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Ask the Guru any reasonable blacksmithing or metalworking question. 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 April 1 - 15, 1999 on the Guru's Den

New to blacksmithing? Check out our FAQ Getting Started.

The Guru has three helpers that have been given a distinct colored "voice".
  • Bruce R. Wallace of Wallace Metal Work (purple) as of 12/98.

  • "grandpa" Daryl Meier of MEIER STEEL (green).

  • Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson, of Paw Paw's Forge and official demonstrator at Bethbara Historical Park, Winston-Salem, NC (OD green).

  • Please report any posting or retrieval problems to:

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    After posting and clicking on return, the page will automaticly reload and display your entry. If not then, click on LastPost after the file reloads. Your question will be answered as soon as possible.

    Your input, answers and comments on questions to the Guru are welcome.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/01/98 00:00:00 EDT
    Hello, I'm looking for directions on how to rivet things together at the forge. I've tried, but my rivets are pretty ugly.

    kevin Wednesday, 03/31/99 23:49:27 GMT

    Kevin, Riviting is like any of the rest, it takes practice. First you need to be sure you have enough material for the head. 1.5 to 1.75 times the diameter of the rivit. Then when it is heated, hit it straight on axis until it is about the height desired, then four light angular blows should produce a nice truncated pyramid.

    If you want pretty (or ugly depending on your point of view) round head rivits you should use a rivit header and a backup tool of the same shape. Full round heads take that 1.75 times the diameter of material. Too long or too short makes a mess. You can purchase rivit backup tools but they are easy to make. First make a round end punch then use it to sink the head shape. Normally you want the depression a little short so that it fully supports (or forms) the head.

    Good annealed rivits can be headed cold if they are small. For larger rivits and heads on tennons I found that heating with a torch was much easier to control than trying to do it in the forge. It also makes it possible to do some things working alone that would otherwise require a helper.

    When heating in the forge, heat the rivit seperately then put it in the joint and rivit it. Practice making the joint and handling the rivit with tongs with a cold rivit before doing it hot! After the rivit is hit the first blow you sometimes need to tighten the joint before continuing. Be prepared to do this quickly because you will still need to finish that head in one heat!

    -- guru Thursday, 04/01/99 00:23:33 GMT

    Why is a hardie called a hardie? I am giving a blacksmithing demostration for the local elementary school and am tring to find answers for question tha t might come up.

    Barry Thompson -- bear272 at Thursday, 04/01/99 13:21:22 GMT

    I tried putting some ground fire brick in the bottom of my gas forge as you suggested and it seems to help. Also, I fit an aluminum can over the bottom of the venturi where the air is pulled in and that seems to reduce the wind blowing across and putting out the forge flame.
    For the post about dishing sheet metal, my friends who make armor use a bowling ball with a handle to begin sinking the metal into a stump or other form. It works great!

    michael matthews -- mmatthew at Thursday, 04/01/99 14:16:50 GMT

    HARDIE: This one goes back to ancient Anglo-Saxon "English" that we would not understand today and is most probably derived from another unknown language. Like the names of many items it goes back too far to know its origin.

    Have fun! My best audiances were kids. The questions you will likely get are:

  • How heavy is your anvil?

  • How hot it THAT? OR How hot does your fire get?

  • Why do you blow air on the fire?

  • Do you ever get burned?

  • Do you make a lot of money?

  • Do you make lots of horseshoes?
  • -- guru Thursday, 04/01/99 15:46:43 GMT

    Michael, You failed to mention WIND. Any breeze can cause all kinds of problems with a gas forge! Bowling ball. . . a BIG HAMMER! :)

    -- guru Thursday, 04/01/99 15:51:51 GMT


    Another question you are likely to get is:

    Why do you hit your anvil every now and then?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 04/01/99 20:07:51 GMT

    Can nonmagnetic stainless be case hardened. In particular .187" diameter rod

    Eric M. -- metalglue at Friday, 04/02/99 00:44:59 GMT

    The hardenability of stainless has more to do with the alloying than the carbon content (I think). This is a complicated area that is beyond my expertise. grandpa Meier may know more about it.

    grandpa help! Can 300 series stainless be case hardened?

    -- guru Friday, 04/02/99 02:56:21 GMT

    Eric: 300 series stainless can certainly be put through a case hardening process. Some carbon will be absorbed, but how much and what effect, I realy don't know. The 300 series containes up to 8% nickel, which will slow down the carbon absorption rate somewhat. What carbon that does manage to go into the steel will most likely end up bonded to the chromium as a carbide. The wear resistance will therefore go up, but the "stainless" quality will go down.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at Friday, 04/02/99 05:21:53 GMT

    Thank you for the input regarding Bimetal Corrosion. Our school server crashed right after I posted the question.
    So, if I keep the sculptures INDOORS with tight mechanical holds or soldered fittings, I should be ok? I love to create bimetal pieces!

    I just resd an article where the two metals on a weather vane were coated with soft solder prior to assembly and mounting. What do you think the effective, protective extention to the weather vane's life might be? Or simply avoid the outdoor experiments entirely?

    Thank you for this web page! Chris

    Chris C -- contosc at Saturday, 04/03/99 01:06:03 GMT

    Chris, It depends on the metals. Tin and lead solders rapidly corrode on the surface then stop. Same goes for copper and brass. However, items that formerly could be counted on lasting centuries now have a much shorter life due to acid rain (electrolyte).

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 02:36:33 GMT

    Happy Easter to your place and all who reside there. I've noticed in the past you have I.D.ed some anvils with their origin sometimes. Mine weighs in at around 100lbs. For some reason someone hacked the lettering with an axe, the marks are too long to be a chisle, and what I can make out is :V.&-II
    16 The number is in big size, about 3/4 inch. Can You help? Thanks

    Jerry -- birdlegs at Saturday, 04/03/99 02:57:57 GMT

    I have been studying several books and attended some black smith seminars. How can I find a reasonable anvil? Is a used Hay-Budden 103 pound anvil worth $300.00? I want to find where to get the best price on new and used tools.

    Stephen -- SteveY7390 at Saturday, 04/03/99 03:49:34 GMT

    I have been studying several books and attended some blacksmith seminars. How can I find a reasonable anvil? Is a used Hay-Budden 103 pound anvil worth $300.00? I want to find where to get the best price on new and used tools.

    Stephen -- SteveY7390 at Saturday, 04/03/99 03:50:47 GMT

    Jerry, That's an M&H Armitage Mouse Hole Anvil. Made at the famous Mouse Hole works in England. Arimitage was one of a long line of operators of Mouse Hole. Early to late 1800's. Made good anvils.

    The Hacking. . . I had one that was that way. It had a serious dip in the face and it sloped to one corner. I think the hacking was to remove the Trade Name, making it a "second". Good anvil, just didn't meet the manufacturers standards. I traded one I had identical in size for the "second" plus $75.

    The numbers are probably 1 space 6 or 1 . . 6. Hundred weights, quarter hundred weights and pounds. 112 + 0 + 6 = 118 pounds. Weigh it and see if I'm right. If most of the anvil is there it will be within a pound of the marked weight.

    If you want the LONG story about your anvil order Richard Postman's book Anvils in America (see the review on the bookshelf).

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 03:58:42 GMT

    Stephen, Hay-Budden was the best American made anvil. They are wrought iron and tool steel. $3/lb is a little steep but if the anvil is in good condition I'd buy it, and so would a lot of others. Old high quality anvils are just as good as new and at $3/lb its still cheaper than new. The only equivalent anvil today is the forged steel Peddinghaus. See the articles on anvils on the 21st Century page.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 04:04:02 GMT

    Can you tell me a web link or source that I could search to purchase a 25 lb trip hammer ?


    Laura -- parkerl at Saturday, 04/03/99 06:27:15 GMT

    Greetings,Guru I was hoping you might be able to enlighten me about an anvil I purchesd. The name on the foot is Fisher on top of the same foot the number is 130 also there is an eagle on the side around the waist area. On the rear of the anvil is the number 1902. Any and all info on this wold be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Bob

    Bob Ballou -- otter at Saturday, 04/03/99 14:07:22 GMT

    Laura, We often have hammers of various types advertised on our Power hammer Page or the Virtual Hammer-In but there are none currently (Hey BOB! Want to sell yours?). You MAY get a response to your post here.

    Don't get stuck on Little Giant. They are the most common because they were the cheapest AND LG sold them via time payments but they are not the best. Champions are much better, then Fairbanks and Bradley.

    Contact Bruce Wallace He's bought sold and traded dozens of hammers in just the past year. Then if your need is desparate try Bill Gichner's Iron Age Antiques in Ocean View, DE (302) 539-5344 (next to Ocean City, Maryland). The the anvilfire NEWS Vol. 11.

    You can also try The Scrapbin

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 15:11:24 GMT

    Bob, Your anvil is just what it says, a Fisher-Norris "Eagle" anvil. The Fisher anvils are cast iron with a tool steel face. This pattented process had the distinction of producing cheap anvils and making Fisher the first U.S. manufacturer of anvils. Unlike most of the wrought or forged anvils, people either LOVE or HATE a Fisher anvil. When the face is tight they are a good anvil. When the face is loose or needs repair then you are stuck.

    Fisher started making anvils by this process in the 1830's or early 1840's. They were the first and last major anvil manufacturer in the U'S. The 130 is the weight to the nearest 10 lbs. 1902 the year of manufacture. If you want to more about your anvil (and many others) order Richard Postman's book Anvils in America (see the review on the bookshelf).

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 15:37:27 GMT

    have a blacksmith forge for sale what should I charge

    Bob -- jk94050 at Saturday, 04/03/99 15:43:37 GMT

    Bob, It depends on the type of forge, its condition and how bad you want to get rid of it OR how bad the buyer needs a forge. Forges vary from little things that can be moved by a child to huge ones that take a crane. If it has all the parts including a working blower then it may be worth $50 - $200. If any parts are missing or broken it will be worth less. During the early part of the 20th Century there were some beautiful commercial coal forges built for factories and railroad shops. Many of these had down draft "hoods" (requiring an exhaust fan) and are quite rare. A serious smith would pay good money for one of these.

    Forges are too easy to build. When the price gets too high the smith will just build his own.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/03/99 16:00:44 GMT

    Dear Guru, Your web site is very nice, thanks. I am a full time smith and have 15 years exp. I am also the founder, past president amd now newsletter editor for LAMA (Louisiana Metalsmiths' Assoc.) so question #1. May I use the picture of the poster of the BECHE 2000 kg
    hammer as the back cover on the next issue of our newsletter? #2. Do you have any more info on the re-builsing of the Niles- Bement- Pond
    350# hammer? Specifically the 8" anvil material. I have built a 75# version of the Kinyon Air Hammer. It works great. Now I am going to build a 250# version of this hammer. I'm having a time trying to find a suitable anvil. Maybe there is more of this 8" stuff?
    thanks, dave m.

    Dave Mudge -- magichammer at Sunday, 04/04/99 05:24:50 GMT

    Dave, All I've had time to do to the Bement is soak it with penetrating oil every weekend. At least when I've got time to work on it the thing SHOULD come apart! Besides material for the anvil I have also gotten a couple of 140 CFM gasoline powered air compressors to run it on! One to repair and one for spare parts.

    Your anvil for that 250# (113kg)hammer will need to be 3,000# (1,361kg)or so! That's 42" (1067mm) of 18" (457mm) diameter material!

    I'll email you about the image. However, I give all ABANA chapters permission to use images from the anvilfire NEWS with a credit.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/04/99 06:39:33 GMT

    Laura: Re your search for a 25 lb hammer.....Having gone through this last year You can look far & wide like I did & turn around & find one in your own back yard. Guru's advice still holds true....once you find the first one then you will start finding them all over. Just remember to take some time to learn a bit about what you want to buy. So when you find one to look at you know a bit about how it runs & where to look for the parts that wear & what it might cost to fix or repair it....Finally take into acct what shipping costs might be, as I found out it can kill a prospective deal real quick. Best of luck....(as for selling mine not yet, but I have found a 50lb half the universe doesn't know about yet...:) )

    Bob -- robert_mille at Sunday, 04/04/99 07:59:08 GMT

    Dear Guru,
    Is the dovetail dimension on various hammers the same? ie industry standard for certain size hammers? I need to taper a 4130 tube 2" dia with 1/4 in wall down to 1" in 24", and figured I could make the dies and have some one with a hammer draw the tube. But what size to make the dovetail? Any thoughts? Thanks, CZ

    Capton Zap -- CaptonZap at Monday, 04/05/99 03:25:30 GMT

    What are the formulas for laying out sheetmetal flatstock to form cones. Cones will have varying top and bottom diameters but centers of both will be the same.
    Thank You.

    Bob -- advanceelectric at Monday, 04/05/99 04:00:13 GMT

    Capton Zap, On big industrial hammers there seems to be SOME interchangability between models but the smaller hammers such as Little Giants and Bradleys all used their own standard. I intend to collect this data (have some) but have found that there are variations even within one brand.

    CONES (Bob): The rules are simple.

  • 1. The layout radius is the length of the side of the cone.

  • 2. The FLAT layout angle is determined by the circumference of the whole circle (layout radius 1. above) divided by the circumference of the diameter of the finished cone.

  • 3. Since PI cancels in the two circumferences above you divide the radius of the base by the side. This is the sine of half the angle of the top of the cone. It is ALSO the ratio or percentage of the whole circle in number 1 above.

  • So, if you want a cone with a 90 point then the ratio is the sine of half the angle of the point. sine(45)=.7071. The layout angle therefore is sine(45) x 360 = 254.6

    -- guru Monday, 04/05/99 14:24:31 GMT

    05 April 1999

    Hello there,

    I was very impressed with the web page you have created and it is refreshing to know there are fellow smiths out there who are not afraid to share information about our occupation.

    I began blacksmithing from interest while in public school now and then and seriously began learning the art form during my first year of university. I have been in business since 1992 and I do a wide range of commissioned projects involving forge welding, etc.

    My question is of an environmental nature. I forge using soft coal and I do not wish to change to a gas forge. I am wondering if there is any type of a filter or scrubber system that I could build into my stovepipe that would reduce the amount of sulphur smell that is produced during the day. I have not had complaints from neighbours so far but I would like to keep their air relatively smokfree to a point. I have a cast iron Buffalo tray forge with a half sreen hood and a standard insulated stovepipe chimney. If you have any information about what could be built or bought for this specific problem, I would be most grateful.

    Thanks, Steve.

    Steve Brak -- sbrak at Monday, 04/05/99 17:01:12 GMT

    Steve, I know they make catalytic "filters" for wood stoves but these are chemicaly designed for wood fuel. I've never heard of scrubbers for the small scale that a forge presents. Perhaps one of our readers knows of one?

    -- guru Monday, 04/05/99 17:49:27 GMT

    Steve and guru,

    I don't know of a commercial system, but seems to me that a forced air system (exhaust hood and fan) could be used to push the smoke through a couple of regular furnace filters to remove almost all of the particulate matter. Then the filters could be changed on a fairly regular basis.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 04/05/99 20:28:53 GMT

    Steve, re scrubbing smoke: Although I imagine burning coke still produces contaminates I would guess your biggest concern is when you start up a fire with fresh coal and the thick clouds of smoke that that produces. If so, Alexander Weygaur in his book "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" descibes a way to re-introduce that smoke back into the fire. As it contains a lot of volatiles, running it back through the forge will burn a lot of the smoke off. As I recall he uses an older model aircleaner housing like that from a big V-8. He swings the aircleaner housing over the fire, the part that would sit on the carb facing down over the fire. To the airhorn or snorkle or whatever it is called he has some aluminun flex hose that is directed to the inlet of his blower. This takes the smoke produced and runs it back through the fire burning a lot of the volatiles off. You might try this as an interim solution, at least to reduce that billowing cloud of smoke upon start-up. Marcus

    Marcus -- marcusiv at Monday, 04/05/99 23:48:44 GMT


    That would also have the effect of pre-heating the air going through the blower. An air cleaner housing off of a big diesel would probably work even better, since it would have a larger diameter.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 04/06/99 00:06:38 GMT

    Would pre heating be a good thing? I know on water cooled side blast
    forges... Hmmm wait a min. After about an hour of use the water in the bosc is at about 100-140 deg F. Well even so do we want to pre heat? Yeah I know that some applications this is good but is it on a forge? Any body with answers? Yeah you too Jim! (VBG)

    Ralph Douglass

    Ralph Douglass -- ralphd at Tuesday, 04/06/99 05:30:39 GMT


    What's it going to hurt? Pre-heating the air to the blower won't hurt the blower. All it will do is raise the number of btu's available. If the fire get TOO hot, we can always slow down the blast.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 04/06/99 14:03:02 GMT

    Ralph, Scavanging of exhaust heat (recuperative operation) always increases fuel efficiency and promotes more complete combustion. Any heat put back into the fire is heat not used or taken OUT.

    Smelters and foundries have used "hot blast" since the mid 1800's. A friend of mine has used a recuperative system on his coal forge in the winter to make it easier to get a welding heat. He was quite impressed with the improvement. It consisted of an oil drum with a pipe going through it carrying the forge exhaust. primitive but it worked. The only problem with recuperative systems on coal is that even low sulfur coal produces a very acidic ash that EATS steel duct work. Unless you find a good deal on stainless pipe to build your preheater from the maintence can be expensive. Put your blower on the input side of the heat exchanger to avoid overheating the motor and bearings.

    The ABANA gas forge plans taken from the Sandia developed gas forge is a recuperative forge. It has improved efficiency and very clean exhaust.

    -- guru Tuesday, 04/06/99 14:32:23 GMT

    Good point re diesel air cleaner housing and since most diesels have round air horns probably easier to connect tubing as well. To avoid introducing excess heat and acids to the blower as the guru pointed out, how about a wye with an airgate downstream of the blowers outlet?
    Ralph, when I suggested this recycling of the forge exhaust I was thinking that it would only be used when starting a fresh coal fire to help eliminate some of the smoke. I really did not give any thought to the pre-heat concept.

    Marcus -- marcusiv at Tuesday, 04/06/99 15:35:28 GMT

    Jim, Guru, Marcus and all

    I went back and looked over some notes I had on the subject. I was confused(yeah I know Jim!...) The water cooling was only to prevent or at least slow down the burning of the air pipe where it goes into the forge. I did know that preheating the air is a good way to lower fuel use etc... Least wise that is what they told us in the nuclear navy schools, but then what do they know?(grin)


    Ralph D. -- ralphd at Tuesday, 04/06/99 16:45:17 GMT

    Dear Guru, Jim, Marcus and Ralph,

    Thank you all for the information that has evolved over the past couple of days. I now have a starting point toward developing some type of system that will help reduce the amount of emissions from the forge. I know about 10 years ago, with the concern over sulphur dioxide emissions and acidic precipitation concerns, quite a few smaller industries in California and other states and provinces could not afford an elaborate and expensive scrubber system. I also have been in touch with a classmate of mine from college, who is in the environmental consulting business, and he may also have some suggestions about recent technologist that have come to light, that are very cheap. Thank you all very much and I will keep you posted. Once something is in place, I can concentrate on what I'm forging instead of what the neighbours are thinking.


    Steve Brak -- sbrak at Tuesday, 04/06/99 17:03:32 GMT

    Jock & all the guru's hi. Thanks for the answers re: what steel to use for hammer dies. I've got hold of some H13, could you please give me a step by step guide as how to treat it. I have absolutely no experience in this sphere, so I need the "fools" complete explanation. Thanks & happy Easter to all.Mike the Israeli smith.

    mike -- manzie at Tuesday, 04/06/99 18:34:08 GMT


    I may just be dense and over full (just finished supper) but I'm having trouble visualizing what you mean. Can you throw a quick sketch at me (nothing fancy) via scanner and email?

    But your basic idea of eliminating some/all of the particulate matter from the smoke is sound, it's just that the method you chose should also increase fuel effiency.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 04/06/99 23:59:29 GMT


    Navy? And you expect intelligence? OPTIMIST! (grin)


    Once you get a system in place how about some photos and/or sketches for inclusion on the plans page? Share the knowledge!

    I'm thinking of a combination system. Utilizing the recuprative process of sending the smoke back through the fire and THEN passing the result through a couple of furnace filters! Might wind up with no visible smoke at all from a completely new fire! Wouldn't THAT be a kick in the pants!

    A junkyard scrubber!!!!! (grin) Blacksmith ingenuity!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 04/07/99 00:10:31 GMT



    I'd better let the guru handle the question on heat treating H13. You could put what I know about heat treating on paper, put the paper in your eye, and not even notice that it was there! (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 04/07/99 00:12:47 GMT

    H-13 (Mike): According to my ASM Metals Reference Book

    Do not normalize, Anneal at 845-900C / 1550-1650F

    Harden at 995-1040C / 1825-1900F (hold for 15-40 min.) then Air quench. Immediately temper at 540-650C / 1000-1200F.

    On air hardening dies I use stainless foil to protect the die while heating. If using the non-magnetic test for temperature then use a small sample (not too small) of the same alloy in the forge. Remove from the forge/furnace, pull off the foil and let cool on a grate (such as a piece of bar grating) where air can circulate all around the part. Normaly I turn off my gas forge when I remove the heated dies to harden. After hardening I put them back in and use the residual heat from the fire bricks to temper. Not very scientific but it works. Use a salt bath if you want perfect control and low oxidation.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/07/99 00:41:32 GMT

    Dear GURU I own a ww2 German gravity knife, Some years ago the spring broke and of corse I also lost the leaver I have been trying to get it repaired I have corresponded with all the German companies.They are willing to sell a new one but not parts.They say I should have them made I have been try to have this fixed for years I hope you can help...thanks Ron.

    Ronald Schultz -- rschultz at Wednesday, 04/07/99 00:46:32 GMT

    Ronald, Quite a few knife makers check in here regularly. Any that make folding knives should be up to the task. Go to our links list and try They have lists of custom makers and forums where you might locate someone willing to take on your repair.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/07/99 02:13:46 GMT

    Guru,Thanks for answering my question the other day regading the laying out of CONES. My question SHOULD have been, what are the formulas and/or methods for laying out sheetmetal flatstock to form ROUND TAPERS with different top and bottom diameters but centers of both will be the same. Thanks again!

    Bob -- advanceelectric at Wednesday, 04/07/99 04:40:44 GMT

    Derivation of the name "hardy" for the tool:

    I went down to the Departmental Library the other day and checked the Oxford English Dictionary. It was clueless! So were several other unabridged sources, which is most frustrating. The party line is that the word derives from hard, or hardy, in the meaning of strong and durable. The sentences quoted were from the late 19th century. I have seen illustrations of a hardy, let into the same stump as the anvil, from about the 13th century, and a Russian book on early medieval metalwork (translated in Israel) labeled a stump hardy as "an underhuck chisel". So, you had hardies before you had hardy holes in the anvil.

    Jock seems to have hit it; a term lost in antiquity. I had always hoped they were named after an ancestor of Stan Laurel's friend, Oliver.

    Sunny and mild on the banks of the Potomac.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Wednesday, 04/07/99 15:29:40 GMT

    One very last bimetal corrosion question: Consider a copper and steel candle piece for a dinning room and your good name was etched in this indoor masterpiece. Would you be concerned if this beauty went to San Diego, Cape Cod, or the Maine coast?

    Pesterly yours, Chris

    Chris -- contosc at Wednesday, 04/07/99 17:17:09 GMT

    Jock & all the other guru,s out there. Firstly, once again thanks again for the info on treating H13. However I'm an idiot, so is there any way to simplify the explanation/process. Thanks. Mike the Israeli smith.

    mike -- manzie at Wednesday, 04/07/99 17:39:46 GMT


    I would be concerned, but I would make the sale anyway. During the process of the sale I would make CERTAIN that the purchaser KNEW that the piece needed to be regularly waxed to seal it from atmospheric moisture! I would warn the purchaser, probably at least three times, about bi-metal corrosion and would emphasize the fact that wax sealing keeps the moisture away. Without moisture, no problem.

    guru, concur?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 04/07/99 18:26:17 GMT


    Living in the Tidewater, I will concure with PawPaw's advice. If they're on the shore, they're used to polishing anyway (or love the patina). If they're a mile or so back, there's not quite so much problem. If they're in Santa Fe, NM, no problem! ;-) Forewarned is forearmed, and you've given them that. People shouldn't buy anything that they are not willing to maintain.

    (Of course, don't look to closely at Crumbling Acres!)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Wednesday, 04/07/99 19:31:38 GMT

    Paw Paw
    I was reading the post and saw the ones on cleaning the smoke in a coal forge. Here at the mill that I work at they have a process that
    the smoke pasts through thats called a precipator. It has an electrical field that the smoke passes through before it gos out the
    stack. I am told it is a non coated copper line that is run on conductors inside a huge duct .

    Bobby Neal -- nealbrusa at Wednesday, 04/07/99 20:28:55 GMT

    H-13 (Mike): Heat until it becomes non-magnetic then pull it out of the fire and let it cool on a brick until you can handle it (that's the air quench hardening the piece) THEN reheat it to 1100 degrees F to temper. Clean tempered H-13 has a nice plum color.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/07/99 21:05:56 GMT

    Aah Guru, NOW you're talking Hebrew. Got it at last. Thanks
    Mike the Israeli smith

    mike -- manzie at Wednesday, 04/07/99 21:41:43 GMT

    CONES: How to layout.

    Bob, not sure what you mean by "centers" (the length of the axis?). Anyway there's a diagram and the math.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/07/99 22:20:34 GMT

    Thank you for your patience and sincere input reguarding bimetal problems. I truely appreciate your suggestions. I am beginning to read the archives: GREAT STUFF! See you at Flagstaff 2000 Chris

    Chris -- contosc at Wednesday, 04/07/99 22:54:13 GMT

    Bi-metalic corrosion is generaly not a problem indoors UNLESS you want you work to be around for the next milinia (y3K)! In that case you should be working in stainless. Who cares? Well. . . wouldn't it be nice if we had more of the sculpture from the period of the classical Greeks? From Greek and Roman times we have virtualy no iron tools or sculpture and even less wood. These folks did fantastic work in both media yet we have nothing of it except others artists conceptions on pottery.

    Don't worry about it (bi-metalic corrosion) for indoor work but you should use a good coat of lacquer if you have any polished surfaces. Don't rely on the customer to maintain your work, it won't happen.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/07/99 23:06:36 GMT


    Don't you mean that they run a bare copper conductor through the duct on insulators? Cause if they run it on conductors, I ain't touching that duct! (grin)

    We're trying to avoid the use of a precipitator. I just don't like the idea of a bare live wire in a working environment. Even in a duct. I know it's probably very low voltage, but still........

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 04/07/99 23:12:40 GMT

    Sir I am not a/an experianced blacksmith having just gotten my first
    anvil which is stamped M&H armetage mouse hole 1.3.3. what can you tell me about it? is it cast, forged,is the top or face laminated?
    I ask because it is in need of repair it is sway backed and looks to be nicked by aburning tourch hear and there can this be welded on if so with what and what procedure can be used? My experience in the welding field is somewhat extensive. 2yrs. vocational welding school an ironworker and the last 20yrs. as an Boilermaker welding pressure vessels, steampipe, boiler tubes,oil storage tankes,and nuclear vessels and pipeing. however anvils and blacksmithing are new to me and I would like to learn! thankyou for your time and advice respectfully Dave

    Dave -- DGri998062 Thursday, 04/08/99 01:35:22 GMT


    You have what is commonly called a Mousehole Anvil. It was forged at the M & H Armitage Mousehole forge near Sheffield, England, probably sometime around the turn of the century. If you will look on the foot under the horn, you might find a serial number. That might help me date it a little closer.

    The 1.3.3 stamped on the side is the weight of the anvil in the English hundredweight system.

    The 1 stands for 1 hundredweight or 112 pounds.

    The first 3 stands for 3 quarters of a hundred weight, or 28 pounds time 3 for a total of 84 pounds.

    The second three stands for 3 actual pounds.

    So your anvil weighed 112 pounds plus 84 pounds plus 3 pounds for a total of 199 pounds on the day that it was forged. It's probably lost a pound or two over the years.

    The body is forged wrought iron, the face plate is a forge welded steel plate.

    Most folks will tell you not to do much to it in the way of repair, but it can be done. The guru has a set of instructions here on Anvilfire, but at the moment I can't remember where they are. He will see this and hopefully leave us a note about their location.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 04/08/99 01:51:27 GMT

    Dave, M&H Armitage operated Mouse Hole Forge in England during the 1800's. Mouse Hole was one of the oldest makers of anvils and M&H were one of many proprietors.

    The 1.3.3 is the weight . . . Jim beat me to it!

    The face is high carbon "crucible" steel somewhere between 40 and 60 point carbon. It will be about 5/8" thick. The body is wrought iron. Wrought is a fibrous iron without carbon. It cannot be hardened and is quirky to arc weld but is THE forge welding material. Thus anvils were built up from small pieces.

    If it is not too severly sway backed it is best to grind the anvil flat. The divots should be preheated to about 400F and can be welded with 7018 or a buildup rod such as McCay 860 used. Hardfacing rod should not be used unless the entire anvil is being refaced. The hardface rod is VERY hard and the welding will soften the surounding high carbon steel face.

    The table (or shelf) is at a critical place where welding can loosen the forge welded face. However the horn is all wrought and can be repaired with any common wire or rod (E6013).

    If you treat the top like repairing a press die then you probably have a better handle on the repair than I. Bill Pieh (the ownwer of Centaur Forge) likes to say that you are better off with an anvil that is too soft rather than too hard. Too hard and it is easy to chip and can ding hammers. Too soft and the worse thing that happens is you need to dress it with a grinder once in a while.

    Generaly I do not recommend anvil repairs unless the anvil is in really bad shape. Torch notches make the anvil difficult to use and are places for crack probagation. You might fix those and live with a little sway backedness (is that a word??)

    -- guru Thursday, 04/08/99 02:05:58 GMT

    Ah Dave. . . Don't forget to put that "N" stamp on your repair :)

    -- guru Thursday, 04/08/99 02:08:22 GMT


    With a swayed back might work a little better. But a bad back is hard to work with! As I know all too durn well! (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 04/08/99 02:41:51 GMT


    Took me a minute to figure out what you meant by the "N" stamp.

    Dave watch out for the guru, he designs machines for the nuc industry!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 04/08/99 02:44:22 GMT

    Creating Beauty for the Ages:
    (Soapbox, please.) (Ahem!) The Barbarians get a very bad rap for destroying Rome, leaving everything in ruins. Well, you want to know where a lot of the statues went? Why the buildings are tumbled? Why the Coliseum is missing most of it's upper deck?

    Recycling! Yes, if you take chunks of that marble facade, toss in some pieces of that pagan statue that you no longer worship, and maybe a few sea shells for good measure; and stoke the fire real good, you get lime. Good for the fields. Excellent for the plaster or cement. Need building stone? Nobody uses the Coliseum anymore. Lots of loose stones there. If it wasn't for one of the Popes, comemmorating Christian martyrs, the populace would have leveled it for building stone. If you've ever cut and transported building stone, you will sympathise. This wasn't the Barbarians, this is a constant fact of life. Not only was Rome not built in a day, most of it was torn down in the last 500 years.

    Bronze statues become church bells which become cannons which become statues or Victoria Crosses. Inca gold statues become bars which become coins which become bars which become your wedding ring and a hundred other items.

    One of the things I like about this work is the power to transform. I play a game with my friends called: "What it is, what it was?". I show them a recent creation, and they guess what it used to be.

    I must admit, however, that I'm fond of stainless steel. In a non tropical/marine environment it plugs right along. It's nice to leave something behind, especially if it confuses historians and antique dealers (I do tend to date those pieces.). However, its a transitory and transforming universe, and if our works don't outlive us, at least they gave some folks some enjoyment, and we're still in good company.


    Waxing pedantic once more by the banks of the lower Potomac, where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break in and steal (if they can get past the pad locks, deadbolt, reenforced plywood and metal bars).

    Visit your National Parks:

    The Ultimate Rowing Machine:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Thursday, 04/08/99 02:59:44 GMT

    hi all, Anvil question ran an ad in the paper and amazing results
    moe anvils than one man can use. but the question is an idintification one. no marking but the weight 310lbs it is cast looks like your logo long sweeping horn and heal rings like a church bell


    Lon -- lhumphrey at Thursday, 04/08/99 10:51:53 GMT

    Lon, If it rings its probably a good anvil. For most of the 20th Century there have been wonderful Swedish cast steel anvils on the market. Some with markings some without. Some sold under the OEM's name some under the importer. All have a classic modern shape. I've had two Kohlswa anvils and they were great (albiet a little noisy). My first anvil (in the story) was a 100# Kohlswa and I have a 325# now.

    OBTW- The anvilfire logo is taken from a CAD drawing I made of Josh Greenwoods 350# Hay-Budden.

    Bruce, The barbarians sacked Rome but the Christians destroyed most of the art and sculpture in Greece! You know all the statues with broken arms? The figures were holding religious items. Almost all held various items. Ritual bowls, musical instruments. . . All were destroyed trying to remove signs of the "old" gods in favor of the one "new" god.

    In the movie Cleopatra we learn of the burning of the great Library in Alexandria. Ceasar was so ashamed of this act that he had documents from every corner of the Roman Empire sent to Alexandria to replace the loss. The collection was much more complete and far reaching than before. It was destroyed in the same Christian purges. When one of the Moslem Conquerors took Alexandria he marched into the library announcing that he was going to destroy the writings of the disbelievers! He was told he was too late. The Christians had already been there! No recycling. Just the stupidity of humanity.

    -- guru Thursday, 04/08/99 14:18:04 GMT


    Sent you an e-mail last night with what info I had on the smoke recycler, hope ya got it. Thanks for the credit but actually the idea was Weygers'. Hope what I was able to send was of some help. Marcus

    Marcus -- marcusiv at Thursday, 04/08/99 15:18:26 GMT


    I forged a blade out of 52100 this week and heat treated is as directed. When I ground it back to bright steel, I found several cracks that ran from the end of the tang to the ricasso. I suspect that I let it get to cool while it was being forged. Any insight into just how cool (by color) the steel should be when it goes back into the fire? I usually make sure that it has some color in it while I work it, but I have let it get into the dull range. Any help would be appreciated.


    Josh Amerine -- amerine at Thursday, 04/08/99 17:01:44 GMT

    I am looking for a manifold for a valley forge. No one will sell me one without the old part. Unfortunately I do not have the part to send in. Why won't anyone sell me the part without a trade-in? and is there anyone who will? Thanks for your help.

    Brian -- bkfamily at Thursday, 04/08/99 17:11:08 GMT

    Can anyone help me... I need to know the recommended lubricant for a
    Champion #400 and Champion Lancaster geared blacksmiths' blower. They do not appear to be intended to hold gear oil. Does anyone knoe the answer to this? Thanks.

    M Warner -- mwarner at Thursday, 04/08/99 19:32:48 GMT

    Brian, Many of these small manufacturers do not keep as good of records as they should and make design changes that although documented are not indicated by serial numbers on the parts. The other problem is that they don't want YOU building something with their parts. In this case there may be certain libility issues.
    M. Warner, In the past I have recommended gear oil for these hand crank blowers but it becomes too thick in cold weather. SAE-30 or 40 will work fine. The important thing is to KEEP oil in them. They tend to leak around the shafts and need to be checked often. Because of the tendancy to leak you should not overfill them. They will leak even worse.

    -- guru Thursday, 04/08/99 20:47:32 GMT


    Got it, answered it. Thanks for the info!

    M. Warner,

    I've got a Champion 400 that I've had for 5 - 6 years now. I've never put anything in it but SAE-30, and it works fine. Guru is right about the over filling. I did the first time, and I had oil EVERYWHERE!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 04/08/99 22:20:07 GMT

    Jock; History:
    We humans are a pernicious, persistent folk, which is why history is so interesting. You and I can discuss this to the wee hours over my carefully nursed beer at the Spring Fling. Lots of other topics and projects to chew over on our off time, too. (Stuff still makes good lime ;-) )

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Friday, 04/09/99 03:01:48 GMT

    Josh: I have had the same problem with some punches I forged from coil spring steel,(hairline cracks) and I suspected that my problem was the quench. I quenched in water to harden and did this outside on a fairly cool day 40 degrees so suspect the quench was too much of a shock to the steel and caused the cracks. The Guru should be able to clear this up for both of us though.

    Jeff -- jdegraff86 at Friday, 04/09/99 11:09:39 GMT

    Dear Sir,
    Im into the blacksmithing of sords and knives,and i have been looking
    for new ways to do them.

    lionheart -- Deerslaer at Friday, 04/09/99 14:18:40 GMT

    Thanks for the advice and information Jim and guru as a begining blacksmith all help and advice are welcome. As far as serial numbers are concerned the only thing stamped on the foot of the anvil below the horn is a/an W if this letter will tell you fellows any thing. I bought the book THE NEW EDGE OF THE ANVIL which will get me started can you suggest any other books with begining projects in it
    to help me get started. Also I only have an [r] stamp don't tell ASME thankyou,Dave

    Dave -- DGri998062 at Friday, 04/09/99 19:45:05 GMT


    You will also want to pick up Alex Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing. Centaur forge carries it, as does Norm Larson Books. If you contact Centaur, you'll also want to get their catalog. It's an education in itself, even if you never buy anything from them. Also, keep you eyes open for a copy of the Machinery Handbook. Any copy up to about the 18th edition. The older editions have tong dimensions, methods of mounting anvils, heat treating tables, and all kinds of useful info in them. The newer editions don't have as much blacksmithing information.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 04/09/99 20:17:10 GMT

    I have made a few dinner triangles and was wondering if I could get a better ring.What should I use,i.e.size.material,length or does it make a drastic difference. Thanks Steve Rand

    steve Rand -- snlrand at Friday, 04/09/99 23:19:40 GMT


    The guru designed one from 1/2" mild that rings well. Start with 30" of 1/2" round stock. Measure from one end and mark it at 5", 15", and 25". Those are the bend points. The two ends should be about 1/8" apart in the center of the bottom of the triangle when it is hung. After you get it to shape, heat the three corners to a nice red and quench in cold water. Hang from either a piece of rawhide shoe lace, or any relatively light string. Make the striker out of the same material. Should ring well. I've designed a variation on the gurus design, using square stock, and will send it to you email, if you like.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 04/09/99 23:28:29 GMT


    I should also add that I've made another variation of the guru's design. I used 3/4" round stock, cut it to 60" long and marked at 10", 30", & 50". Made it the same way, and heat treated the corners the same way. Sells well, and I'll garuntee that this one will get the kids in the house, if they're anywhere within hearing range! Sounds like a fire bell! (grin)

    Oh! I make strikers out of the same material as the triangle. Round over one end, flatten about 2" of that end and curl it to hang from the triangle. Just round off the sharp edge of the other end.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 04/09/99 23:32:36 GMT

    Oh the heck with it, as long as I'm bragging! (grin) Here's the variation on the guru's triangle that I've been making.


    Start with 30" of 1/2" square stock. Make sure that the ends
    are nice and flat and nice and square to the bar. Bevel the
    edges just a LITTLE bit.

    Measureing from one end, make soapstone marks at 5", 15", and
    25". Use a cold chisel to mark those locations. Make the first
    bend at the center (15") mark. Put the chisel mark on the inside
    of the bend, it's neater. Make a one revolution twist halfway
    between the bend and the mark on one end. Make a one revolution
    twist between the center bend and the mark on the other end.

    Make the two end bends, but don't close them up all the way
    yet. Make a single revolution twist between the end of the
    bar and the bend on each end.

    Now heat the corners and tweak until everything is
    symetrical. Make sure the polished ends wind up about 1/8"
    apart. Heat the triangle to A2 (non-magnetic) and quench in
    cold water.

    While you've got it hot and before you quench, touchmark
    it at the top bend.

    Dry and ring. You will find that the short ends on the bottom
    of the bar have a slightly different tone from the long sides
    of the triangle.

    When rung "in the round" this triangle does not ring with a single
    note, it rings a CHORD! Sells faster than you can make the damn things.

    Once again, make the striker from the same 1/2" square stock. I like to put what I call a "stop" twist in the striker. Twist one revolution from the center to one end. Twist from the center to the other end IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. Makes an interesting variation.

    Charge more for this triangle! It's considerably more work, and folks are willing to pay more for it because it's unusual.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 04/09/99 23:39:00 GMT

    Hi, my friend and I are starting to make armor in my back yard. We don't exactly have any real money to spend on building a smithy. I was wondering if there were some makeshift materials that we could use in place of a profesional anvil and forge. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Martin -- martin_pike at Saturday, 04/10/99 02:00:02 GMT

    Dang PawPaw! Givin' away ALL my secrets! :)
    Martin, Tree stumps (short oak logs) make great armour anvils. Use a chain saw to make gentle depressions in the end grain for making dished surfaces. Some creasing can be done on wood anvils too, depending on how hard the wood. After all the winter storms there should be some good heavy chunks somewhere in your neighborhood.

    Although rail road track anvils are a little too bouncy for much real smithing they can be welded to a piece of 1" to 2" bar and set in another one of those stumps and used for a stake anvil. You can grind a couple grooves in it for creasing and making edging. A very short piece of rail can be ground ovoid and be used as a mushroom stake. You can use the flange to bolt it down or torch it off and weld another piece of your stake "shank" material to it and set it in another stump.

    Armours used all kinds of special anvils called "maids". Go to your local scrap yard and look for anything HEAVY with curved surfaces. Cast Iron or steel, it doesn't matter for light work.

    Standard hammers of all types can be used but ball pien are the handiest for the type of work you are undertaking. But don't overlook tinners hammers, auto body hammers AND dollies or ANY hammer other than a claw hammer.

    See the article on the Plans page on the brake drum forge and the bellows on the 21st Century page. All it takes is a little air to make a coal or charcoal fire hotter and you've got a forge! For sheet metal work a bon fire works to anneal (soften) the steel. Let it cool overnight in the ashes (the BEST!)

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 04:12:02 GMT

    Martin, I forgot tongs. . . Channel-locks work, so do vise grips. Use them to make your own "real" tongs. Its a lot of work for the novice but it is good practice.

    Look for any kind of vise but there is NO substitute for a real blacksmiths leg vise. Light ones are better than HEAVY machinist's vises but those are goo too. I use mine like a sheet metal brake clamping the sheet then pulling and hammering the metal to make straight bends. Never pound directly on a machinist's vise and NEVER use the part they make like an anvil's horn for THAT purpose. Most of these tools are cast iron and will break under a lot of pounding. Blacksmith's leg vises are wrought iron and steel or all steel. Either way they can take a tremondous beating.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 04:21:45 GMT

    Greetings from Australia. I own a Beche 65kg power hammer which has recently begun leaking oil thru the hammer seal which finds it's way eventualy onto my work. Question? Is there anyone out there with experience on this particaular brand of power hammer? Thanking you in anticipation !

    Robert Howe -- howerobert at Saturday, 04/10/99 12:15:08 GMT

    I will be coming inot about $5,000 soon and am thinking of investing in a powerhammer. I am intrigued by the bull as it sees that it would work like a treadle hammer because of it;s single stroke capability. Does anyone out there own a bull? How do you like it am I off base with the thought of combining two tools in one?

    jeremy dragt -- JDragt at Saturday, 04/10/99 12:31:59 GMT

    Robert, For those that don't know, the Beche is the German built version of the Chambersburg self contained hammer. Externaly they look identical so here is what my Chambersburg drawing shows.

    According to the drawing there are leather rings at the top of the ram guide assembly. Getting to them requires removing the ram and ram guide (the bolts on the flange around the ram). If you remove the lower die AND anvil cap there should be enough room to lower the ram and ram guide as an assembly and remove them from the hammer. There is also room to remove the ram guide assembly by removing only the lower die IF you raise and remove the ram through the top.

    I have a very complete old sales manual for these machins but there are no maintence instructions other than the drawing and bill of materials. These machines are still manufactured so you CAN contact the manufacturer about parts and repair. They are listed manufacturers list on our Power hammer Page. I'll try to get a scan of the drawing posted.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 15:15:36 GMT

    OBTW- Robert, although the seals MAY be bad, too thin of oil or over oiling may contribute to the problem. The automatic lubricator may be doing too good a job or need adjustment. However, the greatest probability is that the leather rings are worn out.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 15:26:21 GMT


    Dona Meilach says Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork is shipping now. Look for it at your favorite blacksmithing bookseller soon. There will be more about it in the next anvilfire NEWS.

    Norn Larson now has in stock Kern's LITTLE GIANT POWER HAMMER for $27.50 plus $2.00 postage. If you have a Little Giant or are just intrested in blacksmithing machinery then you should have this book.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 16:43:34 GMT


    Nope! Just the ones the guys can make money with! (GRIN)

    Want me to tell them about the red headed waitress?????? (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 04/10/99 18:05:02 GMT

    I am a sign maker and wrought iron fabricator looking for jigs and or formers for scrolls.I want to produce scrolled brackets for my sandblasted redwood signs.I have found one former at Harbor Freight tools, but it looked really cheap.Please point me in the right direction.Thanks alot Brad in Phoenix.

    Brad Funk -- azbrad at Saturday, 04/10/99 22:11:59 GMT

    Brad, Almost every blacksmith makes his own scroll jigs. I have and article listed under "benders" on the 21st Century Page showing various types. The brief article starts with simple benders and ends in the second part with commercial benders.

    Because there is almost infinite and infinite number of scroll patterns making your own jigs makes them charateristic of your own work. Some smiths layout scrolls geometricaly or do it mathematicaly and put a great deal of emphisis on theoretical proportion, the golden section and other philisophical BS. Others do it by eye or feel (my school). If you don't have an eye for proportion then use a mathematical scroll or check out a book from the library on art in architecture.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 22:37:20 GMT

    Hmm too many infinites in that last paragraph. . .

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 22:40:04 GMT

    Josh, Grandpa has been out of town doing a blade symposium. I believe Jeff may be right about the cracking. Quenching too hot or into too cold a quench can cause problems. Uneven heat can too but is not as much of a problem as too hot or too severe. When I've had the same problem with punches its because I quenched too hot.

    -- guru Saturday, 04/10/99 23:07:46 GMT

    I'm looking for old or old looking balcony railing. Do you have any ideas where to find something???

    Charlee McCool -- charlee at Sunday, 04/11/99 03:25:44 GMT

    I'm in the process of resurrecting a 150# Bradley. Ram guides are worn to full extent of adjustments. Thinking of "lining" the guides with mild steel angle iron and grinding the inner radius of the angle to a sharp corner. Sound like a good idea? or should I bite the bullet and just buy or have made new guides (and if having them made, what material should they be made of? I'm assuming something relatively soft so as not to wear the ram.)?
    Thank you.

    Bill Nevill -- wbnevill at Sunday, 04/11/99 03:40:16 GMT

    Thankyou Guru for your prompt and informative reply.Beche wanted 400 dollars Au. for a set of plans for this machine. I will do the repair work myself now I can see no big problems, as I have the anvil out from the machine it will be easier to service. Could you please advise me on what grade oil I should be using, and perhaps how I can adjust the oiling lubricator. Lastly I would be happy to know what this machine would be worth in u.s. or a.u. dollars. I believe that new in 1976 they were around 120,000 dm. Thanks for your interest. Robert.

    Robert Howe Western Australia. -- howerobert at Sunday, 04/11/99 07:20:37 GMT

    I am currently living in France and am very interested in blacksmithing. Can you refer me to several blacksmiths/associations in Europe that I can visit or correspond with?

    Shedman Mudder -- aanastacio at Sunday, 04/11/99 09:08:42 GMT


    BIRMINGHAM, AL (from Lou White)

    Daryl Meier "Grandpa" was awarded the ABANA Alex Bealer award yesterday at the Alabama Forge Council Batson Bladesmithing Symposium at Tanehill Park. He was presented the award by James Batson and ABANA VP Bill Fiorini.

    Congradulations Grandpa! Wish I'd been there!

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 15:43:19 GMT

    BRADLEY REBUILD (Bill): What type of Bradley? It has guides so it could be a Guided Helve OR a Compact (upright). In either case remachining of all the parts may be required. These machines ran cast iron on cast iron with lots of oil. Without oil they wear out. Relining requires flat surfaces and the worn suffaces will be too curved so you have to remachine anyway.

    What you have to do it remachine the ram, then the guides to match then measure the space needed and remachine the the side plates that act as spacers to make up the difference. This should be done at about 20-30% of the adjustment range, just in case too much gets taken off. This is a job for a shaper or a big milling machine.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 16:14:00 GMT

    BECHE REPAIR (Robert): Bruce Wallace tells me that after chasing around looking for the oil recommended by Nazel (another similar machine) that it turns out to be "Rock Drill Oil". Use the Rock Drill Oil in the cylinder oiler and any good grade of SAE 30 or heavier in the crank case/gear box. The Rock Drill Oil has a clinging agent to make it stick to the cylinder walls. It would also be good oil for other types of air hammers.

    Lubricators on these machines were little commercial units made by other companies and the make varried over time. Some would be adjustable and others not. All were different. I'll see about posting the Chambersburg drawing. Its a fairly fine lined thing so a scan may be so-so. There may be some minor differences but so little has been changed on these machines that I doub't that it will be a problem.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 16:23:39 GMT


    No one ever deserved the award more! Congratulations! Like the guru, I wish I'd been there!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 04/11/99 17:18:26 GMT

    Hi,I am new to the quest of information re:blksmthg.I have two questions that I would appreciate help with.#1 I just bought a forge at auction for $25 so you might imagine the condition[broken bearing race in one end and then a piece of metal got into the main gear and broke out a tooth].I am in the process of getting that all repaired but I also have no coal tray or fire ring {don't know the correct term] What did the tray look like on a Buffalo forge? Was it round or square?What makes the best shape to work with? Will steel hold up for the purpose? Question #2 I have an opportunity to purchase an anvil but the shape is like a square block,yet it doesn't appear that the horn and tail were broken off.It probably weighs 100#+ and the price is $40. Are the square ones of any use for a truuuuuuue know nothing beginner or should I save the $ for a proper anvil? Any idea as to what these square block anvils were used for ? Thank you very much.. Mike C.

    Mike C. -- magmike at Sunday, 04/11/99 17:42:45 GMT

    Mike, Forges have firepots, then a pan. See the Centaur Forge web site for detailed images (click on forge when you get there). The firepot was almost non-existant in sheetmetal "rivit" forges. Big forges were made of cast iron, small ones of sheet steel. Today they are all made from steel plate and angle iron. The better ones have cast iron firepots. Many sheet metal forges were round but most are rectangular.

    The anvil you speak of could be one of two types. A saw makers anvil or an antique hornless Colonial anvil. If its the Colonial type it will look a lot like it has little feet just barely pinched out of the corners like it were a big piece of clay and perhaps have a 5th "foot" along one side. The sawyers anvil would be shorter than it was wide or roughly square in cross section. In both cases it is worth the money. You could probably trade it to a tool collector for a good blacksmith's anvil with horn and heal or sell it for enough to get a "proper" anvil. Otherwise any anvil is better than no anvil.

    Welcome to the brotherhood of blacksmithing!

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 18:28:22 GMT

    What do I need to known about folding and what is a good item to make when starting out.

    Shawn Weimer -- Shawnweime at Sunday, 04/11/99 19:24:56 GMT

    EUROPEAN BLACKSMITHS: Shedman, Leonard Masters, Lmast45130 at has operated the ABANA European tour for a number of years and may be able to help you with European contacts. You can also check the web site of the
    International Association of Designing Blacksmiths A German/English bi-lingual website. There is a members/link list and the webmaster may be able to help you. Other than that I do not have a good list of European groups. Forward those you find to me and I'll post them on our links page if they have web sites.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 20:01:38 GMT


    JAN-OLOF PERSSON -- JOP at OSTERSUND.MAIL.TELIA.COM Sunday, 04/11/99 20:51:08 GMT

    Jan, Don't use ALL CAPS. Its considered yelling on the web.

    Centaur Forge Catalog IF you are new to blacksmithing and need to familiarize yourself to the tools this is a good start. They also carry a lot of books.

    Blacksmith's Gazette Editor: Fred Holder fred at Printed newspaper style, Fred has supported blacksmiths and black powder folks with his publications for many years.

    Then, ABANA Has two quarterly publications that come with membership, The Anvils Ring and The Hammer's blow.

    I don't have the specifics on hand but Centaur Forge is now distributing the German blacksmithing magazine Hephistos.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 21:59:28 GMT

    Grandpa, let the smiths from Indiana congratulate you on recieving the Bealer award.It's well deserved and I think late in coming.

    kid -- none Sunday, 04/11/99 22:35:30 GMT

    Thanks for the info. Just as I suspected, a bit more than I can handle personally, so off to find someone with a large milling machine. BTW, it's a Bradley "Upright Helve".

    Bill Nevill -- wbnevill at Sunday, 04/11/99 23:01:17 GMT

    Good STOUT machine! There will NEVER be one built better.

    -- guru Sunday, 04/11/99 23:52:54 GMT

    I said I'd post the results of my anvil purchase of the one posted here a couple of months ago. Well, I wound up getting it shipped USP from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to where some friends of mine lived. It would have been $130US to ship it direct to me, which seemed a bit much for an anvil that ran about $170US after exchange rate. It did run about $60US to get it shipped. My friends came down to a SCA event this weekend in Idaho and I was able to pick it up then. The face is almost pristine, with some minor nicks around the heel and a mucking huge hardy-hole. I'm going to have to make a sleeve for my forge shears to fit. Some very minor rust on the face and a bad peeling red paint job on the body. It is also very lively and has a nice ring (got to get out the earplugs now when I get out the rest of the safety gear for foring ;), no biggie). Anyway, enough drooling over it, thanks for all the help everybody.

    Todd -- torin at Monday, 04/12/99 01:04:29 GMT


    After you get the peeling red paint off of it, see what all markings you can find on it, and we'll try to help you identify it. Also, when you fasten it down to start working with it, fasten it down pretty tightly. That will reduce the ringing, without reducing the liveliness.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 04/12/99 02:20:36 GMT

    Whoops, sorry, I know what it is. It is a Brooks anvil, manufactured in England. It is 1 1/4 cwt (140#). On one side is has the weight in cwt with Brooks and something else I don't remember right now, and on the other is the weight in Kg.

    Todd -- torin at Monday, 04/12/99 02:58:02 GMT


    No problem. That's a nice size.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 04/12/99 10:04:39 GMT

    Dear Guru and crew:

    I am looking for a source for sal ammoniac for patinating some bronze.
    I went to two pharmacies yesterday. One was clueless, and one thought it was the name of somebody waiting for a prescription. (Sorry, Sally.) So, where do I find ammonium chloride?

    Lovely day on the banks of the Potomac.

    Visit you National Parks:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Monday, 04/12/99 12:11:16 GMT

    Bruce! Sal Ammoniac is used as flux for soldering AND as a cleaner. Seems to me I've seen it in cakes like soap (waayy back). Might have been used for spot cleaning of bleaching. Have you tried the laundry soap department of your local grocery store?

    -- guru Monday, 04/12/99 16:06:09 GMT


    You can find Sal Ammoniac at any plumbing/heating supply house that supplies contractors. Let me know if you don't have any such in your area, I'll go by the one I use and pick up a cake or two.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 04/12/99 16:20:13 GMT

    hello guru,
    i have been metal working off and on for about 5 years. i started with metal sculpture using oxy-acet. welding and torching,arc,mig and tig welding and plasma cutting. a couple of years ago i started forging. i made a coal forge but when i moved to new york from idaho i had to leave it. i have a propane and natural gas lisence and would like to fabricate my own gas forge to accomindate my needs . i want to heat lenghts of 24" x 12" with 1 to 3 burners . i am looking for plans that will heat metal with in 5 minutes , how many btu's what size pipe and orfices, venturies . i know i ask alot . thank you for taking this time , and i will dearly appreciate any help thank you eric

    eric c paddack -- epaddack at Monday, 04/12/99 20:41:04 GMT

    I saw the Sam Yellin door with signature in the news and wondered how best to sign one's work. Do you guys have a stamp or hallmark? Is there a halmark registry the way silversmiths do?

    jason -- jasonfb at Monday, 04/12/99 21:34:01 GMT

    Eric, You were not very clear about the stock size 24" x 12" by how thick? Or was that 12" to 24" by X cross section? The actual mass or weight is more important than general dimensions.

    First, there is a limit to the intensity of the heat of a normal furnace. The temperature will be 3,000 to 3,200°F no matter how much fuel you use or how big a blower. The only way to raise the temperature beyond "normal" is to use pure oxygen instead of air. Then you can raise the temperature to 5,000°F or so but you would also be out of the range of refractories.

    Second, there is a limit to how fast steel can absorb heat. In a given temperature environment it is going to take just so long for the heat to penetrate to the center of the bar. Once you have a burner that will bring the furnace up to heat in a reasonable time using MORE just goes out the exhaust and is wasted.

    In industrial gas forges the gas is controlled by a needle valve if it is fancy or a gas cock if it is run-of-the-mill. There are no control orifices. The drawing on our plans page for a simple (stupid) burner is similar to most industrial units. Only one of this type burner is required for the type forge you describe. With propane 1/4" (7mm) or 3/8" (10mm) lines are sufficient but with low pressure natural gas 1/2" (13mm) or bigger piping is required dependant on the length of run.

    If you want to build atomospheric (non-blower) type burners for a forge see the Ron Reil web page (on our links).

    -- guru Monday, 04/12/99 21:38:29 GMT

    I saw the Sam Yellin door with signature in the news and wondered how best to sign one's work. Do you guys have a stamp or hallmark? Is there a halmark registry the way silversmiths do?

    jason -- jasonfb at Monday, 04/12/99 21:39:00 GMT

    TOUCHMARKS: Jason, Many smiths have a "touch mark" punch. These can be ordered from a number of places including Centaur Forge or you can make your own. All commercial ones are special order. They can be simple text punches or can include artwork like a little brand. I made my own years ago from a small cold chisel. It was a little anvil (how original) about 1/4" by 5/16" (7mm x 9mm). I also did a bigger one that had the anvil in the center and D E M P S E Y ' S in an arch and F O R G E as a base line. It was impractical for most work and developed a heat treatment crack. . . (probably overheated).

    I do not know of a touchmark registry. Many local chapters have worked to record theirs but I don't think it is done nationaly (someone tell me if I am wrong).

    SOooooo, Lets start one! What a better place than a web site to store and post the marks? That way anyone could research their proposed mark before deciding on one.

    Here's how it will work.

  • You send me a processing fee of $35 (US), your name, address, business name, ect., ABANA or Chapter affiliation AND a sharp photograph of your touchmark's impression OR a clear ink drawing OR digital image in JPEG format (100 x 150 pixels). Also a brief description of the touchmark (is that a DUCK or a DRAGON?)

  • I will scan your photograph or drawing and post the information on the anvilfire Touchmark Registry. Entries will be listed alphabeticaly by name and indexed by description so that a key word search can be used to find touchmarks how they look. As the registry grows it will be kept in a searchable database.

  • As a NEW registry there is likely to be a lot of duplication. At this time we WILL NOT reject any touchmark but reserve the future right to set some type of policy to prevent duplication or copy-cat. This is NOT a legal trademark's registry, THAT is the business of the Patents and Tradmarks offices of your counrty.

  • If for any reason anvilfire can not continue to maintain the registry it will be turned over to ABANA or some other organization in its entirety without cost.

  • Mail your touchmarks for registration to:

    anvilfire! Touchmark Registry
    4714 Granite Trail
    Boonville, NC 27011

    Since I'm doing this "on the fly" there will be forms and more details later. Post your suggestions here.

    -- guru Monday, 04/12/99 22:32:27 GMT


    Most of us use a touchmark. Some make their own, others have them made. There is no central registry that I know of.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 04/12/99 22:33:45 GMT

    Well there IS now! Gotcha! :)

    -- guru Monday, 04/12/99 22:47:36 GMT

    I have a 22 inch wheel rim forge with a tuyre, ash trap, and Champion #400 blower. I would like to line the fire pot with fire clay to prevent it from burning out. I have been to several hardware stores, horseshoe suppliers, and hobby shops looking for the clay and it does not exist anymore. Is there a substitute that I can use, or how best should I line the firepot?

    Billy Templeton -- bhtempleton at Monday, 04/12/99 23:41:20 GMT

    I have a 22 inch wheel rim forge with a tuyre, ash trap, and Champion #400 blower. I would like to line the fire pot with fire clay to prevent it from burning out. I have been to several hardware stores, horseshoe suppliers, and hobby shops looking for the clay and it does not exist anymore. Is there a substitute that I can use, or how best should I line the firepot?

    Billy Templeton -- bhtempleton at Monday, 04/12/99 23:47:50 GMT

    Billy, Unless you build a HUGE (untended) fire for something like forging an anvil then it is unlikely you will burn out the steel pot. Rust or thermal shock from water is more likely to claim the pot than fire.

    If you still insist on lining the forge the clay you need is refractory fire clay and must be purchased from a foundry supplier. Ask for "moldable or rammable refractory". You can also use refractory cement (from the same sources) or from someone like McMaster-Carr (see the links page).

    -- guru Tuesday, 04/13/99 00:36:36 GMT


    Durn good idea! Where is it? (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 04/13/99 00:41:26 GMT

    Test test registry page

    -- guru Tuesday, 04/13/99 00:44:33 GMT

    I have been metalworking for the past 2 years, my dad owns a welding company and has been a welder for over 40 years. I really enjoy it.I use a Lincoln weldpak 100 electric welder to make assorted lamps, tables, etc. I am extremely interested in Blacksmithing. I find it truly fascinating. For me, to be able to have the ability to metalcraft the way our forefathers did would be incredible. I am a native Virginian and found several Blacksmithing classes there, but have since moved to San Antonio Texas and are looking for some here. I am interested in finding some classes as well information regarding this fine skill.

    Thank you for your help
    Barbara Lockard

    Barbara Lockard -- Goodtabike at Tuesday, 04/13/99 03:54:39 GMT

    Barbara, Its great to see more women taking an intrest in blacksmithing. Did you know that less than 2% of all engineers are women?

    Go to this link ABANA Chapter contacts. There are two Texas Chapters. Join one and go to meetings. The chapters almost always have demonstrators at their meetings and often have workshops that the only cost is membership and perhaps a small fuel/materials fee.

    ABANA also has a list of schools if you are intrested in that route but I think you will find the local Chapter a great way to go. Too far to travel? Get involved and do what they do in Alabama. They have local sub-chapters called "forges". This gives them easy access to a local group and the strength of a bigger chapter.

    -- guru Tuesday, 04/13/99 13:28:42 GMT

    I am looking for Ceramic Fiber Insulation 8#, 2", 2400 deg. (KAO wool)
    in the Miami area can any one help

    stephen -- cannon at Tuesday, 04/13/99 17:09:28 GMT

    I would recommend that you find a ceramic store(the ones who sell kilns etc) And ask them if they have it.

    Ralph (who has to be inside working on such a beautiful day! sigh)

    Ralph Douglass -- ralphd at Tuesday, 04/13/99 17:32:41 GMT


    Ralph's suggestion is good, but another good source is a boiler repair company. They frequently have scraps that they'll give away.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 04/13/99 17:51:42 GMT

    Stephen, PawPaw is right and the type they carry may be rated for that low a temperature. For a forge you need 3,000 to 3,200°F material from a foundry supply.

    -- guru Tuesday, 04/13/99 18:07:47 GMT

    Need Plans to build a gas forge. Live to close to the city to keep the ole coal going. Work mostly on small bar stock every now and then do some table legs out of 1" stuff. It's mostly stuff I need don't have a blacksmith business. Thanks

    Michael -- MGHAUN at Wednesday, 04/14/99 04:01:04 GMT

    Add on note.
    Can build mostly anything. Weld, braze, a good back yard engineer who knows how to scrounge.

    Michael -- MGHAUN at Wednesday, 04/14/99 04:04:46 GMT

    Michael, The best small gas forge plans are currently on
    RON REIL's
    web site. ABANA also sells the plans for the Sandia Forge, a little 2 burner recuperative forge that is very efficient and burns very hot.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/14/99 04:08:43 GMT


    When last I was at San Antonio Missions the park volunteers had an active blacksmithing demonstration program. Give the park a call and ask for the Chief of Interpretation. She or he will probably have some contacts for you. Their web page is: You'll find the HQ 'phone number there.

    Sunny and bright and all quiet on the banks of the Potomac.

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Wednesday, 04/14/99 12:44:37 GMT

    I am trying to find info on building an 18th century style bellows similiar to what is in Anderson's shop at Williamsburg. Plans, leather, appropriate materials, etc. Thankyou.

    Allen Schaeffer -- Studio_518 at Wednesday, 04/14/99 20:46:56 GMT

    Allen, I can't help you with specific plans but can give you a few pointers.

    The covering is soft tanned cowhide. The size of the bellows may be determined by how big a hide you can afford OR whether or not you can sew leather. The bellows I built 23 years ago had split cowhide sold as "buck skin" and is still working great even though it was partialy out in the weather all that time (see articles on 21st Century page titled Great Bellows and Portable Forge Shop).

    The boards need to be knot free if possible. If there are knots they need to be tight and not on the edges of the bellows where the hundreds of nails are going to attach the leather. I used 3/4" (finished) pine shelving and tounge and grooved the edges. Pine and poplar were common.

    Edging and hoops are made of green split white oak. They are shaped, to a half round with rounds edges, bent and let dry before use. I didn't use hoops, I used divider boards instead (my design). Then I used strips of the split cowhide to cushion the leather under the nail heads on the center board.

    Hinges were made and sealed with leather. I made decorative iron hinges. Today I would use commercial hinges lubricated with Never Seieze and covered with leather.

    Valves are thin wood or thin wood with a leather flap for hinge and seal. I used some funky rubberized canvas wet suit material (hey, I HAD it, and it worked. . .).

    Nozzels can be wood, hard leather or metal. I used a piece of 2" pipe that I found automotive exhaust pipe fit over (how convienient!)

    Check out the pictures, I may not have used all traditional materials or design but they looked great AND worked great!

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/14/99 21:33:32 GMT

    OBTW - There is a picture of the bellows built for UNC Asheville by the Williamsburg smiths near the end of our ABANA edition of the anvilfire! NEWS

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/14/99 21:36:19 GMT

    I am not a metal worker or blacksmith. But i do a lot of cooking and like to use my favorite knives. One of these is (or should I say was)a Chicago Cutlery Chinese Cleaver, model CC-1. It was recently broken by my teenage son. He drove it into the cutting board. The blade now has a dent and a split. I tried to get anew one but like most other good things, it is no longer being made.

    Hence my query to you. Is there any one out there who can repair this cleaver at least or even make a new blade for it? If so, please let me know how to get in touch with them. I live western Pennsylvania, but can send the cleaver anywhere if needed.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Regards, George Harding

    George Harding -- gfharding at Wednesday, 04/14/99 22:03:28 GMT

    George, See our links to knife sites or the Bladeforum. I doubt that the cleaver can be repaired. A mere chip could be ground out by most good knifemakers without damaging the blade (albiet a little shorter). However, the crack means its all over and cannot be repaired.

    With the blade as a sample I'm sure someone can make you a good (or better) copy the same weight and size. Try Bladeforums, there are a TON of custom knife makers out there.

    -- guru Wednesday, 04/14/99 22:48:33 GMT

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