WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

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 16 - 22, 2002 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I would like to know if you have any information on cryogenic tempering with dry ice?
   turkey tom - Wednesday, 01/16/02 04:44:54 GMT

What a great archive of information! I wonder if you can help me?
I've been working with small bits of iron for a while and am now venturing into silver and copper. With copper, I've been trying to braze a copper box using a oxy-propane torch and its never taking. Is this not hot enough for copper? Do I need a different flux than a brazing rod?

   emeraldfire - Wednesday, 01/16/02 13:27:46 GMT

A book which I like is, "Practical Metallurgy and Materials of Industry" by John Neely. I think the last printing was 1984.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/16/02 15:00:57 GMT

Brazing Copper: Emeraldfire, an oxy-propane torch should do it. What are you using for flux? I use borax or borax coated brazing rods on copper just like brazing iron or steel. You also need to be careful not to run an oxidizing flame. I've found oxy-propane harder to adjust in this regard. With a highly oxidizing flame OR working too close to the inner cone the copper will oxidize and the braze will not stick. You need a large enough tip to create a soft flame as well as sufficent BTU to do the job. Practice on scrap until you get the right balance.

Oxy-acetylene is better for this type work due to the slightly hotter flame but more so for the control of the flame mixture.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 16:39:49 GMT

I must have miss typed. I did get the lot of tools for $50. I went back and bought a belt driven forge blower for $20.

For all the rest of you guys, my wife stuble on to this deal while we were looking at houses last weekend. She stopped to ask a someone a couple houses down from the house we were looking at if he would mind living next to a blacksmith. He said NO and that he had some blacksmiths tools he wanted to sell. Thomas is right-Talk to as many people as possible, you never can tell what you will find.
By the way, the man I bought the tools from has a large floor model drill press made by W. E.&J Barnes and Co. Rockford Il. for sale. The tag on the machine has "Peerless" and the motor info on it. It has a 1 hp, single phase motor (I think) and has be fitted with an automotive trassmission to gear it down. The fellow says he has drilled 2" diameter holes with it. He wants $300 for it. If any one is interested send me an e-mail.
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 01/16/02 17:30:03 GMT

Alan, thank you for the book referance. I will look for that book and others on the subject at the library. I looked in a book I have called The Modern Gas Turbine, by R. Tom Sawyer, published in 1947. This book covers from Hero's Gas Turbine in 130 B.C., to exhaust driven centrifugal blowers for diesels and airplane engines and all the way to VERY large turbine engines used for the main propulsion trains(around 4,000 h.p.). They describe the dynamics of a fan prety well.

Guru and Tony,

Thanks for all the help! I am going to read a whole lot during the construction of the device. I have found that a great way of finding problems is to just try making it.

Dnager is on e of the first things that I thought of when designing this fan. I have changed the vane design a bit. Now there will be three layers of vanes. Six at the i.d. of the fan, then a row of 12 at the middle diameter, then 24 at the o.d.. Each vane will be at the angle of 45 degrees. The 12 will be spaced with two in the space between each two of the six, same with the 24. The blades are going to be made out of some "fiber wood", the stuff looks like fine wood fibers glued together with a industrial adhesive, it is 3/4" thick. The side plates will be made out of 3/4" thick ply wood are thicker. I will drill two holes in each vane, about 1" from the edge. This hole will go through both of the side plates! Then I will use a bolt through each hole. So not only will each vane have two bolts holding them, they will all be held by the pressing of the side plates against their edges.

Besides all of that, there will be a troth measuring about 12" wide and 10" tall, conected to the volute that will go around the outer rim of the fan. This would capture any flying pieces.

The designs for the centrifugal fans of diesels are very interisting. Most of them are a one piece fan made of two side plated, about 20 some vanes each of which going perfectly straight from the inside to the outside. These fans spin at 100,000 rpm or greater and work on the concept of dynamic force rather that the friction of a curved blade propeling the air. All of the actual fan blowers had a slightly curved to an agressive curve. That at the i.d. started at full width which it maintained until 1/3 of the way to the o.d. from here the vanes would taper down to 1/3 of the width.

I am going to make one around the 3' diameter and one around 1'6" and see how different they operate. It should be fun.

Again thanks for the refernces, warnings and suggestions.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 01/16/02 18:46:00 GMT

Is there anything that burns hotter than coal or can anything be added to coal to create a hotter fire for something such as steel?
   Mike - Wednesday, 01/16/02 19:51:15 GMT

High Speeds: The speed (RPM) warning Tony gave was in reference to material strength. Flywheels and large rotating parts must be carefully designed if running at high speed. "High Speed" may not be as fast as you would think.
A common cast iron flywheel 3 feet in diameter is limited to about 600 RPM (with a safety factor). At too high a speed the rim of the wheel has centrifugal forces on it sufficient to rip the wheel apart. Force and strength of material calculations are very important. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK has a good section on flywheels.

The limits of the strength of materials is why flywheels don't make good energy storage devices.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 19:54:05 GMT

Barnes Drill Press: That's a classic and the price is right. Every blacksmith needs one!
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 19:55:53 GMT

HOT Fires: Mike, A blown coal or charcoal fire will melt or even burn steel (any alloy including stainless). Temperatures slightly over 3,000°F are possible. There are other metals that need higher temperatures such as Platinium or Tungsten but not iron or steel.

An Oxy-acetyene torch reaches 5,900°F, propane 2,950°F in free air and 5,650°F with pure oxygen. Add pure oxygen to your coal fire and you will see a similar difference.

Normaly the smith needs high BTU (lots of heat) rather than higher temperatures.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 20:06:32 GMT

Flywheels: Spinning parts can store a tremendous amount of energy. If you have ever tried to teach someone to drive a stick: that neck snapping action as he pops the clutch is the energy in the engine's flywheel acting on 3000# of automobile
   adam - Wednesday, 01/16/02 20:28:12 GMT

what are the temps for melting gold, silver, and steel?
   Bobbie - Wednesday, 01/16/02 21:02:55 GMT

Au 19.3 g/cm3 melts 1,945°F

Ag 10.42 g/cm3 melts 1,761°F

Fe 7.85 g/cm3 melts 2,750°F

Steel, carbon melts 2,500°F

Alloys of each have different melting points.

   - guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 23:09:03 GMT

Hello all, I am hoping that someone can help me research the construction of a mid 17th century field forge. There are plenty of pictures available but no info on what they were made of or how they stripped down to fit on a baggage cart. Also on the point of making swords I have made 25+ so far for re-enactment purposes which take one hell of a battering and found them far easier to produce than to scarf weld two pieces of mild steel together. If anyone decides they want to make a sword the first question they should ask themselfs is why? As a sword fight instuctor I decided to make them so young students could fight without spending a small fortune on badly made but oh so shiney blades. All my blades are made from En 45 spring steel blanks. I buy all my steel for blades new, as old leaf springs may have hairline cracks and imperfections. Many hours were spent making the various fullering tools to get the desired blade profiles and plenty of practice hammering. Finally I send all my blades off to be profesionally hardened and tempered to a rockwell C 51 (costs less than 75pence a kilo) as if you intend to fight with a blade you must take into consideration the safety of yourself and others. Nothing worse than your opponents badly tempered blade shatering during a fight as the jagged scar under my left eye will testify. (Sadly, two people in the UK, have died when broken blades have cut major arterys)
   Alex Compiani - Thursday, 01/17/02 01:07:52 GMT


Contact me e-mail, and I'll help you. I have a copy of the TREATISE OF ARTILLERY written in 1780 by John Muller of the UK. It includes pictures, specs, and commentary.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 01/17/02 01:58:18 GMT

I am fairly new to blacksmithing. Have started a small shop, with a gas forge and the basic set. My interest is furniture making, I have gotten ok at general scroll work and jigs for scrolls. The one thing that is hard for me is making a good circle (ex. a 20" ID circle out of 1/2" round bar stock). I have made jigs that are a half circles, (which I end up with some flat spots), and generally bad jigs, I do not end up with a ie 20" ID. I try to allow for a little spring back. Just searching for some tips.
   Mac - Thursday, 01/17/02 03:02:27 GMT

MAC - Check out the junkyard for old truck rims, especially the type using a safety ring. Many of these are in the 18" to 22" diameter range and should make good jigs for bending round bar. Also, cutoffs of appropriately sized pipe from the scrapyard or steel fabricators. Or build a crude set of forming rolls from three pieces of 2" pipe in a steel, or even wood, bracket. 1/2" isn't that difficult to bend cold with rolls. On two of the pipe rollers, a couple of pieces of 1/2" X 1/8" flat bar wrapped around and brazed or welded about 1/4" apart will make a crude but effective guideway for the round stock. Set those two rollers about 4" apart center-to-center, and make the third roller adjustable above and between them, with a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper spray-cemented on it for traction and you should be able to roll round bar hoops all day long. Shade-tree engineering at its lowest, but it does work.
   vicopper - Thursday, 01/17/02 03:53:21 GMT

Alex, Thanks for your testimonial on poorly made swords. Better soft than sorry.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 03:56:50 GMT

Finally got my bandsaw wheels aligned in the same plane, and guess what, blade tracks nicely. Wheels were off a good 1/4 in. and no adjustment would fix it. Had to remove the top casting off the base and move it over 3/8 in. Now I have some adjustment both ways. Thanks to all for the advice.

Now one (hopefully)last question while i'm finishing assembly of this saw. When I took this saw apart to clean everything, the lower wheel tire was badly imbedded with metal chips. I have put new tires on both wheels now, and bought a new brush that installs against the bottom wheel. I suspect this brush will not really keep the bottom wheel clean. This saw has a blower on top of the table to blow away chips. Do you think connecting this blower to a nozzle below the table blowing across the blade surfaces would keep the chips from falling down into the bottom wheel? Or, is this really not a problem with vertical bandsaws?

Now, to see if my name is in blue!
   AZDoug - Thursday, 01/17/02 04:03:32 GMT

Circles: Mac, These are always a problem. Even when rolled it is difficult to get a true circle. When rolling rings from flat bar that are welded most shops put the completed ring back in the rolls and roll it again to take out the irregularities.

When bending on jigs you have to use a full round OR do it a segment at a time. In either case there must be some extra on both ends to cut off the flats. Normaly rings are bent as a coil from a full bar and then cut out of the coil so there is only two pieces of waste for the number of rings made from one bar. To avoid flat ends you can bend hot OR dress the ends on the anvil.

Radius templates cut from plywood or sheet metal help. Use these to check the curve and take out irregularities. You can do it by eye but it is tough to see where to hit it when looking on edge. Use chalk to mark the area to be worked.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 04:06:07 GMT

Well, my name is still not blue. Tried, just now, to go to the slack-tub pub, would not let me in -- said registered users only. I was able to enter the members page though. what's up?

   AZDoug - Thursday, 01/17/02 04:12:27 GMT

Doug? Please send me a mail with your login and password. I can't find your record and the mail from the above link bounced.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 04:49:39 GMT

I found your CSI record but it has the same e-mail address that just bounced. Earthlink says you don't exist. . . but what do they know?
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:03:04 GMT

How do you go about testing the Ron REIL burner or for that matter lighting them for the first time???
   Jason - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:13:51 GMT

Testing: Jason, A long match, a striker, a wad of paper in the forge. . . .

Set initial gas pressure to about 5 psi, crack the valve and light the burner. If it "waffles" (runs and then burns in the burner) increase the gas pressure. If the flame leaps off the burner or burns outside the forge more than in then reduce the pressure.

Now performance testing is a different thing. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:23:19 GMT

Jason, there is a howto section on Ron's web page.
Will tell you how to tune the burner so it will work well.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:23:47 GMT

I'm new at blacksmithing and am going to try to have my propane forge going inthe next while. Does anyone know what size tip to use on the pipe nipple instead of the #60 hole??( Ron REIL's ) burner again??
   Jason - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:30:12 GMT

My uncle introduced me to blacksmithing and knifemaking a while ago. I looked on the internet for some blacksmithing tools and I was completly overwhelmed with everything. Can anyone mail me with information and maybe a tool list or something on the very basics of blacksmithing? It would be of great help. Thanks
   Jake - Thursday, 01/17/02 06:54:32 GMT

Yup lots of info. At teh top of this page there is a pull down menu. Go to getting started. One of the better and consice start spots you can us. read it. Then come and join us in the
Slack-Tub Pub. That is a live area. Usually a few folks are on.
Or post questions here. Also you can email me direct if you wish. There are a lot of helpfull folks here on Guru's web page.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/17/02 07:56:32 GMT

Free Blacksmithing books on the Web.
The price is right. ("free").
Downloading the books is legal. The copyright ran out long ago. (putting the books into the "public domain".)

1)Blacksmithing A Manual For Use In School And Shop, by Selvidge & Alton. C.1925. 158 pages.
At http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/chla/chla-cgi?notisid=ABN5768 After you get to the site Look at the bottom of the page, left side for the word "search". click on it and hit the enter button on your keyboard. Another page comes up. Type the phrase blacksmithing; a manual* in the search box, and hit enter and the book will come up.

2) Blacksmithing by James A. Drew C. 1935. 122 pages.
type in the same address as above, select search as above then type in blacksmithing hit enter. You get a phrase "102 matches in 20 books" . Click on that phrase and a list comes up search for "Drew" and click on it and the book comes up.

3) the third site gets you a U.S. War Department Manual EM 862, Farm Shop Practice. This book has a very good chapter on blacksmithing (chapter 18), 47 pages long.
The web address is http:www.metalwebnews.com/blacksmith/farmshop.html
The first book was a text for schools and farm schools in the 1920's. Most of the text is still relevent today.
The second book is similar to the first, but with a greater emphasis on farm blacksmithing.
Cornell U. Agricultural library scanned these books because the original texts were deteriorating due to the acid in the paper. The acid causes slow oxidation, the paper turns yellow and brittle and eventually disintegrates. Books printed after about 1860 are madewith paper that was produced by Sulfide digestion of the lignin in wood chips. Previously paper was made from pulped rag fiber and is not acidic. Books printed prior to about 1860, made from rag fiber paper, can last for hundreds of years without deterioration.
Let me list one more book on general machine tools.
4) The fourth site gets you to a big/long book on the care and use of machine tools. The title is, Fundamentals Of Machine Tools U.S. Army Training Circular TC 9-524.
Type in http://www.adtdl.army.mil/cgi-bin/atdl.dll/tc/9-524/toc.htm
Perhaps these web references can be added to the "getting started in blacksmithing" section on this site.
Those titles should provide good winter evening reading for some of the fraternity. Enjoy! The best to all in 2002 from the snowy (finally), Great White North. SLAG.
   Slag - Thursday, 01/17/02 08:02:34 GMT

Do you know how to forge a double-bitted axe, preferably in the composite style? Thanks
   Adam O - Thursday, 01/17/02 08:41:43 GMT

Adam O, A student and I made one some time ago. He wanted to do it in a pristine fashion, so I made up the procedure as we went. A drift is made first out of maybe a leaf spring; it is a "long oval" in section, about 5/8" where thickest and 3" wide. There's a 3/16" radius either end, and it's about 10" long. Taper each end in width and thickness, so that it releases from the axe head when driven thro'. We found some freight wagon tire iron, 1/2"x4", for the body of the axe, not the best quality, but it worked. A guy could use mild steel. We reduced it to about 7/16"x3 1/2". We thinned the eye areas on the two "slabs" and fagot welded them together, one end at a time. We used two coal forges, hollered at each other about our welding heats, ran together to an anvil, placed mid-point. Each end took more than one heat, and we double-struck for the finish heats. We drifted the eye to check the weld at a *bright heat*. If the weld splits open, re-weld.

We split the bit-ends with a hot cut and tapered each half of the split for a cleft (bird's mouth) weld. The tapers are really "simple scarfs". Use the leg vise to hold when splitting. To "lay the steel" bit in, forge it wedge shaped and slightly oversized, especially re the width of the blade. Forge weld with backing-up blows (wearing goggles); then, hit on the flat from the center to each side. It will probably take more than one heat. Keep the high carbon bit at a sweating (non-sparking) heat and less, or it will break or crumble.

You'll need to work out your own calculations for length and the amount of draw when thinning the blade. The total length for the finished blade will be 10 1/2" to 11". A final drifting may become necessary.

It was a booger-bear, but we did it. There is a lot of scale loss. Ernst Schwarzkopf admonishes, "Always leave a finishing allowance".
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/17/02 14:49:35 GMT

I keep a small hand held propane tank with the trigger type of Burnz-o-matic tip on it for lighting my forge. Many times my forge will be on, off many times in a day. I get much less "whooopmh" this way. I find this much better that the sparkies that came with the forge.
   - Pete-Raven - Thursday, 01/17/02 14:56:14 GMT

What's wrong with a nice big whoomph when lighting the gas forge? It lets you know the forge is working and scares the heck out of the cats. Also, you dont need to shave your forearms
   adam - Thursday, 01/17/02 15:21:30 GMT

Shaving forearms . . . hmmm, that would be a timesave ;-)}
   Escher - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:04:13 GMT

Whoomph. . what eyebrows and eyelashes?

The instructions given for lighting old gas and oil forges was to "light an oil soaked rag, toss into forge. . ." The fun part is when the fireball blows out of the forge and chases you around the shop. . . Its the toes stubed on swage blocks and bruised forehead from hitting the anvil when you ducked that hurts!

Ah. . did anyone read the "inherently dangerous" part of our disclaimer?

My big forge has an automatic dwell sequence that turns it on and off. The nice big whoomph when you don't expect it can realy get your heart going!
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:15:06 GMT

Keeping your gas forge lit: Some folks have trouble keeping their gas forges lit until they get a bright heat. The trick is to leave some debris in the forge. Don't sweep out those crumbs of refractory. Those little pieces heat quickly and the glow helps keep the forge burning until the whole is hot. This is one of those cases where you can be TOO clean!
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:24:39 GMT

pieces of refractory: I have found the same thing. I break up a fire brick and spread the pieces over the floor of my forge - seems to get hot much quicker and it seems to heat the steel faster too. I renew the floor whenever the borax eats away too much of the firebrick.

iForge Demo #126: Lovely fireplace grate! I was wondering about threaded parts in the fire? In particular what happens to a threaded rod under tension when it gets red hot?
   adam - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:43:23 GMT


Thanks for all the great links. However, just in case anybody has the same problem I did, your third link to the "farm shop" pages has been changed. It's now:


   Dreamer - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:58:50 GMT

guru,I am a newbie to smithing,but have worked a little with arc welding and some gas(acet/ o2)and l do fabricate items . One of my preasent projects is a spring cli[p for a chain link gate.It broke above the old weld and needs repair and temporing to work as a spring lever for the gate. Would you tell me the process from welding the crack, propper quenching ,hardening and temporing the one inch strapping material that is used 1/16th thick.I hope i have explained myself well enough? Thank You John FLH
   john flh - Thursday, 01/17/02 19:14:22 GMT

Dear Guru(s),

This forum appears to be a wealth of information and I have a question or two that I am sure fits well within the calibur of your expertise. Sword making:
(1) I can make a blade, however my question is what is the best way to attach it to a hilt? The sword I have in mind is depicted in drawings of the sword of King Solomon, appearing as two cresent moons, like so: =)(------
please forgive the ascii but that is the jist of it. Any suggestions regarding attaching the hilt or if its one piece? Please let me know.

Thank you,
PS if it matters this design is to be made of the purest copper one can find. Ultimately it would be nice to secure Ivory or ceramic for the handle (not at this time though). Obviously this is not a fighting instrament.
   nagual - Thursday, 01/17/02 19:28:38 GMT

Repair John, Your question covers many subjects too complicated to answer here. See our iForge demo on forge welding and our FAQ on Heat Treating (linked on the 21st Century page).

In general broken springs should be replaced, not repaired. Welds are always of a different carbon content and consistancy from the surounding metal. If a spring is highly stressed a weld is very likely to fail. It sounds like the one you have has failed more than once already.

Springs can be made of almost any type of steel depending on the design of the spring. Long low stress springs can be made of mild steel and heat treating is not critical. However, highly stressed springs are made of medium and high carbon steel and require careful heat treatment. The specifics of the heat treatment depend on the type of steel. If the part is highly stressed and requires heat treatment it is best to start with new steel of a known type.

I suspect you have a low stress mild steel spring. But if it has failed in the past it should be replaced. Making an all new part of new steel would be best.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 19:39:17 GMT

Copper Sword Nagual, The blade of a sword extends through the grip all the way to the pommel. A slight reduction in width produces a shoulder and a tang (look at the tang on a file). The shoulder supports the guard which is pierced to fit over the tang. The grip is either drilled to fit over the tang or is wrapped around the tang. The pommel holds everything from sliding off. It is either threaded on OR the end of the tang is upset (swelled) and headed by hammering to prevent the close fitting pommel from sliding off. There is usualy a slight shoulder to position the pommel. The end of the hole should be countersunk (like for a flat head screw) when the tang is to be upset so that there is sufficient material to hold the parts in place.

Take a close look at any knife with a guard and pommel to see how it is assembled.

In modern custom knifemakeing the guard is silver soldered to the blade to make it secure. In any case it should be a very tight accurate fit. Carefull filing and fitting to the point where you cannot see a joint is the mark of a quality job.

In modern knifemakeing the grips are bedded on with epoxy. Between the silver solder and the epoxy modern methods produce a better assembly than the methods of the past.

The plastic called Corian is used as an ivory substitute in modern musical instruments. It has the color and soft consistancy of ivory bud does not shrink and crack.

Due to the weakness of copper from absorbing oxygen when melted common electrical buss bar and wire is made from very pure oxygen free copper. Pure copper was rarely used except for decorative purposes. Ancient swords were made from bronze (a copper tin alloy). They were rough cast to shape then hammered to thin and work harden the edges. Low tin bronzes are almost the same color as pure copper. Consider old (pre 1983) "copper" pennies. These were bronze, not pure copper.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 20:09:02 GMT

Um, Slag, if 1935 is the correct date for the Drew book, it is still in copyright. Everything since 1928 (except stuff specifically in the public domain, like government documents) is still in copyright and will be 'till 2029. . . Unless Disney gets 'em to extend the life of a copyright AGAIN. . . Of course this makes sort of a dog-in-the-manger situation: Unlocatable copyright heirs, most of whom don't even know the work exists, preventing work's reissue because they can't be found to get permission to reissue and the potential statutary damages far exceed the potential profits in the re-issue. . .
   John Lowther - Thursday, 01/17/02 20:15:49 GMT

Guru, Thanks for the info and direction, went to i forge and also 21fst century and understand much better,just got to try it!New stock one inch strapping material 1/16th in thick cold rolled steel would be much better,forgot about the welded area being different materials. I do have a double question in the area of quenching,I have read of the use of peanut oil and transmission oil (lt wt.say 10 wt)?One, is this good for this work and almost a separate question how are the pieces that i make out of cold rolled steel protected from the outer elements say rust!I know it may be a foolish quetion but have to ask. Is it the quenching process ( say in oil) that protects the metal, Or some other chemical.? Thanks again for your patience. John FLH
   john flh - Thursday, 01/17/02 20:37:21 GMT

John flh. You might be making this more complicated than need be. If it is cold or hot rolled mild steel, it probably has about 18 hundreths to 25 hundreths of one percent carbon. Don't quench and don't temper. Just hammer on it cold a little to work-harden it. That should put enough spring in it. Modern auto springs are silicon/mangenese steel with about 60 hundreths of one percent carbon. If you use that and forge it out, just let it air cool. It will spring plenty for gate closure.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/17/02 21:01:29 GMT

Copyrights I've spent many hours tracking down copyrights on old books and many that are in reprint seem to be a questionable gamble to me. Just because the author is dead doesn't clear up the issue.

On one book that I REALLY wanted to use on anvilfire the copyright was owned by a textbook publisher who had gone out of business in the 1960's, the book last published under the author's name in the 1950's. I finally started calling people with the same last name as the publisher in the same small midwestern town. On the second call I reached the grandson of the publisher. "Oh, yeah, all that was all sold to McGraw-Hill". . . Turns out the book is still published in a much updated version, most of the beautiful old ink drawings replaced with new versions or photographs.

I did a LOT of searching for that book by title and or author, including on the LOC site and McGraw-Hill hadn't popped up.

What has always confused me is who owns those original drawings when the original copyright DOES run out? The current 9th Edition doesn't refer to the original author or publisher except for the 1943 and 1947 copyright dates. .

Now, there is no way I would want to do anything to get in a fight with McGraw-Hill. . I KNOW who would lose! But it sure would be nice to reprint that 1st Edition.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 22:29:26 GMT

I'm interested in any information about using hydraulic presses for forging steel, not huge industrial machines but something for the home workshop.
   chip - Thursday, 01/17/02 22:31:02 GMT

Hi Guru,
Thank you. All I have is the oxy propane for now. And I've been using the paste flux that I use with silver, or I tried the coated flux rod that I use with small iron. Neither really worked. Maybe I need to work with thinner copper for now?
   emeralgfire - Thursday, 01/17/02 23:17:38 GMT

Where can I buy blanks for rose petals? I saw In one of the demo's on making roses that these were available, but have not been able to locate anyone who sales them.
   Gary Nunn - Thursday, 01/17/02 23:50:02 GMT

FLUX: Emeralgfire, plain old 20 Mule Team Borax is what you need. You can find it a major grocery stores in the US.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 00:04:53 GMT

Rose Blanks Gary, Try Jere Kirkpatricks Valley Forge and Welding.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 00:05:41 GMT

Emeralgfire, Mcmaster Carr lists silver/copper/phosphorus brazing rod reccomended for joining CU/CU. Not too pricey either......Bob
   bbeck - Friday, 01/18/02 00:11:32 GMT

Hydraulic Press: Chip, even for small forging work hydraulics need lots of HP. 15HP is typical and 10HP the smallest practical pump. The problem is NOT pressure. Its having both pressure AND the necessary volume to move the cylinder before the steel cools. The combination means lots of HP.

I haven't checked in a while but Don Fogg (see our links page) used to have some information on hydraulic forging presses and information on a book on the same.

Mechanical hammers are the most efficient forging machines when HP is an issue. Air hammers are nice but require 3 to 5 times more HP to do the same job and hydraulics are the most HP intensive.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 00:15:20 GMT

Today was my first day using a coal forge, and I wanted to ask a few questions regarding coal. The coal that forms into lighter pourous pieces, is this coke? And will coke actually turn into ash eventually? I have tried to read up on proper fire making with coal, but I'm still not sure what's going on with it. Could someone explain this for me?
   Gary Nunn - Friday, 01/18/02 00:30:14 GMT

Coal Fire Gary, Yes, and yes.

Coke is coal that the volatiles have been cooked out. It is pure carbon and a little ash (the inorganics).

The natural progression of a bituminous coal fire is, fresh coal, melting and volatiles burning off creating smoke and flame, coke burning and clear and leaving ash. As you feed coal to the fire from the outside it progresses to the center where the coke burns the hottest.

Fire tending means constantly raking the coal to the center as the coal is consumed. When the fire gets tired you heap fresh coal on top of the center of the fire and wait for it to coke down with no or little blast. After it cokes down some you restart the blast and go back to work. If you keep the coal piled high enough around the edges of the fire you can avoid restarts.

The above varies with the grade of coal and size of forge.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 00:55:55 GMT

I have a coal forge and have lined it with clay, but the clay cracks after use. Do you know of a certain type of clay that might withstand the heat without cracking. I have found serval good articles on projects and other information, but i have really been wondering about the clay lining process.
   Buz Whiteday - Friday, 01/18/02 03:00:07 GMT

Gary, one thing I would like to add to Guru's words on coal fires......
If you add a lot of green coal(ie new fire or making coke) be very carefull. Methane is one of teh gasses released. Methane is explosive and so if you have no air blast(flow) you could develope a pocket of methane. then when you add air later BOOM!!!!!!
I speak from experiecnce. We had a great bellows explode just this way. methane being lighter than air rose and filled the bellows then some how or another a spark was introduced. We found screws from this bellows completly imbedded in a heavy timber wall across the shop(35 feet). So if adding coal or starting a new fire insure a slight air blast, also I pole a small 'flame' hole in the top and insure flames are present before I slow the air down.... flames = no standing methane which = no need to clean shorts......
   Ralph - Friday, 01/18/02 04:18:47 GMT

Drats! I made a longish post and I somehow made it dissappear....
when burning green coal or coking coal, be sure to have some air flow. Methane in one of the gasses released. Methane is explosive. If you have no air flow methane can and will build up. Once air is added you will get an explosion. It might just be a small whoosh or pop, or it could be catastrophic.
We had a great bellows explode. Screws where found completly immbedded into a heavy timber wall 35 feet away.
   Ralph - Friday, 01/18/02 04:42:53 GMT

sheepish grin.. it seems it did show up.........
   Ralph - Friday, 01/18/02 04:44:06 GMT

Copper is funny stuff. It really conducts heat away from the joint fast...usually it needs to be preheated...on the other hand it is easy to overheat.
The process is also sensative to any hint of oxide or oil, even fingerprint oil. Don't use steel wool to clean it, it has oil in it to keep it from rusting
Degrease and pickle in HCL.
On really cantankerous joints, "tin" ( coat with solder) each side separately first. Then assemble the piece and slowly, well fluxed, raise the heat in both pieces equally till it fuses.
If this works for some reason or other, send the Guru a nickle.
Gary, Jere carries them
Buz...generally the thermal stress makes the clay crack, but try Barnard clay..it is pretty high temp.
Ralph, You hit the post-man.
   - Pete F - Friday, 01/18/02 05:17:27 GMT

Buz, I've been using Portland cement for hearth linings for 38 years. I mix about one part Portland to two and one half parts sand. It won't last forever, but is easily replaced or repaired. Beats the heck out of clay in terms of breakage.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/18/02 05:21:09 GMT

clay in the forge: I never did, and perhaps I never will,
has worked fine for me for the past 20 years, no problems at all, easier to get out the clinkers too.
   Stefan - Friday, 01/18/02 07:00:03 GMT

Guru, I have a question of what it is that protects the metal after it is worked and made into something.Aside from paint, i prefer the natural look of the metal once it is done,is it coated with a chemical mixture or is it in the quenching process or quenchent that is used? Thanks Again
   johnFLH - Friday, 01/18/02 15:11:18 GMT

Protection JohnFLH, Besides paint? Plating, Hot dip galvanizing. . . All, including paint require clean metal to start (see my article on corrosion on the 21st Century page). Oxide finishes like gun blueing are a surface to hold oil and are too thin to be protection outdoors. Wax finishes are indoor finishes that must be renewed on a regular basis. The "home made" blacksmiths recipes are amature paint formulations. So why not use inexpensive professional formulations with some science behind them?

For exterior use: Clean the metal by sandblasting or chemical methods, apply a thin coat of zinc cold galvanizing, seal that with a neutral primer (red oxide) and then apply your top coat.

Applied slopplily over dirty iron the above is a waste of time and money. Done correctly it will hold up for decades without repair. If used near the ocean or salt lakes you need to start with hot dip galvanizing, etch or use an etching primer, then the top coat.

For interior use you can get away with a lot less depending on the climate. But if the steel has coal deposits or welding flux (arc or otherwise) on it, these are hydroscopic (absorb water from the air) and the the result is rust even if the work is painted. So you must start with a clean surface. Tight scale is OK if you are going to apply a wax or oil finish as the need the scale to hold them.

The "natural" condition for iron is RUST, rusted to dust.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 15:31:03 GMT

Browne Finish: This is the natural finish that is on most old tools (pre chrome plating era) in our shops. With occasional oiling it holds up well indoors. It is also one of the earliest gun finishes and was carefully applied. It is RUST. On early guns the finish was created by controlled rusting, removing loose rust dust and repeating until there was a perfect even coating. Then the part was oiled. The tools in our shops have a less controlled finish. They rusted, and were handled or oiled and then they rusted again. Both continue to rust but it doesn't show up against a background of rust. If used regularly our hands oil the new rust while removing the loose rust producing that nice graceful old look. . . but it is rust all the same.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 16:04:02 GMT

At what temperature does steel fail?
   D Bernard - Friday, 01/18/02 16:31:16 GMT

Failure: D Bernard, What do you mean fail? What type of steel? What loading conditions?

IF the steel depends on hardness after tempering any temperature above the tempering point reduces its hardness and it could "fail" under normal use. This could be anywhere from 450°F to 1450°F. Since the change in hardness is permanent then heat is failure in this case.

IF the steel depends on its stiffness as in a structural member and is common structural steel then any heat above 450°F has a serious effect. How much load is on the steel is a factor. But even without external load steel beams sag some under their own weight. Any increase in temperature above 500°F increases sag.

Tensile strength drops precipitously over 600°F to 1/2 at 900°F and 1/4 at 1200°F. Yeild strength drops steadily to to 1/2 at 1000°F and 1/4 at 1200°F.

Tool Engineers Handbook, American Society of Tool Engineers, 1949, McGraw-Hill.

The problem is that even with a large safety factor any increase in load ALWAYS causes some sag. And so does any increase in temperature. Fire safety people will tell you that a wood building is stronger and less likely to collapse than a steel building. Wood gets stronger as it is heated while steel immediately gets weaker.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 17:27:18 GMT

Dear Guru
I am very interested in the art of blacksmithing. I would like to learn the art in order to use up the spare time which i have had during enrolment at college. I am a student in the UK. After watching Lord Of The Rings and reading it i would much like to make some of the swords used in the film. I know i can buy the swords but i do not have the money and would feel it more of an acheivement if i made them myself. Could you please give me the guide lines to making these swords please.

PS: i theink your site is great, the best i have seen of its kind so far.
   sam saad - Friday, 01/18/02 19:57:44 GMT

Sam, Start at the beginning. See our Getting Started article for references, our Plans page and 21st Century page for do-it-yourself tools. When you have the tools and some basic skills ask again about swords. Meanwhile if you search our archives you will find posts about swords (or why or why not make them) almost every week.
   - guru - Friday, 01/18/02 20:06:14 GMT

Strength of Steel at Temperature:

Clarification. Structural steel actually has higher "strength" at 400 F than it does at room temperature by quite a bit. 130%. The half strong at 900 degrees is correct as the strength does drop off after about 450 degrees.

The modulus of elasticity does start dropping immediately with rising temperature, so deflection, or sag, does increase immediately with rising temperature. Except for the bcc to fcc crystal structure change at 1670 F where it spikes up a bit.

Wrought iron is strongest at about 570 degrees F. Cast iron starts weakening slowly at 400 degrees F
   Tony - Friday, 01/18/02 21:10:59 GMT

I took up knife making about 1 1/2 yrs ago so I would have
trade goods at the rendvous I attend.Iam still learning the
art and wuold like to know where to find information on dry
ice tempering.
Tom Turkey
   Tom Turkey - Friday, 01/18/02 22:33:05 GMT

Cryogenics: Tom, not all steels are improved by cryogenic treatment. It is also part of a complete heat treatment not a replacement.

Dry ice is solid at -108.76°F (-78.2°C). Most cryogenic treatments need colder temperatures and use liquid nitrogen at -328°F (-200°C). So don't believe those pushing products treated in dry ice. They may be blowing CO2 up your shorts. . .

From the ASM page:
Cryogenics: The Racer’s Edge: Cryogenic treatment of metal parts is performed at temperatures below –185°C (–300°F). If done correctly, it causes permanent changes in the material that can enhance wear resistance. This article concentrates on applications in race cars and other performance vehicles. Roger Schiradelly and Frederick J. Diekman

Cryogenic Treatment of Tool Steels; Two mechanisms are involved during cryogenic treatment of AISI D2: transformation of retained austenite and low-temperature conditioning of martensite. The former leads to an increase in hardness (and reduction in toughness), while the latter boosts wear resistance (and enhances toughness). You can choose the results you want by proper selection of the austenitizing treatment.

ASM Also sells a book titled Cryogenics, for $36.95. I would start there.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 00:03:36 GMT

Pete F,thanks for the response. What is Barnard clay and do you know where I can find some.
   Buz Whiteday - Saturday, 01/19/02 00:48:42 GMT

I think I already know the answer to this but I figure it's better to get the opinions of some old hands just in case I'm not as smart as I think I am. I have purchased a few old jack hammer bits at flea markets with the intent to make them into hardy stakes. Am I right in thinking that I will need to soften the shaft somewhat in order to reduce the likelyhood of cracking my stake or should I leave them factory hardened? I'm also toying with the idea of turning some of the scrap bits into hammer heads but that's a project for latter. Any advice will be appreciated.

Many thanks.
   Bill - Saturday, 01/19/02 04:12:34 GMT

Buz: Any big ceramic supply should have it...though that may be dated info...I've been out of the mud for some years.
Bill. Only the cutting edge should be hard..the rest wants to be tough...also, the portion in contact with the anvil should be soft for the anvil's sake. That is generally good tool steel, but note, those were abandoned because they failed, and you don't know why.
As a rule, if i'm going to put a lot of time into a tool, I buy new steel.
OK, OK,...I should buy new steel. ( nose shrinks back)
   - Pete F - Saturday, 01/19/02 07:05:38 GMT

I recently acquired 2 boxes of Adams Brand Super high carbon spring steel Rock (plow) shares, I was wondering if you or anyone knows or can guess what number of steel this? Thanks
   Adam O - Saturday, 01/19/02 07:54:08 GMT

Realy stupid question coming up. I´ve been forging the old and lo-tec way for a long time now but havent been "fabricating" much and actually did my first modern furniture just yesterday (the wife´s been pestering me). I realise that "slapping shit together with a mig-gun" has it´s own problems. Here goes: When bending stock it´s the thickness that decides how much force is needed, right? Then howcome it´s easier to cold-bend, say, a 5x40 mm strip than a 5x500 mm plate? Just human inability to find the exact right angle when applying force, or what?
   - Olle Andersson - Saturday, 01/19/02 15:42:25 GMT

Bending Olle? The plate is 12.5 times wider, thus 12.5 times the force. . unless you mistyped. Given the same cross sections the plate will be harder to bend do to work hardening in the manufacturing process. The last few passes on hot rolled plate are done below forging temperature and the plate is considerably harder. I had a supplier sell me sheared from plate 5mm x 38mm stock for a bending job that I had made and tested all the jigs using true hot roll. The effort was double and the amount of spring back was incredible.

Apparently the US steel industry was so screwed up (this was 20 years ago) that instead of rolling the various sections they were slitting plate and running it through rolls to dress the edges which further increased the work hardening. I had a fit finding enough "normal" steel to finish the job.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 16:12:02 GMT

My Email bounced because I changed to cable internet service. New Email address is dendrud at cox.net
Please update your records. Also changed from netscape to IE. Seems to work a lot better so far.
   AZDoug - Saturday, 01/19/02 19:53:22 GMT

For welding brass what would you say,braze weld or mig with a silicone bronze wire. have worked with steel and copper,not brass or bronze. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.
   thomas - Saturday, 01/19/02 19:53:41 GMT

OK! Now I show up in blue.
   AZDoug - Saturday, 01/19/02 20:13:32 GMT


I hope you've turned off the Preview setting!
   Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/19/02 21:57:46 GMT


I have just acquired a forge from a wonderful fellow (Hi, Steve!) which is in fairly good shape except for a thin wandering radial crack. I am not familiar with power or torch welding terminology. What sort of torch/material/weld type should I say I need when I ask around to try to find somebody to weld it for me? There is a fellow at work who welds, and we have an oxyacetelene rig. My father-in-law also has an oxy-a rig as well as a wire welder, I believe it's a MIG type. Any advice? Thanks.

   Dreamer - Saturday, 01/19/02 23:11:17 GMT

Cracked Pan Dreamer, don't try to repair it via welding. If it is a cast iron pan it is almost impossible to weld without creating more cracks. Your welder friends will tell you the same.

Drill a hole at the end of the crack. This makes a long smooth surface to disapate the stress and stop the crack.

Then make a patch about 2" (~50mm) wide to cover the crack and drill (through) holes to attach it bridging the crack. 1/4-20 bolts are big enough. Space them a little less than the width of the patch apart. The patch will reinforce the casting and cover the crack.

   - guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 23:44:28 GMT


Thanks for the advice. That's easy enough. The crack, incidentally, goes up the curved wall of the pan. I can bend a 2" wide strip to go up the curvature easily enough if it's not too thick, or use a torch to soften it at the curvature. Any recommendation on what I should use for the patch? (Thickness, material?)

I am thinking that if I bend it up the wall of the pan, I might as well bend it around the lip and back down a bit, to the point where the last two bolts go through the patch, through the pan, and back through the patch again. Boltwise, obviously I'll want to avoid platings, which shouldn't be a problem. Regular ol' non-galvanized bolts from Home Depot okay?

Thanks again.

   Dreamer - Sunday, 01/20/02 00:51:25 GMT

Well, I'm back from a week in Tucson. I met with Eric Thing and had a nice visit. He's working on three different helms at this time, lovely stuff and progressing nicely.

Okay, the following question was brought on due to spending the afternoon re-watching The Fellowship of the Ring with my wife. (She's waited thirty years for this, and she's determined to catch it multiple times on the big screen while she can.)

Saruman's orcs aren't casting swords; they're running an entire metalworking complex. If you look closely, the pouring scene is cast iron running into pigs. Then they skip to sword forging and armor making.

Actually, everybody describing the cast-iron to wrought iron to steel process seems to skip some steps.

Being a Y1K man myself (love the 11th century) I'm familiar with the direct process and various methods of carburizing the iron into steel. It's when we get to the cast iron stage of industry that I start drawing blanks, both in research and in personal experience. When you review 18th and 19th century processes, they usually have something like: "…then the cast iron pigs were sent to a finery and converted to wrought iron."

Oooookaaay. And how were they converted to wrought iron?

"…in the finery using a large, open forge…"


"…a trip hammer…"


"… …"

So, if I were to take a bar of cast iron, such as a sash weight (got lots of those around the farm from the house that burned down in '23) and take it to my forge, and heat it to the burning point to drive off the carbon, and hammer it back together, maybe using sand as flux (and getting that silicon content in there) and hammer and fold it enough, I'd get wrought iron, right?

I can handle 1100, and I can understand the industrial methods from the '20s until the '60s, but I'm just not quite clear on the finery stage in between. Are there any good descriptions? Has anyone here actually done it or seen it done? It's just a feeling that I'm missing something here, or maybe it really is a lost art. Something so common that few folks recorded it in detail, and then superceded so quickly that nobody had a chance, or a motivation, to pass the knowledge on.

There's a lot of (to us) useless scrap cast iron lying around out there, maybe we need a finery.

Snow, sleet and rain on the banks of the lower Potomac.

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


All National Park Service websites are down by court order except for reservations: www.nps.gov

   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 01/20/02 01:55:11 GMT

Cast to Wrought Bruce, Look up the "puddling" process. the process is to melt the iron in a reverbatory furnace (heat reflected off the roof heats the iron by incandensece). The flue gases passing through the furnace are oxidizing and remove carbon from the melt. Pure iron having a higher melting point than cast forms a skin on the surface of the melt. A worker then uses a long handled tool to rake the skim into a ball. When there is enough ball to forge it is taken from the furnace and further processed by forging.

In the mid 1800's Nasmyth experimented with using a steam rake to speed up the process. Before he had made progress with his experiments Bessemer announced his process. Nasmyth was invited to the presentation. Later Bessemer about his our experiments. Bessemer offered to share credit for the invention with Nasmyth but Nasmyth refused saying that he as much fame and money as he needed. - Nasmyth autobigraphy chapter 20.

Are you sure those pigs weren't ganged swords? It goes by so fast. . . but you are probably right.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/20/02 04:57:17 GMT

When my burners go from a blue cone with a blue flame, to a blue cone with a reddish-purple flame, do you know what this means? My shop is pretty cold, sometimes below freezing, would this have an impact on the propane, and possibly cause this? Could I only be getting the vapor if the liquid froze? Thanks
   Adam O - Sunday, 01/20/02 09:32:34 GMT

I thought that it looked like they were useing the crusable methed to refine the Iron and then poreing into a ruff sword shaped blank. I am not at all sure if this would work, but if one could cast an ingot of carbon steal I would think that a blank closer to the finshed product would be posable.
   MP - Sunday, 01/20/02 14:52:39 GMT

Flame Colors Adam, it sounds like something in the forge is burning adding to the flame color. It is not unusual to have the nozzel end of the burner overheat and burn.

Do you have good ventilation? Recirculating exhust back into the forge will cause a color change in the flame as well as producing much more carbon monoxide?

On acetylene equipment when the cylinder is low on fuel or tipped on its side the liquid acetone gets in the gas side of the system and burns a distinct purple color. But this has nothing to do with propane.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/20/02 17:00:13 GMT

I would like to install a chimney system in my outdoor smithy that actually works. I don't have the skills or the financial means to build the side draft hood from the plans page and none of the hoods in any of the shops I have visited work very well if at all. I'm thinking about trying out the side draft system that Randy McDaniel suggests in his book, "A Blacksmithing Primer". It is simply a 12" dia flue that sits right next to the fire pot with a 22" X 5" opening cut into it- no hood. Have any of you seen or tried this type of set up? What about the same thing with a 10" flue? 12" is not available and must be fabricated...$$$.
Also: Can anyone tell me when Buffalo made their No. 210 blowers?
Thanks so much.
   Wendy - Sunday, 01/20/02 20:07:50 GMT

Hoodless Chimney: Wendy, I suspect the larger diameter is needed at the bottom of McDaniel's system as the whole point of most side draft systems is to provide an expansion chamber and place for the smoke to make the turn. Even the brick flues that have a small notch open into an expansion area. I don't think its absolutely necessary but the size does matter.

Have you considered using an oil drum with a hole or notch in the side? The stack needs a funnel entrance for best permormance but it is not absolutely necessary. Set the opening as close to the edge of the fire pot as possible OR over top of it if you have nothched a corner off the drum.

Oil drums are getting harder to obtain these days but old hot water heater tanks are free for the taking. Ask any plumber. The tank is heavier than an oil drum so is more difficult to cut but it will also last longer. Ask someone with a torch to do the cutting. OR persistance with a cold chisel will work. Complete forges can be fabricated from an old water tank. You have to stip the outer steel shell (good sheet metal) and the insulation. But they ARE free. Want a couple?
   - guru - Sunday, 01/20/02 21:41:18 GMT

Wendy, I needed to make a temporary hood for our summer conference 3 years ago. It needed to be at tents edge to get rid of smoke from those watching also to keep demonstrator dry. All I did was cut a hole in bottom of 55 gallon drum, add a 8 inch flange for regular stove pipe, one 2 foot section of pipe. At the side cut a opening about 10 inchs wide by 14 inchs tall with top being more narrow. Cut this at open end of drum starting cut a couple inchs from rim. Directly across opening cut a small hole in case you have long pieces to slide thru, save this cut out and cover hole when not needed. Flip drum over and place directly over fire pot. When not using take pipe down and cover hole. Drums with ends cut out are readily available where I live. Peter Ross was the demonstrator. He had the option of using this or not, he prefered to because he could read his fire, sunny July in Indiana. I still use this on occasions.
   Dave Wells - Sunday, 01/20/02 22:55:37 GMT

The way I patched my small forge was the way Guru said.
Do not have to have the patch go the whole length of the crack. IN fact mine was from the center of teh forge all the way to teh edge. I put 3 patches on (look like band-aides) One next to the start(by the grate), one about half way out and one near the edge. Did not worry about one on teh curved area as it had a patch on either side of it
   Ralph - Sunday, 01/20/02 23:02:50 GMT

Patch 3/16" (5mm) stock is heavy enough. Nothing wrong with plated screws, mater of fact they would be prefered. The forge pan shouldn't get hot enough to burn off the little bit of zinc on them. A continous patch may not be as good a pieces due to differential thermal expansion of the cast iron and steel. But several pieces covering the whole ting wouldn't hurt.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/20/02 23:26:39 GMT


I'd use several pieces, but fill the gap with one of the high temperature caulking compounds used on wood stoves, simply to keep stuff from falling through the crack.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 01/20/02 23:38:18 GMT

hey... i was just wonerin if any of you know of apprenticing programs or any thing like that...i am a 14 year old boy looking for a blacksmith in minneapolis who would teach me anything over the summer
   mike cahill - Monday, 01/21/02 00:03:48 GMT

I don't know what the preview setting is. Looked at all the menus and don't see anything. Is this a setting in IE?

   AZDoug - Monday, 01/21/02 02:14:32 GMT


I'm not certain what the setting is named, and I should have said so. But it's the setting that causes IE and OE to "pre-view" all messages before it puts them up for you. It's the access door that most virii attack through. That's one of the reasons that I use Netscape Navigator exclusively. I have also told several of my family and friends that if they are using IE or OE and get hit by a virus, that they are on their own, I will not even look at their systems.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/21/02 02:36:56 GMT

Preview Function in OE/Outlook:

Paw-Paw: the function is called "Preview Pane." If you have it turned off, the message will not display unless it is opened by the user. This gives you an opportunity to delete it if it is suspicious in any way. Security settings should also be set to disallow running scripts from emails or executing programs as email attachments.

   Dreamer - Monday, 01/21/02 04:27:27 GMT

Adam; if it is cold in your shop, it could well be that your tank or regulator or both are freezing up and causing a leaner mixture...or causing a general drop in pressure if it is naturally aspirated.
Wendy: call your local well drillers and see if they don't have some old 12" well casing pipe...It'll be heavy but you won't have to replace it for a long time. The smoke shelf function is to pinch the smoke into accelerating up the stack faster. The expansion chamber after the shelf helps develop a little vaccume to assist the acceleration.It also helps prevent a gust of wind from making a mess .
Mike: Join your local ABANA chapter..you can get all your connections there..for tools and many of them have instruction programs too. Also check out the " getting started Pg here at anvilfire...good luck. Wish i had something like it when i started.
   - Pete F - Monday, 01/21/02 04:55:21 GMT


Thank you for the assitance.

AZDoug, you note?
   Paw+Paw+Wilson - Monday, 01/21/02 06:52:08 GMT

Assistance. I can't spell this late at night! (grin)
   Paw+Paw+Wilson - Monday, 01/21/02 06:52:40 GMT

castiron to wrought iron, as done in the days before puddling, put the broken up pieces of cast iron in front of the airhole in your side draft forge, warm up and blow lively, you will burn some of the cast and a lot of carcole but you will get some wrought, do it twice and it is called dubbly refined wrought
   Stefan - Monday, 01/21/02 07:55:40 GMT

Apprenticeships: Mike, Click on the link.
   - guru - Monday, 01/21/02 08:21:07 GMT

IE, If you use MS-IE for e-mail you have to download the security upgrade patches from Microsoft to stop the new viruses from autoexecuting. But I don't recommend ANY Microsoft upgrades. It took me a week to get my system running after letting MS upgrade my win98. . . Don't use IE or OE for email and you are much safer.
   - guru - Monday, 01/21/02 08:26:07 GMT

Not all jackhammer bits sold at fleamarkets are broken---lots of stuff comes through that folks find buried in the back of the shop and have no use for---not in the business anymore, doesn't fit the more modern machines they have now, perhaps they don't know it's history and are concerned. For making hardy tools I'd leave the shaft normalized and if you need an edge just harden that. My most used hardy is the tip of a short slitter that broke off a jackhammer---just hammered doen the stub shaft to fit my hardy hole and went from there, been using it about 20 years now and looks to have about 200 more left in it...

Wrough Iron and Cast Iron: Stefan "doubly refined" wrought iron is when you take merchant bar and layer it and weld it then repeat----it extrudes more of the silicates and refines the silicates that are left into smaller spicules. Oxidixing it twice does not get you doubly refined wrought iron. In "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" they mention taking sheets of cast iron and decarbing them even into the 1700's but it was not as efficient a process as puddling---BTW the bed of the puddling furnace is an important part of the process giving up the silicates necessary for making wrought iron.

Atli ever make a knife that spends too much time in the forge and gets a thick decarb layer? Same process with CI... I have a book on medieval Indian Metalworking that mentions decarbing iron castings to get more strength---just heat to a good red and wait---keep them supported since hot CI is not very strong!

Thomas I worked on drawing out a couple of PW bars for my spangen and forging out strap from sq stock for my other spangen---where's the apprentices with sledges when you need them!
   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 01/21/02 15:03:19 GMT

Hi Denizens, and Jock. Just popped on for my first visit and I thought I'd toss in a few cents worth:

RE: Brazing copper with propane: I haven't used acetylene in my shop(s) for more than a decade (too expensive). Propane works for me. Copper really conducts heat away from the joint FAST so use a big tip with a relatively soft flame. CLEAN and DEGREASE the material and use flux (borax is fine, some of the flux sold for Silver Soldering works even better) Don't "dip" the flame in and out of the puddle. Keep the flame on the puddle to keep the air out. In other words CLEAN, FAST, HOT. Get in, get brazed, get out. I have successfully brazed literally hundreds of copper to copper, copper to brass (pressure-bearing) joints with an oxy-propane cutting tip (don't hit the lever) and ordinary brass brazing rod. Desperation is the mother of repetition, or something like that. Hope this is helpful.

RE: Puddled Iron: Even a properly designed reverberatory puddling furnace uses an absolutely unbelievable amount of fuel, and the campaign usually last for several months, or until something major fails. Starting and stopping a reverberatory furnace would destroy it quickly. I once considered building a puddling furnace until I started to do the math on fuel consumption. I cannot imagine doing hand-puddling except as an educational endeavor (with grant $$$), I don't think there is any economical way to do it on a small scale, even with free fuel. Please someone correct me if I am mistaken. Someone with an induction melter could seriously think about re-creating the "Byers Process" on a small batch scale, but that is not as romantic as toiling in front of a blazing furnace.

RE: Jackhammer bits: Excellent for all kinds of stuff, I would suggest if using bits that have broken, chop off about 1-1/2" past the end as the broken part will have fractures that may extend an inch into the shaft. They can't be seen until the piece is hot enough to forge. Just a suggestion.

Keep up the good work, Jock!


   Tom Troszak - Monday, 01/21/02 16:17:21 GMT

   - BILL - Monday, 01/21/02 16:33:01 GMT

Tom, Thanks for the sharp input.

Byers Process For those of you that don't know. This was a modern process where pure iron from a Bessemer or BASIC oxygen process (they CAN remove all the carbon) has hot liquid slag added to it creating a porous "bloom" due to the violent reaction. The "bloom" was compressed in a big hydraulic press and then rolled into plate and bar. This was the last commercial process for producing wrought iron and is what most of those bridges and other wrought iron structures were made from in the early part of the twentieth century. The Byers company wrote a little booklet explaining the process in detail as well as extolling the virtues of wrought iron. This modern method is as economical as any steel making process. Its the lack of demand that ended the wrought iron business.

So, how was all that Swedish "charcoal iron" made that was popular during this same period?
   - guru - Monday, 01/21/02 16:48:09 GMT

Claying Forge: Bill, most folks use these without claying them since they are rarely put to heavy use. If you insist there are several methods. There are clays that work alone but if you add a little portland cement (about 10%) to a stone ware clay the results are stronger and less likely to crack. The clay should be mixed to be as stiff as it can be worked. Excessive water causes cracking. When using cement the working time is reduced.

Some folks use a portland cement and sand mixture. Same rules above apply. Others use furnace cement.

All coatings of this type need to be completely dry before firing up the forge. The cement mixes will harden in hours but need to dry for several days or more as does plain clay. Then the first fire should be small and brief. Just enough to warm the fire pot and forge pan. After drying overnight from the heat of the first fire the clay should be ready to use.
   - guru - Monday, 01/21/02 17:13:55 GMT

More on hoods: Wouldn't this funky cast off from the 70's http://www.northcoast.com/~solarae/hoodnforge.jpg
work in the same way as your oil drum or the hot water heater tank as long as I reduced the opening a bit with some sheet metal, cut the top off to accomodate a 10" flue pipe, and set it right next to the fire pot? The Guru and I exchanged a few notes on this subject last week and I was kind of swayed away from the old relic. Now I'm wondering if it won't work after all. Still no word on the Buffalo 210 blower- anyone know when it was made? Thanks, thanks, and, thanks. I'm so glad this site is here!
   Wendy - Monday, 01/21/02 17:15:50 GMT

For those of you interested in the history of iron and steel making, see books written by R. Tylecote. He has one on the bloomery process and how this method devoloped in different parts of the world. He also has one about iron and steel in the industrial revolution. Here he covers the coversion of pig iron to wrought, the multiple refined grades of wrought, the makining of steel from wrought and the making of cast steel from wrought iron. These are excellent texts. To find them, check at the local college libraries or use ABEBOOKS.COM.
   Patrick - Monday, 01/21/02 17:19:56 GMT

Adam O & Everyone, On the 17th, I responded to the making of a double bitted axe. I was rooting around my "library" for Henry Mercer's "Ancient Carpenters' Tools", and couldn't find it. Now located, I can tell you that the author found a smith in Kutztown, PA, in 1925, still making axes and was able to photograph the pieces in process on a single-bitted axe with poll, pp. 6-11. His book was copyrighted in 1929 and has been reprinted, a beautiful work chock full of photos, and is available via mercermuseum.org (publications). By the way, the museum is a wonderful collection of tools and equipment...and located in Doylestown, PA, near Philadelphia.

Mercer pictures three double bitted manufactured axes from the 19th century. He feels they are "modern" felling axes, taking the time of writing in context.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/21/02 17:47:30 GMT

mike -- The local (minneapolis) ABANA chapter is the Guild of Metalsmiths (http://www.metalsmith.org). Good bunch of people, next meeting is Feb 13th at Arms and Armor - usually the biggest draw. Check out the site for the possibilities.
   Escher - Monday, 01/21/02 17:57:59 GMT

Wendy: covver the front of the hood and make an opening in the front like on a sidedraught. and you HAVE something like a sidedraught.
Btw the smokeshelf is unecesary in foges, as i the acceleration is alreay done in the opening, the smokeshelf is just SLOWING the total draught down
   OErjan - Monday, 01/21/02 18:45:11 GMT

On filling cracks... I did not. If the patch is done while the pan is cold and the crack is together then it will not widen.... Well at least on mine that is how it worked out....
   Ralph - Monday, 01/21/02 19:48:21 GMT

Swedish charcoal iron: That´s exactly what it is, iron ( both CI and WI) made exclusively with charcoal. As far as I know not much puddling going on over here since that method was developed for coke, to save the iron-industry in the by then rather deforested England. The processes I know of are "german smithing" and "walloon smithing" using open charcoal-fires with the "pigs" bathing in molten slag.
   - Olle Andersson - Monday, 01/21/02 20:18:03 GMT

I'm new to blacksmithing, and obtained an anvil that half
of the face was missing, so I started welding a new face
on it. I started using Hard Surfacing rod, but it started
having a lot of bug-holes. So, I started using 7018 rod.
Then, I noticed it started getting surface cracks.
So, I was wondering if I might have ruined it or not.
I sure don't won't to cut all of that off. Maybe someone
can help me with this.
   Jason - Tuesday, 01/22/02 02:55:07 GMT

First let me thank all of you who have given recomendations regarding jack hammer bits. I have two that seem to be more or less unused and one that looks to have been abused so all of the advice is being taken very much to heart.

I have been reading with great interest all of the discusion about hoods. I am at best a novice but when I built my brakedrum forge I used a 40 gal. steel trash can which has stood up very well for the past five years sitting out in all manner of weather. I think I paid less than $10 for it at Ace Hardware.
   Bill - Tuesday, 01/22/02 04:10:09 GMT

Puddling/Cast Iron Conversion:

Thanks to all for the input. Seems everybody skips that part, and I've yet to see a reverberatory/puddling furnace at any Colonial histoic site (but I haven't been to Saugus yet). Like I said, this sounds like a major operation, and folks just sort of glance over it.

Swedish Charcoal Iron:

The lightships (For you landlubbers: that's what they'd anchor off the coast in waters too deep for a lighthouse.) used Swedish charcoal wrought iron plate for the hull, since that was the most resiliant and corrosion resistant material for the purpose. As I recall, it was 1/2" (12mm) thick, but it might have been thicker.

These ships had to sit in the open ocean for months at a time in all seasons and all weather. Crews were relieved on a regular basis (every month or so, I think) but the ships were on station until overhaul, when the relief ship (with RELIEF in big white letters on the red hull, as opposed to the name of the light) would stand station. The old hands swore by the Swedish stuff. Almost all of the last generation of these lightships seemed to have survived and are now museum vessels, their place off the coast taken by huge automated light bouys. I've let several museum curators know that, should they ever decide to dispose of said vessels... (Grin)

A lovely DrMLKJrBD on the banks of the lower Potomac. Finished forging the last Xmas gifts for five friends (patient folks are they)last night.

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 01/22/02 04:40:15 GMT

Build Up: Jason, you are finding out why I tell folks to NOT repair anvils. Hard facing rod is not designed for build up and is supposed to be applied under specific conditions of preheat, amperage, polarity, postheat and peening. Holes, cracks and slag inclusions only get worse when you try to weld over them and must be ground out before welding over them. See the specs and application instructions for any welding rod used for build up.

When doing multi-pass weld buildup you have to be either good OR persistant. If your welds are not smooth and clean without holes and undercuts then each bead needs to be cleaned of all traces of embeded flux before welding over it. Hand wire brushing is not usualy sufficient. A needle descaler or power wire brush (sometimes both) needs to be used. On anvils with missing face sections and wrought iron bodies the first covering of weld beads is critical. The slag content in wrought iron makes it difficult to weld and holes and pits are endemic. Clean, grind and weld until a you have a flawless surface before continueing or using a specialty rod.

Cracks are typical of hard facing rod. Some types recommend a layer of stainless bead to act as a cushion. The high alloy content of the stainless is more compatible with the hard facing than low carbon steel. Most hard facing rod is designed for abrasion resistance not a hard/tough surface.

See our January 9 - 16, 2002 archive and Jacob's question and the various replies about an anvil with a large part of the face missing.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 06:01:01 GMT

Wendy; Oughta work... as you say, you will want to restrict the opening a lot and open up the top...also a smoke shelf will help a lot..It might also help to split it vertically behind the pipe opening and put in a flat back.
Jason: yeah...sorry...you get to grind all that stuff back out again..waaaah.. If you are good with a gouging tip, you can cut the bulk of it off before you grind. Make an effort not to blow the temper on the rest of the face.
The 7018 goes under the hard face and you want the right hardface. Also you'll want to preheat the whole thing.... there is a section on the subject here at anvilfire.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 01/22/02 06:02:53 GMT

I have a forge bellows and would like some idea of its value. It is about 38" wide and stands about 68" tall. It has all the original paint and the leather would be soft enough to use if it didn't have a few holes in it. This bellows has been stored inside and has not been used for at least the past 90 years and it would be ready to use with only new leather.
   Jack - Tuesday, 01/22/02 12:10:40 GMT

Value of Bellows Jack, I commonly value tools for folks based on prices seen at trade lots and smithing meets but I avoid collectors and antique prices as they are completely crazy and have nothing to do with reality (like stock prices. . .). The problem with an old bellows to a smith is that the leather and labor may cost as much as they are willing to put into one. It is actually cheaper and easier to build one from scratch. Museums, collectors and antique dealers will likely pay more than someone wanting a working bellows.

Many blacksmithing tools ARE antiques and are collected. However the tools that have real collectors value are usualy over 150 or 200 years old or rare pieces. Many 100 year old tools and 150 year old anvils are sought as working tools, not antiques. Although many smiths want bellows to use for demonstration purposes most will not pay collectors prices.

The best way to determine collects prices is to put the item up for auction with a reserve you can live with. My best guess is $500 and up.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 14:32:55 GMT

Puddling/Cast conversion, early America:

Bruce: Here in the interior southeast most all the smaller pre-Bessemer ironworks prior to the 1840s (don't know about the big 'uns in Birmingham, AL) used the bloomery process for producing wrought, and didn't bother to fine the cast stuff. I have a report of excavations at a large furnace/forge site in northern Alabama which supports this contention, though it appears that some method of fining was used there after 1857. This ironworks was founded (pardon the pun) in about 1835 at which time it was solely a bloomery. The foundry part was added by a later owner. Lots of artifacts both cast and wrought were found, and often misinterpreted since the archaeologists involved were not smiths or founders (for instance, a screw plate is misidentified as a strap hinge with a series of threaded holes). The ground plan of the ironworks shows two blast furnaces for producing pig iron, a "forge" (probably a bloomery) with trip hammer, and an uninterpreted structure that looks suspiciously like a reverberatory furnace foundation to me, probably built about 1858 and destroyed (along with the rest of the ironworks) in 1863 during the Civil War.

Not exactly colonial, but hey...

Alan the archaeologist who IS a blacksmith
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/22/02 15:31:36 GMT

I guess I should mention this is the Tannehill furnace site, also described in Foxfire 5, but referred to in the report as the Roupes Valley Ironworks, another name for the place.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/22/02 15:49:49 GMT

Bruce and All, I don't know of a how-to book for the conversion of cast to wrought, but over the years, I have seen two books which may be helpful. "Frontier Iron, the Maramec Iron Works 1826-1876" by James D. Norris, 1964, has good sections on charcoal mounds and the finery hearth methods. The site in Missouri is still maintained by the St. James Foundation. I visited, and the furnace and original cast iron helve hammer are still there to be seen. The spring, the water source, is brim full, and you can make out where the races were laid.

"American Iron 1607-1900" by Robert B. Gordon, 1996, Johns Hopkins U., is a *wonderful treatise* on many aspects of ironmaking.

Aaaand, correct me if I'm wrong, I think the Japanese toolsmiths and bladesmiths can convert small amounts of cast to wrought (or cast to steel?) while sitting at their small charcoal fires. There will be five traditional Japanese smiths at the ABANA Conference in Wisconsin this summer.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:02:18 GMT

Guru and all,

What is the MOST stain resistent of stainless seels?
   Chris Bernard - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:21:44 GMT

that abana conf... is that the one in june?
   Rodriguez - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:25:30 GMT

Jackhammer bits - Sometime ago, I made a hardy from a jackhammer bit but it wouldnt keep an edge. Quenching in oil didnt seem to do much for it either. Is there some trick to heat treating this steel?

   adam - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:34:04 GMT

Japanese Process: They start with wrought produced by the bloomery process. Then they carburize the wrought and melt it in the forge. The piece that solidifies in the forge is quenched, broken and select pieces (identified by grain structure) are selected for further processing. Those select pieces of very high carbon steel or maybe cast iron are then set on another piece of wrought fluxed and welded into the wrought. Then the "folding" process starts to distribute the high carbon stuff into the low carbon. besides working the high carbon material into very thin layers there is carbon migration from the VHC stuff to the wrought. The folding and welding is intended to produce a nearly homogenous material. This is "steel making" in the forge.

I've know a few folks to start with cast iron and mild steel and get a material suitable for blade making.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:39:00 GMT

Stainless Chris, I'm not sure but 304 is designed to be the most eonomical as well as corrosion resistant. 302 and 304 as well as cast alloys of very similar content are used widely in the nuclear industry for everything from pipes, pressure vessles, pumps, shafts and fasteners.

Although these alloys are called "stainless" they are all suseptable to plating by electrolytic action producing stains. Put carbon steel next to stainless in a wet environment and the iron will plate the SS and leave a rust stain.

There are grades of monel used for boat shafting that are also highly corosive resistant. These are Nickle copper alloys with some minor ingrediants to increase hardness or machinability. They are not used in the nuclear industry due to the radioactive copper isotopes that form when irradiated.

   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:53:51 GMT

Adam, when working with an unknown steel you have to test and experiment. Not all hammer bit manufacturers use the same material. Oil quenching is the norm but you may have a steel than needs water quenching. But also note that these are not made from a hot work steel. If you overheat your hardy doing heavy hot cutting it will lose its temper and become soft. The angle and thiness of the edge is relative to the type of steel. You can get away with a narrow hardy with a relatively sharp edge if its made of hot work steel. BUT. . if it is plain carbon steel it needs to be a short squat trianglar shape with a thick edge ground at about a 60° angle or greater.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 16:59:38 GMT

ABANA Conference, June 5-9, Univ. of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. abana.org

Jackhammer bits are designed for cold work, so when you make a hot work tool, you're asking the steel to do something it cannot do. However, all the old hardys were made of cold work steel, so what's the deal? Every time you put hot work on it, you're ruining the temper. My advice. Use it anyway and dress it often. Or, if you can afford it, get a big chunk of S1, S7, H13, or H21, all designed for hot work, and make another hardy.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/22/02 19:08:26 GMT

Jackhammer Bits.
I have a section of 3" diameter jackhammer bit that was used on a "Bobcat" type machine for chipping out refractory in large cupolas. I just got the chemistry back from the lab this afternoon and this one is made from 4340, which is an oil quench steel. This bit was hardened to about 40 Rc. because toughness was desired more than wear resistance. Thought you all might like to know that.
   Patrick - Tuesday, 01/22/02 20:36:57 GMT

Hot cut hardy: Guru & Frank, thanks for the help. Hot work steel seems right. Since I dont have the muscle to hammer out a big chunk of H13 (that stuff is hard to move), I hammered out a thin blade of this alloy and arc welded it onto a hardy body made of RR track web. Doesn't look pretty but it works great. I have also used this technique to make chisels and punches.

I did try to forgeweld some H13 onto soft steel but was able to get a good weld only once.

I had heard only of S7 and H13 being used as hot work steels for smithing. What are the advantages of S1 and H21?
   adam - Tuesday, 01/22/02 20:45:50 GMT

S7 and H21 are higher alloy steels in the same family groups as S1 and H13. The S7 has more carbon (48 points) and is deeper hardening. The H21 has tungsten in it and is more wear resistant than H13.

ASM Metals Reference Book
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/22/02 21:46:54 GMT

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