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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 21 - 28, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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Not sure if my last email got through so here i go. Can i cut steel using a propane tip in my gas cutting torch and replacing the oxygen with ordinary compressed air from my compressor. if i can or if nobody has tried it do you thing the normal flashback arrestor would protect my compressor. thanks David Harland
   David Harland - Monday, 02/21/05 08:32:01 EST

David, this is not an e-mail system. Yes your previous question was answered, in short NO. If you do not find your answers in the above log then look on our archives. Things move very fast here and we archive weekly.
   - guru - Monday, 02/21/05 11:25:36 EST

Firefox in General: I have trouble with it on my dial up. When our frames site is loading if I "touch" anything on the screen the loading quits. Then things like "Last Post" do not work because the log has not finished loading.

Under Win98 the alt tags do not display in Firefox and I can find no setting for it either. My brother says they work on his system. . . I just found that "titles" a new HTML feature work in place of ALT tags, but most sites use alt tags. . .
   - guru - Monday, 02/21/05 11:59:19 EST

I just purchased a Beaudry 100 Power hammer from a shop that is clearing out the “old stuff”. I purchased it so it would not go to the scrap yard. I don’t know any more about these hammers than I have read on the Hammer Pages at this site. Now I need to make arrangements to move it out of their shop. Does anyone know how much a 100 would weigh? I will be hiring some professional help to get it moved.
It does run but the anvil bounced around a little. Is it supposed to be secured to the foundation separately? I would also like to find more information on Beudry hammers. It acts like the rollers are worn badly or some other repair is needed. I willl need to take the ram apart to investigate.
Ttown Bill
   Ttown Bill - Monday, 02/21/05 12:01:15 EST

anyone know what size t slot nut fits the #6 fly press, kayne style press. thanks... A/FONT>
   - rugg - Monday, 02/21/05 13:23:16 EST

Thanks, Jock, but I'm running Linux. From what I've read, the Windows version of Firefox handles external emailers fine, but the Linux version needs help. I spent some time looking for solutions, but none of them panned out.

However, your java scripts may not directly refer to mailto, but somehow it converts to mailto: At least that's what the error message says when I click on an address, "Unrecognized protocol: mailto".
   - MarcG - Monday, 02/21/05 14:10:20 EST

ptree. How about doing one or two pieces that use a controlled amount of water on them. You could go out and mist spritz them with a skweez pump sprayer avery couple of days. You could also do one with a salt water solution to simulate ocean water. (would probably be better if you were closes enough and could get some actual ocean water)
   FredlyFX - Monday, 02/21/05 14:17:42 EST

Ttown Bill,

I have a 100 lb Beaudry. The whole hammer weighs about 3000 lbs but the sow, anvil and frame can all be separated. Email me if you have other questions...Hollis
   HWooldridge - Monday, 02/21/05 15:34:07 EST

David Harland: Suggestions from the board were to try to find an ultra-efficient torch rather than trying to use propane and oxygen.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/21/05 17:02:25 EST

MarkC I'm running Linux on the shop computer and all the browsers I've tried work fine. WinXP explorer doesn"t show the pull-down menu, though.
   John Odom - Monday, 02/21/05 17:15:42 EST

Torch cutting: Cutting torches won't work at all with less than 98% oxygen. Air is only 21% oxygen. The standard "welding grade" oxygen is 99.5% pure.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/21/05 21:49:15 EST

I recently purchased a used leg vise, the screw mechanism works fine but the jaws will not open with out using a crowbar. What can be causing this problem and how can I fix or overhall it. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks
   T. Gibbons - Monday, 02/21/05 22:27:11 EST

T. Gibbons.
Soak it with something like Blastyer or or some other penetrating oil
   Ralph - Monday, 02/21/05 23:41:21 EST

I'm a hobby blacksmith in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have an antique wagon tire bender, and I am trying to find out what it is worth. I have no idea what the value may be, and I have had no luck searching. Can you give me any info?
   Peter - Tuesday, 02/22/05 00:31:46 EST

The hinge on my post vise has a bolt. When I got it, the square nut had been tightened so that the vise jaws were too stiff to pull open by hand (it had no spring). Loosening the nut fixed it.
   adam - Tuesday, 02/22/05 01:02:05 EST

Dear Sir or Madam; I am currently in the process of making a coupla furnace to smelt copper oxide. What is your opinion.
   chris Chibumba - Tuesday, 02/22/05 04:09:12 EST

Sir or Madam, I am in the process of constructing a coupla furnace for the purpose of smelting copper oxide; would this be ideal for copper or they only work best for iron ore?
   Chris - Tuesday, 02/22/05 04:12:54 EST

D Harland:
Buy a regular torch ( oxy-acet) and a gas saver valve set up...it becomes economical that way.
T Gibbons: oil and soak, Then work back and forth till it loosens up, then reshape or replace spring.
It's good exercise and practice for other old tools you will soon be foolish enough to acquire.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 02/22/05 04:46:54 EST

Yes, more on a Russian anvil. Please take a look at eBay auction #4359550509. This guy is new to selling these and doesn't want to misrepresent them. He has already watered down description of quality based on some comments I sent. He would welcome further comments. Seems to be a very forthcoming seller.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 02/22/05 08:55:41 EST

Tire Roller
Hi Peter,
I think it's basicaly worth what you can get for it. What shape is it in? Make? etc?
They are handy for making all sorts of rings etc so are a valuable tool. If your wanting to sell it out an ad in the Rivet putting it up for tender?
That way who ever wants to buy it can put in a bid what it's worth to them.
Wish I could have been more help.
   JimG - Tuesday, 02/22/05 11:16:55 EST

Fly Press T-Slots: Rugg, almost every machine has its own T-slots. On old American machine tools they generaly went by the standards in Machinery's Handbook but not always. And ocassionaly a designer would use the nut size for the slot without clearance. . . Thus requiring undersize nuts. Then you have metric machinery and WORSE combined metric/English machinery. All you can do is measure and test.

Also note that these are cast, not machined T-slots (I'm pretty sure). That means that there may be taper, rough places of obstructions. Just because something fits the end of the slot doesn't mean it will fit all the way across. Some T-slots are all cast, some all machined and some machined at the top and cast underneigth. Only the best precision machine tools like milling machines have all machined t-slots.

I've often bought the closest fitting T-bolt and ground the heads to fit. Square head bolts also work but the heads are generaly not very heavy.

I also use a piece of bar with drilled and taped holes in the bottom of the T-slot. Be VERY careful when you use this system OR loose nuts in the T-slot. You can end up with the screw bearing on the bottom of the slot and breaking out a piece of the slot. For this reason T-nuts are not threaded all the way through and studs will stip or jamb if you try to thread them all the way through. So I prefer to use T-bolts.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 11:49:05 EST

Linux: MarcG, Hmmmm. . . Yeah, the translation program decodes the e-mail addres and then does a "mailto" from the Javascript. In IE it pauses and asks "do you wish to send mail to "decoded address", then launches your default mail program, in Netscape it just launchs your default mail program without a pause. Same with Firefox on a windows machine.

Linux is a great system but software to replace Windirt applications are not quite there yet. The problem with trying to emulate everything Windirt does is that you open all the security holes of Windirt. . .

The next version of our system will use our server's mail system after decoding the address on the server. This will take it out of the browser and never expose the address. The only shortcomming to this system is that bounced mail will come to OUR server and you may not know if the mail went through . . . Still working on details and trying to get server side code to undo the javascript encryption. . . It must also be robot safe.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 12:03:30 EST

Value of Tire Bender: Peter, These came in many configurations. I have a great Champion bender that has a heavy 1" thick frame and gears, screw adjustments, is practicaly indestructable and will bend 3/4" bar by hand. I wouldn't sell it for anything! I have had other tire benders that worked but were not very well made and were definiately cheaper tools when new. These I bought cheap and sold for a bit more (but less than $50).

My good one was bought for $65 twenty five years ago, I built a heavy stand for it and if it WAS for sale (its not) it would probably sell for about $200.

I have seen larger tire benders with more features but lighter frames. All were broken or had cracked frames. Too many variables to set a price.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 12:13:10 EST

Smelting Copper: Chris, Copper has a high affinity for oxygen and the atmosphere in the furnace must be very carefully controlled. Copper is refined in several stages, not just one smelting. All modern commercial copper is further refined by electrolosis after preliminary smelts. I wouldn't start this project until you had done a lot of research on it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 12:18:05 EST

I am looking for plans on how to build a de Vinci manual drop forge for striking coins and medels. Where can I look? Thanks for your help.
   ed - Tuesday, 02/22/05 12:22:28 EST

Back from Estrella---I never knew that Phoenix AZ was a swamp! Luckily I could go borrow a shovel of coals from the bake ovens whenever I wanted to start the fire in the forge.

Had one young teen? Whose mother asked if he could "help" around the forge, bwahahahahahahaha, had a hammer in his hand in minutes and now she will have to listen to him begging for his own forge all the long trip home...

As to medieval smithing there would be a lot of "jargon" particular to that "area" that we may not even have a record of. What I would suggest is to read Divers Arts and Mechaniks Exercises and notice how they deal with things---like checking each new bar of metal by fracture to determine it's quality, different pieces will be used for different items depending on how "good" it is and speciality items may require buying specific metal from a dealer. The medieval smith will not be smelting his own ore but buying it, (customs records are a valuable source of info on the movement of metal)

BTW what type of smith? the village smith making hinges and Ag tools, or a specialized smith in a big city that may be an armour smith or lock smith or blade smith, or tool smith or? Note that areas that produced "good wrought iron" or "Natural Steels" often grew into armour or weapon making centers. Also note that good steel was *expensive* and so many items that now would be all steel were then wrought iron with only a small sliver of steel for the cutting edge---if you wore through that you would take it back and have another forge welded on.

Remember if he is working in or near a large town or city he may be involved in guild and the guilds in the running of the city

And please, no "rural smith making swords"!!!!!!

More details please!!! we can help you craft a realistic portrayal of the time period: side draft forge run by two single action bellows (see pictures in "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel") burning charcoal for the fuel, *several* people working in the forge from the newist apprentice doing fuel hauling and clean up to more trained ones striking for the smith and don't forget the beer! (really a ration of beer was often part of a contract for a long job)

Smelting copper ore---make sure it is not an arsenic bearing copper ore!

Guru, that rolling mill on the Sagus *was* one of the early ones, only a few in England when it started up; previously rod and bar were hammered out using tilt hammers. (also drawing of non-ferrous wire predated drawing wrought iron wire by centuries as is understandable what with WI being so non-uniform in internal structure)

Thomas running on a couple of hours of sleep and with the fully loaded PU out in the parking lot---red flag and all.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/22/05 12:47:04 EST

guru, thanks for the reply. i like the bolt idea. should work well with a heavy washer. and i think you are correct; the slots are cast. i am planning a heavy plate for press work, probably 1". the center will accept "heavy" 1" tube that will be used for "hardy tooling"...
   - rugg - Tuesday, 02/22/05 13:12:16 EST

da Vinci inventions: Ed, I do not remember Leonardo da Vinci working on drop hammers. If he did you will find it in copies of his notebooks. There were two types in existance during his life and neither was improved or replaced until the 1800's. The most common for manufacturing wrought iron was the "tilt hammer" that ran on water power. Dogs on the main shaft lifted the hammer by the helve and then it sliped off and fell about a foot or 18". The other type was used for breaking ore. It was just a big rock, later a ball of iron that was raised by ropes pulled by whatever power was available (from manpower to mules), then droped. Most mining operations were rated by the size of the ball in tons. A similar but smaller arrangement was ocassionaly used with guides for coining.

For details on tilt hammers see Diderot's Encyclopedia, and Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel.

About 1834 James Nasmyth invented the steam hammer to replace the tilt hammer which was limited in capacity by materials and physics. A few tilt hammers were used afterwards but the steam hammer replaced most and were used in all new forge instalations up until the 20th century when hydraulic presses started replacing steam hammers. However, steam (or air powered versions) are still very popular and used world wide.

Leonardo da Vinci worked on many problems and designed many inventions that were ahead of his time. Things he overlooked as important were the machines to make the screws and gears to make his inventions work. Even though models of his inventions have been made they are awkward and do not run very smmothly unless the maker cheats and uses modern metal gears and screw forms. True involute gears were not invented until the 1700's and the screw turning lathe (based on those gears) did not come about until the late 1700's.

It is a characteristic of civilization and commerce that social and economic conditions produce technology and inventions not the other way around. Mark Twain's tale of the time traveling Conneticut Yankee revolutionizing medieval England was a good story but history has proven over and over that inventions do not make the world. The saying "Neccessity is the Mother of invention" is closer to the truth. Yes, some inventions revolutionize technology but it is almost never until we NEED that revolution or are financialy ready that we accept those inventions.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 15:05:33 EST

I have a forged part 0.75 in in dia made of 8620. Can I heat treat it to RHC30-33 without carburising.

   Jay - Tuesday, 02/22/05 15:16:16 EST

SAE 8620: Jay, This steel without case hardening will harden on the surface to 48-41 HRc (as quenched). At 3/8" from the surface it will be 34-21 HRc. So a 3/4" part will vary from as high as 48 HRc to as low as 21 HRC in the center. Since it will be cooling from two sides the center will probably be closer to the high end of the range for its distance. To produce a uniform hardness of 30-33 HRc in most of the part it would need to be tempered at 850 to 875°F to reduce the surface hardness.

ASM Heat Treaters Guide (interpreted from graphs).
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/22/05 16:17:16 EST

new here and sorry if this is the wrong forum for this question. i am looking to buy a tig welder for light (12-20 ga) 4130, 1018 and 6061 alum. i'll never need to weld over 1/4 of any of these materials. where can i get info on the quality of miller econotig vs hobart tigmate and are there other machines i should be looking at? i would love to find used but seems rare.


   fuzzy - Tuesday, 02/22/05 18:34:53 EST

C clamp repair: I have salvaged a number of C clamps that need work. Some are missing swivel pads - is there an easy way to make these (I know Mcmastercarr sells them but we are blacksmiths). A couple of others have bent screws - is there a technique for straightening a bent threaded rod w/o damaging the threads?
   adam - Tuesday, 02/22/05 19:44:41 EST

New Russian anvil on eBay: call me skeptical but does the fact that the first guy was called "Frankie8Acres" and this guy is "FreeWheelingFrank-88" suggest any linkage? Also, note that the hardy hole is sitting diagonally on the anvil face. Besides being somewhat awkward to use, it puts the sharp corners adjacent to the thinnes part of the anvil thickness. Cracks are very possible with any heavy hardy work. No thanks.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 02/22/05 20:55:22 EST

adam, I know you mean well wanting to fix the C clamps but throw them away and buy some new ones, they aren`t a high dollar item. Now take the time you would have used on the clamps and forge something nice.
   Robert - Tuesday, 02/22/05 21:01:30 EST

Robert, you are right it's not worth it economically but it's not about the money - it's about resurrection. :)
   adam - Tuesday, 02/22/05 21:09:45 EST

I am working ith some old rusted sheet metal for a piece of artistic furniture that has beautiful colors of orange, blue and red. I want to coat it with a finish that will not change the colors but also help smooth and prevent rust from rubbing off. I tested some clear acrylic spray and it darkend the rust and turned the organe to a dark blue color. Any suggestions of some spray or paint on coating.

Thank you
   - Kayhan - Tuesday, 02/22/05 21:41:00 EST

What are some good - safe chemicals that can be used to get a reddish, orange rust color on large metal bolts that I would like to "antique.".
   kayhan - Tuesday, 02/22/05 21:45:32 EST

Adam, It's fun to resurrect. Forge a disc with a small boss in the middle for your pad. Drill a blind hole. Insert the necked end of the screw. Chase it tight with a small semi-blunt chasing tool at room temp. When it freezes, loosen and twirl it with a red heat. If the screw is steel, it can be straightened at a heat while sitting on a two by four "anvil". Use a wooden club or mallet or a rawhide hammer to nudge it to straightness. Some old C-clamps have cast threads, and that could present breakage problems.

I met some good ol' boys at the barber shop in the Willamette Valley of Oregon where it rains a lot. They swore that they fixed their "swipes" (windshield wipers) with cut pieces of innertube. What could be more fun?
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/22/05 21:49:38 EST

I have a couple of pounds of 90/10 the 10 is cadnium. How do I remove the cadnium? George
   George Schaaf - Tuesday, 02/22/05 22:03:06 EST

Fuzzy-I am pretty sure that tigmate is the same machine as the econotig.Lincon oferes a 175 amp square wave, machine and Miller has a 180 amp square wave[syncrowave]. These are the next step up in power, features & cost.1/4 aluminum will take all the power these larger machines have, 12 to 20 ga. especially in steel is what the smaller ones handle well. Ask Your local welding suplier about purchasing a used rental machine.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/22/05 22:56:48 EST


The only clear coating I know of that doesn't "wet" the substrate is butyrate acetate, also known as model airplane clear dope. I have no idea where you would get larger quantities, but it should work. Try a Google search for it.

To rust your bolts, use Clorox™ bleach. One caution; most bolts are zinc or cadmium plated, so be sure to get black iron bolts to start with.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/22/05 23:09:19 EST


You don't say what the 90 is, (I'm assuming either silver or gold), but I can tell you that the only SAFE way to get rid of cadmium is to take it to a metals recycler. Grinding, burning, chemical stripping, etc, will all create either fumes or small particle which are horribly toxic, even fatal. Even if not fatal, the dose is cumulative; your body never, ever gets rid of the stuff.

I've worked with metals all my life and I would NOT try to do what you are wanting. I want to get older.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/22/05 23:13:56 EST

Tig Welders:

I was just going to write a post that would have looked almost exactly like Dave's. I have heard that the low-end Lincoln (I think it's a 185 now) comes with a built-in pulser. I've never used one, but it might come in handy on that 20 gauge.
   Mike B - Tuesday, 02/22/05 23:22:08 EST

I fixed a C-Clamp once, but it was about 12" or 18" long and got bent launching the longship up in Newfoundland. Now for one of those (and LSCo property, to boot) it was worth the time.

   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/22/05 23:57:54 EST

Quenchcrack: I am pretty sure frankie8acres and freewheelin-frank are different sellers. Different locations and selling totally different items. He has now indicated these are only intended for beginning or intermediate-level smithing.

I do get the impression the ones in Asia and Russia making these anvils do not have any experience on them.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/23/05 00:17:07 EST

George - I second vicopper's suggestion - as a metallurgist, I don't want to have anything to do with cadmium, unless it's in a highly controlled setting with the most modern pollution controls available - preferably with someone else running the operation.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 02/23/05 01:03:19 EST

Hi excuse me actually i've just wanna ask 2 questions about crystal structure:

1 Are the grain boundaries a continuation of regular lattice structure from one grain to another? Explain.

2 Explain the relative advantages of fine grained steel as compared to coarse grain steel.

Well, that's just all my questions. I hope that you can give me the answers as soon as possible at syazman_84@yahoo.com

Thank you

   syazman - Wednesday, 02/23/05 02:52:54 EST

Hi excuse me actually i've just wanna ask 2 questions about crystal structure:

1 Are the grain boundaries a continuation of regular lattice structure from one grain to another? Explain.

2 Explain the relative advantages of fine grained steel as compared to coarse grain steel.

Well, that's just all my questions. I hope that you can give me the answers as soon as possible at syazman_84@yahoo.com

Thank you

   syazman - Wednesday, 02/23/05 02:53:20 EST

we tend to not do homework for people.
   ptree - Wednesday, 02/23/05 06:52:38 EST

I have localed a blacksmith in the area who has a Big Blue powerhammer and is willing to do subcontractor work. I want him to forge 1 1/2" and 2" round stock into mandrel cones. I will arc weld on a hardy shaft. For the cone itself, what stock length would you recommend to give a nice mandrel from both of these sizes. Doesn't need to come to a sharp point (say 3/8" to 1/2"). I would like to end up with about 6" high or so cones from the 1 1/2" and 8" or so high cones from the 2". Using half that length (3" & 4" plus 1" for a tongs grip area) seems a bit too simple of a solution.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/23/05 10:32:27 EST

Ken, a Cone is 1/3 of the original volume if removing stock or three times as long if forging. The flat on the end will not save an appreciable amount so disregard it.

If these are going to be forged the shanks should be forged so that they are all one piece. Two heats instead of one and an infinitely better product.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:34:55 EST

Ken, As long as you're "in business", there are other handier hardy-stakes that I use. If you bend the stock at right angles so that it hangs beyond the anvil edge, you can wind up with a small horn, round or pyramidal. Another that I use, especially for branding letters, is bent and has a wedge shape on the end. Then, there is the bridge, cow's tongue, ball stake etc. Ref Schmirler's "Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds" pp. 56 and 64.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:37:49 EST

Diagonal Hardy Hole Anvils: These are Chinese cast iron. The diagonal hole creates a very weak point (as QC noted) in what is already a bad anvil.

Welder Duty: Fuzzy, Aluminium takes a LOT of juice. I poped a 60 amp breaker welding studs to 1/4" aluminium then overheated the built in protection when I upped the breaker to the manufacturers recommended 90 amp (an expensive breaker). Talk to you welding supplier about the capacity of the machines and note there is a big difference in the size steel and aluminium they will weld.

Either brand you are looking at makes a good machine. But also not that TIG and MIG machines have a lot to go wrong and the "standard" ones with replaceable components are much better than those with special light duty packaged parts.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:46:50 EST

RUST FINISH: Kayan, Rusted steel is NOT a good finish to try to preserve. It tends to cause the finish to flake off and the rust never stops. Keep a dry sample and recreate the colors using paint. If you start with the rust texture then clean and prime the metal you should be able to recreate the original perfectly by splattering with a stiff brush or using a spray gun.

Note that orange iron oxides are not stable. The only ones that are stable are the dark anhydrous blue black and the dark red brown hydrous rust. Good "organic" orange, yellow and red pigments are various cadnium oxides.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:52:33 EST

Bruce: All that marauding must be rough on tools but I dont think these are Viking C Clamps. Cant be sure though - those guys got everywhere. Didn't you say you now have an outboard motor on your longboat?
   adam - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:59:03 EST

Cadnium Metal: George, Fumes from cadnium are VERY toxic and leathal in a short time. More welders have died from welding old galvanizing (which used to contain cadnium) than from any other job related cause. Those that do not die from exposure in a couple days die long slow tortourus deaths from liver failure. There is no cure for cadnium poisioning.

Since the establishment of anvilfire the sadest letters I have had to write were those to the wives of ex-welders looking for the reason their husband is slowly dieing.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 11:59:53 EST

C-clamps-- Actually, the forged, not cast, jobs with the square terminals to take a wrench and the pointed or cupped business ends can be quite costly, don't have buttons to begin with so they can dig into the heavy-- I've got some that are rated upwards of several K-- plate they are intended to lift.
   Sebastian Chippinghammer - Wednesday, 02/23/05 12:15:32 EST


I have recently come by a dozen used motor-grader blades (6'x 4-6" x maybe 5/8") and similarly a half-dozen used Bushhog(tm) rotary mower blades (2'x 8" x 3/4").

What is the common method of idntifying the composition of these two items? Call the manufacturer?

Or, does anyone here know what are they known to be? What kind of steel?

My source for these could be bartered for a nearly endless supply if the material is ordinarily workable in a coal forge (i.e., no propane forge, no oven, no cryogenics, no fancy stuff). But, I do have a willing high-speed 10# hammer operator; my brawny cousin is my striker.

   CC Harper - Wednesday, 02/23/05 12:21:27 EST

My apology for asking multiple questions, but here goes another one:

Welding Electrode Oven (Home-made)

Someone here (on AnvilFire I think) said that he/she has a home-made electrode oven made of a plywood box lined with reflective styrofoam insulation heated by a 100w light bulb and contolled to 100 degrees with a thermostat.

I can see how this would work, we had a similar arrangement at one of my jobs for warming meals. But, the tricky part I can't seem to figure out is the thermostat. I have thought of using an electric water heater thermostat (one with the contacts to support switching), but the temperature range is too high for a 100w bulb to manage inside a box of any good volume (I think). A household furnace thermostat also came to mind, but all the ones I can find have super-small, maybe 24ga, wires that probably would not carry the current of a 100w bulb for several hours at a time.

Any suggestions on an appropriate salvage (i.e., cheap and readily available) thermostat and contacts?

I don't do alot of welding, so I buy smaller quantities in bags and boxes. Never owned a tin of rods like Real welder pros. But my flux deteriorates in storage and a way of keeping/making them dry would help out. Maybe then I an buy a full sized tins of rods and save some my "Tooling Fund."

Thanks again...
   CC Harper - Wednesday, 02/23/05 12:42:44 EST

C-Clamps: Frank covered it pretty well. As to it not being cost effective I have a couple dozen light duty C-clamps that need repairing quite often. The two to five minutes it takes is usualy cost effective. The most common damage is bent frames. If you clamp ANYTHING together and weld it the forces of heat expansion and contraction are great enough to bend even those huge heavy welding clamps. . .

The common problem is bent frames. For this I just clamp them in a vice and use a big wrench to center the screw over the stationary pad. Bent screws are generaly from abuse but ocassionaly you will have something slip and you get a nice S shape screw. If the threads are loose in the clamp OR if they are good acme or square threads you can usualy straighten them cold. I use a vise and a couple blocks of hard wood on V threads and the vise and a couple slabs of steel on acme threads. On big clamps I have a hydraulic press that works best for straightening. An arbor press will also work.

I have a few clamps without swivels and have not worried about repairing them. They just get used as is. If I was serious about fixing them I would machine pads in my little 6" Craftsman lathe. Labor would be about the price of a good forged steel clamp so it would be a break even proposition. I suspect purchasing a few feet from McMaster-Carr is much more cost effective.

C-Clamps are something you cannot ever have enough of. On gluing jobs or bent railing jobs you can use dozens. I have a collection of old cheap clamps (the ones that get straightened regularly) and a set of ten 6" clamps with 3/4" coper plated acme screws I purchased from my welding supplier. That was a GREAT investment. About the same time I also purchased about a dozen medium size Vice-Grip welding clamps. Another great investment. They were for a specific job which paid for them in a couple days.

I also have a collection of wood working clamps. I have a set of the clamps that use 3/4" pipe for bars. The clamps cost $30/pair BUT the pipe cost $80 for several lengths threaded so that I had 5 foot, 3 foot and 18" clamps. Pipe couplings can be used to make them longer. Then I have large and small quick action clamps. Ocassionaly I use these for metal working but generaly not.

Now, this is a life time collection. I did not but them all at once. C-Clamps are a small tool that you need lots of in lots of sizes. Like files they are a significant investment that doesn't look like much. But when you need them, you NEED them. But if you have the work you can generally afford the tools. After that first job you usualy profit from having those tools over and over.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 13:14:55 EST

Guru: Arc welding on the mandrel shaft goes to the basic philosophy of Poor Boy Tools. They are designed to be easily made and intended for the hobby or occasional user. Forging on the shafts takes it to a much higher level of forging to make the shaft and square up the shoulder. Think of me as the Vulcan of blacksmithing tools in that I don't target the professional. If a buyer wants high quality tooling I have no problem in referring them to Centaur or Pieh, etc. By arc welding on the hardy shaft I can use one or two basic size cones and then customize them to the buyer's needs with the hardy shank they need for their anvil. I will try to drill in a hole in the bottom so the square shank is forced into it and then weld around the side voids for additional strength. I have had almost no complaints about my tools so apparently the buyers are satisfied.

If I understand you correctly, if we start out with a 4" blank and retain 1" for a tongs grip, we should end up with a 9" cone if done perfectly.

CC Harper: Personally I don't do anything special in storing my welding rods. I have had some in the cabinet for maybe 20 years and don't have a problem with them. You might though find a dead small dorn-size refrigerator and either equip it with a 15w bulb just left on constantly or put a pan of charcoal in the bottom and just put in new every couple of months. But then I tend to do things differently than most.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/23/05 13:29:31 EST

Thermostat - like Ken says this is probably over engineering but an ordinairy, used bimetallic furnace thermostat would cover the right temp. range.
   adam - Wednesday, 02/23/05 14:18:54 EST

TIGs; not a pro, but my comments are probably adequate. i dont think the lincoln 185 has a built in pulser; it could probably added on. 150amps should be enough for 1/4". for what you are doing, balance control should be more than adequate. depending on how much you are willing to spend, an inverter unit, lincoln or miller, will offer more variable adjustment, tuning, whatever you want to call it (balance control, frequency, background current, pulse). i think the the lincoln 185 or the miller equivilant will be more than adequate for your purpose.
   - rugg - Wednesday, 02/23/05 14:50:50 EST

Electrode oven,

If you just want to keep them warm, a box with a light bulb will be fine, and don't worry about thermostatic control. But if you truly want an electrode oven to protect low-hydrogen rods from degradation, then you need to go much further.

As is understand it, low hydrogen rods need to be kept at a temperature in excess of 225ºF or they absorb moisture and degrade. If they have been exposed to moisture, then they need to be baked at a temperature high enough to drive off the chemical water, which is over 550ºF. This is to maintain the electrodes at a condition adequate to meet specifications for low-hydrogen weldment applications; a higher standard than most of us blacksmiths need.

Do a search for electrode manufacturers and their requirements for storage for 7018 rod and you'll get more accurate information, and lots more of it.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/23/05 15:57:27 EST

The Lincoln Precision TIG 185 made after 2003has the pulse control. The earlier Precision TIG 180 did not have pulse control. The local hotshot weldors think pretty highly of that machine, BTW.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/23/05 16:00:03 EST


We "acquired" the 150 hp outboard motor, but it's just on its way through to a more suitable use (or we can melt down the aluminum). Eventually, we plan to have a towing vessel for more distant events on the bay; but it still would't need a 150. ("Look, Dad; a flying Viking ship!")

Greater Guru:

Isn't it cadmium? (I could be wrong; nast stuff no matter how you spell it.)

Winter Storm Watch on the banks of the Potomac for tonight and tomorrow.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/23/05 16:08:18 EST

CC Harper: You could put your rods in your kitchen oven for an hour or two at the lowest setting right before you use them.
   AwP - Wednesday, 02/23/05 16:31:44 EST

Damp Rods: Here at camp swampy our rods get so wet from the hummidity and condensation that they almost do not weld and steam if they do. Before I can use any rods that have been here more than a few days I heat them with a torch to a golden brown. . . Then they weld great. Note that this is NOT spec for low hydrogen rods.

The classic storage box for rods is an old refrigerator with a 100 watt bulb to heat and keep dry.

Putting any kind of heating element (including a light bulb) in a wood box, especially one lined with foam insulation is a first class way to burn down your shop. That foam insulation will allow the temperture to easily rise to above the vaporization point of the insulation. Mother Earth News had problems with window solar heaters made from that same foil covered foam catching on fire. . .

Hot water heaters run a max of about 140°F and 120°F is MUCH safer. I keep mine on the low end to prevent accidental scalding.

Your motor grader and mower blades all come under all the rules of Junkyand steel. See our FAQ.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/23/05 17:11:39 EST

For a rod oven I use an old 1952 reefer box and a burner from and old kitchen stove with thermostat from a space heater. Works real good.
   smitty7 - Wednesday, 02/23/05 17:18:42 EST

I recently bought a Whisper Momma propane forge. On one side (the left when facing it) the flame is very nice, torch like, the other side is a softer flame kind of whispy(if that is a real word).The presure is 12-14 psi i'v tried to vary it but it doesn't effect the flame.
Any thoughts on how to even out the two flame sides?

thanks, Dan
   Dan Melock - Wednesday, 02/23/05 18:49:54 EST

I am presently doing flat weather vanes but now I would like to realized a full size rooster as closed as possible of the reality.What is the best way to make a "mold", a "form" or a "die" to be able to repeat the 2 half sections of the body. Any good book on this subject???
   André Boudreault - Wednesday, 02/23/05 18:51:23 EST

Dear Guru and other folks,
I need a source of pure nickel rod 0.220 inches (5.80 mm) in diameter. I normally deal with McMaster-Carr out of Chicago.
By the way, a good method to get a coal (or charcoal) fire going is to obtain a one pound coffee can or a large 4 1/2 inch diameter juice can punch some 1/2 inch diameter holes in the bottom. Then crumple up enough newspaper to fill the bottom 3 inches or so, fill it up with coal or (barbercue) charcoal. Light it up through the holes in the bottom and let it burn until the coal or chacoal starts to burn, then use that coal on the bottom of your forge as a primer for the rest of the fuel. Placing the can over the draft hole in the forge would undoubtedly hurry things along.
David Chisholm
Shop Technician,
3D Shop,
Washington University School of Art,
St. Louis, MO
   David Chisholm - Wednesday, 02/23/05 19:26:48 EST

DAN MELOCK> My first guess would as obstruction in the flow pipe, probably in the nozzle.

   sandpile - Wednesday, 02/23/05 20:25:07 EST

David Chisholm, I don't know about the nickel, but Criminetly! That method of fire starting sounds like a bunch of fumdiddling. I just put coke or green coal on top of the newspaper. At first, you might need to smother live flame, even though it gets smoky. Eventually, the flame breaks through. Then, build your volcanic cone around the hot spot.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/23/05 20:33:43 EST


Yoiu didn't say what metal you want to make this rooster out of, so I'll give you a couple of suggestions.

1. If using a non-ferrous metal such as brass or copper, you can make a cutout silhouette form from plywood covered with tempered Masonite™. Make two dies that are mirror images of each other. Take a sheet of copper and sandwich it between the two cutouts, with the Masonite™ faces against the copper. Drill holes and bolt the whole sandwich together, using 1/4" bolts every 2-3 inches around the perimeter of the shape. Then, using a hammer, stretch the copper down into the form until enough depth is achieved. You may need more than one layer of plywood to make the form deep enough, or you can place the whole works onto a bed of sand for backup. If you are going very deep, (say, half a rooster's worth), you'll likely need to anneal the copper once during the process. Repeat the process with a second sheet, working into the other half of the die to make the opposite side. When you have the two sides sunk sufficiently deep, anneal them and proceed with the repousse'/chasing work to define the feathers, etc. Remember that no one can see both sides at once, so the only critical thing is that the perimeter matches for joining. The Masonite™ die insures the two halves will match. After the detailing, trim off the excess flange and join the two halves by the method of your choice.

2. For sheet steel, a Masonite™ die is not sufficiently durable against the higher forming stresses involved. You can make a similar die from heavy steel plate, or you can try the compressed air inflation scheme that Elizabeth Brim uses. For this, you make the two halves out of sheet steel, preferably as low-carbon as possible. The two halves are continuously welded together around the perimeter, except for one point at which you weld in place a small pipe nipple. The nipple is connected to an air compressor with a length of copper tubing and the piece is heated until it is cherry red and then compressed air is introduced into the form expanding it. Check out the Anvil's Ring for further information on this method.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/23/05 20:36:53 EST

Your site is listed in a textbook I'm using for the 7th grade. I would love to be able to tell the students what sorts of items would be commonly made by a blacksmith around 1840 in the United States. How many blacksmiths would there be in an average sized town of the time. If you can help or direct me to the place on your site that might help, I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance for your time.
Mrs. Terlizzi
   Kia Terlizzi - Wednesday, 02/23/05 20:42:51 EST

I'm making some bar-b-gue forks, about 18" long. What kind of finish would you reccomend applying?
   Ray - Wednesday, 02/23/05 21:01:57 EST

Mrs. Terlizzi: See if your library can get a loaner copy of The Blacksmith, Ironworker and Farrier (originally titled The Village Blacksmith) by Aldren A. Watson. Table #3 at the end is a Blacksmith's Daily Record for January 1842. Table #4 is Selected Enteries from Account Book to Show Diversity of Blacksmith's Seasonal Work.

I don't think there is any standard for the number of blacksmiths in a community. In a remote village one smith might have done the work of several trades. In a small town each trade might have one or more dedicated smiths. An 'industrial-oriented' town might have many while a nearby similar size town with a different orientation might have few.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 02/23/05 21:03:45 EST

Since blacksmithing goes back to the year dot, I've been wondering how far back we can document treadle hammers and power hammers. Just curious.

   Jerry Crawford - Wednesday, 02/23/05 21:04:40 EST

I am really stuck.
I have been commisioned to forge a curved stair railing.
Plan to use deeply hammered pipe for top and bottom rails.
Problem - planned to hammer pipe and then roll it on my eagle 3 roll bender. Surprise - the pipe surface is so distorted that it will not feed through the pipe rolls.
I think I can bend the pipe to the correct radius with my hydraulic ram bender segmentally but how the heck do I get the proper helix in the pipe after it is rolled to correct diameter.
I am using 1" pipe for the bottom rail and 1 1/2" for the top rail which is what the customer demanded.
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated as I am now about 3 weeks behind on this job.
Dave Plowman
   - Dave Plowman - Wednesday, 02/23/05 21:27:00 EST

C clamps..I say were all right in one form or another. After 22 years in the steel erection trade I`ve seen plenty of stuff tore up and wore out. Lets say I happen to bend a screw at work and theres no other clamps around you had better be smart enough to go ahead and get the job done. Alot of the clamps at work can not be tore up by human hands their too stout. Another thing is when "the man" is paying you $30 an hr. your not going to be fixing a $12 clamp. I tend to forget to shut the "at work" part of my brain off but wanted you to see where my thoughts came from.

I will agree with adam that the clamps at home are worth fixing. I would still go buy more new ones and use the tweaked ones when I had to.

If you want to claim that you own good clamps buy Bessey sliding-arm bar clamps.
   Robert - Wednesday, 02/23/05 21:42:10 EST

Harper an old refrigerator with a single light bulb will stay hot enough and keep your electrodes dry and you don't need a thermostat.
   dale - Wednesday, 02/23/05 22:41:47 EST

BBQ, I give mine a Johnson's old fashioned paste floor wax finish except for the tines. The tines get a cooking oil finish, all done at 733.5ºF. Just kidding. It should be between the tempering colors, ocean green, 630ºF, and a black heat (a black heat glows in the dark; too hot).
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/23/05 23:35:38 EST

Early American Blacksmith's Daily Work; Kia:

If you can order it through the inter-library loan, get a copy of "To Draw, Upset and Weld (The Work of the Pennsylvania Rural Blacksmith 1742-1935)" by Jeannette Lasansky (Keystone Books; (c) 1980; ISBN 0-271-00265-4). Like Watson, above, it has a lot of information from the account sheets and lots of photographs of the production. (If you can't get it through inter-library loan, contact me at the National Park Service at bruce_blackistoneATnpsDOTgov and we'll see what else we can do.)

To follow-on to what Ken posted- In the country and smaller towns, blacksmiths were generalists, while in cities thay tended to be specialists- cutlers, locksmiths, farriers, toolsmiths, hardware specialists, shipsmiths, &c.

Where is your school located?

Cooking Fork Finish; Ray:

I've had good luck over the years with olive oil or vegetable oil, but you have to wash and oil each usage (...and DON'T leave it in to soak overnight!).

Keep the coating light, ("...visible but not feelable." as the Gunny used to say) and I sometimes bake it in the oven for a little bit at "Low". Some folks have poblems with the coating going rancid, but I've done okay. (Your reality may vary.) DO NOT use linseed oil, since the dryers tend to be toxic.

I'm sure others will chime in with their favored brews.

Cold and fixin' to snow in the morning on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Vist your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/23/05 23:55:55 EST

Jerry, A neander97 website says that water powered bellows and hammers came in about the 10th century CE (Common Era). The water powered grist mills were, apparently, much earlier.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/24/05 00:06:09 EST


Do you a website selling castable bricks that can withstand 500 deg Farenheight.

Thank you
   Joey - Thursday, 02/24/05 00:38:45 EST

From Lincoln Welding web site on Storing welding rod and exposure limits.

SMAW electrodes with low hydrogen coatings, such as E7018 and E8018-C3, must be kept very dry since hydrogen induced cracking can easily occur,
Purchase these electrodes in hermetically sealed containers, which provide excellent protection against moisture pickup.

*Do not open the hermetically sealed containers until the electrode is needed for use.

*When the cans are opened, electrodes that will not be immediately used should be placed in a cabinet at 250 degrees to 300 degrees (120 – 150 degrees C).

*Electrodes should be supplied to welders in quantities that can be consumed within time limits that are dependent on the electrode type and strength level. For example, standard E7018 electrodes can be safely be exposed to the atmosphere for 4 hours whereas standard E11018 electrodes are restricted to only ½ hour.

*To re-dry, electrodes should be removed from the can, and placed in suitable oven. The electrodes should be spread out in the oven so that all electrodes will reach the drying temperature. The can of electrodes should not be put in the oven; the cardboard liners can char, and the temperature of the electrodes will not be uniform.

*When the electrodes are initially placed in the oven, the temperature should not be greater than half the re-drying temperature. The electrodes should be held at that temperature for ½ hour before heating the electrode to the final temperature.

*For mild steel low hydrogen electrodes governed by AWS A5.1 (such as E7018), the final re-drying temperature is typically 500-800 degrees F. For low alloy electrodes governed by AWS A5.5, the final re-drying temperature should be 700-800 degrees F. The manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.

*One hour at the listed final temperature is satisfactory. Do not dry electrodes at higher temperatures. Also, several hours at a lower temperature is not equivalent to using the specified requirements. Moisture becomes chemically bonded (absorbed) to the electrode coating and those chemical bonds must be broken at the proper temperature for the proper length of time or the electrode can be damaged.

*Any electrode should be discarded if excessive re-drying causes the coating to become fragile and flake or break off while welding. Or, dispose of the electrode if there is a noticeable difference in handling or arc characteristics, such as insufficient arc force.

I will repeat Lincoln on this item:
When the cans are opened, electrodes that will not be immediately used should be placed in a cabinet at 250 degrees to 300 degrees (120 – 150 degrees C).

Personally I would expect this tempertature would be more suitable for an oven than a refrigerator, and would expect to use pot holders (or wear welding gloves) to handle anything in the 250-300 degrees F range.

IMHO, If there are any questions about a welding rod, it is cheaper to buy new welding rod than to compromise the weld, AND the project.

Information Source: http://www.lincolnelectric.com
   - Conner - Thursday, 02/24/05 02:32:43 EST

Here again I have never done anything special on storage of my welding rods. I leave a box of 7018 open in the show until it is used up. Haven't had a problem with any degrading of the flux I have seen. I use a LOT of 312-16 stainless as I can buy them as cheap as 7018. Those do come in sealed one pound packages. Maybe I couldn't pass a certified welders test, but then my welds seldom break either. I tell people I do 'Gorilla Welding' - they may be ugly but they are strong.

Joey: Almost any brick will withstand that temperate. It is less than most ovens produce on the highest heat setting. Standard boiler bricks come in 3,200 or 3,600 degree ratings.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 02/24/05 06:52:39 EST

Sounds as if we are heading into another one of those boring "them pointy-headed scientists, what do they know?" dialogues. Fact is, though, 7018 flux coating is hygroscopic-- it literally is going to sponge up whatever ambient moisture lurks in the surrounding air. This compromises the rods. Like it or not, they won't perform to the max. Sad but true. I keep all my welding rods sealed inside short lengths of PVC pipe with slip-on caps that maintain a tight seal. No problems in nearly 10 years of doing this. One welder I know keeps his 7018 and his stainless rods in his sock drawer.
   Sebastian Chippinghammer - Thursday, 02/24/05 10:07:55 EST

I don't muck about when it comes to gettin a fire lit. Hit it with yer Bernz-O-Matic, and git 'er done.
   3dogs - Thursday, 02/24/05 10:21:06 EST

Whisper Momma: Dan, there are a number of things that can cause variations. As mentioned it may be an obstruction. NC uses teflon tape for assembly and often that gets loose in the system Disassemble and check. The orifice may be misaligned. Check to be sure it is centered. You said the forge is new so obstructions in the burner pipe is unlikely but it is common for wasps and spiders to build nests in the tubes. You could have a piece of packing material hung on the igniter OR a bit of the forge lining obstructing the end.

I'd bet on it being a bit of teflon tape.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/24/05 11:34:54 EST

1840's Blacksmithing: Kia,

In the 1840's blacksmiths made almost every that was made of iron that was not cast in molds. Items that were cast at the time were things like cast iron frying pans, pots and machinery beds or frames.

Items forged by hand included nails, screws, hinges, locks, tools of every sort such as, hammers, chisels, files, shovels, rakes, scythes and knives of all sorts. Wagon hardware such as tires and braces. Chain from the smallest to ship anchor chain was forged by hand. Most weapons from swords and pikes to all types of hand guns were forged by hand. Cannons were cast but if they were on a cassion (wagon) the tires and many parts of the wagon were hand forged.

Items forged under water powered trip hammers under the guidence of a blacksmith and then finished by hand with sledge hammers included ship anchors, shafts for stationary and locomotive steam engines, connecting rods for steam engines, heavy tools like anvils and vices.

In the late 1830's the steam hammer was invented to do even larger work and also replaced many toolmakers with dies that forged tools like hammers in a couple blows. However it was not until the Civil War era in the US that such machines started replacing the smith in many cases.

The number of smiths in a given locality would vary according to the industry and the social system. In England they had a system of cottage workers where farmers would spend the winter months making small items such as files, nails or other small hardware and tools for the British export business. This meant that almost everyone in a village may have been a smith in the winter including childern who were used to make nails (up to 1000 a day) and women who made small chain. But in a similar rural village in a farming community there may have been only one smith.

Durring this era in France, England and the US there was a similar industry in the spinning and weaving industry. Home or cottage workers in an entire village may have worked for a larger industry.

In the US the romantic blacksmith of Longworth's poem was a "frontier" blacksmith that did it all. These were a throw back from Europe where smiths were had been specialized for centuries. These jack of all trades rapidly disapeared as civilization developed and they were replaced by specialty shops that looked more like small factories than the quaint "village smithy". Farriers shod horses, Wheelwrights made wagons, Locksmiths made locks and so on. . . Those that hung on to the horse and carriage trade were replaced by the autoimobile and service stations. A few made it into modern times because it was what they loved to do. Today there are tens of thousands of smiths again, mostly hobbiests that do smithing for the art or love of it.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/24/05 12:21:07 EST

Well the first powerhammer was three apprentices or journeymen standing around a *stout* anvil with sledgehammers. The early tilt hammers are fairly easy to build and there are some still in use in Germany, Manfred Sachse's book on "Damascus Steel" has a couple pictures of a shop with one as does "Iron works on the Sagus"

Neander's dates seem to fit what I recall without hitting the books, of course this is the sort of thing that *one* find can change some times quite dramatically---or the re-interpretation of an ancient account---what did they mean by *that* word...

The three strikers act much more like the typical modern triphammer though. The tilthammers tended toward slow very powerfull blows.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/24/05 12:41:35 EST

Curved Railing: Dave, we have an article on our 21st Century page covering Spiral Stairways that explains a lot. Much of this is done by trial and error if you are fitting an existing stair (not a free standing work). Folks I know that build these usualy hand bend a short mock-up section in angle iron (or weld two pieces of flat into a corner) and then use this to fit the rail.

Yes you can use a radius bender if you keep it short and adjust the angle of the work to the spiral as you bend each segment.

After making the rail as close to right as you can in the shop, plan on taking it to the site and checking the fit and making final adjustments on the spot. Ocassionly you will need to bring it back to the shop for significant adjustments and should plan on it for painting after you KNOW it is going to fit.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/24/05 12:50:03 EST

I just purchased a 70lb. Bulgar style anvil from Old World Anvils.Has anyone else got one of these I'm kinda excited since I have been forging blades on a cast iron 45lb ASO for 4years.
   Chris Makin - Thursday, 02/24/05 14:14:29 EST

Rust Finish addendum,

When the bare metal surface of carbon steel is exposed to oxygen at elevated temperatures, corrosion may occur as follows: 3Fe + 2O2 = Fe3O4, 4Fe + 3O2 = 2Fe2O3,
2Fe + O2 = 2FeO

The corrosion products formed: magnetite (Fe3O4), ferric oxide, or hematite (Fe2O3), or ferrous oxide (FeO), depend on oxygen concentrations and temperatures. Of these products, only Fe3O4 is formed as a dense surface layer that prevents further attack of the underlying metal. The other iron oxides, Fe2O3 and FeO do not form a dense protective layer, and corrosion proceeds in the underlying metal at the same rate. FeO is formed at temperatures above 1050 °F. All of these are brittle and not "pretty".

PTree, know any good met. techs?

Tube Dude
   Boiler Tube Dude - Thursday, 02/24/05 14:18:30 EST

Hello everyone,
I would appreciate it if someone could refer me somewhere online where I can find detailed specifications regarding collaring (without using modern welding methods).
I would very much appreciate if possible a short summary of the process here in the forum.

Thank you.
   Sharon - Thursday, 02/24/05 14:43:31 EST

Sharon - collaring
Why not start at Anvilfire.com > iforge > demo #67 which shows step-by-step how to make collars.

   - Conner - Thursday, 02/24/05 15:13:51 EST

I understand what you are trying to do, but forging the cone will take longer than forging the shank under the power hammer. Free hand forging the cone will take at least a pass with a flatter to smooth it up, to forge the shank, you just use a double butcher with stop blocks set at the size of the shank you want, whack wack with the power hammer and the base of the cone is set, then draw out the shank with kiss blocks, again set at the thickness of your shank and you are done. The whole thing could be forged in one heat. Much less time than drilling out the base of the cone, pressing in the shank and then welding it. I think you would be dollars ahead to forge it all. Hey do your own thing. Just my $0.02
   - Wayne Parris - Thursday, 02/24/05 15:14:22 EST

Just wanted too let you all know that I plugged by forge in that I had biult in class. It works wonderfully. I was afraid that the furnace blower would have to much force and blow my materials around. Apparently there was enough outlet for the air to compensate for the overcharging of the system. I am excited to get working. Sad news on the Carbondale thing, my girlfriend didn't get in and we are now looking to hear back from Portland, OR. Anyone know of some blacksmithing schools in that general vicinity. The pictures of the tire driven trip hammer really helped in solidifying the concept in my mind's filing cabinet. Thanks again, you all keep on keepin' on.
   ForgeFriend - Thursday, 02/24/05 15:59:50 EST

Cones and other forms:

With the proper sized power hammer, the cone can be forged in one heat with a single taper or double taper dies. I forge a few tool bits into long round tapers on a 100 lb Beaudry and have built some saddle tools to mount on the flat dies. I can even see a progressive die made to allow rough and finish forging, then trimming any excess.
   - HWooldridge - Thursday, 02/24/05 16:00:00 EST

Hear back form Portland, Or about what?
BTW I live about 15 miles west of Portland
   Ralph - Thursday, 02/24/05 16:03:49 EST

I have heard of dyes for steel. Where can I find it?
   todd - Thursday, 02/24/05 16:47:37 EST

Forgot, I just aquired an old gear box that used to power a water pump for a biulding in downtown Terre Haute. The owner gave it to me for the price of labor to get it out of the basement. I ended up carting it up twelve stairs on a dolly, ran outta juice and ended up horsing it the rest of the way; I think it weighs around 200#. I was wondering if anyone is interested in manufacturing monakers enough to maybe help me figure out where and when it was made. It has a three groove belt drive wheel that is appr. 12" in dia.. This dives an off set two inch gear which in turn works the pumps reciprocal motion arm. Sorry if I used wrong terminology but if anyone is interested in helping me date this thing I would be willing to learn the proper questions to ask.
   ForgeFriend - Thursday, 02/24/05 16:51:10 EST

My girlfriend is applying to grad school for painting, she didn't get into Carbondale(our first choice)and we are waiting to hear if she got into Portland. I just want to go to school to be a better Blacksmith.
   ForgeFriend - Thursday, 02/24/05 16:53:40 EST

Dating old Pump: Without a makers tag or catalog number it could be anywhere from 1880 to 2005. However, the dual belt drive says fairly new. V-belts are modern making it at least a 1930's UP device. It sounds like it was part of the pump and thus manufactured by the pump manufacturer.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/24/05 17:06:44 EST

Hello all!

I spent a while looking through your FAQ's and in your store for information about the [B][I]type of hose[/I][/B] I could use with LP gas (propane) for the high side (up to 200 psi) but didn't find the info I'm looking for. I'm hoping the Gurus can help!

Where would I find bulk hose (1/4" ID) to use with propane? Is there a law or safty issue that applies to using hose found at a hardware store?

I think I may have found something at a retail hardware store. It is labeled "1/4" ID, 300psi, Blue, Sierra Craft". It also may be labeled "Vinyl Braided Tubing" but that's hard to tell as the sign may not be indicating the hose I'm looking at. And the store staff isn't much help.

The hose has a blue cover, a 1/2" or so OD, an inner core that takes up about 1/2 the diameter and is black with a 1/4" ID, and evidence of nylon braid. It also is nicely flexible, like rubber hose. Perhaps with a silicone type cover? At least it's shiny and smooth like silicone.

Although this hose is not specifically labeled 'hose for propane' is there any reason I couldn't use it? As long as I use brass fittings, and good assembly techniques, etc.?

Thanks for your help!!


   Jim@HiTek - Thursday, 02/24/05 18:20:16 EST

Rolling textured pipe- as it happens, we just installed a job with a lot of textured pipe in it. It didnt have curved textured pipe, but texturing the pipe made it curved- so it needed to be bent, straight.
Once pipe is heavily textured, it will not fit in the pipe dies on an eagle roll- so you need to roll it using the flat dies, like you would if it was a solid square- you set up the right thickness of spacers, as for flat bar, square, or rectangular pieces. One problem with this is that if you only have the stock, knurled dies, it will leave a knurled finish on the outside radius of your bend. And yes, it may squish the pipe a hair, but if you sneak up on your rolling, by doing it in increments, rather than trying to do a lot of bending all at once, then the squish should be minimal. I have done it this way, and just sanded off the knurl marks. Or, you could invest in a set of smooth spacers from eagle- they make them. The knurls grip better, enabling you to do bigger bites at a time, but smooth spacers will work- occasionally you need to help it thru by pulling on it, but it will roll. The other thing we do with heavily textured pipe is bend it, or straighten it, with the hossfeld. I recently ran about 130 linear feet of 1 1/2" stainless schedule 40 thru the power hammer, then tweaked it all with the hossfeld- it is amazing how little muscle it takes to tweak a piece of 2" od stainless pipe, especially how easy it is to bend it too much- and have to go back and bend it back the other way. You can pull helixes with a hossfeld- it is easy, if you dont want a helix- otherwise, it is a little tricky- but it certainly can be done, especially in something as light as 1" black pipe.
I sometimes do a first pass with the hossfeld, and get the piece regular enough to run thru the power rolls.
   - Ries - Thursday, 02/24/05 18:34:51 EST

Hey Boiler Tube Dude, got any little fireplugs?
   ptree - Thursday, 02/24/05 18:52:51 EST

Thank you to all who answered about C clamps. I will try these methods this wkend
   adam - Thursday, 02/24/05 19:05:00 EST

Make no assumptions about the compability of hose material with propane. Your best bet for propane quality hose is most likely a welding supplier or a propane dealer.
Why the need for the high pressure? most people run the high side to a regulator or valve, and then run low pressure hose from there. I have seen posts from another on this board about using hydraulic hose. As a hydraulic hose is highly rated for the pressure you mention, rated for hydrocarbon oils, and use very well designed and rated connections, I would expect good service. I in fact am testing just such a hose set-up, on both the bottle high side and the low side. I have only had this in service for a month. Ask me in about a year or two for results :)
   ptree - Thursday, 02/24/05 19:05:54 EST

Rolling Tooling- I have found that making smooth rollers from Aluminum will provide more traction than the smooth steel ones. They are not going to last as long but made from scrap or extruded bar they can be thought of as disposable tooling. They will develop grooves and bumps from running textured material but won't knurl the material.

For stackables I just cut them out of plate or bar on the bandsaw with my circle jig then use the pivot hole as the center for an anular cutter equal to my shaft size (30mm for mine). A quick keyway broaching and they are done. For tall rollers I counterbore and then use the anular cutter for the last two inches. I've found the cost of the cutter and the metric broach and bushing to be well worthwhile.
   SGensh - Thursday, 02/24/05 19:16:55 EST

Jim have you looked under "propane" in the yellow pages. Any dealer should be able to point you at someone with hose. Welding supply stores should have it too.

As for "laws" well what could happen if you guess wrong? If you kill or maim somebody because you used the wrong stuff your insurance may not cover the resulting suit and you could end up spending time in the barry place. If it's yourself you could save a lot of money on halloween costumes in the future!


   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/24/05 19:37:34 EST

i need a handle for a 12 lb. cross pein hammer head. a 6 to 15 lb. ames handle is to small. where can i buy a wood handle to fit this head?
   lee - Thursday, 02/24/05 20:21:12 EST

As I noted, I tend to do things different than most folks. After I cut out the blanks I brought them and the drill press into the kitchen for drilling. (A fella without a wife can do things like that.) My time is a lot less costly than having shafts forged on - and the guy doesn't do that type of work. Ornamental stuff. We are actually bartering his work for some of my tools. Decided to put in 3/4" round rod. It will fit a 3/4" hardy as is and I can slip on a section of 1" thick wall tubing to have it fit that size.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 02/24/05 21:03:02 EST

Hello, I am currently building a set of samurai swords and the customer wants wooden scabbards. What type of woods work for this kind of thing? I live in MN is there any local tree which can be used? I know honoki is a type of magnolia. And have heard that poplar and mountain maple work too. If so are there any suppliers? You guys have come through for me before, I look forward to any advice.
   Will Baity - Thursday, 02/24/05 22:44:03 EST

Propane Hose-- The propane bulk suplier & tank filler in our town makes up hoses to order. If I remember corectly I think I paid about a buck a foot for 1/4" hose, and another few $ for the end fittings. Thwey have a little die to crimp the furrels using a vise, suposed to be OK to use at up to tank pressure.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 02/24/05 23:37:46 EST

Will Baity, There are many species of magnolia. I found on eBay some sawn Virginia magnolia that they say is hard wood. I might be worth a try. #8171333712
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/24/05 23:58:38 EST

Dear Guru, is there a simple shop method of testing for lead in a piece of bronze? Also, when will your new burner design be posted? Thanks, Andrew T.
   - Andrew T. - Friday, 02/25/05 01:34:52 EST

Thanks for the input, everybody. Before I posted here I did some searching in the local area (80 miles North of Los Angeles, CA) and the local gas suppliers no longer make up hoses, don't sell them premade either. Neither do the major industrial suppliers I checked with. I am planning on using a short piece of hose between the tank and the regulator (designers perogative) and the heat in the area during summer could possibly cause the vapor pressure in the tank to increase to 200psi or so. During normal spring/fall/winter operation the typical would be 120psi.

Since I had stopped at several propane places, and none of them make hoses to order anymore, I hadn't considered the phone book. I'll do that Friday. There is a small propane company about 25 miles from here that may still do it. I'll know tomorrow.

I did find some product information after I'd posted here. The propane hose for B-B-Q's found in bubble packs in places like Home Depot, with the precrimped brass fittings, is rated 350psi working and 1750psi burst. Quite a bit of safety factor there, 5 times the working psi! So far I've been unable to find the exact assembly I need (want). And the prices are, whoa, half way to the moon.

Thanks for the suggestions.

   Jim@HiTek - Friday, 02/25/05 02:33:05 EST

I am a man in his early thirties who has gained about 11 years of metalworking experience from welding just about anything to machining (I started with metalwork in the US Navy as a navy trained welder and pipe fitter). I love to work with metal. Recently in the last two years I have been blade smithing (stock removal)Everything I have made thus far I have given away as gifts. Lately I have people tell me that I should be selling and not giving away my weapons as the quality has gotten better. I live in central Illinois any sugestions in how to get a business started selling my creations (I have made some unique items like nothing out there.)
   Allan Morris - Friday, 02/25/05 04:27:44 EST

Early blacksmithing references: I had to go to amazon.com for another reason and looked at their list of blacksmithing books (search on blacksmith). Was surprised to see a goodly number which covered blacksmithing, in one degree or another, from about the 1700s to 1950s.

Jim: Do a Google search on Zoeller Forge. He is in the Louisville, KY area and has everything needed from tank to propane forge. Complete set-up runs about $65 plus S&H.

Allan: If you are not familiar with it, check out the American Bladesmith Society at www.americanbladesmith.com. You should find helpful information there on sales opportunity. Also do a www.google.com search on bladesmith.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 02/25/05 07:02:22 EST

Spam and Viruses: Well. . . I was spam free for a month since changing e-mail addresses. However I just got "Smith/Barney" phishing letter. . . Which means someone I have written to in the last month has an address reaping virus. It was not my forum address so it is from actual correspondance. . .
   - guru - Friday, 02/25/05 11:17:22 EST

Propane Hose: As mentioned above there are only TWO places you should purchase this type of thing, a propane dealer and a welding supplier. Although most of the hose is only marked with the T code the packaging usualy has the list of suitable gases or says "all welding gases".

It is not the pressure capacity of the hose that is important it is the chemical compatibility.

Note that there are TWO types of hose for propane. One for gas only and the other for liquid gas. The difference is the LPG hose is designed to take cryogenic temberatures. It is usualy stiff black stuff and I think it is wire reinforced like hydraulic hose. This is what pigtails for RV's and LPG fueled vehicals are made of since there is a possibility of rollover. It is more expensive than the welding grade hose for gas (may be the hydraulic hose mentioned by Ptree but I do not recommend you try it).

Permanent high pressure installations should be in metal pipe rated for that service meeting the plumbing code.

Chemical Compatibility: If you don't think this is important you should try mixing a little enamel with some lacquer. . . The result is like cottage cheese, no longer paint. Or using the wrong grade of rubber for a gasket with lacquer thinner then watching it expand to twice its normal size. . OR putting gas-ohol in a mid 1980's GM product and having the gasoline resistant plastic foam carburettor float become saturated and SINK. . . Then there is the notorious mixing of laundry bleach with incompatible cleaners like any of the "enzyme" detergents. . . this generates copious quantities of chlorine gas and has resulted in several deaths. Another chlorine generator is running Carbon tetrachloride (no longer commonly avialable) in a mix with gasoline in an internal combustion engine. . . Yep, it happened in my family. Brief scare nobody hurt.

Warning Labels or MSDS: We live in a complicated world where it is important to read the labels or MSDS, use as instructed and understand there is a reason for the warnings even if they are not explicit about the results.

Saftey Allowances: Generally the minimum safety allowance is 3:1, but when dealing with human life or lifting equipment the factor is usualy 5:1 and in the case of items rates to lift people it is sometimes as high as 20:1 (except in the case of aircraft which cold never leave the ground at 20:1). Of course it all depends on how highly engineered a product is. It is not uncommon for an engineer working on a one-off device to take an item that already has a 5:1 unstated safety factor in the working rating and derate it by 3:1 for his application. Where you have to be carefull is specialy engineered high performance devices like aeroplanes, automobiles, bridges and unusual buildings. Most of the engineering goes into reducing weight (and cost). Where problems arise is when there is an unexpected or misunderstood force.
   - guru - Friday, 02/25/05 11:41:29 EST

propane hoses: You can make these up yourself: you can buy all the fittings and the T rated tubing from McMaster Carr or similar. There's no special magic to it. In my state it's against code to use hose clamps - supposed to use crimps (which you can get from Mcmaster) - but I do anyway. If you have a regulator at the tank knocking the pressure down to about 30 psi then there really isnt much risk if you do a careful job and leak test your work with soapy water. IMO it is a good idea to get a length of flexible conduit (stuff they use to protect electric cables made of spiral wound aluminum) and slip it over the hose to shield it from punctures and especially flying chunks of red hot steel.

   adam - Friday, 02/25/05 11:44:56 EST

Will tulip poplar usually sold as poplar is really a great wood for making scabbards from, light and easy to carve. We used to get it from a hardwood supply Co, though I have seen it at a few big box lumber/hardware stores.

Do not go for a wood that is hard to carve---you waste too much time working it! If you look at sayas from "real" japanese swords the wood is light and soft too.

Lee there is one for sale about 1.5 miles to the east.

Usually for oddball sizes you have to get one bigger and carve to suit. (there used to be a handle manufacturer in NW AR that had a lovely set of set tools on his wall; but wouldn't turn loose of any of them they were his "try gauges" for a lot of oddball hammer handles he made.)

1700's misses "early" by about 1000 years round these parts!
Agricola, "De Re Metallica" and Biringuccio, "Pirotechnia" will get you to the 1500's; Theophilus, "Divers Arts" is 1120 CE and then it gets "tough" trying to ferret info out from illuminations and epics and carvings on stones.

As for book buying always try abebooks.com as well as Amazon---I've got several books from ABE for 1/2 the price as amazon and the shipping time was often much shorter!


   Thomas P - Friday, 02/25/05 11:58:05 EST

I need some ideas for reducing anvil ringing.
   Chris Makin - Friday, 02/25/05 12:05:38 EST

Unique Blades: Allan, Most custom blademsiths hit the road and do the big conventions, gun and knife sales. . . it is a tough life, like doing craft shows or ren faires. One of the country's top bladesmiths once told me that he would have gone broke if he had relied on selling his blades only. . . he had a nifty trinket having nothing to do with bladesmithing made under his Nazel 3B that paid the travel expenses. Cost 26 cents and sold for $5.

This has become a VERY competitive business. And it is not just a manufacturing business, it is also ART. Everyone and their brother (AND their little sister) is making high tech Damascus these days. Not only does your work need to be of extrodinary design it must be executed PERFECTLY. THEN you need a reputation in the industry and to be KNOWN. AND THEN be capable of delivering what you make. . .

How to become KNOWN: Join the trade associations, write and illustrate articles to be donated to their journals or various blade magazines, travel to those shows, become known within the community. Almost all the magazines are hungry for articles. IF you want to be published you need to send them well composed professional quality photos in the format THEY PREFER. Some mags want large transparencies (minimum 2x2) while others want proofs and negatives. Your writing must be interesting, factual, well proofed. Do this and you will always get published.

REMEMBER, never submit the same article to more than one publisher. If one is rejected THEN you can resubmit elsewhere. There are lots of good books on writing for a living and how to get published.

Press Releases: A good press release is like a short artcle. It has a professional photograph and a short concise description and announcment. Editors are LOOKING for these to fill unsold space AND they hope you may by space if the free press release is successful. Be sure to call each publication and ask WHOM to send it to. I got over $30,000 worth of free advertising in one year with product press releases.

Uniqueness: Until you have traveled in the world of bladesmithing for a while you probably have no idea just how far you have to go to be exotic or unique. There are swords with metoric iron slabs on the blades, hardened tool steel carved with animal scenes in the round, mammoth ivory grips and truck loads of various kinds of laminated and pattern welded steels including mosaic and exotic metals with matching Mokume' gane' furniture, favorite motorcyle chain blades or laminated from some exotic car parts. . .

I spent 15 years of an artistic carreer trying to find a good unique motif that was not some kitchy thing like wrapping Central Park in orange cloth. . . I found it, and it was immediately stolen. Uniqueness is very short lived in our world where everyone WILL get their 15 minutes of fame. Original ideas are hard to come by but very easy to steal.

Remember, if your product idea is REALLY good you had better be prepared to manufacture it effeciently and sell quickly to a mass market becuse there will be a Chinese factory copying it within days of it (or you) becoming famous. . .
   - guru - Friday, 02/25/05 12:19:52 EST

Reducing Ring: Tying the anvil down TIGHT to a deadening substance helps. If it is free and can rock on a high spot it will ring the loudest.

Today a lot of folks use silicone caulk under the anvil. A heavy rubber mat will also work. The advantage to silicon rubber is that it is non-flamable and heat resistant to 800°F. Don't forget to use the clamps or bolts with the caulk. Usualy you bed it in then tighten down after the caulk sets.

I rarely recommend lead for anything but it is one of the best sound deadeners around. It is still used in sound deadening laminates. One of the anvil mounting ideas published in the 1800's was to build a stand with an edge and lead the anvil in. This was tight and sound deadening. I would use lead sheet of 1/8" to 1/4". Washers of the same under the bolts would reduce transmission of noise to the stand.

I still prefer wood stands for anvils over metal stands. Under the right conditions the metal stands transmit either a clanking noise OR the ringing noise. The steel stand with the added concrete mass on our iForge anvil stand demo was made to reduce the ringing in the legs. Without the concrete the legs vibrated and transmitted the ringing noise. They can also hum on the floor. . . I just avoid the situation by using wood.

Wood stands DO let anvils vibrate and ring. The more mass to the wood stand the better. However, I build stands for portability so solid wood is not the best way to go. But a heavy solid hardwood stump with the anvil bolted down securely dampens the noise quite a bit.

If your problem is transmission of the noise to your neighbors property then that is another matter. Quieting the anvil will help but there are other noisier things in the shop. Geared angle grinders and chipping welding flux are at the to pof the list.

Shop sound deadening includes breaking up flat surfaces, using insulation, blocking direct or reflected sound paths. Shubery. . . One of the best ironworks in the town I visted in Costa Rica is going out of business due to noise issues. Most of the problem noise is banging on metal and using grinders. . . little was done to try to cure the problem. Building in Costa Rica tend to be very open for ventilation and would be very difficult to close for retaining the noise INSIDE. . .
   - guru - Friday, 02/25/05 12:40:39 EST

Anvil story: Some years ago I had listed an anvil for sale in the Dayton, OH paper. Guy came to look at it. Said his brother was in a play in NYC and they needed a ringing anvil for it. The one I had didn't have much of one (don't remember brand - an anvil was an anvil then). I put a piece of styrofoam under it and it rang nicely for him. He bought the anvil.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 02/25/05 15:16:09 EST

thank you for your help,I'll take the forge apart this weekend.
take care,
   Dan Melock - Friday, 02/25/05 18:43:43 EST

Thirty-five years ago, I saw roses that had been hammered out of sheet metal; not the cabbage rose variety, but a tightly formed rose with two little buds formed as though the three flowers were at different stages of bloom. It was pretty impressive, but I've never seen anything like it since. Do you know of anyone who still does this work, or of any information source about them?
   Michael Porter - Friday, 02/25/05 19:23:13 EST

Okay Steve- you got me going now. I had not thought of making aluminum dies for the 3 roll bender, but it makes perfect sense- especially for things like heavily forged stainless, which I do a lot of. Even though the stock dies are heat treated tool steel, textured stainless will mar them, so I tend not to use the pipe rolls on textured stainless pipe. But a quick and dirty aluminum set of rolls is a perfect solution. I can turn them in the lathe, easily enough. I am not currently set up to broach keyways, but that is just an excuse to buy tools, something I am never adverse to. What do you use to broach the keyways? An arbor press? and if so, how big? Unfortunately, here on the west coast, used arbor presses are not often found, and when they are they are usually the same price or more than a new import, but I can look.
   - Ries - Friday, 02/25/05 20:09:26 EST

Michael Porter, Quite a few smiths are currently able to make roses. The method I use is pretty much the same as that shown by Bill Epps on the iForge-How-to section of this web. Use the pulldown menu, upper right.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 02/25/05 20:18:00 EST

Could you please give me some information on where I can find some info such as books or websites about drop forging, drop hammers, and the dies that they use. I would also like to ask if you can custom make the dies the drop hammers use. For example, if you had a design idea and needed to make it from a custom set of dies.
   Tyler Murch - Friday, 02/25/05 21:03:06 EST

Ries, I tend to grab alu cutoffs when I am in the scrap yard for doing this type of thing. I've also snagged some steel discs for doing custom rolls.

I use an arbor press for the broaching. How big? Well this one came out of an old GM factory and is a compound leverage press cast in one piece, stands about five and a half feet tall and weighs somewhere around a ton. It's kind of overkill for broaching a keyway that's only about 5/16" of an inch but it's great for a lot of other uses. You can use a small arbor press of maybe three tons since the broaches only cut a little bit with each progressive tooth. It doesn't have to be a particularly good press to do a good job since the broach is guided by the bushing. I've seen some pretty cheap prices for imports in the Enco and Wholesale tool flyers. Just be sure to check the length of the broach for your keyway size since you need enough stroke to push it all the way through. If you have a flypress that would work too.
   SGensh - Friday, 02/25/05 21:17:16 EST

Please recommend the correct/best filler wires for flux-core welding 4150 chromoly steel to the same and dissimilar metals specifically ASTM A36.
   Shannon Wilson - Friday, 02/25/05 21:50:58 EST

Hi. I have some interesting observations to present concerning the
use of hair dryers as forge blowers. It is common wisdom, often
espoused on the Internet, that hair dryers can be used as blowers
for small coal or charcoal forges. There is the additional
warning that the heating elements should be disconnected, else it
is possible to trip the thermal switch.

In fact, this is somewhat true. A small, cheap, hair dryer has
worked for quite a while in my small forge. I ignored the warning
about disconnecting the heater elements, and it seemed to work
fine, even for an hour long session. But, after the recent rains,
the motor got a little dirty, so it did not turn fast enough to
cool the thermal switch and prevent the hair dryer from shutting
down. The dryer body was getting pretty hot, so I decided to
pay attention to the Internet advice and disconnect the heating

Here is what was inside the hair dryer:

Low setting

) <- heating coil
) |---------------|
) | |
) | --------------
) | | | |
pwr O | o--|<--o --------|
) | | | | |
) | - - | motor |
)--------| ^ ^ --------|
) | | |
) |--------------o--|<--o------
) |
) | diode bridge

High setting

| )
| )
| )
pwr | ) |---------------|
| ) | |
| ) | --------------
| ) | | | |
o----- | --------O | o--|<--o --------|
| ) | | | | |
| ) | - - | motor |
| )--------| ^ ^ --------|
| ) | | |
| ) |--------------o--|<--o------
| ) |
| ) | diode bridge

It is not obvious, at first glance, how to disconnect the
heating element. Upon closer examination, the heating
element is placed across the supply, either in series (for
low power) or in parallel (for high power). In both
configurations, the heating element functions as a
resistive voltage divider for a small brushed permanent
magnet motor. From looking at the ratio of the voltage
division, it appars that the motor is receiving about 12
Volts. If the heating element is removed, and the motor
connected directly across the AC power, it will probably
be subjected to over-voltage. More subtly, placing the
hair dryer heating element in series with the motor will
also lead to either over-voltage or over-current. A motor
is technically not a resistive load, but if it were
approximated as one, it would be approximately 12 Ohms
(for a 1 amp draw at 12 Volts), and in series with a 1000
Watt heating element (with resistance 120*120/1000 = 14
Ohms) would suffer a voltage drop of about 70 Volts.

In other words, the heating element is an integral part of
the motor supply circuit, and it cannot be removed!!!!!!
This is difficult to see without actually disassembling
the hair dryer and tracing the circuit.

To test this hypothesis, I connected the motor (with its
diode bridge) to a transformer salvaged from a transistor
TV. Maybe this was a bit more than 12 Volts. The motor
spun *REAL FAST*. This means that the motor really is a
low voltage DC motor, and cannot be placed across the
mains without the resistive voltage divider formed by the
energized heating element. To make it work without a
heating element would require an approximately 108 Ohm
resistor in series with it, which would then dissipate
1 Amp * 1 Amp * 108 Ohms = 108 Watts. Not satisfactory.
Or, the old salvaged TV transformer could be used.

Anyway, next time this comes up, check the circuit and
its operation before removing that heating element. And
remember, there is no substitute for practical experience.

I know, I know, I should get a hand cranked Champion or
Buffalo blower. But I am still waiting for one to appear
for sale in my area, since they are heavy and expensive to
ship. Maybe at the California Blacksmith Association
Spring Conference in April.
   EricC - Friday, 02/25/05 21:51:38 EST

Oh, oh! It looks like my post did not go through correctly. All the multiple spaces seemed to get removed from my diagram. Sorry about that. Replacing all the internal spaces with dots and reposting. For a clear picture, copy and paste into a text editor and search and replace space for dot.

Low setting


High setting


   EricC - Friday, 02/25/05 21:58:20 EST

Tyler Murch,
If I read your question correctly, you would like to know about making dies for drop forging a part of your own design? If so, a closed die for drop forging is what I think you are asking about. If so, yes, custom dies are the standard. Depending on the size and complexity the price can be upwards of $100,000 for a set. For long runs, the materials of choice run to H-13, Hardtem A or B etc. These usually have draft to allow the forging to come free of the dies and are made using a shrink rule to allow for shrinkage as the part cools. Methods used for making the dies in commercial shops include milling on tracer mills such as a hydrotel, CNC milling and EDM.
For very short runs, on small hammers, for VERY loosley demensioned parts almost any method of removing the metal in the impression works. A typical drop forge hammer die has a 7 degree draft.
   ptree - Friday, 02/25/05 22:31:42 EST

Ries- You can broach keyways in a lathe with a boring bar by cranking the carriage back and forth & advancing the crossfeed 1or2 tho each stroke. Just grind a toolbit to the width of the keyway & give it enough clearance to cut. It actually workes better than it sounds.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 02/25/05 23:36:15 EST

OK, No lathe, no milling machine, no fly press, and no arbor press.

How do I broach a keyway in a drive wheel for a tire wheel hammer?
   Paw Paw - Friday, 02/25/05 23:44:00 EST

PawPaw, Cape chisel? Carefully?
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/26/05 00:51:44 EST

PawPaw-You would be just as far ahead using set screws & drilling dimples in the shaft, unless You really like to file...
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/26/05 01:53:56 EST

Set screws is what I had decided on, setting them into the keyway on the shaft.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/26/05 07:08:35 EST

Paw-Paw, "No lathe, no milling machine, no fly press, and no arbor press" with a hack-saw and a cold chisel and LOTS of patience. A shaper also works with the right tooling. We have broaches in the shop if you want to bring it up. . .

Off to Boone's Hammerfest.

Multiple spaces: HTML (in your browser) ignores them and all windirt systems use proportional fonts. Also anything between arrow brackets will be stripped from our forum as it could be embedded HTML (or other) code. That is for security.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/26/05 08:05:39 EST


I'll get them cut and ready to broach as soon as I can.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/26/05 09:04:05 EST

The easiest way to make a drive wheel for the "tire" hammer is to find a STEEL pulley about 3"OD and a piece of steel tubing with a 3" ID and ship the tubing over the pulley and tack weld about 4 spaces evenly spaced around assembly--you can grind od of pulley with it on motor shaft with motor running to get snug fit in tubing--auto
drive shaft works good for a source for thin wall tubing-
bent ones are sometimes free at auto salvage yards
   ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/26/05 09:16:13 EST


I want to make several drive wheels, of different diameters to allow for speed changes. I can do all of the necessary work, except for the keyway.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 02/26/05 09:31:41 EST

My tire drive may not be what you want, but my tire wheel runs on a mini van axle assembly. This provides a cheap, double bearing spindle. I then burned out another wheel center for the bolt circle, and welded the crank ecentric mount to that. Then I bolted the pitman arm to the mount with a shoulder bolt, and run the tire by a sleeve directly on the motor shaft. Tractor supply carries weld together sprocket and pulleys with weld in drive sleeves. Perhaps this would be a source for the keyed mount.
For hundreds of years, shafts were joined to sleeves with pins, most often tappered, or grub screws.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/26/05 09:37:19 EST

pawpaw- find you the drive off a treadmill sometimes the SURPLUS CEnter in Nebraska has them for about $40. 115 volt variable speed controlled by reostat 0-5000 rpm
2 hp then you would have all the speed variation you could want-- I put one on my 2X48" belt sander can get up to 10,000 feet per minute if I want.
   ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/26/05 10:26:14 EST

pawpaw, the easiest way to make changeable drive wheel set is to mount a good steel pulley or weldable hub wuth keyway to the motor shaft -in this hub drill and tap 2 holes 180 degrees to each other and then for the different diameters drill matching holes in each one and bolt to hub that is stays permanently on motor shaft.
   ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/26/05 11:03:01 EST

I am new to smithing but an old hand at metalworking (25 + years as a machinist). I found anvilfire about a month ago and thoroughly enjoy every aspect of it. Thanx to all involved for such a wonderful site!

I am currently constructing a coal forge. The plenum is 2"x5" 1018 steel tubing with a 1/4" thick wall. I have drilled 1/4" holes spaced about 1 1/2" apart through the plenum wall. I intend to use this forge primarily for decorative work and will occasionally require a forge welding temperature.
Is the 1/4" thick 1018 sufficient as a fire deck or should I consider adding a plate on top of the plenum?
   Ano - Saturday, 02/26/05 11:38:22 EST

Ano, sounds great!make sure you add a firebrick liner, firebrick can be ordered from most fireplace supply shops and brick yards..my brick is 1" thick and is laid in with standard mortar. dont omit this step if your planning to weld. the firebrick draws heat from the forge walls like a heat sink stopping a meltdown.line the entire base with it.coke your coal clean and bring the new forge up to weld heat to clean out the deposits before you weld.I have three large and small forges I built here and coal is all we use, it wont oxidize metals like a gas forge can.try a mix of borax powder, and a little silica sand mixed in and watch for the slag splatter, at that temp you better have a leather apron.the rim of the forge should be deep enough to hold extra coke and the firebrick the deeper the better. I hope it helps. my e mail changed....let me know how it turns out! Good Luck and happy Hammerin'
   Highlanderforge - Saturday, 02/26/05 13:06:03 EST

PAW-PAW I might understand what you want?? BUUTT. The speed change I used on my shop-made 2"X72" belt sander was a JACK shaft with three up three down pulleys and a motors hanging weight to tighten the belt. I can change the speed in seconds.. You have no loss of power and is the simplest way, that I could see to do this.

   sandpile - Saturday, 02/26/05 13:08:06 EST

Chris Makin...anvil noise...well at shows with a portable forge and anvil, we used to get an old automotive belt, attach a large weight and hang it from the anvil horn. simple huh! "sounds" like a good anvil! we mount them to stumps here....it helps.
   Highlander forge - Saturday, 02/26/05 13:20:11 EST

JessyGibson, they didnt answer you...so I will, there are numourous publications about building coal forges and blacksmithing,DONT EXPERIMENT!you can get hurt!go to the library, its a good start, this website has a lot of info too, but I have found a lot of the smiths here are not traditional smiths,NO OFFENSE GUYS!!!all our tools here are very old, and so is the artform.My family has been doing it since the 1400's in germany. STUDY,STUDY,STUDY....I learn something new every time I visit this site! so can you, good luck bro! dont let yer hammer rust!
   Highlanderforge - Saturday, 02/26/05 13:54:23 EST

sandpile, the drive pawpaw is changing speed on is his "tire" hammer-don't know if you have seen it-- if you want to know what it looks like --go to anvilfire powerhammer page-look at -userbuilt hammers--his is the
"green machine" Steve Barringer & Paul Garrett built it
pawpaw bought it-Drive hub is just a diameter on the motor shaft-no jackshaft-no pulleys-no belts
   ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/26/05 14:02:17 EST

The drilled holes clog up right away. It's best to have a coulple of slots, maybe ½" x 2". It's hard for me to envision. You block one end of the tube; air comes in the other, and has to go out the tuyere?
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/26/05 14:22:08 EST

Thank you for the advice, Highlanderforge, but I see now I should describe the forge with a little more detail.

I have welded 2"x2" 1/4" thick angle iron to both sides of the tubing, flush to the top {5") surface, to form an open trough 9" wide, 2" deep. Both ends of the tubing are capped, one end welded while the other is bolted on (for ash removal and bolting the sections together). The air feed is through the bottom of the tubing. It has two sections, one is 18" long and the other is 30" long. Each section can be used as individual forges or bolted together to form a 4' long trough forge. The legs are removable so the whole thing is portable.

Lining the base with fire brick is impracticle because it would block the air feed. Perhaps I should stick to the MIG and TIG for welding until I can build an enclosed forge...

For the most part I will be using the individual sections. My friend makes swords, but none of his forges are long enough to properly normalize and/or harden his swords. He sends them to a heat treating company for these processes now. Using my forges will save him a great deal of time and money!

Frank Turley,
I considered the problem of clogging of the holes but, because of the extended length of this forge, I am also concerned with dispersing the air flow evenly across the entire length. I decided to start with small holes because I can open holes that are too small much more easily than closing holes that are too large. I figure with some trial and error I will be able to come to a balance between the two problems.

   Ano - Saturday, 02/26/05 16:38:16 EST

Dear Mr. Guru,
I have begun to work with pewter, and am absolutly a beginner! I have worked for a few days with two different pewtersmiths, one smithie spins sheet pewter on a lathe, the other hammers sheet pewter down into molds using wooden mallets. Neither of these people could tell me where I could buy wooden molds or the molds that are made of plastic and wood. I am interested in coldworking plates, trays, bowls, etc, pretty simple stuff at this point. I will start out hammering as the lathes I've seen are pretty expensive!
Are there businesses that sell these molds? I could send them detailed sketches. Do I need to look for a wood turner? Does everyone make their own molds and/or chucks?
Thank you and I hope this question is not too far off your beaten path.
Jeannie Johnson
South Carolina

   Jeannie Johnson - Saturday, 02/26/05 18:47:07 EST

Jeannie- email me and I may could help with your molds-
I am in North Carolina and do a lot with wood - you could
mail or fax me sketches
   ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/26/05 19:41:31 EST


I once built a long forge (30") to harden anvil faces. It had a 1/2" wide slot running the entire length and worked quite well. Like Frank said, I think you will see the holes clog quickly, especially small ones.
   - HWooldridge - Saturday, 02/26/05 19:58:31 EST

Jeannie Johnson-- Silversmithing by Rupert Finegold and William Seitz has tons of detailed info, great drawings and photographs depicting the processes of sinking (and raising, too), the tools and advice on making the basic forms-- they suggest a dapping die as well as apple stumps or wooden blocks with three basic depressions, spherical depressions 1/4 inch deep by 2 inches diameter, 1/2 deep by 2 and 1/2 by 4 inches that they say will handle most of the shapes you need for hammering the metal into. They also show a block for tray making. Also, Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork, Dona Z. Meilach's 1977 classic on smithing, has a detailed picture section on raising. Both books are worth every cent of their considerable cost. There is always inter-library loan and the Xerox machine.
   Sebastian Chippinghammer - Saturday, 02/26/05 23:42:49 EST

I have a post vise with jaw faces that do not fully meet. The faces touch at the top, with a space of at least 1/4 inch separating the bottom portions of the jaw faces. As you can imagine, it diesn't hold material being worked on very well. I am told I should not grind material away to make these faces fully meet. The spring, the screw are all in great shape. Any suggestions how to repair?

Thanks, Larry Reed
   Larry - Sunday, 02/27/05 00:41:35 EST

Larry: Post vises were designed to work that way since the adjustable jaw hinges away, rather than moving away in line. Do not rework as you will destroy the function and lower the value. You will never be able to grind to fit all widths. Buy a heavy bench vise if you need one.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 02/27/05 01:32:05 EST

What Ken was saying it that the vise is fine...the jaws become more parallel as you open them to insert work.
If you need full surface contact for a given thickness of work, then take a couple of vise length pieces of angle iron and add or grind away enough filler to make the necessary taper for proper fit up. The angle iron pieces fit over the vise jaws and are easy to remove...made from soft metal they will not mark up your work as much.
On the same subject, St Francis W had a set of spacers for his post vise that fit at the opposite end of the jaws as the work and kept the jaws from tweaking under pressure.
Support anvilfire...send in a big check or the Guru will go live on some far away island forever and we'll all be sorry! Unless we go visit him.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/27/05 02:13:41 EST

I fake up keyways thusly..
First I find some stock scrap of about the shaft diameter and tap it into place.
Then get a drill of the same diameter as the key is wide and drill a hole straddling the edges where the pulley and shaft meet 1/2 and 1/2.
Tap the shaft out and use a small chisel to cut the half round slot square. It's rude but generally good enough..luck..Pete F
   - Pete F - Sunday, 02/27/05 02:41:32 EST

Very well, slots it will be! I think I will cut a series of in line slots, leaving about 1/2" of webbing between them, instead of a continuous slot. I may be worrying too much, but it seems to me a continuous slot down the length would compromise the structural integrity of the forge. Thank you both for the input!
   Ano - Sunday, 02/27/05 09:02:19 EST

Sebastian Chippinghammer,
Thanks for the suggestion of Dona Z. Meilach's book. I have read through Eric Thing's description of raising a helmet in the Armoury on this site a couple of times. I am intrigued by the possibilities that I have envisioned for raising. Sources for more information on this process was to be one of my future questions!
   Ano - Sunday, 02/27/05 09:13:53 EST

CC Harper,check out http://www.cat.com
Products - ground engaging tools. Cat calls it DH2
then there is http://www.antorio.com.hk/download/Di-Hard.pdf
For any thing else you will have to ask the manufacturer.
   DanDskabveger - Sunday, 02/27/05 10:50:24 EST

Ano, sounds a lot like the sword forge on page 4 of "the complete bladesmith"by j. hrisoulas...my grates are 1/2" thick, and the holes are drilled 1/2 as well, the clogging problem can be reduced by a good quality coal, we coke our own here, but tending the grate and cleaning out clinkers is an inevitable problem,its part of coal forging, and when it occurs it does not take long to get clear. the firebrick lining is kept to the OUTSIDE of the ducks nest to the forges outside wall, old timers also used clay for this purpose, but if your not welding in it it really shouldnt be a problem. we are in the process of making three new forges with old blowers we salvaged locally, the last blower(complete with the plumbing!)cost us a wopping $5.00....hmmm, maybe ill sell them here!
   Highlanderforge - Sunday, 02/27/05 11:08:07 EST

hmmmmmm...forge for sale....$10.00....shipping and handling,$50000.oo !!!!!!lol...
   Highlander forge - Sunday, 02/27/05 11:10:01 EST

Ano-- Be sure you get the first (1977) Meilach blacksmithing book. Her most recent, The Contemporary Blackmith, has a lot of yummy snaps of finished work, but not much info on process. She has done a couple of others on metal sculpture which I have not seen and maybe they are where the nitty gritty is. The first one and the Finegold & Seitz are detailed.
   Sebastian Chippinghammer - Sunday, 02/27/05 11:33:35 EST

LARRY, I've had lots of leg vises, and that does not sound right, ¼" gap at the bottom. That's a little much. I've reforged at least three vises to get them in alignment. It requires perseverence. If you can get the fixed jaw/upper leg better aligned, then you forge the movable jaw/leg to try to match it . I would have the bolt handy and run from the forge to the vise with the hot piece, quickly insert the bolt and look for improvement. For me, it was a "back and forth dance". If you're a neophyte, this might be a little much for you to undertake.

ANO, There is an out of print book on raising, "Metalsmithing" by Thomas. He taught at the Cranbrook School in Michigan for years.

If it is available, a video was produced by the Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia titled, "The Silversmith of Williamsburg". The smith raises and completes a silver coffeepot including narrowing the neck and bringing it out again.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/27/05 11:33:56 EST

that junkyard hammer is slick....lmbo!...mother of invention.
   Highlander forge - Sunday, 02/27/05 12:39:33 EST

Greetins from Durham California,
I have an 540# anvil I would like to identify.
Dimensions are as follows - 6-1/4" x 23-3/4" face,
overall height is 14-3/4", base is 17-1/2" x 12-3/4",
has two 1-1/2" Hardies ( one on front and rear of the face)
one 3/4" pritchel hole....I have only found one marking on the side, it is stamped "12" I have photos also if needed...
   eartheniron - Sunday, 02/27/05 13:23:46 EST

My machinist friend at work asked me today about "Silver Steel". I have seen it mentioned in older British texts on machinist work. He had a data sheet (found on the web) that showed 100 pts of carbon and about 40 pts of chromium. Is there a defined alloy or alloy range for this steel - what advantages would it have over plain ole 100pt carbon steel? I can guess but I would like to hear from someone who knows :)
   adam - Sunday, 02/27/05 14:23:22 EST

Imbo - ok I give up - sounds vaguely Zulu or Swahili - or perhaps even southern USA like "Jimbo". WHAT DOES IT MEAN? :)
   adam - Sunday, 02/27/05 14:28:10 EST

lmbo: I think it's the same thing as lmao but with the "a" switched with a "b" for the youngins who might visit here... i.e. "Laugh My Butt Off"
   AwP - Sunday, 02/27/05 14:33:39 EST

Ken, Pete and Frank: Thanks for the input. The jaw faces do in fact become parallel(sp?) as the jaw is opened, however it is quite a distance. Since I am a novice I will try the angle iron solution for now. Most of our work is 2" or less in thickness.
   Larry - Sunday, 02/27/05 15:39:47 EST

Adam: "Silver Steel" Is the Brits name for W-1 drill rod.
   John Odom - Sunday, 02/27/05 16:19:25 EST

Donna Meilach has also published some article on www.thefabricator.com. Go to the site and search for her name or for artists and you should get a list of her works.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/27/05 16:35:59 EST

When referring to forge welding, what exactly is "clean fire"?
Tips & tricks will be more then welcome...
   Sharon - Sunday, 02/27/05 16:56:54 EST

eartheniron: Please send photographs. Just click on name and attached to message form. Since you didn't mention it is a double horn, sounds like you do have something unusual. Two hardy holes isn't all that uncommon, particularly in Continental European anvils, but they usually didn't also have a pritchel. Possibility it might have been drilled in later.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 02/27/05 17:50:54 EST

Sharon, It's usually a new fire, but with a deep coke bed and a high cone of green coal surrounding it. It is relatively free of ash and you hope, free of clinker. It is not a hollow fire with only a shell of coke on top, because that would be an oxidizing fire resulting in a thick scale.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/27/05 17:56:50 EST

a clean fire is a fire that does not have a lot of clinker and /or other impurites in it.
To be honest I have seen forgewelds( and have done them myself) in a fire that had a LOT of clinker. But it is not as easy.
Why it is harder is due to the fact that anything in the fire that you are not working on and does not add heat ( such as clinker) will cause no heat added and so you will have to work the fire harder to get the heat needed for welding.
To be honest it would be a fairly good practice to allow your fire to sit for a few mins every 3 hours or so. This allows the clinker to settle and congeal. Once this is done you can use a poker to pull out the clinker. Yes this does mess the fire up a tiny bit. But in time you will learn how to disturb the fire as little as possible.
   Ralph - Sunday, 02/27/05 17:57:43 EST

hello "meier",an old relative is here!...I see we are still capable of what we do best.

   Highlander forge - Sunday, 02/27/05 21:02:04 EST

hmmm,good recovery AwP!
Sharon. the way i was taught, all fires are dirty.The coal contains so many chemical compounds and toxins its a waste to mention them all.COKE, is a burned version of coal,the material is not consumed, nor untouched, a good comparison is charcoal....it burns cleaner than wood...less smoke etc. the TRUE purpose of a good clean fire is to empart the LEAST amount of impurities into the metal as possible.( considering metal as a sponge absorbing carbon etc. and not so static)my forge does not smoke when it is clean....it has a "clean"appearance, and sound....I use color to gauge temp, and sound to gauge a clean breathing bowl,I never let a bowl sit...I stir the coke and watch the color to remove the clinkers...you will know the difference after a while. my heats last all day. (they have to, I make a living at it!)but im sure the opinions will vary...im just a visitor here. The skill of a smithy it was once said ,is "how well he kept the fire".
   Highlander forge - Sunday, 02/27/05 21:22:15 EST

I am interested in getting a price on a form for green sand casting. Several of my past buyers have asked for a simple, multi-depression spoon/ladle block. Something along the lines of the Kankakee swage block carried by Centaur Forge, but without the side swage bottoms. There is a place in Nashville which could cast them from scrap bronze. I suspect bronze would be hard enough for them. There is only one foundry within a couple of hundred miles which does ductile iron and they won't fool with a small order. How do I go about contacting a pattern maker for something like this?
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/28/05 03:27:51 EST

Does any one here have any feedback on the Enco shear for light duty work? I am looking at the 8-inch model.
   Jim Curtis - Monday, 02/28/05 09:00:06 EST


I'd suggest that you talk to the Guru. He has made the forms for several swage blocks.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/28/05 09:18:21 EST

EarthenIron, How much of a ring does it have? It sounds a bit like my 500+ pound Fisher and IIRC Anvils in America mentions that some of the *big* fishers were not marked.

Also is there a inlet on one side making a rectangular gap on one side of the face? If so it's the anvil for a Blacker Triphammer.

What does the bottom of the anvil look like?

   Thomas P - Monday, 02/28/05 11:31:03 EST


Eartheniron sent me some photos. To me, the anvil looks to be very English, especially in th waist, and the heavy duty "arch end" going toward the heel. The anvil has what Richard Postman calls a "modern base", page 87, "Anvils in America". The earlier English anvils had a somewhat triangular shaped foot, whereas this base and the feet have been squared up. The horn is good looking, but it too has a "modern" look, lengthier and fuller than the early English anvils. The anvil is forged, and the extra hardy hole may have been for tool dressing, just guessing.

By "modern", we're probably talking about the early 1900s.

The granite tool sharpeners put a custom made hardy in the pritchel hole and a special stake wedged in the hardy hole. This allowed them to dress chisels on the stake and cut the edge ends without changing tooling.

If you can find more numbers, they can tell the weight using the English Imperial system.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/28/05 12:03:46 EST

All this talk about the Mother has be wondering, who is the Father?
Not every invention is fatherless you know..............
   JimG - Monday, 02/28/05 12:35:30 EST

Hello again!
With your help and advise, I made my first forge welds today...I was amezed to see the wonders of using a little hammer!!
Thank You all again....
   Sharon - Monday, 02/28/05 14:01:39 EST

anvil question: trentons, would it be possible that a cast base have handling holes? i dont think so, but i dont know. i have a trenton with handling holes and "USA" stamped in it. there is no depression in the bottom and no obvious casting seams. this might be a US wrought base trenton.

   - rugg - Monday, 02/28/05 14:01:42 EST

hmmm dont see my last post so again: John & AwP thank you both for answering my questions
   adam - Monday, 02/28/05 14:31:07 EST

Sharon - congratulations on your forge weld: I recall seeing Rob Gunter make a rose at a SWABA demo - it just amazed me what a hammer was capable of
   adam - Monday, 02/28/05 14:37:32 EST

What is " Black wax" ,when is it used and where can we get this wax.
Thanks...again !!!
   André Boudreault - Monday, 02/28/05 14:40:31 EST


Do you intend to use it as a finish? There are many involved formulas using linseed oil, beeswax, japan drier, rottenstone, etc. I use Johnson's old fashioned paste wax at just under a black heat. I've heard of some guys using shoe polish.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/28/05 16:24:15 EST

Ken Scharabok: Try Acheson Foundry here in Chattanooga for your low-volume casting.
   - John Odom - Monday, 02/28/05 19:08:25 EST

Ken, Why sell tools at all if you've invented a time machine to take us back to the Bronze Age? That must be worth a lot more! Seriously; you probably want to find your foundry before a patternmaker. Most foundries are going to have requirements for patterns that you will need to know before you start making one. Some which will do small lots still insist on using their own patterns from their own in house pattern shop or from shops they have a relationship with espescially if its the first time you are doing business with them.
   SGensh - Monday, 02/28/05 19:54:22 EST

John: Thank you. Will keep that in mind. Chatty-town is a goodly drive for me though. I have sent Guru an e-mail about a possible quote.

OK guys, is there a known cure of "Big Blue Fever"? Acquired it today while using one. About a week ago I mentioned the cone mandrels. The deal we worked out was I essentially rent his propane forge and Big Blue after work hours at so much per size finished. However, we will likely work most of it out as barter. Man, that is some sweet hammer!!! Beautiful control. Nothing like the LGs I have used a bit in the past. Do people really get paid to use them?

To hold the billets (1.5" and 2") I cut a circle out of the jaws of old nippers and then welded on half-sections of pipe on top of the jaws to make essentially large bolt tongs. The pipe holds the billet and the hole in the jaws the round shaft I welded in. Worked rather nicely. When the billet is essentially forge out I can switch to regular bolt tongs for holding the shaft.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/28/05 20:00:18 EST

I am a ninteen year old male who has meddled in bladesmithing and blacksmithing for the last two and a half years. I have made dozens of smaller knives on my railroad rail anvil but recently tried forging some bigger projects. My forge is huge, and my technique is fine but I still can't seem to forge with 1" diameter barstock without taking a ridiculously long time. I think I may need to gat a heavier anvil (mine is shy of 50 lbs). What do you think?
   Matthew Marting - Monday, 02/28/05 20:23:08 EST

Matthew Marting, 1" stock is pretty large for hand work. Are you using a striker with a sledge? I pretty much run out of steam on 1" stock with a hand hammer.
   ptree - Monday, 02/28/05 20:29:13 EST

What is the best style of tongs to handle pieces of round bar in the 1 1/2 to 2 inch range. More specifically, pieces of 1/2 ton truck axle. I'm guessing a pair of LARGE hollow-bit tongs. But I was wondering if there's any other styles out there better suited to handle stock that size.
   ScottRW - Monday, 02/28/05 20:46:30 EST

I sometimes forge 1" sq stock for large tongs. I dont have a power hammer but I do have a larger anvil. I couldnt imagine doing it on a 50#'er unless perhaps it was bolted down to something heavy. My tricks for heavy stock:

A. forge at or near welding heat
B. be sure to soak - big sections can be hot outside and cold inside - this makes them hard to forge and creates other problems too
C. Aggressive fullering down to rough size - I use the far edge of the anvil and the edge the hammer face to get a kind of scissoring action. This make quick work even of large stock
D. I use a 4# hammer for the roughing out then switch back to my regular 3#'er.
   adam - Monday, 02/28/05 20:51:34 EST


I forge 1" square from time to time, using a 3# hammer and a 250# Fisher anvil. If I work really hard, I can draw a 12" taper to a point in maybe about five to seven heats. Mind you, I'm swinging that hammer from over my shoulder and doing the rough drawing out on the horn or the corner of the anvil with the crosspeen. It just isn't a whole lot of fun, but it IS a whole lot of work. I suppose if I was twenty years younger I could swing a bigger hammer faster and do it in fewer heats, but I'm not and I can't. As it is, I'm sweating like a pig after those five heats and ready for a rest.

The inescapable reality of it is, a 1" square bar has four times the volume of a 1/2" bar and thus takes a LOT more work. For comparison purposes, I can do the same taper on a 1/2" bar in two heats when I flog it like a madman.

That light anvil will really defeat your efforts on big stock. I figure that if I was doing the same work on a piece of rail, it would take about twenty heats, two days and half a bottle of aspirin. (grin) Get a bigger anvil, get a friend to strike for you, or get a powerhammer.
   vicopper - Monday, 02/28/05 20:55:56 EST


I like a piece of 3/4" welded on to the stock for a handle. Not too heavy, pretty rigid and about the right size to hold.
   vicopper - Monday, 02/28/05 20:58:31 EST

Thanks Frank for your answer...It is effectivly for a hand rail finish.I am trying to get a dark black finish on a section where no forging was done. Scale was removed, iron heated and I applied beeswax then I tried wax with linseed oil etc etc...but I only got a dark grey finish. What am I doing wrong ???
(ps sorry for my poor english...)
   André Boudreault - Monday, 02/28/05 21:05:29 EST

I have a question concerning saftey glasses. I recently watched a demonstrator making blades and he recommended wearing rose didymium glasses(like glassblowers use), especially when watching color changes in the metal. Are these really protecting anything, other than the fact that they are safety glasses?
   Dennis L. - Monday, 02/28/05 21:07:57 EST

My husband was given a Buffalo Silent 200 eons ago and we would now like to sell it? There are no dates on it. How can I accurately date this tool? Thank you for your time and attention>
   kathleen - Monday, 02/28/05 21:26:11 EST

SGensh: My Poor Boy tools are essentially based on the 'good enough' concept. They are good enough for a hobby or occasional blacksmith and priced accordingly. The professional blacksmith or artist isn't my intended market. They are served adequately by others. My requirements are something I carry has to be basically easy to make and I can make an acceptable return on material, time and effort. What's wrong in going back to a method which served well for tools for what 5,000 years? In this case I think bronze would be 'good enough'. Green sand bronze casters are a lot more accommodating than a ductile foundry. For the one up in Clarksville it took me about two weeks of trying to get a quote out of them on something else before they finally admitted they weren't interested in doing small runs. If I want 1,000 they will talk to me. 100 they won't.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 02/28/05 21:28:37 EST

Andre-I use CAPO[brandname]-stoan stove polish-,but I wouldnt recomend it on hand rail,it leaves a dusty black mark on your hand.It works great on my forge hood and, forge,a nice black lustre.I bought the last 4 jars in this part of Ont.at the local TSC. Dont know if waxing over it would work as I have never tried.This is the nearest to what I had always called"stove black" in the past.Someone here will have the right trick for you.Regarde
   crosspean - Monday, 02/28/05 21:30:40 EST


Heat with an oxy-acetylene heating "rosebud" until you get a blood red heat (low) in order to get a smooth scale on the surface. Try not to overheat, or you will get a "free scaling" situation (kind of like cornflakes). Let it cool until just below a black heat; then apply the floor wax. It's applied above the tempering color "rainbow". You'll get some vapor coming off the surface; it's not too good to breathe. The finish can be given a cold wax coating by applying and waiting a few minutes; then buff lightly. You must realize that the finish is superficial and won't last very long on a hand rail.

Your English is OK.

Dennis L,

The didymium is supposed to get rid of "sodium flare", but not necessarily harmful wavelengths. It IS like wearing rose colored glasses, because my experience was that all heat colors looked about the same. It takes getting used to. I had some which I used for daytime driving. They make great sunglasses.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/28/05 21:37:43 EST

I put on my glasses,small print,CAPO IND. Burlington Ont.
   crosspean - Monday, 02/28/05 21:39:25 EST

My husband acquired a Buffalo 200 Silent from an old friend. How do we accurately date this tool? Our gues is that it at least goes back to the 1940s of 1950s, considering the gentleman who gave it to us.
   - kathleen - Monday, 02/28/05 21:41:11 EST

Hey, thanks for all your input. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you guys for your advice. So it's a bit much for hand work eh? I guess i'll find a way around the size issue.
   Matthew Marting - Monday, 02/28/05 21:56:01 EST


If you will email me pictures of your blower, I'll try to give you an approximate date, and depending on the condition, an approximate value.

Remember that value is very subjective, everything has two values, what the buyer is willing to pay, and what the seller is willing to accept.

If the buyer and seller can reach an agreement, they have established a value for the item.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 02/28/05 22:45:22 EST


If you don't have one, you may want to buy/make a double fuller tool like a "blacksmith's magician" to help you draw heavy stock. My only other advice is to work it HOT.
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 02/28/05 22:55:52 EST

Jewelry making is my passion; in particular, metalworking. Unfortunately, there aren't any classes or workshops in Las Vegas. Any advise or referrals that would lend a hand. I love to make a career selling my creations, but need formal training. Please advise.
   Dawn Piazza - Monday, 02/28/05 23:23:29 EST

1" Stock; Matthew:

It may be arbitrary, but less than 1" stock I put in the classification of "light" blacksmithing, and anything 1" and over I regard as "heavy" blacksmithing. When you start working on the larger stock, you start needing strikers or mechanical hammers. An anvil your size is much more suitable for 1/2" stock or even smaller. The 1" stock is forged on a 220# (100 kilo) anvil with a 3 1/2 pound hammer (1.5 kilo); and like Ptree, my arm tends to wear out after a bit and I have to switch to lighter projects. You might want to ease back to smaller projects until you uprate your equipment(although that never stopped my ambitions).

Andre's question has me curious- does anybody know what they use on the ironwork at the Washington Cathedral; besides elbow grease?

A diddly amount of snow tapering off on the banks of the lower Potomac. I should be okay tomorrow, if it doesn't freeze tight on the roads.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 02/28/05 23:57:22 EST

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