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 23 - 31, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Would cadnium plated perforated steel be unsafe to use for roasting coffee? Someone told me that welding it would be un wise, but coffee roasts at about 500 degrees farenheit. thanks for any help with this
   theron - Tuesday, 03/22/05 22:43:44 EST

Theron - My personal opinion as a metallurgist - DON'T. Cadmium is a particularly nasty metal that you do not want anywhere near food or anything else you ingest or breathe. Traditional finishes for steel cooking/processing implements include tinplate, enamel, oil coated similar to seasoning a cast iron frying pan (wears off & has to be renewed), zinc coated for older items such as meat grinders. At 500 F, zinc will probably fume off, I'd go with plain steel or if you want corrosion resistance stainless.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 03/23/05 00:04:25 EST

Theron, Cadnium is a very toxic heavy metal and is used to protect hardware and various items from rust. Due to its toxicity it has been replaced by zinc for all but some military uses. With heavy metals you do not only worry about it gassing off due to heat but simply being absorbed by organic oils at room temperature. Cooking with cad plated utencils could be deadly. There is no cure for cadnium poisioning and death is the usual result.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 01:14:32 EST

TheForge: Our brother Pete posted a slightly exaggerated message on TheForge and suggested that ABANA turn over their web presense to anvilfire. THAT floated like a lead balloon. In fact, I would not want to be involved in the political mess that is ABANA. . .

The state of anvilfire is thus:

advertisers provide about 1/4 of our revenue
sales from the anvilfire store provide about 1/4
my web work for others provides about 1/4
CSI dues from 120 members provide about 1/4

The key problem currently is that the total is just barely paying the bills and me almost nothing. The store is taking over half my time and taking away from the things that need to be done on the site such as keep up pub registrations and produce more iForge demos. The store has been a losing proposition time wise but it is still filling a need.

To be able to dump the store we need either 250 more CSI members or 20 more advertisers OR a balance of the two. That releases some more time but produces no more income. So we really need both.

IF CSI had 1,200 members we could remove the banners and offer advertising only in more subtle forms. On the other hand if we had 100 advertisers or more we could do without CSI. Lots of big IFs.

The current plan is for CSI to apply for grants and endowments to make up the difference. But the process of incorporation has taken a year and now we are waiting for IRS 501(3)c approval. Then IF grants are available it will be next January soonest before we know anything. Meanwhile the pressure on me has started to wear me down to the point where it is noticable and is effecting my health.

SO. . you will probably see some fund raisers and more intrusive HINTS to make donations to CSI. AND the fact IS that without the generosity of the folks that joined CSI we would have had to close down several years ago.

Consider THIS: A local public radio station that serves an area with MAYBE 2,000,000 people of which MAYBE 50,000 listen to them, needs half a million dollars a year to operate. About 40% of their funds come from government sources and the rest from listeners. All it takes is $6 per individual listener per year. However only a few give and the rest is made up by significantly larger contributions from both individuals and businesses.

At anvilfire we have 5,000 visitors a day. Many visit daily and many are counted more than once a day. But over a month there are about 15,000 folks "tuning in". If ALL the daily users that visit every day were CSI members we would have the 1000 members we need to fully fund anvilfire. OR if 1/3 of the monthly total donated $10/year we would be in good shape. We would still need advertising revenue but we would be funded at a level that would alow me to travel and report on events from a broader area as well as have time and money to improve many of our services. The fact is that during a year we may serve more people than that radio station. It is also a fact that the 120 CSI members are not enough supporters.

In the near future we may be forced to run nag campaigns like the public TV and Radio folks do. But donations can be sent ANY TIME and are appreciated. Checks can be made out to CSI or anvilfire.com and mailed to the address at the bottom of our home page.


It was stated in the comments on TheForge that there are several other blacksmithing forums including the one that replaced KeenJunk. But like KeenJunk these are hobby sites without a plan. Like KeenJunk they can dissapear at a moment's notice. It is also easy to launch a new small web site. Where it becomes difficult is when you are large enough that you need to lease a dedicated server with significant bandwidth.

Did I mention that we also host over 1/3 of the ABANA affiliate sites?

Besides answering questions here I also answer many questions by mail and by phone. You would be surprised at how many folks make a long distance call to ask a question about a power hammer or an anvil. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 02:41:39 EST

Gavainh and guru,
Thanks for your input. I will put the sheet stock isourced into the recycle bin. Thanks again, the life you saved is my own.
   theron - Wednesday, 03/23/05 02:53:24 EST


You get to be the first recipient of "The Nag". Lucky you! We at Anvilfire just answered astraightforward question with the answer that may very well have avoided a disaster for you. Nobody asked you to make a downpayment before your quesiton was considered or answered. Pretty nice, huh? Well, we NEED your support to keep this sort of service available in the future. Your support and everyone else's, actually.

For less than the cost of a soda a week, you can join CSI. Heck, you just drop a donation, in any amount, in the mail to CSI or Anvilfire. Either way, we appreciate the help. You DO make a difference. Everyone of you out there. Thank you.

Rich Waugh
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/23/05 08:42:39 EST

Dear Sir
I am Arun Palange from mumbai India.Sir how can i join anvil fire ring .Can you help me 250 lb little gaint power hammre I want use 1430 RPM moter 7.5 HP you know to me which dia pully use it. clutch pully is 28" dia.
   Arun Palange - Wednesday, 03/23/05 09:24:29 EST

Arun, answers in the mail. But I will post here for the public as well.

From our Power Hammer page we find that a 250 Little Giant runs 195 RPM. From the factory it had a low speed 1200 RPM motor so you need a smaller pulley.

1430 / 195 = 7.333

28" / 7.333 = 3.818"

The springs on Little Giants can age and not be as strong as the need to be. The result is that the hammer cannot be run at full speed. So we reccomend that you do not setup the hammer to run faster than it did originaly. Sometimes it helps to operate at a slightly slower speed.

Be sure to adjust the toggles (the studs connecting the arms to the ram) so that they make nearly a straight line when the hammer is at rest but no tighter.

Also be sure to use dies the same height as the original to prevent the ram from traveling too far.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 10:39:24 EST

Trapper, very good! I was in England when they were siting in their steam shingling hammers.

Now if you want to be a bloody tradionalist you could take some wrought iron and make blister steel from it and make that into a knife---probably not as good as a good modern alloy; but very traditional for earlier times.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/23/05 11:18:01 EST


Looking at it from a business perspective I would say the store operation is your place to start. While it is providing only 1/4th your income, it is taking half your time. Dropping it doubles your time for other, perhaps more profitable, aspects. What need does the store furnish? Books and insulating products are available elsewhere, so it is not like you are a sole source provider. Perhaps On-Line metals should be a paying advertiser rather than a store link? That leaves Anvilfire products, and I see you are out of stock of the buckles and hats. (And I readily admit I do now know the detailed operations of the store so may be way off here.)

Can you program the forum to once or twice a day automatically insert a nag blurb that it is available through the support of CSI membership and advertisers, with a direct link for CSI subscription?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/23/05 11:26:56 EST

My son wants to build a downdraft forge hood. Know of any plans for such a thing? What is your opinion of this type of set up as opposed to sidedraft or regular hood?
   Tbird - Wednesday, 03/23/05 12:09:40 EST

Tbird, a downdraft hood would require a forced draft such as a fan in the chimney somewhere. A sidedraft hood, sized properly, will draw strong enough to take care of all the smoke and won't need a fan. Half-hoods or suspended hoods always let a little smoke into the room.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/23/05 13:17:37 EST

I recently had a guest lecturer visit my class and talk about his metalworking. He used a term and neither of us can find the correct spelling. The word represnts a process in metalworking where the image or design is pushed out, like embosssing. He mentioned something like reposay. Would you mind providing me the correct spelling?
Thank you very much

Barry Yavener
   Barry Yavener - Wednesday, 03/23/05 14:25:41 EST

Barry Yavener: It is repousse. My understanding is only the French are really skilled in it today.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/23/05 14:35:32 EST

Metalurgy Question: But kinda on the subject...

If this subject is better suited to the Hammerin, somebody just point me there.. I have a 1938 McCormick Deering T20 with a big hole in the exhaust manifold gasket. The short version of the story is that most of the studs seem to have been rusting away since early 1939.. some are down to just lumps of rust on top of the BRASS nuts. I've tried wd40, pb-blaster, etc and I'm still very afraid to put any real pressure on them. I'm also a little scared to put the heat wrench on those brass nuts (don't want to melt them). Any ideas on how to separate these two metals and save enough of the stud so I will be able to turn them out of the block once the manifold is off?

Thnx in advance,
   Bert - Wednesday, 03/23/05 14:53:46 EST


I do some repousse to decorate reenactment shields and armor. The most common method I was able to find involves pouring molten lead over the "front" of the piece of sheet metal, turning it over, drawing the design on the metal, and using rounded chisles of various shapes to hammer the design "out" the other side. For the more complex images, I remove the lead, remelt it, and pour it on the "back," then clean up the design by hammering parts back "in" as necessary.

26ga mild steel sheet is easy to find and moves rather easily; copper moves easier but seems to be more expensive. 16ga mild steel is a pain, but is possible... I use a flypress for that.

The part of repousse I like best is that you can "erase" mistakes by heating the spot to a bright orange and flattening it with a smooth dressed hammer.

I've made my own tools from cheap Harbor Freight chisel sets [$10]. Since they go blunt on the first strike anyway, I just round the heads and grind them into the shapes I want.

The dangerous part of the art is meltign and pouring the lead. While you can skip the lead entirely and just use a heavy rubber pad in its place, I find that makes for far less "clean" lines. If you want o handle lead, read the MSDS, learn proper techniques from one of the metal casters here, get a GOOD face mask, work over a sand pit [not concrete], and don't do it at all until you know how.

Oh, I'm not french, but then I'm not really good at it either.

Raining in Columbus, Oh
   MikeM-OH - Wednesday, 03/23/05 14:56:26 EST

Does anyone have a source of hammer handle steel wedges by the box? Hardware sells them individually. Handle seller at a flea market will let me buy what he has left in the late morning, but that's an 80-mile round trip.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/23/05 15:29:13 EST

If you would like to look at some truly awesome repousse work take a gander at: "Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance: Filippo Negroli and His Contemporaries" (ISBN:0300086180)
Pyhrr, Stuart W.

Shoot, even my teenage daughter was impressed by what they were doing in wrought iron about 500 years ago...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/23/05 15:38:20 EST

Ken, I make my own. Cheap, fast, easy.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/23/05 15:56:29 EST

I think that is a bit of a stretch saying only the French are skilled at it.
I have seen work that was very skilled done by folks here in the good ole US of A.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:20:14 EST

smoke stack advise: i have a hood with a 10" exhaust outlet. would this draw well by just adding an 8ft stack? would it be improved by using a "venturi" section, ie a necked down (6") section (length 2'). this is an overhead, not side draft. responses/advise appreciated...
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:21:35 EST


As a fellow engine rebuilder, I'd use the hot wrench sparingly. Don't just let it sit there until the brass melts but heat it to 600-700 then spray WD40 or "Knock' er' loose" on it as it cools. May take 5 or 6 heats but the expansion and contraction will eventually start to work. I had a set of frozen brake drum retention screws on an old Dodge that took a whole afternoon of work but I got them all out without ruining one screw head.
   - HWooldridge - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:42:08 EST

Repousse Tools

Metalsmiths the world over practice repousse'. There are numerous fine repousse artists in the US. George Dixon is one, Dean Curfman does some nice work, I's have to look up the others.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:49:39 EST

Brass Nuts: Bert, I would worry about getting the studs out of the CI part. You can buy new studs and brass nuts are available from a variety of suppliers. By the time you run those nuts off the rusted stud they will probably be scrap. Hest the CI part and remove the stud while the CI is at a low red heat.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:56:04 EST

Rugg, any restriction at this size is a reduction in draft. Use the 10" all the way OR run it into some 12" for a better draft.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 16:58:22 EST

Hammer Wedges: Ken, try McMaster-Carr. I make my own even when they come with the handle sometimes. Forging the taper with the anti-slip steps is the only time I've ever had need for a sharp edge on an anvil )or hammer). I forge a wedge then apply steps, saw it off then forge another. I usualy alternate the steps using a sharp edge and my normal hammer (flats opposite the notches).
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:03:15 EST

Downdraft Forge: Tbird, as noted a downdraft forge must have a powered exhust system. What he is probably talking about is a side draft hood. See our plans pages (planfile).
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:09:54 EST

I get both steel and wooden wedgesm, along with handles, from Beamer Handle Co. in Van Buren, MO. This is a great source for handles if you buy them more than one at a time. ph. 573-323-4241
   Tbird - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:17:58 EST

Thanks for the response, but no, he wants a true downdraft exhaust. I'm trying to talk him into the side draft, so will get the plans.
   Tbird - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:25:06 EST

A question for the all knowing group. I have a customer that wants a rust finish on indoor products. I have read hear about using chlorine and salt and other stuff to make steel rust. OK now I have quick rust. I have a problem with providing a product that will stain hands or fabric. I could seal it with clear lacquer, but there must be a better way. Is there a paint that will look like rust? What are you guys using?
   - TtownBill - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:28:06 EST

When the Statue of Liberty was repaired in 1975-76, it was done by a French firm. No U.S. company was capable of doing the large repousse work involved. Actually seemed to be quite fitting as the statue was originally constructed in France as a gift of French schoolchildren.

I grant there are extremely skilled individuals in the U.S. who do repousse. However, as an industry France likely is the premier county.

Thank you for the information on the hammer handle wedges. Will check out Beamer. I also sometimes make them from 1/8" x 1". Cut at an angle on the bandsaw, then flip over to cut out the next one to get the triangle shape.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/23/05 17:29:10 EST


I've been a painter fer years, It depends on the oxide finish that u want. Is it a deep red or the pitted iron oxide( FE3 not FE2 ) that u want. Talk to any monarch or sherwood williams deelrs ( paint and final finnish co.'s ) they will be able to answer any questions that you may have.
e-mail me if u run into any problems with the paint. I'm very good ( 15yrs ) with all types.
   - Timex - Wednesday, 03/23/05 18:21:48 EST

Q&A Service: Let me add that the assistant Guru's here also get calls and emails with metalworking questions. Granted not as many as the Alpha Guru, but I get several every week. No charge for this service even though I get $100 per hour when I do consulting work. For Anvilfire people, the information is free. However, maintianing the site isn't.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 03/23/05 20:38:42 EST

Does anybody have any personal experience with Saylor-Beall air compressors? The two stage variety? I have dealt with their screw type industrial machines and have been favorably impressed. I just found out they make smaller two stage machines. I asked at the factory if they had a customer list and they gave me their wholesaler list. Prros and cons? Thanks
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 03/23/05 21:02:12 EST

Safety and enviro questions answered for anvilfire, for free, although my consultion fees are on the order of Quenchcracks.
CSI membership is a true bargain, any consultation, with any consultant, on almost any subject starts in the hundred/hour range, and mostl have a 4 hour minimum.
support CSI and Anvilfire, and get those consultations for the bargain price of membership.
   ptree - Wednesday, 03/23/05 21:02:14 EST


Depending on the metal you are working with, the most appropriate ground will be different. Lead is a very good ground for working iron and low carbon steel, as it gives the appropriate amount of resistance and support. Proper support is critical, if you are to avoid tearing or fracturing of the metal. Lead is also sometimes used for repousse' of brasses and bronzes, but generally only when working heavier gauges. For lighter gauges, and for most non-ferrous metals, "pitch" is the preferred ground.

Pitch is a catch-all term that refers to a substance made up of resins, tars, powders, waxes and other substances. The name derives from the use of tree pitch. There is no single recipe for the perfect pitch. (Except in music, perhaps.) There are as many different recipes as there are artists practicing the craft, probably. In general though, most recipes use a mixture of tar (asphaltum), pitch (plant resin), and filler (powdered plaster or pumice).

The objective is to create a substance that is sticky enough to adhere to the metal, has the right support, the right resistance, and can be re-used. Most artists like to have the pitch be easily removeable from the work when it is time, though this often conflicts with the desire to have it adhere sufficiently to hold the work in place during the repousse' process. The search for the perfict pitch is never-ending, I'm afraid. :-)

The fine detailing done from the front of the piece (after the forming has been done from the back) is generally called "chasing", and is an art in itself. A fine book on the subject of repousse and chasing is "Moving Metal", by Adolph Steines. It is available through ArtisanIdeas, and advertiser here on Anvilfire. OBTW, it is translated from the German. The Germans are some of the acknowledged masters of the craft down through the ages.

There are numerous outstanding American artists working with chasing and repousse, several of them blacksmiths. Look at the work done on past ABANA conference chests to see some good examples by Tom Latane', Pete Renzetti and others.

   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/23/05 21:16:19 EST

150-pound Bradley on eBay #7503098318. In PA. Looks like you would need a sizeable truck to haul it.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/23/05 21:26:18 EST

Statue of Liberty,

According to what I've read about the restoration of the statue in 1982-1986, the entire project was a cooperative effort by a Franco-American committee. I saw nothing in my reading that said American artisans could not handle the large repousse' work involved. What I read indicated that the French wished to contribute to the effort, and that was only one of their contributions.

One recommended book on the restoration is:

"The Statue of Liberty Restoration", Edited by R. Baboian, E.B. Cliver, and E.L. Bellante, c. 1990 by NACE International, Houston TX, ISBN 1-877914-12-6
   vicopper - Wednesday, 03/23/05 21:28:06 EST

As some of you folks know, I did not show up on these blacksmithing sites, until, something over a year ago. BUTT> Since then I have picked-up alot of info from NOT only the Guru or his helper, others have chimed in, when needed. I have also see a lot of outpouring of condolences and in the case of one CSI members need, a significant helping hand in time of need. Had it not been for the ANVILFIRE site, we would have not know about this smith being in trouble. We would not have able to give a hand when needed.
We poke good natured fun at each other, but when needed we can put up a pretty solid front. WE NEED this SITE for more reasons than just answering questions. It does a good job of holding the blacksmith community together. We need 1200 members, we should all start by talking each-other into joining, for first one reason then another.
Chuck Bennett
   sandpile - Wednesday, 03/23/05 22:13:31 EST

I am probably overlooking something simple. I have asked a few times how to join CSI? I hear lots of good chatter about why we all should be a members. Just really don't know how to join. Looking for a horse to lead me to water....LOLOL...grin...grin...grin
   burntforge - Wednesday, 03/23/05 22:46:26 EST


Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group link. Follow the directions and you too can be true blue! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/23/05 22:51:24 EST


Guru, how to join is not obvious, put a "how to join" link in the nav bar.. I had to click CSI Members Only and then when I didn't have a login, CANCEL brought me to a "try loging again" - "continue to Anvilfire" - "Learn about CSI" choice and clicking the "Learn More" button finally brought me to the CSI page... and oh yes,

My Check REALLY IS in the mail....

   Bert - Wednesday, 03/23/05 23:09:32 EST

Hi guys, I have followed all the instructions on building a Venturi style burner. However, I have no idea what to use for a regulator considering that the LP one off the grill provides nowhere near enough gas to cause anything more than a light extremely rich flame showing no venturi effect. I am using a 3/64 inch hole for my jet which equates to about a size 55 jet. Any help would be much appreciated.

   Tom Demitras - Wednesday, 03/23/05 23:12:54 EST

TOM> That is a pretty big jet. Try starting at a #66 and working your way up(larger). Mine is a 66 and works great.
   sandpile - Wednesday, 03/23/05 23:53:12 EST

TOM the reg. can be picked-up at the LP dealer. or second hand store. sorry bout that. I just saw the size jet.
   sandpile - Wednesday, 03/23/05 23:55:58 EST

Tom I was talking about a drill bit size #66 I will get it right in a bit.

   sandpile - Wednesday, 03/23/05 23:57:57 EST

Tom, I agree with sandpile -- but also, you need a high pressure regulator. These can be found at welding supply places. Make sure you get one rated for propane. They can also sometimes be found at places that sell BBQ supplies -- usually they say "Rated up to 60 PSI" or some such, and are intended for running weed burners, large deep-fryer burners, or similar. I got my latest regulator for $26 at a local Ace outlet. It has no gauge, but works extremely well for what I use it for (single-burner forge).

Heading into summer in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 03/24/05 00:01:41 EST


I concede the point excellent repousse work is done in the U.S. However, I clearly remember reading an article at the time on the restoration no American firm had the capability to do the job. We are talking about large panel repousse/forming here. Not bowls and such.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/24/05 00:26:34 EST

Joining CSI...
Folks need to go to the STORE page ( pull down menu) and then scroll down til you see the CSI logo. Click that and input data. Fairly simple really.
   Ralph - Thursday, 03/24/05 01:52:49 EST

Thanks for the info guys. I'll be picking one up tomorrow. As for the jet size that was the smallest i could find around here and the guy who I got my burner plans off of was using a size 52 jet so I figured I should at least have something to get started with. I'll try and scrounge up something smaller to fine tune things though.
   Tom Demitras - Thursday, 03/24/05 02:43:43 EST

Hi Guys, I just bought a Peter Wright anvil off ebay and was hopping I might get a little info about it here. According to the ad it was made in 1850, but I was wondering how the person could know that since there is no serial number on it. I have posted up several pics in the fotos site. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

   FredlyFX - Thursday, 03/24/05 04:05:46 EST

FredlyFX. Age on older anvils is often determined by the shape and logo, which changed over time. I think Mousehole Forge used about a dozen, maybe more, logos and they can be dated fairly accurately. I believe on an 1850 model it would have the old style of feet, which are more graceful (tapered) then when they switched to the more blockly feet. Check out the Peter Wright chapter in Anvils in America - available through the Forum store.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/24/05 08:21:00 EST

Ive been collecting RR spikes along local tracks. Along the way Ive found lg. ancor screws, I know the hazards of zink smoke. Is the metal good to work with in these screws?
   Lee - Thursday, 03/24/05 10:24:18 EST

Lee, See our FAQ on JunkYard steels.

Also note, the railroads consider being on their right of way as trespassing and anything you pick up as thievery. Losts of folks do it, and ocassionaly they get caught. How they get treated varies. If they have had a recent death on the tracks the railroad may throw the book at you to as an example and to show the public they are TRYING to prevent another accident. So you have to ask yourself, in those famous words from Dirty Harry, "Do you feel lucky today?"
   - guru - Thursday, 03/24/05 10:32:42 EST

A Day in the life of the Guru and The future:

Find problem on server at 10pm Tueseday that is keeping a paid hosted site from displaying. Leave CSI board meeting and invstigate. Report problem to server techs about midnight, day begins.

Echange several mails with techs. Problem is resolved about 3am. Customer never knew . .

Answer phone while in bed at 8:30 (hey I only got 5 hours sleep). Take commercial order for Kaowool.

Hustle out to office answer phone and take a second order for Kaowool. Now have orders for 14 cases and I am out of inventory.

Send FAX to wharehouse for as many cases as I can carry (8) at one time in my van.

Answer e-mail question about bradley hammer rebuild (very peculiar old style bearings on their helve hammers).

Answer another e-mail about hinges with possible sources.

Forward order to PPW

Answer phone, Richard Postman wonders if I am still alive, orders for his book have been slow. We usualy talk twice a week or more.

Answer phone my brother needs a server software install stopped . . software is no longer supported, looking for something else.

Contact server folks and stop install.

Check server to see what was wrong last night. Found some very strange entries and contacted server techs about possible hacking, Also call brother and write Kiwi about same issue.

Process the two special kaowool orders (PO numbers and all that).

Look up info and answer question about LG pulley including math and setup warninings for smith in India (these guys are hustling).

Drive to Roanoke to pickup Kaowool (130 mile round trip).

Stop in office check mail, check guru page, finish paperwork for orders.

Drive to Lynchburg UPS, 30 miles one way. Unload kaowool, do UPS paperwork for 3rd party payment on one order. Write check for other. Drive home.

Answer or comment on 5 questions.

Take shower, drive to lynchburg for Spanish class. Return, stop at parents home for an hour to be sociable.

Check e-mail, go to bed.

This morning I have responded to several e-mails an written these two posts. I am off to pickup another 8 cases of Kaowool to finish yesterday's orders and put a couple in inventory. I have a backlog of graphics work to do for clients that are also advertisers. . I have images from TWO events to edit and build another edition of the NEWS, I have also not gotten this months billing out, so it will be two month billing AGAIN. . AND tax time is coming up.

Other days I answer questions for half the day, spend a couple hours archiving and editing files, answering the telephone and e-mail. . . and POOF! where did the day go. There is SOMETHING every day. This has been (IS) way more than a full time job.

For 5 out of the last 8 years I worked 16 hour days to get anvilfire where it is. The result is that I have gained 100 pounds, had a divorce and now have some health issues where I SHOULD NOT sit at a desk at all until I lose 150 pounds and the problems are cleard up . . but like most of you I cannot afford to stop working, so I go on. In the past few months I have only had the energy to work 10 hour days. Some of it is the winter blues, some is I am just tired. Struggling with a typical small business where paying the bills is a juggling act every month does not help.

I do not plan on giving this up but as you can see some things MUST change. I have photos and outlines for a bunch of nifty articles I would love to write and I owe several people work. . . We have a plan to keep things going. CSI is a big part of that plan. We need more members AND advertisers. And hopefully everything will come together before I fall apart. . .

YOU can help on the advertisers front. You do business with folks that do business nationaly or internationaly that SHOULD advertise here. If you have an "in" talk to them. . . There are some companies like McMaster-Carr that I recommend as often as I recommend Machinery's Handbook. TELL them where you found out about them! Same with our advertisers. They like to know their money is well spent.

Well. . . (As Ronald Regan used to say) . . I'm off to pickup another 8 cases of Kaowool. Don't ask why I am picking it up instead of having it shipped, its a long story.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/24/05 11:24:13 EST

One other aspect of RR interaction: these days the RR are very worried about possible terrorist interactions since most of the truely nasty stuff gets rail shipped at sometime and in large ammounts so RR's are a bit more "touchy" than they used to be. Also the RR police have some very interesting powers dating back to the old RR robber baron days, so be carefull!

Now I am aware of large RR bolts with nice domed heads that make good stakes and dishing hammers; but they are not galvanized. Can you describe what you have in more detail?
Are they the ones with a flange under the hexagonal head and a multithread screw part? If so what do you want to do with them? Probably medium carbon so not so good for blades and the shape/size doesn't lend it to any project I have had.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/24/05 11:28:05 EST

That sounds like a crossing plank or bridge lag screw, 3/4 x 18 lag screw meant to be power driven.
   - Hudson - Thursday, 03/24/05 12:10:50 EST

To all woh gave the warning. THANKS I didnt even think along those lines.

Thomas P The bolts I found wern't the domed ones.
I found 3 differnt bolts, 1 about 12" long hex head, 1/2" shaft, Im purty sure its galvinized. 2 is 6" long, 11/16" dia. again this one looks galvinized. 3 is 12" long square head, 1/2" dia. not galvinized.
   Lee - Thursday, 03/24/05 12:54:54 EST

Can you tell me where I can get a hold of 1, 1/4" FxM Quick Disconnect coupling (Full Flow) for LP Gas? Seems our local gas company got a thing about doing things your -self. They have it if they can install it- When I tell them its' for a 2 burner Propane forge well I'm out of luck. Ace Hardware seems to have them but the male plug has such a small port 1/8" that I think I will lose pressure. I run 10-20 Pds in 1/4" hose 10' long . Can you help?
   Will - Thursday, 03/24/05 14:13:21 EST


It sounds like are trying to do two different things at the same time - be a supplier and an internet service. Sit down and figure out how much profit you made from the Kao-wool (and other) sales when you factor in all of the hours (and vehicle expense) involved. Likely it was little if any. Perhaps that time could have been more profitably spent on other income opportunities.

You are welcome to use me as a reference on your advertisement link. While I can't prove it conclusively, my sales pretty well started to double last year's level the day the link started. I have changed a three-month trial to an on-going basis not even halfway into the trial period.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/24/05 14:19:31 EST

Will, Most welding suppliers have Quick Disconnects for fuel lines. Hardware stores are generally amatuer hour. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 03/24/05 15:40:33 EST

Ken, The problem is the store is currently paying a significant amount of the bills and I cannot afford to lose it now. It started out with just a drop shipped item (low time overhead) and then CSI dues. We added other things to help cover the overhead of having the credit card service and secure server. It is only recently that it has started to take so much of my time. However, it is not at a point where it pays enough to hire someone to run it.

Yes, the point is to get out of the store. It was not an original part of the plan for anvilfire. The original plan was for advertisers to foot all the bills. However, most businesses still have no faith in advertising on the Internet. The collapse of the DotComs did nothing to help this even though those businesses failed because they sold lies to banks, the public, stock holders and then borrowed heavily in order to live jet-set lives. But as you know, the reality of the internet is that advertising PAYS if you advertise in the right place. This is the right place for many businesses.

The store has also demonstrated the power of advertising on anvilfire. Of the few products we sell, we sell far more than others selling similar or competing products in the same market. We also sell items like Kaowool to commercial firms (often for resale) all over the US and in several forign countries. That demonstrates how well positioned we are on the search engines.

If I had someone working part time on selling advertising we could probably do a lot better than we are. But doing the research and making cold sales calls is a TOUGH job and one I have not had time for.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/24/05 16:02:55 EST


Take heart...you are in the same box as most any small biz owner. The issue is that you have to do everything - billing, sales, purchasing, shipping, etc. That is why a part time paying job helps so much and keeps some cash coming in. For years, I worked full time at a 40hr week job and did iron work on the side - it was more than a hobby because I probably spent 20-30 hours a week in the shop but it didn't kill me if I had a slow month. Things are different when it's your livelihood.

Your health is the most important thing. If you lose that, the rest will be gone shortly thereafter, so stop trying to do it all and get to a point where you can feel good again. Most people think they are immortal but the end will come way too quickly - don't hasten it by working yourself to death.
   - HWooldridge - Thursday, 03/24/05 16:42:45 EST

Although I dont do much any more, for over 12 years I made a line of metal objects- candlesticks, tables, chairs, and the like. I shipped to stores all over the country. Packing and Shipping can kill you- its expensive, time consuming, and takes up space as well.
There is no way you can justify a mail order business if you have to drive 60miles round trip to a UPS store- I have had a UPS account since 86 or so, where they check in every day, to see if I have outgoing. Yes, it costs money, but if you are really doing all that driving, it seems like it would pay for itself in a flash. The next step down is to call UPS for "one time pickup"- I did this 3 times a week for a year before I broke down and got an account. Either way, they come and get the package for free. And you can do all the paperwork online.
I am sure there is a story why you drive to get kaowool every day, but in the modern world, I still have a hard time believing its worth doing- Paying to have stuff shipped to you just has to be worth it- your time is worth a minimum of 100 bucks an hour, and having all the kaowool delivered by taxi is still cheaper than doing it yourself.
I always had students working part time for under 10 bucks an hour doing packing and shipping when I had a lot of it- even one afternoon a week - 30 or 40 bucks a week, I just would tell customers "we ship on tuesdays and thursdays".
Those three things would free up about 1/2 of your busy day, it sounds like.
Delegation is hard to do, but sometimes essential for mental, and physical health. I have this arguement with my wife all the time- nobody ever does things well enough for her, and she is constantly chewing out employees, and firing them. I long ago came to the realisation that I just cant do everything physically myself, and must hire help. And help is always human- and they never do it exactly the way I want- and slowly, over the years, I have learned to live with that. When something is unacceptable, I tell them, and gently get them going to do it over again from scratch. Sometimes I finish things off. Sometimes I do the hard parts. And sometimes I just live with a little less than I would do, if it is not too detrimental. This does not mean sending out crap, or lowering your standards- but it means giving up control over every minute, picky-une detail. Its hard. But its sometimes needed.
   ries - Thursday, 03/24/05 17:11:15 EST

I looked on the iforge page about making an axe. What he did was, take a flat piece of stock and make a bulge in the middle for the poll, then he folded it in the middle and welded it together, leaving a space for the eye. Wouldn't it be better quality and easier if you just slit and drift the eye?
   - trapper - Thursday, 03/24/05 18:35:29 EST

For me wrapping and welding is faster than slitting.
Also it doesn't apply as much with steel, but wrought iron has a tendency to continue splitting so the wrap takes care of that. Besides forgewelding is so satisfying!
This answer brought to you by the letters C,S,I and the colour blue
   JimG - Thursday, 03/24/05 18:55:33 EST

UPS: Normally I mail everything from the local post office which is close by. However, large heavy orders, especialy those going long distance are much cheaper via UPS. SO, I have ocassional trips to the UPS counter. Years ago I daily pickup (different business). At that time it cost less than $5/week. Now they want $50/month for daily pickup if I ship anything or not. The months I do not ship UPS make up for the ones I do.

The reason I pickup product now also has to do with UPS. Depending on which driver delivers they lable my business as a "residential" delivery. Every other month I would get a surprise bill from my supplier for $40 to $75 in EXTRA residential fees. I had a LONG discussion with the driver and his management, thought we had it sorted out. . but NOT. Normal UPS for a van load would cost me $100, but as a residential delivery it jumps to $150. Although it should NOT be cost effective the two trips I made in the past two days saved $300 in shipping. . ($50/hour for my time)

If I was shipping more product I'd go ahead with a daily pickup account. THIS of course would settle the business/not a business problem. . . which I consider extortion by UPS.

NOTE: UPS policys vary from region to region. Many are friendlier and more flexible than ours. . So I use the US mail as much as possible.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/24/05 19:15:35 EST

Trapper; for the traditionalists the fold and weld is what they used to do when steel was 5 times or more expensive that wrought iron, so you would use WI for the body and just lay in the bit of steel and weld up. Many folk continue the traditional method---why folks are making one anyway rather than buying one for a buck or two at the fleamarket?.

Drifting a straight and clean eye is not a trivial process either!

My last small axe was from an old farriers rasp---sparked out as high carbon (*old*!) that I wrapped and welded up, didn't even use a laid in bit...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/24/05 19:38:14 EST


Suggestion: Determine how much part-time help you would need for someone else to pretty well run the store. Say it is five hours, three days a week. Now say you hire them through a temp. agency and they will bill you for $14.00 hour. Your part time help then runs you $210.00 week (and the temp. agency takes care of all of the payroll paperwork). How much would you have to raise prices in the store of break even on the extra $210? Say it is 10%. Will your market still be that with a 10% price increase? I would expect so. Thus, you still have the same amount of income from the store but your time for other projects has doubled in that running the store now takes up half of what you have available.

The reason you are selling bulk orders of Kao-wool is probably because you are cheaper than any other source. Thus, there would well be room for a price increase.

Another aspect is decide what things you need to do personally and what you can pass off to someone else. Take the LG question from India. Seems like you could have just as easily referred them to Sid for their answers. Your twice weekly chats with Richard Postman may be interesting, but do they really add any income? Limiting those calls to once a month would pick up how manhours for you?

Make a list of all of your anvilfire-related activites and then prioritize them, largely based on the net revenue they produce when your time and expenses are factored in. Now start culling from the bottom of the list up.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/24/05 20:50:30 EST

Thank you for all your helpful advice about the mechanical hammer vs. anvil comparison. I think you are right about the treadle hammer idea. Fast is good for drawing down. I guess that I am biased because my legs are a lot stronger than my arms (choice of sports). It seems from the prices quoted for junk yard hammer building costs, they should cost less than a used anvil, but there is a huge amount of time (and I gather, frustration, as well) that is required to construct the hpammer.

ptree, thanks for your observation about the leaf spring hammer. This idea is very interesting to me: A small hammer driven by an appliance or surplus motor with a small ram and anvil, just designed to better or equal a hand hammer with a decent (non-RR or ASO) anvil. From the comparisons with the Little Giant and the EC-JYH, the small homemade leaf spring hammer may be a worse performer than a decent anvil with a hand hammer, at least for the first hour. I do not have time to stay in practice with forging, due to other committments and neighbor annoyance. They would get upset if they heard bang-bang-bang every night.

I had a chance to work in a real blacksmith's shop, with a real anvil. It was better than the RR-track anvil, but not that much better. After about an hour, I got really tired and started making mis-hits. I did get to try my hand at striking, and it was awesome. The second hand more than doubles the power and control, and you can really do a lot with a few (directed) blows of that 10 pound sledge. But, it sounds like a mechanical hammer with a 20 pound head will be nothing like that striker's sledge.
   EricC - Friday, 03/25/05 03:16:21 EST

Please send me a proforma invoice for 6 copies of anvil america BY Richard Postman. thank you in advance.
   LIBRAIRIE DU CAMEE - Friday, 03/25/05 09:09:19 EST


"Although it should NOT be cost effective the two trips I made in the past two days saved $300 in shipping. . ($50/hour for my time)"

The buyer should be paying for shipping costs. Sounds like you are selling with the price including shipping. If so can you change your pricing structure to where S&H is over and above item cost?

Also, here again you had six hours involved, which saved you $300 on shipping. Now say you had that part-time help do it for the $14 hour I used above. Your savings would still be $216 and you would of had those six hours to do something else with.

On employee cost, the benefits, etc. will run about 40% of base pay. That is, if the base pay is $10 hour, cost to employer will be about $14.

One brother-in-law has a H&AC service business. He hired one of his sons through a temp. agency. He said it was well worth the extra cost not to have to fool with the various paperwork involved.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 03/25/05 10:13:17 EST

In reference to the earlier posts regarding RR spikes. Mcmaster-Carr sells new spikes in two sizes for a reasonable price.

This post brought to you by CSI.
   Brian C - Friday, 03/25/05 10:47:31 EST

Ken Scharabok, I have no business knowledge and thats why I work for someone else but reading your post`s it sounds like you have some valid ideas for Guru to consider about his time/money management.

Guru, Take no offense with this but over the years I have seen you post huge responses about the same thing over and over. I am sure I either posted here or emailed you about this a long time ago saying you should have a cut and dried FAQ about certian topics thus saving your time. Trimming things off the site that may be "neat" but not needed right now (i.e. touchmark registry, auction, others) to make the core run, they could be brought back at a later date after things are more stable.

Answer questions along with the persons progress. I know there are way too many questions here and other places about building powerhammers and the people don`t get anything built for the most part. Cull these questions out and answer the first one or two then after they send pictures of the beginning process you answer a few more questions. This will get rid of the talkers and help the builders. It may sound harsh but its like getting rid of the guy at work that stands around talking.

Work with iforgeiron, they have the "live blueprint" you don`t have to produce your iForge-HowTo, they are your friends over there.

   Robert IW - Friday, 03/25/05 11:39:38 EST

I think the whole idea was working things so the Guru could spend *MORE* time on the phone with Postman. Don't cut the things that make the job worth sticking around for!

   Thomas P - Friday, 03/25/05 12:05:39 EST

Shipping Costs and Labor: Ken this is cost avoided getting the material in my shop which the customer is not billed but comes out of my marked price. The $50/month UPS fee covering the fuel. The customer pays shipping from here to them. This has been an unusual month. I've made three of these trips when I normaly only make one. I started by having the product shipped to me via UPS but could not afford the random surprise EXTRA billing due to drivers that labled my deliveries as "residential".

Yes an employee would help but employee's have costs far beyond their hourly rate. If they drive your vehicals they must be added or your insurance changed to fleet rates, you must have facilities (toilet. . ) for the employee, OSHA rules apply in your (formerly one man) shop AND they must be watched and instructed daily. In my case there is a ton of work to be done ALL requiring materials that I cannot currently afford. Then there are the broken tools. . . For office help I would have to first build the office and then equip it. The last apprentice I had cost me in TIME nearly as much as he returned. Except for the ocassional trip to pickup product (which I was not insured for) it was a lose-lose situation for me. There is also the problem of being rural which lowers the available manpower pool simply by lack of transportation. Someone making minimum wage rarely has dependable transportation much less a vehical that can take a 20-30 mile comute.

In my case unless the person is very highly self motivated they would waste over half their day waiting for someone to say, "sweep up that dirt you are standing in". This is often in response to "what should I do next boss?" Minimum wage employees usualy require constant management which means you cannot afford ONE, you need enough that you can add a manager position to the payroll. . . Unless you can afford half your day directing the employee. In a situation where the employee works with you side by side it is different.

The facilities and management costs as well as lack of productivity is the reason many single laborer positions are filled off the books. They get paid a little more than minimum wage, have no taxes taken out making the money worth more to them but they do not have any benefits, accident insurance or social security. The employer avoids the accounting costs, matching taxes, insurance(s). . . Its illegal but there are very good reasons it is done by everyone from small farmers to the rich hiring a maid. The reasons employees agree to these jobs is that "minimum wage" is far less than a minimum living wage. If they can get paid more "off the books" then they do it. Economicaly it is a very complicated problem.

Localy, employees hired and paid through agencies cost double their pay rate (Costs plus the agency's mark up). Minimum wage employees cost nearly $20/hour. If they are only 50% effective (as most are) then your real cost is $40/hour PLUS the items mentioned above as well as management time. Manpower agencies exist because the tax paperwork burden is so great that a small business cannot hire ONE employee without hiring another, an accountant.

This gets back to where I tell folks their shop rates must be $100/hour or more. If you have a REAL employee cost of $50/hour for productive time your rate MUST be double that or more. That is where people get in trouble hiring minimum wage employees. They have no idea what the real costs are.

I've had employees in many situations over the past 30 years. Sometimes they are profitable, sometimes not. In every situation they cost you far more than you expect. In a small business if you cannot afford to pay those costs before hiring the employee you cannot afford the employee.
   - guru - Friday, 03/25/05 12:59:27 EST

If Guru wants to play around on the phone and computer he needs to work for the State, Feds. or another company. ; ) grin

I agree on downtime Thomas, talking to friends ect.

   Robert IW - Friday, 03/25/05 13:07:41 EST

GURU> Shake the bushes around your place. There is surely one older retired fellow that can do the running to pick-up and take to UPS. There is always somebody like that around. They are bored to the teeth and would welcome being needed for short durations. They have their own rigs and ins. You pay them and their gas and a pat on the back, your glad and their tickled to death to have something to do. When they have doctors or other appt. you do it. I had several of these guys and loved them.

   sandpile - Friday, 03/25/05 13:12:35 EST

FAQs: Robert, I've edited dozens of FAQs and there are dozens more to do. One problem is folks ask questions before reading them. I often answer in length hoping to find time to put the more recent, hopefully better answer into a FAQ.

Many of anvilfire's problems are its organic growth. We have no less than 4 user databases used for logins. This is a result of using various software packages that each have their own user backend. Yes it is time for a major redesign and update.

Microsoft stupidity does not help. After many months I now know that our drop down menus do not work on most Win XP systems due to security settings. For maintainability we used a common RECOMMENDED practice of having a library of javascript functions. All the user pages call the same drop down menu code. IF I change the one file it changes all the pages. But some odd setting in XP prevents this practice. Every page header will need to be changed and then tested under XP which I refuse to use. . .

These are typical large website maintenance issues. Something that has worked for 5 years suddenly doesn't work because Bill Gates had a whim or had an argument with another software company like when they shipped versions Windirt wihtout Java support because of a battle with SunMicro systems. . . . XP also blocks Flash content by default. Although we all hate those big flash intros by bad designers there are also sites that run entirely on Flash and those that use small Flash components from menus to small animations to very good effect. There had been a BIG push to use Flash more and more in this manner because it displayed exactly the SAME on every system and provided tools not available in HTML. Server code can detect if you have Flash installed or not BUT it cannot detect if IE has defeated it. . Microsoft does not own Flash. . so they have given it a kick that may kill it. Microsoft IS the Evil Empire. . .

Then there are things you thought you fixed. . I thought I had killed the Auction. It has not worked since we moved the server. Actually it worked for a while but some odd server change that I cannot track down broke it. . . I THOUGHT I had pulled it from the menu. . . There is SOMETHING everyday. They updated our server maintenance software the other day and THAT overwrote a bunch of customized files AND standard files but assuming another setting. One update, months of debugging. Yes, I am upset.
   - guru - Friday, 03/25/05 14:33:32 EST

I am interestid in anhydorus borax and a sawyer's anvil. Any ideas? bowie duncan
   bowieduncan - Friday, 03/25/05 18:56:47 EST

I've been using the side of my chopsaw blade for grinding and deburring stock. I know this isn't what the machine is made for, so I'm going to buy a belt sander and a grinder. I'm not sure what brand to look for. Any help would be appreciated.
   MIKE HILL - Friday, 03/25/05 19:03:27 EST

how do i go about case hardening metal without spending money on chemicals etc
   charlie - Friday, 03/25/05 19:14:52 EST

Do any of you know if an Indian Chief post vise by Columbus Forge & Iron Co. would have been painted originally and if so what color? I'm cleaning mine up and getting it ready to mount. I don't think I've got either Rich or Chuck's patience to polish and blue it! I've got a Columbian that's an awful shade of orange- It's going to need a repaint too when I redo it.

   SGensh - Friday, 03/25/05 19:18:31 EST

bowieduncan, contact me at the e-mail site. I've got what I think is a very early hornless anvil that I think is what sawmakers used, wrought with steel top. I'm in Baltimore, MD.
   John Larson - Friday, 03/25/05 19:20:42 EST

My leaf spring hammer at 32# was way better than a hand hammer. At 45#, and a 3 Hp motor, I have drawn out a machine pry bar from 1 13/16" od axle stock. Not fast, but it did the job. At 32# it was slow but comfortable at 1" square. At 45#, 1" square is great stock to make leafs and vines from.
My leaf hammer is not the true pro's tool the a good air hammer is, but I built it, its cheap, and I can repair anything on it cheap.
I think the leaf spring JYH is the easy way to build, as there is less critical machining that the other designs.
   ptree - Friday, 03/25/05 19:58:43 EST

Sounds like you need to look for some courier services, I see them doing deliveries around here all the time, at least one of them has a 200+ mile delivery radius. I know they deliver in Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Rochester, & Duluth, MN
   - Hudson - Friday, 03/25/05 20:00:23 EST

Bowie Duncan:

You may make your own anhydorus borax. Just put 20 Mule Team borax in your oven at about 300 degrees until it forms a solid cake. Crush up and bake again. When it no longer cakes it is anhydorus.

There is a sawyer's anvil on eBay now. A mere $1,800 as I recall.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 03/25/05 20:51:16 EST


You can case harden with nothing more than charred bone meal, scrap leather and charcoal. Pack your steel in a box with the bone meal, leather and some charcoal, then seal it up and heat in the forge for a period of time. The time, temperature and carburizing materials all determine the depth of the final case. The case is created when the carbon from the packing material migrates into the outer layer of the steel, resulting in a higher carbon outer shell.

Generally, any material that will liberate carbon upon heating wil work; charred bone meal, scraps of leather and charcoal are the customary ones. A piece of capped black iron pipe large enough to hold the work and the carbonaceous material works fine for a hardening box and is easy to obtain, though you can use anything from a dutch oven with a tight lid to a custom made hardening box. The carbon will migrate into the steel of the hardening box too, by the way.

The temperature needed for case hardening is in the range of 1650-1700ºF., and the time can range from an hour to several hours, depending on the depth of case desired. It is something you need to experiment with as there are so many variables.

See the Anvilfire FAQ's section for more information, also there is a fairly thorough description of the process in Machinery's Handbook.
   vicopper - Friday, 03/25/05 20:52:24 EST


Okay, if you want to take the easy way out, just scour the thing with some medium coarse Rol-Loc discs on a die grinder and then swab on some SatinShield. Of take your cue from the fashionable ladies and remember that "you can never go wrong with a little something in basic black." (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 03/25/05 20:56:23 EST

What type of steel are RR spikes usually made of?
   - trapper - Friday, 03/25/05 21:10:35 EST

TRAPPER> There have been spikes made in the last several years with more carbon. The old spikes had very little carbon. The ones with an H and C are probably in the .3+ area on CARBON. They will get hard enough to make cold chisels, punches and low quality knives.
   sandpile - Friday, 03/25/05 22:24:14 EST

Mike; without telling us more about what you want to do with it we don't know if you need a $50, a $500 or a $2000 grinder.

2x72" belts are a standard---means there are a lot of different grits and they come in big boxes cheap

Burr-King, Wilton SquareWheel and Bader are all respected in the knife world but are a bit pricy for a hobby shop. IIRC Coote made a good grinder for a lot less

Tell us more what your needs are and we can make suggestions closer to what you want.

   Thomas P - Friday, 03/25/05 23:09:12 EST

Dear Guru,
As a person who has only recently found the site (no sorry taken an interest in the site) I can see that you have a problem with lack of funds and too much work to do. I've been sitting here reading the posts, to see if I got an answer to mine, and I have read somewhere that you would like more CSI members. Well I thought I would go and have a look at joining. This is where I see a problem, I don't see any real benefit in joining. Lets have a look at what we get, add free pages well the adds don't worry me anyway, 10% discount in the store well I live in Australia so I don't think I'd be buying to much from you, your name a different colour in the guru's den mmmmmm sorry not interested. If you want members you need to give people a reason to join. Information you can only get by being a member maybe have most of the iforge items as members only or more detailed descriptions, more impressive peices. I don't know what you could offer but I do know that in this world today not too many people are going to pay for something they can get for free. As for having a worker don't dismiss it entirly, it is hard to get good help these days beleive me I know but I have an excellant apprentice at the moment so good help can still be found. As for having an elderly person to do some of the running around for you, excellant idea I have 1 myself and he loves doing it. I pay him bugger all but it gives him some tax free money, he helps himself to the offcuts which I then weld up for him when he's dreaming up some contraption. Without him I would be lost he saves me a lot of time. So Guru here are just a couple of thoughts for you but being an intellegant man I'm sure you have thought of such things yourself. Otherwise keep up the great work I think what you are doing here is excellant.
   hotmetal - Friday, 03/25/05 23:32:11 EST


You mentioned the tangible benefits of being a CSI member, but what about the INTANGIBLE benfit?

Helping to keep Anvilfire afloat comes to mind pretty quickly, doesn't it?

This message brought to you by CSI and the Color Blue.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/26/05 00:05:40 EST

Howdy I am looking for a place to make me a couple of stamps where's the place to go ? thanks Lem
   lem oehrtman - Saturday, 03/26/05 00:57:57 EST

THOMAS P. is right. I made a bunch of knives on a hand-held belt sander turned upside down in a vice. Took a while but it will work. If you want spend a little of your savings. A T&L, GRIZZLY, or SQUARE-WHEEL are on the bottom of the price range. All good service machines. BURR-KING, BADER and HARD-CORE on the top and they are real nice machines. Nine inch disc sanders for a lot of things, flat grind, handles, edge and spine flattening. Files, sandpaper and elbow grease will replace all of them.GRIN
   sandpile - Saturday, 03/26/05 01:19:55 EST

Hi :)
What would you guys Recommend for Starting out Blacksmiths as far as projects and excercises to hone ones skills in the craft?
   Fabian - Saturday, 03/26/05 09:32:54 EST


Check out the projects on the iForge page, and read the 21st Century-Getting Started page. Both are accessible from the pull-down menu at the top right of this page.

   vicopper - Saturday, 03/26/05 09:39:45 EST

For those using vermiculite for annealing ETC.
I just noticed in one of my trades that a major mining company has been indicted for mining and packaging vermiculite that has a fair asbestos content. Seems they denied and covered up the asbestos side. As most know, asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, and is common in various parts of the world. This is just a heads up to consider that stirring up dust from your vermiculite may spread asbestos fibers. As alway, a dust respirator is advised for any breathable dust or fibers. Ask for a P-100 filter for dusts.
This update brought to you by CSI.
   ptree - Saturday, 03/26/05 10:05:12 EST

Howdy guys.I have a couple questions that corcern hydraulic forging presses to ask. First of all, do they need a heavy anvil like a power hammer has? Do they also need a ram, like a 25# chunk of steel to back up the ieds. I have done some research and have seen them both ways, but i have never found if an anvil and ram is needed.
I appreciate any help or directions that you all give me.Thanks abunch!
   Blueboy - Saturday, 03/26/05 10:33:19 EST

I have an old anvil that I would like to id. How do I email the photo"s?
   John L. Washington - Saturday, 03/26/05 11:04:50 EST

"I've been sitting here reading the posts, to see if I got an answer to mine"


That right there is a tangible, this enitire site is a tangible. Think of CSI dues as a way of paying it forward not back.
Sure you can access (for now) almost any part of it for free, but without the support of CSI how long could Jock keep it going?

If we all do a little none of us have to do a lot. Dollar for dollar I get more from this site than I do from my guild membership.

I also see having my name in blue to be a tangible as well. I wasn't sure of any advantage either before I ponyed up the brass, but seeing my name in blue, knowing in a small way that I am part of this site, it's mine. I may not be able to open up librarys all around the world like Andrew Carnegie, but in a small way I can help with the virtual bricks and mortar that is building this virtual library. A library where everyone is welcome to all the information, whether they are CSI memebers or not.

This reply brought to you by the letters C,S,I, and the colour blue.
   JimG - Saturday, 03/26/05 11:12:41 EST

How soon after the payment for subscription to CSI do I get the secret handshake and the Hi sign?
   brian robertson - Saturday, 03/26/05 12:13:06 EST

Dear Guru, I have purchased a Marquette Redi-Spot, Model 24 spot welder. I would like to have this machine checked out and serviced before use. It is also missing the leads to it. Can you help with a Marquette address? If not how about a service center in the St. Louis Mo. area? Please help- Rockin
   Rock'in Rooster - Saturday, 03/26/05 12:13:26 EST

John L. Washington:

We may be able to identify your anvil from a description. Look very closely at the side with the horn to the right. You may have to wirebrush to bare metal. Do you see any numbers or lettering? (Tip: Once down to bare metal lay anvil on side and dust that side with flour. Brush off, leaving flour in depressions. Sometimes letters and numbers jump out at your.) Are there handling holes in it? If so, under horn and heel, front and back feet or Bottom? Look at bottom. Is there a depression? If so, what shape? Look at front foot. Is there a group of numbers there? If there what appears to be a small ledge at the top of the front and back feet? Can you see if it has a separate plate on top as evidenced by a seam line? Is the anvil blocky or very graceful looking? Tap anvil top with a flat faced hammer. Does it have a nice ring or a dull sound? Bump under hardy hole? Notch in foot under hardy hole? Number(s) on any of the outside feet or under horn? Is their a raised area of the side mentioned above which looks like it might have been a logo at one time?

You can send pictures to me if you desired. Just click on my name for an e-mail form and attached them.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 03/26/05 12:34:32 EST

After having done some research I'm thinking about building a belt sander. I've got a one horse power motor and a bench mandrel. I know that Mcmaster has contact wheels. The part I'm wondering about is the idler wheels. The industrial machines I've seen have metal idler wheels that are crowned to keep the belt centered. Is there anywhere to buy these idler wheels? What metal are they made out of? Do you think is would be cost prohibitive to have them machined? Also, is there any other material that can be used? Thanks
   MIKE HILL - Saturday, 03/26/05 13:13:19 EST

It's usualy pretty fast. I used a credit card for my dues, and I had the secret handshake waiting for me before I even got off the phone with him.
   JimG - Saturday, 03/26/05 13:15:40 EST

MIKE HILL I don't the addy handy but ANN SHEFFIELD, of SHEFFIELD KNIFE SUPPLY in FLA. sells a wheel asembly with an adjustment for alighning the belt.It is called a back-idler. This is the single easyist way to make a home-built sander track straight. K & G SUPPLY out of AZ. also sells this piece.
   sandpile - Saturday, 03/26/05 13:35:10 EST

Asbestos!!!! ( not to scare any one ...but this is bad news)
NOT GOOD!! do not stirr the dust up at all!
Keep it wet at all times and tripple plastic bag it.
What makes asbestos deadly is air born particals(.001 micons) that are too small to see. These particals inter the lungs and get stuck in the air sacks the you need to exchange O2 .
Asbestos does not and can not be absorbed by the body. So your body starts to incase it( much like a cyst). Scarring occurs around this cyst and you loose lung volume. This condition is called Asbestosis. It may or may not kill you( determined by expousure length and intensity). Talk to your local health dept and get a lung volume test. If any abmormalities are found, get to a lawer and a doctor.

Ps there is no cure for this or fix it.
   - Timex - Saturday, 03/26/05 14:04:37 EST

Belt Sander: One of the slickest designs I have ever seen is by Ray Clontz (AKA ptpidler) and featured in our NEWS coverage of the 2004 NC-ABANA meet at Big BLU Manufacturing (Vol.32 page 8). Ray is also the inventor of the "Spare Tire Hammer".

There is a couple photos that should be good enough to work from. The critical thing is that many bearings can not take the high speeds. The small top idler needs good needle bearings and lubricant.

Maybe we can talk Ray into writing some detailed info to go with the photos.

The other place for DIY belt grinder info is the book Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop. Wayne uses some wood frame designs and low speed motors.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/26/05 14:18:09 EST

Asbestos fibers that are dangerous to the body are actually about 1 x 4 microns, but as you noted are too small to see with the naked eye. The human with average sight, in good light, and decent contrast can resolve down to about 40 microns. A red blood cell is about 4 x 7 microns.
The vermiculit that was noted has a small content of asbestos, and while asbestos has danger, it is often overblown. The air outside in many areas has asbestos, as it occurs naturally. While i do not intend to intentionally breath the stuff, It often takes 30 or more years to show up as a problem. Smoking makes the problem worse, by maybe 500 times, as smoking removes the bodies defenses againt inhalled fibers and dusts.
If I begain to list the materials that have contained asbestos, the Guru would stop me as there is not the much bandwidth. literally thousands of materials. Look down at the floor from time to time. If the vinyl composition tile is 9" x 9", then it probably has asbestos. The mastic may also. Caulk, roofing materials,electrical parts ETC. ETC.
I put the post up to caution people. don't pour the stuff and create a cloud. don't stirr it up. wear a respirator if you create dust, and if you are still fearful, wet it down, and bag it up.
Call a doctor and a lawyer? Over reaction. The lawyers are the ones spreading fear. I know, I'm married to one!
   ptree - Saturday, 03/26/05 15:19:46 EST

Asbestoes in Vermiculite: First, the dangers of asbestoes in small quantites have been WAY overblow. Much of what you read are scare tactics but out by the class action lawyers trying to make millions over the subject while 99% of their "clients" get nothing. The only place asbestoes has been proven a hazzard is to workers exposed to it every day processing it or installing it.

Remember the big inner city lead-paint scares? Yep it is a problem, lead is bad stuff. But it turns out that most of the environmental lead that children were exposed to in cities had to do with living near high traffic roads where auto exhust produced a constant cloud of lead in the air. . .

The asbestoes in the vermiculite case is complicated. Vermiculite as a mineral is mined and ocassionaly has a very small quantity of asbestoes in it. A supplier that normaly produces asbestoes free vermiculite mined some from a different location and did not properly label it. The case is more about fear mongering than anything else. As always the cover up is worse than the original action. The fear of the asbestoes content put resellers at risk for lawsuits and THIS is the core of the lawsuit.

Vermiculite is used industrialy and by home gardeners. In the case of the home gardeners (who have been warned not to use vermiculite by the fear mongerers) they use a few pounds a year and while doing so are exposed to MUCH MORE HAZZARDOUS substances in the form of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many seeds are coated with pesticide and handling them is a small risk but it is infinitely greater than the asbsetoes content that MIGHT be in the vermiculite. Digging in the earth with your hands such as potting plants you are also exposed to Tetnus, Diptheria and Anthrax among other things. Did you get your DPT booster shot before your spring gardening?

A friend of mine puts it this way. . "Would you rather be in a room with the floor covered with asbestoes or gasoline?"

Everything in life has a risk. Sitting in front of your computer monitor right now your brain is being exposed to magnetitic fields that are known to stimulate certain types of growth, possibly cancers and your eyes are being exposed to various radiations that are suspected of being bad for you. The probibility of this having some horible effect on you is much greater than potting a few plants with vermiculite that has a microscopic amount of asbestoes 99% of which is bound into the vermiculite OR mixing some vermiculite or ACTUAL asbestoes into a refractory mix for building a forge . . .

If you live in a new home, particularly a modular or mobile home but increasingly ANY new home the levels of formaldehyde and solvents from glues used in the construction materials and cheap chipboard furniture. Although being reduced in construction materials the cabinetes and furniture are still a significant source of formaldehyde. While most of the solvents gas off in the first few months formaldehyde will gas off for decades.

Materials with asbestoes content or POSSIBLE asbestoes content should be handled with common sense but they are far less of a hazzard than many other things we are exposed to every day particularly in the metal working shop.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/26/05 15:19:57 EST

A forging press and a forging hammer are two different machines and the requirements are very different.
A hammer, due to the impact, MUST have an anvil. The ram weight is the source of the working force, as in, weight moving fast = foot/pounds of energy.
A hydraulic forging press uses the energy in the pressure of the working fluid, exerted over a large working area in the cylinder to gererate the force to forge. As in a 1000psi fluid working on a 6" diameter ram exerts about 2800 pounds of thrust.( 1000psi x area of the piston, and the area is pi x radius squared. thats 1000psi x 3.14 x 3" x 3" = 2826#) As this is usually a slow steady push, the frame of the press must be strong enough to react the force, but not the impact load of a hammer. Therefore a press does not need a heavy anvil and ram, but rather needs a strong frame.

A quick note on hydraulic presses used to forge. Please remember that a pin hole leak of hydraulic oil if it impacts the hot metal will make a flamethrower. Please use a fire resistant fluid, such as a water/glycol, or polygycol fluid. These fluids, if maintained at the correct water content are very fire resistant. Please consider the hoses on the machine and replace at any signs of damage. It is a good idea to avoid hoses and instead pipe with a good grade of hydraulic pipe such as seamless schedule 80.
I work in the forging industry, and have for 24 years. For 21 years of that I worked for a valve and fitting maker that supplied the heavy hydraulic press trade. I have seen the results of pinhole leaks in oil systems on forging equipment, and it is not pretty.
   ptree - Saturday, 03/26/05 15:35:16 EST

Hydraulic Press Components: Blueboy,

No, a hydraulic press does not need an "anvil" but it needs a very stout platten and support structure.

The frame as well must be very heavy, in fact it SHOULD be heavier than a power hammer. A power hammer frame sees acceleration and decelleration loads but not the full force of the ram. A hydraulic press frame see 100% of the force created by the system.

Hydraulic rams tend to be solid heavy pieces in order to distribute and transmit the forces. Since a small compact ribbed part is out of the question solid pieces are used. However, there is no need for extra mass other than the size of the part to do the job. A short fat part or nearly square will do fine. However, if you have a long guide system the ram may be made long simply to fit the guide system.

If you are worried about design stresses the general rule of thumb for normally stressed machinery is 10,000 PSI max, keys and pins should be no more than 9,000 PSI max. This alows for building everything from mild steel and not needing to carefully analyze every part. At these loads you have low deflection, low stresses and a 4-5:1 shear safety factor. Assembly with high strength fasteners (most are good to 100,000 PSI) doubles the safety factor in many cases.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/26/05 15:41:13 EST

Belt grinder parts: Try www.http://beaumontmetalworks.com
I bought a couple of wheels from them for my homemade belt grinder.

CSI. I am a paying supporter of this site. Sure, I used to read it for free, but I am proud to help bring this site to the public. I have learned so much from this site and from the help of other blacksmiths, that this is just one way to pay it back, and to help keep the art alive. I read the pages here everyday. If I were buying books, how much would that cost me in a year? But here, I can get the answers I need, and answers I don't need, but which add to my knowledge overall. A lot of interesting topics come up here, that I may never put my hand to, but I do get a chance to learn about. Knowledge is a good thing. If you want to see that base of knowledge continue, than think about being an active supporter of this site. It's the right thing to do.
   Bob H - Saturday, 03/26/05 15:41:17 EST

CSI Benefits: This is largly a charitable organization that was setup to make this site available to the public for free AND to insure its existance when I am gone.

We have debated the free vs. pay content several times. I personally think that free content is more valuable to the site and public in the long run. My reasons:

1) We answer questions from tens of thousands of people, many school children or their teachers that visit here a couple times and that is it. If they had to register to post a question or pay to read the FAQ's then they would just go away. As a non-profit CSI is dedicated to free public education.

2) When you put content behind a password system it is also closed off to Internet search engines. Our value to many sponsors is that we are found under tens of thousands of keywords. That brings us more newbies and they in turn find our sponsors.

What kind of people read anvilfire? (remember the Playboy line)

1) Hobbie smiths
2) Professional smiths
3) Doctors, Lawyers, Artists, other professionals
4) People looking for smiths to do a job.
5) Children studying history, blacksmithing, armour.
6) Teachers looking for historical information OR to actualy teach blacksmithing.
7) Engineers world wide out of interest or looking for answers.
8) Authors of fact and fiction that want to "get it right". 9) Researchers of various types.
10) Curriosity seakers
11) Would be swordsmiths. . . (almost 30,000 accesses to the Swordsmith article in 18 months)

OBTW - Those students include kids from the 3rd grade up to graduate school. Sadly the older they are the more they are looking for US to do their homework.

We also get a fair number of women visiting anvilfire and many are CSI members. Although I have not counted (it is hard to tell m/f by names sometimes) I THINK we have a higher percentage than in blacksmithing on the whole. At least I hope so. We need more women in mechanical trades in general including engineering.

Back when I could actually READ our server logs (they are too big now) I made a list of the places and companies accessing anvilfire. Name a major corporation and they were on the list. Name a military base, ditto, same for every country. Much of this would go away if we were a pay to view resource.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/26/05 16:15:58 EST

anvil stands: After seeing the anvil stands at Steve's B2Design I went home and built three. I used 2" plate for the base, 2"x4"x 3/8" tubing for the three legs, 1/2"x2 1/2"x4" for the feet and a tube of silcone for glue. Let me tell ya, there is a serious improvement in proformance and huge reduction in decibels. I wish I would have known about this 35 years ago; I might hear a little better when my wife is calling. I have three wooden anvil stands for sale cheap.
   brian robertson - Saturday, 03/26/05 17:33:55 EST

I have chossen to create the Basic Tripod Brake Drum Forge as my first project, i currently have a Forge that looks very wierd, It looks like a Small table, in the Middle you have a hole that goes right through to the other side Verticaly, Now the Bellows I would persume is Operated by a crank that is pertruding Outwards to its side about a foot and a half. I would think its Coal Operated and its not inclosed like the ones I have seen on the net. Can someone please help Indentify this Type of forge? The Gentleman who gave it to me said he used it to shoe horses. Thank you agin :)
   Fabian - Saturday, 03/26/05 17:42:32 EST

Fabian, That is a standard coal forge. The enclosed ones you see are gas forges. Build a fire and crank gently and in a few minutes you will have white hot iron.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/26/05 18:16:18 EST

Rockin Rooster,

Marquette was purchased recently by Lincoln Electric, but they had gone through a couple of changes of hands before that, I think. Lincoln may very well have manuals and even parts. Check with your local Lincoln welder dealer.

But spot welders are pretty much generic, just a transformer, switch and contacts for working parts, so you shouldn't have a problem getting any good welding supply to check it out. But don't expect them to do it for free, unless you spend a few thousand bucks a year with them.

I've resuscitated a couple of old spot welders of unknown origin; check the windings, clean the contactors and replace where necessary, and make new contact electrodes from copper bar. Both of them gave me several years of good service in my sign shop after rehabilitation.
   vicopper - Saturday, 03/26/05 19:13:06 EST


Well, it does seem like you are in a dilemma. You can keep anvilfire essentially free and be paid accordingly or make it pay per view and be paid accordingly.

Ken Scharabok
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 03/26/05 20:07:51 EST

Ken, there is a lot of us out there working on plan "C" (and D-Z and Aleph Null for that matter!) Don't force it into a binary system if it doesn't have to be.

Just look at SOFA, the membership cost is trivial, so much so that there are a lot of out of state members who don't attend meetings and don't really profit much from the newsletter. Funds for the newsletter come from people donating things to be raffled off---what did you get in return for donating to the raffle? Exposure, bragging rights, the feeling that *you* are contributing to making it a going concern, (also the chance to clean out the junk in the shop...). Basic costs for SOFA are covered by the income from Quad-State Blacksmiths Round-Up. So there is an example of plan "C" that you are familiar with.

What can we come up with for Anvilfire?

Perhaps this would better be over at the hammer-in.

Thomas---going to Quad-State this fall from NM if at all possible!
   Thomas P - Saturday, 03/26/05 22:07:26 EST

Thank you :) quick question the Air is Blown Up wards do you just Build the Fire around the hole or on top of it ?
   Fabian - Saturday, 03/26/05 23:57:46 EST


Yes. You build the fire on top of and around the air hole.
   vicopper - Sunday, 03/27/05 00:10:35 EST

? Is there some thing missing at iForge. Scrolling down to #158 figure 4 i see the leaf tool I remember but not used as I thought. In figure 6 I see the candle cups I was looking for but not the demo for makeing them. Do I have iForge confused with some other site? Is there some way to talk/E-mail to Jr. Strasil? the checks not in the mail but will be next pay day.Rob,Member of IBA and Sutton-Terock memorial blacksmith shop and soon CSI. No one said any thing about union dues for blacksmithing.LOL Keep up the good work All!
   Rob.F - Sunday, 03/27/05 01:33:17 EST


Jr. did a demo on making those that was posted by our friends over at iforgeiron.com. Check in the blueprints section under candle cups. I'll bet it's the one you had in mind.

   eander4 - Sunday, 03/27/05 02:05:29 EST

I'm building My own power hammer and was wander if you could tell my what I could use for head and base.
   joe the builder - Sunday, 03/27/05 02:11:23 EST

Joe the answer to that is "whatever you can get your hands on cheap" the more important thing is to get enough mass in the anvil. I'm assuming that when you say base you mean the anvil and not the chunk of steel everything sits on...

   Thomas P - Sunday, 03/27/05 02:23:32 EST

Asbestosis ,
Thank you for pointing out the size of the particals. I was mistaken. Yes asbestos is in just about every thing, and crossing the street in a busy town has a greater risk of death than asbestosis. But as I posted " Not to scare any one ..." my intent is just to inform , not to cause a panic. As fer the lawers,yes they do make big bank on class action suits, other wise they wouldn't do them. The class action suit is a way to get the corp. to own up to there mistakes and place the persons that were exposed into a tracking program in case related health problems arise . ( oil industry safety as an example ). As a sandblaster/ painter I've been exposed to several known " bad things " and am involved in a few medical tracking programs. Last but not least, the doctor. The doctor or doctors, would now the most or have the ability to get the most information about exposure rates and risk, and translate it as pertaining to each person.
Sorry if I was misleading in any way or scared any one. But they said the same thing about berrilum dust( navy 17yrs ago, aircraft brakes)
   - Timex - Sunday, 03/27/05 02:39:40 EST

I have some 2', 3', and 4' round sawblades from Sawmills in Montana. I know they are hard.... how hard I don't know for sure. I've read that most Sawmill blades where L4 steel. Now, my simple idea is to use a Water Jet to cut some blades out of the Sawmill Rounds and basically it be just a stock removal problem form there.... that is if L4 is good for knives? Therein is the problem. I don't know anything about L4 other than it is a high carbon steel with 1.5% Nickle.
Can you help me with more information about L4 and my idea of no hardening if I cut with a Water Jet...?

Thank YOU.... Colin
   Colin Paterson - Sunday, 03/27/05 04:18:28 EST


Thank you. You read my mind.

   Rob.F - Sunday, 03/27/05 05:39:51 EST

Ptree, check your math on 1000 psi on a 6" diameter piston. 1000 psi acting on a 6" piston is a force of 28,274 pounds. 14 tons.

Also, as we have discussed before, a pinhole leak hitting hot metal CAN make flame, but not necessarily WILL make flame. Caution is good. Fear is not. Fear is lack of knowledge.

High pressure hydraulics can be dangerous in many ways. Just like ANY STORED ENERGY! Springs or falling weight or propane or compressed air etc.

Water/glycol fluids are not a cure all for fires from hydraulic fluid. If there is a leak and when the water evaporates, a residue is left that will burn very nicely and toxically in contact with very hot metal. No doubt that generally a fire resistant fluid is safer around hot metal. Unfortunately, fire resistant fluids are less intuitive to use properly and safely than oil. For a small shop environment, my suggestion is to use oil and be safe about how you do it. Treat the oil as you do any fuel. Hopefully safer than many people treat their propane. Shields for any hoses that cannot be avoided, etc.

Blueboy, I have a home made 50 ton hydraulic press, have built many hydraulic machines, work in hydraulics and lubrication as a day job and am a registered Fluid Power Engineer. I suggest you set it up so you can change upper and lower dies in some way. The hydraulic cylinder ram "should" be guided externally in some way to reduce side load on the ram. Think of a log splitter and how the end of the rod is guided. In theory, you could be squishing straight down and there may not be much side load. In reality, if you are like many of us, you will push the abilities of the machine and side load the ram. Most hydraulic cylinders are not designed to handle serious side load. Side loading the ram will wear the rod bearings at least. My ram has a 9 inch bore and 5 inch diameter rod and there are still some times that I'm concerned about the side load. The side load will put twisting forces in the frame that must be accounted for in design. A C type frame is not recommended unless the distance from the ram center to the frame is very small like a log splitter. A balanced frame like an H frame is far more stable and will have less deflection you do not like.
   - Tony - Sunday, 03/27/05 07:14:17 EST

Yep, dropped a zero.
I stand pat on the fire resistant fluids. Yes the evaporated fluids will burn. Note the advice to maintain water content. Working in large forge shops, with automated equipment, I have seen many many small leaks that do burn when contacting hot metal. Granted, we run three shifts a day, mostly 7 days a week. We tend to see about a hose failure or leak somewhere every day. By using water gycol in the systems in proximity to the hot metal, we have few serious fires. Evaporated gycol fluid, that accumulates will burn, but this is a fire that is easy to fight. A blowing pinhole leak atomizes the oil much like a fuel oil burner, and the fire is often sudden and can reach horizontally quite a ways. Seen it, and I've seen the aftermath photos of several more.
I advise to use pipe where possible, and guard hoses if possible. I also advise to use a fire resistant fluid, and will continue to do so as that is also the FM way as well as what most other fire insurance guidlines say.
The only sure thing about machines is that they will fail when used enough. The safe way is to plan for the failure and use prudent choices. Hydraulics leak. Period. Even the military, in aircraft admit to a failure rate in hydraulics that is appalling. And this is in state of the art, well maintained systems. Let us agree that care should be taken in the design and construction of hydrulic forging systems, with care in planning for the leak that may occur.
   ptree - Sunday, 03/27/05 08:57:03 EST

Colin, I find no information on L4. L2 and L6, yes. Both are high enough in carbon to get pretty hard if heat treated properly. The problem is, first, we don't know exactly what alloy you have, and second, we don't know how hard it is. You have a decision to make: do you feel lucky? You can spend a lot of time and effort on a blade that may not be hardened enough to hold an edge. Or, you can buy a piece of hardened tool steel from a knifemakers supply and know what you have to start with. Or you can get an analysis done at a testing lab. If those sawblades are good steel, it would be worth it to know it up front.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/27/05 10:29:13 EST

Colin: See our FAQ on Junkyard steels. ANY used steel parts come under JunkYard steel rules.

Pipe and Hydraulics: Ptree, always note that in high pressure systems the pipe must be one of the thick wall heavy duty schedules designed for those high pressures. Schedule 40 plumbing pipe is rated way LOW and can burst in hydraulic systems.

Pinhole leaks in hydraulics are not only a fire hazard but they easily pierce the skin and eyes. A shot of hydraulic fluid in a vien can be lethal. Remember that the pin hole acts as a nozzel increasing the pressure and velocity of the jet.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/27/05 11:03:07 EST


It you don't have ready access to a water jet cutting system and expect to have it done commercially you might want to get a price quote for doing so first. This type service can be VERY expensive. Not only is it a limited run, the system has to be programmed first. If you do have access, cut out one blade and work it to see if it will harden to my needs.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 03/27/05 11:37:32 EST

Please note that in my previous post I suggested schedule 80 seamless, and in past posts forged steel fittings. I have indeed seen several injuries from injection of htdraulic oil and hydro test water. Also air paint gun injection. All had an unhappy side effect, and that was the injection of huge amounts of bacteria with ulgy results. The paint gun injection resulted from the removal of the guard, and when injected cost the man most of his hand.

I normally reccomend schedule 80 up to about 3000 psi, and then go to schedule 160. At 10,000 and above I suggest the move to a coned and threaded system. I have worked at pressures up to 30,000psi with the trheaded and coned system.
By the way, The velocity in a pin hole is fierce, but the liquid pressure remains the same. I have heard that the injection machines used for needle-less medical innoculations work at 2800 psi. As many hydraulic systems operate at 3000 psi these days the injunction to guard against pinholes is very valid. Last time I made that warning I was accused of being afraid of hydraulics.
Worked every day with them for over 20 years. Afraid? No Respectfull? Yes.
   ptree - Sunday, 03/27/05 11:57:01 EST

Edge Quenching

I quench in ATF. It has been my experience that incomplete submersion results in surface flare-up of the oil. Should edge quenching be done only in water or brine or is there safe method of edge quenching in oil?
   Ano - Sunday, 03/27/05 13:06:37 EST

I use 2 deep chevrolet valve covers- Put a holding rack in bottom one that holds knive at desired location- when oil flames up- cover with other valve cover- make sure you have an insulated handle on top cover - I have a wood
dowel between uprights for handle- works for me_
   - ptpiddler - Sunday, 03/27/05 14:03:39 EST

Ano, Wayne Goddard (see our book review page) uses a witches brew of grease, parafin and hydraulic oil (probably high flash point) to edge quench with good results and little or no flare up. He uses a shallow pan to control the depth of quench. If you are only quenching say 1/4" of a typical knife edge at the correct temperature you should not get so much vaporization as to result in flare up.

Wayne's quench media is sludgy in use and solidifies on cooling. He discusses the point in his "Cable Damascus" video.

There are water based quenchants that substitute for oil that are non-flamable as well as high flash point oils.
Some synthetic oils have extreamly high flash points or are completly non-flamable. However, I do not know how toxic the resulting vapors might be.

   - guru - Sunday, 03/27/05 14:38:11 EST

What is the meaning of Billet in Blacksmithing ?
   Fabian - Sunday, 03/27/05 14:47:06 EST

Fabian, A billet is any precut piece of steel. This applies to single pieces as well as a bundle in preparation to be welded.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/27/05 15:06:11 EST

Hazzards, Minimal or NOT and lockouts:

Ptree, sorry it was missing from your last post. .

The pin hole injection hazzard is very valid. Generaly it is a rare ocurance but as you noted but if you work with enough of anything then your odds change dramaticly for the worse. The fact is EVERY high pressure system is subject to having this hazzard at one time or another. Besides hydraulics it also occurs in high pressure steam systems (with related but different results).

Like all hazzards it is good to know they exist so you can be aware of them. We have ALL heard the injured guy (or his surviving workers) say "I didn't know THAT could happen". . . Its right up there with the famous last words of the redneck, "Hey Vern watch THIS!" or the reckless driver who says "the accelerator stuck and I couldn't stop!" All three much too predictable. . .

Lock Outs: I am always surprised at the number of folks I talk to that work in industry that do not know what a "lock out" is and that EVERY worker has the right and responsibility to lock out a machine they are working on. If it moves and you work on it (including CLEANING) then you have the responsibility to be sure the machine cannot accidently started while you are working on it.

In large plants doing the actual lock out is often the responsibility of someone else (plumber or electrician) and there are various procedures in place to handle the lock out. However, SOMEWHERE there will be a RED TAG indicating a safety lockout. It is your individual responsibility to be sure this tag is in place as if YOU did the lock out yourself. ASK your supervisor if you think a lock out is needed. REFUSE to work if no lock out exits.

In most cases a lockout is a padlock on a lockable "cutout" switch. Where multiple people are involved there is often a bar with hole for multiple locks. OR as noted above a valve or non-lockable switch may be "red taged". The electrical box is supposed to be withing sight of the machine so that the worker can see the lockout.

In the small shop or service organization training about this kind of thing tends to be infrequent or non-existant. However, it is just as important as in the big plant and includes EVERY worker.

Not a year goes by that one or more workers, usualy cleaning a machine, are killed by someone accidently starting the machine or the machine starting automaticaly on a timer while workers are inside. Huge industrial mixers and grinders are the usual culprit in fatalities but lesser injuries from all types of machines. Sadly it is most often a minimum wage laborer hired as a temp or part of a contract crew doing cleaning that is simply doing what they are told that gets hurt. Yes, even the janitor and cleanup guys need to be trained about lockouts. . .

I harp or rant on lock outs every once in a while because many of our readers work in industry and may not have been properly trained in the area of lock outs. Usualy it is after yet another conversation with someone that did no know the machine (or electrical circuit) they were working on should have been locked out during maintence. . . In this case it was my youngest brother, hired as an electricians helper, and told that getting shocked was a "normal" part of the job!
   - guru - Sunday, 03/27/05 15:22:38 EST

I agree, Lockout/Tagout is critical. THe OSHA standard indeed requires that every person working on a machine in a manner other than regular operation place a lockout. This includes a lock on evry source of energy. Lockout is the control of hazardous energy. All forms of energy. This means that any form of energy present in the machine be locked, blocked or removed. IE. if a press can sag when a pipe is opened, the press must be lowered all the way, or bloked up. Hydraulic accumulators must be bled down. Springs must be relaxed or caged. Flywheels must coast down. Compressed gasses and fluids under pressure must be blocked and bled.
If reader wants more info, call you state OSHA, and ask for the handout on lockout/tagout, or better yet the actual standard. Be aware that the standard is written in blood. That is, every rule was written after the fact, from the experience of accidents.
A list of critical safety training that is OSHA mandated;
1. Lockout/tagout
2. Haz-com IE. right to know about chemicals in the workplace
3. Hearing conservation. required if the workplace is above 85Db
4. Confined Spaces. Spaces big enough to enter, but not designed for human occupation.
5. electrical worker safety. If any electrical work is performed.
6.Forklift training.
There are many more that are required but not in every shop.

And Guru, if its about safety, and you save one person, it is NOT a rant!
   ptree - Sunday, 03/27/05 17:47:33 EST

Steam leaks. Ever see a class 2500 steam leak? 2500 psi steam at say, 1100F. Will not even condense for maybe 50'. roars like a jet in afterburner.
Saw a guy peen a pin hole in a bonnet sealweld on a leaking 2500# valve while it was leaking a tiny plume, only about 18"! Not in my job description!
   ptree - Sunday, 03/27/05 17:50:41 EST

OSHA is part of the problem. At least in my opinion.
While working for EG&G at KSC it was getting so rediculous that on one job there might be 80 locks and tags hanging on one small breaker.
I believe that a safety procedure or device ahould not be so cumbersome or a PITA so that folks ignore it.
But it should not be ineffective either.
   Ralph - Sunday, 03/27/05 18:58:18 EST

Ralph, I feel the same way about the MSDS requirements. Most have the most extreame case warnings and they require a safety engineer to interpert them. Others bury the details in multiple ingrediants that take a chemistry degree to understand. I KNOW my periodic table and basic toxins and can still pronounce and spell methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (the active ingrediant in polyester resin and epoxy hardener) but many MSDS on common products are too much for me. . consider the average Jill or Joe trying to make heads or tails of 6 pages of contents and warnings. This is an area that needs serious reform and clarification.

Working on hot, electrical or high pressure is always dangerous and takes a LOT of common sense and self preservation. In most simple tasks you like workers to follow procedures EXACTLY but sometimes the procedures are wrong. TWO similar cases.

Workers cleaning control rods at an early Naval nuclear experimental reactor. Instructions were clear, remove and hang a rod, clean a rod. Remove another, clean another. The author of the procedure forgot to say REPLACE first rod before removing next. The reactor suddenly flashed its water to steam killing the workers. It was the first serious fatal accident in our nuclear industry and the last nuclear related one for decades.

Workers at another Nuclear plant working on a steam line. They were replacing studs and nuts on a blank flange. There was no flowing steam so the pipe was cold. The instructions were to remove one nut and one stud one at a time. No instructions when to replace them. . . After so many were removed the rest suddenly failed. The pipe was not HOT but it WAS under pressure. . . hot steam followed cold. It was a terrible accident with both fatalities and serious injuries. After that you could get nobody to sign off on a procedure for many months. . .

In the blacksmith shop one of the most common hazzards we are exposed to is also the most overlooked, heavy objects. Nothing complicated, no moving parts. They just quietly sit there very innocently. . until you go to move them. It only takes an instant to mash a hand or finger, break a foot. I had a 75 pound swage block fall off a bench due to vibration. It ALMOST landed on my foot and DID break the things it landed on. I've also had lathe chucks fall on my hand exactly when I expected them to and when I THOUGHT I was FULLY ready. . Now I ALWAYS use a wood support block until aftert the chuck is fully released. Even a relatively small bar of steel can do significant damage if dropped or moving at any significant velocity.

Keep alert!

   - guru - Sunday, 03/27/05 19:19:06 EST

Ptree, Obviously, we agree that care should be taken in the design and construction of hydraulic forging systems. Regarding plannning for failure and knowing the risks, we also obviously agree that it should be done.

We may not agree on how to plan and build.

While your cautions are good and correct, your hydraulic posts can be read as "don't do it". I'd rather educate on how it CAN be done. Hydraulics is a great tool. A hydraulic forging press is FAR safer than a power hammer of ANY variety. Much more controlled and slower motion results in less flying iron and more time to get out of the way. A hydraulic forging press is not right for all work.

There are ways to be safe with hydraulics and they are not rocket science or costly. The hoses and connections on my forging press are on the other side of the press from me. If a hose, connection or pipe leaks, it will not spray on me. THIS is the correct way to guard against a fluid injection. Another safety risk is not replacing things until they leak. That's asking for trouble.

While I frequently design for 8000 psi at the request of customers, I do not recommend high pressure for most industrial applications. Anything over 2500 psi is "high pressure" to me. More energy is wasted with higher pressures and there is, as we are discussing, many safety concerns. High pressure is required in aircraft for light weight and small component size. Some mobile equipment also benefits from high pressure hydraulics. There is no real need for high pressure hydraulics for the average forging press. Sure, the component size will be a little bigger, but there will be less noise, less heat, far less maintenance, far more safety and less energy use with lower pressure hydraulics. But we must always have more. We must be up to date. We must have the latest. That is another common misconception in hydraulics. 1500 psi is a good number for a forging press of the size we are taling about in my book.

Want to most effectively guard against pinhole leaks? Use lower pressure and keep the human away from the unlikely leak. And maintain the system! NEVER reuse an o-ring or seal. Keep it clean. Replace components when they show wear. Do you replace your tires when they go flat?

The only safe way to do something is to understand what you are working with. YOUR Education is the only true safety measure you can rely on. Cautions are not adequate. If you rely on others, you will be much more likely to get hurt. If you work with something that can hurt you and don't ask about it or don't understand it, you are proving Darwin correct.

If you assume a factor of safety of 6 to 1 for pipe, which is a hydraulic industry minimum standard, schedule 80 above 1/8" pipe size is not thick enough for 3000 psi. Most of the hydraulic work we are talking about is with 1/2" to 3/4' pipe size. Schedule 80 1/2" is 2300 psi for 6 to 1 and 3/4" schedule 80 is 1950 psi. Schedule 160 3/4" is 2780 psi for 6 to 1.

What conduits were you using for 10,000 and 30,000 psi?

The absolute "hydraulics leak, period", like all absolutes, is rediculous. Same with "a pin hole leak of hydraulic oil if it impacts the hot metal will make a flamethrower". The reality is that most of the time, IF a small stream hits the usual home shop (small) piece of hot iron, it will hiss and spit, but the oil will quench the iron. CAN there be vaporization and flamethrower like activity, yes. But I know of no occurrances like that. I'm not saying you haven't seen it. I'm saying they are very rare. You fail to mention how rare and that is misleading. Most of us are working with pieces of iron that are much smaller and do not hold enough heat to cause a fire. We are in far more danger of a quench oil fire or burn than a hydraulic oil fire. There can be no flamethrower like activity unless the oil is above it's flash point and there is sufficient oxygenation of the stream of oil.

None of the oil hydraulic equipment I have built or rebuilt, leaks. Accepting leaks is not necessary. If it leaks, someone selected the wrong components or the quality of the components and/or installation is bad. Or the parts are worn. This is common, but does not need to be accepted. "Hydraulics leak" is incorrect. The biggest culprit (after poor installation or maintenance) leading to "hydraulics leak" is tapered pipe fittings. Pipe fittings have no place in a hydraulic system any more. I use them at home when I am mating to an old system or using salvaged components (which is often, grin). With the right quality, techinques and sealants, pipe fittings can work, but are not recommended. SAE o-ring ports, flare fittings, and o-ring face seal fittings are far better. And frequently no more expensive as we have discussed before.

Fire resistant fluids require a significant step up in education. The downsides are sometimes higher toxicity, certainly higher purchase operating and maintenance costs for the fluid, and usually much higher maintenance costs for the equipment. IF used properly, they are safer around hot metal from a fire standpoint. Which is safer from an injection standpoint? The various fire resistant fluids or oil?

I'll stand by my recommendation to use oil and use it wisely for the average small or home shop. We can disagree on that.

As we're discussing this, I'm trying to think of a safe activity. Laying on the couch definitely kills you. Any activity I can think of, that results in accomplishment, has some risk. I can only think of one activity that is "safe". You get enjoyment, give enjoyment, and can get some good exercise. Even that has been known to kill people. But hey, if you die that way, you might well consider yourself a lucky man. Grin. Or woman.

   - Tony - Sunday, 03/27/05 19:30:58 EST

I used swaglok mostly in the 1/2" size up to about 10,000 psi and as stated coned and threaded tubing above.One brand is Autoclave Engineers. Another in High Pressure Equipment.
For the swaglow I used stainless steel tubing, seamless, in 0.095 wall. Used both in 3 shift a day, cyclic hydro test, with a pressure test cycle about every 45 seconds.
The schedule piping was a for home use and I will review the tables for the seamless pipe because I do not recall the ratings you list.

I do not reccomend against hydraulics use. Far from it. Just as you, I reccommend that care and prudence be used.
I have worked around industrial equipment since 1978. I have seen hydraulics from the USA, England, Germany, Italy, and Japan. I have seen every fitting style and type. Yes, use new o-rings, but people don't. Don't use tapered pipe thread, but people do. Don't seal pipe thread with tape, but people do. Don't underbuild, but people do. In those years, i worked in R & D labs testing some of the very fittings and systems you mention as leak free. And again I stand pat, hydraulics leak. Not a question of if, but rather when and where. I have seen very high class maintnance and he things oozed, hoses failed, tubing cracked etc. Aluminum manifolds fatiqued and cracked and leaked.
polygylcol more toxic than oil?
enough, on to other things.
   ptree - Sunday, 03/27/05 19:56:44 EST

Bandsaw blues: My little chinese bandsaw had decided it doesnt want to cut straight anymore. Cut walk inward towards the cutting tabel. Best I can tell blade is sq with the table and the swing action is sq too. Put in new blade , same story. Any ideas? Thanks
   adam - Sunday, 03/27/05 20:29:27 EST


I recently had the same problem with my saw. I found that the back blade bearing had shifted to one side, the saw blade had gotten between the bearing and the back of the blade had cut a groove in the cast iron holder. I took the unit apart, put a washer on the shaft with the bearing, brazed up the cut from the saw blade, re-assembled the unit and it cuts square again.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/27/05 20:39:35 EST


BTW, it was the bearing furthest from the drive wheel, but check them both.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/27/05 20:40:15 EST

TONY> Whatin the world is good about dying while hoeing the wife's vegetable garden?? I don't even eat the stuff. Grin
   sandpile - Sunday, 03/27/05 21:02:42 EST

   EW EUBANKS - Sunday, 03/27/05 21:07:38 EST

Colin-- Not to burden you with a dumb question, but could you not chop out a blade or two or perhaps even three from one of those beauties,with your oxy-acetylene torch, grind to taste, harden, temper and test your self and thus obtain an answer with absolute certainty before proceeding on over to the Water Jet man to get your blanks cut? "Stock removal" is going to heat the bejesus out of whatever it is, and necessitate re-hardening and tempering anyway, no?
   Pauncho Villa - Sunday, 03/27/05 22:36:07 EST

Sandpile, there's a WHOLE bunch of comebacks to that one, but well....

We best leave that well undug. Grin!
   - Tony - Sunday, 03/27/05 22:52:20 EST

PawPaw, thx! I do have a replacement set of bearings on hand - now is the the time do to an overhaul I guess.
   adam - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:23:56 EST

Hi, Guru is there an Advantage Of Gas over Coal Forges ?
Is Propane safer and easier to use? And If so whats the Price Range on one of those suckers :)

Another question, Iam currently in Miami,Florida and there seems to be no vendor for Coal, there are Hundreds of Vendors for Charcoal, Would Charcoal burn as hot as Coal ?
On a side note I did make a forge By making a Hole in a Pile of sand, I laid a Grate down and below it I placed a pipe, Used a Compresor at about 40 PSI and let it rip, I wasent able to get the Rebar Iam messing with hot enough to do anything, Just to make Hooks and Practiced Squaring on them.
   Fabian - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:26:39 EST

Fabian, If the gas forge is big enough, you can get a longer heat. It's cleaner than coal, less ash flying up your nose and settling in the shop. There is some information on a homemade gas forge under FAQs, pulldown menu on this page.

Real charcoal from charred wood is good. The compressed material in briquettes is not so good. I bought some briquettes once for the bar-b-q, and on the bag it said, "2% Hickory Added". What in the heck does that mean? Charcoal burns as hot as coal if the fire is maintained properly.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:37:14 EST


I don't have much to add to all that wonderful safety info, but the guru's mention of moving heavy stuff and his mention of the swage block reminded me of swage blocks being stored on edge. Often the little block in my shop is left on edge by well meaning students (saving space?). But it tips over easily when bumped and can damage feet and toes. We try to leave it lying flat when not in use. My larger block has a nice cast iron support, so no problema.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:47:18 EST

Thank you Frank, Wouldnt it be easier and Safer to have one already made ? and how big is the Propane tank, yall use Industrail sized ones ?
   - Fabian - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:51:58 EST

EW Eubanks,

Not enough information for any kind of analysis.

We can hear you quite well, no need to SHOUT at us. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:57:09 EST


Check the area behind the bearings to make sure it's un-damaged. I brazed mine, but in the future may braze on a small piece of steel to protect the cast iron.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/27/05 23:58:48 EST

Stock removal can be done keeping the blade cool enough not to need heat treating again. I would suggest using an angle grinder to cut out a piece of the blade---keeping it cool and then work that sample up as a knife and see if you like the properties of it as it stands. If so you might start looking for your water jet company; perhaosa small personally owned one that might allow a bit of barter into the deal

EW, any markings on the anvil? what does the bottom of it look like, any chance of getting pictures of it? So far we don't have enough data to even make a guess about it. You sure about the weight?

   Thomas P - Monday, 03/28/05 00:00:29 EST

Testing Bronze:

My neighbor, an elevator mechanic, gave me a pair of nice bronze threshold plates out of some office building. Knowing the wide variety of alloying elements that goes into modern "copper alloys" such as tin, zinc, lead berrylium(sp?), and who knows what, is there any reliable method of testing them before I start cutting them up for sword furniture or slicing and dicing them for the criucible for casting? I wouldn't want to poison anybody at Camp Fenby! 8-0

With non-ferrous alloys, spark testing just doesn't work. ;-)

Tied up at work on several projects, running off to conferences, sick for Easter weekend, candle burned at both ends; am I having fun yet? Cold and rain on the banks of the lower Potomac, and back to the present insanity tomorrow...

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/28/05 00:03:07 EST

Fabian, Check the advertisers in the pulldown menu like Pieh Tool, Blacksmith's Supply, and Centaur. They handle ready made forges. Propane bottles, small, medium, or large.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 03/28/05 00:52:24 EST

i already read you entire faq section and was amused by the swords especially your response to stupidity.
You dont mention much on the jewlers equipment i assume this is because you are not a jewler. but when you assume...
i was just wondering if you could give me a the name of a site like yours focusing on the more ornate and intricate (jewlers, engravers,and the like.) also perhaps the brands that you would recomend for purchasing a small bench (5lb) and a jewlers anvil. i have done some of your recomendations on my own im relativly skilled in woodworking so i hope im not sounding like an ignorant fool. i also have enrolled in some smithing classes Gun & Lock not quite forging but im more interested in the little stuff anyway. any guidence would be appreciated.
   navsec - Monday, 03/28/05 01:32:08 EST

Thanks Frank :) I think iam gonna buy an alraedy built Propane Forge :) Dont wanna blow myself up :)
   Fabian Rodriguez - Monday, 03/28/05 01:40:33 EST

Adam-- If all else fails, try a blade from a different manufacturer, or a different pitch, if by chance they had a bad run of blade, it could walk to the side.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/28/05 02:45:54 EST

Adam: Exact same thing PawPaw described happened to my bandsaw also. I also had to put in a washer to keep the blade on the middle (upright) wheel. As you noted though, a dull blade will tend to want to cut at an angle.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 03:55:12 EST

EW Eubanks:

Anvil is likely a Fisher based on size alone, but as PawPaw noted, we need more information. If you will scroll up you will find a list of questions I asked another party.

By the way on that one he sent me a couple of photographs. Appears to be a Colonial-era anvil. Conical horn, no step, hardy only near back, old style tapered feet, no 5th foot in photos though. I referred him to Postman for authentication. Someone else has one just like it on eBay now. Titled: 50 Pound Anvil as I recall.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 04:03:35 EST


For a good jewelry making site, check out www.ganoskin.com and see what they have.

For jeweler's supplies, try www.riogrande.com

While I mostly work with iron and steel these days, I was originally a silversmith/goldsmith, and received my college degree in that field a few decades ago. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about silversmithing.

For a small bench anvil for jewelry making, when I was starting out, I used a scrap of steel plate about 4x4x1" that I polished one surface. That was up until I purchased a small 100# farrier's anvil. I also have several raising stakes that I've used as anvils. Don't get hung up on a bench anvil having a classic London pattern anvil shape; it looks sexy as all get out, but isn't a particularly great shape for a jewelr's anvil.

I recommend that you look into one of the Dixon pattern bickern stakes and a stake holder, rather than a bench anvil. You'll find that it will be much more useful, as it has a round tapered horn, a square tapered horn and a small table in the center. Secured in a a proper stake holder, it is stable enough to work silver or iron. The same stake holder will hold raising and forming stakes, planishing stakes and even a snarling iron, allowing you to do work both small and large.
   vicopper - Monday, 03/28/05 08:09:33 EST

Cutoff Bandsaw Adjustments: Adam, We had a long discussion on bandsaw blade setup and adjustments. . . oh a year or so ago. Starting from scratch with all new bearings is a serious task. You can spend a day or more getting things right if you have never setup a bandsaw before.

Worn or bad blades are the #1 cause of crooked cuts in an otherwise OK saw. Insufficient blade tension is the #2 reason. Guide bearing side tension is the most common adjustment problem. Grit on the blade forces the bearings apart thus requiring adjustment.

Figuring out which bearing to adjust inward slightly is the trick. In these saws the blade is twisted generaly about the centerline of the blade which SHOULD make a straight line between the two wheels. Seeing and keeping this line straight is the goal of the adjustment which all the twisting makes very hard to see.

The Blade bearing side adjustment should be snug on the blade with no play. The easiest way to adjust this is without the twisting which puts tension on the wheels. You can use the blade off the wheels or a short broken off piece of blade. Snug enough that there is a little friction is best.

THEN you need to check the blade for parallelness in the cut. Many saws do not have this adjustment. All the better ones do. The tensioned blade needs to be checked against a square on the table of the saw. If you adjust the square so that it starts about 1/8" from the base, you can put it against the blade. Otherwise the teeth get in the way and you must judge by eye without the blade touching the square.

When you THINK everything is perfect you test the saw on a average size piece of solid bar (say 1 to 2"). Carefully observe the cut. As the back of the blade passes the surface of the bar stop the saw and clean out the kerf. Without removing the stock inspect the squareness of the cut. IF the cut is square then check that the blade is centered in the cut and the back is not dragging on either side of the kerf. Then finish the cut. Raise and lower the saw with the stock in place. The blade should skim over the surface of the stock but not move or deflect. Remove the stock, deburr and check the squareness of the cut. On 1 to 1.5" stock with a new blade the cut should be perfectly square verticaly. If not then the guides need some adjusting. If the cut is not square horizontaly then the vise needs adjusting.

Properly adjusted you should be able to take a piece you have sawed and put it in a milling machine or lathe and make a light facing cut of .005" or just enough to remove the saw texture.

If you do any free hand sawing the blade rapidly looses set on the teeth or becomes dull on one side or the other and will not cut square. Sawing with a worn blade that drifts will put excessive pressure on the guide bearings and put them out of adjustment AND in cheap saws it can bend the guide system. So replace that blade BEFORE it damages your saw or costs you a day of adjustment.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 09:10:33 EST

Forges and Fuels: Fabian, In Florida you best bet is the propane forge. If you are looking for COAL you will have to find other smiths that import a truck load OR you can order it by the bag from our general supply advertisers. Florida has a large active blacksmiths group. Try www.blacksmithing.org or look up FABA on our ABANA-Chapter.com site. Others have covered the solid fuel questions and you read our FAQ.

Note that an sir compressor is a very inefficent method of providing air for a forge. When using high pressure air you must use a large expansion pipe of about 2 to 3" and a couple feet long to convert the high velocity air to a smooth "blast" (more like a breeze). Turbulent high pressure air does not work well in a forge.

   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 09:19:00 EST

Jewelery Work: Navsec, We can reccomend the following books Metal techniques for Craftsman By Oppi Untracht and Metal Working By Paul N. Hasluck. These will get you off to a good start in the more esoteric areas of metalworking. Click links for reviews.

The type of tools you collect depend on your focus. A jeweler that does nothing but typical small work will only need small tools. However, when you apply the same techniques to heavier work OR do mixed work you may want some of your tools to be heavier, especialy your anvil and any machinery you need such as drill presses and stock saws. You may want a small blacksmiths anvil and a stake or hardy tool to fit for small work rather than a large jeweler's anvil. Or you may want to go with a stake plate as VIc suggested. Often these decisions are made by what you find available or cheap OR that you can make. Someone doing light blacksmithing and blade work can usualy make very nice small stakes for themselves.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 10:18:36 EST

Jewelery Work: See also our iForge demo #87, Heart Spatula, which includes the use of a jeweler's saw and our FAQ with various jeweler's saw blade sizes and applications. Then there is the photo of the very nifty little 18th century jeweler's anvil in our Anvil Selection FAQ.

Our iForge demo #115, Bodice Dragon is a piece of forged iron jewelery as can be #75 Souvenir Anvil. Our demo #80 on brass candle sticks was derived from techniques for forged making brass jewelery in Dona Meilach's Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork. Then there are our iForge demos on mold making and lost wax casting.

We don't get into a lot of jewelery work but we have touched on it quite a few times.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 11:28:12 EST

I am a sculptor with intermediate blacksmithing skills. My question is, I am interested in using a cast-iron piano "string board" as a base for a new sculpture and would like to know if it is possible to heat and bend cast iron as I think it would look realy cool if I could bend it into a different shape. Thanks for your help
   William Smith - Monday, 03/28/05 11:46:06 EST

On bandsaws: Does anyone have a good source of reasonable quality standard size blades at a reasonable price? I predominately cut mild steel. This can include someone who makes they up in their garage on the side. On this, last I checked there was no one on eBay selling made to order bandsaw blades. Might be an opportunity for someone.

On hammer handle steel wedges: I called Beamer Handle Company. They are a supplier to tool manufacturers and don't really sell retail. However, they referred me to their supplier, Pluco Products in CT (860-747-5597). Call them and they are very accommodating to selling by the box. They are sending me a price list.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 11:55:45 EST

Question on propane forges: Is there any reason a propane forge wouldn't work vertically? Say an insulated chamber below with a top opening across which the metal is placed to be heated? This would seem to allow for short-length (say in the middle of a bar) heating and also possible for an exhaust hood.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 12:00:12 EST

The pressure ratings I posted yesterday came from a reference commonly used in the hydraulic industry and were stated for ASTM A53 welded and seamless pipe. Looking in other references and texts today, I find different burst pressures for seamless pipe. Since the majority of the references call for the higher pressures for seamless, I will post those here. Each person must decide what factor of safety they want to use. What I do for myself may not be the same as what you will want to do. There are MANY factors that affect the pressure rating of pipe. I suggest, as I did yesterday, that an informed individual uses at least a 6 to 1 factor of safety on burst pressure for properly installed new pipe. Below are the numbers that have two good references in agreement. These would be 6 to 1 on the stated burst pressure for ASTM A53 grade B SEAMLESS and ASTM A106 grade B which is also seamless. Note that welded pipe will have lower pressure capability.

½" ASTM A53 grade B type S and ASTM A106 grade B schedule 40 2600 psi

3/4" ASTM A53 grade B type S and ASTM A106 grade B schedule 40 2150 psi

½" ASTM A53 grade B type S and ASTM A106 grade B schedule 80 3500 psi

3/4" ASTM A53 grade B type S and ASTM A106 grade B schedule 80 2933 psi

All good pipe is identified on the outside of the pipe. Usually with a paint or ink marking. ASTM is the most recognized pipe spec. Any pipe not identified on the outside or not readable should NOT be used for hydraulics. There are pipe size tubings out there that are real junk and will not hold pressure. Some are sold in home centers as pipe.

ASTM A53 covers both welded and seamless black and galvanized pipe. ASTM A106 is only seamless and usually for high temp service, but it can be used for hydraulic systems. The grade identifies the minimum strength of the pipe material. You want at least grade B. Grade A is lower strength.

There are also API specs. API 5/L Grade B is very similar to A53 Grade B type S. API 5/LX is stronger and better.

Pipe may be rated and marked for more than one spec.

Again, you must educate yourself. Don’t in any way think that you can say “Well I found this on the internet and this must be OK” You can’t do that because you have not explained in detail how you are doing other things that have a very big impact on the pressure rating of the pipe. The list is very long.

Jock, can this be saved somewhere?
   - Tony - Monday, 03/28/05 12:15:23 EST

Bandsaw Blades: Ken, this is an area where you really DO get what you pay for. I can get carbon steel blades for my saw (1/2" x 0.025 x 68-1/2") made up localy for less than $5. The problem is that they usualy break long before they wear out. You have to by dozens per week if you use the saw just a couple times a day.

I switched over to Lenox variable pitch HSS alloy back blades many years ago. Then they cost $14 each, now they are $18 or $20 plus shipping. In use they are infinitely less expense than the cheap poorly welded blades. In light production use one of these blades will last months cutting everything including stainless and annealed tool steels at FULL speed. Using the lesser blades the only thing you cut at full speed is wood and plastic. So not only can you cut faster you save all that time changing broken blades.

When I switched over I was doing light production work making maybe 100 cuts a day. I went from using 2 blades a day to one a month. At the time the cheap blades were REAL cheap ($2.50 each). I replaced the expense of $100/month with $14 AND saved MANY hours of agrevation.

My supplier told me that the welding machine to properly weld these high tech blades cost over $20,000 in the 1980's. . . so there is a good reason you don't find these blades cheap.

It is like the difference between recap bias ply tires (remember them?) and Michlin radials. . The $60 tire costs a tenth as much to operate than the $12 tire PLUS you get the comfort, safety and lack of breakdowns. Running recaps you were assured of having a flat tire every 3,000 miles on average and only getting 8,000 miles life per tire IF you were lucky. . .
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 12:18:42 EST

Tony, I'll make a FAQ in a few minutes.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 12:20:37 EST

Ken what are describing is a small trough forge which is what I use. The burn chamber is a 3x5 pit loosely filled with rough pieces of broken refractory. The heating chamber is made from firebrick, kaowool etc stacked up to suit the work. It is necessary to cover the work on top to reflect back the heat because the propane burn just doesnt generate enough btu to keep the temp above orange unless you really crank it up. For sheet metal work and bending I do sometimes use the forge just open. The main disadvantage of trough forges is retrieving small items that fall into the burn chamber. But I just shut off the gas , lift off the top and reach in there with my loooong handles PU tongs. Anyway, with this setup I can get short hot heats similar to a coal fire - but still not as well defined.
   adam - Monday, 03/28/05 12:21:37 EST

Cast Iron Piano Frame: William, Sorry NO. These are very weak cast iron and cannot be bent. In fact you do not want to support too much weight off this frame. It was designed to be reinforced by a wood frame and provide precision anchorage points. I've scraped a few of these and they only took a sharp blow with a hand hammer to fracture.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 12:24:16 EST

Bandsaw: Thank you everyone for your help. I will try these ideas out.

I have some experience with wood working bandsaws which have similar alignment problems but no twist in the blade and in general the conditions are much kinder to the machine than is metal cutting. My experience there was that the blade accounted for at least 50% of the quality of the cut. When I switched to Timberwolf blades I went from trying to keep the cut with 1/16" of the line to being able to peel off veneers 1/32" thick. Cost twice as much but they are 10x better. So, where do I find a supplier for those Lennox blades? :)

   adam - Monday, 03/28/05 12:35:00 EST

Guru: Some question as Adam on Lenox blades. I have been buying from either Northern Tool or Grizzly. Neither seem to be Lenox.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 13:26:12 EST

Fastenal has them from $27 to $80.
under Tools & Equipment - Power Tool Accessories - Saw Accessories
   AZmiik - Monday, 03/28/05 14:16:11 EST

No question, No answer...

Just wanted to see my name in BLUE (and not work for Intel :-)

   Bert - Monday, 03/28/05 14:24:15 EST


Blue's a good color on you. (grin)

Welcome to the fold, and thanks for supporting anvilfire!

   eander4 - Monday, 03/28/05 14:49:04 EST

Hey what is wrong with working for INTeL? They are paying my bills... (grin)
   Ralph - Monday, 03/28/05 15:05:48 EST

I buy the Lenox bi-metal blades from MSC- and sometimes I buy Starrett blades as well. Both are very high quality- The Lenox seems to last a little longer, but cut a little more aggressively, which is not always a good thing.
MSCdirect.com will get you there.
   ries - Monday, 03/28/05 15:43:34 EST

My apologies and a thousand pardons, Please. Don't want to get off on the wrong foot.
   Bert - Monday, 03/28/05 15:53:10 EST

I too use the Lennox in the 1/2" x .025" x 641/2", and have had the same service as the GURU. My Company has been testing blades for cut off bandsaws for cutting billits.(Cutting at least 700 pieces per shift) These are much bigger saws than most of us have, as they cut 4 to 5 bars of 1 13/16" to 21/4" od at the same time. Great way to sort the good from the bad. This testing has been in progress for a couple of months. I would say that so far the following shows pretty plainly;
1. The saw tuning is more important than the blades, assuming the blades are equiv. type.
2. The coolant used is also important, but not as big as #1.
The following are all very close in quality, and the order does not imply a ranking; Lennox, Simmonds, Do-all, and Starret. Testing continues.
MSC and Hagenmeyer North America both carry Lennox, And I prefer the "Die master 2, in the 9 tp 14 tooth" and I use a wavey tooth 28 tooth per in. for thin wall tube.
For reference, at the old company I wore out a couple of the decent little saws, using Lennox blades, and at the speeds and feeds I was able to use on cutting everything in the lab, I found that oil lube was not worth the mess with these saws and blades.
   ptree - Monday, 03/28/05 16:04:30 EST

ptree: Do you mean oil coolan wasnt worth it or that *any* coolan wasnt worth the trouble?
   adam - Monday, 03/28/05 16:24:12 EST

I use Lennox blades in my hacksaws - prefer them even over Starret (whicb are good too)
   adam - Monday, 03/28/05 16:25:04 EST

Ok,Iva been getting Mixed Reviews on wether or not you can Forge Weld in a Gas Forge, My question is,Can you Forge Weld in a Gas Forge? And if so, Is there a Diffrent process in how to do it and thats why all the mystery?
   Fabian Rodriguez - Monday, 03/28/05 16:30:53 EST

I am looking for a design or fabricator of some long (48"?) tongs to move partically burned wood in an outdoor firepit. I am thinking something like pointed ends, with a flatttened rivit or bolt pivot about 10" from end...like a very long set of blacksmith tongs. The logs are about 10" in diameter and about 2 feet in length. They can be dragged along bottom of fire pit so tongs don't have to lift entire weight of log.

Any ideas or designs?
   Chris - Monday, 03/28/05 17:41:00 EST

Fabian, You can definitely forge weld in a gas forge. The flux however, has a voracious appetite for the lining. It isn't so corrosive to say, adobe (traditionally used in coal and charcoal forges). It isn't that you can't forge weld in a gas forge, just that it is not very good for your liner.
P.S. I am assuming that you are using a borax based flux.
   Matthew Marting - Monday, 03/28/05 18:03:38 EST

Fabian: To supplement what Matthew has said. Welding temp is at the upper limit of a gas forge range. This means that A. the forge has to be properly designed and many forges are not - even some commercial ones; B. It has to be properly tuned. Whereas as a coal forge easily reaches temps well past welding heat and any fool can get it hot enough. So while many people weld routinely in their gassers ( i am one), there are also those who can't because either the forge is not designed for it or because they dont know how to tune it. Tuning a gasser takes practice and experience. One of the most common gas forge questions on this forum is "I built my forge according to xyz's plan and it barely gets hot - help!".

Other than flux issues (and there are solutions to this problem) the process is identical to welding in a coal fire.
   adam - Monday, 03/28/05 18:44:53 EST

I tried a very high quality cutting oil. I did not see a lot of improvement. I was using the Jet small horz/vert. saw and was cutting everything from small angle iron to returned valves for forensic exam. This meant cutting everything from A-36 to 410 stainless, as well as the body alloys having Cr/Moly content. I never did try the waterbased in these saws as the requirements for a sump wern't there. Also the water based coolants tend to strip paint, and go sour in an unused sump if left to sit for a week as these saws often did. These little saws are probably too low a speed, and too light a feed to realize the benefit of a true carbide blade, where the water based coolants shine.

In the production saws at the big forge shop I work in, we use water based. They previously used a full synthetic, and this had the avantage of not souring when left to sit, and rejecting the huge amount of tramp oil from these old saws.
We tuned the saws, cleaned them out, stopped all the leaks we could and went to a new technology semi-synthetic. Works like a charm. But again these are big, hydraulic feed machines with the rigidity and speed control to realize the gains from the water.

I have run my two saws at home dry, and with care to not let stuff shift in the vise, and care to tune and avoid hand cutting,( I use a mostly worn out blade for the hand cutting)I do not miss coolant.

I would tend to avoid the true water based synthetics as they are hard on the operators from a dermititis and respiratory sytem irritation point, and they tend to be hard on the machine. They strip any oil off things like ways and feed screws, and the hard deposits they tend to leave eat seals. This leads to leaks at the spindles and feed cylinders.
We have been looking for about 6 months at a couple of semi-synthetics, and I for one am impressed at thier performance in bandsaws, and turning centers as well as surface grinding. They operators accept them well enough to swipe them from the test machines and replace thier own mchines coolant.
Two that have performed well, and almost every maker has a semi, are;
Sealcool 2090
wolco ws 8590
both available is 5 gallons buckets from J & M Labs in Louisville at 502-585-3176. They can also supply quench oils in 5 gallons. They are nice people that have also given me a sample of a rust proofer for blacksmith shops that condense water on the tools. I will write on that in another few weeks, but the test is in progress.
   ptree - Monday, 03/28/05 19:36:01 EST

Lenox Blades: Try your local mill and industrial suppliers. If not them, then McMaster-Carr's top quality blades are Lenox. Generally McMaster-Carr does not specify brands but I think they do in this case.

Lenox should also be able to tell you where the nearest dealer is. . . Hmmm, no web site but LOTS of folks advertising them.

I use WD-40 on my Lenox 9-14 variable pitch blades in my old "the original" 4x6 Rigid cutoff saw. On these little saws the lubrication is needed to keep the motor load down with the sharp agressive teeth. On heavier saws dry works fine.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 19:41:23 EST

More About Saws: My little Ridgid brand saw is much heavier than the many Chinese clones it has spawned. Its base is cast iron or ductile and so is the tilt bearings and arm. Replace ANY of these pieces with steel such as they did on the late models of this saw and the ones sold by Sears and you lose 50% of the quality of the saw.

We bought a Sears version for our family shop because they were going to wear out mine. It LOOKED the same and I believe the photo in the catalog was of a saw with a CI base. It never cut straight in 20 years and managed to burn up half a dozen motors. . . During most of that time the shop had a MUCH larger HD saw for large work so the little saw was not being overloaded. It just was not as good as the original.

The clones are MUCH lower quality than either of these. The guide systems on some are almost worthless. When equipment is made this poorly you PAY and PAY and PAY in saw blades and aggrevation.

Although these little saws would be GREAT if they were properly made the majority are not. When you go to the next size up machine they are much more expensive but they are also much more useful and the heavier blades they use will pay for the saw in savings in a short while.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 19:56:37 EST

Tony, posted that FAQ including you and ptree's discussion.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 20:28:54 EST

Fabian: Added to the above on forge welding in a propane forge, I suspect a very high percentage of it is Damascus-pattern billet welding. These are faggot welds which are likely the easiest of the forge welds. Thus, another factor thrown in is the type of weld you want to do.

A test someone on the forum mentioned: Put in two rods of say 3/8" and heat as hot as possible. Periodically touch the tips together. If they will stick likely you can forge weld in the forge.

I bought a small round propane forge at the last Quad-State. Seller showed me a Damascus-pattern knife he had forged using it and the ceramic wood and insulating brick also showed flux damage. I cannot reach forge welding temperture with it. I strongly suspect it is because I am using a 5-20 pound regulator, which simply doesn't allow in enough propane.

I'm back to looking for steel hammer head wedges. The place in CT sells by the box, but it is 2,000 to the box. Cheap though - about two cents each.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 03/28/05 20:33:10 EST

Band saw blades: Many years ago I ran a heat treat department that quenched and tempered 4145 alloy bars up to 12" in diamter. They were about 32 feet long. We had three continuous line gas furnaces that water quenched this alloy. The quench was so agressive that the corners of the bar spalled off. We had to saw cut both ends of every bar square. We had three big Marvel band saws and we went through blades like puke through a prom dress. We did a lot of carful studies and kept excellent records of the square inches each blade would cut. We found that if we broke in the blade by applying half the feed pressure for the first few cuts, ANY blade would last a LOT longer. Sort of like running in bearings.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 03/28/05 20:34:38 EST

I use dish soap and water as cutting lube on my msc 4x6 band saw . I built a collection pan and drain that uses a parts washer to recirculate the fluid based on a design I saw on a website somewhere and must say it was well worth the trouble . (I was using a squirt bottle before that)the downside of course is rust and if you don't clean the metal off funky welds occur
   aaron craig - Monday, 03/28/05 21:10:32 EST

I have a bit of experience. I can draw axes and other tools and temper them. However I have never tempered leaf springs. I want to make eliptical springs for a wagon seat. These would be made from recycled wagon springs(very old),stock one quarter in thick by one and one quarter inch wide. The finished elipse would be eighteen inches long.The two springs on either end of the seat would support up to 300lbs.How do I temper?
   Phillip Clairmont - Monday, 03/28/05 21:21:54 EST

I have a top die stuck in the ram of my 25 L.G. The past owner really drove the wedge in tight with several sheet metal shims. I have been unable to drive it out after soaking it in breakfree type solutions etc. Is it safe to torch heat either the ram or the wedge in order to loosen things up. How hot do i dare get the ram without damaging the hardness of this piece? I am open to any and all suggestions.
   - Rc - Monday, 03/28/05 21:26:47 EST

#@$%*&^ Benefits!?!
Picture Charlie Brown: AAAAARRRRGGH. This is an Honor System, you use you pay. Some more honorable than others.
   Tone - Monday, 03/28/05 21:38:43 EST

Phillip, see our Junkyard steel FAQ. Then note that often these big springs work well when just normalized. Try a test spring from mild steel. Many springs are made from low carbon steel and work just as well as heat treated steels IF the design is right.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 21:52:46 EST

noticed this post on another site,thought it may help

elder jim - Mon 28 Mar 2005 20:43:24 #0
Stuck Bradley Keys

, What I have done in the past with stuck keys on hammers is weld a long bar say 24" long to the key and put a 20lb sledge hammer head on the bar. Then I weld a stout stop on the end of the bar and use it like a slide hammer. I've removed many stuck keys this way. If they are really stuck, like in a sow block or die, I've had to weld a heavy section of bar stock with drilled and tapped holes (about 3/4")to the end of the key and put screw tension on it in conjunction with the slide hammer. If they are really, really stuck we pressed a sow block off with a 250 ton press on a Beaudry and I had to drill completly through a large key on a Bradley and burn it the rest of the way out to get the sow block off
   crosspean - Monday, 03/28/05 21:56:42 EST

Ken Scharabok...

If you believe the regulator you are using is not allowing enough propane gas to pass (to get to welding temps), you might try just controlling the gas flow with a needle valve close to the burner (no regulator). I'm no expert, but an industry engineer on another forum has determined that "ALKON JN1" needle valves work well for this. I bought some, and they do. I was less than comfortable with the suggestion until I spoke with a "gas consumer products" company engineer who told me it was perfectly safe. In fact, there are a few common commercial items that use only a needle valve to control propane gas flow on consumer products (examples stated were turkey fryers and weed burners). If those are safe with needle valves only, then our application should not be any less safe.
   djhammerd - Monday, 03/28/05 21:58:41 EST

I'm a beginning Blacksmith...ok a ROOKIE Blacksmith and am looking for plans and ideas to build a one man smithy on my property. I considering using either "Slipform" Construction technique’s utilizing river rock and concrete for the walls or “Strawbale” with stucco. Any ideas or comments would be most appreciated and any ideas for the layout of a smithy would be a great help. Funds are not unlimited, but I would like to build an efficient and effective place. Thanks
   Oakspring - Monday, 03/28/05 22:09:04 EST

Stuck Parts and Heating: When applying heat to create expansion you need to apply it fast so that the outer part expands before the heat is conducted to the inner part. If you heat too timidly then both parts are HOT and stuck. .

Heating the wedge will just make it tighter UNLESS the problem is rust. If rust is the problem then you need to heat to a red to dehydrate the rust which makes it smaller and helps loosen the part. Let the part cool after this treatment before hammering on it. However, in a good tight fit I doubt the problem is rust.

The ram is cast iron, ductile or low carbon steel. It is not heat treated. A low red will not hurt but I do not suggest you get it that hot.

Often a combination of hot and cold are used. Apply dry ice to the die and when good and cold heat to the ram. Tap with hammer as needed. NOTE that cold will make parts more brittle so be careful how you apply force.

NOTE: Little Giant (and other power hammer) dies often have a hole drilled in their bottom (or top if a top die) and a loose fitting dowel to prevent the die from moving back and forth. DO NOT try to slide the die in the dovetail to loosen the wedge. If you tap on the die do so from BOTH directions alternately. Observe the motion and do not move more than a couple hairs in either direction. If you get a little motion then keep working back and forth then trying the wedge.

Patience is a virture when dissasembling old equipment. I like to SOAK the parts with WD-40 for weeks before the first attempt and then AFTER any unsuccessful attempts. Products like B-laster are better where the problem is rust. WD-40 is fine when they are just TOO TIGHT.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 22:10:45 EST

Note: The weld on a head and use a slide hammer to remove wedges was one of my ideas that is now circling round the net. . . ;) I posted it on the original JunkYard in the first months then here several times as well. I am amazed at how many of my ideas are now considered public knowledge without a source. . .

The meanest wedge removal I've seen was done by my friend Josh Greenwood. After slide hammers (it was too small) and wobbly hydraulic jacks (needed a base fixture) failed to remove the wedge in 750# hammer anvil (12,000 pounds), Josh hooked the teeth of his backhoe bucket on the head we had welded on the wedge and then rolled the bucket against the sowblock. . . It took several tries and when the wedge shot out it was too HOT from the friction to handle! See Edition 7 of the NEWS for a photo of this power hammer anvil (just after removing the wedge).

On big industrial hammers the wedges were driven in and OUT with big paices of shaft hanging from a chain. . . Modern shops have special air hammers or hydraulic tools to do the job.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 22:37:30 EST

PHILLIP C If you will cold shape your spings and hot roll your ends. You should be in good shape. the ends will be allright with out hardening. You can still buy these springs- by the way.

   sandpile - Monday, 03/28/05 23:25:15 EST

What is a Flux sorry Iam still a Rookie when it comes to terminology :)
   Fabian Rodriguez - Monday, 03/28/05 23:52:13 EST

Smithy Construstion: Oakspring, Construction methods are strictly dependent on your location and budget. Then there are style considerations such as appropriatness for the area. Colonial, modern, artic, tropical, industrial????

Location, location, location as they say is EVERYTHING. What is your local climate? Do you need heat, AC? What are the security concerns? Building codes?

Budget determines size but then so does location and zoning. You can never have a big enough shop. But if you build it can you HEAT it?

Most important consideration in a blacksmith shop. Ventilation, lighting, space for purpose.

Ventilation is very important to let out smoke fumes and particulates from forges, welding, grinding, casting and painting. High ceilings help ventilation. If the shop is open enough you may not need fans but a good central ventilation fan and local welding bench fans are a good idea.

Lighting is very important to me in a shop. Most blacksmith shops are like caves and this results in many hours looking for lost tools and not knowing what the heck you are doing. . . I like light better than an office of classroom.

Space needed depends on what you are going to do. Even a "general" smithy has categories of work. However, here are some considerations. Steel comes in 20 foot bars. You will need to store it and handle it. Idealy you have a stock rack with a saw at the end and another 10 feet so you can cut any needed length. This is 30+ feet. Hmmmmm a lot bigger than you thought??? It is also nice to be able to at LEAST turn around in your shop with a piece of cold roll steel 12 feet long (20 is nicer). This means a 15x15' or 24x24' minimum shop without interference. 30' by 40' is nice but I can fill a larger shop as a "one man" operation. High ceilings (16' plus) give you room to move, and to build). You CAN get away with a lot less but you asked for advice.

There are lots of debates about floors but in the modern shop concrete is best. In the forge area it is nice to have something easier on the feet but for moving and setting up tools and machines you cannot beat a concrete floor. IF you are building a serious blacksmith shop you WILL have one or more power hammers in you future. These should have seperate foundations several feet deep and some hammers require an anvil pit. All the modern small hammer manufacturers are saying "no foundation necessary" but that is BUNK. The new lightly constructed hammers need seperate foundations MORE than the old heavy hammers.

There are several routes to go with hammer foundations. ONE, know what you are going to install and plan for it, then don't change the plan. TWO, guess and put in oversize foundation pads in suitable locations. THREE, just put in a floor but pour seperate sections where hammers might go so that you can easily remove a piece instead of paying for someone with a diamond saw to cut a hole. . . Or ignore the foundation question and just put in a heavy duty pad. Too much planning can make you crazy. . .

My first constructed from scratch building was post and beam construction with rough cut board and batten siding. A block foundation was set back to be veineered with stone. It fits architecturally with the 1800's Virgina grist mill it sits next to. The interior is sheet rocked and painted white for lighting. My next shop will be filled and parged concrete block with a red tile texture tin roof to suit the localities typical architecture. Wings on the building will be made from shipping containers and look like modern steel construction (also appropriate for the locality). The same faux tile tin roofing will be used. An end wall will rise above the roof and be Spanish mission style making the building look somewhat like an old mission church. All the windows will be barred for security (thus the need for the blacksmith shop itself).

In one tropical setting I saw a blacksmith shop that was completely open air. A thatched palm leaf roof covered the shop and had a center ventilation hole above the clean burning charcoal forge. There were no walls as there was no need for security.

In less than tropical climates this is not an unusial arrangement for a small fair weather hobby shop. However, in most of the modern world there is some need for walls and doors for security. Rude wood walls with large shutered windows does the trick.

If you live in a Northern village with European style whitewashed stone buildings and tile roofs then that is what would be "best". If you are in a North American industrial park then a steel shell building is the rule. If you are in the Middle East in a typical village then mud brick or parged block and a flat roof as is typical is the way to go. . .

I have seen "one man" smithys in 8x10 buildings. In "Edge of the Anvil" Jack Andrews uses a large American Indian style teepee. A typical English chainmakers forge was about 20' square, all brick with a brick forge and flue and slate roof. My "one man" shop is 32'x 44' with 16' ceiling in the forge area and two floors on the machine shop side and a mezzine on one end so as to bea able to work on a project at two levels. There is a door big enough to back in a tractor trailer and an overhead monorail crane good for 8 tons. It is overfull and I need more room. . . I should have built smaller (it would be finished) OR larger (it would be more useful).

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: Modern shops should be plumbed for air and have a designed in out door place for the aircompressor. Some small shops can benifit from a fuel gas manifold system. Dean Curfman has all his cords and hoses on inertia reels in the rafters so that there are NEVER any cords or hoses on the floor. His MIG welder is on a swing arm so that it too is overhead. It is nice to seperate the forge and painting from each other and other processes. Concrete floors facilitate the movement of equipment as do overhead hoist systems. Then there is office and or display space. In dan Boone's shop he has a central display room with glass on three sides so customers can see his work form the shop and his immaculate shop from his display room.

I've never known a smith with enough room or who was completely satisfied with their shop no matter how perfect they originaly thought their plan. Until you have visited a few real working shops you will not have a clue what YOU want and even then you won't know until after you work in it a while. The method of construction is inconsequential to the other questions. . . However, if you have money to spare, try attending the B2 Power Hammer School. You will quickly find that for one man to be really efficient he can easily make use of three power hammers (each with different dies) simultaneously. . . TOOLS are where you want to put your money, not overbuilding.
   - guru - Monday, 03/28/05 23:55:09 EST

FLUX: Fabien, A flux is a chemical that disolves metal oxides for the joining of the metals by soldering, brazing or welding. Secondarily the flux may protect the metal from further oxidation while heating.

For forge welding the most common flux is borax. In the US it is sold as a laundry detergent "booster" under the trade name 20 Mule Team Borax. See our FAQ on borax.

Borax flux has boron as the active ingrediant. The white powder melts on the hot steel and becomes like liquid glass. It disolves the scale and protects the steel from oxidation. Borax is also used for brazing so it does double duty in the blacksmith shop. Borax is also the primary active ingrediant in coated welding rods and flux core MIG wire.

In some instances powdered metal is added to the flux to provide easier joining. Powdered iron is used in some blacksmithing fluxes. Tin powder is used in some rosin based soldering fluxes. Where added metals are not wanted such as making laminated steels or Mocume' Gane' you want a pure flux without powdered metal.

For welding steel alloys with difficult to disolve oxides like chrome and nickle, a small amount of flourite (the mineral_ is added to the borax. In this case Flourine is the active ingrediant. Flourine (similar to Chlorine - same series) is very chemicaly aggessive and can disolve almost anything. Lamintated steel (Damascus) makers that use exotic alloys need to use flourite in their flux.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 00:10:26 EST

Oh ok , Yea i read that and grabed a Box of Borax, I thought a Flux was a Device used to apply the substance unto the metal. As Experienced Blacksmiths, What Forge would you guys Suggest for Starting Hobbiest ?
   Fabian Rodriguez - Tuesday, 03/29/05 00:27:48 EST

More on bandsaw blades: I have a 4x6 "Welbuilt" that uses the 1/2" x 64 1/2" blades. I used to have acess to Do All bandsaws that had a blade welder on them. I never had problems with blades I welded when they were used on these 16" to 36" machines,but the blades I made up for the little machine at home would last a while, but eventually the weld would break. There is something too that expensive welder the manufacturers use. The tempering of the blade after welding on a simple machine is a hit or miss afair, running over the small wheels of a 4x6 saw or a portaband flexes the weld a lot. The last plant I worked at the cutoff bandsaws used soluable oil& water coolant, this was used on all materials EXCEPT D2 which was cut dry. That doesn't seem to make sense, but it worked. Allso, the blade used on D2 was never used on anything else. The verticle saws used an air blast,for cooling as well as to keep chips from covering the line, as these were used for freehand contour cuts.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 03/29/05 00:40:09 EST


Just sitting here tonight and thinking about the Carriage Museum near the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs. The museum has victorias, broughams, phaetons, fine carriges that have the most wonderful forged work, including the springs. I have often wondered how the old timers heat treated those springs. I assume they were made of high carbon steel. Hardening would have been something to see. Perhaps they knew about lead and salt baths in the days of carriage building. Let's say that somehow the carriage smith got a hardening heat on a spring. I guess that he would quench in oil. Some tempering was done in early times by "blazing off". A coating of oil was put on the spring (or tool) and the steel held over the forge fire until the oil burned off. This brought the steel up to temperature with a modicum of control. If not enough heat was generated, the oil was again applied and the blazing off continued. This method sounds a little like a b'gosh and b'golly approach, but it was used in the early days.

I suppose the work could have been done in a large furnace or oven, but I have never read anything about it.

I have made leaf springs out of auto leaf springs (probably 5160 or 9260) as the guru suggested. I just let them air cool, and they seem to hold up fairly well as springs.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/29/05 00:58:30 EST

Fabian, most smiths use a "flux spoon" to apply flux, others use a poker like tool.

Beginners Forge: It depends on what fuel you have available and what you want to do. Currently the most commonly available forge fuel (globaly) is propane. That is followed by charcoal, then smithing coal and coke. So you have a choice between solid fuel and gas or liquid.

The quickest, easiest, cleanest forge is a little gas forge. For the true hobbiest the little NC-TOOL Whisper baby is a cute as they get. But it is very limited and does not reach welding heat. The two burner Whisper Momma or the ForgeMaster Blacksmith model are sized better for small to average work.

The most flexible, tradition and least expensive is the home built coal forge. Good commercial coal forges cost more than a gas forge but usulay work better than home built. You can purchase the fire pot and tuyere from several of our suppliers and build a good forge around that. OR for pennies on the dollar you can scrounge and build a fair "brake drum" forge. Note that often wheels work better than brake drums and "standard" size drums are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. . Solid fuel forges have the advantage that they are just as efficient for doing small work as they are for large. Gas forges must be sized to the work and most shopes need more than one size.

You need to check to see if you can get coal or charcoal localy. When we say charcoal we mean real-wood charcoal not briquettes. Charcoal briquettes for barbeques are mostly sawdust and glue with a little charcoal and also mineral coal and are not suitable for doing forge work.

You also need to consider where you live. You can get away with burning gas or charcoal almost anywhere BUT coal smoke has a distinct smell which many people associate with air pollution and the end of the world.

SO, the "best" forge is not the same for everyone.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 01:52:03 EST

More on what's best: Almost universaly the commerical tools and equipment you buy are of better design and construction than those you may make as a novice. Commercial gas forges have nice hinged doors, pizeo electric igniters and work right out of the box. A good NEW smithing anvil is a wonderful tool that is heat treated better than any home made anvil. Commercial power hammers all are more efficient than home built and are generaly built better. Commercial grinders and other power tools have many built in saftey features. You cannot beat a man at his own game.

Buying NEW may be in your budget, or it may not. If you have the cash it is easy to make a list and go shopping. If not and you can't afford to be in a hurry then you need to scrounge, build your own, make do.

If you are going into business it is almost always most profitable to buy what you need NEW, or expensive items used in good condition. If your shop time is worth anything then you cannot afford to build your own machinery unless you are more efficient and faster than the man mass producing the machine, which is unlikely.

For the smith with ZERO funds and few tools the best forge may be a couple holes in the ground and a blanket, fueled with scrounged charcoal from old fires. But for someone going into business that needs to be efficient from day ONE the best forge is probably several sizes of NEW gas forge OR one the largest size needed. Between these two extreams there are many other "best" choices.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 02:16:52 EST

Thank you Guru, i would also Like to know are there any Techniques and /or Study material i need to work on as a beginer ?
   Fabian Rodriguez - Tuesday, 03/29/05 02:45:01 EST

Ken, Does your gas forge have a blower? If the reg is a "Red Head" it should do the job. If not, they only cost $25-$30 at hardware stores or propane suppliers. Mine runs @ 5# with a blower and works great. Cost less than $100; I had to buy the regulator, kaowool, ITC-100, and gas line. The rest was scrounged.
   Ron Childers - Tuesday, 03/29/05 08:04:14 EST

Wow i just read the whole Guru page. this is probably one of the best site i have ever visited.
i found this site on yahoo, and as you said i wouldnt have found it if it were a secure site.
i have already told one of my friends about you and he also find the site enjoyable. i didnt know i could join until now perhaps if you made the membership option more visable on the home page area you would have higher member signup.
thank you for the nearly imediate response to my question, i was strongly impressed by the service.
by the way you mentioned worldwide and military, im U.S. navy police stationed in sigonella sicily.
   navsec - Tuesday, 03/29/05 09:29:21 EST

Ron Childers: I have two propane forges in the shop. The one I mentioned just as .0330 holes (#66 I think) drilled in the side of pipe nipples in a 3/4" - 1 1/2" bell coupler with turn down air valves for the Venturi effect. The second is one of Hans Peot's round forges with the blower. That one will melt cast iron if left in too long, but badly suffers from Dragon Breath. You can see both forges at my eBay store (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools - wait for the banner to come up). They are in the listing for Beginning Blacksmithing Resources. Occasionally I put together a starter package of one of my Poor Boy propane forges, modified anvil/vise (added a 3/4" hardy hole) and tools. One is up now. I have now had to past buyers tell me they can run my Poor Boy model at five pounds of pressure.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 03/29/05 09:37:43 EST

Hi, I have a question about eye protection next to the forge. I have a pair of Aura Lens large saftey frames with a 1.7 shade. Does anyone else have a pair? How do you like them? Is the 1.7 shade dark enough? After visting the doctor 4 times one year to remove metal from my eye I'm quite paranoid about getting forging or grinding sparks behind my saftey frames. Any info is helpful, thanks.
   Dan - Tuesday, 03/29/05 09:48:19 EST

Fabian! PLEASE see the "Getting Started" link at the top or bottom of this page! Follow the links in that article.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 10:47:52 EST

"On big industrial hammers the wedges were driven in and OUT with big paices of shaft hanging from a chain" I believe this was the original form of the "monkey tool"
   adam - Tuesday, 03/29/05 10:49:41 EST

Ken #66 sounds way small, 3/4" venturi burners typically use a #58. I am at 7000' and I used #61 and ran the gas at 5-20 psi. 15psi easily got to welding heat. Just curious about your set up. Always trying to collect new ideas.
   adam - Tuesday, 03/29/05 10:58:42 EST

Saftey Glasses: Dan, There are all kinds of safety glasses on the market. Many compromise safety for style. The logic is that you are better off wearing pretty safety glasses then none at all because they are ugly. . . That said, there ARE some streamlined glasses that give VERY good protection. There are also some very CHEAP poorly made glasses that cost the importer only 10 cents!

What is important is how your glasses fit. The rather ugly old style Bouton safety glasses we sell have side shields that fit snuggly against most peoples faces. Although there are some gaps around the edges they are less than many others. The screen side shields reduce periferal vision but reduce fogging (a toss up).

The rule on shades is to use as dark a shade as is safe to use (start dark and back off as needed) In this case the "safe to use" applies to walking around in the shop, seeing what you are doing. If a welding shade is so dark that you cannot see to weld then you use a slightly lighter shade. HOWEVER, I have found that the problem with welding shades is usualy the ambient lighting. You can see well through a #12 shade in sunlight. So it is the ambient shop lighting that is the problem, NOT the recommend shade.

Your #1.7 shade is similar to the #2 shade we sell in that it is convienient to wear in the shop AND it gives you some protection from the IR of the forge. If you stare so much intp the forge that your eyes get tired OR the light seems too bright then that indicates that you need a darker shade AND brighter ambient lighting to balance the walking/working safety factor.

This is one reason I like a well lit shop. Good lighting makes trip hazzards visible, increases your periferal vision and generaly makes it easier to work. Wearing safety glasses often reduces your periferial vision and makes it slightly harder to see. Good lighting balances this.

If the above seems a rather vague way to determine what shade to wear, well it IS. All OSHA and all the various regs say is "the worker must have sufficient protection" and dumps the specifics on the employer OR yourself if you are self employed. There ARE specifics for arc welding but beyond that it is up to you or your employer. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 11:11:51 EST

Adam: When I was reverse engineering my two models of propane forges I discussed orifice size with an engineer at Johnson Gas. Their standard is #62 for propane and #54 for natural gas. I was able to find #64 (double checked), which is what I have been using. Neither of my models is designed to reach forge welding temperatures. One model uses a 30 pound Freon bottle. Other uses 12" of 10" culvert with plates at the ends. Original intent was to use 3/16" x 10" pipe. My steel supplier gave me a price quote of $1,600 to cut a 20' pipe into 12" sections. On the way home I passed a driveway culvert dealer and the light bulb went off. Their cost was $360.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 03/29/05 11:20:27 EST

Ken, Your advertisers do not need for your banner to come up, just scroll down the drop down menu. . . :)

REPEAT on gas pressures: Although various forges DO perform differently so do pressure gauges, especialy at low pressures. Most are semi-acurate when new but rapidly degrade. Old gauges may read 5 PSI when the actual pressure is 10-15 PSI. The guage on my pricey weld shop propane regulator is about 10 years old but has seen little use. According to it I can run my melting pot at 0 PSI and melt 5 pounds of brass every 15 minutes. . . How much more efficient can you get! NO PRESSURE NEEDED!

On the other hand the setup on my Whisper Baby used to work well at 4 to 5 PSIG (pounds per square inch guage). But now it needs 10-15 PSIG. I've checked the hose and orifice for clogs and debris. I'm sure it is just degradation of the guage.

Gauge settings are a good starter reference point on new equipment but mean little at these low pressures using old equipment. If you are annal about this kind of thing you need to replace all your presure gauges with calibrated ones about once a year. New is better unless you have very expensive gauges where calibration is cost effective.

Also note that the lower the total range of the gauge the more accurate it is at low pressures. If you need accurate readings at 5 PSI then you want a 15 PSI max gaage. If you need accurate readings at ONE PSI then you need a 2-3 PSI max gauge. When you have a wide range to detect then acuracy suffers.

For most small gas forges a 30 PSI max gauge will give the best service.

Your milage may vary. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 11:35:13 EST

does anyone know a link or a list for oil rig drill pipe hardness and carbon count?
I was given 20' of it last night and my chop saw is having a heck of a time cutting it. I've tried to torch it and that too is slow going. If all else fails I may just crank the old buzz box up and blow some holes that way.
   - Timex - Tuesday, 03/29/05 11:46:14 EST

I recommend the whisper momma from NC it easily reaches welding temp with a 20# bottle.It is also very versatile I have made knife blades to pot racks with mine.
   Chris Makin - Tuesday, 03/29/05 11:54:16 EST

Buggy Springs: ISTR them being covered in "Practical Blacksmithing" by Richardson, a collection of articles from a late 1880's early 1890's blacksmithing journel. If you are using original buggy spring material this migh actually be a good resource for you! For the general smith it's more of a curosity as many of the materials and methods don't translate to the modern shop.

I'll try to look in my copy tonight.

Commercial is often the fastest way between you and getting stuff done. But I would also like to mention that commercial is often designed for "general" use and if you have a specific use you may be better off with a custom item. A friend of mine was a swordmaker and found that there were just not good sword heat treating ovens on the market (vertical, small bore, electric, inert atmosphere, ramping and set controls with timing, etc) and so built his own using stock parts assembled into the custom form.

I have two propane forges: one was grain auger pipe, thin and light, the other is from a scrapped O2 cylinder---not fun to carry but it sure stay's in place! Both were built at SOFA gas forge workshops.

Guru, what you worring about *heat*, heat is free it's *cooling* that costs down here in central NM! (My heating bill for a 2385 sq ft house this last heating season will be $140 to keep it comfortable)

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/29/05 12:55:53 EST

Cutting Pipe Timex, All steels short of stainless should cut equally well with a torch. Chop saws are limited by HP over a given cross section. If the pipe is thick wall then you may be trying to cut more than the maximum capacity of the saw. In pipe it helps to rotate the pipe and cut one edge once you have broken through but you have a large piece that would require roller stands in order to rotate it in the saw. . .

Neither method of cutting you are using are sensitive to hardness. In fact higher carbon cuts better either way. However, high alloy can increase the load on the chop saw.

Sounds like you need a bigger torch or saw. If these are not doing it then you will probably have trouble with a small buzz box as well.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 12:59:24 EST

thanks for the advise I'm in need of an excuse to get a bigger chop saw anyways .
   - Timex - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:13:48 EST

where is a good place to sell a 50# LG triphammer? Thanks David
   Coldiron - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:29:19 EST

Hey folks.
Can I heat up a scorp or draw knife and bend it to the shape I want and not effect the hardness? And if it does what can I do to get it to where it was so I can sharpen it?
   tomg - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:34:46 EST

Heating and Cooling: Thomas, I am planning on avoiding both by moving to Costa Rica in a few year. Maximum daytime temperatures of 84°F and minimum night time temperature of 54°F. . but more like 72-70°F most of the time. At the right altitude houses need neither heating or cooling as the indoor temperatures are more stable. Even with 200" of rain there is less rust due to less condensation from temperature swings. . . You just have to watch for the snakes!

My point was that every place is different and has different needs. Lots of folks like to point to "Practical Blacksmithing" for floor plans but most of the shops depicted were city farrier or carriage shops of THAT era.

Having sufficient room and a way to rearrange every so often is the best system. You cannot bring home but so many toys before you need to completely rearrange to make good use of them. . . It also REALLY pays to visit enough shops to have an idea of what works and what is needed.

I recently saw someone post that their ideal blacksmith shop would be a cave! Dark, poor ventilation, hard surfaces to reflect every noise . . the EXACT opposite of what a good shop should be, well lite, naturaly ventilated, quiet. Open air forges have great advantages IF the climate is suitable. Without walls then size/space is not an issue, neither is ventilation if there is any breeze at all. Sound does not reflect back at you.

In my youth I was "into" modern architecture but found over time that most of it became rapidly dated (like the old Phillips 66 service station architecture, or current fast food resturants. . ). The best type construction is usualy what has developed as traditional for the region anywhere in the world. Build along those lines and you have done the right thing. Usualy there are good sound reasons for the local construction methods. Using them also gives you the advantage of a local labor pool that knows how to build that way. Do something really odd-ball and you will have to train people in your construction method.

Now. . in the desert Southwest of the US a cave MIGHT have some advantages. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:35:55 EST

Tomg, No. See our FAQ's on Junkyard steels and Heat Treating.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:53:15 EST

Selling LG: Coldiron, You are welcome to post it on our Hammer-In page. Be sure to list the model (early, late, center clutch, rear clutch, motorized) and your location. A 50# LG should move pretty quick. I'm working on a new sales page but have gotten backlogged on other work.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/29/05 13:56:42 EST

Coldiron: Don't overlook eBay. There is a large Bradley (I believe) on there now.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 03/29/05 15:43:49 EST

ColdIron; about 7 miles NE of here

Drill pipe is a pretty tough alloy steel, it might have enough Ni or Cr in it to make a problem with a torch, I'd have to look it up to find out the details---even then it may be location and age dependent.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/29/05 16:54:44 EST

Timex, don't over look a 4-1/2" grinder and a handful of .045" slitting discs. Lay out a line, it's easy to hold 1/16" or less tolerance.
   mike-hr - Tuesday, 03/29/05 17:56:03 EST

On Russian anvils: Take a look at eBay #6167041164.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 03/29/05 19:05:35 EST

Re: ebay#6167041164


Now THAT'S funny!

   eander4 - Tuesday, 03/29/05 19:26:22 EST

Success with the Stuck wedge! After heating the wedge till the old oil smoked out and drenching it with WD40, a 2pd hammer and an old narrow belt axe drift i had made used for a punch,the wedge finally came loose. Thanks for the tips and help to one and all. Next question (grin) There is some back and front play/slop in the bronze pitman, should I make some copper or brass shim washers to fit behind this, and if so what tolerance of space should I be shooting for?
Also having never before poured a babbit bearing, how difficult is it to pour a proper clutch bearing? Thanks Again.
   - RC - Tuesday, 03/29/05 20:27:44 EST

Drill pipe is usually 1340 carbon-manganese steel with 4140 alloy tool joints welded on each end. You may have a piece of casing known as 9Cr or 13Cr. As the nomenclature implies, it is high in chromium to minimize deterioration due to Hydrogen Sulfide and Carbonic Acid.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 03/29/05 21:29:33 EST

Russian Anvil
Now that is wonderful!!!!!!...About Time!!
   burntforge - Tuesday, 03/29/05 22:17:02 EST

Timex-- Not all chop saw wheels are the same.The bond may be harder, to lengthen wheel life [NOT what You need in this case] or softer to cut faster, cooler,& with less power[these are the ones You need for this job]In grinding wheels bond hardness is indicated by the letter folowing the grit size, Ex.A 24 R is aluminun oxide, 24 grit, R bond. The bond gets harder as You progress further down the alphabet[Q is softer than R etc.] That much said a lot of cutoff wheels aren't marked for bond. Allso, it is harder to get a torch cut started on a pipe, because there is no corner that heats readily to get started on. If this is the problem, You could pierce a hole with Your buz box to start in. If it doesn't cut well once started the chrome content Quenchcrack mentioned may be the reason.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 03/30/05 00:22:05 EST

Little Giant Rebuild: RC, The axial play in the pitman does not hurt. In fact it may be necessary as the main shaft is not always square to the ram guides. In this application the narrow shims are likely to get deformed and end up caught in the bore doing lots of damage. Leave it be.

The front bearing parts that are critical to performance and control are the toggle and arm pins. Often these are machined out and bushed with bronze bushings if there is a lot of play.

Pouring the clutch bearing is not an impossible job but it is the toughest on the hammer. The trick is that the normal process is to pour the bearing undersize and then machine it to fit the shaft and be perfectly true to the clutch surface. This requires a lathe big enough for the clutch.

If your machine has a middle clutch they can stand a LOT of play in the bearing and still perform OK. If it is a rear clutch it causes grabbing and chattering due to the space between the wood blocks letting the wheel drop. These must fit well.

Note that either LG clutch needs LOTS of oil. Cone clutches are a very positive clutch and do not like to slip for speed control. In order to slip consistantly they need LOTS of oil. . .

You will find some old LG's where someone thought the clutch needed more friction and replaced the clutch media with asbestoes brake lining material. . WRONG. Check with Sid Sudemeier about the cloth belting he uses on the inner cone of middle clutches.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 01:48:46 EST

Fast Cut or Long Life: Dave has some good information. I used to just walk into my welding supplier and pick up whatever grinding disks they had on the shelf. One day I had to ask for them. The counter guy asked if I wanted fast cutting OR long lasting. WOW! I had a choice? Of course anyone with any sense wants fast cutting wheels. . . The "long lasting" wheels leave you holding a grinder for twice as long and the slow cutting tends to make a smooth wavy surface rather than a FLAT one. When cleaning up torch cuts you want to get the job DONE. Your time is worth a lot more than a shorter life wheel.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 02:06:23 EST

Ebay. . I was considering writing a "how to avoid. . " booklet and sellin it on ebay. The key words, like the the one above would get lots of traffic.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 02:13:24 EST

More grinding wheels. . : Don't forget that you use softer wheels on harder materials. A hard wheel that cuts well on mild steel may bog down from loading on a hard piece. A soft wheel is more friable and the loading is striped off. Thus you also have more fresh grit and it cuts faster.

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 02:18:25 EST

Guru, thanks for the direction on bending scorps
   tomg - Wednesday, 03/30/05 07:59:45 EST

Guru: I assume you are referring to the Russian anvil warning. The guy is paying for this on his own. Listing cost him less than a dollar, but it had been seen by 71 people last I checked.

If you wrote a booket on "How to Avoid eBay Anvil Rip-offs" you might be able to sell some for a nominal amount. Perhaps a direct download from anvilfire somewhere. But, alas, more store work.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/30/05 08:13:42 EST

As far as a booklet concerning ASO anvils warning buyers would be very good. If it was a booklet on your opinion to sway buyers from paying good money for used anvils or equiptment would be wrong. Let the people who are trying to eek out a living just like you alone. I just am not sure your intentions on this booklet and mean no offense. Please keep in mind before writing such a book. Many of us who sell on ebay have tens of thousands of dollars invested in inventory and software and hardware to do such a thing. 99% of us advertise every item as what it is and list all flaws it may have. The consumer chooses what they are willing to pay for an item and people should not mess with that. Anyway guru I respect you very much, but my concerns come from your past comments on what people are willing to pay for good used items. I have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to purchase things I sell and have to pay good money for them up front and then pay the forever increasing listing, selling, paypal fees, gas, help,packaging materials and cost of replacing hauling trucks. Anyway I don't know if I worded this right. It was meant to make one think before acting and not as any attack on anyone including the guru.
   burntforge - Wednesday, 03/30/05 09:25:24 EST

Any suggestions, references or warnings about homemade flypresses? I didnt see anything in the FAQ but i may have missed it.
   John - Wednesday, 03/30/05 09:43:57 EST

hello Friends
i want to make a leafspring powerhammer to help me in my knifemaking, especially in damascus making. i`m in train to collect parts for this. but first i would like to have some advice on the minimum ram weight hits per minute, anvil weight, leafspring thicknes, etc.
i have a 2800rpm, 2hp electric motor. i would like to 'talk' with other knifemakers who did this before.

   matei campan - Wednesday, 03/30/05 10:59:21 EST

"Practical Blacksmithing" by Richardson does have several sections on buggy springs, some of the ones on welding them include tempering instructions---most of which seem to boil down to normalizing them---they generally say "heat and then hammer on till cool". I'd suggest doing an ILL for this book at the local library. Note: it's usually found as 4 volumes bound as one so there are 4 indexes in the book distributed fairly equally inside. The buggy stuff I found was in the 3rd and 4th volumes. (I have bookmarks at each index in my copy to make searching easier).

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/30/05 11:25:24 EST

John, two points that get mentioned are: The screw is a fast thread - actually four threads; The frame has to be designed to handle the sudden tension that occurs when the ram bottoms out.
   adam - Wednesday, 03/30/05 12:43:29 EST

Having read the amount of space in "Practical Blacksmithing" given to spring repair reinforces in my mind the theory that they were probaly heat treated "bye gosh and bye guess"
   JimG - Wednesday, 03/30/05 13:33:37 EST

mr scharabok, how does one determine the number of "visits" to an ebay ad? this concerns me because if a seller has an idea of the interest of an item, and who is taking a peek, they also can check their feedback and what and how much $ they have spent on items. this would explain why there are lots of bids from low feedback individuals on certain items that i am interested in. the seller can use someone to bid it up, or do it themself under an "alias". when the serious bidder comes in, the current bid is alot higher. if the item does not sell to a legit bidder, they will just relist it, citing some problem. it happens and it is BS. this is why i look for poor pictures and poor descriptions, which typically get much less attention. the serious bidders now participate and the process is reasonable. this is of course assuming that new information does not surface, which could generate more interest and sham bidding....thanks for your input
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/30/05 13:38:35 EST

Ebay has a program that looks at the isp to see if there is shill bidding going on or a pattern of bidding. They have really updated the registration process to prevent this also. You have to give very detailed information. It will be obvious if a realtive or family member is doing such a thing. Even a person in the same area. Of coarse it still happens and there is no way to completely stop it. I know I don't do these things and things sell for what they go for. I will say I have people win items and not pay. It is not always a lie if someone relists things because someone with a low feedback did not pay for an item. You are talking only about 1% of people are dishonest. I have been using ebay since they were born in I believe 94. I have been burned maybe six or seven times out of thousands of buying or selling transactions. I think being careful is good, but don't assume you really know if someone is doing shill bidding or not.
   burntforge - Wednesday, 03/30/05 13:47:32 EST

I also have a gentlemen that likes the things I sell. He bids on about 25% of my items. He has probably purchased fifty items from me. It may not look good for me with his user name always bidding, but he is just a great customer that trusts me and likes my service. He buys from me often. Things are not always what they appear.
   burntforge - Wednesday, 03/30/05 13:50:05 EST

burnt', see comments on hammer in...lull on the job now
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/30/05 14:23:38 EST

Is there anything that old chainsaw chains can be used for?
   tomg - Wednesday, 03/30/05 14:34:57 EST

Tomg, you can forgeweld them into billets for knifemaking.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/30/05 15:01:19 EST

Tomg: At the last Quad-State one person had a couple of tables of items he used to make Damascus-pattern blades. Did a really nice job of showing steps start to finished blade. One of the these he made knife blades out of was chainsaw chains.

As burntforge mentioned, eBay has been cracking down on shill bidding as best they can. From what I am told, they don't look at individual transactions so much as the pattern. Say one bidder keeps pumping up someone's proxy bid until they exceed it by one bid increment, then drop out if that bidder rebids over them. I have it from a pretty good source a group of people in Texas were offering recently produced arrowheads, taking turns bidding up each other's auction. If they ended up high bidder, the sale just didn't go through. What tripped them up was each was registered with PayPal, yet didn't use PayPal to pay for any of the auctions they won. I would say 99.9999999999% of the sellers on eBay are honest. However, when you have somethink like 14M auctions going on at the same time even the small remaining percentage becomes large. Like a friend at the post office says, 'we can deliver 1B pieces of mail on time, but let us lose just one...'.

I have one seller to where I bid on almost all of their auctions as a one-time, my best bid price. I'm overbid most of the time, but I do follow through with what I win as I wanted the item if the price was right for me.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/30/05 15:07:30 EST

mr scharabok; respectfully, answer, if you will/can, the question: how does a non seller know how many times an ad was looked at? you said, "...it had been seen by 71 people last i checked." checked where/how??
   rugg - Wednesday, 03/30/05 15:29:07 EST

Rugg: Sorry, missed that question. Most sellers put a counter on their auctions. Look down in the listing and you should see it displayed. Can tell the seller a good bit. If they are getting lots of hits but not bids, likely item is overpriced (although more and more bidders seem to be waiting until the auction is about to end to bid). If there are few hits, likely it is something of little interest or the subject line (which is what the keyword search goes by) needs to be spiced up.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/30/05 15:42:58 EST

Ebay Warnings: The only warning on buying used tools is to KNOW what you are buying and not to overbid. People often buy "old" tools that are still manufactured by the same company the same way and pay better than new price. Often the seller has described it as "rare", or "a collectors item". Otherwise it is an auction, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Homebuilt Flypresses: There is a lot of dynamic forces in a flypress that requires considerable engineering know-how to address. There are no common stock parts that work for the screw which MUST be specially machined. Someone with the machinery to make the screw and the nut could probably do a pretty good job but it would be very costly in time to do. I would be very sinicle about the usefullness of a home built flypress.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 16:45:42 EST

Hey Guru, Last week I paid CSI membership via credit card, How long does it take to process that? Will I receive email confirmation?
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 03/30/05 18:05:23 EST

Spring Helve hammer: matei, The maximum speed for a small hammer suitable to do this work (40 to 60 pounds) is about 200 blows per minute. Using the motor you have will require 14 or 15 to one speed reduction. Normally this kind of reduction using belts takes a minimum of two steps and three would be better.

A new development in the past few years has been the "spare tire" hammer. This uses and automobile tire as a clutch surface on the driven shaft and a small steel wheel on the motor. Using a 28" tire and a 1.8" wheel would give you that 15:1 reduction. I doubt if you will transmit the full 2HP through this drive but it will probably be enough. See the NC-JYH on our Power Hammer Page "catalog of user built and Junk Yard hammers".

   - guru - Wednesday, 03/30/05 18:09:46 EST

Ok, i understand the Purpose of Quenching Metal but, I was Talking with a Family Member in Spain and there were supposidly Black smiths who did " Blood Quenching" and Declared Heratics by the Catholics way back in the day. It sounded like total Bogus but just to make sure have you guys ever heard of such a process ?
   Fabian Rodriguez - Wednesday, 03/30/05 18:10:11 EST

Fresh Blood is merely a weak brine and so will quench the same way. Clotted will be a mess and most likely result in warping the blade. Compared to the suggested method of the *monk* Theophilus who in 1120 wrote that the best quenchent was the urine or a red headed boy or a goat fed on ferns for three days; blood seems rather tame.

Most likely they were accused of this as a means of tainting their reputation with a link to black magic.

However since I live just down the road from a small custom meat processor I plan to do some blood quenches more for the hype value than for any expected benefit. Stale uring worked quite well and had such an amusing smell as the red hot steel hit it. (Whether I qualify as the Boy or the Goat is left as an exercise for the student...please pass the ferns...)

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/30/05 18:33:43 EST

Fabian Rodriquez:

In the book Moby Dick, Captain Ahab had the crew cut themselves to fill a vessel with blood in which to quench his harpoon tip. As noted, blood is a weak salt brine.

Someone on the forum debanked quenching a Damascus sword blade in a fat slave, but same basic concept.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 03/30/05 18:42:07 EST

Cool, Thought he was pulling my leg hehehehe Thanks
   Fabian Rodriguez - Wednesday, 03/30/05 19:19:33 EST

Not only are you a goat, you're an OLD goat!

   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/30/05 19:38:50 EST

Fabian, plunging a red hot blade into the human body would cauterize the wound immediately and stop the quenching action. I doubt the smell of burning flesh would something that most people would willingly subject themselves to when more pleasant things like urine were available and effective.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 03/30/05 20:48:49 EST

Yea, iam not thinking of doing that at all. Ive been told by my old man that can be considered evil. I may be 22 but my old man can still kick my butt so Iam statying clear of that :)
   Fabian Rodriguez - Wednesday, 03/30/05 22:07:31 EST

I enjoyed talking at Dan Boone's
I just did what I said I'd do and joined CSI
   Travis - Wednesday, 03/30/05 22:38:43 EST


You look good in blue!

I haven't been posting much, of late; some minor but persistant medical situations and things are nuts at work. OMB says we are to do "more with less" on the opening page of their gummint website; but I guess they never heard of diminishing returns. We've been doing 'more with less' for most of my 30 years, and we're less every day.

Ah well, better to comment on the Hammer-In page; if at all.

Any reponse on testing bronze(?) for unpleasant alloying metals, posted above?

G'night, folks; I'm wrapped for the night.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 03/30/05 23:24:37 EST


You look good in blue! Welcome to the Family!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/30/05 23:46:27 EST

Elaberating a little more on grinding/cutoff wheels:Fast & cool cutting wheels are almost always the way to go, as time costs more than abrasives. The place for the harder wheels/discs is cutting thin sections or grinding the EDGE of thin stock where contact area is small & vibration is likley. Wheel selection on a surface grinder is an entirely diferent matter,I wont go into that unless somebody asks.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 03/30/05 23:51:32 EST

John--Cutting the screw threads on a lathe involves a few problems, most quick change lathes won't cut that fast a lead, less of a problem on a change gear lathe, but the tool geometry gets interesting. The leading edge of the threading tool needs the lead angle of the thread PLUS 5to7 degrees of cutting clearance. The larger the diameter of the screw, the smaller the lead angle, and the less of a problem, however it would be wise to copy the lead AND lead angle from a design that works. Cutting the multiple lead will be child's play compaired to the problems of cutting that coarse of a lead. The frame needs to be extremely rigid, as deflection will absorb energy rather than transmit it to the work. It would be an interesting project, but if You have a job it would be more prudent to buy one.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/31/05 00:22:21 EST

Atli - sorry don't know of any good (ie cheap) way to test copper alloys for alloy type. Only guess would be wet chemistry/spectographic methods. If it was supposed to be "free machining" it's liable to contain lead.

I hear you on "diminishing returns" - seems every company I have ever worked for believed in "doing more with less", even those who said that they were firm blievers/followers of Deming. Sorry I can't be of more help with the copper alloys.
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 03/31/05 00:32:26 EST

John: Homemade fly press
I have built one fly press using a two-inch 4 TPI single start screw. This was essentially a test jig to see if it was feasible. On the surface, it might appear that this relatively fine thread would give more mechanical advantage, but it did not work out that way. It did very little useful work and when it bottomed out on the workpiece it would bind...just like a vise, and it would require both hands to free the screw/flywheel. By that time you have lost all the heat. Too much friction, even though the thread was good and well lubricated.

I built a small "working" fly press using a 1-1/4 inch two start screw, which advanced 1/2 inch per turn. (The screw and nut came from a scrap yard.) This worked much better and did not bind. It is OK for small detailed work. Although I have a 28-inch 100 pound flywheel on it, I have to take it easy, because the screw is too small in diameter to take the full load. With a 1-1/4 inch screw it is about equal to a number 0 fly press used for jewelery work. I should really put a 20- or 30 pound flywheel on a screw this size.

If you are s skilled machinist, you could probably cut a 4-start 2-inch diameter screw and get it to work quite well for you provided you make a strong enough frame.

I just got "The Fly Press" video by John Crouchet, and watched him control the depth of the stroke with a jam nut top of the screw. A very useful feature, but just one more complication in the construction of the press.

Some other considerations: When the press is set up, the flywheel or weights should be well above your head, so you don't knock yourself out. Also, when I use my press, I set it up in the work bench, clamp it down solidly, and then place the flywheel on top. The 100 pund wheel is a bit awkward to set in place. In John's video, he uses a fly press that has a moveable bar and two spherical weights. He can easily remove one weight at a time in order to make adjustments to the position of the bar.
Adjustments are necessary in order to get the handle in a convenient place.

Don't let me discourage you from experimenting. You may come across an interesting solution for all of us. There are all sorts of ways to generate pressure (cams, levers etc), not enough time to try them all out!

   Don Sinclaire - Thursday, 03/31/05 00:34:44 EST

PawPaw: Joined a bit ago. Just didn't realize to get the blue you had to log in the system.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/31/05 07:51:35 EST

If Jock hadn't told me, I might not have ever figured it out! (grin)
   - Ken S. - Thursday, 03/31/05 08:40:51 EST

need to locate 12d s/s rose head nails
or have them made by a blacksmith.

can you help ?

Please call Butch 732 904 0691/or E mail
   plan-It const. - Thursday, 03/31/05 09:01:31 EST

I have no experience with rim locks other than I know how to open them (first making certin that the largest part of the rim lock box is flat to the work table! If that counts for experience.) I seem to have trouble finding the names of the inside parts of the rim lock. Which brings me to you.
On your Lever Tumblers page, which is wonderful, I believe you have identified the narrow, flat and sometimes notched piece of metal I find in most of my rim locks. It is called the spring??? I believe. Most of these springs have corroded and often some are missing, or they seem to be missing to me. Where do I find the metal that these springs were/are made from? What is the metal called? Is the notching I find on some of the springs necessary? And how do I know where and what do I cut the metal with?
When I have taken the flat piece of metal into a store to see if they carry such, most do not understand what I am trying to explain. Could you help please?
Thank you,
M. Miller
   M. Miller - Thursday, 03/31/05 09:10:16 EST

plan-it const.

The s/s and length throws a curve. Tremont Nail Co. in Wareham, Mass, sells cut nails with a "three clout head" (three facets), not stainless, and I think 3" is the length limit. They are a little bit blunt pointed.

Acorn Hardware sells the faceted head screws similar to what McKinney made in the "olden days", but you would have to check with them ref length. Again, not s/s.

Outta' Town. I have a house/shop/dog sitter for a few days. I'll be in Oklahoma.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 03/31/05 09:33:57 EST

Locks: M.Miller, The flat notched pieces are usualy the tumblers. The are mild steel. The springs can be made of mild steel or pre-heat treated "blue" spring steel.

Without more details of the locks you are working on I can not be more difinitive as there are thousands of lock designs. Many commercial lever tumbler locks had a rectangular wire spring welded to the back of the tumbler OR pressed into a tight fitting slot. In that case the tumbler and spring appear to be one part.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 09:39:30 EST

Greetings from Texas-

I have been collecting antique match strikers since I was 10 (about 35 years now). I bought, many moons ago, what I have consistently been referring to as "the forerunner of the match". I would like to know, once and for all, what this item is. It is a metal cylinder, @ 7 inches long, with a metal wheel attached to the end. Running along the length of the cylinder is a flat, retractable sliding compartment which houses a piece of flint and black, charred looking cloth. I assume the idea is to get the wheel going, hold the flint to it until you get a spark, and light the cloth. I have no idea what this item is called, how old it is, etc. I have searched books and the internet to no avail. If you can offer any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks oodles
   Gerry Gebhard - Thursday, 03/31/05 10:51:58 EST

Gerry Gebhard-possibly a trench lighter WW1,although at 7 inches a little big ?
   crosspean - Thursday, 03/31/05 11:23:16 EST

Good morning,
What does the small letter "e" indicate on the end of a steel nomenclature as in 52100 vs. 52100e? I have seen it both ways and wonder if it is referring to the same alloy.
   - L Sundstrom - Thursday, 03/31/05 11:37:30 EST

about how much to the materials u use to make swords with cost? and how long does it take you to make them. this is for a research paper, thnx.
   sword freak - Thursday, 03/31/05 11:51:46 EST

My flypress doesn't have the dumbell weights, it has a 42" dia toroid with two downwards hanging bars so you can give it a whirl when it's all the way up. Since most of the work is actually done with 1/2 turn or so (once you have got it to speed any extra travel is just losing energy) you can be fairly safe. I'm putting pipe insulation on my bars cause I'm sure I will be too interested in the squish and not paying attention sometime...

plan-it const: if you can get some 12d SS nails they heads can be placed in a nail header and struck to produce a hand forged look. *much* cheaper than paying a smith to forge the complete stainless nail! Even having the heads heated and hammered is a lot easier than pounding out the nail part from SS. Where are you at? This would be a good job for a teenager who wanted to practice with the hammer and make a bit of $$$.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/31/05 11:52:32 EST

Fly press: It seems like I have seen a screw from an old lathe, the one that advances the tool holder when threading. It is about two inches in dia. Maybe I could salvage it for the press. It was pretty sturdy looking.
   John - Thursday, 03/31/05 12:32:47 EST


The lead screw from a lathe wil lhave MUCH too slow a pitch for a fly press. Flypresses, as mentioned, use a multi-lead screw with a VERY fast pitch...on the order of 1/4 turn per inch of travel or faster. Go to weww.flypress.com and look at the pictures to see how fast a pitch we're talking about.

A leadscrew from a lathe would make a screw press, but not a fly press. Screw presses are designed to exert controlled pressure over a short distance and rely on the multiplication of the force by the angle of the thread and the radius of the handwheel, basically. A flypress gets it force from the momentum of the MASS of the flywheel attached to the screw, and does not use the thread pitch as a multiplier, really.

If you put a big flywheel on a slow pitch thread, you'll either rip the lands off the thread or gall them to where they seize, depending on the application.
   vicopper - Thursday, 03/31/05 12:57:06 EST

Guru and others,

I am getting my smithy together and I'm almost ready to set my anvil in place. I've looked at the anvil stand designs on this site and am considering the options. However, I live in a somewhat residential area (no backyard neighbors, but a neighbor on the side). My question is twofold:

(1) Are there disadvantages to 'deadening' the ring of an anvil? I've read somewhere that it shouldn't be done. I'd like to keep the noise down if possible, but I don't want to sacrifice performance of my beautiful new anvil.

(2) You mentioned on the anvil stand design page that it's the mounting of the anvil that helps with ring, not the materials of the stand. Could you expand on this?

   PredatorGuy - Thursday, 03/31/05 13:01:05 EST

Predator: No. The ring is nice to hear when you buy the anvil - usually indicates a sound anvil - but from then on it will just damage your hearing and annoy your neighbors. It does nothing for your forging. The quieter the better.

If the anvil is well mated to its base by being tightly clamped with some soft packing material in between then the base will soak up a lot of the vibrations.
   adam - Thursday, 03/31/05 13:25:22 EST


Sounds like one of the early Flint Strikers. The flint was held against the wheel, the wheel was flipped in the same way that you light a Bic. The resulting spark was thrown down onto the char cloth, and then a candle or a "wisp" was lit from the char cloth. Then you closed the cover on the char cloth to smother the spark. Was a lot easier to use than the old flint and steel method.

Speaking personally, I'd sure like to have some pictures of it! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/31/05 13:33:35 EST

They were still selling that sort of lighter new in Spain back in the 1970's---smaller in size though and using a round "cord" of fiber for the char cloth.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/31/05 14:49:52 EST

Is 3 start and 4 start the number of threads that are on the piece as opposed to tpi. What I am saying if you could pull the threads off of the scrw 3 start would have 3 threads and 4 would have 4 and most screws would have only 1. Damn, I am not sure how to even ask the question!
   John - Thursday, 03/31/05 14:53:47 EST

John, If you will watch ebay- there are a lot of old fly presses coming out of Rhode Island- They were used in Jewelry manufacturing- I picked up a large one complete with a cast iron base for $350-- they are usually listed
as screw presses, but are flypress- I researched building
one, but as previouly noted- there is no supply for the
4 start screw and nut
   - ptpiddler - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:04:47 EST

Threads John, yes it is a mind teaser but you are right. You machine X number of threads on the same part. Imagine cutting 4 equaly spaced grooves in a bar then twisting it. That would be 4 start thread.

What happens though is that if you had 10 TPI each thread and the space beteen would be 1/10" and that would be the feed per revolution on the lathe. But if you have a 2 start thread the feed per revolution would be 2/10". For a 3 start 3/10".

I have an old lathe that will make 3 TPI at the coarsest. Huge threads until you use the same feed to make 2 threads half the size.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:13:57 EST

NOTE: Answered Sword Freak's answer in resonse to his mail.

Steel Markings: Larry, there is no standard. You have to ask the specific supplier. A single letter is probably an inspector's mark but it could also be a wharehouse mark.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:26:23 EST

The mind boggles. I can imagine a lathe with three tool holders arranged around the work at 120 degree angles to each other, wow. maybe a turret lathe would work! I dont know anything about machining but I have a friend who has a shop full of antiques. In there he has 3 or four turret lathes, I know two of them are vertical lathes and one is a planer or something and will change tools when it reaches the end of the run but it has a turret that holds different tooling to be used sequentially.
   John - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:34:33 EST

Threads: There are a few machines out there that use multi-lead power threads like a flypress but the are pretty rare and usualy very big. The next closest thing is the worm from a worm gear box. Worms come in 1,2,3 and 4 start and are usualy thread configuration. However, there are also worms that are bigger on the ends to wrap around the worm wheel. The problem with a worm is they are short and there is no nut to fit.

To build a flypress from scrounged parts you almost need a junked flypress.

If you want a BIG one I can hook you up with a 100+ ton model for about $9k
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:39:01 EST

Sword freak,

the cost depends on the material, the tech ( filing a piece from a stock vs heat and hammer) how ornate and its use ability. Is the sword going to be a roman style bronze broadhead? or a scottish claymore? a french dueling foil, a kerpish long knife( 19" ) or a japanese foot soldures ondage(sp?)that is 6 to 9 ' long ? and the list go on and on. If you are writing a paper you're gonna have to get very careful about the time and local for each type. Samuri swords take years to get to the final product. Modern corprate monsters can count the finished swords by the minute and even the second.
To give you a rough idea, my first project on forging involved harvisting raw iron from a stream( 2 weeks 0$) piling this up and melting it down into a silica rich ball of pain in the butt( 72 hrs getting the wood and cow paties, 48 hrs for the burn, wood was free from a farm brush pile). Then breaking workable pieces loose( 12 or 13 hrs I think) heating them in my forge (coal $12 for fifty pounds) and beat welding( roughly 30 to 40 hrs) them together( used 20 mule borax as a flux $6.98[ thank u guru ] to remove impurities and build a billite of really crappy iron that was later shaped into a sword blank( 2 hrs). Now given I had two false starts and reshaped it i ended up with a saber (1"x 36"x 1/24"). Then the handle was shapped and fitted( rose wood $8 30 min. to shape and drill) and lets not forget the copper hand guard, cut and shapped( copper, free" found" it by a construction site. cut and shape 45 minutes?)After all this I decided to leave it rough( not polished ) to give it the antique look.
So for a novice smith, three weeks or so at the cost of $20 to 25 dollars I have made a really cool looking but not usable " sword ". Now I'm shure that the master smiths that post here could probbably rip out a usable , good looking sword in a few hrs or a day at most. But me, time and effort it would be cheeper to just go and buy one and call it good. Ahh for the love of smithing and creating I endever on cause I can.
   - timex - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:41:47 EST

No, I am a novice back-yard hobby bladesmith with 55 year old shoulders. I like the idea of a quiet and fairly noiseless way of mashing steel, for shaping or elongating, fullering etc. A trip hammer would be easier to build but not as quiet. I think if I spent as much time exercising my shoulders as my mind I wouldnt need the fly press, but it is fun to immagine machines and how they work, how to make them or change them around.
   John - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:43:44 EST

Multi-Start: John, Every machine that I know machines the threads one at a time. You cut one and it looks like a long spiral groove, then another and you have a pair with a wide space, then the third and all the spaciing is even.

All you do on a standard engine lathe is engage the half nut (feed) at a different mark on the threading wheel for each thread.

These threads are also milled on a milling machine with a geared indexing head that rotates as the table travels. After cutting one thread you index the work and then cut the next.

Its a LOT of work and you have to keep on your toes to keep from missing the mark.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:45:22 EST

Quiet Machines: John, The quietest forging machine is the McDonald Rolling mill. See our book review page.

Hugh's machine is absolutely quite and the most noise comes from the operator as they squeel with delite. However, the machine is limited in what it can do. It is great for welding and drawing out laminated steel. It can also convert round stock like spring steel to flat bar. With a little practice it can also draw tapers.

With a little R&D you could probably do other things with it. However, the problem a lot of folks have had is that they expect it to do huge work, too much in one pass or cold work like embossing. It is a HOT work machine designed for the small shop and uses very little HP. Machines to do these heavier tasks cost tens of thousands of dollars and use high HP motors that most of us do not have the current to run.

Check it out. I want to build one if I ever have time to get in the shop! Plans are now available in print or on CD-ROM from Norm Larson.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 15:57:08 EST

Matei: Spring Helve Hammer
Check the Power Hammer page on this website, if you have not already done so. I build one similar to the "Rusty" power hammer. The Hammer weight is 34 pounds. The anvil is 11 inches tall, 10 inches in diameter or about 250 pounds with another 120 pounds for a base plate. It is surprising how flexible 1-inch plate is. It does not contribute all of it's weight to the anvil's weight Maybe the effective weight is 300 pounds. That gives a 9 to 1 ratio of hammer to anvil. When it stood on the concrete floor it worked OK, but when raised up on wooden blocks, the blows were significantly less effective. I then built a small bench out of 1-1/2 inch plate (350 pounds) with two 2x6 wood spacers to protect the concrete, and now it works OK. Effective anvil weight maybe 450 pounds total? This is a ratio of 13 to 1 and it works noticably better. You can only include the weght of the material under or very near to the anvil, and it should be welded or firmly bolted together to get the full effect.

The hammer still causes some vibration of the floor, which is probably not good for the concrete. It will settle the sand and gravel under the concrete and leave unsupported voids and may lead to future cracks. The vibration also can be heard in the house nearby. My point is make the anvil as heavy as possible.

My hammer runs best at 220 to 240 blows per minute. If I try to run it faster, I hit the resonant frequency of the spring / hammer mass. At that speed the hammer stands still or hits erratically while the motor moves the other end of the spring up and down. Motor current more than doubles at this point, and there is lots of vibration.

Motor is 1 HP, 1750 RPM. I should probably use a 2 HP motor for a 34 pound hammer running at 240 blows per minute.
The flywheel is about 20 pounds and has a counter weight of about 5 pounds. I can still see spikes in the motor current when the hammer is running, so a heavier flywheel would be better for the motor. The "Spare Tire- friction drive" version used by ptree probably would be an improvement, since the compact spare tires are heavy.

At 240 blows per minute there is about 1 inch of spring deflection at the top of the stroke. I left about 1/2 inch of clearance between the hammer and the anvil when it is at rest. I can draw out a piece of 1 inch square or 1-1/2 inch round to a short square taper in about 4 heats. I don't know if that is good or bad.

The spring assembly has a spring constant of 500 lbs / inch. It is a 3-leaf spring, with each leaf 2-1/4 x 5/16 inches. The three leaves are clamped together to make it stiffer. I tried other springs but this works best for me.

A softer spring would be easier on the motor, give better control and would be less sensitive to the thickness of the workpiece and would allow you to have more clearance between the anvil and the hammer. It would also lower the resonant freqeucny of the hammer/spring combo and limit you to a lower number of beats per minute. The Dupont toggle link used on Little Giant hammers and on the NC junk yard hammer may be a bit more complicated to fabricate, but would be more efficient and more tollerent of varying thicknesses of material such as damascus billets.
I hope I have not rambled on too long. I better get back to work.
   Don Sinclaire - Thursday, 03/31/05 16:12:46 EST

Multistart thread. Just a thought but this thread could be constructed the old fashioned way by wrapping keystock around a shaft and brazing. Would need to be larger than a chased thread and would be less accurate - but accuracy doesnt seem that important here.
   adam - Thursday, 03/31/05 16:37:59 EST

Adam; the extreme high pressure spikes would probably tear the brazed keystock right off the shaft; but it's a great out of the box idea. I would think that accuracy would be a problem because if everything is not "pulling it's own share" the force would be concentrated on a smaller area and so it would be even more likely to fail.

I don't think I would use a screw press for drawing out at it has a pretty slow cycle rate, more seconds per cycle than cycles per second.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/31/05 18:01:23 EST

Fab Thread Adam, it is possible but would be a heck of a job to keep accuracy between the leads. You also have to make a nut. This is possible by casting a babbit nut but you would have to increase your size again to account for the low material strength. The amount of backlash necessary to let the nut travel this imprecise thread would be horrendous.

The method used to make the earliest precision threads was relatively simple. A line was scribed on a bar using knife edges at an angle to each other and rolling the bar on the edge creating the perfect line. THEN the bar was chucked in a lathe and the line followed by hand while turning very slow. Quite a task! But one that would be an intresting challange to any machine buillder. A multi lead thread could be machined the same way and with greater accuracy than wrapped and welded bars. Study the profile of Acme and power threads in Machinery's Handbook before starting this project. The description of the process is in the James Nasmyth Autobiogrphy on our story page.

A nut could be cast from zinc aluminum casting alloy around the sooted thread. This is high strength material with high lubricity. In fact it can replace bronze bearings.

To account for a Zamak or babbit thread the length of the thread could be increased rather than the diameter. One advantage of a cast thread is that if the pitch spacing or the thread profiles are not perfect the nut will still fit! But only ONE way.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/31/05 18:10:46 EST

One source of large screw threads is old house lifting jacks. Ones I have seen have been about 1 3/4", 2" or 2 1/4" in diameter. Length from about 14" - 18". My WAG is about 6 tpi.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/31/05 18:11:54 EST

John, if you are just looking for a way to squeeze metal quietly- email me and I will send you some pictures of a machine I use- I call it a motorized Jack- 30 ton- run by an electric motor with a pitman arm- works great- may be little slower than a hydraulic press but easy to build and not the worry about a high pressure oil leak. Can be built for very little- if you have a good stash of stuff
   ptpiddler - Thursday, 03/31/05 18:36:22 EST

Ptpiddler@bellsouth.net--used to come up on post-
   ptpiddler - Thursday, 03/31/05 18:49:58 EST

Wrapped Threads. I think I saw this as a vise repair trick. A couple of details. The nut is made the same way. Both sets of threads are preformed by wrapping *together* around the shaft. One set is then unscrewed from the other and brazed to the inside of the nut blank the other is brazed onto the shaft (actually I think it was a penny weld in the fire). This improves accuracy. Afterwards they are assembled with abrasive and run back and forth till the action is smooth.

I've always wanted to try this on something :). I think Thomas is right, even lapped smooth you might only be making contact on part of the surface and that would have to take all the strain.
   adam - Thursday, 03/31/05 19:15:11 EST

Atli, out here in private industry, we have been doing so much with so little for so long, we are now capable of doing anything with absolutely nothing! Funny, every time the corporate office hires another Vice-President, my workload goes up.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 03/31/05 21:10:42 EST

CAUTION--Many 'even' thread pitches can be turned, or "chased" using alternate marks on the threading dial. The surest way is to provide some method of indexing the shaft and re-chucking for each start, (180* for two-start, 120* for three-start, 90* for four-start, etc.,.). Alas, as the good guru has stated over again, it is sometimes difficult finding a lathe that will cut a two thread pitch, TPI, or whatever relatively coarse thread is appropriate.

Primitive but reasonably accurate hand cut threads were layed out by wrapping an appropriate width ribbon, (or in this case, ribbons,) carefully around the shaft, ala barber shop pole, and hand cutting following the line generated by the 'seam'.

Then there is the issue of the nut. Good luck!
   - TomH - Thursday, 03/31/05 21:18:04 EST

It looks like the zinc-aluminum 390 is the best choice. Is this lkely to be available in small quantities? The places listed on the internet look like they want to sell very large amounts not the little 5 or 10 lbs I would need. The idea of building this is starting to grow on me.
   John Washington - Thursday, 03/31/05 22:06:43 EST

I didnt make it clear that I meant to use the Zinc aluminum 390 to cast the nut for the fly press. It looks like if we were in Britain you could pick upfly presses on almost any street corner.
   John Washington - Thursday, 03/31/05 22:08:37 EST

a semi-quick question:

I'd like to smelt a LARGE qunaty of copper wire(4, 5 gal buckets) to one, clean up the shop. Two, to make a workable billet or rods for some later projects.
I've smelted aluminum( truck tranny cases) before, can I do it the same way or is there a different technique to it, any other than the general temp and 'Hot stuff' rule to look out for?
   - Timex - Thursday, 03/31/05 22:48:06 EST


What you are talking about is simply melting, not smelting. (Smelting is the process of melting or fusing ore in order to separate the metallic constituents.)

You can melt copper the same way that you melt aluminum, the temperatures are several hundred degrees higher, of course. Borax or boric acid makes a good flux to keep the dross form being incorporated before it can be skimmed off. An oxidized steel pick or spoon works well for skimming the dross.

For melting copper, brass, silver you definitely want to use either a graphite or silicon carbide crucible. If you use cast iron as you might with lead, you may find that the copper degrades it rapidly, posing a serious risk of rupture and a subsequent molten metal spill. Use the right material for safety's sake, please.
   vicopper - Friday, 04/01/05 00:05:19 EST

I Probably don't belong here..but I have question that maybe a true metal expert can answer ... I recently purchased a new mouthpiece for my trumpet..I have an allergy to nickel and was assured that this was silver plate over brass...and yet I have started having reactions ..I read somewhere that jewelers some times use some sort of nickel coating to prevent oxidization...and keep silver shiny. Do you know of a process to remove such a coating?...Any suggestion or ideas would be most welcome.
I find your sight most fascinating and informative..
   Bill - Friday, 04/01/05 00:15:26 EST

Does anybody do any hot forging using a set of hammer dies in a hydraulic iron worker? Or is it too slow & cool the work too much.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/01/05 01:02:23 EST

Metal Alergies: Bill, This is a complicated subject. I would suspect that you are most likely allergic to many soluable metals. In fact, Nickel has a lower soluability than silver, copper is bad, so is lead. I knew an ex-gunsmith that had become alergic to almost any metal other than chrome and high chrome stainless (which contains nickel as well but is fairly well "sealed" by the chrome oxide). He suspected his allergy was the result of too many years of polishing metals and the constant exposure to metal dust.

IF the silver is coated with Nickel it would have a slightly yellow cast to the color rather than the bright white of silver when polished. If it was a thin electroplate the best way to remove it would be heavy polishing (mechanical removal).

Almost all alloys of common metals have some trace or contamination by other metals. This is especially true of brasses. If your piece is not heavily plated OR the inside is not plated then you may be being exposed to nickel bearing brass. In fact there MAY be some in the silver but this is unlikely if it is electroplate. Good electroplate is relatively pure but it could be contaminated.

I would want to be sure that I am not allergic to multiple metals and metal oxides first. Be tested for gold. It has a lower soluability than silver. Gold plating is not expensive and might solve the problem.

Very few things are nickel or nickel plate these days. How did you become exposed enough to know which metal you were allergic to. Today nickle is used with copper to make monels as well as nickle coins. It is also used under chrome plating to prevent rust as the nickel is not porus and the chrome is.

The problem with all this is that without relatively expensive testing (of you AND the metal parts) it is hard to know exactly what is going on.

What is the rest of the instrument made of? Brass I suspect. If it does not need constant polishing then it is coated with lacquer, sealing it. Does you alergy include simple skin exposure? If so, what are the keys caped with? Are they solid brass? Tortisshell, Abaloney or plastic filled? Edges sealed?

Playing a metal horn is a very intimate act with lots of exposure to the metal surfaces, the oxides of the metals and microscopic metal dust for polishing or cleaning. It would be easy to contaminate the surface of one part with microscopic dust from the other. I would suspect more than just the mouthpiece on the little information you have given.
   - guru - Friday, 04/01/05 01:13:08 EST

Forging in Ironworker: Hmmmmm. . . I suspect it would work as they have relatively fast cycle times. It would probably be good for small closed die work but not drawing. Heck, you can do single stroke forging in a well lubricated vise. Put a bright heat piece in and torque down on that handle? I've mashed 3/4" to 1/2" just trying to get a good grip!

NOTE: DO NOT try this in a mechanical ironworker. They use the same mechanism as a punch press and can self destruct if overloaded.

All forging is as efficient as it is fast. Pieces lose heat rapidly and time between blows alows for rapid cooling. In a power hammer that is hitting rapidly the metal is heated considerably by the mechanical energy going into the metal. This is easily observed when someone is forging at a low red heat. Wherever they are forging brightens noticably from the added energy. Working fast under a power hammer extends the forging time considerably (maybe 30% to double from what I have observed). In slow cycle machines this does not occur.

Bladesmiths use specialy built hydraulic presses for drawing billets but what they are concerned about is directional flow and eveness of draw. Personaly I think they are a waste of Horse Power when a McDonald rolling mill with 1/5 to 1/10 the HP of a hydraulic press can do the job as well or better.
   - guru - Friday, 04/01/05 01:40:45 EST

Melting Copper: Timex, Large quantities? In metalwork that is tons. . .

A propane melting furnace can melt copper easily. It is important to flux the copper well as it has an affinity for oxygen which makes it brittle. Soft electrical wire is something like 99.9999% pure with oxygen being the most difficult tramp element to remove. Final processing is by electro chemical means.

As VIc noted a good crucible is critical. That is followed by lifting tongs that are properly fitted and of proper capacity. Copper is considerably denser than steel and a pot full of it will be HEAVY. You need to be prepared to move it safely. Often two man tongs and pouring shanks are used. After the right handling equipment yuou need the founder armour (face shields, boots, spats, aprons. . .)

See the books by Chastain (our review page) for construction methods. Or see our gas forge FAQ. The little melting furnace shown will melt about 3 pounds of brass, bronze or copper in about 10 minutes. That would be 18 pounds an hour. The design shown has a lift off lid. It would be much more efficient for the top 2/3 to tip back and be able to lift out the crucible with pouring tongs rather than use vertical lifing tongs then transfer to the powering tongs.
   - guru - Friday, 04/01/05 01:57:30 EST

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