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

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

This is an archive of posts from February 18 - 24, 2003 on the Guru's Den
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Joseph N, I looked at your anvil. If it is a HB, it was their last "style". There are some things about it that make me wonder. The face joining the body is not very clean. With the "A" series HBs at least, if I am not mistaken, there was no face plate; the heel, horn, face,and body were one piece. Is there a handling hole in the waist under the horn?? Is there some kind of letter or number close to it on the waist?? The depression in the base I dont believe is consistant with a HB. HBs have a different looking depression, I think... fisher/norris (eagle)??? JPPW, did you see the pictures? if you didnt, take a look. I would be interested to know what you thought/think.
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/18/03 00:19:10 GMT

Finishing: Jim, VI covered it well but left out scraping. Scrapers were used for millenia before sandpaper OR files were available. You can purchase or make scrapers. We have an article on them on the iForge page.

The most important thing to remember about finishing is to NEVER change to the next finest grit or file until you have a completely even finish at the current step. Those deeper scratches and dips will not come out later. They just become polished scratches and dips.

After finishing metal with 320 grit Wet-or-dry you can use Dupont "orange" rubbing compound on a rag. Keep it wet with compound to cut and let it dry and become dust in the rag to polish. It does not take too much work it you have a fine 320 grit finish to start.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 00:51:03 GMT

I'm sure this has been asked and answered here numerous times, but who can tell me where the term "monkey tool" originates from? Or the "butcher"? I made both of these yesterday and was just wondering.
Thanks for the comments on the shear. I will probably get one. If the deal goes sour, I'll let y'all know. Muchas gracias.
   Wendy - Tuesday, 02/18/03 00:56:41 GMT


I did look at the pictures of Joseph's anvil, and answered his question a few messages up from here. The key as I said in my answer was the A-series serial number. HB was the only manufacturer that I know of that used that alpha-numeric serial number. According to the serial number chart in ANVILS IN AMERICA, it was manufactured in 1918.

As for the base cavity shape, that changed a couple of times. One that R. Postman shows has the whole base hollowed out except for a 1/2" "rim" around the outside edge.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/18/03 01:26:53 GMT


I don't know this for certain, but I think the term "monkey tool" comes from the way monkeys are trapped in the wild. The trapper hollows out a coconut but cutting a hole in the side just big enough for the monkey to put his hand in. Then he (the trapper) cuts a small hole opposit the larger one and fastens a chain in place. The other end of the chain is fastened to a tree, or other immovable object. To bait the trap, he put's a "treat" inside the coconut. The monkey pushes his hand inside to grab the treat. When the monkey's hand is doubled up to hold the treat, his hand is too big to go back out through the hole. The monkey is too stubborn to turn loose of the treat, so he can't get his hand out of the coconut and he can't leave because the coconut is chained to the tree. He's trapped. The trapper comes along, and captures the monkey. After the monkey is securely restrained, the trapper breaks the coconut and let's the monkey have the treat. We hold a "monkey tool" in our clenched hand when we are putting nice shoulders on tennons in approximately the same position as the monkey holds his treat.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/18/03 01:32:05 GMT


I should be ashamed of myself for neglecting to mention scraping. One of the tasks I had to learn as a machinist's devil when I was in high school was scraping in the ways on an old lathe. The old guy who taught me was an absolute wizard with a scraper and could do in a few strokes what took me an hour to even get close. I never got any good at scraping ways, but I did learn the value of a good scraper. I still grind my worn out files into scrapers, even though carbide scrapers are probably better. I will now go sharpen three scrapers in pennance for my omission of the quickest and most accurate method of finishing.

Think, then write. Proof, then post. I'm working on it. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 01:59:49 GMT

I'm just starting out in the forging of swords, and i was wondering how does one fold the metal? Do you fold it length-wise along the full length of it, or width-wise?
If anyone could help that'd be great, Thansk, and please email the answer, I'm desprite for the info.
   - Karea - Tuesday, 02/18/03 04:46:04 GMT

Hi smiths,

Need a bit of help with some math. Imagine a square sided tent. 16'w x 10' at the peak and 8' up the sides. I need to calculate average hieght of this structure. Help,Please?
   - Tony C - Tuesday, 02/18/03 04:55:02 GMT


I'm not really sure what it is you're looking for, volume or what? You don't say how long the structure is, either. That said, if we look at the dimensions you gave as being that of the section view of one end of a gable-roof structure, then the "roof" has a 3:12 pitch. The area of the gable end section is 16 sq. ft. so that would be an "average" of 1 foot added to the sidewall height if the thing had a flat roof that enclosed the same volume. Average height of 9 feet, then. Is this a quiz to see if I still remember jr. high math?
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 12:58:14 GMT


On the other hand, if the tent is a "hip roof" structure, that is a pyramid-shaped roof, then I believe the volume of the pyramid portion is one-half of what it would be for a gable roof. That means the "average" height would be figured by taking that volume and distributing it equally over the area of the tent. Thus, the "average" height would be 8'6". I sure hope I got this quiz right, because there are some real engineers on this site who will know exactly how this should be calculated. I'm just a country boy who builds a few things.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 13:21:39 GMT

Tony C. VIC has it right/real close. He beat me to it. And VIC, modesty is a virtue. I'm glad someone has it. Grin.

If the tent is 16' square, and the sidewalls are 8 foot high with a 10 foot peak as in a pointed peak like a pyramid, and the roof does not sag, the average height is 8.59 feet. 8'7" approx. The way I looked at it is to take the total floor area of the tent, divide by two and figure the roof height at that point (a 11.31' sided square) with trigonometry. I can go into more detail if you like. Let me know if you wanted something different. The angle of the roof is 14.04 degrees from horizontal.
   - Tony - Tuesday, 02/18/03 13:47:09 GMT

On my screen, it looks like "8.59 feet. 87"approx." That should be 8.59 feet. 8 foot 7 inches approx.
   - Tony - Tuesday, 02/18/03 13:49:37 GMT

I knew a real engineer would know the right way to go about getting the correct answer. The happiest four years of my life were spent taking freshman math. Thanks, Tony!

   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 14:10:41 GMT

Another gas forge question.
Guru (and others) I have almost completed my natural gas forge with a blower. Over the last month I have been reading the archives and gathering information on construction and safety. In one of the Guru postings you stated that you used a normally closed valve to shit off the gas if power is lost. I like that idea a lot. I have found several valves that will work, but I would like to make one change and need some help. I would like to add some sort of relay (or a different type valve) so that when power is lost, the valve will stay closed if the power comes back on. I would like a manual reset required to restart the flow of gas. I am not an electronics expert by a long shot, but I do understand how different relays work. I have had NO success in locating the proper kind of stuff. The people that I have contacted didnít want to get involved because of the gas danger etc. I have found that it is better to not tell people what I am building. I visit this site almost every day but seldom have anything of interest to add. Help from those that have gone before me is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.
   Mr. Bill - Tuesday, 02/18/03 15:09:16 GMT

Mr. Bill: A simple latching relay can be made with a DPST (double pole single throw) relay. One set of poles will power the gas valve, the other set of poles power the coil to the relay, you bridge those poles with a NO (normally open) momentary switch.

Press the switch, the coil activates, closes relay, scond set of poles continue to power the coil. Power fails, relay opens and breaks all contacts until reset.

This is the Readers Digest version. The Guru might want to add a drawing, and perhaps some safety precautions (i.e. grounding, switching hot on AC, etc...)

BTW: I stopped telling folks what I was building long ago myself -- it saves thousands of hours in explanations ;-)
   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 16:34:22 GMT

Mr. Bill,

If you use a relay to activate the solenoid gas valve, then it isn't too hard to do what you want. A 4PST relay with low-voltage coil will do it. One pair of contacts operates the solenoid valve, and the other pair of contacts is wired in parallel with a SPST normally open, momentary-contact switch in the coil circuit of the relay.

To turn on the gas, you push the pushbutton. The main contacts close, activating the solenoid gas valve. The secondary set of contacts also close, (bypassing the pushbutton switch) and now the relay "holds". If the power fails, the relay opens and has to be "reset" with the pushbutton. Pretty simple, really. I like these quizzes! What do you bet that Tony or one of the other engineers has an even better way to do this? (GRIN)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 16:34:29 GMT

"Folding Metal" Karea, Related to making laminated steel AKA Damascus is NOT a good term to use and I try to avoid it. True "folding" for a faggot weld is just bending the metal back on itself a couple times length wise. This is often done to make a large mass from small bar. THIS IS NOT how you make laminated steel.

In making laminated steel you are trying to make uniform layers. When you bend a layered bar back on itself the ends each equaling one thickness would be waste. When drawn out after welding this can be several inches of waste material. So, "folding" is an incorrect term. In actual practice the bar is either cut into pieces and stacked and welded, OR it is cut very nearly through and then bent back on itself. There is always some waste at the ends of the billet and the "hinge" provided by cutting almost all the way through does not amount to much. However, waste is waste and many makers of laminated steel saw their billets to equal lengths to reduce waste from the "hinge" and inacuracy of cutting with a chisle or hardy. Missing the lengths by 1/16" means 3/8 to 1/2" waste after being drawn out. Do that a dozen times and you have lost 3/4" of your original material at full stacked thickness (enough to make an entire blade) PLUS all that forging and welding effort.

Stack and weld, not "fold". Accuracy pays. So does reading a book on the subject rather than listening to the blathering of the ignorant or the hype of shady sales spiels (which is often what the ignorant are repeating). Start with any title by Jim Hrisoulas.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 16:42:58 GMT

Average Roof Height: Tony, That is half way between the min (8ft) and max (10ft). So it is 9 feet, no math required.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 16:46:20 GMT

1000 miles apart, Rich and Jim hover over their keyboards, waiting, poised, tense and ready to answer the next question....

Welcome to Blacksmith Jeopardy! (VBG)
   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 16:53:55 GMT

Jock, it depends how you define average. My definition was the height that half of the floor area will be higher and half lower. It Tony C. wanted 10 plus 8 divided by 2, I highly doubt he would have asked.

VIC, I stay away from sparky stuff for other people as a general rule. Especially with gas safety involved. In my opinion, flammable gasses and electrons together should be avoided unless the insurance company wants or needs it and then it generally needs to be a UL listed thing. So you won't get anything from me on that one. Grin

What is the coconut laden airspeed of a swallow?
   - Tony - Tuesday, 02/18/03 17:24:39 GMT

Relays: Mr. Bill, When building any kind of home made device NEVER tell anyone what you are building. If you are asking what they think are "dumb questions" they are probably right not to sell you the hardware. Study first, ask questions later.

Zero and VI covered the basics.

Go to any GOOD electrical supplier and ask for an "ice cube relay". Most are 3PDT (three pole double throw) but they also make 4PDT. They come in 12VAC, 24VAC and 120VAC. I use 120VAC and put everything in a NEMA enclosure.

Ice cube relays plug into a base. You will need that too. AND you will need the catalog. Folks like SquareD publish a "common circuits" or common wiring diagram book that the store MAY give you.

You will also need a push button or two, (I use the expensive industrial duty ones for durability and safety). AND if your solenoid vlave is not 120VAC you will need a transformer (usualy 24VAC). 16ga stranded wire is used for controls. All red, black or white is common. Color marking tape is cheaper than buying rolls of different color wire.

The 3PDT relay has 3 switches each with an NO (normaly open) and an NC (normaly closed) side. That is NINE connection screws. Then there are two more for the coil for a total of 11. 4PDT relays have 14. You will want to make a LARGE clear diagram of the base and which goes where. The coil can operate on a different voltage than the power being switched. In fact I have run 12VDC and 220VAC in the same relay with a 120VAC coil.

As Zero and VI said you want to create a "latching" circuit. This occurs when the push button activates the coil and one pair of the NO contacts close and bypass the push button holding the relay ON. A second pair of contacts activate the solenoid. You can use the third to power the blower if it is a small one (check the load rating of the components). Most 3PDT relays are good for 10A I think.

A second NC switch (normaly closed) switch in the coil circuit is used to break the coil circuit and turn OFF what ever the relay is operating. So you have two push buttons, START and STOP. But there are other ways to set it up.

The box you put it all in should be grounded (the green wire). I like to use extension cords with the molded on ends for equipment cords. Just be sure to get one that is 14ga. The ground should continue to the blower. You may also want to run one to the solenoid if it is 120VAC. The solenoid circuit will need a fuse (in the box) if provided by transformer.

Normally the white wire in your cord is the "neutral". It is the side of the 120VAC circuit that is unswitched. The black wire should be the one that feeds all the switched circuits. The reason for this is the neutral is grounded at the service entrance (no place else) and is normally not considered "hot". So you switch the other side. However, NEVER trust a neutral to not be hot. Many people don't understand the difference and cross wires in building wiring AND the neutral IS hot any time something on the circuit is in use. People also think that because a neutral is grounded at the service entrance that they can use it as a ground. WRONG! That is how tools and appliances often end up with "hot" frames. Always treat the white neutral and the green ground as seperate entities (they ARE).

Time delay: On my blower gas forges I found that the time for the little blower to get up to speed was a problem. The gas opens faster and you end up with a slug of raw gas being pushed ahead of the air. This lights with a larger than normal flare OR delays lighting altogether. Lots of singed eyebrows that way. >:(

SO, I put a time delay relay in the gas circuit. This 3 to 4 second delay costs about $100. But the circuit works smoothly.

Press start, the ignition AND the fan start, then a couple seconds later the gas comes on and there is a satifying WHOMPF (without the flare). I also found after using some temperature controls that having the forge ON for A-seconds and OFF for B-seconds (dwell on, dwell off) could do nearly the same as the temperature controls AND provide a way to keep the forge heated for other purposes (saves gas). I leave the ignition (spark plug) running all the time.

My ON/OFF switch is a roller type limit switch operated by a heavy sliding steel bar that can be operated with a hammer or tongs. . Durability for the smith that hates to put down the tools he needs NOW. .

That is why the last big gas forge I built cost over $400 in parts (10 years ago).
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 17:51:47 GMT


Good point on giving advise. It's sometimes too easy to assume that the person is smarter than the vapor and electrons they're working with (no offense Mr. Bill!).

We ALL should remind folks to click on the "Legal" link at the top of the page. Most of the topics mentioned here are inherently dangerous (why do they all want to learn how to forge a sword?), and should be treated as such.

Vic: In a vacuum, if you drop a pineapple, and fire a speargun at the same time. How many Mai-Tai's can be consumed before they hit the ground? ;-)
   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 17:52:49 GMT


Re: Timing Relays... I've been using the solid-state relays (1 amp) from McMaster. They only have two connections (are obviously powered from a bias current) and are as simple as simple can be. Only twenty bucks each, to boot.
   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 18:11:09 GMT


I don't blame you for dodging liability-laden issues. I don't have a PE at stake, and I'm indemnified by poverty. (grin)

Re: Coconut laden swallow's airspeed,

I'd recommend you lead him by about a head at fifty yards, using #12 in a .410. (grin)

Jim (zero),

You only got me by about one typo that time. Next time I leave the typos in and hit "post" quicker.

re: Spearing pineapples

Pineapples may only be lawfully taken by rod, line, hand or net. Spearing of pineapples will result in loss of all MaiTai priveleges. Go to you room. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/18/03 18:25:54 GMT

Gas solenoid.
Thanks for all of the good information. Sometimes I just need a little suggestion to push me over the edge of decisions. I work in the field of computer installation and Guruís point made on grounding with the green wire and that neutral is NOT the ground is often confused in that field. I have seen many problems of computer reliability caused by this mistake. Back to my forge. I just needed to know what to ask for (ice cube relay). I tend to get stuff from Grainger Supply as I have one of their catalogs at work. I also have purchased stuff from the SquareD warehouse. I will probably only wire up the relay as a safety to the gas solenoid. I have always planned to have a ball valve on the gas supply. I did however see that I needed a way to release the relay. I would have probably only caught that after I had the gas running. I think I will use a large red button switch as a STOP THE GAS button. Thanks again for all of the advice and I understand that it is up to me to build in safety and then use it wisely. Some others have asked my why I was bothering to research a safety valve at all. Blacksmithing can be inherently dangerous. Whenever I can I try to protect myself and any other people around. Thanks again!
   Mr. Bill - Tuesday, 02/18/03 19:01:41 GMT

Poorly Defined Questions: Tony, I just answered the question as it was asked. What was the "average height?". In fact, for a simple roof sloped from a center ridge this is still right for 1/2 the area.

Hmmmmm VI had the same. I didn't see his first response.

But without details of the "why" or a better definition of the shape it is like Karea asking to have an answer emailed and not leaving an address. . .

For practical habitation use the mean height would be at the center of gravity of the triangle (1/3 its height). But if the roof slopes on more than on axis it would be 1/4. This divides the volume of the roof into an upper and lower half. So that is at 8" or 6" above the edge of the roof depending on shape. Again the basic rules beat long winded geometry.

But if the question is actually the "average" to meet some poorly written visual rules then the average is the average (at half the height of the triangle).

See, it could have been a trick question
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 19:41:13 GMT

When wiring up with colored wiring, even low voltage (12 or 24 VDC) it is much safer to wire with the colored wires. It is much to easy at some future date when modifying your home built device, for example, to just want to pull power off for a light or a fan, and get the wrong wire. You could turn the gas on when the light is on.

This is the same situation as the fittings on a Torch, with the fuel gas fittings being the opposite thread from oxygen fittings.

Tim S
   - slattont - Tuesday, 02/18/03 19:53:16 GMT

Cabin Fever: Someone, Maybe Atli, suggested house cleaning. . Well THAT is what I have been doing as I am expecting a house guest. But the problem IS now I have filled up all the trash cans and the stack of boxes of junk to go is blocking my way. Car and road (localy) were still iced in until an hour ago. I also discovered I do not have the right cleanser for the kind of house cleaning I am doing. My daughter was going to come help but made the smart decision to not travel this weekend.

There have been other numerous delays since just getting from the the house to the office (less than 200 feet) is a chore. Our 6" of sleet is now 6" of standing slush that pours into ones shoes. . .

Well. . I've got the car warming up for a dash to store before things start freezing up again.

I am ready for a tropical climate. VI LOOK OUT!
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 19:56:37 GMT

Wendy, Not to detract from PawPaw's observation, but I first encountered the terms "monkey tool" and "butcher" in the British book, "Wrought Ironwork". The old dictionaries say that a monkey is a tup or ram slung from the ceiling and either dropped or swung in a sideways arc to upset hot iron that is too big to upset in the power hammer. I suppose the swinging idea gave rise to the use of the term "monkey". So, from that, even a monkey tool placed by hand is still an upsetting tool.

As for "butcher", who knows? One old definition of butcher is "executioner". It might have gotten the name from the blade. In the U.S., it is similar to what Lynn Jones* calls a breaker and a shearing tool. The breaker has a bevel and is used for cutting off rivet and bolt heads. The shearing tool has a concave bevel and is used for shearing metal, the metal being held in a bending fork type tool. Anyway, I use my "butcher" with light to moderate blows as a demarcator. For instance, it demarcates the line from which a tenon is drawn, its bevel facing the tenon end. Then, the set hammers and/or side set tools go to work.

* "Forging and Smithing" by Lynn C. Jones, The Century Co., N.Y. and London, 1924.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/18/03 20:16:10 GMT

To add to what Frank posted, the "butcher" tool can also be considered another variety of fuller, meant to create a sharp demarcation rather than to shear. It seems to me that the term is of recent (post founding of ABANA) origin, and refers to the "crude-but-effective" nature of the tool. They certainly existed in some form before, but this is just the latest name and incarnation. I have a couple or three that I've wonked out of heavy rebar over the years. Not pretty, but they do the job.

Roof pitches: An interesting subject, determined by booth the material involved and the load imposed. Thatch required a pretty steep pitch, wooden shingles less so, and a nice tin roof can get away with a very low pitch. Hight pitches (like a thatch roof on a fairy-tale cottage or a shingled chalet) have low snow loading but high wind load, a tin low-pitch roof like on a storage shed ("sheds" water, right?) have low wind load and high snow load. The same situations effect tenting: too low a pitch leaks, and too high a pitch reduces floor space and increases wind load as well as expense per square foot. I hate "flat" roofs, and I try to have either gable roofs or at least a better than the local average pitch on some of our NPS Southwestern leased buildings. Note the roofs collapsing all across the Mid-Atlantic and up the North-East this week.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/18/03 20:50:58 GMT

Roofs and Gas Safeties:

Jock, yes, it could have been a trick question, could have been worded more clearly, has many correct answers, and I didnít mean to sound like your answer was incorrect because it wasnít. Reading back at it, I see how my reply to you could be taken as nasty. I did not intend it that way. Damn medium! When do we get video forum?? Big Grin!

I especially wanted to answer because a Tony C. paid my way to a BS conference this summer and it might be the same person.

VICís first answer is correct for a straight, single, centered ridge roof. My answer defines how I interpreted the question so Tony C. could correct if necessary.

At any rate, Tony C. should now be satisfied, eh? Grin.

Gas and gas valves: Mr. Bill, I may have missed it in the above, but not all solenoid valves are suitable for fuel gas use. And not all solenoid valves suitable for fuel gas use are suitable for gas safety service.

VIC, I should think of it in terms of liability and my PE license, but in this case, I simply donít like the electrics. Mr. Bill, no slight to you intended, but I would never leave a gas forge unattended without shutting it off with a manual valve. If a forge is always attended when on, there is little use for a power off gas safety valve. Unless the attendant becomes incapacitated of course. I also believe that no one should operate a gas furnace or forge unless they understand what is going on. Gas safeties, purge cycles, CO monitors and the like are no substitute for knowledge and experience. In addition to much industrial furnace experience, Iíve spent many hundreds of man hours working with other engineers to try to make big gas furnaces run safely without human attention. Satisfied the bosses and the insurance people, but there is still an operator. And when the operator is inexperienced, or asleep because he expects the electrics to do the work, bad things happen. Not even a few million dollars worth of hardware and software and alarms can take care of everything that can happen with even a continuous gas furnace process. Canít make it idiot proof or safe for all situations with electrics.

I see people with electrical backgrounds try to electrify and control things quite frequently that I do not see a need to electrify. All depends on your background I guess. There are other options.

I donít want to contribute to options I donít like. Grin.

Please donít rely on electric flame safeties as an ultimate safety.

Furnace safeties also usually include combustion air pressure switches such that the gas is shut off if the blower dies for whatever reason. Purge cycle to run the blower to clear the furnace of any accumulated gas from ......say..... leaking gas solenoid valves, before ignition. Electric eyes or resistance devices to assure the flame is there, etc.

Honeywell and other vendors make nice little PID controllers for gas furnaces that accommodate temperature controls and safeties.

Then what happens if your regulator diaphragm gets a hole in it and spews gas out the vent and fills your shop and.....

How many smiths have regulators indoors and unvented to the outside?

YOU MUST KNOW this stuff to be sure you are safe. Donít expect some engineer to be able to guess for you and design in safety. Most wonít admit it, but we cannot engineer away all safety issues. History is full of the proof.

VIC, Iíll let you know if that lead on the swallow works. But I'll need some coconuts. Grin!

Roofs, I like at least 4.5 in 12 and a cold roof design such that building heat does not melt the cold stuff on the roof.

Thatís enough spew from me for now.
   - Tony - Tuesday, 02/18/03 21:18:43 GMT


An African swallow or a European swallow?

I've been absorbing all sorts of great information from this site, but don't have any blacksmithing tools or experiance. Retirement is way too long away for me yet.

It took 2 years for me to see a question I can actually respond to. Unfortunatly it's somewhat off topic.

On the plus side, I won't ask the great Guru to explain the process of making a sword out of an old fencepost using a butane lighter and a big rock:)

   David - Tuesday, 02/18/03 22:31:30 GMT

I'm with Atli on Flat roofs. I hate them with a passion. If an architect or a contractor suggested a flat roof on anything for me, I'd have a new architect or a new contractor withing 24 hours or less. I was the maintenance supervisor for a Catholic school and church complex. When I went there, they had 6 major building, and four of them had flat f****** roofs. When I left 8 years later, there was not a flat roof to be seen. A flat roof WILL leak eventually, no matter how dam carefully it is built and installed. Water will stand on it and water WILL find a route to the center of the earth.

I'm also with Tony, or at least pretty close. I want all roof IN THE CAROLINA's to have between 4/12 or 6/12 pitch.

And that's enough from me for a while, too! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/18/03 22:37:52 GMT


How do you expect us to remove ourselves from the gene-pool, in a unique way, if you keep spouting all this common sense? Geeze! Darwin Awards don't come cheap, ya know... ;-)

My propane forge is a simple atmospheric. So I appreciated Jock's tip on cycling a forced-air. I'll incorporate that into the new forge design as an "idle" circuit. Before I heard that, I wouldn't have thought of using electric solenoids -- just as you mentioned, not a REAL safety device.

Sometimes an inane question (again, so sleight intended Mr. Bill) can remove the dross from a shimmering pool of knowledge.

Regulator? What's a regulator?? I thought you hooked up to the tank, and adjusted 'till it sounded like a B1B Lancer on a low fly-by (I feel that Darwin Award coming any minute now!)... ;-)

I'm off to poach more pineapples -- damn the MaiTai's!
   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 22:54:41 GMT

Ah... That's "NO sleight intended Mr. Bill"

   Zero - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:08:51 GMT

PTP guys, PTP! (chuckle)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:14:23 GMT

PPW bet the reason there was not flat roofs to be seen after you were done was cause that was before you knew about plumb?

   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:20:54 GMT

JPPW, i got out A in A last night to look for that base depression; i remember seeing an ad that used it as a selling point. if i am not mistaken (i dont have the book here), RP said that the only anvil that had the weight and serial number on the front feet was trenton. i did see serial numbers that he recorded from trenton anvils that had "A" preceding the numbers. in those pictures (the anvil in question), there are numbers on the left foot; possibly the weight?? the face plate looks like it is falling off. wasnt the "A" series HBs the last model or style they made? and if that is true, i thought i read that the entire top (face, horn, heel, "upper" body) was one piece in those anvils. the anvil in question has a face plate, i do believe. if that is a HB, it is the ugliest one that i have seen. of course, i dont tour the country looking for anvils and going to auctions, so what i think may not have a lot of punch.
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:32:45 GMT

David, Thank you. There are OTHER websites that love that stuff.

Flat Roofs. . DUMB anywhere it rains. Localy they have wised up and most schools are bing built with nice steep tin roofs. The problem is the architects don't have the imagination to do the geometry to make the center of the building fit the other sections so they use a flat middle.

About 15 years ago we had a WHOPPER of a snow storm about this time of year. A good 32 inches overnight and THEN it rained several inches. Low slope 20 pound steel argricultural use buildings were flattened. All inhabited buildings are supposed to be rated for 30 pounds in this area. I estimated 25 pounds per square foot on my then NEW shop. That was some 16 TONS of snow/ice on the roof! But this is probably a 50 pound roof. The custom trusses have extra bracing on every third truss with pined connections to support a mono-rail hoist. The extra lumber didn't add $500 to the cost of the roof but it is incredibly stout. Always remember, building codes are MINIMUM standards, not particularly GOOD ones.

I like a 5:12 pitch. It is steeper than cheepo construction and just barely walkable. It is also a carpenter's dream. 5:12:13 is the next even right triangle after 3:4:5. You add 1" for every horizontal foot. . . Basic rules, no math required (unless you consider 18 + 1.5 to be higher math).

You do enough things in life you eventualy learn a few useful things.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:52:39 GMT


You're gonna make me look it up again, aren't you? (grin) Later tonight.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/18/03 23:56:12 GMT

JPPW, i am glad you are grinning. i was beginning to think that i was black listed...being curious is never bad..
   - rugg - Wednesday, 02/19/03 00:05:21 GMT

When you live in hurricane country, you don't go in for low-pitch roofs much, and low pitched gable roofs are absolute anathema. Those things become really decent airplane wings when the wind gets much above 80 mph, and generate enough lift to rip those cheap little hurricane clips like so much tinfoil. Give me a 6/12 or 8/12 any day, hip roof only! I'll admit, dancing around on wet Wolmanized plywood roof sheathing at 8/12 can be a mite dicey, but at least you know it'll be there after the storm passes. A flat roof is what you pour just before starting construction on the second story. (grin)


Just about how many coconuts you need? Would a carload be enough? Knee deep in the things here. Plenty more about 50 feet up, if you like shinnying up palm trees. You could always shoot them down with a speargun, I suppose...(grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/19/03 00:19:33 GMT

Joseph N, Rugg, Paw Paw, I suspect it's a Trenton, the weight on the left, 80#, and the serial number on the right.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/19/03 01:26:15 GMT

I live in southern B.C and I am trying to find out upcoming blacksmithing conferences. I would like to go to a fairly large one (like NWBA) and I dont mind traveling (13 h max) to get to one. I wold greatly apretiate it if someone could pass some info on to me.
   Hayes - Wednesday, 02/19/03 02:09:26 GMT

Zero, I don't use a regulator on my atmospheric either. A regulator is nothing more than an automatic adjusting throttling valve. A 1/8" needle valve works fine for me. I don't mind Darwining myself, I just don't want to help anyone else with their Darwin. Not 'til I know them better anyway... grin.

VIC, coconuts = treb ammo. Got some surplus pipe, bearings, and some heavy rocks? I'm thinking the hairy husk would hold some liquid fun too. Would local law enforcement frown on that? Grin!!

David... I don't know!....... waaaaauuuuggggghhhhhh....
   - Tony - Wednesday, 02/19/03 02:22:03 GMT


I figured you were thinking of treb ammo. I was figuring that we could cobble together a treb with something around here. Have to be on the lookout for some shaft the right size for the bearings on hand, I guess. Got some 1-1/4" pillow blocks, maybe some 1-3/4" too. Plenty of 3" or 4" well casing or similar. BFR's are in abundance. Toss the generator and welder in the truck, quick trip to beach with treb "kit", heave flaming coconuts at passing cruise ships. Leave the treb on the beach for the Beach Patrol guys to figure out.

Lot of Navy ships paddling around out there, too. You know how to tell the difference in the dark between them and the unarmed ones? (grin) Might have to stick with unlit projectiles; I can get a professional courtesy from my fellow employees, but the feds have us at alert level orange, I think. I don't think I would enjoy a trip to Leavenworth KS this time of year. Too cold. (grin)

The difference between an African swallow and a European swallow? More white meat on the African swallow. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/19/03 03:04:08 GMT

Cabin Fever and Roof Pitch: Thanks for the tips guys and guru,info will come in handy. It rained here last Thursday, first time in a few months, was cold too, down to about 60 F so all those tips came in handy.

Paw Paw, had a friend come by work today with a digital camera so with luck will have some TRB hoofpick pix for you tomorrow..

VBG Ellen
   Ellen - Wednesday, 02/19/03 04:06:48 GMT

I really do appreciate the work you guys are putting into discussing my anvil. I would be happy to take more pictures if it would help.
   - JosephN - Wednesday, 02/19/03 04:15:06 GMT

Rugg and Frank,

Gonna have to wait till tomorrow, I'm beat.


No, becuase as I replaced the roofs (and they ALL needed replaced) I used the tapered foam insulation on them to give them run off pitch.


That's entirely possible. My "monkey" theory is just that, personal opinion, with no data to back it up.

   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 04:16:23 GMT

Hi PawPaw, I appreciate the dating of my anvil. I know you time is limited with all your work. Thanks again. JWGBHF
   JWGBleeding Heaart Forge - Wednesday, 02/19/03 05:25:27 GMT

Slanty Roofs?! Never heard tell of no pointy roof house 'til Cousin Buford hit the lottery an' got one of them doublewides! 3dawgs
   - 3dogs - Wednesday, 02/19/03 06:54:49 GMT

Rugg and Frank,

Read the bottom of page 302 of ANVILS IN AMERICA for the reasoning that Richard Postman used is making the chart of Hay Budden serial numbers. The Chart of HB serial numbers is on the bottom of page 303.

If there is a chart of Trenton serial numbers, I can't find it.

We know that HB made many anvils for other folks. They made the Acme anvils that were sold by Sears for example. I'd suggest that IF an anvil does NOT have a trademark on the side, then it was probably made by HB. I don't think I've ever seen a Trenton that didn't have a trademark.

As for the location of the serial numbers, on the bottom left column of page 298, Postman says, "These early HAY BUDDEN anvils also have a serial number on the front of the foot under the horn". He doesn't specify either left or right.

The final identification point for Hay Budden anvils may be the existence of the cavity (not the handling hole, the cavity) on the bottom of the anvil. There's no mention of a similar cavity for any other brand of anvil. The cavity is described beginning on the bottom right column of page 299 in ANVILS IN AMERICA.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 13:39:12 GMT

HAYES, Blacksmithing Conferences
NWBA Spring 03 conference is in St. Helens, Oregon, April 25-27(Fri-Sum). Demonstrator (main) is Richard SHeppard of West Virginny, Treaddle hammer demos. St. Helens is west of Portland on US 30, in the shadows of the twin towers of a nuclear power plant (get off I5 at Kelso, find the big bridge, and get into Oregon. CanIRON 4 has moved from Calgary to Ontario, there is backsmithing connected with the Calgary Stampeed (I think it is a horseshoeing competition). All have web sites..NWBA at blacksmith.org, Caniron at caniron.com, see ya in St. Helens? it costs...
ya gotta join the nwba, wear a badge, kiss the insurance and lawyers nether ends, and keep smiling.
   - Tim - Wednesday, 02/19/03 16:55:46 GMT

JosephN, yes, more pix. now we have two gurus who have different suspicions. take one from the front, focusing on the front waist, and any numbers stamped in the front in close proximity to a handling hole. if there are none, chances are that is not a HB. also, take one from the back, focusing on the underside of the heel, looking at the texture, also the waist. does it appear that it has a face plate? it looks like it does from the pic that i saw. if you have a pic of the plate where it joins the body, snap one. include a chipped area. if it does have a plate, this is not consistant with what i have read regarding the serial number with the prefix "A", as the prefix appeared after 1909 (i think) and when HB went to the one piece top, which was forge welded to the base, a true two piece design; there was no face plate.
there is no handling hole in the base; if there are no handling holes anywhere, it is not likely that it is a wrought anvil, which means it is cast . are there any casting seams/grinding scars? i think it is a wrought anvil; take some pics of the handling holes.

trenton was reported to be the ONLY anvil that had the weight and serial number on the front feet. i think that is what i see in the pics.

the base concavity is pill shaped, exactly like the examples of the trentons that i have seen, and exactly like the ad that RP used in the book. i dont remember reading about or seeing a pill shaped base depression on any HB. of course, i could be way off. the earliest described a "rim" around the perimeter of the base, slightly raising it with several examples worn away to the point of not detecting it.

ill get you the page number listing the trenton serial #s. i looked at it last night. it did not list any A prefixes, but i did see a pic of a trenton that did have an "A" prefix.

my guess is to go with frank's (no, how is that possible??)impression...we will all learn from this exercise..
   - rugg - Wednesday, 02/19/03 17:51:38 GMT


I don't mind being wrong, it's happened a time or two over the years. (grin)

But this is how we learn, and it's valuable for that reason.

Josephn N. Try to get a picture of the bottom, too.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 17:56:14 GMT

Hayes, check out www.calsmith.org , california blacksmith assoc. there's a hammer in the end of this month in weaverville ca, west of redding. a long drive for you, but it's mostly sleeping with the cruise control on down I-5. there's also some good meetings in south oregon in the summer.
   mike-hr - Wednesday, 02/19/03 18:42:07 GMT

I need to mount an address post in a boulder for a customer, i recommended he get it core drilled, but he drilled a hole that the post just fits in with his hammer drill. i decided to lead it in. i need to make a dam to give myself a containment area, as the rock is sloped. would potter's clay hold up the the lead pour? thanks, mike
   mike-hr - Wednesday, 02/19/03 18:50:01 GMT

Mike-hr,It might work, but you could also try some furnace & retort cement, available in small plastic tubs at most major hardware stores, or, if you know someone who re-babbits machinery, they have a damming putty they use. One product name that comes to mind is called "Damsite". Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Wednesday, 02/19/03 19:03:11 GMT

Hello there. I really appreciate the information on this site. I've been welding since a teen and blacksithing for the past three years. Now I am building my first power hammer using the Ron Kinyon Abana plans. They are really great plans by the way. My questions are;
-Can I use railway rail for hammer dies or the slider
-Are rollers better than a slider for the head guide
-Can I use sheet copper for bushings if I build my hammer with a slider?
Thank you for any information you can give.
   Dan - Wednesday, 02/19/03 19:04:31 GMT

Joseph, Rugg, Paw Paw, Mebbeso too much time spent on the guru's forum trying to ID the anvil. Could we move it to the Hammer-in? "Nobody knows 10% of anything".
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/19/03 19:36:20 GMT

JPPW, he did have a pic view of the bottom. did you see it??

frank, to the "hammer-in" is OK with me. and i did make a bending fork out of a truck leaf spring. the spring was about 5/8" thick. after forging, i buried it in vermiculite overnight. i tested it out on cold 1/2"; it didnt need to be hardened. the forge marks look cool after i brushed it.

monica, i am interested in your experience with the gas forge and forge welding. i have a forge master and as it sits, it can not get hot enough to forge weld. it scales pretty bad also. i have a plan to get it up to speed. would like to know how you did it. thanks

hey frank, one more. what does Mebbeso mean??

what is the optimal temp for forge welding??? this applies to "mild" steel, oh, i mean 1018, 1020, A36, ect.. thanks in advance...
   - rugg - Wednesday, 02/19/03 20:23:58 GMT

I just aquired a couple of large chunks of 2" square and 3" round INCONEL. From what I've read its mostly nickel, some iron and chromium. Can I forge it? How can I cut it? Any help is appreciated.
   robcostello - Wednesday, 02/19/03 20:59:27 GMT

rugg, may I commend to your attention "Solid Phase Welding of Metals" by Tylecote.

The optimum temp is generally as low as you can get it to work well---hard vacuum is a help!

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 02/19/03 21:01:44 GMT

Oh Well!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't win them all. I went back and looked at the pictures of Joseph's anvil again. Then I looked up the Trenton Oval in AIA. You guys were right, it's a Trenton.

And I found the Trenton Serial Number Chart, too. No A pre-fixes, though.

Looking at the serial number again, the A is not part of the number, it's too far to the left. The 8030 serial number was manufactured in 1899.

So I was wrooo. I can't say it! Tony, will you say it for me please? (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 21:23:23 GMT

What is the best thing to use if u don't have and anvil?
   - Jim - Wednesday, 02/19/03 22:20:52 GMT

What is the best thing to use if you don't have an anvil?
(the first one had to many typo's) ;)
   - Jim - Wednesday, 02/19/03 22:22:23 GMT

I'm not going to make it. We lost the blower motor out of the furnace last night and replacing it wiped out the budget.
I'm sorry, I wanted to see you guys, and attend the Pasture Party.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 22:49:31 GMT


Any big chunk of iron will do for an anvil. A piece of Rail Road track is the most common substitute.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/19/03 22:50:18 GMT

David, You said you are not close enough to retirement to start smithing. I waited for nearly 30 years to try it and my only regret is not trying it SOONER! If blacksmithing is of interest to you, NOW IS THE TIME! Join a club and use what ever is available to work on. Believe me, getting used to a 2-3 lb hammer is a lot easier when you are young! Go to the story page and read "Under The Spreading Cyber Tree".
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/20/03 00:43:38 GMT

t powers, i assume that is a book, title and author. i will see if i can find it in the library. thanks for the advice.
   - rugg - Thursday, 02/20/03 01:05:00 GMT

Rugg -

First let me describe my forge. It is a home build venturi. I started with a 9" long piece of 12" pipe. (thanks to the guys in the shipyard I work out for "scrap" cut to shape...) It was lined with refractory bricks, with a top temp of 3000. For the front and back "doors" I have arrainged fire bricks in a mobile wall, so I can shift the size of my openings, or open the back for a through hole. Then I coated everything with ITC-100. The burner is home made, but by a gentleman with MUCH more experience with these things than me. It's 2" pipe tapering abdruptly to 1" or 3/4" (Don't remember) Gas is input though a pipe nipple with a #60 hole in it.

First tuning job was to get the propane flow even down the burner, with an allen bolt to hold it fast. Better the tuning, the better it draws in oxygen. However, I was getting too much oxygen. Second tuning job was to start cutting down on the oxygen. For that, I used metal tape, and reduced the opening of the air inflow end of the pipe. I was going by advice given on this site, so you may want to check the last weeks' archives. Anyway, I got a nice blue "dragon tounge" on my exhaust/waste flame. However, still not enough heat to weld.

Hmmm, 12" pipe - 2 2 1/2" bricks = about 7" diameter x 9" long internal space. LOTS of area to heat, even with the bricks set up with a minimum opening. Someone smarted off and commented about a fellow adding coal to a propane forge to weld. The coal makes it an even better reducing atmosphere, and fills alot of that dead space with something that's NOT a heat sink.

At 4psi, I was holding the metal to a casual white, welding heat, but not heating it up to the point that it was threatining to burn on me. To compare, before cutting the air intake, 4 psi was getting me comfortable working temperatures, but nothing weldable.

Anyway, that's what I'm working with, and how I got it to welding. My next two are an 12" dia. x 18" two burner, and a 10" dia x 9" hot air uptake... but I'm so happy to finally have a shop up, I'm not in a hurry for them. I got hooked on blacksmithing 12 years ago, but forges and dorms, then rental property just don't go well together.

Regarding my forge, The first thing I did was try to limit my airflow in with the alluminum tape per the recommendation
   Monica - Thursday, 02/20/03 02:10:37 GMT

Inconell: Rob, It is a really strange material. It is like stainless but it is magnetic. Has some strange properties. Don't try to torch. Saws, drills and forges.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/20/03 02:18:52 GMT

Alternate anvils: Anything STEEL and heavy. The hard part is coming up with heavy sections. Scrap from steel wharehouses where they cut heavy plate is best (4" is a good size). Lots of folks use RR rail but it is marginal. See the recomendations in our iForge demo on tools from railroad rail.

Heavy pieces of shaft work too. Use the END for working. It may be small but the length puts the mass in the right place.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/20/03 02:23:59 GMT

where (other than Centaur Forge) can I buy tempil sticks in 50deg inc from 1000F to 2400F?
   Adam - Thursday, 02/20/03 02:35:34 GMT

Rugg, Try to get the weld at a bright sweating heat, just before it sparks. A few incipient sparks are OK, but no big shower.

Mebbeso is "good ol' boy" for perhaps.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/20/03 03:15:28 GMT

Rugg, Try to get the weld at a bright sweating heat, just before it sparks. A few incipient sparks are OK, but no big shower.

Mebbeso is "good ol' boy" for perhaps.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/20/03 03:16:20 GMT

Paw Paw, I have two Trentons, and both have serial numbers prefixed by "A". One of them has an hourglass bottom cavity and the other has the Trenton Oval. Most Trentons that I have seen have a thinner heel than Hay-Buds of the same size. Some of them have a fairly deep step (drop). Respectfully submitted...
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/20/03 03:24:44 GMT

Does anyone know the correct paint color of Kerrihard equipment? I have a large grinder and a 30lb power hammer but neither of them have enough paint on them to tell what color they were originally. thank you.
   anvillain - Thursday, 02/20/03 03:36:00 GMT


Rugg's Trenton has an A also. But the chart of Trenton serial numbers (page 361 of ANVILS IN AMERICA) doesn't show any letter prefixes.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/20/03 04:08:31 GMT

Question for Bill Epps

I have been running through the IForge demo's, and have seen quite a bit of work done on your... carving block mounted in the vice. I'm not sure exactly what you refer to it as. Any way, it seems to sit at a 30-45 degree angle, and you are often depicted putting in the eyes and noses on it.

I have not seen a diagram for it, and was wondering if you had one anywhere. Was it home made or purchased? Does the tool have a backstop to hold your project? Is there some way not seen that clamps the project on the block? It seems infernally useful. Thanks.
   Monica - Thursday, 02/20/03 04:57:34 GMT

Dan, I built a Kinyon hammer three years ago, use it daily in my architectural shop. I used a railroad track for my hammer, however the flanges have a slant to them which necesitates (sp?) welding a plate onto the bottom of the track. I can draw you a diagram if needed. Contact me by email for any questions or for trouble-shooting. I can email you photos of the schematic, slider plate, etc... TC
   Tim Cisneros - Thursday, 02/20/03 05:23:43 GMT

HI, I am a materials engineering student from the university of Alberta, i have a problem. I am trying to determine the maximum cold rolling a strip of cartige brass can undergo to make a good spring out of it.

thanks Joseph Henke

PS just founf your site i really enjoy it. Forging is a hooby I have been trying to get infomartion about for some time.
   Joe - Thursday, 02/20/03 05:44:08 GMT

Dear Guru
I've been experitmenting with differnt finishes on my metal I have about 4 years exp. working pretty steady and I live in New Hampshire where we have fairly extreme wetaher chandes and conditions I found that I like bees wax the best but no matter how I try to apply it once it's outside it rusts any advice would be greatly apprectiated. usually I heat up the metal to right be fore the wax flashes with a oxy/acetelyne torch
   mike cook - Thursday, 02/20/03 06:10:39 GMT

what kind of metal would you reckamend for making a sword?
   Joshua Bower - Thursday, 02/20/03 09:00:02 GMT

Monica, Don't have a good name for it, but the tool is used as an animal head support. Valley Forge of Willits, California, sells them. Valley's is a length of 2" square solid M.S. cut at a 45ļ angle, not longer than 3" after cutting. The edge of a ľ" x 1" x 8" strap is arc welded horizontally to the cut portion, the bottom, but OFFSET FROM CENTER about 1/2". The strap is flush with the back of the tool and protrudes toward the worker. The support sits atop the vise jaws with the strap between jaws. When the vise is tightened, the animal head neck/body is trapped between the flat of the strap and the other vise jaw, while bearing against the 45ļ face of the support. The end of the strap facing you should be radiused and/or bent on edge downward, so that it doesn't get in your way. Another route to go is what Tom Bredlow showed me many moons ago; same kinda' deal, but two pieces of stock welded into a Tee. The horizontal is a length of round stock and sits on top of the vise jaw as your work support.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/20/03 12:48:27 GMT

Adam, Tempil sticks are usually available from a welding supply company.
Joe, sounds like a good lab project. If you have the strip and lab rolling device, you may consider checking initial hardness, rolling it 5%, check hardness, roll it 5%, etc. Plot a graph of % reduction vs hardness. Suggest you use a Rockwell B scale for this. When you see the curve flatten out, you have reached the limit of cold workability.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/20/03 13:16:29 GMT

Joshua, how about alternating chevrons of wootz and pattern welded steel forge welded together?

OF course if you are just beginning I would suggest 5160 as being tough, available, easy to work with, cheap, etc.

You have read "The Complete Bladesmith" by Hrisoulas right? He covers swordmaking in it.

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 02/20/03 14:10:14 GMT

Tempil Sticks: Adam, Tempil are not cheap and they do not come in equal increments. The increments are partialy determined by the materials the crayons are made of and do not have infinite adjustability. Normaly you purchase only two or three bracketing your desired temperature. One below, on AT and one above if overheating is a critical problem. AND I think the max available is 1350°F

Besides your local welding supplier McMaster Carr sells them in their on-line store. It was off-line this AM but is usualy as-good or better than their catalog.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/20/03 14:32:59 GMT

Cartridge Brass Spring
I would approach the problem in this manner:
First, deterimine what the properties of a good brass spring are eg hardness/tensile strength. Once you have determined that then you have to find out what condition is of the material you are using, ie is it fully annealed or is it already partially work hardened. Finally, and this would probably be the hardest part, you must determine or find a correllation between % reduction in cross sectional area (also known as how much the thickness/diameter has been reduced) and hardness/tensile strength. I don't know about brass, but aluminum is sold in different tempers such as T-6, O, and H. If brass is sold in a simalar way, you may be able to find out if one of these stardard processing methods is used for springs. Good luck. You may also want to chech out Matweb.com for materials data.
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 02/20/03 15:29:48 GMT

Jim, what to use for an anvil?

Well first you need to think about what an anvil is used for: it is a work platform that should have sufficient mass to allow efficient energy return during the hammer movement of hot metal.

SO now look around you and think of what could be used.
RR track is ok, large chunks of steel, lots of possiblities.
Folks have used various and sundry parts off of bulldozers and other large equipment. You can go to a steel scrap yard and get a 100-200lb chunk that has at least one reasonable flat work area.
Remember an anvil is just a tool and as such does not have to look like what Wile E. Coyote uses on teh cartoons.
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/20/03 15:48:10 GMT

You ever notice how the cartoon anvils look like cast iron ASO's??? An insidious plot to sap the strength of American Youth!

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 02/20/03 16:50:39 GMT

Guru, although perhaps not always carried by the welding supply shops, I know that Tempil sticks are available to around 2000F. And, as you said, they are not cheap: $10 each is what I remember. A dozen of them can be as much as an inexpensive IR pyrometer.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/20/03 17:52:21 GMT


How much do inexpensive IR pyrometers run? With an upper limit of say 3,500į?
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/20/03 18:12:12 GMT

Hello Guru
I was doing some calculations using the Mass3j calculator to figure the weight of a steel cylinder. Diameter is 5" and the program gave me an area of 19.63 sq inches. I get 15.7" by multipling pi(3.14) times the diameter. Correct?? Does the difference also transfer to the weight chart?? Appreciate input -"Dodge"
   Dodge - Thursday, 02/20/03 18:31:50 GMT

PPW I will look, but i had a link ot a place that had plans for a home build IR temp gauge. Once I find it at home tonight I will post here
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/20/03 18:37:10 GMT

PawPaw, and others who may want it.

Optical Pyrometer info to build one yourself.
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/20/03 18:53:40 GMT


   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/20/03 19:21:24 GMT

Follow this link to The Fabricator website for info on Blacksmithing Demo's: http://www.thefabricator.com/xp/Fabricator/News03/Fabricating/03news130.xml
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/20/03 19:24:44 GMT


The calculator is correct. If you want the area, the formula is the RADIUS squared times pi. (2.5 X 2.5 X 3.14 = 19.625)
   - Rudy - Thursday, 02/20/03 19:34:51 GMT

Dodge, Pi times the diameter is the circumference.

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 02/20/03 20:00:13 GMT

Dodge, If I read your message correctly you want the weight of a 5" cylinder. You need to provide the thickness of the steel. If you want the weight of 5" round solid the formula is: Diamiter squared X 2.67. The weight of a 5" round twelve inchs long is 66.76 pounds. JWGBHF
   JWGBleeding Heart Forge - Thursday, 02/20/03 20:15:56 GMT

PPW, follow this link to the Omega Engineering website. They have a IR pyro for $85 but it only reads to about 800F.
The annoying thing about IR pyros is that they do not cover an entire range of temperatures useful for blacksmithing. They cover from 70F-1300F, then you need another one to cover from 1100F- 2000F, etc. Most of them are 2% instruments which means they are accurate to within 2% of the indicated reading. Tempil sticks are 1% instruments and I have used Tempil sticks to check the calibration of IR pyrometers!
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/20/03 23:12:10 GMT

Darned if I'll by three different instruments! I'll buy Tempil sticks. Thanks, QC, that's the information I needed.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/21/03 00:23:15 GMT

Tempil Sticks - thanks for all the help. McMasterCarr has the the most complete selection. MSC has a wide range. Welding stores dont carry anything over 900F. The sticks cost about $11 ea. I didnt intend to get the whole set in 50deg inc - I just wanted to pick out four or five crucial temperatures for forging work.

In the course of taking Frank Turley's class, (this is the last week) I realized that I have difficulty judging the colors. I thought I had this right but working with a knowledgeable smith has shown the error in my ways. Next week I will no longer be able able to wave a hot piece of iron in Frank's face and say "What color is this Frank?" So I thought a few tempil sticks might get my eye dialed in.

I had thought of making that optical pyrometer that PawPaw mention- being as it is in principle a very simple instrument particularly for the needs of a smith- but then I would need to calibrate it anyway and hence back to tempil sticks. So why not just use them to calibrate my eye?

I am a big believer in having a skill in one's hands or eyes rather than relying on a special tool
   Adam - Friday, 02/21/03 00:29:35 GMT

Adam, good choice...I did not mention the need to establish the proper emissivity setting on the instrument for the type of steel you are working with....and the emissivity will vary with scale thickness and alloy content....IR pyromenters seem to need to be told more information than they give back.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 02/21/03 01:03:49 GMT

I am looking for a vendor for 3/8" solid brass rod. I can use it in as short as 4' lengths. Also, I have seen some cast iron birds at retail stores but can not find a wholesale source. I would like to include some birds in my iron gates and sculptures. Thanks to anyone who can help. Betsy
   Betsy - Friday, 02/21/03 02:04:25 GMT


Not being critical, but why not use had forged birds instead of cast iron? There are demos of a couple of simple ones on the iForge sub-page here at anvilfire.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/21/03 02:08:16 GMT

Paw, Paw...

I was Wro.... I was wroooonn....


I was wrooooooo....

Sorry, can't today. Just got back from dealing with customers that were far more wrong than I hope to ever be. To much wrong in one day makes you explode!
   - Tony - Friday, 02/21/03 02:47:37 GMT


OK, thanks for trying! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/21/03 02:58:39 GMT

CIRCUMFRENCE!!!! Thanks guys. My bad. Braid lock (sheepish Grin)
   - Dodge - Friday, 02/21/03 06:52:15 GMT

will look again at home..... I know I had a web page saved that showed how to calibrate using simple stuff you can find at home......
I figure as long as you are in the 50 F ballpark you are good enough.....
Anyhow how much would it cost to get it calibrated? vs how much $$$ you will spend in a year on tempil sticks?
   Ralph - Friday, 02/21/03 15:59:21 GMT

Hi! I'm a furniture maker exploring the posibilities of using copper in my work. my question is, how do I prevent the copper from changing in color. I would like to keep it nice and polished and prevent the patina from forming.
Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

   Rick - Friday, 02/21/03 17:18:46 GMT

Braid lock? Fellers, I think ol' Dodge is suffering from a code.(grin) Hey, Dodge! 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Friday, 02/21/03 17:45:13 GMT

Rick, My suggestion would be, "lotsa urethane". Best regards 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Friday, 02/21/03 17:47:54 GMT

Another Peter Wright for the anvil slueths!
I just aquired a P.W. and I'm hoping for the details on age, origin, etc.
1 0 3 (not sure about the 2nd #, but it feels like about 100lb)
Front and back waist have the square hole and then on the foot under the horn there is a small rectangular hole about 1/4 by 3/4 and on either side of that appears the numeral 7(both sides)
Thank you kindly for any info
   Wendy - Friday, 02/21/03 18:06:03 GMT

Wendy, I can cover the "103" and the holes. "1"= hundredweights, or 112 lbs. "0"= quarter hundredweights, in this case, none. "3"= avoirdupois lbs, so it's 112+0+3=115 lbs. The holes are where the positioning tongs went to maneuver it under the hammer during forging. 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Friday, 02/21/03 18:21:28 GMT

Guru: I was looking through the iForge section and looked over your project for a fireplace grate. I noticed that you bolted it together. Is there an advantage to bolting it instead of arc welding it? Also, when doing a project that requires several identical pieces, do you make a pattern? Draw it out on something fireproof? Use the first piece as a pattern for the rest?
   - Quenchcrack - Friday, 02/21/03 18:39:48 GMT


OK, Peter Wright anvils were manufactured in England, not far from Mousehole forge. IF your anvil does not have SOLID WROUGHT in a circle between the name and the weight, then it was manufactured between 1852 and 1860. The fourth handling hole indicates that it is a two piece anvil. One thing that might change my dating is a question. Is there a line around the waist of the anvil where the two pieces were forge welded together? If the answer is yes, then my dating above is accurate. If then answer is no, then it was more likely made between 1860 and 1885. One final question will help me define it even closer. Is the tool steel top one piece, or is it made up of several pieces?
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/21/03 19:02:20 GMT

Bolt vs. Weld QC, I bolted the grate together because it can be broken down and shipped in a flat box. The alternative (original) design was to rivet it together.

On many projects just cutting the stock to the same lengths is enough. On the firegrate project mentioned the parts were cut the same length, then the splits wer made the same lengths (marked with chalk) and the parts forged form there. Most of the time when you are forging several pieces they comes out the same when the same stock is used. To be identical only minor adjustments are used.

Some folks use a metal layout table and sketch the part with chalk. I have usualy made enough draings of a project and know where I an going to be able to work without templates or patterns. But not everyone can work that way.

The standard methods are. Chalk on steel table (barbeque black paint or rusted surface), chalk on forge hood, chalk on weld platten. Drawing on a weld platten with all its holes is an art in itself.
   - guru - Friday, 02/21/03 21:08:40 GMT

Copper: Rick, To keep copper bright you need to use lacquer (or urethane) as mentioned. You lave to be careful about clear finishes. Those like varnish "breathe" and both air and moisture get through causing corrosion UNDER the coating.
   - guru - Friday, 02/21/03 21:11:12 GMT

Paw Paw,
The words SOLID WROUGHT do not appear on the anvil.
I can't detect a line around the waist where it may have been forge welded and the top plate appears to be one piece. In terms of the handing holes, there are three square ones- one under base and one on each end; the fourth is smaller and rectangular being on the front foot with the two 7's on either side of it.
   Wendy - Friday, 02/21/03 22:02:57 GMT

1852 - 1860, then. Since the anvil only weighs 115 pounds, the plate could have been one piece. The difference it tool steel top only applies to anvils weighing 150 lbs or more, which I didn't notice until just now. No "Solid Wrought" definitely indicates pre 1860. (page 109, AIA)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/21/03 22:20:03 GMT

Thanks for the help Paw Paw. I just love using (and aquiring even if I don't use) tools that are as many as 143 years old! On the other hand, I went ahead and ordered the HF shear. One of the guys from this forum let me know that it's on sale at the moment, so I saved a few bucks. $119 for the shear, a spare set of blades, tax, and handling. Not bad for a starving blacksmith's budget. Thanks again.
   Wendy - Friday, 02/21/03 23:06:06 GMT

Ralph, thanks, I would like to know about easy to find cal standards - the only one I know of is the curie pt at 1420F - others involve the melting pt of pure copper , pure platinum etc. I might go ahead and build an optical pyrometer anyway coz it would be neat to have. I dont expect to be buying tempil sticks every year - once will be enough to calibrate my eyeball.

Wendy: Same thoughts here - I have heard the HF shear is "not bad" and now its on sale.
   Adam - Friday, 02/21/03 23:26:25 GMT

Any suggestions for picking up or sliding off a horizontal 50 lb. little giant from a trailer? The trailer is attached to a ford ranger which can take up to a ton. When we loaded it today, just aft of the axle, it seemed to start picking up the rear of the truck. I always wanted one of these things...(frown)
   andrew - Saturday, 02/22/03 00:24:11 GMT


Got a friend with a wrecker?
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/22/03 00:53:35 GMT

I may be making some adzes out of train coil spring sometime next week. Almost every time I forge, it is involving somethng I haven't done before, and this will be no exception.

Has anyone used train coil springs before? Can y'all give me any idea on what to expect in terms of alloy/heat treatment/quench material? Right now I'm going on the assumption that it will be similar to car spring, but prepared if anything goes diferently.

I know that there is no way to give a definitive answer without chemical analysis, but an educated guess at ally/carbon content or actual experience using them would be a lot closer than I would get.
   - Stormcrow - Saturday, 02/22/03 02:22:45 GMT

Paw Paw,
Triple A maybe. Thanks.
   andrew - Saturday, 02/22/03 02:24:02 GMT

Andrew, we loaded an 80lb power hammer in a trailer with pipes and come-a-longs, the trailer was the back of a wrecked ford 3/4 ton turned into a trailer. anyway, we tilted the trailer up in the air so the tongue was six feet in the air. rolled the hammer on pipes to the door of the shop. hooked a chain hoist to the door header and rigged the top of the hammer.this was the saftey, then used come-a-longs and squeezed the hammer to the trailer. chained the top of the hammer to the tongue of the trailer so it couldn't fall out, and lowered the tongue to the ground. reverse steps to unload. throw in a case of cheap brew and call it a party.
   mike-hr - Saturday, 02/22/03 02:59:35 GMT

i am planig to make a electric resistence furnace ,kindly tel me where to purchese electric resistence coil capable of producing 2000 deg cent for melting alumunium.
Can i made it at home?

me at,
   mayank - Saturday, 02/22/03 13:48:44 GMT

Stormcrow, train spring I've used has been close to car/truck spring in working parameters, but I don't get too excited about temper. As long as the file just bites on the cutting edge when I'm done, I'd be happy. For a straight adze, I would forge, heat gently and slowly to a little above non magnetic and quench the cutting end in cooking oil. Hopefully leaving enough heat in the rest to draw a bronze temper to the blade edge. If the blade was a heavy section, I might quench in warm water.

If someone with more knowledge has a better method, I'd like to hear it too!
   - Tony - Saturday, 02/22/03 15:32:14 GMT


2000ļC (3632ļF) will pretty much vaporize aluminum, which melts at only about 660ļC (1220ļF). Yes, you can buy nichrome wire and make heating elements at home that will melt aluminum, BUT until you are more familiar with the metallurgy involved, I wouldn't suggest it.
   vicopper - Saturday, 02/22/03 15:55:11 GMT

what do i mix with fire clay to make morter to lay fire brick
   tom pruitt - Saturday, 02/22/03 18:04:17 GMT

To lay hardbrick, only fireclay is needed. Silica sand or Grog(ground, fired clay) will toughen it, but aren't needed. True fireclay comes from Missouri. Hawthorne makes a 28 mesh that is pretty tough. Cedar Heights in ohio makes a large, coarse product called a fireclay which actually isn't. AP green makes a 35 mesh. A tip from the potters for anyone who needs castable refractory, call your refractory engineers regularly and ask about expired castable. The stuff really doesn't go bad, but they throw it out. Very tough for lintels, pipe forges, etc... If you are going to melt iron, I think fireclay will do it. If that isn't hot enough, add alumina hydrate.
   andrew - Saturday, 02/22/03 20:51:14 GMT

Calibration Points: For calibrating many temperature measuring devices the ice point is used. Ice cubes in alcohol. The probe in the bath.

For thermocouples the temperature scale is converted from known milivoltages that the particular alloys of the bimetalic joint. The meter is tested at specific voltages.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/22/03 23:07:20 GMT

When I picked up my 50lb. Little Giant power hammer,the guy that I bought it from laid it on it's side and then placed a 4x4 piece of wood into the hollow cavity and picked it back up with the hoist(we used a chain and hooked around the 4x4 and the head of the hammer) I used the same method to unload it except I used a forklift instead of a hoist.Worked real good. Mike
   - Mike - Sunday, 02/23/03 00:52:21 GMT

Stormcrow: I have used RR springs for knives and can offer the following:
1. Forge hot (yellow).
2. Quench from low red (1425-1525F)
3. Oil works very well - Blades came out 62 Rc as quenched.
4. Temper to straw (400F)
I think RR springs are probably 5160 but if I knew for sure, it would take all the mystery (and fun) out of the process.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/23/03 01:41:51 GMT

Im considering making a roll forming mill for light smithing work and I was wondering if you had any drawings that could be supplied ,Thankyou for you assisance in advance
   Neil Tait - Sunday, 02/23/03 03:06:57 GMT

HAYES, there is a hammer in for the Fraser Valley Blacksmiths on March 22 at Chlliwack. Not a big one but close
replace the at the in the address with @

   - Coalforge - Sunday, 02/23/03 05:52:47 GMT

Hello, I am an engineer in a firm of power plant. Wish you can kind give some infomation about the question below.
Why steam has been use as a medium to transfer heat in boiler and not using air from atmostsphere.
Thank you.
   Jeff Lee - Sunday, 02/23/03 14:39:08 GMT

Heat Transfer using Steam: Jeff, Water and steam is used because of its much greater efficiency. Water is the best heat transfer liquid there is except for liquid metals which are VERY high tech and expensive. Water is 830 times denser than air and can transfer a GREAT deal more heat. Water, with its high capacity for carrying energy is heated in the boiler to create steam.

Steam is also much denser than air as it carries a great deal of water when pressurized. There is a complicated thermodynamics in the transfer of heat by steam that I will not try to explain here as heat transfer is not really my field. If you want details you should check the heat transfer or thermodynamics section of an engineering reference of physics book.

AND there is an added efficeincy in many steam systems due to the evaporation of the water creating steam under pressure, and when the steam cools and condenses. Many boiler systems do not need any mechanism more complicated than the piping and distribution system to opperate. Slightly more complicated systems have a "condensate" pump that returns the water to the boiler. However, these pumps only do a small part of moving the steam/water. When using other heat transfer media such as air, gases or molten metal pumps must be used to move the heat transfer media in their entirety except in small convection systems which are not practical for many applications. The energy required to opperate these fans and pumps are a system inefficiency.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/23/03 15:58:23 GMT

Rolling Mill: Neil, On our book review page we have a review of the McDonald Rolling Mill plans by Hugh McDonald of Australia. This is a unique machine in several respects and demontrates that rolling mills can be unbelivably small. There are some sample drawings and photos of the mill in operation. The plans are available from Norm Larson Books.

Even if this is not the scale of machine you are considering the brief chapter on operation and practical problems is worth the cost of the plans.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/23/03 16:05:09 GMT

Thanks for the information on the rr coil. I'll let y'all know how they turn out.
   - Stormcrow - Sunday, 02/23/03 17:30:25 GMT

Moving Heavy Machinery (Power hammers and more): Andrew, Etal, There are several things to keep in mind when moving heavy machinery. ONE, is that the vast majority of serious damage to machines is done while moving them. This includes bent parts and broken castings that are often irrepplacable on old machines. Repairs ALWAYS take more time and cost more than doing the moving RIGHT.

The SECOND thing is personal safety. Machines have no moral compulsions and will hurt you in an instant. Heavy objects are worse. They will tip turn and fall without active assistance from you. Items of as little as 50 pounds can destroy (with great pain) any extremidies they fall on. Items as heavy as a power hammer can make you a quadrapliegic or kill you in an instant.

That said, I have regularly moved many HEAVY tools and machines in my life (up to 50 tons). I've moved power hammers up to 250# (5000 pounds) alone. Having the right tools and preparation is important but you can sometimes make-do. However, YOU MUST have an understanding of where the center of gravity (center of the weight) of a machine is and how it is going to react when you try to move it. Some people have a knack for judging or guessing where this is and others do not have a clue. Those that do not have a good handle on the center of gravity issue end up with out of control loads, broken machines or folks getting hurt.

Righting a tall vertical machine like a power hammer, drill press or milling machine is tricky. When the center of gravity moves past the corner of the base of the machine gravity takes over and the machine tips upright. The problem is that there is ofen enough inertia that the machine continues moving and tips over on the opposite side. If you are lifting with a hoist from the top this will catch the load on the far side BUT will usualy result in the load swinging around in a circle since the lift point is above the other side of the machine. . . IF you were pulling from the side to tip upright the machine can and WILL tip past center and then fall over on the other side. This is normal action for righting 25, 50 and 100 pound Little Giants.

The BEST way to right any top heavy machine is with TWO hoists. You rig to the top and the bottom (on one side), lift the machine horizontaly then in the air then lower the bottom as you raise the top. This way the machine is righted with no unexpected tipping or spinning out of control. Once the machine is vertical the rigging is removed from the bottom and the machine set down.

The second method is to lift and tip but prevent the machine from suddenly righting itself. This can be done by applying a horizontal load on the top of the machine. On light machines like a 25 pound LG you can get away with doing this manually but NOT with bigger machines. Bigger machines will pull you over. In this case rigging such as a chain is used and anchored to a tree or truck and controlled with a come-a'long, block and tackle (OR a crew of helpers totaling at LEAST half the mass of the machine). I prefer to use mechanical devices that do not do unexpected things AND don't get tired or frustrated while I study the problem.

The third method is to tip the machine onto a sloped surface such as a pile of sand or gravel that prevents it from tipping on its own. I have done this with blocks of wood but it is very dangerous and NOT recommended. Once the machine is lifted and tips onto the sloped surface you can slowly remove the fill under the machine and gently let it right it self. Meanwhile the load rigging is still applied and it does not hurt to have control lines to the right and left.

Righting these machines is difficult enough that I much prefer hauling them vertical (25 and 50# LGs). With enough rigging they can be securely tied down in the bed of a pickup truck or on a utiliy trailer. You have to anchor two ways. One is at the base to keep the machine from moving in any direction. The other is at the top to prevent tipping in any direction. In most pickups there needs to be a wooden load distribution pad (plywood) to spread the load over the sheet metal and to prevent the springing of the bed from loosening the rigging.

Having sufficent rigging and anchor points is always a problem and it should be addressed BEFORE you get to the point of putting a load in your truck.

For a 3/4 ton pickup I have about 50 feet of 5/16" load chain in four 12 foot pieces. Each piece of chain has a chain hook and a grab hook. On some chains I have BOTH on one end of the chain. There there is a load binder for each piece of chain. Yes, they make load binders for this small chain. I also have double hooks on my load binders so they can be used on an eye bolt OR hooked into a chain. THEN, I outfited my pickup bed with eye-bolt anchor points. Six 3/8" eye-bolts were set in the bed each with a 4" x 4" x 1/4" reinforcement plate on the underside of the bed. In the rigging box there is also an assortment of shackles of different sizes and several short nylon load slings PLUS some rope. This rigging kit has been sufficient to move numerous machine tools and power hammers. Without such a rigging kit a pickup truck is just an automobile that gets bad gas milage OR a farmer's truch for hauling hay and manure.

Currently I have a heavier Ford F-600 flat bed and I use the same rigging kit. However, the kit is lacking for the capacity of the truck. The truck is big and heavy enough to haul a collection of power hammers. More rigging and heavier rigging is necessary.

Many folks use nylon strap tie downs. These are very handy IF you have the heavy duty ones made for truck loads. But I find them inadequate for machinery and would only use them in conjunction with chains.

Rigging and lifting devices (chain or cable come-a-longs, hoists) are expensive but necessary. If you don't invest in it then you should always plan on hiring someone that does. And even when you have a shop full of rigging there are times when you need to just break down and hire a crane. It is ALWAYS cheaper than broken machinery.

Anvils: One common problem many smiths have is hauling anvils in their pickups and preventing them from sliding around and the horn poking a hole in the bed or tailgate. A simple solution is to lay the anvil on its side in a used automobile tire. For short hauls this is sufficient on its own. On long/rough trips I would use the tire AND tie the anvil down.

I have recently heard of a fellow that put an anchor point in the bed of his truck the fit the hardy hole of the anvil when turned upside down. Where the square peg protruded through the anvil there was a cross bolt. This IS a solution but leaves a stub sticking up where it can be in the way at other times. Other than my eye-bolts in the corners of the bed I prefer to keep things clear of obstructions. The loose old tire does that and is handy for hauling other things. I used to always carry a couple when I thought I might be moving something unexpected (like going to an auction).

When hauling loads the best motto is that of the Boy Scouts, "Be Prepared".
   - guru - Sunday, 02/23/03 17:36:26 GMT

And the second motto is like unto the first:

"Know What You Are Doing".

I am not as careful as Jock is, but I've never had a load get away from me, either. I'll also add that I haven't had to move loads that were as heavy or awkward as some that Jock has moved.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/23/03 17:56:15 GMT

How are the different Rockwell Hardness scales related. For example, I am doing some comparisons of hardness. A piece of mild steel does not even register on the "C" scale, but is an 84 on the Rockwell "B" scale. Another piece of the same mild steel heated and quenched in water has a Rockwell "C" scale hardness of 34.

How do these scales compare? My copy of Machinery's Handbook is 15th edtion and does not discuss converting (or comparing) the different Rockwell scales.

Tim S.
   - slattont - Sunday, 02/23/03 19:24:21 GMT

I was shopping for custom made fireplace inserts and found a beautiful stainless steel insert with a hand-rubbed darkened steel finish. Do you know how one can go about darkening stainless steel? My boyfriend, a novice welder of three years, is going to construct a fireplace insert, however we are unsure how to obtain this finish. Please help.

   Karen - Sunday, 02/23/03 20:57:17 GMT


Different alloys require slightly different processes. But the most commonly used alloy is 304. Heating it causes it to darken. Stainless can get some really pretty colors, depending on how, how long, and how hot it is treated. Experiment with a propane torch and some scrap pieces to see what it will do.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/23/03 21:00:30 GMT

Cutting LPG tanks?

What is the best way to purge and cut the ends out of the 25 lb LPG tanks that are now concsidered non-refillable due to the overfill prevention valve? I have a number of them that I would like to use as gas forge bodies. Is flushing with water for a period of time good enough? Should cutting with a torch be avoided? Die grinder? Power hack saw?

   cwgrizz - Monday, 02/24/03 00:03:22 GMT

Jeff, seems as a pwr plant engineer that is something you should already know.....

But I think it is because steam can carry more heat than air
   Ralph - Monday, 02/24/03 00:08:56 GMT


The spoecific heat of water is 1.00. The specific heat of air is less than 1% of that of water. Further, to change water from a liquid to steam takes the same amount of heat that it takes to bring it to boiling from room temperature. If you want to lose a lot of heat, you use water and turn it to steam. What you can cool by turning one swimming pool of water to steam would take the Jet Stream all day to do, relatively speaking. Thermodynamics wasn't my strong suit, but that one is basic enough that even I can grasp it. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 02/24/03 01:01:52 GMT

Rockwell Hardness Tests: there are about a dozen different scales for bulk hardness and several more for microhardness. Each test involves putting a specified force on an indentor of specified dimensions. The hardness is related to the dimension of the impression or the depth the indentor is pushed into the steel. Generally, hardness scales are not related mathematically and conversions are based on actual test data. Tests that work on hard metals are inacurrate on soft metals, and vise-versa. Rockwell B goes to 100 and this value correlates roughly to a Rockwell C of 20. Bear in mind, there is NO absolute hardness value for anything. All hardness tests are based on comparison with a known value under standardized conditions. Like temperature, the numerical values for hardness are purely for the convenience of humans who need to quantify them to insure repeatability.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 02/24/03 01:48:14 GMT

Thermodynamics and heat transfer and fluid flow were two of my least liked subjects in Nuc Pwr School
   Ralph - Monday, 02/24/03 03:29:13 GMT

Any tips on mounting a leg (post) vise would be very much appreciated. I recently purchased a nice oldie in good condition. Thanks! You guys have the GREATEST tips, most helpful for a novice.!
   Ellen - Monday, 02/24/03 03:29:14 GMT

Ellen, My take on mounting a leg vise. I prefer mounting it on a squared up timber. Wood is more shock absorbant and perhaps quieter than a steel beam. A separate chunk of wood is buried about grade level next to the first, with an inlet hole to accommodate the foot of the leg. My vises have a circular shelf/plate of 3/16" x 12" diameter metal sandwiched between the mounting plate [or splayed arms] and the top of the timber. This is useful for holding tools and workpieces. The vise should be free standing and not mounted to a bench, because you will be working all around it. It's best not to use lag screws; even long ones will work loose over time. I've used L-straps or angle iron inlet into the sides of the timber near the top and held with horizontal through-bolts. The plate or arms are nut- and-bolted to the irons. On a concrete floor, I used large angle irons flush with the timber bottom, through-bolted, and held with floor bolts, their heads anchor-cemented into the floor. The leg boss rests on a thick copper pad.

A portable leg vise is often mounted on a truck or car wheel. A central, vertical pipe is welded to the wheel, and a welded plate at the top is drilled for attachment. A plate with a hole, welded inside the wheel will support the leg boss. It's clunky and clangy, but portable.
   - Frank Turley - Monday, 02/24/03 04:15:27 GMT

Ellen, My take on mounting a leg vise. I prefer mounting it on a squared up timber. Wood is more shock absorbant and perhaps quieter than a steel beam. A separate chunk of wood is buried about grade level next to the first, with an inlet hole to accommodate the foot of the leg. My vises have a circular shelf/plate of 3/16" x 12" diameter metal sandwiched between the mounting plate [or splayed arms] and the top of the timber. This is useful for holding tools and workpieces. The vise should be free standing and not mounted to a bench, because you will be working all around it. It's best not to use lag screws; even long ones will work loose over time. I've used L-straps or angle iron inlet into the sides of the timber near the top and held with horizontal through-bolts. The plate or arms are nut- and-bolted to the irons. On a concrete floor, I used large angle irons flush with the timber bottom, through-bolted, and held with floor bolts, their heads anchor-cemented into the floor. The leg boss rests on a thick copper pad.

A portable leg vise is often mounted on a truck or car wheel. A central, vertical pipe is welded to the wheel, and a welded plate at the top is drilled for attachment. A plate with a hole, welded inside the wheel will support the leg boss. It's clunky and clangy, but portable.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/24/03 04:15:28 GMT


I do use lag bolts to fasten my post vise down. I usually scrounge a broken power pole from the power company and bury it to mount the vise. I haven't found the lag bolts working loose to be a problem. That may be because of the creosote that the posts are soaked in. Bit if they did work loose, a squirt of glue onto the threads as the bolt is turned into the wood should keep them tight.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/24/03 05:05:40 GMT


On 03/24/02 Barney asked:

"Post Drill": I have post drill.. Made By Kitchner Forge and Blower Con. Here in Ontario Canada.. The # of the drill is No 614.. I am looking for a picture of the auto feed lever

and the guru answered:

Blacksmith Drills: Barney send me the picture as well as a picture of the machine with the lever installed. Many of these devices made in Canada were made under US patents and are the same as either Buffalo or Champion.

Barney later thanked the guru, so they must have found the right drill. Since I too have a #614 (and a #612) from the Kitchner Forge and Blower Co., I would like to know if you remember what the American equivalent was?
   Lorne G - Monday, 02/24/03 08:42:52 GMT

I am looking to find information about damascus steel used in jewelry making. Has anyone you know of ever made wedding bands in damascus? Thanks!
   Kris - Monday, 02/24/03 15:34:21 GMT

Post Vise: I use a pc of 3" pipe buried in concrete 12" into the floor. I put some outriggers on the pipe for extra stiffness and filled the pipe with sand to dampen noise. It is very solid and quiet. I can hammer the work sideways with an 8# sledge and the vise does not yield or bounce. I definitely want to add a tool tray like Frank has but I think I will mount in on a socket so that it can swivel out of the way or even be removed when it conflicts with the work.
   adam - Monday, 02/24/03 16:16:51 GMT

Just wanted to let y'all know about a CBA (California Blacksmith Association) event scheduled for this weekend. The sixth annual Jake Jackson Museum hammer-in at Weaverville, CA Feb 28th - Mar 2nd. Weaverville is located on hwy 299 in the beautiful Trinity mountains about half way between Redding and Eureka. A good time will be had by all. Hope to see you there.
   Wendy - Monday, 02/24/03 16:19:40 GMT

I'm trying to bend 3/4" black iron pipe about 20 degrees without it collapsing. If I neck it I can get a good result but how do you get a continuous bend without necking? Yikes!

   Kate - Monday, 02/24/03 16:26:22 GMT

kate, fill with sand
   Ralph - Monday, 02/24/03 17:52:54 GMT

Kate, fill it with sand before you bend it.
   - Quenchcrack - Monday, 02/24/03 17:53:08 GMT

Anyone know the reasonable maximum grit for knife sharpening? I know some razor hones go all the way to 8,000 but that seems ridiculous for a knife. Does a really fine hone have any advantage in sharpening, or does anything reasonably fine that leaves a wire that can be straightened by a strop do a good job for the heavier work of a knife?

   - Rudy - Monday, 02/24/03 19:51:50 GMT

I'm getting started in knife making and was going to make a spring swage to help in the forging of the blade. My question is: what degree bevel would be most appropriate for a heavy-duty rugged knife blade?

   Dan - Monday, 02/24/03 20:08:33 GMT

damascus ring: Irony ( a blacksmithing mag by Stephen McGeehee) had a short piece on damascus bands. If you contact Stephen he would probably tell you in which issue and how much detail.


   adam - Monday, 02/24/03 20:37:10 GMT

   CINDY - Monday, 02/24/03 20:55:53 GMT

Seems like this board gets a lot more homework questions than it might, given the "we don't do homework for you" clause, hrm? Mine is not, exactly, homework related, but it could be taken as such. I am doing some research, simply for the sake of knowledge, on early american blacksmithing and metalworking. I've piles and piles of books, but I was looking more for Journal articles and the like. Books are great, but I don't have the time to read a dozen or more books, with School and all. Well.. that and the possibilities are ENDLESS for papers on Blacksmithing in my history and english classes, and teachers LOVE Journal articles in the Works Cited for some reason.

Anyone know of any good Journals or magazines for blacksmithing? Maybe some specific articles on Early American metalworking that I could sneak a peek at? Always looking for more books to add to my Library too..and you have all been great about giving me some excellent ones in the past. Just thought I'd see if anyone had some to add to my collection heh.

Once the new house is built, the forge will burn again! Until then, I'm stuck reading about other people's forges.. it's enough to make my hammer itch.

Robert "Asgard"
HPL Steele
   - Helpless Asgard - Monday, 02/24/03 21:11:21 GMT



Argon is an inert gas, used to shield an electric arc like in TIG (GTAW) welding. Acetylene (correct spelling) is a fuel that is usually mixed with oxygen to get to welding heat (oxyacetylene).

Acetylene burns, argon does not.

You must give anvilfire.com credit in your homework bibliography... ;-)
   Zero - Monday, 02/24/03 21:52:49 GMT

Journal articles in an academic setting:-)

Professors love journal articles in your bibliography, because they write them for one... It also generally means you have researched the topic in depth (or you know how to milk the sources for the best look for the citations, instead of actually doing the research, shame Robert shame:-) And of course because they tend to be pretty good, focused secondary sources. And don't forget the journal article's big brother the scholarly monograph, a whole book focused on one very tiny and very specific topic:-)

The terms to use in your websearchs are: History of Science and Technology; and American Colonial Blacksmithing

There is an interesting article co-authored by one of my old professors on the american axe, and how it was better than the european patterns, and why. Use Vernard Foley Axe as the websearch and it will give you a string of articles. He also worked on some articles on Trebuche's My Medieval Studies senior reseach thesis was supposed to be on armour penetration, on different styles of axe heads and differing edge geometery. My assumption was that at the same angle of incidence that the early period viking fighting axes with thier center of rotation way out in front of the haft and with a very sharp edge would tend to glance and deflect more easily on heavy armour, whereas the more balanced horseman's axe with a chisel edge would stick more... Never completed the research:-( So I won't know till I try it. I may just go ahead and complete that experiment some time make some axes of matched weight with different balance points and edge angles, oh and make the armour to test it on...
   Fionnbharr - Monday, 02/24/03 22:38:15 GMT

Helpless asgard, have you seen whitaker's "beautiful iron" ? very nice, hard to find...

Monica, thanks for forge info. there is no way i can operate on 4 PSI, let alone weld. Have you seen the t-rex burners??
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/25/03 00:24:50 GMT

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