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This is an archive of posts from February 16 - 20, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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World War II. Bob Gerkin, while in the U.S. Army, was stationed in China where he shod pack mules and horses which were needed to deliver supplies to our allies over there. He had a team of shoers with him, and they made shoes out of anything they could drag up: railroad track, railroad spikes, and other scrap they could salvage. Bob found a legless Chinese man whose profession was horseshoe nail maker. They toted this man around, and when they set up camp, they would place him on the ground with his forge, anvil, and box bellows, and he would go to work. As you might imagine, Bob Gerkin became quite skilled at making do with field expedients, and he became very proficient at shoe making and tool dressing.

At war's end, he opened Gerkin's Horseshoeing School in Houston, Texas, and ran it until his passing a few years back.

I learned all this from one of his students, Skip Rowe. This is just one example of how smithing contributed during WW II.

I often think of the nail maker. I'll betcha' he knew how to meditate.

I was in grade school in WW II. To us, the "war effort" meant having a scrap iron drive and collecting it all behind the school to be picked up later. We bought U.S. Savings Stamps. Our parents bought War Bonds. Just about everyone had ration stamps. I think sugar, butter, and gasoline were rationed. We used to save our kitchen grease in tin cans and take it to the butcher. They said it was for making soap (?). Women joined the work force making ammunition, weapons, airplane engines, etc. (Rosie the Riveter). Bubble gum and women's nylons were totally unavailable, not for sale.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/16/05 01:09:35 EST

im tring to make 2blade arrowheads for my arrows and im haveing trouble finding any plans to refer to i and beating sq stock mild steel flat and then into a triangle but geeting a triangle to wrap aroung the 11/32 wooden shaft is confusing me the base of the blade needs to be 1" imagine a 11/32 thin walled tube then a triangle welded on the end of the tube this is what im tring to do with a solid piece of iron
   trey - Wednesday, 02/16/05 01:14:09 EST

CHINA MULES-- I had a real good friend that was in on the BURMA to CHINA packtrain with those mules. They would have a bunch of help going over the top. When they come back there would be just the two of them and a passel of mules. If they lost any mules and somebody or something did not eat them. The mules would come back to the camp in BURMA. DICK SILBERBERG, was this man's name. He said they had over one thousand mules, they were using. How would you like to be looking at that many mules at least every six weeks?? I wonder if they shod them all the way around or just on the front.

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/16/05 01:56:32 EST

Mr Harland:
What Ken says is generally true, the henrob does have a nice placid flame and cuts OK on a small scale.
But it is a special purpose torch really and not appropriate as a first or as an only torch.
Much of the same effect can be achiieved by using small tips and lower gas settings on a conventional oxy-acet torch.
For maximum versitility........
Buy a major brand supported by a good local dealer so you can easily get parts.
Join the Cybersmiths and validate your smithing soul...quick!
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 02/16/05 04:21:08 EST

trey: to get a triangle to wrap around the arrow as a socket, you shape the triangle into a cone and you sharpen the arrow shaft to fit into the cone. Another method you might fine easier it to make a thin tang on the arrowhead and drill a pilot hole in the shaft, put in some epoxy, and insert the tang. Before epoxying you might want to heat the tang and fit it into the hole to burn it to an exact fit.

A completely different method I heard used for simple spearheads might work too, though they'd probably be kinda heavy. Get a pipe the diameter you want, cut a slit longwise for the length of your head, then cut across the bottom of the slit around the pipe but leave about 1/4 of the pipe intact on the opposite side from the long slit. Unfold the slit part of the pipe and form it into your arrowhead, the unslit part forms the socket. It's not optimal but depending on your uses it might suffice.
   AwP - Wednesday, 02/16/05 05:43:56 EST

I have been told during the Soviet/Afghastan conflict many of the rebel's mules died from some disease. The U.S. Army went around the U.S. buying up just about all the mules they could find. They were airlifted by the USAF to Paskistan and then delivered to the rebels.

Also read someplace the Conquistodors (spelling?) in Mexico used silver for horseshoes. It didn't last long, but they had an abundance of it.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/16/05 09:21:26 EST

Check the armory, use the NAVIGATE anvilfire dropdown at top right. Look at the spear articles and scale down.
   Shack - Wednesday, 02/16/05 09:57:03 EST

Sandpile, You aren't one of those "Shoe 'em in front; the hind end has to follow Guys", are ya'?
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/16/05 10:05:20 EST

ARROWHEAD - trey; check out Tim and Marian Lively's web page.

There is a tutorial on making two styles of arrow heads (url below.)

Overcast with snow/sleet/rain, near 0 Cel. North of the Lake (Ontario).

   Don Shears - Wednesday, 02/16/05 10:53:38 EST

MULES--Nope.. But if I just had a enough steel for either the front or the back, I would go for the front. I never did hear if the ARMY, in BURMA, shod them all the way around or not. PHILMONT SCOUT RANCH, had just the front shod on their 400 BURROS(DONKEYS) that were used to pack the kids camping equiptment. You ever shoe that bunch of spoiled little knot-heads?? DICK had a brother in SANTA FE, I can't remember his first name.

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/16/05 13:02:18 EST

Archives: Well. . when I edited the pages from Costa Rica I never got around to posting the archives due to all the computer trouble we were having. . So I have lost two weeks. Sorry folks. But that is what I get for trying to use someone else's computer on the road. In the US I can get temporary dial up connections almost anywhere for $24/month and ocassionaly get two trips out of one fee (such as SOFA and Tennesee Fall Homecoming). But outside of the US it is different. Some places such as Costa Rica the phone company is government owned and not very flexible. I think it is the same in France. . They have a local connection system but only for the owner of the phone line.

Recyling for the war: Almost everything was rationed including tires and rubber was recycled as well. As for bacon grease, my mother made soap from it on a regular basis as late the early 1960's. This was a hold over from WWII where they saved the grease and made their own. It was probably learned from my grandmother during the depression. Making soap is fairly easy. Make a concentrate hot water and lye solution. Melt the grease and add the hot water lye solution. Mix and pour into molds or a flat pan. Using more lye made hard soap, less made soft. Mom poured it into a flat rectangular cake pan and cut into pieces before it dully hardened. I think the old Red-Devil lye containers had the recipe. I've used new lard to make large blocks for soap sculpture. The scraps could still be used as soap.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/16/05 14:18:07 EST

Burros, They had about 4 burros that were never handled at Rancho de las Golondrinas, an Hispanic living history farm about 12 miles south of Santa Fe. I got in on just TRIMMING their poor overgrown feet. I think we war bridled some and scotch hobbled the others. They got handled that day!
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/16/05 15:21:04 EST

BURROS> We were cleaning wild burros off UTE CREEK, south of the PASSAMONTE RANCH. I had a well broke, good, pasture roping horse. On the side wall of the canyon(STEEP) I caught a 600 lb. JACK, and had all I wanted on the end of a tied hard rope. He was makeing enough noise to scare the LORD himself and had his mouth open big enough to get a soccor ball in it. I could not keep the rope tight between my horse and him. We ended up in the bottom of the canyon. He did not get a hold of me. I have been spooked a few times but MY HAIR has never stood up any higher than it did that day. GRIN.-- JACKS are not known to be very sociable. BOG.

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/16/05 16:07:22 EST

I think that they need the drippings for the glycerine, as well as making soap
   - Daryl - Wednesday, 02/16/05 16:14:10 EST

War effort: My mothe organized a bandage sewing group. Mother and I would take the bus downtown and she would get four big bags of material from the Red Cross. We would keep some and then walk out into a "Holler" and leave the material with several women who lived out there. All had sons or husbands overseas. In a week we would pick the stuff up and take the finished battle dressings back the the RC, and bring another four sacks.

The fat was essential because we needed glycerin and there wasn't enough synthetic glycerine in those days. Most was a by-product of soap making. That has changed now.
   - John Odom - Wednesday, 02/16/05 16:20:59 EST

Speaking of war scrap drives. Reportedly there was a photograph in one of the large format magazines, such as Post, Look or Life, of a large pile of anvils in a scrapyard. If you come across it, please provide a copy to Richard Postman.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/16/05 17:02:23 EST

Glycerine: Yes, Proctor and Gamble's soap plants are a large producer of glycerine. I'm not sure about the process but it is a by product of making soap.

Pile of Anvils: I've seen that photo, may have been in National Geographic. I can not believe they were all scraped as they were still a useful tool in demand THEN. I've seen an amazing number of anvils get to the scrap yard and then come back OUT rather than being scraped. Scrap yard operators are not stupid!
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/16/05 17:34:23 EST

Guru: email to you and Paw Paw re: bank account signatures for CSI. Something for you to consider at next board meeting maybe.
   Ellen - Wednesday, 02/16/05 17:44:47 EST

Repairing A Cast Iron Firepot/Ash Dump-

The question:
Can I weld up smaller cast iron breaks/worn areas with a 6013/6011 or other more common electrodes? The cast iron electrodes are about $30.00/Pound!!!

The problem:
I have a "railroad" style coal forge (about 40"x30") complete with the cast iron firepot and bulging smooth shaped tuyere/ash dump underneath. The firepot and tuyere are separate parts, bolted together. The ash dump was originally a flat plate which pivoted on a bolt and covered the bottom opening in a horizontal arc. That orginal ash dump cover had broken off, along with part of the cast-in boss the bolt engaged. I changed to a homemade clamp-on contraption with a weighted arm for the gate. This was two years ago.

Have begun to burn again in my long unused forge, and have found the bottom edge of a ash dump to have broken away with about a quarter-sized piece missing from the edge of the opening. I contacted a local welder who said to repair it with a Stoody. He said Stoody was a originally a brand name, but now just a type of soft non-machinable cast iron repair electrode, like a Forney Nomacast electrode.

Not only does the ash dump have a missing chip, but the grate cast into the bottom of the firepot, where the swinging clinker breaker enters from either side, has enlarged (?) to a point where the breaker no longer closely contacts the slots, and where both fines and smalls fall into the ashdump. It makes for an interesting fire with a good blast, there is nearly as much fire coming out the bottom around the ashdump cover as out the top of the coke pile.


   CCHarper - Wednesday, 02/16/05 17:57:26 EST

CC Harper, 30 some years ago I found, at the scrap yard, a Champion cast iron shop forge with a hand crank blower in pretty rough shape, load of cracks every where. I gathered up all the pieces I could find and brought it home. I cleaned all the edges with a wire brush. Put the rosebud on my torch set for pre heat. Nickel rod, DC reverse polarity, welded my brains out for the better part of a day and well into the night. After it was all assembled, I built a hardwood fire it and let it slow burn thru the next day. That same forge is the center piece of my shop and I've never had to make a single additional repair. I did fabricate a "Y" with air gates so I can als use a Champion electric blower. By the way a few years back, Bill Gichner was here and offered me $1000 for it. Had to turn him down didn't know where I'd find another one. So... spend the money on the Nickel rod, it's worth it
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 02/16/05 21:57:43 EST

CCHarper, It sounds like Brian Robertson knows what to do. I'm not a 'very hot welder', but I will add the following. It sounds like you have an old Champion firepot. The swinging breaker was called a "pick" by the manufacturer.

My welding supplier will sell a few pounds of electrode, if asked. He just puts it on the scale and bundles it up with a string wrapping.

I've been successful welding cast iron with 300 series stainless rod which I believe is a high nickel rod, if the iron is cleaned to virgin metal. Lots of good ol' boys use brazing rod, which my old Linde manual says is called, "braze-welding". The advantage is that you need not melt the base metal, and local pre-heating can be done rather than a big pre-heat. Again, grind to bare metal.

I have a friend who is convinced that cast iron is an amalgam of baby caca and crushed graham crackers. You can get multitudinous cracks spiderwebbing around and away from the heated zone.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/16/05 22:02:23 EST

Frank Turley
We used 309 SS rod to repair cast iron, and to weld carbon steel to stainless, and to weld very thin steel. A very handy rod to have in the shop.
   ptree - Wednesday, 02/16/05 22:08:32 EST

Postman also suspects all of the anvils in that pile didn't end up as scrap as guru noted. Most were likely put aside and resold.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/16/05 22:39:05 EST

I have just got a Henry Wright anvil, 86 pound. I have never heard of this one. Can you tell me anything about it?
   Jake Mentzer - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:18:27 EST

As the above-mentioned friend of Frank, let me elaborate: I have nothing agains cast iron. Some of my best friends use cast iron. I myself have here in my very own shop, parked under a workbench, a nifty old post drill with a cast iron frame that got severely cracked when some fool cranked down too hard on the bit before it had chewed its way far enough through the metal. I have heard two genuine AWS-certified welders, one ticketed to work on nuclear power plants, the other vastly experienced welding teacher, say they could fix it. I have heard a renowned smithing teacher say he could fix it. I heard a genuine Ph.D. thermonuclear warhead designer who for the fun of it welded himself up a 40-foot yacht with all the fittings, say he could fix it. All thereupon tried their damnedest, with arc or oxy-acetylene. Every one of them failed. The spider webs just got worse and worse. I know, I know, there have been many success stories recounted on this site about how successfully cast iron hardware and equipment has been repaired. How sturdy and wonderful cast iron is. How cast iron made this the great nation it is. How cast iron helps build a better tomorrow. How if you take care of your cast iron it will take care of you. Hoohaw! Cast iron was just an intermediate form of Bakelite.
   A. Nonymous - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:21:52 EST

ON STAINLESS ROD: In MO., I could not come up with any 300 rod except for a couple of lbs. of 347( I believe is right). I put cast back together, with a big pre-heat, black to stainless, stainless to stainless. I also used it to weld alltread on 440C hidden tangs. I have not been able to find anymore of it out here in TX Panhandle. Do you think this 309 will do all of that??

   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:27:52 EST

A. NONYMOUS He HEH , GRIN How about You just let me bring that piece of CACA over here and see if I can get some one to put it back together. I have an ole one eyed, three legged, one ear missing dog by the name of LUCKY that I would be willing to part with. I would not even ask any boot. GRIN
   - sandpile - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:37:18 EST

Dear Guru,
My name is Jesse Gibson, and I was hoping you could help me out a bit. I just recently decided to become a blacksmith, and I'm sure you know that being a blacksmith requires a lot of skill with coal, so that's what I want to talk to you about. I have read a few articles on how to get coal to actually light on fire, and I have succeeded on starting the coal, but my main problem is keeping it hot, at least hot enough make steel become red-hot. For hours my coal has been lit, and for hours the metal has been in the pit of coal, but still the coal (even though it is red now) still isn't getting hot enough to bring the metal to proper temperatures. Can you think of anything I am doing wrong here? One way I could think of to get it hotter is adding gasoline or lighter fluid to it, but I read that you were not supposed to do that, so that's where I need your help. I don't have much experience with coal, nor much with balcksmithing in general, short of what I've gained from books, videos and articles. I don't have a bellows, or any source of oxygen, and I though that may have been the problem. Is a bellows absolutly required for forging metal with coal? If you can give me all the advice you have on this subject, I would be really greatful. If this helps, the metal is actually a railroad nail, I'm planning on making a knife out of it.
Thank you very much,
Jesse Gibson
   Jesse Gibson - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:40:31 EST

Rivet for Knife:

A good friend of mine has asked me to replace the missing rivet on the scissors of a small “Swiss Army” style multi-tool pocketknife. Said knife is a Chinese stainless steel clone. So, where I could probably pop anything in there as a rivet, from copper wire to a piece of HSS drill, what would y’all suggest as the best and most practical choice? It’s not great shakes as a knife, but being as she’s a law librarian, the various tools, especially the scissors, come in handy for chores around the DVA law library.

Burros: When some of our NPS folks were repairing some trail at the bottom of Grand Canyon, the material was recorded by the "burro load." I suspect that it has no metric equivalent on the Great guru's "Tool Kit." ;-)

A “transitional” day on the banks of the lower Potomac; warm and sunny, then cool and windy, then rainy, and now a beautiful halo around the half moon.

Visit your National Parks; for Rosie the Riveter try: www.nps.gov/rori/

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:48:13 EST

AFTER that last post of mine. I changed my posting name and will do so for awhile. I don't want anybody kicking my shins and hollering at me. I would not touch last post with a ten foot ladder.

   - unknown - Wednesday, 02/16/05 23:49:25 EST

BRUCE it probably will be easy to make a pin of BRASS. A harder brass welding rod will work. It will be soft enough to brad a little after you get it in.

   - unknown - Thursday, 02/17/05 00:05:30 EST

Jesse-- First of all, NEVER, NEVER, EVER "add" gasoline or any other liquid fuel to a burning coal fire or any other fire. Man I knew back in Alexandria, Va. accidentally killed himself squirting starter fluid onto a barbecue where the charcoal was already smouldering-- the way it sounds like your coal fire is-- and BOOM! the fire leaped up the stream, blew up the can and he had it all over him. What your fire needs, sounds like to me, is not more fuel, but a good steady blast of air.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/17/05 00:42:32 EST

Jesse, like Miles said, don't add lighter fluid or gasoline or anything like that, you need air. It doesn't have to be from a bellows if that's not convient for you, you can use some sort of an electric blower, like a hair dryer or a fan from a car's heating system. You just need to have air blowing the bottom (or on the occasional design the side) of the fire and it'll get plenty hot enough.
   AwP - Thursday, 02/17/05 05:42:59 EST

309SS is used in the valve industry to make carbon steel to stainless steel welds all the time. We used it to repair all manner of stuff. It is a very easy to run rod. Do watch out as the flux pops off like bullets while still hot. Those little hot chunks of flux will pop right into any unprotected skin area!
   ptree - Thursday, 02/17/05 06:28:29 EST

Jake: Richard Postman (author of Anvils in America) suspects Henry was related to Peter Wright and made anvils in about the same location in England (Dudley, near Sheffield) from cicra 1880s to 1914. Might be a son or cousin who decided to try it on their own. Literary references are they were considered to be inferior to the PW. They are the only known English anvil maker to put an American logo on their anvils (E.D. Kimball & Co. of Chicago). Weight was usually given in actual pounds rather than the British stone system. This, to me, implies they were targeting the American anvil market but could not compete against PW or the U.S. anvil manufacturers (e.g., Trenton and Hay-Budden) coming on line about the same time.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 02/17/05 08:40:28 EST

Jesse: See if your local library can get you a loaner copy of Reader's Digest's Back to Basics: How to Learn and Engjoy Traditional American Skills. In the chapter on Iron and Steel: Forging and Shaping The Black Metal is a nice little brake drum forge using pretty well readily available items. A brake drum from a one-ton truck should give you the size and depth needed for a firepot. As noted above, something like a hairdryer should give you the air blast needed, but be on the lookout for a small squirrel cage blower. The single best thing you can likely do is to find a place to take basic blacksmithing lessons. Go to www.abana.org and under Resources look for their list of schools. While there also check for blacksmithing groups in your area. Most welcome novices and often offer free mentoring. IMHO you might want to start with simplier items out of small stock, such as S-hooks for plant hangers, before trying something like a RR spike knife.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 02/17/05 08:53:55 EST

Bruce, If she is a good friend, do both of yourselves a favor and buy her a real Victorinox knife. One with a pair of sisors will set you back about $35 and you will never need to repair it as it will have a life-time waranty. Though I have worn out a couple of them I have never bothered to send one back. It is less hassle to just buy another one.
   - Wayne Parris - Thursday, 02/17/05 10:01:25 EST

Getting Started: Jesse, All of what Ken said and more is in our Getting Started article linked at the top and bottom of this page, our home page and FAQs page. We have plans for a brake drum forge including drawings of several versions and a parts list (linked on Getting Started). There is also a book list linked to reviews of the same and suggestions about finding books.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/17/05 11:21:39 EST

Knife Rivet: Bruce, I agree with Wayne but I also know how uh. .frugal you are. The rivet was probably annealed 304SS and a piece of welding rod will do. The trick will be the diameter which is probably pretty odd ball. I would expect to have to turn the rivet in a lathe. Maybe you can file it to size in your wood lathe. Pocket knife rivets have the head spun on (not hammered). A spinning tool is a hardened piece of steel with the shallow pan head impression that is chucked in a drill press. At a moderate speed the head is spun on in the press. Again, turning the rivet in a lathe would help a LOT as you can create one head to start.

Although turning these rivets sounds like cheating this was the method used for hundreds of years. A small bow operated jewelers or clock makers lathe would have been used to create the small fitted rivet with head on a one off piece of work. Otherwise wire would have been drawn to size (another operation used by jewlers, watch makers and such for a couple thousand years) and then headed.

The lathe in its many incarnations has been the king of tools for many centuries and there SHOULD be one in every blacksmith shop. Ocassionaly you can substitute a drill press and the Jacobs chuck works great on small work.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/17/05 11:33:03 EST

Volitiles to Fire: Hershal House wrote in his book to use "lamp oil" to start a coal fire. I had a fellow write in that he used Coleman Fuel (gasoline stove and latern fuel) mistaking it for "lamp oil" which is kerosene. He added the fuel, turned on the air, struck a match. . . and FLOOM! It rained flaming bits of coal for what seemed like minutes. . .

If you have good coal and it is dry a couple pieces of news print will do the job. Sometimes a bit of kindling helps. Because I would often start with a dirty fire in a damp outdoor forge I used my oxy-acetylene torch which always hung on a convienient bracket at the corner of my forge. . . Of course now-days I use a little NC-Tool Whisper Baby propane forge most often and you just push the igniter botton and "whoomp" you have a fire. Torch igniters also work well in the non-commercial forges and melting pots.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/17/05 11:55:12 EST

Sandpile, there is already a well known smith that goes by the alias "the unknown blacksmith".
   - guru - Thursday, 02/17/05 11:59:27 EST

Thanks to you all for the advice on the scissor rivet. A new knife would be a good idea, were it not for the fact that it was a gift from her sister (with their name on it).

And yes, I am che..., sting..., er, frugal; sitting here eating a brown-bag lunch and drinking water "right out of the fountain." On the other claw, I hate waste, whether it be the tax-payers' money, or a cheap knife that I can easily fix. It's in part a mirroring of my parent's Depression-era ehtics and the fact that in much of the world people have so little that we should take care of, and not squander, what we have.

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

(Right up there with: "Recycle yourself; be an organ doner!")
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/17/05 13:31:38 EST


> "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

You learned that one too, huh? It's engraved on the inside of my skull. My grandfather taught it to me.

And the modern equivilant is dead on target! (pun intended) One of the things it says on my driver's license is "Organ Donor". I urge EVERYONE to give some serious thought to doing that.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/17/05 13:57:09 EST

Fire starting: Despite having built a lot of campfires, I found this tricky at first and I confess that in my frustration I resorted to adding "volatiles" in form of WD 40 - dont do this! Its not my fault that I am still alive. (If you must, shave some candle wax onto the newspaper) But after a while I found that with a few sticks of kindling wood and some rolled up newspaper I could get things going pretty easily and soon weaned myself from the kindling. The main trick for me was learning how to handle the air blast - too much and you blow out your fire - too little and it wont start the coal or even the newspaper. Burning is too good a fate for most newspapers

Also its very hard to start green coal - fires are started with coke from the previous fire. If all you have is green coal then definitely use some kindling.

   adam - Thursday, 02/17/05 15:08:14 EST

Adam, if you have good coal, it will light green with no problem with nothing more than newspaper. Lower grades of coal take a bit more and petroleum coke is near impossible to light without a coal fire first!
   - Wayne Parris - Thursday, 02/17/05 15:38:43 EST


He only goes by the moniker "the unknown blacksmith" when he has his paper hat on. Oh....I guess that IS most of the time, huh?
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/17/05 15:52:39 EST

that wouldnt be mr. renzetti, would it?(unknown 'smith)
   - rugg - Thursday, 02/17/05 16:50:27 EST

I usually take as much care with my starting fire as with a camp fire- paper, tinder, kindling, plus pinne cones, pistachio shells and anything else I know is reliable. I haven't had a flame-out in years. (Knock wood...) I

've also used a couple of briquettes of "self light" charcoal to good effect to get something going. About the only good use I've found for briquettes. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/17/05 16:58:27 EST

Paw Paw - if I go first, you're welcome to any spare parts you can use; it says it on my license- and I still have a couple parts that work pretty good....
   Ron Childers - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:27:36 EST

Bruce, try the tip of a radio antenna for a rivit- it tapers very slightly and a portion of it should fit.
   Ron Childers - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:38:47 EST

ORGAN DONOR: Yep, me too. . . but at the rate I'm going I don't think anyone would want my parts. . . The people to convince are the young folks that have good healthy parts to give.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:41:12 EST

a simple question relly.what is the chemical solution for turning copper green quickly ? Any other wise tips on the patination of copper from the guru would be apprecitated.
   steve myburgh - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:41:32 EST

Steve, you could pee on it.
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:44:38 EST

I've made some outdoor triangular dinner bells at a friend's request but I don't know what sort of finish to use. The paint that I used originally chips off when the gong is hit with the striker. I use a linseed oil/ bees wax finish for indoor iron but what would be a good finish for this type of application?
   Steve - Thursday, 02/17/05 17:52:05 EST

I have been a bit of a wall flower observing your institution for a while, but have never written. I am a High School history teacher in Plains, MT and during our Industrial Revolution unit I bring my forge in and “burn some kids” as I tell it. My reason for writing deals with my own encounter with frankie8acres. I must admit I was charmed into bidding on his shiny new anvil on e-bay. After bidding I asked him if I could get a picture of an undressed anvil and to know where it was made. He referred me to his feedback. When I wrote him to tell him that it did not answer my questions he blocked me from bidding stating: “please don't waste your time anymore, you can't buy from me now.” We school teachers are not an easily perturbed group so I calmly wrote him back, and restated my original request. I thought you would enjoy his reply:

"Ken, I'm sorry I don't feel comfortable selling an anvil to you, why did you bid when you don't even feel you have enough info?

I've been put through so much crap trying to sell a decent anvil, I can't even tell you. When a person ask too much, it's my flag to not sell to them, these are the people that usually end up not satisfied for some reason or another.

I'm sure your a great guy, by I don't want to have a dialog with you OK, I'm sorry.

Your not going to win that anvil your bidding on.

Please go to the other guy and get one, OK.

Have a nice day!"

If you find yourself at a loss due to an ‘unfortunate choice of words’ I have the transcripts of our correspondence and was unerringly civil at all times. I think it might show a pattern, should you need to prove one. Remember all I asked was where was the anvil cast and can I see a picture of it unmodified. I very much enjoy reading your advice, last year my students and I made the bolt scorpions, this year who knows? Kids love to do real blacksmithing, but they can be hard on the hammers. My advice for e-bay is to google the seller ID. That way if others have had problems you will find it. That is how I found my way back here. For full transcripts or if you have student project ideas: acme663ryo@yahoo.com
   Ken Nelson - Thursday, 02/17/05 19:09:45 EST

I always wondered. Do the doctors and hospital donate their part too or are they just using the donated raw material to make big bucks?

I like it...I have good news and bad. The good is that some one donated the organ that you need. The bad news is that it's going to cost you fifty billion bucks to install the new equipment and your insurance requires a six billion dollar co-pay. I'm sorry but we'll need that in cash before we can do the installation for you.

I'm thinking that most folks need more than the organ donated.
   - Organ donor - Thursday, 02/17/05 19:41:09 EST

Ken Nelson,

Have you looked at the iForge demo's? There are several there that are excellent "starter" projects. And you might want to print out iForge demo #66 and take it in for your students to peruse. It's a bit graphic, but a good safety lesson.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/17/05 19:53:13 EST

I would never have thought to describe a picture of Pawpaw as graphic. He did it for us! BOG
   ptree - Thursday, 02/17/05 20:04:59 EST

Ken, we had a real broughhaha with franke8acres. He stole pictures of the Russian Anvil from our review of it, stole some of the descripion text, and then got ugly with both Guru and me. He did you a favor by not letting you buy it. They are ok for starting out but a group of youngsters would probably beat it up pretty fast. Harbor Freight was selling them for as low as $69.00 until they quit carrying them. If you are near NW TN, I have one I can sell pretty reasonably but I won't ship it.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 02/17/05 20:27:17 EST

I bet-cha PAW-PAW can be as GRAPHIC as he needs to be. He might even hold you up by your ears while he hollers down your wind-pipe, and is kicking your shins, just to make certain you are understanding what he is trying to tell you.BOG. But then you have a point, he ain't just real purty. he heh GRIN.

   - sandpile - Thursday, 02/17/05 21:10:46 EST

steve myburgh,

Copper sulfate
   vicopper - Thursday, 02/17/05 21:14:17 EST

green patina's on copper:

the green patina you are looking for is copper carbonate. This forms only on top of copper oxide, more specifically red/brown cuprous oxide, CuO (CuO2, which is black, will work too, but it is quite destructive to your copper).

Many arts stores will sell products to do this job. A friend once got a copper roof (shingles, I think) and wanted a patina. I suggested applying ammonia and vinegar a few times a day or whenever he got a chance with a sponge. He said this worked quite well.

I've also heard that pee works very well, too. oddly enough, pee contains ammonia and is slightly acidic.

hope this helps!
   - dan p - Thursday, 02/17/05 21:28:17 EST

Sandy, Pretty I ain't, but I wear pretty well. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 02/17/05 21:44:27 EST

I heard that PAW PAW-- HELEN says "I was not looking for a pretty one, I was looking for a good one" I never have figured out, wether she got what she was looking for not.Grin a-fraid to ask her. BOG.
   - sandpile - Thursday, 02/17/05 21:54:16 EST

My Australian Shepherd (King) peed on a roll of copper
I had in the shop--quickest patina job I have ever seen
He also patinas the valve stems on all my vehicles
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 02/17/05 22:18:33 EST


If she's stayed with you, she must have. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/18/05 00:02:07 EST

She tried to leave a time or two when the kids were teens and I told her if she left she had to take the kids with her. She said not in this lifetime. Then later we both threatened to leave our own home and not leave a forwarding address for the kids to track us down. GRINN
   - sandpile - Friday, 02/18/05 00:11:28 EST

Any body got an update on KEITH and his buttons???
   - sandpile - Friday, 02/18/05 00:14:26 EST

for some odd reason I did not think of doing something untill tonight. I did a google seach on my son.
And I found an article with him in it.
First off I am not certain but I am fairly sure that in the pic at the top the 3rd Marine from the front is Nathan.
   Ralph - Friday, 02/18/05 01:35:44 EST

how do you make a rattlesnake out of a horseshoeing rasp?
   phill - Friday, 02/18/05 03:02:54 EST

take the tang and roll it up and forge weld so you can make the head. then roll teh body out of the rasp.

Adjust to a position that is pleasing to you
   Ralph - Friday, 02/18/05 03:25:50 EST

Right here frend. Just taking in the Anvilfires' Daily Bread over a cup of coffee.
The boys and I are doing ok; we’re staying in pretty good sprits. Got the boo-hoos out of our system and now we’re rolling up our sleeves and gettin dirty. The local codes officer is a friend of mine and has been a great help to me the last few weeks. I’ll be submitting some plains to the local planning board within a week or two for the building permit. I haven’t worked out all the “small details” yet, like how I’m going to pay for building a new home, but I’ve never let little things like that get in my way before. BOG
I’ve been massaging my credit a bit here and their, so I think I can do something with the mortgage to free up some funds. That, and Home Depot credit, credit-line, credit cards, what ever it takes. I don’t really have a choice; I just have to do it.
My boys are looking forward to helping me with the build. I talk with them about it everyday to keep there sprits up.

Oh, remember a while back I told you of a poster of the OCC bike building crew that my son Neil had, and that I was able to recover it from the fire (somewhat)? Well, someone pasted on that story to the OCC corporate office, and guess what we got in the mail yesterday. You guessed it, a new autographed poster of the crew. God bless them! You would not believe how much that meant to Neil. We all started tearing up something awful when he saw that.

One last thing…my youngest (age 7) wanted to do something in honor of all our Blacksmithing friends, so in keeping with a time tested tradition, he drew you all a picture. He asked me last week if we could “send it to them”, so as per his request, I had Deb post it on the photos page.
Thanks for every thing.
   kdbarker - Friday, 02/18/05 06:06:25 EST


(Big Grin) Tell him Paw Paw says "Thank you!"
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/18/05 07:45:38 EST

Ken: frankie8acres wanted out of the transaction since he knew you were smart enough to quickly appreciate the 'quality' of the anvil and would leave negative feedback. Once a negative is left, such as "Anvil was not tempered steel, but a piece of junk", he cannot erase it from his feedback comments. All he can do add a counter, such as, "Buyer should have known what he was getting for the price."

There is another seller who advertises his anvils are not Chinese junk since they have a tag of them which says King, L.A. He said as long as he doesn't absolutely know where they were made he is comfortable with this statement.

Another advertises as 'hardened, tempered, steel'. I asked for a guarantee to include two-way shipping and said my test would be to hit the top plate hard with the ball of a ballpeen hammer and if it dimpled I was sending it back. He just replied he would offer no such guarantee.

One way to deal with these sellers would be to buy an anvil and then leave negative feedback.

eBay has now started a procedure to reporting a bad transaction other than through the feedback process. Not a lot they can actually do except require the seller to state they side. If a seller were to rack up enough complains, they might be suspended. However, they could be on the next day with a new account on a new PC. New PC is required since the IPC is apparently how eBay identifies buyers and sellers.

Last I saw numbers eBay runs about 14 million auctions at any one time. That is a lot of buyers and sellers and even if 99.99% of them are good and honest, that still leaves quite a few taking advantage of others.

Personally I have never had a problem with a seller. I have had what seems like more than my share with buyers.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 02/18/05 09:22:25 EST

Ken and frankie8acres: I recently recieved a long overdue appology from frankie8acres and he asked that I remove his name from articles on anvilfire. I did so on the one standing article on our FAQ's page but I informed him that his name was spread throughout our forums and was often posted by others thus would be impossible to remove all references to his alias. I then pointed out that since this was an ALIAS not his real name it was nothing more than "intellectual property" and no different than ours . . except he had stolen OURS whereas he had devalued his own by his public actions.

I've had ocassions to query numerous e-bay dealers and most were more than happy to to respond to any question they could answer and were candid when they could not. Where things get tricky is where they just plain lie such as on EVERY junk Chinese anvil ad I have looked at. Not only do these folks lie, they also do not know the truth and will not admit it. The big problem is that too many people just do not know the difference between good tools and junk tools.
   - guru - Friday, 02/18/05 11:54:39 EST

I bought a steel striker for flint. it is just plain bar stock, bent into a U. Any idea on what type of dteel it is. I hafe some old files to forge into fancy strikers. What other steels can be used? thanks.
   devin - Friday, 02/18/05 12:34:33 EST

KEITH Glad to hear the OCC story.---Now see there- there are alot of good people, and will act right if they have the opportunity. Keep us posted: we are interested.

   - sandpile - Friday, 02/18/05 13:02:15 EST

Steve, dinner bell finish
One thing I have done that has proven impact resistant is to take a black heat and lightly go over the metal with chicken feathers, get just hot enough for the feather to smoke and melt onto the metal. The heat needed is in the tempering range so be carefull if the item is heat treated. I had started doing this because I used to fletch arrows and I cut them with a hot wire. The coating on the wire proved very tough. I also think "Diverse Arts" by Theophilus mentions it.
   Shack - Friday, 02/18/05 14:40:09 EST

Organ Donor - Don't forget to tell your family and loved ones that you wish to be a donor. Many states still require family approval, despite what your drivers license says. I don't know about Fl, but when I got my first license in IL, the fine print under the selection box for Donor specified that the family would have to agree. Fortunatly, my entire family is in agreement.
   Monica - Friday, 02/18/05 15:02:25 EST


Already taken care of. All of our family are Donors, and our youngest daughter (LPN) is the executor of our Living Wills.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/18/05 15:24:38 EST

Age 56/watched Open Range (Kevin Coster cowboy movie) was interested in scene with shovel/setting 1800's/how did they have the ability to make a shaped shovel?the wagon wheels were outta wood/were did the metal come from?maybe silly ...but curious about early process/don't recall learning in school........thank you
   Linda Green - Saturday, 02/19/05 01:21:16 EST

Linda: The shovel head may have been forged out of a billet. At one time there were thousands of small foundries in the U.S., many with drop forges or steam hammers. The primary metal parts of a wagon wheel are the skein and rim. At one time there were a number of companies making skeins. It was a rather common product for a foundry (with some specializing in them for a time) and served as a type of bearing within the hub which held the bottoms of the spokes. The rims would have been made out of flat bar stock made into a loop and fitted to the wheel. For more detailed information on making wagon wheels see if your local library can obtain a copy of The Blacksmith, Ironworker & Farrier (initially titled The Village Blacksmith) by Aldren A. Watson.

For anvil watchers: When you see skein in the title of a company (such as American Skein and Foundry) this is the skein referred to. As an aside, AS&F made the Badger brand anvil for about 50 years. None have shown up in Postman's searching. Current thinking is they only used a decal. When you see an anvil with a 'bump' under the heel, it may be a Badger. AS&F was in Racine, WI. They were eventually bought out by Illinois Iron and Bolt and Vulcan anvils were made there towards the end of their run.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 02/19/05 09:18:13 EST

What do they call a Biker who rides without a helmet?


An organ donor. I am getting to the age where my organs are not in the best of condition but I have been a donor for over 30 years. Just never had occasion to become active! This is something everyone should consider since you can specify which organs to donate and under what conditions. They say it is absolutely painless, too!
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 02/19/05 12:53:04 EST

I was wondering if there is any Phoenix hammer owners out there that would like to chit/chat? Anybody in the Ohio,Indiana,Illinios, Michigan area? I'd really like to run one of these for about an hour or two. Learn about the care and feeding of this beast. I've put together a jam packed road trip to NC next month and hope to get to the manufacturer but it might not be do-able so I looking for a hammer closer to home. If you can help, please contact me at goodhors@shianet.org or 989 723 6052. Thanks,
   brian robertson - Saturday, 02/19/05 13:17:14 EST

Linda: Shovels were forged from bar stock. I have a forged, as opposed to stamped, shovel. They were still available in the 1960s, at high cost, but disapeared soon thereafter. They were prized for forest fire fighting applications.
   John Odom - Saturday, 02/19/05 18:58:49 EST

Did you receive the photos of the modifications to the powerhammer showing the spare tire drive?
   ptree - Saturday, 02/19/05 19:46:44 EST

What is the best method for forge welding stainless damascus. Can it be done? is 440C and 304 compatible for this. Thanks!!
   Craig Barr - Saturday, 02/19/05 20:03:40 EST

Shovels, Far as I know forged shovels are still made. I bought a flatbottom about 5 years past. I would think its not forged start to finish from a chunck of barstock, But a rough shovel shape blank.
Firefighting shovels,,
Believe it or not there are shovels specific to firefighting. The scoop is a sharper "V" shape than usual and the scoop is bent more frontward too. This makes it more optimal for scraping debris off the soil and still useable for regular digging.
No doubt NFPA, USFS, UL, etc. have reams of 'specs about what at first glance seems a simple as a shovel.
Websearch "wildland firefighting supplies" will probably turn up 'pics and other info to do with this gripping, socially parylizing subject.
   - Håkan - Saturday, 02/19/05 20:21:00 EST

Devin, High carbon, plain carbon steel is the usual choice. Water hardening drill rod is one choice. It's a steel that produces lots of sparks. It must be hardened.

Ken, I'll make an attempt at clarifying some of the wagon wheel terminology. The "rim" is a circular felly made out of wood, but a felly can also be a wooden, curved section of the rim. This exterior felly is supported by the spokes. The iron portion surrounding the felly is the tire. "Felly" is also spelled "felloe" (plural "felloes").

The hub is ironed with flat bands. Fit into the end of the hub was the "box", also called "axle box" or "boxing". The box took the wear of the axle arm. In the early days, the tapered axle arm was fitted with forged iron skeins top and bottom, and banded. Later, they were replaced with thin iron "thimble skeins" which entirely encased the axle arm. When steel became available, the skeins were made of steel. The thimble skeins were first offered around 1860 on freight wagons.

Reference: "Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade" by Mark L. Gardner. Univ. of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2000.

I would like to plug this book. It is a carefully researched history and is well illustrated. Mark has included diagrams of wagon parts. Furthermore, Mark is a personable young man of my acquaintance, presently residing in Colorado. He has researched early songs that were popular in the 1800s and gives a pretty good rendition of them.

   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/19/05 20:50:41 EST

I am currently writing a fictional short story about a european blacksmith around the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. I am some what famiar with modern metalurgical terminology but am wondering if the terminology was different in the thirteenth and fourteenth century. Can any one help me on this?
   robert harden - Saturday, 02/19/05 22:42:56 EST

Have you read Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"? He is of that period. The entire English language was different. Example of Middle English:
Whan that Aprille with his shoures swote,
The droughte of Marche hath perced to the rote.

Two books which might offer clues are Agricola, "De re Metallica", and Joseph Moxon's "Mechanik Exercises".

Current English:
When April with his sweet showers
Has struck to the roots the dryness of March.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/20/05 00:05:13 EST

Ptree: How about posting your hammer pictures up onto the User gallery until Jock gets a chance to update the PH page? I just picked up the vertical support for my project and was planning to do the same thing you've done - spare tire drive with a spring helve.

   - MarcG - Sunday, 02/20/05 07:58:14 EST

The hammer itself is unchanged,I substituted a spare tire on a mini-van axle assy. The one thing I did that may be important to the new builder is that I torched out part of a steel wheel assy to provide a bolt on crank pivot mount. This uses the existing lug bolts, and allows tuning the stroke without welding on the spare tire wheel with a mounted tire. I can forward you a photo.
Hopefully the Guru will have the additional photos added soon.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/20/05 09:18:20 EST

I have been offered a sample of a spritz on rust proofer that is supposed to proof against condensation rusting. It is supposed to be a weld through without toxic emissions, and be paint over. I will test in my shop as soon as recieved. With my unheated, dirt floor shop, it often rains from the tin roof. Should be a valid test! I will place several pieces of scaled, and brite steel, coated and uncoated in the shop. Photos before and at intervals. Any siggestions on further testing? I will keep all informed as the test progresses.
Off to Morganton Nc tomorrow for a few days.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/20/05 09:22:56 EST

I'm building a power hammer and was wondering if I could use AR400 for my wear plates, or would it gall the 6" I-beam that I'm planning to use for the hammer?
   James - Sunday, 02/20/05 10:26:34 EST

Forged Shovels: Yes Hakan, I found them for sale at $65 each whereas an otherwise similar but stamped, 16 ga high carbon steel, heat treated shovel was $19. Mine was discarded by the California division of Forestry in about 1962.
   John Odom - Sunday, 02/20/05 11:28:15 EST

Is there a proper depth for a fire pot? Those available commercially are around 3inches.Mine is 5 inches. Is this an advantage? And is it better to turn off the motor or reduce the air supply when taking the iron out of the forge?

   Claudio Tempestini - Sunday, 02/20/05 11:59:31 EST

I picked up an anvil yesterday that was made by Fulton Iron and Engine Works, Detroit Mich. On the other side of the anvil it reads, Cheney anvil and vise, No. 30, Patent Nov. 18,1879. I was wondering if you could tell me about The company and or the anvil. Thanks for your time. Scott
   Scott L. - Sunday, 02/20/05 12:17:45 EST

Claudio, Yes, no, and maybe on the fire pot depth. For fairly heavy work, 5" would be good, and a 7" coke bed with coke on top of your workpiece would be good. The coke on top acts as a refractory, and you get a quicker heat, than if placed it on a flat, open fire.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/20/05 12:46:22 EST

Scott L. Combination anvils and vises were very popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Intended for limited usage, such as a farmer. These were cast iron and proved to be very fragile. Base is hollow to allow room for screw mechanism. The base of the adjustable jaw usually broke and the jaw mechanism became separated the anvil. These came in various shapes and sizes and some also included multiple tools which could be used with them, such as drill presses and grinding stones. It is fairly unusual to see one intact, still with original small chisel hardy.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 02/20/05 14:11:23 EST

AR400 and bearing materials: James, there is a difference between guides and wear plates. AR400 is designed to be used as-is for decking and earth moving equipment. It is dificult to machine and finish and is likely to gall if running on it self or other steel. Sliding guide systems are usualy made of a medium to low carbon steel or cast iron and a different bearing metal so that galling does not occur. CI or steel on bronze is common. CI or steel on babbit is used on shafts as the babbit is soft and easily replaceable. CI on hard steel is used on precision fits as well as differing grades of CI OR CI on CI. What is different about CI is that it is often slightly porus so that it carries lubricant and it does not pressure weld thus it does not gall. Without these and the stiffness properties of CI the machine tool industry would have taken much longer to develop. The cheapest guide or bearing system is well lubricated steel on steel of equal harndess.

Modern materials that work well are UHMD (ultra high molecular density) polyethelene and lubricant filled UHMD polyethelene against mild steel. This material makes durable bearing surfaces with long wearing characteristics. HOWEVER, when designing for soft plastic bearing surfaces the bearing area must be greater in order to reduce the pressure per unit of area (PSI or Km2). Only enough lubricant is necessary to prevent the steel from rusting in UHMD Poly bearing systems.

Any time you deviate from the norm in machinery construction you are usualy doing the wrong thing unless you fully understand the engineering reasons for why things are done the way they are. Oilite bronze on steel works well and the materials function well at relatively high surface pressure. As soon as you get away from this norm you need to understand wear, galling, lubricity, loading and get out your calculator.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/20/05 14:31:51 EST

Condensation Testing: The larger the mass of the steel the longer it maintains a high temperature differential and the more condensation. A small sample will attract less moisture and rust less than a large sample. This is why machine tools, anvils and such rust faster than everything else in the shop. To perform a meaningful test each sample needs to be the same size and shape.

Ptree, enjoy the Power Hammer School. I had a great time and learned a lot. Hammer upgrade photos are burrined here somewhere. . . will look for them.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/20/05 14:39:02 EST

I wish I was off to the powerhammer school, I am in Morganton to do official work, IE a safety/enviro audit. :(

I intended to use some fairly heavy parts for the condensate testing. If it works, interested for the Anvilfire store?
   ptree - Sunday, 02/20/05 15:08:31 EST

Morganton. . : Had a brain fart. . BigBLU Hammer Manufacturing is in Morganton, not the school. If you have any free time give them a call. I am sure they would show you around and give you a test drive.

More about Early Metalurgy: Robert, as late as the beginning of the 20th century there was more misinformation about metalurgy than fact. At that time they still believed that crystalization occured when a part was in use and caused failure. In fact the crystalization occurs and is modified and controlled during forging and heat treating. Poorly handled steel and steel that was soaked too long in a forge developed large crystals and a weak brittle structure. When a part the broke the observed crystals were correctly understood to be the problem but how they occured was not.

During your time period there were very few facts many more myths about metal working. Many of these myths persist among those uneducated in metallurgy. A conciencious metalworker of the time would follow the methods taught to him religiously without question or deviation. Without the knowledge of why something worked (or not) any deviation from what worked was dangerous. If your master taught you to heat treat only during a certain phase of the moon then that is what you did. Some of the most superstitious metal workers were bell founders. They were combining an area of metalurgy that is not fully understood today (alloying) with acoustical physics which is VERY complex mathematicaly. Many bells that all logic say should work are failures. . thus superstition replaces logic. What did I do differently? Well it was Tuseday, there was a new moon and I was wearing red socks. . . . Alloying is still a trial and error technology. The difference today is that we can analyze an alloy and know exactly what is in it, not just guess. Thus we can exactly reproduce what works.

The references Frank gave are pretty much IT. You may also want to refer to the Oxford English dictionary for the early roots of words. Then there is the ancient Greek on the subject which would have been known to educated smiths but probably not to the majority.

Where is Thomas when you need him. . . ;)

You also have to be aware that our modern world is full of sales hype that has nothing to do with science or reality. Things like the "this is titanium" telivision ads showing automobiles being sawed up (digitaly). The Ti is only a surface coating over steel reducing friction and helping keep the blade sharp longer, NOT the hard steel that does the work. It does nothing to make the edge harder or sharper. Then there is a group of bladesmiths selling "living steel" that is better because it is repeatedly hand forged capturing the energy of the smith in the steel. . . And anyone that claims that ancient steels were better than modern steels is also selling a myth. All of this is New Age "Faux Science" or Faux Metalurgy that is right up there with pyramid power.

When it comes to technique it is even more complicated. I recently had a museum currator come to me with a simple job. He wanted reproduction lintle bars made for an early 19th century brick fireplace. These are just a bar of wrought iron about 2" wide and 3/4" to 1" thick with the ends tapered to fit into the mortar joints. Where the problem came in was his misbelief that this simple construction element needed to have hammer texture all over it. He wanted faux texturing on a piece that would have been made from a bar from a rolling mill woth the minimum of forging. Roling mills have existed for a very long time in Europe and from the early 1700's in the Americas. In fact I have several actual Virgina lintle bars that date from the 1700's that are obviously from rolling mills (smooth, no hammer texture). I told the museum currator that if he wanted an accurate I reproduction I would produce it but if he wanted faux texturing then he would have to look elsewhere (and he did).

Commercial wire drawing mills producing brass wire were in operation in Europe in the early 1300's. Thus many very early musical instruments that have not survived were wire strung. The problem is that very few developments are well documented thus leaving the historian to guess or deny the possibility.

If you want to be entirely accurate you need to have a modern understanding of blacksmithing and metalurgy AND understand what your characters did not know and what they believed. The terminology is much less critical than the reality of how things were done.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/20/05 15:42:13 EST

Ptree, if you don't mind, please send me a photo of the tire and how it's mounted. Thanks.

Sorry for posting this on the forum, but I'm running Firefox and it doesn't handle mailto protocols.

   MarcG - Sunday, 02/20/05 17:02:54 EST

MarcG email on the way.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/20/05 18:33:08 EST

Robert Harden, I was searching through my library and came across a booklet which might be helpful. It is a Shire Publication from England: "Discovering Wrought Iron" by G.J. Hollister-Short, 1970, 72 pages. The author talks about the early production of the materials, wrought iron and steel. Although capsulated, the book contains good explanations and photos of early ironwork. I see it is available at abebooks.com.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/20/05 20:11:51 EST

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