WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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 February 3 - 10, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

HELLO WORLD! Welcome to the NEW Guru's Den! We've been doing a little bit of remodeling. We aren't quite finished but then this web site will never be 'finished'.

Let us know about any bugs or glitches. The first one to figure out the source of our "clue" (to what? You have to figure it out), and posts it here wins an Anvilfire Cap! NO , quessing! Guessing will get you disqualified!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 12:28:55 GMT

What's this? A new look to your web site? It may take a little getting used to. Where is the virtual hammer in? Or are the changes not all complete?
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 09:12:24 GMT

Mark, The Hammer-In is where it always was. Just don't have a link from here yet. This is the GURU page, not the HOME page.

The Hammer-In will get spruced-up next! We are still testing this a little. You were the FIRST to find it! Just posted it minutes ago!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 09:24:59 GMT

Wow a new look, I had to do a double take to make sure I was in the right place!! :-)

How about a clue as to the clue we are supposed to be looking for? Or am I just slow?.......don't answer that :-0
BenThar  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 15:09:42 GMT

Hey Guru, I can no longer 'open the window' that shows the guru's page so I can read more than about a dozen lines at a time, is this something you have changed. (I mean, I cant put my cursor on the window botton and pull it bigger, am I being punished for asking too many silly questions>???
Tim - Wednesday, 02/02/00 15:39:57 GMT

Tim, Sorry no. I was asking myself that question about 3:00AM. . . I THINK the window has to have one of those bars on it. You can also do it by clicking your right mouse button and loading the log into a new window (if you have enough memory).

Ben, Its a puzzle that I may ad new clues. I had three elsewhere but didn't know how to do it here. IF it's something you know it will hit you. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 17:09:29 GMT

hello guru,
drglnc  <drglnc at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 18:20:48 GMT

sorry about that i hit the wrong button. heres my question. would a peice of a steel i beam work as a temporary anvil or is it to soft. i was given one buy my grandfather and wasnt sure of the strenght or how much of a beatting it could take. thanks in advance.
drglnc  <drglnc at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 18:24:21 GMT

Darn! And I moved the post button away from the scroll bars to keep that from happening! :-)

HEAVY Wide flange with 1" flanges makes a usable anvil for flatening and straightening but is not much for forging. Anything lighter is not much good for any kind of pounding. The problem isn't if it will "take" it. The problem is its TOO flexible AND springy. Would you believe that turning it on end and pounding on the the vertical edge would be best for forging?

IF you have welding equipment and can fill in some of the space in the beam with ribs you can improve the stiffness to where its a LOT better than a loose piece of beam. In this case somethong 1/2" or thicker flanges will do. You need to weld plates on the ends to make a "box" section of it and then the ribs. Weld something on for a 'horn' while you're at it!

Then bolt the whole to something heavy (a classic anvil 'stump') Normaly you don't want to bolt down an anvil but I-beam anvils bounce all over the place! Anchoring them is a second big improvement.

The softness is not as much problem as not having an anvil. If you work hot and are careful not to strike the anvil with your hammer it will work fine. For centuries anvils were soft. They got beat up. Then they got smoothed out. That's what blacksmiths do!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 18:56:23 GMT

I would just about bet the Guru has a new system, One with all the mega goodies--750Mhz--25gig hd--100 mb ram--dvd--etc. Something like the rest of us has been drooling over!!:)
Jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 18:56:47 GMT

one more--advertising lipstick?? More sponsers--more$$$.
Good thinking!
Jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 19:10:13 GMT

Jerry, Its NOT quite that hot. It WAS a top of the line PC I bought for a CAD workstation a year ago. About half the system you described but I DID order it with 256Mb Memory. Wish I had gotten the full 512!

Prior to that anvilfire was written and published (and is still tested) on my old 486/66 win 3.1 machine that had been upgraded to all it could take. . .

This page is a little weird because I still believe that you should be able to view a web page at 640x480! Thats why this input box is so small. I may make an optional "big" box for other folks later. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 19:17:09 GMT

Not that anyone asked, but I liked the old UI better because I could shrink the input area to nothing and get more data per screenful unless I had something to say, then I could make the input window re-appear.
Philippe Habib  <phabib at well.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 19:23:25 GMT

Philippe, I'm working on that. I noticed it wasn't working a minute after I read the OLD how-to for the page, about 3:AM last night. . Others have noticed it too. Thanks for the input!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 19:38:16 GMT

Tim, Phillippe, etal., Fixed! How is THAT for service? Of course NOW I have to add it to all the color guard forms too. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 19:53:50 GMT

Jock, Very nice changes to the page. It’s an honor to be associated with such a class act as Anvilfire. Nice banners, keep up the good work. Who ever thought I'd ever be rubbing elbows with Financial Services, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones? Not mention what all you've done with ABANA. Gosh, you’re making me feel like we made it to the big time, batting with such heavy hitters.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 20:35:55 GMT

Bruce, you make me blush! I'm glad your colors are working now!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 21:27:22 GMT


Anvilfire will BE the big time! Jock already has us on the road, we're just along for the ride! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Wednesday, 02/02/00 23:30:22 GMT

I have a little giant #50 and have found a Murray #25 power hammer. Do you know if any parts are available for these. Does anyone still have any info on them. Its fairly complete and I'd like to get it running. Thanks
TiredIron  <walt054 at attglobel.net> - Thursday, 02/03/00 00:13:37 GMT

Walt, your answer is on the Hammer-In. I Tried mail but it bounced. Both were made by the same people. Sid Sudemeier may be able to help. Neither machine is manufactured any longer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 00:29:55 GMT

I go look on the hammer-in......I'm new to this computer
messaging. Thanks
TiredIron - Thursday, 02/03/00 00:34:05 GMT

Guru, looking very good, thanks for fixing the stretchable window so fast, youse guys are top notch, and your site and especially the guru's den is ichi ban in my book
Tim - Thursday, 02/03/00 01:32:08 GMT

Had this been an actual emergency, most of us would meet our demise, and the few dazed survivors would be in dire need of good blacksmiths to restart civilization.

Seriously, folks; Jock has signed me on as "Court Historian and Jester", so I'm going to take this opportunity (with the revision of the format) to make a few relevant comments.

First, history is malleable, just like iron. What we think we know one week can be completely changed by a subsequent discovery or further research the next week. This is especially true of technilogical history, where archeology is now paying a lot more attention to the possible "hows" as well as the "whys" of human endeavors. As in any complex subject, we don't know more than a fraction of the total picture. The rest is semi-informed guesswork.

Second, history is long and the world is wide. Discoveries and techniques are made, used, lost, rediscovered, accepted and rejected at different times and in different places. Much of what we say are generalizations. For instance: before the industrial revolution, charcoal was the most common fuel. I cannot say "...charcoal was the ONLY fuel." because the Chinese were casting iron and performing wonders of metalwork using anthracite coal. There is even some evidence that the Vikings in treeless Greenland were using coal for smithing. Please take anything I state here with a grain of salt. I also welcome further information that you may have come across in your own studies.

Lastly, you will note that I may disappear from time to time. In truth, I just got in an hour ago from three days in Phoenix and one night frozen in at National Airportin DC. If I do not answer, it's more than likely for lack of time or access than for lack of good intentions. (Of course, we know what's paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, I seem to have been named foreman of the road crew!)

The Guru is and his other helpers are pretty good at history themselves, so I'll try to pitch in where I can.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Thursday, 02/03/00 03:55:57 GMT

Thankyou Bruce! Glad you dug out. Had to miss Bill Gichners 'spring' party due to the same weather system. Welcome aboard at long last!

I just spent a couple hours on the phone with Richard Postman. I expect we could have spent a few weeks talking. . .

The second printing of Anvils in America is out and selling briskly. If you want a copy you had better order one now. The ordering information is on our review of the book which we will update tomarrow (Thursday). The new editions are not numbered but they are signed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 04:00:42 GMT

to whom it may concern,i am a fantasy novel writer and i am writing about a axe being made a very magical one too. so my question is could you give me a quick step by step on how to do it. the reason for this is its going to be a big part of my book and would like to do it right. i thank you for your time and i look foward to your reply. thanks,chris

chris  <lwlrfmly2> - Thursday, 02/03/00 06:06:59 GMT

Dear Guru:

I am checking out some sizes for beds. Want to see if the sizes I have are standard. What are the standard sizes (dimensions) for twin, full-size (standard), queen, king and california king size beds? Appreciate your info. I have a size chart from a guy that makes lots more beds than I do, but I am not sure his dimensions are correct. Just want to verify with yu, cause you are the Guru.
Bill Epps1  <B-Epps at besmithy.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 06:40:50 GMT

Anyone know anythign about Hattersly and Davidson hammers. I have one (http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~geoff/hammer.html) which I would like to know more about. Made in Sheffield, UK.
Geoff Merryweather  <geoff_m at poboxes.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 08:26:12 GMT

I would like to thank Bill Epps who in his Iforge demonstration took the mystery out of brazing. (My mail to him bounced, but it can´t hurt to thank him in public.)Long ago a professional welder told me that brazing needed arcane chemicals and expensove rod to succed, and for once I believed what I was told and didn´t test myself. In retrospect: stupid. I just did some brazing in the coalfire with both copper and brass the way Bill described it, worked beautifully.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 02/03/00 10:40:22 GMT

I just wanted to drop a note in praise of this site and it's creator. Thanks to the info found here I was able to light my first forge fire and manipulate my first iron. My forge was a simple brakedrum; my fuel was natural charcoal, and the blower was a copper pipe with my own lungs supplying the air. Due to the lack of an anvil, my first project was a twist in a railroad spike ( without cutting the grooves in the flats ). After an hour and a half of hyperventalation the spike was a medium cherry red. I placed the spike in the vice and with a cheap pair of vicegrips (which bent in the process and are now unusable) I turned the spike 3 1/2 flats before it was too cold to move any further. I then dipped it in a plastic bucket filled with water. My result was an old rusty r/r spike twisted nearly 1 full turn and warped. I realise that some of you will look at this and wonder what is so special about such a poor amaturish experement, but I also know that there are some of you who remember the excitement of your first time acting the part of the smith, lighting your first fire, and moving your first iron. To me this experement was a milestone, or a breakthrough into a new hobby/lifestyle. The experement got my blood racing, and I felt fully awake for the first time in years (save for the joy I find in my church). Today, a full 3 days later, is the first day that I accually left the spike at home instead of carrying it with me everywhere I go. Guru, thank you for such an informative site. May you never lose the joy and the excitement that this craft brings. If any of you have lost the excitement of it, try with all your might to recapture that awe with creation in iron.

p.s. sorry such a long post
minatawa  <minatawa at alltel.net> - Thursday, 02/03/00 14:45:42 GMT

just wanted to let tou know that the hyperlink to the Iforge on the site map page is accually a link back to this den
minatawa  <minatawa at alltel.net> - Thursday, 02/03/00 15:09:42 GMT

We're architects designing a private school. Blacksmithing is an important part of the curriculum, and we've been told that they would like to put (3) coal forges in one of the shops (beneath a new gym). They would prefer to build in brick, but it looks as if we'll never pass New York State Building Code muster without a 'listed' forge. They could work with a forge like Centaur's Model 'C' floor model forge.
Do you know of any listed coal forges (like UL or FM listed)? have you any experience with building inspectors and forges inside school buildings?
Your expertise and advice will be very much appreciated.
Don Pulfer  <archbur at capital.net> - Thursday, 02/03/00 16:18:26 GMT

Minatawa, THANK YOU! Almost anything works better than lung power! Be careful you can hurt yourself. One inhale when you are supposed to exhale can be deadly.

You might want to try this idea that came from an inventive fellow from Finland.

Start with a plastic bucket or small trash can (any size). Cut two holes in the sides near the bottom. One for your twyeer pipe, one for an air intake (about 1" (25mm) diameter.) The air intake hole needs clean edges. Tape a flap of sheet plastic, oilcloth or leather over the hole from inside the bucket. Just tape the top edge so the flap can open and close by force of the air. Tape a loose fitting plastic bag about the same volume as the bucket over the top of the bucket. (Yes this is a REAL McIvor duck tape project!). Pinch the middle of the plastic bag and pull out then push in, putting your hand down in the bucket anr repeat. You should get a nice blast of air from the discharge hole. Tape your twyer pipe to the discharge hole and viola' you have a modern recycler's bellows!

The plastic bag can also be an over sized piece of plastic sheeting OR a dense fabric. Fabric sewn into a bag shape would work pretty slick. A cardboard box could substitute for the bucket! Be imaginative!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 16:35:50 GMT

Some years ago I picked up a discarded blade on a construction site, the blade was used on a pneumatic reciprocating saw that cut stainless boiler tube. The blade is marked “WZ22-10 HSS WIDDER CORP-USA”. You can not scratch this blade with a file, but I did make a knife from it. Taking extreme care and a lot of time not to let the blade heat up, I shaped it with grinding wheel and belt sander. I found conventional sharpening hones to be just too slow but managed to put a razor edge on the blade with an EZ-Lap Diamond “stone”.
My problem is I am not satisfied with just one. Can any one tell me where I can find more of these blades or equivalent?
Wayne  <pwjones at arkwest.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 16:54:50 GMT

FORGES Don, A brick coal forge should come under fireplaces and be built by a mason. As long as the flue is lined with clay tiles it should meet the code. This is one of those areas where you need to work with the building inspector. You should be able to get away with an "historical" forge design.

The best source for brick forge designs is the book Practical Blacksmithing by M.T. Richardson. Its available from Norm Larson Books or Centaur Forge.

For other forges I know the code is pretty tight. The Johnson gas forges are the only listed forges that I know of.

I called NC-TOOL about their little benchtop gas forges. All their components except the firebox are AGA listed (American Gas Association). They sell to schools regularly. Those forges must be equiped with an optional gas shut off. In use they would be used on a welding bench under an exhaust hood.

NC-TOOL Forges are available from Wallace Metal Works, Kayne and Son and Centaur Forge.

We have a preliminary review of one of their small forges
NC-TOOL Whisper Momma Product Review

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 17:05:44 GMT

HSS Steel, Wayne, the HSS says it. That is High Speed Steel. It is pretty much a standard and can be bought as lathe cutter bits or annealed bar stock. The heat treatment cycle for it is tough and you must have hit on something (See MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for details). It can be purchased at most machine shop suppliers or from McMaster-Carr.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 17:15:56 GMT

Hattersly and Davidson Geoff, I'll post your page on our Power hammer Page and see what happens.

That is one UGLY but well designed looking hammer. Mechanical hammer manufacturers have all gone the way of another era.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 18:03:35 GMT

FANTASY NOVEL Chris, look on our iForge page (will have the map link fixed momentarily). If you want input of this nature we have a bunch of folks that LOVE to get the technology right but it helps if you leave a working e-mail address.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 18:09:23 GMT

I would like to know how to start workshop if you can help e-mail me at ENEMY1010 at aol.com thanks
BRIAN  <ENEMY1010 at AOL.COM> - Thursday, 02/03/00 21:40:41 GMT

Brian, the answer is at the top of this forum page. Click on Getting Started in Blacksmithing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 22:15:26 GMT

Thanks for the quick fix. I hope my boss doesn't visit this site, he might start expecting me to get this done this quickly too.
Philippe Habib  <phabib at well.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 23:17:17 GMT

guru do you have an old photo of a farrier for a school project?
ryanalan  <ryanalan at buedu.com> - Thursday, 02/03/00 23:56:15 GMT

Are you familiar with the Torchmate computer assisted plasma
cutter kit? If so, I'd like your opinion. Thanks.
Tom Stovall  <stovall at wt.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 00:12:20 GMT


What time frame? I have several,both American Civil War, and some from Europe.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 01:29:06 GMT

Looking for plans for a knife forge. Single burner, with blower and homemade round refractor. Any information you have would be appreciated. Thank you in advance - Jeff.
Jeff  <Penton4 at juno.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 01:56:27 GMT

Wayne Any good saw sharpening shop should have a supply of a similar steel in stock. It is used for planer blades in large planing operations. I use a 1/8" x 1-1/4" x 15" in my wood planer and have a few old blades laying around. I not only use it for knives, but, use it for speciality cutters in the shaper. They make good wood chisels also.
Hope this helps, Frank

Frank  <laroque at gorge.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 02:15:06 GMT

Guru..looking good, but I can not stretch the window anymore.

Question, I have a need for letters cut out of brass, can you recommend a supplyer, or do I have to dig out my jewlers saw and buy a couple gross of blades? I checked a couple of ornamental Iron suppliers, and the ones they have are too big (looking for something in the 3 to 5 inch area) and about 10 guage I guess. Thanks
Tim - Friday, 02/04/00 03:29:27 GMT

I am building a large format camera out of wood. The connectors and some latches are going to be made out of brass 11 and 18 gauge .04 and .09" thick. I have no idea how to cut or work this material.
I have an extensive wood shop including router table, table saw and band saw, pretty much all the tools imagined in a wood shop and most power hand tools found on a construction sight. So what is your recomendation to cut and work with this brass, or should I take it to a metal shop with specialized tools?
Jordan Epstein  <jephotog at aol.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 03:37:36 GMT

Don; Brick Forges:

Another good reference for brick forges is "The Blacksmith; Ironworker and Farrier" by Aldren A. Watson; (c) 1977, '89, '90; W.W. Norton & Co. NY & London, ISBN 0-393-30683-6, LoC TT220.W3 1990.

I agree with the Guru, this is just a sophisticated fire place. Stack temperatures are really no worse (and probably cooler) than an efficient wood stove, and it will be at running at full blast for shorter amounts of time.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 04:09:10 GMT

Tim, have you tried stretching the frame? Its been fixed since this AM and works in Netscape 4.01-2.0 and IE 4x. .

Letters that size are going to have to be hand cut. Use a reciprcating saw with padding on the base AND cover the brass with masking tape.

Jordan, Tim above said how its done. With a jewlers saw. You can get them AND the blades you need from Brookstone. I couldn't build a wood box camera without one! Not that I've tried but I DO build musical instruments. Support the metal on a piece of wood with a narrow "V" leading to a drilled hole (about 3/8" (9mm) diameter). I know there is a technical term for this tool. . . A book on jewlery making will describe the part and tools. Blades last longer if clean of swarf and wet. Every few strokes I wet a finger and wipe the blade to remove the swarf AND lubricate the blade. I've cut miniature springs and clips from annealed tool steel this way as well as brass estucheon plates.

Lately I've gotten so I hate doing layout on wood OR metal. I draw my plans in a CAD program, print to scale, then glue to the material with spray rubber cement. The paper protects the material and if you put the rubber cement on the paper it comes off with the paper. Pilot holes and finished holes both are drilled through the paper template as well as all sawing. It REALLY make your work turn out nice!

When done sawing the brass parts you will need to file the edges smooth and finish with 320 then 600 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 04:40:44 GMT

I was just commissioned to make an "eating knife" for a man who is REALLY into midieval reinactments. needless to say, I for one have never seen this type of knife. Does anyone out there in internet land know what this guy wnats??
Erik  <sonic40 at the-pentagon.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 06:10:35 GMT

Erik, Ask him what he wants. He may not know either. . . I could see a knife with a forked end like a meat serving knife. Or maybe one that is dull where you might cut your self. . . This is a good one for Atli our resident Viking!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 06:54:20 GMT

Eating Knives; Erik:

You have to ask your customer two key questions- Where is he and when is he? There can be a lot of stylistic difference between 5th c. Anglo-Saxon and 15th c. Italian. The good news is that for a common side or eating knife, there is a lot of latitude. There were over 100 knives recovered from the Anglo-Scandanavian layers at York in England. They fall into about six or so types, but no two are alike! In general, whatever will fall into the broad stylistic limits of the time and place he choses, looks good and feels good will work just fine. For example: earlier knives tend to be of narrow long tanged and narrow half tanged designs. You
don't seem to get full width, full tangs with scales until the later middle ages. Earlier knives are almost exclusively single edged. Double edges occure well after the Norman Conquest and are more for weapons than for eating. (Trust me, as a long time eater from knives; double edges are awkward and dangerous, no matter how neat they look with a gobbet of beef suspended from the end.)

As long as you don't come up with a Bowie knife or a "Gill Hibbben(R)(c)(tm)(etc.)" nightmare, you should be in excellent shape.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 13:47:46 GMT

How do you blacksmith?
CB  <codyb at lockney.isd.tenet.edu> - Friday, 02/04/00 17:13:01 GMT

Does anyone out there had a way to get accurate measures for a hosefeild bender. For length of material and to get accurate size like for beds without having to cut it in the middle.
Bobby   <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 17:38:28 GMT

Check out the European ABANA site I saw one of those for sale there.
Bobby  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 17:46:00 GMT

Blacksmithing CB, You get steel hot (see picture at left) and hit it hard with a hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 17:48:07 GMT

Bobby, What is the address of the European ABANA site?

The answer to your length of materials question is not easy and you will not like it. Remember all that grade school geometry that you wondered "Why do I need to learn this?" That's how.

Most of us can't remember all the formulas (like for the perimeter of an elipse) so I refer to MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for the formulas. On curves (radi, elipses) the distance from center is to the center line of the material. To the length add one quarter thickness for each 90 degrees of curve or bend.

You can also do a scale drawing and measure the lenghts on the drawing and multiply by the scale. For real strange curves you can use one of those roller map distance tools. They are a modern calibrated "traveler" like the old fashioned wheel wrights used.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 17:58:09 GMT

Tim and Jordan, woodworking routers work well on brass (and plastic, too). Use a multifluted, preferably spiral fluted carbide bit. Lightly spray WD-40 on the cut before each pass, and don't try to remove too much stock at once. The best way to use a template for routing sheet stock is to double-stick tape the stock to a flat nonporous worksurface. Stick it securely by tapping all over with a soft hammer. Don't rout all the way through the stock so the tape has lots of surface area to hold. Just rout a groove leaving about half a mm at the bottom that you can trim away with an X-acto knife and/or file. This method also works on milling machines. Hope this helps.
Rob. Curry  <curry at cts.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 18:50:18 GMT

Has anyone heard anything from George Dixon's magazine about Traditional Blacksmithing?

tim slatton  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 19:06:58 GMT

Rob, Good suggestion. The new variable speed Dremel tool with router base works well for this type work. Another (expensive) method we used on the milling machine for complex shapes in thin material is to stack it between two pieces of 1/4" (7mm) aluminium plate. However, today there is almost always someone in your locality that can do laser or water-jet cutting of thin materials and do a much better job. Its very affordable if you provide the CAD DFX or HPGL file.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 19:18:38 GMT

Thanks to the Guru and Bruce Blackistone for suggestions on coal forges in school shop space. I agree on the masony comments and suggestions, but the NYS Code specifically prohibits fireplaces in classroom space for any purpose. Looks as if we'll need to use gas-fired forges. I've a call to the building inspector to discuss. In the meantime, in case we're required to use listed equipment, can you tell me how to get information on Johnson gas forges? Thanks again.
Don Pulfer  <archbur at capital.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 19:20:11 GMT

I knew it was going to be like that and I was never good a math. The site I was talking about was the one you have on your links site. It was posted on the site under wanted/for sale. Thanks for the info the thing I have to lay out is a roll cage that my brother wants. Also is there a less costly hyd. unit for the hosefield bender. Three grand is lot of money. Its more than the bender.
Bobby  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Friday, 02/04/00 19:31:52 GMT

GAS FORGES Don, You mentioned Centaur so I assumed you had their catalog. They are also a dealer for Johnson. Centaur has a NEW web site that I need to get setup in the links it is an on-line catalog at:

Centaur Forge Catalog

Your last option may be to build a seperate blacksmith shop. Say a replica of an historic structure. . . Sometimes these are an open "shed" and do not come under the same rules as occupied as a school.

The open fire (place) rule is almost a rule against blacksmithing, period. The danger is NOT the fire, its the white hot pieces of metal flying around (and YES, then do occasional FLY). It sounds to me that you, the school and the local building folks need to have some serious talks.
THEN The way things REALLY get done in America. Put in big exhaust hoods along the wall for "welding stations". When the inspectors are done and gone put in steel coal forges under the exhaust hoods. Forge welding is done with coal forges so its not a lie that they are welding stations.
Coal forges are actually safer AND easier to use than gas forges. They are just not as convienient and a lot dirtyier. Good Luck.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 20:05:44 GMT

Bobby, Do you mean the IFGS site that pops over to "metall aktiv"?

Bending big tubing is a heck of a job. Most folks take it to Midas Muffler or some local exhaust specialist. It would be cheaper than the hydraulic attachment and the dies for a one-off use. . .

The length of the tube at a 90 degree bend is:

(PI * Radis / 2) + OD/4 or ((PI * Diameter) + OD) /4

The radius measured at the center of the tube. OD being the diameter of the tube. PI = 3.1416 I'm not sure about the +OD/4 for tubing though. Works for solid material.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 20:21:47 GMT

On that knife for eating. I asked the guy, and his answers were that he did not know what it was to look like, only that he had read it in a book. Time period is "early midieval", and the local is England.
Well, I can do that, but I need some specs. Round, square or palm shaped handle, miniature crosstrees, length, width, groving.
Anyone know????????????

Erik  <sonic40 at the-pentagon.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 21:51:08 GMT

What is metalurgical coal? Is anthracite (hard)coal suitable compared to soft coal? Thanks for your help on this question.
mickey crosby  <kidculpepr at aol.com> - Friday, 02/04/00 23:30:57 GMT

Micky, metalurgical coal is simply high grade low sulfur coal. High grade is measured as low ash but just-enough, some volitiles so it will clump and coke down but not too make and high caloric output. I could look up all the specifics but what you want for blacksmithing is GOOD coal. The best come from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The best comes from specific pits. See the link on our links pages to coal grades.

IF you can get good coal its the BEST way to blacksmith. IF you can't its time to get a gas or oil forge. Charcoal (not briquettes) works well too but in most places you have to make your own. Put THAT is a lot better than bad coal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/05/00 00:09:56 GMT


I've got a graphic of a knife that would work for your friend. Currently I've got Ntech trying to wiggle the graphic down to a reasonable size. As soon as I get it back from him, I'll ship it out to you. This is a reproduction of a medieval knife that I made some time ago. It's actually supposed to be one of a three piece set, but I only made the knife.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Saturday, 02/05/00 01:27:07 GMT

dear sirs my empolyer is starting an aprentaship program and they have spoken briefly concerning a program called n.i.m.s if you have any info on this please let me know it is supposed to be an international educational program thanks
toni  <ruatha4 at aol> - Saturday, 02/05/00 06:03:29 GMT

Erik - eating knives
Try "knives and scabbards" from the Museum of London,
ISBN 0 11 290440 8. 11-12:th century knives are small pointy things with whittle tangs and wood handles. BTW, early midieval in europe sometimes mean just after the fall of Rome, but for northern europe "midieval" usually means after carolingian/viking-age.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 02/05/00 12:40:02 GMT

Hi, I'm looking to buy a small gas fired forge for my Dad. He's been tinkering with metal work using an oxy/acetaline torch and I'd like to set him up with something more practical. Any suggestions? I'd like to find a gas forge for under 1000$.

huecool at altavista.com
Fred  <huecool at altavista.com> - Saturday, 02/05/00 15:25:28 GMT

Fred both Centaur and Kayne & Son(who both have links on this site) Sell Gas forges. Also PawPaw has done a review on them. It is somewhere on this web site.

ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Saturday, 02/05/00 15:37:20 GMT

Fred These are a slick tool we have two reviews but this is the only one finished:
NC-TOOL Whisper Momma Product Review
We will have an on-line catalog for same soon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/05/00 15:43:49 GMT

Hello again. I have been asked to make some period spurs in fairly large quantity. I would like to stamp some kind symbol into them so that people know where they came from. How do I go about making such a stamp or should I get someone else to make it for me? If so, who should I contact?
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Saturday, 02/05/00 23:52:00 GMT

Hello all knowing Guru,I have been putting an addition on my home and want to put a sprial stair case in and would like to build it my self I am in need of info on how to go about this project where can I find plans or a book about such info? DAVE
dave  <DGri998062 at aol.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 00:19:40 GMT

Bill, Its not hard to do. Centaur forge sells them. I SHOULD have written the article for the touchmark registry page a LONG time ago. There are at least four ways:

The first is to work directly in the end of a piece of tool steel. I used old chisles. Depresions can be made using 'matrix' punches and the the area around them removed by fileing or grinding. You have to make the matrix punches yourself. Anneal after setting depressions so a file will work.

The second is the same but using a Dremel moto tool and lots of patience. In this case you can start and end with a hard piece of steel. HSS lathe cutter bits are very good. S-7 is the best for this type tool but any high carbon tool steel works.

The third method is to make a die using standard letter punches or a chisle or even other custom made matrix punches. Then set your piece of hot tool steel into the die. I welded a guide tube to the die to keep the punch blank from jumping around as it needs to be hit very hard and you don't want a double impression. Afterwards you may want to grind away the extra material outside the working part.

Last is to etch it. Kiwi wrote us a method using Chlorox bleach. You cover the end of the punch with a "resist" such as wax or tar then cut scrape your pattern and then etch. I've never used this method so I can't give details here.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 00:22:54 GMT

SPIRAL STAIRCASE Dave, I don't know of any books on the subject. Its one HECK of a job. Commercial spiral stairways are modular components that are all bolted together. The bending the top rail is a real hum dinger too.

Custom wrought iron rails are designed from scratch. Not only do they have to do what you want they must also meet the building code for stairways and railings. Localy you may have an engineering standard too.

Most custom wrought iron stairways are fabricated 95% in the shop and then placed with a crane. This means you need a shop big enough to fabricate something 17 feet tall and then the construction of your building needs to be the exact right stage (anchorage points ready but no roof) the day the crane comes in.

If, after considering the above, you still want to continue we can discuss details later.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 00:32:33 GMT

Hi Guru,

First I just want to thank you - a while back I asked you a bunch of questions while I was building my first brake drum forge - I'm happy to say that it is working well.
Recently I was fortunate enough to meet a sculptor who has been using traditional blacksmithing techniques for over twenty years. I should have the opportunity to work with and learn from him, but we have one problem. He has relocated his shop and can't find a local source for coal. He would like to find an affordable source that is a resonable distance from New York City. I checked the coal scuttle and the nearest two places are the ones in CT, but D. & L. Coal doesn't seem to exist anymore, and the other place said they don't sell coal. If you or any of your readers can point us in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Rob Wotzak  <gerzak at bestweb.net> - Sunday, 02/06/00 14:47:36 GMT

I am looking to see if there is any good coal mines or resellers in Arizona. I have to drive there for a meeting and well I figure since I am drive I could always pull a goose-neck flat bed and pick up a few tons. I have been looking for a bout a week now and have not found any coal sources in AZ can you guy's help out??? Please email or post.
Thank you,
Douglas Block
Doug Block  <dougblock at bigfoot.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 16:05:59 GMT

Rob, I did a search for "coal & coke" on the Lycos Yellow Pages and got 71 responses. Since I know little about NY geography here is the link. . It MIGHT work from here. Ask for "stoker" or "Pocahauntus" coal. There must still be 100 thousand building in NYC heating with coal. . .

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 18:18:34 GMT

Greetings! Got a few weeks of smithing experience awhile back -- recently I aquired a small propane forge and I can't remember what my regulator settings should be... PJ
Phil Jones  <psiphy at earthlink.net> - Sunday, 02/06/00 18:38:47 GMT

Pressure Phil, it depends on the forge. Most small commercial atomospheric propane forges run about 4 to 7 psi. Home builts run anywhere from 4 to 25psi.

The pressure will vary a little depending on if you are running with doors open or closed. To get a welding heat doors normaly need to be closed or partialy closed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/06/00 20:40:59 GMT

Hello Guru,
This is an equipment question. I used to be a farrier, and sometimes smith, but had to change careers due to injuries. I have just taken up the hammer again and interested in purchasing a foot operated hammer machine, about 25 lb. size. When I lost touch with the business, a few had just come out.

Do you have an opinon about the quality and performance of these hammers?

Tom  <muleshoe at vtc.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 00:49:46 GMT

Hammers: Tom, I assume you are speaking of foot powered 'treadle' hammers. The only "brand" I am familiar with are those built by Jere Kirkpatrick, Valley Forge and Welding. He uses the machines he builds so you know there are no shortcuts. His machines work well and he is THE wizard of tooling for treadle hammers. If you get a chance to see one of his demos it is well worth while. I've not seen his videos but I expect you can learn a lot from them.

The rest that I know of are built from plans or kits. Jere sells both complete machines and kits. Centaur forge sells a kit. The vavorite plans are Doug Merkel's I believe.

I have ONE statement on the plans. DO NOT USE LEAD! There is absolutely no reason to use lead in the ram of a treadle hammer other than it is deamed 'heavy'. It is not heavy it is 'dense'. Just a little more steel in volume and you have the same weight which is the ONLY engineering goal.

The other NEW item in blacksmith is the "NEW" air hammers. A number of small manufacturers are building affordable hammer fo the small shop. On our Power hammer Page I have a (now dated) review of these hammers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 01:48:02 GMT

Guru: I am trying to decide between buying a 120 lb anvil
or a 200+ pound anvil. Probably buying new (gasp). I plan
to add a power hammer. Do I need the big anvil if I have
the power hammer? Only so much money to sprinkle around...

Much thanks.
Tod Amon  <amon at suu.edu> - Monday, 02/07/00 02:10:39 GMT


Sorry, but the favorite plans for treadle hammers at them moment are Clay Spencers, not Doug's. In fact, I believe (but may be wrong) that Doug built his hammer from Clay's plans. (grinO
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 02:11:34 GMT


Speaking from personal experience, bigger is better.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 02:14:16 GMT

Paw-Paw's right I got the wrong plans. . . and bigger is better, if you don't have to carry it to demos!. The tendancy IS if you have a power hammer you do bigger work. The work that still needs to be done on an anvil will BE bigger because of the power hammer. A 200 pound anvil is 'just right' for a shop anvil. A BIG shop anvil is 400 pounds or so.

Build the best JYH for the ABANA 2000 JYH Event and you could WIN a new Peddinghaus anvil. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 02:24:10 GMT

I am getting started playing with this blacksmithing stuff as a hobby. Is sucker rod good for making anvil tools? i am thinking of making a hardy and was wondering if this would work. If so, how should I temper the chisel end? Thanks!
Bryan  <BBlack at tyler.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 15:36:28 GMT

I am an amateur smith of some five years trying,my main interest is in medieval blacksmithing circa 1450-1480 as i belong to a living history group in England.
at present i am trying to make an accurate copy of a 15c hearth,all ilustrations seen so far show the nozzles of the bellows entering the back of the hearth via a flattened cone which has been fabricated from sheet and left with a gap between the two edges (this gap is on the underside - 'de re metalliac' circa 1540.
i am unsure as to this method causing a loss of pressure from the bellows or whether it would cause an organ pipe effect and draw in more air thus making the bellows more effective.
have you any ideas or experience of this?
p,s am new to the net and only found anvilfire at xmas - it is excellant!
Wayne  <Pastlincs at aol.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 16:47:31 GMT

I can´t find Agricola saying anything about leaving leaks in the nozzles. Which chapter? Anyway, my experience from this periods equipment is that you kan use anything for a nozzle, I use wood, as long as you leave a centimeter or so between the nozzle and the tuyere, which should be of ceramic with lots of sand, ashes, dung (or whatever) in it.
The reason for that gap is to avoid heat transfer an backdraft of hot and slightly explosive gas. ( I know you are supposed to have a flap-valve to avoid backdraft, but that valve is the first to burn if you dont have that gap anyway.)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 02/07/00 17:21:39 GMT

Hello, I've got a 128 pound peter Wright anvil that has a chipped section about 4 inches long on one side, I was going to have it welded up and reradiused, but I'm hearing that it's better to just radis the chipped section as it is now. The trouble being that It would have to be a large radius and would eat into the workable flat surface area. Is the damage done by welding up the chipped area of a major concern or is there a way to weld it(with tool rod?) that won't seriosly damage the temper ect. Thanks for any help. SD
Steve Davis  <SCD1954 at worldnet.att.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 17:26:20 GMT

I'm looking for an address for Dr.James Batson can you help.
I have the local Libarary looking for his book on Jim Bowie.
Bobby Neal  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 17:33:32 GMT


Also, check out my reply to the question in the Blacksmith's Virtual Hammer-In.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 02/07/00 18:48:36 GMT

The question about 15-century forges reminded me of another historic queston that mystefies me: I know that blacksmiths used silica sand or powdered glass as flux untill not to long ago (used it myself) but I´ve read that borax been used at least since the middle ages as solder-flux. Here´s the riddle: Borax (so I´ve read) as a mineral exists only in western USA and Tibet(!). Did midieval european metalworkers cart the stuff from the Himalays or is there a low-tech method of making a similar flux with european material? Agricola thought he was making borax, but the raw-materials he was using could never produce borax, just someother salt. Well, Bruce, chew on that for awhile ;-)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 02/07/00 19:33:37 GMT

I wear an in place tracheotomy tube that is stainless steel attached with a silver chain necklace. Can you tell me who would want to work with such an item to repair it where it wears and to make it into more of a piece of jewelry. Or could you tell me what I would need to do such small stainless steel work myself. Thanks Charles Sam Muncy.
Charles Muncy  <charlesmuncy at msn.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 20:16:49 GMT

TUBE: Charles, Many custom jewlers work in both stainless and silver. I would start with local Jewelery shops. If you have been that route then try ArtMetal.com. They have a number of Jewlers their that could so anything you want from your design or a creation of their own.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 20:38:57 GMT

Batson Book Bobby, I hate sending business away but Don Fogg sells the book on his knifemaking website (see our links).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 20:41:19 GMT

OLD BELLOWS/FORGE: Wayne, The pipe from the bellows is not flattened it is a conical tube or "nozzle". The material was often stiff leather or "rawhide" and subject to burning. Venturi effect has been mentioned but I doubt that was a consideration.

Bruce's comment about 'backdraft' smoke in the bellows is certainly valid. I used a Great Double Chambered bellows for years. There was rarely a problem. However it was mounted in a portable (outdoor) shop and if there was a stiff breeze in the wrong direction hot smoke would enter the upper chambre and as soon as you touched the lever to pump in more air, WHOMPH! The fresh air would cause the smoke to flash or explode. You quickly learned to give the bellows a little short pull on the first stroke rather than be forcing pressurized air against the explosion! If this were a problem with the much improved Great Bellows which has double valving, imagine how much trouble it would be in old single chambered/single valved bellows. Of course some of this problem is related to fuel. Charcoal does not give off the viscous (explosive) smoke that coal does. However, sucking forge temperature exhaust gases into a wood and leather belows would be a short experiment and expensive lesson.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 21:09:04 GMT

could you describe the following terms: Pressing Metal; Rolling Metal; Crimping metal; stamping metal
thumbs  <peterj at flightcraft.ca> - Monday, 02/07/00 21:14:25 GMT

SUCKER ROD: Bryan, It depends on the type of anvil tool. Many are mini or special shaped anvil surfaces. These will hold up in mild steel but a medium carbon steel would be better. Hardies tend to get rough treatment and need to be a good grade of tool steel to take hot work and well tempered to take the occasional miss. I'd rather have a dinged hardy than a scored hammer face.

All scrap material such as "sucker rod" should be tested by the smith for the particular use. Many folks spout off that springs are #### steel and bearing races are #### steel. NO, they are not. They are what ever steel that was currently available and economical for the manufacturer for the particular purpose at that time. There are hundreds of "spring" steels and bearings are often case hardened. Inner races may be different steels than outer races and balls or rollers another.

Spark test a sample. Heat it, forge it, harden it, temper it. TEST it. File it, sharpen it, try to break it. Thats what blacksmiths do. Using scrap is like being a smith of 500 years ago. You never knew what the material was exactly, or its quality. But at least they knew it was carbon steel or some grade of wrought. Today it could be any one of tens of thousands of alloys or grades of steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 22:09:58 GMT

Thumbs, this sounds like someone's homework? These are all self explanitory terms except in a classroom situation.

All four methods permanently deform metal when applied to sheet stock. Presses can forge, punch, extrude and bend depending on the application and type of press. I always considered "stamping" as an outdated term. Punch presses can "stamp" out flat blanks or shaped parts and often blank, press and trim in one progressive die. . .

Rolling is any process using cylindrical rolls. This can include but is not limited to, hot rolling plate, bar or structurals in a mill, embossing textures or ribs, roll forming of cylinders and cones or straigntening coil stock.

Many terms are only correctly defineable within a certain frame of reference (which was not given). I doubt my reference point is the same as yours. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 22:49:00 GMT

Yes, I often did (and do) poorly on tests because I refuse to answer questions based on a narrow frame of reference that ignores a broader knowledge of the REAL world.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/07/00 23:11:29 GMT

OK...now for a dumb question, but I really would like to know who invented the electric welder and when it was invented. I can't seem to find anything on this. By the way I am a 54 year old female.
Pat  <pattical at computerhut.net> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 04:04:41 GMT


Would you believe 1782! There is evidence that Prof. G. Lichtenberg in Germany actually used an electric arc to join metal at that time! In 1865 an Englishman named Wilde was granted a patent for an electric arc welding process. Most early arc welding processes used a carbon rod to strike the arc and filler metal was added much like gas welding. The first patent for arc welding using a metal electrode was granted to Charles Coffin in 1889. He went on to become president of General Electric! Lincoln sold their first arc welding machine in 1912. The first coated electrode was invented by Oscar Kjellborg in Sweden in 1907. The first all-welded ship was built in England in 1920 - the Fulagar.

(above from "The Procedure Handbook of Welding", Lincoln Electric Co.)
grant  <nakedanvil at forgetools.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 04:37:22 GMT

Steve Davis:

With regard to fixing your Peter Wright anvil, there are two schools of thought. 1 - Don't touch it, you'll screw it up, 2 - Weld it up to make it more useable. I go along with the second school my self. I have a 301 pound peter wright. The face was pretty nice when I bought it, but the edges were chipped, and to me, unuseable. I ground and wire brushed the edges, pre-heated with a weed burner to around 400 degrees, clamped a copper plate to the side so I would have something to weld against, and laid down a few beads of Stoody 2110. Pein after each bead. When you are done welding, bury in vermiculite and let it cool for a few hours. Then, all you do is grind, and grind, and grind, ....

There is more detail about this process at http://www.anvilmag.com/smith/anvilres.htm
Phil   <rosche at dogbert.aticorp.org> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 12:57:33 GMT

Anvil Repair: Steve, Phil's instructions are as sound as they get. The preheat is VERY important as are the other steps. Anvils are not just a big lump of iron but a sophisticated tool sometimes made from several materials, as is your Peter Wright. Those chiped edges are part of a hard (perhaps too hard) tool steel plate that is forge welded to the body of the anvil.

I still believe in NOT repairing unless its condition is useless. I used anvils with bad edges for years (still do) without a complaint. Although many consider it sacrilidge many others in the past recommended a heavy radius of 3/16" (5mm) or a chamfer of 3/8" (10mm) wide along the edges over the body of the anvil. I don't recommend doing this to a new anvil but it is an option.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 15:04:00 GMT

Dear Guru,
I have had a passion for watching steelworking all my life, and I think I have found out why. I have learned that my great-grandfather, Henry Adolphus Husted was a blacksmith/knifemaker during the early part of the 20th century. He was born and lived in and around Glasco, Ks. I am wanting to know if you know of him and his work? And if not, do you know where I can find out more about him and his work as a blacksmith?
Dailey Humphreys  <mendailey at aol.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 15:50:52 GMT

Dailey, although blacksmiths seem rare today at that time were were hundreds of thousands of blacksmiths. They were as common as automotive mechanics today. Few did work that brought national or even local attention. Can you name a famous auto mechanic of today?

Your search is more of a genealogical / history search. Sometimes it can be done localy but most of the time it takes field work. You would need to go to the courthouse and county clerks office at the county seat and look up deeds, wills, birth and death records related to your ancestor. Then look for the records of his parents and children. Ask if there are or census or tax records from that time. If you cannot make the trip then sometimes there are people at the courthouse who will help you or suggest someone that will do it for a fee. Find out where his shop was, talf to people. The level of cooperation varies greatly but rural folks are the most helpful. Often the public library of the locality can be helpful with local history. This kind of research takes time and patience.

How do I know this? Well, I had very little intrest in my family's genealogy until I found out my Great Great Grandfather was an Ironmaster as were all his brothers and an uncle or too. I spent years tracking down all the branches of the family. . This was many years after I had become a blacksmith and wondered WHY had such a driving intrest in the subject. De'ja'vu?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 16:56:04 GMT

Hey Guru: Were any of your Ironmaster people named "Cuddy"? Just found out that my wife's ggggrandfather James Cuddy worked in Iron Furnaces in Pa., S.C., Tenn.,and Va. from 1777 to 1835. Burried at Abingdon, Va.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 17:13:02 GMT

Grandpa, These were all Dempsey's. One married a "Riley" and another an "Attwell". Thomas Dempsey was a merchant in Brownsville and Dumbar, PA near Uniontown circa 1780. His son Andrew did business in the area and HIS sons all became Ironmasters. Aparently they learned the trade in PA at those famous early Western PA furnaces near Pittsburg and then moved to Ohio where the newly established town of Ironton was the center of the "Hanging rock" Iron region. They ran furnaces there during the Civil War. Several of their furnaces are now in historic parks. They were quite key people in the area and then the big iron industry moved west to the great lakes. . . The big "inheritance" the decendants expected was thousands of shares of stock in defunct businesses.

Like blacksmithing the business was comprised of a small group that traveled in the same circles. I'd bet they met sometime.

The intresting thing about this type of information is that you suddenly become intrested in the details of history.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 18:19:54 GMT

Guru: Probably their paths crossed. James Cuddy worked under Colonel Thornberg at the Pine Grove Furnace near Carlisle, Pa. as an artificer making cannon, bombs and balls for the U.S. Army in 1777.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 23:13:39 GMT

can on safely build up anvil corners with a tig welder and not preheat the anvil to 400-450 degrees, i think i have read this somewhere, can you give me a brief description of the process?
armandanvil  <armandanvil at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 02/08/00 23:51:51 GMT

REPAIR: Safely? NO. You are welding on hardened high carbon tool steel. You can make cosmetic repairs this way but they are likely to chip back out the first time they see use or just on cooling.

There are a number of manufacturers that make ductile iron anvils and some medium carbon anvils of dubious quality. These MAY be weldable without special care but that does not mean other anvils can.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 01:38:41 GMT

What can you tell me about "hard facing alloys" as applied by torch? Can they be used to edge a piece of mild steel? Are they forgeable once applied? Keep up the good work on the site. I've been lurking for months. Just got my Amiga running on the Web. Dave
David J Lawrence  <David.J.Lawrence at usa.dupont.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 04:47:28 GMT

What can you tell me about "hard facing alloys"
as applied by torch?
Can they be used to "edge" a piece of mild steel?
Are they forgeable once applied?
Keep up the good work on the site.
I've been lurking for months.
Just got my Amiga running on the Web.
May be see you at Atli's next Fenby.

Dave Lawrence
David J Lawrence  <David.J.Lawrence at usa.dupont.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 04:50:13 GMT

I am etching domascus and i have some nitric. i need to know the ratio of water to acid and if you add acid to water or water to acid. it has been a little while and I have forgotten. thanks toma
toma  <campandy at earthlink.net> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 05:01:24 GMT

ACID: Toma, Acids are always added to water. Due to the heat liberated doing it the other way can be explosive or cause the acid to 'splatter'.

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK say's about 20% but higher for hard and high speed steels. Since you are etching the soft that should be right. Jim Hrisoulas say's 25%. A lower solution will work but take a longer time.

Always were protective gear when working with high concentration acids. Full face shield, rubber apron, gloves. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 15:25:50 GMT

What is the final Argument on Correct Anvil Height?
Steve E.   <efish26 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 07:02:53 GMT

Revered Guru: "Sucker Rod" usually refers to the rod that runs the pumps at the bottom of oil wells and is good stuff in my expierence...Gunther lists it as 4130 if I remember right and it's che cheapest long length of tool steel around
Pete Fels - Wednesday, 02/09/00 08:42:59 GMT

Steve E:
The final anvil height argument is settled when we die.
My current theory holds that the height is correlated with age and focal length.
Pete Fels again - Wednesday, 02/09/00 08:47:39 GMT

For demonstration purposes if it was not feasible to start a forge fire and heat a piece of iron, is there any other material that could be cold shaped that would react similarly?
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 13:21:16 GMT


Moddeling clay (sometimes called plastene) works about the same as hot iron. Use a wooden anvil and hammer, either minature, or same sixe as your normal anvil. Hard woods, of course. Oak, maple, something like that.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 13:25:59 GMT

Anvil Height

As Pete said "the final anvil height argument is settled when we die". I used to go with the older school of thought, and have my anvil at knuckle height. I got a larger anvil, and put it on the same stump as the old one, and it was about 1.5-2 inches higher, and you know what? I liked it! It was a lot easier on my back.
Phil  <rosche at dogbert.aticorp.org> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 13:35:26 GMT

Hard Facing Alloys David, You are talking about the metal powder type that is applied as a "spray"? These are surface materials only and used for wear resistance. The most common use is on shafts that run plain (bronze or babitt) bearings. In high precision applications, such as automotive crank shafts, it is common for hard facing to be used to built up a few thousanths (mills) for repairs. The folks that make these materials also make grades for buildup and corosion resistance.

"Spray Metalizing" is done both with oxy-acytelene and a plasma torch. Plasma is more commonly used today. It can be used to apply dissimilar metal coatings on steel just as aluminium. The early Pintos had aluminium coated exhaust systems that lasted years longer than plain steel.

I don't know if they are forgeable once applied but I doubt it. These are all normally applied to finished work except on shafting where it is finished by grinding.

Amiga? On the web?. . . It must work if you posted here!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 15:00:04 GMT

Guru I can't use the back button to backup on the Den.
Bobby Neal  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 16:04:35 GMT

Bobby, The problem is the NEW banners. If you watched closely as you clicked the "back" button on your browser the banners backed up. If you hit it enough you eventualy get there. . .

The menu to the left should have enough navigation controls to get around. Yes, I know its not as convienient.

I'm not sure what the solution is. My OLD Java system didn't do that. But when I went "low tech" with an HTML solution it had the "back history" problem. The new system uses Java but it swaps the complete banner box, not just the banners. . . Computers can be SOooo much fun! :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 16:43:50 GMT

Technical Difficulties: I've been having a fit this morning with the "net". For a while I couldn't get a connection outside of Lynchburg, then it worked now it doesn't. . . Then other connections didn't work. . . Late Y2k bugs???
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 16:50:37 GMT

Cold Forging: Neal, Soft aluminium (1000 series) bar works. I've seen pieces drawn out to 20% of the original section before it started to split and rose head nails forged complete. Lead is more maleable but not recommended and GOLD is even more maleable. :) Blacksmiths use iron because its most economical. . .
Anvil Height: The standard "knuckle height" is best for beginners and for heavy general forging. For those with aging eyes OR doing detailed work higher is better. If you 'hunch' over the anvil it is too low.

Before the modern era of blacksmithing (1850 -) the bickern was a common tool in blacksmith shops. This was before anvils had become such a universal tool by lengthening the horn and heal to replac the bickern. Bickerns were mounted high on a stump for doing detailed work and were often as heavy as a good shop anvil. Forging was done low on the anvil, detailed work high on the bickern. The replacement of the bickern by the "universal" London and Leige's pattern anvil left smiths without this option.

Today, the smart smith with several anvils in his shop will have them mounted at different heights for different classes of work. I have a big vise that is bench mounted putting the jaws at about 4 feet (1.2m) height. For many detailed jobs I find this VERY convienient. Shoulder height is great for heavy bending jobs!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 17:24:42 GMT


Just wanted to let you know that the automatic refresh on this page now brings it back to the top periodically, and I have to scroll back down to find where I was reading when it happened. Is there anything you can do or is it something on my side?
jdickson  <TheIrony at worldnet.att.net> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 20:00:08 GMT

Hello guru, do you know where I can find the powder 'KASENIT' or any other powder to harden steel at the surface ? Thanks.
Koenraad  <Koenraad.vanderper3 at yucom.be> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 20:50:05 GMT

Hi Guru,
I purchased a wind chime last month, and it is made of small metal figures and designs (each about 6-8 inches tall) tied together with string. I would like to make other wind chimes like it, but do not know where I can puchase the small metal figures. I've gone to several craft stores but can't find anything like them. The metal looks like it will rust over time (that's the desired look). The figures/designs are pretty rough in the way they are cut and I image wouldn't be too expensive. Do you know of any website or stores that would sell such things? Any info would be appreciated. thanks, Dave
Dave  <phlffhd at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 21:01:50 GMT

KASENIT: Is available from McMaster-Carr. It is listed under 'hardening compounds' and 'heattreating compounds' (see our links page for McMC).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 21:22:41 GMT

WIND CHIME: Dave, Those figures are probably cut with a computer operated cutting torch (REAL hand craft) and are the product of the person making the wind chimes. Craft stores around tourist attractions are full of this stuff that is supposed to look like "primitive" art. Some is, but most is cranked out by the thousands so that it can be sold in catalogs.

There are THREE ways to do this. One is to purchase a machine, make your own CAD templates (HO HO! Its not even LOW TECH primitive art), and cut the pieces as needed.

The second method is to make CAD templates and have your local steel service center cut them for you.

The third method is to pay someone to produce the CAD templates (I charge $50/hr) and take it to the steel service center. . . Ah. . . Carolina Steel has a $100 minimum. . . Then there is shipping.

OR, you could take a cutting torch and cut them one at time like the tourists think it is done. . . The steel plate figurines I've seen in Asheville, and Black Mt, NC were made from CAD templates that even had the "shakes" of an inexperianced welder. . But they were all EXACTLY alike.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 21:44:23 GMT

AUTO REFRESH: jdickson. Nope, MY end. I had too short a refresh (my wife complained) then a longer refresh that I recently made shorter. Its mostly a convienence to me so I don't have to hit "refresh" to see if there is a NEW question. . . I may take it out altogether as I think I've found another method that doesn't affect the public user. Meanwhile I've increased the time 20%. Thanks for the input.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 21:52:06 GMT

Where on the net can I find information on bladesmithing and the making of a japanese sword
Neo  <Seamy59 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 22:10:26 GMT

Dang didn't know I was such a smart smith. I have my stump anvil set up high and my anvils and vises at different heights. Call me stupid, I thought I was doing what was comfortable. Next thing I’ll be accused of is being brilliant for setting up my power hammers at different heights.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 22:22:07 GMT

BladeForums and SwordForm.com: Neo, These two places will keep you busy for months! Grandpa suggests SwordForum and I just looked at it. Made me jealous, darn NICE site.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 22:36:51 GMT

Well, I've been fortunate enough to find a retail coal supplier in my area. The listing says they sell "Pocahontas Slack coal"

In my searching, I've been able to find that 'Slack' refers to the size of the coal (in this case less than 1"), and I've heard of Pocahontas #3 being called blacksmithing coal... so this should be a good find, right? Any comments on it?
Thanks in advance!
Jason Wisnieski (Maunikar)  <jmw2 at po.cwru.edu> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 23:04:41 GMT

#3: Jason, some of the very best. See our link to coal graders on the links page. Keep your coal dry it absorbs moisture and is hard to start.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 23:23:08 GMT

I run a small fabrication company in England combining old and new techniques. I am intrested in anything to do with
cast iron restoration and modern forge work.
Our work is mainly gates railings and ballustrading.
We tend to buy most of our products in but realise there is a market for hand forged craftmanship.
can you give me any advice!!
GARY HODGKISS  <gary at gumbie.freeserve.co.uk> - Wednesday, 02/09/00 23:42:22 GMT

After looking for months but unable to locate a 50 lb. Little Giant (for a decent price) , I started to build my air-hammer. Out of the blue last night a guy called me and asked if I was still interested in a 50# L.G.. Of, course I said. So today I am the proud owner of a 50# Little Giant that I purchased for $250! The only parts it needs is a motor, belt and both dies. What a great find and a great enhancement to the Pneumatic hammer. I was wondering if there is a book I could purchase that will give me some information on repairing this machine and maintaining it. Thanks, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 00:18:53 GMT

FABRICATOR vs SMITH: Gary, There is a huge difference in the business aspect of fabricators and smithys. The fabricator buys, assembles, installs and is done. There is a relatively low investment in time, tools and machinery.

The smith struggles to make the sale, design the work, make the tooling, forge the pieces, assemble and finaly install the work. The smith has forges, anvils, vises, power hammers, weld plattens, benders and hundreds of specialized tools on top of the same contractors and welders tools that you probably already have. He also has a significant fuel bill over top of raw materials costs. Installation is more difficult becuase you just don't 'cut it off here' and 'weld it there'. A large part of
'hand made' is the joinery. Parts must line up perfectly and be rivited and collared into place.

Most smiths LOVE to do forge work. It is their life. But it is hard to do ALL of the job from sales to installation. Many would love to provide YOU with the finished product or genuine hand forged components and let you install and deal with the customer.

There are stock component companies that can provide you with very nice work but a LOT of shortcuts have been taken and the work is far from hand made. The difficult part of the job for the smith is selling a much more expensive product. If you deal with an architect or have a client base that wants the BEST, then you may have a market.

The key problem is that architectual smiths end up competing head to head with the fabricator. It is hard to convince the customer that the handmade rail is worth a minimum of 3 to 4 times that of the fabricated rail. At least it is a hard sell in the U.S. The result is that most fabricators make a decent living while most architectual smiths struggle throughout their carreer just to make ends meet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 00:42:58 GMT

Little Giant: Tim, The Kern, Little Giant book has a lot of information on these machines including a little repair information. However, it is VERY short on specifics like dimentions. The book is available from Centaur Forge. For parts you can find the address for Sid Sudemeier on our Power hammer Page manufacturers list. Sid holds workshops with others on rebuilding Little Giants.

We also have Little Giant photos, a spec sheet and a motor HP sheet on the Power hammer Page.

Finish building your air hammer. I think you will find that the worst home built air hammer is as good as an LG, and that a well built one is 10 times the machine. Do a nice job on the LG, its a good investment. No matter how much better other brands of hammers are everyone wants a Little Giant. If you get a chance to trade it for a Fairbanks or a Bradley, DO IT!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 00:59:29 GMT

I would like to soften (aneal?) a piece of a hack saw blade to reshape it to make a spring clip. Then retemper it to get the spring back in the steel. I've done some metal working and have access to torches and such.
Thanks for your help, Pete
Peter Ashley  <fpashley at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:12:19 GMT

Guru: I e-mailed you just before you went to this dashing new format and think my question got killed in the conversion. So, once again, I just acquired a 1898 Champion Forge and Blower (Lancaster, PA) post mounted drill press. Would love to know its value and a source for attachments. It works like a charm. Thanks, Ann
Ann Brooks  <wallsrags at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:24:42 GMT


Heat the hacksaw blade till it is no longer magnetic. (the A2 point) Then bury it in vermiculite, sand, wood ash, or some other medium which will slow the cooling rate down. Allow it to cool for at least 12 to 24 hours. Re-shape as required. Re-heat to a bright red and quench in cool water till cold. Heat for at least two hours in an oven at 550 to 650 degrees farenheit. Quench in Automatic transmission fluid. It should be a bright peacock blue when you finish.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:39:33 GMT


Value is so subjective that it's hard to put a value on something like your drill press. That said, I've seen them for prices ranging from $50 to $300. Attachments, you are probably going to have to make yourself, or have made. You may want to remove the original chuck (saving it carefully!) and install a Morse taper and Jacobs chuck for ease of use with today's drill bits.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at netunlimited.net> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:42:46 GMT

HACK SAW BLADES: Peter, be sure you are working with a relatively cheap blade. The expensive ones are made of high speed steel welded to a low or medium carbon steel back. To anneal, heat to a red or low orange. The steel should become none magnetic at about the right temperature. Then cool the piece as slow as possible. With a thin part you may need to bundle it with some heavier pieces to keep it from "air quenching". The best method to cool slow is to bury the blade in powdered lime. Some folks use vermiculite but I expect lime will work best with a small part.

After cooling for several hours or overnight the part sould be annealed and ready to work. You should be able to saw, file, bend and drill it.

To harden it you heat to the same temperature and then quench in oil or water. You need to experiment because saw blades are made of dozens of different steels that all behave direrently. Don't experiment on a finished part.

Imediately after hardening you need to temper. Temper temperatures vary with the steel and how hard you need it. Too hard and it will be brittle and break. Too soft and it will not hold up to the service you expect. 450-500F is a minimum temper temperature. 600-650F is common for springs. Higher temperatures will result in a tough but slightly ductile part. Again, you are working with an unknown steel and you will need to experimant.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:54:19 GMT

Ann: You will find a LONG post in the archives for the last part of January. They still work!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 01:58:19 GMT

Ann: Thanks for the "dashing". :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 03:01:43 GMT

could you please tell me where I can buy candle stick cups and wax catchers? I am just getting started making candle holders and would to know where to purchase these items. Thank You........
R.L. Felts  <rfelts5 at icehouse.net> - Thursday, 02/10/00 04:25:57 GMT

Hardware: R.L, Try Jere Kirkpatrick's Valley Forge & Welding and for fancy brackets and leaves and such, King Supply Co. Tell them I sent you!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 05:01:54 GMT

Does anyone know what the final RPM a 35 pound Champion Trip hammer should run at? Please write me back with information on Champion trip hammers.
Reid   <Joeydoves at AOL.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 05:45:31 GMT

Dear Guru, I appreciate your insite. (Mom's a genealogist) I was just wondering if the man had any historical significance that you had heard of. I have already made inquiries in and around the parts of Ks. that he worked and lived, and I hope to learn more.
By the way, Granatelli, Duntov, Yunik,...
Dailey Humphreys  <mendailey at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 06:31:02 GMT

Pure annealed aluminum seems to work with about the same resistance as hot mild steel and will tolerate lots of molestation before reannealing.
Pete Fels - Thursday, 02/10/00 08:22:52 GMT

Is there an e-mail address for Grandpa I went to his site but only found a phone number. And being at work they don't like the phone calls.
Bobby Neal  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Thursday, 02/10/00 16:12:45 GMT

Bobby: its darylmeier at aol.com I didn't know it wasn't on his web site but its on all his posts if you need it again. I'll add e-mail to those I don't have on [THE GURUS] list too.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 16:22:50 GMT

Champion RPM: Reid, Great little hammer you have there. Take good care of it! I don't have the exact specs but here are what other hammers run:

MAKE Size# RPM Size# RPM
Fairbanks 25 500 50 350
Bradley 30 450-475 100 350-375
Little Giant 25 437 50 328

Looks like 450 is right. The Champion performs much like the Fairbanks and Bradley, running faster than the Little Giant. Of course that is at maximum speed. The real advantage of the belt/clutch machines is that they have excellent speed control. If you run any of these machines a full speed a large percentage of the time then you need a bigger machine.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 17:20:24 GMT

Hi there! Love this site. I've enjoyed welding and working with iron since a teen growing up on the farm. I also do some ornamental iron work for a furniture builder. A few months ago I took a weekend course in blacksmithing. It's been a huge eyeopener for me. I know longer see a forge as being out of date equipment. Now, getting to my questions.

-I have a 20 tonne hydralic press on the farm, how can I best incorporate this into some of my blacksmithing?
-Also, I'd like to build an inexpensive power hammer. Something to draw out mild steel 3/4 " or less. I was thinking a helve hammer riding a cam would be the simplest.
-How heavy should the hammer and frame be for the job I want to do?
-How many strokes per minute should I run the hammer at?
-I have some rr rail for my hammer and dies. How should I fasten dies to the hammer so I can inter change them?
Thanks for your help.
Danny  <Dannyd at mb.sympatico.ca> - Thursday, 02/10/00 18:36:42 GMT

Danny: There is a breif article on our 21st Century page on hydraulic presses: Then we have the beginings of our article on JYH hammers on the JYH Event page.

Falling weight hammers are not as efficient as propelled weight hammers therfore a helve needs to be heavier to do the same work. The speed the helve operates at is strictly based on the acceleration of gravity (see exception below). If your cam turns over faster than the hammer falls then the hammer will hit the cam instead of the work, damaging the machine. Its been a long time since my physics classes but acceleration is constant (faster and faster) 32 feet per scond per second. The first second it falls 16 feet I think. . . been too long. I'll have to look it up. However it is all relative to lift and fall distances. . . unless . .

On some early helves to increase the operating speed they used springs (actually spring boards) to help stop the upward motion and accelerate the ram downward faster than gravity alone.

Now the dynamics get a little trickier. I'd try 120 blows per minute with an 18" (450mm) drop.

I'm playing with a design for a spring balanced helve that you might like. The helve is held OFF the cam suspended above the work by a long spring. The 'clutch' peddle is attached to the helve by another heavier spring (maybe three of the balance spring). To engage the hammer you step on the peddle pulling the helve into the cam and work. The harder you lean on the peddle the harder it hits (you are adding some of your weight to the force).

Interchangable dies are for folks with some type of machine shop capability. Don't worry about them until the hammer runs! Normaly it is best to use flat dies with special tooling rather than special dies.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 19:23:48 GMT

Reid, Your Champion Hercules “Patented” number 0 Power Hammer is not a 35#er it's a 30#er, as if 5#s would make a difference. The Guru is close with his rpm recommendation. According to the information I have from an old Champion catalog it says 400 rpm’s, with a 1-hp motor.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 20:16:47 GMT

Guru, please don't tell everyone how good Fairbanks and Breadley hammers are. How do you expect us to find any when we need one if they’re all bought up? Oh yeah, maybe there's still hope to find a Beaudry, that’s another good brand of hammer you haven’t mentioned.
Bruce Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 20:30:24 GMT

That helve hammer you are talking about sounds interesting. I don't have a good mental picture of your suspension and clutch system.

At the shop I help teach at, we have a 200# bradley helve hammer and I like it a lot. I was going to scale it down a little and use that as a basis for a jyh for myself. Your system sounds interesting also. Could you explain it a little more please.
BenThar (wayne Parris)  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 02/10/00 20:55:05 GMT

Sprung Helve: The Bradley you are speaking of is a wonderful hammer but they took years working out the dynamics of the double rubber cushion system in those hammers.

The Bradley Helves are also a crank operated machine. This introduces difficulties that are also necessary to address.
The hammer Danny and I are speaking of is a cam operated hammer. The cam lifts the helve and then drops it by having a drop in the cam. This drop in the cam must be further than the travel of the helve so that it is not hit by the helve. The cam can have one or more lifting lugs depending on the size and RPM. A suficiently slow input drive may want to have four or more 'lobes' but a faster drive may only want one. A single lobe has the advantage of being able to be designed and profiled for a very smooth operation. It can also provide sufficient room to use a ball or roller bearing follower.

If you look at my animated helve on the JYH Theory page you can see some of the problems. The intresting thing about this drawing is that the original had 12 cogs or lobes as I show. The typical speed of a water wheel sufficient to run this hammer is 10 RPM.

10 RPM x 12 Lobes = 120 blows per minute.

My idea for a spring balanced helve was for a small hammer of say 15 to 25 pounds. A heavy hammer may have too heavy a counter balance for the operator to overcome. The whole spring balance idea was to give some control to a plain helve which normaly hits the same (heavy) blow every time.

I guess I'd better make a dwawing. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 22:06:47 GMT

OBTW: I was also looking at an AIR-HELVE design. The advantages of plain helves is that you don't need to build a linear guide system. Plain or better yet Timken bearings like on an automotive wheel hub are the guide . . . . . Uh, oh. . . another JYH design ;-)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 22:10:23 GMT

What was the importance of blacksmithing in the Middle Ages?
Smith - Thursday, 02/10/00 22:21:09 GMT

Smith: In the middle ages, the blacksmith built/made the tools for "ALL" the other crafts. Until recently the hammer has been the king of the tools and the blacksmith has been the king of the craftsmen.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/10/00 23:26:19 GMT

Counter   Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC