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 17 - 21, 2002 on the Guru's Den
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I've been asked to to make a Bald Eagle weather vane, and would appreciate any infomation,plans,or advise. It should be approx. 3' tall with wings in a folded position. Thankyou Greg
   Greg Guidry - Saturday, 02/16/02 23:51:53 GMT


Thanks Alan... If I am happy to have the ports slightly smaller (1-10%) Could I use the existing porthole as a pattern. It would save a lot of time, and the holes in the cabin trunk are not yet cut, and will only be cut from the new porthole template...I'm concerned there may be some form of scale error, by this I mean...If I use new alloy (as recommended by Guru) same batch number etc...single pour for all components...do you imagine the resultant castings would be uniform enough...notwithstanding the shrinkage..and that I could effectively have ten slightly smaller functioning copies....
   Paul Johnson - Sunday, 02/17/02 00:29:05 GMT

Weather Vanes: Greg, There are some simple rules of physics that apply to weather vames. The two important rules are.

1) To rotate freely the vane must be mechanicaly balanced (left and right, front and back). With the shaft horizontal the vane should remain in any position that you put it. Plan to have a way to attach weight to balance the vane.

2) The vane should be aerodynamicaly imbalanced. The more imbalance the more sensitive the vane. In the case of your eagle this means the wings need to behind the center (the pivot) of the vane. If the aerodynamic center is in front of the pivot the eagle will fly backwards and you will be rather embarassed. . .

Some folks go to the trouble of using ball bearing but they are a waste of time and money as well as reducing the reliability of the vane. Ball bearings lock up with the slightest grit or rust. A lightening strike will weld them solid. I use a longish piece of rod with a forge point and a snug fitting pipe. 1/4" pipe fits 5/16 bar quite well.

The hard (less interesting) part of the job is making the bracket and direction letters. Make them first and you will feel much more satified when the job is done.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 01:05:26 GMT

Shrinkage in Castings: Paul, it is predictable enough that you can pruchase "shrink rules". These are rules that have increments increased in size the amount the metal shrinks. So you make a pattern using a shrink rule and the the resulting casting will be the correct size. The are made for iron, brass, bronze and aluminium.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 01:09:50 GMT

In English units shrinkage is given in fractions of an inch per foot. 1/8" per foot, 3/32" per foot and so on. So a 12" shrink rule at 3/32" per foot will be 12-3/32" long.

When a pattern is made then cast in one metal to use as a more durable pattern for another metal then a "double shrink" allowance is made. In most cases this is done mathematicaly by the paternmaker.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 01:20:54 GMT

Thanks Guru...I need to try to get my head around that..Paul
   Paul Johnson - Sunday, 02/17/02 01:30:28 GMT

Its like alowing for a head wind. . . :)
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 01:32:40 GMT

Weather Vanes:

Take it from an old Model Rocketeer- The center of gravity (balance point) needs to be ahead of the center of pressure. One crude but quick method we used to determine the CoP was to make a silhouette cutout of the rocket, to scale, out of cardboard. The balance point of the cutout indicated the center of pressure. Since weight in not as critical on weather vanes as it is on rockets, you can move the CoG well ahead of the CoP by the simple expedient of putting more weight into the front end of the vane. In terms of an "arrow" weather vane, what you want is a small, dense head and wide, thin, (and therefore high surface area to weight) feathers. Eagles (or, in my case angels) are a little trickier, so you may want to try a few mock-ups first.

Good luck and fair winds.

Cool, clear and a crescent moon this evening over the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 02/17/02 05:58:28 GMT

Don't know those specific plans, but,
When i made my TH from scrap, I made everything I could adjustable and overlength, then adjusted and trimmed to fit.
Avoid the lead filled hammer head style and use a solid piece of steel instead.
The spring tension adjustment device ( I used turnbuckles with locknuts) should have a bit of extra room so you can change to stronger springs if necessary....also, loinger springs will fatigue more slowly.
Take extra care to make the hammer guides as precise as possible.
Unless the TH has to be portable, put as much solid steel in the anvil as you can....Have fun with it!
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/17/02 06:06:56 GMT

Hi I was sent a picture of english bellows and I would like to know how they work their size exct.

   - Joel - Sunday, 02/17/02 15:16:32 GMT

Paul, listen to the guru and read some casting books. I'm not a foundryman, that's just something I knew about that I thought might be an issue for you. Good Luck!
   Alan-L - Sunday, 02/17/02 15:22:20 GMT

work their size? Figure the size? Rule of thumb. Ah, , how do they work? As well and long as you do.

See the discussion about bellows in the archive of the January 2002 Hammer-In (bellows mentioned 74 times) and February 1999 guru page (15 mentions).
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 17:30:48 GMT

Questions about Plans (general): If you have a question about a specific set of plans you should first go to the author of the plans. Then go to whoever you got the plans from and ask them or ask them if they can tell you someone that has built the plans.

Most smiths look at something once and say, "the heck with plans, I can make that". And then they do. If there is mechanism or lots of parts I'll make little pencil sketches to be sure I cut the materials the right length and then go from there. Simpler items we just work in our heads and go. I only make detailed drawings if I think someone else is going to be using my plans (or making some of the parts), and I've done a LOT of that designing machine tools. BUT, not everyone can work out things from scratch as they go along.

On the other hand, as soon as you deviate from the plans or substitute materials you are on your own. If the plan didn't have enough adjustment range or specific enough dimensions to not need excess adjustment, then they are bad plans. Occasionaly plans designed for do-it-yourself assume that you are not going to use the exact materials or parts and you will need to work out some of the details so that critical dimensions remain the same. This is typical of anything complicated.

Building from plans requires using the materials specified and translating the dimensions acurately to the work. It also requires purchasing the exact materials listed. This means if the designer specified 6 inches of odd size cold finish stock that you don't have in your shop, then you must purchase the minimum 12 feet and live with it. Building from plans reduces the thought you need put into a project but it can also increase the costs. If you want to build with junk lying around then you need to understand the design well enough to make your own decisions.

Asking someone other than the designer, "should I change this", is dangerous. Moving the location of a hole to make one part higher may impact on several other locations. Substituting heavier material may make a part that is heavy enough too heavy and throw the machine out of balance. Using a heavier anvil on a hammer often means shortening parts of the frame so the ram hits the center of the anvil. Making changes in the frame will throw off hole locations that may be critical or even remove the possibility of using the original relative location. These are all things you need to think about when making changes.

Even asking the designer may not be the answer. If the plans were drawn a year or more ago the designer may not remember the all the critical relationships. So asking to make a change, is asking the designer to drag out the plans, check the relationships and possibly make several new layouts to be sure everything works. You have asked for hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands) worth of work related to plans the author may not have made any proffit from. SO, don't be surprised if you are told, you are on your own.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 18:36:31 GMT

Hi! I was wondering how to determine if a metal is brass or copper, or niether?
I have found some old (approx. 60 yrs) crystal door knobs w/ backplates. The backplates had paint on them so I soaked them in paint remover. Now, the backplates do not have that old antique or oil rubbed finished look anymore. They do to some exstent, but it's more of a faded look. To me, it looks like they may be copper because it's orangy looking underneath. Someone else suggested they were brass. How can I tell? And can I darken these plates again.

In your opinion, would you quess that these backplates aged to this brown antique/oil rubbed color or were they probably finished with a product?
   Lisa - Sunday, 02/17/02 20:40:39 GMT

Hi! I was wondering how to determine if a metal is brass or copper, or niether?
I have found some old (approx. 60 yrs) crystal door knobs w/ backplates. The backplates had paint on them so I soaked them in paint remover. Now, the backplates do not have that old antique or oil rubbed finished look anymore. They do to some exstent, but it's more of a faded look. To me, it looks like they may be copper because it's orangy looking underneath. Someone else suggested they were brass. How can I tell? And can I darken these plates again.

In your opinion, would you quess that these backplates aged to this brown antique/oil rubbed color or were they probably finished with a product?

   Lisa - Sunday, 02/17/02 20:42:22 GMT

Old Brass: Lisa, I'm just guessing that they were probably brass. That is what most of the best quality one were made of. Cheaper ones were plated steel. The original finish is a big question. These most often came in a bright finish with clear lacquer. However, there are dozens of standard brass finishes for door hardware and many are the result of tints in the lacquer or chemical treatment of the brass before lacquering. In either case that is all gone from using paint stripper. The stripper attacks the metal as well as the finish so if there was any original finish it is also gone.

Stripping paint off antiques is an art. Generaly if the age gives the item any value then any cleaning at all may destroy that value. If an owner painted over an original finish then it must be determined how to remove the second finish and not hurt the first. Something not recommended for the do-it-your-self to attempt.

What now? Most brass should be lacquered to seal it. Finish the part to suit yourself then be sure it is absolutely clean (clean with soap and water, then alcohol), handle with lint free gloves and then apply a thin coat of clear laquer from a spray can.

IF they originaly were bare brass then they were intended to be polished regularly (like the silverware). If they had an aged look it was from lack of polishing and the only way to achive a true aged look is to just ignore them. Over time the bare brass will darken on its own.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/17/02 21:28:55 GMT

I have recently found four bags of material in an old blacksmith shop and the content look like large dense lava rocks the size of grapefruits but the pores appear much smaller then lava rock. The material is a dark grey. It appears too hard and a bit too heavy to be coke or lava rock. I tried it in the forge but doesn't seem to burn all that well. I broke it up in smaller pieces and it still doesn't seem to burn well but it does burn. Could it be very old coke or ????
   Louis - Sunday, 02/17/02 21:57:30 GMT

Dense dark porous material: It's probably foundry coke. Fresh surfaces are a silvery dark grey. Its hard to break up. Its just like forge coke except they compress it while its hot to increase its density. I've tried it in a forge and it took too much air to keep going.
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 00:14:12 GMT

guru again looking for info on bradley hammers. First removeing the old babbit with a chisel was great information only took a few minutes to remove all the old materal. Now I am wondering what direction is the correct rotation for the drive shaft. What is the proper way to wrap the strap for the hammer lift strap, what is the proper RPM for drive shaft. Also I would like to know what kind of horse power it takes to run this hammer.thanks Terry
   terry stover - Monday, 02/18/02 01:34:15 GMT

Shaft Rotation Terry, Most hammers do not care what direction they turn. However, slack belt clutches DO. You want the idler on the side the belt travels toward the hammer so its not on the tension side. On hammers with add-on brakes such as many Little Giants the brake is often designed to self tighten so direction is critical.

I don't think it matters which way the lift strap goes except that the end terminations may be the determining factor. Bradley changed these parts many times as they were continously improving them.

RPM and HP depend on the size and type of hamer. Bradley made numerous helve type hammers. You need to be specific about model and size.
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 04:07:29 GMT

i am looking to apprentice myself to a working smith in order to further my understanding of the craft. how could i go about getting in touch with someone who is looking for a hand? i am willing to relocate, right now i live in indiana and travel to louisiana every month or so. any suggestions or leads will be much appreciated!
   aaron - Monday, 02/18/02 15:09:31 GMT

Hello Mr. Guru Sir -- I need to be able to cut holes in and weld around the outside of a disc that came out of a farmers disc harrow. I know it's quite hard, and don't want it to crack. Is there a good way I can anneal it without warping it ? Or do you think I would just need to anneal the edges with a torch ? ,Do I need to pack it in vermiculite or something ? Thanks
Old Chief
   Old Chief - Monday, 02/18/02 15:41:00 GMT

Disk Harrow: Chief, I'm not sure what grade of steel these are but I expect they are a medium carbon steel. They are hard but if they were too hard chipping and cracking would be a problem. I've seen numerous forges built from these so welding to them must not be a problem. Normaly when welding to anything with more carbon than mild steel you should do a post heat treat to the weld area. Arc welding tends to chill quickly and leave a brittle weld zone . Use a torch to reheat the weld zone to a dull red and let air cool.

Annealing a thin item to drill is tricky. You will need to either heat the disk in a forge or if you use a torch heat a large area at each drill location then bury in quick lime, wood ashes of vermiculite. Heat to a medium orange (a few hundred degrees above non-magnetic for medium carbon steels).

If warpage is critical then you will need to heat the entire disk at one time. But these disked shapes tend to hold there shape well. Before annealing I would try to drill a hole using a good drill press at low speed (with coolant) first. If the material drills OK then I'd skip the anneal. If it doesn't drill OK then you will need to resharpen the drill. . . and go back to plan A.
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 17:23:30 GMT

Can you give me a ballpark figure for the weight of a 100lb little giant triphammer?
Just bought one and need to know how much it weights.
Thanks, Jim
   - Jim E - Monday, 02/18/02 17:26:03 GMT

   BRIAN - Monday, 02/18/02 17:34:44 GMT

Apprenticeships FAQ: Aaron, Check this FAQ link to the left and the links on that page. Be sure to read to the bottom to the "good news".
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 17:37:57 GMT

Little Giant Weight Jim, Check the Little Giant specification chart on our Power hammer Page. It gives the weights with and without motor. Note that this is for late model hammers and and earlier hammer with the wrap around guides and taller frame may weigh a little bit more.
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 17:41:31 GMT

JYH: We found that we needed to increase the ram mass on our shock linkage hammer from the original 40 pounds to 65-70 pounds. A counter balance is only required on the crank wheel for the amount of imbalance that the linkage creates. The counter weight prevents the machine from rocking back and forth but it does not counter balance the ram weight, just the part of the linkage that moves from side to side.
   - guru - Monday, 02/18/02 17:45:43 GMT

Aaron; I'd suggest you go to the Indiana Blacksmith's Association Conference in early June and talk with a passel of smiths about it. You could also look for a chapter of ABANA or other smithing org nearby and get to known them.

On Casting---I've transfered fingerprints using new petrobond sand in sand casting---nice to know that investment will work as well! (course you can pour a sand mold as soon as you ram it...)

Really investment casting has many great virtues but it's not the greatest for all situations. The portholes were probably sand cast to begin with and with a steep learning curve in casting being able to pour, remake the mold and pour again in a limited ammount of time is a big help.

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 02/18/02 22:49:30 GMT

due to an unprecedented influx of work I need to (gasp) work during the hibernation weather... and there fore have to leave the "true path" and go to gas for forging at least during the -20's weather... my ? is after looking at various atmospheric forges I have decided to buy an NC forge the only problem is .... which one !!! what is the best all round forge for blacksmithing? realising that for large items I can forge with coal outside for a couple of days what gives the best value for money?

thank you Mark
   Mark Parkinson - Monday, 02/18/02 23:43:28 GMT

Guru - I am restoring a bradley 100 lb hammer I beleve is an upright strap hammer.wondering what kind of RPMs and horse power this hammer is designed to need.
   terry stover - Tuesday, 02/19/02 01:51:16 GMT

Hibernation: Mark its a difficult question. The bigger the forge the more fuel it uses. The little one burner forge is two small for general work and doesn't get hot enough for welding. If you are feeding a power hammer the 3 and 4 burner models are best. If it is production work the 4 burner will heat billets as fast a you can feed then to the hammer. If you are doing relatively slow decorative work then the 3 burner model is fine. If you are working by hand 2 and 3 burner models are fine unless you are doing large work.

In every model it is better to get the extra end ports for flexibility, especialy if feeding long work to the forge.

You can run the smallest forges on small bottles of propane but the bigger ones need a bulk tank, especialy if you are working long hours.

Don't forget to rig up a small hood and vent pipe. Gas forges are clean but they will make lots of CO if you let the exhaust recirculate through the forge. I've known several folks to just set the gas forge under the hood of their coal forge until they needed the coal again. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 02:12:41 GMT

Guru, should have mentioned I have a 1000Lb or so (8' long by 3' rounnd) propane tank out back of the shop (1/2 full) unused since I switched the house furnace over to NG 2 yrs ago so propane is no problem. I'm leaning towards the whisper daddy with the end ports ( for long stock) does any one have any pos/neg comments on thatparticular model

   Mark Parkinson - Tuesday, 02/19/02 02:42:35 GMT

Thank you Mr. Guru for the reply on the harrow disc, the next question concerns a locomotive bell.

I'm doing a cosmetic restoration on a pretty cracked up bell. It's for a locomotive that's on a static display. The bell will never ring again, but it needs to look good. The bells metal looks quite silvery, I suppose it's some alloy of bronze. It could be painted after I'm done they say. What would be the best way of fixing it, to hold it together? There's also a small piece missing about 1" by 2"s. What would I fill that hole with ? I was thinking I would braze it, what do you think ? Or what about TIG ? I've never tried welding bronze??
Old Chief

   Old Chief - Tuesday, 02/19/02 05:14:29 GMT

Where on this site (or anywhere else) can I go for info on gate hardware, lock boxes, strike plates, and everything that I need to keep in mind for building and installing a steel gate that fits right and operates properly?

Thanks -

S. Evans
   S. Evans - Tuesday, 02/19/02 08:38:13 GMT

old chief, broken bell, if it doesnt have to ring and if you can paint over it after repair, the easiest would be epoxy and epoxyputty
   Stefan - Tuesday, 02/19/02 11:14:43 GMT

Any one got information on Aluminium hole punches? Im taking Engineering at High School and need some info to do coursework.
   Dave - Tuesday, 02/19/02 11:37:59 GMT

Stephan is right about a non-functioning repair. Any attempts at brazing will likely make it worse. You can get metal filled epoxies from industrial suppliers that are both strong and look metalic. The aluminium filled is what you would want to use. Have to search for the supplier as its been 30 years since I bought any but I know it is still out there.

Even though it is supposed to be non-functional be sure to remove the clapper not just the cord. Kids WILL climb up on the engine to ring the bell. .
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 14:29:42 GMT

Sorry, we do not have much about gate and door hardware here. Its a specialty that those who do it tend to figure it out on their own or use antiques as go-bys.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 14:31:26 GMT


MP (swordmatt) has donated a pair of beautiful hand made wood carving chisels to anvilfire to be sold as a fund raiser. Check it out!
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 15:06:19 GMT

Hi! I'm planning to build a steel rolling mill like the one designed by Hugh McDonald, and I was just wondering which kind of steel I should use for the rollers. I live i Norway, so it's kind of hard for me to order the plans. Please help me. Leif
   Leif - Tuesday, 02/19/02 15:15:33 GMT

Rolling Mill: Leif, Hugh makes them out of mild steel and they work fine. Speed is critical at 24-25 RPM for 2" (50mm) dia rollers. The reduction drive must be able to deliver the 2,000 inch pounds of torque (I think that is 51 k/m). That is why his final drive is a heavy chain with the sprocket welded or keyed to the drive roller.

If you contact Norm Larson about the plans I'm sure you can make arrangements to buy a copy. He will ship anywhere in the world. I highly recommend them not just for the details but mostly for the section on how to operate the machine. Hugh is a very sharp fellow with a faster learning curve than most of us. His commentary is well worth the price.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 16:24:35 GMT

I am at a dead end trying to locate a coal supply in the greater Houston / Galveston area. Anyone offer any help?
   terrydemtp - Tuesday, 02/19/02 16:41:08 GMT

Mark Parkinson- I have been using a whisper daddy for 15 years now. I find it to be an excellent unit.
Steve Stransky
   Steve Stransky - Tuesday, 02/19/02 18:18:54 GMT

I hear the term swedge and swage used when describing metal forming. What is the difference?
   Chris - Tuesday, 02/19/02 18:25:44 GMT

Language and proper pronunciation. Swage, Swage block, swaging are all corect.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 19:36:27 GMT

Texas Coal I don't know Texas well enough to say but there are several places listed on the Coal Scuttle. See our home page/menu.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 19:42:53 GMT

Whisper Daddy, Bruce Wallace has one he's had for 15 years or more. He finaly had to reline it. But the housing is about rusted away. . . so he says he'll have to replace it next time. But it has been in steady industrial use all that time. . . Darn good service for the price. Has it on a wheeled cart so he can roll it from power hammer to anvil working station as needed.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/19/02 19:47:29 GMT

S. Evans. If it's blacksmithing, a traditional small gate is shown in "Wrought Ironwork", an excellent book out of London, England. The one thing it lacks is a lock. A specialty hardware dealer can sell you a "lock set", which is usually let into the edge of a wooden door. You could make a sheet metal box for one and fix it to a steel gate. It will have a tumbler lock and a hole for a 3/8"-20 threaded spindle (an oddball thread in the U.S.). It may also have a spring-latch. Your handle shanks are internally threaded and held to the spindle by 1/4"-20 allen head set screws. You would make your own strike.

If the whole deal is not blacksmithed, then there are companies advertising in "The Fabricator" magazine who sell the needed hardware; you can arc weld it all together.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/20/02 01:23:55 GMT

I have been armoring using cold raising, dishing, and welding for several years, and I am looking to move into heat raising. I have gone through the plans for burners, but I don't see anything similar to the burner Eric Thing shows in his article. I see in the information that he is still modifying what he has. Is there any resource for a spot(?) forge of similar design? Am I looking at the right plans in the gas burner section?

   Jay - Wednesday, 02/20/02 03:51:18 GMT


   Jim Callahan - Wednesday, 02/20/02 04:16:34 GMT

Eric Things Thing: Jay, No, Eric's armourers forge is a one off. He has been precautious about information on it because he has been worried about libility issues. I don't blame him. However, he HAS offered to write an article about how it works with just enough details that you could figure it out on your own from there. So we wait.

Meanwhile you can do the same thing with a large propane rosebud and an ecomomizer valve. Not quite as elegant but it works.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 04:18:58 GMT


I am doing some Industrial Engineering work at an industrial facility that has major forge capability. The question ha scome as to what is the best material to use as the floor in oven/hammer areas. I will appreciate any help.


   Jim Callahan - Wednesday, 02/20/02 04:19:11 GMT

I may be classed as an old geezer but I am trying to srink
a steering arm for a 1949 8N Ford tractor and would like to
know how to acheve the most srinkage. I heated the end to
cherry on my cole forge and allowed it to cool on its own
and it did srink a little. I am wondering if I should have
cooled it fast in water for better results. I do some old
car body work with tourch and wet rag to srink sheet metal.

   Grady Fowler - Wednesday, 02/20/02 05:16:52 GMT

Jim, this has been debated for centuries. For practicality most use concrete today. However, many shops have had wood, some have had brick. All three have disadvantages. Many big old shops that were pre-forklift or pre-manipulator had dirt or clay.

In really busy shops the concrete floors often get covered with so much scale (from lack of housekeeping) that you might not have a clue what the floor is. I dug machinery out of a machine shop a few years ago that had once had half concrete and half clay. . . a foot of clay had been tracked over the concrete in most of the shop. . . Another shop had a gravel floor. When it came time to move (after about 10 years) is was like a rich archealogical dig. Literaly tons of tools were unearthed in an area about 20 x 40. Punches, chisels, tongs. . . TONS. . .

Brick withstands the heat better than concrete but bricks get broken and kicked out of place, become unlevel and become a trip hazzard.

Wood can be a fire hazzard but is good on the workers feet and is easy to level to the proper height around machines. Today good hardwood shop floors are also expensive.

Concrete is hard on the feet but easy on fork lift tires and is the best general surface for moving equipment around on and doing maintenance. But it spalls if hot iron is dropped or rested on it, OR cutting torch operations are too close. However, it can be washed down and kept scrupulously clean if needed.

Clay is the best all around, because it is easy on the feet, fire and heat resistant. It also packs hard enough that it will support occasional fork lift traffic. But, it is a difficult surface to clean. It must be dampened daily to prevent becoming dusty and getting tracked to other parts of the shop (if it matters). It seems like a low maintenance floor but actually requires a lot of care.

However, to meet the OSHA requirements for clearly marked isles and machine hazzard areas a clean well maintained concrete floor is about the only surface that that will do. But then, we mark lines on foot ball, baseball fields and on tennis courts on grass and clay surfaces. . . .

Machinery's Handbook has a brief article. In 1943 (12th Ed) they recommended dirt mixed with ashes around machines and work areas and paved isles and wall areas where needed. However, shop photos from the era often show wood floors. In 1968 (18th Ed) they still recommended the same BUT for machine shops concrete was now a cost effective option in the machine shop. My later editions have gotten away from me but I'm sure you can find one to see what the current thoughts are on the subject.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 05:34:02 GMT

Shrink Grady, Heating and quenching will harden it AND make it bigger. In this case hard is dangerous. If the hole is oversize then you are going to need to heat it and forge it smaller (tapping gently from all directions while properly supported). THEN bore and ream it to size and heat treat it. What kind of bore does it have? Plain, keyed, tapered, splined, tapered AND splined?????

If you are looking for a "shrink fit" and its tapered you only heat to about 350°F (low enough NOT to screw up the temper) and then install it on a cool shaft and let it cool. It will be so dang tight you'll never get it off. . . Unless its all worn out. . .

Need more info.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 05:46:40 GMT

Old Chief;
Aw , don't listen to those guys advocating plastic bell repair. Geeze...
Wire brush, grind broken edges to bright metal, preheat and braze...grind flush..it might even ring again!
RE clay floor dust problem.....St Francis W. used a chemical for that..think it is in his Cookbook.
Shrinking...It might work to heat to a red and very slowly submerge in a quench with the hole vertical, pull before cool, reheat and do the same upside down.
The part that is submerged will shrink to normal and pull the hot, plastic, unquenched area immediately above smaller before it too goes under and shrinks further, influencing the unquenched area above,,etc.
This works for shrinking pipe...should work on a steering knuckle.
Do a spark test to be sure you are not dealing with a high carbon alloy that might crack....and be sure to pull the temper to at least blue or softer afterwards.
On the other hand..there's epoxy.
If this works...join the Cybersmiths and help support Anvilfire...Otherwise the good Guru will have to run the server and himself on beans with dire consequences.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 02/20/02 09:17:26 GMT

Darn, itīs snowing to much. Even if i reach the smithy safely I might get stuch in the drifts there.
While Iīm waiting for it to clear, does anyone know of a method for ataching the lugs onto the socket of "winged" spearheads, a method that works all the time ? The old method (proven by archeo-metallurgy)is to forge-weld a flange right on to the socket, but this requires true WI and is veeery tricky with modern steel. Itīs also tricky to test the weld, it might hold when hot and fail when cold, AFTER you have done all that tedious grinding...
   - Olle Andersson - Wednesday, 02/20/02 09:47:27 GMT


A workable variation that I have used is to form the "wings" as a key, slot the spear and shaft and wedge the sucker in. There is some evidence for this, at least in an Anglo-Saxon context. Many illustrations show A-S spears with double cross pieces, and I've finally found an archeological sample illustrated with the remains of rivets/crosspieces at the base and half way up the socket. Simple, elegant, logical.

Hope that this is useful. Awaiting the rain on the banks of the Potomac. Going up to the 60s.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowtn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/20/02 14:36:19 GMT

The anvil that I am using weighs around 55 pounds, it has the letters USA on one side. The anvil looks like it was cast in steel, or possibly cast iron with a steel plate top. it has about a 30 to 50 % rebound and has a good ring to it. it is pretty light but it was free and is usuable. Does anyone have any information on these little anvils?
   Brian Nalley - Wednesday, 02/20/02 15:21:53 GMT

whay is the proper pronunciation of Hey Budden
Is it "Hey Bud" den
or peek a "Boo" den?
   L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 02/20/02 15:45:12 GMT


Hay Bud den, is the way I've always heard it.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 02/20/02 16:32:24 GMT

last summer I melted the clinker breaker for the forge i work in, and I know that we've had that happen several times before. Would it be good to knock out one of the firebricks in the shaft leading down to the clinker breaker so that I could retract it about half a foot when it is not in use?
   - Andrew - Wednesday, 02/20/02 19:20:34 GMT

I am looking for a blacksmith to interveiw for a school assignment. must reply by 3/8/02
   Scott Carter - Wednesday, 02/20/02 19:45:04 GMT

Little Anvil: Brian, Its hard to tell from your description. But I don't think it is from one of the major makers. Sounds like a low production or special batch casting.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 20:30:26 GMT

Clinker breaker: Andrew, These were designed for firepots in cast iron or steel pan forges. The fire pot, tuyere and clinker breaker assembly rely on free air cooling. If the pot has been set into a brick forge without sufficient ventilation for cooling then the firepot is also likely to be burned out.

It is not unusual to burn out grates and clinker breakers that act as grates when forges see heavy use. Normaly the grate ends up as a loose drop in piece made by the smith OR clinker breakers are made to be easily replaceable.

Lowering the clinker breaker will just allow coal to fall down to where it is and burn out the tuyere and the clinker breaker.

The standard brick forge does not have a bottom blast with clinker breaker. Side blasts were used that didn't need either. Brick forges with firepots are a do-it-yourself arrangement that often have maintenace problems.

Any coal forge can be burned out if you crankup the air and don't pay attention. None of the common forge materials including refractory brick will take the full 3,500°F heat of a coal fire. They all rely on partial combustion in the firebed, ashes acting as insulation and operator attention.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 20:43:36 GMT

hi i've been shoeing horses for twenty some years and want to slow down and do some blacksmith work. imake shoes sometime and do some drawing and shaping. iwas wondering what things would i need to work on to become better.did'nt every have much time to do blacksmith work,would really like to get in it more . thanks dave
   dave peters - Wednesday, 02/20/02 21:56:26 GMT

assuming zero historical value, what harm would be done to an anvil by drilling a hole through its waste, perpendicular to its long dimension for the purpose of attaching hold downs or third hands? I saw such a hole on an anvil on ebay and thought it would come in very handy.

By the way, I sent you some pictures of a hold down tool based on a cam principal. It has proven extremely useful, quick to grip, quick to release with an almost absolute grip on the peice being held down. Great for chissel and chase work. Feel free to use those pics on iForge.
maybe, I you're going to Dan Boone's I could bring it along.

   L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 02/20/02 22:44:41 GMT

I'm starting to teach myself knifemaking and pattern welding, and I was wondering how hard it is to forgeweld titanium to steel, if at all possible( i'm also open to any other pattern welding tips you have.) thanks

   abe - Wednesday, 02/20/02 22:54:48 GMT

Please, can you inform me where I can obtain a cast wet or dry tue / tuer Iron ( I am new to blacksmithing and need a little help setting up ) thank you.
   rodney bird - Wednesday, 02/20/02 23:21:31 GMT

Sorry. . I won't be at Dan Boone's this weekend as much as I enjoy going there. Atli and I have a Boy Scout metalworking merit badge workshop to attend.

Tuyere Iron" Rodney, You need to let folks know where you are. In the UK

Vaughans Hope Works AKA Benjamin Tools (West Midlands, England) Now the Baker House Group, carries water cooled tuyeres.

Check with BABA (you should join) they will have other suppliers. See our ABANA-Chapter.com site for links.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 23:33:56 GMT

Ti to Fe: Abe, Impossible as far as I know.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/20/02 23:35:13 GMT

just got a post vice have seen one before this one has a steel spring like thing that I think goes between the two arms but don`t quite know how it goes can you help? Has the pieces to hold it to the bench but don`t knowhow the spring like thing goes.
Thank`s for your help. Kernel
   kernel - Thursday, 02/21/02 00:34:51 GMT

guru-Can you tell me the way to properly wrap the leather strap on the lifting arm of a bradley 100 lb. helve hammer. I am in the process of rebuilding a hammer and am in need of tech. help with this hammer.
   terry stover - Thursday, 02/21/02 02:14:24 GMT

Oh well, thanks for the info
p.s. anyone know a CHEEP tool steel supplier?
   abe - Thursday, 02/21/02 02:24:14 GMT

Post Vise Spring Kernel, They use a long S shaped leaf spring. The spring hooks under the U shapped loop that attaches the vise to the bench OR over the tenon if the vise has the old tenon type mount (a rectangular lug fitting through a rectangular hole in the leg under the screw).

The spring is about 3/16" thick and the same width as the vise leg. Some taper to about 1/2 their starting width at the bottom. It is parallel to the back leg were it attaches and almost parallel to the front leg where it pushes at the bottom just above the pivot. This requires a graceful straight S shape. Sometimes the bottom of the spring has little side lugs or clips forged out of the sides of it to keep it centered on the front leg.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/21/02 07:34:43 GMT

Bradley Hammer: Terry, Sorry I have gotten side tracked on your questions. Its 3:00am here. . . .

1) The Bradley Upright Strap Hammer (has curved steel 'helves'), used a 5 HP 900 RPM motor to run the hammer 275 to 300 strokes per minute.

2) Bradley had all sorts of trouble with the straps on this hammer and even though the hammer did not change for many years the strap attachments changed many times. On the big 500 pound hammer they had to derate it from industrial duty to lesser duty due to the straps overheating and catching fire. You will have to go to the patent office to see diagrams of all the types.

3) The copy of the "Operating Manual" I have does not have detailed enough images of the arrangement to see the details. Nor does it give details about the straps or attachments. It is more "catalog" than "manual". They expected you to have a manchine in one piece and be enough of a mechanic to figure it out from there.

4) What I know about the straps.
  • They were leather belting
  • They attached to one termination at the back roller (looks like a loop riveted in the belt and the roller passed through).
  • They passed through the strap opening in the ram
  • They then looped around the front roller (under, over and back).
  • Then back through the ram and around the back roller.
  • They looped around this course several times (maybe 2,3,4, don't know, might be different on different size hammers).
  • Then they terminated so that the number of passes was equal top and bottom.
  • ON SOME examples it appears the strap attaches to the ram on the end termination.
I've seen many of these hammers, and I've photographed a few and have had folks send me photos. I've even run a couple but I can't remember the details of the strap terminations. I'm e-mailing you the only two photos that show the straps. However, it is a SMALL hammer, a 30 pounder I think. It was in a Swiss watch factory! If this isn't enough you are going to need to find someone else that has one.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/21/02 08:13:28 GMT

Cheap Tool Steel: Unless it is scrap then no such thing. You get what you pay for. Normally tool steel is sold in small quantities anealed and ground for machinists. It is also available in hot roll as-milled which is "cheaper" but you have to purchase it in large quantities.

Old springs, leaf and coil are the best source of high carbon tool steels but you never know exactly what you are getting. You PAY for getting something that is a known spec.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/21/02 08:20:49 GMT

Abe: Ti to Fe..hooo boy. I once saw a rundown for doing Fe to aluminum and I assume something similar could be done with Ti. It involved only 8 or ten different operations including Tig welding, silver soldering, brazing and so on..lots of layers. For knife making..it ain't gonna cut it. Not quite impossible...but it might as well be.
Cheap tool supplier...I'm a sucker for them and generally end up buying 2 or 3 of a given tool before i finally break down and get a good one....cheap ends up being expensive. Cheapest is....make your own...next cheapest and probably best is to buy a good quality old used one ,ideally,from someone who doesn't know what it is.
Now this sage and invaluable advice will save you hundreds of thousands of pennies . It is only fair and proper that all who read it feel filled with gratitude and promptly join Anvilfire's Cybersmiths and help support this outa-site site!Right!Write that check right now and get valuable frequent frier miles.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 02/21/02 08:52:01 GMT

Thanks for the reply about the little anvil. I did not see one like it anywhere in my search on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter until about 6 months ago I saw about eight of them at this little shop off of hwy 64 near Mocksville, NC. I didnt find out how much the guy wanted for them, and I dont know if he still has any or not. his yard was full of all kinds of old farm implements and other tools for sale.
   Brian Nalley - Thursday, 02/21/02 12:33:03 GMT

I have a 200# Bradley Strap hammer that still has the factory straps on it. If you still need some info I would be glad to look at mine this evening for you.

   Paul - Thursday, 02/21/02 12:39:23 GMT


A good set of pictures of that Bradly would be of great value to the guru and to all of the anvilfire visitors!
   Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 02/21/02 14:51:21 GMT

I believe that solid phase welding of Ti to Fe is possible if both pieces are abrasively cleaned then heated and rolled *all* operations taking place in a hard vacuum!

The flux to deal with the Ti oxide down here is not something I want to even think about!

And then there is explosive welding...

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 02/21/02 15:13:09 GMT

Paw Paw,

I will take some pictures tonight of the Bradley and send them to the Guru.

   Paul - Thursday, 02/21/02 15:30:01 GMT

Terry,Paw Paw,

Doug Freund's book, Pounding Out The Profits, has a pretty good picture on page 229 of the strap configuration.

It is probably better than any picture I can take,

   Paul - Thursday, 02/21/02 15:38:06 GMT


The strap configuration (while very important) is not the only question that comes up, though.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 02/21/02 16:02:08 GMT

The photos I sent Terry are better than the diagram in Pounding out the profits. They were very good. But neither had enough detail if you are missing parts. . . :(
   - guru - Thursday, 02/21/02 17:31:11 GMT

Can you explain the steel making process to me. I am especially curious of the use of lubricants in the hot and cold rolling of steel
   - Robert - Thursday, 02/21/02 19:30:18 GMT

Hello Jock, In searching for coal I've come across "hard" anthracite and "soft" bitiminous...for general smithing, I want to go with the bitiminous, right? Thanks for your patience in my quest for "smarts"...Gator
   Gator - Thursday, 02/21/02 21:02:27 GMT

Tool steel. The base price on tool steels like H13 is not so bad but if you are trying to buy just a small quantity, most suppliers really jack up the price.

Carpenter has very good prices at their online site www.carpenterdirect.com. Their H13 and S7 in round stock are cheaper than any other online supplier that does small quantities (leastways as far as I could find ). When I ordered there was no minimum and first time buyers got a $50 e-coupon which covered the shipping ( I dont know if that offer is still on). They also have online metallurgical info on forging and heat treating temps.

You have to register to use their page which I really dont like (like I am supposed to memorize another username/password combo)- otherwise they were very pleasant to deal with.
   adam - Thursday, 02/21/02 22:34:24 GMT

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