WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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 22 - 31, 2010 on the Guru's Den
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Thomas P: is it not technically impossible to be married to a spinster?
   Chris E - Thursday, 01/21/10 19:05:30 EST

Traditionally the oldest unmarried girl in a family was responsible for the spinning for the family and so the term Spinster grew to mean oldest unmarried girl and on to old unmarried woman---just like wrought iron now covers a type of item rather than the material it is made from.

Also English used to have a lot of gender modified nouns---actor/actress, brewer/brewster, poet/poetess, of which spinner/spinster was one of them. So calling my wife a spinner means she's a guy!

Yes it's archaic usage but it's *correct* usage!
(just think if you and your wife processed pigs you would be a hammer and your wife would be a hamster! whether you would smell of elder berries... )

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/22/10 11:46:16 EST

Thank you Thomas for that history lesson.


I'm pretty sure this topic was touched on before, but I would like to refresh. The local Pearl Art Supply is shutting down, they've been liquidating for weeks. I picked up some stainless rods and tubes (for architecture displays) for cheep! Back to the point, yesterday I bought some 3 foot lengths of what was labeled "Music Wire"... various thickness from 1/4" 3/16", etc. So, what's the best way to use music wire? I was thinking of making some primal instrument with it. All the steel I got from here is not labeled with any specific info... just "STAINLESS" and "MUSIC WIRE".
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/22/10 12:02:00 EST

Hey Nip, thanks for the tip on the "music wire" at Pearl. The San Francisco store is a favorite for art supplies and, bummed as I am that its closing, I've been stocking up on brushes, paint and canvas for the artistic daughter. Never knew about the rod stock. Just cleaned them out of the last 18 feet of 7/16 stock for a little over $7.
   Michael - Friday, 01/22/10 17:18:59 EST

"Music Wire" is often listed as SAE 1095 and used for springs and such. All Junk Yard steel rules apply when generic names are used.
   - guru - Friday, 01/22/10 17:32:10 EST

GAS FORGE ADVICE well, since i cannot find a forge to meet my requirements in my price range i will have to build one. i am planning on buying all the parts that can go 'bang' from Mr. Zoeller's site. but my decision is now between kaowool and it's equvilants and insulating fire bricks. i know the firebricks are more duable, and do not have asbestos like fibers, but seem to be more expensive then the kaowool esqe stuff. would anybody mind giving me some more advice on this subject? thanks again to all!
   bigfoot - Friday, 01/22/10 18:48:05 EST


Thanks for the heads up. The local store here's closing too, and I'd have missed it without your post.
   Mike BR - Friday, 01/22/10 19:07:54 EST

Bigfoot, soft refractories have a low thermal mass compared to hard brick. Soft refractories take less time to get up to heat where they are reflecting heat back to the workpiece. They are more prone to damage so if you use them, coat them with ITC 100. Hard brick for the hearth (floor) and soft for the walls and roof seems to be a common compromise. If you use soft for the hearth, you will wear it out quickly. Also, borax flux goes thru soft refractories like puke through a prom dress.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 01/22/10 19:21:43 EST

Qc thank you for the image ;) and i think that the SOFT refractory bricks and the kawool is a good choice, but i am worried about the asbestos like fiebers, and so is my dad. i understand however that itc 100 is helps with this. i like teh idea of the floor and sides solution. thanks again (but i am not decided... YET! i need to do a cost comparison to make my final decision).
   bigfoot - Friday, 01/22/10 19:30:36 EST

Monday morning I'm starting forging a set of large andirons. The joint where the horizontal piece tennons into the slit and drifted hole in the uprights is fairly big in my experience, the hole will be 1.25" diameter thru a piece of 2.5x3.5" stock the hard way. I've never slit and drifted a rectangular piece of metal quite this big before, anyone have any tips? My tooling is H13 and I'm thinking of drilling smaller diameter holes at the ends of the slit for punch guidance like when making a hammer head. I have a coworker who knows enough to strike for me, would it be worth upsetting the area like with smaller stock or is there a diminishing return with bigger stuff? Thanks Guru and everyone!
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 01/22/10 19:55:44 EST

The other difference is that hard refractory bricks are very heavy. About twice as heavy as a standard red brick. And while lightweight refractories are not cheap, neither are forge and foundry duty refractory bricks. In the end the lightweight refractory forge can weigh 1/5 as much as the hard refractory forge. This makes a big difference when you need to move a forge.

While pricing kaowool, read CAREFULLY. We sell kaowool by the running foot (1 foot = 2 square feet) while many others sell the same product for nearly the same price by the square foot.
   - guru - Friday, 01/22/10 20:02:37 EST

GAS FORGES: thanks for the comparison guru. i am planning on getting my hands on an old cart and setting up on that. but i am going to build it with a 4x6x6(144 cubic inches) inside with a single one inch Z burner. i know that that is going to fit 75% of my work then i can build another one if i ever want to go bigger. in theory i will get quite a bit of heat if i have a soft brick bottom and a felxible refractory sides and roof.
Mr. Yaggy when i made a tomahawk of similar size my advice is use ALOT of lubricant. i used axle grease and coal dust (it works but has a very bad smell. think burning shoes). when i do it again i am going to drill holes to guide me on the way in. other than that i cannot help you much.
   bigfoot - Friday, 01/22/10 20:19:56 EST

Bigfoot- Mr. Yaggy is my dad, call me Jud. I have some of Ptree's magic punch lube by way of Ralph Sproul, wouldn't try it without!
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 01/22/10 20:28:21 EST

ok then Jud :) i would lube your chisels a ton! i have never got my hands on any 'real' lube so for now coal dust and axle grease works (keeps the neighbors away!). happy friday, eh?
   bigfoot - Friday, 01/22/10 22:13:26 EST

i was just wondering if 3inch plate would be thick enough to build an anvil out of
   sid - Friday, 01/22/10 23:19:13 EST

Sid, The best way to use 3" plate would be on edge. The point is to put as much mass directly under the hammer blow. When plate is used on the flat it has the least mass under the blow, deflects and springs. The narrow width is also easier to shape a horn if you want.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/23/10 00:27:25 EST

Sid, you don't say how big this peice of 3" plate is but , if you stand it on its edge and grind a smooth surface on it it will probably be quite servicable.
Now that some of the snow has melted around here I made a stop at my favorite salvage yard to see what looked good for big chunks of steel. I found a big pile of boiler plate ranging from 1"-3" thick but, it all had a radious rolled into it that would probably be hard to work with.

Ptree, I also found a very nice looking Bickford floor model drill press. Unfortunately it was laying on its side part way underneath a discarded bucket from a large backhoe so, I don't know if it would be any good but, I'm going back with a freind of mine to check it out.
It's a pretty good size unit at about 7' tall with a 2'x2' table on it and an even bigger base.
The way it's sitting though, I wouldn't be supprized if it had some major damage to the head and spindle.
   - merl - Saturday, 01/23/10 00:32:20 EST

Merl, We used many Bickfords, Cincinnati Bickfords, and Barnes drills at the valve shop. All good strog old American Iron. All would be a good find if in good to rebuildable condition. Be aware that many of these had built in 3 phase motors that are a bear to switch to a newer single phase. But with the new single phase input, 3 phase output variable frequency drives easy to run on 3 phase.
Good Luck.
   ptree - Saturday, 01/23/10 08:12:12 EST

Judson, The punch lube will make the slit and drifting much easier. Remember that even though thelube makes the surface not stick, long residence time in the hole will soften the tool enough to allow mushrooming of the tool. The result can be an ball and socket joint tool and part! I found this out while experimenting with diffenernt lubes. I would give it a several good hits from the sledge and then cool. If the tool is overheating the punch lube will not stick, and you get an obvious look compared to the nice uniform tan coating of lube. A wet darker coating indicates tool is too cool. What is ideal is a dry light tan coating. Makes tools advance faster, much faster:)

Good luck.
   ptree - Saturday, 01/23/10 08:18:45 EST

Sid, I built up a very usable anvil from about 3" thick by 16" or so square plate. Set up on edge, and welded on legs. I made 4 sections across the top, two were different radius drawing areas, one flat and one a butcher. I saw Brian Brazeal using one similar maybe 8 years ago. I used it and sold it to a friend. made a decent anvil, and the only tools I used was a porta-band saw, a 4.5" hand held grinder and the welder.
   ptree - Saturday, 01/23/10 08:22:09 EST

Gas Forge Blockage:

I've been tied up, of late; first getting ready for MarsCon, and my Fearless Leader has retired and she appointed me (against my protest) as Acting. So, now I'm not only up to my tailbone in alligators, but now they've thrown a few Burmese pythons in, just for the fun of it!

I've been using my Whisper Baby (the "Baby Balrog") gas forge for small work and prepping elements of larger pieces that I will finish on the coal forge. At my demonstration at the County Fair, I had a bit of trouble. At first I thought that the tank was low, but it sputtered along even when I switched to a full tank. So I dismantled the burner head and noticed that the orifice had become blocked with some funny tan residue. This was easily cleared with the help of a thin tine from the wire brush, and I went back to work. I figured that it was some sort of contaminant that had gotten into the hose (I keep things capped and clean between uses) or something in the gas.

This happened a couple of more times over the next few months, the most recent was when I was in a time crunch getting the art pieces finished for MarsCon. This last time I got both fed-up and suspicious, and took the square tube of the burner off of both the forge and the hose and tapped it against some white cloth on the workbench. Rust… Lots of varying flakes of rust, mostly small and just about right to clog the orifice, came out of the tube.

Okay, so now I know what the problem is, but I don’t know why rust is forming on the inside of the burner. Condensation? Contaminated propane? Demonic curse from rust gremlins?

Has anybody else come across this phenomenon? Is cleaning the burner tube every year a part of routine maintenance that I’ve neglected? Inquisitioning minds want to know. ;-)

A lovely clear day on the banks of the lower Potomac, temperatures in the 40s and blue skies with just enough high clouds for beautiful sundogs. More (lots more) rain on the way.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov/ever (I am hoping the cold weather which has been causing the fish kills in the Everglades will zap some Burmese pythons, too.)

Go viking: www.longshipco.org (Just gave a lecture for the Charles County Historical Society this afternoon. Compared my crude cook pot with Erick Thing’s wonderful helm!)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 01/23/10 19:28:33 EST


We knock about a teaspoon of rust out of the tube on the BGOP Whisper Daddy every year or so. Maybe someone else knows the cause or the cure. If I ever get ambitious, though, I may fabricate a stainless replacement tube.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 01/23/10 20:32:32 EST

I've had the same thing happen on my Whisper Daddy, even noticed that every few years rust will build up on the very end of the burner tube, in the flare area, and it will affect performance. Hasn't been an issue since I switched to a Chile Forge, but have only been running it for 2 years. I'll check back in 8 years from now and let everyone know if the longevity was the same as the NC.
   Judson Yaggy - Saturday, 01/23/10 21:31:43 EST

When we still lived in town and were on natural gas we had the same kind of build up on the stove top burners.
I have not noticed it in the 11 years we have been on LP with the same stove.
I think someone told me it has more to do with the burner running too rich (oxygen starved)
   - merl - Saturday, 01/23/10 22:07:57 EST

I have been looking at Harbor Freights 4X6 metal band saw ( horizontal/vertical ). For 1/8 3/16 steel what are the advantages and disadvantages of teeth per inch ?
   Mike T. - Sunday, 01/24/10 06:48:37 EST

Bandsaw Blades: Mike, to prevent stripping teeth off the blade it is recommended to have 2 to 3 teeth in the work at all times. If you are careful when hand feeding you can do fine with less but blade life is less.

If you are cutting thin flat bar into lengths then it should be done flat cutting the long way. Thin angle iron should be cut corner UP and started carefully by hand to prevent stripping teeth on the corner. Heavy angle iron (3/8" - 10mm thick and greater) can be cut flat.

In general a band saw cuts better with the coarsest blade possible. Occasionally I can find and use 8-12 TPI (variable pitch) blades in my small saw. However, I think 10-14's are the most common. In other saws you have more choice but blades for the 4x6 cutoff saws are limited unless you have them made up special.

The critical thing is to use the absolute best quality bi-metal blades in metal cutting band saws. You will find that one $25 blade will out last a dozen $5 blades. Also note that while these "convertable" 4x6" saws will cut slight curves it is hard on the saw and blade. Bandsaws designed for tight curves take narrow blades less than 1/2".

While these saws are not designed for curves they WILL cut graceful curves such as blade profiles. But as noted, this greatly reduces the life of the blade.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/24/10 08:41:31 EST

4"X6" saws and blades. I have two of these neither HF brand. I use 10-14 varitooth by Lennox, in the Diemaster II line. These work very well in heavier sections. I also buy 18 tooth per inch in the same and I buy the Lennox brand 28 tooth "Porta-Band" type made to fit.
If buying from a mill supply house these are all made to lenght. I usually buy 10 of a type at a time, and while this represents about $200 total, it is a very good investment.
I use the dulled blades for freehand cutting, as you harm them much.
Once in a while I will do something stupid and strip a tooth from a new sharp blade. Those become hacksaw blades and work a treat.
   ptree - Sunday, 01/24/10 09:43:34 EST

When I bought my 4x6 Ridgid brand saw, a MUCH better saw than those on the market today, I thought I could use it to cut the profile of shovel buckets in 16ga steel with about a 3" radius. That is what the previous owner had been doing.

However, I found that this use had wrecked the guide bearings, chewed up the table and was VERY costly on blades. It had damaged the gear box as well. It was slow enough that I was not saving the time/money I imagined (from torching and grinding). But its been a great little saw - just not for what I bought it for.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/24/10 10:24:54 EST

I was making a small jig table [3"x7"] for my 4x6 Grizzly saw out of 1/16" sheet iron using a very fine blade. After sawing straight for about 4" I tried to back the work back out of the cut. It was stuck, took me about 1/2 hour to get it out. This was very distressing, because I wanted to use the guide for making Fredrich crosses [out of square tube], which necessitate always backing the work out of the cut. The local saw shop said they could make a blade for me that would work.
That was a couple days ago and haven't received the new blade yet, hope it works.
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 01/24/10 12:34:43 EST

An old woodworking bandsaw trick is to run a sharpening stone along the back edges of the blade to deburr or do a little rounding of the back edge. Slightly lessens cutting friction and allows better backing out. I just use a portaband for odd cuts as the blades are way cheaper than on the bigger saws.
   Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 01/24/10 15:46:03 EST

Not unusual for there to be stresses in the part that cause it to close up behind the cut. Sometimes have to wedge it open.
   - grant Sarver - Sunday, 01/24/10 16:06:02 EST

I like that idea Mr. Yaggy, I'll have to try that.
   - grant Sarver - Sunday, 01/24/10 16:28:39 EST

I disagree with Guru about cutting flat stock the "flat" way on a horizontal band saw. This method is slow as it causes the teeth to become full of chips preventing proper cutting action. You are better off positioning the material to keep the distance through the cut as short as possible and choosing the proper pitch blade to keep the 2-3 teeth [minimum] in contact.

This is why cutting angle iron with the corner up is prefered.

Any time there are fewer than 3 teeth in contact with the work You need to feed carefully, this means every start on stock with corners.

Keeping the distance through the cut short is even more important with chop saws.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/24/10 19:07:42 EST

When I've cut relatively thin stock (all the way up to 1/4") on my 4x6 saw, it cuts too fast, dropping through the cut and making a loud roaring noise. The roaring is blade and material vibration which is bad for the blade and saw. Cutting flat and slow works best for me.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/24/10 20:07:10 EST

A client has requested a Tuscan bronze finish to some chandeliers I'm making. I'm assuming that I would use copper or naval bronze, fire it with oil, and lightly sand where I need the highlights. Has anyone else had an experience creating this finish, and how did it go?
   John Duncan - Sunday, 01/24/10 22:05:59 EST

Depends a lot on the feed system of the saw. Straight gravity feed requires more care. I have a pretty sophisticated machine and can get away with more, but I think any machine with a hydraulic damper type feed can handle on-edge work. What ever you can get away with of need to do. Higher end saws have separate controls for pressure and feed rate.
   - grant Sarver - Monday, 01/25/10 00:12:50 EST

Some of the small saws use air springs which give some feed damping and control. But mine has a simple spring counter balance. I also run it full speed at all times on all material (including stainless and tool steels) as the good HSS variable pitch blades hold up to it very well.

When cutting angle on the diagonal the cutting rate is nearly consistent throughout most of the cut rather than fast through the vertical leg and slow through the flat leg. It may take the same time on the diagonal but I like the consistency.
   - guru - Monday, 01/25/10 01:43:01 EST

"Tuscan Bronze" I would ask the client for an example of what they want as this could be any kind of bronze patina or finish.

Today most of these finishes are paint, stains and rubs on steel rather than actual patina on brass or bronze. True patinas require very harsh chemicals (acids) and sometimes some very nasty compounds (lead and other heavy metals). They don't show bare metal highlights or great variation in color. Patinas also require consistent metal that is all the same alloy with lack of solder or braze joints.

Paint or oil finishes over copper alloys need to seal the metal metal where it is bright such as with a clear lacquer otherwise the "highlights" will dull to a brown in a few years. I would start with chemically clean metal with a the clear coat and then use wipe on finishes such as "Baroque Art Gilders Paste". Besides rubbing on such finishes they can also be sprayed using a spray gun or air brush.

Always test your complete finishing process on sample pieces. Many paints are not compatible with others. You can apply oils over lacquer or water base finishes but not the reverse. The different bases (oil and lacquer) when mixed will actually curdle and become like cottage cheese. Lacquer will soften and remove itself and act like paint remover on enamel even if it has been heat cured and aged.

Start with a clear specification of what the customer wants. Then there are numerous books on metal finishing. Machinery's Handbook has a few patinas for copper alloys.
   - guru - Monday, 01/25/10 02:21:30 EST

Tuscan Bronze sounds like one of those interior decorating/marketing names that some advertising executives came up with. If possible get a physical sample or if they will only give you a photo insist on the photo having a standardized color spectrum card in it as there can be a lot of variation in color to photos these days. Jax and Sculpt Nouveau are 2 companies that have lots of patina options for copper based alloys.
   Judson Yaggy - Monday, 01/25/10 06:40:07 EST

(Warning: Humor)

John: Order all of the bronze from Tuscany in Italy at market price with shipping charges. Add 20% profit and overhead. Lump it all in the clients bill as "materials cost." Use wheelbarrow to haul P & O to bank. ;-)

(Actually, this is something that we have to look out for in government contracts! Be very careful with what is actually being asked for.)

Rain and more rain, minor tidal and river flooding and gale-force winds, from time to time, on the banks of the Potomac. Very entertaining.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 01/25/10 08:47:46 EST

Flooding: I will be in and out and on the road for the next weeks or month. . . We had a major flood that washed out half of the foundation at our Old Grist Mill last night. I'm going to have to fabricate some 15 to 18 foot tall jack posts to put under the building and then get them placed. . .

Typical disaster timing. No money, other responsibilities. . .
   - guru - Monday, 01/25/10 11:46:46 EST

Sorry to hear about your mill. We will think about you over the next weeks. I hope it gets righted in the near future.
   - Bubba - Monday, 01/25/10 12:45:30 EST

I am building a power hammer for an individual partly based on the "Rusty" design (as seen on appletree.net) with other design elements incorporated in. I am curious as to the calculations required to determine what makes up a "50 lb" hammer. This person has provided me with the materials for the hammer and anvil with the expectation that the hammer itself will actually weigh 50 lbs. He has also provided enough anvil material for aprox. 20 to 1 ratio between hammer to anvil. Looking at the "Dusty" designed 50 lb hammer, there doesn't appear to be 50 lbs of material in the actual hammer. Is there some other calculations that he is not taking into account when designing this machine? Is it possible that the machine he would like for me to build will greatly exceed the production capacity that he is expecting?
I am building the machine using heavy truck springs rather than lighter pick up or car springs. He also would like a pick up tire to be used as a friction clutch against the electric motor drive. This all seems pretty simple and straight forward in design and fabrication. I'm just concerned that he may be getting a little more than he bargained for. I realize there will be allot of reciprocating force in the machine action. I guess I'm worried that he may not be able to properly anchor the machine to the floor to counter the "G" forces the machine will produce.
I look forward to hearing any thoughts and suggestions.
Thank You,
Travis Martin
   Travis Martin - Monday, 01/25/10 22:14:57 EST

Ooops, it's appaltree.net
   Travis Martin - Monday, 01/25/10 23:40:00 EST

Travis, The moving/striking part of the machine, the ram and die, determines the rating of the machine. Some build these machines using a lead filled tubular ram (which I DO NOT recommend). These is no reason for using lead in the construction of this type machine. But it could make a ram that is heavier than it would appear.

The spring is supposed to absorb and return much of the UP force with a small portion of the deflection going into deflecting it downwards to strike the work. The anvil should be heavy enough to keep the machine from hopping off the floor (20:1 is more than enough). There is a balance between the operating speed range, the ram weight, the spring force and linkage action. Change any one component and everything else changes. However, this is a fairly forgiving design.

What happens if the proper balance is not met is that the machine may not hit gently at slow speed or may not run properly at high speed. OR the hammer will not hit nearly as hard as the ram weight would indicate at any speed. The dynamics are very complicated to calculate and most machines are the result of much R&D.

The tire clutch design using a mini-spare easily produces too much speed reduction and more than enough flywheel effect. The bigger the tire, the bigger the drive pulley will need to be. The extra flywheel effect will make the machine hard to stop. Bigger is NOT always better.

If the customer is specifying the parts and design then be sure that he agrees to be responsible for the results AND the costs of correcting his design mistakes.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/26/10 00:26:35 EST

I purchased the rusty/dusty plans and built this hammer. I will tell you about some changes I made. I also used heavier truck springs, I found some that were already straight. I've stacked 2 instead of 3 as they are considerably thicker and seemed too stiff with 3.

I did not have the funds or luck to get 1 inch plate for the base. I used 3/8 and anchored it to the concrete floor on top of wooden slats.

I did not like how the mast (for lack of a better term) wiggled all around while operating, so welded on some supports of 1 inch pipe and bolted them to the floor as well, creating a tall right triangle of support on either side of the hammer. Perhaps 1 inch plate would have prevented this problem, I don't know.

It's hard to get oil in the hole of the bottom roller on top of the ram.
   Josh S. - Tuesday, 01/26/10 17:16:53 EST

I just used the Guru's nifty mass calculator and figured that the weight of my hammer is somewhere in between 40-50 pounds with my latest die and spacer plates. It runs well, it may have hit a little harder with less weight.
   Josh S. - Tuesday, 01/26/10 17:26:45 EST

I'd like to thank you guys for the advice. I was wondering about the two or three leaf spring combination. Sounds like I should probably go with two. My plan is to make everything using sealed bearings, including the hammer track. I'd prefer he didn't have to oil the machine every time he runs it. Also eliminates any structural wear. Still working on some of the design elements, but I'll let you know how it works out and mabe post some video when I'm done.
   Travis Martin - Tuesday, 01/26/10 18:30:39 EST

Travis, I built a Rusty style, starting with a ram weight of 32#, and the belt drive. I then upped the ram to 45# and switched to the compact spare. The compact spare MADE the machine. Great control, much better flywheel, and no pesky burning belt smell. I used a long single spring, and two short leaves at the center pivot. I drilled and installed zerks to feed 2.5% moly grease into every moving surface, also worth doing.
If the springs are too stiff, you don't get a good "Slap" or energy storage. If too limber, you get double taps.
My anvil is now somewhere in the 650#+ range and the bigger anvil weight over the original 400# or so also was a plus. I used 6" square tube for the center column, welded to leg up VERY heavy channel for a base. I then filled the hollow column with scrap steel shot and scale. My machine does not jump around or move at all when run. I like the control, but wish I had built better ram slides. That is next up. By the way, mine has been in operation since 2002.
Good Luck.
   ptree - Tuesday, 01/26/10 18:37:01 EST

I could use some advice in one area for sure. What diameter circle size did you use for the eccentric path? How much travel does this give the ram? I have decided to use three leaf springs but I will shorten the top and bottom leafs. How much exposed center leaf do you think I should give to allow proper energy storage and transfer? I'm also banning his full size tire for a mini spare. Sounds like it will allow for better control and not over weight as a flywheel.
   Travis Martin - Tuesday, 01/26/10 20:05:54 EST

I'm also thinking of heading over to tractor supply and pick up a tractor center link to use as the eccentric rod adjustment. The handle will fold down after adjustment and you have the locking nuts on either end to secure the adjustment. Any comments?
   Travis Martin - Tuesday, 01/26/10 20:09:35 EST

Hi, everyone. Travis is my cousin, and I'm the one he's putting this hammer together for. I figured maybe it might help us and other folks considering building one of these if we talked it out to some degree while the experts were listening in, so to speak.

For instance, Travis, how thick are those leaf springs? I initially was going for a 100 pound ram design when I picked them. It could be that they're altogether too heavy for a 50 pound ram.

Gurus in general, I'm guessing that I need two to three taps per second running at full speed. I've run three different commercial power hammers a fair amount, and that seems to be what I remember. Am I right?

We were originally going with a Chevy half ton 6 lug front wheel spindle running an approximately 14" rim in part because they were parts already on hand. With a 50 pound ram, is it still going to be too much flywheel? Do we need to downsize to a doughnut spare?

This hammer doesn't necessarily have to do heavy lifting. Travis just finished building a rather nice (understatement!) forging press for me. More about that later. I need the hammer more for working long pieces quickly, although being able to work car axle sized bar would be nice.

Thanks, everyone.
   - Stormcrow - Tuesday, 01/26/10 23:12:15 EST

Depending on many variables in the hammer the crank throw is about 1/3 to 1/4 the travel of the ram. On better hammers the throw is adjustable. When the throw is adjustable the ram height MUST be adjustable as well.

On our 100 pound hammers we are building the throws are 2.5", 3.17", 3.83" and 4.5" by using a series of holes.

Hammers with adjustable strokes can run about 20% faster at short stroke than hammers with a fixed stroke.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/27/10 03:19:56 EST

Travis/Stormcrow. Click on my name below and e-mail me for more longwinded discussion of my hammer. I also have some photo's etc.
   ptree - Wednesday, 01/27/10 06:55:52 EST

Yes, sorry to hear about your mill. You are smart and hard working. With the help of the Lord, you will make all things right. I can do all things through God who strengthens me.
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 01/27/10 12:06:46 EST

I'm very sorry to hear about your mill..How can we help? Are you accepting donations?? If so how??..regards
   - arthur - Wednesday, 01/27/10 12:36:09 EST

Arthur, Any financial help would be appreciated. Our mailing address is on our home page and our shopping cart has a misc items form for donations by credit card.

Besides time off I'll be spending too many hours on the road and in motels as well as putting helpers up in motels. Cash outlay will likely be $15,000 over the next couple months. As a necessary evil it will go on a credit card that I have been trying to get current without much luck. . .

I have the necessary structural steel beams but will have to buy plate for flanges and fabricate them to fit. A major expense will be labor digging out, forming and pouring two or three concrete pads in a difficult to access location. Then the columns (about 1200 pounds each) will need to be set. The HARD part will be repairing and fitting wood plates to rotted sills from underneath, then the steel jacking plates above the columns. I will probably locate tabs on the columns that we can anchor scaffolding to once they are set. A good friend that has a high degree of expertise operating a track hoe is going to help set the columns. But I will probably have to rent $$$$ the track hoe. . .

But labor and associated overhead is going to be the big bite. It is usually 4 to 8 times your materials cost in this kind of construction. Maybe more in this case.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/27/10 14:25:18 EST

I have been blacksmithing for about 12 years. I am looking for a pattern and directions for a Sufflox Door Latch. Can you help me?
   George B - Wednesday, 01/27/10 15:12:14 EST

George, The basics of these things are pretty simple but the design details vary greatly. If you want to jump start your latch making BlacksmithsDepot.com sells latch kits that you can almost use as-is OR finish to any degree of hand made look that you want.

Professional Smithing by Donald Streeter has some hot-to on making latches and hinges including some imaginative tooling methods.

For historical samples see the following books

Antique Iron Herbert, Peter and Nancy Shiffer. Shiffer Publishing.

Colonial Wrought Iron - The Sorber Collection by Don Plummer

Early American Wrought Iron Three Volumes in One by Albert H. Sonn.

When I started learning to make latches I started by making plain bean end pulls forged from 1/4" x 1" bar. After developing the forging technique for the plain bean ends and the general pull shape I modified the methods to include the rectangular hole for the "thumber".

My basic method was to round the end corners of the bar, then with the end supported about 1" off the corner of the anvil and the whole at 45 degree, I started necking it opposite the corner of the anvil then flipped over to maintain the same shape corner on both sides. This produces a semi-octagon end that is then rounded and then flattened to make a larger "bean". The same was done on the opposite end but was bent UP 90 degrees after forging. Then the handle is looped over and the finish shape put on.

After making about a dozen of these which I sold as barn door pulls I got pretty good at forging the shape. From hear you develop forging and punching the pivot box for the thumber. The rest is just a bunch of simple little parts. After making the parts then they can be decorated by filing chiseling and so on.

Our advertisers sell all the books above. See our book review page for more.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/27/10 15:51:26 EST

donation sent thru store.,

Hey guys..I know we're all going through some hard times,but with all the help the Guru's given us over the years ..if possible a donation to help the mill would be the right thing to do..
   - arthur - Wednesday, 01/27/10 19:32:04 EST

52100: has anyone had any experiance with 52100 as a steel for hot work tools? i got two pieces from mcmaster carr for 'experimental purposes' (read as an excuse to play at my forge :D) and i think that it will work well for my touchmark and other hot tools. if it is bad for hot work tools it will just end up as knives or other tools.
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 01/27/10 20:52:58 EST

oh i also forgot to add if anyone has not used the blacksmiths depot i highly recomend it. i talked to, i belve, David Kayne the other day about a problem with a tool i recieved from them and he was really nice about helping me. they are not the cheapest place, but with how well they help their customers i think the extra $ is worth it.
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 01/27/10 20:54:41 EST

Arthur, Thank you very much. Everything eventually goes back into anvilfire in the long run. Our Old Mill is basically my "retirement" fund so that I can keep running anvilfire to the very end. . . Its a precarious bit of property with value only to dreamers and currently balanced on a pin head.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/27/10 21:00:59 EST

Guru, Help! I tried to donate to the Mill. For "Item" I put "Old Mill Donation", I put in my amount[under $50,000]. That was as far as it would let me go. What did I do wrong?
   Carver Jake - Wednesday, 01/27/10 21:43:19 EST

Jake, dunno. Our cart has issues with some browsers (IE without java support) and some other oddities. . . We have a new cart we have been trying to launch since before. . Christmas 2008. . . It has been "almost" ready for a long time.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/27/10 22:02:47 EST

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Guru.

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by "crank throw". I thought I did, but then the sentence, "When the throw is adjustable the ram height MUST be adjustable as well," threw me off.
   - Stormcrow - Wednesday, 01/27/10 22:57:12 EST

Hey Stormcrow,
I think he means that if you adjust the position of the eccentric arm, you must also be able to adjust the travel of the striker (hammer). Example: If you change the orbital pattern of the eccentric pitman arm from 3" off center to 4" off center, this will increase the up and down travel of the striker as well.
-guru help me out here if I'm wrong but I believe being able to make these adjustments allows for softer and or harder hammer blows to the work.
Oh, and Stormcrow, read your dadgum email and get back to me!
   Travis - Wednesday, 01/27/10 23:06:00 EST

The "crank throw" is the total distance traveled (the OD of the circle traveled). This is shorter than the ram travel which gains travel by deflecting the spring in both directions. Thus the longer travel.

If you shorten the crank throw this raises the ram. Under normal die to die use the die space is only 1/2" to 1" OR that much off the work height. This is a required dimension for optimum operation of a mechanical hammer.

If you raise the ram by adjusting the stroke then the die space will no longer be optimum. SO, you must be able to adjust the ram downward.

Height adjustment is required when changing work height. Just because the ram rises more than the size of the work does NOT mean you can put the work in the open space. This will choke the hammer (cause the spring to start compressing as soon as the die contacts the work) and no work is done.

On the other hand, if the ram is too high the spring must compress more to reach the work. This reduces the power of the blows AND forces you to run the hammer faster in order to strike the work at all. Thus the hammer is hard to control doing delicate work.

If you want to use hand held tooling under the hammer it must be adjusted UP so that the the die is a little higher than the work AND the tooling. At this point the hammer can deliver slow gentle blows. But as soon as you stop using the tooling the hammer will no longer be working at optimum and the hammer will need to be adjusted again.

Mechanical hammers with the proper adjustments have a wide range of operating characteristics but they MUST have the proper adjustments to achieve those characteristics.

Air hammers on the other hand, have a narrower operating range BUT require no adjustments to achieve optimum operation on a wide range of material thicknesses.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/28/10 00:41:16 EST

There's a knifemaker up in Wyoming, EdFowler.com who extolls the virtues of 52100 which as he says is ball bearing metal.He's written a great deal about it as the best steel to forge knoves out of.
   - arthur - Thursday, 01/28/10 00:49:49 EST

Arthur, i belive i have heard of Mr. Fowler. i do understand that it is the 'big brother' of 5160 so by my logic, for knives it should be better, and for hot chisels and punches it should be even bettter as it has more chromium and carbon to increase hot hardness by a little bit. i hear it is used in ball bearings along with case hardened 8620, due to its abrasion resistance. but i am worried about its ability to handle impact beacause of its high hardness (HRC 60 at almost a blue temper).
   bigfoot - Thursday, 01/28/10 08:20:43 EST


This grade is commonly used for ball and a few other types of bearings. The carbon and chrome increase wear resistance over lower carbon content grades, but the amount of chrome present is not enough to give much resitance to softening at high temperature use. 52100 does have very good edge holding ability and is realativly simple to forge and heat treat, hence its popularity in the knife making community. I would be wary of some of the infomation presented by Mr. Fowler though. From a metallurgical point of view, he recommends some processing steps (or at least he did at one time) that don't make sense once you understand things like phase transformations and what drives them. He does however produce knives with a very good reputation. For hot work tooling, I usually recomend H13 or S7. These grades do have sufficient alloy content to resist softening at elevated temperature. Keep in mind though that what you really gain by using these grades over a plain carbon steel like 1060 is the ability to be more abusive to your tools. Tools made from lower alloy/carbon content grades will usually do the same job, but must be cooled much more often and may wear out more quickly.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 01/28/10 08:57:57 EST

Thank you Mr. nowak. that is pretty much my understanding. i only let my tools heat up to a pale straw at most, but, have had trouble with some of my w1 tools mushrooming at that heat (yes i use w1 and have had no major problems so far, just mminor ones that are due to it not being idiot proof). thanks again, but i think that this stuff will just be used as a test piece to see how it goes. if anyone wants me too i can post some of my experiances with 52100.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 01/28/10 09:22:32 EST

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 01/28/10 10:23:20 EST

Oh, another question. Most of these Rusty hammers (at least the lighter rams) are running on under 1 hp motors. I have a 3 hp motor that I got for free. What will be the effect of putting a higher horsepower motor turning at the same number of r.p.m.s on a machine?
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 01/28/10 10:42:28 EST

Quenching: I am working on few kitchen knives -forging them from 5160 leaf springs - I mixed a combination of 3 to one engine oil to deisel fuel (as it reccommended in a bladesmith book for a higher carbon steel like 5160). Every knife that I quench is warping. I know that the thicker the blade, the less it will warp. I have tried laying it in with the whole edge of the blade first, I have tried placing it in point first, always keeping the metal moving, and once I even went against what is taught and placed it in still, just to try something else and it still warped.
I have been trying to pack the edges evenly on both sides before I heat to quench the blade.
Do you have any advice from experience that might help me to keep the blade from warping? Maybe something I could be doing wrong even before I quench it? Any thoughts or suggestions would be wonderful!
   Moriah - Thursday, 01/28/10 13:02:51 EST

More HP: The extra hp will cost a little when starting the motor so let it run. Idling electric motors use very little power. Under load they only use what power is not demanded of them. Put a 2HP load on a 10HP motor and you only use 2HP worth of power.

There will be some differences due to efficiencies and as noted especially when starting the motor. Motors draw a large "in-rush" current of 4 to 5 times the full running load when starting. So it is best to leave motors running on machines with clutches rather than turning them on and off repeatedly. The motor and switch also last longer.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/28/10 14:22:52 EST

Warping Blades: Moriah, Many things will cause parts to warp on quenching.

1) Uneven heat (on side hotter than other).

2) Uneven working at low temperatures inducing stresses.

3) Quench method (flat sides first, not enough agitation).

4) Shape of part (usually does not apply to blades).

Note that "packing" is a myth as any benefits are lost in the heat treat. This is probably your problem.

I've never heard of the quench recipe you are using. We do not recommend lubricating oil due to additives nor the diesel fuel or kerosene due to flammability issues. It sounds more like a drill lube than a quenchant.

Oil quenches should be a relatively clean non-toxic oil such as clear mineral oil, vegetable oil (peanut oil) or a low additive oil such as ATF. The best are the synthetic water based quenchants.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/28/10 14:41:26 EST

Yeah, but does that really matter, Guru? Everything you're saying is true, but what does it really amount to?

A 3HP motor draws 20 amps at full load, so starting with no load it might draw three times that, so 60 amps. 60 X 220 Volt = about 13KW. I only pay .05 per KWH but some people pay four times that. So at .20 X 13 = $2.60 per hour or .0007 per second. If the motor takes three seconds to get up to speed that would equal five starts for a penny!
   - grant Sarver - Thursday, 01/28/10 14:48:08 EST

Interesting, so lets say the motor draws 5 amps "no-load". @ .20 per KWH would be $1.00 per hour running or .00002 per second. So one start = 35 seconds of run time. So, if the hammer going to be idle for more than 35 seconds, its better to shut it off and re-start it. Fun playing with numbers. Even if the numbers are way off, it just shows that it doesn't really matter much either way.
   - grant Sarver - Thursday, 01/28/10 16:30:38 EST

How thick is the edge of your blade?..It should be about as thick as a nickel...Thats the most common reason for warping
if you move the blade in the quench,be sure to move it tip to tang..not sideways
Did you normalize before quenching?
I use peanut oil...don't know if it works better than your mixture...but I bet it smells better lol
Warped blades are very frustrating...have you tried to straighten the blade while still hot?..there's a short envelope of time when you can try with a wood mallet.. I've seen people take the blade directly from the quench to a vise with extended length jaws..
Good luck
   - arthur - Thursday, 01/28/10 18:14:40 EST

If you bring the blade out of the quench hot, you have not fully hardened it. Martensite STARTS to form at about 650F and does not really finish until room temperature or below. If you bring it out hot and lay it on a flat surface, it will continue to cool and the side exposed to the air will cool faster than the side facing down. The Up side will continue to form either martensite or bainite, depending on how hot it is. As it continues to transform, the side facing up will expand and cause bowing. If it is bowing in the quench, you either had non-uniform heating or, more likely non-uniform quenching. If you have a couple of big flat pieces of steel, try taking the blade out of the furnace or forge and put it between the two heavy plates (one plate on the bottom, one on top). They will extract heat uniformly and hold the blade straight. I have air hardened 5160 using compressed air, too. Just point the knife blade tip into a steady stream of air.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 01/28/10 19:39:42 EST



   Mike T. - Thursday, 01/28/10 20:04:38 EST


Sorry for all capital letters, I just reset my keyboard.
   Mike T. - Thursday, 01/28/10 20:06:03 EST

Mike: Only if you have quenched in the urine of a red-headed boy!
   - grant Sarver - Thursday, 01/28/10 20:12:36 EST

To those who may not be aware.
Quenchcrack, and Patrick Nowak are both degreed, working metalurgists. They freely offer excellent, educated and since they are also blacksmiths workable everyday advise. If they told me to quench in poo and temper in cottage cheese, I would ask what type animal poo and then try it.

Mike T, I will go way out on a limb with my home study course in Metalurgy from the American Society for Metals, and state that no, there is no validity to the north business.
   ptree - Thursday, 01/28/10 20:13:40 EST

Quench: As I understand, in file-making this was commonly done for straightening. Once you're past the nose of the curve the piece is not yet hard but can be cooled at a slower rate, right? Certainly agree with the uneven cooling.
   - grant Sarver - Thursday, 01/28/10 20:16:49 EST

Percimon Tree Forge Poop Treated Trowels *Fertilize as You dig*
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/28/10 21:20:52 EST

Grant & Mike T.
You have to quench with the urine of a red-headed virgin female true North (magnetic North) otherwise it will warp and fold back on itself. Then hop on one leg while spinning in a circle chanting the secret Blacksmith creed. Use your right hand to rub the top of your head and left hand to rub your belly while hopping on one foot. Or did I just describe the Blacksmith mating dance?
   - Bubba - Thursday, 01/28/10 22:50:33 EST

No, no, no, it's PAT your head and rub your belly. Or is it pat your belly and rub your head.........Oooo metallurgy is so confusing.
   - grant Sarver - Thursday, 01/28/10 23:29:27 EST


It is feasable to rapidly quench to the martensite start temperature then hold at that temperature for some time before cooling to room temperature. After completing the quench, you should still have a martensitic matrix, but be able to perform straightening hot while the steel retains some ductility. This is what I think you mean by getting past the nose of the curve. (For those unfamiliar with TTT diagrams, these tools show graphically the cooling rates needed to achieve a givin microstructure in a given alloy. These are typically curves and the point on the curve that requires the fastest cooling rate to avoid is called the "nose". Some alloys have more than one nose, depending on the types of microstructures possible and the cooling rates required to achieve them).

Jeff- I would suggest that you offer poo quenched trowels as a higher end option of your standard product. I suggest that you use water buffalo poo imported from Africa. You can market the product not only for its fertilizing capabilities but also for the benefit you are providing to the local communities who would gain income by collecting said poo. (This would allow you to expand your market to fair trade stores). To save on shipping, (and be GREEN) have the poo dried, then you can rehydrate said poo to the proper consistency needed to maximize the performace characteristics of your products. An alternative product, similar to what you already make, would be scoops for coffee beans. I believe the most expensive coffee available comes from beans which have been ingested and then expelled from the digestive track of Asian Palm Civet. Since those coffee beans sell for $100-$600/pound, I would think that coffee scoops heat treated in exoctic animal poo would be at least as valuable.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 01/29/10 11:29:44 EST

re: File Making - grant, I only saw one file making operation - Heller files in southern OH in the late 1980's. They were not placing files between plates of metal during their heat treat process. On the other hand at that point, they were still using lead pots for heat treating - good thermal transfer for austenitizing and tempering - lousy from an environmental view point.

Press quenching - I observed it at Sikorsky, where the gears for the Blackhawks were press quenched after carburizing. Note - the teeth were cut, and the press quench set-up closely fit the total gear profile.

Ptree, I suggest poo from the Naked Ape and ricotta, not cottage cheese.

Gavainh, your 3rd working degreed metallurgist.
   - Gavainh - Friday, 01/29/10 12:28:01 EST

Before we had a scientific understanding of metallurgy the mysteries were sufficient to drive one to any sort of belief or routine that appeared to make a difference. Various alignments with the Sun, Moon and stars have played significant roles in these beliefs. THEN you had the Alchemists who in their search for a way to change lead into gold actually DID make numerous discoveries. But they also advanced many fantastic or "magical" ideas teat had no truth in reality. It is from this era that many odd beliefs come from.

The fantastic, the magical, all seem to be easier to believe than the truth in many cases. They are also more fun to tell.

I told a newbie one time that the reason that the steel stays hot longer and works easier for demonstrators is that they use special "magic forging steel". She believed me for a few minutes. . . THEN got upset that I'd told a whopper. . . But now she thinks twice when I tell her things!
   - guru - Friday, 01/29/10 12:45:49 EST

Gavainh: Wasn't clear I guess. I just meant that they were able to straighten them before the had cooled completely, not that they clamped them. They make a machine called a "quench press" but it's mostly used on smooth, flat parts to hold them flat and quench them at the same time.
   - grant Sarver - Friday, 01/29/10 12:54:54 EST

You're showing your age Gavainh. While we learned TTT curves, now they want you to call them IT curves (isothermal transformation).
   - grant Sarver - Friday, 01/29/10 13:03:42 EST

I must admit to not quenching my trowels in anything, since there is an apparent lack of much of anything hardenable in the RR spikes I start with. But then with the THREE (Sorry Gavainh, did not mean to leave you out) working metalurgists having weighed in, I will begin the testing ASAP. I hope to have a POO quenching demo ready for our Saturday evening post dinner at Quad State. On the other hand, if I do the demo pre dinner, I could bring The Juggle Guy, and he could get enough to eat:)

My favorite quench is a dilute solution of cloride of sodium in di-hydrogen oxide.
   ptree - Friday, 01/29/10 13:35:32 EST

Back a number of years---say 35 or so---I had a prof describe a "superstition" experiment. It was basically simple: take a number of rats in separate cages that each had a pellet dispenser hooked up to *randomly* dispense pellets and then leave them alone for a weekend.

When you got back *every* rat will have figured out what behavior produced pellets and be happily doing it serene in the knowledge that *they* knew the secret of making the pellet machine produce!

So some would be bobbing up and down and others scratching their left ear and others running around in circles, etc.

Having once experienced success using a method few folks try to break it down and figure out what parts actually are important and what parts are extraneous and many will go out of their way to rationalize why the voodoo works! I just remember those rats...

   Thomas P - Friday, 01/29/10 14:33:24 EST


Then there's the story of the primitive tribe that supported itself by making iron through a highly complex process with numerous and difficult steps. Their entire output was 1#/year, but iron was so rare that they traded it for everything they needed.

Then they saved enough to send their brightest son to Europe to study metallurgy. He came back and explained which steps were actually necessary. Production increased 1000 fold. The extra iron flooded the market, prices dropped to nothing, and the tribe collapsed.
   Mike BR - Friday, 01/29/10 17:25:34 EST

Warning- no smithing content. Dihydrogen oxide- My wife works in a lab and the MSDS they have for the stuff indicates that if you accidently get some in your eyes you should flush with water. I am not making this up.
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 01/29/10 17:34:22 EST

Judson, Many MSDS are made from a template and have default settings and ...

Now here is a little dirty secret of the safety profession.
MSDS are the OPINION of the writer, and the writer is to be COMPETENT. OSHA does not really describe what defines competent.
If a writer wants to obscure, they can claim "Trade Secret" on the composition. If the hazardous material is less than 1% total, they don't have to reveal. They can use any of many obscure trade names or just make one up.

The whole idea of the HAZ-COM program was to put info in the hands of the industrial user, to give them the info needed to protect themselves for what they are working with. Boogles the mind that since Governments love to write regulations that they wrote so loose a reg.
I have seen several MSDS for a pure chemical, from different suppliers that varied from 2 sides of a 8.5 x 11" page to 20 pages. These ran the gamut of "No biggee" to "OHH MY GOD!" scarey. The new, if accepted UN system that is being studied by OSHA will more closely define how the descriptions and hazard warnings are choosen. There will be standard pictograph type hazard symbols that will be defined to mean the same thing everywhere in the world.
Remains to be seen how it will work out.
   ptree - Friday, 01/29/10 18:42:56 EST

Grant, it depends on the cooling curve for the alloy. You can hold at a temperature but it might transform to ferrite/pearlite or Bainite rather than martensite. Depends on the holding temperature, too. As for pointing north, well, austenite is non-magnetic isn't it? What effect does it have on the austenite? It does make for good showmanship, though. Similar to quenching in poo.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 01/29/10 19:13:45 EST

Have you ever smelled burning poo? Don't ask how I know about this.....
   quenchcrack - Friday, 01/29/10 19:14:33 EST

True Story: When Regan was president, Gorbachev invited him to Moscow for the May Day parade of Soviet Weapons. For hours Regan watched rockets, artillery, tanks, etc but at the end of the parade were two plain-clothed men. When they passed the podium, the crowd went wild. Reagan asked who they wre and Gorby said they were metallurgists. Reagan said he didn't understand why they were in the parade with all the weapons of mass destruction. Gorby said "Comrade, do you know how much damage two metallurgists can do?"
   quenchcrack - Friday, 01/29/10 19:20:13 EST


Dihydrogen oxide has been known to cause serious injury and even death!

Even in small quantities, at elevated temperatures, it has been known to cause blisters and lesions of the skin.

Often used in untested weapons like pistols and cannons.

In the white crystalline form it can appear as large projectiles that seem to come out of nowhere. On some occasions this form can also be yellow, this is covered in MSDS #68253.

In large quantities it can cause death by suffocation especially by immersion.
   - grant Sarver - Friday, 01/29/10 19:28:28 EST

I have just performed the blacksmiths fertility dance (strictly in accordance with the instructions above) without success. All the females of childbearing age to whom I have demonstrated have refused to mate. Is this dance specific to the North American female as it does not seem overly successful here in the UK.
   - H&T - Friday, 01/29/10 19:45:19 EST

Leave it to a Limey! All you managed with the fertility dance was to insure her fertility. Now you gotta learn the "Insemination Dance".
   - grant Sarver - Friday, 01/29/10 19:58:47 EST

Reminds me of a story about the "Dance of the Virgins". Not so much a celebration as a means of identifying prospective dates.
   - grant Sarver - Friday, 01/29/10 20:03:29 EST

Grant, you been reading MSDS's again? I warned you about that.
The insemination dance is often practiced but for some very hard to gain sucess. That is the reason for all the practice.
   ptree - Friday, 01/29/10 20:11:55 EST

Quenchcrack, I was in the ARMY, so of course I know what burning Poo smells like. Ever hear of the S*#% detail?
1. Pull the half 55 gallon drums from under the latrene.
2. Pour in deisel fuel amd mix well.
3. Ignite mix, a flare works well.
4. Stir occasionally, and you may have to add more deisel.
5. Replace the half drum under the latrene.
6. If available stand under the hottest shower one can stand using copous quantities of soap. Repeat until the other GI's don't chase you from the tent or houch.

And that Grant my friend is the Dance de Poo, gaurenteed to prevent the practice of the insemination dance for many days after.
   ptree - Friday, 01/29/10 20:18:07 EST

I am interested in taking up blacksmithing as a hobby. I came on this website about a year ago asking about swordmaking and it was recommended that I take a community college course in welding. I haven't really had any time to do this but I think I can now. Does Welding Metallurgy (the name of the class) sound like it is I good place to start?

Course Description:
This course introduces the concepts of welding metallurgy.
Emphasis is placed on basic metallurgy, effects of welding on various metals and metal classification and identification. Upon
completion, students should be able to understand basic
metallurgy, materials designation and classification systems
used in welding.
   - Ian - Friday, 01/29/10 21:51:28 EST

Thinking about the Hofi hammer. It appears theat there are copies out there. Any recommendation as to where to buy one from?
   - deloid - Saturday, 01/30/10 00:38:33 EST

Welding Metallurgy: Ian, This is way on the technical side and designed for engineers or metallurgists. What you want is a standard course that includes as three seperate parts (semesters or quarters), Oxy-Acetylene Welding, Arc Welding, Inert Gas Welding.

The above will expose you to a wide range of equipment, teach you how-to use it and the MANY safety rules covering each aspect. I seem to remember our instructor having a list of at least 10 rules to learn for each chapter in our welding course and we went through a chapter about every two week. A LOT of safety to learn, and that is why I highly recommend these courses.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/30/10 00:56:54 EST

Hand Hammers: Deloid, Big Blu was making the Hofi hammers to his pattern and with his stamp until business conflicts forced them to end the relationship. The forged hammers they produce today are the same hammer with the BigBlu stamp on them. They make a range of different sizes and styles not available elsewhere except from some of their resellers. They also make a line of repousse' hammers and all have first class locally made handles.

There are cheaper versions but they do not come in the range of sizes nor have the shock reduction handle mounting (or come with handles altogether).
   - guru - Saturday, 01/30/10 01:12:01 EST

Deloid, I have a Big Blu Hofi-style hammer and I love it. Uri Hofi designed this hammer and it is a wonderful tool. Big Blu has competitive price and you don't have to wait 3 months for it to ship from Israel. It is true, however, that Hofi does not kiss the ones made by Big Blu.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/30/10 07:08:24 EST

Deja vu? ...Didn't I read this post before???

But I too really like my Big Blu hammer..
   - arthur - Saturday, 01/30/10 12:43:13 EST

Well, I have learned one thing today.
These metallurgists really know their POO.
   - Tom H - Saturday, 01/30/10 13:16:51 EST


"Magic" has two other uses. "Magic" sells. Everybody wants a little extra "edge" to their edge, so who wouldn't want a "magic" sword? You can have a plain ol' knife, or one with "ultimate" steel with a super-secret alloy and forged by a special method. The romance is hard for most folks to resist, especially if they're not in on the science behind things.

As an aside, our Episcopal priest will bless people, but not "things" so her version of the traditional blessing of a ship ("God bless this ship, and all who sail on her.") would be: "God bless all who sail on this ship." In her theology, things may be dedicated to sacred service, but only souls may be blessed. No "blessed" swords from her! (Just as well.)

The second thing "magic" may do is confuse and obscure actual trade secrets. Just think- the whole "quench-in-a-slave" thing may have started out as misdirection!

Sometimes people do the right thing for the wrong reason, or the right thing for the right reason, but they tend to weed out doing the wrong thing, leading to failure, for any reason.

Snow is piling up on the banks of the lower Potomac. They're talking 8" to a foot here in the tidewater.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 01/30/10 14:03:13 EST

Arthur, the poo post or the Blu post? Deja Poo?

Tom H, careful, do not spread that around or we will have to...uh....I dunno....poo you in?
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 01/30/10 16:52:12 EST

My brother-in-law has offered to sell me a 25lb. Little Giant hammer and has asked me to give him a "reasonable" amount. It seems to be in pretty good shape but it hasn't been used in several years. Any ideas as to its value and utility? Thanks!
   Mark - Saturday, 01/30/10 18:17:35 EST

Thanks everyone. Big Blu it is!
   - deloid - Saturday, 01/30/10 18:25:06 EST

Mark, In rebuilt "like new. . " condition, I think they are selling for $3400 (maybe more) in the U.S. Old beat up hammers needing work or a motor are selling for $800 or less. Good running hammers are somewhere inbetween.

We sell the Dave Manzer video "How to cure the Bang Tap Blues" on tuning up Little Giants. A copy of this is a good place to learn how to evaluate a mechanical power hammer as well as how to fine tune one for the best performance. See our book review page and the store.

   - guru - Saturday, 01/30/10 19:07:16 EST

jock, I find I have some time on my hands and may be able to get away for a few days. Where is the mill located? If I can get down there do you think you could use an extra pair of hands?
   dale - Saturday, 01/30/10 19:33:39 EST

Anyone know why I can`t get my strikers (flint & steel type)to make sparks when I forge them in a propane forge? They always work when made in a coal forge. I forge them out of the same metal and harden them the same way.
   Louis - Saturday, 01/30/10 21:10:36 EST

Re. hammers I have a couple of Big Blu slash peins and they work very well. I opted for the cross pein Czech hammers from Blacksmiths Depot for the students. I think I bought their then entire stock of unhandled ones and handled them when they reached China- I have a huge supply of hickory handles here. They seem to work very well and the price was unbeatable. I still love my ball peing though for most jobs. That is, of course, what most English smiths use.
   philip in china - Saturday, 01/30/10 21:20:58 EST

Mark..A completely rebuilt,by Sid,25# was $3800 last year..
   - arthur - Saturday, 01/30/10 21:44:02 EST

Dale, Email coming your way. Yes, we will have some days when we will need a large labor pool.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/30/10 23:42:03 EST

Louis, the gas forge may be decarburizing the surface more than the coal forge does. Grind the striking face of the steel to remove this soft layer of steel and see if that helps.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 01/31/10 06:51:29 EST

Louis, QC is probably right about the strikers. Gas forges tend to be quite oxidizing and the decarb can be pretty deep depending on how long the parts were in the forge.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/31/10 07:38:58 EST

I was checking on line to purchase Francis whitaker's book, The Blacksmith's Cookbook, and was astonished to see the price of $500-$700. Are the reprinting this book??
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 01/31/10 13:47:34 EST

Jake, I think I got a copy around here I'll let you have for $400.00. Such a deal!
   - grant Sarver - Sunday, 01/31/10 17:51:51 EST

Carver, For a paltry few hundred more, you can have six days at Turley Forge School.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/31/10 19:08:47 EST

A true connoisseur would want my copy, much more authentic for an even $1k, it has actual bituminous coal dust on it, some coffee stains, and even a burn from flying molten flux! You don't get more "real" than that!

But seriously Jake, look for George Dixon's edit/reprint "A Blacksmith's Craft" that has some of the same stuff. ISBN 0-9707664-7-5
   Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 01/31/10 19:14:52 EST

Made my shear base. Those of you who have followed the ups and downs of setting up my shop will remember when somebody arc welded on the fase of an anvil.... well actually an ASO but still seriously annoying! I made a cover for £1 anvil out of some serious channel. So I just bolted the shear through that. She works fine as she is designed only for small stuff anyway. As I am in the fortunate position of having 5 good anvils taking one out of commission from time to time isn't a problem.
   philip in china - Sunday, 01/31/10 20:38:24 EST

Hi, I have 2 power hammers, 1 x 100lb mechanical and 1 x 130lb Sahinler SM60. I set up both hammers on substantial independent reinforced concrete foundations which have fared well over the yeas. Unfortunatley I'm moving shop and cannot pour new concrete fundations for the hammers. This leaves the option of a fabricated steel base. I can easily fabricate a steel base, but there seems to be several designs around, some incorprating sand for additional mass. Can you advise what you see as the most important design aspects for a fabricated steel power foundation. Thanks, Mal.
   Mal - Sunday, 01/31/10 21:55:45 EST

I've set up a number of hammers on timber pads, usually 8" cross bolted. Ran a 200 pound Chambersburg that way for many years. Even did a 700 pound hammer that way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjrENY6wZm8
   - grant Sarver - Sunday, 01/31/10 23:13:11 EST

If the hammers need risers (I think the Sahinler does) I would build a steel box riser filled with concrete.

If sand is used the strength of the box alone supports the hammer. If concrete is used it can add to the strength of the overall stand.

Sand = 124 lbs/cuft, concrete = 137 lbs/cuft.

So in 10 cuft you get 130 more pounds using concrete.

You can increase the mass of the concrete by throwing in steel scrap (old nuts/bolts, punchings, cutoffs, forge scrap) as long as the pieces are not too large.

Sand works good if you have a sealed box and have a future need to remove the sand fill. With concrete you can make a "box" that is basically a form or "fenders" for the concrete. In either case you want accurately placed anchor points to bolt down the hammer that are sufficiently braced.

   - guru - Sunday, 01/31/10 23:14:46 EST

As Grant noted wood also works well and it has the advantage of damping noise and vibration.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/31/10 23:16:34 EST

Thanks Grant and Guru for the great advice.
   Mal - Sunday, 01/31/10 23:46:44 EST

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