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 8 - 15, 2007 on the Guru's Den
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Wheelbarrel story, which comes in handy at times: In Eastern Europe a newly hired border guard reported for duty. Not too long afterwards a guy came up to the border crossing with an empty wheelbarrel, he checked it over and let him pass. This happened every day. Eventually the guard got suspicious and would virtually take the wheelbarrel apart looking for countraband. Never found anything. 30-years passed. On the guard's last day at work he took the guy aside and said, "Look, I just know you have been smuggling something across the border. Today's my last day and I just have to know what it is." Guy said, "Well, it just happens to be my last day also so I'll tell you. Its simply, I've been smuggling wheelbarrels."

The moral of this story is don't overlook the obvious.

On fitting the rim I suspect you need to take shrinkage as the wood dries into consideration. Part of my farm had been in one family for many years. One of the surviving sons was born near where I have my trailer. He said when they needed to take the wagon into town his job was to take it down to the spring run and let the wooden wheels swell up on all sides. Otherwise the metal rims would keep coming off.

Interestingly, he said when his parents bought the property there was an old time blacksmith shop at the road near the spring which comes out from under it. Was on property for several years and virtually any time I had to dig in yard I would come up with old horseshoes or such. His telling me about the shop then made sense to my finds.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/08/07 06:23:52 EST

On a similar note about iron tires: I read somewhere that a good smith would not re-tire a wooden wheel that had been driven through water on the way to the shop, because the wood would shrink when it dried out a few days later.

I have about 20 old wagon tires, and on some you can see the marks of a tire shrinker while on others you can see where a large fuller had been used to stretch the tire. I have one that has both marks! So much for guesstimating wheel size...
   Alan-L - Thursday, 02/08/07 11:38:38 EST

Alan-L Perhaps that tire had been used on a couple of different wheels or it was originally stretched to fit and then when the wheel wore away uner it it had to be shrunk to fit again.

I once took a section of wagon tire to the MatSci department at the U of AR as it had the wildest grain structure I had ever seen when I had forged a section for an early style---plain WI blade. Looked like one of the Hubble shots of stars and novas. What we came up with was that that tyre had been pounded on the Ozark mountain "roads" and so when I heated it to forging places that had been hitting rocks re-nucleated while the other places just had grain growth to get the variation---then I was asked why I wasn't in their program...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/08/07 12:17:23 EST

First off, thanks for the answers I got recently, I located some Swedish charcoal iron for that project, got the specs on those nascar axles. By the way that steel is wickedly tough stuff. Not too bad forging under the Big Blu and the heat treat isn't tricky at all. I made a creaser,head stamp, forepunch and pritchel last night. This morning was the torture test. 4 hours of shoe making 1/2"x1" & 3/8"x1". This steel, for hot work, is tougher than S7, whole lot more forgiving and you can't beat the price. I wish I would have bought more. Another reason to go back to SOFA.

The downside of the day, burned through my 12" round buffalo forge firepot; fell right on the floor. The tuyere is intact and the clinker breaker is mostly there but the pot is a goner. Where can I find a replacement? Thanks again.
   brian robertson - Thursday, 02/08/07 14:07:15 EST

Mr. Guru,
I am a bronze sculptor - inspired into my career by a blacksmith. I am having trouble finding some 2" silicon bronze rings - do you think that this is a rare item that I would need to have forged or cast? I need 70 yesterday.... Thanks for your help - I have been searching high and low.
   Djelmer - Thursday, 02/08/07 16:12:47 EST

I recently "found" a 4' section of rail. I have minimal tools and I really don't plan on making an anvil. It's just one of those "hey, look! a piece of metal" and it's now mine. Any suggestions?
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 02/08/07 17:11:04 EST

Djelmer- please describe your rings better.
2" diameter rings? or rings made from 2" diameter round bar?
There are places that cold roll rings from a variety of materials, but NO rings made from silicon bronze would be a stock item anywhere.
What size, I.D and O.D. what size and shape material?
   - Ries - Thursday, 02/08/07 17:15:51 EST

I've long thought that wood shrank only across the grain. Seems like a wooden wheel, at least ones with felloes joined together to form the rim, wouldn't shrink much. Of course, most of what I know about wood comes from when I used to watch New Yankee Workshop -- maybe Norm Abrams let me down again.
   Mike BR - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:30:55 EST

Rings: This sort of request seems like would be found in the Thomas Register---where you might find a company that had them as stock items.

Nippulini, what are you gauging these days.... Rail can make decent metal forming stakes---raising for one, I use a couple of pieces to lift stuff off the ground in my scrap area. Rail makes decent jewelry anvils as that size should be heat treatable in your forge and then can be polished excessive for work with specie. Rail makes a weight in the back of your vehicle for bad weather *BUT* I prefer blunt soft weight like a bag of sand in case the gods of collision should make it wish to seek your company.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:37:43 EST

I had a big chunk of 150# r.r. rail that I found on the floor of my shop by the post vise for a while, it came in pretty handy whenever I wanted to upset a long piece of steel at the end. Also makes good ballast to steady a free standing workbench, or to weigh down the back of the car for snow driving.
   vorpal - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:37:56 EST

sometimes having a "rough" anvil for quickly straightening scrap or driving out old rivets or flattening stuff or busting apart old drills for the chucks/bearings etc. can come in handy
   vorpal - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:42:44 EST

I have a 1936 trenton farriers anvil in real good shape what would it be worth? Weight is approximately 110 lbs
   jesse - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:57:39 EST

I have a 1936 trenton farriers anvil what is it woth? Weight approximately 110lbs
   jesse - Thursday, 02/08/07 18:59:34 EST

Nippulini (aka TGN??)-- rail has a wonderful, invaluable and supernatural affinity for attracting yet more surplus materiel, without having which on hand one finds one's self endlessly going to the steel supplier. I picked up a short section of rail years ago and in just 20 or 30 short years found I had somehow acquired perhaps 60 or 80 additional feet of rail of all sizes, plus tons and tons of other good stuff. (Keep that rail over against the wall where you won't trip on it.)
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/08/07 19:15:58 EST

Tire Fitting The point of the compression allowance is to tighten all the parts. You have a lot of tennon joints in all those spokes that need to be compressed. And, while wood shrinks mostly across the grain it DOES shink a small amount lengthwise. The allowance is different for a newly made wheel than for a used wheel that is well tightened and shrunk.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/08/07 19:53:10 EST

Costa Rica Spent most of the day recouperating from a long travel day. Folks blame post 9/11 security issues for the pains of traveling but it is just plain cheapness on the part of the airlines. Our long flight on American Airlines which clearly state MEAL on the tickets and boardiing pass only served a very small bag of snack mix and a drink.

Its been clear and between 70 and 80F here. Crickets and various night peepers making their sounds. . . just like spring at home where it is very frieo. . around freezing.

Will archive this long log if I can get the local PC debugged and secure.

Jesse, it could be worth what scrap dealers pay or as much as $3/lb. depending on the condition.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/08/07 20:01:19 EST

Does anyone have any experience with the TFS anvils? How do they perform?
   - coppertop - Thursday, 02/08/07 23:24:02 EST

Does anyone have any experience with the TFS anvils? Are they any good?
   - coppertop - Thursday, 02/08/07 23:24:54 EST

Does anyone have any experience with the TFS anvils? How do they perform?
   coppertop - Thursday, 02/08/07 23:25:20 EST

I know this isnt the "electric motor forum" but you guys seem to know just about everything. I have a 1/3 hp motor that runs a buffing wheel and it is losing torque. It is really weak now after some 15 years of light service. I is actually a really old motor. Are there likely to be brushes that need cleaning or something like that?
   jlw - Friday, 02/09/07 08:16:21 EST

Thanks for the ideas, guys. The rail is about 100# and has nice straight cuts on the ends. I think I'll use it as a floor upsetting block. My car is a FWD, so I don't have to worry about traction (not that it's snowing in my area). Plus, I'm always finding scrap so my trunk is full of metal 80% of the time. This discussion also leads me to another question: Should I celebrate upon finding out if my scrap piles add up to a ton?
   - Nippulini - Friday, 02/09/07 08:42:09 EST

Wood shrinkage: Wood shrinks and expands both with and across the grain, BUT the linear expansion across the grain is much larger than the expansion along the grain. There are even tables with values of each for each species. The problem is that the moisture content is usually unknown and variable within the piece.
   - John Odom - Friday, 02/09/07 09:24:37 EST

Wooden Wheel Shrinkage:

I remember a text with a lot of complaints about Eastern and Ohio wheels rolling off their tires when the got to the more arid parts of the West. How would this be controlled?

This also may explain the New Mexican preference for the massive slab-wheeled ox carts, which didn't need tires, on the Santa Fe trail and down to old Mexico.

Cold and clear on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Historic Trails: http://www.nps.gov/safe

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 02/09/07 09:48:36 EST

JLW - 1/3 hp motor. Odds are high that it's an induction motor, in which case your problem is almost certainly bearings going dry. Disassemble, make sure bearings are not badly scored, lube the oil wicks with 20 weight nondetergent oil. If the bearings are "lubricated for life," try to work the oil into the bearings the best you can - life may be coming to its close.

A brush motor might well need brushes, but it is unlikely what you have. Is there a nameplate?
   Walking Dog - Friday, 02/09/07 10:25:39 EST

On wagon tires going though sand I would expect there to be an abrasion factor for sand which gets between gaps between the rim and tire.

Tire rim were apparently bolted to the wheel between felloes using wheel/tire bolts. Their heads bit into a depression of the top of the bolt head was flush with the outside edge of the rim.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Friday, 02/09/07 10:39:35 EST

Once the wheels got to the west and dryed out I don't think the humidity varied any more than it would back east.

When wood shrinks across the grain the wheel gets smaller in diameter.

Tyres wear funny, the sort of cup in the centre on the inside of the tire, and you end up with just a small bit of contact on the edges.

Around the turn of the previous century some wheel manufactorers had a machine to put the tyres on cold advertising they would stay on much longer than hot set ones. I believe they were right. I have repaired cold set wheels that had a chunk of the felloe rotted compleatly away and the trye was still tight, and was a job to get off.

Soaking wheels was a temporay fix at best, cause like when you soak a hammer handle in water the cells of the wood crush when the expand up against the tire, and when dry the tire is even looser.
   JimG - Friday, 02/09/07 10:42:40 EST


I have a question I have not been able to find an answer to, but I'm sure several of you learned men will know.

My back tells me that I am now past the "I'm stout and can pick up anything" part of my life, so I want to put in a trolley set up (correct name?) in my shop. The shop is a metal buildind 23' X 60'. There are two main supports that are 19' 4" apart which span the 32' width. I want to hand an "I" beam under each of these, then another "I" beam running perpendicular to them and on rolling hangers. Then a trolley on that beam to hang a hoist on. My question is what size "I" beams to use. The two under the supports will be 32', and I would like to have the lower one go past the supports a bit, so I might be 35'. I would like to build it to pick up a ton, but doubt I will ever pick up that much. How do you figure this?

I really appreciate this cite and all the great advice and information you provide.
   Tbird - Friday, 02/09/07 11:35:34 EST

Sorry-- the building is 32' X 60', and I want to "hang" an "I" beam, not hand one.
   Tbird - Friday, 02/09/07 11:38:44 EST

Nippulini, I'm taking down a smaller piece of track (18" long, top rail is approx 2.5" deep and 3" across and approx 60lbs),to a local metal fabricator with both laser and water torches, I'm going to see if they can cut various sized curved radius's across the width of the top rail. If they can, I'll have a Junk Yard Swage Block!! Let you know how it turns out.
   Thumper - Friday, 02/09/07 12:04:37 EST

Guru said:
"Our long flight on American Airlines which clearly state MEAL on the tickets and boardiing pass only served a very small bag of snack mix and a drink."

Doesn't sound like too great of service, but I just have to ask a question...

You weren't wearing your CSI thong, where you?

I thought there was some folks telling you not to wear that in public anymore!
   Alan DuBoff - Friday, 02/09/07 12:14:01 EST

Crane BeamTbird, That is a LONG span and a beam stiff enough would be very expensive.

The general rule for crane (and other) beams is to limit deflection to 1/4". On a crane this is important because the deflection will cause the trolly to run down hill (usually to the middle) on its own which is dangerous and makes the load hard to push.

You also need a safety factor. This is largely for when loads shift or get hung (you try to lift the truck with the load). A ton hoist should be rated at LEAST for 3,000 pounds. Your side beams will need to carry this, plus half the cross beam.

I started looking up beams but you numbers do not make sense. If the building is 32 how do you get a 35 foot beam? Distances needed are beteen support points.

Note that steel buildings ARE NOT engineered to hang a load off of and most rectilinear hoists in such buildings are supported from, the ground up.
   - guru - Friday, 02/09/07 12:31:43 EST

Tbird: You may be able to accomplish the same results with a large engine hoist stand.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Friday, 02/09/07 13:07:45 EST

Tbird: Or a well built A-frame stand on heavy casters.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/09/07 13:29:54 EST

This bit about RR Rail pieces reminded me: This big chunk of 150# rail I have, it's in pretty good shape except the top surface is really rusty. I thought about burning it down with my torch, but I don't trust myself to cut such a nice dragline that I don't still have to do a lot of grinding. So I guess I'm looking for the most economical method of getting a nice, flat surface on this rail section. Also, I plan to box in the sides with heavy plate as per Wayne Goddard's rail anvil. This would be japanese style in the end, just for blades...
   vorpal - Friday, 02/09/07 15:25:14 EST

I didn't intend to give you a research project, but to clarify, the 35' beam would be running length wise. The building is 60' long. The side beams would be a bit less than 32'. They would be placed 19'4" apart. I thought perhaps I could go past each side with the cross beam and that's where the 35' came from. This may not work, or at least not for a ton with safety factor. I could mount the ends of the side beams on posts set in the ground next to the walls to avoid hanging on the building support.

The idea of something to roll on the floor doesn't work well on a dirt floor unless is is on something like car wheels,then it takes up so much room. But, everything is a trade.

Where do you look this type info up?
   Tbird - Friday, 02/09/07 15:34:56 EST


I'm getting a new 2 1/2 - 3 pound cross pein hammer and know that it needs to be "dressed" Can you tell me what is involved in dressing the hammer?
   Mark Conrad - Friday, 02/09/07 15:36:10 EST

Tbird - Machineries Handbook has a good explanation of how to calculate deflection under load, along with data tables to use in the calculations. Any edition will work for this. Most public libraries will have one in the reference section.

New it is a pretty pricey book, but for most purposes any edition will work. IIRC I have a 1996 edition and a 1955 edition. For most stuff the 1955 is actually better, since in the newer one a lot of old stuff got reduced in size or eliminated all together to make room for ISO-9000 stuff that is of no use to me.
   John Lowther - Friday, 02/09/07 16:03:42 EST

Dressing a hammer is correcting the shape of it's face so that you do not leave sharp dents in your hot metal when you use it.

Generally modern hammers may have a fairly flat face with an abrubt bevel on the edge. You generally want to make this into a soft curve with a softly rounded edge.

I do it by slack belt grinding on my belt grinder. Others do it with an angle grinder and some sanding pads.

The exact "dress" depends on your personal manner of work and preferences. I have hammers that range from quite flat to almost dishing hammers (as well as a bunch of dishing hammers). It may be a while till your hammer control gets to where you can see how the face of your hammer is actually imprinting your work when used on the flat...

   Thomas P - Friday, 02/09/07 18:40:21 EST

Tbird; in general you will *NEVER* find anyone telling you to hang heavy weights off a structure not specifically engineered for it. If they do I would check to see if they are a fool or see if they plan to attend the estate sale...

Now if *you* think that your structure is over engineered enough to do so---and calculations can help but beware the moving weight loads! Then it is on your head. Personally for liability reasons I would probably remove any lifting apparatus from my shop before moving---attractive nuisance and all that.

I am currently involved in getting a lifting frame to build my shop addition from and hope to build a gincrane as well for it---but my personal tendency is to severly over engineer I once built a portable tent frame that we put a porch swing on with 500# of people swinging on it...

   Thomas P - Friday, 02/09/07 18:49:39 EST

Tbird-- Make careful measurements of the size of the beams involved and the spacing, and then take your plans of what you want to wind up with to a civil or mechanical engineer. For not too much money, they will examine the situation, make a solid professional recommendation and give you a stamped set of plans by which you can execute it. Better safe than sorry, better than by guess and by golly.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 02/09/07 18:55:25 EST

I have retro-fitted many jib cranes and traveling bridge cranes into existing buildings. I am NOT a structual engineer. In most cases the verticle structual memders in a building, especially a mordern one are designed to support the roof, with a snow load, and some wind load. To add a jib crane which adds a verticle torque to the beam, which is usually a W or I beam places a load that is totally wrong for. We always had to box in the wide flange beams to make in effect a square tube.

As the Guru notes most bridge cranes are placed on their own verticle support system, independent of the wall columns even when designed ina new building. I have seen wide flange columns to support the rails stabilized off the wall columns. Be aware that when loaded you will also greatly increase the down load on the existing building column foundations, and they are not likely designed for that extra load.

Also be aware that if building a bridge crane in an existing building that instead of an underhung system which loses a LOT of head room, a bottom supported rail, with overslunf trucks reduces the headroom loss somewhat.
There are a number of factory built gantry crane systems that are rated for your loads, that have an A frame on the ends that can travel on an inverted angle iron track. A narrow foundation down each side of the floor and binge, the earth has your load, not your building, and the gantry can move wih you if you go to a new shop.
Good luck
   ptree - Friday, 02/09/07 19:12:23 EST

I recently purchased a Peter Wright anvil (1-0-14 = 126#'s, 125#'s by bathroom scale), and a portable forge.

The anvil is swaybacked ~ 1/8", and has a significant top plate chip ~ 1-1/2" long, near the horn end of the face. Weld repair and grind it, or is it more "valuable" as is?

The forge is ~30" x 30",has an electric motor driven blower,with four legs that detach and store inside the housing for transport. I was told it was a military forge. I have found zero ID markings on it. Do you recognize it? Thanks--Gary Hatmaker--Lynchburg VA
   Gary Hatmaker - Friday, 02/09/07 19:46:19 EST

Walkingdog: the motor is a Dunlap, ball bearing, 1750 rpm, 115v, 60cycle, 5.4 amp, Type SKO, split phase motor. The end of the casing is open and it is very dusty and dirty. I dont see any bearing lube tubes.
   jlw - Friday, 02/09/07 20:29:42 EST

T-Bird- a good place to look for gantry crane systems is wallacecrane.com- and just for reference, when they go to a 35 foot span, they are using an 18" beam. But they also do computer stress analysis of their connections, and so they actually can probably get away using a smaller beam than you would, with just welded connections.
I would look at used units, which are often for sale for not much more than the steel would cost you new. www.surplusrecord.com, or www.machinetools.com, or just google "bridge crane".
I once built a small bridge crane in my driveway, and one thing I found is that it doesnt take very much weight at all on a two point beam before you cannot budge it by hand. Which is why most all commercial bridge cranes use motorised trolleys. You could use a single I beam, and a manual trolley, but you will not be able to pull both ends of a beam at once manually.
I would second the idea of hiring an engineer- a few hundred bucks now beats the heck out of hospital bills for yourself, later, or, much worse, for somebody else.
   - Ries - Friday, 02/09/07 21:03:19 EST

Beam Deflection Calcs Tbird, there is no looking them up. Deflection is calculated on a case by case basis. I just happen to have a program I wrote that has the 1984 AISC structural database and calculates two cases, evenly loaded and point loaded and returns deflection and stress (assuming pin or bridge type support).

When engineers normally do it they are looking for the necessary section modulus and then find a beam to fit. I run the calcs on every beam section then you look through the list for a beam that deflects 1/4" or less and has less than 10,000 PSI stress. The difference in methods is standard one time calcs verses using a computer and brute force. If I had time I would have set it up to search for just the beams that meet a given criteria. As it is it only takes a minute to scroll through the results and pick a couple beams.

If you want to do it your self the formulae are in Machinery's Handbook or AISC manual. Machinery's has a selection of the AISC database not the whole. AISC also has the math but I like Machinery's better. Many other engineering references have the formulae but refer you to the AISC manual for beam dimensions and precalculated section modulus.

I can tell you how much a beam will deflect but attaching it to your building voids the building inspection.
   - guru - Friday, 02/09/07 21:32:03 EST

T-Bird: A really good point about the gantry on angle iron type like Ptree described is that for not a lot of extra money You can run the tracks on outside the building if You want. If You find that You can get by with a narower crane You only have the floor tracks to deal with, not posts. People do hang cranes on building structures,relying on the snow/wind loading figured into the design, but You are pushing Your luck if You add hoisting loads when the roof is heavy with snow.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/10/07 00:13:39 EST

Gary Hatmaker: The sway shouldn't be a problem. As Guru has noted in the past it can sometimes help in straightening out a rod or bar. My assumption is the 'chip' is a piece of missing plate. It would be your call. Peter Wrights are one of the most common old anvils available in the U.S. going by eBay listings. They must have exported them to the U.S. by the boatload. As such building back up chip likely won't affect value either way.

If you do a trick for a square corner is to clamp on two pieces of aluminum or use a piece a large aluminum angle iron. Weld won't stick to it.

On wagon tires, most of the Amish and Mennonites south of me who still drive them use either metal wheels with a rubber strip around the tire or now use motorcycle wheels.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Saturday, 02/10/07 07:39:48 EST

Ken Scharabok,
The Amish near me are rubber tire Amish as well. As I understand their system, each group, big enough to still met in a members house for services, elects a Bishop for life, at no pay. He sets the rules. The rules such as no rubber tires or tractors for stationary powerplants but only horses to pull in the fields are set by him, and last till he changes them, or dies and is replaced. In my area we have Amish in two nearby countys, one is steel wheel and one is rubber tire. I have been getting my firewood for about 17 years from an Amish pallet mill. They have a truck diesel in the center of the shop that drives everything by belt. Nice folks.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/10/07 09:00:58 EST

Steel Building Designs: There are steel buildings and steel buildings. The recent ice storms in Missouri had a large church colapse with only about 1" of ice on the roof. That is a load of only 4 pounds per square foot. It is not unusual for cheap steel farm buildings that are NOT designed for human habitation to only have a roof rating of 10 to 20 pounds per square foot. Something was seriously wrong with that church. Normal buildings for human habitation are usualy rated at 30 pounds per square foot as a norm and go much higher in snow load country. Many commercial buildings where people are expected to be working are rated the same. So you have to be very careful about the building you hanging a crane from.

If you ask to have a building specially designed for hanging a crane the architect or engineer will tell you to just use a standard building and support the crane from the floor.

We have had two of the popular gantry crane in our shops and I have installed one in another for the above reasons. The are relatively cost effective, avoid engineering dificulties but are a pain to have and to use. You end up with two no-use zones about 3 feet wide on both sides of your shop and cords must be constantly moved to prevent running over them. The heavier versions MUST be motorized as you can hurt yourself trying to push that load on the high friction load.

For occasional use a mono rail works fine. For dedicated use over machines a dedicated monorail works fine for them as well. I have seen shops with a spiderweb of small monorails that let the workers move all the loads they needed short of complete machine tools.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:15:06 EST

TBrid, as another old guy, I can sympathise with your issues. I still pick stuff up that I shouldn't but the body is tellin me it's time to get smarter. A gas operated lift truck may be the answer to your issues ( in the fastest time frame from think to gettin the job done ). Surplus lifts can be had. Shop layout and clutter I DO understand. Depending on your needs and issues involved, the lift truck is immediate use, rated for given weight and portable. Then of course you will need a place to store it and of course have fuel ( LP, gasoline ) and you would have to maintain the systems ( hydraulics, cooling etc ). The given lift I speak of would have air tires. This would give you clearance for uneven floor surfaces. It would also make the lift subject to common shop scrap and flat tires. Hard tired lifts don't do really good on uneven surfaces due to high centering problems. If you are as old as I am and have seen this stuff in life's travels and have as much sense as I think you do, you probobly already know most of these things. This is just another suggestion to solve your material handling needs. Smart material handling is really the key to any succesful operation. Electric lifts work great if you have the setup for them. Overhead cranes ( trolley ) are sweet if they have good switching and are maintained properly. A 30 ton crane still has issues that a 30 ton lift truck can solve. Not knowing where you live ( or perhaps I missed it ) the issue may be readily solved with a tractor and a bale stabber or a pickup and a bale stabber. If I read correctly, your needs are less than a ton. Moving raw material is one thing, finished goods another. Dirt floor I understand too. Just a few suggestions.
   Steve O'Grady - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:15:52 EST

I also will suggest that lift trucks can have booms attached to the forks. If you need to reach to an area that you cannot access the forks to, you may build a boom that attaches to the forks. This of course requires engineering. YMMV and if you have employees operating the lift, everything changes. Something I might build ( like what I have described ) would be over engineered by a factor of 10 and I would not have issues with either of my son in laws operating it because i KNOW they have experience in operating equipment. If this is your own shop and you operate the equipment yourself you still of course want to be safe ( more than safe ) enough to see the Grandkids for ice cream ( and not from a hospital bed ). I have operated cranes and lift trucks in industry ( and still do ). Be safe.
   Steve O'Grady - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:31:43 EST

JLW - There isn't too much to go wrong with this motor. Do the bearings turn free? If not, replace them. Split-phase says there is a centrifugal switch on the rotor for starting the motor. As the motor comes up to speed, it should click in and disconnect the starting winding. You can usually hear it operate. If it is hung up, your motor will run very labored, and burn your starting winding if you persist. Take it apart and clean and lubricate the centrifugal switch mechanism. Make sure the switch contacts are not burned. You can dress them with a fine file, but get all of the particles out.
   Walking Dog - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:36:22 EST


I would not weld the anvil. It will be very functional as is. You will greatly reduce the value by welding it.
   - Iron Balls - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:56:31 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:57:23 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:57:47 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:57:56 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:58:32 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:58:48 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   - Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 10:59:52 EST

trying to impliment a manzel oiler on one of my nazels and am not getting any pressure at the oil ports, only drips of comparable quantity seen at drippers under top glass--adjustment screws do nothing to affect anything except flow--Can anybody advise or direct me in this?--Thanks, Walt~
   Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 11:03:18 EST

hey--please ignore six of my seven previous postings--don't know what the hell happened --still looking for some answers--thanks, Walt~
   Walt Badgerow - Saturday, 02/10/07 11:06:11 EST

Walkingdog: Thanks, I guess I have to get down to work and do something besides think about it.
   JLW - Saturday, 02/10/07 12:20:52 EST

Is there someone who sells the punch lube on line in small quantities? Tom Clark at Ozark School has been mentioned but doesnt seem to have online access for sales.
   JLW - Saturday, 02/10/07 12:36:20 EST

Big Blu sells punch lube
   - Iron Balls - Saturday, 02/10/07 14:21:42 EST

Walt, Those oilers are not supposed to make a lot of oil, just drips. The fellow to ask is Bruce Wallace. See our drop down menu and advertisers.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/10/07 16:35:02 EST

Lift Truck: This is going to be my next big investment. The current shop I am in couldn't support a 500 pound load. . . So a mini crane is it. HAD an engine hoist. Sold it for half what I paid for it. No good for hardly anything in the shop.

Be sure to look all all terrain lift trucks. Those designed for flat concrete floors cannot even clear a door sill without bottoming out and getting stuck. THEN you needa another one to move the first.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/10/07 16:39:31 EST


TFS anvils are among some of the best US anvils made today. I am sure one would make any Blacksmith's or Farriers day.
   - Iron Balls - Saturday, 02/10/07 16:48:46 EST

Jlw, Ozark School of Blacksmithing has a web site. E-mail them.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/10/07 19:31:53 EST

Quicky question. I'm looking at two diffrent oxygen/fuel torch set ups, One is Propane, one is Acetylene. I'm fairly certain that Acetylene is a more energetic fuel, but if I go with the propane what do I lose much? or just a little bit. (linkys to websites talking about this would be great if you have one handy)
   Frostfly - Saturday, 02/10/07 21:21:43 EST

Frostfly: I could be wrong, but I don't think You can gas weld with propane. Otherwise propane is safer & cheaper, cuts at least as well as acetylene, and is good for brazing and heating. As it turns out generally You can get more BTU's from a propane rosebud than with an acetylene rosebud, because You can run higher gas pressures [if You have a propane regulator] With propane the draw rate is limited by the tank freezing, not by the 1/7 rule. Most regulators are OK for propane, but You should check the manufacturers specs. You should use grade "T" hose, but a lot of people use "R" or "RM" and seem to get away with it.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/10/07 23:35:53 EST

Post vise mounting question,
when i build my stand for my post vise, should i make it so that the leg goes into the ground? or should it sit on the top of the ground?
   Mikek - Sunday, 02/11/07 05:30:40 EST

Post vise mounting -- that depends on how high you want the vise. The important thing is that the end of the post rests on something solid enough to take the pounding it will see. One common method is to put a piece of heavy plate on the ground, with a hole for the end of the leg, so the shoulder rests against the plate. If you need the vise lower, you could bury a stump, and drill a hole in the top of that for the end of the leg. If you want it higher, you can mount a heavy bracket on the post the vise is mounted to (if it's mounted to a post, of course). Or use any other method that's compatible with your floor and your vise mount.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 02/11/07 09:03:52 EST

was planning on building an angle iron frame with plate (1/4") gusseting and floor just wasnt really sure what to do with the foot.
much appreciated
   Mikek - Sunday, 02/11/07 14:00:22 EST

OK, I have the bow, now I need broadheads for my arrows. How do I make old-time broaheads with one piece of steel? I've tried soldering a piece of steel to an empty bullet cartridge, but that's not satisfactory for me. Any input would be appreciated!

   - Rob - Sunday, 02/11/07 17:10:58 EST

i need a good site to buy reasonably priced forging hammers
   - Phill - Sunday, 02/11/07 18:33:11 EST

Rob, go here: www.livelyknives.com/ Seach the site for his arrowhead tutorial.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/11/07 18:45:28 EST

Phill, I think you asked this a week or two ago.

Hand hammers or machines?

Our advertisers sell both. In hand hammers they carry a range from $16 German hammers you dress yourself to $150 ergonomic hammers. In machines we have a wide range to select from as well.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/11/07 19:02:53 EST

Propane Oxygen welding>: It can be done but the tips must be the right type and the adjustments are critical. Last time I tried I got a foamy weld. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 02/11/07 19:06:16 EST

Leg Vise Foot: The classic mounting was two posts in the ground. One to attach the vise, the other for the foot to rest on. The point dug in and the ring acted as a thrust surface. When bench mounted there was still a post for the leg to rest on.

If you mount on a concrete floor you need a large load distribution washer that fits around the point. Otherwise you will chip a hole in or through the concrete.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/11/07 19:14:53 EST

I've never been into knives. The other day I made a pattern-welded billet from chainsaw, to try out the new anvil. Grinding around a few cold shuts, I ended up with a small dagger blank. I now want to make a handle, but am not sure how to hollow the handle to insert a hidden tang. I searched the knife forums a little, but couldn't find much mention. Can anybody point me in the right direction?
   andrew - Sunday, 02/11/07 21:14:45 EST

i need to make some fullers anvil tool etc. what would suggest i start with. i have made simple tongs etc . i would like some ideas on starter tools and projects.
   - larry - Sunday, 02/11/07 21:41:08 EST

I'm starting my metal collection for future projects. I came across some 1/4" round in the trash but it's been painted. It was part of a store display so I'm pretty sure it isn't lead paint. Is there a safe way to remove the paint? Can I just burn it off in my forge without damaging the forge? Or should I put it back in the trash and concentrate on "clean" metal?
   Mark Conrad - Sunday, 02/11/07 21:58:38 EST

I am very much a beginner and I wanted to ask this question before I possibly destroyed my anvil. I have a Vulcan anvil that I normally use and I like this anvil but it has no radius edge, just straight shoulders. I was thinking about grinding a radius edge on this anvil so I can make better bends but I worry about causing more damage than good knowing that the anvil is just steel plate on top and a cast iron body. Any thoughts???
   Mike Moriarity - Monday, 02/12/07 00:00:08 EST

Burning paint off in the forge, I have found, works ok but can be ugly, better in a gas than a coal forge I would say, as paint could maybe contaminate your coal... a great source I have found for clean 1/4
   - vorpal - Monday, 02/12/07 00:08:03 EST

Burning paint off in the forge, I have found, works ok but can be ugly, better in a gas than a coal forge I would say, as paint could maybe contaminate your coal... a great source I have found for clean 1/4" round: if you have a building supply nearby that sells rebar, when trucks deliver it to them in bundles, it's tied up with very heavy (sometimes up to 5/16") wire that they just clip off and let rust in huge piles. Same thing with pallet strapping if you want to mess around with damascus, it's usually free for the taking if you ask.
   vorpal - Monday, 02/12/07 00:08:29 EST

   vorpal - Monday, 02/12/07 00:09:13 EST

a lot of smiths like to put a little radius, 3/16" or so, on one side of the face, which side depends on your style. I think that the anvil is foremost a tool, and within reason, is ok to dress a little to suit the work. Just take small passes, a little at a time, and smooth it up nice when you get the right shape.... You are also fortunate in having good square shoulders on an older anvil.
   vorpal - Monday, 02/12/07 00:17:57 EST

Re:FLY PRESS --- Could the 3 tour Vietnam veteran (sorry I forgot your name) contact me at jbhammer@optonline.net , I finally have that early fly press you were interested in on eBay. Thanks ~ John Buchtenkirch
   - John Buchtenkirch - Monday, 02/12/07 01:07:31 EST

Re: FLY PRESS --- Could the 3 tour Vietnam veteran (sorry I forgot your name) contact me at jbhammer@optonline.net , I finally have that early fly press you were interested in on eBay. Thanks ~ John Buchtenkirch
   - John Buchtenkirch - Monday, 02/12/07 01:09:49 EST

Re: FLY PRESS --- Could the 3 tour Vietnam veteran (sorry I forgot your name) contact me at jbhammer@optonline.net , I finally have that early fly press you were interested in on eBay. Thanks ~ John Buchtenkirch
   John Buchtenkirch - Monday, 02/12/07 01:18:18 EST

Dear Y'all, got another question. Was hoping that somebody would have some suggestions on how to clean rusty surfaces that were at one point in time precision surfaces, while preserving as much of their precision as possible. Thanks!

64 and clear in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Brr!
   T. Gold - Monday, 02/12/07 02:46:56 EST

Knife handles,
Andrew, This may give an example of the process you are seeking. Its the style of knife I make, Regardless of your finished product, this process is virtually always the same for hidden tang knives. Knife handles like this can be lots of fun, Virtually unlimited design can be made with cut and stacking on different materials.

   - Håkan - Monday, 02/12/07 08:36:23 EST

I sometimes make a knife from high carbon while using mild steel for the handle. For example, I just made a knife last week from automotive coil spring (5160 I believe). The blade came out real nice and I wanted to do a fancy handle, so I made a 4 rod twist braid from mild steel (it moves easier) and welded it to the higher carbon steel blade. It came out real purty, I should post a pic.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/12/07 09:20:17 EST

Mark and burning paint: burn it in a bonfire/burn barrel. just make sure it isn't galvanized, cause galvanized opens up a whole new box of cookies as far as safety issues.

When we got rid of the cattle on the farm, i was left with quite a few dozen 5/16 round electric fence posts (the temporary push in the ground and string up the wire type). They had the osha approved waterbased non-toxic type paint on them. I burned a few off in the coal forge, but even though the paint is supposedly safe(or so I have been told), it still stinks. The rest got thrown around the inside edges of a burn barrel and a small fire took care of the paint.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Monday, 02/12/07 10:14:03 EST

To all who responded to the bridge grane question--THANKS for your input. The set up I saw that started my thinking along these lines was at a spring shop where I had some work done on my pickup. It was pretty light. If I go back, I don't think I will stay in the building when he hoists up the back end.

I really appreciate your responses, and I will heed your advise and give up the "hang it from the building" idea. You guys may havae prevented a bad wreck. Thanks again, sorry for being slow with my thanks.
   Tbird - Monday, 02/12/07 11:48:17 EST

Larry, Welcome to the world of metal. Check the navigate anvilfire drop down menu, upper right corner. Look for Iforge, these are demos on how to make things. Try them out and don't be afraid to ask questions.
   daveb - Monday, 02/12/07 14:03:56 EST

Knife Tang: The traditional method was to burn a hole through the wooden grip, then fit the tang by burning it in. Today you drill a hole, file or carve to fit the taper roughly then whne you do the final assembly bed the blade in with epoxy.

Another method requires good smooth wood so that the glue joint does not show. You carve the the impression of the tang into one slab then assemble with clear epoxy bedding in the tang. If both pieces are the same thickness then the handle must be cut down more on one side but this is easy to do with a saw. The goint being offset is stronger.

Many blade smiths prefer a few small brass rivet to hold things together.

There are dozens of ways.
   - guru - Monday, 02/12/07 16:18:31 EST

Hey guys,
Am looking for a source of coke. Anybody know of a supplier and possibly of price? Thanks
   JHU Hammerman - Monday, 02/12/07 16:29:02 EST

blacksmith Depot has coke for sale-in plastic bags that can be shipped-www.blacksmithdepot.com--828-667-8868
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 02/12/07 19:54:23 EST

Ok thank you very much
   JHU Hammerman - Monday, 02/12/07 19:55:59 EST

I wanna make a sword that'll not break !
   - hammer dude - Monday, 02/12/07 20:11:14 EST

ANYTHING can be broken. Especially if it is abused.
   - guru - Monday, 02/12/07 20:28:16 EST

Have you ever heard of an old mechanical power hammer manufacturer named CMW or Central Machine Works?? Were they bought out by a company I'd know? Did they make a 100 pound mechanical hammer?
   firedog - Monday, 02/12/07 22:54:18 EST

Have you ever heard of an old mechanical power hammer manufacturer named CMW or Central Machine Works?? Were they bought out by a company I'd know? Did they make a 100 pound mechanical hammer?
   firedog - Monday, 02/12/07 22:57:54 EST

oops, it's always the new guy........
   firedog - Monday, 02/12/07 22:58:52 EST

Thanks vorpal! I am going to carefully grind that radius when it warms up here in PA.
   Michael Moriarity - Monday, 02/12/07 23:10:34 EST

I am a volunteer at the Golden Memories Museum in Millthorpe, New South Wales, Australia. We have a blacksmith's shop as part of the museum. The forge has a bellows made in England in about 1900. The bellows has a number of holes in the leather casing, can you advise how to repair these and also provide any advise on the best way to treat the leather. The forge is only used ocassionaly by a visiting Blacksmith.
Thanks and Regards
John Templeman
   john templeman - Monday, 02/12/07 23:33:14 EST

Michael M.: A flap disk on an angle grinder does a nice job on the radius. There should be a small radius all around the face plate to make chipping/spalling less likely if You inadverdantly wack it with the hammer. The radius should get a little larger over the main body of the anvil where You hit the hardest. Where in Pa. are You?
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/12/07 23:58:52 EST

T Gold: asuming not really heavy rust, I scrape off the loose stuff with a putty knife then use an india stone and kerosene. I have done this on tools I got from the industrial salvage place. What I ended up with was a motly looking surface, some spots shined up by the stone and some darker areas with small pits. I figure the shiney spots are pretty close to the original surface.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/13/07 00:04:56 EST

hey i was just wondering at what teperature does steel remain blue after it has cooled if there is even really possible i have seen it happen a few time after serious grinding or welding thanks for taking the time to read my question
   casey - Tuesday, 02/13/07 08:06:27 EST

i want the diagram of a split shell,simpleand complex paterns in foundry pls help out its a project am about compilling.
   joseph - Tuesday, 02/13/07 08:26:13 EST

is some one their to help me pls
   joseph - Tuesday, 02/13/07 08:27:20 EST

John Templeman: I believe it would be historically accurate to sew on leather patches on the bellows. First glue them on and then use a curved needle to sew the edges.

If you have to eventually replace the leather there is a nice chapter on building a bellows from scratch in The Blacksmith, Ironworker & Farrier (originally titled The Village Blacksmith) by Aldren A. Watson. Your local library may be able to obtain a loaner copy for you.

It notes new bellow leather should be soaked with a leather softener.lubricant, such as Neatsfoot oil. However, once it accumulates dirt and soot there isn't much which can be done as periodic maintenance.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/13/07 10:47:47 EST

Hello Dave and thanks for the advice. I am about 10 miles south of Philipsburg Pa and about 35 miles from Altoona.
   Michael Moriarity - Tuesday, 02/13/07 11:27:04 EST

T. Gold,

I second what Boyer said about first scraping superficial rust. When I attended Yataiki's, the Japanese sawsmith's workshop, the first thing we made was a wooden handled "polisher" carved and draw-knifed out of one piece of wood. The handle(s) were simply an 18" long oval with chamfered ends, similar to a hammer handle shape. In the cenTer was cut an oversized square block, about 1 3/4" square, and extending out about an 5/8" from the broad side of the oval. Surrounding the block on the bottom and two sides was a piece of old bicycle tire stretched and carpet-tacked on the sides. A 1 3/4" square piece of either wet-dry sandpaper or alumininum oxide material was placed on the face (bottom) of the tool, abrasive side down. When pressure is applied to the tool, the paper wants adhere to the rubber and stay put. Apply to the workpiece and add back-and-forth elbow grease.

The old man polished saw blades using this method. It's clever, because you're using a small piece of abrasive at a time, not swiping the metal surface with a big sheet by hand. You also have pretty good control of where you are working.


Steel becomes blue at 563º F. When it's cool, the surface color remains. The color is a light film of iron oxide and can be easily rubbed off. If your are grinding, the blue appears because of friction heat.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/13/07 12:23:49 EST

Phillipsburg? Altoona? Damn, I'm WAY over outside of Philly. I will admit the cold weather does affect my work, both because I'm freezing my arse off or my steel gets cold too fast and I end up snapping welds (I know I know I should preheat). Wind chills have dipped into the negatives during the night for about a week. Makes scrap salvaging a pain in the fingers too!
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:11:00 EST

For you foundry folks, how did Fisher & II&B make their anvils? Assumption is the steel top plates had to be at forge welding temperature when they were put into the mold, then molten cast iron put into mold. Due to shape top plate couldn't be dropped into mold. (On some Fishers the top plate extended to the top of the horn.)

My thinking is each anvil was sand molded with the top plate in the mold. Then top plate was separately heated (with sand core in hardy hole), placed on some surface, flux tossed on top of it, the mold quickly placed over it again and the cast iron poured.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:19:51 EST

thanks alot mike
   casey - Tuesday, 02/13/07 14:22:52 EST

im making a viking style circle shield, about 32 inches across and i would like to forge a center boss something like this http://www.jelldragon.com/specials/spec1189.htm should i heat the metal, or just beat the sheet into shape?
this is mainly for Alti because he has the most knowledge of vikings,
what should i use around the rim? rawhide, leather, or steel/iron?
has anyone made one of these circular sheilds before? and what are some tips you have?
   Cameron - Tuesday, 02/13/07 15:21:26 EST

Anvil pouring, Now granted I'm not a foundryman, but who says the anvils were poured downside up?
   JimG - Tuesday, 02/13/07 15:23:28 EST

Many anvils are cast bottom UP because all the dross floats to the top along with gases. Many are cast on the side and then one side has the pits and porosity. Those that are well cast show none of these flaws.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/13/07 15:38:52 EST

Shield Boss: The originals were hot forged from thick plate or possibly a short round billet. After looking at cross sections in a book Atli has my best bet is that they started with a lump, forged a handling nub on the end, used a heavy tapered punch from the opposite end to swell it open then worked it over a small anvil horn. When finished these had a small boss or nipple at the center that would have been the handling nub.

Part of my reasoning for this method is the varying cross section of the originals and the fact that plate was hard to get compared to bar iron at the time.

To make one of these in plate you can dish the bowl in wood cold but then you will need to use heat to make the flange. See our NEWS coverage of the West Virginia Armour-Ins for a hint.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/13/07 15:50:40 EST

Blue Steel: You can blue a piece of steel evenly all over by heating it evenly to about 575-600F. See our FAQ's page, temper color chart. It will remain this color unless you heat it hotter or let it rust.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/13/07 15:58:06 EST

What makes a good multi purpose backdrop for taking photographs of ironwork that can survive a shop environment?
   Mike H - Tuesday, 02/13/07 18:13:54 EST

Hello Guru,
My son (age 10) is doing a report on whitesmiths. I was hoping you could help him with this. There is not much info on the web other than a whitesmith is like a blacksmith. Please reply as soon as possible.
Thank you in advance,
Kasey :)
   Kasey - Tuesday, 02/13/07 18:59:39 EST

Back before automation and machines were doing alot of our precision work, A Whitesmith worked with metals shaping them with scrapers, files, drills etc. Making precision parts that Blacksmithing can only finish up "close enough".
Often Its applied to someone that makes parts for firearms, Even though "Gunsmith" covers that sub-catagory more specifically, I suppose "Locksmith" would fit in there as a sub-category of Whitesmith too.
   - Mike - Tuesday, 02/13/07 19:34:21 EST

Mike, thanks a bunch, I really appreciate your reply. :)
   Kasey - Tuesday, 02/13/07 19:53:11 EST


There is a brief chapter on whitesmithing in Henry Kauffman's book "Early American Ironware". When a blacksmith finishes a forging, there is a dark scale (iron oxide) left on the work; hence, "blacksmith". The whitesmith could work in association with a blacksmith, or he could do his own blacksmithing. In any event, he removes the scale and takes the ironwork down to bare (white) metal.

Kauffman quotes a whitesmith named George McGunnigle, who placed an ad in the Pittsburgh Gazette, August 1, 1789. The quote states, in part,
"...He has furniahed himself with a very good horseshoer and country smith and likewise makes locks and key hinges of all sorts, pipe tomahawks, scalping knives, boxes and pins for vizes, grates, polished and unpolished and irons, shovels, tongs, pokers, chaffing dishes, bread roasters, ladles, skimmers, flesh forks and skewers, with all kinds of iron work for kitchens, currying combs, plates, saddle trees, makes crapeing, curbing, and pincing tongs, rupture belts, grinds swords, razors, scissors, and pen knives, cleans and polishes guns and pistols."

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/13/07 22:21:46 EST

Michael M. There is a Hammer In in Easton Pa. this Sat. 17th at Eric Cuper's. This would be a haul for You, I am near Pottstown, Pa. it isn't that far for Me. If You or anyone needs directions they are in the PABA Striker or I could post them here.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/13/07 23:02:51 EST

Shields and Bosses:

Jock was thinking of the Anglo-Saxon bosses, which are much more elaborate and complex than most Viking bosses.

Viking bosses tend to be (mostly) simple hemispherical shapes with a flange. You can (if you wish) dish one out cold in 12 ga. or 14 ga. mild steel in a stump cavity. You want to watch thinning, and the dished section should be about 4" (101 mm) wide or as much bigger as your fist. Note that if it's thin enough to dish cold, it is also prone be being dented in. 1/8" (3 mm) or so, hot forged, can also work well.

For the board most folks use plywood, usually 1/2" (13 mm) but you can also make it with planks of linden/basswood (if you can get it) and rivet the handle and cross struts across the planks. Most Viking bosses used six rivets. (A-S tended to use five.) You can put the heads on the inside and rivet the ends neatly against the flange, or you can put the heads on the flange side and peen down over washers on the inside. I usually make square or diamond washers, such as were used on the ships. (Easier to cut from strip, too.)

If I edge, I usually use rawhide from the biggest rawhide pet "bone" I can find at the local PetSmart or whatever. Cut, form, drill and sew it on while still wet/damp from usraveling it from the "bone." You do need to allow for shrinkage.

A-S shields seem to have been regulary coverd with ox hide; Viking shilds tended to be plain wood. The boards were surprisingly thin, usually no more than the 1/2" mentioned above. Lamination, close fitting joinery, and gluing are points of lively debate.

If it's for the ship and made for display, we tend to keep it simple and use modern materials. If it's going to be for a reenactment event, there's a lot more hot forging and hand work, and most of all research. Never trust any one source; they all disagree with each other anyway. :-)

Also note that Viking shields tended to be flat, while A-S shields tended to be convex. Flat shields hang a heck of a lot better on a ship.

Hope this helps.

Icy and messy on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/14/07 00:33:21 EST

thanks frank and guru for your help on blued steel
   casey - Wednesday, 02/14/07 07:27:57 EST

Another type of "whitesmith" I've read about is one who works white metal, such as tin. One interesting thing was when we had Tom Latane demo at one of our meets. He was filing something down and one of our members asked if that was called whitesmithing. He just looked up for a second and said, "We generally call it filing".

   - Marc - Wednesday, 02/14/07 10:49:18 EST

Hi. I'm looking to build a air hammer and have come across enough steel to build an additional one. I'm thinking about a tire hammer. I have a basic understanding of how it works and have the publication "The Shop Built Power Hammer" for a spring arm reference. I'm aware of the workshops and would love to attend but I can't get away for that long. Do you have advice, photo's, explanations of the clutch/brake set-up? I would really appreciate any of the above. Thanks a lot
   Darrell - Wednesday, 02/14/07 10:50:10 EST

Mike H: If you can find a beige canvas tarp, it works pretty well. I personally don't like using straight white, because the contrast seems pretty high between the white and the darker grey and black of the steel. The canvas tarp is pretty durable (although it will get dirty from time to time and need to be hosed off a bit) and it can be hung on two wall hooks for use and then rolled back up for storage.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 11:22:37 EST

Mike H: Follow up. Sorry forgot to post this. Either the natural or the tan would both work IMHO.


-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 11:24:19 EST

Whitesmithing again.

Kauffman in "Early American Ironware" says the term is confusing, because the early trade directories don't always list whitesmithing as a trade, nor do old or current dictionaries get the definition quite right. "Tinsmithing" can likewise be a nebulous term. Tinsmiths worked primarily with iron sheet coated with tin or with iron sheet by itself. They made a variety of products such as oil lamps, milk buckets, foot warmers, candle sconces, and document boxes.

Sometimes silversmiths, pewterers, and tinsmiths are classed as whitesmiths, but Kauffman leans toward the definition involving ironwork; that of filing, fitting, polishing, and perhaps riveting and lathe turning of forged ironwork.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/14/07 11:46:04 EST

Thanks for the input. What do you think would be a good size to purchase? I was thinking 8x16 so that it could be hung from the ceiling and then curved on the floor for free standing objects (tables etc). Also do you roll your canvas or do you just ufold and then hang? Thanks again.
   Mike H - Wednesday, 02/14/07 13:08:17 EST

Canvas: never thought of it much, but i suppose rolling it up would cause fewer creases to show up in a picture.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 14:08:04 EST

I tend to overthink. It's my nature. What size do you use?
   Mike H - Wednesday, 02/14/07 14:09:46 EST

Smith color: I've read a few differences, one being the color of the work, blacksmithed pieces have scale and are blackened whereas whitesmithing is done mostly at the bench so scale came off and the metal was "white". Another take was that due to smithing with coal, the smith himself came out of the smithy covered in soot, so he was "black". If whitesmithing IS done at the bench, the smiths natural skin tone would show, so he was "white". Then I read about whitesmiths using aluminum, but we all know that's just plain silly.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 02/14/07 14:18:58 EST

Canvas size: Mike, the size would depend on what you are shooting pictures of. The bigger the projects, the bigger the tarp. When you take the picture, having a bit of canvas showing on the top and sides of a larger subject is, in my humble opinion, aesthetically pleasing. Some folks like closeup pictures where the subject fills the whole frame, but personally I like a little bit of a border around the object being photographed.

I am not sure on the size of the one I have, It was an older one that I'd found in one of the barns on the farm. It is probably somewhere in the 5x10 range. I really need to invest in a new one, cause the old on is starting to show it's age, I suppose it doesn't help that I occasionally cover stuff outside with it ;) and also because the railing I am working on right now is gonna be too big to photo against that size tarp.
-Aaron @ the SCF

P.S. The railing I mention above is for a gentleman who does professional photography. He has a system in his studio with the backdrops on rails that hang a foot off of the wall. I asked him why he didn't just use lengths of fabric hung right on the wall. He explained that by hanging the fabric away from the wall, he was able to get somewhat natural folds in the fabric, which to him looked nice. I thought the folds would be kinda distracting, but then again my photography experience is a Sony point and click digital camera :)
   thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 15:05:00 EST

Mike H.

A professional photographer at a craft center used "filmy mylar" as a back drop, and he suspended the pieces in mid air with nylon fishing line. The finished photo showed only the piece. I wouldn't want mylar in my cruddy shop environment, however.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/14/07 15:54:08 EST


I will occasionally use a light grey cloth for background when shooting ironwork. It helps keep the exposure and contrast more balanced. When in doubt, I go one stop or two towards overexposure to bring out the detail in the ironwork. Back when I could still find it at the corner drugstore, I used to use 100 or sometimes 400 speed black and white film, since color was not actually an issue. Some of the best and worse ironwork photography can be found in the knife making magazines like Blade and Knives Illustrated. Wooden planks, natural background materials, balanced lighting; some really nice work. The covers, on the other claw, tend to be garish and frequently feature rather nasty looking pieces of work on florescent backgrounds. Blech!

I photograph almost everything (since it's usually sold or gifted) for my records, but display albums should just show the best photographs of your best stuff.

Just starting to mess around with the wif's digital; now I have a lot more to learn. Still using film for the most part. You can always scan in a good hard-copy photograph.

Wet and getting coolder and windier on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/14/07 16:27:31 EST

I'm looking for a staking/swaging tool for a bearing MS14101-04
   CARLOS RUBIO - Wednesday, 02/14/07 17:31:00 EST

I need some help on coating durablanket. I would like to get some ITC-100 and coat my durablanket but do I need to put some rigidizer on first before I coat it with ITC-100. Would it make it more ridged putting on rigidizer be for ITC-100. I'm unsure here if you could help me that would be great, thanks in advance.

   TimothyJD - Wednesday, 02/14/07 17:50:54 EST

Thanks all for the photography advice. I'll put it to good use.
   - Mike H - Wednesday, 02/14/07 18:01:59 EST

Usually cloth, canvas or duck material (heavy fabric), or even a blanket (bed covers) will work well and can be washed if needed. A wall can be painted to become a background. Depending on the size of the ironwork and the detail, you should choose the background to compliment the work. Many different color backgrounds will work but no one background color will work for all subjects. Usually the background material is used to hide clutter and isolate the subject. Some prefer a smooth background, others prefer wrinkles, and still others prefer heavy folds. It is a matter of personal taste.

No matter what you use in a shop environment it will get dirty. (It gets dirty in a photographic studio.) This dirt will transfer to the project and to the background. If the background is rolled the dirt is then transferred to the clean side of the background.

There is no way your going to photograph a double lane entrance gate inside a 8x12 outbuilding some use for a blacksmith shop. Large subjects take large backgrounds. These can be used for smaller subjects but it is best to have the background suite the subject.

But with todays digital cameras, anyone can take a photograph, and with a little help from a computer, and photo-shop, create the background of your choice. The background is always the right size, the right color, the right texture, and never gets dirty.
   - Ntech - Wednesday, 02/14/07 19:44:00 EST

Hello Guru,

I am a full-time artist working in metal among other materials. I work in NC but have come across a mechanical hammer available in Indiana. I have been told it's a 100lb tool that is made by a company by the name CMW. The owner has said he thinks it is Central Machine Works. I am NOT an expert on the history of mechanical hammers and have done a good bit of research to no avail on the origin of this tool. I am currently using a little giant that is not mine and will be seeing this CMW hammer in person next week. My question is...have you ever heard of this maker? I will have a better idea once I see it but would love to know as much as possible going in. Anyway, thanks for whatever info you can throw my way.
   firedog - Wednesday, 02/14/07 21:21:25 EST

Central Machine Works, of Minneapolis, made the Central hammer- Has springs like a little giant, but more of em, and a funny eccentric rod/cam assembly that transfers the power up from a motor at the bottom, instead of perched on top like a little giant.
A 100lb central hammer weighs about 2800lbs, came stock with a 3hp motor.
Probably from the 20's or 30's.
There is a copy of the brochure in the book "A Blacksmiths and Hammersmiths Emporium", by Douglas Freund, which is reprints of old hammer and tool catalogs.
Never seen one in the flesh, myself.
   - Ries - Wednesday, 02/14/07 21:58:06 EST

Thanks so much Ries! Apparently this one has a 5HP 3ph motor with a single phase switch (goes either way I guess). I look forward to seeing it but he wants a good chunk of gold for it. Do you know if parts are available? Or would I be destined to visiting my good friends at the local machine shop?
   firedog - Wednesday, 02/14/07 23:00:17 EST

Mike H-- check the photo supply outlets online. Studios use wide (how wide? whatever is needed) seamless paper on pull-down rolls. Pull it down behind the work, with an easy curve going under the work and the bottom edge of the paper out of sight over the edge of the table in front, and there is no visible corner or crease in the background to distract from the work. For small stuff, an old-fashioned window shade would work fine.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/14/07 23:59:45 EST

An interesting anvil on Seattle Craig's list: http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/tls/278949877.html
Sure has a long tail, and could likely tell an interesting story.
   Bob Johnson - Thursday, 02/15/07 03:56:29 EST

Bob Johnson: Nothing particular interesting about it. About a dozen places have made/offered one-piece cast farrier anvils made in the U.S. I don't see one exactly matching it in Anvils in America, but not all offerings are shown. Could be cast steel or heat treated ductile iron.

On farrier anvils I received a note from Richard Postman in which he noted Ken Mandel has stopped production of them.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/15/07 04:33:01 EST

What are the structural steel grades available in Republic of Kazakhstan. Steel sections available and their properties.
   Manglesh Rawat - Thursday, 02/15/07 06:06:49 EST

Craig's List Anvil:

That's one sharp horn, too. I'd watch my thighs when working around that one!

Ken: Was that Mandel or Mankel?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/15/07 08:36:14 EST

Ken Mankel, Cannonsburg, MI. According to the Pieh catalog they made three sizes: 70, 115 & 130 pounds.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/15/07 12:40:19 EST

Acouple of years ago I posted a request for ideas regarding construction of a small oil burning forge furnace. The responses were all interesting but seemed to relate more to a larger furnace size than I need or want. By small I mean about a cubic foot of combustion chamber.

On the surface of it the biggest problem,seems to me, is to get the furnage hot enough to start. The earlier discussion included suggestions to use old oil furnace burners, which are self contained and self starting. However these burners are probably designed to operate at temperatures well below forging temperature and I wonder how the burner end would hold up, how the burner could be placed for this applicationand etc.

It seems more practical to design a burner specifically for this application. This burner could be designed to preheat the forge furnace after which oil could be used as the main fuel source. One possible means of delivering oil into the fire box could be to store the fuel in a pressurized fuel tank, perhaps (1 to 2 psi) to provide continuous fuel injection into the fire box. I expect a low pressure blower would be needed.

Given the current price of propane, another source of forge furnace fuel for small furnace units is attractive. Any Ideas, comments, insights will be appreciated. I plan to start building an experimental model soon and would like to avoid pitfalls if possible.
   DAN - Thursday, 02/15/07 12:57:33 EST

I have been racking my brain and the Canadian Archives trying to find a Canadian tool company. My query is based on an 8inch Monkey Wrench that has "McKinnon" on one side of the shaft, and "Made in Canada" on the other. It is made of steel. I have looked in old tool catalogues back until the 1900's, so if anyone knows of this company or what happened to it, I would be most grateful.
   - Jenny - Thursday, 02/15/07 13:10:04 EST

I have been racking my brain and the Canadian Archives trying to find a Canadian tool company. My query is based on an 8inch Monkey Wrench that has "McKinnon" on one side of the shaft, and "Made in Canada" on the other. It is made of steel. I have looked in old tool catalogues back until the 1900's, so if anyone knows of this company or what happened to it, I would be most grateful.
   Jenny - Thursday, 02/15/07 13:11:29 EST

The photo supply background paper is a little heavier than the old paper type grocery bags. It wrinkles easily and then the wrinkles show in photographs. This and the fact it shows dirt (even attracts dirt) would make it unsuitable in a shop environment. That is one reason it was not mentioned earlier.

   - Ntech - Thursday, 02/15/07 14:31:45 EST

Hi, iv been interested in smithing for some time, mostly because of my interest in military history, and I was wondering: how much does an amature complete forge cots you? Where would I learn the techniques for smithing without being an aprentice? And anything tips or sugestions you have would be apreciated.

Thank you,
   Morgan - Thursday, 02/15/07 14:37:03 EST

For those that haven't seen it already:


-Aaron @ the SCF :(
   thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 02/15/07 14:37:08 EST

DAN - Take a look at:


This site covers a lot of teretory WRT metal casting, but also goes into some detail on a waste vegitable oil fired foundry furnace. The volume and heat aren't too far removed from what you want.
   John Lowther - Thursday, 02/15/07 15:48:56 EST

Maybe if we want professional quality pictures we have to take them in a professional quality studio setting, with pro quality lighting, the background material of the art director's choice (old shopping bags, roll paper, satin drapes, naked women or whatever), real cameras, the works. Up town, in other words. Not for nothing do those cats who shoot whisky bottles make all that money.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/15/07 16:07:38 EST


I just don't see how hard it could be to recess the end of a commercial furnace burner into the refractory and/or add a short sacrificial tip. At least not compared to building a whole burner from scratch. If you want to build your own burner, build one. But I don't think that's the easy way out.
   Mike BR - Thursday, 02/15/07 18:02:49 EST

I have a heavy rectangular cast iron block my grandfather used in his shop. Maybe 40-50 lbs. 4" by 4 1/2" by 13 inches. Indentations only on the ends (swages?). It's good for shaping objects because it absorbs the hammer blows. It's flat on all sides except the ends.

What's it called? Is it worth anything? I can't find any pictures of a similar object.
   Michael Price - Thursday, 02/15/07 18:45:02 EST

Multi Purpose shop photo backdrop: There is no such thing that will survive a "shop environment". I process thousands of photographs for anvilfire, myself, and for web clients and I deal with this everyday. I charge two to three times as much to fix bad photos as good. This is based on time AND frustration level.

Here are some of the criteria and problems:

1) The color should be white unless you absolutely know that all your photos are going to be used in an application such as a catalog or website AND the color is part of an overall professional design. White is universally adaptable to most situations. Second choice is a light or medium grey but I do not recommend it.

2) The surface must be CLEAN, unbroken and extend completely out of the photo. If you use fabric it must be washed, (probably starched) and ironed. Wrinkles are just as bad as foot prints, dog and cat prints, urine stains. . . I've seen them all on photo back drops. If you fabric it must be FLAT and smooth OR expertly draped by an expert. Draping is an art. Try drawing it from your imagination. Difficult? Doing the real thing properly is more difficult.

3) IF the background is going to be left in the photo as is the case in many film photos then the above is critical. IF the background is going to be cut out digitally then it is ALMOST as critical. The reason is that when a digital image object crosses from one background to another the edge shifts. Objects tend to bleed out into light and receed in darkness. So if you are editing a straight line it will jump at a change in backgound. So even though you are going to cut out that foot print stained background it should be continous and smooth.

4) In photos of your work the background color reflects onto the work and changes its color. If the background changes color then the item changes color. If you cut out the background of such a photo the critical eye will see the difference. Color reflected into work should be uniform and when color is used it should be a design decision.

???? So what to use? If you plan on making a living at your craft you photographs of your work MUST reflect the highest standard. I have clients that submit a dozen photos and I often reject all but one or two to protect the client from their own ineptness. So you have two choices.

1) Have a professional photograph your work. They charge a lot but they can make crappy work look good.

2) Do it yourself to the best of your ability. That means setting up like a professional and doing the best possible job. That means lots of trail and error and retaking of photos. I have used lots of materials for backgrounds. The two best are, a permanent surface painted white and cleaned and or repainted as needed. OR seemless photo background paper. Ntech pointed out some of the problems with seemless. It wrinkles, marks easily and is hard to reuse. It is a CONSUMABLE. It it part of that $1000 per sitting that a professional charges. I use it now because after using other things I found it workes best. I also use a permanent curved surface to support the paper. In a shop environment for large size work this takes space that most people will not have to dedicate to photo backgrounds. However, if you are selling architectural work of furniture you need that large surface. These are made with wood or concrete filling in the corner between wall and floor. Paint it white and keep it clean and you are in business. I know a pro that photographs cars on such a background. He has them driven in onto white butcher's paper then tears it out so there are no tire tracks. . . Otherwise, carefully drape seemless, take the photos and dispose of the seemless. I have found that I can reuse seemless for digital work if I cam cutting out backgrounds. Otherwise, a fingerprint or a flyspec is a flaw you do not want left in your photo prints.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/15/07 19:07:05 EST

Michael Price, Sounds like an odd swage block or a home made swage block. Cannot tell without photos. See Swage Blocks . com
   - guru - Thursday, 02/15/07 19:12:05 EST

Oil Forge: Several folks have built oil forges using commerical domestic oil furnace burners. They work FINE. \Two rules. The burner needs to be a good distance from the hot forge surface. If you use a heat shield with an air space on both sides then about 6" will work. Second rule, the burner should be slightly uphill and the duct should slope toward the forge so that any oil mist that collects will drain into the forge and burn.

OTHER fuel oil forges: These can be quite primitive or as sophisticated as you want. The first is simply a refractory forge, a blower and oil dripping into the blown air close to the forge. The second drips the oil directly into the forge with the blower seperate. Both require starting with and oil soaked rag (one for every start).

If you want to lower quality fuel than deisel or fuel oil then you are on your own.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/15/07 19:23:38 EST

Dan, I am one of the ones in favor of using the heating system burner gun. As Jock mentions the actual gun needs to be located outside the forge chamber so it doesn't get too hot. this is particularly an issue at shutdown. My feeling is that it would be prudent to move the burner away from the forge housing slightly and slide a steel plate in between the burner and the forge body to protect from the radiant heat when You shut down the burner. I havn't built one yet, I need a pile of insulating brick at the right price. I think 1 cu/ft would be about right for a usual home size burner gun, as You can change the nozzle over a considerable range to get the heat You need. If You build Your own You need to atomize the oil into fine mist, or use vapor. This can be done with pressure [100-150psi] and an oil burner nozzle, or with shop air and a paint spray gun type nozzle to get the fine mist, or by heating the oil to get vapor. The drip systems described by Jock smoke heavily untill there is enough heat to vaporize the oil. We had a drip type waste oil heater in the shop for a while, It was trickey to light, and even worse to shut down, as the oil puddle would not be coled by fresh oil, and vaporize much faster untill it was consumed. This probably wouldn't be a problem in a forge, as I think the fuel would vaporize immediatly rather than form the puddle, but I think mixture controll, which determines the forge atomosphere would be trickey. The spray gun and shop air type burner is what is used by modern waste oil heaters, they work well.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 02/15/07 23:26:49 EST

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