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This is an archive of posts from February 9 - 17, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

David, Blacksmithing started when someone got tired of pounding on cold metal. As Paw-Paw said, 6000 years ago AT LEAST. Forging is mentioned early in the Old Testament (Tubal Cain) and it was probably an old, established art then. I would think that as soon as our Forefathers managed to get a piece of metal big enough to be used as a tool, someone had to pound it into shape. It was probably a piece of meteoric iron and the tool it was made into was likely considered to be a gift of God. Personally, I think they were right.
Dust: I made a dust trap for sawdust using a big box fan and a furnace filter. Same concept only needing more CFM to move heavier dust. Next weekend's project!

Crooked eyes: I found an old 1/2" punch that had a cracked tip and decided to remove the handle and forge it into something useful. Only after I removed the handle did I discover the eye was crooked. The handle was set so well I never noticed it.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 02/08/03 23:31:18 GMT

First written mention of smithing is in Genesis, Chapter 4, Verse 22. Tubal Cain was the "father" of Ironworkers.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/09/03 00:10:03 GMT

Thanks for the advice. I've been working on the handle and I think its going to be o.k. If not, I can make it into a set hammer or flatter or something where it won't matter. Just didn't want to not be able to use it after pounding that hole thru it! I can see why power hammers were (and are) popular!
   Ellen - Sunday, 02/09/03 00:33:09 GMT

Good size magnetic signs are flexable and will catch quite a bit of the metal dust. At first I didn't use a cover and the caught stuff was almost impossible to remove. I found a large resturant size roll of thin plastic wrap that covers the magnet to make shucking the grindings easier.Get the setup too close to the grinder and the sparks burn thru. I think you can get the sheet magnets at some hardware stores. I'm lucky to have a sign maker friend to get "stuff" from.
   Jerry - Sunday, 02/09/03 02:56:38 GMT


Should the below ground part of a gate or fence post set in concrete have any finish other than galvanization applied ?

Thank You

   Chris Smith - Sunday, 02/09/03 03:10:42 GMT

That grinding swarf has a bunch of bonus ingredience to go with the steel you ground off. There is the reinforcing in the thinner wheels and there is the abraisive material itself.
That stuff stays in your lungs pretty much..and cuts down your ability to breathe. Sure, some of it is magnetic...but keep your honored noses out of the rest please....and if you are gonna be that sensible, Join the Cybersmiths too!
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/09/03 03:33:46 GMT

Old Man-Worked Metal.
In 1960 Dr.Ralph Solecki unearthed a hammered copper pendant(complete with a hole in it), that has been dated to 9,500 B.C.E. He found it in a large cave in the Zagros Mountains, at a place called Shanidar, in north east Iraq. The cave's continuous habitation goes back as early as 100,000 years ago. The pendant is almost an inch long. The local people were changing from hunter-gatherers to early farming, at the time that the pendant was made.
Two copper pins, a bent double pointed fish hook, and a copper lump that was hammered into a tapered shape that archaeologists guess may be an awl or a reamer, were found at a Turkish site, in 1964. They have been dated to 7,200 B.C.E.
There may be older discoveries made since the the 1960's but I have not researched the subject yet.
Gold and copper can be found in their native state. That is not in chemical molecules with other elements, such as oxygen or sulfur. (being oxides and sulfides respectively). Gold is often found in stream bed deposits. (called placers, which miners pan gravel to get it). Gold is heavy and tends to in the gravel beds than get washed away as lighter minerals do.
Copper is usually found as compounds with other elements. But there are deposits of pure copper to be found.
Men checking the stream beds after the spring run off, no doubt found gold in some streams. It is likely that some prehistoric metalsmith soon to be chanced yupon a shiny, heavy stone that he realised was not gold but kept it just the same. He may have noticed that it was fairly soft for all it's weight and could be hammered. Tool making would surely soon follow after making such a discovery.
Interestingly most of the copper rich minerals (many of them copper ore), are heavy and very brightly coloured. Beautifully so. (e.g. covalite, bornite, malachite, cuprite,, azurite, melaconite, chalcopyrite etc. etc.)
When some of these metals were heated strongly, small balls of pure copper may have been noticed in the ashes of the hearth, the penny must have dropped. Colourful, heavy rocks that are strongly heated may yield copper.
And the craft began.
The foregoing is an oversimplification but I hope it proves informative.
In the G.W.N.
   slag - Sunday, 02/09/03 04:35:53 GMT

Well I've been trying to update the coal list for a while now but i cant figure out how. so they sell good coal at Collinsville Ice and Fuel in collinsville IL a 40lb bag is $10 or you can buy it bulk for $10 every 100lb it burns very well in all of my forges
   jason lowery - Sunday, 02/09/03 16:38:49 GMT

I have a question regarding the "baked-on" oil residue & fire scale on oil-hardened knife blades:

How do you get it off?!

I am currently using the "steel wool and elbow grease" method, but as geological ages pass I'm beginning to look longingly at my buffing or wire brush wheels. I'm worried that the scale will "gum up" the buffer and I'm certain that the wire-brush wheel will spoil the mirror polish I worked so hard to get in the first place. Any ideas or should I stick with the existing plan?
   Dave Cox - Sunday, 02/09/03 17:15:34 GMT

to all that replied to the venturi burner questions, much appreciation. i will try the suggestions, but is it very clear to me that if i am to rely on gas for the future, i will need to build a new one, one that i can control the air/fuel mixture and can line as i choose. the precombustion chamber comments are interesting (off center grant) as i have heard this design used in a damascus shop, where he welds this stuff ALL DAY LONG with propane. tuned?? tuned so well that the temp is perfect for welding and scale or oxidation is not an issue. hard to research this topic without going in the field; there is nothing published that i know of pertaining to this.

alpha guru, the forgemaster door is always closed, so is the choke for one of the venturi intakes. ill choke it down some more, put fire brick pieces in there oposite the burners, may even consider a lining mod. we will see. probably wont try putting some coal in there to fight off the oxidation,....
   rugg - Sunday, 02/09/03 18:19:50 GMT

Gummed up Finish: Dave, Heat treating of finished parts is tricky. Most folks rough finish (fine sand paper, or flat grey) then harden and put the final finish on afterwards. There are ways to heat treat finished parts but no polished finish is going to hold up unless you heat in a controlled atmosphere.

When oil quenching finished parts you must be carefull not to overheat the steel AND use a high flashpoint oil. Synthetic oils and the new polymer aditives used to make water similar to an oil quench are good options. But you will still need to use abrasives to remove surface oxidation.

Some bladesmiths use salt baths for heating. This gives fine temperature control AND protects the metal from oxidation. But it requires seting up the equipment and learning how to use it. There is significant expense in temperature control and measurement devices.

Any burnt on oil should not be "gummy". If it is then solvents should remove it. Carbonaceous deposits can be sanded off with fine sand paper. Same for scale. Final finishing comes last.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/09/03 18:52:43 GMT

Below Ground Posts: Chris, Government specs call for hot dip galvanizing on all below ground steel posts. I do not know but I have a gut feeling that bare galvanizing in the concrete is better.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/09/03 18:56:53 GMT

Somebody here on Anvilfire was a cannon cocker while he was in the military. I can't remember who it was, so if he reads this, please contact me via-email. (and no cracks about my memory being the second thing to go, either!) (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/09/03 21:18:01 GMT

O Sensei,
I am buying a 50 lb. little giant without a motor. What is the right motor and is there a 110 volt version. I don't want to add new service. I have 200 amp at the house and could sub-breaker off of it, but must go at least 50 feet, what is the answer to this quandry. Thanks, Andrew
   huddleston - Sunday, 02/09/03 21:31:03 GMT

Wire Brushes and Finishes: Dave, The other thing I forgot to mention is that there is as great a variability in wire wheels as in abrasives. Wire wheels that are run fast enough produce a rough prickly finish or can cut the surface. Slower wire brushes are much gentler.

For derusting and removing light scale I use a soft 6" wire wheel with .008" or .010 stainless wire on a standard 1800 RPM motor. On soft materials including mild steel it will cut slightly. It will remove loose scale but you have to lean on it to cut tight scale. On hardened tools it will remove rust but will not cut the base metal.

The same wheel run at 2400 to 3600 RPM is very aggressive. It will remove all scale and cut most materials except hardened tool steel. I personally do not like wire wheels running at these speed because of the hazards of the wheel grabing the work.

The power or aggressiveness of wire wheels is like a lot of other rotating tools, it is determined by the lineral velocity. Small wheels can turn a LOT faster than bigger wheels and produce similar results. But a larger wheel running on the same shaft as a smaller one will be much more aggressive than the small wheel.

Wire size also has an effect just like grit does on sandpaper or grinding stones. The coarser the wire the harder and more aggresive the wheel. Wires also come bundled or twisted into groups. This puts spaces between the groups of wires as well as making them stiffer.

Stiffness is also determined by the length of the wires and how close they are spaced. Stiff wires are most agressive than soft and also comform less. Often an old worn wire wheel is a lot different character than when it was new.

With most wire wheels you should be able to safely remove burnt oil, rust, scale or paint off a hardened blade with little effect to the surface.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/09/03 21:42:47 GMT

Cleaning Oil Quenched Blades...Dave, Im certainly no expert but after grinding with 220 grit silicon carbide, I quench in oil. I wipe the oil off with a papper towel or shop rag. Spray a degreaser (409 works pretty well) and wipe with clean paper towel. Apply another spray of degreaser and wipe again. By now most of the oil should be removed. I go back to 220 grit with a little water. If there are stubborn spots I use the 220 grit with a palm sander. After the blade is cleaned, I go back to 320 grit on a belt grinder and then to 400 grit. Oil quenching is messy, but less stressful than water. I have used water in the past, but I hate the cracking sound of tink...plink and the groan of red hot steel warping. By the way, vegatable oils arent as messy as petroleum oils. Peanut oil isnt too expensive and has a relatively high flash point.
   R Guess - Sunday, 02/09/03 22:11:57 GMT

50 Pound Little Giant Andrew, The factory motor was 2 HP but they run well on 1.5 HP. 1.5 HP motors are readily obtainable in single phase and can be run on 120 or 240 VAC. There is a chart on our Power hammer Page with the general LG specifications.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/09/03 22:26:02 GMT

I have no experiance in blacksmithing but wouold really like to get into it, could you recormend some good books to read on the subject or possible videos?
   - Mike - Sunday, 02/09/03 22:46:05 GMT


On using wire wheels to remove scale.

Take a look at iForge Demo #66. It may give you something to think about.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/09/03 22:59:23 GMT


At the bottom or top of this page, click on the "GETTING STARTED IN BLACKSMITHING" link. There is a list of books there.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/09/03 23:00:41 GMT

Proper ventilation?
I have been smithing in my garage(2.5 car size). I use a propane forge and usually leave my garage door open for ventilation. Problem is that my neighbours are getting annoyed with the noise level. I am concerned about carbon monoxide. I have a regular door on the side of my garage but no windows. There is an addic with vents. Would the regular door(3'x6') provide enough air or should I open the garage door a foot or so, or...??? Any suggestions? How does carbon monoxide react? Does it go up, down, etc...
   Louis - Monday, 02/10/03 00:40:11 GMT


Open the big door about a foot and buy a CO dectector. First Alert makes a decent one. Lowes or Home Depot will have them.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/10/03 00:48:34 GMT

Heat Treating Blades; While it is rather pricey, there is a stainless steel foil that can be wrapped around a blade during heat treatment to significantly reduce or eliminate scaling. Texas Knifemakers Supply sells it and I am sure others do too. I am not sure what it would do to the polish job, but you might try soaking it in vinegar or coca-cola over night. It will remove the scale but I am not sure if it would pit the blade. Just remember, if you finish to a 240 or 320 grit and then heat treat it, keep it cool when doing the finish grinding and polishing. Keep a coffee can of water next to the grinder to dip it in every couple of seconds.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 02/10/03 01:15:47 GMT

Does anybody out there have any idea when Buffalo switched over from belt-driven blowers underneath the forge to crank blowers? I'm trying to narrow down the approximate mfg. date of a particular forge, but there's no serial numbers or identifying markings, other than Buffalo Forge Co., Buffalo N.Y. around the top edge of the firepot. This is about a 3'x2' rectangular forge (round firepot) with slots for a tub on one end and an elbow/ash dump/clinker breaker assembly that fits into a semi-circular slot beneath the firepot, rather than being bolted directly on. Any info would be appreciated...thanks!
   Chris - Monday, 02/10/03 04:24:19 GMT

Buffalo Forge Chris, There was no actual "change over". More of the early forges were lever types and more later cranked. But both were made and sold at the same time. We sell a Buffalo Forge Catalog CD-ROM that may help identifying the model. If its not in the catalog it came later. . . See our book review page.
   - guru - Monday, 02/10/03 05:04:31 GMT

Stainless Foil: This stuff works pretty good but must be striped off to quench. I use it on air hardening steels. Even then it needs to be striped off. It is tricky and like most thin metal is VERY sharp and dangerous to flesh. Sometimes it easily tears off and other times it doesn't. Being very thin your snips need to sharp and tight. When oil or water quenching you tear open the package over the quench and let the part fall in. This method is not always condusive to good quenching technique but does reduce oxidation.
   - guru - Monday, 02/10/03 05:11:28 GMT

CO, Carbon monoxide: Louis, CO has almost EXACTLY the same density as air so it floats and disperses evenly or according to temperature. Normal gas forge exhust has little CO but if you start recycling the exhust gases through the forge then CO output becomes greater. This makes small spaces doubly troublesome.

Normally a regular door is not enough ventilation. Attic vents help but are not enough. An exhust fan in the attic vent will help a lot if the vent is large enough. Normal 19 to 24" window fans are marginal. Two might be enough.

If the ventilation is only for the forge then a hood and 8" vent pipe may be simplier than adding froced ventilation to the garage.

Unwanted Noise:

Noise can be reduced by sound proofing. Hard smooth surfaces reflect sound (and direct it out the door). Covering the walls with old carpet (like a wall hanging) can reduce sound reflectivity considerably. Heavy cotton or wool are best (like work clothing). Nylon carpeting could be a fire hazzard. Treating either with a solution of borax and water will reduce the fire hazzard. Those special foam sound proofing panels work great but are very expensive and also present a fire hazzard.

Simple things like working with your back facing the door can shield the othside world from a significant portion of your hammer/anvil sound. A "sound screen" like a folding privacy screen could reduce the sound opening of the door and not reduce the amount of ventilation very much. It could be short enough to see over thus allowing you to wrok facing the door.

Gas forge noise is what it is and there is little you can do. If the ringing of your anvil is the problem then you can work on deadening that. Rubber cushioning (either sheet of using silicon rubber caulk) helps. Tying the anvil tightly to its stand also helps. Bent clamps with bolts is common. Let silicon caulk cure before tightening clamps to alow a layer to stay put in the thin spots. Large speaker magnets on the side of the anvil help.

I have recently had new neighbors move in. I worried a little about noise but it turns out they like their stereo loud, drive relatively noisy four wheelers, shoot black powder rifles and have a barking dog. I don't notice most of this except the stereo. The neighbor has already appologized a couple times about HIS noise. I've warned him that there will be time when I make up for it big time. . .

The best way to deal with the noise problem is to be on good terms with your neighbor. Or give them a call "just to say hi" and comment on that party they had over the weekend. "It must have been SOMETHING" I heard it over watching football last night. . . OR comment on their new chainsaw or LAWNMOWER, "It must be really powerful as loud as it is". Don't threaten or be combative. Just point out every time THEY make significant noise or babeque smoke. . There are a LOT of things done in suburban neighborhoods that are abnoxious but people think they are normal. Smoke from burning ONE pile of leaves is hundreds of times more noxious AND unhealthy than all the coal a hobby smith will burn in a year. Leaf blowers are the most stupidly obnoxious machine ever invented AND they are VERY noisy.

Gifts do not hurt as well as a offer to show them what you do. Invite the neighbors to a barbeque with entertainment. A FORGING demonstration. Whip out a steak turner, demonstrate it on the cooking steaks and then offer to make anyone that thinks it is neat. . . Toasing forks and spits are also useful at a barbeque. LONG handled spatulas are handy.

Folks that think that what you do is "cool" are a lot less likely to complain. And may even become customers.
   - guru - Monday, 02/10/03 06:09:17 GMT

Q C /// Vinegar
Store bought vinegar is only a 3% solution (vol./vol.) of acetic acid in water. IAt that concentration, it is a weak acid and should not etch metal unless that metal was very thin and the and it was kept in the vinegar for a long time. Better yet the vinegar would be spent before much etching occured, if any at all. Pickling vinegar can usually be bought in the grocery store or super market. Especially during canning season, in the fall. It is a 4% solution.
Heating the vinegar up, prior to, and/or during use will speed the descaling reaction.
Glacial acetic acid is another matter.
The concentration of phosphoric in CocaCola or PepsiCola is highly diluted too.
Doing the night shift
   slag - Monday, 02/10/03 09:17:10 GMT

Well, it was pretty chilly Friday night so I told my wife I was going to take a walk down by the river, got out my long johns (the good ones!), my wool socks (and a spare pair of shoes&socks in the truck) called a friend for back-up---only had to crawl out of the woods once with a badly sprained ankle to learn that one! and we tooled off toward our planned access point.

Only to find the river clear of ice with a good flowrate sparkling in the sun. Not willing to walk in on a very steep bank littered with dumped demolition material (buildings *not* booms!) with a *cold* and stoney water hazard below we turned around and went home.

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 02/10/03 15:09:52 GMT

I am in need of a supplier of brooms, to attach to handles for fireplace tools.....can you help? Thanks Steve
   Steve Stokes - Monday, 02/10/03 16:20:56 GMT


Where would the supplier need to ship the brooms?
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/10/03 17:32:02 GMT

Pavement Breakers:

When I wourked at GM they would clean out the coupalas with a 3" diameter pavement breaker type bit mounted on a Bob-Cat type machine. During shut-down, one of the contractors broke a similar bit. I took home the broken end and had it specro tested. This one turned out to be 4340. I think the reason so many people associated breaker pionts with S seris steel is that that S means the steel is suited for applications requiring Shock resistance. I know I thought that was a main application until I read Grant's comments. I know this discussion was wrapped up last week, but I havn't check the site for a while.
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 02/10/03 18:23:28 GMT

When I converted my tool shed to a shop I was concerned about the noise. I went to the local shopping mall and asked if any of the stores were due to remodel. I was looking for used acoustical ceiling tiles. You know, those pitted,ugly, drop-ceiling tiles. They told me they had a huge stack of them waiting for the "special" dumpster to be dropped off and I could take as many as I wanted. So I did. Covered all the walls in the shop and the ceiling too. 5 bucks for sheetrock screws and little washers and I now work in an oven! But it is relatively quiet. The upside is they're easily cut, lightweight, fire retardant and easily replaced. The downside is they're very soft and get ugly in a hurry.
   Gronk - Monday, 02/10/03 18:53:45 GMT

Gronk, Good Idea. I forgot to mention the ceiling if its finished. And as you mentioned they work on the walls. Not quite as elegant as my "tapestry" idea. . .

Avoid cieling tiles that have been painted. The paint seals the pores that help them absorb noise rather than reflect it.

Many old tiles had asbestoes in them. Should not be a problem as they are generally treated as hazardous waste. But it IS something to be aware of.
   - guru - Monday, 02/10/03 19:02:51 GMT

Ahhh... asbestos. That explains the "special" dumpster. I was wondering about that. And you're right about it not being elegant Guru. It's anything but. :}
   Gronk - Monday, 02/10/03 19:27:57 GMT

PPW Tubal was the Father of METALWORKERS... not just ironworkers.... (smile)
   Ralph - Monday, 02/10/03 20:12:01 GMT


ARE there any other metals besides iron?
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/10/03 22:24:15 GMT

I have been working with yellow metal for a long time. It works easyer than the black stuff.
   jw watson - Monday, 02/10/03 22:30:11 GMT

Paw Paw,

Gold and silver, at least...:-)
   - taylor - Monday, 02/10/03 22:30:36 GMT

When Did Blacksmithing Start? This is not a simple question. Blacksmiths primarily work iron and steel (the black metal). But many of the techniques of the blacksmith were developed much earlier in the Bronze Age. The Iron Age started aproximately 1,500 BC so true blacksmithing would date from then. The Bronze Age is estimated to have begun about 6,000 BC. But both of these dates are constantly changing to earlier dates as archeologists make more discoveries. To make matters more confusing, native (naturaly occuring pure iron) was worked early in the bronze age just as native copper, silver, and gold had been worked prior to the discovery of smelting metals which launched the bronze age.

When iron started to become common and displace many uses of bronze it was called the "transitional period". The Greeks of the Classical period (about 400 - 300 BC) were a transitional society. Then, just as today, metal workers often worked more than on metal. A jewler would work gold, silver, copper, tin and bronze. A smith such as an armourer would work iron, bronze, copper, lead and tin. The line between a blacksmith and a bronzesmith was quite fuzzy.

Early Biblical metal workers were Bronze Age smiths. Translations that say otherwise are mistaken, having applied the technology of the times upon the Ancients.

Supposedly the story of David and Goliath is also a story of a clash between David who was part of a Bronze age culture, and the Philistines who got their reputation for being "terrible and war like" from the fact that they were an early Iron Age culture. But in the end, stone age technology (a sling) won the battle. I suspect that one of the morals of the story that has been lost was that faith, flesh and blood was superior to technology.
   - guru - Monday, 02/10/03 22:31:42 GMT

My Lancast. 400 blower 's vanes are rusting thru any tips or LOL or experiences or attempts, sucessful ones prefered.
Stainless overkill?
   tony c - Monday, 02/10/03 22:50:14 GMT

Umm, wait a minute there.

Its not a mistake of translation. But iron was very *expensive* and not something used by everyone. A rich man's metal.

I would imagine much technology was lost after the flood. Remember Noah's ark?

Sort of another form of dark age. We might be facing one ourselves. Turn off the oil, and out go the lights. One of the reasons I've been hunting retro-technology the past couple of months.
   - taylor - Monday, 02/10/03 22:56:37 GMT

Many hand cranked blowere were patented during the first five years of the 20th century. I have a Buffalo catalog from 1916 that shows a forge something like yours with a 28"x40" cast iron hearth, a "Vulcan" firepot (rectangular flange at top), and a hand cranked blower # 200. I assume you have a pressed steel hearth which came after 1916. In the catalog, the only belt run blowers are the oversize blowers for running several school forges at once or to use as exhausters.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:17:53 GMT

Steve Stokes, Bess Ellis makes brooms: mbellis@misn.com. She and her metal spinning husband live in Missouri.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:23:51 GMT

Guru, I though the moral of David and Goliath was God is greater than a gaint. Speaking of giants I have aquired a canadian little giant #25 that came off an assembly line (overhead belt). I need to know what type of motor and how to hook up the belt. Any help will be appreciated. William
   triw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:26:30 GMT

for the gas masters (propane that is, not bowel).

i have a forgemaster. the burner with the choke gets hotter (more of the paint is burned off and closer to the venturi). this is occuring with choke on or off. sometimes it gets hot enough to ignite in the venturi. this will happen predictably @ 5PSI. the other burner will not ignite in the venturi.

the only difference between the two burners is that there is a larger gap between the inlet pipe and the "body" of the forge. both burners are welded about 1/3 around; there is just a bigger gap between the hole in the body and the pipe. picture the hole about 1/2" bigger than the pipe.

need opinion/comments on:
1)will oxidation be reduced if i seal up the gaps (weld 360 degrees)?
2)are these gaps contaminating the air/fuel mixture? (is it sucking air thru the gap)
3)could the gap be the reason why the burner can get hot enough to ignite @ the venturi?

thanks in advance for the thought and opinion/comments..

   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:27:15 GMT

What are some typical blacksmith names.
   Keanu - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:33:32 GMT

What are some typical blacksmith names?
   Keanu - Tuesday, 02/11/03 00:34:00 GMT

Blacksmith Names? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Timothy, Jude, Thomas, Barnabus, James, Andrew, Judas. Achmed, Mohammad, Cassius, Deng, Lee, Tobias, Sung, Onato, Francois, Jacque, Johann, Sebastion, Albretch, Joan, Dorothea, Kelly, Helena, Victoria, Elizabeth, Mary, Margaret, Magdelena, Hannah, Ingrid, Mayosaka, Ruth, Judith, Brighid, Sharon, Donna, Eligius, Dunstan, Victor, Henry, Hertzgovia. . . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 01:21:00 GMT

Guru, How about Frank, William, Tom, etc.
   triw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 01:26:03 GMT

Everyone has their own interpretations, even the literalists. . .

Canadian Giant: Triw, A 25# hammer will run on a 1HP motor or even a 3/4 HP if it is a heavy duty motor. See the operating speed on the Power hammer Page Little Giant specs chart an reduce by 20%. Normally you start with an 1800 RPM motor with a small pulley. The ratio is simply Dia. A / Dia. B. Some folks do it in two steps using a jack-shaft but it is also done in one step.

You can run single or double V belts on the flat pulley. I prefer flat belts on flat pulleys. But the problem is the small pulley doesn't have much "wrap" and will slip. The wedging action of V-Belt sheeves gives them a lot of drive power for their size.

If you use a jack shaft you multiply the two reduction ratios. 2:1 and 3:1 = 6:1. 1.2:1 and 2.5:1 = 6.25:1.

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 01:48:10 GMT

Guru, How do I keep the V belts from sliping off the flat pully which has a slight crown to it? William
   triw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 02:43:39 GMT

I appreciate the Buffalo forge info. Mine does have a pressed steel hearth with a round firepot. Based on that, I can at least narrow it down to something post-1916 :-) Thanks, Chris W.
   Chris - Tuesday, 02/11/03 02:51:54 GMT

Folks, Cannon Cocker is an old infantryman's term for an artillery man! It's not what you think it is! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 04:12:27 GMT

I bought an anvil today, and it looks like the heel, horn and feet have been forge welded onto the body. The steel top is in pretty good shape with good rebound over the body, but the heel/waist weld is cracked underneath. It's 91 pounds - it is marked 0 3 7 on one side and has a circled 'N' on the other. The hardy hole looks to be 3/4". I wasn't impressed with this anvil at first, but after using the wire brush and scotch brite pad, the anvil shows its age beautifully. What company uses this 'N', and how old might it be? Thanks, Steve
   - Steve - Tuesday, 02/11/03 04:32:36 GMT


The 0 3 7 equals 91 pounds in the English Hundreweight system. The N isn't much to go on, are you sure that's all that's there? Try doing a rubbing on the both sides and see if anything else shows up.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 04:43:35 GMT

I don't think there's any other markings. The logo looks like a Circled N with little curls at the ends. My other anvils are cast steel, so this roughly forged anvil is interesting to me. I'd like to buy the Anvils in America book, but it's more than what I payed for the anvil once I factor in the CDN to US$ exchange:) Steve
   - Steve - Tuesday, 02/11/03 05:07:13 GMT

triw, flat pulleys were crowned to keep the flat belts centered without having to have raised edges, on which the sides of the belts would wear. Maybe you should get a flat belt??
   Cap - Tuesday, 02/11/03 05:12:30 GMT

Blasksmith name. About four years ago, Uri Hofi visited my forge. His striker was named Tsur Sadán. I asked Tsur whether he could translate his name in Hebrew; he said that it meant "Rock Anvil". I'm jealous.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/11/03 05:24:37 GMT


If I remember correctly, Saddam means Anvil in Farsi.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/11/03 13:21:53 GMT

Pulleys and Crown Triw, When properly aligned belts run to the high spot on a pulley. That is what crown is for. Try running a flat belt on un-crowned pullies and no matter how well aligned it will not stay on. On standard drives the alignment can be way off and belts still stay put. Where problems occur on Little Giants with center clutches is when the clutch bearings is worn and the angle of the pulley is such that the surface is parrallel to the axis of the shaft. Then belts can walk off.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 15:12:46 GMT

other metals, hmmm, hard to say....

re Cannon.
Sure it is PawPaw....
   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/11/03 15:31:37 GMT

Circle N anvil: Steve, It didn't seem familiar so I called Richard Postman. He said it seemed familiar but he didn't know the maker. English anvil distribution was rather peculiar, Mousehole and Peter Wright dominated imports to the US. But other English makers served other places. Canada and Australia have large numbers of English anvils but Australia has no Mouseholes. That is why he titled his book "Anvils in America".

England, through its colonies, dominated the export of manufactured goods world wide for many years. This included anvils which you will find world wide. However, the makes that we consider the common "English" anvils were exported to the US and not other places. There seems to have been some sort of distribution teritories.

Anvils in America covers many makes of anvils made primarily in England and the US put also covers some of the European anvils that were imported here such a the Swedish and German anvils. However, Richard says that there were many small anvil manufacturers in England and Europe that did not export to the US. Many of the European anvil makers were very regional, each having their own style. A book covering all the European makers in detail would be a huge undertaking. It is also a job for someone that lives in Europe and can speak several languages.

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 15:35:15 GMT

Patrick Nowak:

I have also made thousands of those (boom-mounted) bits too. Every one I made was 4340. Most are. One manufacturer makes a premium bit from EN-30B, a steel from europe that has around 5% nickel. Very tough, that.
   - grant - Tuesday, 02/11/03 17:13:09 GMT

I am planning on making a power hammer. The design I was thinking of is basically to attach a tie rod and a coil spring to a treadle hammer(the top arm). The other end of the tie rod would be attached to a flywheel and the flywheel to a motor. I would beef up the hammer, but I am wondering what you think of it.
   Thomas Vankrevelen - Tuesday, 02/11/03 17:48:28 GMT

Hi, guys I was wondering does anyone know how to make bright shiney brass, look old and weathered without destroying the item. The item is a railing around a kitchen cabinet. The brass is a pipe style approx. 3/4 dia. Is there a chemical that would do the job of making it look like that old patina that brass gets? I would appreciate any info you could give .Thankyou
   - Carl - Tuesday, 02/11/03 19:42:19 GMT

Motor Powered Treadle: Thomas, I don't think it will work. The reason is that the coil spring link is going to quickly get out of syncronization with the hammer and it will go in and out of phase and do all kinds of strange things.

The dynamics of power hammers are tricky and have to be carefully understood when designing a hammer. The trick is absorbing the energy of the ram at the top of the stroke. Toggle linkage hammers like Fairbanks and Little Giant do this very. But other hammers like helves do not and can end up lifting the entire hammer off the ground (or putting high loads on the hold down bolts).

One method I have looked at but not built is a spring balanced helve. Using a standard helve design with a rotating cam, the helve bearing is held off the cam by balance springs. A treadle pulling down on the helve through a spring brings the hammer down. The constantly running cam then raises and drop the hammer. The harder you lean on the treadle the harder the hammer hits. When you let off the treadle the hammer rises above the cam and stops moving.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 20:16:10 GMT

whould the addition of a shock absorber fix the syncronization problem. like a car suspension. i under stand the sync problem, it would act like a car with no shocks.
i have some old motor cycle spring/shock combos. they can be adjusted for around 50 lbs to around 200 lbs. i would just need to make a interesting linkage to use them.
the main thing i am looking for is simplicity in the design and making. thanks for the insite.
   Thomas Vankrevelen - Tuesday, 02/11/03 21:31:10 GMT

Shock Absorber Linkage: Thomas, I built a shock absorber linkage hammer to prove a point. It worked. But is not very efficient. On start up the hammer will hit one very hard blow then progressively lighter to a point. The starting with closed dies and making a hard blow is stange to get used to but not to bad. But it IS different. When run over a certain speed the ram will "float" not moving in either direction while the machine runs full speed.

I proved it worked. Several folks have built similar machines since but I do not recommend it. There are better methods.

For a bunch of DIY or JYH (Junk Yard Hammer) designs see our Power hammer Page and the Catalog of Junk Yard Hammers.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/11/03 23:36:03 GMT

Guru and Paw Paw,
Thanks for the anvil info, your help is greatly appreciated. I thought I remembered someone posting some info about this maker some time back, but I couldn't find much in the archives. I took some photos today, and will have them posted on my website(within a few days) at www.stevenwaters.com
   Steve - Wednesday, 02/12/03 00:24:14 GMT

thanks agian for the advice.
   Thomas Vanlrevelen - Wednesday, 02/12/03 00:40:11 GMT


Let us know when you post them, and I'll go take a look.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/12/03 01:24:39 GMT

Brass Patina-

Carl, that brass railing may not be all that simple to deal with for two reasons. The first is that it may be only brass-plated steel, and the second is that even if it is solid brass it is most likely clear-coated with lacquer or acrylic.

If it brass-plated steel is will be clear-coated for sure, and nothing will "age" the brass unless you first remove the clear coating. Most chemical strippers are caustic and will leave the brass finish very mottled and crummy looking. You might be able to get away with using a stripper designed for removing paint from aluminum airplane skins. That type usually uses methylene chloride (or similar), which won't harm the brass plating, but WILL harm you. You MUST wear a full respirator rated for organic vapors (chlorinated hydrocarbons) while using it. It is also not too salubrious for the environment.

Once you have the metal down to clean, shiny bare brass or brass plate, you can color it with chemical solutions. Liver of Sulfur will produce a soft greenish-brown, copper sulfate will give you a blue-black, a mixture of equal parts of copper nitrate, calcium carbonate and ammonium chloride will give you a verdigris green. All the foregoing are solutions in water, and take varying amounts of time/temperature to work their magic. A web search should give you several results on a search for "chemical patination".

Any chemical aging of the brass will be like Beauty itself...only skin deep. A true age patina takes age to develop and will be more durable. Most chemical patinas will require a clear coating to be durable in a situation where they are handled frequently.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/12/03 02:25:49 GMT

Hi, everybody from Russia ! I'd like to ask if wrought iron is a good bisuness in the USA ? There are many good specialists in Russia (in that area) but they are not rich :(. Of course it is very interesting and beautiful art but.. money. Thanks and Good luck to everybody!
   Paul - Wednesday, 02/12/03 13:05:44 GMT

Hello Russia! Paul, Blacksmiths in the US generaly are not rich. Their businesses range from "making a living" to "starving artist". Many do it part time or as a second job. Sadly the majority of sucessful businesses in the wrought iron business are fabricators that make industrial - commercial railings and use components for fancier work.

In a FEW parts of the country where the rich are building homes such as in resort areas a blacksmith can make a good living doing custom work. But this only lasts as long as there is new construction.

I suspect that it is the same in most parts of the world. Finding clients that appreciate good quality hand work and are willing to pay for it. Most smiths that I know have had one or two of these clients in a lifetime. In between those good clients they work for much less than they should. Most do it because they love it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/12/03 15:13:39 GMT

Ok Guru-thank you ! The same situation in Russia too. And fabricators, such as italian IND.I.A. already presents on our market. But people differ handmaking and industrial products.
Another question: where can i download plans of vertical hammer to build it by myself?
   Paul - Wednesday, 02/12/03 15:46:46 GMT

Thanks much Vicopper.. I found a book I had stuck away on my shop book shelf, ( Tim McCreight Called the complete metal smith) It has a couple ideas but doesn't tell if or how you stop the chemical process, or if you need to seal it . I'LL check out the web for a few more answers. Have a good day and keep the hot.....
   - Carl - Wednesday, 02/12/03 21:08:39 GMT


Most coloring solutions are relatively weak and don't really require being stopped, per se. The best thing to do is to rinse the surface with distilled water when the process has reached the stage you desire. Two or three rinses should be adequate, followed by thorough drying and then clear-coating.

Jewelery supply houses sell clear coat, in aerosol cans, made for polished metal. The Ditzler paint division of PPG, a major manufacturer of automotive paints also makes a clear coat suitable for bare metal. Regular clear lacquer doesn't adhere well to bare shiny metal, so use the product intended for the job.

Some of the more "natural" patinas of brass, such as brownish olive, can be very satisfactory if simply waxed with a good carnauba-based car wax. By the time the wax begins to wear off, the brass will have begun the process of its own natural aging.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/12/03 21:19:32 GMT

I have several steel digging bars that are dull. I'm going to repoint and retemper. The books that I have talk about heating the whole bar on some of the rock tools they work on but these are about 5 ft. long. Can I just heat the end? What color should I temper to? Thanks for the help. Rick
   Rick Scarlet - Wednesday, 02/12/03 21:45:42 GMT

I was wondering if someone could tell me the(/a) rule of thumb for oxy-acet brazing pressures.
   - hayes - Thursday, 02/13/03 00:19:22 GMT

I work for a commercial roll door company and we use 2 standard coiled wire springs to maintain a neutral weight balance on our doors. I want to submit an ideal on using flat coiled springs (ex.- the pull string return spring on a lawn mower), But I don't know how to determine the size or width of the springs. The springs have to be able to maintain 600 to 1300 ft/lbs of tension. I'm hoping you might be able to tell me how to come up with these figures.
Tim Yates
   - Tim Yates - Thursday, 02/13/03 01:24:58 GMT

I've been trying for almost a month to get registered in the slack-tub and thus far no luck. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
   JackFrost - Thursday, 02/13/03 01:30:17 GMT

Rick Scarlet, You just work on the business end. Treat it like high carbon steel. To harden,I usually quench a couple inches at about a medium cherry red, and I temper to a purple or blue, 527ºF to 563ºF. In my shop, I have a funky small chain hanging from the ceiling between hearth and anvil. There is a little chain hook on the bottom link. I use it kind of like a chain trammel to hold up the digging bar when I'm working by myself. Just loop it around the bar and put the hook through an appropriate link so the bar is held at the right angle for heating and working.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/13/03 02:52:46 GMT

Hello from Thorndale, Ontario, Canada. I have been blacksmithing for 7 years now, and own Prickly Hollow Forge in Thorndale. I bought a 220 lb. English style anvil last week that has the end of the anvil broken off from the hardie hole back.( missing piece long gone decades ago ) I once saw an anvil with the horn broken off, but never this. If I were to forge the missing shape in steel with a new hardie and pritchel, is it possible or practical to have it welded on? A welder I asked here, said that with cast and steel it is unlikely to get a proper weld, since the two metals have different properties. What do you think?
   Richard Hamilton - Thursday, 02/13/03 05:00:29 GMT


Are you sure the anvil is cast? It's more likely to be wrought iron. If you'll carefully search for any markings, and post them here, we'll try to identify it for you. Even better would be pictures which you could scan and email to either the guru, or myself.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/13/03 05:18:50 GMT

Pub Registrations and Appologies:

JackFrost and others. These are handled manually and I have been swamped keeding up. And yes I know I am a month behind. But I am also a month behind in billing and other paperwork that takes a priority.

My most embarrased appologies. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 02/13/03 14:07:12 GMT

Broken Anvil Cast or Forged means little unless it is cast iron and that is doubtful. Cast steel anvils can be welded just as wrought but require more care in preheating and post heating. Anvils broken at the heal are actually more common than broken horns. The hardy hole weakens the anvil and its corners create starting places for cracks.

The problem making anvil repairs of any magnitude is softening the hardened face. A heavy weld repair is going to heat several inches of the face above tempering temperature and soften it. So, you will have an anvil with a hardy hole but a soft face.

In these cases I recommend dressing the heal end of the anvil to a corner or nice radius with a grinder and letting it go. Then make a bench plate for holding hardies. If it MUST be close to the anvil then modify the stand to support the bench plate next to anvil. You can also clamp a hardy in your vise. If you want the hardy hole for supporting tooling then the bench plate idea still holds up.

In the history of anvils the hardy hole is a late invention. The earliest hardy holes were only about 1/2" square. As the hardie hole became larger smiths found it handy for bending and now some farriers anvils come with huge round hardy holes over a third of the width of the face in diameter. However, being round reduces the streses and even though it is a large hole there is no more chance of breakage than with a smaller square hole. These large holes do not use a hardy so are technicaly no longer a hardy hole. . .

Many early anvils also did not have horns. Hornless anvils were quite common in the 17th and early 18th century. Stake anvils with their double horns were used for bending and scrolling work. Many stake anvils or "bickerns" were as heavy as full sized anvils.

The modern anvil is a wonderful tool that combines many developments into a very convienient tool. But smiths used much simplier tools for thousands of years.

I would prefer to preserve the hard face of my anvil than to screw it up with a repair of marginal value.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/13/03 14:24:37 GMT

Broken Anvil,

I would do just as the Guru recommends, dress the broken end to a useful contour. Think about the contour that would be handiest for you. This is your chance to have it the way YOU want it. You can still have an anvil-mounted hardy, if you go to a little bit of effort.

You can readily fabricate one from 3/8" plate welded to form a square tube. That, in turn, is welded to the away side of the anvil, about even with the rear of the waist, and just a fraction below level with the face. If you keep your welding below the edge of the face plate, and don't spend too much time in one spot, you shouldn't damage the face, yet the holder will be perfectly secure. With a "hardy hole" made this way, tools such as guillotine fullers can be made with their hardy shanks off to one side so they still rest on the face of the anvil. Small cut-off hardies and the like wil work just fine in the side-mounted holder.
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/13/03 16:31:16 GMT


I should have added that the welding should be done below the BOTTOM edge of the anvil face plate. Additionally, I would suggest laying a wet rag on the face to be certain it stays cool while welding on the body.
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/13/03 16:40:08 GMT

Vicopper seems to have given you a pretty good script there for making a usable hardie hole. I'd add that you should warm up the area with a weed burner or such to around 400F (a wet finger will sizzel) before welding. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about drawing temper in that area anyway, I'd never be doing any serious hammering that close to the hardie other than on hardie tools. The offset shank is a good idea.
   - grant - Thursday, 02/13/03 17:54:01 GMT

Does anyone know what BIG lock washers are made of? I am talking 1/4" -3/8" square x 1.5-2.0" diameter. I am assuming that they are spring steel. I find them all over the RR tracks here at the plant. They might make good forge food.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/13/03 18:05:50 GMT

How about the bolts that go with them? Spark test looks like fairly low carbon.
   Stephen G - Thursday, 02/13/03 18:45:24 GMT

Question about gas burners What type of regulator do you use? Is an acetalene regulator ok if you find an adaptor for the newer type tanks? Or is there a propane regulator?
   888 - Thursday, 02/13/03 20:50:11 GMT

Ok, there's a pic of my 'circle N' anvil online at: http://www.stevenwaters.com/anvil.htm
Can anyone help identify it?
   Steve - Thursday, 02/13/03 21:55:07 GMT

Stephen, the bolts do appear to be low carbon but the lock washers sparked like high carbon.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/13/03 22:08:56 GMT


Lockwashers would have to be quite a bit harder than the bolts/surfaces they are used with, or they wouldn't "bite" into them and do their job. If they were too hard, (i.e.all hard, no temper), they would likely crack under pressure. Based on that logic, I would say they would about have to be medium to lhigh carbon, and tempered enough to be tough. YMMV
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/13/03 22:34:59 GMT

   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/13/03 22:47:39 GMT


London Pattern, I'd guess made in England, but no idea more than that.

Is there a cavity on the bottom? (I don't mean a handling hole, I mean more of a cavity, similar to what is found under some Hay Budden Anvils.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/13/03 22:53:31 GMT

Hmmmmm, I'll have to look in my fasteners standards but I DO know that those big ugly coil spring types will cut into hardened bolts. I suspect spring steel. I have a box full of 1-1/2" or 2" lock washers. . . Big enough to make LOTS of little tools and knives out of. Junk Yard Steel Rules apply MR Metalurgist!

VI, Great idea to weld on a bracket instead of a solid piece. If the anvil is not hard below the face (wrought or unhardened cast steel) holes could be drilled and taped for the same type deal.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/13/03 22:53:33 GMT


I thought about the drilling and tapping and passed on it. I wouldn't want to try to wrestle my 200# anvil onto a drill press table. I own an arc welder, you own a magnetic-base drill. (grin)

The more I think about it, I kind of hope I find a broken-heeled anvil to try this on. In my mind, I can see it as having some real advantages over the hardy hole in the face, particularly in the weak heel area. The Europeans seem to have a better idea with their hardy hole at the front of the face, where it is over more mass and might not chop off your fingers if you leave the hot cut in it by mistake.

BTW, a jeweler's type stake holder for raising/planishing stakes is just right for holding 7/8" hardy shanks. I have one bolted on a heavy bench that I use for raising and planishing of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Very handy to have it up higher like that when using swages for small tenons. I also have made a couple of nail/bolt headers to fit in it because I don't like bending over the anvil to head things.
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/13/03 23:38:59 GMT

Anvil Identifcation
Steve, I think I've seen that circle n on a Norrisez anvil,
(I've seen it somewhere and that Norrisez is the best bet) very similar looking about the same size, but has the name stamped into it. It has a very small hardy hole?
could be a place to start
   - JimG - Friday, 02/14/03 00:03:39 GMT

Jim G.,

Do you mean Norris as in Fisher Norris?
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 00:30:34 GMT

Guru, I was thinking along the same lines regarding the use of big lock washers. Since I get them for nothing, I don't have much to loose by forging one out and trying to harden it. Just trying to learn from the voices of experience before I leap off into metallurgical la-la land.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 02/14/03 00:53:13 GMT

No Paw-Paw, this is Norrisez (I think) I'm gettin spelling confirmation from it's current owner, but it is definatly not a fisher Norris, it has the little triangle feet similar to my mousehole.
   - JimG - Friday, 02/14/03 02:37:57 GMT

YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary
   Rick Widmer - Friday, 02/14/03 03:51:56 GMT

Jim G.,

Thank, I was confused, because I have yet to find a reference to the circled N anywhere in ANVILS IN AMERICA.


Thanks. I've added it to the acronyms that Grant and I are compiling.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 03:53:57 GMT


I don't have a clue about the anvil, but I just wanted to give you "props" for the metalwork on your sight. You do some beautiful work. Anyone who hasn't looked - check it out!

   eander4 - Friday, 02/14/03 03:55:06 GMT

Hi Guru Do you have a easy quick way to get the fire scale off hot rolled. Thanks CY
   Cy Swan - Friday, 02/14/03 04:02:43 GMT

has anybody ever heard of a RUDDE anvil?
   - rickalo - Friday, 02/14/03 04:06:09 GMT

two questions, oh mighty metal bashers, did you get the grinding wheels out of the river yet and do you get ahrd facing arc welding rods in america? The first smith i met/worked for refaced an old anvil entirely with these rods to about half inch deep or so. then he left the anvil alone for a year before grinding the top flat. He never did tell me how long it took to grind that much hard facing smooth but the end result was as good as anything else i've ever bounced a hammer off. Maybe you could hard face the welded area if you where to reweld your anvil, broken anvil.
   eric - Friday, 02/14/03 04:06:40 GMT

I need to add to that. My welding buddy says if you are going to hard surface to that depth in such a localised area you need to 'butter' the area first with normal rods before laying the hard facing down on top.
   eric - Friday, 02/14/03 04:10:58 GMT


Never heard of a RUDDE Anvil, BUT Hay Budden, (among others) made a lot of anvils that they put the name of a buyer on. Sorta like "store brands" today. For example, the ACME anvil sold by Sears and Roebuck was made by Hay Budden, but had the name ACME on it. That may be the case with the RUDDE anvil. One way you can tell is to tip the anvil up and see if it has the Hay Budden "Cavity" on the bottom of the anvil.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 04:38:20 GMT

thankes PAW PAW after i wrote iwas looking at the name rudde on paper and thought RUDDE change the R to a B and ad an N at the end and you have BUDDEN ill have to take a closer look. the cavity on the bottom is it an oval shape? thanks rickalo.
   - rickalo - Friday, 02/14/03 04:53:28 GMT


Use a scotch brite pad to clean off the side where the lettering is, then do a pencil rubbing of that side. A lot of times that will show up things you can't see just looking at the anvil. Also, check on the front of the foot under the horn for a serial number. Do a rubbing on it, the same way. If it is a Hay Budden, it will have a serial number, and that will tell us the year it was manufactured.

The cavity isn't really oval, it's just a hollowing out of the base, except for about a 1/2" border all the way around.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 06:03:01 GMT

Thanks to all for helping with the anvil identification. The PW's and such at the school are 'finely forged' in comparison. This 'N' one shows the process so much it facinates me. There's no hollow at the bottom, just the handling hole. I haven't seen too many forged anvils, actually.

Jim G, the hardy hole is 3/4", pritchel hole 3/8" I think. I can take some more pics(I ran out of memory).

Eric, your positive feedback is timely - I just found out tonight that the Toronto school board is cancelling all continuing education programs due to lack of funds. The Art Metal class I teach is always full within days of registration, AND makes money to support other programs. I can't help but think that this cancellation will have a major effect on many people, some who have taken the course every semester for YEARS. Tonight someone made a rasp asp. Someone else hammered a rebar texture into a 2" flatbar. I helped a disabled woman build a table. The creativity feeds upon itself; all types of people take the course and we're all disappointed:(
   Steve - Friday, 02/14/03 06:05:25 GMT

I want to take this moment to thank everyone who helped make anvilfire what it is. Thanks to you all im all set and im not as clueless as I used to be when this blacksmith thing was only a thought in my mind.

Now to the real problem.
See, I live in Quebec (Canada), and im having a hard time finding people or ANY organisation at all in here that can help me learn and develop my skills and meet other blacksmiths. As far as i know there are no ABANA group in Quebec. The only thing i found was a small "very private" Irish "only" club. So I would apreciate it if anyone here that knows / heard of blacksmiths that has some time to show me or blacksmiths organisation or meetings in quebec to send me the info. I want to get into a group and meet other blacksmiths but ontario is just too far. (5 hour ride)

FYI i live near Montreal. But my forge is in Knowlton (lac Brome) So if anyone from either places reads this PLEASE contact me.

Thanks for your help,
   Frederic Defoy - Friday, 02/14/03 08:17:48 GMT


I have a few of the lockwashers laying around so I'll try them. I will be able to get more in the spring, but right now my local railyard's srcap pile is under about 6 feet of snow and ice.
   Stephen G - Friday, 02/14/03 14:07:57 GMT

guru: I intend to experiment with colorcase hardening. Am I safe sealing a small steel box with bits of bone and leather and an old shotgun receiver without charing the leather and bone first? I don't know the first thing about this, and I don't want to inadvertently build a bomb.
   Jeff Clutter - Friday, 02/14/03 16:26:46 GMT

Color Case Hardening Jeff, To get a good clear coloring you need to use charcoal powder or bone charcoal. In this case you will be RECOLORING a part that has already been case hardened so plain charcoal will be best as there is some thought that the phosophorus in the bone charcoal helps carburization.

You will also only want to heat to hardening temperature and NOT soak as you do not want to increase the carbon content of the part more than what is already is.

The part needs to be very clean and oil free (no finger prints).

Raw materials (bone/leather) contain both oils and oxygen that oxidise and contaminate the part. When a dried leather wrap is used in case hardening it is when the color is not the primary goal and expediancy IS.

Either a crucible, stoneware ceramic or metal box can be used. Fancy color case hardening is created by air bubbling through the water. I have never tried it so I cannot advize on the amount of air. But I would think a decent "boil" would be appropriate. You want bright surfaces to oxidize at temper color temperatures.
   - guru - Friday, 02/14/03 17:10:40 GMT

Canadian Smith: Frederic, There are lots of Canadian Smiths and several organizations. They are not quite as well organized as in the US due to the great distances in Canada but they ARE there. Check our ABANA-Chapter page at the bottom.

   - guru - Friday, 02/14/03 17:13:54 GMT

Busy, Busy, Draining the Swamp, Aligator winning: Sorry for my inatentiveness the past few days. Our shopping cart (store) was broken and I've been trying to fix IT among other things. I just started the archiving on this page (it had gotten huge). Many other things to Do and I'm expecting a house guest next week and have been trying to catch up on 3 or 5 years of house cleaning. . . . AND I maintain some other folks web pages too!

Repousse': A repeat notice.

I'm looking for volunteer (donated) articles or brief notes on repousse' tools and techniques for a new web-page. Also photos of examples of repousse in steel, copper, brass, bronze.

PLEASE: No published or copyrighted works unless YOU are the author/photographer.

Pete, I know you've done a bunch. Now is your chance.
   - guru - Friday, 02/14/03 17:29:15 GMT

Steve-- nice webpage, and beautiful work. had a question reguarding your doorgrilles. do you mount studs on the door and fix with wingnuts so the homeowners can clean the glass? that stuff is kind of a paradox to me, ithas to be secure enough to keep goblins out, but removable enough for glass and door maintenance.
   mike-hr - Friday, 02/14/03 17:59:41 GMT

Branding Iron:


I have been asked to build a branding iron that will really be used for branding, and I was wondering how thick (depth) it needs to be. The letters will be about 1/4" wide. The design is pretty simple, just an interlocked LF with the bottom of the L becoming the middle of the F.

I had been thinking of splitting a piece of 1/2"x3/4" about 6 inches in each direction and bending the resulting 1/4" x 3/4" pieces into the letters. I'm probably not describing this well.

In any case, this would lead to letters that are 1/4" wide and 3/4" deep. Would this make a decent branding iron?

Any advice would be appreciated!

   Jim - Friday, 02/14/03 18:17:51 GMT


I built a branding iron out of 1/4" X 1", and the purchaser used it on wood. It worked fine. I suspect strongly that if it will work on wood, it'll work on hide. I've seen a few antique irons and they weren't much bigger than 3/4" - 1".
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 18:27:33 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw!

   Jim - Friday, 02/14/03 18:32:46 GMT


Most of the branding irons that I've seen and used were made from stock anywhere from 3/16" to 3/8" thick and between 3/4" and 1-1/2" wide. The ones that are made of heavier stock give the hand a bit more time toget the iron to the beef, without losing too much heat. If the iron is going to be used much, it is nice to have more than just one. Depends on how many hands you have working the cattle, whether you're using a chute/squeezer or tossing 'em by hand. Just be sure to put a long enough handle on them. Sometimes the fire gets spread out and an iron with too short a shank gets too hot too handle.
   vicopper - Friday, 02/14/03 18:35:53 GMT

Branding Irons: Jim, Depending on where you are the first thing to do is check the LAW. In many states the registration and making of brands is regulated. Making brands when you are not supposed to can be serious trouble.

Branding irons are used for many purposes besides cattle. Branding wood with a trademark is common. These are generally made like letter punches on a block the letters being raised. Folks that are barbeque nuts often have small irons made. Well Done, Medium and Rare are common.

I've made irons from 3/8" square and I've seen irons made of 1/8" or 3/16" flat bar an inch to inch and one half wide. I suspect these hold helat well. branding is done with the narrow edges.
   - guru - Friday, 02/14/03 19:01:32 GMT


Thanks for all the advice! I am in Virginia, so hopefully there aren't any bizarre legal issues.....

Interestingly, the people I asking are using liquid nitrogen rather than heat to make the brand. They say it is cleaner and heals better they say.

   Jim - Friday, 02/14/03 20:11:03 GMT

Branding Beef,

As Jim mentioned, using liquid Nitrogen to brand animals has become more common. When my wife was in vet school she was telling me about the advantages of this technique. I don't know if this is now common practice and hot branding is dying out now, but it wouldn't surprise if it is, or even if ear tags are being used.
   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 02/14/03 21:39:55 GMT

I suspect that liquid Nitrogen, liquid air, and Liquid Oxygen would all work about equally well, so it becomes an issue of which is cheaper to keep in stock.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/14/03 21:52:04 GMT

Branding: When my wife brought home a pure bred AKC registered Springer Spaniel, we had her registration number tatooed on her belly. Maybe we should consider tatoos for cattle. It might become a fashion statement. I can just see a steer with a "Born to be Wild" tatoo on his haunch!
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 02/15/03 00:25:11 GMT

I would like to learn some basic coppersmithing information and would be interested in your advice as to where I can find this or take a class. I am in the San Fernando valley (Los Angeles suburb). Thank you for any help you can offer.
   david - Saturday, 02/15/03 00:34:52 GMT

color case--brownells gunsmith kinks#4 10 pages ,repossse' try mn metal smiths
   - geno - Saturday, 02/15/03 01:51:43 GMT

Guru (or anyone who can help), I am currently attempting to make armor plates for two legionarrie costumes out of some scrap aluminum (I want authenticity, not a crap costume). Unfortunately, I have practically no experience and no proper equipment (I am still in school after all). Any specific tips dealing with molding thin aluminum sheets would be particularly helpful, or if anyone lives in Upstate SC who can help, because I need to finish this by Feb. 24.
   Victor - Saturday, 02/15/03 02:32:46 GMT

Authenticity: Victor, Only movie armor is made from aluminium. The real stuff was iron or steel plate. See our Armoury page for similar techniques. In aluminium and brass you can get away with hardwood anvils and forms. But you will need a collection of hammers. Some of this work can be done on a sandbag (sewn soft leather filled with sand). However, for light work I have made a sandbag out of a leg cut off some old jeans. I used a zip-lock bag to help keep the sand in and away from the sewing machine. Eventually the plactic will give up and the cloth will leak sand but it was good enough for the job it was made for.

The metal must be annealed before starting. See our Heat Treating FAQ.

   - guru - Saturday, 02/15/03 03:52:15 GMT

Make do tools: Outfitting a hobby smithy or armoury on the cheap takes time and imagination. We have several articles on on our iForge page with DIY tools and some of the tools in Eric Thing's shop on our Armoury page are made from junk.

First, If it is iron or steel and it is heavy and an ugly shape then it is a handy pieces for your shop. Often old tools applied to new purposes are the best. ANYTHING at the flea market for $1 that is made of tool steel is a bargain.

Pick axes can be converted to stake anvils. Earth mover track wheels are steel and have dozens of useful surfaces. Hammers, chisles and punches of any kind and shape can be modified into other things. The flange end of car/truck axels (from stadard full floating rear wheel drive) make great mushroom stakes. Extra axel can be used to make bent stakes and hammers.

Impoverished smiths in other countries make do with large sledge hammer heads set into a stump in the ground as anvils.

Wood "stumps" (sections of log cut into convienient lengths) are handy for anvil stands, stake stands, wood swage blocks. You must be an opportunist. When a storm takes out a tree the highway department often cuts it up into short lengths and leaves it for the land owner or the sanitation department. ASK and you may end up with a truck load for free. One man's firewood is another man's work bench and anvil.

When stumps ar not available they can be built up from construction grade lumber. 30-50 short pices of 2x4 can be glued up to make a faux stump. Depressions for boughing or dishing are cut into the end grain of stumps. That makes two usable ends. Note that end grain of pine works fine for soft metals but oak or maple is prefered when working iron/steel. In my old 1940's metalworking book (Dad's college text book) many of the sheet metal forming blocks are carved hardwood pieces held in a large vise.

Short sections of any heavy wall steel pipe is very handy.

Pliers of all kinds are handy. Long handled Channel locks are good make do tongs until you can make your own. Various commercial sheet metal bending and crimping pliers with compound leverage are made and very handy no matter WHAT type of sheet metal work you are doing.

Access to a cutting torch and arc welder is REALLY helpful when it come to making your own tools. A grinder (hand held "angle grinder") for dressing tools, shaping special anvils, cleaning up torch cuts, is indespensible and a key part of a set of welding equipment. There are work arounds but not nearly so handy.

Get your imagination in gear. The world is full of handy "junk" if you have the right mind set.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/15/03 04:14:01 GMT

Jim, I've made a lot of branding irons. A well made one will have tapered stamp stock in order to hold the heat longer, thicker at the top and anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4" on the bottom (stamp side). For a small iron, I sometimes use 5/16" x 3/4" (horseshoe stock), bend it the hard way kind of like a banana or the way some guys forge a knife. Hit the concave side to thin it and the bar will straighted out as you go...and get wider. OR torch off a leg of channel iron that is already tapered, and use it for stamp stock. Do a final straightening, grind/sand finish. Then bend, weld, etc. Where you have a cross, You leave two little gaps 1/8" to 3/16", called heat vents or heat breaks. If you leave it all connected, the brand will scorch the hide and blotch. Where there is a right angle bend or sharper, it should have a slight radius, again to prevent blotching. Same thing if one bar meets another. like a capital "T". Leave one heat break. A small brand for a calf is about 2½" to 3½" or 4" across. They're small because the mark grows up with the animal. Yearlings and adults have brands that are about 5" to 7" across and/ or top to bottom. Large brand stamp stock can be tapered from 3/8" x 3/4" (it'll get wider} or 3/8" x 1". Horses have a thinner hide and their brands are usually not more than 2½" across.

I would use at least two connecting rods attached either side of your brand. I use 1/2" round for connecting rods and the shank. An all metal iron will wind up being at least 30" long. Forge a hand hold at the top of the shank, a 3" D. turned eye or larger. I was taught to make the ring at right angles to the way the brand is read...which I do. Some ranchers like a socket and wooden handle. Some like a lengthy pipe for a handle drilled with a number of holes to dissipate heat. The more I know, the more I don't know.

The Manual of Brands and Marks by Manfred R. Wolfenstine, U of Oklahoma, 1970.
Hot Irons by Oren Arnold and John P. Hale, McMillen, 1944.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/15/03 04:58:54 GMT

Mike hr, usually I just screw the door grilles in, and silicone or epoxy the screw heads. I've used carriage bolts to fasten right through with acorn nuts, but this is not my preference. Somewhere I heard of hammering a small fishing weight into the screw head to prevent tampering, but I wouldn't try it on a client's new door. If the grille sits off the glass 2" or more, it's not too bad for cleaning. I've thought about hinged grilles, but that limits the design a bit, and I'm not sure how to lock them asthetically. I love to do these grilles because of the impact they make, but installing anything makes me edgy. I've got two more grilles started.
   Steve - Saturday, 02/15/03 06:06:44 GMT

Anybody know of a source of coal within a hundred miles of Deming, New Mexico. They have two places in Phoenix, Arizona but charge 35 cents per pound. $700.00 per ton is a bit much.
   terryR - Saturday, 02/15/03 10:49:18 GMT

I am new to blacksmithing and I would like to learn how to make a sword.
   Scott - Saturday, 02/15/03 14:57:33 GMT

terryR, I'm pretty sure Rob Gunter of Edgewood (Tijeras phone #} has some coal for sale. I think it comes from the King Mine, Hesperus, Colorado. A little farther than 100 miles.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/15/03 15:02:41 GMT

Hi PawPaw, I have a "Budden" the serial nr is "50". It's a 100 pound anvil in very good shape. Thank you in advance for the date. By the way I'm getting "withdrawal" (grin) simtoms for the RBStories. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Saturday, 02/15/03 18:09:52 GMT

Any tried and true methods for removing rusted in die wedges? These are holding the bottom die of a 150 Bradley which has been sitting in "the elements" for 30 years or so.
   Bill - Saturday, 02/15/03 18:21:21 GMT


Are you sure of the serial number? If that number is near the waist under the horn, it's not the serial number. The serial number is on the very front of the vertical part of the base under the horn.

Jock has chapter one and the illustrations. He'll get them posted as soon as he has time. We're going to make some changes in my web page and in the story page so it'll be a bit easier to find which book/chapter you want.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/15/03 18:23:48 GMT


OTOH, if that is the correct serial number hang onto that anvil with both hands. HB made 3,000 anvils the first year they were in business. The year was 1892, and the anvils were numbered from #1 through #3,000. I've you've got #50, you've got a VERY early Hay Budden.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/15/03 18:27:26 GMT


Soak it down with B'Laster from the NAPA auto parts store nearest you. Let it soak for a couple of weeks, re-spraying it occasionally. Make sure it stays wet with B'Laster. Then use an impact puller to pull the wedge with.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/15/03 18:30:30 GMT


Thanks for the great advice! If I understand correctly I should probably leave 2 "heat breaks" where the L and F overlap in a + pattern?

I think I will use 1"x1/4" bar and follow your "banana" suggestion. Makes sense to me, and will be good practice for knife making. :)

For the handle I was going to use 2 pieces of 1/4" round, about 50" long, bent in half and twisted. This would give me a 4 bar twist about 25" long, and I plan on leaving the twist a little open at the end (like a basket twist) to help with heat. The each rod in handle would be attached to a different leg of the + using a 3/16" rivet. Does this seem reasonable?

It's much tougher building tools you have never used before.... You don't know what to avoid.

Thanks again for all the help!

   Jim - Saturday, 02/15/03 19:37:01 GMT

Jim, Yes, no, and maybe. Yes, the heat breaks are on either side of a straight bar when there is a +. When the iron is in use, the heat should travel and fill the gap because of the concentration of heat in that area.

Using ¼" rods for the shank is OK until you come to the stamp attachment. Traditionally, the irons were heated on the range with a wood fire, so it was difficult to overheat them. Presently, many ranches use a "branding pot", a steel, propane-fired receptacle on legs, with a weed burner kind of arrangement to heat the irons. Sometimes, with carelessness, the branding irons get overheated to the point of a red, scaling heat [bad]. Then you run the risk of the tiny connecting rods becoming too hot and distorting. Then the stamp can move on the hide and also get permanently cattywampus with reference to the shank. Even at a proper black heat, the ¼" rods may distort.

That is why I overbuild the connection. And if I were riveting, I would use a square shanked rivet through a square hole, so there is no chance of it loosening with time and twisting. Oooor, take a cold chisel on the edge of a round hole and make marks all around in a sunburst pattern. The soft rivet head sinks into the marks and there is less chance of it twisting. Oooor, welding is best. Let's not forget that the branding iron is going to be heated repeatedly, and when not in use, who knows; left in a line camp, left outdoors, used as a hammer, run over by the ranch jeep, etc., etc.

It's another world out there on the range.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/15/03 21:27:03 GMT

Hello Guru, I have not done any serious metal work or welding for almost 50 years, but now that I am retired I have started a project I need help with. I need to solder (braze or weld) many nichrome wires ranging from 28 awg to 18 awg to stranded copper wires of the same awg in series. I have tried soldering with both a paste acid core flux and a liquid acid flux (zinc +) and silver bearing wire with absolutely no success. I have tried using soldering irons and a small propane torch. I have a Lincoln 125 A dc welder and OxyAc. tanks available. These connections need to be very reliable electrically. Can you help? Thanks, Bill
   Bill Herzog - Saturday, 02/15/03 22:06:28 GMT

Frozen Wedges: If all else fails (last resort) you can torch them out. A good man with a torch can pierce the wedge end to end and then reduce it to slag. The cast sow block or anvil cap is usualy resistant to flame cutting so you stay toward the block rather than the die.

Of course this means making a replacement wedge but it is a LOT better than having a broken dovetail on an irreplaceable part.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/15/03 22:12:51 GMT

NiChrome Wire Bill, The fact that NiChrome wire can't be soft soldered is GOOD. . It is a heating element and solder would not hold in use. A high temperature silver solder or braze joint is used (I think). Generaly to a copper tab that is larger than the nichrome wire so it has a lot of heat sink area.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/15/03 22:18:00 GMT

Big lock washers: I forged a small patch knife out of one of the big lock washers today. Water quenched from a dull red got enough hardness to make the file skate and almost bite. Not 5160, but something more like a .40C would be my guess. Yes, yes, I know, I could go take it to our spectro lab and get a full analysis but that would ruin the fun.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 02/15/03 23:43:29 GMT

Thanks Guru for the tips about those armor plates, and by authenticity I only meant I wanted metal and not plastic knockoffs...besides, I only have some scrap aluminum so I have to make do. Movie armor is better then a plastic fake for this project.
   Victor - Saturday, 02/15/03 23:58:50 GMT

NiChrome wire.

Bill, Jock is right on the money on the soft soldering. It can be done, using zinc chloride flux but it isn't generally suitable for anything that is heated.

Silver soldering, with real silver solder (or SilFos), not silver bearing solder, is much better. Use a liquid flux that is rated for silver soldering stainless steel. Johnson's makes a pretty good one. Check at a commercial refrigeration place, they might have it. You can get it or similar through WW Grainger.

When I made nichrome heating elements for kilns, I used copper crimp connectors and then soldered them with silver solder. Worked fine. Like Jock said, use BIG connectors that can sink heat or they oxidize from the heat and you get poor conductivity. If you can get them, use nickel-clad connectors. I used to nickel plate my own, but they are sold. Again, check Grainger.
   vicopper - Sunday, 02/16/03 00:55:19 GMT

I've been searching the web with no luck for information on how to build your own bellows. Can you help me out?
   Ben - Sunday, 02/16/03 01:33:44 GMT


Go to your library and ask for THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker and Farrier, by Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-393-32057-X. Chapter 11 has complete instructions, including dimensions.

OR you can buy the book through Barnes and Noble, for about $16.00. It's worth every penny to own it.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/16/03 01:39:33 GMT


Good poings about the handle/brand connection. I may just wled the pieces together. Not as nice, but sturdier I suppose.

The customer is useing liquid nitrogen rather than heat, to make the brands. I *think* this means less chance of twisting and distorting, but would be very interested in your opinion.

Thanks for all the help!

   Jim - Sunday, 02/16/03 02:04:17 GMT

Jim, Freeze branding is a whole other ball game compared to fire branding. The stamp stock is copper, brass, or stainless steel, copper being the easiest to forge hot. Stamp stock should be one inch tall [wide]. Get your search engines going and find out about freeze branding. One site is the Oklahoma Extension Service: ansi.okstate.edu/exten/horses/F3986.PDF

At least now, from my previous posts, our readership knows something about fire branding.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/16/03 02:52:23 GMT

Hi Terry, contact Doug Johnson, Route 2 Box 53, Summersville, WV 26651 or doujoh03Ayahoo.com. He sales Sewell Bituminous Coal 1" sscreen size, 15,000 BTU. <2% asj<0.8% sulfur in 50# containers shipped UPS. Price is $10.00 plus shipping. I think that is a very good price. I have paided up to $18.00 for 40#'s here in Tx and you get what you get. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Sunday, 02/16/03 04:26:41 GMT

Hi, about branding. My mentor was brought up in ranch country, and was a ferrier etc and made many brands. He also told me that the other reason for the "gaps" especialy like "0's,p's, etc) anything that has a loop or completly closes off the hide that section could fall out because you're cutting off the blood flow and will not let the middle part heal. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Sunday, 02/16/03 05:00:25 GMT

JWG, Jim, and All, It's an interesting point JWG brought up. However, there were a gazillion brands registered with such enclosures, circles, diamonds, boxes, triangles, links, etc. Probably, the real danger comes when a figure, especially a complex figure, is contained within the enclosure. For example, Fay E. Ward says in his book, "The Cowboy at Work", that cowboys call the Diamond A brand "SCAB A", because the A is within the diamond. The brand is so busy and complicated that it all runs together and is illegible.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/16/03 05:33:57 GMT

If we don't get the next chapter of PPW's book, you are gonna see a bunch of blacksmiths pout!
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/16/03 07:14:39 GMT

Last nite I watched a video by Tim Lively where he forges out a knife and finishes it without using electricity. But he does a few things that I think are redundant. At least it is not the way I've learned, and I have questions about it. What he does, is he hardens the blade 3 times and he tempers the blade 3 times. Now, what is the point of hardening 3 times? I've also learned that it is good to normalize the steel after working for awhile, but Tim goes further and anneals the steel over nite, then goes back to working on it the next day. Any thoughts on his methods?
   Bob Harasim - Sunday, 02/16/03 15:23:58 GMT

Bob, every time you heat steel into the non-magnetic region (called the austenitic region) you re-form the austenite crystals. If you do it at succesively lower temperatures, the grains get smaller. The smaller the grain, the tougher the steel. Austenitizing steel that has already been hardened takes less time because there are so many nucleation sites for the austenite. The rapid heating and cooling keeps the grains from growing larger. As for annealing, I think this might have something to do with the high carbon content of the knife steel. As you work steel hot, more of the carbides dissolve into the austenite, making it stiffer. Annealing it re-precipitates the carbon into large carbides, making it easier to work. However, the down side of this is a steel with large carbides will not fully harden if the carbides are not re-dissolved back into the steel. That is why you should normalize it before hardening it. When the steel cools quickly in air, the carbides do not have time to grow, and tend to be distributed evenly through the steel. This reduces the stresses from quenching and makes for a better as-quenched hardness.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/16/03 15:45:21 GMT

Is it possible to use metal and make it archival safe in photo albums? What kinds of metal would be safe and would they have to be treated or painted with any product?
   julie hornbacher - Sunday, 02/16/03 16:00:17 GMT


Almost any metal could be used, but since all metals react with the free oxygen in the air, they would all have to be sealed from the air to prevent the reaction. Gold and pure silver do not "tarnish" or "rust" but there is still a reaction.

This is an opinion, and I may not be 100 percent accurate, but the guru and others will correct any mistakes that I may have made.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/16/03 17:24:11 GMT

Archival Album: I'm going to have to agree with Paw-Paw on this one. Even if you assume acid free papers in contact with the metal, it (the metal) will oxidize as they all do in air and normal moisture will produce stains on the paper. Rust red, copper green, silver black. . . Even stainless will make dark marks on some paper surfaces. But it would be the longest lasting and most stable of metals to use.

Metal book binding can be beautiful. It allows for some great decoration via repousse and mixed metals (brass on steel, gold leaf, burnished black oxides).

Hinges should be standard full length piano hinge brazed or welded on. I would wrap the edges of the metal covers around standard book board glued into the covers, then lacquer the cover with clear or colored lacquer avoiding the book board. The book board would then be used to glue in the end binding tabs of the book. After installing the book end papers would be glued in to cover the binding tabs and the crimped joint of the metal cover. The trick is to design the book and cover so that they are the same thickness.

When covering book boards with metal the metal does not need to be very thick. Even thin stock will add significant weight. Heavy repousse' should be filled level with paper mache' or plaster.

Another route to go is with pins or bolts to hold in punched pages OR use 3 ring binder mechanism. In these cases the "end paper" would be plain sheet metal. Optionaly the metal cover gives a great oportunity to make a locked book.

A year or so ago I bid on a job doing this exact thing. The book was to be a center piece in a corporate headquarters holding brochuers, financial statements. . whatever. The biding and negotiations got too long so a dropped it.

It would have been a great project and a lot of fun. But it takes a wide variety of skills. If you click on my photo on the upper left there is a link on my bio to "hobbies" and an example of my book binding.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/16/03 18:33:17 GMT

Archival Albums:
Silver will not readily oxidise but it will tarnish. That is, form silver sufides. There usually is no industrially generated hydrogen sulfide air pollution in our homes. But the silver tea service still tarnishes over time in the house.
Cooking can generate hydrogen sulfide gas.
Cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc. will smell when cooking. Some of that punky cooking odour is hydrogen sulfide. The sulfur comes from sulfur containing protein component amino acids that all living organisms have (e.g cysteine, cystein, methionine etc.). (meat also has these compounds too).
Archival preservation and protection of materials is a chemically complicated subject. It is very easy to make an error that could damage or destroy items that we wish to preserve.
There are numerous websites that consider the problem and offer valuavble information and advice.
A good first search source is the Smithsonian Institution, The Canadian National Research Council and The National Library, also a magazine devoted exclusively to scrapbooks. (no jocking, but I forget its name).
It is very easy to make a lasting mistake.
For example, I remember reading , years ago, about a reknowned photographer who spent years collecting and "preserving" his prints and negatives using acid free paper etc. But he used scotch tape to mount his material.
Regular Scotch Tape's adhesiv is loaded with sulfides and sulfates. The collection was extensively damaged despite all his good intentions and precautions.
There are ways to stabilise all manner of vulnerable materials.
There is also a lot of such information out there.
Check it out.
   slag - Sunday, 02/16/03 19:11:56 GMT

I am considering buying a "Beverly" type shear from Harbor Freight. Can you tell me if they are any good? Do you know what their max cutting capacity is compared the the real McCoy? If I remember correctly they run about $100 compared to $350 or so for the Beverly. Any input will be helpful. Thanks.
   Wendy - Sunday, 02/16/03 19:19:29 GMT

Bellows: Ben, There are dozens of ways to build them. Different valve and hinge designs, differnt cover materials. There is a brief article about the set I built on our 21st Century page.

Note that I built mine from 1" (nominal, actual 3/4") pine shelving. This was plenty heavy but takes care nailing on the covering. Many bellows plans show 2" boards which I think are much too heavy.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/16/03 19:54:45 GMT


If you are talking about the "throatless shear" that they sell, I've got one and it's much better made than I expected. Do buy a spare set of blades at the same time, if you ever need a set, there is no garuntee that they will have them. I wrapped the spare set in oiled paper, and keep it with the shear.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/16/03 19:56:30 GMT

HF Shear: Wendy, You usualy get what you pay for and with some cheap imported tools you often get much less. A tool that breaks under normal use is worth infinitely less than a tool that lasts a lifetime.

If the seller/maker does not say what the cutting capacity is AND the type material then you have nothing to complain about if the capactiy is ZERO since no capacity was given.

It is typical of good industrial tools to carefully spell out the exact capacity in different proportions and materials. Anyone that does not is either not being professional, doesn't know what they are selling OR have something to hide. MANY cheap imports leave the specs up to you to compare to the REAL thing. The problem is that when a steel forging is replaced with cast iron then the capacity of the tool must be reduced to a third at a minimum and to a tenth if the forging was of high strength steel.

You almost NEVER want to count on the maximum capacity of manual shears. They are usualy rated on annealed steel or wrought iron with a very large man putting his full weight on the handle. The tool is usualy at its design limit and is not going to last long. In most shears you want the average work to be half or less of "full" capacity.

The Beverly sheet metal shear with the spiral frame, wedge shaped cross section and curved blades is a tricky piece of engineering. I would not want a cheap copy made by folks incapable of engineering the product from scratch.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/16/03 20:13:56 GMT

Miserable Weather: Here in the Mid-Atlantic states we are having some of the most miserable February weather I can remember. It rained at just above freezing for several days and last night there was sleet and freezing rain followed by more sleet localy. We have about an inch of ice on the ground. Other locations are getting snow and we are supposed to be getting snow on top of the ice but are getting more sleet.

Next weekend there are numerous outdoor blacksmithing events planned in the area. . . Even though it is supposed to warm up doen't look good. All this precipitation is running a couple days later than predicted and is supposed to continue into Monday.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/16/03 20:20:24 GMT

Can I get some opinions on durablanket vs kaowool and can you use the kaowool coatings on the durablanket?
   smitty7 - Sunday, 02/16/03 20:25:24 GMT

Regarding propane forge welding, I finally got my first forge weld....

I tried tuning my home made venturi, but then decided, based on commercial forges, that my internal area to combustion was way off. I added coke from Kanes (neighbors preclude cooking off coal to coke myself) to both reduce oxygen, and fill up some of the gaping cavity with something that would not be a heat sink.

It was a success. Also, I found that picking up the work in a rough, coal bottom'ed forge was much easier than picking it up off of the flat bottom... at least if I wanted a good centered hold in the tongs without stopping to re-adjust halfway out of the forge.

Thanks all for the help.
   Monica - Sunday, 02/16/03 22:36:16 GMT

Hi PawPaw, I went out and looked my anvil over and the 050 nr was on the face of the anvil heel oposite the prichel hole. With the horn facing to the right, the front flat of the feet there is a "A3452" number stamped on it. The letters that are on the anvil face when facing the anvil the way it sits now are like a "football" shaped logo. With the haig(spelling)budden on top, something in the middle, and Brooklyn ??? on the bottom. The number for the weight of the anvil is stamped below the above (100). I hope you understand what I tried to explane. I wish it was a #50. I hope you can date it for me. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Sunday, 02/16/03 22:37:05 GMT

Back from Texas in time to be snowed-in at Oakley! Doing a bit of catch-up.

Try out Matthew Amt's XX Legion Site at: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/ You might also drop by the Armour Archive at: http://www.armourarchive.org/ for some further information on armor working.

Liquid Nitrogen:
Ah yes; the stuff my dermatologist uses to carve away small parts of my nose that seemed to have spent too much time in the sun! Does sting a bit, but given the possibilities of a branding iron… 8 ()

For the rest of the crew here:
There are finally a couple of half-decent photos of my early medieval forge setup that Matt took at Hastings XXXIV

http://www.larp.com/midgard/02h24.jpg (Not too bad outside of the bright red plastic on one of the hammers that I use for sinking cook pots.)

http://www.larp.com/midgard/02h26.jpg (Here I am with a potential patron behind me, a woodworker hard at work in the background, and a block anvil, hardy and bick inset into a stump. [Actually it's a double stump, with the top stapled into the lower for portability, if you scroll down.] Prominent anachronisms are the Daisy safety glasses [light and unobtrusive] and the Off-Center tongs by Grant Sarver, for when it absolutely, positively has to sit there on the anvil. ;-)

(Home page for the photos is on Matt's Midgard page at: http://www.larp.com/midgard/ )

Wind, snow, sleet, ice, etc. on the banks of the lower Potomac. I tried out the truck before church, got as far as the first safe turn-around, and craawwlled back to the farm. Seriously nasty stuff. I'm glad I beat this mess out of Texas. Took the opportunity to slather ITC 100 on the Baby Balrog today, since I wasn't going to get to the forge today! Put the ITC 213 for the metal on before running off last week. Now all I have to do is wait for the 100 to dry, work in the ITC 200 putty, and my poor wif will get the gas forge the heck out of the dining room (if the snow ever lets up).

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 02/16/03 22:56:50 GMT

Hmm, looks like Bruce wears a dress! Sorry, couldn't help myself. :} Say, what do you call that style of clothing anyhow? Also, how does that stump anvil work, pros and cons? And thanks to QuenchCrack for his reply to my heat treating question.
   Bob Harasim - Sunday, 02/16/03 23:11:59 GMT


Your anvil was manufactured in 1918. that's the beauty of the Hay Budden anvils. There is a chart in ANVILS IN AMERICA with the serial numbers for every year of manufacture.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/16/03 23:31:25 GMT


Missed this part of the message. That's Hay Budden, and Brooklyn, New York. (where they were manufactured.)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/16/03 23:33:05 GMT

I just received a Champion Blower Forge Co. Forge that has a belt driving Blower mounted under it. There is no belt and I am trying to figure out how it all goes together. Running a new belt should not be to hard but I am having a problem understanding how the drive wheel operates. I pull the lever and get one good spin of the wheel then the leather strap conecting the lever to the flywheel wraps the wrong way around the driveshaft and I have no power for any further pulls. It looks like there is a cluch ring on it but I cant figure out how it works. Is there any good online sources for info on this type of forge. Thanks
   Paul - Monday, 02/17/03 00:28:06 GMT

How is your bellows operatered? By hand or by foot?

Tim S.
   - slattont - Monday, 02/17/03 00:45:27 GMT


I suspect that there is supposed to be a second strap that stops the shaft and causes it to rotate in the opposite direction. That would provide continuous rotation. I have the URL for a device with the patent number 316789. If your blower or part of it has that number on it, then that is the way the device works. (I think, not 100% certain) BTW, Slag found the URL for me, and it's been most helpful.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 02:27:39 GMT

Harbor Freight Throatless Shear: Thanks for the input. Dire warning noted. I am fully aware of the potential of throwing money to the wind at Harbor Freight, but sometimes if you are careful you can do OK there.
Paw Paw, what do you use your shear for? What do you ask of it and what does it deliver? I don't expect to cut 1/4" plate, but how 'bout 16 gauge or maybe a hair bigger? I want something that I can cut discs with to fashion ladles, candle cups, etc.
Anybody else out there have a say in the matter of the HF shear (specifically)?
Thanks again.
   Wendy - Monday, 02/17/03 03:05:54 GMT

Wendy, I've cut 16 gauge. The handle they send with the shear isn't as long as I'd like, but that easy to cure with a short piece of pipe added and pinned in place. I think it'll do what you want it to do.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 03:16:42 GMT

Paul, My lever operated forge has a large flywheel/drivewheel. It has a center hub with pawl teeth and pawls. this has a gear on teh shaft, and the lever is attached to a 1/4 arc gear. The 1/4 gear runs back and forth. The pawls grab and then release allowing the lever to revers and then grab on the front stroke again..... The belt then only goes in one way......
   Ralph - Monday, 02/17/03 03:20:43 GMT


Check the patent number on that pawl and release mechanism. That's a good description of the device I mentioned above.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 03:36:51 GMT

Regarding Paul's forge.

The lever is on a single leather strap, not a belt. It's attached to the handle, and a metal piece that's loosly connected to the flywheel. It looks like it is supposed to turn the flywheel only one way, but we haven't seen how the handle "recocks" itself for the next pull.
   Monica - Monday, 02/17/03 03:45:47 GMT

Regarding Paul's forge

Hey Paw Paw, what is the URL? Or, where is the url located. I think I missed something...
   Monica - Monday, 02/17/03 03:47:51 GMT

Jim ref. branding iron Your material should be tapered with about one eighth+ for the branding surface. the back part ofthe letters can be about 3/8 thjis helps hold the heat in the letters. don't leave sharp corners as they cut when you put the iron togeather try to relievethe back so the heat and steam can escape otherwise it blothces bad so leave the back of the letters as clear as you can handle should be about 30"and about5/8 with a good ring in the end good luck. cy
   cy swan - Monday, 02/17/03 04:06:55 GMT

OK, here is the URL for the mechanism that's under discussion. This is the patent application (1885, BTW). There are also drawings of the mechanism itself. I haven't found drawings of the entire forge, this is just the "gearbox" that convert's the pumping motion into circular motion.

USPatentOffice. . . idkey=CDBA1942AB6F

Enjoy! And thank Slag, he found it for me.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 05:13:15 GMT

Thanks JWG for the info on the coal. I will contact this person.
   TerryR - Monday, 02/17/03 13:09:43 GMT

Patent Link: I fixed the LONG patent office link Paw-Paw posted but I get a broken image. Often these long dynamicaly generated links do not work for long or are date dependent so that people cannot link to them as above. . .
Anytime you see repeated percent signs indicating blanks and no printable characters in a URL it is also problematic (and bad web design).

OK. . Tried it in Netscape. At least it gave me the reason for the error. The image is a TIFF. This is not browser compatible. Netscape wanted me to download a Quicktime viewer TIFF converter program. . . Not today. I end up spending days fixing things that on-line installers break on my system. You may alrady have the plug-in.

You would think that a web-developer for the US government would know that there are only two standard web graphic formats, GIFs and JPEGs. IE doesn't even support the MS standard BMP because it is too large a file format for the web.

We have 6" of sleet piled up here that is compact enough to walk on top of. . forget driving. At least we did not have freezing rain which almost always means loss of power.
   - guru - Monday, 02/17/03 15:38:17 GMT

Forge in dining room:. . . . Hmmmm Bruce is giving me ideas. Since I am living alone now I could have my forge and anvil in the house. :) My toaster has a couple burnt elements. . I'll bet the Whisper baby makes toast FAST!

Snowed in, cabin fever setting in. .
   - guru - Monday, 02/17/03 15:42:21 GMT


I know the feeling. Not, the snowed-in part of course, but the cabin fever concept. I haven't been able to do any work for a week now because I lent one of my forges to the Danish smith who is here for the restoration workshop. I have three gas forges, but only one regulator/hose setup. Time to get another hose, I guess.

I'd tell you to use this time to do valuable house cleaning, but I know from experience that doesn't work worth a hoot. Time for a good book or two.
   vicopper - Monday, 02/17/03 16:39:34 GMT

When you go to that web page (thanks for fixing the link, Jock) on the left side of the page click where it says full text. When you get to the full text page, click on images at the top of the page.

Why do they make simple stuff like that so damm complicated!?
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 16:42:26 GMT

PawPaw; Need you ask? They're the government, it's what they DO. The primary purpose of the bureaucracy is to sustain the bureaucracy! Obfuscate and conquer. Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Monday, 02/17/03 16:55:37 GMT

Tres chiens,

I know, but durnit...............
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 17:17:57 GMT

HF Throatless Shear.
Wendy, I've had mine for about a year and have used it to cut candle pans and flower petals out of 16g. It works very well for that. I couldn't start a cut in 1/8", though. But a friend says his cuts 1/8" easily once the cut is started. I guess I'm just to scared to break the blades.

Boy is this a sucky winter!!!! Another 15" predicted for tonight (Southern NH) and it's still only 16degF. How long does the winter last if the groundhog should suddenly croak?
   - Marc - Monday, 02/17/03 20:16:55 GMT

any thoughts on how to forge weld titanium for decorative projects, some of the knifemakers have done this but at present are keeping pretty tight lipped about it?
   ironbasher - Monday, 02/17/03 20:21:11 GMT

Please help Id my anvil. I posted these pictures on the Primal Fires page. I hope this link works here.
   JosephN - Monday, 02/17/03 20:27:15 GMT

recently I restored an anvil shapped object, cast iron. Forge heated it hot, built up with cast rods, then combo of soft steel and harder rods, Kept it hot by keepin in oil dry below the weldin goin on. Worked on it all day, next day heated it up again and hardface rods, unpacked it again and heated it again. Next day ground her down and then heated up again, packed again took it two days to cool. Know it isn't worth much but it's mine as it was once my grandpappys. Looks good now and is again functional. I know on the better anvils they are finished with a steel plate on top. What type steel, how was these originally attached, can this be done to mine. What if I welded one on, what would be the best processes. I am above average welder and fabricator but limited experence in forgin and smithin although I do have some knowledge. Have been told the old anvil shaped object wasn't worth fixin, but others gave me usefull information how to do so if I did want to go ahead and try. Rainy, cold days I have a lot of time on my hands. Should I leave it alone, or try to install a plate on top. Was thinking of sqarein up an old road grader blade and weldin it on. Thoughts and comments appreciated.

   cktate - Monday, 02/17/03 20:47:05 GMT

Whats the fastest way to grind or polish metal without using power tools?
   - Jim - Monday, 02/17/03 21:01:32 GMT


It's a Hay-Budden manufactured in Brooklyn, NY in 1918. The key to it's identification is the A-8030 serial number on the front foot.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 21:05:09 GMT


I'd say you've already done everything that will do you much good. The tool steel plate on cast iron anvils were welded on in the mold, giving a 100% surface weld. There's no real way to do that once it's been cast. So the hard surface rod is probably about the best you're going to be able to do.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 21:08:40 GMT


Start with files, (diamond grit files are very handy for this) then go to wet/dry sandpaper. Use progressively finer grits of sandpaper, and each time you change grit, change the direction you sand so you can see if all the previous scratches are removed. After you get done with 320 or 400 grit, you can use a hard felt pad with some pumice flour and then finish with buffing compound. Is it fast? No. Does it work? Yes. You can check out the candle holder and the cleaver I made, posted on the Yahoo pictures site. Both were finished just the way I outlined, after having been forged.
   vicopper - Monday, 02/17/03 21:13:38 GMT


Something else I wanted to mention.

Other's may think you wasted your time restoring the old ASO. But I want to commend you for taking the time to restore a family heirloom. That sense of continuity and heritage is important and the links should be maintained. You may get a "better" anvil at some point in the future, but you'll never have one that will mean more to you.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 21:30:25 GMT

Re:Forge in dining room>

Microwave cooking taking too long? Seconds stretching into eons? Instant gratification not good enough?

Try the *new* cookbook, "Blast Furnace Cooking For Dummies" :-)
   - taylor - Monday, 02/17/03 22:10:37 GMT

Funny Blacksmith Clothing; Bellows; and Living in the Forge (or Forging Where You Live)

Bob: Those are tunics, Suh! The usual combination is a linen under-tunic and a wool over-tunic, both somewhat fire resistant (save for a few burn holes). A dress, as everybody in the 11th century knows, is a full-length garment, usually worn over an under-dress or shift (unless she be shiftless). Men of high degree and on formal occasion (nobles, clergy, monarchs) may wear robes, which are also full length, but not as shapely as those found on women. An abundance of material signifies wealth, so please note the long tunic hems and the many wrinkles in my sleeves indicating that I'm doing "roight well" for myself. ;-)

The stump anvil works just fine for small work such as spearheads and knives. It's also useful for repairs. At about 11# it's a little light for anything serious. The trick is to mount bicks and hardies right in the stump, or in a handy stump nearby.

I just came across a site for a small stump anvil mentioned on the Armour Archive ( http://www.oldworldanvils.com/stump%20anvils/stump.htm ), alas with no mention of weight. At 1.5" X 1.5" on the face (mine's 4" X 4") it can't weigh that much.

Tim: The bellows are operated by my son, or my daughter-in-law, or an apprentice or thrall; anyone but me! They are also operated by hand. This being a field forge, one has to stoop. In a permanent setup, the contemporary illustrations show them mounted waist high. In India, where the ground is the working surface, at least some are still operated by hand with the person seated in a cross-legged position. The bellows operator is actually in a safe position when the forge is at ground level. The smith, however, must remember to keep his leather apron overhanging his tunic and not leaving a wide, inviting gap between the legs when he stoops by the fire. That warm feeling you get from all of those sparks can also get hot too quickly. (I'm wearing wool trousers under those leg wrappings. Still have a few burn holes on the upper, inner thighs, though!)

Jock: You can't move your forge into the house! How else would you get your three minutes of fresh air and sunshine each way on your commute? Next, you'll be moving in the computer, and just order in Chinese, and nobody will see you! (I have slept in the forge when we would camp out a bunch of Boy Scouts in the barns, but as for moving it in, my wife thinks that the 1/3rd mile separation is just fine.)

Sleet over snow on the banks of the lower Potomac. We've been told not to come to work in D.C. tomorrow, and things are running from slush to ice down here. Won't keep me from working on our NPS space inventory list on my laptop tomorrow.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 02/17/03 22:49:41 GMT

thanks paw paw. I'd suspected that I was at a pretty good stopping place. Don't really do a lot of forgin but I think this'll suit my purpose better than the old piece of railroad track or steel beam I was usin. Just one little question, just one more little question for dummies. What are the real advantages of a really good anvil over an aso. For hobby work, for real production work. What factors do the hardness and bounce take into effect? I do know that I see really great lookin anvils over a hundred years old, and pappy's old cast farm type anvil was worn down almost two inches so it couldn't have been as durable. I can barely remember him, yet i've had the anvil for years. As I'm writin this I'm kind of wishin I could have been there, before cars, maybe pumping the bellows on his old forge, I do remember seeing them, the old leather bellows. Or maybe helpin him make some of his world renowed, forged from old files or rasps, razor sharp, won't ever get dull, butcher and foldin knives. At least to our family anyways. Thanks for lettin me ramble and for not lookin down on my work. Charles.
   cktate - Monday, 02/17/03 23:30:00 GMT


Looking down on your work? HARDLY. Looking up at it would be a better description.

As for the reasons for a "good" anvil.

Think about a two pound hammer on the end of a fourteen inch handle. That's a pretty good lever with a nice weight on the end of it.

When you hit a cast iron ASO, the hammer just sits there after the impact because the cast iron absorbs a lot (not all) of the inertia. So to hit the work again, you have to lift the hammer up.

With a good anvil with a tools steel top, when the hammer hits it, the tools steel top causes the hammer to re-bound. Another way of saying it is that the anvil gives your hammer back to you. You don't have to lift it! (much. There's some loss of inertia, absorbed by the work and the anvil both)

So at the end of the day, you will have done more work and expended less energy lifting your hammer up for every stroke.

Therein lies the difference.

   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/17/03 23:35:51 GMT

Thanks paw paw, i'd suspected as such but just wanted it confirmed. Think I'm goin back out to my shop now to see if I can cobble me a hardie for my anvil. And to tell you the truth, I don't think I'll mind if the hammer just goes kerthump when it hits.
   cktate - Monday, 02/17/03 23:51:02 GMT

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