WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

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 8 - 14, 2004 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Larry (hi mister)... I solved the problem by grinding a cold chisel end off flat . . till the flat was about as far across as i wanted the spacing of the lines...then i used a chainsaw file to cut a groove down the length of the middle...be sure to add " rocker" so the ends don't dig in.
Havok..check with your local blacksmithing group.

TO ALL; Join Cybersmiths and support Anvilfire!!! or you will keep denting up your anvil forever.
   - Pete F - Monday, 03/08/04 03:05:03 EST

Thanks for all the history lessons, I'll keep it in mind. you've almost got me hoping the job site isn't ready yet.
oh, now that I htink of it, I have another question....
I've noticed that Tig electrodes make excellent scribe tips, and hold a good hard point. can you weld tungston onto normal carbon steel for a relly mean cutting edge? I'm lookling to make wood carvings tools, so there would be almost no impact to crack the hard metal bit of the tool.
   - HavokTD - Monday, 03/08/04 04:01:18 EST

A question of Damascus: when they refer to welding "cable" are they talking about the twisted wire line cable or standard chain, which a lot of suppliers refer to as cable?
   Ed Long - Monday, 03/08/04 07:48:43 EST

Bruce, the innuit hammering flakes off the meteorites doesn't count as
   - Thomas P - Monday, 03/08/04 08:08:54 EST

Bruce, the innuit hammering flakes off the meteorites doesn't count as "ironworking"? Perhaps the term "smithing", indicating hot working, should be used...

We know that there were women smiths even back in the medieval periods because guild rules specify that they could only work in their father's or husband's shops. ISTR women shown working in mining and refining in "De Re Metallica" and Diderot showing women working in what we would consider men's jobs. I would have to say that while gender-linked jobs seem to have been common over the centures, few were the times that some overlap didn't occur. This is especially prevelent in America's "frontir" culture, if a man broke his leg out in the boonies his wife better be able to plow and plant!

   - Thomas P - Monday, 03/08/04 08:09:11 EST

Ed Long,

Cable damascus is made from wire cable, also known as wire rope.

Damascus (actually, pattern-welded) billets can also be made from chain. The chain used is motorcycle type drive chain, also called roller chain.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/08/04 09:06:36 EST

Carving Tools: I have made many carving tools from W1 drill rod. Water quench from just non-magnetic, temper at 425F for 1/2 hr in the oven. They hold a good edge and are easy to sharpen. O1 works even better if you can find it. Most insudustrial supply shops carry W1 drill rod. Besides, pure tungsten is not all that hard. It is the addition of carbon to make tungsten carbide that achieves tremendous hardness.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 03/08/04 09:06:58 EST

Well, I have nothing to advertise, but the site is well worth the support. Also, do the benifits apply to the online metals store as well? Thanks for the info on slitting. I am sure that after another 5 evenings of making scrap I will have more questions.
HavokTD; all my woodworking tools that have TC cutting edges are brazed to the steel backing, I will bet there is a metallurgical explaination for this practice.
   Richard - Monday, 03/08/04 09:18:05 EST

I would like to know if there any sources that you would know about that I could you to study the history of blacksmithing.
   Tyler Hawkins - Monday, 03/08/04 10:25:26 EST

Wind Damage: Paw-Paw is without power this AM and says he will catch up with everyone as soon as it is back. No other damage.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 10:33:45 EST

History of Blacksmithing: Tyler, See our Book Review page (the Bookshelf). As far as I know there are no histories of the business other than general histories of technology. Most folks use the available references in context.

Alex Bealer's the Art of Blacksmithing is a good start. Writen in 1969 it covers some history as well as techniques used in the 18th and 18th centurys.

The Autobiography of James Nasmyth enlightens the middle period of the industrial revolution in England 1820-1880). We have the complete electronic version on-line.

Moxon's MECHANICK EXERCISES, Doctrine of Handy-Works was a mid 1700's how-to manual. See the review page under Paw-Paw's Corner.

L'Encyclopedie' of Denis Diderot also known as Diderot's Pictorial Enclclopedia of Trades and Industires. (methods of manufacturing in the 1700's). Hundreds of large engravings of shop and field work scenes. A two book set sold by Dover Books. Many libraries have them.

DeReMetalica by Georgious Agricola written in the 1400's. Covers mining, ore and metal processing.

For earlier references see Ray Smith's Notebook of Metalworking Origins on our Story Page.

   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 10:55:24 EST

Tyler: "Mechanicks Exercises" Moxon, "Practical Blacksmithing", Diderot's Encyclopedia, "Divers Arts", "De Re Metallica"---you did check out the bookshelf link on this site, right?

   - Thomas P - Monday, 03/08/04 10:55:35 EST

Not a metalworking question per se, but thought someone may have some experience with this. My 80 year old Grandmother asked me to put an edge on her mother's kitchen knife. The blade cleaned up nicely and it is now razor sharp once again. The issue is with the bone handle. It has dried out considerably over the years. I want to clean it up but its flaking and chipping pretty badly. I could replace it but want to keep it original if possible. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I could clean it with and seal it with later? Is there anything I can do to "reconstitute" the handle?
   Gronk - Monday, 03/08/04 11:40:37 EST

Archaeologists and paleontologists use PVA (PolyVinyl Acrylate) to stabilize really cheesy bone, but since it's water-soluble it wouldn't be a good thing for a kitchen knife.

Probably something such as the knifemakers use to stabilize porous handle material under vacuum would be best. We talked about that a while back, so it's in the archives. As for cleaning, if it's really flaking off, I'd leave it alone. If it's reasonably solid, a weak solution of dish soap might do it, if it can stand hard scrubbing use TSP.
   Alan-L - Monday, 03/08/04 12:04:45 EST

Old Bone: Gronk, Often old kitchenware sets in various dishwashing solutions too long and over the years is destroyed by detergents, bleach and soaps. If the handle is in reasonable condition mineral oil can be used to bring it back somewhat. However, your best bet may be to seal it in clear epoxy to preserve what is left and keep it useful.

The problem is that bone, horn and ivory once unsealed OR dried out by detergents or solvents is very porous. It then soaks up grease and oils that can decompose (become rancid) and increase the damage further. . .

Natural surfaces are nice but sealers protect the product and the user (from food poisioning due to rancid oils). A heavy epoxy surface can take abuse as well as protect the undelying material.

The last thought is that if this is a valuable antique it may be time to oil it and retire it.

   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 12:38:48 EST

Wind Damage:
Guru, let Paw Paw know I sympathise. I got hit by the same storm. No power and lost a window and some roof tin off my (soon to be) forge shop. Gusts up to 70mph in 'Sparkle City', SC.
   Shack - Monday, 03/08/04 13:56:33 EST

I recently bought(from local shop going out of business) a bending machine(like a Hossfeld) made by Pittsburg(from HF) I think. I'm wondering if there is any literature out there that could instruct me on how to use it.
Thanks, clinker
   - clinker - Monday, 03/08/04 14:14:34 EST


Since you say the handle is chipping and flaking, I would recommend stabilizing it before anything else. Cyanoacrylate, AKA "crazy glue" is a good stabilizer. Dunk the handle in a container of cyanoacryalte and put the whole works in a vacuum chamber and pull a vacuum on it. Doesn't need to be a real hard vacuum, either. Enough so that you see bubbles coming out of the handle will tell you that the cyanoacrylate is being drawn into the voids.

Once it is impregnated, pull it out of the solution and return it to the vacuum for a while to speed drying of the glue. Then let it sit out until fully dry and polish using successively finer grades of wet sandpaper.

Texas Knifemaker's Supply carries the cyanoacrylate and a cheap vacuum pump can be had for about 15 bucks from Harbor Freight if you have a shop compressor to run it. Clear polycarbonate tube makes a nice easy bell jar, using 1/2" thick flat ends and rubber gasket sheet. Use the thick wall tube, of course.

The investment in the bell jar and vacuum pump is minimal, considering that you can use it for all your natural substance handles.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/08/04 14:20:34 EST

I have seen a lot of references to articles by R F Tylecote and others in the “Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute”, but I have had no luck locating this Journal. All the searches I have done just come back with pages referencing the Journal, but nothing about the Journal itself. I was wondering if anyone knows where I might be able to find it.
   Shack - Monday, 03/08/04 14:54:56 EST

Wow another AnvilFire smith in Germany! If you need anyhelp with translation shot me an email!
   Mat - Monday, 03/08/04 15:54:18 EST

Does anbody know the best way to make a medium sized forge shop which can withstand the frost and everrything beautiful Canadain weather throws at it?

   - Billy - Monday, 03/08/04 15:57:56 EST

Mat arer you a Germran anvilsmith? Do you speak alot of German?
   - Moe - Monday, 03/08/04 15:59:18 EST

Billy, Another Canuck on here, eh? Sink your footings down four feet, insulate well, and light a BIG honkin fire in the middle of it. Or hibernate. WHat part of Canada? I'm on the east coast.
   Ed Long - Monday, 03/08/04 16:04:07 EST

Hossfeld Instructions: Clinker, The Hossfeld catalog is a very good source of how to use each of THEIR dies. However, the knock offs don't use the exact same configurations. But most do not come with the wide variety of attachements as does the Hossfeld.

Basicaly you just install the die for the curvature you wish to bend, install a stop and adjust it for the thickness and adjust the bender nose to a loose fit on the bar. Bend and remove.

To bend pipe and tubing you need special dies that snuggly fit the OD of the pipe or tube (they are different). Setup is the same as above.

Many of the bending jobs shown in Hossfeld literature require special dies and unusual setups. Most heavy bending on a Hossfeld is done using the lever to great a pressing motion closing the dies rather than sliding along the curves. Most of the knock off benders do not use this forms of bending or at least do not come with the dies.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 16:11:46 EST

Cold Climate Insulation: Billy, Years ago I read that you could insulate a two bedroom home with layers of crinkled foil to the point where it could be heated with a single 100W light bulb. . .

Of course that does not take into consideration that to breathe we MUST have fresh air and to use a forge you need even MORE fresh air. . .

When I insulate pipes that have heat tapes I wrap the whole with several layers of aluminium crinkled foil. Seems to work pretty well. The inner layers conduct the heat around the pipe and the outer trap air.

In cold climates you cannot have enough insulation. Fibreglass insulation is the least expensive but foams seem more efficient. Be sure to cover BOTH and especialy foam with a non-flamable surface. Sheet rock, brick or stone.

It is common in construction to sheath homes with brick or stone BUT this is the wrong way to build an efficient building. Use the brick and stone inside and insulation outside. The mass inside the insulation acts as an thermal flywheel keeping the temperature steady. One way to do this is to apply sprayed foam insulation to the outside of a concrete structure and then stucco over that.

Don't forget to insulate below ground level. Foundations should have at least 2" of foam insulation all the way down to the footing. This keeps the ground from sucking the heat out of the walls.

That fresh air. . . depending on the kind of forge you use the source of the air for it OR a wood stove can come from a vent pipe installed specifically for that purpose. Reducing the amount of warm air going up the chimney can greatly reduce your heating load and thus you heating bill. In those cases where you are heating as much as possible the vents will add a level of comfort. The same system can be used on a welding bench. Provide a source of fresh air at bench level. Most of this will get exhusted via the ventilation system.

Windows are nice for light but a huge amount of heat escapes as radiation and by convection. In a cold climate artificial lighting is cheaper than windows. The lighting will also provide a little heat. . . so we are back to that 100 light bulb "furnace".
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 16:48:58 EST

One last quick question, Treadle hammer or fly press, Kaye has the small press for not quite a grand, the treadle hammer kit from Centaur is about 690.00. I am not making a creer out of smithing but am enjoying alot. Last nbight I was working on the cala lilly candle holder, and drawing out the stock is alot of hammering. Same for the tong reigns. any thoughts?
   Richard - Monday, 03/08/04 17:26:29 EST

I inherited an anvil, about 175 lbs. single-horn. Top has a round hole and a square hole at the rear. Dimensions are apprx. 24" end-to-end (top) and 16" end-to-end (base). The base is about 16"H x 4" W.
On one side there is a large imprint in the shape of a diamond. Inside the diamond is imprinted the word MEXICA.
It belonged to my father-in-law's father, who was a blacksmith. I would like to find out its worth.
   TewDawgs - Monday, 03/08/04 17:40:20 EST

Treadle hammer or fly press?

Depends what you need them for. I have 4 flypresses and no power hammers. I use flypresses because they are quiet and because I can make tooling for them that allows me to make railings with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. Sadly on your side of the pond they are difficult to obtain secondhand but there is one available on ebay at the moment.
   Bob G. - Monday, 03/08/04 18:35:33 EST


Both a flypress and a treadle hammer are goodtools to have in the shop. Both are well suited to controlled impact applications such as punching, swaging, setting down, repousse' and chasing. Neither one, however, is the best tool for drawing out stock.

For drawing out stock, a power hammer or a set of McDonald type power rolls would be much more efficient. The power hammer is the most versatile of the two, but the power rolls are quiet.

I made the choice to build a Kinyon-type air hammer for now, since an air hammer can be built for about the cost of either the flypress or a treadle hammer kit, with some decent scrounging. The air power hammer will do pretty much of what a treadle hammer will do, plus it is great for drawing. With good adjustment, an air hammer can be made to give single blows, high-speed multiple blows, heavy or light, as desired. Hard to find a much more versatile tool than that, except for a hand hammer. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 03/08/04 18:38:18 EST

The "flypress" currently available on eBay is only a single-lead screw, from what I can see. It is a screw press more than a fly press. Plenty of force, but slow I would think.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/08/04 18:40:09 EST

Hey are there any blacksmiths in the peoria region of Illinois?
   - Jonathan - Monday, 03/08/04 18:42:16 EST

Jonathan, Try ABANA-Chapter.com and the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 18:53:47 EST

The air hammer sounds like a better deal from versatility. Is the construction very complex, and are plans for air hammer readily available? Uhh, I think I remember air hammer plans from the abana site? Thanks.
   Richard - Monday, 03/08/04 19:07:22 EST

guru, i cant find the "repair jojos forgemaster" how ya did it demo. what would you currently recommend?? specifically, what to use for the wear defects, itc100, ect..also, i would prefer to send you a MO for an order. can i print up an order form and mail it to you??

   rugg - Monday, 03/08/04 19:09:04 EST

Yep, just checked the ABANA site. Does the air hammer run off standard compressor?
   Richard - Monday, 03/08/04 19:11:56 EST

Hi! I was looking for an S-hook that's about 3 inches long made from 3/16 inch steel wire and can't find anything like it in stores. Is it possible to fabricate this myself? (I just need a few.)-Rigoberto
   Rigoberto R - Monday, 03/08/04 19:20:56 EST

Ebay Hopkins flypress: I saw one just like it at quad state last year. It IS a flypress but the screw makes it a little slow for some forging operations like slitting. However, for die embossing and high force short stroke operations it could be very useful. It is about at the top of the manual operation range. Looks to be in nice condition.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 19:32:22 EST

Ed, Thanks for the advice. Im located in Ontario. Where exactly on the west coast are you located? In my part we have 2 bif problems one the building inspector/firemarshall, bylaw officers and the frost which is my only big worry. I have had the problem of the foundation heaving before.

When a inspector comes to my house I sneak out to the forge and put on a cup of tea and hide!

Billy in Canada
   - Billy - Monday, 03/08/04 19:42:21 EST

NC-Tool Forge Repair Demo: Rugg, That is demo #148. In that demo we installed a reline kit in a well used and abused NC-TOOL forge.

At the time for hard refractory repair I used ITC-148 but ITC-200 is recommended. Either will work and both are used over ITC-100.

To repair the light weight refractory walls on an NC We used scraps of kaowool blanket glued in with ITC-100. When you use this technique the ITC should be throughly dried and when fired done so in short stages to prevent the moisture traped in kaowool from making a bulge or blister.

The ITC-200 and 148 can be used to patch refractory and to make a thicker more durable shell over soft Kaowool.

We also used ITC-213 to coat the metal parts. This slows rusts and prevents further burning. It is generaly used as a primer for other ITC products on metal but is also used to protect stainless.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 19:42:25 EST

S-hook: Rigoberto, Yes you can make your own. Generally smiths forge them because they taper the ends and put scrolls on them. But you can cold bend an S-hook in a vise or on a bending plate. See our 21st Century page article on benders. A little jig made of pipe like the ones shown in the article will make the job much easier and all the bends come out smooth and uniform.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 19:46:46 EST

Rigoberto R,

I belive it is possible to make that ceratin hook yourself. But you may want to do some more looking around but again trying to make one yourself won't hurt you.
   - Steven - Monday, 03/08/04 19:46:48 EST

Air Hammer Compressors: For small air hammers a 5HP 2 stage compressor is about the minimum. You can run them on less but it is dissapointing and the compressor runs constantly.

Heavy industrial hammers like the 100 pound Chambersburg utility hammer recommend a 10 HP compressor. But this hammer has a cylinder with about 4 times the area of the new air hammers such as the BigBLU. These old hammers were designed to hit hard and fast with steam or low presure air and were not nearly as efficient as the new hammers.

   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 19:51:49 EST

Orders: Yes we take cash, checks and money orders as well as money orders. The store will let you print out an order including shipping cost.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 19:54:09 EST


The size compressor needed is a function of the air cylinder diameter and stroke as well as hammerhead (tup) weight. There are other variables, too. Suffice it to say that a compressor that delivers 16-20 scfm should do, unless you try to make a 150# hammer.

Those little 2 hp 5 cfm compressors sold at the big box stores aren't going to be enough for much more than a baby hammer, unless you have a really huge receiver (air tank) in the neighborhood of 120 gallons or more. That will allow you to get some use out of a hammer, but you'll have to wait a long time for the little compressor to recharge the receiver.

You've already looked at the ABANA site, so check out the Alabama Forge Council web site for some good air circuit modifications. Also check out Larry Zoeller's website.

Consider joining CSI, the group that supports Anvilfire. You'll get your name in blue and access to the Members Only Forum so you can see what we're saying in secret. (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 03/08/04 19:55:10 EST

Anvil Value: TewDawgs, Anvils vary greatly in price according to make, style and condition. What looks like a good anvil to the neophyte may be a junker to others. Surface condition and chipping effect the price.

Anvils come in various patterns. Farriers anvils have an extream shape that is very springy for forging and has little value to a blacksmith. Good forging anvils are stout and heavy. Farriers prefer an anvil light enough to move with as much horn as possible.

In general a good anvil will sell for $2.5 to $3 US/pound. Some well known brands fetch higher prices. Damaged or unknown brand anvils such as your MEXICA sell for less.

See our article on selecting an anvil for photos of the general styles.
   - guru - Monday, 03/08/04 20:01:39 EST

guru, one more and thank you for the response. the burner openings are square, not tapered. would it be advantageous to taper them? while the forge is disassembled, i would like to do any mods that will improve performance.

thanks again

   rugg - Monday, 03/08/04 20:16:37 EST

Gurus: Just got my Hot Iron News (rag of NW BS Assn) and it mentions a upcomming NORTHERN ROCKIES BLACKSMITH SPRING CONFERENCE, BOZEMAN, MAY 14-16, AT ANVIL ART SHOP....that's all it says. Gurus got any info on this event??? tks
   - Tim in Orygun - Monday, 03/08/04 20:41:16 EST

Billy, you'll have no end of frost troubles with your foundation unless you get your footings below the frost line. Four feet will usually do it. Also, if you're pouring a slab it helps to put a two inch layer of styrofoam under the slab, but if you do that be sure to reinforce with mesh.I'm on the east coast in NB, and down here the inspectors don't say much about shops and stuff. They just concern themselves with houses.
   Ed Long - Monday, 03/08/04 21:49:57 EST

bummer, I was hoping you were from winnipeg, billy, another aspiring smith in my area would be sweet. you'd think there'd be way more people wanting to play with red hot iron in a climate like this, wouldn't you.....
   - HavokTD - Monday, 03/08/04 22:25:56 EST

New World Metalworking:

Well, if you get into the Inuit, then you need to consider the chalcolithic societies working both native (as in "lumps of metal on the ground not needing smelting") copper and stone around and about the Great Lakes, and then the copper, gold and silver working in Cental and South America... Just a whole new world (pun intended). So lets go with an "Iron Smelting and Forging Operation in the European Tradition" and I'll just cut my losses. ;-)

Historic (hysteric?) Book Shelf:

Don't forget the Pyrotechnia by Vanoccio Biringuccio (sp?, I'm nowhere near my bookshelves), one of my favorite sources and he pre-dates Agricola. I actually like his tone and style better, although Cyril Stanley Smith is rather critical. Still, he's no more superstitious, and no less practical, than either Theophilus or Agricola (or some current "medievalist" blademakers).

Hanging out near the shores of Biscayne Bay.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov (new format)

Go viking: www.longshipco.org (same ol' format)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/08/04 23:14:23 EST

Air Compressors and power hammers:-)

When it comes to compressors and air hammers, More is better! And a big reciever while it will help some in the short run, it does nothing to fix things if your compressor is undersized for the task. Most compressors are also rated for their duty cycle, exceed that by running the compressor continuously to try and keep up with your hammer and you will need to buy a new compressor big enough to do the job (of course you will want the bigger compressor after having had to wait for pressure to build back up so you can work:-)

I have a 75# Bull air hammer and a 7.5HP Quincy Air Master light industrial compressor that develops 22.4 CFM @170PSI. I have an 80 gallon reciever and run the hammer at 130PSI, and while drawing, particularly on multiple pieces, I will drop the system pressure to 90 and the hammer's proformance starts to degrade. I have really nice control, and can get just one blow hard or soft out of the hammer, any time I want. And I can flip a switch and clamp with the hammer (which I was doing today to start the eyes on some froes that I am making. I was work 6 at once, and had forge 3/8 flat out of 7/8 round before I could start working on the froes...) One of the new style air hammers is the next best thing to a steam hammer:-) (What I want to know is how do I rig the valueing on a home built hammer, so that it acts like a steam hammer???) Of course most of the new style air hammers hit like a powderpuff next to a good mechanical hammer of the same size:-)

Building a spring helve type mechanical hammer is probably simpler and much cheaper than building an air hammer, not quite as versitile, but great for drawing small, and medium sized stock:-)

(The 600# Niles-Bemont-Pond steam hammer I got to play on was powered by a 375 CFM diesal rotory screw type compressor:-)
   Fionnbharr - Monday, 03/08/04 23:20:30 EST

okey dokey.. I am new here and i only have a fast question. I am a simple sword collecter that is starting. I like swords i think they interesting and well nice. shrug~
Now the point. There was a sword that i saw a long time ago perhaps around the 2000 . It was in new york in a weapon show they had it was in queens in one of those underground weapon places or something didnt even have a name. Anyway there was this big sword there. i did a blue print of it. Its very poorly because it was done on paint but if its very hard to read i can always re-due it i dont mind. Here is the link to my page. That i posted the image at

That is the web site for it. I know the sword is shorter then the real size that is suppose to be but anyway i was wondering if this sword can be remade as this other guy had?? If so any price range or anything ? well thank you for your time and take care. Nods~

PS anyone can email me even if you dont have anything good to say because i ask this some where else and well I got flame at . it was kinda interesting but anyway thank you for listening .
   Soma - Monday, 03/08/04 23:26:32 EST

Speaking of chain 'damascus' a freind of mine found some old roller chain that would make one heck of a billet. Each link is about 9 inches long and about 4 wide.......
The sides look to be wrought and the rollers look to be steel.
   Ralph - Monday, 03/08/04 23:51:35 EST

Air Compressors:

A air compressor that is going to run at near it's max output will work better if you run the compressor constantly, and use a air pressure governor to load and unload the valves.

This is much easier on the compressor and motor that using a pressure switch to turn it on and off.

I have seen compressors modified that have a valve that allows the user to select one mode or the other.
   - Hudson - Tuesday, 03/09/04 00:41:39 EST

I have watched Berserk. It's a decent anime. However, that sword is physically impossible for any human being to wield,and would be almost impossible to *lift* by the hilt. It will probably break your wall if you try to hang it. An aluminum replica could probably be made if you don't mind the inauthenticity, but it would be fairly pricey either way.

Sunny and warming back up in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 03/09/04 01:24:48 EST

Billy the "best" way would be to spend several million dollars to have a good firm of industrial architects design your building, perhaps earth sheltered with heat exchangers for shop air, etc. Now if you want some ideas that may not be the "best way"...

Soma, most "fantasy" blades make such bad swords that many good makers don't want their name on it. *way* too heavy, (the average weight of a fighting sword was around 1 kilo for nearly 1000 years---do you think that folks who actually used them might have known something???). The thing you want is not a sword it is a sword like object unusable in a sword fight, shoot a fellow with a short dagger could take you if you were using that! Not to mention copyright infringement lawsuits. Also custom made work is *much* *more* *expensive* than buying factory made stuff. If this was a factory produced item they are out there---mayhap hiding in some sword collectors closet of shame, (almost all of us started with some junk and then learned more)...

I assume you have tried the sword forum and found a toasty reception from the professional makers---many of them have been burned by folks who wanted to pay less for a finished blade than the cost of materials---but didn't fess up until they had spent hours of their precious time communicating back and forth over design parameters.

If you are just looking for a wall hanger make it from Al sheet and polish it nicely...TV and Movies hardly ever show *swords* in general they show the director/designer's beliefs about swords and how many of then know anything *about* swords? (a lot like smithing! Seen a recent movie where the smith presented a polished and hilted and scabbarded weapon to the customer? Had a hilted sword blade in the forge fire?

Atli, I love DRM for the *pictures* where we learn so much more about the craf than just the basic you do this this way...

Thomas, in Germany now, but may be in Chile by the end of the month...Ich kann ein bischen Deutsch sprechen und hablo un poquito espanol tambien.
   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/09/04 06:17:38 EST

Thanks for the bone handle tips gang. A friend of mine(woodworker) has the vac pump setup I think. TSP and a medium brush sounds good but you don't want me anywhere near a jug of superglue. The little tubes are dangerous enough. Think I'll clean it best I can, lightly sand and seal with either the epoxy or superglue. It's a Cattaraugus blade and only about 95 years old, but its the sentimental value. Still I think it should be at least semi-retired, just like grandma.
   Gronk - Tuesday, 03/09/04 09:35:23 EST

Just looking for a source on frying pan blanks, I remember a few years back somepne offering them through "theForge", and even that the pictures showing them much smoother than I will be able to do through sinking/raising on stakes. Thank you!
   Greg Clasby "Pugsley" - Tuesday, 03/09/04 09:35:52 EST

Well I just tried to join CSI, but when I get to the online payment section its asking for a password? It is the link to the online payment service. Any thoughts?
   Richard - Tuesday, 03/09/04 09:57:38 EST

Richard we are having problems with some systems and our cart. A check works fine.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/09/04 10:13:05 EST

Pan Blanks TheForge has an archive system you can search. We used to have a system that accessed it but when we found theForge host had one we dropped it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/09/04 10:15:12 EST

If I'm using the mass3 calculator correctly, the fantasy sword would weigh (just the blade) 350 lbs. in stainless, 330ish in iron and 122lbs aluminum. Yowza! It slices, it dices, it can cut a Buick in two with a single blow and still cut a tomato this thin... but wait if you order in the next 20 seconds...
   Gronk - Tuesday, 03/09/04 10:29:59 EST

Nice one, Gronk ;-) Gotta love those infomercials
   Ed Long - Tuesday, 03/09/04 10:39:26 EST

Hey Pete,
Yes, that would work, if the grinding removed the "temper".
2. If you happen to have all day to file. 3. If you did your machinist apprenticeship in Germany. 4. If you have lots of cold chisels laying around. Then again if you had a really good Milwaukee angle grinder and a steady hand.....

Help, I can't find the last archive.

Yours Obnoxiosly,
   lsundstrom - Tuesday, 03/09/04 10:58:32 EST

Fantasy Swords: Soma, This one has come up before. You state that "This is not kiddie anime." Well, it is, and I believe it is copyrighted as noted by others. There are good reasons you got flammed elsewhere.

The blade drawing you show scales to weigh 845 pounds (383 kg ) without the cubit long grip. Using the given width dimension of 12" (it scales 9.5 compared to the grip length) and the given thickness of 1.5" (it scales 4.7") it would weigh over 337 pounds (153 kg)!

The simplest rules of physics (levers) makes it absolutely impossible for a human being to weild such an object. Even if it were made of aluminium it would weigh over 100 pounds. This takes a half ton or greater human to weild.

A hollow model of such an item COULD be fabricated. Steel or stainless thick enough to weld and polish would still result in a piece that weighed just under 100 pounds (45 kg). Still over 10 times the weight of a HEAVY sword.

Now you have wasted time in two forums. I removed the link to your page due to language used there.

   - guru - Tuesday, 03/09/04 11:10:33 EST

Archives. . these are done manually and takes a few minutes!
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/09/04 11:12:35 EST

I almost always laugh at the dummies that come on the forum saying in effect, "i wanna mek a soorrd!" They obviously don't have a clue, OR the mental skills to learn.

Best to just ignore them. If we do that, maybe they'll go crawl back under their rock and get some more ignorance.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 11:32:40 EST

For pulling a light vacuum on handles, a refrigerator compressor should work well. It pulls air in one side, (thus creating a vacuum), and pushes it out the other side, where it is compressed. Won't do heavy work, but does move air.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 11:41:25 EST

CLINKER: To get a 36 page operating manual with project ideas for your bender, go to harbor freight.com. On the left side of your screen, under the American flag, in the "find item number" window, type in 44094. The bench model version of your bender will come up. Scroll down until you see a little green bar which says "download product manual", and key on it. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't already have it, you'll be given the opportunity to get it. (free) Now, you can print the complete manual for yourself. Enjoy.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 03/09/04 12:29:03 EST

Gronk/PPW, HF has an air powered vacuum gizmo that often goes on sale for about $10. I think its primary use is for evacuating A/C systems. Oughta work.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 03/09/04 12:37:39 EST

Paw Paw,
I know the "i wanna mek a soorrd!" posts hit sore spot on you and many of the other gurus, and I completely understand why. But keep in mind that some of these same clueless youngsters that “wanna mek a soorrd” are going to be the ones that keep this craft alive in the next generation. I’ll admit that I was one of these kids when I fist got interested in smithing at 14. I was seduced by the poetics and romanticism of the sword in fantasy fiction, especially Lord of the Rings. The sword has a graceful beauty and can be a work of art. However, the art is not only in having something aesthetically pleasing, but in the way it handles and the grace and fluidity in motion of a well made and balanced tool. Yes, a tool whose purpose is was originally to kill. That does not entirely distract from the pride of being able to create a beautiful and well crafted sword, tool, or anything else for that matter. I like to think I have come a long way since the "i wanna mek a soorrd!" days. And most of my recent growth is thanks to Anvilfire and you and the other gurus. In short, flame the ignorant and lazy, but keep in mind it should be to temper the ignorance and laziness because some of these kids are the future of smithing. I say direct them to the FAQ and then ignore them until they they can ask the right queations. Ignorance is a disease and its cure is knowledge. Laziness is a cancer and needs to be removed completely lest it consume one.
BTW no offence intended, just my 2¢.
   Shack - Tuesday, 03/09/04 12:47:47 EST

fist=first, queations=questions
Typos, however, are a condition for which there is no cure.
   Shack - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:02:04 EST


Every one of your points is valid. My problem with the current "i wanna mek a soorrd!" individual is that this is the second time the same individual has come to anvilfire with the same silly request. The first time, almost all of us treated him with dignity and tried to explain why what he proposes wouldn't work. He apparently didn't learn anything from that, and tried the same question on one of the sword forums, where he got flamed. Now he's back here on anvilfire, asking the same stupid question, using up bandwidth which costs Jock money. He apparently can't learn. I agree also that ignorance is a disease and can be cured. Stupidity however, is both incurable and usually terminal.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:13:54 EST

Logged in for this one: Paw Paw, a lot of us started out sword crazy (or even blade crazy). We bought trash---cause that's all we could find, then we started learning stuff, maybe picked up some real swords (I had an 1860's sabre and a 1913 "Patton" + some things my Grandfather brought back from the war); read some books, annoyed some Prof's asking questions and finally ran into something that got us out of the dreaming and facing the forge. Me it was the re-popularization of pattern welding--back in the days of $100 per inch of blade, no way I could afford it; so I had to learn to do it...

Funny thing, after making blades a lot of folks drift into doing more ornamental stuff, or dig into the history aspects, with time and practice our blades tend more and more toward historical "using" types and we hide the Toledo stamped steel wall hangers we started with.

Now some folk never grow out of the "I know all about swords and you are wrong" They are obnoxous and are suitable candidates for ignoring. (katanaphiles have a high incidence of this behaviour to the distress of the rest of the group)

So lets hope that after their nose it rubbed in it a couple of times they will actually go out and *learn*; perhaps just trying to refute our contentions; but *learning* may open the door to doing and the obnoxious sword "collector" of yesterday may turn into the helpfull fellow at the hammer-in tomorrow.

Thomas Powers who had the luck to grow up before the stainless swords at every fleamarket and anime SLO's, and video games where people violate physics at will; shoot D&D didn't even show up until I was in college as a couple of tan covered phamphlets...
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:14:49 EST

AND, I also agree that typos are incurable, but fortunately they are not terminal! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:16:36 EST

I know of at least three of the wannabe sword makers who saw the light and decided to learn. Thomas Powers, Shack, and Stormcrow, who posts here occasionally. And there are almost certainly more that I don't know of.

But I think the ones who DO learn and get an education in steel are the exception, rather than the norm.

   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:19:45 EST

One more point, and then I'll shut up.

I am also blade crazy. I have four in my possesion right now. That's not counting the 30 - 40 more that I have, some decent blade and a coupld of "collectors" items. (shudder! I didn't buy them, they were gifts!) Since blades were a tool of my trade for many years, it's perhaps a bit understandable in my case. I even occasionally forge out a blade of one kind or another, though I'm a long ways from being a blade smith. But when I do want a new blade for some reason, I know what to look for, and who to talk to.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:25:28 EST

Thanks for your suggestion. Makes a whole lot more sense than Pete's. Just kidding, Pete is just such a great guy and like yourself a real asset, to this site. I'm in the process of forging a double edged chisel out of a peice of truck leaf spring. I'm punching a flat trench through the middle of the end of it and will then sharpen the out side edges with a belt sander and the inside with a round file,
but spacing from the edge will still be dependent on hand eye control. I like your idea of a guide but of course that would be a two step process, requiring two chisels. However, since everything gets butchered and relieved it's already about a hundred step process so making two passes to get two lines a 1/4 inch apart doesn't mean it will take longer since your penetration will be better with one edge than two thus conserving time in the long run. The main thing is that after the considerable time this aggravating process requires, you don't end up with humpy lines. I'm thankful that the particular piece (a coffee table) I'm working on is a housewarming gift for one of my sons because if I was selling it, I would be down to about 3 dollars an hour. I'm just thinking that the next time one of them says, "Can't you put that design around the top?" I will have found a better way of doing it.
Thanks, I will certainly carefully consider and try these wonderful ideas,
   larry sundstrom - Tuesday, 03/09/04 13:57:06 EST

Oh man! I just re-read my post from earlier. I didn't mean grandma was semi-retired like put out to pasture. I mean she works 2 part time jobs that total more than 40 hrs a week. She quit the 3rd and now she says she's semi-retired. This really CAN be one dimentional. I almost upset myself! And I KNOW me.
   Gronk - Tuesday, 03/09/04 14:02:16 EST

Iforge/faq suggestion:

There have been a couple of questions in the last couple of months that revloved around vacuum pumps and cynoacrolyte for sealing/stabilizing. I think this would make a great iforge/faq topic, with pictures of vicopper's setup or a similar one.

Of course part of the reason I am interested in this is that I have an entire giraffe ribcage coming over from South Africa which I would like to use for various handles and such.... :)


   -JIM - Tuesday, 03/09/04 14:03:41 EST

Thomas P,

Danke fur Das information. Deutchland is sehr schon. Also du kannst ein bissen Deutsch. Enjoy your stay in Germany and thanks again for the advice


   - Billy - Tuesday, 03/09/04 14:35:59 EST

Since you are in Canada you know about out climate is there a certain type of natural wood that would be good to use after my footings are poored etc. How would you go about ventalating a Canadian forge? There are alot local bulding inspectors around here with the housing boom so they check us guys out and try to put us out but My other forge is up to the standards. I don't like to talk to them though.
   - Billy - Tuesday, 03/09/04 14:41:02 EST

You can add me to the list of reformed sword-crazed youth who learned to learn. Older than Stormcrow, younger than Thomas (D&D was a kit game in my day, with the DM keeping track on a Commodore 64), but still learning the ways of steel.

I too have a closet full of dubious sword-shaped objects, and was a Fencer (non-barbed wire type) in college. Which reminds me: Thomas, that 1913 Patton is one of the best "using" swords for its day, too bad that day included the Maxim gun and mustard gas, two things that render a sword kind of silly...
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 03/09/04 14:54:26 EST

I will send in the info with check, but then I will have to wait to see what is said behind closed doors. This probably is not a good time to mention that the reason we (son and self) got going was ah, erm, well actually my son wanted to make a battle ax for a friend (to sell to him of course), I suggested more practicle ideas. Plus, I am not sure if homeowners insurance would cover the potential liability of battle axe manufacture...
We have as a consequence learned a alot together, built some great tools/toys (had to have a gas welding set up to melt copper to make the roman coin reproductions for social studies class, needed MIG welder to make the coal forge, once forge built, had to get anvil (euro anvils 75 KG), got to cold to work outside on coal forge, had to buy a gas forge, heh heh, no wonder wife will not let me have checkbook) Well this is a slippery slope isnt it? No, son has not made battle axe yet, not even asked about it again, and he is working on first set of tongs, and has forged a med carbon steel cheese knife! (we do live in Wisconsin after all) Cheers gents! Back to work I go,
   Richard - Tuesday, 03/09/04 15:14:57 EST

OK now I am getting a complex. The mail in form for CSI does not have WISCONSIN listed as a state option! We are still in the union arent we? I will mail in my own form with the data, INCLUDING the greatest cheesy dairy state in the union....
   Richard - Tuesday, 03/09/04 15:31:22 EST

I also "wanna mak a sord" and am an aspiring bladesmith, though I realize that something like a sword is years ahead of me. Right now I'm just practicing some basic forging, making some small simple blades, and making tools to make making things easier. I figure if I have a forge and anvil and all that good stuff, it'd be foolish not to get full use of it and make things besides blades.
I read CKD forums and primalfires forums, so I won't bother you folks with knifey questions, though with all the research I've done I don't really have any, I'm as full as can be with book knowledge and just need practice at this point. I do have a couple general forge questions though...
1) I use natural lump charcoal in my forge, it's very convient for me in that I can find it easily in my area for fairly cheap and I don't have the clinker and stinky smoke problems to deal with. My question is that I've found a few stone like lumps in the ashes afterwards and wondered of I might be getting some sort of clinkers afterall, or if it's just rocks that somehow got mixed up into the bag at the packaging plant?
2) Along with the charcoal forge I use ash lining, which I hear can be used as flux, though I have some borax anyway. I know borax will play havoc with some forge linings, will spilling borax into the ash lining in any way mess up the forge or contaminate it?
3) I tried to burn some galvinization off a pipe(I know about the fumes, I was outside and downwind) and it seems the pipe melted some, and there was a yellow residue on some of the coals. I pitched the pipe, and tried burning the coals nice and hot to get rid of whatever it was and it seemed to work at first, but now every once in a while I'll get yellow coals. What is this and is it a big deal?

   AwP - Tuesday, 03/09/04 16:30:30 EST

Quick note on #3 above, I was UPwind. Dur.
   AwP - Tuesday, 03/09/04 16:32:19 EST

Billy, by natural aood, I'm assuming you're talking about the framing. Standard spruce 2 by 6 if you're using six inch fibreglas insulation would be the reasonable choice. Of course if you aren't buildinig a large shop or adding a second story you could use 2 by 4 but you'll be giving up some insulation value by having to go to four inch bats. Whatever the choice make sure to use poly vapor barrier (it'll cut down on drafts and moisture problems). Six mil is standard.
For venting the forge, you'll want a fairly large chimney and if you want to dance close to building regulations I'd go with the 8-inch Super chimney type prefab that is supposed to be good up to about 3200 degrees I think. That's what I use right now. It beats having to deal with masonry. You can put one up in an afternoon.
Hope this helps.
   Ed Long - Tuesday, 03/09/04 16:47:59 EST

A quick question for the guru's. The local scrapyard has some 2 and 2 1/2 inch shaft lying about. THey're unsure as to the grade of steel, but it's in twenty foot sections so I'm guessing an industrial throw-out. Question is, I want to use some of it to make a couple of set-hammers. I'm not having much luck finding info on proper techniques of punching the eyes in the archives. SHould I drill a pilot hole first to start the punch in or just bang away?
   Ed Long - Tuesday, 03/09/04 16:55:08 EST

Does anybody know how to take rust off and old anvil? I have herd of a few methods. which one is the best?
   - Mike - Tuesday, 03/09/04 17:48:24 EST

Richard- Good job! I wish my father would have found the patience to work with me more often. What you and son are doing together is almost better than fishing. Kudos
   mike-hr - Tuesday, 03/09/04 18:31:47 EST


I use wire brushes in a 9" angle grinder. I now have some nylon pads that fit in my grinder, hopefully these will be safer to use than the wire brushes. No more picking strands of wire out of my clothing hopefully.
If it's just rust on the face that you are worried about, I find that actually using the anvil will quickly remove the rust :-)
   Bob G - Tuesday, 03/09/04 18:34:31 EST

Billy I assume that you are in a town or city, I haven't followed the whole set of posts. You may need a building permit if you are, and have to build to code; code is real just a minimum standard. You can tell them that you wish to build an artist studio (remember we are Artist Blacksmiths); you may not want to mention the blacksmith part. Most lumberyards can supply you with some type of design service if you buy the materials from them. CMHC also has a number of good books on energy savings and construction methods with very good drawings. To cover the chimney, it is for a cozy freestanding fire place/stove. City planning departments that I have dealt with are also very helpful, if you are sincere. Once you have your final inspection you are pretty much free to do with what you like in your studio.
   - Daryl - Tuesday, 03/09/04 18:57:30 EST

I have removed rust from my anvils with a wire brush on a 4 1/2" angle grinder. Then back to the face with some 600 grt wet /dry sandpaper and WD-40 and plain old elbow grease. After a weekend of smithing when the anvil will now set unused for 4-5 days I spray it down with WD-40. Works well.
   Harley - Tuesday, 03/09/04 19:36:29 EST

What is the best project for a beginner to partake in. I am trying out blacksmithing at a friends house and want to know what you reccomend me to try to make my first time.

I am a super begginer
   - Danger - Tuesday, 03/09/04 20:07:09 EST

Others will have different approaches but this is what I like my new students to do.

Take something like say 1/2 round and forge it to 3/8 square. Then take that and make a simple 'J' hook. Take some of the 3/8 and make a bit of 1/4 and make a nail for the hook. Both of these will teach basic eye hand coordiation as well as judging size by eye. Will help teach fire control ( if using coal) tong control and most importantly hammer control. And the student should have something to show for it other than blisters and memories which only he/she can actully experience. But a hook and a nail can be displayed.
Some folks make leaf key fobs etc....
   Ralph - Tuesday, 03/09/04 20:35:16 EST

Thanks for the de-rusitng advice.
   - Mike - Tuesday, 03/09/04 20:38:31 EST

Thanks for the de-rusitng advice.
   - Mike - Tuesday, 03/09/04 20:39:13 EST

Ed, the traditional way to punch eyes in large tooling is to just bang away. But, 2 inches is a big set hammer! When punching it is important to remember that the punch is a shearing tool, not simply a brute force drift. In other words, the face of the punch is perfectly flat, and the edges are SHARP 91-93 degree angles. You are driving this thing into a big hunk of steel. The sharp edges cut the steel as the flat face compresses what's under it. Cool the punch every four to five whacks, and toss some coal dust or charcoal in the hole to keep it from siezeing. Punching should be done at a high heat, for tool steel a good yellow will do. Punch from both sides (you DID centerpunch to mark while it was cold, right?) so the compressed slug is knocked out at the midpoint.

OR to do it the modern, easy way, drill one hole, plug with a round of the right size, drill another hole right beside it, knock out the plug, drift to shape. Faster and more accurate if, like me, you don't have the best aim with a big flat punch!
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 03/09/04 20:50:58 EST

Danger, perhaps someone here can show you how to forge a 300 lb SOOOOORD. Seriously, the two things I seem to use on almost every project is drawing out (round to square, taper to a point) and symetrical scroll ends. I'd suggest trying Ralphs ideas and then try some scroll ends. Check out the iForge for ideas, too.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 03/09/04 21:01:51 EST

Ed Long, For a step by step on hammer punching try Iforgeiron.com and check out the blueprint "Making a Hammer". There are some very good photos of the punching process.
   SGensh - Tuesday, 03/09/04 21:48:57 EST

After reading 3Dogs answer to Clinker,03/09/04 12:29:03est.
How can I get a Manual for my used Harbor Freight or HF type tool.
I went to the Archives and typed in Tool Manual.
I lost count at 75 returns, there were a lot more of them.
Maybe you should put 3Dogs answer in the FAQ's.
   Skabvenger - Tuesday, 03/09/04 22:14:01 EST


1. Since charcoal is made from trees, there may have been some small rocks incorporated in the wood during growth, root formatin or just bagging. It happens. Some wood is also high in minerals that may for clinker-like lumps, but they would be very small.

2. Borax won't hurt your ash lining, but it will make it clump up and reduce it's insulation value. It won't contaminate the forge until it gets to be so much that it is time to reline the forge.

3. That yellow residue is zinc oxide and other sinc compounds. It should completely burn away somewhat below a welding heat, but the ash lining of your forge may be trapping some of it and allowing it to boil out and deposit on the coals later. The presence of zinc compounds can interfere with welding, I'm told.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 03/09/04 22:26:59 EST

NO WI: Richard, You must have found an OLD form that should no longer be on-line. . . My stupid CC handled gave me a bunch of sample forms and the "W" states were missing from the list. . . been fixed for years. Please let me know where you found that file.

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 00:07:53 EST

Punching Eyes: Ed, We have a hammer making demo and a punching demo on the iForge page. Both step by step.

Scrap Shafting: Old shafting is generally mild steel (good SAE 1018). Too soft for tools. Newer shafting is often SAE 1040. It will harden OK but being a plain carbon steel is not as tough as it should be for hammers. It will work but there are better steels. Much shafting is often SAE 4140 but often just because it is cylindrical doesn't mean it is a shaft, it can be round bar of ANY kind of steel from leaded free machining steel, structural steel or some exotic who knows what steel. . .

See our FAQ about Junkyard steels. Then the one on Heat Treating.

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 00:16:03 EST

I'd like to try knot tying in steel, are there any Internet pages that explain how to do this? The steel I want to knot is 3" x 0.5".
   Bob G. - Wednesday, 03/10/04 00:40:48 EST

Knots: Bob, There are some trick knots that are not knots. . then there are real knots.

3" x 1/2" flat bar? Or a 3" length of 1/2" round or square bar?

In round or square there are two methods. First, you want some extra length to provide clamping space and leverage. Then, you can heat the bar with forge or torch. A good long heat in the forge is best. Pull the piece out, clamp it in a vise and with heavy tongs and bending forks make your knot. (A piece of pipe that fits over the end of the bar makes a great all direction leverage tool.) Usualy the first heat just barely gets the knot started. Take a second heat and start tightening the knot. This is done by both pulling on the knot (like one in rope) and by pushing with a hammer. It really helps to have a big helper and a well anchored vise. The third heat is the same OR you do the final tightening on the anvil. When finished cut off the extra length.

Try making a knot in 1/4" round about a foot long. It is just like stiff rope at an orange heat. Then try 3/8" round. This is stiffer but CAN be done with tongs. 1/2" round is tough. The longer the better if you can heat the full length. It helps to have a swage block or a surface with curved surfaces to support the knot so that you do not mark it up.

I've seen knots in 1" round. . . and seen eyes with twisted terminations made in 1-1/4" round using a big rose bud hammer and anvil.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 01:28:43 EST

Thanks for the quick reply, I'll try sifting around in the ashes to see if I can find any lumps that might come out later.
   AwP - Wednesday, 03/10/04 01:43:49 EST

SKABVENGER/Unfortunately, HF doesn't provide that feature for everything they sell, but I've been lucky on a lot of their major items, like my plasma cutter and milling machine, but is a really good place to start one's search. It really helps a lot to have the actual name of the item or the catalog number, so you don't have to sit there trying to guess at what to call a particular doodad. When I get something like that bender, for instance, I'll put the original manual in my office filing cabinet, and download & print another one for a shop copy. Glad I could help. 3dogs
   3dogs - Wednesday, 03/10/04 04:12:37 EST

Actually the "BEST" way to remove rust from a good anvil is to ship it to my shop where we will slowly remove the rust while checking out the hardness of the face, in 5-10 years you send us the money to ship it back and it will no longer be rusted but have a lovely "work" patina that we do not charge extra for...

I melt copper, brass, silver (sterling and fine), bronze, etc using my forge; why do you need a torch?

Chisel guides: seems like to me that you take your leaf spring chisel and drill a couple of holes in it and then you can bolt a spacer and a guide to it.

Chunk charcoal sometimes has rocks in it.

If I was getting yellow "sign" in my forge I would clean it down to the clay discarding any charcoal in it and re-ash it and see if that helped. Zinc is cumulative to a degree. The goal is to not meet the threshhold until you're dead of old age...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/10/04 05:29:54 EST

Guru; the link was the one at the bottom of the page here in the den. And thank goodness, I was experiencing some existential doubt about my very being, I am better now...

I have a great way to remove rust, that needs no shipping costs or "aging";
Our new euro anvil 75 was left close to the edge of the overhang last fall before moving indoors and accumulated a bit of "surface patina". So I gave the 16 year old son a bottle of WD40, and a selection of Norton wet/dry sandpaper 220-600, and said do not stop till you can see those tiny whiskers growing slowly on your young chin! He did a great job, built some character, and will NEVER EVER leave the anvil in harms way again! In fact when we work together now he is after me to be careful with it. HA!

You all probably know this, but when I did welding sculpture in school, my mentor thought a project for a show needed some character and "patina", so he told me (with a twinkle in his eye, twinkle NOT tinkle) to piss on it. After I realized it was not editorial advice I found that a little dilute pee-pee makes a rapid coloring agent. a little rinse, brush and clear coat later I had a real winner.

BTW Mr Guru "the check is in the mail"

No really...it is!
   Richard - Wednesday, 03/10/04 08:43:38 EST

I'm new into metal working/blacksmithing and looking to purchase an anvil. I've seen several with rough edges- question: How difficult would it be to recover the edge on an old anvil and how is that done? Thanks, Dedhammerdoc
   Dedhammerdoc - Wednesday, 03/10/04 09:33:55 EST

Anvil Corners and Repair: Dedhammerdoc, Sharp corners on anvils are over rated and often chip off because they are sharp.

Anvils with gently rounded corners are easier to use and produce better forgings. Old shop manuals recommend putting a heavy chamfer and radius on new anvils to prevent chipping. However, currently everyone wants razor sharp edges. They want old anvils that look like they have never been used OR properly dressed.

Good anvils are made of tool steel or have a tool steel face. Welding to hardened and tempered tool steel is problematic. The weld heat softens adjacent areas and the weld itself never matches the base metal in hardness. When done correctly the weld at best will either be soft or too hard (using hard rod). When done poorly the weld will have a highly crystaline interface between it and the base metal that will fail under load sooner than later.

Our recommendations for anvil repair is to never attempt them unless the anvil is completely unusable. THEN they should only be done by an expert welder with experiance using high strength rods on tool steels with the correct preheat.

In most cases a little grinding to dress and blend in the sharp broken edges goes a long way and does no further damage to the anvil.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 11:03:52 EST

Were there any anvil makers in North America that DIDN'T use markings of any kind on their anvils? I bought the contents of an old blacksmith shop some years ago and the anvil appears to be wrought iron bodied but the iron is quite rough, almost like it was beat into shape by hand. However there are absolutely no markings. Any ideas where this could have been made? Of course I'm assuming NA, but we all know what assuming does. It came from a seaport area so it could have been European. Oh, BTW, it's a London pattern, around 100 pounds.
   Ed Long - Wednesday, 03/10/04 11:24:50 EST

Rusting Anvils: Anvils that are used daily rust but do not show it because of the constant wear and polishing of hard fire scale. Anvils that that set unused (as mine often do these days) will rust. Even when kept indoors the large mass of cold iron (anvils, swage blocks, machine tools) attract moisture during temperature changes. Water from warm air condenses on that cold mass of iron and rust is the natural result. In my current location the spring condensation is sometimes measurably deep (an eighth of an inch) and even forms on the underside of things equaly as deep.

A coating of oil will help prevent rust. For short term protection WD-40 works fine. However, it wipes off easily and just brushing by the metal surface will remove the protection. For long term protection there are rust inhibitors made by CRC that are like a thin spray on cosmoline. When fresh they are easily removable but over a period of months they dry out and become a hard varnish. This is actually good because if something is unused that long it needs better protection. But the general problem with oils is that they DO get wiped off unintentionaly. If you use light oil on bright surfaces you must be diligent about reapplication on a regular basis.

In the past year I have cleaned, polished and painted both of my big anvils. Not because they needed it to USE them but to photograph them for articles. If I was going to simply use them I would have left the rust as-is and just USED them. The result is a smooth brown rust patina.

I have ocassionaly dressed anvils and polished the working surfaces (don't forget the sides along the face and heel). But afterwards I have force rusted the horn then oiled it. Oiled smooth rust is the only natural steel preservative besides mill scale. If you try to keep the surface bright you will end up with heavy pitting rust or spend a lot of wasted time wearing down the surface with sandpaper. . .

So, just USE your anvil, oil it ocassionaly and eventualy it will have a nice brown color everywhere except where it is regularly used. Paint will keep the unused surfaces from rusting if you insist on a pretty anvil.

Note that most new anvils come with clear lacquer on the face and horn (if it is polished) as well as having the body painted. This is to keep the product from rusting in storage. If you really want your anvil to remain pristine then lacquer it and don't use it!

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 11:44:36 EST

Unmarked Anvils: Ed, There are almost no American made anvils that show obvious hammer dressing. Generally this is a sign of a European or English anvil (except perhads some early Hay-Buddens). However, all imported anvils that I know of had some kind of marking.

Marking on forged old anvils was often not very deep because it was done with a huge stamp and a blow from a very heavy sledge. You get one chance using this method. If the surface was irregular as they often were then parts of the stamp would be missing. If the anvil has rusted a lot then it can be difficult to read any marking.

To read faint markings on anvils you start by wire brushing off loose rust, paint and dirt. Paint often fills the markings after it has flaked off every other surface. Do not grind or polish the side of the anvil. Then use thin paper and take a rubbing using the side of a pencil, charcoal or a wax crayon. Often the rubbing will make the markings more obvious.

The vast majority of realy old anvils in the US came from England. Mousehole forge sold millions of anvils in the US and Peter Wright hundreds of thousands. Other English makers sold less but there are significant numbers of those too.

The earliest US anvil maker was Fisher Norris who made a very distinctively shaped cast iron steel faced anvil. Later Hay-Budden came into the market with their distinctive forged American pattern. Many others followed using the American pattern. Later European makers like Kohlswa copied the American pattern to sell in North America.

Later makers in America often sold anvils to big retailers without their markings. The intention was for the retailer (like Sears) to put on their house branding. However, stamping an anvil logo is work for an anvil factory. So many of these anvils had no markings OR had non-durable decals or stencils.

Often the best way to identify an anvil is by its style. Most are fairly distinctive to the trained eye. If you are really interested in anvil history there are only two books on the subject, both by the same author, Anvils in America and Mousehole Forge by Richard Postman. We sell both.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 12:24:04 EST

Have you thought of publishing the iForge as a how to book for profitable blacksmithy?
   Crimson - Wednesday, 03/10/04 12:35:54 EST

Knot in 1/2" A36 Steel:
Knot in Steel Bar QC, sent in this photo of a knot he tied in a piece of 1/2" round bar. He says it was a short piece about 6"
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 14:56:46 EST

Publishing iForge demos: Yes, we have thought about it. However it is a huge job. The primary problem is that many of the images are not suitable for reproduction in print. Often they started as rough sketches and then were poorly scaned and then further reduced in size. . . There are hundreds of these that would have to be replaced.

At least one person that was pushing for this has recently found out how hard it is to convert HTML documents to ready to print. I could do it. But it would be a full time job for about 6 months.

It could still happen but a lot will have to change in my life.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/10/04 15:02:30 EST

Thanks for the knot tieing info, the steel I have is 3" X 0.5" x 3.5 foot. Fortuneately I have a simpler design that does not need knots. It would be an interesting exercise though...
   Bob G. - Wednesday, 03/10/04 18:09:29 EST

Guru, Does the scrap rate for ancils, car parts etc. ever change? My anvul is only worth $3 pound?
   - Jordan - Wednesday, 03/10/04 18:54:41 EST

I was wondering what kind of blacksmithing schools there are. Ive been looking around South Dakota and i havent found any so far.
what would be a good idea to use as a first forge? I have no experiance and would like to become a good smith, and to do that I would first need a forge. Any ideas?

   Rick - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:00:54 EST

Knots: Blacksmith's Journal used to have their article on square knots up on their website as one of the sample articles.

Rust: One of the steps in my closing-up-shop procedure is putting a big piece of stainless channel over the anvil. (It happened to be a handy piece of scrap the first time I thought of doing this.) Keeps rust from forming on the face even when I don't get out there for a few weeks. I've seen a couple shops where they form some sheet aluminum to fit snugly over the anvil, and this has the same effect. In fact, I plan to do the aluminum trick soon, because it's a lot lighter than the channel.

   Steve A - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:28:44 EST

I was wondering. I have access to oilfield valves which use a heavy thread mecanism that is much like that of a fly press, would it be possible to modify these into a fly press, i also have acces to extremely heavy circular handles.
   - Broadviewblack - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:29:00 EST


Read the Getting Started information on the 21st Century page. It is found by navigating through the drop down menu at the upper right of the screen. Most everything you need to know can be found there to get you started.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:30:17 EST

I have canvas covers that I toss over the anvils to keep them from rusting. Works pretty well, but looks kinda tacky because they aren't fitted. If I ever get around to making my wife a sewing table, them maybe I can get her to make me some fitted anvil cozies. A little something to take that hard, masculine edge off the ambience of the shop. Maybe then I can learn to be one of those kinder, gentler, more 90's kinda guys, huh? (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:47:28 EST

Thanks for the help Ralph I will try that out ASAP.
   - Danger - Wednesday, 03/10/04 19:49:24 EST

On rusting anvils.
I have been using a peice of scrap denim, soaked in cheap penetrating oil. Works very well. I just lay it over the anvil face as I close up.
   ptree - Wednesday, 03/10/04 20:00:34 EST

And Rick, Come to Turley Forge School, Santa Fe. I've been teaching blacksmithing techniques for a loooong time. A brochure is available if you send me a postal address.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 03/10/04 20:03:48 EST

I worked for a large, (worlds largest) maker of forged steel valves for about 21 years. The stems in these valves are mostly single start, with a few double starts. The handwheels might work,but the stem nuts on the gate valves have a very narrow bearing shoulder, and WILL shear if you beef the handwheel weight. The bearings, if present will be plain bronze or needle, and again very narrow radial width. The gate type stems, that is the rising stem types, will need something to key the stem to prevent rotation.
The only possible exception that I can think of is a Edwards Univalve with an impactor handwheel. But even this valve is meant to operate only a few hundred times in a life time.
   ptree - Wednesday, 03/10/04 20:07:14 EST

guru, ...should i taper the burner openings on my forgemaster when i have it apart?? the openings are square. i am wondering if tapering will improve efficiency and help with "flame holder" problems with one burner when i run it @ low PSI. it should not be difficult to carve out a taper, then coat the surface with the ITC-100. my forge does not need a relining, just some repair and coating. thanks again..
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/10/04 20:22:01 EST

I have recently bought (at auction) a reversible tapping head made by ABCo markings on the tool are

Reversible Thread
Tapping Tools

it came in its origanal box with several size of collets and aditional set screws etc. but no manual , does any one have a manual for this item? I have already tried google and come up with several hundred companys named ABC but so far none that make tapping heads.
   Mark P - Wednesday, 03/10/04 21:11:11 EST

Can anyone recommend a reliable brand of electric die grinder? Preferably one that can stand up to the carbide cutters without a lot of trouble.
   Ed Long - Wednesday, 03/10/04 22:42:35 EST

Shop Visit


Blacksmithing Adventures in Southern Florida

Due to a rearrangement of meetings today I was able to drop in on Art'sWork, a blacksmith shop, here near Miami, before it closed. I met with Phil Heermance and Art Ballard and I was given the $1.50 tour of the place, along with Matt Patterson from the NPS, with whom I'm working with on a project down here. Art'sWork does some wonderful work on gates, grills, door hardware and other items, suitable for a tropical, marine environment. Most of their work is in aluminum, with copper, bronze and stainless steel as other options, using traditional and modern hot-working techniques. Beautiful stuff, incorporating local fauna, flora and Art Deco decorative motifs. The open-sided shop is "to die for." I took plenty pictures, and I plan to write it up for the Anvilfire News page as soon as I get the film developed. My thanks to Ries for the contact information.

Romantics, Flaming Romantics and "Sooordsmen"

Romantics are motivated by dreams, and marshal the time, talent and resources to accomplish those wonderful goals. Flaming Romantics are motivated by impossible dreams, and although they may triumph somewhere on a quixotic plane of existence, in this plane they generally live lives of frustration and bewilderment. Most of us are romantics of one sort or another, but which shade and how hot the flame is, is open to question (as well as ambient lighting conditions ;-). I'm all for diverting the young and/or bewildered, bedazzled and ignited to our sword pages and over to Sword Forum. We all started somewhere, so give them at least enough rope to either hang themselves or pull themselves out of their abyss of ignorance. Striking the balance is the art we should aspire to.

Unless they're Trolls- do not feed the Trolls! (And I have to admit, this one smelled of Troll…)

Clear and cool (actually a little nippy, I must have brought it with me) near the shores of Biscayne Bay.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 03/10/04 22:48:48 EST

A short observation: Regarding the previous "wanna mek beeg soord" I think the reason a lot of modern smiths gravitate toward traditional methods and designs is the recognition that the time-tested designs for tongs, hammers, chisels, swords, etc. are not easily bettered, and certainly not by amateurs except perhaps for the occasional true genius. For me, every year brings greater admiration for the true genius of the collective generations which have gone before us. Take the subtle self-locking hook on the end of the humble single tree...
   Andy Martin - Wednesday, 03/10/04 22:51:11 EST

Ed Long, I've used a Makita die grinder for a few years. The directions say that when pressing downward, move the cutter from right to left. Moving the other way can cause kickback and broken cutters. Also, I always wear earmuffs and other protection, because no telling where the swarf is going to go.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 03/10/04 23:31:03 EST

Die Grinders-
Air die grinders are good, if you have a big tank on your compressor. Otherwise, it's kind of an off and on kind of job.
They have the added benefit of being very cheap- often as little as 50bucks.
I have completely worn out two bosch die grinders, both rebuilt at least once before final death occured. Currently trying out a milwaukee die grinder, I have only had it for about a year, so its kind of premature to judge yet. The Bosch die grinders both lasted at least 3-5 years of occasional very heavy use in a 3 man shop- so I would recommend them. None of them are cheap- its not enough of a commodity tool- but the bosch and milwaukee both seem to be a lot sturdier than the makita.
   - Ries - Thursday, 03/11/04 00:05:27 EST

I left out Art'sWork's website- www.ArtsworkUnlimited.com . It's pretty image intensive (at least if you're using a 10 year old laptop on a dial-up modem) but shows some of the work rather nicely. Most of my pictures were of the important stuff- the shop and tools! ;-)

Time to hit the rack, homeward bound tomorrow.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/11/04 00:41:33 EST

I have an order for some large T hinges and i have not made any before. I was wondering how long it would take an experienced smith to make a set of three so i could price them accordingly. They are 16" long with a simple spade, end, a ball peen texture, rolled and arc welded from back and waxed.
Thanks a lot,
   Hayes - Thursday, 03/11/04 01:19:36 EST

I've been forge welding with a gas forge for several monthes now and I'm concerned about eye safety. I use ordinary plastic safety goggles which are probably adequate for flying debris but what about u.v. and infrared ? Some people suggest dydymium lenses. What is your advice for protection against u.v. and infrared while forge welding? Thanks for your help on this.
   thomas nawrocki - Thursday, 03/11/04 03:01:49 EST

Safety glasses:

Thomas, check out the safety glasses sold through the Anvilfire store. I've been using the green tinted ones as both forging glasses and as flash glasses under my welding helmet. They do the job just great and the price is certainly right.
   vicopper - Thursday, 03/11/04 09:00:26 EST

Vicopper, Booties for your anvils? Do you play soft music to them?
   - Ron Childers - Thursday, 03/11/04 09:00:59 EST

Vicopper; Booties for your anvils? Do you also play soft music? I guess a happy and contented anvil may produce more and better work...
   ron Childers - Thursday, 03/11/04 09:08:05 EST


One word. Accessorize. (grin)
   vicopper - Thursday, 03/11/04 10:21:17 EST

Flame Holding: Rugg, There are two aspects of "flame holding", One is the turbulent shoulder that occurs between the bruner and the burner nozzel. This occurs naturaly where a burner tube is stuck into a large nozzel OR refractory lining. The second is the taper of the nozzel. I think 12 degrees included is correct (6° on each side).

If you think the shoulder is happenstance that is not critical then look at commercial torches. They have a sharp corner at the smooth front surface to create the same effect. It does make a difference. Do not smooth, fill or blend in the shoulder.

Tapering and lining the hole with ITC-100 is something I would do but have not tested it. Should work.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/11/04 12:34:12 EST

Knot in huge flat bar: I would "cheat", bend and forge two pices that hook together and then butt weld with an arc welder and dress to perfection, then reheat and dress with a hammer.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/11/04 12:35:56 EST

Re: Safety Glasses
I am concerned about forge welding and U.V., too. One person in our blacksmith club recommends dydymium glasses (I tried hers; they're nice, but 70 bucks). I had a long discussion with my optometrist, and he didn't know of any specific standards for the U.V. protection needed in safety glasses.
In the end, I bought the green glasses from the Anvilfire store, which I use when I'm doing heavy forge welding. They seem to be right for the job.

Walking Dog
   - Walking Dog - Thursday, 03/11/04 12:46:58 EST

Thanks, vicopper & guru for the info on pine cones. I'll look for the abana pub & give the twisted rasp idea a try.
   restoreman - Thursday, 03/11/04 13:50:43 EST

While in our youth we readily fantasized about marvelous swords and gem-studded daggars and glorious suits of armour. Tales of Chivalrous Knights and fair Maidens in distress occupied many hours for some of us. Now, older and wiser, I often wonder how many glorious Knights met an inglorious end being un-horsed by a large stone or stabbed through the femoral artery by a sharp stick. Poor men have poor ways but they might have been brutally effective, too!
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 03/11/04 13:57:56 EST

Machinery Covers: VIc's method is a pretty good one. Currently I use a soft cotton fender cover over my small 6" lathe. I clean and oil the lathe with WD-40, then toss the cover over it. When I come back months later it is clean and shiney. The cover keeps dust and dirt from accumulating in the oil and soaking it up. It also reduces condensation. This will work on all types of machinery as well as anvils. But it DOES make your shop look like a closed up house in an old movie. . .

I need covers for more of my machinery but I haven't taken the trouble to obtain the material. Some machines need special covers. My band saw needs a fabricated wooden cover that slips past the blade.

So if you are REALLY concerned about that rusty anvil, a cover works. Just remember that if it gets soaking wet it will enhance the rust. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 03/11/04 14:03:28 EST

Filter Safety Glasses: We have a long article to post on this subject but I have been negligent in doing so. The bottom line is that the #2 shades we sell are perfect for forge work and much cheaper than Dididyium glasses.

Dididyium glasses are manufactured and recommended for glass blowers. The manufacturers of them will not tell you they are appropriate or NOT for the forge.

The #2 filter lenses use the same IR filtering substance used in darker gas welding lenses up through heavy cutting glasses.

The general rule for filter lenses is to use as dark as possible BUT not so dark that they make it difficult or unsafe to work. Glases worn while doing general work must be light enough to walk around without causing a trip hazzard.

For welding it helps to increase the ambient lighting. You can see well enough to read through a #12 arc welding lens in direct sunlight. If you increase the ambient lighting in your work area so that you can see with the filter lens then all those problems stabbing around in the dark with the rod trying to strike an arc go away.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/11/04 14:12:31 EST

Guru, a few posts back you mentioned arc welding something and then reheating it and forging to shape. Here's a problem I ran across the other night. I welded the shanks onto a couple pieces of plate to form swages, then heated the swage to a yellow to forge it to shape. After the forging was completed (I used two heats on one, three on the other I think), I noticed upon closer inspection that a quite a bit of the weld had actually melted away from the shank. Is there a different rod I could have used to stop this from happening? I used 7014's.
   Ed Long - Thursday, 03/11/04 14:14:08 EST

Ed, sounds like you got no weld penetration and when the flux melted the bead fell off. Turn up the amps on your welder!

I often put a 500 watt halogen floodlight about two feet from my work when arc welding. Makes a lot of difference when you can see the rod tip before you strike an arc.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 03/11/04 14:32:05 EST

Since swords come up here so often, I thought this was interesting- the state of Victoria, in Australia, is talking about banning swords- actually placing them in the "prohibited weapons" category, which would require licencing and proper storage, etc, to own one. news story at:
Obviously this is a pretty silly extreme, but the practical problems involved make it unlikely to work. To make a gun requires either a pretty sophisticated machine shop, or a very skilled metalsmith, neither of which is available to your average gang member. Then there is the question of ammunition- again, it is hard to make, and relatively easy to control the materials involved.
Swords, on the other hand, are, contrary to the opinions voiced here, actually really easy to make, as long as your primary goal is just to injure or kill an unskilled oponent, which sums up the gang fights in Fitzroy Gardens Australia which prompted this law.
I can whip out a "wallhanger" in a couple of hours out of mild steel or some construction site rebar that will be quite sharp enough to gut a teenager. Not heat treated, not tool steel, not beautiful to look at, but it would fall under the legal definition of sword in Victoria, and do the job, at least once. It sounds like most of the gangbangers are not exactly buying $10,000 katanas anyway- they are actually fighting with wallhangers purchased at the open air market. And according to this article, one of them actually succeeded in cutting off another's hand recently. So wallhangers arent so useless after all.
Practically banning swords is nigh on impossible, and it will mean regulating blacksmiths, d&d afficianados, and anime fans. You got a licence to watch that cartoon, young man?
   - Ries - Thursday, 03/11/04 15:14:16 EST

yellow coals: Ok, I dumped out my lining, sifted out everything that wasn't ash, then poked around in the "other stuff" just to see what was there. besides some unburned bits of charcoal and a few tiny bits metal I'd forgoten about, I also found some yellowy-red lumps that looked vaguely like charcoal but had a different texture, I'm pretty sure that was the problem though I won't get to fire it up for a few more days to check. Thanks for the advice.

Australia: While it'd be nice if everyone could get along, since that's not realistic I think it's better that gang kids occasionally cut off each others hands then occasionally put a bullet in each others heads.
   AwP - Thursday, 03/11/04 15:31:41 EST

Thank you for your "master plan file" I have just finished swapping out a big square forge hood for a side draft and it works great. But my question for you is about my forge hammer.I don't think its working to its full potential.So I purchased that video from Wildrose Forge and watched it about 20 times.Still I believe the hammer is smarter than me.Its a 50 Little Giant with a new spring from Nebraska and I also made a new adjustable toggle arm.The motor is a 2HP 1740 RPM and I started out with a 2in dia pulley and it seemed to loose its snort.Then i went to a pulley 2.580dia it then had lots of hitting power but it wasn't consistent and seemed too fast so today I made another pully 2.290dia and it still wants to loose itself after 2 or 3 hits.I believe the arms are adjusted correct. What do you think,should I keep slowing it down till its under control or tighten arms?The clutch seems to work very well even if the bushing is wore out in the pulley.I will keep trying.I was just hoping there was a "start here"point. Thank you for all the advice I get from your site.
   Dirty Dan - Thursday, 03/11/04 16:11:23 EST

Hammer Speed and Control: Dan, It takes a lot to get your head around what goes on in a Little Giant. When they run right they run great but when they don't they are very frustrating. The vast majority don't run well at all.

First, a Little Giant will never have the control of an air hammer or even the better mechanicals like the Bradley, Fairbanks or Beaudry. Second, that worn clutch can make it difficult to run consistantly. You can learn to compenate for it but it takes many hours of concentrated practice. Last, you need to measure the pullies and do the speed ratio calculations. If you are running flat to flat the ratio is OD/OD. If you are running V to flat then the ratio is OD-1/3 belt depth/OD.

Replacing the spring does not necessarily mean the spring is right. LG used different springs on different models and Sid may or may not be having the springs made to the best spec. SOme also had spring spacers and adjustments.

Having the work height adjustment right for the work is critical. LG's run right in a narrow range of about 1". What works on 1/2" stock is not right for 1-1/2" stock OR hand held tooling. The narrow work range on LG's make them tricky to use to both forge and use hand held tooling. People I know that use hand held tooling on mechanical hammers have more than one hammer. Each hammer is set to the working height for its application.

When the operating logic hits you then everything will fall into place. But you have to think when you change work sizes and adjust the machine or it will not perform the same.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/11/04 16:50:09 EST

Sword ban:

Ries, I agree that trying to ban swords is pretty ludicrous on the face of it. I don't know about Oz, but here in the Virgin Islands, everyone, little old ladies and all, has a machete. You NEED one, it's a jungle out there, quite literally. What, exactly, is the difference, legislatively speaking, between a machete and a sword? I'll tell you: Zorro carried a sword and the peons carried machetes. Guess who chopped off more hands, heads, etc. A stupid law that will be unenforceable if enacted.

I will disagree with you on the difficulty of making a gun versus making a sword. The average urban gang-banger can whip out a nifty little one-shot zip gun from trash can leavings in about ten minutes flat. And shoot you very dead in another tenth of a second. I will refrain from detailing the construction, though I have seen several in the course of my career. Malice and inventiveness too often go hand-in-hand, as witnessed by the technological advances spawned by "defense" research. It is evolution in action, with a predictable outcoome.
   vicopper - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:10:29 EST

Dirty Dan, I will be going to Sids Next weekend to take the Little Giant rebuilding class and your question is being added to my list of questions I have. Keep in touch with me as I like Little Giants and hopefully will be able to help you out. One thing if your friction spider (clutch) bearing is wore out I`ve been told that will take away alot of power.
   Robert - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:21:31 EST

On penetrating oil.
As many of us are using the term WD-40, a brand name, I will offer the following.After many years in an R & D lad, testing about everything a large mfg would use, including penetrating oil. After much testing for many uses, Buy you light oil by price, I never was able to find a difference that justified buying a brand. if trying to break a rusted assembly apart, the labeled "rust breakers" are a bit better at breaking rust, although many contain tri-chlor.
for light rust prevention, oiling gages etc, buy by the gallon, use a handpump sprayer, and buy on price.
By the way, as these light oils contain a large percentage of distillates, they make good degreasers, just follow with a good alkaline/water based cleaner, and you can get squekey clean. We generically called these light spray oils squirrel piss.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:29:44 EST


I'm going to back VICopper about the ease of construction of a "zip" gun. I've made them, it took about 10 minutes. Only only good for one shot, but if you know what you are doing, one shot is all you need.

Back in the fifties, one gang in New York was busted just as they were leaving for a rumble with another gang. EVERY MEMBER was carrying at LEAST three zip guns.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:31:45 EST

Outlaw swords?
If a convict can make a cutting weapon in jail, they really think that a law will stop law breakers? Outlaw swords, and only outlaws will have swords. Sounds familiar.
Zip guns can be made out of any decent hardware store in minutes for a few bucks. A bang stick, from a shotgun shell in a couple of minutes. What are they thinking? But then law makers tend to be mostly law abiding people that think that laws work.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:34:48 EST

Glasses and IR.
I have been under the impression that polycarbonet lenses naturally block IR to some extent. I will consult with the safety lens mfg that supplies us and see if I can post something soon.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:37:18 EST

You guys are definitely right about zip guns, although I would question that the "average" gang banger can or would make one. Maybe the above average gang banger. But I had my shop for 10 years in Inglewood California, just down the road from South Central LA, and the mechanical inventiveness was far outweighed by the lust for the latest hardware seen in gangsta movies. You werent cool unless you had a 9 at the least, preferably a full auto mac 10.
Nowadays most gang members are consumers, not producers- blame it on the phasing out of shop classes in high school.
   - Ries - Thursday, 03/11/04 19:45:32 EST


Can any one tell me how long it would take to make T hinges?

(for someone who has a bit of expeience with hinges)

I have an order for some large T hinges and i have not made any before. They are 16" long with a simple spade, end, a ball peen texture, rolled and arc welded from back and waxed.

Thanks a lot,
   Hayes - Thursday, 03/11/04 20:26:47 EST

OK now I went and done it. Got a hunk of the before mentioned shaft, heated it up, punched it out, and JUST before the slug punched through the whole eye split right across at the bottom. What did I don wrong?
   Ed Long - Thursday, 03/11/04 20:29:06 EST

And what of kitchen knives and cleavers (not to mention the much, and justifiable feard Welsh War-Spoon)?

Our family tradition is to jump on every horror movie in which the bogey-man chases the heroine through her well stocked kitchen and she ignors the family arsenal hanging on the wall. The women in my family would have him jointed and oven-ready in a jiffy! ;-)

Any good set of kitchen cutlery is extraordinarily dangerous in motivated hands.

As for commoners doing in knights: At Courtrai the townsmen and merchants murdered the chivalry of France with what amounted to a sophisticated version of blunt-heavy-objects. More details at: http://www.liebaart.org/gulden_e.htm , and lots more if you do a web-search on the subject. Fascinating; if messy.

Ban the rock! (Remember Montezuma?)

Cool and pleasant on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/11/04 20:59:15 EST

Swords/Guns and outlaws....
Folks you have to remember we are talking about part of the British Commonwealth. And as such they have effectively banned ALL guns. So I would imagine that getting ammo is now going to be a tad more difficult than it was. Not impossible but more difficult.
I do think that the sword abnning ( as well as the guns) is an example of Political correctness gone amuck.
Personally I think that this conversation is tending to get back into the political areana... and as such I am not going to say more on it.
   Ralph - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:03:46 EST


I think you are right, so I'm out of it too.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:25:06 EST

Bruce, this may be too late for your benefit, but I worked for Art and Phil at Art's Work for six years and the amount of excellant work made there was amazing. For anyone who is in the south Florida area, check out the gates we made for the Everglades Visitor Center. They won NOMMA's top award several years back. A nice mix of forged work and fabrication.
   - david dufficy - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:34:37 EST

..fearEd Welsh War-Spoon! P.T.P!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:35:32 EST

Rick: RE Blacksmithing in South Dakota. I have replied to you by e-mail.

   Woody - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:39:51 EST

Is there any way of telling manufacturer or age of a swage block that doesn't seem to have any marks on it? I can weigh it and post a pic, but is there anything else I should look for to help identify it? A very generous gift from a friend who says it belonged to her grandfather. Thank you kindly.
   Wendy Lawrence - Thursday, 03/11/04 22:59:39 EST

what kind of sand blaster would you recommend to get rust and paint of the wrought iron furniture
   lyn peri - Thursday, 03/11/04 23:00:44 EST

As I understand it in Great Britain they ban or require a permit for any knife with more than one cutting edge.

Reminds me of when I worked for the County Sheriff, I would seen people sent up for “possession of burglary tools"

And I had the same stuff bouncing around under the seat of my PU Truck.
   - Hudson - Thursday, 03/11/04 23:37:23 EST

That "www.artsworkunlimited.com" site has some absolutely beautiful work... Thanks for the link Atli.

Anyhow, to my question. My old man's getting a Acetelyene contract soon so I was wondering about any tricks for cutting/brazing and whatnot... He knows what he's doing but I'd like to surprise him by knowing more than is expected.

Thanks in advance for your time.
   Cyajl - Thursday, 03/11/04 23:45:30 EST

I ran across a old anvil at a sale.Peter Wright 150 Patent 116. Wondered if if was worth anything. thanks
   - joe - Thursday, 03/11/04 23:53:43 EST

Swage Block ID: Wendy, There are a few recognizable modern makers of blocks but the vast majority of old blocks are unidentifiable as far as I can tell. Age can sometimes be indicated by rust pitting but if a tool is well taken care of and preserved it can survive centuries with no more rust than a tool left untended in my shop for a couple years.

Old swage blocks tend to be of two general types. Industrial blocks which are all holes and common half sections on the edges are typical of the 19th and 20th century.

Then there are personal blocks which are almost always one-offs. These are identified by the lack of cored holes and a low density of edge shapes. They often have bowl and spoon shapes that industrial blocks do not. Personal blocks are usualy clean simple designs made by a amature patternmaker with good hand skills (an experianced smith). The lack of cored holes is due to the pickyness and skill required to make core boxes and matching core prints. It is not a job for an amature.

Personal blocks are not as rare as one would think. I have seen as many in collections as industrial blocks.

Many modern blocks share the lack of core holes for the same reason as old personal blocks, amature patternmaking. One of the most popular blocks made in the last 20 years was the long rectangular block that was made by Josh Greenwood. It had too much draft and too deep of bowls and spoons (really amature patternmaking). But its small size, rectangular shape and smooth surfaces has a charm that many people like so the block has been copied by numerous foundries.

Josh's original pattern disappeared from his shop in the mid 1980's after I had repaired it and had it cast. It was suspected that a minion walked off with it and sold it. . . .
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 00:10:29 EST

Peter Wright Value: Joe, if it is in good condition between 3 and $4 US a pound. If the top is swayed or seriously damaged it may be worth as little as $1.5-$2/pound. Mint condition Peter Wrights sell for as much as $5 a pound due to being a popular brand that has not been made for three quarters of a century.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 00:37:14 EST

Oxy-Acetylene Tricks: The most important is to go to school and take an organized class in how to use the equipment and all the safety rules. Oxy-Acetylene is some of the most dangerous shop equipment there is and the saftey rules make up a small book. You need to learn them ALL.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 00:41:04 EST

Sand Blaster: Lyn, The best kind is one run by someone else. There are paint contractors that make a living breathing the hazardous dust and ruining their equipment with the grit that do a great job. Let them have it.

The most important thing with ANY air equipment including sand blasting is a BIG air compressor. Most commercial blasters run big engine powered compressors starting at 30HP and up. These make most electric compressors look like toys.

You CAN do it with small units but I prefer not to have the mess in my yard.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 00:50:44 EST

Burglery and Bomb Making Tools: I always laugh when they show the picture of the table of captured "bomb making" tools. A soldering iron, needle nose pliers, a hack saw and MAYBE a VOM. . . That would categorize most of us smiths as nuclear powers if anyone looked at OUR tool kits. . . Put us up there along with Sadam and his invisible WMD. I used to carry a better tool kit in my brief case including a stealthy pocket DOM and lock picks along with my drafting tools, pocket calculator and MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. The later being the most important tool.

Burglery Tools? I've got every size and shape pry bar made and we (as smiths) can all make darn good specialized ones in about a minute. . . Ever try to stop a man with a cutting torch?

Gunsmithing: If you have studied the art you would find that any blacksmith worth his salt has all the tools to build guns of various types including cannon, rifles and revolvers. Early boring and rifeling benches are mostly wood and a smith can make everything else to go with them INCLUDING the tools to obtain the wood. You start with an ax to fell the tree, a froe and a drawknife to split and dress boards. Nothing higher tech than Y1K except the knowledge. Then there are those of us that have REAL modern machine tools left over from the 19th or early 20th century. An old antique lathe puts you in the realm of easily being able to build revolver actions, brass cartridge dies and your own brand of loading equipment. My 55 year old 6" "toy" Craftsman lathe is all you need to make most of the difficult parts of any size revolver and could be foot treadle powered. Want a 7, 8 or 10 shooter? My 1916 South Bend can bore a 48" barrel. . .

Its not the TOOLS but the KNOWLEDGE that makes us "dangerous". Prison teaches inmates that a wooden shiv is a leathal as a razor edged sword. All a smith needs to make that sword is a hammer, a slab of stone and some wood to coal down and he is ready to start making tools to make tools to make machines to make modern weapons.

On occasion I get really disgusted with the attitude that many newbies have that they "must" have all the tools in the world before they start. I love tools and am blessed to have more than most but I HAVE done without. When you have the KNOWLEDGE you have the most important of all tools. And THAT gives you the ability to start with nothing and make everything you need or want. In our junk filled society where steel is everywhere the only chalange is what to do with it all.

The industrial revolution was a revolution in inventiveness and knowledge that we all have access to. We don't have to reinvent the micrometer, lead screw, barrel rifeling, steam hammer, shaper, milling machine. . . All these devices and more were built by men that started with a forge and a foundry and finished the rough parts by carving with chisles, files and scrapers. Tools that had been around since the Bronze Age (Stone Age if you drop the file).

Like the ability to create an uncontroled chain reaction the knowledge is out there and just as uncontrolled. Unless you ban thought you cannot ban the manufacture of weapons. Men will make what they want.

(Yes, I was very UN-PC and said MEN on purpose).
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 01:36:39 EST

hey guys im about done with my sword looks good,works well too(i wraped the tang in a cloth and chopped up a stump)
lately ive been making armour and i need to cut a piece of 16 gauge steel, im making a norman spanghelm,
any way ,what would be the quickest/neatest way to cut it (keep in mind i dont have access to electric shears and the pieves were to big to be cut by a hack saw or tinsnips) Would an angle grinder work?
   bladesmith - Friday, 03/12/04 01:37:03 EST

Cutting Plate: The least expensive power tool that does the best job is a "saber saw" (reciprocating saw). You can still buy good ones for $20 US or so. Get a pack of the fine toothed hack saw blades and oil the blades and sheet with WD-40. You will want hearing protection because the noise is unbelievable.

The BEST tool is a light duty plasma torch. Saw one demoed the past weekend and it produced burr free cuts in 16ga steel as fast as you could move. Made using a Beverly Shear look primitive. And that is the second best tool, the throatless beverly Shear in either a B2 or B3 size.

Note that if you are doing any serious shaping of that helm the results may end up thinner than the SCA minimum of 16ga. You may want to start with the next thicker stock.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 01:54:48 EST

Knives and Guns? Whats next? Sticks and stones. We ALL know that it's the "wielder NOT the weapon"
   - j.seale - Friday, 03/12/04 02:09:47 EST

Next, we'll be hearing of some guy being busted for possession of rape tools. Ponder the penalty on THAT charge. (Confiscation?) Forget the PC, Jock (grin), more than one of our country sisters of the South has adjusted her man's attitude with a pot of hot grits and molasses, specifically prepared for the purpose. Speaking of lock picks, I carry a set of picks and a repo kit to provide a lockout service, so I tried to find out from about 6 assorted Michigan law enforcement people, what the legal requirements were regarding the possession of the tools for such a service. Nobody, state, county or city, had an answer. Finally, an older Deputy Sheriff said, "You got a computer? Print yourself some business cards and hand them out to every cop you meet. Have them with you whenever you're carrying the tools, and don't act like an idiot." My cards carry the message "Picture ID and proof of ownership required." If I am at all apprehensive about a call, I will call the Sheriff and tell them where I'm going. A positive, professional attitude will go a long way with an officer who has had a long shift of dealing with morons. Do I hear an AMEN, Rich ?
   3dogs - Friday, 03/12/04 04:06:31 EST

Alan and Good Guru:
While i do the same thing ( focus extra lights on an arc welding subject) ; gotta wonder if that isn't simply defeating some of the protective tinting of the lenses?
Ries;Remember zip guns?
Cyajil; Look up the safety stuff for that equipt first thing.It's easy to blow yourself up. Brazing..clean to bright metal and slow heating when the bronze begins to flow. If you do it just right, it will follow your flame like a dog. Use low-fuming rod. Cutting and welding...look up the correct pressures for the size tip you are using...most people don't and it makes a difference. Get good tip cleaners and use them carefully. Go straight in and out ( sounds lurid) so the inside of the tip isn't worn into a trumpet shape. Those copper tips are soft.
Joe....you win! One of the best anvils.
Bladesmith; As a smith...go for the traditional smith's solution. The simplest, cheapest, most basic way to cut sheet is with a chunk of soft metal as a sacrifice plate on the bottom,and a well shaped and tempered "rocking" chisel. Hot cutting is fastest, given practice.Cold cutting also works( it helps to anneal first). The edge of the chisel is rounded at the corners..but still sharp, so that it slides forward between blows without chopping up the line. If the blow is just hard enough, the cut is made cleanly without messing up the bottom plate. The chisel is good tempering practice and as you gain skill you will be able right smartly.
OT Swords, guns and law. Anyone with a good grasp of high school physics and a healthy imagination can figure out how to kill or injure a multitude of innocents...doing damage is easy, given a modicum of competence. By in large, if you can, you also know why not to.
The constitution assumes that the citizens are competent adults who have reasonable judgment , until proven otherwise. What i find most objectionable is a suspension of that assumption of competence by our lawmakers.
   - Pete F - Friday, 03/12/04 04:14:08 EST

If it is sharp edged or pointed and longer than three inches, you are breaking the law (3’ folders are ok), so be careful what you do with the pencils. When I was on the building sites the tools I carried meant I went ‘equipped to burgle’, the only time I was stopped I had re-enactment props (not weapons officer) in the back!!

Pete F
You saved me the effort typing. If it’s a long, straight (ish) cut, try a sharpened brick bolster (sp) rough but quick
   - Nigel - Friday, 03/12/04 09:31:17 EST


You'll get an amen from me, too.

I've done lockouts. Usually with a deputy standing right next to me. And I've answered calls for locksmiths and stood by them.

I'll also add for Jock's benefit that we have a couple of very ladylike woMEN that can make darn near anything you want, from an Arcansas Toothpick to a Katana or even a Texas Army .44. They're both members of CSI and either one of them can smith rings around many of us.

And crackers wouldn't bother me a bit! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 09:32:48 EST

Filter Safety Glasses (Dididyium lenses) The instructor I've had for a couple of blacksmithing courses recommended dididyium lenses for the UV flare (peak in the spectral output) caused by burning coal, the clinkers having a heavy silicate concentration act like heated glass. If you're using gas or charcoal I personally can't see the need for dididyium. So, I've now tossed in my barely informed opinion into the mix. Cloudly and snowing north of the Lake (ontario.) - Don
   Don - Friday, 03/12/04 09:38:27 EST

PS if you are doing it cold EAR PROTECTION
   - Nigel - Friday, 03/12/04 09:40:11 EST

The Dididyium lens is made to filter the light wavelength in the sodium peak. This is probably more important for glass blowers as the materials used have a greater tendency to have enough sodium in them to make this relevent. I understood that filtering that wavelength of light does us no real good, and leaves other potentially harmful rays unfiltered. Did someone already post this info? if so, sorry. I am getting 2 pr of the galsses from the store with a 2 shade lense for my son and I. great price.
   RFraser - Friday, 03/12/04 10:06:15 EST

Hi, its been awhile since I stopped back here but lately I've been digging around the the archives and in the iForge and is it me or are there no more projects for iForge 2004? I'll admit my navigation skills are less that desirable but I thought that I would ask just the same, they are really creative and inspiritional.
Next is a statemnet. I tried to find a good anvil stand and gave up looking and made a new one to fit my needs. Perhaps some of you would like a few more pictures and I may even have some digital chickenscratchings although right now I cant find a way of sending them to you in this media. Perhaps as a later date and some sleep it might go better
   Robert TaBelle - Friday, 03/12/04 10:09:36 EST

"On occasion I get really disgusted with the attitude that many newbies have that they "must" have all the tools in the world before they start."

Well said Guru,

   JimG - Friday, 03/12/04 11:24:57 EST

<grumble> The word is DIDYMIUM. There is one way to spell it, and that is it. Blacksmiths don't need 'em, glassblowers don't need 'em. Only lampworkers (glassworkers who work with a torch, not a furnace) need 'em, because they are designed for one purpose: TO FILTER OUT THE YELLOW FLARE CAUSED BY BURNING SODIUM. As a blacksmith, you need something that will block IR and UV. The UV will be taken care of by any polycarbonate lense. The IR WILL NOT CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE. If, after a smithing session, your eyes feel dry, you may need IR protection to improve your comfort level. Or you may just need to drink more water. In any case, guys, if you're not working soft glass over a torch, don't waste your money on didymiums.

I just noticed RFraser's post on the same subject after I finished typing the above. Sorry for the repeat, but I wanted to get it all out for people to see in one post. I've been doing a LOT of research on this particular subject recently and feel that I'm qualified to yak about it (Grin).

Windy and cool in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   - T Gold - Friday, 03/12/04 11:38:04 EST

Guru, Thank you for the input on the swage block. I am sure it qualifies as an "industrial" since it has nothing but cores and nice deep edge shapes on the profile.
Now for some anvil ID: I recently aquired a nice Peter Wright from some folks who were using it as yard art. There was an accident in the family and they were forced to sell off most of thier stuff, including their home. A very sad story, but they knew I was a blacksmith and offered it to me (for sale). I made a very low offer telling them they could get a lot more for it, but they accepted anyway. Sweet folks. So what can you tell me about it?
1 1 16

The words SOLID WROUGT are formed into a circle around the second numeral 1.
There are holes mid-waist front and back and a hole in the foot on the front.
Thanks again.
   Wendy Lawrence - Friday, 03/12/04 11:41:08 EST

T Gold, Infrared DOES cause cummulative damage and short intense exposures can cause much more than minor itchiness and dryness. Long term (chronic) exposure to Infrared is now a known cause of blindness among foundry workers. The cumulative exposure problem has been difficult to pin down and many studies in the past have given conflicting results because it is not just occupational exposure that adds to the lifetime total.

Low level ultraviolet is filtered by many things including some common glass and plastics but the high levels such as from arc welding require special absorbent elements in the filter glass.

Sodium flare is intense at the glory hole of glass melting pots. The problem for glassworkers was found to be largely from periferal exposure to one eye (their left or right according to handedness). There have been many studies on this subject with various conclusions. Many were too short to be conclusive. You have to look at the statistical differences well after retirement age to properly research this subject.

I spent weeks researching this subject a year or so ago including buying copies of reports. It is the newer research that you have to find and pay attention to.

I have a long article on the subject with references that I need to post.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 12:08:33 EST

PC, Violence and woMEN: In general women do not become violent without much provacation and good reason. Most cases where they kill their husband should be found to be justifiable homicide. Men on the other hand often act like spoiled children way into adulthood acting out violently and many times leathaly simply because they didn't like the way someone looked at them. . .

The recent movie "Kill Bill" had me answering a flurry of wantabe teenage girl sword makers but there was not ONE in the seven years prior. .

Yes the female smiths out there can make just as good a blade as any of us (probably better) but largely they do not have this ovewhealming desire to make blades that the guys do.

   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 12:15:41 EST


156 pounds

If the top is made of more than one piece of steel, it was manufactured between 1852 and 1885 (approximately). If it is a single piece of steel, it was manufactured between 1885 and 1910 (again approximately).
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 12:55:03 EST

Peter Wright: Wendy, That is pretty much IT. It's a Peter Wright, made in England. They advertised "made of the finest wrought iron". It has a steel face and is one of the more sought after old anvils. If you want the history of the company Paw-Paw may help from Anvils in America.

The numbers are the weight in English hundred weights.

112 pounds, a hundredweight
+28 (1/4 hundreweights)
+16 pounds
156 pounds +/- 1

The holes in the waist are for tongs or porter bars to handle the hot anvil while heating and forging. One type of anvil tongs had a center spike that fit into a square hole in the bottom of the anvil and the jaws into the sides. This gave a good stout three point grip.

Peter Wright advetised that they used new wrought rather than scrap. This sounds better than the recycled stuff that Mousehole used and ocasionally welded poorly. However, the soft wrought seems to have resulted in more sway backed Peter Wrights (my observations) than other wrought anvils. Those made of scrap often had odd steel in the mix making a slightly more rigid body (if welded properly).

But on the other hand, many old anvils were abused beyond belief (such as using heavy sledges on an undersized anvil) and Peter Wrights were prized among professional smiths who would more likely be doing such heavy forging. . .

Great find.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 13:02:07 EST

Thanks Paw Paw,
Do you mean the hard face plate on top as a second piece or do you mean that I should be able to see a seam at the waist? I am pretty certain that the face was added since there is one place where it seems to be seperated/ cracked.
   Wendy Lawrence - Friday, 03/12/04 13:07:19 EST

Anvils are where you find them: I tell folks this all the time and they think it is trite but Wendy's story is an example. Her neighbors KNEW she was a blacksmith.

If you are looking for an anvil and you tell EVERYONE you know and meet then you may be surprised at how many anvils are available to you. They even come to you as gift.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 13:31:32 EST


No. The top plate may actually be in as many as 3 pieces, welded on separately. What you are seeing as a crack may be the joint between two of the plates. Or it may be in two pieces, with the crack still being the joint between the two.

No weld at the waist.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 13:33:41 EST


Take a couple of pictures and email them to me, and I'll see if I can get any closer on the date.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 13:34:34 EST

Anvil Stand: Robert, We have an iForge article on anvil stands that covers all the popular types.

iForge I am way behind in everything and I have let iForge slip. It takes a day to a day and a half to setup one of these depending on the quality of the images or illustrations. I haven't given up on it but for now I have had to do the more pressing things.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 13:47:46 EST

I'm a rookie to forges and to working with gas. I have built a soft brick forge that will accomodate two burners. I got the burner assembly from Jay Hayes and it looks like it's supposed to. Now I have the pre-fire jitters and a couple of questions have come up.
1. I don't have any liner in the forge. It is just the insulating brick ala "one-brick forge" we all know about. My thinking is that the burner itself has to be positioned at the mouth of the burner hole I cut in the brick and that the burner must not be into the hole or in the forge. Make sense? Is that correct?
2. Can any gas forge users out there tell me how to take steps to keep from blowng myself up. I've read the books and it seems like the burner assembly is built to create the pressure to keep the flame from reaching the gas source. Just nervous I guess. Thanks.

   Pancho - Friday, 03/12/04 14:07:48 EST

Pancho, Yes on the burner position. It should just engage the hole. Push it in too deep and it may melt.

Lighting gas forges can be exciting but there is little or no danger of a serious explosion. There are a couple ways.

One, light a bit of balled up paper and toss in, then turn on the gas. Watch out for when the glowing ash blows out the front of the forge.

Two, use a lighting "wand" or torch. Hold the lit wand in the door and turn on the gas.

Three, use a torch spark lighter in the door opening.

The above are listed in the order of safety. The first lights right away but you have to chase that ball of ash. The second lights with a little "whompfh" but no bang. The third ocassionaly misfires and the second strike makes a big WHOMPH! and you may lose some hair on your arm.

Never put you face in front of the door when lighting if you like to have eyebrows. Singed hair really stinks . . .

If you have run a bunch of gas and it smells strongly in the air stop and wait for the air to clear before trying again.

Note that propane is heavy and will collect on the floor if you have a leak. The result is a fire that runs across the floor like spilled gasoline. Leak test those fittings and the tank valve packing. Then be sure to turn off the gas when not in use.
   - guru - Friday, 03/12/04 16:45:36 EST

I have the burners that Jay makes. He uses compression fittings. I learned recently (from this page) that compression fittings for gas is a bad idea. You may want to replace those with flare fittings.
   Michael Trahey - Friday, 03/12/04 17:35:38 EST

you guy say that the swords us kids(not me i hate all fantasy swords, me, i like plain and simple swords with no decorations whatso ever) want to make swords that are impractical and to heavy
in fact there is a historical account of a viking who carried a sword that had a blade as wide as a mans 2 fists put togheter, and to long to be put in a scabard on your side or back it must have weighed alot. it said it gave"the power of the giants of old", so some of these huge swords kids want to build could be historically corect
im not saying you are wrong because the size of the sword that 1 kid wanted to build is much larger than the one i described. im just saying try to be open minded to the size of their sword plans

p.s that kid was crazy to want to build a sword that big.
   bladesmith - Friday, 03/12/04 19:05:45 EST

just getting started. need some good books and videos on sword making. thanks
   wayne - Friday, 03/12/04 19:20:52 EST

also you guys are right about sword laws, igot a freind who knows nothing of metalworking and i bet if he wanted to kill sombody in a fight, he cuold make an extremly effective sword to do it
mosly besause anything can cut human skin, because its so soft, i mean you can slice open someone with a butter knife. it would require more force than a hunting knife but it would not be a clean cut and would bleed more. so a dull sword or"wall hager" is more effective against skin in terms of blood loss and damage to the bone
a butter knife wound would take longer to heal than 1 from a hunting knife
   bladesmith - Friday, 03/12/04 19:27:28 EST

wayne, do you want books on sword design and historical swords or a book on the making of swords?
   bladesmith - Friday, 03/12/04 19:29:06 EST

Gurus, you have been good to me, I'll get this one.

WAYNE, go to the upper right corner of your screen where it says
   - Don A - Friday, 03/12/04 19:32:18 EST

....sorry. here we go....

WAYNE, go to the upper right corner of your screen where it says "NAVIGATE Anvilfire", scroll down to the FAQ page. Go to "Sword Making, Gen X". Read it. Go from there.
   - Don A - Friday, 03/12/04 19:33:19 EST

and if you are starting your first sword make an uruk-hai sword or orc sword, like i did(orcs and uruk-hai are from lord of the rings incase u didnt know) i like it as a training project because
1. its easy
2. it can be made from any steel
3. it doesent require heat treating
4. you dont need much knowledge of blade smithing
5.it doesnt need to be finished, leave the scale on its more orcish and it protects against rust.
6. if you screw up i dont matter it makes it even more orcish
and the best reason is
i found the 2 most discouraging things in you first sword or knife is having it look bad(the whole idea in an orc sword)and GURU yelling at you for being stubborn(kidding GURU)
if this sword breaks its ok because you dont spend much time making 1 and i can allways be converted into something else, it all so teaches you to correct mistakes you made without discouragement.
make a few you learn to make swords and you will have a backup sword in case 1 breaks,though mine hasnt yet.

p.s. if you havent seen lotrs, SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON YOU!
   bladesmith - Friday, 03/12/04 19:50:10 EST


Have you seen the movie "Sling Blade"? It proves that you can accomplish what you have just described with only a lawnmower blade. That way, you don't have to forge at all.

Respectfully, Jock and the other regulars that make this board what it is have lifetimes invested in their craft. Please don't be so disrespectful as to post bush-league instructions like that of your "Orc sword". Besides that, you can get somebody killed reccomending a sword that is designed to break.
   - Don A - Friday, 03/12/04 21:24:37 EST

Thank you, Don. You said it for me and more politely than I would have said it.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 21:50:39 EST

So, Bladesmith, let met get this straight. To make a uruk-hai or orc sword, you take any kind of steel (how about an I-beam?) smash it so it's long and pointy, you don't heat treat it, you don't finish it and you still call it a sword? And this is good because you don't get discouraged? Sorry but I would call your sword a POS! You learned nothing and you accomplished nothing. You invested no time to plan the project, no effort to gain the skill to execute it, no sacrifice of your ego dealing with a humbling failure, and as a result, you want credit for making a sword that looks like a piece of scrap iron because it is supposed to look like a piece of scrap iron?

..Must...control....the fist....of...deadly.....sarcasm....
   quenchcrack - Friday, 03/12/04 21:53:43 EST


Stop reading over my shoulder! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 22:21:02 EST

Orc Swords:
Lets see if I can distill something useful from this. Making a disposable, unfinished, “orc” sword as a starter project may be helpful IF, and only IF, your goal is to learn. By first laying out a design like qc said, practice your hammer control, learn from the way the metal moves at different temperatures, i.e. cherry red, yellow, &c. and see if you can get it to the specs of the design. The WHOLE time being mindful of what you are doing so as to learn something about smithing from the experience.
Warning: Murphy’s Law? A blade that breaks usually heads unerringly toward the wielder, I got a nice scar on my chest from chopping weeds with a $20 katana when the tip snapped off on a fence wire and imbedded itself in me. Machetes are made for chopping weeds, swords are not!
   shack - Friday, 03/12/04 23:17:43 EST

There have been alot of posts on safety googles etc.. Can any one tell me of a few places where I couls get some.
   - Billy - Friday, 03/12/04 23:45:59 EST


Try the anvilfire store. Jock sells them.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 03/12/04 23:47:07 EST

Goto NAVIGATE anvilfire at the top right and click on store
   shack - Friday, 03/12/04 23:47:47 EST

Paw Paw, Thanks for telling how to find them. It will take me a while to decide which ones are just right for the type of work I do.
   - Billy - Friday, 03/12/04 23:52:27 EST

I will keep my mouth shut. I will keep my mouth shut. I will keep my mouth shut. I must go to the Members' Forum before I say something rude.
   vicopper - Friday, 03/12/04 23:53:31 EST

I thought that what I said was pretty sound. If not, let me know. Seriously.
   - shack - Saturday, 03/13/04 00:04:10 EST

Bladesmith, I know I should stay out of this but in regards to your Viking that had the huge sword, my grandfather had an uncle that could pick up a 16 foot spruce log 14" on the top and set it at waist height on a logging sled. Most guys today couldn't.Doesn't the Bible say something about the generations getting "weaker but wiser"? Just because your viking could lug that monstrosity doesn't mean the average 14 year ols should be throwing his back out with one. :-)
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/13/04 00:09:48 EST

Actually, the Uruk Hai swords are not all that junky or crude. As I recall the movies (maybe in my wif's extended versions) show them being quenched, which implies a knowledge of heat treating. The weapons and prop masters who worked on these items both knew their stuff in the design and fabrication of the pieces and DID THEIR RESEARCH. Part of the enjoyment of the movies is that they did a far better job of creating equipment that was true to the medieval prototypes that Tolkien drew upon for his fantasy than I've seen in many "historical" movies (The 13th Warrior and its execrable arms and wretched armor comes to mind).

The truth is that in the medieval period if you were using something of the crude-but-effective nature, you'd rely on a rock or a club; nobody would waste a valuable commodity like metal on something that was crude; it would be like making a sawhorse out of rosewood and mahogany.

Also, if there's a mention in the sagas of a man with a blade "two fists wide" I'd like to know the saga being quoted. Sounds more like a god from the Edda rather than a hero or historical figure from the sagas.

If you're going to hang out with the big dogs, stop tugging at our ears until you've actually treed a 'possum. Keep working until you've made some competent, reliable work that you would be proud to give to an adult friend or would have given to the local noble in another age. (Family members don't count; they HAVE to love you, no matter how wretched the output. ;-)

Chilly and clear on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 03/13/04 00:19:57 EST

Just because they are misguided doesn't mean that at least a few of them won't end up in the right place.
Further, a sword, laboriously forged and finished, that is too heavy to pick up seems like a fine idea.
So forge those Orc swords..traditional weapon of Trained Seal Warriers...Orc! Orc!Orc!
   - Pete F - Saturday, 03/13/04 05:05:23 EST

While a sword would'nt be a first project for most,I think the youngster, would benifit from the experence. As long as they would learn-Patience,blood,sweat,And tears!A project that size would really test YOUR metal.But all the hours,would pay off, because they would learn from experence, thats better than any "advice" anyone could give them...J
   - j.seale - Saturday, 03/13/04 07:00:15 EST

I despise adding anything to the SWORD discussions. However, I suggest that some of the wannabe bladesmiths sign up for foil, epee, sabre, kendo, kung fu sword, tai chi sword, or join the Society for Creative Anachronism. Learn something about lunging, parry/riposte, beat, and touché. Get arm weary and leg weary. Sweat a little. It might be more fun than trying to make a sword.

We had a fencing coach in the 50s at Michigan State U named Schmitter, whose favorite thing was to touch his foil point on the floor, then dare you to lunge and 'touch' him. His parry and riposte were so good that only the most experienced fencer could get past his response.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/13/04 11:25:12 EST

I guess my earlier problem with the weld melting off the shanks I welded on the swages wasn't totally unheard of. I just read JJ's section on swage blocks in IForge and I see he has had the same problem. I wonder why the weld melts at yellow heat?
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/13/04 11:48:40 EST

I've yet to understand people's obsession with something that's only function is to take another person's life. Make a rifle,or a bow. At least you can get yourself some food with that. Better yet, make some tools, they can be used to create something, and add to our world, instead of only being good for death and destruction.
   - Havoktd - Saturday, 03/13/04 11:49:35 EST

Even better than all of that, go make me a good cup of coffee. :-)
   - Havoktd - Saturday, 03/13/04 11:50:35 EST

Sword Making: In today's world the only reason for making a real sword is as a work of art (wall hanger OR collector's item). Anything less is wasted effort on junk. In a large made for TV movie I saw recently the swords were flame cut and had short ground bevels. . . To the average person they looked like swords and when you need hundreds in a hurry cheap, that is what you get. For what they were used for (mearly brandishing, no contact), the props people would have been better off with painted wood or plastic with more realistic shapes.

If you are going to make just anything willy-nilly out of any steel then think about that attitude the next time:

You put on the brakes in your car (there are little parts no bigger than 1/4" that you life relies on, as well as springs made of 1/16" (2mm) wire).

Or if you don't drive the next time you cross the street and people have to break to keep from hitting you.

Or the next time you get in a elevator hanging from 1/2" wire rope 100 feet above certain death.

You had better hope that nobody involved with any of these products said, "just use any old steel, it'll work".

Taking on a project that is way beyond your skills and abilities is a recipe for frustration and failure.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/13/04 14:05:45 EST

Ed Long, I don't know about 'melting at a yellow heat', but if you fusion weld, when the puddle freezes, you get a different grain structure than a forge welded grain structure. One advantage of forge welds is that they are forgable. Fusion welds sometimes break or crack when forged.
Stress relieving a fusion weld sometimes helps by heating uniformly the weld area to around 1100º to 1200ºF (under transformation), holding one hour for each inch of thickness, and slow cooling.

If you have a power hammer, you can forge a hardie shank, cut the required stock above the shank, drop it in the hardie hole and sledge hammer it...a little like making a 'giant rivet'. Then shape the tooling required.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/13/04 14:22:26 EST

Frank, the swages I made were 3/4" plate cut 2 1/2" square then I used 7/8" square stock upset to fit my hardy hole. The swages are formed in various sizes for some sled irons (horse-drawn) I'm working on. I welded the shanks with the arc welder, then forged the swages to shape. During the forging process, I happened to notice the weld was liquifying and by the time I was done, most of the swages had to be rewelded. WHat I was wondering is, is there a particular rod that would stand up to the heat better? I use 7014's on larger stuff and 6013 on smaller stock.
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/13/04 15:18:22 EST

Ed Long, I would stay with the 60 series arc rods, or use the oxy-acetylene with a haywire (deadsoft steel filler rod).
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/13/04 18:08:36 EST

My 2¢ on swords:

Like Frank, I hate to add anything to the sword talk, but I'm feeling strangely motivated today. I agree that the orc sword is a rudimentary-looking thing (appears to be cut out of flat plate in my opinion), but while constructing such a crude implement might be satisfying in this world of “all show-no go”, it defeats the point of anvilfire, which is to further the knowledge of blacksmithing. The fact that such an item requires “little knowledge of blade-smithing” is a red flag that it will do little to improve your skills or knowledge relating to a very complex and skill-laden subject. Jock has gone to substantial trouble to outline a series of projects in the FAQ section that develop the true skills required to tackle such a formidable task. If all you want is a sword, buy one. The legal liabilities of someone getting injured when it breaks are less. If you want to learn the art and skill of swordsmithing, you must work at it, and develop your skills over time. As our beloved Guru often says, there are no shortcuts. Or at least, there aren’t any worth taking if you really want to learn.


I realize you were trying to help, and I realize we all try to avoid frustration whenever possible, but in order to live up to the moniker you have chosen for yourself, you must be willing to embrace frustration as a part of the learning experience. The mistakes that bother us the worst are the ones we truly learn from.

   eander4 - Saturday, 03/13/04 18:11:57 EST

Ed Long: Use 6010 for DC or 6011 for AC welding and make sure you weld 100% of the way through the joint by tapering the shank and start with a gap at the very inside. I suspect you are not running the fast-fill rods hot enough. 7014 has iron powder coating which makes a fast fill weld by melting the iron into the weld. 6010 or 6011 uses only the rod core to deposit weld metal. Be sure to clean the weld of ALL slag before depositing the next layer.

Sound weld metal will not melt away any faster than the base metal. If you are melting steel in the forge you are trying to work above forge welding temperature and way above forging temperature.
   - Andy Martin - Saturday, 03/13/04 21:22:53 EST

They're crawling out of the woodwork again. The thing that makes me maddest is that such an obviously ignorant anus has the chutzpah to call himself a bladesmith when he wouldn't make a pimple on a real bladsmith's back side.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/13/04 21:31:38 EST

When I first started early medieval reenactment, going on 35 years ago, the "flash" was in the weaponry and warfare. However, the more I studied the period, the more I was fascinated by the nuts-and-bolts of the society. How things worked, how people made their livings, grew and prepared their food, made their shelters, created their clothing; all of these have become of greater interest and add to the overall picture. Since I've been working with blacksmithing I've made far more cooking implements and tools than weapons and armor. Even most of the weapons I make, such as knives and axes, are as much tools as anything else. Lamps, chest hardware and hinges, hasps and locks, cookpots forged from a single sheet- all of these are just as fascinating and of more benefit to folks than any of the weapons. Havoktd is right: when in doubt, make tools. Creativity can be expended upon weaponry but they are, by their nature, somewhat treacherous; as lible to take a bite out of the wielder as the foeman- especially in untrained hands. Creating a tool opens the avenue to further creativity.

Still doing spot hurricane cleanup on the banks of the lower Potomac; after heaving and cutting windfall all day so the we can get a bulldozer in for regrading, I think I'll skip smithing for the night. (Alas, perfect weather for it too, and some projects for church backed-up!)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 03/13/04 21:36:56 EST

Frank and Andy, thanks much. I'll try those rods out. No, Andy, I wasn't working above a forging temp. The swages were just at a yellow heat which is why it puzzled me that the weld run.
   Ed Long - Saturday, 03/13/04 22:28:04 EST

Paw Paw: I was thinking of becoming a master bladesmith. I plan to work all weekend if I have time so I'll be an expert come Monday. Assume you'll be my encouragement. Thought I'd just do it through research and save getting the forge hot for no good reason.
   - Andy Martin - Saturday, 03/13/04 22:35:47 EST

Andy, I'll just "grin" and leave it at that. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/13/04 22:41:00 EST

Ed Long,

That 6013 rod is a fast filling, low penetration rod primarily used for sheet work. Not really suitable for hardy shanks. For what you're doing, I would guess that the weld puddle never reached sufficient temperature for the powders in the coating to become incorporated into the puddle and they melted out when bring up to forging heat.

Use a high-penetration rod from the 10 or 11 series, such as 6010 or 6011 instead. DC straight polarity or AC will give the deepest penetration. Use a very deep chamfer on the shank and preheat both pieces to about 400 before welding. Interpass peen and wire brush and then normalize before forging.
   vicopper - Saturday, 03/13/04 22:43:52 EST

I'm a fairly new amateur blacksmith, having just taken posession of my first real anvil (36" length & approx 125kg). I have two questions concerning this anvil:
1. Its been left outside a fair while & is covered in surface rust, do I need to clean it off or treat the surface in any way?
2. Cleaning up the horn I found a hairline crack 2" back from the tip. Should I worry? Should I weld it? or should I wait until it breaks & reshape a new tip? There is no change in the sound fore & aft of the crack, so I don't know how bad it is. Suggestions?

   Scott - Sunday, 03/14/04 00:58:47 EST


It sounds like it should be just fine. Shine up the face a bit with smoe Scotchbrite or sandpaper and keep it shiny by using it regularly. As for the possible crack, follow Granny's advice: "If it ain't broke, then don't try to fix it."
   vicopper - Sunday, 03/14/04 02:38:51 EST

I am not much help other then to tell you to check -upper right corner/NAVIGATE anvilfire. I-Forge,How to.
Demo 24,90,91 They are on hinges. Sorry ,no T-hinges.
Demo 91 is how to make a hinge-bender, that may be of some help. The only hinges I have ever made were out of sheetmetal.
I would make the parts of 3or4 hinges,or sets,and assemble them to see how long it takes. Keeping track of the time it takes to make the parts and assembling them.
Charge accordingly for time and materials.
I guess everyone else is out heat-treating their swords.
   DanD Skabvenger - Sunday, 03/14/04 03:04:03 EST

Ed L.
Your 7014 weld filler shouldn't be melting at a temperature substantially lower than the rest of the steel..something else is going on..perhaps , as Frank noted, another mode of failure.
Scott; Congrats!..you can either just ignore the surface rust and use it or clean it up with a wire brush or very fine sandpaper..
Not knowing if the horn is wrought or cast iron or steel..i'm not sure what answer to give you. If the crack doesn't extend very far around the horn, just watch it closely to see if it's propagating. If it continues to spread, you'll probably want to do something about it. On the chance that it's just evidence of a grove that was hammered back level and will stay that way..don't rush into fixing it...which may get pretty involved. In general, don't weld on an anvil unless you absolutely have to..it's easy to mess up.
Welcome to Anvilfire..don't mind Paw-Paw..he's a little crusty but good hearted...mostly.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 03/14/04 03:06:57 EST

Just for the record, I did a search on swordmaking and there are a LOT of sites dedicated to the subject. This one: www.howstuffworks.com/sword-making.htm is pretty good and uses a lot of photos from Don Fogg. There is just no reason why a young person could not study the material in this site, and others, to learn what it takes to make a sword. Like most kids, they seem to want to skip all the hard stuff and learn a short cut. The Guru's page on swordmaking is probably the best at telling it like it really is. There are no shortcuts, just numerous ways to make a POS! Regarding the crack in Scotts anvil horn, I agree, if it never opens up, don't mess with it. If it does, perhaps grinding it out and putting a generous radius in the bottom would be preferable to welding it?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/14/04 11:06:48 EST

Rust and Cracks: Scott, we had a series of Q&A about rusted anvils just in the past few days. Look UP (or in the last archive).

There are different types of anvil construction. In most the horn is one piece of wrought iron or steel and is not too critical a repair as horns tend to be soft. HOWEVER, one type of constuction uses a steel plate and reinforcing welded to a cast iron body. This is the only type where I have seen a crack in the horn. The problem IS that the only way to make this weld is IN THE MOLD during casting of the body. The most common brand and inventor to use this method Fisher Norris maker of "Eagle" anvils. These anvils are nearly impossible to repair and there is a very high probablity if ruining the entire anvil by attemping repairs.

It is possible for old wrought bodied anvils to have a crack in the horn which would probably be a weld seperation in the wrought iron where it was amalgamated from slab or scrap. These can be welded up but wrought contains a lot of slag and behaves pecularly when welded by modern methods.

As mentioned above, if it doesn't get worse don't worry about it.

NOTE: I have seen working Fisher-Norris anvils with the steel ridge and horn tip rattling on the anvil. It can't be fixed but if its not abused it can last a long time,
   - guru - Sunday, 03/14/04 13:12:05 EST

I found a site I hade not seen before: www.4ironworks.com. It is the site of Witzke Ironworks and it is worth a visit. He does nice work. And he doesn't do swords......
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/14/04 14:27:05 EST


Link doesn't work.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/14/04 14:40:44 EST

I think QC ment www.4ironwork.com
   - Aksmith - Sunday, 03/14/04 15:27:21 EST

I have made a few knives, nothing too fancy. Most for use, ie a tool. A couple of cable damascus, as my son wanted a knife for the Boy Scouts, and wanted to help make something he could be proud of making. It was a nice 3" bladed hunter. Turned out the Scouts required a folder. Not sure why, but oh well.He is proud of the knife anyway. I don't see the fasination with swords, but then most don't see my fasination with smithing, or avaition, or.....
While the blades I have made are at best workmenlike, I still strived to make a good, well tempered usefull knife.
To all who lust for a sword, just like your favorite hero weilded in a movie, forge away, make scrap, have fun, BUT always strive to learn, and progress. If you can't take the time to plan, and try to properly execute a blade of at least workmanlike quality that is not a danger to all nearby, please take up bowling for a passtime. You'll be happier, and the rest of us safer.
   ptree - Sunday, 03/14/04 15:53:59 EST

Neat stuff, BUT (call me a weinie) Witzke and the child Dalton should both be wearing safty glasses.
Bow hunted with a good friend in Idaho that managed to chamber a 7-08 hand load in his 7mm Rem Mag. Took nearly an hour to clan the brass out of his cornea. Thank God for the discovery of local anesthtetics. Joe did not lose any sight (thanks for that too)
   RFraser - Sunday, 03/14/04 17:13:25 EST

clan = clean
   RFraser - Sunday, 03/14/04 17:32:13 EST

Not sure why I feel the urge to comment,, but I do and will. About swords; seems that the mere mention of the subject raises hair on neck napes. Maybe if we look further there is a common thread between those that want to shortcut all traditional forge skill building and those of us that have spent the time at the fire. As I see it the desire to create is there now,,as we found it whenever it came to us in one form or another. I suspect that if that desire is deep enough that it will go through whatever steps needed to generate an increase in desire that will result in skill building and development of the knowledge to achieve results similiar to what those of us with no hair left on our arms have accomplished. For me I choose to consider myself a life long student of metals.

   Rich Hale - Sunday, 03/14/04 17:34:22 EST

Oh wise and all knowing gurus, I humbly approach the alter of knowledge, I have read the holy scrolls of forge relining and am enlightend, but my quest is this; My NC whisper momma is well broken in tho not yet in need of relining, dent here, scale flakes there, I have a bottle of ITC 100 and wonder if it can be applied anytime to improve effeciency/durability. Was going to use it on the ABANA forge plans, but since we have the whisper momma, to busy making stuff to finish the other forge!
   RFraser - Sunday, 03/14/04 17:57:18 EST

Having never used a gas forge, I'd like to know how the cost of operation would compare to burning coal. It costs me $275 to get 15 bags of Pennsylvania coal delivered to my local hardware store.
Second point. Are there any smiths here that know of a coal supplier in Eastern Maine?
   Ed Long - Sunday, 03/14/04 18:04:54 EST

Q-C, did you see the website on swordmaking that advocated taking a leafspring and *COLD* sledgehammering it straight, riviting in a "patch" for the mounting bolt hole and grinding it into a "Battle Ready" blade with now heat involved anywhere in the process?

I still get shives just thinking of folks out there "fighting" with such a monstrosity!

OTOH do folks growing up today get much exposure to long term projects requiring a lot of learning along the way? Or do they maily see that any problem can be fixed in 30-60 minutes minus commercial time. SHoot even the shows that show folks building or remodelling are even on "short timespans"

When I teach, I don't suggest to my students that5 the do something that even if it does turn out right is worthless. If we are working on blade forging, we use carbon steel---yes they are much more likely to crack it or to burn it up, but if they don't they have a knife! If you do it out of mild steel, your hammer control may improve but you are not learing the importance of staying with in the forging temps the steel demands and so when you move on to carbon steels you may have institutionalized your mild steel forging skills and *still* have to mess up blades before you re-learn.

(I started on blades and so will err the wrong way in forging mild steel as if it was bladesteel---it takes an act of will to heat wrought iron up to yellow to forge it!)

As for the site I feel that folks do get tired of getting a steady influx of folks who are asking others to do work for them (I don't type for pleasure!) without doing the basic research a 4th grader could do on the subject.

Perhaps a standard response should be "Go read Hrisoulas' books" though many folk seem upset that a 4 page website is not considered adequate to cover what hundreds of pages are devoted to in books...

Jetlag is kicking in and it's only 10 days before the Chilean trip...

   - Thomas Powers - Sunday, 03/14/04 18:16:18 EST

I would say that applying ITC-100 now is perfectly fine. You absolutely *must* remember to wet those bricks down fairly well before applying it. Otherwise it will just flake off fairly rapidly. It should say something in the instructions (either online or the instructions that came with the tub of ITC) about how to apply it to brick. I would take a look at that, too.

Ed Long,
Cost of operation depends on size of forge. Gas forges are less versatile than coal forges in terms of size of items that you can work easily. How big of a gas forge would you be wanting, or instead, how big of items would you want to be working in a gas forge?
   T. Gold - Sunday, 03/14/04 18:22:06 EST

Ed, did you check the coal scuttle, it lists one coal supplier in Maine. We are using both coal and now gas, cost wise 50lb bags ship to me in a day for about 25.00. Propane goes for 1.20 to 1.30 per pound. Check my math here; short ton coal yeilds 20,681,000 BTU, 1 gallon (sorry should be jouls and liters) propane gets 91,000 BTU, sooo local price, one dollars worth of coal gets me 20,681 BTU, and 1$ worth of Propane gets me 70,000 BTU. Looks like Propane gets the nod for energy density, but in actual practice I have read coal is cheaper for forge use. Depends on effeciency of forge and use. We burn alot of propane to keep the forge hot, while working when we would have turned the blast down on our coal forge. I think the ineffeciency in the gas may come at the cost of having to keep it on to keep the forge warm.
I have note some good things and bad things with both, scale, attention to fire, color of work, control of oxidizing vs carburizing etc. We will still use both, and not just because we spent alot of time building the coal forge either. Really!
   RFraser - Sunday, 03/14/04 18:59:31 EST

Ed, a two burner forge running on propane will give you 8 hours on a standard BBQ sized tank, about 4.7 gallons of propane, about $10 here in Phoenix which works out to about $1.25 per hour, but you do get to spend more time forging and less time tending the fire.....on the other hand, there is something really nice about coal...depending on your neighbors....
   Ellen - Sunday, 03/14/04 19:25:38 EST

Ed, are you looking to see which is the cheapest way for running your fore? I am going to slow down on the coal and use it once and a while when It is needed.
   - Billy - Sunday, 03/14/04 19:56:17 EST

Thomas. I missed the site that advocates cold forging of spring steel. I have surfed quite a few of the knife and sword sites and find them to be a childs garden of misinformation, especially when one of the nubes waxes forth on metallurgy and heat treating like they knew what they were talking about. Hmmmm...maybe that's why they all seem to show up here...... As for Witzke Forge, yep, I got it wrong. WWW.4ironwork.com is correct.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/14/04 20:14:03 EST

Coal in Eastern Maine

Ed, is there an Aubochon Hardware store nearby? They're able to get smithing coal for you. Sometimes the store manager doesn't know it, but have him check with the home office.

I don't use coal myself, but a couple guys in the New England Blacksmiths worked a deal with the main office.

   - MarcG - Sunday, 03/14/04 21:49:45 EST

Saving Gas:

One thing I do on my gas forges os to build in a gas economizer circuit. It is nothing more than a pair of valves in parallel on the main to supply the burner(s). One valve is a gas-rated ball valve and acts as the main valve. when it is open , full flow goes to the burner(s). The other valve is a small needle valve that I open just enough to keep the burners idling just slightly more than the point where they start "chuffing" too badly.

When I'm heating stock, I open the ball valve and the forge is blazing away, and gobbling propane. When I'm ready to hammer, I pull the stock out and simultaneously close the ball valve and let the needle valve keep the burners idling to keep the forge hot. This has cut about 40% off my gas costs once I got in the habit of actually using it religiously.

If I could get coal here, I would probably use it a good bit. As it is, I use charcoal occasionally, but that isn't all that easy to find, either. I need to get ambitious and make some, I guess.
   vicopper - Sunday, 03/14/04 21:55:46 EST

Ed: What you hear about economy of coal is due to the great variance in price. RFraser is paying $1,000/ton, you are paying $733/ton, in Oklahoma we can get it for $200/ton or less. I picked up 800# laying on a dirt road in Wyoming because I had my shovel on vacation with me. My wife was thrilled to carry the coal for the rest of the vacation. But for the average American, I suspect bulk coal is much cheaper than propane.

Have you tried wood charcoal? It's a traditional fuel which should be available in Maine.
   - Andy Martin - Sunday, 03/14/04 22:06:36 EST

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2004 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC