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 15 - 21, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Anvil leveling; I bought one of the 165 lb Chinese hammers and when I install the anvil on the 4" wood pad it is going to need some shimming. The casting is not perfect, and I don't believe it was machined on the bottom. To get the bottom die as level as possible, what would be a good material to use? I've thought of lead sheet, auto gasket material,copper sheet, etc. Any ideas?
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/14/01 23:32:42 GMT

Pete, just use wood. If you want your foundation cushion height to be 4” use 3-1/4" timbers side-to-side in the anvil hole and 5-quarter broads front to back. You can run the 5-quarter broads through a planner to level the anvil.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 00:09:12 GMT

I like to develop sculptural forms by deforming hot metal and would like to explore possibilities in plastic. Where can I learn about the plastics anvilfire is selling?
Yates Spencer  <yates at ntelos.net> - Thursday, 02/15/01 02:43:16 GMT

Hello, wise blacksmith guru. I took a great class at a community college in Tucson, Arizona that served as my introduction to blacksmithing. I really enjoyed that class, and wish to continue experimenting. However, I am now in Maryland, and have not found any local college that offers a similar class. Is it possible that there is some kind of business or professional organization that might lend access to its forge and facilities for a fee? How might I find some such organization? If not, how would you suggest that I continue my blacksmithing, short of moving back to Tucson or building my own forge?
Jeff - Thursday, 02/15/01 04:08:20 GMT

Plastics: Yates, I've made various things from all these plastics. Everything from machining to carving and polishing. I know how plastic welding is done but have no experience doing it.

All these materials can be sawed, drilled and machined. Some can be formed with heat while others cannot. Wood carving tools can be used if kept very sharp. You can file these materials but they tend to produce a rough ugly surface when filed with coarse files. A scraper will produce a better finish. Most varieties can be sanded but only the hard varieties polish well.

Acrylic is the most versatile. It can be heated and bent, slumped or blown into bubbles. It can also be welded with heat and glued. It takes a brilliant polish OR can be painted. Clear acrylic is beautiful material but weathers over time developing a fine network of cracks then a white haze. This is probably due to exposure to petrochemical fumes in the atmosphere. Indoors it has a long life.

The polycarbonate (Lexan) absorbs water which makes steam and bubbles in the plastic when heated. It has to dried for days in an oven at 240°F prior to slumping or blowing bubbles to prevent foging and surface defects. It is what bullet proof windows are made from and is VERY tough. Its just hard to manufacture things from.

Delrin is more ameanable to machining but could also be carverd with a knife or chisel. It is resistant to a wide variety of chemicals including glues. It comes in a black black and an ivory color. It is very good for making plastic gears and bearings and has a high natural lubricity (its slipery).

Nylon is gummy and hard to cut smoothly. It melts with heat and is VERY sticky. It can be welded. It is slightly flexible thus having a great toughness. It is often used for gears and bearings but absorbs oil and water. This can cause close fits to lock up.

Teflon is resistant to almost everything. It is hard to cut and despite its slipperyness it is also very abrasive and causes cutting tools to wear rapidly. The engineering variety is usualy white.

Plastic welding is done with a hot air "torch" and is similar to welding with gas. Parts can be fused or filler rod used to build up fillets.

Let me know if you need specific data. I need to research and post it anyway.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 04:18:09 GMT

Forge: Jeff, Join the local ABANA chapter. There are several in your area. Meetings are held in shops with one or more forges and there is almost always some "open forge" time. If you join all the local groups you could go to a meeting almost every weekend. Through the chapter you may meet someone that will let you use their facilities OR setup in a corner of their shop.

I highly recommend you purchase or build your own forge. Forges are almost as personal a tool as you can get. They are easy to burn out or damage if you abuse them. Therefore its not a good idea to be constantly borrowing someone elses.

Local groups. Blacksmiths Guild of the Potomac, Mid-Atlantic Smiths, Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland and Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 04:29:05 GMT

Leveling PH anvil: Pete, all kinds of things work. For fine adjustments I use roofing felt. You can tear off large odd shapes and build up a fitted surface that levels your anvil. It is water resistant, doesn't rot and once compressed by the weight of the anvil it won't change much.

For coarse adjustments saw tapers on the wood cushion. An adz can be handy at this point. Shims and wedges tend to move or compress due to point loading. Use that roofing felt in as big of pieces as you can. Cover with a full sheet.

These jobs seem simple until you put the anvil in and out of the hole a dozen times. Use as precision a level as you can find. THEN you have to repeat it with the machine. However, with the machine you can use brass and steel shim stock. Use long pieces to provide adequate distributed support.

For a final check use carbon paper and thin poster board. Close the dies and look at the pattern. There should either be an oval spot in the middle or a retangular pattern with light oval spot in the center. Any out of squareness will show up.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 04:44:38 GMT

Thanks for the answers Guru;
The small amound we pay you sure is worth it.
As for the rest of you...pony up...we dont wanna loose this.
Pete F - Thursday, 02/15/01 08:18:15 GMT

All cautions aside ,life is unfortunate enough to find myself ocasionally bending galvinized rods (3/4"). I've noticed that upon heating for a bend the galvanizing contaminates the iron and will give a fracture resembling high sulfer iron (?). To avoid this the galvanizing must be removed in it's intirety, a much heathier manuver!
What is the offial metalurgical explanation for this?
Thanks' Now I can sound more scientific, Fred
Fred Hoffmeister  <hofwin at gpcom.net> - Thursday, 02/15/01 11:35:27 GMT

Guru, I just saw your post about the plastics. I tried to go to the metals online page but nothing came up. Anyhow, for my question, would the delrin work for making patterns for sand casting of bronze? I need another material for making patterns out of besides wood, the grain makes things difficult for making small patterns, plus it would be nice to have something that dosn't break as eaisly.

Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 15:44:42 GMT

Zinc: Fred, On that size rod the zinc galvanizing has nothing to do with it. It may affect the immediate surface but nothing more. If you are bending at too low a heat (300-700°F) you may be in the blue brittle range. Bending at up to a low red ((1000-1300°F) may also be a problem with some steels.

What type of steel are you bending?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 15:45:37 GMT

Hi, I'm a college student with a few questions about blacksmith places. What rooms are required in a blacksmith shop and which rooms are used most and how was the work space and which rooms were required in the early 19 hundreds?
Carmalisa  <CLReason at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 16:20:20 GMT

Pattern Making: Mike, How small a pattern? What type of wood? Wood has some tremendous advantages over plastic. It is much easier to rasp, file and sand.

Delrin is tough stuff and would make a durable pattern. It is also just gummy enough that coarse rasping and filing will leave a terrible surface that is hard to clean up. It will carve nicely though. See my iForge demo on scrapers from last week (Feb 7). It also drills, taps and machines nicely.

Pattern making wood for the average pattern is generaly fine grained wood such a mahogany or top grades of clear pine. I use mahogany for large patterns. However, for small patterns with some detail I use walnut. Walnut and cherry make very fine patterns. For "get the job done" patterns I use automotive body putty over the wood and paint with sanding primer. The body putty can take fine detail and is relatively tough stuff.

If the pattern is to be used a lot OR you don't want to give your original to the foundry, make a plaster mold from your pattern and cast it in epoxy or polyester resin. Both can be strengthened with fibreglass. Coat the inside of the mold with a thin layer of plain plastic by pouring the resin in and then dumping the excess out (like ceramic casting). This helps reduce the bubbles on the surface and gives a thickness of resin over the fibreglass to file and sand. After that sets you can fill the mold with fibreglass cloth and more resin. If its a large pattern wood fill can be used.

By casting your patterns from plaster molds you can use almost ANYTHING for a pattern. Patterns can be made of clay, plaster, wax. . . I remember watching my Dad cut belt leather to make ribs on a curved surface. After gluing to the wood pattern the leather was puttied and finished with sanding lacquer primer and painted with hard lacquer. That pattern is now 45 years old and looks like the day it was made.

Yep, There appeared to be a problem with our Online Metals and Plastics store this AM. Its back online now.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 16:27:36 GMT

Layout of Blacksmith Shop: Carmalisa, Most general blacksmith shops were and are a single space. Large shops may have had a store room. If the shop did both wood and metal work (as many did) the wood working would be seperated due to danger of fire and to keep the wood away from the filth of the blacksmith shop.

Large modern shops with many employees may have a little more segregation. Storage, a showroom and a small office may be part of a modern shop. The largest may have design and engineering spaces attached to the production shop.

Arc welding is often seperated from the main to keep other workers from being exposed to the glare of the arc. Sometimes this is a seperated room but it is often done with partitions.

If the shop does machine work or has machine tools to maintain the forge shop then there is a seperate area for the machines. The machine tools need to be isolated from the grinding grit, weld spatter and dirt of the general shop.

Painting and finishing are seperated for obvious reasons.

Large forge or blacksmith shops resemble a machine shop or factory more than what you would think of as a "blacksmith" shop. These often have overhead cranes (rectilinear hoist or bridge crane) that cover most of the shop. Breaking up the shop with more than temporary partitions then becomes an inconvienience. Some shops use heavy fork lift trucks and need wide isles for their use. Again, breaking up the shop becomes an inconvienience.

A small one or two man shop may still have everything in one space. Arc welding, machine tools and forge shop all in one. Seperate areas are most likely the result of building expansion or the layout of a preexisting building.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 16:54:21 GMT

Guru, thanks for getting back so quickly! Mostly I'm making reproductions of ancient Celtic weapons & ornaments, knives, axes,spear heads, Celtic man hilts, etc... They are 3D so the plaster mold would probably be difficult. So far I've been making a pattern out of wood then casting a metal pattern to use for production. One of the last patterns I made was out of mahogany, it was a small knife about 4" long & 1/8" to 3/16ths thick. The grain was causing problems carving it, I would get ridges where the hard grain was. That's why I thought a plastic with no grain would be helpful. I made a spear head out of cherry & that worked well, it was a much bigger piece.

Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 17:09:09 GMT

Plaster Molds: Mike, the plaster mold is made just like the sand mold. If the piece won't come out of the plaster it won't come out of the sand right either.

To make a plaster mold the piece is set into plasticine modeling clay at the parting line (the whole in a mold box). Tapered locators and a pouring vent or spuue are also set into the clay surface. The pattern and clay surface are painted with a water color brush with a slurry of Ivory soap and water as a parting agent. Then plaster is poured in to the top half of the mold box.

The box and plaster is turned over and the oil clay removed. Parting agent (the soap) is applied and the second half of the mold poured.

If the plaster is to be used for casting the metal then molds are made in a production process. "Master" molds are used that may already have the pattern cast into the plaster. These can be lacquered so that the parting works better to seperate the new plaster from the Master mold. Masters are also made from special high strength hard plasters for durability.

Complicated shapes that won't come out of a two part mold are relatively easy to make by the process above in plaster. The pattern I mentioned with the leather ribs required a 5 part mold. Three "sides" and a top and bottom.

Lost wax is not the only way to make investment castings.
Your brass and bronze can be cast in plaster molds if the plaster is calcined and there is sufficient venting. The resulting surface finish is much finer than from sand casting. Complicated sand molds that a foundry wouldn't attempt except in high production are easy to make in plaster.

Delrin would make very nice patterns for your purpose. However, talk to your foundry. Part of the process of making a sand mold often requires screwing a "rapping pin" or spike into the wood which is semi self healing. On some patterns threaded inserts are used for this purpose (less damage to the pattern).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 18:49:02 GMT

Guru, Thanks again! That is some great info. I'm my own foundry right now, I just do it as a hobby right now along with blacksmithing and fabricating. Where could I look to find that calcined plaster? Could it be used more than once?
I have a local foundry that has helped me a little with this & I saw how they make a plate with half the pattern on each side, great way to make multiple castings for sand. I think it might work for plaster patterns too. I tried once to make one, but it didn't work quite right & I havn't gotten around to finishing it yet.
As to why I thought the plaster molds would be difficult, I was thinking of one sided molds, not two or more.
Thanks Again, Mike
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 19:51:14 GMT

Calcining: Mike, This is the process of cooking all the water out of the mold before pouring in the metal. The plaster is cooked to about 1300°F or so and is almost breaking down. The metal is poured into the hot mold. Besides removing all the water (including some that is chemicaly bound) the hot mold doesn't chill the metal.

Plaster molds are not reusable when used for metal.

Boarded (plate) patterns are good but require careful alignment. It is best to make the pattern in two pieces with dowel pins to align the halves. When attached to the board longer dowels are used. Even if the board is perfect then you need careful alignment of the flasks so that the mold lines up. This is another area where plaster molds with conical alignment pins cast in to the mold give very good results.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 20:22:27 GMT

background- motion control electronics (shifting to cnc machines through local college) love of brass skeleton clocks got me into metal-
a decade or three ago a clock store (mason & sulivan) sold a brass clock dial with a pewter cladding on one side- the brass shown where diamond engraved-
Making own panagraph to engrave own dials- is there a source for pewter cladded brass in the present day market? If no source- what is proceedure?
Thank you
W.Rosenberger  <O2bndskyn2k at aol.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 20:23:54 GMT

Guru, The boarded pattern I tried was a little different. I started by making a 1/4" square frame that fit between the cope & drag & aligned with the pins of the cope & drage. Then you make your sand pattern without the frame in like normal. Before you cast you put the frame in & seal around it to prevent splash out! Wallah, you have a two sided pattern that is perfectly aligned. I don't remember if that is the way I saw it there or not, but I think it should work.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 20:42:54 GMT

Hi folk's
I've bought a power hammer here in Australia which looks like ( huge base plate and top plate, with 4 giant bolts ca. 2 inch diameter, the guard and top drive shaft with cone pulley clutch is mounted on the top plate and the anvil is a separate unit, not attached to the frame.Does anybody know this type of hammer?. The problem I'm facing now to match up.
the hammer with a motor and pulley system. The weight of the hammer is appox.
90 pounds incl. springs, toggle-links etc.The linkage to the hammer
does not have a spring loaded bolt like Little giant to adjust the stroke Would you please
be so kind and give me an Idea which size of motor I need
I have got a 2 hp 1450rev per minute 3 phase motor. And what size pulley on the motor would be O.K..The pulley (clutch
is 10 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.I worked out roughly a 3inch pulley would give me ca. 200 blows per minute. Any pictures of the hammer would be

Thank's in advance

robert  <ironsmith at iprimus.com.au> - Thursday, 02/15/01 21:06:41 GMT

Hammer: Robert, Top speed on a Little Giant 100# hammer 275 BPM. Your hammer may run as fast as 300 BPM. Your motor is OK. Commercialy they might put a larger motor on that size hammer but 2HP will do.

Little Giants don't have an adjustable stroke. The height of the work is adjustable by a slip joint above the toggles. The spring adjustment is to compensate for weakening of the spring and to tweak the hammer to run best at top speed.

I don't recognize the type hammer from your description.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 21:45:05 GMT

heh, Thanks guru, ill bet that actor felt like it was his lucky day.
Adam Smith - Thursday, 02/15/01 22:02:56 GMT

Guru and friends I have a dilema, my youthgroup meetinghouse is heated by a single gas heating fixture that takes propane fuel. I noticed a smell the first time i came there, i thought it was just the garbage, but now I just realized that its propane i smell, and the last time i went it was quite strong. I told everyone i could, but nobody was taking me seriously, I emphasized that there was an explosive gas leaking into the place, still im just a teenager, what would know? they leave the place closed for weeks at a time and not only is there a leak in the heater, the GIGANTIC LP tank is right outside on the other side of the wall, maybe its just me but im thinking if somebody doesnt realize what the hell is going on, the place is at serious risk of GOING UP.

any ideas on how i could get them to listen to me?
When they dropped me off at home i brought out a propane cyllinder and let them smell the gas themselves, they agreed that it was the same smell, and contrary to what I told them then and there, they said its nothing to worry about.

I have enough to worry about, being a junior in highschool, please, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Adam Smith - Thursday, 02/15/01 22:17:56 GMT

Pewter cladded brass: W.R., That sounds like a clock specialty item. I've seen it on old clocks but never thought about where it came from.

My guess at how it is made. Brass and pewter sheets are cleaned, stacked and then heated in an oven to just barely the melting point of the pewter.

Are you sure the material is clad and not plated?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 22:36:41 GMT

Leaking Gas: Adam, Sometimes a small amount smells like a LOT but is not a problem. However, propane is a heavy gas and collects on the floor. Because it collects in low places and doesn't waft away like lighter gases it it more of a hazzard than other more volitile gases.

I would recommend you call the local fire department and explain the situation to them. DO NOT call the emergency or E911 number. Look them up and ask to speak to the station cheif or commander. Explain the situation to them and that you work with fuel gases and know what they smell like.

Recently a local foundry had a devastating explosion and fire involving numerous fatalities. Workers had reported the smell of gas to management. Yet the worse case happened. Sometimes you have to be a "pest" and insist that something be done. The problem in business as well as other places is that people often don't want to be the bearer of bad news or do anything that might cost a little money to resolve.

YOU are always responsible for your personal safety. When you report the problem and it is ignored, report it to the next level of management. It is a difficult position to be in but it happens. It never makes you the hero.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 23:02:42 GMT

Thankyou guru, I told my father who works with the fire dept, now I know exactly who to take it to.

BTW, I HAVE A REAL ANVIL, it came tuesday, 100 pounder, and boy, a heavy hundred pounds, works beautifully, it was manufactured by grizzly power tools. All but the flat surface is painted, and when i took a hot strip O' steel to the horn to make a bracelet, i was dissapointed by the wretched smoke produced by the burning paint, should i remove it mechanically, or just not work hot metal on it?

Thx guru
AdamSmith - Thursday, 02/15/01 23:18:12 GMT

What up Guru? I,m doing a blacksmith shop in a Shakespeare festival at School and all the searchs i have done on the internet have only come up with Will Smith web sites. So all i know about blacksmiths is that they make things out of metal. Can you tell me a few things about blacksmiths?
Roberto  <hampsterpellits at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 23:21:27 GMT


Bless you for having the courage to pursue the matter!

Wire brush the anvil if you want. At least the horn, step, and face. Won't hurt anything, and breathing burning paint is not the best thin in the world for your longs. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 02/15/01 23:59:59 GMT

Paint: Adam, Congrats, That paint is just to keep it from rusting in storage. Scrape or sand it off the working surfaces. Note only about the top 1/3 of the horn actualy gets used.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 00:02:19 GMT

hello, In the movie, i think, The Bodyguard there is a sword that could cut through a falling silk scarf by jsut the weight of the scarf. I always thought that this was intereasting and i few years ago i read about it in a magazine agian. I thought that i remember redaing that it was an arabian or oriental way of making the swords. I was jsut wondering if this is just harder to do, i mean that would have to be a pretty sharp sword, or if it is a special technique when making the sword.
liam  <frndlefire at aol.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 01:04:03 GMT

Shakespearean Blacksmithing; Roberto:

Along with Bealer's "The Art of Blacksmithing" on the bookshelf page her, you may want to pick up Agricola's "De Re Metallica" and Biringuccio's "The Pirotechnia." These should be available at your library or through an inter-library loan. The text and illustrations should give you an insight into the mindset and practices at the time. Beyond that, a forge in Shakespeare's time would be very similar to that during the American Colonial period. They would have had all of the tools by then, including vises. You'd be well advised to search this site, and the web, for some further information, and I'm sure that other members of the Guru's crew will add to this.

Incredible Swords; Liam: Don't believe everything you see in the movies. ;-) Sometimes "incredible" is just that.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 02:16:42 GMT

Dear Guru, Thanx for the advice, we'll try charcoal and coal and let you know how it turns out. By the way, have found a source for blacksmith's coal in Central Pa. that is not on your list. Franklin Breaker in Ravine PA. phone 570-345-8486. Loose coal, you shovel. Thanx again Pat
Pat Frese  <pfrese at epix.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 02:35:37 GMT

Blacksmith Actors: Roberto, I can tell you that 99% of all actors that perform as smiths never held a hammer in their lives and it SHOWS!

Hot iron is soft, compared to COLD iron. But that is not saying much. You hit iron HARD, not little peck pecky bird taps. You hit it like you are going to push it through that impenetrable anvil and keep going. Smithing hammers are swung from above the head or shoulder height. (be careful, hammers bounce back off the anvil face like a super ball, you can end up eating the the back side of the hammer with a miss strike).

"Ringing the anvil", bouncing the hammer off the anvil's surface is done much less than hard hard working blows. It is generaly done very little in the morning when you are fresh and more often tward the end of the day. During regular work you hit the iron as fast as you can but sometimes you need to turn the work or LOOK at it for one beat. Instead of striking the work you let the hammer fall on its own against the anvil and it will bounce back to near full height on its own. This way you keep your rhythm and get a rest for that stroke. It is sort of an art and the ringing of the anvil is the music of the blacksmith shop.

To LOOK like you are working at the anvil you need to HIT something. A stick of wood like a furring strip works.

Smiths are generaly entrepreneurs and in earlier times were one of the more important figures in a community. As buisnesmen they had to be well spoken.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 03:06:49 GMT

I see some postings on hammer foundations above. I am just in the process of pouring a foundation for my 50# little jiant, have the hole dug. I followed the dimensions in the Kern book, which also recommends a 1/4-3/8" rubber pad. Based on the discussions above, I am now thinking of lowering the concrete foundation surface and putting a lumber isolation on in addition to the rubber. Questions:
1. How thick lumber is appropriate and is there a recommended type of wood.
2. It would seem that the rubber should go between the lumber and the concrete, rather than the hammer and the lumber, correct?
3. The drawing in Kern does not say how much of the anchor bolts need to protrude out of the foundation for the hammer base. How thick is the hammer mounting base around the mounting bolt holes?
I'm pouring concrete next Tuesday. Any other recommendations would be appreciated.
doug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 03:25:17 GMT

Hammer Foundation: Doug, Why do you have to ask about the flange thickness on the hammer??? Don't you have the hammer? Although most LG's are about the same I wouldn't set anchor bolts based on a questionable drawing. Those pipes around the studs on the drawing are supposed to make up for the errors in the base but I wouldn't count on it. Set the hammer on a sheet of hard board or plywood and make a template. The flange on a 50# LG is about 1-1/4" but the bottom of the casting is not machined and out of flatness could vary that quite a bit.

Old hammers are also a little low for taller folks. You may want to jack that hammer up 4" or 6". . The smaller the hammer the higher the dies.

The rubber pad under an LG is to take up errors between the concrete and the cast iron. Most folks use old conveyor belting but you may still need to shim. If you jack up the hammer using 4" of lumber then the rubber is wasted but those 2" long studs are going to be a problem.

Oak is recommended when the stack is quite deep for big hammers. The variations in the stack make a huge spring of it. If you are looking for cushioning for a small hammer I would use soft pine 1-1/2" min. A high proportion of LG's are run bare on concrete. I would worry more about stressing the flange by bad shimming.

Start with the hammer. Make a template. Consider the height. Don't stress the base by getting lazy with the shim stock.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 04:04:32 GMT

Well, I don't have the hammer here in AZ yet, I'm picking it up in North Dakota in June and hoping to get to CanIron on the same trip. How much of a gamble is it to set the anchor bolt according to the drawing and put the pipes around for adjustment? I'm using 24" anchor bolts and plan to let enough protrude to go through the lumber thickness and the hammer base flange. I read somewhere that you should let the concrete foundation cure for a few months prior to using the hammer. That is why I wanted to pour the foundation now before the hammer is here. I guess now I am wonder how important it is to cure the concrete prior to using the hammer, and how long is sufficient to cure. I have called the guy I bought the hammer from but he is not very willing to go out in the cold and make me a template for the mounting holes. Suggestions?
doug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 04:18:57 GMT

Concrete: Doug, Concrete increases in strength rapidly for the first few months and continues to improve for a year or more. IF I HAD to set the hammer without a template I'd be sure to use plenty big pipe around the studs (PVC works). And be sure to set the studs accurately. An adjustment tolerance does no good if you use it up before setting the hammer.

Most of us would pour the concrete, set the hammer and run power to it. . :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 04:51:34 GMT

Regarding the foundation for 50 lb. Little Giant. I have mine bolted to the concrete floor of my shop with 8 inch expansion bolts. It hasn't moved yet with daily use. We have dug a hole 5 ft. deep for the Nazel 3B however which will definitely need the foundation. If you want to pour the foundation now just eliminate the bolts and drill later. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 11:50:53 GMT

Foundations The large foundations we read about in Industrial Handbooks are intended to isolate a hammers from the other machines in a shop. Nothing like trying to plane .003 from a 18'x23'casting with a Nazel 3b thumping away nest to you. Most hammers are designed wiith enough frame strength and weight to be self supporting.
I dont recall ever seeing a hammer that lacked for a foundation. The anchor bolts just keep them from walking around the shop. Think about hammers you have seen at demos.
I once saw a 250 pound Beuadry mounted to railway timbers and sitting on alluvial soil (loving reffered to as suck-mire in Eastern Va.)Pounding out the profits. Guru you may have seen this hammer also.
It doesnt hurt to raise those hammers up. The design assumptions for hammers is that you can always make them taller; So they are all built for very short people.
JohnC  <careatti at crosslink.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 12:49:49 GMT

Liam, the sword in bodygard is a japanese one, the actual sword in the film is a bad stainless steel copy that would
not cut a silkscarf if you fastened a 5 kilo wight on both sides of it, just to tell the truce, even the best original japanese sword would not cut a silkscarf that sails down onto the edge of the blade
stefan  <stefan at imv.uit.no> - Friday, 02/16/01 14:41:55 GMT

Doug, to add to what's been said....Typical (5 bag mix) concrete has 100% of it's specified strength at 28 days. 150% of the specified strength after a year. 40% at 3 days and 75% at 7 days. Don't be stingy with the rebar. ALL concrete cracks and the rebar holds it together. I'd wait at least 7 days before pounding on it with a power hammer. Once you break the bonds, they are broken for good. Stronger mixes (higher percentage of portland cement) take longer to get to high strength. There are certain admixtures that can give very high strength after 1 day. A ready mix supplier can help with that stuff if you want it. If you want to pour now, drilling later as Tim said and using anchors set with ceramic filled epoxy put in after you get the hammer will do just fine. Much much better holding power under vibrating loads than typical friction expansion anchors. But 8 inch long expansion anchors are a lot too. (grin Tim) And 24 inches of concrete is REALLY a lot! I would say an 8" slab on typical soil with 2 layers of number 5 rebar, 1.5" from the top and bottom of the slab and 8" on center would be overkill for a 50 pound LG. White oak for the timbers if you use them. White oak is very resistant to rot and bugs. Much more than red oak. If you really don't want to have the LG bounce around, I'd pour the slab, set the machine with 3" shims between the base and the concrete, then epoxy grout between the base and concrete and use the drilled epoxy set anchors. That baby won't move!

Have fun! I love concrete!

Guru, no petroleum coke experience?
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 14:47:16 GMT

Guru Thank you for the responce on galvinized bends. Bending done well into the reds, seems independent of the mild steel, the 3/4" rod that fails with zinc on bends with zinc removed. As for the explanation, I'll just have to get some more mileage out of the old inquisitive smile and amused look! Fred
Fred H.  <hofwin at gpcom.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 14:50:34 GMT

Greetings, Great Guru:
Much easier question: What is the best method to ship an anvil across country - commercially. "Several hundred" pounds, 38 inches long, in good shape.
One LTL outfit quoted $215, dock to dock from Orlando to Boise, for 250#, so I know it's expensive.
But how to best prepare it for the journey. They suggested crating or boxing it, but thought strapping to a pallet would be OK.
(Maybe MailBoxesEtc... ?)
Thanks, and sorry to bring down the level of discussion/expertise.
JJ Chip  <jjchip at mail.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 17:47:04 GMT

JJ Chip,

Throw that on the scale a Mail Boxes and watch the scale start shedding capacitors in lieu of tears! (grin) I'd crate it to protect it.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 18:11:10 GMT

Foundations: John C. Thanks for getting us back to reality.

Most of the hammers I have run were setting on timbers in the ground or on dubious concrete floors. If you look at the photos of the hammers in Josh Greenwwod's shop on the Power hammer Page and NEWS theses monsters have almost no foundation. The 1B and the 3B have pits for timbers to set the seperate anvils on. The 300# Bradley has a small block of concrete under the anvil and the machine (as are the others) sets on wood stringers over the 150 year old concrete. The 500# one piece Chambersburg is sitting on a sheet of 1/2" plywood on the same floor.

In my shop I poured 2 wonderful isolation blocks for the 100# and 50# Little Giants I had when I built the building. They were never installed and have since been sold. At one point I had a 250# Little Giant. It was going to be a real trick to get it to fit on the 100# hammer foundation. . . NOW I have a 350# Niles-Bement. It requires a pit foundation. . . I suspect I will have to saw a 4 x 4 foot hole in the floor. . . But I now toying with setting it on wood load distribution blocks and building a wood platform around the hammer. So much for plans. . .

Bruce wallace had a factory spec foundation for his 50#LG and then removed it to put in a larger foundation for a 100# Bradley. Removing the one foundation cost more than both.

One the other hand Daniel Boone has his Kuhn set on a nice seperate concrete foundation. . . over clean gravel fill. The hammer end is sinking as the gravel vibrates away. If the fill had been compacted crush run it would have been OK. Several feet under the gravel is hard Virgina red clay with is the only foundation you need around here.

The problem is that as John pointed out, most hammer foundations are designed for industrial situations. The general instructions in old references are for many ton hammers that were almost always located in coastal cities on aluvial muck. The pilings and pyramidal stacks of timbers under the anvil are to keep it from dissapearing altogether.

Occasionaly ground water is a problem. One of my corespondants told me about his Kuhn foundation problems. He started with the steel block foundation. His neighbors complained that everything in their house was bouncing up and down. Next step was a typical huge isolation block. . . same problem. It pushed DOWN the incompressable water laden soil pushed UP and his neighbors still complained. The final solution was an isolation block on special compressable rubber cushions set in a concrete lined pit. A very expensive foundation.

I'm not sure WHAT I will do in my next shop. I suspect it will be half concrete and half dirt (in the forge area). Hammers will be set on wood timbers in the dirt and gravel. If they need to be moved or replaced. . shovel time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 18:30:37 GMT

Petro Coke: Tony, Nope. You got it. Let us know! :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 18:33:25 GMT

Mythical Swords: Yep, don't believe anything you see in movies or hear on the blade forums.

Someone asked what is Zena's sword make of. . . Hard rubber. So is her armour. Remember my comments a week ago about Hollywood making wood and plaster look like anything?

The swords used in the last fight scene of the first Highlander movie are heavily dented and most likely soft 304 SS.

The forging scene in Conan the Barbarian is great fantasy but that is all. The casting scene is bronze age technology and has nothing to with steel. The flaming anvil routine is great fantasy too. Look closely and you will note that the "anvil" is a rough obviously flame cut piece of steel plate. . . And the ah "fluffy snow quench" wouldn't do anything. Its ALL hype. I love it, but you must understand that its Hollywood hype. See my comments above about actors playing blacksmiths. . .

Beam me NOW up Scotty.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 18:52:23 GMT

Silk Scarf & Sword Myth: This is a very old myth that originated in the Middle East at the time of the Crusades and was supposedly the proof of superiority of scimitars made of Damascus steel. As far as I know it IS a myth. AND it may have originated elsewhere as many myths do. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 19:14:01 GMT

Thanks for the encouragement and support guys.
AdamSmith - Friday, 02/16/01 20:15:07 GMT

Built a bellows and used canvas at someone's suggestion. Not a great idea. Saw the text and photos of your great bellows in "21st Century". The bellows will be used for demo's and in my shop. Was planning to make something in the size of 3'x5' or so. Do you have more detailed plans and photos of your bellows?
Wood dimensions , types of hinges, how you sealed the leather joints? How are the ribs attached, etc.? Thanx much.
Allen Schaeffer  <STUDIO_518 at prodigy.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 20:28:15 GMT


THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker and Farrier, Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-393-32057-X, $15.95 from Barnes and Noble.

Chapter 11, Building A Leather Lung Bellows, is complete with all drawings dimensions, and necessary construction techniques. Well worth the money for the first 9 chapters, Chapter 10 (Building A Brick Forge) and Chapter 11 are bonuses!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 21:13:21 GMT

Bellows: Allen, I have prommised plans in the past but never finished them. Canvas works if it is very heavy tight canvas (like they make masons job bags out of).

The hinges I used were non-traditional cut-out things I designed for the bellows. Plain door hinges under leather will work. Most old bellows just used leather. Mine have no seals at all, just tight hinges.

Sealed leather joints? No. Seams were double sewn 3/4" laps using nylon thread. Edges were folded in 3/4" and nailed as shown with special roofing nails. The almost continous nail heads results in no seal needed. Strips of leather were used to reinforce and protect the nailed joints on the ribs.

My "ribs" were extra boards (see photos). The weight didn't hurt. The article describes the design fairly well. I had no detail drawings. Just built it. I DO have the pattern for the leather somewhere but that is something that needs to be made on a case by case basis.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 21:27:44 GMT

Gotta say that your bellows is spanky! How did you attach the ribs to the laminated nose (if at all), and did you bore the air hole at an angle from the top chamber to come out the center of the laminate nose? Did you use the strips of leather on the ribs because they are "floating ribs. It also looks like you used 12"W, tongue and grooved, 4 Quarter board. I have quite a bit of 4Q Pine boards from a local sawmill. Was thinking of making a nail header and making nailsf for this thing when I demo at the Danl Boone Homestead. To cut down on the amount of nails needed, I might use a thin band of wood to attach the horsehide. Probably cut the amount of nails in half. How about a piano type hinge for the Upper and Lower sections and then cover that with the leather? I see in the photo that you have an approx 3/8" by 1 1/2" bar attached to the center board and the nose is glued up already. Did you fuller the ends down to Round? I am getting my materials ready for this Spring after some projects are completed. That's never-ending. If you email me directly I will link you to some images of my shop and others. I have a stone forge that my Dad and I built.
Thanx for all of your help,
Allen Schaeffer  <STUDIO_518 at prodigy.net> - Friday, 02/16/01 22:33:02 GMT

Bellows: The wood is pine shelving (3/4" finished) that I hand selected. The trick is not to hit a knot with a nail. . At the time the fellow didn't tell me he had clear pine. Now you can't get it (at least here). I tongue and grooved the boards with a router.

The nose block was laminated and the air hole created by cutout and carving. The nozzel is a 1-1/2" piece of pipe snuggly fitted and glued in. 1-3/4" exhaust pipe just happened to fit over it.

The cross bar is 1/2" x 1-1/2 or 2" with 5/8" threaded ends.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/16/01 23:17:00 GMT

Guru, over the years I've made several coal fire pots and I own a store bought cast iron pot that's presently not in use. I'm about to build four more that will be used at the school just to see if there is a need in the local area for blacksmithing classes. If the class proves out with enrollment then new equipment may be available. I am interested in knowing what different manufacturers fire pot dimensions are. Most of my past fire pots are approximately 4" to 5" deep and 8" X 10". Do cast iron pots vary much in size or are most somewhere near this size? Should I build them deeper or wider? What I've got works well, but if something works better I'd like to know. I'm just curious if there are differant sizes for differant reasons. Thanks for any help.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 02/17/01 03:06:39 GMT

Was wondering how much difference there is between the editions of the Machinery Handbook...as far as info on blacksmithing...say between the12th edition versus a 4th or 5th edition?thanks Guru.....Mikey
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 03:27:46 GMT


Guru will correct me if I goof on this one, but I don't think there will be a whole lot of difference that far back.

I've got a 10th and an 17th, and there's some difference, but not a LOT of difference.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 04:07:11 GMT

Hi, My name is Bob, I have a small welding job shop, making custom metal pieces for caterers and special event companies, up until about 6 months ago I bought premade pieces and just welded them together, using jigs and some cold bending. I started blacksmithing around 6 months ago. I have been working with metal for around 4 years, and am knowledgable around tools enough to rebuild old landcruisers, and their motors. I am 33 y/o and have the capability to saw 8" material, plasma 1", weld, and punch around 1" in a variety of metals.
I am starting to accumulate materials to build my own power hammer. I have aquired a 24" throw, 2" hydraulic cylinder, and have been given a piece of 6" D SS about 6' long I plan to cut down to about 3'. It will weigh around 300# (just the column). I have a few questions, first considering this is the largest base (column) I can find what is the weight limit I should consider for the hammer part?, second could I used the left over piece of SS with a C bracket welded to the end of it (for connecting the piston ram)as the hammer, this would be heavier and easier to connect dies to than the original plan of using a piece of railroad, but I won't have the back plate (like the rail footing) to use as a guide.... to keep the cylinder in the vertical position,, would it be ok to weld to the outside of the cylinder?, something to just hold it in place.. Thanks in advance for your help.
Bob  <dragondesigns at mindspring.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 05:44:45 GMT

Any one tried out Ferrium C69 its a computer desighned steel thats supposedly hardens to rockwell 69 and can be patern welded. I read about it in the feb. wired magazine article forging the dragonslayer. I don't think this is a break through on the level of cold fusion but the article may be of interest to knife makers.
Leaf  <leaf at whidbey.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 08:41:16 GMT

I'm a member of NY state designer blacksmiths and ABANA. I
usually do decorative work, but have recently been challenged with some jackhammer bits to redo. These bits are hexagonal, 1 1/4" across the flats (diameter).
I would appreciate advice as to hardening and drawing out.
In fact, any advice or tips on this task would be welcomed.
...Happy Hammering...Pete Andrews..Possum Trot Forge
H. Peter Andrews  <Oldpossum1 at aol.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 11:38:28 GMT

Need to go in the vat. Can't find the recipe for super quench. Will you send me to it?
Tom  <ttinker at ptd.net> - Saturday, 02/17/01 14:40:29 GMT

Ferrium C69 - I just read the article. Itīs described as a carbon steel, which it couldnīt be. Someone is fooling someone. But they do claim they can do metallurgy in the computer. Comments, Guru?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 02/17/01 18:11:08 GMT

Hammer Bits: Peter, LOTS of power. This is a job for a 100 to 300 pound (45 to 135 kg) hammer. Although we have recently heard of someone doing it with a 25# LG. . . A Nazel 2B is perfect.

Heat just enough of the bit to reforge the point. If power forging there should be enough residual heat to quench in oil. The quench tank needs a grate to prevent losing the bits in the bottom of the tank. Grind the last 1/4" of the tip to a 60° - 90° included angle.

Often while forging a small tip will develope beyond the point. This extra material gets cut off with a "nipper" (a press setup with blunt 90° "V" cutters). A punch press can be setup for this purpose.

The above is the production method used by well equiped point dressers. A friend of mine that was doing it could repoint 70 bits an hour (Yes, less than a minute each, I timed him). At $3 US per bit this is $210/hour. Sounds like a lot but the equipment used includes a 3B, a 10HP grinder with 14" wheels, a 16 ton punch press (nipper) and a 55 gal drum of quenching oil.

If you stay in this business you need a fork lift and a ton truck to handle the barrels of bits. Then the employee to hustle up the bits. . Yeah, that $200/hr starts to dwindle when you add wages, insurance, equipment costs.

Then, most places like to get back a dozen bits when the leave off a dozen bits. Many bits will be too short, cracked or have bent shanks and not reworkable. You need inventory to replace those.

Most places in the country THAT is your competition. I've sharpened bits by hand and there is no-way you can do it for $3 a piece. Its not just a hard job, its one of the few industrial smithing jobs still done in "small" shops.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 18:20:17 GMT

Metalurgy in the Computer: Olle, I just read the article. In the area of steels we have enough empirical data to predict things within the range of our experiance. Nothing new. The article calls it an "alloy" steel but is non-specific (the reporter is most probably NOT a metalurgist). However we also have a tremondous range of experiance with alloy steels and many aspects of steel should be able to be computer modeled to an extent. There IS a word of caution in the hype of the artical about testing the predictions.

The artical also says the blade is case hardened which means its not the Ferrium C69 that is so hard, its something beyond that. NOW, this is fair in certain areas such as gear or ball bearing manufacture where a microscopic amount of wear means the part is worn out, but in blade making we all know that a case hardened blade only takes a couple sharpenings and the blade is worthless. At one time cheep "trade blades" were case hardened but that was at a time when common carbon steel was rare and expensive. SO, we don't case harden blades today.

THEN there is the hype. A revered "Japanese" blade with a notch out of it. . . . OK, let me take my relatively soft wood splitting maul to their "superior" blade. . . . RIGHT! The heavier blunt edge will break a chunk out of the thinner blade. THEN there is the question of the quality of the $200 "Japanese" blade bought on the net. . . Very likely a cheap replica of unknown parentage.

SO? What have they prooved? Only that hype is nothing more than just that, hype, "smoke and mirrors", slight of hand. . . a game to fool the press, the public and greedy investors.

Back to the prediction of alloying:

We will probably be able to define and optimise new steels to some extent in the near future. But predicting carbon steel and low alloy steels is NOT the same a predicting simple non ferrous alloys. There is no model that predicts "memory metal". Its discovery was a pure accident. It is quite possible that it can be created from other elemnets but it is impossible to predict. There is no model that shows that the addition of bismuth to a tin/lead alloy can produce an alloy that melts at hundreds of degrees less than the lowest melting point of the constituants. There is no model that predicts alloys that expand when they freeze (like water).

The same applies to all the other properties of alloys. Conductivity, coeficient of expansion, corrosion resistance, ductility, strength.

Even something as simple as density is not entirely predictable. You can use simple proportioning to calculate the density of an alloy like a bronze. However, the results are NEVER quite the same as reality. I wrote a program to to the calcs based on the work of a NASA metalurgist. The results were close but not the same as known alloys. The reason is that different metal molecules and crystal structures fit next to each other differently than to their own. This means that somtimes the density will be greater, sometimes less. These are very small differences but they DO exist. Other properties are much more complicated. Those +/- variations in density probably have an effect on some of those properties. So how do we make the calcs that produce the REAL answer then determine the effects.

All the QuesTek Innovations guys have done is create more myths in the world of bladesmiths. Smoke and mirrors.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 20:09:21 GMT

Ferrium C69,
I read that article too, Ticked me off a bit. I get irritated when I read something like that. All fluf and no substance. In my opinion it's just a big marketing ploy.
Almost any decent steel could be manipulated to do the "fantastic feats of testing" they showed in the article.
PLEASE! Forcing a specially made blade into the edge of another off the shelf blade to show it's stronger than the factory steel says nothing except the test was rigged.
And then copyrighting the name Dragonslayer? Come on!
Just my opinion, but if you make a claim, back it up with facts.
Moldy  <later> - Saturday, 02/17/01 20:15:02 GMT

Hammer Design: Bob, 15:1 is the recommended ratio between ram and anvil. 10:1 is common but increases the shock transmission to the floor. Many fabricated hammers use 6:1 but I don't recommend it. 20:1 is used on the most expensive hammers and when transmitted shock needs to be minimized.

NO welding to the cylinder. Its a precision device filled with elastomers (seals, rings, o-rings, packing). If the cylinder has pin mounts then the ram will take care of the guiding. You cannot rely on the cylinder to be the guide. Hammers that do this are specialy designed machines with oversized cylinders with special internal guide systems.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 20:21:24 GMT

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK: Mikey, Editions earlier than the 5th are collectors items and a bit pricey. For the most part they did nothing but ADD articles up to about the 15th edition. Then they had to do some editing to fit all the new standards and alloying information that was being developed. After the 20th edition a lot of the older material was being removed to make room for things more important to modern machinists and engineers.

Like anvils, ANY edition of MACHINERY'S is better than none.

Note that MACHINERY'S is the best all round reference and everyone in the metals, engineering and construction trades should have a copy. However, it is NOT the be-all end-all of mechanical references. Marks' Mechanical Engineers' Handbook is found on more engineers desks than any other reference. It is NOT as useful as MACHINERY'S but it covers a different range of subjects. I refer to the ASM Metals reference Book more than any other for metals questions now but I used MACHINERY'S before I had the ASM ref. For learing how to use machine tools or do general metal working there are many textbooks on the subject that are more useful in that respect than MACHINERY'S. But once you are performing those tasks MACHINERY'S is indespensible.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 20:37:27 GMT

Firepots: Steve, Most firepots are proportional to the size work being done up to a point. The size you are making is average and should do a good job. The biggest differences in fire pots are when they are designed for alternate fuels such as charcoal. However, the fire bed is most commonly adjusted by the surrounding forge or fuel pile itself. The twyere opening varies more than anything.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/17/01 21:04:59 GMT


I am new to blacksmithing and went to a blacksmith guild meeting today and the guy demonstrating was talking about swedging and a swedgeblock. I'm not even sure I'm spelling it right. Anyway, I was wondering what swedging and a swedgeblock is. Can you enlighten me?


Cindy  <a37booboo at aol.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 03:45:17 GMT

Swage Block: Cindy, A swage block is a cast iron or steel block with holes, slots and depressions used to support and to help shape work. It is a fancy sort of anvil. Swaging has several definitions. Generaly it means reducing stock by squeezing in a die. Upper swages are handled tools that are struck by a hammer os sledge. Lower swages fit in the hardy hole of the anvil. Swages come in different sizes and nose radi. Small radius swages are used to dress inside corners (that should not be sharp) and larged swages are used for drawing out stock. In industrial terms swaging is the squeezing of stock in dies to some finished shape. Many fasteners are made by swaging.

Swage blocks at Dan Boone's shop in Lousia VA - anvilfire NEWSSet of Swage Blocks on stand at Daniel Boone's. The two swage blocks toward the back are the famous Wally Yeater patterns with a low conical shape that runs off of one block onto another. Wally no longer makes these blocks but his patterns have been copied by many. The front block is an antique. (anvilfire NEWS, Vol. 10 p.9)

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 04:29:46 GMT

More on Swage Blocks: Several of our advertisers sell swage blocks. Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son sell new blocks and Bruce Wallace occasionaly sells used ones.

We also have an iForge demo by Jim Joyce on making various swage type tools from junk and scraps. Below is one of my swage block patterns.

Jock Dempsey swage block No 1 click for detail
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 04:54:18 GMT

Red Faced and Embarased: In the above post on SWAGES I described FULLERS as swages. I will edit the information but round faced tools for drawing are FULLERS and might be classed a type of swage but are not.

That's what I get for working on too little sleep. . Fixed now
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 17:28:01 GMT

Good Guru;
In Tony's post ( above) on Power hammer foundations he proposes a technique of pouring the cement right up to the hammer's base, thus yielding a perfect fit up ( minus a little shrinkage). Would this design be adaquate without a shock absorbing layer, or with just a thin one?
If so, could it be used to compensate for the lighter anvil on the Chinese the newer hammers?
Pete F - Sunday, 02/18/01 08:03:02 GMT

Anvil Bases: Pete, it is very common to "grout in" machines. In one of the manuals on a one piece Chinese hamer I've reviewed it says.
"Before the concrete soliding, lay down wood blocks and frame, adjust the levelness of frame(upper plane of lower anvil)"
This works fine on a one piece hammer if you have a sky hook to hang the hammer from AND it hangs perfectly level on the crane. You might note that the lifting eye on both the one and two piece hammers is in the same place. ONE is not going hang level. . Plan on having rigging with one or two heavy duty come-a-long in the legs to level the machine before setting it into the concrete.

The manual goes on to tell you to use a "plug gauge" to check the alignment of the "upper anvil" and the fit of the ram. Plug Gauge = feeler gauge, Upper anvil = upper die. Dies are also called anvil cap in other places in the same manual.

Now, the method of setting the machine base in the concrete sounds good but it is common to end up with rough porous conctete under the parts. You must pour the concrete, work it very smooth and when it is just right set the machine into the surface. If the concrete is too wet you end up with a dusty mess under the contact areas, if too hard then it won't displace. Setting the wood distribution pad with the machine solves some of this but leaves a lot of area that you can't see. Normally to do this right you have to use a concrete vibrator to be sure the part under the base conforms and is solid. This requires having some overflow indicating the concrete had some pressure head under the machine. . .

In any case, the Chinese are fitting the foundation to the machine WITH the wood in place in a case where everything is on one plane. Two piece hammers with a monolithic foundation are bit trickier.

The instructions for the 2 piece 75Kg machine are different. After making the foundation per the drawing the manual says.
"2. The sleepers ( customers prepared themselves) under the anvil block are made of high-quality oak or elm uncracked and dry. They should be fastened togather with colts and their surfaces must be quite smooth. After put sleeper in the foundation pit check its surface level must not more than 0.5mm per 1000mm.

3. Put the anvil block and frame in alignment. . ."
This assumes that the bottom of the anvil is machined to be parallel to the dovetail AND that you have a precision level to do the leveling. No, this is not a construction level or little "machinist's" level. It is one with a calibrated bubble. My English equivalent is marked 0.0005" per Foot (about 1/10 the above tolerance). But when you are setting a level on a narrow die surface it needs to be a very accurate level.

No matter what you do when setting machinery there is always some picky shimming and leveling to do. It usually goes better than you thought it would. However, it helps to have a plan and sufficient shim stock and spacers.

NOTE: The above quotes including typos are taken directly from two different manuals exactly as printed. I've recommended that someone that can decypher these and understands Western hammer and machinery terms rewrite these manuals before they are distributed in the U.S.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 19:10:55 GMT

I'm trying to repair a statue made of bronze at my church and was wondering if you could help me. Part of the face of the statue has worn down to the bare metal. Any suggestion? Thank you for your help.
Ed Goldrick  <EdGoldrick at aol.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 18:01:27 GMT

Help! Looking for plans for "Simple Air Hammer...by Ron Kinyon." Thanks.
victor cabral  <vcabral2001 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 18:40:27 GMT

More on Setting Machinery and anvil bases It is common to "grout in" machinery that is leveled and bolted down. Grout designed to do this is a special non-shinking mix. However, from what I have seen it is fine for most machine tools but not hammers as it is relatively weak material.

Adding a heavy concrete foundation under a hammer reduces the transmission of vibration. However, no manufacture ever claimed that it improved the forging efficiency of the machine. The published efficiency charts only give the ratio between ram and anvil. IF the efficiency is a factor of the rebound effect of the anvil mass then the low resiliancy of the concrete and the energy transmission loss at the joint makes the concrete a very small factor. If concrete added to the machine efficiency a significant amount then I'm sure there would be data for with and without a heavy foundation.

One of my JYH plans calls for an above ground concrete machine base. However, the hammer still requires a good steel anvil. The concrete was just a cheap way of providing a heavy machine base and providing stability.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 19:50:02 GMT

Bronze statue: Ed, I'm not sure what you mean by "worn down to the bare metal". IF the statue is bronze then that IS the metal. If the statue is brass plated over some cheaper metal then the plating is worn through. If the "bare" area is grey and black it is probably a zinc casting. More plating is the only way to repair it. Some jewlers and silversmiths have equipment for spot repairing plating.

It is also common for religious items to be guilded. Guilding is the application of gold leaf over some base metal or other material (stone, wood. . ). Gold leaf is microscopicly thin. It is applied by applying a glue called "glare" to the surface to be guilded then the leaf is applied using a light brush (static electricity picks up the leaf) and then the leaf is burnished into the glue surface.

Statuary that is repeatedly touched (as many religious icons are) should not be plated or guilded as it wears through rapidly. This type of statuary should be solid brass or bronze. Constant contact produces bright polished places but does not wear through.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:02:20 GMT

Simple Air Hammer plans: Victor, These are sold by ABANA. Their on-line store has been off line a while but they also take mail order.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:04:36 GMT

I work in the aerospace industry as a sheetmetal guy, and have a question about the removal of blueing. While drilling sheetmetal, such as 2024 T3 aluminum, the metal heats up and leaves a blue tint around the drilled hole. What is the preferred method for removal of this blueing?
gary  <ggreving at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:19:44 GMT

I know this is not blacksmithing but does anyone know whar Realgar is?
in reference to Alchemy.Thanks OE.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:20:51 GMT

I have acquired a large anvil with the name Trexion or Trellion stamped into the side of it. I can't find anything on the web about either. Can you tell me which is the correct spelling and where to go to find more information about it? Thanks.
Donna Carter  <hold2 at earthlink.net> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:33:02 GMT


That's probably a Trenton. During the late 1930's, the N in the center of the Trenton trademark was made to look like an X.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 20:55:33 GMT

Blue on Sheet Aluminum: Gary, I've never seen aluminium discolor when drilling or machining. If a drill gets hot drilling sheet aluminium the bit is running backwards or should have been discarded about 1,000 holes ago! If you get a color drilling aluminium it is either NOT aluminium, its a clad aluminium or has some unusual coating.

If steel gets that hot even HSS drill bits are trashed and notmally have siezed in the hole.

Now Titanium takes beautiful blues at relatively low temperatures. I'm not sure what you would use to remove it. Temper blues are an oxide of the metal and can be removed chemicaly or mechanicaly (with an abrasive). Most passivating chemicals remove the oxides but generaly are not used during assembly operations as you don't want residual acid in the joints.

I think you need to check your drill bits and the type of material you drilling
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 22:36:29 GMT

Realgar: OErjan, Realgar is also known as Ruby Sulfur, is a red or orange arsenic disulfide As2S2. Its a mineral arsenic ore. - Materials Handbook 13th Ed, Brady & Clauser, McGraw-Hill, 1991
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 22:42:24 GMT

Yea, what is this superquench stuff I keep hearing about? What is the recipe? And, I have an old swage block that needs some fixin', what type of stick welding rods should I use on it for its repair, and do I need to pre-heat it before I lay the welds? It is cast steel or iron, the broken sections look sort of granular-a magnet will cling to it- what do you think I should use? Thanks for your help!!
Erika  <estrecker at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 22:42:47 GMT

Superquench: Erika, it was formulated as a replacement for using sodium hydroxide (a bleach) as a quenchant. It is most often used as a cheat for hardening low carbon mild steel. I tell folks to use ice water to get the same results. Neither is used for tool steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 23:01:47 GMT

soes anybody know if they still make wagon wheel rim rollers, any help appreciated on who where etc.
phil mccauley  <pjsteel at aol.com> - Sunday, 02/18/01 23:58:12 GMT

Tire Benders: Phil, Several outfits make light duty rolls that do roughly the same thing. Shop Outfitters www.shopoutfitters.com makes one.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 00:47:47 GMT

I have absolutely no expierience. i live in west central PA and really don't have parental help with any of this. I read the getting started page and found it helpful. I don't think that my parents want me joining an org. though. They think that 4 is 2 many for me now! But I would like to recreate a Dark Ages - Renassiance era forge for a school project. I also want to be able to use it. Could you please reply i would really appreciate it. Thank You
- Real Jumper-
realm jumper  <realmjumper99 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 02:03:30 GMT

Thank you for the plastics information. I want to start with acrylic and would like to learn more about it. The specific questions I can think of are:
What should I saw it with?
How hot should I get it for hot work?
Where do I get a hot air "torch"? Thank you
Yates Spencer  <yates at ntelos.net> - Monday, 02/19/01 02:32:19 GMT

Foundations: Pete, sorry I wasn't clear. I did not mean regular concrete up to the machine base. I said epoxy grout. Much different than grout for say a pump or non vibrating equipment. Epoxy grout is much stronger and will handle the load. But it is expensive. Basically it is non brittle epoxy with sand and fiber filler. I also said 3 inches and that was to try to make sure you don't have voids between the base and the grout. I'd probably shoot for closer to an inch of grout to save money. With a proper foundation and soil under it, you don't need a cushioning layer. And if you are lucky with your soil conditions, even the concrete wouldn't be necessary if you were willing to live with a little shifting now and then. As was mentioned, make sure the load is evenly distributed on the base so the base is not stressed in just a few spots. There is also a material called "Fabrica". I can't recall who makes it. It is a bonded fiber material that is meant to take impact loads and is placed between machine bases and their foundations to absorb some of the impact load and spread out the stress. I've used it on foundry shakeout equipment and it is recommended for same. Great stuff if that's what you want. Let me know if you want it and can't find it. One of the coolest things I've seen is machine mounts that are hydraulic cylinders with very good seals. The vibrations and loads are transferred to the fluid in the cylinders and accumulators and dissipating orifices disperse the vibrations.

Please note that I don't mean to say this is all necessary. If it will run well just sitting on the dirt or on some timbers, that's all the better.

And remember that machine manufacturers are frequently not very good foundation designers.

Guru mentioned water table vibration transmission. We had a foundry shakeout system that at certain times of the year, was shaking a hotel, very expensive hotel, half a mile away. Water would spill out of a half full glass. Only in the wing that was oriented East-West. I'd have thought the guests would like it! After much time and money, we determined it was water table transmission. Only happened in the spring after snow melt and sometimes in the fall. We ended up sinking water wells to remove some of the water and lower the water table. Couldn't do isolation foundations because the equipment was on a sub basement level with more equipment below. The sub basement columns were transmitting the vibrations into the soil 30 feet below grade. The hardest part about the job was convincing the foundry superintendent that it was his problem. (grin)
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 03:02:12 GMT

Dark Ages: Realm Jumper, Will write to you directly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 03:46:15 GMT

Ferrium C69: ..."a bizarre combination of science and science fiction." Yep, that about sums it up.

Realm Jumper; Dark Ages and Renaissance Blacksmithing: Better make up your mind, there's a fairly substantial jump in technology between the two. Check my posting of 02:16:42 GMT on Friday, Feb. 14 for Renaissance sources. For some information on early medieval blacksmithing, take a look at: http://members.ttlc.net/~tyrell/Viking1.htm . I list some further books for sources there, too. Remember, knowledge, techniques and tools tend to move forward and accumulate in time. Vises are, for instance, a Renaissance invention, and I miss them when I do a Viking era demonstration. You can always work with fewer tools, and more skill, but it always takes more time, both for the tasks, and for the skills to develop. As stated in the posting above, a well-equipped Renaissance shop was not too different from a Colonial period shop, which is not too different from mine.
Also, a Viking shop need at least two people, which was no problem in a labor-rich, materials poor environment. Someone has to pump the twinned bellows, and you cannot operate the forge efficiently alone. You'll need a good and patient friend. (Or, like me, wait 'til you have obedient children. :-) )

Good luck.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 02/19/01 04:25:00 GMT


Do you know where I can get one of the "old style" foot powered tool sharpener? This would be about 3 or 4" by 24"-30". Do you know if anyone still makes this?

Rudy Hamilton  <rghamilton at shx.iasd.gcisa.net> - Monday, 02/19/01 05:16:46 GMT

Grindstone: Rudy, They probably haven't been made since the early 1900's. A friend of mine bought two to resell. I'll check with him in the AM.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 06:09:49 GMT

Guru, I went to look at a 50 lb. little giant. The shaft portion is disassembled. The owner said it needed to have new babbit poured both in the shaft journals and the clutch assembly. He has the babbit and dummy shaft. This is a rear end clutch. It looks as if it has been used quite a bit, and has oil over alot of it, which is good I think. It has a 115v motor. He wants $1500 for it. Do you think this is fair? I would have to pour the babbit and reassemble. Would it be feasible to make journal bushings out of oil lite bronze or brass? Thanks, Scott
Scott  <vickrey at easilink.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 15:27:29 GMT

I've had canvas on my double action bellows since 1983 and its working great---the *same* piece! Of course is is a very heavy treated industrial canvas used in the oilpatch. It spent the winter outside with just a cover many a year.

Dark ages - Renaissance covered the transition from charcoal to coal, Small "stake" anvils to large armouring anvils. Simple forges to large masonry ones with chimneys---we're talking around 1000 years here! We've gone from Caravels to the space shuttle in only 1/2 that time! Things that are common: single action bellows, often twinned and side blown forges. Charcoal remained in use where it was cheaper than coal. Real "wrought iron" was the metal forged. The tongs and hammers can be found from roman times till today if you look for them.

Thomas Y1K smithing
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 17:12:45 GMT

LG: Scott, depending on the condition of the rest of the hammer that may be a good price. However, with it dissasembled it is hard to check out. Generally a disassembled machine, motor cycle, car. . is called a "basket case" and sold for a lot less than if it were all together.

Being well oiled is good IF it wasn't worn out first. Many LG's were run for YEARS by farmers sharpening plows that didn't know what an oil-can was. . . Generally the guides and toggle pins wear as much or more than the main bearings. Someone oiling it later doesn't help.

On the other hand. There are a LARGE number of "smiths" today that have absolutely no mechanical ability. If they can't run the hammer there must be something wrong with IT. I've seen lots of LG's that were rebabbited that could have been run for YEARS with a little oil and some adjustments.

Rear clutchs ARE a problem. When the babbit wears these clutches get very grabby and impossible to control.

A power hammer is a machine tool. They require knowledge of their opperation, the ability to adjust and maintain machinery AND common sense. Even when they are in perfect condition they require skill to operate. When in less than perfect condition it takes even more skill.

Bronze bearings. No. Why? They require precision machining of the castings (frame and journals) and probably the shaft.

There is nothing wrong with babbit. Every automobile and truck on the road has babbit lined mains and cam bearings.

A 50# LG with all the parts and not worn out is worth about $3000 +/- $500 US. One with a heavy duty single phase motor is probably worth more (the cost of the motor).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 17:34:25 GMT

Ī%& that shot the recepie for gold luster on iron:-(. no way I'm heating arsenic sulfate mixed with a few other chemicals (baking soda and antimony to name a few) to dark red.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 02/19/01 18:51:20 GMT

I am making tines for tractor powered tiller. What is the best way to temper .
Dwight  <Pddraughon at aol.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 01:52:21 GMT

Is there a series of Stainless steel that is forgeable? Does Stainless anneal with a quick quench? Thank you.
Kevin - Tuesday, 02/20/01 02:07:37 GMT

Perhaps it is time to guild your lilly, literally.
Pete F - Tuesday, 02/20/01 02:09:38 GMT

SIR GURU; Hi,I have been making knives for years using the stock-removal method with stainless.I work for the local gas company too.so it was just a matter of time to build a gas forge and move on.The forge i built will do the job and i have a 240# anvil. My question is i would like to start out forging cable, as I have some clean cable laying aroundCan you give me some tips on forging cable? THANKS!!
Steve Miller  <MILLKNIVES at AOL.COM> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 02:51:36 GMT

Cable: Steve, Use lots of flux and keep it hot. Start with clean cable. Old rusted stuff is hard to get clean inside. The borax flux does the job but can only do so much.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 04:27:09 GMT

Pete: THAT, is realy bad. . . :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 04:27:48 GMT

Stainless: Kevin, virtualy all metals are forgeable by their nature. Almost all stainlesses are "wrought" and the most of the cast alloys of stainless are forgeable. If its available in bar form it is forgeable.

Stainless anneals with a quench but much of it only needs to air cool if small enough. The heat treatable grades are precipitation hardening by holding them at a given temperature for a certain amount of time. Methods and temperatures vary with the alloy. Knowing the specific alloy is critical to heat treatment.

Common 302, 304 or 18-8 stainless is suitable for forging decorative and sculptural work. These are non-hardening grades.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 04:56:52 GMT

Tines: Dwight, Lawn mower blades and tiller tines have been the subject of numerous lawsuits due to failure related injuries. These are generaly related to hardness of the parts. I'd be a fool to advise you in this matter.

The reason modern lawn tool blades are so soft and wear out so quickly is that manufacturers cannot afford the lawsuits. Replacing them with your own puts the libility on YOU.

First YOU need to determine what alloy to use and how hard or soft you want it (an engineering / product libility decision). Then the information you need is spread among MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK, ASM Metals Reference Book, ASM Heattreaters Guide (after having obtained the knowledge to make the engineering decision).

Good Luck
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 05:10:25 GMT

Greetings! I just found this site (which really thrilled me) and I was wondering if I could impose a question or 2...

I am a sheet metal worker in New York City. The metal we use is for ductwork, and is very different for making knives and swords. I am very interested in learning how to forge blades. Sadly, I have no idea what I need as far as tools and material. If you would be so kind as to reply via email with any bit of helpful information, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you!

-Scott S.
Scott S.  <scottso2000 at nyc.rr.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 06:08:45 GMT

You mentioned in a post that you would use ice water as a quench and not the "super quench" we've all heard about. Im looking to make some dies up for my new air hammer and am not sure what to use. I was thinking about mild steel super quenched, are you not a believer in the "powers" of this formula? Ive read some impressive things about it. What other steels would be worth while? Id like to do my own heat treating and weld them to a mild steel base for bloting to the anvil.
Shannell  <ssaa at iprimus.com.au> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 06:28:56 GMT

Sorry Jock
Pete F - Tuesday, 02/20/01 06:57:16 GMT

guild my lillies?? I have no idea what that is suposed to mean. could you pleas explain Pete.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 18:06:33 GMT

Super Quench: Shannell, I've quenched mild steel in ice water and it was hard enough to fracture. Not a desirable quality but it was that hard. Mild steel is good for making low use special purpose dies but permanent hammer dies need to be better stuff. 4140 works. 4150 is used on some commercial hammers. H13 is often used but is overkill. On the other hand H13 annealed is almost as hard as hardened mild steel. The difference is one is 40,000 PSI material while the other (H13) is 120,000 PSI material.

If you must use scrap RR-rail is 65-75 point carbon, truck and car axels are often 4140 or something close. Both are weldable.

There is nothing wrong with using mild steel for hammer dies and short use tools but it is one of those things you don't do unless you have to. Heat treated mild steel at its best is not as good as most tool steels at their worst.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 18:09:49 GMT

Linguistics: OErjan, Pete was making a really bad pun based on cliche' and a symbol that works in English but not likely in other languages. "Gilding the lilly" means to over-do, taking something considered the most beautiful and trying to make it more so by coveing it with gold. THEN, Lillys are commonly used at funerals, put on the coffin. . . Killing yourself with arsenic fumes while trying to make a gold color on steel. .

It is typical of the wry, maybe distorted wit of the infamous PF. . . But aparently he is not very funny in Swedish! :o)

I remember reading an article about doing business in Russia. Common sayings that are often used in America make no sense when translated and somtimes can even be insults. Colloquialisms, common jokes and cliche'd phrases often have no counter part in other languages or cultures.

Shortly after I started anvilfire I realized that much of the easy conversational style I had developed writing to friends, relatives and lovers didn't work in an international forum. We have a surprising number of readers in countries where English is a second language. For these folks American slang and abreviations often have no meaning. So I've tried to use proper English. Not MY best subject either and it DOES get rather dry.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 18:50:46 GMT

English: After all that I got a note that (both Pete and I) had spelled gild wrong (with a u - guild). No wonder it didn't translate. . . (fixed now. . I think).

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 22:07:48 GMT

Castings: Guru, My brother and I are both into blacksmithing and I am consideriing making him a belt buckle with an anvil on the front (cowboy style buckle). I was thinking of investment casting and would like it to be silver in colour. Perhaps I could (illegally) melt down some of our Aussie coins which are made from monel. Melting point around 2400 degrees F.
Is this a crazy idea? Do you have any suggestions, advice, alternative materials, methods.
Garry  <garry at silverbrook.com.au> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 22:17:18 GMT

Monel: Garry, It works. I don't know much about casting monel. It would be easier to find a lump of SS and forge it. Current silver prices are low enough that for the difference in ease of casting and working it would be worth it to buy an ounce or so. . Aluminium polishes nicely too,
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/20/01 22:41:58 GMT

I am looking for infomation on colleges for learning Blacksmithing in the horse business. (horseshoing etc.)
Kyle David  <kldavid at mnsi.net> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 02:28:48 GMT

10$ for the plan book on the power hammer would be a good price.
michael  <mikewitchboy at aol.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 03:55:03 GMT

Please i would like to ask you how to make swords and some melee weapons in traditional method , i am a beginner so i don't know nothing about tools , materials , nothing.
i am 21 years old and i love melee weapons if you could help me i would be very grateful !!! thank you again.
Ruanito Machado Pombo  <pombo at ifnet.com.br> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 04:06:26 GMT

Farrier's Schools David, See our webring page and the Farrier's Webring. There are many farrier and farrier support sites that keep up with schools better than we could. You may also want to drop into our Slack-Tub Pub in the evenings. Several of the regulars there are farriers and ex-farriers and will be of tremondous help.

How-to: Ruanito, We have some basics here but the best source of how-to is in books. You need to start with basic blacksmithing. New Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews is one of the best all round how-to books. See our reviews and the reading list in Getting Started
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 05:24:26 GMT

I apologize OErjan; Neither the good Guru nor myself can spell worth a darn. Still, that is a weak excuse and I feel a little gilty about all this.
Pete F - Wednesday, 02/21/01 06:00:57 GMT


Well, i have succeeded in punching my first hole in a hammer head...darn thing is off centre! Any tips for getting that hole closer to centre? It is in 1 1/4" stock, building a warhammer. The punched hole is approx 3/8" dia.

Anradan  <tcanevaro at romperlandplay.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 15:41:12 GMT

Off Center: Anradan, There is not much you can do. IF the hole is crooked (not just misplaced) it IS possible to push some of the stock from the thick edges toward the thin. With a drift in the hole you would hammer on the thick edge (with the opposide thick edge setting on the anvil) at a 45° angle and then roll the mass toward the center and then the other side of the hole. This is very difficult for the new smith but it CAN be done.

You could also forge the sides parallel to a drift and then trim the extra material. This will result in thinner sides and the need to make the entire piece a little lighter.

Otherwise you live with it or scrap the piece. Some operations like this require practice on mild steel before attempting it on expensive tool steel. The trick is that many people cannot see a right angle and do not know when they are drilling or punching something at an angle. It is also difficult to do alone. It helps to rotate the work and look at what you are doing from two different angles. Take your time. The tendancy is to get in a hurry or excited trying not to lose the heat. On critical operations like punching a deep hole, take a few more heats and concentrate on the importance of punching straight.

IF it is obvious from the dark cool spot from punching the first side that the hole is crooked you CAN correct a little by centering the second half of the hole on the work rather than the existing hole. The punching doesn't go quite as smooth put will at least be centered.

However, if you have a good clean square hole that is misplaced off center, there isn't much you can do.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 16:58:49 GMT

Guru, that is what I thought. It is only a costume peice so I may just forge my tenon off center slightly and use an over size rivet type head to camoflauge the off center hole. It will feel off center but hopefully wont look off centre.
Anradan  <tcanevaro at romperlandplay.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 17:18:09 GMT

dont ask forgivness. i just failed to understand what was fun with the remark. and my own spelling is far from good.
interesting to get one more lesson in American Eng cliche'd phrases
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 19:52:07 GMT

Pun: OErjan and Pete, It WAS a stretch but it was funny in a dark sort of way.

Spelling: I TRY, but it is difficult. I was never very good but I got much better when using spell checkers. However, as MANY point out these input boxes don't have spell check. Since this is MY business I check words in a word processor when I'm not sure of them. I don't expect anyone else to. Often I use British spelling (centre instead of center, fibre instead of fiber) which confuses things more. .

The interesting thing about English is that the spelling of words was quite flexible up until the mid 1800's when popular dictionaries were published and became wide spread.
The real trouble for students of the language is that even though English is consided a precise language there are many words that that have multiple meanings. The problem is particularly bad in our area of discussion. The word forge can be a noun, verb or adjective. It is the name of a place as well as the device to hold the fire. THEN there are the words that are spelled different that are prounounced the same. . . And the forign language words and phrases adopted into English. And NOW we have computer languages with words like goto that make perfect sense but are not "correct" English.

Such is life. :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/21/01 21:55:08 GMT

where is it scriven that the hole has to be 3/8? take your oxy-acetylene torch and open the fat side of the hammerhead creating a marvelous new dimension to the hole which is... voila!(That's pronounced voyla, as in boiler, if you are reading this in Boston, since we are getting into linguistics here these days)... now symmetrical!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 00:42:59 GMT

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