WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from February 1 - 8, 2002 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Hi ! I'm learning blacksmithing by myself. . .
And as you know,i have a lot of questions to ask,but because we dont have a week,here's 3 of them :

--- how to know if you have enough air supplied to fire ??? (coal)
--- when discard small pieces of coal ??? (size of bite )
--- when to know when iron is enough hot (red) for hammering ?? Sometimes i think that I'm hammering a 6" bar and it's just a 3/8"
thanks a lot taking of your time sharing your tips with us , ''green blacksmith........

Thanks !!!!!!! rémy bélanger,neuville,near quebec,canada.
   - rémy bélanger - Thursday, 01/31/02 19:54:31 GMT

you have enough air to the fire is you can get the metal hot enough... Yes I know that is not a good answer.
Once you have your fire foing in the forge and the coal(coke) is burning well, with a good air blast you should see that the inside of the fire approach a near white heat... bright yellow or better. If you are pumping bellows/cranking blower like crazy and you are not getting that hot, then you have an air restriction. Meaning too mall of a air source or too small of air inlet.
Use all teh coal. Some folks will take the fines...(almost coal dust) and make a slurry with it by adding water till it is like a past and mound that up over the fire and then that will convert to coke just the same as if using larger pieces of coal.
Most mild steel is worked best at a bright red to yellow temp.

The previous words are only my opinion, and as such are often prone to error... (grin)

Hope that it might provide some help.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/31/02 20:52:32 GMT

My question concerns when and how was the first file made? It seems that so much of what we do in blacksmithing is touched by a file. So I was wondering. After all, how do you work a knife blade down after roughing out a blank if you don't have a file?
   Bob - Thursday, 01/31/02 22:44:49 GMT

I am not sure if anyone can assist me, if I have found the correct resource, but I am an instructor trainee at the Advanced Airborne School at Fort Bragg, NC, learning to be a Jumpmaster School Instructor. As a part of my training, I am required to research to the minutia of detail available about every piece of equipment on which I need to teach. Many items are Cadmium PLated Forged Steel Alloy. I have been asked to find out the step of the forging process of Cad. Plt. FSA and what size raw materials are used. I am not even sure what that question means, to tell the trueh. I will come out of this training not only a Paratrooper and instructor, but a chemist, physicist and metallurgist as well. Any ideas? Thank you in advance, SSG Brian A. Heitman
   Brian A. Heitman - Thursday, 01/31/02 23:19:13 GMT

I know files existed prior to a thousand years ago, as there have been files found from about that time age.
And the file that a refering to(Mastermyr find) was pretty sofisitcated. so I would believe that they had been around for a while prior to this.
   Ralph - Thursday, 01/31/02 23:29:41 GMT

Sounds like you have a brother on here. Could you look at
Brian's question...(smile)

   Ralph - Thursday, 01/31/02 23:30:43 GMT


Airborne, Staff Sergeant!

But the guru will have to answer your question.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 00:16:51 GMT

files were also discussed in "Divers Arts" circa 1120 AD and good hardening instructions were given. If you don't have a file you forge to shape and use an abrasive stone to smooth/shape your piece---not as bad as it sounds if you get a nice cutting large stone; I've worked a blade or two this way and have started scrounging larger stones when I can find them at the fleamarket cheap like natural 4"x12"x2"
or a 4"x9"x3/4 soft AR stone...

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 02/01/02 00:24:27 GMT

Thanks for all the input guys ,the info should be great I'll check it out and try my luck at the polishing with the rottenstone.
I knew you all would come up with a answer. THANKYOU.
   - Carl - Friday, 02/01/02 01:01:57 GMT

Hey all!
I have to apply a rust finish to a bakers rack. I've heard you can use Muriatic acid but not sure of quantities?? Any other methods you are aware of?
please advise
   johnd - Friday, 02/01/02 01:30:42 GMT

Paw Paw,
Roger to both comments, both BBs.
Who were you with and when?
2-325th A.I.R. Aug 89 - Mar 92
101st Pathfinders Jan 95 - Dec 97
3-505th P.I.R Jan 98 - June 00
17th AVN Pathfinders July 00 - Jul 01
2-504th P.I.R. Aug 01 - Jan 02
Advanced Airborne School Currently SD from 2-504

Always good to see fellow 'troopers out there!
   Brian A. Heitman - Friday, 02/01/02 02:31:29 GMT

Rust: Chlorox bleach will make instant rust. But why RUST a bakers rack?
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 02:32:48 GMT

Brian and Paw-Paw please take it to the Hammer-In
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 02:34:59 GMT

Files: Up until the late 19th century files were made entirely by hand.
  1. Obtain the best grade of tool steel
  2. Forge the file blank - shapes used today developed long ago
  3. Anneal the blank (soften by heat treatment)
  4. Scrape the soft blank until the surface is smooth and clean.
  5. Oil the blank
  6. Support on soft anvil.
  7. Using a sharp chisel cut the teeth using hard clean blows.
  8. Double cut if needed.
  9. Repeat on oposite side.
  10. Cover with anti-oxidizing paste (charcoal and bone meal)
  11. Heat to hardening temperature (non-magnetic) and quench in water.
  12. Heat tang to soften it.
  13. Clean and oil
Early steels were not as good as todays and files were probably not tempered. In England during the first part of the 19th Century Stubs brand files were made by a network of cottage workers. Stubs provided the steel and all the various types of files were forged and cut in small seasonal shops. Each maker or family probably specialized in a specific style of file. The cut files were returned to Stubs for hardening and were then sold all over the world under Stubs name.

Ever see a jewlers saw blade? Some are .005" in thickness and have teeth .002" in size. These were made by hand for hundreds of years and it is still a very specialized business. Similar methods.

   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 02:55:04 GMT

Forged and Plated: Brian, Critical parts of your jump gear start with certified high quality steel of the specified type. They are then forged. Forging is where the steel is heated to a red heat and then shaped under a hammer. High production parts are made using huge forging presses and shaped in dies (tool steel molds). Forging causes the steel to flow giving it a grain or crystal structure that is directional along the lines of the part and is said to increase the strenght of the part.

After forging the part is trimmed and finished. Then it is heat treated. Heat treating is the process of hardening tempering. Most of your rigging parts are tempered relatively soft so that they are very tough and unlikely to break. At this point samples of each are tested for hardness and strength.

The parts are then cleaned via chemical or mechanical means. During the finishing the parts were probably tumbled with abrasive stones to round edges and make a smooth surface. After heat treating they are probably cleaned chemicaly.

Then the parts are plated. On critical hardware the plating is often a multi-part process. Cadnium plating is often a hot dip process followed by an acid treatment to neutralize or passivate the surface of the cadnium.

Cadnium used to be a common ingrediant in galvanizing but today it has been replaced with zinc for most purposed due to the toxcity of cadnium and cadnium fumes.
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 03:27:20 GMT

Watch it guys!

The PE_MAGISTR.B trojan/worm is making the rounds. Hit my wife's machine, sent out messages. So far, it doesn't show on my machine.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 03:28:48 GMT

what type of metal would you suggest for putting onrobots or battlebots for maximum stability and how much is it. I'm not an expierenced blacksmith

   Rob J. - Friday, 02/01/02 05:08:06 GMT

Rob J.
on the outside, inside, drivetrain... just as arrmor or part of the frame? by stability do you meen strenth of not rolling over?
strongest design I have seen was a full Alumanim space frame (welded) with graphite/kevlar lament riveted and epoxed to it. that design had the advantage of being relatively light and very strong but it took a lot of damage from saw (only the designer could choose were that damage would accure)
bot design is a couch hobbie for me untill I can get the cash up to buy the componets I want to use (motors.4 chanel..baterys etc)
   MP - Friday, 02/01/02 05:35:45 GMT

Many of us are self taught...Figuring it out is part of the fun.
   - Pete F - Friday, 02/01/02 07:28:25 GMT

BOTS: Number one most important item is manuverability and controlability. If it goes too fast when it needs to go slow you can't control it and you crash and burn. Next most important thing is to KEEP moving. One of the best deigns I've seen ran if it was flipped upside down. . The problem was it had too low of ground clearance and would get stuck on humps. If you use pairs of wheels running against each other you don't have to build an ultra compact box. The interesting thing is with this design drive FORWARD is still FORWARD if you flip over. . :)

Armor is dead weight. Weight is bad. Batteries and motors weigh enough. . As MP pointed out a composite is very strong for the weight. But the best armor is designed to hold up against the specific weapons used against it.

Steel is still the best in most circumstances. However, it needs to be used properly. Flat panels are weak but gently curved panels of the same material are tremendously strong. The Volkswagon commercial is right!

The stongest shell for the weight at this scale would be 16ga steel shaped sort of like a turtle shell. If it needs to take a real beating then line it with several layers of fibreglass and epoxy. The fiberglass is also a great way to attach strengthing ribs. 6061T6 aluminum bar about 1/8" x 1/2" bent on edge (the hard way) to fit the shell then glue it in with epoxy glue or body putty. Body putty makes great fillets for ribs. Then apply your fibreglass over the ribs as you line inside. I'd put flat pieces of aluminium in the matrix where screws are going to attach the shell to the frame. .

One of the strongest materials for the weight is wood. A steel shell lined with hardwood verneers will resist hard hammer blows. In this case a shell made of steel bent into a curve with sides also bent in long curves to make that same turtle shape would be easiest to line with wood. The steel would need to be welded along the corners. The first layer of verneer needs to be glued in with epoxy. The rest of the layers can be glued with carpenter's glue. Alternate the the grain direction and build up about 1/4". The better the corner fits the better.

For flat panels wood and metal sandwiches are light and very strong. Start with light stainless (about 28ga) and epoxy a layer of maple verneer to it. Then a layer of thin aluminium flashing and another layer of maple (the grain 90° to the first, then another aluminium, wood and aluminium. For greater dent resistance use 16ga aluminium under the stainless, then the alternating wood and aluminium.

The toughest plain metal shell for the weight is a magnesium aluminum alloy. But you don't want thin edges since the magnesium is flamable. . .

Cost? Depends on what you want to spend and how good a scrounger you are.
You can go crazy with this. . . :)
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 07:41:18 GMT

Greetings from a warm and balmy Friday afternoon in Perth, Western Australia. I am a 69 year old retired electrican/engineer/Technical College Lecturer and I have restored several old cars, motor bikes and stationary engines. I have a modest backyard workshop with the usual hand tools plus a lathe, etc. I have a home-made forge.
Would appreciate any advice regarding case hardening. I have consulted my old friends Baumeister and Marks, Audel, Machinery's Handbook, as well as Tubal Cain and Ian Bradley, but none of them answer my specific questions in
words of two syllables or less.

The tappet adjusting screws (1" x 5/16" BSF) on my 1956 LE Velocette motorcucle are a bit moth-eaten, and have a little 1/4" hex head. I also have a set out of a later model with a larger hex head which I'd prefer to use, but they came out of a bike which was burnt, and are soft. I would prefer these as their heads have more wear area (tappets rotate). I have ground and polished the heads of these, and I attempted to case them using an oxy torch, holding them at cherry red while sprinkling on "Hardite" powder for a while, then quenching in water, but I feel that this will have only given them a very superficial hardness.

I am going to try it again using total immersion in molten Hardite in an iron pot in my forge for a longer period, an hour or so, to try for a decent thickness.


(1) Can I re-case harden these parts, or should I anneal them first?

(2) Would I be better off starting again and making new screws?

(3) Should I protect the threads from case hardening? if so, what is the best method? Someone suggested Copper sulphate (sulfate).

This "Hardite" powder is labelled "Poison - contains 20% Barium Chloride". I recall the old fitters at the power houses using "Kasenite"(?) which I think contained a lot of cyanide, but I think this has been banished now.
(Perhaps they weren't that old, maybe they just looked that way from using Kasenite).

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you. Jack Watson
   Jack Watson - Friday, 02/01/02 11:47:46 GMT

Humor at Microsoft's Expense.
Guru and others- I know what big supporters of Microsoft product you are (not!!) and thought you would get a kick out of this satirical article.
   Patrick - Friday, 02/01/02 13:10:03 GMT

stainless patternweldet: poormans aproach, weld together a box of ironplate, grind clean all surfaces of the steel you want to weld and place in the box, weld lock on, drill a little hole and sqirt in some oil/parafin, warm up, smith together, grind away the box and you have stainless or other patternweldet steel, no flux involved
material choice: for tools/knives, all the steels that might happen to be in the edge have to have more or less the same heatreatment temperatures and holding times, otherwise one part is to hard or soft or has coarse kristall structure
   Stefan - Friday, 02/01/02 13:28:22 GMT

Jack, Kasenit is available. About US $11 for a 1 pound can from MCS if you can't find it in OZ. (www.mscdirect.com) Number 1 is for smaller work. part number 00263012 .020 inch of case in about an hour. Not poisonous or explosive. Might as well try it. If you know the carbon content of the screws, flame hardening should be easy and deeper. Make a steel sleeve to protect the threads?
   Tony - Friday, 02/01/02 13:37:48 GMT

If you are interested in using the cryo treatment on your blades, you may want to get a copy of Ed Fowler's "Knife Talk". He has experimented quite a bit with cryoing his blades. He has used it on regular carbon and on damascus blades.
   - dale - Friday, 02/01/02 14:30:55 GMT

I have been making mortise chisels for woodworkers for about a year, using O-1 steel stock and machining techniques. All that I have made so far use a tang for attaching the handle.

I want to make a version with a socket for the handle. My guess is that the best way is to somehow forge the socket in the end of the stock. Any advice?

Unfortunately, I can't even be considered a novice blacksmith -- maybe a wannabe (G) -- but that's about it as far as my skill level goes. I have had a cross-pein hammer in my hands one time (tried to ruin my dad's anvil making a humongous nail, which later was the cause of an uncomfortable delay at the airport, but that's a whole 'nother story).

The chisels I've been making can be seen on my website:

An example of the kind of socket I want to be able to do can be seen here:

Apologies if posting links is a no-no.

I have also seen on some japanese chisels a combination tang and socket. How do they do that?

Thanks for any guidance you can offer.
   Jim Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 16:16:30 GMT

Morning, Jim! Finally decided to stop lurking, huh? (grin)
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 16:41:22 GMT

Well, I finally had a question that wasn't already asked and answered here, and I couldn't find a good answer for in my books or on the net! (G)
   Jim Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 17:15:21 GMT

Jim, you forge out the "tang end" into a fan shape and curl it around a nice conical bic---then weld it up with an arc welder, mig, tig, etc. Forge welding thin stock is rough, especially tool steels. (you will have to take all appropriate pre-heat/post heats for welding tool steel as well)

IIRC Weygers' "The complete Modern Blacksmith" covers chisel making in some detail as he was a sculptor as well as a smith.

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 02/01/02 17:17:26 GMT

Thanks, Thomas. I have read the Weygers' book you recommended, but I don't remember anything on doing a socket. That's not to say it isn't in there, though! I'll have another look.

The method you recommend seems plausible on the larger chisels I make, but the amount of upsetting I'd need to do to get sufficient mass on the smaller ones seems beyond practicality. But I suppose that's an issue regardless of the technique.

Thanks for the suggestion!

   Jim Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 17:36:34 GMT

Jim Wilson, Weygers does cover wood chisel sockets. One of the things I remember because I've made some chisels too. Tapered pipe or tube sockets can be welded or brazed to the tang if you are so inclined. Or the tang can have a shoulder that a socket bears against.
   Tony - Friday, 02/01/02 17:46:08 GMT

Tapered Sockets: Jim we had a long discussion on this a couple weeks ago. See the January 9 - 16, 2002 archive.

The easiest way is to make a socket from a length of pipe forged to a taper. Then weld the socket onto a short tang on the chisel. If forge welded the chisel needs a rounded shoulder for the weld area. If arc welded that area is filled in. You will need to use a high manganege rod on the tool steel after a preheat. Finish then heat treat the entire piece afterward.

A socket and tang is made similar to what you are already doing except the socket is a long ferrule. A shoulder extending out to the diameter of the ferrule/socket is used. The tang should have a heavy radius for strength. When forging a chisel a heavy shoulder on the tang is better than a bolster. In modern forging (19th Century up) where trip or power hammers are available it is generaly easier to start with large stock and forge out the smaller parts rather than upsetting. The exception is when the part is very long and needs a large end like an axel with a flange or a spike or nail.
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 18:14:43 GMT


Thank you for the info! I'll check the archives for more info.

I would *love* to do a forged shoulder rather than the bolsters I have been making.

Thanks, again!

   Jim Wilson - Friday, 02/01/02 18:57:07 GMT

I am just getting started in blacksmithing and am having trouble locating an anvil or something to use in its place. If anyone can help me it is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time
jesse k.
east detroit mi.
   jesse k. - Friday, 02/01/02 19:02:58 GMT

Guru, I'm not in the metal business and have little (no?)real knowledge of it. I would like to know if it is possible to color stainless steel? I ask because my wife and I would like something diffent for our silverware. I'd like to know if there is any way to color it so it is durable and obviously not poisonous, something dyed in the metal possibly. Powder coating? thanks for your guidance.
   scott - Friday, 02/01/02 19:23:25 GMT

jesse k
Go to ebay and do a search for "blacksmith" you can find just about anything you want on there. I have purchased about 60% of my tools from there. Just be careful and dont get cought up in a frenzy of buying, decide what you will pay and bid on it. If you dont get it another one will be along soon.
   vance - Friday, 02/01/02 19:34:22 GMT

John, here's the rust method I use:

In a spray bottle mix 2 cups water, 2 cups hydrogen peroxide (make sure its fresh), 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tbsp. salt. It's nice and foamy when sprayed on and will cling fairly well to vertical surfaces. Starts to rust right away. Wash off and reapply every 12 to 24 hours until desired rust achieved. Seal with your sealant of choice when done.
   Christine - Friday, 02/01/02 20:32:23 GMT

Coloring Stainless: Scott, NO. If you want pretty color metal then you need aluminium implements. They would need to be made of high strength aluminium alloy. That can then be anodized any color you want. Red, blue, green, gold, black. . . Note that anodizing is generaly applied to a flat surface, not on polished surfaces. The more even the finish the more even the color.
   - guru - Friday, 02/01/02 20:45:48 GMT

Jesse, many people start out with a piece of RR rail as a makeshift anvil. I use a piece of a broken RR coupler---it has a flat face and a curved face and works pretty well.

A friend uses a slice of large shafting (12")---it has flat ends and curved side (see a pattern?)

Most of the world forges on simple chunks of steel and a local scrap yard may be able to fix you up *cheaply*

Do not get cast iron; you will be happier with a chunk of steel than with a cast iron "ASO" (Anvil Shaped Object)

Now I consider e-bay to be a terrible place to buy anvils and smithing tools; but the local fleamarkets here in Ohio get me hammers and tongs for under $5 and by asking around I am still averaging under $1/# for brand name anvils in great shape and *no* shipping! If you are in a tool drought e-bay might help out; but it's expensive.

Ask around your local ABANA or other smithing org chapter; many folks have "loaner" equipment or know where to get the deals in your area.

Scrounging is half the fun in getting your equipment and when you have the basics you can *MAKE* everything else!

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 02/01/02 21:45:07 GMT

I am a 16 year old teenager and I am interested in starting into blacksmithing.I woul like to know what I need to get started and where i could get these items. I am relly interested in making battle axes if that makes a differance.
I would graetly apperciate it if you could e-mail me personally. Thanks
   Jordan - Friday, 02/01/02 23:04:59 GMT

sup guys im a beginner and i have the books and all but ho would i measure for a breastplate? considering there is all of those turns
   bryan - Friday, 02/01/02 23:54:16 GMT

Measuring: Bryan, With a tape measure? Ask your mother, sister or girlfriend or someone that sews. Use a cloth sewing tape.

Remember that padding is required under armor. Have the subject wear a couple sweaters when you measure.

Then layout the shape on butchers paper or newsprint. Leave several inches extra. Then fit the paper to the subject. Fold darts at the shoulder openings to make the paper conform. Pin the paper to the sweater and mark the edges. Mark the darts too. Darts aren't used in metalwork unless you are going to cut and weld but they help you see how much the metal needs t be shrunk.

When you layout the metal you leave an inch or so extra all around and trim when nearly finished with the shaping.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/02/02 00:29:44 GMT

AL can be poisions in some situations! if used to cokk with AL pots and pans can create a toxic oxide that can damage yor brain be very carfull useign any AL flatwear.
I found this out a long time ago in boy scouts my cap set was a cheep one made fron AL and the scout master wouldn't let me use it (also explaned why)
   MP - Saturday, 02/02/02 00:37:23 GMT

Guru:adding to what Wendy said (not complianing just informing). I have tried SEVERAL computers with Swedish variants of Internet expolrer (4.x, 5.x and vintages 95 98 and 98 Second edition) and Guruden won't resize in any of them, largest resolution was 1280x1024 on a 21"monitor with presision (sp?) mouse (used for CAD).
only if I use older version (4.0) of netscape I can get it to resize in windows.
archives and V-hamerin works but not members-forum.
Last spring (about a year ago) you made a fix and it worked for a while but then...
thanks for a great forum anyway :-)
   OErjan - Saturday, 02/02/02 00:48:53 GMT

Guru, thanks for the info! I really appreciate it! Sorry about wasting BB space.
   Brian A. Heitman - Saturday, 02/02/02 01:35:57 GMT

Coloring Stainless Steel; Scott:

You could use my wife's method- throw tableware into dishwater, wash every third day... In a year or so it turns a nice grey-blue! (A big grin, but it works! :)

A cooling, windy night on the banks of the lower Potomac. Winter is coming back to Southern Maryland!

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

Visit your National Parks (opening soon): www.nps.gov
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 02/02/02 02:55:26 GMT

Hi Guru, If you wanted to take some 1215 and caseharden it where it was very hard but not susceptible to shearing under an impact what rockwell would you suggest? Also, how would 4140 compare to 1215? Thanks and keep up the good guruing, Gary
   Gary - Saturday, 02/02/02 03:28:37 GMT

Hi- I just bought my first powerhammer and have a question.
My hammer is a Little Giant 25# unit and one of the toggle arms was broken and welded back together a long time ago. Is there a source for getting a new toggle arm to replace the welded one? The welded one works but looks bad? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks- Fred
   Fred Grant - Saturday, 02/02/02 03:53:49 GMT

Fred, see the manufacturer's list on our Power hammer Page.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/02/02 04:35:39 GMT

rémy, your e-mail bounced. Please sent correct address.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/02/02 14:53:55 GMT

to jim wilson, posted 02/01/02
japanese woodworking chisels are a combination of tang and socket -namely, they all carry a short, beefy tang, and a separately made conical socket is closely fitted against the tang shoulder. ususaly the fit is so good it appears as if the tang is forged from the same stock, but such is not the case, apart from some really old chisels.
good luck,
   arnon - Saturday, 02/02/02 20:12:07 GMT

This is my first post. I have machine shop and millwright experience. I am located on a small atoll in the Pacific called Johnston Island. I am in the process of building an ultralight airplane and the landing gear design seems pretty flimsy to me.
This is my question(s) How does one anneal 2024 t-3 aluminum bar to the 0 state so it can be bent. Then temper that same material to the t-6 state?
Any ideas on how to do it or where to find the information?
   Bart - Saturday, 02/02/02 22:34:55 GMT

Aluminium Heat Treating Bart, Machinery's Handbook has a nice article on the subject but is lacking specifics. Basically it says, these alloys are annealed by heating to an elevated temperature then quenching in cold water. Because they age harden at room temperature some manufacturers hold these alloys at freezing or below to enhance workability. The "O" temper designation is considered unstable. The fact that the alloy may harden to the T-3 condition in a few days at room temperature makes this obvious.

Artificial ageing is performed by heating to above room temperature for a period of time. The higher tempers above T-6 in wrought plate are achived by work hardening, usualy by stretching.

The Kaiser Aluminium Casting handbook says the solution heat treatment (annealing) temperature is between 800 and 1000°F. The age hardening temperature between 300 and 500°F. 400 and 500°F for copper bearing alloys.

2024 is a wrought (not cast) alloy. I'm still looking for specifics on wrought alloys.

That said, I'm sure you know that aircraft materials are generaly certified and do-it-yourself heat treatment would void that certification. I know your ultra-light may not come under FAA regulations but its something to think about. Hard landings on a coral reef are no fun.

The detailed information will be in Aluminium Association or ASM International publications. See the link to ASM on our links page.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/03/02 01:04:59 GMT

guru, I'm wanting to start making myself some tools for
my shop. I was wondering what steel makes the best punches.
I'v heard that S-7 makes the best, but is there any other
steel that will do just as good?
Also, have you heard of a Tiger blower? I bought one the
other day, and I have never heard of one. It gives a good
blast of air!!
   jason - Sunday, 02/03/02 02:06:43 GMT

Im a hobby knife maker.My buddy and I started making knives about a yr. ago to have some trade goods at rendevoues.I would like to find a blacksmith or mbs to appretice under, but can't seem to find one in this area.Can you help me?
   Tom Lee - Sunday, 02/03/02 05:40:27 GMT

S7 is good for hot work but a bit fussy. H13 is better hot but fussier yet.
For punches in general, most any good tool steel is fine. In any case, the heat treatment is the critical part.
Tom L
Apprenticeships are problematic, but join your local blacksmith or knife makers group...best-cheapest fastest way to learn. There are also sites on the net..read them.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/03/02 06:33:21 GMT

Pete, what's the concern with H13? I have been using it for hot tools and found it pretty straightforward although it does need to be heat treated differently from carbon steel
   - adam - Sunday, 02/03/02 15:40:26 GMT

my BS teacher has a small PH in his smithy and it has certainly made life easier for me (I'm a 63 year old novice y'understand). I'm interested in using one for the drugery work of hammering which I can only handle for a while before all the joints from my fingers to my shoulder begin to scream (I know - I shudda started smithing when I was 8). Anyhow, now I'm interested in a low tech - low cost PH that I can use to pound out the materials I need making small gun parts and an occasional knife blade. Any suggestions? Thanks
   Jerry Crawford - Sunday, 02/03/02 16:12:27 GMT

Apprenticeships FAQ
   - guru - Sunday, 02/03/02 17:26:15 GMT

Is there a way to repair tempered steel or bend tempered steel without it losing it's temper?
   Cat - Sunday, 02/03/02 17:55:45 GMT

Power Hammers: Jerry, See our power hammer page for a list of manufacturers as well as our "Catalog of User Built Hammers". Our advertisers also sell them. Centaur Forge, Kayne and Son, Bullhammers and Walace Metal Works. Wallace just happens to have gotten several used hammers in.
Note, I am also the webmaster at forginghammers.com
   - guru - Sunday, 02/03/02 17:57:29 GMT

Cat, it depends on how hard the steel. Almost all steel is hardened and tempered. How hard it gets is determined by the carbon content. The more carbon the harder it gets. Bending generaly does not effect temper unless it is repetitive and then the steel may work harden.

After hardening all steels are tempered. This may be a hard or soft temper. Most steels will bend at a soft temper but high carbon tool steels and cutlery steels may bend a little just before breaking. To bend these steels more than minor straightening they must be annealed. Annealing is a heat treating process that makes steels as soft as possible.

Annealed high carbon steels are not nearly as soft as annealed lower carbon steels. However, when annealed most can be bent albiet with more effort for high carbon steels.

Low and medium carbon steels can be annealed by a blacksmith using primitive methods. However, many high carbon and alloy steels require cooling at rates as low as 20°F/hour from about 1500°F to 1200°F. Yep, that means a special temperature controlled furnace. That is why many tool steels are sold in the annealed condition and are relatively expensive.

After annealing and working the steel must then be hardened and tempered again. See our Heat Treating FAQ
   - guru - Sunday, 02/03/02 18:40:24 GMT

I am wondering how I can get started in Blacksmithing. I have recently moved to North Carolina and am looking for an opportunity to learn blacksmithing. I live in the Linville Gorge area...near Table Rock. Any ideas?
   craig - Sunday, 02/03/02 21:49:01 GMT


I am a newly aspiring armourer. I would eventually love to learn the finer points of working hot metal, but my question today is not for me.

I have a local blacksmith who has a shop. He is older and hasn't been in the shop for a few months. He is willing to make some tools that I need (has even offered to teach me how to make them) but he has a problem with the source for his shop coal.

These are the exact words he used to describe what he is looking for:
-Shop Coal
-Little or not sulfur
-No ash
-High BTU
-High Coking Factor
-No Iron Pirites
-No Iron Ore

He lives in Portsmouth, Ohio, which is directly on the Ohio River in the middle, bottom of the state. The only source he says he had found is $50 per $50 pounds which is cost prohibitive for the volume of work he does.

If you have any directions to point him in, I will gladly pass them on. He doesn't have a computer so any correspondents should come to me.

Thank you so much in advance for any help.

Becky Lovins
Minford, Ohio
   Becky Lovins - Sunday, 02/03/02 21:51:17 GMT

Becky: there should be no shortage of good blacksmith coal across the river in WV. It's a bit of a trip for you but I get my coal at Bradford Coal near Clearfield, PA 814 857 7681. They get about $50/ton picked up at the breaker ( no minimum ). They are real nice folks and let you bag the coal yourself if you want.I've gone through about 1/2 ton so far and have yet to find a clinker. It's very low ash and high coking....Bob
   bbeck - Sunday, 02/03/02 23:13:22 GMT

Hi Guru, I posted a question on Sat about 1215 and 4140. Have you not got to it or did it slip by you? Thanks Gary
   - Gary - Monday, 02/04/02 03:50:33 GMT

I'm told that it is very prone to crack if quenched and needs to be tempered at something approaching a red heat. I use it for hot work and like it but it sure is stiff to shape. On the other hand, a master once told me..." H 13? Heat and beat!" then he grinned. I have broken an H 13 too that wasn't properly heat treated, but I was pushing it .
So, perhaps you are right and it isn't the big problem I was told it was.
Jerry: have you considered a treadle hammer?
   - Pete F - Monday, 02/04/02 05:05:39 GMT

Coal: Becky, If you can't find it localy then you can order good blacksmithing coal from Kayne and Son, Wallace Metal Works or Centaur Forge.

Wallace has 50# bags for $18.

Kayne and Son has 50# for $10.

Check on shipping costs and bulk prices.
   - guru - Monday, 02/04/02 06:54:45 GMT

Craig: You are very close to Kayne & son (in Candler, just W. of Asheville), among others. Western NC is overrun with smiths. As far as learning, you're also about an hour and a half at most from the John C. Campbell Folk School, and even closer (maybe half an hour) to the Penland school of crafts. Both teach basic smithing. Paw-Paw Wilson probably knows someone right next door to you, for that matter.
   Alan-L - Monday, 02/04/02 15:20:35 GMT

Just a quick note of somthing I found to be interseting. I am working on building my first forge and discovered that I needed to bend some 3/8 round that I picked up at Home Depot. As I dont have a bending jig I couldn't bend it cold So I needed a way to heat it up. It turns out that a propane cooker ring with some fire bricks staked up over and around the burner makes a passable litle forge. It won't get to welding heat and its not fast but it got my round up to a nice bright ornge and made bending no problem. Just thought i would pass it on for the other begginers out there. If I have spoken out of turn I appologize.
   Jacob Langthorn - Monday, 02/04/02 16:17:40 GMT

Hello. I am interested in your definition of swedging. If I am swedging using a machine process, what type of lubricant do I need? Can the swedging be done without heat added and just let the lubricant absorb into the steel? If so, what lubricant will give me the least amount of time spent waiting on the lubricant to finish absorbing into the material?

Thank you very much for any help or guidance that you provide.
   Eric Richards - Monday, 02/04/02 17:11:52 GMT

Case Hardening: Gary and Jack.

Not all steels are considered suitable for casehardening. Some alloy steels are not and only low to medium carbon steels benefit. See references such as MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for applicable steels. See the ASM Heat Treater's Guide for specifics on methods and depth of case.

1215 is a resulphurized free machining steel with only 9 points carbon. It can benifit from light casehardening but is very soft and casehardening only improves surface wear.

4140 is a medium hardening steel and is not recommended to be case hardened.

The old Casenit had cyanide salt. The new Casenite does not.

Case hardening to a maximum depth of .032" (.8mm) takes four hours at 1600°F. The depth follows a curve but is fairly proportional accordiing to time. The lower the temperature the longer it takes. At 1450°F the case is only .005" (.13mm) after 1 hour but .016" (.4mm) at 1600°F after the same time. A few minutes with a torch at less than an orange heat and you have less than a tissue paper thick case.

Threaded parts are often case hardened to produce stronger more wear resistant threads. Parts that need higher mechanical strength (heads of nuts or bolts) do not get it from case hardening unless they are very small.

For the hardest case, parts are quenched directly from the bath. They are often untempered but if core steel needs tempering then that is a different situation. It is best to temper all hardened parts at least to the minimum of 350°F.

For more information and references see our Heat Treating FAQ referenced above.
   - guru - Monday, 02/04/02 18:33:23 GMT

Swedging and Oil: Eric, If your steel absorbs oil you are not from this planet or using very poor quality steel. On rotary swaging machines lubricant is not recommended for cold swaging. It is also recommended to remove all other residues and scale.

You are either cold working (72 to 120°F) or hot working (~1800°F to 2400°F) steel. You do not add a "little" heat.

Cold heading or upsetting requires lubricant. Special dry lubricants are used and the type depends on the severity of the upset. Lime coating, phosphate coating, mixtures of sterates and oils or plating with a softer metal is used.

This is a complicated subject and I recommend you purchase the ASM metals handbook reference on Forming and Forging (currently Volume 14). They also have special references on cold swaging such as their video "Getting Metals into Usable Form: Cold Working".

There are also many technical journals that cover this subject as there have been a lot of new developements in cold forming parts in the last decade or so. See Design News, Manufacturing Processes and others.
   - guru - Monday, 02/04/02 19:30:04 GMT

I'm doing a projact for school and i'm rounder what typs of books that I can read about Blacksmithing.
   Tim - Monday, 02/04/02 23:47:33 GMT

Tim, see "Getting Started in Blacksmithing" and our Bookshelf book review page.
   - guru - Monday, 02/04/02 23:52:29 GMT

Am doing some remodeling on a BBQ pit that we built last year. Have some expanded stainless steel that we have used for the rack to put meat on. I want to build a frame for a shelve that will slide in and out. The frame will be made out of regular angle iron. I would like to reuse the existing stainless steel for the inside of the shelf. Can I weld the stainless to the cold rolled with my mig? I have a torch also so I could braze it if necessary. Any ideas would be appreciated.
   oregonduck - Tuesday, 02/05/02 00:44:03 GMT

I'm thinking about going to a blacksmithing class. But i don't know of any that are in twon. So if any one knows a class that is in Anch., Ak., plz let me know.
   Tim - Tuesday, 02/05/02 01:03:00 GMT

I'm trying to set up a blacksmith shop in my garage. Does anybody know about making a natural or acetlyne gas forge?
   A.W. - Tuesday, 02/05/02 02:34:19 GMT

Gas Forges: AW, NO ACETYLENE! Too hot for forges! You don't want to vaporize the steel. But Propane, Butane and NG are all used. See our plans page for a simple burner and links to the Ron Reil forge page.

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 02:45:46 GMT

Actylene Forges AW, I was a little quick there. You can use a few fire bricks and a large tip or a small rose bud for heating to bend or forge. You direct the flame toward the bricks and let the heat radiate back on the steel. But acetylene is expensive for forge work.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 02:47:51 GMT

Alaska: Tim, we have a number of corespondants from Alaska but not sure where. I don't know of an ABANA chapter up there but I'll bet there are enough smiths to form a group. Ask around. If that doesn't work run a small classified ad. You would be surprised how many would be anvil bangers come crawling out of the woodwork. . . or your case, the snow drifts.

Someone in the group may have a shop to host a meet. Chapters often have popular demostrators come in a couple times a year and pay their transportation costs and a small fee. I know there are professional smiths in AK. Seek them out. There are also numerous smiths in Canada.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 03:03:45 GMT

SS and mild steel: Oreganduck, you can weld SS to mild steel and alloy steels using SS wire or rod but not vice versa.

SS rod also works well for welding chrome plated items like wrenches, which are also alloy steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 03:14:45 GMT

Jacob, Good ideas that work are always welcome. Don't breathe the fumes coming off that plated hardware store rod. It can make you sick and the effects are accumulative.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 03:18:38 GMT

I would like to ask you something: where(in which site or adress) I could find a job. I could do all blacksmithing small goods and then sent a parcel to European countries. I'm from central-easten Europe, Lithuania. Waiting for reply..........
   Saulius - Tuesday, 02/05/02 07:02:03 GMT

Not sure of relative locations, but email me offline. I have a few freinds in Ak. Near Palmer. Is that near you? Well even if not email me and I will hook you up with those I do know in AK, they can help you find folks nearby.

   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/05/02 07:15:21 GMT

Jacob L;
A fine beginning...I like it. Be careful of burning up your burner though.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 02/05/02 08:59:33 GMT

Pete F
The Burner is already damaged. I regularly use it to heat 17 to 20 U.S. Gallons of water for brewing beer. The inside supports are begining to droop and look pitted. I already have plans to build another one with a sturdier base for my brew ketle so I figured that I can't do any harm in this case. But thanks for the warning. The biggest problem I am having is that the bricks sit about 2 1.2' above the burner and I loose alot of heat as a result.
   Jacob Langthorn - Tuesday, 02/05/02 14:04:28 GMT


How about starting the brick "stack" at ground level, so the heat would be more contained. Is that possible?
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 02/05/02 14:47:14 GMT

I was giving wome thought to that idea. My only concerne is that I dont know how much oxy is being mixed at the burner or if it is pulling all it needs through the inlet( it has a real name I just can't remember it at the moment.) I think I am going to give that a try. If it doesn't get enough then Ill open a hole in the lowere stack till it does.
   Jacob Langthorn - Tuesday, 02/05/02 14:54:11 GMT

What's the best tempurature for a steel sword? I want to make one, but i'm not sure what temp it should be. I think it will be about 3ft. long, and a quarter of an inch thick.
   James - Tuesday, 02/05/02 18:52:56 GMT


Better keep it at room temperature, or you'll burn your hand.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 02/05/02 19:34:04 GMT

How do I layout a 5"dia x 22"dia x 10" tall, concentric reducer in 22 gauge sheet metal?
   Kenny B - Tuesday, 02/05/02 20:09:54 GMT

Reducer: Kenny, I'm not sure exactly what shape you are making. Are you rolling or breaking the turns? On our 21st Century page we have an article on laying out cones including truncated cones. To go from round to round you need three pieces, the top, bottom and cone. The bottom COULD be made from the cone by crimping but I don't recommend it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 20:50:44 GMT

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/05/02 20:59:42 GMT

where would be the closest place to buy coal from Murfreesbor Tn....? any info would help.
   Mary - Wednesday, 02/06/02 01:26:25 GMT

guru- could you tell me what is considered the best material to use between a power hammer and it's foundation I am trying to set up a bradley 100 lb. hammer and have a foundation of concrete 3 ft. thick 3 ft. wide 5 ft 6in long that this hammer is going to sit on
   terry stover - Wednesday, 02/06/02 01:33:14 GMT

Terry, This is debatable and everyone has their favorite material. Usualy a layer of good dense hardwood is best if it is carefully trimed to match the (often unmachined) surfaces of the bottom of the anvil and machine base. If the anvil needs to be trued to the machine this is the best method.

If the base of the anvil is flat and true to the machine base and the machine base is flat and true then a layer of plywood is sufficient to compensate for the irregularities of the parts (assuming your concrete is flat and smooth). A layer of heavy conveyor belting (1/2" or greater) also works.

Mostly what you are looking for is something to compensate for rough or out of flat surfaces. Unless you grouted in the hammer the relationships between concrete and machine are far from perfect.

If your foundation is flush to the surrounding floor and you are of average height then the hammer is probably going to be too low and you have lots of room to install a nice hardwood pad.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/06/02 05:36:44 GMT

Glossary: James, start at the glossary link to the left then follow the heat treating links and references.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/06/02 05:45:54 GMT

Coal in Tennesee: Mary, we have no listing for coal suppliers in TN but I am sure there are some. However, small coal distributors are closing up as fast a people are switching from coal furnaces to other easier to maintain heating methods. For many smiths this means switching to other fuels such as propane or ordering coal and paying the shipping costs. Kayne and Son, Centuar Forge and Wallace Metal Works all sell and ship bagged blacksmithing coal.

Try APPALACHIAN AREA CHAPTER the Tennesee ABANA chapter. These folks will know where the best local coal suppliers are.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/06/02 16:52:14 GMT

Under wich circumstances could pure tin be toxic? I´ve always considered it harmless since it is used in cups, plates and as coating in cooking utensils, but these things changes (lead was used freely not to long ago, so was asbestos).
   - Olle Andersson - Wednesday, 02/06/02 17:34:06 GMT

Any one have an idea about what steel is used in oil field drill pipe?
   Jacob Langthorn - Wednesday, 02/06/02 17:55:14 GMT

Toxicity: Olle, I've never heard of any possible toxocity in iron. It is also used in millions of miles of water pipes. However, iron or steel that contains lead will leach it and leaded steels are still made for machinability. They would need to be avoided if making eating utensiles that would contain acidic liquids.

Soluble iron such as in vitamins or dietary suplements are like anything else and become toxic if you overdose on them.

   - guru - Wednesday, 02/06/02 19:26:48 GMT

Ollie Andersson, this site has some info on tin toxicity: (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts55.html. Significant exposure to tin fumes and/or can cause digestive and liver ailments. As far as I can tell, no one has identified long-term health problems resulting from moderate exposure over time. My free advice, worth at least double the price :) is to avoid metal fumes and dust whenever practical by working with plenty of fresh air and supplying forced egress of the gases/particles with a dust collection system or fume hood. If you beleive in the theory of evoluton, we weren't designed to be resistant to those kinds of things since they aren't normally part of our environment. As far as tin used for eating utensils is concerned, there's probably no worry there since tin compounds are quickly passed through our systems, and most common tin compounds are of very low toxicity as best anyone knows. Hope this helps.
   Rob. Curry - Wednesday, 02/06/02 20:11:09 GMT

Sorry Guru, I meant the metal tin, Sn . I know that organic tin-compounds are very toxic, but do you know of any risk of those occuring during melting or other handling of the material? As i said, I´ve never worried about it before, but I will do some tin (pewter) casting involving children soon and wanted to check if I´ve been missing something.
   - Olle Andersson - Wednesday, 02/06/02 20:13:57 GMT

I have cast with a lead free pewter (95% Sn) for over 20yrs and the only problems that I have had are when the ventilation is not what it should be. This is only a problem if the exposure is prolonged ( more that 4 hrs) and results in a mild form of "welders head" . I have done several classes with children showing them how to cast and found the biggest problem to be scalds from them holding the pieces too soon after they come out of the mould ( they learn quick though) the mold release (talc or graphite) being such a fine powder is more of an inhalant risk than the tin and I recomend that you have them wear a mask for this process.
   Mark Parkinson - Wednesday, 02/06/02 20:34:48 GMT

Darn, I must be going blind. . . TIN! Others have covered it.

   - guru - Wednesday, 02/06/02 21:31:12 GMT

James; each steel alloy has different temperatures for forging and heat treating (hardening and tempering) you need to know the alloy first.

"The Complete Bladesmith" by James Hrisoulas has a listing of some of the more popular steels and their working temps.

You should be able to get it at the library through inter library loan (ask at the reference desk).

Remember that typical medieval swords used in battle weighed only around 2-3 pounds---don't make your sword a boat anchor!

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 02/07/02 01:24:48 GMT

hi ! as a begginer blacksmith,here's the biggest problem i encounter (for now...) if i have several identical pieces with a scroll at both end,i'm just not able to do it.like for now i have 3 "L" bracket to support a shelf on wall,each section of "L" needs to mesure 12 inch.but when i hammer the end to make scroll,métal stretch and become longueur,that,s the trouble. then i make the scroll and i'm not able to have 12 inchs finished.and by the way,if you have 50 scrolls to do,how do you proceed ?? i read here about a jig ???....where i can see a picture of what it look like ? thanks a lot because all the thing i learn,it' here!!!!!
   rémy bélanger - Thursday, 02/07/02 03:27:58 GMT

Scrolls: rémy, It is not hard if you think about it. If all the scrolls need to fit inside a triangular space then make a framework that shape. Then as you make each scroll, fit them into the triangle. Normaly adjustments can be made cold. The amount of stretch will not vary after you practice a few.

To get identical scrolls takes either practice or a jig as you mentioned. See our article on "Benders" on our 21st Century page and our iForge demos on scrolls.

#31 Spiral and Scroll layout.
#37 Scroll Ends

To make a double ended "S" scroll an exact size and length, first make a full size drawing. Then take a piece of steel of a known length (measure it) and forge one half of the "S". Then take another piece of steel a known length and make the opposite end. Lay the pieces on the the drawing and cut off the extra material so that the two pieces make a perfect fit. Then subtract the amount cut off from the total length of the two pieces you started with. The result is the length of the bar necessary to make the "S" including gains and losses from forging. Cut your material that length.

I arc weld the two sample pieces together to make an "S" scroll to match the parts. It can also be used to make a triangular or rectangular frame to use as a guage if the scrolls are to fit into a given space.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 04:02:00 GMT

Jason: I have a Tiger blower also. It does give a nice blast. The air intake has a screen covering it. Looks like original by factory.
   Dave Wells - Thursday, 02/07/02 04:49:12 GMT

Hi, "I'm teaching myself blacksmithing". Just assembling tools right now. The Anvil - I scrounged an 11" x 7" x 3.5" block of steel, 80 lbs, with the 11" x 3.5" face polished smooth. Spark testing it on my grinder it looks like high carbon yet I don't know how high, nor if there are any other alloys in it. Right now it is soft, I radiused the edges easily with a file. The question: Is it worth trying to heat treat the face? If yes, how? I'm concerned that a water quench in the pond out back might shatter it or an oil quench in a 55 gallon drum light on fire. Could I impart any hardness to the face by heating to critical temp then blowing cold air on it my forge blower? Or, should I just use it like it is until I wear it out. Remeber, half the fun is making something fine and useful out of someone else's scrap.

   Doug - Thursday, 02/07/02 06:36:47 GMT

I have always liked Yellin designs. Page 61 of Anderson's S. Yellin Metal Worker shows a glazed door done in 1932. I want to use the double twisted square stock element in a piece I'm designing. In the photo the two strands appear to fit together so tightly there is no gap anywhere to be seen. There is no view of the work from the oposite side. Given Yellin's preference for mechanical fastening, I am guessing that the grass blade part of the design is a continuation of the twisted square stock. If this is the case, this part of the design would have a little flex to it. I wonder if there is more to the thing than I am imagining. Some day I may see the piece, but until I do, can you enlighten me? Thanks and take care, Ken.
   Ken Albert - Thursday, 02/07/02 07:43:39 GMT

Ken, I don't have the book nor have I seen the piece. Not sure about what you are describing.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 15:29:18 GMT

Hardening a Block: Doug, If you have access to an oxy-actylene torch heat a corner to a red and quench with running water. Then test the hardness. This is flame hardening. If the test says it can be hardened you can take a large rosebud and progressively heat the surface and quench as you move along. Normaly this is done with special ganged tips requiring multiple cylinders of acetylene or a bulk tank of propane. On a large surface it can be done manualy but a mechanical drive/guide system would be best.

When flame hardening the quench comes partialy from the mass of the block of steel as well as the water. On high carbon steels self quenching often works in flame hardening but not on a large area.

Air quench steels are relatively rare and expensive. I doubt your plate is that. In large blocks air quench steels become oil quench steels and oil quench steels need water or brine to cool them quickly enough.

Flame hardening is a good test to see if its hardenable. Most medium carbon steels will respond to flame hardening. Low carbon structural steels will show some hardness but not a great deal. The question becomes, is it worth the expense in fuel?
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 15:43:31 GMT

Guru...in forging bronze, I know there are many things to consider; The most important being what kind of brass/bronze to use. Some are pretty toxic when heated and worked. I forged bronze years ago, but forgot what "kind" it was. Whats the most commonly used bronze? Thanks....Noiseyforge
   noiseyforge - Thursday, 02/07/02 17:05:25 GMT

Brass and Bronze

Avoid Berylium bronze. Berylium dust is very toxic and produces pnemonia like symptoms so that it is rarely diagnosed until it is too late.

Berylium bronze is used to make spark free wrenches and tools and spriings.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 18:21:38 GMT

Guru...what about "Naval bronze"
   noiseyforge - Thursday, 02/07/02 18:27:56 GMT

Brass and Bronze
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 18:45:07 GMT

Thanks guru!!! wonderful resource!
   noiseyforge - Thursday, 02/07/02 19:52:56 GMT

Hardening a block part two:

OK, I first test a corner with a torch and water quench to see if it hardens at all. Let's say it does. I can then proceed to flame harden the entire face. I don't have a drive system so I would be doing it by hand. I can picture systematically heating each portion of the face to a red but then do I quench each portion with water as I go? Or, does the self quenching properties of the block do it for me?

Lastly, assuming the steel is an oil quench you say a large block becomes a water quench. If I can get one entire face up to a nice red can I **Safely** drop it in my pond or is that asking for shrapnel?
   Doug - Thursday, 02/07/02 20:33:59 GMT

thanks a lot for your tips mr.guru !!
   rémy bélanger - Thursday, 02/07/02 21:44:40 GMT

Doug, generaly yes, for the mass you are speaking of it will be water quench. But you need moving water to get a good quench. AND you do not want to be IN the water as it will be boiling near the steel for a considerable time. Handling that mass while hot is a real trick. Uh. . how deep is the mud in that pond?

Flame hardening the entire face is done by heating the full width at one time (3-4 rosebuds together), moving progressively across the face and quenching at the same time. The face should be sloping and you work from the bottom to the top so the water runs of behind the torch and across the preveiously heated area. Its not done with a little torch.

NOTE: A standard (full size) actylene cylinder can only supply gas at about the rate that a small rose bud heating tip consumes fuel. A large (235?) cylinder is required for a large rosebud. Propane from a bulk cylinder is recommended for heavy heating.

The best option is to find someone that does heat treating and let them do it.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/07/02 22:51:11 GMT

Mr. Guru, I need some suggestions for a finish. I'm working on a large outdoor "screen" made of 1/2" rd with 1/4" X 2" strap borders. There will be several frames bolted together and vines are to grow up on the pattern to hide some A/C equipment. My experience with black paint in the hot Kansas sun is not good. In a few years, it is more of a grey with almost white streaks. Since there will be the vegetation repainting is really not an option. I'm thinking of a rust patena, or something that would not need to be recoated. Can you suggest some alternatives? Thanks.
   Heyman - Friday, 02/08/02 01:39:35 GMT

I put a bronze brazing rod on my ark welder today..the stick just kinda vaporized when i to
uched the surface of the test steel how harmful are those fumes
   greg upshur - Friday, 02/08/02 02:12:51 GMT

Ken Albert. I found the door on page 63 of Jack Andrews' book. Purely guesswork, but I think the two adjacent twisted bars are fastened together with disguised pins (rivets) each end peened into a countersink, and carefully dressed off. I would agree with you that the blades are continuations of the two pieces.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 02/08/02 02:32:15 GMT

Greg, long term exposure can be bad but the little "POOF" you got won't hurt. Just don't do it again.
   - guru - Friday, 02/08/02 03:02:48 GMT

Paint Chalking Heyman, The problem is the type of paint not the fact that it is paint. Do cars in Kanasas turn grey and streaky? Paint "chalking", becoming dusty on the surface is from using the wrong paint. High temperature paints such as "bar-b-que black" is notorious for chalking due to the fact that it is mostly pigment and little carrier. Paint also needs to be UV resistant and color-fast.

With proper surface preparation good exterior paints last decades. Automobile finishes used to be the best but the new water based paints are not as good. The AC unit you are covering is painted too. When it rusts out it is finished. . . The paint normaly holds up longer than the mechanics.

For exterior work clean, zinc cold galvanize, neutral prime, top coat.

Cleanliness is critical. Sandblasting is best and vibratory finishing works well on small work. Wire brushing is OK but is has to be power brushing and cover ALL the work. Generaly it is only satifactory for small work. Chemical cleaning is good but you have to neutralize the residue and dispose of the waste chemicals. . .

If you use coal cleanliness is even more critical. Coal residue is hydroscopic and acidic. It will absorb moisture through paint, expand breaking the paint and then the acid will act as a strong electrolyte causing fast heavy pitting. Coal plating is resisitant to chemical cleaning.
   - guru - Friday, 02/08/02 03:30:32 GMT

Frank T....Thanks for the comments. The rivets make sense. Take care.
   Ken Albert - Friday, 02/08/02 03:54:34 GMT

hi ! another question,..... in a demo on anvilfire site made by m.epps,were he made a small key chain anvil,he talks about freezing the face of the anvil,so is anybody can explain what is freezing and how you do that (don't talk about mr.freeze here )
   rémy bélanger - Friday, 02/08/02 03:59:49 GMT

and by the way ,another one,on the net,we see a lot of plans to make a propane forge,what i want to know is how long (in minutes ??) that you can drive it with a cylinder like b.b.q ??? thanks for you help.
   rémy bélanger - Friday, 02/08/02 04:04:20 GMT


I get about 8 forging hours out of a standard 20 lb. bottle of propane
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 02/08/02 04:09:39 GMT

Freeze rémy, that was in response to a question. The term "freeze" was used improperly for "quench".

It is common on delicate forging projects to quench part of the piece to control the heat so that only the part you want to change is hot. This is done by either dipping in water OR pouring water on the place you want cooled. It is also used when upseting for the same purpose.

In this case, Bill pointed out that that the piece was too small to benifit from quenching. He was being polite and using the same term as the person that posed the question.

Fuel Consumption depends on the size of the forge and burner. I have one of the smallest NC-TOOL forges with one burner. Its fire box is 3"H x 6½"D x 7"W (76mm H x 165mm D x 178mm W). Used 3-4 hours a day a 30# (13.6kg) bottle of propane lasts me for a month. The NC forge Paw-Paw has is 60% larger and has two burners. It gets hotter than the little forge I am using. He is also running it on a smaller standard exchange size cylinder.

I also have a large blower type gas forge. It runs for about 4 hours on two full 30# (13.6kg) bottles before they freeze up. It would probably use 60# (24 kg) of fuel in 9 or 10 hours.

NC-TOOL catalog with links to anvilfire reviews

   - guru - Friday, 02/08/02 15:22:43 GMT

NOTE: Just because a home built forge has only one burner DOES NOT mean it will use as little fuel as the NC-TOOL Whisper Baby.
   - guru - Friday, 02/08/02 15:24:37 GMT

I am looking to identify and old anvil. I can make out part of the word Brooklin on one side....possibly a hay budden? I am looking for pictures or other markings that will tell me for sure. The bottom is recessed...there is some rust in there, would is be wise to look for markings in there?
   Harry Clark - Friday, 02/08/02 19:32:50 GMT

Harry, The only anvils manufactured in Brooklyn were Hay-Buddens. Yes they have a sort of ugly recess in the bottom so they sit flat. No there are no markings there. markings were on the sides and the front foot edge may have had a serial number.
   - guru - Friday, 02/08/02 21:46:10 GMT

Looking to build a small gas forge (propane) any suggestions,plans thanks
   MURF - Friday, 02/08/02 22:01:00 GMT


Use a Scotch Brite pad to scrub down the anvil. Get all the dust of it, and then do a rubbing of both sides, and the front of the foot under the horn. Scan the images and email them to me, and I'll see if I can date it for your.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 02/08/02 22:35:47 GMT

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