WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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 March 22 - 31, 2001 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Thermal Expansion: Scott, Short answer, NO. When looking at this type thing you pretend the item is a solid, not an odd shape. Expansion is equal per unit in all directions. However, the coefficient of thermal expansion is not constant. As the temperature rises the rate changes. Generally it increases as the temperature increases and is given in ranges.

The coefficient of expansion also varies a little with the type of steel.

For SAE 1085 the coefficient is 11.1 µm.m>·K (dont cha just LOVE it when they use Kelvins!). or 6.2µin/in·°F at room temperature to 100°C.

The ASM Metals Reference Book has a chart of coefficients for about 30 steels in the range from room temperature to 700°C (a few to 1,000°C).

There is some permanent growth when hardening and tempering steels. This also varies depending on the type of steel. This occurs due to freezing the steel in a different crystal structure than the normal annealed condition when hardening. This value is given for some tool steels in a percent of growth. This is usualy only critical when making precision parts that are not ground after hardening. The information may be available for your material or it may not. In some cases you need laboratory reports from the alloy manufacturer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 00:48:13 GMT

Ti: Adam, The only thing I know is that it takes beautiful temper colors that are fairly permanent. You need to start with a clean smooth surface. Wet-or-Dry produces the best surface for most oxide finishes but you can also polish. Fine shot blasting (walnut shells) or tumbling is also a good prep.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 01:31:41 GMT

Guru, I have no experiance and only the information i've recieved from the internet and Readers Digest "Back To Basics". I am 16 and needless to say I have limited recources. I can get books on the subject easily and I learn well from books. However, With an extreemly tight budget I'm having trouble finding tools that would work for learning Blacksmithing and be usable for years. This is important considering the substantial initial investment required.
I can find hundreds of patterns for forges, but no viable options for anvils. The only "tools" available on ebay are the 55# cast iron "doorstops". Please help me find or build an inexpensive but usable smitthy. And also mabey I'm an idiot but I can't find the answers to questions that are posted on this forum. Please direct me to the path of enlightenment.
Richard H Pitts  <skyboarder2010 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 02:04:19 GMT

Barney ....sent out book today 14th......18US...can't get email to work....send to address on package...thanks....
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 03:10:38 GMT

Anvils: Richard, Actually we are a little disorganized here. I REALLY need to do some local indexing.

There is a series on anvils on our 21st Century page. Then there is an iForge demo on making tools from RR rail. See the funny little anvil at the end. It doesn't need the horn and such. Using the END of the rail takes a tool that is normally like pounding on a coil spring and makes it actually usable. Its not a big surface but it is all you really need. Most smiths use about that much space on a much larger anvil. A short chunk of large shafting can be used the same way. Finding either takes some resourcefullness. If you don't have a scrap yard nearby try the local machine shops or welding shops. Both will likely have heavy chunks of steel that can be used. Don't expect them to give ANYTHING away. Rust machines off.

You can substitute Channellocks and Vise-Grips for tongs until you make your own. Safety glasses, smithing hammers, files and a hacksaw can be purchased at hardware stores. That's about all you need. You can make the rest.

While at the welder or machine shop ask if they have any 3/8" round or square bar. Its a LOT easier to start with new stock. But old bolts and RR-spikes are common starting stock.

One of the most important expensive tools to consider purchasing is a good HD angle grinder. This is the most important shop tool when using heavy scrap to make anything. Be sure to wear safety glasses AND a face shield.

Frequent the local junk shops. ALL old tools such a hammers and chisels can be recycled into smithing tools. Old cold chisels are used as-is and changed into punches and drifts. Old tools often sell for a lot less than the tool steel would cost to replace them!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 04:08:12 GMT

I am looking for information on building a jig for cold bending 3/16 steel stock for spur heel bands. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Al Boehmer  <2roadrunners at zianet.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 04:20:38 GMT

Jigs: Al, look on our 21st Century Page under benders.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 04:22:24 GMT

BTW guru, I love the online metal store that was added to the anvilfire store.
AdamSmith - Thursday, 03/22/01 10:39:14 GMT

Heinzs' hammer
Well you arent going to build that tank now I guess after all that advice but to get your hammer to work just toss the 4" ram and get a 2" or at most 2.5", if you can lighten your ram a bit that might be easier than finding a larger anvil because thats the weak link in your setup, its way too small, I have a 80lb ram and a 880 lb anvil and that is good for me, I can work 2" bars ok. Picture at PHOTO I only have a 3hp compressor also with a 2" cyl and it works fine, it runs about 50% of the time, cept when drawing 3/8" tapers when I have it on light hits which use more air because I send the ram up earlier. I can get 180 bpm at certain settings which is ok (kinda jealous of Tonys' 130lb 270bpm though). What are you going to be forging? if you must have 100lb of ram get more mass under it and go with a 2.5-3" cyl and get another small cheapie compressorand run the 2 in tandem, these are great tools and the money will be well spent.
Shannell  <ssaa at iprimus.com.au> - Thursday, 03/22/01 12:54:03 GMT

Shannell: Thanks for the more constructive comments. Yes, reducing the ram mass is much better. The 4" cylinder however, won't really need more air since it would need 1/4 the pressure as the 2" cylinder to do the same work. There IS an increase in friction however. For slow blows or clamping that big cylinder adds 1200 pounds at 100psi.

In comercial steam hammers the lift/ram ratio increased as the hammer got smaller. A 100# Cburg has a 15:1 ratio (like the anvil). A smaller hammer would want more to run fast. The extra cylinder size is needed to slow the ramm and reverse it at high speed (absorbing the inertia). There is LOTS of pros and cons and optimization to do when you build your own machinery.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 13:42:48 GMT

Holy cow, Shannell! Fire sale on BIG rectangular tubing? Looks like you can move some iron. Truth be told, I'm afraid of using mine at 270BPM. I need to put different seals in the air spring. If I lose the air spring, I'm afraid I'd bend other stuff and I don't want to wreck it. Gotta add that self contained air hammer station to the left side don't ya know.
Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 13:44:07 GMT

Adam Ti finishes- If you are looking to color the titanium, then the best colors are acheived by polishing the piece to as close to a mirror finish as posible. I know that the titanium comes out of the forge with a yellowish powder scale that can be very difficult to remove. I use a sand blaster then a wire wheel and then go to polishing to finish before I heat color my titanium pieces. It is also possible to anodise titanium which creates even brighter colors, but takes more equipment to do. If you have any questions send me an e-mail and I would be glad to help.

Todd  <ironoak at ismi.net> - Thursday, 03/22/01 13:45:39 GMT

Any suggestions on a air hardening tool steel rod to build up the edges on a Peter Wright. Thanks
Kevin  <kmkoontz at positech.net> - Thursday, 03/22/01 16:04:42 GMT

I am very interested in taking up a hobby doing metal work. I feel that weapons and armor made the old way are much stronger. I want to know where I can learn how to work metal . I am very fascinated with blacksmithing and would appreciate any help you can give me to point me in the right direction.
My e-mail is Silverclaw at metallica.com or Dacole13 at hotmail.com
David Cole  <Silverclaw at metallica.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 17:34:38 GMT

i am a beginning blacksmith;
i have recently refurbished an antique cast iron, portable forge (the kind that uses a lever to operate the blower);
my father told me of how his father used to go get a certain white clay from the bottomlands to line the forge with before firing up; is this practice normal for this type of forge, or is it even necessary?
Gary McWilliams  <gmcwilliams at lwf.org> - Thursday, 03/22/01 18:47:33 GMT

Getting Started: David, See our Getting Started article linked at the top and bottom of this page and the reading list there. Most of the advice there applies to hobbiests as well as a profession. You will also find a great deal of information here if you poke around. Start with basic blacksmithing and then work up.

As to the "old ways" being stronger, those are myths. Modern alloy steels are much supperior to the old materials. Most of the "old ways" were based on ignorance of what was actually happening in the material. Superstition and old wives tales reined supreame. Today's crafts person with a good scientific knowledge of metalurgy make items far supperior to those made in the distant past.

Look at the work of Daryl Meier, besides being a fantastic craftsman he has a masters in metalurgy. Then there is Jim Hsrisoulas, a world renouned bladesmith. He has a doctorate. There are many others either with diplomas or equivalent education in several areas. The world's best apply as much modern knowledge as possible to "the ancient arts".

From an artistic standpoint much of today's work is also superior. But today just as in the past it depends on who the customer is and how much they are willing to pay. Remember that the majority of old work that survives in museums was the work produced for Emperors, Sultans, Kings, rich warlords and such. The work made for the common soldier has mostly been recycled into other things or rusted to dust.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 18:53:36 GMT

Lining Forge: Gary, Many forges were labled "clay before using". For some forges its important. Those with thin cast iron pans often crack when heated. Those with steel pans mearly need a lining of fuel, ash or sand. Today many smiths still clay their forges while others do not. If the forge is stored outdoors the clay can contribute to the bottom rusting out. Heavy cast forges that are used for considerably lighter work than they were designed for do not need lining.

The type of clay varies. The best is a kaolin refractory clay or "fire clay". Red clay like bricks are made of also works. Modern furnace putties can also be used. Paw-Paw has some stainless reinforcing material he adds to his that makes a world of difference in the life of the lining.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 19:03:35 GMT

Anvil Repair: Kevin, I always try to convince people to NOT try to repair anivls. Unless the anvil is useless there is no point in "repairing" it. Cosmetic repairs to slightly chipped or rounded corners are likely to do more damage than they do good. I'll take a chipped dinged and worn anvil over an apparently "perfect" anvil that has been repaired every time. . .

With that in mind, I reluctantly provide the following. Read closely and don't take shortcuts.
Anvil Repair
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/22/01 19:13:25 GMT

richard-- the late, great Alexander Weygers wrote and lavishly illustrated with detailed how-to, some fabulous books just for you: how to cobble together a working blacksmith shop literally out of thin air. well, okay, out of found materials. scrap steel, old washing machine motors, whatever was at hand. and from that shop, out of that junk, gifted alchemist that he was, Weygers forged the tools he used to make his art. get the books, now available, I believe, in one volume, from Centaur.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 00:45:09 GMT

Air hammer
GURU wont a 4" cyl at 25psi move a lot slower than a 2" running at 100psi? You wont have much flow through the supply lines at that sort of pressure.
shannell - Friday, 03/23/01 04:36:20 GMT

Pressure/Flow: Shannel, Yes but everything depends on where the pressure is regulated. On old steam/air hammers the throttle varies the flow at the input. The cylinder pressure is controled by valve balance (part of the valving system). On the Kinyon style hammer the operation is controlled at the exhaust. In this case there is no throttling of pressure input.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 06:08:05 GMT

Pneumatics: Shannel, in addition to what guru said.... In case you are interested....

It depends on where you are measuring the 25 and 100 psig.

A 4" cylinder running at 25 psig *on the cylinder piston*, puts out the same force as a 2" with 100 psig on the cylinder piston. With an equivalent energy flow to the cylinder, the only speed difference between the two cylinders is due to the increased seal friction and inertia of the bigger parts in the 4". For an equal hammer size, seal and component inertia would give a minimal speed difference. Note that this is pressure on the non rod side of the cylinder piston, which is usually the working stroke. Not at the outlet of the regulator. Choking the flow rate will obviously affect the speed since it will change the flow volume. A slower flow volume will mean it will take more time for enough air to get to the cylinder piston, to build the pressure, to move the hammer.

For a Kinyon setup, to get the same speed out of the 4" cylinder at 25 psi on the piston, more acfm (acfm is Actual cubic feet per minute at line pressure) will be flowing through the air lines and valves than the 2" bore with 100 psi on the piston. So there will be more pressure drop in the same size air lines and valves for the 4" bore than the 2" bore. As an example, the pressure drop for 10 free air cfm (scfm) flowing in a half inch pipe is .59 psi per 100 feet of pipe when the starting pressure is 60 psig. The pressure drop for 10 free air cfm flowing in a half inch pipe when the starting pressure is 100 psig is .38 psi per 100 feet of pipe. Smaller *volume* of air with the 100 psi starting pressure, but nearly the same total energy loss either way.

In other words, you want bigger pipe and valves for the bigger cylinder running at a 25 psig to do the same work as the smaller cylinder running at 100 psig. Or you set the regulator a little higher. Maybe 3 psi higher for the same size lines. You do NOT need a larger compressor with the 4" cylinder. As the Guru said, it all depends on where the valving is done. You want the power valving on ANY pneumatic or steam hammer to be as close to the working cylinders as possible for best control and fastest speed. The power valve is the big directional control valve for the cylinder. There are large pressure drops across most valves. Any control valves in the lines to the cylinder consume energy, but they also add control and features.

There are other considerations too. A compressor running at 25 psig, will put out more cfm per watt consumed and will last MUCH longer. To get that advantage, you would need to adjust the compressor outlet regulator to a lower than normal pressure. Regulators are HUGE energy suckers.

Tradeoffs. More money up front, for lower operating cost. But more flexibility, more features and more safety with the 4 inch cylinder on a Kinyon circuit.

Is anyone interested in this level of discussion? If not, I won’t waste my time and yours. Let me know. I love this stuff, but you all may not. (Grin)
Tony  <tca_bmapson at milwpc.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 17:02:54 GMT

Tony, I'm interested in this line of discussion. I think we've talked about this on (the other site!) before, but not about cylinder size. I'm planning on building more hammers & would like to know more about the pnumatics. I have pictures of my hammer at home.adelphia.net/~mcroth , no www. You can see some of my air system. I have the main 4-way valve within 6" of the cylinder, a 1.5". I've been under the assumption that bigger = more air. I'll have to keep an eye out for larger bore cylinders at the flea market this year!! I'd like to build a 100# or so one of these days when I have the room.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 18:12:57 GMT

Low pressure = (need) Big Pipes: Tony, the Kinyon sytle hammer circuit was designed to be simple and cheap. It has some serious drawbacks. In exchange for using commercial parts it moves the control to the exhaust.

Now, an equally simple circuit (made from commercial parts) with the control on the supply side rather than the exhaust would be of great benefit. I am usually good at logic problems but this one has not been easy to crack.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 18:40:45 GMT

Tony: keep it up please!! You just gave me an new perspective on a problem, THANKS.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 18:56:04 GMT

Line loses: People overlook line loses because they are hard to see. Put a pressure gauge on a 100 foot small diameter air line and it will read the same on both ends. However, open the discharge and check the pressure on that end. On a 100 foot 3/8 inch line it is easy to lose 50 to 75% of the pressure due to line loss (friction). This also means that when you are drawing air that the flow volume also drops after the initial surge.

Long pipes or small pipe or lots of turns causes "line loss" its something to pay attention to.

A large cylinder does not necessarily mean that you will run it a lower pressure. It just means it takes less pressure to do the same work. Having extra pressure means the air can fill the cylinder faster. Lots of pros and cons. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 21:38:04 GMT

dear guru, I'm a certified pipe line welder with 20 years of experience in welding. I would like to know how to temper stainless steele. I'm trying to build gaff hooks for fishing(which is my hobby.) I need info such as what temp to bring the stainless to and what kind of liquid to quench it with. Any info would be great.
thomas  <stanczak1 at msn.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 22:11:22 GMT

Pneumatics: Mike, depending on how you set the valving, a bigger cylinder CAN use more air power, but to accomplish the same work, it does not NEED to use more air power. It's always easy to waste compressed air power. (grin) A meter out circuit like the Kinyon will use more air than a meter in circuit. The price of simplicity. Compressed air is the most expensive energy in most industrial plants.

Mike, I looked at your hammer a while back. I was one of the 427 visitors. (grin) If your circuit is different than the Kinyon, send the schematic to me if you want. Remove mapson.

I don't mean to knock down the Kinyon circuit. Well, except for the safety thing mentioned earlier. And that only applies to fast speeds and heavy hammers. I hope someone puts a peak reading guage on the cap end of a cylinder. It is a sound, simple circuit. A fairly well known pneumatic circuit. But it cannot be a Nazel and I'm sure no one ever intended it to be. As the Guru mentions, commercial hammers meter in to control hammer force. I agree that is much better and I'm working on it. But it is a labor of love, not money, so......

It is difficult if not impossible to get Nazel type action with only one cylinder. With a three cylinder setup, it would be relatively easy, but still not exactly like a Nazel unless the driving cylinder were hydraulic. But I do like this stuff and a challenge is good. One thing I can guarantee is that if it's made from commercial parts, it will be more complex than the Kinyon circuit. Nothing for nothing.

My real problem is a lack of time behind a good pneumatic hammer, so I rely on what others tell me about how it needs to work and what I can figure out.

I have a very simple meter in circuit for a striking hammer. But it will NOT hit very lightly like for planishing. Only one valve. As soon as I get some other projects done, I might convert the JYH to try it.

If you are interested in Fluid Power, hydraulics and/or pneumatics, I suggest you contact Penton publishing www.penton.com? and get a free subscription to Hydraulics and Pneumatics magazine. There is biannual Fluid Power Handbook and Directory that is sent out free. It has lots of circuits and diagrams in it as well as advertising from manufacturers. Sometimes you need to get a copy through a fluid power distributor. Contact a local distributor and tell them what you want to do and ask them for a copy if you can't get it direct from Penton. Most are VERY helpful. Fluid Power is one of those disciplines that has not yet been politicized too badly.
Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Friday, 03/23/01 22:31:22 GMT


After wandering around the smithy tidying up and trying to figure out how to shoehorn in another bench to take the 36" slip
roller I found, (coal fired forge kind off fogs up the smithy if I don't have the doors open)I've come to the conclution that
blacksmithing is just a visable excuse for my deep seated problem...... packratitus.... every tool I've ever owned I still have
(except for those foolishly "loaned") even the broken down used up ones...."but it still has salvageable parts" after gathering all
the assorted hammers in one place (63) I looked through them and discovered that I used maybe 5 or 6 all last summer
working at the anvil but after looking at them discovered that there is not one that I would part with... and that auction
tomorrow with all those tools will probably add to the collection .... and that 375# anvil looked good too.... and that new flea
market that I just heard about down the road 75miles I'll have to check that out on sunday I heard they have a bunch of tools.... bride says "that scrap pile or me" Damm I'll miss her :)

arrgggghhh spring had better get here soon

ah well back to sorting....
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.cpm> - Friday, 03/23/01 23:28:25 GMT

Do you know of any websites that sell the blanks to make a cooking spider?
Allen Schaeffer  <Studio_518 at prodigy.net> - Saturday, 03/24/01 01:39:34 GMT

Tony: we all love the stuff , that's why we are here; and we are grateful for your expertese and imagination...you got style too mister..

UMMMM, Mark. Society is wrong..You have a gift, not a curse. And now that ive moved 1 mile over the county line; I am no longer a certified nusance.
P-F - Saturday, 03/24/01 06:03:17 GMT

Acquisititus: Mark, The jury is still out on the question of it being a curse or desired trait. However, I suspect that nature or God (which ever you believe in) will eventualy relieve you of the problem via war, fire, flood, theft or eventualy your own demise.

If you would like ME to help your problem:

1) Obtain a LARGE wooden packing crate.

2) Fill it as full as it can safely handle with your least used tongs, set tools, stock extra anvils odds and ends. . .

3) Address it to:
anvilfire guru
4714 Granite Trail
Boonville, NC 27011
4) Ship it prepaid by cheapest method.

I garantee this will lessen the problem. If the problem or the panic over the problem recurs then repeat the above cure once every 30 days. :)

Its cheaper than marriage counseling and not quite as painful. Its MUCH cheaper than paying your EX for the right to keep all that stuff you REALLY don't need. :)

Again, that phone number is BR-549. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 06:30:07 GMT

Spider (toaster?) Kit: Allen, I can fix you RIGHT UP with a 100% garanteed traditional kit fully approved by the late great Francis Whitaker for only $39.95. Contents as follows:
Qty. Len, Type
(1) 30" 3/8" square HR bar
(6) 10" 3/8" square HR bar
(2) 28" 3/8" square HR bar

Some forging, welding and assembly required.

Again, that phone number is BR - 5 4 9 . . . :)

Ah, I've only had ONE glass of wine tonight folks . . but that IS my limit.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 06:51:13 GMT

Somebody grab the wine bottle, we can't let the guru get stewed! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 08:20:44 GMT

How much is a Hay Budden 130# anvil worth?
Ken  <racquet at cpinternet.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 11:18:40 GMT


Depends on all kind of factors. Where is it? In the North East, they're fairly common. In the South West, they're rare as hens teeth. Also condition. Brand new (or equivilant) is obviously worth more than badly battered.

But an average price would be between $1 and $2 a pound. So anything up to $250 would be reasonable.

This assumes fair condition, slightly worn. And it also assumes that the seller WANTS to sell and that the buyer NEEDS to buy.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 14:04:13 GMT

My father bought a drop hammer or power hammer made by Champion Forge Blower Co made in July 1902. My question is how do you set the pressure per square inch?
James Veo  <j_veo at centurytel.net> - Saturday, 03/24/01 17:05:55 GMT

Champion Hammer: James, The only hammer that Champion made that I know of is a little mechanical that came in two sizes. They are a pretty good little machine. The force of the blow is determined by how fast the hammer is run and THAT is determined by the slip of the belt clutch. Going slow with the ram height properly adjusted you should be able to just gently tap, tap tap the work. At full speed it should hit as hard as its ever going to hit. However, if the drive is setup incorrectly and the hammer runs too fast the timing can get screwed up and the hammer hit softer or not at all at high speed. This is NOT a common problem in Champions but is common enough in Little Giants that the problem is called "The Little Giant Hula".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 18:01:36 GMT

Would you recommend a book and tell me where to get it that:
1. Treats the reader like an apprentice starting with simple proceedures and leading to more complex ones.
2. Emphasizes traditional shapes and details of gates, grills, churchware and lighting fixtures.
3. Has blow by blow illustrations of hammer strokes, cuts and punching techniques.
4. Still being published
LARRY SUNDSTROM - Saturday, 03/24/01 18:49:47 GMT

Book: Larry there is no ONE book that covers all (that I know of and would recommend). The two that top my list are Jack Andrews' NEW Edge of the Anvil (see our review) and Otto Schmirler's Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Work and Methods of the Artsmith).

Schmirler's book is probably the best illustrated of any blacksmith book and covers basics as well as advanced techniques. Schmirler's water colors are worth the price of the book alone but there are also hundreds of closeup photographs of beautiful ironwork. The book has German, French and English text. But it is so well illustrated that an illiterate could learn as much from it as anyone else.

Jack Andrews book is one of the best for teaching yourself and covers a lot of technicalities of heat treating and tool making as well as having a business plan and using CAD in design. The book also has a photo tour of the now disbanded Yellin museum.

AND if you are looking for step-by-step blow-by-blow methods of making scores of items there is no place better than OUR iForge page. Although the lessons are in no particular order, we have been adding some basics to the many demonstrations that even though they LOOK simple are rather advanced in technique.

I've been asked a number of times to write the book you speak of but my feeling is that the basics have been VERY well covered and I see no point in adding ANOTHER book to the confusion. If I ever get around to a book it will be on machine techniques.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 20:23:15 GMT

That's funny, I guess I could have figured that out... But, that is not what I was asking for. It is a frying pan on legs. Maybe spider is not the corrct term. The legs attach to the pan and I am looking for pan blanks.
Allen Schaeffer  <Studio_518 at prodigy.net> - Saturday, 03/24/01 20:24:55 GMT

Spider: Allen, Glad you can take a joke. . Hmmm add 12" dia. 10ga (1/8") steel plate to above kit. . :) I'm not sure if a "Spider" is a toaster or a trivit. Flat stock works better for both but I always used 3/8" and flattened it if I needed. .

If ANYONE carried such a thing it would be Jere Kirkpatrick. We have a link to him on our links page OR our Emiel's links.

If there was enough demand for the plate blanks we could get them cut. How many do you need? Does 12" sound about right That would result in about a 10-1/2" finished pan. A 13 or 14" blank might be better.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 20:40:52 GMT

I have the Andrews book and like it very much. I believe I have seen a copy of Otto Schmirler's Werk und Werk...If it's the book I am thinking of it is no longer published, but I would like very much to own a copy. Any suggestions?
I visit iForge alot...lots of great stuff.
Larry Sundstrom - Saturday, 03/24/01 21:38:20 GMT

Champion Hammer: Just to add to what the Guru has said about Champion Blower and Forge Company hammers...They were known as Hercules patented power hammers. They were available in 3 sizes, number 0 with a 30#; number 1 with a 65# ram; and number 2 with a 125# ram. Number 0's and 1's are more common. They were all very good and reliable machines. I have never seen a number 2 hammer but I know Champion made them because they have them listed in an old company catalog I have.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Saturday, 03/24/01 23:20:10 GMT

I picked up a smaller leg vise that I'd like to fix up as a portable unit for my use. The top edges of the jaws have some fairly nasty chips that I'd like to repair. Can I fill them with weld and grind smooth? I know not to mess with fixing anvil edges with weld, but what about a vise? What kind of rod? Thanks!
Dave C.  <dchvilicek at aol.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 02:14:59 GMT

Vice Jaws: Dave, Most old leg vises were made by the same folks that made anvils ans using the same techniques. The jaws usualy are forge welded in steel inserts. See the link several posts above about repairing anvils.

OR: You can also just preheat the jaw(s) and weld them with E7018. Then grind and file smooth. Blacksmiths vise jaws should be smooth (no teeth) and slightly rounded. You are better off if they are a little soft rather than too hard.

We also had a recent post about jaw mating. Without work between the jaws they should touch at the top. Then when clamping average size work (3/4" to 1-1/4") the jaws should fit the work flat.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 02:27:28 GMT

Dave C. Leg vises better suited for repairs then anvils and are fixable with a manganese rod.
Bruce Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 02:28:06 GMT


Basically a trivett for campfire use. I make them, can send a picture if desired.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 02:39:02 GMT

Gurus and Gurinios. I have a buffalo 660 coal forge that I have been using for several years (it came out of the nevada gold fields). My question is, it has a second opening in the base to the left of the firebox opening, and it is aproximately 4x10, with a cast chamber (box/pelnum/?) that bolts to it, and this box has a flap dump gate just like the 'twe'. What is it for. I have removed (and saved it) long ago, and bolted a plate over it. It may be for hearding ash into, but it seems that it would get a lot of unburned fuel into it too. This is just a 'would be nice to know' type of question, a change of pace for me.
Thanks .... mille gratzi Tim in Orygun
Tim - Sunday, 03/25/01 03:09:23 GMT

Post Vise Jaws:

If they're not mashed up too bad, so that they're misaligned, then the copper or brass pads that I line the jaws of mine with go a long way towards smoothing things out and hiding the dings. Amazing what two 1/16" brass jaw pads will do for both alignment and grip, not to mention protecting the hot steel.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come have a row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Sunday, 03/25/01 04:10:19 GMT

Odd Forge: Tim, Does the chambre have another opening other than the ash dump? A LOT of late forges were designed for powered down draft vents. In factory situations rows of forges were lined up in the middle of the shop without overhead vents. All the smoke was sucked DOWN into a central exhaust system.

The design of these systems varied. Some had small side draft "hoods", others had a rim around the edge of the forge where the smoke was sucked away in every direction.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 05:40:07 GMT

Yess Guru, it has the required other hole to suck the smoke down and away, just like my kitchen stove top! Now, why didn't I think of that? (must be oldtimmers disease). Thanks.
Tim In Orygun - Sunday, 03/25/01 14:56:26 GMT

Odd Forge: Tim, Who would ever imagine rows of SMOKEY coal forges in an enclosed shop with no flues????
The same factories also used compressed air instead of blowers. No individual blowers to maintain. Sees like a great system. But it is highly inefficient. Compressed air is energy intensive to make. If you don't NEED the air at the compressed pressure then using energy to compress it only to release the air at to use it just a percent or two above atmospheric pressure is a waste of the energy to compress it.

However, these were STEAM era devices. Small electric motors had not been invented and line shafting to run something small like a forge blower is also an unecessary expense when you can run a simple air pipe. Most factories used compressed air for other things so it was already available and the energy to make it was comparitively cheap.

Technology changes and our thought processes with it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 15:32:51 GMT

Otto Schmirler's Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Work and Methods of the Artsmith) is still in print. Norm Larson says his inventory is low but he has ordered more copies.

Centaur Forge lists four books by Schmirler. I have two of his books and would buy his other books unseen from the one example.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 17:29:39 GMT

THANKS! (I know it's shouting)
Larry Sundstrom - Sunday, 03/25/01 17:49:13 GMT

Hello everyone-
I have a problem with a blower I recently aquired, a Champion 400. When the handle is turned clockwise (looking at the handle- this is how I would imagine most right-handed blacksmiths would do it- with the blower on your left, turning the handle CW), after about 10-15 turns the blower begins to bind up, with increasing force required to turn it the more it is cranked up to the point of seizing up. Now if I turn it CCW, it then frees up and will turn perfectly CCW for as long as you want. It appears that somewhere inside, a nut is catching on something and tightening itself as you turn the handle, but taking it semi-apart didn't giv me any clues. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, what was binding? I would be very appreciative for any help on this. Thank you in advance. Guru (and others)- great site, great forum- keep up the good work.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 21:19:10 GMT

Hello! Iam am currently restoring a Buffalo Forge post drill #68. Can you suggest where I can find some information on this particular drill? The self feeding mechanism is missing and but other than that it is in good condition. Thanks.
Steve  <Crumpster at adelphia.net> - Sunday, 03/25/01 22:32:00 GMT

Thanks to all for the suggestions on fixing my leg vise jaws. The chips are pretty deep so I think I'll weld them. However, I really like the idea of the brass inserts. I'll do that as well. The project might have to wait awhile though. My Wisconsin weather has been fickle- teased us with 50 degrees last week. Now its 20 degrees, windy and just plain nasty. No heat in the shop and gotta weld outside! Thanks again!
Dave C  <dchvilicek at aol.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 22:48:57 GMT

Blower: I've never had this type apart but I've seen drawings. There is a worm gear in the system. These have high thrust in one direction or the other depending on which way they are turned. Yes there should be a nut on the end and it SHOULD be locked by a lock plate or a pin. The nut should have a thrust bearing under it and the backlash is carefully adjusted before locking the nut in place.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 23:18:14 GMT

Hand Crank Drill: Steve, There are hundreds of different styles of these. There is reprints available of some of the old catalogs but I don't have this one. I also have several catalogs that don't give the brand but they are either Buffalo or Champion.

On most of the simplier machines there is an excentric or cam on the crank shaft. This moves a lever back and forth that has a ratchet paw that operates on the feed wheel. The lever either rides on the cam surface or has a little roller on the end. The roller isn't needed if the machine is kept properly lubricated. Some of these have an adjustment in the middle of the arm while others just have an adjustment screw that limits the travel of the arm on the gravity side. The arms were cast iron and easily broken. Making a replacement is not hard if you can figure out the shape and the offsets.

On the more complex machines there is a series of gears and a seperate vertical shaft that couples the spindle to the feed wheel. If you have this type, forget it.

We have pictures of a couple drills on our 21st Century page under "Post Drill". I should scan and post more. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 03/25/01 23:41:54 GMT

More Complex: I just looked at a couple more catalogs. The BEST design uses simple gravity return and gravity on the ratchet paw to engage it. However several of the Buffalo models in a 1928 catalog (600 series) have the teeth on the feed wheel on the bottom. This means the there must be a spring pushing UP on the ratchet paw. Stupid design. . .

One of the things that was going on in the hand crank drill business is that there was a patent war going on between the top makers. Every new idea was being made as fast as possible. Buffalo model numbers changed from #1, #2 and so on in 1899 to the #600 series in 1928. A lot of times the new ideas were NOT a better idea. Just a different idea. Yeah, stupid. But it still goes on today.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 00:09:20 GMT

WoW!! A special thank you to the Guru,Peter & Phoebe,Tony and Shannell, for your most appreciated and valuable information about my pressure Tank ( pipe) and my 4" cyl. and 100 lb. Ram and under-size anvil, that just now got more added weight like a 3" plate under it and a 12" x 28" 3/8" pipe filled with Steel and cement around the anvil.Now it must be heavier because my 2 TON hoist is going through a work-out.Some information I got me a little confused I"m not a (engineer) please be patient! some say use a smaller air Cyl. and some say that the 4" cyl. won't really need more air since it would need 1/4 the pressure as a 2" cyl. to do the same work. This 4" cyl. I got has build in air cushions top and bottom and has a 1 3/8" piston shaft. I will see if I can locate a new 60 gal. air compressor Tank and make the hammer head 60 or 80 lb. I plan to have the 4 way valve as close as possible to the cyl. top intake and use the valves large ports and the pressure regulator next to it,would that work for me. I love to mush steel!!!
Heinz  <hlzach at prcn.org> - Monday, 03/26/01 00:33:00 GMT

Hello, I have recently become interested in blacksmithing and I hope to set up shop in my garage(20X40). I have a couple concerns as far as noise,gas versus coal and ventilation as I have neighbours on both sides, approx. 50-75 ft. away?
Brad  <BHotrum at home.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 00:40:44 GMT

Hi! I am new to blacksmithing and have no experience with the topic. However, I am very interested in medieval and other archaic weapons, and have been interested in constucting a broadsword. If you have or could find any information or websites on swordsmithing of this type, it would be most helpful and extremely appreciated. Thank you.
Kevin  <SplitX13 at aol.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 02:07:22 GMT

Neighbors: Brad, There are neighbors and then there are NEIGHBORS. . . Some folks would be tickled pink to have a blacksmith next door but most modern types will turn you into the EPA the first time you light up a coal forge. . . How well do you know your neighbors? Are they fishing buddies or complete strangers???

In different parts of the country coal is seen completely differently. In the North East a large percent of building and houses still use coal heat so a little wisp of sulphourous fumes doesn't set off alarms. In So.CAL it's a hanging offence.

Generally in suburbia you should consider a gas forge. They are clean, quiet and efficient. You can run your barbeque and hot tub off the same tank. Coal is also hard to get in some locations. The tink-tink-tink on the anvil is not a big noise. Now making helms or plate armor is a different animal. . . Even a power hammer is not too terribly noisy if it has a good solid base.

All metal working shops need to be well ventilated. Gas forges can be used in an open garage without a vent but it is best to plan on one for cold weather so you can work year round.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 02:34:06 GMT

Thanx guys for the info on the spider. After my last post I thought it read like I was being a smart-aleck. Glad you didn't take it that way. I would have worded it differently. I did get a chuckle after reading your response Guru. What a coincidence, I just happen to have several of those "kits" out in the storage racks also...

Anyways, I buy from Jere and he doesn't have those blanks. 9" to 12" pans with sides would be just right. It is something I could use at a Rev War reenactment. One of your readers sent me an email on someone that sells theses blanks and am trying to find a phone or email on them.
Thanx again.
Allen Schaeffer  <Studio_518 at prodigy.net> - Monday, 03/26/01 02:38:26 GMT

Air Hammer: Heinz, That cylinder is too light duty. A 3/8" rod on a 4" cylinder is way under size. For a power hammer with a 4" cylinder the rod should be at least 1" or there abouts.

Force = Area * Pressure.

A 4" cylinder has 12.5 sqin. at 100PSI = 1250 pounds force.
A 3" cylinder has 7.06 sqin. at 100PSI = 706 pounds force.
A 2" cylinder has 3.14 sqin. at 100PSI = 314 pounds force.
A 1.5" cylinder has 1.77 sqin. at 100PSI = 177 pounds force.

Now, it gets a LITTLE more complicated because when lifting the area = cyl area - rod area. But for rough comparisons you can ignore it.

The area of that 3/8" rod is .11sqin. At 1200 lbs it is loaded at 11,000 PSI. Thats OK since the rod is made of high performance material BUT a power hammer is a high service factor machine (they eat under designed parts). Under dynamic conditions that will be a lot higher stress.

On the subject of not being an engineer that is what plans are for. As soon as you deviate from the plans then you have to assume responsibility for the results. We can guide you and make sugesstions but in the end you have to make the decisions and live with them.

A power hammer SEEMS like a simple device but they are far from it. You are dealing with acceleration, deacceleration, inertia, gas law, logic circuits, feedback, strength of materials and a little voodoo to top it off. . . Change one item and it rattles through the entire system.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 03:28:29 GMT

chad-- I, too, have encountered the dread balky blower problem you describe. My doughty Canedy-Otto Western Chief likes to go counter-clockwise. Oh, sure, it'll go clockwise, grudgingly, but it makes it clear that it vastly prefers to go counter-clockwise. Herewith my solution: (I could have taken the entire beeparoo apart and fixed it so it'd go CW, and smoothly, but life is too short for such endeavors. And, consider: the blower, like yours, must be close to a century. By now, I figure, it knows best. Certainly better than I. It is happy going CCW. Let it live out its days going the way it wants.) Turn the blower the way it wants. A happy blower is a productive blower. Live and let live.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 05:28:19 GMT

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 05:39:09 GMT

good Guru;
Heinz's cylinder shaft is 1 3/8", which ought to do....
What is your current assessment of the Chinese hammers?
PF - Monday, 03/26/01 06:23:53 GMT

Shaft Size: Whoops. . word wrap left the "1" on a different line and working too late again. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 16:25:54 GMT

Guru. you read the piston size little wrong as far as i understand it 1 3/8" = 1" + 3/8".
atleast that is what *I* read it like. is there something I have mised??
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 17:32:35 GMT

OOPS should have read the entire page first. sorry guru.
OE  <same> - Monday, 03/26/01 17:36:53 GMT

Chinese Hammers: Pete, I have yet to run one. It seems a lot have been delivered but few are operating. Most of them are out West and beyond my current travel budget.

I too, have been disappointed in not seeing photos of the running machines or reports on their controlability.

I HAVE had a chance to review the manuals and drawings of several sizes and types. The design is a modified Chambersburg type hammer. The smaller hammers do not have the reduction gearing that all Chambersburgs have but the larger models do. They all have roller type bearings.

The gearing that Chambersburg uses with a flywheel in the middle of the gear train is bad design. The flywheel puts the gear teeth under more stress than necessary and this is a common and expensive failure. The Chinese hammers have a single stage gear train that puts the flywheel on the crankshaft (where it belongs).

The valving is a single valve bore type design similar to that used by Beche'. It may be that these are more of a Beche' clone than a Chambersburg. The valving has several modes including clamp. The only report on the functionality of the valving I've gotten was a second hand report that the hammer was hard to control. It would hit hard but not soft. However, this may have been lack of operator experiance.

There have also been reports of poor castings. This may be superficial but generaly if castings have surface defects that sand is probably in the casting.

The two piece hammers are a little low on anvil mass (12:1) but we may never see 15:1 and 20:1 ratios in hammers for small shops again. The anvils are also lacking bolts holes to bolt them down. The "one piece" hammers APPEAR to have a 6.5:1 ratio with the anvil cap bolted to a hollow frame. Its a real cheap design that I would worry about.

The manuals themselves vary a lot in quality and none are up to Western expectations. The contents are an odd mix with lots of detail about the valving that the user does not need while lacking many installation dimentions. Some have wonderful detail drawings of replacement parts while others do not. The biggest problem is that of language and translation. Both dies and anvil caps are called "anvil cushions". A "plug gauge" is called for when adjusting the ram. In Western terms a plug gauge is percision cylindrical piece designed to fit a bore. This is an expensive special tool. However, after rereading several times it becomes apparent that a feeler gauge is what is called for. I've complained to the importers but they have in turn passed on the complaints to the factory. I believe this is a problem that will need to be taken care of HERE not in China. Technical terms and jargon are not found in translation books or programs.

And, the most obvious problem is that these machines have been scaled UP and DOWN without regard to the user. The smallest hammer has a die height of 16". This is fine in parts of the world where smiths sit on the ground while they work but this is not the Western method. This is being addressed in a number of ways but was originaly left up to the purchaser. This problem takes us back to lack of dimentions. When a new mounting arrangement must be designed there is a lot that needs to be known that is lacking.

The fact is that as always, you get what what you pay for. There will probably never be another hammer built like the Nazel (or Bradley or Fairbanks). Many of these are nearly 100 years old and most are 75 years old, still working and in demand. So, how many generations do you expect a machine to outlast? On the other hand, its nice to know that you can get your money out of a machine after using it for years. . .

A few years ago there was a shortage of small power hammers at a time that there was increased demand. In response three makers of small hammers started making machines and hundreds have built their own from the Kinyon plans. Two companies are importing Kuhn clones from Turkey while Kuhns are still selling well. Hundreds of Little Giants have been rescued and rebuilt and the used hammer market is finding many others. Now you have the Chinese entering a market that like blacksmithing was practicaly dead in the 1960's. I can't believe the number delivered haven't saturated the market already but more are coming. . . Where this new market will go is a big question.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 17:50:41 GMT

Chinese Hammers: I forgot to say these may well be very good machines for the money. But so far we have not seen proof of performance.
The equivalent American built machine (Chambersburg) sells for something in range of 10 times more. There are no smiths that I know that can afford a new Chambersburg. However, industry is rapidly divesting itself of this class of machine because of the highly skilled labor needed as well as the inheriant hazzards. This means there are quite a few used machines on the market selling for the same or less than the imports. On the other hand these are larger machines than most smiths want. As I said, it will be interesting to see where the market goes. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 18:22:43 GMT

More: After all that I recieved a package of information about the H.I.T. Wolf hammers. These are two valve bore hammers with a mode control inbetween. The manual is typical as above. Look for a Quicktime Movie to download from their site soon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 22:14:36 GMT

Hi there anybody know where I can get a small anvil image? ie gif,jpeg etc? I want to find something that I can download and place in my logo. Thanks
Anradan - Monday, 03/26/01 22:52:40 GMT

Chinese hammers: My experience with Chinese machine tools is that you want to run it and inspect it closely before you buy it. Or have someone you trust run it and inspect it. Nothing against the people who are selling them! i'm sure they too have found this to be true. One piece of Chinese equipment can be very good while the next one out of the box is total junk. Bad castings or poor machining or poor assembly, etc. I don't know that this is the case with the Chinese hammers, but my suggestion is to run it before you pay or buy from someone you really trust.

I really like the Chinese people, but quality control can be lacking. My comments come from experience buying, building and equipping manufacturing operations in China. For someone else of course. Foundries, plastics, faucet factories, ceramics, glass making, etc. 4 years ago. Beijing, Shanghai and Foshon. Nice place, nice hard working people, good food(except the marinated scorpion), bad government, too far away to visit. Grin. Don't drink the Mao Tai!

Ahhh..... memories....
Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Monday, 03/26/01 22:59:31 GMT

Heres a chart that shows how much air you need to run a hammer for a given cylinder size -
I plugged in 50 psi and a 4" cyl 8" stroke and 140 bpm and
get a scfm of 68!, if run at 100psi as you mentioned Guru for 1200lbs of force you need 123 scfm although 140 bpm and 8" stroke might be a bit much for this pressure, my point is I still think a 4" cyl would be too big for his 3hp compressor, even at 25 psi with a shorter 5" stroke and 100 bpm you would need 20 scfm, I would gues my 3hp 17cfm compressor would put out 12 or so real cfm. A large pressure tank would help a lot though but a heavy workout would have it emptied pretty quick. I read with interest what you and tony wrote about cylinder size, should we all be using the biggest cylinder we can get our hands on? Also is it possible to post pictures to this page instead of links and how can I turn a url I post into a word or two describing the link as you seem to do after we post them, do you actually edit the html and repost the page to the server?
Shannell - Tuesday, 03/27/01 00:10:52 GMT


Contact me via email, I've got several.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 00:14:53 GMT

In answer to your question, a "Spyder" (correct spelling) is
nothing more than a grill with legs. It is used to suspend a legless dutch oven or skillet over a bed of coals. The legs were normally only 2 to 3" long, and was used on the hearth.

Sleeping Bear  <sleepingbear at digitex.net> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 00:24:36 GMT

Well, Cracked, I JUST HAVE TO take it apart and check out the worm gear, I'm sure you understand ;) I just find the CCW turning very awkward to do. Thank you (and Guru, of course) for your reply, though, I've been thinking about making up some sort of a reverse-belt drive set up or some gearing so that the I could turn CW and the blower will still turn CCW. This is probably going to be alot more trouble than just getting used to the CCW, but it sure is more fun. (grin) We'll see what happens....
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 01:24:16 GMT

Does anyone know how to convert a liters per minute at 6 bar, or what
pressure they use, to the Cv rating that some other manufacturers use?
Shannell - Tuesday, 03/27/01 02:36:15 GMT

Guru, Sorry about Ill print of my key board! THE PISTON SHAFT of my 4" cyl. is 1"3/8 ... OErjan you have red it right. I really don't want to confuse any-body its bad enough that I'm confused, but I can't stop now with my project Hammer!!! I love that kind of a challenge from the first time I had a look at JYH.page . ( I'm never been a quitter). So I'll be asking you questions soon again...Thank you all.
HEINZ  <hlzach at prcn.org> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 03:12:14 GMT

Air Hammers: Shannell, Cv ratings (on all types of devices) are normally a non-dimentional rating correction factor. Some have to do with cycling speeds and the limitation of port sizes and others have to do with actual performance not being exactly on the theoretical curve. You cannot take a rating chart with these type values out of a catalog (out of context) because they often don't stand alone.

Yes, your 3HP compressor is too small to run a 75 to 100 pound air hammer at full capacity, full time. Also something that many compressor manufactures do not tell you (especially those selling small ones) is that these machines are designed for a 50% duty cycle. Half on, half off. Generally the sellers do not even know this (don't ask don't tell). However, the CFM rating is at full on 100% of the time. Yes, its deceptive advertising.

On the other hand, few smiths run their hammer 100% of the time. BUT, there have also been many complaints from users of the "new" air hammers that the recommended air compressors are too small. The compressors run 100% of the time when the hammer is under moderate use. The reason they recommend small compressors is because it reduces the installed cost.

Adding an oversize tank to your little compressor just means that it will run far longer than the design duty cycle before it stops. Then as soon as you draw the air down to where is starts you will be running at full capacity again. . . The ONLY time an oversize tank helps is if you need air during a power outage. Then you have some reserve. The tank on the compressor is almost always a sufficient buffer for its size. If you need more air, get another air compressor. Run a bigger one or two small ones at one time.

The point you missed from my calculations above is that you have 4 times the force capacity with a 4" cylinder over using a 2" cylinder. If you reduce the operating pressure to produce the same force the volume of air used is also reduced.

In the 1940's Chambersburg rated their 100# utility air hammer as needing a 3HP compressor. However, today they recommend a 10HP compressor for the same machine. Either this is a minimum recommended size or under competitive pressure in the 40's they did the same as the "new" hammer makers are today. . . Curiouser and curiouser. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 06:20:49 GMT

Hot Links: Shannel, Currently the difference is that I have permission to embed HTML and you don't. If you put HTML arrow brackets <> in your text whatever is between them will be filtered out. The other guru's have this access too but don't use it (reason below).

This forum uses relatively primitive software that either alows HTML or it doesn't. Simple addition of the wrong control characters can blow up the while thing. . I have enough trouble when *I* post links much less fixing everyone else's screwups. When I post links I have to include the full HTML hot anchor code with URL, text, target and so on. Its not easy but since I work in HTML all day every day I'm pretty good at it now. . I can also embed fonts, tables, blockquotes, images. . but it takes a lot of programming knowledge. Occasionaly when someone posts a really GOOD link I download the log, edit the link to make it hot, then reload the log.

Our chat (the Pub) is a little more sophisticated and recognizes the http prefix and makes links hot.

I HAVE considered upgrading this forum (and the Hammer-In) with an input box for links but have not had a great deal of demand for it. One problem is that on many forums this ability is abused. However, we ARE looking into links and an image hosting service. Its largely a matter of finding software we like and can maintain ourselves. We don't use any special software on anvilfire that don't have the ability to maintain the source code.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 06:40:45 GMT

Hammer Valving: Now I can't figure where I saw a single valve hammer. All of the Chinese hammers that I have manuals for are double valve hammers. . . I think I need sleep.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 16:54:59 GMT

Hi. I would like to get info on a "Buffalo Blower No. 3", a Buffalo, N.Y. Forge, and made in 1880. I believe it is kind of like the Cadilac of bellows used for forging. Do you have a picture of one? Do you know it's value? Etc.

Pattianne Waters  <flynite at aol.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 18:09:24 GMT

Blowers: Anne, Actually the "Silent-Air" 200, 300, 400. . series blowers were the best. Some claim the Canedy-Otto's were better.

I searched around and couldn't find a good blower photo already posted.

Blower values vary with size and condition. They tend to leak oil so the gears wear out. There are no replacements for worn gears. Smooth running blowers sell for over $100 US and worn one for considerably less. Those complete with the stand sell for as much as $150 or more. In good condition they are actualy worth quite a bit more as they couldn't be manufactured for ten times the used market price.

However, If you don't absolutely need a hand crank blower electric ones are much more convienient.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 19:35:47 GMT

I think I had a workable idea and would appreciate some input from the guru. Someone gave me an old box of "Mother Earth Magazine" from the 80's. (I love nature and try to be eco-friendly, but I never really considered myself a mother earth type, however, there is a pretty strong do-it-yourself theme in the mag that appeals to me.) Anyway, there was an article about converting a truck to run on wood that got me thinking. I guess there are some wood stoves that use the same principle.

Essentially the wood is burned in an oxygen controlled primary chamber, (pretty much same idea as making charcoal) and the volatiles that boil off are scrubbed of the large particles by a filter. You are left with a flammable gas (hydrogen and CO2 I think).

So here is my idea for a wood/producer gas forge. The primary combustion chamber is the base of the forge and the top is covered with fire bricks as a base for the secondary or forging chamber. I'm thinking either stacked fire bricks or possibly the pipe/metal shell construction of most propane forges. In either case I'd probably line with ITC coated kao-wool. The burner would be a blower added to the exhaust of the primary combustion chamber and otherwise I suspect it will be pretty conventional.

Pros: Will burn any wood, eliminates need for charcoal making step, keeps wood ash from blowing around shop, primary combustion chamber preheats the forge chamber and keeps toes warm, and no tank freeze ups.

Cons: Don't know about BTU but suspect it will be less than propane, fuel supply might not be consistent and affect burner performance, maintenance involved with scrubber and water collection system, and it will be bulkier and require extra fabrication work.

What do you think? Does anyone have experience with a similar system like the stoves? Is burning the fuel gas generated more efficient than burning the charcoal directly. (I suspect there would be byproduct charcoal if you quenched the fire instead of letting it burn out when shutting down or devised some other recovery system. After all, once it is converted to charcoal its not contributing to the fuel gas production anymore. Hmmm.) Any ideas for the scrubbers, I'm thinking that loufa sponges might work and since I'm going to try growing them this year anyway... They look just like zucchini so after curing they could just be shoved into the pipe. Ok, enough. Sorry if I got too carried away.
J. Dickson  <TheIrony at woldnet.att.net> - Tuesday, 03/27/01 21:29:47 GMT

What is a backsmith?
Ray  <nikeathletic15 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 01:05:48 GMT

I just did my first forging with some cable and it came out pretty good.My question is, I am using straight borax as a flux and someone told me i might do better if i add some boric acid to it.If this is true, how much boric acid should be added to the borax? THANKS...
steve  <millknives at aol.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 02:34:20 GMT

Flux: Steve, Stick to the plain borax. You only need more agressive flux if you are welding chrome or nickel alloys like stainlesses. Then you need to add about 5% flourite powder to the borax.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 02:51:57 GMT

Blacksmith: Ray, a Blacksmith is a person that makes things out of iron (the black metal). A "smith" is one who strikes or "smites" the metal. To make the metal soft enough to work the blacksmith heats the metal to a white heat. The picture on the left of this page is a blacksmith (me).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 02:56:12 GMT

Dear Guru,
i am a welder looking for a way to achieve quick and uniform scrolls. I have seen advertisements for scrolling machines but the cost is prohibitive. Would you or somebody out there have a plan on how to build one of these? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
THANKS raystewart at iprimus.com.au

ray stewart  <raystewart at iprimus.com.au> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 13:19:00 GMT

Dear Guru,
i am a welder looking for a way to achieve quick and uniform scrolls. I have seen advertisements for scrolling machines but the cost is prohibitive. Would you or somebody out there have a plan on how to build one of these? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
THANKS raystewart at iprimus.com.au

ray stewart  <raystewart at iprimus.com.au> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 13:21:35 GMT

Guru: If I could refresh you memory. You saw a single valve hammer in a Beche catalog printed about smaller hammers they made. The Chinese imports and these Beche hammers look a lot alike. The only noticeable different we could find between the two was the Beche had one valve like Kuhn hammers and the anvil spring mounted to the frame. I assume Beche imported hammers of this type to the US because the catalog is printed in English.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 14:32:05 GMT

ray-- some oldtime smiths made quickie scroll forms by just cutting a slot-- the thickness of the stock they were using-- in the end of a piece of pipe of the appropriate diameter. heat the stock, insert into slot and bend.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 14:45:29 GMT

Steve & Guru, Someone gave a friend of mine some boric acid to try as a flux & the stuff was TERRIBLE!! The steel wouldn't weld at all & you couldn't get that stuff off your work & it stuck like glue to the anvil, YUCK!! Just my 2 cents.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at emeraldisle.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 15:10:11 GMT

Guru, Can you reccomend a site or company that would give me the best prices on cp titanium, without buying LARGE?
AdamSmith - Wednesday, 03/28/01 15:42:00 GMT

Sorry guru, what I meant to ask was can you reccomend a site where I could get the best prices on niobium?
AdamSmith - Wednesday, 03/28/01 16:18:14 GMT

Scrolls: Ray, Check our 21st Century page under benders (1 & 2)and our iForge page under Spirals (#31) and Scroll ends (#37)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 17:21:05 GMT

Niobium, Nb AKA Columbium: Adam, The problem with this type material (as with many metals) is that it is rarely used in pure form as bar stock. Pellets and various compounds are the most common form.

I have an old (1991) catalog from Cerac Inc, Milwaukee, WI that has 6mm pellets, 50g at $34. This is special chemicaly pure metal. Cerac listed some small bar stock but not in Nb.

Then there is Reactive Metals Studio. I think you will like what they have in the way of exotic metals. The prices are not too bad.

One of the interesting properties of Nb (I think) is that it is the only metal that flesh will attach itself to. Inserts for repairing bones and such are plated with it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 17:58:14 GMT

Adam there is a Co. out of AZ called ReoGrand you may want to try they sell casting/jewlery stuff they may carry Nb in bar for makeing pearceing jewlery.
MP   <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 18:19:17 GMT

what is some info on blacksmithing. (history, whats it like to day, and stuff like that.
nathan  <flip_me92 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 18:34:13 GMT

History: Nathan, The history of blacksmithing is too broad a subject to cover in detail here.

From the beginning of the iron age (about 1500 BC) until the middle ages the history of blacksmithing is the history of technology. From that time until the 1800's it is still a large part of the history of technology. At that time machines started replacing individual craftspeople.

In the New World (primarily North America) the blacksmith was a frontier craftsperson that did a number of jobs that had long been specialties in Europe. Hardware making, Horseshoeing, wagon building. . . the frontier smith did it all. This put the majority of 19th and 20th century American smiths closely tied to transportation. The automobile and the farm tractor put the frontier or "general" smith out of business. Big industry had largely replaced the toolmaking smith and by the 1960's blacksmithing was almost dead in North America. There were a few architectural shops and many fariers but almost no others.

In 1969 Alex Bealer published The Art of Blacksmithing and in 1973 ABANA was established by Alex and a few others interested in bringing back the art. In 1977 Dona Meilach Published Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork. From that point on blacksmithing has been a growing force in the crafts.

Since then hundreds of books on the subject of blacksmithing have been published and now there are websites devoted to art. What was once considered a "dead art" is alive and well and more popular today than ever before.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 19:51:59 GMT

Is it just me, or does it seem like blacksmithing ambitions are on the rise among us young folk? I hope so, it would be sad to see such a wonderful trade die out.

BTW, thankyou for the exotic metal info.
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 21:14:46 GMT

I just recently purchased a 50 pound drop hammer or power hammer made by champion forge blower co, made in July 1902. I am trying to find out the speed that they run, and any other information on this machine. Thank You James V.
James  <j_veo at centurytel.net> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 23:22:07 GMT

Guru, I haven't seen a response on my post about a producer gas forge, but I think I can ask a much more specific question. If producer gas (after processing from wood) has a heating value that varies from 4.5 to 6 MJ/m 3, will it be sufficient to heat a blower type forge.
J. Dickson  <TheIrony at woldnet.att.net> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 23:34:43 GMT

Champion hammer: James, I think Bruce Wallace has this info. I'll ask him to check. Meanwhile, see his post above, he gave the sizes. They came in a sizes 0, 1 and 2. I think 30#, 65# and 125#. The size is critical to know the speed as they all ran different max. speeds. They did not make a 50# hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 03/28/01 23:36:15 GMT

James, if we are to help you we need to know the size of your hammer. The number (size) should be cast in the body or frame. We also need to know if the hammer was built as a belt drive of motor drive machine. The differences between the two are a belt drive hammer has the flywheel between the bearings or in the middle of the crankshaft. A motor drive hammer has the flywheel behind the back bearing or on the end of the crankshaft behind the working end.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 00:50:28 GMT

Rio Grande jewelers' supply is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 03:31:26 GMT

thanks for the corection no wonder I couldn't find them I was looking in the wrong state ... to much useless stuff in my head keeps knocking out the stuff I need(grin)
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 07:37:59 GMT

Guru. This is a comeback on a question a few weeks ago on
2-1/2 Jacobs Chuck that I have in a Chicago Machinery bench drill press. The stated problem them was "I cannot find a chuck key for this strange critter. You referenced Mcmaster- Carr's JKP 80 J2S and JKT 80-J2S as relief. I could not find this in their online catalog, so I filled out their tech question email and am told that the referenced items are precision keyless chucks at about $150. They sound neat, but I just need the key, you know, that little dingus with the round gear and twisting handle that makes the little fingers sunggle up on the drill bit!

So....at the risk of sounding snotty (just like you did in your answer - we all have the right to piss and moan, and your tolerance and patience in dealing with questions over and over again is laudable - and being called to the fore again)... where am I, where can I find a chuck key for a jacobs chuck with the number 2 1/2 stamped right on it!
Clear and sunny in central Orygun.
Thanks ... Tim
Tim - Thursday, 03/29/01 15:18:55 GMT

Anyone out there that knows the formula for the ceramic slurry used for investment casting modern style?
(This site is dragging me closer and closer to 21:century technology.)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 03/29/01 16:33:56 GMT

Jacobs Chuck: Tim, You asked about a Jacobs Chuck with a 2-1/2 JT (Jacobs Taper), not a KEY to fit the chuck.

The 2-1/2 JT reference being equal to a "2 short", came from an OLD Machinery's handbook. One of four I looked in. The size designations changing over time. In any case the "2-1/2" being on the side of the chuck probably DOES NOT indicate the chuck taper.

I'll bet you have a #2 chuck to fit a 1/2" spindle. Or a #21 to fit a #2 JT. . or maybe is IS a special 2-1/2. In any case a #2 chuck (all 2 series chucks) take a #2 key (according to my 1955 Industrial Supply Catalog).

Jacobs only uses 9 keys to fits hundreds of different models chucks. Keys run 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 from smallest to largest then there is a 32 and a 33 thrown in that fit some odd chucks. A #3 fits almost every chuck in my shop except the couple big ones that take a #7.

If the key ALMOST fits but not quite, something is wrong. Either the key is not a Jacobs key, OR the chuck sleeve has slipped down (or not been replaced) and there is too little distance between the key pilot hole and the teeth on the sleeve.

At http://www.jacobschuck.com/ they say call

Danaher Parts & Service 800 866 5753

Both the Jacobs and the Danaher web sites are gold plated (expletive bleeped). Lots of flash, no hard data, no email to comment through. The Danaher response form also doesn't work. . Another BIG corp trying to LOOK hip with "web site". . Since all the links on the Jacobs web site to keys or parts are broke I think they want you to call their 800 number. .

NOTE: My Industrial catalog only has standard chucks. Jacobs made a cheap line called "multi-craft". If its one of these then all bets are off.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 16:41:47 GMT

Would like some info on an anvil..
It has M&H at top and below that is Armitage
then a couple of spaces and then what looks like FFill
then below that is what looks like Granil....
then another space and then Patent
with a 0 * 3 * 14
thanks for any info......
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 19:25:12 GMT

Anvil: Mikey, That's an M&H Armitage. One of the most common and popular English anvils. They were made at a place called mouse hole forge and are sometimes called "mouse hole" anvils as a mouse was a trademark.

This is an old style anvil made of wrought iron and a forge welded steel face.

The numbers are the weight in the old English Hundred weight system. Hundredweights (112#) quarters and pounds.

(3 * 28) + 14 = 98 pounds.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 19:56:58 GMT

Ceramic Slurry: Olle, It is a porceline or Kaolin type clay. Yep, the same stuff that fire bricks are made of is the same stuff your Grandmother's fine English China is made of. . . It produces a high temperature (refractory) surface that insures a fine finish on the casting. Even at high calcining temperature plaster still retains some chemicaly bound water that can produce surface texture in the casting. The plaster also tends to be porous doing the same. The refractory clay takes care of both problems.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 20:22:35 GMT

Guru, I have a dilema that you may be able to help me with, I should have a 2 reccomendations to a colledge(non-specific) for classes of metalwork, today I intended to ask my chemistry teacher for one after school, however, an unlikely hood occured and we had a bomb threat today, teachers and students alike were evacuated, so Im left with few options.

If I could meet you personally to obtain a reccomendation, you would be my first choice, however, now I wonder if perhaps you could scan and Email me a reccomendation with your signature. I understand if this is an unreasonable request, but if not I would be Extremely grateful.

AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 20:35:40 GMT


The FFil is probably Sheffield. That's where the Mousehole Forge was located. Can't figure what the Granil is. Rub the side down with a scotch brite pad and do a rubbing, you should be able to see more.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 20:56:28 GMT

I saw an article on a technique for doing a pinecone (Hammer's Blow). It said the steel had been "peened"; is this a special hammering technique?
Shelley  <newt at reanet.net> - Thursday, 03/29/01 22:00:29 GMT

Adam, moved conversation to e-mail -
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 22:31:28 GMT

Peening: This is both a technique and a result. Peening is normally the process of striking the work with the peen or pointed end of a hammer. It is used for stress relieving and produces a hammered looking surface. Normally texturing is called . . texturing. The classic "hammered" finish is produced with a ball pien hammer and is a lot more work than it appears. A good hammered surface has a semi even over lapping divots.

I would think a pine cone would have a chiseled surface like a rasp. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 23:03:58 GMT

I have an almost inexhaustable supply of scrap metal of all types and I'm pretty sure I can find the parts build a forge (for which I have plans on how). My problem is space. I have no place to set up a shop. I do, however, own a small pickup truck. Is there a way to set up in the back of a truck and work out of that?
Tim  <rooster at maine.rr.com> - Thursday, 03/29/01 23:21:38 GMT


Sure. Farrier's do it all the time. Contact me email, and I'll try to help you figure out an arrangement. The guru and I both have extensive experience working out of small areas, and have both developed ways of doing so.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 01:20:26 GMT

Truck Forge: Tim, Centaur Forge sells a coal burning truck forge for farriers. They do not have photos on their web site but there is one of their truck forge at:

Blacksmith.Forge.cc under forges.

When building forges in tight places I use heat shields for insulation. These are simply a piece of sheet metal spaced about 1" to 2" off the forge shell with an equal space beyond the shield. Air is alowed to circulate in the spaces. The shield stops radiant infrared heat to warm air. Its the same principal that commercial sheet metal chimney stacks use.

Be warned to be sure your truck forge is OUT before traveling! Suction out the stack will pull air in through the twyeer and create a white hot fire that has the capability to burn out the bottom of the forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 04:32:05 GMT

I'm trying to set up a smithy shop.... and I've looked and studied all the books I have (several) and they all say that the leg vise is the smiths right hand ....but they don't say how to mount it, which way it should face,how far from forge, or where it should be in relation to the forge,anvil,etc.....I know that after I learn more and do more,It will come clearer to me....but it has to be mounted to a stout bench or post....I just hate to cement a post in the ground,mount it and then find out that I have to move it...would appreciate some info on laying out a smithy.(I'm left-handed by the way)no jokes.........
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 13:07:26 GMT

Shelly, On pine cones: After studying a book on Edgar Brandt who was a French contemporary of Yellin I was able to make very authentic looking pine cones. They are however, VERY time consuming. A special die is made for the power hammer ( a spring swedge could also be made for the anvil) Each spine of the pine cone or the small points are individually forged and then either mig welded or gas welded together. Brandt was an innovator in his day for using modern technology such as gas welding, power hammers, etc... I suppose these could also be forge welded. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 14:42:10 GMT

I am searching for a blacksmith show / demonstration group or individual for Walt Disney World convention shows. It would be best if they were from the Central Florida area, however, all information will be appreciated.
Mark Speights  <mark.speights at disney.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 15:34:37 GMT

Mikey; for an odd take on forge set up read a good kitchen planning book WRT the "work triangle" Only instead of sink-stove-refrigerator you have forge-anvil-postvise. The basic idea is that what you use all the time should be as close and as easy to get to as possible---no three steps to the anvil or vise a simple rotation to get to the anvil on one side and may be a rotation and one step to get to the vise---this depends on what you are working---long stuff will need more "swing room" and you don't want to be sitting on your forge while working a piece elsewhere. The post vise is mounted to a heavy bench often on a corner, or to a post mounted in the floor. If you are just setting up try to make everything movable and experiment to find out what works for you. (You can mount a post vise to a 55 gallon barrel---fill it with water its pretty
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 16:15:47 GMT

Left Handed Smith: Mikey, Actually that is good. Most anvils have been worn out by right handed smiths and many of us use the anvil backwards to have the good edge to work on (away from us).

What is right and left on an anvil? Well, most experianced smiths will tell you it doesn't matter to them as they work from the front, back, ends. . But when making shoes, rings or scrolls and you slide them off the horn you want that to be AWAY from you, rather than into your crotch. That means you want the horn on the side you hold your tongs.

Leg Vises These want to be mounted as close as is comfortable to the forge. Generaly that is a minimum of five feet from the center of the forge (due to heat). However, it is more important to be mounted steadily than where it is. I like the vise to one side of the forge (relative to the anvil being in front) and positioned so I don't need to make a lot of extra moves to get to it.

When a forge, anvil and vise are properly setup you will wear a hole in the ground where you constantly turn around in front of the forge. If you have to walk across the shop to get to some common tool then you have a poor arrangement.

When I built my portable shop that Paw-Paw has now, the vise was mounted on the front (point) of a low triangular "bench" that had a tongs rack on the near side. The vise was open so that it was accessable from the front OR sides. I did a LOT of work from the right side, holding work in tongs held in my right hand and tightening the vise with my left. Now. . this MAY have been backwards, I don't know. We adapt to these things.

A friend of mine that has many power hammers has them surrounding his forge. One step from either side of the forge and you are at a hammer. His anvil is in front and his vise (which he uses rarely for hot work) is a few feet beyond the anvil, but it is mounted to an 8,000# weld platten. IF he had a job where there was a lot of vise work I'm sure he would set one up within a few feet of his forge.

One way to mount a vise so that it is semi portable AND very solid is to weld a 4" or larger pipe to a piece of steel plate the extends in front of the vise and to the most common working side at least 3 feet (on the corner of a 3x3 plate. As long as you are standing on the plate or the dirt/gravel covering it you can pull as hard as you want on bending wrenches and such. The heavier the plate the better but the outer part could be as thin as 1/4" (7mm) and not be a problem.

My heavy machinist's vise is mounted on a hand me down wooden bench that is heavy to some but too light for the vise. Under the bench I have a heavy piece of angle iron that one of the vise bolts goes through and the back of the plate has a one foot square flange that is bolted to the wall. The far corner of the bench is anchored to the wall with a little right angle bracket. Between the two the building will come down before the vise moves. . .

I also has a vise mounted to a stump (like an anvil stump). Supposed to be portable. Looks cool. Its the most worthless thing I ever did! The stump (log section) is to light. I plan to attach a large piece of plate (or several layers of plywood to the base so that I'm standing on them when I use the vise. .

When planning a shop it helps to stand at what equipment you have, tongs and hammer in hand and pretend to move from on to another. You should be able to make graceful single step piroetts (?) from forge to anvil, forge to vise, vise to anvil, forge to power hammer. Dance at your forge. . . .

Thomas Good answer. I'd forgotten the water drum vise anchor. One thing you want is to NOT cut the entire top off the drum OR replace it with something that stiffens it. We had a vise mounted to a 55 gal drum and the side of the drum was too flimsey and the vise would twist badly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 16:30:07 GMT

Demonstrators: Mark, response coming by mail.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 16:32:25 GMT

I have a "barrel-vise" set-up for my travel equip. I took a large 2x? from a water bed and scribed the inside curve of the barrel on it. Cut it out with a saber saw and fastened it just inside the top of the barrel with about 4 1/4" lag bolts just below the rim curl. Anyway the wood is even with the top of the barrel and the vise bolts on as usual. About 2/3 of the barrel is open and can be emergency water or large (DEEP) quench tank. I also mount a hand crank grinder to the board so I can touch up chisels and take off scale before filing stuff. If I will be on soft ground I have the bottom part of a small hand tamper that the foot of the vise will fit in. If I'm doing a *lot* of heavy work I will then stake down the edges of the tamper.

My barrel has a bung down low on the side so I can drain water when its time to be moving on

"Have Forge; WIll Travel"

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 20:16:15 GMT

Vise Mount, More ideas, warnings: Wood can be cut to fit inside OR out. Done right the "waste" piece is not waste but will fit both sides. .

Deep quench tanks are good for long pieces but a problem for anything else. Scrounge up a deep fat frier basket and hang it from the edge of the tank. Most of these are stainless steel and will last as long as the vise. Check you local resturant supply for used equip.

A cover is also a good idea if you live in mosquito country as I do. AND be careful if there are small children that can get access to the area. Small children drown in 5 gallon water pails. A 55 gal drum could be such a hazzard too.

On the one we built we added a hose bib to the bung hole and attached a short length of hose. There is no pressure but it serves to wet dry grass that can catch fire and it lets you drain the water somewhere other than where you stand. On my portable forge I fitted the bib at the bottom with a couple washers, rubber gaskets and a conduit nut.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 03/30/01 21:37:21 GMT

Oh, the fates must be with me today! Your timing (or mine?)is excellent. I'm just about to try to finish a new portable post vise. I was going to do the flat plate at the bottom as the guru just mentioned above. I picked up a 1.5" thick 3 foot by 3.5 foot plate from the scrap guy last night. T-1 plate. machined edges on two sides and barely rusted. Sitting on the back of my truck, it looked too good to have sit on the ground. I woke up thinking of casting a hunk of reinforced concrete and bolting the vise to it and using the plate for another table instead. Plus, since I want the vise to be semi portable at least, the 600 pounds of T-1 plate was going to make it permanent. (grin)

The water barrel idea is just what I'm looking for! Thanks guys!
Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 14:02:37 GMT

Tony, et al,

Another good way to mount a post vice for portability is to mount it to a large fly wheel. You can usually pick up large one for a couple of buck. Stand the bottom peg of the vice in one of the mounting holes, and weld it in place. It's easy to roll the vice around, but when you stand on the fly wheel, it won't move.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 14:12:50 GMT

Stability: Tony, I'm sure you know that "wheelbase" and Cg has more to do with stability than weight. The whole portability issue is difficult. The flywheel or heavy brake drum filled with concrete is just to small in diameter (and light weight) to suit me. But the large wheelbase (a disk being the best because it can be rolled) is also a problem. How close it can be positioned to something and wether or not it will fit through doorways is another. The best "portable" vise base setup I've seen was a combination steel disk with spokes and a rim. The rim must have been 8 feet in diameter.

I always wanted a vise mounted on the bumper of a truck (like a plummer). Not only is it portable but self powered! I HAD the next best thing on my portable forge shop. With a 7' x 9 ' area is had good "wheel base" with the legs extended to the ground and at ~2 tons it had good anchorage. Best post vise I ever had even though it was a little 30# one. .

The flexability/portability issue comes up often in shop discussions. I've had friends that wanted to lay steel rails into a concrete floor to form a system of "T" slots so machinery could be easily reorganized and bolted down. One of those "dream" ideas that has as many problems as merit.

I've SEEN shops where the floor was paved with weld plattens. This starts out as a method to bend long beams such as in ship construction but then gets used for other things. The holes quickly fill with shop debris (90% centre punches, 5% ball bearings and 5% dirt). But are relatively easy to clean out if the debris hasn't rusted into a solid mass.

Concrete is relativly light weight stuff (depending on the stone fill). So it takes a lot to amount to much. Perhaps a truncated pyramid (or cone), with a tapered steel socket (welded plate) to fit a 4" square tube with a mating end fabricated on it. . . naaa to much work.

I think that when you put "portable" in front of most blacksmith tools you have created an oxymoron. . . Then, "portablility" is one of those relative terms. Portable for who?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 17:31:14 GMT

This is my 3rd e-mail today because i dont know if the 1st 2 were sent to u or not because a error message had kept popping up on my computer. sorry to bother u but i gotta make sure my question reaches u.
Hello! I m truly in need of ur assistance oh great guru. I m a student at a high school in Florida. We are having a renaissance fair which will last six hours and I m playing the blacksmith. The purpose of it is 2 teach us about the trades during the renaissance (1400-1600). I will have 2 show progressive stages of a blacksmith making something. Of course, i wont be making real tools. I will make my tools outof cardboard material and paint them so they look realistic. I have already learned some of the bsics at http://www.hypercon.com/lytton
Now this is where i m in need of ur assistance oh great guru. I dont know wat to make? I want to make something simple. So, could u urself tell me wat to make (remember it must be historically accurate for the renaissance time) and how to make it or u can give me a web site tat will give me directions step by step. I dont want anything complicated since i m a newbee but nothing way too simple. plz no books. i have already gottne enough n they show complicated things and tools which theyt already expect me to know.
I also want to understand how exactly the bellows and forge are connected and work together.
PLease help me a.s.a.p.
Thank u very much 4 ur help.
Kartik  <Porwal at netzero.net> - Saturday, 03/31/01 18:26:09 GMT

Project: Kartik, We have almost 90 step by step projects on the iForge page most of which are suitable to the medieval era. There is also a step by step drawing of making a fork in the story Revolutionary Blacksmith on our story page which is an excelent forging exercise.

The bellows blows air through a large (2") pipe into the side OR bottom of the forge. In a medieval forge the air would blow from the side into a pile of charcoal.

The bellows is a simple air pump. It has a "flap valve" made of wood or leather in the bottom that lets in air and closes by gravity when the bellows is compressed blowing the air into the forge. In OLD forges the nozzel on the end of the bellows wasn't connected directly to the forge but blew at a hole in a stone in the side of the forge OR into the end of a clay pipe that carried the air to the center of the fire.

You could use cardboard or possibly Model Magic by Crayola. Its sort of a modern replacement for Play Dough
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 19:58:51 GMT

FJK - Saturday, 03/31/01 19:37:11 GMT

Mild Steel: FJK, The reason mild steel is called MILD is that it is only mildly hardenable. It is designed NOT to be hardened. In any case, it WILL harden a little.

Heat to a low red/orange. For mild steel this is considerably hotter than where it becomes non-magnetic (which is the test for medium and high carbon steels).

Quench in COLD (ice) water or brine. Normal steels are quenched in room temperature or slightly warmer water or oil. Mild steel needs a severe quench to get appreciably hard. Afterwards temper it. 350°F in a cooking oven is a good method.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 20:05:05 GMT

Harden mild steel? FJK I'm afraid it is not likely to give much in the way of results.
Mild might get up to 40-45HRC MAX. I would estimate most edge or striking tools need about 55HRC to be much good.
It WILL get harder but not enough for cutting edges or striking tools.
It will get as hard as it will get if quenched in ice-cold saltwater (ice almost starting to form) at a little hotter than nonmagnetic (Curie point).
Steel loosed the polarisation of its helmholts-domains round the quench point (for straight carbon steel) which means that they move too freely (large molecule clusters) to attract or repel magnetic fields, they just swing with them instead. And that is called the Curie point.

At that point steel has a different structure than at room temp. That structure will be partially "frozen" when hardened (different cooling speed for different steels).
The tensions within (it wants to go back to its soft stage) has to be overcome to deform it. Thus the higher inner tensions the harder steel (too hard and it gets brittle).
So to "harden" that mild heat to a bit above where it looses its magnetic properties and quench. Then heat to 200*C (390*F) to get some excess tensions out of it just in case.
Did I get that right Grandpa, guru?.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 03/31/01 21:15:24 GMT

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