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 16 - 22, 2006 on the Guru's Den
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I looked up the ursutz burner as suggested. I have personally used the drip oil burners in ceramics kilns, and have watched professional potters fire raku using oil drips with a jury rigged vacuum cleaner motor blower to atomize the oil. All of these things work but I DONT THINK THAT I WANT THEM IN MY SHOP-- so the obvious solution is the furnace blower with modified burner tube extension. Any additional advice on the materials and configuration of that assembly will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks to all.

   DAN - Friday, 02/16/07 00:33:48 EST

Kaowool and Surfacing with ITC-100: Normally you want the ITC as the exposed surface coating due to its IR reflectance. You can apply it directly to the Kaowool in non-wear areas and over other refractory materials including hard refractory floors.
   - guru - Friday, 02/16/07 09:48:17 EST

I'm looking for a source for forge coke in Michigan or the Great Lakes region. Anybody got any leads?
   brian robertson - Friday, 02/16/07 11:13:54 EST

Hello Guru(s): History Channel show looking to interview an "expert" on copper work, preferably someone with a knowledge of the history of the coppersmithing industry as well as the mechanics of it. Story takes place in Ohio, FYI. PLease call 818.557.1151. Thanks!
   - HistoryChannel - Friday, 02/16/07 14:47:03 EST

I have recently aquired an old post vise.It is handforged and forge welded from wrought iron. The screw box looks to have twisted flat bar placed in side and brazed with brass. The box looks to be flat bar shaped into a cylinder then forged welded. I from the Chattannoga, TN. area, I belong to the Choo Choo Forge, I would like to know if there is anyway of telling how old this vise may be.
   - Terry Snyder - Friday, 02/16/07 16:29:23 EST

this may seem like a stupid question but i have realized recently that i dont know the answer, so here goes,

when you make riveted chainmail, you have to andonize the steel so that it doesnt break when you punch the slit for the wedge rivet, so you make the steel soft when you are cutting the hole,
should you also re temper the steel or something once the peice is done?
like, even , throw it into a wood fire for 20 minuites or something and quench in a tub? like, just get the steel past nonmagnetic and quench in water? wouldnt that produce much stronger chainmail? thanks,

   Cameron - Friday, 02/16/07 17:39:44 EST

Cameron- real armor these days is made of Kevlar and Ceramic.

Chain mail is for dressup. So whether or not it will actually resist a sword is somewhat theoretical.

However, I sincerely doubt much of anyone, today, or historically, made or makes chain mail from high carbon tool steels. So the hardness of it, assuming its made from a mild steel, is going to be pretty similar even after you heat it to punch it. It will not lose any significant resistance to puncturing by simply heating it to punch it- its still gonna be 36,000psi if its A36, which should be enough to resist most re-enactment sword blows.

Now if you have some inside track to being sent back in time with your chainsaw and your 70's landyacht, and therefore wear your chain mail at all times, maybe it might be a concern, but I really think its not a big deal.
Chain mail made from modern steel is going to be stronger than most antique stuff anyway.

And I think the word you were searching for is "anneal", not Andonize- which might just be a patented process for aluminum car bumpers.
   - Ries - Friday, 02/16/07 19:40:50 EST

Cameron, to "anodise, to coat electrolytically with a protective oxide coating" The American Heritage Dictionary.
It comes from the metal being placed in an electrolite with direct current electricity. This is primarilary used in the aluminum industry. I believe it is also used on titanium to produce the colors as often seen on Ti jewerly.

To my knowledge, it is never used on steel. I do kinda have an inside track on this process as my Dad ran an aluminum extrusion plant with an anodising dept. which I worked some summers in.

Also consider that with the traditional carbon steel available in"the day" being very, very expensive, and of poor chemistry control, the heat treatment would just as likely burn up sections of the mail to worthless oxide and make some sections hard and brittle and some still soft. not a good process for armor, and wastfull of a precious material, after the labor was invested.
   ptree - Friday, 02/16/07 20:36:36 EST

Shark bite resistant mail is made from higher carbon split rings that are micro TIG welded during the fabricating/fabric making. There is data to support breaking and shear stress, I just don't know it.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 02/16/07 20:48:54 EST


I am planning on buying a whisper baby single burner forge from nc tool company. the question is in refernce to the fact that it will not get to welding heat. so would it be possible to put more fire brick in there, maybe wall up the back door to get to welding heat.
   antibeous - Friday, 02/16/07 22:06:00 EST

HistoryChannel-- take yourself a peek at a charming, fact-packed memoir entitled Art of Coppersmithing, by John Fuller, Sr., sub-titled "a practical treatise on working sheet copper into all forms." Written in 1894, it covers all aspects of the craft and details Fuller's apprenticeship starting at age 9 in the town of Dorking, in England's county of Surrey. Fuller wrote it when he was living in Seneca, Kansas. Book is reprinted by Astragal Press of Mendham, NJ, available (probably) from Centaur. A lovely book, paperback, lavishly illustrated.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 02/16/07 22:35:46 EST

I think HistoryChannel(AKA a televison network) is looking for someone that they can put on camera, Books just don't talk well.
   - Frostfly - Saturday, 02/17/07 01:19:03 EST

yeah, sorry , i meant anneal, just getting my brain mixed up again,

i was mainly asking because i and several of my friends fight in competitions, and riveted rings still break apart, so, i was wondering if there is anything to make the rings stronger, since you are softening them when annealing them, thats all
   Cameron - Saturday, 02/17/07 01:46:15 EST

Around here most HVAC guys will just look at you funny if you ask them for an oil burner. . . They are almost unheard of. It used to be some larger buildings like schools had backup oil burners to get better gas rates by switching over to oil during times of high demand, but those are long gone: The savings on gas bills didn't cover the cost of storage tank inspection and permitting. IIRC most had their tanks pulled long before the 1998 underground storage tank regulations went into effect which made it even more expensive.

Around here people went straight from coal heat to gas, with gas gaining popularity (in town) circa 1900.

2" fresh snow in northeast Kansas.
   John Lowther - Saturday, 02/17/07 04:42:03 EST

antibeous: North Carolina Tool Company is predominately a farrier supplier. Their forges are thus predominatley designed for farriers who only need to get a shoe hot enough to work and openings large enough to get shoes into easily. To get one to forge weld is about like buying a family sedan and expecting to race in the Daytona 500 in it as it come off out of the lot.

According to information by Guru a couple of weeks ago propane can only put out about 2,000-2,200 degrees. Just under what is needed to forge weld.

The only propane forge manufacturer I know of to guarantee you can forge weld in them off-the-shelf is ChileForge. one of the advertisers on this forum.

Now some folks have taken manufactured or shopmade propane forges and twerked them up to forge welding temperature. This usually involves some combination of forced air, extra insulation, coating the chamber with ITC, restricting the size of the openings and using some type of bottom board or pan to keep the forge welding flux from eating away firebrick there.

A variety of shopmade propane forges are now offered on eBay on a regular basis. However, before considering purchasing get a guarantee of forge welding capability from the seller.

I don't for the ones I sell as Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools as they are intentionally designed for the hobby or occasional user. Once someone gets to the need of forge welding on a regular basis they really need a more professionally made model.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Saturday, 02/17/07 08:03:40 EST

Propane Forges regularly get up to welding heat but this is not the "sparkling" heat of a coal forge. Gas forges get hotter than the standard gas burning in air temperature by being slightly pressurized and by storing and reflecting the heat back into the burning fuel air mixture. This combination of things requires a carefull balance of burner to enclosure size, to vent (door or opening). This also requires having enough total BTU to bring all the refractory up to full heat.

The little Whisper Baby being made from standardised component parts is not optimised the way a forge needs to be for welding heat operation. However, carefully adjusted on a very hot day after several hours of operation one might make it to welding heat. But I would not count on it.

If you want a gas forge that easily reaches welding heat then you want a blower type forge. These easily pressurize the forge and run much higher BTU per volume of forge than do atmospheric (venturi) burners which rely on a more delicate balance.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/17/07 09:32:11 EST

Costa Rica Blacksmithing: I'm off to visit some folks that are using a localy built power hammer that uses tropical hardwood guides. The wood is called Chiricano and is used to make all kinds of machine parts here.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/17/07 09:36:33 EST

Hi Jock, I'm getting real interested in welding a cable billet for blade making...Does it need to be fluxed to make the billet? Thanks, Bill A.
   Bill A - Saturday, 02/17/07 14:55:50 EST

I'm going to look at an anvil tomorrow, the current owner says is marked "Trenton". In all writeups I've come across on various discussion blogs, I've yet to see one indicate such a clear "this is a TRENTON anvil" marking. I've been told to look for a weight and serial # on front foot, an hourglass mark on bottom, or a diamond mark on side, but have not seen look for "TRENTON".


Oh yeah--it's purported to be 300 lbs, asking $450, and in good shape.

Thanks--Gary H

   Gary Hatmaker - Saturday, 02/17/07 17:28:14 EST

Clare Yellin New Email


February 17, 2007

Updated President's Message - 2008 Conference

Whoever said “the more things change … the more they stay the same” doesn’t know the plights of non-profit organizations. Because what I want to talk about is this - ABANA must change its focus to be relevant for another 34 years. ABANA has come to that fork in the road – where do we go from here? Or as Yogi Berra would say – “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” We are taking it, grasping it and coming up with some difficult decisions.

ABANA has been producing conferences every other year for decades now. Well the time has come to reevaluate how we do these events. We, the ABANA Board, have decided not to have a conference for 2008. This decision did not come overnight. After months of discussions and negotiating a formal motion was made on February 9 “that ABANA not have its biennial conference in 2008.” On February 13, the motion passed by a vote of 14-0.

As painful as this decision was I know it cannot compare to the disappointment of individuals of the Northeast Blacksmith Association (NBA). Since the Fall of 2004 the NBA put a great deal of time and energy into the possibility of having the conference at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Jonathan Nedbor and the Steering Committee of NBA are to be commended for all the work they have done.

So why aren’t we having a Conference? What’s the deal? Is ABANA going bankrupt? Let me start by answering the last question first – NO. Though I wish the financial situation were stronger, we are not going bankrupt. To put things in a simple nutshell here is a quick summary of the conferences. They have become too expensive. They cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is too much! That doesn’t even include the thousands of hours from all of the volunteers. For many years ABANA has supplemented its budget by living off the profit from previous Conferences. We can no longer do that. The Seattle Conference was not the financial success of previous Conferences. It probably lost money. We still do not know the final tally, because there is an outstanding invoice from the University of Washington. When we do know the accounting figures, they will be posted on the ABANA website.

So why no Conference.

First there is the Money –
The costs to put on a Conference have skyrocketed to somewhere in the vicinity of $400,000. With those figures the average conference expense including transportation would be in the $1,000 per person range. The majority of our members cannot afford to pay that. Of course we all agree that costs must be trimmed. We need to look at other locations such as fairgrounds. The college campus environment has gotten too expensive. The number of demonstrators has gone through the roof.

Second there is the Conference Chair -
Every Conference needs to have someone in charge to do the negotiations, troubleshoot, make decisions, etc. This is a full-time job! Past Chairs who have held this position have burned out – just ask Dave Koenig and Bill Callaway. And did I mention that this job pays nothing?! No one wanted to step up and be Chairman for the 2008 Conference.

Third there is the Membership –
The membership has declined in recent months. A year ago the number totaled 4815. Today it is 4468. Our budget figures are based on a membership of approximately 5000. Without that number there would be practically no funds to pay for seed money or pre-conference expenses. Another factor to consider regarding membership is the number of attendees to our biennial Conferences. Seattle had 575 paid attendees, which equates to less than 14% of our membership. This has been a consistent percentage over the last several Conferences. That low figure is another indication that we are definitely not meeting the needs of our members.

Fourth there is the Central Office –
LeeAnn Mitchell performed many duties on the three previous conferences – La Crosse, Richmond, and Seattle. She worked tirelessly at each of these events putting in many hours of “volunteer” work. Much was asked of her and she did it - beautifully. There is new a Central Office Administrator, Heather Hutton of Knoxville, Tennessee. She has many strengths and will be a valuable asset to ABANA, but her experience in working with large conferences has not been tested. Without a Conference Chair this would be an impossible task for the new Central Office.

So where do we go from here? This is a question that I asked in my message to the affiliates. I know that many of you like me look forward to getting together with old friends. For that reason alone the idea of not having the Conference will be a great disappointment. The first ABANA Conference I attended was Birmingham in 1988 – Sloss Furnace. The sharing and camaraderie alone won me over. There will be other Conferences, but we need a new model. I want to continue this dialog in future letters. Please let me know your thoughts. ALL suggestions are germane. There are no stupid ideas.

The more things change … the more we need to change …

Clare Yellin, ABANA President

   - Baxter John - Saturday, 02/17/07 17:33:46 EST

Gary Hatmaker
My 125# trenton has a pretty clean Trenton stamp. The word is inside a spread diamond. Many Trentons have an X instead of the N in the middle, so I expect they had some worn stamps from time to time. Of the stamped anvils I have seen, the Trentons tend to be the most clearly marked. The hourglass mark is on the bottom of the anvil. These anvils had cast bottoms and the depression should have a cast surface finish. Most Trentons have porter bar holes in the front and rear of the anvil.If in good condition this is an excellent anvil.
   ptree - Saturday, 02/17/07 19:39:56 EST

The earliest Trentons were imported from Germany by the Trenton Vise and Tool Works via Hermann Boker. Somehow he became a broker for the Columbus Forge & Iron Company and either sold or allowed them to use the TRENTON logo. The earliest CF&I ones had a slight depression in the base, but not the deep hourglass typical of a later year Hay-Budden. More the depression just followed the outer edges so anvil would sit more even. I don't know year they switched to a deep oval depression. The Columbus Anvil and Forging Company also used the deep oval, as did one of the Swedish anvil makers for a short period of time.

Almost all Trentons have the weight to the left on the front foot and serial number to the right. However, some are unmarked. Reason unknown. Richard Postman has speculated they might have been factory seconds, but quality seems every bit as good as as those stamped.

I don't think TREXTON was a worn stamp, but likely more a joke on the part of someone.

In any event, TRENTONS were top quality anvils and at a bit over $1 pound you are stealing it. Be ever so shamed.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Saturday, 02/17/07 20:00:25 EST

The following is a President's Message posted on the www.abana.org site. They are looking for ideas.

President's Message
February, 2007


Well it’s happened … the kids (ABANA Affiliates) are showing the old folks (ABANA) how it should be done. Yes, I am admitting that you put on more efficient conferences than we do.

Some of you have already known this and are probably saying right now, “Hey, we’ve been trying to tell you this for years.” And again you’d be right. All I can say at this point is this - the straw hit the camel’s back … and it broke.

No longer can ABANA sponsor conferences as before. They have become too cost prohibitive to produce and attend. Now is the time for us to learn from you. Here are just a few fine examples –

Quadstate RoundUp in Troy, Ohio

Southern Blacksmith Association Conference in Madison, Georgia

IronFest in Grapevine, Texas

CanIron in a different Canadian Province every two years

California Blacksmith Association Conferences in California

So where do we go from here? What I would like to start is a dialog with you. I will be getting in touch over the next several months with many of you to discuss conferences and ABANA. In the meantime you can get in touch with me, clyellin@mac.com

Our ears are open and with your help and guidance the parent can learn a thing or two from the kids.

Clare Yellin President
721 Moore Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Saturday, 02/17/07 20:04:31 EST


I was wondering if blacksmithing was something that can be a hobby or is it a complete lifestyle? If you are a blacksmith is that all you do or can you have amother job?
   Gabriel - Saturday, 02/17/07 20:53:42 EST

Gabreil, there are lots of blacksmiths who forge only as a hobby. The black part is easy to achieve, but it takes a lot more work to get the smith part.
   JimG - Saturday, 02/17/07 21:07:11 EST

I'd guess that there's alot more who do it for a hobby then professionally. Sadly there's much less call for a blacksmith these days so it can be a little hard to get the chance to do it for a living.
   AwP - Saturday, 02/17/07 21:53:56 EST

im mexican men but can make forge and need you expreriece for my job and art THANK YOU
   - erick terrazas - Saturday, 02/17/07 21:55:07 EST

Cameron: With your annealed chain links, it's less likely to break then if it was hardened high carbon steel, it's also much more likely to bend, but other then looking a little off a bend won't effect the performance. Actually, it's possible that your links got work-hardened during the forming process, and re-annealing (or maybe even just normalizing) after the links are completed might improve your performance. No promises it would help though, it depends on how much work-hardening is happening.
   AwP - Saturday, 02/17/07 22:05:24 EST

Thanks for the quick answer on my last question, here's another one: Do you all own your own forge or is there a kind of public forge that people all go to?
   Gabriel - Saturday, 02/17/07 22:55:36 EST

Most people own their own forge, but some local groups do have a shop (often at a museum)that members of the group may have access to.
   JimG - Saturday, 02/17/07 23:40:15 EST

Antibeous: At last year's Rough & Tumble Blacksmith Days there was a farrier competition. On of the shoes they had to make involved a forge weld. Most of the competitors used a big N.C forge or a big Forgemaster, all multiple burners. They fed them from ajustable pressure regulators, and cranked them up fro the shoes that required the weld. I don't know if any other modifications were made, I will ask this year. This part of the competition was done late in the day, so the forges were all plenty hot already, and the propane tanks well frosted by the time they were done. This was a June event in southeastern Pa.[hot weather]
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 02/18/07 00:13:51 EST

My big daddy nc forge has three burners and will forge weld stock from factory.
   - Baxter John - Sunday, 02/18/07 00:31:14 EST

guru, I recently saw a picture of the 1400lb fisher and I was wondering, does Josh Kavett have this one, how many others were made over 1000 lbs.? Something about that huge anvil makes me all warm inside....
   vorpal - Sunday, 02/18/07 01:26:09 EST

I come across these stories of big fishers bought for a buck a pound from a little old lady or somebody's uncle. Makes me want to cry.
   vorpal - Sunday, 02/18/07 01:27:33 EST

As far as is known Fisher & Norris made only one 1,400 pound anvil for the 1876 Centennial Exposition. It now belongs to the New Jersey Historical Society in Trenton I believe.

It is not known how many anvils they cast 1,000 pound or more, but they had the capability to readily do so. Apparently the U.S. Navy was their primary buyer of those.

For a history of Fisher & Norris go to www.abana.org and then the forums. Under the forum for Blacksmithing History and Lore there is a fairly detailed one.

One aspect. About 1900 Clark Fisher married Hariett White, who was about half his age. Clark died as the result of a train wreck a couple of years later. Rather than selling the factory Hariett stepped in to run it as the first woman in the U.S. to own and operate one. She did so (and quite successfully) for about 35 years. She was quite well known in her time as The Iron Lady or The Anvil Queen. In 1908 she made an around the world trip in an automobile (where she could). The first woman to do so. She was also one of the first women to drive a car (a Locomobile) on a regular basis.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Sunday, 02/18/07 05:01:12 EST

I am looking at buying a set of the ASM handbooks, I bought the desk edition and now I am hooked. They are the 8th edition and there are seven of them. I think they were published mid 60s, my question: is seven a complete set for that edition (there are 10 in the 9th edition I think) and given there age what would be a fair price? Thanks.
   - Leaf - Sunday, 02/18/07 05:14:16 EST

Leaf, the New ASM books today sell for about $200 each and there are about 20 of them. They are available on CD for about $3500. The 8th Edition will have a lot of basic information but lack much of the new technology. I think there are 7-8 volumes in the 8th Edition. This new technology may have little value in blacksmithing applications. I would not pay more than about $20 per book for what is a technologically obsolete publication. They have little or no collector value. Yet.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/18/07 10:28:30 EST

Society Memberships: ABANA is not unique in its struggle with declining membership. Virtually all technical and professional societies have the same problems. As manufacturing declines in America, so does the memberships. The cost to belong to some technical societies has reached several HUNDRED dollars per year. Many companies limit membership to only one per person. Conferences and Seminars can cost $700-$1500 for two or three days. We can no longer count on the economies of scale to support our technical societies and there must be some cannibalizing and merging for them to survive.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/18/07 10:37:12 EST

Cross Pein hammer question.

Hi All,
I am new to smithing/forging. I have spent the last 2 months reading this site (GREAT site here, I intend to join soon), reading some of the suggested books and buying/making equipment (just acquired a Nimba Titan and I have a Chile Forge Tabasco on the way). I am now looking at hammers. Since I just spent a small fortune on the anvil and forge, I don't have lots of money available to buy hammer after hammer looking for the type that I like.

Now, on to my questions:
1. Cross Peins...Swedish pattern, German pattern, French pattern. Could someone compare the relative merits of these? I like the looks of the French pattern(nice compact mass), but I am not sure of the half-flat profile of the pein.

2. Cost? What would I expect to pay for a good (not the best) quality forged hammer that I do not have to dress myself (in the 2lb cross pein range)? I see hammers in the $20-$30 range (e.g. Peddinghaus). Do these need dressing?

I really like the looks of the Hofi hammers, but that will have to wait until I have more funds.

   Mike Berube - Sunday, 02/18/07 12:07:17 EST

Mike, hammer size and shape are largely a matter of choice. Pick one that appeals to you and try it. I started with some cheap Harbor Freight ball peen hammers and still have (and use) them. I had a fellow smith known as irnsrgn make three hammers for me(1, 2, & 3 LB) and I use them most of the time. I dressed them all to my liking. This is not a big deal and can be easily done with a bench grinder, belt sander, etc. It would be difficult with a file!!! Remember, you can never have too many tong or hammers!
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 02/18/07 13:18:23 EST

ABANA's Conference Problems:

In the past ABANA's conferences were hosted by local CHAPTERS (remember when they were part of the family, not legaly distanced by the new "affiliate" term). The local group did the grunt work, organization and recieved a split of the money with ABANA who invited the big name demonstrators and paid their costs. It was a BIG fund raiser for ABANA. It was also their primary public educational outreach that as far as the public was concerned was non-existant. But the system worked.

Then after the Flagstaff conference the ABANA board took the conferneces away from the local groups deciding that the board could do it all. Apparently distancing themselves over a minor insurance issue and wanting to control everything has not worked. ABANA became a "them and us" situation which most of the "us" was not interested in since being shut out.

ABANA has several choices, scale down to within their means, scale UP and invite the public (and I mean REALLY invite the public not a few summer scholl students), OR turn the conferences back over to the local groups. The problem with the last choice is that the ABANA board created the "them and us" situation and may no longer be able to give up control.

Bigger or smaller? The last few conferences have been huge in the number and size of the venues. The have been too much to have a non-venues. To have a large conference they need to go to a large indoor venue, advertise it, invite the public at a REASONABLE daily fee and see that they meet their educational ob ligations. If there are to be large venues then the demonstrators must be projected onto LARGE screens and setup with sound so that everyone can hear everywhere. The demonstrations must be clear, fast, exciting, educational AND entertaining. No picky filing and chisling a piece for thee days.

DO NOT Tell me you cannot blacksmith in an indoor venue! EVERY DAY in America there is a "big foot" Monster truck demolition show with pyrotechnics, flame throwning engines and trucks, cars and motor cycles flying through the air. These ALL make more smoke than a couple blacksmith's forges.

Vendors that provide demonstrators and support crew like Big BLU Hammers did in 2004 with Uri Hofi should be COMPENSATED, not charged for every person on the crew including the demonstrator. YES, ABANA did that. They did nothing help what has been called by many as the best demonstration of the conference. Dean Curfman paid the bills including for MY press coverage.

THE PRESS should be invited, gratis. Local, international and the on-line press should be invited to the conferences. Shortly after anvilfire launched we covered the 1998 Asheville Conference and the past four as well. We have published more photos from ABANA confernces than ANYBODY including ABANA *on=line OR in print) and have never been invited to provide this wonderful advertising for them. In 1998 I paid for myself, two helpers AND a demonstrator as well as their expenses. Since then we have paid others as well as going ourselves at great expense.

There is being frugal then there is being CHEAP. By not inviting the public and the press ABANA has hurt itself AND not met its educational requirements. By not compensating vender demonstratons (simply reduced fees would help) they have hurt themselves.

Going big means going really big AND doing it right. You must advertise publicly in advance if you want the public to show up. Everything must be top notch and still be affordable. I think it can be done.

The other option is to just scale back, charge more and accept the fact that less folks will be able to afford to show up.

There are other ways. Find a large 10 or 20 acre piece of grass, invite the local groups and the public and put on a big tent show. Think Woodstock under the bigtop. OR advertise for cities or towns that WANT to have the conference locally for the hotel and resturant revenue and get a freeby deal on the local stadium. Cities PAY to have some events come to them. Think Olympics. . Inviting the public AND putting on a great show (NO snoozers) is important.

I've said it before and I will say it again, I KNOW how to put on a public blacksmithing demonstration that will excite the public. There are simple dos and don't and if you want return paying visitors it needs to be exciting. But ABANA has not been interested in exciting the public. Or being part of the local organizations which provide a LOT more bang for the dues buck.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/18/07 15:24:16 EST

Hammers The only styles of hammer I have used for any time were standard blacksmiths' cross pien and ball pien hammers.

The standard premium blacksmiths hammer such as sold by hammersource for $24 still needs a little dressing. The edges of the chamfer need rounding and the pien dressed. However, this hammer is as close to finished as you are going to get in the price range.

   - guru - Sunday, 02/18/07 16:32:03 EST

I have an aging [just like me]NC Tool Whisper Deluxe,that is definitely a farrier's forge.It does, however, attain welding temps at 8 to 10 psi.Properly warmed up of course.Partially blocking off the front door with brick or ceramic wool,speeds things up.
   dimag - Sunday, 02/18/07 17:37:56 EST

I neglected to mention the Deluxe has 2 burners.The only problem I have had welding with this forge has been with the part of the combination that holds the hammer.That particular unit needs more R&D or possibly design changes.
   dimag - Sunday, 02/18/07 17:45:12 EST

I agree with the Guru on the ABANA conferences. I attended the conference at Richmond KY, and Big Blu's demo, was the best of show. And you could see it and hear Hofi. The demos set up by ABANA were almost impossible to follow as the sound was bad, and the seating poorly laid out. I walked the entire place then settled in at Big Blu's and attended every minute of every remaining demo there. I felt the cost was high, but i certainly enjoyed Hofi and learned much.
Perhaps ABANA could co-sponsor some of the bigger events such a QuadState.
   ptree - Sunday, 02/18/07 19:49:07 EST

The typical Quad-State has an attendance likely larger than some ABANA Conferences and likely takes about 5% of the effort. Yeah, I would say ABANA could learn from some of the groups.

As I recall the big split between some of the groups and ABANA was over the tradition of blowing the anvil at a large conference. ABANA simply said no and if you do you we will pull your chapter status. Groups involved said, in effect, OK. I have only seen an anvil blowing a couple of times and from what I can tell everyone bent over backwards to make it a safe demonstration.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Sunday, 02/18/07 20:06:55 EST

I have three Trentons, and none has the porter bar indentations.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/18/07 21:02:51 EST

I bought the 300# Trenton mentioned in a previous entry. Its side definitely is stamped TRENTON in a diamond, has 307 stamped on a foot, no serial # found yet, a porter bar hole in each end and bottom. "solid" and something else is stamped below the logo. It is obviously a multipiece forging with clearly visible seams on the bottom. The top plate es in very good condition; horn tip is slightly mushroomed.

The body in a word is COARSE. Its edges are very sharp, no effort was applied to dressing it, at all. Does this lack of "refinement" speak to its age or origin?

I now have a 126# PW and this 307# Trenton. I feel like instead of getting into hobby black/bladesmithing, I've started a darn antique business. Beat on them, or try to sell them for enough for a Nimba or Pendinghaus?

By the way--I'm enjoying reading this site's discussions, and benefiting from its advice, but should I be paying sme membership dues or swear some oaths, or something?

Thanks again,

Gary Hatmaker
   Gary Hatmaker - Sunday, 02/18/07 22:01:46 EST

Gary Hatmaker,

As a full-time sculptor I have been through the antique anvil collecting process myself. In the last few years I have debated about a Peddinghaus.

After looking at other options and availability and some other more personal reasons, I have recently purchased a 450 lb Nimba! Yes I have a "Gladiator" in my shop and I have absolutely NO regrets! It ROCKS and I wish I had not waited so long. I have neve felt an anvil "strike back" like this thing does. My Gladiator actually WORKS dynamically with me.

So...am I crazy? Probably. But that has nothing to do with what we're talking about here! Good luck. I will look forward to following your choices.


Jim Adams-Element 26 Studios, LLC
   firedog - Sunday, 02/18/07 23:00:08 EST

With various typos, my previous posting also misspelled Peddinghaus.

   Gary Hatmaker - Sunday, 02/18/07 23:02:18 EST

Gary...I am not sure spelling is a huge issue in this forum! Have you considered a power hammer instead of a new anvil?
   firedog - Sunday, 02/18/07 23:11:28 EST

The power hammer seems like more fun than you should be able to have without going to jail or something! I have used two different hammers (one new, one antique) and they were both soooo cool. Opened up all kinds of possibilities.
   firedog - Sunday, 02/18/07 23:15:03 EST


what are the advantages/disadvantages of using compressed air as a medium of agitation of quenching oil over the conventional propeller or centrifugal pump agitation system

furthur, is there a thumb-rule for calculating the hp of a pump or flowrate of the pump for the hold of the quenchant say, 5kl,12kl,15kl 18kl,etc.. tank capacity to ensure efficient and uniform agitation throughout the charge
   gokarn - Monday, 02/19/07 01:51:58 EST

Gary Hatmaker: I can only tell you it would be a very early CF&I TRENTON, perhaps among their first anvils made. I largely determine this by the weight being on the front foot rather than the side. At one time it likely read SOLID WROUGHT being in line. Indicated both the top and base were both wrought iron. May have also said U.S.A. on it to differentiate it from imported Trentons. I don't know year CF&I started using cast bases supplied by others but they applied for a patent on the process shortly after they stated anvil production.

On the TRENTONs imported by Hermann Boker through the Trenton Vise & Tools Works Richard Postman believe those which have SOLID WROUGHT in a line were from Germany and those with it in a circle may have obtained from either Peter or Henry Wright in England. Some of those have the small ledges on the front and back feet also. On those if they have a weight it is likely in pounds, not British stone weight. Weight on imported ones should be on side at or below waist.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 02/19/07 08:04:41 EST

Thanks--I misspoke in my description earlier. The weight is stamped on the side, near or below the waist. I don't think the lower half is a casting--seems like the feet were separate pieces forge welded to a core--again, a very coarse lower half. The feet do have ledges, relatively large ones compared to the PW. I've not been able to convince myself if a joint is present denoting a separate top plate--I'll study it some more tonight when I can get my neighbor to help me roll it around to get better lighting and view. Can't hoss such things around like I used to.

I think I will try to get the Postman book, Anvils in America.

Thanks again

   Gary Hatmaker - Monday, 02/19/07 09:04:08 EST

Hammers, Quenchcrack, Guru

Thanks for the feedback guys. Guru, thanks for the link to hammersource. Didn't know they exist.

I guess I was confused by the fact that there are 2 lb crosspein hammers around ~$25 and then a big jump to $75-$100+ for the same size, but obviously (I'd hope) fully dressed. Nothing (that I can find) in the middle ground price-wise.

So is that how it is in the market? Spend $25 and dress myself or spend $75+ and have someone dress it for me?

   Mike Berube - Monday, 02/19/07 09:26:12 EST

Oil Quenches: Gokarn, Using air in oil is an explosive combination unless you are using a non-flamable oil. Pumps are used not only for circulation but to pass the oil through a cooler. The whole system is engineered around the size and rate of quenched parts. The thermodynamics are much too complicated to discuss here as they are a full course in engineering.
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 09:58:53 EST

Dues Our non-profit organization CyberSmiths International, Inc., (CSI) helps support anvilfire. Postings you see with BLUE signitures are CSI members.

We need more CSI members, especially those that wish to volunteer to join the board or help with various aspects of fund raising.
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 10:03:21 EST

Hammer Quality: Mike, The modern tool market is rather odd. It used to be that virtually ALL tools were of fairly high quality and ready to use. Today you have a range varying from almost worthless flea market and ebay targeted imports to fine top of the line products. Price is often not an accurate measure of a tool. While there are many German import hammers that are made of very good steel but are designed to be dressed by the end user their price is very good and compete with junk grade hammers that MAY look better. On the other hand some very well made hammers sell for competitive prices as well.

Then you have the hand made or low production hammers. There are a number of makers that individualy forge and hand dress hammers. These sell for a significant price but are not overpriced for the quality of the product. They are rapidly replacing what used to be available from large manufactures for less. The problem is that the world does not nearly rely on the hammer as much as it used to. So big manufacturers no longer have a wide range of finely finished hammers as they once did.
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 10:14:27 EST

Jock said "Vendors that provide demonstrators and support crew like Big BLU Hammers did in 2004 with Uri Hofi should be COMPENSATED"... damn right.

Check this out, ALL collegges and Universities have an annual budget for lectures and educational entertainment. These funds are both from alumni, major financial support, and mostly government funds. Now here's the fun part: if the school doesn't use up all the funds for that year, they run the chance of not getting apporved for funds next year. Usually by October or November, they are DYING to get someone in their halls as a speaker, etc. Someone is ABANA has to find the liaisions at the schools to get these gigs (this is how I got many shows for my nipple act years ago). The money is there, the available space is there, heck it's ALL there ripe for the taking. People gotta use your brains! I'm trying not to sound like those infomercials, but the US government even has funds listed as "historical re-enactment", giving money to small businesses. There are grants and even scholarships to tap into. I could go on but I have metal to smash.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/19/07 10:25:17 EST

Jock said "DO NOT Tell me you cannot blacksmith in an indoor venue! EVERY DAY in America there is a "big foot" Monster truck demolition show with pyrotechnics, flame throwning engines and trucks, cars and motor cycles flying through the air. These ALL make more smoke than a couple blacksmith's forges."

In 2003 a band named "Great White" was responsible for a pyrotechnic mishap that caused 36 people to die. Regardless of how it happened and how irresponsible THEY were, immediatley after almost every venue in America BANNED any show involving smoke or fire. Many of my friends almost were out of a job (90% of their show involved fire eating/breathing). I thought I was out of the line of fire (pun intended) being that I never used fire in my act. So here I am one gig, doing my bench grinder bit (hang a 6" bench grinder from the nips and turn it on, grind old files, make sparks, yay!). Out of nowhere, some stage manager guy comes out and tells me to stop doing my act, "Dude, there's no fire allowed." Did I want to argue the hell out of that stupid comment? Yes. Did my professionalism stop me from doing so? Yes. My point is, that most public facilities are scared (insurance) to let anyone do anything in their properties that may cause fire or injury. Guess that leaves out smithing 'cause its got tons of both.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/19/07 10:42:02 EST

Big Demos, ABANA: They need to look at what Brent Baily is doing in Peru He is sponsored by a South American steel company and they provide the proper tools for doing large croud demos. When the audiance is large they have a video projection system that is large enough to make it possible for everyone to see. I assume that they also have an equivalent sound system. This is not that outrageously expensive NOR unusual. Some large US churches do the same.

Demos as Entertainment, ABANA: At the Flagstaff conference they tried to make a joke of the JYH competition. That was followed by a rather childish skit on the invention of forging from cave man club to hammer. However, I think some of this was the local group. An entertaining demo needs to be fast and impressive. If the completed object is not made in just a few heats then you lose your audiance. If a project has multiple parts then a well practiced team should make it. If you want the most bang for your buck you want to see the biggest possible one or two man power hammer forgings. You want sparks and fire and MOTION.

There is a tourist food court operation called "The Fudgery". They make fudge. The put on a SHOW making fudge. It starts with the ringing of a ships bell to announce that it is time to make fudge. A large copper pot full of melted choclate is poured on a large marble coooing surface and worked back and forth to cool it. The workers explain what they are doing over a loud speaker and and when there is a break they sing a song or tell a fudge joke. . . When they are done the fudge is cut and sold. By the time they are done there is a large enough crowd to buy almost all the fudge. These folks KNOW how to demonstrate AND put on a show. A blacksmithing demonstration can be the same. It can be educational and entertaining. Only a few beginners will intently watch a long slow demo. Most of those that go to ABANA conferences need to see new ideas or impressive demos. Completion of a piece that takes days is NOT a demo suitable for a big conference. In recent years the demos have been geared to make finished products to sell at the conference auction. This has killed the demonstration process. How do the ex "chapters" get around this. Easy, they ask for contributions and they get them because they provide a good return on the investment.

Rainy (road flooded) and cool (mid 60's) in Costa Rica. . .
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 10:52:00 EST

We saw a great DIY power hammer (the first) here in Costa Rica. It used a spare tire clutch, bow spring linkage and a concrete base along with wood guide bearings. The fellow that built it was a long time machinist and one-time smith. We will have a nice article on it when we get home.
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 10:58:29 EST

On pyrotechnics and indoor venues:
I would think that a show as big as a blacksmithing event would be held in an arena, as opposed to a nightclub. We've got a good-sized indoor arena here in NH, the Verizon Wireless Arena, that has those monster truck rallies and other motor sports indoors. But for pyrotechnics, just about every hockey game (GO MONARCHS!!!) has a small indoor fireworks display, and a couple times per year they put on a big indoor fireworks show after the game. The arena has huge fans that they switch on when the fumes start getting heavy.

I've also been told that renting the Verizon isn't all that expensive, relatively speaking. They make it up in concessions. You can't bring your own food in, and they probably sell enough $3 bottles of water and $5 mini-pizzas to stay profitable.

But this would have to be something open to the public. I don't know what an arena like the Verizon charges, but I doubt it would be worth it for only a few hundred blacksmiths. As much beer as a blacksmith can drink, they don't come close to 9,000 hockey fans, eh?

   - Marc - Monday, 02/19/07 12:01:11 EST

Bill A from 2 days ago: yes, you should flux your cable for a billet. First burn the grease out, flux at low red, twist tighter at orange, reflux, weld when flux bubbles and steams at yellow heat. It helps to work your billet into an octagon (corners) then rectangular cross section again. (Tack weld your ends first, maybe a rebar handle.)
   vorpal - Monday, 02/19/07 15:30:39 EST

sorry, common borax for flux will work, or bake it at 500 degrees in the oven for an hour or so to dehydrate
   vorpal - Monday, 02/19/07 15:31:54 EST

Gary Hatmaker: With the additional information I now tend to believe your TRENTON was made for Hermann Boker (Trenton Vise & Tools Works) by either Peter or Henry Wright.

I don't know who early Boker imported Trentons - he also imported anvils marked H. BOKER. If a PW or HW I suspect a once piece base.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 02/19/07 15:44:17 EST

Marc, That is the kind of venue I am talking about. As to numbers the ABANA conference draws over a thousand or so (I don't know the exact numbers) and has a global attendance. Opening a good SHOW to the public as well as displays of work would up the attendance considerably. In many parts of the country a small blacksmithing demo draws thousands of a few weeks or months. A properly advertized event in a high population area could do the same. But it would HAVE to be advertised in the local media in advance.

   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 15:55:52 EST

Still raining and road/bridge covered with water in Costa Rica. . Will be on the road tomarrow and home Wednesday night.
   - guru - Monday, 02/19/07 15:57:16 EST

Folks, you need to be passing ABANA Conference suggestions to Chare Yellin (e-mail addy above).

I have suggested to her if they want an ABANA 08 they should talk to SOFA to host in during the summer, rather than a Quad-State 08 in September. SOF&A would get the first $ers of net profit to be the average of what they netted out of the last three Quad-States. ABANA gets the rest.

The Miami Country Fairgrounds could easily host a event of 1,000 - 1,200 attendees.

SOF&A might be interested if, and only if, they use the same basic KISS principle as Quad-States. Attendees would have to make their own lodging and food arrangements. Camping is availabe at the fairgrounds (a nice, low-cost way to hold down expenses), amply motels with 20 miles and there are food services there also. Nice secure building for a gallery and another large one for vendors. Lots of roofed buildings for demonstrations or perhaps tents could be set up where most of the tailgaters now set up. Infrastructure is already there. Experienced auction crew. Experienced registration staff.

Then it might be the CA group hosting it under similar conditions in 2010, perhaps the Southeastern groups in 12, perhaps the MO group in 14. The NY area groups in 16. The TX group in 18.

Putting on a conference (and I do have some experience in that area) is simple. The problem is keeping it simple.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 02/19/07 16:01:39 EST

Hello Gurus, I'm looking for info on a shear (hand operated) to cut up to 1/2" rd. or sq. stock. The Edwards brand (used) seems like the only affordable brand that is out there. Any advise on other brands or models?
   William - Monday, 02/19/07 17:28:44 EST

There were a lot of hand operated shears for cutting small bars- but most of them have not been made in 75 to 100 years. So used ones, while out there, take a bit of finding. Buffalo, Niagara, Marvel, Edwards, Pexto, Heinrich, and several imports from europe including Mubea and Peddinghaus have been sold at one time or another.

New, there are still a few- low end ones from china, and high end ones from europe. 1/2" round is pushing it for hand operated- you need a big handle to get the leverage to go that big. Marvel and Roper Whitney both made a series of "rod parters" which only do round bar, but go up to 1/2", and are often available used for reasonable price.
The best would be the old Buffalo hand operated ironworkers, which not only shear round and square, they shear flat bar, cut angle, and punch holes. And have not been made since at least the 20's, and are rare.
Knuth, in Illinois, imports a small bench shear that will cut 1/2" round, or 12" of 1/4" plate, for a couple of hundred dollars- not sure of the quality.
Glaser, a german company, still makes a nice hand operated shear that will cut 1/2" square, small angle, flat bar, and round, but it is not "affordable"- last price I saw was over a grand.

   - Ries - Monday, 02/19/07 19:09:31 EST

William,I have one of the harbor frieght shears that is advertised as able to cut 1/2" round and flat sheet as well. It is fine to 1/4", and cuts soft sheet metal up to about 16Ga. I think Ries has noted that the leverage to cut 1/2" is pretty high. I would agree. I have seen exactly one of the iron workers he mentioned, and the fellow that had it offered to break my arm if I touched it. He used it in the back of a truck for no power job sites.

I have been thinking about a low cost shop built iron worker working off low cost hydraulics. Have not found enough low cost hydraulics yet :)
   ptree - Monday, 02/19/07 20:14:00 EST

Bar cutter,
There are lots of 110v portable re-bar cutters that out there, They start at about $450.(5/8")
and go on up from there to about 1" (about $1000), is about the max capacity for a hand portable cutter. There is no reason they could not cut other profile bar aside from rebar, But their jaws are straight cut, So expect some distortion of the cut ends.
As far as hand operated, There are a number of lever operated cutters too. I have one made by Bon Tool that will cut 5/8 and make rudimentry bends too.
Its a type of shear that the bar fits onto holes through the cutter dies and a cam action of sorts does the shearing. It works fine, But it needs the bar feed through the cutter to the desired cutting point rather than laying the bar into a cutter jaw wherever desired. There are open jaw cutters however that have about the same capacity.
   - Sven - Monday, 02/19/07 20:50:10 EST

Ken Scharabok--

I finally see what you mean by a single piece base. I think I see a rough hour glass base with a rectangular hollow through it. The top must have a rectangular stub fitting through, and this assembly forge welded or "wrought" together.

The base does not appear to be a casting; the top body, maybe.

Still cannot make out the word below "solid", but can't figure any other word but "wrought" that could logically be there.


Saw your entry about CSI membership. I will be joining to provide financial and moral support. More substantial support (being a truly "active" member) may come later.

Thanks to you both.

   Gary Hatmaker - Monday, 02/19/07 23:35:46 EST

Oh yeah, I meant to mention the irony this site's mating of the general subject of blacksmithing with the Internet; the former predating the latter by hundreds, if not thousands of years. Makes one think, don't it?

   Gary Hatmaker - Monday, 02/19/07 23:48:56 EST

Gary Hatmaker: I doubt there are very many people left who actually saw it being done but is believe they simply brought up the bottom of the top part of the anvil and the top of the base up to forge welding temperature, toss on some flux and then did a standard forge weld. Early ones may have been done either by a sledge crew or heave hammer. Later ones may have been done in a hammer or press.

Some manufacturers were so good at blending in the seam you cannot tell it was joined.

From Anvils in America and Richard Postman I understand very few anvils were actually forged to shape. Some may have been cast, then die finished.

The American Wrought Anvil Company took out a patent for a one-piece forged anvil, but it is not known if they actually made any. I have a Dunn & Murcott, which later become AWAC, on which, if it has a base, I sure see no signs of it. When the CSI folks are here at the farm for the annual Anvilfire.com Hammer-in (April 20-22) I hope to get some second opinions on it.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/20/07 09:13:30 EST


Im probably going over old territory, but the ABANA discussion has brought it back into closer focus.

Most demonstrations I have seen at the Spring Flings and other venues have been from sheep to shawl, you start out with the raw material and go through each step to a finished project. This is, of course, fascinating to the smiths (and I have no problem with these demonstrations; I really enjoy and learn from them), but to the public it can be boring, especially if youre into a portion of the process that requires slow and meticulous detail.

When we did the Anglo-Saxon Armory at Jamestown Settlements Military Through the Ages a couple of years back, one of the comments from our own non-smithing crew was that our average exposure to the public was five minutes, tops, and then they moved on; no more than 10% dropped back by to see the progress (if any) at the forging part of our demonstration. Meanwhile, our women were pulling them in and engaging them in more fruitful conversations on the history and logistics of early medieval domestic life. Fire and noise and hot, glowing metal is an instant draw; but once you get the marks, er, publics attention you need further action to hold them. We later switched to a non-working narrator, which helps, but still

When doing demonstrations on more complex projects the secret is the preparation of multiple stages of samples. Having spearheads in various states of completion was a big help, and people could see which stage we were in without having to extrapolate from odd bits of metal being beat on. If you really need to keep a demonstration going, multiple samples is the way to go. If you have to make four welds on a Gothic roundel, make three ahead of time and make the forth for the demonstration. If you need to punch a cheek piece for a horse bit, make sure its already upset* and ready for punching. Have another pre-punched and demonstrate the linking. If you need to inlay a silver band on a spear socket, have one that needs grooving and another already grooved so that you can hammer in the silver. If the spearhead needs grinding, have three sides already ground and grind the forth.

This is, of course, lousy for production, (depending on how well you execute each step) and is a lot more work for the demonstrator or crew. In the sheep to shawl style demonstration you end up with the labor applied to one product. In a staged demonstration, you might have five stages, each taking a proportional amount of labor. Then, if youre doing three demonstrations over the weekend, you could, theoretically, need 15 samples, from raw material to 4/5th completed, before you even start, and at the end of the demonstrations, you only end up with three finished products for yourself, for sale, or for an Iron in the Hat raffle. The other 12 are either kept for the next demonstration or finished back home.

Despite the increased labor, this is still much better for demonstrations; and if the demonstration is the primary objective, and is meant for the public, this is one method to speed things along and hold peoples' interest.

* If you want to lose a crowd, fast, just start upsetting. ;-)

Cloudy and much warmer on the banks of the Potomac. Forged a pair of spurs for a friend yesterday, cut a large knee out of black locust for the new mast-step for the S Hrafn, and they're framing-up the wif's new house this week. Preparing requests for bids for the new forge.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/20/07 10:15:00 EST

This is where I have some experience that may help. As a performer, I(we) know that the general American public has a 30 second attention span. This is a scientific fact. Keeping that in mind, I wrote my script to focus on that short attention span so the audience gets what they "need" in order to stay in their seats. This is a tough chore, especially when doing extreme stunts that freak people out. The way I would apply smithing as a stage presentation would be to accentuate the "flash" of the work. That is, the fire, the hot glowing steel, the clinking and smashing of hammers, the main activity that is the "verbage" of smithing. Now, we all know this doesn't just "happen"... there's lots of boring fuddling around that pretty much isn't entertaining. So, I would set up at least two men... one guy setting up things (the boring part), then have the other guy in the front stage doing the action! Keep things moving! Switch teams once in a while, ALWAYS talk to the audience as if they are your close family and friends. If safety issues are taken in to consideration, bring a non-smith volunteer out of the crowd. Have them help out and it works! They feel as if they are a part of the show, special. In my shows, each object I would lift got a audience volunteer to help verify the weight, clip it on me, etc. During the whole "spotlight", I would jab cute jokes at them, make them say funny stuff. Always keep things moving, keep talking. Remember, this is the commercial generation of America.... if it's longer than 30 seconds, you've lost them. I'd be surprised if this message right now hasn't lost a few readers. Okay, I'm done wasting Jocks bandwidth.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 02/20/07 11:46:47 EST

Conferences. As Clare Yellin has pointed out, it is time to re-think.

It seems like I've demonstrated at a bazillion conferences starting in 1973. In the early days, especially the 1970's, when we were resuscitating a moribund craft, there was a dang near palpable learning excitement at the gatherings. It was the time for a how-to-do environment, for example in 1976, when Whitaker, Kington, Paley, Bredlow, and I were demonstrating and/or showing slides. At that time, there were many neophytes and few experienced smiths.

Nowadays, comparatively, we have many more smiths, full time and hobbyist, and not all of them are motivated to watch hot iron under the hammer, especially when you can't see past the guys in front of you. At the farriers' Laminitis Symposia, they have had live, large screen demos for years. A suggestion I heard years ago was to have smiths show slides of their studio/shops, plans, elevations, specialized tools and equipment. They could explain their personal approach to their kind of work. That would be a little different than watching hot iron all the time.

I attended a Rocky Mountain Smiths conference years ago, where cleaning iron and painting were demonstrated and talked about. Very good.

The tailgating is sometimes more fun that the demos. You can hobnob and carry on in an unstructured way.

Re the big show-biz aspect of getting the public involved, what's the point, unless you're re-enacting? Bruce has addressed well the public's attention span: SHORT! Are we trying to charge admission and make big bucks? Are we?

One possible advantage in having the public watch, is that one person out of one thousand might be influenced to pick up a hammer at some point in time. I know I was influenced early on by watching the California Knott's Berry Farm smith at work.

By the bye, attending a conference shouldn't hurt one's pocketbook.

I think we must constantly ask ourselves, "What is the purpose of an association and what is the purpose of a conference"?

Post Script. I have already written to Clare Yellin.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/20/07 12:28:05 EST

I would agree with Frank, that short peppy demos for the public are NOT what Abana conferences have been about, or should be, in my opinion.
While $250 admission prices are too high, we all agree, there is no way to realistically set up industrial scale forging stations, and put on a national conference, and have $5 admission.
There are plenty of places to demo for the public- here in the Northwest, blacksmiths have been doing live demos at the state fair every year for a long time.
The Abana conferences should be a show for the trade- not the public. And I have seen many 2 hour, 4 hour, and longer demos hold a big crowd rapt.
When Rob Gunter starts his lecture about steel alloys, junkyard steels, superquench and hardening, you never seen 200 guys so quiet for so long- no hot metal, no finished products, no quick and easy short attention span stuff- and yet, they have been some of the most talked about, and best attended, of the many abana demos I have seen.

I really think we need to think about how a national conference is different from a local one- what are the truly National concerns, what can it do that a local either cant, wont, or doesnt want to do.

I think more academic stuff is important- lectures like Tom Joyce's at Seattle, panel discussions, slide shows of history like Steve Bondi's great show about Mazucatelli in Flagstaff, small group discussions on business like at San Luis in 92, and Paley's slide show of his first two commissions in Richmond, showing slides nobody had ever seen since the 70s, Mike Bondi's memorial slide show and discussion about Steve's life- these have been some of the high points of my abana experiences.

At my local meets, I get to see short, concise demos of techniques- but I never get to see a team from England spend every waking hour of 4 or 5 days make a major piece- and to me, that is valuable.

I like Hofi's work, and plan to take a real workshop with him when I can- but in a demo situation, after seeing him use his unique dies for 20 minutes, I drift on- unless I can get my hands on the tools, I want to see more than just techniques demoed- I want to hear stories, see samples of finished pieces, see pictures, and try to get a whole image of the smith, someone who has spent years getting to where he or she is now.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 02/20/07 12:52:29 EST

Hi Folks
I need to make a new set of spring (clapper) dies for my 100# Little Giant. The dies I am replacing were made from mild steel, they were two curved pieces of 1" round stock that meet in the apex of the curve, like this: )(, only horizontal. The curved pieces are then welded to 1/4" X 1 1/4" X 36" stock to create the spring die. The mild steel does not hold up to much abuse, but the concept of the dies works great, like the Crown Dies for Big Blu hammers.

What steel alloy would you recommend and what heat treating and tempering steps would you follow?

Bart Trickel
   blackbart - Tuesday, 02/20/07 15:31:58 EST

Hello everyone, I was just kind of wondering about electroplating. Not anything I need to do right now, its just something that struck my fancy.

Mainly as far as I know you pretty much stick 2 pieces of metal in water and run an electrical current through it.

However my questions were say, if you used copper and steel (which may not work, I dont know) how would you keep from getting steel plated copper instead of copper plated steel, and also, how much voltage/amperes would have to be run through the water.

My information about this subject is very limited, so I may have got the wrong idea about this anyway.
   - Hollon - Tuesday, 02/20/07 17:08:59 EST

Hello, I am rebuilding a BUFFALO INDUCED-DRAFT FORGE #8660 from the turn of the century(My best guess). Up in the hood are 4 louveres that at one time long ago before this forge came to me, were all connected thru the hood to some kind of adjuster. Does anyone out there have a picture of what this thing once looked like? Or perhaps someone could try to explain it to me. By the way thank you for the great info on my question about shears.
   William - Tuesday, 02/20/07 17:23:33 EST

There are some IFs here, but here goes.
IF you can get your hands on a piece of 1" car/light truck/ light machinery axle, and IF you have a metal cutting bandsaw, you can split the axle down the center and carefully weld on the spring. If you are careful about how you weld on the spring, you should be able to keep the temper of the axle intact and have a decent set of drawing spring dies. The cutting will be somewhat slow and tedious on the bandsaw, but with a good bi-metal blade it is entirely possible.
My take on the situation.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Tuesday, 02/20/07 18:31:13 EST

I admire Ken Scharabok's ethics, he could try to buy something for a unethically low price, and sell it for much more. I have met Ken in person, and find him to be a gentleman, and to very closely describe his offerings on his sales site. He sells low cost tools to the folks who otherwise would not have the cash to buy or would get ripped off by unethically marketed tools.

KEN, if you see ME selling too low, please let ME know.
   ptree - Tuesday, 02/20/07 19:16:16 EST


I am who I am. Yes, I freely offer what I have learned about anvils with those who basically have no idea what they have. I have no intention to stop.

Life isn't fair. Get over it.

   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/20/07 19:23:23 EST

Ken, You are so right about life not being fair.

ptree, My gosh you mean people really try to buy cheap and keep a nice item or maybe sell and make a profit? Why hadn`t I thought of that?
   Robert - Tuesday, 02/20/07 20:00:46 EST

Aaron atSCF

I do in fact have a metal cutting band saw, and used it to slice a thin chunk off the mild steel drawing dies I made. I should be able to do it on harder steel, it may take longer though. I may just have an axle around also. I'll just do a few lighter welding passes verse one heavey one.

If's work for me!

   blackbart - Tuesday, 02/20/07 20:24:29 EST

Robert, I guess that trying to explain MY opinion of the ethical difference in theft by deception, and buying cheap is beyond my limited ability with words. I know that buying a high value item for a price set in ignorance is legal. Not right or ethical, but yes it is legal. Would you want it done to you? Would you want it done to your heirs?
But then Maybe you don't care. I would.
   ptree - Tuesday, 02/20/07 21:50:32 EST

Ken, thanks for showing some ethics and making up for those who don't. Hopefully the people reading this forum will recognize an honest dealer and you'll be rewarded with some sales because of it.

   - Marc - Tuesday, 02/20/07 22:17:04 EST

Holon: You have about half of the info. The electricity is Direct Current, the polarity governs which metal is deposited and which is depleted. The water isn't just water as pure water doesn't conduct electricity well. It is an electrolite which means there are other compounds in it that make it conduct, generally acids. The electrolite differs depending what metals are being plated. The voltage is low, but must be DC, the amperage will vary with the surface area of the parts. For a lab example a drycell will work. Unfortunatly I lost the address of a great plating website when I had to get my computer disk scrubbed.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/20/07 23:46:53 EST

Robert: Cheap anvil [and other equiptment] prices are great from the standpoint of those of us who are still buying, but the older guys who have more stuff than they wil ever need sort of like to see higher prices as they know someday they [or whoever they leave it to] may need to sell off some or all to raise capital. I met Ken at Quad state, and He is a really nice guy, and I will just have to forgive Him if He opens His big mouth and blows a good deal for Me.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/20/07 23:56:45 EST

I want to know whether any company is using automatic process for descaling of iron billets 400 mm square weighing 4 ton , 3000 mm long. If yes! please let me know how?
   Prashant Pingle - Wednesday, 02/21/07 00:16:54 EST

I stand 100% behind the items I sell. If you were unhappy with an item all you have to do is to contact me and I would have provided a replacement at my cost (and still will today). As I see it, if you weren't happy with what you received, and didn't contact me to make it right, then you are at fault here also. I have a dissatisfied customer who gave me no opportunity to correct the problem.

I hadn't received a negative feedback for several years. Then one came out of the blue as "junke". Buyer didn't even contact me with a problem. They also purchased a cast iron anvil from Grizzly and did the same thing to them.

As noted you have an option to file a complaint with eBay.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 02/21/07 03:37:42 EST

Gary Hatmaker: Take a look at eBay anvil #300081686136. Seems to be one just like you described. You can clearly see part of TRENTON name, some lettering below it and the small ledges on the front and back feet.

I suspect this is also a 'British' Trenton. If so, would likely date prior to 1898, when CF&I started using the Trenton logo.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 02/21/07 05:13:44 EST

Ouch! Don't know if Robert here is p.o.'d cause HE didn't get a cheap price on a pricey piece or that he's p.o.'d cause Ken told the seller he was making a mistake. Robert sounds to me like a guy who would let a good friend take a fall so he could get ahead. This isn't a case of an old granny selling a cherry 'vette for $200. I've picked up nice tongs at flea markets for $10, knowing full well that they were worth 4 to 5 times more. Now, if a close relative or friend of mine were running the table, I would definitley tell them of the financial loss.

Oh, and Robert... the phrase "I always tell other smith`s (newbies) this story and if they see fit to pass on buying any tools from you and I hope I`m costing you money now and then.
" IS unethical and is illegal in many states. It's called interfering with commercial business and is likened to a sit-in blocking customers from an entrance to Wal-Mart. You can be arrested for such statements.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 02/21/07 09:03:31 EST

Now that you all are sitting on your sacks of ethics lets say a fictitious young smith went to a flea market and seen a nice 150lb Hay-Budden for $150 knowing full well that anvil would sell in a flash anytime for $300. At this point should he buy and leave or tell the guy of his pricing mistake and make him take a payment of $300 so the young smith did not damage his ethical viewpoint?

I don`t think any of you would correct the price, you would buy and leave.

I could care less about that ebay anvil Its just the fact that I don`t agree with the info. being passed along to sellers at ebay and then they think they have a gold mine, let the stuff ride.

I`ll be the first to say I want to buy as cheap as I can but I also am willing to pay what it takes, $572 for a near mint 214lb Hay-Budden. This last weekend many smiths at an auction, one item a 20 inch X 15 inch near 200lb swage block cost me $700 thats $200 more than I wanted to pay but I wasn`t leaving without it. I`m not cheap, remembering to use good judgement may be in question. I`ve bought many things at low prices so it all averages out for me.

Nippulini, Is it ethical to assume so much about me? Your such a cool guy!
   Robert - Wednesday, 02/21/07 10:50:41 EST

When buying anvils cheap I always want the seller to put the price they want on the anvil. If they have not done their homework and put an unrealistic price on it (high or low) then they are responsible for it.

Particularly for on-line auctions that by their nature show that the seller has access to fast and easily obtained information on the internet; if they are not willing to avail themselves of it so be it.

If I am at an auction and someone not bidding on an item interupts and starts telling folks how it's really worth far more than the current bid I would not be pleased. They are welcome to bid on it if they think it's going too cheap.

OTOH I have been know to pay more than the asking price sometimes if I think the person does not have the background to set a fair price.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/21/07 11:34:25 EST

Tell me again, I forget: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/21/07 11:55:17 EST

This may not be any of my business,but as a long time visitor to the Anvilfire site,I have always assumed that the Guru's Den,is an question and answer forum, designed to help smiths new and experienced, solve metal working problems.
If someone has a problem with another human being's actions,then my suggestion is that the problem be discussed in the many other places on the net that are open to such things.Or maybe e-mail or, heaven forbid,a telephone, might be the more appropriate venue.
   dimag - Wednesday, 02/21/07 12:14:40 EST

Would it be possible to cast a small crucible to melt silver out of satanite?
   chris makin - Wednesday, 02/21/07 13:46:50 EST

Wow. Interrresting stuff... back to metalworking. Anyone know about the history of anvils in Hawaii? I am moving there soon, can't take my shop with me, and am looking to buy a new (old) one when I get there. (Hopefully cheap, heh heh). Were there a lot brought there in days past? Post vise, too....
   vorpal - Wednesday, 02/21/07 14:04:05 EST

vorpal: I have had e-mail exchanges with some blacksmiths in Hawaii. They tell me blacksmithing equipment is virtually impossible to find there. If they buy in the U.S. anything which can't be shipped in a Priority Mail flat rate box can get to be very expensive delivered.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 02/21/07 14:58:58 EST

So about the electroplating I asked about, to make the water into an electrolite or whatever, could you add some as simple as lemon juice, or would you need HCl or something?

Is DC what comes from a wall or battery, or do you need some sort of adapter?

Say you wanted to plate iron with copper, or brass, do you know what would be the setup?
   - Hollon - Wednesday, 02/21/07 16:37:35 EST

Also on the note of the ebay bids, I would definetly not think it to be wrong to inform someone about what they're selling. Perhaps Ken is a nice person and does this, and not so greedy, that he tries to take advantadge of someones ignorance.
   - Hollon - Wednesday, 02/21/07 16:39:28 EST

Chris, Why? Even supposing you produced a successful crucible on the first try, would it be worth your time and effort? Little crucibles MADE for precious metal work are not very expensive, and are widely available online.

BTW: While made for the purpose crucibles will last much longer, for a hobbyist pouring into simple molds stainless steel sauce cups will be good for a few small pours apiece, and you could easily loose the price of a package of sauce cups into the porosity of a home-made crucible.
   John Lowther - Wednesday, 02/21/07 16:42:37 EST

OOPS: LOSE, not loose. . . Proof then proof again then post. . .
   John Lowther - Wednesday, 02/21/07 16:45:39 EST

I know I could whip one together in a short while no problem I and it would cost next to nothing since have a bunch of satanite.I was concerned about them structuraly holding together during the process.As far as porosity I would coat with flux like I do with a store bought crucible and I could do it tonight and not have to wait on shipping.
   chris makin - Wednesday, 02/21/07 17:08:36 EST

Also melting a few ounces of sterling in a thin metal cup sounds kinda scary.
   chris makin - Wednesday, 02/21/07 17:34:21 EST

Chris, I have melted and poured quite a bit of silver, copper and bronze from stainless steel creamers bought for 25-50 cents at the fleamarkets---always trying to find the *heaviest* ones! I used my coal forge as the heat source with a "Mount Fuji" fire lay---so the creamer fits into the caldera with a good bed of coke underneath.

They do scale thinner and will only do a couple of melts. Keeping the air down so you are not oxidizing helps!

Generally I am casting knife fittings or jewelry so only a couple of ounces of metal at a time.

WARNING: molten metal I consider much more dangerous than hot iron/steel---even if it's at a cooler temp! Due to the possibility of steam explosions. If you do not know how to safely handle it please *LEARN* before experimenting with it.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/21/07 18:11:38 EST

Thanks Thomas
I've been melting and pouring SS on and off for 28yrs.one thing I've learned is never let your guard down.I still have not got a clear answer on the satanite will there be problems?other than my sculpting ability.
   chris makin - Wednesday, 02/21/07 18:42:30 EST

That's terrible news. Good thing I make most of my own tools. Wish I could ship my Peter Wright out there. Five years without it is going to suck. Is it feasible to arc weld 5160 flat stock onto the face of a harbor freightish anvil? With a real good preheat for sure, but what kind of rod would you use to weld spring steel to cast iron?
   vorpal - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:14:03 EST

I am looking for a "leg vise" or "foot vise" for working with horse shoes. I want something that will hold the shoe tight while I am cleaning or brushing it, but will allow the shoe to be repositioned quickly (by taking foot or leg pressure off) without having to unscrew a vise and use both hands.
   Steve - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:23:05 EST

Vorpal: One of the guys over at Forgemagic.com is in Hawaii. You might post over there on the chance You turn out to be near His shop.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:32:31 EST

Hollon: The wall outlets in Your home are AC. You would need a transformer and rectifier to be able to use it for plating. The drycell I mentioned in My post is a flashlight or lantern battery. When I was a kid I tink I used some acid from a car battery added to watter and copper sulfate to [crudely I may add] deposit some copper on a carbon rod. It would have worked on steel as well. You need to do some reasearch on this before You try anything.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:41:49 EST

Anvil pricing: An anvil is worth a lot more to a blacksmith than it is to Jo Publick. A good scrounger buys te one from somebody who doesn't use an anvil, doesn't want to use an anvil, and has stubbed His toe on it one too many times. This guy is happy with $1.00/#. He doesn't care if it is an ASO or the finest steel, it is gone, and He got some money for it. I don't see any ethical problem with this. Some [luckey] people have been known to have anvils given to them. The industrial surplus dealer I dealt with sold 400# anviles for $600 weather in great shape or not so good shape. Personally I would not give any more money for a Hay Budden or Peter Wright than I would for an old cast steel Swedish anvil [like the one I got from Ken K., 158#/$150] in equal condition. What some other smith would pay is His own buisiness. To Me it is a tool. There is less work by far in an anvil pound for pound than a postvise, I think it should cost less.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:57:54 EST

Electroplating: household baking soda in water will disolve copper and a car battery charger will make it stick to clean metal, the electroplating industry was also the reason the EPA was founded way back, most of the chemicals involved are very very toxic and nothing for your backyard or garage.

Ptree: thanks for the ASM handbook info, I am going with a few select copies of the 9th ediion instead, if anyone is interested in a set of the 8th edition some guy on ebay has them for $15 each, I was going to offer him $100 for all seven, Item number: 160079470003
   - Leaf - Wednesday, 02/21/07 22:57:56 EST

Vorpal, the history of anvils here is nonexistent. There are probably less than a hundred on the island, and no owners will part from them. If you have one, SHIP IT HERE. Don't come here expecting to find one. If you have any other smithing equipment, bring it too. My advice would be to crate or palletize it and get it shipped. For probably under $300 you could get a half-ton crate of smithing kit shipped here -- WAY less than the purchase price. If/when you come here, you're welcome to look me up. Drop me an email.

Regarding electroplating:
Something for the hobbyist to look into is electroless plating processes -- google the term for more info. They are non-hazardous to dispose of when the directions are followed, and use no electric current in water, though many do require immersion heaters.

Cloudy, windy and cool in Pearl City, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 02/22/07 01:38:41 EST

T. Gold:
Just out of morbid curiosity, what is cool for Hawaii?? :)

-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 02/22/07 09:55:43 EST

Last chance for help on the satanite crucible.I made one last night took about twenty minutes and some cardboard mailing tube.It's dry now should I fire it first then do the melt?Thats what I'm thinking anyway hope it holds together.
   chris makin - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:12:03 EST

I have somewhere in my haha files here at Entropy Research a squib from an old smithing publication, Anvil's Ring, perhaps, c. mid-1970s that says there are scads of anvils lying on a beach on the island of Truk. Howcum, nobody knew. Maybe they are still there. Let's mount the Anvilfire Anvilquest, outfit a vessel and ....
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:12:22 EST


I've read stories at the end of the war in the Pacific there were huge amounts of equipment on hand no longer needed. Would have cost too much to ship it back. Didn't particularly want to leave it behind for the locals.

Heard one story of using trucks to run jeep after jeep after jeep off the end of a pier.

Thus, someone finding a cache of anvils from WW-II wouldn't particularly surprise me. However, if they did, I would expect them to be Fishers (or Vulcans) and I doubt the cast iron has stood up to a salt water environment very well.

In an 1957 newspaper article on Fisher & Norris it was noted they were classified as a war essential plant and the government used their anvil manufacturing method as the basic for writing their purchase specifications. If so, there would have only pretty well been them and II&B would could have produced anvils in quantity for them.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:46:46 EST

Steve: The tool you are looking for is a foot spring vise. I looked in the catalog for Centaur Forge and Pieh Tool Co. They are on the side of their farrier anvil stands but don't seem to be sold separately by them. Try the North Carolina Tool Co. If they don't list them separately contact them to see if they will do so for you.

On my way home from town a couple of days ago a farrier was shoeing a couple of horses off to the side so I stopped in to watch. He had one, which I tried. I was really surprised at how strongly it gripped. Must have one heck of a spring in the shaft.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/22/07 11:13:04 EST


abebooks.com has a copy of "How to Make Horseshoeing Tools and Equipment" by Scott Simpson. It has plans for the step vise and much more. Back in the 40's and 50's, when step vises started being used by farriers, many would forge a pony sized bar-shoe for the treadle.

The angle of the vise jaws was especially useful for hot-rasping cropped horseshoe heels. That angle is also useful for blacksmiths that cold-file hardware. It holds the metal at an angle where you can see what you're doing when chamfering and edge filing. It leaves the hands free when positioning the work.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/22/07 12:42:39 EST

should have said..."It leaves the hands freer..."
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/22/07 12:45:55 EST

Hot Punches

Hi all. I am going to be making my first pair of tongs, hence I will need to punch holes for the rivet. I understand I need a hot punch (tapered so that it does not get stuck from heat expansion). All I own currently are pin punches so I need to get some hot punches.

My problem is that I cannot find any "hot punches" anywhere. I can find "drift punches" that seem like they might be the right thing. Please check out this link and tell me if this is an example of what I am looking for.


By the way, how long does it normally take before one's CSI membership is activated? I know the GURU has been away these last 2 weeks and is probably just digging out after having returned. I signed up (and payed up :-) ) on Monday. Just curious...

   Mike Berube - Thursday, 02/22/07 14:45:09 EST

Mike Berube.

I see the "drift punches", but I never heard of the term till just now. A hand held hot punch should be at least 11" long, so that you don't cook your hand. It has a tapered business end like the ones shown in the catalog. Hot punches are often hafted, as well.

For a short run of two holes, a hot punch can be made of mild steel. For flat jawed tongs, forepunch with the diagonal second shoulder overhanging the far anvil edge. Back punch over the pritchel hole with the second shoulder facing upwards.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 02/22/07 15:26:26 EST

Chris - Let us know how your experiment worked out.
   John Lowther - Thursday, 02/22/07 16:04:52 EST

Frank Turley - Hot punches

Hi Frank,

Yeah, I thought they were short. I've found some others on protoolsdirect.com that were 10.5 inches long. Made by Proto. They also offered a punch holder (punch goes through ring, handle screws into side of ring to hold punch).

Excuse my ignorance, what do you mean when you say "Hot punches are hafted..."? Do you mean "have a handle"? Also, by forepunch, do you mean the initial punch on the first side and the "back punch" is the second punch on the back side thus completing the punching operation?

Thanks a lot,
   Mike Berube - Thursday, 02/22/07 17:13:35 EST

Mike, Yes you understood Frank correctly and a haft is a handle which can be of various types.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/22/07 17:19:24 EST

Leaf, I think you have me and someone else who gave you advice on the ASM books confused. I think it was the Guru perhaps.

Miles, Truk harbow was the sire of a huge amount of Japanese shipping that was caught sitting still and sunk by areial bombing. Maybe the anvils came from a sunk ship.

After the war ended in Europe, My Dad, a combat crewman on B-17s was stuck on "de-mil" detail for about 3 days a week for 6 months. He was in the far south of France. He mostly de-miled B-17s. They had a list of items that was pulled and shipped off, and then at first they blew up the birds. Messy and dangerous. Then someone figgured out that if you took a wire rope and looped it around the wing/fusalage, and hooked it to 2 D-7 crawlers and drove them in opposite directions the remains were then fully de-milled, and ready for the French scrappers to haul off. They scrapped a couple of thousand B-17s this way, some tired, some with ferry time only. He & a buddy also, on their day off would draw a jeep, a Thompson and a .45 auto and a jeep load of ammo. They would stop by the mess hall, pick up all the coffee cans they could find and drive to the beach. They would shoot up all the ammo, drive the beach into the surf, and walk back to the arms room, where the armorer would tourch cut the weapons to scrap. He claimed to get really good with a Thompson and a >45 after the first 10,000 rounds! Two days a week he flew with an OSS Col, in a converted B-17, all over Europe and North Africa. Sometimes the folks they hauled back were in chains and chained to the seats, sometimes they were treated like Kings. He said any contact with the Russians in their areas was scarey, as they were likey to shoot first and then ask questions!
   ptree - Thursday, 02/22/07 17:30:12 EST

Home Again: We are back, a day late. Missed a flight and had to stay overnight in Miami, FL. What a miserable airport. Transferring there is not too bad but checking in and out or getting in or out is worse than any other airport I have ever been in. Guess it COULD have been worse, could have been in Chicago in the snow. .

Will catch up shortly.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/22/07 17:52:12 EST

Welcome home!
   - frostfly - Thursday, 02/22/07 18:31:25 EST

Mike Berube: Chance are you have an old small ballpeen hammer laying around. Take out the handle and forge out the peen end into a punch shape. Then temper as if it were a chisel, wirebrush the head and put the handle back in. You then have a nice, small handled punch.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/22/07 18:42:34 EST

Providing information on anvils on eBay works both ways. Yesterday there was a listing for a 97 LB Forged Cast Steel Anvil. Obviously a VULCAN or one like it. After that infomation was provided to the seller they changed the listing accordingly. May have helped keep a buyer from paying too much for a low-quality anvil.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Thursday, 02/22/07 18:44:25 EST

Grant makes some nice handled hot punches, and sells em thru Blacksmith depot, an advertiser on this site. He even makes square ones, just in case you have some of those rare square rivets.
   - ries - Thursday, 02/22/07 19:36:16 EST

Punches, Ken, Ries

Ken, thanks that is a good idea. When my skills improve I may try that. Ries, thanks for the lead.

The nice thing about square rivets in tongs is you don't have to worry about the rivet getting too tight, the tongs won't open in any case.. :-)

   Mike Berube - Thursday, 02/22/07 20:16:05 EST

Ries, I prefer hex punches for hex rivets. The hex rivets are easier to fit as you have twice as many chances to align. :)
   ptree - Thursday, 02/22/07 21:29:06 EST

Sure tongs with sq rivets will open---if you make the holes large enough...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/22/07 22:28:12 EST

Charcoal Fire Control
Im having difficulty keeping my fire high enough in my 7inch square 4 inch deep firepot. I would like to have it just about at the top of the pot, but it wants to stay low even when i boost the blower (which just makes the charcoal crackle like fireworks). The pots a small cast iron job from centaur forge with a good dayton blower and store bought tueyre (sp?) (which i guess makes me a rather lazy person) any advice would be a big help.
   - Sebastian B. - Thursday, 02/22/07 23:32:04 EST

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