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Stainless. Chris, different stainless alloys are designed to perform in different environments. Some that work well in hot, humid acidic environments, don't perform well as a knife for instance. Need to define the environment.

Pete. F., You're just goading me on the smoke shelf thing, aren't you?
   Tony - Wednesday, 01/23/02 00:20:52 GMT

I just read your comment to Adam (01/22/02 16:59:38). I plan to use the jack hammer bits I've aquired for mushroom shaped hardys. Do you recomend oil quenching in this case? All I can tell you about the bits is that they are all 1.25" diameter (I think) and all are at least 25 years old probably made in Illinois. I use a charcoal fire, if that makes a difference.
Thanks for any help.
   Bill - Wednesday, 01/23/02 01:43:30 GMT

greetings, do you know/or know where I could find the aproximate color ranges in the tempering process? (say, for 5160, after quenching what colors do you temper to for knifes? etc.)

   Adam - Wednesday, 01/23/02 02:01:36 GMT

Stakes: Bill, It depends on the type of work you are going to do with the stakes. If they are for cold work like sheet metal raising or armory type work they should be hardened and then tempered to where a file will just barely cut it. For hot work (shaping odd pieces, backing up) the tool steel will be hard enough as forged.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 02:28:20 GMT

Claying a forge pan:
I don't line my cast iron forge and haven't for 12 years. Like the guru stated earlier to a Bill, " If you insist ---"

For those who do, or are going to. I was told by Bob Patrick if you do line a forge don't clay in the fire pot, you want the fire pot to be able to expand. If you clay it in with the pan it is liable to crack.
Any comments contrary that might help those claying there forges?

   Dave Wells - Wednesday, 01/23/02 02:42:09 GMT

Temper Colors: The charts are only good for non-alloy steels. 5160 is an alloy steel and will show a different color at a given temperature than carbon steel. Sometimes alloy steels show two bands of colors.

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK has a temper color list as do many blacksmithing references. A few have color prints but most use words.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 02:58:28 GMT

Japanese Swords: The BEST book I have seen on the subject is "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshihara (Fourth printing, 1990; Kodanska International/USA Ltd., 114 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011; ISBN 0-87011-798-X [later editions/publishers may exist]) The account is very straight-forward, with good, strong facts and none of the weird myths so favored in popular culture. It gives you the deepest respect for the skill and the patience of these craftsmen. It also does not shy from the more grizzly details of the earlier employment of these instruments. Nothing sensational, just truthful.

Fineries: Thanks to all for the additional information. A whole new area for me to run-down, and more books to dig up. (…or is that dig up and run down?)

BSA Merit Badge: Jock, I'll post back tomorrow when I can consolidate some paperwork.

Clouding up on the banks of the lower Potomac. Frost was so thick this morning you could slip on it, and I had to scrape the windshield thrice!

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 01/23/02 03:08:35 GMT

I may be able to pick up a bunch of refractory bricks (the light fluffy type). I'm thinking they would be good to line a yet to be built gas forge. Any pro's or con's with using them other than their bulk. Thanks..Bob
   bbeck - Wednesday, 01/23/02 03:36:35 GMT

Insulating Bricks: bbeck, If you can get them cheap get them. Most of these sell new for over $2 US each.

However, remember that they are insulating bricks. They will not withstand any load or mechanical abrasion. You stack them on the outside of a hard refractory enclosure.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 04:21:53 GMT

Just a note on welding dissimlar metals. A visting welding engineer from Philadelphia once derided us Okies for using OMR. Turns out it was "Oklahoma Miracle Rod". 309 SS. It really is a good all purpose dissimlar welding filler, even with a crackerbox welder.

The novice can usually weld low carbon to high carbon and each of those to a variety of stainless steels including the 400 series with success and improper preheat. I use it to weld railroad rail to alloy oilfield pipe with good success. Use it when you need low hydrogen rod. It is expensive but cheaper than a DC welder and the rod does not have to be kept in an oven (if you use lo-hy from an open box stored on the shelf you are fooling yourself that the 7018 is preventing underbead cracking). Keep it E309 around and use it when you don't know what else to use, just don't use it on a pressure containing weld or something for overhead lifting or other critical application which could endanger you or someone else. Use at your own risk. Hire a competent welding engineer to be safe.

Tempering colors: If you don't have some TempSticks buy them at your local welding supply house. Mark on your cold knife or chisel edge with a 400 deg TempStick crayon and it will melt within a few degrees of 400 deg as you heat the steel. As with any tool they take a little practice to be good with but they are a cheap reliable temperature measuring device. Mostly they are used to verify preheat before welding so your supplier may have to order anything over 400 deg but they are made in increments all the way to and over 1000 deg F. You still have to pick the temperature you are going to temper at, but you can know WHAT temperature you are using. Using two, such as 500 and 550 lets you know you tempered between those temperatures if 500 melted and 550 did not.
   Andy Martin - Wednesday, 01/23/02 04:39:55 GMT

Insulating Bricks: Used refractory of any type, including bricks, may contain hazardous materials so you should take precautions in making dust with them whether it be in loading, dumping, sawing, or drilling. Most operations should be done wet and dispose of the waste water where it will not release dust when it dries. Cutting bricks wet but letting the water dry on the shop floor just delays the dust generation until you sweep.

Very old brick (pre-1970) and block insulation may have a high asbestos content. A lot of old brick are removed from industrial furnaces every day and disposed of in land fills where they could be salvaged by an unsuspecting person.
   Andy Martin - Wednesday, 01/23/02 04:50:40 GMT

Tony; While goading you is kinda fun...I sorta believe in smoke shelves. This comes from having built a bunch of one-off free-form fireplaces then trying to stuff the smoke up an undersized stack...not always successfully. More than one had fat upper lips added to close down the opening. Designs that lacked a smoke-shelf-like function generally
had to be more conservative in the size and placement of the intake. By running the smoke past a 3"-4" pinch there seemed to be less turbulence.
I'll concede that I'm completely uneducated in fluid dynamics and just made it up as I made mistakes or made a fool of myself by getting in awkward positions and looking up with my head inside innocent folk's fireplaces....( Pardon me mam', may I look up your flue?
Wouldn't be all that hard to convince me that I'm completely wrong....willing to listen...sure be easier to build without them.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 01/23/02 08:02:40 GMT

Hello, long time. could you look at an anvil for me and tell me what you think? Unable to e mail it but...
It is on Ebay Item# 1325626183, I could find no markings on it.
Thank you and God Bless,
   Scott - Wednesday, 01/23/02 11:54:33 GMT

Anvil on E-Bay; can't tell much from the picture did you e-mail the seller and ask about markings?

One thing I would say the real heavy heel is usually indicative of a cast anvil. I'd want to know what the seller thinks a great rebound and sweet ring is---do they have experience with other anvils?

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/23/02 14:00:27 GMT

RE: refractory bricks. Thanks for the asbestoes warning, never thought of that. These bricks have never been used but I don't know thier age. My main question is are they suitable material to line a steel forge instead of using something like Kaowool.... Thanks Bob.
   bbeck - Wednesday, 01/23/02 14:19:58 GMT

Ebay Anvil 1325626183 Scott, The reason for the thick heal on this anvil is that it has been broken or cut off. It has OK edges and does not look abused. Otherwise it is difficult to tell anything about it. As mentioned above you should ask about markings to try to determine the brand. Note that many "name" brand anvils are not marked because they were sold to hardware suppliers and such to "private brand" them and they never got permanent markings.

However, it MAY be old but it is not an "antique" as anvils go. 100 year old anvils of modern pattern are not collectors items or considered antique. Anvils over 150 or 200 years old start to be in that category.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 14:41:35 GMT

Forge Lining Bob, technicaly Kaowool is not "suitable" material for a forge lining. It is designed to go outside of a refractory or metal shell. It is not designed to used where it is exposed to mechanical damage like being poked with a steel bar. Those that use it semi-properly in forges coat the surface to make it less friable and prevent it from breaking up. Commercial forges that use light weight insulation use a harder "board" type product rather than a blanket but I am not too crazy about that either. However it DOES make an inexpensive forge and many makers do it. The heavy duty industrial forges use fired or cast refractory.

Do-it-yorself forge builders like Kaowool because it is light weight and relatively easy to handle. It also makes a forge that heats up very quickly. But it is still a misaplication of the product.

Your bricks are the same. If they are the light weight foamy looking bricks (like synthetic pumic) they probably don't contain asbestoes. But they are not supposed to be exposed to mechanical damage.

If you line a forge with them you cannot use them for the floor and they should be coated to prevent dust from the surface from being blown out into the shop.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 15:00:27 GMT

Thanks for the quick reply, "broken or Cut off"?
Is that a bad thing or something during manufacture?
Is a cast iron anvil not desirable to use?
There are no markings on it.
   Scott - Wednesday, 01/23/02 17:46:30 GMT

Pete F. smoke shelves were beat to excruciating death in the end of April of 2001 on the other site. If Jock wants me to cut and paste with appropriate editing, I will. But it's long. And the nastiness would have to be edited out. There was HUGE diasagreement with my position by some. But no factual support for the disagreements.

There was some discussion here a while back, but it may be close to two years now and not in such detail.

Fireplaces with dampers above the fire box need smoke shelves. Forge hoods of any kind, without dampers similar to a fireplace, do not need smoke shelves. They CAN work with them. They are just of no value and DO reduce the draft. Side draft forge hoods DO work better with a smoke CHAMBER. But even that may not be necessary depending on the vagaries of the forge and exhaust situation. The barrel or trash can would be the smoke chamber in recent discussion.

Pein even built an exhaust with a smoke shelf, had problems with it until he removed the restrictive stack cap. Then he removed the smoke shelf and it worked even better.

Man, I hope someone supports their position with facts if they disagree this time. Not grinning. It was painful.

   Tony - Wednesday, 01/23/02 17:54:57 GMT

I reviewed your plans for building a power hammer. You used a differential from a car. I was wondering if the differe
ntial from a golf cart would work? I am trying to keep the size of the hammer down so it would fit into my shop.
   Shoerthing - Wednesday, 01/23/02 17:57:16 GMT

Parts Shoerthing, Maybe. A key ellement of the design is using the brakes as a clutch. You need healthy sized brakes and a way to operate them. The parking brake mechanism was the easiest thing to use.

Check out the NC-JYH. It is a much easier machine to build and works great.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 18:45:38 GMT

Smoke Shelves: For hoods and vents Tony is right. They are a needless restriction. For fireplaces they serve several purposes and have little to do with "draft". Many old stone fireplaces I have inspected did not have a shelf and worked fine. What they DID have was long smooth transitions and gentle curves (as well as relatively tall stacks).

In a fireplace the back is sloped forward so that the masonry picks up the heat and helps radiate it into the room. That brings the smoke path forward out of line with the flue. The "shelf" is the transition. At the front of the shelf the flue is smaller causing a high velocity point. This acts as a "check" to occasional downdrafts. The shelf also acts as a place for debris including, bricks, bird nest material, birds, bats, bat guano, rain and snow to be caught and not end up in the room OR in the case of a cooking fireplace, in the food.

The damper opening at the front of the shelf on a SMALL 32" (813mm) wide fireplace is larger in area than a 12" (305mm) diameter flue pipe. This dumps into a flue that is even larger (typicaly doubled). There is a lot of room for internal "features" due to the high capacity.

The business about air going DOWN the chimny and then back UP causing an increase of draft at the shelf is unsupported BS.

When you drop down to 8" and 10" diameter flue pipes everything is different. A 10" pipe only has 70% the capacity of a 12" pipe and an 8" only 44%. The difference between a 10" and 8" is 64%. These are big differences. When a 10" is recommended and you use 8" there ARE going to be problems.

Many years ago the subject of smokey fireplaces came up in our local paper. I wrote that the problem was that the opening of the fireplace was too large for the flue area and height. I suggested reducing the area of opening. Shortly afterward I had a bunch of people write or call and I ended up making steel restrictors for a bunch of fireplaces. Lowering the front of the opening by 4" to 6" fixed the problem.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/23/02 19:25:37 GMT

I live in the vancouver bc area and am looking for some info please. i have been making chainmail and other artsy things from metal for some time and have small under table business going but would like to get a little further along and am super interested in blacksmithing. where are schools for this located, any chance of apprentiships in the business? any reply greatly appreciated
   krysta - Wednesday, 01/23/02 20:10:35 GMT

Krysta, Contact Neil Gustafson using the signature link on this post. He is in Victoria and is very active in the local blacksmithing organizations.

You can also check into Vancouver Island Blacksmith's Association

See the ABANA web site for a schools list. And see our FAQ on apprenticeships

   Neil Gustafson - Wednesday, 01/23/02 21:32:01 GMT

I am a hobby knife makerand justlearningthe art.Afriend of mine asked me to make him a skinner out of stainless.What would be the best stainless to use? Any in put would be appreciated.
   tom turkey - Thursday, 01/24/02 00:27:58 GMT

hi my name is camellia and my class is doing a project on people, and i picked blacksmiths. i just have some questions to learn all about blacksmiths. what do blacksmiths do? how do you do it?
   camellia - Thursday, 01/24/02 01:15:44 GMT

Stainless Tom, 440c SS is the most commonly used. The problem is that heat treating stainless is tricky. It hardens by holding it at a specific temperature (1850-1950°F) for 30 minutes and then air or oil quenching. A 1400°F preheat is recommended. Temper at 350°F minimum.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 02:20:17 GMT

Let me start by saying that I am a Union Millright, which
means I work with steel a great deal. I have always admired
the blacksmith and his or her...lol...roots. Okay down to the bottom line. I have bought an anvil and am looking for bit of it's history. All that I can make out on it is
CME TREAITY...150....29580.. Please help, or guied me in the right direction. Thanks, JR
   - Jillian - Thursday, 01/24/02 03:25:02 GMT


First, rub down all the surfaces of the anvil with a Scotch Brite pad. Then take rubbings of every mark you can see. Sometimes markings which are not readable with the naked eye will show up this way. Then either scan the rubbings or record where each rubbing was found on the anvil and email them to me. A picture would help, too. I'll see what I can do to help you identify it.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 01/24/02 03:30:43 GMT

I have a batch of harmonicas with blown reeds. 4 draw specifically cause I like the blues. I am preparing to start working on them. First to make the necessary tools then to get suitable material to make new reeds and experiment with the profile.

Can you recommend a particular brass for this? I can get shim stock and have lots of cartridge brass around but I'd rather eliminate as many blind alleys as possible. I do have some harps I don't intend to use any more but it seems that it takes as much to rework a bigger reed as it would to make one new.

The harp sites I've found don't speak to the source of reed brass but there is some good 'how to' on the procedure. Any guidance will be appreciated.

   Mills - Thursday, 01/24/02 04:01:33 GMT

Seems that my cherished smoke shelf theorys just went up in, um, smoke. Tisk. er...thanks?
Yeah, thanks.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 01/24/02 07:44:59 GMT

I posted a ? on Viking sword forum, about what did the Vikings use to etch their Damascus with? A reply mentioned something called "zag" which they processed into a substance like Ferric sulphate, do you know what zag is? Can I make it? If not what else would they have used, or what other natural product would work? Urine? Thanks
   Adam O - Thursday, 01/24/02 08:20:42 GMT

vikingsword, developing patterns, patterns on vikingswords were not as distinctive as modern patternweldet often is,lett it rust in a humid place, or us fruitacid(apples )to speed it up, polish with calc, etch some more, polish.... oil!!
   Stefan - Thursday, 01/24/02 11:03:16 GMT

How to build a side draft smoke riddence system:
1. Go to the brick yard and buy the biggest size chimney liner they have with a thimble hole in it.
2. get a ceramic blade on your circular saw and make two cuts parallel to the sides, tangential to the hole. It will look like a tall tunnel when stood on end.
3. Stand it on its end (cut out down) near the the edge of your fire pot.
4. cut a hole the size of your stove pipe in a peice of plate steel. (3/8 to 1/2 so it won't warp too bad)
5. set that plate on top of that chimney liner and stick your stove pipe into it or make a collar and put your stove pipe over that.
6. now place some cinder blocks around three side of the liner to give it some additional support.
7. Later on build a brick forge around it.
8. We agree that the larger the pipe the better the draw.
9. Throw a bunch of coal into the liner to narrow the throat and to make coke. rake it into the fire and throw more coal in as the fire burns. Use water to keep the fire core small and intense.

I have a removable cap coming out over the fire and chunks of steel and fire brick at the sides of the fire pot to kind of channel the smoke up the chimney but they are easy to remove when I need to heat the middle of a long peice.

I've got some cracks it the liner but since the forge sits in the middle of the shop they don't pose a hazard.

my pipe is way too small but this system is a thousand times better than the overhead hood that used to smoke up my shop and shouldn't take more that a couple of hours to build and you don't have to be a welder to do it.

(no smoke shelf, Tony)

See the blue,
   L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 01/24/02 13:51:43 GMT

Larry, nice post - especially since I am planning to build a flue for my forge -but how about a sketch? Perhaps you can visualize it in your head but my head is still full of pix from the last year's Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated and there is no room in there for chimney liners.
   adam - Thursday, 01/24/02 15:33:40 GMT

Viking swords---etching. Read "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England" for some ideas on it. I commonly use salt and vinegar to etch pattern welded blades---both common in viking climes and times (probably more so than zag which seems to be of Indian or Middle Eastern source). Tannic acid (read peat bog) will also bring out the pattern---I've used sludge of tea leaves, but oak leaves/bark should work too.

Basically anything that will oxidize the surface at a variable rate should work---you just don't get a lot of topo like many folk try for now---always consided such to be "show blades" topo gets in the way of a using blade!

Thomas (heat the vinegar and dissove in as much salt as it will take. use hot and the entire piece must be submerged or you get a nasty rust line.)
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 01/24/02 17:01:32 GMT

heres what i call my side draft system. i took a 10" tall by 9" wide and 9" front to back draft box off a wrecked out house heater. it has a six" opening in one side and a six" opening for stove pipe in the top. i put four pieces of six" stove pipe on it and it runs thur the roof about a foot. i set the box right beside the firepot. a little puff or two gets by once in awhile but over all this draws fine and works well in MY SHOP. it may not work with YOURS and you may have to try other things to find a system that works for YOU. just cause its wrote in a book or the specs. call for it doesn`t mean its going to work.
if needed i lean a piece of sheet metal 6" wide 10" long
over the fire to the top of the side opening. this channels the smoke into the opening and can be tossed aside when not needed.
   Robert - Thursday, 01/24/02 17:17:44 GMT

Mouth Harp Reeds: Mills, I HAVE seen something on the subject back when I was doing musical instrument research but can not remember where. I read a LOT of various journals as the time, among them the out of print Mugwumps and the American Musical Instrument Society journals. IF you are looking for literature the University of Virgina Music Library has the worlds finest collection of references on musical instruments surpassing all the specialized musical conservatories and the Library of Congress. If there is a book on making harmonicas UVA has it. Their card catalog is on-line and the public can use the library (if you are willing to travel to Charlottsville, VA). Be sure to check the hours as the libraries are often closed during exams and other times.

I would TRY (test) brass shim stock. It comes in many thicknesses and is work hardened to where it is quite springy. IF there were a particular alloy that is best you would most likely be in the position of needing to process it to usable form on your own, rolling to the correct thickness and hardness.

I SUSPECT that the hardness from work hardening is more critical than the specific alloy. Tools. . jewler's saw and fine files. Brookstone is one of the better sources for blades.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 17:19:20 GMT

Repairing anvils damaged by torch cuts.
I know that the general consensus is not to repair damaged anvils unless absolutly necessary. But i have not seen anyone ask about anvils that have torch cuts in them. I have seen at least 2 anvils over 400 pounds that had been used as welding tables in big shops. There were torch cuts in the tail and some ing the sides. i would think that these defects would be worhty of repair, more so than chip edges and such. What are the opinions of others and how would you go about doing this.
Also, when using hardfacing rod, particulaly impact resitant rod, do you need to use a DC welder?
   Patrick - Thursday, 01/24/02 17:21:55 GMT


I am sorry your question got overlooked last night. Wednesdays are busy on anvilfire.

Q: What do blacksmiths do? how do you do it?

Blacksmiths make tools, hardware and almost anything you can imagine from steel or wrought iron. Specialists such as wheelwrights make wagon tires and fittings and Farriers make shoes and shoe horses. Bladesmiths make knives and swords and Armourers make armor. In North America we often think of a blacksmith as a horseshoer but this was because we were a frontier country and the "general" blacksmith did everything.

Blacksmiths heat steel in a forge until it is very hot, orange or yellow heat which is almost melted, then they use a hammer and other tools to shape the softened metal.

A forge is a place to hold a fire and blow air on it making the fire very hot. The fuel can be charcoal, coal, oil or gas. Charcoal and coal are the prefered fuels but modern smiths often use propane gas (like for a barbeque) because it is cleaner.

The work surface a blacksmith pounds the hot metal on is an anvil. Early anvils were simple blocks of iron and steel. Modern anvils are a highly developed tool with various shapes and holes to work the iron and hold tools. Anvils are made of hardened tool steel. The top is flat and one end is a round cone called a "horn" becasue it resembles a rhinocerous horn, or a bick or "beak" because it could also be like a huge bird's beak. A square hole called a "hardy hole" is used to hold a chisel tool that points upward called a "hardy". The hardy hole is also used to hold other tools for shaping and holding work. Anvils are heavy to resist hammering and hold still. The typical anvil weighs over 100 pounds (45kg) and larger ones are often two or three times heavier.

Beside hammer and anvil, blacksmiths use almost every other metalworking tool and machine you can think of. Vises, punches, chisels, drills, rolling and bending machines, lathes, drill presses, welders and other machine tools.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 17:48:09 GMT

Anvil Repair, Notches, Torch cuts: Patrick, One of the finest 400 pound anvils I've seen appeared completely unused EXCEPT for cutting torch notches extending 1/2" to 3/4" into the face along all of one side AND the heal where the cuts were 3/4" to 1". They almost looked more like practice cuts than accidents. The fellow selling the anvil wanted top dollar for it! I would have laughed if it were not so sad.

These can be welded up but they present all the problems of welding tool steel PLUS the fact that the notches are two narrow to get into to weld. Each notch needs to be ground out until you can get a rod into the notch with bead space. MIG can be used in a smaller space but you will need to purchase a full roll of E70 series equivalent wire AND still need to grind the notch because the surface will be covered with scale that MIG will not weld over.

The anvil needs to be preheated to 300°F before welding. Any multiple passes must have the flux and scale removed before the next pass. Peening is often recommended between passes but should not done over 300°F and also should be done before cooling much below.

If there are only a couple torch notches I would work around them. Notches on the horn are a less critical repair but you have to remember that many modern anvils (c. 1900 up) have all steel uppers or are 100% cast steel. Even if they are not hardened they ARE tool steel and need to be treated as such.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 18:14:37 GMT

Mills, the Guru put you on the right track for making your reeds, but left out one tool vital for tuning: a sort of handled needle for scratching at the base of the reed. (a file would cut WAY too fast) Filing the tip of a reed will raise the pitch, thinning the base will lower the pitch.

A strobe tuner (or other precision electronic tuner) is almost required for tuning, too. Overshooting the desired pitch is a real pain. . .

If you can get an accordion repairman to talk to you about reeds (they are often secretive) it could help a lot.
Some time back I found a book on repairing reed organs in the local library. The principles are similar. No larger than our library is, such a book shouldn't be too hard to find.

BTW: If you value your time at all, you will be spending WAY more in time making reeds than just buying a new blues harp. Of course, if you get the hang of it you could graduate to repairing (or even building) accordions, melodions, concertinas & so forth.
   John Lowther - Thursday, 01/24/02 18:16:00 GMT

If you email your snail mail address I send a sketch.
   L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 01/24/02 18:32:50 GMT

Thank you Guru. I'll check out the library and start off into the great unknown. I doubt that I could get away with "I'm going to the library, be right back" more than once since that would be about three days round trip, :) I will try interlibrary loan though. It's tool making time!

I get to the library fairly often and browse. Our library has just added 2 copies of 'The Art of Blacksmithing'. I really like that new book smell and get to be the first to crack it open. Ranks up there with actually holding an original manuscript of a great work that has been thumbed by the masters.

   Mills - Thursday, 01/24/02 18:33:59 GMT

CRC Industries - Several months ago, you recommended this company as a source for Industrial quality zinc paint. In looking at their website, I see they offer 3 products; Bright Zinc-It, Zinc Coat and Zinc-It Instant Cold Galvanize. Can you tell me which one of these is the best product for bare metal. Two of these products are Epoxy ester-based and the other is Acrylic-based. Which is better? I will be applying paint over this product.
   Greg - Thursday, 01/24/02 19:10:24 GMT

Howdy guru, Thanks again for the help on my gasser(reil burners w/ castable liner). Waiting for it to heat up a little longer made all the difference. I have aquired some worn out air chisel bits. Nice long ones that Iwant to re work. I assume they are tool steel (very Hard). Question: Do I need to aneal then re heat to hammer them or just heat to work temp, shape and then re harden?
   - Dodge - Thursday, 01/24/02 19:20:19 GMT

CRC Coatings: Greg, the Bright Zinc and Zinc Coat are top coats. The Zinc Coat is probably designed for painting items that may or may not get a coat of paint in the field. The Zinc-It is the product I've used. It is fast drying (see flamability notice) and has a flat surface ready for paint or primer to stick to.

Remember that no paint job is any better than the surface preparation. The zinc paint does not need to be thick but it should have a coat of a neutral primer applied between it and the top coat.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 21:29:52 GMT

Reworking tool steel: Dodge, there is not real right answer to this. If you were reworking the tools to use in the hammer they were designed for, you would simlply rework the ends and harden and temper the heat effected part. However, this results in an uneven condition. But you would not want to heat and re-heattreat the drive end as the scaling would probably result in it no longer fitting the tool. But people get away with partialy heat treating tools all the time.

Where you want to be careful is to warm the steel before putting it in the forge and then be sure to temper the finished piece. A lot depends on how critical the tool or part is. Making tools for yourself is a lot different than making tools for someone else.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/24/02 21:45:55 GMT

Grandpa...I started using some 15N20 (.75 C 2% Ni) along with 1018 and 1084 to get a more brilliant pattern in my blades. I forge welded as usual, but have cold shuts in the blades, probably on the first weld (around 17 layers). Should I be welding at a higher heat with the 2% Ni involved. Im using LPG forge and borax/flouride flux.
   R. Guess - Thursday, 01/24/02 22:33:02 GMT

To THOMAS POWERS: I asked about the Viking etchant. You mentioned "topo" what is it? Also how does to much interfere with a blade? Thanks
   Adam O - Friday, 01/25/02 03:12:44 GMT

Topo = topographic = high relief = heavy etch & alloy vs. non alloy steel

Looks pretty, has high friction, thus not an efficient blade.

Stefan, who mentions fruit-acid (vinegar from apples) is Norwegian, from Norge the land of the Vikings. .

The acetic (L. acetum) acid in vinegar is a pretty good etching agent and has been known since ancient times.

Couldn't find Zag
   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 04:33:58 GMT

Does anyone know how to make Tannic acid? Either from oak, tea, or anything readily attainable? I read on a site that you just extract the acid from any of the sources(oak bark, tea,etc.) with hot water, does this mean just boiling them together? Thanks
   Adam O - Friday, 01/25/02 08:52:51 GMT

Hi all. I'm planning to build a twisting jig to twist up my damascus billets. Since the billets are generally rounded before twisting, I thought of using an old 3 jaw lathe chuck (from the scrapheap) to grip the end to be twisted while the other end is clamped in a stationary vice. The chuck gets mounted on a piece of shaft through two pillow blocks and a spoked wheel gets attached. Question is, won't the chuck just start slipping because there is no self-tightening action as one gets with a monkey wrench? Any ideas on a reliable quick-fastening holding arrangement that can easily be rotated.
   Tom Nelson - Friday, 01/25/02 12:46:52 GMT

Tannic acid; well you can buy the powder; but I always just bought the cheapest tea I could find and bung it in a pyrex cassorole and filled it with water and let it boil a couple of hours---you get more that the tannins but I don't think the "buzz" will affect the blade...

I usually use oak sawdust for aging single steel blades, soak it in water and lay the blade in the "mess" the sawdust making contact makes for a more speckled appearence.
To try to get tannic acid I would boil as above; but oak bark might be better,

First time I tried the "tea" I stuck a polished and cleaned blade in it and went off and left it for an hour came back and the blade was "fuzzy" with crud; "well that didn't work" I figurred and took it over to the sing and started to wash it off---the crus slipped off leaving a blade with the pattern visible in a sort of blue/purple black colour.
No topo but the finishe lasted a long time (tannins were investigated as rust inhibitors at one time)
   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 01/25/02 14:49:56 GMT

Tanic Acid: This is another one known to the ancients. It was used primarily for tanning. At one time there was an "acid wood" industry harvesting various types of oak for the tanning industry.

I believe the heavy red underbark in some types of oak is very high in tannic acid. You do not have to boil the wood or bark to extract the acid but it speeds up the process. If you have time you can soak the ground up wood and bark in cold water. Be sure to use a non-metalic container in either case. Wood, glass, ceramic or plastic is OK.

   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 17:09:16 GMT

Twisting Chuck Tom, That is an intresting problem. The only thing I can think of is a self tightening cam action device. In this case you would be building your own "chuck" and the 3-Jaw would not be usable except as maybe a holder for the second device.

The easiest device to rig up would be a plate with your pipe wrench head pinned to them (you need two). Cut the extra handle off the wrench. Weld a couple tabs to the lower jaw so that it can be mounted on your drive plate.

The problem with any cam action is that it will be either right handed OR left handed, not both. So to twist a second piece to weld to the first you would need a second setup.

Mounting two keyless or scroll (like most 3-Jaw chucks) by the tightening ring would also self tighten. In this case you are applying the turning torque through the tightening mechanism. The jaws will move in only so far then the piece will twist. Reverse the rotation and the jaws will loosen. However only one end will loosen by turning the crank and the other will need to be loosened by turning the chuck. Which chuck loosens may be random due to differences in friction. Like the cam devices this is only left or right handed not both.
   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 17:28:41 GMT

More on self gripping chucks. . Using a single roller in a bore with a double ramp machined in it will drive in either direction. However, to work, the piece being gripped must be quite round and sized to fit as the roller cam (like in an over running clutch) has a limited working range. But this IS self tightening and can work in either direction.

This is a common method of friction driving work to be polished or for light machining. It can be found in some machinists hand books. To work, the wedging angle between the ramp surface and the driven part at the roller must be less then 14.5°. It can be done with a flat ramp but to fit a wide range of diameters the ramp surface must be curved. This is complicated to do (I have a patent on the subject and a TON of R&D background) and I don't recomend it.

For twisting bar the best thing to do is cold twisting. But this may be a problem in laminated steels causing seperations.
   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 17:44:15 GMT

In the case of a twister, the length that is held in the holder(s) is not twisted, right? If you only use the twisted portion, the outside shape of the held end(s) is not important? So make it square or flatted and make a holder to match the shape? That's my plan anyway. Of course, if you use the ends that are held, this may not work. Holding round parts from twisting is a bugger.

Weld something onto the end of the part to twist and cut off after twisting?

Maybe serrating the chuck jaws would be enough. I've not had good luck with holding things from turning in typical machine chucks unless the loads are similar to machining. 200 foot pounds of load seems to be the upper limit for a 12" 3 jaw holding a 5 inch diameter machined part or so.
   Tony - Friday, 01/25/02 17:54:53 GMT

Capacity of roller clutches I mentioned light work above. The reason is that the roller has the capacity to mark the work. Under high load it will embed in the shaft or softer piece. It has the capacity to drive something to the point of twisting it in two. The most common limiting factor is the wall thickness of the surrounding part with the ramp. If it has a thin wall that can deflect the roller can move outward and slip. If it has a very thick wall the roller can crush a part or embed itself deeply.

Even with one roller this is a high torque device. The reason roller clutches use multiple parts is to reduce wear and to center the forces. In this case those are not important.
   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 18:00:36 GMT

I need to make a die. First I have to anneal the metal to get it to a workable state. The metal I'm using is known as EN24 (if that means something). If you can give me the temperatures and method needed to soften it and re-harden it afterwards. I will be eternally gratefull.

Yours sincerely
   Werner - Friday, 01/25/02 18:49:11 GMT


I couldn't find your alloy in most of my usual references. I looked in Woldman's Alloys of the World - 6th Ed., Metals & Alloys in the Unified Numbering System and the ASM Metals Reference Book - 2nd Ed..

The ASM book listed under U.K. numbers En.47 through En.58H. Woldmans listed EN25 a designation from the USSR but no EN24.

FINALLY on an Australian web page (www.allsteel.com.au/) I found:

4340 = EN24 4340 is the SAE and AISI number. The UNS number is G43400.

0.38 to 0.43 C, 0.60 to 0.80 Mn, 0.035 P max., 0.15 to 0.30 Si, 1.65 to 2.00 Ni, 0.70 to 0.90 Cr, 0.20 to 0.30 Mo.

There is an "H" version, 4340H that has slightly tighter tolerances on carbon and a higher range of chrome.

For the prefered predominately speroidized structure for machining and future heat treating,
heat to 1380°F (750°C), cool rapidly to 1300°F (705°C), then cool to 1050° (565°C) at a rate not exceeding 5°F (3°C) per hour. OR heat to 1380°F (750°C), cool rapidly to 1200°F (650°C) and hold for 12 hours.

To harden austentize at 1550°F (845°C) and quench in oil. Thin sections may be fully hardened by air cooling.

Before parts reach ambient temperature (100 to 120°F - 38 to 49°C) they should be placed in the tempering furnace.

ASM Heat Treaters Guide

Temper at a minimum of 500° (260°).

   - guru - Friday, 01/25/02 21:44:47 GMT

Adam.....The bark of the Eastern Hemlock tree is a rich source of tannic acid.
   bbeck - Friday, 01/25/02 22:05:22 GMT

What is the proper height of an anvil? (Need this info for a class I'm attending.) thanks!
   Karyn Peterman - Friday, 01/25/02 22:53:10 GMT

That sorta depends on what you are doing.
Several references say to place the anvil such that while you are standing next to it in a normal stance, your knuckles(as your hand would hold a hammer) are just even with the top. But this is usually meant for if you will be having strikers using heavy sledges on it so it need to be that low.
I have my anvil several inches higher than that. I have seen some folks with even higher anvils so they do not have to lean down so far to see the work. Seems like at wrist height might do it. But this is just my opinion. Guru?
   Ralph - Friday, 01/25/02 23:31:43 GMT

Anvil Height Karyn, The right answer is "knuckle height" but many smiths are finding that their old eyes need a higher anvil. If you are doing a lot of detail work on the anvil and use a power hammer for the heavy work the greater height is OK. However if you are going to do all your forging at the anvil I believe it should be at the traditional height.

If the anvil is too high or too low you risk stresses and strains that can result in various joint damage. It is important to learn and practice good working posture. If you tend to hunch over when working or have bad posture in general it will affect the way you learn to do other things. Standing straight at the anvil with your feet firmly planted is important to learn. I know many smiths that work hunched over and it hurts me to watch them work. If you need to see something close up then purposely bend down and look but do not retain that position.

In an earlier era posture when working was taught and you were expected to learn it. Every job has a best body position and it is important to find it. A comforatble authoratative posture is usualy the right on. Stand straight and take charge of the job and that confidence will extend into your work.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/26/02 00:34:32 GMT


You might also take a look at iForge demo number 6. (grin)
   Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/26/02 01:15:32 GMT

I'm not sure where to post this so here goes.
Can you post the Fairview Coal Company, Lima Ohio as a supplier of coal. It good stoker coal and I use it alot,some clinker but not bad. About $83.00 a ton
   dick - Saturday, 01/26/02 02:20:25 GMT

wat about grinding a flat and useing a wing bolt to hold it would have some advantages in simplisty over other designs.
or if you want to get real nifty you can get a nematic chuck for a CNC lathe holdign presher in 5 or 6 tons max on most.
   MP - Saturday, 01/26/02 04:04:39 GMT

R.Guess: There are about a bizillion causes for weld shunts. I have never had any problem welding 15n20, or A203e, that I could blame on the material. There should be no difference in heat or flux requirments by adding 15n20 to a 1018/1084 mix.
   grandpa - Saturday, 01/26/02 04:34:13 GMT

Anybody have an address for Buck Brown of Coyote Forge? I've lost it somehow, and need to thank him for sending some things to me.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/26/02 05:26:46 GMT

Jock, saw where some idiot sent you a recipe for
de-hyrating borax (21 Century page). He must be dumber than a klinker to pour a whole box of 20 Mule Team into one of his wife's cassarole dishes.
   L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 01/26/02 13:23:18 GMT

Grandpa..Im sure it wasnt the material. All the components were clean when I wired them together. Next time I will let it soak a little longer, as I may not have had an even thorough heat on the first weld. That was my first experience with 15N20 and it did liven up the pattern contrast, except for that nasty black line. Thank you, venerable sir,for your valued response.
   R Guess - Saturday, 01/26/02 14:21:58 GMT

Recipe Larry, Its only dumb if he gets caught! He better hope his wife doesn't read anvilfire.


   - guru - Saturday, 01/26/02 17:47:24 GMT

Hi I live in central Illinois.A friend of mine bought a fully equipped welding shop in Mason City,Illinois.It has a working Little Giant trip hammer he would like to find out how much it is worth so he can sell it.He has no use for it.It is in real good working condition.He has the dyes for it too.It is presently set-up and is running off of eletricity.It can be seen running.
Any info would be appeciated.Thank you very much.
   Willard McBride - Saturday, 01/26/02 18:10:54 GMT


You suppose we should call and tell her? (grin)

L. Sundstrom, I'm just kidding.

(searching through desk while muttering, "What did I do with that da** piece of paper????)
   Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/26/02 18:37:58 GMT

Little Giant: Willard, These came in 5 sizes ranging from 25 pounds to 500 pounds (ram weight). The size is usualy cast into the crank wheel on the front. They also came in various styles.

In general any LG will sell for $1500 to $3000 depending on its type and condition. Completely rebuilt the sell for a little more. The smaller hammers are in more demand and sell for the same or more than the bigger hammers. You will easily find a buyer for a 25 or a 50 but you may have to give away a 250 or 500. The 100's are popular among those that know that small work can be done with a big hammer.

Most users don't have 3PH power so a 3PH motor is as good a none in most cases. These machines tend to get a lot of abuse and even though they run they may be worn out and need expensive repairs. "Real good working condition" may be a matter of opinion.

Tell your friend he is welcome to list the machine for sale on our Hammer-In page.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/26/02 19:28:19 GMT

Larry: It was me that posted the thing (in V-hammerin originally.)
I have to say that you are telling the truth, it WILL make the poor spouse cry if done in her stove :-).

The original posting was an answer to a question about how to prevent Borax from foaming so much.
The thing is that with the described procedure you will NOT dehydrate the Borax 100%. The cooked of water will reduce the amount of H2O to a point where the foaming is less vigourous though.
If done in one go on a large batch It WILL clump together forming an plaster like lump (not desired) that is hard to break but stirring it frequently while dehydrating will prevent SOME of that.
and making more than used up in 1-2days is wasted time/energy anyway as it will absorb new water from the air.

BTW thanks for calling me nice names Larry :-).
   OErjan - Saturday, 01/26/02 20:43:33 GMT

sorry Larry, should have read it first :-) shows that I AM Dumber than a (insert favorite expresion). sorry once again (I feel better now that it was proved that flaming was out of cartacter for you Larry)
   OErjan - Saturday, 01/26/02 20:48:03 GMT


OErjan brings up a good point. (and you handled it most gracefully, OErjan!)

In a linear environment like this, it's always wise to read all the way to the end before responding. (grin)

Having been caught in that trap on a couple of occasions, I know the feeling well.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/26/02 20:57:49 GMT

Dehydrating Borax Yes, I need a good method posted for that. But it is far easier to just buy it. When you fully melt the borax to make it anhydrous and let it cool then you have a glass hard lump that must be crushed and ground to a powder. Crushing and grinding glassy substances is not my idea of fun.

The other problem with melting borax is the container. When done in almost any metalic container it disolves the metal and colors the borax. It still works as flux but its effectiveness has been reduced somewhat. Platinium crucibles are made for this type work if you can afford it.

OErjan, sorry for the confusion. I posted Larry's "recipe" because of the photo. . :)
   - guru - Saturday, 01/26/02 21:25:28 GMT

Alright, you guessed it. I'm the dummy. and was I ever surprized when I opened the oven door. But you know what, you're to blame....I was following your advice...can YOU help it if I got carried away with the ingredients, you see my wife bought me about eight boxes of Borax and I figured...........
P.S. That thing was completely hollow on the inside. I pulverized it with a giant rolling pin. I hated to destroy it but my wife needed the dish.
I still get a chuckle out the thought of that thing growing in the oven like that, kinda like the time I vaporized popcorn in the microwave oven on a hot summer afternoon triing to pop the last kornel of corn. Thank goodness the Borax was odorless.


Sometime after working in the shop I feel like I have sand in my eyes. I talked to a welder once who said that one way welding could cause injury was the light reflects off the back of your eye and burns the insides of your eye lids.
I use one of those automatic hoods and it's solar powered. Can these things allow enough light to come through to cause "flash burn" if the batteries are low? Is there a good way to test that?

Also, I've read that a person shouldn't stare into a coal fire. What kind of damage will that cause? It's like telling a moth not to fly around a candle...I love looking at the fire. I use Transition (variable tint) glasses and have been told that they block out ultra violet rays.
What are your thoughts?

   L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 01/26/02 21:48:22 GMT

Dear Sir, I am an artisan in Brazil and work with iron. Can you help me about how I do oxidation in iron pieces?
I make swords, knives and other pieces in iron. And all they should be oxidized [blackened].
I involve the piece of iron in sand mixed with oil automotive and later I take to the fire [bonfire] for some hours. The pieces be blacken.
Does some other way exist of doing this, in my domestic works?
Thank you in advance.
A big hug from Brasil.
   Carlos - Saturday, 01/26/02 21:55:06 GMT

Forge Light: Larry, UV is not the problem in forges, Infrared is. It is claimed that many years of staring into a welding fire can result in cataracts. "Flash glases", the general foundry and weld shop filter glasses with (I THINK) a #2 filter do the job.

Arc welding is different. Besides being intense it is a mixture of UV, Visible and IR as well as a small amount of X-Rays under certain circumstances. The intense UV is the most damaging and requires a cobalt bearing filter glass. The glass is dark enough to take care of the visible and IR is filtered largely by clear glass but special filtering IS recommended.

The "flash" glasses are supposed to be worn by all workers working with and around welders and welders are supposed to wear them under their welding hoods for when they accidently strike an arc at the wrong time. However, even though they are required by OSHA (I think) they are rarely used.

I had one of the early self darkening LCD helmets. I did not like it. I could ALWAYS see spots immediately after striking the arc. This was distracting since I look closely at what I am welding. It was also telling me that it didn't work as well as claimed. This helmet was about $125 in the early 1980's (a lot of money then) and I should have taken it back. Eventualy it got knocked of its hook and broke. I was not unhappy about its breaking since I did not use it and did not plan on doing so in the future.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/26/02 23:16:15 GMT

The sand in the eyes senation you described is classic welder burn. Since you are using an automatic helmet, I suggest you check inside the hood and see if there are any adjustment knobs there. Some units have adjustment not only for the degree of tint, but also for the delay of the shielding to kick in. I used to use such a unit when I worked at a fab shop. They came in handy tacking in pickets on rails. But they can get out of adjustment.
Wearing tinted glasses when working in the vicinity of welders is also a good idea. I was basically a layout man and served as unofficial shop foreman. Which meant I got a lot of side flash and suffered more flash burn than the welders. Pick up a set of Uvex with tinted lenses that extend around the side of the face. They also help when using a cutting torch. Shields the eyes from blowback and not near as many white spots after 10 or 15 minutes of cutting.
If you ever get the sand under the eye lid symptoms again try the old standby. Slice a raw potato about an eigth to a quarter inch thick, lie down and lay the potato slices over your eyes and stay there. Don't worry about the moisture collecting in your eyes. That is what takes the inflammation out.
   Larry - Sunday, 01/27/02 01:58:41 GMT

Guru: Clifton Ralph demonstrated for us in December. Your point about 100 # hammers was mentioned. Clifton said he couldn't understand why people don't spend a extra $1000 bucks give or take and get a hammer that will do the job so much better.
   - Dave Wells - Sunday, 01/27/02 05:44:43 GMT

Anvil height. When I have my arm at rest (by my side) with my palm facing out, and I place the heel of my hand on the anvil face, it is the correct height for me these days (which happens to be roughly 33"). Guru is correct about the eyesight problems. I put a stump in the ground out to the range last year, for the mounting of an anvil in a shop to be used for demos. Anvil comes home when nobody is there camping. Will build a shop around the placement of this stump. I left about 3' sticking out of the ground, and built up the working area in front of the anvil to my tastes. I also massaged the top of the stump some with a chainsaw. Different anvil in this case required different length of stump, combined with floor being dirt (clay mostly). Since the area of the anvil is crowned somewhat, I had to build up the place for the forge a little too, so it is in close range of height to the anvil. I just drive some tripod legs in the ground for stands to use when heating and/or cutting full length (20') steel. We have power out there, but a chop saw ain't quite Civil War era. As you can see, the height of the anvil dictates several things (including the height of the window sills that will be in the shop to be built). Shop will be a 3 side affair, with opening to east, and windows on west and south. Smith faces east, forge on north. Sills will be anvil/forge working height, and will be used when working up full length steel to smaller pieces. Windows merely hinged at the top (shutters) for holding open at place desired. East will have a fly to help the shade for morning sun. This all sounds good on paper, but will see whats up when the fat lady sings. Anvil height will also dictate the post vise and bench height. It all centers around the anvil.
   Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Sunday, 01/27/02 12:12:19 GMT

Thanks for the comment. Now, I knew Jock was a old helmet guy cause he's a real welder. (not saying you're not) but I'm not and I need all the help I can get including seeing where the wire tip is before I pull the trigger. That's why my wife bought me the million dollar LCD helmet for my birthday. It probably would have been better to ride out the learning curve and gain the skill of flopping down the helmet just before pulling the trigger but I needed all the help I could get learning to use my Mig.
I don't think mine is adjustable but I will check. It may be that it doesn't get enough light hanging in my dark old shop so I set it in the window to give it a good charge.
Thanks for the potato skins idea. Can flash burn cause any permanate damage?
   L.Sundstrom - Sunday, 01/27/02 15:53:59 GMT

ANVIL HEIGHT. This story may be apocryphal, but at one time Jay Sharp was selected to be on the North American farrier team of four to be sent to the UK for the big, annual international shoeing competition. When he arrived on site, he noticed that many of the Britishers were working on anvils about 3 - 4 inches lower than fist-high. Their reasoning was that it allowed them and their strikers to "get down on their work" better. When Jay returned to Salmon, Idaho, he followed suit...lowered his anvil. Then, he was selected to go again the following year. When he got to the area of the contest, he saw that about half of the British competitors had raised their anvils, American style!

And not to forget that Japanese smiths traditionally work sitting on a mat or lowdown platform. Their anvils are rectangular in section, buried in the ground, the face above grade about 6 - 10 inches.

A somewhat related and admittedly, secondhand story...The UK competitors noticed that a few of the American shoers were using wooden mallets to turn their lightweight shoes, in order to do cleaner work with fewer hammer marks. The American Standardbred track shoers had been doing this for some time. At first blush, the Britishers wondered, "Wot th' bloody 'ell"? But sure enough, the following year, at the competition, a few of the Britishers were using wooden mallets.

"It just shows to go ya'".
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/27/02 16:10:31 GMT

Let there be LIGHT! If you want to SEE while welding the ambient light level makes a huge difference. Put a spot light on your work and you can see with your #12 shape before striking an arc. Much safer and cheaper.

Chronic flash burns are probably a serious problem. UV is what causes skin cancer, think what it does to sensitive light receptors and organic lenses. That is why you can't hardy buy a pair of sunglasses without UV coating. IR is heat. It only takes about 140°F to cook egg whites. . it is bound to be bad for the liquid filling your eyes.

Then there are you guys that use a cutting torch without cutting glasses. . . something I would NEVER, EVER do but I see folks doing it all the time. Might as well stick your head in the microwave and bypass the safetys. . I do a lot of work in the shop without safety glasses and I know I shouldn't. Its playing Russian roulett with your eyes. But using a torch for brazing, welding, soldering OR cutting is playing with a fully loaded gun. Its hurting you EVERY time you do it. . you just won't know for a few years.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/27/02 17:02:14 GMT

I am an amature knife makerfor about 1yr i want to try clay tempering , but every thing I've read is very vaque. Can yuo suggest a place to find information on clay tempering.
   Tom turkey - Sunday, 01/27/02 22:25:32 GMT

Tool Height:

I've managed to accumulate several anvils and post vises over the years. My primary 100 kg. anvil is a touch above knuckle height, but not too much, since my friends still use it, and I'm 6'1" (185.4 cm). My smaller 72# (32.6 kg) anvil is mounted much higher, almost elbow height, for fine work. The three post vises are at three levels also, the 100# (45.3 kg) is the lowest, the 60# (27 kg) at elbow height, and the 35# (16 kg) about eight inches or a foot higher. As the work gets finer, I get closer to it, especially since, these days, I have to put on my driving glasses to read the computer screen over my boss's shoulder!

Clay Tempering:

Tom Turkey- see my posting on Wednesday on the book on Japanese swords. It has some excellent information.

It was 56 degrees on the banks of the lower Potomac today! I got a lot of cold work done to set up for the Military Through the Ages display at Jamestown, Virginia on the third weekend of March. (Y'all come now!)

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 01/28/02 01:53:42 GMT

Clay Hardening: Tom, This is a Japanese process and details will be found in references on Japanese blade making.

In the Japanese process the clay protects the finished blade from the fire and heat. Only the edge is exposed. The entire blade is coated with a mixture of fine refractory clay, the type used to make porceline. Then the clay is scraped off the edge exposing the part to be hardened. The shape of the "hammon" line is created by how the clay is scraped. The line itself is at the transition from the hardened and unhardened steel.

The process was developed by people that did not have a scientific understanding of metalurgy but produced tremendous results. However, the modern bladesmith should study both modern metalurgy and the traditional method in order to understand the process. Centaur Forge and Norm Larson have the books. If this is your interest I'd get as many as I could afford.
   - guru - Monday, 01/28/02 02:22:13 GMT

The Revolutionary Blacksmith.

General announcement to all:

I've had a couple of emails from folks here lately about the publication date for Book One of The Revolutionary Blacksmith
series. The short answer has been that the publisher was shooting for April first.

But a serious problem surfaced Friday the 18th. Got a call from Tracy. (publisher) Her husband has been having persistent
headaches,which they and his Dr. thought were from sinus problems.

Monday, he called her at the office and asked her to come get him and take him to the emergency room. Was in so much pain
he didn't feel safe to drive. (he's a colonel with the Illinois State Police)

EOR Dr. agreed that it was probably sinus, but ordered a CT, just in case.

Found three brain tumors. He has lung cancer (which they didn't know) it has already metastasized. He is a level 4 patient.

They have him on radiation therapy and a steroid to reduce swelling of the brain tissue, but that is actually just palliative.

They give him six to 12 months, but I think that is overly optimistic. Three months sounds more likely to me and to two
oncologist friends that I talked to on Sunday the 20th.

I told Tracy to forget about the damn book, take care of her husband. That's when she started to cry.

Her daughter is a mid-level executive with a major publishing company in Chicago. She called her mom and told her that she
had turned in her notice and would be there as soon as she trained a replacement. Tracy told her, "Carol, I can't afford to pay
you the kind of money you earn."

Carol's reply was, "Mom, I didn't say a damn word about money, this is family!"

Her son Tony, quit his job, came home to take over the retail crafts store they are supposed to open on February 1st.

It's called family.

I'm not sure what's going to happen at the moment. I know Carol, and we get along well. How much of a delay this will cause,
I don't know.

And I truthfully don't care how much of a delay it causes. Tracy is doing exactly what I would have expected her to do. I would
have been very dis-appointed in her if she had done anything else.

In the final analysis, all we have is family and friends. Both deserve our every effort.

If you are a praying person, his name is Frank.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 05:34:57 GMT

I've done some work on a friend's coal fired rivet forge and really liked working on it (hand crank blower). But, where I live, the smoke is a problem. What are the pros and cons of using charcoal? It seems like it would be clean burning. Can you use regular bbq stuff and can you get welding temps with it?
Thanks, Utah
   Utah Slim - Monday, 01/28/02 06:27:11 GMT


Relatively smokeless. But not the regular bbq stuff, that's usually glue and sawdust. Sometimes has a little coal dust mixed in it.

Regular hardwood Charcoal chunks. Real wood.

Takes a deeper fire, and more air, but you can weld with it, that's all blacksmiths used for thousands of years.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 06:31:20 GMT

There are many sources for getting tannins. Most of them free. Hemlock bark has 8 to 14% tannin. Bark chips of the eastern hemlock,(Tsuga canadensis), may be had at a hardwood mill, or harvested from dead trunks (snags) or fallen boles, (i.e. tree trunks),if you can find some. The bark chips are steeped in hot water and the tannin is thus extracted. Flowing hot water works faster, for this. Wood chips of the western hemlock, (Tsuga heterophyla), will work well too. But the amount of tannin may be less if the bark chips come from trees that have been floated down rivers to the saw mill. The floating in water leaches some of the tannin out. The strength of the tannin in water solution is a matter of eyeballing, and trial and error.
It should be noted that iron ions will complex with tannin to give a dark blue,green or black solution which may be desirable or not. If not, don't use steel vessels or implements (e.g. ladles etc.) use glass or plastic vessels for the process instead.
Oak bark, of many oak species give decent yields. Less desirably their leaves (but easier to get) can also be steeped in hot water to yield a suitable tannin solution.
Sumac leaves can also be used as a source of tannins. Aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica)has 21% tannin, dry weight, in it's leaves. Dwarf or shining sumac (Rhus copallina) has 33% tannin. Smooth sumac, (Rhus glabra) has 26%, and staghorn sumac, (Rhus typhina) has 24% tannin in its leaves. The staghorn sumac is easy to identify. It is a shrub and has the brilliant red leaves seen in autumn. Check a tree or botany book for a picture of the various sumacs before going into the woods. Sumacs grow wild in many places. Some sumac shrubs are grown as ornamentals in some gardens. (we only need the leaves and they should be free, for the taking, in the autumn). Better results are had by drying the leaves and then powdering them before hot water treatment. Please use a mask, to avoid inhaling the leaf material and attending fungal spores (and hyphae= fungal threads).
Red mangrove tree (Rhizophora mangle), bark is another source of tannins. The bark is stripped, pulverised and dried. A hot water extraction can be done. Copper pots are traditionally used for the extraction. The mangrove tree leaves can also be used. Mangrove swamps are found in the Southern U.S. etc. (Florida and other states). Palmetto roots can also be used.
Out in the Western U.S., an annual plant called tanner's dock or canaigre, (Rumex hymenosepalus) can be used. The fleshy roots yield 25 to 35% tannin. The roots should chopped up and then pulverised. Then the mass is treated with hot water.
Oak and sumac galls can yield up to 65% tannin, if you can find enough of them. Tannin extraction methods are the same as described above.
The main American source of tannins used to be had from the American chestnut tree, (Castanea dentata). The chestnut blight fungus essentially wiped out all the trees by the 1940's or early 1950's. In 1937, 123 thousand tons of chestnut tree derived tannin was used. Some of the dead chestnut tree trunks and tree stumps are still standing after all these years, in some places in the Apalachian mountains. The tannin, in the wood, dramatically slows tree rotting. The chopped wood chips were used for hot water extraction.
South American smiths can use the wood chips of the Quebracho tree or the fruit of the Divi Divi tre. for a good yield of tannins.
I have rambled on long enough. Good luck to all in your efforts using tannins for metal patinating, leather tanning and ink making. Best Regards,
Slag. in the much too warm Great White North.
   Slag - Monday, 01/28/02 07:01:45 GMT

Honorable Guru:
There is an anvil on Ebay, #1325626183. Link to the web site, please tell me anything you can about it.

Thanks and God Bless.
   scott - Monday, 01/28/02 12:59:13 GMT

scott: I think you already asked about this one. Sure you weren't looking at a different one on eBay?

   Escher - Monday, 01/28/02 14:52:35 GMT

Scott. Yah, this was already covered. The feet of the base look "old English". I'm guessing it's forged. Maybe the heel broke, so the owner just dressed it square. Where's the pritchel hole? Probably gone with the break. A thinner heel on an anvil makes it handier to work some forked pieces or bends. The continental pyramidal horn is really nice for such work. With a picture like that, all you're going to get is educated guesswork.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/28/02 15:47:52 GMT

Hot punch lubricant: Been watching a bunch of UMBA tapes in which some of the smiths are using a kind of slurry for lubricating the punch in hot work instead of the traditional coal dust. Any ideas what the recipe might be? I am guessing it's some evil concoction of graphite, motor oil, eye of newt , wing of bat...
   adam - Monday, 01/28/02 15:54:08 GMT

Hot Lube Adam, Coal dust has been "traditionaly" used during the coal era. Not sure what they did when using charcoal. Somesmiths use just plain old axel grease and a few use Never-Seize. The Never-Seize is a much higher temperature lubricant but it is messy.

The materials used act more as a coolant than a lubricant. Both the coal and the grease burn or evaporate out rapidly cooling the punch. Lubrication is secondary.
   - guru - Monday, 01/28/02 16:17:06 GMT

Ebay: Scott, Click on this window (the forum log), press control F, and enter your name or ebay # and you will go to your post and the next time to your answer.

I captured the image from ebay and enhanced it, lightening and adjusting the contrast as I do for all images posted on anvilfire. I could see much better but the image has had a lot of compression so it can't be blown up to see more detail. Its also hard to get more detail from a low light image. But my posting was based on what I could see and others cannot without doing the same.
   - guru - Monday, 01/28/02 16:26:17 GMT

Hot lube: I´ve been told that the nasty fluid that surrounds the fish in a barrel of salted herrings (brine?)was used for this purpose. Might just be a Swedish thing, but salty water with fishoil in it seems to make some sense as a coolant and lube.
   - Olle Andersson - Monday, 01/28/02 16:39:08 GMT

eBay: The odd part is that scott already responded to the responses people gave about it. I was assuming he had a different anvil in mind. You know eBay, always a lot of "rare, antique, ancient" paper weights. ;-)}
   Escher - Monday, 01/28/02 16:39:29 GMT

Hot lube for puches.
At last years Quad State conference, Uri Hofi was using a mixture of moly-disufide and graphite powder. For those really tough jobs like punching eyes for hammers he uses a solid tungsten punch/drift which he obtains from the anti-tank rounds that can be found around Isreal.
   Patrick - Monday, 01/28/02 17:57:49 GMT


I am currently making a couple of 2bore muskets.. The barrels are made from 1000Bar hydraulic 1 1/2 inch tube. I was going to blue the barrels using shop bought stuff ( which usually ends up streaky) But would I get better results using a Tannin mix from oak sawdust and shavings. I recently finnished an oak cannon carrage so have a two bins full of seasoned Oak sawdust. Would this work and whats the best method of doing it to get a nice uniform black/blue finnish?

   Alex - Monday, 01/28/02 19:20:39 GMT


This UPX-compressed mass-mailer has a built-in
SMTP engine which it uses to send itself to all
users listed in an infected user's Windows Address
Book. It arrives in an email with the subject line: "new photos from my
party!" and the attachment www.myparty.yahoo.com.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 19:36:07 GMT


Sorry for the delay in my post. My wife wants "metalic" two in sq. tiles for the bathroom. I have been unable to find any such tiles, so I figured that I could fabricate some out of 1/4" X 2" flat stock.
   Chris - Monday, 01/28/02 19:52:43 GMT

Hot Lube,
What's wrong with parafin?
   L.Sundstrom - Monday, 01/28/02 20:02:48 GMT

Lube. Horseshoers used to fill the handling hole under the horn with beeswax or parafin so they could lube their pritchels there.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/28/02 20:47:05 GMT

Chris, bathroom stainless.... I spent a bunch of time working in the dairy industry. Some cleaners can be nasty, so my vote for bathroom stainless tiles would be 316. Readily available even as polished sheet if you want. Maybe get it with a protective coating and have someone shear the tiles out? Find a food and dairy stainless fabricator and cut the tiles out of their scrap? Maybe even a scrap dealer. Mine had a pile of stainless sheet scrap that would have had enough in it to do your whole house. I payed about $.50 per pound on average.

Beware that without a protective coating, or frequent buffing, most stainless will get a mottled gray color. Chrome oxide is not consistent thickness.

1/4" thick would be expensive and strength overkill for typical tile loads? Just trying to save you cash. I would think 16 gage would even be overkill for 2" square.

It'll sure look different though. Interesting idea! I like different.
   Tony - Monday, 01/28/02 22:14:52 GMT

Escher, Scott did ask the same anvil question last Wednesday 01/23/02. Thomas Powers and Guru both replyed to him shortly after that. a few hours later Scott posted saying thanks for the information and the quick replys from the Guru(s).
i`m with you, its odd he would ask the same question about the same anvil.
   Robert - Monday, 01/28/02 23:37:53 GMT

Metalic Tiles: There are many beautiful ceramic glazes that have a metalic sheen. But tile makers do not get into exotic glazes for simple marketing reasons.

I'll have to disagree with Tony on the thickness. 1/16" may be durable enough to last centuries BUT they have to stay put. Tiles have a porous surface that the glue or mastic adheres to tightly as well as a thick edge that grout bonds to holding the tiles together. Thin metal tiles will bend (ceramic is almost absolutely rigid) and bend resulting in turned up corners and broken grout. Unless the metal tiles are heavily etched grout will not adhere as tightly as needed if at all.

To use thin metal tiles it would have to be in relatively large panels (a foot square) with creased lines and edges. The creases would improve ridgity and they area reduce the possibility of edges turning up. The panels would have no gap when set as grout would not work.

Depending on the size of the room I would hand set tiles in a mosaic or bordered pattern. Handmade tiles could be mixed with commercial tiles to produce a unique custom look without having to make all the tiles.

When my kids were doing mosaics for Latin class we collected bright colored tiles from all the tile stores in the state. Almost every store has broken cases or odd lots of colors that were special ordered. Small quantities of various colors can be purchased this way. But unless you are prepared to buy in volume don't expect to find a rainbow of bright colors. . .

A metalic border could be made with bar stock. Stainless against black maybe???? I would screw down the bar stock with stainless screws as well as gluing it in place. Cover the metal with tape until the grouting is finished as the SS will scratch.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 00:12:33 GMT

OBTW - Another year we made tiles using ceramic slip (liquid white clay) and fired them in the gas forge. Had to watch them closely. The forge would burn the tiles if left in too long and on a couple ocasions we melted and boiled the ceramic. . . Goes to show that there is clay and then there is CLAY.

Firing time was about 5 minutes for piles of 1/8" thick tiles. :)
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 00:21:23 GMT

I recently purchased a bradley 100 lb. hammer trying to find info on rebuilding ,foundations ,opperation ,manuals ,etc.
   terry stover - Tuesday, 01/29/02 00:46:14 GMT

Honorable Gurus,

I Offer you my head bowed, and my neck. please make the cut cleanly. My apologies...

I only wanted you to look at the Item's updated pictures on the web site. The ones without the rust.

   scott - Tuesday, 01/29/02 01:16:41 GMT

Bradley Hammers: Terry, Bradley is still supported by Cortland Machine & Tool Company in New York. Bruce Wallace of Wallace Metal Works is their offical parts distributor and has more Bradleys than anyone I know. They are no longer manufactured and foundation drawings may be available but at a price.

WalmetaLwk at aol.com (see drop down menu for link)

See our Power hammer Page for a list of manufacturers and representitives.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 01:19:20 GMT

Guru thanks for the info on bradly hammers looking forward to getting this hammer running
   terry stover - Tuesday, 01/29/02 01:31:22 GMT

Scott, Today it had the exact same picture as before. Maybe there were others hiding somewhere but nobody mentioned new images. . . Rarely can you read anvil markings in photos unless the photograph is very good. I'd ask the owner what it says. But no matter, its still missing about 3" of the heal.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 01:32:50 GMT

Re: Metalic tiles. When my dad was building our house in 1948 i remember him looking at samples of 4" metal tile. They were anodized aluminum about 1/16 thick with turned down edges to add relief. He didn't buy them so i don't know how they would have held up but I suspect the anodizing wore through pretty quickly. I also don't think they could be grouted and had to be butted. In that case the tiles have to be absolutly square and on size as there is no fudge factor in placement. Pretty tough to produce in quantity in the average home shop.
   bbeck - Tuesday, 01/29/02 01:40:09 GMT

I'm going to back Scott up, there were some updated pictures, but they were on a link of some kind. I'll see if I can find the link again. I was tempted to send the seller a note asking him if he realized that he had halved the value of his "antique" buy "cleaning it up". (evil grin)
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 01/29/02 02:00:45 GMT

OK guys, Scotty is vindicated.

In his message, he specifically said, "Link to the web site, ". When you go to the auction site, directly above the one picture of the anvil there is a line that reads, "Click here to view my auction pictures". The word here is a link to the seller's web site.

We gotta read closer, me included.

Stand up Scotty. Next time use a phrase like, "The seller has added some more pictures, would you see if the new pictures tell you anything new?" That will help to avoid the confusion.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 01/29/02 02:05:57 GMT

Well, any new feeling about this partickualar anvil?
   scott - Tuesday, 01/29/02 04:11:00 GMT


Nope. I'm inclined to agree with Frank about the probability of the broken heel. There's not enough space between the back of the hardy hole and the butt. I suspect the heel got broken off by someone prying on something in the pritchel hole and was then ground off smooth to make it look un-broken.

I would not bid on the anvil. That's personal opinion, take it for what it's worth.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 01/29/02 04:22:35 GMT

I saw a nice Mouse Hole on Ebay this evening, supposedly 160#. Their number is 1325961256.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/29/02 06:26:35 GMT


Thanks for putting the Fairview Coal Company on the coal scuttle. Maybe someone else will grab a forge and start smithing. Again Thanks.........
   Dick - Tuesday, 01/29/02 10:39:37 GMT


re: 1325961256

What's a "pixel" hole? Chuckle.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 01/29/02 10:51:50 GMT

Be Kind, Here I come with more stupid questions.

I have an old "antique and Very rare" Hand Pumped forge. There is no pixel hole, but there is one big mouse hole (possible a rat hole) down the center.

Ok really now, This is the type with out the hand crank, runs with a wheelbarrel type handle and a gear thing tht spins a wheel that turns a belt that turns the blower. ( run mice)
The top that holds the coals(3' diameter Approx) has a crack side to side through the center. can this be welded and still be made useful??? Anything you may know about these forges welcomed,

Thank Youse.
   scott - Tuesday, 01/29/02 11:30:22 GMT

hmmm, how many pixels are in a 1/2in pixel hole? I suppose it depends on the resolution . . . scott: is the crack wide open or just a fracture with no gap?
   Escher - Tuesday, 01/29/02 15:12:24 GMT

I'm 16 old senior high student, I'm from finland and I've forged about three years. which means I've been forging three or more times a week for three years now.
I need help or info about katana. How to chose the materials, how many layers should a medium katana have and what material should I use when I weld those layers together (I have used sand).
One another question. Do you know any books or manuals about forging a katana.
(btw I know how to forge a katana in theory, and about the steels I have used. they are about o.2% carbon and Erkki Norels UHC(ultra high carbon) 1.5%... I have started from three layers of high carbon steel and four layers of low carbon steel)(is the UHC too hard or should I try with lower carbon steels first?)
   Lauri - Tuesday, 01/29/02 15:24:57 GMT

Lauri, Bruce Blackistone posted the title of a book about Japanese blades "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" with details above (01/23/02). I would start there.

For fluxing borax is best. Sands tend to be too variable and often end up introducing material into the blade that you do not want.

The UHC is probably OK but what the Japanese did was start with UHC they manufactured in their forge, then broke it up and welded it into a piece of wrought iron. The broken pieces on the slab of iron produce a different result than using layers. They then cut and welded the billet over and over in order to produce a nearly homogenous material. This material was then laninated into a blank to make the final blade.

I am not an expert on this subject and I highly recommend you go to the book above on the subject for details. As soon as you leave the traditional methods then you should consider the series of books by Jim Hrisoulas or one of the other modern bladesmiths.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 16:11:13 GMT

Forge Repair: Scott, Don't weld. Patch. See last week's archve.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 16:16:25 GMT

Guru...what is the formula for figuring up the length for scarf collars....how do you figure in the thickness of the scarf material?
   noiseyforge - Tuesday, 01/29/02 16:53:19 GMT

I hope that you can help me or lead me in the right direction to find an answer.
I am very new to working with metal. I have a antique metal cabinet, it was painted white and I think the paint was baked on. I have removed all the paint and now would like to leave it the natural metal. My question is what is my next step in order to keep it in a natural state and what do you do in order for it not to rust? I look forward to your answer or suggestions as to where I may find an answer.

   Linda - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:23:12 GMT

Hi, I have been asked to repair a leg to a pot-bellied stove for a friend of mine. I assume the leg is made of cast iron, which I have no experience welding. I know it can be done, but don't know if it's possible for me to do with my welder. I have a Hobart - Handler 135 model wire feed welder. Please let me know if this small of a welder can get hot enough for such an application. He just wants to use it for a decoration, so strength isn't as much of an issue. Thanks in advance.

   Steve - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:47:10 GMT

Steve: welding that CI will be a pain and you should use preheat+nickel rod and peening.
I would use brazing instead.
   OErjan - Tuesday, 01/29/02 18:49:32 GMT

nickel wire sorry (just saw you used a wirefeed)
   OErjan - Tuesday, 01/29/02 18:51:21 GMT

Scarf collar: Noisy, I assume you are talking about a collar and compensating for the bends. When you make a 90° bend you add 1/4 of the material thickness to the length of legs for the bend. If you are making a square of rectangular collar the 4 corners means add 1 full thickness. Since the weld scarf overlaps you do not need to add material except for the scale losses. There is also the little bit of mis-fit. I'd add another thickness.

Generaly when making collars, especialy welded ones there is a bit of trial and error. See our iForge collaring demo.

   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 18:51:28 GMT

Natural State: Linda, I'm afraid the natural state of metal, especialy an unpainted steel cabinett, is RUST. Bright shiny iron/steel is an unnatural man made condition not found in nature. The baked on white factory paint job is the reason the cabinett had lasted long enough to become an antique.

Steel can be coated with clear lacquer. This will retard rusting but the clear finish is not impervious to absorbing air and moisture resulting in oxidation under the finish. However, if the metal is absolutely clean (oil free, no oily salty fingerprints) it will hold up for a time indoore. There are various paint finishes to protect steel but the ones that do a good job are not clear.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 18:59:24 GMT

Stove Leg: Even as a decorative piece it will have to be moved and supported by that leg no differently than in normal use. I doub't you will have much luck welding this type casting with wire feed. Careful preheating and brazing would be best. Nickle (NI) rod works with some CI and not at all with others. Still needs preheat.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 19:05:35 GMT


Thanks for the help, as I have no experience with brazing, and no equipment to do this, I will refer him to someone that can. Thanks again.
   Steve - Tuesday, 01/29/02 19:06:20 GMT

Thanks guru!
   noiseyforge - Tuesday, 01/29/02 19:42:30 GMT

hello. i am an intermediate welder with my own buzz box and torch. i have recently decided that i would like to build a large wind chime but have very little experience bending steel. is it feesable to bend 1/4 to 1/2 inch plate to a 16 foot radius with just a torch and no anvil? if so, what would be the simplest way? am i way out of line thinking that i can jump into this with no knowledge, or is it relatively easy?
   dave schenker - Tuesday, 01/29/02 21:06:07 GMT

Thanks Guru,
Dont forget to Check out that anvil every chance you get!!
Grin upon my chin.
   scott - Tuesday, 01/29/02 21:19:20 GMT

Bending: Dave, How wide? If it is narrow enough then it can be done cold. There is also a ton of difference between 1/4" and 1/2", especialy when talking "plate".

But just a torch and what else? A vise? A pipe wrench? A bench anchored to the floor? Your bare hands? How big are you?

If its wider than a few inches and over 1/4" thick you will need to rig up a press break or have access to some heavy equipment. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 23:42:53 GMT

need source for infrared protection eye preferably prescription
   dave davelaar - Wednesday, 01/30/02 00:04:58 GMT

thank you for the info. answers. bench, vise, and bare hands apply. the pieces will be up to 8" wide. question. what is a press break and how do i rig one up? i will look myself, so if you don't have time thanks for the starting point.
   dave schenker - Wednesday, 01/30/02 02:26:24 GMT

Dave, 1/4" x 8" is not too bad. But it is still going to be a bear. A press brake has a mechanical or hyrdaulic mechanism that pushes a straight bar down on the plate which is supported between two points. For right angle bends the lower die is a "V" block. For curves it can be two pieces of round bar welded to a plate OR any secure method of supporting the plate between two parallel surfaces where the upper "die" pushes the plate down between the supports.

On the 21st Century page there is an article on a hydraulic press I built as a punch press. It can also be used to make bends in bar up to about 8" wide. I also built a much simpler portable version using a short piece of I beam and two pieces of threaded rod with a heavy cross bar. The hydraulic Jack sat on the piece of beam which sat turned on its side the jack setting on the web. The holes for the threaded rod were on either side of the jack The threaded rods were 1-1/2" dia. A v-block made from angle iron and a piece of plate set on top of the jack. In this case the hydraulic jack pushed the die UP against the cross bar to do the bending. It used the same 20 ton jack in the photo of my press. It was used to straighten a piece of 1/4" x 10" steel. The 20 tons was overkill by about 2 or 3X. But this was a gentle straightening operation of a flat ring about 8 feet in diameter that had gotten bent in handling. We were not trying to make a sharp bend. It was very close to the amount of bend you want to make.

The same arrangement could be done with chain, a truck wheel and a heavy cross bar (oak 6x6) and a 6 or 10 ton jack. For the width you are working wood could be used for the die but if thicker than 1/4" it would need to be steel.

If you use chain keep an eye on the shape of the links. When they get straight sided it is overloaded.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 03:33:37 GMT

hi again.
I'd like to know if anyone has tried "freesing" to damaskus blades.
Freesing means you cool the blade to -35- -150 celsius right after you have hardened the blade. usualy the blade is kept in there for one hour. after that you just temper the blade as usual.
I havent tried freesing yet so I have only read few articles about it. you'll get the blade about 2-3 HRC harder and it keeps its sharpnes better.
ps: thanks for answering so quickly to my last question. sory about my lousy english.
   Lauri - Wednesday, 01/30/02 10:10:02 GMT

Paw Paw, i don`t think Scott will be bidding on that anvil at ebay cause hes selling it.
   Robert - Wednesday, 01/30/02 15:32:36 GMT

Hi to all , And thankyou for your desire to help in your q's answers . Your info is undeniably priceless. And I know you all go the extra mile to answer all the reasonable Q's . I would like to know if anyone knows where some one could find the powder Called Rottenstone for polishing wood projects (I'm working on a rifle stock that I want to use it on). If any could direct me I would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou very much. Carl
   - Carl - Wednesday, 01/30/02 15:47:48 GMT

Freezing and Cryogenic treating of steel.
I have seen a few questions on this recently and thought I would add a little to the discussion. Croygenic treating or "freezing" of steel with liqiud nitrogen has become a very common practice in industry for such things as cutting tools, gun barrels, knives etc. If you do a search on the net for it, you will find people claiming that it can do miraculus (sp?)things, like prolong the life of panty hose. (I actually found this while doing research for a school project). the main benifit of using a deep freeze cycle is that any retained austenite in the steel will transform to martenstite. (Quick Metallury background-When heat treating steel, the steel is raised the its "austenitizing temperature". Blacksmiths often judge this by using a magnet. The hot steel is then quenched, transforming the austeninte to martensite. However, in many cases, and in particular with high alloy tool steels, some of the austenite does not transform to martensite-hence the name retained austeninte.) Anyway, by cooling the steel well below room temperature, the retained austenite can be made to transform into untempered martensite, which is very brittle. This is why crogenic treatments must be followed by additional tempering. There is still a great deal of conflict as to the benifits of cryogenic treatments, because tools that are properly heat treated to begin with see very little increase in tool life. However, tools that have not been heat treated correctly will often show dramatic improvements in tool life. As to the benifit of using this process on knvise, it would probably be material dependant. If you are using highly alloyed tool steels like the A, D, M, and stainless steels, it would probably be advisable. If you are using simple carbon steels, and are already getting a good quench, then you may not see much improvement. The same goes for damascus-it is material dependant.

Question on Collars
A few years ago, I was welding collars onto square stock that had round ends (where I was welding the collars). Both the bars and collars were 3/4 square. Once the collars were welded on they were forged into balls. Now my question-I had to cut and fit each collar for every piece I did. What I mean is that these collars looked like a donut with a cut in one side. You had to get the intial length just right or when you went to weld, if the collar was too short it would weld to the shaft but would not close up. IF it was too long it would only weld together like a solid donut, but would not weld to the shaft. By cutting a little bit out from the collar after every attempt, I eventually got them all to weld up fine. Is there a formula that will let you get the collar length right on the first try?
   Patrick - Wednesday, 01/30/02 15:49:10 GMT

Collar Length: Patrick, The one I gave above is it. However, that is for cold bending where thinning and stretching do no occur. In forge work there are variables that math does not apply to.

The way I do the type collar you are doing (on square stock) is starting with a long bar, bend the collar starting at one edge (not a butt at the middle of a flat), and go around the center bar until the bar passes the starting end. The two pieces will shrink together as they cool. Then I saw off the extra bar at the corner to make a nice square. Heat and forge weld. An extra material just works into the bar/joint. If you are short at the first edge then a few blows will draw out the bar a little and make a tight joint before welding.

If the point is to add mass then make a round ball then do all that forging last.

To put welded collar material on round bar use the theoretical length (inside circumference + one thickness), then forge tapers on the end of the collar stock. When you wrap it around the bar you get an overlap equal to the length of the tapers. Any error in length is inconsequential and only results in a slight error in thickness which is spread out along the length of the taper.

If you want perfect on round bar then saw cookies off a large round bar and punch or drill center holes to fit slightly undersize.

Butt welds in heavy stock on round have the problem that the ends will not be parallel after bending unless the ends are angled to compenstate perfectly. If you start with square cut ends then when bent they can never meet except on the inner edge. If you roll a coil of rings on a mandrel then saw them off, each end then has the deformation compensated for. But I wouldn't try this with 3/4 bar on 3/4 bar.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 16:31:31 GMT

Cryogneics: Patrick, Thanks. Yes the problem isn't only that each alloy must be treated differently but that the heat treatment before the cryogenic treatment is often different than normal and the post treatment also varries. Anyone that wants to engage in this business needs to go to ASM and purchase all the books on the subject. But even then they will find that not every alloy has been tested. If you want to treat any material that the research has not already been done THEN you need a complete metalurgical laboratory or the funds to pay one for the testing. Since this is trial and error the testing can get very expensive. Can anyone say, "Government grant required".

OBTW - The slope to cut on the end of bars noted above is roughly equal to 1/2 the thickness of the bar on each end.

This problem also occurs on collars bent to fit square or rectangular bar but is not noticable unless the collar is very thick. That is why the tapers and overlaps are better.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 17:01:11 GMT

thank you very very much.
   dave schenker - Wednesday, 01/30/02 17:15:41 GMT

Rottenstone. Carl, the last I bought was from Constantines in New York. I don't have a catalog less than 5 years old and I don't even know if they are still in business.
   Tony - Wednesday, 01/30/02 17:32:30 GMT

Rottensone Carl, this is an old term for the minerals that Tripoli buffing compound is made of. It is one of several minerals that form a fine abbrasive when it weathers. I'm not sure if it is available as powder. Normaly it is sold in a wax matrix for buffing.
"True tripoli is an infusorial diatomaceous earth known as tripolite, and is a variety of opal or opaline silica. In the abrasive industry it is called soft silica. . . . .

. . Pennsylvania rottenstone is not tripoli, although it is often classed with it. The material marketed for oil-well drilling mub by the Corona Products, Inc., under the name of Opalite, is an amorphous silica.

. . .

Rottentone is a soft, friable, earthy stone of light-gray to olive color. . . it resembles Missouri tripoli and is derived from the weathering os siliceceous-argillaceous limestone (80 to 85% aluminia, 4 to 15 silica, 5 to 10 iron oxides)."

Materials Handbook, 13th Ed. McGraw-Hill

I would go to one of the woodworkers suppliers like Garrett-Wade (212)807-1155, Brookstone or Constantines.

In Thomas Register under rottenstone I found:

Chrystal, Charles B., Co., Inc.
New York, NY

Mild Abrasive, Polishing, & Friction Material. Thermal Stability For High Temperatures & Thermal Stress Applications.

   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 17:54:36 GMT

Tony, Constantines is still in business (see link above). They are a great source of exotic woods and verneers among other things.

Lauri, Sorry I missed your "freezing" question (Cryogneics). I was commenting on Partick's response. The same question came up last week and I thought he was commenting on that.

The first problem is that cryogneics does not benifit all steels and without testing you will not know if it was worth the expense. The second problem is that laminated "Damascus" is not a standard steel and the variation from billet to billet makes every aspect of heat treatment questionable. It would take a great deal of experimentation and testing to determine that correct treatment or if it was benificial.

Increased hardness is not always a desirable goal if it is at the exense of toughness. Every heat treatment must balance hard verses tough.

Your English is very good. It is better than many folks that were brought up with it. With practice, both reading and writing, you will get much better. I have seen great improvements of some of our corespondants such as OErjan, who is Swedish, in the past few years. I admire anyone that can handle more than one language.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:20:34 GMT

Dear Guru,
I'm a model railroader that may someday build my own railroad to ride, but my question today is where do I go to find information on the 1880's style charcoal blast furnace. I'm creating a fictitious place where all the elements existed close together on a set of display modules. I'd like to build a model of a small blast furnace, gravity fed and charcoal/dolemite/ iron ore mix to produce pig iron. Any pointers as to where to get a diagram, and building style. Does any examples of this still exist to see these days? Thanks mark
   Mark Kuhnke - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:29:47 GMT

Abrasives Rottenstone may be good for a specific purpose or renactments but I see little point in going to trouble to obtain it while there are common abbrasives that do the same job or better.

For hand finishing you want to use progressive grits being sure to remove ALL the coarser marks with each step. It is a common mistake to jump to too fine a grit sandpaper when there are still file marks on a piece of work. I prefer open grit cloth backed abrasive like sanding belt material for coarse work, then 3M Wet-or-Dry for fine work. After that you can use Dupont Orange automotive rubbing compound to produce a mirror finish on hard paints or metal.

If machine finishing with a buffing wheel you would use Tripoli on a soft surface or Emery on a hard surface like steel. You can skip some of the sanding if machine finishing but only if you use a harder buff and a coarser "cutting" compound. There are less steps but you do have to remember their ARE steps. Buffing with Tripoli over file marks just makes shiney file marks. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:33:29 GMT

Guru, Do you know where I can get some plans for a small set of bellows to power a small forge made from a car wheel?
   Rob Costello - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:36:52 GMT

Guru or webmaster of this page,
Now that I stop at this site frequntly, I would like to repsectfully request or suggest that the format of guru's den be modified somewhat. I find it frustrating that the question and answer window is so small. I've tried to enlarge it to no avail. Is there some way to rid my screen of the "post" window when I'm not using it? As it is, it takes up 1/2 of the alreay too small screen. Why do I have to look at the hansome blacksmith in the upper left hand corner and the hot metal at the top of the screen all the time?? I'd like to get rid of all of the extra pretty stuff on the screen and refine it to pure information. I will admit that I'm not very computer savy, and if there's a way to change my own settings please advise. I hate to complian and I am so greatful for y'all, but this set up really makes it hard for me to read. Thank you.
   Wendy - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:54:28 GMT

Screen Size: Wendy, The reason things are scrunched-up (good non-word) is so it will fit on an old 640x480 monitor OR in a reduced window. Pages that only fit larger monitors are VERY rude to users that either don't have large monitors or don't use their browser full screen.

Good web page design dictates that things fit. And this one actually is sized dynamicaly if viewed full screen EXCEPT for the little input box which does not resize do to the HTML language.

But there ARE things you can do. If you put your mouse pointer on the border of the input box you can click and drag it down so it dissapears. You have to be careful because you might not be able to get it back. If you lose it then hit reload on your browser.

The second option, that our advertisers don't like, is to right-click on the log window and select "open frame in new window". The only thing you will see then is the log. No banners, no menu bars, just the frame contents.

The second method does not work everywhere on anvilfire. When the forum logs are archived they have code added to them that forces them to load in the frameset. This is so that when our pages are found seperately in search engines the user has a full menu system as well as the banners. That is both for convienience AND business. Since we have added this to all the archives pages (it took me 6 months) we have picked up a lot of new users. This may seem petty but we have had some 60,000 visitors to the archives in the last year and over half were directly from search engines. That is more traffic than many web sites get in years.

I almost always use anvilfire in a near 640x480 box to be sure everything works.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 19:46:33 GMT

Thanks for the info on collars.
   Patrick - Wednesday, 01/30/02 20:06:14 GMT

Guru, Thank you for the tips. I figured out how to reduce the size of the "post" which helps a lot.
   Wendy - Wednesday, 01/30/02 20:07:07 GMT

Constantines: Thanks. I'm glad they are still around. Things were sketchy for a while around 15 years or so ago when there was a generation change. I used to do a lot of free pattern veneering before I had enough space and tools to do real wood. Constantines was always a top notch source. I still have enough high figure Padouk to do a baby grand piano. Then we traded the piano. Grin.

As far as abrasives goes, I can't imagine a better feeling wood than a fine gun stock hand rubbed with oil and rottenstone on a felt pad. For flat surfaces or paint or any metal, I agree with what you said. I've used both fine silicon carbide paper with oil and a felt pad with pumice, then rottenestone. It is available as a powder. To each his own.
   Tony - Wednesday, 01/30/02 20:10:53 GMT

More on Metal tiles...

Here is what I planne to do. Get some 1/4" X 2" X whatever stock.
Rent a chop saw and set up a small jig so that all the cuts I make at 2"sq. This is not for a whole floor just as a diamond pattern in existing ceramic tile (ceramic tiles have corners knocked off leaving a 2"sq. diamiong pattern) I am only looking at about 50 squares. I had planned to score the backs of the steel tiles I make so the mastic can grip (I even considered an inverted V like you make when repairing plaster cracks.) I would then round down the corners so the edges don't catch. Thought of the grout scratching, tape is a good idea. If i can talk my wife into it. (evil grin) I'll let ya'll know how it goes. Since I'm not looking at filling a very big area is there something other that stainless that I can use that won't ever dull? Nickel silver? But how much $$$.
   Chris - Wednesday, 01/30/02 21:47:41 GMT

Nothing will never dull when used on a floor, not even diamond. Silver is soft and tarnishes, Gold is softer but does not tarnish.

Chrome is used both to protect and to provide a hard surface. In the nuclear industry they chrome plate common stainless steel fasteners to prevent galling. It stays bright when exposed to 800°F water with high levels of boric acid.

Hard chrome plating over SS would be the best.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 22:06:21 GMT

Chris, I applaud you and/or your wifes creativity and ambition. You are gonna spend a lot of time behind the chop saw for 50 pieces. Any polished stainless tile in a floor WILL get scratched unless you are extremely careful and have really clean feet. Grin. If you leave the mill finish on rolled 1/4 by 2 bar and sandblast (with NO iron) after you round the edges down, it might stay somewhat consistently dull gray. Maybe a rough brushed finish instead?

Hard chromed steel instead? If you start with a 10 microinch polished finish before plating, plate about .001 thick with hard chrome and polish with 3 micron 3M diamond abrasive paper or the equivalent, you will have a near mirror finish that will hold up very well.

Decorative chrome will not stand up to typical foot traffic.

As far as tile glue goes, if your floor is stable, consider epoxy, not mastic, for the steel tiles. Torginol (www.torginol.com) makes flooring stuff and suitable epoxy. I have it in a sauna floor and a bath floor. Both have stainless steel drains and have not lost their seal in 10 years. Their phone number is 920.467.2471 I talked to Tom on your behalf just now, explained the application, but did not give any names.

Happy tiling man!
   Tony - Wednesday, 01/30/02 22:26:26 GMT

1880's blast furnace: Sweeden was still producing some charcoal iron with a charcoal blast furnace (until the 1900's) but it was not the norm; in fact almost all was refined using coke at that period. There are some references to more recent brazilian use of charcoal in refining but I have never seen any of the leads pan out.

R.F.Tylecote is a good source on the history of ferrous metal working along with C.S.Smith; but Percy is probably a source dealing heavily with your area of interest (any book on the subject should list the works of these people in their bibliographies)

Ah, found a cite! (note the dates)

PERCY, |John. METALLURGY. The art of extracting metals from their ores, and adapting them to various purposes of manufacture. Fuel, fireclays etc.; iron and steel; lead; silver and gold...
John Murray, 1861-80. ...with numerous text illustrations etc.

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/30/02 22:28:23 GMT

Guru beat me to the hard chrome. Wait a minute, did we agree? grin
   Tony - Wednesday, 01/30/02 22:29:28 GMT

Charcoal iron : happened to find a date for the last charge of an industrial charcoal-fired blast-furnace in Sweden - 1966! Sweden is not, and was not, backwards in steel technology, but we do have a homongous amount of forest to burn and not a scrap of native coal.
   - Olle Andersson - Thursday, 01/31/02 00:10:26 GMT

Hi. Do you know where I can pick up a set of toggle arms for a 25# Little Giant Powerhammer?
   Acorn Forge - Thursday, 01/31/02 02:30:14 GMT

Olle, THANK YOU! I was sure that I had read that it was being made fairly late into the 1900's. Many books still extoll the virtues of Swedish charcoal iron. But it IS like many things, past.

In the US we held out converting to coal for 100 years after England had started using it exclusively. When the change occured in the late 1800's it wasn't a lack of timber to harvest but the fact that coal was much more economical and there were many useful by products of the coking process. Vast economic pressures forced the change. Most Ironmasters prefered the sulfur free charcoal.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 02:41:55 GMT

Little Giant Parts: Sid Sudemeier owns what is left of Little Giant and has parts as well as manufacturing some replacements. See the manufacturers list on our Power hammer Page for contact information.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 02:44:42 GMT

can you give me some hints on types of material and construction on two steel wheels. one diameter of 24" the other 30". the wheels will be used for a western style wagon. I was going to use 1/4" flat stock for the hoop, (oter most of wheel) and steel rod for the spokes. was going to make 1" axle. and weld it all together. Do you have any creative ideas for this project or sources of plans or even a better idea.

Thank you and God Bless you for putting up with me.
   scott - Thursday, 01/31/02 02:59:27 GMT

Swedish Charcoal Iron:

A correction to my last post on the use of Swedish wrought iron on the lightships. I stated that it was 1/2" (12 mm). According to Kevin Foster, our maritime historian at the NPS, it was 3/4" (19 mm). Wow; 50% more wrought iron for us if they ever scrap one!

He also stated that they were so tough that it would take a collision with an ocean liner to sink one. Alas, at least two were indeed sunk this way.

Now, if they'd just used Swedish wrought iron on the rivets for the Titanic, instead of that cheap, slaggy stuff… who knows?

Still summer on the banks of the lower Potomac.

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

[NPS site is still off-line! :-( ]
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 01/31/02 03:57:30 GMT

Scott, It sounds like you have a plan. Spokes on the rim are centered but on the hub are spaced to the inside and outside of the hub alternating (by at least the width of the rim or more). They are simpler than a bicycle wheel but look at one (better yet a welded spoke tricycle) for the arangement.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 05:03:14 GMT

Bruce, If they were sunk maybe they are still there. . . Salvage? Couldn't be in TOO deep of water since they were anchored.

Bound to be cheaper sources of wrought. They are still scraping old wrought bridges. However, the local one was bought by some historical society. . .

I don't know about the Brooklyn bridge but the Roebling (same guy that later built the Brooklyn bridge) suspension bridge between Kentucky and Cincinatti has LOTS of wrought in it. Makes for strange structural members. They are all sagged and distorted. The deck is bar grating that is kept nicely leveled. When I was a kid we called it the "singing" bridge because of the sound made by tires rolling on the grating.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 05:09:15 GMT

The Yaeger bridge over the Kanaway River in Charleston, WEST Virginia is Wrought Iron, I think. Wouldn't swear to it, but I believe it is.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 01/31/02 05:23:27 GMT

Thou shall not covet thy neighbour´s suspension bridge...
   - Olle Andersson - Thursday, 01/31/02 12:56:49 GMT

Tile adhesive...


What about Liquid Nails? They have a application for wet surfaces. From what I have seen the stuff hardens like you wouldn't believe when it finally sets.
   Chris - Thursday, 01/31/02 13:31:02 GMT

Cryogenics: I know that those steels I'm going to try are both tested so freesing does effect on them positivly. just thinking that does it effect the same on damaskus made of o.6% and 0.95% carbon steels...

Then my next question. Can I make a damaskus blade from stainless (ATS-34) and high alloyed steel (M-1).?

ATS-34 = C 1.04%, Cr 13.93, Mo 3.55
M-1 = C 0.84%, Cr 3.96 , Mo 8.39,
V 1.21, W 1.63

just thinking that is there any sense to do damaskus blade from those steels? I'm trying to make though and almost stainless blade which would be about HRC 60-62?
so is there any sense or am I just wasting those steels?
   Lauri - Thursday, 01/31/02 13:37:26 GMT

Lauri; you can make a pattern welded blade from just about *any* ferrous alloy---*HOWEVER* some of them you will need to weld in a hard vacuum...

If you ask; how easy is it to weld up a billet of those materials I would say ---not very--- Most smiths get good welding up simple steels before going into the tool steels before going into the stainless---how many years are you willing to practice to get this billet? Could you get it made by a smith that specializes and then just forge it to your blade (it looks to be a pain to forge though)

Fluxing is going to be fun with all that Cr---it will have to be pretty aggressive (read toxic fumes) and temp and atmosphere will have to be highly controlled. (now in a vacuum---clean both surfaces, make flat, clamp them together and heat to a good cherry (overkill but it speeds up the process. Tylecote's "Solid Phase Welding of Metals" goes into details)

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 01/31/02 14:01:14 GMT

Stainless and non stainless combination...
I'm thinking of damaskus blade that would be made of stainless steel (ATS-34) and high alloy steel (M-1)...
I'm just asking if I waste my steels or should I try? I would try to make about 20 "turns", would it be enough?

`some technical info about the steels:
ATS-34 = C 1.04%, Cr 13.93, Mo 3.55
M-1 = C 0.84%, Cr 3.96 , Mo 8.39, V 1.21, W 1.63
   Lauri - Thursday, 01/31/02 14:03:31 GMT

Lauri, After making laminated steel out of any alloys they are not the same materials that was tested by the metalurgical laboratories. Carbon migration (depending on the number of layers and their thickness) will have changed them just enough that they are now something new. They are also not an homogeneous piece of steel. A lot of what heat treating is about has to do with stresses within the piece being heat treated. However, most makers DO try to find a median or even a combination of heat treatments based on the published values for the source material.

Now, look at the constituants of the alloys you have selected. Both steels have a significant amount of chrome and are both relatively high carbon.

The point of using the ATS-34 is to get good contrast when etching. It is normaly used with a plain carbon steel or an alloy steel without chrome or nickle.

The fact that both steels have high carbon also ignores one of the benifits of laminated steels, a ductile low carbon layer to support the brittle high carbon layers.

Last. . I'm out of my office (where my references are) but I think the M-1 is a High Speed Steel. This family of steels is VERY difficult to work and to heat treat. As Thomas mentioned a temperature controlled oven and special atmosphere (or vacuume) will be needed for much of the processing.

To experiment with new and different laminated steels takes a lot of study. The folks that created the modern methods using alloy steels are highly educated in metalurgy and engineering.

Even without the HSS (M-1) they ATS-34 needs special flux. Borax with about 5-10% flux grade flourspar powder is used. The flourspar has flourine compounds that are much more agressive fluxing agents than the boron compounds. It also gives off some very nasty fumes that you don't want to breath. The chrome oxide is very difficult to disolve and that is what the flourspar is for. The same materials are used in the flux coating of stainless steel welding rods.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 15:34:08 GMT

Liquid Nails: We've used it making the afformentioned mosaics. It is very high shrinkage and tends to be springy. Hard to get tiles level with each other.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 15:37:15 GMT

radial spokes make for a very hard ride - something akin to a solid wheel
   adam - Thursday, 01/31/02 17:28:34 GMT

   JAMES - Thursday, 01/31/02 18:15:01 GMT

okey. thanks for the info, I think I'll try something easier. btw I wrote two times 'cause the first text didn't appear when I refreshed the site.
   Lauri - Thursday, 01/31/02 18:31:44 GMT

Hossfeld benders: James, Centaur Forge sells them and has both the catalog and manual for them. Hossfeld benders are useful only if you have the proper dies for the job. There are many of these benders floating around with no dies. . .

Centaur Forge is on our pull down menu.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 19:04:42 GMT

hi ! i'm learning blacksmithing by myself.....what a hell!!!!!!!!!!
and as you know,i have a lot of questions to ask,but because we dont have a week,here's 3 of them :

--- how to know if you have enough air supplied to fire ??? (coal)
--- when discard small pieces of coal ??? (size of bite )
--- when to know when iron is enough hot (red) for hammering ?? sometimes i think that i'm hammering a 6'' bar and it's just a 3/8''
thanks a lot taking of your time sharing your tips with us , ''green blacksmith........

thanks !!!!!!! rémy bélanger,neuville,near quebec,canada.
   - rémy bélanger - Thursday, 01/31/02 19:54:31 GMT

you have enough air to the fire is you can get the metal hot enough... Yes I know that is not a good answer.
Once you have your fire foing in the forge and the coal(coke) is burning well, with a good air blast you should see that the inside of the fire approach a near white heat... bright yellow or better. If you are pumping bellows/cranking blower like crazy and you are not getting that hot, then you have an air restriction. Meaning too mall of a air source or too small of air inlet.
Use all teh coal. Some folks will take the fines...(almost coal dust) and make a slurry with it by adding water till it is like a past and mound that up over the fire and then that will convert to coke just the same as if using larger pieces of coal.
Most mild steel is worked best at a bright red to yellow temp.

The previous words are only my opinion, and as such are often prone to error... (grin)

Hope that it might provide some help.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/31/02 20:52:32 GMT

My question concerns when and how was the first file made? It seems that so much of what we do in blacksmithing is touched by a file. So I was wondering. After all, how do you work a knife blade down after roughing out a blank if you don't have a file?
   Bob - Thursday, 01/31/02 22:44:49 GMT

I am not sure if anyone can assist me, if I have found the correct resource, but I am an instructor trainee at the Advanced Airborne School at Fort Bragg, NC, learning to be a Jumpmaster School Instructor. As a part of my training, I am required to research to the minutia of detail available about every piece of equipment on which I need to teach. Many items are Cadmium PLated Forged Steel Alloy. I have been asked to find out the step of the forging process of Cad. Plt. FSA and what size raw materials are used. I am not even sure what that question means, to tell the trueh. I will come out of this training not only a Paratrooper and instructor, but a chemist, physicist and metallurgist as well. Any ideas? Thank you in advance, SSG Brian A. Heitman
   Brian A. Heitman - Thursday, 01/31/02 23:19:13 GMT

I know files existed prior to a thousand years ago, as there have been files found from about that time age.
And the file that a refering to(Mastermyr find) was pretty sofisitcated. so I would believe that they had been around for a while prior to this.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/31/02 23:29:41 GMT

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