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

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

This is an archive of posts from January 9 - 17, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Clifton Ralph Videos:

Does anyone know where I can aquire DVD versions of Clifton's video series? My employer had the full set on VHS at one time, but now can only find tapes 1, 2, and 5. A friend copied these to DVD, but this was not completly successful and I would really like to get the full set.

   Patrick Nowak - Sunday, 01/09/05 00:03:18 EST

Patrick & Clifton Ralph:-)

Try your local blacksmithing association, they should have it in their library to loan, that was where I got to see them. :-) Clifton is a crusty old gem;-)but manages to teach me something almost everytime I talk with him.
   Fionnbharr - Sunday, 01/09/05 00:28:27 EST

Hey my name is chelsi and im young as in a kid
I am like inlove with ancient EVERYTHING like greek and roman times and i am expecially interstid in the weaponry i want to be able to make swords and stuff. i need your help with just about everything tell me what are the basic things i need to know before starting? also where can i find a site to build your own forge yes im a girl but i build stuff i built mydoghouse im building a ramp in my back yard so building isnt a problem... Please help me out!
   chelsi - Sunday, 01/09/05 01:46:58 EST

I know this is a big thing and im just a kid but this intrests me soo much im thinking of buying land someday and reproducing my own "town" that mimics that of an acient greek or roman city (yes i know i have a huge vocabulary) :)
   chelsi - Sunday, 01/09/05 01:49:46 EST

So ya please reply to me if you want email me if there is more to say at (link below)
   chelsi - Sunday, 01/09/05 01:51:09 EST

Hmmm, I will be in teh Czech Rep the first week of March.
My daughter is teaching at teh University in Brno.
   Ralph - Sunday, 01/09/05 04:05:40 EST

I have an older friend who apprenticed in his youth in monument carving ( tomb stones).
His regular carving hammer has a neat round indentation crater in the center of each face about 3/8" deep, from hitting chisels perfectly for a great many years.
Black hammer; If you keep cooling from below the critical temp in the areas not to be upset you ought to get away with it. Avoid severe temperature differentials in a very small zone. You can also heat with a torch to get limited area heats.
Ptree, sounds like a perfect forming stake blank.
Marc G. Different hammer conformations have different applications.
For many years my favorite hammer was a squat bodied, wide faced, square cross pien. I could swing pretty wide and still hit the work.
Of late, when I need to move hot iron, Out comes another cross pien of about the same weight, but with a face half the area and a much taller body. It seems to place more of the driving mass directly above the impact.
Many older styles are taller and of course many forming hammers are taller so as to be able to work the bottom of a depression. They are a bit more difficult to control.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 01/09/05 05:42:57 EST


Blacksmithing/bladesmithing is about like a meal. It is far better to consume it a small bite at a time rather than trying to stuff it all in your mouth at one time.

Use the Navigation link in the upper right and then on that list go to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). One of the ones there is on how to get started in blacksmithing. Bladesmithing is a bit like having an advanced degree in blacksmithing.

You can also go to www.abana.org. That is the site of the Artist-Blacksmith Ass'n of North America. On their home page is a link for Affiliates. You can use it to find blacksmithing groups in your general area. Attend their meetings/gatherings if possible.

Also on their site is a list of schools which offer classes in blacksmithing ranging from beginner to advanced. Master the basics and then decide where you want to go from there.

Some of the best blacksmiths in the country today are women. Dorothy Steigler comes to mind.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/09/05 05:49:41 EST

Question: Is regular angle iron made in 3/8", 5/8" and 7/8" outside widths?
   - Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/09/05 09:25:00 EST

Angle Iron Sizes: Ken, The smallest angle I know of is 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/8". However, this is not on many lists and may not be commonly available. These "bar size" equal leg angles com in 1/8" increments up to 1-1/2". All up to 1" have an 1/8" web. Over that they are available in 1/16 increments over 1/8" (1/8, 3/16, 1/4 and then jumps to 3/8").

Many sizes of materials have been dropping out of inventory as our basic metals industries decline. To find out what is really available you will have to try several steel service centers and ask what sizes they stock.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 12:41:41 EST


Almost everything you want to know can be found on anvilfire OR in the many books we recommend. See our FAQ's and 21st Century pages. Then our iForge page has hundreds of how-to articles.

See our Getting Started Article and Resources List for our Swordmaking article. We have reviews of most of the books listed and I am working on the rest.

Resources List

If you have little metalworking experiance I suggest you start with the first book. It is a text book used everywhere from high school to college and technical schools. Used copies are very affordable and the old ones as good as the new.

You may be interested in other books on the subject and we have many reviews on our book review page.

To quickly find your closest blacksmithing association see our ABANA-Chapter.com page listed on the drop down menu.

When you have studied a little and tried some metal working you will have questions that the books do not answer. Please feel free to come to us to ask those questions.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 12:59:25 EST

Hello Guru. My question is, is the "post end" of a post-vise secured or does it just dangle from the bench? I've never seen one installed and never thought to ask when I bought it. Also, can a "stand alone" stand be built for a post-vise or should it be secured to a bench because my bench is kind of ...um... insufficient? Just a beginner. Thanks, Ken
   Ken Millson - Sunday, 01/09/05 13:24:45 EST

Ken, the post end of the vise should rest on the floor to transmit the force of any hammer work you do through the vise to the floor. I made a bracket for mine to keep from worrying a hole in my cement floor. I took a piece of 1/4" x 2" x 6" plate, and bent it into an "L". The vertical side of the L bolts to the leg of my work bench. I welded a ring cut from a piece of 1" pipe onto the horizontal side. The foot of the leg vise sits in the ring so it does not wander under hammer blows. The bracket that mounts the vise onto the bench is adjustable for height.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/09/05 14:12:49 EST

Ken, QC's arangement is a typical modern instalation. In old shops with earthen floors a post would be set into the ground and cut off roughly flush with the floor for the base of the vise to set upon. The typical ends have a support collar and a peg or point to embed in the wood. I usualy recommend a plate or larger support washer to help support the end. On concrete or a portable stand this is needed to raise the peg end above the floor and put the load on the collar.

IF your bench and vise is mounted too high for the leg to reach the floor then you need to make a spacer support of some kind. In the case with the post embeded in the earth it could have been cut off above the floor to raise the vise for a tall worker. On a concrete or wooden floor you will nedd that spacer. A large block of wood will work fine. You could get fancier if you want and weld something up from steel.

Note that the average blacksmiths vise height of 39" (1m) is a very good height for the average worker standing at the vise doing general work. The only time they should be much higher is if the worker is taller than average OR for doing fine work.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 15:00:42 EST

Note that the way leg vise bench brackets attach to the vise allows the vise to move verticaly and put the downward load on the leg and floor, not the bench.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 15:05:13 EST


One of the few schemes for making a "stand alone" post vise support was one that Stephen Feinstein built. He wleded up a base for his anvil that also supported the post vise. Having the mass of the anvil to anchor the post vise made a lot of sense to me. Every other arrangement I've seen resulted in the vise being inadequately supported to allow heavy bending (lateral forces).

With some clever planning, you should be able to build a support for your vise that could be quickly put on and off a substantial anvil and stand. That way, it wouldn't be in your way when you didn't need it. In any event, it sounds like you need to get busy and build a good sturdy workbench, since every boy needs one. (grin)

I like workbenches made form 2 by 4's. The top can be ither more 2 by 4's or two layers of 3/4" plywood glued/screwed together. Leave at least 3" of overhang on the top at the front and sides so you can clamp things to it. If you have a place where you can have the workbench against a wall, then secure it to the wall with some pieces of angle iron and bolts. A workbench that doesn't move is a wonderful thing. For precision filing, it is a requirement.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/09/05 15:21:22 EST

what is the sircum stances of having two many wheels on a tractor?
   - dip - Sunday, 01/09/05 15:44:57 EST

   - dip - Sunday, 01/09/05 15:45:26 EST

Dip, Please restate your question in a manner that makes sense. Truck tractor, farm tractor, toy tractor, wheel arrangement, stearing or driving, quantities?

"Too many" is the one extra that results in something not working. Too much load on the axel, too wide to fit on the road or through the barn door, too many to be cost effective. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 16:08:26 EST

I would like some advice on cleaning up morse taper drills the tapers have a light coating of rusr on them from not beening used for 5+ years, there are several dozen drills in various sizes from 1/8" up to 1 1/2" in two differant taper sizes plus a couple of sleaves

   Mark P - Sunday, 01/09/05 16:46:37 EST

Morse Tapers: Mark, Morse tapers are generaly soft. The result is they often have minor dings. I clean mine up with a fine power wire brush or 180 grit Wet-or-dry when rusted. I use a file as necessary and then oil.

It is more important for the finish on these to be clean and flat rather than a perfect polish. If there are any dings or if they have slipped and created a high rubbed spot then take a smooth flat file to the defects. Be sure to roll the file as you go. Only take off the high spot, do not try to make low spots dissappear.

Take a file and clean up the tangs if they are upset or twisted. I have been known to carefully cold forge tangs back into shape rather than remove too much material by filing. . .

Sleaves can be cleaned inside with a dowel and some Wet-or-dry by hand. Carefully inspect these inside for rub marks. If they are damaged mark them as such and set aside. The only way to repair these is with a Morse taper reamer.

Note than in normal use in a drill prees tapered shanks do not have the oportunity to spin and tear up the surface. However, lathe tailstocks do not have the tang slot to prevent rotation. Bits used in tailstocks often get torn up. It is also common to saw off part of the shank of standard Morse bits so that the limited travel of the tailstock can be put to full use. ALWAYS check sawed off bits to be sure the screw will extract the bit. If the bit is too short it will be stuck in the tailstock so that it cannot be removed without dissasembling the tailstock. Bits modified for lathe use should stay with the lathe and not be used in the drill press.

A little oil on the taper will not prevent it from locking and operating properly. However, heavy oil, especialy if it may have some grit in it should be wiped off. I usualy clean mine with a a rag and a little WD-40 immediately prior to use.

Always oil the entire bit before returning to storage.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/05 18:15:46 EST

Tony, I have found through many years at the industrial valve shop that the Parker O-ring handbook has the most usefull compatibility charts of any. I have never had a problem from the handbook charts. We used to make an O-ring seated check valve, and these were used in many exotic fluids. We had one elastomer that would allow use to rate to 450F and it had the resistance of teflon. Product was Kalrez from Dupont, and was then priced by the pound at about $1000!
   ptree - Sunday, 01/09/05 19:11:30 EST

Can you make an axe without using saws? If you have to use a saw, what type do you use? If you don't use a saw, how do you put the hole in the head for the handle to go into.
   Tyler Murch - Sunday, 01/09/05 20:35:05 EST


Yes you can make an axe without using a saw. Use a hot cut to cut the material from the parent stock, forge it to shape, slit and drift it to the correct size and shape for a handle.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/09/05 20:44:45 EST

For almost all axes prior to the mid-1800s no slitting was required! Just cut a strap, bend around a mandrel, which is a piece of iron shaped like you want the handle to be, weld in the forge with a harder steel edge and you're done, with an instant hole. Clean the hole up with a drift, grind the edge, and you're ready to put a handle in and go chop wood.

Sorry Paw Paw, I'll stop now (grin!)

On post vice stands: I have one that stands alone, and I've seen others with an improvement I'll make sometime. The easy way is to cut a circle about four feet in diameter out of heavy plate and weld a section of four inch or larger pipe or sqaure tube just off-center to the heavy plate disk in such a way that you bolt the bench mount part of the vise to the top of the tube and let the end of the leg set in a hole drilled in the plate that will catch the collar on the end of the leg.

I made mine with a square baseplate. A round baseplate lets you tip it up and roll it where you need it.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 01/09/05 21:16:16 EST


What's to be sorry about? Both methods were used, probably at different times, but both methods work.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 01/09/05 21:28:41 EST

Axe method. William Schaeffer of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, was still making axes the old way as late as 1925. Henry C. Mercer has photos of the three pieces which get forge welded in his excellent book, "Ancient Carpenters' Tools". Two slabs of wrought iron are fullered to form "half an eye", a semicircular cheek is drawn on each, and the two slabs are fagot welded to make poll and blade. A piece of high carbon steel is then welded in a cleft (bird's mouth) for the cutting bit. This was called in the old days, "laying steel". The eye was drifted to an elongated shape. This was an American style where the extension of the poll helped to balance the axe. The English felling axe had a slightly flattened poll, but quite small, and a more flared blade than the American style.

Mercer published a number of photographs of early New England and Pennsylvania axes, and has dated them.

The Hispanic New Mexican felling axe was also made of an initial fagot weld of two pieces, but the eye was made round. See Simmons & Turley, "Southwestern Colonial Ironwork".

   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/09/05 23:13:15 EST

Ax Making: Tyler we have an illustrated step by step a axe making demo on our iForge page.

SEE iForge Demo #28
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/05 03:58:21 EST

Clifton's Video's Again-

I have checked with my local Abana Chapter (UMBA). At one time, they had Clifton's video's, but they have changed their system so that instead of borrowing materials, you purchase copys of their inventory. To avoid any copyright issues, they limited their inventory to club demos, so Cliton's materials are no longer availble from them. Any other suggestions for sources?

   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 01/10/05 08:42:49 EST

Patrick: Try contacting Clifton direct. Do a phone directory search. I believe he still lives in Gary, IN area.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/10/05 10:16:37 EST

Patrick, ABANA proper distributes them, or did.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/05 11:22:55 EST

I am new to smithing. I have pretty much all of the tools I will need, and will have a forge in a few weeks, with luck. I will be making knives and eventually, swords. I have read books, internet articals, and such, and while I do know that there are process differances in making hot roll steel and cold roll, I do not know the differances in the steel itself. What would be the advantages and/or drawbacks of each? Thanks for your time.
   Jesse - Monday, 01/10/05 12:30:05 EST

Dang, I've been smithing too long; took me a while to come up with a way to make an axe head using a saw, (besides patternwelding the saw up into the bit which sprang to my mind instantly).

Yesterday I was working on a kindling hatchet made from a horseshoer's rasp. Heated it up and bent it around a hammer handle drift and forge welded the sides down to the tip. Re-drifted the eye and heat treated it (Alan--I'm one of those weird folk who heat treat cutting tools) I'm kind of tired of my bearded hatchets being in by the woodstove rather then in my medieval kit...

Tyler it is possible to drill holes in a blank and saw between them but it is a lot more time consuming than using a forge to punch or slit the eye area and then drift and hammer it out. starting with a flat strap and forge welding it works too---but not everybody is happy with their forge selding skills.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/10/05 12:32:10 EST

Thomas: I bite my thumb at you, sir! (grin!)
   Alan-L - Monday, 01/10/05 13:39:02 EST

Tyler Murch, To beat a moribund horse, I visited the Snow & Nealley factory near Bangor, Maine, a few years back, and watched a high carbon steel axe head being drop forged. The hot steel was forged between dies with three or four hits from a "drop hammer". The slightly excess steel was sqeezed out into a thin flash, and the forging was placed into a pedal operated flash trimmer. After reheating, the blank was placed on edge into a fairly close fitting fixture, and an eye-shaped punch was hydraulically forced through from one side only, allowing the slug to fall to a refractory base on the 'ground'. Snow & Nealley is still in business making "Our Best" brand tools.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/10/05 16:47:52 EST

Alan, I too can tell a hawk from a handsaw---when the wind is in the right quarter!

(hmmm maybe I better pay someone else to wear the disreputable red hat to Quad-State---and while they are being dog-piled I can sneak a few goodies from the sales area at reasonable prices...)

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/10/05 17:04:00 EST

Steels: Jesse, See Steel Product Types on our FAQ's page.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/05 17:09:49 EST

Thomas P,

No doubt about your hillbilly heritage when you use expressions like that one, sir! I learned that one as a toddler from my Grandmother who hailed from Eureka Spgs. Kind of nice to know it is stil in use, at least by other hillbillies. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 01/10/05 17:44:14 EST


You're really dating yourself with that statement. Every respectable Arkansas hillbilly has long since evacuated the hippie-haven know as Eureka Springs.
   eander4 - Monday, 01/10/05 18:03:10 EST

Axes: I just purchased a Gransfors Bruks small forest axe. The literature said every axe head was hand forged by a professional smith....using a HUGE power hammer and several sets of dies. OK, enough splitting hairs, it is a DANDY little Axe! Sharper than a widows tongue, too. However, the leather guard is cheap and unworthy of adorning a fine axe. I would love to make an axe but the Whimper Baby just isn't hot enough to forge weld.......sigh.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 01/10/05 20:49:47 EST

Dear Mr. Guru,Please tell me what color (heat range) is best for forging 304 stainless? Thankyou.
   - Jack R - Tuesday, 01/11/05 00:39:54 EST

Jack R, Forge between 2100F and 2350F and not below 1700F. It should be annealed after forging between 1850F and 2050F. Cool rapidly. Heavy sections can be water quenched. Light sections can be air cooled. Ask more questions, if you feel the need.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/11/05 01:20:02 EST


This is a really basic question. I hope you don't mind. I need a small open forge to heat sheets (say 12"x12") of i/16" to say 3/16" mild steel for hammer shaping (not exotic bends0. I will need to use this forge on an intermitent basis (maybe once or twice an hour or even just once a day.

What should i use, propane or coal?

I have red several sites for gas burners and have the book by Michael Porter but these types of closed forges don't work for my needs I don't think. Should I buy or make it?

Thanks a lot for any help.

John Rhone
   John Rhone - Tuesday, 01/11/05 03:44:40 EST

im looking into sword making and im trying to find the best way to fold steel (By the way im a novice but im a person that pics this up very very quickly
   Eicobvious - Tuesday, 01/11/05 06:13:54 EST

John Rhone,

For what you describe, I would recommend a gas fire. About the simplest thing I can envision would be a "forge" designed with the burner coming up through the floor, with the flame dispersed through a bed of ceramic chips or broken pieces of firebrick. For this, I would use a blown type of burner. A simple cover could be made from the dome end of an empty 100# propane cylinder or similar vessel, suspended from a counterweighted arm or cable. The "cover" should be lined with a layer or two of Kaowool that has been coated with ITC-100 for infrared reflectance.

If you wanted to make the thing even more effective, you could put another burner in the cover so you were heating the steel from both sides at once. This would require that you have more clearance around the sides to vent the burners, but it would heat faster. I see no easy way to disperse the flame from the top burner though, so there would be some tendency to develop a "hot spot" directly beneath it.

If you look at Eric Thing's article on making a helm, located on the "Armoury" page of the pull-down menu, you'll see a couple pictures of his plate forge. There are no building details, (and Eric has liability concerns that prevent him from disclosing any details of the construction), but you may get some ideas just from looking.

One other option, very simple, is to make a big hand-held burner. Simple propane burners can be scaled up in size to pretty impressive dimensions and will produce a flame capable of heating a piece of plate such as you describe fairly quickly. Some folks just use big propane weed burners such as those sold by Harbor Freight. The plate should be placed on a bed of soft firebrick or pumice rocks to minimize radiation loss from the back side. Several more soft firebrick placed around the sides will contain much of the "torch's" heat and speed up the heating process.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/11/05 09:06:10 EST

John Rhone, I may directly condradict vicopper and say you need a charcoal forge. Two big considerations are: 1. Do you need to heat the entire sheet evenly at once, and 2. if not, is half the sheet at a time good enough. A question I have is, why do you only need to heat the sheet up so infrequently? I suspect you'll get addicted to how much easier thin sheet is to move hot than cold, and will want to use the forge more (grin!).

If you need an even heat on the whole sheet at once, I have seen a flat four-burner gas forge that would do it for you. Looked like a pizza oven, sort of. If you only need about half the sheet hot at one time, a simple side-blown charcoal forge made from a steel tabletop with a pipe laid on it could work just fine. Of course, then you need charcoal and a blower of some sort.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/11/05 09:33:15 EST

Eicobvious, look in the top right corner of this page and click on "getting started". Read all the books mentioned and you'll begin to understand. Learn all the books by heart and you'll be on your way.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/11/05 09:35:27 EST

Can you please send us some step by step guides to basic blacksmithing for a school project. thank you for yr help & i like your site.
   Dave - Tuesday, 01/11/05 10:07:42 EST

Sheet Metal Forge: John, As you can see there is almost no aggrement on this particular subject. For heavy plate repousse' a big propane torch or oxy-propane rose bud works well. For one thing you can spot heat the work as you are hammering on it. This is very handy when working the heavier plate you mentioned. Another similar option is the an arrangement like the armourer's forge such as Eric Thing uses (see our Armoury Page). This does about the same as a big torch except it is on a stand and is free standing. The small heated work surface helps reflect heat back into the work.

The reason for so much disagreement on this subject is that heating plate is difficult because the large surface area cools quite rapidly. Heating a large piece in a forge to obtain an even heat oftne results in quite a bit scale and the work still cools quite rapidly.

If you are heating to anneal and then work cold almost any forge will work. The trick is to cool the work slowly. For this I would use a special built gas forge to heat the plate then let it cool in the cooling forge. This is the best way to assure dead soft material in modern steel plate. You will find that many repousse' artists go to a lot of trouble to find the lowest carbon steel they can for this reason.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/11/05 10:16:42 EST

Basic Step by Step: Dave, see our iForge page. There are a couple demos labled with BSA (do a CTRL-F search) that are very simple.

"Basic" is a realative term. If you are talking about first time ever then hear are the easiest things to make. These are items we make with Boy Scouts age 11 to 15 that have never done any forging before. Those with some experiance or close instruction can usualy complete the noted projects on the iForge page.

In 1/4" (7mm) stock about a foot long, forge a point, make a small curled end, form the hook over the horn, repeat on the opposite end in the opposite direction. If stock is square heat the center and twist. In small stock the twist can be done holding the work in two pairs of tongs or pliers.

Tent Stake
In 1/2" (13mm) square stock about a foot long, forge a blunt point on one end. Cool, reverse and make an 85 to 90° bend about 2" (50mm) from the end. To add some decoration heat and twist the middle. On this size stock it is best to have a vise to hold one end of the work and use and adjustable wrench to twist the piece.

   - guru - Tuesday, 01/11/05 10:37:22 EST

I am looking for a blueprint to make an expanding antenna like on the older cars. I am looking to mass produce this item and getting the correct dimensions proves diffucult.
   Matt - Tuesday, 01/11/05 12:38:11 EST

Box bellows: I know my bellows are a little different than traditonal, but someone was asking for pictures so I posted some in the user gallery, Joshua Langfitt.
   dragon-boy - Tuesday, 01/11/05 12:48:37 EST

Antenna Matt, This is a reverse engineering job. The drawings would have been proprietary information. So you do the research and engineering and make your own. This is typical of 99.999% of all things made.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/11/05 12:54:43 EST

John Rhone: I would recommend you make your own propane forge. If you can scrounge up something for a chamber, the gas injection system is basically off-the-shelf hardware/plumbing (as simple or as complicated as you want to make it). Insulating wool blanket and insulating (boiler) firebricks are also readily available. I suspect you could have a working forge for about $100. If you want to see several examples go to www.eBay.com and do both a current auction and complete auction search on propane forge.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 01/11/05 15:14:05 EST

Does anyone here know if the vertical bars in the door locking mechanism of a shipping container are usually solid or tubular? Galvanized steel roughly the diameter of 3/4" iron pipe with latching ends which could have been either neatly welded (before galvanizing) or forged out of one piece

I need to straighten one which was hit with a forklift. . . if it is pipe, I'll set up to straighten it cold. If it is solid, I guess I need to finish the gas forge. . .
   John Lowther - Tuesday, 01/11/05 19:32:31 EST

John Lowther: The weight and sound when struck with a piece of metal should be dead giveaways.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 01/11/05 19:51:36 EST

Shipping container lockbars,
They are tubes with the locking cam welded to the respective ends, and can be a bugger to straighten if bent too much. Sure you can probably get it to work again but its sometimes hard to make the action work smooth. Depends on what you have, it maybe better off to re-weld the lock cams to a new length of pipe.

BTW my smithy is inside a 20' container, I mostly make knives and trinkets so the limited space and low headroom is not to much problem.
The coalsmoke is drawn out using a hairdryer powered venturi built into the exhaust stack, Which works well especially when the short stack is still cold and not drawing well and does not have the issues of fan&motors etc. within the corrosive smoke atmosphere.
   - Sven - Tuesday, 01/11/05 21:06:19 EST

Sven, Thanks for the input.

I am looking at buying several 20' containers for a long distance move. When they get where they are going they will be put on foundations 20 feet apart next to another building then the containers and the space in between roofed over. 2 containers, 1 new wall and I'll have 36 x 20 feet enclosed. The containers will open into the other structure and provide secure storage. As they empty out they will be converted to work space. If my plan proves workable there will be four containers creating two wings on either side of a central structure.

In many places in the US and I suspect Europe there is a glut of containers. It costs more to ship them back to China where they are manufactured and then sent to the US and Europe full of goods than they cost to make (in China). So a lot of containers are making a one way trip.

There has been a lot of experimenting with containers as building units. So far their size is not quite what is needed and a LOT of cutting goes into to using them as building units. So far the best application has been storage buildings and small shop spaces like Sven's.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 00:58:53 EST

DEAR Mr. Guru, I have been forging 1/4 in. round 304 stainless and have been getting splits and cracks whats wrong?
   - Jack R - Wednesday, 01/12/05 02:52:45 EST

I would guess you are forging it too cold.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 01/12/05 03:12:18 EST

Jack R: I agree with Ralph, stainless generally needs to be worked hotter if it can be worked at all. By the way, this isn't a real time chat room, it's a message forum, so if you just ask once it'll usually get answered within a day or often sooner, no need to keep asking.
   AwP - Wednesday, 01/12/05 03:20:00 EST

Stainless is tougher to move at a low red than when cold. It must be forged HOT. You cannot treat it like mild steel.

When forging small sections by hand it is also easy to get out of parallel and shear the metal internaly. These shears end up as cracks and splits when drawing out points and tapers. Shears are also more likely to occur if working too cold or working steel with a surface heat.

(duplicate posts deleted).
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 03:39:42 EST

I would just like to thank all of you for your suggestions. I've used rosebuds for years but looking for a little less expensive way to handle it. Will check out what has been suggested. Specific sites or stores are especially appreciated.

Thanks again.
   John Rhone - Wednesday, 01/12/05 03:47:29 EST

Gurus, would you consider tungsten forgeable?

The reasons for my question are twofold. One, I just took a tungsten rod (pure, intended for TIG), heated part of it up to white with a torch, and bent it with pliers. It bent about as easily as a piece of mild steel would have at room temp; to me this would be at the outer edge of forgeability (doable but would require power tools or a striker). Two, I was looking at a piece of tungsten bar online, and it would be awfully cool to have a tungsten hammer. Comments/suggestions are welcome and desireable.

Sunny and warming up in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 01/12/05 06:24:29 EST

Oops. I did some further research and found that "Very pure tungsten can be cut with a hacksaw, and can be forged, spun, drawn, and extruded." (ref. http://www.chinatungsten.com/chwurl-2-1.htm) However, pointers, suggestions, and flames are still very much welcome.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 01/12/05 06:31:03 EST

John Rhone: Check out this eBay auction (6144661755). It is a book on making the burner unit(s) for propane forges plus apparently some forge plans. Have not seen the book, only the listing. Gas orifices can be as simple as a .0303 hole drilled in the side of a pipe so it shoots the propane down a draw tube. From your description, it sounds like about the only difference between what you need and a fairly standard DIY propane forge is the size of the heating chamber. A sheet metal shop should be able to make up a box for you to line with insulating wood and a firebrick floor. For those look under Refractory Supplies in the yellow pages of a good sized city. If not listed, call boiler repair companies and ask for a referral to a supplier. I buy by the box, but my supplier in Nashville, TN would be willing to sell me the ceramic wool by the running foot and the bricks by each. Both also appear regularly on eBay. For burners (and I would recommend at least two), it really can be simple, off-the-shelf, plumbing pipe parts for the most part. This is not high tech construction or use.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/12/05 06:54:26 EST

Jack R. Everyone sees these incandescent heat colors a little differently, but I offer these temperature descriptions from "Metals for Engineering Craftsmen", COSIRA, London, England. I gave you the Fahrenheit temperatures earlier (scroll above).
2100F = Yellow; 2350F = Bright White; 1700F = Bright Red; 1850F = [Bright] Orange; 2050F = Yellow. Brackets are mine.

You don't hit the 304 below Bright Red, and Bright Red is ABOVE THE CHERRY RED RANGES by at least 150F.

With " round, the 304 is going to chill on the anvil face quickly, so you'll probably get only a few licks in for each heat taken. I saw a Japanese toolsmith use a hammering technique which I've garnered for my own use. You lift the metal off the anvil after each blow and place it back again, which will help reserve some heat. It requires a little practice and a little rhythm.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/12/05 09:20:28 EST

Tungsten vs. Tungsten Carbide: Yep a lot of folks including engineers ocassionaly make this mistake. The pure metal is not very hard. The carbide is the hardest cutting material their is next to diamond. Where pure tungsten excells is its high melting point. Even then, when used for welding electrodes it melts.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 10:20:43 EST

Gas Forges and Burners: Go to our FAQ's page and see our GAS FORGES FAQ. It has links to all our gas forge plans and articles as well as the (in progress) review of the Michael Porter Gas Burner book. This is THE small forge gas burner book. I do not agree with all the complexity of his designs but they work and are backed up by research. If you don't want to buy Michael's book then the RON REIL page is the next best source of information.

In either case, start with our FAQ as it has links to all the other resources.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 11:01:39 EST

For those of you that can wait, I have a new burner design that is fully adjustable and easy to build. I'll be building and testing several in the next couple weeks and will have an article next month including a bill of materials and where to gt the parts.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 11:31:24 EST

I have most of the parts for a pneumatic power hammer, except for the cylinder controls. Is there a schematic available that could help out? I would like to control rate power and have a hold down function.
   Paul - Wednesday, 01/12/05 15:40:49 EST

Hi I was wondering anyone knows where I could get a post vise
   Aaron R - Wednesday, 01/12/05 16:00:32 EST

Paul, none of the current plans or diagrams have a hold down function. You could easily add one with a bypass valve.

There are three sources of diagrams. 1) The ABANA Simple air hammer plans. 2) The AFC modification article 3) The Mark Linn air hammer control video. See our book review page for information about the video and ABANA-Chapter.com for the link to the AFC (AFC.ABANA-Chapter.com)

Note that after the anvil the controls are the most expensive purchased part of one of these machines.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 16:11:08 EST

Aaron R: The suppliers who advertise here may have new ones. For used ones there are usually fairly plentiful at the tail-gate sales area of blacksmithing conferences. Also check out www.ebay.com and do a search on the key word combinations of leg vise, post vise, legvise and postvise. They are listed fairly often, but keep shipping charges in mind when you bid.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/12/05 16:16:23 EST

Blacksmith's Vise or Post Vise: Aaron, They are available NEW from three of our advertisers, BlasmithsDepot, Centaur Forge and Pieh Tool Co. They are well worth the price if you can afford it.

You can find used vises at almost every blacksmithing organization meet. See our Calendar of Events for the spring schedule and ABANA-Chapter.com page for the group nearest you. Then there is your local flea market. . I bought a very nice one last spring for $75. However, I paid $250 for a large one a few months later.

And LAST. . . ebay. Be warned that prices will be higher than the normal $125 to $185 USD at tail gate sales. be sure you know what a COMPLETE vise looks like (no mising parts) and that the screw is not worn out. There are lots of them out there so do not get stuck on ONE and overbid.

   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/05 16:20:33 EST

Thanks Ken & Guru.
If I were to buy a new vise what would be the best for overall shop use.
   Aaron R - Wednesday, 01/12/05 17:17:52 EST

Aaron R: The bigger the better applies to some extent. I would recommend about a 6" jaws one. I was contacted by someone asking if a large Peter Wright postvise was worth anything as they were interested in listing it. I told them they had about the Holy Grail. Still waiting for that listing to come up.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/12/05 17:52:04 EST

I recently baught a shun japenese knife and a wetstone to sharpen it. It gives two different directions for a single sided cutting edge and a double sided edge. What is the difference? Also, it refers to burrs, what does that mean in a knife sense? Thank you.
   Mehrdad - Wednesday, 01/12/05 17:53:19 EST

Looking for a source for the thin spring stock used in Gene Chapman's Little uglies. I want to try making a couple so need a sorce for small amounts. Ant ideas?
   ptree - Wednesday, 01/12/05 17:59:19 EST

Aaron R: What part of the country are you in? That info will help us to direct you to used tool dealers....
   Ellen - Wednesday, 01/12/05 18:09:12 EST

Ellen I live in Utah
   Aaron R - Wednesday, 01/12/05 18:13:15 EST

Can anyone tell exactly how a fly press works or direct to a location for such information?
   Steve Stransky - Wednesday, 01/12/05 18:46:14 EST

Steve, it's an application of the inclined plane---uses a honking big multilead screw and a big counterweight or flywheel, give it a whirl and there's some pretty intense squishing going on.

There are some demo's over on the iforge page dealing with tooling for them and IIRC there was info off the powerhammer page as well.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/12/05 19:03:47 EST

i am trying to get online at slack tub pub but ihave not herd from anyone about my acess cod
   - anvilbush - Wednesday, 01/12/05 19:20:44 EST

i am trying to get on slack tub pub but can not get acode to get in
   anvilbush - Wednesday, 01/12/05 19:24:46 EST

Thanks for the advice on container locking bars.

I was asking so I'd know what I was up against before taking the locking bars off.

Building between containers makes a LOT of sense.
   John Lowther - Wednesday, 01/12/05 19:34:27 EST

AaronR, If you're not in a rush, you can also sign up with your nearby farm and ranch auctioneers. They will send Sale Bills snail-mail or online, and they usually list Shop Equipmant on the Bill.

Ken, Can you spot a Peter Wright vise by its shape? They were stamped with very small letters on the box, but 99% of the time, those letters get obliterated. The solid box has a beautiful old-fashioned mortar shape. The screw head usually has lathe turnings lines in its center.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/12/05 20:32:35 EST

Anvilbush, The Guru has to approve slck tub registrations by hand and he is about a month behind on registrations with everything else he does. Sit tight, he will get to it.

Steve in New York
   Smulch - Wednesday, 01/12/05 21:18:42 EST

Flypresses: Steve, Thomas left out inertia (although he did mention the weight). You pull the lever to move the flywheel and that turns the screw which pushes the ram. When it bottoms out ALL the inertia of the flywheel goes into the work. They are VERY controlable.

Now, where things get tricky is the rating. When the energy is expended in a SHORT distance like punching sheet metal then the press SIZE number is roughly the force in TONS. However when the energy is expended over a distance like in hot drifting, forming or punching thick work the force is much less per unit distance.

The maximum force is theoreticaly infinite. However, the machine frames spring and limit the maximum to just a little over the sheet metal rating. Note that this drops off rapidly also. The rating is at about .012 to .015" (0.3 to 0.4 mm) travel. Double the thickness of the metal worked and you HALF the rating.

For rating info and some general info see flypress.com. For blacksmith shop applications see our iForge demos (towards the bottom of the list). For other applications see our general press iForge articles.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 01:04:49 EST

Pub Registrations: I am actually a couple months behind. My goal is to get them all cleared up before the end of this month as I am taking off for a couple weeks. . .

You will get a response mail from me when it is setup.

Note that if I was sent a bad e-mail address then the registration is pulled. We get an amazing number of bad or typo addresses and these cost me about 10 times the usual setup to find and remove. . .

Sorry for the delays.

Note that new CSI members get registered immediately.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 01:12:55 EST

Mr. Turley. There was a PW post vise on eBay a couple of months ago and it was clearly marked as such. I think on the bench plate. This person also said theirs is clearly marked. On shape, I don't remember it being basically different than the typical one, perhaps a bit more graceful.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/13/05 08:18:26 EST

Post Vise Details: Ken, they all look alike in general. However, the American vises were very utilitarian and lacked the fine details of the English vises. Both had many hand forged parts but the English had a longer tradition in their manufacture and had finer details.

The "box" or nut on the English vices is usualy turned in a lathe after forging and the exterior decorated with lathe incised lines and sharpening of details with a file. On American vises it is just a rough forging.

The ball end of the screw is similarly finished and decorated on the English vices.

The shanks of the legs have crisp 45° chamfers that in some cases go beyond the octagon and create a square on diagonal. American vises usualy have no chamfers or low 30° chamfers.

The bench brackets on all the English vices I have seen were hand forged and quite nice forgings. There are several styles. One is a diamond and bean end and another a pair of scrolls. The American vises have a cast or drop forged triangular shaped bracket with round corners OR even a crude angle iron bracket and U-bolt.

The springs on some of the English vices were delicately tapered with chamfers, a fish tail flare at the bottom and a graceful S curve. Most of the American vises had very plain spring often without the bottom bend.

The one thing that was identical was the shape of the jaws down to the little duct tail flare over the screw. Like the shape of a violin this was perfected very early and never changed. Even early cast chipping vises had these same lines. Sadly most modern manufacturers have abandoned this perefect shape. None of the current manufacturers of blacksmith vises (even the English) have this kind of detail nor have duplicated the perfect proportions of the old makers. The Chinese versions are a cartoon caracture of the old style vises and are short on material. The Eastern European versions have no style at all being made to be as simple as possible to forge in closed dies.

Altogether the makers of the old vises made the same product the difference to the trained eye considerable. It is like the difference between a Chevrolet and Cadilac. It may sound picky but these are forged tools made for and used by blacksmiths. A blacksmith should immediately recognize the difference in fine details of workmanship since that IS the smith's business.

Functionaly it makes no difference (except in the moderm vises that are short on mass). The blacksmiths vise is still the best and only vise designed to withstand the work of the smith.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 10:23:16 EST

Is it possible, or has anyone tried to melt metal in a crucible using a gas forge?
   Dagmire - Thursday, 01/13/05 10:41:24 EST

Tried and succeeded. I tend to scavenge small amounts of scrap brass in utterly useless shapes; I recast them into ingots (which then sit on the shelf...). Watch out for zinc fumes.
   Peter - Thursday, 01/13/05 10:50:51 EST

Dagmire: Being more specific you can melt softer metals, such as brass, bronze and aluminum in a propane forge. You would not be able to melt say cast iron. The problem on soft metals is more getting a crucible in the forge.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/13/05 11:14:00 EST

I often melt down sterling silver scrap from my jewelry projects in my gas forge so I can recycle and roll out into sheet.Small amounts usually 3-5 oz I use a small casting crucible and it melts really fast.
   Chris Makin - Thursday, 01/13/05 11:34:06 EST

Melting in a forge: You can do this in gas, coal, charcoal and oil forges. As mentioned brass and bronze are no problem. Forges are too hot for aluminium and zinc. It can be done but you REALLY need to carefully watch the temperature.

One warning about melting in a gas forge, crucibles ocassionaly crack or break and the contents run out. The better melting furnaces have a drain port in the bottom so the liquid metal runs out rather than pooling and solidifying in the bottom of the furnace.

Spilled metal also eats into the refractory lining of forges with light weight refractories.

I have built several small crucible melting furnaces that are propane fired and they work great. A couple pounds of brass can be melted in about 10 minutes from start up. See our Gas Forge FAQ.

You can melt cast iron in a good gas forge but you need to be sure to use a good crucible with a lid and cover the melt with charcoal powder or flux. Again, a specialized melting furnace is recommended.

Any time you setup to do melting be sure ALL your tools and safety equipment are ready and you have practiced every move. Moves are the critical thing. Can you easily handle the crucible? Do you need to change tongs to pour? Where are you going to rest the 2,000 degree crucible while changing tongs and after pouring? Do you have a place to pour excess metal?

After you have a pot of melted metal is NOT the time to find out you don't have the proper tools to handle it or the ingot molds to pour excess metal into. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 11:36:17 EST

I have a vice may by the Trenton Vice works (see note in Anvils in America). This vise does have a lath turned nut with dedorative lines. Mouting plate is forge welded on the bottom. In contrast, I also have and Indian Chief vise made by Columbus Forge and Iron (I believe it is the same company who made Trenton anvils) that has a cast mounting plate.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 01/13/05 11:48:21 EST

Patrick, I'm guessing, looking at the vise engraving, that it is a Peter Wright, and may have been handled and sold via Trenton. Or, they might have scarfed up the engraving from elsewhere to make their brochure look good. I'm not a cynic, just cynical.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/13/05 12:32:43 EST

Guru, I thought the term flywheel indicated inertia was a factor?

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/13/05 12:32:46 EST

This may sound a bit unusual: I have a scabbard for a
Gurkha Khukuri knife that has a pointed brass tip. The tip can be removed (and replaced) to prevent stabbing yourself in the leg, but then the leather scabbard tends to get damaged. I think the solution is to simply hammer down the point on the tip so that it is more rounded. What's the best way to do that without warping the form of the rest of the brass tip?
> Thanks,
> JS
   Jim Sauer - Thursday, 01/13/05 12:33:04 EST

AaronR, email your way.
   Ellen - Thursday, 01/13/05 12:36:31 EST

Jim, If the part is solid the best thing to do would be to file the point. If it is hollow sheet metal then all I can say is "carefully".
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 13:23:03 EST

Vises: Some American vises may have had the nicer features (so I may be wrong) but those I have seen did not. Also note that many leg vise parts are interchangable. I had one that was made from several different flea market vises of various pedigrees. The box and screw out of one, bench bracket bought loose and spring shop made. I have another leg vise that I had to make the spring, screw handle, bracket and wedges (the one on the stump in our vise FAQ). I have had smiths look at it and comment on its great condition and not question the unusual mounting bracket. . . (its flame cut). Amazing what a little rust will hide.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 13:32:34 EST

I was looking at the Euro Anvils and will probably buy one this year. Question, what is the little shelf for on the side? The one that is an extension of the face, not the upsetting block on the bottome (that one is kind of self explanatory).
   MikeA - Thursday, 01/13/05 14:26:36 EST

Anvil Shelf Mike, The side shelf is for thin work that wraps around an edge. On London and American pattern anvils the heel of the anvil does the job on lighter anvils. However, even some of those had the side shelf added. Wheelwrights favored them. But on the German pattern anvil there is no heel so the shelf is a nice addition.

The fillet where the shelf meets the side of the anvil is also a handy place for making concave curves.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/05 14:44:45 EST

Patrick Nowak: The Trenton Vise and Tool Works in Trenton, NJ is a different company from the Columbus Forge and Iron Company in Columbus, OH, which made the Trenton anvil in the U.S. According to AIA, and discussions with Richard Postman, he is certain an H. Boker was the common element between the two. H. Boker was involved in the Trenton company and imported anvils from Germany, giving them the name of Trenton. Sometime in the late 1800s the Trenton company closed and after that H. Boker became a broker for Columbus Forge. Speculation is he suggested the name of Trenton for their anvil as it was already a known brand. Otherwise, they may have used the name of Buel (apparently their first anvil name) or Indian Chief. My understanding the major difference between a German Trenton anvil and the Columbus Forge one is the German anvil does not have the the depression in the base or a serial number. According to Mr. Postman the Germans also did a much better job of stamping in a deep logo.

The vise you have from Trenton very likely has a strong German design influence vs the one from Columbus Forge.

I suspect there will be additional information on the relationship with the publishing of Mr. Postman's follow-on book, More on Anvils.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/13/05 15:46:50 EST

Thanks every one.

Mr.Turley I was wondering how much your course in april is? I couldn't find a price on your site
   Aaron R - Thursday, 01/13/05 18:56:17 EST

Aaron R, I normally send a brochure to your slug address which has all the poop, including an application and a lodging guide. $2200 with a $500 deposit to hold your place, the deposit applying to the total cost of tuition. You may contact me through e-mail.
   - Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/13/05 19:46:34 EST

ITC 100.

What is the consitency before dilution. I've just opened a bottle and it's like toothpaste, is this right?
   Bob G - Thursday, 01/13/05 19:49:36 EST

Hello, I've been asked by a local museum to run a begining blacksmithing course. While I would not consider myself a begginer, (have had my own shop for over four years) I wouldn't consider myself all that much passed a begginer. I was wondering if someone could suggest some good projects for a simple two day beggining blacksmithing course. Thanks a lot.
   Sherk - Thursday, 01/13/05 20:31:13 EST

JIm Sauer,

I'm going to assume that the scabbard tip thingie (I can't remember the right name) is made of sheet brass, probably fairly thin. If so, just leave it in place on the scabbard and use a VERY light hammer with light rapid blows to bung the pointy end down. If you use a hammer that weighs much more than an ounce or two, you risk deforming the piece. With a light hammer, the blow is not transmitted deeply into the piece and should just upset the tip.
   vicopper - Thursday, 01/13/05 20:53:36 EST

can someone pleas tell me how best I could go about heat treating a cable damascus knife with a ball berring steel cuting edge, I am kind of nervous about the ball bering steel cracking or warping during the quench, anny advice would be great thanks, but quick advice would be better as I really want to go on to the etch to see the pattern.
   treavor - Thursday, 01/13/05 21:16:49 EST

Bob G the ITC 100 that i got not long ago was like really gritty mud pretty saturated though. I really cant thing of anything to compare it to. If mine was the right consistency it should be pretty thick and come out in chunks. It should stay together pretty well when your stirring it so you kind of have to mash it to break up the chunks.
   chris - Thursday, 01/13/05 21:30:12 EST

Guru: I am in finally in the process of rebuilding my old style L.G. 25 hammer and want to build a brake for it as I go. I have Manzers video and Kerns book , but am curious as to other designs and or plans for other types of brake designs. Which type is the most efficient/reliable setup? Are there any sources for diagrams etc. on the web? open to all ideas. hope to see many of you at Ironfest in Grapevine, TX this year.
   RC - Thursday, 01/13/05 22:31:00 EST

Guru I looked at the pieh tool company site and I couldnt find a post vise :( is it the vally vise I couldnt tell
   Aaron R - Thursday, 01/13/05 22:40:10 EST

to jesse and chelsi, who poasted way up above, I havent forged for verry long now but have found a ton of resorces {finding anvilfire was a great start}, and the mistakes that a beginner can make are still verry fresh in my mind, so if you need help finding an answer or a resorce, I may be able to point you in the right direction. my e mail adress is treavor-whitlock@yahoo.com
   - treavor - Thursday, 01/13/05 23:21:16 EST

Hey I was thinking a lot of people tend to ask the same questions on how to get into blacksmithing, where they can get parts ect. I was thinking since I am on the same path I could document my journey as it happens on a web site and ocasionaly ask some of the many wise folks here for input. What do you all think?
   Michael Gora - Thursday, 01/13/05 23:44:31 EST

Treavor - My guess for the ball bearing steel edge would be that it's 52100. Based on that, I'd quench in oil - if you want to slow the quench some, heat the oil up a bit say to 120 degrees F or so. To also help minimize distortion, keep the temperature before quench as low as possible - you'll want it non-magnetic but not excessively hot. My guess for temperature ahead of the quench would be about 1400 to 1450 degrees F. The lower the temperature ahead of the quench the less distortion you typically get. Good luck
   - Gavainh - Friday, 01/14/05 00:01:42 EST

Michael Gora:

Good idea, go for it!

Cloudy, windy, and rainy in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Friday, 01/14/05 00:09:05 EST

The scabbard thingie is called (I believe) a "chape". On longer sword scabbards it is also sometimes refered to as a "drag"; but if you're dragging your khukuri, you've got big trouble.

Mid 60s and about to jump off the climatic cliff on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 01/14/05 00:22:17 EST

I don't have specs infront of me, but I thought the suggested heat treat for 52100 included a slow preheat then a soak at temp, and then quench? But is my memory were are talking about;-)
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 01/14/05 01:26:33 EST

Sherk: You might contact the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil (SOF&A) chapter of ABANA. They have been teaching introduction of blacksmithing classes for over 25 years on a fairly regular basis. Ask for the outline of their course. I would suggest including a book, such as Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing, and using it as a study guide so to speak. Demonstrate a basic step and then have the students do it as part of a take-home item. Then have the final project a pair of tongs as it includes many of the basic steps.

It has been about 25 years since I took the SOF&A class. Remember making a gate hook out of 3/8" square, fireplace set of poker, rake and flat shovel, pair of L-shaped wall brackets with a scroll under it, tongs from 3/4" square and 3/8" round stock and then a you design and build small project.

As much as what to make, you need to consider the equipment to make it. I will make the assumption the museum hasn't given you an open budget. If you don't include forge welding, you can likely use a couple of propane forges, which would be far simplier than coal forges. One with access from both ends would potentially allow up to four students to use the same forge at once.

For anvils, the 110 pound cast steel Asian imports would be marginal, but inexpensive and readily available. www.grizzly.com has some cast iron anvils which at least look like anvils. Their 100 pounders are $110 plus $55.00 delivery. However, first timers are likely to hit the anvil more than the work and would likely ding up a cast iron one quickly.

On tooling, there is eBay for holding down the cost there. I recommend going to www.ebay.com and then doing an advanced search on blacksmith with a results per page count of 200. It will give you a good idea of what is available there. The advertisers on the forum would have new equipment. Since I make equipment and tools designed for the low-end user, there is also the possibility of my putting together a package for you less anvils.

Having gone through the process myself, and tried to pass on what I have learned, I would recommend your emphasizing, as the first lesson, hammer control and technique (keeping the elbow into the body and using the shoulder for hard hits, elbow for medium hits and wrist for light hits. The 'secret' to blacksmithing is often given as "Get it hot and hit it hard". Actually more to than than first glance. My observation is new students tend not to get the metal hot enough to start and to keep working it too long. To quote Francis Whitaker, "No one every made any money hitting cold iron". Hitting it hard is just that. I remember being almost afraid to hit the metal hard for fear of breaking it or something. During my beginners class Larry Wood, the instructor at the time, took the work away from me, hit it about three times, and moved more metal than I had with probably three heats.

I would suggest starting with no more than four students for the first couple of classes. Once you have some experience in it, you might go up to eight.

I suspect you will find teaching others to be both an enjoyable and fustrating experience.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 07:48:22 EST

Treavor and Gavainh, Seems odd, but hot oil quenches faster than room temperature oil because of the viscosity change.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/14/05 09:48:55 EST

Thanks for the advice on melting metal in a gas forge. You all really helped.
   Dagmire - Friday, 01/14/05 10:32:09 EST


Thanks, chape is the term I was unable to remember.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/14/05 11:17:57 EST

"You can melt cast iron in a good gas forge but you need to be sure to use a good crucible with a lid and cover the melt with charcoal powder or flux. Again, a specialized melting furnace is recommended."

Can you please tell me more about this process? I have one of Hans Peot's round forced air forges. I left some cast iron in it one day to fetch a cup of coffee from the house and found the direct flame had melted part of it. Thus, I know it gets hot. What would be a source of small lidded crucibles? What would be a flux for the top? Not something I would plan to do for a while, but would like the background information.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 11:27:29 EST

Ken, a good source of crucibles is www.graphitestore.com. These aren't lidded crucibles, but they work very well for making crucible cast steel in a gas forge. Silicon carbide crucibles are also available and will not increase the carbon content of the melt as graphite can, but cost about four times as much. For a flux/air barrier for melting steel, lime or glass works fine. Not sure about cast iron. A nice reducing atmosphere in the forge is more important than flux. This is where blower-style gas forges beat the kaowool off venturi forges.
   Alan-L - Friday, 01/14/05 12:04:38 EST

ITC-100: If you bought it from us it came with mixing and application instructions. The same can also be found in our store. We have more information about the ITC product line than ANYONE, including the factory.

ITC-100 is shipped as a paste. Add 1/3 water by volume, chop up and mix, let sit for a few hours or overnight and mix again. The setting helps break up lumps. The consistancy should be like heavy cream. Shake or mix again if it sets for any significant time as it will settle.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/05 12:20:51 EST

Vicopper, are you bidding on the calipers on Ebay?
   Tone - Friday, 01/14/05 12:59:29 EST


Yes, sort of half-heartedly. I can always use a few more if the price is right. Saves me having to walk across the shop to the machinist's chest if I have a couple right by the forge. I'm pretty cheap, though. I'll almost certainly get outbid.

Ken Scharabok,

If you want to melt iron or steel, I definitely recommend spending the extra money for the silicon carbide crucible. They are several times stronger than graphite and more resistant to metals and flux, as well. There's nothing quite as exciting as picking up a crucible full of molten metal and having it fall apart in the tongs, dumping the melt all over the floor. This is where good planning and safety practices really pay off, but the better crucible avoids the problem.

Anytime you are casting, I recommend working in a sand pit so that any spills don't splash or run. All the proper personal safety equipment, too. Molten metal is totally unforgiving.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/14/05 13:07:18 EST

I'll refrain from outbidding you.
   Tone - Friday, 01/14/05 13:15:42 EST

Vicopper I picked up a trashed mic onec for a buck---I like to use it as a clamp for welding when I know a machinist is going to stop by---helps to clean their arteries...

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/14/05 13:17:57 EST

ebay holding prices DOWN?: Not on your life. More blacksmithing equipment has been sold on ebay at highly inflated prices than anywhere else. Practicaly all good old anvils listed go for double what you would expect at a tailgate sale. Often old anvils go for several times more than a NEW Peddinghaus. Some MIGHT be considered collector's items but most are simply OLD anvils.

In fact, ebay prices have driven used anvil prices to the point that you can buy NEW high quality STEEL anvils from folks like Euroanvils for LESS than old worn out Peter Wrights and Hay Buddens at tailgate sales and places like SOFA. Euroanvils has been selling every trailer load of anvils they take to major events because ebay has driven used anvil prices out of sight.

The only "cheap" anvil prices on ebay are the Chinese junk that is WAY over priced when sold on ebay. These things should be selling for 50 cents a pound at best and then NEVER recommended except as a last resort.

If you are just a LITTLE patient and follow our advise for finding a used anvil at a good price you can get a good REAL anvil for the same money as one of those Chinese FAUX anvils (ASO - Anvil Shaped Object) on ebay. Recommendstions follow.

Finding an Anvil:

1) Tell everyone you know or meet and ALL your relatives no matter how distant that you are looking for blacksmithing tools, particularly an anvil. You would be surprised how often this works. That widowed Aunt of yours that you barely know has her deceased husband's collection of tools hiding in the basement waiting for the RIGHT person to need them.

2) Go to your local blacksmithing meets. Even though ebay has driven UP the price of good used anvils there are still deals to be had. Don't be afraid to dicker. Note that a beat to pieces broken down worn out OLD OLD real anvil is a MUCH better tool than a bright shiney ASO.

3) Ask in every hardware store, junk shop and antique shop. FOLLOW the leads. Now, this is a matter of personality. The FINDERS I know can go to ANY county in ANY state in the US and in an afternoon find several good prospects simply by ASKING and following the leads. Anvils were used in the US by the tens of millions and most of them still exist. There are also still tens of thousands of old power hammers out there. City or country, it does not matter. In the city ask at machine shops and welding shops as well as the corner drug store. Places where old pharts hang out and shoot the breeze are the best.

4) If you are desperate and are not a FINDER then place a small classified ad in your local news paper. In many places the are "free trader" papers where ads cost nothing. Be prepared for the flood of folks looking to buy OR sell! I sold a dozen anvils and bunch of other equipment in one weekend with a FREE ad. I would have been swamped if I had placed the ad in the widely distributed local newspaper. . .

5) Last, if none of the above works for you then save your money and buy NEW. Good tools cost money but are always a good investment. You will not regret it.

NOTE: After years of answering questions about low cost tools on the Internet from folks with iPods, wide screen HD TV's and MUCH better PC's than I have I find the whole issue a little tiring. If you (or your parents) can afford all that gee-whiz technology with only a couple year life (a really BAD investment) then a NEW anvil, a tool that lasts almost FOREVER is dirt cheap. . .
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/05 13:19:07 EST

Melting CI in a crucible: Most forges will melt and burn mild steel. If you can weld in the forge then you can melt CI which has a much lower melting point than steel. The trick is the MASS. If your forge is only good for heating half inch bar or so then don't expect to melt 10 pounds of CI in it.

You can use borax as a flux cover for most metals. Just be sure to skim it and the collected dross of the melt before pouring (standard practice).

I agree with the silicon carbide crucibles. Note that one reason that crucible tongs must be carefully fitted to the crucible is that these materials, while they DO hold up to the molten metal, soften and become weaker at these elevated temperatures. Test and FIT those pickup tools!

For details there are a number of back yard foundry sites where the guys show melting cast iron in a propane fired furnace. For details of building these furnaces see the four books by Steve Chastain (our book review page) or by CW Ammen.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/05 13:31:10 EST

LG Brake: RC, The design used by Dave is the only one I have ever seen retrofited to a Little Giant and it works better than some factory designs on other hammers. It is simple and it works well. You DO have to clean up the crank wheel.

Take everything in the Kern book with a grain of salt. On one hand they show big machines being used to resurface parts and on the other they show some of the worst back yard repairs ever. The attitude in the Kern book is the typical "its a hammer, treat it like one, fix it with a bigger hammer". Well, no, they are a MACHINE TOOL and should be cared for like one and when making repairs should be treated like a machine tool. Tight smooth working guides make a huge differnce in performance and control. This is followed by snug fitting joints in the toggles.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/05 13:47:10 EST

Fionnbhar - mea culpa, didn't even think of the slow preheat issue and soaking to insure carbides were in solution. (Since most of my heat treating background is commercial, those issues are addressed without conciously thinking about them I should have been more thorough for a newer smith.) I was more concerned about potential grain growth and enhanced chance of cracking by using a high austenitizing temperature. Frank - pretty much the same issue with heating the oil - I'm used to having heated oil (known composition with consistent, known viscosity) maintained at a temperature in commercial heat treating operations, so you have consistent results. I was looking at it again from both an initial shock and uniform heat transfer viewpoint believing that moderately heated oil would coat the blade better, quench more evenly (though faster than unheated oil) and minimize distortion. So, what would I use - I'd include Fionnbhar's suggestion to heat slowly, hold at temp to dissolve carbides, and still use a low austenitizing temperature. I'd probably still go with moderately heated oil - I could very well be wrong, but think you'll end up with less distortion and adequate hardness. (A lot depends on the type of oil used - if you're using a very light viscosity oil to begin with, I'd just go with room temperature - assuming that room temperature is 60 to 80 degrees F).
   - Gavainh - Friday, 01/14/05 14:18:52 EST

On eBay and anvils also take shipping into consideration. It can be more than the cost of the anvil itself.

I have look at almost all anvil listings on eBay anvil for about two years. I also go to Quad-State. I have seen some sell for far less than Quad-State prices and some for far more. The really high dollar ones are mostly being sold by matchlessantiques. He lists quality anvils, does an excellent job of presenting them and offers a money back guarantee. His prices reflect his superior service as much as the product value. On his knowing his product, it doesn't hurt to be Richard Postman's neighbor.

Outside of large/heavy items (such as anvils, forges, vises and powerhammers) you can find some good tool deals on eBay. Tailgate sellers are generally less, but then how many folks have access to them?

If you are a professional who earns a living through you tools then go with high-quality new ones. If you are a hobbiest eBay is just another potential source of supply.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 15:01:52 EST

The other advantage of tailgate sales at a blacksmiths gathering is that for the neophyte there are knowledgable people to ASK if something is a good deal or if in bad condition. It is also unheard of at Chapter meets to have some shyster claiming his cast iron ASO is "heat treated steel with great rebound". ebay is flooded with crooks misrepresenting their products. We have outed many here. True there are many honest good folks doing business on ebay but due to the annonimity and the GREAT DIFFICULTY getting satisfaction via the ebay system it has become a haven for flim flamers, software pirates, cheats and crooks of every kind. Sending ANYONE there to buy a product they are not very familiar with is a diservice.

Where WE would run the scoundrels out of town, ebay courts the crooks and protects them under "privacy rules" and a system of delays. I have had a couple occasions where I had to go through the ebay system and they have so many roadblocks and delays it is virtualy impossible to get satisfaction even when the crooks are breaking the law. ebay gives crooks MORE than enough time to move on, setup another phoney ID and start all over again without fear of ever getting caught. The problem is so endemic that most of the courses about "how to do business on ebay" emphasize this.

If shipping is not a problem then going to a blacksmiths gathering is no more of a problem. You do not need to go to the BIG conventions to find tailgaters. I have seen them at almost every regular monthly meeting of ever chapter I have attended. In the more densely populated areas of the country you can go to a chapter meet every weekend. Regional meets now cover the country quite well and there are so many that if you are willing to travel you can go to more than one a month from spring through fall.

Even hobbiests deserve to use good tools. I have known guys to beat themselves to death using a RR-Rail anvil and then the first time they use a REAL anvil exclaim,
"WOW! I would have saved for a REAL anvil if I'd known there was so much difference!"
For those that are not so driven poor tools can easily drive them away. Forging can be frusrtating enough without having an anvil that is too small and bounces around, has no rebound and the edges break off the first time you get close to them.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/05 16:04:19 EST

Please don't cover all of us eBay sellers with the same tar brush. I sold almost $21K, mostly blacksmithing related tools, on it last year and I'll put my seller reputation up against anyone, anywhere. I am the only supply source in the world, as far as I know, for some of my items. Any source will have their hustlers, shysters, high pricers (Bill Gishner comes to mind) and competent sellers. Comes down to knowing what you are buying and what it is worth.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 16:26:27 EST

Dear Guru,

i am a begining blacksmith and i have just colected my anvil and forge(gas) and was wondering how big of a flou do i need to not catch my garage on fire(parents wouldnt like it too much ya know)? i would like to add that while i was starting out everyone helped me so much. Thank you!!!!
John S
   John S - Friday, 01/14/05 16:29:09 EST

Hello. I'm sorry I can't give an email address; I'm a student on a school computer and I'm researching blacksmithing. I was told by somebody that this was the place to go. Can you please give me some basic information on blacksmithing?
   - Lisa - Friday, 01/14/05 17:40:07 EST

Lisa: See if your library (school or public) can get you a loaner copy of Alex Bealer's "The Art of Blacksmith". It will give you a good, basic introduction.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 18:01:31 EST

John, I've run gas forges in several garages with no flue. What is needed is VENTILATION! I would run with the garage door and any windows and any other doors open---even in the winter. As long as your gas forge is not too close to burnables the fire hazard is mainly you dropping/flipping steel around.

I mounted my gas forge to a gas grill where I removed the grill unit and bolted sheet steel where it used to go. That way I could wheel the forge just outside the garage door and use my tools inside the garage. It holds a 20# tank too!

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/14/05 18:32:16 EST


What aspects of blackmithing are you interested in? Some more specific questions might help us in providing you with information. Are you interested in the art aspect? Historical? Modern applications? It is a surprisingly broad field.


I'll have to back Ken up on this one. I've found a number of excellent deals on eBay, but then I've also seen many things listed that were such crap, or so overpriced that I had to chuckle out loud. Unfortunately, in any open market scenario, the rats will find a home. The technological aspects of online marketing just allow them to scurry into the dark corners faster than in the old days. That said, the brazen nature of some of these hucksters is impressive (can anyone say "frankie8acres"?).

What was it P. T. Barnum once said? (grin)

   eander4 - Friday, 01/14/05 18:43:19 EST

My Ebay/Antuque anything rule is "What would I be willing to pay for it new?" and leave it at that. For tooling, I'm inclined to price shop, looking at Kayne, etc., and at Ebay and STOP BIDDING when the price of the piece and shipping excedes that of new materials.

Yes, some antiques (Usually NOT blacksmithing tools) have additional value due to their age, but 99% of the time, you cannot be absolutly sure something is antiuqe. This is true of many antique shops, and especially true of EBay. If you pay no more than what you would for new material, then even if it is a fake antique, you haven't truely been burned (assuming, of course, it's in good condition).

So, I would advise folk to look at EBay, but shop smartly.
   Monica - Friday, 01/14/05 18:48:37 EST

I wonder what the liability would be for a "Burned by X on Ebay" list? A website where one can give ratings for sellers... Sure, they change their names periotically, but it may save a few folk heartburn before the rats catch on.

Ken, I have some favored suppliers on Ebay, and some favored wish lists. I wonder if you're on the list? Feel free to drop me a line with your seller ID. I'm looking to incrase my tooling now that I have an anvil with a new sized hardie hole.
   Monica - Friday, 01/14/05 18:56:00 EST

I've bought most of my shop from ebay, including some items from Ken Scharabok. The one thing I havn't been able to find is a decent anvil at a reasonable price. I did get a nice 5" post vice and a buffalo blower for $80 ea plus shipping.

For me, the hardest thing was learning to let things go when the price gets too high. I now decide on a max price I am willing to pay for an item after figuring the shipping as well, then I watch the item and come back very close to closing. If it is under my price I bid, if not I just delete it. I personally have only had one bad experience and that was buying a dumb trading card for my kid.
   FredlyFX - Friday, 01/14/05 19:13:32 EST

FredlyFX: I use the same basic bidding technique. I determine the absolute most I'm willing to pay delivered to my yard. I then subtract out S&H and that is my bid amount. If I have a question on an item and the seller doesn't reply, I don't bid. I'm overbid about 75% of the time. Old saying in poker is if you aren't folding at least 60% of your hands before final bidding you are likely losing money - I think the same concept applies to eBay.

Some sellers will gouge you on S&H. Some look like they make more money from it than the item itself. Our bidding technique somewhat protects us from that.

I have bought some dogs, but when I looked back it was almost totally my fault. Lessons learned.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 19:30:15 EST

Monica: If you are upgrading to a larger hardy hole you can still use your old tooling by using shims. There was a discussion on this about a week or so ago.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/14/05 19:33:01 EST

Sort of an odd question,,
One of my good friends died recently and I am holding a memorial at my workshop. I expect we will share a few words etc. and raise a glass...
The question is to ring an anvil for his memory, Is there a generally accepted protocol ? Like how many rings, timing between taps etc.
I have already undone the chainwrap and set washers under the anvil feet, 'Tuning up' the instrument so to speak,,,

Thanks, Sven
   - Sven - Friday, 01/14/05 20:50:30 EST

I am about to attend the John C. Campbell School in February and wanted to bring some of my own hammers and files...I am small (5'1 and 115 lbs.)and I was wondering if it is better to try and find these smaller hammers you mentioned on line or is it just as easy to find them at a local tool supplier. I am in Central Louisiana and have been having a hard time finding a place that carries the materials I am looking for. It is not a problem for me to go elsewhere in the state to find these items but I cannot find a suplier that is specific to blacksmithing. Any advice would be appreciated
Thank you very much,
Susan Ratcliff
   Susan Ratcliff - Friday, 01/14/05 21:13:41 EST

We had a member of our abana chapter die about a year ago and what we did was at the next meeting we all lined up at the anvil and had a hammer resting on the anvil and each of us took it in turn to ring the hammer on the anvil and then the next person would do it and then another etc. etc. No specific timing or anything like that. Just that everyone got a turn. Hope this helps and I'm sorry you lost your freind.
   - oil quench - Friday, 01/14/05 21:30:11 EST


re: P. T. Barnum.

"There's a sucker born every minute!" (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/14/05 21:35:36 EST

Susan Ratcliff, Use the pulldown menu, upper right, to check our advertisers, and try to find a hammer maybe between 1 amd 2 pounds.

eBay. If the photo(s) of the object are dark, fuzzy, and murky, don't bid.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/14/05 21:36:15 EST


When we rang the Anvil for Francis Whitaker and a others since, we "tolled" the anvil, one ring for each year of his life. If there are several folks who want to participate, divide the age of the deceased by the number of people who want to ring him or her out.

In TRB, I had the crew toll the anvil 15 times apiece and then the new "owner" rang the last three strokes to make a total of 63.

Tolling is not the same as ringing the anvil. It's done with a measured, slow cadence to testify to the sorrow of the mourners and the loss to the community.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/14/05 21:40:51 EST

Anybody who calls the late, great Bill Gichner a hustler, shyster, high pricer (q.v. Scharabok post above)is simply libeling a competitor. Bill knew precisely what his tools and books were worth. He knew how hard they are to find. He knew that they are not making any more. Bill loved smithing and he was always ready to help a smith. That kind of cheap shot does not belong in this forum
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 01/14/05 21:41:38 EST


Let me give a personal testimonial to one of Anvilfire's advertisers.

Kayne and Son (new name is Blacksmith's Depot) are less than 50 miles from the John C. Campbell school and are some of the finest people I know. I've traded with them for close to 15 years, and have not been disappointed one time!

Tell them that Paw Paw sent you. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/14/05 21:45:16 EST


I'm going to have to split my vote on this issue. Bill Gichner was a darn fine smith who probably gave away more tools than some of us own. But he also charged full value for the tools he sold, and rightly so.

Ken, I don't think you really meant to lump Bill in with the crooks, but that's the way the message sounded.

Pax Vosbiscum, folks!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 01/14/05 21:50:08 EST

Hello, I'm a semi-retired long time metalworker and have been dabbling in art for a couple of years now. The process includes cutting figurine patterns in mild steel 1/8" sheet with a cutting torch. It's fast and works ok, but i've been thinking lately that maybe a bandsaw or heavy duty scroll saw would be a better choice for this task. The scroll saw i have is a robust and serious 18" machine, but will it be to sloow? Eugene
   E. Kenny - Friday, 01/14/05 22:36:11 EST


Yes, it will be too slow. Unless you're waaaaaay more patient than I am, anyway. (grin)

I also have a very robust and serious commercial duty scroll saw that has cut a lot of metal, but I don't use it for steel unless I have to do something with such teeny little radii that nothing else will do. For everything else, I use the bandsaw.

even a relatively inexpensive bandsaw will work great for 1/8" mild steel plate, as long as you can get the blade speed down to under about 1200 fpm. I've cut thousands of feet of steel plate with a Taiwanese 14" bandsaw with the 4-speed jackshaft option. The big secret is to buy nothing but the best quality bimetal blades in the correct pitch for the work.

Another possibility you might well consider would be a plasma cutter. For 1/8" steel, one of the smaller units would work pretty well and they leave a nicer kerf than a torch. You'll need to have a compressor to supply the air, though.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/14/05 23:08:51 EST

OK it seems to me that you do not yet have tools yet. If this is the case I would say wait untill after the school because then you will have a more informed idea of what your needs really will be.
Of course this advice goes out the window if the school said to bring your own tools. Hmmm mebbee not either they may want you to bring tools that YOU are comfortable with. And if you have not used the tools first how will you know that they are comfy?(smile) So I will go with my gut instinct. Wait till after the school to buy tools.
   Ralph - Saturday, 01/15/05 00:08:58 EST

Something that I wrote a couple of years ago, I don't know that the idea is original, but feel free to use it where you will.

A Toast to a Fallen Hammer

He was heated in the forge of life, shaped by the hammer of Christ on the anvil of God, quenched in tears of sorrow and joy, tempered in the hearts of those who loved him, and has gone to find his place in the gates of Heaven.

Three times we ring our anvils in his memory. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen
   habu - Saturday, 01/15/05 02:22:57 EST

I knew Bill Gishner through Quad-States. I intended no disrespect for him. I think you have to differentiate between the value of service and the value of merchandise. His prices were always top dollar; however, if he had something of yours he wanted to he would trade at about equal value. I have seen Mr. Gishner buy tools at Quad-State, take them to his blue tarp and increase the price by several times. Nol Putnam once told me he bought a lot of tools from Mr. Gishner and paid dearly for them. However, he said when he needed a tool for a job he needed it right then, Mr. Gishner had it and could get it to him right then. That was worth the extra cost to him. Like matchlessantiques on anvils, he offered a service in excess of the value of the item. I am also aware Mr. Gishner donated a lot to tools to various blacksmithing causes.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 01/15/05 03:38:06 EST


You will not find the small hammers locally, BUT they have some at the Folkschool. They actually have quite a bit of tooling for many things, but you are better off to supply your own files. That said, you might want to get an 800 gram german pattern crosspein (that's about 1.9 lbs) from one of the online suppliers and ask the course instructor to help you dress the face when you get to the folkschool. There is something to be said for using your own hammer, after all.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 01/15/05 09:43:04 EST

Tools at Schools: I prefer to take my own personal favorites but be sure they are clearly marked YOURS. I usualy carry my apron, favorite tongs and a couple hammers at a minimum when I do a demo. But these are MY favorites that I am used to using. As Ralph pointed out if you have little experiance and have no favorites yet it does not hurt to wait.

Hammer sizes from common hardware suppliers are somewhat limited. As Frank and Alan pointed out your best bet is one of our advertisers. The German cross piens come in more sizes than you can count and are relatively inexpensive. HOWEVER, as Alan noted you WILL have to dress the face for it to be useful. They come with a rough grind that needs more crown added and the corners well radiused. See our hammer weight conversion chart on our FAQ's page. It is handy enough that I have seen printouts of it at a number of schools. Note that the conversions are rounded to the nearest common sizes.

I would get two hammers. The weights Frank mentioned are good starting weights depending on your size and strength. The advantage of having a lighter hammer is that when you get tired you can use it rather than overdoing and hurting yourself. If you are slight of stature I would get a 600 gram hammer as a "light" hammer. If you are strong and perhaps have done some carpenty work I would get an 800 gram hammer as a light hammer.

Something I do not have but would be handy for working in other's shops is a small tool caddy like the farriers use. This gives you a place to put your tools, a way to carry them AND it more clearly defines them as YOURS. When you work in an environment where most of the tools are supplied, folks tend to pick up ANY tool they see.

At the BigBLU Power Hammer school I had trouble with folks picking up my VERY handy side offset tongs, which are handmade and not quite heavy enough for power hammer use. . I had also brought my 5/8" german bolt tongs which I like much better than those made by current makers. They also kept walking off. I think that if they had been in a box with my name on it folks would have known to ASK first. This is also a good reason NOT to take your own tools if there is no need.

I have found welding suppliers to be the best place for leather aprons and other safety equipment. You may also find the hardware store in a rural farming community just a few miles from a big city will carry a few farriers tools that you cannot find in the city. But our advertisers/sponsors are THE nations blacksmiths suppliers and the best place to find what you are looking for.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/05 13:53:20 EST

Also, owners often mark their tools in some manner, such as a particular color paint on the end of handles, reins or shanks. Sometimes it ends arguments quickly as to which tool belongs to whom.

When you return from Campbell, please provide a review of your experience.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 01/15/05 14:02:42 EST

Bill Gichner: Please see page 2 of the current NEWS.

Bill's prices were often higher than most of like to pay but they were never more than the items were WORTH. Bill was often known to offer credit to complete strangers. The first time I met him in the early 1980's he offered me a rack of tongs at a bargain price and simply said, "we will work it out". I spent $500 with him that day and declined the offer of credit.

Bill helped a lot of smiths get into business and is one of the people that made blacksmithing in the US what it is today. He was an opinionated, sly old rascle but he was absolutely honorable and very generous.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/05 14:38:35 EST

P. T. Barnum and ebay: The problem with ebay as well as the uncontrolled flood of SPAM is that just a few years ago that vast majority of the population never had the misfortune to get caught up in a deal with a con-man or flim flam man. Today the crooks are everywhere on the internet and in our mail boxes. People that would never in their life be exposed to a con are attacked by them daily. Yep, there is an innocent born every minute but now the con men have the ability to work their oily deals on them by the TENS of MILLIONS with little effort.

ebay IS a wonderful resource for those that understand the risks but it is no place for a neophyte. First you have the problems associated with an auction and ease of over bidding due to auction fever. Then you have misrepresented items and items that often do not exist. Combine this with a system that makes it VERY difficult to pursue a complaint and gives the crooks more than sufficient time to hide and it is a very rough place to do business.

I've bought many things on ebay from some very nice people. But I have also had business with the lowest of low lives worse than any I have met in real life.

When ebay starts confronting the VERY serious problems they have then I will stop being hard on ebay. Until then I will continue to vehemently warn people that ebay is a safe haven for crooks, theives, conmen and pirates and that they should be VERY careful doing business there.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/05 15:09:23 EST

Paint on Tools: A number of years ago I started marking my tools with white paint. Then I had a fellow working in my shop and we marked his with blue. The system worked pretty good in-house and at demos. But then I went to the BigBLU hammer school and Steve had the tools for each station marked with spray paint, white, orange, blue. . . In house I had also forgotten that tools I had inherited from a brother in-law had the same Ford blue on them that my apprentice chose.

If you mark your tools with paint pick two or more colors. Use one as a base and make one or more stripes with the others. The probability of matching someone elses is pretty low. This system of marking comes from that used on arrows. Those pretty stripes on the shank of an arrow were not there for decoration, they were the owners ID.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/05 15:20:13 EST

I have a very simple system for keeping my tools separate from other poeple's. About a hundred thousand square miles of salt water does the trick just fine. (grin)

When I host a hammer-in (hopefully next year), I'll have to make some adjustments, perhaps.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/15/05 16:16:06 EST

Seriously, since we're supposed to be metalsmiths, we might consider using our touchmarks on tools we make or on "boughten" tools that can be heated and stamped. For the rest, a set of letter stamps would work, along with Jock's color-coded striping system.

   vicopper - Saturday, 01/15/05 16:20:10 EST

I agree with Vicopper, and also remind y'all that you can burn your initials or logo into any wood-handled tool with a soldering iron (or a hot touchmark). Easy and clear.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 01/15/05 18:05:25 EST

Back in my days as a mechanic I did what was advised at the time to do with ALL your valuable posessions. I marked them with my name and social security number! Every wrench, socket and screw driver. Thousands of pieces. Some even had my business name and address on them.

It did absolutely no good when all my sockets and ratchets were stollen. . . The local detective must have asked me "what distinquishing marks" ten times until I gave up. . .

How things change. . .

Most of the tools I make need no marking as they are so individualistic. The paint works best when you have a pile of tools all mixed together and its time to sort them all out, especially at the end of the job and its time to clean up and go home. My brother in-law that used Ford blue on his tools lived with three other fellows in one house and they ALL had Craftsman tools and when any one of them had a project (like disassembling a V-8 in the kitchen) ALL the tools came out and ended up in a big mixed pile on the floor. . . Obvious easy to see markings were the only way to go.

   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/05 18:07:07 EST

Tool Marking. A few of my homemade tools have the steel SAE/AISI letter and number stamped into them hot. That way, you won't get kung-fused when when you go to re-work them, and it's a form of ID, because not everyone does it.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/15/05 18:42:16 EST

Hey All, Finally got the bearings for my old Champion blower (it'll take some shims to make it work perfectly, but good enough for goverment work as is), now I need to know how much and what weight oil to to put in it for the gear oil bath. Also, I still want to get into the "Pub", any suggestions....still no response on my email request. Thanks, Roland
   Roland - Saturday, 01/15/05 23:29:43 EST

Stamping your touch mark would be great if you *NEVER* sell, trade, or give away any tools. Paint can be altered at least.

There is another MOBster out there who had the same tool colour as me only darker---we ribbed each other a lot about the other having the "wrong shade" and I offed to bleach his tools to the "proper" shade.

In these days of identity theft putting your social security number on something that might be stolen is not a good idea.

Thomas down two postvises after a sale/swap today
   Thomas P - Saturday, 01/15/05 23:44:01 EST

Howdy to everyone! it sure has been awhile since i've been on here. Anyway, i have a question that pertains to knifemaking. i am making a small dagger for a guy out of some 5160 coil spring. the blade will be about 6" long. For the tempering, would a toaster oven work, or is there something else that would work better. I've only made single edged knives so far, and to temper them, i'll apply heat to the back edge and watch the edge until it turns blue. I read in the new edge of the anvil that that was the correct temper. is it? oh, i almost forgot. if the toaster oven will work, how do determine the temperature of the oven and thelength of time that i "bake" the blade? Or if someone out there knows already, well, i would greatly appreciate the input.
Well, thanks abunch for the help!
Ian Wille
   Blueboy - Sunday, 01/16/05 00:04:58 EST

Frank's hot stamping post reminded me:

Does anyone know where I can buy one (1) 1/8" letter punch out of a set. I was marking some strap hinges for the GIC about a month ago, and the "T" went flying across the forge, and hasn't been seen to this day. I figured that I'd look for a replacement at the Blacksmiths' Guild of the Potomac Spring Fling, but it looks like I'm not going to make it due to some other obligations with the Longship Company and the reenactment groups (all on the same weekend).

n.b. Now that it's 2005, I can date everything with MMV instead of MMIV. I really liked 2000 (MM)!

Back down into the 20s on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 01/16/05 01:24:50 EST

1) The correct name of my late friend was Bill Gichner, that's with a c. 2) Onliest person I know of who ever seriously questioned the propriety of a businessman making a profit was Thomas Aquinas, and he could afford the luxury of that position on account of he was a saint. 3) If you can't spot the value of a tool so as to buy it cheap and sell it high, and somebody else can, why, my goodness, that's just tough, but, then, so is life, ain't it the truth?
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/16/05 02:05:04 EST

Blueboy: toaster ovens work great as long as the blade is short enough to fit. Proper color for temper will vary with what steel you use and your intended purpose, better to use more objective tests like the brass rod test for checking temper. On average blue tends to be on the soft side of acceptable temper range, it'd be better on a chopper then a whittling knife, but again it depends on the steel. I haven't used 5160 so I can't give specific help for that.
   AwP - Sunday, 01/16/05 05:16:18 EST

Blueboy... Inexpensive, small over thermometers (maybe 1 1/2 dia) should be available wherever kitchen stuff is sold.
   - djhammerd - Sunday, 01/16/05 09:58:44 EST

I have some silver solder marked 'Silver-O', and cannot find anything in my books, or on the web. Do you happen to know its composition, ie silver/copper/phosphorus content or any idea as to its suitablility for use on steel.
With thanks in advance
   Glyn - Sunday, 01/16/05 10:55:45 EST

Bruce, Tie a magnet on a string and drag the magnet around the shop, when you don't have anything better to do.

Blueboy, 5160 is oil hardening. Normalize 1600F/1700F; Anneal 1450F/1500F; Harden 1500F/1550F. Toaster ovens aren't all that great because they cycle above and below the temperature setting, giving you an average. If you need to use one, set it at 500F for tempering, if the oven goes that high. 500F equals about a copper color when tempering by "heat rainbow".
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/16/05 10:56:19 EST

I will look around the shop upon my return from Ohio next Friday. We have several hundred orphan stanps, and I suspect a little T stamp needs a good home. I will advise Monday next.
   ptree - Sunday, 01/16/05 11:09:03 EST

Marking tools:

I use the paint system but adopted the cresting method used by archers to identify arrows, which is a series of rings or stripes and went to white, black, yellow in that order. You can dip small tools like chisels in various cans of color, deep for the first, less so for the second and so on or spray on stripes with a rattle can. Arrow makers crest on a low-speed lathe but life is short and three spray paint cans (one in each color) will do a bunch of tools.
   - HWooldridge - Sunday, 01/16/05 11:45:12 EST

Frank, If bruce could drag a magnet around in his shop it would mean he was in the wrong building! Its less than standing room only. . .

Bruce there is a tailgater, from PA. . dang, can't remember his name. . . he will be a Spring Fling and the SouthEast Conference that specializes in loose letter punches and has all sizes. If anyone can remember his name or has his contact this is Bruces best bet for replacing a single punch.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/16/05 13:16:46 EST

Do we need a tool color marking registry?

Toaster Ovens: In "The Wire Damascus Hunting Knife" video Wayne Goddard claims that his toster oven has a narrower range than a kitchen stove. The dwell range is sufficient for heat treating. However, the temperature settings are not good. He uses a little oven thermometer to check the temperature and then marked the dial accordingly. He also added a layer of Kaowool to stabilize the temperature. The trick is that you want to know the maximum temperature at a given setting for tempering. Then be sure the part is left long enough to reach that point. A small piece of polished mild steel can be used as a temper color specimen to double check the oven thermometer.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/16/05 13:30:12 EST

Hi. I saw an interesting formula on a www page for "steel soldering". The recipe involves dissolving cast steel filings in nitric acid, then borax and sal ammoniac. This paste is applied to both surfaces, and then the steel is heated to "ordinary redness" and then beaten lightly on the anvil. The formula is attributed to Werkmeister Zeitung.

This sounds more like a forge welding recipe than a steel solder. I am particularly interested in it, since it is claimed to work at a lower temperature. My forge has some difficulty getting to welding temperatures. I tried one forge weld with borax, but it did not appear to stick. When it cooled, there was a thin crack at the joint. The weld felt strong, and I cut the line away with a file, revealing the metal to be joined underneath it, but I did not trust the weld and gave it the ol' arc cheat.

Has anybody had any experience with this kind of formula?


Careful with the nitric acid. It burns skin.
   EricC - Sunday, 01/16/05 14:45:11 EST

Hi, Along with some info I asked for earlier on wt and amt of gear oil for a Champion blower, I'm using a cut down cast iron bus brake drum for the coal pan, do I need to "clay it" and if so, how???? Thanks, Roland
   Roland - Sunday, 01/16/05 15:12:53 EST

Roland, the best oil for hand-crank blowers for me is bar and chain lube, as it has some kind of sticky stuff in it that lets it hang on the gears longer than some. How much to use? Enough to cover the bottom of the lowest gear. It will leak, it's supposed to, just add oil every so often.

EricC: Sounds like a welding flux recipe to me. Werkmeister Zeitung is German for "Master Workman's Times." I bet it was a magazine for metalworkers. What you descibe for your borax-flux weld sounds like a normal, decent forge weld to me. To get rid of the line you just have to do a couple of welding sequences, lightly so as not to thin the stock too much. Your scarfing for the joint will also have a lot to do with how much line is left.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 01/16/05 15:49:18 EST

Roland, I forgot: You probably don't need to clay your brake drum, but I'll let those who have used them chime in, since I have a regular firepot.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 01/16/05 15:50:54 EST

Roland, SAE 30 is fine. IF the gears roar then use thicker such as 80 wt gear oil. Note that the gear oil can be very stiff in cold weather.

You don't need to clay brake drum forges. However, sometimes it helps to get a better fire pot shape by filling in the corners. The clay can be almost any grade from ceramic modeling clay to red clay from your back yard. Mix as stiff as possible to reduce cracking. You can also add 10% portland cement which will harden but is not refractory. That means where it is exposed to the higher temperatures it may break down. However, not much of the port gets that hot so it is a cheap easy way to go.

   - guru - Sunday, 01/16/05 15:56:31 EST

Forge Welding Temperature: CLEAN steel will forge weld at much lower temperatures than most folks think. 2300°F is not unusual.

Knife makers often weld steel fluxless in a stainless steel container. They put a little kerosene in the container which has a vent. The kerosene vents and then burns off leaving an oxygen free atmosphere that protects the steel. Welding is performed in the container by pressing the whole thing. The container is sacrificial and unless chemicaly cleaned usualy does not stick to the work.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/16/05 16:05:51 EST

Guru, it has always been my understanding that when you weld something, whether arc, acetylene or forge that it needs to be wirebrushed or ground or sanded until it is "bright" if you want a good weld. In the welding class I took long ago, the "exam" was to hydraulically break the weld and measure the force required.....those who welded dirty had their welds break often 10,000# less pull than the clean ones. Same with slag inclusion.

E-bay. Have purchased a few things there. Only used a credit card once. Got a call from my credit card company the next day asking if I had ordered 4 expensive Bose radios....cancelled the card, got a new one, and have never used a credit card on ebay since. Have only sent money orders, and only once out of about fifteen orders did the item NOT arrive. Ebay "security" itself is worthless, they will not help you at all. You can also expect to get official looking emails asking you to "update" your account. Just asking for identity theft.

Electric forge blowers. I bought the larger one from Centaur, it is a wonderful blower, it looks a lot like an old Champion or Buffalo. It has a rheostat, but I put an air gate on it as well and am glad I did.
   Ellen - Sunday, 01/16/05 16:42:54 EST

Those identify theft attempts are called phishing (a take off on fishing). They are sent out by the thousands knowing some will have accounts and it only takes one to bite to start the scam. On the first one I received for eBay, I was a mouse click away from submitting the requested information before I started wondering why eBay wouuld need that information - and I like to at least think I'm somewhat sophisticated on things like that.

I would never use a credit card directly for an eBay purchase. If I can't pay them through PayPal they get either a check or money order, depending on my gut reaction. You can't get much safer than sending them a USPS money order through USPS. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, their investigative service can be called in for mail fraud.

I have made several hundred eBay purchases. Those which have turned out to be less than expected can be traced back to me rather than the seller. For example, I purchased a dozen claw hammer heads. Description was accurate as far as it went and the photograph looked good. It wasn't until they were received I found out they were the toy size. My problem for not asking first. IMHO, non-paying buyers are far, far more of a problem than non-performing sellers.

Actually I don't disagree with the Guru on eBay anvil sales. Be very careful on knowing what you are buying. There is a listing now for a 55-pound "HARDENED TEMPERED STEEL" anvil which says it is not Asian cast iron, because it has a tag on it which says King, L.A. CA (which is, no doubt, an importer). I asked the seller for a money back guarantee it is what he says it to be with no reply. That rather tells me he knows what they are. It is buyer beware on any eBay purchase.

I am in no way defending eBay, but do point out they make their money from the sellers, not the buyers.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/16/05 17:11:52 EST

First off, i wnat to say thank you to those who answered my question about using the toaster oven. I really appreciate the help.
I want to ask too about using Unifrax to insulate a gas forge. I've never heard of this product, but i assume it will work the same as Inswool and Kaowool. Will it?
I also want to say something about ebay.i have never really had any trouble with anything i've bought off of ebay. I've bought a steel bender, my main hay-budden anvil, tractor parts, my buffalo rivet forge, my post vise, and my forge insualtion.Everything was as good as it was described, and was well shipped, though i don't know how happy the ups delivery man was when he delivered my 150# anvil. The only bad thing i,ve bought off ebay so far is the famed 110# russian anvil, which i bought without doing my anvil homework. However, it did work good for a starter anvil. I know that there are some people on ebay that will swindle you faster than you can blink an eye. That is why i will always research the seller. i will only deal with sellers that have a high feedback rating(between 96-100%), and have been members for a few to several years. many of those i have dealt with were ofr still are blacksmiths, so i am fairly sure they are good people to do business with. So far that has proven true. I wont say that i will not get burned in the future, becuase it is always a possibility. However, if you research the seller and go with someone with experience, getting burned on deals will not happen quite so often.
   Blueboy - Sunday, 01/16/05 17:18:14 EST

Blueboy: My understanding is all of the brands of ceramic insulating blanket material, such as Durawool, Unifrax, KaoWool and Inswool, are the same basic product. They vary by density and by thickness. The last box (roll) I purchased is Unifrax and it seems identical to Inswool, which was my last roll. I have also used KaoWool in the past.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/16/05 19:35:00 EST

Thanks for the tips on the oil and brake drunm claying questions. Roland
   Roland - Sunday, 01/16/05 22:59:29 EST

In general I have made my best deals from folks who have only the 1 blacksmithing item for sale and so I avoid e-bay as these folks show up with the riff-raff; why there are folks on e-bay who will pay over $1 a pound + S&H for an anvil!

I like to see the stuff I'm buying---why Quad-State is such a great place, not only the tailgate sales but the major smithing supply folk sell on-site. Even cheap old me usually spends some money there.

   Thomas P - Sunday, 01/16/05 23:16:41 EST

In Reference to AwP's Post on Sunday, 01/16/05 at 05:16 -

You mentioned a "more objective tests like the brass rod test for checking temper." Color me ignorant, but what are you referring to. I have never heard of a brass rod tempering test.

Please explain on this board. If the explaination is several paragraphs long, be so good as to give us a brief explaination here and an email contact or resource documentation for details.

   CCHarper - Monday, 01/17/05 01:13:28 EST

the basic idea behind the "brass rod test" is to see if the edge of the knife will flex and return to true with out deforming or cracking.
to perform this test you clamp a 1/4" brass rod (I am still not sure why it has to be brass?) then take the newly finshed knife and put the edge aganst the rod at an angle (I go about 45Deg from the edge bevel) and press down deflecting the edge, one of three things will happen, one the edge will bend and stay bent (to soft , or over heated/burned in sharpining/grinding) two the edge will crack or pop out sliver of metal (to hard retemper at a higher temp.) three the edge will flex and return to true (blade is good leave it as is)
now to the ify parts of this test
1 some styles of knives should be softer (to hold a wire edge) and will fail the "brass rod test" if made corectly( this is also a personal perferance thing some folks like the knife to have this type of edge)
2 some style of blades should be left harder (low stressed blades that want to be sharped infrequently) and will fail as to hard
3 some blade stocks will fail no matter what. but make a very fine knife for there intended use (talonate/ stalinite(SP?) some stainless's etc)
hope that helps
   - MP - Monday, 01/17/05 02:56:41 EST

Just passing on a tip: I do a good bit of arc welding at my bench vise. I recently came across a piece of 1/4" plate at the scrapyard, cut it to 12" sqaure, and welded on a vise bar on one side. Makes a great little mini-welding table. The size lets me clamp from four directions if needed, yet readily stores under the bench. I have also found I can buy welding rod off eBay cheaper than locally even with the shipping cost.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/17/05 04:10:03 EST

Ken S.

An addendum to your mini welding table. If you place a large magnet out of a speaker under the table the magnetism transfer will help to hold your work in place for welding. I use one that I scrounged out of an old 16" speaker.

I also have one by welding a vise bar directly to the back of the magnet for when I need more holding power.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 01/17/05 10:56:25 EST

On-Line sales and Credit Cards Although there are ocassions where the consumer is stung they usualy have protections. The folks that get stung the worst are on-line merchants. When we take a bad or stolen credit card the money is yanked from our account the instant of discovery. We have no back up like the consumer.

I do a lot of online shopping with few qualms. However, I always make sure I know who I am dealing with OR deal through a system that checks its member merchants.

Phishing and SPAM This is currently a huge problem. However, what makes it WORSE is that some legitimate companies DO SPAM. Ebay DID SPAM me through PayPAL. When the "can-spam" act was passed they reset acounts that had already said NO to sales mail and sent out letters asking to set your preference. I had already set my preference so I did not respond. The mail did not say they had reset EVERYONES preferences to YES. PayPAL then SOLD my contact information to a credit card company offering "PayPAL" credit cards. After carefully investigating the mail I sent a spamming complaint to PayPAL and then closed my PayPAL acount. In the process of CLOSING my account they wanted my crredit card information AGAIN. I refused. Why should anyone need to give their account number when they have already used their login and password??? I finally found a hole in their system, I removed the credit card from the account FIRST, THEN closed the account.

All legitimate companies need to realize that when they SPAM they are joining the phishers, the pornographers, the drug dealers, the scammers and organized crime. Then when folks are told that ALL spam is criminal activity (95% is now) maybe they will stop responding to SPAM and the problem will cure itself.
   - guru - Monday, 01/17/05 12:15:22 EST

PawPaw: I have tried several times to weld with a magnet nearby, such as the angle holding ones. I cannot get the weld to take. What am I doing wrong?
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/17/05 12:52:23 EST

Hello, I have bought 3 used forges an 5 anvils an a lot of blacksmith tools,I have 4 welders that I use 3 are meg an 1 stick, also 4 metel turning lathes 9" 10" 11" 12" logan , southbend, shelden,ok lets get the ? in the forge bottom do I need to put in clay or not/ next where to get it/ I was told to get Georga clay but its a long way off to get a buckett of clay. thanks for any info, DJ IN FLORIDA.
   DJ. JOHNSON - Monday, 01/17/05 14:59:17 EST

Question about Oxy and Mapp torch set, its only 40 bucks at home depot, will it heat 1/4" metal sufficently to forge? Is it worth the investment?

Adam Scott
   stormcloud_2 - Monday, 01/17/05 15:51:23 EST

Mapp torch.
Adam, the short answer is no. Well it will heat a small sectrion of 1/4 to hot enough to move with a hammer, but it is not a good way to do this.
It will also be cheaper to just build a gas forge. Both in efficency and in costs.

   Ralph - Monday, 01/17/05 16:05:17 EST

DJ: Talk to your local folks who maintain baseball fields. Likely the clay they use for the pitcher's mound will be very suitable for you. As noted above, mixing some Portland in with it adds durability.

If you bought the anvils for resale, identifying them to the manufacturer should increase value. You may want to purchase a copy of Postman's Anvils in America from anvilfire. It is doesn't pin them down, then there is lots of help here. Anvils are normally marked on the side with the horn to the right.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/17/05 16:06:36 EST

I have a 246 pound Hay-Budden anvil, were they made in two pieces? There appears to be a crack looking joint horizontally around the waist, I was wondering if it were made in two pieces and joined at this point?

Thanks, Ed
   Ed Kratt - Monday, 01/17/05 16:57:21 EST

Ed Kratt: Yes, the Hay-Buddens had two piece bodies. This was a common anvil manufacturing process developed by Peter Wright. Tops were, as far as I know, always wrought iron. Bases may have been wrought iron or cast mild-type steel. Most were forge welded on. I believe towards the end Trenton was arc welding on the bases. Occasionally an anvil base comes up on eBay where someone has been using it for a bench anvil. In case you have not noticed it, your H-B should have a serial number on the front foot. It can be matched to the year of manufacturer.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/17/05 18:49:42 EST

Portable Welding Table: I have a piece of 1/4" plate 12"x18" that I welded a short lug to. The lug is off in the corner and I can clip my grounding cable to the lug. I use an assortment of welding magnets that I bought at HF when they were on sale for 1$ each. I use both a Lincoln AC 225 and a Lincoln Pro-Cor 100 and have no problems getting the weld to stick. Maybe you need more aperage or you need to grind the scale off of the workpieces before you weld? Where is Rutterbush when you need him?
   quenchcrack - Monday, 01/17/05 20:20:46 EST

Bruce-- In line with Emerson's pronouncement that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, maybe you could consider dropping down a size in one letter of your markings. Santa Fe Jewelers Supply and Thunderbird Supply Co. sell individual 1/16-inch letter stamps. On the other hand, maybe consistency in stamping is not foolish but a sign that you are a pro. Whatever.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/17/05 20:22:17 EST

Haybudden: Ed, As Ken noted they are welded at the waist. Late Hay-Buddens were manufactured the same as modern Peddinghaus anvils with a forged tool steel top and a forged or cast low carbon steel base. They are arc welded.

Hay-Buddens were being arc welded in the very early days of the process and it was not as good as it is today. I suspect they also did not preheat the tops as much as they should in cold weather, thus the cracking. To repair, cut out the old weld about 3/4" deep by 1" wide, preheat the top near the joint until it is uncomfortable to touch, then weld with your favorite rod cleaning and peening between passes. Dress the weld flat to match the surrounding surfaces.
   - guru - Monday, 01/17/05 21:11:24 EST

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