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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from March 1 - 7, 2004 on the Guru's Den
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Greetings from Garching Germany. Just arrived yesterday and was pleased to see some nice ironwork in my Hotel --- a handrail in very nice clean lines with smooth transition curves. A nice finish on it but I don't think the owner's English will go so far as technical discussions of such . . .

Gotta go herd some bits

   - Thomas P - Monday, 03/01/04 07:56:37 EST

I'm looking for a source for hardwood charcoal in the Bangor Maine region. Any ideas? Craig
   Craig Curtis - Monday, 03/01/04 09:35:45 EST

Charcoal: Craig, You best bet is to try your local steak house and ask who they get their's from. Many resturant suppliers handle real charcoal in bulk. Be sure to tell them what you want it for as they may not want to give such information to a possible competitor.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 09:43:34 EST

Curved Railing on Stairs: David, I would start with a making a clear drawing with accurate measurements. Since most of these stairs are now factory made they should be very uniform. HOWEVER, it is not unusual to find large differences in rise and run. Often this is in the middle of a series in order to compenstate for odd construction spacing. So this means measureing EVERY step in two dimensions.

The next step is to make a mock up of the stairs and rail position. This can be made of wood, carboard, steel. You accurate locations of where the pickets go if every tread has a picket. This means a mock up on the radius of the centerline of the rail, not the edge of the stairs.

Depending on the size and scope of the job you may want to make a short segment of form from angle iron or plate and bar to bend the rail in. This is the method used by someone I know that has a lot of experiance making curved and spiral rails.

Curved spiral rails are a bitch and I have never known anyone to make money on one. Our article on sprial stairs says figure out what you THINK it is worth then multiply by three. Even then you may be short.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 10:04:01 EST

More on Curves: I have helped make sprial top rails in a tire bender (rolls). The trick is that rolling top rail on edge is the hard way and it can damage old rolls. We used the trial and error method. We rolled the rail in an ovelaping circle and then pulled it out like a spring on the floor and measured the extended diameter. Then we rolled a little more and tested again. It took three passes to get it right. However, this was for wrought stairs that were built to match the rail not vise versa. This was using heavy custom (solid) top rail. The complete job took a huge amount of space as it was all built horizontaly. I don't think it was seen vertical until the crane lifted it to install.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 10:11:28 EST

Now, doesn't everybody wish they'd paid more attention in Trig class ?
   3dogs - Monday, 03/01/04 10:58:30 EST

Geometry: The curves mentioned can be determined mathematicaly (it in our spiral stair case article) but in the end getting the right bend and twist requires a lot of trial and error fitting.

When laying out and building stairs I use a lot of simple geometry and reduce dimensions to 64ths (.4mm). But I also use dividers set to the decimal inch in thousandsths (.025 mm) to do the layout. The results are absolutely equal rise and run IF the floor to floor level is measured accurately.

But I am the exception when it comes to this kind of thing. I'm a little fanatical about numbers coming out equal. I've measured new stair treads in multi-million dollar homes and every step was +/- 1/2" (13mm). . . I've also measured fireplaces that LOOKED square that were also out as much as 1/2". So it is critical to take accurate measurements when fitting to someone elses work.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 11:20:23 EST

PTree & Paw Paw; How true, I had the unenviable task of doing the eulogy for a young friend (44)Firday night.
   Ron Childers - Monday, 03/01/04 14:30:53 EST

Viruses: One of our compatriots has it pretty bad. I just recieved a batch of forged mails from Paw-Paw, Grizz, Keenjunk and others in the blacksmithing community.

Don't trust mail from ANYONE. Least of all ME. Because my e-mail address is in the cache on thousands of folks PC's when they get a virus my name is used repeatedly in the forged return address. . .

Worse, the idiot virus filters at AOL and others send the forged mail back to me. . . So I get a double wammy.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 15:05:17 EST

How would I go about restoring the once hardened surface of a 80lb. Peddinghaus anvil? Should I have it flame harden using a torch or case harden it using a forge? Is there any other alternative? I used a belt sander to trying to smoothen the surface but ended up taking the ring out of it. This is my wife's anvil and anything I can do to restore to its original condition is welcomed.
   Limon - Monday, 03/01/04 16:16:33 EST

Anvil Face: Limon, Just how much did you take off? The hardened face penetrates at least a quarter inch and as much as 1/2". Simple dressing should not have hurt it. Ring is often related to how the anvil is mounted. An anvil balanced on a loose surface will ring loudly while the same anvil tied down tight will be much quieter.

Peddinghaus does not publish the material type used in their anvils. Peddinghaus uses high frequency induction hardening and the steel is selected for that process. So do-it-your-self hardening is going to be a real gamble.

I suspect there is nothing wrong with the anvil and anything you do will make matters worse.
   - guru - Monday, 03/01/04 17:10:35 EST

I work for a company that induction hardens axles. The steel is a modified standard alloy that hardnens rapidly. It will quench crack every time if the process is not just right. I suggest that as the Guru suggested, you may do more damage than good to attempt a re-heat treatment. The temper is critical on these steels as well.
   ptree - Monday, 03/01/04 17:44:40 EST

I bought something that they called a sheet metal anvil. Where can I find a picture of one. This is about 3 feet long. It is half round with a dovetail grove along the bottom length. It is also flat for about 10 inchs on one end. I can send a picture if you need one.


   john - Monday, 03/01/04 17:50:21 EST

I hava a Delta 14" chop saw and I'm having a problem getting it to cut. I put on a new blade and it cuts great the first two or three times, then it gets almost impossible to get it to take a bite in the steel. Anyone else have this problem? Is there a way to redress the edge of the blade?
   Ed Long - Monday, 03/01/04 17:51:44 EST

teach me how to make a japaness sword
   aj - Monday, 03/01/04 18:33:23 EST

Possibly 1/32 of an inch was taken off. It was some years ago I did this. My wife detected the change in the ring which made her seriously upset with me. I also noticed small shallow rings or dimples about 1 mm in diameter or so appearing on the surface. Is there any possibility that Peddinghaus may have used case hardening? If that was the case, it would explain why the hardened layer was so thin.

If induction hardening is used by Peddinghaus, then there should be sufficient carbon in the steel to possibly use flame hardening with an oxyacetylene torch with water quenching. I've seen photos of such operation. It's just a matter of finding a welding shop with flame hardening equipment i.e. a row of torch heads with a water sprayer on a motorized track. This might be easier said than done.

   Limon - Monday, 03/01/04 18:36:04 EST

aj, first you have to move to Japan. Then learn Japanese fluently. Then find a Master who is willing to take a pupil. Then work your butt off for about 12 years.
   Ralph - Monday, 03/01/04 18:36:36 EST

I have acquired a blacksmith/fix-it shop. Where can I find someone that can give me an appraisal of the contents?
   Carroll - Monday, 03/01/04 18:37:16 EST


What you have is a tinner's stake made for bolting to a bench. The "dovetail" on the bottom is to allow it to be adjusted for working length. Pexto (formerly Peck, Stowe and Company) made them as did a number of smaller manufacturers. I would suggest looking in an old catalogue for tin workers (sheet metal) shops. I have a couple old tinsmith's manuals that show them, but I don't currently have any way to scan a picture for you.

Try your local library for tinner's books or perhaps old trade school textbooks.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/01/04 18:40:21 EST

Ed Long, I'm assuming (I know big mistake) that you are talking about a 14 abrasive cut off saw. You may be trying to take too light a cut in those first few cuts. If you do not exert enough pressure to continually wear away a small amount of the cutting disc you will wind up having nothing but dull abrasive grains exposed to your work. Some people call this glazing or glazed. Set a piece of relatively thin stock (like 1/8" by 2" flat) on edge in the vise and take one or two agressive cuts through it. That should clean up your disc and allow you to salvage the remaining life of the wheel.
   SGensh - Monday, 03/01/04 18:43:21 EST

Ed Long,

Is this an abrasive chop saw? If so, it should cut the same cut after cut unless you are loading the blade with soft metal. If that happens, you need to dress the blade using a grinding stone dresser to cut off the loaded edge.

If using a wheel type dresser, clamp it securely to the saw's cutting table and bring the blade down on it GENTLY. Allow it to spin and chip off the blade until you are below the loaded area. I using a diamond point dresser, you need to make a steady rest to braceit on and feed it against the wheel edge carefully. Full safety equipment, i.e. gloves, face mask, safety glasses, and apron are mandatory.

Abrasive blades work best on material that is hard enough to abrade without loading. Some steels are soft enough that deep cutting can lead to excessive heating of the steel to the point that it no longer abrades well and loads the wheel. To avoid this, let the stock cool if it begins to cut too slowly. Adjust you cutting pressure to get a good cut without heating the stock too much or chewing up the blade too rapidly. Abrasive blades are consumables, though, and you have to expect them to be consumed.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/01/04 18:50:43 EST

Ed Long,

SGensh has a better and safer method for clearing your blade. Follow his method.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/01/04 18:52:23 EST


We could help a lot more if we knew about where you are. If you're currently working in Anarctica, it's might be kinda difficult. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 03/01/04 19:57:38 EST

Ed long,
Are you buying name brand abrasive blades? I made the mistake of buying some flea market chinese junk blades. Only had abrasive for about a 32nd of an inch. Then no cut.
   ptree - Monday, 03/01/04 20:00:36 EST

Actually, Johns stake does have a dovetail cut in the bottom. It is to allow you to slide it back and forth, as rich said. You use a "tee" bolt to bolt it to your table or stake plate, and then you can adjust the overhang off the table. My guess is what he has is a "Hollow Mandrel Stake", Number 910, 3 foot 4 inches long, 45 lbs, made by Pexto since at least 1900. In my facsimile 1900 catalog, it cost a big 5 dollars and 50 cents, but more recently they have sold new for as much as $585. And that price is from a 1986 catalog. Not a real hot selling item, though, I doubt it is worth anything like that used. I do have a few pictures of em from old catalogs- but why do you need a picture if you have the actual stake?
   - Ries - Monday, 03/01/04 21:04:40 EST

Roper Whitney still sells new pexto stakes, and they still sell the 910. It probably costs about as much as a new 400lb anvil. You can see them at roper whitney dot com, under stakes.
   - Ries - Monday, 03/01/04 21:12:59 EST

Now i've found a good question for ya, where do I find a colomn on attaching a blower to a tuyere? Just to let yall know, I use a plate i've made myself out of sheetmetal and I want to learn how to use a different plate.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Monday, 03/01/04 21:35:12 EST

Thanks for the advice folks. I hate the thought of throwing away 13 3/4" blades just because they won't cut worth a hoot.
   Ed Long - Monday, 03/01/04 23:05:42 EST

Ed, I ran into the same problem with cheap blades from Harbor Freight. I would get about a 1/4" use out of them, then they just didn't want to cut at all. I tried some Makita blades from my steel supplier and they worked a lot better.

   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 03/02/04 02:05:37 EST

Tried to sell one of those tinner's stakes for $50 at one quad-state and had no takers. They are not very popular compared to needlecase stakes or blowhorn stakes.

Thomas watching the snow fall in Garching Germany
   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/02/04 05:53:14 EST

A question of heat.Every publication or web article about smithing refers to welding heats and forging heats but seldomm can you find agreement between any two articles on what a proper welding heat is.I've sen it described as anything from a dark red to a liquid white. Personally, from what experience I have, I have to get metal to a light yellow or white to get it to weld, and I have classic reprint books that suggest this heat. However, i frequently run across articles, both old and new, that say this is too hot, and the metal is actually burning at this point. Anyone want to clarify once and for all what an actual welding heat is?
   Ed Long - Tuesday, 03/02/04 08:41:26 EST

Ed: actual welding heat is the heat at which the pieces weld---this is different for *EVERY* alloy with the trend of going down with increased carbon content. One of the tricks in patternwelding is dealing with different alloys whose preferred welding temps may not overlap by much if at all (remember the trick of placing the higher carbon bit you are lap welding to a WI edge so it is "up" in the fire?)

Welding temp also depends on the fire as well. with excessively clean reducing fires you can weld in the "I don't believe it range" (Clean metal in a vacuum can weld ate very low temps indeed given time and contact)

If you really want to get into it Tylecotes "Solid Phase Welding of Metals" (?) (I'm even further from my reference library than usual lately) will give you way too much technical info on how the process works.

Thomas, writing from the Max Planck Institute in Garching Germany (well actually from ESO; but we're hiding out in the MPI since ESO ran out of space)
   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/02/04 09:04:44 EST

I forgot to mention: I like to weld most billets while they are below sparking and run WI up higher.

   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/02/04 09:06:27 EST

Japanese Sword: AJ, While you are studying Japanese as Ralph suggested (be sure it is technical Japanese not just conversational), you may want to obtain and study ALL the books in our Sword Making Resources list. You may also want to study Japanese religion. Every step in the making of a Japanese sword requires a lot of prayer and offerings to the gods.

You will also want to practice forge welding in a charcoal forge. A huge part of traditional Japanese sword making is forge welding. Hundreds of welds may be made in one piece and every weld must be perfect. One flea sized slag inclusion and the steel is ruined. Thus the prayers to the gods.

If you just want to make a sword see our sword making article. By Japanese law a sword is not a "Japanese sword" unless it is made there under rigid rules.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/02/04 10:41:58 EST

Soft Peddinghaus: Limon, On a small anvil you may have taken off the hardest surface but not enough to ruin the anvil (unless it got very hot while grinding). Note also that almost every hammer is harder than an anvil face and you ding the hardest anvils. My old Kohlswa is one of the hardest anvils made (too hard) and an apprentice dinged the face repeatedly as well as the face of my Hay-Budden.

Heat treating an unknown steel will cost more than a new anvil (even a Peddinghaus). Trying to do it yourself will most likely to end up with a completely ruined anvil. Surface hardening is something that must be experimented with. How many anvils do you have to experiment on? See Ptree's note (from a depth of industrial experiance).

If you want to make peace with you wife get her a NEW anvil. Dress to horn to perfection (they come rough) but leave the face virgin. You should be able to recoup about a third the loss selling the old anvil.

Did you check the mounting? An anvil free to vibrate will ring four times louder than one resting on a soft surface or bolted down.

NO, Peddinghaus, nor any other manufacturer ever used case hardening.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/02/04 11:05:19 EST

Apprasial: Carroll, mail coming your way.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/02/04 11:07:41 EST

Lone, your question makes no sense. . . Pipe, plumbing and ducts are just that. Put them together with as few turns or restrictions as possible. Screw, weld, bolt or rivet its your choice.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/02/04 11:15:35 EST

I was wondering if anyone would know what this jig was used for? It is 16" long 7" high is made of cast iron and weighs about 25 lbs. It has bolt holes on the bottom to attach it to the workbench. It has 2 t shaped brackets that are attached with springed bolts. These can be adjusted in height. Between the t shaped brackets to one side is a metal tube where something??? could be mounted. On the other side is an adjustable bracket. I would love to find out what this is and/or what it was used for. Please contact me at memoore2003@hotmail.com and I can email you a photo of it. thanks
   max moore - Tuesday, 03/02/04 15:06:17 EST

Max, I tried to email you, but it bounced. I'll take a look at it for you.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/02/04 16:00:25 EST

In a book somplace, which I would love to credit if I could remember the title. Th writer recomended that hammers should be softer than anvils, and, cutoff hardies softer than hammers. The reasoning being that it was easier to dress a hammer than an anvil after a mistrike, and easier to redress the hardy than a hammer.
   JimG - Tuesday, 03/02/04 19:44:38 EST

Jim G, I know that some horseshoers use a copper or brass hammer for every hardie cut. They just go on through without worrying about a shearing blow.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/02/04 19:59:26 EST

Ah, don't worry about it boy, i'll just stick with what I got.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Tuesday, 03/02/04 21:26:47 EST

ok, probably the most basic question you will ever be asked.

I'm building a small telescope and have decided to create
the tube out of three struts (?) that will screw into two plates (?)what i need to know is "how do i create the screw threads on the rods that will then screw into the plates. also how do i create the threaded screw holes in the plates" is this what a tap and die is for? sorry to sound ignorant but my forte is woodworking.

thanks for your help.
   Patrick - Tuesday, 03/02/04 21:38:32 EST

Reply to ptree and fredly: the blades I've been using range from Mastercraft (chain store brand) to blades from industrial suppliers. They all seem to act the same. Dunno. This saw seems to be a real power hog too. It'll kick out a 15 amp breaker like it wasn't even there. Yesterday I was cutting 7/8 square stock and it'd kick the breaker three or four times per cut. Of course it was taking like twenty minutes to burn it's way through a bar, and that's with me constantly turning the bar from side to side to avoid heat build up. I guess the iron gods just aren't with that saw. I swear I cut the last two bars with a hacksaw faster than the chop saw would cut them.
   Ed Long - Tuesday, 03/02/04 21:54:41 EST

Patrick, Yes, a hand tap and matching die is the route to go. A good book on their use is "Metalwork Technology and Practice" by Repp and McCarthy. They are sold in standardized sizes, and in the U.S. for example, a 3/8"-16 would mean a 3/8" diameter, 16 threads per inch. When tapping a hole, the hole is drilled slightly undersized, choosing the correct drill size from a "tap drill clearance chart". Cutting lubricant is used for tap and die operations. If you're near a big city, a machinists' supply or contractors' supply might help you. Large catalogs carry the taps and dies individually, such places as McMaster-Carr, MSC, and Travers Tool.

Ed Long, When I first started using a chop saw, I got some blades at the flea. I don't remember who made them, but they were 1/8" or thicker and I had trouble with them cutting. I then purchased a DeWalt 3/32" thick blade, and that did the trick.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/02/04 22:51:58 EST

Had the same problem..the solution was , as Frank says, to go to the next thinner blade and increase the pressure when cutting slows. Wear eye and lung protection...nasty stuff flies far and fast using those things.
Patrick: if you use all-thread rod through your struts, you can get out of the die part of the tap and die dance.
Lone Blacksmith: Plumbing from forge to blower is one of the most non-critical bits of plumbing you can do..the part attached to the forge has to be fireproof and ideally include a pipe that goes straight down with a cap or valve at the bottom to dump the ash build up. The rest could even be an old metal tipped vacume cleaner hose or exhaust pipe flex hose...or tin cans with the ends cut out and soldered end to end..or whatever. It also helps to have a way to regulate the amount of air passing through. A simple hack saw cut 3/4 of the way through will accomidate a flat sheet metal "gate" for that. It's one of the many problems that as a blacksmith, you can solve with stuff out of any old junk pile. It's where you can make something out of almost nothing....which is what we just did.
Just had a milwaukee grinder die again...3rd time for this one...Heavy Duty haw! Won't make that mistake again.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 03/03/04 04:10:04 EST

To second Pete, my last forge used exhaust pipe and vacuum cleaner hose with the vacuum on the other end. Control was a ‘spill’ slot and baffle plate in the exhaust pipe. Everything was push fit (the vacuum had to be disconnected when it rained).
Think what will get hot and choose materials to suit. BTW the vacuum was MUCH too powerful, it ran at half power (approx) and I still needed to spill / baffle the air flow. It could blow coke 4 inches up …..on a side blast.
   - Nigel - Wednesday, 03/03/04 04:45:00 EST

Chop saw blades

Everyone has their favorite I guess. Cheap blades give cheap results for me (like Forney). I have been using Makita exclusively for 6-7 years and have excellent results.
Local farm store sells them for between $5.40 and 6.00 depending on their suppliers price (this is my buying individual blades). One of the local machinists sells blades he swears by. Sometimes the blades may load a bit (meaning that it stops cutting ferrous metal). A bit larger downward pressure will make them cut again, but you must be careful. When they start cutting again, they will take off like a rocket and spray abrasives and sparks. I have had fair luck with flea market die grinder blades but I stick to Makita on the chop saw and for the most part use
   - Ten Hammers - Wednesday, 03/03/04 06:31:06 EST

hunkey dorey, hit the wrong button.....

most part I use "Sizzler" die grinder blades since the welding supplier has them pretty cheap and they cut and shape well. 3M has an excellent die grinder blade (Green Corps) but they are pricey and have a wider kerf. Sorry for the mulit post.
   - Ten Hammers - Wednesday, 03/03/04 06:43:26 EST

I was wondering if anyone has ever made a pine cone? I would like to use a cluster of three for a door knocker, if at all feasible. I haven't been able to find an example of how it would be made. Thanks,
   - restoreman - Wednesday, 03/03/04 07:34:12 EST

Ed Long,

One thing occurs to me after reading your last post. You said it was taking several minutes to cut through a 7/8" bar, which on my Porter Cable chop saw (which I consider a mite wimpy), would take less than 45 seconds. With minimum blade wear. BTW, I use either Harbor Freight blades or Sait, whichever I have on hand.

I had an old chop saw in the past, Makita I think, that was fussy about the blade thickness. If you used one of the thin kerf 3/32" blades, you had to use an additional blade washer or the thing slipped on the motor shaft, and just quit cutting much. It looked like it was cutting, but there was ust enough blade slip to keep it from getting full power. You might check that.

Also,those saws typically draw 14 amps running, and more than that when they start up or get loaded down under pressure. If the saw is on an extension cord, the situation will be even worse due to voltage drop caused by line loss. That may be robbing your saw of as much as 2/3 of it's potential power. That will definitely trip a 15 amp breaker. That saw should be on a 20 amp circuit.

I hope this helps.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/03/04 07:57:38 EST


A recent issue of The Anvil's Ring or The Hammer's Blow, the ABANA publications, had an irticle on making pine cones. Find an ABANA member near you and get a copy of that article. Sorry I'm not at home right now and I can't tell you exactly which issue.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/03/04 07:59:55 EST

Pine Cones, An Idea: We came home from Iron in the Hat with a stack of wide cheap farriers rasps. These could be cut off and scrolled into a conical shape that would have the general appearance of a pine cone. If you know a farrier they go through rasps at an ammazing rate.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 09:01:21 EST

Electric Die Grinders: Years ago (c 1984) I bought a beautiful all metal housing B&D die grinder to supply with a job. It was a wonderful well made tool. It was also expensive ($300). About a year later I went to get two more, one for a similar job and one for our shop. No longer made! In fact the one I had bought was 10 year old inventory.

So, we bought a similar red plastic housed grinder. It worked OK for a number of years in intermitent service. Then one day while chamfering a hole in wood it did one of those hoola-hoop deals where the bit walks around the hole in a brief instant. The inertial force ripped the screws out of the motor to gear housing joint above where I was holding it. . . Now, this is a common occurance with die grinders. I've had it happen many times with air die grinders and Dremels. I am a skilled user and try to avoid the situation, but it DOES occur. Short self taping screws in plastic were highly under rated for this service. The tool was trashed in a fraction of a second. This could have happened when the tool was only minutes out of the box.

I've had small cheap air die grinders that lasted for many years in rough service and recommend them over the crop of cheap electric tools. Although I have not used one, Foredom makes a very nice flexible shaft tool. These move the mass away from the application of force and have an advantage there. However, I question the life of flexible shaft assemblies.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 09:16:24 EST

Nasty Viruses: There is a new e-mail virus out that purports to be from YOUR ISP. I just got one from the "Anvilfire.com team" at http://www.anvilfire.com/ warning ME that I needed to read the attached ZIP file using the provided keycode. . . . All very official sounding except there is no "team" just ME. . .

Apparently this virus is very sucessful because I am getting a flood of them as well as related viruses with attachments.

Note that even though ZIPed viruses have been around for a year the anti-virus people have not found a solution to detecting them. The one above used a random key to encrypt the file and then included the key in the file.

One or more of YOU, our readers, are infected with this virus.

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 09:25:08 EST

Guru, Consider the lowly speedometer cable; it's a flexible shaft...
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 03/03/04 10:02:30 EST

Pine cones: In the demo I saw, the individual pieces were forged on a die, cut off on a hot cut hardy then welded one-by-one to a stem. The branch was textured and mig wire welded on for the needles. It was a work of art but took a lot of time and patience.
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 03/03/04 10:33:03 EST


I have been using the same Foredom flexible shaft grinder since 1968 with no problems. I keep the cable and handpiece lubricated with a high quality grease and blow the crud out of the motor housing every so often. The unit saw very heavy use for about the first five years of its life, then intermittent use since then. When I do use it, I often use it pretty hard though. It's been an excellent piece of equipment for the money.

A foredom flex shaft machine is NOT a die grinder, however. It is much more durable than those wimpy little Dremel tools and much handier, too. There are different handpieces available for anything from dental burrs to Jacobs chucks and light duty impactors. But if you want to do work that is better suited to a 1/4" collet die grinder, then by all means get one of those. I've had remarkably good luck with even the cheapo HF air powered die grinders.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/03/04 10:45:52 EST

Jock, have you ever thought that your carharts probably know more bout smithing than a lot of folks the drift by here and they are soaking up all that knowledge on running the web sites too, I bet they are logging on late at night when you are asleep and making trouble on-line for you!

I'm not saying they should be staked down when you are not wearing them but I'm not saying they shouldn't either!

Thomas, blame it on the european chocolate...
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/03/04 11:05:19 EST

You are of course assuming he removes them........ (grin)
So how is Germany?
   Ralph - Wednesday, 03/03/04 11:20:39 EST

Guru, I met you at the Madison conference last year and you seem like a straight-up guy to me, so I think the computer problem is somehow connected with money or envy. Who would stand to profit by causing you all that grief, or who would be that jealous of your success? The guilty party(s) should receive a sentence of 3 days - in the electric chair - or a visit to my junque shoppe (fire ants and all).
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 03/03/04 14:07:58 EST

I am looking for recommendations for a gas forge for occasional use where coal is bothersome. I have viewed most of the gas forge comercially available and without a visual examination the overll quality if a variable. Bear in mind that price is one of the principal consideration. Any help or advise would be appreciated.
   Don - Wednesday, 03/03/04 14:16:00 EST

Don, you can build a fairly decent gasser for very little and for less than 200.00 you can build a pretty good gasser.
There is lots and lots out about how to.
Don Fogg has info on building blown gas forges. Ron Reil has info on non-blown forges.

   Ralph - Wednesday, 03/03/04 14:44:52 EST

t just shows the absolute stupidity of internet users...present company excepted... they have to 1) open an email that they weren't expecting which has text and a subject that make no sense, 2) save the zip file to their hard drive, 3) unzip the file, and 4) run the file.... all this is required in order to get infected, yet this thing is spreading like wildfire.
   habu - Wednesday, 03/03/04 15:10:28 EST

Hello I am trying to get a flame up to 12 inches in length
but I realy need it bigger to burn large signs I make for people for deceration, I am using propane for the gas and am looking for a cheap tip that would give me this long flame, orvis size and so on, please help ~Tony
   Tony - Wednesday, 03/03/04 15:26:26 EST


There are product reviews of two of the NC Tool forges on the 21st Century Page here at anvilfire. The short report is that I have tested both the NC Tool Whisper Baby, and their Whisper Momma. I love my Whisper Momma, it's done everything I've ever asked it to do.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/03/04 15:54:58 EST


One of Harbor Freight's Weed Burners would do the job, and costs less than $20.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/03/04 15:56:17 EST

Okay, I read your message on viruses and I must say I feel bad for you becouse I don't know how to help ya. By the way what's whisper mama? I feel real stupid about now (grin)
   - Lone Blacksmith - Wednesday, 03/03/04 16:29:04 EST

Viruses: Some of you have missed the point. The virus uses whatever YOUR email URL is. If you use AOL the mail says "From the AOL.com team", If you use msn it says "From the MSN.net team". . . and includes the hot link back to the URL. *I* am not personaly being attacked, the software uses any URL it finds handy, yours, your ISP, your friends'. Quenchcrack happened to get one addressed from anvilfire. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 16:58:33 EST

12" Flame: That takes a LOT of propane at higher than normal pressure. Most systems use a burst of gas then delayed ignition to make an exciting flame. This is not the type of thing you discuss in orrifice sizes, this is open HP pipe size stuff.

Ah. . my Carhartts MAY have a life of their own but they don't tell me about it.

Speedometer cables. . I've replaced many. Under normal conditions they see almost NO perceptable load. The primary resistance is friction and the magnetic slip clutch that drives the speedometer needle. They also rotate at very low speed. A power shaft turning 3,600 RPM or more sees more rotations in a few minutes than a speedo cable sees in hundreds of thousands of miles.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 17:09:00 EST

Does flux attack refractories like hard brick and castable, too, or just the fiber blanket types like kaowool? Or is it just slower at eating up the harder refractories?


   Steve A - Wednesday, 03/03/04 18:20:27 EST

Ed, I think Vic may have nailed your chop saw problem. If you are using an extension cord, and if it is NOT a heavy duty one, but one of those 14 ga ones sold by the big box stores your saw will have no power. If you must use an extension cord, a minum is 12 gauge wire, 10 is better, and the problem is compounded by the length of the cord. Some folks need a cord that is 10' long so they use a 100' cord and they just made their problem much worse.....
   Ellen - Wednesday, 03/03/04 18:30:55 EST

recs on tenon sizes: i will be making some tenon dies soon and i want to know what "y'all" rec, up to 1" parent stock. if i ever do anything heavier, i will whip one up. 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 7/16..that should cover most, no? that is why i am asking. any comments or advice very appreciated!
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/03/04 18:53:29 EST

Tony, this is Tony. A sidearm burner running high pressure propane (forget the regulator) will give up to a 4 foot flame with a .035 mig tip if not in a forge. The forge backpressure really slows down the flame. Use a choke to change the air to gas ratio or the flame may blow out. 1/4" ball valve for gas flow control. Touchy, but it will work.

Very much fun.

Err... a very useful tool.

The weed burner Paw Paw mentions will be a lot less work.

But not as much fun! Grin.
   - Tony - Wednesday, 03/03/04 20:09:24 EST

Steve flux will eat the brick and to a lesser extent the castable refractories.
I have heard that a high phosphate type refractory will resist the flux best of all. Plan on making a forge with it soon.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 03/03/04 20:13:37 EST

Tennon Sizes: Rugg, Add a 5/8" and 3/4" to that list if you are going to work with 3/4" and 1" stock.

Note that good tennon swages are round at the bottom and have sloped sides so as to not chop up the tennon. The idea is to reduce it in size without squeezing material out at the parting of the dies. You can actually forge good tennons between two flat suurfaces with stops. But the radiused bottom helps make a smooth surface faster. See our iForge demo # 133.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 20:53:19 EST

guru, thanks for the response. these dies are similar to your description of "two flat surfaces". all four sides will be butchered first, then placed in the dies. thanks again...
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/03/04 21:38:33 EST

Patrick, RE: telecope threaded rods
If you don't mind thread showind along the rod, you can get "All Thread" or "Ready Rod" at home Depot in 3-foot lengths, and much longer ones at nut & bolt supply places.

One possible problem- I don't know exactly how the rods and plates are configured, but if there is a plate with threaded holes at each end of the set of rods, you will be able to screw the rods into the bottom plate, further than necessary and then "unscrew them a bit as you screw them into the top plate, but it would be hard to adjust and align things. Can you sandwich at least one of the plates between a pair of nuts on each rod? That way you could make small adjustments to get the plates parallel and then lock the nuts in place. That plate would have clear holes (not threaded).
   Don Sinclaire - Wednesday, 03/03/04 21:58:05 EST

Thanks y'all for the ideas about the saw trouble. I was in to the local steel dealer today and laughed when I saw his Delta 14". It had been severely worked over and kicked back under the workbench. HE had a lot of trouble with it too. No power, brushes burn out way too often.
Being an electrician by trade (blacksmithing is a sideline) I should point out that if a saw or any other tool is equipped with a two or three pronged cord that will plug into a standard 15-amp receptacle then that saw is rated to not draw over twelve amps. If the tool is designed to draw 13 or 14 amps, then by the National Electrical Code is is required of the manufacturer to equip it with a 20 amp plug which requires a different receptacle configuration.
Also, a fourteen guage cable should be capable of supplying its rated load of 12 amps power at least 75 feet away (I'd have to dig out the code book to give the exact figure...its 75 or 100 feet at least)..just some thoughts.
Great forum here. Keep it up. I'm learnign more everytime I check it out.
   Ed Long - Wednesday, 03/03/04 21:58:09 EST

Tool Amps: Ed, I have three B&D 7" Wildcat Grinders. When leaned on they will trip a 15A breaker in an instant. So I equip my shop with 30A breakers. Yeah, this is REAL high, breaks the rules. . .. But that is what the old electric panels had and some portable tools require.

Extension cords lose voltage at both ends due to the ancient and poor design. The voltage drop for the cord agrevates the problem. 14ga is not bad but I prefer 12. Everyone should note that very often those huge diameter heavy LOOKING cords often only have 16 or 18ga wire and are not worth a s. . . . . . Read the label CLOSELY before buying any extension cord. Replace damaged ends with the best HD ends you can get. Bryant makes a nice heavy water proof pair that are very durable. A set will cost as much as a cheap cord but are worth it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/03/04 22:52:00 EST

I linked to this site a few days ago and came upon a series of PICs dealing with "junk yard hammers" or something like that. These were trip hammers made from rear ends and the like. I can not find this info now. Can you please direct me to them?


Looks like a great site KODOs to you.

   Tom - Wednesday, 03/03/04 22:57:40 EST

Tom, see our Power Hammer Page, Catalog of User Built or Junk Yard Hammers.

Thank you!
   - guru - Thursday, 03/04/04 00:01:52 EST

I just restored a couple of anvils for a friend (in exchange for him loaning them to me for a few years). Both were noteworthy in their own way.
The first was a #160 "BK Sydney", cast iron with a steel face. There was substantial edge damage in one spot, but otherwise it was in good shape. After dressing I tested the whole anvil with the "ball bearing test" and got 85% average, except in the spot where the damage was, which scored only 60%. Any explanation?

The second anvil was forged steel, stamped 1:2:25, with the heel busted clean off. Not just at the hardy hole either. Careful examination suggested it had broken along a weld line (the horn, feet, and pressumably heel had been forge welded to the body). Any suggestions on a fix? Or should I leave well enough alone?
   DPD - Thursday, 03/04/04 00:32:17 EST


Most likely when the damage was caused to the edge of the anvil it caused a seperation of the steel plate and the cast iron body around the damaged area. This would cause a siginificant amount of dampening. It may not be seperated at the weld point, it could be an internal crack from a shock load(oops, I droped the anvil over the railing).

Happy sleuthing,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 03/04/04 02:12:56 EST

Be afraid, Be *very* afraid, I just found the scrap bins for the institutes metalworking shops!

Makes one wish for the old days when one could load up the carry-(ir)on bag since they didn't *weigh* them...Now I think 90# of metal (one trip long ago) would not make it through security...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/04/04 07:33:20 EST

Many thanks to Quenchcrack and Frank Turley for answering my questions on temper quenching - my heat treating skills during forging have rapidly overtaken what I learnt at school (many moons ago) about hardening and tempering a finished tool or blade, which I see is much best forgotten.. (I don't think the teacher had much of an idea of metalurgy himself, though his name was Smith and he did appear to have wire wool for hair and beard, this might have got him the job.)
Ah.. brings me on to coal. I've just been reading lots of recent archive posts about non suitable coal, including someone who said that they hauled some bad coal off to the junkyard.. I've been using (of course) what ever coal I can get hold of here in the middle of the UK. Coal for heating and running trains has largely dissapeared here in the last 30 years, and there are lots of 'smokeless' zones around.
'Though I find that even using the 'house' coal sold at more rural garage/ gas station forecourts, it is possible to spot the pieces that are closer to slate and likely to split into flat, white ash covered, hard plates which is nothing like coke, from other bits that make fine coke. It's far from perfect, but with good fire management it can do a very good job.
Could it be very much better? Would what's called 'steam coal' here be good for forging I wonder... By this I mean coal that is or was used to run steam locomotives.. good burning heat I'm sure, but what about coking properties? There is a Railway museum very close to me that runs steam engines for fun; I wonder if it would be worth touching them for a ton of what they use...
Pip pip RT
   Richard Tomes - Thursday, 03/04/04 09:10:52 EST

I would like to know the history of Blacksmithing in American history.
   Tyler Hawkins - Thursday, 03/04/04 09:39:40 EST

Coal Grades: Robert, Coal is very complicated due to its infinite variety. Often you can get the chemical analysis but it is easier to just get a bucket full and test it. Never get more than a sample at first.

There IS supperior coal that is a joy to work with. Most suppliers that sell directly to blacksmiths carry the best. If you need a comparison sample this is the place to start.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/04/04 10:03:19 EST

I am an experienced smith building my 4th gas forge. This is the first time I have used Kaowool, and i coated it with ITC 100. How long must it dry before use? I placed a light with an incandescent bulb inside the forge with the doors closed to help it dry. I am in east Texas, near Houston, and we have high humidity.
   Tom Lundquist - Thursday, 03/04/04 10:24:10 EST

Tyler, the history of blacksmithing in America will run to thousands of pages, can you afford to pay me to type it all in? Sounds like a school assignment and so what I might do is suggest some resourses, of course you have already checked out the bookshelf on this site haven't you?

I'd suggest reading "Ironworks on the Sagus" for backround on the smelting of iron in America. "To Forge Upset and Weld" on PA smithing and "Antique Iron" for examples. look in the university libraries for journal articles on the economics of american smithing. Check into the history of ABANA and other modern blacksmith groups---the history of smithing doesn't stop 100 years ago it ends an instant ago!
Practical Blacksmithing covers some of the changes during the 1880's -1890's as the switch from wrought iron to mild steel was going on. Read up on some of the great smiths during the Gothic Revival Period, (Yellin, et al).

Now you might want to narrow your topic down if you want to write something shorter than the encyclopedia...shoot I'm reading several hundred pages on slavery and one specific iron smelting company ("Bond of Iron") that has smithing info in it...

Don't forget that there are other traditions than NE in American smithing, the spanish had quite an influence in the SW!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/04/04 10:29:55 EST

Jock; I'm seing nothing but white inside the frame on the virtual hammer-in forum; heavy snow fall down that way?

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/04/04 11:24:50 EST

History in a Nutshell: Tyler, What you are asking is the history of technological developement in North America.

The first ships from the old world to touch these shores had smiths. It matter not if you believe that was Lief Erricson, Columbus, the Pilgrims or John Smith. They all had armourers and/or a blacksmith. Theses were absolute necessity. They were necessary to repair parts of the ship on the trip as well as to fabricate new items that could not be predicted at the beginning of the big adventure.

In the horse drawn society that the Europeans brought to North America smiths were needed to shoe the horses, build and repair wagons and such. They also made and repaired the logging and agricultural tools as well as making hardware for buildings and tools for other craftsfolk.

In New England the toolmaking trade developed into factories and trade names that are still familiar today, Stanley, Morse, Bridgeport, Starrett, Brown and Sharpe. Small tool makers developed into machine tool manufacturers.

During the gold rush days and railroad expansion smiths were there to make tool for miners, parts and tools for rail cars and engines. The blacksmith was one of the most important workers of the steam age. At the beginning of the US civil war smiths were starting to be replaced by machinery for mass production but they still held an important position in industry through WWII.

Until very recently (and in a reduced capacity today) big industrial operations very commonly did what is called "open die or hand forging". Big power hammers are used to forge shafts for ships, connecting rods for steam engines and many other huge parts. The men operating these hammers are directed by the blacksmith. The person that makes the hammer move, the "driver", the men that hold the tools, the men that move the great white hot sttel billet and the person that sweeps away the dross, all take their direction from the blacksmith.

In every big forge shop there was also at least one small 300-500 pound forging hammer used to make tools for the big hammers. These were operated by a skilled blacksmith that weilded the machine as skillfully as a hand hammer.

At the end of the horse drawn era the frontier blacksmith who did it all started to dissapear in North America. Where there had been corner blacksmith shops, service stations appeared. But a few blacksmiths were still needed to make tools for the big hammers, develope new alloys and produce architectural ironwork. At one time every major University that had a metalurgy program had a 300-500 pound power hammer and a smith to operate it as part of metalurgical research programs. In fact, NASA had a hammer and full time blacksmith until about 15 years ago. These smiths were needed to produce super alloys on a laboratory and experimental scale. Once their work was done the knowledge was turned over to big industry to apply.

In North America we have let our "primary metal industries" diminish. The heavy forging is going overseas, we are letting our railroads dissapear. Almost every research hammer has been taken out of opperation and sold as junk. Along with these things we are losing the industrial smith.

In the 1960's when general blacksmithing was almost dead a few folks interested in the old ways started learning the craft the best they could. From this new beginning Alex Bealer wrote The Art of Blacksmithing (see our book review page), more followed and ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) was formed.

In the 1970's the craft flourished as an art. Blacksmithing schools opened, new suppliers offered tools. In the 1990's the Internet became a source of information and education for blacksmiths, bladesmiths and armourers. This seems to have caused another boom in blacksmithing as an art and craft. And that is where we are today with anvilfire leading the way.

As Thomas mentioned see Pinoneer Ironworks (about Saugus) and the Autobiography of James Nasmyth (Its British but covers an important period of the Industrial Revolution). Its on line here. See our story page.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/04/04 11:42:01 EST

Thomas P:
I am planning on smelting some iron with a small bloomery copying an experimental recreation from a Roman/Celtic find. I have seen in a couple of your posts that you have done something similar. Do you have any advice, ie references, materials to use, tuyere placement, consolidating the bloom, etc.?
   shack - Thursday, 03/04/04 11:48:32 EST

plan to visit CLARKSVILLE, TEXAS on a hunting trip (June) any working blacksmiths in that part of texas i can visit,Many Thanks. Pete Wilson
   Pete Wilson - Thursday, 03/04/04 12:19:46 EST

Thanks for the great site! My 16 year old son and I are starting out smithing, and are having a blast. Your site has provided many great tips and pointers as well as ideas for practice projects. I have a question about steels. I have been given a large truck style leaf spring and several engine intake and exhaust valves. I remember reading about valve steels, and the application they are designed for would suggest a high temp shock resistant alloy, but am unsure. Also per some recent posts it looks like I cannot count on the leaf spring being 5150. We had planned to make hot cutter, hot punches and other hot work tools from these salvaged items. Would there be any special procedures for heat treating/tempering these steels given the applications we are planning? Thnaks for any help or thoughts,
Richard from Wisconsin
   Richard - Thursday, 03/04/04 12:28:23 EST

Check out ebay item 3277711020
   - Lone Blacksmith - Thursday, 03/04/04 12:51:10 EST


Don't worry yourself about the exact type of steel that the spring is made of. Just test the material.

One destructive method of testing is to make four or five cuts in the material about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through it. Make the cuts so that there is a distance between them about the length of the cross section. Heat up the sectioned end of the stock in the forge with the section on the tip of the stock at a white heat and the section closest to your hand at a very dull red. Then quench the sectioned end. After quenching put the stock into a vice and break off the sections one by one, one section jutting just above the jaws and a sharp blow with a hammer works the best(***wear eye protection***). You will be able to see a difference in the structure of the grain where the break is. Then you can judge what heat the metal should be quenched at. It is also a learning experience, if you don't have one get a magnifying glass so that you and your son can get a better look at the structure of the steel. It is very cool stuff.grin

Hot working tools don't need to be very hard, but they do need to be kept cool when in use.

First I always harden a mystery steel in oil, that way it is tougher and the chance of a crack is lessened.

The safest way to go about testing a new steel is to harden and temper it to a softer state then needed and then re-harden and temper it harder if the material deforms when in use. This greatly reduces the chances of a fracture or chiping.

I don't use poppet valves from engines to make anything, some of then are filled with an insulation maderial that helps stabalize the material when used in the engine. This material is combustable and explosive when heated to an extreme temperature in the forge then struck. I just stay away from them.

Have a great time,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 03/04/04 13:10:57 EST

Shack, you could try and contact Thijs van den Manakker (phone and address on this page:
http://www.xs4all.nl/~cearcall/obod-gallery/makers/makers.html) He has a lot of experience in making bloomery iron.
   matthijs - Thursday, 03/04/04 13:19:01 EST


SAVE that history answer for a FAQ!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/04/04 13:43:12 EST

My neigbour asked my advice on restoring an mid 19th century French clock. The iron stips which support al the gear wheels are a bit corroded, and he wants to clean this. grinding with a lamellar grinding wheel works, but some small pits remain. He is afraid that if he grinds of too much, the gear wheels wil get too much tolerance in the direction of the axis of the wheels. Ay advice on removing the rust without removing extra material?

PS Shack, on books, I believe De Re Metallica, by Agricola deals with this subject it was written in the 16th century, but the process is basicallly the same.
   matthijs - Thursday, 03/04/04 13:44:30 EST

Thank you matthijs, Ill check out the site. I have requested De Re Metallica by inter library loan localy and am (im)patiently awaiting a call ;)
   shack - Thursday, 03/04/04 13:56:43 EST

Dittto Mr thomas on the hammerin page, nothing but snow. I thought it was my browser again.
   - smitty7 - Thursday, 03/04/04 15:20:48 EST

Ditto Mr thomas on the snow on the Hammer In. Thought it was my browser again.
   smitty7 - Thursday, 03/04/04 15:24:06 EST

The hammerin works for me. Try cleaning out your browser cache and see if that helps.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 03/04/04 15:37:42 EST

Ed long and others re: extension cords.
I can offer the following. A coiled extension cord will not pass its rated cyrrent as the inductive loading from the coiling provides resistanse. Motto, stretch out a long cord, rather than leaving it coiled if you only need a short lenght to reach your work.
The code ratings for extension cords and cabling assume that the wire conductors are to spec. I have seen china junk that claimed 14 gage, and measured more like 16 or 18 gage. The connections also must be well made and to spec. If you watch the recalls listed in Consumers Reports, many foriegn made cords are recalled for poor connections, overrating etc. Motto, buy American, buy the best, get the value and service that only comes from the best.
Guru, I, like you, only buy industrial replacement ends, but there are several very good brands. All American by the way.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/04/04 16:50:17 EST

Do not, repeat do not heat or forge exhaust valves for engines. These are ferritic stainless steel, but have a bit of sodium in the hollow stem. Sodium will react vigerously with air if released, and any hollow sealed chamber can be very exciting in a forge. There is too much availabe, better steel to risk it.
I also suggest that you and your son should always wear safety glasses, and hearing protection.
"Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injured, or in jail" A quote that should be in Uncle Atli's very thin book of wisdom.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/04/04 16:55:31 EST

Question for the gurus:

Can silver be hot-forged? If so, where could I find basic information about it?

Are there alloys to use/avoid? Sources for silver?

   -Jim - Thursday, 03/04/04 17:29:13 EST

Richard Tomes

A lot of UK smiths use Sunbrite coke which is widely available.

   - Bob G. - Thursday, 03/04/04 17:39:46 EST

Richard Tomes

A lot of UK smiths use Sunbrite coke which is widely available.

   Bob G. - Thursday, 03/04/04 17:40:12 EST

Thanks for the saftey tip. Will avoid the valves. Also was given a large coil spring (one of my patients owns a automotive repair shop, said we could harvest their scrap bins ad lib)Whenever we have made combustion (heh heh, potato canon etc) projects I have tried to make the science a big part of it, as well as safety. We will try quench experiment for sure on the leaf spring. I think we can use my office microscope to look at the grain structure. ptree, thanks for the note, pure sodium I believe has an "energetic" reaction when exposed to water, though not as "energetic" as potasium or cesium. I REALLY appreciate the info, and will return the valves to the original owner. I feel rather foolish, as we might have made the Darwin awards. The father-son combo awards are always the most tragic. My favorite quote from the darwin awards site being "the tree of life is self pruning" We also might have harmed our new NC Whisper Momma gas forge! Bought after reading this site's review, I might add. It is a great little unit.
   Richard - Thursday, 03/04/04 18:13:00 EST

I think I might buy that anvil(grin). Here are all the particulars: Tip to tip measures 35-1/2 inches, top to bottom measures 13 inches, table is 5-1/8 x 2-3/4 inches, the flat top measures 5-3/4 x 22-1/4 inches, pritchel is 3/4 inches and the hardy hole is just about 1-1/2 inches. Its item #3277711020 on ebay if anyone wants to look at it.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Thursday, 03/04/04 18:36:40 EST

Hot-forging silver,

Jim, it can be done. Sterling silver (92.5%Ag, 7.5%Cu) and coin silver (90%Ag, 10%Cu) both forge hot very easily. Almost too easily. Forging needs to be done at a heat no higher than a red, at which temp these alloys both forge like warm butter. Almost so easy there is too little "feel" to the hammer.

Both the above alloys forge cold very well, after annealing. Annealing by heating to red-orange and quenching in water or pickling solution.

Fine silver (99.99% Ag) forges beautifully cold and doesn't work harden so no annealing is necessary if itis pure enough.

All high silver alloys have extremely high thermal conductivity, so you can pretty much forget selective heating. The whole piece is going to get hot no matter what you try to do. This means the part you grip with the tong is hot too, and very soft, so you want to go easy with the tongs.

If you're forging a large piece, it pays to silver solder on a handle of steel or bronze that is less conductive so you can work bare handed. You have to use the highest melting point solder for this, the type known as extra hard or IT.

Silver is available from Rio Grande Jewelers Supply, Handy & Harmon, and most jewelry supplies.

   vicopper - Thursday, 03/04/04 19:29:18 EST


Thank you for the endorsement of that product review. It's always gratifying when folks agree with me. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/04/04 19:49:02 EST


That's a very nice 354 pound Hay Budden. I'm a bit inclined to question whether or not it has been repaired, due to the conditin. Please note that at the current high bid ($1,600.00+) the reserves is still not met. He probably has a reserve in the area of $2,000.00.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/04/04 19:52:52 EST

Mystery Metal (steels)
I may have missed someone mentioning it in identifing scrap steel,(man does a lot gather here in a day of not checking!) but something I like to do is hold a bit of it to the grinder and seeing what sort of sparks it throws, then do the destructive or some other testing. That way next time I have a scrap that throws the same type of sparks I have a place to start.
   JimG - Thursday, 03/04/04 20:17:13 EST

Forging silver.
Jim, as Vicopper noted silver forges very nicly. I made many wedding rings from the melted rings that the bride had "leftover from old flames" I melted the silver or gold in a crucible, using a handheld propane torch using borax for flux. You get a nice button ingot that is soft. I would then forge cold, annealing often. Several points. I used an old die block for an anvil, and had to polish ALL rust off. Otherwise the rust was charged into the silver/gold and it would mark the wearers skin. Second, the pickleing Vicopper speakes of would give a lovely frosty white finish. I experimented with not pickleing, and I forged the oxidized nickel and copper from the alloying back into the metal. This gave a material that was somewhat like a wrought iron, as it had black inclusions. These inclusions would show up very well in silver, giving a mossy silver that a softly peened surface made even better. I Was quite poor at the time, and the 4 to 10 hours spent in making a wedding set was my wedding gift, given only to very good friends. I often let them do a little forging, as it symbolized forgeing a new relationship. I also kept a small remenant, in a labeled envolope to make a baby ring when that was needed. Had a lot of misty eyes in my borrowed garage shop. Must have been something in the air!
As vicopper noted silver is available from the soprces he listed. Also Rio Grande has the crucibles, tools etc to make these. But don't forget that old good jewlery will yeild good metal when melted. A mans jumbo high school ring will yeild enough gold to make three pairs of earrings, a ring, and a baby ring. Done it.
Good luck
   ptree - Thursday, 03/04/04 20:39:37 EST

Hey my blower is dead and it was gift from my father so I don't know where he bought it. The question is that I want to buy a new blower and put the old one in retirement and I need to know how much is an even bargain on a used blower? I might just buy an old one from a man in Sweet Union.(flea market)
   - Lone Blacksmith - Thursday, 03/04/04 21:47:18 EST

Nevermind that I found a $30 blower on ebay and they have low costing blacksmith tools. I'm sorry for not checking before writting yall.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Thursday, 03/04/04 21:51:28 EST

Your best bet for extention cords is to go to the big box and buy 12-2 or 10-2 w/ground SO or SOW or SJOW (depending on what they have in stock) cord in the length you want and make your own. I use the heavy duty ends and have been known to use a metal box with two wall outlets for the outlet end. I don't believe that's to code, however.
   bgott - Friday, 03/05/04 00:45:12 EST


I've been known to buy a good American made extension, take it home, cut the molded ends off and put on industrial grade ends. And I've done the same thing with a metal box that you have a few times.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/05/04 00:59:29 EST

Re smelting, contacted off line.

I would not consider De Re Metallica a good source on early bloomery process as it deals more with renaissance methods and the type and size of the furnaces and blowing mechanisms are quite different by then. Peraps "Iron and Man in Prehistoric Sweeden" (IIRC) might be a better choice and of course "The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity" by Rehder is a must read as a start for any early pyro processes.

On clock repair I would suggest a chemical process rather than a mechanical one; save that a rubber bonded abrasive may be gentle enough to do some work on it. Cratex is the brand I'm familier with.

I like hot forging fine silver, a one fire brick forge is great for doing penannular brooches and light small tongs or modified pliers work well. A *small* chunk of RR rail works as an anvil---smooth and polish it! Working temp is when it just starts to glow in dim light, you'll melt some learning that! I usually buy 1 troy oz "coins" at pawnshops and will usually get several nice brooches from each troy oz. You can polish with powdered charcoal if you are going the "early times" way and a small charcoal *CHUNK* *CHARCOAL* fire with a small hand operated bellows will work well as the heat source too.

Lone Smith; I usually find smithing tools for about 1/3 the cost of on e-bay so I do not consider them *cheap*...I do spend time hunting for them but make a lot of good contacts doing so and enjoy the "hunt".

   Thomas P - Friday, 03/05/04 04:36:47 EST

Ptree, not all engine valves are sodium filled - weren't these mostly on aircraft engines? Chevy & VW had solid stems. But you're right; if you don't know it's best not to take a chance on blowing yourself up. Valves don't forge very well anyway.
   Ron Childers - Friday, 03/05/04 08:19:44 EST

E-bay Hay-budden-

As Thomas pointed out, tools can be had much cheaper depending on location. I purchased a hay-budden about the same size for about 1/10 the ebay price-from another blacksmith amazingly enough. Mine cerntainly was not perfect though. It had some torch damage and a swayed face, but for the money, it was a great buy. If I had $1500-2000 to spend, I'd be looking at a 500 lb anvil from one of the sellers of new anvils.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 03/05/04 08:53:13 EST

Coiled extension cords:

Not to be negatory, but I don't think there is all that much inductive reactance in a cord at 60Hz. The formula for inductance in a coil is:
L(uH) = d(squared) * n(squared) / 18d + 40l
where d=diameter(inches), n=number of turns, and l=coil length.
If we use 12" for the diameter and a 100ft cord, there are about 32 turns in there. Make it 1" high, and you get 570uH.

Reactance X(ohms) = 2 * pi * freq * L = .2ohms. That's not all that much to worry about and is probably much less than the DC resistance of the entire circuit.

However... Coiled cords have a different problem. If used at their rated current for lengths of time they won't dissipate the heat as well as a stretched-out cord. Current ratings are mostly heat-related, so a hot wire will pass less current.

   - MarcG - Friday, 03/05/04 09:04:55 EST

The anvil on Ebay had a buy it now price of about $1695.00, which went away once the reserve was met, usually the same amount. I thought you guys said old anvils could be had for a buck or two a pound!?! I looked all over the UP (upper peninsula, MI) and found small really bad anvils way over priced as "collectables". It must be a fine tools worst fate to become collectable and sit around as a door stop or plant stand. I am struck by the irony (I think it is irony) of this medium of communication on this topic. What must be the oldest profession around, essentially dead except for a few older craftsmen, now enjoying a 21st century resurgence, and the best source to share info is the internet. Truly this site has enabled my son and I to enjoy learning this craft by doing, what once almost had to be learned at the heels of the master. Granted we have created a few anvils worth of scrap, but what fun! I have done fine woodworking for nearly 25 years for fun (and to buy tools and more wood, and have seen the near death of craftsmanship due to a loss of master craftsmen, and a waning interest in taking time and using ones hands. My favorite patients have been the old pattern makers, perhaps the greatest precision woodworkers around, but largely replaced by computer driven prototyping. Not that the technology is a bad thing, but historically the only way to gain this knowledge was by passing on "secrets" learned from others or ones own mistakes and discoveries.
Whoa! I kind of went off on a rant there, sorry. One question on tempering/hardening/annealing. I bought a book on tempering tool steels, but you really need an industrial furnace to use the material fully. Is there a somewhat comprehensive resource that is more practical for a small shop that will allow us to make the most of our resources? Sorry to be so wordy.
   Richard - Friday, 03/05/04 09:40:20 EST

I am researching a book about women engineers. Many years ago I seem to recall reading somewhere that it used to be women who made chains, such as for anchors and that they were the only female blacksmiths until the modern day. This would have been in the 19th Century I would think. Does anyone know where I can confirm this?
   Nina B - Friday, 03/05/04 09:46:33 EST

I know this forum is as far removed from electrical as horse shoes are from shuttle engines, but forgive me for putting in another post.At 120 volts, the inductive reactance of a cord wouldn't even give you a tingle. Now if that cord was carrying 600v at say 1500 amp, you probably wouldn't want to grab it even with leather gloves on. (Even the coating will start carrying voltage after awhile)
   Ed Long - Friday, 03/05/04 10:41:25 EST

Chainmaking: Nina, I have a film of English chainmakers in the early 20th Century and they were all men. They were making load and anchor chains. I doubt there was any difference in the 19th Century. Women MAY have been more suited for small chain such as in jewlery because it is very tedious work, but I have not read anything that indicates that.

Blacksmithing has generaly been dominated by men until recent times and women are still a minority. There are more women smiths in North America because the trade came back as an art form after almost dissapearing. In Europe it is still not considered a trade for women.

In Engineering (machine and structural design) women are a very small minority even though it is mostly a "white collar" office occupation. The last statistics I saw but the number at less than 2% or so. Check with the engineering associations such as ASME for current stats. Publishers of magazines like Design News (Penton) also have these numbers.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 10:50:08 EST

High Anvil Prices: Richard, That very heavy Hay-Budden was both rare and in excellent condition. Hay-Buddens were one of the best and have not been made for 80 years. The heavy weight also makes it considerably larger than the largest NEW forged anvil, the 275 pound Peddinghaus. Although these big anvils are rare and "collectable" the guys that buy them do so to USE them.

Prices on ebay generaly do not reflect reality. You will see folks asking ebay prices at meets but they will almost always negotiate.

Most books on blacksmithing cover the seat of the pants hardening and tempering methods. See our heat treating FAQ and temper color chart.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 11:29:52 EST

Thanks for the silver forging advice!

   -Jim - Friday, 03/05/04 11:39:10 EST


While I cannot cite any hard evidence, I do know that the making of files was a cottage industry in England during the 17th to 19th centuries, and both women and children were employed chiseling the teeth in files. While this is not exactly what you asked for, it may be of use. It is possible that women were also employed making chain mail for armourers. Again, I have no hard evidence of this, but it would not be inconsistent with the cottage industry concept. Perhaps Thomas Powers or another of our resident historians would know more.
   vicopper - Friday, 03/05/04 11:45:55 EST

Cords and Induction: As MarkG, pointed out induction is not a problem at low voltage but heat IS. A heavily loaded cord will get hot and a pile or coil will concentrate the heat.

Where induction IS a problem in the shop it TIG cables. Coiled up they will heat rapidly in use and the load makes it hard to weld. The induction from the high frequency will also cause problems in cords to OTHER tools and can damage solid state circuits. I went to pick up a grinder on my welding bench after welding some aluminum plate the entire grinder was hot from induction current. Somehow it survived but I learned my lesson. Keep HF TIG cords away from them selves AND all other power cords.

HD Cords I also make HD extension cords on ocassion. If you use metal boxes they must be properly grounded. You also need good cord termination or strain relief when going into boxes. I often use the fancy stainless cable "basket" type but they are VERY pricey. However, you can hang your (my!) full weight on the cord and it WILL NOT pull out or slip. This is the kind of hardware that when the insulation rots you replace the cable reusing the ends!

I also prefer the nylon plug recepticles. They do not crack and break like the cheap bakelite ones. I have the hospital grade in my shop. These are designed to have the cord repeatedly JERKED out of the socket. . . Perfect for long life in a blacksmith shop. They are pricey BUT after replacing a half dozen cheap ones the time saved rapidily pays off.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 11:52:00 EST


If you really want a big anvil (and who doesn't?) I suggest looking at Euroanvils. They are an advertiser here on Anvilfire and their anvils are very good. They sell a 500# european style anvil for around $1200, which a great bargain for a very good anvil that will last several lifetimes.

The configuration of the European style anvil is actually more useful in many ways. The hardy hole is at the front of the face next to the horn, where it is over more mass and is not in your way if you work with the horn on the left. A number of London pattern anvils have been broken off at the heel due to the hardy hole creating a stress riser and then being abused. That won't happen with the European style.

The European style also has a flat "horn" at the other end, giving you a tapered face that is very handy when working smaller items and working in places where a wide face won't fit. Plus, the Euroanvil has an upsetting block and is available with a shelf for doing small work such as fork tines and clips. All in all, a very nice looking anvil. And cast steel so you never have to worry about the face seperating from the body.
   vicopper - Friday, 03/05/04 12:00:19 EST

JPPW, i appreciate your comment on being suspicious of the almost unused condition of that big 'budden, this of course being its image appearance. i bought an anvil and looked at several photographs of it prior. when it arrived, i knew instantly that the face had been replaced. nice job, but no question about the repair. the edges were without wear and the hardy hole sharp. i thought it was a great find. anvils in that condition that have not been monkeyed with have to be very unusual to say the least....my $0.02
   rugg - Friday, 03/05/04 12:12:36 EST

Richard anvils etc:-)

First off I would buy an anvil from Euroanvils, before I spent 1695.00$ on any anvil on EBay. They have some very nice anvils with very solid european patterns, which though heavier and not as aestheticly appealing to most american sensibilities as a london pattern, are a little better as an anvil because of having the mass centered under where you work more (imo:-) Though they won't have quite as robust a rebound as a good Hay Budden, the face on the HB could be almost as much as 10 pts harder, though on a really big anvil it is less likely. And few things ring as well as a good Hay Budden, remember hearing protection:-) I still love Hay Buddens:-)

I have a freind in Ionia and he has said that there was a durth of good old tools in Michigans, after I took him to two fleamarkets here in west central Indiana and he saw more blacksmithing tools there than he had in years of cruising local fleamarkets and antique stores in MI.

That being said, there are still TONS of good tools in Michigan, even in the U.P. But they will not be had easily, and/or cheaply unless you scrounge, and get the word out:-) If you are a doctor as your use of the word patient suggests, then make it a point of telling everyone of them that you and your son have taken an interest in blacksmithing and have been trying to find tools (things will start falling in your lap in short order:-) The other thing to do is get involved with the Michigan, Minesota and Wisconson chapters of ABANA, and go to some of their meetings, you can learn a lot, win stuff from the 'Iron-in-the-Hat' ps bring some scrap to donate to the iron in the hat too:-) and get connected to people who can sell you old tools that they have scrounged up. From the U.P. I am afraid you are going to have to drive a bit, but aleast it will be a pretty drive:-)

As for Hardening and tempering, most blacksmithing projects are not critical in how they are hardened and tempered. (Knives and exotic steels are the exception to that, but you really need to look into the sources on knifemaking for how to deal with those, and sometimes shop out the hardening to a heat treater, unless you want to seriously invest in the equipment to do it yourself...:-) Get a TEMPIL guide to basic Ferrous metalurgy, which you should be able to find at your local welding supplier, and use it to calibrate your optical pyrometer:-) Once you know what color is what temperature range most steels are reasonably easy to harden, tempering can be a challenge, but a good oven on a falling temp just above your target temp can get you done. (If you need 425, then pre heat oven to 435, and shut it off, load the piece and then wait. This is subject to the mass of the metal, little pieces you need to start at your target, larger you might want to be a little higher. This avoids the problem with the cycling of the thermostat, which is even worse on electric ovens. Some small toaster ovens are really suprisingly good at tempering small tools and knives. But your standard electric oven is all over the place on temp, it tries to maintain an average...

Have fun:-)
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 03/05/04 12:16:33 EST

I am in the middle of designing a very large forge 36" x 36" x 48" that is the inside volume of 36 cu. ft. I live and work at aprox 7000 ft elavation in New mexico so I am going to use a blower as apposed to an atmopheric burner. Is there a calculation or a rule of thumb on how many CFMs I will need to give enough oxy-gen for that volume?
thank for your help.
Jeremy Thomas

   - jeremy - Friday, 03/05/04 12:58:00 EST

Mystery coal. I came home from work one day a few years ago when I was first getting into blacksmithing to find five pails of coal(?) setting in my driveway. The donor has to this day remained anonymous.Howeverr, I don't believe this stuff is anywhere close to blacksmithing coal. It's very hard (anthracite, maybe?) doesn't ignite that well, smokes like crazy, but what's got my curiousity aroused is that throughout it there are seams of silver colored stuff that's as smooth and hard as glass. I swear it looks like melted silver rings. Would this stuff be anthracite and is it natural to have silver stuff in it?
   Ed Long - Friday, 03/05/04 13:13:41 EST

Richard: Da UP, eh? If you feel like coming over the bridge down to where all the trolls live, in August there is a great gathering in Grayling of blacksmiths. At Hartwick Pines State Park. Last year I think there may have been upwards of 40 of us there doing demo's. Some sell their stuff there and some like me just play. But come down and take a look a and have fun. You will find things to buy, to use as patterns for your own work, as well as some tools for sale. It should be the 28th and 29th of August, but check the web site for Hartwick pines to be sure.
   Bob H - Friday, 03/05/04 13:15:31 EST

Richard and groups in or around the U.P.

Minnesota has a fairly substantial group known as the Guild of Metalsmiths. The generally meet in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, but we have a group that we helped start that meets up by Duluth. A bit closer to your neck of the woods, depending on where you are located. Send me an email if you want me to dig it up for you.

I believe there is also a group in Northern Wisconsin, but I would have to check to see who runs that.

I will second everyone else's statement, there are still lots of deals out there, just spread the word and make a habit of hitting sales in the hinterlands. Of course the U.P. is one big hinterland, isn't it? ;-)}
   Escher - Friday, 03/05/04 13:17:03 EST

Well unless my dual optical pyrometers fail me you all are a fine and helpful group, thanks for the info. We did actually buy a 75kg euroanvil, and it has been dandy, trouble is I am a big guy, and my son takes after me, well you can imagine the rest, elbowing at the anvil with hot iron, jockeying for position. I am actually a family nurse practitioner, but I have been getting the word out. We do have a smaller anvil that a patient loaned me, he is a retired shop teacher, from back when skills were still taught at an anvil.
Jeremy, I bought plans for the Sandia Labs recuperative forge, and emailed the men that put it together at Sandia, they were very helpful. The plans are still available, but they used recuperative heating from the exhaust to preheat the burner intakes for an atmospheric forge at altitude. We have started one (among other things) but got impatient and bought an atmospheric forge. The Sandia guys were reporting virtually no scale (suggesting near perfect mixture of fuel and oxidizer) and about a 15% improvement in effeciency at altitude with no blower. It is quite a project though, plans through ABANA web site.
Thanks again,
   Richard - Friday, 03/05/04 13:45:12 EST


You need to get a copy of Kent's Mechanical Engineers Handbook both the "Design and Production" and "Power" edition. They are a set.

To figure out what volume of air you need, the first step is to know how many pounds of steel that you want to heat up and to what temperature. With this you will know how much heat you need to be able to produce, then the calculation for hearth size in acordance to the space needed to heat up the steel. Then the volume of the forge so that there is room for all of the fuel to burn. Then the size of the exhaust opening acording to the temperature and volume of combustion. The fuel to air ratio is usually stated in pounds and varys greatly with the fuel used. Knowing the rate of fuel usage per hour you can then calculate the amount of air needed per hour then minute.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 03/05/04 13:48:22 EST

Richard lamented the lack of oldtimers to pass knowledge down, and mentioned fine woodworking skills as dying out. It has been my experience that this is not true. Just like blacksmithing, there are actually craftsmen today just as skilled, if not more so, then ever before. Lots of the oldtimers I have met, particularly if they worked in bigger shops, were very protective of handing down knowledge- partly to guard their own positions and salaries, partly because they believed in boot camp style hazing and 5 years of floorsweeping. Now certainly there are and have always been knowledgeable craftsmen who enjoy teaching their trades, but nowadays it is more common to meet a self taught woodworker or blacksmith. And some of them are awesome in their skills and knowledge. The SIU gang in the 70's practically reinvented a lot of blacksmithing techniques on their own, and some of them, like Daryl Meier and Phillip Blacksmith, are as good as anyone has ever been. No apprenticeships, no years of sweeping- just intelligent, determined guys taking advantage of all of the info, technology, and modern materials available today. I know woodworkers who are equally advanced, and actually know more about wood species, biology, seasonal movement, engineering, tools, and ergonomics than any early 20th century cabinetmaker ever did. So take heart, even though many of our older teachers are leaving us, determination and inspiration is advancing woodworking and blacksmithing. There are craftsmen out there today who are truly amazing, in every field.
   - Ries - Friday, 03/05/04 14:11:55 EST

Whoops-- I meant my good friend, blacksmith, bladesmith, mokeme expert and all around alchemist- Phillip Baldwin, not Phillip Blacksmith. Although he is probably pretty good too.
   - Ries - Friday, 03/05/04 14:15:43 EST

Forge Fuel Demand: Ron Reils page gives consumption for a given volume of forge. Are you sure you want to go with one that big?

Gas forges are only efficient for the size work that fits them. To heat a 1/2" bar in a bread box sized forge takes one tenth or less the fuel to heat as in a forge the size you describe. Most shops that use gas forges use different sizes as the work requires.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 14:39:10 EST

Yes, I realize that the size is a bit obserd but i'm not heating bar stock. I'm needing to heat large fabricated pieces of plate. thank for everyones help.
   - jeremy - Friday, 03/05/04 15:25:43 EST

Richard Tomes
Coal in the UK.
Find a local coal dealer (the real thing, not B&Q or a petrol station) and talk to them. Most will show some interest (basic curiosity – blacksmith!?!). Ask them about open fire coke not coal or furnace coke (requires CONSTANT draft) and not the pillow shaped processed lumps; size is ‘nuts’ (the stuff I used was between walnut and hazelnut!) not beans or lumps. It was eventually fairly easy to find and is often marked as smokeless (it is AFTER it has started). One sack will last about 6 to 10 hours. Cost £3.50 probably more now.


Look in your local yellow pages under; blacksmith, forge, welder blacksmith and ask them what they use (personal visits go down better, ‘I was just passing and ….’)
   - Nigel - Friday, 03/05/04 15:26:38 EST

oh well miss posted

Had a look at the lionheart site, I thought the sunbrite was a furnace coke. might well be wrong

   Nigel - Friday, 03/05/04 15:30:19 EST

Richard, As stated in my post a weeek or so ago, we have a Euro Anvil we bought ar the Madison conference last year. It gets pounded on every day (hard use)and is still in excellent condition. Also, Steve is a friend, advertises on Anvilfire and if there is a problem he he will make it right. (And you can tell him I said so).
   Ron Childers - Friday, 03/05/04 15:56:17 EST


No problem, that's just the way the pictures struck me.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/05/04 16:18:50 EST

I use a red plastic cord winder, that has an 8" od. So thats about 46 turns in a 2" tall coil, and the inductive load, plus the inductive heating plus the resistance heating will heat the reel enough to soften it at rated amps.
Its a very complex problem, with a tight coil, at 60 Hz. The simple truth is uncoil, use first class components, and get better service, longer tool life, and less liklyhood of fire.
   ptree - Friday, 03/05/04 16:45:44 EST

Ron Childers,
as i recall, Richard said the valves in question were from a large truck. Some do have sodium some don't. exploding them is a bad way to sort the two! :)
They forge hard cause most are ferritic stainless steels. This means basicly 400 series SS. If I remember my data from the Carpenter book, That means about 30 to 50% more energy to forge than plain steel.
$00 ss does forge well, we drop forged many thousands of valve parts from 410, but it was hard on the dies, and took a bigger drop hammer.
   ptree - Friday, 03/05/04 16:51:08 EST

Ron Childers, i've heard that name before.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Friday, 03/05/04 18:11:14 EST

Nina B., woman engineers... I know one of those. Actually quite a few. grin.

Have you checked with the Society of Woman Engineers? SWE?

Jeremy, in addition to what Caleb said, you also have to add enough fuel to make up for heat lost from the forge. Not all heat put into a forge is used to heat the work. A very high percentage of the energy put into the forge is lost back to the ambient without heating the work one bit. The heat loss calculations are not easy. Experience based numbers will get you close. I have calculated these things in the past. If I were you, I'd look at commercial gas fired heat treating ovens of the size you are looking at and use the fuel consumption numbers from them. No, I can't point you to any wihtout some research that you could do.

For a forge that size, you had better plan on having a large fuel source. If propane, I'd suggest a 500 gallon tank off the top of the pointy.
   - Tony - Friday, 03/05/04 19:09:44 EST

Big forge,
we have a couple of old forges laying about that are in the general size suggested by Jeremy. They have 2" pipe supply from a 8psi natural gas main. No idea of the orifice sizing, but the blower is about 3' od by about 3 or 4" wide. Haven't seen these old forges run. Have a couple of production forges that heat billet ends of5 to 7" od bar, and they have 6 3" burners. Gas consumption is awsome!
Good luck
   ptree - Friday, 03/05/04 20:13:53 EST

Should I join the ABANA? And if so would could I send a money order for membership? And what if I can't reach the meetings, i'm scared i'll just waste money. I athnk ya know this kinda trouble and probably been asked this before.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Friday, 03/05/04 22:02:13 EST

Guru* (grin)
   - Lone Blacksmith - Friday, 03/05/04 22:06:05 EST

Lone Blacksmith,

If it were me, I'd join the local ABANA group first, and then maybe the national group later. With a local group, the fees are generally much cheaper, the meetings are closer, and you're more likely to make contacts close to home. All of the local chapters I've been a part of have had a bi-monthly letter or magazine with many useful tips and projects that would be helpful even if you never made a meeting. Having said that, I'd make every effort to get to those meetings (smaller, local sub-groups often hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings as well). Working with an experienced smith for a few hours can make up for months to years of awkward trial and error.

   eander4 - Friday, 03/05/04 22:36:25 EST

I just finished quenching a blade and I think it got harder but im not sure. {I barely finished shaping it} I love working with metal "even though I started about a year ago." I've made some knives and there ok but I would really like to expand my knowledge about forging. Anyway what do I do after I quench my almost finished blade? thanks alot!!!!

New Forge
   New Forge - Friday, 03/05/04 22:48:00 EST

Extension cords: I have one of the Lincoln weld pac MIG welders that runs on 110v, and when used for what it was designed for (read welding thinner metals), it is fine. Works great on .085 tubing, schedule 40 2" pipe, stuff that you would blow holes in with my 225A Lincoln stick welder. I took it to a site to weld up some corral panels and used a 100' 14 gauge extension cord to reach the work. Welder didn't work worth a darn, tripped the 15A breaker. Went to a big box store bought 100' 10 ga flexible electric wire, good commercial rated plug and receptacle, wired it all up, went back to the job, it welded great, didn't trip the breaker, life was good. Had the same experience painting my house with a fair sized Campbel Hausfield airless sprayer, dug out the H.D. cord, all my problems went away. I'm a big believer in using a heavier extension cord now.
   Ellen - Friday, 03/05/04 22:48:54 EST

2 questions about forges.

I'm making a small portable coke forge. It will be bottom blown and have a sacrificial steel firebowl. I was wondering if it was possible to make the firebowl too thick i.e would it absorb too much heat? I have a piece of steel 1 foot square by half inch thick that I could use but would I be better off sourcing some quarter plate?

I have a small propane forge as used by farriers. Is there any benefit in coating the bricks in ITC 100?
   Bob G - Friday, 03/05/04 23:08:25 EST

Heat Sink: Bob, Since the heat in a forge rises the bottom heat sink has little to do with the effectivness of the forge. All it will do is take longer to cool off.

ITC-100: Coating the hard refractory lining helps in several ways. One, the pieces are often not very resistant to flux and the ITC will help prevent damage. However, it will not stop all damage from pools of flux. The ITC-100 is also an infra-red reflectant so it helps keep all the lining of the forge cooler and the contents hotter.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 23:14:14 EST

Hardening: New Blade, You need to temper the blade immediately after hardening (or as soon as possible). How hot you reheat the blade depends on the type of steel and how thick the blade is. Heavy blades can be harder than thin blades. This blades need to be tempered soft enough to flex without cracking. In fact the edges of all blades should be soft enough to flex. See our Heat Treatig FAQ.
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 23:18:33 EST

If I do coat the inside of my forge with an IR reflective substance, will this mean I will get a larger dose of infra-red radiation when working near the forge?
   Bob G - Friday, 03/05/04 23:31:12 EST

Memberships: Lone, As eander4 noted you should find your local chapter first. Their dues are usualy less than ABANA and they do more for you. But if you can't make it to meetings then there is no point.

ABANA publishes a slick quarterly (sometimes) journal called the "Anvil's Ring". It is probably worth the dues but its articles are mostly about very high class arty work. They also have a sister publication that is supposed to be how-to but the content varies. IF you want how-to articles then go to the Traditional Metalsmith (an advertiser) or the Blacksmiths Journal, or Blacksmith Gazette.

AND if you are into joining then our support group CSI helps keep this site afloat. We in turn support many of the ABANA chapters by providing web hosting via ABANA-Chapter.com
   - guru - Friday, 03/05/04 23:35:47 EST

Chop Saw- I was trying to cut a 6x6x3" block of steel to make a jig and I had the same problem john was having. I got a quarter of the way through and it just stopped cutting. Hardly any sparks and I think the ones I had were from the sides of the kerf. When I bought this saw used it had a half wore out " Blacksmith" brand wheel from Korea mounted on it. I installed a new "Norton" wheel I bought from Grainger. It had worked well for the limited cutting of small stock I have done. When the saw quit cutting I kept trying to force it, that did't do any good. I had noticed that when it was still cutting I could pop the breaker if I leaned on it, once the saw quit cutting I could almost stall the saw and not pop the breaker. Hmmm... I found the wheel I had removed and it was obviously a different composition, I looked at the labels and made sure they both were for steel. One said steel and the other just said metal, still should work. I re- installed the old wheel and it cuts. Lots of sparks and I can pop the breaker at will again. I pulled it back off so I could see it better and read the whole label. With the wheels side by side the only difference I could read was that the old wheel was rated for 3800 RPM and the new one was rated for 5800 RPM. I check the saw and it's rated at 3800 RPM. My theory is that the higher speed rated wheels glaze when used at the lower speed. I figured a 14" cut off wheel was a 14" cut off wheel, I guess I figured wrong. :( I hope this helps everybody that has had this problem before.
   bgott - Saturday, 03/06/04 00:17:42 EST

That was directed to Ed Long, not john. I'm not used to the names being at the bottom of the post on this forum rather than the top like other forums I frequent. :)
   bgott - Saturday, 03/06/04 09:52:33 EST

I have a drawing of my furnace, I can email it to you, if you could give me an email address, i'll send it. Cuz any help would be greatly appreciated!
   Tony - Saturday, 03/06/04 10:05:09 EST

OK, that theory is shot to poo. I went to buy a 3900 RPM wheel and they didn't have any at HD or Ace. The closest I could get was a 4300 RPM DeWalt. I did find out that the high speed wheels are really for a gas powered saw ( due to the "Ace" branded blades being marked " for gas powered saws"). I went home and used up the rest of the 3900 RPM wheel without any problem. I then installed the Dewalt and it cut until the first time I popped the breaker. When I reset the breaker and started cutting again, no sparks. I thought about someone posting about using a carbide cutter for dressing grinding wheels and, lacking one of these, used the end of a file to dress the wheel. Sparks again. I then looked at all three wheels and formulated theory # 2. The wheels that like to quit cutting have the abrasive set in a matrix thats in a crosshatch pattern. The other wheel, probably the cheapest P.O.S you can find, doesn't seemingly have the grit set in a corded matrix. It looks like a thick piece of sandpaper. Clear as mud? :) I figure the three lessons I've learned from this are 1)Keep a file by the saw to dress the wheel when it goes dead. 2)Go ahead and spend the $20 for a 20 amp FPE breaker. 3) The next time I have to make a 6" by 3" thick cut in a chunk of steel I'm going to run it to a machine shop and have them do it. It'll be cheaper that way.
   bgott - Saturday, 03/06/04 14:37:27 EST

Chop Saw Bgott, These machines cut by friction and take a lot of HP. The faster they go the better. It sounds to me that you are running too slow a machine for the job.

ALSO, these saws and blades are designed for cutting relatively thin material such as pipe, structurals and tubing. These shapes allow cooling of the wheel. Thick solids do not. In industrial applications thick solids are cut with water or water soluable oil to cool the wheel and rinse out the swarf. This makes a HUGE difference in wheel life and machine capacity.

WARNING, DO NOT use coolant on machines designed for dry cutting only. Wet cut machines have sealed motors, switches and electrics as well as special grounding.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/06/04 15:12:06 EST

Ok heres another one from the "dumb questions club". I've looked everywhere for an explanation of "dropped tongs welding". What is this refering to? I guess I don't know a lot of the lingo of smithing. I just pound away and hope for the best.
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/06/04 16:19:33 EST


Move two pieces of hot steel from the fire to the anvil, using two sets of tongs. Lay one piece on the anvil, lay the second piece on top to hold it in place, drop the tongs from the first piece, grab the hammer and make the weld where the two pieces are touching.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/06/04 17:04:19 EST

I am seeking ideas on how to fabricate a small sheetmetal
burring machine...nothing fancy. Took up sheetmetal as a
hobby sometime back. Thanks for any info.
   Joe Barlow - Saturday, 03/06/04 18:47:45 EST

I have and use a couple of the inexpensive 4" x 6" horz/vert. bandsaws. I use these to cut everything from 16 ga tubing to 4" x 6" solids. They do not make much noise, almost no dirt is thrown about, and no smoke. They don't pop circuit breakers. I do have to use the right blades for the work, ie. 28 tooth for the 16 ga. and a 9 to 14 variable for the heavier stuff. Had them for years. These are a step up from the HF junk, as they have adjustable blade guides. Jet is one brand. I spend about $19/ blade for a top quality Lennox blade. These saws will cut and cut with a good blade. Give a good surface, small burrs, and don't heat the metal much. I do have an abrasive cut off saw, but avoid using it due to all the reasons listed. If I were to be outfitting a shop, and had $200 to spend for a saw, I would buy one of these saws first. Lots of utility for the money.
   ptree - Saturday, 03/06/04 18:55:46 EST

Hey I have noticed that the Iforge hasent been updated recently. I have a request to make. Will someone write a demo on many of the diffrent ways to put a handle on a knife? Many thanks
   - jonathan - Saturday, 03/06/04 19:16:05 EST

I would figure it's a safe assumption that you answer questions involving welding-(it's part of metal working).

I've been welding professionally for approximetely 7 years.
I would consider myself a seasoned apprentice at best.

I'm fairly versed in TIG,and MIG welding applications in
mostly mild steel-(MIG). And experienced in Aluminum,Stainless,and a fair share of tool steels-(TIG).

The question I would ask is in nozzle angle when MIG
welding. Here It Is......................................
When fillet welding in flat position (lets say)1/4" steel or thicker,should your nozzle angle be in a leading angle-pushing the weld,or a trailing angle-pulling the weld to promote maximum penetration?

I'm 99.9% sure that you push the bead. The reason i'm asking this question is I have recieved mixed answers on this question from people who are "professionals",and welding books alike. And I would appreciate your input as well.
   G-MONEY - Saturday, 03/06/04 19:29:21 EST

Many thanks Paw Paw. Guess the answer was kind of self evident
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/06/04 19:55:40 EST


I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a professional welder, but I was taught to do flat fillet welds in the forehand position. One reason was that the existing weld puddle was preheating the upcoming metal, which lowered the amount of heat required to weld it, resulting in increased penetration. Backhand welding puts more of the heat into melting the wire and less into heating the base metal. The gas cup angling forward also starts the metal heating under the shielding gas, decreasing oxidation and embrittlement.

The second reason I was taught to weld forehand was that it was easier to see where you were going, since the upcoming weld area was lighted by the ongoing weld. Made sense to me.

I also have welding books that say exactly the opposite of what I just said. I don't know what the definitive answer is, either. Perhaps one of our resident metallurgists would know some facts to help us out here.
   vicopper - Saturday, 03/06/04 20:13:44 EST

Drop tong welding.
Also to add to what PPW said. If possible try to do it such that you only need one paor tongs and can hold the longer piece in your hand. Also in either case place the larger piece on top of the smaller piece to hold it in place.
And one other thing.... And this gets tricky but once you practice it gets to be second nature. But the thing is this.
When you place pieces on anvil to weld do so such that the pieces are not in direct contact with anvil ( mostly if doing small sized stock ) so that anvil does not draw out heat too fast, then as you pick up hammer you can then use the piece you are holding ( or tongs) to push down both pieces as you hit.
Just think of it as a well rehearsed and choreographed dance, as that is exactly what it is.
   Ralph - Saturday, 03/06/04 20:54:12 EST

Try this site: http://www.knives.com/engnath6.html. There are a few ways of attaching a grip.
   - colinnn - Saturday, 03/06/04 22:01:09 EST

Vicopper, The only difference I can see between forehand and backhand welding is the width of the heat affected zone. If you are putting more heat into the workpiece, the area to each side of the weld may get hotter. That means it will degrade the properties of the workpiece to a greater degree. If welding mild steel, this is of no real importance. If welding alloy steels with medium carbon or greater, and they have been pre-heated, you might have problems with a very fluid puddle. Ok, so much for a metallurgists comments, we need input from some welders! BTW, I'm gonna try this technique as soon as I get my garage wired for 220V.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 03/06/04 22:36:50 EST


Not really. It's hard to visualize without already knowing the sequence. It's sort of a "Oh! THAT'S how!" kinda thing.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/06/04 23:13:03 EST

The saw is a Makita 2414NB I got for $75 in near new condition. It has just a little more wear now. I had never used a chop saw before now and was interested in learning its limitations. I think I have those figured out. :) Coolant was crossing my mind as was the un- sealed motor. I have thought about buying a horizonal bandsaw. I worked machine shops for a year or two where, as the low man on the totem pole, I was usually the go to guy when large amounts of boring and repetitious cuts were necessary. the information on the TPI is handy because all the cuts I've made was with whatever band was in the saw and questions about it were answered with "just go do it and quit asking questions". I have space and security problems so , for now, the chop saw is it. I have a couple of options as far as using a saw or machine tools, I just like to use them in a pinch so I don't make too big a pain of myself. Thanks for the input! :)
   bgott - Sunday, 03/07/04 01:06:33 EST

To New Forge - the importance of tempering after quenching. A lot of stresses build up in a piece of mid to high carbon steel when it's quenched. Those stresses are enough to have it self-destruct if not relieved by tempering. Won't necessarily occur immediately, but will with time. When I was the plant metallurgist for a ring rolling plant in SC, the production group managed to quench a 60" diameter ring, with about a 4" x 5" wall section. Material was 1090. They forgot to temper it - just left it sitting up on blocks near the furnace area. About 1 week later, there was a loud noise and we suddenly had 4 sections of ring that were sitting about 3 to 4 feet from where they had been as the one solid ring. Luckily, no was there at the time to be injured. Looking at the fracture surface, we'd done a good job of quenching - very fine grain typical of martensite. Will that happen to a knife - depends on if you got a really good quench - also you don't have the physical form that helped concentrate stresses, and probably have a finer surface finish. If you hit it will it shatter? If it's high carbon steel that's been transformed to martensite by quenching and it hasn't been tempered, it probably will. Remember always temper shortly after quenching.
   - Gavainh - Sunday, 03/07/04 01:15:35 EST

to whom it may concern:
Hi, my name is paul. I'm new here and just fascinate about how to make the knife and about damascus pattern. So i just wondering if i want to start to make the knife and forge the damascus, how much for the tool that it's going to cost me?(from zero knowledge about the knifemaker).
   paul - Sunday, 03/07/04 09:58:50 EST

The tooth per inch issue for bandsaws etc is really quite simple. Always try to have at least three teeth in the cut. This would mean for minimum, for an inch wide solid, three teeth, and for a 1/4" wide 12 teeth and so on. As far as blades go, there are many very good brands. I have had equal life from Lennox, and Simmonds. Doall and other name brands should be about as good. Avoid the hf and other junk.
If buying a horzontal band saw, insure that the blade guides are adjustable. It is almost sure that out of the box, some adjustment will be required.
Some useful tips:
when new, align the rear fence and blade guides untill a perfect square cut is obtained. Then scribe a line to mark the square cut position of the rear fence.( the protactor scale for this will be useless)
Next swing the fence to get a perfect 45 degree cut. scribe again. It may be usefull to mark 30 degrees and 22.5 degrees also.
Next, scribe all the blade guide adjustments to show perfect alignment.
Next, if desired, drill and tap thru the housing holding the depth stop rod from the side to hold a bolt. the set screw mounted from the top gets full of saw dust, and is very difficult to use. I have several rods of various lenght, and change these as needed.
Good luck
   ptree - Sunday, 03/07/04 10:06:09 EST

To Paul and other new knifemakers:

A good site that specializes in all kinds of knife making and ONLY knifemaking is at www.CKDforums.com They even have a section just for new makers. You do have to register, but it's free.

We're a more flexible bunch here when it comes to all branches of metalwork, but not many of us are professional knifemakers.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 03/07/04 10:50:01 EST

Well, I finished my first set of tongs! I used the "Dempsy twist" and it worked great. I am going to make a set from round stock next and then try a decorative set of "dragon tongs" from iForge plans. Sort of glad I did not have to pay for all the great demo's on iforge, but I do feel a little guilty. How is the site supported?
I have a question about right hand vs left hand tong twist. Is this in reference to the drop tong method of forge welding, cause you want the lower reign to drop the upper jaw when you let go? The truth is when I had the hot stock at the anvil and went to the vise I really did not think about that. I also tried to hot cut a cross final from one of the Blacksmith's journal articles. Using a top set hot cutter (Peddinghause from Centaur) in 1 inch stock, it took quite an effort, and left a very jagged edge. Is a slitting chisle a more expedient method? Can I make a slitting chisle from some H-13 1/2 in round that I have, and how best to grind the cutting edge? It seems the cutting end of the hot cutter is very thick, but if I grind a thinner cutter wouldnt the heat from the stock ultimately deform the cutter? Are these real dumb questions? Well since I am here, one more (grin) I have a bottom cutter from Vaughn (Centaur again, they are great, and since I am here in No Wi, regular shipping gets here in 1 day!)but the hardy size is 1 1/4" and my euro anvil is approx 1 1/8" I started to grind, but is is slow. My son said why not forge it to the correct size, and I almost did that last night, but then the question of what happent to the temper/hardening hit me. might it be best to be patient and gring away, or could I reharden without ruining a $50.00 item.
Thanks guys,
   Richard - Sunday, 03/07/04 13:28:13 EST

Hi, I've got a couple more quick questions for you guru types.

1) Would it be out of line to try to rent some forge time off of a local smith? I'm an apartment dweller, and my land lady seems to have some wierd ideas about people beating on large pieces of steel with hammers in her suites.
2) I've got to go down to Boston on buisness in a couple of weeks, and I was wondering if any of you american type folks know of any good steel mills or something down there that a guy could go see, just in case the job site isn't ready yet.
Thanks in advance. :-)
   - HavokTD - Sunday, 03/07/04 13:57:30 EST

How would you suggest I make a chisel that would leave two parallel lines 1/4 of a inch apart approximately 1 long to be used in putting a decorative border on a piece of flat stock? I have used a regular straight chisel to make parallel lines but have trouble keeping my spacing consistent.
   larry sundstrom - Sunday, 03/07/04 15:03:08 EST

Joe Barlow:

At my work, we have always used double deburing tools from noga on our sheetmetal work. give it a quick pass, and maybe a touch with a file after, if you're feeling energetic. they've got a bunch of pics and stuff here. we use a local supplier, though, so I dunno if these guys are any good for you.
   - HavokTD - Sunday, 03/07/04 15:04:14 EST

Parallel Lines: Larry, there are two ways. One is to make a guide that clamps to the chisel and helps keep it an equal distance from the edge. The other is to make a die to fit your hardie hole.

A grooving die can be made from layers of flat bar bolted together. The middle is a "T" shaped peice that fits the hardy hole. Two of the pieces are tool steel (about 1/8" thick) with a V edge. Two of the pieces are about 1/4" taller than the rest to make side guides. With spacers this die can be made to fit a variety of widths. When drilling the stack I would add an even number of extra 1/8" pieces and several 1/16" pieces for adjustment.

The blade pieces should have the ends radiused to fade out of the work.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/07/04 15:37:02 EST

Shop Rental: HavokTD, Shop rental is logical but often not practical. People are particular about their tools, materials and fuel. . . It is easy to damage equipment and misplace small tools. Tools also have a way of walking off.

Your best bet would be to rent space in a corner of any larger shop of any kind and provide your own tools and equipment. Local groups often have a demonstration site or shop that might be available.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/07/04 16:08:41 EST

Left and Right hand Tongs, CSI: Richard, anvilfire is supported by three means, advertisers, sales and CSI (each about 1/3). See the link at the bottom of this page for CSI.

When you make tongs they are like scisors and shears, they work and feel better when made correctly for the right or left hand. Look at any commercial right hand tool. That is the correct right handed joint. Most tongs are used left handed.

A good heavy angle grinder should make quick work of that cutter. If you forge it then you are dealing with an unknown tool steel and will have to harden and temper it afterwards. See our Heat Treating FAQ.

Slitting chisles with thin curved edges do a much better job than a standar chisel. See our punching and slitting demo for shape. This is also something that requires skill to get the two cuts to line up where they meet in the center of the bar. Practice practice. It helps a LOT to cool the blade with a lubricant like axel grease that burns off in use.

H-13 is good steel for hot work tools. Be sure to temper correctly (quite high temperature).

   - guru - Sunday, 03/07/04 16:20:41 EST

HavokTD: Saugus Iron Works, a few hours southwest of Boston. Reputed to be the first "steel mill" in the Colonies. Assuming, of course, that the Vikings didn't do it first, and then pack the whole thing into a longboat when they left.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/07/04 17:09:25 EST

i am looking for a coal retailer in the south east united states, so i can purchase coal for my forge.do you know where i can find some?
   matthew bowen - Sunday, 03/07/04 17:18:38 EST

thanx for the answer. Am I right in assuming that the hardy hole die reqires you to work the piece upside-down.
What I am doing requires exact start and stop points because somtimes the edges cross the work and form diamonds.
I have been thinking of a double edge chisel that would allow me to work face up, but don't know if it woud be better to fabricate or forge it. It would most likely be better to bolt a guide to a chisel but don't have a good design for that either.
   - L.Sundstrom - Sunday, 03/07/04 17:19:40 EST

First ironworks in North America,
Actualy QC I think the vikings did do it first, if I remember right it was the discovery of some ancient smelters slag pile that alerted the Archeoligists to the viking settlement at Lance Aux Meadows. Of course that's no where near Boston........
   JimG - Sunday, 03/07/04 20:13:47 EST

Chisel guides:

Larry, what I do is going to make any good tool freak cringe, but here it is: I have dozens of flea-market chisels, so I just grind one to the edge I want and then weld a guide of flat bar on the side of it. If it needs changing, grind it off and tack on a new one.

This works just fine for hot work, but might be disastrous if used for heavy cold chiseling as the temper of the chisel body may be affected. I haven't had any problems, though. I make the guide about 2" long so that it keeps the chisel parallel to the work edge with little effort. A bit of graphite on the guide and it slides along real easily.
   vicopper - Sunday, 03/07/04 21:36:13 EST

Earliest ironworking discovered by archeologists was the Vikings at L'Anse aux Meadows. You can see Kirk and I hanging out there at: http://www.keenjunk.com/sketchbk/cw00812a.htm .

The first recorded bloomery was at Jamestown, where according to Capt. John Smith, they were able to make some small steel chisels. www.nps.gov/colo/

The first attempt to make iron in a state of the art industrial operation was at Saugus. www.nps.gov/sair/

Time to hit the rack; plane to catch tomorrow morning. The thunderstorms have passed through (Thor vs. Ice Giants) and it's threatening snow on the banks of the lower Potomac.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 03/07/04 23:54:50 EST

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