WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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 April 1 - 7, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Counter   Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.comCummulative_ArcGSC

Rob if I remember correctly I think the guru said castiron can't be forge welded--- I agree--- it can be forge brazed.
kid - Saturday, 04/01/00 01:38:16 GMT

Edges: I never used an anvil that had decent edges anywhere along the central portion of the anvil. I have a nice new Peddinghaus sitting out in the shop that I have yet to use for forge work . . . All those sharp edges kind of scare me. If it were a machined part made by someone working for me, I'd tell them is wasn't finished until those edges were dressed.

To prevent the almost unavoidable chipping that happens along the central portion of anvils several old references call for chamfering the edges starting just beyond the body and extending to the shelf. These were serious 3/8" wide 45° chamfers. Today its considered sacrilege . . . But I think not for practical reasons, but because it may hurt the future value of the anvil.

Perhaps it is because so many of our generation had used beat up old anvils that now we covet pristine crisp edges. Personaly I think that no less than a 1/16" (2mm) radius should be applied to every edge on anvils up to 200 pounds and 1/8" (4mm) radius on larger anvils.

On the subject of sharp edges, The Kaynes just mentioned above, loaned a half dozen or more NEW Peddinghaus anvils to the 1998 ABANA conference. One of the demonstrators said "no, no, this won't do", and picked up a grinder and proceeded to attack the edges! After the conference Steve Kayne was livid! The demonstrator may have been right but it was NOT his anvil. . .

Many smiths claim that an anvil with a slight sway to the face is easier to use for making things straight. As a piece cools and you give it a few straightening blows it won't change on a perfectly flat anvil but one with a slight sag produces a clean straight part.

If you need a sharp edge to forge on then make a hardy tool with sharp edges or use a "set" hammer. If you need a way to make straight lines that is what your eyes and your brain is for. Sight down the part, give it a slight tap and sight down it again.

Sharp inside corners on forgings are NOT good practice. A sharp corner produces a point of high stress concentration and forging it often tears the grain of the metal.

On big power hammer dies the corners are actualy oval in section. The face drops off and then blends into the rounded corner. This is so that work being drawn out is nice and smooth and doesn't have lines cut into the work. This just happens to be the shape that an anvil gracefully wears are settles into.

On swage blocks amature pattern makers strive to have crisp hard edges around features such a bowls and spoons. Looks pretty but it is exceedingly BAD design. When sinking a shape into a depression you want smooth rounded edges for the work to bend and slide past without cutting into the metal. There is nowhere on a swage block that should have a sharp edge. However, the molding process for "loose" patterns dictates one clean hard corner around one face. Modern "boarded" patterns should have gentle radi on every corner and edge. It should look like an old polished river stone. If one studies old blocks those that were used heavily, they have been carefully dressed by the smith and don't have a sharp edge on them. This is not gracefull wear , its thoughtful craftsmanship. Many old anvils have that look too.

Mark, I hope you told the Kaynes who sent you!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 02:00:12 GMT

I have just made My first fighting knife that is also my first blade I made out of HC steel :) But how do you Keep a one sided blade from bending back??? Also I need a ***PUNCH***? To drill a hole in hot iron where would be the easyest place to get them and last Q: Where could I sell my begger blades I Don't care what the price as long as they cover the price of the metal. They look ok. Thanks.
Jonathan  <morphex11 at juno.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 03:56:10 GMT

Where can I find parts and rebuilding information on Little Giant 25# power hammer.Thanks in advance for the info.
Phil  <ppg313#cs.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 04:10:39 GMT

Blade Forging: Jonathan, I presume when you say "bending back" you are talking about the curve a plade takes from forging one edge. You bend the stock in the opposite direction to start. Then you adjust the blade as you forge it but before it is too thin. Most forged blades have some taper on both sides of the center line to help reduce the effect.

How much? Practice forging some mild steel. If you look at the shape of a "Bowie" Knife and other blades, the "clip" point is actualy the end of the bar where it has been stretched out. This shape is exagerated in many styles of blades but it originates from the natural tendancies of the metal and forming it.

You can can you a standard tapered "pin" punch purchased at a hardware store but you can also forge them out of any high or medium carbon steel. Better alloy grades if you want. Dip them in a little grease to act as a coolant and keep them from sticking in the hole.

Hand made knives sell well at gun and knife shows. Many knife dealers frequent the bigger fleamarkets.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 04:40:36 GMT

Little Giant parts: Phil, You need to contact Sid Sudemier. See our Power hammer Page and the manufacturers list. You will have to call or write, Sid is not "wired". We also have a copy of the last Little Giant data info posted.

You can purchase a copy of the Kern Little Giant book. It has a lot of information but no detailed dimensions. Centaur Forge has copies (I think). For history on hammers in general (including the Meyer Bros and Little Giant) see Pounding out the Profits by Douglas Freund. We have a book review on the bookshelf page.

AND we have been collecting photos and information on rebuilding Little Giants. Should have an article posted in a month or so.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 04:51:36 GMT

thanks for the input, forge is working fine and roaring loudly at 7 lbs pressure and extremely happy with it. another question. i have a forged anvil and would like to know what maker. on the side can barely make out what looks to be a cross peen hammer with a lightning bolt through it for a handle. letter on left side of handle is an "A" can't make out letter on right side. any ideas as to the maker?
Mike Aumiller  <k_trout at swbell.net> - Saturday, 04/01/00 08:03:34 GMT

Of course I told the Kaynes that you sent me. Also, when I sent for some items from Kiripatricks Valley Forge and Welding I said that I had gotten their name from you. It's only proper to mention the person who sent you.
Thanks once again for all your help.
OBTW, groundbreaking for the smithy takes place on Sat. 4/15/00. Excavation and concrete work on that weekend and hopefully the next weekend [weather permitting] the framing and roofing.
Mark Suchocki  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 09:12:58 GMT

A short time back you had told someone to check out a photo in the "NEWS" [I think] which showed a fellow doing a demo under a pavillion. In the background you could see the forge and how much draw the side draft hood was producing. I have been trying to find this photo again with no luck. Could you steer me in the right direction?
Thank You,
Mark Suchocki  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 09:27:12 GMT

Who: Mark, Thanks. Advertisers have a hard time connecting sales with exposure on anvilfire. Any mention folks make helps me sell the service.

April 15th is not just tax day but EVERYTHING is happening (including your ground breaking). Spring Fling, in Northern Virginia, the ABA is having a hammer building seminar in Ripley, West Virginia, the AABA is having a show at the steam event in Powahatan, VA. . . Wish I could go to them all.

That side draft hood photo is in the AFC Edition of the NEWS, pages 3 and 4. Doug Merkel is the Demonstrator.
Notice that this one has a relatively small intake. It is also in use in an outdoor pavilion where cross wind often is rough on the performance of these hoods. Like all forge hoods a little smoke escapes when starting up. To prevent this you can toss in a loose ball of newsprint and light it to start the draft. If you use this technique, and you live in one of those high fire danger zones, be sure you have a spark arrester on the stack.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 12:07:51 GMT

What paint(brand) would you recommend for use on exterior ioronwork? This would be for use on new steel that we have cleaned off the mill scale. (assuming that is what you would recommend) We want something that would withstand wide temperature ranges (ie.110 to 50 below zero F)with industrial qualities to withstand brutal weather.
Also is there any other finish we could use instead of paint that might need some maintainence/touch-up etc. Something we could use if someone didn't want the painted iron. We have heard of putting graphite in...something...didn't quite get the formula, clear varnish/poly/or something. Have you heard of this? Basically, what are all our best choices for exterior iron?
B&G. K.  <bgkenney at tdstelme.net> - Saturday, 04/01/00 12:47:59 GMT


Sounds like you've got an ARM & HAMMER anvil. Manufactured by the Columbus Anvil and Forging Company of Columbus, Ohio between the years 1900 and 1950. According to Richard Postman's ANVILS IN AMERICA, it's undoubtedly one of the finest wrought anvils ever made.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 13:05:57 GMT

Making things straight on the anvil: The Guru mentioned that a dip in the anvil is good for straightening. When straightening gunbarrels not that long ago the "anvil" actually looked much like a four-sided ashtray on a pedestal, the straightening occuring in mid-air between two edges.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 04/01/00 13:45:27 GMT

Date Test:
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 14:02:38 GMT

What is the melting point of low carbon steel?
L Tucker  <jlejtucker at wfol.net> - Saturday, 04/01/00 14:46:08 GMT

Paint: B&G, The paint top coat will need to be specified by a paint expert however, UNDERNEITH of that I recomend only one system for all exterior ironwork.

Sandblast, Cold galvanize with zinc powder paint, second coat is a chemicaly neutral primer over the zinc (I use Dupont redoxide), then a top coat of whatever the paint experts recomend.

Sandblasting removes not only rust and scale but any anhydrous flux or coal deposits that may hydrate, expand and poduce losse paint. The zinc powder paint is used for the inside of water tanks. It also available in spray cans from CRC as "Zinc Re-new" and others as cold galvanizing. "Carbo-zinc 11" is another similar but not pure zinc. The tricky part is the zinc paint is the same color as the sandblasted steel so it is hard to tell where you have painted. Forget so called "zinc rich" or "zinc compound" paints. They are a joke and the "zinc" part is marketing BS. The top coat can be anything water proof and color fast that suits your purpose.

There are a few more details in my article "Corossion and its Prevention" on the 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 15:05:52 GMT

Melting Point: Iron melts at the following:

1537°C / 2800°F 1810°K / 3259°R

As the carbon increases from 0 to .9% it melts as low as:

1440°C / 2625°F 1714°K / 3085°R

A graph between the two points is a straight line.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 15:12:25 GMT

This is a question for those of you who are doing things for a living. I'm sure that most of us are familiar with people who moonlight. I was just wondering how one deals with that type of competition. After all, they work for much less, typically using your quotes as a means to beat you at landing a job. (Is it best to give your quotes by the hour only, or price per job?) Most times they don't have the expenses you would have because they already have a fulltime job and are doing this mainly for extra money. For an example of this, around here there are a lot of fulltime city cops and firemen who, on their time off, (somehow, their work schedule allows them 3 to 6 days off in a row) are going around working for half of what the guy in full time business charges. On top of that, you have "nights and weekenders" type of guys who are just as happy to get $20 for an evenings work. I'm not talking about the guy that does a few of his buddies some favors once in a while. I'm talking about the guy who persistently goes after work for the lowest price, while he is subsidizing it and supporting himself with his own full time job. It's a free world and I don't anything personal against people who engage in this practice. BUT…since it is a free world, it should then be fair game to discover ways to prevent them from doing so. I guess the point is this. How do you deal with this type of thing? How does one beat them at their own game, or how do you even find out who you are competing against? Where do you begin to address the problem, and how? Does anyone have any specific things that can be done to protect their interests, while not getting into trouble at the same time?
welder40  <n/a> - Saturday, 04/01/00 20:31:37 GMT

I am in my forties and started blacksmithing a couple of years ago. I completed my CBA basics course, but seem to have a recurring problem, I cannot seem to move much metal without many heats. I am sometimes told to work hotter but my metal seems to degrade much faster. By the time I'm through working a piece of metal it is pretty burnt up, so I feel like I am overworking the metal (mild steel). I am a small woman and not real strong- Is strength really the key? I have a feeling technique might be missing as I know there are some fairly small women out there doing some great work. Any hints? Tools or materials that would help?
kim   <brittkimwilson at msn.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 23:06:57 GMT

Moving Metal: Kim, there is more practice to it than strength but strength helps. A small person cannot comfortably handle a large hammer and they shouldn't try. The answer to the question of strength is machinery. A power hammer. OR do small work. When I started smithing all I ever worked was 3/8" round and square. 1/2" (13mm) stock seemed huge! Eventualy you work up to bigger stock. Today I've spent too many hours at the key board and 1/2" stock seems huge again.

Heat There is heat and then there is heat. If you are using a small gas forge the metal may not be getting hot enough or heated all the way through. I love a gas forge but its hard to get that "soaking" heat that you get with coal without burning up the metal. The atmosphere in a proper coal fire is rich with carbon and the metal gets hotter without burning. Gas forges always tend to run lean and DO create a lot of scale. If you use a gas forge a power hammer is even more important to have. You need to finish work in less heats, or ONE heat.

IF you have only been working part time, two years of smithing off and on will not have given you the speed that moves metal. If you have been at it regularly then you will not see a lot of improvement.

One last thing to consider is the shape of your hammer's face. A flat face will not move much metal. An arched or rounded face will move more. A very small difference in curvature can make considerable difference in efficiency.

And last. . . If you've ever seen a Peter Ross demonstration. . . Well, we ALL feel like we don't move much metal after watching Peter.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/01/00 23:38:01 GMT

welder40, What type of work are you talking about? Blacksmithing,welding, contracting?????
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 01:53:54 GMT

Sorry about that. I was thinking specifically of the welding end of things, doing work for the general public or other businesses as a proprietor/owner of a welding business.

welder40  <Whoops> - Sunday, 04/02/00 03:03:29 GMT

I am an artist, and I'm currently working doing some chairs in which I need to use 2" stainless steel spheres. I live in florida and I would like to know if you can help me find someone who works with this metal here in Florida, and if you think it is expensive to do this.
claudia  <cladiale at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 03:40:46 GMT


I'm not a welder, though I do some welding for myself. So I can't answer your question directly.

But let me tell you a little story and try to draw a conclusion from it. Several years ago, I was doing a show in Tn. I had a pair of strap hinges laying on the table. They were made from 1/4" X 1 1/2" strap. Hand forged to a bean end, and forge welded. It's saturday of a five day show that started on wenesday. I'm TIRED. Also a little irritated, since I'd just grabbed a piece of steel that was at a black heat. With my bare hand. Man asked me how much the hinges were, I told him $30 a pair. He commented that he could buy the same thing at Lowes for half the price. I was just irritated enough that I didn't much give a dam* what he thought, so I told him that if he wanted that Taiwan Tin in his house go on down to Lowes. He stalked off muttering something about smart a** SOB. Next day he came back.
Said, "You know, I left here yesterday, mad at you." I said "Yes, I know." He said, "I went down to Lowes, I was going to buy a set of their hinges and bring them back today to show you. Your hinges are TWICE the hinges that they have!" I told him that I knew that. The Taiwan Tin hinges might last 10 years on his gate if he kept them painted, but his grand children would swing on my hinges.

He orders 4 pair, paid in advance for shipment after I got home.

The whole story in any business involving sales is percieved value. Convince the customer that you can give him better quality, and he'll be willing to pay more for your work.

DON'T fall into the hourly rate trap!
As the boss, if you have employees, THEY work for an hourly rate. YOU work to make a profit!

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 04:29:32 GMT

Paw Paw, $30.00 for a pair of forge welded strap hinges. At those prices the hinges were still a give away. Don't want to tell you how much they would sell up this way.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 05:36:01 GMT


I know that was cheap. That was several years ago. Today I'd want at least $50, and more if I thought the traffic would bear it.

How much WOULD they go for up your way?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 14:07:25 GMT

Have made my upper and lower dies for my Kinyon-Style air hammer from the bullhead of RR track. I have previously made spring swages from this material and found that it is water tempered. Wanted to run by someone with power hammer die experience whether I could heat the dies to non-magnetic then heat at 350 degrees for one hour? This is the same heat treatment for farriers nippers. Thanks TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 14:27:56 GMT

Left out one thing from previous post. Heat to non-magnetic, QUENCH in water, then heat at 350 degrees for one hour. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 14:30:17 GMT

Dies: Tim, the tendancy is to make dies too hard. Then like the edges of an anvil they chip and spall easily. 350 is almost out of the tempering range for most steels (too low) 400-450°F is a minimum. I'll look up the actual recomended hardness and post again.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 14:49:10 GMT

While cleaning out an old shop for a family friend I found and Anvil that is dated either 1864 or 66. It is a little hard to read. On each side is a little crown with the word England written on them. Could you tell me the value of these . I have been told many prices and would like to find a place to get a real estimate and a place to advertise the sale of them.
Thank you for your help.

etyndall  <etyndall at asheboro.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 20:33:12 GMT


Price is very flexible, because of factors of both age and condition. We can help you more with a little better inforamtion. Use a piece of paper and a pencil to do a rubbing of the information on both sides of the anvil. Also, make careful note of all the dimensions of the anvil. Look on the foot under the horn, sometimes there is information located there, usually in the form of a serial number. If you are located in Asheboro, NC, contact me via e-mail. I'm also located in NC, and may be able to help you directly.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 21:40:22 GMT

A friend of mine just came into the possetion of a small power hammer which has the following on the flywheel/clutch plate---

"Kerrihard Co. Red Oak, Iowa"

It is a cute little hammer, but several pieces, like the arms that hold the hammer and the spring, are broken. It looks as if the hammer was heavily used and repaired many times over the years. We would like to know if there are any spec. sheets on the hammer, history about the manufacturer and the hammer, or people who may have parts for sell.

If you or any of your readers have any info we would appreciate your help.

Dick Wendell
Great Falls, MT
Dick Wendell  <wendell at mtn-webtech.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 21:41:41 GMT

William Foster Co.: Etyndall, Thats who probably made your anvil. They made and imported anvils to the U.S. from roughly 1816 to 1864. They were also one of the few manufacturers to date their anvils. Anvils of that age are fairly common today and probably half the anvil in use every day date from the mid 1800's.

Anvil values vary greatly depending on make, weight, type and condition. Large and small anvils sell for proportionately more than "average" size anvils. Anvils from 100 to 175 pounds are very common and sell for as little as $1/lb and on average $2/lb. Average size old anvils in perfect condition may sell for a maximum of $4/lb US.

Small anvils, especially those less than 75 pounds are highly sought after if in GOOD condition. $5/pound is not unusual. Large anvils over 200 pounds typicaly sell for $2.50 to $3/pound. As the weight goes up the price drops off but there is great demand for anvils over 300 pounds.

THEN, There are types of anvils. William Foster made double horn anvils (rare in the US), there are carriage makers anvils with a side shelf and other speicalized anvils. These all have more value to collectors.

  • MINT - Factory condition and a better than average example. Anvils are mostly hand made and there are significant variations.
  • PERFECT - As above but not outstanding, no chips or discenrable wear
  • VERY GOOD - Edges may be chipped no more than 1/4" along 20% of the edges. Horn and face may show wear but no abuse. Chisle marks in the step acceptable.
  • GOOD - Edges may be chipped no more than 1/4" along 50% of the edges. A few larger chips accepted, Horn shows wear and tear. Face may have some sway
  • UNABUSED - Edges may be chipped no more than 3/8" along 50% of the edges. A few larger chips accepted, Horn shows wear and tear, has repairable chisle or torch marks. Face may have some sway and uneveness from use. There may be a torch divot of less than 1/2" on a corner.
  • ABUSED - Edges may be chipped more than 3/8" along 50% or more of the edges OR edges have torch divots in more than one place. Larger chips up to 1/2" accepted, Horn shows wear and tear and needs repair. Face may have visible sway.
  • BAD - Pieces broken off anywhere. Chips of 1/2" or more along 50% of edges. Face rough or has multiple torch divots. Horn bent downward or flattened along entire length. Anvil needs significant repairs.
  • VERY BAD - Highly abused. Pieces of the face broken out. Horn broken off. Dozens of torch divots along the edges. Unusable without repair.
  • JUNKER - Anvil broken in two or horn missing on ABUSED anvil. Face loose on ABUSED anvil. Hard to recognize as anvil. ALL CAST IRON ANVILS.

This is my first shot at quantifying the condition of anvils. We will post it and take comments and perhaps perfect the "anvilfire scale".

All these levels effect the price. In the end it come down to who's buying and who's selling. Ocassionaly fantastic prices have been paid for anvils on ebay but this is not the rule. You may post anvils and tools for sale on our V.Hammer-In page without charge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 22:11:36 GMT

I am looking for information on an Anvil I recently aquired. It was manufactured in Sheffield, England. It has markings fron the Mousehole Forge. I have pictures and could e-mail them to you.
Shawn Logsdon  <logsdon at netwalk.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 22:14:10 GMT

Kerihard: Dick, The most fame Kerrihard ever got is that Douglas Freund put one of their posters on the front of his book, Pounding out the Profits. See our book review page. This has the only published info and the only help will be the old engravings.

ALL the old mechanical power hammer manufacturers are long gone out of business. Your friend is on his own. The only hammer that much is published about is the most popular of the power hammers, the Little Giant. Even then, they made so many variations that dimentions (if the book had them) would always be in dispute.

The Kerrihard is not TOO rare. I've seen several. . But then over the past 2 years I've gone to a LOT of blacksmith gatherings (see the hundreds of pages in our NEWS).

Most of these old machines are worth repairing. However, it takes a first class mechanic/machinist with a little bit of machine designer thrown in. In other words a REAL old time blacksmith.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 22:28:34 GMT

Anvil Grades: Already have to modify and add a VVG for old, showing nothing but gentle wear and not chipped.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 22:32:04 GMT

Mouse Hole Forge: Shawn, Mouse hole made anvils for several hundred years under various propriators. M&H Armitage were one of the last. Mouse Hole was one of the largest manufacturers of the 18th and 19th Century and their anvils are the most common of the old anvils found. They are very well made with tool steel faces welded onto wrought iron bodies. With wrought iron scrap bringing $1/lb that is the minimum valus on these old forged anvils.

The 1.0.2 on the side is hundred weights, quarter hundered weights and pounds. The anvil weighs 112+0+2=114 pounds. The arrangement of the mouse and the logo says this anvil was probably made around 1880. If you want the complete known history of mouse hole forge we are selling Richard Postman's book Anvils in America. See our review.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/02/00 23:29:23 GMT

Paw Paw. I've tried my best to stop doing hardware or at least doing it cheap. I've done my share to fill a lifetime. A few years ago, I would have sold a pair of welded eye hinges for twice as much. I guess I'll feel the same way in a few years of making the items that I'm forging now. It gets monotonous until payday, but where else could you have so much fun and not have to turn on the stove to heat your lunch . You know your hammer’s getting a work out when lunch comes rolling around and you can cook it on the dies. Feels like I'm turning into a hammersmith instead of a blacksmith.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 00:08:26 GMT

Sorry if someone has already asked this. I've looked through the plans page and the 21st Century page but couldn't find the answer to either of my questions.

I used a steel ball bearing to test a pair of anvils today as is recommended on the 21st Century page. My results were very satisfactory and I've decided to buy one of them. What I'm worried about is the anvil didn't ring. The ball bounced back between 6" and 8" when dropped from 10" but there was no ring, only a metal clang as when you miss the work and hit the face of the anvil. Since the anvil was on a wooden counter top and not locked down I was a bit confused. Is it a sign of a bad anvil if it doesn't ring?

My second question is in regard to a set of holes in the body of the anvil. They were square, about 3/4" deep and tappering from 1" to 3/4". One was under the horn and the other was opposite it under the heal. What could those be and could they be responssible for the clang?

Again I hope that I didn't miss the answer to this question somewhere. Thanks.
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Monday, 04/03/00 00:26:33 GMT

Actually, so long as we're on the subject of anvils, I saw one with the following words being legible - Wright, England, patent, 1.1.13 (these being spaced far left, center, and far right on the side of the anvil rather than numbered close together) and lastly on the bottom of the same side, 1757

Should this be in a museum somewhere? It's in reasonably fair condition.
welder40  <n/a> - Monday, 04/03/00 00:43:51 GMT

Anvils: Bill, The surface an anvil is sitting on and how hard you tap it make a big difference. On anvils with a loose face you get a dull clack at the spot that is loose and sometimes a buzz when tapped elsewhere. A loose face is rare on a forged anvil and this one is forged. Try tapping sideways at the heal or the mid point of the horn.

The holes you speak of are for handling the anvil. Long "porter" bars were stuck in these holes so that the anvil could be lifted by several men while forging. I've seen anvils that the holes nearly penetrated the waist.

Peter Wright Welder40, The postman book gives no mention of these anvils being dated but all he recorded were from the 1840's up. However, the firm was known to have been in business much earlier. A 1757 anvil would have a very distinctive look. See the photos of the Colonial era anvils in the latest edition of the news. These anvils are very blocky with the feet being just pinched out a little and a very short horn. The hardy holes are typicaly very small, about 1/2"-5/8" square. That is an 112+28+13=153 pound anvil. Nice size. Also rare for a Colonial to be that big.

To date there is very little intrest in old anvils (or old machinery) by museums. However, since the publication of the Postman book more people now recognize these early anvils for what they are and the collectors market is now very good.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 01:11:15 GMT

Banners: Well folks, The "off site" banners are about to become history. I promised these folks 3 months and I'll give em that (to the end of april). The current batch are supposed to be for "automotive" sites. . . haven't seen a car part yet. . . The last batch, sports and outdoors wern't too bad but drew no intrest. The first batch were "schools and education".

We tried something new. The only good thing it did was force me to make a LOT of changes and upgrades in code. And they did give me a good count of how many banners we serve. Over 150,000 a month!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 01:19:59 GMT

I looked at the pictures as you said. This anvil looks nothing like the pictures. I will try to be more particular, and get some measurements the next time I get chance. However, I'll go out on a limb here and try to guess at what those measurements might be in case your interest is really going strong at this point, and you can't wait for me to get around to actually find out the proper dimensions. =)

I would guess that the face is about 14"L X 4"W and the horn would be maybe 10"Long.
There is a step down(?) to the horn. It has a pritchel hole of approximately 5/8" and a hardy hole of around 1" square. Under both the horn and the heel, there are two square holes. All in all, it looks like what most anvils look like, having no special feature to distinguish it. But then again, I don't know exactly what to look for either. I'll see what else I can dig up. Thanks for the feedback.
welder40  <n/a> - Monday, 04/03/00 02:43:49 GMT

Later Anvil: Welder40, Early anvils, prior to about 1840 had no pritchel hole. This is a farriers item that became popular on almost all English and American anvils after that time. Twixt that and the large hardy hole its a late Peter Wright. It may still be 150 years old but good anvils don't age. They get abused, sometimes worn out but age never makes them less useful.

The number may be part of a serial number or something some fool stamped on there to fool someone . . . Not too many years ago someone could get away with it. :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 03:19:25 GMT


I wouldn't enjoy doing production hardware, but the occasional piece for someone doing a restoration is fun. Just got a request yesterday for a set of "devil's tail" hinges for a hanging corner cabinet. Gonna be fun. Did a Sheffield latch for a guy a couple of weeks ago.

BTW, I sign and date all reproduction hardware, I don't make "instant antiques"!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 04:56:55 GMT

I have a anvil that has the letters F N on one end.
Have any idea what it is.

Ron Mott  <mottrd at usit.net> - Monday, 04/03/00 05:37:37 GMT

Paw Paw, guts or glory. Everyone wants the glory work but it doesn't seem they want the gut work. Sure it would be nice to get a large estate owner with lots of money to commission you for 5 years of work with a blank check. Somehow I don't see that happening. In the mean time I'll just stand at the hammer all day making cash register sounds as each hot piece hits the ground when it's done. Sometimes you just have to suck it up to pay the bill. Don't much like any production work but its steady and it keeps the bill collectors from beating down the doors.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 12:46:47 GMT


We really need more info than that. check the sides of the anvil to see if they have anything more written there.


I know what you mean. And I don't see Bill Gates banging on my door to come build stuff for his house either.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 14:27:32 GMT

I am a beginning welder who does ornamental iron/steel work. Most of my welding is really just tacking although I have done some structural work. I have designed a curved window item that requires me to bend a 1/2 hammered solid bar into a semi circle with a radius of 20.5 inches. I have cut out a wooden pattern to bend the steel around. My question is can I heat the rod enough to bend around the pattern with a propane torch, Mapp torch or do I need to use an oxy/acy torch. (I will protect the pattern from catch fire, but would like to use the least amount of heat possible.) Thanks for having this page and answering all these questions.
Rodney Holloway  <mmanage185 at aol.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 15:17:03 GMT

Welder 40: On Moonlighting welder competition, how do you mean "prevent them from doing so"? Do you mean preventing them from working cheaper than you? If so, I hope you don't want to somehow regulate them from being your competition.

Another story...
When I was building my house, I removed a large tree from an older lady's yard. It had fallen down on her neighbors house. She had gotten bids from tree removal services and they were fair. But I needed the tree for my house and she needed it removed, so I did it for the tree. 4 days later I got a notice from the city that the tree was in, saying I had to pay a $400 fine because I was not a licensed tree remover, but had removed a tree. Turns out one of the tree removal services filed a complaint that someone was "underbidding" his fair price and wasn't licensed. I told the city I wasn't going to pay their fine and I would be happy if they took me to court. I would be glad for the people in the community to see how the city treated a no money transaction that was to mutual benefit. The city backed down and said it was OK since no money changed hands.

So, you could try to get moonlighting welders regulated, but I hope you don't. I do a lot of welding for friends and neighbors, and I accept their money or favors or just gratitude in return. I consider it a friendly thing to do and I think the world would be a poorer place if I couldn't do it and had to send them to a full time welder.

I suggest you try to hire the welders that are underbidding you. Give them a nice place to work and pay them the same and give them the flexible hours. They would get to do their thing and you would get the profit. Where I work now, we hire most of the community firemen and give them odd jobs to do. We get good labor at a reasonable price and they get to do something worthwhile with their time. Start by hiring the fire chief and the rest will follow.

If that doesn't work, get a nitch. Another of my hobbies is woodworking. You can't make money woodworking unless you are in a nitch market or do huge volume. It seems as if every retiree does woodworking in his basement and is willing to work for $2 per hour. Even high end veneer work had too much competition. I moved on.

Regulation=Bad, Competition=Good
My 2 cents or less
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 16:02:30 GMT

Bending Jig: Rodney, No a propane torch will not get it hot enough (not enough BTU's) A bigger torch may work but the temperature required would rapidly burn up your pattern.

That large a radius can easily be bent cold. However, with cold bending there is a problem with spring back. A dead soft (annealed) piece of low carbon steel will stay close to size but a typical cold drawn piece will spring back a considerable distance. To compound the problem you mentioned "hammered". I assume you mean you are going to texture the steel cold, say with a ball pien hammer. This will work harden the metal and make it spring back even more (depending on the amount of hammering).

Normally what you have to do in these cases is determine the bending jigs radius by trial and error. This is a relatively gentle bend. The greater the radius the greater the problem.

On this piece I would guess you would need the radius to be 1-2" undersize (2-4" on the diameter) for dead soft steel and 3-4" or more on the radius for work hardened steel. This is not an exact science and this is my best guess.

Remember that the length of the peice to be bent remains the same. When you reduce the radius you have to bend past 180° to bend enough material. You part requires 65" of material for the curve (calculate length on center line). At an 18" radius (18.25 cl) you have to bend 206°. Since this is a trial and error process always make your jig about 10-15° further around the circle so you can overbend a little at a time. Be sure to leave plenty extra on your straight sides to make length corrections when finished.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 16:13:19 GMT

I'm hoping maybe you could help me I just purchased an anvil and am trying to identify it all I can find on it are the numbers 8 and 6 on the side of it which I believe to be the weight(I weighed it on a bathroom scale and it was about 87 lbs) and a capital letter V stamped into the front of the base under the horn? it has one horn and the back side is squared off, it has a hardie hole and a round hole(pritchard hole?) it also has a step down from the top face about 2.5 inches before the horn starts, I believe that to mean it has a plate welded to the top also you can sort of see the weld line on the sides. I'm just getting into smithing so you will have to excuse the terminology. any leads would be greatly appreciated! thanks Rob
phestus_pigiron  <mcsorley at simcoe.net> - Monday, 04/03/00 16:48:03 GMT

Any information on polishing and anvil horn?
John Shaffer  <jshaffer at ridgid.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 17:05:29 GMT

Any information on polishing an anvil horn
John Shaffer  <jshaffer at ridgid.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 17:07:21 GMT

86 pound Anvil: Rob, I looked under all the "V" listings and couldn't find an anvil that used a "V" marking. Almost all the anvil manufacturers sold anvils to other companies that put their label or trade mark on the anvil. In those cases it takes an experianced eye to know the brand of the anvil based on its style and lines.

If the numbers or markings are raised from the surface it is a cast anvil, if they are all stamped into the surface it is probably forged. Often stamped anvils are not marked very well or very faintly. The best way to reveal the markings is to take a rubbing using a soft pencil and fairly light paper.

If you can see the weld seem there is a high probility that the anvil is a cast iron steel faced anvil or that it has been abused. Small anvils often get put to too heavy a service and the plate loosens. Take a small hammer and tap the face (gently) and listen closely. Places that sound distinctly deader than the others or have a "buzz" to the tone are probably loose places in the face to body weld joint. This is big trouble and hard to repair.

Going by sound is a little tricky. Tapping the horn and heal rings louder than the center of the face. Good quality steel faced cast iron anvils do not make a clear tone when new. However, a loose plate will be distinctively different.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 18:19:57 GMT

I am trying to find a reference to a blacksmith's convention to be held in Iceland this year or next. Thought it would be as good excuse to go to Iceland as any. I thought I had seen a reference online but I can not find it now. Thanks in advance, Erik
Erik  <irongld at bellsouth.net> - Monday, 04/03/00 20:35:22 GMT


im a 40 yr old machinist that has taken on the task of building a 50+ # power hammer. we have aquired a large eccentric or crankshaft with a 2.5" offset for a stroke of 5". (i'll sent a pic if you give me an email, 2.5" shaft w/ an 8"dia disk 2"thick on one end with a 2" pin sticking out of it at a 2.5" offset. am going to build the tup from a piece of 3"sq.cr at 30#/ft and will guide it by enclosing it in two 4.5"x.437" angle iron that have .750" thick aluminium/bronze guides to capture the corner of the tup somewhat like a little giant. although we will build a set of springs like the so. africans did. now, all that said my question to you is vector calculations? what are they and how do ya work em? your help will be greatly apprieciated.what i am concerned with is that the tup/ram have enough guide room to move up and down given a 5" stroke on the crank and 'x' amount of ram weight with 'y' amount of spring tension on the soft link. how far will the tup want to move? more than the 5" stroke? less? i guess what i dont want is to have the thing tear itself apart for not having enough guide length. to much length gets heavy and makes for a taller machine.
i have printed a copy of your little giant motor sizing chart. nice job. i was a little confused, on the bottom of it you wrote stroke greater than throw. now is stroke how far the ram moves or how far the crank stoke is and then throw which is that? (i know, dumb ques).thank you in advance for any input to the project. jim in seattle/millcreek, wa
jim towle  <mrgizmo at gte.net> - Monday, 04/03/00 20:53:55 GMT

Hammer Design: Jim, a lot of your questions have to be answered by making multiple layouts either on one sheet or using overlays to show position of parts. Its a LOT of trial and error and I am afraid I am remiss in producing the instructions for same for the JYH page. Everything take time and it seems like there is less and less every day.

Stroke, the actual distance traveled is greater than the throw (offset) of the crank. This is the machine's "overtravel". Overtravel is what gives a power hammer more velocity and power than what just the crank throw would provide.

Some of the sizing factors in the Little Giant chart have to do with designers using non-fractionsl sized motors. A 50# hammer will run quite well on 1-1/2Hp and a 25# on 3/4". Over course the higher rating gives you a better service factor.

Now. . . the spring and the forces involved are a little tricky. You need enough spring to support the ram with the toggles almost horizontal. I say almost because horizontal is impossible. When the toggles are in a straight line any force applied on that line creates an infinite force in the toggles. Since there can be no such thing as an infinite force something always gives. Short toggles and a heavy spring work best. Fairbanks hammers have one of the best hammer geometries and have toggle arms proportionately half the length of a little giant. Look at the pictures of the Champion hammer in the PABA edition of the NEWS. The Champion has a very smooth working linkage and the leaf springs are self explanitory.

It is always best to keep as much of the ram in the guides as possible. But it IS tricky to design around.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 21:30:19 GMT

Iceland: Eric, we will have to see if one of our Swedish friends knows about a conference.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 21:31:48 GMT

Built Up Anvil...Again: In my quest for an anvil, I have acquired a 300 pound 7 by 7 by 24 inch bar of questionable composition. I had to trade another batch of homebrew for it. Based on the rusted finish, I think it is cold rolled and not hot rolled since it does not have humps on the flats like most hot rolled does. I also have the medium carbon 6 3/4" cone that I machined previously and will weld to the anvil body. And I also have this 400 pound heavy wall tube that I have been using for the anvil, but someone else pointed out would make a good anvil pedestal. It is 19" OD by about 20' tall and weighs around 400 pounds.

My question to you experienced metal displacers is this... For general smith work, should I lay the 7 by 7 by 24 inch bar down on the tube pedestal and weld the cone on the end of the 7 by 7 bar, thus giving me an anvil face of 7 by 24 inches, or should I stand the 7 by 7 bar on end and weld the cone to the side? What is more desirable, a big face that can have multiple hardie holes or whatever, or have all of the mass in the vertical direction standing on end with a 7 by 7 face. If I stand it on end, I doubt that I will be transferring all of the hammer load to the tube pedestal. I also have two heavy layout tables, so I don't need the anvil to anchor bending jigs, etc. Knuckle height for me is 32 inches.

Thanks in advance!
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 21:34:40 GMT

I have an anvil that I can't identify myself.
It has a horizontal dimond with some badly disfigured letters that might read acme.
Any information on it will be greatly apreciated.

Thank You, Jim Ellis
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 21:59:46 GMT

Exact Wright Anvil Measurements, Tony

Checked the measurements today. The face is 15 ½" long by 4" wide. It has a ½" step down to the horn with a flat area of 2 ¼" wide on the horn. The horn is 10" long. The base is 10 ½" long x 9 ½" wide, while the height is 11 ½" high. The hole is 5/8" dia., and the hardy hole is 1 1/8" square.


I think that, after reading what I wrote, I used the wrong word by using "prevent". However, I think you may be zeroing in on one tree and missing the forest. What I said was...

" This is a question for those of you who are doing things for a living. I'm sure that most of us are familiar with people who moonlight. I was just wondering how one deals with that type of competition. "

" I'm not talking about the guy that does a few of his buddies some favors once in a while. I'm talking about the guy who persistently goes after work for the lowest price, while he is subsidizing it and supporting himself with his own full time job. It's a free world and I don't anything personal against people who engage in this practice. BUT…since it is a free world, it should then be fair game to discover ways to prevent them from doing so. I guess the point is this. How do you deal with this type of thing? "

I just want to know how I can be aware of what I have to compete against, and what I am up against from all of the angles. When I say prevent, I am trying to find out if there is anything that I AM DOING WRONG that could be pointed out and fixed on my end of things, that would stop, or "prevent" moonlighters from exploiting my business practices for their gain. In other words, how can I reverse things to take business from them, if they are affecting me.

As far as regulation goes, read my last sentence.

" Where do you begin to address the problem, and how? Does anyone have any specific things that can be done to protect their interests, while not getting into trouble at the same time? "

I am not on a hunt. Note my last few words. I don't want to cause trouble for anyone. Live and let live. Does that mean that I can't protect my interests, just as moonlighters can protect theirs? If they can compete with me, why can't I compete with them? (if it is even worth my while to do so.) You seem to be suggesting that moonlighters should have the ability to do their thing, and take work from me, but it would be poor taste for me to defend my means of making a living, and take business away from them. As far as hiring any of them, well, as a man once said, " everybody here can weld...but not everybody is a welder." It's nothing personal. That's just the way it is.

Regulation is the business of the government, and we all know that when the government takes interest in something like regulation, it is because there's money in it for them. Which to me means that my costs are going up. Period. So, regulation is like everything else. It has good points and it has bad points.

Now, I hope that I haven't ruffled any feathers. I apologize if anything I said offended anyone, and hope to have many more discussions about different things both with you Tony and others who may be at this site.I just enjoy other people's ideas and views on things. If they happen to disagree with me, that's good for me. I can learn something that way. So I hope that everything is taken with a grain of salt and a handshake. =)

Regulation=Who cares?, Competition=Good, Fly-by-nighters=Bad
My kick at the can
welder40  <n/a> - Monday, 04/03/00 23:23:50 GMT

People will find, that you get what you pay for.If they dont care what type of quality they get,who wants to work for them anyway?
Steve  <sdccd2juno.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 23:54:27 GMT

People will find, that you get what you pay for.If they dont care what type of quality they get,who wants to work for them anyway?
Steve  <sdccd2juno.com> - Monday, 04/03/00 23:55:36 GMT

Hello, my name is Patrick Bjerke. I am looking to get into the Blacksmithing Industry and would like to work with a Balcksmith this summer to get an idea of what it is like. I live in Georgetown, TX and was wondering if there was a listing of Blacksmith's for Texas or if there were any in the Austin area. I am having trouble locating any Blacksmith's around me and would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you for yout time

Patrick Bjerke
I am also interested in Armor and Sword making.
Patrick Bjerke  <colossus101 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 00:29:10 GMT

Jim Ellis, your anvil is a trenton made for sears and robuck co. I had one at the SOFA meet. Mr Postman was there and that is what he told me. Can't get any better info than that.
kid - Tuesday, 04/04/00 01:04:26 GMT

I've come to own a blower from Cumming BLower Pat.1888 #1
Have you any information on it? I't is in good shape. I'm looking for an approximate value and other info.
Jeffrey Young  <jyoung at lcix.net> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 01:24:43 GMT


my anvil is a trenton anvil it has a number 140 stamped into it, how much does it weigh, what can u tell me about it?
SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 02:01:09 GMT

TEXAS BLACKSMITHS: Patrick, Texas has probably got more blacksmiths per capita than most states. . . LOTS of Farriers crossed over to decorative work. Start your search on the ABANA-Chapter page. Make contacts and ask questions. Check into the Slack-Tub Pub most any night and you'll find Bill Epps and a couple other Texas Smiths hanging out. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 02:12:01 GMT

Home Built Anvil: Tony, most of the time you need something tall but that 7" square piece weighs 333 pounds. . . You got a lot of anvil there. Check out the European anvils with the little short legs on Joel Becker's page (see our links). All body. Some feet to give it some wheel base won't hurt. That big thick wall tube is bound to be more useful for something else. . . not sure what but that's expensive and rare to find material. I'd bet if your anvil block is cold finished or perhaps had a ground finish that its not mild steel. . . Pieces that big are rare and as expensive a some tool steels. I'd whittle a horn out of the solid instead of welding it on. . .

Some folks prefer a narrow face on an anvil, others a wide face, but ALL appreciate a LONG face.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 02:21:50 GMT

Okay...i was on swordforum and ther was a post on there that said that rail spikes are not more than 35 pts carbon because they would be too high carbon for springy purposes...i had heard that older rail spikes were 35 pts but nwere ones are now bwing made to 50 pts..what is the truth?

Thank you
Rob V
Rob V  <albagobragh99 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 02:37:10 GMT

Springs: Rob, Springs are made from steel anywhere in the range of 45 to 90 point carbon. . . Some music wire being 100 point.

Spikes on the other hand come in plain and HC. The high carbon ones are supposed to be marked on the heads with an "HC". The only FACT I know about spikes is that a local plant was rolling RR axels and turning them into spikes. RR-axels are reported to be 1045 carbon steel. Rail is roughly 1075. If the RR recycled rail into spikes then HC spikes would be 1075.

What is critical for springs is the correct temper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 04:20:36 GMT

Going to Iceland:Eric: Ironmen 2000 will be held in Reykjavik August 11-18. You can check this site: www.reykjavik2000.is
Search for "fire". I´d like to go, but travelling to Iceland from Scandinavia is just as expensive as travelling from America. And we are not paid in dollars over here.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 09:08:02 GMT

Thanks Olle,
I knew I had seen it somewhere. The air fares from the US East Coast to Iceland are now cheaper than the flights from Mississippi to New Mexico.
Erik  <irongld at bellsouth.net> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 13:29:15 GMT

Home Built Anvil: Guru, thanks for the advice. I'll weld on some stabilizing legs that will also act as an upset block and I'll lay it down to have a long face. The tube is pitted and dented and cut down it's length, so it's not as valuable as I might have made it sound. It was the outlet tube from a large ball mill and had to be cut down it's length to get it out of the bearing housing. It also has a tapered OD and ID. But it is HARD. I just couldn't let the contractor throw it in the scrap pile, so I took it home and put it in the "useful stuff" pile a few years ago. Almost everything for the JYH is coming from my useful stuff pile.

Welder 40: Yes, all discussion is taken with a grain of salt and a handshake. :) And disagreement with intelligent, respectful discussion is very good.

Good luck with your competition! Hopefully they are truly fly by nighters that don't know what they are doing. Market forces will get rid of them if they are.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 14:03:59 GMT

Iceland: Olle, a beautiful web site but difficult to navigate. Hope this LONG link doesn't break the page. .
Reykjavik Ironmen 2000


Reykjavik 2000 Go to English, Program, Ironman. There was nothing specific about contacts so I expect you need to contact the city events organizers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 15:12:53 GMT

Split Tube: Tony, Every boat needs an anchor. :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 15:15:29 GMT

Anchor: I'm not sure if it's great minds think alike, but my first use of the tube WAS an anchor. I have a floating dock that I used the tube anchor to hold in place. But the tube was too heavy and the bottom of the pond is so soft that the tube anchor was pulling the floating dock down! I pulled it back out and cast a big concrete disc anchor that is working well. One of the reasons I was going to try it as the anvil base is that I can put holes in it for heading and to mount pins for quickie bending. And I just can't think of a better use for it. :) If it was smaller in diameter, I would add it to the anvil mass on the JYH. but as you will see when I get it done, I have a better plan making use of scrap from our heavy tube products. They just haven't made the scrap yet.

Thanks for pointing me to Joel Beckers page. Those antique anvils are pretty cool!

BTW, I received my copies of "The New Edge of the Anvil" and "Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork" from Amazom.com last night. Great books for a rookie like me! I'm not sure the Teepee will blend in well with the rest of the scheme though.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 16:25:23 GMT

Guru, I was wondering, I have come across a piece of "T1" grade steel with the dimensions of 17x12 inches and six inches thick. I’m just starting out on the forge and have a small anvil made out of a piece of rail track. I have seen the Japanese anvils and they look like a rectangular block of steel. Also one of my friends, who is a farrier, says that it's not good to keep all the corners sharp on that “T1” grade steel that I should bevel or round them so they don’t chip or shatter. Could you pleas give me some advice?
Peldor Tesconie  <Peldor at earthlink.net> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 19:25:53 GMT

I have a friend who wants to apprentice with a master blacksmith/farrier. But he needs to find money to live during the time he is apprenticed. What sources can he use to find monies, either through a grant or scholarship or whatever. Can you suggest any answers?
JR  <jfine at clearwater-fl.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 20:26:04 GMT


In preparation for your hammer contest in flagstaff, I have designed a hammer to take. (As the last hammer I built is no longer in my possesion, and if it was would still not likely make the trip.) In the designing of this hammer I've come up toa single problem, that being the clutch. This is a smaller hammer than I have previously made, and I'm not sure that a scaled down double roller clutch (like the ones I've made before) would work to full potential. I guess my question would be: what type of clutch would you, in your far greater experiebce than mine, suggest?
Youngsmith  <youngsmith at ccnmail.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 21:16:51 GMT

Clutch: Youngsmith, The absolute most controlable and maintenance free clutch is the slip belt clutch with flat belt. Bradley, Fairbanks, Beaudry and Champion all used it and all built hammers superior to Little Giants. 90% of all problems on Little Giants is the clutch, which is more expensive to counstruct.

The best belting to use is leather commercial power transmission belting. Next in line is heavy cotton. A slip belt clutch does not want a rubber face.

The only technical problem with slip belt clutches is that they need a pulley with side guides (rims). On the French JYH the fellow used what looks like a motor cycle wheel.
I'm looking for a late Volkswagon wheel for the EC-JYH (large diameter, small center hole) to run the v-belts on. . . The same may work with a flat belt.

Idealy the rimed flat belt pulley has a crown (high in the center) like a standard pulley. My friend Pat McGhee came up with using a big multi-v-belt pulley and machining off the center ridges. This resulted in a beautiful pulley that had a taper lock mount.

If you use an automobile or truck rim you will want one with a fairly wide flat at the bottom. Not all wheels have much and it will take some scrounging.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 22:01:08 GMT

T1-Anvil: Peldor, A High Speed Steel Anvil! WOW! Even on T1 the brittleness is strictly determined by the temper of the steel. IF the material is annealed for machining then shattering is not a problem. If it were fully hardened and tempered to be a high speed cutter (man that's a huge cutter. . .) then you would want to be sure to round ALL the corners. Chipping is one problem, tearing up your hammers on the corner of that hard a piece of steel is another. I wrote a long piece about edges this week. Look UP in the log or do a control-F and search for radius.

Personaly I'd dress all the edges to a 1/8" radius or more except at one end on that big a chunk of steel.

See my article on making a low cost anvil
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 22:19:25 GMT

I have a 19th century bowl forge with a pedal bellows that provides air through the center of the forge. I was wondering what kind of material to put into it for metal working. I think it's either coal or coke(?spelling?), but I'm not sure. Could you please help me out,
thanks a lot,
Paul  <cane at renc.igs.net> - Tuesday, 04/04/00 23:32:28 GMT

Forge Fuel: Paul, You want a good (best?) grade of bituminous (soft) coal. This is sometimes sold as "Blacksmiths" or "Metalurgical" coal. Most coal suppliers will have stoker coal and that will do.

There are grades of coke that will work but in general foundry coke is too cumbersum and difficult to keep lit. Coke is coal that has had the volitiles cooked out of it.

Charcoal was used for thousands of years and many still use it. Real charcoal is not the same as briquetts but they will do for playing around.

Anthracite (hard) coal also works but is very difficult to keep lit and is generally not recommended for blacksmithing.

Most old forges were labeled "Clay before use". I generaly do not recommend claying a forge but a layer of dirt or wood ash will help protect the bottom of the forge from heat.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 00:52:55 GMT

There's T-1 and then there's T-1!

I hate all the different steel designations! A.I.S.I., S.A.E., tool steel, Mil spec., and proprietary names. There IS T-1 tool steel which is a tungsten high-speed, but there is also T-1 plate made by (I think) U.S. Steel. T-1 plate is a quenched and tempered low-alloy high-strength plate. From the dimensions given I suspect this is the case here. Check with any steel wherehouse for info.
Grant  <nakedanvil> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 01:51:11 GMT

T1 - While we're on the subject, my dad has soe T1 plate that he made some parts for hitching his semi to his super-big trailer. He said before that he would like to try to make a knife out of it. He has less experience than I with working a coal fire, and neither of us has done much work on tempering. Is this a project beyond neophytes?

Speaking of tempering, Grant, that sucker rod hardy you advised me on is working well. I don't use it all that much since right now I seem to be doing mainly bening, but it has not needed sharpened since I remade it. Thanks.
Stormcrow  <mbhelm at cctc.net> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 02:39:22 GMT

T-1: Grant, you may have me there. None of my books list a T-1 plate but do list T-1 .... 9 HSS. The size is currious. However, I have a piece of A-2 8" in diameter and about 5 feet long that I'm supposed to pick up if the guy hasn't gotten tired and given it away. Big industry buys some outrageous stuff sometimes and turns around and tosses it. . .

Stormcrow if its the same stuff Grant is talking about it probably isn't suitable to make knives. If the steel was used as part of a truck frame its not T-1 HSS.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 03:30:27 GMT


I am making a chandeleer and am making a basket twist for the center, my problem is that my father and i welded the four pieces of square stock, he claims that he had great penetration and he welded them all the way through, i believe him since he is a professional welder, but when i drew out the ends, they began to separate on the verry end and i dont want to draw them out any more because of my fear that they will continue to split. I wanted and end like the twists on the iForge page but i cant since they are splitting, anny suggestions on helping me out here?

Also i am in the process on making a rrtrack anvil, two days ago i found a peice of track, yesterday i cut the base of it, that was fun useing a cutting torch for the first time, today i cut the peices for the horn and the other end, i am doing a lot of grinding but it is coming out very nice, i cant wait to use it, thanks for the demo and idea.

Rob "smithinscout"
SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 14:10:23 GMT

Splits: Rob, this happens even in solid metal but it is worse in arc welded bundles. Most of the time it is from working the point to cold (easy to do). Once it starts you can sometimes flux and reweld (in the forge) or you just trim off the split part and work from there.

It happens to ALL of us sometime.

Hey! Take pictures of your anvil project and we will put them with the iForge info! Yep, grinding all that torch work makes you learn to get better at torching! It also makes you appreciate a big saw!

I've almost got the demo drawing forms done. . . The simple text at the bottom is giving me a fit.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 15:36:33 GMT

I just bought a 228lb anvil and cannot tell what company
manufactured it. The only markings on it are a mark that looks like an O or reverse C with some markings that are hard to see. Above the that mark is a curved mark that appears to have some writing on it. the on either side of the round mark there appears to be writing stamped deeply in the anvil (I can't read any of it).
The anvil is a forged one.
Sorry to bother you again but it bugs me.
Thank You.
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 15:40:50 GMT

Concerning anvil ID. Take some paper and a pencil or charcoal stick and make a rubbing of the logo and writting. You should then be able to see what writting there is.
This way we will be more likely to be able to id the anvil.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 17:42:17 GMT

I have made a rubbing of the anvil but still can't make anything of it.
If you want I can scan and e-mail the rubbing to you.
Thanks agian, Jim
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 18:47:37 GMT

I almost forgot. There is what seems to be a serial No. under the horn.
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 18:50:08 GMT

Jim E.,

Take a rubbing of the number under the horn, too. If you can take a picture of the anvil, (or several) and scan them, we may be able to tell a little more.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 19:05:48 GMT

I will get right on it Paw Paw!.

Thanks, Jim.
Jim Ellis   <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 20:03:05 GMT

hello all powerful guru, and friends would concrete work as a firepot in a forge or would there be complications ? thanks in advance for your help
drglnc  <drglnc at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 20:48:28 GMT

Concrete Firepot: Dragon Lance, Do the sound effects snap, crackle, pop and their big cousin KERPOW! tell you anything?

Concrete (even OLD dry concrete) has water bound into the molecules, fresh stuff (less than 10 years old) just plain has a LOT of water in it. When heated the water turns to steam and the concrete spalls with a snap crackle and pop.

Very small amounts of portland cement is used in some refractory mixes but it degrades the refractoryness of the resulting product.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 20:58:02 GMT

What does it mean to forge something. Like titanium or steel for instance, some golf drivers and irons are forged. i just wanted to know what forged means and the process for doing it. thanks.

Chris  <xxslivrxx at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 21:10:32 GMT

Ryerson book lists T-1 plate, 115-135ksi tensile, 340-380BHN. C=.15-.21, Mn=.70-1.00, Cr.40-.65, Si=.20-.35
grant  <nakedanvil> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 21:28:45 GMT

I can get charcoal in large bags in a couple of "grinds" or chip sizes. I would like to make some small or large charcoal furnaces which run from the middle Eastern open pot (?) types used with a blowpipe and often used by jewelers, on through what look like small dome baking ovens, set on the dirt. A member suggested a year ago that I consider two parallel walls and push material through as it burns. My particular delusional project is to make a series of heat sources using charcoal, which can be continuous feed (or continuous cleanout) and which will run smaller work through blade and musket type parts including barrels. I would like to develop a small scale casting capability up through ferrous metals and that requires a separate approach (I have the Centauer references). I can set up hydraulic equipment to squeeze shapes where this is worthwhile and have some of the basics like hammers, tongs, a good blacksmith's vise, a vise with the "beak" broken off, etc. My theoretical inclination is to cast a ferrous part in a wax mold an' whack dat suckah to shape with a hammer or to squish it to shape in a hydraulic mold.
fspic  <fspic at earthlink.net> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 22:39:58 GMT

Forging: Chris, Metals processed under a hammer or squeezed in a press are "forged". Forging is used to improve the grain structure of raw steel and to shape steel into parts. "Hammer" can mean a machine that drops a 50 Ton weight on a billet or a blacksmiths 2 pound (1kg) hammer. In the past all forging was done with one type of hammer or the other. Today hydraulic forging presses do much of what hammers did. In all cases a great amount of force is applied to metal that is usualy heated to the plastic state. For most steel this is an orange heat. Some forging is done cold.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 22:50:06 GMT

T-1 and AR plate:

T-1 is impact resistant material whereas AR is abrasion resistant material. IIRC, AR has less manganese in it and there for does not work harden in the same way as T-1. T-1 material should be used in applications where the work strikes the plate at right angles. Cement truck mixer barrels are an example of this type of impact. AR material on the other hand would be used where the work strikes the plate at an oblique angle. Conveyor troughs are an example of this type of impact/wear.
Dan Dreyer   <dand at livegrip.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 22:58:06 GMT

T-1 Grant, Don, many thanks. Never heard of it but ALL my refernces list T-1 HSS TOOL steel. An Entirely different animal.

Peldor, Stormcrow The T-1 PLATE isn't suitable for either of your purposes. It WILL make a fine anvil but it is not going to be very hard. It would have to be hard faced if you wanted a first class anvil. The T-1 TOOL steel actually wouldn't be suitable for forged tools either. HSS are very tricky to forge and even trickier to heattreat.

Delusions: fspic, Most iron/steel that is melted and cast is difficult to process by further forging. Processing a raw ingot into usable steel is a whole specialty unto it self.

Charcoal burning forges are very similar to coal forges and mearly require higher sides for the slightly deeper fire that is required. Any place to hold the fuel and provide a blast works.

I recommend that as an experimenter of sorts that you collect as many refractory (fire) bricks as you can lay your hands on. They are not cheap running several dollars each for the better grades. However they CAN be scrounged and recycled. A supply of common red bricks can also be helpful for the parts that do not see extream heat. This is not the least expensive way to go but it is very flexible and by dry stacking the bricks you don't end up with a monument to your madness in the front yard.

Now, take a blower (a squirl cage fan) and your bricks and dry stack a furnace. Bricks can be stacked to provide an air entry, fuel support and short stack. Start a fire toss in the charcoal and turn on the air. A bushel of charcoal will get things hot enough that if you have any non-refractory bricks in the mix you melt its face.

For melting metals you will need a crucible (preferably graphite) with a lid. Proper tongs to lift it and handle it for pouring. Stack your bricks with a "crucible block" to raise the crucible off the bottom and pile the charcoal around it. You will be able to melt anything except the refractory metals such as tungsten, cobalt and platinium.

You will find that for foundry work that foundry coke is much more satifying (higher density, faster heats) but charcoal has worked since the beginning of the bronze age.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/05/00 23:26:09 GMT

Hello. How do I go about getting a password to enter the slack pub. Thank you. Dave
Dave C.   <DCurtis176 at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 03:12:56 GMT

Belay my last post , I found my way sorry. thank you, Dave
Dave C  <DCurtis176 at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 03:36:59 GMT

Hello. I was wondering if you could direct me to some schools where I could learn to forge blades around Pensacola, FL.? Thank you for any help you might proved.
I have no experience at all.

Rafael  <athos at main-net.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 04:21:23 GMT


Belay my last post?

Oh lord, another Dixie Cup! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 04:35:34 GMT

Aproximately what year was the first smithing recorded
ANVILANDY - Thursday, 04/06/00 13:50:57 GMT

The first smithing ever (if that is wat you mean)sure wasn´t recorded! Regular blacksmithing seems to have started around 1500 years BC, but that date might have changed since I left the university.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 04/06/00 14:08:27 GMT

PawPaw, it is starting to sound as if you were secretly envious of us 'Dixie Cups'!! grin!

Assuming you believe the Bible blacksmithing was mentioned near the beginning of Genesis.

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 04/06/00 14:42:16 GMT

Dear sir,
I am doing a senior project on blacksmithing a battleaxe. I was wondering if you had any advice on blade design or what metal would be best to use.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Samuel K. Hood
Locksheer  <locksheer at netzero.net> - Thursday, 04/06/00 16:08:21 GMT

Who When? : Anvilandy, Bronze or Iron? Olle is refering to the begining of the iron age but bronze smithing preceeded that by another 3,000 years at least. . (I'd have to look it up).

The old testement of the Bible is full of smithing references. The battle between the Isrealites and the Philistines was between a Bronze Age culture and a "terrible warlike" Iron Age culture. Perhaps the slaying of the giant with a rock is a metaphor for showing that a non-technological stone age man could still compete with the new Bronze OR Iron age technology.

Schools: Rafael, for what's available localy try your ABANA chapter. Talk to them about what's available localy. Then check the schools list on the ABANA page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 16:16:59 GMT

Guru, excuse me for butting in, but this is what I used to do for a living;-)
Do you want a historical axe that used to be an effictive weapon or a hollywood basher? I´m asking since one of the most widespread (through time and space) battle axes would be the "danish axe" of the early midevial times, and it really doesn´t look like much. Just a triangular, very wide, very thin axe-blade on a four-foot-shaft. You can find pictures of it in just about any book concerning european war-history or archeology. Or mail me.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 04/06/00 16:44:14 GMT

Olle: I always appreciate your help!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 17:13:56 GMT

Ok guys, I got most of the stuff I need to start smiting. All I need now is to build a forge, I think I have all the proper materials. I have 4 dozen fire bricks, some half in thick metal, 80 pounds of sand, and some 1 inch
angle iron. Also working in the place I do I can have access to a arc welder, steel band saw,laser cutting tables and other things. If I post a picture of the design I am using would the people who have built forges, or guru tell me what to improve on?-- by the way I am using autocad 2000 to design my forge, a little overkill but hey it works.
Peldor Tesconie  <Peldor at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 04/06/00 17:51:59 GMT

ACAD 2000: Peldor, send the DWG file.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 19:00:57 GMT

What version of Autocad do you have -- is a autocad 14 dwg good?
Peldor Tesconie  <Peldor at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 04/06/00 19:11:43 GMT


Not envious, irritated. (VBG)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 19:50:11 GMT

Gurus and guruettes, and anyone who wants to answer please have at it (me). Couple of questions on heat treating.

I broke one of my dad's old cape chisles, and bent another one in a C trying to abuse them, thought I'd reforge them back to usability. I am using eyeballs and magnets to judge heat, forged at not too hot, not too cold, anealed, hardened to past non magnetic, quenched in H2O, tempered to about straw to med dark brown on both chisles.
The cape chisle got a bunch of cracks in it, and when I busted it to see inside, I found a small 1/4 inch circle of silvery and fine grained stuff, surrounded by more steel looking stuff. It broke on the cracks (of course) which were perpendicular to each other. Any Idea what is happening here.
The other chisle seemed ok, I hardened it several times, and tempered, and it would grate away with a file, I tried it anyway, and its cuts good with no deforming, I thought the file would just slide on hard steel, and non-hard steel would not chisle much. AM I confused or what.

Nother question, I notice that much of the steel that I mash about gets little crackes along the outside of the bends, I am told (by a local smith who has been known to peddle fertilizer) that its just the commie junk A36 comming apart, and its tough, lump it, or use real steel like cold rolled 1010 or there abouts. Any and all comments gladly received. Thanks for the terrific site, and the patience to deal with such questions.
Tim - Thursday, 04/06/00 22:54:23 GMT

Heat Treating Problems: Tim, I couldn't hazard a guess on your description of the failed chisel. However, If you bent a cape chisle into a "C" then it had been annealed. Probably been in a fire. That may explain the strange grain growth. Some tool steels are not supposed to be annealed or held at high temperature for long periods of time. In alloy steels the alloying metals seperate and you end up with trash.

The cracking mild steel is just bad steel. Its red short or its been burnt, maybe both. Generaly if you have problems its not A36. A36 is junk to machine but it is designed to be forged, welded and fabricated. The A36 designation is for structural steel. Normaly it does just fine.

As in anything there is good and bad quality steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/06/00 23:16:22 GMT

can you tell me the forging tempreture ranges for niobium c130
steve  <rkparker at davesworld.net> - Friday, 04/07/00 00:17:29 GMT

I have a question about a side draft hood shown in a handout from Frank Turley's Blacksmithing School. I found the page from Louisiana Metalsmiths Association. My question is on the hood top they show a 17inch bend and 4inches from the top, is this space open and what degree of a bend would it be? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
wendell langley  <wolangley at aol.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 01:42:45 GMT

Niobium AKA Columbium (in the US): Steve, Is this a "need to know" or a stump the guru question?

Niobium is used to stabilize carbon in stainless steels, especialy the cutlery grades. It is also used to make a niobium carbide, an abrasive. Niobium is a by-product of tin extraction. I found nothing on "Niobium c130".

Niobium is soft and ductile at room temperature and can be worked cold. It melts at 4474°F (2468°C) but burns when heated in air. So unless you work in a vacumme or an inert atmosphere you don't heat Niobium.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 02:01:34 GMT

Do you know where I can find information on how to go about constructing a spiral staircase. I have a potential deep-pocket client who is building a 20,000 sq.ft. home and is interested in a spiral staircase. My next question is WHAT DO I CHARGE! TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 02:03:42 GMT

I found this posted on another site. I think it's important enough to post here.

Welding Hazards

In confined spaces, welding can be much more dangerous. With less fresh air, toxic fumes and gases can be much stronger. Shielding gases, like argon, can displace the oxygen and kill you. These are some of the hazardous materials:

METALS • Stainless steel contains nickel and chromium. Nickel can cause asthma. Nickel and chromium can cause cancer. Chromium can cause sinus problems and "holes" between the nostrils. • Mild steel (red iron) and carbon steel contain manganese. Manganese can cause Parkinson's disease, which cripples the nerves and muscles. • Zinc in galvanized metal or in paint (on welded surfaces) can cause metal fume fever. It feels like the flu and goes away in a few hours or days after
exposure ends.

COATINGS and RESIDUES • Lead (in some paints) can cause lead poisoning — headaches, sore muscles and joints, nausea, stomach cramps, irritability, memory loss, anemia, and kidney and nervous system damage. If lead dust goes home on work clothes/shoes, it can make your family sick, most of all your children. • Cadmium (in some paints and fillers) can cause kidney problems and cancer.

SOLVENTS • Welding through or near some solvents can produce phosgene, a poisonous gas. The gas can cause fluid in the lungs. You may not notice the problem until hours after you quit welding. But fluid in your lungs can kill you.

GASES • When carbon dioxide is used for shielding, carbon monoxide can form and kill you. • The welding arc can form ozone and nitrous oxides from the air. MIG and TIG welding make the most ozone, most of all when aluminum is welded. These fumes irritate the eyes, ear, nose, throat, and lungs and can damage the lungs. • Nitrous oxides can cause fluid in the lungs.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 02:26:17 GMT

Spiral Staircase: Tim. I've got a four parter from the OLD days that I need to post here. I will put it together and post it on the 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 02:37:14 GMT

I have an OLD blacksmiths 3lb hammer that is beautiful in every way that such tools can be. I baught it for $1.00 at a flea market from someone who didn't know what he had or maybe didn't care. I figure that it's between 80 and 100 years old and it is clearly hand made. It has a wonderful balance and is just the right wieght to realy move the metal. The only thing that I am worried about is there are nicks and lines in the face. I know this happens to hammers as they age but I'm worried that the steel is losing its temper. Is this a valid concern and if so is there anything I can do about it?
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Friday, 04/07/00 03:17:58 GMT

OLD HAMMER: Bill, You don't know what the other guy was doing with it. My Dad and younger brothers went through an arrow-head making period and ruined the face of every hammer we owned AND the top of a little precision vise that was the closest thing to an anvil they could find. Hammering flint and other hard rock will do that. . .

Hammer faces also start to break up from metal fatigue. Little fine hair line cracks in a crisscross pattern are the tell tale signs.

The only solution is to grind off sufficient metal to get beyond the effected metal. So you have to decide if the hammer is a "user" or a "collector". If you are going to use it then you need to get beyond the bad material.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 04:18:21 GMT

Re: shielding gasses; Argon has no odor and is heavier than air,when used in a tank or other enclosed vessel with entry hatch at top , will fill with argon and push lighter breathable air out top same as if you filled it with water
Tom-L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 08:41:16 GMT

The proper "anvil" for flintknapping is your thigh and belly. Some knapping friends has commented that I got the perfect physiqe for knapping. Should I be insulted ? :-)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 04/07/00 10:25:28 GMT

If anyone would like to read the rest of the article that I extracted the welding warnings from, it is located at:

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 11:52:51 GMT

Knapping: Olle, In that case I would be the knappiest of all. . . :( Well, I must give my family credit, they DO know the right way to knap flint and even *I* know that bone or antler hammers are used for most of the work. However, they were not particularly intrested in traditional methods, they just wanted to see IF they could do it.

In Virgina there is no really good flint. The majority of points found in Virginia are made of local white quartzite (??) that is full of random shear planes and crystal facets. Over the years my brothers and sisters have collected thousands of arrow heads and spear points and those made of good flint are quite rare. When flint points are found the are probably of material imported from Kentucky. The challange is to see if you can work this local material. It does not flake like flint nor can usual pressure metods be used to work edges (I've tried a little too. . . :o)

The curious thing is that a world famous flint knapper now lives a few blocks down the street from our childhood home. Coincidence?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 13:01:02 GMT

hey guru i have an interesting tidbit of information that might help with the flint problem it will take more digging for info on your part but since you are where you are it might work all of the old ships that came from england during the 17th 18th and early 19th century used flint nodules for ballast and dumped them out around the bay areas where they were docked i do 18th century re-enactments and need the flint too we go to a place around charlston sc and find some there not too much and it depends on if the tide is out too sorry so lone but needed to explain
terry   <terryh at buncombe.main.nc.us> - Friday, 04/07/00 14:09:53 GMT

Flint: Terry, good info. Now, the question is, are these just "rocks", or artifacts?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 14:22:03 GMT

Since most of us here have some interest in the history of technology, and flintknapping was mentioned: Did you know that some of the earliest uses of metal ( at least in Scandinavia)was copper-points for pressure-flaking flint?
Another example of not-perfectly linear progress.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 04/07/00 14:47:12 GMT


The photo contest rules have finaly been updated. Sorry it has taken so long.
You have one week left until the April 15th dealine to get your submissions in!

The first photo contest submissions are in and they are beauts! We were going to post these as they came in but I've decided to wait until after the deadline since it is so close and it may give the later entries an advantage. The photos will be posted by the end of April.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 15:13:08 GMT

Hello I have an old wire wheeled buggy that has an excellent historical past to it. It was a rubber tired buggy with bicycle wheel type spokes. Unfortunately one of the wheels is missing. I have 3 and the rubber bands that go on them. I sure would like to restore this buggy. If you know of any person that does this kind of work I sure would like to know more.
Thank you
Herman Doty Jr.  <hdwhutn at netzero.net> - Friday, 04/07/00 15:14:16 GMT

thanks for the info on the hazards.

I am glad you were not envious of us white hats! As we would have hated to lower our standards to let YOU in! GRIN!!!!!!

And if we are irritating, then we must be doing something right!!!!

ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 04/07/00 15:44:11 GMT

Flint Knapping: Olle, many of our group are also intrested in black powder weapons as well as flint/steel firemaking. The study of the history of technology is full of twists and turns. It is VERY easy to get off on tangents.

I got into blacksmithing while researching how to produce the marbled temper blue that is on many shotgun recievers. Along the way I studied historic ironmaking and foundry work, made patterns large and small for casting, designed a few machine tools and wrote some computer programs. It wasn't until much later that I accidentaly found the answer to my original question asked 20 years earlier.

While looking for information on how to layout guitar frets to help my son build a guitar I found that musicologists claim the Ancient Greek Kithara as the guitar's ancestor. I became enamored by the Kithara and I spent a year studying Greek history and literature trying to find information on them (there are NO extant examples and ALL the images of them are two dimensional frontal - no clue to depth). Eventualy I built two reproduction Greek Kitharae.

Its amazing at the subtle hints about technology you will find and have to look at it as not having been written by a technologist and having been translated who knows how many times by more - non-mechanical types. . . So many times the world of the translator is put into the transaltion. So which writer/translater indicated in the Illiad that the Ancient (Not classical)Greeks undersood alloying and the elemental metals used? Did the original storyteller (AKA Homer) know when he described the forge of Hephestos that he was giving away knowledge that he himself might not have had? Or one of many narators and translators? AND how many times have the technology historians overlooked this clue?

THE POINT? While searching the net for information on the Kithara I came across the Blacksmiths Junkyard and started answering questions there. . . and, so here we are.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 16:16:20 GMT

I'm a young blacksmith with about six years experience. I've made alot of simple knives and weapons and have found a love for making funtional japanese styled swords and weapons. They look really good but I don't know how to make or apply the adhessive clay mixture to make the wave pattern on the edge to give them the final touch. Could you tell me the directions to make, apply and treat to get the results I want? Oh yeah...could you also give me some tippers on folding the metal? I can not get the halves to weld together consistantly and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. It often set's me back until I have me grandpa fix them for me. I would like to do it myself and I need directions. Could you help?
Chad Locke  <hotforgin at hotmail.com> - Friday, 04/07/00 23:41:42 GMT

I have a fellow smith in need of the maintance and foundation plans for a Bradley Hammer. He loaned his out and they have never been returned and now is the time for the cement in his new shop. thanks
pat hayes  <patndee at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 01:33:20 GMT

Chad: I sent you a long mail on the subject. Centaur Forge has books on the subject of Japanese swords and they will explain the process of producing the hamon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 02:22:33 GMT