Kenyan blacksmiths make bellows from cement sacks


18 Responses to “Kenyan blacksmiths make bellows from cement sacks”

  1. kez says:

    and in bare feet, without eye protection…

  2. baccaruda says:

    I’m visualizing an old bike hooked up to those bellows – pedaling would be easier…

  3. Takuan says:

    be awful surprised if most private smiths wore goggles anywhere. As to simplest and oldest: a hollow branch blowpipe. Bag bellows are pretty ubiquitous since people cut open animals and find lungs to get the idea. A bicycle needs a fan or squirrel cage, lots more work.

  4. hadlock says:

    Yes, it’s amazing that blacksmiths and craftsmen the world around survived for these thousands of years without the benefit of OSHA and the Nanny State to protect them from themselves.

    Here’s a picture of me melting down some scrap aluminum in a “pot in a pot foundry”, wearing sandals and flammable clothing. Oh noes! (I cheated, I used a blowdryer as my bellows)

    First pour

    Link to how to make a “pot in a pot foundry (not mine, but similar)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Takuan, I think baccaruda might have been thinking of using the circular motion of the back wheel and a couple of pegs as a makeshift crankshaft… unfortunately I don’t think that would work either since it looks like the guy opens the bag a little on the way up and then closes it on the way down, I’m probably wrong though since I’m taking the time to comment, there’s a 99% chance that there is a proper valve in the video that I’ve missed.

  6. forgeweld says:

    The only blacksmiths that wear eye protection are the ones that really want to keep their sight. You only need to get a metal sliver pulled from your eyeball once to get that religion. But, as with motorcycle helmets, to each his own.

    @4-They hold the top of the bag open on the upstroke,close it on the downstroke.

  7. Violet says:

    As a Blacksmith i gotta say,

    I am grateful…

    Props to these guys

  8. Buckets McGaughey says:

    They’re a resourceful bunch all right.

    I was in Ethiopia a couple of months ago, and an Englishman I met out there told me the tale of a road trip he and his wife made from Addis Ababa to Kampala in the late Sixties.

    Driving through Kenya, they had a bit of an accident (a pretty common occurrence), went off the road and rolled their pickup. The roof was caved in on one side and the truck generally wasn’t a lot of use.

    They’d been on their way to meet a friend who’d grown up in Nairobi. He took them to a backstreet garage and the boys in there made a new roof for the truck and fitted it ready for them to drive on the next day. The guy swears it was a better job than what it had to start with.

  9. wizardofplum says:

    Kenyan metalsmiths are quite remarkable.Back in the days when the MauMau were doing their little number. The metal masters produced rifles using malleable iron gas piping. It was very much a hit or miss affair when engaged in confrontations with the Colonial forces and many rifles exploded in the “rifleman’s” hands.Yet as a morale booster the weapons had some merit, for the survivors !

  10. Takuan says:

    made a brake drum in oil drum forge with electric blower once, the design worked well but didn’t compensate for the ignorance.

  11. JoshP says:

    Yeah, I forget the exact reference but one of the earliest documented bellows was apocryphally something about ‘pressing skins’ or ‘pressing bladders.’ (think wineskin) What the author inferred was a setup like this, a nice ground forge, 2 man rig, with a dual chamber bellows made from… whatever.
    What I wonder from the video is how they rigged the flap or intake…
    Nice anvil too, can’t tell if it’s a really good brick or an old piece of low carbon.
    What I also notice is that this setup would be tough solo.

  12. kerrie08 says:

    I would love to see more!
    If any one knows of more videos, please let me know.

  13. unruly katy says:

    Humans are so godawful and so godawesome. The news is always full of the -awful so what a delight to be reminded of the -awesome.

  14. jonathan_v says:

    i’ve spent about two months on lamu island. its amazing what the locals are able to build out of near nothing.

    what’s also funny is that a lot of folks there cook on wood, coal, gas tanks.. and they build the dhows by hand… and for quite some time they have rolling or entire-island blackouts to manage resources… but somehow, most everyone has a big-screen tv and a satellite dish.

  15. Takuan says:

    so this is from ancient Eygpt.

  16. Mitch says:

    I noticed the lack of safety glasses, too.

    I want to see more.

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