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International Ceramics Products

Very Large Blacksmiths Bellows

Very Large Blacksmiths Bellows


Photos from Ted Mays, Tool Collection Tour   Very Large Blacksmiths Bellows

These are factory made bellows of the type made in the USA at the end of the horse drawn transportation era. Will need releathering to be used.

Construction of these appears to be feather board and grooves with pegs on each side of the joint in several places (see detail below).

  • Pine Wood, leather and iron fittings
  • Overall Length 70 inches
  • Width is 41 inches
  • Closed height, 12 inches.
  • Cast Iron Nozzle is 13.5 inches long
  • Cross Brace is 41 inches, pegged plus hand made nails
  • Back Boards are 22.5 and 19 inches wide.
  • WEIGHT: Over 200 lbs.
Large Antique Blacksmiths Bellows

Detail Large Blacksmiths Bellows

Joinery Details

Re-leathering Bellows:

To use these bellows they must have the old leather replaced. To do so the old leather can be used as patterns to an extent. However, a great many bellows have been ruined by making the new leather the same as the old shrunken leather. Bellows should open 1/2 to 2/3's their width in height. The old shrunken leather will only be a small fraction of this size in height.

Short leathering a bellows is like short sheeting a bed, it is very uncomfortable and useless. A bellows that is shorted on leather has to be pumped very rapidly to get any air out of it at all and is nearly impossible to blow a large fire. I've worked in two restorations that had bellows with shorted leather. One was re-leathered at a very prestedious historical institution - and done wrong, TWICE.

Many grades of leather can be used on a bellows. I prefer leather processed for upholstery. It is supple and finished to be water resistant. I used "buckskin", a split cowhide with a rough surface on my bellows I built in 1977. This was a little thin but lasted over 30 years. It takes a lot of leather to re-leather a bellows. It was said at one time that it took a full oxen hide to leather a bellows. That is several cow hides. On a large bellows the leather will need to be pieced. Since the leather starts at several feet wide at the back of the bellows and tapers to a foot or less at the nozle block it makes peicing a sensible solution.

My Great Bellows -guru

Ted Mays Blacksmith Tool Collection

RETURN or Go-To, Ted Mays Blacksmith Tool Collection INDEX
40 year collection of quality American made blacksmithing tools for sale.