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 24 - 31, 2006 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

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.
   - Hkan - 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

Thermocouples: Most Gas waterheaters and other gas appliances with a standing pilot flame DO have them, in the safety circuit. These are NOT for temperature measurment, but to detect the presence of the pilot flame.

SAD Irons: I'm told that it is because anyone who had to use them was soon sad about it!

Cutting with the O/A: Carbon is not a requirement. The material to be cut must have a low enough conductivity to allow a spot to be brought to ignition temperature, AND the base material muse burn very exothermicly in Oxygen.

Aluminum fails because of its high conductivity, and stainless because the nickel and chrome prevent the ignition in oxygen at the temp available.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 01/24/06 09:45:18 EST

Jock; I have done the bit with the steel rod, a welding rod, as a matter of fact. It does help break down the stainless somewhat, but you're still not going to get a "pretty" kerf like you might get with, say, a plasma cutter. A Metabo, lotsa cutting discs, (and a good respirator) might do it.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:00:58 EST

"Henrob" sounds like an archaic term for "chicken thief". (I apologize, Lord, for the lame attempt at humor.)
   3dogs - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:05:09 EST

Hey guys, I just put the finishing touches on my smithing page of my website. I would really appreciate your thoughts, comments and opinions on my work.

Most of the stuff on the page couldn't have been done without you guys here at Anvilfire. This place is an immensely rich resource for knowledge and technique, thanks for everything!

   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:05:57 EST

TGN, just thought I would ask before I possibly had a discussion with IT---is your site work safe?

Cutting Stainless: I have heard of someone using an arc welder and laying down a bit of plain steel rod and cutting through it as well.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:24:14 EST

I'm still thinking and wondering about the "Heters" mentioned in your 1767 inventory. Perhaps the authors meant bed warmers?
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:28:45 EST

Redressing Anvils: I've been given 80 pound anvils three in fact, all in crappy condition. How can I redress the edges? So far I've tried 1060 arc welding, on the DC setting. That didn't work, so I tried a thinner, yellower rod. ( I think its 3--- or 7--- I know that covers a lot of ground.) Next I'm going ot grind off all the excess. Willl this work?
   - anymous - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:09:08 EST

Redressing Anvils: I've been given 80 pound anvils three in fact, all in crappy condition. How can I redress the edges? So far I've tried 1060 arc welding, on the DC setting. That didn't work, so I tried a thinner, yellower rod. ( I think its 3--- or 7--- I know that covers a lot of ground.) Next I'm going ot grind off all the excess. Willl this work?
   Anonymous - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:09:52 EST

Anonymous: Your anvil tops might be cast iron, chilled cast iron, semi-steel, ductile iron, wrought iron, steel or a steel plate. Without knowing what you are trying to weld onto, impossible for anyone to recommend a welding technique. Can you identify brand of anvil?
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:19:37 EST

Dude, if their in crappy condition, why dont you do a spark-test? (Just a sugestion.)
   - packrat - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:40:13 EST

Randy's inventory.
I still think occam's razor applies here.
A box iron (instead of a flat iron, sad iron, gas iron, electric iron etc) and heters. Sheilds with a flat top and a pointy bottom are refered to as heaters because they have the shape shape as heaters for putting in a box iron for smoothing clothing.

(of course I rarely apply a razor of anysort so...........)

(this wild guess brought to you by me only, and has nothing to do with the letters C,S,&I. Or the colour blue.
   JimG - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:41:14 EST

Thomas P., work site safe? Do you mean my shop? Is it like 'work area approved'? Probably not, but I do have many fire extiguishers and a fire blanket in the shop. It may be cluttered like heck, but I'm sure most of you guys have a messy work table too!

Now if you mean is my site 'cyber safe', I don't know the exact level it's at. There is little use of expletives on 1 or 2 pages, but the site is over 35 pages in content. The specific page I posted is entirely 'safe', all it is is pics of my smithing and welding work and photos of the shop... which I believe is on topic here at the Guru's Den. I just wanted you guys to see my work, that's all. Sorry to cause any concern.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 01/24/06 14:37:13 EST

I am currently looking for a tubular gas forge with a thermostat ( for working on silicon bronze ) Could you point me in the right direction for my search?
Mike Vinson
   Mike Vinson - Tuesday, 01/24/06 15:02:24 EST

I have never seen a commercially made gas forge with a thermostat. Which is not to say they dont exist, somewhere.
But I have friends who do MokemeGane, which requires very precise temperature controls, and some use gas forges. They have purchased digital readout thermostat units for a couple of hundred bucks, and added them to gas forges themselves. You need an electricly operated gas valve, too.
Not sure what brand or type of thermostat- I never looked real close, but I know I have seen em in action, and the added price to a gas forge is less than $500. I know glassblowers require precise temp controls, so glassblowing supply houses sell good thermostats.

But really, for just forging silicon bronze, do you really need that precise of a temp control? I have forged a lot of bronze, much of it Naval, which is pickier than silicon bronze, and I find focus, a darkened room, and practice make it pretty easy. Just take it out before it melts. Yuk Yuk Yuk.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 01/24/06 15:15:58 EST

Mike Vinson,

I'd suggest you look into heat-treating ovens. They have precise temperature control, and a few are available as gas-fired. Try a Google search.

If you want to do it on the cheap, you could get a thermocouple-driven gas valve, safety pilot and solenoid valve from some of the companies that make thermocouples. It'll cost you upwards of $400 to do it to an existing forge, but that will still be a tenth the cost of a decent heat-treating furnace. You don't need the ramping/timing features of the furnace, anyway.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 15:39:05 EST


No problem with posting the link to your smithing page. I checked it out and you have some interesting things. You going to post some pics of the body art "in situ", as it were? Or would that de-rate the page to "R"? (grin)

BTW, the pic of the wine rack didn't load for me; might be my computer here at work, I don't know.

Keep on working at it, and keep on having fun with it!
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 15:44:13 EST

Nice site Nippulini. Thanks for the link back. The link to your work page is broken, and the picture of your wine rack didn't load for me.

I've been thinking about doing some piercing jewelry for a while, but was affraid that the heating would somehow make the stainless not work right. I didn't want to be the cause of any infections. I'm not into piercings myself, but I have several friends who are.
   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 01/24/06 16:34:52 EST

TGN; no problem, I just remember some of the questions you have asked in the past and while I have never had an issue with them I just didn't want my Boss called in to explain why I was looking at something the company thought I shouldn't be.

Text is generally not a concern; anatomy is...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/24/06 16:35:07 EST

Mike Vinson-- try Ransome in California, purveyors of all sorts of gas heating equipment, Venturis, etc.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/24/06 16:53:18 EST

My grandfather, an irascible Irishman, once threw one across the dining room in Johnstown, Pa. at my father when he was just a kid and it left the latter quite sad for the rest of his 76 years.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/24/06 17:00:08 EST

hey, new guy here. i need to know: what is the forge welding temp for a bar of 5160 tempered steel?
   - Megil anveleth - Tuesday, 01/24/06 17:55:44 EST

Furnace and Forge Controls: No matter how you do it controls are pricey. They alwasy have been and probably always will be. On high amperage electric kilns and furnaces you must have a heavy duty high reliability contactor to switch the current on and off. On a gas furnace you can use modulated controls or simple on/off. But in either case as with the electric you start with a controller and thermocouple. Then for gas you need a solenoid valve with sufficient capacity. I made the mistake on my big forge of using a valve with only a .050" orifice and it ended up needing excessive pressure to operate.

On my big forge and a furnace I built the controls operate the fan and the gas. In order to prevent flash back and/or back firing (loudly) the fan must start first and come up to speed before the gas valve is opened. This required a little $90 ice cube on-delay timer. The fan speed was controlled by a simple manual control. The problem with this is that even the little 120CFM fans will often stall if you try to start them at less than full current. SO. . the fan is operated on a bypass circuit for the couple seconds until the gas is turned on. ALSO, to insure that the device was not operating un-lit there is electric ignition.

On the two units I built the control hardware cost roughly $400 NOT including a temperature control. The furnace with temperature control used an ancient electro mechanical coal furnace controller with mercury contacts and a foot long display. The modern low dollar equivalent is about $400. The forge I built has two operating modes. Full on, and "auto". The automatic mode uses two timing relays to obtain a dwell on and dwell off operation. The forge will run for 8 seconds and rest for 12. This will keep a hot forge at about 1200°F. Although the repeated and unexpected "whumph" every so often is nerve racking it saves fuel when the forge is not in use and keeps it ready to go. This would also be suitable for forging some non-ferrous metals.

Don Fogg used a simple control system on his salt pots where he turned the gas on and off but let the fan run. . .

For tempering in my big forge I used the heat of the fire brick lining. I used that big old funace read out and thermocouple to check the furnace temperature. When the temperature was about 450°F I would put a die in the forge and watch the temperature slowly drop. The tempering temperature was estimated at 25°F below the starting temperature. This was backed up by the yellow has on the surface of the part.

I have parts of a Mokume Gane' demo on my old PC. The author used a forge and just did it. It was one of those deals where you could tell there would be ocassional failures but with practice you could be sucessful often enough to justify not having expensive controls.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/24/06 18:11:03 EST


That's a good one. I've read that mild steel begins to lightly spark at 2280F, so 5160 would be just under that, a sweating heat.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/24/06 18:14:39 EST

"Real" work has kept me from the hobby for over a year, and so this weekend when I finally got a few hours free I jumped in the car and drove from Nashville, TN an hour into the country, where I keep my home made coal forge and home made anvil to pound out 16 months of frustration. A bucket of coal and three sheets of the Sunday paper later I'm back to making a mess of some 3/8" square stock that I now like to call my hat hook.

Just as the hook is cooling on the wire shelf, though, the fire starts to dim, and no amount of air from my modified hair-dryer blower will get it back to the good heat I'd been getting out of it for the last 25 minutes or so. Digging deep into my coal (after dutifully letting it cool down before dissassembling it), I find the problem. The 3/8" metal grate bar (just one bar over the 1.5" hole) I use to keep my good coal from falling into the ash dump has burned completely through. Making another one is not a problem, but thinking back I've had to replace this thing every 3-4 times I fire up the forge. The firepot is slightly shallower than I'd like and I think that is to blame for my burning grate. I'm remedying that with some plate steel, and have decided that rather than add another grate to just burn up and make me waste my valuable hobby time doing mundane things like making forge grate bars (as opposed to the much more noble work of creating an endless supply of hat hooks, letter openers, fireplace tools and other "artistic" creations from the same steel) I want to add a clinker breaker to my huble home-built firepot.

Pouring over the internet for the last few hours, I've found plenty of not-so-up close pictures of cast or drop-forged store-bought clinker breakers that I really can't see how exactly they work. I used a firepot with a breaker when I attended a weekend class in Pigeon Forge but at the time I was very (very) green and took it for granted. Does anyone know a good source of some detailed description of one that I might emulate in my do-it-myself version?

I like the idea of making my own tools, because it's much more rewarding to make something, using only tools you have also made (Some say that makes me cheap? Clearly they've never tried it themselves) so I'd rather not try to rig a store-bought breaker into a home-made tuyere, so has anyone made their own that might impart the details?

The more pictures, the more better. I'm a visual thinker. With a new job, and a new appartment much closer to the forge, I should be up there a lot more often and I've got a year and a half of creativity to burn once I get this blasted forge working right.
   HPL Steele - Tuesday, 01/24/06 18:47:08 EST

Can you help me for my 4th grade project. I would like to know what a whitesmith is.
   Brooks - Tuesday, 01/24/06 19:50:02 EST

HPL Steele, I'll send you a quick sketch e-mail. Can't post pics here.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 19:52:58 EST


Of corse the steel is going to turn out with a melted, nasty, jagged edge. No one specified how smooth or how rough the cut edge had to turn out. The meaning of my debate of cutting stainless with an O/A torch was that it is VERY possible. If you want a good smooth cut on the edge of your stainless, just use a bandsaw. It will cut it and cut it smooth. GUARENTEED!
   Hillbillysmith - Tuesday, 01/24/06 20:40:28 EST


If I am right, (and anyone can correct me if I am wrong) a whitesmith is someone who works on all of the non-ferrous metals such as brass, copper, aluminum, gold and some other "presious" metals.

There are blacksmiths, whitesmiths, tinsmiths, siversmiths, pewterers, jewelers, and watchmakers.

And like I said, anyone feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I just want to give him all of the CORRECT info. as Brooks needs.
   Hillbillysmith - Tuesday, 01/24/06 20:49:17 EST

Tyler: It's a belt grinder, dude. In their sharpening section they mention a powered grinding stone as a last resort, but please note they mean a water-cooled one!

Brooks and Hillbillysmith: A whitesmith is not someone who works nonferrous metals. A whitesmith "cleans up" forged iron. The tools of the trade are files and sandpaper. See "Professional Smithing" by Don Streeter for examples.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:02:15 EST


Generally we don't do homework for you, but ther seems to be some confusion, so I'll try to clear it up.

A whitesmith, as Alan L said, does the finish work after the blacksmith has forged a piece to shape. The forging process leaves the iron with a fire scale fsurface, which is black in color, hence the term "blacksmith." The whitesmith refers to the fact that the file, grindstone and sandpaper or scraper work leaves the metyal once again shiny steel, or white-looking.

These days, there really aren't any whitesmiths left, as that position mostly went out with the end of the guild system and the advent of the modern industrial revolution. A couple hundred years ago, there were differing guilds of smiths who did very specialized tasks, such as the armoursmith, the cutler, the farrier, the toolsmith, etc. Often, their work was sent out to a whitesmith for final finishing.

Nowadays, most blacksmiths do a much wider range of duties than was done in the past, and so do most of their own whitesmithing.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:10:50 EST

To finish out the dielectic on whitesmith: Websters New International Dictionary, Second Edition:

Whitesmith 1: one who works in tinned or galvanized iron or white iron, a tinsmith 2: a worker in iron who finishes or polishes the work, in distinction from one who forges it.

   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:35:46 EST

Alright then, thanks! i have one more: i have a 1.5" by 1.5" bar of an unknown metal. my dad said that it's steel, but he's a car guy, not a blacksmith. by weight for mass, i thought it was cast iron. is there some way to tell other than heating it and hammering to see if it shatters? i'd hate to waste some of it. thanks again and in advance!
   - Megil anveleth - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:51:39 EST

I am making a hall tree and wonder if there is a formula for how wide the base needs to be depending on the height. My tree will be 6' tall. I worry about stability. Thanks for the help with a formula if one exists. Betsy
   Betsy - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:58:49 EST


The densities of steel and cast iron are so close that I doubt most people can tell the difference by feel. You can calculate the density of your piece by measuring it, then use the handy Mass3j calculator available on the drop down menu above. You'll note from Mass3j that the density of cast iron is about 7.1 and mild steel is about 7.8 if I'm not mistaken. This is assuming that it is ferrous metal, a magnet sticks to it and all that. You can also do a spark test. For details, see the FAQ's on junkyard steel and the 21st Century page for "Getting Started".
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 22:10:58 EST


A lot of the stability of tall objects like your hall tree has to do with the center of mass, sometimes called the center of gravity. If the piece is very dense and heavy at the base and light and airy at the top, you can get away with less base dimension than you could if it were heavy on top and light on the bottom. I am not aware of any mathematical formulae for calculating the ratios, however. Keep in mind how far away from the center post that a bulky coat will hang, and have the base be at least 1-1/2 times that wide for stability would be my suggestion.

Artistically, most things in nature get smaller at the top or less dense at least, and have heavier bottoms. Trees are an example. Generally speaking, that same sort of visual balance works pretty well for manmade forms, too. When designing a hall tree, keep enough mass at the base so it doesn't look top heavy before it even gets a coat or hat on it.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 22:20:18 EST

Frank Turley: I don't keep track of the times I am wrong, the numbers get too big too fast, I hadn't considered a Gas water heater, they arn't used much around My area due to the lack of piped in gas. Sure enough that little thing aside of the pilot is a thermocouple.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/24/06 22:33:36 EST

Dave Boyer, Not a big deal. We have a big propane tank here.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/24/06 22:59:02 EST

Frank : Is propane competetive with oil out there? Here[Southeastern Pa.] it is rether pricey, but I have seen a few newer homes with tanks. Only a few are still using coal here, [for home heat]but it used to be quite popular and cheaper than oil if You don't count the hassle factor of hauling out the ashes.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/25/06 00:10:24 EST

Dave, over to hammer-in...
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/25/06 00:34:30 EST


Just drill a hole in it. If cast iron you won't get chips, per se, but something which will look like metal sand. If steel you should get nice longish curls. If ductile iron, short curls which break off on their own.

Second method is the grinding wheel spark test. Grind a piece of known cast iron and steel. Then grind your bar and compare what you saw happening to the spark stream.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 03:24:31 EST

Question, I Have A Vulcan # 10 Anvil In My Shop, Is The Illinois Iron & Bolt Co Still In Business Can You Give Me The History Of The Anvils This Anvil Seems To Be Pig Iron Base & A Tool Steel Top Layer & Horn . Thanks John Bednorz 612/708/9644
   John Bednorz - Wednesday, 01/25/06 06:02:39 EST

Guru, I Purchased A Vulcan #10 Anvil For My Blacksmith Shop. I Believe This Anvil Came From Illinois Iron & Bolt Co Carpentersville Illinois (From 1875/1969)It Is In Very Good Condition With A Laminated Tool Steel Top & Horn.Can You Tell Me If This Company Is Still In Business , How Can I Figure Out How Old It Really Is,Thanks Much John Bednorz. 612/708/9644
   John Bednorz - Wednesday, 01/25/06 08:01:38 EST

John Bednorz: To my knowledge II&B went out of business about 35 years ago. You can tell an age range by the anvil shape, style of logo and the placement of it as shown in Anvils in America by Richard Postman. If you can send me a photo clearly showing the logo side I should be able to time line it for you.

Question: Where did you pick up the 1875-1969 dates?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 08:51:03 EST

Dave, I live in S.E. PA as well. I have natural gas supplied by PECO and it is pretty darn cheap. My folks have oil, and they tell me it's a bit more of a pain to fill tanks and turns out to be a little more costly. They also have propane tanks for the garage heater and pool heater. Right now they're looking for a new supplier of propane becaus it's getting too pricey (I think they're renting their tanks too). A local hardware store just sold me a bottle of MAPP for $8.49!! I know the Depot sells it for $3.49, so who knows what the deal is when it comes to natural gas prices?

By the way, thanks everyone for checking out my work. The wine rack photo didn't upload properly, I'll try it again today.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 01/25/06 09:06:23 EST

Mr Guru, I Saw The Date On A Website Thanks Much For The Information. John Bednorz
   John Bednorz - Wednesday, 01/25/06 09:25:19 EST

Mr Guru, I Need An Address To Send You A Photo Of The Vulcan Anvil Is It On This Web Site. ?? Thanks John Bednorz
   John Bednorz - Wednesday, 01/25/06 09:31:33 EST

yesterday I lit my propane forge in my one car attached garage with the door closed (DUMB), while waiting for the forge to come temp and give a little heat to the garage, I went into the house to use the restroom and get a cup of coffee.(StUPID) I returned to my garage to the screeming of my carbon monoxide detector. IT HAD EXCEDED THE 1000/PMM LIMIT OF ITS DESPLAY IN LESS THAN 5 MIN. I had started my forge tuned to a reducing mixture in a cold ineffecent forge in a closed room. (deadly)

Carbon monoxide or CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Due to this fact, it is very hard to detect the presence of CO in your environment. It is, however, imperative that the CO levels in your shop are carefully monitored. Even at relatively low levels, CO is poisonous because it rapidly accumulates in the blood thereby depleting its ability to carry oxygen. Extreme cases of CO poisoning result in death.

For healthy adults, CO becomes toxic when it reaches a level higher than 50 ppm (parts per million) with continuous exposure over an eight hour period.. When the level of CO becomes higher than that, a person will suffer from symptoms of exposure. Mild exposure over a few hours (a CO level between 70 ppm and 100 ppm) include flu-like symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes and a runny nose. Medium exposure (a CO level between 150 ppm to 300 ppm) will produce dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting. Extreme exposure (a CO level of 400 ppm and higher) will result in unconsciousness, brain damage and death.

I know better than to do what I did, and I know that CO at that level can produce unconsciousness in less than 10 min. My life and possably the lives of my family were saved by a 10 year old carbon monoxide detector by NightHawk industries. It has a digital read out for monitoring low levels of exposure. COST less than $60.

Nothing is as dagerous as my own stupidity

In loving memory of PaPa Willson

Guru please feel free to post this in the saftey notes.
   Habu - Wednesday, 01/25/06 11:22:46 EST

John Bednorz; if you click on Ken's name at the bottom of his post you should get an e-mail window that will pop-up ready to go to him.

Folks don't usually post their address do to the spammers address harvesters.

Ken has taken over the post of fellow with Anvils in America right by the computer and I know I am sure gratefull that he puts the time in with it!

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/25/06 11:36:33 EST

are you putting up any new stuff in the Iforge section? are you accepting any new stuff?
   dan@modernblacksmith - Wednesday, 01/25/06 11:46:44 EST

My friend Phillip Baldwin makes Mokeme Gane for a large percentage of the jewelers in america who use it and dont make it themselves. He is a long way from just sticking it in a forge and doing it as it is not uncommon for him to have over $2000 worth of alloy in one heat.
His website is www.shiningwave.com
but most of his sales are thru www.reactivemetals.com

So he has built a simple, relatively cheap system of precisely temperature controlling a gas forge for some of his work. Next time I see him I will ask the brand of his controller, but I am pretty sure that the advances in electronics have made a controller like this a lot easier and more affordable than it was even 10 years ago.
He also uses salt baths, electric furnaces, and plain gas forges. All of which he built himself, so he really knows his stuff.
So I know its possible to get a forge to maintain a pretty accurate temp.

But I am not sure whether Mike is doing enough silicon bronze forging to make the investment worth it or not- only he can decide that.
I know that when I did a big bronze job a few years ago, we used our gas forge to forge something like a ton and a half of naval and silicon bronze with only about 3 ruined pieces, out of something like 500.
So for me, I would have to be doing bronze all day every day, with low paid production workers, before it would be worth it for me.
   - Ries - Wednesday, 01/25/06 12:09:02 EST

Hey Guru!
Where can i find plans to build a ring bender? (or tire bender, or slip roller - anything to help me crank out some smaller diameter - 18"-24" - rings).
   hunter dahlberg - Wednesday, 01/25/06 12:17:03 EST

there are some plans in the metalworking dropbox- google it.
or google rorty design- he sells plans for one type.
The other thing to do is to look at some of the commercial models, and just copy them-
google shop outfitters or boss benders or r&d hydraulics, all of them sell hand crank rolls.
There also are some very cheap rolls on ebay right now- made in china, but depending on your material size, they might work- search for "brandsonsale".

The problem most people come up against is that they assume they can roll really heavy stuff by hand, with no machined parts, which is usually not true. For 1/4" flat bar the easy way, a hand roll will work. For 1/2" x 3" the hard way, or 2" angle, you are gonna need power, mass, and weight, which equals money.
So be realistic in what you expect a small, cheap, homemade tool to do, and you will be fine.
   - Ries - Wednesday, 01/25/06 13:16:27 EST


Unfortunately Guru is pretty well a one-man operation much in the style of the one-armed paper hanger. Each iForge takes much time to do, something he has little extra of. Now you can help perhaps fund an assistant:

1. Become a CSI member. $60 year I believe. That's only $5.00 per month or a tad or $1.25 a week. Way less than a single cup of coffee at a Starbucks. $1.00 cup at the local breakfast/lunch diner, but that does come with free refills.

2. Encourage folks selling items related to blacksmithing to become advertisers. You can get rates from the HOME page. When I put Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools on Anvilfire.com, my sales pretty well doubled very, very quickly and have held steady since.

3. If you live in or near TN, attend the Anvilfire.com Hammer-in/Conference at my farm near Waverly next April 21-23. Featured demonstrator will be BigBlu Powerhammers with one or two of their self-contained air hammers. Participants will be able to test drive them and I have some 1 1/2" scrap stock for those who want to perhaps forge out a hardy mandrel cone or such. There will also be a coal forge, anvil and tools available for impromptu demonstrators or lessons. If you want to learn to forge weld, there should be someone there willing to walk and talk you through the steps. Richard (The Anvil Man) Postman plans to attend. Private tool museum tour planned as well. We are strongly encouraging tailgate sellers. No registration fee. However, each particpant is requested to donate a nice item for an iron-in-the-hat type raffle. For more details just click on my name and request them. Net proceeds to go to the anvilfire.com general operating fund.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 13:24:38 EST

What is a hall tree? (I thought thy kept them outside) Miles. I missed that part about the Henrob, but then I didnt read it very close. It will melt its way thru various metals but it usually isnt pretty. It didnt sound like you were knocking the torch. When I bought it, around 1996 I believe, the guy demonstrating it had no illusions about its cutting ability but boy could he weld. It has a more precise flame and can do very controlled and pretty work.
   manidemers.com - Wednesday, 01/25/06 14:01:00 EST

Hunter: if you have a chance to watch John Crouchet's flypress video (available from Pieh Tool Co, an advertiser on this site, about $35) you will see him make rings out of 1/2" or 5/8" square stock quite easily, to just about any diameter, and it can be done repeatedly. It will give you some good ideas and if you don't have or don't want to spring for a flypress the technique would work with a home made hydraulic press I think. I don't know about bending circles out of angle iron, that might be a tad trickier.
   Ellen - Wednesday, 01/25/06 14:03:01 EST

Regarding temperature-controlled gas furnaces:

Provided that you already have the forge and burner (atmospheric), this should be doable for $250. You can get an EXCELLENT Omega single-station temperature controller from eBay for about $60, most of the time. A high-pressure propane solenoid will probably run you another $60 from Grainger; I can't remember how much they are offhand, let's round up to $100. Visit eBay again for a thermocouple and some wire, another $60 -- and some plumbing parts for the idle/full valving arrangement to round it out to $250. Sorted. This is how we run all our glory holes and furnaces at Punahou, except the ones with forced air. Those also have an idle/full arrangement on the air supply, which is venturi-assisted compressed air.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 01/25/06 14:09:01 EST

ok, one more. (no, really this time :P) i have no money to actually BUY a forge, so i am making a scrap forge out of a 30" diameter grass catcher from an old riding mower. is 30" over doing it? or should i go bigger? i was also planning on attaching a blower to the bottom of it where the gears used to be. what diameter blower should i use, and at what setting?

quick add: just to establich early, my REAL name isn't "Megil anveleth". that's only elvish for "Sword lover" (showing both that i love swords and LotR :P) for the record and for no confusion, my real name is Bob.
   - Megil anveleth - Wednesday, 01/25/06 14:59:05 EST

Bob, Coal/Charcoal/Coke or Gas? I'll assume solid fuel; but since I don't know if the "grass catcher" is the shield around the blades or something hooked on the back I can't tell for sure.

The table of the forge can be whatever size you want. The firepot has some size considerations. The bigger the firepot the bigger the working piece and that's in cross section usually---swordmaking takes a pretty small forge as you don't want to heat up more than you can hammer in a go.

I have an old RR forge that is between 3' and 4' square IIRC with an old cast iron firepot that the previous owner burnt a chunk of RR rail in too accidently once. I hardly ever use it as it burns too much coal and is oversized for most of my work. If I get a 200# triphammer I expect it will get used more than some of the others.

So how big is your firepot?

As for the blower---how high is up? What size is your air openings? How big of work will you be doing? What fuel are you using? Will you be forge welding a lot? What is your working style like?

I will say that a common blow dryer puts out too much air for many of the home built forges I have seen. Make sure that you have an ash dump and offset your blower from the hot zone a distance so you don't overheat it from radiated heat.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/25/06 16:12:24 EST


A hall tree is a thingy that stands in the entrance hall or vestibule to a house, with hooks on it for hanging up coats and hats. Many also have a basket or other arrangement at the bottom to hold umbrellas, for those living in soggy climates.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/25/06 16:23:36 EST


The iForge demos have bee non hld for a cople years now due to time constraints. We are hoping to get them going again soon, though. They are a very popular and educational part of Anvilfire and need to be continued.

You can check out the guidelines for doing a demo and put one together and send it to Jock Dempsey, the Guru. When he has the time, he'll put it together for viewing. Don't let the time delay keep you from doing one; I'm going to be working on Jock to get the iForge going again as soon as possible, and the more material we have to work with, the better the odds of getting it going again. Thanks for your interest, and please consider joining us in CSI.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 01/25/06 16:28:04 EST

manidemers-- I forget just how long ago I queried the guy selling Henrob torches, but it's been quite a while. It was exasperating. All the major manufacturers, Harris, etc., are quite specific about what size material their equipment will weld and cut. From him and/or the Henrob manufacturer, nothing at all similar. The present contact is somewhat better, but there is still some considerable toe-dancing about what it will do with stainless, which as far as I can see is the whole raison d'etre (viz. the name of his website) for the thing, to avoid if possible springing for a plasma cutter. No free lunch, alas!
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/25/06 16:50:36 EST

I plan to build a 9' wide, single piece, swing, motor actuated, driveway gate. Does anyone have a recomendation for guidance (a book?) to help design it - not what it looks like, but how it must be constructed? Like, it shouldn't sag, so how heavy do the structural members have to be? How much should I expect it to weigh in at? Can I use a caster to support one end? Steel caster or hard rubber caster? Etc.
   Andy Morrison - Wednesday, 01/25/06 17:00:54 EST

I have now watched the fairly standard Henrod torch demonstration about four times either at the NY ABANA conference or Quad-States. Bearing in mind he is a professional at what he does, he sure does make it look easy - as long as the torch is set up properly and at the right oxygen pressure. Changing it over to welding takes him about a minute. I have cut 1" mild steel plate with it. The cut was no worse than a standard oxy/ace cutting torch. I cut mostly Freon bottles with it and use it for precision bending in the vise. Works absolutely great for my purposes. I'm using maybe 10% of its potential. One of its featured selling points is you leave the aceleyene set on 5 PSI for whatever you do with it. Only the oxygen is varied.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 17:26:14 EST

the grass catcher is the blade guard. planning on using either coal or charcoal in it, since it can be bought fairly cheap. the firepot hasn't actually been developed yet, but i was planning on welding a guard on it before i actually used it. currently what i want to use it for is to straighten leaf springs. as i said, i haven't got much money, so i am making swords from leaf springs and i'm gonna sell them until i get more money. forgeweld, yes. that pesky hole in the spring needs filling, and just using a bolt (as the intructions i found say to) leaves a gap still from either the threads breaking off when griding, or the fact that one side of the hole is slightly bigger. i have a makeshift furnace that i've used once, and it works great for straightening without having to re-temper, but i need something to forgeweld the springs, and mild steel in. i'm very open to recommendations for firepot size.
the opening now is about 3", but again i was planning on welding a metal plate on it to lower the diameter. i was thinking about 3/4" to 1". we have a lot of old equipment around here, so i have a small motor that i could attach a fan to that doesn't really spin real fast.
work size: anywhere up to 56" springs, tho only in small portions. heating the whole thing give NO control, since you have no anchor point. (my dad and his work buddies tried that, and the spring hit one of the guys in the stomach) the grass catcher does have a... guess it would be called a grass re-director, and i can use that as an ash dump.
i could also use some ideas on a tempering oven. could i make s/thing out of bricks and have a fire under it? again with the money prob. and for my pieces, my mom's cooking oven would hold them. that will be a prob after forgewelding, no?
   - Megil anveleth - Wednesday, 01/25/06 18:48:16 EST

I certainly hope you are not using that site that talks about making great swords by cold straightening the springs. All their plans do not result in anything like was used during the swords as weapons time period.

One of the biggest problem is getting proper distal taper---you do know that for nearly 1000 years the average weight of a using sword was about 1kg; this includes japanese blades as well as european ones. The "crowbars" you get from not putting in the proper tapers are "strong" but so is my anvil---it's not a sword though.

The ashdump is a continuation of the air supply so that ashes/hot coals that slip through the air holes drop into the ash dump and can be discarded; not something off to the side you rake stuff into.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/25/06 19:04:28 EST


Go to to the NAVIGATE anvilfire box in the upper right and then scroll down to the list of advertisers. On the sites for Centaur Forge, Pieh Tool Co., Blacksmith's Depot or Blacksmith Supply, do a produce search on firepot. It will give you a general idea of what you need to build. For your application a long rectangular one would be better suited.

At the place where I buy steel/scrap they have a large drop cutter with a capacity of, I think, 3/8". Were I to build one on my own I would make up a firepot out of cardboard and then have them cut the pieces to be welded together using cardboard pieces as templates. For a tuyere cut out a circle in the bottom and purchase an already made clinker breaker (see advertisers). For the elbow use say 3 1/2" OD pipe and fit a side air pipe to one side. Advertisers also sell cast iron tuyeres (ash grates). However, for about $175 plus S&H you can buy one designed for the purpose and ready to install. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to try to reinvent the wheel.

For a squirrel-cage blower, try www.surpluscenter.com. 100 cfm, with a control valve, should be more than you would need. Remember coal and charcoal forges worked off of either bellows or hand-cranked blowers for a very long time.

Bear in mind the sword play you see in video games may have no relevance to real-life.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 19:32:59 EST


Take a look at eBay listing #6248276980. Looks to be just what you need. As a price guide, a new similar one would run you about $175. You would have S&H on either.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 01/25/06 19:55:01 EST

Snow and Nealley Axe: I ordered one of the "Our Best" 3# felling axes ($60 + shipping) and waited 3 months for nothing. I finally cancelled it. I went to Lowes, bought a $16 True Temper 3# felling axe, brought it home and stoned and stropped it until it will peel hair off of your arm, and tried it out on a downed hickory tree. Works fine. However, I do own a Granfors Forest Axe and it is a work of art.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 01/25/06 20:47:36 EST

Nothing within the financial means of the average mortal can beat a plasma cutter.
   manidemers.com - Wednesday, 01/25/06 22:00:30 EST

qc, Never buy an axe from snowandnealley.com. You can get them much cheaper at a garden supply or something on the internet. The double from sn.com is $86.00 and I found it for HALF that price from some site I found on Google.
   - Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 01/25/06 22:33:11 EST

TGN: If You are going to use a lott of MAPP gas You might look into getting a larger refillable tank from a welding supply store. Airco was pushing it pretty hard some years ago, that company is presently AIRGAS and operating in Your area, but others probably have it allso. I looked for Your town on the map, couldn't find it, what major roads are You near?
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/25/06 22:43:27 EST

Habu - and all smiths - ran across a short article today in the Wall Street Journal to the effect that carbon monoxide poisoning may have long term deleterious health effects even for those who successfully recover from it. Something we should all consider - those carbon monoxide detectors are looking better and better. As soon as I stop using a coke forge set up outside in front of the garage, I think it'll be time to install one.

Quenchcrack - I haven't checked recently, but LL Beans axes used to be mostly Snow & Nealley Axes. They're a small operation (or were a small operation back in 1988 when I helped make a sales call to them) Good folks, good American made axes and garden tools - lots of low tech operations. Sorry to hear that their delivery was so slow. I have one of their camping axes - used it without problem on several canoe trips in Canada.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:31:57 EST

Dave, the closest specialty welding shop is on Rt. 13 in Bensalem PA 19020. It is an AIRCO, used to be BOC Gases. A small bottle of MAPP will last me at least a month, and I run the micro forge on it at least 15 to 30 minutes each day. The town I live in is called Hulmeville, pop. 900. Not really important enough to get on any map I guess. The town is so small we have to share a zip code with a larger neighborhood Langhorne. My backyard backs up to the Neshaminy creek. Hope this helps you get a better fix on where I'm at.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 01/26/06 00:04:23 EST

TGN: I found it on another map. I may go to Metal Stock at some point. I am not that far away when I go to Fox Chase, unfortunatly I get down there every so often.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/26/06 00:44:30 EST

MEGIL; If, by "grass catcher", you are referring to the body of a 18" to 24" regular ol' rotary lawnmower, bear in mind that many of them were made from a cast magnesium alloy. That could make for some exciting forging. You might consider a stamped steel one if you really want to use a mower deck.
   3dogs - Thursday, 01/26/06 02:34:48 EST

Brand of Redressed anvil: I couldn't find a brand and I don't trust my ablity to read sparks as it were. However, I was able to distinquish a logo. and a single number under the horn, probably the weight though. Its the outline of an oval, and it has what looks like a smith with his arm upraised as if he going to drop a hammer. Its hard to tell, this peticular anvil was painted a mint green with very thick paint. And on the front is just the number 10. I do know its the same metal al the way through, though. It is standard london pattern. I hope this helps, otherwise I'll have to post a picture of the sparks.

Related question: If we/I eventually figue out what kind of metal this is, how would I make the surface hard again?
   Anonymous - Thursday, 01/26/06 02:41:26 EST

Anonymous: You have a Vulcan from the Illinois Iron and Bolt Co. of Carpentersville, IL. #10 means 100 pounds, although it isn't unusual for marked weight to be off from scale weight a bit. It should have a cast iron body with a steel plate. I say it should have because there is increasing evidence II&B made some anvils out of semi-steel. In that case the top may have a high percentage of cast iron and not be repairable under ordinary welding techniques. Welding cast iron is a bit tricky and normally expensive. All you can do is to try running a test bead and see how it does. If it looks like a normal steel weld, then you may be good for go. If it has bubble pockets and knocks off easily, it has too high of a cast iron content to be worth while.

(Some anvil manufacturers were so good at blending in top plates the seams cannot be seen.)

On retempering an anvil, for all intents and purposes, forget it. You would have to bring the plate up to critical temperature (to where a magnet no longer sticks to it), then rapidly cool it under a strong jet of water. At a precise point you would need to pull it out, let residue heat from the body evenly heat the plate to the hardness desired and then very rapidly cool the entire anvil again. If you want to try this, please let us know as I, for one, would like to sit and watch the fun. You might still find a commercial concern who heat treats metal of this size, but the cost is likely to be far more than the anvil would be worth.

Vulcan anvils were the bottom quality of the anvils made in volume in the U.S. According to Richard Postman, author of Anvils in America, they were never advertised as being blacksmithing anvils. Rather they were advertised for institutional (school), farm and workshop use (or perhaps a welding or general repair shop). While a London-pattern, they tended to be bulkly and fat under the heel. They were often carried as the low-end anvils in national mail order catalogs, such as Sears.

I agree with a comment made recently by someone else Vulcans are a full notch below Fishers, even though both were made using the same basic techniques.

If the top plate won't hold a welding bead well, my recommendation would be to pass it on to someone else and buy you a decent one. If you find a Vega in a scrapyard you might restore it back to running condition, but it would still be a Vega.

Take a look at eBay listing #6246848592. Peter Wright which sold for about 80 cents a pound largely (IMHO) because it had a back corner of the top plate broken off. Once repaired (and I would have used stainless rod on it), it would be a nice user anvil again with a lot more years of life left.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/26/06 05:47:14 EST

Dave, Metal Stock Inc is incredible, too bad they have no website. Best way there is from I-95, take the Cottman exit, go straight and pass State Road. You'll see some warehouse underpass thing (like an enclosed catwalk), as soon as you go under the pass you'll see Keystone St., make a right, this is where Metal Stock is. Just go around the warehouse and park in the back. Tell 'em Nipps sent you and they'll give you strange looks.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 01/26/06 11:38:45 EST

Yeah, its one from a school so its probably Vulcan as you said. Okay, could I make a somewhat functional trade with my boss who does light cold farrier work, and is sick of pushing around a 140 anvil?
   - Anonymous - Thursday, 01/26/06 11:41:01 EST

Damaged Anvils are often the beast deal for a new person starting. If you think about it what you are actually using on the anvil is the surface exactly opposite the hammer face.

If you have a decent sized area that will clean up the rest of the anvil is really just the mass to push back against the hammer's blow and while a horn and hardy hole are handy; far better to spend extra money on a good postvise and use it to hold things to pinch hit for them. You will note that some cultures use simple rectangular anvils and there are even folks doing production work in the third world using a sledge hammer head for an anvil. There is nothing sacred about the london pattern for an anvil!

I have bought and used two heavily damaged anvils one is missing the heel---broke off at the hardy hole; but has a nice hard flat face and a decent horn at less than 50 cents a pound it's a great anvil! The other dates to 1828 and is missing the heel and 80-90% of the shear steel face, only one small corner is still there and it's swayed as well---I use this one sometimes to try to show folks that the skill with the hammer is what is more important than the state of the anvil---it cost around 10 cents a pound and so was worth it just for the wrought iron in it!

Engineering a gate: there have been several discussions on this in the past and I would suggest you use the search function to review them. Use of a caster would greatly reduce the hinge loading!

Gavainh; I know you know that coke forges (and charcoal and coal) forges produce carbon monoxide as well; but the smoke generally causes us to use them with lots of ventilation.

Since coke and charcoal tend to be a bit less smokey I urge everyone to remember and don't fall for the "it's too cold to work outside so I will fire up the cleaner burning fuel in a closed garage" trick---y'all live too far away for me to attend your estate auction anyway

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/26/06 11:55:08 EST

3dogs: more or less, but this is off of an old riding lawn mower we had sitting in our back yard for who knows how long.
ken: thank you very much, i shall look into that. anything that gets the job done that's affordable will do great. yes, i know very well that the sword play on V-G's is NOT anything like real life. for cryin out loud, the movies have just as bad or worse.
Thomas: well, it prolly is it. "Real Armour" is the company name. yes, i've done a lot of research and i know very well that these gigantic heavy things are nothing like the real weight of the originals. another prob is i doubt if they knew how to put chrome into the steel then, but until i get better stuff and start (eventually) making my OWN steel, they will have to do. yeah, i figured out the ash dump right after i replied to that.... but again: we have a LOT of old junk lying around here, includeing many grates, so i can scavage. i figured that out last night... watching the fireplace. i've thought up of a lot of ideas watchin the fire. :D
   - Megil anveleth - Thursday, 01/26/06 12:31:17 EST

Dude, try Iforgeiron.com
   - packrat - Thursday, 01/26/06 12:51:50 EST

All the big parts are there. The edges are just very chipped. But the anvil I use is unidentifiable, no markings what so ever, but it is in very good condition. But what I did worked on the Vulcan. I used 6011 arcwleding sticks, then built up a lot of welded metal around the egdes then ground it. To test it I hit it with a 2 1/2 pound hammer, right by the edges, and not so much as a hairline fracture. Maybe I did good, maybe just got lucky, or it not really working and its just fooling me.
   Anonymous - Thursday, 01/26/06 13:19:05 EST

Megil/Dan - also check out Don Fogg's website. Just do a search on his name and then go over to the blade forum via the link.

Thomas - you're right coke and coal also produce plent of carbon monoxide. Didn't think anyone would use them without either putting them outside, or installing a proper smoke stack/vent arrangement, so I didn't include them in the post.
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 01/26/06 13:21:40 EST

Gavainh, I was just thinking of that old saying about "Just when you think you have something idiot proof someone comes up with an improved idiot".

I know I have done a passle of things that make me wonder sometimes why I am still alive and kicking---but I hope some folks don't have to repeat my mistakes to learn from them. I miss Paw Paw; but I can say that he's still helping people out everytime someone *thinks* about what they are doing first.

When I built my new smithy I put in two 10'x10' roll up doors on the ends the prevailing winds blow and while I may not open both I will always have the one next to the gas forge station open and if not the other one the man door to make sure there is cross ventilation. I used to open both of the roll up doors but when the wind started shifting the anvils I decided that perhaps one and the side door was sufficient.

I have also been thinking of a dragon's breath vent set up...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/26/06 14:32:13 EST

A friend of mine has an old cap &ball rifle that was handed down from his grandfather.He has no idea what caliber it is and is trying to find out if it is pre-civil war.Sure hope you can provide some info.The only thing printed on the gun itself is:W.E.ROBBINS and these letters or #,not sure which.GGJ either an i or a 1,an L or a1,c,i or 1 and another i or 1.Possibly the 1 or i could be a small case L.Sure wish you could help us out. Thank you and I will be waiting for a reply.
   Jerry Martz - Thursday, 01/26/06 14:52:11 EST

Jerry Martz-- you doubtless have heard this caveat, too, but I have read or heard that such oldies sometimes have a ball stuck down inside the barrel with an old charge sitting behind it and that the powder does not cease being explosive.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/26/06 15:30:13 EST

Miles and Jerry, the caveat about old muzzleloaders often being loaded is all too true. I have seen it many times, and it can be tested for with a ramrod, or plain wooden dowel of sufficient length. Insert it down the barrel and measure the distance between where the ramrod stopped and the hairline crack on the breech end which shows where the breechblock is inserted. Most of these breechblocks will be threaded into the barrel about 1/2", maybe less. Much more "occupied" space than that and you are dealing with a loaded weapon.

As to coming up with an age on the caplock rifle that is difficult as there were so many makers; oftimes the barrel was made somewhere, the lock elsewhere, the furniture another place and perhaps someone just assembled the components and added a stock. Many of the lock marks were of gun and hardware dealers who put their own name on the lock. A lot of these components were made in Belgium. On the bottom of the barrel should be proof marks, and these can used by an expert to identify where and when it was proofed. Posted pictures would help in the identification. Some flintlocks were converted to caplock. Caplock rifles were in general use from the 1820's to 1870 or later. Perhaps a bit earlier in Europe.

A cousin of my father had the rusted remains of an old Spanish muzzleloader which had been found in the California goldfields in the 1850's. It had been a curio in his family since that time. The barrel was bent, so my father's cousin clamped it in a vise and took his oxy torch to it to straighten it. Blew a hole in the wall of his shop. That thing had been loaded, and submerged for Lord knows how long, then a rustic family relic for a century, and still went off when heated.

Back in the 30's and later there were several park service employees killed or severely injured with battlefield recovered civil war weapons.

These can be safely unloaded in a couple of ways. If you will test it out and report back as to loaded/unloaded condition we can guide you through the steps to safely unload it. Good Luck!
   Ellen - Thursday, 01/26/06 16:32:27 EST

Jerry Martz, where is the "W.E. Robbins" printed? On the barrel, the lockplate, or?

What part of the country did it supposedly come from? In the days of Cap and Ball guns, most every little town had a gunsmith or five. It helps when trying to track down who made what if there's a region to narrow it down to.

You may also try asking at www.americanlongrifles.com/forums . They have a section specifically for identifying antique guns.

With all the small markings besides the name I wouldn't hold out much hope of it being pre-Civil War, but one never knows!

The other warnings are good. All old muzzleloaders (and every other gun, for that matter) are to be treated as loaded until proven otherwise.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 01/26/06 16:57:27 EST

Take a look at the 10-lb Trenton on eBay (#6248550545). Just seems off to me. In particular look at the last photograph of the bottom. It almost looks like a mold seam under the heel.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 01/26/06 17:51:50 EST

Don Fogg.... i've heard of him. i believe that i have his site bookmarked. i doubt if this grass catcher is cast magnesium. it has rust all over the inside of it. or would cast magnesium rust?
   - Megil anveleth - Thursday, 01/26/06 19:43:37 EST

Frank Turley: Ever been to Las Cruces before? if ever you do a demonstration there, let me know! it's only 30 mintes away!
   - Megil anveleth - Thursday, 01/26/06 19:47:29 EST

Megil; my parents live in Las Cruces and the next SWABA meeting is being held there; 10 am Sat Feb 4th. I plan to attend. Details can be found at the ABANA Chapter.com link in the navigate anvilfire menu look for South West Artist Blacksmiths.

Try to make it if at all possible you may find a decent smith a whole lot closer even if not the paragon of smithing that Frank is. Since you are so close though give a lot of thought to taking Frank's class at his school in Santa Fe.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/26/06 19:54:45 EST

yeah, i was thinkin of that, but there's one prob with it: i'm only 14. well, almost 15 tho. :D another one is that we have only cars that get less than 15mph, and one o fthem is currently getting a new transmission. altho, if i can, when i get my own car and the money i will. 10am..... well, if i can get my dad to let me go... altho no one else is really in to blacksmithing so i might have a bit of trouble getting a ride. my mom might tho, so she can understand what i m talking about. but again, if my dad will allow it. there is a blacksmith at the farm and rach museum, altho i don't know his name. i'm havin some trouble with the navigate menu. it isn;t showin up on my comp, and i can't figure out why. but i'll type it in the search menu and look for it. thanks for the info!

   - Megil anveleth - Thursday, 01/26/06 20:24:52 EST


The little anvil looks OK, except I can't quite make out the tradmark stamp on the side. Proportionately, the larger Trentons that I have seen had a thinner heel.


I will not be at the Las Cruces SWABA meeting. I will be in the middle of a class and busy.

The latch string is almost always out at my shop; just call first to make sure I'm home.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/26/06 20:33:39 EST

odd... none of the links in the search are working. i typed in the address too and that didn't work either. is the site down or s/thing?
   - Megil anveleth - Thursday, 01/26/06 20:36:11 EST

Smithin Magician: Has anyone used this? For a single operator with no room for a power hammer, this seems like a pretty decent way of doing some hammering with better control than just a hammer alone. Any comments?
   Jim Warren - Thursday, 01/26/06 20:54:36 EST

i just purchased a new anvil and would like a bit more of a radius on the corners, are there any tricks, or things that i should not do. it's my first anvil so im a bit nervous to have at it with a grinder. thanks steve
   steve ash - Thursday, 01/26/06 21:50:18 EST

Steve, others will have more to say and better tips to offer but I personally wouldn't take any grinder to one of my anvils. If they need a little cleaning up or softening of sharp edges I would use a flap sander on an angle grinder. Likewise for crowning hammers and other tools.
   Ellen - Thursday, 01/26/06 21:58:16 EST

I find the Smithin Magician to be a pretty handy tool, and well worth owning. I use mine a lot for necking down pipe for candle cups. Really, though, it works well for anything that requires the use of a struck top tool(like a butcher or hotcut). It also works great for fullering with matching top and bottom fullers. It doesn't really take the place of a power hammer in a shop, but it does make tools like hotcuts and fullers easier to use in a one man shop. And yes, it does give one better control when using struck tools.
   Ian Wille - Thursday, 01/26/06 22:36:53 EST

Steve : As Ellen said a flap disk on an angle grinder will give a nice finish with good controll. If You havn't used one before practace on a chunk of scrap. Any radius at all will go a long way towards preventing chipping the edges.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/26/06 23:02:34 EST

Short and simple question: How do you make Kaowool stick to the top of a box-like forge?
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 01/26/06 23:03:17 EST

Also, anybody know of a good flux resistant brick for gas forge floors and where I can get it. If I am careful, I won't have to coat the kaowool to keep flux from eating it will I?
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 01/26/06 23:10:43 EST

I see what you are saying about the 10 lb Trenton. The bottom portion of the Trentons anvils made in the US were cast iron, the waist up were wrought iron with a sheer steel face plate. I would suspect the thicker heel is to prevent breakage on a smaller anvil. The 10 lb Hay Budden was also forge different than the larger ones. The Trenton is more evident. They also used the same stamps as the larger ones. That is why it is not in proportion to the anvil. The anvil is real. I suspect it will not sell anywhere near the price of the baby budden. I suspect for more than it is really worth to some nutty collector...BOG.
   - Burtn Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 00:04:57 EST

I started blacksmithing in November 2005 as a hobby because I am physically unable to be a farrier like my brother and my dad. I currently have a small (70lb.) farrier anvil that I have been using and it has been a great start!
My question(s) is this...does anyone have an opinion or advice or any feedback concerning a 260# Nimba anvil? What about the 120# Nimba?
I ask these questions because this year's tax return is going to allow me to purchase a new anvil.
Any genuine response is greatly appreciated!
   Shawn Parker - Friday, 01/27/06 00:24:10 EST

Flux Resistant Brick

Good hard foundry brick is very flux resistant. However, all refractory brick is eventually attacked by scale as well as flux. But the hard bricks hold up for a long while.

It is the light weight refractory blanket, board and preforms that disolve like cotton candy when exposed to flux.
   - guru - Friday, 01/27/06 00:28:17 EST

Smithing Magician

This is a handy "third hand" but it has nothing to do with replacing a power hammer. Yes it will give you more control for very specific jobs. The genuine dievice is a nice kit but pricey. Most folks build their own versions.
   - guru - Friday, 01/27/06 00:32:16 EST

Hola! From Costa Rica!

Will get pages archived as soon as I find the necessary software. . .

   - guru - Friday, 01/27/06 00:34:52 EST

Search is working but is slow if you use a general term like anvil. Be patient if you are on a slow connection.
   - guru - Friday, 01/27/06 00:37:10 EST

Tyler - I have a box shaped forge from NC Tool. The Kaowool is held in place with sheet metal screws. I've had the forge for a couple of years and it is working just fine.
   dief - Friday, 01/27/06 01:44:46 EST

I want to THANK EVERYBODY for their responses. We are sure it is NOT loaded.As far as the name W.E.ROBBINS,it is stamped right on the barrel. Thanks again.
   Jerry Martz - Friday, 01/27/06 05:59:36 EST


I tied the kaowool to the ceiling of my forge with nichrome wire from an old hair dryer. I think you can buy (or probably make) ceramic buttons designed to keep the wire from tearing through the kaowool, but mine seems to be working fine without. Of course, my wire is just to prevent sagging at the front of the forge; the ceiling rests on the kaowool "walls" at the sides and back
   Mike B - Friday, 01/27/06 08:39:13 EST

What are the effects of forging techniques on the structure and volume of diffrent thicknesses of mild steel?
   sarah - Friday, 01/27/06 08:46:24 EST


We usually don't deal with homework assignments; is this one? I will quote from a small book, "The Blacksmith's Craft". "Metal forged at the correct temperature loses no strength". We "plastically deform" the metal. By hammering or pressing on a length of stock, its cross section is reduced and its length increased. We call this "drawing, drawing out, or drawing down".

There is much more going on regarding grain structure, different alloys, and post forging heat treatments. A metallurgist should deal with these questions.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/27/06 10:11:14 EST

Volume does not change save for losses from scaling. Cross section will decrease or increase depending on if you are drawing or upsetting. The size of the hammer and the thickness of the work affects where the metal is moved with the lighter hammers moving more on the surface and heavier getting movement deeper in the mass

Tyler they make rigid Kaowool board that some folks use to top a rectangular gas forge setup.

Megil, where are you in relation to Las Cruces. I plan to get in on Friday and visit with my folks and could probably stop by your place Saturday morning and give you a ride if your folks would allow it. I have a small PU with an extended cazb so there is room for your father to go too.

IIRC there was a smith in Mesilla---Dragon Ash Forge if I remember right. A smith that is wintering in Las Cruces sometimes shows up at the LC fleamarket. And the smith that demo's at the F&R museum also used to sell at the LC farmer's market.

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/27/06 12:17:15 EST

Dragon Ash Forge...

LeRoy Simmons, who operated his forge in near Las Cruces for years, is now in Mountainair, New Mexico.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/27/06 12:37:21 EST

Burtn Forge; I don't believe that the bottoms of trentons were cast iron rather they were cast steel.

Ken---do you have your copy of AinA handy to address this?

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/27/06 12:49:02 EST

Kaowool Roofs-

Tyler-I recently finished building a box forge witha kaowool roof and did the following: I made the roof a box 4" deep and accordian-folded the kaowool so that I really had to compress it well to get it in the box. I am not using any mechanincal fasteners at this point. If I find that I do need some, I will run 2 rods 1/4 OD through the wool about 2" below the hot face and then anchor the rods to the shell of the roof.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 01/27/06 13:10:21 EST

Sarah-Your question sounds like something coming from a college engineering course. If this is the case, I suggest you visit the engineering library on campus and look for books on forging. Try to find "Forging Practice" by Johnson or "Open Die Forging Technology" published by the Forging Industry Association (FIA). You may also want to check out volume 14 of the ASM Metals hanbook as well as a copy of "The Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel" put out by United States Steel. Any good techinical library should have some or all of these titels. Your question was quite broad. If you can break it down a bit I may be able to off more assistance.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 01/27/06 13:16:53 EST

I spoke to Richard Postman about the bottoms at one Quad-State. He said they were normally contracted out and they didn't particularly care what they were as far as content as long as they would weld properly to the top half. I agree, though, they would be cast steel (e.g., mild steel) rather than cast iron.

He noted sometimes the base seems out of proportion to the top and speculated if they were out of a particular matching base they might use the one either above or below it, such as a 140 or 160 pound base for a 150 pound top, and then try to blend it in.

He also noted for the really large anvils they likely forged out their own bases due to a low volume. Here they would be flat on the bottom.

On the 10-lb Trenton on eBay, you can see the logo in a couple of the pictures, particularly if you use the enlarge feature. Looks too much like a typical diamond shape, rather than the flattened one Trenton used. To me, you can see mold seams ground off on the bottom. For that size of anvil, I would suspect they might have just forged it out as a one-piece body. For the work involved it would make more foundry sense to me just to do one out of cast steel and be done with it. Did CF&I even pour metal? I suspect it would have been subcontracted out.

A bit like the A in front of some Trenton serial numbers. Were these subcontracted out to CA&F (Arm & Hammer) and the A represents that? WAG on my part, but again would make business sense to me if CF&I had more anvil order than they could fill and CA&F had excess capacity. Perhaps that's why the total CA&F produced as Arm & Hammers is low - they were making them for CF&I on the side.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 01/27/06 13:29:36 EST

Hi Ken and Tom

May very well be cast steel over cast iron. I really haven't tested the base to know for sure. You are both correct about the subcontracting.

I agree Ken about what you typed above. You WAG of Arm Hammer may be possible. Though the fella that started it was a disgruntled anvil maker that was fired a couple of times from CF&I He went a couple blocks away to Start CA&I. Due to the location, similar company name and fallin out. I think it may very well be possible that they would not have had a subcontract relationship. Plus they were getting the bases for the later anvils at the same foundry as CF&I. I am just guessing they may have not gotten along.
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 13:57:29 EST

Forged Axes and Hatchets.

I do not own a Granfors as they are costly, but very nice. I do own two Wetterlings forged in Sweden. They are about a third of the price as the Grandfors. They are excellent quality as well.
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 13:59:41 EST

Shawn- Nimba's are great anvils. I have the Centurion, which is the 260lb. anvil. I love it.
Russel Jaque, who makes them, is a great blacksmith and a really nice guy to boot. They are based on an Italian anvil that Steve Bondi brought back from Toni Benneton's shop in Italy, in the 70's, but Russel improved the design a bit, and of course used a really cool type style to do the logo.

There are those who prefer the all forged steel anvil, but since there are none available new right now, Cast Steel anvils like the Nimba are probably the best new anvils available. If you like the idea of buying american, and the shape, the Nimba is great. They are not as hard as some forged anvils get- you CAN ding it if you hit it hard enough. But they are plenty hard enough to use, and hammer control is something you have to learn anyway. Plus, since they are solid steel, they can always be sanded down a bit.
I think Nimba's will hold their value as well- they are beautiful, american made, and in limited supply.
   ries - Friday, 01/27/06 14:18:22 EST

Jerry, if you can carefully remove the barrel from the stock (lock comes off too), check for proof marks on the bottom of the barrel. Make a rubbing of them (tracing paper and soft pencil works well). Then armed with that information, check over on www.americanlongrifles.com and they may be able to put a date range on your piece for you.

Regardless of whether it is pre-Civil war or not, you have a valuable piece of American history in your hands. Actually the odds are fairly high it is pre-Civil war as demand for caplock rifles was reduced after the war due to the suprlus of Springfields and Enfields available. Of course, if of small caliber (that would be nice to know as well), then it could be either pre or post as no one wanted to use a .58 Cal. rifle to take rabbits and squirrels. Generally speaking, anything less than .40 caliber would be considered a small game rifle, then and now.
   Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 14:48:11 EST

I also own the Centurion. I liked the idea of buying a quality product made locally (I live up in Washington). They cost, but you're paying for quality, and a living wage for the workers who make them. The biggest differentiator between the Nimba and the Euro-style I've seen is that the Nimba's horns come to much finer points, presumably because of better casting technique and steel alloy used.

The Nimba's seem to be a little bit softer than the Euroanvils I 've used. I notice that the Nimba dings pretty easy, especially when compared to my old Arm&Hammer, which I've never been able to ding in the hard spots, but you can repair it by just peening the ding back. The good part of this is that if you snark up and hit an edge(which I do periodically) there's not any chipping.
   - Tom T - Friday, 01/27/06 15:53:01 EST

Jerry Martz,

I looked up Robbins in the Directory of American Toolmakers, and came up with Robbins & Lawrence Co., Windsor, Vermont, 1855 - 1861. They made machinist tools and gun and pistol making machinery. Might be a lead.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/27/06 16:13:05 EST

hey, im looking for a technique. im working on some indoor pieces and just want to use a wax finish. ive wirebrushed the metal just to clean it up, but any welds or places where ive grinded of filed are going to have a bright silver finish. Any suggestions on how to get tones to even out?
   andy - Friday, 01/27/06 16:35:36 EST

Andy, use gilders paste
   Ron Childers - Friday, 01/27/06 16:49:59 EST

Andy, like Ron said gilders paste is great. You can combine different colors of paste to get any finish you want. Pieh Tool Co (advertiser here) sells a gazillion colors of it; I'm sure others have it too. Some folks like to spray the finished product with matte clear Krylon Acrylic, some like to polish it with butcher's wax or Johnson's paste (floor) wax--most supermarkets have the floor wax.
   Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 17:45:38 EST

Requesting feedback from anyone using one of Uri Hofi's hammers. Hefted one the other day at a workshop and liked it a lot. Was going to take it home, but the owner caught me (grin!)
   Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 17:48:06 EST


I've got two of the Hofi-style hammers, and I like them very much. I've modified both of them somewhat by making the pein much broader than it came with. The 3# moves a lot of metal pretty quickly and my little 1-1/4# one is great for smaller work. I should note however, that I use lots of different hammers and hammering styles, depending on what I'm working on.

I have the two Hofi/Habermann style hammers and I also use a couple of diffrerent weights of standard square head American-pattern crosspein hammer, also with the peins softened a lot. 99% of all crosspein hammers are sold with peins that are waaaaay too sharp (tight-radiused) for good drawing work. Very few new hammers come with any rocker to the peins, and some have none on the flat face, either. So I feel very free to "adjust" a new hammer before I ever use it much. I'm pretty free with the spokeshave on the handles, too. I like mine with a more rectangular corss-section, rather than oval or round as sold.

I also have hammers with long handles like Nol Putnam advocates, and I like them too. And four of five dozen other hammers for more specialized jobs from goldsmithing to chasing to repouss to sinking to raising, etc. What can I say, I'm a hammer junkie. (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 01/27/06 20:05:23 EST

a ride?? that'd be great! but sadly, i can't give you a clear answer yet, because my mother is at a womens retreat. she left today. once she gets back tho, (sunday afternoon) i'll ask her. thanks for the offer! well, just in case i get permission, our house is in Anthony, nm. half on TX. our orchard is, and our driveway. our house is RIGHT on the TX, NM border. the monument is on our property. our house is right where an old stagecoach staion used to be too, imagine that.
hey, quick Q: what guage steel was medieval armour made of? thx in advance!
   - Megil anveleth - Friday, 01/27/06 20:10:22 EST

I have a few Hofi Hammers and Love them. I also have the video on the proper way to use the hammers. It is very informative.
   - Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 20:25:25 EST

I am rebuilding a 100# Erie steam hammer. I need to hone the cylinders that the motion valve and throttle valve run in. This means I will have to build up the valve bodys and machine them to fit. What should I build the valve bodys up with? Babbit? Aluminum bronze? what should the clearence in the cylinders be? .0005"? I also need to replace the rod. Erie originally used 4143 for the rod. I am thinking about using 4140 turned, ground and polished. Is this a good choice for rod material? What about hyraulic cylinder rod? Thanks for your responce.
   Danny D - Saturday, 01/28/06 00:01:56 EST

Megil your parents don't need to make up their minds until they meet me---and shouldn't! I'm a parent myself... Perhaps this discussion should move to e-mail.

As for medieval armour thickness---funny thing in medieval times that didn't have rolling mills making sheet metal to a standard thickness and in fact a lot of the rough shaping of armour was done *hot*---they were making it from real wrought iron and it doen't like too much cold work without being the very highest grades.

So most armour's thickness changed all over the piece, the smith could make it heavy in places that would take impact and light in places that were well protected.

In general medieval armour was made lighter than armour used by modern groups like the SCA.

For more details may I commend you over to the forums at armourarchive.org and yes they spell it wit a U in the english fashion.

   Thomas Powers - Saturday, 01/28/06 12:07:16 EST

Hi guys would a leaf blower be suitable for a forgeblower if hooked up to a reostat with an air gate the model I'm looking at is a small one with 110cfm is this too mickey mouse or is a leaf blower just a bad idea? Another question, are portable forges a pain or are they usefull for a beginner? Or are they really as bad as other sites say?
   - stephen - Saturday, 01/28/06 12:10:58 EST

yeah, i guess we should continue on e-mail. i shall e-mail you! yes, i knew that they didn't have rollers, but i figured there had to be some average thickness. i also knew that it was lighter than what modern movies and what-not claim. i've done my good bit of research, but never found anything on average thickness. but, assuming that i would have to go with a single layer (as opposed to possibly forgewelding andother smaller sheet onto certain places), what would be a recommended guage?
   - Megil anveleth - Saturday, 01/28/06 14:47:16 EST

how to heat treat spring steel (auto leaf spring)
   rob taylor - Saturday, 01/28/06 15:04:04 EST

Andy, Heat the welds and grinding surfaces to a red, scaling heat, and wire brush occasionally as it cools down.
   mike-hr - Saturday, 01/28/06 15:53:25 EST

Rob, if you go to the FAQ section, using the pull down menu at the top right of this screen, then scroll down to "Heat Treating" you'll find what you need to know. A lot of us use auto springs, both leaf and coil, with good results. The coil spring can be heated and straightened for a bit, then cut off and it makes dandy chisels and punches. Leaf is good for lots of things too. I've made a few knives out of it and it worked well for me.
   Ellen - Saturday, 01/28/06 16:56:17 EST

Stephen, a leaf blower is WAY overkill. Unless you like dancing in a shower of flaming coals, that is!

I used a heavy cast iron-pan portable forge for years. They do just fine for most things, but fire management is a bit more involved that with a regular firepot.

If you can't find a hand-crank blower, which I know are hard to find and not cheap, a small electric blower such as the fan from an old copy machine makes a good coal forge blower. The trouble with leaf blowers and shop vacs is the pressure, which is too high. You need high volume, low pressure air. For a portable forge you can even get away with a hair dryer, once you've removed the heating element.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 01/28/06 17:15:39 EST

How do I cut through 8160 quicker? Its a 3/4 in hex bar and I used a 8160 I think hardened to cut, but it took me an hour.
   newbie - Saturday, 01/28/06 17:25:06 EST

Armour-- Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has a smashing football-field-sized room full of armour, full suits of it, armoured lance-toting knights aboard stuffed horses in full drag, showcases full of helmets and nifty crossbows. I think there was a caption under one helmet saying the proof mark attested to the fact that it had withstood a crossbow bolt. Musta been some plate! PBS had a thing on last night depicting the history of the bow. Said when the troops changed from chain mail to plate because of the advent of the bow, the crossbowmen-- who were using bows with windlasses to manage the up-to-300-pound pulls!-- simply had the smith change the shape of the tips on their bolts from long and skinny to short, stubby and deadly.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/28/06 17:47:30 EST

History of the Mideval arrowhead- Broad heads ( "Short, stubby") were used for unarmored foes (These came first). They were almost impossible to pull out due to the two flanges (?) at the end. reason being they would grab more on the way out. To counter this they came up with chain mail. As these were tightly packed rings they could easily stop aything that couldn't fit throuh the ring, including the broad head. To counter this they came up with very pointed arrows. While they didn't wound as well, they could still get though much easier. Also they were (speculative) probably easier to make. As far as plate mail goes, it was never meant to protect against arrows. It was better at protecting against the swords of opposing European powers with there slashing swords.

(speculative) This is probably why in all the crusading paintings and art work the crusaders are wairing chain mail as it stopped arrows better and the muslims of the time utilitized horse archers.

As far at hte helmet stoping a arrow head. Its not nessicary for a helmet to stop an arrow head, merely deflect it. I'm guessing thats what it did.

This is based on what I've read from a few different books. Its not gospel, but I'm pretty sure I'm accurate. Of course I could very well be wrong, I'd just like to give back to all the advice I've gotten so, this is some of the best I can do.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:00:23 EST

Thanks Alan, coal showers don't sound too fun! Is 100 dollars reasonable for a complete portable forge with forge blower? I have no clue as to the manufacturer the way the guy talked he made it seem like it was a newly made model and of a larger size than and its in good shape (he says) haven't had a chance to look at it yet but whqat should i look for when i do? Should I keep looking or will I be looking forever for a better price (unless I get lucky which im not famous for.) Again thanks alot!
   - stephen - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:35:15 EST

Snow and Nealley Axes: I did place my order through a company that supplies lumber operations. It was $50+shipping. Yep, I would bet the S&N is a nice axe. I just didn't like the wait with no reply from the factory. The TrueTemper is an ugly, mass produced axe but has a good straight grain hickory handle and it works just fine. Finishing the edge is the key and I had the right equipment to do that. The Wetterling axes look like they would be nice to own too but I did not find out about them before I got the Granfors. I did find the Granfors came with a defective guard (they replaced it no charge) and the axe head was a bit rusty (wire wheel took it all off). However, I would still buy another one. Or a Wetterling. Heck, I really need a chain saw but they make so much noise....
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:56:19 EST

Miles: yes, i've seen s/thing like that. they even did a test (roman replica armour) of shooting it with a huge crossbow like thing, and since it was plate armour and in separate sheets, the energy of the bolt was distributed thru out the chest plate, and didn't puncture. one thing that bothers me about armour in movies (sadly, even lotr :P) is that the armour does NOTHING. the arrows punch RIGHT through it. at first, it got me wondering WHY people even bothered to WEAR it, but i did some research and fortunately found out that this was VERY inaccurate.
   - Megil anveleth - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:56:31 EST

Armor worked against arows in LOTR.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:57:48 EST

am looking for broomheads. bought a bunch a few years ago from a place "schumacher" or "schumach" brooms. can't find them now. checked out the "Broomshop" but didn't see what I need-- just the head, no handle. thanks
   francis leidinger - Saturday, 01/28/06 18:58:21 EST

yeah, the mythril did. watch rotk, and ttt. mainly the ext versions. in rotk ext, a gondorian soldier got shot STRIGHT thru his armour by and orc. and faramir as he was drug back in by his horse had his armour pierced by at least two arrows. i know i've seen it in ttt, but i can't point out precicely where. ttt isn't my favorite of them, so i don't watch it as often.
   - Megil anveleth - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:08:18 EST

Aron-- That's what makes horse racing.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:12:04 EST

Danny D
If I remember correctly, we used 4140 for the piston rods on our Eirie's at Vogt. I believe that all the Eiries have a tapered and shrunk connection to the piston. Hydraulic cylinder rod is usually IHCP. This is induction hardened, chrome plated and ground. The hard chrome is probably a thousandth or so thick, with a very hard thick case of about .015" just under the chrome. I don't know what you have for a rod bearing, but hydraulic rods run on bronze or brass. I would be tempted to push a sleeve of brass or UHMW poly ethylene into the valve bore if a decent wall thickness can be had. I have a nice bar of the UHMWPE, about 4"od I think. This the same hammer we spoke of at the Hammer-in?
   - ptree - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:21:48 EST

   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:21:49 EST

sorry to who for what?
   - Megil anveleth - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:26:54 EST

No, I didn't understand what you were refering to.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:30:32 EST

Rather Miles.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:30:54 EST

ah, ok. glad that's cleared up. i'm not entirely sure of what the horse racing thing was about, but w/e, i now know who you were talin to and now i'm happy.
   - Megil anveleth - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:34:12 EST

Megil, et al.,

This is a forum for asking and answering questions about blacksmithing and metalworking, not fantasy movies. Let's clutter up the page with movie stuff, okay? You can take that to the Hammer-In if you feel you simply must discuss it on a blacksmithing site.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:51:57 EST

Whoops! That should read, "Let's NOT clutter up..."
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 19:52:45 EST

Okay, I'll relate the movie to smithing then, for him. How likly is it to get a job making swords for Hollywood?
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 20:03:55 EST


Your question leaves me with questions of my own. I don't have any references that list an AISI 8160, so I don't know its properties. Are you trying to cut that cold? Some of the 8000 series steels get around 90 Rb hardness, so I would expect them to be difficult to cut cold with anything but appropriate abrasives. Most steel however, can be cut with a decent chisel or hardie, if you get them hot enough. Tell us more about how you're trying to cut this, and what sort of a cut you need to end up with, and we can probably offer more detailed suggestions.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 20:10:29 EST

No, hot cut. I've got a hardie cutter, and a 3 pound sledge (style?). Its from a jack hammer bit. I heated the piece each time to an orange color the immediately put over the cutter and started hammering. Perhaps its my hardening on the chisel.

I heat it until cherry to sunrise red, then quench in water, until it stops fizzing, bring it out, let the rest of the water boil off, then quench again.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 20:49:25 EST

Mller in Austria has been making fine axes for quite a few years. Check out www.fine-tools.com/mueller.htm
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/28/06 21:06:25 EST


If you are using a 3# sledge and a hot cut hardie, you should be able to cut a piece of 3/4" bar with five or six hits, if you have it hot enough. If the piece you're trying to cut is also from a pavement breaker bit, then you need to get it to a yellow heat or it will be too hard. Most breaker bits are more like S-5 or similar, and made to be resistant to hammering, even when fairly hot. But at a yellow heat they'll cut.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 21:41:59 EST

On my computer it looks like a lot of the text disappered, is that just me? Last thing is says is about pattern welding.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 21:43:57 EST

Nevermind. Thanks.
   Aron Obrecht - Saturday, 01/28/06 21:44:39 EST

Aron: I have a dialup connection. When I can't get a good conection sometimes the text part of the webpage doesn't load completely. One time I had this problem on the hammer-in for several days in a row.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 01/28/06 22:24:21 EST

vicopper-- nothing fantasy whatever about the PBS documentary last night. A history of the bow, it showed the forging of crossbow bolts, and depicted mail and armour, the evolving configuration of the bolts as mail gave way to plate, etc. which is what the thread was about. There will be spots on the exam and it will count 75% of your semester grade.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/28/06 22:46:19 EST

No fair, Miles! I didn't do my homework; I missed the show. Did you tape it? One teeny little drawback about living here is that we don't have a decent TV Guide, so I never know what's going to be on until it's already gone. I read a lot.
   vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 23:20:58 EST

vicopper-- no, sorry, wish I had-- but those things live forever on PBS, it will air again, "Tales of the Bow" is the title, I'll try to find out what series it's part of.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/29/06 00:42:33 EST

vicopper-- I queried the local PBS station for details re: series, cassettes and DVD availability, will post their reply whenever. Fret not-- you did not miss any breakthrough revelations-- the smiting depicted was nothing surprising, showed some mail, some plate armour, a long, skinny bolt point after it was loosed into-- against is more like it-- some armour by a couple of pro archers, resulting in point all curled up, then the forging of a short, stubby one. And, you guessed it... ka-ching! A good show, if you like weaponry-- yummy!-- but in all pretty skimmy.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/29/06 01:08:06 EST

I've got something I'd like to check on.... a friend of mine from 4-H told me that someone in his family has a 2,000 pound anvil. Yes, that is what he said. I took this information with a grain of salt or five. I have not seen the anvil, and I have not had a chance to inquire anymore about it. However, the next time I see the guy, I'm going to try and get some more information about it, and hopefully see this beast( if it really is 2000 lbs). I was wondering if there was ever an anvil manufacturer that made anvils that big? I'd think if they did, then they would be fairly rare, and finding one here in southeast missouri is doubtful. Then again a person never knows for sure....

I'll see if i can get some more information to make sure the guy isn't just pulling my leg. If it is really a 2000lbs, then i will definitely get some pictures of it and post them, or maybe see if the guy would be willing to part with it( now that would be a dream come true...)

Thanks, Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Sunday, 01/29/06 02:05:28 EST

Ive collected two Parker Vises! Each have uniquelly shaped Keyed jaws that slide on from the sides!And as it is, each is missing one side of a jaw!Before having them machined Im putting out all feelers to anyone who might have had the same experience of locating such jaws or outlets that would be familiar with these? Thanks Tim.
   Tim Prusak - Sunday, 01/29/06 02:06:08 EST

Well, I found my source. It is in arguement with one of its own shows. I learned it on the Nova program when the made a trebuchet. Crazy stuff, collaboration of smiths, timber framers, and masons. Anyway that, my history book and this report I did on the mideval army compostion last year all said that was it in a nut shell.
   Aron Obrecht - Sunday, 01/29/06 02:26:12 EST

Megil anveleth: Please do this old dinosaur (who doesn't even own a cell phone) a favor and don't write in text message format. How you communicate should be appropriate for the audience. This is a rather formal communications link with the regulars being fairly well educated. Thus, it would be proper to use more formal formatting and grammatical usage. Relatively simply things such as learning what a capital letter is and not using slang abbreviations.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/29/06 04:38:07 EST

Iam Wille: Far as I know the largest anvil every made was by Fisher Norris for an Exposition at 1,400 lbs. It is now owned by, I believe, the NJ State Historical Society in Trenton, NJ. Fisher apparently did make anvils of 1,000 pounds. From two Fisher Eagle ads in Anvils in America apparently they didn't have either a hardy or pritchel hole. It is possible they made special orders anvils above 1,000 pounds.

If you ever locate this anvil, I highly suspect it will be no where near the weight given to you.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/29/06 05:44:36 EST


To add to VICopper's answer, if your hot cut's keeping its edge, it's heat treated okay. If it's rounding over, you didn't get it hard enough, and if it's chipping it's too hard. I don't know about 8160, but for most steels, tempering to 212 degrees (where water boils off) would leave them too hard. Somewhere in the 400 - 600 range is more common, but some alloy steels go higher.

If the hardy's too soft, it may be that you're not hardening it from a high enough temperature. The colors you describe sound about right, but heat colors are always somewhat subjective.

Finally, do you have the correct edge on your hardy? You want a pretty sharp edge with around a 30 degree included angle.
   Mike B - Sunday, 01/29/06 08:50:52 EST

Aron: Not very likely to get a job making swords for Hollywood. There's one guy who makes most of the fantasy prototypes, I forget his name, but once he does the prototype the rest are churned out in aluminum, tinfoil, rubber, and so on by the various props departments.

You should go look at Albion Armouries website. They are a company who makes swords (mostly through stock removal) whau are historically accurate. If you're lucky you may get achance to work with them, or if you're rich you can pay them to work there for two weeks. What a deal, eh? Maybe I should start doing that, getting folks to pay me to work in my shop...
   Alan-L - Sunday, 01/29/06 10:02:19 EST


$100 is a sweet deal for a portable forge with blower. Make sure it works, i.e. it blows when you crank it, no big cracks in the pan, and so on. Don't worry too much about the grate, if there is one. You can make one or have one made by torching or milling a few 1/2" wide slots in a piece of 1/4" plate that will fit over the hole.

Make sure the blower turns freely. Sometimes a frozen or crunchy blower can be fixed by cleaning and oiling, sometimes they can't. If you can open the gearbox and look at the gears, make sure they aren't missing teeth. Or at least more than one tooth every so often. Also remember these old blower are designed to leak oil. That's how they kept the bearings clean and lubricated.

If I found a decent setup that worked for $100 I'd sprain my elbow getting out the checkbook, and I have two forges already, if that tells you anything. (grin!)
   Alan-L - Sunday, 01/29/06 10:08:32 EST

Oops, sorry. i got away from the subject. I tend to do that.
Aron: Yes, iIwould very much recommend Albion Armouries. The last i checked, they were looking for workers. That was at least a month ago though, so I will have to check again. My mom recommended making swords for movies to me (meaning when i'm older), but how many actually DO use real swords? Either they think they are too dangerous, or the actors don't wanna "swing those heavy things around all day."
Ken: I know very well what a capital letter is, thank you very much. I write without them (though i will now to satisfy you), but I usually skip so i can write faster. I'll try to stop using the slang abrreviations, but no promises. I've gotten used to using them for a good while now.
   - Megil anveleth - Sunday, 01/29/06 12:14:25 EST

I need some advice: I'm starting on a sword that has a slight curve in the blade. What temperature would be good to heat the metal (5160, standard leaf springs) to be able to bend it, but without having to re-temper it? Thanks in advance!
   - Megil anveleth - Sunday, 01/29/06 12:23:11 EST

I was wondering if anyone has any input on the dvd "Andersonville Smithy" with Jay Reakirt and Trent Tye. Thank you, Kelly
   - kelly - Sunday, 01/29/06 12:55:01 EST

I was wondering if anyone has seen the dvd "Anderson Smithy" with Jay Reakirt and Trent Tye? I would Like to hear some opinions about it. Thanks, Kelly
   - kelly - Sunday, 01/29/06 13:04:16 EST

AISI 8160: I looked this up in one of my ASM books. There is no reference to 8160. There is an 8115 which is a low carbon, nickel-chromium-molybdenum carburizing steel similar to 4315. Could this reference actually be 5160? This is a common spring steel.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/29/06 14:26:15 EST

I did a Google search on 8160 steel and it did get a hit with what might be specifications. However, link doesn't work for me.

Megil anveleth: Note Alan L's answer. If you want to make movie swords you will have to wait for the one person who does it not to either die or retire. Apparently he only creates a prototype which are then cranked out as needed using the cheapest material available which will do the job.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/29/06 14:46:13 EST

If I remember correctly, Gil Hibben makes most of the fantasy blade prototypes for Hollyweird, which is a place known for "who you know, not what you know". Gil is a very competent craftsman nonetheless, and cranks out many fantasy blades for the consumer market as well.

As for bending without re-tempering, your question clearly indicates that you know little at all about the physics, or even the mechanics, of heat treating. Any messing about with a piece of steel that is intended to be sword should only be done AFTER you have learned enough about heat treating to understand the process. A broken sword can kill or maim, and they break very easily if not heat treated PROPERLY. Until you have read the available informaiton on heat treating of steels, I would not offer any suggestions to you, for fear you would do something inappropriate and then want to hold me liable for your foolishness. Your reply to Ken about his etiquette suggeston pretty well convinced me that you just don't care to really learn.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 15:06:27 EST

good evening guru
i,am in the process of building the dusty power hammer from the power hammer page i have picked up two leaf springs from a renault truck they have got a large curve in them would it be possible to straighten these two leafs cold or would they snap i was going to heat them in my gas forge but it will only take a meter long plus do not know how hot to go with out taking temper out can this be done cheers david
   david hannah - Sunday, 01/29/06 15:27:57 EST

Renault springs, If you de-laminate the spring assembly you can re-bend them cold, Up to a point,Depending how much arch you are trying to remove, flattening is usually within limits of cold working. Temper can be ruined as low a a few hunderd degrees, Dont even think of heating the spring if you want it to retain spring properties.
I expect your design will only utilise but a few leaves out of the whole assembly anyway,,,
There is some limitation, It will be trial and error to flatten the curve under a press then release the pressure to check the progress. You will have to press well beyond the stage of flat to result the spring to be flat as it springs back from the pressure.
Rigging up a decent home-brew press to do this accurately may be some trouble, But it can be done with a variety of improvised jacks, blocks etc, Be careful.
I am lucky as I have access to a truck mounted crane as well as a backhoe and bulldozer, One can improvise alot of pressing under the foot of a crane or backhoe outrigger or the bucket or blade of the equipment too.
   - Mike - Sunday, 01/29/06 17:02:12 EST

Makes one wonder if we arent raising a generation of illiterates.
   manidemers.com - Sunday, 01/29/06 17:02:20 EST

Blacksmith DVD - Forging the Viking Age, New! Norse Item number: eBay: 6249477748. Done in Canada. There seems to be fairly solid evidence Vikings visited at least portions of the Northern Canadian coastal areas about 500 years before Columbus wundered into the Caribbean thinking he was in Asia. Evidence they traveled up the St. Lawrence seaway to mine copper in what is now MN hasn't proven to be conclusive.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 01/29/06 17:26:37 EST

david hannah,
I built a leaf spring powerhammer somewhat similar to the dusty. Mine is on the JYH page here on Anvilfire.I have found several things from the project and running this hammer since 2002.
1. As you will be using the spring in a more severe manner than the leaf would see in auto service, may I suggest that you buy new leaf spring stock? Every rust pit on that old leaf is a stress riser. These hammers tend to eat a spring every two years in my part time shop. The rust pitted ones last a few months.
2. A very important point should be taken from the above, and that is the springs break. In this design, the ram will exit the top of the machine if the spring breaks on the upstroke. Flying rams and high velocity spring shards are not fun!
3. Build a substantial guard to contain the spring shards and ram. Make it easy to remove as this will be a fairly frequent occurance.
4. If using plain slides and pivot points, put ZERK fittings in every contact point and use plenty of Moly grease. Keeps the wear in check and reduces friction to boot.
5. Put access holes in the guard to allow greasing without guard removal.
6. Instead of the belt drive, I have converted to a compact spare tire drive, and it is very much better and easy to find the parts for.
As for straightening the leaf, the shop I bought the leaf from straightened it for me. He had a nice press, and the tooling and the experience to do it right. He gently straightened a bit at a time, sighting down the leaf from time to time.
Good luck!
   - ptree - Sunday, 01/29/06 17:31:23 EST

good day, im Andre,14, from egypt.i've never even tried blacksmithing before but i was fascinated by many blacksmiths and their achievments(swords are my favourite)which have inspired me to begin this work as a hobby. anyway i have a room that i can use as a workshop and id like to start blacksmithing but i still don't know where to start. your"where to star page"is really helpful but in the end it just says read the following books which are impossible to get my hands on since im in egypt,and even if they were available they'd cost a fortune in egyptian pounds so i was wondering if there was any other way i could get instructions on blacksmithing or if there is any website that can help me with this.and keep in mind that there arent many blacksmiths in egypt and there are NO colleges or academies that teach blacksmithing. thank you for your time.
P.S. my intention is to learn traditional medieval blacksmithing without the use of modern tools and devices.i believe that simplicity is best.
   Andre michel - Sunday, 01/29/06 18:58:56 EST

I have a leg vice that I have asked about before. The jaws dont meet square. I it apart for greasing and cleaning and found that on the screw side the tubing that telescopes over the pipe on the nut side has been replaced with a piece of galvanized pipe with no flare. It is welded onto the washer so I dont want to hammer it over the horn of the anvil. What sort of tool will ream out a flare on the pipe?
   - JLW - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:00:55 EST

I very much do care to learn, but I will not hold that remark against you vicopper. I understand the process, but I have no equipment as I have said before. I am trying to find a temperature of which I can make a curve in the blade, without damaging the steel OR re-tempering. If I had the equipment I would gladly anneal the piece and re-temper it. But, seeing as how i don't, I need to find the best alternative until I do get the proper equipment. Actually, I was trying to AVOID doing something foolish, because trying to do something without the right equipment seems foolish to me. My question was simple enough i thought: is there any temperature that i can heat the blade to so I can bend without re-tempering.
David: I have gone through this, so I can tell you at least what I did. I managed to get the spring hot enough without burning the temper out by cutting and old barrel in half, cutting out the sides of one half of it (the bottom half), and using either wood, charcoal, or both started a good fire. After the fire was goin pretty good, I put the top on, and put the spring in the fire, edge UP. I tried just laying it in on the flat, but this didn't evenly heat it and didn't work. The spring still has the original temper, and it straightened very easily. I hope that might be of some help. I know it's not what you asked, but I hope it still helped. I managed to cold straighten ONE of my springs, but it took forever. But you have a powerhammer, I only had a 6lb sledge.
   - Megil anveleth - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:05:49 EST

Andre michel,

I sympathize with your plight. I too live in an area where I am the only one pursuing this craft, and everything has to be imported. Still it can be done, it just takes more perseverance and determination. And money, unfortunately.

I CAN help you out on the book issue, though. There is available online, a FREE download of a very good beginning series on blacksmithing, put out by the Countryside Agency in England. Go to this link and download "The Blacksmith's Craft" and the six or seven others that go with it. It will get you started on the right foot, believe me.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:36:56 EST

How in hades are you planning our heating this blade to curve it if you do not have equipment?!!!!!
IN fact the excuse of having no equipment is just a cop out. If you really want to do this you will find ( scrounge) much of what you need to do so, and then do it.
As for a temp to heat and bend with out tempering.... I will say to you go to the library and check out books on metalurgy and study up on what it means to temper and how it is done. Learn about heat treatment in general, also it will generally give approximate ( or exact depending on the books) temps required to actually change the shape of the metal ( called plastic state generically) then compare that temp to heat treat temps and tempering temps.
BUt untill you actually study the answers you have been given and do a bit of real research for yourself, you might want to stop asking the same questions over and over. ASking
over and over will not give you answers that are different this time nor the next. Too bad it is not the one you want.
   Ralph - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:42:35 EST

Scrounging is what i am doing. I have enough to make a small forge, and that is what I was planning on using. The problem is that I have done a lot of re-searching, and on NONE of the sites I have found give any of this info. I would go to the library, but we have no library in the general area. I'm fine with your reply, and I didn't ask the Q again. I stated what I asked, but that was not for trying to get an answer again. I wasn't using that as an excuse, because if I had the money I would go and get it. I have a limited number or scrap pieces, but I still look. I am trying to find things I can make a tempering oven out of, but still no luck. I have asked before if I could make one out of bricks. May I please have an answer this time? (I'm trying not to sound angry here, so I hope you don't think I am)
   - Megil anveleth - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:57:12 EST

Andre michel,

Sorry, I left out the link:

   vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:16:08 EST


I stand firm by what I said. You simply cannot and should not attempt to mess about with the heat treating of a spring, or any other metal to be used as a swung weapon, without a thorough knowledge of heat treating. Period.

What you did is NOT heat treating, nor did allow you to bend the spring and "still have the original temper." It most assuredly DID affect the temper, if you could bend the spring with a hammer. That spring was designed and engineered to withstand a force of several hundred foot pounds rapidly and repeatedly hundreds of thousands of times without deformation, and you deformed it with a hammer? It definitely WAS drawn to a much softer state than "as tempered".

That spring's original temper, by the way, was the result of first normalizing, then hardening, then tempering, perhaps more than once. Unless you understand all those processes as they relate to that particular alloy, you are doing nothing but fumbling in the dark and hoping for a magical release from the laws of physics and metallurgy. Sorry bud, it isn't going to happen in this world.

Lest you think I am picking on you, I will tell you that you are doing nothing that thousands of others haven't done before you. I can't commend it, nor endorse it, as it is far too likely to result in an unfortunate happenstance that may hurt someone. I wouldn't want that on my concience. You simply MUST do the necessary book research BEFORE you try this.
   vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:18:20 EST

Aron; another possibility is that the crusaders wore maille as that was the armour being used during most of the crusades. Plate armour dates till after the main crusading period.

Ken weren't you at Quad-State where that fellow had the Mile long anvil? 5000+ pounds!

Megil AKA Bob: if you want to make a blade from a piece of leafspring the tempering temp will be around 500-600 degF. The temperature to straighten it would be around 1500 degF. What folks are trying to say is the temp you want does not exist!

The College library in Las Cruces has a copy of the UN books on blacksmithing designed for use in Africa and expecting *no* modern tooling available. I used to visit there and read it.

   Thomas Powers - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:28:31 EST

I am not a metalurgist, nor am I even a professional blacksmith. Rather I am someone who has spent some time dabbling in the art of bladesmithing and tool making, and let me tell you Megil, I have a tendency to do what you are doing right now. I am a terribly practical and even lazy person, and so I try to get things done the most efficient way possible. I can tell you now, that there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to bend cold steel without messing with the temper. If you cold work it, you are hardening it, and you will need to retemper or risk cracks and breakage (A friend of mine who does more of this than i do has informed me that a fragment of sword is quite painful to dig out of oneself). If you heat it, but not past the tempering range, the steel remains brittle, so even if it doesnt break under the hammer, the process will still have profound concequences on the integrity of the steel and hardness of the edge. The third option is to heat the steel past the tempering range like its supposed to be done, and well into the forging range past the transformation range (look at this chart http://www.hghouston.com/mtechart.html ), then bending it and doing whatever else you want to do before normalizing, annealing, rehardening, and then tempering 3 times. Its a lot, but you will be done MUCH quicker this way than you will be looking for a way that doesnt exist. As for the forge, all it takes is dirt, charcoal, and a blower. Heres some sites with absolutely everything you would ever need to know about starting up for blades. http://www.knivesby.com/knifemaking.html
There you go. That has several links to every piece of info you could want. If you need more on hands info, feel free to email me, but only if you SERIOUSLY need help. I am a very busy person right now (and will be for the next 4 years).
   Matthew Marting - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:34:41 EST

Big Anvil: Ray Davis of East Texas welded up a pile of heavy plate and made an anvil that weighs 5,280 lbs. It stands about 5 feet tall. I believe he has it out near the gate to his ranch. I don't think he worries about it being stolen.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:05:37 EST

Megil anveleth: I have been reading the many posts by yourself and others who are giving you answers. I am a metallurgical engineer with about 30 years experience, most of it involving heat treating. The answers you received here are well given and quite correct. You cannot make the spring easier to bend without affecting the temper. There is just no shortcut.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:11:59 EST

I was thinking a giant fiberglass anvil mounted on a VW Beetle would be neat, kinda like a "Artsy Car" type they show on Monster Garage. It would be like a shed on wheels with a ton of wind resistance but I would like to see one. Heh heh, it should be marked in hundred-weight as well!
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:18:29 EST

Megil anveleth,

More poop from Group.

Spring steels from cars can be 9254, 9255, 9260, 6150, 5155, 5160, 4161, 1050, and many others that I don't know about. Each numbered steel has its own heat treatments. So, first of all, you don't know what you have.

If you do have 5160, which for years was the fairly common spring steel, when you get a heating capability, you might put the sword idea on the back burner, and think about making some smaller tools. At our school, we talk about heat treatments and metallurgy, but we start with making a scratch awl (car hood coil spring), cold chisel, center punch, prick punch (W1) and a hot chisel (S7). Sometimes we get a chance to make a hammer head, top tool, or bottom tool. Don't forget the FAQ section on anvilfire, and click on Heat Treatment. Read it.

A blacksmith in making a tool, will 1) forge it; 2)normalize or anneal it; 3)harden it; 4)temper it. After step 2, there is usually cold shaping to be done by grinding/sanding/filing. After tempering, there is your final cold work, sharpening, and perhaps polishing to be done.

If you, indeed, have a 5160 leaf spring, to forge it you need to reach a lemon yellow heat down to about a bright cherry red: 2100-2200F - 1520F. Reheat and hammer as often as necessary to get the shape blanked out.

To normalize, you heat to bright red to a full bright red (bordering on orange): 1600F - 1700F, and cool it in still air. This will refine the internal grain structure, and "soften" the steel a bit.

The hardening temperature is bright cherry red to full red: 1500F - 1550F. To harden, you need a long trough of oil, preferably quenching oil, which is manufactured by gasoline companies. I made my trough out of sheet steel. If you have a small charcoal or coal forge, your hot spot is going to be maybe 3" to 4" in diameter. It is difficult to run a sword back and forth in such a fire to get a long hardening heat. Chris Thomson, 40 miles east of Santa Fe, has a specially built gas forge that he can get a 4' heat with. He makes lots of furniture.

After hardening, blades often have a crook or twist in them. Sometimes, you have to reforge, normalize and harden all over again. No short cuts; no fudging.

When you temper after hardening, it would be difficult to control the temper without a heat treating oven with pyrometer. If you're clever and have patience, you can run the back of the blade over a hot block of copper or steel and watch for temper colors. A full blue color might be OK for a sword, I'm guessing. You need to remove all scale taking it down to bare metal in order to see the tempering colors. A blue color represents about 563F.

Again, I wouldn't start with a sword. Swords are difficult to make, and they are made to kill and maim people. I enjoy toolsmithing. Heat treatment processes are involved, and you have something useful when you're done.

   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:06:02 EST

If I ever see an Anvil-Bug in Nort East Philly I will know who is inside.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:29:20 EST

I have these platters from a hard drive and I think they are made of titanium. is there any way to figure out what they are made of?
   ben - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:43:06 EST

Hi Guru
I recently purchased a Kerrihard Power hammer made in Red Oak Iowa. I hooked everything up and tested it, but the hammer won't strike. The arm goes up and down from the pitman but the hammer just stays in one place. It is not stuck because I can move it up and down by hand. Are the spring arms out of adjustment or is it something else that I have set up wrong? It has the name on the side of the fly wheel and also says 250 with something unledgeable behind it, does that mean it should strike 250 times a minute or is it a model number. Thanks in advance
   claude - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:44:09 EST

I thought hard drives used magnetic read/write, so how would titanium work? Do they dope it with ferrite or something? Surely somebody here knows the answer. Thomas? You herd electrons for fun and profit, don't you? Help us out here.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 00:04:55 EST

Can you make a tempering forge out of bricks?
I could. As could many others here. The question is can you?
Of course regular house bricks will not work. So you will need
proper refractory bricks.
No library? You mean there are NO schools in the area? I bet that if you asked the school librarian he/she could most likely get some of the books you might need.
BTW when I say research I do not mean web browsing. Most web sites do not go into great detail about this stuff. Mostly as there are certain liablity issue the webmaster will not want to deal with. It is one reason as a general rule we are telling you to do some reading on this.
Find a local smithing group. go to meetings. Talk with folks.
Show an willing ness to listen to the answers to your questions. ANd perhaps some of these folks will have some of the books you will need to STUDY to really understand the whole process of blade smithing. I can tell you it is MUCH more than heat and beat. It takes about 10 or 15 mins to do the rough forging on a small blade( 4 or 5 inch ) and it takes me about 20 or more hours on everything else needed to finish into a finished knife. SOme here are much faster, but I have no real desire to get the specialty tools needed for this, nor do I want to spend the time learning how to get faster and better at bladesmithing. I like general forging and ornamental stuff better. Usually takes less time and usually have more actual forging time involved.
BUt to be fair and for full disclosure, I have not done any real smithing in over a year due to cancer. But I do have over 15 years of experience. Not much compared to many here but enough to know how to and enough for me to know what I like.
   Ralph - Monday, 01/30/06 00:27:16 EST

I have seen a lot of questions about electric blowers for forges. Shop vacs and leaf blowers get mentioned often but these are overkill. When I built my coal forge from scrap, I went to Home Depot and bought a cheap bathroom exauhst fan with no light on it for $12. It seems to move plenty of air and easily reaches welding heat.

For the airflow control, I went to my local woodworking supply store and bought a 3" plastic air gate designed for use on vacuum exauhst systems for sucking up sawdust from machinery. I connected it to the 3" t-pipe tuyer using 3" aluminum (not plastic) dryer exhaust hose. This set-up works well for my little forge. Hope this helps.
   - Rich33 - Monday, 01/30/06 02:09:15 EST

No no. I'm not interestedin making swords, except perhaps to sell to my fencing friends on a budget but that aside. I got into, an still am getting in, to make wood working tools, and know enough about metal to have a fall back if wood working doesn't work out. Also I plan to be in materials management, or cross vocational project management. I figure I always respect a boss more if they actually have poked their head out side a class, so figure I should live up to my own standards. But no, I was just suggesting how LOTR could be relating to Blacksmithing. Thanks though.

About the cutter.
Do you mean 30 from:
Here? /|\
/ | \
/ | \
Or Here?

By the Way (BTW): What is/ How do you calculate CFM?

ben: Alumium or glass, with magnetic treatments. Often refered to simply as the magnetic medium.

Ralph: Does the peace corp have need of trainee smiths? I ask because it sounds like you might know.
   Aron Obrecht - Monday, 01/30/06 02:46:02 EST

Sorry another question. And a fix on the previous post.

First couple times I got my forge going, I got it up to welding heat. Then I read about the moving outside in thing, and made it much more efficient. But now I can't remember how to get it that hot (to heat that 8160 bar I have a lot of). So if anybody could tell what my mistake probably was, I be greatly appreciative so that I might repeat it again.

The picture thing didn't work out, so I'll just ask. Where do you measure the 30 angle from? Because Its got a 30 angle one way and a 60 the other, obviously. Maybe I've got them backwards.
   Aron Obrecht - Monday, 01/30/06 02:51:07 EST

I have no clue. But unless it has changed since my wife applied to the Peace Corp ( about 25 years ago) they were only looking at college graduates. Ok I just looked at their site and it looks as if that is no longer a require ment.
You can look ere and find out all the details.

Now I am curious.... Why did you think I would know?

I hope that the web site for the Peace Corps helps you out.
   Ralph - Monday, 01/30/06 06:44:33 EST

Rich concerning HD materials.... I have not clue but they must dope it some how. Remember that teh technology that powers the web. ( CPU's in computers) are made from silicon an non conducting medium normally. But properly coated and etched and deposited you can build transistors. And I do know about this thing as I used to build the chips in a FAB, and my last part on employment was helping to design ( as a technition) the CPU's. BUt now I am for the most part medically retired. ( grin, sorta)
   Ralph - Monday, 01/30/06 06:48:25 EST

Danny D: Re hammer valve refurbishment, This is a techneque I have used to good effect in the past which might be worth considering, give the valves a proof machine 0.040" on dia & metal spray with 'iron' (im not a metalagist if you guessed!)- this will then grind back to the size you require (the pre machine ensures you end up with a decent thickness of 'sprayed' material that will not 'flake' off with the temp / pressure etc) - Recon for approx 0.0005 / 0.001 per inch of diameter for clearance. If you try to go much tighter than this on a rebuilt old valve you start running into problems with concentricity / valve spindles being out etc etc
   John N - Monday, 01/30/06 07:31:49 EST


If we're talking about included angle, it is the final cutting edge angle. From the medial line of the tool, you grind 15 on each side. When you add them together, you get 30. A woodworking chisel or plane blade does not have an included angle, but rather a bevel.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/30/06 09:01:06 EST

I took my leg vise apart to see about correcting a problem, the jaws don meet square, and found that the cylinder on the screw side that should telescope over the nut side was actually a welded on piece of pipe. Butt ugly weld too. It has no flare or internal taper to allow it to fit over the nut cylinder. What sort of tool will do this. I dont think that hammering it on the anvil horn is a good idea. Is here a large flaring tool or reamer that would work?
   JLW - Monday, 01/30/06 10:08:27 EST

Plane Blade Bevels: For sure there are many many people using back bevels on their plane blades. It is often less than 5 degrees, but it sure saves time in keeping the back of the plane blade perfectly flat and free of any pits. Using a back bevel also increases the overall included angle, which can help on certain woods/grain situations.
   Matthew Groves - Monday, 01/30/06 10:32:34 EST

The hard drives I have dissassembled had Al platters with a iron oxide coating for the medium.

Ti is very unlikely. To test I would touch the side of a platter to a grinder Ti spargs are BRIGHT WHITE and unforgetable once you have seen them.

Platters have an unbelievable level of tolerance with the read/write heads "floating" over the surface using small scale atomic effects these days and they are cheap! A true modern marvel.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/30/06 11:26:48 EST

Does anyone know where I can buy precut (die cut) shapes in mild steel (2in + diameter)? Looking particularly for various sized circular disc's, other geometric shapes as well. It's a pain in the butt and wasteful to have to cut each one out by hand. Thanks.
   Thumper - Monday, 01/30/06 13:07:58 EST

could i get some help as to where i can find info on building a bellows. ive search on here (the net) but cant seem to find what im looking for. if anyone knows a website or a book that would be great. thanks
   Chris W. - Monday, 01/30/06 13:48:43 EST

Schools? Yes, I suppose I could ride my bike up to the high school. I am homeschooled, so I don't have direct access. If I get some extra time (and if they will let me in) I will try to get something from them.
Rich33: Well, if no one else, it'll help me. Thanks for the recommendation!
Matthew: I have no time right now, but I will check into those sites ASAP. Thank you, and I will e-mail you if I badly need help with some of it.
Frank: Indeed I have read the heat treating section on anvilfire, but I shall read it again and again to make sure that i missed nothing.
Aron: Thanks for trying to relate my off subject topic to blacksmithing. But don't worry, I'll try to stay on subject from now on.
   - Megil anveleth - Monday, 01/30/06 13:52:58 EST

Aaron - CFM is an acronym for cubic feet per minute, usually used for flow of a gas. It's actually rather meaningless to say just CFM. When you say CFM, you haven't really specified how many atoms of the gas of interest you have because that number varies with pressure and temperature. SCFM is much more useful. SCFM is shorthand for standard cubic feet per minute. The standard implies the temperature (68 degrees F) and pressure (14.7 psia), or the generally accepted value for atmospheric pressure at sea level. There are a lot of different ways to measure gas flow, knowing pressure and temperature - 1 is the pressure drop across an orifice of a known size.
   - Gavainh - Monday, 01/30/06 13:56:22 EST

Andersonville smithy?
I'd get with one of Jay's interns.
Bob is running the Andersonville shop now, He's there most weekends.
Trent runs the shop in Stone Mountain, Ga.
   - packrat - Monday, 01/30/06 14:03:21 EST

Here are the names of a bunch of companies that sell precut shapes. You will need to google em, as the guru doesnt like us to post links.
King Metals
Julius Blum
Frank Morrow
JG Braun
Classic Iron
Jansen Supply
and if you need something special- Randy McDaniel, a blacksmith, also runs a laser cutting service, and he can cut you any shape- he is at www.drgnfly4g.com
   - Ries - Monday, 01/30/06 14:16:52 EST

Cris W.
"The Village Blacksmith" by Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-690-01449-X has an excellent diagram of a bellows in it. There are probably other books out there too. Check with our advertisers (pull down menu top right), also most of them can be queried by Email or tele for any other information they might have. As a last resort, www.abebooks.com is a useful resource for buying used books.

Thumper, if you are near a metropolitan area you may have a local supply house which carries these. Here in the Phoenix area it is Capitol Metals. They have a great supply of precut steel.
   Ellen - Monday, 01/30/06 14:25:13 EST

Thumper; I get discs from a stamping co. in town. They are left over from other projects they make. The punch outs are normally picked up by a metal recycler so I just bring a bag of avocados periodically and everybodys happy
   manidemers.com - Monday, 01/30/06 15:11:19 EST

Bellows construction with photos and directions. http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/forges/50bellow.htm
   JLW - Monday, 01/30/06 15:41:16 EST

I need to find out how to send a picture to you so you can see what I'm trying to accomplish.
   Brian Weaver - Monday, 01/30/06 16:37:17 EST

Im having a problem with heating up RR spikes and Im using a blow torch but soon to get a acetylene torch. Im also working on clearing out a spot in my barn to build a forge. If You could give me any advice on heating up RR spikes with a fuel/air propane torch it would be much apperciated and i would be greatly obliged if you would. Ps if your wondering why im getting a acetelene torch its because they have a higher heating ablitly than your standard propane blow torch with im using at the moment and getting bricks for a forge were I live are kinda expensive and i dont have alot of money for them at the moment.
   - RC - Monday, 01/30/06 16:49:04 EST

need help heating RR spikes im currently using a propane torch. Also this weekend I found out that if i hit the spike on the corners it works better than hiting it flat surface. Its saving me alot of time. please tell me if im worng or if you have a hard time understanding me. Ill be Iamthecro98Aol.com so you can instant message me if you would like to talk about my mythod or if some one else has done this.
   - RC - Monday, 01/30/06 16:53:29 EST

need help heating RR spikes with out a forge. Have any methods plz write me back. Currently using propane Fuel/air torch.
   - RC - Monday, 01/30/06 16:54:41 EST

need help Heating RR spikes with out forge plz tell me if u got any ideas or methods with out using a forge
   Rc - Monday, 01/30/06 16:56:06 EST

Rc, is this a small propane torch like a plumber might use to sweat joints or a large propane torch like a weed burner?

Small one doesn't put out enough BTU's to heat a spike. The large one will work but you need to build a surround to trap the heat in rather than let it all dissapate. You can do this with a bunch of firebricks stacked around the piece with a hole to insert the torch and another one to put in take out the spike---watch out as hot gasses will exit that hole as well.

Another method is to line a piece of nongalvanized steel with kaowool and stick the blower in that.

Or you could just dig a hole in the ground outside and get some lump charcoal and a blowdryer and have a forge...

Acetylene will be an expensive way to heat metal. google propane forge and you will find a lot of plans out there to build the forge and make burners from common plumbing parts.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/30/06 17:24:24 EST

RC: This is a message board, not a chat, people aren't going to answer after two minutes. O/A torches are for cutting and welding, maybe spot heating, but they are horribly ineffecient at bringing materials to forging heat consistantly. What you can do is use that torch to make yourself a forge for coal or propane. Also read the getting started in blacksmithing. Even I the arrogant, foolish person I am learned a lot by reading it.

I do have one suggestion however. You should find a way to keep a forge and the materials of the barn separate. Other wise it is quite possible to cause some serious problems for many people. Instead place it in the middle of floor, or put up the conkrete walls around the indside of that room and keep a couple of extinquishers around. I have the problem only my barn is full of hard wood and logs in various states of drying (as wrong as that came out). I'd suggest keeping the forge at least 8 feet from any large building not specially designed for the purpose. This is due to dropping heated steel which will flash-light any wood it touches, or sparks from the forge itself, could cause a major fire.

So how do I calculate CFM? Or is that too complicated?

I got the book "Edge of the Anvil," and saw the angle needed so question clearly answered. Thanks.
   Aron Obrecht - Monday, 01/30/06 17:40:59 EST

So how do I calculate CFM? Or is that too complicated?

It depends on the particular situation, and can be very complicated. Measuring the CFM in a smokestack is very different and uses totally different methods from measuring flow in a high pressure pipe. Most situations are between these extremes.

What situation are you working with?
   - John Odom - Monday, 01/30/06 17:57:12 EST

I have problems with dirt dust & sulpher fumes at my coal forge (smoke isn't a problem). My rain cap is the type that spins when there is wind. Does this affect the way the fire draws, creating backdraft? The hieght & width of my chimney is O.K. according to your guidelines.I have seen your plans & articles on side draft forges but wondered if an exhaust fan exists that could resolve the problem ? 1o years ago I had an exhaust fan from an industrial kitchen that worked well but the wiring melted & the motor overheated.
   Claudio T. - Monday, 01/30/06 17:58:30 EST


I'm frankly baffled. I've seen your question posted a couple times now, and I still can't figure it out. A post vise, which I assume is what you're talking about, has a fixed jaw (the one with the leg), a moving jaw (the other one), a screw box(the female threaded part that sticks through the fixed jaw from rear to front, the screw (that goes through the moveable jaw from front to rear) and th ehandle that turns the screw. Additionally, there should be two hemispherical washers. These go between the screw and the moveable jaw and the screw box and the fixed jaw. These are for the purpose of keeping the plane of the pressure from the screw parallel to the jaws when the included angle changes as the vise opens and closes. A not: the screw box should have an indexing key on it, usually on the bottom side, the prevbent it from turning in the fixed jaw. The hole in the fixed jaw is usually slit and drifted, so it has a cleft at the bottom that captures the indexing key. The hemispherical washer for the screw box has a small cutout in it to clear the key, as well.

Given the above descriptions of the parts of a standard leg vise, can you see why I find your question confusing? There isn't any "...cylinder on the screw side that should telescope over the nut side ..." If you email me some pictures, perhaps I can be of more help. To send me an email, simply click on my name at the bottom of this post and it wil open your eamil window with my address in it. Please put "ANvilfire Quesiton" as the subject, or it will be deleted unread, as I am chicken about unknown attachments.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 18:12:18 EST


Calculating CFM is not easy at all. You have to know the static pressure, the Reynolds number of your conductor, the ambient temperature, any values for the gas to be moved that make it different from air at STP (standard temp and press), and then you start calculating the swept area of any air moving device, rpm, efficiency factors, thermal loss factors, etc. People go through four to eight years of engineering studies just to become fluid engineers and calculate such things. What is it you want the CFM figures for? Most everyting we do in blacksmithing isn't that critical, so we try it and see how it works, or ask around to see who else has done it and knows. Or, worst case, we bite the bullet and use the Parker method to solve the problem. That is, we pull out the checkbook and Parker pen, and pay the engineer to calculate it for us. 'Taint cheap, either.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 18:19:27 EST

I have a person wanting a freeze brand. I have made dozens of brands before, but wondering about the affects of the liquid nitrogen and speed at which temps are reached. I am assumeing that mild steel and regular mig welding wouldn't work? Any suggestions on material and assemble process?
   Chris - Monday, 01/30/06 18:22:48 EST

FYI-- Frank noticed when it first came out that my edition of Watson's Village Blacksmith,the 1st, I think, has the heat rainbow backwards. Otherwise, a lovely, valuable book.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/30/06 18:29:36 EST

vi: thanks, I am trying to get sufficiently organized to put batteries in the digital camera. I will get some pictures out. Somewhere, 0ut there on the internet, is a picture or very detailed diagram about making a clinker breaker. I havent found it by googling but I know I have seen it before.
   JLW - Monday, 01/30/06 19:11:29 EST

Chris: Freeze branding is done with a stencil. The hair is clipped as close to the hide as possible and then the liquid nitrogen strayed (via a spray can) over a stencil. Purpose is to kill the pigmentation in the hair root structure so any regrowth will be white. Considered a humane way to brand, but is readily susceptible to alternation.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 01/30/06 19:39:33 EST


I just emailed you a quick sketch of a firepot with clinker breaker.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 20:02:03 EST

This is my first time here . I'm trying to find out how to make mild steel look like it has a hammered or etched texture by using a chemical. I have to reproduce a certain look & I know its not hammered it looks like it had something splashed on to it & it caused it to pit giving it a unique look . I can show you a picture but I'm not surehow to display it . I'm not too keen with computers.I would appreciate it if anyone who reads this could give me some help
   Brian Weaver - Monday, 01/30/06 20:41:10 EST

This is not a question but just a note the pin fort the burnisher that Jock had on your site. The pin can be made from a car valve the can be had for nothing a an engine shop.
   wayne - Monday, 01/30/06 20:56:19 EST

Thanks for the tips on the precut shapes all, I found a local fabricator that has a water torch and is charging a decent price. I'll try him first (in a small town it feels good to spend $$ locally), then do the google stuff if it doesn't work.
   Thumper - Monday, 01/30/06 21:06:57 EST

Thanks Vicopper. I have sent you two pictures of the vise. I hope they are clear.
   JLW - Monday, 01/30/06 21:25:48 EST

Brian Weaver,

Welcome to Anvilfire. Sorry, this site doesn't have a way to post pictures just yet. You can either post it to one of the free picture hosting sites or email it to me and I'll take a look at it. Click on my name to get an email window to me. Be sure to put Anvilfire in the subject line, or I won't open the attachment.

Most finishes that look splashed on are just that, usually either acids or other corrosives. Household bleach will rapidly rust steel, but not pit it. Pits are usually either the result of prolonged rusting or acid. A picture will surely help.
   vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 21:29:22 EST

Knife Question: has anyone here made any knives out of O-1? I have some suitable stock and the itch to make a couple of knives and am just curious to hear pros and cons. In the past I've made them out of 5160 (leaf spring) and they worked great, but I have the O-1 and being of Scottish descent.......Thanks!
   Ellen - Monday, 01/30/06 22:58:41 EST


Yes, 01 is good. Make sure you have all the heat treatment specs, including forging. It has a limited forging range. You don't normalize it, because it will harden in air to a degree. It gets annealed. Tempering in an oven is better than by color. Tempering at 350-500F gives 62-57 Rc hardness.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/30/06 23:26:52 EST

Thanks Frank, I appreciate.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 01/31/06 01:10:22 EST

I don't have the specs for forging temperature. Do you know it off the top of your head? Or by color? Thanks.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 01/31/06 01:23:25 EST

Ive collected two CHAS PARKER bench vises both having a unique keyed vise jaw which slides onto the vise from the sides and is proccured with roll pins!As it is,both are missing each one half! Machining is my next option but thought Id see if anyone had ever come across an outlet or supplier of replacements? Tim Prusak
   - Tim Prusak - Tuesday, 01/31/06 02:26:54 EST

RC, A "bean can forge" may work for your RR spikes. Its nothing more than a quart can lined with kaowool and coated with ITC 100 which you can buy from the Anvilfire Store. Just cut a hole for the torch tip and you have a forge. BTW, those initials are copyrighted. (Grin)
   Ron Childers - Tuesday, 01/31/06 07:56:28 EST

The idea of using the end of an Oxygen bottle for a fire-pot as shown in the above link to I forgeiron.com under "Fifth-wheel Forge" is a good one. thanks for the link.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 01/31/06 09:49:30 EST


O1 tool steel typical analysis: Carbon 0.90, Manganese 1.00, Chromium 0.50, Tungsten 0.50.

Start forging at 1850 - 1900F (orange to bright orange); stop at 1550F (full red, above cherry).
Anneal 1400 -1450F (bright cherry red). Ideally, the cooling rate should be 40F per hour [personally, I use lime or wood ashes, which may not be that slow].
Harden in oil 1450 - 1500F. Temper as in previous post.

Disclaimer. I hope there are no typos.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/31/06 09:56:18 EST

Here's a pic of my modified Bean forge.


I weld a small piece of tubing to the side to help support the burner tip of the torch. RC, while you're at it, you'll get much better results if you use MAPP instead of plain old propane, even better to get a TZ8000 burner than the regulat T1500 (the numbers indicate highest limit of heat in degrees, go for the higher ones). It might take a while to get a RR spike to forging temps in such a small device but anything's better than just torching in the cold air. Listen to what Ron says, buy Kaowool and ITC-100 from Anvilfire.com, it made a world of difference for me.


BTW Ron, I think RC Cola is excellent
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 01/31/06 12:38:35 EST

Hi Guru I'm new to the trade but realize I need a powwer hammer to be more efficent with projects, I was searching for a way to build one and came across Dusty the appalachian power hammer plans, Do you have advise on the quality and functionality of such a design? I just want some justification before I pay $ for some plans Thanks
   Joe Mclay - Tuesday, 01/31/06 13:00:40 EST

Hi Guru I'm new to the trade but realize I need a powwer hammer to be more efficent with projects, I was searching for a way to build one and came across Dusty the appalachian power hammer plans, Do you have advise on the quality and functionality of such a design? I just want some justification before I pay $ for some plans Thanks
   Joe Mclay - Tuesday, 01/31/06 13:01:25 EST


On your question about whether or not we are raising a generation of illiterate children... Technically not since they can read and write. However, the one (sometimes called the Generation Y) is different. It is the first not to be taught to communicate in long hand writing. Penmanship has apparently be either dropped or the emphasis on it greatly reduced. It is the first to essentially be taught math with a calculator. We have kids doing simple algebra in the 4th grade - at least I, was still trying to learn the multiplication table then. With a calculator they can tell you if 2X plus 2Y equals 16, and X is 3, then Y is 5. However, they can't multiple 9 x 9 and get 81 in their head. Fractions without a calculator, such as 1 1/2 plus 3 1/8 equals ? leaves them with a bewiltered look. You can I would likely look at it and go 4 5/8. It is the first to be basically educated via computer terminal. Seems like they are being forced to learn so much, very little of the basics sink in. Content counts rather than spelling and/or proper grammatical usage. They have an attention span of about 2 1/2 minutes - the average length of a cartoon.

In some ways I am glad I am starting to wind down life, rather than just starting out.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 01/31/06 13:37:14 EST

Well said Ken.

Society has gotten away from the Developmental Theory of Education.

It has tried to overload children from the day they pop out with the Learning Theory. Use computers and force everyting in the child noggen before proper brain development. Force them and teachers to use all the modern tools causing them to learn everything to early and fast. Therefore they write and talk computer language and not English.
   - Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 14:03:23 EST

Ken, dont get to despondent, generations have always thought the next have got it wrong, yet they have always made good, we were that generation once and we're ok, are'nt we? Cant you remember the old guys telling you how they worked with shovels and we were lazy cos we used machines? Remember the hippy age, make love not war,(or work) and yet those were the captains of industry that have just retired, nothing really changes, the young generation will turn out as good as our fathers thought we have?
   grimme - Tuesday, 01/31/06 14:06:41 EST

Well, being 14, I have firsst hand experience. I would agree with Ken and Burnt Forge, sadly. However, in at least MY defense, I did talk in longhand writing before I started chatting online. I went to public schools for 4 years, and by second grade they had us doin multiplication. My nieces and nephews are in public, and the youngest (soon to be in first grade) was being taught spanish in kindergarden! So, even tho I am one of these people you speak of, I completely agree with both of you.
   - Megil anveleth - Tuesday, 01/31/06 14:12:45 EST

Ken, I cannot agree with you more. I am to be 32 this year, by no means am I an old man... I will even go so far as to agree with most that I am still a kid in others eyes. Yet I am astounded at today's youth. As a bodypiercer my majority clientele are below the age of 18 and I cannot believe what the school system is churning out today. Whenever I get a kid in my chair spouting street talk (in front of their parents mind you), I always ask them "So, is THAT what they're teaching you in school nowadays?!" They don't seem to get it, but the parents are QUITE appreciative of my efforts. The art of handwrititng is as lost as the art of smithing, a mere few can appreciate its beauty. Calcuators are TOOLS, not a magical device there to give you the right answer... the old programmers of the day had a saying "GIGO", garbage in garbage out.
I've taken some seminars about how to deal with difficult people and situations, they tell me that based on their numbers the average American attention span is 45 seconds!

By the way, the word calculator taken to its Latin root literally means "the mind".
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 01/31/06 14:14:18 EST

are performed with an expensive professional instrument which looks
like a low resistance windmill. The vanes spin, and a readout is
interpreted to obtain the CFM based on the outlet diameter. These
machines are out of reach of the individual, but measurements can be
obtained by hiring the appropriate specialized ventilation contractor.

To estimate the flow rate with ordinary, easily available items is
not too difficult. It requires a small amount of ingenuity and high
school level mathematics. First, make an anemometer out of a light
ball and piece of thread. Select the size of the ball and its
density so that a moderate deflection (about 45 degrees from vertical
is obtained at 20 mph). To interpret other deflections, a tiny
amount of free body analysis is required. The ball is acted on by
three vector forces. F, the wind drag force, Fs, the force exerted
by the string at angle t (theta) from vertical, and mg, the
gravitational force. F is horizontal, mg is vertical, and Fs is
directed along the string. The sum of the three forces is zero at
equilibrium, so F + mg = -Fs. In other words, the vector F + mg
has an angle of t from vertical, just like the deflected string.
Translating these words into a vector diagram, F is on one side, mg
on another, and the resultant is the hypoteneuse. So, F/(mg) =
tan(t), where the magnitudes of the vectors have been substituted
for F and mg.

At the velocities we are dealing with, as well as the density and
viscosity of air and the size of the ball, the Reynolds number is
not significant to the analysis. There are plenty of other
approximations which are worse. The range is that of aerodynamics,
not creeping flow or gas dynamics, the other ends of the spectrum.
In this case, F is proportional to the speed of the air stream
squared. From the above analysis, L*v*v/(mg) = tan(t), where L is
a constant of proportionality. Rearranging gives:
v = K sqrt(tan(t)), where K is just another constant. This gives
the calibration curve for the simple anemometer.

Here is an example of its use. Suppose the ball deflects 45 degrees
at 20 mph. In this case, tan(t) = 1. At 60 degrees deflection,
tan(t) = 1.73, and sqrt(1.73)*20 = 26.3 mph. At 40 mph, the speed
is doubled, so the force is squared and therefore quadrupled. The
new angle will be the arctangent of 4 (inverting above equation),
making the deflection = arctangent(4) = 76 degrees. The two
previous sentences tell how to convert angle to speed and speed to
angle, respectively.

A crude scale can be then be drawn on a protractor and verified
with a ride in an automobile. Warning, do not calibrate and drive
at the same time! Have your partner drive and call out the speed.
It may also be calibrated with a bicycle equipped with an inexpensive
digital speedometer.

Turning back to the measurement of the unknown blower CFM. Suppose
it is has an outlet diameter of 2 inches and a measured speed of
20 mph. Then the CFM is 2/3*44*3.1416/144*60 = 38.4 CFM. The
conversion factors are left as an exercise to the reader and only
require high school knowledge to derive. Note that no distinction
was made between CFM and SCFM. The reason is that the Mach number
is very low, and pressure gradients in the flow are neglibible.

OK, maybe they're right. This does require the services of a
professional engineer and may even challenge a PhD with a
dissertation topic in fluid mechanics. DAMHIKT

   EricC - Tuesday, 01/31/06 14:33:01 EST

Discussions to the hammerin please.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/31/06 15:23:53 EST

Hello, I work for a manufacturing company. I am not an engineer or a welder. I am an office administrator. We make an oven that can operate on LP gas it at 10 inches water column. I need to tell the people who call in the office to inquire about our products what size propane tank they could use to operate the oven. The oven is rated at 228,000 btu/hour. So I feel like this is a stupid question because I have no idea how many btu/hour is in one pound of liquid propane which would give me the answer to the question for these guys. Is there some sort of a chart someplace I can look at? Thanks.
   Carol - Tuesday, 01/31/06 16:00:18 EST

sry about all the comments on the site yesterday. Im on a slow connection and it doesnt like to show them some times or it gives me errors
   rc - Tuesday, 01/31/06 16:31:31 EST


There are about 21,500 Btu's in a pound of propane. So a 100# tank of propane would run that burner for about 9 hours, at full output. Given that, I'd recommend a 200 gallon (840#) tank, for convenience at least.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/31/06 17:23:57 EST

Vicopper is there a draw rate for propane tanks? I know that small ones can freeze up if the heat needed for vapourization is greater than it can absorb from the ambient. Or do large systems use a vapourization system so you draw liqid propane from the tank?

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:14:34 EST

Hark! What is that in the sky? It is an Anvil! It is the call for the GURU! Only he can answer the propane question! :]

Actually, he knows so much, it is phenomenal.
   Bob H - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:48:08 EST

Yes, there is a draw rate for propane tanks. I've seen tables of them for various tanks and ambient temperatures at a propane dealer's. IO don't know any of the details off the top of my head, though.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 01/31/06 19:16:26 EST


There can be a problem, even with large tanks, if you draw off more than can boil off, given the heaet loss from the evaporation, etc. Latent heat of somethingorother, it's called. (grin) Ask an engineer, they actually have facts on these things. I do know that some large tanks are set up to deliver liquid that then evaporates in the appliance, at least in industrial situations. Other applications, like the restaurant I used to own, just use the gas at regulated pressure and use large supply lines; the pipes at my restaurant were 2 or 2-1/2" as I recall, from the regulator at the tank to the kitchen 90 feet away. There, the line was reduced successively as it fed several appliances that all operated at about 10 to 16 ounces pressure.

To directly answer your question, now that I've danced all around it, I am sure there *is* a draw rate; I just don't know what it is.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 01/31/06 19:25:10 EST

have been using a 50 lb little giant for 15 years thinking of going to air hammer.anyone used a ka-75 from wallace metals? it would be used to make damascus steel and knife blades.i am having some major problems with the little giant and it may get sold for scrap.
mc pulliam knifemakers guild
   mc pulliam - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:30:29 EST

Joe McLay
I ordered the Rusty plans and built a 34 lb version. The plans are not very detailed, just enough to get you started. It took quite a bit of fiddling with the spring type and configuration to optimize performance, but it does work very well. With all the adjustments and changes that I made, I always ended up with 1/2 inch of clearance or daylight between the dies at rest for best performance. I was hoping to have a larger gap to allow for occasional top tools. Just used it to draw down a piece of 1-1/2 dia inch shaft, and it worked real well.

Do a search for Krusty power hammer. someone in Switzerland build a version of the Dusty and has detailed CAD drawings on his website.

Also look for Ptree's comments and his power hammer pictures in the junkyard hammer section of Anvilfire. That was a lot of help too.

You should also look at the NC junkyard hammer that uses the compact spare tire and toggle links. I might try that next, just for something to build. It looks a bit more compact if you have limited floor space.
   DonS - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:31:58 EST

has anyone used the ka-75 air hammer?i would use it to make damascus steel and knife blades.i have a little giant with some major problems and it may get scrapped.would the ka-75 be as good as 50 pd little giant?
mc pulliam knifemakers guild
   mc pulliam - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:36:50 EST

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