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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 22 - 31, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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I'm an experianced metal worker (Tool & die) and I am getting interested in forge work as a hobby. I just bought a 305 pound Peter Whyte anvil that is slightly worn (3/16 inch).Will this be a problem or should i accept it as it's "personality" and not try to resurface it. That is my inclination. However, if a resurface is in order whats the best method? Thank you.
bob beck  <bbeck at losch.net> - Monday, 01/22/01 00:25:52 GMT

Bob, I know it has been said time and time again on this forum, but once again, I think you would be better off just leaving well enough alone and working around any defects in your anvil, usually more harm than good comes from trying to resurface an anvil any more than a light belt-sanding to polish the surface. I'm sure the smith who had it before you made some beautiful work on it, pefectly flat surface or not. Good find, and good luck.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 02:22:30 GMT

Hey Guru- what is the proper nutralizer- I know I spelled it wrong, but you know what I mean- for the folowing- ferric chloride, ferric nitrate, nitric acid, and muratic-oh, and gun bluing. Can you use baking soda for all, or do some require ammonia, or something else- which needs what, can you help me out, and match them up? Thanks!
Erika  <estrecker at hotmail.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 02:30:13 GMT

Guru, The motor on my Little Giant is failing. It is a three HP single phase. I have a 5 HP three phase that came off an old compressor which works fine. Do you see any problem with using this motor? Thanks TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 03:40:13 GMT

I have a collection of late 1800's - early 1900's blacksmith tools ........... they belonged to my father's father ( my dad was born in 1910) I would like to get an idea of what they are worth and if anyone would be interested in them...............there is a large variety of different items - anvil, etc.
Donna  <dbld11398 at aol.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 04:18:11 GMT

Mikey-- the confusion arises because there are two completely different kinds of colors you get from a forge. One is glowing incandescence, actually coming to your eyes from within the steel, when it is being forged or hardened. The second, when you are tempering, is just on the surface alone, an iridescent rainbow of color like what you see on the surface of a puddle of gasoline. The first kind, used for forging the steel and determining when to quench, is the color imparted into the steel directly when it is in the fire. Black at first, then a faint dull red as it gets hotter, then a bright red, then orange, then yellow, finally a blinding white and if it gets a bit hotter, a sparking white, which means get it out before it burns too much. Take it up to just below sparking and quench it within one second after you lift it from the fire if you are hardening. The second kind of color comes only after you have put the quenched-- and now hardened-- piece back into the fire-- butt end first, say, if this is a chisel you are making, and heated it a bit, not too hot, maybe a dull red, depending on the mass you are heating, and then removed the piece from the fire and sanded the oxide and scale off the business end of it, the blade or whatever you are trying to temper, or ground one side clean. Then watch closely and patiently as the heat rainbow, really just a fine oxide, creeps down toward the cutting edge from the heated butt end. When the color you want, straw for a chisel, or blue, say, for a hammer head, gets to the precise area you want tempered, quench it again, pronto. if the color stops running before it gets to where you want it, just heat the butt end hotter this time and try it again.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 05:29:07 GMT


Good explanation!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 06:17:55 GMT

Furnace motors: I'll try to add to the confusion. (grin) Anradan, many furnace motors are multiple speed, one directional with no starting winding or centrifugal switch. There may be three speeds (three wires) plus a ground. If that is the case, you just need to find which is the neutral, hook that up to the white wire from your supply and hook up ONE of the other three wires to the black of your supply. Each of the speed wires will run the fan at a different speed. Look closely on the side of the motor or fan casing for a wiring diagram. The three speed colors may be red, blue and yellow. The neutral may be a black wire. If there is a 4 connection terminal block, one end should be the neutral. The neutral screw may also be white zinc plated while the three speeds may be yellow zinc plated. Ground screws are frequently green color. Don't you love standardization in electrical? That's why I'm mechanical, not electrical.

When I wired my furnace blower up for a forge blower, I left the unused speed wires loose without a wire nut on the end. When I would touch the forge with the blower on, I'd get an interesting little tingle. The other speed wires were letting some electrons out and they were getting into the forge. It was just a tickle, not a full blown short, so I thought it was kind of fun, but one of my forge kibitzing visitor friends didn't think it was so fun. Must have had more conductive shoes on. So I put some wire nuts on and it's no longer an "electrifying" forge experience.

If you are using it for a forge blower, one of those cheapo ceiling fan speed controls will work well to control the air volume. 1/4 HP will give you a LOT of forge blast on teh high speed setting.

As the man said, be careful, it can kill.
Have fun and don't let the smoke out. But if you do, just call the local furnace guy. They usually have takeouts laying around for beer money.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 13:00:43 GMT

I was told that there is a recipe to make my owm liner for the forge. Can you give it to me? I think it uses cat litter. Thanks!
Tom  <wenrick at ffni.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 13:26:34 GMT

Would it be possible for you to email me with some instructions on how to make a Spring Fuller?
Brian  <cornish at zoomnet.net> - Monday, 01/22/01 13:27:46 GMT

Thanks for the advice on leaving my newly bought Peter Whyte anvil alone & not to try to resurface it. It's large enough that there is still plenty of flat area left. Besides it didn't seem right to take out what must have taken a million hand hammer blows to put in. Bad karma?
No need to reply to this posting, i just wanted to thank you and say I appreciate the help. Bob
Bob Beck  <bbeck at losch.net> - Monday, 01/22/01 14:16:06 GMT

This WEB site/Bulletin board has the formula for a refracory material that contains kitty litter.


Tim  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 14:19:15 GMT

Hi all, thanks for the advice on the motor folks! Turns out, upon closer inspection two of the post have tabs for connectors! So I put two connectors on to my cord, slid em over the tabs and plugged her in! Works good. I cant seem to find a terminal for the ground though. Nothing marked or colour coded. Is there an alternate way to ground the motor? I just tested the motor, didn't touch it while testing.
Anradan  <tcanevaro at romperlandplay.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 15:16:29 GMT

Cor10 Welding Rod: Dan, You need to ask your welding supplier as every manufacturer that makes it will have a different number. There is one rod specificaly for this material. AND you also need to ask the supplier of the Cor10 as there is also specific process for this material.

Sorry I can not be more specific.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 15:24:04 GMT

Motor Grounding: Anradan, older motors or special motors that are desiged for specific devices that may be grounded elsewhere often do not have a ground terminal. On many old motors a ring terminal end is simply put under one of the conection box cover screws. Star washers are used to assure a good electrical connection.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 15:28:18 GMT

Acid neutralizer: Erika, Yes, except for the "gun bluing" that could be either an acid or alkali, small amounts of acid residue can be neutralized by a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution.

Note that the results of neutralizing is a salt. Normaly you want to neutralize, then rinse with water.

Alkali residues can be neutralized with a weak acid like dilute vinegar, which in turn should be neutralized with the baking soda.

Also note that "Baking Powder" is not the same as "Baking Soda". Baking powder is a mixture of both an acid and an alkali.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 15:38:12 GMT

Bigger Motor: Tim, As long as you take the possible difference in RPM into consideration. 25# and 50# LG's use 1800 RPM (nominal) motors so that should not be a problem.

Originaly a 50# LG had a 2HP motor and they will run fine on a 1-1/2HP motor. So the only problem is a matter of efficiency. While running the 5HP motor will only use the power that is required for the load. But it is a LOT bigger than needed. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 15:46:23 GMT

Tool Prices: Donna, I'm responding by mail. Yes there is a lot of demand.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 16:00:11 GMT

Spring Fuller: Brian, We have an article on a clapper die on our 21st Century page that is similar. Just replace the dies with fullers. The spring is mild steel flat bar and arc welded to the dies. If you want a top only tool then shorten one arm of the spring and weld it to a piece os square stock to fit your hardy hole.

One of the simplest types is mearly a piece of round bar of sufficient length, flattened in the middle and then bent to make a loop to act as a spring and the round parts to act as top and bottom fuller. Normaly you need a some offset so that your palm or fingers don't get pinched. A friend of mine calls this tool his "fingers".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 16:07:19 GMT

I recently purchased what looks like a very old anvil on e-bay. It weighs 148 pounds, and is marked 1 1 8 on the side. Other than that, All I can make out is a very small capital J on the other side, up near the edge of the face. The J is about one half inch tall. Can you tell me who manufactured this anvil?

chris reed  <chris.reed at zipatoni.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 20:21:08 GMT


How do I know if my anvil is cast iron instead of steel? I have worked with a steel anvil before and it had a "ring" when struck. My anvil doesn't. Would rust on the face cause this lack of a "ring". Any help, most appreciated.
chris  <cbernard at sgi.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 20:50:31 GMT


We need more information than that. Try rubbing the sides of the anvil with a sctoch brite pad and see if anything else shows up. The 1 1 8 is the weight in the English hundred weight system, so it PROBABLY was forged in England.

Rust on the face shouldn't cause a lack of ring, unless it was VERY rusted.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 01/22/01 22:00:09 GMT

I found a mini anvil!!! could this be a old salesmans sample? 2 1/4" tall 6" lomg with struck/restruck initials on both sides...it sure is cool
Greg Korb  <chesterhorse at aol.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 01:12:08 GMT

I found a mini anvil! Could this be a old salesmans sample? 2 1/2 " high and 6" long..it sure is neet with struc/restruck initials on both sides
Greg Korb  <chesterhorse at aol.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 01:16:34 GMT

Mini Anvil: Greg, Some are little samples, most are paper weights or souvieneer items. There are folks that collect them. They are still made by many companies and individuals for various reasons.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 01:34:18 GMT

welding COR-TEN: back in 1997 I asked U.S. Steel to send me the specs on this steel, and I at last found the material tonight. Sorry for the delay. There are different kinds of COR-TEN-- A, B, and C, and B-QT. All, says U.S. Steel, can be welded "by the usual methods." They recommend for A, using stick, any carbon steel rod in the E60XX or E70XX classifications. For MIG they suggest ER70S-X, flux cored is E70T-X. For B it gets lengthy and complicated, but basically, in "general structural applications," it is E7015, 7016, 7018 and 7028 for stick. That's for single-pass. For multiple pass, etc., I think you ought to get them to fax or mail you a spec sheet. For B-QT, it's E80X-X with suffix W, C3, C1, or C2 or E90XXm. For C, it is E70XX-X with suffix C1L or C2L or E80XX with suffix W,C3, C1, C2, B1 or B2L. They refer you in each case to various AWS procedures such as A5.5, in the case of COR-TEN C. I got this from a helpful gent named C. Chris Chen at 412 825-2452 (voice) and 825-2071 (fax.) at the USS Technical Center, Materials Technology and Services, 4000 Tech Center Drivce, Monroville, Pa., 15146 N.B.: I don't know, or I forget, what happens to the mild steel beads, if we are talking sculpture here, whether they will rust similarly along with the COR-TEN or at least be inconspicuous. You might ask Mr. Chen.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 01:47:21 GMT

I've been working through my copy of Anvils in America that my wife got me for Christmas. In the section on Eagle Anvils by Fisher and Norris in Trenton, NJ, there are extensive reprints of the advertisements for the "Fisher Parallel Leg Vise." Now I've seen a lot of leg vises, and I've even got four of them (three mounted in the shop, and one portable) but I've never seen any of these chain-driven vises in real life, and I only recall one photograph from some years ago that may have been one. From all of the ads, it doesn't look like they were particularly rare, so were they weak and didn't hold up? Are they too nice to give up or to sell at the tailgate? Not distributed in the mid-Atlantic area? (I haven't run across them in my travels with the NPS, either.) Why don't we see any of them these days.

Then again, maybe they're avoiding me.

(Perhaps Mr. Postman's next book will be "Vises in America," or is that "vices?") ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 03:42:30 GMT

Jock are you here, just trying to chat directly to you., I got a splint on my right ring finger and my typing is gonna be as slow as Bills. Ha. Can we chat on here too?
Sharon Epps  <S-Epps at besmithy.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 04:11:07 GMT

Hey, Jock, this calendar/clock is wrong, cause it's still Monday, 1/22/2001 here. Thought you'd want to know. Bye.
S-Epps - Tuesday, 01/23/01 04:22:43 GMT

i want to become a blacksmiths apprentice, not one of these 2 hour classes, i want to learn the art, i dont want to just do a little single day project, but i know nothing about how to go about looking to become one, i still have 4 quarters beofre i graduate from college, but can you help me anyway?...please
justin hines  <augustus_and_poochie at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 04:26:59 GMT

Apprenticeship: Justin, There is no such thing as an "apprentice" system in blacksmithing in the US and few smiths can afford (even free) untrained help. ABANA has a "Journeyman" program but that means that you need considerable experiance.

There are a number of blacksmithing schools that have several week long residence programs and they come in numerous levels so you can take more than just the basics.

You should also look at my Getting Started article. Since there are no true blacksmithing curiculums you can do a lot to make up your own. A year's worth of welding classes are a good start. DON'T fool yourself. REAL blacksmiths do a lot of forging but they also use every modern advantage they can apply. That means everything from using a gas torch to braze, weld and silver solder to computer guided plasma torches. Even the most "traditional" shops will have oxy-acetylene equipment if for nothing else but to heat rivets in place. Take the entire curriculum from gas welding through inert gas. There are a ton of safety rules to learn and the only place that will teach then is a formal welding class. OJT doen't count!

Blacksmithing also includes general metalworking like using drill presses, cut off saws and other machine tools. Trade schools, community colleges and some engineering schools have introductory classes that cover these subjects and include an introduction to welding. Take the full welding curiculum. These courses also include drafting courses. Generaly if you don't understand how to draw and dimension something you also don't know how to read those same drawings.

IF your intrests in blacksmithing lean toward armor and bladsmithing then metalurgy and basic engineering courses are reccommended as well as some art history.

Yes, blacksmithing is all of this and more. Most moodern blacksmiths are self employed entrepanuers. They must market them selves as well as their work plus do all their own paperwork and taxes.

There is a lot you can do without a "apprenticeship".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 05:00:43 GMT

Ms. Sharon: Nope, no chat here please. This is reserved for Q&A. All our clocks are set to GMT. The day changes at 5:00 EST or 6:00 EDT. HOWEVER, in the Pacific Ocean just West of the International date line the day changes 17 hours earlier! That is why Kiwi is a day ahead of us most of the time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 05:06:49 GMT

Double Screw Vises: Atli, These were a relatively late invention so there was not nearly the time for them to be sold in large quantities. They were also heavy and quite a bit more expensive than the standard vise which had a LOT of tradition behind them. Currently when they ARE available they are quite pricey.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 05:11:59 GMT

Is 110$ for a 100lb cast iron anvil a good price?

Adam Smith - Tuesday, 01/23/01 14:05:28 GMT

Would 110$ be a good price for a 100Lb cast iron anvil?
AdamSmith - Tuesday, 01/23/01 14:10:58 GMT

sorry about double posting, comp problems.
AdamSmith - Tuesday, 01/23/01 14:17:34 GMT

There is no such thing as a good price for a cast iron anvil beyond paying maybe two-thirds less-- to allow for your handling-- than the per-pound price cast iron is currently being bought for at your local scrap dealer.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 15:05:18 GMT

Justin, Gure is very correct in what he said. Welding is where I started back at the farm. Did all my courses and then some. I am still learning and I am 42 years old and retired from one job {Armed Services}. Now I blacksmith and drive school bus.Join any ABANA chapters in your area. I ask alot of questions and read whatever I can find. ALso trail by error teaches. Anyway have fun and welcome to the metal world.
Barney - from Canada http://www.vainet.ca/~barney
chow for now.......
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 15:52:34 GMT

Cast Iron Anvil: Adam, Good but worn REAL anvils can still be had at $1 US per pound. A swaybacked, chipped, no edges left, sagging scored horn, rust encrusted, sad OLD anvil is worth a lot more than a shiney NEW cast iron door stop. After using that beat up OLD anvil for any period of time it will still be worth what you paid for it (or more). The CI door stop is only worth pennies a pound the moment you take delivery on it.

JUST because a piece of metal is shaped like what we think is an anvil does NOT make it an anvil. A REAL anvil does not need to look like a classic London pattern.

Contact your local ABANA-Chapter and go to meetings. Tell the tailgaters and everyone else you are looking for a cheap anvil in ANY condition but not cast iron.

Run an ad in the local paper's classified section "Blacksmith Tools Wanted" or "Blacksmith Tools Bought and Sold". You WILL get responses EVERWHERE. Some will be other folks looking for the same thing. You may not be able to find the anvil you are looking for but you MIGHT be able to broker or put together buyers and sellers. You should at least be able to pay for the ad (don't count on it) and you WILL meet folks interested in blacksmithing.

Tell EVERYONE you know, especialy all your relatives, that you are looking for an anvil and any other blacksmithing tools you can find. Tell ALL your teachers. Anvils are where you find them and they ARE everywhere. But if you don't look you won't find them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 16:00:47 GMT

I've done the "blacksmiths tools wanted" ad in the paper twice now and have been able to pick up tools that I did not have and others that I could sell to be able to buy the tools I want. Whew! If more folks did this those forgotten items would get out of the corners and into the working world where they belong.
Pete  <ravnstudio at aol.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 16:10:32 GMT

Where you find em': Twice in the past month I have advised folks on the sale of the family blacksmith shop. Both times someone decided to keep "Grandpa's" anvil. Eventualy these get handed down to someone else that has no interest in them and they will be sold at a price just to get them out of the house (apartment or storage). This occurs almost daily in North America.

Twice I've been given anvils. Once it was from a perfect stranger and the other was from a relative. Twice I have bought and sold anvils out of my front yard when strangers that saw me working at the forge. I bought one anvil for $50 and sold another 100 pound anvil for the same.

Just like the tailgaters, tell EVERY antique and junk shop dealer what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay. These folks go to estate auctions once or more every week. If they can buy an anvil for $50 and sell it to you for $100 they will do it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 16:46:05 GMT

I would like to know what the best elementary forge would consist of for the most part.
Solomon  <Thunderer_37 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 16:41:51 GMT

Best "Elementary" Forge: Solomon, You need to ask your biblical namesake. . .

First you have a choice of fuels and each requires a different forge. Charcoal, coal, coal and coke breeze (powder), gas and oil. THEN location or the facility where they will be used makes a difference. Oil and solid fuel foreges must be used outdoors or with a flue and ventilation. Gas forges can be used anywhere you have good ventilation. Then there is the availability of electricity. This is ALMOST universal but not always.

Almost all forges (the exception being venturi gas forges) need a source of blown air or a "blast". In ancient times this was provided by lung power and primitive bellows type mechanisims (skins over an "air pit"). Later this air was provided by the double chambered bellows. The bellows was replaced by the centrifugal blower. These were hand cranked at first and then motorized later. Today the most efficient source of air for a forge is a small electric powered blower. Since hand cranked blowers are no longer manufactured (in North America) a bellows is often the next choice if electricity is not available. For gas and oil forges the only acceptable type is electric powered or via shop compressed air.

Once you have selected your air source you need to determing the type of fire pot or fuel enclosure. For bituminous coal the heavy cast iron type with bottom blast and ash dump is preffered. However, primitive forges can be a hole in the ground OR a flat table top. Charcoal needs some type of pit or depression, but bituminous coal does not. Primitive pit forges often had a clay air pipe. Early brick forges had a passageway made in the brick for a side blast.

The problem with most "pit" type forges is that Westerners prefer to work standing or at a bench. In the East they are more acceptable since working close to the ground or squating is normal.

Gas and oil forges require a refractory enclosure to hold the burning fuel air mix. Being enclosed these limit your work and must be sized for your class of work OR you need multiple size forges.

The best forge is one that gets the metal hot with available fuel and suits the needs of the user. There are too many variations to define one ideal forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 17:13:11 GMT

I have been making swords for about 8 years, with the publication of Brian Price's book "Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction" I started working with Armour. My question concerns finding usable metal forming tools such as T stakes (with a rounded ball type end on one side and a flat offset chisel shape on the other for raising ridges), 4" + Ball stakes and any other large metal forming stakes. The primary use for the stakes is going to be for raising various shapes related to armor. Also if there are any fuller like tools you know of that are good for "roping" the edge of sheet metal as it is rolled (creating a small rolled edge that has a rope like appearance). Any information on the location of these items or manufacturers who produce them would be wonderful help.
Erik  <phoenixmetalwork at aol.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 17:02:52 GMT

What would be proper heat-treating for nickel-steel/carbon-steel damascus? Iīve mailed Uddeholm för the spec-sheets on the 15N20 I just got, but those specs might not be correct for damascus. Water, air, oil, leopardīs blood blessed by a red-headed virgin? (Itīs a bit embarrasing for a low-tech neanderthal like myself to admit it, but I DO have a digital-controlled electric kiln thats perfect for heat-treating. I just donīt use it.)

And, Erik, if you find a tool that does the "roping", please let me know, since this dumb oldfashioned īsmith tries to do it with hammers and round-edged chisels.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 17:42:08 GMT

Armour's Tools: Erik, See the articles on our armour page (linked on the 21st Century page) and our iForge page for Shop made substitutes. The techniques and tools used by Eric Thing are very enlightening.

Centaur Forge sells standard sheet metal stakes many of which are suitable for making armour.

Most large or specialized tools will need to be made in your own shop OR you will need to ask someone with heavier equipment than you. There are many blacksmith shops with 200 and 300 pound hammers that can be very helpful. Just remember that shops with this scale of equipment demand a higher dollar per hour rate than others.

Your rope edge die is a simple blacksmith shop job. You start by twisting the appropriate size wire into a "rope" several inches long. Then a piece of tool steel several inches square is heated and the "rope" driven into it. Under a power hammer several impressions could be made in one heat.

The forging then needs the edges of the impressions rounded and smoothed before hardening. To prevent loss of detail in the impression the part should be heated in a stainless foil wrap or heat treating bag.

This "rope" die would have the previously rolled edge driven into it from the back. It could be made to fit a stake plate, hardy hole, vise or even have a shank and be driven into the work. I think it will work best as a bench tool. A slight convex curve to the face would alow you to roll the work into the die and it would fit both concave and convex curves.

Tool making is an important part of blacksmithing in general and is even more important in specialized fields. If you are not up to the task consider trading some of your work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 17:45:59 GMT

I have posted three picture of an STRANGE anvil at a
site you don't have to join in order to view. To view
this anvil go to Yahoo.com, at the home page click clubs,
at the search bar type "the blacksmiths".
If you know what this anvil was intended for I would sure
like to know
Old Ellicott Forge Ltd.
Paul  <shod at ix.netcom.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 17:48:50 GMT

Heat Treating Laminated Steels: Olle, This is out of my area of expertise but it can be approached with logic.

Write down the mins and maxes for both steels. There should be some overlap that gives you a working temperature for hardening. If there is no overlap use the lowest temperature of the higher range steel.

Most steels that water quench will also oil quench (especialy if at the high end of the hardening range). The oil quench steel may not take the water quench so use its prefered quench for safety.

Creating laminated steels makes YOU the manufacture that has to provide the recomendations. Metalurgy is more trial and error than science. To find the "best" method for your laminate would require testing many samples. However, the the logic above should work. .

Grandpa, please jump in on this one!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 18:06:14 GMT

Yahoo Clubs: Paul, Yahoo reserves the photos as a memebers only area. I think the folks there have identified it for your.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 18:11:01 GMT

I wrote yesterday asking the if you could guess the manufacturer of an anvil I purchased. After an evening with a wire brush wheel and a drill, the best I can come up with are the capital letters "JW" on the side, near the top, about half an inch tall. The other side has 1 1 8 on it. No other marks that I can see at all.

any ideas?
chris reed  <chris.reed at zipatoni.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 20:33:37 GMT

Anvil: Chris, I suspect the JW was an owners name since manufacturers either marked their names or they did not. Without seeing the anvil their is no way to even guess. Many brands have distinctive shapes. The probability is that it is a very old Mousehole forge anvil.

If you would like to e-mail me photos I might be able to tell you more. Photos from the front (with good light) and underneight help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/23/01 21:13:29 GMT

I need to make some tower hardware and it needs to be galvinized. Where can I find out how to do the process? Thanks,
Joe Steele  <kb5zfa at plateautel.net> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 04:47:02 GMT

Hi Guru,
I am a starting blacksmith an I live in Israel
Lattely I have built my self a small coal furnace and with it I have started experimenting with shaping black iron (This is what they call the iron I buy in building material stores).
I am looking for information about producing different finishes to the metall.
Till know I have been using "Hammerite" color, but now I am looking for finish
that will show the iron, but still be strong and long lasting protection against rust.
I got advices about different types of lacquer, some of them originally for
wood (like one called "RT") most of them very expensive.
I am also looking for "browning" and "blueing" process.
It will be very usefull if u can direct to some internet site with usefull
information (I didn't fins one)
thanks for the help

amit  <aadies at isd.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 11:10:34 GMT

Hi guru,
I am a starting black smithing, I'm working with a small coal furnace I have
built and, with black iron I buy at building material stores.
I am looking for information on different finishes to the iron.
I am looking for transparent (glossy, or matt) finish , that will be strong
and give long lasting protection against rust.
I would like also to learn about "browning" and "blueing" processes.
I didn't manage to find an internet site with this type of information, so
if you know one it will help me.
Is it possible that wood lacquers will be suitable for iron ?
amit  <aadies at isd.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 11:31:29 GMT

Olle: Guru is correct and gave good advice. One of the mixes that I make is 15N20/1095, and I reccomend 1450f, quench in "fast" oil, temper at 450f for one hour. To do the best possible, you are going to have to experiment-- trial and test, just a the guru said.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 14:01:01 GMT

My brother in law found a wee tiny little anvil the other day at a neighbours house. Apparently it is marked as a Peter Wright and marked 0 - 1 - 5. My question is would this have been the british stone weight system or is it actually 15#? I believe it is the british method which would put the weight at 32# but my brother claims it is 15#.
Any thoughts?
Anradan  <tcanevaro at romperlandplay.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 14:41:30 GMT

Small anvil: Anradan, Are you sure its not 0.0.15? I suspect it is 32# but it IS possible its 15# In either case these LITTLE anvils are more valuable than bigger anvils. It may be too small for you but it is GREAT trade material. Jewlers and other craft workers LOVE these little anvils and will pay $3-$4/pound for them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 15:23:05 GMT

Galvanizing: Joe, You start with CLEAN steel, either sand blasted or chemicaly cleaned. Then you dip it in a tank of metlted 900°F zinc. Parts that have threads or threaded holes must have them sized to compensate for the heavy zinc coating.

For hot dip galvanizing your best bet is to sub it out. Galvanizers do almost all their work via cantract and are used to small lots.

Cheap hardware store galvanizing (bright plating) is done by shot peaning or viratory finishing with zinc shot. This produces a VERY thin coating that is only sufficient to keep the hardware from rusting while in inventory.

For small operations painting with cold galvanizing is best. This is paint with 100% zinc powder and a small amount of binder and a carrier. It can be purchased from CRC in spray cans or from industial paint suppliers by the gallon. The bulk material must be power mixed WHILE being applied due to rapid settling of the zinc powder. This is the same paint used inside large water tanks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 15:46:41 GMT

Guru and Grandpa, thanks. I always experiment, but when I actually PAY for the steel itīs nice to have somewhere to start. Now I only have to find my handbok to figure out those danged farenheit degrees...
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 16:18:11 GMT

Olle, 1450F = 788C, 450F = 232.2C :-)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 16:50:38 GMT

Finishing: Amit, On as-forged iron there are a number of problems with clear finishes. There are a variety of lacquers and all produce about the same protection on steel.

The biggest problem with as-forged iron from a coal forge is that the coal often "plates" the steel with a shiney black coating. This is vaporized coal that has condensed on the surface of the iron/steel. This substance breaks down over time supporting corrosion and causing paint to flake. Coal also contains sulfur. Some of this is absorbed into the surface of the iron and there is often a great deal in the surface scale. Sulfur also supports corrosion. Due to these problems iron work created with coal needs to be cleaned very clean before finishing. I prefer sandblasting. Wirebrushing is "OK" but it will not remove coal plating. For exterior work it should be properly primed and painted. You can only get away with clear finishes on exterior work in very dry climates.

There is no such thing as a transparent finish that provides a long lasting finish. For long lasting rust protection you need to start with 1) clean steel, 2) cold gavalnize, 3) neutral prime, 4) top coat. The top coat can vary depending on the ezpected wear. Good automotive lacquers are best. But you can also apply various hand rubbed finishes or paint to reproduce that "fresh forged" look you want.

Bluing and browing are similar processes. Both are a form of oxide finish. Old fashioned brown is just a controlled rust finish. Bluing is created with various chemicals. Nitric acid and potassium nitrate are ingrediants that make the "blue". Other chemicals produce a blacker finish. Often the chemicals must be heated to produce the desired finish. Gunsmithing books will have details. Centaur Forge has one or more books on the subject.

Most oxide finishes require cleaning and oiling to prevent rust. The porosity of the finish acts to hold the oil. The oxide also protects by having already oxidized the surface. However this only works with the heavier flat oxide finishes such as "Parkerizing". None of these are suitable for exterior work.

The scale from forging is an oxide finish and prevents rust as long as the finish is not broken and it is kept cleaned and oiled. However, the problems of coal plating and sulfur contamination still apply.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 16:51:01 GMT

corn biomass fuel has any one ever tried to forge with corn
Clint Radabaugh  <bluedodge at moonman.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 19:57:07 GMT

Corn: Clint, Almost any organic fuel will produces enough heat to forge with provided the fire bed is deep enough. The problem with wood, corn and other non-fossil fuels is 1) density 2) volitiles and moisture 3) ash or non-fuel content.

Density is a key issue. Coal is nearly pure high density fuel. The volitiles are also fuel and the moisture is very low. Charcoal is also nearly pure fuel. It is much lower density than coal but has had the low fuel value volitiles and moisture cooked out of it.

Wood even when VERY dry has a lot of water bound into its structure. It has a lot of non-flamable or low fuel value volitiles. When burned, heat from the fire goes into breaking chemical bonds and evaporating water. A deep wood fire that dries and converts the fuel above it to charcoal will burn hot enough to forge with.

Corn biomass is largely cellulose that has a lot of water bound into it. It is also the type of material that absorbs moisture from the air. Seeminly very dry fuel will have a high percentage of moisture. The higher the mositure the deeper the fire anf the more fuel it takes to dry the fuel above it. At soom point there is so much moisture being driven from the fuel that the fire cannot get above a certain temperature. This limit will vary with moisture content, fuel density and burning conditions.

Last. . Fuel density also determines how much air "blast" the fuel bed can take before the fuel is blown out of the forge of furnace and up the flue. Low density finely broken up fuels are almost impossible to forge with.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/24/01 20:22:52 GMT

peter wright: first numeral is the hundredweights, a hundredweight being, don't forget 112 pounds for some reason known only to Tony Blair, Elton John and a few others--zero, in this case. second is quarters of a hundredweight, one in this case-- 112 divided by 4 is 28. last numeral is pounds, 5. 28 plus 5= 33. I think. don't forget: this is the nation that gave us the whitworth thread, the land rover, the rolls razor, and other great advances in technology. lingering doubts? how about you put it on the bathroom scales, already.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 00:20:57 GMT

I am an experianced welder. I would like to build a trailer and have no idea what size of square tubing to use. The trailer will be 14 foot overall and I would like to use 2x4 rectange tubing. Now how thick will I need it the complete trailer weight will be around 1500lbs.
jake  <canadiangooser at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 00:37:50 GMT

Trailer Tubing: Jake, You are asking an engineering question that would put the person answering under considerable libility. Anyone answering without engineering libility insurance would be a fool. There is also insufficent information. How many axels? Sprung or unsprung? Max degign load? Type of deck and number of cross members (number should also be determined by engineer).

Your best bet is to go trailer shopping and look at some commercial trailers that are like what you want and have the same capacity. Carry a set of micrometers or dial calipers and check wall thicknesses and overall dimensions.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 00:59:57 GMT

Boy, cast anvils sure to take a beating around here! I love my 105lb. Fisher, it's small enough to carry around, but still can do some great work. I DO agree that HF anvils are less than satisfactory, but some others are good tools that have really held up through the years.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 01:47:40 GMT

Fisher Anvil: Chad, A Fisher is a hybid anvil. It is cast iron with a tool steel face and reinforced horn. Late models have a solid steel horn. If every thing is tight these are fairly good anvils.

The cast anvils we are speaking of are cheap CI imports that are all CI, are not heat treated and have no warranty.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 02:14:19 GMT

Hello. I'm interested in making some small(50-75#)bronze castings. Do you know what alloy(s)I should look for and possibly where? Thank you.
Jon  <jvenetta at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 01/25/01 02:35:57 GMT

Castings: Jon, 50 to 75 pounds is pretty hefty. Thats at least 100 to 150 pounds with the crucible and extra material for the risers and feeds.

There are many alloys of copper and all have their prefered uses. There is a wide range of strengths so your application may have to be considered. In the quantities you need it will be best to go to a foundry metal supplier or have your foundry purchase the metal.

Naval Tin Bronze is a common casting alloy. Manganese bronze comes in a high and low strength alloy. You want to avoid Beryllium Bronze due to the toxicity of the beryllium.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 04:18:12 GMT

Jake if I may sigest, northern tool and equipment has plans for a number of trailers in there catalog most (I think all) are DOT aproved and give, defanat weaght limit, tubeing sise, rolling weaght ,etc. I think that they run around $20 each but don't quote me on that.
I would sigest that you use a egsisting plan as it will make regstering it much simpler there wed address is www.northerntool.com
I have worked with them a few times and haven't had any problems
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 05:53:52 GMT

Good Guru;
There seems to be conflicting opinion regarding the performance of 3 phase motors run by a rotary converter.
Is the power output diminished compared to the output of the motor run on a regular 3 Ph line?
Pete F  <artgawk at thegrid.net> - Thursday, 01/25/01 08:08:08 GMT

Scrap-yard Etiquette?

This is another newbie question, but I frequently see mention of scrap/junk/salvage yards as sources for carbon steel and various other cool stuff. What I was wondering is: What is the proper etiquette when going to shop at them? Do I just show up and say, "Mind if I rummage around out back?" or is there some more acceptable approach? I can see how there might be insurance problems with letting the customer wander around, but OTOH, I may not know what I want until I see it. If it makes a difference, most of the ones around here (metro Atlanta) now call themselves "Recycling Centers".

Thanks for the help.

Al Garrard  <agarrard at rmy.emory.edu> - Thursday, 01/25/01 08:33:56 GMT

Trailer Tubing: Jake, if you live in an area where there is road salt or on an ocean coast, I suggest you use an open section like channel instead of a closed section like tubing. Even with good tight welds, tubing rots from the inside in a salt environment and you won't see it until the trailer breaks. I wouldn't use less than .125 wall for any trailer member. I've built many trailers and while I won't size anything for you here for the reasons the Guru said, I generally find that a factor of safety of three to one based on the yield strength (12,000 psi stress using A-36 hot rolled steel) figured with the worst possible loading conditions (all load on the front and back of the trailer) results in a good trailer that is not too heavy.

If you can't find a plan you like or something close to copy, e-mail me privately and I might do the engineering for you for not too much money. Guru, I hope I'm not overstepping the bounds by saying that.

Scrap Yard Etiquette: Al, my suggestions are as follows.

1. Realize that scrap people are busy, just as most other business men are, so be sure to give them some incentive to allow you to do what you want to do. Your money, unless you buy a LOT of scrap is not worth their time. Don't expect to get stuff in a day or two. Give them at least a week.

2. Have a list of what you want. Even though they are scrap yards, the operators frequently will know what they have and where it is. Most around here in WI will not let you just wander around until they get to know you and have some semblance of trust in you.

3. Call ahead. Don't just show up and expect to be treated as a retail customer in a hardware store. Ask if you can get materials from them, give them your list, ask when it is convenient FOR THEM to have you pick up your stuff. Offer to go in the yard and get it yourself (even though they probably won't let you). Make it easy for them to get you what you want. Make your first request an easy one. Don't ask for 3" 4140 equipment axles the first time. If you need 3 feet of half inch round, don't make them cut it. Tell them you'll take whatever they have longer than 3 feet. Ask for the owner when you call and if he's not there, ask for the manager. Don't try to back door something with one of the workers.

4. Ask what kind of beer they like. I've found that homebrew opens A LOT of doors! (grin)

5. Take some donuts along the first time at least as well as the beer.

6. Tell them what you are doing with the stuff you want. Most are interested in Blacksmithing and like to talk to you about it. Ask them if they have any requests for stuff you can make them. Barter is a good thing.

7. CASH is king.

8. Know what the scrap prices are for various stuff you want. If they can sell it for 8 cents per pound, expect to pay 10 to 12. Around here, I get most of my steel stuff for about 5 cents per pound. But if I add in the cost of the homebrew, it's probably 8 cents per pound. On second thought, I usually end up drinking about half of the beer I show up with, so make it 6.5 cents per pound.

9. If you plan on being a frequent customer, tell them what kind of stuff you are generally interested in. After you have a good relationship, they will frequently put stuff aside for you.

10. Show up in your smithing clothes, not a suit.

11. If there's a woman there, be sure to do something nice for her too!

Junkyard diving is great fun! My favorite place lets me drive their fortruck and use their torch and tools to get my own stuff now. The first time I was there, they wouldn't even let me SEE the yard.

That enuf?

Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 13:33:19 GMT

need any sources for vacume box testing of welds
kevan klubertanz  <kevank at vmw-vic.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 14:56:56 GMT

Rotary Converter HP: Pete, There may be a slight reduction but I have not had a problem with it. For several years we ran our family machine shop and the machines we were building on an ARCO RotoPhase(tm) phase converter. There were several 10HP motors in use simultaneously with our 3PH machine tools without interference or dimming of lights.

RotoPhase(tm) recommends adequate wire sizes (full or one size greater) for the motors. You also don't want the magnetic starter circuit to be wired into the generated phase. When the motor starts or OTHER motors start there is sufficient voltage drop in the generated phase that the magnetic contactor will drop out.

From www.arco-electric.com

Will a three phase motor operate at full rated load?

Yes - and at nameplate rating of the motor. There have been several private and university tests where it has been established that motor windings, at full load, attain the same degree of heat when connected through the Roto-Phase as the motor windings do when connected to solid three phase. Motors operated through the Roto-Phase should not be operated continuously above 110% load. and preferably T"-frame motors should not exceed 100% load.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 15:33:58 GMT

Just found your page today. You've probably answered this question before, so forgive me if I'm asking you to repeat. I'm just entering my 60's and have worked with steel all of my working life as a pipefitter in the Navy and a steel door and frame fabricator and installer to date. Looking toward retirement, I've decided to use my knowledge in steel sculpting. Also I am doing some wrought iron and minor forging. You can see what I'm doing at http://www.pond.net/~hmds/ if you wish. My question is, other than heat and paint and gun blue, what is used to color steel? I'm using heat now (acetylene torch), but would like a wider variety of colors and better uniformity.
Jack D. Davis  <hmds at pond.net> - Thursday, 01/25/01 20:31:07 GMT

Coloring: Jack, Other than what you listed or plating there is nothing other than paint. Uniformity of oxide finishes is determined by:
  • Even finish texture
  • Cleanliness
  • Even Heating
A perfectly clean, polished piece that is uniformly heated can be any color in the rainbow of temper colors. However, I d not recommend temper blues as a final finish.

I always recommend industrial quality 3 part paint jobs for steel metalwork be it a hand railing or a sculptural center piece. ALL other oxide, wax and "natural" finishes are temporary or high maintenance protection. Paint can be any color or texture you want. If you don't want to paint then use stainless steel. It has the same blue black "natural" finish as forged steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 21:08:27 GMT


Excellent advice!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 01/25/01 21:51:30 GMT

I am looking for a good pipe bender, hand or power, new or used. Also a hand shear for flatbar. Any help gratefully recieved.
Richard  <richardls7 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 02:11:48 GMT

Has anybody tried to get on the following site. www.iccmjr.com . I have tried a couple of time no luck. Its the site for Blacksmith Insurance in the back cover of this issue of the Anvil ring Mag..
Any hints... Thanks Barney for North Bay Ont..
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Friday, 01/26/01 03:08:28 GMT


I called the company direct a few months back. They were supposed to send me some literature. Never got it.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 03:48:55 GMT

I have reacently moved to a area in the south Ga area and have tryed to reastablish a new Forge.I haave named it The Masters Forge. The master part meanes that I give God all creadit for my talent as a Blacksmith.But I have not been well recieved in this area.I do demos for all kinds of schools and churches . I make buggies,knives,tools and in know means a beginer.I do art and craft showes.I turn out some great work of all kinds.
Does any one have any Ideas on how to generate some paying custmers.What do others get for clinics or demo.
What other way are there to get your name out that I haven't tryed?
Thanks for the help
Jim Brown  <screaminmule at hotmail.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 04:19:21 GMT

Scrap yards/recycling centers -- all of the advice relative to donuts and homebrew are good, but you may just want to start calling a couple and see what they do. Up here in Minneapolis, we have a strong enough sculpture community that there are several steel scrap yards which set up big open air shopping areas, with most stuff organized for the small consumer. Call them, you may be surprised.

tom in balmy (21F) minnesota
Tom  <don'tspam at alias.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 14:07:26 GMT

Paw Paw I had the same thing happen with that comp. I called them and they never called me back with a quote. (I ended up finding anouther comp to go through)
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 15:46:34 GMT


If you don't mind, who did you go with?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 16:27:39 GMT

Demos and Advertising: Jack, There are different ways to get the "word out". Doing demos helps in some cases but where and how you demo make a big difference. I love doing demos at schools and particularly for little kids. However, there is no money in it. Neither students or teachers can afford the wares of most smiths.

There are craft shows and there are CRAFT SHOWS. Prestigious ones are worth doing but many are not. Most shows held in shopping center parking lots and trade lots are not worth doing.

A short while after I got into blacksmithing I realized that I could not afford to do businees with most of my friends or relatives. The clientell for most hand made products are the rich and near rich. At least one level above "middle class". This often means your market is not local to you. You need to go to, or advertise where the money is.

Start with the simple things.

1) Are you listed in the Yellow pages? Are you listed under the right categories?

2) Do you advertise in local (to your market) papers and publications? The Realestate inserts are a good place to be. NOTE: Even though it is nice to support the local schools and teams advertising in programs is a "charitable contribution", not advertising.

3) Do you advertise at your business? Is there a sign visible from the street? Do you have personal cards and letter head?

4) When you do demonstrations do you ask if the local press has been called? Do you have a press packet ready for the same? This should include a good professional B&W photo of you at work in an interesting environment OR at an open demonstration. There should also be a article about you. If YOU write it you can't complain about mistakes and don't have to answer those stupid questions. You need 3 versions. A) A short (25 word) caption. B) A nice 250 word paragraph and C) A 500 word article. There should also be a press release announcing your business.

5) Did you send out press releases to announce your business or where you are going to be demonstrating?

The press will work for you but they much prefer YOU to do the work. Press releases and articles you (or a friend) write, are work, THEY (the press) dosn't have to do. Don't be surprised to see a slightly edited version to be printed under the reporter's by-line.

The best thing about press releases it that they are FREE. However, that doesn't mean they don't cost something. That professional photo is VERY important and may cost from 4500 to $1,000. For most newspapers you want a first class B&W photo but you may also want a large format color slide.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 18:32:00 GMT

Are there any smiths local to the address of this insurance company in the Anvil ring Mag. May be they could get in touch with them.. Thier address is 3237 route 112, Medford, New York 11763 Fax 631-736-7619 or voice 800-242-9872 etc 115 Michael J. Romeo Tell that their site doesn't work, from here anyway, {Ontario Canada}. i would be interested in seeing what they had to offer..

thanks Barney
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Friday, 01/26/01 18:39:15 GMT

Tom in Minneapolis,

I live in the cities as well. Can you send me or post the info on those scrap yards that you were talking about?

Chris Bernard  <cbernard53 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 19:10:22 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw, I does what I can and junkyard diving is an activity I enjoy for many reasons. I've assembled my team for Junkyard Wars. Working on the application this weekend.
Tom, do you pay any more for that stellar service? Grin.

Cupolas: Anyone here have any experience with the various backyard cupola plans? I sent a check to Marshall and will order the Lindsay books as soon as they answer their phone, but first hand experience is a good thing. I've done very crude cupolas before, but I suppose I should build something that will last more than a day this time. I have access now to lots of ductile iron scrap but I suppose it will come out of the cupola as grey iron since the magnesium effect on the graphite won't survive the cupola? A metallurgist, I'm not. I DO NOT want to innoculate with more magnesium! I have 200 plus #3 superduty arch brick (new) and would trade for #1 arch if anyone has some. FWIW, my last cupola was a corrugated culvert pipe with no insulation or refractory. We used water running down the outside to keep the shell from melting. Used LOTS of fuel and it was hard to get close to for charge and tap.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 21:39:01 GMT

Jim, Another thing to try is architects and designers. If a person is willing to hire either one of these profesionals they will have no problem using you. And watch your prices. If you come in too cheap you'll get treated that way. Find the best kitchen cabinet retail store in your area and offer to display wine and pot racks. People who are spending $30-40,000.00 on cabinets can use your work. Its like the cherry on the banana split, a good pot rack or forged door hardware can really make a kitchen. Are there any barn restorers or log home builders in your area? Try them. I tried the show route and gave up, no money that way. The guru's right,You need to find the upper middle class. My customers are mostly doctors, lawyers,wall streeters,bankers, some dot commers, and some who made it the old fashoned way, they inherited it.
Pete  <ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 22:18:41 GMT

Ductile Iron: Tony, not sure what happens when you remelt ductile but I suspect the magnesium burns off and the graphite disolves back into the iron. Did you know that the magnesium can be put into the iron IN THE MOLD??? Yep.

I have a couple hundred photos of the coupla that the Alabama Art Foundry uses AND the one used by the Rockbridge bloomery. Its been 2 years and I still haven't had a chance to do the promised articles. .

I like C.W.Ammen's foundry books myself.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 01/26/01 23:00:14 GMT


Due to a major scheduling conflict I will NOT be able to help in the Boy Scout Merit Badge Jamboree in Alexandria on Saturday, February 24th. For the last two years I've run the boys through all of the requirements for the Metalworking Merit Badge. This year they have nine boys already interested.

So far Doug Ayen has expressed an interest, but I had not had a chance to respond 'til now, so I don't know if he can make it. If any of y'all think you would enjoy a day of "instructing the boys" (usually with a father or two to help) please let me know if you're interested. I can forward some general information to you, a schedule of projects (pretty successful after two years development) and contact people for the Scouts. If you can forward your 'phone number, I'll give you a call, and I would be happy to help develop the program.

This course is very popular with the boys, not that hard to teach (if I can do it, it's not that tough), and I can certainly lend some of the materials and equipment to any smiths who want to take a crack at it. I might even be able to help set up in the morning and kick things off, but I must be in Randallstown, Maryland (near Baltimore) by noon.

The Scouts would like a reply by next Tuesday, so please let me know if you're interested by then.

Thank you. [ bruce_blackistone at nps.gov asylum at us.HSAnet.net ]

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Saturday, 01/27/01 03:54:08 GMT

I was wondering if you knew how someone would go about building a small foundry for melting metal? Thanks. Jonathon
jonathon   <plumgod at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 05:10:44 GMT

What is the formula for making non-ferrous metals polishing bars that are used with buffs...thanks.
simo  <contact at morcast.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 10:14:48 GMT


Darn it! I've alrady got a commtment that day!

I've alreayd got a commitment that day!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 13:59:13 GMT

I just bought a 200 lb. anvil it has a snall diamond on one side but I can't read the logo on the base under the horn it' stamped 202 then a serial no. any idea who made it thank you CY.
cy swan  <cyswan at rosenet.net> - Saturday, 01/27/01 14:11:14 GMT

Foundry: Jonathon, The melting part is easy. A coupla is a refractory tube with four ports for air some distance from the botom. The bottom is hinged for cleaning and is covered with sand. The "tap" hole is clogged with clay which is knocked out when the metal is melted. Toss in fuel (coke or charcoal) light fir and add air. . add metal and fuel in proportioned amounts (called the "charge") as the fuel burns down and until there is enough metled metal. . . To "tap" the coupla you knock out the clay plug and catch the liquid metal in a crucible OR direct to a mold in the sand foundry floor. Iron and bronze have been done this way for millenia.

The alternative method for non-ferrous is melting in a crucible in an oil or gas fueled melting furnace. These are not much different than a gas forge. See page two of the NC-TOOL forge catalog on Bruce Wallace's page.

Melting the metal is easy. Learning how to make flasks, patterns, molds, crucibles and obtaining all the necessary safety equipment is the big part of the job.

Check with Centaur Forge and Norm Larson and purchase ALL the books by C.W. Ammen. He has general foundry books and a book on making wood patterns as well as one specificaly on brass. STUDY every word of these references. Foundry work requires a LOT of education in its workings. Then find some folks that do their own foundry work and learn as much as you can from them.

And DO NOT forget that safety equipment. The clothing for doing an iron pour is head to toe coverage. Special helmet and face sheild, leather jacket, chaps and spats over shielded boots. Heat resistant gloves get worn out and must be replaced on a regular basis. Then there are fire extunguishers and a burn kit. Many times you will need a helper or two and they will need complete outfits of protective gear (at YOUR expense).

If you want to start small you can melt zinc (less than 1,000°F) in a crucible in a forge. Molds can be sand or plaster. The investment is much lower but you must still educate yourself as above.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 15:00:48 GMT

Buffing "bars": Simo, I think you are talking about buffing compound "sticks". Pretty simple, abrasive compound and wax. Melt parrafin, add abrasive, pour into a mold or consumable cardboard tube. The abrasive compounds are what the compound is named for. Tripoli is a type ofpowdered stone called "Tripoli" or "Rotten Stone". There are a variety of minerals that work but the trick is to find a bed of the rotted variety. "Rouge" is a red oxide mineral or clay. Emery (black) is commercial abrasive powder that comes in different grades and you can make different grades of buffing compound with it. I can look up the technical mineral names if you need but this is only a small help, you have to find the right condition of deposit. This is akin to finding a gold mine in your back yard.

There are various suppliers of abrasives if you are not into mining and processing your own. Norton Co. handles both natural and synthetic abrasives. They manufacture them for making everything from sandpaper to grinding wheels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 15:16:04 GMT

Paw Paw
I ended up going with a local agent that set me up with a comp. called Peerless. the only thing is that I am only covered "on site" in other words I am only insured for demos and installions my shop it self is not insured nor are my tools. I was trying to get coverage for that also but ran into some problems.(cost,zoneing ect.)
if you need more info email me and I can dig it out for you
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 17:08:05 GMT


Email on the way.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 17:39:56 GMT

I'm trying to construct a nail-header out of a piece of steel. I drilled a pilot hole, got the header red hot and drove a cold nail into the hole to enlarge and shape it. Problem is, when I try to head a nail in it, the nail gets stuck and is almost fused in there. I have to break it off and drive it out with a punch. Where did I go wrong?
Roger Collins  <r_lcollins at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 20:01:02 GMT

Header: Roger, This type header needs two things.

1) The hole must taper from the back (bigger at the bottom)

2) The shank of the nail must taper all the way to beyond the head.

Because of #2 I never use this type header. I use the vise OR a clamping header as in our last iForge demo. If you make the clamping type remember that it MUST clamp the work, not close against it self.

To make a properly shaped tapered nail header hole you need to make a tapered drift/punch first. Taper should be about 7° It needs crisp clean corners.

When making bolts and large spikes the end of the stock is upset prior to droping into a loose fitting hole to finish the head.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 20:48:52 GMT

Do you know of a source for sheet copper or brass in my area (south central Ohio)? Prefer around 30ml to use for bowls and ladles.
Brian  <cornish at zoomnet.net> - Saturday, 01/27/01 21:21:54 GMT

Copper: Brian, We are getting ready to hook up with a mail order metals distributor that handles mostly non-ferrous. Check back here tomarrow afternoon!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 01/27/01 21:25:09 GMT


I have been asked to forge a machete out a piece of a chopper blade from an O.S.B. plant.I've been told that these blades have a pecentage of titanium [unknown %]and that the Rockwell rating is 54-56.The piece I have to work with is 1"x1/4x18".He would like it to be around 2" at the widest when finished.At what temps[colour]should this stuff be forged?Should I anneal it first?Is the titanium content going to make this metal react radically differently from high carbon steel?
dimag  <dimag at yt.sympatico.ca> - Sunday, 01/28/01 03:00:53 GMT

I got it my first anvil(free). its a cast iron it has a picture of an arm holding a hammer and has Vu?can wrote around it the only other marks on it are 10 on oneside and 46 on the other can you tell me any thing about it.
all info will be most apprecated
Clint Radabaugh  <bluedodge at moonman.com> - Sunday, 01/28/01 06:20:05 GMT

Ti Steel: Dimag, I'll look up the material in the morning. Can you saw off 1/2" to experiment with? If it's that hard now you will need to anneal it to saw. However, it MIGHT be a darn piece of air hardening stuff and be difficult to anneal. More in the AM.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/28/01 06:25:24 GMT

Clint -- I have the same one.. Its a Vulcan and Hammer one It should have the outline of an arm holding a hammer inside a Oval circle.Thats what mine has. Made in 1946 and yours is somewhere around 100#. It should also have a couple of more marks on it ie some small squares with disgins in them. Mine does. Mine wieghts around 250#. A very nice Anvil. A nive find indeed. I am happy with mine. nice return oin the hammer and a good size face etc... Anymore ? Barney from North Bay Ont Canada...
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Sunday, 01/28/01 13:14:36 GMT

Ok Here It is (stupid Q)
I Have a gun type oil burner 115,000 BTU, Do you think that will generate enought heat to work as a forge???
I have built 2 small coal forges one bellows and one Electric.
M Maher  <mmaher at adni.net> - Sunday, 01/28/01 14:44:23 GMT

Oil burner: M Maher, These make a great forge. Thats a lot of BTU. Requires a large enclosure (maybe 3 cubic feet). Also needs a good high temperature refractory lining. Unlike gas forges oil forge MUST be vented outdoors due to the noxious fumes. They are great for forge welding as the atmosphere can run rich and oxidizes less than gas forges.

Due to the type of parts the burner needs to be isolated from the forge by a couple sheet metal heat shields with air space between them. Radiant heat from the outer shell of the forge will cook electrics, pumps, plastic parts. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 01/28/01 16:29:48 GMT

Ti Steel: Dimag, There is a whole variety of steels with Ti as a minor alloying ingrediant. They range from low carbon alloy steels to 85 point carbon alloy steels. Treat normally but you will need to determine the carbon content.

Vulcan, Arm and Hammer: Clint, This is a steel faced cast iron anvil made by the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company. They used the "Arm and Hammer" trade mark but these are not the same as forged "Arm and Hammer Brand" anvils.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 01:07:57 GMT

I am a newbie to blacksmithing. I have an extensive CADD background and have been a metal "tinkerer" for years. Recently I became interested in forge welding - with the hopefull end result of being to be able to create my own pattern welded knife blade stock.
I read a bunch about forges (maybe not enough) and decided to use fire brick to build a mapp gas forge. Went and got a bunch of fire brick and stacked it so that the "chamber" is about 2 1/2" wide and 4" high by 4" deep. I got two of the Benzo Matic venturi map gas burners suggested by the person who did the "mini forge". I placed the burners in the side of the forge - via holes punched in the fire brick. I run two bottles of mapp gas at a time and it seems to get nice and hot. The problem is that even though this heap o bricks generates enough heat to melt steel strapping, and pit and partially melt one of the burner nozzles, I can not seem to get anything to forge weld.
I start with clean, well aligned, high carbon steel. Have tried slow, light hammer blows. Have tried medium hammer blows. But nothing works. I have to think it is something I am doing wrong. I am using some silver solder flux mixed with powdered boric acid - it's what I had laying around.
Any ideas?
Russ  <wwrrsmith at mediaone.net> - Monday, 01/29/01 03:08:31 GMT

hi, I am looking for information on building a tumbler, plans would be perfect. thanks
kevin kratz  <piranha at telus.net> - Monday, 01/29/01 03:50:15 GMT

Mini-Mapp Forge: Russ, Try plain borax for flux. Flux as soon as there is a little color on the steel. For practice welds take a small piece of bar stock (1/4" square) and dress the edges to form a "scarf" then fold the piece back on itself (about 2"). Flux and heat until the surface gets a melted butter look. Then pull out and forge shut. Another way to text the surface is with a bar with a bent point on the end. The point should come up to welding heat almost instantly when but in to the forge. Use it to test the work. When forging temperature is reached the point will stick to the work. You can also dip the pointed bar into flux and transfer it to the work.

If the flux boils you have overheated the steel OR the forge atmosphere's temperature is too hot. If the forge is running too hot then preheat it and turn off one burner.

Most forge welding failures are from burning the work, dirty work or not fluxing enough. Gas forge atmosphere's tend to be oxidizing so flux early and flux often.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 04:50:55 GMT

Thanks for the info about the nail-header. I'll try it if it ever warms up here.
I'm also working on a bellows forge. I had it all set up but found on the return stroke of the bellows, it was sucking air from the top. So now, when I re-make the bellows, how big of a hole do I need to return air into the bellows? Also I was thinking of scoring the leather for the flap so it will open easier. Will that work?
Roger  <r_lcollins at hotmail.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 14:53:14 GMT

Bruce, I can't get your (fistful of) email address to work for me. I am interrested in helping the local BS'ers with this badge. Any information that you could share would be greatly appreciated.
Tim Pilcher  <leepil at bendnet.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 16:54:29 GMT

bellows valveing
when I made the bellows for my portable set up I had a bit of trouble with the valveing to I came acrosst a easyer methad, start by drilling 6 to 8 holes about 1/2in to 3/4in is sise then cover with thin lether (chamis works well) tack the lether in place leaveing a good amount out side the holes. don't go it crasy tacking it in place just enough to keep the lether where you want it and alow for some movement. as to the sise I have found that the return valve should be about twice as large as the top valve at least that has worked so far. hope that helps MP
oh and for the record the valve design was told to me my a local smith after I was tellin him about haveing the same problem as Roger. figured I would pass it on as it worked for me
MP   <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 17:37:33 GMT

Bellows: Roger, There are single chamber and double chamber bellows.

The single type always tend to suck smoke from the fire. For this reason many were not tightly connected to the forge but blew the blast AT a hole in the side of the forge. Then air sucked back in was less likely to be hot smoke.

Single Chamber bellows were also used in pairs the two alternately blowing AT the opening in the forge. This further reduced the backflow by a sophisticated technique used in hydraulics called "switching".

Double chamber bellows fill the top chamber from the bottom with both having check valves. The upper chamber never sees suction so it doesn't suck smoke and hot air from the forge. These were a late development (invented in 1500's, becoming popular in the 1700's) and a great improvement over the single chamber type.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 18:06:53 GMT


>(invented in 1500's becoming popular in the 1700's)

I needed those dates, thank you!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 18:53:27 GMT

Thx again for Ti Moldy, its great!
AdamSmith - Monday, 01/29/01 19:08:07 GMT

I have just recently fell into a position that has given a fair bit of extra money to spend. One thing that I have always been interested in is swords. I already have a meager selection of medieval swords but I want to get one custom made for me and for it to be the best possible sword that money can buy. What kind of metals should be used and who could I go to to get one made?
Eric  <EricMoriarity at hotmail.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 21:41:16 GMT


If you can talk Grandpa Daryl Mier into making one for you, you'll be in luck!

No one in the country makes better or prettier Pattern Welded steel!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 23:00:51 GMT

Quality: Eric, Currently there are makers making swords that far exceed the mythical swords of the past in both metalurgical and artistic qualities. However the word "best" is very subjective.

The "best" for actual use, if swords were still used in mortal combat, is far different than the best from an artistic standpoint. For combat a modern alloy steel such as S-7 with special heat treatment would probably out-perform the fancy laminated steels. But what fun is there in a plain single metal blade?

Since most swords made today are collector's items and "wall hangers" the "best" is one that blends the near mythical characteristics of laminated steels (AKA Damascus) with the truely mythical and rare such as meteoric iron and the non-ferrous equivalent of Damascus, Mokume Gane'. A grip of fossil (Mammoth) ivory would add to the rarity but also make it difficult to cross international borders. This combination would then be finished to perfection and engraved with magical runes. YES, there are makers that apply a Damascus edge to a REAL metoric iron core! Jim Hrisoulas is one such maker. He has published numerous books on the subject if you are interested in studying the subject in depth. You will need to do so in order to specify exactly what you want. Centaur Forge carries his books and video tapes. We have reviews of some of them on our "bookshelf" page. Engraving is a specialty that you may have to have a second craftsperson apply.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 23:07:32 GMT

I am looking for information on dies,specifcaly roller dies
like a knurlling roller.If you can help that would be great!
Bill at expertpainting.net
bill  <expertpainting.net> - Monday, 01/29/01 23:34:56 GMT

Knurls: Bill, These are most often sold by machine tool suppliers. Here are a few folks that are listed in Thomas Register (our of hundreds).

Eagle Rock Technologies
Bath, PA

Specialty Tooling & Accessories For Milling, Turning & Grinding: Knurls, Knurling Tools, Tool Holders, Collet Fixtures, Expanding Collets.

Accu Trak Tool Corp.
Cherry Valley, MA

Assortment Of Form, Cut Type, Metric & Convex Knurls In Stock. Specials (Cylindrical). Flat Dies.

F & G Williams Machine & Tool Co., Inc.
Hatboro, PA

Diamond & Straight (knurls).

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 01/29/01 23:48:47 GMT

Kevin, On building a tumbler. I built one using a 50 gal. drum. Welded a spindle (cold roll 5/8" round) through the middle. The ends stick out on either side then "pillow" block bearings are used. A slow (15 RPM 1/3 HP) electric motor turns the whole thing with a chain and sprocket. A bit of advice: line the inside with 1/4"- 1/2" rubber or the noise will wake the dead. The "media" can be bought at a company in Los Angeles along with the solution. I don't have the name off hand but can look it up when you need it. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 02:50:51 GMT

Kevin, This is the tumbler supply information:

professional finishing
(Tumbler compounds)
Bob Mehl
16641 Roscoe Place
North Hills CA 91343
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 02:54:32 GMT

Chris, here are 2 I have frequented in the past, you may want to call about hours.

Garelick Steel Co Inc
1900 North 2nd St. Minneapolis MN 55411
(651) 451-1661

2109 Cedar Av S MN
(612) 332-0300

There was another one in N Mpls, but I can't come up with the name. Good luck.

tom slushy and icey in MN
Tom  <Don'tspam.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 15:17:15 GMT

I just looked at Kayne and son's new rolling mill, and decided I gots to get me one of those. Looks like a job within the means of a decent weldor (which I'm not, yet), but at any rate it looks doable in the home shop. Do you know how the actuating system works? I couldn't tell in the pictures, but it looked like a hydraulic jack with a foot pedal and some way to kick on the juice to a large motor with a serious reduction gearbox at the right moment. And Mr. Kayne, if you're reading this, I'm not trying to take business away from you, I just can't afford $2300 at the moment. Or in the forseeable future, for that matter. If it's a trade secret, so be it, just thought I'd ask.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 15:31:44 GMT

i have seen iron furniture with a dull black coating that
feels waxy - some of it can be scraped off with a knife- it makes it look antique and very authentic - doesn't look painted at all. How can I acheive this coating on raw iron ?
myra  <joelmn at netvision.net.il> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 16:14:34 GMT

McDonald Rolling Mill: Alan, Norm Larson sells the original Hugh McDonald plans. The Kaynes have modified the design somewhat. The plans are well worth it as they discuss WHY things are done the way they are and how to use the machine. There was an in-depth article in the September issue of Blade Magazine about it. I am working on an article for the next news reviewing the plans and the mills in general. I'm waiting for copies of the Blade article and some other details before running my article.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 16:43:58 GMT

Black Finish: Myra, there are hundreds of finishes for iron including some waxy paints. One popular finish among blacksmiths is a bee's wax finish. However, the black is from the iron oxide scale resulting from heating in a forge. The wax mearly "wets" the surface darkening the blue grey into a black. If you have metal with any bright surfaces this does not work. Wax finishes are high maintenance and not recommended for exterior work or use in a high humidity environment. This finish is made by adding solvent (turps) to melted beeswax to make a paste. Some add boiled linseed oil to the mix.

Others get more sophisticated and add driers. At this point I think folks have lost sight of the purpose. They are now formulating paint, something they are NOT qualified to do. If you want paint, buy it from the experts.

One of the better wax finishes is liquid floor wax. They are easy to apply, dry hard, economical and are formulated by experts. "Bowling Alley" wax is a good substitute for the bee's wax and solvent mix.

I've used Barbeque Black paint on ironwork and then waxed over it later. The reason for the wax is the binders in high temperature paints eventualy dry out and the paint "chalks" (black graphite). Later I converted to using the high tempperature black on the working end of fireplace tools and regular flat black on the rest.

For exterior work there is no subsitute for a three stage process of cold galvanizing, neutral primer and top finish coat.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 17:10:10 GMT

Having forged scrap for about a year, I'd like to work with some new material like A-2, 1084, 1095, 5160, etc. for different projects. The problem is all the suppliers I've found sell thin spring stock or precision ground, pricey stock. Where can I find high carbon, tool and alloy steels for forging (e.g., 1/2" rounds)? Nick
Nick  <nlb at nc.rr.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 17:53:11 GMT

Steel Alloys in Small Quantities: Nick, have WE got a deal for you!

Online Metal Sales

This is a new service and we have quite a variety tool steels. For plain carbon steels such as 1084 and 1095 you will need to go to McMaster-Carr. We have access to 5160 hex stock in small quantites too.

All new tool steel is relatively pricey stuff. Thats why so many of us deal in scrap for many things. However, most new tool steel is annealed so it is machinable but this also makes it ready to forge. Its also nice to KNOW exactly what you have. Take care forging tool steels. Warm them before putting into the forge, do not soak them, work quickly and do NOT work below the forging range. Follow the recommended heat treating procedures.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 19:30:09 GMT

could you tell me where to buy a jig for making metal scrolls for a wrought iron gate
harry maxwell  <maxwell65 at freeserve.co.uk> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 21:53:46 GMT

Thanks, Guru! I'll have to get Norm Larson's list one of these days.
Alan L  <Longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 22:19:07 GMT

Rolling mill: Alan, I had to take a look after your post. Looks useful! At 14 feet per minute feed and 2 inch diameter rollers, that is a roller speed of 27 rpm. With a 1750 rpm motor, the gearbox must be 65 to 1. It appears to be a worm gear box. Surplus center may have such a gearbox, and I'm guessing $150 for the gearbox. I suppose the powered roller runs all the time and you step on the pedal and stick your stock between the rollers to draw. Or there could be a switch built into the first part of the foot pedal travel that starts the motor. Too many motors starts per minute is bad though, so I think it runs all the time you are at a given job. The hydraulic bottle jack seems to be for setting the roller opening for different thicknesses of stock so that the foot pedal travel doesn't have to take up the full 4 inch max stock height when you are drawing 1/2" stock. Bottom roller appears to be in a pivot frame to guide it. Simple. Nice heavy construction. I wonder if half of Kayne's cost isn't liability insurance. We'll wait for the Guru's article to tell me where I missed the mark. (grin)

Now, to be *real* useful, I'd have to have a serrated roller option so I could also crush and dehull my barley grains for homebrew!

Online metal sales. What a good idea!
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 22:29:23 GMT

Scroll Jigs: Harry, The vast majority of scroll jigs are made by the smith. We have an article on our 21st Century page on bending jigs and an iForge article on laying out spirals and one on scroll ends. These jigs take as little as 15 minutes to an hour to make.

Most bender manufacturers have scroll jigs to fit their manual machines. In the latest issue of the BABA publication Artist Blacksmith a company called Multiform Machinery Ltd., Hockley, Essex - Southend(01702) 201818 looks like your best bet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 23:15:30 GMT

Barley Mill: Tony, You need a bin and chute to go with that roller!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 01/30/01 23:28:30 GMT

Iam interested in making copper fountains, animals, and other things.Could you turn me on to a catalog where I can find hammers mallets,canvas sandbags etc. Thanks
Steve Uhlig  <saudlm at aol.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 01:52:30 GMT

Dear guru
I am trying to find a catalog with tools for copper metalwork.Iam interested in mallets, sandbags, and other tools for forming copper shapes. Thanks
Steve Uhlig  <Saudlm at aol.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 01:58:11 GMT

Sheet Metal Sculpture: Steve, Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son carry specialized hammers. Centaur has a full page of stake anvils.

Bill Fiorini www.kokametalsmiths.com has a wide selection of beautiful hand made hammers and chasing tools.

Jewlery suppliers (who I have no specifics) carry varying grades of repose' media and may carry sand bags. I made my own from the leg cut off a pair of jeans. I put the sand in a heavy duty plastic zip lock bag, fitted it into the "leg" that had been sewn closed on one end then folded a seam and sewed the bag shut. I don't expect the plastic bag to take much of a beating. For heavy duty use a fine filtering material like nylon hose would work to keep the sand in after the plastic failed. Large rubber ballons would also do to replace the zip loc bag.

There are several tool demos on the iForge page for making specialized stakes and such. Don't overlook wood. Mild steel is also sufficient for special anvils, stakes and forms for non-ferrous work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 04:47:25 GMT

Tony: Sounds like a good guess to me. Picked up a 2:1 right angle gearbox at the junkyard yesterday, came off a grain auger. Gonna incorporate it into a powerhammer at some point. Also got a third of a 5 gallon bucket full of ready-made candlepan blanks! 18gauge STAINLESS, 3.75" circles, with a 7/32 hole dead center. I'm set for life on candlepans. I got lucky, the yard's getting cleaned out tomorrow.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 14:54:00 GMT

I would like to know how to become a blacksmith. I've read the guidelines and all, but I'm a little lost... it's hard to find welding courses in Brazil. I'm Brazilian 20y female, small build and I'm interested in everything from armouring and bladesmithing to jewelcrafting. As Brazilians do not have blacksmith tradditions (or shops and schools for that matter)I would probably have to import books and tools and the best I can get is a jewelcraft course. I'd appreciate your advice.
Rafaela  <the-she-crow at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 15:27:21 GMT

Contact info for Norm Larson ( Rolling Mill Plans )? Thank's, FAB ( jyblood at nwi.net ).
Fred  <jyblood at nwi.net> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 15:39:04 GMT

Guru, Odin Forge.com will be no longer be on the net as a dot com. I will be moving the site to a cheaper hosting service and will keep you informed so your links page is up to date. Thank you and keep hammerin' Brian
Brian Rognholt  <brognholt at aol.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 16:04:30 GMT

Norm Larson:
Norm Larson Books
5426 E. Hwy 246
Lompoc, CA 93436
larbooks at impulse.net

He's listing in Getting Started
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 16:26:26 GMT

CORN and other Fuels, and Moisture
Guru, gurettes, gurinos, (and anti-gurinos)
Your coments on moisture got my pea brain a churning.
I have been keeping my coal soaking in water prior to use
as this slows the burning (coal is $550 a ton, and I have to haul it 150 miles) and helps with the cokeing. I also keep dumping water on the edges of the fire to dampen it and slow the burning down even more. Am I being foolish, perhaps even fuelish? I get a damn hot fire, and the sides stay together nicely as I feed in green (wet) coal from the sides. Or should I just stick to the prop. forge?

Can I ask two questions on one post? GOOD!!!
Scrolls... I have been trying to make some S scrolls that will fit in a predetermined area (window grill) and it is a
humbling experience for me. I find myself tweaking the inflection point, trying to tighten the scrolls, squeezing and pulling them and the symetry goes all wonkie. Any thoughts on how to get the scroll jig and then the scrolls to fit, how to determine scroll length, I am getting disgusted with my lack of success!!!

And thanks for a great site, Oh yeah, I want to make Dragon swords, forged in elven fire and quenched with the tears of the buddah, where should I stare (grin).
Tim - Wednesday, 01/31/01 16:37:34 GMT

Guru, just read above about scrolls, so wish to cancel my questions on scrolls, sorry, I'll read before I type from now on, promise!
Tim - Wednesday, 01/31/01 16:44:00 GMT

Brazil: Rafaela, I'm afraid my Getting Started article was written for North America. It is a difficult subject to internationalize.

One of the most important things to remember is NOT to use preconcieved ideas about tools. Although a modern anvil is a wonderful tool with lots of features it can be replaced with a cube or heavy slab of steel. Many other tools can be made from industrial scrap. Parts off earth moving machines are heavy, often made of steel, and wonderful shapes. Use your imagination. There are many tools that you may decide to import but there are others that you will need to make. It is good to learn to make your own tools.

It IS easiest to learn from an instructor but there is no reason you cannot teach yourself from books, manuals and trial and error. The Jewelcraft course may introduce you to many metal working techniques that can be applied to other fields. Welding, brazing and soldering is almost always part of these courses. It does not hurt to take any and all metal working courses that are available.

In the U.S. women have been part of the renasaince of blacksmithing since its beginning in the 1960's. Although a minority they are well represented and accepted. This sort of acceptance may not be true where you are. Call yourself an "artist" or "sculptor". Even though the skills of a metal sculptor are almost identical to those of a blacksmith, women are accepted as artists where they may not be accepted as a welder or a machinist.

Being small is not an impediment to being a smith. It only limits the size of the hand work you can do. We ALL use machines to do heavy work.

The most important tools to have in a metal working shop when you know you will need to make many of your own tools are:
Arc Welder
The most efficient method of putting two pieces of steel together.
Oxy-Acetylene (or Oxy-Propane) Cutting Torch
The most efficient method of cutting light and heavy steel.
Angle Grinder
Used to clean up torch cuts and "carve" steel.
1/4" (7mm) Electric Drill
Needed for making small "neat" holes where a torch is too messy.
These tools also apply to modern or non-traditional blacksmithing. With these and a handfull of common mechanics tools (vise, hacksaw, wrenches. . ) you can build almost anything.

Let us know if there is any way we can help you. If you can afford to travel to the U.S. there are many blacksmithing schools that would welcome you. At the John C. Campbell school in North Carolina they even have several "women only" sessions taught by women. Contact information for schools can be found on the ABANA page. All require advance registration. There are no pre-requisites other than a willingness to learn.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 17:30:44 GMT

Scroll Tricks: Tim, When fitting a double ended scroll into a space, make two seperate "ends" starting with measured material. Cut the extra off to fit them in the space. Subtract that extra from the total you started with and you have the exact length required without trial and error.

If those spaces are all equal then try to make them as accurate as posible, +/- .032 (1mm). Then you can weld up a dummy box jig to fit the scrolls into. Make chalk marks at the contact points and then you can easily replicate the scrolls (after bending them on one of the jigs shown on our 21st Century page).

Wet Coal If it works don't worry about it. If you have a difficult time getting the coal started keep some dry. Some coal has low porosity and soaking makes little change.

You start by obtaining the Elven Fire and Tears. Those worthy enough to obtain these gifts will be granted the necessary knowledge. :-)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 17:45:47 GMT

For resurfacing an old anvil, what is the best type/grade of steel plate?
chris reed  <chris.reed at zipatoni.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 21:24:55 GMT

Greetings, can you tell me what type of metal(thickness, etc.) armour would be made out of way back in the old days? Also, we see mirror-finished swords and armor in movies, how would these items be polished in the old days without modern techniques? Thank you.
kevin - Wednesday, 01/31/01 21:51:54 GMT

Anvil Plate: Chris, None. Unless you can produce a full surface weld like the original forge weld. Welding around the edges produces a hollow sounding anvil with little rebound. Old crucible steel anvil faces were in the range of 50 to 70 point carbon and full hard. Don't do anything to the anvil unless it is useless as is.

In the new recent of BABA's Artist Blacksmith there is a photo of an OLD anvil at a Czech blacksmith conference. I estimate it to be a 300-400 year old anvil. It is of the old tall round edge church window style. In the center there is a dip of maybe 1/2" (13mm) where the top plate has aparently broken and the ends gradualy bent down into the soft wrought body. The heal beyond the hardy hole has a worn area at edge and conrner that dips 1/8" (3mm). The dips and depressions forming a graceful soft surface. This ancient anvil has EARNED its wrinkles and creases. It would be unpardonable to even suggest repairing this patriarch of anvils.

Today everyone with an anvil with a few chips or a slight worn place thinks it is "ruined" and MUST be repaired to be a "good" anvil. GROW UP! Properly used wrought and forged anvils wear, they sag, they get OLD. The ancient anvil above has outlived at least 8 to 10 generations of smiths and will outlive many more before it is retired to some museum.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 23:03:26 GMT

Im forging knife blades from spring steel.I have a treadle hammer that Im tring to use on forging blades.I made some drawing dies and I guess they work some,but the flating dies just dont seem to do much at all.What I would like to know is if you were going to use the treadle hammer to forge blades what opperations would you use it for?What kind of tools can I make for it to help with forging blades?Its was a kit I put together and was Jere Kirkpatricks desgin.I guess maybe I was expecting more out of it.I guess part of the prob.is it not having mass like an anvil.
Thanks for your help Ronnie

Ronnie  <ronnie.hicks3 at gte.net> - Wednesday, 01/31/01 23:18:16 GMT

Guru, thanks for the tips on scrolls and yes, The wet coal works well and I will keep doing it.

Now, about them #*&#scrolls! I am trying (and repeatedly failing) to put a double ended (S) scroll into a box, I built the box jig, and drew out the scroll just like the guy did on the Iforge (I actually did it prior to reading the iforge, does that make me psychic (or just psycho?). I and I built a scroll jig (several in fact, discovering that the jig must be smaller than the actual scroll (cause it wraps around it...clever huh? I can get the scroll to fit in the narrow way at both ends, but it is too short, or I can get it to fit the long way, but it is too fat! I will try the idea for hitting only one end at a time. I seem to have a lot of problems at the point of inflection.

Related question, I wonder if anyone is using cad to get these scrolls, It seems that a logarithmic (spelling?) scroll is the one to use, Archemedies and that other one (hyper or para bolic or some such greek techno-babble) unwrap too fast. I have turbocad, but have never fired it uip. Adobe illustrator's scrolls are the golden mean type and are totally unacceptable at this end. Anyway, thanks for the info, I am forging ahead, going at it hammer and tongs, striking while the iron is hot, and trying not to have too many irons in the fire! Tim in central orygun
Tim - Wednesday, 01/31/01 23:34:34 GMT

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