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Re Antifreeze: I use methel hydrate in my slack tub at the rate of 3 gals. to 17 water. The shop is heated 6 days a week in the daytime but there is slushy ice in the morning after -15 degree F. nights but it melts by mid morning. I use it to wet down my coal and it doesn't interfere with welding. While it is poisonous it has the advantage in that the dogs do not seem interested in it, whereas Prestone is both attractive and deadly to animals.
   Tony Walsh - Saturday, 01/18/03 00:05:45 GMT


Not sure about trade names, but there are a lot of "aluminizing" processes out there. It's done by packing, hot dipping, vapor deposition, plasma, hot spraying and diffusion coating. They all yeild different traits.

From one supplier:

"High temperature corrosion of metals due to oxidation, sulfidation and carburization is a major concern in industry, especially with petrochemical processing equipment. Aluminizing or aluminum diffusion alloying is an economical process for inhibiting such corrosion by protecting the surface of steels, stainless steels and nickel alloys operating in severe high temperature environments.

Aluminizing is a high temperature chemical process whereby aluminum vapors diffuse into the surface of the base metal forming new metalurgical aluminide alloys. The aluminide alloys formed at the surface contain 20% minimum aluminum. Typical case depths:

Carbon and alloy steel = 5-20 mils
Stainless and nickel base alloys = 2-10 mills

More than just cathodic protection involved, although that is part of it.
   - grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 00:37:44 GMT

can you tell me if you need to use a forger or can you just use a regular fireplace if your really desperate.
   Darrell Syme - Saturday, 01/18/03 01:32:51 GMT

I have seen some examples of braided steel round stock, much like a three strand leather braid. The braid was very tight. Is this accomplished by heating the round stock in my forge and braiding it by hand? How do I get the braid tight? Is their a tool that can help or a mechanical method to braid the round stock cold. Would the tool or machinery be custom made or commercially available? The round stock is probably 1/4" or 5/16".
I am a novice with very basic skills. I am trying to get into the forgeing end of metal work. Please help me to find the answer to this very specific question. There are many many books and publications, but I can't buy them all is there a specific publication that may show me this specific application.
   Lance - Saturday, 01/18/03 01:40:08 GMT

I have a nice 128 pounder anvil now, but I came across a 286 actual weight Peter Wright in what I think is in excellent shape. No chips, straight and level face. The only flaw I could find looks like some kinda casting void under the horn, a hollow area about half the size of a golf ball. This looks like the large shop anvil I have been looking for. The fella wants 750 for it. I thought to offer him 6 crisp ones and see. I don't have much experience buying anvils, so what do y'all think?

   Tone - Saturday, 01/18/03 01:51:02 GMT


I make both a three strand braid and a four strand braid. You can see a demonstration of the four strand in iForge Demo #150. Contact me email, and I'll give you a set of instructions for the three strand braid.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 02:08:59 GMT

tony: PW anvils arent cast. The hole you describe shouldnt be a problem but you can use it to negotiate the price :) Is the plate sound? Does it have good rebound? Is it too hard to file? If so, I would be happy to pay $3/lb mebbe even more if I found it in New Mexico especially since there is no shipping. Shipping an anvil can run a couple of hundred.
   adam - Saturday, 01/18/03 02:19:02 GMT


If that hole under the horn is square shaped, it's a handling hole, and perfectly normal.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 02:42:06 GMT

A newbie here, have a chance to p/up a mouse anvil for $120
the hardy hole has some metal jamed in it filling the hole mostly full and broken off below the anvil striking surface.
Is this a common problem and is it best to drill it out or . . . . .?
   tony - Saturday, 01/18/03 03:58:28 GMT

Just discovered this website. I'm in awe of all the info and thanks for your willingness to help. I am seeking a series of dome shaped anvils up to 20"dia. to shape pieces of 1/4" steel (6"wide X 1/3arc of the sphere) that would be concave in both length & width and would have varying diameters from 8 to 20". Do you know if any such anvils are available in the marketplace? Or, do you know of any company that makes "custom" anvils?
Or, do you know of another way of creating 6" strips of steel similar to the surface of a sphere? Your wisdom, knowlege and expertise would be greatly appreciated. I am less than a novice, but am working on a project with a very talented retired machinist/engineer in N. Mich. and these pieces are essential. I will anxiously await your reply.
Thank you.
   Bruce - Saturday, 01/18/03 03:58:42 GMT

Hi all i was just wondering if anyone knows were to find more plans on how to make things like the ones on this site
   - Jim B - Saturday, 01/18/03 04:12:48 GMT

Killing Mosquito larvae in the slack tub.
The easiest way to prevent mosquitos breeding and flourishing in the slack tub is quite simple.
Mosquito larvae stay at the surface and hang upside down.
They breath surface air through gills situated on their tails. The tip of the tail, (and the gills) breaches the water surface and takes air form the atmosphere. (in other words, it respires surface air).
Sooo, a very thin film of oil on the slack tub water surface will prevent that air exchange.
The oil film will asphyxiate the mosquito larvae, and no adult mosquitos will come from the tub.
The surface oil film need be only atoms several thick and any oil will do, edible or toxic.
I put a little on the slack tub water surface when I take a break and at the end of a smithing session.
Putting an oil film on water receptacles is a common tropical pracice to cut down the mosquito population. (for example old tires, standing pools of water etc.
Putting a (physical)cover on the slack tub at night is not a bad idea, some child or other animal may venture into the tub, and mutate into something really scary. (I think that that is the root cause of Sadam Hussein's problem.
Regards to all.
It is ten below zero F. and the humidity is 100%, because Montreal is an Island in the Saint Laurence river. (not much water at -10, but it cuts to the bone. It makes insulating against the cold much harder. (wool works weel even when wet.) Dry cold is much easier to take).
It's a three dog night tonight.
Regards to all,

   slag - Saturday, 01/18/03 04:23:54 GMT

Please substitute the word "drown" for "asphyxiate" in the above mosquito note. Drown is a better, more specific word
   slag - Saturday, 01/18/03 04:42:38 GMT


I have used the ends of old gas cylinders to shape hot metal in. The steel in those cylinders is pretty rigid and they come in a number of different diameters. Hot water heaters and pressure tanks for wells also have dome ends. Check with scrapyards and gas suppliers. I should note that this method only works with steel at a forging heat. Cold steel 1/4" thick would require a sledge hammer and a hefty stake to form.

Of course, if you are going to use cylinders that have formerly contained anything that MIGHT even be flammable, use all the appropriate precautions before cutting them, such as washing, purging, inert gas displacement purge, and so on. You simnply can't be too careful!
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/18/03 05:00:27 GMT

Inlaying how to and where to get tools?
Planing to inlay steel axe head and i`ve got a rough idea but would like any info.
   Bryce - Saturday, 01/18/03 05:02:08 GMT

Jim, Plans. Just my two cents worth: I love reading and studying blacksmithing books and looking at pictures of others work. I recommend that instead of finding plans to reproduce absorb as much as you can and as you look at something you will probably find that you automatically think of variations or personalizing an item to fit your shop, your experience level, your material on hand etc. As you think and plan make sketches to have a point to refer to later. Sometimes I like to use modeling clay to try something when I don't have the opportunity to actually forge hot metal. Its also a way to quickly eliminate some ways you don't want to do a project. One of the nicest books I have is "Practical Projects for the Blacksmith" by Ted Tucker. It has a wide range of relatively simple projects plus a lot of good basic forging info. Only I don't know if it is still in print. I wouldn't part with mine and I've worn the cover off of it. To sum up my methods Read, think, sketch,revise,model if necessary, don't be afraid to do something original or different. Enjoy your personlized version :-)
   anvillain - Saturday, 01/18/03 05:35:59 GMT


I used a cutting torch to burn a hole throth the center of a broken off hardy tool on the museums colonial style. Then CAREFULLY too the cut to the corner of the hardy hole from the center. Blockage came out easily after that.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 14:22:26 GMT

Jim B.,

Far as I know, iForge is unique to the Internet.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 14:23:34 GMT

In message to Tony, too the cut should read took the cut.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 14:25:59 GMT

Aluminum on steel: Don't forget the cladding process. Thin Aluminum sheet is rolled onto steel under heat and pressure to make a bi-metal.
Aluminum Nitrides: Grant, I wonder if this process is actually aimed at corrosion protection? Or maybe wear resistance? Lots of metals form hard stable nitrides (titanium being used extensively on drill bits). I don't know. Aluminum has the lowest melting point of Ti, Nb, or V and would not perform as well as the others at high temperatures. But it might be more economical.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/18/03 14:45:40 GMT

I am in Tennessee. I have been working with metal for about 15 years part time and now have built a shop 24'x22' and I want to put in a forge. Not too big but one that I can get alot of good heat from. Where should I look for a design of a forge? Thanks for your help
   Paul - Saturday, 01/18/03 15:35:01 GMT

I am in Tennessee. I have been working with metal for about 15 years part time and now have built a shop 24'x22' and I want to put in a forge. Not too big but one that I can get alot of good heat from. Where should I look for a design of a forge? Thanks for your help
   Paul - Saturday, 01/18/03 15:35:20 GMT

I am in Tennessee. I have been working with metal for about 15 years part time and now have built a shop 24'x22' and I want to put in a forge. Not too big but one that I can get alot of good heat from. Where should I look for a design of a forge? Thanks for your help
   Paul - Saturday, 01/18/03 15:35:47 GMT


Look at the plans page here on Anvilfire. On the pull down menu. The brake drum forge is easy to build, works well, and costs nothing if you are a good "scrounger".
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 15:40:31 GMT

Bryce, For inlaying, Frank Mittermeier, Inc., Bronx, New York, sold tools in the "old days". He may still; check with
dastrausa.com, and ask. The gunsmith supply, Brownell's. 200 S. Front St., Montezuma, IA 50171, might have the right tools. If you're new to inlaying. you might stick with simple dot and line designs. With a fine hacksaw blade, you can make a channel and undercut it with a small tool whose cutting edge looks kind of like that on a wood chisel. You're driving back the bottom corners of the hacksaw cut along its length in order to make it a rough dovetail cross section. Then drive your soft metal wire into the groove. It's all done cold. It takes mucho practice to make a channel or groove with a flat graver. There is a diagram in Untracht's book, "Metal Techniques for Craftsmen", but not a heck of a lot of information. A video by Jeremiah Watt, "Cowboy Bit and Spur Making, has some pretty good information. www.ranch2arena.com It is pricey if you're just doing an axe head. Do anneal and descale the axe head to make the work go easier.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/18/03 16:22:58 GMT


Hi guy! The clip DIDN'T say anything about nitrides; they are amazing for wear though. Not sure what aluminide alloys are, I just thought they were iron/aluminum.

Yes, cladding. Also explosion bonding. They do that around here to bond (forge weld?) dissimilar metals. I know, that’s more than just a coating. Pretty cool, they explosion bond aluminum flat bar on to steel flat bar. Weld that onto the steel deck of navy ships and then weld aluminum superstructures onto that. Can you spell g-a-l-v-a-n-i-c battery? Necessity is the mother of compromise.
   - grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 16:29:02 GMT


Some inlaying I've seen recently was done by carving out the design and then brazing over the design. Then everything is ground down flat revealing a brass pattern on a steel background. I think this is known in the trade as "cheating".
   - grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 16:38:04 GMT

any one every see spin welding (also called friction welding)two parts are preped then one is cooled the other heated they are spun in opposite directions the heat from spinning welds the parts.
   MP - Saturday, 01/18/03 18:05:38 GMT


Low melting point, eh? I think the key there might be the alloying that goes on. As you well know that can have a dramatic effect on melting temperature. I think the vapor and plasma processs have a lot different characteristics than some of the simple coating like dipping or flame spraying. The things I've read only talk about high temperature corrosion resistance. It's interesting that it's even used on stainless and nickle (refractory alloys?). They talk about "case" depth rather than coating thickness. OBTW the vapor process is used for reflective surfaces too, like telescope mirrors.
   - grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 18:12:00 GMT

In what year, and by whom, were safety guards invented for use on lathes.
   Jay Rhodes - Saturday, 01/18/03 19:18:49 GMT


First invented by "One Arm" Charlie Higgins in 1868 (the same year as his accident).
   grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 19:51:06 GMT

Thanks for the info Grant! Any idea where I can find info on Higgins? My internet search hasn't turned up anything.
   Jay - Saturday, 01/18/03 20:40:59 GMT

Bryce, another book that is great for inlaying and engraving is "The Art of Engraving" by the very talented James B. Meek. I got my copy from Brownells. If you can find Lynton Mckinzie's engraving tapes they are a fantastic source of learning--pricey tho.
   Jerry - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:04:26 GMT


Is that a real answer, or are you pulling Jay's leg?
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:05:04 GMT

Paw Paw:

Wood eye lye?
   grant - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:27:33 GMT

I need to know what the letter identification for a chrome/molybdenum rod is.
   jerry moss - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:27:51 GMT

I need to know what the letter identification for a chrome/molybdenum rod is.
   jerry moss - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:27:51 GMT

Re: green patina on steel. Copper electroplate then remove from the vat. Nutralise after it turns green.
   Ron C - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:29:01 GMT

Gib, also look up the demo on iFORGE on rr spike tomahawks. Looks like the technique would be the same...
   Ron C - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:50:30 GMT

Grant, Like a dawg
   Ron C - Saturday, 01/18/03 21:53:18 GMT


I don't think you would out and out lie in a serious situation, but I also don't think you're above sending a new helper out to find a left handed monkey wrench. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 01/18/03 22:19:42 GMT

Paul in Tennessee,
What part of TN. The AAC, a group affliated with ABANA meets in most part of Middle TN and down toward Chatanooga. What part of TN?

   - slattont - Saturday, 01/18/03 22:44:36 GMT

Grant, Uh,.......ok.......low melting point compared to TiN or NbN....both of which go into solution in iron over 2000F. Nitrides are often used for grain growth control because they precipitate at grain boundaries when cooled from the rolling temperature and keep the grains from growing when the piece is heated for forging or heat treating. Aluminum Nitride (AlN) goes into solution at about 1700F. Interesting thing about AlN, once it dissolves into the iron matrix, it does not recombine into AlN upon cooling as does vanadium, niobium or titanium. Over about 1700 and you have no grain growth control if the steel has only aluminum in it. I have not a clue what this has to do with anything we discuss here.
One last method of applying a metallic coating: DetGun! Looks and sounds like a shore battery but literally shoots powdered metal into the surface of another metal.
I put a new handle on my genuine Mao Tse Dung Model 3 cross-peen hammer today. I thinned it down through the center and find that it is much more comfortable to hold. Newbies, try it, you'll like it.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/18/03 23:19:32 GMT

thank you everyone for the info on inlaying.
Now i`ve got somewhere to start
thanks again
   Bryce - Saturday, 01/18/03 23:38:36 GMT

I'm a 15 year old from Ohio trying to learn the basic of blacksmithing. I have a small wash tub forge that I use for my general work. I have forge several of the things that you have instuctions for like the boot pick. I have no formal training in smithing except this book I read and I was wondering what kind of item I could scavenge a very mild steel from. I know steel well enough to know if all the steel I have been using is HC because it won't be very malible in the early orange range. Could you help me out Mr. Guru and send me an e-mail about it, your my hero, Guru.
   Matt - Sunday, 01/19/03 01:43:28 GMT

   Darrell - Sunday, 01/19/03 02:13:39 GMT


A regular fireplace won't get the steel hot enough to be able to work it. Concrete won't work very well for an anvil, any chunck of mild steel would work better.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/19/03 02:17:01 GMT

Have been working on my setup today and have the steel frame for my coal forge welded together and the vulcan firepot hung, tomorrow is the blower phase. May need to ask a question on wiring the speed control switch (actually an electric fan rotary switch) when I get there. But tonights question is on my anvil. Its been in the family about 40 years and I was wanting to identify it so I took a wire brush to the base. It has an elliptical pattern of letters on the side, and I cannot make all of them out. I can make out blank A Y space B U D blank blank, in the middle it says "manufacturing" and the bottom of the ellipse is "Brooklyn, NY". I am wondering if this is a Hay Budden, and if so what quality of anvil they were. It shows some wear but the face and horn are good, it is 30" long overall, face is 19", rest is step and horn, face is a bit over 4 1/4" wide, and it is 11 1/2 " high, base is about 10" X 11", I think it weighs over 200#. 1" Hardy hole, 3/4" Pritchel hole, rings good, has good bounce.
Any help appreciated, thanks.
   ellen - Sunday, 01/19/03 04:15:57 GMT

Mr. Guru in one of your demo's can you show us how to make a good old fashioned claymore sword? that would catch everyones attention. thanks
   Darrell - Sunday, 01/19/03 06:31:35 GMT

do you know of anywhere i could buy the equipment for really cheap?
Thanks. Darrell.
   Darrell - Sunday, 01/19/03 06:34:04 GMT

While a fireplace won't do for heavy work, folks used to set around the fire and forge nails all winter when they were snowed in. So you can use it for small work, though it wouldn't be good to try to get it hot enough for forge welding.
You'll need to build up a nice thick bed of coals and perhaps blow a little air in from down low. Put your steel right in the middle of the coals and pull it out when it is orange hot to forge it. Stop and reheat when it gets down to dull red.
Any heavy piece of steel will do for an anvil..one that is tall ( deep ) is best. The flat area on top only needs to be a few square inches. A piece of heavy shaft set on end is good. Put a thick piece of wood under it to absorb shock.
Concrete, or even cast iron is usually too soft. However, a large piece of hard , dense, tough rock might get you by. The legend of the jade anvils and all. Wear eye protection and when forging indoors, get set to put out fires...quickly!
Ellen: re anvil...you win!
Matt; Go for it! usually the steel sold as "cold rolled" is mild steel and so is most structural steel. Very mild steel is expensive and havn't figured out where to scrounge it from, yet. Any steel is tough stuff, even at low orange..you might try boosting your working temperature to a low yellow, It'll be a lot easier.
I'll even go so far as to say.....please.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 01/19/03 07:04:47 GMT

Since you don't need a claymore sword very often, I'd suggest you rent one.

do you know of anywhere i could buy the equipment for really cheap?

Where no other smiths are looking..you'd be suprised!
   - Pete F - Sunday, 01/19/03 07:21:23 GMT

Ellen, It's a Hay-Budden, excellent quality and a nice size.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/19/03 13:15:52 GMT

MP, Don't Know who does the actual friction welds but a typicial example can be found on hydraulic cylinder shafts. It is used to connect the clevis to the shaft. Some CASE tractors use them as well as some other farm equipment manufactures. Once your tooled up the are cheap welds because of the speed at which they are produced. You can tell a friction weld because a collar is formed as the metal is extruded a the two pieces are forced together.
   Mike v - Sunday, 01/19/03 14:34:52 GMT

I am looking for some advice on drilling steel on-site, with a hand drill. I have to drill into some posts. In my experience, drilling this way is difficult. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks
   Kevin C - Sunday, 01/19/03 18:25:47 GMT


Rent a mag-drill. Simply a small drill press with an electro-magnetic base. They're used all the time in construction for just the sort of thing you want to do.
   grant - Sunday, 01/19/03 19:13:29 GMT

On-Site Drilling: Kevin, First you need to know that 99% of all electric hand drills are designed for WOOD and go much to fast to drill anything but the smallest holes. Popular department store brands give you no choice of RPM other than variable speed which also reduces HP and torque. They are not suitable for drilling holes such as 3/8" (10mm) in steel.

Commercial Industrial brands offer lower speed models that can drill steel without burning up the bit. My Milwaukee 1/4" drill is a 0-850 RPM drill. At maximum speed it is slow enough to drill a 1/2" hole in steel and has enough torque to break your wrist (USE that second handle). Although this drill is described as a "quarter inch" it has a 1/2" (13mm) Jacobs chuck (none of the plastic junk the new ones come with).

But speed is only half the equasion. PRESSURE is required to properly drill a hole. If you cannot apply around 100 pounds of constant pressure while drilling a 3/8" or larger hole the drill will slip, rub, melt HSS into the base metal and burn up. . . You MUST make chips consistantly or the drill bit will fail.

Step drilling (drilling a small hole, then slightly larger and larger) is a garenteed method of breaking corners of drills OR snapping the drill and making a mess of the hole. NEVER step drill.

However, drilling a PILOT hole greatly reduces the pressure requred to drill as well as reducing the heating of the bit. In large bits a pilot hole the size of the "dead center", (the chisle end) of the drill should be drilled first. The dead center requires a large part of the drilling pressure to force it into the metal because it is not a relieved cutting edge. For practical purposes I use a 3/16" (~5mm) bit for all pilot holes up to about 1-1/4" (32mm). Smaller bits are difficult to prevent from breaking and 3/16" seems to work for a wide range (for me).

Starting with a NEW 3/16" split point drill and lots of cutting oil drill through the part. Then switch to the full size drill (3/8" up) and complete the hole. The smaller the drill and the more oversize the pilot compared to the dead center the more careful you will need to be about feed pressure. But for 1/2" to 3/4" up you should be able to use a comfortable pressure.

IF the work is thin enough, purchase "stub" length drills for all hand drilled holes. These shorter length bits do not flex as much as the longer standard "jobber" length bits and thus are less likely to break. As soon as you sense that the pilot drill is the slightest bit worn SCRAP IT! These bits will cost less than $1 US but a broken bit stuck in a hole will cost you hundreds in man hours to remove. When hand drilling, depending on your skill, a pilot drill may only be good for a couple holes. SCRAP IT!!! YES I am yelling!

A couple years ago I had to drill and tap some 300 3/4" holes in place. There was two layers of 1" plate on a vertical surface (six foot diameter bolt circles). One was tapped the other clearance drilled, both in place. This was done with a magnetic base drill press which weighs 100 pounds and had to be hand placed for most of the holes and was supported by a rope as a safety. Step one was to drill a 3/16" pilot hole through the two layers of plate. Step two was to tap drill for the 3/4" thread. Step three was to clearance drill the front plate. Step four was to chamfer the outer hole. And the fifth and final step was to tap the 3/4-10 hole. We used only two 3/16" bits for 90% of the holes but managed to go through five or six. We had two each of the larger bits which I hand sharpened after about every ten holes. The outer clearance drill failed most often because it was being used like a step drill.

This was not hand drilling. But it was done in tight quarters under miserable conditions. I ended up training a two man team that did about half the drilling and taping. The job took several months. No bits were broken.

Note that magnetic base drills need a large surface and the plate needs to be 3/8" of thicker usualy for the magnet to enough to hold to. They work poorly or not at all on things narrower than the base.

Even though a mag-base drill was used the techniques for drilling holes by hand are the same and I have used them numerous times. The primary difference is that hand held drills wander and often drill curved holes. Deep curved holes break drill bits and those over 1 diameter almost always result in taps breaking.

Before using a method in the field, TEST it in your shop. If it doesn't work in a controled situation then it probably won't work in the field. IF you are doing a high class piece of work you may want to practice several holes before going into the field.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 19:41:37 GMT

Heidi Larrabee, Your e-mail bounced.

The tool on top of the anvil is called a "blow horn stake" It is a sheet metalworker's tool but is also handy in any metal working shop.

"Blow Horn" refers to the making of musical brass horns which even today are mostly handmade.

New they cost $400 US or more and are hard to find. Old ones often sell for half of new or more due their rarity.

   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 19:46:13 GMT

Friction Welding: MP, Back in the 1960's the shop my Dad ran experimented with friction welding of fuel tubes for nuclear reactors. It was done as you said but I think an intert gas must flood the area. The REAL trick is to let go of one side as the weld solidifies. This requires very tricky control which was not available in those days.

It has very limited application.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:00:35 GMT

Braided Bar Lance, There are two methods. One is to use a torch and heat and braid as you go. Works OK. The other is a double twist method that produces the same appearance with much less work. See our iForge demo #22.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:10:54 GMT

Fireplace as Forge: Darrell, This is posible but it depends on the configuration of your fireplace. Old coal burning fireplaces had a closed front and a narrow grate at the bottom. These produced very high temperatures in a small fire. The natural draft of the chimney is enough to creat steel melting temperatures if it is concentrated.

The normal open fireplace does not create enough concentrated heat except in a large fire. Wood is also not a good forge material. However, as it becomes charcoal in a large fire the charcoal will procduce forging temperatures.

So. . it CAN be done but only with effort by someone that knows what they are doing. Building a small brake drum forge as has been mentioned is cheap and it works. See our plans page.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:17:49 GMT

Shperical Shapes: Bruce, Blacksmiths use a cast iron block called a "swage block" for making spherical shapes. The block has hemispherical depressions and the steel is hammered down into the depression. Swage blocks with large hemispheres are rare and you do not get a large choice of sizes.

Devices can also be fabricated as VIcopper mentioned. See the articles about the Eric Thing shop/tools on our armoury page.

For thin and impromptu work a wood block is used and you just work through the smoke and flame.

The problem with swage blocks is that most are made of cast iron and are not made for heavy repeated work such as forging 1/4" plate. If you need a lot of the spherical surface parts you describe in specific radii then you need to see about having special dies machined. Almost any job-shop machine shop could do the job but it is going to expensive and YOU will be required to supply all the specs (dimensions, material, heat treating).

Open bottom dies could be used with a common hammer but for large numbers you will need an upper die machined to a radius that allows for the thickness of the material.

In large forge shops a top (positive) die would be hand forged and finished by hand or machining and then set (driven) into a heated bottom die with a big power hammer. To make the parts you want in 1/4" steel I suspect you are going to need a power hammer or forging press of significant capacity.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:33:54 GMT

Can anyone give me a good idea on the alloy/carbon content of a Dodge pickup's radius arm? I'm assuming that it is used in a similar fashion as torsion bars, but in conjunction with coil springs.
   - Stormcrow - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:35:40 GMT

friction welding
I learn of it from pratt (makes jets) they use it for some of the parts in the terbine assembley, they use a friction clutch set so that is will release when the part solidafies. (if I remember right from when I saw it in high school) I beleave that in most cases there is no need for a inert gass as only the weld is hot enough to scale and it is sealed off already. I do remember that they use it to weld TI for the fan blades.
prat has all kinds of neet tooling, a lot of stuff you don't see all that often. one other that I like a lot is the blom (sp?) grinding system, it is an ID grinderthat can do tapers or iregular shapes and is self centering.
   MP - Sunday, 01/19/03 20:38:04 GMT

Invention of Safety Guards: Jay, Grant's joke aside (probably close to the truth though). Guards on machines were a very gradual development and not an "invention". Guards were not universal until the standard government safety regulations (OSHA) required them starting in the 1970's. However, prior to that most NEW machines had relatively good guards.

Early machines had no coverings over any of the parts. Gears, belts and screws were all exposed. Open gearing is VERY dangerous and the gears such as on the end of a lathe were the first to be covered for safety. This occured in various places in the mid 1800's. Gear goverings were made to protect the gears from damage as much or more than the workers. Early guards were often open at the bottom because they were designed to keep chips from falling into the gears.

However, at this time line shafting with open belts was the primary source of power for machine tools and there was no efficeint (or economical) method of covering line drive belts. Open belting remained the rule until individual electric motors became universal on machine tools after World War II. Even then guards were often partial guards covering the pulley ends leaving the middle sections of belts open. In lathes when the motor was build into the base the drive was effectively covered. The spindle pulley was covered more as a matter of style than safety.

In many machines open gearing was replaced by enclosed oil bath gear boxes. The box is enclosed to keep oil in and dirt out. The gears are then "guarded" for reasons other than safety.

OSHA requires all kinds of guards retroactively applied to old machinery. In some cases machines are "grandfathered" in and do not have to have guards by law. But if the machine changes hands, is moved or rebuilt then guards have to be added.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/19/03 21:58:02 GMT

Question I got to thinking about while staying out of the shop and trying to heal up:

What would distinguish a forged knife from a knife ground out of a bar? Is there anything that would really be a sure indicator, if the forged knife was cleaned up by grinding to the final shape? Laminated steel would surely be an indicator that forging was involved at some point, but many blades are made by stock removal methods from a laminated billet, so the a blademaker can produce a laminated blade without any of his own forging operations.

No special reason for this question other than curiosity and too much time to think while unable to go do.


   Steve A - Sunday, 01/19/03 22:20:42 GMT

Steve A:

Guess I got too much time on my hands too.

With modern steels it probably doesn't make a hoot of difference. Most knife makers probably have more variation in their heat treat than the steel company has in their product. Centuries ago steel was of very inconsistent quality. One billet might vary in carbon from one end to the other and from the center to the outside. Laminating was one way to "prove" that the blade had been worked sufficiently to pretty much homogenize it.

A experienced metalurgist might be able to tell the difference by etching and examining under a microscope. Might need to section it though to really tell.
   grant - Sunday, 01/19/03 22:39:06 GMT

Thanks for anvil info Frank & Pete. Glad its a good one. any idea how old it might be? Thanks.
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 00:45:16 GMT

forged knife: An xray might show grain packing and refinement.
   adam - Monday, 01/20/03 01:55:24 GMT

Thisis an interesting site on making Japanese woodworking tools. http://www.japanesetools.com/tools/tasai_chisels/forgewelding.html

The guy has all his tools at ground level, and he stands in a pit. Expensive tools, too! Lots of pattern welded chisels and plane irons.
   - Stormcrow - Monday, 01/20/03 02:47:01 GMT

New forge:

Well, I mostly got the new freon-can forge built! I posted a few preliminary pics of it on the photo site, if anyone wants to take a look at one way to spend way too much time and three bucks to make a forge. (grin) The three bucks was spent on a can of spray paint, everything else was sitting around the shop.

The inner walls are cut from a kiln shelf, the same way I did when I built my big 4-burner forge. The stuff seems pretty impervious to flux, and "glues" together with high-temp stove/furnace cement very nicely. I bought two of them when I built the big forge last year, because I figured one might get broken in shipping. The stuff takes longer to get up to heat from a cold forge, but it is tough and radiates that heat back to the steel, resulting in faster heats once the forge is hot.

If anyone has any questions, I'll try to answer them. To the question of "Why?", all I can say is, "Because I could!"
   vicopper - Monday, 01/20/03 02:49:24 GMT


Out-Darn-Rageous! NICE looking piece of work!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 03:04:19 GMT

Hi ! I love this site. I'd like information on electroplating copper to mild steel. I have job coming up where a customer wants a 3' concave dish on limestone rocks forming a fountain for the health spa he is building. Can I realistically do any electroplating in my farm shop. Ironwork is a sideline for me. I am a novice. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.
   Dan - Monday, 01/20/03 03:25:55 GMT

Thanks for the reply on drilling. The info. is much appreciated!
   Kevin C - Monday, 01/20/03 03:37:41 GMT

Ellen, Hey,Bud: roughly 1890 - 1925.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/20/03 04:31:42 GMT

I am looking for some good reliable formulas for hot bluing solutions. Has anybody got any "mix your own" data?? Thanks, Jim
   Jim Chaney - Monday, 01/20/03 04:38:25 GMT

Thanks Frank.
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 04:38:54 GMT


Look on the front foot, under the horn, for a serial number.
We can get you a closer date with that information.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 12:36:35 GMT

Forged Knife Blades: It is a widely held belief that because forging causes the metal to flow around section changes where stock removal cuts across naturally formed segregation bands, that forgings are inherently superior. Think of it as bending a piece of wood versus cutting across the grain. In a hand held knife, the advantage would be minimal. In a Claymore sword, there would be a greater benefit. In a rotating shaft under heavy loads, the advantage is considerable. As for testing the blade, it would probably require at least polishing and etching the surface and viewing it under a microscope to look for evidence of metal flow. The single biggest advantage I can think of is that a blade can be forged by an experienced blade smith faster than it can be ground to shape.
   - Quenchcrack - Monday, 01/20/03 13:22:54 GMT

I am not sure if I am in the right place to ask this question, but....
I am a textile artist currently doing a series of work about the Sutton Hoo treasure (anglo saxon ship burial).
The sword found in the burial is a pattern welded sword, can anyone help me find the patterns within this sword or any other of the same period?
And I would like to know if the patterns show on the swords exterior or would it nave been engraved?
Sorry if I am asking silly questions, but any help would be really appreciated.
   Amanda - Monday, 01/20/03 14:25:30 GMT

Friction welding. I saw the process preformed at the plant that makes the Bobcat loaders, in North Dakota. It was performed on what appears to be a modified lathe. They were doing it to form part of the axle/hub assembly. Once the parts were welded together, there was no way to take it apart again. They spun one part of the assy. at a high rpm and the second part of the assy. was held in a modified looking tailstock. The parts were brought into contact with each other and when the speed of the driven part started to slow down from the friction (less than a second) a brake was applied to the spindle and the assy. was stopped nearly instantly. The finished product had a small burr around the part where the two halves were joined. This was removed and the part was finished. As has been said, it is a fast way to make this weld in production runs after you get the tooling set up. No shielding gas was used, just a safety guard around the process to protect the operator from flying bits of molten metal and moving parts.
   Wayne Parris - Monday, 01/20/03 14:55:20 GMT


Others can explain more completely, if you wish, but the patterns were definitely IN and part OF the sword blade. If you will click on the link at the top of the page that goes to grandpa Darryl Mier's web site, you can see some modern examples of the art of pattern welding. The designs are NOT engraved, they are an actual part of the blade.

I did a search on Sutton Hoo, and one of the pictures of the reconstructed blade in the British Museum shows a bit of the pattern. I suspect that going to the web site of the Museum might find you a better picture.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 15:18:28 GMT

nice looking forge. I suppose I should dig out my old home built and get some pics made and posted. But now I am sorta afraid to as mine is just a plain jane red forge......

I rreally do like your forge tho. Lots of character.
Thanks for sharing
   Ralph - Monday, 01/20/03 15:23:23 GMT


The picture of the re-constructed sword blade is located at:

   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 15:29:26 GMT

Sutton Hoo. Amanda, I found the sword at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/places/learning/mound1_sword.html As a textile artist, you may be familiar with the terms, "watered" and "moire" as related to patterns on silk and some other materials. In materials, it usually indicates a wavy pattern. In 1934, George Cameron Stone* used "watered steel" as a generic designation for pattern welded swords found throughout the world. The method of welding is "hammer welding", "forge welding", or "fire welding", all syonomous. At the right temperature, the metal can be hammered together with true cohesion.

Our guru, Atli, has discussed some of the forging methodology. Use our Navigate Anvilfire menu, and click "Armoury".

* "A Glossary of the Construction Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor" by George Cameron Stone, Jack Brussel, NY, 1961. 1st Ed., 1934.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/20/03 15:39:50 GMT

Sutton Hoo. Amanda, I found the sword at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/places/learning/mound1_sword.html As a textile artist, you may be familiar with the terms, "watered" and "moire" as related to patterns on silk and some other materials. In materials, it usually indicates a wavy pattern. In 1934, George Cameron Stone* used "watered steel" as a generic designation for pattern welded swords found throughout the world. The method of welding is "hammer welding", "forge welding", or "fire welding", all syonomous. At the right temperature, the metal can be hammered together with true cohesion.

Our guru, Atli, has discussed some of the forging methodology. Use our Navigate Anvilfire menu, and click "Armoury".

* "A Glossary of the Construction Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor" by George Cameron Stone, Jack Brussel, NY, 1961. 1st Ed., 1934.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/20/03 15:40:06 GMT

Amanda; There's a nice clear picture of the surface pattern on Scott Lankton's beautiful reproduction of the sword at http://www.capital.net/~mooneye/medieval/lankton.html
   - 3dogs - Monday, 01/20/03 15:55:28 GMT

RE foorged blade
with pattern welded blades the pattern can show if then blade was forged this is very evident in mosaic patterns.
   MP - Monday, 01/20/03 15:59:20 GMT

Sutton Hoo Sword,
I have a monograph by Robert Engstrom, Scott Lankton, and Audrey Lesher-Engstrom printed 1989 ISBN 0-918720-29-X
that is about Scott's construction of a blade based on the one in the Sutton Hoo find. It should beable to answer your questions
   JimG - Monday, 01/20/03 16:06:26 GMT

Hi Guru, going back to Friday's discussion about keeping slak tubs from freezing you stated "never put a stock tank heater in salt water." In my 63 years I may have known the reason, so could you reeducate me as why not to do so. JWGNHF.
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Monday, 01/20/03 16:41:32 GMT

BTW. It should be: JWGBHF. Instead of: JWGNHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Monday, 01/20/03 16:44:28 GMT


Thanks for the insight. I'm conducting research into whether safety guards were the norm for lathes in the mid 1970s. Specifically, I'm trying to determine whether guards that would prevent wood or metal pieces from ejecting and injuring the operator were in mass prodution and/or widely used by 1975. Any thoughts?

Thanks again!
   Jay - Monday, 01/20/03 17:25:27 GMT

Stock Heater and Salt Water: JWGBHF, Although these devices generaly use a stainless cased heating element some use inconell, they are designed for fresh water. Many of the other parts may not be designed to resist salt water corrosion. Failed heating elements in hot water heaters is very common. But in this case the tank is bothe enclosed and grounded to prevent electric shock.

The other problem is that if you have a broken heating element the exposed parts will produce electrolysis of the salt water. You get two gases from salt water electrolysis, chlorine and hydrogen (I think, but could be oxygen). The hydrogen while being flamable is not a problem because it floats away and is dispersed. But the chlorine is heavy and will collect in the slack-tub and settle to the floor. One good lung full of chlorine gas can be fatal and a high percentage of chlorine in air can result in serious and often permanent lung damage.

This is a low probility event but one you should be aware of. As a kid I played with a lot of electrolysis processes and it is amazing just how much gas you can make in a very short period. Although you would not think a tub full of chlorine gas would be a threat there have been many serious accidents from people mixing chlorine bleach with other cleaners and liberating the gas.
   - guru - Monday, 01/20/03 17:29:44 GMT


I think you actually get three gases from salt water hydrolosis. Salt water is basically H²OCL, if I remember correctly. Broken down you would get Hydrogen, (flamable and thus explosive) Oxygen (aids in combustion) and Clorine (corrosive and deadly to all forms of earth life.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 18:05:39 GMT

Matt, there are some great blacksmithing groups in Ohio. Getting in touch with them and going to some meetings and meeting your local smiths would be a big help in your learning process. In central Ohio we have the Mid Ohio Blacksmiths (of which I am a founding member). To the west is SOFA of *great* renown---they put on Quad-State which is dern close to heaven for a smith! (they also sell good coal at meetings the first Sat of each month.) Then to the north east are the Western Reserve smiths. Where you at?

Darrell, the best place to buy cheap smithing tools is over that away about 15 miles. Do you need a source in South Aferica? Australia, the Netherlands? Brazil? This is a *world* *wide* *web*; you need to let folks know something about your location cause smithing tools get expensive to ship *fast*!

Blocked hardy---picked up an anvil last year with a blocked hardy. Turned it upside down and used a flat bottomed punch to push the crud back through the top. Soaking vinegar into the mess may help if it's rusty and not oiled yet.

Thomas---helped move a friends vise at the MOB meeting. Tied it to a pole and had 3 smiths carrying it---in 40 feet we only had to put it down once!
   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 01/20/03 18:22:12 GMT

Question: now that I am almost finished with my coal forge, I am curious as to how many folks here are using coal, how many are using gas, or both, and what the opinions are as to which is better for what and why? any info is appreciated. I know most farriers (that hot shoe) use LP forges mounted in the backs of their trucks, and they seem nice for heating horseshoes but it seems like the whole item gets hot in a gas forge, also most commercial models seem to limit you on size. Thanks!
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 18:42:29 GMT

Ellen, I use both, and they both have a definite place in the modern blacksmiths shop.

Gas is relatively in-expensive, available almost anywhere, and is a definite aid in production work. It will scale your work, but will not (normally) burn it. BUT it heats a bit more slowly than coal, and so the heat is conducted over more of the workpiece. If you need a localized heat for a specific purpose, it's a bit harder to achieve than with coal.

Coal, is a more controllable fire (for me, others may differ) I can put the amount of heat I want, where I want it much more easily than with gas. But coal is getting harder o find, and in some areas the smoke causes problems with the neighbors. BUT (and this is the biggest but) Coal is a lot more fun to use. And it's more traditional. But if you want REAL tradtion, use charcoal. And that's another dissertation all by itself! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 18:51:33 GMT

Ejected Part Guards: Jay, You would have to go through a collection of machine tool catalogs from the 1970's to get a diffinitive answer. But in general, NO.

Many automated high speed machining centers often have complete enclosures to protect the operator from flying chips as well as moving parts. This included machines where the part was manualy chucked and removed. These were not common machines in the early 1970's but were but the late 1970's.

Machines such as engine lathes and standard milling machines that are operated manualy are still currently made without part ejection guards for practical reasons. First, the machinist must have access to the chuck for inserting and aligning the work. Then, when a machine is controlled manually the machinist must have a clear unobstructed view of the work as well as access for measuring, chip removal and directing cutting fluid. Small transparent Lexan (polycarbonate) or acrylic guards have been used from time to time (mostly to stop collant splatter) but the combination of cutting oils and chips VERY quickly render them opaque and useless. We are talking about within a few days. This makes these guards impractical for economic reasons.

On gigantic machine tools the machinist/operator may operate the machine from an enclosed booth with windows but this is a very rare machine.

On manual machines the only protection the machinist has besides his/her wits is safety glasses and perhaps an apron. Occasionaly a machinist will wear gloves when installing or removing work due to sharp burred edges. Many machines have guards on the back of the machine to protect others in the area. This is an OSHA requirement on many machines including forging hammers. The operator is expected to look out for themselves. Their wits are their most important protection. The guards protect other workers that have no reason to be paying attention to the machine operated by another.

In general if a piece flys off a lathe or milling machine something very bad has gone wrong. The most common occurance is if work has not been secured in a milling or shaping vise and being pushed off the machine. But the next most common ocurance is when parts are machined off the chucked part. Most of the time this is not a problem but there ARE cases where it can be hazardous. Example:

We were cutting 5" diameter disks from 1/4" aluminium plate on a lathe. The parts were friction driven on a face plate. The blanks were cut square to minimize waste and had about 1/8" to clean up. The cutter was fed straight into the work producing a round part from square cutting off the triangular corners as waste. The corners of the first part with their very sharp points flew off in several directions with considerable velocity. Luckily no-one was hurt. Neither the machinst or myself expected the flying parts. We BOTH figured the loose parts would just fall off into the chip pan. But we were cutting aluminium at fairly high speed. Much faster than steel parts.

There were several solutions. One was to cut the blanks larger so that the loose piece would be ring and could not fly off. But we had already cut the blanks and the job did not alow for extra waste. The other was to make octogons of the blanks. This helped a great deal as the flying parts had much less mass.

We ended up cutting octogon parts AND installing temporary guards made of plywood at the plane where the parts flew off. All the parts were cut in a few hours without incident. Guards were needed in this special case.

Later we trepanned the parts on a milling machine and there were no flying parts to worry about.

This was one of those live and learn, or what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger situations. Life is full of them. Every time we get out of bed we are faced with unexpected hazzards. As children we learn that falling down hurts, hot things burn and other basic lessons of life. In an industrial environment the hazards are of great variety and require constant vigilance and careful thought. Learing safety rules helps but there is nothing like experiance as a teacher. Experianced machinists learn to stand out of the plane of possible flying parts. They quickly learn that stainless lathe chips are long sprial razor edges that can cut through protective clothing as fast a flesh. But the most important lesson is to constantly pay attention. Operating any machine tool is like driving on the busiest crowded highway at high speed. Conditions change moment to moment, new hazards come and go, situations requiring immediate action come in a constant flow. Boredom or being too tired to pay close attention is the biggest danger.

You mentioned wood lathes. These are a very special case. They operate at very high speed and the operator's working position is almost always in line with the work. Tools are hand held only inches from the turning work. Vast quantities of chips fly off at various angles at significant velocities. Parts are often parted with the loose piece flying off. Guards are not practical because of the need to see clearly and be close to the work. But wood chips are fairly benign and flying wood parts have low mass and can do little damage. The best safety device is a vacuume dust and chip collection system.

I've never seen a wood lathe with guards but I suspect automated machines have them just as automated metal turning centers do.


1) Machines have no moral compunctions and will maim or kill you just as easily as they do their designed job.

2) Every machine tool has the capacity to destroy itself.

3) Steel is like rubber except when apposed to flesh.
   - guru - Monday, 01/20/03 19:03:05 GMT

Thanks Guru and Paw Paw. This is a great site. All the wisdom that is available is mind boggling. Thanks again. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Monday, 01/20/03 19:12:18 GMT


A good bit of that "wisdom" is hard learned. In August of 2000 I had just turned 60. I'd been messing with metal, hot an otherwise around 55 years. Take a look at iForge demo #66 and the "lesson reminder" that I got that day.

Then you'll know why if you don't put safety glasses on when you walk into my shop, you'll be going right back out the door. Hopefully walking out the door, but you WILL be going back out the door.

   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 19:52:27 GMT

I taking a college class and I have to do a project on a manufacturing process. Our group picked the process of making a pair of scissors. I am looking for information that shows anything about the process of making scissors. I would appreaiate anything that you could do for me. Thank you for your time. B
   Bonnie Lewis - Monday, 01/20/03 20:08:10 GMT

Gas vs. Coal Ellen, as Paw-Paw said most smiths that have a choice use both. Coal is infinitely better for many forging processes and as you noted a coal forge is much more flexible in use not being restricted by enclosure size as a gas or oil forge is. But if you are feeding a power hammer in a production situation gas or oil is the only way to go. And don't forget that architectual work is often similar to production work when you have hundreds of similar components to make. Those that use gas exclusively get around the enclosure limitations by having several forges of different sizes and using torches for heating work that does not fit. Since torches are commonly used in shops with coal forges for the same purposes this is not a major drawback.

BUT. . The decision to use coal or gas is often made for reasons other than what is best for a given application. In most of the country it is getting harder and harder to buy good coal localy. In many places the coal dealers have shut down because their primary customers were for domestic heating which is a thing of the past. This means that coal must be ordered and shipped long distances. AND although shipping was part of the price at coal dealers the coal was usualy shipped by rail for much less than trucking fees.

Besides supply issues there are also environmental and neighbor issues. A few places have outlawed commercial coal forges. In those locations all commercial use of coal must meet EPA and environmental regulations which is virtualy impossible to do with a coal forge. Folks that have burned coal as a hobby for years and then go into business are often shocked to find out they can no longer use coal as they had.

In many parts of the country coal is used so little that people do not recognize coal smoke and they get upset when those clouds of yellow smoke come out of the neighboring back yard. These are often the same folks that burn stacks of leaves in fall but they don't see THAT smoke as a problem. . . So many smiths are using gas forges because they are undetectable by neighbors. And in the worse case you can always keep a burger or stake handy to toss in the forge and say its a high powered barbeque!

Charcoal is good option for folks that want the advantages of solid fuel and clean burning. A hot charcoal fire burns almost as clean as gas and in the worse case burns like a good hot wood fire.

But, as coal becomes harder to get and is frowned on more and more, gas will become the prevalent fuel. Gas forge's cleanliness and convieniece almost outway their limitations. I suspect that it will not be long from an historical perspective that gas forges become the "traditional" blacksmith's forge.
   - guru - Monday, 01/20/03 20:09:33 GMT

Jim K. (across the street) just made an interesting suggestion. He has a propane forge that is a cube shape, with an exaust opening in the top. I suspect it also has an air inlet port also. The cube sits so that the exaust opening is in the center of a 18" square plate, Then he stacks fire bricks as necessary to shape the forge. A long tunnel for heating the center of a long bar, a cave for heating the end of a bar, etc. That would give the gas forge much more versatility, and might make it possible to run a shop with only one gas forge.

Let's also note that when we say gas forge, normally we are talking about a propane forge, BUT that a natural gas forge works in much the same way, using a different orfice size and different line pressure.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 20:27:19 GMT

Thanks for all the good info on coal vs LP gas, a lot of knowledge here and I am very grateful for it. Hopefully as time goes on I can be a contributor as well as an asker.

I would like to add a gas forge down the road aways, when time and money permit.

I am hopeful in my neighborhood that I won't get a smoke complaint, but only time will tell....all the houses here have fireplaces and bbq grills, plus most folks seem to sit inside the house rather than in their backyards (all of which are fenced)...this is Tempe, Az. If I do run into trouble with the coal forge, plan "B" (always have a fallback option) is to take it to my NM cabin which is in a 6000 sq mile county with 2800 inhabitants. Only problem is spending time there.....

Next question--and I think this more likely to be a problem than the coal--is the ring of the anvil. What are good options to quiet it down? I have heard of putting magnets on it, but I am also wondering if mounting in on a sheet of lead or some sound muffling material might help. All suggestions welcomed!
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 20:39:30 GMT


Best advice I've heard so far is to put a bead of Silicone or High Temperature caulk on the bottom, all the way around the perimeter, and then bolt it down TIGHT. That will get rid of most of the ring, and still leave you the re-bound that you need.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 20:52:19 GMT

I am interested in inlaying a pieces of damascus or in fact mokume into mild steel bowls made with the aid of a fly press.
Any help with this subject would be great .


Phill Wiles
   Phill - Monday, 01/20/03 21:02:22 GMT

Is this the kind of caulk you can buy in a tube at Home Depot etc?

Thx! This site is wonderful.
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 21:02:28 GMT


Yes, but make SURE you get the high temperature caulk. Check the tube, most of the salesmen in HD wouldn't know what high temperature meant if it burned them. (wry grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 21:29:46 GMT

Bonnie Lewis and Scissors

When I was in high school I had the unique opportunity to visit a scissors factory. The factory recieved the scissors as individual forgins ie one blade and handle combo. The forgings had to be ground, polished, and fitted by hand. This company made industrial shears for paper and fabric, as well as the kind of scissors you find at school and offices. But thier real specialty was the scissors used by beuticians. These scissors are finly tuned and balanced, so much so in fact that just dropping them on the floor can ruin them. These reason for the fine balance and tuning is to minimize wear on the users hands. The last step in making this type of scissors was done by a skilled man. He would suspend a tissue and spray it with water, then attempt to cut it using the entire lenght of the scissor blade. If it didn't cut, he would tweak the blads and try again.
Most of the processing involved various grinding steps that were performed on large belt grinders by hand. The fogings were closed die forging made by another company. I cannot remember the name of the company right off, but it is located in Northwest Ohio. I am sure they would give you a tour, although I must say they did have some secrets regarding their very finest beatician scissors and would not even allow me into the building where they were made. I must say it gave me a whole new appreciation for the common scissor.
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 01/20/03 21:53:37 GMT

Paw Paw,your home depot actually has SALESPEOPLE? Wow! I thought they were all self service. (grin)
   ellen - Monday, 01/20/03 22:19:35 GMT


(grin) Rhere are a few, but you have to hunt for them, and it's usually not worth the effort.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 22:26:14 GMT

There, not Rhere.

Proof then Post, Paw Paw!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 22:26:35 GMT

no I want to smith not only tools and horse shoes but swords and other weapons so no it wouldn't be a good idea for me to just rent them. thanks for the idea though!
   Darrell - Monday, 01/20/03 22:33:00 GMT

Thomas powers i need them in canada like BC the east kootenays to be more specific can u help me?
   Darrell - Monday, 01/20/03 22:35:39 GMT

Paw-Paw is there anyway to turn a normal fireplace in to a forge or can you email me some plans to build one of scrap or something?
   Darrell - Monday, 01/20/03 22:39:33 GMT

Mr.Guru do you have plans anywhere on your site to make your own hammer? And is it possible to make your own anvil and if so do you know how?
   Darrell - Monday, 01/20/03 22:46:53 GMT

Darrell, there are plans for a "brake drum" forge here on anvilfire. Look on the pull down menu for the plan file, click on it, and then scroll down the page to the brake drum forge. Lot's of smiths have started out with just that, and it works well.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 22:48:47 GMT

thanks and one more thing my friend wants to know if you can melt tin foil and copper wire together to make bronze.
thanks again. Darrell.
   Darrell - Monday, 01/20/03 22:51:53 GMT

Caulk: All silicon rubber is relatively high temperature and non-flamable. Typical working temperatures start at 600°F and special grades are good for working at 800°F. That means they stay elastic and don't break down.

But. . . I wouldn't worry about the temperature rating as long as it is non-flamable.
   - guru - Monday, 01/20/03 22:56:16 GMT

The fireplace caulks are rated for 1200° f, but I don't think they will withstand that kind of temperature for very long.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/20/03 23:03:03 GMT


PLEASE spend some time exploring anvilfire AND read the answers to your posts.

I answered your fireplace question. YES, I could probably do it. NO, you probably couldn't, AND its not a very good idea unless the fireplace is large and in a shop space. You are better off and safer building a seperate forge and using it out doors.

We have several articles on making hammers. See our iForge page. We have articles about making anvils, see the 21st Century page AND the iForge page under "Tools from RR-Rail".

"Tin foil" is aluminium not tin (read the package label) and it would not alloy well with copper. The soft metal seal on many wine bottles is tin. Currently your best source of tin is plumbing solder. The new lead free types are mostly tin with some hardening ingrediants. It will alloy well with copper IF you get the two hot enough. It requires a crucible and a very hot fire.

Although we have a GREAT deal of infomation on anvilfire (about 5,000 print pages) we did not set out to replace books on the subject. See the GETTING STARTED article and the suggested books. These are not expensive books and are available new and used. We also have reviews of these books on our book review page.

Blacksmithing may seem simple but it is a vast subject. Spend some time studying so that you can ask questions that are worth asking.
   - guru - Monday, 01/20/03 23:24:16 GMT

forging a truck leaf spring: will try it, making a bending fork, from what i have read, expect about 0.85% carbon. the question: oil quench, temper @ 450F?? what would the gurus do with this (heat treat/temper) in thier shop??

recently i have read of an artist that uses gas to forge weld lots of shapes and pieces, "its easy, just get it to temp and hit it". he uses borax and borate (a salt of boric acid, JPPW) as the flux. there must be a secret in keeping the atmosphere away from the joint. my forgemaster makes tons of scale and if it can get a piece to a welding heat at all, it for sure will take a long time. the artist's name is james viste.

since no one has apparently tried the "smithin coke" from kaynes, ill order some. i like the idea of a smokeless heat.

   - rugg - Tuesday, 01/21/03 00:48:35 GMT

Darrel, There is an active Kootenay Blacksmiths Association. Check out: www.crestonbc.com/arts/blacksmith.html

Rugg, harden the fork portion in oil 1525ºF, at least try it. That is recommended for 5160, a common leaf spring steel. Temper soft, try 800-900ºF. 900ºF is a faint red. Air cool after tempering.

Re James Viste. Anyone can say words to the effect, "Heat it and beat it. It's easy". Turley says "Show me. I'm from Missouri".
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/21/03 01:24:32 GMT

Paw P-P-P-Paw! (sorry, I stutter)

If it were anyone else, I'd let it slide by, but....... Salt water is not a compound, it's a solution. H2O + NaCl + other salts and minerals. You got the gasses right though, so I'll give you a B- and you can stay and clean the earasers.
   grant - Tuesday, 01/21/03 02:02:50 GMT

Darn it! Eraser dust makes me sneeze! Can I wash the boards instead?
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/21/03 02:15:01 GMT

i have a half pound of 18ga, 18" long titanium sticks.. what temperature would i need to achieve to forge weld them? the grade is 6a-4 i believe... thanks
   Mike Kruzan - Tuesday, 01/21/03 03:09:50 GMT

Just to add my two cents on friction welding...I work for a well drilling outfit, and thats how they put a tapered threaded cone onto 20' pieces of drill pipe...pretty amazing process...mucho heat generated.
   Gator - Tuesday, 01/21/03 03:11:25 GMT


The melting temperature of pure Ti is 1700° C or 3090° F. I couldn't find the properties for 6A-4, but it should be pretty close.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/21/03 03:28:09 GMT

I was given a bar of what I was told was 6A Titanium and it is difficult to forge...tight temp range..and needs to be heated slowly and hit hard. Probably can't be forge welded because, like aluminum, it rapidly forms a tough oxide layer and it would take a fierce flux to overcome that. TIG welding with argon shielding gas is how it is usually done I think.
Rugg; If you are getting lots of scale in your forge, then you probably have extra air(oxy) getting in. Too much air will also cool the forge. Try choking your air inlet so the fire is slightly fuel-rich...a big fiddle factor here. Also, check the archives, there has been a lot of discussion on forge welding....it's easy if you do it right....they say.
Please note; the real reason you are having trouble forge welding may be that you have not joined Cybersmiths yet!
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 01/21/03 08:16:49 GMT

hi, i am a student at the judd school in tonbridge, England. At the moment i am studying Design and technology at AS level. For my project i am building a light out of fibre glass and aluminium. i have two questions which i would love for you to answer for me. The first being: How do you join fibre glass to Aluminium? The second is: What is the best way to bend aluminium into an S shape? If you have these answers could you please reply to my email address. Thank you for your time.
   Tom Coupland - Tuesday, 01/21/03 09:38:41 GMT

hi, i am a student at the judd school in tonbridge, England. At the moment i am studying Design and technology at AS level. For my project i am building a light out of fibre glass and aluminium. i have two questions which i would love for you to answer for me. The first being: How do you join fibre glass to Aluminium? The second is: What is the best way to bend aluminium into an S shape? If you have these answers could you please reply to my email address. Thank you for your time.
   Tom Coupland - Tuesday, 01/21/03 09:39:24 GMT

hi, i am a student at the judd school in tonbridge, England. At the moment i am studying Design and technology at AS level. For my project i am building a light out of fibre glass and aluminium. i have two questions which i would love for you to answer for me. The first being: How do you join fibre glass to Aluminium? The second is: What is the best way to bend aluminium into an S shape? If you have these answers could you please reply to my email address. Thank you for your time.
   Tom Coupland - Tuesday, 01/21/03 09:39:30 GMT

Dear Sir,

How can you produce hot rolled equal angle with grade S355J2G3 from material with the following chemical composition:
Max %C = 0.15
Max %Mn = 1.4
Yours sincerely
   Reza - Tuesday, 01/21/03 12:33:18 GMT

Tom, epoxy will stick almost anything. The aluminium and fibreglass must be sandblasted to break the glaze. The door skins on Corvettes are glued on with epoxy - fibreglas to steel....Ron C
   Ron Childers - Tuesday, 01/21/03 12:50:42 GMT

Ellen ,
in ref to anvil ring.
Yes lead sheet would work, but since there are so many haz mat issues with lead, why not get an old ashpalt shingle and us it instead. Works well. And as PPW said fasten it down. Just doing the latter might do the trick. But the shingle thing does work well
   Ralph - Tuesday, 01/21/03 13:39:07 GMT

Sow block/anvil caps

I have a question about sow blocks or anvil caps. What purpose do they serve? I have seen some hammers that have them and some that don't. On bigger hammers, it seems that they would be so heavy that they would be a pain to move. Do you guys have any input? Patrick

   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 01/21/03 15:29:23 GMT

Rugg: Like Pete says try choking back the air. A small pc of kaowool in the forge opposite the jet will glow brightest when the mixture is optimal. I usually run the forge a tad lean to get it to welding temp and then choke back the air until I see blue flame in the exhaust which gives me a rich atmosphere for welding.

Gas forges tend to have mixing problems which means that even when there is unburnt propane escaping the forge, there is also free oxygen available for the steel. I find it helps to put a some pcs of broken firebrick on the forge floor. This can help with the mixing and actually boost the temp locally. Also it provides a windbreak and you can place the work in the lee out of the corrosive blast of the hot wind.

If your forge cant get to welding temp then you might consider doing a forge weld with an OA torch :). Place the work on a pc of firebrick and heat with the torch (use a rosebud or a cutting tip to heat and also a rich flame) flux at red and heat slowly to yellow/white and weld on the anvil just like a regular forge weld. I call this a "dropping the torch weld" This is a real forge weld in that the pieces are joined while below melting temp and the weld is over the whole contact surface not just the edges.

I am no expert on welding but I have found these tricks useful
   adam - Tuesday, 01/21/03 15:54:20 GMT

frank, thanks for the reply/advice. what are the chances that the leaf spring is plain 0.85 carbon?

pete F, i think that the scale that i am seeing is typical for gas. i also think that for most small gas forges, attaining a welding heat is difficult if not impossible.
   - rugg - Tuesday, 01/21/03 16:06:40 GMT

Rugg, In the four digit American Iron & Steel Institute / Society of Automotive Engineers [AISI/SAE] numbering system for steels, the last two digits express carbon content. In 5160, the "60" indicates 0.60% carbon. In reality, as manufactured, it might be 55%/65%. "51" indicates it is a carbon-chromium steel.

You need to get Machinery's Handbook, so you can look up some of these things.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/21/03 16:19:53 GMT


I've never had a small gas forge that COULDN'T get well above a welding heat. 'Course out here few people build gas forges without a blower. I know, I've seen the claims of 2400 F measured in atmosphearic forges (barely welding heat). When I'm welding I'm running 2800 degrees (measured with an optical pyrometer), you need a temperature well above welding to heat the work FAST, just like in a coal forge. One gas forge I have dosen't scale the work AT ALL. Scale IS typical in many gas forges.
   grant - Tuesday, 01/21/03 16:35:57 GMT

Thanks Ralph, I have a bundle of shingles collecting dust. Sounds a perfect use, and definitely fireproof!
   ellen - Tuesday, 01/21/03 16:43:26 GMT

IIRC Hrisoulas does all his welding with an atmospheric propane forge----and he is at 4000' or more elevation!

Patrick; what type of burners did you have on your forge the time you melted the billet?

   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 01/21/03 17:08:47 GMT

For those new to this forum, as I am, exploring the site informed me there is a support group to keep this site going, called CSI (Cyber Smiths Int'l) to help defray the costs of keeping it alive....I have joined and suggest others who have not already done so consider doing it. This site is the best thing going for those(like me) who need to learn...almost everything!
   ellen - Tuesday, 01/21/03 17:40:01 GMT

I recently finshed making a pair of tongs out of 1/4" X 1" stainless steel. The jaws seem a little to flexable. Should I quench them in super quench or the other quenches? Or not at all?
   - Gerry W. Jones - Tuesday, 01/21/03 17:53:25 GMT


Welcome to the CSI family!
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/21/03 17:56:12 GMT


Check out the member's forum, You'll love it!
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 01/21/03 17:58:47 GMT

Thomas-Melted billet;
Those were some of the early designs for atmospheric burners on the Reil site. I have never been able to reproduce that, although I have melted small amounts of cast iron , which tells me that the hot spot was at 2100-2200 F.
   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 01/21/03 18:14:43 GMT

Will do Paw Paw, as soon as authorization clears for password......just joined this AM. Thx!
   ellen - Tuesday, 01/21/03 18:23:58 GMT

Thanks Ellen! Ah those "fiber glass" shingles. . They are only fire resistant. They still contain tars that burn. The rock/mineral surface is fire proof, the fiberglass helps hold them together better in a fire but they will still burn. If you want a fire proof roof covering tin or terra-cotta are the only non-flamable roofing materials I know of.

Pete, Rugg IS a member. But like you he fails to login sometimes. . . :)

Ti can probably be "forge welded" if heated in and forged in a vacuume or inert gas atmosphere. Ti is very bad about oxidation and gas absorption.

   - guru - Tuesday, 01/21/03 18:40:49 GMT

Tongs from SS: Gerry, Most common 304 SS is not hardenable by heat treating but DOES work harden. Stainless, despite its apparent toughness and difficulty to work is not as strong as mild steel and in engineering applications is derated some 20-25% below mild steel.

1/4" stock is a little light for tongs unless some material was upset at the area between jaws and joint. The "fuller and twist" method of making tongs can easily make this area to small thus weak. 1/4" stock makes good small work tongs but 3/8" is much better.

Not overthining certain high stress places on forgings such as around the joint on tongs takes practice and attention to detail. If the tongs are too thin you can do two things.
1) Shorten the jaws so that less load is applied at the joint to get a tight grip.

2) Weld some extra material on and rework the jaws. On the stainless this would best be done by arc welding a little on at the weak part of the joint.

If this was your first pair of tongs then the fact that they work at all IS an achievment. My first just barely worked and didn't look much like tongs. I've made numerous tongs since and most have worked well but there have been some that were not so good. Every slight change in design of something hand forged takes some thought and often practice to get it right.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/21/03 18:55:31 GMT


Heat treating won't make a piece of steel stiffer, only stand more bending before it takes a "set". "Common" (300 series) stainless is annealed (softened) by super quenching.
   grant - Tuesday, 01/21/03 19:17:25 GMT

Welding in gas Forges: I have seen welding done in various sizes and configuration of gas forge. I am convinced that the blower type all run hotter than atmospheric types and are more likely to produce welding AND melting heats.

About the only gas forge I have seen that I don't think will get to welding heat is the NC-Tool Whisper Baby. The IS a point at which thermal losses are too great and a forge has a certain mazimum temperature.

At the 1998 ABANA conference in Asheville, NC one of the demonstrators was having difficulty getting a welding heat on a sword on a big NC tunnel forge. He was a coal forge user and this was new to him. He asked the audiance how to get a welding heat and someone jokingly said, "Throw in some coal!" A handful of coal was thrown in and produced immediate clouds of thick white smoke. A welding heat was quickly achievied. The coal was not really the answer but it DID point out that the forge was running much too lean.

At the ABANA conference in Flagstaff Daryl Meier spent a good bit of time tuning the NC-Tool forge he was going to use in his demonstration. He had a pyrometer to test the forge with and adjusted the kaowool wads blocking the ports until he got the temperature he wanted. He was doing a low temperature welding demo and didn't want the forge TOO hot. . .

The last gas forge we rebuilt in my shop was a farrier's NC-tool forge. One of the problems the forge had was that the edge of cast iron end port frames had melted. . . Definitely hot. But you must remember that CI melts at a lower temperature than steel. The owner said he often cranked the pressure up to 15psi on his two burner forge.

On one of the hobby foundry sites I recently visited the fellow was melting various ferrous alloys, CI, Stainless, mild steel in a large gas fired crucible furnace. The furnace was a very heavy thing made of castable refractory and the cover was actually the top half of the furnace so that the crucible could be lifted from the side with pouring tongs rather than verticaly (nice design). He was using a small blower type burner that was ported into the bottom of the furnace under the crucible block. When the iron was hot enough to pour the exterior of the furnace was faintly glowing red in places. I suspect that the castable refractory should have been backed up by some higher efficiency lower density refractory (insulating brick, kaowool).

One key to melting furnaces is the small vent and the fact that they are usualy a "fit" to the crucible used in them.

The point IS. A propane fired crucible furnace is hot enough to melt iron and steel. I have not tried it in my little melting furnaces but I bet they will get hot enough. When it only takes 10-15 monutes to melt a full crucible of brass I'm sure that with a little more time iron could be melted. I haven't tried and will not until I have a spare crucible to experiment with. It is not good to use one crucuble with different metals and the one's I currently have are dedicated to copper alloys.

Most smiths claim it is easier to forge weld in a coal forge and I also believe this to be true under the right conditions (good coal and a proper fire pot). But many folks can't forge weld with coal. Not all forges are equal, gas or coal.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/21/03 19:36:43 GMT

Anvil Caps: Patrick, These are primarily a protective device for the anvil. Anvil caps see a great deal of abuse from changing dies. Break the anvil cap and you have an expensive but affordable part to replace. Break the anvil and the cost is MUCH more and the hammer will be out of service a long time. When the anvil is broken the entire part (often weighing tons) must be remachined AND an anvil cap installed. Few shops have the capacity to machine such huge parts.

On almost all hammers the anvil is cast iron. On a few the anvil cap is low carbon steel. A few have been brass or bronze. Thus the anvil cap can take the abuse of repeatedly changing dies.

On some hammers the anvil cap was larger than the anvil stem. This did a couple things. The first is that it helped prevent scale from falling into the gap around the anvil and eventualy causing problems. The second was that it provided more space to drill and tap holes for mounting tool guides and fixturing. AND it allowed for a heavier die than a dovetail in the end of the anvil, the size of which was limited to the hole in the hammer frame.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/21/03 19:54:21 GMT

Salt Water Electrolosis: You don't get get both hydrogen and oxygen from salt water. You get one or the other I'm not sure which AND you get chlorine from the opposite pole (or a mix from both with AC). The sodium from the salt combines the the second gas in the water, probably the oxygen and possibly SOME of the hydrogen (You can not have free sodium in water).

In a normal acidic solution you get both gases (hydrogen and oxygen) from electrolysis. But NOT from salt water.

Its been 45 years since I played with electrolysis so I am fuzzy on the actual chemistry. But you never forget the smell of chlorine gas. . .

Grant, you and Paw-Paw both get a D in chemistry since I know better and was never better than a C chemistry student (in school). Too many things they wanted me to memorize that are better suited to be left in references and portable computers (other than my brain). But balancing all chemical reactions is one of the most basic rules.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/21/03 20:21:22 GMT

Thanks for the info on anvil caps. Are die changes common on open die hammers or hammers used for ornamental work? I am sure they would be on closed die hammers. The reason I am interested is that my bradley has a cap, but I have seen hammers of this size like the Nazel 3b without one.
Thanks again.
   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 01/21/03 20:22:59 GMT

TI forge welding
it can and is being done (as to how I am at a loss) there is a man (don't remember the name off the top of my head) makeing what he calls Timascus, it is pattern welded TI showing pattern when a low voltage is passed through it.
Timascus seems to be the newest thing in high end art knifes.
   MP - Tuesday, 01/21/03 21:18:18 GMT

Guru, add slate to your list of fireproof roofing. Folks who built my house were cheapskates if they had used the good stuff it would be another 100 years before it needed re-slating instead of the measly 110 years we expect the roof to last. (were at 90+ and have regular maintenance done to it)

   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 01/21/03 21:37:26 GMT

No wonder you got a C. When you have almost anything in water that helps it conduct you will get hydrogen and oxygen by electrolosis. The salt is a minor part of the equation. It does release chlorine while a very small amount of sodium forms on the other pole which imedeatly combines with the oxygen in the water releasing a little more hydrogen.
   grant - Tuesday, 01/21/03 23:04:23 GMT

Electrolysis of salt water solutions (i.e. brine).
Passing an electric current through a container filled with brine, produces hydrogen, sodium hydroxide (a caustic base), and hydrogen gas. The reaction is 2Na (++) + 2Cl (-)--+ 2H2O ---> Cl2 + H2 + 2Na + 2 OH (-)
NaCl is the symbol for(table) salt, Na is sodium, Cl is chlorine, H is hydrogen, OH is the hydroxyl radical.
The reaction at the anode (positive) pole is 2Cl(-) ---> Cl + 2 electrons.
The reaction at the cathode (negative)pole is 2H2O (water)+ 2 electrons ---> H2 + OH (hydroxyl radical).
The reaction is essentially this, the salt breaks into sodium and chlorine and the water breaks down into hydrogen and the hydroxyl radical. the hydrogen escapes as a gas and the hyroxyl radical joins with the sodium (from the salt NaCl) to form sodium hydroxide. The chlorine also escapes as a gas.
The chlorine and the hydrogen form at opposite poles and they are kept apart by a semi-permeable membrane. This is important because hydrogen and chlorine would form hydrogen chloride (HCl)and probably cause an explosion. The membrane also helps to keep the Chlorine and hydroxyl ions separate. That prevents the formation of chlorine hydroxyl and sodium oxygen compounds from forming. (both are big trouble compounds.).
All of the above chemistry can appear to be a big pain in the bazoo, but it is the basis of a huge caustic soda industry, (NaOH) and also chlorine. Most of the chlorine is used to manufacture hydrochloric acid. Both chemicals are feedstock chemicals vital to industry.
The Dow Chemical company was initially built on the above reaction, using brine from deep wells in Michigan.
Herbert Henry Dow was born in Ontario, Canada and had the good sense to emigrate south.
Regards to all.
   slag - Tuesday, 01/21/03 23:07:21 GMT

frank, i do have a machinery's handbook. i read in the hammer's blow that the most common material for leaf springs was 1085; there was also mentioned 5160, reported to be much less common..since i have the utmost respect for your opinion, i wanted to know what you thought. if i look hard enough, i can find answers to a lot of questions that i have. that is why i bought the handbook and many others. "plain steel"; should have said 10XX, or better yet, 1085. will try use correct nomenclature. look at it this way, at least i didnt ask you if i can use a fire place as a forge, or use concrete as an anvil, or how to make "bells"... another favorite, "i am 6'7" and 380#, will i be able to use a 2# hammer? what should i use??" those "questions" resulted in some lengthy replies....

grant, thanx for the info on the gas forge. i do not have a blower. if i learn to weld with coal, i dont see any reason to try and "tune" the mixture in the forgemaster. how do you get gas to produce no scale?? very little oxidation?? a side note, i have seen more than one "guillotine/die tool" called smithin magician....which one is the original???
   - rugg - Wednesday, 01/22/03 00:48:17 GMT

thax for your help.
   Darrell - Wednesday, 01/22/03 02:07:53 GMT

need plans to build air 100lb. power hammer
   daveid pierce - Wednesday, 01/22/03 02:13:56 GMT

Hi ya'll, I have a NC Knifemakers forge and I have no problem getting a forge weld at 10 psi. I just wish someone would come up with something that the flux won't attack. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Wednesday, 01/22/03 02:48:19 GMT


I've heard several folks advocate putting kitty litter (fullers earth) down and then a sacrifical tile liner on top of that. What little get's past the liner is absorbed by the kitty litter, and can be vacuumed out when cool.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 03:09:29 GMT

Spring Steels from Forging Industry Handbook, 1966, Reprint 1970. 1050, 4161, 5155, 5160, 6150, 9254, 9255, 9260. 1085 not listed.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/22/03 04:06:38 GMT

Slag, Thanks for the clarification. Chlorine and hydrogen, no free oxygen, and its a dangerous mess. Good reason NOT to have an electrical heating element in salt water. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 04:43:57 GMT

Slate Roof: Whoops. . missed that one. . And I lived in a VERY big old Victorian home for many tears and did a LOT of minor slate replacement and repairing. If they had stainless nails then the roof would have easily been good for 150 years. But eventualy the slate ages and becomes brittle OR the stain of the concentrated load at the nails just becomes too much and slate fails.

Old fashioned standing seam tin roofing will last well over 100 years and much longer if kept painted after the tin or galvanizing ages. Our old Grist Mill has a 92 year old tin roof that is in almost perfect condition. It has only been painted twice since being installed. I did it once but I will NEVER EVER get on a 12/12 pitch roof again. . .

Commercial tin roofing is good for well over 50 years with no maintainance and 100 easily if painted before getting TOO rusty. I think people are crazy putting shingles on a roof that will barely last the length of the mortgage and much less if there is a good wind storm. . . The 25 year pro-rated warantee on most construction materials is like a battery warantee. These products are engineered so that it will absolutely fail BEFORE the end of the warantee so that you come back and pay the very profitable prorated price (about 80% not including labor).

At one time engineers had the goal of designing products that lasted forever. Then planed obsolescence became the rule and a dirty word to the public. Today the life of every aspect of mass produced products is carefully calculated in hours and the general public does not no what the term "planned obsolescence" means. And now it even applies to materials of construction. . . Beware of low bidders and the minimum standards of the building code.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 05:11:05 GMT


I believe Jerry Hoffman uses the name "Smithing Magician" for the kit that he sells. Original? Dunno, think they've been around in one form or another forever.
   - grant - Wednesday, 01/22/03 05:28:06 GMT

Just a whole bunch of stuff I missed:-)

Ti like the guru said really has bad problems with absorbtion issues, it becomes an oxygen sponge, but worse it suxs up nitrogen and becomes brittle. When we were making lance points out of it we were told by a metalurgical engineer that the alloy we were using also produced Ti-tetraoxide which we were less than causally informed was a culumlitive poison:-) Ti is a neat matterial, but is one that is best left to industrial processes.

Gas forges Rugg, I wouldn't give up on the gasser just yet. Most of the people who do damascus for knives professionally use gas forges. If you can get it tuned properly it will give you a clean reducing flame that makes welding easy. Coal is easier cause you just build a bigger fire and try and hit the reducing area of the flame and then boom your there, but a big gasser makes welding good sized billets pretty easy. That said it can be hard to boost your particular forges efficiency to were it is easy to weld in it. Is the body of your forge hard refractory? Do you have all your air ports open? Have you coated the inside of the forge with ITC100, and ITC296A (especially if your using hard refractory) If you can boost your thermal reflectivity, and thus cut down on your heat loss to the forge itself, you stand a much better chance:-) If you have a durable grade of refractory then it can be a source of heat loss. Lighter more fragile refractory is a much beter insulatory, and doesn't conduct the heat away from the inside of the forge. Use Kaolwool to fashion doors that block off any source of air that you don't need to leave open to get the piece in. And if you can close the door (or make a door:-) to close off more air to keep it off the piece do that. You may need to make chokes for your atmospheric burners to run rich enough. But you should be able to slag a piece that you leave in there too long. and in some forges and some stock sizes too long can be as short as a minute or less:-)

JWG they make forgewelding plates that are sold to protect the bottom of your forge from the flux, most farrier supply shops deal in them I think. I think Centaur has them also, and you can paint it with ITC so you don't loose too much heat to it. Haven't needed one since I poored a hard refractory bottom in my Mankel, of course now I have a big fat heavy heatsink in the bottom of my forge;-( Need to scrap together the sparechange to order some ITC products from the Guru. I would really like to be able to weld a little more easily I am limited to small billets with a fresh tank of propane :-( I want to weld up big honken billets and axes, and polearms:-) May need to make a brick forge out of the top of my Mankel and some of the featherweight supper insulating brick smorked down with ITC100 and 296A :-)

I've got the hammer to do the big work now I just need the forge to handle the big stuff:-)
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 01/22/03 05:28:47 GMT


No scale, requires a "precombustion" area in the forge where complete combustion takes place before it contacts the work.
   - grant - Wednesday, 01/22/03 05:30:46 GMT

Last weekend I bought a small "farmer's" forge and blower at a junk-tique shop, minus the shaft, lever and ratcheting mechanism...in other words a big cast iron skillet on four legs :-) From looking through an old Sears catalog, I've grasped the concept of these lever-powered blowers, but I'm wondering...although I've been using it with my hand-crank blower, I'd like to fix it back up as close to it's original state as possible. Just out of curiosity, was this type of set-up very effective in its day? It seems like a pretty cumbersome theory, compared to the relative simplicity of a bellows or hand-crank/motor-driven blowers. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!
   Chris - Wednesday, 01/22/03 05:52:18 GMT

Anvil Caps II: Patrick, Even 25 pound Little Giants have anvil caps. Some early Little Giants models did not but all the later ones did. Nazels and Chambersburgs varied depending on if the hammer was a one piece or two. All the two piece hammers I have seen had anvil caps. Some large hammers did not have anvil caps but they were expected to be fitted with production tooling that would only be replaced when it wore out OR the hammer was retired.

Die changes are not common on hammers used for general purpose. Most shops used clamp on or hand held dies on the standard flat dies. But in production situations that warranted special dies they were often changed. I know folks using small hammers that change dies several times a day. But dies with proper dovetails to fit are expensive to buy OR make and most smiths use various clamp on systems.

Bill Epps has completely changed out his bottom die on his Sahindler for a die holder block that acts as a flat die but also has drilled and taped holes to bolt on special dies AND has a square "hardy" hole with locking screw to hold clapper dies that he has welded on a 1" square shank on the spring arm. It is a very fast and effiecient system AND it is all made of mild steel!

Other folks are adding a bolt on socket for clapper dies made from a piece of 1-1/4" square tubing that accepts a 1" square shank. The Kaynes put them on all their hammers in their shop. Tooling change outs take seconds and you can setup a "system" of tooling with dozens of pieces in a few hours. Do it right and the same tools that fit your power hammer will also work on your anvil.

In the last decade or so since power hammers have become popular in smallest of blacksmith shops including many hobby shops there have been some great advances in tooling ideas. In the past almost all hammers were used in shops where there were helpers to hold loose tooling under the big general purpose flat dies. But the modern smith most often works alone and if he has someone else in the shop he cannot afford to just have them standing there holding tooling when a $5 bracket can replace that helper for 90% of the under hammer tooling positioning.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 06:00:00 GMT

Lever Operated Forge: Chris, My theory about these forges is that they were designed to wean smiths off of bellows and onto metal mechanical devices. . . But the pump action is actually MUCH more comfortable and less tiring than the rotary motion of a crank. However. . the mechanisims were sort of cludgy requiring large wheels, gears and over running clutches. I would go with a REAL bellows before one of these Rube Goldberg replacements.

As to "repairing" it? Unless you find an identical model with all or most of the parts EXCEPT the pan you are out of luck. It COULD be done. . Make the engineering drawings, then the dozen or so patterns, cast the iron parts, machine them all. . GREAT project if you are into the Holy Grail of restoration and cost is no object.

But if your goal it to forge iron then just keep doing what you are doing.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 06:16:46 GMT

Cool, thanks for the info. I can definitely see some of the problems with a precise restoration...particularly as cost is an object. I'll have to do some tinkering and whatnot. I was mainly curious about the concept...it's kind of ingenious in a way, yet almost too complex for it's on good! Just as a follow up...does this treadle/ratchet type design generate good RPMs, nice airflow, etc? If nothing else it all appeals to my mechanical side. Thanks, C.W.
   Chris - Wednesday, 01/22/03 06:59:11 GMT

Chris, They use belting to get the speed up for the blower and work as well as most hand powered forges.

My Chemistry grades: When I was about 9 years old I got my first chemistry set. In no time I knew all the names of the chemicals in the set, had memorized most of the periodic table (still know it), knew most of the reactions in the how-to books and had replaced most of those little 1oz. jars of chemicals several times. I also had a collection of the old "Wonder Book" science books and had done most of the electrical experiments and physics experiments, played with electrolysis, built crystal radios. My parents were very supportive in my activities. AND yeah, I was a real nerd. My favorite reading at the time was Science News Letter.

But being a typical BOY I wanted to build rockets and bombs. The children's chemistry sets carefully avoided anything more dangerous than an alcohol lamp. I did a lot or research on the subject and found that potasium nitrate was THE answer to a LOT of my questions. But the potasium nitrate slot in the hobby store chemical rack was always empty. . . I didn't have to ask why.

But I figured out on my own nearly a decade before High School chemistry class that I could use sodium nitrate and potassium chloride to MAKE potassium nitrate. My method was not very good and I always ended up with potassium nitrate and sodium chloride mix. I never got a "BANG" but made great smoke bombs and a funky fuse material that left a trail of salt as it burned.

If anyone had told me that the secret to making gunpowder was the LAST thing you would think to put into it I would have been dangerous AND probably hurt myself. . . (Please don't post it HERE, the Internet gets enough bad rap about teaching bomb building).

THIS was the era when I last tried electrolysis on salt water. I knew immediately that it wasn't hydrogen and oxygen and that chlorine had replaced one of the gases. I knew it came from the salt but had no interest in following up as a couple wiffs of chlorine was enough for me.

I had a LOT of practical experiance in experimental chemistry outside of the range of the approved "kits".

By the time I got to high school I had lost my interest in chemistry and managed to get by on what I had learned on my own many years before. I DID warn my chemistry teacher that the sequence of experiments in our book was dangerous. She asked to explain and I said it is obvious. We ground sulphur in the mortar and pestle on Wednesday and then ground sodium nitrate and potassium chloride to make potassium nitrate on Thursday in the same mortar and pestle.

On Friday a girl in a differnt chemistry class had her mortar and pestle blow up. Potassium nitrate and sulphur do not need the charcoal to be dangerous. Fragments broke numerous windows, woke up the entire school and we had a REAL fire drill. Luckily she wasn't hurt. A miricle considering the damage to the chem-lab. My chemistry teacher would never acknowledge that I was right so I never listened to HER after that. . . Of course MY grades were what got the brunt of THAT bit of stuborness but WE ALL do stupid things as teenagers. My greatest fault was being better read than many of my teachers.

Public Schools: THIS however is not an isolated problem. Our schools generaly do not know what to do with kids that are not complete blank slates. MANY bright children that have been taught early by their parents and have often read on subjects in advance of school are penalized. So called "gifted" programs are often too inflexible to be of use to children that are advanced in some areas and not in others. They are also often just as biased against those with existing skills as the main stream program.

I've seen too many really bright kids interests squashed by short sighted teachers and inflexible systems. My son had many similar problems in school as I had. I made the mistake of teaching him how to add, subtract and reduce bastard and mixed fractions in his head when he was only about 8 years old. It was a game we played in the car riding home at night almost daily for about a year. I would come up with problems like, "What is one third plus two twelths? or what is fiftysix eights?" and he would work the answer in his head based on earlier problems. The REAL trick was for ME to come up with the answer before stating the problem so I could say right or wrong. . . Patrick got VERY good at this and it really tested MY skills in coming up with problems and answers with pencil and paper. And then HE was posing the questions and testing ME. Which he quicky found was harder to do than just give the answers.

Even though very few folks can do this off the top of their heads this is not genius stuff. It takes logic, training and practice. As a machine designer I delt with fractions proportions and ratios almost every day so I was active in this area. The methods apply heavily to algebra and are surprisingly easy to teach as fractional word problems. The problem came years later when a math teacher insisted that Patrick show every step in his work (as is common). But when you look at fraction 38/6 and immediately KNOW it is 6-1/3 without doing it on paper it is difficult to show all the steps that were combined instantly in your brain. I wanted to confront the teacher but there were politics involved since my wife was a teacher in same system. Patrick ended up hating math which had been one of his best subjects.

Anyway. . . it is something to think about before you read the classics to your children. Among other things the schools use versions of literature with all political and religious content stripped out. They will get all the answers to questions about the plot in works such as Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Authur's Court WRONG if they read the original published version instead of the hacked version in their English text book. . .

We are way past George Orwell's 1984, love is hate and 2+2=3.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 08:15:47 GMT

Hear, hear, Jock. Well stated.
   - 3dogs - Wednesday, 01/22/03 08:56:31 GMT

Ellen and coal vs gas

Another cool thread that I missed earlier, life just gets in the way of having a good time some times:-) PawPaw is right that coal and charcoal are more traditional, and I will admit to having a great deal of nostalgia for a coal forge. But I have breathing problems and coal smoke tears me up, so even though a good pocco#3 coal is great to work with I turn to my gas forge time and time again. Once I get some good hardwood charcoal, or meturgical grade coke and there is less smoke I might be more willing to work in a traditional solidfuel forge more. (especially on some of the historical recreation stuff that I do:-) Coalforges are tons better for precise heat control. (Like turing a horse shoe without using the horn of the anvil:-)

But I have found that gas is great for production work. I will stack between two and ten pieces (depending on size and complexity) into my gas forge and just go to town. Everything is hot when you get to it, and heated to a consitant temp and distance, and there is no need to continue working past your heat(like a lot of people tend to do in a coal forge:-) With a properly designed and tuned forge you shouldn't get too much scale, and you should get to a welding temp pretty quickly, unless you have to have it completely opened up to fit the piece(s) inside. And if you have your gas forge tuned properly you are much less likely to get to talking too much and burn-up a beautiful billet of damascus, cause you weren't giving your fire your full attention.

It is funny because with either gas or coal you need to develop good fire management skills, it is just that they are a different set of skills, though clinker pulling might be a little harder than having to turndown your airflow when you notice that your tank is getting low and your loosing gas preasure:-)
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 01/22/03 13:20:59 GMT

Thanks for the info on tooling holders and anvil caps. Now for a question on die keys: On most hammes it seems that the dies are dove-tailed with an additonally tapered key. On my Bradley, the dies are not dove tailed or tapered, but two tapered keys are used. Is there an advantage to one or the other system? It seems like the two key method would be earsier to manufacture and making additonal dies would also be easier.
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 01/22/03 13:22:27 GMT

The guru is dead on the money in his evaluation of the educational system. I was taught to read at age three by an uncle. By the time I entered 1st grade, I was reading at juior high level. My teachers never did figure out what to do with me. I read my text books from cover to cover when I got them, again just before mid-terms, and a third time just before finals. Other than that, I never opened them except to "answer the first ten questions at the end of chapter five".

In 12 years of elementary and high school, I had TWO teachers who knew how to challenge me. It won't surprise many folks to learn that one of them was a shop teacher and the other was a history teacher.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 13:32:01 GMT

One thing I now realize is that having a student who knows more than the teacher about a particular subject is a pain to the teacher---unless they can admit the fact and then work with the student to get stuff that challanges both the teacher and student.

Many teachers get "assigned" what they will teach and have to use the teacher's version of cliff notes on the subject to try to keep ahead of the students. I had a college english course once that did "Wuthering Heights" and I asked the teacher about how the property ended up being distributed as it seemed off, some stuff should have escheated to the crown, (a through background in my mothers collection of english murder mysteries and regency romances---I read *EVERYTHING* that comes my way during a rainy summer)---the teacher got a strange look on his face and said that there was an entire chapter in his teaching guide on that very point but he had skipped it as nobody would ever notice it...

With time I have learned to try to be kind to the teaching staff. (Same fellow during the start of class introductions asked everyone to take something out of their wallet or purse that had "meaning" to them and show it to the class---I used my laminated draft card. He was the *only* person in the room who recognized it or realized the depth of meaning in it; being a non-standard student can be fun as well as a pain.

Ob BS: picked up a 2.5" ball bearing yesterday, fellow in shipping was using it for a paperweight and gave it to me when I started drooling on the papers...I feel another ball stake calling to me...

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/22/03 13:34:56 GMT


I'll accept that having a student who knows more than the teacher may be a pain to the teacher.

But that's a side issue, not the point.

The teacher is paid to teach ALL of the students, not just the easy ones!

I too read anything that I can get my hands on when I'm not busy with something. Reading and writing are almost the only things that have kept me semi-sane for the last 2 + years.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 14:07:05 GMT


I don't know about how high the RPM's go or how good the airflow is, but Sears sold a heckuva lot of them to farmers and in those days Sears still gave you your money back if you weren't satisfied. From the number of them out there, the farmers must have been satisfied.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 14:38:22 GMT

Thanks for the infomation on tongs. I felt like stainless was harder than mild steel. I needed a light tong. At least my first set has been a real learning and challenging experience. Plan to make more in the future. Thanks again.
   - Gerry W. Jones - Wednesday, 01/22/03 15:07:22 GMT

Hammer Die Wedges: Patrick, Yes Bradley is known for its two wedge system which is VERY handy. To machine the dovetail on that offset axis you can use the wedges to clamp the work and the alignment is perfect. If you need to make both wedges and die you can use any standard taper (3/16" per foot is common but 1/4 per foot and 3/8 per foot are also used).

Other hammers use several other systems and it is easy to miss the details unless you are careful. Little Giant used a strange system on upper dies where the back of the dovetail was square to the bottom of the die. Only the front of the dovetail was machined at an angle. The wedge had compound tapers. It had both the dovetail angle AND the wedge taper. Very tricky parts to manufacture and even more difficult to reverse engineer. I had two hammers in my shop with this arrangement at one time and always intended to measure and make detailed drawings and never got around to it before selling them.

I think Nazel used a similar system on upper dies.

Most hammers also have a loose fitting dowel to keep the die from sliding in the dovetail. If you get the bright idea of hammering on the stuck DIE instead of the wedge you can cause a lot of damage. I believe the dowel is there just to keep the die from sliding while tightening the wedge.

To avoid the expense of machining dovetails and wedges the "new" air-hammers such as Kaynes Big Blu, and Bull are using
bolt on dies with drilled and taped holes. This works well but is not nearly as robust as dovetails. But it does make die making easy for the smith. AND it is what the current market is willing to pay.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 16:13:10 GMT

Smithin' Magician: Here is a URL on the origin of the name

   adam - Wednesday, 01/22/03 16:22:45 GMT

Gerry, how about a set of Ti tongs? I made one up once to use on the propane forge since they don't conduct heat very fast. Not my favorite set but they are light!

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/22/03 16:52:22 GMT

No hits on the capacity of a Hendley & Whittemore Co No. 03 shear?

It was going through 10 gauge with no effort so it's earned a place in the shop; but I would still like to know the "outer limits"

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/22/03 16:54:42 GMT


No idea.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 17:03:48 GMT

Gerry, If you need a light tong then a low/medium carbon steel works well. I think Grant uses SAE 1030 for his OffCenter brand tongs. IF you want good first class light weight tongs buy a pair of his from Kayne and Son.

Many folks like 4140 but you have to be careful with hardenable steels because common useage of tongs is to heat and quench repeatedly while working. It is easy to end up snapping the tongs in two at the jaw where they are hard to repair.

You can make light tongs from material as soft as wrought iron if you pay careful attention to design. Common factory tongs have reins that do not taper except for where they meet the joint. A long gentle taper to the reins can reduce their weight by about 35% without loss of strength. If the fore end is round then the back can be half round and still have full working strength. It is easy to forge this shape in a simple half round swage.

The joint area does not need to be as heavy as it is on many tongs but you you need to be careful about the section reduction between joint and bits. The closer the bits are to the joint the stronger and lighter the tongs. As the bits move away from the joint they need to be heavier to withstand the same clamping force. It is simple lever mechanics but you have to think about it pay careful attention when forging not to make things TOO thin.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 17:13:27 GMT

I have been foging traditional japanese tantos for a couple of years now out of 1095 steel and can now produce a good hamon at will.Now I want to use damascus steel and I was wondering what combination of steels will give me the best looking hamon.Also I would like to find a supplier for it.Any help would be appreciated.
Chris f. Makin
   CHRIS MAKIN - Wednesday, 01/22/03 17:25:11 GMT

Good Morning, I am interested in taking a general metalworking course. I live in Oakland/ Berkeley Ca and have not been able to find any courses. I have no experience, but want to learn. please help.

   Josh - Wednesday, 01/22/03 18:22:41 GMT

Gas forge Blowers: Blowers are everywhere. Many old mobile home furnaces have excellent blowers, clothes dryers, and dishwashers also; and the d/w has a pre-heater. You have to adaptit to your duct size, but anyone with brain one and enough dexterity to use the equipment can make it work super good. With a blower the only controls are gas pressure & volumn, and air adjustment. Jet size is not a factor. My freon tank forge will melt steel. One of our members has several pretty large forges he feeds with an old clothes dryer setup and he forges damascus w/no problem. Ron C
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 01/22/03 18:30:41 GMT

I am trying to translate a Greek folktale about a blacksmith, but unfortunately none of the dictionaries have much in the way of blacksmith terminology. The blacksmith is astonished when the devil approaches him and says, "With one ****, I can make 10 mattocks." With one hammering?, with one pass at the forge? What basic blacksmithing job would he be doing that it would be amazing to make a mattock? The word that I can't translate means "hammer" in Turkish or Arabic. I'll be grateful for any lead!
   Pat - Wednesday, 01/22/03 18:52:43 GMT

Hendley & Whitemore: Thomas, I have a big Hendley & Whittemore shear/punch, the precursor to ironworkers. It has shear blades, a punch under the shear AND a hole for shearing round bar. I determined its 40 ton capacity by two methods.

The first was simple. The bar shear hole behind the jaw was a clearance hole for 1-1/4" round bar. That takes about 40 tons to shear.

The second was based on flywheel design calculations from MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. I carefully measured the flywheel and used all the normals in MACHINERY'S. The flywheel was suited for a 40 ton machine using normal design standards. It was a textbook case OR a Hendley & Whittemore engineer wrote the article which is VERY possible.

I just found my Hendley & Whittemore machine in a 1930 Carey Machinery & Supply Co. catalog. By then the company name was Beloit (for where they were made). Under the new company the model numbers changed. Tons were not given

In the same catalog I found manual (lever) shears by Beloit. All models have 9" blades and a hole punch on the back.

Numbers are 3A, 3B, 3C.
Weights 250, 340 and 625 pounds.
Capacity, 1/8", 1/4" and 5/16" iron plate.
Punch 1/4" in 1/4", 5/16" in 1/4" and 3/8" in 3/8"

One of these might match yours. Sorry I didn't get around to check earlier.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 18:57:01 GMT

Devilish Blacksmithing:

With one blow? With one strike?

Seems to fit the folkloric pattern ("40 with one blow") but it's just a wild-@$$ guess.

Mattocks are good, basic agricultural tool, but with an eye and one or usually two blades (of varying orientation) there would be a bit of a challenge to forge one. Usually it would involve welding. Frank Turley has written a page or two on the in book Southwest Colonial Iron Work.

Anyway, I would be really impressed by anyone who could forge temn mattocks with one blow.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 01/22/03 19:29:35 GMT

Greek Folk Tale: Pat, we would love to have a copy for our story page when you are done translating.

I am guessing that in the vien of Jack the Giant Killer who felled seven (flys) with one blow, that the Devil might have been braging that he could forge ten mattocks (hoes) with one blow. But that has some logical problems.

A BETTER possibility is that he bragged he could forge ten in one heat. A heat is one forging cycle. Heating a piece of metal, working it and returning it to the forge OR ending with a finishes piece. Some objects are forged in one heat. Many objects take more than one heat. A very skilled smith can forge a small item on the end of bar and cut it off while the bar is still hot enough to forge a second item. But even on small items like a rivet or a nail this is a very fast pace. It is not unusual to hear a smith say an item can be forged in one heat while it is taking himself or someone else more than one heat to do the job. Someone might even brag. "I could do that in ONE heat".

Making more than one of anything very complicated in one heat is pretty amazing so ten of anything would be VERY amazing.

The term "hammering" could equate to "heat". It would be interesting to know what a modern Greek smith calls "a heat".

Does this story say WHERE the Devil is performing this task? Since a heat is limited by how fast the metal cools it could be that it takes very long or never cools in hell so it is a trick of the Devil. He can take as long as he wants.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 19:31:19 GMT

can you guys tell me how to make arows or at least the heads
   Robert - Wednesday, 01/22/03 19:34:40 GMT

Josh, See our Getting Started article linked at the top and bottom of this page. Besides listing posibilities in conventional schools it also tells you how to find other smiths and has a reading list.

Studying all of anvilfire would be a good start. But we are not a substitute to the books listed.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 19:40:42 GMT

After forgeing a fuller into a blade How do you clean and smooth out hammer marks in the fuller?

After a year of blacksmithing iam learning on my own ,with a few handy books how to make basic damascus knives
my second Damascas knife is a high carbon spring steel twisted around a mild steel bar and another spring steel bar is wraped around the tisted bar where the edge is.
in welding it i had burned of 4 to 5 inches off
and left with a 3/4 in tang. I am thinking of welding a longer tang on.

After sanding the blade down i noticed a long gash that runs down a weld line about 2 1/2 in. long and half way into the blade. Is this a result of a bad weld or has it been pulled or stretched apart?

I also need to know a good source to learn basic gear ratios and basic formulas
I need to know how gear ratios can reduce torque. and reduce the amound of force needed to drive them

(i can't aford the Machinest's handbook right now)

Is there any web site's that adresses these issues and provides information on this?
   Adam Caston - Wednesday, 01/22/03 20:01:47 GMT

>>>>----------> Arrow: Robert, There are numerous methods. Most are obvious to anyone that has forged anything. Working hot steel is like working clay or wax except you can't do it with your fingers. Forging points and edges are the first thing you learn to do. So where do we need to start?

One method:

1) Cut two triangles from thin sheet steel.
2) Fuller a half socket (groove) in each piece.
3) Punch the two pieces in three places and rivet flush.
4) Grind or file edges sharp.

Another method:

1) Cut two triangles from thin sheet steel.
2) Fuller a half socket (groove) in each piece.
3) Forge weld the areas outside the socket.
4) Thin the perimiter hammering until cold to pack the steel.
5) Grind or file as needed

Yet another method:

1) Punch a socket in the end of a 3/8" round bar.
2) Cut off socketed blank from bar.
3) Heat and place on mandrel matching punch.
4) Draw a short point
5) Flatten and work the two edges along the sides of the socket.
6) Grind or file edge to suit.

There are hundreds of variations of the above.

All-metal "arrows" used in cross bows are called "bolts". They are simple round steel bars with a short points and a notch in the back for the string/cable called a knock. Fletchings (the "feathers") can be made of various materials glued on or installed in grooves.

Modern bolts and arrows are often made of high strength aluminium alloy tube with machined fittings of aluminium or steel and molded plastic parts.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 20:26:53 GMT


The word is arrow, spelled with two R's.

Go to:
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 20:28:32 GMT


What type of arrowhead? a small socketed bodkin point, is very different than a 'modern' broadhead, or a tanged japanesse sailcutter arrowhead.

To make a socketed arrowhead you start with something like 3/8" square stock. Get the end hot fuller 1/2-3/4" in from the end a soft neck then smack the lump on the end with the face of the hammer. Then use a crosspein to spread the lump into a triangle that you form into the socket. Traditional arrowsmiths have a set of tongs that fit into the very small socket on the arrowhead. Then cut it off 3/8-1/2' infront of the shoulder and tapper sharply. Or forge it down into a narrow broadhead.

There is a british blacksmith named Cole who has a website on forging arrow heads (lost the link should be easy enough to find, type arrowsmith in your search engine:-). I have also heard about a video on arrowmaking that shows a smith slaping them out in one heat. A cotch stake or hardy makes forming and shaping the sock easier. The guy in the video was using one and spread the socket at the sametime as he was forming the socket.
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:13:40 GMT

Question on threading nuts and bolts.

After buying more and more books on blacksmithing over the past months, it seems they all are missing details for how blacksmiths of the past cut threads for nuts and bolts and various other items that needed threading.

I know we run down to the store and buy a tap and die set, or some might use a lathe. But neither was common for the blacksmiths of the past. How exactly did they achieve this?

Yeah, I'm on a retro-technology hunt. Humor me...:-)
   - taylor - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:25:21 GMT

Knife Problems: Adam, Roughness of forgings is a matter of tools and techniques. Groove fullers should have radiused ends that do not make edge of stop-start marks. You should be able to dress the groove (or a flat or corner) by forging until it is too flat or smooth to detect by eye.

The "gash" in your blade sounds like a failed weld or a slag inclusion. Slag inclusions act solid until you cut into them and the scale and debris fall or work out. This is one of the most common reasons that lamintated steel blades are scraped. Often you do not know until the the final grind before polishing.

Gear ratios are simple multiplication and division. So are belts. You ignore circumference unless you are looking for FPM on a final component. On gears you count teeth, If you have 45 gear teeth on on gear and 18 on another the ratio is 45/18 or 2.5:1. If you turn the big gear 100 RPM the little gear will go 2.5 times faster (250 RPM). If you turn the little gear 100 RPM then the big gear will turn 100/2.5 or 40 RPM.

IF you have a dozen gears on driving each other in a flat plane the ratio is that of the first gear to the last (all those in the middle cancel out). If the number of gears is even the first and last gears will turn opposite dirrections. If odd they will turn the same direction.

IF a pair of gears is on the same shaft (step gears) with two more gears contacting those gears the total ratio is that of the first pair's ratio multiplied by the second gear pair's ratio.

On belts (V or flat) the ratio is one diameter pulley to another. For perfect numbers you are supposed to use the center line of the belt as the "pitch" diameter. However, as long as the pulleys are measured the same way it is close enough.

Changes in torque are the same as the ratio of the speed. Slow down something by one tenth and the torque goes up ten times.

These are all simple rules of math and physics that you will find in a 8th grade or lower math and science texts. Few engineering texts get this basic. If you have graduated from high school then you were tested on these items. If not, then dig out some old HS books.

The only time you need gearing ratio formulas is for planetary or differential gear trains (thus differential calculas). These are realtively rare systems with three or more independent shafts all turning a different speeds.
Most gear calculations have to do with the strength of the gear teeth and life of the gear form friction and stress. Serious engineering stuff.

Machinery's Handbooks can be found for as little as $15 if you do repeated searches and can be found on any day for close to $25. They all have formulas for planetary or differential gear trains as well as some of the gear life engineering formulaes.

THIS is THE site.

   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:30:52 GMT

will there be a demo. tonight?
   - rayfromgray - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:44:12 GMT

Retro Technology Hunt: Taylor, Nuts and bolts were very rare until after thread cutting became available AND threads started to become standardized. The actual history of this is VERY misty but it occured in the 1700's and by the late 1700's taps and die plates were available from specialty manufacturers in England.

From before the time of Archimedes who is given credit for the screw but actualy just popularized the screw pump large power screws were hand laid out and cut on wood lathes. Nuts were hand carved to match. Nuts wer often two pieces and were actually carved with chisle and knife to fit. As late as the Renaissance Leanardo DaVinci was designing machines using power screws and nuts and bolts all made by hand, mostly from wood. The problem with his machines is that that were too advanced to make efficiently with the current technology. The screw turning lathe was needed and it didn't come about until much later.

The thing that DID come out of the Renaissance was huge advances in clockmaking including the little hand cranked engines with dividing heads used to cut gears. The same folks that made clock making tools also started making thread cutting machines and taps and die plates.

However, gear making was still a tad primitive. The curve of gear teeth was roughly understood but if was not until the 1700's that the involute gear tooth was invented revolutionizing metal gears.

By the mid 1700's English mechanics had tap and tap plates available and the use of screws started to become commonplace. But it was not until the early 1800's that threaded fasteners became commonplace.

Prior to this time a smith could make a primitive screw for use in soft material by tightly twisting a piece of square bar. But common use of threads is a product of the industrial revolution.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:54:40 GMT

Demo: No demo tonight. We have postponed the second spear point demo until next week and I have suddenly realized that I'm about to fall face forward into my keyboard if I don't go take a nap. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/22/03 22:56:55 GMT

Hi, do you know if Hugh McDonald has plans to sale for his roller. I looked at the plan post and didn't find it there. Is there another site on Anvilfire that may have it or his e-mail. A friend that is getting into knife making is interested. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Wednesday, 01/22/03 23:00:55 GMT


Not sure about plans, but Kayne and Son make a power roller.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 01/22/03 23:12:58 GMT

Arrowmaker /// Cole
The u.r.l. for Mr. Hector Cole, arrowmaker is
Mr. Cole conducts classes in England where he resides. He has forged "Saxon" arrowheads that have fooled the armourers at the Tower of London. The could not tell them apart from real Saxon arrowheads.
The site shows some of his work.
   slag - Thursday, 01/23/03 01:21:59 GMT

No one has any idea on the alloy/carbon content on a Dodge pickup's radius arm? I don't think the new pickups have them, but '70s and '80s at least do. They go from the A-arm up to the front of the frame.
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 01/23/03 01:28:36 GMT

frank,i have the utmost respect for you. i have used much of what you have suggested to me and others and been happy with results. i dont expect you to do my research for me. lord knows that you have worked with 100's of pieces of truck leaf spring. i just asked your opinion ("what are the chances.....") not likely, likely, slim, poor, ect..is what i thought you might say. go back to school is basically what you told me. that is OK. i got the info from the "hammer's blow", vol 10, #4, pg 9 (larry stevens auth), pg 11 (auth brian gilbert).i just reported what i read and wanted to get your opinion. i am still going to try your heat treat recs for the steel. your name and school are referenced in a lot of the books that i have read; you are a big name. i think it is a privilage to get your advice. i wish that i could take the time off to attend your school. if you would, please, the next time you dont want to answer a question or respond to a comment, just ignore it. the topic was leaf springs, car/truck (need to be big enough to make a fork). what were you trying to say with your post of 1/22?? peace brotha....
   rugg - Thursday, 01/23/03 01:40:56 GMT

Retro-tek Taylor, Screw Threads. Back in the late 60's, I worked part-time as a conservator at the New Mexico State Museum. A gun exhibition was coming up, and I had several flintlock arms to dismantle, clean, and make presentable. I found out that all of the wood screws were different, one from the other. The reason was that each one was individually filed by hand with triangular or knife files. None were interchangeable. When I dismantled, say, a butt plate, I would put one of the two screws in its very own envelope, mark it "butt plate; cock side". The other was marked "butt plate; trigger side", etc.

The machine screws and holes to receive them, however, were made with so-called screw plates (dies) and taps, as the guru has previously discussed.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/23/03 01:47:54 GMT


I don't think Frank meant any disrespect with his answer. I myself can't find a listing for 1085 (my AISI/SAE numbers go from 1084 to 1090).

Assuming your talking 1084, it's .80-.93 carbon, standard carbon (nonresuulphurized) steel. The 5160 is an alloy steel with .56-.64 carbon.

I, however, now having perused the AISI/SAE steel guide, will start making many items from alloy 5150 -- LEO's should GET that joke ;-)

   Zero - Thursday, 01/23/03 03:31:55 GMT

Second the Good Guru on our educational system, which is yet worse today. Tought myself to read using cartoons.I spent most of my time in school trying to escape or fighting with well meaning teachers and administration...what a waste...now I cant spell , etc. The system ends up handicapping the brightest independant kids just so they can deal with them..near criminal.
Josh,Contact the CBA
They are a good buncha folks and you will get your choice.
Taylor; SAE standardized threads are a recent thing, perhaps spring from WW1 war prep. Competing manafacturers used to make their thread sizes propriatary(sp). I recently revived an early post drill and needed to replace a bolt. I probably have 8oo# of assorted salvaged bolts in my bins and was unable to match the size and thread count of the old bolt. A smith might have made a single bolt by hand out of steel, notched it to make a tap which was used to cut a die and he was in business..for that size anyway.
Rugg: Mr Turley has put up with so many of us crusties that it is a wonder that he doesn't bite more often.
HEY! all you low non-Cybersmiths are depriving our good Guru of sleep! Feel extremely guilty!

Put a rooftop blower in your coal forge stack and solve the smoke problem.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 01/23/03 03:40:47 GMT

Addendum to Rugg: I didn't scroll-up to read your original post 'till just now

If (big if) the steel is indeed 1084, I would oil quench on a thin section such as your using. Temper at 400 for one hour and see how it looks -- should be both hard (59-60RC) and tough.

Not knowing the true type of steel is a real disadvantage, so just experiment with small samples until you get the results your looking for. Take copious notes while you do this. For once you've learned how to learn, you, yourself, are your best teacher.

I'm off to find some 5150....

   Zero - Thursday, 01/23/03 03:58:38 GMT

Sheesh Rugg, I thought my answers were pretty straightforward; no harm intended. A spring can be made out of 1085 with the right temper, but I question the findings of the Anvil Below. I think the use of 5160 and 9260 is pretty widespread nowadays.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/23/03 04:14:23 GMT

McDonald Rolling Mill: JWG, Norm Larson Books has the distribution rights to Hugh's plans in North America. Contact information is at the bottom of page 1 of the review. Norm will take your order by phone or mail. See our BOOK REVIEW page.

Hugh will gladly discuss aspects of his roller mill with anyone that is seriously intrested but I recommend you purchase the plans first. The couple pages describing how to use it are worth the entire cost. Ask and I will send you his e-mail address.

The plans are very clear and detailed BUT they are mixed English and metric according to what was available in Australia. Anyone capable of building the machine should be able to handle the few conversions and adjustments necessary.

Between the plans, our review and the video clip there is quite a bit of information available about this wonderful little machine. Note that it is not a replacement for a power hammer in a general shop. AND like many tools it takes practice to learn to use one effectively.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 06:25:45 GMT

Just to confuse the issue Rugg; There is a rude but immediate method for tempering an unknown steel.
Heat to nonmagnetic + a little and quench in deep fry oil or whale oil...seal oil will do in a pinch.
Test with the tip or bottom of an old file. If the file scates( doesnt grab and cut) then the steel is hard and probably brittle and needs to be tempered.
If the file bites and drags just a little, then it is a good temper for a cutting edge that doesn't take much shock or tweaking. If the file bites a little more, then the steel is hard and tough. If the file bites real well then you have a lower carbon steel which may need to be water quenched or even super-quenched, instead of using whale oil.
Assuming the file scated, and tempering is needed, sand or grind to bare metal and heat slowly. When the first faint yellow temper colors begin to appear, get a trashy file and begin testing the hardness. When the file grabs the right amount, quench again.
This can be done in one heat, using the residual core heat of the steel if you remove it part way through the quench and immediately apply the file.
I invented this method and was awfully proud 'till St. Francis told me he learned it as an apprentice using a stone instead of a file. Honk. I invented a method older than files ...again.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 01/23/03 06:34:38 GMT

I need to replace the handle on a knife whose substantial tang is substantially peened over a brass pommel. The hole in the pommel may be countersunk. Can you recommend a way to remove and replace the the blade/tang.
   Geoff - Thursday, 01/23/03 07:09:23 GMT

Steel Applications and Scrap Steels: I get a little tired of saying this and I probably should run a banner. So now I'm going to get snippy. .


(Unless they have had a full analysis of the sample in hand).

Manufacturers use whatever steel they choose for the moment that is available. Just because brand X axles are made of 4140 this year DOES NOT mean they still will next year or that brand Y ever used the same material.

Large manufacturers change suppliers and specifications to save pennies a ton. When steels are imported they may be close to SAE specs but not exactly the same as SAE specs. Generaly as long as the performance is the same most manufacturers do not care. Manufacturers change materials when availability changes. Manufacturers may change materials in the middle of a production run.

And they don't have to tell ANYONE.

So if someone (anyone) tells you that the coil spring off the front of a 1968 Chevrolet Nova sedan is 5160 laugh in their face. . . .

Junk Yard steel lists are just GUESSES. Most are based on MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and often by a bad interpretation. The VERY old SAE and currently out dated list in MACHINERY'S has many steels listed for springs. Often folks find the first listing and say THAT is spring steel.

As soon as you pickup ANY piece of unknown steel that you are going to harden and temper you are ON YOUR OWN. Even when you pull a piece off a stock rack at a wharehouse there is a possibility it is not what they think it is (about 5% of the time). When you pull a piece off the rack in anyone's shop unless it is clearly labeled there is better than a 75% chance is is not what you think and a 50% chance it is not what the shop owner thinks. . .

Several times I have purchased "mild steel" and gotten considerably higher carbon content and once I got a piece of leaded free machining steel. Hot roll tool steel looks no different than hot roll A36. That is probably why so much of it is made in hex stock.

There are reasons that many contracts call for certified material specs.

SO, you have this piece of steel. What IS it?

You can get an approximate feel for carbon content by doing a spark test. But you need samples to compare to because different grinding situations produce different results that can easily be misinterepreted. If you have a good eye and a good reference sometimes some of the alloying ingrediants show in the spark test.

But after that it is VERY difficult to determine alloy content. However, the goal is to determine how to heat treat the piece. This can be done by trial and error and the final results depends on how picky you want to be. It also depends on your methods. How hot was the metal when quenched? Temperature of the quenchant? What was the temper temperature? How did you test the hardness.

Almost all steels need to be immediately tempered to at least 350°F. I would harden then temper to 350°F and then test the hardness. So how do you do that? Well, folks that are picky spend the money on a Rockwell tester and learn to use it. You can also do comparison tests with a file. AND they make hardness testing files of various hardness. But these are basicaly guessing methods.

If you oil quenched and the piece is soft, try a water or brine quench. Note that thin pieces of most high carbon steels will air quench and that heavier pieces of alloy high carbon (tool) steels air quench. If you heat a piece and let it air cool and it is REALLY hard there is a good chance you have a modern tool steel.

Now retemper another 100 degrees hotter, then another. . generally the lower the temper temperature that the steel starts acting soft the lower the carbon content. But alloying ingrediants confuse the issue and the vast majority of modern steels ARE alloy steels.

You can tell leaded and resulphurized free machining steels fairly easily by putting a piece in a lathe and making a few chips. The good stuff machines REALLY nice. A36 is so-so to machine and good CF bar machines more consistantly but not as nice a free machining. Tool steels make blue chips at relatively low speed and stainless chips come off in long pieces that are difficult to break and are really dangerous.

When you are satified with the hardening you could do some strength tests if you are making a critical part. . . But if the part IS critical you shouldn't be using an unknown scrap steel.

The point is that you need to have a good understanding of steels AND some patience if you are going to use scrap steel.

OR you can do it the way most of us do, guess, then heat treat by the seat of your pants. The REAL blacksmith way!

But NEVER believe any blanket statement that X part is made of NNNNN steel.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 08:05:41 GMT

Knife handle repair: Geoff, It depends on the quality of the metalwork and how you want the end results to look.

I would remove the handle by sawing it in two with a hacksaw. You may have to worry it off cutting diagonaly and possibly breaking pieces out.

Then I would build a two piece replacement that fit snuggly but had some clearance around the tang. Then I would epoxy the whole mess together (as is often done on new custom blades). You can get epoxy in various colors to match the work. Dark grey is common and blends well with most dark handle woods. I would use white with bone or ivory. Clear leaves gaps looking like gaps.

When done properly the epoxy should also fill in metal to metal fits on the tang and help tighten those.

Plan on finishing to size after the epoxy sets. Tape over the metal work to prevent damage while filing and sanding. You can usualy use fine sandpaper on both the wood and metal then buff the metal with the wood protected (unless it is very hard).

With care the finished results should look like new.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 08:19:10 GMT

"SAE standardized threads are a recent thing, perhaps spring from WW1 war prep."

SAE = Society of Automotive Engineers (H. Ford & Friends

   Hudson - Thursday, 01/23/03 14:49:55 GMT

I'm new at this, and plan on getting into knife and sword making what kind of hammer should I get for a start..

Thanks David
   David Crawford - Thursday, 01/23/03 15:29:48 GMT

David; for MY money, a good crosspeen, and a Farriers' rounding hammer are a good start, but like many other things, it's "different strokes for different folks." As you progress in this craft, you're going to find yourself accumulating about a bazillion hammers, all of which felt good and/or worked well for one thing or another. You will eventually settle in with a favorite, even though someone won't agree with your choice. (Kinda like wimmin, ain't it?) Welcome aboard. Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 01/23/03 15:56:40 GMT

appreciate all comments/info on scrap steel, you included frank and NO disrespect.

the original question was, "what are the chances that it is plain 0.85% carbon?", refering to a truck leaf spring, something that i read. i didnt get an opinion on that question until 1/23. maybe my posts are not clear.

an opinion was given by several who have the knowledge and experience that i dont have: the original question is satisfied. this is the real "value" of the site; information that can not be found in a library.
   - rugg - Thursday, 01/23/03 16:05:07 GMT

Dear Sir / Madam

I am a TV Producer in London and would love to show an Anvil Shooting video on my programme. The video I am referring to is the one featured on Independence day 2001 and displayed on www.anvilfire.com

The show is called ‘Live with Christian O’Connell’ and is a live evening show in London. We like to inform our viewers of many interesting traditions and pastimes from around the world, anvil shooting fits in perfectly.

I have tried to contact Jim who is listed as the videographer, however his e-mail doesn’t seem to work. I would appreciate any help you could give me.

Would you please contact me with your thoughts on the possibility of this.


Darren Lamb

UMTV London

T: 0044 207 9299

E: darren.lamb@umtv.tv

   Darren Lamb - Thursday, 01/23/03 16:30:12 GMT

Thanks Guru about the Hugh McDonald rolling mill. I will pass this information on to my friend. He will be pleased. Again thank you and all that contributed. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Thursday, 01/23/03 17:00:42 GMT

Hammers: David, hand or power?

Hand hammers used for general forging have changed very little in the past millinia. The most common used world wide is the common "blacksmiths" cross pien pattern. The "Swedish" pattern is an older style but very similar.

The important question is "What weight?"

Many blacksmithing books give the impression that every smith uses a huge 4 pound (1800g) hammer. This is generaly to heavy a hammer for most people except for very heavy work AND after a lot of practice. If you start with too heavy a hammer, you will be frustrated, not learn good hammer control and possibly injure yourself.

What size to start with is a difficult question. It depends somewhat on how much you already use a hammer and work with heavy tools. It also depends on your build and geneticaly determined musculature.

When I started I had a 28 ounce hammer that I used for a long time. I still use is but it is quite worn. When I thought I needed a bigger hammer I bought a 4 pounder. . Big mistake. It would tire you in one heat. It was much too much hammer for me. So the next time I bought hammers I got a 2-1/4 pound, a 2-1/2 pound and a 3 pound hammer. I used the lighter hammer daily for several months then moved to the next. The 1/4 pound increase was not noticable so I went to the 3 pound hammer. Today I switch back and forth between the 28 oz. and the 3 pound hammer.

I recommend a 900 gram (2 pound) hammer for starting out. That or a 1000 gram (2.2 pound) hammer is all many smiths use for most daily work. They keep heavier hammers around for occasional use. But the need for heavier hammers is determined by the type of work you do AND the the availablity of power forging machinery.

Common Hammer Sizes
Rounded weights
1000362-1/4 (2.2)
1500533-1/4 (3.3)

In the past carpenters, farriers and light hammers were sold by the ounce. Smithing hammers were sold by the pound. Today many specialty hammers are imported to North America and sold by gram weights.

Common blacksmith pattern hammers are available from most hardware stores. Finer graduation in weight and various patterns are available from Kayne and Son. The OC Swedish pattern hammer is a good choice and is made by Grant Sarver who posts here. The German hammers are a standard cross pien. The face is rough ground and fairly flat. It is intended to be ground and finished by the user as needed.

I generaly use common hardware store blacksmiths hammers made by US manufacturers. Some smiths use a ball pien or "engineers" hammer. To me the overall shape matters less than the contour of the face and the weight. Skill gained from practice hitting where and how you want is most important.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 17:17:59 GMT

Guru et al, I agree with your comments about manufacturers changing materials frequently and not always to another standard grade. For every standard SAE/AISI grade, I would guess there are 10 specialized grades that differ slightly (or sometimes signficantly) from standard grades. As I have said previously, many ASTM grades have only a tensile and yield strength requirement with only MAXIMUMS for a chemistry. A36 is a good example and the carbon content could vary tremendously from one heat to the next. If you happen to know someone who has access to a Rockwell hardness tester, have them test a small file for you, somewhere near the tip (you may have to carfully grind a flat on both sides, being careful not to overheat it) since the tang and more will be soft. Knowing the hardness of your test file will at least give you one data point. You might even temper another file down a bit and have two data points, or at least a maximum and a minimum.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 01/23/03 18:09:13 GMT

Question: I have a copy of American Machinists' Handbook by Colvin and Stanley, 8th edition, 1945. How does this compare to the Machinery Handbook discussed elsewhere in this site? It seems to filled with all sorts of useful info, tables, drawings, etc.

Also, Kayne and Sons now carries coke in 50# quantities for $14. Shipping from NC to Az is a little steep, would like to try some, but will wait awhile.

Pete, I noted your comment a rooftop blower in the coal forge chimney to reduce smoke.....would this be an electric blower like an exhaust fan?

   Ellen - Thursday, 01/23/03 18:20:54 GMT

Hi Guru,
Thanks for the reply on drilling. I have another question, I need to weld some posts onto base plates. Right now, the weather is pretty cold, should I try to pre-heat the plates? The posts are 1/4" thick 2" tubing and the center post is about 8 ft. high, Is this too much of a lever arm for a weld at the base? I could re-inforce it from the inside. Another question! Does anybody know of a patina for copper which will achieve a yellowish color? Or any other color where I can use readily available materials? Thanks, I appreciate all the information that is available here. I am a CSI member but didn't log in. This is a great resource.
   - Kevin C. - Thursday, 01/23/03 19:09:49 GMT

Kevin, Experiment with heat on copper - lots of colors
   Ron Childers - Thursday, 01/23/03 19:46:31 GMT

American Machinists Handbook: Ellen, I have a copy of American Machinists Handbook and it is significantly different than MACHINERY'S. It has more practical information for the average or student machinist where MACHINERY'S is targeted to the professional machinist and job shop operator and to designers and engineers. MACHINERY'S has a lot more data and technical articles.

There is a lot of overlap in the two references but MACHINERY'S has more tables of technical information AND is often the source for the same in other references.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:02:17 GMT

I have an order a fire place screen but can't seem to find a vender who carries that semi thick steel screen that is used on such items. any ideas?
   Stuart - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:02:45 GMT

Post and Flange: Kevin, Preheating steel at least to normal room temperature never hurts in frigid weather and it will assure you get good weld penetration.

With a proper weld you will probably either bend the 2" tube or rip its anchors out before the weld will fail if the flange is approximately the same wall thickness as the tube or a little thicker.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:12:16 GMT

hey PawPaw, just heard that a guy that i went to high school with had a axident with an angle grinder. it had a wire brush and got away from him. hes in the hospital and needs alot of surgery. you anywhere near hickory?? still looking for cheap smithin stuff. thanks. you and mr guru are great..

   - darrell - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:31:00 GMT

In the Plans section the JYH trip hammer made out of old car parts and using shocks.

Based upon my observation of the little Giant trip hammers, through looking at pictures and wathing one work.
From what i could see from the pictures that it uses two levers and a pull spring in between to reduce the first initial shock that would otherwise beat itself apart. The levers would hit a stop and that would press the metal down.

If That is correct then i could not see why shocks would not work on the same bases.
If i am wrong i would love to take one apart to see how it realy works.

But based on my assumption one could position two shock in a V shap with a "stop" bar in the middle like so:

* | *
* | *
* | *
* | *
* | *
* | *
* | *

Where the shocks reduce the impact while the stop bar actualy presses the metal. just have to make sure the bar is not too long or it would probably pull itself apart or break something. If to short it would have little effect.
The stop bar should probably be adjustable. I think it should be adjusted by pins and a cotter key.

Thank you for the Basic Infromation on Gears, All the books i have found was TOO basic or TOO complex for my needs ( My HS Physics book has NOTHING on gears just rotational Physics).

I Estimate that my larger gear has about 300 teeth or about 4teeth per in. and my smaller gears have some 36 teeth
All have came from old Catipiller Parts in my junk yard.
i have about 10 of the 36 tooth gears about 3 in. in diameter.
i don't have the gears with me so this is just based of off what i can remember
I have to confirm that the gears have that much teeth and do some more math.
In your opinion would these gears be able to run a rolling mill by hand crank. (you can stop faster if you got your hand in there)
I would apreciat your experianced opinion on the subjects.
   Adam Caston - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:40:05 GMT

Well my drawing did not work
   Adam Caston - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:41:15 GMT

hellow all, iam looking for people selling damascas knifes.there is not alot of info, on this type of knife. my father had one once when i was young , now i would like one to hand down to my son . thank you people for your help
   george maloney - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:43:23 GMT

i dont know if my question was posted ? hope so .
   george maloney - Thursday, 01/23/03 20:45:03 GMT

George, there are a large number of people who make and sell damascus knives, my suggestion is to get a copy of Knives 2003 and look through the pictures of who's doing what and then look in the back for the maker's contact info and go from there. Various knife magazines have adds from makers as well ("Knives Illustrated" is one of them)

Or you can get a catalog from Koval Knifemaking supplies and buy a pre-ground damascus blade and build your own knife from it.

If you are near central Ohio let me know and I'll teach you to forge your own!

Thomas Mid Ohio Blacksmiths
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 01/23/03 21:00:06 GMT

i know hardly anything about blacksmithing, but i love working with metal, but anyway is it possibe for someone right out of high school to get a job as a back smith? P.s would i be able to make my own weapons ( swords,axes spears stuff like that.)
   - derek hardin blacksmith want to be - Thursday, 01/23/03 21:31:50 GMT

Toggle Linkages: Adam C, A fellow named DuPont invented the power hammer toggle linkage. It was originaly used in hammers under his name and then the company became Fairbanks. He had a good patent on the best design and everyone elses linkages were atemps to get around his patent which means they are not quite as elegant. Bradley came up with the best substitute and many folks think their rubber cushion version is better than the original. Little Giant's early hammers used some really bad alternatives to get around DuPont's design.

The toggle linkage does three very important things.

A) It compensates for changes in the work height.

B) It produces a longer and faster stroke than the crank indicates.

C) It stores the momentum of the ram at the top of the stroke in the spring and returns it at the bottom.

B & C are very important. They result in a smooth running hard hitting efficient machine. Critical to the physics of the linkage is the vector geometry of the toggles and the fact that the toggle arms form a straight line when at rest. This produces a leverage vector of nearly infinite force so that the ram travels freely in the middle of the stroke. As the ram moves out of its normal position due to inetia the angle of the toggle arms change and the mechanical advantage goes to the spring which they are compressing.

At the top of the stroke the spring catches the entire force of the ram and as the crank passes passes center the ram is already accelerating downward due to force of the spring. At the bottom of the stroke the dies are set higher than the maximum travel of the ram. So the ram hits whatever is between the dies at a higher velocity than the the motion of the crank would generate on its own.

Shock absorber linkages do the opposite. They slow down the travel of the ram absorbing and disapating energy as heat. They work, I proved that. But they do not work well because the hammer does not hit very hard. AND at high speed instead of hitting harder the ram will float and not hit at all. It is a cheap and dirty way to make a hammer but it is far from the best.

Rolling Mill and Gears: PLEASE study the review of Huge's rolling mill. The work is clamped manualy by foot pressure AND it rolls TOWARD the operator. As soon as you let off the foot pedle the feed stops. Since it is feeding toward you it cannot grab stock, tongs, clothing or flesh and but them IN. It is a VERY safe design.

When operating the motorized machine you are using your hands AND feet just to control the work and machine. There is nothing left to crank by hand with. AND even though this machine uses very low horse power it is far more than a human can generate alone. Trying to build a hand cranked rolling mill for anything but the SMALLEST work is a waste of time. Jewlers use them all the time but they are rolling cold metal where speed due to cooling is not critical. Steel rolling mills need to run fast enough to get several passes in one heat.

Gears are a complicated subject. For starters the method of defining gears is by "diametral pitch" (dp). Gears have so many teeth per inch of DIAMETER. A 10dp gear 5" in diameter at the "pitch line" (not the outside of the gear) will have 50 teeth. If the pitch diameter is 4.9" it will have 49 teeth.

The pitch diameter is approximately half way down the gear tooth. When using standard gears the centers of the gears must be so that the two pitch lines EXACTLY touch, not overlaping or missing each other. The center distance between a 10dp 60 tooth gear (6" pd) and a 28 tooth gear ( 2.8 pd) is 4.400".

Gears come in a wide range of diametral pitches including fractional numbers less than one for very large gears. 4,5,6,8,10,12,14,16 and 32 dp are very common. When designing with 5 and 10 dp gears everything comes out nice rounded decimal numbers. When using 8, 16 and 32 everything comes out in fractional inches. But 6, 12 and 14 produce some hard to visualize numbers.

Gears also come in 14.5° (standard spur) and 20° (high strength) tooth angles. Change gears on lathes and big mill gears are all typical 14.5° pitch gears. Most gears used in enclosed gear boxes automobile transmissions and such are 20°. The two types are hard to tell apart but they DO NOT work together.

Diametral pitch, pitch angle, face width and gear material ALL are part of the gear strength and durability calculations. Other factors are pitch line speed and ratio. Form factor for root stength is normaly a constant or taken from tables. There are probably others. . Its been 15 years since I did gear calculations. . .

The point? There is nothing simple about using gears.

When designing for intermitent hand cranking you can ignore the wear and durability factors and just use torque and the breaking strength of the gear teeth. For safety assume the user applies his full weight to the crank on the down stroke. . that can be around 300 pounds. On a 16" long handle that is 4800 inch pounds of torque. At a diameter of 3" (divide by the radius) the force at the pitch line is 3200 pounds. If the gear is 3/4" wide and has a tooth with a 1/8" root that is a cross section of only 0.094". That results in 34,000 PSI loading on the gear.

SO, If a big guy like me puts his full weight on the crank when the mill stalls (ALWAYS use the worse condition), cast iron gears will break and mild steel gears will bend. The above example says that you need hardened high strength gearing if you use that gear dp. 15,000 PSI is a HIGH number for gear design and we exceeded that by two. But if you assume a normal weight user that does not get help it will work (I've seen tire benders broken when TWO guys forced the crank at the same time. . .).

An experianced seat of the pants back yard engineer would look at the gear and say, "Yeah, that will do". Then arc weld the gear to the shaft. . .

OBTW - Final drive torque on a McDonald Mill with a 1HP motor is 2,200 Inch Pounds at 14 RPM with a 2" roller. I do all my engineering what ifs in a spread sheet or BASIC program. And I don't recommend welding gears to shafts.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 22:59:39 GMT


I'm in Winston-Salem. Hickory is about 70 miles south west of me.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 01/23/03 23:07:21 GMT

Derek Wanna'be NO and YES. Most blacksmiths in North America are small self employed business people or part time blacksmiths. Few can afford employees and the few that CAN cannot afford workers without more than a little metal working experiance. The ones that hire the most employees are "fabricators". These are places that purchase premade components and weld them together. Most of the jobs are welding, grinding, painting and installing. These folks will prefer someone that can arc weld adequately and who has taken a good trade school welding course so they know how to use a torch and all the safety rules. They will also almost always require someone with a drivers license. It is good experiance for a wanna'be blacksmith but there is no forging involved.

Most North American smiths of the last couple decades have been self-taught. But there are also blacksmithing schools all over the country. Most run summer programs.

Any Wanna'be worth his salt will figure out a way to setup a small home shop and DO-IT! Learning enough to build your own forge from junk and collecting enough tools with no budget is a right of passage similar to a Jedi Knight learning to make his own light sabre.

Once you figure out how to heat that first piece of steel to a white heat you are on your way. Starting with pliers for tongs you can make proper blacksmith tongs. After making a few other tools you can make almost anything you want. Tools, decorative work, weapons.

We will help you but will expect YOU do find the necessary books and STUDY them before coming here saying you never made anything in you life and now you wnat to jump straight to the most technical, highest art of the blacksmith and make a sword. START at the beginning.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/23/03 23:26:52 GMT

Here here on the School rant. Don't forget that alot of small schools get extra funding for having "special" children in programs, etc. My parents had to take me to independent evaluations to prove that I was neither physically, nor mentally retarded.... Just bored by having them try to teach me what I already knew.

Anyway, back to the topic of smithing. I have recently made my first propane forge, with the help of a good friend and experienced smith. However, my "shop" is going to be in my carport do to space and ventilation issues. Is it worth it to paint the exterior of the forge to protect from rust? Is there a paint that will not immediately get cooked off when I fire up that you could recommend that is not too expensive?
   Monica - Thursday, 01/23/03 23:55:48 GMT


Assuming (dangerous, I know) that the forge is adequetly insulated, BBQ Black, or any high temperature paint should hold up fairly well. You might need to occasionally wire brush and re-paint, but that would be a normal maintenance item.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 00:05:38 GMT

"Most blacksmiths in North America are small self employed business people ." :) some of us are not so small. In fact, some of us could stand to lose a few pounds!
   adam - Friday, 01/24/03 00:49:03 GMT


I think that problem is directly related to blacksmithing. All the years that I was away from smithing, I effortlessly maintained my weight at around 170 lbs. A reasonable weight for my 6' frame. When I got back into smithing a year ago, my weight started to mysteriously climb. Today, I happened to step on the lyin', cheatin, obviously broken scale in the booking area and it said I weighed 195. I had no idea my gun and cuffs were that heavy! (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 01/24/03 02:13:59 GMT

Gas Forge Paint: Monica, Paw-Paw was right. Barbeque-Black from Rustoleum, or De-Rusto is good. Works on wood stoves too. In fact, most people (almost all of us) get in too big a hurry and don't paint the INSIDE of gas forge components. Every time the forge is run for a short period and not gotten to where the outer shell is above boiling, the water vapor in exhaust condenses in the outer cooler parts or the forge and stimulates rust. . . Forge shells need to be painted INSIDE before installing the lining.

On parts that get too hot for the graphite based barbeque paints ITC-213 is a good protectant against both rust and flame.
   - guru - Friday, 01/24/03 03:02:13 GMT

David and hammers:
As someone who is large and strong, and damaged:-) I would recommend starting light and staying that way for a good long time. So you can develop the hammer control and strength to wield a larger hammer. For most blade work you aren't going to want a heavy hammer anyway. You might need a bigger hammer if you wnat try doing some damascus billets by hand, but save that for later when you have the skills and the strength, and a nice medium weight hammer. When I was young and stupid my favorite hammer was a 6# sledge with a 14" handle, and I used it for pratically everything. Now I have to wear a tennis elbow brace, and I avoid using my big hammer, a 3# Bloom rounding hammer cause it is just too much anymore. And I am only 35:-) (remember it is not the model year, it is the mileage, and the number of accidents you have been in that make you old:-) I would recommend to start out with a nice 1-1.5# crosspien. Don't be afraid to use a smaller hammer, you will be able to work longer in the fire before fatigue becomes a serious issue, and it will be easier to train yourself to use good form and proper control. Remember you are not beating the metal into submission, you are persuading it to move where you want it to be, instead of where it is... Start with a medium crown on the hammer face, if it is too rounded you will move more metal faster but it will be harder to control your surface and keep it nice and flat as you work. Too flat a surface on the face and you will garf your material with the edges of the face and it won't move as much metal as quickly. Once you have good hammer control a rounding hammer is a great tool, the round face can really move the metal and it isn't as choppy as a crosspien. And the flat face of the rounding hammer (which often has very little crown) can be used to get a nice flat consistant face on your work. Avoid steel handles, and I would avoid fiberglass handles as well. They transmit too much shock into your hands, and can lead to problems especially if you are the type of person who really grips the handle hard. I prefer a fairly thin handle with a nice neck so that the handle disipates much of the energy before it gets to me. I also don't like bulky handles because that causes more strain on my hands as well. I know that the guru can just pick up any old hammer that is suited to the work he is doing, but I am not made of such stern stuff:-) I am picky about hammers, and if I like a hammer I will use it, if the balance is bad, or the handle less than ideal it will just gather dust on the shelf. I also like the Hoffi hammers, but I don't own one, but the one I did get to use felt really good:-) I think Kayne and Sons has a Cezch hammer that looks & works like a Hoffi. I personally don't like the french pattern, or locksmiths pattern hammers, the swedish pattern is nicer than the standard american blacksmiths crosspien in my opinion. Many of the farrier patern hammers have a very different feel to them, and often times are available in a number of different weights. (The farrier hammers often have sharper faces, with a more polished pein, so they can be very nice, but a little hard to get used to:-) But for most people it is what they get used to, and what feels good to you. Find a local smithing group and talk to people. (Look in th Abana Chapter locator in the Links section:-) Often times they will try to sell you on their personal preference in tools, and you will get to tryout different hammers and tongs, etc... I am lucky I have a Tool Collector who lives a few miles away and he has thousands of hammers (of course gett'n him to part with the cool ones can be a little hard and cost you dearly:-) Everyone's got an opinion, and a preference you just have to figure out what works best for you, and a little guidance toward moderation never hurt anyone, whereas excess gets you into trouble...

Stuart and fireplace screen wire:
Grainger who is everywhere there is industry
(and Baker Specialty if you are in Indiana) Both carry wire screen in a number of sizes and materials, and can order it in for you quickly.
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 01/24/03 03:54:09 GMT

I am organizing a blacksmithing group in Lubbock, TX. So far we have had two meetings. If you are near Lubbock or know of someone who is who might be interested in joining, please contact me at jhelm@ttacs.ttu.eduSPAMSTINKS after removing the SPAMSTINKS. There are enough folks around who are interested that we could build a pretty good group. All comers welcome!

Guru, feel free to delete if this is inappropriate.
   - James Helm - Friday, 01/24/03 05:53:17 GMT

Hi, heres my two cents on fire place screen. Here in SA TX you need to have a business and tax nr to buy from Grainger. McMaster-Carr has screening check their web site. We have quite abit of blacksmiths here in Tx anywhere from beginners, hobbist, part timers to pro's. Check around a blacksmith org. in your area some of these people may have bought more than they needed and ma;y sell you some. I've found that to be the case in other material that I've needed, and they are willing to get rid of extra stock and alike. I would believe 90% would be happy to help you someway in your project, {because we are nice people}pat-pat-pat on my back. No really we try to help each other, because we all have been there.JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Friday, 01/24/03 06:01:42 GMT

Casting Molds?
A fellow blacksmith asked me if I knew where he could find molds to casts his own toy lead soldiers. Does anyone have an answer to this? Is it possible to make his own? If so, how? Thank You!
   Louis - Friday, 01/24/03 06:05:22 GMT

Louis; Try http://wmhocker.com/resource.htm#supplies
   - 3dogs - Friday, 01/24/03 07:20:13 GMT


I have just tested out my new anvil(my first one). It is a Vulcan, around 100#. I got it for $75 from a local smith that is selling many of his tools, as a matter of fact I also bought a post vise, hand crank drill press, industrial grinder(looks more like an axle than anything else) and this weekend will be picking up a floor stand, belt drive, drill press dating from 1888! What a great week! He is a great guy too, realy helping me out! He has more things for sale at the other site too, a beutifull anvil from John Deer, lots of history in that anvil, well worth the price!

Anyways, this is a pecular anvil, it realy pushes back the hammer at you and has only two scars. They are seperate chips out of the edge, about 3" long each. The top plate looks to be a little more than an 1/8" thick(pretty thin). I did get a great deal on it! The reason it is pecular is that it has the ring of a sand box(see none!) and a CROWN at the middle of the anvil. Longwise that is. What on earth could have caused this. My only guestimate is that there is a slight seperation of the plate and it is making a "spring" at the middle of the anvil and deadening the ring! This is all very odd. There are two marks on it, one is the Vulcan, arm and hammer and "reg usa pat" no patent #, the second is a "10" on the base just under the horn. What do you supose the 10 could meen, could it be an abreviated english weight mark? However, it is an american anvil. Also do you know if the vulcans were cast or wrought, it is two pieces joined where the base meats the top. I will be posting pictures of it tommorow on Yahoo.

This was also the first time that I fired coal in my forge. Thus far it has been wood and charcoal. The blower(ran via hand crank) from a dryer(cloths) pushes past the vast leaks in the air delivery system and through the coal with no problem! I am very supprised. It won't be long before I install the heat exchanger and other various odds and ends. This is all great fun!

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 01/24/03 08:51:05 GMT


You can also go to:

   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 14:05:47 GMT

The Vulcan anvil is cast iron with a steel plate top as you know, that is the reason it has no ring. The "crown" in the center is from the sides being worn down so that the center is higher. The 10 is short for 100 which means that it was cast as a 100# anvil. Vulcans are typicly concidered a second teer anvil. Not in the same class as forged anvils but certanly WAY better than the ASOs sold at Harbour Freight and the like. My first anvil was a vulcan and served me well until I was able to replace it with my forged anvils. The old vulcan is still doing duty as a starter anvil for another smith and will probably continue to do so for many years.

   Wayne Parris - Friday, 01/24/03 14:18:12 GMT

we have kitchen hood to make for a house, a very big house. he wants to cover with peened copper with "blackened stainless" do you know of a way to blacken stainless? thank you conrad
   conrad miller - Friday, 01/24/03 14:19:47 GMT

Caleb, Vulcans have a tool steel top with cast iron body poured onto it. They don't ring. It's not an english weight mark. The crown is probably due to wear. "Anvils in America" could probably give details on the 10 and perhaps a date range from what was cast into it.

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 01/24/03 14:29:22 GMT

I have an order for a fire place screen but can't seem to find a vender who carries that semi thick steel screen that is used on such items. any ideas?
   - stuart - Friday, 01/24/03 14:35:31 GMT

The 10 on Caleb's anvil is an American convention that was used by some manufacturers. Add a zero (0) to the number and you have the weight in pounds. In Caleb's case, 10 + 0 += 100 pounds.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 14:54:10 GMT

There is a new seller on eBay selling 15# and 55# cast iron anvil shaped objects. His advertising states"

"This is a professional quality anvil made for TEI Inc. out of Los Angelas, CA.

This anvil is portable yet heavy duty. Has great ring and awesome hammer rebound."

Do not purchase from this individual!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 15:57:34 GMT

The same seller is also selling a 110# cast steel anvil that appears to be the Russian anvil. This MIGHT be a fair buy.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 16:05:46 GMT

The 110 is NOT the Russian, it is a Chinese copy from the same foundry making the other ASO's

IT IS COLD! I just came from the house. I had gone in for a few minutes to get a bite of breakfast. When I came out some snow on my shoes had melted and when I paused to close the door they froze to the cement steps. . . THAT is cold!
   - guru - Friday, 01/24/03 16:15:21 GMT


Thank you. From the picture, I couldn't tell for sure.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 16:17:45 GMT

Anvil Crown
It is possible that a previous owner of the anvil ground it to the shape to assist in drawing stock. I saw a demonstrator one year at quad state that had done this to his anvil. It was however a very slight crown. You really needed a straight edge to see it.
   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 01/24/03 16:22:20 GMT

Kitchen Hood Conrad, There are some specialty suppliers that sell various plated and textured sheet metals. When used in large sheets most look pretty tacky to anyone with experiance in metals. It is better than the 1950's "hammered" metal where is had a spattering of ball pien marks on bright plate. But it is still tacky. The materials are designed for toasters and things like that.

To get a first class hammered texture you pay a craftsperson for five or six hours labor per square foot to produce a uniform but not perfect series of overlaping hammer marks. This can be done faster with the aid of a machine but it is still time consuming AND machines cost money. Afterwards the surface will probably need to be polished.

Stainless turns the same black or blue grey as steel when heated to forging temperatures. It is not sold as a commercial product in that form. If you want blackend stainless, again, you will need to pay a craftsperson to produce it for you. Stainless sheet warps badly when heated so experimentation will be required. I suspect what you are looking for is blackend edges and corners with bright brushed finish open areas.

   - guru - Friday, 01/24/03 17:00:04 GMT

Thanks. I will look into painting the shell inside and out. It's lined with shaped refractory bricks, so I can pull them out and retro-paint.

I've tried to bring the forge up to welding temperatures, but , judging by the earlier thread, I probably have too much air in the mix (it's a venturi - atmospheric). However, I do not have the kalewool to adjust down the air flow. Any recommendations for what else is useable? I seem to recall someone suggesting steel wool, but since I don't remember who, I don't know how much trust I can put in his/her experience. I have vivid memories of (intentionally) burning steel wool in chem class.

   Monica - Friday, 01/24/03 17:08:08 GMT

Anvil Crown: I do not know if it was a fad or for durability but I have seen a Peter Wright that appeared to have absolutely no use or wear (like new) that had a very significant crown. I would guess 1/8" across a 4" face.

Since I have seen more Peter Wrights with severe sway than any other brand I figured it may have been a durability ploy.
   - guru - Friday, 01/24/03 17:13:10 GMT

Anvil Crown,

Thanks for all of the responses!

The crown is from the hardie hole to the soft block. Length wise, with a straight edge balanced in the center there is a 1/32" gap on each side, about 5" from the center. It is a very slight crown and there does not appear to be any manipulation of the face to produce it. If it were crowned the other direction I could understand someone grinding it to assist drawing stock, but I think the Guru hit it on the foot when he said it might be put in there for durability.

I had thought that I had heard Vulcans were cast iron, just wasn't sure. The guy I purchased it from said that he had never seen a Vulcan that had a ring, although many of them worked well. Now I know why!


Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 01/24/03 18:16:39 GMT


I have an old anvil that is not a Vulcan, but it had a pronounced droop to the heel of the anvil that would have created a crown in the middle IF the middle hadn't also had a low spot in it. The dropped heel was from a lot of cold-shoeing having been done on the anvil.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/24/03 18:58:01 GMT

Steel Wool Yep, burns great. Makes good cheap "fireworks" tied to a weight on a string. . .

Crown: End to end arcing of anvils is a completely different thing than crown. Heavy work CAN bend and sag the heal, however, there is a more common cause. Most anvils were hand ground by manipulating the anvil on a large grind stone. Occasionaly the heal was over ground from repeat passes and the fact that the hardy hole reduces the area to be ground and it is easy to take off extra material. It may also be the result of a new man on the job.

The same problem exits on many of the imported Czech anvils that are hand ground with a heavy belt sander. Over grinding the ends of a piece is common when using a belt grinder/sander. On the large anvils as much as 3/8" (10mm) drop has been measured at the heal. Some of this MAY be attributed to casting defects or a curved casting that was dressed but not straightened. On steel plated cast iron anvils it may have been shrinkage.

Top quality modern anvils are either machined flat and then ground OR ground on big precision grinders like a blanchard grinder.
   - guru - Friday, 01/24/03 19:38:56 GMT

   - Carmie - Friday, 01/24/03 19:41:23 GMT

On the thread about salt water electrolysis,

If your heater is AC, you do not have the clean separation of gas anyway, so your likly to get HCl, plus it depends on the electrode...in my mad kid chemistry days, I had followed a crazed plan using a salt water pan as a resistance control for a carbon arc...I think that a major product there was some kind of iron chloride from the nails used for electrodes and copper wire was definitly eaten up, there was some gasing...and boiling but not a pure output.

Even if rectifed (DC current) depending on spacing, the H and the Cl will react to for HCl and a lot will disolve as hydrochloric acid, reacting again with the sodium hydroxides.
   Les DeGroff - Friday, 01/24/03 20:25:00 GMT

There is a 1941 11th edition copy of Machinerys Handbook for sale on eBay right now. Search for #2907871801.

vicopper; I believe the weight climb is an occupational disease. After 25 years my duty belt and weapon seem to have gained around 50 lbs. :)
   Brian C - Friday, 01/24/03 21:07:53 GMT


Same thing happened to me. I took my duty belt down from the closet shelf the other day and it was at LEAST 3" too short to meet around my waist. My uniform jacket seems to have shrunk, too. Must be something in the closet air that does that.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 21:12:13 GMT

Brian, thx for the tip on the Handbook, will get a bid in on it close the end of the auction.

Vicopper, Brian, Paw Paw....I don't think it's occupational OR closet air. Maybe its global growing instead of global warming!
   Ellen - Friday, 01/24/03 21:23:45 GMT


Which jurisdition did you say you lived ine??? (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 21:30:31 GMT

Proof THEN post, Paw Paw

jurisdition SHOULD BE jurisdiction.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/24/03 21:31:10 GMT

Can you offer some advice please about tangs (layout, forming and sizing) for pulling tools like drawshaves, bowl shaves and scorps. I am beginner to smithing, and if possible would like to minimize hot work if I can get away with saw, cold work and grind. I am starting with some purchased 1095, I have a 1 1/2 wide, 3/16th for smaller tools, and have on order some 2 1/2 by 1/4 for a larger pair of draw shaves.
I have been sketching, I can drill a hole, and hack saw,
to allow me to form the arm and handle tang out of half or less of the width of the bar, but that dosn't seem like it will form right when I bend the tang out of plane.
I have been also muttering about what size to leave the tangs esp. at the critical point where the arm and tang join, if i hammer this, it will be thinner? My first notion was to start at 1/4 (wide) x thickness of material and taper it back over 4 or 5 inches to 1/2.

Finally, any suggestions on hardening and tempering this, starting with ideas for an expedited container for oil where I can put a 16 inch blade with 3 or 4 inch arms (24 inch over all)
If I (kitchen) oven temper the blade at 350 to 400, is it reasonable to attempt to do an additional tempering with a torch to soften the tang and part of the arm?

Thank you.
   Les DeGroff - Friday, 01/24/03 21:59:23 GMT

Ok, so I was right to severely doubt using steel wool as the air dampening agent in my atmospheric. Sparklers and forge work are NOT good combinations, and fireworks with propane just make my skin crawl with dread.

However, that still leaves me wondering what I can use to dampen down the airflow into my forge.
   Monica - Friday, 01/24/03 22:24:05 GMT


Scraps of ceramic floor tile will work pretty well. The ones with the lightest colored clay and little or no glaze seem to be the best in my limited experience, but even pieces of those red clay flower pots will work.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/24/03 22:35:47 GMT

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