WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you. This is an archive of posts from January 1 - 7, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Guru, do you know a standard way of calculating stair railing. At present i use a protractor to find the angle in line with the tread on the steps and measure the horizontal distance between the mounting places. Any help would be appreciated. thanks, Scott Vickrey
Scott  <vickrey at easilink.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 00:29:30 GMT

Is it just a matter of usage or is black pipe ( used for gas lines) literally wrought iron?
Pete F - Monday, 01/01/01 03:40:23 GMT

Wrought Iron Pipe Pete, Don't get excited its just means the pipe is wrought. . . Its low carbon but not W.I. Fittings (modern) are ductile iron.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 05:46:24 GMT

Oh well.
PF - Monday, 01/01/01 06:47:08 GMT

Do you know the mix for beeswax-linseed oil finish?
I read about lately but have no mix to go bye I would appreciate any info concerning this matter THanks DICK
dick  <dickmoeller at bright.net> - Monday, 01/01/01 12:31:20 GMT

Hi, I want to "connect" be it solder/weld... or however ..... some British 2p coins to a sheet of copper, or copper wire... But have no idea what i'm doing or how to do it ... !

Can you tell me what I need to know about this process ? I can provide you with the coins if you need to test their metal content.

Guy Hollister  <guy at dotatdotat.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 13:51:14 GMT

Scott stairrail angles, The easiest way is to take a piece of plywood approx. 12" X 36" and lay it down on the stair so it hits the nosing of three steps. Then go to the side and put a level against the side of the board. There you have it! Draw the line and take it back to the shop. Use an angle finder to lay out the line on a layup table. Hope this helps. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 14:24:52 GMT

Coins to copper: Guy, There are all kinds of methods. Have you thought of using 5 minute epoxy glue?

A permanent metalic connection can be made by soft soldering, silver soldering or brazing. Older 2p coins were mostly copper and will take brazing temperatures but the best way to know would be to test. Silver soldering with a low silver solder designed for brass will give as strong a connection at a lower temperature.

Both brazing and silver soldering will produce considerable discoloring. The coins and the part attached to will need to be cleaned with a mild acid then lots of scrubbing.

Plain, soft soldering, will use the least heat but will require absolute cleanliness before starting. A low temperature electronics solder would be best. The surfaces to be attached to should be pre-tinned with pure tin. There are fluxes available for plumbing that have tin powder in the flux. These work better than anything else I've used.

To attach to a plate or sheet metal I would drill a hole about 1/4" or 6mm where each coin is to be attached and apply the filler metal from the back forming a small "button" or soft metal rivet.

All the above methods require skill and practice. The two high temperature techniques require an oxy-acetylene torch used by an expert. If you want to do it yourself then take a welding course or jewlers course where they teach the use of the appropriate equipment and materials.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 15:30:19 GMT

Stair Layout: Scott if you are dealing with existing stairs you will need to carefully measure every step. Many carpenters have the very bad habit of using standard spacing and then making corrections at one or both ends. Yes, this does NOT meet the code but it is common. If there is a landing it is also common to have one rise/run ratio on one side of the landing and another on the other side.

Measure, measure, measure!

I always make a simple layout including the total horizontal and vertical distance and then check to be sure everything adds up. If it doesn't, you will have to go back and measure again. Generaly it is best to take graph paper and make your drawing sitting in your car or truck. If it doesn't add up then you haven't driven home to find out. . .

If you want to make an inplace template then layout the pickett and post positions on each stair with a small pencil center mark. Then lay a furing strip or 2x4 on the stair and use a square to transfer the centers to the board. This will be an exact template of where your rivit holes go in your top rail. Note that this will not take into account variations in picket length.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 15:56:48 GMT

Beeswax and Oil: Dick, There are as many of these as there are blacksmiths. Take several pounds of beeswax and melt in a double boiler. Add about 20% by volume boiled linseed oil and an equal amount of turpentine. Stir then pour into a clean paint can that can be sealed (new quart cans are available from paint stores). Alow to cool before sealing the can.

For a plain wax finish I use a beeswax and 25% turpentine mix (same method as above).

Some folks add a cobalt drier to the mix. At that point you should just go ahead and use ordinary varnish (a much superior finish). If you add a small amount of boiled linseed oil then it will be easier to use as a rub on finish.

Most of these old recipes were simply looking for a way to produce a clear finish with commonly available materials. For this you can't beat clear lacquer.

Be sure to clean your work before applying any finish. That shiney black "coal plating" is corrosive, breaks down over time and finishes do not stick to it.

The best wax finnishes are the hard liquid floor waxes. I've got a formulary that has the recipe. But why? Just go to the store and buy a bottle. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 16:15:23 GMT


I need a source that can guide me into the structural charateristis of brass pipe ued as a column.

A friend's compression post failed on his 48' sloop. It was 5.25"od with 1/8"wall abot 55" long fixed at both ends.

I'm trying to work out its capacity and compare it to what's needed. Any soures?

Thanks in advance Dave R.
Dave Robinson  <drobdiver at aol.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 19:28:53 GMT

Columns: Dave, Columns are a difficult subject. The first thing I can tell you is that there are no lookup tables for this type problem. There are a series of caculations that are made based on various conditions and assumptions. Then there is the matter of the material. Brass and bronze is much different than structural steel (which most formulae will be based on). The exact alloy will need to be known as well as its properties.

Ultimate compressive strength of the material in PSI
Modulus of Elasticity

The ASM Metals Reference Book will have a wide range of this type information if it is not in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. There are also on-line resources such as principalmetals.com.

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and the AISC manual have the formulae you need. It looks like you want to use the J.B. Johnson formula.

In MACHINERY'S look under Columns. I reccomend setting up a spread sheet with each step in the calcuations.
Your slenderness ratio is 10 so special buckling formulae do not apply.

From the OD, ID and Length you will need to calculate the section properties; area of section, moment of inertia, least radius of gyration. These will be found elsewhere in the same references.


THEN, the column formula requires an "n" factor based on the end termination. It ranges from 1 to 4. 4 being the idea for both ends fixed but 3 to 3.5 suggested for a less than ideal case. I really hate these fudge factors but they come down from the likes of Euler. Even with large flanges a wooden or fibre glass boat is going to cause the maximum excentric loading.

Machinery's says use Johnson first then compare to the limiting factor of Q/v^2 > 2 then use the Euler formula.

When you are done you should know the failure point of the column in pounds (or kilos). From there you apply a safety factor of 1.25 UP and design a column to take that load (more fudge factors).

Now, my gut feeling is that the wall thickness of the column was much too low. Someone probably substituted 1/8" wall where 3/8" wall was needed. OR used steel calcs and didn't properly derate for brass. OF course the big unknown is applied load. Here you have the benifit of your friend's failure. If you know the conditions his failed under (normal load vs worst condition) then take that and apply a 1.5:1 safety factor if it was a worst condition and a 2:1 if it was a normal but high load (full sail) condition.

You would save weight (and maybe money) using stainless steel. I'd setup the spread sheet and calculate the weight plus use different materials. Note that in crane service and where people are supported a 5:1 safety factor is normal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 21:31:40 GMT

Thanks for the previous info on scrolls, works great! Next question, do you have a discussion/description on the Golden Mean?
Roger  <tandaear at dowco.com> - Monday, 01/01/01 23:44:04 GMT

Golden Rectangle: Take a square, divide the base in half, strike an arc from the center of the base to the an opposite corner and set the far corner of the rectangle.

Ratio 1:1.61803398874989484820458683436564

A lot of folks force spirals to fit in a sequence of golden rectangles. The key word if FORCED. Its hype and wishful thinking trying to make everything fit this so called "magic" rectangle. But don't believe me. LOOK at their examples. If it worked you could do it mathematicaly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 01:32:26 GMT

Scott and Guru, The Guru's right about measuring every step if the posts go to every step. I'm working on a rail right now that is only 10 feet long and is connected only at the top and bottom newel posts with one in the center (code is post every 5 ft.) I'm more inclined to finding simple solutions for my simple mind. Tim
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 03:11:19 GMT

Steve, Your questions about the leg vise got me to thinking today. I got a couple of hour to play so I decided to make up a leg vise. I started out with both legs but the moving jaw got a little burnt in the screw hole area so I trashed it. I got the leg half forged out and will start on the rest of it when I get a chance.
OK, I'll admit it's only nine inches tall. I made it out of a railroad spike. If I can get it to work I'll see if I can write up a set of instructions for the Guru to post if he wants.
As to your idea for a diagram and parts list, I would like to see one too. I bet there are some funny names involved on some of the parts. It'd be fun to see one.
Moldy  <njordan at epud.net.nospam> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 03:26:12 GMT

Can you tell me what the name is for the calcified refuse from a smith's fire or furnace?

Nick Temple  <nicktemple at alton107.f9.co.uk> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 15:52:44 GMT

Calcified? Nick, Ashes and clinkers are the "technical" terms for the remains of any coal fire. I don't think calcification applies to the process.

Vise: I never saw an OLD leg vise diagram. That is where you would have those good 'ole English names like "gudgin pin" and "whipple" . . .

I can make a diagram but there are only 11 parts on a late type and 10 on an early. .
Leg Vise Parts
  1. Back Jaw and Leg with welded side plates
  2. Font Jaw
  3. Gudgeon Pin
  4. Gudgeon Pin wedge
  5. Screw with sliding handle
  6. Nut
  7. Thrust washer
  8. Spring
  9. Bench bracket
  10. Bracket binding clamp
  11. Bracket binding wedges

These old tools are a wonderful piece of forge work and include all the basic processes. Drawing, Bending, Punching, Splitting, Upsetting and Welding.

There is a lot of forge welding. The back jaw and leg has a hard steel insert welded in, the lower leg is probably pieced under the side plates that are also welded on. On some of the older vises the thrust shoulder on the nut is a series of welded rings. On the modern leg vises made by Vaugh the front and rear jaws are identical forgings that have the differences arc welded on. I suspect the old vises are the same with the pivot block on the front jaw forge welded on. The difference being the welds don't show on the old vises.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 16:27:51 GMT

Sheet Pewter: Several days ago Mark Parkinson asked about a source for pewter. Anyone have a source?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 16:30:57 GMT

The potmetal grill on my 64 Plymouth Barracuda has both top attaching wing broken off. Is there anyway to reattach them? Do you know of any type glue that could be used?
Evan Laughlin  <seasaml at aol.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 16:41:26 GMT

Plated Zinc (Potmetal): Evan, I use clear 5 minute epoxy for this type of thing. There is not much else you can do. Note that the 20 minute epoxies are stronger due to having less filler/inhibitor. However, if you have to carefully hold the parts in place by hand that is much too long to do a steady job. This time of year be sure to use the epoxy indoors or in a heated garage. It is thermal setting and may not set at all (or for days) in cold temperatures.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 16:50:54 GMT

This question might have been missed so I'll ask again. I am new to blacksmithing and was wondering if there was a source for metal stamps for stamping your work. I would like to mark my work with a cloverleaf about 1/4" square. Are there any companies out there that would make a stamp like this? What would the estimated price be? What did blacksmiths in the 18th century mark their work with?
MZ  <mzagursky at hersheys.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 17:08:27 GMT

i would like to learn how to make swords. so how can i start
matt  <Mattocks at snowboards.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 17:09:18 GMT

Pewter: The link seems to be down for the moment, but Atlas Metal Sales in Denver carried sheet pewter as I remember. Try http://www.atlasmetal.com

Swords: I really must finish editing my article. I'm riding the bus with a laptop as it is; between NPS and other fun and games. In the meantime, Matt, do a search of the Anvilfire Guru's Den archives for "sword" (lots of comments there), check the links on the link page, and check out a reprint on some of my research at: http://members.ttlc.net/~tyrell/Viking1.htm

Clear and very cold on the banks of the Potomac. The sky is a blue that you usually see up in the mountains, and seldom in Foggy Bottom in D.C.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 18:49:01 GMT

Evan you can also try a epoxie called "wess systems" it is an industral epoxie mostly used in in boat building it can be found in most marinas the cost is a bit high (mostly becouse you have to buy it in qunaity ) wess system has no filler (you can add it ) and you can controle the harding rate by the amount of liquid hardner you add. the friend that intoduced my to this stuff used it to fill in the monting holes on the trim of a 51 chevy so we could retap them.
good luck ~MP~
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 19:16:18 GMT

Touchmarks: MZ, Centaur Forge can handle your order. Be prepared to provide clean accurate art work. If you are interested in making your own we have a demo on the iForge page.

Most Colonial American makers would have used their name or initials. A few used symbols. Most used diamonds and line work that could be made with a chisle. Commercialy made name stamps were as commonly used as they are today. In some cases initials were chased or engraved.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 20:18:43 GMT

Epoxy: The name you are looking for is West Systems, I think. I use it myself for boats.
CraigS  <schaefc at vfc.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 22:24:28 GMT

Swords: Matt, You need to start at the begining and learn general blacksmithing and metalworking first. See our Getting Started article. Then you will need to study some metalurgy. Short of classes at an engineering school you can study the sections on heat treating in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and other engineering references such as Marks' and the ASM Handbooks.

As you study the blacksmithing you will collect many of the tools you will need and most of the skills.

There are also some fine how-to bladesmithing references available from Centaur Forge and others. Start at the begining!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 22:44:35 GMT

I am new to the world of metal, I am working on a project that I neen to mold some time of metal, but have no idea what kind to use, I am limited to only a propane torch to heat the metal, as for the mold I think I can manage. The finished metal will be about2-3mm thick and need no real strenth, yet shold not be soft(like solder), any help on a type of metal would be a great help.
Thank you very much Daymon.
Daymon  <daypilk at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 01/02/01 23:42:50 GMT

GUDGEON PIN? Dare I even ask which part is that?
I'd love to see the RR spike vise, or at least the drawing.
Steve at Hammerdown Forge
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 00:04:20 GMT

Gurus and Gurinos (and anti-gurinos too). I am needing help in my one person shop. I wonder if you have any thoughts on the relative merits of fly pressed, arbor presses, hydraulic presses (made with a bottle jack), or any thoughts on making one up. Or any other suggestions for getting a mechanical helper for hot repousse.chasing
as well as general punching. Thanks in advance.
Tim - Wednesday, 01/03/01 00:10:04 GMT

Does anyone know of any steel suppliers that will sell sizes ranging from 1/2 x 3/16(or 1/4) up to 1 1/4 inch x same thickness..in hot rolled mild steel or annealed bright mild steel, and rod and squares from 1/8 inch up to 5/8 inch by say 72 inches long. I am making "wrought iron" ornamental furniture, am from the Philadelphia PA area, and cannot seem to find anyone who will deal with me as I am not a "contractor" . any leads most aprreciated :) thx
DaMaela  <DaMaela at aol.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 00:30:25 GMT

Guru, Wicked. Thanks for that.
errrrrrr glue it is then, .....:)

[Kiwi in London]
Guy Hollister  <guy at dotatdotat.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 00:33:39 GMT

Small Castings: Daymon, small castings are tricky. Even in low temperature melting metals like lead, tin and solder a propane torch is a little small. However, you could gang up several. You can get more heat from an electric stove burner in many cases. A small forge works even better.

Zamak (Zinc Aluminium Alloy) has a melting temperature of
about 800°F (427°C) and pouring temperature of 1000°F (538°C). It can be melted in a steel, clay or graphite crucible. Iron or steel crucibles tend to be disolved by the zinc so they should be coated with a refractory clay.

Zamak can be cast in permanent steel, plaster or sand molds. Plaster is the easiest for the small operation but the molds must be "calcined" before using. That is cooking the mold at as high a temperature as it will take (somewhere over 1000°F) to drive out as much of the free AND bonded water as posible. The molds should be hot when the metal is poured to assure dryness and to help the metal flow and fill the mold.

Zamak has the strength and bearing properties of bronze but a much lower melting point. It is what much of the cast trim on automobiles is made of as well as items like carburettors, fuel pumps and other parts. The frame for your disk drive in your PC is Zamak (yep, you could melt down those old Seagate HD's and do something useful with them. . ah the disks themselves are aluminium).

Zamak can be plated but needs to be etched prior to painting. It can be polished but oxidizes turning a grey black fairly quickly. It drills, taps and files a lot like bronze.

Note that melting ANY metal is dangerous. Spilled metal can cause severe burns and will splash making eye protection VERY important. Liquid metal also has the habit of running into ones shoes and setting things on fire.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 00:38:07 GMT

Presses and presses: Tim, Every machine has its best us and often is VERY inefficient at others. The hand hammer asside there are very few universal metal working presses.

For hot reposse' a hand held air hammer is best as speeding things up but is VERY noisey. Neighbors can be a concern.

Flypresses can turn out your reposse' in one stroke providing you have the very expensive dies required. . I do not recommend hand held tooling under a flypress. Dies are required for most work.

Arbor presses are good for a few things but are very limited in tonnage. The largest are suitable only for very small work other than bending.

My first and best press is a hydraulic press with a 20ton bottle jack. It will punch a 3" dia hole in 16ga steel (to make blanks) and easily bends 2" x 3/8" bar cold. For punch press work it requires die sets like most punch presses. Production rates are plenty high for most one man shops. I blanked out all my (hundreds) of steel, brass and SS blanks with mine in one afternoon after taking about a week to build the press and dieset. See the our 21st Century Page.

Power hammers with good control such as Fairbanks and Bradleys are suitable for chasing work but I do not know how you would support work for reposse'

Punch presses are the most efficient machine for punching holes, trimming and blanking. They require special tooling for every operation and if you are not a machinist type you should forget it. They are a good deal on the used market because industry is dumping them because they are next to imposible to make them meet OSHA requirments. They are inherently dangerous because of their speed and once triggered they cannot be stopped. A good deal in a one man shop but do not pay more than scrap price for one.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:00:17 GMT

My husband is at work right now and we had a question for you. I am trying my hand at pounding and was waondering if we could put antifreeze in our tub of water?
Thank you,

jph  <Hi.hud at Juno.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:15:36 GMT

My husband is at work right now and we had a question for you. I am trying my hand at pounding and was waondering if we could put antifreeze in our tub of water?
Thank you,
jph and wife

jph  <Hi.hud at Juno.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:18:38 GMT

Steel Sources: DaMaela, Most steel wharehouses require an "open account" but there is almost always a small local dealer that will deal with the small shop. Purchasing in small quantites is always a problem and deemed nusiance sales by big business and even some small ones.

Your first problem is that some of the sizes you are asking for are generaly not available. Second is the standard length for hot roll is 20-21 feet. If you need it in short lengths you are going to pay cutting charges. Most wharehouses will not cut stock unless you prepay or have an open account.

Asking a steel wharehouse for bright annealed is like asking for gold plate and please deliver the one little piece. They are looking for ANY excuse not to do business with you after that. It doesn't exist except in hobby stores.

They carry A-36 Hot roll (HR), 1018-20 Cold drawn (CF) and if you get picky they don't carry anything at all. . .

Most fabricators cannot afford to buy steel at premium prices PLUS cutting. I used to carry a hack saw with me and cut stock in two out in the parking lot. Small stock under 1/2" I would often just fold in two. .

McMaster-Carr sells a variety of steel in short lengths and will take your credit card and ship UPS. Check their web page for sizes. They will take your order over the phone IF you have looked up the catalog number for the size you want.

Let me know if this doesn't work for you. We have been getting this question often enough that I might go into the small steel bar business. . . All stock would be cut to 5 and 6', HR and CF mixed, guaranteed to be rusted to some extent. I'd have to look into the UPS rules. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:25:45 GMT

AntiFreeze in Slack Tub: JPH, Its not recommended for two reasons. One is if pets (or wild animals) get into it it is posisonous and a slow painful death by kidney and liver failure. They like the sweet taste. Second is that when you quench in it you will be breathing the same.

To keep your slacktub from freezing make a brine solution out of it. A saturated solution drops the freezing point WAY down. I tried to find the specifics the other day but had no luck. But its well below 0°F.

Brine is a common quenchant. It is more severe than plain water so care should be taken NOT to quench overheated steels. Its only problem is that it will corrode a steel container.

Welcome to the world of blacksmithing! Take it easy and don't try too large a hammer at first. 2 pounds is heavy if you are not used to it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:34:34 GMT

GUDGEON PIN: Steve, That's the cross pin at the bottom of a British Car king pin. I figured it would do for the jaw pivot pin. . . about the same size and held in by a taper pin (like the wedge in many vises). . . hahahahah hah!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 01:37:51 GMT

Now it makes sence! A noted linquist had completed a study of the many different American accents. His study found that
the southern accent is the nearest to the old English of all the varied American accents. In other words, The southern accent is the truest/nearest form of english accent brought over during the time of King George the something(?).
If a southern 'smith had said,"Gudgeons hand me that hammer?" I would immediatly know he was speaking to me.
For you yankee speaking Americans that will translate into
"Could you hand me that hammer?". Gotta go. The wife jist
axed me "Gudeons take the garbidge out?".
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 02:28:17 GMT

To clarify Gudgeon Pin: it is the pin which goes through a piston and attaches the small end of a connector rod. This may be what you said, as I don't know what the bottom of a king pin is. It seems English is not a single language.
Garry   <garry at silverbrook.com.au> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 02:31:09 GMT

GUDGEON PIN: My point was that since the vast majority of leg vises were manufactured in England (they had the export market and multiple manufacturers), that if the parts had peculiar names they would probably be British.

Gudgeon is also the name of a small European fish. In mechanics it is derived from the small iron axels set into much larger wooden shafts such as in old mills. Small is a proportional thing since wooden shafts were often several feet in diameter and gudgeon pins may have been 4 to 6" (100-150mm) by over a foot long. This usage dates from the 1600's or earlier. Later it was used by the British for all types of small short axels or shafts.

A "king pin" is the shaft that the front hub of old automobiles rotated on so you could steer. These were most common on old straight axel and leaf spring suspension front ends (up to 1950, later on some trucks). British cars used king pins combined with lower "A" arms and upper lever arm shocks. In order to rotate in the "A" arm they had a cross-pin called a "gudgeon" pin. The REAL peculiarity of these is that they rotated on a threaded surface. Anyone familiar with classic Jaguars through the last MG's and Austin Healys will recognize this peculiar part (as well as lever arm shocks and Whitworth wrenches).

In America we call the pin in a piston a "wrist" pin. Propably because most automotive types here knew about those bastard little gudgeon pins that wore out so fast in their favorite sports cars. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 03:23:40 GMT

The gudgeon is also the metal fitting(s) on a ship's rudder that fits over the pintle(s), which is attached to the ship. The pintle is named for the Old English term for um, er, ah... the vital differentiating member of the male of the species.

Nautical terminology doesn't change much. Somewhat like blacksmithing basics. (It's obvious that both groups may have spent too much time away from gentle female company.)


Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 03:58:39 GMT

Gudgeon: Bruce, It funny, the same definition applies to gates. What is peculiar is that in gates and ships it it the female part but in other applications it is the male part. An androgenous part. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 04:36:11 GMT

as I recall, you dont have to have a grudge on to bludgeon the gudgeon on a British automobile..it just happens. "Bless the day I sold it". Said the fellow
Pete F - Wednesday, 01/03/01 05:50:40 GMT

Sorry to have gotten so far off track with the last post:)
I've been making the RR spike mini hawks. I understand that it is thought that if the head of these spikes are stamped with HC that this stands for High Carbon. If so, I have spikes that are stamped with Cu. Does the Cu stand for copper and what would this do for the spike, make it harder,
softer, more abrasive resistant? I don't have my metallurgy referance library at hand.
Thanks for any help.
Steve at Hammerdown Forge
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 12:53:23 GMT

A large piece of wood that will protrude from the water will keep a slack tub from breaking when it freezes. A large piece of firewood does nicely.
Tim  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 13:59:56 GMT

ahh, back from christmas break, Shut down the shop for a week, and spent time with an important person.

Guru, what does a Skilled blacksmith and machinist like yourself put on their christmas list?

I have a few questions brought up by Christmas gifts. My father bought me a sanding station, the one i had been using previously in my basement consisted of a six inch wide belt and a 12 inch(I think)Disk. The new one has a 1 inch wide belt and 6 inch disk(it came with 2 extra belts, all of different grit, but im at school otherwise I would list them for you)
I also recieved a detail brush set with crimped brass, stainless steel, and nylon(I have yet to experience joy in using a nylon brush, but theyre all nice) Do you have any suggested uses for the two first brushes? perhaps to apply a finish while the metal is still hot?

Bell just rang, I have a few more qs for later.

ColdForge - Wednesday, 01/03/01 14:12:55 GMT

Detail Brush Set: Sorry I don't understand what that is. Hand or wheel type? In the wheel type quality makes a huge difference. Industrial duty wheels by reputable manufactures are great and hold up well. Cheap wheels rapidly fly apart. Nylon wheel brushes are used to debur non-ferrous metals. Locksmiths use them to debur keys.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 15:31:37 GMT

Cu: Steve, I believe copper makes steel abrasion resistant but at the expense of making it brittle. Most abrasion resistant steels are difficult to work but their hardness is decieving and they are not good steels for blades. I'll look it up a little later but I think I've got it right. Anyone else?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 15:35:26 GMT

thanks Guru. Daymon
daymon - Wednesday, 01/03/01 16:07:25 GMT

My Xmas list: I'm one of those SOB's that is very difficult to buy for. I routinely throw away software AND tools that are badly designed or made (within minutes of trying them) even if *I* bought them. I have most of the small tools for a dozen trades so that leaves big ticket items that most cannot afford. I also don't have room in my life for brick-a-brack and knick-nacks. Gift certificates are also bad choices because I rarely go out to shop and don't shop at places "normal" people do. You might as well just give the merchant the cash and forget the certificate (they count on a high percentage on non-use in the first place).

Currently I NEED the ends of an 18" diameter steel shaft 30" long sawed off square. . that would be nice (IF you pick up and deliver the little 2300# piece). Currently there are some "toys" I could use but don't "need". A good VCR and a video camera top the toy list. I could also use an all expense paid trip to somewhere WARM about now. . . Many think it is incincere but I can always use cash in any quantity and will appreciate that much more than a useless trinket.

I suspect I am like many "hard to shop for" middle age men. If the ticket price is less than $5,000 then its probably NOT something I'm intrested in.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 16:15:07 GMT

Mr Guru..Xmas list..I can provide you a warm place.Up here its beside a nice burning fire in the living room. But bring your woolies because you have to outside some time to get more wood. I have vidio camera and VCR I would let you use during your cool stay here in the north. I also would except cash of any kind. Gift cert s for me work as I buy some toys with them. Oh by the way it gets warm here in the summer July August.
From the north country - Barney -
North Bay Ont Canada
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 16:44:54 GMT

Greetings, Guru. I am ColdForge's cousin, HotForge. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to make metal-braiding easier.
HotForge  <frostymugs at takashi.zzn.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 18:51:13 GMT

easiest is to get it hot! (grin)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 19:07:32 GMT

Braiding: HotForge, Clamp the work in a vise and use a torch. Its hard to get tight bends using a forge. Also note that one method that LOOKS braided is actualy a trick. See our iForge demo on twists (I think thats the one. . ).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 19:10:32 GMT

Ralph!: I thought you had a meeting! ;)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 19:11:21 GMT

Ah, Sorry for the lack of specificity in my previous posting, the brushes are hand tool-type, my fav, because once ive pounded, ground, sanded, and heated until either roughly finished or until my parents yell at me, I like to take my pieces into my room and work quietly with hand tools or small motor driven devices i like to make(Theyre not powerful or fast, but they make a sleepless night more enjoyable)But yeah, the brushes are hand held. does that leave enough room for a bit of advice or thought?

My cousin is up here with me going under NN of HotForge. He is good People. Im commissioning the welding class to piece together A pounding Block for his workspace, It should be pretty nice, though not an anvil.

I have a question on the polishing of rings, more specifically silver, more specifically the ring im going to give to my GF. I want it to look absolutely Flawless(as Beautiful as i can possibly make it) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Speaking of gift certificates, I recieved over 70 dollars worth of them to Lowes.

Guru, i have heeded advice of yours to the utmost but I recieved the book entitled THE COMPLETE MODERN BLACKSMITH and it has a wealth of new info im soaking up like a sponge, however, i regret, the sharpening section instructs the use of oil to "Keep the stones pores open and cutting" now being a person who hates the feel of oil, id much wrather skip this whole process anyway but everything up until this point in the book has been most useful and insightful. would it be worth it to compare results from dry sharpening and oil sharpening in order to finaly lay my mind to rest? or can your experience guide me just as effectively? make no mistake, i completely trust your words, i just dont understand why there are still 2 schools of thought on the matter.

my last request for info concerns the change in strength and structure of steel that can be indicated by the color of oxidization(I mean from heating) Can I safely assume a certain scale of properties from the normal color of steel to say a deep blue?

Thx alot guru, youre probably the best source of direct information on the internet.

ColdForge - Wednesday, 01/03/01 19:23:39 GMT

I am a wordsmith by trade. So, I couldn't resist!

gud'geon n. [ME. gojon, fr. OF. goujon, fr L. gobio. See Goby] 1. A small European fresh-water fish allied to the carps. It is easily caught and often used for food and for bait. The name has also been applied to certain gobies. In America various killifishes are often called gudgeons. 2. Hence: a. a person easily duped or cheated. b. A bait; allurement. c. What may be got without skill or merit.
gud'geon v. t.; -geoned; geon-ing. To deprive fraudulently; to cheat, to dupe

gud'geon n. (OF. goujon, prob. fr, goujon, the fish 1. Mach. A pivot or journal; specif.: a. An iron or steel pivot fixed in the end of a wooden shaft. b. The crosshead pin on which the connecting rod turns. c. One of the small metal wheels, attached to the ends of roller stock on platen presses, causing the rollers to rotate. 2. a. The ring or eye of a hinge, that turns on a hook or pintle. b. Naut. (1) A metal eye or socket attached to the sternpost to receive the rudder pintle. (2) A notch in the carrick bitts to receive a spindle bush. 3. An iron pin to fasten together blocks of stone, etc.

gud’geon pin. Automobiles. A piston pin; - sometimes called also wrist pin.

Spielzeug  <spielzeug at terraworld.net> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 19:48:50 GMT

Guru, when i was younger, about five or so years ago, i used to work with the sheet metal handed down to my father(and consequently to me) by his father, and his....
anyway, it took me about 3 years after my father told me it was stainless steel, that i figured out it was non-ferrous, my bedroom floor is strewn with little heaps and hills of scraps, slivers, cut off corners, strips, and other random pieces of the stuff. I loved blue metal more than gold or silver and I had already spent about a year trying to create an effective dying agent for this tricky metal. so one day i took what i believe was iether old Naval Jelly (real wierd stuff, more of a colloid than a jelly, took a bit of spoon work to get a jiggly little mass of it out) or an acid(i think the brittle plastic bottle i found it in said something like zinc chloride, probably used to clean one of my dads soldering irons) anyway I mixed it with laundry bluing, put a smear on a little region of sheet metal and forgot about it all together. I found it the other day, the one time i didnt look at the result i had substantial success, had i used a brush or the like to apply a coat instead of using a popsickle stick to make an odd smear, it would have been quite satisfactory for me at the time, the finish where it had kind of puddled up was cloudy, I thought nothing of it short of new scrap, but when i tried to remove it with a wire brush(were talking heavy duty, grill cleaning wire)It just kind of slid around on the surface of the mark, I looked at it astoundedly, wet my finger, drug it across the surface and once again was astounded when i found no blue had been removed by the moisture. at this point I put on my "I meant to do this" exterior and gave it a good hard final test with the wire brush, for the life of me this stuff wont come off, dremel tool with a wire brush only left a temporary scuff mark on the little smear, wet scrubbing, wire brush, soap, It has held up to a whole lot.
this may sound hard to believe, but I speak the truth. anyone interested in using it as a finish should first make sure it works on scrap,I dont know that the given recipe is all i had in there( though i guarantee it was nothing like glue or adhesive) The smear im studying is none too pretty, So dont look for gun bluing results from it if you try it.
I'd be glad to hear any thoughts, ideas, or if nothing else doubts.
Thx Gurus
ColdForge - Wednesday, 01/03/01 20:05:59 GMT

Hi Guru

I would like to apply a black oxide finish to the body of my anvil. I think that this could be done, at room temperature, by simply brushing the correct chemical solution onto the steel surface. If this is true, would you know what chemical solution I shouls use?

Best regards
Chuck Holmes  <cholmes at nethere.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 20:11:00 GMT

By the way, im not going to go under ColdForge anymore, ill pop up as AdamSmith(yeah, my name, smith and all)

Just a little "So that you know" Info.
AdamSmith - Wednesday, 01/03/01 20:18:24 GMT

Temper Colors: ColdForge, They only apply to plain carbon or low alloy steels thus not to most modern tool steels. They only indicate surface temperature. The actual temper is only relative to the specific steel. You still need to know the steel and a reference such as MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

Blue on SS. Possible but improbable. There is no way to tell when the chemicals have dried on the surface.

Oil vs Water vs Dry. There are many methods to using stones. I never run my surface grinfer or the shop tool grinder without water and water soluable oil coolant. I run my Ohio sandstone wheel with plain water. Both load up and require dressing but only after much use. I used to use my combination stones and Arkansas stones with oil but have long since converted to using them dry. The slurry created by the oil prevents geting a really crisp edge and causes the stone to wear. The grit slurry is slightly more aggressive in cutting but it has its down side. I do what works best for me.

I have three wet grinding machines. They all come in dry versions. The dry versions overheat the work and the wheels wear. The wet versions also control the grinding dust. I much prefer these machines. But these are high surface speed grinders. They are a completely different device and require a diamond wheel dresser to do the best work. They are not hand sharpening stones.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 20:41:50 GMT

Blueing and Blacking: Chuck, The gun supply folks sell materials for doing this. But you are talking about a LOT of surface area unless its a tiny little anvil. You will also need to start with clean metal. No paint, no rust, no oily hand prints. Also note that most blueing methods do not work on cast iron.

After finishing with an oxide finish you will need to keep the surface oiled to prevent rust.

One of our guys will list the supplier that I can't think of at the moment. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/03/01 20:59:13 GMT

NO DEMO TONIGHT: Sorry Folks, Both Kiwi and I fell down on the job today. . Will definitely have one next week.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 00:55:41 GMT

On Blackening cast iron JAX chemical Supply(718 347 0057) sells selenious acid in quarts and gallons works on all iron as far as I could tell they also sell cold copper plate and some other cool chemicals .Hope this helps
Aaron  <ironbyaaron at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 01:39:59 GMT

Re Side draft hood
I've built one. Decided to get a proper insulated flue pipe instead of the one i found in a dumpster. My local furnace supply co told me I needed a class A. Double wall,stainless. Which they only have in 6 and 8 ". Class B, Aluminum, double wall, Is'nt good enough. Nobody has any 10 inch. The dumpster pipe is looking better all the time. 8 " SS. Will the 8' work? Thanks.
Steve P.  <Steveabc at Daveswprld.net> - Thursday, 01/04/01 05:42:53 GMT

Please advise me to minimise/stop scaling of low carbon steels before forging at high temperature ( around 1170 degrees centre )
Guru Prasad Biswal  <halkpt at dte.vsnl.net.in> - Thursday, 01/04/01 10:41:10 GMT

Please advise me to minimise/stop scaling of low carbon steels before forging at high temperature ( around 1170 degrees centre )
Guru Prasad Biswal  <halkpt at dte.vsnl.net.in> - Thursday, 01/04/01 10:51:00 GMT

Please advise me to minimise/stop scaling of low carbon steels before forging at high temperature ( around 1170 degrees centre )
Guru Prasad Biswal  <halkpt at dte.vsnl.net.in> - Thursday, 01/04/01 10:58:45 GMT

Sorry Guru, I just checked out the Machinery's Handbook, or so i thought, My dad brought me a huge book on metalurgy(for industrial references) a few days ago, but SCHOOL TAKES UP SO MUCH OF MY DARN TIME, that im afraid i get little chance to read it. I would bring it to school to read in study hall, but this thing is huge, and kinda old(I wouldnt want to damage it) but i will read, and learn, and conquer, all in time. but im sorry if i keep asking you the same questions, I bet u get sick of that.

Guru, in my other new book i have at school THE COMPLETE MODERN BLACKSMITH, It refers to a rubber abrasive wheel, it mentions that they are hard master(but I get that message alot) and expensive, but the concept i have from the description is that of a marvelously effective shaping tool, as well as a disaster waiting to happen to those who dont respect it. the thing is I dont have one(i dont mean to whine, im just a little surprised, i have just about every tool in the book short of tongs) and until now ive never heard of one, and last night at lowe's hardware, they had'nt either! Perhaps you have some advice on the subject.

What in your opinion is the best type of sandpaper for carbon steel? my 2 sanding stations perform greatly, but as i have stated, i like hand shaping things, it makes me feel good. I have been looking for a silicon carbide "scythe" stone, i think that would be really useful.

Ill get back with a few more questions later if u dont mind, but until then, thankyou and pleasant day.
Adam Smith - Thursday, 01/04/01 13:50:43 GMT

I am doing a report for school. My report is on the history of metalworking. When it started,who started it and where. Unfortunately I'm having a lot of trouble trying to find resources. Could you please help.
Chris  <onexsquid at aol.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 14:23:43 GMT

Flue Pipe: Steve, 8" is VERY marginal. 10" has almost 30% more area and is what is recomended for side draft hoods. I know they make the larger double was stuff because it is used in metal fireplace installations. Try a regular builder supply.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 15:19:27 GMT

History of Metalworking: Chris, Look up "Bronze Age".
The Time-Life series "The Emergence of Man" has a volume titled The Metalsmiths which is very good and may be all you need.

If you need an early literary reference see the Homer's Illiad, the making of Achillies' armour.

For metalworking in the middle ages see Agricola's DeRe Metalica and for the industrial revolution see Diderot's Encyclopedia of Trades and Industries. For the age of invention (early 1800's) see the Autobiography of James Nasmyth.

Good Luck!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 15:43:16 GMT

Scaling: Prasad, Scaling is unavoidable unless you use an inert gas in an induction furnace. Then scaling will start as soon as the metal is removed from the furnace.

Gas furnaces scale more than others. Proper burner adjustment can help but at loss of fuel efficiency. Keep soak times as short as possible in gas furnaces.

Coal forges properly used produce the least scale by providing a protective atmosphere if the fire bed is deep enough and the metal is buried in the coals. Good smithing coal is required as other grades require excessive air increasing scaling problems.

For some critical work the metal can be coated with borax flux. However this causes other problems. The flux eats refractory furnace linings and splatters while forging. It is also hard to remove from dies.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 15:58:24 GMT

Rubber Abrasive Wheels: Adam, These are sold mostly for use by jewlers but other craftmen use them. Most hardware stores don't carry the really good industrial abrasives and wheels. For these you need an industrial hardware supplier or machine shop supply. Rubber wheels are filled with everything from fine polishing abrasive like Rouge to coarse carburundom and even diamond powder.

Sandpaper and abrasive cloth is the same. The stuff carried by most hardware stores isn't worth looking at. However, all sanding belts are made of come of the best abrasives and are very durrable. I routinely purchase them and tear them up for the abrasive cloth. Grades sold for wood work as well on metal. Industrial suppliers sell belt material by the roll for machinists hand polishing on lathes and such. Otherwise 3M Wet-or-Dry is the best paper type for all types of work. For metal work you generally want the coarser grits. All abrasive cloths and papers hold up better used wet.

Be careful when sanding/polishing brass, bronze and copper. Copper and many of the metals used to make its alloys are poisonous. The dust is easily inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. Wear a dust filter or respirator, wash before eating, launder you cloths seperate from infants.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 16:29:11 GMT

Over the holidays I was watching that classic 1950's western movie, Shane. I was intrigued to discover that it had an anvil-shooting scene as part of a 4th of July celebration. It was very short, not much more than a couple of seconds, but it looked like two men using a long steel rod with a red-hot end to light the powder. They obviously weren't using much powder, because the top anvil just hopped up a few inches and started to topple to one side, then the scene ended. Interesting
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 18:00:28 GMT

ODD BAR STOCK: We have had several requests for sources for small flat stock. I just noticed that Centaur Forge carries several sizes that were asked about. Check out their on-line catalog.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 18:08:47 GMT

Ah Guru; Agricola's "De Re Metallica" is *renaissance* not medieval---its in the 1500's. "Divers Arts" by Theophilus is a circa 1120 A.D. book that has a lot of info on metalworking and is *medieval*.

Other sources would be: Joseph Moxon's "Mechanicks Exercises" publised in 1703, "Pirotechnica" (renaissance), "The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini" renaissance, The Bible (Tubal Cain first listed worker of metals). Shire ablems has a book on Egyptian metalworking, "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner has good info on early ferrous swordmaking but is very technical. "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England" H.R.Ellis Davidson has a section on forging swords and is very readable. Do a search on the copper age too.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 18:09:20 GMT

Neal: Cool! Seems I've seen a hot-iron bar used to light a powder "fuse" somewhere before (probably the same movie director or special effects guy). Beats the heck out of a wind blown match or lighter.

Anvil Firing I've been to a number. Most have gone only a few feet to about 20' in the air and I never felt there was much danger. However, I've seen photos of anvils traveling 80 to 100+ feet in the air. Great excitement but I think its a little much and I would REALLY worry about the anvil not launching perfectly vertical. Even NASA launches a few rockets horizontal now and then. . . I kind of like BOOM, hop. . . You get on heck of a boom from enough powder to only launch the anvil a few feet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 18:18:16 GMT

The girl i have hired to piece together a pounding block for my cousin is alot better than i ever expected. i was waiting for her to ask what temper and quench meant, but she just looked at me and said she would have it for me next week!............kinda feel inferior.

but she bore me bad news when I mentioned that I always wanted to be in the welding class. aparently theyre not giving up any students and not taking any new ones. whether this aplies to next year or not, im not certain, but its a bummer. Ill at least ask the teacher himself if I could take it next year. Suggestions or thoughts?

Ah, last night i bought a nice drill and a few attachments, including a conditioning pad. I am quite surprised at the effectiveness of the conditioning pad, it removes rust better than wire brushing or sandpaper(that which I have tried) if you've not tried one or something of the like i do reccomend it.

By the way guru, Have you ever joined forces with a fellow blacksmith to create something magnificent?(or just something)

AdamSmith - Thursday, 01/04/01 19:14:37 GMT

I would like to Know how to make square nails with a forge. I am new to blacksmithing so i am still green. But if you could tell me that and recomend some small projects i would appreciate it THANKS
Michael Fulgham  <butlercountry at aol.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 19:39:51 GMT

Nails: Michael, See our iForge page for more small projects than you'll find anywhere either in print OR on-line.

METHOD #1: Normaly you start with a small square bar (1/4" or 3/16" - 6 mm or 5mm). Forge a taper the length of the nail, cut nearly in two just beyond the taper, on the hardy (gently) and then twist off in your nail header and make the head.

To make the head support the header over the pritchell hole, give the nail one hard centered blow then four angular blows to form a truncated pyramid. Flip over the header and give it a tap on the anvil over the hardy hole, the nail should fall out. If it doesn't then quench it and give it a gentle tap. The header should have a tapered hole that is larger on the bottom. The top opening needs to be a little smaller than the nail bar and the taper on the bar forged to fit. Without the taper on the bar the nail will fall through.

METHOD #2: Forge your tapered point. Most nails have a "chisle" point that is flat in one direction. Cut the nail from the bar with hardy, shear or saw. Heat the head end, clamp in the vise with about 1-1/2 times the width extending above the jaws and head as above (without header). This method allows for a straight shank. The shoulder under the head can be dressed in a header after forming the head in the vise.

Your first project will be making the header. Before making IT you will need to make a set of plain and tapered square punches. The plain punch will need to be about 3/4 of the size of the nail rod. Use it to punch a hole through a piece of medium carbon OR tool steel. Then use the taper punch to open the hole to about 90% of the nail rod size (at the small end). Clean and dress the headed with a file then harden.

See our Nail Header iForge demo for a removable insert header and the hole punching demo.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 21:00:16 GMT

I teach welding at a local community college. I am in the process of setting up a basic blacksmithing course. As I prepare this course I began to wonder if any other community or technical college offers a blacksmithing class.
This does NOT include such wonderful schools like JC Campbell or Penlan or any other craft type school.
If you or anyone were setting up a program what would you like to see offered? I've got ideas, but am interested in other suggestions. I'm interested in getting in touch with someone from an existing school. Any input on this idea may be helpful.
Steve at Hammerdown Forge
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Thursday, 01/04/01 21:05:41 GMT

Steve, i would be honored to take the course.(but im a junior in highschool, so ive only been taking classes from local art museums and tech schools)
AdamSmith - Thursday, 01/04/01 21:07:46 GMT

The heated iron rod was the typical method of firing early gonnes. You can find illuminations in medieval manuscripts
(late medieval) of both cannon and handgonnes fired this way.

I've fired my falconette this way myself.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 21:13:23 GMT

Heated Iron: Thomas, Thank you for the information!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 22:20:59 GMT

Thomas, was it a hot metal rod or a linstock?
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 01/04/01 22:44:56 GMT

Course: Steve, Our local community college in Lynchburg, VA (Central Virginia Community College) has a machine shop course that starts with a basic metal working course using the text book Metalworking, Technology and Practice. In this course the students do one piece of forge work (a cold chisle) which they harden and temper. Heating is done with a torch and the work held with badly fitting tongs.

Metalworking, Technology and Practice includes a variety of projects including both hand and machine work. It would be a great course if the entire book were taught (including ALL the projects).

The problem with blacksmithing courses is having sufficient work stations with forge, anvil, vise and minimal tools. Insurance, building codes and a variety of other problems make it mandatory to use commercial forges with added safety devices in most situations. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/04/01 22:54:20 GMT

I would be interested in a manual that had the basic dimensions and parts used (as well as what they could come off of)2 build an air hammer like Andrew "Kiwi" Hooper built and I saw a photo of on the J. Y. hammer page. Descriptions of other hammers would be a nice inclusion as well yet the main design I liked was Kiwi's and the KA 55 & 75 air hammers 2. None of those seemed 2 use up 2 much shop space. E-mail me if you decide 2 come out with the manual and it contains the above info.
DeUno  <mafe at apex.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 02:12:26 GMT

Bluing Stainless Steel:

Somehow my wife does it by merely letting the flatware sit in the sink several days between washing sessions. I suspect that it's the acid from the food, but it could be the chemicals in the soap. Takes about a year, and it's not a deep blue. "Stainless" is a relative term. You should see what salt water and tropical temperatures and humidity do to the stuff down in the Islands. And electrolysis!
'E Gads! Stainless rigging on some of the sailboats starts to brown out and falls apart.

Anyway… All true bluing, whether from heat or chemicals, is VERY thin and needs constant maintenance. It's pretty to look at, but like most beauty in this transitory world, "it don't last."

Waxing philosophic on the icy banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us (No stainless rigging on this vessel!): www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 04:43:13 GMT

i have been machining, welding and fabricating for about
16 yrs. i am looking for info on building a suit of
armour. some kind of drawings for patterns on the
different pieces. can you help. thanks for your time.
johnny mcgaugh  <mcgaugh1 at go.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 09:44:07 GMT

Boy, The pub was really alive last night, its nice to talk with the like minded.

anyway, ive not slept a wink in the last 3 days(really, this is a problem I have) I cant stay in school, after this period I go home.

Just a quick question guru, When rasping metal what do you use as a rasp? I have a wood rasp, but, i look at the piece and then i look at the tool, and it just doesnt seem to jive.

By the way, Bruce, have you ever compared the wings of a live dragon fly to those of a dead one? If only such beauty was eternal.

More to ask, but from my own home.

AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 14:12:31 GMT


Take a look at some of the articles on the 21st Century Blacksmith's Page's "Armory" section. The articles there cover both highly sophisticated and relatively simple techniques for making medieval helms.

There are also several good links to Arador and the Armor Archive in the links section. Patterns, techniques, and lots of free advice (and worth every penny of it, too) are available at those sites.


Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 14:12:34 GMT

Need help. I puchased an anvil at a farm auction for a very good price. One problem, the face is a little rusted and pitted. What is the best way to resurface an anvil? Will the face have to be re-tempered? Any help would be most appreciated.
chris bernard  <cbernard53 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 15:09:59 GMT

Home at last, thought i was going to keel over in english class. But i made it, too weak to forge, but too interested to sleep, its quite harsh.

Guru, and others, When you started blacksmithing were you constantly misunderstood, or did your peers and common company take interest?

whenever i mentions it to my friends, they all look at me, not a look of rejection, but more of a "He's Destroying Himself" look. Theyre good guys though. perhaps someday they will understand and accept my passion, until then i must Keep my eye on the prize.

oh, guru, ive been meaning to ask you if you have any musical preferences that you like to use whilst smithing?
I have a few favorites, but There are also some for special occasions and products.
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 16:02:17 GMT

Guru, would you have any tips for removing the black oxidization from carbon steel? my new little belt\disk sander takes forever for the belt to bite into it(the oxide that is).
Thx guru, happy friday!
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 16:37:06 GMT

I would suggest very strongly that at most you dress up the face with an angle grinder, being carefull to not remove much of the surface. or even just sand the top clean of rust and work around the pits.....
Welding on an anvil while it can be done, is not always the best thing to do.
The hardening and tempering of an anvil is a rather tricky operation..... the basic concept is easy, but moving a 100+lb chunk of HOT metal around is hard. not to speak of getting a fire big enough to heat an anvil.... then the quenching requires a lot of forthought and planning and timing to get it from the fire to the water... BTW lots and lots of water...... like a fast moving river or water fall.....

So just clean the rust off and use it.... if you can not get used to working arount teh pits.... then carefully grind them in.... feather the edges so that the pit is not aggressive and try that......
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 16:53:48 GMT

More on Anvil repair: Besides Ralphs comments I also never recommend repair unless the anvil is usless. On the subject of hardening and tempering anvils, forget it! There are a half dozen different types of anvil and each requires a different treatment. Besides which the factories had trouble doing it and continue to have problems.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 17:02:52 GMT

Removing Scale: More horsepower, Coarser Grit (less than 100)
Music: I like a quite shop. I listen to the sounds of the machinery, of the fire, the file cutting. . . I don't understand people that can work without listening to their tools. I also listen to the wind, water and the rest of the world outside my door. Occasonaly when I'm reading I'll put on some music. The Chieftans, Ancient Greek Music. . I have odd musical tastes. .
Crazyness: If you are avoiding your general education (school) for your smithing then you are wasting your life. The majority of Blacksmiths, Artisans and Craftspeople are self employed. The self employed to be sucessful need to be able to do many things well. Often this requires employment in other jobs in order to finance their business. It also means knowing how to handle everything from contracts and taxes to understanding EPA regulatons and marketing. There is nothing wrong with playing with metal at your age but you need to keep your sights on your goal. That should include a college education in something that supports what you want to do AND gives you employable skills.
Rasps: In metal work it is a large coarse file.
Pub: Try listening. Most of the folks there know at least as much about smithing as I do (but won't admit it) and all have their own point of view.
Name Games: Every post from Coldforge, HotForge, Adam Smith, frostymugs at takashi.zzn.com and , zoo at robnet.com all come from the same three DNS addresses (Internet numerical ID). I don't like Internet name games. Use a real or consistant name handle and email or don't post here. I have patience with many things but not this.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 18:39:45 GMT

Since i was a small kid I wanted to learn to be a blacksmith.I want to now hoe old are you need to be to start learning & practicing?
Omri Arbiv  <eliarbiv at inter.net.il> - Friday, 01/05/01 18:44:12 GMT

Omri, i started when i was 8 or 9.
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 18:59:51 GMT

Armor Patterns: Johnny, This is a difficult area. Every suit of armor is completely custom fitted requiring hand made patterns. The starting metal is often far different than the finished piece.

For non-stretched or raised metal start with a photograph of the style armor you want to make. Hold paper against the model and trace the general shape. Transfer that to poster board and cut leaving the equivalent of a "seam allowance". Then fit that to your model and mark again. . .

Complex hammered and raised armor starts with rough measurments and must be fitted in progress. The model should wear any padding or liner that will be worn with the armor.

Scale armor is attached to the leather or canvas pieces that support it. Here the bent poster board will work really well.

Now just think. Ancient armourers didn't have paper or cardboard to test fit pieces. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 19:08:40 GMT

Posted a ? last night Oh Guru:
What is the chance of a manual that would have a parts listing on the "Kiwi" Air Hammer as well as gen. dim.specs as I would be willing to pay $10 bucks for it, maybe even possible donor equipment that would have the air cyl. nec. 4 it? Andrew's hammer looks just like what I would like 2 build, or one like the KA-55 or 75 self-contained air hammers.
TIA 4 your time and suggestions and advice,
DeUno  <mafe at apex.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 19:25:47 GMT

Oh Guru:
I meant the AH-1 55 or AH-1 65

DeUno  <mafe at apex.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 19:36:20 GMT

Starting Age: Omri, I've taught 10 year olds. Old style apprenticeships started at age 11 but under those circumstances the apprentice probably didn't use a hammer until age 13 or so. Being old enough to have your parents permission is probably the most important.

Where you are working is important. Using an anvil at the improper height can result in back, elbow, shoulder or wrist injury. If you don't have the option to work at an anvil that is set at YOUR working height you shouldn't be forging.

Learning blacksmithing also shouldn't interfer with your regular schooling.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 19:43:55 GMT

Guru, make no mistake, i value my education most highly, I have always had quite an interest in the alternative sciences and in philosophy. the reason i came home was that i have a cold(I fear it is a sinus infection), and i have not slept in three days, yet my parents wont let me sleep now because they dont want me up all night again.

Guru, you will have to forgive me for not telling you this in the first place, but half the time i post, im in the writing center at school, the whole place is networked(which should explain the identical adresses) , I can account for AdamSmith,zoo at Robnet.com and ColdForge(which i quit using because it seemed foolish) HotForge was the handle my cousin went under on wednesday, and that is his real E-mail adress, and zoo at Robnet.com is my mothers old Email account, she permitted me to use it in order to enter the pub. I no longer use ColdForge because it feels childish.

I sincerely appologise for any confusion or Problems I have caused. My name and handle Is Adam Smith, I have no personal E-mail yet, My cousin's name and handle shall be John Smith His personal E-mail is frostymugs at takashi.zzn.com
since these would both be read from the same address perhaps you would prefer one handle and E-mail for both of us. you may decide, you and this site are the greatest source of direct information(And Im reading that machinery book you suggested) my cousin or I have.

and once again I am sorry for any problems this has caused.
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 19:47:26 GMT

Need Help I have a E D Bliss Co. #18 shear from Brooklin NY. I would like to convert this over, so I can punch candle plates 2",3" and 6". I"ve been unable to find punch and die plates for this task! could you tell me how to find where to get them or have them made? thanks Tom
Tom  <ttinker at ptd.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 20:02:58 GMT

Hammer Plans: Uno, I am still working on our JYH handbook. . Kiwi's hammer is still in the prototype stage but he promises plans when its debugged. The Ron Kinyon plans sold by ABANA can be adapted to a variety of styles of air hammer. The AFC (Alabama Forge Council) has a modified valving plan a lot of folks like. Its on-line and free.

Mark Krause has a manual explaining the workings of a Nazel type air hammer and he has built his own. However unless you have considerable machine shop access most self contained hammer designs are beyond the capability of most. So far they all require custom cylinders of one sort or the other.

Sorry we are no more helpful at this time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 20:07:13 GMT

As for the music guru,perhaps i can help you understand, of course Im a teen so i listen to some of that senseless screaming and roaring, however, as im sure you have noticed(its probably a weakness of mine) Im really into the sentiment and feeling of the craft, when i etch a letter to my girlfriend (She lives 5 states away)into a piece of smoothed silver I have this one song i always listen to, i heard it the first time i talked to her, it's a melodic, mournfull, yet honestly poignent song. I cant start the etch until the first chorus and then i know just what to do, how to make each letter, and what to say.

If I have had a bad day at school(and it happens) I put on a song called "malnutrition" about watching greed destroy someone (screaming and roaring) put my ear plugs in, then put my head phones over my ears, and i can shape a piece of metal into something i see as beautiful, and it never fails to heal my wounds.

To this day i still see myself out in the middle of a prisine forest of ancient huge trees, with a shop totaly void of electricity, pedal driven grinding stone, old mideval bellows pumping into a pit forge, and hearing what youre talking about, the whirr of the stone, the rythmatic breathing of the fire, the stream running just feet away, and all of nature(sorry if i got carried away here). I think I use music to focus my emotions, perhaps you use the music of your shop itsself.

But i could never use my power tools and such machines as my BIG sanding station and the bench grinder unless i could hear them just fine.
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 21:08:33 GMT

Oh Guru:
Many Thanks 4 the answer. Please post when you have the manual finished and available. I am an experienced Welder/Fabricator and worked as one back in the '80s in Spring, TX. Was in a scooter wreck about 11 yrs ago in Memphis, TN (Not my fault) which left me with a paralyzed r. arm. Am putting the makings of a shop 2gether. Have a drill press, Hobart 135 Mig, set of torches (tho gas welding is now a thing of the past without an assistant to dip the rod), 4.5 and 7" angle grinders, bench grinder, DeWalt reciprocating saw, 10, 25, & 55 lb anvils, 5 hp DeVilbiss air compressor, and various air tools. With power toolsam able 2 accomplish most things I used 2 take 4 granted. An air hammer will just about round out the tools 4 my shop (Building that is last on the list)so I'll be able to fabricate without an assistant being a necessary requirement As much as I enjoy the company of other I don't enjoy it as a requirement. The truck will be paid off in April and then I'll go in debt on the shop. Thax again for the reply.
DeUno  <mafe at apex.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 21:22:00 GMT

Punches: Tom, Before putting those size dies in your press have you done the tonnage calculations? 6" takes a lot of tonnage. 35 tons for 16ga not including stripper springs (if using a die set).

Most shear/punch combination machines are limited by the shank size/style of the punch. They also tend to be too loose for blanking sheet metal. Blanking dies have closer clearances than many of the old combination machines.

www.roperwhitney.com/ lists stock punches up to 4-3/4 dia. Even though they are "stock" punches they will ask all kinds of goofy questions. . The only problem I've had with these is that "stock" is for punching holes, not blanking. These have "shear" built in to them like electricians knock out punches. I grind it off the punch (carefully) with an angle grinder. After that you can dress them on a surface grinder or on the lathe with a tool post grinder.

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. www.clevesteeltool.com 216-681-7400, Is a old standard in the industry. I suspect they will sell you custom tooling.

IF you have room in your press you would be best off to build die sets. These hold your punch and die in precise alignment and do not rely on the shank size or machine specifics. They can also be moved to other machines working on everything from a manual hydraulic press to a high speed punch press.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 21:37:42 GMT

Ralph. It is a heated piece of metal with 1 90deg bend in it. It is *not* a linstock. They didn't come into use until slowmatch was used. I believe that the illumination is in "Medieval Warfare" and Maybe in "Arms & Armour of the Medieval Knight" or "Warfare through the Ages". (Might be in the tech histories as well "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" come to mind.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 22:05:31 GMT

Suggestions/directions on reforging only the ball end of 20-24 oz. ball pien hammers? Would like to start making useable tools out of unuseable.After years of "wrought iron" I'm starting to do forged iron and I need to make my own tools.
Thanks for any help.
Steve at Hammerdown Forge
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Friday, 01/05/01 22:11:47 GMT

Reworking Hammers: Steve, On this size of tool you need to heat the whole tool. If you try to heat just a portion you will end up with a hard or heat stess zone that is very likely to break in use.

Hammers are generaly high carbon steel like 1085 or 1095. They need to be treated like TOOL STEEL. Heat slowly, don't soak, work at an orange (not yellow) heat. Work quickly (have a plan). Cool slowly after forging. Be sure to heat evenly when hardening. I have best luck oil quenching tool steels but if they are properly heated and not overheated plain carbon steels can be brine quenched. The problem IS you don't know what kind of steel you are dealing with so oil quench i a safe quess. Temper to about 450°F. Then if you want temper is again (double temppering) and temper the eye with a torch to about 600°F.

When reworking custom hammers for your self look at you worn hammers. If one edge is flattened or worn then dress your custom hammers that way. We all tend to twist or tip the hammer one way or another. Rework your new hammer to that plane. It will feel better and wear less.

Factory hammers are dressed as little as possible. Typical new ball piens are a terrible shape. Years ago they were hemispherical and that is the right shape. Those funky things with a point are just plain badly dressed and are WRONG. Standard forging hammers need the edges of the pien radiused as well as the corners of the face.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 22:44:07 GMT

Yes, guru i noticed that many ball piens do have more of a rounded point than a ball, and some of them arent even straight! is this because theyve tried to redesign it or they just dont know how it should be done?
AdamSmith - Friday, 01/05/01 22:49:38 GMT

I make some indoor pieces with a brushed metal finishs I was wondering what the best clear finish mixture I can use on them without it turning yellow
hack  <steelcountrycrft at aol.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 23:34:18 GMT

Ball Pien: Redesign? Nope, just bad workmanship.

Non-Yellowing FinishHack, the only "water clear" finishes are the clear acrylic lacquers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/05/01 23:59:34 GMT

On Apprenticeships:

In my limited research at Plimoth Plantation, I discovered that in London, a law was passed in the 1500's that disallowed anyone under the age of 17 to begin as an apprentice. Now, of course, this would have been moderately different in the country (14 or so as I recall), and perhaps 'ere in th' colonies such was tossed out the window...but 11 seems a bit early for apprenticing...

But you are never too young to learn!

Anyway, the Medieval age of majority a score and a year (21) is still used, and after a 7 year average apprenticeship, 14 would make sense!

As for RR spikes, I'd love an easy way to tell if they'll harden. But you can always order them for a couple dollars each...but I forget where...
Greg  <josephpugsley at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 01/06/01 00:03:54 GMT


Suggestion. Make a "bite gripper" that you can hold in your teeth to control the rod with. Do NOT hold the rod directely, make a tool to hold it with.
You'll need to work with pretty long rod so you don't get too close to the heat, but might work.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 01/06/01 00:19:16 GMT

Spikes: McMaster-Carr sells 'em. No specs.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/06/01 02:36:44 GMT

Adam Smith-- could be, perhaps, something else sometimes besides poor workmanship, too: try to get in there where the curve hits the flat and mush the little edges out all nice and symmetrically tapered on a teency rivet and you'll soon enough see howcum some of the old smiths pointed their ball peins a bit off the hemispherical. And, since you are a scholar, which is it: peen, pein, pene or pane? Let's all have a big hooraw on that for a few days!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/06/01 04:03:03 GMT

Thanks... I was not trying to say you were wrong... Just was curious...
Now a new question for you.... when was punk used? at least I think that is what it was called. I think it was be fore slowmatch.... it was problematic hence theneed for slow match... But then again since this is an old and dusy memory of something I think I read.... (grin)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Saturday, 01/06/01 15:52:12 GMT

It´s called "tinder", IF we are talking about the sliced insides of certain tree-fungi commonly used together with flint and steel to start fires. Some early match-locks where designed to use tinder instead of slowmatch, but the tinder was ignited from a slowmatch. I never understood WHY they did it that roundabout way, but the gun-locks exist so I suppose they had some reason.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 01/06/01 20:13:08 GMT

Could you explain grade 8 bolts, grade 5, etc.?
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Saturday, 01/06/01 23:34:39 GMT

Bolt Grades: Steve, Bolt grades were originaly specified by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and later by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). SAE specs tend to be materials and performance based and ASTM more performance based. This makes ASTM specs a pain to interpret. In many cases the two standards coincide in others they do not.

In general bolt grades run from 1 to 9 with 1 being the weekest or lowest grade and 9 being the highest strength. In between there are a few special grades like A-325 Type 3, Weathering steel (CoreTen) grade. And then there are specs for stainless, brass and aluminium. . .

In the past bolts were marked with raised bars on the head aligning with the hex. Grades 1-2 had no mark (low or medium carbon steel). After the big counterfiet bolt scandle a few years ago all graded bolts must have both the grade markings and a manufacturer's mark so they can be traced. At one point they wanted every box to have traceble serial numbers. . . I think this failed.
  • Grades 1 - 2, Low carbon steel
  • Grade 5, (3 bars) Medium carbon steel, Quenched and Tempered
  • Grade 7, Medium carbon steel, Quenched and Tempered, Roll Threaded after heat treatment
  • Grade 8, Medium carbon ALLOY steel, Quenched and Tempered
  • Grade 9, Special Manufacturers grade Medium carbon alloy steel, Quenched and Tempered, special plating

The standards include everything from dimensional tolerances and shape details like fillets and thread form as well method of manufacture and materials specs. To fully understand this specialized field requires stacks of documents and standards. ASTM sells theirs and one will refer to another and another as well as the general definitions book and sometimes other organization's standards. When you have it all you need a fair engineering background to understand any of it. . . :(

GOOD University libraries where they have engineering curicula will generaly have a complete set of the ASTM standards. I use the UVA library when I need them. Somethimes you need the full set to figure out which ones you need. . .

Now, want to get REAL depressed over this quagmire? Standards like the BOCA building code and NEMA electrical code refer to these same ASTM standards (over and over).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 01:06:19 GMT

I need to find out how to make a rolled wire edge, such as on a metal pail. I have a beading/crimping/rotary tool which is supposed to do the trick but as yet haven't figured out how to achieve the correct results. I get the metal edge to curve up but not ROLL around the wire. Any ideas? Thanks
Lisa  <ltrejo at art4wind.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 02:59:55 GMT

Wire Edge: Lisa, You are not goint to like this. . .

I have three sheet metal references and all three call for TWO different machines (all date from the 1940's and two show pexto machines). The turning machine makes a "U" bend to fit the wire plus the extra to turn over the wire. This machine has mating dies with the half round shape necessary. The second machine is called a "wiring machine". It has an upper wheel with a radius to clear the work, an offset to go over the wire edge and a lower wheel with a simple chamfer, also to clear the work.

The "U" bend is made using about 2-1/2 wire diameters and is rolled until there is sufficient material to crimp over the wire. Then the wire is installed and the wire machine used to close the loop. If you don't have enough material to start its pointless to try to close the loop around the wire.

Straight wire edges can be closed with a hammer (that slender tapered pien on the tinsmith's hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 04:42:22 GMT

Steve: beyond the hammer and anvil technique-- see the British COSIRA smithing textbook for full details-- a basic one-semester smithing course ought to cover safety first of all, including using oxy-acetylene and propane equipment safely, respiratory protection against fumes and particles, what to do about burns. Your students should leave knowing how to do precision bending, soft and hard soldering and brazing, basic patination: simple oil and rust finishes. Basic design techniques: how to make a shop drawing for a spiral rail, for example. Basic code requirements for railings and guardrails. Customer relations, if this is a real-life course aiming at making stuff that sells, and getting paid for what gets made: how to make a sketch that sells a design, estimating, pricing, simple contract agreements, liability and insurance requirements.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 05:18:27 GMT

Contact Stan Ducker (stand at brcc.cc.nc.us) at Blue Ridge Community College.
Stan is in charge of the Auto Restoration program.
I've watched Stan make the rolled wire edge using a metal break and a hammer. He does this because he does NOT have the machinary that would make it sooo much easier. Hopefully, Stan can walk you through his process.
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth> - Sunday, 01/07/01 05:21:27 GMT

Gday Im a boilermaker welder from down under. Ive been living in Norway and studying old style smithing techneques for fabricating and knife making .Ive come accros a fantastick technique called damuskus and have had hours of fun putting together all types of different steels and making some nice paterned stuff ,BUT Ive had heaps of trouble with the eching process .Im having allot of difficulty really bringing out the paterns .Ive been useing a stuff called pickeling paste used for cleening stainless steel and Ive also tried sulfuric acid ,but Ive still not gotten the good results that I would like .Does some acids react differently to various types of steels? Are there types of forgable steels that are less corrosive resistant that are good for this type of work? Are there better types of acids for this work and should I be useing the acid mixed or unmixed with water ? I hope that Im not asking too much and I hope that you have some good info that can shed some light upon my little delemer ,And I hope that you have had a good week!!
Guy   <tazmaniak_int at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 11:06:48 GMT

I have access to largeworn out hyd punches , after annealing are they useful fo anvil tools or cutting edge tools ( don't hardening process ; air hardening;oil hardening; ......I assume air hardening...THANKS for the bees wax info
DICK  <dickmoeller at bright.net> - Sunday, 01/07/01 12:33:09 GMT

Guy: The best acid to use for etching damascus will depend on the chemistry of the steels used in the damascus material. Many of the makers here in the U,S, are using dilute ferric chloride. I use 5% ferric chloride + 95% distilled water. I also had good luck with 5% sulfuric acid + 95% distilled water at 180f.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 14:10:41 GMT

Laminated Steels - Damascus: Guy, Different alloy combinations do create different amounts of visible pattern. Nickel alloy steels tend to resist the etch more than others and pure nickle the most of any Damascus laminant. Chrome/nickel alloys tend to be difficult to weld so they are avoided although some smiths specialize in stainless steel laminants. For the most extreme contrast wrought iron and pure nickel (nickle 400) is used for decorative steels. In either case the flux needs to be more aggressive than normal. A small amount of Flourite (Flourspar in Europe) powder (about 5%) is added to your borax flux. The flourine in the mineral is very aggressive and will disolve oxides that borax alone will not. Use only with good ventilation.

A commonly recomended nickel alloy steel, though hard to obtain, is ASTM A 203 E. This is a boiler plate material. It is low carbon with nickel. Some knife suppliers now sell this steel since it was hard to obtain in small quantities.

Always add acid to water when diluteing (not water to acid). Use a neutralizing bath of sodium bicarbonate after etching steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 15:05:17 GMT

Punch Steel: Dick, As always with steels of unknown composition YOU become the metalurgist. You know they are a good grade of tool steel. A little trial and error is necesary to determine the the proper heat treatment. IF they are an air hardening steel you will find them almost impossible to anneal without a temperature control furnace.

As tool steels YES they are definitely good for anvil tools or most any other type of tool you want to make. Be sure to treat them like the picky materials they are. Do not heat too fast or expose to thermal shock.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 15:12:21 GMT

Wire edge: This was done long before rolling machines were invented. The most important thing is what size wire are you using. This determines the swage you use. You could make your own real easy but Pexto makes a beading stake with about 10 different sizes. I think Centaur Forge has pics in the catalog. Another thing is which way are you going to roll the edge, in or out? I had to make another tool, 1/2x1/2x4" mild steel with an inside radius to help tuck the edge in tight. Its a fun process to know. You'll wish for a third hand real quick.
Pete  <ravnstudio at aol.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 15:38:29 GMT

I am looking for a good up to date reference book on welding! One that lists general settings/ charts and simple reference directions for stick (different electrodes-their uses, settings, positions), MIG, TIG, and oxy-acy welding on various materials, steel, bronze, aluminum, stainless, cast iron, etc. I need a good all around reference book for use in the shop, one that you can quickly flip to the material, thickness, and it gives you optimum preparation details, and general machine settings. Any suggestions? Thanks!!
Erika Strecker  <estrecker at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 15:52:31 GMT

Hi Gurus, I'm a bit of a newbie, 3 years out of Hereford. I want to make my own power hammer. I now live in southwest Ireland on a farm where we generate our own electrickery by hydro and solar. Running angle grinder or the arc welder requires the backup generator. So I'd like to build one power by a water wheel. Also I don't understand how the treadle controls the drop of the eccentric, if you get my drift. Any help greatly appreciated Tom
Thomas A  <theblacksmith at freeuk.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 17:02:23 GMT

I need to make a couple of thousand snub end scrolls and want to know if there is a die design that would speed up the process and give a uniform snub end. 5/8" sq stock, 1" snub, 4" taper. Even if you need two hammers at a time, would it be possible? The problem with hand forging is that a crack usually develops between the snub and the taper and the snubs are different sizes. I know-practicepracticepractice, but I need a way to get my guys up to speed quickly turning out a uniform piece. I suspect it will be a die on one hammer forming the taper and snub and another hammer with a 5/8" kiss block to keep the dimension. Now I just need to move my 200lb Bradley closer to my 300lb Beaudry! Any suggestions or confirmations would be greatly appreciated.
jefferson mack  <mackmtl at aol.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 17:17:52 GMT

Welding Book: Erika, Modern Welding by Althouse, Turnquist and Bowditch is a welding text book and reference that is pretty good. I think Centaur Forge carries it. You may also find it at a local college or trade school bookstore. If you take a welding course almost anywhere in the US (and you should) this will probably be the textbook they use.

I recommend EVERYONE take a welding course in an accreditied school because many other places people learn welding (such as on the job) often give the safety rules short shift. I've known many people that learned on their own or on the job that didn't have a clue why you don't use acetylene cylinders on their side or should keep oxygen equipment oil free (among the dozens of other critical rules). The range of things you asked about is a typical 3 quarter/semester set of classes. All of it is covered in Modern Welding

Modern Welding is one of the most complete reference and has many specifics. However, no book will cover all the details. Welding Data Book is a trade publication by Welding Design & Fabrication Magazine that is full of ads as well as specific data on new types of rods, machines and processes. However, it is not a text or how-to book. Rarely is there ONE complete reference that covers any subject from data to how-to. Books that cover both are usualy quickly outdated due to changes in industry. Manufacturers come and go, technology changes.

You also need the literature that came with your welding equipment for some details as well as manufacturers recomendations for rods and consumable. For this and many other reasons a good relationship with your welding supplier is important.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 17:43:57 GMT

as amatter of fact I do have asmall furnace to anneal with...thanks so much for the info ,,,it is very hard to get certain types of info ,,,your expertise is greatly appreciated
Dick  <dickmoeller at bright.net> - Sunday, 01/07/01 18:27:28 GMT

Hammer Dies: Jefferson, This is a classic multi-stage forging. The entire job should fit in the die of either the 200# or 300# machine. The problem here is that if the end is not thinner than the 5/8" bar the end must be upset. A little extra diameter will come from the bar as corners are pushed into a round but not a great deal. Corner cracking occurs from a sharp corner AND the cooling of the small section going into the large. A proper radius in this corner will prevent most of the problem and working hot the rest. This is one area where well designed dies prevent workers from doing things they shouldn't. Everyone wants to make that a nice sharp corner where it shouldn't.

If you conceed the narrower snub end then the die may only need two pockets possibly three. The top die would be all flat except a block that could be bolted on to make the curve on the back of the snub. Lets do it in three.
  • Taper slightly up to snub on off axis (one side is ok). This taper should be done first as it will be difficult to do after thining the "neck". It is also done against a stock stop to set the mass for the snub
  • Form snub and taper (this is where that top block goes) . The snub will be formed off to one side due to previous one sided taper.
  • Flatten the snub on the off axis to the same width as stage one made the neck (1/2"??) This should give the desired diameter and should be in a fairly close fitting pocket to maintain the finished shape. If the pocket is not too tight there should be no flash or seams. If stage one has a nice radius and taper on the snub side the flattening should be very smooth (no lines at the neck).

That 4" taper may want to be finished in a fourth plain taper area or with standard combination dies in another hammer to simplify the dies. . .

I wish I could think of a way to avoid that top block so the top die would be all flat. . . A half round end (like a violin "f" hole) could be made with all flat top dies but I don't think that is the look you are looking for.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 18:30:19 GMT

Air Quench & High Speed Steels: Dick, These take a cooling rate something like 25°F per hour max. if you have the capability. REAL slow. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 18:35:54 GMT

Water Powered Hammer: Thomas, Yep, motors are a REAL problem for small independent systems. The inrush current and sudden load require huge over kill that small systems can't handle.

The treadle clutches the motor or power from a line shaft (Start, Stop and feathering). Some hammers like Little Giants use cone clutches which are hard to maintain. Others use slack belt clutches. In some situations the slack belt clutch can be the drive belt from your line shafting. In others it is seperate so that the belt from the line shafting sets the machines maximum speed as necessary.

Early drop or "tilt" hammers were direct drive off the water wheel. These were taken out of service by placing a prop under the beam but were controled mostly by shutting down the water wheel. This link has some inclomplete information. . Theory

When the crank shaft is clutched in it raises the ram then throws it back down toward the work. The easiest linkage to build is the bowspring style linkage. This gives you the advantages of the toggle linkage type hammer but without making seperate upper arms and coil spring. Take a look at the South African JYH on the Power hammer Page catalog of Junk Yard Hammers. My shock absorber linkage is simplier but it is a soft hitter and has none of the mechanical advantage of the toggle linkage.

Let me know if this is not clear.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 18:56:38 GMT

I agree with Guru, "Modern Welding" is an excellent welding reference. Having taught welding for almost 19 years
I have searched the market for THE ideal text book. This book is the closest to ideal that I have found.
To everyone else that is using or planning to use welding equipment of any kind, PLEASE follow Guru's advise. I am constantly having to break someone's self learned, or learned from someone else that doesn't know, bad and unsafe habits.
Ignorance can be cured, stupidity can get you killed!
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Sunday, 01/07/01 19:02:34 GMT

Thanks: Steve, Thank you for the support. I learned welding in a community college course. Actual welding skills take more practice than a few hours of class room work a week. But learning the safety rules, being required to memorize them, is well within the scope of the classroom and was the most important thing I learned.

I have since taken numerous safety courses in the nuclear industry. What I learned from THAT experiance is that industrial cram and teach to the test courses are worthless. The only thing they are good for is meeting the government paperwork requirements. Sadly this is where most learn what little industrial saftey they know. . .

In Getting Started I recommed that every newbie take a welding course even if they don't plan on having modern welding equipment in their shop. The welding course will give them a cheap "trial by fire" that if they can't take it they won't need to waste money on an anvil and forge. It also teaches many saftey rules that apply to the blacksmith shop. AND it will teach the skills they will need the first time they are visiting a blacksmith shop and asked to "light that torch and hold it here. . ."

Almost all metalworking curicula include welding courses. Many machinists may never use a torch or strike an arc in their working carrer but they will work in shops where that equipment is available. Even if you don't use the equipment you never know when you will be asked to "move that cylinder over here and hook it up". Just moving welding cylinders requires knowing and applying saftey rules. . . DON'T KNOW THEM? Get thee to school!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/07/01 19:57:12 GMT

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