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 8 - 14, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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I know nothing about blacksmithing. I need to know how a double edged sword would have been made in the English 1500s
The materials used how those materials were obtained and the layout of a Blacksmiths shop.

The step by step route the raw materials would take through to the finished product.

I am researching for a book.

Ken Fearnley  <kenjo at xtra.co.nz> - Saturday, 04/08/00 06:23:26 GMT

Historical Metalurgy: Ken, You will need more information about metalurgy and the history of technology in general than about blacksmithing. Start with The History of Metalography by Cyril Stanley Smyth.

Layout: One thing you will find about smithys is that there has never been two alike. Other than the fact that every smith needs a fire to heat his metal and anvil and hammer to work it with there are no "typical" shop layouts. The tools and the fact that they must be within a convienient working distance of each other is the only common bond.

For a look at the tools and operations see Diderot's Encyclopedia of Trades and Industries. This refence
was written in the 1700's and has hundreds of engravings of shops and tools detailing their operation. There is very little difference between a blacksmith shop of 1500 and one at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1700's.

AND one of the few references on metals from the 1500's is Agricola's 1556 DeRe Metalica. It is mostly about extraction and processing but it may be an eye opener.

Then there is the problem of changing views of historical methods. In the past a rather simplistic view of steelmaking was taken and it was assumed that since many cultures didn't specificaly make steel that they imported it. However it is now believed that under certain conditions that every bloomery operation could produce a range of material. The old view was that they made either wrought iron which has no carbon and cannot be hardened, or made cast iron which has too much carbon to be anything but cast. However, between the two extreames is steel. Under certain conditions a small amount of "hard iron" can be found attached to many wrought iron blooms. These bits of steel were (according to the new theory) always available to be collected. Refining the steel was much the same as the process of making steel for a Japanese sword. "Folding" and welding and "folding" again until a more uniform product was obtained. This new view has a lot of common sense and logic behind it.

To do your subject justice is not a simple project. The above books are all available in reprint or from many libraries. For these and hundreds of other books on blacksmithing, bladesmithing and armor order catalogs from Centaur Forge and Norm Larson Books. See our article on Getting Started for basic how-to references. And lastly, before writing on this subject you should really try your hand at it. Seek out a local smith and get a few lessons.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 14:42:01 GMT

hi guru no these are just flint nodules that were thrown out but it is enlish flint and very good
i have one other thing to give you an idea on the clamp that you have for the third hand in the 21st century ? there is another kind that might be more useful but not quite as easy if you have ever seen a wood workers shaving horse you know the clamp is foot powered and its just a head that travels over and down onto the wood with a pivot joint couldnt you do the same thing with the anvil step up to the anvil lay the metal down and step on the pedal and the head would hold at this one point whatever you put down ?? jsut a thought
terry  <terryh at buncombe.main.nc.us> - Saturday, 04/08/00 14:50:17 GMT

terrible spelling fingers not functioning today lol
terry - Saturday, 04/08/00 14:51:45 GMT

Clamps: Terry, Paw-Paw's clamp is just one of many ways. His takes advantage of the Vise Grips compound leverage and release mechanism.

Plain old bent hold downs work fine and are dead simple to make. Some smiths forge a strap that fits around their anvil that is held down by a spring or dead weight (a bucket of sand is currently popular). Farriers commonly use a foot operated vise but the sam principle has been applied to hold downs on anvils. You could write a small book about blacksmiths "helpers". We just happen to have Paw-Paw's posted.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 16:37:47 GMT

RE: flint nodules:: As an archaeologist, I must first say "Don't ever disturb a historic site!" That said, however, while those ballast flints are technically artifacts, being indicators of human activity, they are also unmodified rocks. The sites are recorded, it's good flint, heck, even the Indians used it in the vicinity of Jamestown. It's a fine line between trash that's part of history and trash that's just trash. I guess what I'm trying to say is, that while my opinion is my own and in no way reflects that of all archaeologists, Terry is right. They're just rocks with an interesting story. Of course, there's a saying among archaeologists that the only thing two of us can agree on is that a third one is a jerk...
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Saturday, 04/08/00 16:39:42 GMT


That one got a chuckle out of me, but it also brought a question to mind.
What does the THIRD archaeologist think?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 17:21:01 GMT

THIRD MAN: He thinks all the others that don't agree with HIM are jerks. . . :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 18:40:36 GMT

Terry, I use a length of motor cycle chain anchored on one side of my anvil that I throw across and attach to a foot pedal on the other side. It's worked well for almost everything for 20+ years.Like the Guru sez, you could write a book.
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Saturday, 04/08/00 21:06:59 GMT

Paw Paw: The Guru is right about the third archaeologist.

My reply got me thinking as well. Started wondering about wether or not any federal or state agency might take an interest in those rocks, so I broke out the 40-lb book of federal regulations on what exactly constitutes an archaeological or historic property. The short answer: It depends on where you are. According to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended, unmodified rocks are NOT considered archaeological resources UNLESS they are associated with an historic site that is protected under any of the other 20 gazillion regulations. The rocks aren't covered under admiralty law since they aren't shipwrecks, but they are in the water. They were deposited through human activity, but aren't associated with protected sites AS FAR AS I KNOW. I'm an inland boy, and don't know who or what claims title to whatever you call the place those rocks are found. If the land or water is federal property, EVERYTHING is protected, even the foam off the waves. If it's state property, I don't know. This is just one of the many reasons I didn't become a lawyer. This and to avoid becoming a uniform sword test medium.
The moral of this post is, don't remove, or even move anything on federal property, chances are it's a felony.

On another tangent, I use a bench-holdfast shaped doohicky to hold stuff on the anvil. Sometimes it even works! That's why this summer I plan to build a treadle hammer. And a JYH, if I have the time and resources. Little funds, little room, and never used the stick welder I have access to, and the torch isn't big enough. Question for the Gurus: would nickel brazing hold up on a treadle/light power hammer? I know it's got a heck of a tensile strength IF the joints are done correctly. That's enough for this post.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Saturday, 04/08/00 21:32:13 GMT

REGS: Alan, The complexities of just WHO'S rock those are made me ask what I thought was a rhetorical question in the first place. On the other hand, its often better if you DONT ASK.

Brazing is plenty strong to build all sorts of machinery. Joint design is critical. But it is also very expensive as is gas welding in general.

A buzz box and some rod is CHEAP every way you look at it (even labor). A few hours practice with a GAOL and you will do OK. Good dry rods weld better than old damp ones. E6013's and E7024's weld the easiest but E6011's are hard to get a nice looking weld. 6011's WILL weld through old nasty rust though.

Sounds like a collection of hold downs would make a good iForge segment. Any volunteers? We have forms and how-to instructions now :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 23:12:11 GMT

I use a hold down for my anvil that is made from a woodworking pipe clamp and a short length of pipe through the hardy hole and a pin undeneath to secure it. I got the idea from another blacksmith. It works well, and is easy to place/remove.
Ed  <millerea at cadvision.com> - Saturday, 04/08/00 23:56:35 GMT


I thought the Guru was right, his answer sounded logical.

"Sounds like a collection of hold downs would make a good iForge segment. Any
volunteers? We have forms and how-to instructions now :)"

Is a good idea. Would take some research. Even though I use the clamp that stareted the discussion most, one of my anvils has a hooc on the far side, and not too far away is a lead weight cast around a chain. Hook the chain to the anvil hook, and toss the weight over to the other side. Works, just not quite as hand for me as the clamp. In the final analisys, it's just a matter of what we get used to using.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 00:41:44 GMT

Artifacts and Federal Sites:

Alan is right, you don't take "nothin'" from a Federal site, especially not a park. For certain purposes BLM and others will grant permission for research projects, as will the NPS, but it's highly regulated and it has to be very legit.

On the other claw; in the US private ownership tends to be fee simple, which means you own everything to the core of the earth, unless you've signed away your mineral rights or the state has a compelling interest in irreplaceable archeological artifacts and contexts. What this usually boils down to is: if you have the landowners permission, it's yours! Otherwise, it's his or hers. On the shore, however, land rights only extend as far as mean low water, after which it's usually in state jurisdiction.

Confused yet? Well, all warships belong to the country of origin, and wrecks of Confederate ships are under the aegius of the US Navy, so when folks started mucking around with the Alabama off the coast of France, the USN and the NPS were involved. I'll talk to our maritime historian about flint ballast rocks.

Back from CT and NY. Cooler and raining on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 00:56:36 GMT


Got much information about the Alabama? Has there been a "dig" at the wreck site? Sounds like an interesting story.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 02:08:08 GMT

Hold-downs - "Practical Blacksmithing" has several different designs for anvil clamps operated by foot. They just work on leverage.

I've been thinking about the third hand problem for a while. Since I'm just starting, I have yet to do any punching or chiseling that requires three hands, but I realize the need will arise eventually. My idea was to make an actual third arm out of pipe and a vise to hold the metal. The arm would be made so that it could slide back and forth and swivel from side to side so that it would have as much articulation as possible. Set-bolts would lock everything down once you had all the articulation how you needed them. Then you heat the iron, clamp it into the vise on the arm, and you have both hands free to run a hammer and handled punch/chisel. Sorry if it's unclear. If there are any questions, just holler and I'll try to clarify.
Stormcrow  <yes, I have e-mail> - Sunday, 04/09/00 02:35:06 GMT

Paw Paw;
after getting your message about my anvil being an arm and hammer: took anvil to meeting today and got a Good look at markings in daylight, lightning bolt only something a joker put on with a chisle, brand name on anvil is AJAX. ever hear of one? any info? no one at meeting ever heard of it and could only get remarks about wyl-e-coyote's anvils. i think it is a very good anvil after working on it for a month or so but would like to know more about it. beginning to feel like the beginner i am. thanks
Mike  <k_trout at swbell.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 02:45:59 GMT

Wiley Coyote: Used famous ACME brand (everything).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 03:14:11 GMT


Dammit! I hate it when somebody does something like the lightning bolt! But it's not your fault!

That anvil was made by the Columbus Forge and Iron Company. (Same company that made the Trenton anvil) Many people think that they were marked AJAX because they were seconds, but there were so many of them that Richard Postman thinks that it must have been some hardware company's trademark, also. (ANVILS IN AMERICA p354)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 03:24:48 GMT

C.S.S. Alabama; Paw Paw:

Our maritime historian has some good stories about it, and has even been to France on the project. I'll pick his brain next week, when I get back to work. (He goes to France, I go to Long Island; Harrumph!)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 04:09:25 GMT


Preciate it! Any books about it that you know of?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 04:25:11 GMT

My friend and I do not know much about blacksmithing but then we had the name of our shop (along with our names) tatooed on a thick sheet of metal. the problem is there are a lot of swirl marks on the surface of the metal made by the grinder. we've tried using #1000-grade sandpaper but then the sandpaper left it marks too! how can i smoothen the surface as smooth as possible like it hadn't been touched by a grinder? is there anyway to polish it too? thanks
Gig  <yogibaby at i-next.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 04:40:59 GMT

Do all anvil makers sign their pieces? I have a 135 lb anvil with no visible markings. It was sold to me as a Peter Wright because of the form and feet. Rebound is good. Is there a way to bring out markings if they are not visible?
George Blackman  <gblackman at deschutes,net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 14:08:20 GMT

Polishing: Gig, You can get a mirror finish if you want. It just takes LOTS of work. See our article on the 21st Century page about WHEELS.

A belt sander works well for this. Start with a coarse grit and then progressively smoother. A 120 grit is almost polishing grit for steel. The mistake most folks make is going to to fine a grit too soon.

Get a good uniform finish with 80 grit, then move to 120 and then 180 (open bond belt grits). You may need to wet the surface to improve the finish and lengthen the life of the belts. After that you you will have very fine directional scratches. To remove those go to 120 or 100 grit wet or dry and hand sand with water or kerosene. Kerosene will prevent rust while working. There is a huge difference between the 180 open bond belt and the same grit in wet-or-dry. After a day of hand sanding you will have a very smooth surface. It may be what you want.

If you want polished, jump to 240 grit until there is an even finish and then use Dupont 'orange' rubbing compound. If you use a buffing wheel on a grinder be sure to keep the surface wet or you will burn or scratch the surface and be back to swirl makes. I'd do this step by hand. When using rubbing compound you use it thick and wet and then polish off the dry residue with a clean soft (cotton) rag. The rag picks up little bits of compound and continues the polishing. When done with this you will have a mirror surface. Wax, oil or degrese and lacquer immediately.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 14:10:26 GMT

Unmarked: George, many anvils were sold unmarked by various manufacturers. Most commonly this was so that hardware companies could mark them with their trademark. Often they did not get around to it or were in a rush to fill orders and the anvils didn't get marked.

The most distinctly different feature about a Peter Wright is the flat ledge on the foot under the horn and heal. This provided a place to clamp down the anvil. Both early and late style Peter Wrights had it and I don't think any others did that I'm aware of.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 14:17:24 GMT

Anvil clamps,
I've been using a clamp similar to Paw-Paw's for over a year now. One of the most valuable tools I own. The only difference I made to mine is I drilled a 3/8th hole in the shaft (at the bottom of the hardy hole) and put a clevis with a pin which keeps it secured to the anvil. I initially had it without and it would "slip" and loose it's grip. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 14:47:15 GMT


Mine is slotted for a wedge for the same purpose. But I rarely use it. How well it grips seems to be dependent on what the angle is between the clamp and the shaft.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 16:25:21 GMT

I'm a 56 yr old exwelder retired from the charleston naval shipyard when it closed down. I should know this but I
dont.What's the difference between cold rolled and hot rolled,their characterics and their best uses.I'm wanting to get started in blacksmithing ,I know it's a little late in life but better late than never.I find you guys,blacksmithing,and this web page fasinating.Thanks for any help you can give me.
SMITTY  <rfsbj at webtv.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 17:30:42 GMT

Anyone have used anvils 150-300 pds or know of a good place to find one for someone who lives nr. Toronto on.?
Also any info. on thermocouplers, pyrometers, ondelays, etc would be helpfull. Good reading material or people to ask.
Also should I worry about the number of reheats in propane forge, if I take the precaution to flux and put in a stainless tube?

P.S. Paw Paw Wilson...
Just a suggestion, by the Machinery Handbook its about 1500-1700 pages of distilled knowledge a must for the begginer like myself.

Dave  <bolton at skylinc.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 18:01:48 GMT


Guru, you tell him.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 20:16:32 GMT

OK, Paw-Paw: Dave, we have been pushing MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK here for 3 years and elsewhere before that. I mention it a couple times a week if not more often. We also have a comparitive review (always in progress) starting with a 5th Edition on our book review page. AND it is recommended in our Getting Started article as a primary resource for blacksmiths.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 20:56:38 GMT

COLD vs. HOT roll: SMITTY, Cold rolled, more properly cold drawn steel is precision sized high quality steel. It is descaled before drawing to size so it has a smooth clean surface. Due to the drawing process it is also work hardened so it is inclined to be springy. Normaly it is 1018-1020 steel but it can also be purchased in leaded and sulphurized steels for machinability. It is available starting at 1/8" square up to 1" in 1/16" inch increments and many larger sizes. Other shapes are available besides square: rectangular, round and hex. Due to the quality and precision (+0 -.005") it is more expensive than hot rolled steel. Some round grades are actualy centerless ground rather than drawn.

Hot rolled steel is just that, rolled hot. It has the mill scale finish and rounded corners in most cases. Although most grades of steel are available as hot rolled the most common "mild steel" is actually A36 structural grade steel. Hot rolled steel is cheaper and is not work hardened. It is not available in the same variety of sizes as cold drawn.

Most blacksmiths prefer to use hot rolled as it is cheaper AND has a uniformly scaled surface. When forging cold drawn the parts heated will be scaled and the rest bright. The bright oiled surface of cold drawn is difficult to keep paint on. However, if doing fancy sculptural work (hot or cold) the cold drawn is of more uniform quality.

BASTARD processes include:

Direct from the ladle extrusion of coiled bar that is straightened and sold as hot rolled. This steel has not been worked by rolling and is often of poor quality.

Flat stock is commonly sheared from plate and the edges finished by cold rolling. This is a hard springy product (due to the plate rolling and further cold work) and has an inferior edge finish.

Both these products should be avoided. Flat stock, most commonly used in cold bending operation depends on a known "temper" for controlled spring back. Sheared from plate stock is very springy and does not behave like hot rolled. The extruded steel is often difficult to forge tending to crack and fall apart. It is only good for fabrication where no bending or forgeing is to be done.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 21:26:00 GMT


My copy is the 17th Edition.

Nother chuckle.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/09/00 21:26:58 GMT

Hey, ask a rhetorical question, get a rhetorical answer (Grin)!
Never ask an academic of any sort a question you don't REALLY want to know!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Sunday, 04/09/00 23:26:35 GMT

I am a beginner blacksmith. In one of my books, it talks about a heading plate to form heads of nails and bolts. Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you know where I can get one? Also, I have an anvil with a 1 inch hardy hole. I can only find swages and fullers that are 7/8 inch. How would this affect my work? Do you know where I could find a 1 inch fuller or swage?
Thank you.
James  <Epsilon_Guard at juno.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 00:33:52 GMT

Paw-Paw mine is the 17th edition also. I bought mine new when I started toolmaking, 2yrs befor I got drafted. Still at it.
KID  <x/x> - Monday, 04/10/00 00:38:44 GMT

Headers and Swages: James, These are both problems that the smith solves for himself. You can buy headers but they are too easy to make. It is just a bar of steel with a tapered hole punched in the end and the face of the bar tapered away from the hole. The tapered hole is made with a tapered punch. The header can be made from mild steel but it is best if made out of spring or tool steel. We will have an on-line iFoege demo this week or next on Headers and Nails. (the pressure is on now Ralph!)

You can buy hardies and swage tools that fit but the problem is usualy solved with a simple bushing. 16ga sheet metal or a piece of 1" thin wall structural tubing does the trick.

All our advertisers would be glad to sell you the tools if you would rather buy them. If your book talks about a header and doesn't tell you how to make one you've got the wrong book. See our Getting Started article linked at the top of this page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 01:15:09 GMT

MACHINERY'S Again: I grew up with my Dad's 13th Edition, when I graduated from high school he gave me an 18th which is my "standard". I once traded a brand new 22nd for an 11th only to find out later that the guy was illiterate and hadn't read a word in his original. Now my collection numbers a dozen or so. My wife wants a new large print edition. Yeah, we know the book. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 01:28:44 GMT

I don't want to ask this and won't blame you if you don't answer but I promised a few (lunatic) friends of mine that I would. How do you fire an anvil? They found references of this activity in three books. We know that two anvils are needed and that you must have black powder but we don't know how to set it off. The whole operation sounds like an 18th century potato gun to me and I don't want to be anywhere near these guys when they try it. Please tell me this is something you have no information on. At least that way I can be truthful with them when I'm trying to save their necks. Thanks for the (lack of) info. :)
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Monday, 04/10/00 02:02:13 GMT


Sorry, but you lose this one. (grin)

You need to go to the Anvilfire News section. Volume 12, Page 8. There are several pictures there of a good system for "blowing the anvil".

After you look through those, if you have any questions, come back and ask them, and either the guru or I will answer them for you. Enjoy! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 03:04:42 GMT


Done properly, it isn't nearly as dangerous as it sounds. BUT note the caveat of done properly". It is a rather explosive process! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 03:07:38 GMT

Where can I find a replacement blower or bellows, I have a small forge and need a blower or the blue prints for a small bellows. I have not yet used this forge,(traded a shotgun for it), and I admit I am new to blacksmithing, but I have seen and talked to a few who do blacksmithing around here.
Wesley Simpson  <slovaczek at juno.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 08:03:04 GMT

BLOWER: Wesley, Almost any type of squirel cage type blower will work. Blow hair dryers have been used! There are also small blowers available from heating and ventilating suppliers. A small forge will work on 150CFM a large forge only needs around 300CFM. Centaur Forge has the blowers and a booklet on building a bellows.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 12:51:46 GMT


I use a blower off of an old dishwasher, i removed the heating element and covered the hole w/ a piece of sheet metal, then i made a sheetmetal gate over the opening to regulate air flow

It works really well on my small forge, and it didnt cost me anything!
SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 13:06:36 GMT

Anvil Blowing: Bill, there is a link on Emile's links. . The folks we have seen a number of times have the base anvil welded to a steel plate. Be sure wrought iron anvils are used (NO CASTINGS). One of the stories in the Anvil Book reports of one enthusiast that launched his anvil over several houses, through a roof, a coffee table, floor and into a basement. . . Do you know what that costs today? Likely everything you own plus some jail time. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 13:39:46 GMT

It will have to be next week as I had to snail mail the demo.... I guess I was not the required 3% smarter than the scan that was required to operate tools......

Speaking of anvil firing etc. I have a freind who was shooting a small cannon his dad made a long time ago. This cannon was fired at least once a year for several years. Well anyway, this past summer it was fired again, but this time it blew up. The largest piece(about 60lbs) flew almost a quarter mile and went thru the neighbors garage roof and thru the roof of a new car......
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 04/10/00 16:14:39 GMT

Ralph :o) Ok, Scout now the pressure is on the other more technicaly astute computer literate (ie younger) volunteers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 16:41:08 GMT

Now wait a min!!!! I am MUCH younger than PawPAw!!!! grin! Oh wait he can use a scanner...... smile

ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 04/10/00 18:11:06 GMT

Younger, yes. Smarter, no. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 04/10/00 18:33:57 GMT

is a swedge bolt the proper term for an indented steel stud for an epoxy or grout concrete application?
amsteel  <edwardh2elmo at aol.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 00:35:56 GMT


what are you talking about?
technicaly astute? computer literate?


SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 02:31:17 GMT

Paw Paw and Guru,
Thanks alot. (Note the thick slur of defeated sarcasm and the bewildered roll of the eyes.) ;)
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 03:06:01 GMT


(grin) Sorry bout that! Actually, *IF* it's done right, it's safe and always makes a hit with folks. And I've always enjoyed making things go boom(grin)

They're going to be doing it at the BGOP Spring Fling this weekend, I'll get a series of pictures and see I can write up a short article about the procedure.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 03:22:36 GMT

Please tell me the best way to join copper and A-36 steel .This is for outdoor lighting, 1/8" angle steel with copper plate on top. I considered rivets but for larger jobs this finish will not work. Braze or mig. Thank you for your help.
Thomas  <lava at mindspring.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 05:04:27 GMT

I can't find any info on the sise a bellows needs to be conpared to the sise of the forge. I am seting up a portable forge for demos in renn faires and would like to use a bellows that is small enough to move by my self. the onely referance I can find is for for an average sise forge (3ft)if some one could give me a formula to figure out the aproxamet CFM I can figure it out from there. also what is the result if the bellows are to small (cold fire? can't reach welding heat? long heats?) any help would be great.
Matthew Parkinson
Matthew parkinson - Tuesday, 04/11/00 12:50:04 GMT

Copper and Steel: Thomas, Due to copper having a higher melting point than brazing rod you can braze-weld copper to steel. HOWEVER, dissimilar metals should not be used outdoors unless very carefully designed. Bimetalic corrosion occurs and can be a significant problem. By joining copper and steel you are making what becomes an electric cell when water is applied. The more acidic (as in acid rain) the worse the problem.

What we are talking about is accelerated rust near the joint. If you are making a temporary short lived device then don't worry about it. If its something of value that is going to spend years outdoors then you need to think about it. Proper cleaning and painting can go a long ways in this reguard but I expect the copper is to be bare or exposed??
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 13:52:29 GMT

SIZING a BELLOWS: Matthew, you can create a welding heat with a small set of "fireplace" bellows. It will be a small fire and you will have to pump almost constantly. You can do the same with a tube and lung power. . . Primitive forges were operated this way from the begining and still are in a few places. Portability is often a concern for nomads, sailors and the like. In the extreme cases a helper is needed. Several if using lung power.

The larger a bellows the less often you have to pump it. Properly sized and designed bellows discharge their air slowly and the smith may be able to work a piece while the bellows discharges from the last pull.

The CFM of a hand operated bellows falls in a wide range. How fast are you willing to pump?? A couple months ago I ran the calculations but all all they will tell you is the volume per pump cycle. A big part of the calculation is the weight of the upper board on double chambered bellows. The ones I built (3' x 5') worked fine with 1" nominal pine lumber (3/4" finished shelving). However, ocassionaly I needed more pressure (resulting in higher CFM) and I just tossed a couple hammers or swages on top of the bellows. This too is something that has been done since the invention of the bellows. . . Single chambered bellows are pumped UP and DOWN by the user and the weight of the boards is irrevelent to the air volume. Lighter will be easier on the worker.

A 3' (915 mm)long x 22" (560 mm) doubled chambers bellows would be quite portable at an estimated 35 pounds (15Kg). That doesn't include a support frame, lever and chain. All seperate objects.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 14:27:19 GMT

I know nothing about blacksmithing. I am doing a report for my teacher and need to know how to make a french rapier. I need to know the process and the materials to make the entire thing.

Thank you very much
Scouter 106
Scouter 106  <scouter 106 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 14:40:32 GMT

Swedge Bolt: Amsteel, My 6th Edition of the Industrial Fasteners Institute Fasteners Standards (1988) lists "bent bolts" for anchoring but that is all. Marks' Handbook doesn't list anything of the type under bolts or studs. I also looked in the McGraw-Hill Handbook of Fastening and Joining methods. What you have or are looking for is a specialty fastener and as such could be called anything the manufacturer likes.

In epoxy anchoring systems I have used just plain all thread. The fastener you mention would also work. In concrete or grout applications the lack of bond strenght and low material shear strength normaly requires a bent bolt to resist rotation of the stud/bolt.

I've used a lot of popular anchor bolt systems and haven't been happy with any of them. Expansion anchors rely on the hole size and the strength of the concrete, neither of which are uniform enough for the fasteners to work dependably. I have used epoxy and have been very happy with the short term benifits (no failed anchors rotating in their holes).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 15:32:42 GMT

Scouter 106: A rapier is made much like any other sword. You will find out (aproximately) how that is done by studying books about ancient weapons, but you really need to learn what kind of rapier it is you want to write about. The french used lots of different swords that COULD be called rapiers, and so did every other nation in the 16:th and 17:th century.
(And to all you sword-fanatics out there: Iīm trying to keep it simple, okay?)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 16:10:35 GMT

Rapier: Scouter 106, A thesis could be written on your topic. As a mater of fact, books have been written to cover each "step" of the process. The making of any type of arms or edged tool or weapon is the subject of a lifetime of study and is the highest "art" of the smith.

In other words, your topic is too broad.

Search your local library for any book on knife making. The basic steps and processes are the same for any blade. The rapier is one of the most difficult to make as it is very long and slender making it difficult to handle as well as being prone to breakage. Heat treatment is critical. This brings up the engineering and metalurgical aspects that must be researched independantly of the blademaking.

If the intent is to make a sword for competition then there are strict rules to follow. I used the key words Sword, Fencing, Federation on lycos.com and got dozens of links to organizations that should be helpful.

If your library doesn't have a book then you can purchase numerous bladsmithing books from Centaur Forge. Don Fogg's website may also be of help. In the end you will find that the making of rapiers is very specialized and many of the details are not published or must be gathered from many sources.

The most basic steps: Select the grade of steel, forge the blade close to shape, normalize the blade, rough grind the blade, harden the blade, temper the blade, straighten the blade, finish grind the blade, polish the blade, test the blade, fabricate and finish the guard, install the guard, install the grip (many types and decisions) and the pommel.

NOTE: The above steps are common to almost every type of blademaking.

Olle I thought I was trying to keep it simple. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 16:12:58 GMT


Check it out. Today is the day.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 17:04:27 GMT

In reference to the question from Thomas about copper and steel; would copper and white brass or maybe some kind of German silver work?
Bill  <w.stone at gte.net> - Tuesday, 04/11/00 23:47:00 GMT


Any time you put two different metals together in a moist environment, the process of Electrolysis will occur. The softer of the two metals will just "go away". It doesn't matter what the two metals are, and it doesn't take long.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 02:04:06 GMT

Paw Paw:

"Softer" is definately not the word you want there. Least "noble" is what you're looking for. All metals are arranged in a scale and the ones closer to the bottom of the list will become "anodic" when in contact with one higher on the list. Put soft silver in contact with hard steel and guess which one will go away first.
grant  <nakedanvil> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 02:19:35 GMT


(grin) Granted, that's better terminology. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 02:32:58 GMT

Bi-Metalic Corrosion: I have had a nice chart that puts a numeric value to the differences. Its labled "Standard Reduction Potentials". The same reference defines the Galvanic Series and the Electromotive Force Series and says they are not necessarily the same. . . but all used concerning corrosion. I'm making a chart with all three and will post it on the 21st Century page.

Generaly it has to do with the solubility of the metal in water which defines how rapidly it will produce hydrogen ions
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 05:52:20 GMT

Could someone please send me a plan for a hunting knife, or a samurai sword

PS I'm not a homicidal killer!!
Brynn  <brijhw at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 11:49:44 GMT


I would like some info on how to make a nice simple set of bellows, i would really like plans on the process and measurements for a medium sized pair, something smaller than those on the 21st century page.

SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 13:24:20 GMT

I am a mature age archaeology student studying a 20th century blacksmiths shop in a small rural town in Australia for my honours thesis and find the shop had a water cooled tuyere which appears rather unusual for a shop this size. It also appears at least some of the farm forges in the area also used this idea. Can you point me to any information regarding the use of such a device. this is a homemade one from an old copper tank and using thermodydamics to circulate the water.
Thanks John
John Hyett  <jrhyett at students.latrobe.edu.au> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 13:32:54 GMT


Also i could give my presentation in about two weeks, tonight i am going to bed early so i will not make the demo, im kinda bummed about that but i am falling asleep in too many classes. I will email you my drawings and pictures soon.

SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 13:34:40 GMT

Water Cooled Tuyere: John, Water cooled tuyeres were once quite popular but were (are?) more popular in Britian than in the US. Practical Blacksmithing an 1890 U.S. publication by M.T. Richardson has only a brief mention about them with few details. Meanwhile the COSIRA publication (British) shows only the water cooled type (I think).

Water cooled tuyeres are side draft types that extend into the fire bed and must be cooled. The bottom blast type rely on heat rising and air cooling from the bottom and from the blast.

NOTE: I couldn't find my copy of COSIRA to check the above statement. I DO know there is a drawing of a commercial water cooled forge in the booklet. They have also changed their name but if you are looking for a copy in libraries COSIRA will do.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 14:44:32 GMT

Scout: School studies are more important than blacksmithing now. Get your sleep then hit the books!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 14:46:58 GMT

Brynn: No such thing as a "plan" for these items but there ARE books on the subject that are available from Centaur Forge or Norm Larson. These are also projects that require a lot of background study. See our Getting Started article.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 14:50:47 GMT

JYH: Getting down to the wire and behind as usual. But I might be sending you a digital pic Saturday pm to guru at anvilfire.com. Don't count me out yet! I had to finish a paying job and it set me back. I figured it was time to give up last night when I cut the flat belt 4" too short. (not grinning)

On the good news side, I acquired another 400 pounds of tube for the JYH anvil today. It was always in the design,(12" by 2" wall tube around an 8" solid bar), but I was waiting for someone to make the mistake and produce a scrap tube here at the day job. They accomodated me last night and cut the bore off center. That will give me a 15 to 1 ratio if you count the flywheel and it's structure which is tied closely to the base. Total weight will be about 2500.

I can't wait to get it done and fire it up! We'll see how the air spring works. Hopefully it will give some of the advantages of an air hammer and take up less sideways space than an arched spring.

But I still won't get a coat of paint on it by Saturday pm. Oh well, you makes your decisions and you pays your price.

Swedge bolts: amsteel, might you mean "wedge" bolt? I've heard of Rawl and Hilti wedge (expansion) type anchors referred to as a wedge bolt. But as Guru points out, these rely on compression to the concrete. I've had good luck with epoxy also. I tied a suspended concrete slab into an existing wall last summer by epoxying the rebar for the new slab into holes drilled into the existing wall. Pullout tests showed that the rebar broke before the epoxy joint failed. I used an epoxy with ceramic filler that is supposed to "grip" the existing concrete better. I forget the brand, but Fastenal sells it in a twin tube setup.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 16:40:03 GMT

Tony, Just be sure to have your models lined up for your JIT photo shoot ;)

We used twin tube type epoxy system to set the pier for a small bridge. Holes were drilled in bedrock, SS all thread studs set with the epoxy and a template. Then the concrete base was formed and rebar tied to the studs. The pier was set on double nuts on the studs and leveled. Then the bridge was set. The concrete under the pier flange was poured last assuring a perfect fit. The only problem we had was trying to set too many studs at once and having to drill the epoxy out of one hole that we didn't get the stud into quick enough.

The epoxy system is probably the best way to go for setting architectual ironwork. I KNOW I'll never use another expansion anchor to set machinery again.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 17:36:36 GMT

John Hyett: TAB books has one called "practical blacksmithing and metalworking" by Percy Blandford that shows water-cooled tuyeres in plan view and in use. As the Guru said, they're most common with english-style side-draft forges. Since you are in Australia, it makes sense that English style tools would be used. Good luck on your project, I've never been able to find any shops to research AND get paid for so doing, but then I do mostly contract archaeology here in the U.S.

Alan L
Alan L  <Longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 17:39:06 GMT

can anvil bodies (around waist) be welded easily or would there be a special procedure for doing so i've got a 68 lb anvil with cracks in the waist under the horn that originate from the handling hole could they just be mig welded up?
rob   <irish270 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 18:21:38 GMT

Some posts above Tony mentioned arched springs, and theres been a lot of discussion about car-shocks and other ways to get springiness into a JYH. All the solutions seems to me to be more complicated than my old factorybuilt hammer wich uses a bundle of flat,straight, as-rolled pieces of spring-steel. I sent the guru a picture long time ago, and he thought it was a Swedish peculiarity not used in America, but it works well and several thousand of more or less that construction must have been made.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 18:35:48 GMT

Spring Hammer: Olle, I've still got your wonderful picture and WILL post it on the power hammer page. Spring helves were built here but were not very popular. On the Apalachain Blacksmiths Association page they have a JYH type hammer using a spring helve that is pretty slick. Just another one of those things I need to post. . . :(

Anvil Repair Rob, If the anvil is wrought iron or a late two part welded steel anvil it should be no problem.
Grind or arc gouge out the crack as deep as you can. Then weld it up. You will be better off using stick welding rather than MIG. If the body is wrought iron the impurities in the wrought will do peculiar things with the MIG weld. Flux from the stick weld will disolve and absorb the impurities. Weld a pass then clean up then weld another pass.

IF the anvil is a two part type (tool steel upper, mild steel lower) then the anvil should be preheated to 350-450°F before welding and the joint peened while cooling.

This is one of the few straight forward anvil repairs that can be made.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 20:09:12 GMT

Flat Springs: Olle, I agree that the flat spring (whether arched or not) method is probably the most durable, reliable and fairly efficient method. My only problem with it is that I'm afraid I would be forgetfull and get whacked in the head by the spring ends. I want to be able to work from both sides of the machine. This will be at right angles, so it was impossible to keep the spring away from where my head would want to be. It is also a fairly high mass arrangement and the driven components after the clutch (except the hammer) should be as low mass as possible. As I mentioned before, the only thing I don't like about shocks is that they are sucking up some of the energy that could be going into the work and transferring it to heat. Shocks certainly solve some of the design problems easily though! Kudo's to the Guru for thinking of it. I could install guards to save my head, but in this case, they would be in the way too.

As at least one other JYH builder has discovered, designing the flat or arched spring setup to assure you don't have too much or too little stroke is NOT a trivial exercise. But you can certainly build in the required adjustability and remove spring rate or adjust toggle bars until it works as you want. My earlier plan was to use arched leaf springs. But then I decided that I had to push the envelope and try another idea. I was working with an adjustable coil spring setup, then Bruce Wallace was good enough to post and explain the spring setup on the Beaudry hammer. I like that alot, but I didn't have the suitable parts lying around. I had this old hydraulic cylinder lying around and I was going to put the coil springs inside the cylinder. But then I remembered that air can be a very nice spring too. Assuming you can keep it where you want it and the whole air spring doesn't heat up too much. So it becomes a seal exercise. Take a suitable hydraulic cylinder, plug both ports and let the trapped air act as a spring. If the air stays put and doesn't leak past the piston seal, it should work well. If the piston seals do leak, I'll try different types without much difficulty.

I had to try it. If it doesn't work because I didn't take something into account, so what, I learn and have fun. And that's one more option no one else has to waste time on. I'll let you know. It's cheap and easy. (cheap and easy may be the real reasons I tried it) Efficiency should be very high unless seal friction causes too much heat. Mass is very low. Air doesn't weigh much. (grin)

I'm sure someone else must have tried it before, but I couldn't find any references. And I frequently can't help but try odd stuff anyway.

Epoxy: The other advantage for outdoor work in freezing climates is that the epoxy fills the hole and doesn't let water in that can freeze and bust the concrete. You can also build a little self draining curb to keep the puddles away from the iron.

JYH photo models: Yup, model lined up. We'll have to settle for my wife. I could have some "more suitable" models, but the hammer is at home and my wife will be there and I think she may frown on my use of "more suitable" models. I do know this beauty consultant that's "very suitable", and "very willing" but I know she is not welcome. Don't ask. But in the JYH "make do with what you have" spirit, I will make do with what I have. :) :(

Hmmmm. since I will be using a borrowed digital camera because that is my only ghost of a chance of getting a photo by the deadline, I could try to digitally enhance the photo. Ahhhhhh the mind reels with the possibilities now. Any particular enhancements that trip the trigger of the judge(s)????????
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 04/12/00 20:39:40 GMT


I'm not a judge, (I don't think) but I'm partial to red heads!

And like most intelligent husbands, I don't tell my wife everything! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 01:14:35 GMT

Spring Fling Flung; Paw Paw:

Looks like I'm going to miss the Spring Fling due to my daughter's college orientation that weekend. Ah well, the family needs my time too. Sorry I'll miss seeing you and some of the other folks out in the cybersphere. With our expedition to L'Anse aux Meadow in Canada for the Leif Ericson 1000 year celebration in July and August, I'll miss Flagstaff, too. I'll be glad to get into the next millenium. Maybe things will settle down ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Thursday, 04/13/00 02:31:39 GMT

Iwould like to find out about an old forge i found,
made by buffalo forge.
it sits on 4 legs made of cast iron about 30 lbs each the forge it self is 4x5 foot long its sweet.THANKS RALPH
Ralph Hinton  <Tag101 at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 02:37:40 GMT

Paw Paw,

Not that I couldn't tell my wife everything, but it's true that I don't tell her every thought. That said.....I may be able to arrange for 2 different "modeling" sessions. One at home and one here at work some time next week. There is a quite presentable redhead here. Maybe I could get some of the noon workout women at the YMCA to help too. Heck, maybe I'll just drive around with it on the trailer and stop every "model" type and ask them to help me win a contest. What a line, huh? The beauty consultant I referenced earlier is a deep auburn. I'd have to say that is a good color, myself. I see her on Monday. She gives a terrific massage/haircut!.........

Ooops, sorry. Off topic. It's Paw Paw's fault though! Isn't it??? Where was I... Oh yeah. Just finished the last of my machining for the JYH. Time to go home and assemble some now.

there, back on topic.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 02:51:06 GMT

I have spent some time making a damascus knife, I started by making a billet of old band saw blades, mild steel, and 1095. Well everthing looked pretty good up to about three hundred layers thats when I cut off about seven inches and twisted it. I then took the twisted billet and tried to weld it to a 1/4 inch round mild steel rod. well when I started to forge it out into a dagger blank the twisted egde separated from the rod in a couple of small places. For whatever reasons I have been unable to reweld the edge to the rod at these points. Question can I gas weld these two places and save the blank or am I just screwed. If I can gas weld it do you have any tips on gas welding.
Kial  <kmg11 at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 04/13/00 05:00:15 GMT

Hey guys,
I'm looking for someone in North Carolina, USA that would be willing to take on an apprentice, or just show me around a forge. I would like to eventually be a bladesmith, any help would be greatly appreciated.
Deus_Omega  <Deus_Omega at rivercto.net> - Thursday, 04/13/00 06:59:17 GMT

hey guru
i have one of those just thought of questions. if in the 18th century they only had mild steel to work with at best, then what were the weapons masters (sword & knife makers ect) doing to make such hard and springy weapons? things that we cant match today. how were they doing that??
terry  <terryh at buncombe.main.nc.us> - Thursday, 04/13/00 12:09:38 GMT

Apprenticship: Deus, Almost no one takes on apprentices because of the low cost/benifit ratio. In the old days you were enslaved for 7 years and the master was assured some return on his investment. Today folks expect you to have learned as much as you can about metal working in other areas before you start in the blacksmith shop. See our article at the top of this page on Getting Started.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 12:38:00 GMT

Hi Guru,
Due to arthritis, I can't work an anvil. But I'm very interested in a power hammer (trip hammer?), although I've never seen one work. I've seen these "Little Giant" hammers for sale every now and then, and was wondering if a 25 lb. hammer would work 1/2" hot rolled? Are there smaller hammers? Could one of these be operated from a wheelchair?(I'm not in one yet!)
Thanks for any input,

Jim  <jimsmetalcrafts at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 04/13/00 13:01:08 GMT

Mild Steel: Terry, Study your historical metalurgy a little more. Wrought iron, steel and cast iron have been available since the begining. Mild steel is a modern invention being produced by the Bessemer and later processes. In the 18th Century Huntsman invented Crucible steel searching for better clock spring material. Prior to that there were other known methods of making steel as well as carefuly selecting the right bits and pieces from the smelt. It is known that the co-fusion process (used to make Damascus) was delveloped 1000 years ago or more. It was lost only to be rediscovered in others times and places.

Myths: The belief that modern steels can't match ancient weapons is based on the myths about those weapons. Myths that are further reinforced by popular movies and television shows. I've had folks describe the casting/forging scene from Conan the Barbarian and say, "I know you do this and this, then what?". ITS FICTION! A Hollywood fantasy! The Highlander is more of the same. The "technical" parts are just as much fantasy as any other part of the story line.

Also don't believe what you see on many pages of the internet. Some folks selling swords and knives have a more fantastic line of bull than the Hollywood writers! Others just often don't have a clue what they are talking about.
There are also some VERY good resources out there. Don Fogg's page is an excelent resource for bladesmiths.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 13:41:01 GMT


The guru's comments re: apprenticeships are accurate. That said, I'm in North Carolina. I demonstrate at Historic Bethabara Park, here in Winston-Salem.
I'd be glad to meet you. You can find my schedule on my web site at:


Also, I can put you in contact with the NCABANA group, so you can visit/see some other shops.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 14:07:59 GMT

Forging from a chair: Jim, Power hammer is the proper term for almost every variety of hammer. A 25# hammer will do a number on 1/2" bar. However, you can also forge 1/4" with a 100# hammer and have the capacity to do other things as well.

Little Giants are generaly hard to control. When in perfect condition they work fairly well but just minor wear makes them difficult to control. Other brands of hammers have much better control. The reason you see so many Little Giants around is that they sold to farmers and small shops on credit.

Power hammers, though set too low for most modern workers have the anvil or dies set too high for operation from a chair. This is built into the hammer and would take some careful consideration for your purposes. The hammer would need to be set into a pit or the floor raised aound it. Since the treadle that operates the clutch on the hammer is designed for foot operation it would need to be moved and possibly redesigned for less forceful operation.

Instead of a mechanical hammer I would recommend a custom built air hammer. Most old hammers are built around castings that are very difficult to modify. A custom hammer would be built with a steel frame and anvil that could be proportioned to suit any purpose. Air hammers are controled by valves that can be positioned anywhere you like and take little force to operate. A custom built mechanical hammer is also a possibility but they are more expensive to design and build.

Then there is the option of a Kuhn type self contained hammer. These machines are built without a "riser" and normaly have to be mounted 14 to 18" higher than they are delivered. Much of this "riser" is an above ground "foundation" that would still need to be provided in some form. Most hammer instalations are on a seperate concrete block or foundation several feet thick although this is not absolutely necessary for small hammers.

If you contact your local ABANA-chapter there will most likely be someone in your area that has one or more power hammers that you could get familiarized with. Also see our Power hammer Page and the ABANA 2000 JYH Event page. If we can be of further help let us know.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 14:13:13 GMT

Dear Guru,
I would like to measure the hardness of some woodworking tools. Someone told me I could use a portable hardness tester/checker called a Shore Scleroscope, or another one called Poldi's Hardness Tester. Can you recommend an inexpensive piece of equipment that I can use to measure hardness of my tools? The only thing I have found for sale so far is a set of hardness testing files for $86. I'd like to spend less than $200 if possible.
David  <dwoolley at bu.edu> - Thursday, 04/13/00 16:19:45 GMT

I just bought a post vice. I can figure out how to attach it to my bench but what do you put under the post where it meets the floor. the vice has a knob and a pin on the bottom
please help out.
GARY GOEDE  <garygoede at plix.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 16:59:44 GMT

I have seen leg vises that just had the leg on the ground(dirt) Or you could place a sheet of iron under it, or a brick set into the floor......
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 04/13/00 17:30:03 GMT

Hardness Testing: David, Thats as cheap as you are going to get. The next step up is more than $200.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 18:40:02 GMT

Post Vise: Gary, To get the full benefit of your vise it should be supported at the floor. The one mounted on my trailer was on hinges and the leg set on the ground. After a couple days use it would be driven into the ground 6-8". One time it went through 6" of asphalt drive way. . .

A hardwood or plywood pad about 8" (200mm) square with a steel plate bolted to it will give good support and absorb a little shock. The plate and wood should have a hole drilled to fit the pin under the knob on the vise.

One old time setup was to set a post deep in the ground and set the end of the vise on that. Since the vise was often mounted on a post set in the ground two were set with the top of one flush to the ground.

I have also seen them set into a piece of granite in brick, stone and dirt floors. Brick or concrete will not take the pounding.

When attaching to a bench, the bench should be anchored to the wall giving the bench and vise the solidity of the building. I generaly run a strap or angle iron under the bench top from one of the vise bolts to a plate bolted to the wall.

There is no more usefull tool than a good vise properly mounted.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 18:54:30 GMT

I am accessing the Net for a friend who has 22 years experinece in welding. He has a request for art objects he is making to be rusted. Is there a rapid method for rusting 10 gauge carbon steel? These objects are primarily garden stakes and rain gauges--the latter 16" X 12". Thanks, Kay M. Myers

Kay Myers  <kmcmy at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 19:44:12 GMT

Rust: Kay, A solution of Chlorox bleach is very fast. Be sure to rinze, neutralize with weak acid (vinegar), rinse and neutralize again with baking soda solution.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 20:05:15 GMT

I am a librarian in a small public library, and I have a patron who is looking for plans on how to build metal or copper tubs. Any suggestions?
Holly Williams  <hollyw at bluehill.lib.me.us> - Thursday, 04/13/00 20:05:28 GMT

Copper Soldering and lead work: Holly, Most of the books on this subject are no longer available but the two best sources for metal craft books are Centaur Forge and Norm Larson books. I do not know of any one book that covers the subject well. Applicable titles.
  • Soldering and Brazing, Cain
  • Working Sheet Metal, Gingery
  • Sheet Metal Work, Wakeford
  • Brass and Brassware (history), Eveleigh
  • The Art of Coppersmithing, Fuller
Some of these are reprints or self published. Two classics that every library should have are The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer and Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork by Dona Meilach (now back in print). We have reviews of these two on our "Bookshelf" page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 20:40:08 GMT

Gary - My shop (hahahahaha!) has a dirt floor. I took a brake drum from a small Oldsmobile, found a pipe that fit snugly in the center hole, welded a cap over the bottom opening of the pipe, and welded the pipe in the brake drum's hole. Then I found a smaller pipe that the knob/collar on the vise's leg cannot fit through, cut it off to the right height, and dropped it into the larger pipe. The leg of the vise fits into the larger pipe and is supported by the smaller. After I had the vise in position and bolted down, I cut five pieces of rebar approximately a foot long, bent one end over for about an inch, then drove the resulting spikes through the bolt holes on the brake drum. It is stable and well-anchored. I have not done any heavy pounding on it yet, but if need be, the inner pipe can be replaced with something solid like a chunk of wood.
Stormcrow - Thursday, 04/13/00 21:01:21 GMT

Brake Drum: Stormcrow, Good idea. The brake drum is probably just big enough to distribute the the load on enough soil to keep from sinking into the ground.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 21:46:08 GMT

guru thanks for the tip on history if you remember i asked previously for help on 18th century blacksmith info.
i did not think to look up metalurgical history. yes i knew modern steels are better and easier worked but i dont think we can do today what they did with what little they had
terry  <terryh at buncombe.main.nc.us> - Thursday, 04/13/00 22:41:55 GMT

Kial: How did you weld the twisted billet to the round mild steel rod? End to end , side to side, both the same diameter? Why mild steel?
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/13/00 23:19:00 GMT

Terry - True, but look at it another way. Could the smiths of old make such wondrous blades with the modern steels? After all, they wouldn't have knowledge of the various delicately balanced alloys and such. They may have had it more difficult in not knowing just what this particular batch of metal may be exactly, but there was a much smaller range of metals they could be. I'd personally say that *SOME* of the old smiths may have shown more skill than a number of modern smiths, but then again they had been apprenticed for years in which smithing was just about all that they did almost every day. Plus they were not recovering from almost losing the knowledge of the craft. I personally would say that both eras are very good, but the knowledge available and needed are different so that an absolute comparison is impossible. Just a friendly disagreement, understand.
Stormcrow - Thursday, 04/13/00 23:23:33 GMT

My billet was fairly small about 1/2 inch square before I twisted it. after I twisted it, I measured half its length and cut it about a third its thickness on my hardie then I folded the billet down hard over the tip of my rod so the rod was sandwiched between the folded billet, with about a foot of the rod sticking out. Then I forge welded the whole thing into one piece. I just had the mild steel rod laying around and I kinda thought it would make a nice tang without having to forge one out of my billet, you know just cut it to length and forge it down a little.
Kial  <kmg11 at pacbell.net> - Friday, 04/14/00 00:13:22 GMT

I think that is probably the best over all view to look at it with. Even today as in yesterday the weapons makers (swords& knifes) are still considered to be artists of the trade. Though almost all the working information has changed with time. Thanks for the different view.
terry  <teryh at buncombe.main.nc.us> - Friday, 04/14/00 01:17:33 GMT

Kial: Now that I have a clear idea of your problem here's some info. The bandsaw blade material might contain an alloy that oxidized during the billet welding (edge of billet)and was not cleaned by the flux on the welding of the billet/rod, causing a weak weld here and there. If that is the cause, then your regular flux won't help in fixing the problem. ( both nickle and Chrome can cause such a problem) Some forgers are adding small amounts of flourspar to their flux to help in this type problem, but I don't recomment or use flourspar because I'm afraid of the possible flourine gas which may be released. One lungfull means death in 3 to 5 minutes.
You can gas weld the weld flaws shut, but you will have a new color spot with no pattern where the liquid pool was.
Good luck!
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 03:43:53 GMT

Kial: Just thought of another possible cause of the problem. When you twisted the square billet, you got threads. If these threads still existed at the time of welding to the mild steel rod, they could be the problen with the weld. The "u" shaped voids present when welding a threaded piece to a flat plane are nearly impossible to close.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 13:39:49 GMT

Flux- we need flux to try forge welding with a propane forge. We have borax- is there any other ingredients? How much should be applied? Is there diff. flux for diff. purpose?
Dave  <bolton at skylinc.net> - Friday, 04/14/00 14:11:01 GMT

Flux: Dave, There are many different fluxes but the most commonly used is just plain old borax. Some folks use anhydrous borax (had the water cooked out). Many "patent" fluxes contain iron shavings or powder. These introduce a forign substance to the weld so many prefer to use just plain borax. However, if you are having dificulty welding sometimes these help and it is generaly suitable for hardware and decorative work.

There are many recipes for fluxes that contain sand. The problem is there are just as many sands as there are minerals. Some are suitable fluxing agents while others will just plain prevent welding. The same goes for "iron powder". What comes off many operations is burnt iron or iron oxide. Grinding swarf contains more grinding wheel than iron and the iron is often burnt.

Please note, all fluxes adhere to and disolve forge linings. It is recomended to use a cheap clay tile to line the floor of your forge. If you are doing production welding in your gas forge (as many do) then the forge lining must be considered a consumable. In some cases the flux builds up to the point that some folks have a drain in the bottom of their forge to tap the flux.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 14:44:12 GMT

In a post yesterday "David" mentions that he can get hardness test files for $86. Thats a little cheaper than I have seen them. Where?

Please be cautious about blowing anvile. You would probably be violating AFT rules when doing this.
slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 14:44:57 GMT

hey Guru...

I built the infamous brake drum forge a while ago, using the drum off of an 82' winnabagoe(spelling).

however, how do you use it without running out of space??
Mine feels a little crowded.

Sparrow  <sonic40 at the-pentagon.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 16:19:22 GMT

Small forge: Sparrow, These are a starter forge for small work. If trying to heat larger work you need a stock stand to support the far end or you can add a support bar (or rack) to the forge. Stock stands are a tripod affair or a post with a heavy base and an adjustable support bar. Even with big commercial forges you need one or more of these if doing long work.

A stock rack is a bent piece of 3/8" or 1/2" (10-13mm) bar that is welded or rivited to the forge and parallels the rim at about 4 to 6 inches. Sometimes they are bent into a square cornered "U" and slide in and out of a couple tubes attached to the sides of the forge. The adjustable type are handy since they can be pushed out of the way when not in use.

If your problem is the fire is too far down in the drum to get long pieces to the fire then you used too deep a drum. Large automotive drums or rims work best. Heavy truck drums tend to be too deep. In a deep drum you can extend the twyeer with a piece of pipe and then fill around it with clay or sand capped with clay. The fire doesn't need to be but about 4 to 5" (200 to 225mm) deep.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 16:48:30 GMT

how to build a forge,without using a brakedrum.we like going
to rendezvous and backyard blacksmithing,so any advice you
would be appreciated.
Darryl  <darryldarryl at mindspring.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 18:56:20 GMT

Primitive Forge: Darryl, See Blacksmith of 1776 on 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 19:07:44 GMT

Today, I went to Nicholls State University today and watched a metalworking student. That got me interested in blacksmithing as a hobby. I know little about the subject. What I want to know is:
1) How much, on average, would a hammer (not a power hammer, a good hand-hammer), a kiln (or furnace, or whatever), and an anvil cost?
2) Can I do this in my backyard?
3) How long would it take to make a crude sword, with no experience whatsoever?
Matthew Brunet  <datastorm17 at hotmail,com> - Friday, 04/14/00 20:40:27 GMT

Newby: Matthew, $40/$400 if purchased new. See our plans page for building a cheap brake drum forge. Used hammers can be purchased for $10 that work as well as $140 "name" hammers. . Item 3 could be a weekend or a month depending on you mechanical abilities. To do a first class job could take years of study.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 20:47:12 GMT

It is with a sad heart that we advise
Bill Pieh passed away this morning at home.

Arrangements for visitation will be

Monday afternoon at Schuette & Daniels Funeral Service,
625 Browns Lake Rd, Burlington at 3:00 pm

The funeral mass will be at:
St. Charles Church
449 Conkey St.
Burlington, WI
at 7:00 pm Monday evening

The burial will be on Tuesday morning in St. Charles Cemetery.

Centaur Forge, Ltd. will be closed at
1:00 pm on Monday, April 17th
and re-open at noon on Tuesday, April 18th
in observance of Billís passing.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/14/00 20:51:45 GMT

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