube up
the in-end of the tue as a temp connection to an old vacuum cleaner motor in
a box. The box has holes in the top with wooden swivelly bits I can open or
close to adjust the blast. (my fairer told me it is possibly from a Cavalry
regiment - handy because the legs are detachable so you can fit it into a
Please note - if you use an electric blower motor directly into the forge,
you must disconnect the pipe when the blower is off. The guy who taught me
smithing had horrendous tales about how far a jet propelled vacuum cleaners
can travel when filled full of flammable gas when it is switched on again
and the sparks ignite the gas.
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