WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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 1 - 7, 2007 on the Guru's Den
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Claying or Cementing: I vastly prefer NOT to do either as they add weight to the forge to the point of not being portable any long and it also can trap moisture between the refractory and the forge. If you are going to build a masonry forge then do so but not in a cast iron forge.

When I build brick floored gas forges I use bar grating to support the bricks. When fired up water POURS from the bricks for the first hour or so then steam follows. The bar grating provides lots of ventilation for the steam and circulating air to cool the supports. Tin box and cast iron box (the old commercial) gas forges have the same problem and rust out from the inside NOT the outside. You would not believe the damage until you rebuild a few. Refractory is porous and absorbs moisture from the air. On heating it is pushed away from the heat out into the shell. When a forge is run hard every day the rust is not too bad. But when it is only run an hour or two at a time the moisture is repeatedly trapped between the refractory and the steel. Rust ensues. For this reason most gas forges are a bad design and why I build mine differently.

Coal forges are worse. You have the moisture problem in the refractory PLUS the corrosive sulfurous compounds from the coal which leach out and EAT steel.

Metal forges are best kept indoors and dry. It stored outdoors they should be very clean. I've replaced the bottom in enough forges that I know the truth of this.

If you want to build a heavy refractory forge do it with fire bricks and steel supports that are easy to access for cleaning and painting. Bricks are a standard size ands shape and can be replaced as needed or removed and replaced.

Refractory cement is cheaper than bricks but because it is not fired at high temperatures as are bricks it is not as strong OR durable. You pay less, you get less.

Think about it.

Photos: No we do not have a way for the public to post photos or links here. On a free to the public forum that does not require registration that is dangerous and you end up with banners and links to who knows what. . . Our future forum will have that capability but to prevent shenanigans we will have to have a registration system with proof of ID.

Forging your own curved stake surfaces is the way to go. Silversmiths that usually do not have steel forging capacity end up buying dozens of various shaped stakes and some have collections of hundreds. . . often looking for the perfect shape. As a smith you can make your own.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 00:30:25 EST

Mill Drill: Do not waste your money. There are drill presses and there are milling machines. Mill drills are nothing but a medium duty drill press with an X-Y table. You can mill wood and some plastics with them but not steel or brass of any size. The spindle, head AND column is not rigid enough and all they do is chatter and wreck very expensive cutters. You are much better off to put the money into a GOOD drill press. If you need a mill then you should be looking at the Bridgeport clones. There is a HUGE difference.

Years ago Atlas Clausing made a cute little milling machine (6 x 18" table) that they sold to schools that couldn't afford a Bridgeport. They were a great little machine about the size of a good drill press and you could machine steel parts on it. However the size limitation was to relatively small parts or milling aluminium. They show up occasionally but are prone to spindle spline wear out and there are NO replacement parts. I've made a ton of part on one and as tiny a machine as it was it would outperform a mill/drill by 100 to 1.

Remeber this mantra. A lathe is not a milling machine. A drill press is not a milling machine. A lathe is not a . . .

   - guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 00:41:26 EST

I recently saw an old double barrel shotgun with GENUINE DAMASCUS stamped into it. Obviously neither wootz or Damascus pattern. Does have a 'grain pattern' to it. Why were these referred to as Damascus? Was the grain pattern just part of the production process?
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/01/07 02:26:44 EST

Could you help me to harden carbon steel, name S45C (mechanical properties: C:0.430, S:0.250, Mn: 0.800, S:0.030, Al: 0,050) at which temperature and which oil quench?
   Nguyen - Thursday, 02/01/07 02:42:48 EST

Ken: for a while it was popular to make shotgun barrels out of pattern weld, it might just need a good etch to bring the pattern back out, perhaps it had enough wear over the years to polish the barrel enough to hide it. Or, maybe it came from Damascus Syria?
   AwP - Thursday, 02/01/07 03:25:37 EST

Maybe the brand name was "Damascus"? I've used 10 Gauge brand welding wire, and it is NOT 10 gauge in thickness.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 02/01/07 10:05:05 EST

Miles, Ken, Guru: Thanks guys you have been very helpful. I did check Bailey's online, but came up with nothing. I think I will contact them personally and see if they can give me a name. I will check out the other sources you gave me and see if I can get some more info. I may be back for more info if I come up with more dead-ends. Thanks again.

   Marilee - Thursday, 02/01/07 10:27:00 EST

Damascus Shotgun Barrels: These were very popular during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Sears advertised them heavily. Illustrations show a twist pattern but I do not know specifics.

During that era you could get away with any claim that was not blatently a provable lie. Heck, even today the term "Damascus" is applied to ANY patterned steel. It has nothing to do with a specific method or place of origin. In fact the the term has been more widely known in fabric circles for centuries for cloth with a rippling shean or "damascene" appearence. Of course that originally came from the metal which was long forgotten.

That is why I do not like the term "Damascus steel". It can be correctly applied to steel of any manufacturing process including powder metallurgy.

Perhaps Alan Longmire knows something specific about these barrels.

   - guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 10:42:59 EST

My uncle Dan Hansen brought back as souvenirs from his motor excursion by tank across the Europe in the early 1940s a trunkful of German shotguns. I remember as a kid marveling at the beautiful watered silk patterns on their barrels,
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/01/07 11:15:24 EST

If you are ever in Munich Germany they have a Hunting and Fishing Museum with very nice collection of "damascus" barrelled guns---made through the 1940's as gifts for party bigwigs over there.

Manfred Sachse's book on "Damascus Steel" has some info about 19th century shotgun barrels IIRC.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/01/07 12:58:30 EST

Hey guys, I think I know the answer to this ,but can I turn on my gas forge without problems when it is 32 degress or a bit below? will it mess up the lining? My forge is outside, so it is cold right now. Thanks alot.
   - Andrew Marlin - Thursday, 02/01/07 13:30:18 EST

Damascus as used for a generic term for pattern welded laminate: How about Scotch tape, Xerox copies, Kleenex, Q-Tips, Post-It Notes, etc. etc.? Same thing, except when you try to explain damascus to lay people you end up simply confusing them further.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 02/01/07 14:14:55 EST

Nip, talk to ANY seemstress or any lady born before 1960 and THEY know what Damascus is and it is NOT metal, nor a place in Syria.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 14:35:45 EST

Cold Propane: Andrew, the only problem you will have is the gas supply. Depending on the size of the tank you may or may not be able to operate it. Propane is a cryogenic liquid that evaporates from the ambient temperature. The colder it is the less heat there is to evaporate the propane. So in cold weather you get less gas or a frozen cylinder.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 14:38:39 EST

Aha, ok thanks.
   - Andrew Marlin - Thursday, 02/01/07 15:05:23 EST

I fire my gasser in temps well below freezing and have for years.No damage to the lining.
As Guru say gas supply is the problem.
   dimag - Thursday, 02/01/07 16:53:52 EST

Damascus is used as a generic term for *patterned steel" it's a misuse of a term really and it is NOT a trademark that was created for an item and then became used for it. *VERY* different. More like calling toilet paper "kleenex".

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/01/07 18:37:06 EST

Damascus steel barrels were a big thing when shotguns used shells loaded with blackpowder. Also called damascus twist and twist barrels. These ARE not rated for smokless powder and are likely to rupture if shot with smokless powder from the greatly increased pressures developed.

Andrew, I too have a unheated shop, and often fire my gassers from 20F or so, with no problems. Well maybe my hands get cold while I wait for them to warm up:)
   ptree - Thursday, 02/01/07 21:00:57 EST

Damascus shotgun barrels: It is My understanding that they were made by forge welding strips of steel together to form a tube. I was told they were wrapped arround a mandril, hense the "twist".
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 02/01/07 23:15:02 EST

Damascus was the hot thing for shotguns barrels at the turn of the last century, some of the barrels are true pattern welded and some are just etched. The best thing to do with a Damascus shotgun is to clean and oil it and hang it on a wall. If you try to use one with modern shells, you will be lucky if all that happens is they call you "Lefty".
   - Hudson - Thursday, 02/01/07 23:47:45 EST

Major Planning at Oakley Forge

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Gurus: I’m now to the point where I have to make some major decisions for the forge. I hold 20+ acres (depending on the tide) and an old (ca. 1840) barn, plus a couple of decrepit out buildings (ca. 1940s) that used to serve as a chicken coop and a machine shed. Both of the outbuildings are in tear-down condition, but we hope to at least stabilize and preserve the barn with its post and beam construction.

Meanwhile, the forge is in the stripping house on the rest of the farm, and my sisters are planning on selling that portion as soon as possible. I have a lease on our present house, which runs until we vacate in June, with access to the stripping house for the same term.

Plan A:

Tear down the out buildings, clear the scrub trees, buy a metal 24' X 26' A-frame building (see link, below) for approximately $7,000 and have it installed. The basic layout would be a modest garage door at one end, a regular door at the other end (two exits), and windows on the W, N, & E walls. Install floor (pressure treated wood or concrete pavers) in 2/3 to 3/4 of the inside, create "sandbox" for the hot-work area, install smoke stack (salvage double walled stainless steel stack from the present building, on top of chimney), and turbine vent.

Extra costs include flooring, ($?) power ($700+ a few years back) and who knows what else. (I'll expect y'all to chime in here.)

The present building is 11' X 17' internal; and this would be ~23' X ~25' which seems like a lot of room. However, it would also have to house the wood lathe (keep away from fire!), the motorized ~1940s drill press, and other items which have spilled over into one of the barns on the land being sold.

Major Problems:

Grading- The lot, while fairly level, might have a 6" to 1' drop in 26 feet. The frame is pinned to the ground with, essentially, 3' nails. They offer "mobile home anchors" at additional cost. How critical is the leveling of the lot? I do have a neighbor with some earth moving equipment, but I prefer not to impose.

Structural integrity- I know a tornado will wrap these suckers around the trees, but how well do they hold up to hurricanes or some of the squalls that we get here in the tidewater? Gusts of 90 knots are not that unusual, and white squalls are sometimes seen as summer entertainment.

Condensation- I stopped by the sales office the other day to check for changes in the price (still relatively stable) and asked them to open up the model. Now I know Jock had mentioned that condensation was a problem in metal buildings, but it was like a slow rainstorm in there! Every ridge was dripping water on the gravel floor in neat rows. So, do you have to insulate the ceiling? Cover all machinery? Constantly heat and/or ventilate? Carry an umbrella when there’s a temperature change? (I should have read Jocks postings more closely, but I’ve been down with the flu most of this week, and this is my first chance to post.)

Stumps- The best location has a number of trees that I’m taking out, mostly locust the mulberries. Should I trim the stumps as low as possible, or rent a stump grinder, or grub them out?

Plan B:

Have the local Amish frame up something to my specs in wood. A ~22' X ~22' was priced at about $9,000, so I would get less space but better quality and stability, and I might find something more reasonable than that.

Plan C:

I have some 4” X 4’ X 16’ plywood and Styrofoam "sandwiches" that some friends salvaged from an old refrigeration plant. The LOOK "useful…"

Plan D:

I’m always open to suggestions.

Needless to say, cost is very fuzzy right now. My wif thinks that about $8,000 is reasonable, but her new house comes first, and if the granite countertop costs more than she expects, (and we need a financial cushion, too) then my gear will probably be tumbled into the barn and I’ll have to make do. The cruel facts; but as my female friends say: "You have to fall asleep… sometime. (Don’t perturb the wif!)"

By the way, the Stihl chainsaw that y’all recommended works very well for clearing the lot. Runs like a dream (once you get it running).

( http://www.newmartbuildersinc.com/images/full/20.jpg Minus one garage door and with a standard door at the other gable end.)

Light snow and cold. Time to hit the rack for more rest and recovery.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 02/02/07 00:07:35 EST

Cheap Buildings: Paw-Paw's oversized carport/garage plastic and tin building rains as bad indoors as out on humid days. On rainy days it seems like it is raining as much in as out but it is not quite that bad. It was not designed to have insulation so the condition is that it is a costly disaster for storing tools, equipment, lumber. . . It is also miserably hot inside even with the tall ceiling and open ends. At 8 feet from the tin the radiating heat feels like a blow torch. . . It needs a bunch of BIG ridge vents but that will not help the radiant heat. The longitudinal corrugated roofing has water running to the ends where sloping gutters were fitted. They leak and are also not fixable for any reasonable cost (hand fitting and attaching filler between all those corrugation$). The framing is not sufficient to lift ANYTHING so loading and unloading anything heavy from a vehicle is impossible without renting a forklift OR building a stand alone frame to lift with in the building. I've been in it on windy days and have serious doubts about it withstanding a serious wind storm.

To reduce the heat and condensation I think it needs a second "roof" lining to act as a moving air space and heat shield. That combined with 6 large turbine caps (it had two ridges) might reduce the problems. Materials would run about $3,000 and labor as much or more and this is a cheap fix.

The second cheap building Jim and Sheri bought was one of those tin sheds. It was bought for a storage building and was stated that it did not need a foundation or concrete pad. The cheap framing would not support any load with the specified plywood floor and now has extra supports under it every couple feet. The door leaks water when it rains so you cannot store anything in cardboard boxes on the floor.

A lot of money was wasted on these "structures". The assembly time on the tin shack was more than hand framing (without a nailgun).

Out in the country I would look at pole barn construction, use heavy decking or boards on the roof and a layer of insulation board under the tin. THEN sheath the ceiling to reduce heat. Double reinforce a truss and you can lift a nice power hammer from a pickup. . . Just don't tell anyone why you want two trusses with a layer of plywood between them in the middle of your building. . .
   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 00:51:22 EST


Geez, you move fast! To reply to some of your questions, and supplement the other comments above:

A 24" horizontal top for a 2" T-stake is OK. You may also find that pieces of pipe slipped over one arm of the T make crude but passable round surfaces for forming and cleaning up cylindrical shapes.

Square holes: I had the professional fabricator burn the square hole in my T-stake. At my request, he stayed just inside the line, and he was very skilled, so I ended up with a hole that was about 15/16" square; I just got a big, coarse square cross-cut file and had at it for about 2 hrs, and had a pretty good hole. Guru is correct, I had them cut 1" away under the hole end, so filing to shape was made easier.

Sinking blocks: I stopped using wood for all but the smallest jobs a long time ago. The two gas-bottle ends shown in the helmet article serve for 80% of the large-scale sinking I have to do. I have a small swage block, hardly ever use it. If you can't find empty gas bottles, you can make your own sinking plates by hot-forming disks of heavy (3/8", say) mild steel plate into a ring, like the end of a piece of pipe. I used such a plate for years; I only got rid of it when I found the gas bottle ends.

Easier, "bottomless" sinking fixtures can be made by spreading the ends of smaller (like 2"-3" dia) pieces of pipe into cup shapes, then welding the pipes to 1" square shanks (to fit in your neat new stakeholder). These work great if you do most of your dishing hot, as I do.

Mushroom or ball stakes: I seldom use ball stakes, in the precise meaning of the term; I only have a couple of steel balls welded to shanks. The majority of my dome stakes are just disks of steel, cut from car leaf springs, given a curve by sinking them (hot, of course) in a sinking block; they are then welded to shanks. This gives you a section of a sphere, which is fine for plate work; you don't need the whole sphere, unless you want enormous mass for some reason.
You generally hammer only on a small area at one time.

My 2" and 3" T-stakes are all mild steel, and have held up fine under tremendous punishment. Of course, if you hit them directly with a hammer or chisel, they will mar. Most of my little stakes are car leaf spring; I never bother to heat-treat them.

One thing (among many others): you will have to experiment to see how high to mount your stakes. The old blacksmith's knuckle-height formula is no good for these tools. My big stakes are at about wrist height, which works well for me.


   - Eric T - Friday, 02/02/07 01:20:58 EST

Cheap Buildings: 1. They don't exist!
2. I found that Steel, unless insulated was NOT suitable for a metal shop due to condensation issues.

3. Wood products have increased in price more than concrete ones in recent years.

4. I settled on Block walls and a truss roof structure covered with OSB decking and tar paper under shingles.

5. I did not insulate, and don't heat. There is some condensation, but tollerable

6. I built 28' X 36' and it is too small!

7. It was all I could afford, and is Far better than none.

8. Ten years ago it cost me $8,000 with fibered high-strenth concrete floor and basic electrical service and lights. I had to make the big front doors ( 10' high X 16 foot opening) myself because commercial doors were too expensive.

Good luck!
   - John Odom - Friday, 02/02/07 07:51:33 EST

My shop building was set over an existing concrete slab. Building was originally a tobacco barn, which burned down. When a house on the lot was torn down part of it was used to build a small garage of maybe 24'x 26'. Remaining pad was about 26' x 50'. The building is a pole barn with 10' spacing between 6" x 6" post and roof trusses. What amazed me is a crew of four guys put it up in one and a half days.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Friday, 02/02/07 08:08:05 EST

Bruce, How much amperage do you need? Will the new shop have its own meter or are you going to run 240v off a 50 or 100 amp breaker in the house? The house should have a 200 amp breaker box and you should have a 100 amp drop box in the shop. If you run the shop off the house breaker box you can wire it your self and you'll know it will be done right. Make sure the shop has its own ground rod.(The power company here has no problem with my doing my own wiring in a "pole barn".)
I work mostly alone and only run one machine at a time so it is unlikely the welders, power hammer and other machines would run at the same time.
It is best to fill and level above grade and pack the fill. Impose on your friend and make something nice for him. I thought I could get away with a berm on the up side and it worked well until a mole burrowed under and I had to "stick my finger in the dike". I caught it before it completly flooded but it was still a mess. I cured it with 1/8": alum a ft deep and the moles went somewhere else. I wish I had done it right the first time, but being in a hurry...
I dug around the stumps and chopped the roots off below the ground then filled the holes but left a 3' camphor stump for a vise table. I did phase 1 with a hand hammer but for the next 30' I bought a nail gun- working buy myself the rest went 10 times as fast. Setting the 18' used utility poles by myself was fun too, but with a little ingenuity it went well.

A word of caution: Always lash the ladder and keep the area beneath you free of stuff that can hurt you if you fall.
   Ron Childers - Friday, 02/02/07 09:49:16 EST

Stump removal: Hey Bruce, I heard that dynamite works real well for stump removal, although it's still a lot of work digging. I haven't tried it, but it sure sounds like fun. I'm glad you're enjoying your saw -- keep that chain sharp, and have a spare chain or two.
   - JohnW - Friday, 02/02/07 10:27:30 EST

There is such a thing as a "cheap" building, but it is kinda like a cheap (good) anvil. It takes lots of waiting and some footwork (plus a sawzall, pry bars, chainsaw, large trailer, gas money, a couple of friends who will work for a case of beverages, etc. etc.) My shop used to be the detail shop at the Kenworth dealership my dad works at. They were clearing way for a new building, so the shop had to be moved or torn down and burned. Two long weekends later we had a genuine shop on wheels. Yes, it is a steel building, but I didn't look the gifthorse in the mouth. All we bought new were the stringer boards, six 4x6 posts and new pre-assembled rafters. We bought the new posts because some of the old ones had started to dry rot, and I could have used the old rafters, but they were 2x6, they were spaced farther apart than i wanted (so there wasn't enough), they were too steep of a pitch for my liking, and my buddy got a little spastic with the sawzall and sent two of them crashing to the ground (oh yeh, add a hard hat to the list of materials!) I don't remember the final price of the building, but it was fractional compared to the cost of a new one (mostly a HUGE savings on the sheetmetal).
So far as a floor, we didn't have the means at the time for obtaining a concrete slab, so I've been working off of a dirt floor except for a few 4x6 or 6x6 slabs I've hand poured around the walls for putting shelving on. But now that we have the big concrete mixer going (and a tractor that works to run it) this summer is gonna be finished shop.

Like I said, some waiting and footwork and the buildings are out there. I saw a 24x48 with 10 foot ceilings go at an auction this past fall for about 500 dollars. The best part was it divided down the ridge and every 8 feet along the sidewalls, making for 12 sections that could be torn down and set back up in a weekend easily. The problem was that you only had 2 weeks to get it off the property, and i didn't know if I could get a big enough trailer on that short of a notice :(
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/02/07 10:51:00 EST

It does work great!! I remember when I was little my grandpa still had the necessary paperwork for using it too. He'd grub down between the roots till he could see the tap root, and then he'd auger a hole into the tap root with a long hand auger he'd made (which by the way was a three foot round forge welded an 18 inch auger!). A quarter stick and WHAM he'd pop the stump right out and lay it on it's side. My great uncle on the other hand would auger a hole straight down the center and shove a half stick or so in. You almost needed an umbrella cause of the wood chips raining down. Unfortunately dynamite is now a "weapon of destruction" or whatever the technical term is for it...ruins all the fun ;)
Now we just settle for hooking on with the dozer or tractor (whichever is running) and pulling :(
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/02/07 10:57:07 EST

Gurus. I can't seem to find the directions to the split and twisted cross, I think It was published several places (Anvils Ring/Hammers Blow, BSJ, newsletters ect. But I can't find it. I think it was from (Saint) Francis of Colorado. Can anyone give me directions.

   - Tim in Orygun - Friday, 02/02/07 11:44:33 EST

Tim, it is on our iForge page twice.

Christoff Fredricks Cross by Bill Epps:

Celtic Cross by Glenn Conner
   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 11:51:14 EST

I can't really add anything to the discussion of "damascus" shotgun barrels, except that I've seen some pretty nice ones! Lots of ways of manipulating the pattern to get different effects, but they were all wrapped on a mandrel and welded. As has been said, modern shells and powder are a bad idea in one! Liege, Belgium was a major manufacturing center for these in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are no longer made on a commercial scale, but some modern makers are drilling solid pattern-welded billets and adding liners to make them safe to shoot with modern ammo.
   - Alan Longmire - Friday, 02/02/07 13:04:02 EST

Alan L - I beleive a Swedish company is manufacturing so-called damascus for use in high end rifles, shotguns, knives, etc. They were covered in Machine Design a couple of years ago they're using powered metals (steels) of different alloy conten and producing solid product via Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIPing) - getting a top dollar for it to according to the article. With the alloys mentioned in the article, I'd doubt that a liner would be required.
   - Gavainh - Friday, 02/02/07 13:34:18 EST

A little over 2 years ago I fianlly got my shop building built. I used a local builder for it who's claim to fame was that all his buildings were still standing---we get high winds on a regular basis---gusts up to 80mph...

It is 20'x30' all steel construction but is a steel frame with "pro-panel" screwed to it. 4 trusses in all. 10' high walls, Concrete Floor. 2 10'x10' roll up doors and one "man" door 1 strip of fiberglass as a skylight down toward the end away from the forge area. No electricity--yet.

Cost was US$5600 + some grunt labour helping dig the footings. I also asked the builder to work on the price for me---the roll up doors were old/new items had been out back of a dealer's place for 10 years from a job that fell through---*much* better in construction than "new" stuff for the same place. I believe the trusses were from another job that fell through.

Workmanship was excellent. And of course out here "condensation" is something they have to demonstrate in science class as it doesn't happen outside of the lab...

The trusses nicely delineate sections and you can hand a blue tarp off them to seperate the sawdust from the rest of the shop

Of course it is too small and I hope to build the coal forge shop off the end using a lifting frame as the basis of that addition.

In your case I would go with a pole barn and work it so those insulation panels will fit between the poles---probably have to sawzall them in half to get 8' sections. or use them as the exterior sheathing!

   Thomas P - Friday, 02/02/07 14:01:03 EST

Damascus shotgun barrells were not always etched to bring out the pattern. Sometimes they were finished uniformly. To see the pattern, the barrell would require re-finising. Also, there was a market for "faux" damacus barrells, in which a damasucs like pattern was produced via etching.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 02/02/07 15:04:13 EST

Bruce - Those insulated panels may be a good place to start: My ex-in-laws built a house using 'em.

Their panels were 5.5" of styrofoam between two half-inch layers of OSB. The structural frame was two 2x6s nailed (maybe glued too) together on 4' centers. They faced and roofed the place with typical steel pre-engineered barn type siding.

The roof was pretty standard: Trusses with purlins and steel roofing over a ceiling (With the 30" of rock wool they put in it is needless to say they don't spend much on heat or A/C.)

You know, I bet if you showed your Amish builder the panels you have available, he could figure a way to use it and cut your costs a tad. . . They may be traditional, but a lot (if not most) of 'em are pretty darn clever and adaptable.
   John Lowther - Friday, 02/02/07 16:46:54 EST

Bruce, I have built a couple or three pole barns and can say that they are very easy to build as a doit yourself project. Acouple of things I learned:
A crawler with a 4 way bucket and a good operator is worth every penny if you have many stumps or dirt to move. When I built the house, I had about 200 large stumps from the forrest i cleared. Many were 20" or bigger pine trees. Took about 2 days to clear all the stumps, build 120' of driveway base, and to cut the foundation into the bank.
When I built the first barn a 24 x 32, I used a farm tractor with a pond scoop, and it was not a worthwhile way to go.

If you have slope, set the poles, set a level board around the base that sets the top of floor. Add treated boards to fil in the gaps and fill with "chrusher run or your cheap local gravel. Leave 6" space. Compact with a small rental thumper type, and then place reinforcement and pour the concrete level with the top of the board to screed from. Then that board becomes the bottom nailer for steel siding.
For easy insulation the standard around here is a vinyl backed fiberglass in a 5' wide roll. After the entire barn is framed, the insulation is rolled out over the nailers and nailed thru. Cover with fireproof in the hot work areas. Or consider flocked fiberglass.

Someone suggested to me to place a small oscillating fan to move the air to reduce drippage, and it is working pretty well for me.

My current shop has 4" thin wall boiler tube for rafters as I got them cheap. I used trailer flooring fastners to screw down 2x4 nailers for the steel barn siding to be nailed to.
For cost reduction, consider "secondary metal. This is often about 30 to 50% less than first quality siding. For windows, consider used storm windows.
   ptree - Friday, 02/02/07 19:25:44 EST

My buddy was going on about having several scrap damascus shotgun barrels, Further on about they can be purchased dirt cheap if the shotgun otherwise scrap. He Said he would give me the guns he has.
I thought they might be re-forgeable into knifeblades or something. Does it sound feasable, I know its junkyard rules, But would the steel likely be good enough for decent blades ?
   - Mike - Friday, 02/02/07 20:16:49 EST

Tip on building with hollow concrete blocks (aka cinder blocks). Check at places at which they are manufacturered. Chances are they sell cosmetic defect only ones for about half the cost of perfect.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Friday, 02/02/07 20:21:05 EST


I ahve no idea what building materials cost up there, but I do know what makes a good, inexpensive building ldown here where we DO get hurricanes, humidity, etc. Concrete block.

You can do some quick backhoe work and have a level spot with a footer dug in less than a day's time for the hoe. Cost about $400 here. Toss in $400 bucks worth of #4 rebar and some 6-6-10 remesh and pour a slab floor/rim footer as a monolithic pour. Any forms you might need will be small and cheap; a few hundred bucks worth of plywood and 2x4s will get you set, I should think. For a 24 X 24 building you'll need about ten yards of concrete at around $120/yd (here). S0 that's 2500 bucks for a solid floor/foundation you can build on.

Concrete blocks, the standard 8" by 8" by 16" size, cost a buck or so apiece down here. For a 10 foot high building with 96 perimeter feet, you'll need a thousand blocks. Less, depending on the number of doors and windows. It will take a couple of yards of sand and ten bags of Portland cement to make the mortar for the block work. A good block layer working with a helper (hod carrier) can easily set three hundred block a day, four hundred if he's busting his butt. Figure three days to block up the walls. Figure thirty days if you do it yourself. That's what it took me to put one up about that size, working evenings and weekends, with my brother helping.

ONce the walls are up, you use the plywood that used for forming the foundation rim to for a bond bveam at the top of the walls. A bit of rebar and a lot of carrying buckets of concrete up a ladder will get a 8" bond beam poured in a day. Or you can spend big bucks and have a mud pumper come. I used the bucket brigade method, being poor. Set anchor bolts in the bond beam every 32" to tie your top plate to. From there, you just frame up a nice little hip roof and put some Galvalume corrugated roofing on it, and you've got a building that doesn't condense moisture, won't blow down, won't catch fire, and will make you feel very secure about your tools.

I elected to do all mmy wiring exposed in conduit, to save time on the block work and make modifications easier later. Likewise for plumbing.

My total cost for the building was about $3000, but there was already a floor of sorts. If i"d been smart, I would have ripped it out and poured a level floor, but now I'm stuck with a floor that has a horrible pitch. But then, I don't own the land or the building, so I was doing it on the cheap.

Metal buildings can be good, but by the time you spend what it takes to stop condensation and provide for wind survival, they're expensive. Wood buildings catch fire or come apart in hurricanes. You choose.
   vicopper - Friday, 02/02/07 21:00:28 EST

OK. . There are bugs. IE (Internet Explorer) will not post from here unless you scroll down and use the POST button under the text box. However, it works fine in Netscape and Firefox.

The home page needs a lot of work and the entry to many of the major pages will be changed soon. I will have a busy weekend.

These are major layout changes leading up to more additions. Some things are experimental and will change. All the old pages still exist and will popup now and then.

Drop me a line when you find a serious bug or broken page. There are going to be plenty.

   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 23:02:14 EST

I found one. Just lost the guru page menu system. . .
   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 23:03:03 EST

Try again
   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 23:12:28 EST

   - guru - Friday, 02/02/07 23:13:04 EST

Buildings: My buddy in costal North Carolina had the cheapest building I ever saw. It was a military surplus steel tent frame. He put lumber parilins on it and covered it with galvanised corigated roof tin, and built a sliding tin door. I don't know how He ancored it to the ground, but it is still there after all the huricanes from the '90s till now. It keeps the rain and some of the wind off, but otherwise is like being in the out doors. My Dad built the wood shop on top of what had been our home built 20'x40' inground pool. Funky slope to the basment floor, poured monolithic slab for the shop floor with a hole that was supposed to function like a garage "grease pit". The celing is 10' high, insulated with fiberglass bat. The walls are ply on studs, foam sheet insulation and aluminum siding. Roof is on rafters, not trusses for usable storage . There is a beam under the joists tied up to the ridge pole every 64" to carry storage loads [considerable] without posts in the shop space. Windows, door and 2 garage doors were used freebies. I don't know what it cost to build, He did it all Himself with some co workers hired to help in pouring and finishing the concrete floor. I might add He was a builder by trade. This shop is as airtight as a house. I only heat it if I am going to work in it, bare steel doesn't rust for years on end. If You don't want rust and condensation issues, use a poured floor and build the building air tight. A shed building We have is wood framed and plank floored [with space below due to a hill] this building is uninsulated, but pretty tight. Rust is not a major problem in this building either. As to electric service, I too would suggest running a sub pannel from the house service, unless it is just way, way too far away.You mention that the house is new construction,get an extra large servise from the start. This way You only pay all the "other" fees on 1 service. 50 amps will go pretty far in a non commercial shop, 100 amps will gives You alot of headroom.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 02/02/07 23:27:35 EST

vicopper-- Hod: what a wonderful word for a noble tool. You never or hardly ever, see it any more. I have met grown men who do not know what one is. I am proud to say I drove one for a while. The knack comes with being Irish. Up a plank to a scaffold, up ladders to the second floor. It tends to focus your mind, calm your spirit. Atli-- level the floor, you'll be glad over and over, and whatever you do, if you have one, do not hire your brother-in-law to do concrete work. Or anything else, for that matter.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 02/03/07 00:55:05 EST

Thanks to all for excellent suggestions; please keep them coming. I'm "pulling out" of my flu bout, and I hope to walk the grounds and check out some resources this weekend.

One note on the electricity: The new house is one one part of my farm, facing a county road. The forge is on the other part, over the stream, past the barn, and about "two pistol shots" away from the new house on the dirt farm road dividing my land from the sisters'/brother's section being sold. There was electric service to an old house (on "their" side of the road) but I don't know what it was rated at. Still, the transformer is there on the pole. Code calls for forges to be 50' from the property line, which runs down the middle of the road. My siting is 50' from my edge of the road, just in case of any dispute. (Who knows, the new owners may choose to rebuild the old Trappe House, dating from the 1830s, if the termites have left enough of it.) I know we ran power to another outbuilding on "my" side of the farm road, which then burned down when our tennant farmer left a woodstove lit about 20 years ago.

Another consideration is the fact that the neighbors (who bought my great-great-grandfather's farm, next door) have offered me the trusses from one of his barns that blew down and they had salvaged. They have them all neatly stacked in one of their other barns, and I've already salvaged some of the beams to go into repairing my barn and as mantel and accent beams for the new house. (They were planning on building a pavilion with them, but never got around to it; now they need the space for other things.) Recycling ante bellum beams is quite common around here, and some are pit sawn.

Once again, thank to you all for the excellent information; the more information I have, the better choices I can make.

Cold and wet on the banks of the lower Potomac; the swamp is "full-up."

Test of cut and paste of MS Word punctuation: “ ‘ : ; ` ~
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 02/03/07 01:00:46 EST

Mike, from everything I have heard, the old Damascus barrels were welded up from wrought iron or mild steel wire, sometimes even scrap horseshoe nails.... there would probably not be enough carbon in this type of pattern welded material, and the pattern is most likely the result of decarburization in the weld zones rather than high/low carbon layers. You might try sandwiching it around a high carbon core, as in "san mai" construction, though... also it might make a nice effect if used for bolsters, etc.
   - vorpal - Saturday, 02/03/07 01:09:48 EST

HI Jock, Looked for you in Seattle this year, I guess you couldn't make the long haul trip. Hope all is well. I'm sure we'll meet in N.Y. next year. I have a question: I am designing a large double driveway gate. The problem is that in each gate there is a large copper repousse'. I am trying to design a connection of the repousse' to the iron gate to "elimnate" electrolysis. I have thought about welding stainless "tabs" and then using a plastic sleeve in the holes for copper rivets. What's your opinion? Tim C.

The Forgeworks
450 W.Atlantic ave.
Alameda Point
Alameda, Ca. 94501
shop: 510 814 0559
cell: 650 238 8821
   Tim Cisneros - Saturday, 02/03/07 09:21:46 EST

Bruce, a couple more comments on the building. If pouring a floor, put 10 mil plastic sheeting under the concrete. Cuts way down on humidity coming up thru the floor, and helps with a good cure.
If buying trusses, I prefer the 24' trusses available thru most big box stores. They can be put up by a strong two man crew and easy by three.
I use 6x6 posts at the corners and by big doors and 4 x 6 for the others. I use large rough sawn boards, usually popular for corner baraces, usually 2" x 8". I have a friend that has a mill, and i get his seconds sometimes. My steel sided, trussed barns have withstood winds in the area of gusts of 75mph. not a hurricane though. For your environment, I would use steel truss ties to connect any trusses to the beams etc. Helps with the uplift. I would also use screws instead of nails for attaching the siding/roof. The current wisdom from houses that have survived the Katrina debacle etc is that if the windows and doors survive the building will too. The idea is to keep the wind out. That may explain the real shutters found on old coastal buildings.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/03/07 09:47:49 EST

Fast and Relatively Cheap: The fastest shop buildings I have seen go up were concrete block with a truss roof. If you are paying labor the block guys are a bargain. They come in and in one day you have fireproof insect proof walls. I would scrounge some old fashioned steel window frames as they are about equivalent to the walls in durability. There are grooves in the blocks for setting these so they go in as the block goes up. The top of the wall muat be capped so that you have something to bolt/nail the roof to. For the cost you also get a reasonably comfortable building that also is reasonably secure (you can lock it).

The cheapest construction is pole barn style, wood frame with tin covering. It can also go up fast. Tall roofs and good ventilation are the rule for tin buildings and they will be uncomfortable anyway. Almost wall-less is needed for the summer. If you can afford a second shell or at least a ceiling the heat is not so much a problem and you can close the building up.

I have been studying the buildings they use in Costa Rica where the weather is mild but the sun ferocious. They use open vent areas at the top of the wall and peak vents much like large foundry building used to use here. No AC or fans needed. Works well even in small dwellings. The layer of air moving along the roof prevents the rest from getting hot. To use this system up here you need shutters to close all the vents in the winter.

I am sure this system could help Paw-Paw's shop but the building has no over hanging eves. If you ventilate high then rain water is going to run in. . .

The problem in our climate is that we have both hot and cold to deal with. Opposite problems with only one common solution, mass and insulation which are both expensive. They respond to opposite designs but even in winter you want better than average ventilation in a blacksmith shop.

One note on the REALLY cheap steel buildings. They are rated at about 15 to 20 pound roof loading. Some utility buildings less. This is only suitable for bulk material storage buildings. They have a very bad habit of collapsing in heavy wet snows or ice storms. Remember that picture of a church in the news a few weeks ago? 1" of ice (5.25 pounds/sqft.) collapsed that building. Normal construction that people are going to inhabit even temporarily SHOULD have a 30 pound rating if not better. 30 pounds is 8"-10" of rain soaked snow OR three feet of snow. Now. . . we almost NEVER get three feet of snow but it is not unusual to have a freezing rain after a heavy snow. In 1990 we had one of these in Lynchburg were it was not QUITE freezing and the snow absorbed and held the water. Cheap farm utility buildings collapsed over their contents like they were vacuuformed over them. A local farm equipment dealer who sold these building had his collapse over a couple million dollars worth of tractor and harvester inventory. . .

   - guru - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:03:26 EST

Guru, I too am amazed at how the metal buildings with no insulation but open eaves work in Costa Rica. In November I spent a few days doing some consulting/teaching in San Jose. Very humid and hot but quite workable with fans. None of the employees wore shorts/tee shirts but rather what looked to be hot polyester blend long pants.

The current problem down there for me is how to maintain the air circulation for the employees and keep the knats and dust out of drying finish. Probably filtered and sealed spray rooms and drying room.
   Ben - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:20:49 EST

Bimetallic Corrosion: Tim, In these cases the steel must be very well protected. Corrosion of this type can occur at significant distances, as much as 1/2 to 3/4" (12 to 18mm). It generally occurs when the electrical connection is made by an electrolyte such as condensation water. A good mechanical electrical connection actually can help reduce electrolisis.

Your stainless tabs are a good idea. A good coating of zinc will be needed on the steel next to it. Plan on either galvanizing OR good cold galvanizing paint. Sealing the copper with lacquer will also help but clears will not hold up over the long term. Note that the stainless attached to carbon steel also creates bimetallic corrosion.

The difference between the copper and zinc protectors (galvanizing) may SEEM to be small but these are two metals are opposites that were commonly used to make electrolitic cells and batteries. In Europe gold leaf has been popular on many fancy jobs but the gold has the highest electromotive potential and iron is slightly low (Au +1.5 to Fe -.44). The result is much very fine ironwork has dissolved to nothing even though the two were separated by paint and glue.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:36:17 EST

San Jose, CR: Ben, it can be very windy and dry in San Jose making dust a problem in the dry season (our spring). They commonly burn brush off fields which adds to the dust. The wind is the result of rapid temperature changes at the mountain peaks which occur daily. Up in the mountains at sunset you would think a hurricane is coming and it gets cold and rainy for a few minutes then it stops as suddenly as it started. People scurry and run for cover just in time for it to stop.

The wet season in San Jose is just wet enough in the valley to keep dust down and occasionally it gets cool there. Last spring it got down to 50°F (10°C) and the Ticos were out in winter coats hats and gloves IF they had them.

You can pick almost any climate you want in Costa Rica.

I would enclose spray booths in a larger building so that they have the advantage of the well ventilated outer shell. Insects are a problem in CR and the local custom of not using screens (even on many homes) does not help. Small noseeums that you really CAN'T see eat me up a night but a mosquito net does the job. I know the same little creatures will ruin a good paint finish. The lack of screens and the open air life means you also see birds indoors even in grocery stores.

On the coasts and in the low lands they put screens in windows but it is still rare in the highlands.

I'll be there next week. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 02/03/07 11:12:55 EST

Tim, Take a lesson from the world of plumbing: they use di-electric unions to stop corrosion (electrolysis is how they remove hair). To prevent bi-metallic corrosion, you need to stop the flow of electricity between the two metals and that means something NON-CONDUCTIIVE. Stainless is very conductive. Plastic, fiberglass, epoxy, something's gotta work!
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 02/03/07 15:06:58 EST

I was poking around on Onlinemetals.com and after some looking I found some confusion (pretty normal for me). I was looking at Bronzes and looking over the technical specs the first number Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi. the second is Yield Stength. Mostly I'm just interested in how it compares to steel. If any of you wizards can fill me in i would greatly appritiate it.
   Frostfly - Saturday, 02/03/07 15:12:49 EST

   - Iron Balls - Saturday, 02/03/07 15:32:03 EST

hey y'all what do y'all think about the harbor freight 1"X30" belt grinder, for bladesmtihing. i've been hand fisnishing my blades for some 3 years. and feel it's tiem to move up to better things.
thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Saturday, 02/03/07 15:59:10 EST

Don't know what the 1 x 30 inch grinder costs but you would be a lot better off to purchase a 2 x 72 inch grinder just for the availability of different grit belts- I would look at a Grizzley 2x72 or maybe building my own- The 1 x 30 is really too small and underpowered to do a good job.
   - ptpiddler - Saturday, 02/03/07 16:37:22 EST

Ijust got a champion drill press #201 with a auto feed where can I learn about this fine peice of machinery
   DRNHE - Saturday, 02/03/07 20:02:49 EST

Andrew, I have that one and it is well worth it. As mentioned, buy a variety of grit belts. Unfortunately HF doesn't sell a good belt for the machine, you can find nice ones at Lowes or HDepot from 60 to 220 grit. It's good to keep a quench bath nearby, I use a rectangular bucket bolted onto my bench in front of the sander. Every pass or two, dunk the workpiece to prevent burning out the temper. That is unless I am shaping the piece, then I use heavy grit and heat treat later. I like the slack portion of the sander for rounding out edges, it does a nice job, and it's cheap.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 02/03/07 22:20:27 EST

Oh, by the way, I specifically bought it for bladesmithing. Buy one!
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 02/03/07 22:21:46 EST

Frostfly: structural steel or mild steel has a yeild point of 36 KSI or slightly greater, and an ultimate strength of 60-70 KSI. Heat treated alloy steels can be as high as 300 plus KSI, Yield and ultimate strength are close to the same in this range. Bronze could be anywhere from soft malieable stuff to about 120 KSI ultimate, with the yeild not much less. When the yield and ultimate strength is close to the same there is little to no elongagation, hense the material is not ductile.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/03/07 23:36:01 EST

ok so something like aluminum bronze is gonna be fairly similar in strength to mild steel, depending on the alloy. looks like some other alloys will be too..
   Frostfly - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:13:09 EST

optimal hardness: So I have just finnished up on a nice 15# bench anvil out of rail track to use at my goldsmith bench. I am going to have it professionally heat treat and basically have a choice as to how hard I want it. I had the steel tested and found it to be very close to a 1085 steel. The use will be for primary forging out silver and gold ingots into what ever basic shape needed for the job on hand (i.e. it will be my mill for wire and sheet)and other small bench forging on non-ferrous metals. I will be using lightweight highly polished hammers upto 12 ozs. So the question is what would be the recomended hardness. I am was intially thinking about 50 RHC. Would there be advantages to going with a harder treatment? As a second question I am making a second slightly larger anvil which I can use for some hot forging at the goldsmith bench, making small chisels and punches mainly. Does anyone have a recomendation for temper and hardness? I have also been told (and this seems a good idea) that for hot forging I could nake a saddle that would fit the track made of H13 or similar hotwork steel and use that for hot forgings rather than have the second anvil. What do you recomend? Thanks Tim ..I have also posted this up on the message board..
   Tim - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:40:13 EST

Save your money, I would just leave it as is. modern production RR track will harden up real good, But for ductile metal like gold, silver etc. I doubt you will notice a difference if it were hardend.
   - Johnny - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:49:53 EST

andrew, I used a 1x42 grinder for quite a while to grind and polish blades, and with an adequate motor (1/2hp or more) a small belt grinder can be pretty powerful. If you go up to a 2x72, 1hp is pretty much the minimum power you would want, as the belt surface contacting the work is twice as wide. This also means that you can grind twice as much material in a given amount of time, which is very nice on large blades. Belts are maybe twice as expensive per each for 2x72, but don't let that deter you; consider, the 2x72 belt has 144sq in. of abrasive surface, while a 1x42 belt has 42 sq in. of surface. More than three times the belt for twice the price, not to mention the work time saved, as well as the aforementioned greater selection of belts! Grizzly has a vertical/horizontal two wheel machine for around $400, it's a good buy, or you can get plans on ebay and several other places to build one. (You could always get the 1x32 for detail work, too...)
   - vorpal - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:50:13 EST

The main reason for my wanting to harden the face is To preseve it, mainly from missed blows. When working with the precious metals I try to maintain as high a finnish as posable on all of my tooling as even the smallest dimple or nick will transfer and need to be filed and finnished out later. with silver being just over $13 an once and gold just over $600 I would prefer to do as minimal amout of finnishing on the finnished pieces. Figuring that, I figred that I would have the hardness work in my favor as well.I have tried several other options first from light hardened jewelers anvils; to light for thiese opterations, to mild steel blocks that have been case hardened but provide no rebound or for lack of a better word.life. The cost is neglagable combared to the amount of time I spent hand grinding the face flat and bringing it up to a mirror polish.
   Tim - Sunday, 02/04/07 01:13:34 EST

Ok Go for it with hardening, I can't comment on how hard it should be. But I will mention, You will have to polish it all over again after heat treating
   - Johnny - Sunday, 02/04/07 01:33:26 EST

NC-JYH: Can anybody give me some typical dimensions and speeds for one of these? I'm interested in the length of the arms, ram weight, the offset of the cam & the cam speed. I presume this is not secret information, but haven't heard anybody discussing specifics. The reason I ask is that I have some equations for a simplified model & want to put in some realistic numbers.
The assumptions I've made are: The arms form a simple 'kite' with a point mass at the bottom vertex. The spring is idealised too.
   andrew - Sunday, 02/04/07 04:40:09 EST

Anvil Hardness: About 52 to 54 HRC seems to be the rule for large anvils and 54 to 58 HRC for small anvils.

Yes, the hardness is primarily to keep the face preserved and yes you will have to regrind and polish after hardening unless your heat treater has a way to protect the part. This is often done with inert gases OR enclosing the part in a stainless steel foil envelope.

Rebound comes from a combination of things. It requires both hardness and mass. One problem with RR-rail anvils is the narrow web of the rail is designed for flexibility and adds a LOT of springyness. This in turn makes them hard to use for certain applications and requires that they be bolted down.

I recommend that you use this anvil for a test at least before putting the expense of hardening into it.

   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 05:19:04 EST

NC-JYH: Andrew, I will measure the one in the shop after the sun comes up. . . 4:00am here.

The toggle linkage is a triangle that pulls out to a kite shape in one direction and makes a "tent" in the other.

At rest the side links (toggles) are nearly horizontal or close to a straight line. When in a perfect straight line the weight of the ram creates an infinite force pulling the arms in. So the arms can never be straight except as the ram moves past that point going up or down.

As the angle of the toggles increases the leverage on the arms decreases thus giving the spring the ability to stop or "catch" the upward motion of the ram. But the spring must also be strong enough to do so.

At rest the ram should be just a little above the work height. This keeps the arms from compressing the spring a great deal while the work is being done. If the ram at rest height is too high the hammer must be run fast to strike the work and makes it uncontrollable.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 05:35:39 EST

Thanks. I was also wondering if anybody has tried essentially adjusting the height of the stroke dynamically? I can't see that it's possible to adjust the offset in a spinning cam, but a rocker (similar to Rusty, but rigid arm) could have it's 'push point' moved. Anyway, it's one of the things I'd like to check out.
My model is as you describe, except I assume the ram has no dimension (point mass) i.e. the toggles meet at a point. Giving the ram some width just makes maths messier & the numerical solver work harder (and hence slower).
   andrew - Sunday, 02/04/07 07:18:31 EST

If I use pewter and sterling silver in a part touching what are the chances of galvanic corrosion?


   - Dan Furlano - Sunday, 02/04/07 09:24:42 EST

Guru, Johnny. Thank you guys for the advice. I believe that with secure mounting the mass will be sutiable for the applications I have in mind. I With that kind of thempering how do you think the anvil would handle heat. The guy at the heat treat place suggested making a saddle out of H13 and do the little hot forging I do at the bench on that. What do you guys think of that? Guru, you mentioned that the springyness of the web makes the anvil hard to use for certain applications, could you give me a couple of exaples? Again thanks to everyone for the advice. Tim
   Tim - Sunday, 02/04/07 09:39:29 EST

Hello Fellow Blacksmiths.
I have a 160# Hay Budden anvil,I need some help determening its age.The serial# on the frontleft foot looks like 2228or 2223 its hard to see last number.On the right side are 6 center punch marks in a straight line.(ie-......)I can send pictures if given address. I paid $70.oo for this anvil,and it is in good condition..Thanks for any help you can give..
Scott Lent..
   Scott Lent - Sunday, 02/04/07 09:50:39 EST

Bimetallic Corrosion: Dan, See our FAQ's page and the galvanic series chart for the potential.

The difference in the number determines how much potential there is. In this case a -.136 for Tin and +.799 for Silver. That is a total of .935. That is greater than between iron and copper. With a solder joint and kept clean and dry, no problem. But soak in the sink or (horror or horrors) the dishwasher and you have a mess. A screwed connection would trap moisture and corrode severely.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 10:07:39 EST

I am looking for a good reference on shrinkage allowance for heat treatment (specifically 4140). We are doing an investment casting and then heat treating to 48 RC.
   Greg - Sunday, 02/04/07 10:20:26 EST

Goldsmiths Anvil: Tim, Hot work steels are generally only needed for hot cutting tools and forging tools that absorb a lot of heat. Cutting tools and punches are a problem because they are embedded in hot metal. Although a lot of modern smiths use H13 for all kinds of things it is often missapplied.

Unless your anvil surface reaches a temperature over 350°F (177°C) the temper will not likely be affected. Steel is a good conductor of heat and even steel at forging heat does not draw the temper of the anvil in use.

There ARE exceptions. If you try to work a very large piece, say 1/4 the weight of the anvil, and leave it lying on the anvil or continuously work heavy work on the anvil.

It is not unusual for an anvil to become uncomfortable to touch from heat but this is far below the point where the temper will draw.

The springyness of the RR-rail anvil is a problem anytime is is used with a significant sized hammer (a couple pounds or a kilo) and/or it is not bolted down. Loose when struck with a heavy hammer a rail anvil will often jump off the surface it is resting on. The distance is proportional to the power of the blow but I have seen them hop several inches.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 10:22:41 EST

Scott Lent:

Either version of the serial number puts it in 1892, first year of H-B's at least putting serial numbers on their anvils. One of the lowest serial numbers I remember seeing. At that time likely the top and bottom halves of the anvil are wrought iron, with a tool steel plate. In or about 1908 H-B changed procedures to forge the top half out of tool steel, using a softer metal, such as mild steel, as the base. These would roughly be serial number 155,000 on, of if there is an A in front of the number as they revered, for some reason, in or about 1918 back to starting with A1.

Richard Postman was unable to find the serial number logs for H-B and thus had to made educated guesses on serial numbers by year based on the number of anvils produced mentioned in their advertisements. The cross-reference table in Anvils in America should be within a year either way.

At less than $.50 pound you almost stole it.

On anvil serial numbers Richard Postman has still not been about to document why some CF&I Trenton anvils have an A in from of some serial numbers. Anvils seem to fall in production line with those with just numbers. Someone familiar with CF&I said they were factory seconds, but quality is the same as others. One of his thoughts was one of the anvil crew chiefs was named Anderson, so perhaps it was used to differient anvil crews. I have wondered if perhaps these were anvils on which the top plate popped off as it cooled, or had to be ground off for only a partial bond, and thus a new plate had to be put on them. If anyone comes across credible information on this please let us, and Richard Postman, know.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Sunday, 02/04/07 10:47:18 EST

DRNHE-- Centaur sells or used to sell a reprint of the 1909 Champion catalog with details on the drill press.
Tim-- working silver or gold on any sort of steel surface, even unhardened, is not going to deform it unless you accidentally hit that surface with the hammer. Get to work and try it. Same with tool-making. You can forge a lot of punches and chisels before you will see any significant degradation of the "anvil" surface. Cast iron excepted.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 02/04/07 11:00:51 EST

To Ken Scharabok,
thank you for the info on my Hay-Budden.I use the anvil almost every-day. It's a great feeling when i'm hammering-out new products on an antique anvil..Scott Lent.
   Scott Lent - Sunday, 02/04/07 11:01:18 EST

Champion Drill Press: DRHNE, We sell a Champion catalog CD-ROM of one of Champion's last catalogs. While it has typical catalog information of the time it has no operating instructions.

Use pointers:

These machines came with a 1/2" hole for special "blacksmith's bits" that had 1/2" shanks for all sizes large and small. These bits are no longer made and those that exist should be treated like antiques. There are a few museums that could use them.

As an option these machines came with a #2 Morse taper. These are quite rare. Your best bet to get good use of the machine (and they are VERY handy) is to fit it with a Jacobs brand drill chuck. You can order one of these from McMaster-Carr with a 1/2" diameter arbor to fit.

I would use the chuck with the 1/2" shank up to 1/2" and over that use reduced shank bits. I doubt that you will want to drill larger holes by hand but it can be done. Below 1/2" these machines do a great job of drilling.

To use you want to preload the feed a little, start cranking while hand feeding quickly through the bit point. When the entire bit is cutting then engage the autofeed and crank away.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 11:17:24 EST

Andrew- I don't know about "point masses- or the vertex and a spring being idealized --but the tire hammer is built with 14 to 15 inch arms with a 2" offset pivot with the spring located in the upper third so the hammer will not hit it in the upper throw. we run a 3" diameter drive wheel on the motor shaft- I built mine with an adjustment to move the linkage up from the pivot but have never used it. The clearance between the dies should be about 2 inches in the rest position. Rsiver posted some pictures of the first tire hammer built on forge magic a few days ago- this hammer was built with the slide behind the hammer
so it is shorter than the tube type slides now being built by Clay Spencer
   - ptpiddler - Sunday, 02/04/07 11:31:59 EST

I have a question. I have been making swords for quite a while and always used a handheld blowtorch for the hardening and tempering. My question is. Would it be easier to use a salt pot. Also would I like to know if a salt pot could be used as a regular forge and how exactly do I use the salt pot for hardening? Basically the salt pot has facinated me for a while and I would like to make one. I just need to know all and everything there is to know about the salt pot and how to make one.

Best regards
The Icelander
   The Icelander. - Sunday, 02/04/07 12:17:06 EST

Some thoughts on electrochemistry:

Electrolytic reactions are driven by an external power source.

Galvanic reactions are self energized, driven by the difference in the materials.

For galvanic corrosion to occur you need three things:
(1) Differing materials with an electricaly conductive path between them to carry a current of electrons.
(2) An electrolyte (liquid) path between them for conduction of the countercurrent of ions.
(3) Sufficient difference in the materials On their surfaces) to provide the motive force.
If any one of these factors is absent or minimised the corrosion will be minimised.

We often see products with differing materials in contact, and they work fine in a dry environment, but are a mess outdoors or in a seawater environment. Things work well in fresh water, but not seawater. Aluminum is very active, but usually does not corrode because of surface effects.

When designing a system a lot of factors must be kept in mind.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 02/04/07 12:44:31 EST

Salt Pots: Icelander, There are advantages and disadvantages to salt pots. The disadvantage is that at forging temperatures most salts boil or sublimate. The result is some very nasty fumes and vapors. I do not think is is a method adaptable to forging heats.

For hardening you use the salt pot to heat the material to hardening temperature, quench in a normal quenchant, then you may use another salt pot to temper.

The advantage of the salt pot is lack of oxidation and a good thorough uniform heat. For tempering it is the uniform temperature. However, for tempering, salts are usually only suitable for tempering high temperature alloys.

See our FAQs page Heat Treating article for tempering salt information.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 12:46:25 EST

Icelander: See http://www.dfoggknives.com/copy_of_index/hightemp.htm

For one man's take on salt pot hardening. I have only used one for tempering, and not in my own shop.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 02/04/07 13:16:23 EST


If you're trying to keep your anvil face polished, you probably want a separate one for hot forging steel. Pounding scale into a surface is a quick way to ruin the polish. Placing a hardened saddle on the surface and pounding on that will likely have the same effect. You could put a rubber sheet or something between saddle and anvil, but that would reduce efficiency even further.

By the way, do CSI members get a wider screen? I may finally be incentivised enough to join.
   Mike B - Sunday, 02/04/07 13:33:12 EST

thank you, for the info,this champion drill looks kike it once had a wide pully on it,for overhead power,it has been fitted with a narrow one and a 1 1\2 hp moter with a jack shaft,it has a hand feed lever ,when the auto feed gear is mounted on top the hand feed does not work,also there is a open and close small hand wheel up on the upper part?not sure how this works,the hand feed has a ring on it to keep it disengaged,thank you
   DRNHE - Sunday, 02/04/07 14:01:48 EST

Mike B: No on wider screen. Suspect it is due to the new format Jock indicated several days ago. Note the new advertising on the side. Fine with me if it generates additional income to anvilfire.com.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Sunday, 02/04/07 14:27:35 EST

Mike, I am afraid we are moving into the future after nearly 10 years of maintaining the old standard. Most new PC's display at 1024x728 or greater with a minimum of 800x600.

We still support 800x600 by compressing our banners and header. But 800x600 is now the like the old 640x480. Do you remember when 320x240 was the standard color screen? Imagine trying to support THAT!

In FACT, you can still squeeze MOST of our pages down to 640x480 and still navigate them. It is tight but it works. There are few content rich sites on the Internet that can do that AND take advantage of the new "standard" monitors that start at 1024x768. It is a LOT of work to make a commercially sponsored site that stretches in this range. In fact almost NOBODY does it.

The click throughs on our google ads are already paying and may pay as much or more than our regular advertisers when they are on most of the pages. These are eating some page width but that is a cost we will have to live with for a while. Is is a ton of work to set them up and it will take months to complete and months to fully determine if it is worth the aggrevation. This is a big gamble on my part. The last time I setup with a banner exchange it was with an outfit called goto.com, which became overture.com and which finally went bankrupt and was bought by google. While with goto I did a ton of work (weeks) setting it up and it only generated a couple dollars total. I think they went bankrupt owing me 37 cents. SO. . . we are trying again.

If half the folks on the google ads that are germain to anvilfire were banner advertisers we would not need the google ads. If you do business with them, let them know where you saw the ad.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 15:10:23 EST

The Yield Strength to Tensile Strength ratio is independant of elongation. I have seen steel with less than 1000 psi diffence between YS and TS but have 30% elongation. The elongation takes place AFTER yield and BEFORE ultimate failure and the fracture was 100% ductile.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/04/07 15:13:10 EST

Hello gurus,
I'm currently thinking of buying a hydraulic press to
use on hot metal forming.
But what do i need?
Or better , which pressure forms what amount of steel,
or what size, in an acceptebal way?
Thanks for any hint.
   Michael Haase - Sunday, 02/04/07 15:56:26 EST

I'm experiencing one of the more common varieties of galvanic corrosion at the moment: Some genius many years ago plumbed my house with galvanized steel piping after they removed the lead pipes. So far so good, except some years after that said genius (or another, it's hard to know with an older house) added new bathroom plumbing with copper pipes attached directly to the older galvanized steel. This was done without dielectric fittings. As a result, last thursday the hot water lines to the shower suffered a metallic stroke, as it were: A massive ball of rusty goo lodged in the junction of the 3/4" steel and the 1/2" copper, reducing the flow to maybe one gallon per minute or less. Lucky me, I get to replace about 62 feet of galvanized pipe with copper on tuesday!

The moral of this story: Be aware of galvanic corrosion and don't mix your metals in the presence of an electrolitic fluid like hard well water! Hopefully the 1" galvanized line from the house to the well will last until we can afford to replace it...
   Alan-L - Sunday, 02/04/07 16:30:21 EST

What is CSI?
   Tim - Sunday, 02/04/07 16:38:26 EST

CSI CyberSmiths International, Inc: is the anvilfire non-profit support group that has helped keep anvilfire on line for the past five years. Without CSI we would have had to close down anvilfire several years ago.

Postings on this page with name's in BLUE are CSI members.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 16:57:29 EST

You gotta do what you gotta do -- I'm sure I'll get used to the extra scrolling in a few days. I went ahead and joined CSI anyway. Figured it was about time.
   Mike B - Sunday, 02/04/07 17:20:07 EST

Mike, Thank you! I'll have you setup shortly. Please note that the CSI pages are a bit of a mess at the moment. I am working on the public pages now. Not sure what the new CSI pages are going to look like.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 17:23:15 EST

Ok, Let me try to wrap my brain around numbers a bit and you wise folks can tell me if I got it right. If you have a metal with a similar Tensile Strength and Yeild Strength you have low Elongation, Meaning the metal isn't ductile. Hence hard to move with a hammer. Correct? So in a good metal(particularly for working primarly cold) you want something with a fairly high enlongation number. I'm sure there is more to it then this, but in general does this work?
   Frostfly - Sunday, 02/04/07 17:23:25 EST

Guru, I think the Google ads are a nice addition to the site. They give us a link to businesses that are appropriate to our interests and needs. If it generates some extra revenue, I say so much the better.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/04/07 19:09:25 EST

Frostfly, Nope. See my post earlier. Elongation is not a function of the Y/T ratio. Once you reach the yield point, or proportional limit, the metal begins to move by dislocation glide. The metal elongates with little or no additional force until it finally reaches the ultimate tensile strength and ruptures. A high Y/T does not imply a brittle material.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/04/07 19:12:52 EST

Google ads: I've found a lot of folks via the google ads that I did not know about. Maybe they will become regular advertisers in the future.

If you see folks that absolutely do not belong such as linktraps (they buy keywords cheep and divert the high rate advertisers click throughs to make a profit) or others that are just miss-indexed then drop me a line. I can filter them out.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 19:51:27 EST

drnhe: I have one of them and it is quite a machine. I have been discouraged from motorizing it out of safety to my fingers. The "OPEN-CLOSE" engages a nut in the housing that allows the feed to move up and down freely. There is a rachet arrangement. Flip the finger up and rotate the upper wheel (with the lowe wheel in "close"0 until the bit is on the work. Start cranking and turn the uppper wheel to lower the bit a little more. When it is tight into the work, flip the ratchet finger down and the bit will advance into the work automatically. There is a site, http://www.owwm.com/PhotoIndex/ByType-Detail.asp?Type=3
with pictures, including mine. The vertical arm on mine was broken off and I had to make a new one including the ratchet finger. There is also a clip that holds the different gear clusters in place. I am missing that but it doesnt seem necessary.
   JLW` - Sunday, 02/04/07 20:36:52 EST

Salt pots are also supposedly able to utilize free ions and address the issue of heat treating on a molecular level. Also, molten salt baths should also give a nice uniform heat. The ionization thing is supposedly good for "memory" of the steel and better hardenability. This is all just what I've heard and read, I do not have one (yet). ;)
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 02/04/07 21:36:54 EST

Quenchcrack: Can You find Me a steel alloy that has over 12% elongagation at over 300 KSI? What was the strength of the material You are speaking of? I was tickled pink to find one with 10% at 250 KSI. Do You know of a ductile 120 KSI bronze alloy?
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 00:23:26 EST

Frostfly: At least in My experience the ductility and elongagation get quite a bit lower in really high strength materials. This dislocation glide Quench speaks of does not take place. I may have used the term ductile improperly, but I mean the ability to be bent [permanantly] without breaking. The properties I am speaking about are at normal, not elevated temperatures. Generally as You make steel harder by heat treating the tensile and yield strength both increase, and at a point in common tool steels, usually by about 55 RC the elongagation is really low and there is less difference between the yield and tensile strength. As Quench points out some materials have a high Y/T ratio and are ductile. Extreme high strength heat treated alloy steels and aluminum bronze high strength alloys like I mentioned in the first post have high Y/T ratios and little elongagation. How metal moves hot is a whole different ball of wax, some bronzes are extremely dificult or impossible to forge because they fall apart. In steels some have high hot hardness due to alloy content, particularly tool steels. There are NASCAR axles distributed by someone in the blacksmithing community that are supposedly extremely hard to move even when really hot. I don't have any experience with these.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 01:16:45 EST

Frostfly: What do You intend to do with this metal that You want to work cold? Most materials will work harden after You have worked them some, and need to be anealed, a heat involving process before working more. Generally You would be looking for material in the anealed,or at least not heat treated,streign hardened or work hardened state, and not a high strength material. Mild steel, copper, and 1xxx aluminum can be worked a bit before they get work hardened. Aluminum bronze, 2024 and 7075 aluminum and steel rebar, for example are not going to work well cold forging.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 01:40:11 EST

Michael Hasse: I have seen some interesting things done with a 60 ton 5 horsepower press, I think Hofi uses an 80 ton press. From what I can guess from the work I have seen You need somewhare around 10+ tons per square inch.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 01:49:35 EST

Alan L: Well water where I live is pretty acedic, making it a great electrolite. We inject a base solution to achive a neutral PH with a meetering pump that runs with the well pump.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 01:52:45 EST

I'm not even really sure what I have in mind for it yet. I'm just trying to get a idea of what I should be looking for in the technical specs on diffrent alloys that might give me an idea of how they might work. I particularly love the look of copper and bronze and would love to work in them, but I don't know enough to know what I should look for in the numbers about diffrent alloys to tell me if it's possible to work with them. Currently I'm working on making armor, but I've no real intentions of limiting myself to just that.
   Frostfly - Monday, 02/05/07 01:54:58 EST

I'm just a beginner blacksmith (47 years old) and have just purchased a RENTO brand anvil. Have you ever heard of this brand? RENTO is inside a pentagon on the side. It weighs 170 lbs. It seems to be a good anvil with a nice ring and good rebound. I just wondered if you knew anything about this brand. Thanks...

   Jim Haehl - Monday, 02/05/07 03:18:53 EST

Jim Haehl: I strongly suspect what you have is a TRENTON brand anvil (with name size proportional inside a flattened diamond). TRENTONs were initially imported from Germany by the Trenton (NJ) Vise and Tool Works. When the Columbus (OH) Forge and Iron Company started making anvils they acquired the rights to the TRENTON name for their anvils (they used Indian Chief on their vises). It would have made good business sense to adopt an existing brand name (and reputation) rather than entering the anvil market with a new one. A German and early CF&I TRENTON look much the same. On the German ones the logo tends to be more deeply stamped, it would not have a serial number on the front foot and the weight (in pounds) was normally on the side with the logo rather than on the left side of the front foot as CF&I did. Both are composite bodied anvils, which means they were assembled from a top half, bottom half and a steel plate. Depending when made body can be wrought iron, mild steel or a combination between the top and bottom sections.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 02/05/07 06:44:43 EST

On the ABANA forums there is a new thread on Phosphating/Parkerizing. Just go to www.abana.org, forums, the one for Materials & Metallurgy and look for same subject. Is this a new rust-proofing procedures?
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 02/05/07 08:29:58 EST


The Copper Development Association, www.copper.org has a big menu that you can poke, prod, and peruse. A few of the alloys are forgable hot. Most are not.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 02/05/07 08:52:30 EST

Phosphating and Parkerizing Ken, These methods have been around for a long time and are used industrially. Neither is an end in itself or a final finish for ironwork. Phosphating is treating with phosphoric acid. Most automotive sheet metal is phosphated prior to forming and fabrication. Parkerizing is the flat black you see on many gun parts particularly shot gun barrels. You can look up the process in Machinery's Handbook. It will slow rusting but is one of those finishes that does best when kept oiled.

Phosphating is sold as one of those "miracle" processes. Apply phosphoric acid over dirt, scale, rust. . let it "convert" the rust and then paint directly over it. . . In fact it is a cheap field prep that helps reduce rust SOMETIMES. It is also used to artificially age galvanizing so that it can be painted.

I worked with a fellow that swore by phosphating because it was CHEAP. You get what you pay for. It is NOT a replacement for clean metal properly prepared. It IS a good additional step prior to using cold galvanizing paint and the whole multi step paint process.
   - guru - Monday, 02/05/07 09:45:22 EST

I need help rebuild a forge it is one with a hand bellows and I need to know how to make the bellows and what materals to use
   Chris - Monday, 02/05/07 10:53:48 EST

Chris, You need to be more specific. You state it is one with a "hand bellows" and then you say you need to know how to make one. . .

Are you talking hand crank blower or wood and leather bellows? Do you need to be manually powered or can you use electricity for an electric blower?
   - guru - Monday, 02/05/07 11:23:13 EST

I do not own one, but I have a friend with a salt pot, and it is no small undertaking.
It is expensive, messy, dangerous, and has a higher level relationship with entropy (read- it wants to destroy itself, rapidly) than most shop tools.

If you really need one, fine, build one. But its no toy- molten salt is up to 1400 degrees, depending on which "salt" you use. Even 1000 degree liquid in no joke, in the shop. And when any tiny bit of water, even a drop of sweat, hits molten salt, it makes a minature explosion of 1000 degree plus liquid. Guys who use em frequently have mysterious wounds on their faces and hands most of the time.
The salt will, of course, also combine with atmospheric moisture to make an ideal environment for rust, anywhere near the salt bath.
The salt will try to get out of its bath, in the worst way- corroding its way out, causing perfect galvanic corrosion conditions, and so on.

Nasty stuff, in general. If you are doing high end knives, or mokeme gane where the lack of oxidisation is essential, a salt bath works well- but its not usually worth the hassle for just playing around. Most people who have them dream of ways to get rid of them- but the alternatives, such as inert gas ovens, cost much much more.
   - Ries - Monday, 02/05/07 12:04:33 EST

I'm looking for a source of triple refined wrought iron. I realize it will be difficult to find and will have to come from a knowledgable source and will be expensive. The quantity I require is 70"x1/2"x2". It's for a restoration of a grave marker. It had been previously "repaired" with mild steel and arc welding; very nasty. The quality of this piece is similar to Yellin"s work. I found "Chicago" and "1918" stamped into the piece but no makers name, yet.

I'd like to get this project done for this client soon; she's 97 years old.
   brian robertson - Monday, 02/05/07 12:08:21 EST

Brian, the way I get triple-refined wrought iron is to start with wagon tires and refine them myself. They're usually single-refined, just a step above muck bar. Stack, weld, draw down to original thickness, do it again. Repeat until it's as refined as you want it.

I didn't say it was fun or easy! It does work, though. I wouldn't want to tackle 70 inches worth without a big forge and power hammer, either.
   Alan-L - Monday, 02/05/07 12:29:59 EST

I am a grade 11 student in Guelph, Ontario. I am looking for a Co-op placment in my area but I have been having trouble finding one. Please advise.
   Tom Kozak - Monday, 02/05/07 12:35:13 EST

Dave, my well water is also a bit acidic, but only enough to shine a penny left sitting in it for a few days. It tastes enough better than the utility water that it's worth it to keep. That, and the crooks down at the water board want $2000 to install a meter, not counting getting it from the street to the house!
   Alan-L - Monday, 02/05/07 12:36:48 EST

Brian: this may be a case where The Real Wrought Iron Co, LTD; is warrented. Can ypu post a picture of the original across the street?

Chris---are you trying to do a museum quality restoration or just get something that works to use?

   Thomas P - Monday, 02/05/07 13:42:03 EST

Thanks for the link, that's not one I had found on my own. seems to be exactly what I need.
   Frostfly - Monday, 02/05/07 14:13:09 EST

Co-op Placement - Tom Kozak; are you thinking industrial? Or architectural? There is still a (limited) requirement for Industrial blacksmiths in shipyards, steel mills, foundries and mines. Architectural, and artist blacksmiths tend to work independently (in other words they’re self-employed.) In my case, I’m a hobbyist.

I suggest contacting the Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association (OABA, http://www.ontarioblacksmiths.ca/) as a potential source of leads. If you can, attend OABA's February meeting on Saturday, February, 10, 2007 at Waldie's Blacksmith Shop in Milton, Ontario; Waldie's Shop is a historical site, not a working business. I believe the meeting starts at about 9:00 am. One important rule for these meetings: "Safety Glasses are Mandatory whenever you are in the demonstration area. No Exceptions." Meeting someone face to face may get you further then a web posting, so good luck to you.

If you haven’t read the FAQ’s pages here, do so. They’ll save quite a bit of questions and answers going back and forth. And check the local and school libraries for books on blacksmithing.

Finally, if you are seriously interested in blacksmithing, get proper safety equipment, eye and ear protection as a minimum to start with (steel-toed boots are a highly recommended as well.) Oh! Also natural fabric clothing, most synthetics (nylon, rayon, polyester fleece, etc.) don’t hold up well when hit with hot scale or sparks.

Best of luck to you.


   Don - Monday, 02/05/07 16:13:37 EST

safety gear-- high top leathern boots are a must, too. QUERY: drop, sparks and sharps cut the stitching on the welts of my Redwing work boots and the soles delaminated rapidly, necessitating a time-consuming repair job with Barge cement.. Anybody know of a durable, quality brand with concealed stitching or glued-on soles? Custom okay. I am also looking for add-on metatarsal guards. Thanks!
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 02/05/07 16:38:54 EST

Miles I can give you some brass sheet that you can repousse and fasten on as decorative heat shields for your redwing flipflops...

   Thomas P - Monday, 02/05/07 18:49:12 EST

I would like to convert my tredle powered forge to an electric motor. It has a 150 champion blower with an .800 pulley on the blower. What are your educated max speeds? I plan on using auniversal motor for variable speed.
Thanks, JB
   JB Bergman - Monday, 02/05/07 18:55:20 EST

Thomas-- words faileth.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 02/05/07 19:04:06 EST

Blower Speeds: One of the old catalogs states a gear ration of 40:1. The normal cranking speed on one of these was about 12 to 15 RPM (input). So the fan rotor was designed to turn about 480 to 600 RPM. This was on the big hand crank units.

The lever operated forges had smaller blowers that ran off a belt from a large slow turning wheel. I would GUESS from the size of the small blower that they turned 1000 to 1200 RPM. Note that these had babbit bearings and were designed for intermitent use at high speed and needed oiling during operation. The 150 was listed as an agrcultural forge for light duty.

The geared hand crank version of that forge had a two stage open gearing, a gear set of about 17" to 2" (8.5 to 1) and a pulley of about 10" to that .80" pulley (12.5 to 1) for a total increase of about 106:1. Assuming a comfortable cranking speed of 12 to 15 RPM (as noted above) the blower turned 1300 to 1600 RPM.

This is an educated guess looking at the hard to decypher illustrations in the Champion catalog.
   - guru - Monday, 02/05/07 19:35:41 EST

I have read several articles about anvils and I'm still not clear on which anvil I should buy. Being new to smithing, I don't have the money to put into a Refflinghaus, Peddinghaus or Kohlswa. I have read that Euronanvils have changed their design and are now poor quality. I'm now looking at an Old World Anvil that is similar in design to a Peddinghaus. Can anyone give me insight to the quality of this anvil? Based on Euroanvils website; they have exrta features like an upsetting block and side shelf that The Old World Anvils lack. Any advice that you can give me is greatly appreciated.
   Todd - Monday, 02/05/07 20:25:28 EST

Guru, I just read the "water-pail forge" article. It seems very simple, if potentially dangerous, have you tried this yet, or know anyone who has? What do you mean, possibly widen range of materials usable for lamination? What materials did you have in mind?
   vorpal - Monday, 02/05/07 20:50:45 EST

Dave, you have misunderstood what I said. We were not talking about HIGH STRENGTH steel, we were talking about HIGH Y/T steels. I have seen with my own eyes a steel with a Tensile strength of 100ksi and a yield strength of 99 ksi with an elongation of over 20%. I did not mention anything about 300 ksi tensile strength steel. Yes, at 300 ksi, the elongation is much lower but that is not a function of the Y/T ratio. The Y/T goes up with increased martensite percentage but not necessarily with strength. All metals are distorted by dislocation movement regardless of the temperature or strength level. By dislocation glide, I meant that the material will continue to elongate with little or no additional stress and this is a well-established phenomenon.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 02/05/07 21:04:11 EST

I ran a blower wheel from a Champion 400 at 900 rpm, with an electric motor and it seemed OK.

   - John Odom - Monday, 02/05/07 21:30:35 EST

Miles undercut, I have had very good experience with Iron Age brand safety shoes in the forge shops I have worked in. We had about 75% wearing Iron Age, about 20% Leheigh, and 5% in Red Wings at the axle shop. About 250 people, maybe 80% of the population exposed to forge scale at least 40% of the time. Also had a good sized crew in the machineing side so coolant resistance was also important. We converted to required meta-tarsel guards. I personally wore the style 257, a 6" oiled leather with a leather covered external meta-tarsel. Nice heavy soles of ergonomic construction to make staying on your feet all day as comfortable as possible. I wore three pairs, a year each, for 5 to 6 days a week, from 10 to 12 hours average. The second set is now worn by the juggle Guy, and I have the third set myself. Both in good shape with nary a lost stich, or sole issue.
And to top it off, Vicopper thinks thay are possibly the most beutifullll shoes on earth. Just ask him.
Strap on metaltarsel guards are available, as are steel toe strap ons and a combo unit. Everyone I know who has worn them detests them! Look in the New grainger's, just got mine today.
   ptree - Monday, 02/05/07 21:36:20 EST

Old World vs. Euroanvil: They come from the same foundries in the Czech Republic through various middlemen and the foundries have changed from time to time for a variety of reasons. They are a relatively cheap casting so you get what you pay for. The higher priced anvils are better castings cast in foundries that really care about the product and have the metallurgical labs to back up the quality.

In the end you have to trust the dealer and the warrantee. Big sand castings DO have big inclusions and they DO break occasionally.
   - guru - Monday, 02/05/07 21:49:38 EST

Phosphating, phosphatizing and parkerizing,
All are pretty much the same process. The parkerizing name is a Brand name for the process developed by Parker Anchem many years ago.

Basic process is to alkaline wash the shop oils and dirt off. Then reinse. Next is usually a hot phopshoric acid pickle to lift the scale off. Rinse. Then a modified phosphoric acid to develop the phosphate conversion coating. Next is a soft water rinse, and then the oil coat.

At the valve shop we phosphate coated all the steel fittings and valves. When I started in the early 80's Zinc phosphate was the process used. This yeilded a large crystalline surface that held the oil in close contact sorta like a sponge. This was a hard process to treat the effluent from and with the coming of the clean water act, out it went. Then we went thru H*ll finding a workable process. Ended up with Iron phosphate at last. Good process for industry, but tuff for the home shop. Takes close chemical control, The tanks are heated to temps from 142F to 183F, A huge amount of rinse water must be used and treated prior to discharge, and some must be softened prior to use, a good treatment plant prior to dumping in the sewer, and you generate quite a lot of wet, fluffy sludge to send to a "Special waste landfill"

This process yeilds a good wharehouse rust protection, but outdoors in our Ohio valley environment, it would fail and rust in a couple of months. It was designed to yeild a 1000 hour salt spray cabinet rating.

The phosphate conversion was good for only a couple of hours and the air dry oil was good for perhaps a 100 hours, but together 1000.

Remove the oil and you have the process often called "Bonderized" seen in painted metal articles. The only reason it works at all on military weapons is the constant attention to oiling when in the field. Ask any vet.
   ptree - Monday, 02/05/07 21:57:51 EST

Miles Undercut,

Jeff (ptree) is correct in his reporting of my opinion regarding the aesthetic apeal of his footwear...not. There are things in this world that are so homely they acquire a beauty of their own, but those boots are not to be numbered among them. Those things are, without a doubt, absolutely guaranteed never to be stolen, even if you're face down in the gutter in the most depraved skid row area of any metropolis in the dead of winter. When I met Jeff at Quad State a couple of years ago, I had no idea what he looked like; my attention was held morbidly captive by those abominations on the ends of his legs. I didn't even notice that he was wearing an anvil on his head until someone mentioned it. They must be really great footwear, if the company stays in business despite their obvious lack of taste. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 02/05/07 23:57:58 EST

Quench, Go back and read My post from Saturday02/03/07. I was talking about 300 KSI steel and 120 KSI bronze. I concede that My last sentence is not technically corect, lack of ductilityis not CAUSED by the high Y/T ratio, but acording to the plant lab guys notch sensitiveity is. One might argue that notch sensitiveity comes from lack of ductility, but in any case all the above conditions ocur in the upper strength ranges of the mentioned materials. The point being while You can tell pretty much from yeild and ultimate strength, it isn't the whole story.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/06/07 00:12:06 EST

I have an outdoor workshop and as you know it's pretty cold outside right now. What are temperatures in the single digits going to do to my welding? Are the welds going to cool too quickly or does that matter? I'm doing fairly thin stuff like quarter inch rod and sixteen guage plate.
   Will - Tuesday, 02/06/07 00:22:28 EST

Will, What type of welding? Forge, Arc? What type of metal?

For forge welding the only problem will be getting a heat and the tools being cold and drawing the heat from the metal before you get a good weld. It may take more than one heat.

In arc welding there is more of a problem as you have cold metal and a hot weld zone. The weld will be OK but immediately next to it there will be a brittle self quenched zone that may be more prominent than normal. Preheating and a post weld stress relieving may be necessary. It depends on the material and the weld. A large weld will create enough heat to reduce thermal shock. But a small weld may be very brittle.

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 01:35:37 EST


Was guru states about the czech old world anvils is very true. You really get what you pay for.

I bought a new old world czech anvil and felt it was not worth the money. It came with a significant square dip in one portion of the face. It was a very rough casting and required about 4 hours to dress and alot of abrasives. Then upon removing the blacks paint from the body the maker filled a casting inclusion near the bottom waist with body fill. Basically a piece of SHIT!!! The face had a low 40s rockwell. It is very soft and dented very easily. Honestly they are junk and no better than the cheap Russian harbour freight anvils only four times the money. I would use a old worn out broken vintage forged anvil over one of those any day.

Buy a forged old anvil, new forged peddinghaus or an american made cast steel anvil. They may be two and three times the money, but you will have something that will last several lifetimes. When you out grow a cheap czech anvil you will not be able to get your investment back out of it.
   - Iron Balls - Tuesday, 02/06/07 01:58:01 EST

Should Read: What
   - Iron Balls - Tuesday, 02/06/07 01:59:54 EST

Is there something like a cross reference list to steel ball drop height and Rockwell/HRC for an anvil top?
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/06/07 05:01:25 EST


I used a big Old World anvil at Ironfest 2001 in Texas. I think they were being imported and sold in Texas at that time. It was OK, except for an angled slope on the off edge, which I didn't care for. Overall quality may have gone downhill since then.

For domestic anvils, I like Nimba and Rathole Forge. I'm going to install a Rathole 250# anvil in my shop next month. They also make a 460# anvil. I've been corresponding with J.B. in Wyoming about delivery, etc. Phone 307-859-8827. The anvils are founded in a western state of the U.S., and the faces are Blanchard ground. When the anvils get to Wyoming, the horns etc. are "hand-sanded finished." Presently, they have a brochure, and they hope to have a website up in a month or two. Box 351, Daniel, Wyoming 83115.

The Rathole is of the two horned Continental variety with upsetting block, side face (similar to a squared-up clip horn), fifth leg or "toe", and church windows. It is pictured on one of the pages of "Anvilfire! NEWS".

After using the anvil for a while, I'll send a full report.

Ken and the ball drop. I run my hand hammer lightly in a forward direction on an anvil, and it should rebound with a rhythmic "yatata yatata" or maybe a "todadump todadumpdumpdump". I make sure that the anvil is on wood, a box of sand, or sitting on the ground. That tells me what I want to know.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/06/07 09:04:05 EST

In large production shops (I mean BIG stuff, bridge building shops), the ambient air is cold because they leave both ends of the building wide open for ventilation, light, etc. The iron they weld on is preheated to around 350 to avoid the hot weld zone cracking up on cold steel.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 02/06/07 09:34:10 EST

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 10:10:22 EST

What happened to guru's page etc.It seeems to be empty
   chris makin - Tuesday, 02/06/07 10:25:48 EST

Ken---there is an actual instrument called a scleroscope (spelling?) that correlates the bounce of the indicator with hardness. To get a correlation for the ball bearing test *everyone* would have to be using the exact same ball bearing, hardened the exact same way, dropped the exact same distance. Then you could make a couple hundred tests on known hardness anvils and make the chart. Got any kids that need a science fair project?
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/06/07 12:23:14 EST

i need the name of a good site to buy decent hammers for a good price. thank you
   - Erik - Tuesday, 02/06/07 13:20:07 EST

Hammers: Erik, Hand hammers? Air Hammers? Metal working? Wood working?

We have several advertisers that sell blacksmiths hammers.

Blacksmiths Depot
Blacksmith Supply
Centaur Forge
Big BLU Manufacturing
Poor Boy Tools

Prices vary depending on the degree of finish and type of hammer. Completely finished shock mounted Hofi style hammers are made and sold by Big BLU Manufacturing, and sold by Blacksmith Supply as well.

Blacksmiths Depot and others carry an economical line of German hammers that must be dressed before use. These are a bargain if you have the tools and skills to dress your own.

There are also a number of folks in the google ads selling hammers but I am not familiar with their lines.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 13:40:59 EST

Thomas P - spelling is correct per ASTM - the ASTM standard relating/converting between different scales of hardness is E140, "Standard Hardness Conversion Tables for Metals Relationship Among Brinell Hardness, Vickers Hardness, Rockwell Hardness, Superficial Hardness, Knoop Hardness, and Scleroscope Hardness"

60 Rc is equivalent to about 654 Brinell with tungsten ball, and 80.8 Scleroscope, 50 to 481 Brinell & 65.1 Scleroscope, 40 to 371 Brinell & 52.6 Scleroscope, and 30 to 286 Brinell & 42.2 Scleroscope. The conversion tables are extensive and give Rockwell and conversion by individual Rockwell values - 65, 64 , etc. from 68 down to 20.
   - Gavainh - Tuesday, 02/06/07 13:56:57 EST

Olr World anvils
I have the70# Bulger or Italian pattern and I love it the face is very flat no flaws that I can tell .It has two horns one flat the other the usual rounded that is very well shaped.It took only a short while to clean it up with a flap disc.It also seems to be hard enough it will ding put you have to hit it pretty good.I am primarily a bladesmith but have been known to make the occasional pot rack etc.
   chris makin - Tuesday, 02/06/07 14:25:35 EST

By the way i bought it a couple of years ago 260.00 with shipping
   chris makin - Tuesday, 02/06/07 14:27:13 EST

Anvils: The problem with many of the import anvils is the variations in quality. I know both Steve, who originated Euroanvils, and John who now owns it put up with a lot of grief with anvils shipped globally to them that were clearly defective and had to be shipped back at significant loss on the shipping. So what you want is a dealer you can trust to make things right if there is a problem.

As to face hardness and dings, some has to do with hammer shape and technique. I had an apprentice put dings all over the face of my 200# Hay-Budden which is almost as hard as they come. AND we have all seen smaller very hard anvils covered with dings and cuts from abuse. With good technique anvils often get smoother and polished with use. On the other hand anvils used commercially often get lots of dings just from the fact that they see heavy use with strikers and cold steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 15:45:51 EST

Dear sir..I have an electroplating factory i found in store an number of barrel of poison copper salt cynide since 1977 but ididnot found any validity date on the drum .Now my question what is the validity for such item ...Thanks... I appreciate your answering
   Mr Adil yousif - Tuesday, 02/06/07 15:46:54 EST

Dear sir..I have an electroplating factory i found in store an number of barrel of poison copper salt cynide since 1977 but ididnot found any validity date on the drum .Now my question what is the validity for such item ...Thanks... I appreciate your answering
   Mr Adil yousif - Tuesday, 02/06/07 15:48:21 EST

Cyanide Salts: Mr Adil yousif, If the salts have not corroded through the container they are still good to use.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 16:06:41 EST

What I mainly remember is that the scleroscope was used a lot in making measurements of medieval and renaissance armour hardness during the early 1900's. Unfortunately it was later found out that curvature of the piece being tested had a significant effect on the reading and armour is almost entirely made of curved surfaces.

Flat anvil faces should do OK

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/06/07 16:12:57 EST

ptree & vicopper-- Many, many thanks, or, as we say here in the Land of Entrapment, ¡multos garcias! Problem with Graingers is, one must have a business license for them to deign to do business, and to have a business license, one must pay gross receipts taxes and.... I will check out Iron Age forthwith, hoping they make and that somebody therefore sells a size 15 or 16....
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/06/07 18:55:29 EST

Miles, I have several folks with size 16's that ordered from Iron Age. I do not remember if the style I suggested is available in that size, but as I tend to buy a LOT of Iron Age in my day job, let me know if you have difficulties in locating what you need, I have a in with the regional manager.

By the way, the red wings that come with the meta tarsels use a cheap plastic plate, and they cost my folks more than the Iron Age or Leheigh.
If you do a lot of climbing on machines or ladders etc, you may want to consider an internal meta tarsel guard, as they don't catch on stuff.
The internals are available in the high top, slip on cowboy style sh*tkickers, as well as others. I had a supervisor who swore by them, and he spent about 14 hours a day in them, up on his feet in the forge shop.
   ptree - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:45:19 EST

ptree-- Many thanks, again! I think Red Wings are a piss poor boot, but the selection hereabouts is mighty limited and I am extremely chary of buying anything mail order. Cowboy boots are an absolutely verboten no-no, got a terrible burn that got badly infected once upon a time when a piece of hot slag from a tank I was cutting up went down, down, down-- just as a welding teacher had warned it would. I'll look into Iron Age carefully. ¡Gracias!
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/06/07 21:55:25 EST


I used to wear "Double Wear" brand, they were sold by local, self employed reps. They are gone now. The best I can find locally are Red Wings. I wear the 12" engineer's boot style. Mine lasted two years with a resole job when I was wearing them everyday in hard use. Now they last about four years. I treat them with silicone waterproofing.

I am glad Jock has successfully blocked spam on this site, thanks
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 02/06/07 22:03:25 EST

ptree-- I just now glimmed the Iron Age website and it looks promising indeed. Will call them in the a.m. (Can't tell from the pix if the welts have exposed stitching.) Thanks!
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/06/07 22:09:54 EST

water pail forge? anyone try this? I want to! It does sound intriguing for forge welding...
   vorpal - Tuesday, 02/06/07 22:16:34 EST

Electric Furnace: Looking through the archives, I found a discussion on small electric kilns from a few years back. vicooper had apparently made one with nichrome wire element and a cook-top controller - which controls duty-cycle?
Anyway, I couldn't find any mention of maximum temperature or power rating. Do you know off hand?
Also, I assume there must be some method of calculating how much power is required to heat a given volume to a given temperature in a given time allowing for a given loss through leakage. Does anybody have this knowledge?
   andrew - Tuesday, 02/06/07 22:34:40 EST

ptree - I have Red Wing steel toe boots and I love them, and Red Wing has been pretty good to me, although they somehow lost my boots recently when I took them in for maintenance (cleaning and waterproof). I was more curious if they could get all of the coal dust/soot off my boots, and somehow they sent them out to another shop thinking I wanted to have them re-soled. They gave me a new pair of boots and when the old ones get back, they're also mine as well. They could have really lost them I guess, they haven't showed back up for a few weeks yet. I almost have the new ones broke in.

Red Wing does have an internal metatarsal plate, but only in the WORX line, which are made in China. The Red Wing line, which is made in the good 'ol U.S.A. only has the additional plate on top of the shoe. FWIW, Red Wing could be one of the last companies still manufacturing boots in the U.S.A., that I could find.

Red Wings are not cheap, but if you can find them on sale or clearance, you can save some $$$s. Lifetime warranty for maintenance and laces for the life of the boots. I'm happy with mine! Fear of leaving them for maintenance again, but happy with them in the smithy.
   Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:11:11 EST

Andrew, Thermal dynamics is the most complicated area of engineering there is. In physics it is fairly simple. But in engineering you have insulation with k factors that vary with temperature, losses via leakage, conduction and convection as well as efficiency factors many of which are empirically determined so they require charts and iteration. . . It is the area that causes many engineering students to fail.

SO. . what most engineers do is go by rule of thumb based on experience and scaling factors. Unless it is a seriously big dollar project where the absolute best efficiency must be obtained and trail and error are out of the question.

IF you know roughly how many BTU's you need you can use a straight forward power conversion (K/Va to BTU or vise versa).

What I think vicopper was discussing was an oven for burn out and calcining lost wax casting molds. Max temperature of about 1300°F.

In the DIY world you start with a scrap stove (free for hauling off), study the wiring and pull out the pieces you think you need and build what you want and try it.

Given a specific size nichrome wire and length you can find the watts (volts * amps) necessary to operate and these in turn convert to BTU.

There are many engineering referecnes on this subject. One place to start is the Chromolox catalog. They sell all kinds of heating elements, wire, and temperature measuring equipment. The catalog has lots of examples and help.

The last two electric furnaces I built were for one job. One was a big stainless steel oven big enout for about 5 men to stand in. The other was an infared heating device that used 32 5,000 watt projector bulbs. When it was turned on it looked like a couple dozen arc welders going at one time and you could feel the power running through the cable like water. A few days after testing it the power company came out and wanted to know what we did to cause a local brown out. . . Some engineering, a lot of seat of the pants.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:14:39 EST

LaGrange Hoho: Vorpal, This was a curiosity operated by an engineering school that had a large DC power plant before the world converted to AC pretty much universally.

To work you need no transformer, but you need a BIG bank of 250+ volt diodes to make DC from AC and a very large contactor (relay or motor starter). The voltages you are running at high amps makes it quite dangerous. Imagine arc welding amperage at full line voltage. .

Its a nice R&D project for someone that doesn't mind spending money on good hardware and safety equipment. In other words, an expensive hobby.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:22:15 EST

SPAM: I get zero spam at my forum address which has been in use for 3 years. My working address was getting clobbered within days due to harvester viruses on other people's computers. The bulk of my spam comes from web address registrations which require a working public e-mail address.

Folks that forward and CC stuff to lists of people are one of the biggest spam culprits today. Most of those "cute" things you see going around were started by spammers who have an address on the list. . .

SPAMMERs are a worse threat to the world economy and our personal security than Al Quida. Don't get me started.

   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:29:26 EST


I off for a couple weeks. I'll be in touch for emergencies and remote maintenance but for the most part I will be cooling it. Will check in when I can.

Y'all be good. No flame wars please.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:32:00 EST


Yes, I've built an electric kiln or three. I "rolled my own" coil elements using nichrome wire, calculating the total wattage from the resistance per foot of the nichrome wire. Wattage can be translated into Btu's, but that is somewhat meaningless since there is loss through conduction, convection and conversion. And some might just get misplaced. (grin)

You can get the nichrome wire from Omega, and a whole boatload of valuable information, free. (The info, not the wire.) I used the proportional-type stove top controls scrounged at the dump, trying different ones until I found the ones that did what I wanted. You can buy new and have a known quantity, but I was working on the cheap and did things by meets and bounds to get where I needed to go. It worked.

The proportional-type control is basicallya timer sort of thing, in that it turns the element on for a certain percentage of the time, and off the rest. Pretty much the same way that the "power" control on your microwave works. Crude but effective if you don't need precise ramp-up or ramp-down time/temp curves. If you need those, there is a guy who sells microprocessor controls pretty reasonably on eBay. You hook up the elements to the DRO controller and then run that with your computer to program whatever heating/cooling cycle you want, to within a tenth of a degree or so. For this, you need proper thermocouples to read the kiln heat, and the same guy sells those, as does Omega.

You'll pretty much be on your own as far as designing this sort of thing, but it really isn't rocket science. If I can do it, you can do it.

eBay controller: Item #7613188701
   vicopper - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:35:27 EST

Thanks for the response. The thermodynamics is not so crucial - had figured there would be a rule-of-thumb.
What I am really interested in, is the kind of performance you've seen from your designs in terms of temperature/power/volume. I've read people talking about heating small volumes to ~1000C with 2.6kW, but wasn't convinced. I have read a bladesmith making a long thin ~4kW HT furnace. That's why I'm interested in the relationship between power and volume for a given temperature - to get a feel for how things scale.
   andrew - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:52:46 EST

Red Wing here too, I tend to go with a western style boot. The pair I had before the ones I am wearing right now I broke the steel shank in the right boot nearly 12 months after I bought them. Took them in and showed the guy that it was bending just in front of the heal and he replaced them instantly with no hassle. The ones I have on now are two years old and are still wearable even after a severe motorcycle wreck that put some deep cuts and abrasions on them (they sure don't look perty no more). The soul on this pair is still at 50 percent although I may have to have the heal worked over soon as I walk a little funny since the wreck causing me to wear out the heals faster than normal. The only real care I do to mine is I use the brush on oil stuff that they sell and recommend for this style. When I bought my last pair I think they was around $200. Break that down to 2 years and thats less than 30 cents per day, not that expensive...
   James Rader - Wednesday, 02/07/07 00:02:39 EST

I couldn't tell you diddly squat about that stuff, as it wasn't germane to my issues at the time I ws building the kilns. As Jock said, mine were built for doing burnouts and casting work. I did make an electric melting furnace for non-ferrous metals, and it worked fine. It was pretty small, however.

I think it should scale fairly well, as resistance heating is pretty linear in general terms. Yo will reach temperature limits with certain materials, however. You need to do some research on that issue. Big furnaces for meltin gsteel use electricity, but those are electric arc furnaces, not resistance elements. I know absolutely nothing about them, either. What I don't know would fill volumes.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/07/07 00:04:18 EST

Thomas - the only use of Scleroscope hardness I've run across in 30+ years as a metallurgist is to test hardness of the rolls used to roll sheet steels from slab down to hot band or from hot band down to cold rolled. Large rolls in general - 30" diameter and up.

Andrew - pretty much what the guru and vicopper said - I had the thermo courses in college to do the calculations - not simple.

One of the biggest problems with square cross section electrically heated furnaces is that the temperature uniformity is poor. Think instead of making one with a cylindrical cross section - better uniformity due to no corners. Nichrome will get you up to a good operating temperature - high enough to do heat treating. Resistance heated electrical furnaces usually aren't used to heat steels for forging. How much power you use will depend on how much you put in it - if you have an internal volume of 12" x 6" x 6" you'll need a lot more energy to bring it to temp if it contains a solid piece of steel 5" x 5" x 10" than if it only holds 6 knives that are 12" long.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 02/07/07 00:07:35 EST

I'll be out of touch for the next three days on a quick road trip for the cop shop. Play nice while I'm gone, please.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 02/07/07 00:24:23 EST

I've got three pairs of Red Wings currently, a steel-toed Mammy Yokum/Li'l Abner-type logger style, a pair of plain vanilla high-top work boots, a pair of open-top western style, and a fourth that is so beat up they don't count. I've worn Red Wings since I forget when, at least the past 35 years. They are crumby boots. I had the shank shift on me in the boonies on a lonnnng hike in a pair of their hikers and thought I'd broken my foot for a few miles until I decided to take off the boot and check. You get what you pay for and with Red Wing that's as true as anywhere else. The makers of work clothing and boots ought to be ashamed of themselves. They cut every corner possible, weak thread, skimpy fit, lousy zippers, etc. (Rant continues on following page after choir practice.)
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/07/07 01:04:57 EST

Miles: Your e-mail addy doesn't seem to work. If ordering from Graingers is a problem I have a business license and even a suitable business name. Perhaps I can place an order on your behalf.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 02/07/07 05:10:04 EST

2007 Anvilfire Hammer-In will be April 20-22 on my farm in West Central, TN (near Waverly). Likely demonstations will be along the lines of the one-hour or so volunteer demonstrations used by SOF&A at Quad-States. Coal forge/anvil or propane forge/anvil/powerhammer options.

Actual event will be mostly Saturday but folks are welcome to come early and stay later. I have lots of room for campers and some access to water and electricity for trailer campers.

Have heard from Russ Cashion he will be here again on Saturday with a truckload of used tools, including a cone mandrel which weighs in at about 900 pounds. Front end loader to be available for transfer of heavy tools.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 02/07/07 09:23:09 EST

Safety Gear - Miles, there's a Canadian company called GANDER that mades a wide range of welders clothing, including gaiters to protect the boots from heavy sparks. No crush protection, but your laces will look good.(BOG.) I'm sure that order companies made similar items.
   - Don Shears - Wednesday, 02/07/07 10:36:52 EST

Correction "order" should be "other".

   - Don Shears - Wednesday, 02/07/07 10:37:47 EST

Ken, Don-- Many thanks! I appreciate it.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/07/07 10:48:45 EST

I have this book for sale if any ones interested before I put it on ebay.My life as an artist blacksmith by Francis Whitaker
50.00 usd plus 7.00 S&H
   chris makin - Wednesday, 02/07/07 12:35:05 EST

Last year at SOFA tailgate sales, I purchased 2 NASCAR axles and I misplaced the spec sheet I got with them. Does anybody know the guy who was selling them? His Email address? How about the forging temp and heat treat for this high tech steel? I know now I need a better filing system. If possible, can somebody email me the spec sheet?
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 02/07/07 13:20:03 EST

Brian, Paul Garretts' email is pdg86@hotmail.com for info on the nascar axles
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 02/07/07 14:46:01 EST

I am an old machinist and at present I'm building a wooden wheelborrow. The wheel is 18.5inches in diameter. I want to shrink a steel band onto this wheel. The size of this band is 3/16" thick X 1 1/4" wide. The circumference of the wheel is 58.1196 ". My question is how much shorter than the circumference should I make the steel strap or rim? Also will barbque charcoal get this rim hot enough to expand and then put in place and drench with water? Thanks in advance for answering.
   Ron Paper - Wednesday, 02/07/07 16:35:41 EST

I've not done that, but the formula for the true length of the stock needed is Pi times the mean diameter of the iron tire. The mean (average) diameter would be 18 11/16". Don't trust my arithmetic. I used fractions and got close to 59".

Now I'm really guesstimating. Maybe subtract 1/4" from 59", and you wind up with 58 3/4" total.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/07/07 17:07:52 EST

BOOTS...i dont like red wings that much..i prefer Carolinas. (the logger type with out the lace guard) They are a PA company. We like it local.
   coolhand - Wednesday, 02/07/07 17:42:39 EST

Rule of thumb when sizing tyres is to make them the thickness of the stock smaller. Measure accurately with a traveler don't rely on math. I use a propane tiger torch to heat buggy tyres. I just heat them to a black heat. Good luck.
   JimG - Wednesday, 02/07/07 18:54:18 EST

I was just messing with fitting small tires. I found that the expansion of such a small tire is so small that quite tight tolerances are required on the wheel. A small wheel may need to be turned on a lathe to get it true - though I was looking at more like 5" diameter wheels.
   andrew - Wednesday, 02/07/07 20:18:15 EST

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