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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 22 - 28, 2001 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I looking at different sites on the net, and I found one that showed how to make small blacksmith projects. This site had step by step instructions for about 50 things. The problem that I have is I cannot find it again. Does it ring a bell, or do you know of any other project sites. Thank you.
K. Reeves  <stone1966 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 03:10:54 GMT

Right HERE! K, Our iForge page is up to 88 items. Some are step by step projects, others are general how-to.

The iForge demos are done "live" in our class room attached to the our chat (the Slack-Tub Pub) on Wednesday nights and then posted on the iForge page. In a couple months we will have 2 years worth!


Only on anvilfire!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 03:56:51 GMT


Brass rivets…are they best set cold or hot…if hot how hot?

Andrew  <avdean at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 02/22/01 05:10:26 GMT

While "the devil will get the blacksmith who works cold iron" set brass rivets cold

OErjan; Your spelling and English are better than mine and the depth of your knowledge has been a gift to us.
The apology was a cheap cover for compounding the poor pun, for which I also apologize..a little.
Pete F - Thursday, 02/22/01 09:03:56 GMT

I have been checking out your jyhammer pages, plus some others on the net, also your little giant spec sheets, I want to build a small powerhammer, 15lbs? I don't need to forge over 3/4" mostly, 1 1/4 max. unfortunately i haven't ever seen a powerhammer working so am a bit unsure of some of the mechanics behind them. I plan to use a 1hp electric motor, i have a 2" shaft for the crank i assume a 6-8" throw should be about right, a shock absorber linkage appeals to me ( am ex auto-mechanic) what i do not understand is the options for speed control/clutch , how slowly does the crank have to revolve to maintain control for light/single blows? i am assuming a top speed of 300rpm would be ok. the diff that you have used seems neat but as space is a problem is not an option to me. Others have used a slack belt, wouldn't this melt and or grab? seems like a cheap option though. Speed control on the electric motor, although expensive appeals, but i am aware that very low revs are difficult to achieve. my prefered option, at present is to use a small motor bike clutch and gear box, the electric motor driving the crank and using the gears to fine tune for maximum speed, a good idea, or am not?
I would like to thank you for the great site that you provide, Iforge being one of my favourites, the idea of blacksmiths sharing their designs for free, to anyone is a little alien here in the UK!

Nic W  <Ruth.Westermann at theseed.net> - Thursday, 02/22/01 11:05:39 GMT

JYH: Nic, The shock absorber linkage is quick and dirty but it is VERY low efficiency. A bow spring linkage (look at the South African hammer) is one of the best for its simplicity. Yes, the differential axel design takes a LOT of room. Cutting it down is possible but not a job for the average mechanic.

The other spring hammer that works very well and the current plans are for a small 15# hammer is the Appalachian "Rusty".

Slack belt clutches are best made using flat belts but they DO work using V blets. The flat belt material provides many times the area of clutch material than a cone clutch like Little Giants use. A long belt has lots of surface area for cooling. They are simpler and much lower maintenance.

Full speed on a 15-25# hammer is around 400 BPM. Often hammers with speed control ability (via clutch) are run as slow as 50 BPM. Tap, tap, tap. . .

It helps a LOT if you see a hammer run. Ask around. There are a lot more smiths running old mechanicals than you might imagine.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 14:42:18 GMT

IN Postman's book (p.142)he asks if anyone know the location of a Badger anvil, and asks them to contact him.

I have found a Badger of about 40 pounds, the owner will sell it. If you can provide me Mr. Postman's address or telephone I will pass the information to him.
Robert Moran  <rmoran at tiadon.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 18:57:59 GMT

Postman: Robert, In the mail.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 19:44:59 GMT

I was just wondering if there is anywhere I can order some CD-roms for my computer about blacksmithing. some kind of software with info and tips on metal working or instructions. I can find plenty of books, but I would like some computer software also. thanks.
Jon Turnquist  <turn00 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 19:45:13 GMT

CD: Jon there is none that I know of at this point. We have tossed around ideas about putting together a CD with the iForge demos and some other information including some calculation and database utilities. To be worthwhile its a huge project. Meanwhile its here for free.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 19:59:53 GMT


We do have a CD toaster available, now.

One step at a time.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 20:09:45 GMT

Can anybody tell me when the next spring fling in Virginia is.....?
Anne  <cshoppe at allegany.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 21:03:53 GMT

just to let you know I just checked out the online metal and plastics page, and I have to say that I am very impressed with it. the prices are reasonable and there is a very good selection, that is easy to navigate. I do have a few suggestions however.
1) have a listing of the heat ranges and properties of each alloy listed (I can never remember them of the top of my head, and it could save alot time looking them up in the ref. mainly the hicarb tool steels)
2)add hex stock in mild steel (I can't seem to find it around here smaller than 3/8)

Again good job, you keep impressing me more and more. I am never sorry that I joined this group and I sigest to anyone who is interested in this field that they should do the same.
MP   <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 21:19:37 GMT

In the IFORGE archive, there is a picture oc a leg vise in ABANA 2K. It said in the caption that The Blacksmiths Journal may have plans. Is this true? If do, in what issue?
or how can I get a copy?

Joe Christian  <joe__christian at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 21:50:41 GMT


BGOP Spring Fling is near the end of April, but I don't know the exact dates yet. I don't thin registration packets haven been mailed yet.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 22:43:35 GMT

Where do I find a hand cranked blacksmiths blower.
redmill  <redgristmill at aol.com > - Thursday, 02/22/01 23:28:32 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw.....any idea where I could check to find out the dates for the fling? I've checked out websites, but cant' find anything since fall 1999.....
anne  <cshoppe at allegany.com> - Thursday, 02/22/01 23:58:21 GMT

Blower: Redmill, The last of these made were a cheap version designed for bomb-shelter ventilation in the 1950's.

So, antique shops and flea markets (there is almost always ONE ironmonger). Join your local ABANA-Chapter and go to a few meetings. There is almost ALWAYS one or more guys in these groups that are scrounger/dealers. Otherwise, ask everyone you know or build a bellows (I've done that and much prefer an electric blower).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 00:41:00 GMT

Metals and Plastics: Matt, Thank you. I'm working on a page of specs and heattreating data on all the materials. Its just another one of those things to do. .

What the HECK do you want with real small hex-stock?? I'm sure it is made for all the miniture screw machine stuff but those guys may buy the entire production.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 01:05:07 GMT


Best suggestion I can give at this point it to continue monitoring the
guru's page. I'm on the mailing list, and as soon as I hear something
definite, I'll post it there.


Are you sure about March? Couple of the guys have been pretty positive it's April.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 02:50:08 GMT

I had a bunch of it I got from an old shop I helped clean out I was using it to make bracelets/broaches (that I can replace w/stainless) and I was makeing basket hilts for sabers/cutless I would realy like to make more of those but I am not equipted to weld stainless. if you use a reverseing twist the hex stock has a real nice look to it and it hides inperfections in the surface well (great for those of us who don't oil ther blades as often as we should)
MP   <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 03:02:52 GMT

incidently I think the stock I had was 20 or more years old and there was only one twenty foot bar.
MP  <same> - Friday, 02/23/01 03:05:09 GMT

I have some 17-7 stainless steel condition C pieces that I need to anneal. They are .010" thick and about .500" x .500" side by side. I was wondering if you could tell me the time and temperature for annealing. I must have these
parts in their softest state for forming. If you could please help me out with this, I'd really appreciate it!
Thank you so much in advance!
Gregg Wassermann
Gregg Wassermann  <AandJrenteria at cs.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 03:20:58 GMT

What is the most efficient way system that would produce material to produce rails for a railroad. Not a plant layout
paul Valentin  <pav79 at aol.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 03:30:04 GMT

BGOP Spring Fling April 21 & 22 Set-up is Friday April 20
Fairfax Wildlife club
JohnC  <careatti at crosslink.netx> - Friday, 02/23/01 13:50:22 GMT

Fling: .. thanks John!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 14:32:36 GMT

17-7 PH 631-SS S17700: Gregg, This is a semiaustentic precipitation hardening SS. To anneal, heat to 1950°F (1010°C) and cool rapidly. Normally the cooling for thin sections can be in free air however if you have stacks of parts they should be water quenched. A neutral fuel atmosphere, dissassociated ammonia or hydrogen is recommended to prevent oxidation. - ASM Heat Treaters Guide
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 16:30:56 GMT

Hello. I' a 13 year old and I've taken a large interest in blacksmithing. I was wondering if you could recommend where to begin.
Peter Hollender  <prfctnofdrknss at hotmail.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 16:13:40 GMT

I was wondering what material is the easiest to work with and what would be the best for making weapons(spears, swords, daggers).
Peter Hollender  <prfctnofdrknss at hotmail.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 16:18:33 GMT

Easiest to work with: Peter, For show and reenactments "mild steel" (common steel bar - SAE 1018 - 1020) is fine. Normally medium and high carbon steels are used. These can be hardened if you have a big enough furnace or forge.

If you don't have a forge or heavy grinder necessary for stock removal then one of the high strength aluminums 6061-T6 or 7075-T6 work great with a hand saw and a file. These are stiffer than mild steel. Aluminium can be hand polished to a mirror finish and is close to silver in color. You can order a 1/4" x 2" x 3 foot long length of 6061-T6 from us for $11 plus shipping. A 4 foot length of the next size up is less than $20.

Getting Started at 13: Peter, LOTS of reading. Start with general books. The art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer is a good read from an historical and traditional point of view. The NEW Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews is also very good but is a modern reference and very practical.

Then (after the general books) if you are interested in knives and armour get one of the how-to knife making books. There are few how-to books on armour but we have some good on-line articles and will have more in the future.

Collecting tools is a big part of getting started in blacksmithing. An anvil is your most important tool that is not easily substituted and not easy for some to find used. See our anvil articles on the 21st Century page.

A good HEAVY vise is also important. A 30 pound blacksmiths leg vise is equivalent to a 130 pound machinists or "chipping" vise. In many cases a good vise is more important than an anvil. Most smiths spend as much or more time at the vise as they do at the anvil.

After a vise and an anvil your other tools can easily be bought or made. Look for hammers and tongs at flea markets. Channel locks and ViseGrips can substitute for tongs until you make your own. Files, drill bits and hacksaw blades needs to be purchased new.

Forges can be built or bought. At your age you need to get your parents involved when you start building fires and heating metal.

Some safety equipment is also required; Good safety glasses, gloves and a leather apron (welding suppliers sell all the above). Tell your parents you need these and they may be impressed with your taking responsibility for what you are doing. Safety glasses are needed for almost ALL metal working - grinding, drilling, especially forging and even jobs like filing or cold chiseling. Grit from filing can get in your eyes be very painful.

Gook luck! Let us know when you need specific help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 17:42:16 GMT

Guru; I disagree on the anvil not being easy to substitute for. Most of the world seems to do ok using fairly simple "improvised" anvils---often doing very superior work with them! The swords and armour of the middle ages were not done on the London pattern anvil.

While a good anvil is pretty much a joy forever (and my GAW is currently appx 1500#), you can do great work on almost any large hunk of steel that has at least 1 flat surface. One of the fellows who demonstrates at SOFA uses a section of large shafting and has his "stump" carved to hold it flat or up on edge to use the curved surface.

I believe that Weygers discusses improvised anvils in "The Complete Modern Blacksmith"

I think its more important to get forging than to wait till the "perfect" anvil comes your way...(OTOH I will *not* suggest using cast iron as an anvil, even a hunk of A36 is better than CI!)

BTW we are sand casting anvil belt buckles at MOB meetings using the forge as heat source and a stainless steel coffee creamer as crucible (they do thin out so take care!) and pouring silver (fine and sterling) and brass (plumbing fittings). You can also take two soft fire bricks, flatten them by scrubbing the sidewalk then carving the shape into one of them and also carving sprues and vents clamp the other brick to it and have a reusable mold---though bad surface finish (thats what files are for).

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 18:40:12 GMT

Rail Road Rail: Paul, Is this a test? Railroad rail is a critical steel that was produced from select billets. In the past these were processed by casting, cogging and forging under a hammer then rolled to shape. The last I heard there was no new rail being produced in the U.S.

Today various metals including iron and steel is produced in a continuous casting process. Liquid metal is passed through a ceramic cooling nozzle in the bottom of a special crucible. In this case rail would be cast oversize and then roll processed to finished size and finish by traditional rolling methods. This would refine the structure to that similar to forged and rolled.

To be the "most efficient" the steel would be processed from smelting through the final rolling without reheating. That's not to say heat is not added along the way but the heat from the smelting would be conserved as long as possible. The continuous casting process does not require continuous steel production. It can be refilled with batches as long as the production rates are equal to the casting rates.

Try these links on the U.S. Steel site.



- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 19:20:22 GMT

Substitute Anvil: Thomas, I've had a standing article on them on the 21st Century page since the beginning of anvilfire and I also repeatedly advise newbies "DO NOT get stuck on some idealistic 19th century vision. . (of tools)". And "Don't let preconceived ideas about what an anvil should look like get in the way of having a good usable tool." - Making a good inexpensive anvil

Few folks listen. They go off and buy cheap imported cast iron POS that LOOK like anvils but are not. A substitute anvil is relatively easy IF you can get over the preconceived ideas of what an anvil IS or LOOKS like. Its good for them to hear it from someone else though.

After working at anvils for YEARS I realized that I do 95% of all forging in a little 3" (75mm) square area. This revelation lead me to rethink RR-rail anvils and turn the rail on end. All the springiness (bouncing anvil) goes away and the mass is under the face (equating the sweet spot at the center of an anvil). A 20 pound piece of rail then gives the results of a MUCH heavier anvil (75-100#). I show a fancied up version in my iForge demo on tools from RR-rail. I need to add a link to it from the low cost anvil article.

Although the "world" at large does use much different anvils than we do, our Western ideas are hard to get away from even if the only anvils folks have been exposed to are the ones Wiley Coyote tries to drop on Road Runner.

I've GOT to get my new anvil article finished. . (muttering to myself)

Reusable Mold Low temperature melting alloys can be cast in iron and steel molds if the mold is preheated. Some metals stick to the steel so sooting is recommended. We found that sprues were best made of lighter material attached to the mold blocks so the sprue metal didn't freeze before the part. It takes a little more work than the "brick" mold but will last for thousands of parts and the finish is as good as that of the mold.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 20:13:10 GMT

sir I'm a veteran farrier with 17 years experience and after having an injury that prevents me from getting back under the horses my pleasure is tinkering in my forge. I thought of a project, for a friend, that requires me to try to forge a pair of bird wings. I have an idea but I'm not sure it will work. could you advice me of a good method to use for drawing these wings out of a bar of steel. finished size per wing should be approximately 6 inches. Any advice is greatly appreciated Thank you for your time
Sincerely Marc A Hovind
Marc Hovind  <hovind at strato.net> - Friday, 02/23/01 23:10:08 GMT

Bird Wings: Marc, we have several bird and winged insect demos on the iForge page by another ex-farrier, Bill Epps, that may help your project.

It makes a difference if the wings are to be one piece with the bird or a separate set of wings like pilot's wings. As a separate piece I would start with a square or rectangular bar with about a 1" sq section (1x1, 1/2 x 2) and about the length of one wing. For this project a 3/8 to 1/2" radius fuller with heavily rounded corners would be useful.
  • Taper each end to a blunt point, then fuller a reduced section in the center to isolate the two wings with a narrow fuller or the peen of your hammer.
  • Flatten the wings to about the thickness of the leading edge tapering from the inside to the ends.
  • Round the leading edge.
  • Then using the fuller above, fuller the wings behind the leading edge parallel to the edge. reduce the thickness to about 1/2.
  • Bend the wings like you would a knife before tapering. This should produce a "U" shape with the leading (round) edges out.
  • Then use the fuller in a fan pattern on the trailing edge of the wing starting perpendicular to the leading edge at the inside of the wings working outward until almost parallel to the wing tip. Leave ridges between the fullering to look like feathers.
  • Chase feather edges on the outside of the wing with a cold chisel and file edges to suit.
NOTE: This is a word picture of something I have NOT done. It should be close to what you want. It may take several tries with some changes in technique to get it right. On smaller wings and toward the tips the fullering could be done with a smooth hammer peen. Let us know how it turns out (or how bad I've screwed up).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 02/23/01 23:49:56 GMT


can anyone tell me how to get started in a good welding/blacksmithing job???
i just moved back to Seattle, and i am having one hell of a time trying to get into "metal" furniture production type jobs. can ANYONE give me any tips, or leads??
i went to school for 2 years for welding, and have made my own projects.. lot's of welding experience but, i am finding that i need more forging, blacksmithing experience??
anyone with any information would be greatly appreciated!!!
thank you!! sincerely, lisa
lisa taylor  <tracerblue at aol.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 01:17:50 GMT

Dear Guru,
I am an experienced blacksmith who is interested in working with stainless (and bronze). I just read an interview with E. A. Chase who said that he quenches his stainless after forging, then de-scales it and then imparts a "passivation technique" on it to remove iron molecules from the surface.
Is this passivation technique California speak for what we Alabamians call polishing, or what is it?
Any tips on stainless or bronze forging would be appreciated (or leads on information).
Many Thanks, John Phillips
John Phillips  <phillipsmetal at att.net> - Saturday, 02/24/01 08:41:31 GMT

Good Guru:
I don't know if you might have noticed or not, but certain questions reappear with irritating regularity here.
You have answered many of them clearly and to the point in your articles and some of your archived responses are inspired. Other of the responses reflect less than a Budda-like calm and perspective for some reason.
Might not all parties be best served by a well wrought hyperlink offering suited to each of those same old questions?
It seems a bit impersonal I know, but it would provide answers in depth to newbies. You could shake their soft hands and smile all nice-nice to compensate.
That might free up a bit of time and there is a small chance you'd be able to find something to do instead.
Pete F - Saturday, 02/24/01 08:42:38 GMT

Guru, first, thank you again for all your time and patience with this site. You and others and all who participate have been an inspiration. Now for a real question. What are the possibilities of heating up ball bearings to remove the cladding, anneal them and forge them. thanks, Scott
Scott  <vickrey at easilink.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 13:10:35 GMT

Pasivation: John, No California speak (though I know it exists in other industries). It is the removal burnt SS and free iron contamination from tools by dipping in a strong acid bath. Annealing and passivation are required for "maximum corrosion resistance". Most of the possible corrosion that occurs on (non-critical non-nuclear & non-load lifting parts) is cosmetic and of little consequence. Yes you CAN remove the contaminates mechanically. For another use of SS see my 21st Century page article titled Latch.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 15:35:56 GMT

Repeat Questions: Pete, THAT was my original plan and I started doing so on the 21st Century page. . . However, you know the various sayings about "plans", all true. If I quit doing everything else, I could edit a nice book out of all this. .

Yep, once in a while I get a little peeved and my answers are not as compassionate as they might be. However, if you look close it is almost ALWAYS in response to an individual that has asked their share of pesky questions and been sent to publications OR resources on-line that would answer ALL the basic stuff. . . including their current question.

I posted the Getting Started article with a BOLD link at the top AND bottom of this page and yet the most common question is "How do I get started". On the other hand, it HAS been looked at over fourteen thousand times and is due for an update.

When I started anvilfire I figured that the VERY good books on blacksmithing by Andrews and Bealer covered the basics and general how-to and that duplicating their work on-line was not needed. However, the basics still get asked and I've been doing some basics on the iForge page including the recent demos on riveting, collaring and fullering.

Where to focus my energy has been a prime question since the beginning and now the problem is just keeping up with it all. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 16:23:28 GMT

Ball Bearings: Scott, Cladding? Some bearings are case hardened. This is only removable mechanically (grinding). Quite a few smiths forge things out of bearing races as well as balls and rollers if the bearings are large enough. The tricky part is if they ARE case hardened the surface (.010"-.030") is higher carbon and cutting through it or drawing it out unevenly can produce odd results. Bearing material is often used by knife makers in laminated steel. Many bearings are uniform non-case hardened material. The way to tell is to test a piece by hardening, breaking it and looking at the crystal structure. Most case hardened material has a finer grain near the surface.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 17:02:14 GMT

Mickey Mouse: In a public health announcement this AM, Mr. Mouse reported that many cartoon characters are carrying some extra weight. Luckily for them it is easy to lose.

Just put the ANVIL down!

MM, The House of Mouse, Feb, 24, 2001
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 17:37:03 GMT

Could you tell me please if you knows the origin of the phrase "out of whack" ? I heard it comes from
blacksmithing vernacular, something to do with truing wagon wheels ...
any information would be appreciated unless I lose the bet .
Terry Porter  <tenshnspn at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 18:59:16 GMT


Well, I don't know which side of the bet you're on, BUT:

Wagon wheels are made with the spokes set a little off center., so that the wheel looks slightly "dished" to it. As the wheels dry out, then tend to shrink. When they shrink enough, the "dish" starts to collapse in the opposite direction. They can be fixed a couple of times by whacking them back into place with a hammer. Go to a hobby store that carries models by the "ALLWOOD BRAND" and look at either the Conestoga Wagon kit, or the Chuck Wagon kit. You'll be able to see what I mean by "dish" when you see the picture on the box. If a wheel was "out of whack" the dish was facing in the wrong direction. The reason for the dish was to make the wheel better able to stand side stress.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 19:39:44 GMT

J.J. Or Anybody that knows.- The picture you sent me of the grapes and leaves on the small wine rack. How did you make the grape cluster. I tried welding ball bearings together. It worked but it was interesting I tell you. Little balls shooting everywhere. But it was completed, cleaned up and attached.
TTYL Barney
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Saturday, 02/24/01 20:11:50 GMT

guru is it me or are you having server trouble? I can't refresh the pub, and opening this took one BIG bunble ¤#%& of tries.
other sites work great and trouble free.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 20:43:09 GMT

Trouble: OErjan, Not us. Probably network trouble. I'll report it to server ops. They change networks occasionally looking for better service/deals.

Grapes Barney, weld the stems on first. Make a little fixture to hold the ball, weld on extra "stem" and trim as needed. Then then you won't be chasing the buggers under every bench and piece of equipment.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 02/24/01 23:45:23 GMT

Thanks guru..will try that method in the Sunday am. Going to use it for the front of a wine rack. Next I tackle grape leaves.
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Sunday, 02/25/01 00:26:36 GMT

Can you tell me any info about making a quote "bean can" forge? I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
Evan Lundy  <Lonewolf999 at juno.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 01:21:20 GMT

Bean Can Forge: Evan, A large bean can (12-16oz), lined with Kaowool (artificial asbestoes made from kaolin fibers). A hole in the side with a propane torch stuck just barely in and at an angleso the flame sprials around.

Even simplier, a Micro forge. See the article on our 21st Century page
Micro Forge photo Copyright 1999 Jock Dempsey
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 02:30:42 GMT

How do you put the temper back into metal? Thanks for the information.

David Aiken
David Aiken  <jlaiken at webworkz.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 02:38:51 GMT

Those dinky forges sure are cute
Pete F - Sunday, 02/25/01 02:44:36 GMT


I agree, I keep trying to convince myself that i need one. (grin) If I could find a source of the insulating bricks that would sell just two or three without wanting twice the price for them, I'd go ahead and do one just for grins and giggles.

Guru, anyway the Anvilfire Store could do that?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 02:57:38 GMT

Insulating bricks: Light, easy to ship. Possible.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 03:28:12 GMT

Temper: David, In tool steel, temper is the reduction of the hardness from hardening. If you overheat a tool by grinding you reduce the temper further. When tools are made they are hardened by heating to a red heat (1400 - 1600°F) and quenching (cooling rapidly). But in the "as-hardened" condition most steel is TOO hard, it is brittle like glass. To reduce the brittleness it is heated to a temperature below the hardening temperature to "temper" the steel. This can be as low as 350°F or as high as 1100°F for certain alloy steels. Reducing the hardness a little reduces the brittleness a lot making the steel tougher.

So, you can't really put temper back into steel, you can only re-heattreat. OR reduce the hardness (temper) more.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 03:49:34 GMT


I like that answer! If the Anvilfire store could act as a distributor for Kaowool, Whatever the spray on to protect Kaowool, (can't remember the name off the top of my head) and other refractory supplies, might form a source of income. Would sure be a service to the visitors.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 11:46:57 GMT

Barney, Grape clusters. I've tried a lot of ways to do it and think I've found the easiest yet. I initially made grape clusters by forging with a swage block, sometimes using a spring fuller to "neck-down" the end of a 5/8". I then gas welded the grapes together. I realized that after about 3 to 4 hours I was only able to make about one cluster this way. A better way is to buy mild steel balls from McMaster-Carr. They have them in all different sizes. I then made a small stand with a 1/2"x 2" aquare or round stock standing straight up. On top of this I tack weld the first ball with a mig welder. I next have another rod about 12" long of 1/4" round which I have attached a small round magnet. These can be bought at any hardware store. The magnet holds the balls perfectly for the rest of the welding procedure! I can now make a cluster with 15-20 balls in about 15 minutes. The balls can be heated with a torch and peened first if you want a swage look. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 14:35:11 GMT

Magnet: Tim, Great idea to keep those balls from rolling away and not needing to clamp and unclamp!!

And YES, use plain steel balls for grapes! Ball bearings are very hard and the welds are likely to be very weak unless you fully anneal before and after welding.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 15:26:33 GMT

Dear Guru and other ex auto mechanics,
What´s the trick to make tin bond to steel, both for cutlery and less-than perfect welds on an old Jaguar?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Sunday, 02/25/01 19:35:15 GMT

why don't you braze it? I know an older auto body mechanic that brazes just about every thing on cars. if you don't like the color how about silver solder not as strong but will stick to steel. I haven't ever heard of tin (other than mixed in solder) being used in a joint before. that isn't to say that it isn't or can't be done just that I haven't heard about it.
hope that helps MP
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 20:25:35 GMT

Tinning Steel: Olle, Flashing the steel with copper. Wiping on some copper sulphate solution (to very clean iron/steel) copper flashes the steel. It can then be tinned and soldered. Small parts can be dipped.

The most foolproof flux for tin soldering that I've used has fine tin powder in the flux. When you warm the surface to be soldered you can see the tin melt and flash onto the surface at just the right time/temperature. If you apply tin or a tin alloy solder at that time it works perfectly every time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 20:26:11 GMT

Dear Guru:I have been asked by a client to provide a "flame darkened and oil quenched" finish on a project fabricated of mechanical steel tubing. What can you tell me about this process? What type of oil? Do I apply wax afterwards or anything like that?
Bob Linker  <irony at peconic.net> - Sunday, 02/25/01 22:14:07 GMT

im lookin for some history on blacksmithing in erie pa. ,....my great grandfather was an erie blacksmith, and his old machine still stands as a monument outside of the converted building he used to owne!,...anyone can help ,...much appreciated!
chris  <www.fitntrim69 at aol.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 23:03:05 GMT

Finish: Bob, If this is a large fabrication or framework I'd question the use of this finish. Oil and wax finishes are primitive low quality substitutes for paint. Paints are oils with waxes, pigments and driers formulated by experts. Burnt oil finishes are irregularly applied amature finishes applied to forge work that has a tight scale (black iron oxide) finish.

The first thing to consider is the non-specific term "flame darkened". Is this a smoked or a scale coating? Oil finishes mearly darken and cling to high temperature forging scale. On anything less they just wipe off. Generally tubing comes with a bright finish (the scale removed) and you do not heat the tubing hot enough to produce scale. This weakens the tubing by annealing it. Much of the stiffness of tubing is the result of the work hardening of producing it. .

Then "oil quenched" is a heat treating term. Do they expect the job to be heat treated??

If those were the exact terms used by your client I would tell them then that this type of finish is not applied to tubing fabrications and ask why they specified it. If they have some specific look in mind ask if they can show you a sample. Then suggest that it would be better on tubing to reproduce this look using paint.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 02/25/01 23:13:21 GMT

by tin, any chance you mean light gauge sheet metal? if so, get a TIG machine. Or a Smith Little Torch.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 02:55:10 GMT

Thanks for the info about the forge. I have one other question. Is there anything that can be used as a makeshift forge? I'm trying to start out with an absolute minimal investment and was curious what could be used to do that. Thanks again.
Evan Lundy  <Lonewolf999 at juno.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 03:07:11 GMT

Sorry about the last post. I meant makeshift anvil. Hope you can tell me that :). Thanks
Evan Lundy  <Lonewolf999 at juno.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 03:12:43 GMT

Anvil: Evan, Check our 21st Century page and our iForge demo on tools from RR-rail.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 04:57:16 GMT

Olle, I seem to remember a PBS show that had an old clip of an assembly line in England. I remember the clip because they were using what looked like lead solder to seal the joints of the body using large spatulas to smooth it in and I had never seen anything like that before. Don't know if that helps. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 15:09:12 GMT

Auto body Soldering: A soft flame air-actylene torch, a stick of solder and a solder float (all three at once) are used by the autobody man. Many joints in auto bodies, particularly on the roof and tops of fenders, were soldered as well as minor defects. Before the invention of polyester resin body filler in the early 1960's soldering was also common in auto repair work. A few high class custom body shops still use solder.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 16:46:45 GMT

Hi, thanks for your help! I am trying to find out about the making of iron pots. Can you direct me to a good source, please? I have a genealogy web page and am producing monthly rotating pages about how our ancestors lived. One of the things I wish to do now is a page on tools, kitchen utensils, pots and such.

Kindest regards,
Mary Ellen

URL for page example:
Mary Ellen Wexler  <mewexler at buffnet.net> - Monday, 02/26/01 17:38:01 GMT

I am constructing a chainmail coif and I have the first 4rows already done but I dont know how to get past that. Does anyone have any plans or know where to get plans?
Thanks for your help
Ziggy  <WuzupCZ at yahoo.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 17:43:36 GMT

Do you think that a forge made out of brick the tradition way (except that I will use modern blower and fire pot with clinker breaker)is better than one constructed on a stand made of all metal? I have read multiple views on this, so I would like to ask the professionals.
Thank You
C Soave  <cesdaveyboy> - Monday, 02/26/01 18:39:47 GMT

Thank´s all.
What I meant was how to use tin as body filler. Wouldn´t do with polyester resin on an old Jag. I´ve heard about "copper flash" but didn´t know how to achieve it. Is copper sulphate solution sold somewhere or do I cook it myself?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 02/26/01 19:41:07 GMT

Iron Pots: Mary, Cast Iron pots are made by casting (pouring melted metal into a mold). Molds are made out of sand the consistency of the best beach castle building sand.

Early American iron ware was cast at the the same place the iron was smelted (the iron furnace). When the furnace was taped the iron ran through troughs cut in the sand casting floor and into molds created in the floor.

Later the iron was poured from ladles into molds that were made in "casks" (wooden boxes). The iron was often re-melted from "pigs", the iron produced at the smelter or iron furnace.

The book Pioneer Ironworks and Diderot's Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry have information on the early processes of casting.

For forged utensils, check our iForge page. My Valentines demo was on heart handled utensils, a fork and a spatula. There are other demos on similar subjects.

Another method of making a fork will be shown in the March chapter of Jim Wilson's Revolutionary Blacksmith on our story page (see 21st Century Blacksmithing).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 19:45:28 GMT

History: Mary, Check our links page too. We have links to the National Parks that celebrate early ironworks. Hopewell, PA, Saugus, MA. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 19:48:30 GMT

Chainmail: Ziggy, Check the Armor webrings (see our Webring Nexus) and Armoury page. There are a bunch of sites about maile and some have pretty good instructions.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 19:53:51 GMT

Brick Forge: C. Soave, A brick or masonry forge was a necessity before the invention of stove pipe and growth of industry in the 1800's that provided cast-iron forges.

Brick forges last longer. But today there is rarely a need for a forge that will last for generations. They are also relatively permanent and nearly impossible to move. Once built they stay put until they are dismantled with great effort.

As far as one being better to forge with than another there is no difference. A hot fire is a hot fire.

Cast iron forges can be damaged by burn out or cracked by quenching. However, most cast iron forges also last for many generations. Steel plate forges are more durable and economical but are less rust resistant. Rust accelerated by acids leached from coal ash is the biggest enemy of cast iron or steel forges.

I like a masonry chimney and a metal forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 20:10:26 GMT

Copper Sulfate: Olle, it is used by platers (for cooper flashing and plating). It is available here in crystal form for educational chemistry sets. I'd have no idea where to find it in Sweden.

Pure tin is used to "tin" the metal surface but a tin/lead solder is used for filling.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 20:15:26 GMT

Olle, Guru,
Isn't copper sulphate what they use to kill tree roots in sewer pipes? if so you can get it at a hardware store, not sure about Sweden though. Might be cupric chloride though, can't remember right now.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 21:26:36 GMT

I don't know how to apply auto body solder, but I had it done once. Used to have a '69 T-bird and irreparably wrinkled the fender. got a straight one off a '67 and cut in a hole for the side driving lights, which the '67 didn't have. The shop guy had to use some serious filler to level out part of the fender, and being of the old school, he used solder. Drilled a few holes to act as keys to hold the lead in, paddled it in, and looked better than new. For those old enough to remember, using solder to smooth the joints in a custom ride (say, a '41 ford with frenched headlights and a chopped top, not that I would suggest doing that...)is the origin of the now archaic term "lead sled". I think Mike Roth is right about the copper sulfate, but I don't know if it's strong enough to flash.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 02/26/01 22:21:44 GMT

Dear Guru and helpers,
What would I need to do to become a Blacksmith? My highschool that I am going to doesn't offer blacksmithing as a class,and I would like to become a blacksmith maybe for a career, or to blacksmith in my spare time as a craft or a part-time job. This is a nice website.

Nate  <NateTanka at aol.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 22:23:15 GMT

hi guru, in terms of the smellting of irons and steels from ores to cast ingots etc? what is the process from ore to molten metal to a piece of metal ready to be forged (i heard cast metals cant be forged, so im naturally confused!)?. im a fine art student with an interest in metal work and proceeses from a self sufficiency angle, at the moment i have little exprience. thanks for your time
garren osborne  <ozgarren at hotmail.com> - Monday, 02/26/01 23:20:14 GMT

I have my uncle's old Champion forge with a model 400 hand-cranked blower. The table measures about 34"X37", is lined with bricks that look like cement(or some other heavy material). There are several blacksmithing tools of various sizes and shapes. Beside the forge is about a 100-pound anvil sitting atop a short, round stump that is banded by two metal bands. The anvil is in excellent shape, and has several fullers, bandies, and punches. Finally, there is an old Hickenbotham catalog that my uncle had.
Question is: how do I go about selling something like this setup, and how much should I ask for the entire set? I can post digital pictures to anyone's e-mail if they are interested.
Jim  <kurmugn at yuba.net> - Monday, 02/26/01 23:23:10 GMT

I'm doing a project about jobs from then 1800's. I have chosen the subject "blacksmithing". So i need some help.
Can you tell me what are some interesting facts about Blacksmithing that the average person doesn't know about?
Or can you give me a web site that will tell me some information about blacksmithing....
Joe   <ahhhmyhazrdsuit at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 00:21:12 GMT

The "Parade" magazine section of this Sunday's paper had their annual(?) "How Much Do They Earn?" cover story. One of the examples was a 45 yr. old blacksmith who made $75,000. The type of work this guy did was not specified. I won't ask anyone how much they earn, but I would like some opinions on what percentage of smiths are earning enough to live on (I realize that will vary, so let's say $40,000), and whether they are earning it just from forge work or are teaching or working in a park in addition. It's just that $75,000 seems like a lot to earn doing something you don't hate. It seems like a lot even for doing something you do hate. Could be worse though...the "dog fur weaver" only made $1200.

Al  <agarrard at rmy.emory.edu> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 02:38:21 GMT

Equipment to sell: Jim, Please read the guidelines. You may post it on the V.Hammer-In. Prices vary depending on who's buying and who's selling. Ebay occasionally gets higher than market value but not always. The forge and blower are work up to $300 but sometimes sell for half. There are few people that know what "good" condition is so I'd have to take all that with a grain of salt.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 04:36:26 GMT

Cast metal: Garren, That's a pretty nebulous statement. Cast iron can not be forged, cast steel can. Most non-ferrous metals can be forged from cast billets. Every metal has a different smelting process and even different ores of the same metal may require different handling. There are dozens of metals all requiring different techniques.

Self sufficiency? Then forget smelting metal. It takes a societal effort even at the most primitive levels. It is highly fuel inefficient at small scale. To go low tech use scrap. The world is covered with it.

To find out about even the common metals, aluminium, brass, copper, iron, gold silver, lead is a big job requiring lots of study. Look them each up in any encyclopedia. For how-to, see our reading list in the Getting Started article.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 04:46:02 GMT

Becoming a blacksmith: Nate, Have you read the Getting Started article linked at the top and bottom of this page?

If you want to do it as an occupation stay in school. Study engineering or metallurgy, art or architecture. Almost all blacksmiths in the U.S. are self employed entrepreneurs. That means you need to know how to run your own business. Many are starving artists. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 04:50:48 GMT

Blacksmithing: Joe, 99.9% of the population knows NOTHING about blacksmithing. So anything and everything you find on these pages could be listed as "interesting facts". Read the on-line autobiography of James Nasmyth, the most important blacksmith in history. See our book review page for a link.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 04:54:13 GMT

Wages: Al, There are blacksmiths and there are blacksmiths. The typical magazine writer wouldn't know if the "blacksmith" they interviewed was a farrier, fabricator, artist blacksmith or an industrial hammer driver.

Today $75K is just barely making it if you have a wife kids and a mortgage. Its also a lot more than most smiths make. But then they didn't say what kind of smith. Like I said above, most are self employed entrepreneurs. To make that income he may have a sizable business with employees. In that case he is doing more paper work than forging.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 05:00:00 GMT

Re Grapes, Stick your balls from MC in sand. Weld them together. Use 1/2,5/8,and 3/4" steel balls. For large bunch make 2 sides and weld together. They look natural because you don't need long stems to hold together. I have numerous tools to put veins,wrinkles in leaves.I have a swage tool to put bark on your vines I finally got to answer one!!
Steve P  <Steveabc at Davesworld.net> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 05:02:22 GMT

Olle: Copper Sulphate (kopparsulfat) can be found at some paint stores in Sweden (Beckers, Spectrum, Färgtema..). Look around where they have the chem stuff, I think it's 750g in a white plastic container. I were looking at some a couple of weeks ago but I bought the Borax instead.
The maker/packager is "Alfort & Chronholm", Most paint/hardware stores have some of their chemicals.
SCB  <scumberg at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 10:57:21 GMT

I have an anvil that I need to get resurfaced. About half the face has been lost years ago, it looks as though someone might have cut the steel off with a torch for some reason. It is a nice anvil about 125 lbs or so. I can't find anybody who know where I can get it repaired.
Sam Duncan  <sduncan at turbonet.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 14:28:44 GMT

Garren: Get a copy of Foxfire 5. Half the book is about the ironmaking industry in the southern U.S. in the 19th century, including info on smelting iron and processing the raw product into forgable steel. It's not the best reference on the subject, but it'll get you started with the basics of what's involved.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 15:11:22 GMT

Guru and friends, I have to do a Junior Colledge Buisiness report project for school, and I was wondering if there was anyone in the area of Hamilton Ohio that would be interested in Letting me tag along for one day, Im easy to get along with and I need only ask you a few questions. And if I would be glad to help you with anything my experience covers. Would anyone be interested?
AdamSmith - Tuesday, 02/27/01 15:17:46 GMT

eToys: One of the big etailers just went bankrupt. 250+ million dollars in debt. I could keep anvilfire running on that much into the fourth millinia (3000 AD)! Now if I can just manage the next server bill. . . :-(

kopparsulfat SCB, thanks for the Swedish spelling!

Adam Folks responding to this type thing may respond directly to an e-mail address but not in a public forum.

Steve Another good method to keep balls from escaping! Thank you!

Its one of those oddities of the modern shop. A sand table was once a standard item in shops a thousand years ago. Drawings, layouts and calculations were often done in a shallow tray of fine sand. Foundries just used the casting floor. This system was in place long after vellum and paper was invented due to the expense. The drawing surface was infinitely recyclable. Dividers (compass) and straight edges were used. The system forced the student to remember their lessons. Artisans learned how to layout items by easily remembered proportions. There were no "bluprints" or detailed plans yet the same items were made made to the proportions for hundreds of years. These proportions resulted in beautiful clean symmetrical work. The down side of this system is that old plans and design drawings are almost non-existant. Even though we may have the results we do not understand the process or steps that produced those results.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 17:41:07 GMT

Nate - Becoming one of us.. Read lots, stay in school and follow the points Guru said. . . Starving, well, its pays for the metal I buy and some extra on the side. Its a hobby I enjoy and make spending money at it..Retired from Navy, lots of time to do whatever I wish. . .
Barney  <Barney at vianet.on.ca> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 17:52:46 GMT

Old Anvil: Sam, That missing face is the result of a failed weld. Most old anvils have a wrought iron body and and a tool steel face that was forge welded on. The old tool steel itself may have been pieced together and the joints often failed. The tool steel of this early era was not very good (despite the myths) and occasionally the face cracked.

For this type anvil to work the face must have a continuous weld across the face (a forge weld). The face CAN be built up with special arc welding rod and hand ground. However, building up this much mass is expensive. It you have someone else do it the cost will probably be more than the anvil is worth (in good condition). This size anvil is very common and the prices generally run less than $2/pound US. One that is obviously repaired is worth considerably less.

I have two old anvils of this type. One is a Colonial era anvil with the face worn through and the horn broken off. Its an antique collectors item of little value but it IS very old and tells a great story. The other is not quite as old, probably ca. 1840. It has a missing piece of the corner around the pritchel hole and the face is swayed. All the corners are rounded and worn. To repair either of these OLD worn tools is to erase their history and the history they tell us. Both these tools were used by generations of users after they were broken. The part of the Southern U.S. they were found in makes it a good chance that those generations were poor sharecroppers from a sad but important part of our history.

Oddly enough, both are still better tools as-is than a cheap cast iron anvil that looks pretty. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 02/27/01 18:24:29 GMT

Is there a "standard" size for tapered candles? What size should a courting candle mandrel be? I've got more questions, just can't remember them right now. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.
Kevin - Wednesday, 02/28/01 05:07:19 GMT

I am not sure if there is a "standard" size but I have found that 1" black pipe works if you strech it on a mandrel to give it a bit of a taper. 1" tube works to but on some candles it can be a bit of a loose fit. I would guess the average sise on taper candles to be around 7/8" or so with some bigger and some smaller. don't know if I am right this is just what I have found. I have a habit of buying cheap candles so my numbers may be off from the candles them selfs being off.
MP   <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 07:15:01 GMT

Kevin: I always use 3/4" black pipe thinned over the tip of the horn and rolled back, fits most candles near perfectly. This is to make a pipe cup, but I think 3/4" round ought to work for you. That's the standard size of those short white "utility" candles, anyway.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 13:28:58 GMT

Heh, sorry guru, guess I should have thought about that.

AdamSmith - Wednesday, 02/28/01 15:23:21 GMT

Great site!
I am working on a power hammer, and I have come to a crossroad. is there a great advantage to the airspring -vs- leaf spring in a hammer of 60lb. both are easy for me to build so mainly it is proformance I am looking for.
thank you.
Joe  <stonecarver66 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 16:50:44 GMT

I have several years experience at the forge and a fairly good understanding of metalwork in general. I want to cast aluminum hinges for wooden shutters. IS aluminum strong enough? I mainly am interested in Al because I have it and I dont want the hardware to rust and stain the siding on the house. Please give me some info.
ironhead  <ggcp at crosslink.net> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 17:20:34 GMT

Power HammerJoe, My shock absorber JYH is not really an "air-spring". The way it is used works, but is not very efficient. Toggle link and spring hammers produce a lot harder blow.

Look at the linkage on the Dupont/Fairbanks at Fairbanks Hammers. This and the Bradley rubber cushion are two of the most efficient linkage designs made. Leaf springs can replace the coil spring and arms doing almost as good a job.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 18:01:45 GMT

Cast Aluminium: Ironhead, Cast aluminium is about 1/2 as strong as mild steel but everything depends on your design and the quality of your castings. High strength wrought aluminium is about equal to mild steel but is not nearly as ductile. Unless all the parts are aluminium including the pins then bi-metalic corosion will result. Aluminium running on aluminium galls badly. You will need to use plastic bearings (Teflon or nylon).

Aluminium is great stuff but it has its own disadvantages.

You can also forge parts from stainless and forget it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 18:14:44 GMT

Guru, I know you get tired of answering the same questions that have already been answered. If I could impose on you one more time. Could you direct me to an answer or give an outline of how to forge, quench and anneal/normalize 304 stainless steel bar stock. I've never tried the stainless and now have a personal opportunity to build something out of 3/4" square stock. Although you've covered this before, I did not have a need for the info then. I've been looking through the archives and obviously haven't found what I need. Any help at all is appreciated.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 19:33:21 GMT

Guru: I have just got several sets of mystery tongs


and would like to find out thier origanal use some have thumb screws to ajust the "bottom" jaw and range in size from 14" to Oh my G&^*




the slip roller is 36" long the tongs in front are the biggest set.... just under the roller are a set of snips with 32" reins and 12" jaws ....sometimes you just get luckey

Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 19:38:48 GMT

Tongs: Mark, those are "pipe tongs" according to my 1899 Cary Bro's catalog. Sizes to fit 1/8 to 7" pipe. Called "tongs" they are a wrench for turning threaded pipe. They look similar to tire pulling irons but are not.

Now the slip rolls are neat. I've got a set like them with hand forged thumb screws with the makers name stamped on them. Every one is a different size/shape.

The stake is a "knife edge" stake for folding joints. Please take it out of the anvil hardy hole. There is enough leverage there to break the heal of the anvil!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 20:17:03 GMT

Guru: wow talk about instant response..... thankyou the thumb screws do have a makers mark on them but I'm unable to read it right now (too much surface rust) I'm going to take a brass brush to it to see how much I have to do to restore it to working condition .... the folding strake was placed in the the hardy hole on my small anvill to hold it for pics there is a strake holder in one of the boxes (somewhere) as soon as I find it the strake will get properly seated there are also several "mushroom" head strakes of various shapes and sizes with the same size hardy? taper that will get good use when cleaned and polished. the "tongs" had me fooled I have a set of tire iron tongs and these looked almost the same but???? thankyou for the help there is one more set that I will have to get an identity on In the tongs2.jpg pic they are the second from the left they have a closed end with a mushroomed tip and when the jaws are opened a small notch is opened and closed I will post some close up pics in the next couple of hours to see if they are identifiable

thankyou Mark
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 20:31:39 GMT

304 SS: Heat treating is the same as the 17-7 PH listed above (02/23/01) but it is not semiaustentic.

Forging is basically the same as mild steel. Work it hot. SS is red hard so working at a low red is REAL tough. Clean your anvil and tools of rust and scale. Both will stick to the SS and cause it to appear to rust. If the SS is to be used in bright condition it needs to be "pasivated" by cleaning in an acid bath to remove all scale and free iron on the surface. If used black it can be waxed to darken the oxide and reduce rust blushing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 20:40:44 GMT

guru: the url for the tong s is:- http://members.home.net/vulcans-forge/mys-tongs.html

thankyou Mark
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 21:04:52 GMT

URL: Mark, That one doesn't work
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 21:26:15 GMT

My sister recently asked me to fix a horses bit? that had broken, bad casting.It looked like coppernickel so I silver brazed it with grade 5. Is there a special reason for using coppernickel for his.I would think stainless would be better.I know itwas coppernickel cause I welded milels of it in the shipyard.
Robert Smith  <rfsbj at webtv.net> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 22:00:25 GMT

Horse Bit: Robert, I'm not an expert on this and the experts I've consulted were unclear on specifics. However, copper is often used in horse bits due to the taste. Some bits are made of "sweet iron" which to the best of my knowledge is copper clad steel. So now you have added silver to the "taste" of the bit.

Copper-nickel = Monel???

The better bits are forged. Either hand or machine.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 22:16:40 GMT

Changes: I just added a new menu bar on the public version of this page (it doesn't show on the 'gurus' or members pages yet). This is a test of the menu that is on many of the other pages.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 23:24:15 GMT

Dear guru,Regarding the oil quenched finish-sorry if I was short on details. The client is a well known architect and has come to me with the description of: "flame and oil quenched finish" (a burnt brown look) by his words. I have a sample chip (14 ga. cold rolled steel) and it is a mottled brown and translucent look. I have extensive experience with paints though I am not an expert on faux finishes. I do not believe this look can be achieved with paint. The project is a sideboard table frame of approx. 2"-3" sq. mech. tubing. It will live indoors in a controlled environment so I am not too concerned about the longevity of it all. I do a lot of projects in tubing. It *is* a smoked look. I have experimented a bit today and brown is very difficult to achieve. Blue seems more likely to occur. I may ask the firm that supplied him with the sample plate. I look forward to your response.
Bob Linker  <irony at peconic.net> - Wednesday, 02/28/01 23:30:10 GMT

Custom Finishes: Bob, I used to do this type of stuff with automotive lacquers and a spray gun (big one used like an air brush). The translucent look showing the reflectance of the clean metal underneath is expensive. The last time I looked into my favorite DuPont materials they were no longer distributed in anything less than gallons. Expect around $100/gal for clear.

McDonalds Guitar Makers Supply sells old fashioned nitrocellulose lacquer in quarts and powdered tints to add.

Wet lacquer can have real "smoke" applied but the chances of setting the finish on fire is very high. It could also be done dry then sealed with clear. Sometimes burning the lacquer produces a brown. . .

I would use transparent brown (clear tinted) over the cleaned bare metal. Then use a nearly opaque black misted on plus the use of "flame" templates used judiciously while applying the finish from varying distances and in multiple layers to produce the smoked look.

If a transparent look is not necessary I would use spray cans of automotive touch up lacquer (the bigger ones) and start with a copper/brown and blend in the "black" smoke color wet in wet again using the templates.

This type of stuff takes a little R&D and practice. The lightening in this banner is all hand drawn electronically (much harder than by hand in my view). Originally there were several extra frames to make the lightening appear to "flash" more naturally but they ran too slow. .
Several times I have mentioned that Hollywood makes wood and plaster look like chrome and steel as well as brick, granite and WROUGHT IRON. So why don't we apply the SAME techniques to make the real thing look like what people expect?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/01/01 00:12:36 GMT

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