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

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

This is an archive of posts from January 16 - 23, 2006 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Happy New Year ALL.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/01/06 02:49:12 EST

I've just started to get interested in smithing and was wondering how a medevil sheild was made and what type of metals and markings were used on them
   Jesse Fulgium - Monday, 01/16/06 01:19:46 EST

AWS certification just means you passed a test administered by an American Welding Society certified welder. who himself may have passed his test years ago. It is not like getting your board certification in neurosurgery or your pilot's license. Go to another job and you'll have to pass another test, their test this time. But it does mean you passed somebody's test, which tells a prospective employer something.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/16/06 01:26:55 EST

On small anvils: Last year a 15-lb PW went for about $1,500. A very small Kohlswa (if I recall correctly) went for about $1,200. Wouldn't surprise me if the 10-lb H-B goes well above $1,000.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/16/06 01:48:13 EST

Midevial shields, All I know of the round nordic style are mostly made of wood, Iron would be too precious and a lot of work to hammer into enough sheets to make a shield and without being too heavy. Of course, there maybe be iron fittings and reinforcements. Some may have an iron banded perimeter. But sometimes not, An iron band may be only a reinforcement inboard of the edge leaving the perimeter all wooden. This idea is claimed an attackers sword may get caught stuck briefly into the edge of the wood giving the defender opportunity to strike back the now weapon disabled attacker.
   - John - Monday, 01/16/06 11:42:29 EST

Hey there,
What do you think a 177lb Peter Wright( I think 1885-1910) is worth? It has a slight compresion in the it from use, but other wise its still a good old anvil.
   Kevin - Monday, 01/16/06 12:10:53 EST

Kevin: Value is rather subjective. Really it is worth what you are willing to pay for it. If the top is in good condition, and you can pick it up, I would ballpark it at $2.00 - $3.00 Lb. If you have to pay shipping then that is another matter. I suspect what you call a compression is what is termed a saddle. The wrought iron under the middle of the anvil was compressed from heavy pounding. As Guru points out, not necessarily bad as it can be used for straightening.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/16/06 12:54:47 EST

Jesse; you are talking about nearly 1000 years and a wide range of cultures and styles---some all wood, some all wrought iron can you narrow the question down to something a bit more managable than "tell me about every car ever made and how it was made?---in a dozen lines on a web forum..."

You may also want to visit armourarchive.org a seried of web forums dedicated to armour and ask your question in the historical research forum. Suitably narrowed down of course!

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 01/16/06 13:39:02 EST

Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association - a more up to date link is given below. Darrell Markewitz (Wareham Forge)is the web page designer.

Cold North of the Lake (Ontario.)


   Don - Monday, 01/16/06 15:28:16 EST

Oxygen lance:

A piece of iron (wrought) pipe connected to a pressurized pure oxygen source. Heat end of pipe until yellow, turn on oxygen and watch it burn! The flaming iron and heated oxygen is directed at something huge and usualy iron including things that do not normally torch cut like cast iron. The heat from the lance starts the cast iron and the pure oxygen blows it out of the way. Primitive, cheap (except for the oxygen), dirty and dangerous.
   - guru - Monday, 01/16/06 16:00:17 EST

hi.i have some very old gates and have beem told that they were made by a blacksmith many years ago.they are so heavey we can hardly lift them and there is a stamp which looks like it says THERTON and it has a crown next to it,any information would be greatfull
   hayley hirst - Monday, 01/16/06 17:36:38 EST

I made a tomahawk today out of mild steel. Now I just have to make one out of HC and make the eye bigger. What steel will be good for a tomahawk. For me it needs to be relatively easy to heat treat (none of that fancy stuff)and it needs to be relatively easy to forge weld. Having a large forging temperature range would be nice too. 4140 is easy for me to get. Does it meet these requirements?
   Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/16/06 18:19:55 EST

Ken if the anvil sells for that much it would not surprise me either. Ken it would be a handy size for demos...just bring along a 150 lb stand...BOG.
   Burnt Forge - Monday, 01/16/06 19:37:11 EST


A shop can be the safest place in the school, but it is potentially very dangerous. I am a retired Chemistry Teacher and the same can be said of the chem lab. Statisticaly, both school shops and labs are safer than the halls and stairwells. This is because most of the time the science and shop teachers put safety first and constantly work on it.

I know that the safety program is not always fully supported by the administration, because they don't understand the whole problem. Many schools have just closed their shops. I felt I could not safely supervise more than 24 kids in the chemistry lab. They knew it, but they gave me 28. I quit doing labs. They didn't furnish safety glasses. I got parents to donate them, same for fire extinguishers, and no lab work was done until they were supplied.

Your shop teacher should have had things better under control, but he may have had circumstances we are not aware of. He will never forget this day, and will study it over and over again to make things safer.
   - John Odom - Monday, 01/16/06 20:35:51 EST

Kalen: Forget the shop classes, forget science class. CONCENTRATE on ENGLISH class. If you can not communicate, you aren't going anywhere.
   Bob H - Monday, 01/16/06 21:44:29 EST

Hayley; what continent are you on? First thing when trying to identify something is to start with the possible locals and work your way out. As we have folks who post here from Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and a bunch of "middles" it makes it very hard to know where you are at.

I'm in central NM, USA and am not familiar with that touchmark.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/16/06 21:45:29 EST


Kindly clean up your language on this forum, please. That means leaving out curse words, as well as defamatory racial and ethnic remarks. Your previous post contained both, and a repeat will not be tolerated.

Your shop fable was truly unbelievable. Having heard that one, I doubt very much if we need to hear any other stories of your school. You would do well to heed Mr. H's suggestion that you concentrate on English; the best storytellers are those who convey ideas clearly through the careful use of proper English, both spelling and sentence structure.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/16/06 22:19:51 EST

I do agree with vicopper that we should be careful not to use bad language or any ethnic insinuations. Having dealt with gangs many times you can disquish them by race. I have an African American Studies Degree according to an honor society. I think they goofed(opps slang) since I studied rand ethnicity. BTW...My favorit Blacksmithsmith in the work is Philip Simmons. I am part Native American myself. Don' use the I workd because it is the same as using the N word. Though folks in the US seem to like using the I word. Maybe they should study the spoken language and ethnicity of my people.
   Burnt Forge - Monday, 01/16/06 22:44:55 EST

Hi Tyler
You may very well be correct. I use to educate all levels of young adults. Since this forum is two dimensional I just don't know his intent for sure. Young folks rebel because of the very attitude that was displayed. We need to leed by example. If he is spinning a yarn he will get bored with not getting a reaction from us. Let his parents and teachers work on his language use. I am just giving him the benefit of doubt.
   Burnt Forge - Monday, 01/16/06 22:51:29 EST

Anyway all in fun from me. Now lets get down with some iron banging.

Did any Blacksmith organizations purchase any of the Sorber collection? Does anyone know? I can't seem to get an answer from anywhere. Other than what the stuff sold for and the well know antique dealers that purchased some.
   Burnt Forge - Monday, 01/16/06 22:56:16 EST

Gents, many heartfelt thanks for all your help. Marking knife turned out nicely.
   Joe G - Monday, 01/16/06 23:23:28 EST

anybody know how to contact Sid Suedemier need some little giant parts thanks bb
   bruce - Tuesday, 01/17/06 00:00:24 EST

Ph 402-873-6603
website www.littlegianthammer.com
e-contact sid@littlegianthammer.com
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/17/06 00:52:16 EST

Guru and friends I need you help and guidance or trying to find out about a smithing project. It is called a tommy sticker better known as a miners candel holder. I have been on the net for weeks trying to get some know how on how many of these darn near works of art were made. some look like they were smith out of one peace of metal. Any leads or how to info on this project. would be great. Thanks much.
   Danny young - Tuesday, 01/17/06 01:00:24 EST

Danny Young: In the upper right section of this page you'll se a little window. Key on it and scroll down to "iForge-How-to". When you get there scroll down to demo #108, and you'll see one version of what you're after, AND the directions for making it. The next thing you do is consider becoming a member of this fine group, Cyber Smiths International, so you can learn lotsa stuff about pounding iron. Welcome!
   3dogs - Tuesday, 01/17/06 03:34:21 EST

Tyler Murch: 4140 has just barely enough carbon to be a decient tomahawk, I don't know the HT or forging temps since I've never used it. I can reccomend 5160 as a good alternative that I know is easy enough to forge and HT. Or, if you have forgewelding capabilities, use the mild steel and just "steel the edge" meaning weld in a bit at the end for the edge, this method works best for a wrapped style as opposed to a drifted hole style though you can do it on either.
   AwP - Tuesday, 01/17/06 07:14:28 EST

Kalen, and others:
Language IS important. Grammar is important. If two people, seemingly otherwise equally qualified, come applying for a job, the one with the best grammar wins. I am often disgusted with the poor grammar of out newspaper writers/editors and also of the TV newscasters. Even some of the English teachers in our schools have never had a real course in grammar. We should avoid language we know is offensive to our listeners, whether it be racial, sexual or profane.

I think poor grammar is indicative of sloppy, careless thought processes which translate to simmilar habits in work, and lack of safety on the job. I recognize that this medium is not reviewed or edited and does not represent the best language each of us is capable of.

This is one of my pet peeves, and I'll get off the soap box now. Lets talk about blacksmithing.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 01/17/06 08:42:48 EST

You know..... I agree with the Johns last statement. I try to learn what I can just from listening to you guys, and if your bickering with eachother I don't learn anything. So for the sake of the children, drop the subject. :-)

Farriers and blacksmithing. Should I work for a ferrier for a while to learn aobut smithing?
   newbie in NW ILL - Tuesday, 01/17/06 09:43:46 EST

Will's anvil on ebay. #6245630570

newbie...we are not bickering. You may benefit from learning some basic forging techniques from a farrier. If you have an opportunity I would go for it. Blacksmithing and Farrier work are two different things though. BTW...When you earn your blacksmithing strips you can correct us. :)
   Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 10:20:26 EST

Anyone have any plans on how to make a bender? I've made a crude one from a short length of square stock with two 3/8" steel rods welded side by side. The piece holds in the vise and I have limited success in making spirals. Any advise?
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 01/17/06 11:11:25 EST


Nippulini. I really don't know of any plans and have searched. I have a wheel bender. I will take some photos for you if you like. It should be pretty straight forward to copy the design and make some modifications. I have to go out and photo a hammer for a fella. i could do this at the same time. Send me your email and a note if you desire this.
   Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 11:40:02 EST

Newbie in NW ILL,

There are cold horseshoers and hot horseshoers. The cold shoers buy a large inventory of manufactured shoes, beat on them cold until they get a fit, and nail on. Therefore, working with a cold shoer will not teach you much about blacksmith work at all.

In working with a hot shoer, you will learn some forging techniques, but it will be limited to shaping and/or making of horseshoes. You would be expected to do some simple tool dressing, as with pritchels.

If you're a stranger to horses, there is a GREAT DEAL to learn about their behavior and care.

This opens the door only a crack to the world of blacksmithing.


The small book, "The Blacksmith's Craft" shows how to make a scroll forming tool. The catch is, you need to make a good looking spiral (scroll) freehand; then, bend your work around it. The method is also shown in "The Artist Blacksmith" by Peter Parkinson, pp. 131-132. Also, see #31 Spiral demo on this site, iForge - How-to.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/17/06 11:54:19 EST

TGN; Benders are one of the most improvised tools we use. they can range from a simple "F" shaped bending fork, used in conjunction with a stout "U" shaped piece, which is clamped in a vise. Or, you could build yourself something similar to a Hossfeld, as seen at http://www.kinzers.com/don/MachineTools/bender/ Or, root around in the Harbor Freight catalog. The possibilities are endless.
   - Laughingdog Macdonald - Tuesday, 01/17/06 11:58:47 EST

Frank- I work on White Pines Ranch in IL (fairly famous from what I understand so maybe you've heard of it) We have 70 odd horses we have to take care of. I've been working there for about 5 years. So yeah I know horses.
   newbie in NW ILL - Tuesday, 01/17/06 13:05:26 EST

OXYGEN LANCES Hi T. Gold. I have never tried these tools out, but
I have heard from several people who have used them. One was a white-hat locksmith who specialized in opening safes. He said they were useless for this purpose, despite the movie "Thief", since they only were good for piercing holes. Obviously, he was referring to the self-contained type which contained their own oxidizer.

I seem to recall that Ernie (of anvil-making fame) has had some experience with an oxygen lance. It was a good experience. The only thing that I really remember is that a steel tube will not work well. You have to stuff some steel wire down the center to slow down the oxygen flow a bit. It is lit by striking an arc between the lance and the target. It is extinguished by just turning off the oxygen. These things work by spraying oxygen. Without the high pressure (high consumption) flow, they will just go out. I have experimented with hot steel and oxygen. This can cause an uncontrollable fire which can burn you. Use appropriate protection!
   EricC - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:07:02 EST

Nippulini-- Intermediate Technology (see google) puts out a booklet with detailed instructions for making a Hossfeld-type bender. Seems to me I have seen one offered by Lindsay Books, too. If it's just scrolls you need it for, old timers used various diameters of pipe, cut a slot down from the end of each to hold the stock, heated the material and bent to suit the needs of the moment.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:27:41 EST

Hello all... happy new year...

I am looking for a brake that will bend 1/8th" [11ga] or as close as possible in 20" lenghts. is there such a beast? i have been doing some searching on line and found everything from Harbor Freight and my local Tractor Supply to How-to make-your-own. for example.. the harbor freight machine built by central mach. says it can do up to 12ga at 36" wide... and only $190. any suggestions?

thanks... michael
   Michael - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:27:55 EST

I posted a comment about some old forges that I came across have no idea who made them or anything like that, was curious if anyone could help me if I posted pictures of them, or if posting pictures would even help. Thanks
   Rou - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:31:15 EST


Somewhere on the 'net there is a set of plans to build a Hossfeld-clone bender. The outfit with the plans was connected with an organization that went to underdeveloped nations/places and made the benders to make wheelchairs for those who needed them. A Google search should turn them up.

Once you build the bender, then there is a two-year learning curve to be able to do almost anything with it. Ries Niemi, PNW blacksmith/sculptor uses one to great advantage and can tell you more accurately what the *real* learning curve is.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:33:29 EST

What this page is for:
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.
Please read the Guidelines before posting a question.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:34:57 EST

Rou: Looks like you got lost in the shuffle of other stuff that's been flying around this weekend.

Most old forges will not have a manufacturer's name on them, unless it's on the blower. It really doesn't matter as long as they work. (grin!) All the old makers are out of business now anyway.

A thorough description of them would help if you want general hints and such, i.e. are they cast iron, do they have deep firepots or are they shallow rivet forges, do they have blowers at all, and if so are they hand-crank or lever-operated, or even foot-pedal double-action bellows, and that sort of thing.

Pictures would probably help, but we don't have a picture page on this forum. There is a yahoo photo page, but I don't yahoo and as such can't look at 'em anyway.

   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:56:58 EST

Tyler, I make lots of tomahawks out of mild steel or wrought iron with high carbon steel inserted bits. I like 5160 and 1095 for the bit inserts.

The two-piece construction is nice because you don't have to worry about babying the high-carbon stuff until after you have it welded in.

If you're doing a punched eye out of big stock, 4140 will be fine. Most of the factory-made hawks these days are investment-cast 4140, as it's a very tough steel and hardens just enough to hold an edge. I've never tried to weld it, so I can't help you there.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/17/06 15:01:54 EST

Go back to 11:58:47 for the hossfeld bender clone website.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 01/17/06 15:09:53 EST

Subject Matter: SEE Ralph's note above. This is a forum for blacksmithing questions and answers.

Language: Folks that use inappropriate language for use in public will be asked to leave and NEVER return. We do not have time for you especially if you do not give us respect and consideration we ask for and deserve.

Kalen: You need to go sit down and spend some time with some adults, talk about serious subjects like how to make a good impression and get along in life. This forum is not your school playground. We are not here to be your shrink. I and many others have gotten very tired of your dribble. DO NOT RESPOND. It costs me time and effort deleting your dribble and I DO NOT have any more time to waste on you.

Spelling and Punctuation: I cannot gripe on this too much as my spelling has been ocassionaly termed "creative". However, much of what I see here is just not trying. Capitalization rules in other languages are different but in English the basic rules are 1) Always capitalize the first word of a sentence, 2) Always capitalize proper names, places and that includes *I*. ALL CAPS is considered yelling on the internet and is worse than no punctuation.

If you want an answer to a question it helps to ask it using your best spelling and punctuation. Lack of punctuation on the Internet is just plain laziness. If you don't care then why should we care to answer a careless question.

If we answer a question and you do not like the answer don't gripe about it. Everything you want is not free nor is it in your back yard. This is real, life is tough.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/17/06 15:49:49 EST

Sorber Collection:

After making some inquiries I found out no one from the metal museum or blacksmith realm was able to purchase part of this collection.

Many items were sold in large groups. The items were going for more than the funds collected by the metal museum and ABANA. They were unable to get into the action.

Walley is putting great efforts into other avenues of using the funds to acquire some pieces of this collection from the dealers who purchased many in large quanities.

The collection sold for over $711,000. The prices of these forged items just went out of site. Individual basic pieces sold for thousands.

This item was not part of the sorber collection, but sold at the beginning of this January 06 for over 42,000. It is the wrought iron door escutcheon found on the front cover of the Antique Iron, English and American 15th Century through 1850. By Schiffer.

Some of this info was lost in the deletion of earlier posts by accident.

Ralph I agree with you brother!!

I have personally found the bookman I used in college made by Franklin very helpful for proper spelling in this forum. I also find the English Desk Reference: "Everything You Need To Know About English" very helpful in writting better about blacksmith related topics. If this helped me I thought others may find it helpful. I still make lots of errors.

   Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 16:46:07 EST

Panel lifting Clamp:
I am looking to purchase a panel lifting clamp, 0-1" grip, less than 2000 lbs. capacity, with the ability to lift from horizontal to vertical and to hold the panel vertical. Any recommendations?
   blackbart - Tuesday, 01/17/06 18:15:45 EST

Ive got 2 Questions, I just bought a 50lb little gaint when I go to mounting it what do the specs need to be when it comes to pouring the foundation? Next Q? why cant I forge weld stainless steel to a tool steel? Thanks for the help.

   Charles Cooper - Tuesday, 01/17/06 18:27:07 EST

On asking questions: When you ask us a question, you ask us to spend our time helping you. As time is the *only* thing we are given on this earth asking us to spend it on your question is a serious thing! If you are not paying us then you should be trying to make our job as easy as possible.

Think through your question; try to phrase it as if you were asking someone who had no clue about what you are asking about. You know all the details, don't make us try to guess them!

Will your location make a difference to the answer? Since smithing stuff is expensive to ship any question about "where do I find/get/buy X" should include where you are at.

If it is to do with something historical, narrowing down the time and place will help a lot; personally to me everything after 1600 is "recent" so be careful with terms like "old" or "traditional".

Some of us are more used to the hammer than the keyboard and this is a forum and so questions that take a lot of replying to may not get the attention they deserve. Breaking them down into specific chunks and posting them seperately will help. Please forgive us our typos as we should forgive people who typo against us. It is suggested you re-read your post *slowly* before you hit the post button and make corrections as needed.

Telling us you are not willing to take the time to read your answer on the forum does not encourage us to spend our time writing an answer that only you will see.

Telling us that you are not willing to research a question in print sources we may suggest generally indicates that it's not important enough to warrent *our* digging into those same books and spoon feeding the information to you.

A considerate person will check that their questions are not already covered in any of the FAQ's or subsidiary pages. The search function in the archives can provide a wealth of information.

If you decide you don't like the flavour of this site; please feel free to not read it---don't waste your time on us posting a lot of crud that Jock will just delete anyway, we're not worth it...

If your ego can't accept the hurly burly of the net the quiet of the library still is generally available. Smiths often have a rather earthy sense of humour that we generally try to ride herd on as this site is a resource used by folks under the age of adulthood. If people slip up; try to forgive and ignore them.

Don't Feed Trolls!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/17/06 18:29:55 EST

blackbart-- get a forged, not cast, C-clamp with a specially-cupped end on the screw made expressly for this purpose. MSC has them, so do other suppliers. They are load-rated for lifting, have a square end on the screw to take a wrench, cost mucho.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 19:11:09 EST

Charles Cooper-- the Little Giant people recommended a humongous solid mass foundation, some four or five feet deep, reinforced concrete, with humongous anchoring bolts going down into it. I have the original factory specs here somewhere and if you really want them, will dig them out. Otherwise, you can do what the late, great Alexander Weygers did, and many others have done, and which I recommend, which to pour a raised concrete pad 8-inches or so high and set the hammer on that. I made a raft out of RR ties through-bolted together for my 50-pounder, and it is not adequate-- hammer rocks, even despite lots of stickout to the sides of the footprint, loses a lot of the force of the blow that it would have with the proper foundation. Someday.... Hey, while the hammer is free, DO NOT FORGET to make a plywood template from the bolt holes for setting your anchor bolts.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 19:20:53 EST

Charles Cooper-- Well, I had to go check and found I was wrong again! (That makes 4,326 times just this year so far, alas.) The foundation just seemed that big in my haha mind's eye. The Little Giant people said in their specs, as reproduced in Richard R. Kern's book, The Little Giant Powerhammer, to make the foundation a mere 33 inches wide, 49 inches long, and only 26 inches deep. They wanted you to use 5/8-inch bolts 23 inches long, coming up through steel plates that are set up inside the foundation, high enough to reach the top of the hammer's foot. These bolts are to go through 1 1/4-inch pipe the last 6 inches before they get to the top of the foundation. They wanted a cork or rubber shim pad under the hammer 1/4- or 3/8-inch thick. This can be made from old belting, they say.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 19:39:19 EST

How can I forge drills that will cut mild steel, brass etc? I have made drills from round stock that drill wood just fine. I flatten a portion, make a long tapered tip, file a leading edge, harden, temper, it drills wood. What sort of end shape should be made so it will cut metal? A shallow V? Should the sides of the drill also have a leading edge to sort of ream the hole, or be made slightly smaller to clear well? I assume that vintage drills (1700's) had no twist but I could twist also if that's preferred. I am interested in drilling small holes in mild steel that will then be tapped- say 8-32, 10-32, etc (longrifle gunlocks, trigger plates, etc.)
   Rich Pierce - Tuesday, 01/17/06 19:47:20 EST

Panel lifting Clamp:
Thanks Miles.
Why would one purchase the forged C-clamp style instead of the cam locking style? Both are expensive, and the cam style clamp seems easier to use. I've looked at both in the McMaster-Carr catalog pages 1318 and 1319.
Thanks again
   blackbart - Tuesday, 01/17/06 19:54:49 EST

Rich Pierce,

There is not much information on the making of drills, since most folks buy them ready made. I have found one book that addresses the subject. The book is a reprint of two old ones, now titled, "American Blacksmithing and The 20th Century Toolsmith and Steelworker" by Holstrom and Holford, Pages 67 through, 71. Holford shows a "flat drill" with the shallow vee that you mentioned and also a twist drill, the latter made of round stock flattened a little and then twisted.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/17/06 21:34:33 EST

Charles Cooper, on why you may not be able to weld stainless to tool steel:

You can, if you use a very agressive flux and a totally neutral atmosphere. You're probably not going to do it in a coal forge, though. (sad grin) If you do it inside a sealed container, sometimes it works. The problem is chromium oxides. They don't dissolve with any flux less than one that contains flourine, which is nasty, nasty stuff that will liquify your lungs and cause your bones to crumble should you breathe the fumes. If the oxides are present, you won't be able to get a good weld.

You may have noticed there's not much of this type of welded material available. Well, this is the reason. Should you want to try it anyway, I have heard (not tried, note!) that the 400 series works better than the 300 series.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/17/06 21:42:28 EST

Panel lifting clamps.
Having been around the use of both styles of lifting panels, that is cam and C clamps I would like to offer the following;
The cam lock is really ONLY good to lift panels.
The C clamp can be used for many purposes.
NEVER use a cam lock without the locking pin inserted, as they can and do drop panels as they are landed back down.
Cam lock teeth wear out and then are very dangerous.
C clamps can be tightrnrd with a wrench very positivly.

I have never seen a well applied C clamp drop a plate. I have seen several plates dropped from a cam clamp, and cleaned up the biohazards from another accident.
   - ptree - Tuesday, 01/17/06 22:12:35 EST

ptree-- write on! Bart-- as my foreman told me years ago, "Never get under a piece of steel! Get a laborer to do it!"
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 22:53:29 EST

Ritch Pierce: If You make the drillbits, You will need to but a slight back taper on them. Commercial twist drills even have the backtaper. As well as removal of chips the twist on a twist drill gives positive rake to the cutting edge. A flat bit will have no rake and not cut as easily in most metals as a twist drill. Large spade bits have positive rake ground into them, but it would be dificult to do on bits the size You are talking about.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/17/06 23:08:46 EST

For prime efficiency, use cobalt drill bitz. I know they aren't hand made but, I was able to cut through 1/4 inch steel in about 20 seconds. Its good stuff.
   newbie in NW ILL - Wednesday, 01/18/06 07:33:26 EST

Frank, Dave and Newbie, thanks for the advice on drills. By "back taper" I assume you mean I have to file or grind the tip so that there is a leading, cutting edge. Else the toll would just "rub". Now I see what you mean about a twist drill having the positive rake. It "aims into" the cut. I'll try out these ideas and see if I can fashion a drill that will drill mild steel. I am leaning toward this sequence:
1) Flatten round or square stock for 1-3" or so depending on intended drill length and diamater
2) Size it and true it by filing and just square the end for now. Put some back taper on the edges, maybe 5-10 degrees
3) put in the twist IF I am working with a diameter of at least 5/32 (don't think I can do it on smaller stock)
4) Form the cutting edge with the shallow V and about 15 degrees of back taper and sharpen it
5) Harden the whole drill
6)Temper the shaft to spring temper and the tip to near-purple.
7) Give it a whirl!
   Rich Pierce - Wednesday, 01/18/06 08:37:37 EST

Two whimiscal shop signs:

Tool Steel Identificatino

RTS - Rear truck spring
CTB - Chrysler torsion bar
UTA - Unknown truck axle
OJGH - Old jackhammer bit
OJYS - Old junk yard steel
FOP - Found on pile
SOCS - Straightened out coil spring
INHWBPH - I'm not sure (what it is) but it's pretty hard
YGGM - Youa-guessa - gooda - mine (Italian tool steel)

Blacksmith Guarantee:

This work is fully guaranteed:

- I guarantee that I am selling this too cheap.

- I guarantee it won't be ready when you ordered it.

- I guarantee if it is sharp, it will get dull.

- I guarantee if you abuse it, it will bend or break.

- I guarantee it will rust. If it does not, bring it back. I will make you one that will.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/18/06 09:44:06 EST

I like that post, Ken.
   - John Odom - Wednesday, 01/18/06 10:20:25 EST

I'm 53 years old and a farmer. I've been to a meeting with a local blacksmith club and want to get my own forge for my farm shop. My first challange is finding a forge. I've decided that I dont want a small portable forge but I have a question about the propane forges I see advertised. Is there an advantage to a coal forge over those?
   Jim Facemire - Wednesday, 01/18/06 11:07:22 EST

Does any one know of a blacksmith club near Kansas city, MO ? i've not found any yet and thought I ask ....
   Deuce - Wednesday, 01/18/06 11:23:17 EST


Coal versus propane depends on your needs. And avalability. Can you get enough good coal, and can you burn it in your neighborhood without upsetting neighbors? I use coal mostly, but have also built my own propane forge. I like coal more. But the propane forge is great for doing several items at once, or if I need a longer heat. I have built three coal forges. My big one uses a commercial fire pot. I've used a break drum for the other two. But we lined the inside of the break drum with a furnace or refractory cement, making a more traditional cone shape. That allows the fuel to funnel down more efficiently. And I have one old portable coal forge. They all work, but it depends on what you like and what you need.
   Bob H - Wednesday, 01/18/06 12:06:14 EST

Hand Made Drill Bits: The infinitely most efficient and most durable twist drill bits are strictly a modern machine product. The "twist" is not twisted at all but cut on a special milling machine with a rotary chuck geared to the horizontal feed. High quality bits have a relief machined along the twist and a taper to thin the web near the point. Then the size is stanped into the shank. After machining the High Speed Steel is very carefully heat treated to its absolute maximimum performance condition. Then, the point is ground in special drill bit grinders that are adjusted specificaly for each size bit so the geometry is perfect. Last a hard rust resistant black oxide coating is applied.

Some bits have a TiN (Titainium Nitride) coating vapor deposited to give the bit slightly better wear resistance and lubricity. However, this is also done on cheap hardware store bits of poor quality to make them look pretty. The coating is worthless if the undelying bit is sub standard. It only adds a little better performance to the best products.

Hand Made Bits: For wood working the smith may make twist bits. It is not difficult but takes practice. For metal work hand made bits have a reduced shank so that it does not rub the work and the larger end is filed to shape, then hardened and then stoned to the final edge. These are rather ugly things and without the "twist" of modern bits they do not eject chips from deep holes. For large bits the cutting end was steel and the shank wrought iron. For chucking both metal and wood working bits had tapered square shanks that fit into a soft lead socket.

Before there were twist bits there were straight fluted bits that helped eject chips. This eventualy developed into the twist drill bit. Flat bits are still used for very large holes in some materials. These often have a flat HSS cutter that bolts to a special shank.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/18/06 12:26:19 EST

Coal vs. Gas: Jim, as Bob noted there are pros and cons. Gas is quicker, cleaner and very convienient. Coal is hotter and more flexible. You can have a large OR a small fire in any given solid fuel forge but a gas forge is whatever size it is. This can result in a gas forge being inefficient. Your gas forge needs to be scaled to the size work you expect to do. Any given gas forge uses the same amount of fuel for any size work put into it.

I like gas because in my old age I have gotten lazy. No coal to shovel, fire to maintain, ashes to haul out. However, I still enjoy working in a coal forge due to the hotter more concentrated heat.

Most professionals have both (IF they can use coal).
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/18/06 12:32:23 EST

Jim they both have their advantages and disadvantages---what do you plan to use it for?

Coal forges are dirt cheap to build---a hole in the ground worked for the first thousand years of the iron age! They are cheap to run and are great for localized heats. In general most coal forges will forge weld. They are harder to learn to start and run and will burn up your work if you are careless. You can burn charcoal in most coal forges though some tweaking is suggested.

Gas forges are a bit more picky to build, are great for longer heats, easy to start. Don't expect a propane forge to forge weld unless it is specifically designed and tweaked for it. You can't burn up your work in a propane forge though I have seen someone melt their piece into a puddle in one--Hi Patrick!---you can get heavy oxidization unless your burner is tuneable.

Drill Bits: IIRC "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson editor has quite a bit on forging your own simple drillbits for mild and non-ferrous metals. Note these were used with hand powered drills---and there are several designs to build your own drill as well. It is a collection of articles sent in to a blacksmithing journal back in the late 1880's and early 1890's and is interesting as a "period piece". In general I did not get much out of it until I started researching "historical" blacksmithing as many of the tasks they cover just are not part of the modern smith's world anymore.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/18/06 12:44:08 EST

So it will be the screw "C" clamp style then.
Thanks for the clarification...I definitely will not get under any load where failure of the lift can cause bodily harm, I'd hate to become a "biohazard". I also plan to buy two of the clamps to reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure, along with a sling.
Thanks again for the info.
   blackbart - Wednesday, 01/18/06 13:14:39 EST

how best do i get that nice pro looking,black finish on my iron? or what other finishes are there.
Is there some prep needed to get even colour?
And , i read somewhere about some acid, it said, "paint it on till the iron goes copper coloured then nuetrilise".
can anyone ellaborate?
   grimme - Wednesday, 01/18/06 16:10:10 EST

Ellen - Wed 18 Jan 2006 15:18:02 #0
Bottom Swage Question

I am wondering what the best way is to make a bottom swage is. I would like to make one about 2" round, and about 3" wide. Only way I can think of is to cut as much metal as I can out of a block of mild steel with my torch, then take an angle grinder to it, and when it is good enough, weld a 1" shank on it. If anyone has made one of these or has any ideas (that don't involve a lathe, milling machine or power hammer) I would appreciate your input. Thanks much!
   Ellen - Wednesday, 01/18/06 16:21:30 EST

Ellen, Split a pc of 2"dia sch 80 or heavier pipe and weld to a flat plate, then weld a hardy shank on it.
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 01/18/06 17:24:16 EST

Newbi in NW IL
Join the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association (IVBA). We have 420+ members and hold numerous events about the state. We delight in teaching everyone who shows about the craft. $15. a year gets it all. If you join soon you'll get the member directory. Third Sat. every month our shop at Sugar Grove is open. We have several beginers every month. May be a little far for you. First exit S. of Bloomington on 55. WWW.illinoisblacksmith.org
John Smmons has a shop at Bishop Hills (tourist trap,the only good thing there) open sometimes on weekends.
   Steve Paullin - Wednesday, 01/18/06 18:39:32 EST


Without a powerhammer, your method is about all I can think of, unless you have a couple of friends who like to swing sledges. You could cut a piece of sch 80 pipe, like Ron suggested, if you do a lot of welding to fill in under the sides pretty much.

If you know someone with a hefty geared-head drill press, just bore a 2" hole in a block, slice in half, weld on two shanks and have two swages. Or make one piece into a top swage to match.

If you just want the swage to turn rasps into rattlesnakes, just use the step on your anvil, it will do just as well, and won't jump around. Actually, for a lot of what a round bottom swage is used for, a "V" swage will work just as well. By the time that a bottom swage is properly dressed so as not to leave "pinch marks" all over a workpiece, it is nearly a "V" swage, just with a rounded bottom.

I've never tried it, but I would think you could make a decent fabricated swage by welding a couple of pieces of heavy plate together to form a "V", then filleting the apex of the "V" with the welder. Grind it a bit with the 4-1/2" grinder held at an angle to match the effective radius, and you're done, but for the shank, of course.

Blacksmiths can think of LOTS of different ways to skin one poor cat. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/18/06 19:03:53 EST


I just remembered that just bought a nifty new flypress! There's you're "powerhammer" for forging that swage. Take a piece of rod just under 2", say abouit 1-3/4" if you have any, and smack it down into a nice hot piece of steel...instant swage.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/18/06 19:11:45 EST

That was great reading! The projects you suggested were also great. I'm a welder 20 years, ladder years I welded aerospace and then a teacher. I claim to be an expert of metal, fabrication specifically, but not the making of. But this is not why I'm writing.
My mastering is that of a staff. My skill has brought me to the ends of my staff, hence a sword. This has prompted me to buy swords. I have quite a collection and have modified most. What I am looking for however, is a group of dedicated people who study the purpose and use of the tool/weapon. If you can help me, I would very much appreciate it. Sincerely, Thomas

P.s. Have you come across anyone who had their own idea of a sword. Length/width of blade. Length/width/shape of handle. I can't find anything I am looking for and can't find anyone to get involved with the re-grinding and shaping of some of my current swords. Thank you.
   Thomas - Wednesday, 01/18/06 19:19:33 EST

Thomas flee over to swordforum.com there are as number of forums there including ones on western martial arts as werll as the japanese sword arts.

There are a large number of custom makers out there but who wants to assume the liability of modifying someone else's work? Check in the swordforum.com's forum about folks modifying stuff themselves.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/18/06 19:48:24 EST

I'm already a part of UMBA and have met Mike Garret and Joe Stanley. I also try to make to the hammers ins at Dave and Babes. Aparently if your anybody, your there ( thats what i was told, haven't been there long enough to make my own judgement). I'm north of Sterling Rockfalls. Middle of nowhere.
   newbie in NW ILL - Wednesday, 01/18/06 20:46:00 EST

Addendium: Grand Detour is the next town over.
   newbie in NW ILL - Wednesday, 01/18/06 20:48:33 EST

Thought about Western European swords. They seem to be simply sharpened steel sticks, as they were meant entirely for fighting. Good for bashing and slashing. I'd recommend that you start with making these. Not that I know how to do it, I just consider myself a middle ages aficionado.

Two new question about tools. I have a wood lathe and a wood drill press.. Can I make these work for metal turning and cutting? I'm not looking for precise results, yet.

I have a truck with a coil spring going bad, as in bottoming out going over drive way changes. Is there anyway to even temporarily (2-3 months) restore its vitality? I have access to gas torches, Arc welders, a coal forge, plasma cutters. (I don't know if any of these will help)
   newbie in NW ILL - Wednesday, 01/18/06 21:01:26 EST


Wood tools are for working wood, and mostly are not at all suitable for working metal. The stresses involved in metal working are many times greater than those in wood working and will trash the tool.

Speeds have to be much slower when cutting metal than when cutting wood. You can drill a 1/2" hole in wood at 2000rpm with no problems at all, but if you try that same speed with steel you'll promptly burn up a bit. Drilling steel also requires much more feed pressure, and the drill press may or may not be up to that without flexing. The same situation applies when trying to turn metal. You need slow speeds with geared power, something that wood lathes don't have. Most hobbiest type lathes don't have nearly rigid enough ways or headstocks to resis the forces of turning metal, even if you did go to the trouble of jackshafting them down to a low enough speed.

About the only thing you can do with metal on a wood lathe is to spin it, and that only with pretty soft metal such as aluminum or copper. Even then, your wood lathe may not turn slowly enough for spinning safely, and it may not have a rigid enough tailstock. Metal work just plain takes more force.

As for "rehabilitating" a coil spring on a vehicle? No way. Not unless you are a professional spring shop with loads and loads of liability insurance. Those springs are critical to the safe handling of the vehicle, and people's lives are at stake. Don't even think about it. A new spring can't be so expensive it is worth risking your life or the life of another.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/18/06 22:25:34 EST

newbie: Don't try to alter the springs Yourself, replace them, or for an easy but half-assed cure put on helper spring shocks or air shocks. There were at one time rubber bladers to put inside coil springs, I don't know if there still is. The drill press needs to run slower for metal, one way is to replace the motor with an 1150 RPM motor. a better way is to build a jackshaft to get extra reduction. One of the Walker Turner drillpresses We have is built that way from the factory. The other one has a homemade jackshaft, the pulley has a bronze bushing in it that runs on a mild steel shaft atached to the motor bracket. The step pulley is on the jackshaft, the motor has a small pulley on it. This gives 260 rpm at the low end and 900 at top speed. You don't get to use the top groove on the spindle pulley with this setup without running the belt out of line because the belt from the motor is on the top groove of the jackshaft pulley. On rare ocasions when I need higher speed I run the belt out of line [top groove on the spindle & 2nd one down on the jackshaft to get 1400 RPM] The factory setup has step pulleys on all 3 locations. The wood lathe is less suited for metalworking, if it is a really beafy one You could bolt a cross slide table to it and mount a toolholder on it, but it wouldn't be a replacement for a metal lathe.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/18/06 22:44:12 EST

blackbart-- Good choice, I think. Just be careful not to set it anywhere that will show in the finished piece. The clamps leave deep bite marks. If it's just a point, that's not too conspicuous, but the circular bites are. I'd buy the ones with cups, the circular bite.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/18/06 22:49:43 EST

Ritch Pierce : The backtaper shouldnt excede .001"per inch per side. The relief that Guru mentions leaves what is called the "land" this is perfectly round but it is narrow to keep from galling against the side of the hole. A verry long time ago larger drills were made of flat stock twisted, but I have only ever seen one, about 7/8". The cutting edge if made from 1% carbon tool steel should be tempered to pale yellow. Point geometry should be like any drillbit, see Machinery's Handbook. Yes a bit can be made by hand, a half decent bit could be made in a tool& cutter grinding shop. BUT WHY BOTHER unless You are trying to replicate primative tooling? Good quality drillbits are acurate, and work excelently, that is why they look like they do.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/18/06 22:58:05 EST

Oh, well. I need the truck to earn a living, and a living to run the truck so just thought that is I could have few months to save up the money.
   newbie in NW ILL - Wednesday, 01/18/06 23:08:50 EST

I've split a pipe but not with the wall thickness I would need to withstand a lot of pressure. Basically I am wanting to build a bottom swage for my new flypress; anything with a hardy shank on it mounts nicely to a flypress one you get a decent steel "table" on it and make a bolster to hold the hardy shank. There's not any bounce back like you would get with a hammer blow, so no need to bolt the hardy shank to the botton of the bolster. The sides just need to withstand a lot of pressure.

I have an offer of a 3/8" walled pipe and that sounds like it might work well.

Rich, your idea of welding two heavy plates together and making a "v" is a good one, and one worth trying if some of the other ideas I'm getting don't pan out. As to pressing it into a hot block of steel those who know the bigger flypresses say mine is too small for that (only 100# flying weight), and frankly by the time you want more power than that you need something besides a fly press.

If I just wanted to beat something half round with a hammer my new swage block is perfect for that, just trying to figure out a way to use my flypress to press things half round, or close to it.

Always a lot of good ideas here, I'm glad to be able to ask questions and get some good answers. Jim "Paw Paw" always used to say you can support this website for less than the price of a cup of coffee for a year; around here coffee is selling in restaurants for up to $1.50 a cup (Denny's us up to $1.70 a cup) so it would only take a month now....grin!
   Ellen - Wednesday, 01/18/06 23:19:58 EST

I attended one of Francis Whitaker's demonstration where he talked about making top and bottom swage dies. His technique was to clamp two pieces of stock together with one layer of business cards inbetween. Then the stocked was precisely drilled out. The business card thickness allowed the necessary clearance when in use. At one time Robb Gunter's soap based quench was all the rage for making these out of mild steel and then hardening them.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/18/06 23:58:27 EST

Ellen-- me, I'd torch cut the max half-circle my rig could handle-- 3 or 4 inches-- out of solid stock and arc weld the two together to get the width you need.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/19/06 00:59:22 EST


I'm giving a brief presentation on ancient Chinese swordmaking techniques. Baogang/"wrapped" steel and qiangang/"inserted" steel, seem pretty easy to understand. The third technique called "twistcore" had an interesting feature and I was curious if you knew anything more about how it is achieved...I guess with the twistcore technique one takes parrallel bars of interlaced hard and soft steel (would that be vertically or horizontally or both?)and forges them into a single unit. One of my sources said when this was then ground and polished that you could see "feathery, star-shaped, or swirling elements" in the blade.

So I guess my question is how & why would that happen and how much active control would a master swordsmith necessarily have in determining the nature/shape/design of those type of elements?

Thanks...hoping this doesn't come off as another dumb Gen-X swordmaking question.
   steve - Thursday, 01/19/06 01:24:48 EST


The technique you describe is covered very well in Dr. James P. Hrisoulas' book, "The Pattern Welded Blade", available through most online booksellers. Basically, alternating layers of differing metals are stacked and then forge welded into a solid billet. The billet may be cut and re-stacked/welded a number of times to develop a few hundred layers.

The billet is then forged to a square cross section and twisted. The twisting creates the "star" pattern in the finished blade thusly:

When the stock is twisted, the material at the center of the bar doesn't move, but the material at the outside moves a great deal, wrapping around the core, so to speak. The long, parallel lines where the differing metals joined are now running almost at right angles to the long axis of the stock. Having done this twisting, the bar is now forged first square again, the to the flat shape needed for a blade. Finally, the rough blade profile is forged. Then comes the grinding.

As the blade is ground to finished profile, the differing layers of the billet are cut through, exposing the join lines. Since the core of the stock didn't really move much and the outside moved a lot in the twisting, the grinding reveals a twisty, star-like pattern. The degree to which the bar is twisted affects how dramatically the pattern is defined, as the tighter the twist, the more nearly the outer layers approach being at right angles to the core. A slow twist creates a swirly, woodgrain-like pattern, and a tight twist creates more of a star-like pattern.

You can see some nice pictures of the effects possible by checking out Dr. J's website: Http://www.atar.com
   vicopper - Thursday, 01/19/06 08:39:46 EST

Thank you kindly for your responce.

   Thomas - Thursday, 01/19/06 09:14:50 EST

Pattern Welding; I am sure I recall seeing a pattern welded knife that was presented to one of the US ex presidents that had the stars and strips flag in miniture (with correct number of stars I think) along the blade, along with initials and /or dates IN the steel, cant find the link now, but it was almost unbelievable.
   John N - Thursday, 01/19/06 09:20:48 EST

Pattern welded blade; kenw I didnt imagine it !! :)


now thats got to take some skill...
   John N - Thursday, 01/19/06 09:25:09 EST

I was thinking that the twist core was about the same as the Viking swords. Which I believe was made by twisting several rods of metal ( probably high and low carbon ) then the twist was welded. and flattened. THEN an edge of high carbon steel ( hi carbon is a relative term ) was welded to the edge of the core billet. Then the blade was final forged profile and then finished by filing and scraping etc. But I am most likely wrong.
Thomas? Do you have any input in this?
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/19/06 11:29:57 EST

Pattern Welding: At the time that our friend Daryl Meier produced the Presidential Presentation Bowie the fact that it could be done was almost a myth. The last time such a thing had been done was during the French Revolution and the motto of the revolution was forged into a bar of steel.

He did much of this the hard way. Star shaped bars were made then triangles and diamonds of fill forge welded into the bundle. Then the star bundle was drawn out, cut and welded into a bar of the star field which would in turn be cut to make multiple flags. The bar was then cut polished and etched to inspect it. When Daryl was done with the first attempt he marveled at what he had done. Then he counted the stars. One had gotten misshapened and dissapeared! It would have to be done again. But in the mean time he traveled the country and gave away little star field billets from the rejected piece.

When the Governor of Illinois asked Daryl to do this job he told the Governor he couldn't afford it! But he would do the job if he could meet the President when it was presented. That photo on Daryl's site is his pay.

Daryl has since retired and tends his grapes which he sells to Illinois winemakers.

Since Daryl proved it could be done there have been many advance in pattern welding. One is called "mosaic". In this process square bars of two types of steel are stacked in a grid pattern and forge welded together. When the billet is drawn out the bars which may have been 1/4" (7mm) square are reduced to 1/64" (.5mm)or so. Like pixels on a computer screen they blend together so that the eye cannot tell. With this method almost any kind of pattern no matter how complicated can be created by anyone with basic laminated steel making skills.

Another high tech method is to create a shape by machining or handworking it then using that part to cut a hole in another piece of steel via EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining). This two pieces are then assembled and forge welded together.

And the most high production, high tech method is powdered metal Damascus. In this process dissimilar steel powders are placed in a form in layers (like sand art)in a container then heated and welded by electromagnetic methods. This billet is then forged or rolled into bars.

Using parts of this method many bladesmiths do what is known as a container weld. In this method the billet is carefully stacked then placed inside a piece of stainless steel tubing and seal welded. A small vent hole is drilled and a little kerosene is dripped in. When the whole is heated the kerosene evaporates and burns off leaving an oxygen free environment to make the weld. Clean steel forge welds very nicely in an oxygen free environment. After the weld is made the container is cut open and scraped.

The combination of all these methods have taken what was once a difficult high skill level art and turned it into a craft. It still requires a great deal of man hours but failure is much less common and hundreds or thousands do it.

Such is the advancement of our art.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 11:37:26 EST

European swords were elegant precisely designed blades with sharp edges---all the fancy pieced construction methods the japanese have used were used in Europe centuries before they were used in Japan.

There are differences in design based on a different use cases. European blades are generally through tempered resulting in a springier blade better suited to the hurly burly of mass combat with people useing armour and shields.

Japanese blades are more for individual combat and have glass hard edges but a soft back. This results in it taking a very fine sharp edge---but fragile. Chipping or even large sections of the edge are known to fall off---why some blades use ashi---a softer section running to the edge so there is a "stop" point for edge failure. A japanese master swordsman doing a demo under strictly controlled conditions is still prone to having his blade bend and take a set during use---there are very precise instructions on how to repair this, though if the edge has cracked the blade is no longer a "user".

There is a lot of "Hype" about japanes blades that end up being mostly the "not from here" effect. Just like we have more swordfighting manuals from Renaissance Europe than we have from Feudal japan---so where do you hear about "traditions handed down"?

To be really impressed go to the Arm Museum in Madrid Spain and look at a toledo blade there that they have bent into a spirial and embedded into a block of wood to keep it from springing back straight---that's impressive!

Bush Bowie---If you like that sort of thing search on Mosaic Damascus and see the ones of santa claus in his sleigh with all the raindeer, the hunter firing at some ducks with his dog at the ready, etc. Some amazing pieces have been done using wire edm to make the blanks and hydraulic presses for the welding.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/19/06 11:40:47 EST

Thay should be "Army Museum" in my post not Arm.
   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/19/06 11:42:43 EST

Twisted Core: Ralph, I think you are right.

In traditional pattern welded steels there are many patterns created by various methods. Although they may seem random at first glance they are distinct and named much like the patterns of marbling in book end papers.

When a twisted core is made the bars are laminated then the edges of the billet rounded to prevent tearing while twisting and then the bar is twisted at a high heat. It then resquared. Often the bar is cut and two pieces welded side by side. In this case the bar is only partial squared as the curved surfaces make a good weld prep.

Besides straight and twisted laminates others are made by stock removal. In these a billet is first laminated, then grooves, notches and depressions are cut out of the billet. The billet is then forged flat leaving a topographic map effect. The stock removal for this method is done by grinding or machining. Much of this art is produced with a modern milling machine or shaper. Similar effects are also created by punching various shaped depressions in the billet then removing stock down to the depth of the depressions.

In most pattern welding the pattern is brought out by grinding or cutting into the surface. The pattern varies and is quite different at various depths so part of the art is knowing how oversized to make the billet. One reason traditional pattern welded steel is expensive is that 75% or more is waste. You create a ten pound billet and you MIGHT get two pounds of product (one sword, a handful of Bowies).

There are numerous books on the subject but most are behind the rapidly growing technology curve. This is also an art where you can let your imagination go wild then try to figure out how to get the results you want.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 12:06:50 EST

One thing I forgot to mention---the average weight of a using medieval european sword for about 1000 years was about 1kg---2.2 pounds some of the massive 2 handed renaissance swords got up to 6 pounds!

A good weight for a japanese katana is about 2.2 pounds

So "european heavy dull club swords" on average weigh the same as japanese swords---and the european swords are thinner than a typical japanese sword, have more distal taper, etc...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/19/06 12:11:30 EST

2 questions today:
1. What's the best way to make a knife from a spent drill bit? I have abunch of old rusty ones 5/8" and bigger. I made a knife blank yesterday, but crumbled after a water quench. Is it too high of a carbon to pull off?

2. Anyone have any plans for making an electropolishing setup?

That's all for now. Made a micro mini forge yesterday from a spent propane bottle, kaowool, ITC-100, some scrap rod and the Bernz-O TZ8000 unit. Took me 10 minutes to make and was able to get weld heat in 5 minutes!!
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 01/19/06 12:17:28 EST

Flypress Tooling: Ellen, Your flypress should have a center hole and bushing. The round center hole is good for round shanks welded or screwed to tooling. If directional alignment is not critical then round shanks can be used. Even when direction is critical the tool can have a tab welded to it to fit the T-slot or taped tooling holes.

Tooling also does not need a shank to stay on the table. Tools can be loose, have tabs to fit the T-slots, tabs to be bolted down through, tabs to be clamped on using standard machine tool table furniture (see our iForge drill press article). Tabs are most often used so that the clamping device or bolt does not extend above the die surface.

To make your half round die. Heat a piece of steel about double the thickness of the diameter of the half round. Set on the press, hold a piece of round bar over the hot die block and press it in half way. You want the edges of the die to be heavily radiused so "suck in" is OK. If the die has distinguishable edges use a grinder to radius them.

The only difficulty to making this type tooling is finding enough pieces of 1", 1-1/4" and 1-1/2" plate or retangular bar. Once you have your lumps of steel you turn them all into dies in a few hours.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 12:39:45 EST

Spent Drill Bits: TGN, These are made from very high carbon high alloy HSS (High Speed Steel). This CAN be worked by hand but heat treating is tricky. It is an air quench steel. However, most heat treatment of this steel is done in temperature controlled furnaces where the temperature is carefuly ramped up and down to harden and temper the steel. This is required for the absolute best performance.

Forge and let air cool.

Heat to about 1550°F (200°F above non-magnetic) then let air cool on a rack where air can surround the part. Once the part is cool but before it is room temperature temper to a minimum of 500°F.

It is difficult or impossible to judge the temper temperature of many high alloy steels by temper color. However, if you use a tempering block made of mild steel you can heat it on a cooking stove to the temper temperature and then set your blade on it and let it soak.

After this initial minimum temper which will reduce the likelyhood of quench cracking you will probably need to temper at a higher temperature to reduce brittleness. In any junk yard steel this is a trial and error process. However, in a HSS this will be in the 800 to 1000°F range if not higher. Your maximum judge by eye temper color is 650°F where the bright steel starts to take on a light gray (scale).
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 12:53:21 EST

serious question: whats the best way 2 people (ages 20 & 57) can move an power hammer w/ a weight of 1800 lbs. in up-right position on a uneven surface a distance of 20 ft.?
   - packrat - Thursday, 01/19/06 14:15:49 EST

I am trying to machine 304L Stainless steel. I want for the metal and the carbide drill to heat up in order to "activate" the material. The problem is that I keep burning out my drill. I am very new at all of this metal working stuff and wonder what is out there by way of tooling that can withstand the heat.
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:18:37 EST


1) Check the bottom surface of the machine. If it is not flat then it cannot be rolled. Brute force is required.

2) Rolling on pipe is best. However you need a hard fairly flat surface. Hardwood boards (rough cut oak) will work to make a track to roll the machine on. Shim level as needed. Support should be almost continous.

3) 1" pipe is what I have used to move everything from 25 pound Little Giants to 350 pound Chambersburgs. Cut a 21 foot length into 7 equal (approximately 36") pieces then chamfer. This size roller requires a hard surface (concrete, wood, steel).

4) The minimum you need to roll something tall is TWO rollers if the item has a flat bottom. Wedge one under the machine front, push and roll the machine until the roller reaches the center of gravity and you can tip the machine back and slip the second roller in the front. Then roll forward until the machine easily tips back again and repeat.

If the bottom of the machine is not smooth and flat I bolt the machine onto two hardwood skids then do as above.

The track made from boards does not need to be continous. If you have enough wood to make two short sections you can roll from one pair of tracks to the next then shuffle forward.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:32:39 EST

Further info on the 304L stainless steel. The guy who is selling the SS says that his grain size is small, and the way they process the SS, it changes the way the grain structure of the oxides. When the material heats up (I think he said to around 800 degrees) The oxides "activate" (I call it melt) and then the material is easy to machine. My tool burns out from the heat before I can get the material that hot.
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:34:25 EST

Packrat: All terrain forklift. Unquestionably the best way. (BOG)

Now that we have that out of the way... I would probably grade the surface by hand if it wasn't too uneven and use pipe rollers and a comealong or a pallet jack over plywood. If you can get a pallet jack under it that's probably the better option...
   T. Gold - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:36:05 EST

Chain it to the back of the tank and take it for a scrape round to the new location. How uneven is the terrain. hand moving heavy objects with high centers of gravity on hills is a very tricky proposition---and not worth the cost of the hospital bill if you end up underneath it.

if the ground is generally flat with typical unevenness stout boards and rollers can work for you. If it's hilly, go for a method that keeps you from having to be in the fall path!

When I moved my screw press I had bolted it onto long skids made from 4x4 to increse it's "footprint" and then chained it to the back of my truck and skidded it over the gravel and out into the alley across from the shop doors.

I did this *VERY* *SLOWLY* the idea is to *NEVER* have enough energy in the system that it can tip over if it catches on a rock or root. Then I used rollers and oak 1x6 boards to roll it into the shop. Used the same technique to move it into my new shop as well but this time I coulds skid it into the shop and then roll it out of the way so the truck could get out...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:46:16 EST

I do have coolant. That is exactly the problem I have been having. It has been work hardening on me. How slow? What rpm? What about the feed?
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:48:48 EST

Is a masonary bit standard that I can buy somewhere? Are there different kinds? Can I order to a certain specification?
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:51:04 EST

Also, what is there a certain type of carbide coat? Sorry I am so new at all of this and I really appreciate your help.
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 15:53:02 EST

"Activate the Metal" Laura, sounds like you have been talking to a bunch of know it alls that are ignorant as dirt OR they were fooling with you. Nothing in machine work is activated by heat except friction and failure.

First, HSS drill bits are better for stainless because,

1) They are much cheaper

2) They are sharper and less likely to chip thus cutting better.

First rule of machining stainless is that it is 3 times as difficult as mild steel and twice as difficult as tool steel. In general this translates to slower speeds and higher costs. Stainless has a higher coefficient of expansion than steel and the last thing you want is stainless parts getting hot. This results in stuck or broken drills and taps.

For general machining of stainless using HSS about 90 - 100 feet per minute is recommended. I find that HALF the general rule applies to drilling of all materials. So about 50 feet per minute is best.

For a 1/2" drill that is 382 RPM. (50 * 12/(PI * d")

You want to use a cutting oil as coolant/lubricant and NEVER EVER let the bit rub. Always make chips otherwise you will create a work hardened surface that even carbide will not cut.

Feed pressure is important to keep makeing chips (NO rubbing). This means drilling with a drill press unless the hole is very small. You cannot provide enough feed pressure by hand except for bits smaller than about 1/4". Being too timid with the feed pressure it the reason for burned up drill bits. The only time you want to "hold back" is when the drill starts to break through, then you need to control the feed rate as if the cut was still 100%.

On stainless I always start with NEW high quality HSS bits.

Solid carbide drills are used on prehardened tool steels and other very difficult to machine materials. These are run fast and the rubbing rule above applies.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 16:00:19 EST

Massonary Bits: Despite recent posting hear contrary to the fact, these ARE NOT suitable for drilling metal. The shape is incorect and the carbide grade wrong. Yes there are different types depeding on the material being drilled and the type of tool being used. In metal working there are hundreds of grades of carbide.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 16:04:02 EST

What do you mean by "when the drill starts to break through? Do you mean through the back side of the material?
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 16:11:23 EST

Also, what about tapping? What do I do for that application?
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 16:14:14 EST

Packrat: On guy in MI hired a crane. He took off a couple of roofing sheets and have the crane set it on his foundation. If this is practical, check around for folks who lift A/C units, etc. on top of buildings.

Question: Someone today asked me about 60% ALUMINA firebrick for a forge. How do they differ from 2,300 and 2,600 degree firebrick?
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/19/06 17:19:51 EST

I treat s/s the same as steel, its just tougher, and it "picks up" more than steel does. I use carbide tip drill bits to break in again when for some reason the cut has glazed but you need to sharpen it like a metalwork not a masonary bit, a green stone is needed for good practice, if your tappin deep and small use a bigger tappin drill than the book says, its cheaper .
   grimme - Thursday, 01/19/06 17:37:22 EST

Knowing there are many experts that view this site, I have a question that I hope someone can help me with. I am currently working on a sculpture that is just about 18' tall and almost 5' in diameter.I'm looking to have it plated (not galvenized) I'm open for information as to who might be able to do such a large piece. I'm thinking of cad plating, copper, or chrome. I just don't want to paint it unless i have to. If that's the case then i'll have it powder coated.It's made of 5/8" rod and is a wire type frame sculpture w/ a 3/4"x48" plate on the bottom for a base. Total weight is about 900lbs.Does anyone know of a company in the US that can handle large objects for plating??????Please Anyone????????????
   jeremy k - Thursday, 01/19/06 17:56:22 EST

The above post is a valid inquiry. The reason I'm looking for something of a different look is that this sculpture is going to be at the end of my own driveway so i can use it as a reference point on giving directions to my clients. I've always had this problem (always doing things that are out of the ordinary)not that it's a bad thing but that's just me --- different--- in my own way.Thank You ,Jeremy
   jeremy k - Thursday, 01/19/06 18:08:45 EST

I've noticed that cranking up my home built gas forge for forge welding is very hard on it. The kaowool seems to get brittle and break down, shrink etc. I've purchased a new forge now and don't want to tear it up. Has anyone out there built a small forge specifically for forge welding? If so, how was it designed? I guess I'm looking for a short intense heat (I don't have access to coal in my area). Thanks in advance
   MIKE HILL - Thursday, 01/19/06 18:53:39 EST

I do have coolant. I start to drill and an inch or so into the stainless and it work hardens. If I do this too many times with the tool, it burns it down. Also, I have control over the feeds and speeds - I am not doing this by hand.
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:01:29 EST

Look at this. Go to www.dfoggknives.com and click on bladesmithing, then click on tools at the bottom, then click on propane forge.
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:06:10 EST

Is there a standard or rule of thumb for sizing an electric blower to a forge in CFM? Example: What size blower should I get for a pan/rivet forge if I want to have the option of replacing the hand crack? Also is a variable speed blower preferable to a constant speed? Does anyone have a recommended model number and source for the above request? Thanks. Jim
   Jim Warren - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:07:23 EST

Yes, I have built a small forge for forge welding. It uses store bought lump charcoal for fuel and a hair dryer as an air source. It cost me $40.00 to make, and that is without scrounging anything. It definately reaches welding temp. I have made 1 welded tomahawk, and a handful of fireplace pokers and forks with welded tines. If interested, let me know if you want more info about the design. I'd be glad to help.
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:10:54 EST

Guru...Please bare with me one more time..About the proper hose for my forge in my new shop....I got rid of the rubber hose.
I installed series 30 Stainless Gas Appliance Connectors,rated for propane and a Swivelmax fitting after the shutoff,sealed all fittings with pipe goo.Am I good to go?..
I greatly appreciate all your help,,there's not many people to turn to for accurate advice about forges.
   - arthur - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:14:04 EST

I used to work in a shop that machined several million pounds of different SS a year. I would offer the following for drilling and tapping SS;
1. We used twist drills, spade bits and sometimes core drills and inserted drills. All worked.
We ALWAYS used copious coolant. We used both Sulfur bearing oil and water based coolants. The water based coolants were an absolute must for the carbide inserted drills, and the core drills. The oil was ok for the spades and the twist drills but the speed had to be much slower.
Feed must be maintained for all the drill types. If the drill dulls any, stop and sharpen/replace.
The majority of drilling in our shop was with twist drills, at very slow speeds and feeds and heavy feed pressure, as Jock noted. This is much easier if a very rigid machine is used.You may need to back out you drill from time to time to clear the shavings as they tend to pack in the flutes of the drill. This will build up heat.

Tapping, Use a high quality sharp tap. Hardware store taps are not usually of this quality. A "Master Chemical" product, which is a straight oil with a very hefty additive package was the best lube for tapping we found, and as we had about 450 machines cutting steel, Stainless, and exotic alloys we searched hard. If you are interested I will look up the product number.
   - ptree - Thursday, 01/19/06 19:28:42 EST

On the SS drilling, Jock is right about the need for a large, CONSTANT feed pressure, SLOW cutting speed, and SHARP drills.

Burntforge is right that masonry bits can be made to drill stainless and other Hard materials, even chilled iron. As they are bought, they won't do it well, because of the wrong geometry. If reground with a 135 degree point and propper clearance angles they can be used on hard materials and stainless. All the precautions about feed and speed still apply. For larger holes also use a pilot hole the size of the larger drill's web. I have NOT been successful with a masonry bit on holes less than 3/8"in metals. I prefer GOOD industrial quality HSS twist drills, I consider the masonry bit a special trick. I have used it when in a jam because I let the work work-harden by inatention and lack of feed or a suddenly dull bit.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 01/19/06 20:58:27 EST

packrat: can you hoist the hammmer up onto a trailer or pickup?
   rthibeau - Thursday, 01/19/06 20:59:42 EST


100 cfm blower is great for a rivet forge. 65 cfm really doesn't have enough umph.
   - burntforge - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:05:32 EST

I fabbed up a frame of 1 1/2 inch square tube high and wide enough to back my pickup under it with the power hammer horizontal hoisted up with a chain hoist. Lower the hammer, move the framework, drive the hammer to where you need to go, hoist up, move truck and set her down. 2 inch square tube might have been better.
   rthibeau - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:08:28 EST

You have great questions. You did not cause any conflict. Everyones advise to you is good and correct. You will get great direction here.

I just had a huge issue with guru basically saying in a unprofessional manner that I am full of doggy doo.

Like guru and john said use a sharp drill with steady pressure, Colbalt should work just fine. One with 135 degree andgle. It will look more flat than pointy. Reasonable slow rpm. If it chatters you are going to fast. I like the feel of hand pressure over powerfeed if it is work hardening. When you feel it just scatting over the hard metal up hardening, just apply a little more pressure and then hold it still and let it bite through. I forgot to mention clear your chips out first by quickly raising your bit 85% of the way out of the hole.
   - burntforge - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:16:58 EST

April Tennessee Hammer In: I just booked an RV space at the Birdsong Marina with no problems. They also have cabins available. They are not as convenient as some of the other campgrounds but they do have space available. For now, anyway.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:30:38 EST

Thank you to everyone here. This is such great information. Your knowledge is so amazing!! I will try these things and let you know how it goes. THANKS !
   Laura - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:43:43 EST

Burtforge, we had crossed posts as yours had not posted as I was writing mine.

However, nothing, absolutely nothing "activates" in stainless at any temperature other than scale at a read heat. Nor in the cutter.

   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:00:36 EST

Arthur, sounds like you are ready to go. Be sure to check EVERYTHING for leaks. I pressurize with air and use soap and water solution. It doesn't hurt to recheck after a week or a major temperature change OR any time you smell gas when you think you shouldn't. If this is a permanent instalation look for places that will be exposed to mechanical damage and make guards as needed.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:04:35 EST

Coal Forge Blowers: You can get away with 150 CFM but 250 - 300 is normal for full size forges. Speed controls are useful to reduce the flow by half for average use but not a very low speeds and air flows. A control valve works better. Many folks put both on a forge. The electric control slows and quiets the blower, the gate valve hold a steady low flow when needed such as with a very hot fire or just maintaining a fire.

About the only published information on blowers and forges is for industrial settings where they ran dozens of forges on one large blower.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:10:57 EST

Jock's advice about puttin ga guard on any hose that could be subject to mechanical damage is right on the money. A couple of weeks ago I got nervouse about my propane hose where itruns along the floor behind the powerhammer. I didn't feel much like going to the trouble of moving it, so I grabbed a couple pieces of scrap angle iron and set them over the most vulnerable areas. It was only a day or two later that a hot one squirted out of the tongs and landed on one of the pieces of angle iron. Glad it was there!
   vicopper - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:12:59 EST

Gas Forge Lining Break Down: Mike, generally the heat should have little effect but it DOES degrade the surface of the best kaowool creating dust. Flux does terrible things to Kaowool blanket (torch to cotton candy) and quickly errodes kaowool board and formed product as well as other light weight refractories. Note also that there are many grades of refractory blanket and some are not designed for the temperature conditions seen in gas forges.

Although none of the commercial makers use it almost all the DIY folks and rebuilders use ITC-100 to protect the kaowool and other refractories in the forge. It is not absolute protection against flux but it prevents break down due to oxidation and light flux exposure (vaporized and blown flux dust). It greatly increases the life of hard refractories which are atacked by flux and more so by scale.

In some cases the IR reflectivity of ITC-100 will make a noticable difference in forge temperature. In others where the forge is running at maximum potential there is a small fuel savings but you cannot tel the temperature difference. Large kiln operators use it because it rapidly pays for itself in fuel savings.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:22:34 EST

Laura : The recomendations about using cobalt 118 degree split point bits are right on the money, as are the low speed and continuous substantial feed pressure. Another thing to be cautious of is letting chips get between the drill point and the bottom of the hole when You lift the drill to clear chips. They spinn around on the drillpoint and workharden the bottom of the hole. A small tube, like the one inside a spray can on the end of an air blow gun will get the chips out of the hole. I too have used the masonry bit trick, but on hardened tool steel. This works with bits that have one clearance angle on each side NOT the ones ground for precussion [hammer] drills. Precussion bits have a significant negative rake angle to keep fom chipping. Asfor the taps, You want the top quality ground thread industrial ones, and I am not going to start the argument between hand taps and spiral point taps, but I offer this advice about spiral point taps: Don't back up to break the chips, if stock is thinn enough to tap all the way through, do so before backing out. If using hand taps back up to break chips before they get so bound up that You cant turn the tap ATT ALL. An easier formula for finding RPM for drills, endmills and lathe work is: 4xcutting speed in surfase feet per minute divided by the diameter. this gives an aproximation as it uses 3 instead of Pie, and incorporates the 12 divided by Pie from the formula Guru gave. So 4x50 divided by 1/2" diameter= 400 RPM. Pretty close but easy to do in Your head.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:18:20 EST

I'm sorry, what are CFM? I Mean I have a motor mounted with 3:7 ratio (3 being motor) @ about 1/3 HSPR. The fan itself is about 15inches wide and in diameter. Is that right? In shorter much less nieve sounding words, how do I calculate (if needed) CFM?

I tried the homemade power hammer. It didn't work. The first few time were okay, but it ended up torquing the "chassis" to much. So it takes a little more than 3 inch square angle iron won't work. Bright side, nobody got hurt and now I have two 20 pound sledges.

On to my next project which again I need help with. Right now my forge is good at getting small areas heated. Can I make a bigger forge with the airflow more spread out to cover a larger area but maybe not burn as hot, yet still allow the heating of steel. Or should I just get a more powerful air flow going and get a larger in volume and surface area forge. Want to evenly heat industry shovels and eventually make a long thin one for heating blades. So perhaps one might suggest a better cousre of action knowing the rough outline my intentions.

About Kalan: Some might not feel the need for it, and other will think I'm part of the problem, but as a high school student I would like to apologize for him. I find his conduct unbecoming of a high schooler. Well perhaps not, but one that expects to learn a craft/trade.

BTW: Guru/ Mr. Dempsey, did you get my application for your apprentice program? I'd be Aron Obrecht.
   newbie in NW ILL - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:32:47 EST

I got my hands on an auction catalogue from the Sorber Iron collection that took place last year. The catalogue and photos are awesome. It will likely become one of the main reference staples to my book arcive.
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:40:12 EST

Hey! On this forum, we say 'horse hockey'. Laura will no doubt be canonized some day. She is surely a saint.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:44:39 EST

Refers to the volume or rate of air flow the blower will deliver in Cubic Feet per Minute
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:45:13 EST

Addendium: I'm looking to gain the basics of smithing and/or machining so if anybody is interested in taking a temporary apprentice, I'd be much obliged. I do understand the 20:1 work:learn ratio, as I've endured the same thing with wood working for my entire life. I've also taken a 5 year crash course on reinovating 90 year old homes, and taking care of lawns and lawn projects. With these diversified skills perhaps I could be of use to somebody in exchange for an education. Temporarliy relocation is not a problem as I will probably already be packed up from moving.

My only draw back: I have a need to listen to at least two to three Pink Floyd albums a week. :-)

Again, I don't know if I'm talking to the exact right crowd for this preposition, but I know you could lead me to the right one if not.
   newbie in NW ILL - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:48:00 EST

I thought did I swear and not realize? Then I just got the "horse hockey" vs "doggy do". I was just on the dog sledding forum and got confused. Be happy I changed my user name to the correct one...LOL.


Adjunct to electric blower:

On the drop Down menue is some advertisers. The upper right. Kayne and Son (blacksmithdepot.com) carries some real nice electric blowers- adequate CFM for great prices.
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:58:57 EST

newbie in NW ILL

Check with abana.org about apprenticeships. There is a fella mentioned in the last "Hammers Blow" that takes applications for an apprentice for the summer season each year. His last apprentice sounds well pleased. I am too lazy to look it up at the moment. Abana can likely get you in contact with him.
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/20/06 00:02:55 EST

HORSE APPLES: Apprenticeships

I just looked for the apprenticeship info. I read so many websites and publications a day I can't find it. Maybee it was a dream, but I would still give ABANA a call.
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/20/06 00:13:42 EST

Check http://www.surpluscenter.com, and look up blowers in the index. Good prices. Lots of other stuff too.
   Glenn Tate - Friday, 01/20/06 00:32:32 EST

Coal Forge Blower Requirements:

Most blowers seem to range between 125-300 cfm for coal forges. The lower end of the range is for rivet or pan style forges and the upper range for railroad styles. Centrifugal blowers in the 125-175 cfm range are generally found on smaller forges and 200-250 cfm range on larger ones. Squirrel cage style blowers in the 150-200 cfm range are common for smaller forges and 200-300 cfm range for larger forges.

I am unsure as to why the centrifugal blowers in lower cubic feet per minute ratings are found in the same applications where squirrel cage blowers are characteristically rated at higher flow rates. I believe it has something to do with more than just the flow rate.

Centrifugal blowers, in forge applications, seem to have more pressure or “force” while the squirrel cage varieties seem to produce less of this “force” at the same flow rating. Bigger, or higher cfm rated, squirrel cage blowers approximate lower rated centrifugal blowers in forge applications.

Either style blower should include a flow control feature and an on/off feature. Several flow control features are popular: inlet restriction, outlet restriction, outlet diversion, and speed control.

Inlet restriction seems to be the most popular and is the obstruction of the inlet to the blower with a moveable plate and is most common on squirrel cage arrangements.

Outlet restriction is commonly a blocking valve or blocking vane approach and seems to be common on centrifugal arrangements.

Outlet diversion, or waste gating, is the spilling of excess flow out of the air pipe to “vent off” some of the flow.

Speed control is simply the variable speed control of the motor to the blower.

On/Off features are likewise necessary to save coal during forging and to save from overheating unattended stock left in the fire. Speed control flow by a rheostat that is coupled with an On/Off switch to power the rheostat is common.
   - ccharper - Friday, 01/20/06 00:59:58 EST

Mike Hill and gas forges during welding.
Mike did you use flux? I ask as flux will eat up KaoWool like cotton candy. I have been told but not tried it myself but a HIGH phosphate rammable or castable refractory is supposed to resist flux. I have a buddy in Alaska who lined his homebuilt forge with it about 7 years ago and he does a lot of welding with his forge and has yet to reline his forge.
If you coat your lining with ITC-100 it may help a tad, but will not completely stop it. It is also an IR relfector so it will help your forge get hotter with less fuel usage.
   Ralph - Friday, 01/20/06 05:00:36 EST

newbie in NW IL: If you are mobile contact some of the crafts schools which offer blacksmithing classes, such as the J.C. Campbell Folk School. I assume they need folks for maintenance, etc. You might work a deal to where you work for them on a room/board/pocketmoney situation for a while in exchance for being allowed to take the blacksmithing classes without a separate fee. Contact Tom Clark at the Ozark School of Blacksmithing. Tom runs one or more businesses on the side and might be interested in a somewhat similar arrangments for attending his two-week school. At one point, last year I believe, Frank Turley spoke of an arrangement like this with him for grunt labor in return for his school access. Think outside the box as the saying goes.

Still seeking answer to how 60% ALUMINA firebricks differ from the soft ones, such as 2,300 and 2,600 degree.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/20/06 08:15:20 EST

Something for you anvil collectors. Take a look at eBay #6246611692. Any guesses as to manufacturer? Looks to be cast iron. Why would it have a patent? Same shape as some FISHERs and BUFFALOs.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/20/06 08:28:57 EST

Packrat - re moving the hammer, ive moved a few with very little in the way of equipment, as prevoiusly stated make the base as wide as possible, these thinks are generally very top heavy. If the hammer is going to list over to one side consider a ratchet strap to the nearest heavy object (truck / tree etc) away from the list (this can be adjusted / backed up as the hammer moves along) using bars as rollers is the best way, but you always get one (or more) that dig in and mess it up - have a bottle or toe jack so you can take the load of it to reposition the roller. ( a 1/4" piece of gravel will jam it all up!), finally you need a good turfor (sp?), my top tip is if you dont have one use a small block and tackle lifting hoist horizontally for the pulling. (if you can get use of an all terrain lift truck lash the hammer to the forks with ratchet straps ), oh, and recon on it taking at least twice as long as you thought if you move it by 'hand' :)
   John N - Friday, 01/20/06 10:11:19 EST

Ken: I believe the higher the alumina content the harder the brick is with more thermal insulation and withstands higher temps. They won't weather or wear as quick as the soft bricks, but they are still easy to break and dusty.
   rthibeau - Friday, 01/20/06 10:43:56 EST

Guru, thanks for the info on drill bits into knives... Like you said, it will take a lot of trial and error.

Unfortunately no one answered my question about making my own electropolishing setup, not to be confused with electroplating, I do not want that. I have access to tons of resources in the chemical and electronic fields. Just need to know what to get.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/20/06 12:18:08 EST

Electric blowers for coal forges: SOFA has their shop forges set up so that you can opt to use a foot switch with them---the blower only runs when you are stepping on the pedal---saves a lot of coal and burnt steel for the new folks who may need some head scratching time between trips to the anvil.

This is in conjunction with an outlet restriction as well so you set it for what kind of fire you want and then just step on the switch when you need air.

As for how much air a forge needs there are a heap of variables---size number of holes for air in the tuyere, *type* of coal---affects back pressure as well as how much air is needed for combustion; how big a fire you generally make. The value I generally shoot for is "enough"...a common mistake for people starting up is "too much" and a lot of burned steel results. As you get good (and faster) and may be working multiple pieces in the fire you may be building bigger fires and using more air.

As a hobbiest I started with an electric blower, and then went to hand crank and then to a home build double lunged bellows---each time deciding I preferred the step down the tech ladder---except for billet welding. While I did a bunch of it with the hand crank and the bellows I really prefer an electic blower for it.

Aron; one of my highlights from a business trip to England was seeing the Battersea Power Station---I recognized it even without a pig flying over it...

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/20/06 12:29:39 EST


Electropolishing is very little different from electroplating; it is, in essence, reverse electroplating.

To electropolish, the workpiece becomes the anode and the current removes metal from the surface and carries it to the cathode. The action of the electroetch is stronger on the high points than on the low points, so they get eroded more, thus evening out the surface. That's the basics.

In practice, electropolishing is as much art as science, and filled with proprietary products and processes. I've done considerable research on the 'net and not come up with any real useable information on how to set up a DIY system, unless I wanted to buy a set-up from a vendor. Big bucks to do that, putting it out of reach of the little guy.

The best bet, I think, would be to mooch around a couple of commercial electropolishing shops until you find one with somebody who is willing to pass on the needed information to set you up. Also to supply you with small amounts of the proprietary chemicals they use. This won't be easy, as the chemicals are all dangerous to handle and they'll probably have serious liability concerns. There's also the toxic waste issue, which is a whole 'nother issue. You're going to have to really work to get anywhere with this, I'm afraid.
   vicopper - Friday, 01/20/06 12:46:12 EST

I also have an electric blower with a foot switch. My valve is on the inlet side of the fan. Seems it doesn't have to work as hard that way
   3dogs - Friday, 01/20/06 12:46:42 EST


That looks like an Eagle anvil. I did not consult Postman, but the process of putting the steel face onto a cast body, I think was patented.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/20/06 14:27:35 EST

TGN, Not a do it yourself but if you need to do a small lot of electropolishing try Control Electropolishing Corp. in Brooklyn, NY- controlelectropolishing.com. They have a minimum charge of $100 so send a bunch of parts at one time. They've turned mine around even faster then they promised and they do the same for the friend who first recommended them to me.
   SGensh - Friday, 01/20/06 15:42:25 EST

Ken, that sure does look like a Fisher. I've got a 140-lb, and the base and horn shape are identical. And since Fisher used an eagle in their logo, could they have made an alternate brand and called it "Eagle"?

Or maybe a Fisher knock-off?
   - Marc - Friday, 01/20/06 15:55:20 EST

On the ????LE ANVIL WORKS anvil on eBay, age of anvil is unknown. However, Fisher had been putting on steel plates since the mid-1800s or so and VULCAN from about 1880 or such. I simply don't see anything about the anvil shape which would be patentable. Perhaps the patent is with the content, such as semi-steel or chilled cast iron.

Considered it might be a FISHER made for a client, but ????LE ANVIL WORKS doesn't sound like a client name - more a manufacturer. If cast iron, semi-steel or chilled cast iron, might have been made in any one of the thousands of foundries there once were in the U.S.

Can't really see the chip out of the top in detail, but it looks to me like a cast iron-ish break. Seller says it has no ring.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/20/06 15:59:45 EST

since a couple of days the toaster oven roads do not brighten as it used to be the color of FIERY RED .the cake takes a longer time to cook.is my toaster oven working?
is there a problem .pllllllllllease help
   nazera - Friday, 01/20/06 16:24:00 EST

Blowers: Many thanks for the education from everyone in blowers. Jim
   Jim Warren - Friday, 01/20/06 18:20:10 EST

Nazera - Something is restricting current to the heating element, perhaps a bad connection to the thermostat, or the heating element itself is damaged.

First unplug the appliance. Check the plug and power cord for damage while you are at it.

Then I would look closely at the heating element for signs of damage. If the heating element is damaged the safest thing is to get a new toaster oven.

If the heating element looks OK, check the wires that connect it to the thermostat and the thermostat to the power cord.

If the wires and their connections are OK, look closely at the thermostat. Perhaps you can see the contacts and they may be damaged resulting in a high resistance point.

Please exercise extreme caution, as if you make a mistake you could be shocked, electrocuted or burn your house down. Or all of the above. Trying to extend the life of a small appliance is not worth burning your house down, never mind your life.
   John Lowther - Friday, 01/20/06 18:35:38 EST

$100 minimum? Well, that might work better than spending out the wazoo for a home kit. I actually would prefer to send it out, that way they pieces can be 'certified' for later sale.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/20/06 19:10:36 EST

Mr. Grinder Nippiulini
Have you ever seen the vintage photo of the old fella with the real 125 lb anvil hanging from his teets? I saw the grinder thing you do and was wondering if a 200 lb anvil is next?
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/20/06 19:29:20 EST

Yes, you're speaking of my great influence Rasmus Nielsen. Maybe a hundred pounder... we'll see
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/20/06 21:55:22 EST

TGN & vicopper - Electropolishing: Someone refered Me to the website WWW.finishing.com when I asked about electropolishing. This is a large website, I never reasearched it much, but it seems to have a lot of info. A friend of Mine had a marine stainless shop and was set up to do it. He said the chemicals were expensive and that it took a lot of amperage, His parts were pretty large.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 01/20/06 22:32:11 EST

I recently purchased a nail header from Tom Clark at Ozark School of Blacksmithing and I am having some trouble with nails getting wedged in it after forming the nail head. I did some reading about nail headers and how to make them and the tapered square hole in mine seems to be punched in the opposite direction than what I've read you are supposed to do.

The one I bought from Ozark S of B has the tapered hole larger on the top of the dome and smaller on the bottom....like this: ======\ /

This originally seemed correct to me because that's the same direction the nail tapers. However, hammering down on the head is pushing the tapered nail into the tapered hole and making contact evenly on all sides....and getting stuck.

However, after reading various blacksmith's instructions on how to make one, they all seem to say to make the taper smaller on top of the dome and larger at the bottom to keep the nail from getting stuck.....like this: ======/ \

Seems with the hole tapered like the one I bought \ / , the nail gets wedged and stuck when I form the head of the nail. I have to pound on it to get it out and it always screws the nail up.

My question is what is the correct way to taper the hole in the nail header. I wondering if Ozark S of B might have punched the taper in my backward accidentally. Any thoughts?

   walker - Friday, 01/20/06 22:48:59 EST


You're either using it upside down, or it's made wrong. A nail header can have a fully countersunk hole, larger hole portion on the bottom, but it does not need to be made like that. It can have a parallel sided hole, as ||. The taper of the forged nail will offer wiggle room, so the nail will release from the tool more easily. Furthermore, the top surface of the tool can be slightly domed. When you use angle-blows to give the nail head facets, it helps in keeping the hammer head from hitting the tool.

The rivet heading tool, on the other hand, cannot have parallel sides, because the rivet itself has parallel sides, and the rivet will "choke" in the hole if made that way. The rivet header must have the full countersink, the larger hole portion on the bottom, as /\. The taper does not have to be extreme, just enough to give "wiggle room" in order to release the rivet easily after it is headed.

The smaller portion of the hole on top of the tool will give you a nice, sharp demarcation where the nail neck meets the head. You don't get the sharp shoulder and proper neck shape, if you use the tool upside down.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/20/06 23:31:36 EST

Thanks for the info, Frank.

I'm definitely not using it upside down. The way it's made it can only be used one way. It's domed on the top to use angled hammer blows to form the nail head. And it curved inward on the bottom. You would never be able to hit the nail head with the hammer if you tried to use it upside down. And the taper is larger at the top on the dome than at the bottom. The header can be seen at http://www.ozarkschool.com/
   walker - Friday, 01/20/06 23:47:15 EST

sorry, not sure that url is going to work
   walker - Friday, 01/20/06 23:47:45 EST


Sounds like it is made screwy.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/20/06 23:54:00 EST

Apprenticeships See our FAQ's page.

ABANA's program was a "Journeyman" program and expected the applicatants to have a good depth of skills from forging and forge welding to applicable math and shop skills. At least a year's worth of training. After that the arrangements were strictly between shop owner and applicant with ABANA listing the few shops that were open to the Journeyman program.

Some other groups are working on a basic skills list but I have issues with a number of the included tasks and absense of others. Things like proven knowledge of a chop saw. . . Never had one in my shop, have used them and never WANT one in my shop. . . Many people do but it is not a minimum skill. Meanwhile, how to drill a hole, the right way, is a critical skill.
   - guru - Friday, 01/20/06 23:55:47 EST

Long Dynamic URLs: Please do not post long URL's. They break our page. They also often include session ID's which are only good from YOUR PC at the moment you used it. . . which also means they are broken links tomarrow. . .

For ebay, just list the item number. For others, the site, menu, and item description. For google and other search results, either the key world for the search or the URL but not the google search and link path. This is also often dynamic and will not work tomarrow.

   - guru - Saturday, 01/21/06 00:03:06 EST

Nail header. Tom makes the same style as Doug Merkle which has a steeply tapered hole, the bottom larger. /\ If the hole is bigger up top then you got a reject.

When Doug sells his headers he demos EVERY ONE to prove to the buyer that it works as advertised. . . As lots of folks have trouble with headers.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/21/06 00:11:24 EST

yeah, sorry about that....I realized that after I posted the message.....
   walker - Saturday, 01/21/06 00:11:58 EST

mine is definitly bigger on top.....I'll call Tom next week to get it swapped out....thanks for the info.....sorry again about the long URL
   walker - Saturday, 01/21/06 00:14:47 EST

Walker; It looks like you got one of the headers that Tom makes for Australian export. Maybe if you hang by your heels from the shop rafters, she'll work for ya. (BOG)
   3dogs - Saturday, 01/21/06 02:32:54 EST

OK, what does (BOG) mean?
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 01/21/06 02:43:58 EST

   3dogs - Saturday, 01/21/06 02:53:15 EST

Thank Guru, I have read that at least three times. My problem is that I don't learn from book that well, sithout seeing something done with it. Which leaves me with trying to find that rare apprenticeship or going to a school. Mow as far as a school goes you can get it cheap, fast, or high quality. My only critera so far is high quality. That doesn't mean I want to lear nfrom a master, I"d feel llike I was wasting his time. I would just like to know a proper way of going about things.

School is out of the option because I have no liquid cash, I guess that's a problem for a lot of people. But as had been said, I have a ill, I just need a way.
   newbie in NW ILL - Saturday, 01/21/06 08:14:40 EST

Thats will not ill.
   newbie in NW ILL - Saturday, 01/21/06 08:14:57 EST

Newbie. Just so it's not ill will.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/21/06 09:55:41 EST

More heading tool.

The idea of cupping the business end of a heading tool and making it of 5160 spring steel would not be my way of going about making such a tool.

I believe that it is best to have a thick, "blocky" business end, and to have one that has a flat bottom. Hot work steel holds up longer than steel designed for cold applications. For a handle, the piece is fullered/necked top and sides, and the demarcated material drawn away from the head of the tool.

I have made short run heading tools of 5160, but they do get dished out around the hole in a relatively short time when compared with hot work steel.

   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/21/06 10:18:01 EST

Learning Disabilities: When one is impoverised one must find other ways. Self study is the best.

I have known many people that have said they could not learn from books but I think it is a matter of will or desire. In most cases it is simple laziness. There is a difference between just reading, and reading and thinking about every word or creating an image in one's mind of what that word or sentence means. To read and COMPREHEND and to REMEMBER what you have read requires going slow, backing up when something does not make sense and creating those pictures in one's mind.

Try drawing what you read. And DO NOT tell me you cannot draw! It is one of the skills necessary to be a blacksmith, especially an "artist blacksmith" or making ANY original work OR work for hire. Start there. Generally if you can make a picture of something then you can do it or make it. We work in a solid 3 dimensional medium. That means that it can be drawn in multiple views, iconographically, in perspective and fully rendered. Drawing is like any skill, it can be learned and is generaly an innate human skill. There are books and "learn to draw" kits. I think the old John Nagey kits from the 1950's are still available. If not there are others. Mechanical drawing text books are available from every decade and fairly cheap in the used book market.

I spent many years as a machine tool designer inventing new devices to do jobs that people said could not be done by machinery. I was often asked how I came up with my designs. I would reply it is simple, I would imagine a machine doing the job then I would draw the machine. . . Filling in the gears shafts, seals, controls. . . that is all just rout work. Start with an image, even if it is a dream, then make it reality.

Making dreams into reality is what creation is about. Blacksmithing is an act of creation that requires imagination, thought and creating those pictures in ones mind. Drawing on paper is a method of fixing those thoughts and assisting in creating a visual image. I can create original images in my mind but it is the result of years of practice. Starting on paper helps.

See my sword making article for the value of education and respect of those you wish to learn from.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/21/06 10:48:22 EST

Heading Tools: Frank, I too do not quite understand the cupping method of making a header unless it is to make the head thinner so that the hole depth is less. It could just be one of those matters of a style resulting from the manner of manufacture.

I've seen folks make heading tools with hard steel inserts brazed on and we have an iForge demo with a threaded in insert. I think both require more time than just making a good solid one piece tool. Although with tool steel prices getting to be what they are I can see us going back to steeling many tools like in the old days. . .

The best modern adaptation I know to making nail headers is to drill the hole first then punch to square and tapered. However, the drilling would be difficult in hard to anneal hot work steels.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/21/06 10:58:44 EST

Drawing seems to be a learned skill rather than an innate talent. In the two years that I’ve been blacksmithing I’ve kept all of my drawings in a folder. The progression from day one to present is amazing. The thing that I find interesting is that my best drawings seem to come when I’m very tired usually late at night. Strange.
   MIKE HILL - Saturday, 01/21/06 11:44:58 EST

Domed heading tool,
according to Practical Projects for the Blacksmith, the heading tool is domed so that bottom of the nail head is slightly concave to make good tight contact with wood. Seems pretty insignificant to me.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 01/21/06 11:59:02 EST

BOG - Big Old Grin - OK, OK, takes me a while.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 01/21/06 13:23:02 EST

Tyler: Try making nails with a domed-top header and a flat-topped header and you'll see in a whole new light, I assure you. (grin!)

The dome doesn't have to be much, just enough to allow a slight tilt of a properly-crowned hammer face to get at the edges of the head.

I agree with your assessment of the reasoning given, though. By the time you drive the nail in, it's gonna be tight whether or not you have a cocavity on the underside of the head.

   Alan-L - Saturday, 01/21/06 15:23:47 EST

Nippulini questions-
electropolishing is done with a dc power supply- the pros use big commercial ones, but an ordinary 12volt battery charger will work.
I use a commercial shop for all my electropolishing, and they use a 1000 amp 100 volt dc power supply. So its very quick. A battery charger will just take longer. They also have a 4'x 4' x 8' plastic tank of 120 degree acid.
at home you could usea a plastic tub or barrel, suspend the metal in it, filled with a mild acid. Most of the commercial mixes are proprietary, but they are all, as far as I know, based on Phosphoric acid, which is less nasty than many other types. I believe it is the main ingredient in Ospho, which it a paint prep product used on cars and other metal products. I think Home Depot may carry phosphoric in their paint dept as well. Start with a dilute acid mix, and work up in concentration if needed, and be darn careful with the acid.

1/8" steel brake- there are no cheap brakes to bend 1/8" steel. The cheap imports from harbor freight and the like are usually very optimistic when they say they will bend 16 ga, which is half of 1/8". A brake needs weight and mass, which costs money. My Chicago Dries and Krump 12ga brake, weighs around a ton- and costs over 6 grand new.
Best cheapo way to go is a simple press brake in a hydraulic press. Google Northern Tool, and look at their cheezy "metalpro" ironworker- it has an accessory for bending thicker metal, press brake style.
As far as bending goes, you run into the same problem- real tools cost real money. But as much as I hate to do it, I would suggest you buy a harbor freight bender. under a hundred bucks, and they will do a lot. If you are serious about bending things for a long time, then, yeah, you should buy a hossfeld, as it is a real tool, and it will do almost anything. About $800, brand new, with a basic set of dies, which you can add to by making your own and buying more for the rest of your life.

Jeremy asked about large scale plating- there are probably a few places that can do this, but the cost would be outrageous. First, the few remaining industrial platers with tanks 18' long are gonna be in LA, or the upper eastern seaboard. So depending on where you are, figure a grand or two each way in shipping. Then realize that the plated surface will be exactly like your metal's surface now- which means if you want shiny, you have to polish it first. But at a bare minimum you need to sandblast first- another $500 or so. Actual plating on something that big could easily run $3000 to $10,000, depending on what you plate it with, and how many coats.
Its just not very practical.
I do some very large sculptures from stainless, and we make them in smaller parts, have them electropolished, then weld them together and electropolish the welds. This is one way of getting a unique finish.
You could conceivably do something similar with your sculpture, break it down and have the parts plated, but you would have to bolt it together, as you cant spot plate the welds.
There is a reason why the longest lasting metal sculptures on the planet are bronze. It will last forever, and look better with age.
Plating will peel off eventually, especially on steel outdoors- look at really old car bumpers sometime.
Powdercoating will last a few years, depending on the location- it doesnt do well near salt water- the type of powder, and the application technique- personally, I dont use it outside, but if I did, I would sandblast, then make sure the piece went thru the powdercoaters prep line, usually a 5 station phospate and clean process, then use a good powder primer, then a good quality top powder. Bright colors and metallics fade the fastest.

Dmitri Geriakis, a blacksmith in New Hampshire, has found galvanizers near him that will do "color galvanizing". I have never found a shop that will try it, but supposedly they actually put an integral dye on, so it is part of the galvanizing, and will last indefinitely.

There is no silver bullet for finishing outdoor sculptures- steel rusts, aluminum oxidizes-only bronze and stainless will hold up with no finish.
All paint processes need to be repainted periodically, the only question is how often. Good epoxy paint systems are probably the best, but not cheap. Again, sandblast, primer, and two topcoats, with each step costing $100 a gallon or so, will give the best result, but not forever.
   - Ries - Saturday, 01/21/06 15:33:54 EST

I had an idea on the myth of stainless "activating".
It is vaguely possible that someone was doing the drilling equivalent of friction sawing. With friction sawing, a very large, very powerful bandsaw, such as a Do-All, which might weigh 2500 pounds and has a 15hp motor, is run at 6000 to 1000 surface feet per minute. The blade is going so fast it melts the stainless steel as it cuts it. This is used to cut stainless and other hard to cut metals up to about 1/4" or so in thickness.
You could conceivabley do the same thing drilling- it would require a solid carbide bit, but you could run the drill so fast the stainless became red hot, and the drill sort of melted thru.
I have never heard of any machinists who actually do this, but it is theoretically possible.
Not recommended, especially for a beginner without large industrial tools.
I drill a lot of stainless, and find the earlier comments of slow speed, sharp bits, and constant steady pressure with lots of coolant to be the best approach.
Two other things to consider-
for larger holes in stainless, we use annular drill bits- basically hole saws, these are made by Hougen and Jancy and others for the magnetic drill presses. I use them both in mag drills and in my drill presses and milling machine to drill stainless, and they work very well. Since you are only cutting an 1/8" wide "donut", it doesnt require the horsepower that a solid, twist drill would.
You can get these in sizes up to about 2" or so, but I often use them on anything over 1/2". Again, slow speeds and coolant are essential, but they work very well, and you can send them out for resharpening.
Second- I never drill anything I can punch. Of course, I have the advantage of having a 50 ton ironworker, but I punch a lot of holes in stainless with it. Punching may be a solution, even if you have to pay someone else to do it.
   - Ries - Saturday, 01/21/06 15:42:55 EST

In the above post, I meant to type "10,000 surface feet per minute". This is screaming fast.
   - Ries - Saturday, 01/21/06 15:43:47 EST


Sounds like you'd need a dentist's drill to get a reasonable-sized drill bit to 10,000 SFM. And since the bit, unlike a band saw blade, never comes out of the cut to cool, I'd think it would get a lot hotter than the workpiece. Maybe solid carbide could take it, but hotter than molten stainless is pretty durn hot.
   Mike B - Saturday, 01/21/06 17:40:55 EST

Friction Sawing: Several years ago, before plasma was popular, I had a dozen 6" circles sawn from 1/2" SS304 plate by friction sawing. The saw was Big, Beefy and had a 20 HP motor. It ran 8,000 fpm. the Edges were rough so after sawing I turned the dics to size in the lathe.
   - John Odom - Saturday, 01/21/06 17:41:21 EST

Ries, In friction sawing the blade has time ans several feet of travel to cool. . . Drills do not cool as they work.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/21/06 17:52:40 EST

Cutting Stainless: remember that stainless steel is stainless because of a layer of chromium oxide on the surface. Chromium oxide melts at about 6000F. You can't cut this with an O/A torch and I have my doubts that you can get it that hot with friction from a drill bit that would melt at 3000F.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/21/06 18:07:52 EST

Progress is when the impossible encounters a necessity.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/21/06 18:10:09 EST

Anybody have a brand name vacuum system they KNOW is the cat's meow for pulling the ambient particulates out of the air around my monster Square Wheel (the original) belt grinder before they land on/in my baby blues or deep down inside my throat and lungs? In advance, many thanks!
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/21/06 18:12:58 EST

Hey- I said "vaguely possible".
But you guys are probably right- the bit would melt.

   - Ries - Saturday, 01/21/06 19:04:16 EST

How can you "forge-weld" non-ferrous metals; aluminum,copper,brass,etc? Or do you just heat, fold, quench? I want it to "melt" back on itself just like forge-welding. Thank You.

Happy Smithing!
   Hillbillysmith - Saturday, 01/21/06 20:38:06 EST

quenchcrack, I happen to know personally that you CAN cut stainless with an O/A torch. I've done it.
   Hillbillysmith - Saturday, 01/21/06 20:40:21 EST


The human animal is the only one that I know of that has the innate ability to draw. The ability to translate an image from the eye to a piece of paper is innate; small children can do it with no outside impetus. They don't do it well, but they improve with practice. Unfortunately, too many of them quit practicing about the first time some "teacher" tells them to stop doodling and do their schoolwork. When, as adults, they find a need to draw something, they have to pick back up where they left off in junior high school.

Talent for drawing is not, I think, innate. Ability yes, but talent no. There are those who can draw instinctively and naturally, and everything they draw looks understandable and often elegant. These people are fortunate and rare. The rest of us have to work at it to develop our skills, just as we work at developing our hammer control.

The first time you picked up a hammer, you immediately discovered that it was much easier to hit the anvil than the work, right? Eye-hand coordination is something that requires developing and training the muscles and reflexes. With drawing, you have to train the muscles, and you also have to train the eyes. Unless you can see what you want to draw, you will be struggling to draw it.

Just as Jock said he visualized a machine doing a job, then drew the machine he saw in his mind, we have to do this same thing with everyday drawing. To do this requires training the eye to "look at and into", rather than just see sufficiently to keep from tripping when going down stairs.

Those who can draw the human form well are usually those who have studied it a great deal, learning anatomy, kinesiology and the human rhythms of dance and work. Until you truly understand how the human machine works, it is very difficult to draw one so it looks "alive". This same concept applies to drawing other things as well.

The traditional acanthus leaf is a decorative element in ironwork all over the world, in one form or another. Acanthus here, papyrus there, oak leaves on the General's hat. Natural forms abound in life and art. If you want to be able to forge really nice acanthus leaves, you need to be able to draw them well. They have a natural flow to them that must be captured in iron in order to make them work with the whole piece and not simply appear pasted on. To learn to draw them, you have to learn to "see" them.

Where I live, there are no acanthus leaves, no oak leaves and no examples of classic decorative ironwork to look at. But I discovered, by looking very deliberately at everything around me, that the leaves of the breadfruit tree, when they begin to dry and curl, look remarkably like acanthus leaves. Enough like them actually, that they make very suitable “models” for drawing. After drawing a couple hundred of them, I’ll get so that my renderings of them have the appropriate flow and grace to adorn drawings of iron work. Then I have to forge a couple hundred of them until I learn how to make the steel flow naturally. After that practice, I will be able to start systematically stylizing my leaves in ways that work gracefully and aesthetically. There simply is no substitute for such study and practice, except for innate talent, which I don’t possess. Only one person in a hundred thousand is fortunate enough to be able to skip straight to beautifully stylized decorative motifs without going through the process of learning. The rest of us have to “pay our dues” and crawl before we run.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/21/06 20:42:02 EST


You can "forge-weld" some non-ferrous metals by using the process of solid-state diffusion bonding. Mokumé gané is done this way. Basically, you scrupulously clean the metal until it is totally free of oxides, dirt or oils, then stack it together and clamp it with as much pressure as you can muster. Clamping it between two stainless steel plates and bolting them together work for me. The metal stack is then fluxed lightly around the edges, put in a furnace and brought up to atemperature just below the melting point of the metals. Hold the stack at that heat for an hour or so, to allow the metals to swap enough little electrons and protons and whatever to bond together. If you can create an inert atmosphere in your furnace, you can do wothout the flux.

The process involves time, heat and pressure; the more pressure, the less heat you need. The longer the time, the less pressure, etc. For more information, look at "Mokumé Gané" by Steve Midgett.

But forget about aluminum. It forms oxides way too easily and its melting point is so much lower than the other non-ferrous metals you can't mix it with them. You can bond it to itself in an inert atmosphere, bu tI doubt you can do it in air.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/21/06 21:00:26 EST

High speed friction drilling in stainless.
I suspect that what one would achieve would actually be a friction weld. We used to friction weld the flanges on carbon and stainless steel valves. Spin fast, push hard. If you had a powerfull enough machine I suppose one could frictionally heat, and continue to heat and extrude the displaced metal back out the hole, but a lot of trial and error would be required to find the spindle size that yeilded the correct hole diameter.

Ries, we punched huge amounts of stainless for ice making equipment and insulation inside boiler ducts. As the Ice equipment needed "Food Grade" lube on the punchs, we experimented around and found that on stainless, Crisco was superior. I started using it in the valve shop to swage expand seat rings in gate valves that had severe loads as this was a food grade lube requirement at the time. By luck we got shipped the butter flavor by chance and found this to be even a bit better. Try explaining this to customers that are engineers when they ask why crisco. BOG
   - ptree - Saturday, 01/21/06 21:08:12 EST

I thought it would be fun to make a small or medium sized splitting wedge. How should I temper it? I would think a relatively hard blade and the rest relatively soft or maybe even just not heat treated at all. Also, can someone tell me the facts about some conradicting information I have found. I have read that to temper steel you must hold it at the tempering temp for an hour, and then repeat. And I have also read that you can stop as soon as you get the oxidizing color you want. Which is true? The reason I am asking is because I wanted to try doing the heat treating method with the wedge where you heat the whole thing to non mag., then quench the edge, file to bare metal, wait for the heat from the back to heat the edge, watch for the colors, and then quench the whole thing when you get to the right color. Both pieces of info are from reliable sources. That is why I am confused. Someone please clear this up for me.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 01/21/06 22:44:52 EST

Tyler Murch,

Yes, no, and maybe.

First, what is it made of? I made some out of old car axles. I just let them normalize. I did not harden and temper because they go on the end grain or on the side of a log for lengthwise splitting. I made them with about a 25º included angle and blunt. The supposed cutting edge is 1/8" thick by 1" wide, flat, and at right angles to the length. They would up being about 6½" long with a bellied taper about half the length of the entire tool.

I have a much larger manufactured one that I got at the flea. It's striking head is 2" across with chamfered corners. It is about 9½" long with a full length taper, and it does have a sharp cutting edge, 2¼" wide. It may have been hardened and tempered as part of its manufacture. I'm not sure.

The one heat method that you're referring to is what Francis Whitaker called the "reserve heat method". You do not heat the entire tool to non magnetic, usually just the cutting edge and a little behind. It depends on the conformation of the particular tool. You need to experiment. Quite often, about one half of the hardening heat is quenched and it is minutely jumped up and down while in the water to prevent a contraction crack. It is taken out and abraded immediately down to bare metal to watch for color. Don't use a file. I use an old hand held grind stone. When the right color is reached, say a blue for a wedge, quench again, but DON'T quench the entire tool if there is some residual red heat still in the tool, or you may get a "partial hardenting". It might crack there later on. You can put a small amount of water in a tin can, and cool the tool standing up in the water. By doing so, you will "hold your temper" and allow the tool to normalize above the water line.

Come to Santa Fe, It's easier to do it that describe it with words.

   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/21/06 23:38:44 EST

Tyler- Let the experts corect Me if I am wrong, but the books usually say to soak for 1 hour at the tempering temperature so all of the material has a chance to make the changes that it needs to make, and they only tell You to do it once, and that is the way the companies I worked for did it. The problem with tempering by color is that it is hard to be sure that the work stays at that temperature for an hour, if it cools the color wil still be there. I think that is why some folks run the color a couple times, to try to get enough time at the proper temperature. If working with temperatures that can be achived in a kitchen oven or toaster oven, the thermostat [if it is working properly] makes the 1 hour soak practical.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:02:19 EST

Tyler- With respect to the wedge, I dont think the edge should be too hard, as in use it is often necessairy to go in with more than 1 wedge if the log is "difficult" and the chance of the two hitting does exist. If it is too hard to file, I think it should be drawn back more. You don't want any chips of hard steel flying around, You just want it to be really tough.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:16:54 EST

I'm going to make the wedges out of O-1, 1 1/2" x 1"
   - Tyler Murch - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:26:58 EST

Domed topped nail headers.
It is my belief that nail headers were domed so as to protect the hammer face as you headed the nail.
   Ralph - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:27:41 EST

A trick for wedges(book smart): put a slight twist in them to help pop the wood apart
   - Tyler Murch - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:31:30 EST

hey what hammer do you use for Japanese blade forging?
   Penn - Sunday, 01/22/06 01:46:41 EST

Penn; (At the risk of sounding facetious, and everybody here knows I am above that) I would suggest a Japanese blade forging hammer. To see one, go to http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com/ Key on "Tools" and scroll to the bottom of the page, and see a picture of one. Don't have $100 or so for one of those? As they say in street racing circles, "run whatcha brung" or, use what's at hand.
   3dogs - Sunday, 01/22/06 04:26:54 EST

Hi friends, I am making decorative tools by forgewelding (with coal and 20 mule borax)1.25"IWC wirerope. This stuff is constructed with 4 different sizes of wire in the laystrands and core strands. It welds up nice. The different size wires create very nice patternings in the cut and polished edges.
Anyway, Being that this rope is thick I carefully control the airblast to let the welding section heatsoak a while at welding heat before striking. When I withdraw the piece, there may be a bit of sparking off its surface, What interests me is there is usually also some sparking at
one or two places from the rope where it appears like a mini jetblast of a cutting torch emitting from within the rope.
Does this indicate flux did not completely flow to surfaces within the rope and its burning internally?
The rope was not rusted, Only prepared by cutting into 16" lengths & arcwelding the cut ends, burning out an enormous amount of grease in the gasforge then while at redheat twisting the ropestrands tighter. (I prefer tighting the twist as it affects the welded pattern with more beauty)
Would it be better to not twist tighter, would this allow flux coating within the rope better? Perhaps welding the rope first, then twisting tighter??
Anyway, Thanks for any input to this,,,
   - Håkan - Sunday, 01/22/06 05:27:24 EST

Jets: Håkan, When wire rope is made there is often a core of non-metalic material at the center of bundles. I am not an expert one wire rope making but I have made regular rope. . In wire rope this center core is fill that alows the often odd number of 7 strands to make a smooth round core around which the rest of the rope is built. In fine wire rope this core is fairly small and you may not have noticed it. Manufacturers also color code their wire rope with various color strands to help identify it. In either case they burn out and would make the jet you are seeing.

It could also be remants of grease.

Twisting the rope at heat helps close it and prevent air from oxidizing the wire. Flux as soon as the rope is hot enough to melt flux the first time. Heat and weld if the rope it tight enough then twist and continue welding. If the rope is at all loose you may want to start with a twist to close before the first welding heat.

Do not flux with the intent of getting flux inside the wire rope. It will flow where it is needed as long as you apply plenty.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 08:45:55 EST

Proper Hammer: Every tool is a hammer unless it is a pry bar. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 08:47:08 EST

...or one of my good wrenches.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 10:30:26 EST

3dogs and All,

Not to dispute the Alpha Guru's latest comment on hammers and pry bars, but I think we should distinguish between the British cutler's hammer and the Japanese style. Ric of Door County Forgeworks skirts his way around it by saying you can call his style whatever you want. Ric's hammer is more on the order of the British style with the smaller diameter poll and the handle insertion quite near the poll. The face diameter is larger than the poll measurement.

You can get a look at some Japanese shaped blacksmith hammers at japanwoodworker.com; Online catalog, page 44. They are slightly head heavy, but not in the extreme as the British hammer. The eye is rectangular, not oval, and the eye is punched through at a slight angle to the axis of the head. Some Japanese forging hammers will taper a little toward the striking face, being larger at the poll, not at all like the British hammer.

The Japanese hammers shown in the online catalog are called "Blacksmith Hammers", but if the ounces in weight are correct, they are tiny. That's a little beyond my understanding.

I made some sketches of Yataiki, the sawmaker's, forging hammer, and his most used is 4 1/8" long, with a "squarish" 1½" poll and a 1 5/16"D round face. The hafts on his were normally not longer than 12". The center of the eye where the haft inserts is 1¼" from the poll.

The photo on the dust jacket of "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" clearly shows the bladesmith, Yoshihara, using his forging hammer.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/22/06 10:46:11 EST

While it is OK to use someone elses good wenches as a hammer, say Vicopper's, not MY good wrenches. :)
   - ptree - Sunday, 01/22/06 10:47:14 EST

I guess if you could drill stainless at its annealing temperature, you could avoid work hardening without actually having to melt the stuff. You'd still have a pretty hot bit, though.
   Mike B - Sunday, 01/22/06 11:08:11 EST

Anybody have any comments, pro&con, about the 3/4" T-Rex burners? Are they really that much better than homebuilt? brian robertson
   goodhors - Sunday, 01/22/06 11:13:14 EST

thanks for the tip vicopper. I want to "forge-weld" the non-ferrous metals to themselves; brass to brass, copper to copper, aluminum to aluminum,etc. Where could I find this "Mokume Gane"?
   Hillbillysmith - Sunday, 01/22/06 11:20:01 EST

Hillbillysmith: perhaps you would care to share this technique. O/A flame temperature is about 5600F, Chromium Oxide melts at over 6000F. Did you use an exothermic powder or wire in addition to the torch? Are you absolutely certain it was stainless?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/22/06 12:55:41 EST

T-Rex Burners: Goodhors, These are infinitely better than poorly made "Reil" style burners with drilled holes styled after NC-Tool forge burners. However, they do not perform a lot better than many of the other designs available including the one on our gas forge FAQ.

The advantage is that if you are not a fine craftsperson and mechanic and do not have the necessary tools and machinery they are priced fairly for what you get. Remember that all those pipe fittings to build your own are not free.

Since building the burners on our FAQs page I have made a fully adjustable design that requires no machining or precision drilling. However, it DOES have one of those bits of things you "get away with" that I do not like.

The new design is built using a length of 1/8"-27 threaded lamp tubing to replace the pipe nipple in my previous design. This is held in place by special lock nuts made to fit that odd thread. The bracket shown is replaced with one that has a block made of 3/4" round or hex bar that stands about 2" off the large diameter pipe. It can be made using relatively primitive methods and the bracket aligned by eye using a hammer. . .

It is assembled similar to as shown with a simple disk air damper held in place on the threaded tube. I used some old candle cups I had on hand so they have a nice curve but that is not necessary. The prototypes are in Costa Rica and I will have photos next week. . .

The "get away with" part of this design is the threaded lamp tube. It is a STRAIGHT thread not a tapered pipe thread. The fittings on the end will not seal as do normal pipe threads and absolutely MUST have a heavy gap filling pipe dope used. Now. . the fitting in the burner is not a problem if it leaks a bit as the gas will be sucked into the burner along with that coming out of the MIG tip. But the fitting outside the forge IF it should leak could pose a hazzard.

SO, the quandry is, it is a beautiful design that works great, is fully adjustable and almost any jack-leg could build it. However, like many things SOME CARE must be taken on the assembly or it is a potentialy hazardous design. . .

   - guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 13:21:48 EST


I have made several forge burners, from the Reill-type with drilled holes, to the pipe fitting types, to some I machined (fairly crudely). None of them is as good a burner as the ones I bought from Larry Zoeller at this year's Quad States. His are the sidearm type, made from pipe fittings. The difference in his burners is that he uses exactly the right brand of reducer bell so the venturi effect is better. His use MIG tips for burner orifices and have a nice, simple air choke. I can run them anywhere from very lean to very rich, all very stable.

You can buy the complete burners from Larry, or the individual parts to make them yourself. You can see them all at:


Tell Larry you saw it here and he should advertise with Anvilfire.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 14:54:03 EST

I, too, have cut stainless, c. 1/4 or so, with O/A. Made a raggedy godawful mess of a cut. I've read that old timers would lay a thin piece of ferrous sheet atop stainless and cut through both that way. Unknow how well that worked, or how thick the SS it would work with.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/22/06 15:15:11 EST

May I commend to your attention "Solid Phase Welding of Metals" by Tylecote to cover the details of "forge welding" non ferrous alloys. If you can't get it done that way it's time to look into explosive welding.

Penn; use whatever hammer you are best at forging with. Control is more important than shape! Using that type of hammer won't make your forging any better if you are not good to start with.

Note that you don't want to trap flux inside the cable when you are welding---you will get inclusions in the weld. If no air can get into the inside then no flux is needed---many folks doing very fancy pattern welding do it in an almost sealed "can" with no flux but a little oil added to provide a reducing atmosphere in it.

Tempering: isn't that 1 hour per inch of thickness---to make sure the entire piece comes up to temp and not just the outside---it's an industrial rule of thumb and therefore not always usefull for working with the small items a blacksmith may be making.

   Thomas P - Sunday, 01/22/06 15:21:15 EST

Sometime within the past month or so someone here or on the Hammerin page said he'd found some O/A goggles with bifocal magnifiers. My local welding boutique (our motto: "We don't care if you live or die") never heard of such a thing, cannot for the life of them even begin to imagine how to find them. Could you please post the brand name of the glasses? Many thanks!
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/22/06 15:23:10 EST

Thanks for the wedge and tempering info. I made a tomahawk today using the standard method of folding over a mandrel and forge welding the overlapping sides. It was my first one out of tool steel. When I began to file the edge, on one side of the bit I noticed a hairline line running congruent with the edge. I assume this is the space between the two welded pieces. Did I not to a good job of forge welding or is this normal? Should I throw it in the scrap pile or finish it up? If it is a bad weld can I try welding it again?
   - Tyler Murch - Sunday, 01/22/06 17:20:15 EST

What's a good bench grinder for tomahawks, hatchets, and the like. What features and specifications should I look for?
   - Tyler Murch - Sunday, 01/22/06 17:37:40 EST

Hillbilly do a google search for Mokume Gane. You will have more hits than you can shake a stick at.
   Ralph - Sunday, 01/22/06 18:15:47 EST


If you were asking where to find the book, it is:

"Mokume Gane - A Comprehensive Study" by Steve Midgett, ISBN: 0965165078. About $35 at Amazon or other booksellers.

"Solid Phase Welding of Materials", by R.F. Tylecote, ISBN: 071313173X, is one of the classic books on the subject of diffusion bonding in metals. It is out of print, but you can sometimes find copies of it at abebooks.com or other online booksellers. I would suggest treying to get a copy at the library or through the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) program, as the book will cost over a hundred bucks used.

   vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 19:29:56 EST

I know that throw away grade Safety spec's can be had with various di-opters of cheater. I think they run in the $3.00 to $8.00 range. I suspect that they may also be available in a shade 4 as well. Try Mike Morrison at Hagemeyer at 502-961-5930 and tell him you saw it here.
   - ptree - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:05:39 EST

Miles on second thought I am almost sure I had samples of those throw away safety spec's with cheater in shade 4 at the last job.
   - ptree - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:06:49 EST

Tyler Murch,

That seam is termed a "shut". The weld is incomplete at that line. However, the weld may be OK elsewhere. If you inspect old, forge welded chain links, sometimes you can see two small shuts either side of the central weld area. These are the points of the scarfs. If the weld appeared solid in between, with no shuts, then it was considered a good, usable link, regardless of the shuts.

Can you live with the shut? It depends on what you're making and how clean you want the workmanship to be. I think it would look crappy on a hatchet or on some ornamental work. It can be rewelded if you have enough material to spare. You realize that with each welding heat, you lose stock in scale and possibly, sparks. You also alter the shape by hammer reduction.

In my experience, I used to get angry at the shuts, over- flux them, and beat on them with mucho effort. Then, I realized that light, rapid blows are more efficacious than hitting hard.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:19:11 EST

ptree-- Thanks for the lead. I found magnifier safety glasses, all right, CREWS, in the 2003 MSC catalog I have, but they are clear, and I, too, would imagine they are available in welding shades. I have magnifier inserts for rectangular and round goggles, O/A and for arc helmet, but what I want is a bifocal. Mass produced bifocals are tough to locate. For example, they used to sell garden variety sun glasses with a bifocal lens, in the local drugstore, but no longer. This is probably the result of pressure by the prescription-dispensing professionals. (Not that I would ever use such for welding or as safety glasses.)Seems to me I also saw gum-on magnifier half-moon inserts somewhere in my travels. I'll call MSC tomorrow. Their techs are demon searchers. And Morrison, too, and will tell him I heard about him on Anvilfire. Stay tuned.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:25:42 EST


Re: diopter welding goggles. Check with Weldingdepot.com for the 2 x 4-1/4 flip-front brazing/gutting goggles, then go to the page with the lenses and cover plates for welding helmets. Down at the bottom of that page they have the 2 x 4-1/4 diopter lenses. Total cost for the goggles and cheaters will come to a hair under ten bucks.


Tell 'em I sent ya, and theyll say, "Huh???"
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:39:02 EST


I neglected to mention that you take the spiffy diopter lens and whack it half in two the long ways and you have bifocals. Two of them, for the price of one. (grin)
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:44:21 EST

Tyler I would claim that there is *No* bech grinder that is good for hawks. You either want to go to a good belt grinder or use an angle grinder and sanding disks.

Filing is probably better than using a bench grinder!

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 01/23/06 00:19:55 EST

Thomas P.: The Carpenter Steel book says for hardening to go another 5 minutes per inch of thickness after the workpiece matches the color of the thermocouple [after the surface is up to temperature] For tempering it says "1 hour temper" " means 1 hour soak at temperature. Be sure to allow sufficient time for the tool to reach the proper temperature and then start counting time." No mention made of thickness for tempering time.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/23/06 01:12:22 EST

Tyler: You could harden as much of the wedge as You want- even the whole thing then temper in the cleaning cycle of a self cleaning oven. that would probably give You somewhere in the mid to upper 40's Rockwell "C". "Tuff as Woodpecker Lips"
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/23/06 01:23:45 EST

vicopper-- thanks! I'll check out that lead. I already have what I think is the same set-up you describe. But what I am looking for instead is garden variety safety glasses but shade 3, with a half-moon 2.75 diopter. Picky, picky, picky!
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/23/06 01:31:21 EST

I made the burner similar to what is shown in FAQ, but i used a pipe reamer to bevel the inside of the reducer to burner tube junction and I used a 1/4"pipenipple bushed to accept the .030 mig tip [actual hole about .035"] but I tapered it 60 degrees included down to a narrow land around the hole. I used the 12:1 taper [about 5 deg/side] to make the flameholder. it works well from about 1/2# to 60# gas pressure. No air controll yet, it may be a little lean. So far I have only bench tested it as the forge chamber isn't built yet. I did use the "Water test" to line up the gas jet.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/23/06 01:42:41 EST

Dave Boyer,

One shop rule is never hit hardened steel with hardened steel, and this means tempered steel with tempered steel, as in hitting a hammer head to another hammer head. Therefore, one does not hit a hardened and tempered striking head of a wedge with a hammer head. I would not recommend hardening the entire tool. The striking head of the tool should be in a normalized or annealed state. It will mushroom, because it is supposed to mushroom.

Kitchen ranges and toaster ovens usually "cycle" beyond the set temperature and below it, striking for an average. Not always good for tempering.

You are giving Tyler soaking specs, but do you know what steel he is using? Is Carpenter giving those specs for all steels?

One of the advantages of chasing color on an edge tool is that when the appropriate color is reached at the cutting edge, there is a softer band or bands of color behind it. That gives a "cushion" behind the edge. Manufactured tools do not have this.

I don't have a thermocouple except on my hot water heater.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/23/06 10:45:00 EST

Bench Grinders: Folks that use small bench grinders for grinding heavy objects often end up wrecking the wheel or having it explode. Fractured wheel parts traveling at about 50 to 60 MPH can take you OUT. Face shields help but are insufficient protection if the wheel does not have properly adjusted guards.

Bench grinders are for tool sharpening and light grinding unless you have one of those monsters with 16" wheels. Even then they have limited use.

Belt grinder/sanders give you a soft yeilding surface to make smooth gentle curves and except for possibly cutting fingers at the edge of the belt they are very safe. The edges WILL cut as well as a meat saw so you must respect those edges.

Belt grinders alow for quick changes of grits and the use of shaped plattens to grind specific curves. Shaped plattens can be made of wood OR metal and can be flat, convex or concave.
   - guru - Monday, 01/23/06 10:51:45 EST

Wood Splitting Wedges: I would make thes of mild steel and grind plenty of chamfer and crown on the striking end. I've used mild steel froes and wedges (along with wood wedges) to split many truck loads of fire wood. Wedges dull just a bit then quit as the sides wear as much as the edge they do not get worse. Soft wedges do not batter your sledge. If the edges MUST be hardened any steel up to about 40 points is fine and anything over 50 points is overkill. Harden and temper as Frank noted using reserve heat for the temper.

Wedges do not cut their way through a log. They pry it open. Wood so tenacious that it does not just pop apart needs to wait until the coldest day of the year so that it it brittle and will split. I have driven multiple wedges completely through fresh AND 3 year old sycamore without any results AND had a devil of a time getting the wedges and push par out of the log. But at about -15° to -20°F it will split like dry red oak.

After splitting wood the hard back breaking way for a number of years I made a froe and used it with the wood to be split setting on top of another piece. A quick and dirty wood maul was used as the striking tool. The froe was mild steel 3/8" at the back with a swelled edge about 1/2 wide. This is driven in and if the wood does not split you pry on the handle to open the split. This would seem hard on the mild steel edge but I never had to re-sharpen this tool other than the original filed edge.
   - guru - Monday, 01/23/06 11:10:32 EST

Jim Facemire: To me, one of the significant disadvantages to a propane forge is the dragon breath. Besides loss of arm hair from time to time, much more of the stock will get heated, versus the more concentrated heat provided by a coal forge.

On my to-do list is to make a freon bottle forge which will replace the firepot in my coal forge. Would pull out the coal firepot and drop in the bottle supported so the end opening is level with the table. Freon bottle would be double lined and with a top opening of perhaps 2" x 6".

Basically that would give me the option of three propane forges; this one, a front-opening round, and one of Hans Peot squirrel cage blower ones. I would use a quick connect/disconnect so changing from one to the other would only take a minute or so.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/23/06 11:12:59 EST

Traditionally hawks were made from wrought iron with a piece of steel laid in for the bit. This method allows a symetrical preform and welding all the way down to the bit.

Since welds tend to be a place where crud is in the steel having it as the edge may not be the best thing. Have you thought of bending the section for the eye over and welding it about half way to the bit leaving the rest to be the original unwelded piece.

Since you are a smith you can forge this to the correct taper and position for the eye and edge anyway.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/23/06 11:40:27 EST

I have a copper saute pan that I love but the handles are coming off... The main handle seems ok for now but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I'll lose this... the small handle at the opposite side came completely off and the handle on the cover also came off. I was wondering if this is something that could be repaired... All the orig. handles were welded (or so it looks), but I'd like to get new handles riveted on if poss since this is a much better way to attach a handle that will last -

The pan was warrantied for life but the company went out of business...

thanks in advance
   Julie - Monday, 01/23/06 13:49:38 EST

Burner Jet alignment: With the MIG tip type burners I just eye ball the hole in the MIG tip from the discharge end of the burner. If you can see light through that long .035" hole at the end of the 3/4" burner pipe you are pretty straight. Mine are welded up with a little fixture made of a block of wood and a piece of 1/4" threaded rod. They are usualy within 1/4" of dead center at the far end. If they are out more or I am in a picky mood I can put it in a vice and get it true to center close enough you cannot tell it is off by eye. However, I have found that within a 1/4" of dead true at the outlet is plenty close and works fine. When you consider this is dead true at the inlet and only off 1/8" in the center of the mixing tube and you are working with turbulent gas this is pretty accurate.

The water jet method is primarily for the drilled hole type burners which can be off so bad that the gas jet impinges on the reduction bell or worse if there are burrs in the drilled hole.

Everyone makes a big deal of streamlining the flow in these burners but they function via controled turbulance. The heavy viscous propane almost immediately has edies along the surface of the flow which entrain air in the flow. About half way down the tube this turbulent mix is filling the tube. In the last half of the tube the gas becomes more evenly mixed with the air.

At the end of the burner tube there needs to be a step into a larger tube, nozzel or burner block. This results in another point of turbulance. This does the job of so-called "flame holders". In the corner of this step there is turbulence that is slow enough that parts of the flame can be maintained and reignite the passing flow. This maintains a smooth constant burning flame. This is most useful when testing a burner outside a forge OR when lighting the forge. But once the forge is hot it makes no difference.
   - guru - Monday, 01/23/06 13:56:46 EST

While punching my trademark into a file that I was turning into a knife, one punch bent at a 45 degree angle, a second punch totaly mushroomed & cracked, & my favorite curved chissle flattened. If I get the file up too hot, it'll lose its carbon, If Its not hot enough it will ruin my tools. What to do, what to do?
   - packrat - Monday, 01/23/06 13:57:34 EST

Pan repair: Julie, almost any of the smiths frequenting this site could help you. The handles were possibly brazed on. You are right that rivets are generaly better in this application but it depends on the size and shape of the handle. Welds should have held. However, on a repair I would suggest rivets. You need room for rivets that are at least 3/4 the diameter of the handle or 100% maximum. Many of the folks here could also make replacement handles if necessary.

To find someone near you try ABANA-chapter.com. Pick a group in your state and drop the webmaster or editor a line and tell them you need a smith to make a small repair. Or you can wait and see if someone here contacts you and ship the pan.
   - guru - Monday, 01/23/06 14:10:51 EST

Packrat, you have not given us enough information and it sounds like you are confused about heat treating.

Most stamping punches are hard enough to mark moderately hard steel. However, they WILL NOT mark a fully hardened file or other piece of high carbon tool steel. To mark these items you have two choices.

1) Fully anneal the piece, mark it, straighten it, then harden and temper it. This is the prefered method for small items like knives. Annealing can be difficult in some steels (see our Heat treating FAQ).

2) Heat the piece to a good red to red-orange heat and stamp it hot. This works well and makes a VERY deep mark. But it can also distort the piece and it will need to be hammered and possible ground or filed flat.

In both cases the piece will need to be hardened and tempered after marking.

Steel does not lose carbon from brief periods of heating. It loses carbon when it is held at a high temperature for an extended period of time such as heating to forge repeatedly or for forge welding. Most of the decarburized surface in forged knives is ground off and is one reason for the saying "forge thick, grind thin". In the case of making wire rope Damascus the decarburization of the surface of the wires is what gives you the differences necessary to see a pattern when etched.

Speaking of etching, if you want to mark hardened and finished steel this is the way to go.
   - guru - Monday, 01/23/06 14:36:12 EST

...Intresting...my bad.. distortion might just be a good thing..yes? Yes just confused.. I'll have to anneal my bent punch, & temper my fish knife.
   - packrat - Monday, 01/23/06 14:58:27 EST

Tyler, let me second Thomas P's statement. All you can do to any axelike object with a bench grinder is ruin it. Bench grinders are for lathe tools and lawnmower blades, and that's pretty much it.

Before I got a good belt grinder, I cleaned up my hawks with an angle grinder and flap wheels to knock off the scale followed by hand filing with a 14" lathe file to flatten and finish the surfaces. Hand sanding wet to 400 grit produces a very nice satin finish.

If you do traditional wrapped construction with the bit between the sides, you will avoid that weld in the edge, plus it makes heat treatment a WHOLE lot easier to have a mild steel body and a high-carbon edge.

As for your splitting wedge,using O-1 is kinda like making fishing sinkers out of gold instead of lead. Sure it'll work, but why bother? Unless you plan on splitting wood that has a lot of nails in that you want to blow right through...
   Alan-L - Monday, 01/23/06 15:00:18 EST

Julie's plight speaks volumes about outrageous warranty claims. WHOSE lifetime? Theirs, of course. Warranties are supposed to be backed by trusts, bonds and/or insurance policies posted by the seller. That ain't necessarily so no mo'.
   3dogs - Monday, 01/23/06 15:03:27 EST

Alrighty Ive got one for you. I just started doing Metal Art with a plasma cutter. I am cutting Steel right but am also interested in starting to use aluminum. What I didnt realize is that there would be so much debris left on the ground after my cutting. I dont know the proper clean-up methods and I am worried about tracking the stuff from the work area back into my home. Are there any health hazards associated with this metalic residue? Please advise.
   - v - Monday, 01/23/06 15:15:22 EST

Alrighty Ive got one for you. I just started doing Metal Art with a plasma cutter. I am cutting Steel right but am also interested in starting to use aluminum. What I didnt realize is that there would be so much debris left on the ground after my cutting. I dont know the proper clean-up methods and I am worried about tracking the stuff from the work area back into my home. Are there any health hazards associated with this metalic residue? Please advise.
   v - Monday, 01/23/06 15:15:54 EST

As long as you dont ingest it- either breathe it or eat it, then the main danger of plasma dross is irritating SWMBO with the dirt.
One way to cut down on the mess is to build yourself a water table- that is, cut over a tank of water. The water catches the sparks, dross, and small drops, and really cuts down on mess and smoke.
I have a 4' x 4' x 6" deep water table where I do my cutting, with a series of 3" flat bar on edge every 2" or so to hold the metal being cut.
But you could easily enough just get some scrap grill from a junkyard, and put it on top of a barrel full of water.
Plasma cutting aluminum is kinda yucky- it doesnt make as much gritty sandy stuff on the floor, but it puts out a lot of nasty white smoke that you sure dont want to breathe, and unless you are using a non oxidizing gas for your plasma cutter (nitrogen or argon instead of compressed air) you get a lot of slag on the cut. Its usually cut with lasers or waterjet commercially, unless they use special gasses.
   - Ries - Monday, 01/23/06 16:06:28 EST

Ever heard of Gransfors Bruks Axe Forge? Best production axes I know of! They use a bench grinder. www.gransfors.com
   - Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/23/06 16:08:59 EST

Thomas P,
I don't understand what you mean after you said "have you thought of"
   - Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/23/06 16:12:17 EST

I think the reason that the weld didn't get good fusion was because I was using a large file and did not remove the teeth so little pieces of scale and flux got caught inside.
   - Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/23/06 16:18:21 EST

Hi, I just purchased my first forge and want to learn a little more about it before using it.

It's a Farmers Forge from Chicago with a Patent date of June 19, 1900. There is a number on the blower:156.

I've tried to find info on the web, with no luck. Do you know where I might look to find out more about the company and the forge?

Thanks, Mike
   - MikeA - Monday, 01/23/06 16:45:24 EST

Actually, with a close look, that grinder at Gransfors looks like a sanding belt that is wrapped around a spinning wheel. Like a combo of a bench grinder and a belt sander. Anybody know what that is?
   - Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/23/06 16:58:01 EST

Ken, all an anvil needs to be patented is a slight difference in a couple of the measurements. It can be a totally standard london pattern anvil, and stillget a pattern because it has those holes for tie down, or because the heal is taller or shorter or whatever.
   FredlyFX - Monday, 01/23/06 17:09:04 EST

Tyler: as I understand it you took a rasp and bent it in half and welded it allalong the length save for the section you left for the eye. This leaves a weldright down the middle of the piece that when you sharpen it should be the exactedge.

Not good practice.

What I suggested was bending the rasp at say 1/3 of the length and welding it, leaving enough for the eye but the weld will stop before you get to the edge leaving the edge to be made from the remaining unwelded section.

Done correctly this will help in making a nice taper to the blade. When you dothe weld the eye will be offset a bit due to how it's done; but this can be adjusted during the drifting of the eye to get the blade in line with the eye.

Does this help?

They make expanding wheels to take short grinding belts---they wear faster thanthe long belts and don't get rid of the heat as well as the long belts either.

A bench grinder may be used to remove scale before a better form of grinding isdone. I have the booklet from that Axe company I'll have to see if they show *all* the steps in making an axe in it.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/23/06 18:02:53 EST

An inventory from my ancestor's estate dated 1767, Amherst Co., Virginia states "one box iron & Heters" (heaters ?). Can you tell me what this would be?
   Randy Bairnsfather - Monday, 01/23/06 18:10:05 EST

Randy Bairnsfather: My WAG would be headers, such as nail headers.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/23/06 19:33:07 EST

Possible it could be an iron for taking wrinkles out of clothing plus what ever was heated?
   JimG - Monday, 01/23/06 19:57:21 EST

quenchcrack: all I used was the torch, yes I am sure it was stainless, but it's accually not an O/A torch, instead of Acetaline, it's hooked to propane. Plus, as you should know, there are different types, grades, and hardnesses of stainless. I'm not sure of any of that, but I do know that is WAS stainless.
   Hillbillysmith - Monday, 01/23/06 20:33:56 EST

I have seen mechanics cut stainless several times with a plain torch. It is more of a function of heat it hot enough to be somewhat molten and use the Oxygen to blow the sorta liquid metal out of the kerf. It leaves an absolute mess. A plasma is infinetly better. Sometimes a cold chisel is better. But sometimes, it is all ya got.
   - ptree - Monday, 01/23/06 21:07:44 EST


I've tried to cut stainless steel with an oxy/fuel torch. Specifically, it was 304 stainless. Did I make two pieces out of what was formerly one piece? Yes. Was it cut like low or medium carbon steel, with a clean kerf, little or no dross or slag, and the kerf on the intended cut line? No.

My experience was that you could heat the stainless to melting, then blast the molten metal out of the way with the oxy cutting jet, but it surely wasn't a "burned" cut, it was a melted and blown "cut". How did your cuts turn out?
   vicopper - Monday, 01/23/06 21:22:33 EST

ptree, vicopper-- my experience cutting SS with O/A was precisely (or, rather, imprecisely) the same. A jaggedy, raggedy mess. There is a kind of O/A torch, the name of which I forget at the moment, whose purveyors claim will cut stainless. Getting exact details from them as to capacity is impossible. I'll believe it when I see it.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/23/06 21:55:37 EST

Found it. The Henrob. Their claims have moderated some since last I checked into it. The website http://www.cut-like-plasma.com/info_faqs.htm says it won't cut stainless but does a "nice controlled melt" on thin stuff (.06 "), does claim it will weld stainless and aluminum.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/23/06 22:06:07 EST

That would be the Henrob I think, Miles. I saw it demo'ed at Quad States, but not on stainless. However, it is still O/A, and the only difference between it and a regular O/A torch is the in-line pre-heat jet arrangement. Nobody has altered the laws of physics or thermodynamics, so I don't see how it could do anything different, given the same fuel, oxygen and metal. But I've been wrong lots of times before, too. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 01/23/06 22:07:00 EST

Gransfors Bruks Axes,
Ya Sure, Ya Betcha,, I Know all about them.
They make very nice products targeted at a niche market of wealthy outdoorsmen and the professional old style woodbuilder. Their forgings are "by hand" (obviously powerhammers and presses with various special dies)very accurate and consistient between each piece. I expect they use jigs to gauge progress as a piece takes shape.
Left in blackscale, Just wirebrushed and the only grinding is the sharpedge, Which is nearly razor sharp.

Aside from the stuff shown in their webpage,
They make limited production runs of historical European and US Native style axes too. But not shown on their website
Beautiful works of art, at a appropriate price too.
Their pictures on my wall, Try as I might, I just cant quite duplicate the graceful shapes of their originals.
   - Håkan - Monday, 01/23/06 22:11:37 EST

I own and have used the Henrob torch for years. It’s a sweet piece of equipment, very accurate but its still O/A. The metal has to have carbon in it to cut well.
   manidemers@yahoo.com - Monday, 01/23/06 22:22:10 EST

Yeah, Gransfors are awesome. I've got their lg. splitting axe and I want to get the Snow and Nealley double bit axe. After that I'll be set. Everything else I want to hammer out myself!
   - Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/23/06 22:26:54 EST

Frank Turley-Tyler's wedges: By the time You are back to the 40's Rockwell, steel isn't brittle hard, it will mushroom. Tempered can mean any hardness above a full aneal if not specified. While I agree that a kitchen range is a poor substitute for a heat treat furnas, it is better than most any of the readily available alternatives, I don't necessairily trust the numbers on the dial for cooking ether, but I wouldn't use a Tempil crayon on My food. Tyler said in His post that He would be using O1 tool steel. I think tis is overkill if PAYING for the material, but it is His decision, maybee He has a free source [I used to, not any more] I don't have a thermocouple, but a quote from the book is a quote.This was quoted to clear up something, Thomas P said up in a previous post. The point is that the core of the steel needs 5 min. per inch of thickness to catch up to the surface temp. The carpenter book calls for a soak time in adition to the 5 min. per inch of thickness on some steels. Personall I don't want the pointy edge of a splitting wedge really hard for the reasons I gave in a previous post. Your water heater does not have a thermocouple.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/23/06 22:55:57 EST

Randy Bairnsfather, Another guess.

In that period of time, drinks were warmed, mulled with an iron rod, the rod sometimes having a bulbous end. The end was heated and put in the liquid. The old timey name for the tool was "loggerhead", definitely a form of heater.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/23/06 22:59:57 EST

Catching up after the weekend - Tyler Murch, the rule of thumb for commercial heat treating per ASTM standards (at least back in the 70's when I was running an in plant heat treating operation at a steel mill) was 1 hour per inch of thickness in a furnace set at and equalized to that temperature. You're going to temper at 1000 F, let the furnace heat up, equalize, and then put in the piece, close the doors and start counting. Of course, you've already used NIST traceable thermocouples to verify that your tempering furnace has a uniform temperature distribution, along with a NIST traceable temperature recorder as well to take your readings. You also use non-NIST thermocouples to set up your burners or heating elements to assure that you weren't wasting the much more expensive NIST traceable ones.

Note tempering time for a 1" square bar, a 1 " round bar, and a 1" thick by 48" wide plate would all be the same - 1 hour. Mind now, the tempering I'm specifying is what is built in to the bolting specificaton, B7 if memory serves.
   - Gavainh - Monday, 01/23/06 23:06:02 EST

Gransfors axes,
Ops! I stand corrected! They do show the limited production axe models.
If one looks at their website, http://www.gransfors.com/ See the menu to the left and clik "Download Area" at the bottom of the image, clik "Go to the Pictures" ,
Scroll down to see the axe of your dreams.....

Also if you look at the other "go to pictures" section for prybars, Notice the square shafted nail.
Virtually all nails in Sweden are square.
Unlike the massproduced square "cut nail" that was common in USA 100 or so years past. The Swedish nails are made just like the round USA nails excepting the wire base material is square wire, The heading and pointing process is still the same.
   - Håkan - Tuesday, 01/24/06 00:15:35 EST

vicopper-- You, too? I have been wrong by actual count 5,426 times so far just this year alone. In fact, this count is probably incorrect.
manidemers-- A thousand pardons. I meant no disrespect to the Henrob. Just that I tried hard some years back to get the straight dope on what the torch could do and the dealer was verrrry coy. And was claiming then that it could indeed cut stainless. Even now, you will note, their website indicates it will cut like plasma. Yup.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/24/06 00:58:13 EST

I cut 1/2" x 3" scrap yard find stainless with my chop saw. Works fine for me. Scrap yard price is $1.00 lb.

I also have a Henrob (www.portableweldingtorch.com). Note there is a different set-up for cutting and oxy/ace welding. I have seen it weld aluminum as they now hawk it to farriers using aluminum shoes. Set-up for cutting has a supplement oxygen supply to blow out slag. I basically use mine as a plasma-type cutter for thin stock (although no where as neatly as Dal McGill does at Quad-State) and as a precise point heat source for vise bending. However, I have also cut up to 1" thick mild steel plate with it.

On the old irons, those which were heated on a stove or such were called sad irons. Anyone know why?

BTW, that 10 lb H-B on eBay went for a tad over $1,500 ($150 lb). About what the 15 LB PW sold for, but a couple of hundred more than a similar size Swedish brand anvil.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 01/24/06 03:05:24 EST

Torch Cutting Stainless: You can cut the heavy stuff fairly torch like by feeding a small bar (1/8" 3mm) into the the stream of oxygen. This creates the necessary oxidation to get a high temperature cut. But the process is still somewhat "melt and blow", it just uses less gas to heat with. However, as you can imagine this is a REAL art feeding that rapidly consumed rod into the oxygen stream on the side toward the moving cut. I have never tried it but that is the method shown in the text books.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/24/06 09:26:56 EST

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