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 8 - 15, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

HELLO RALPH; How are you. If you your better half has a lot of kin-folks in 'ANGELO, we might entice you to come down. Where are you located? I have a boy down there. I am open to where we can have the most fun. THOMAS and I are about three hundred and twenty miles apart. If he could make it the TOM GREENE COUNTY. I can too. I guarantee you the best country-style ribs, you have ever eaten.
   - sandpile - Tuesday, 02/08/05 00:00:45 EST

Hi quenchcrack . Thank's for the info . Im of the forge to shape style . I love seeing the metal move . But I have an idea . And I just cant stop myself once I get going on a project . But I fire up the forge and hand hammer every day . I made it to run on natural gas . It reaches welding temp in about 10min . Once again thank you for the help . Make a good day for yourself . Your friend Mike
   Charles "Mike" Powers - Tuesday, 02/08/05 00:10:58 EST

hey there , just been browsing the net to find some dates on two forges i have , one is a old pump flywheel style and the other is a forge from buffalo forge co. cant find any site to check on years or anything. oh the flywheel style forge on the blower it has hero on top and downersgrove,il on bottom.. so any info on sites or any referances would be greatley apprieciated... thanx
   jeff f - Tuesday, 02/08/05 00:47:15 EST

It's real value is as a blacksmithing tool...screw the antiquers....the only proviso might be, use a "soft" hammer on your anvil while you are learning so you dont dent it up with mis-strikes...if the anvil face is clean to begin with.
If the forge bottom is cast iron, be careful not to pour a bunch of cold water on it when it's hot or it'll crack...have fun!
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 02/08/05 01:30:41 EST

I am a first time poster and I have read the getting started page so my question will attempt to be concise and brief. I am attempting to make a few planmaker's floats (which are are a cross between a rasp and a rip saw) out of O1 steel. The machining is done but I have twice failed to harden the steel. BTW the floats are 3/16" thick X 1" X 6".
I use a Paragon knifemaker's electric kil, heating the blades to 1500 deg. and quenching in about two quarts of motor oil in a shallow pan which completely cover the blade.
I suspect part of my problem is the fact that I keep the oil
right outside the basement door (I don't want to stink up the house) so I have about a 3-5 second run (literally)from the kiln to the quench bucket. Could the blade cool that quickly below critical? Or do I not have enough oil to quench quickly? The metal pan gets hot, but the oil does not flash. Last question, have I ruined the blades or can I try, try again to re-harden. Oops, I do have one more question, am I supposed to quench when I temper? I am looking for hardness in the low 50s which is hard but can be sharpened with a file. Thanks a ton. Gary
   Gary - Tuesday, 02/08/05 02:06:52 EST

Gary, yes.
Could you move the kiln outside near the quench tank?
As to quenching after tempering. All depends on how you temper. If your kiln/oven can be acurrate enough and hold 170-200 C then you could just leave it as is. But some folks feel you should quench to ensure there is not temp over-run.

here is a web site. It is only schetchy info but it is a start.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/08/05 02:16:32 EST

Gary: With O1 you have roughly a full minute to get it from austinizing temp down to 400ish F. 3-5 seconds shouldn't hurt your hardening attempt, so I suspect one of three problem.
1) It's not quite hot enough. Critical temp when it becomes non-magnetic is at the very bottom of the proper temp range for hardening, try letting it get a bit hotter. If this is the case it's safe to try again.
2) It might need to soak at temp for a minute or so to fully austinize. If you heat it too quick only the surface is up to temp, not the center. If this is the case it's safe to try it again.
3) It might be decarbed. If your forge is oxidizing, you're sucking carbon out of the steel, you can tell by if it's scaling alot. If this is the case then you might be able to grind off the surface and find it's hard under the skin of decarbed steel, but if it's too decarbed then it's just fancy mild steel now.
   AwP - Tuesday, 02/08/05 04:35:07 EST

Ribs did you say RIBS! I am *there*! Sandpile you can malign me as much as you want as long as my mouth is too full to make a comeback...

Also I have seceral cases of soft firebrick and both blown and aspirated burners---we could make a stacked forge for heating if you have the propane...

When you think of doing this? Gotta see if my wife will make guacamole for me....

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/08/05 04:43:47 EST

I am very stuck for a topic to write my thesis on, I need to argue a point about blacksmithing, but know nothing of current issues or problems surrounding the trade, I am running out of time and need some guidance, can you tell anything or anywhere to research.....please!
   charlie d - Tuesday, 02/08/05 07:39:03 EST

Greetings Guru,
My son is constructing a Pinewood Derby car that traditional uses 5 oz of lead weights to meet race requirements. What metal is heavier than lead? I would like to find a metal that is denser but 'smaller'. I can't seem to find a metal table that compares weight - density ratios.

Thanks for your help.
   Cubscout Mom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 08:11:11 EST

Cubscout Mom: Gold, Platinum, Tungsten and Uranium to mention a few. Lead is the only high-density metal that is readily available and cheap enough for ordinary people to use.
   John Odom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 08:15:14 EST

Charlie D; forging vs fabrication? How about Blademaking: forging vs Stock removal?

"Would you buy a bridge (anvil) from the man in the disreputable hat?

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/08/05 08:21:32 EST

Thanks John - Where would these other metals be found? Tungsten sounds like option. I see tin at Home Depot; is it heavier/smaller than lead?
   Cubscout Mom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 09:08:34 EST

Metal Density:
I think you're stuck with lead, but check out the Mass3j calculator from the Anvilfire dropdown box. I believe it's got most of the commonly available metals. Just enter something in the required areas, do a calculate, and up pops the table you're looking for.

   - MarcG - Tuesday, 02/08/05 10:00:47 EST

Are the carbide inserts for metal lathe cutter's more dense than lead? They are easy to find and mount. Depleated uranium has been used in airplane control systerms but there is so much hoooey about it it would probably be better to forego using it...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/08/05 10:32:53 EST

Pinewood derby Lead is about it unless you want exotics that are quite dangerous compared to lead. For fine adjustments you can order lead tape from McMaster-Carr.

Due to the roughness of the track surfaces the critial thing in pinewood racers is suspension. My Dad built a full size official spec track to test cars for his grandson. Mounting the weight on a flexible member works best.

However. My recomendation is to let the boy do 99% of the work. I got where I am today building soap box racers doing all the sawing, carving, bondo work, sanding painting, machining, drilling. . . I designed my last two cars. Click on my photo to the left and see the part on the Soap Box Dearby/
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/08/05 10:36:58 EST

Costa Rica Well, I have a new edition of the news in progress with a tour of Costa Rican iron work. Will launch as soon as I get home.

Yesterday's weather was heaven, rained all night last night and wet today. What can you expect from a location that gets 200" of rain annualy? In an hour it may be bright and sunny.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/08/05 10:42:05 EST

hi all,

I'm new here and green as grass, I'm interested in blacksmithing and metal working and I'm trying to get my first anvil and forge if possible. so I may be popping in for a pointer now and then but I'm trying to learn on my own and from the postings on the net and from libary books. so I hope to talk to you all and look forward to the the demos on IForge.

   dean - Tuesday, 02/08/05 11:06:00 EST

I can't see your car!

Last year a boy used (gulp) titanium. I thought there may be some advantage. Yes, I encourage the kids to make all that they can and then do a little behind the scenes tweaking so they don't have a dud! The uranium is for our den car. I'd love to beat the pants off the other leaders:)
   - Cubscout Mom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 12:11:14 EST

recs on chamfering retangular stock.
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/08/05 12:16:27 EST

Just got off the phone with Nathan. He is out of Iraq ( currently in Kuwait) Will be there for about a month, and then on a slow boat to Okinawa. Then fly to Hawaii. They expect to be in HI by mid May.
Needless to say Dawn and I are VERY VERY relieved.
Actually Nathan sounded rather jazzed as well. You would almost think he was tired of being shot at and mortared.........
   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/08/05 12:55:05 EST

First, I want thank the person who suggested marking steel with white-out and it being visible when hot.
Next, my question: What kind of acid do you use to etch Damascus? Does it matter? I can get Muriatic acid at the hardware store so that is my first choice. It is about 31%
hydrocloric acid. Does it need to be diluted? Is a nuetralizer necessary?
   - lsundstrom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 12:55:59 EST

Actually instead of lead(Pb) my son used zink fishing weights. Took first place too. since he did at least 90% of the work with just a hand from me when he got stuck, his car was not as smooth or polished looking. But by golly is could go.
We used only TINY I repeat TINY amounts o graphite powder for lube on the wheel axels. Nathan also polished th eaxels and sanded the burrs off the plastic wheels.
As for weight his car was a full 3 grams lighter than all the other cars.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/08/05 13:01:56 EST

RALPH/DAWN- Y'all better be careful. GRINNING that big, an hugging each-other that hard, might cause injury to your face or body.Grin. Congrats on NATHAN..

   - sandpile - Tuesday, 02/08/05 13:09:44 EST

Dean: I strongly encourage you to take a beginning blacksmithing class. It will move you so much faster forward in your work. If you go to www.abana.org under Resources you will find a list of schools available. Also, use the link there for affiliated groups. Some offer training. For example, SOF&A offers a standard program, but also makes the shop available on Wednesday evenings during the fall and winter. If you can find a place like that, someone could teach you one aspect each time. Chances are also good you can find a local old timer willing to let you use their shop for lessons.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 02/08/05 14:24:10 EST

Forging Anvils:

While we could technically forge anvils, we could not do it competitivly. It would be cheaper for us to forge a flat plate and torch out the shape. As for providing a "quality" finish, we could mill the face and step, but I don't think we could machine the horn. That would have to be hand finished. Even with this method of manufacture, I am sure that a forged anvil would not be competitivly priced with a cast anvil. Maybe if the were drop forged it might work, but that is how Pendinghaus anvils are made and they are not cheap. I don't understand the focus on method and location of anvil manufacture. From a purely technical point of view, a cast steel anvil properly heat treated will not be any different in perfomance than a forged steel anvil. It is true that forgings are stronger (in some directions) than castings, but you are never going to now the difference when using an anvil. We forge huge cranks and spindles becasue the application requires that level of strengh. An anvil just doesn't need it. As for cast iron anvils with steel faces-trying to do this in today's market will not result in any advantage because you are really paying for time and engery. Material cost, while slightly less is not a significant factor in the cost of most products, including anvils. AND-To execute this techique in a modern shop would require a lot of hands on attention that would drive the price up. When Fisher did this, they preheated the face plate before casting. I did my senior engineering project on this technique. I tried to bond 1" thick S7 plates to cast steel block of varius sized using the Fisher technique, except I left out the preheat. I don't know if would have worked or not because the foundry crew put parting compound on the plates thinking they were chills and not realizing I intend to get bonding. Needless to say, it is my opinion that the most COST EFFECTIVE way to get a high quality anvil is by casting. From all I have heard, the Czech anvils meet hardness and finish requirements at the least cost. If you already had a foundry, had all the patterns and tooling necessary to make and finish the anvils, I doubt that you could compete with the Czech anvils. Steel scrap runs between 50 and 100 cents a pound, then you have melting and associated overhead and finishing, wages, marketing etc. You probably could not sell a moder US made anvil for less than $2/lb and make a profit. And that is what the Czech anvils sell for.

   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 02/08/05 14:39:10 EST

lsundstrom: You can use nearly any acid to etch damascus. Your muriatic will work just fine though I personally prefer using white vinager or ferric chloride (circuit board etchant from radio shack) because they're much less scary.
   AwP - Tuesday, 02/08/05 15:07:07 EST

Pinewood Derby:

OK, we're way off topic here, but I spent more than a few years as a Cub Scouter and had a chance to see lots of cars race. We even had a parents' Derby to let the overaged boys get it out of our,.. er.., their systems.

There have been papers written on winning these supposedly kids' races. Advantages ranged from weight placement (as rear as possible), turned wheels so that only a ridge touched the track, aerodynamics. And half the fathers knew these and "helped" their sons' cars. But then the hacked-out chunk of wood with washers screwed on the top for weight at the last minute would end up winning.

My firm belief - Put the frigging wheels on straight and have fun!
   - MarcG - Tuesday, 02/08/05 15:26:28 EST

Forging anvils:

Patrick - you wrote an interesting and concise post. I did a little research on this several years ago and thought the solution was to flame cut the body then cast the horn onto the body. The torch cutting leaves a couple of dovetails or other shaped stubs to lock the horn. The horn is set in the pattern to form a step and the hardy hole is also cast into the horn simultaneously with the pritchel drilled in the flame cut block. I thought the blocks should be 4140 and surface hardened.

However, as you stated, I doubt any process to make a quality anvil will compete with overseas sources.
   - HWooldridge - Tuesday, 02/08/05 16:10:33 EST

B Loague,
Ask PawPaw, He reharden a frizzen in 2001. its in the Archives
If that don't help try,
hope this helps. I'll send you an e-mail so you find this.
   DanD skabvenger - Tuesday, 02/08/05 18:10:01 EST

B Loague, I tried to send you e-mail on Frizzen, but it said your E-mail was ERROR.
   DanD skabvenger - Tuesday, 02/08/05 18:21:52 EST

Nice power-hammer for sale here:

It was made in France ine the 50's considered the french Beche.
   - Antoine - Tuesday, 02/08/05 18:57:50 EST

Nice power=hammer for sale here:
It was made in France in the 50-60's and considered the french Beche.
   - Antoine - Tuesday, 02/08/05 19:00:10 EST

We moved the storage and shop buildings onto the new pad today. Took 2.5 hours. It pays to hire the pros! Pictures are on the AFoto page, but I can't leave them there more than a day or two, they take up too much space.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/08/05 19:34:38 EST

Thanks AwP,
I would love to use white vinegar. Does it take minutes, hours or days?
   - lsundstrom - Tuesday, 02/08/05 20:08:54 EST

Gary-- My metallurgy text says you must get it into the quench within one second. Sure, you can try it again. And again. And again. Just reheat. Just don't burn it. Yes, you quench when the heat rainbow suits your fancy.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/08/05 20:23:44 EST

Hello everybody

Sorry about not being able to be around much. I have had lots of time on my hands taking care of my grandparents and decided to do some research on Russian anvils. My Great Uncle has relatives in Russia and that made it easer.

This is what I found out. There are three companies that sell anvils to customers overseas. They are
Paboth(n)k(n) Aoma Ymora, (House of Iron)

Mexayhapoahble np(n)obpeteh(n)e n Nepebo(e)ka Rpy(e)a Nackray(e), (International whearhouse buying and shipping)

and Transshipping Mexayhapoahble (Transshipping International)

(the () are backwards and some of the letters are the closest American ones and as best as I could do from the letter he sent me)

All of these Russian anvil suppliers will buy surplus anvils from china if they become backordered. The average price for a shipped 110# anvil is $68.00 USD (I paid $118.00 for mine).

So even though I thought when I bought my Russian that I would get something that I could mistreat and not mind I instead received a Chinese ASO that is worthless and getting the crap beaten out of it.

Well that is what I got for being cheep and then looking into why I got junk.

He is looking into where Russian Blacksmiths buy their anvils and I look forward to getting that letter.
   Arron Cissell - Tuesday, 02/08/05 20:25:36 EST

Charlie d, Our pulldown menu, upper right, can be used to find topics that should answer lots of your questions.

Rugg, Stand it up against the anvil step and use angle blows. Or put it in a homemade fixture, two vertical slabs to hold it in place, leaving enough room for your piece to stand up. Use angle blows.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/08/05 20:49:00 EST

Soapwood Derby Weights:

If my numbers are right, two 3/16" X 7" tungsten (TIG) electrodes, plus 2" of a third, would give you five ounces. And the best part is you can order a box of ten for $140 (grin). You ain't gonna melt them, though, and if you used them in a bundle, the air spaces between would reduce the denisty.
   Mike B - Tuesday, 02/08/05 21:01:31 EST

ARRON C.--Thanks for your trouble. It would be interesting to know what this thing is and where it come from.
   - sandpile - Tuesday, 02/08/05 21:23:47 EST

This O1 business. 1500ºF is a bright cherry red. Did the float get to a bright cherry red? Two quarts of oil is probably not enough quenchant. Did you AGITATE the piece in the oil bath? Gotta' agitate in order to shake off the vapor blanket. Holding the piece still in the bath whill prolong the vapor blanket stage thereby insulating the float from direct contact with the oil. If, after quenching, the float is "file hard", meaning a new file won't cut the metal, then it is hardened. Most O1 tempering is done between 350ºF and 400ºF.

O1 is peculiar in that it will harden in air from 1500ºF, but it is an unstable kind of hardness...not recommended.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/08/05 21:40:45 EST

STEVE GENSH,,WAYNE P. RICH W. I was reading from the top down and saw where, I missed some posts. Sorry about not responding. Over looked them.
I have made up my mind to play with this ASO. If THOMAS P and anybody else wants to join in, that will be great. Three or four guys locally want in on it. I have a cast iron base for an old one lung engine. I can turn this upside down and cut two holes for a manifold air system. Pre heat in a mesquite pile and go to the coal fire. It should be interesting. It would not be hard to jury-rig a brick forge like THOMAS P. mentioned. I have not figured out how to tell when I am up to temperture. About 8" or 9" inch pyrometer is the longest I have. I might set one of those kiln meltdown gismos on top of the anvil. GRIN. We will have to wait till the winds die down this spring.


   - sandpile - Tuesday, 02/08/05 22:38:34 EST

Alright. My question is about the better types of wood for forging. I've just started blacksmithing and I need to know which type of wood would be best. Thank you for your help.
   Cameron Ferguson - Wednesday, 02/09/05 00:15:42 EST

I am assuming you mean as a fuel?
Can you find a source for true charcoal in your area? Resturant supply places usually have it.
But if not and if you are not going to go with gas then hardwood is what I was told works best. BUt there are places that use what they have.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 02/09/05 01:36:51 EST

My question is what happens to red hot horseshoe metal if quickly immersed in ice cold water. Will a horseshoe break or explode? I guess I am asking for signs/symptoms of sudden thermal shock metal fatigue. (Sorry for the 'shoddy' sentence structure!) Thank you, Gary
   gary - Wednesday, 02/09/05 02:49:12 EST

Guru, that's 20 *normal* years worth where I'm at in NM.

Larry it depends on the alloys used, ferric chloride, diluted, is a fairly safe way to go---buy it as PCB Echant AKA Archer Echant at Radio Shack. I use hot vinegar and salt for most of my medieval stuff---not much topo but it gives a *bright* etch to the BSB in my billets.

Sandpile, hit it on a bench grinder---the sparks will tell all!

Etching---time is dependent on how deep and etch, what alloy and temp of solution.

Sandpile, just dig a couple of holes in the ground and stick a pipe into the bottom, no need to get fancy! After the winds die down should suit me too.

Gary, depends on the metal---it can harden, soften or be pretty much unchanged---don't forget you can get Al and Ti horseshoes these days! Generally horseshoes are not high carbon enough to shatter or explode---however I have seen a shoe or too that was made from a rasp back in the "oldern times" that might shatter if heated and quenched that way.

Anybody know what alloy(s) the big manufacturers are using these days?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/09/05 05:12:26 EST

lsundstrom: With vinager it's around 20 minutes a dip if it's heated, overnight if it's cold. It really varies depending on how deep an etch you want though, those are just rough guidelines.
   AwP - Wednesday, 02/09/05 06:23:24 EST

Sandpile: On moving the anvil around. Suggestion is to find two pipes about 1 1/2" in diameter and 6-8' long. Now find two short sections where one will slip inside the other freely. Weld two on each of the long pipe spaced just farther apart than the length of the waist. To move the anvil around one pipe is used from the back and one from the front. As the two short lengths slip inside each other they lock it into an H-type cradle. Two guys can easily move it around and even flip it over. Just a thought on quenching. Find a goodly number of five-gallon buckets. Form a bucket line to where water can keep being poured onto the hot anvil top. A large fan blowing away the steam would help.

I once heard the comment as to why blacksmithing is so interesting. Reply was you get to do so many of the things your mother use to holler at you about. You get to play with fire. You are allowed to make a lot of smoke. You get to hit things hard. You are allowed to get dirty. You can make a lot of noise.

Please do take lots of photos for possible use in the newsletter.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/09/05 09:45:16 EST

Charlie D: Try telephone interviewing the owners of new blacksmithing tools supply companies (use the Navigate box to scroll down to advertisers). Since they are in the business your topic might be something along the lines of "The Future of Blacksmithing as Reflected in Tool Sales". The argument aspect might be the 'future' part. Several of these have been in the business for a long time and should be able to give you some historical prospective as well. An illustration. At one time Centaur Forge was a major supplier of farrier-related supplies. They have pretty well dropped them. You might ask why. Also go to www.abana.org, Resources link, to find other suppliers.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/09/05 09:57:32 EST

Gary, I don't know about ice water, but my old pal/mentor, Tex Shively, of Salem, Oregon, would quench in water, the toe of each shoe he nailed on. He said he got better wear at that "breakover point", because the shoe would harden al little bit. At that time, keg shoes were of mild steel, about 0.25% carbon content.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 10:19:42 EST

Ken, I don't think the bucket brigade could get a temp drop down in those first few seconds---don't expect the anvil to be an (expensive) deep hardening alloy and so may have to drop it *fast*.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/09/05 10:45:10 EST

Anvil quench, One time for fun, I played a garden hose on a heavy piece of red hot iron, and "nothing happened". The water bounced, vaporized, disappeared, and the chunk of iron laughed at my efforts.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 11:06:01 EST

Gary,this shop still has a hitching post and most of my costomers still ride in!a farriers job can be made easier with the purchase of store bought shoes, frank as usual is correct, mild steel is the norm,and "toe-caulks"can be added for stength, this can also be done with a modern welder and a hard case rod,i always size a shoe to a horse,as opposed to trimming a hoof to match a shoe. quenching is not a problem, I usually pull in and out of the tank two or three times quickly to stop the shoe from going "full-hard", here in kentucky we also use aluminium shoes on our track horses with large toe and heel caulks made of steel for traction!
   HighlanderForge - Wednesday, 02/09/05 11:06:51 EST

Charlie D, Sorry Ken, have a correction,Centaur Forge LLC at 1-800-666-9175 still carries an impressive supply of farriers supplies, as a matter of fact, there farriers catalog is larger than there blacksmith supply catalog...ask specifically for the farriers supplies catalog.
   HighlanderForge - Wednesday, 02/09/05 11:24:57 EST

i have been working on a metal piece lately, primarily an ornamental gate piece, i suppose. it is a 5' X 5' approx 3/8" steel cut out. i looked on your site and a few others for finishing tips, and most are variations on a theme, with oil and wax. so i used the "recipe" involving boiled linseed oil and water soluable wax brushed on steel while it is heated just prior to color change. that worked somewhat but showed some discoloration and left a "waxy" residue in places. i think because i didn't get the piece hot enough in some places. that being said, i am looking for a better way to keep the piece rusted in color and keep the grinding detail high polished steel. i know painting after zinc primer is the favorite choice, but for this particular pc staying "natural" i wondered if automotive clear lacquer is the only alternative. i was told i could burn this residue off and then sand it down to original state. any suggestion here is appreciated.
   - jd - Wednesday, 02/09/05 11:33:45 EST

Charlie. Pieh Tool Co. (An advertiser here) carries a large supply of both blacksmithing and farriers tools. They now carry power hammers, and their classes are first rate.

Highlander: do you shoe some racing Thoroughbreds? Just curious, also any tips on the Kentucky Derby? That is the one time a year I break my "no gambling, no lottery tickets" rule.....I like to wager a small sum on the Derby, and watch it on the large screen over at Turf Paradise....my horse is an ex-racehorse.
   Ellen - Wednesday, 02/09/05 12:08:47 EST

hey Ken

the problem that I have with classes is that there are no classes where I live here in Newfoundland Canada and there are no smiths around so I have to rely on non traditional methods to learn and exercise my good sense (ha ha) and ingenuity. but thanks for the good thoughts.

   dean - Wednesday, 02/09/05 12:17:57 EST

I do have one question, what demensions should the anvile be? IE: the face, the horn etc. I'm thinking about using some sort of improvised anvil and I don't want it to be too small or gargantuan if I can help it

   dean - Wednesday, 02/09/05 12:21:29 EST

Dean I like to have the face at least 4" Square but with at least 100 pounds of steel under that.

In general bigger is better *but* better to have more mass under a small face than a wide long chunk with nothing under it. Horn(s) are nice but not required.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/09/05 12:59:19 EST

hello everyone! well i recently got my first anvil(woo hoo!!!!) however im doing a project for my church(its is the begining of lent ya kno) involing hand made nails.it is exstremly defacult to cut the heads when you dont have a hardy cutter.so my question is what would be the best metal to make one from?my neibor works at a junkyard so gett stuff like car springs and axles. or would i be better off buying some kind of special metal to work into a hardy cutter? BTW the hardy hole is about 1 in square.its old so its alittle off square.thanks for all your help.John
   John S - Wednesday, 02/09/05 12:59:54 EST

We used to put a little boron on the toes and heels of ROAD HORSES(BUGGY) but if you are shoeing saddle horses, you don't want the shoes to hard, they can not stand up on hard surfaces. I once took some shoes off of a OKIE HORSE, that were made of SUCKER ROD. On cement or blacketop, he was skating like a drunk preacher on ice. GRIN
   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/09/05 13:18:47 EST

FRANK-- I bet you are right. It would be like spitting on a hot stove.
I have been thinking(HURTS) about a grate in the bottom of a drinking tub. Set the anvil face down in about 2" of water. Spray water on the rest of the anvil with a 2" transfer pump, We might be able to keep the movement of the water going a little better with the pump. We have a quite a bit of time to run this through our noggins. Maybe we will come up with some thing that will work. Grin. We have to figure out how to drop the temp fast enough or there is no need in heating it.BOG

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/09/05 13:31:55 EST

Anvils Again:

I should follow up yesterday's post with the following statement:I WANT TO MAKE MY OWN ANVIL.

There are several resons why:
1.I can make a style not currently available for purchase.
2.I may be able to take advantage of scrap from work and keep the cost down.
3. (Most important) It would be really cool!

I recognize that I probably can't do it cheaper than buying a new anvil (see yesterday's post), but if I value my time at $0, I might be able to break even. Basically, I want distinguish yesterday's post about higher volume anvil manufacting from the idea of making your own anvil. I am all for making your own, just recongnize up front that it probably with cost you as much or more to make your own as it would to by a new one.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:12:03 EST

Drats this is getting to be irritating.
I have attempted to answer or reply to several post on here and they are not posted..... GRRRRRR
   Ralph - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:14:53 EST

get a water trough or something that will hold at least 100 gallons. Then use an engine hoist and a chain fall.
Oh and use some sort of water pump to agitate the water so that you get a nice even quench.

Either that or you can build a small trebuchet and attach a chain or cable to anvil and launch into a lake, stream, pond, ocean..... (grin)
   Ralph - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:18:25 EST

cutting nails with out other tooling can be done.
Not the best way but in a pinch ( and assming you do not have to do lots) Find a 'sharp' edge on your anvil and CAREFULLY
cut the HOT nail stock there.

Or just make a hot cut from some spring steel
   Ralph - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:21:28 EST

RALPH, HOW ARE YOU. The drinking tub, that I spoke of is ten foot in diameter and was thinging about filling it. I would build a grate with legs on it. The transfer pump is a bigger gasoline powered pump that will really throw a lot of water. Not much pressure, but a lot of volume. It will be sucking and throwing in the same tank.Grin That will be quite and agitator,huh..

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:50:03 EST

Peddinghause anvils are forged.
Nimba anvils are cast.
at half the price are the old world anvils good enough?

   speedy - Wednesday, 02/09/05 14:58:22 EST


From what I have heard, the real trick is to get a sufficient volume of water hitting the anvil face with enough "force" to keep the steam jacket washed away. I think this is the reason that other folks have used 2" fire hoses. I'd be a bit concerned that the tub, even with agitation, wouldn't have enough force to prevent the steam from jacketing the hot anvil and preventing the quench from being fast enough.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/09/05 15:05:05 EST

My students and I are redoing historical electromagnetism experiments. We need iron rod, .5" diameter, and maybe .25" diameter, soft iron, not steel, to use in our experiments, which requires that the iron becomes magnetized when current is running in wires around it, and demagnetizes when the current stops. I think that true wrought iron may work. I cannot find any source from which we could get such iron rod. What do you suggest?
   Elizabeth C. - Wednesday, 02/09/05 17:02:02 EST

McMaster-Carr has 5/8" dia cast iron rod in their catalog.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 02/09/05 17:28:48 EST

JUST GUESSING-- The transfer pump should throw about 45 to 60 gals a minute and have maybe 15 to 20 lbs. of pressure. It will squirt a stream, maybe 3 1/2' feet before starting to drop. Maybe one of you math guys could figure the GPM. 2"X42" stream of water. I could set it up and see how long it takes to fill a barrel. I also have several friends on the volunteer fire dept. They sure go for my country-style ribs.GRIN

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/09/05 17:37:27 EST

Electromagnet: I dont think this has to be pure iron to work. Mild steel does ok for demo purposes - it may retain a little bit of a field but not enough to spoil the effect.
   adam - Wednesday, 02/09/05 18:34:13 EST

Anvil quench: I have read of this being done with a pair of 50 gal barrels ganged together with a 2" drain pipe. But then I have also read of a scheme to use a trebuchet to drop the anvil into a neighbor's swimming pool. Not sure if either is practical :)
   adam - Wednesday, 02/09/05 18:39:00 EST

Being on a volunteer fire brigade, (and loving country style ribs) I would highly suggest you go that route. Having tempered a few hammer heads using a garden hose, the water coming off there is quite warm, goes everywhere and generaly makes a mess. The firebrigade will have their turnout gear to protect them so they can get close enough to properly cool the anvil.
   JimG - Wednesday, 02/09/05 19:25:01 EST

OK, I posted a few pictures of what we did today. These will all be gone by Saturday night, they take up too much room.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 02/09/05 19:48:48 EST

Would one of you artist types please answer JD's question about finishing? Frank Turley, what do yo think? Guru? Paw-Paw? Thomas? Atli? SOMEBODY?
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 02/09/05 20:43:42 EST

Patrick Nowak,
I made a non-traditional anvil, patterened after the Braziel Bros. style I saw in use. If interested, I can e-mail you a photo. Used a porta-band, and several 4.5" wheels and flap discs. Works good. Cost in time? Not sure, I think about 4 hours. Cost in purchased materials? 1/2# of weld rod and the juice to burn them, and a can of spray paint.(Of course, you may not have the 3"thick plate chunk, that I had laying about gathering dust.) Only drawback to this style is the lack of a pritchel and hardy hole.
   ptree - Wednesday, 02/09/05 21:11:46 EST

JD, I haven't tried to get a rust finish, but smiths I know have gone to the swimming pool supply and purchased either sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite. When mixed with water, it releases hypochlorus acid, AKA swimming pool chlorine. Sorry I don't know the exact proportion the material to mix with what quantity of water; it will be a matter of experiment. The steel should be scale free and preferably oil free. Soap and water works. Paint the steel with your mix and let sit. Paint the next day and let sit. Patience. After a few days, you should be getting a fairly uniform oxide finish.

However, any rust finish is a patina with a vengeance. You can wax it or clear coat it, but the rust underneath "never sleeps". It will keep on deepening over time.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 21:14:47 EST

Anvil Quench, From my readings, there needs to be a certain rate of heat abstraction in order to get hardening.By not having enough volume from fire hose, stock tank, or slack tub, you won't abstract the heat fast enough.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 21:26:06 EST

2" PUMP-I dont know about Your 2" pump, but I have a 2" 5HP "Pacer" brand that is supposed to move 200 GPM with no lift & no head.I think it would have to be ducted carefully to get flow somewhat even on the entire face, but it sounds like the tank should be large enough. Anybody remember how to figure temperature rise based on specific heat?
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/09/05 22:10:19 EST

FRANK--DAVE I am thinking about face down in the water for the anvil and putting the thrown water at it from one end. I believe my pump is a five horse. I bought it from a RANCH SUPPLY, ten years ago. It still runs just like new. I should have about ten seconds max. to get the face cooled. If we can do that the face should be almost as hard as a hammer .
FRANK are you going to be in ALBQ. SAT. for the SWBA meeting??

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/09/05 22:40:51 EST


If I understand your dilemma correctly, you are wanting to remove the finish you have already put on it and then clearcoat it. Ifd that is the case, take it to someone who can steam clean it with real live steam and detergent. That will remove the linseed oil and wax , after which you can coat it with automotive clear lacquer.

When clearcoating, I recommend you use an acrylic enamel such as Ditzler Delstar™ with the DXR80 urethane additive. No clearcoat is as durable as pigmented paint, but this will be about as good as you can get. But you MUST remove ALL the wax ands oil first.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/09/05 22:41:35 EST

Elizabeth C - try doing an internet search for Armco Iron. It's nearly pure iron, and I know it's still made. I'm not certain if anyone's rolling it down to small barstock though.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 02/09/05 23:00:41 EST

Elizabeth C, Armco maybe merged with AK steel. They produce a zero carbon iron with the trade name of Univit. It is mostly in sheets and plates to be used for enameling.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, I'LL MAIL YOU A WROUGHT IRON ROD, NO CHARGE. Let me know about the dimensions. Wrought iron has a scant carbon content and about 4% iron silicate (a slag).
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 23:35:22 EST

QC - caught your goodbye over on Don Fogg's site. I enjoyed your posts over there, but some of the responses to them were a bit heavy. I've been contemplating trying to find the time to defend the accuracy of a 925 F furnace with +/- 15 degree F throughout. Wondered how the folks would take an opening along the lines of most pyrometers I'm aware of have an accuracy of +/- 1 or 2% of full scale - IMHO you can't verify +/- 2 degrees F with an instrument thats accurate to either +/- 24 or 48 F, assuming a range of 0 to 2400 F!

OTOH, I fully agree that a salt bath is a better heat transfer method, and inherently better at uniformity at lower temperatures. Regards & looking forward to your posts here.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 02/09/05 23:38:37 EST

Sandpile, If I can find Bob Curtis' address, I'll be at SWABA. I misplaced it. If you have it, click my name and send it to me. Thanks. Bob is an ol' horseshoer, but he doesn't talk about that phase of his life too much.
Or is the meeting at Bob Keer's? Duh, hello.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/09/05 23:49:41 EST

Whoa Elizabeth, I just re-read your post, and I don't have a 5" diameter WI rod. And it would really be heavy. Can't you use a thin, little ol' rod? Signed: Space Ranger.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/10/05 00:24:21 EST

Quenching the Anvil: This following option may be a total fabrication, but a blacksmith friend of mine (my first mentor) in Virginia said this is what he did to make an anvil out of forge and stick welded sections of fork lift tines -

1 - Built a wood fire of old pallets, must have had lots of them, but they are oak and burn hot, to preheat for cheap.

2 - Next to the oak fire, was an exhaust manifold from a car fed by a piece of black pipe powered with a leaf blower. The fuel there was what he called Pocahontas Coal. The anvil had a length of chain, heavy logging stuff, welded around the "waist".

3 - He built an A-Frame, some more of that big black pipe, that he said was two-stories high (20'??) and they parked a pickup truck on each end of the bottom of the A-frame.. so it would not move. A chain, I guess 10' long from the top of the A-frame laying on the ground near the coal fire.

4 - When it was the right temperature (don't know what that was), they fished the hook on the A-frame chain into the waist chain on the anvil. Then a third vehicle, a jeep (his), erected the A-frame with a snatchblock. The pulling jeep stood up the A-frame, then over center, so that it fell the opposite way, away from the coal fire.

5 - Somehow they blocked the A-frame so it would not fall all the way to the ground, but like 5' above the ground. Actually, it was not the ground, but part of an inlet near the coast in Virginia. They swung the anvil up and out of the fire, over center on the A-frame, then quenched it in brackish water. Evidently, the swing of the A-frame going over center quickly caused the anvil on the chain to swing. So it went from the fire to 60 degree water in just a few seconds and then the swinging of the anvil continued in the water. I guess the swinging 5 or so feet down in moving water kept the blanket collapsed. Then they just hooked to the frame and drug the whole thing out.

Like I said, probably a "tall-tale", but the guy was good as gold on everything else he taught me. As a matter of fact, he gave me a marked bag of Pocohontas coal, my first after starting with home-made charcoal. Just an idea. Judge the merits and techincals for yourself -- but it seems plausable.
   CCHarper - Thursday, 02/10/05 00:25:21 EST

FRANK How are you? If you look real close. It looks like there might be a dot ahead of the 5. I have some wrought iron that is about a foot long and and maybe 3/8" or 7/16" but no 1/2". JIM KEITH emailed me about going to ABLQ. SAT. but HELEN might try to do too much, if I'm not here.

   - sandpile - Thursday, 02/10/05 00:47:36 EST

HighlanderForge: Thank you for the information. I was not aware Centaur Forge had gone to two different catalogs. I knew they changed hands, saw the much smaller blacksmithing-related catalog, knew they had had a warehouse sale after the sale and also that their booth at Quad-State had fewer tools than what Bill Pieh use to bring. I made the (now incorrect) assumption they had cut back the business.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 02/10/05 02:22:36 EST

I think the simpliest method is to go with the high pressure fire hose. Dump the anvil in a a trough of water that will just about come up to the face and blast the face with the high volume high pressure water source---then go temper it in the wife's over---so I have a chance to pick it up at the estate sale...

"The Real Wrought Iron Co, LTD" sells re manufactured WI and can be found on the web. Anybody have an offcut of "Pure Iron"?

Make a fast quick hardy from car spring and stop wondering if it's the "best" (S7 or H13 might be better but harder to work if you are new to this).

Cast Iron was *NOT* what was used in the experiments. Wrought iron was.

Ptree, perhaps Patrick can cut down some of those 30" shafts to get 3.5" slabs...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/10/05 04:47:42 EST

re: quenching anvil

I am reminded of the big homemade parts washer I saw once.

A large stock tank filled with water based cleaner and a outboard motor, talk about agitation.
   - Hudson - Thursday, 02/10/05 05:45:43 EST


Go with the local F.D., they can pump 1000 to 1500 gpm for you. And we all like ribs. :)
   Brian C - Thursday, 02/10/05 09:07:29 EST

As mentioned earlier this week, I am getting my grandfather's blacksmithing tools back into operation after 40+ years. This got me to thinking about the time that I spent with him. One thing that I remember very clearly was him saying with a high degree of pride was the he was a "tool making" blacksmith not a horse blacksmith. I know that he worked the oil fields of Oklahoma in the 20's and early 30's. Any ideas on what exactly he was referring to?

   Brummbaer - Thursday, 02/10/05 09:54:18 EST

Brummbaer, Are you in Oklahoma? A huge and beautiful machine shop, blacksmith shop, and remnants of a foundry are in Guthrie. David King is the owner. I have demonstrated twice there for the Saltfork Craftsmen, the Oklahoma blacksmithing group. If you can arrange a tour, David will tell you about all the things that were done there. The shop specialized in oil field equipment in the early days and was called the Southwestern Ironworks.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/10/05 10:21:11 EST

No, I am in Southeast Kansas, about 20 miles from the Oklahoma state line. Guthrie isn't all that far away though, so I have made a note of it as a plcae to check out in the spring. Thanks for the info.

   Brummbaer - Thursday, 02/10/05 10:39:57 EST


I suspect that what your grandfather was saying is that he made tools, he didn't shoe horses. In other words, he was a blacksmith, not a farrier.

The two professions, although they are both highly skilled and do share some skills, are quite a bit different.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/10/05 11:13:47 EST

Hardening Anvils:

I have rehardened four anvils and sent a long note to Sandpile on how we did it. I'm not going to reproduce it here but suffice to say that the one time we dunked an anvil in a big horse trough, the top plate cracked in several places. Using a large column and volume of water from any number of different sources is the proper method and worked on the other three. "Anvil's Ring" ran an article some years ago about a German anvil factory that was next to a river and they redirected the water thru a large pipe (12"). The anvil was heated in a furnace set on the ground and manhandled to a slab under the pipe, then the valve was opened - big splash and lots of steam. BTW, the face is not tempered afterwards but simply hardened. There will be a lot of decarb from the heat so some grinding will be needed to get down to fresh metal. The anvil shown on my website, www.comalforge.com, was done this way almost twenty years ago and has held up well to regular use since then.
   - HWooldridge - Thursday, 02/10/05 11:28:55 EST

BRUMMBAER You should go six or seven miles west of NEOSHO, on the south side of the highway. DENNY WILLIAMS has his buggy and wagon shop there. He is one fellow every body ought to know. GREAT guy and a accomplished smith.
   - sandpile - Thursday, 02/10/05 11:50:49 EST

Sandpile---does the local VFD have an annual picnick or corn/catfish roast? Ask if they would like to do an anvil quench as "entertainment" for it---that way you don't have to cull half a herd to get ribs for them...

Brummbaer; he probably refored cable tool drill bits for the 'patch.

Halfway between OKC and Tulsa, (stroud?) there was a fellow who was a 5th generation blacksmith I met back in the early '80's. Hope there is a 6th generation smith in his shop now
Nice equipment...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/10/05 12:02:40 EST

Brummbaer: There were general blacksmiths who did everything, including shoeing. The shoeing specialist is called a farrier. Otherspecialties included the toolmaker/machine smith, the wagon and carriage blacksmith, the railroad smith , the quarry smith, the industrial production smith and the cutler/bladesmith or swordsmith. Each of these and other specialties had special skills and a special Niche market for their work.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 02/10/05 12:28:28 EST

Stock for anvils: I can get all kinds of stock for very functional, simple anvils. What is more difficult is to make an anvil that has a traditional shape. If I were going to make an anvil, I would like to make one of the size and shape shown in Peter Pakinson's book at the begining of chapert 2 (I think). This is a large double horned pattern with the face elevated WRT the horns. I'd guess the anvil weighs in the 600-800 lb range. Making that is much harder and more expensive that making a simple block anvil. The only reason I have for making said anvil is the "cool" factor. I have a perfectly servicable anvil already. My very first anvil was a fabricated block and it worked very well, especially for knife work. I prefer a more traditional anvil, mostly for the hardy hole.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 02/10/05 13:50:03 EST

Brumbaer - In the days of cable tool drilling your grandfather may very well have made, or at least reworked, the drilling points - the "tool" for drilling rigs.

This would have involved working with the hardest, toughest tool steels available at the time and then doing the heat treatment RIGHT. Certainly something to be proud of.

Seems like the Hughes type rotary drilling points started to become common in the late twenties or early thirties, so he may well have got out of the business as the rotary’s were taking over. . . One of my great uncles bought a cable tool drilling rig in the late 20s and soon found himself relegated to drilling water wells. . .

   John Lowther - Thursday, 02/10/05 14:08:55 EST

Need Bellows Built ASAP: I work for a children's museum in Wichita, Kansas. We are building a simulated blacksmith shop from the Renaissance time period. We need to have a bellows custom made that is is 36.8 inches from its snout to its round end, and 22" wide. The radius of the round part is 11". It needs to be very durable and functional. I can go into more details if necessary. I would like to have the bellows finished and delivered by February 28.

So I posted about this today in the Hammer-In forum but thought I'd come over here and post it, too, in case you have any suggestions.

   Cindy Stanford - Thursday, 02/10/05 14:16:56 EST

I'm looking for a drift to make tomahawks with, oval-eggshaped. Can anyone help me out? I wrote about a week ago but all my internet stuff changed-thanks kids!

Thank you

   norm - Thursday, 02/10/05 14:52:30 EST

Bought one from Kane & Son --cast steel-works good
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 02/10/05 15:09:01 EST

Thomas, thanks for your answer on etchent. What is BSB? I thought that a billet was a place an army guy lived in. I have assumed that it is the softer steel that gets etched. Is that right? Hardening O-1: if you go above critical temp and quench when the heat comes down to it what is the outcome? It is interesting that someone mentioned that O1 needs to go above critical temp. Anyone second that?
If the first Rx doesn't get it file hard, should I try again
at a higher heat? How deep is the decarb layer? Isn't this a real promblem with damascus?
   - lsundstrom - Thursday, 02/10/05 16:32:53 EST

A billet is like an ingot, but forged (usually pattern welded) instead of cast. I *think* that the higher carbon steel is what gets etched faster, though I'm not 100% sure on that.

I'll explain the above critical thing a little more, maybe quenchcrack can step in too and explain it better then me. In steels there's what's know as the eutectoid point. In low alloy steel it works out to about .80-.85 carbon, in higher allows that point gets pushed around, but for example 1084 is eutectoid. When a steel is eutectoid, it completely transforms to austinite at exactly the critical temp (AKA non-magnetic, curie point). Most steels aren't exactly at the eutectoid point though, in which case the temp to finish austinizing is higher. How much higher depends on the exact steel. If you go above the point where it finishes austinizing then you start getting grain growth, which is generally a bad thing, you can get grain growth from forging too but you can fix it before HT by normalizing a few times (most say 3 times is best). Ac1 is the term for the temp where it starts austinizing, Acm is the term for the temp where it's done. If you can get a diagram for your O1 it will tell you exactly what temps are best. Hopefully QC will expand on this a bit, maybe he even has the diagrams to be able to tell you the exact temps.

Decarb *can* be a problem with damascus, but most people pattern welding high carbon steels grind the surfaces before welding so the last welding pass' decarb is removed from the weld area (that's not why they usually do it, they do it to remove scale that can mess up welds, but it does have the nice side effect there).

Heh, looks like I wrote a book here, you might almost think I was a metallurgist, but I just read carefully (and then reread) what the real metallurgists have to say. Here's a good source for more metalurgy info, Kevin Cashen and Robert C are metalurgists and post alot there, I'm actually surprised I don't see QC in there.
You'll probably have to register to get in there, but registration is free.
   AwP - Thursday, 02/10/05 17:17:58 EST

well execpt for one person i didnt get a resonse so i'l try again. would a car axle be a good metal to make a hot cut off hardy? or im i better off buying a specialty metal?thanks for all the help. John R. S.([J.R.'S.] a little humer there.;')
   John S - Thursday, 02/10/05 17:38:52 EST

John S.

Auto Axle will work fine for a hot cut hardy.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/10/05 17:50:45 EST

John S.

You might also take a look at iForge demo #143.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/10/05 17:54:28 EST

thanks paw paw. i tried using angle iron before but it just sagged over and didnt do crap on cutting.now from what ive read in all my blacksmithing books i should temper it to about a blue tp a purple. but in the new edge of the anvil it shows that the best conpermise between hardness and toughness is about 500 degrees(but blue/ purple is 6something).so on a hot cut hardy does it need to be more hard or tough?thanks again paw paw
   John S - Thursday, 02/10/05 18:04:07 EST

its on page 91.now looking at chart. 4 on that page it shows that the best conpermise is around 400 degrees. but if u look at chart 7 on page 96 it tells you that for cold chisels and steel your should temper to 550(purple).so which is better? thanks for all the help.as you can tell i know only the basics of metallurgy.John
   John S - Thursday, 02/10/05 18:18:54 EST

Howdy from Dickinson, Texas.
I would like to attempt to build a fly press for myself. Do you know where I could obtain a drawing or a plan of specs for cutting a screw and nut on a lathe as well as the preferred material to make it out of ? Would there be an internet site I could go to? or would someone be able to send it to me?
Thanks in advance and have a great day!
   Paul - Thursday, 02/10/05 18:32:31 EST


Like ptpiddler said, Kayne and Son carries one. If you use the Navigate anvilfire pulldown in the upper right hand corner of the screen and click on BlacksmithsDepot.com it will like you to their site. The drift is in their featured items column, or you can do a search for tomahawk drift and find it. They're one of our advertisers, and great folks to deal with.

Speaking of advertisers and folks who are great to deal with, I see Poor Boy Tools has been added to our roster of supporters. Thanks Ken! I hope your ad here brings you many new customers.

   eander4 - Thursday, 02/10/05 19:02:02 EST

John S,
If using axle stock, from a truck, there are two alloys that have been common for about 15 years at least. These both heat treat about the same. The smaller stock, say under 1 3/8" on the unforged portion, expect the material to be 1050H. If larger, expect it to be 1541H. Both of these alloys forge well, heat treat ok in a gas or coal forge. Do not hold at heat treat temps for more than is required to get the penetration of heat as grain growth is an issue in these steels. Quench in oil. Straight water is too severe. Tom Clarke used this steel to make a hot cut at a demo, I supplied a unforged sample, he forged in a coal forge, heat treated by color, then tempered to a straw. This cut is in use on an IBA student rig, and is perhaps a litle soft, but is easy on the hammers. When we temper at work, we hit the temper with-in 45 minutes, and it goes into a 345F oven for 30 minutes min. However your edged part will temper guicker at the edge if oven tempered.
I make lots of tools with this stuff, as I have a nice supply. Mine has never been on the road however as I get drops etc.
Good luck.
   ptree - Thursday, 02/10/05 19:05:02 EST

Thanks AwP,
   - lsundstrom - Thursday, 02/10/05 19:32:13 EST

Hot cut hardys.
You can even use mild steel. You may have to dress it more often than a higher carbon steel. But you need to remember that until you learn to hit hard and accurately, you can not leave the hot piece just on the hardy. That might be one reason that it needs work more often.
When I am in good form ( heath issues right now) I can generally cut 1 inch square in one heat with 5 hammer blows. But I get the steel to a yellow hot almost welding temp And I HIT it with authority,as an old smith once told me. And no it is not PPW as this fellow is old enough to be PawPaw's dad.
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/10/05 19:41:14 EST

Re: Hiting with authority.

In collece my metals teacher brought in an 84 yr old smith for the forging unit. He had parkinson's but even shaking, the hammer always hit right on. He came over to me on my first day and said "HIT the work, John. Don't jus pet it."
I have learned that to move metal you've got to HIT HARD.
Of course there are many times when gentle blows with finesse are needed to.
   John Odom - Thursday, 02/10/05 20:32:34 EST

Gavainh, well, I had a bad day and was in no mood to deal with sarcasm and arrogance. Maybe I just read too much into it. My frustration is the posting of data that is supposed to contradict the theory but no information is posted about how the tests were conducted. Your example of the thread about temperature variations is another case in point: How big of a furnace are we talking about? 1 cubic foot? 300 cubic feet? The size will have a huge effect on the uniformity. The folks over here seem to be far more civil although Don Fogg is a gentleman and a man to be respected.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/10/05 20:37:47 EST

Making your own fly press-
One of the key ingredients that makes a fly press work is a "multi-lead", or "multiple start" screw thread. This is not an ordinary thread- fly presses usually have a 4 lead thread. This is a lot trickier than cutting a standard, single lead thread. It can be done, but it is pretty advanced machining. Nowadays, commercially this is done with CNC lathes. And they are big- 1 1/4" diameter on a small flypress, up to 3" on a big one.
The multiple lead threads are needed to allow the ram to come down very quickly, but with lots of force. Regular single lead threads would take forever to run the ram down, and be useless for hot work, as the metal will have cooled by the time it gets there.

To copy any tool, find one that works, and try to reverse engineer it. Sneaky, yes, but I would recommend either going to the websites or ordering the catalogs of people who sell fly presses- that would be Bob Bergman, at old world anvils, who doesnt advertise here , and Blacksmith's Depot, who do.
Aside from the 4 lead thread and nut, the rest of it is just a big piece of iron. The commercial ones are all cast iron. Hundreds of pounds of it. You could fabricate one, I suppose, but the main frame would need to be cut out of pretty heavy plate- 4" to 6", I would guess. By the time you bought the plate, and paid for flame cutting, my bet is you would be pretty close to the price of buying one.
   - Ries - Thursday, 02/10/05 20:48:57 EST

John S.

I tend to take mild steel (which is what most angle iron is) to non-magnetic, quench it in room temperature water, and bake it in the oven over night at about 550 - 600. That winds up at a peacock blue in my wife's oven. I've made dies for my power hammer this way, and they have held up fine.

All heat treating is a compromise between hard and tough. The item (whatever it may be) needs to be hard enough to do the job, and tough enough to not break.

I'm no metallurgist, either. We have several here who are far better than I am at that subject.

But I do know what works for me. Your mileage may differ. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/10/05 20:54:55 EST

John S,

I have used angle iron for a hot cut hardy tool with no problems, so I'm guessing you aren't getting the work hot enough or not hitting it hard enough. Yellow hot and hit it hard. If you have the work hot enough, a mild steel hardy will cut tool steel. But if your work is only at a red or deep orange heat, it will still be hard enough to damage a soft hardy edge.

If you don't get the cut finished in about three blows, put it back in the fire a bit to let it heat up and the hardy cool down. If the hardy gets way too hot to touch, you need to cool it off before using it again, if you're using mild steel for the hardy. When the work stays on the hardy for any length of time more than a couple seconds, it will transfer too much heat to the hardy edge and soften it.
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/10/05 21:01:27 EST

hardening 01: I highly recomend that anyone doing blacksmithing learn some basics of the metallurgy of steel, and have a basic understanding of the iron-carbon phase diagram. Most steels have 3 crystal structures, or phases, that the metalworker needs to be aware of. These are ferrite (magnetic), austenite (non-magnetic), and martensite(hardened). I won't go in to too many details here. But when you harden a steel, you need to heat it until all of it is transformed into austenite (above either the A3 or the Acm, depending on the carbon content), this can require a little time (perhaps an hour) of soaking above the austenitization temperature. in steels, this process means that all the carbon is disolved and incorperated into the irons crystal lattice: there are no carbides. Then, when the steel is quenched, any austenite that is present below the Tm, or critical temperature, will very rapidly transform to the very hard martensite structure. In general, steels with a higher carbon content will have a LOWER critical temperature, and will form more martensite and be harder once quenched. If the steel cools below the austenitization temperature before quenching, the austenite will begin to turn back in to ferrite, and some of the hardness of the steel will be lost. This is why it is important to quench as quickly as possible when hardening steel. Then, when you temper, you are turning some of the martensite back into ferrite, thus reducing the hardness of the steel, and in return giving it some ductility and toughness so it won't shatter or chip as easily.

This is really a pretty crude introduction to the iron-carbon system. again, I highly recomend picking up a book about this and learning about phase diagrams. I can't think of very many, but my first materials course used a book called "Materials Science and Engineering, an Introduction", by William D. Callister. This is an excellent book with tons of very good info about metallurgy and much much more. If you don't want to buy this, and can't find it at a library, any general chemistry book should have an introduction to phase diagrams in it, which shoud be enough to understand the iron-carbon phase diagram, and I think that would be a very useful thing to understand for any blacksmith.

Oh yes, according to my steels reference, 1500F is optimal for 01 hardening, I would hold it here for a minute or two. Then quench. The critical temperature is 1370F, so you don't have all afternoon to get it in to the quenchant, I would say no more than 5 seconds. 2 quarts of oil may well not be enough for something that big. It never hurts to have too much quenchant, and you can use water, too. For a hardness of 52HC, you need to do sme pretty serious tempering, because 01 is pretty hard steel (max hardness is something like 64HRC). I can't find the diagram, but I would think it needs to be taken up to something like 800F for 15 minutes or so. I'll try and get back to you on the temperature and time for tempering.

Hope this helps! sorry for the rant about phase diagrams but they are very powerful tools when it comes to heat treating steels.
   - dan p - Thursday, 02/10/05 21:17:37 EST

*edit* in the above post, in the first paragraph, I twice used "critical temperature" when what I meant was "martensite start temperature." However, in the last paragraph I did mean to use "critical temperature."

sorry about that, don't want to start any confusion.
   - dan p - Thursday, 02/10/05 21:27:47 EST

Paul, for an inexpensive fly press watch ebay--there are a lot of them being sold out of Rhode Island--the jewelery
center of the US. Most are old and made in RI but they are heavy duty. I picked up one for $350- including cast iron stand. Luckily a friend was coming south with and empty Ryder truck--press was located right off I 95 but then again nothing in RI is far off the interstate
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 02/10/05 21:31:45 EST


I've never seen an American Fly Press on eBay, and I've searched many times. All I've ever seen were in England. I'm not saying there have never been any, but I sure wish I could see one! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/10/05 22:21:05 EST

paw paw, I have one from RI and a fellow blacksmith in Charlotte has one identical that came from RI-- they are usually listed under screw press, but they are flypress with a vertical handle and ball counterweight-- mine is about 2 1/2 ton
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 02/10/05 22:32:44 EST

pawpaw- email me and I will send you a picture of mine --since you want to see one
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 02/10/05 22:35:13 EST

There's angle iron and then there's angle iron. When I want something that is a little tougher, I use a section of bed rail. (people leave bed frames out at our dump, in the mathum pile, all the time for reuse). The stuff is usually medium to high carbon steel, and some folks even use it for corner chisels. Once it's out of context (cut from the reat of the frame) it can easily be mistaken for plain old mild steel angle iron. It would certaily work well for a hardy (although I use a standard GE model hardy myself).

Paw Paw, I love your new "pad", especially the enhancements, and the fact that your storage is larger than your work building. ;-)

Cold and windy on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/10/05 23:35:36 EST

Ingots, blooms, billets, etc. Traditionally in the 20th century before continuous casting became common place, you started with an ingot. That ingot would be hot rolled, or forged (most were rolled) if the resulting cross-section was a rectangle, it was a slab and would be rolled down to plate or sheet. If it was close to being square, it was usuaaly a bloom. Blooms would be reheated and either rolled into barstock (Bars could be 8 & 1/2" in diameter or larger.) or rolled into another transitional shape called a billet. The billet would be reheated and rolled either small diameter bar, or rod. Rod, if memory serves me was usually 3/4" by down at the 1 mill I worked at. Or billet could be sold for other uses - the first mill I workked in sold 5 & 1/2" round cornered square billets of 1546 grade to Chamberlain Manufacturing to be forged into large shells.

With continuous casters, if you have a small squarish cross section coming off them - say 5" square, it's called a billet.

QC - re furnace - lab furnace multi-use, used for heat treating PH tensile specimens to guarantee steel will meet AMS specifications when heat treated by a customer. Also had a subzero freezer -100 F. Inherited the furnace, the metallurgists involved should have known better than to have a lab with that in it. Problem was, I needed something to go to 1750 & down to 900 plus all intermediate temps for PH. Electric resistance at 900 with a rectangular box, no end & door elements, no heat transfer other than still air conduction & radiation just is not going to be uniform. And +/- 15 F is fairly tight at 900 F.
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 02/10/05 23:49:25 EST

Flypress- I know somebody recomended against using a ballscrew to build a flypress but: I have a VEE Die bender that uses a single lead 1.5 diameter .500 pitch ballscrew & a ball thrust bearing. It developes over a ton of pressure with one hand turning a 12" diameter handwheel. I dont know how much pressure the ballscrew can take, but there are slots cast in the handwheel to slide in a bar to increase leverage. I havn't broken it--yet.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 02/10/05 23:56:56 EST

Thanks to all who replied concerning my grandfather's skills. The idea of the cable drill works for me. I have an uncle in OK City who might remember more of this. I need to talk to him soon as he is literally at death's door and won't be around much longer.

I know Neosho pretty well. Lived there for a couple of years in 63 and 64 and graduated from Neosho HS. Might go back over just for a visit and check on this while I'm at it.

Again, thanks.

   Brummbaer - Friday, 02/11/05 00:16:43 EST

Howdy, i need some help, this time not with blacksmithing. For a school assignment, im supposed to interview someone who is a machinist, an occupation i am looking into. I was wondering if there is a machinist or former machinist on this site that could help me with this interview? it would most likely be online. I dont think that it would take long, because there arent that many questions, mlike 8 or 9 i think. The interview needs to be done within the next couple of weeks also. I would really appreciate any help you could give me on this.
Thanks Abunch
   Ian Wille - Friday, 02/11/05 01:44:13 EST

Folks *anybody* that gives a heat treat that is "best" for an item without mentioning what alloy it's for is full of it!

Old books sometimes did that and then they also described testing each piece of new bought steel to see what it was...

Patrick---isn't that the Swedish Style anvil? There was one for sale at an OH auction once---my wife was bidding on it for me but the price went from zero to jaw drop in about 16 seconds...and Don was not in the audience!

My large american Flypress was bought at the tool room auction of a mid ohio factory that was being shut down.

Cost me US$50 and then US$35 to have it loaded on my truck.
None of the dealers or factory owners wanted the "old tech".
BTW this was in the last couple of years too.

I have a friend who know owns a half dozen screwpresses, bought them all from a used machinery dealers paper; paid much less than new price---he's moving into knuckle presses nowdays...

BSB: bandsaw blade; most of my pattern welded billets start out as 20 layers of thin stock, BSP and banding is a common mix for me.

How much decarb? Depends on your particular forge and forging practices, of which I have not a clue...


   Thomas P - Friday, 02/11/05 04:45:38 EST


I hope I'm not calling you on a typo, but what's a "mathum pile"?
   Mike B - Friday, 02/11/05 07:08:04 EST

Norm: Tomahawk eye drifts are also often on www.eBay.com. A current listing is #6152581247. This is the guy who has them cast up at a foundry in Ohio and may be the source for those sold commercially. You can compare price and quality to a commercial source.

On fly presses on eBay, it is important to remember on keyword searches to use various combinations, such as screw press, screwpress, fly press, flypress. Sometime you have to start with a lot of listings (e.g., press or presses) and work backwards. Items may or may not be in the most appropriate category. I intentionally sometimes use a different category than others. For example if I were selling a blacksmithing related figurine, rather than in the figurine category, I would put it in the blacksmithing tools category. A caution I usually give on eBay purchases - watch out for the shipping and handling costs. Understand what they will be before you bid. My personal bidding technique is to determine what is the absolute most I am willing to pay delivered. I then subtract out S&H and that becomes my bid amount. I am outbid about 80% of the time, which is fine. I usually don't end up paying more than I wanted. If you win most of the auctions you bid on, you are probably paying too much.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 02/11/05 07:54:06 EST

Norm, Norm Wendel and his wife of Wendel Machine are fine people to do business with. They have a good selection of drifts, hardy tools and misc other bs'ing stuff.
   - Ron Childers - Friday, 02/11/05 08:07:15 EST

Help. I'm trying to find out the correct "cutting speed" or "feed rate" for sterling silver and gold-filled wire. I've found lots of references to the proper speesd (in feet per minute) for various types of steel and other base metals but nothing on precious metals.

Thanks for any help you can offer,
   Burk - Friday, 02/11/05 08:11:45 EST

As another example of what Ken says, I'd never seen a fly press from America on eBay. But when I entered screw press instead of fly press, up popped one. I'm watching it to see how the bidding goes before I bid on it.

My bidding technique is very similar to Ken's, also.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/11/05 08:27:30 EST

Mathums; Mike:

Please feel free to question any ypographical terrors. :-)

Mathum ("ma{eth}um" in the original spelling, I don't want to mess with symbols on Jock's page, but the eth is the letter that looks like a d with a cross on the stem)is an Anglo-Saxon word, revived by Tolkien; the current medievalist meaning is "Something that is presently useless, but too valuable, nice, or pretty to throw away." Thus, a museum can be considered a "mathum house." Mathums are frequently exchanged as gifts in the hope that someone else will be appreciative and find something useful to do with them.

A very useful term. :-)

Sunny and cold onthe banks of the Potomac. Off at noon, bound for Williamsburg for our Priest's celebration of the 10th anniversary of her ordination at Bruton Parish. Maybe I can drag some of my fellow parishoners past the blacksmith shop!

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 02/11/05 10:12:43 EST

Neosho Spook Light. I posted on the Hammer-in Forum, so as not to take up too much space here.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 02/11/05 10:13:50 EST

I just wanted to say that you guys are good men and I appreciate all the information that I have learned here at A.F. To reference my last post; I have scrapped the treadle hammer idea for a later date. I am now in a special problems in metals class at I.S.U. and have made a rather large forge, so that I might utilize it in my sculpture. The fire pot is the lug pattern of a semi's brake drum; note, that was the lug pattern only, had to plasma cut the top, oh, 8" off. The table is typical working height (resting middle knuckle, if I remember correctly). The blower is a beast, I wanted a smaller one but this was free from my professor. It's a furnace squirrel cage ready mounted with motor, gears, and belt. The motor is a 3/4 hp with a simple 110 (that needs a plug wired up). My uncle and I have decided to collaborate on a full on power hammer (junkyard style). I was wandering if you guys have ever heard of the front trans-axle of a four-wheel drive vehicle being used to create the reciprocal vertical hammer travel. I recently read this idea of mounting the axle below the anvil face height, great idea and I would like to maybe use the front trans of my junked 91 jeep Cherokee sport, mounted below face height; any advice. On that topic, what are some gear ratios commonly used in connecting the universal joint yoke to the motors axle, 10 :1 is purely a guess on my part. My recent talks with my uncle have been a boon to my understanding of air flow as it relates to the tuyere. Seeing as that the output on the furnace fan was so big, I had to make a restrictor plate and funnel to get the proper size of tuyere opening. I will, hopefully, be moving to Carbondale and enrolling in their blacksmithing undergraduate program, I will be leaving the forge that I have built in class at my uncle’s house, he wants to dabble in a little smithing.

   Forgefreind - Friday, 02/11/05 10:40:49 EST

Burk, I can't answer your question except to say if try machining gold-filled wire it won't be gold-colored anymore. Gold-filled just means heavily plated. It will come off if you abrade or cut the surface!

If you are trying to draw the wire or use it in a rolling mill, precious metals are usually done by hand and feed rate is as fast as you can do it until it work-hardens and has to be annealed.
   Alan-L - Friday, 02/11/05 10:47:11 EST

A few notes I wrote on coal forges for beginners:

I have seen more badly constructed coal forges than good ones in my life. A lot of folks make their own (which is perfectly fine) without a basic knowledge of not only how but why it works.

All solid fuels need some amount of air pressure to burn properly. You can have too much velocity with insufficient pressure or too much pressure without enough air movement. The two extremes can be illustrated by a couple of examples. A light wind blowing on a campfire will make it hotter but only the outside of the fuel pile burns because the breeze can't make it to the interior. Conversely, hooking an air compressor to a firepot will make a fire but any amount of pressure much over a few pounds will blow the fuel out of the pot. The reason why bellows and centrifugal fans work so well on a forge is that they generate the right combination of both air supply and pressure. Too big a blower (like a large, electric squirrel cage) will lead to excess fuel consumption, more clinker and an oxidizing fire. In addition, a squirrel cage can be "stalled" because they are designed to move large amounts of air - not push it thru a mass of burning fuel. Conversely, too little will never allow the fire to reach its proper potential for heating.

The proper size air inlet to the fire is also important. I'm sure a lot of folks have used grates drilled with a bunch of holes but 1-3 larger holes is better. One of the best homemade firepots I ever saw had a 1/2x3" slot cut in the bottom. The pot was entirely made from 1/2 inch steel plate and there was no clinker breaker. This arrangement made a nice hot fire with a center about the size of a grapefruit, which is about like a commercial pot.

I recently exchanged notes with a professional British smith who uses a side blast. It is simply a piece of 1" heavy wall stainless tubing as a tuyere and aimed slightly downward into a molded mortar "duck's nest". The coal is piled up in the hearth and forms it's own bed in the depression. Other fire shapes can be made by employing fire bricks to redirect the blast. This simple arrangement works well and eliminates all the Rube Goldberg creations that get built in back yards. The smith said he can easily weld with this design and some of these forges have lasted over 5 years in daily use.

I use a coal that generates a big clinker in a hurry but it was cheap, gets hot and cokes well so the only disadvantage is the dirt. Therefore, I have learned to build a fire and use it for half hour or so then let the clinker cool for a couple of minutes. At this point, there is enough to usually pick up in one piece while I try not to disturb the coke around the pot. I can usually clean the fire and get back to work without breaking the whole fire down.

If I have one piece of advice about fire tending, it's that less is usually more. I have seen a lot of people that tear the whole fire down on every heat or spend the entire time digging up the coke ball. A fire has to form a natural bed to work properly and it takes a few minutes for this to occur. A good coal smith will replace the piece for the next heat and rake a little coke on top. As the fire burns hollow, the sides are pushed in a bit. This gentle management is done during every heat - you don't work for an hour and then tend the fire all at once.

Hope this helps people who are just getting started...Hollis
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 02/11/05 11:08:51 EST

JPPW, look at ebay item #3871930020; good and bad. the good is that both weights are present, ram guides are there, and there are no obvious cracks in the frame. it is a C frame press and the check nut is also present. the bad; it is in the UK. this is the only press worth looking at on ebay, in me humble opinion. recall that i had an unintentional education regarding presses, and, for the good of the public, the fungus that i was dealing with has since left the tool arena, so i believe...
   - rugg - Friday, 02/11/05 11:46:50 EST

On fire tending: My moto is poke, stroke, stoke and soak. Poke to de-hollow the coke bed, stroke some coke from the perimeter of the fire into the center, and throw in (stoke) some more green coal and spray (soak) it down with my garden sprayer to keep the fire in the center. I can usually pull over a nice chunk of coal to oven-ize my fire. It's good to do this on every heat but I forget.
Blast control is vital, I have both a reostat and butter- fly valve between my 220 centrifuge fan and the fire pot. Also noise control is absolutely vital for meditative metal work.
   - lsundstrom - Friday, 02/11/05 11:58:20 EST

Bruce, thanks.

I'll have to try the term (mathum) on my wife next time I catch her turning the bent eye on my shop.


If you're asking about differential ratios (not counting the reduction from the transmission and, in your case, the trasfer case), I think 2.7:1 to 4:1 is typical. If you're planning to drive the hammer from one axle shaft and use the parking brake on the other as a clutch, keep in mind that when one axle stops the other turns twice as fast, so you lose half the gear reduction. Finally, I don't know if they put limited slip differentials on the front of Jeeps, but they're not likely to be happy with one side stalled and the other spinning.
   Mike B - Friday, 02/11/05 13:02:43 EST

Educational opportunity for Arizona smiths (or anyone who would like to attend): the Arizona Artists Blacksmiths Association will host a demo by Mark Constable, an award winning British Master Blacksmith at Phoenix Forge on Saturday, Feb. 19th 2005. This is at 130 E. Taylor St. in Phoenix. Registration at 8 AM.
   Ellen - Friday, 02/11/05 13:44:21 EST

Used fly presses, like used machine tools of all types, tend to be clustered on the east coast and upper midwest. If you live there, there are cheap deals. If you live somewhere else, they may be a lot harder to find. A $200 fly press in Rhode Island equals maybe a $800 delivered charge to me, here near Seattle, for a good size one. At which point the new ones look like a lot better deal.

BallScrews- ballscrews are used in power transmission and machine tools, because they are better than standard screws in two ways-
They have much less friction, so they move very easily. Ideal for an application where a small motor is turning the screw.
They also can be tightend down to get rid of backlash, So they are much more precise in their relationship between degrees of rotation and distance travelled.
Because instead of always touching in the same place, the hardened ball bearings rotate, and always show different wear surfaces to the screw they also will last a lot longer without getting sloppy.
The less friction aspect means they are a easier to turn on fly press or other hand operated tool. But the higher degree of precision is not needed on a hand tool, and they cost a lot more than standard threaded rod.
Their biggest drawback, however, is that they are still single lead threads. With a 4tpi ball screw, you revolve your handwheel at the top one complete revolution, and the ram goes down 1/4". With a 4 lead thread, 4tpi, you revolve your handwheel one revolution, and the ram goes down 1". 4 times the motion, for the same work. Many simple tools you would make for a fly press would require 3/4" to 1 1/2" of vertical travel- so you see why multiple start threads are very handy.
   - Ries - Friday, 02/11/05 13:50:14 EST

Can You tell me the procedure to heat treat 4140 step by step? Thank You in advance. Jaime
   Jaime Cruz - Friday, 02/11/05 14:01:03 EST

ANGLE IRON>BED-FRAMES: In the past I was making some wider ports in the GRAZING BITS for some ex-running horses, that had damaged tongues, too the point they were fighting their heads. I wanted a steel that would hold its shape, when banged around or some IDIOT pulled too hard on a horses mouth. A working cowboy has NO MONEY. I made some shanks out of BED FRAMES. Heated to a good cherry red and qwenched in cool water, then heated with a torch to a blue and held there probably six or so minutes. Checked in a vise, they were just right. Have no idea how hard, I just needed them to be springy, as to keep their shape and not break.

   - sandpile - Friday, 02/11/05 14:03:12 EST

dan p, Sir, is this a typo "any austenite that is present below Tm, that is critical temperature, will very rapidly transform into very hard martensite". Don't you mean "above" Tm. I'm not trying to find fault with your excellent advice, just trying to understand why I'm producing soft "hardened" O-1 demascus. So far, I have stopped right where magnetism is lost. How will I know how when I am 130F above it? Wouldn't that be a rather subtle color change. Could I heat, quench, file. If soft, heat, quench, file again at a slightly hotter tempt. until I got there with out hurting the steel?
Thx, Larry
   - lsundstrom - Friday, 02/11/05 15:27:30 EST

ISUNDSTROM> Maybe this will help> When I am hardening a metal. I take another separate piece of the same metal, shine it to where I can readily see the difference in the colors. I will take this metal to what I might believe is above the non-mag. Pull it, put it to the magnet. If it does not stick, I hold it close till I feel the mag stick. I see the color that it was when it stuck. I will then proceed with my work piece. I will take it above the sticking color on the shined metal, enough to know that the piece is heated all the way through. Then go to the qwench quickly, no fooling around. This has to be done quickly. I will also(sometimes) swish the piece around in the qwench. Then draw it back to whatever hardness you need. With most knife or tool steel this 300 to 400 degrees.
This is a lot easyier in not-so-bright room.

   - sandpile - Friday, 02/11/05 16:05:53 EST


that was indeed a typo. what I meant to say was: "any austenite that is present below the martensite-start temperature (which is probably more like 1000-1100F, I'm not sure on the exact temperature) will transform into hard martensite." that is to say, once you cool austenite to below this temperature, it transforms into martensite. yes, you can reheat and re-harden as many times as you like. the only catch here is if you have decarburized the steel, then the surface will never harden because it doesn't have any carbon left in it. if you think this may be the case, you can take a piece of O-1 scrap and attempt to harden it to make sure something else isn't wrong. it may be a lot easier to get your technique down with a smaller piece before you harden the tool, as sandpile suggested.
   - dan p - Friday, 02/11/05 17:30:43 EST

hey, thanks to frank turley and vicopper that gave me some insight on the finish question. i appreciate your time.
   JD - Friday, 02/11/05 17:52:41 EST

If you look to the powerhammer page,catalog of user built hammers, and look at both my hammer, and the RUSTY, you will see a simple to build hammer, with very easy to scrounge parts. I have sent the Guru an update on mine that shows the spare tire drive. If you look at the NC hammer that Pawpaw has, the spare tire drive is pretty straightforward. I think if the Guru was available, he might point out that the differential shock asorber type hammers do not hit very hard. The hammer that is better is what he calls the spring helve type, like mine. I prefer "crank actuated pivoting spring type". The hammer that is better than that is the link style like the NC. For ease of scrounging/building versus the power the type I built offers a lot. I built mine for $43.00, but I am apretty good scrounger
   ptree - Friday, 02/11/05 18:21:17 EST

ptree I would be interested in seeing the update pictures of your hammer with the tire drive if you could would you email me some pictures as I am collecting different variations of the "Tire" hammer
   Rayclontz - Friday, 02/11/05 18:37:52 EST

Will soon purchase a new all purpose bender for scrolling, tubes, bars, etc... Do ya'll have any recommendations? Thanks.
   Oliver - Friday, 02/11/05 18:43:59 EST

forgefriend, if you will email me I will snd you pictures of some "Tire" hammers and some information that will help you build one--dimensions--sources--etc
   Rayclontz - Friday, 02/11/05 18:48:38 EST

At the risk of beating that old dead horse one more time, I will again say that in my NSHO the only bender to buy for general shop use is a Hossfeld style bender, either from Hossfeld itself, or their competitor, American Bender. Di-Acro Benders are also very good, if you can find a cheap used one with lots of tooling. But new, a Di-acro runs about 3 times what an equivalent hossfeld does- $775 for a basic hossfeld package from American Bender, vs. about $2800 for a new Di-acro of the same capacity.
Skip the Harbor Freight, and similar chinese benders- they are garbage. The Shop Outfitters is ok, for very small stuff- its abilities are about 1/3 that of a hossfeld, with a price of $589. Not a very good deal, if you ask me. A hossfeld bender will do more stuff than you will ever need. They have dies for types of material you didnt even know existed. The downside is, the tooling is near infinite, and each piece is a hundred or two- so if you wanted, you could spend 20 grand on tooling. But realistically, for $800 up front, and maybe another grand or so over the years, you will have a bender that will outlast you, and will do all kinds of stuff.
Yes, there is a learning curve- but the instruction book from hossfeld is very good, and anyone can learn- I have trained a dozen or so guys who work for me over the years, and most of them became quite proficient with the machine. If you want to email me, I can send you the websites of the different manufacturers.
   Ries - Friday, 02/11/05 18:57:46 EST


Hossfield, or Diarco. I have a Taiwan knock off of the Hossfield, and it works fine for what I use it for. OTOH, I don't use it very much.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/11/05 19:17:06 EST

I have come into temporary possession of a cast iron anvil. One side is marked: LUDELL TAIWAN. Other side is marked 220 LBS 100 KG. Does anyone have any idea who the LUDELL might be?
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 02/11/05 19:44:39 EST

FRANK TURLEY> EMAIL going your way..
   - sandpile - Friday, 02/11/05 20:14:27 EST

Jaime, what section thickness are you heat treating? What hardness to you need as-tempered?
   quenchcrack - Friday, 02/11/05 21:01:21 EST

Fly Press Screws, For those who insist on trying to build their own flypress; you might look at the multiple start fast lead screws from Kerk motion products. The most basic series without backlash compensation uses a plastic composition nut and a stainless screw. Leads of up to 2" per revolution. I'd check with tech support though on the ability of the nut to absorb the imact loading at the end of the stroke. I've never seen any wear in my applications but they all have soft stops. Prices are reasonable but not cheap.

General Purpose Benders- I'm with Ries on this one. I don't know how you can beat the Hossfeld and I encourage people to buy the original. (I'd like them to stay in business so I'll still be able to buy tooling in twenty years!)
   SGensh - Friday, 02/11/05 22:03:06 EST

Jaime, My 1988 Jorgensen stock list says 4140 gets forged beginning at 2100-2200ºF. Normalize 1600-1700ºF, air cool. Anneal 1450-1550ºF, cool slowly, furnace preferred. Harden 1525-1625ºF, oil quench. There is a wide range of tempering temperatures depending on end use: 400-1300ºF.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 02/11/05 22:25:53 EST

Would like to learn the process of forging copper sinks, any suggestions for instructional books etc.?
   Mark - Friday, 02/11/05 23:53:32 EST

Jaime - heat treat 4140 to do what? What's the chemical analysis of the heat of 4140 you're heat treating, are you annealing it?, normalizing it, quenching and tempering it. What equipment do you hvae available to het treat it? I spent 3 & 1/2 years as the metallurgist for a heat treat line in a steel mill, 4140 was typically either annealed - lamellar pearlitic structure, or quenched and tempered 1" rounds up to 8 & 1/2" rounds, quenching into oil or water depending on size , tempered to meet ASTM specification for bolts. Minimum tempering temperature 1100 F, end hardness around 302 Brinell (roughly equal to 32 Rockwell C) Tempering temperatures were set based on size of the bar, hardness it had to meet (we didn't always produce to the bolt specification) and the chemical analysis of the heat the bar was produced from. That was back in mid 1976 to 1980.
   - Gavainh - Saturday, 02/12/05 00:35:07 EST

It is FRIDAY NIGHT> I might miss MY guess, buutt it looks like HA-MIE, might be down to the mall or movies.GRIN should be back by MONDAY. Grin.
   - sandpile - Saturday, 02/12/05 01:01:41 EST

Dear Guru,
I am attempting to deep draw,form or spin the top of a seamless cylinder,170mm X 1.2mm thick,from a diameter of 88mm to 30mm.From research I have done it appears that one method to perform this process is to press the tube into a die.Another method would be to create my own tube using a cold deep draw process.What is the most cost effective method to preform this process?
   Duncan - Saturday, 02/12/05 01:04:38 EST


The concept of proper feed rate for cutting has to do with more than just one or two factors. The first is, what material? In your case, sterling or GF. Foreither of them, you can pretty much get away with feed speeds that would be appropriate for most brasses. That is a broad generalization however, based on my not knowing any of the other parameters.

The other factors that need to be considered are the type of cutting you are doing, such as drilling, sawing, shaping, etc. The cutter angle, contact area, and cutter material all affect feed rate. As do the presence or absence of cutting lubricant, cooling or lchip removal. Thickness of stock is a major factor. Available power of the cutting equipment is another factor.

When cutting steel with a bandsaw, for example, heat is the enemy of the cutting edge. Insufficient cutting pressure (caused by too low a feed rate), will cause the teeth to build up too much heat because they are not losing heat to the workpiece. It is necessary to keep enough pressure on the cut so that the teeth are contacting the work with enough force to enable heat to be conducted from the teeth to the stock. When cutting sterling, which has the highest heat conductivity of any metal, this is not likely to be a problem, but loading of the teeth may be unless the gullets are adequate to remove chips fast enough. Again, stock thickness affects this factor.

Different attack angles on the cutting edge of the teeth will require different pressures to cut efficiently as well. Softer materials necessitate lower cutting angles to abvoid loading and drag, but too acute a cutting edge will result in snagged and loaded teeth also. Loaded teeth don't cut or clear chips or conduct heat well, so blade life suffers.

You didn't say what your objective was, either. Are you looking for most efficient cutting, cleanes cutting, longest blade life, highest producton speed or something else? Are you cutting straight lines or compound curves? Bandsaw, jewelers saw, circular saw, milling cutter, or something else?

As for the "gold-filled" stock, what is the aspect ratio of the cladding? What is the base metal beneath the gold clad? Is this true gold-filled or electroplated? (There is a big fundamental difference between plated and filled, unless the definitions have changed in the decades since I got my degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design.) The profile of the stock you are cutting may have an effect on the feed rate as well.

One last significant factor in deciding on the best feed rate is the METHOD of feed. Machine feed, dwhich is very consistent, will allow a higher feed rate than hand fed, all other things being equal. Whether or not the stock is securely clamped and how rigid the saw is also figure in.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that you haven't provided enough input to allow anyone to figure the "proper" feed rate.
   vicopper - Saturday, 02/12/05 02:35:06 EST


You didn't say what kind of material you're working with, what it will be used for or how many pieces you need to do. Hard to suggest *any* method, much less the best method, without those facts.
   vicopper - Saturday, 02/12/05 02:42:31 EST

Copper is a wonderful, plastic and forgiving metal.
Many methods will work. Any old book on basic copper forming ought to cover it . I think Linsay has a cheap reprint.
If your copper is thin, raising ( shrinking) the edges inward is the way to go, but requires a bit more skill. If you have a thick piece of copper, then sinking ( stretching) from the center out is easiest.
Listen to the copper and when it starts to ring instead of going thump when you hit it, it's time to anneal again. Polish your hammer faces. Protect yourself from the oxides and copper dust. Always hit the same thumb.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 02/12/05 04:25:19 EST

Dear Guru...
I'm a beginning hobbyist currently making my first knife, (Yep, more sense than makign a sword, despite their "Romance" and hollywood "Glory") as an illustration of HOW much a beginner I am, I wanted to anneal the steel I was using I used the method i learnt in High school metalwork class to anneal brass, by heating it red hot (actually i ended up with bright orange) and then dumping it in a pail of water.
You guessed it, I hardend the steel so when I went and whacked on my "annealed" blank the piece shattered under the hammer...
After that disaster i posted asking for help on a hunting forum where some of the hunters are also accomplished knife makers, and one refered me to the Anvilsmith FAQ on hardening and annealing steel.
What a help you guys have been. I now have a nice looking blade and am about to rough out the wood handle and drill the rivet/screw holes.
I even know my spring steel from a car leaf spring is most likely to be 5610 and it's hardening/tempering/annealing information now :)
Thanks a lot for this site Guru & Co... :)
   Rhys - Saturday, 02/12/05 07:59:39 EST

ooops... Anvilfire not anvilsmith :(
   Rhys - Saturday, 02/12/05 08:02:13 EST

Is anybody using a phase converter (using a second electric motor to run a 3 phase motor on single phase) on a consistant basis. Have a good price on 3phase 10hp compressor but Power Co. wants $10k to bring 3phase out from town. Pros and cons? I think I can set up this Ingersol to run constantly instead starting and stopping per air demand; figure that would save motors. Am I thinking correctly?
   - brian robertson - Saturday, 02/12/05 13:19:05 EST

Thanks for you reply. Sorry for the lack of pertinent info -- I'm still very much the newbie. Let's see if I can fil in the gaps.

I'm cutting coiled wire into "jump rings" to make chainmaille based jewelry. So I'm interested in flush cuts,
and I guess the angle of attack is 90 degrees to the surface of the wire. I am building a cutting rig powered by a drill-press (this seems to be the popular method with chainmaille armorers who power cut their own rings) and will feed the coils into the blades by hand via an adjustable coil holder (looks like a vise with grooves for different diameter coils) to reduce any vibration when cutting.

The blades are described as High Speed Steel (HSS) slotting saw blades and will cut stainless steel coils as long
as there's little to no vibration, there's some form of lubricant, and the drill speed is not too fast. My
understanding is that harder metals must be cut at a slower speed so that the blade doesn't overheat, lose its temper and either shatter or become dull very quickly.

The wire is sterling silver and gold-filled (20% gold layered onto a base metal - brass, I think) and the gauge runs from 24 (1/16" coils) to 12 gauge (not sure diameter but probably less than 1/2"). Mostly I cut 18 and 20 gauge sterling using a jewelers saw, but I need to reduce the time I spend cutting rings so I can increase the time available
for weaving them.

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you soon,
   Burk - Saturday, 02/12/05 15:59:37 EST

brian robertson,
often, an air compressor as big as 10 hp will be setup to run continously with a "unloader". This means the motor runs all the time but the compressor is only allowed to compress when air presure drops below a setpoint. This allows the motor to start against much less load, and to run at idle load drawing very few amps. Check with the ingersol dealer to see if this is the configeration or if it can be so configured.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/12/05 17:57:26 EST


That additional info helps some. For what you're doing, you don't really have any big issues except snagging the teethof the saw on the thin stock. Most drill presses won't run fast enough to develop excessive surface speed on a small (under 3" diameter) slitting saw.

Snagging can be an issue on the small gauge wire. You need to have three teeth engaged in the stock to assure you wont have any snagging. on 24 ga stock (~.020"), thaqt means teeth that are only .009" or so apart. On a 1" diameter slitting saw with 160 teeth, the tips will be spaced almost the thickness of the wire. With the coil still tightly wrapped on the mandrel and clamped in a vise, you may get away with it. If you try to hand hold it for cutting, you may not be able to control the feed smoothly enough to keep from snagging the saw, so I would recommend you devise a means to feed the coil into the cut using a leadscrew. Feed speed is not going to be an issue. I would recommend you cut on the tangent, and cut uphill, of course.
   vicopper - Saturday, 02/12/05 19:44:46 EST

Cutting uphill.....
so you do your cutting standing on your head? Is this something you learned from PPW? ( think I will go and hide now. smile)
   Ralph - Saturday, 02/12/05 19:48:14 EST

how much would it be to make a real samurai "sword" steel. please send me some info
   ruben - Saturday, 02/12/05 22:14:53 EST

Sorry, but I have no idea what "cutting uphill" means. I'm also kind of lost on the idea of using a leadscrew. I'll google for the terms, but if you can point me to a definition, I'd appreciate it.

What got me started asking the question about feed rate was some posts at The Ring Lord from maillers wondering why their blades didn't last long. The response was that their drill press was too fast and causing the blade to wear out quickly.

Just for my own sense of completion, do you know the feed rate for sterling, or 10K gold (not gold-filled)?

   Burk - Saturday, 02/12/05 23:16:19 EST

I'm looking for information concerning a footing or base for a 25 lb Little Giant. Something for sound, something for keeping it grounded and something for keeping the concrete from breaking. Does anyone have a recommendation. Thank you.
   Daniel - Saturday, 02/12/05 23:58:12 EST

Daniel, Some of the horse trailer mats are of rubber and 3/4" thick. I have had mine on 3/4" plywood for a number of years. The anchor bolts are set in holes drilled in the 5" thick reinforced concrete floor and held with Rockite anchor cement.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/13/05 00:35:26 EST

I am not sure about cutting up hill.
But vicopper is most likely talking about using a leadscrew as the means of pushing the coiled wire into the cutting blade.
'Leadscrew' is about the same as the screw that opens and closes a vise. Just a finer thread pitch so you have finer control
   Ralph - Sunday, 02/13/05 00:38:21 EST

can not say. Depends on your skill and dedication. But before you can make the sword you have to learn about moving hot steel and welding and sword design. Then you need to practice on smaller stuff until you truely understand every aspect of the process. Then you also need to understand the metalurgy of the steel so that you can properly heat treat the sword. Then you need the tools.

So all in all I would guess that it would take several years of working only at learning how to do this.
To buy a decent sword can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. While some bladesmiths can make a sword fairly fast, they are generally the ones who charge the most as they went thru all the learning and now have the skills and experience to make them fast and proper, and so the buyer will have to pay for that experince.
you might want to look at www.atar.com as Jim is a premiere sword and knife maker.
   - Ralph - Sunday, 02/13/05 00:44:30 EST

can not say. Depends on your skill and dedication. But before you can make the sword you have to learn about moving hot steel and welding and sword design. Then you need to practice on smaller stuff until you truely understand every aspect of the process. Then you also need to understand the metalurgy of the steel so that you can properly heat treat the sword. Then you need the tools.

So all in all I would guess that it would take several years of working only at learning how to do this.
To buy a decent sword can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. While some bladesmiths can make a sword fairly fast, they are generally the ones who charge the most as they went thru all the learning and now have the skills and experience to make them fast and proper, and so the buyer will have to pay for that experince.
you might want to look at www.atar.com as Jim is a premiere sword and knife maker.
   Ralph - Sunday, 02/13/05 00:44:59 EST

Richard R. Kern's book on the care and feeding of the Little Giant repros the factory reccomendations, showing a block of reinforced concrete under the 25-pounder 22 inches deep, 41 inches long, 29 inches wide, shows four 5/8-inch bolts 18 inches long going down through a 1 1/4 inch pipe sleeve for the first six inches, anchored through steel plates. Between the hammer and the concrete is an old belting, cork or rubber shim 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick. My 50-pound Meyer Bros. (LG clone) is bolted to a pad of RR ties cross-bolted together on dirt, and that baby rocks. Concrete would be better. A picture of the late, great Alexander Weygers's shop shows his LG perched atop a concrete pad poured above the floor.
   Juan leGubrious - Sunday, 02/13/05 00:46:22 EST

3 phase converters--I have been using home made and purchased static converter + idler motor setups in My home shop for the past 30+ years to run milling machines & a surface grinder, 1 to 3 HP. They run OK, but don't have starting torque like they would on industrial 3 phase. Comercially built rotary converters are supossed to give full horsepower, comercially built static converters usually recomend reducing the motor pulley diameter by 1/3 which will reduce CFM output by allmost 1/3 allso. The first converter We built was based [loosley] on a schematic from "Reliance Electric" who sold a customer assembled unit using start capacitors, oil filled running capacitors, and an inductance coil/relay.They called it "Reliance 3 Phaser" I don't know if they are still in business.MSC company sells static & rotary converters, I expect a comercially built rotary would give legs of nearly equal voltage, idler motor setups don't,at least in My experiance.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 02/13/05 01:21:59 EST

Daniel, the "horse trailer" or stall mats Frank referred to are available at most feed and tack stores for about $50 new. You can also get them from online supplies, like Jeffers Equine, but the shipping will be steep as they are very heavy.....

PS...used mats have a strong odor! Horse urine soaks in and doesn't go away.
   Ellen - Sunday, 02/13/05 06:20:17 EST

I have my 45# junkyard hammer mounted on a concrete foundation in a dirt floor. I used urathene conveyor belting as a pad and noise isolator. Seems to work well. If you have a conveyor supply company around, they sell off fall and scrapped conveyor belting. My foundation is about 30" thick, and lots of rebar. I have no bounce, but it also down to th hardpan.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/13/05 08:06:07 EST

Cutting uphill, or climb milling reffers to the direction of cutter rotation versus the direction of feed. In milling, if the direction of feed aould allow the cutter to "climb" the part if the cutter was free to move on its own is climb milling versus downhill, in which the cutter is trying to pull the part out of the vise.
In a rigid mill, with a part firmly held, the issues are different than in your drill press with a non-rigid spindle and a probably not rigid vise for somewhat limber parts the want to distort and come out of the vise.
I suspect that Vicopper is telling you to pay attention to the direction of feed to prevent a wreck, of the coil being snatched out of the vise.
For a leadscrew, look at a vise that has X and Y axis feedscrews. These will allow you to move the vise in a steady, controlled manner. These are available at Harborfrieght among others. A milling setup in a drill press may work for this very light cutting, but is seldom possible in a light drill press, as everything is much too limber.
Good luck
   ptree - Sunday, 02/13/05 08:20:56 EST

ptree, thanks! I wrote a lengthy post saying pretty much that, but it went into the ether and never came back. I guess I shouldn't try to write at 2 in the morning, huh? (grin)

In Burk's situation, I would advise using the X-Y vise and cutting downhill on the 24 ga. wire, and uphill on the larger stuff. I have some concerns that the teeth of the slitting saw may be spaced just about the same as the diameter of the wire, so downhill tangent cutting is the only real hope for not snagging the teeth in the stock. Not an issue with the larger wire, of course. It will help if the coiling mandrel is left inside the coil while cutting too, so the vise can clamp against a "solid" mass instead of an open coil.

When I have done this, I always used a jewelers saw with an 8/0 blade, because of the snagging and snatching issues. Slow, but sure.
   vicopper - Sunday, 02/13/05 09:07:30 EST

It's hammer time!

Folks, I'm looking to forge my first hand hammer. I managed to find some scrap 1-3/4" shafting for the material. The spark test looks identical to some 4140 I have.

My question today is about the heat treatment. Looking around the 'net and the various books I have got me a lot of information, maybe too much. So here I am on the 'net again to further confuse the issue :-)

It seem the most common way mentioned would be to anneal, and then harden the faces and let the body's residual heat draw into the faces to temper. I would be annealing by heating to the appropriate temperature (or best guess) and letting it slow cool in an ash bucket. Or I could just shut the forge off, it's propane, and let it cool in there. Any recommendations on that?

But my biggest concern is the quenching itself. 4140, if that's what I've got, is supposed to be oil quenched. If I only do the faces, I would expect lots of flash fire problems. Another way, in Weygers' book, tells to harden the entire head and then do some "localized annealing" by inserting a yellow-hot rod into the eye and quenching when the faces get to yellow-brown.

So any experience with either, or other, methods to heat treat this?


   - MarcG - Sunday, 02/13/05 11:28:27 EST

Home from Costa Rica: Well. . . I am home after a very nice two week trip. Lots of mail to catch up on.

I have an issue of the news ready to post in a few hours.

When I got home I needed to restock the refrigerator with milk and get some fruit and vegatables. I bought a bunch of bannanas and a pineapple at the local super market . . . both from Costa Rica!
   - guru - Sunday, 02/13/05 11:37:43 EST

Oil Quenching: It is always best to fully quench when oil quenching, especialy heavy parts. Any exposed surface above the flash point will ignite the smokey vapors coming off the part. It also reduces the chance of cracking the part.

If your axel stel is not an alloy steel like 4140 then it may be best to water quench it. The trick to prevent cracking is heat JUST HOT ENOUGH and have an even heat. Then quench in luke warm, not cold water. On thick masses you need to heat slowly in order to have a uniform rising heat at the hardening point. If you have a surface heat then cracking is more likely.

Costa Rica Oil Quenching: An old smith in Costa Rica says to prevent warpage when oil quenching a part hold it above a piece of newsprint and drop the part on the paper into the oil so that the paper envelopes the part. It softens the and distributes the quench. Good for long slender parts and blades. I suspect the technique could also be used in water.

Sounds like it requires so practice and a way to screen your oil to get the burnt paper out.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/13/05 11:47:19 EST

good morning. I have a recently completed propane forge with kaowool insulation coated w/ ITC 100. I've only used it 3 times so far and noticed upon today's inspection of the interior that the ITC 100 is showing cracks. Is this normal?
   - ken millson - Sunday, 02/13/05 12:34:30 EST

hello Guru, I noticed this morning that the ITC 100 on my newly constructed propane forge has several cracks in it after using it only 3 times.. The ITC 100 was thinned down to what I thought was appropriate (but aren't exactly sure what that would be) and brushed on the kaowool after spraying with water, then left to dry by the house furnace for about 3 weeks. Is this cracking normal? Thanks, Ken
   ken millson - Sunday, 02/13/05 13:09:51 EST

I am still confused as to why people anneal before hardening. What does annealing do? It forms BIG carbides, depleting the iron around the carbide of carbon. Having less carbon, this part of the structure is very soft but the carbides are very hard. When you harden the steel, where do you want the carbon? Distributed throughout the iron, not in big carbides! When the carbon is evenly distributed throughout the iron, it hardens uniformly with less chance of cracks. To distribute the carbon uniformly, you NORMALIZE it, not anneal it. So why do so many people anneal before hardening?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/13/05 13:09:58 EST


Many people confuse the terms normalize, anneal, harden, and temper. They tend to use them somewhat interchangeably, which is not the case, naturally.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 02/13/05 13:50:27 EST

Because all the old books say to do it, since nobody knew about normalizing back then, and it just stuck.
   AwP - Sunday, 02/13/05 13:58:07 EST

First off and to avoid confusion, I am a different Dan P. than "dan p". I would like to know if anybody would like to share any knowledge concerning railroad track and its utility as a tool steel source. I found a big piece in the shop that somebody has gas-cut the "foot" part off of and molested with a power hammer, and wonder if it would be any use for making into hardy tools, or other tools, punches, sets etc. Is it air hardening? Can one even make any presumptions about rail track concerning quenching media and other properties?
   Dan P. - Sunday, 02/13/05 14:08:12 EST

Dan P. Look at the FAQ'S they have some listings that may help you determine what you have.I have used some for hardie tools and it works ok as far as I know. I oil quench and haven't had a problem with it. But I am in no way an expert or an accomplished smith.
   - jimmy - Sunday, 02/13/05 14:33:28 EST

Normalizing, annealing, ...

I fall into the "old books" group that AwP mentioned. And also from information taken from all over the internet. I did just come across an interesting, and informative, site while looking for how to normalize. I'm still guessing that I have 4140, but that's only from the spark comparison with some known 4140.

Anyway, http://www.suppliersonline.com has all sorts of information on steel. If you go into the Research section, you can get to all sorts of properties of different steels. From there I found that I need to normalize by air-cooling after it's soaked at 1675F.

But how about that differential tempering? Since it's not a struck tool, how important is it to keep the middle section softer? My guess is that section experiences stress from the back end of the hammer when the striking face hits something. Make sense?

   - MarcG - Sunday, 02/13/05 14:46:44 EST

Thank you so much for the Little Giant floor mount inf. This will be my first power hammer and I am excited to get it running. I think I will try the rubber pads with out the horse pee! I think I'll pour a footing on my existing concrete, place the bolts and then lay down the rubber mats. Thanks again, Daniel at whitehartforge.com
   Daniel - Sunday, 02/13/05 14:51:44 EST

euro style anvil: the more I use my Hay Budden the more I become convinced that a square horn and a shelf would be very handy. But all the showing an anvil with a shelf, the shelf is located right where I would do my heavy drawing. On my HB, I have the edge of the plate rounded to 1/2" radius right there behind the horn and it seems a natural place to strike. Where is this done on the euro anvils with shelves?
   adam - Sunday, 02/13/05 15:04:30 EST

ptree and vicopper,
Thanks for explaining up and down hill. Still hoping for someone who knows the feed rate (ft per minute as I understand it) for sterling silver and 10K gold. I'm told it can be found in a machinists manual, but I don't own one.

   Burk - Sunday, 02/13/05 15:14:19 EST

Dan P.,

Check out iforge demo #45 on this site for a demo on tools made from RR rail. As for quenching, I would recommend using oil.

   eander4 - Sunday, 02/13/05 15:15:09 EST

When tempering a knife, how do I cool it? The hardening FAQ says not to quench after tempering, I'm using me kitchen oven (max temp 270ish Celcius) but should I leave it in the oven as the oven cools or pull it out and let air cool in the cooler ambient air?

   rhys - Sunday, 02/13/05 15:25:56 EST

My forge blower (elec.) just quit. Over about a 30 minute period it slowly seemed to loose power as if a wire had frayed into. Is this a brush problem or something else?
   Art B. - Sunday, 02/13/05 16:42:41 EST

Rhys, most folks pull the blade out and let it air cool. Quenching it from tempering can actually improve toughness but might also warp the blade.
Old Books: I have a lot of these. Of course, they were new when I bought them in college! I think we need to encourage folks to use the prevailing definitions of the terms so that we can all make sure we give the right advise.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/13/05 16:58:16 EST

My forge blower (elec.) just quit. Over about a 30 minute period it slowly seemed to loose power as if a wire had frayed into. Is this a brush problem or something else?
   Art B. - Sunday, 02/13/05 17:15:10 EST

Guru, back from un-warm Munich; have found no fruit from Germany but did bring back plumb brandy...

   Thomas P - Sunday, 02/13/05 17:21:23 EST

RR track is usually something like 1070 which is great for tooling. However the top gets heavily workhardened and may have shallow cracks and shuts. You may want to do some grinding to take that off before doing any heavy forging.
   adam - Sunday, 02/13/05 19:01:02 EST


I'lll try this one last time. There is NO set feed rate for sterling silver. Period. Nor is there for any other metal. It depends on the cutting tool, the lubricant, the coolant, the hardness of the metal and, for all I know, the day of the week. With that many variables, there is NO WAY to give you an absolute answer.
   vicopper - Sunday, 02/13/05 20:10:09 EST

MarcG, I've made a few hammer heads, mostly out of squared up 18-wheeler truck axles. Marc, you're using what you THINK is 4140. Good luck, because it may not be 4140. The spark test is more difficult to read on alloy steels that it is on plain carbon steels.

I understand that if you quench the entire hammer head at the hardening heat, you get an undesirable difference in hardening speed on portions of the hammer. The eye walls, being thinner than the head, will harden ahead of the head, and this sometimes can cause a crack in the eye wall. It doesn't necessarily happen, but it could conceivably happen. So the smith tried to leave the eye normalized while he hardened the head and peen separately by heating at the edge of his coke fire.

I use a primitive "wet rag method" on the axle steel. After hardening the head, I abrade the face to bare metal, put in the vise face up, and drop a heavy forge-welding-heated turned eye over the head to draw it to a dark straw. I then surround the tempered head with a wrapping of wet cotton cloth, so when the peen is heated, the conducted heat will be halted by the wet rag. I use large bolt tongs, heat the peen, and quench. I usually temper the peen to about a purple with the oxy torch, again keeping a wet rag on the head.

With the 4140, we're guessing at tomcats. I would harden the entire tool by completely submerging it in a large volume of oil. Figure-8 it in the oil bath. Keep it moving. If you can bring it out where you can just touch it, 150ºF, that's good. I'm not at all sure of the tempering temperature for a 4140 hammer head. The head when tempered, should be fairly hard, so that a new file will cut it with a little difficulty.

Most hammer heads are of W1 plain carbon steel, because it is a shallow hardening steel where you get a "hard case and a tough core" (having nothing to do with case hardening). Tempering this case/core is desirable for a tool of direct percussion, because the core acts as a "cushion" for the tool.

   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/13/05 20:18:48 EST

I have a centaur forge rectangle fire pot. It measures about 12"x14"x4". I was wondering what kind of air flow I would need max out of a blower to supply this thing.
   Michael Gora - Sunday, 02/13/05 20:58:41 EST

Sorry I forgot to mention the inlet pipe for the firepot is around 3" in diameter. Thanks for the help in advnance.
   Michael Gora - Sunday, 02/13/05 21:15:48 EST

RHYS> You could get a more educated answer if you would mention the number of the steel you are useing.
Some times you qwench and put it in the freezer, ohter times let it cool in the oven, still again let it air cool.

   - sandpile - Sunday, 02/13/05 21:22:17 EST

I looked in my 1940 edition of the machinery's and did not find a listing for speeds and feeds for gold or silver.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/13/05 23:45:30 EST

Hi. I I need some basic info. or advice on making a railing. I've done my shareo of forging and metal working but have never made my own railing. Most importantly what should I look for in my site visit. ie measurments etc.
Thanks !
   - Mike - Sunday, 02/13/05 23:58:27 EST

If you have shafting from a machine it could be anything. If a truck axle, say off an 18 wheeler, and is less than say 15 years old then the steel is most likely 1541H. If from a car, where the bearings are pressed directly on the axle than 1541H or 1050H. If a small truck axle, with the un-forged diameter less than say1.5" than most likely 1050H.
Note that the H is after every material. This is a modified steel that is used in the axle trade that heat treates in VERY high speed machines, called scanner induction hardeners. This steel will quench crack at the drop of the hat if mistreated. That means don't hold at temp for long as grain growth is a problem. Do not quench with straight water. In the industry ammended water is used to slow the quench. Oil is safe if you are not experienced.
At the old shop where I worked, they forged a job lot of about 10 sizes of hammer heads. From 1# to 12#. Took 4 hits in a press, and they were made of 1050. I have quite a few that were blemished, and they are as forged.(soft) I believe the quenchant for the 1050 heads was water, sprayed on the head ends as they passed by on a conveyor.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/13/05 23:58:48 EST

Hi. I need some basic advice on making a railing(outdoor). I've done my share of metalworking but never made my own railing. What should I look for on my sight visit? I.E what types of measurement angles etc. Thanks.
   - Mike - Monday, 02/14/05 00:01:13 EST

I was reading another forum and someone reccomended these anvils. I have never heard of the JHM brand before and was wondering if these are decient or not? They *seem* decient, and they have farrier anvils too which makes me think they might know a bit about real anvils, but then it's surprising nobody anyplace I've read before has reccomended them before. Anyone have experience with these?
   AwP - Monday, 02/14/05 03:14:15 EST

Sorry for the double post, here's anothother one from then, what's with the heel? I've never seen that on an anvil before.

   AwP - Monday, 02/14/05 03:16:51 EST

AwP: From Anvils in America:
   - Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/14/05 04:45:21 EST

AwP: From Anvils in America:
   - Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/14/05 04:46:29 EST

AwP: Forum is acting up tonight. Anvils in America says they are ductile iron which is heat treated. As such, they may not stand up to more heavy-duty blacksmithing work. I believe the heel design is for bending horseshoes.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/14/05 04:48:44 EST

Sandpile... It's by guess and by god as to what steel I have. It's leaf spring, age and vehicle unknown from a junk pile by the back door of the local garage. I'm guessign from what I've read in various FAQs that it is likely to be 5160.
Reason I asked was cause I heated it up in the oven to MAX heat which is 270degC +/-thermostat error and quenched in oil. someone then wondered if I should have quenched since he thought that you didn't quench after tempering. So asked here. Seems likely I haven't hurt it, more anyway than it would have been at the beginning anyway :P I've got the story of the blade here www.cybamall.com/303Shooter/knife.html if you have the time to go read and admire the photos. It's my first ever forged object. :P and even then a lot was done by cold hammering the soft annealed steel after working out how to anneal it. the tempered blade now won't be blunted by copper or brass that i can see after trying to chop a cartridge case up with it :D

   rhys - Monday, 02/14/05 06:23:15 EST

vicopper and ptree,
Thanks anyway. Looks like I was mis-informed about set cutting speeds/feed rates. I appreciate your time and patience.
   Burk - Monday, 02/14/05 07:56:19 EST

Thanks Frank and Ptree. I don't know from where this piece came. The scrap guy has a bunch of these, with various diameters, but all about 2 - 3 ft long. The ends are all cut clean, so I don't think he cut them from axles. He uses them for pins.

I think I'll play it safe and use an oil quench, then go from there. I could also stick a plug in the eye when hardening to keep the walls from hardening too fast.
   - MarcG - Monday, 02/14/05 08:48:06 EST

Rayclontz. I would really appreciate that info. This is great, I love this being in contact with people that think like me.
   Jeremy Pugh - Monday, 02/14/05 10:17:11 EST

Sorry thats my real namew
   Forgefreind - Monday, 02/14/05 10:17:50 EST

Oil Quenching: I once made the mistake of dip-quenching a long barn hinge in my oil barrel to give it a quick “burnt oil” finish. Mistake! It did a wonderful imitation of the “flaming balrog sword” complete with clouds of evil black smoke! After a moments startled contemplation I resubmerged it in the oil, dousing the flames, and left it there until reasonably cool.

Welcome Back to the States; Jock:

Well, at least we didn’t leave you with the smoking ruins of a website from some inane flame-war. Things have been a bit hectic at the NPS, so I tried to just keep up, and refrained from the temptation to pontificate and use obscure medieval terminology. Now that your back, I can rejoice in my old, bad habits. ;-)

Welcome Back to the States; Thomas:

Watch out for that “plumb wine”. I hear it has a high lead content, possibly to sweeten it! It might also take you to the depths of degradation, and, uhhh… I forget…. :-)

Rainy, cloudy and cold on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 02/14/05 10:19:52 EST

I need help deisgning a chimney for my coal forge which I am re-locating into a wood frame buidling. The building has a opening for a 6 inch metalbestos chimney flue. I wonder if regular metalbestos flue that is available at Home Depot or Menards is heavy enough for the flue gas from a coal forge? The flue will have to go through the sheetrock ceiling and 15 inches of blown glass insulation. I will have to keep the insulation away form the flue. Would it be better to forget metalbestos type flue and replace it with a heavy duty (ie 16 guage steel) tube that is isolated from the insulation>

Another question, is the fireproof wool that is used in the gas forges suitable for insulating the chimney. Any direction you can give me or resources will be appreciated.

Don Agostine
   Don Agostine - Monday, 02/14/05 10:25:23 EST

i'd like to get a forge that is powered like a treadmill (in german we'd call it a "feldesse" or "tretesse"), so i have to run the swingwheel for the blower with my foot/leg. alas i don't know what you'd call it in english, nor whether anyone actually makes them here [here being the UK..]. you wouldn't happen to know where i can find one of these?
   ecraven - Monday, 02/14/05 11:47:24 EST

Brummbaer your granpa was trying to explain why he was broke. Had he been a farrier, you would have been born into a wealthy family. :)
   adam - Monday, 02/14/05 11:50:01 EST

Is there a chemical that will "Degalvanize" metal so I can get a polyurethane glue to stick to it?
   Eric - Monday, 02/14/05 12:31:05 EST


Dilute hydrocloric acid or phosphoric acid will etch the galvanizing sufficiently tohold paint, so that should work for glue as well.
   vicopper - Monday, 02/14/05 12:57:42 EST

Thomas P, Thanks for your suggestion on white vinegar etch.
My wife loved it. I poured the vinegar into a glass beer mug, nuked it for two minutes and the put the knife blank into it. It almost immediately started to bubble and in about 90 minutes had tuned the knife pure black. After rinsing, the definition was spectacular.
many thanks, Larry
   - lsundstrom - Monday, 02/14/05 13:25:11 EST

Mike *first* thing is to go find out what the local building code specifies---never assume that other's peoples work is to code and so is OK to make it like they do...

   Thomas P - Monday, 02/14/05 13:27:29 EST

Can't find the new news issue
   Chris Makin - Monday, 02/14/05 14:04:14 EST

a few things:

MarcG: If you put a pin in the eye when quenching, make sure you don't heat-shrink the pin in place! Harmless but embarassing.

ecraven: Guten Tag, wie geht es ihnen? We would call that a treadle forge. I have not ever seen one in the U.S., but it would be much like the old Champion lever forges with a treadle attached to the blower lever. I don't know if they are available in the U.K., but I hope someone can help you. It would be a nice system.

Don Agostine: I don't think you'll be happy with a six-inch flue, as it won't suck enough smoke to keep your shop from filling up when you start the fire. Ten inch I.D. is about the minimum for a coal forge.

Eric: Try vinegar as well. Or just rough it up with sandpaper, if you can.
   Alan-L - Monday, 02/14/05 14:38:20 EST

AwP, It is a farriers' pattern. The taper on the heel is for hanging side clips over either side in order to level the shoe more easily. The squared off clip horn is for drawing the clips. The end "turning cams" are for hooking the shoe fore and aft, in order of bend in the right place...can even be done cold.

ecraven, A book titled, "Pedal Power" by McCullagh has how-to sections on all kinds of foot powered gadgetry. You could probably use their ideas in order to build something suitable. Check abebooks.com
   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/14/05 15:27:52 EST

Ken Scharabok & Frank Turley: Thanks for the anvil info, I guess that's why I never heard of them before, weren't worth talking about much being ductile iron and all.
   AwP - Monday, 02/14/05 16:12:09 EST

Sandpile, the link i gave won't work, the host is fussy and insists on all capitals being in the right place. not very flexible. this should work


   rhys - Monday, 02/14/05 16:21:06 EST

Anybody know of, or have heard about, a place called Touch Stone academy of art. I hear they offer three month apprenticeships free of charge. They give you three hots and a cot; as well as nights of raucous mountain parties repleat with moon shine and song. Thanks
   Forgefreind - Monday, 02/14/05 16:27:36 EST

If any of you ever wanted to know just how much free information and knowledge Mr. Frank Turley gives, and the value of that time and knowledge, some times it helps to step away and let others place a price on it. Please check out this ebay listing, and thank your lucky stars for great people like Frank and his willingness to share with the rest of us here in cyberland. Thank you Frank.
   - Teslow - Monday, 02/14/05 16:52:05 EST

Perhaps this will help:

   Teslow - Monday, 02/14/05 16:54:42 EST

6" Coal Forge Flue: Don, 6" is too small for a normal size forge. If you have a very small forge and a very efficient side draft hood it will work. Otherwise most of the smoke will go into the shop. 10" diameter is recomended and 8" is the minimum for a forge flue.

Kaowool is used as the modern replacement for rockwool and asbestoes when called for in the building codes. It is used to isolate framing from masonary flues as well as internal insulation in flues to keep the liner hot.

As mentioned above, building codes often specify the type of flue installation. However, YOU must specify the size and the code folks no nothing about forges.
   - guru - Monday, 02/14/05 17:04:37 EST

RR-Rail tools: Dan we have an iForge demo on the subject.
   - guru - Monday, 02/14/05 18:43:40 EST

ITC Cracking: Ken, This is not normal. If you bought the ITC from us it came with a page of instructions that included the proportions for thining and how to apply. We also have the same information on-line where we sell it. That said, I have used ITC-100 by numerous methods that were out of spec but did not have cracking. I've used it on Kaowool(tm) and refractory brick as well as castable and never had any trouble. Normally if cracking occurs then it it is some problem with whatever it was applied over. BUT, you could have possibly over thinned or used product that had dried out and tried to rethin it.
   - guru - Monday, 02/14/05 18:50:10 EST

Railing Site Measurments: Mike, you can never get enough.

FIRST, never assume ANYTHING architecturaly is square. Buildings are often built VERY out of square in every direction you can measure. You may not see errors of 2" in 3 feet but you sure can measure them. Learn to use 3,4,5 and 5,12,13 triangles for checking square.

SECOND, never assume a curve is symetrical or a true radius. They are often made by bending a board and thus are a catenary (similar to a parabola) and due to variations in the wood will have flats and peaks.

THIRD, never assume any two steps are the same height. Carpenters, masons AND architects are generaly poor mathematicians and do not like to deal in 3 place decimals (required for steps to come out even). If you have pickets or brackets on individual steps then you need the dimensions of EVERY step as well as both sides of the step.

LAST. . never trust the clients or anyone else's dimensions. Assume they cannot use a simple ruler or perform simple addition.

   - guru - Monday, 02/14/05 19:09:08 EST

Mike: I would also recommend say half of the project total in advance, another fourth about half way through the project and the rest due upon final installation.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/14/05 19:17:05 EST

NEWS: is posted but I am still working on it. Page 9 is blank because I was given better images to put there and I an still working on them. . .
   - guru - Monday, 02/14/05 19:39:35 EST

   nick - Monday, 02/14/05 20:27:37 EST

Where did the page go???
   - sandpile - Monday, 02/14/05 21:03:08 EST

Guru, thanks for answering my question about ITC 100 cracking. I'm guessing , like you , that most likely I overthinned it. Also it was sitting around for almost a year before I applied it to the finished forge. I remember thinking the stuff looked dry but maybe that's just the nature of the product. And no I did not buy it from you but from another supplier. Next time from you. Anyway, is the problem salvagable without having to discard the layer of kaowool? Can I just reapply another coat? Thanks again, Ken
   ken millson - Monday, 02/14/05 21:47:01 EST

Hey guys, I just got an old Vulcan 100# anvil. I was wondering as to some info on the quality and useability of this item. its physically in great shape save for a few hammer marks on the face which I need to have filled and ground out.

Thanks in advance
Byron Witty
   Byron - Monday, 02/14/05 22:47:34 EST

does anybody need a 3hp 3phase motor??I'm about to junk one unless there is anyone who needs it
   dale - Monday, 02/14/05 23:09:10 EST

Hey again everyone. Well I have everything together that I need to start blacksmithing except for one thing, a blower for my forge. I built my forge myself though it uses a 12"x14"x4" Centaur Forge rectangle firepot. The inlet pipe on the assembly for the firepot is about 3" in diameter. I was wondering if anyone can recomend about how much air I need to move through. Is 800cfm overkill or about right? Thanks for any help.
   Michael Gora - Monday, 02/14/05 23:28:30 EST

Quoting Richard Postman, ANVILS IN AMERICA, p.204.

"The Vulcan Steel-faced cast-iron anvil was made by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company of Carpentersville, Illinois, from about 1875 until about 1969."

He also said,

"I would not rate the Vulcan anvils as being of the same quality as the Fisher & Norris Eagle, or the wrought anvils, and slightly higher quality than the strictly cast-iron anvils."
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/14/05 23:33:49 EST

Email sent Dave on the motor
   Byron - Monday, 02/14/05 23:36:03 EST


I just sent you an email about the motor. I think I may have called you Brian, but please send an answer to the email.
   - djhammerd - Tuesday, 02/15/05 00:00:42 EST


I can't remember whether Carbon Monoxide is heavier than air, or lighter than air. Anybody know for sure?
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/15/05 01:37:42 EST

Carbon Monoxide-- I cant say fore sure, but the monitors for it are mounted high on the wall or on the celing, so if it isn't lighter, We are fooling Ourselves with a false sense of security.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/15/05 02:12:33 EST

C = 12, 0 = 16; CO = 28
N2 = 28
most of air is nitrogen (N2), and CO and N2 are the same atomic weight, but almost all of what remains in air (20% O2 and 1% argon) and at least a little heavier. This would lead to the conclusion that CO is just slightly "lighter than air."
   - dan p - Tuesday, 02/15/05 02:40:32 EST

Byron: Vulcans and Fishers are of the same basic design of a cast iron body and steel plate top. Many of the newer Fishers were reinforced (thicker) at the sides of the plates and sometimes the steel plate extended to the tip of the horn. While Fishers were advertised for the blacksmithing trade, Vulcans were targeted to the low-end user, such as schools. Rather than having the entire face refinished you might consider filling in the depressions with arc welding and then grinding the welds smooth. 100 pounds is nice as it is portable (well, lugable), but that size really doesn't have the mass to be a good forging anvil.

Machael: Remember for many, many years coal forges used the air from bellows or hand-cranked blowers. I haven't used my coal forge in some time, but it is equipped, quite adequated, with what I take to be a no more than 100 cfm blower. Whatever you decide, try to incorporate a damper for air control. A foot switch will also save you fuel.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 02/15/05 03:14:03 EST

A point to remember with CO monitors is that CO is a porduct of combustion and is hence hot air(less) so even with the same weight as N2 it will tend to rise more than the n2 being hotter than the ambient, which while it may be warmer in the workshop it's nowhere near as warm as in the middle of the fire :P
   rhys - Tuesday, 02/15/05 03:43:51 EST

I Live in the UK and was interested to know if you could use propane and compressed air to Cut/Heat/Weld with. The Price of rental and refill in the UK is fairly High for Acetalyene and Oxygen. Look forward to your reply. David.
   David Harland - Tuesday, 02/15/05 05:12:07 EST

Dave Harland,

Oxy/propane is excellent for cutting and heating. There are some folks who say you can't weld with it, and other who say they have no problems welding with it. Your mileage may vary on the welding issue. :-)

When using propane, you MUST have hoses rated for propane. Type T hoses are propane rated, but the more common type R are for acetylene only. The sam applies to the seals in the fuel gas regulator. They must be rated for propane. Also, for propane, you will want a fuel gas regulator that delivers somewhat higher pressure, say around 40psi.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/15/05 08:56:41 EST

Thanks for the quick responses guys! I will deffinately try the fill in and grind method first to get the depressions filled in, and this anvil will be mainly used for knifemaking, not any large scale forging yet. I plan on trying my own damascus eventually, but I thikn this will work out as a good first anvil for a bit.

again thanks for the info!

Dale, sorry I called you Dave in my post about the motor, I am still very interested in it.
   Byron - Tuesday, 02/15/05 09:32:41 EST

CO is just about the same density as air. You can't depend on its movement either way. It is a subtil hazard that must be conciously defended against.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 02/15/05 09:34:29 EST

Propane/Air: Dave, VI missed the exact point of your question. No, compressed air does not work. However, you can cut with air/arc rods (very rough but works). You can also do fine work with a small plasma unit and compressed air but the cost will cover many years of cylinder rentals and fuel costs. These are very handy units where cylinder refill is a long distance trip. There are also electric powered oxygen generators that used for oxy/fuel cuting. But again, they are expensive compared to gas plant bottled oxygen. Like the plasma however they will work in places that have electricity but no commercial welding supplies OR where the cost of refills is prohibitive.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/15/05 09:49:49 EST

Mr. Harland: You might want to check into the Henrob welding/cutting torch. Works on Oxy/Ace, but at far lower pressure than traditional torches. For example, you never set the ace. above 5 psi. Oxy. is usually less than 10 psi. Set up in one configuration it is just as good as a plasma cutter. Set up in another it can weld most metals, including aluminum and cast iron. Just do a www.google.com search on Henrob. You can buy direct from the company or it is often listed on www.ebay.com. I have one and am very pleased with the cutting aspects. Also great for spot heating for bends as the flame is very precise. I use arc for welding so cannot comment on that aspect.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 02/15/05 10:40:46 EST

Building Dimensions:

I once had a lawyer at the Securituies and Exchange Commission complain to me that his office was "...3/8 of an inch too small!" I explained to him that there was only one building in Washington, DC that met that level of accuracy, and that was the National Geographic building (mostly because they could) and that I wasn't worried if the wall was off 6" one way or the other. Of course, my standard for lawyers is somewhat looser than for scientists, scholars and librians. ;-)

Cloudy and cool on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/15/05 11:10:18 EST

As far as I know, there is only one source of store bought foot powered forge blowers- and it is in europe. Which means you could get one of em in the UK a lot easier than we can get em here. Angele, the german/swiss blacksmith supply company sells a real nifty foot powered forge, with a big flywheel and pedal.
Their website is at www.angele.de.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 02/15/05 13:42:28 EST

Ironworkers- Both the Piranna and the Scotchman are good solid made in america machines. A lot depends on what you want to do with them, and what kind of shop you have.
The Scotchman is more of an erector set style machine- you can add in all kinds of different accessories into the tool well- a press brake, or different shears, or notchers. They are simply built, welded fabrications, and easy to fix if anything ever goes wrong.
The Piranna is more of a production machine- a little heavier built, size for size, but more restricted in what it will do. Not all the bells and whistles of a scotchman, but sturdy and solid.
Both will hold up a long time in abusive environments- I have seen both beat to death by low paid employees who know not much about machines, and they just keep on ticking.
I would also suggest you look at the Geka machines, from www.comeq.com in Baltimore. They are much more cleverly thought out than either of the american models- they have very smart gauges and stops that make things go a lot faster and more accurately. They are made in Spain, and quite sturdy and well built. I have had one for 6 years or so now, run a lot of stainless and large stuff through it, with no problems.
The two american brands are crude, but strong- kinda like an ax.
The Geka is more like a swiss army knife- very intelligently designed, but still real tough.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 02/15/05 13:49:41 EST

Foot powered forge. Interesting, The Dad of a freind of mine was a european trained smith, (His brother a bricklayer/carpenter) who turned farmer here in the new country. I've been in the remains of his shop on the farm. It was relatively primative but the forge in it is foot powered. I didn't give it a real close look but I just assumed it was a lever action that he converted. What I found most interesting was his anvil. I think it was one of those rebuilt anvils that O'leary (correct me if I'm wrong) fixed. The name is mentioned in AiA. Some day I'll get out there with a camera and take some pictures, it is kinda of neat how each foot is different.
   JimG - Tuesday, 02/15/05 14:25:21 EST

More on that pin steel:

I just talked to the scrap-yard guy about that pin I got for hammer stock. He says it's "high carbon steel from bucket loaders and stuff". It's not a huge amount of info, but any further ideas on the type of steel that might be used in heavy equipment?
   - MarcG - Tuesday, 02/15/05 15:03:00 EST

for QC et al...i have notice a lot of porosity when TIG welding forged pieces. i have tried preparing the joints by sand blasting, wire brushing, and chemical means and i still get the same problem. does the forging process introduce "something" or bring something out that causes this?? there is plenty of argon coverage and i have been joining mild steel with the TIG that has not been forged with very nice results (tooling mainly). you cant always forge weld leaf stems for some applications, especially if one is not good at forge welding (like me).thanks for the input..
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/15/05 15:38:47 EST

Rugg, just a guess but could there be forged-in scale in the forged pieces? Maybe you need to grind the joints to make sure there is no scale in the joint. I cannot think of another reason for TIG welds to be porous on forged items.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 02/15/05 20:46:42 EST

CO Monitors are mounted high on the wall because most sources are hot, However CO and CO2 will displace O2 in an enclosed area, basement, oil change pit etc.) CO2 is expelled from the blood, CO clings to the blood cell keeping the cell from exchanging O2 or CO2. It takes up to 6 days to rid a blood cell of CO so the effect of low level exposure is cumulative. A Nighthawk Digital Monitor and good ventilation will delay a ride in the black limo station wagon. The Klaxon alarm will annoy the neighbors enough that they might just look in on you.
An additional warning to those who are Scuba Divers, the effect of dissolved CO (in the blood) are pronounced at depth.
   habu - Tuesday, 02/15/05 21:54:52 EST

CO Monitors are mounted high on the wall because most sources are hot, However CO and CO2 will displace O2 in an enclosed area, basement, oil change pit etc.) CO2 is expelled from the blood, CO clings to the blood cell keeping the cell from exchanging O2 or CO2. It takes up to 6 days to rid a blood cell of CO so the effect of low level exposure is cumulative. A Nighthawk Digital Monitor and good ventilation will delay a ride in the black limo station wagon. The Klaxon alarm will annoy the neighbors enough that they might just look in on you.
An additional warning to those who are Scuba Divers, the effect of dissolved CO (in the blood) are pronounced at depth.
   habu - Tuesday, 02/15/05 21:55:20 EST

sorry for the double post, my computer did not refresh.
   habu - Tuesday, 02/15/05 21:56:59 EST

How did blacksmithing help the war effort in World War II?
   capnkirk004 - Tuesday, 02/15/05 22:34:20 EST

capnkirk, same way it did in WW1
   Ralph - Tuesday, 02/15/05 22:45:36 EST


I picked up a Nighthawk, plug-in, AC unit yesterday, it is mounted about 3 feet off the floor, right next to the new gas log fireplace.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/15/05 23:18:11 EST


And in the same way it helped in the war effort in every conflict man-kind was involved in from the beginning of the Bronze age. All that changed was the level of technology, the basic processes and missions were un-changed.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 02/15/05 23:19:54 EST


Touchstone Center for crafts
I believe this is the place you were asking about about, if so kdbarker and I went there a few years ago. They have 2-5 day workshops, and their Blacksmith shop is great. There are 12 student forges and one master forge. The people, experience, and fresh mountain air were worth it. Although we must have missed the complimentary mountain party with moonshine and song.
   Kealka - Tuesday, 02/15/05 23:22:13 EST

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