WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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

This is an archive of posts from March 16 - 23, 2010 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Rick, These are questions you should probably ask on the blade forums.

The clay should be dry. You may force dry the clay care should be taken not to overheat the thin blade edge. It must be dry to shave it and create the shape of the hammon line.

Yes, the original bladesmith made straight carbon steels are water quenched. But, as soon as you mix modern alloy steels and ancient techniques then you are in the unknown. In thin sections 5160 is an air quench steel. When edge hardening the body of the blade can also act as a heat sink and help quench the edge.

However, others may have tried it. Try blade forums.
   - guru - Monday, 03/15/10 22:51:15 EDT

Been trying to find info on the web about blades but I've been having a hard time finding a good sight with knowledgeable people. (Came here because you always provide excellent info)
Any suggests on a good blade forum site?

Thx Rick
   Rick - Tuesday, 03/16/10 01:23:38 EDT

Rick, "bladeforums.com" is one and Don Fogg's site is another.

We can still answer a lot of your questions here but when you get too far afield then you need specialized expertise. I highly recommend you obtain all the books on the subject that you can. We have a recommended list on our Sword Making article resources list and have reviews of most of the recommended books. There are also some good videos including the one by BigBLU Hammers on Damascus (laminated) steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 02:22:27 EDT

Sometimes we assume we know what a certain term means, when in actuality we don't. Guru, explain air hardening to me. I think it means blowing extremely hot air on the hot metal for an exacting period of time, while reducing the air heat at so many degrees for that period of time. Is this correct ?
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 03/16/10 03:51:27 EDT

Mike T, air hardening means that the speed at which heat must be removed from the steel to achieve martensite is so slow that it can cool in still air. Non-air-hardening steels require a much faster cooling rate that necessitates the use of oil or water to achieve martensite.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 03/16/10 07:59:37 EDT

SAE 5160 is borderline air hardening in thin sections. It must also be forged above 1600 F (NO low reds) and while often used by blacksmiths has several rather complicated recommended heat treating cycles.

When steels air quench they also cool at the hardening rate between hammer and anvil or in forging dies if worked too cool, thus the high do not forge below temperature. Flash, edges and points will harden while being worked. This and the alloy content of the steel make it tough to forge if you let it get too cool.

True air hardening steels are usually air quenched in front of a fan on an open rack (screen) and preferably rotated to achieve an even "quench".

A2 is commonly used in small tool and die shops because of the easy heat treat. I've heated machined dies wrapped in stainless foil, pulled them from the forge, peeled off the foil covering, let air cool a few minutes and then returned to the gas forge which had cooled to about 450F and used this residual heat to temper. The parts never got cool enough to handle by hand until after the temper. This produced very hard punches and dies that only needed a little polishing to be ready to use.

The problem machining air quench steels and hot work steels is that chips often get hot enough to harden and if caught under a tool will make a hard spot from rubbing and can wreck the cutting tool. The hard razor sharp chips are especially hard on machine ways as they are as bad or worse than throwing sand on your machines.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 08:33:48 EDT

I was under the impression that air quench steel mean that the yellow hot steel will quench in still air the same as if carbon steel were put in solution.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 03/16/10 08:51:41 EDT

I do not understand the use of the foil.Was it to keep the piece hot until the forge cooled enough?
   wayne - Tuesday, 03/16/10 09:08:02 EDT

Wayne, stainless foil is used in heat treating to prevent oxidation of finished parts. Many parts are machined and relatively precision when heat treated. You do not want them scaled. Some bladesmiths use the foil for welding billets as no flux is needed. Much more efficient than the stainless tube method that was being used a few years ago.

Air quench works the same as other steels, heat to non-magnetic and cool. At a yellow heat it may fall apart but it is quite forgable at a bright orange. But yes, it will be hard when cool. Annealing is difficult and requires careful temperature control.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 10:38:17 EDT

Thx Guru
   Rick - Tuesday, 03/16/10 10:55:51 EDT

Rick 5160 will not get you what you want with the clay hardening method! All of the blade will harden due to the alloying. Using the Clay Method pretty much restricts you to shallow hardening simple steels.

Water Hardening: Heat to critical, immerse in water
Oil Hardening: Heat to critical, immerse in oil
Air Hardening: Heat to critical, immerse in air

The parallelism is quite good really! (then there are the tricks like pre-heating the oil, using brine instead of water, using a fan, etc...)

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/16/10 12:22:23 EDT

"Air Hardening: Heat to critical, immerse in air"

...as opposed to a vacuum? Aren't we all in a constant state of immersion in air?
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 03/16/10 14:31:39 EDT

I have a well used Johnson Gas Forge Model 133B for sale. The auto igniter needs to be replace (or light it with a match) and maybe two of the top bricks. The blower works and it fires up. It has not been worked for a long time.

Any idea what it might be worth?

I am not looking for a high market price. I want to sell it to another Smith so it can get used.


   Steven Bronstein - Tuesday, 03/16/10 14:58:19 EDT

Adding a bit to the 5160 discussion: "critical" for 5160 is about 125 degrees F higher than the oft-quoted "non-magnetic" temperature. If you were to clay up a katana blade of 5160 and quench it in water, it will crack 100% of the time. Yes, there are a few exceptions and run-arounds for the technical and gotcha-minded, but this is a generalization for the inexperienced, remember!

A traditional katana gets its curvature from distortion during the quench. A shallow-hardening steel clayed and water-quench will curve upwards. 5160 clayed and oil-quenched will curve DOWN.

The phenomenon known as the hamon or temperline of a clay-coated blade is a result of a very demanding polish which causes the microstructure of a shallow-hardening steel blade to become visible in the transition zone from softer to fully hard. 5160 is a deep-hardening steel and will not show this effect without some serious experience in thermal manipulation. At most you can get a nice thin straight line at the transition instead of the wide, swirly cloudy line of a traditional hamon.


I love 5160 for big blades. Properly treated it's exceedingly tough and it takes a nice edge.

It can be differentially hardened and tempered to produce a hard edged, slightly softer backed blade. The American Bladesmith Society's performance test in which you must use one blade to chop through a pine 2x4, then a 1" diameter free-hanging manila rope (in one swing), then shave a patch of arm hair without resharpening, THEN bend said blade in a vise to 90 degrees without breaking, is most commonly passed with blades made from 5160.


It is not suitable for use in pattern-welding, aka damascus. The chromium content lends itself to tough oxides that greatly increase the chance of a weld shear.

It is not suitable for Japanese-type clay differential hardening.

Know your steels, and use the right one for the right purpose! For a relatively traditional katana using modern steel as opposed to homemade steel, find some 1050 or 1060 with a very low level of manganese. If you have mastered the use of thermal cycling to reduce hardenability, you can use W-1 or W-2 tool steels.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 03/16/10 15:42:33 EDT

Nip, There are also high temperature quenches such as the 600°:F salt bath recommended for 5160. . . As well as heating baths. And many heat treating furnaces do not use air but various gases. So it it not always so simple.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 15:42:51 EDT

Johnson Forge: Well. . . these sell for a LOT new and were mostly sold to schools in another era. Used they sell for about 10% of new ($100 to $200). Where you are located can make a difference in price.

The Kaynes (BlacksmithsDepot.com) sells them new and might want one to refurbish or to have as a demo model.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 15:49:41 EDT

"Aren't we all in a constant state of immersion in air?"

TGN; unlike other blacksmiths I sometimes *bathe*!

Considering that heating can be done in a salt pot or even in a vacuum; immersion in air could still be a proper way of describing it.


   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/16/10 17:12:30 EDT

I would mich rather Immerse in air than the result of quenching in oil that has some water in the bottom. Imagine "Immerse yourself in flaming oil spatters.
   ptree - Tuesday, 03/16/10 18:01:31 EDT

Or: "Immerse yourself into the E.R."
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 03/16/10 20:14:11 EDT

5160 and pattern welding
this steel can be used for pattern welding if done "in the can" rather than a flux weld, we did a billet up of 5160/4140 last year that had the most incredible pattern. you could SEE the pattern when rough grinding and when etched it had the best contrast I have seen short of pure nickle.
and 5160 isn't really all that bad to forge or heat treat, 1 don't forge cold 2 don't let it soak at temp, 3 hit it Hard as it is fairly stiff under the hammer. for heat treating in blade cross sections a soak isn't needed and with thin blades can be detrimental to grain size, multiple temper cycles seem to help this steel far more that most alloys, and ALLWAYS normalize the blade at least once before hardening. 5160 has an crazy memory for stress build up and will warp all over the place if the grinding was not perfectly even a few normalizeing cycles releases this stress and reduces the warpage in the quench.

   MPmetal - Tuesday, 03/16/10 20:36:06 EDT

Air Quench: While small parts quench well enough in still air, larger parts do benifit from moving air to cool more uniformly and ensure that no areas trap heated air to the point where they would not harden.

At the auto frame plant some air hardening parts were roughly the size of a loaf of bread. We had a shop built air quench that consisted of plates about 3'square with small holes on about 1" centers. they were atached to plentum chambers and were about 3' apart, one above the other, holes facing each other. Low pressure air from an air hose was fed to these. The parts were placed between, spaced up from the bottom plate on lengths of 1/2" Sq stock to allow circulation on the bottom. This was not an efficient use of compressed air, but air use was not a concern at this plant. Smaller parts were held in wire mesh baskets, the baskets of parts were placed in this device as well.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 03/16/10 20:41:24 EDT

Hello all

I want to preface my question with a big thank you. My blacksmithing projects and endeavors would not be what they are today without the insights of everyone on this forum. There is a reason anvilfire is set as my homepage in internet land.

I wonder if anyone has any advice on bending top rail stock the hard way. It's the common molded contour steel bar with the hollows on the bottom to accept various sized bars.

I rigged up my homemade hydraulic press to bend it the hard way, and have some success, but it seems quite hard to avoid having the inside edge of the curve crimp a bit and make unevenness noticeable along the curve. It can be hammered out on the anvil but I want to avoid marring the contoured surface.

I don't have a hossfield bender, but perhaps that's what I'm missing.
   Josh S. - Tuesday, 03/16/10 21:12:46 EDT

Air quench: one thing i like about it is... no mess...

at a shop i worked at when i was in high school we would regularly make an order of 100 socket spanner wrenches at a time. the pins were O-1 tool steel about .125" dia. the foreman turned the job of heat treating these over to me. previously they had been quenching in used motor oil, making a lot of mess and smoke, and parts that needed to be cleaned in solvent. i switched to an air quench. granted this was heating with an o/a rosebud, dumping the parts in a short length of pipe, and blasting with compressed air. far from an exacting process, but the rockwell hardness tester would confirm the results.
   - Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 03/16/10 21:32:06 EDT

Tyler, Great job. Anything to avoid the smoke and spatter.

Bending top rail the hard way First, it would probably be easier hot. To prevent shape distortion I would put a piece of solid bar in the groove, tack it then heat the whole thing and bend assembled. If you are smart you will be bending the piece that you are going to end up using in that location.

Due to stretch and compression when bending you may want to use a torch and heat the outer edge a bit hotter than the inside. Stretching is easier than upsetting.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/16/10 22:16:04 EDT

car rail

the best methods we have found is
1 for large curves a bending roll (3 wheels with stack able plates to keep the profile lined up)
2 for ellipses or smaller curves (down to about 6" radius) we use a jig welded to a table or large flat plate and two guys one to heat the outer edge with a torch and the other to bend the bar around the jig using a set of forks or an big adjustable to twist the bar as it is bent to keep it in one plane and flat.
3 for very tight turns (2-6" radius) we one avoid it when possible with a miter or two cut a series of pie cuts out or the inner edge (about 3/4 of the way through) bend to the radius back fill with weld and grind/carve the profile back in . #3 work far better with the larger and heaver caps and it really works well with the mushroom cap (much easier to cleanup with grinding)
for jobs with a lot of tight radius's we sometimes make own cap (solid) as solid cap bend to a much tighter radius with out shrinking in width nearly as much. (also as it is solid we can up set around the curve)
   mpmetal - Wednesday, 03/17/10 09:09:47 EDT

Awhile back, I one of you mentioned a good place to order grinding belts online. I looked at it and they had much better prices than I have been paying, but I had just ordered some from my old supplier. Now I need to think about getting some more, but I cannot remember the name of the online site that was mentioned. Could someone give me the names of some good online sites to order bilts? Thanks
   tbird - Wednesday, 03/17/10 09:35:02 EDT


I have recently inherited my great grandfather's Hay Budden anvil. It was brown from sitting in a shed unused for 25 years, so I poured motor oil on it. Should I have done that? How to maintain an anvil?
   Seth Humble - Wednesday, 03/17/10 10:10:05 EDT

MP: I bet that 5160/4140 blade is tough as all get-out, too! Yes, you can do a lot of things in a can that you can't in open fire. I was just keeping things simple. (grin!)

Tbird: Trugrit.com.

Seth Humble: Oil will work, but most motor oil has detergents that actually tend to cause accelerated rust underneath. As long as it's out of the weather, most any non-detergent oil or wax will keep it in relatively good shape. You can use a wire brush to remove loose rust if needed. Are you planning on using this anvil? If so, the face will be cleaned up by working hot steel on it.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/17/10 10:57:34 EDT

Thank's for the advise. I will use the anvil as much as I can, but it is a sentimental treasure in itself.
   Seth Humble - Wednesday, 03/17/10 11:31:46 EDT

Seth, As noted, the purpose of the rust prevention makes a difference in what you do. Oil is OK but is messy. Paint works but chips easily on heavy objects.

The key thing is to not de-rust or grind off the body rust. Anvils get a good layer of rust that with some oil will prevent future rusting as well as paint.

If you are going to be using the anvil the face will brighten from use as Allen noted but should have a little light oil applied between uses if not used a couple times a week. You can also use a belt sander or sand the face (top) and top of the horn by hand. Again, these surfaces should be oiled if not used daily.

If you are not going to use the anvil then oil or paint works. If you wanted to paint it you should not have oiled it. . . To prepare for painting you would want to clean it solvent such as kerosene or paint thinner, then soap and water as the solvent still leaves a thin film of oil. Then paint directly over the clean rust. New anvils that have bright faces have a thin coat of clear lacquer on the bright surfaces and the rest is usually painted black.

If the anvil is stored in a stable environment (indoors with heat and or AC) a thin coat of paint will last for years. But if stored in an unheated shed or garage the large cold mass will attract condensation which will eventually cause enough rust that the paint will start flaking and more rust will form.

It is natural for anvils to has some rust and hard to prevent unless as noted they are stored in a stable (or warm non-condensing) environment.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/17/10 11:36:05 EDT

For abrasives, also try Industrial Abrasives Company in Reading, Pa - we got good prices on zirconia/alumina belts for sample prep from them. I also got good prices for home belt snader belts from them - good quality at a good price.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 03/17/10 12:47:06 EDT

Often quality is more important than price. I had a batch of belts for my hand sander that had bad glue joints. Went through a dozen in the time that ONE good belt should last.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/17/10 13:01:15 EDT

seth i personally only de rust the face of my anvil and even then i never bother to oil it. only in the summer when it is wet do i oil, then just plain old vegie oil works (plus you can light your anvil on fire that way). leave the sides and base to rust and just leave it alone. steel can onlt rust once you know. basically what the guru said.
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 03/17/10 13:48:08 EDT

Thanks for the explanation of the anvil shape Jock, I had allways assumed that they were bell shaped for some reason to do with vibrabiion harmonics, or some such thing beyond my knowledge base!, or in my head I viewed it a bit like a pyrmaid built from blocks ((with every one, (block, or steel grain,) being supported by more than one underneath)

On cleaning up anvils, I had my first anvil (a 3cwt forged steel one) shot blasted in a moment of madness, it removed 99% of its character in one swoop. When I got back a shiney silver lump I was peeved for days. It will no doubt look OK by the time I turn up my toes! :)

One interesting thing was that once shot blasted you could clearly see the forge weld construction, body, horn, feet etc all individual pieces firewelded together.
   - John N - Wednesday, 03/17/10 17:26:30 EDT

On the old hammers the shape was also for stability. They made the base as big as they could for the class of the work relative to where the workers had to stand. A pyramid or bell shape is about as stable as you can get. The rules are different for fabricated machines where the machine column does not necessarily need to blend into the base.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/17/10 18:51:53 EDT

thanks bigfoot and guru
   Seth Humble - Wednesday, 03/17/10 20:22:51 EDT

Recent posts told us that it was hard to identify the maker of a leg vise, but one with chamfering on the legs could indicate a good vise. I recently cleaned up an old 6 inch (actually 5.75) blacksmiths leg vise, removing many layers of paint, gunk, and flaky rust. It was marked "No 100" on the front face and had the heavy chamfers on the front and back legs. I was impressed with the forge welding that apparently made up the vise parts; nothing pretty, but robust and effective. It is difficult to tell if the legs were pierced for the screw to pass through, or made up of two bars forge welded together. I'm not sure but I suspect the jaw faces were built up with stick electrodes, possibly with hard facing rod when new or repaired. The jaw faces are a bit harder by file test than the body. All in all a very robust vise in great shape; the screw and nut did not show any appreciable wear. Just thought I’d let you know of a good find; I gave $100 for it.
   Bob Johnson - Thursday, 03/18/10 01:41:45 EDT

Seth, So you are a person who really does have an ancestor who was a blacksmith! At demos about every 3rd onlooker claims to be a descendant of a blacksmith. A hundred years ago the world must have been populated by few other tradesmen.
   PHILIP IN CHINA - Thursday, 03/18/10 02:16:10 EDT

Well, every farmer that shod his own horses or repaired his own equipment was considered a "blacksmith" by his relatives. . . My father was an Engineer, my grandfathers a mechanic, and a mason (who did not use his teaching degree), my great grandfathers were, farmer, non practicing doctor - farmer, and a river boat captian, But my great great Dempsey grandfather was an Ironmaster in Southern Ohio and so were both his brothers. The Ironmaster's father was a merchant and long time justice of the piece (everyone called him "Judge"). The rest were pretty much all farmers as was the vast majority of the population.

My Grandfather Oscar Dempsey the mechanic whom I am named after did custom auto body work for the mob to whom he was known as "Jock the Irishman". Thus my Scotch name comes from Italian mobster's who did not know Scotch from Irish, for who my grandfather built armored cars complete with gun ports and "tankers", cars equipped for hauling moonshine.

You could say he was a kind of a blacksmith. . . And his grandfather and great uncles WERE Iron Masters at the end of the charcoal era.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/18/10 09:57:14 EDT

Have ya'll ever heard of the 'blacksmith Duel' in Louisiana? I am am looking for books with the story in it, but I have it in my family records. My Great Grandpa is not the same man but a direct decendent of the one in the story.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 10:17:47 EDT

You will NEVER save money buying cheap abrasives!
The guy that runs the tool crib at the shop I work in is always trying to "save money" buying cheap abrasives one month and cheap drills the next.
We always burn him on it too because we will go through ten times the amount 2"sanding disks and Dynafile belts that we use for deburing.
The problem always seems to be the glue that is used to mount the abrasive to the disk, it doesn't hold near as well as Norton products. The last batch of cheap 2" disks we got we had to send back because over half of the pressed sheet metal retaining flanges on the back were defective and pulled right through when turned onto the backing disk.
Forget about the time wasted having to use three of the cheap disks to do the same job as one Norton.
I'm sure there are other brands that perform as well or better that Norton but, my point is you will always come out ahead buying the highest quality tooling you can aford.
Cheaping out on a job always shows up in the books some whare
   - merl - Thursday, 03/18/10 10:19:43 EDT

"Blacksmiths Duel"
Seth, if you will click on the "Navigate" bar in the upper right hand corner of this page and then go to the "Story" page, you will find an account of this duel towards the bottom of the list of stories.
Wich one of the two are you related to?
   - merl - Thursday, 03/18/10 10:27:50 EDT

It's great ya'll have it! I am new here. I'm the grate grandchild of W.H.Humble who used the anvil I own now, and He was like the grandchild of James Humble in the Story. I will get my records out and look it over again tonight.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 10:44:28 EDT

Now. . My Great Grandmother O'Malley who claimed we had several Priests (a high honor in a Catholic family, but a dead end in the family tree) and monks in the family repeatedly told my father that we were the "literati", those with high educations and were above working with our hands. Of course her father was yet another farmer and she was harping about my grandfather the mechanic (a literal black sheep).

My Dad studied art married a school teacher became an engineer (with his art education), I married a school teacher, one of my sisters is a school teacher, three of my brothers are artists earning livings as computer geeks. I make a living with a combination of art, writing and computer tech.

But my Grandmother O'Malley married and divorced a "Junk Man". Another story. . .

   - guru - Thursday, 03/18/10 10:50:23 EDT

I love working with my hands and using old hand tools. My problem is that I am best at playing the guitar, and when I build a bow or forge a knife it make my hands hurt like heck. It makes me want to just stick with playing the guitar. I studied clasical guitar at Louisiana Tech and have good playing technique and it don't make my hands hurt. Im scared of ruining my hands working with the hammer and anvil trying to learn an art by myself. Maybe I am not as tough as my Grandparents were.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 11:09:48 EDT

Occasional conversation at blacksmithing demonstrations:

"Oh, wow; with a name like 'Black'stone' I bet all of your ancestors were blacksmiths!"

(...slight pause on my part for name derivation assumption to sink in.)

"No, I'm afraid my ancestors were the folks who hired blacksmiths when the needed them. (pause) There were some tinsmiths somewhere back on my mother's side, up in Pennsylvania Dutch country."

They always seem so disappointed!

The truth is, during "slavery days" you might also have a smith as part of your "permanent staff." Not so much in our area, but some of the bigger plantations in Virginia and further south would have a number of slaves working in specific crafts, and they would sometimes be hired out for projects to the neighbors.

I guess I'm the family Moxonite; I wasn't born to it, I just love the exercise of the skill and creativity. (It does, however, make a nice break from pettyfogging bureaucrat, which WAS an ancient family tradition. ;-)

In the end, all of us are decended from a bunch of dirt-farmers and craftsmen and sea rovers and tyrants and candlestick makers and hunter-gatherers and Grandmother Eve and Grandfather Adam. Family trees branch in both directions (some of us have fewer branches than others; which simplifies the record keeping) and the reality is more like a thicket full of vines than the neat diagrams of geneology. You are what you are, AND what you make of yourself.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/18/10 12:01:54 EDT

Seth, if forging makes your hands hurt you're not doing something right. The usual culprit is either using the secret ninja death grip on or putting your thumb along the top of the hammer handle, if not both.

I had to lecture a new smith on one of the knifemaking forums a while back who was bragging about how he was using the strongest resistance grip-strengthening gadget available so he could build up to forging with a two pound hammer. Ideally you should only be gripping the hammer between the side of your thumb and base of your forefinger, everything else is just there for guidance. If someone were to come up behind you and snatch the hammer from your hand at the top of your stroke it should slip right out.

The death grip or the thumb atop the handle is a sure way to tendonitis, usually in the form of tennis elbow. Your hammer swing should be an easy natural motion like bouncing a ball, a technique made easier by a good anvil such as your own that will toss the hammer back up to you. It's easier to show in person than to type about it, but I seem to recall Jock has a better way of explaining it, maybe he'll chime in.

If it's those pesky little scale burns you're worried about, a pair of the very lightest weight goatskin TIG gloves will solve that problem, but I don't usually recommend a glove on your hammer hand as it promotse the death grip syndrome.I do wear one when welding up billets of pattern-welded blade steel, as a hunk of molten borax getting between the palm of your hand and the hammer handle has a way of throwing off one's rythym for which I care not.

Oh, and use tongs to hold the hot steel, it's a lot easier on you! (grin!)
   Alan-L - Thursday, 03/18/10 12:41:42 EDT

Bruce, well put. I know my little half Italian, 5'4'' mother came along messed some things up, so now I'm 5'9'' in my stockings. If I ever have to stand in Lake Pontchartrain with a hammer, I'll be sure to use a box.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 13:05:09 EDT

Seth, I have to tell you right now, if you want to play serious guitar you will likely not be able to blacksmith. There may be those out there that don't agree with me on this but, from my own experience I am starting to have trouble with the fine motor skills in my hands. I have been working hard with my hands all my life as a farmer, machinist and mechanic and I do have some low level carple tunnel issues but, since I stated smithing about six years ago I have noticed my hands are becoming muscle bound and the fingers are not as limber as they once were.
I played bass guitar all through school and into young adulthood but, I could not do it now and continue to blacksmith.
I am very carefull with my hands(see my blurb on handle to hand fit)but, the hands get thick and the joints get sore and the thumb muscle will "bunch" and cramp...
Good Luck!
Welcome to the site...
   - merl - Thursday, 03/18/10 13:07:24 EDT

Well my great grandfather was the village blacksmith in Cedarville AR; but as he died owning 960 acres he was a a farmer too. Most of the stuff he made that I have managed to see is "utilitarian" of course back in the great depression in the hill country of NW AR folks were more interested in eating than fancy!

Some folks want me to compare myself to him as a smith and it's dang near impossible as he did stuff very different from what I do. I can't lay a plowshare on the other hand he never did patternwelding or iron smelting.

Lets start the rumour that the reason's every one's grandfather was a smith is that smiths had more kids than other folks!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/18/10 13:09:45 EDT

Alan, thanks for the hammer techneque tips. I'll try it.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 13:19:55 EDT

Seth, You shouldn't hold the hammer handle any tighter than you do the neck of your guitar and the positioning should be just as flexible as well (sliding up and down for the same purposes).

That said there is a lot of gross movement and a certain amount of strength necessary for blacksmithing that MAY interfere with your guitar playing. A lot depends on your genetics, hand shape and size, tendency toward arthritis. . .

If you make your living or a substantial part of it from playing music I would recommend you avoid blacksmithing both for the possible loss of fine touch as well as possible hearing loss.

Right now a day at the forge would make my hands hurt. I've spent far too many hours at a keyboard in the past 5 years. But I know I can work back up to a full day at the forge by working an hour today, an hour tomorrow, then maybe a little longer. . . It took me about two weeks the last time I did it. The problem today is that my feet wouldn't take the hours and that is a completely seperate problem.

The problem with forging tired is you practice bad technique. Practice stance, hammer handling and control. As SOON as you start to get sloppy or feel pain STOP. Practicing sloppy hammer control just teaches bad habits. So concentrate on hitting exactly where you want and moving the steel the way you want. Start on small stock and work up.

IF, you sat down with a guitar (especially a steel string) the first time and played all day your off hand would be cut to pieces from the strings and in pain you would have learned nothing EXCEPT maybe to hate guitar. Having been absent from guitar playing for a very long time I no longer have the calluses needed to play steel string. I used to have thick pads more protective than finger nails when I played and I was a total rank amateur. My brother who is a semi-pro (only makes PART of his living playing jazz guitar) has heavier calluses than I every had on any part of my hands.

If you are serious about both music and blacksmithing then get a power hammer and the best hearing protection money can buy.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/18/10 16:39:41 EDT

Thanks guru. Last time, I did think to wear hearing protection. I realize now I was using a way too big a hammer along with wrong tool for tongs along with all the bad technique. I was getting excited and focused on what I was doing and ignored the pain.
   Seth Humble - Thursday, 03/18/10 19:07:06 EDT

was just reading back abit, was wondering if u had any old pics of some of the custom cars he built, or if u ever got to see any of them,i love stories of the old prohibition days lol!!! if i was alive in them days i would've been right there with them. Thats why my wife has me working two jobs , to keep me out of trouble ha!ha!
   Pat Smith - Thursday, 03/18/10 22:04:19 EDT

Pat, Sadly no. I suspect some may be in museums or car collections somewhere but there would be no way to prove who built them today.

At the time they painted cars by hand pouring lacquer on the roof and flowing it down the car with a brush. . . Pin striping was done by hand by another "uncle". I never saw the shop, it was before my time. All I remember from this era was a local service station with a 5 cent Coke machine and a 10 cent pinball machine that paid back in cash. . . (just as illegal then as now).

During the WWI era Grandpa raced motor cycles and in the 20's he and yet another "uncle" had an airplane they parked just outside the flood wall along the Ohio in Covington, KY (across from Cincinnati under the Roebling Bridge). They flew it off the banks of the river when the water was low and the sand bars dried out. These were the days when you could buy or build an airplane and just take off. No license, no questions, no safety inspections, just FLY!

Will our children or grandchildren ever look back on the current era with such wonder and fondness? Have we lived lives worth telling stories about?

Seth, I forgot to mention starting with a light hammer. About 2 pounds is a good starting weight on small stock (for an adult). You will know when you are ready for larger. I made the mistake of believing Bealer's book that an average smith's hammer was 4 pounds. . . It was impossible for a newby even though I had years of carpentry experiance behind me. I worked up to about 3.5 but 4 was always much too heavy for my small hands and wrists.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/18/10 22:31:19 EDT

guru, bealer has a point though. with enough time in the shop any smith can go that big. when i met MR. Kayne (senior) he was using a 5.5lb hammer (if i remember correctly) and he was bareley up to my shoulders.

seth, use what you are comfortable with. if it feels to heavy or you do not feel comfortable, use a smaller hammer. be careful with your body. you only get one.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 03/18/10 22:40:41 EDT

I can relate to the above post. When the railroads went from steam engines to modern diesel, the old steam engines were sitting in sidings waiting to be scrapped. My Daddy took me and my sister down to the railyard, he stoked up the firebox on an old locomotive and took me and my sister on a short ride. That is a part of history that we will not forget.
   Mike T. - Thursday, 03/18/10 23:43:44 EDT

I think too may kids are caught up in technology, don't get me wrong it can be good, it's tough to just get people to work ,like kids at work, well i say kids they are 25 years old and text constantly, lack of respect for the dollar they make.I'm 33 worked for every penny i've made , dealed with hard times when they come around, but nothing like people did in the old days, gives you respect for people who lived such hard lives, it's a differant time now , some things are nice about it , but i fear one day there is not gonna be anyone left to tell these stories, now days people are to busy to sit and listen to the old timers tale thier life stories, and the way things was then, and realize how much they worked for what they got. i worked on pulling units (work over riggs) in my younger years in the oil field put in my share of 100 hr weeks, it was tough , and we had power tools . There was a old sayin" back when the riggs was made of wood and the men of steel" anyway sorry for the novel, but i fear one day all the untold history will be gone and forgotten cause everyone is too busy in life or don't care. It's so easy to live life fast and forget why u are here, anyway just my opion
   Pat Smith - Thursday, 03/18/10 23:47:20 EDT

bigfoot: What Guru is saying is that dispite what some "expert" may say, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE has taught him limitations.
You are HOW OLD??
(posted in anger)
   - merl - Friday, 03/19/10 01:12:39 EDT

No, Bealer was absolutely wrong on that and a number of other points where he just plain got his facts wrong or believed someone who was pulling his leg and he fell for it. Read his book closely and you will find the errors.

I can use a 6 pound sledge single handedly but only briefly and with little control. It is a foolish thing to do but I've done it in a pinch when there was no striker or power hammer. Its a great way to hurt yourself.

When I was smithing full time I did not have a power hammer so EVERYTHING was forged by hand. I worked for over a year with a 2.25 pound hammer. I wore it out. I bought several larger hammers in half pound increments. I worked up to the 3.5 pounds which I still use but could tell it was a little too big. A 3.25 is probably what I needed. Any time I pick up a 4 pound hammer it feels the same as that 6 pound sledge. . . I still use the old worn out 2.25 for getting back into condition and whish my intermediate hammers had not gotten away from me.

Steve Kayne cannot forge any more after trying to lift something that his muscles had the strength for but his tennons did not. A lot of time was spent in the hospital as a result and he is not nearly the man he was. It was his forced retirement.

Over the years we have known a number of bull headed smiths that used bad technique, using oversized hammers and driving them into the work rather than letting kinetic energy do the work. All of a sudden they are no longer smiths. Usually the damage is so bad that it is too late to use a power hammer for everything and do light touch up by hand because neither is possible any longer. The next thing you know folks are asking, "What happened to so and so?"

My good friend Josh Greenwood, who's work you were admiring above, was teaching the hammer technique Uri Hofi is famous for a decade before Hofi started smithing. . . He's helped a number of smiths that thought their careers were over by showing them how to put less stress on their body and hit harder at the same time. I came by my own system naturally out of using a hammer regularly from the age of 9-10 as well as axes and other tools. Since I had never done it wrong to start, I never recognized that it was something that had to be taught.

Josh always used a lighter hammer than I was using. This was largely because he had a shop full of power hammers. But he is also taller than I am and has proportionally longer arms. He can hit harder with a lighter hammer.

Josh is one of the people I have discussed anvil design with for decades. His primary shop anvil for most of his career was a heavy pattern (proportionately short length) 350 pound Hay-Budden. But latter he obtained a beautiful forged German anvil that weighed 450 pounds and it immediately replaced his beloved Hay-Budden. Josh said he could work a longer day on the German anvil and not be as tired at the end of the day as on the Hay-Budden. But then we started looking at what made a good forging anvil and its the compact mass and body shape. Old English anvils had nearly square bodies but they were also wider at the base than at the top. They are slightly pyramidal. The lack of a narrow waist (so much beloved in the U.S. and used to the extreme in Farrier's anvils) made them better forging anvils. Josh found that he would rather work on a 150 pound old English anvil than a 300 pound American pattern like my Kohlswa or his Hay-Budden. Blows are more solid, there is no springiness.

This is also why when I changed from my little 100 pound Kohlswa to a 128 pound M&H Armitage Mouse Hole it seemed like a MUCH larger difference and when I moved up to a 200 pound long pattern Hay-Budden I could not tell much difference from the 128 pound Mouse Hole. But if you looked carefully at the two the smaller Mouse Hole had a much wider waist than the larger Hay-Budden. Its ALL in the waist. . .

Springiness causes your hammer to bounce off the work erratically and need constant stabilization and correction between each blow. While you may not notice it this results in noticeably more fatigue at the end of the day. SO it was the massive solid base of the German anvil and near lack of waist as much as the total weight that reduced fatigue. . .

Yeah, picky details. But these are the details that let 60 year old men expect decades more life to their blacksmithing career while young bucks blow out their elbows and are forced to work a different trade. It is also what can make a lighter anvil a better working anvil than a heavier one. . . Its also these kind of picky details that Bealer never had the time to study much less write about.
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 03:48:08 EDT

The other day I was touching a cypress(i think) tree trunk estimated to be 500 years old felled about 100 years ago. I was amazed most by the axe impressions which nearly out lined the whole amercan felling axe bit. Amazed by the cuts, I realized I maybe using my axe wrong too.
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 10:06:37 EDT

Those wonderful Southern cypress such as in the Carolinas are now thought to be some of the oldest trees in U.S., perhaps the world. Something to due with the normal dating methods not working with cypress. Since the finding logging has been curtailed in some places.

To use cypress for wood shakes they cut the live trees, ship the green logs, cut into short sections and then split the shakes on-site so that nails will pass through. Once dry the wood it too hard to nail.

Skill with an axe is like anything else, practice and experience. I once bet the guys in my boy scout troop that I could chop an 18" or so pine in two faster than they could saw it with a two man saw. I won the bet reducing about two cubic feet of pine into chips while they made one narrow slice. . . It was close. But then I had lots of axe practice at the time and they had almost none on the saw.

That was 40+ years ago. Today I would probably cut my foot off if I tried to swing an axe the way I did then!
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 11:19:22 EDT

I've noticed a larger English pattern anvil works for me and a lighter hammer. Perhaps, a nice German anvil would be better but I’m sure I couldn’t convince Greenwood to send his my way. I’m currently using a 485 pound Hay-Budden and a 2.75 pound hammer. This combination and a power hammers allow me to work an 8 hour day comfortably and longer if needed. About 12 years ago I blew out my elbow by trying to rush a small job by using tongs that didn’t fit the work I was doing. I think I hurt my elbow worse forcing to hold the work while using a power hammer. The tongs I was using were not fitted correctly to the stock size and I tried to hold the work with a death grip. I only had to make a few parts and I didn’t take the time to re-fit old tongs of make new ones. It was at the end of the day and I only took a short time working incorrectly to cause my injury. I thought my career was over. The pain lasted 9 to 12 months. While continuing to work past the pain I re-taught myself. I tried various things even working as a left hander, what a mess at first but then I started getting better at it. I learned the hard way if I wanted to continue as a blacksmith I had to change my techniques of trying to muscle or force what I was working on. Forcing might have worked when I was younger but now I try to finesse or encourage my work. I picked up some tips from Greenwood and applied some of my own techniques. I’ve found taking the time to fit or make new tongs is worth the effort and stock a handles on my 2.75 pound hammers is not a good fit for me. I have to shave the handles I use on 2.75 pounders to fit my hand for the techniques I employ. I sometimes have to use a larger hammer but it seems if I use a 3.5 pound hammer I don’t have to shave as much off the handles and if I use a 4 pound hammer the stock handles work fine. When I was in the processes of changing the way I worked I had to stop and remind myself what I was doing wrong because I was starting to go back to old habits. Now that I’m older my new habits feel natural but I still get my usual aches and pains but I’ve been able to continue working. Using a larger hammer doesn’t make you a better blacksmith but working smarted will. My helper was an aircraft mechanic in his younger days and one of his favorite saying is; “There are old pilot and bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots”.
   Bruce R. Wallace - Friday, 03/19/10 12:00:06 EDT

I have been forging for 14 years and am not in the position that my Doc
> says no more coal. George Dunajesky, told me that when he was traveling in
> the Chech Republic he heard that a lot of smiths were using gas and
> ceramic marbles to get the same benefits as coal without the smoke. My
> question to the smithing community is, Does anyone know where to find out
> information on this method? George and I have kicked it around but I am
> probably asking Googler the wrong questions.
> Tom Laman
   Tom Laman`` - Friday, 03/19/10 12:00:56 EDT

I still have a dent in my leg from an axe.
   Bruce R. Wallace - Friday, 03/19/10 12:02:33 EDT

guru, i agree bealer did get things wrong at times. people my size don't usually have huge problesm with hammers that size ( i am 6 foot 4). i am probably as careful with my body as you are. i have arthitis in my knees and left hip. think teenager in a 60yr old mans body. if you do not feel comfortable with it do not do it. i agree with you on many points, but it is possible to use a 4 or even 6lb hammer easily with enough practice. my main forging hammer is 3.5lbs and i am working on reworking this 6lb hammer i have lying around, but that will probably just be used as a sledge. if you can do it safeley and comfortabley i say do it, but if you are uncomfortable do not. people are different as are tools. i do agree about having a smaller hammer to get back into condition for larger hammers.
   bigfoot - Friday, 03/19/10 12:23:45 EDT

I have to correct something I posted yesterday. My mother isn't even 5'. She's more like 4'10''. It's my wife that's 5'4''. Not important, but I don't want to leave a lie.
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 12:37:08 EDT

Tom Laman, I posted on your question in detail and so did others. Look UP search on (CTRL F) "FlameFast". Oce archived this will be in the previous weeks (second week of March) archive.
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 12:59:21 EDT

My point about anvil sizes is that a little bigger is not always better when the pattern is the different. The most solid anvil you could work on is a truncated (flat topped) cone or pyramid about the same height as width at the base. But this is an impractical shape as it only provides one primary working surface. However, good anvil designs START at that point then make adjustments and modifications.
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 13:07:12 EDT

Guru, what size and style of tongs is best to start with for basic work? I need something for working RR spike size pieces into arrowheads and knives.
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 14:24:55 EDT

guru, know of anyone making medival broadheads and bodkin points?
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 14:47:25 EDT

i vote bolt tongs. i have two pairs and only recently decided to make more. they are really versitile IMO.
   bigfoot - Friday, 03/19/10 15:47:57 EDT


wanna see a book that will blow your mind? pictures of precise ax work on huge trees...

its called "The Loggers" Richard Williams

   - Tyler Murch - Friday, 03/19/10 15:54:16 EDT

Seth ask that over at the armourarchive.org for a good list of current makers!

And *why* rr spike? not nearly as good an alloy as RR clips!

   Thomas P - Friday, 03/19/10 16:30:38 EDT

Thomas, RR spike is just what I have had available to work with. thanks I'll have to take a look there
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 16:41:18 EDT

Seth, I've made a few (hundred) bodkins and broadheads. I started with Bruce's iforge demo 152 on making spearheads, then changed it to use 11/16 round (because I have lots of it)instead of welding up 1/2 square, and then scaled my method down to 3/8 round.
   JimG - Friday, 03/19/10 17:50:28 EDT

Tongs: Grant Sarver's Chainmakers tongs sold by BlacksmithsDepot are pretty universal. I have several old German bolt makers tongs that I really like and wish I had a full set. But for things that I make many of, I make my own tongs. For light little hooks I have some real small special tongs designed to fit 1/4" square and grip the hook end of a small hook so the plain end is easy to work. Their style is sort of a channel tong with flat opposing jaw.

Grant also makes a RR-spike tong that fits the head.

My favorite tongs are a pair of side offset tongs with V grooves that fit 3/8" round up to 1/2" square. The jaws also work on flat stock and they have loops like bolt makers tongs so that bent parts go through the loops. I made these years ago to do a special job and the ended up fitting many other things. The offset is similar to Grants Chainmaker tongs and that is why I recommend them.

Note that the trick to making tongs is to not make them too heavy. The used market is full of poorly made "farmer" or trade school tongs that never worked. They are fairly easy to recognize by their 5/8" diameter reins with no taper. . . All these are good for is fireplace display (antiques) OR the material in them.
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 18:07:39 EDT

used nippers that look like these make great tongs. i made a pair of tongs today with a pair of nippers that looked just like these (they were free though!)
   bigfoot - Friday, 03/19/10 18:37:42 EDT

JimG, what do I need to forge the ferrel in a bodkin a type of bickern?
   Seth Humble - Friday, 03/19/10 20:42:42 EDT

Dear gurus-- I am a beginning metalworker. I bought a small cast steel anvil distributed by Milwaukee Tools. I believe it is a Brooks 8A. I will be using it to rivet sheet copper, brass, etc. What is the best way to remove the blue paint coating from the anvil? I don't want to mar the work surfaces. Thank you.
   Barbara - Friday, 03/19/10 21:18:07 EDT

I make the socket first on a long rod. Set it down over a sharper edge of the anvil and then flare it out like a fan an inch or so wide. At first I used to use a small hand fuller in a small swage to start the socket and then I would finish rolling it with the hammer. I now just roll it by sort of twisting while tapping. After socket is formed cut off leaving 3/4 of an inch or so (I never measure other than by eye) I have a very small pair of needle nose tongs I use in the socket, forge your point (If done right with the cutoff hardy most of the point is formed)then if you want a broadhead flatten. When I'm in practice it takes about 4 heats and I can produce 3 bodkins in about 10 minutes. Hope this helps, if you need any clarification of my method, just ask.
   JimG - Friday, 03/19/10 22:08:51 EDT

Barbara, You can just use it, but that will get paint transferred to your work. Generally anvil faces are not finished that well from the factory so sanding is common practice. 100 to 180 grit belt sanding material will work fine. If you are doing very fine work then you can step up to 240 Wet-or-Dry and get a near polish.

To keep that bright surface from rusting wipe a little light oil on it when not in use. Use a heavier protectant like vasoline if months go by without use.
   - guru - Friday, 03/19/10 22:50:36 EDT

Thank you guru. Much appreciated.
   Barbara - Friday, 03/19/10 22:55:13 EDT

Seth, I have some friends that come over here from Austria for a month every summer to visit friends and family.
Two years ago thier oldest boy(then 12) asked me to help him build a medieval foot bow so, we do a bit more every year. This year we will make the "goats foot", trigger bar and sear, and I have a dozen forged two blade broad heads that he will split out shafts for and finish them down with a draw knife and spoke shave.
I'll also have to punch some ferrels for both ends of the shaft. The points are made with a tang like you see on a file and will split the shaft on impact without the coller.
We'll have to put one on the knotch too to prevent makeing match sticks out of his hard work at the shaveing bench...
Bruce Blackistone is the resident expert here on the medieval stuff. Check out the iForge pages, he has a few tutorials there.
   - merl - Saturday, 03/20/10 01:29:42 EDT

On these junk yard hammers,do the rear ends have to be posi-trac and-or truck?Could you E-mail me some imfo on that and the braking set up and funtion. Thank-you
   Chris Brookshear - Saturday, 03/20/10 07:32:52 EDT


I knew a reenacting smith whose nom de guerre was "Badger" who could knock them off in a couple of heats, like Jim. He would use 3/8" stock for his. No back/faggot weld (which was sort of specific to my Anglo-Saxon spearhead experiments). Mostly bodkins and leaf-shaped. Broadheads may have started with a little upsetting or slightly wider stock (see below).

Are we talking crossbow or longbow? There are some tanged projectile points that were used with reed shafts for light bows. Crossbow bolts could also use use tanged points, like Merl is using, since they were frequently of the "blunt/heavy" school of projectiles. (I also liked the fact that quarrels for hunting had three vanes while those for war usually had tow, and were sometimes made of leather or cardboard. Strictly G.I.) The tanged head and ferrule were no more sophisticated than your garden hoe connection.

One of the things that interest me is the problems of mass production. In the prime of the use of the bow as a weapon, incredible numbers of arrows were needed. Recovery rates can be significant, but not during the battle and shaft length was fitted to the archer, so any old recovered shaft would not necessarily do. I suspect that the arrowsmiths used a series of jigs of some sort and popped these puppies out like a nailer at the bench; or they may have been farmed out as a cottage industry to the "home front." And that's just the piles; contemplate the work that goes into the shaft and fletching, all of it with the proper spine and alignment.

But I digress... ;-)

There are some new books on medieval archery that I have not caught up with (my dance card always being rather full) but all of us can think, research and experiment and come up with some new techniques that will provide insight into the problem.

Sunny and clear on the banks of the lower Potomac. Other guys get their wives a couple of carats for their birthdays; I am getting mine 3,000 pounds of rocks today! :-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 03/20/10 07:58:05 EDT

Bruce, I've been building selfbows for hunting. The only part of the archery system I didn't make was the broadhead. I did make some stone arrowheads, but they don't last long with me. When I got the anvil I started making myself 'tradepoints'. They were easy enough to form and durable. Louisiana laws don't restrict me using them for hunting as long as they are sharp and I think an inch wide. The one I've made so far seem very heavy. Have you put your bodkins and broadheads on a scale? I know war arrows are much heaver than what is generally used even for traditional guys today.
   Seth Humble - Saturday, 03/20/10 09:35:42 EDT

anyone here into primitive firearm recreations? Real gunsmithing?
   Seth Humble - Saturday, 03/20/10 09:58:54 EDT

Seth, Alan L is a pretty good gunsmith. Builds flintlocks and cap lock black powder weapons.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/20/10 18:56:48 EDT

Junk Yard Hammers, IE EC-JYH Axels: Chris, a posi-trac axle defeats the purpose of using a planetary differential as a clutching system. When the brake is OFF the loose or "free" end of the drive train rotates and nothing happens on the hammer end. When the brake is ON and the back axle stops rotating then the front must rotate.

Posi-trac axels have a clutch between the two sides designed to prevent free wheeling.

On our hammer we used the parking brake because it was cable operated and was the simplest to setup. You could use the hydraulics but that would be complicated and old stuff is likely not to work with a rebuild.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/20/10 18:58:57 EDT

Further Thoughts on 3,000 Pounds of Rocks:

The pallets are about 4 feet wide X 3 feet deep X maybe 3 ½ feet high. Looking at it neatly arrayed on its pallet, I was thinking that if someone wanted a "rustic" stone forge, this would be a good start, with the neat stacking and the nice square corners, bigger slabs to the outside and smaller pieces to the inside. It would not take much to deconstruct and reconstruct around a fire pot, ash dump, and work surface.

The one today cost me about $275. Of course I paid a premium, since it was shipped from PA due to tidewater Maryland having a dearth of natural stone. (We just get what washed down off the Piedmont and Appalachians around here; mostly gravel and cobbles.)

At any rate, some cement, a fire pot, and a little labor and imagination and you've got yourself a nice stone forge (assuming a good foundation).

I'll still stick to wood, firebrick and dirt for now, since it seems to be holding up just fine, and my shop structure is as much modern as traditional.

It was 76 degrees f. today at the forge; Happy Vernal Equinox!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 03/20/10 20:02:11 EDT

i just got done at a show, weather was cazy in oklahoma it was 71 yesterday,snowing today and suppose to snow until tomorrow and then monday back to 65 lol!!! but thanks to the good advice on the finish for my arbor it blew people away. might have it sold, 3 people are very interested one being a Senator's wife of Oklahoma, atleast got me in the door, finally got in with alot of people who are in with the right clients. THE RIGHT FINISH MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE it was awesome, everyone kept askin what it was made of. Thanks again
   Pat Smith - Saturday, 03/20/10 20:34:13 EDT

What is sucker rod? Thinking of making tongs.
   RichD. - Saturday, 03/20/10 22:03:06 EDT

Seth, when I make the forged broadheads I use a slightly modified version of the Guru's leaf makeing methode as shown on iForge number 10 witch is also like Bill Epps does his a little further back up the iForge page although they each end up with a different looking leaf.
Useing a piece of 5/8 round stock, I form the point and flaten as if I were making a leaf but, I end up with a distal shape to give it a thicker web as you go toward the tang.
Then I cut it off on the hardy leaving about a 3/8 long stub of the original stock size on the end for drawing out the tang.
Two more heats will have the tang drawn out and tapperd to a point about two inches long and the business end will finish at 3-3.5 inches long by 1 3/8 wide. The distal tapper goes from 1/32 at the point to as much as 5/16 at the tang end. Points are flat and rounded with an abrupt "chisle" edge, just the thing for sticking into a log target or penetrating thin armour...
I don't have a weight figure but the braodheads alone are quite heavy.
The single limb of the cross bow (not actualy a "foot bow" I guess) is made from a leaf spring 2"X 1/4"X about 36"long. I think it's going to have alot of recoil when it's fired.
Sometime in the near future I'll be able to post some pics or a demo video when it's all completed.
   - merl - Saturday, 03/20/10 22:27:39 EDT

what i no as sucker rod is what was ran in casing's of oil wells, not sure of the carbon content but i use it all the time, it's layin around here everywhere in the oilfield
   Pat Smith - Saturday, 03/20/10 22:38:31 EDT

guess i could explain better, it has 2 threaded ends with square shoulder for rod wrenches to tighten it up with a rod box (collar). it runs a rod puwp on the bottom that seats in the tubing and a pumping unit moves it up and down to pump the oil out of the well, usually find it in 1/2-1 1/8 inch and 20 foot long, guru might no the carbon content i think it is higher then mild steel, i have good free supply of 3/4
   Pat Smith - Saturday, 03/20/10 23:05:29 EDT

Sucker rod: It is a high strength alloy, some of it is 4140, but unless there is some identification on it that You can look up, junk yard rules apply.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 03/20/10 23:20:19 EDT

thanks dave i've wrenched alot of rods in my day on work over riggs , butt never new what kind of steel it was just new it was higer carbon by the sparks.
   Pat Smith - Sunday, 03/21/10 00:18:42 EDT

Thanks for the definition.
   RichD. - Sunday, 03/21/10 07:28:50 EDT

Depending on the depth of the well they are used in, sucker rods composition will vary considerably. Deep well require stronger rods because they support a longer string.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 03/21/10 07:47:07 EDT

Would a fiberglass hammer handle be better than a wooden one?
   Mjolnir - Sunday, 03/21/10 09:32:53 EDT

Mjolnir: No.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 03/21/10 10:17:05 EDT

Merl, I just finnished reading vol. 4 of the Bowyer's Bible. A good chapter is intitled 'the Mass Principle'. I am trying to get the mass in the limbs down in my bows and cut down on handshock (energy not transfered to the arrow).
   Seth Humble - Sunday, 03/21/10 11:07:01 EDT

Mjolnir, NO. While fiberglass handles are generally more durable they are also generally poorly designed and cannot be modified by the user
   - guru - Sunday, 03/21/10 11:18:37 EDT

Alan-L, Tell me about your flintlocks.
   Seth Humble - Sunday, 03/21/10 11:25:50 EDT

i have a few hammers,cross peens, ball peens, rounding hammers but i would like to have a good medium size flat face , i do alot of squaring on round stock. square is hard to come by here. In your opion what is the best style of hammer, i know it depends on the person.I'm still searching for the one that just feels just right. everyone has that one that just feels right
   Pat Smith - Sunday, 03/21/10 15:34:16 EDT

I am going to make my own coal forge and was wanting to know if I make the fire box out of 1/4in steel; if there was any part of it that I should only tack together so it can be replaced. The pot was going to 4 sided with each side being 13" on the top, 5" on the bottom, and 5" tall that makes the pot approximately 3 1/2" deep when it is all done. It kind of looks like an inverted pyramid with a flat bottom. I was looking for your thoughts on this before I start to put it all together.
   Adam Grillot - Sunday, 03/21/10 20:51:57 EDT

Seth: I stayed with simple piles. The key thing was getting a consistant weight, with worked well by using the same length of stock, marked off on the rod before starting. Socket first, then cut off at the point end from the bar and draw out the point. A dozen (or two dozen!) uniform points of the same weight and shape was my ideal. I did do a nice dozen for a friend before I got sidetracked by other mysteries of the past. I still need to make more than a half dozen for myself. :-( Maybe I'll putter some more this season, and look for the fletching that I stashed away before the move to the new forge.

Some of the more extreme broadheads, such as naval arrows meant to slash sails and rigging, were probably welded. Must be fun with a steel blade and WI socket... Hmmm... So many riddles, so many wheels to reinvent, so little time. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 03/21/10 20:53:18 EDT

"reducing handshock"
Indeed Seth, that would be a good idea but, my young friend has some very deffinate ideas on how he would like the finished product to look and I don't think he is considering the subtleties and refinements that could go into it. We're not talking crude, just "rustic".
It's going to be interesting to see how heavy the bolts end up being.
My friend is kind of on the slight side, tall and lanky but, deffinatly not built like his Wisconsin cousins.
I would like to retain as much power in the limb as possible to go along with the heavy bolts but, adjustments may have to be made...
It's too bad you're not closer to Wisconsin, the master smith that runs the blacksmith shop in the antique power club I belong to also makes flint lock muskets from scratch, even the barrels from heavy wall mechanical tubeing. All parts are hand made including the screws and the stocks are made from oak stringers he salvages from pallets and such. True works of art in a plain brown wrapper.
   - merl - Sunday, 03/21/10 20:58:55 EDT

Pat Smith, Farriers' rounding hammers have a slightly flatter face than most smiths' hammers. Blacksmiths usually, not always, like a little rocker to the face with radiused edges. If you get a nice cross peen with either a square face or round face, dress the face the way you wish with a disc or belt sander. Perhaps finish with Scotch Brite.

Adam Grillot, You've got to have an "ash barrel" attached to the bottom of the fire pot. It will have a 3" air intake on the side and an ash dump at the bottom, either a slide or a hinged, kicking ash door. You need a tuyere, an air entry to the fire from the bottom. I've made them by punching a rectangular hole into a short length of truck axle. If this is going over your head, you should find a manufactured one to use as a guide. Don't forget to put flanges on the top sides of the pot so that it can't fall through the hearth hole.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/21/10 21:10:50 EDT

Adam G. I would increase the 5" tall dimension a bit to end up with a firepot about 5" deep. Your other dimensions look OK for a fairly large firepot. I would weld it all around, if You burn it up You can just cut it out and drop in another one.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/21/10 21:25:18 EDT

Favorite Hammer: I use a common American blacksmiths pattern. Other popular types feel like a club to me. But I've been using the same style smithing hammer for 40 years. On the other hand, this style hammer did not feel strange to me when I first picked on up and all of my prior hammer experience had been carpenter's hammers.

   - guru - Sunday, 03/21/10 21:54:16 EDT

I agree with Dave on the firepot. 1/4" material MAY last decades but could rust out in a few years if left out doors. Normally the firepot has a flange and sets or is bolted into the forge so that it is easy to remove and replace.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/21/10 21:56:01 EDT

Arrows Bolts and such: I was in archery long enough that if I could see it, I could hit it and I had pretty darn good eyes.

The one thing important about arrows is that if the shank is not strong enough for the tip weight it can collapse from the sudden column loading on release of the string. I was never injured but I had several arrows explode, the sharp splinters being driven into the bow and by arm guard. Most of these were cheap ($0.39) Kmart arrows at the time. These were being shot from a 52 pound recurve bow (a classic in the 1960's).

My last sets of arrows were HD fiberglass and light aluminium target arrows. The light aluminium were GREAT with a nearly flat trajectory the first 30-40 feet and only about a foot of drop in 30 yards.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/21/10 22:04:13 EDT

Am I the only one that uses hatchet handles for his hammers?
It started by necessity, but felt so good I kept it up and converted over. They're oval, so feel right, and when you want the opposite face just flip it over on the upstroke,
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 03/21/10 22:15:00 EDT

Seth, I don't build flintlocks, but use them regularly in one of my hobbies - French & Indian War re-enactment. I've been involved with my reenacting group since 1988. The group is British colonial, historically from VA, but at the time VA ran all the way up to present day Pittsburgh, PA, which is roughly where are group is based. I carry either a "captured" Charleville replica musket in .69 caliber, or a shortened replica Brown Bess in .75 caliber. I also occasionally manage to get out during PA's muzzleloading season for dear. In the past, I've carried a .50 caliber PA rifle, but picked up an early VA style in .62 caliber a couple of years back. Haven't had a chance to try it in the field yet.
   - Gavainh - Sunday, 03/21/10 22:17:44 EDT

Carver J, I don't care for the hatchet style handle on these Fat Max "Death Stick" nailing hammers but, the blacksmith pattern replacement handles I buy are more oval than round and after I fit them to my hand they still retain the oval shape but, smaller.
I agree with you, the oval shape helps when you want to "index" the hammer from one side to another and allows me to use a looser grip because of the leverage gained from the oval shape. I'm a firm believer in the old adige,
"Work smarter, not harder"
   - merl - Sunday, 03/21/10 22:53:26 EDT

Seth Humble, What is it you wish to know about flintlocks? In the "olden days," Turner Kirkland of Dixie Gunworks called me and wanted me to forge weld an odd gun barrel. 6 inches of flat; going into 6 inches of rolled and butted; turning into 6 inches of rough welded; turning into 6 incles of welded and rough hammered octagonal; becoming 6 inches of draw-filed octagonal and drilled to size. I forged it of Swedish wrought iron. It went into his log cabin gun shop museum in Union City, TN, as simply a sample to show the progression of welding up a barrel.

That's about all the physical work I've done regarding old guns/rifles. In the 1970's, I came to know two expert old fashioned gunsmiths, Bruce Lepage of Wisconsin and Brian Anderson of Santa Fe, Taos, and presently, Vermont. I don't know where you're located, but if you're passionate about flintlocks, I would google these gents, and go genuflect before them to learn something.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 03/22/10 08:27:23 EDT

Axe Handles on Hammers:

I've used them for some backup hammers and top tools, from time to time.* On a lighter hammer they can give a nice "snapping" action for the primary face, but a little awkward when using the peen. They're really useful on top tools since they give instant orientation by feel.

Two of my larger forging hammers have their handles "wasp-waisted" at the grip, one by the ancestor of the person who gave it to me (thank you Mike Spalding) and the other in crude immitation by me. It does give me a better feel, eliminating too much thickness, and increases the swell at the base of the hand for a more secure grip.

* Not because I'm too cheap to by a new one, mostly because I have trouble seeing anything go to waste.

Warm and rainy on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/22/10 09:08:31 EDT

I had the (or one of) the Dixie Gun Works catalogs that had the article about Frank forging the barrel parts. I loaned it out. . . never say it again. Those old catalogs were real treasures and its a shame they were printed on the cheapest newsprint and poorly bound for their size.

I've seen faun foot or goats foot handles on framing hammers and thought they looked funny. Many things like this are what you are used to. I like a classic oval handle. Having grown to like them from long use it is much easier to replace handles when needed. I've hand carved a few and when they needed replacing I went back to the standard oval.
   - guru - Monday, 03/22/10 12:12:40 EDT

Thank-you.does the brake let you stop or feather?Or is it to let the motor get turning before brake is ingaged? I have a free peice of round stock 6 in. dia.2ft.long for hammer head probably 150lbs. Too heavy?Ive collected alot of junk,I mean stuff to build one. Suggestions welcome. Chris
   chrisbrookshear - Monday, 03/22/10 13:04:56 EDT

6" dia x 24" = appx 192 pounds.
   Thomas P - Monday, 03/22/10 13:51:39 EDT

Thanks,Iguessed pretty close.I couldnt pick it up by myself.should I cut it and use for anvil and hammer?
   chrisbrookshear - Monday, 03/22/10 14:07:01 EDT

For weight calculations there are many on-line calculators including our Mass3j (see the drop down menu).

Yes you can feather with the differential brake as clutch.

In fact, you CANNOT feather with a Little Giant clutch unless you oil it heavily. . .
   - guru - Monday, 03/22/10 18:19:54 EDT

Chris: Remember that for a good working power hammer You need a minimum of 10X the head weight for anvil mass, and better 15X or more. Don't cut that bar untill You have scrounged up all Your materials and determined how heavy a hammer You have the materials for.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/22/10 20:25:56 EDT

So If i use this peice for my anvil 200lb. est.I would need a 30ld head?with a tire hammer aplication can i get 75-100lb. hit, i was origanly thinking the rear end application because of the size stock i had.Im wanting to make damascas billets with it.
   chrisbrookshear - Monday, 03/22/10 21:00:11 EDT

Hey Guru, the Big Blu footage on AnvilCam looks great!
I realy like the candlestick footage.
An impressive hammer...
   - merl - Monday, 03/22/10 21:19:30 EDT

Power Hammer Design:

Chris, The optimum ratio of power hammer to anvil is 15:1. Very Heavy duty is 20:1, most modern commercial hammers run about 10:1 and some are as little as 6:1. However, very large hammers with 6:1 ratios are typically set on huge foundations. SO. . . the target for small hammers is about 10:1. Many DIY hammers (including treadle hammers) are built with less but it hurts their efficiency.

The important part of building a hammer is having good guides and a properly built hammer linkage. Poor linkages do not hit very hard and good ones hit harder than other "equivalent" hammers.

Please note that my shock absorber design was an idea that had bounced around for a long time that had to be tested. It worked but was VERY inefficient. It did what shocks were supposed to do, absorb energy. I do not recommend it.

The best linkage a DIY builder can use is the bow spring and toggle linkage. However, like many of these linkages there is a lot of reciprocating mass that is not working mass. You want the mass in the ram. not the linkage. So, if you turn the bow spring linkage upside down and attach the spring to the ram it becomes part of the working mass.

Drawing coming. . .

   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 10:58:38 EDT

Power hammer linkage drawing by Jock Dempsey This linkage does several things differently than the usual arrangement. First, it gets the mass of the spring onto the ram and has the minimum non-working moving mass. Second, it has relatively very light easy to make toggles. Third, there is an easy vertical adjustment. Fourth, the mass of the spring is not part of the typical flailing arms of a power hammer.

In recent years we have been recommending the spare tire hammer clutch. Due to reports from long or heavily used hammers we are no longer recommending the tire-clutch except for the cheapest of throw together machines.

The most serious problem is the tire wearing out. Due to the startup clutching always being in one place on the tire the wear is a lot more than you would think. Couple this with the fact that most of the current designs weld the crank plate to the wheel there is no way to rotate the the wear spot. If the mechanism has the wheel bolted on then you have 4 or 5 chances to rotate the tire to fresh unworn spots.

The problem with these tires wearing out is that most tire shops will tell you they cannot change these special heavy walled tires. Replacements are also VERY expensive. So your only choice is to go back to the junk yard. This is also very problematic because there is a high demand for replacement spare tires. So while they are fairly cheap the likelyhood of finding the same wheel/tire replacement is very slim. In fact, I traveled to all the yards in our local area just trying to find TWO matching wheels. We finally did it with wheels from seperate yards and it took several days of searching.

We are too far into our hammer construction to back out of the spare tire design but at least we bolted the wheels on so the tire will have 4x the life.

Tire Hammer Recomendations:

1) Do not use mini spares
2) Do not weld linkage to the wheel
3) Attach the wheel so that it can be repositioned as well as removed and the tire replaced with a standard tire.

The above is easier said than done. Generally it requires using a shaft and bearings, the shaft having flanges so the wheel can be bolted onto the back of the machine. Back to the drawing board. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 11:46:53 EDT

On JYH's, I must respectfully disagree with a few points the GURU makes.

I offer the following based on my JYH, shown on the JYH hammer page. My hammer has been in use as a weekend type machine, used in a small part time blacksmith business since 2002. My machine is of the rusty style, and used a slack belt drive for the first year or so, then was switched to a compact spare clutch. I have not had any problems with tire wear yet. My wheel is bolted, and used a Gran Voyager minivan rear axle bearing hub assembly. Since I live next to a large metro area, I had zero problems finding a compact spare, or the axle hub assemblies. The first junkyard I went to had a pile of the compact spares that numbered about 100-150 and they charged me $5.00(2004)

I fully agree to not weld the pivot to the rim. I have run tire hammers with Dupont linkages, LG's and Rusties. My Rusty style hits fully as hard as any other equivelent sized ram mechanical I have run. The tire clutch is very controlable compared to a LG or slack belt.

I would offer that further, if you have a welder, can drill a hole and are a scrounger, you can build a usable Rusty style cheaper than any other style, and the scrounging is also easier. Look in "Pounding out the Profits" and you will find many many of this style of linkage. The only non ram reciprocating mass is the leaf spring and pitman.

I also agree that the guides are critical, and the anvil mass makes or breaks a JYH.
   ptree - Tuesday, 03/23/10 13:56:46 EDT

The problem with the mini spares in NOT in finding them, its finding duplicates. Which will also be the problem finding a replacement. I sorted through mountains of the things looking for two alike. If a standard wheel and tire is used the tires will be available for the next century if its not too odd a size. Avoid 60 and 70 series tires.

   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 15:35:52 EDT

I have a few full sized spares from my wrecked Pinto. Would this work? I did a lot of forging today, all the while I was thinking "this would be much nicer if I had a power hammer"..... not too big though.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 03/23/10 16:05:43 EDT

Sure. They are common 13" rims that take 6.50 x 13 or 175 x 13 tires.

The trick is to have both the wheel and the hub if building a classic tire hammer. I scraped a Dodge van that would make a couple Junkyard hammers. . . My new van still has a mini spare but I had full size spares for all my other vans. . . I think I've got one with nearly new tread. . .

While there are long term issues with using a tire they have the advantage of adding some flywheel mass that makes the hammer a little smoother running.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 16:19:20 EDT

Guru, I found several compact spares that matched. Think GM. For the van bearing hub assy I used they made millions of those grocery getters, and I had a complete axle from one we scrapped. I found 2 like new. $5.00 each. I sold the spare hub assy and compact spare to another guy building. Using a bearing hub assy from a minivan gets you a complete precision tappered roller bearing assy with a bolt on hub for the wheel, and they have a mounting flange that is tapped to allow bolting on. Heck they can be bought in my area, brand new, made by Timkin, at the parts store for about $85. I like the compact spares cause they are a bit smaller, but the full size will work just as well. I used the compact spare, and just burned out the center of another wheel, cut that down to a segment that would accept 3 lug nuts and with it off the wheel/tire combo, welded on the pivot.

Nip, The rusty can be made for low headroom. Mine stands in a low head room lean to.

ANY of these home built hammers MUST have adaquate guarding around the spring.
   ptree - Tuesday, 03/23/10 18:25:53 EDT

Thank-you,so a tire hammer design,Mr.Guru's bow spring and bolt on pivot to ring,I,ve seen these teflon slides dont like them have stock for dove tail and brass,some feed back on that and were talking getting 75 lbs. plus from this?My friend has a 50 little giant that does pretty good with a little tinkering so if i build one i want it to hit harder than 50 with control.Idont want much for a low price do I?
   chrisbrookshear - Tuesday, 03/23/10 18:26:56 EDT

Copyright Issues on Practical Machinist:

Sometimes you try to be polite and people don't respond. So here goes.

I was informed that someone using the Alias


on the Practical Machinist website was using our anvilfire flaming anvil logo for their avatar on those forums. They do not have permission to do this. It is theft under copyright law. I do not give permission to ANYONE to use our logo to represent themselves.

I politely asked the webmaster "Don T" at Practical Machinist to remove the avatar or ask the member to remove the avatar. His response was that he was too busy to be bothered. Since I cannot directly contact members of that forum I am forced to do so publicly. I am sorry if this causes any embarrassment but I tried to play nice.

I'm sure forge-n-machine uses our forums and may be one of our regulars, otherwise he would not have our flaming anvil logo. So this is a public "Cease and Desist" notice from the legal copyright holder to stop using our artwork.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 20:39:17 EDT

Chris, You keep talking about "getting" 75 pounds. There is no creating it, that is the mas of the ram and rigidly attached parts.

The actual energy produced by power hammers is difficult to quantify. While it would seem to be the simple velocity squared by mass formula the problem is how to measure the exact velocity of the ram at the moment of contact. The ram is constantly accelerating, deacelerating and changing directions. The distance travels varies according to the work height AND to a lesser degree the amount of "throttle" given. THEN there are the forces counteracting the motion of the ram, the spring in a power hammer and the air cushion in an air hammer.

SO, for equal comparisons without any flim-flamery with the numbers most of the industry has agreed to just use ram weight.

However, all hammers are NOT equal. Given the exact same speed and mass the actual energy output is measured in the short distance that this energy is absorbed. The thinner the work the more critical this factor is. The absorption distance is determined by the anvil mass and the machine frame. The more IT and the ground below it moves the less energy is transferred to the work. Chambersburg Engineering expressed anvil efficiency this way

CECO Anvil Ratio Graph

If you put a power hammer with a high efficiency anvil on a concrete floor you will get some vibration (energy loss). But if you put a hammer with a low efficiency anvil on the same floor the floor will not just vibrate, it will move or bounce up and down. Very low efficiency machines are often built with a hollow stand supporting the anvil. This stand can spring and flex as well as the floor move.

Besides being a low efficiency machine this also cause more noise and vibration thus fatigue on the human operator. It is a double efficiency loss.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 21:18:16 EDT

I was just wanting to know why I should make the fire box so deep? This may seem like a dumb question but I would like to know.
   Adam Grillot - Tuesday, 03/23/10 21:27:28 EDT

Adam, it you have the work in a shallow fire where the air is entering then you burn the metal and produce excessive scale. To get a very nice clean heat you want a fire deep enough to use up all the oxygen and heat the steel with that. You can do the same with a flat surfaced forge but the fire spreads and uses a lot of fuel. A good fire pot contains the core of the fire, reduces spread and makes a deep concentrated fire that is low or oxygen free.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 22:15:18 EDT

But, will a box that is 5" deep let you work on long pieces?
   Adam Grillot - Tuesday, 03/23/10 23:02:46 EDT

It all depends on the size of the fire.

If you work very long slender bar and need a small fire then the fire pot should have a couple dips in the sides and these should line up with similar dips in the forge pan that are an inch or so higher.

It pays to study commercial forges.

Click to enlarge

The image above is of a Centaur Forge floor model forge made from components they sold.

On the other hand, to get long work deep enough into a forge smiths often bend it. It only takes a slight curve that you can remove later.

You can build a flat bottom forge with no fire pot. It is just more work keeping the fire from spreading and keeping the coal piled high to get a high heat. A fire pot creates an intense focused heat, save fuel and lets gravity do a lot of the work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/24/10 01:04:08 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2010 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC

Get anvilfire.com GEAR.

International Ceramics Products