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Buffalo coal forge & knife forging project

kingie chaser

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Hi Raiders

I often like to take on projects that are outside my wheelhouse & that will add to what I like to do or add to the bigger picture as part of a future hobbies I want to pursue which knife making is just one of them, but anytime I can expand my knowledge on anything that moves it always puts a smile on my face.

I had done plenty of research, probably watched to many hours of forged in fire & the fact that I am a chef & knife collector it is something I have always wanted to get into.

While talking in a past thread(cant recall the one exactly) I spoke about my desire to make my own knives & @frankS piped in straight away & said he had an old coal forge sitting around that he didn’t have any further need for & was happy to pass on.


When I went to pick it up & I also got a welding lesson, frank was in the middle of his trailer build & as welding is part of the forging/knife making process he offered to give me a lesson which was interesting & much appreciated.

After doing some initial research the forge & on the Buffalo forge company it was a very interesting to see how things were done in the good old days of the late 1800’s & early 1900’s, finding the origins of this model I dated it at around 1930 era.



It became clear that this was something of age & something worth saving & also putting to use again which I have every intention in doing.


Upon breaking it down there were tell tail signs that there were a fair few components that were not original. The bones which was the blower & the blower body were pretty much all that were original. For me as this was not a restoration back to original condition but more refurbishment about making the forge after all these years into a functional piece of equipment again so this did not concern me.


The blower was seized, so finding what the issue was there was the priority before moving forward.

Turns out it was essentially a lot of dried out & contaminated lubricants in the gears & cogs with a bit of rust thrown in.

Used a liberal spray of WD40 inside the gear housing to try to penetrate the parts & left it over night just to find nothing had changed the next day.

So it was time to use a bit of heat & force, break out the blow torch on the parts started to move which was great to see.


I am about half way through the project at the moment & while I will keep the thread up to date I thought I would share how the forge started out & a big shout out to frank for passing this bit of history on to live another day 🙂








Edited by kingie chaser
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Adrian. Glad to see it go to someone who will appreciate it and get some use from it. As it was it was just rusting away at my place ( like a lot of other stuff ) .

I used it last back about 25 years ago, I used to use it for melting my aluminium and it done a great job.

You will find that when you get it working it will be a bit tight to start turning it over but once you get a couple of turns it starts freeing up and turns into a turbo charged force of volcanic air, best fill the hopper with Coal but BBQ beads is what I used to use.

Enjoy and I am looking forward to reading how you go about it and waiting to see some results of things you make with it.

Don't forget where I am and if there is anything you need help with, I'm only a phone call away.


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Hi Frank, yes it took a bit of effort to get the gear case/cogs all cleaned up. 

I didnt really want to take the crank case fully apart but ended up going through each of the larger gear teeth with a small brass brush & used a fair bit of shellite to get all the crud out.

Now it turns like new.


My idea was to try & do as little as possible but then once I took the blower apart to clean out the decades of grease & grime the whole thing started to steam roll & before I knew it I had the rest of it disassembled.


Hitting pretty much every surface with the grinder with a brass brush attached.


The base of the hearth(drum) was pretty badly pitted with quite a few holes so a good mate of mine's uncle owns a big machinery place & the quickest & cheapest fix was to weld a new 5mm steel plate on the inside, which is being done as right now.


By the time that is done I will be fairly close to re assembly with a few things still to sort out.


Knife making is a fairly involved process that can require a lot of gear but its like anything, you can simplify it without over doing it with expensive equipment.

And while I dont want to get to the point where I make my own billets or need things like hydraulic presses & power hammers this youtube basically depicts how I want to start with just the basic gear. Even using the same spring steel to start off although I have found a store that you can buy different blanks including Damascus.



Anyway  once the forge is completed it will still take a while to acquire the rest of the gear I need before I can even start to wield a hammer. 



Edited by kingie chaser
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