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

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from January 1 - 8, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Happy New Year World :)
   - chopper - Tuesday, 12/31/02 23:00:12 GMT

Hello, I have recently decided to try my hand at knifemaking. For my first blade I simply used a piece of steel that I purchased, shaped it with files, belt sander, sandpaper, etc. When I finished all of this, I attempted to harden the steel. I used charcoal because it was readily available rigged up a hairdryer for my air source. I followed the directions in a knifemaking book I have-- I heated the blade until it reached a bright red color then quenched it in water. I then noticed to my dismay that the blade was noticably bent about halfway from the tip. My book doesn't mention the possibility of this happening, so I would like to know what caused this and what ways can I fix and/or prevent this from happening again. I'm new to this stuff, so I apologize if I sound like too much like an idiot. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Brock Smith
   Brock - Wednesday, 01/01/03 00:25:25 GMT

I am converting a late 1950's john deere 14T self propelled(Wisconsin engine) hay baler to power takeoff. The pto clutch plate is riveted to the hub with six 5/16"x13/16" rivets,which I have to install. My question: How do I peen the rivets to get a good secure fit? Is there a manual tool,perhaps a hollow piont rivet setting punch,to do this job? If so,where can I purchase one? The john deere dealer can't help, guys with knowledge of this are long retired. Thanks
   j.l.thoma - Wednesday, 01/01/03 01:19:05 GMT

Happy new year to all!
Quick question, Iforge printing, have you been having problems? Can't seem too get them to print. And the phone cables are too short to hook up the computer in the shop. Makes for a tough time running in and out tring to follow the steps.
Have a great and prosperous day.
   Mike - Wednesday, 01/01/03 02:16:40 GMT


Netscape has a small printing bug. Use IE to print the iForge Demo's.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/01/03 02:20:37 GMT

I am 32yr old new to Blacksmithing (6mo)I have been useing coal in a forge that belonged to my grandpa. I am working on a propane forge for my shop (will continue to use coal for demos and reinactment) I am going by the drawing for the "stupid burner blower" on the plans page. It mentioned a check valve. The people at the gas co. for this part and he said that he needs a model number. Can you give me more info. on this subject.
jerry lawrence jr.

   - Jerry L - Wednesday, 01/01/03 02:25:10 GMT


I am 42 Australian woodworker (with limited metalworking skills) who has the strange hobby of making infill handplanes using the traditional dovetailed method.

I recently read of how the old planemakers used the blacksmith's technique of "burnishing" to polish the metal sides to a "chrome like" finish. The author of the article spoke about using a triangular file with the edges and sides polished on an oil stone.

Can you please tell me how to burnish, the tools required, and whether what metals it works best on?

Thanks in anticipation

Mick Doherty

   Mick Doherty - Wednesday, 01/01/03 03:52:07 GMT

Mick: Burnishing simply means rubbing the surface with something smooth and hard enough to push the metal around until it is smooth. For a sample try, take a shiny stainless steel spoon and rub the back of it over a piece of brass or silver. You'll see the effect happen very quickly.

For steel, you need a steel that is harder, like a ground and polished file, and a bit more pressure. Most burnishers are convex to some greater or lesser degree. No sharp edges, of course. Engravers have traditionally favored the use of oil of wintergreen as a burnishing lubricant. Most light oils will work just fine, but oil of wintergreen does smell nicer. (grin)

Another tradition for burnishing steel engraving plates was the use of polished agate as a burnisher. The key to success is absolute cleanliness, a highly polished burnisher and patience.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/01/03 04:32:39 GMT

I was wondering if you know how to,or had ever tried to put a new face on a worn anvil? Also how you would go about this. Thanks Kerry
   Kerry - Wednesday, 01/01/03 06:57:58 GMT

Does anyone know more info on the check valve mentioned in the plans page under the realy stupid burner. I am putting one of these together and called the gas co. here and the guy acted as if i was crazy. He told me that i needed a model number to get any help from him. thanks for any help you can give me.
   Jerry L - Wednesday, 01/01/03 14:55:52 GMT

Brock, welcome to the group of knifemakers who have bent or cracked a blade. The group includes ALL of us. Bending is certainly preferable to cracking it as the blade can be re-heated and straightened if it is REALLY bent. The problems usually relate to a change in thickness. Gently pull the blade between your fingers, feeling for thin or thick spots. If it is thick, gently work it down. If it is thin, you have a bigger problem. Ideally, you would grind the rest of the blade down to the same thickness as the thin spot. Another problem is uniformity of temperature. Hot or cold spots will be transforming at different times. As the metal cools, it shrinks. But as it transforms to martensite, ie, gets hard, it expands from 1% to 4%. These two opposite reactions can cause a blade to bend. Some ideas: if you used water, use oil the next time, or, heat the blade but quench only the edge (don't use oil for this!), or if it is an oil hardening grade, point the heated blade tip first into a blast of DRY compressed air to quench it. For thin, high carbon blades, I have quenched them by placing the heated blade between two heavy blocks of FLAT steel. This removes the heat uniformly and keeps the blade flat. If you liquid quench the blade, go into the quench point first and then move it in a figure eight until cool. Temper immediately. Any more questions, come back here and fire away.
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 01/01/03 15:18:54 GMT

Check Valve: Jerry, That was a simple anti-flashback valve purchased from my welding supplier.

I've since been told that they are not necessary unless you are using a torch or other device that can push presurized air or oxygen back up the fuel line. In this case it is not actually necessary. However, if you use your propane cylinder and regulator on an oxy-fuel torch setup then you should have flash back arrestors in the line.

Also, the gas cock I used was a leaky thing. It is now recommended to use a ball valve that is rated for gas service.

I'll add these notes to the plan.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/01/03 15:54:27 GMT

I am in search of info.on the heat of oxy/aceteline orange flame and blue flame.i need this by jan.09/03
   Rick Normandeau - Wednesday, 01/01/03 16:20:08 GMT

Refacing Anvils: Kerry, I always recommend against refacing anvils. Anvils are a much more sophisticated tool than they appear. The faces are hardened tool steel and are easy to ruin by making amature repairs. IF you are a professional welder and know how to make repairs to hardened steel dies and have the equipment and know how for the pre and post heating, then fine, have at it.

With the exception of the absolute worse cases you can generally just do a little clean up with an angle grinder or a belt sander.

People that have never forged anything get quite annal about their anvils being perfectly flat and having sharp edges. It is not the anvil that makes work flat and straight, it is the eye and the skill of the smith. An unpracticed smith will produce lumpy crooked work on the most perfect anvil. Sharp edges and the results of forging on them are bad.

Anvils that are absolutely useless without being repaired are also VERY expensive to repair. The specialized welding rod is expensive and so is the fuel to burn those rods. Then there is the hours of grinding and consumables in the form of abrasive wheels. If you ignore the value of your time you can easily spend several hundred dollars repairing a $50 anvil and you MIGHT up with something that may be worth what you have spent on it (ignoring your time).

There are a lot of folks repairing anvils for resale. I would not buy one. I would much rather have an old beat up anvil that has proven itself over time and will not surprise me with hard and soft spots, weld seperations and edges that may fly off under use.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/01/03 16:23:18 GMT

Thanks for the help Jerry! The steel I am using is 440c. Is oil the best quenchant for this steel? Also, if I reheated the blade and used the two flat blocks of steel to quench it, would this likely fix the bend? Thanks again

Brock Smith
   Brock - Wednesday, 01/01/03 17:43:20 GMT

Kerry: for a dissenting opinion check out:


   - adam - Wednesday, 01/01/03 17:55:52 GMT

One other thing that should be said on the subject of warped/ cracked blades.
when quenching the blade be very sure to go in straight angleing the blade in the quench will almost guarantee a warped blade, also when cooling in the quench (oil, water, etc.) move the blade in a figure 8 patern this helps to keep the blade in the fresh quench rather than quench that has been boiled (the hoter quench can in some cases warp a blade by cooling slower with a steam pocket)
if you still get a warp (we all do) it is possable to fix it with out reheattreating if done quickly.
quench the blade to a black heat (no glow even in low light) remove the blade and check for warp, if warped straighten (use a vise, tongs, whatever) then put it back in the quench and cool to room temp. as long as the blade gets below a certain temp in a certain amount of time (time and temps vary with the alloy used but a black heat works with most steels) it will harden but the steel is in a kind of flux untill cool. so once you have dropped the required amount of temp in the correct amount of time the steel can be messed with, once cool it will break if this is atempted.
   MP - Wednesday, 01/01/03 18:56:53 GMT

Thank you for the advice on burnishing. One final question. What is better for burnishing - a round or slightly convex flat tool - or is really a matter using the appropriate tool for the task in hand?



   Mick Doherty - Wednesday, 01/01/03 21:28:23 GMT


Really good advice! Haven't seen anyone mention that phenomenon before, removing a part from quench to straighten. I first read about it in reference to file making (was that in Bealer?) Did not seem logical at first. Once I learned about isothermal transformation diagrams (time-temperature-transformation curves if you’re over 50) it made a lot more sense. These show that it is necessary to cool to below 1000F or so rapidly to harden, but that after this point cooling can be much slower. They also explain that even though this pretty much “commits” it to being hard it doesn’t actually harden until it reaches near room temperature.
   - grant - Wednesday, 01/01/03 21:52:29 GMT


'Nuther one for the internet rules of conduct:

When giving an answer, explain the question briefly so everyone is on the same page and don't have to look back to understand. Just like in a spelling bee; you say the word, then spell it.
   - grant - Wednesday, 01/01/03 21:58:17 GMT

Brock, I would rather be nibbled to death by ducks than work with 440C. It will warp very easily and even grinding heat can cause a bend. I believe oil is the preferred medium for this grade but if you can't solve the warp in oil, flat blocks might get it done for you. However, you may lose some hardness as-quenched. Check it with a file tip to see if you got it hardened. This stuff is quite capable of getting Rc 62 in oil and anything over 58 is very functional. If it comes out soft after the blocks, you might re-heat and try the airblast, or at least a fan. In thin sections, 440C might be air-hardenable. Any other SS blade makers have another idea?
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 01/01/03 21:59:20 GMT

Hey QC - you busy tonight or could you come over for dinner?
   daffy duck - Wednesday, 01/01/03 22:42:28 GMT

Thanks for the information on anvil repair. I have three anvils. One has been welded up by some one who did a very poor job on part of it and a fair to middling job on the rest. It is servicable but just barely. The other two are of unhardened steel. One is flat but if you hammer anything on it it dents(I used it to peen pins in knife bolsters and found that the brass and stainless rods would dent the surface) The other has a 1/4 to 3/8 sway in the middle where the steel has been beaten out. I am a Tool and Die maker by trade and have access to machine shop tools to re face the anvils.I was thinking of welding a 1 inch thick piece of 4140 flame hardened and water quenched to the top of one of the soft anvils to see how it would work. When repairing a trim steel in an automotive die(part of what I work on) we preheat the steel to 600 degrees. I plan to do the same to the anvil. I,ll post after trying and using it for a while and let you know how it goes.
   - Kerry - Wednesday, 01/01/03 23:07:20 GMT

Daffy...you quack me up! nyuk nyuk nyuk.....
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 01/01/03 23:18:04 GMT

kerry: If you are going to solid weld the plate there will be a lot of heat - mebbe enough to draw the temper from the 4140 - do you have a way to reharden it?
   adam - Wednesday, 01/01/03 23:24:09 GMT


Leave the one with the sway alone!! Won't hurt a thing in forging and is real helpful for straightening. Took some blacksmith a lifetime to get that anvil into the proper shape!
   - grant - Wednesday, 01/01/03 23:32:12 GMT

Kerry: Believe me, the Guru and Grant are right about not messing with an otherwise useable anvil that just has a sway. A year ago, I came across a decent, if slightly soft 90kg anvil for a very good price. No anvil is easy to come by here in the Caribbean. This one had a 1/4" sway right in the "sweet spot", and Jock and PawPaw persuaded me not to try to grind it out or weld it up. I've been forever grateful for that advice!

That sway has been useful far more times than not. It is the perfect place to straighten a piece, works middling well for shallow dishing and, most importantly, IT DOESN'T AFFECT FORGING. You couldn't pay me money to take that sway out now that I've learned it's value. Besides, a couple of generations of smiths expended hundreds of thousands or millions of blows to put it there. Who am I to take away from their achievements?
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/01/03 23:55:48 GMT

MP and Grant, If you can accurately gage the temperature of the piece, you can interrupt the quench as MP suggests. However, martensite starts to form at about 600F in most high carbon steels and the time spent between 1000F and 600F allows the untransformed austenite to begin transforming to ferrite and pearlite (this temperature range is roughly astride the "nose" of the isothermal transformation diagram). If you are going to interrupt the quench, get the part down to about 600F-700F, then, when the martensite begins to form, no ferrite or pearlite or bainite will be included in the microstructure. The part can be slow cooled in air. This is the principle of quenching into a molten salt bath. The part is rapidly cooled to the martensite start temperature, withdrawn, and air cooled. It really minimizes distortion. It is also an EPA nightmare. One other caveat: Austenite is metastable at temperatures below about 1330F and will transform spontaneously to martensite if subjected to high strains, like a hammer blow. Be gentle. Last of all, bear in mind that as the martensite forms upon slow cooling from about 600F, the residual heat is tempering it as it forms. You may not get a normal high hardness this way, but you may not need much tempering either.
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 01/02/03 00:03:58 GMT


Where would you suggest a 1 year novice seek apprentice work in the Portland, OR area? Is there a post of available positions up somewhere?
ready to work and learn, but nowhere to go..
   jonathan - Thursday, 01/02/03 00:45:37 GMT

Martin Presber. The leg vise is English, a Peter Wright, the same company that made so many anvils that were imported into the U.S.A. until the early 1900's. The firm has been out of business for some time. For your new year, Prosit!

Rick Normandeau. The tip of the inner blue cone of an neutral oxy-acetylene flame is supposed to be 6000ºF.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/02/03 03:35:54 GMT

Kerry; If the anvils are Very old, of course, don't mess with them.
But because you describe the other 2 as being unhardened steel and soft enough to be moved by brass!..I'm gonna proclaim myself a fool and disagree with Grant and Viccopper ( who know way more than I do).
An anvil that soft isn't much use.
First, if the anvils have tool steel faces,the best thing is to clean up the faces and reharden them ( assuming the bodys aren't cast iron).
If the faces are gone or mild steel, then a proper build up of a layer tough weld beads ( 7018?) followed by a smooth running, high impact hardfacing would be called for ...followed by a lot of grinding. You fix dies, you know the routine.
Welding a slab of tool steel on is a poor idea because of the impossibility of getting 100% penetration under it, resulting in a dead anvil.
Proper coffins for dead anvils are quite expensive..bad choice.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 01/02/03 05:41:10 GMT

You can learn a huge amount going to BS conferences, reading Anvilfire in all the niches and corners and buying metal working books ( I use Norm Larson mostly). Many of us are self taught. Very few smiths take on apprentices.
My experience is that by the time an apprentice has learned enough to pay his way..he is ready to start on his own..if I did it right.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 01/02/03 05:48:12 GMT


I will water quench the top 1/2 to 3/4 inch when through. If this dosn,t harden it enough then I will take it into work and harden it and temper it there. We have the facilites to properly handle a piece that size there.

I have thought about leaving the swaybacked anvil alone to use it for strightening but the metal is so soft that it deforms and dents from the scale and cooling flux.I put most of the sway in it when I first started forging damacus trying to use a 12lb sledge to draw out my metal after welding.The hammer was too heavy for the anvil in its unhardened state. I now use a 50,000lb press to draw by billets out.As I said earlier two of these anvils never had the hard plate instaled when they were manufactured
I have thought about shapeing the new top with a 1/8 to 1/4 curve in it.
   - Kerry - Thursday, 01/02/03 05:54:59 GMT

Refacing anvils with plate:

I tried this to 2 of my anvils several years ago and I was not succesful. I know a lot more now about welding, pentration, preheat etc and I am confident that this method can work if done corectly. My first suggestion is to make sure that your weld penetrates the full width of the anvil face. This means a lot of grinding or,if you have access to bandsaw with a blade that tilts, you could cut away the metal to create a "V" when the plate is placed on top of the anvil. I did this for an anvil I am making from 3 sections of 4.25 inch plate. I cut the center piece to a diamond cross section and then filled the gaps with weld. This seems to have given me very good rebound. I assume the plate stock you will use will be on the order of 1" thick. If you use this techique to reface the anvil, the welding will almost certainly draw the hardness from a prehardened plate, so you would be better off starting with unhardened stock and having the anvil hardened after the welding is done. If you do not make the welds penetrate the full width of the anvil face, you will not get the best performance from the anvil. The rebound will be poor, and it is very likly that the weld will crack eventually as well. By the way, a 12 lb sledge would genearlly be considered too big a hammer for a smaller anvil even if it had a hard face. I am guessing that you would not want to use a hammer this large on an anvil less than 200 lbs. Good luck.
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 01/02/03 12:53:04 GMT

j.l.thoma. Riveting is traditionally done with a hammer, and the head on the other side being held with a bucking bar or solid block, such as an anvil. I can't envision your workspace; if you don't have roon for a hammer swing and a bucking bar, I would think that quality bolts and lock nuts would be sufficient for the job.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/02/03 13:36:13 GMT


PeteF's answer may be technically correct, if a little gloomy. Don't be discouraged. There are many oppurtunities out there for a person with moxy, and in reality, many smiths will take an "apprentice" who's focus is learning and not earning. Did you get that last sentence? Big idea there. In short, I will say that there is no way to give a hip-shot answer which would mean anything. You simply did not give enough info.
Get out and talk to people! The internet is a terrible place to learn! For starters, try:

Joseph art school- 800.459.3605 &
Oregon school of arts and crafts- 503.297.5544

Contact and bother these folks!

FWIW, this site is good, but the vast majority of smiths are not to be found here. The sooner you make contacts in the real world the better. Good luck to you.
   - michaelm - Thursday, 01/02/03 13:41:28 GMT

Jonathan re apprentice work.
OK are you looking to learn or are you looking for a paying job?
Makes a huge difference. If you are looking to learn, go over the river to Fort Vancouver NHS and talk to Bill DeBerry (the ranger in charge of the smith shop) and ask him about the VIP (Volunteer IN Parks) program for the smith shop. We have a program of volunteers who man the shop 7 days a week and we teach the basics. How much and how fast depend on you. It is NOT a paid position, but we do teach the basics and we also have to tools and equipment and coal you will need. Only caveat is that the time period is 1845. SO no power tools or welders etc. But fire control and moving of metal is not any different from 1845 to 2003.....
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/02/03 14:00:55 GMT

Ralph posted:

"But fire control and moving of metal is not any different from 1845 to 2003....."

Just out of curiosity (and with an eye towards my own reenactment and interpretation) what stock do they use for the metal at Ft. Vancouver? ( http://www.nps.gov/fova/index.htm for those who are curious.) Do they have a stash of wrought iron (I hoard my W.I. scrap for special projects) or just say the heck with it and go with the mild steel? Pure iron? Any ol' scrap?

I tell my friends that if it's good enough for the NPS, it's good enough for me. (grin)

The V.I.P. program is truly remarkable. I swear that in some places it's about the only thing that keeps some parks going. If you're near a National Park, think about volunteering. That way you'll do it for love. I, however, do it for money, so y'all know what that makes me!

Another rainy day on the banks of the Potomac.

Go viking (I already plugged the NPS): www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 01/02/03 16:38:02 GMT


i have searched using google and have found several pictures
and drawing of the 'new rogers treadle scroll saw' manufactured
by miller falls during the late 1800s.
would anyone happen to know of any "plans" for building a
treadle scroll saw?

terry l. ridder ><>
   terry l. ridder - Thursday, 01/02/03 16:56:38 GMT


I've recently begin making rapier hilts for the historical fecning market. Several of my customers have asked about making blackened steel hilts. I have access to gas and coal forges, but don't know the best method for blackening mild steel.

I'm looking for a "non-chemical" or more historic method, hopefully something that will resist chipping or nicking in combat. I've heard the terms "burnt oil" and "firewax scale".. can anyone describe these processes, please?

Thanks for your time!
   Mike - Thursday, 01/02/03 17:28:51 GMT

Doing some research for a friend, so any help would be great.

he is interested in a japanese hammering technique for large sheets of metal. He does not recall the name of itbut said that it entails several workers. Some striking the surface with long, small hammers while rthe others turn and move the sheet of metal.

Any Ideas?

   Bradley - Thursday, 01/02/03 17:42:30 GMT

Paw Paw: Need something to glue Kaowool to the tank I'm using for a gas forge - ITC-100? Also had a question abt a diagram to make a duplicator for simple form handle blanks (20"long). Tkx to all for advice on motorcycle chain damascus. Made sm pretty stuff. Ur rt- clad chain didn't work. Ron C
   Ron Childers - Thursday, 01/02/03 17:43:36 GMT


You're guess was correct, ITC-100.

Duplicator... Hmm... email me about this one, please.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 01/02/03 17:53:00 GMT

Soft Anvil: If work hardened brass dents it then it has either become annealed in a fire, OR it is an ASO (Anvil Shaped Object).

ASO's are typicaly cast iron and a few are ductile iron. In a different age the cheap low grade anvils were made of "chilled cast iron". Fairly hard, but VERY brittle. However, modern ASO's are doorstops made of the cheapest cast iron to be sold to gulible Americans that have more money than sense and who do not return bad products. They are not worth investing money in trying to make better.

The swayed anvils are definitely maleable so are probably steel faced wrought anvils. Most with a LOT of sway are usualy old enough to be collectors items. If not they may have been in a fire. Fires in big old wooden buildings and piles of wood ash that result make a perfect annealing combination. Do a spark test. If the face is steel then it might be able to be rehardened. You cannot always see a seam or line of demarkation between the body and the face.

Back when anvil manufacturers also did repairs the way sway backed anvils were repaired was the RIGHT way. They heated the anvil to a forging heat, forged the sides to push the top back into position, dressed with flatters, then quenched to reharden. The quench takes a small river of moving water. The old English anvil factories had water power so large quantities of running water was part of the operation. Later American factories had large quench tanks with pumps.

Be aware that it was not uncommon for the face weld to fail from the stress of hardening an to suddenly and noisily pop off with bang while setting in the wharehouse. . .

No matter how its done it is a big job. If you have access to heavy pieces of steel plate (or shaft) from 40 point carbon (4140-4150) up then if you want a good hard FLAT work surface the thing to do is heat treat a big piece of tool steel. Hand or surface grind it flat and smooth.

Anvils did not have horns or what we think of as "anvil shape" for millenia. As late as the 18th Century plain hornless anvils were common. They were used along with stake anvils which are almost all horn and not much good for forging. The modern anvil is a sort of do-all tool and IS very handy. But is is NOT the only shape that works.

The vast majority of forging is done in a fist sized area (about 3x3") in the center of the anvil. Yes, we use all of the anvil at one time or the other and many will use every surface on a single heat. But heavy forging is done in that little area in the center where the anvil has the most mass.

THINK, when you don't have a suitable anvil. Don't get hung up on the conventional. Traditional and conventional are only significant to a specific place and time. In the long run they have nothing to do with truth or reality.

More on Swayed anvils: As Patrick pointed out, the ratio of anvil to hammer needs to be considered. Most old swayed anvils are the result of work done by strikers weilding heavy sledges on too small of an anvil. Stretching the limits of our equipment is not unusual in all types of shops. Part of the problem with doing too heavy of work on a small anvil is that the heat of the iron can temper the face of the anvil. In factories where heavy forging was done with strikers, anvils were rarely used OR were VERY large. Commonly the work was supported on the stone floor or large cast iron blocks set in the floor. Hardness was not important. Only heat resistance and mechanical strength. Often the piece had enough mass to be its OWN anvil. But these techniques were not the norm for the small shop. So when some huge oversized work was pulled from the forge it went straight to the anvil, not the floor, and then everyone in the shop capable of swinging a sledge went at it.

This comes under the category of abuse, and it is what damaged MANY old anvils. It was also not unusual for an inexperianced striker to miss and take out a chunk of the the edge of the anvil. The big chips you see missing in many old anvils are NOT from a smith swinging a hand hammer.

I have several anvils with nearly perfect faces and I also have an old worn out Colonial anvil. The Colonial has had the horn broken off and the edges are mushroomed over. The face is actualy WORN through in the center! When the face over center got down to about 1/6" thick it broke out and there is a hole in the face exposing soft wrought iron.

This anvil was probably used regularly for a century after it was considered "worn out". I picked it up in a small shop in a poor district where there had been many sharecroppers in years past. I suspect it had been used by generations of the same family to shoe mules and repair worn out farm equipment that was probably as worn out as that old anvil. This was a tool of survival. It has a great history.

I have used this obviously aged and worn out anvil and it works fine. Should I take an arc welder and repair the face? I think not. But I have known others that have done so on on anvils of similar age in order to increase their value. . . And I ask, "Would you suggest to your 90 year old grandmother that she needs a face lift to remove those well earned wrinkles?"

   - guru - Thursday, 01/02/03 18:50:21 GMT

Kaowool in Cylindrical Forges: Ron, ITC-100 may work but it is recommended to use ITC-213 to prime metal surfaces before applying ITC-100. I have little 2oz. sample jaws of ITC-213 but I am going to have to start charging for them. Even prediluted the samples cost me a couple dollars. I will add a choice to the ITC-100 page.

The small jars of ITC-213 will also be available in the forge repair kits we are going to offer as soon as I have time to put them together.

Normally in a cylindrical forge or furnace if you stuff the Kaowool in snuggly it will stay in place on its own. If not then you can do like some of the forge makers do and use long sheet metal screws. They should not penetrate over half way through the kaowool or they will melt and cause failures in the blanket. I recommend using stainless screws. It will only take a few to help create an arch effect that will prevent the blanket from falling in. Once you coat the interior of the forge with ITC-100 the blanket will be be supported by the hard inner shell.

I have found a ceramic binder product that is great but it is also VERY expensive. After testing it more I will see if I can get it small containers.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/02/03 19:09:35 GMT

Duplicate Parts: Ron, Building a torch duplicator is not hard but finding the low speed motor and magnetic wheel is. These days it would be more cost effective to have someone that has a computer operated torch or paper tracer to do the work. Once you have that business relationship you may find all kinds of other possibilities.

I have used simple guide templates to cut identical shapes. I cut an undersized template to allow for the diameter of the torch tip and then bent a piece about 3/4" tall and tack welded it to the edge. For simple templates the bent bar was used alone. They also had a built in screw clamp at the edge to attach to the plate. You can use a standard torch tip but I machined mine to have a cylindrical shape rather than tapered. This produces a square cut.

If you only need a small quantity of blanks this works well and is cheap to do. The same template will probably work with a magnetic wheel machine.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/02/03 19:22:31 GMT

Japanese Hammering: Bradley, Team striking was common in all cultures and was applied to everything from forging, to driving piles to drilling rock. It probably dates to the stone age. Blacksmiths still occasionaly practice this art but machines have largely replaced striking except on odd shaped pieces.

I recently viewed a film where a group of eight strikers were hammering on ONE very large rivet in the shackle of a heavy ships anchor. There were six when they started. Then one more elbowed in and took a moment to pick his time and then the eighth did the same. Each striker takes his turn in a circular rotation. The time to make a rotation being only a second or so with eight strikers. Timing is critical and practice is important. When the rivet was upset (swelled) and roughly shaped with sledges part the team switched to common hand held hammers and finished the rivet.

In the normal smithy it was not unusual to have two to four strikers. In the classical striking system the Master smith would ring the anvil loudly twice to call the Apprentices and Journeymen to attention. Then the Master would pull the piece of hot iron from the forge, place it on the anvil and strike it with a hand hammer where he wanted the strikers to strike. A system of silent signals of this type were used that all understood.

In heavy forging shops where the work was handled with a crane the Master smith often directed the strikers with a long stick or slender metal bar indicating where to strike. However, in most of these type situations each striker knew what came where and next, mearly waiting the Master's signal to start.

There are several styles of striking. In the overhead or European style light sledges (8 or 10 pounds) with long handles are swung overhead like chopping wood. The more strikers there is the longer the handle. In the "American" style the sledges are heavier with short handles. They are held at the ready position of about eye level in front of the strikers. Then they are used repeatedly from that position. It is considered a safer method as it is not unusual for the head of a sledge to come off. In the overhead method a loose sledge can easily strike one of the other strikers.

In the Japanese trades there are many traditional methods used simply to preserve them. Team striking with sledges is one of those methods. However, this is usualy part of government supported programs where economics are not an issue.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/02/03 20:01:19 GMT

Blackening Steel: Mike, a burnt oil finish is just a cheap way to force non-drying oil to be paint. It is not durable on a smooth bright surface and in common use requires forge scale to stick. Wax mearly darkens the scale and provides temporary rust resistance. Both are reliant on a good even tight scale before applying.

Olive oil produces a better burnt finish than the more comonly recommended linseed oil. When heated to make a dark brown surface it is very tenacious and hard to remove. . . lesons from cooking. If you want a burnt oil finish on bright steel I would try olive oil. Heat slowly, you want to "caramelize" it, not actually burn it.

You will find many formulae using mixtures of oil, wax, turpentine and Japan dryer (a cobalt compound). These are just amature paint formulations. Commercial paints have the same ingrediants but they have been formulated by professional paint chemists. This is a case where do-it-yourself is just ignoring modern science and industry. You cannot beat a good hard black lacquer on the proper surface.

The ancient "black Japan" finish was the original lacquer made from the shells of the "lac" beatle (I think that is right). In any case, it has been around for hundreds of years.

Historical methods DO include chemicaly applied finishes. You would be amazed how many centuries ago that that the production of hydrochloric, sulphuric and nitric acids were common. In the 1500's many VERY dangerous chemicals were more commonly available to the common crafts person than they are today. They were produced in fairly large quantities in order to process metal ores using methods not much different than today.

These acids in verious combinations are used in gun bluing which produces a blue/black oxide surface on clean surfaces. However, I do not know how far back gun bluing goes as a finsih. I normally recommend folks go to a gun smith to have it done rather than setup to do it yourself.

There are also "quick blues" that can be purchased from outfits like Birchwood-Casey. This is the best route to go if you are not going to be doing it regularly.

You can also get a brilliant dark blue by "temper bluing". To do this you must clean and polish the steel. It must be absolutely clean (no wax from buffing, no oily finger prints.). Then you mearly heat the steel evenly until it turns blue. I do this on the kitchen stove using a large piece of steel as a heat sink and temperature indicator. A place is ground clean on the piece of plate (3/4" to 1" thick) and it is slowely heated until the cleaned area turns the desired color. Then the piece to color is laid on the plate and watched as it heats and turns color. If it is clean and heats evenly it will have an even blue. Coat with a thin coat of clear lacquer to prevent rust. You can also oil it but it is a delicate finish.

See our temper colors chart on the FAQ's page for the range of colors. Note that very slightly overheating will turn a dark blue to a light blue. You cannot go back without refinishing to clean metal and starting again. The same goes for using a clean spot on the heat sick to judge the color. You cannot back up (reduce the temperature) without grinding the test spot clean again.

Historical and "traditional" methods of finishing going back thousands of years include chemicals and paint systems. Do not confuse primitive/backwoods with historical. Not all trades people lived on the "frontier". In fact hisoricaly in Europe, most people lived in cities, towns and villages with access to trade.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/02/03 21:01:08 GMT

Bradley. A little more on the Japanese striking. The sledge hammer heads are quite long with the eye up near the poll. The hafts are slender and whippy. Since the Japanese anvils are buried in the ground and only protrude from grade a few inches, the strikers are in a semi-crouch on the downswing.
Ref; "The Craft of the Japanese Sword", by Kapp & Yoshihara, Kodansha International, 1987.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/02/03 22:32:07 GMT


Lac is a coating that is exuded by a small scale-like insect, "Tachardia Laccus" that grows on a certain variety of trees in India mnd Malaysia. It is dissolved off the little critters and used to make coatings such as shellac. The original spelling, by the way, was shell-lac, from the fact that it came from the shells of the scale critters.

Source: Cornell University Library document on art restoration by Tatyana Petukhova.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/03/03 00:26:04 GMT


Thanks for the explanation, no I have a good idea where to start.

In my haste, I mis-represented my "non-chemical" idea... I merely wanted to stay away form corrosive chemicals and rust converters that a few others have suggested.

   Mike - Friday, 01/03/03 00:29:41 GMT


the below is from a web site where my daughter purchases artist supplies.

> begin quote <
The Difference Between Cobalt and Japan Driers

Q: Explain the basic differences between Cobalt dryer and Japan dryer with regard to litho and etching ink.

A: The main difference between cobalt drier and Japan drier is in their usage. Cobalt drier is used in artists' material, while Japan drier is used in sign and industrial painting. Japan driers are actually varnish paints containing added liquid driers. They contain little or no oil and are used for tinting and under-painting in industrial work, for quick-drying sign painting and other decorative work that will be protected with a layer of clear varnish. Japan driers are not intended for use with permanent colors. Cobalt drier is the material you want to be using to modify your etching and litho inks.
> end quote <

terry l. ridder ><>
   terry l. ridder - Friday, 01/03/03 01:09:47 GMT

Grant, Quenchcrack
when applied to knife makeing some rules are changed mostly from the small cross section and high serfice area. that is to say that the rules stay the same but it becomes easier to work around them. droping a blade to black heat then bending and finshing the quench in most knife steels still alows for a full quench (though the tempering effect can couse a loss of one or two points of hardness) as the two things that affect harding are time and temp, so long as the required temp drop is done with in the time full transformation will happen (or closs enough to make a good knife)
in other words ... if the steel I am useing needs to go to 1400 deg and be droped to 700 in less than 6 sec to fully harden, and the quench from 1400 to 850-900 or so (about a black heat) takes 3 seconds then I still have 3 seconds to drop the last 150-200 deg. pull it out, bend it (at this point it is still cooling slower but still cooling) say 2 seconds and a drop of 100 degs, in to the quench and with in a sec. or so it is down to 500 deg or so. still with in the 6 seconds to reach full hardness.
as to were I learned this I took a class on sword makeing and this was tought to me there. along with the explaintion I just gave.
I think I read the same info meny times both in knife makeing books and from other makers but it just didn't click untill I took the class.

   MP - Friday, 01/03/03 02:15:30 GMT

Bruce ( AKA Atli)
The fort uses that dreaded mild steel for almost everything done on a day to day basis. That said. We have just under 3 tons of triple-refined wrought in 2 1/2 inch square. If the story of it is true, it was the very last shipment of the last commercial foundry making it in England. Was bought by a fellow in Cali who then lost interest and the NPS got first dibs.....
So on things that we make to be museum grade replicas we use it.
I tried to get the Fort to buy into the PI thing while it was a going concern, but the budget was tight and ... well you know the song. But several of use did get a 1 ton order put in ..... alas my allotment is almost all gone.....
   Ralph - Friday, 01/03/03 02:37:22 GMT

DUPLICATOR: Guru, PawPaw & Ron, I remember about maybe 15 years ago, a really nice design for a magnetic wheel torch tracer that Hans Peot came up with. If I remember correctly the plans were available through ABANA and/or Southern Ohio Forge & Anvil (SOF&A). I don't think there was a whole lot of machine shop work involved in the construction,either. It might be worth a try, to see if they are still available. Hans has come up with a lot of cool stuff over the years, and he's still at it! Best regards, 3dogs
   3dogs - Friday, 01/03/03 07:39:17 GMT

MP, I agree with your comments. Maybe I am just too old to work that fast....2-3 seconds to get the blade out, straightened, and back in seems too little time to get it done right. Maybe thats where practice comes in. I would also mention that to do this, you really need to know what material you are working with, know what the isothermal transformation diagram looks like, and have an accurate idea of the temperatures and times you have to work with. For example, 1095 steel gives you 1 second to get from 1400F to 400F where the martensite starts to form. 5160 will give you almost 15 seconds to get to 475F where the martensite starts to form.
   - Quenchcrack - Friday, 01/03/03 13:20:42 GMT

Thanx for the reply, but it is a duplicator for wood tomahawk handles. Also, tkx for the tips on roller chain damascus. Clad chain won't work. Ron C
   Ron Childers - Friday, 01/03/03 14:08:29 GMT

Thanx for the reply, but it is a duplicator for wood tomahawk handles. Also, tkx for the tips on roller chain damascus. Clad chain won't work. Ron C
   Ron Childers - Friday, 01/03/03 16:03:03 GMT


I've lined two forges with kaowool now...one was a gallon paint can and one is kind of a half-octagon in shape, about nine inches across the flats, outside, so the inside is pretty much a half cylinder 4-5" diameter. In both cases the kaowool stayed in place just fine, kind of supporting itself.

I do use ITC-100. The lining had got torn up a bit in the last few months, so I recoated Monday. It's like new again. Good even heat, comes up to temp fast... Not a real quantitative test, but just qualitatively speaking, performance is a whole lot better with the ITC-100 than with large spots of bare wool poking through.

   Steve A - Friday, 01/03/03 18:35:52 GMT

Ron, again...I must have missed your initial post about the handles... Wood Carver's Supply sells a gadget they call a Dupli-carver, sort of a 3-D pantograph with a router, for duplicating roughouts of carvings in the round. It's about $1300. Maybe looking at it would give some ideas for building one? That'd be a lot of handles to pay for that.

   Steve A - Friday, 01/03/03 18:40:48 GMT

Happy New Year all!

Bending question: What is the best way to make large, even bends in a bar? I am trying to buils a headboard for a friend, and I am trying to make a nice arch across the top. It's only a twin bead, so its less the 36" radius.

I know I will have to bend it in multiple stages, not being able to heat 9' of steel at once. Or maybe I need a bigger forge.... ;) The only method I have come up with is to bend it around a large jig, but I am not sure what to use. It's a one time project, so it would be overkill to weld up a huge jig just for this. I was seriously considering makings a wooden form to bend around, and keeping it wet....

I would be grateful for any suggestions on the correct methods and procedures for making large bends in general.

   -JIM - Friday, 01/03/03 18:53:33 GMT

Big Bends: Jim, This is best done cold with lots of leverage (big bending fork). The trick is anchoring the work so that you can apply that force. That is what big heavy weld plattens are used for.

If the work must be heated then it is best to use a torch and not heat too hot. Again, anchoring to a heavy bench or weld platten is very helpful.

Other alternatives include press bending. Short curved dies are used to make many repeat bends that result in a smooth continous one. The 20 Ton hydraulic press I show on the 21st Century page is capable of making the kind of bend you need in 1" square. You can also do the same in a heavy vise with a well lubricated screw (I recommend never-sieze in these high load situations).

Hossfeld benders are also used for this kind of "press bending" using the leverage of that eight foot long handle. Again, you need some serious anchoring to lean against.

If the bar is flat, say 1 x 1/2 or so then you can bend cold around a wooden form. Parts cut from 2 x 4's (framing lumber) and attached to a plywood base can be used. Normaly for cold bending you need to allow for spring back. This is a tad tricky because the temper of the bar makes a big diggerence. I usualy allow about 10-15% more bend. But if the steel is dead soft much less can be used. This is one of those areas where there is a bit of guess work involved and adjustment afterward.

To do it hot I would make a bending jig that was a segment of the curve. It does not need to be very heavy but it DOES need to be accurate for the steel to be worked against.
Ovals are more difficult because every part of the curve is different. Often several radii are used to fake an oval because they are easy to lay out and make jigs for. Most guitar shapes are nothing but radii and straights carefully laid out so that they blend into each other prefectly. The results do not look like seperate radii.

If you think we need an iForge demo on this type of curve layout let me know.
   - guru - Friday, 01/03/03 19:20:50 GMT

Duplicating Handles: Handles, gun stocks and many odd shaped parts are made on a duplicating lathe. The cutting is done with a router bit with a ball end (ball end mill about 1/2" or 13 mm). A finished part is used for the "template" it goes on one spindle of the machine. The blank piece goes in the other spindle. The two spindles are geared or driven by a chain so that they both rotate the same.

A ball end "tracer point" the same diameter as the cutter is used to follow the work. The cutter and tracer are on a pivoting arm with equal length ends. However, the ends can be different lengths IF the work piece is to be a different size than the pattern.

The pivot rides on a feed screw that is also geared to the spindles. The gear ratio determines how close the tracks of the ball cutter are. Usualy this is fairly coarse with about half of the cutter width overlapping. The final wave shape finish is easily sanded out.

These machines are fairly easy to build. The spindles turn quite slow, maybe 5 RPM, and some are turned by hand. Before the age of electric motors the cutter was run by a small but long belt running over a series of pulleys and a counter balance system like you see on antique dentist's drills. Today folks mount a comercial router on the cutting end. The weight of the router keeping it down on the work while the tracing finger presses UP underneight the pattern.

These machines can be built with a wooden frame and have been around since the late 1700's. The furniture and carving industry used them to rough out work and then a craftsperson mearly finished the last bit. Later they were used to produce gun stocks and handles and still are. Very odd shaped work has the blanks cut in two dimensions with a band saw.
   - guru - Friday, 01/03/03 19:44:17 GMT

Anvil Repair: I had long ago given up ever finding an anvil locally since they are so scarce here in NM but yesterday at a small local steel yard I found 120#'er sitting on the ground. The owner wanted $1.50/lb which doesnt set any records but still counts as a steal in these parts. Although I already have an anvil for my shop I am thinking of restoring and keeping this one too as a second small anvil.

It has the slender lines of a Trenton or Hay Budden but there are no markings that I can find. The weld lines are very obvious. Apart from a torch nick near the heel the top plate is in very nice shape - the edges are almost pristine and there is only the slightest saddle. Rebound is good and the file skates off every where except right next to the step. However, the horn and the cutting table have been badly damaged by a cutting torch and perhaps a grinder. The edges of the cutting table and the top of the horn have been torched off. There is a fair amount of material missing from the top of the horn. Leaving what was a already a narrow horn with not enough material for heavy work.

I am thinking of building these up with 7018 (while taking care to keep the plate cool) and grinding to shape. For the soft section of the plate I think I will just put a heavy radius there and not worry about trying to harden it.

Also there is a small crack in the plate right next to the hardy hole - it runs parallel to the hardy hole and it looks like a chip is fixing to flake off sometime in the future. I reckon to leave it alone rather than grind it out. The hardy edges are almost square

What say you guys?

I have no sentimentality about preserving antiques. This is a tool and the best respect I can show it is by restoring it to working condition and then beating the cr*p out of it :)
   adam - Friday, 01/03/03 20:54:33 GMT


The horn you could repair with a MIG, if you wanted. That's how I did one of mine. Used the mig to fill the chips, and voids, then ground to shape. Has held up fine for several years now.

You and I tend to think alike about tools and antiques.

OTOH, I'd also leave the crack near the hardy hole alone.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/03/03 21:13:06 GMT

Unknown Anvil: Adam, If the anvil has an arc weld at the waist then the top is probably all steel, not a plated anvil. These type anvils usualy had a tool steel upper and a mild or low carbon steel base. Some bases were cast and others forged. Tops were all forged. In this case the horn may be soft but it is also tool steel. A spark test will tell.

Preheat before welding then let air cool. Keep wet rags on the face during the whole process but do not quench. The idea is to not inflict thermal shock.

That crack at the hardy hole maybe a problem. If it is a crack in solid steel then it is going to continue to get worse or "run" under stress. I would study the situation closely and IF it MUST be repaired then grind out the crack until it can no longer be seen. Preheat and buildup with 7018 and finish the top with either 11018 or another high strength rod. Clean (power wire brush or descaller) and peen between passes. Keep the middle of the anvil cool. This will leave a slightly soft area but it would be better than losing the heal and hardy hole.

Sounds like a good anvil but cracks are not good. When pieces of tool steel spall they tend to fly like bullets and embed deeply in flesh and bone. Think what parts of your anatomy are closest to anvil level. . . But these pieces can also fly across the shop and hurt others.

AND, It would be good practice to stamp the repair date somewhere on the body. If its a Hay-Budden the NEWEST it can be is 75 years old. Although it will not be an "antique" as anvils go, it will not be long before it is 100 years old. . .
   - guru - Friday, 01/03/03 22:46:06 GMT

Best place to stamp the date (with the word "repaired" would be on the underside, in my opinion. You might also want to record the shape of any cavity on the underside. One brand of anvil, (which one escapes me at the moment) has a distinctively shaped cavity on the bottom.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/03/03 23:10:30 GMT

Hay-Buddens have an oddly shaped bottom cavity that creats a narrow "land" around the outside of the base so it will sit flat on rough surfaces.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/04/03 00:26:18 GMT

old anvil: Guru, Paw Paw thanks for all the info. I am certain this is a wrought body with a welded plate, I can make out the plate which looks nice and thick all the way to the heel. Also I can clearly see the welds where the pieces for the feet, heel and horn went on - in fact there are some weld flaps sticking out. The bottom of the base is recessed as if someone had worked it with a ball nosed tool to leave just a narrow seating border. There is a 1" pyramid shaped hole in the middel of the base and two smaller ones under the horn and the heel. Found some letters stamped on front right foot but can only make out a "9" a rubbing didnt help.

The crack runs parallel to the front edge of the hardy hole about 1/8" in and a little shorter than the width of the hardy - doesnt look like its threatening to do more than drop a medium flake into the hardy hole. I could take a torck and soften the plate at each end say by the corners of the hardy?
   adam - Saturday, 01/04/03 01:02:55 GMT


don't take a torch to it yet. That might be a piece of the top separating from the rest. Not all of the tool steel tops on wrought bodies were a solid piece. You may have a slight separation there. Can you take a picture of it and sned it to me? A picture of the bottom might help too. Also, scrubbing down the sides and the area of the foot under the horn with a scotch bright pad and then doing a rubbing might find us a LITTLE more info.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/04/03 01:05:30 GMT

Thanks, Jim. I wont do anything hasty - I already have an anvil to work on. I will try to get some pix tomorrow and send them to you
   adam - Saturday, 01/04/03 02:52:43 GMT

I am working on setting up a forge in my shop. I am going to be using a railroad forge. My question is what is the minimum metal type grade of flue that I can use. The hood on the forge was setup for a six inch pipe. This forge will be in my barn and the flue will go through the roof of it. I am not trying to put this in cheap, but I don't want to spend money unnecessarily. Thanks
   Dennis - Saturday, 01/04/03 03:25:37 GMT


Inside the barn, you should use a MINIMUM of a double wall construction, and probably would be better off with a triple wall. Check with your local fire department, and follow their advice.

Barns burn down very quickly because of the type of construction, plus hay, straw, and dust.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/04/03 03:48:39 GMT

Could you tell me the steps for making,
1)Lorica Hamata (mail armor)
2)Lorica Segmentata (segmented armor)
3)Lorica Squamata (Scale Armor)
4)Lamellar Armor (All of which are Roman)
   Sterling Clifton - Saturday, 01/04/03 04:07:25 GMT

Gurus, now that I are a cybersmith, here comes more in my long series of silly questions (I have license, right?)
I recently acquired 3 big rollers while bin diving at the local scrap yard, I have always wanted to make a ring roller/ slip ring thingie. Now it seems to ignorant me that one would want one fixed wheel and one adjustable wheel on the bottom, and an adjustagle one comming down from on top between them. The one comming down on top has to be quickly detatchable so you can slip the work out. How do you do this...a detatchable bearing of some sort?
a two piece? And to which roller(s) do you apply the rotation? I am thinking of rolling say 3/8 by two inch flat bar, probably hot, lighter stuff cold. Am I in the ballbark? Thaanks
   Pilcher - Saturday, 01/04/03 04:30:01 GMT

Sterling; Roman Armor:

Go to the XX Legion page at: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/ . Quintus will have the sources and resources to get you going. (Tell him Atli sent you.") If that doesn't work, try the Armour Archive at: http://www.armourarchive.org/ . If/when you run into metalworking related problems, we'll be able to help you.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 01/04/03 04:56:58 GMT

it isn't so much geting old as haveing everything set up, ie the bending fork all set up and the tongs on the bench right at hand seting up the work space is the most inportant thing, that said walking through it a few time cold helps. also most of the time when I do this I am working with 5160.. that makes it a whole lot easier, for any large blade (swords big camp knives etc) I only use 5160 for smaller blades I like O1 W1 and of corse pattern welded steel, I mostly edge quench on the smaller ones and warping isn't so much of an isue.
   MP - Saturday, 01/04/03 06:31:21 GMT

Re Anvil Repair: A "small torch nick" ...... Bloody gas axes must be the natural enemy of anvils. I don't see many anvils (yet) but most of them have cuts in them from gas axes. (Also known as "the hot spanner".)
   Big A - Saturday, 01/04/03 10:16:41 GMT

My son Brien has a 5th grade school project called "Colonial Days" where each of the kids learns about a colonial craft and presents something about how the craft works to 4th graders. He and his friend Jonathon are "blacksmiths". Thank you for the info on your site. We have some tavern puzzles my sister obtained from a blacksmith at a craft fair ages ago, but have lost the details for solving two of them. I believe they were based on common designs for this sort of thing. One is called the cleff note. Any suggestions where we might find information about them, history, descriptions, or how to solve?
Thanks, Jeanne
   Jeanne - Saturday, 01/04/03 15:50:28 GMT

Puzzels: Jeanne, I am reasonably sure these are a modern invention and not a Colonial era toy.

A company called Tavern Puzzels will send you the solution's to the puzzels if you send an SASE. The fellow that gave me the name didn't have the address. Perhaps someone else here may know. I called Norm Larson (a dealer in unusual metal working books) about the puzzels and he said he did not have a book and sure would LIKE to have one to sell.

If your son needs something for show and tell I'm sure that some of the folks here would send you some Colonial era reproduction trinkets (hand forged nails and the like) if you sent them a few dollars.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/04/03 19:42:13 GMT


tavern puzzles solutions may be found at.


terry l. ridder ><>
   terry l. ridder - Saturday, 01/04/03 20:02:53 GMT

anvil nick: yes its abominable the way anvils get abused. A lot of ppl think that because they are heavy they are indestructible. Anvils often end up in metal fab shops I guess ppl just assume that a metal fabricator will know what to do with it. Then they get used as welding or cutting supports as if they were no more than a block of scrap metal. I suspect the soft region on the plate of my anvil was caused by torch heat.

Its a bit like an illiterate person using a book to chock the wheel of his truck.

Axis: Space can be described by three orthogonal axes which we label "X", "Y" and "Evil"
   adam - Saturday, 01/04/03 20:07:41 GMT

Hi Ron, I have a duplicater that is a sears craftman, it's called a "router crafter." It will hold a piece up to 36"s and 3"s square for duplicating chair leg, table legs etc and will do tapers. If you a interested send me a e-mail. egalish@aol.com. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Saturday, 01/04/03 21:10:53 GMT


Thanks for the advice on long bends. I will probably be using 3/4" round stock, and the hope was to make the mainframe of the headboard one long U shaped piece. I doubt that T can do it cold with the technology I have.....

An Iforge demo would be worthwhile I think. I have had several ideas where I have wanted to use large radi bends (garden gates, etc) and have not had a good way to do so.

Tractor supply in this area seems to be selling a clone of the hossfield bender for about $80. Anyone played with one of these? worth the money?

Thanks again!

   Jim - Saturday, 01/04/03 21:25:22 GMT

Hi Ron, when you e-mail put "router crafter" in subject line, and no the price will not be out of reach. By the way it never has been used. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Saturday, 01/04/03 21:41:22 GMT

Torch Nicked Anvils: My 200# Hay-Budden has several of these. The ones near the pritichell hole were welded up with nickle rod (wrong rod) without preparation and the material has popped out. . . They are small places almost like drilled holes and I will leave them as-is. Considering where I purchased it I suspect the same idiot that torched it also made the bad repairs on his bosses orders. . . I will eventualy repair the big hole near the tip of the horn.

When forging stopped being a normal activity in machine and manufacturing shops, anvils were delegated to the welding shop where they became the first welding benches. . . People trained in only one specialty have little respect for the tools of other trades. . .

It is not surprising to learn that the same has happened as far away as Australia but it IS sad. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 01/04/03 22:04:48 GMT

Jim- i've came out okay several times bending gate radii with the hydraulic press. make marks on the steel at regular spacing, say 1 1/2", c-clamp a stop on the h-press, try to only press the stock enough to just bend a little. after several runs thru it will start to take on a curve.
   mike-hr - Sunday, 01/05/03 00:08:44 GMT

Jim- 3/4" round isn't all that tough to bend cold, using plywood for a form and a hefty length of pipe as a cheater. I've done bends with both large radii and small that way. The biggest help is to have one or two helpers to keep the bench from moving, the tail of the stock from knocking the drill press (or whatever) over, and using some cabinetmakers' handscrew clamps to keep the stock in one plane as it is bent.

I make my form using plywood for a base and scraps of plywood stacked up and screwed down for the mandrel. I just guess at the "springback" of the cold stock, and its usually close enough to massage into exact compliance with a 4# hammer. I prefer using curves that are actually half ellipses, since they look more appealing to the eye.

The ellipses are layed out using the old "string and two nails method, working on the back of the plywood base until I get it close to what I want, then move to the front side for the actual layout. I mark it with a black felt pen and then cut the arc about 1-1/2" outside the line and use the cutoffs to make up the mandrel blocks that match the line. The end result is a nice step that can be hung off the edge of a workbench to allow clamping the stock to it as you go.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/05/03 00:40:45 GMT

Bending 3/4" Round: Good hot roll this diameter should bend fairly easily, however as I mentioned the temper makes a big difference. CR (Cold Drawn) stock will be very springy and SOME A-36 hot roll can be worse.

If I were building a bed using round stock I would use slightly larger diameter pipe. It will be both lighter and stronger. But it depends on your design and your joinery. A lot of pipe and tubing is used in makeing beds in order to give the appearance of greater mass without being too heavy.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/05/03 00:49:36 GMT

Bending Rolls: Pilcher, These work best with at LEAST two driven rolls but some drive only the top (middle) roll. On my Champion Tire Bender the top and far roll are geared together with large gears and the lower front roll is adjustable to do the bending.

To get full circle rings out of the bender the top roll is removed. In my Champion the top roll has a bushing on the gear side that is slightly larger than the roll and the whole pulls out through a large hole in the frame. The reason for the bushing is that you cannot effeciently use a large diameter plain bearing. Too much friction. So on 4" diameter rollers it has 1-1/4 or 1-1/2" shafts.

On other "slip" roll designs the top roll is hinged. Bolts or clamps anchor the opening end.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:04:17 GMT

nicked anvils - is it feasible to weld small defects in the plate w/o drawing the temper in the surrounding material? My big Hay Budden has two small holes about 3/16" dia in the plate right behind the step - this is the area where a lot of heavy hammering gets done and I often find they have left an imprint on my work
   adam - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:21:11 GMT

Guru, On long bends. I made a bender that is one of the most indispensable (sp?)tools in my shop. I would like to share this tool with all. Is there a forum in which I could send some photos? I could explain it here but a picture is worth a thousand words..... TC
   Tim Cisneros - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:33:47 GMT


On the pull down menu, there is a link to the Anvilfire Foto Gallery. If you have a Yahoo ID, all you'll need to do is add the group to your list. I'll automatically approve it.
If you don't have a Yahoo ID, you'll need to get one before you can join the group. Once you are part of the group, you can create an album to post anything you want to share with the group.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:44:17 GMT

BTW, it's listed on the menu as the "User Gallery (yahoo!)".
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:45:17 GMT

Adam, Not to worry about anvil temper around the little holes. Weld 'em up; sand it down. Mostly hot metal is going to be there anyway...softer than the anvil.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/05/03 01:50:59 GMT

I would like to try my hand at making a few small utensils out of stainless. Did I read something on this list a while back about forging changing the qualities of the steel?? Really, the only thing I'm concerned about is finish. Will it polish up nice and stay that way like my standard kitchen set? I thought I'd just use some scrap from the junk yard. Is it gonna work? Is stainless that much more expensive than mild steel- why isn't it used more often in large scale outdoor applications? Please enlighten me. Obviously I'm ignorant to the facts... Thanks
   wendy - Sunday, 01/05/03 03:09:54 GMT

Could you explain the string and two nail method?
   nate - Sunday, 01/05/03 03:23:08 GMT


The string and two nail method would make a good iForge demo.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 04:09:05 GMT


a rather interesting and unique web site concerning vikings.


terry l. ridder ><>
   terry l. ridder - Sunday, 01/05/03 04:30:05 GMT

guru, paw-paw: the string and nail, plus as a follow up the method found in Machinery Handbook. I sometimes have to make oval tabletops w/given length and width. I find the formula in M H more satisfying to acomplish. String stretch always drove me crazy.
   - Pete-Raven - Sunday, 01/05/03 04:37:36 GMT

A question on forging H13, it is being recommended to me for hot work, as it is air cooling from red. Question, how hot does one have to get it to forge it, or is it rather unforgable due to its being red hard? Any advice or suggestions on making punches and hot cuts from this stuff. Thanks
   Pilcher - Sunday, 01/05/03 05:01:55 GMT

Pete-Raven, everybody, Alright I'll bight!!! The only (non-math) method I know of generating an elipse within any given rectangle Involves a string and THREE nails! (Granted one is removed before drawing the elipse. I use it a LOT and string stretch has never been an issue. So what the heck is the "string and two nails" method. And why should it make my inelastic jute stretch??
   - michaelm - Sunday, 01/05/03 13:50:14 GMT

Ellipses: michael is right, the method starts with three nails, two to locate the two foci and a third to determine half the width of the ellipse. If you stick three nails in a board in a low isosceles triangle pattern and stretch a string around them (a string that won't stretch) and then remove the nail at the apex and replace it with a pencil, you can run the pencil around inside the string, keeping it taught, and draw an ellipse. With reasonable care and a little practice, you can generate very smooth ellipses of nearly any size you need. If string stretch is a problen, use fine braided wire of the type used on draftsmen's parallel beams or for hanging pictures.

I used to have a plastic gizmo that used two tracks at right angles to each other and a pair of linked arms that slid in the two tracks. By adjusting the intersection of the two arms and the lengths of them, the whole arrangement would describe a ellipse at the end of one arm. A pencil or scribe was attached there. That device was nothing more than a mechanical adaptation of the mathmatical function that defines an ellipse. It took about three times as much effort to use as the "string and nails method", so I gave it to the guy that bought my sign shop equipment when I moved to the islands.

I favor simple solutions whenever possible. The string and nails for circles and ellipses, a plumb bob for true vertical, water for true level, 3-4-5 for a true right angle, etc. I have lots of nifty modern levels, for example, (I confess to being a tool junkie), but none of them can match a plumb bob for dependable accuracy. Gravity isn't just a good idea, it's also the Law. (grin) Heck, the Pyramids were built before laser levels and personal computers, and they're quite accurately built.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/05/03 14:38:03 GMT

Pilcher, The Rural Development Commission in England publishes a book titled, "Metals for Engineering Craftsmen", which contains a "Temper Colour Chart" and "Hardening Temperature Chart". The latter chart tells you the incandescent colors like "blood red", "bright cherry-red", etc., and the corresponding temperatures in degrees C & F. If it is still too difficult to recognize temperature by heat color, you can purchase Tempil sticks at most welding supply places.

With that said, H13 is forged at 1950-2100ºF, lemon, and not below 1650ºF, bright red (salmon). Anneal 1550-1650ºF, slow cooling. Harden in still air @ 1825-1900ºF, orange heat color, after taking a "slow rising" heat. For hot work, temper 1000-1200ºF dull red to dark red (no heat rainbow).
When purchasing new tool steel, ask for the forging and heat treatment specifications, as above.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/05/03 14:51:21 GMT

Some info. on a coal source that may be of interest. I found a new source that has real nice anthracite. Burns clean, little smoke. Blue licks of flame no yellow around outer edge. White in the middle of the pile. Comes in various sizes. nuts .750 - 1.500" Rock up to 3.000". And now the price: 20 cents a pound Canadian that's 11 cents US based on 45% exchange. $9.50 20kg bag. Even less per ton. Available from Bmr building supplies Laval Quebec 1-450-688-1170 Always in stock.
Have a great and prosperous day
   mike - Sunday, 01/05/03 15:49:46 GMT

String and Nail Elipses or Ovals Look under "MATH" on our 21st Century page. We have the method (and a calculator) for determining the pin spacings and string length for any proportion elipse you want. It is also linked on our Mass3j page.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/05/03 16:24:46 GMT

Hossfeld Bender Clones: Yes, they are cheaper, they work but on proportionately smaller stock. Most come with a good starter selection of dies but do not have the range that Hossfeld does. On the other hand I don't think the Hossfeld comes with any dies and only ONCE in 30 years have I seen one with a fairly complete set of dies (don't expect to pickup used dies). However, NONE of the clones that I know of have the optional press style bending dies for heavy work that Hossfeld uses. . .

Both benders need VERY good anchoring. Neither is any better than how well anchored they are thus how much force you can apply. With bending levers of 6 and 8 feet of length you can easily tear common concrete anchors out of the floor (been there, tore 16 3/8" red-heads out of OLD hard concrete). Anchors need to be deep and solid (lead or epoxy). Many concrete floors are not thick enough for deep anchoring. One of the best ways to use a lever bender is to set it up with dogs that fit a weld platten. Attaching to the corner of a one ton or greater bench will do the job.

Bender Photos: Tim, send them to me and I will add to our 21st Century page benders article.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/05/03 16:41:04 GMT

I bought a Hossfeld Clone for a hundred Canadian with 90 degree die and includes complete set of dies from .750" to 3.000" and step by step instructions on how to use it. It works really well. Don't know how I managed without it. Supplier also has a real heavy duty model, regular price 230.00 Cdn. bends up to 1.000" sq stock cold (unheated) If your interested check them out at www.princessauto.com. I also use various diameters pipes 4" to 5" in lenth .250 wall 1.000x.250x8.000" flat stock welded to one end that I use to clamp pipe to benck with. Pair of vise grips hold piece to pipe while wraping stock around pipe. I heat thicker materials and bend hot. For a double scroll simply notch out the pipe you will use for larger radius. Start by bending smaller scroll aprox. 1/2 -3/4 around then incert into larger pipe and continue around until desired scroll is achieved. Don't know if this description makes any sense without pictures but they are low cost and work really well.
Have a great and prosperous day.
   mike - Sunday, 01/05/03 17:31:34 GMT

Anvil repair: Frank, thanks for the advice. I think I will do as you advise.

After reading the chapter on Hay Buddens in Postmans book (Anvils in America) I am now certain that the 120#'er I found in the steel yard is a Hay Budden which pleases me a lot. I like the idea of an American anvil and also I get a kick out of this one being a little brother to my 350# Hay Budden. They can keep each other company :)

I will take pix of the crack near the hardy with my son's digital camara and send them to Jim just as soon as he gets out of bed. There's a law that college students musn't be wakened before noon :)
   adam - Sunday, 01/05/03 17:49:40 GMT

erm... I meant just as soon as my SON gets out of bed. I am sure Paw Paw is up with the sun every morning without fail :)
   adam - Sunday, 01/05/03 17:51:30 GMT

guru and Terry, thanks for the info on tavern puzzles. We live in NJ, USA. Anyone interested in selling us a few Colonial-era (1700's) "trinkets" (nails, hooks, an unfinished piece...) please contact me via email. Jeanne
   Jeanne - Sunday, 01/05/03 17:55:21 GMT


Oh, how little you know about Paw Paw! (VBG) I'm a night owl, not and early bird. As Jock can attest, I'm not at my best and brightest in the morning.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 18:31:34 GMT


Sounds like a nice tool. I'm not trying to be critical, but I think something must be wrong in how you're setting it up if you need to use a visegrip. Usually the work won't move through the tool that is closest to the center pivot.
   - grant - Sunday, 01/05/03 18:39:35 GMT

It's been along time since I've used the string method. I always found that after I went around once that if I went around again to check, that my mark wasn't in the same place. Somewhere I saw a pic of a big metal version of what vicopper describes. One of these days I might find the time to make one. Its on the list. LOOOOONNNGG list.
   - Pete-Raven - Sunday, 01/05/03 19:03:06 GMT

Thanksa again for all the bending advice! Since my 3/4" bar is currently 20' long I think I will try to bend it cold around a wood form, per vi's directions. this way I shouldn't need a cheater bar, and I can cut the bottoms even at the end.

I could really use a heavy weld platten, but the shipping is a bit pricy.... Anyone got on for sale with 4 hours of Northern Virginia? The way the snow is coming down I could sure use it in the back of my truck....

   Jim - Sunday, 01/05/03 19:22:28 GMT

Digital Camera: well my son woke up - got the camera but no USB cable. Buy 'em books, send 'em to college - doesn't help. Actually its not his fault - I didn't tell him I was planning to use his camera when he came home to visit.

So I guess I have to go ahead and buy my own digital camera- seems you almost have to have one to be a full citizen of the net these days. I am shopping in the $150 - $200 range and would welcome any suggestions
   adam - Sunday, 01/05/03 20:21:45 GMT



When you buy techno- gadgets, ALWAYS buy the most you can! That 300-Megahertz Computer seeming a little slow now that everyone has 3 Gigahertz? You want at least 1 megapixel. 2 or 3 is mighty good and 4 is excellent. For posting on the web (only) stick with 640 x 400 or even 320 x 200. If you want real photo quality 4 megapixel is fantastic. I can blow up to 8 x 10 and I defy anyone to discern it from 35mm. Even set at 2 megapixel it makes a photo quality 4 x 6. Make sure it can be set to lower res for web pics. You get a lot of pictures in memory that way too. I buy Sony whenever possible, just my personal choise.

My computer illiterate wife really loves the H-P Photosmart printer. Just pop the memory stick in the printer and choose the size to print and you’re done. Don’t even need to hook it to a computer!
   - grant - Sunday, 01/05/03 21:19:23 GMT


I've got a Polaroid PDC-640 that I bought at WalMart a couple of years ago. I've been extremely satisfied with it, and it was under $200 when I bought it.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 21:22:34 GMT

test post
   Subcanis - Sunday, 01/05/03 21:54:36 GMT

Under dog,

It worked. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 22:19:31 GMT

I've been trying to post here for two weeks! Don't know why, but it finally worked. I guess today the gods are smiling. Anyway, I've just picked up a champion forge & blower. Until now, all I've had is a gas forge. (NC Momma) I assume the blower crankcase should have some oil in it. Is regular gear oil OK, and to what level should it be filled? Also, the forge is cast, and I've been told I should "clay" it. Is this really necessary? It doesn't seem like it's ever had clay in it before. I bought some furnace cement (The closest thing I could find to refractory clay) But I don't know how thick I should lay it on. Should it be applied up the sides or just lie in the bottom? Should there be a gap around the tuyre or does it butt right up to it? I realize these are alot of questions, sorry, but any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. By the way, Thanks Jock for your quick email response to my posting problems -Rick
   Subcanis - Sunday, 01/05/03 22:32:23 GMT

The economy at the flea markets is slowing down! Saw a Hay-Budden anvil (fair condition), about 200 lbs, for $250 today at Canton Trade Days in Canton TX. Saw FIVE post vises averageing $50 in working condition. Bought a near perfect cold set for $4. A down economy is not all bad if you happen to still be working!
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/05/03 22:59:00 GMT

But wait, there's more... I forgot one more question. Ever forge any copper? I ran across some 1" copper roundstock, and although my first instinct was to yell "Eureka!" and make a dash for the scrapyard, I thought it might make for some interesting forging. Any advice? Incidentally, I still can't post to the hammer-in and I don't know why!
Paw Paw, very clever.
   Subcanis - Sunday, 01/05/03 23:08:45 GMT


A background in Latin isn't all bad, is it? (chuckle)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/05/03 23:10:57 GMT

Paw Paw,
Only if you want a job. (guffaw)
   Subcanis - Sunday, 01/05/03 23:16:35 GMT

Nope! I already work for the meanest mother in the valley. He says if I don't work, I don't eat! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 00:00:28 GMT

I wanted to get a good outdoor finish on my work and I dont have a sandblaster to remove scale, so I am planing on using muriatic acid to do so. How do you neutralize the acid and how long do you leave the metal in the acid for?

   Hayes - Monday, 01/06/03 02:27:32 GMT


You haven't given us enough information to work with.

How big are the iron pieces? How much acid do you plan to use? What concentration of acid do you plan to use.

You can use baking soda water to neutralize the acid solution with, but then you are faced with the task of disposing of the environmentally hazardous waste product. I'd much rather see you using a more benign product. Lemon juice works, and is a lot safer to work with. So does vinegar, both areCitric Acid.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 02:42:14 GMT

Most of my iron work is small (hooks). But I also wanted to do larger picies, like flower pot hangers and bird feeder hangers.

I dont really know how much acid to use but it says on the contanier to mix it 1 part acid to 4 parts water to remove rust. So I was going to try that. Is there a gerneral rule as the porpotion of base to acid to neutralise it?

yeah, the vinegar sounds like a good idea. I didnt think that it would work.

   Hayes - Monday, 01/06/03 03:27:32 GMT

subcanis. I used to forge copper alot. Fun stuff. Great colors. I'm not going to know how to spell this. Berelium(?) or something like that was added to copper to aid in forming or shaping? A guy I used to know came to my shop years ago and saw that I was working in copper and asked if I'd ever been tested for high copper levels. At one point in his life he did have high levels and had lots of problems because of it.The wife, myself, and our helper at the time went and got tested and all our levels were up. Helper was the worst. He had to do coopamene (?) kelation. (Very bad speller, please excuse) High copper levels effect your brain and your liver, so you can't think and you can't drink. My point is, be careful of mystery copper, you don't know whats in it.
   - Pete-Raven - Monday, 01/06/03 04:26:52 GMT

Paw Paw wrote: "As Jock can attest, I'm not at my best and brightest in the morning."

"Quick! Get the coffee! Paw Paw's up and we have to save the dawn from disruption, the earth from quakes and the sea from recoiling into tsunamis!"

I guess I'll attest to that too. Of course, here I am posting at 11:22 local, and I have to get up at 04:30, so I'm no prize myself. (BEG)

Just a spritz of snow on the banks of the lower Potomac. It didn't even stick. It's nice living in a different climate zone and latitude from where I work in D.C.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 01/06/03 04:27:55 GMT

Copper is a wonderful, forgiving , plastic and warm colored metal. It works great hot and well cold ( keep annealing when it stiffens up)
Don't eat or inhale the stuff.
Pete Raven mentioned Berilium ( sp) copper because it is really really toxic. It is used to make copper hard for certain applications like non spark tools. Just inhaling the grinding dust is all it takes.
PPW, "As Jock can attest, I'm not at my best and brightest in the morning."
Don't fret, this is a sign of great talent!
   - Pete F - Monday, 01/06/03 05:34:01 GMT

Thanks for the "heads up" Petes 1 & 2. Is the Berilium only present in the dust or does it fume? I could wear a respirator while I'm forging if necessary. I suppose I should be extra careful; I could probably do without the brain as I find myself operating without it quite often, but the liver...no way! By the way, Pete - Raven, If "Raven" is Raven Studios, I think I just bought a foot vise from you on ebay. Nice item...lots of charm
   Subcanis - Monday, 01/06/03 06:50:33 GMT


No, just keep adding soda water A LITTLE AT A TIME until the solution stop reacting.

Vinegar or lemon juice will work, it just takes longer. But it's a whole lot safer to work with.

If you go ahead with the Muriatic, use FULL safety gear, Gloves, apron, goggles, face shield, the whole nine yards.

AND observe EVERY safety precaution listed on the container, religously.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 07:33:51 GMT


If you need to neutralize an acid, you do like PawPaw said and add the base until it stops reacting with the acid. That will get you pretty close. To be certain you have it neutralized, you can get litmus paper strips at your local pharmacy and use them. They react with either acid or base and change color. The process is called "titrating to neutrality" in the chemical world.

If you neutralize hydrochloric acid(HCl) with lye(NaOH), the end result is NaOH+HCl=NaCl+H2O, or common salt water. Be aware that if the acid was used to dissolve anything but clean rust, you will have that present, too. That is why toxic waste removal is expensive...that stuff doesn't go away easily.

BTW...Vinegar is actually acetic acid. I believe that the standard for white vinegar is 5% acetic acid in water. YMMV

Citric acid is becoming the industry standard for descaling and pickling of stainless steel, as it is much more environmentally friendly than the nitric/hydrofluoric they used to use. You can get crystalline citric acid in the home canning section of the grocery.

Again, let me reiterate what PawPaw said about safety. No matter which chemicals you're dealing with, observe all the safety precautions. I have a few scars from carelessness with acetic acid in the darkroom years ago.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/06/03 13:10:04 GMT

I am just starting out with blacksmithing, and am concidering making a propane forge, but I am worried about how much propane it will consume. I plan to use the plans found on this site titled "stupid gas forge". Another option that I have concidered is using a cutting torch to heat up small peices. Any advice on which I should do? Thanks.
   cmills - Monday, 01/06/03 14:26:40 GMT


Thank you for catching that goof. I knew vinegar was acetic acid, don't know how I confused it.


The propane forge will use a LOT less gas than the Oxy/Acetylene will to heat your work. I use the standard 20 pound "picnic" bottle to run my gas forge, (a NC Whisper Momma) and get about 8 hours of forging time to a bottle.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 14:45:03 GMT

Beryllium: Is fairly rare in copper alloys BUT it IS used to make (as mentioned by Pete F) hardened bronze anti-spark tools, hammers and springs. Most copper bar you fine lying about as scrap is usualy electrical buss bar and is pure copper.

Yes, copper IS toxic when injested. The most common problem is from buffing copper, brass and bronze. Most people can withstand significant exposures without a problem but there is always that breaking point AND there are those who DO NOT withstand exposure well. Getting sick is not a good way to find out.

Beryllium dust is lethal when inhaled. The immediate symptoms are flue like and then progress into pneumonia like symptoms. Usualy while being treated for pneumonia you die due to undiagnoised beryllium exposure. It is rare so unless YOU or your employer tell the doctors you have been exposed to beryllium they will not test for it.
   - guru - Monday, 01/06/03 16:11:29 GMT

Got an interesting side affect to the lemon juice experiment that I did last week. No rust. I haven't done anything to protect the experimental piece, it's just laying on my desk. But it shows no sign of rust at all.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 16:24:06 GMT

Subcanis: How about that! small world, huh. I always thought to make a set of bolt heading dies that would bolt in place of the existing jaws. After ten yrs and still not having done that, it was time to let it go to someone that could use it. I need the room.

I'm sitting in my house about 80 or 90 feet from the hammer in my shop. It makes me nervous that I can hear it. And this with the windows closed. Time to go do something nice for the neighbors.
   - Pete-Raven - Monday, 01/06/03 16:52:37 GMT

Forging Stainless Steel:
Anyone? Anyone?

Removing Scale: I watched a knife making video where the maker soaks his blades overnight in a vinegar bath to remove scale. Seems to me that this just might be the method required to remove the scale from the inside of a basket twist. Anyone ever tried it?
   wendy - Monday, 01/06/03 17:13:33 GMT

PawPaw- My wife calls those "senior moments." Jury is still out on whether she is being kind or not. (grin) Of course, I only have them a couple times a day...

Spent the better part of the weekend making a new freon-can forge. I know, I know, it shouldn't take a whole weekend to make a freon-can forge. But this one has a clamshell door, snazzy forged and scrolled hinges, fancy forged top handle, positively sexy front opening trim and dainty tapered and scrolled feet. Still to come is a lascivious-looking front hearth plate and the organically-inspired burner port. This ain't gonna be your ordinary, garden-variety freon can forge...this is Art! (big grin) Sometimes I get carried away, and this is certaiinly no exception. But it sure is fun!
   vicopper - Monday, 01/06/03 17:19:25 GMT

Grant & Paw²: thanks for the advice on digital cameras. I can get 2 megpix images for <$200. My wife is a photographer with a lot of high quality film stuff. I turn to her when I need nice photos.

cmills: it all depends of course but 8 hours per bottle is a rule of thumb. Anyone building a propane forge really MUST check out Ron Reil's page. See the links page at this site. OA is very handy to have and can be used for small bending and forging jobs where you dont want to start up the forge but for sustained work its a LOT more expensive than running a propane forge and you can only heat a small section.

Litmus: This is the dye from red cabbages. A crushed red cabbage leaf works well. Turns blue in a base , pink in an acid and purple when neutral
   adam - Monday, 01/06/03 17:22:00 GMT

Rich, if it's worth doing then it's worth overdoing! :) Love to see pix of the forge when it's done.
   adam - Monday, 01/06/03 17:24:47 GMT


If you want to pickle the scale out of stainless steel, I think citric acid might work better. My research so far indicates that industry uses about a 15-20% (by weight) solution at around 100ºF. Takes a half hour or so to get it done. I'd cut the solution strength down to about 5-10% and pickle at room temp for a couple of hours and check it.

Vinegar works well on heat scale on carbon steel. Heat is the "universal catalyst" and will speed up the action. Toss in a red cabbage leaf or two to confim acidity, simmer for two hours and call it sauerkraut! (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 01/06/03 17:37:11 GMT

Paw-Paw, interesting effect from the lemon juice. Was it the bottled kind or fresh squeezed? Prolly all those presevatives that put in it.....LOL. Maybe some lemon oil in with the juice?
   - Quenchcrack - Monday, 01/06/03 17:44:09 GMT

Propane Costs: Cmills, The blower type burner makes a very hot forge but is not very efficient. They work best on large forges. The trough forge pictured would go through $20-30 worth of propane (in small cylinders) in an afternoon. If you are just playing around this is rather expensive. But, I was feeding a small power hammer with it and cranked out several hundred dollars worth of work in a few hours. Costs are relative.

Small atmospheric (venturi burner) forges like the NC-Tool, Mankel and ForgeMaster are very efficient and you can generaly run one several hours a day for a month on a single exchange size bottle of propane. OR you can run most of these 6 hours a day for a week on a single cylinder.

Propane/air heating for any purpose is cheaper per BTU than oxy/acetylene. Propane is slightly more expensive than coal per BTU but in a production forge environment propane is less expensive due to lower labor costs and more productive use of time (no shoveling, ash removal, fire maintenance)
   - guru - Monday, 01/06/03 17:46:11 GMT


Never tried it, because I have a sand blaster, but it should work.


Let's hope she's being kind.


Bottled lemon juice. No oil according to the lable.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 17:53:12 GMT

Hayes, used vinegar on five 8-inch diameter flower pot holders. Shown on the yahoo site in my Christmas projects folder. Put all five holders in three gallons of vinegar and left it sit overnight. In the morning all the scale came off with a once-over-lightly from a scotch brite pad. Now it gets less exact. I put "some" baking soda in a couple gallons of water and dunked each piece, then rinsed in clean water. Dried off, left all day, did a quick wire brush that evening, and painted. Wendy, these holders include a knot, and yes, it took the scale out of the recesses of the knot.

Cmills, using a single EZ burner, I *think* I get...from a twenty-pound cylinder. Actually, I'm not real sure how long it goes because I've never bothered keeping time. Maybe a month of weekend afternoons and occasional evenings at about 5 psi to keep the forge running orange-yellow? Never tried turning up the gas to go for welding heat, and don't run lower because the burner doesn't do well below about 3 or 4. Does this help? I use my torch quite a lot for localized heat, tight bends, and so on. But I did my first forging using the torch for a forge; it served only to whet my interest and convince me I needed a forge. Now I've got plans to build at least two more (larger) gas forges and a coal forge...


   Steve A - Monday, 01/06/03 17:59:04 GMT

Hollow core anvil
Has any body used or heard any thang about the MFC hollow core anvil?
   zern - Monday, 01/06/03 18:27:45 GMT

Propane usage: Being of Scots heritage, I keep track of my propane usage on my Whisper Baby Forge. At 10 psi, it will burn a 20# bottle in 20-22 hrs.
Zern, we talked about the hollow farriers anvil in the pub one night. General conclusion was that if the mass of the anvil is what makes for efficient return of energy to the work piece, a lighter anvil doesn't make sense UNLESS you are a farrier and will only be doing a few cold adjustments. I am speculating here, but a large, hollow steel thing you hit with a hammer sounds a lot like a bell.
   - Quenchcrack - Monday, 01/06/03 18:36:37 GMT

Thanks Quenchcrack
I do alot of cold shapeing through the day. I was wandering if it was worth the $195.00 to use every day.
   zern - Monday, 01/06/03 18:54:12 GMT

one of our regulars on the Pub uses phosphoric acid for scale removal. Works very nicely.
   Ralph - Monday, 01/06/03 19:29:48 GMT

There is one worse than Vicopper's freon tank forge: One of our FABA members had scrolled legs and beautifly file-worked brass handles, etc. As for beryllium; don't file it,saw it, polish or burn it. I have some WWII tools of that stuff & they just hang on the wall- Should have a skull & crossbones- Safety can't be over stressed. Ron C
   Ron Childers - Monday, 01/06/03 19:38:22 GMT

Modern/Traditional: Years ago I built a number of wood stoves. One was one of those Mother Earth top loaders (really BAD idea). Anyway. . the bottom ash door with air vents had a fancy fabricated and sculpted air adjustment disk with wedge shaped holes, handles and was fitted into a recess. Both door and top lid had basket twist handles. You would not guess that the thing was built from a discarded hot water heater tank.

That stove that replaced that one was made of 1/4" steel plate and had a similar (but larger) door. It was difficult to tell from a cast door and air adjuster. Also with a basket twist. I had designed fancy French style legs for it but didn't take the time. The top section was made of 2 x 2" angle iron to make "fins" to disipate heat.
   - guru - Monday, 01/06/03 21:39:12 GMT

Hot/Cold Bending and Hollow Anvils: The reason for hollow anvils and anvils with aluminium bases is for a light weight PORTABLE anvil (an oxmoron). It doesn't matter what kind of bending you are doing (hot or cold) more mass is better. In fact you need a heavier anvil for cold working.

I do not know how much truth there is to it, but a fellow that should know told me that modern farriers consider an anvil a consumable item. Working on them cold they beat them to pieces wearing out corners and wearing grooves in the often worked areas. . . Combine cold working and a light weight anvil and you DO have a short life anvil.

The styles and features of farrier's anvils change rapidly enough that they also WANT a reason to buy the newest fad in anvils. . . longevity is not a prime concern.

Now. . blacksmiths like to think of anvils lasting FOREVER. So looking at farriers anvils is not the right thing for a blacksmith to do. Its kind of like shopping for Carhartts in the ladies lingerie section. . . You may have fun shopping, looking at the latest styles, but you are not going to get what you need.

   - guru - Monday, 01/06/03 22:28:28 GMT

Just because it's for us, doesn't mean it can't be fancy!

Shortly after the Guru, Joe Rotenberry and I did the forge re-builds that are the subject of iForge Demo #148, I realized that in amongst the things in the portable shop were three basket twists that had been made by the Guru, many moons ago. As I picked them up to put them "away", my eye fell on my Whisper Momma Forge. Now, the Whisper series of forges comes with a nice wooden handle to raise and lower the door. Not any more, Jock's, Whisper Baby, Joe's Whisper Momma, and my Whisper Momma all sport fancy basket hilt handles on the doors.

If it's for us, it SHOULD be pretty, durnit!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/06/03 22:34:24 GMT

kind of new at blacksmithing. heard that there was a recipe for tempering steel. mild to spring steel. do you know of a way? Thanks
   louis - Tuesday, 01/07/03 00:56:44 GMT

hi, uhhh i was wondering if anybody has any good bellows and forge plans?
im a newb, i'd appreciate any help.
   Matt M. - Tuesday, 01/07/03 00:57:46 GMT


There are several forge plans on the plans page here at Anvilfire.

That said, the book THE BLACKSMITH Ironworker & Farrier by Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-393-32057-X has a very comprehensive set of plans for a masonry forge and a good bellows.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/07/03 01:23:32 GMT

louis: check out the heat treating FAQ at the FAQ page for this site
   adam - Tuesday, 01/07/03 04:15:37 GMT

Somewhere on your web site I found a link that took me to the army's welding manual. I had to format my hard drive and now can not locate it. Do you have any idea where I can find it?
   terry - Tuesday, 01/07/03 11:59:10 GMT


   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/07/03 13:51:52 GMT

On descaling with chemicals, I have been using a mix of white vinegar and salt for several years, I have a big enamle pot (a canning/pasta boiler) that I keep it in, let it sit on the wood stove in the shop so it is sometimes warm. It takes a few days to work, and I sometimes remove the bits and brush them to remove the goo. after drying and brushing, they look real nice. I also have a 5' chunk of PVC Pipe with ends (bottom glued on, top loose) for descaling pickets and the like, works well (at least I am pleased) I usually use about a pound of salt in a batch, the amount of vinegar varies with the level of $ in pocket.
   Pilcher - Tuesday, 01/07/03 17:36:56 GMT

Paw-Paw, right on target! The nails that I hang my hammers on are being replaced with nice forged drive hooks complete with scrolled ends. It is indeed a reflection on one's pride in in his work. My first tongs were rude and crude but they worked. Later versions got to looking better even if they did not perform any better. However, I may not be ready to make a basket twist handle for my Whisper Baby....but someday soon......
   - Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 01/07/03 18:01:58 GMT

Thanks to all for the advice, but can you tell me where online, I can find a whisper baby forge, if it is manufactured. Thanks very much.
   cmills - Tuesday, 01/07/03 18:03:55 GMT


Bruce Wallace of Wall Metal sells the NC Tools Whisper line of forges. I think NC Tool also has a web site. And you can find product reviews on the Whisper Baby and Whisper Momma on the 21st Century Page here at anvilfire.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/07/03 18:22:47 GMT

I quench my blades in a oil mixture, it leaves them with allot of cleanup, I was wondering if someone had a resepe for something that works better on 01,1095,l6 steels
   - rock - Tuesday, 01/07/03 18:35:33 GMT

what is blacksmithing and when did it start and end?
   charlene robards - Tuesday, 01/07/03 19:51:54 GMT

What is Blacksmithing?

Blacksmithing is the art of shaping heated iron and steel with hand tools such as hammers or with forging machines.

A Blacksmith is the person who does this work either by hand or machine. "Black" comes from the color of the metal after being heated and cooled. "Smith" comes from the word, "smite" or "to strike". Therefore the blacksmith is one who strikes the black metal.

Blacksmithing dates from the earliest iron age, which started about 1500 BC or earlier in Central Asia. Many of the tools and techniques date from earlier times. The metal worked by the blacksmith is either the old ductile wrought iron or the modern steel. Wrought iron is the product of early iron furnaces called bloomeries. It has no carbon and cannot be hardened.

Steel is iron with a small amount of carbon (0.1 to 1.5%) that makes it hardenable. Early steel was an expensive product made in small quantities. Modern low carbon steel has largely replaced Wrought Iron. Modern steel has been available in bulk since the 1860's.

As long as there is the need for tools made of steel there will be blacksmiths. Since there is no substitute for steel tools there will always be blacksmiths. It will only end with the end of mankind.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/07/03 20:20:01 GMT

Oil Quenching Rock, An oil mixture? You don't mean one of those witch's brews from an old book? Many old references (including current publications with old articles) have odd mixtures of oils for quenching that were based on trial and error and little science. Many had fish oil, linseed oil, castor oil. . . all kinds of odd things.
Modern quenchants are generaly pure oils (mineral oil is good) or one of the new water based polymers where the rate of quench is adjusted by the density of the solution.

Most of the cleanup after an oil quench is descaling from the heating process. If you heat in a sealed container or salt bath then there is little or no scale and thus nothing for the oil to stick to. Heat treaters often wrap parts in stainless steel foil to prevent scaling. Heating in a case hardening box filled with charcoal will do the same. Just do not soak the part at temperature or it will absorb unwanted extra carbon.

In some heat treaing the part goes from one salt bath into another cooler on to quench. However this is a specialied process.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/07/03 20:57:09 GMT

alpha guru, are there copies of "anvils in america" in the AF bookstore?? if so, i would prefer to send you a check vs use a credit card on line. could send you a MO if you would like also. tried to post on the CSI forum, put it failed.

you gave me advice a while back on hardening and tempering a cut off hardie. the only thing that i could tell was that it was medium steel. input from guru turley also. anyway, i used corn oli in a coffee can, tempered to dark blue, allowed to cool to ambient, then into a toaster oven @450F for 3 hours or so. i really wanted to put the edge to the test. i cut half way through cold 1/4" sq without deformation or cracking. a great recipe that clearly is effective.

QC, given snub ends a try yet???
   - rugg - Tuesday, 01/07/03 22:49:13 GMT

Rugg, ¿¿¿I DID suggest that you used medium carbon??? I thought it was in YOUR original post.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/08/03 00:58:03 GMT

Rugg, Sorry I cannot figure out your posting problems. All the pages use similar systems to this one. In fact, the guru's page is the one that should most likely fail due to the controls being in a seperate frame. Nothing has changed since you posted in those forums last.

Will send note about Anvils in America with your CSI discount pricing.

   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 02:41:11 GMT

I'm darn near 60 and plan to do a liitle blacksmith work,in the near future. I have 2 questions, 1. Is this a place to sell a 125# wrought iron anvil in very good shape? or is e-bay best? question 3 OOPS I have an unusual shaped blacksmith tool? anvil? would like to know what it is can I send a pic on this forum.
   Don Swenson - Wednesday, 01/08/03 03:28:16 GMT

vicopper In reguards to your new freon-can forge with its clamshell door, snazzy forged and scrolled hinges, fancy forged top handle, positively sexy front opening trim and dainty tapered and scrolled feet. Send me a picture or tell me where it is posted, I would love to see it. Thanks William
   triw - Wednesday, 01/08/03 04:35:30 GMT

Happy New Year to all!
Can anyone give me some info on the difference in using brass vs. bronze for bushings.
I'm building the Hugh McDonald steel rolling mill and just completed turning the rollers and shaft. The plan calls for bronze bushings in the bottom roller. I have alot of brass round stock and would just as soon make them, instead of ordering two 1"ID/1.25"OD 1" long bronze bushings. That is if brass would be suitable for the application.
Any input would be great! Thank you!
   kdbarker - Wednesday, 01/08/03 07:14:03 GMT

Using a torch for heat is reasonably economical for small work.....IF you have a "gas saver" type device that shuts the torch off when not actually heating metal. Mine is rigged to light itself when I step on a pedal and I have a firebrick as backup to reflect the heat back towards the work.
Viccopper...I want to see that forge! Sounds HOT!
Charlene; We aren't quite dead yet. It began before written history.
Frank, he thinks it worked, quick, take credit!....(G)
Don S...Oh, you are much too old,as are many of us in the business, my condolences...
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 01/08/03 07:23:08 GMT

Good Guru;
The rusty Edlund 1200# flatbelt drill press is back in one piece ( had to take the top off to move it, much less get it in the door) and in the shop. One by one, the parts are getting freed up and moving again..so far. The add on gear reducer and low RPM 3 phase motor are trashed ( gear case trying to be an aquarium). No tags survive to tell me how fast it went.
How much HP does it require and what RPM range should I be trying for.
It has a # 2 or 3 morse taper in there under the grease and gurry. Although weathered , the 18" table has no drilling marks and nothing seems very worn .
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 01/08/03 07:39:44 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw. I am 64 and brand new at blacksmithing. I now live in New Mexico and have a place to work and am trying to teach myself this art. I just completed my first forge using a rim, some stove pipe and a dirt devil. I have spent hours studying different things on anvilfire and their links. I would like to become a member of the Blacksmith's Web Ring but don't know if the free site I have is qualified. My site address is http://www.geocities.com/bucklestogo/index.html Perhaps you could take a look and let me know?
   terry - Wednesday, 01/08/03 11:41:34 GMT

Terry, I don't know what is wrong, but I'm getting a "Page Not Found" error message.

Guru is the one that will need to set you up on the web ring, but I'll be glad to take a look at the page and add it to my index.

Have you thought about joining CSI, yet?
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/08/03 13:34:37 GMT

I have a bit of a theoretical question. Is rebound in an anvil or other large steel work surface a funtion of hardness or mass? If we assume we have 2 square blocks of steel with the same dimensions, but one is hardened to 50 Rc and the other is not hardened, which will have the greater rebound? If those same blocks were increased in mass 10 times, would you be able to notice a difference in the rebound between the hardened and unhardened block?

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 01/08/03 14:33:02 GMT

Sale and ID Don, If you are asking a fair price your anvil will sell on our Hammer-In as well as anywhere else. You may get more on eBay depending on the current mood. Its an auction, its hard to tell.

We have an off-site image gallery. See the drop down menu. You have to register with Yahoo to use it.

You may also email the photo to me. I may be able to identify it and if it is intresting enough I will post the image here.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 16:06:30 GMT

Brass and Bronze KD, They are similar and can be exchanged in many bearing applications. Bronze is harder thus has a higher p/v factor (pressure velocity factor in bearing engineering terms). I also believe it a higher lubricity (sliperyness), but I would have to look that up.

In most plain bearings lubrication is very important. In plain bearings you want two different materials so they do not gall and so that the bearing wears and not the shaft. When you DO have metal to metal contact the bearing surface either is not effected or the metal is spread along its own surface without sticking to the shaft. Babbit bearings work well because they are quite soft and IF the lubrication is clean it does not cut the shaft. Bronze is harder and can take more load than babbit. In auto bearings you have a thin film of babbit over a thin copper shell which is supported in cast iron. The point being to present a slippery surface that will not cut the shaft but has as much support as possible.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 16:17:00 GMT

Drill Press HP and Speed: Pete, The 18" table indicates it is about a 20-23" drill press. Most of these have a #4 MT but it is possible it might have a #3 MT.

21" Drill presses with back gear run about 50 RPM at the lowest speed. In straight gear they run about 500 to 800 RPM at the slowest (back gears disnegaged, belt on lowest speed step).

I generally count gear teeth and measure the pulley diameters and make a speed chart. From this I figure out how fast I want the input shaft to run and then what size pulleys to put on the motor and input. These depend on the motor at hand and at least one available pulley.

If the math has you confused then do all the measurements and count all the gear teeth and mail me a list. However the input speed on most of these machines is based on old line shafting speeds of about 500 to 700 RPM.

I use 1-1/2 HP motors on my 21" drills. The one factory spec sheet I have says 1HP. The 1-1/2 to 2" wide belts will not transmit more than 1-1/4 HP so more is just a waste of motor. I DID have one running on an old 2HP motor but that is because that is what I had. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 16:44:34 GMT

The Blacksmiths Ring Terry, We currently accept all sites that have to do with blacksmithing and do not crash my browser.

However, future web-rings we establish will not accept sites form sources that have pop-up advertising windows. Neither our sites OR our web-ring "hub" or list page have pop-up advertising. Currently the NEW Webring.org uses multiple pop-up advertising windows and we are preparing to leave all rings hosted by webring.org because of it.

For as little as $10/month you can have ad free web space so there is no excuse for anyone that does any kind of web business to use a free host. For $15/year you can have your own URL and most places that host for any fee will set you up under your own URL.

And like PPW I cannot make the URL you posted work. Normaly the public address for these sites is different than the owner's access address.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 17:58:08 GMT

Terry your page has a syntax error in line 2 character 29 which is making it troublesome for some people to load. I love what you've done with the old ammo. I see you don't like to roll change either. Nice work sir.
   Gronk - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:11:43 GMT

Guru & PPW, thanks for trying. I don't know why it does not work for you. Just had a friend out in N.C. try it and it worked for her. Also went to my AOL account and tried it from there. Worked fine. Presently the site is mainly silversmithing but plan to add quite a bit of blacksmithing as I learn. I have had a couple of different paid URL's but paid $15.00 to $19.00 per month. If the site address I posted does not work you can not add it to the Blacksmith Web Ring,is that right?
   terry - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:12:32 GMT

terry, I was able to get to your site.

   Ralph - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:13:56 GMT

Rebound Hardness vs. Mass Patrick, They both have an effect. However, a soft material with infinite mass still has little or no rebound. A hard material has high rebound when a another hard object strikes it. The amount of rebound is then determined by the ratio of the masses and how the masses resist movement. When using the steel ball test on an anvil you have a very high ratio between the two objects and the anvil is usualy virtualy unmovable. However, if the anvil was a mass floating in space then it would move when struck by the ball. The velocity the two objects move away from each other is relative to the ratio of the masses.

If you look at the objects as billiard balls of the same mass the entire energy of the moving ball is transfered to the stationary ball and it move off at the original velocity of the first while the first stops. But it the ratio of the mass of the two balls is not 1:1 then the larger ball (the anvil) being struck will move off at a slower speed AND the oject striking it will also move off. . . At a ratio of infinity to one the large ball would not move and the small ball would bounce off at almost the same velocity it struck the infinitely large ball. I'm afraid my physics is too rusty to define this mathematicaly. .

Note that there is always a small amount of energy lost as heat so there is never a 100% transfer. But is is very close.

IF the ratio between ball and anvil were graphed the an average anvil of 100 pounds or more rapidly approaches the infinite when compared to a 1" ball which weighs .148 pounds. 1:.0015.
Anvil to 1" ball mass ratios

25# 167:1
50# 333:1
100# 676:1
200# 1351:1
300# 2000:1
400# 2703:1
The mass ratios definitely have an effect on rebound but it is a small effect unless you are comparing a wide range of masses. But when you start with a large ratio and the heavy mass is sturdily supported so that it cannot move freely then there is little dicernable difference. However, when using a hand hammer (much larger mass) and its velocity is greater than just falling by gravity then the ratios are much smaller and there is a significant difference between a 100 pound anvil and a 300 pound anvil.
Anvil to 3 pound hammer mass ratios (no velocity).

25# 8:1
50# 17:1
100# 33:1
200# 67:1
300# 100:1
400# 133:1

SO. . when working at a 400# anvil it is something like dropping a 1" steel ball on 25# anvil. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:34:34 GMT

vicopper---that plumb bob will throw you off if you are not carefull! In the survey of India the british found they had an un-acceptable error upon completion. Someone pointed out that when they were near the Himalayas the mountians would pull the bob off of vertical so they factored in a correction for that and found that that over corrected---the Himalayas evidently didn't weigh as much as they figured they should. This resulted in the geological concept of Isostacy.

Patrick I believe it is a function of both: as a gedanken experiment lets use the ball bearing anvil test. Think of softening one mass until the ball no longer rebounds (liquid would work!) so hardness definitely has a place.

Now think of of a very hard piece but decrease the mass until it is near 0 the bounce will then be dependent on what the small hard surface is resting on.

Of course some of this may be dependent on the ball bearing deforming the surface. IF both are hard enough to not deform then I would judge the mass to be the controlling factor. However after a point the increase would be infintesimal.

Now do it in a vacuum with perfect spheres...

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:40:00 GMT

Terry, it is working now. . . You never know. . .

Thanks for the link!

I recommend you break your page up into more smaller pages so they load faster.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 19:43:19 GMT

More on brass or bronze for bearings;
Bronze bearing stock is porous and the oil soaks into it, thus it lubes the shaft much better. It is harder also and has better wear characteristics. I have completed my rolling mill and used purchased bearings throughout. The cost of them is minor, compared to the amount of work you are putting into the machine. Pictures of my mill are posted at http://www.keenjunk.com/sketchbk/wp21205.htm

   wayne parris - Wednesday, 01/08/03 20:32:18 GMT

I wonder if you could help me find a source for 3" +- discs with a 3/4" concave and 5"+- disc with a 1" concaved, the material should be cold rolled mild steel 16 - 14 gauge.These are for the "saucers" to hold candles on a candelabra?
I am looking for a supplier that will stock such items for immedate shipping.
Thank you, Philip in Los Angeles.
   PHILIP ROHAN - Wednesday, 01/08/03 20:34:24 GMT

Thanks for the info on mass vs. hardness for rebound. This question came up mentally while watching my co-workers try and stamp small steel parts that were resting on a 1" thick steel plate. I found that I got better results when using a 3.5" diameter bar about 8" long for my support. Neither piece is hardened. So then I got to wondering, would an chunk of steel with a hard face be any better for this than one with a soft face. Thanks for the input.

New question
I have about 500 lbs of coke. The average size of the coke is about the size of a bar of soap. I would like to get this crushed to a more appropriate size to forge with. It seems that most of the local coal yards don't want to deal with such a small quantity. Do you guys have any suggestions? By the way, this coke is quite a bit harder and tougher than soft coal.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 01/08/03 20:45:10 GMT

Beats me Terry, works now.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/08/03 20:57:33 GMT

guru turley, you did not suggest that i USE medium carbon steel. i had a problem with heat treatment and tempering and asked for advise on how to do it correctly. it was a cut off hardie that i bought from kaynes. i guessed (as you did, as i recall) that it was plain medium steel. when i first got the piece, the edge cracked. my first attempt at hardening/tempering left it too soft. i digested suggestions from various sources, you included, and gave it a shot. it worked;this is factual, not delusional. the hardie now will cut into a cold piece of mild without any disturbance of the edge, the process that achieved that i described earlier.

for a rookie like me, this was a big deal. growing with the help of this site is satisfying. making tools that work well is cool. last week i forged my first ring @ the end of a bending fork that i forged. i finally got a snub end to look better than the cold worked stuff that i see frequently. i am collecting books that have been long out of print. i am looking for a floor mandrel and i hope to find the perfectly proportioned london pattern to offset the grotesque appearance of my peddinghaus. like most of the individuals here, i think about smithin' alot. sorry for the rambling, just had to lay it out there..

anyone try the kaynes smithin coke yet?? what do you think??
   - rugg - Wednesday, 01/08/03 21:29:07 GMT

I'm in need of an anvil ID, if possible. I just bought this as part of my beginner's set-up from our village blacksmith, but he didn't really know much about it, other than it's "pretty old". Ok, here's the details: I haven't weighed it, but I'd guess it's in the 50 - 75# range. It's pretty much a typical London Pattern shape w/ pritchel and hardie holes. On one side it has an odd shaped star design...I guess you'd call it a 7-point star. On one end of the base is a large 5. On the other end of the base is a large number, 200something....it's partially obscured. Other than this there are no other markings. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Thanks, C.W.
   - Chris - Wednesday, 01/08/03 22:30:21 GMT


Turn it over and see if there is a large cavity in the base. It sounds like an American Star anvil, but that will tell me for sure.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/08/03 22:46:22 GMT

Sintered Bearing Bronze Not all bearing bronze is porus. Standard "bearing bronze" is alloy 660. This often comes in bars and heavy wall tubes for machining bushings. It is NOT porus. Sintered oilite bronze can be purchased in flat and round bar but it is expensive. Normaly when you purchase bronze bushings they are sintered oilite(tm) bronze.

Sintered bronze LOOKS porus and is easy to identify by its flat rough surface. We have been sold solid 660 bronze when we asked for sintered oilite. Many suppliers do not know the difference.

Oilite is normally used in thin wall (1/16") bushings because it is not a strong as solid bronze AND due to expense. But thin bronze bushings are much less expensive than solid bronze blocks.

The mill I am building will have large ball bearing pillow blocks for the driven roller and bronze half bearings for the lift out lower roll. I want my lower roll to be easily changable so that I can experiment with groove shapes.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 22:54:42 GMT

Drip Pans Philip, most suppliers do not carry candle pans in that heavy material. Everyone has them in 24ga.

Note coming via mail.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 22:59:40 GMT

Coke: Patrick, What you have is common foundry coke. It is difficult to break up and equally difficult to keep burning due to its high density and lack of volitiles. Generaly it is not suitable for blacksmith work. I'm not sure but I believe that the coke sold for smithing is not so dense and has some volitiles. . . I couldn't swear to it though.

When looking at the mass of something to resist impact the shape of the mass is critical. Flat bar and plate can be heavy but it deflects excessively producing spring instead of rebound. Set a flat bar on edge and it will deflect less and is a much better anvil. Long bars when struck on the end have all their mass in line with the force of the blow and produce good rebound. But if struck on the side they bend and then spring back bouncing around. . .

That is why I recommend setting RR-rail anvils on end and using the small face. A 100 pound piece of rail will act like a 150 pound anvil. But if struck from the side that same piece of rail acts like a 20 pound anvil AND it bounces around.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/08/03 23:40:00 GMT

Yes, there is a fair sized cavity on the bottom...actually I thought to mention that in my earlier post, but I wasn't sure if that was a peculiar characteristic or something common to most anvils. Thanks
   Chris - Wednesday, 01/08/03 23:52:30 GMT

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