Spent most of the morning rebuilding a hand-cranked blower, hooked up a light and a power outlet, and rearranged more tools.
I have about four mostly complete old hand-cranked blowers used to provide an air blast to the fire. Two of them wouldn’t turn at all until I realized they had vacant mouse nests between the blades. I don’t blame them, who could resist a perfectly armoured cast iron cave with a tunnel entrance and six bedrooms? One, which was part of my first shop, works wonderfully as is but the casing is cracked and wired back together so it may or may not last long. I think I can get at least one other into decent working order so I should be set.
My goal is to hook up a combination of the hand blower and a small power fan so that the power fan can keep the fire going at idle while I am hammering. It will also mean the shop will be fairly functional in “traditional mode” in the event of a power outage or a willing assistant. After much deliberation I realized I cannot really set this configuration up without some forge work so I decided to leave the combination blower for later and set up a temporary electric blower for now. The small electric blower was part of a propane forge burner I was building years ago, but have since decided that atmospheric burners are best for gas forges.
Let There Be Light
Blacksmith shops need very little light for most work, in fact certain operations like quenching steel blades in the traditional Japanese manner depend on judging colour very accurately under low light. There are times when more light is necessary, though, so Neido~chan helped me make a hanging lamp out of an old green enameled shade and a discarded lamp socket and length of extension cord. Once the forge is up and running the plan is to make some sort of swivel arm so the light can serve either end of the shop. I also added a power strip for the blower and lamp to plug into so in the event of an overload the breaker will flip right in the shop before anywhere else.