Author with Great Bellows

Great Bellows Parts

The author with parts of a great bellows during construction. These bellows were used in my portable blacksmith shop. The size was determined by rough numbers given by Eric Sloane and Alex Bealer for an average sized bellows in a general shop. I thought, average? general? That should work! The lumber was hand picked pine shelving that I had to carefully work around the knots. Later the fellow that sold it to me said I could have gotten "clear" pine. . .

Note the valve "bodies". They are made removable for maintenance. The bottom intake is larger than the middle valve for easy of air flow at the low pressure differential. This also allows removal of the internal valve through the bottom hole. All this and they've never been taken out!

The light green valve material is some sort of cloth reinforced rubber laminate. Fellow said it was for diving suits but I'm not sure what it was really for.

The image below is a detail of the finished bellows. They worked (and still) work great. The bronze headed "tacks" were made by putting a cap of brazing rod on roofing nails. The nails were tacked into a board in long parallel rows and brazed in production. The flame preheating the next nail in the line. Bellows normally have leather hinges but I wanted something fancy.

Bellows detail

Copyright © 1998 Jock Dempsey
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