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, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Portable Vises- Tripod Setup:

Take a look at the "portable" post vise at "Atli and Tadgh- Addendum, Sources and Tools" on the 21st century Armoury Page. I first saw this design on another web page where the fellow had a portable set-up for Civil War (WBTS) reenactment. I sent him a message to see if he had a period source for the setup, but his website disappeared and his e-mail address went dead. I haven't found any evidence for its historic use in this configuration but I went ahead and made a modified version for myself, using my least-best and lightest post vise. The good news: It is, indeed, portable and by loosening two bolts it will fold relatively flat. The bad news: It is only really good for light stock, up to about ½ inch (13mm). Too much stress would probably bend the leg. You also have to get used to working at a funny angle. A proper base plate, or secure wooden blocking and pegging, would likely go a long way to accommodate heavier stock, but over the years I've learned to leave the heavy stock back at Oakley Forge (along with the 100 kilo anvil) and just take lighter tools and stock for demonstrations. My only regret with this practice was when I didn't take the heavy axe-eye tongs to L'Anse aux Meadows this Summer, and they were busting Viking half-axes all over the place (bad temper).

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Sunday, 04/01/01 02:44:31 GMT

More Post Vise.... My original plan was to get a 1" thick 36" diameter piece of steel plate, bolt the fixed leg to the edge of the round plate and bolt two side brace legs from midway up the fixed leg back down to the edge of the plate again. Round so you can roll it as you guys have said. And I asked for a round 1" plate when I talked to my favorite scrap guy Friday morning. But, like me, he thinks more is better and cut me a rectangular 1.5" thick monster thinking he was doing me a favor. Too much. I was going to torch lightening holes in the 1" plate to make it manageable.

Portable is a relative term as you said. For me, it means not attached to a very heavy steel bench in my garage shop. I made a compound leverage vise that is bolted to the bench and it works well. But alas, the forge is outside and I needed one out there next to the forge like you said. So 36" diameter poured reinforced concrete would work just fine with the post on the edge of the circle again. The concrete set flush with the gravel. Not something you would take to do a demo though. (grin)

Atli, I like your tripod idea, but I need something substantial. For bigger work. Or at least I think I do. There's that bigger is better thing again. (grin) Quite a collection of stuff you have there.

I think the barrel will work well for me. I'll use sand and cobbles in the barrel though. Water in winter in WI gets hard and would bust the barrel. I won't be moving it much. The vise is tacked together. Final welding tomorrow, then I have to find a barrel. The vise legs are on a 9 by 14" steel plate and I'll put a cross of 2" bar on the underside of the base plate such that the cross will be embedded in the gravel and will hopefully keep the leg from wanting to slide sideways on the ground. The fixed leg will be attached to the barrel at top and bottom.
Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 04:44:08 GMT

Bruce - "bad temper"= brittle steel or angry vikings?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Sunday, 04/01/01 07:57:17 GMT

Hello Tony:
You hinted about that vise some time back and Ive imagined it in different forms but none seemed right,,,,,
I wanna know how it works in both senses of "how"..er....Please...Pete
Pete F  <ironyworks at netscape.net> - Sunday, 04/01/01 08:05:30 GMT

i am just starting what dose a good anvil cost.I would like to get a forge ware do get one or how I make one
brad  <ubd1111 at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 12:57:05 GMT

I am trying to locate a set of plans to build a tubing and flat steel bender. Something similar to the Hosfeld type. Or plans for one of the import pedestal flat benders. Also plans for the small lever handled press brake type used for bending small (3/8" round, 1/8" flat). Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Tim Offutt  <assembler at cqc.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 15:05:20 GMT

I am finally just starting into blacksmihting after having
been interested in it for at least 10years now.

I was reading about FABA conducting an anvil shoot
could you please explain what this is.

Thanks Bryan
Bryan  <bryanh at playground.net> - Sunday, 04/01/01 15:43:40 GMT

Can you please tell me a cheap and easy way to determine the temperature that my forge reaches? I use anthracite coal in an open-hearth furnace. I built it myself because my neighbor offered to give me several tons of anthracite he had left over from his old furnace. I'd like to know how hot my forge gets so I can use it properly. It can be difficult to keep going. Thank you.
Robert  <Robert29b at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 15:59:03 GMT

Equipment: Brad, Anvil prices are a fun subject. Good used anvils are still occasionaly found for free or as little as 50 cents (US) a pound. However, those days are getting fewer and fewer. New anvils cost between $4 and $7 US a pound. Used anvils can be purchased for around $2 to $3 a pound. .

Forges can be built or purchased. We have plans on our plans page including links to other sites.

Our advertisers include the best suppliers in the country. They all have web pages. Kayne and Son have a pretty new illustrated catalog. Bruce Wallace has a used equipment list and is as fair as you can get. Centaur Forge is the largest but you will need to order their catalog if you want pictures.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 16:00:59 GMT

Forge Temperature: Robert, there are no cheap easy ways to measure high temperature. Besides, temperature is not everything. The actual flame temperature measured close to the cumbustion point will be much higher than the average forge temperature. In the case of a pile of burning coal it is very difficult to find the average.

Total BTU or calories are more important that the "temperature". Anthracite forges are tricky. They need a deep fire bed and a good powered blower. I'm sure you have noticed that as soon as you stop the air the fire goes out. . . Hand crank blowers do not work well in this situation. I HAVE seen them used but you really need a helper. Its REAL disapointing to finish hammering on a piece and go to put it in the fire to find it has gone out.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 16:08:30 GMT

Anvil Shoots: Bryan, Two anvils are stacked on each other, the bottom one upside down. Gunpowder is placed between the two with a fuse. There is a great BOOM! and the top anvil flys into the air.

ABANA has just recently reasserted their position that anvil shoots will be ilegal at ABANA or Chapter events. The reason is libility.

The problem is that there are anvil shoots and there are anvil SHOOTS. The ones we have localy send the anvil anywhere from 5 to 20 feet in the air. The one at FABA last year went out of sight (looked like into the clouds. . .).

The hazards that ABANA worries about are not just imagined. There are true stories of anvils being propelled over houses and crashing through roofs. . . And any time explosives are involved there is a level of unpredictability and hazard. Insurance companies generaly will not write insurance for such activities and that means an organization like ABANA must stand its ground. Its sad but true.

I like an anvil shoot as much as anyone else. Ironicaly the first one I attemded was at an ABANA conference in West Virginia. However, I also think that some folks get carried away. The photos of the FABA shoot posted on their website were the best evidence against anvil shoots. There were clearly people and parked cars surrounding the shoot that were well within the radius of the anvil travel if it had not gone perfect.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 16:29:05 GMT


Not to argue, but to present a slightly different perspective.

The level of un-predictability of any activity is directly proportional to the training and experience of the operator. Looking at the FABA picture of the anvil after it landed, and it's position relative to the launch poing, Dr. Ryan obviously knew what he was doing. The shoot we witnessed at BGOP two years ago falls into the same category, when the descending anvil hits the launch anvil on the way down, obviously everything was perfect. Dr. Tim's shoot may not have been perfect, but it was well within acceptable limits.

As you know, I've never fired an anvil. But over the years I've set off a LOT of explosives. And just about every type known to man. About the only thing that I've never fired is a nuke. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 18:13:46 GMT

I'm doing a report for school on colonial blacksmithing. Would anyone be able to give me some info on it? I'm in 5th grade. I have looked all over the internet for some info and I can't find anything. Thanks.
Matt  <hillbilly4 at enter.net> - Sunday, 04/01/01 18:45:23 GMT

Colonial America: Matt, We have several stories on our story page illustrating the times.

A Day in the life of a Blacksmiths Apprentice was written to answer another 5th grader's question.

A Blacksmith of 1776 Is historical fiction illustrating a portable forge.

The Revolutionary Blacksmith Is more of a romance novel but I have illustrated it with many tools and items of the Colonial American period.

Basic facts:
  • Charcoal (made from trees) was the primary fuel of the day.
  • Wood and leather bellows were used to blow the fire and make it hot.
  • Iron was very expensive so most items were made relatively small (compared to today) including tools like anvils.
  • Most of the blacksmiths tools of the time were no different than today's. Matter of fact most have not changed in over a thousand years.
  • The American blacksmith was a "frontier" blacksmith. He did everything, shoe horses, make wagon hardware and tires, make household utensils and hardware as well as tools for himself and other craftspeople. In Europe most of these tasks had long been specialties.
  • The Colonial smith made a good living but the currency (money) of the times was most likely barter or trade (I'll give you 3 chickens if you shoe my horse).

I hope this helps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 19:11:11 GMT

hi;I need infomation on super quench how to make?
joe ryan   <blacksmith at freenetname.co.uk> - Sunday, 04/01/01 19:28:18 GMT

superquench. here is what i have found.

here you have Rob Gunters recepie.
5 Gallons water
5 Pounds salt
32 Ounces "Dawn" dishwashing liquid (blue)
8 Ounces Shaklee Basic I
Be sure to stir well before each use

Otto Bacon Superquench recipe:
5 gallons of water,
add large container (about 16 oz.) of Liquid Dishwasher Detergent like Cascade (wetting agents are probably already in there), then add salt until no more
will dissolve.
those are the two I have found.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 19:38:34 GMT

Bruce Blackistone, that's what Vikings get for being Half Axed. ;=)
Iron Smusher  <NotInTheForge> - Sunday, 04/01/01 22:08:35 GMT

Norm Larson has, or used to have, anyway, for sale a booklet on making a bender, quite rudimentary, intended for fabricating cart wheels in 3rd world smithies. Lindsay Books has a booklet on making a brake.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/01/01 23:13:17 GMT

Gurus and Gurinios, I have a question and it's gonna be a bit wordy, so please bear with me. Yesterday I purchased a device sorta like a post vice at a local ranch auction. The auctioneer called it a glue clamp, but they were rather fast and loose with names. At first fast glance I thought it was a post vice, after looking at way too many farm implements and logging trucks. Closer examination and its not like any post vice I have ever seen (But I bought it anyway - I buy most of these that I see, then pass them on to worthy smiths (if any). The main differences are:
Both jaw bits (leg and movable) are cast rather than forged.
Both have jaw inserts that look like alligator skin.
It has an unusual action, I will try to describe it.
The mounting plate is part of the leg casting, and above it is a slanted ladder/ratchet notched angle. (detents on a slope). There is a sorta 1/2 turnbuckel looking dingus with a bolt on the back end, which pushes on the movable jaw. The front of the turnbuckle dingus wraps around both jaws legs and has a crosspiece that hooks in to one of the detents on the front slope for rough sizing of jaw opening, then the bolt locks it down tight. The bolt is just that, no handle or anything, and there is a nut trapped between the turnbuckel type bit.
At first I thought it was missing the spring, but there is a small horizontal coil spring (3/4 x 2) just under the cross arms joining the movable jaw to the leg. The movable leg has a small tab that the spring slides over, and the leg has a tab with hole that the spring fits into.
Finally, the long leg is two piece, the top part (about the lenght of the movable jaw) is cast, and there is a solid leg fit into it, with typical nipple bottom.

The only mark is the number 35 on the back and bottom of the turnbuckel thingie.

Related question, any thougths on the numbers on most of these vices, 20-30-70 etc. I was told these are weights but that does not seem correct (big vices with small numbers, etc)?

Any help greatly appreciated...I just can't help myself where real steel is being auctioned.

Clear and cold in central Orygun
Tim - Monday, 04/02/01 01:03:42 GMT

Post vise is done. Post vise is good! (In all modesty, of course) (grin) Just need that 55 gallon drum full of stone and sand to hold it down. Guru, want me to send pics when I borrow a camera? Along with my homebrew anvil? That might be worth a laugh for some.

This post or leg vise is a biped. Two legs. It didn't turn out too portable though as it weighs well over 100 pounds. It can, however, take spirited hits from an 8 pound sledge to the jaws. That was a design criteria. And the stock DOES NOT slip in the jaws. Should be around 7000 pounds clamping force.

Pete, yeah, we have talked about it before. I've worked it off and on for what seems like a year. Sometimes it takes me quite a while to come up with what I think is OK. (grin) This one seems like a winner. Quick and easy to operate, simple, robust, rebuildable. It is a locking vise. Best to look at pictures.

Tim, does the turnbuckle and detent setup just replace the screw on a normal [post vise? The nut without handle might not mean much. I find that a socket wrench works pretty good for a vise handle when a hex head is on the screw. The free handle on the socket wrench always swings down out of the way.

Anvil shoots? I say treat the cause, not the symptom. Don't let idiots near explosives. But let reasonable people have fun. Can't let the lawyers win! Life would be way too boring.

Tony  <tca_b at mapsonmilwpc.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 02:13:26 GMT

what is the cost of registering the touch mark
cotton  <cotton at hutchtel.net> - Monday, 04/02/01 04:17:40 GMT

Touch Mark: Cotton, we are still taking them at no charge.

Odd Vise: Tim, I can't picture it. I'd have to see a picture then I could go looking in all my tool catalogs. .

Numbers on vices: I've seen hundreds of let vises and only a couple with markings on them. Both had the makers name on the nut. Numbers are probably a size related to a catalog type number. These things were made in hundreds of sizes including the same style in hand held and bench mount.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 04:33:49 GMT

Guru, I'm curious about a lot of things involving metals, but I don't have the time or money to start taking any more classes to learn more on the subject. Is there a book or (preferably) a web address you can point me to that has basic and detailed information on melting points for different metals, welding information on different metals, structural information on different metals, etc? Thank you.
Fixxxer  <ReverendFixxxer at aol.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 05:33:02 GMT

It is my sad duty to inform all in the blacksmithing community
That OSHA in conjunction with the EPA has decreed that henceforth;
All coal forges are required to have
A. a scrubber sufficient to remove enough contaminants to allow
B. a catalitic converter to process the remaining smoke to such a level as to meet or exceed automotive emissions standards.
C. It is recognized that the scrubber drops the emission temperature of the forge so that the catalitic converter cannot operate without
D. a manditory secondary catalitic converter temperature assist device, which may be supplied with
1. natural gas or
2. propane as available, but
3. must conform to emission standard oy7833347-c23.
E. until supplanted by advanced technology emission controls as defined by sect. 2351782-b and c and schedule n3235722; at which time notice will be posted in the federal register.
F. This regulation is effective as of 4/1/01
G. Enforcement will be handled by ABANA according to the agreement of 1/6/01. Membership will be mandatory for any person or business operating a coal burning forge.

I am truly sorry to be the bearer of this inevitable development....Pete F
Pete F - Monday, 04/02/01 06:52:19 GMT

Late April fools pete! But it's not that far fetched since backyard grills ARE regulated in California. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 12:39:19 GMT


We're the Feds. Trust me, except for Pearl Harbor or other national emergency, we avoid issuing ANYTHING on a Sunday. Especially an April 1st Sunday.

On the other hand, maybe ABANA should have contributed more soft money in the last campaign season!

I'll nip upstairs to the Office of Surface Mining and see if we can get a special permit to reverse this and burn MORE coal! West Virginia never needed that many mountains anyway.

45 degrees and cloudy on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 04/02/01 12:41:05 GMT

Book: Fixxer, The "Swiss Army Knife" of books (and considerably larger than that venerable tool) is MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK Published for almost 100 years by Industrial Press. New they are rather pricey at about $100 (but well worth it). They can be purchased used for 1/4 that price through used book dealers found through Bibliofind or on eBay.

Go to our home page and click on "bookshelf" for a review.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 12:44:42 GMT


I just bought an anvil at an auction and I am interested in finding out all I can about it. Unfortunately, you can't read the name of the company. It is 140#, it appears to be from either 1945 or 1946 (I am assuming that is a year printed on the base, below the horn), and then there is the emblem. There is an oval on the side with and arm and hammer in the middle. At the top of the arm and hammer is a company name which ends in "N", but that is all that is readable. Below the the arm and hammer there is the standard US patent pending, or something like that. The only other marking is on the base, below the heel, where it says, "14". I would guess this is the size?

Anything you can tell me about the name of the company, the quality of the anvil, what something like it would have been originally purchased for and by whom. Really, anything you know about it, or where I can go to find out about it.

Thank you,

Brett Holzschuh
Brett  <holzschu at rconnect.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 13:15:22 GMT

Anvil: Brett, There are two anvil makers that used the Arm and Hammer logo. Yes the 14 is the weight in 10 pound increments. It is probably a Vulcan anvil. Made by Illinois, Iron & Bolt Co. They made anvils from about 1895 to about 1966. It is a cast iron anvil with a steel face made by the Fisher process (an American invention).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 13:26:05 GMT

More on blacksmithing in the movies: the John Wayne classic "The Cowboys" has a brief blacksmithing scene. A smith is shown hammering something on an anvil for a few seconds as the cowboys move their cattle down the main street of town at the end of the drive.
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 16:18:16 GMT

Hello.I've got two questions to ask, but the second you don't have to answere if you don't want to.First of all, I'm 16(almost 17)and know very little about blacksmithing(only what I've picked up here and there.)and im writing a story that takes place in the middle ages and need to know what is all the things that would be required for making swords in the middle ages(supposing of course,the person had the skill).Secondly, I also need to know more about weapons, armour, ect., in the middle ages to make a realistic story, but all i can find on the internet is sites to buy weapons and stuff(i dont want to buy anything).Do you know of any sites that can give me good information about that(with pictures if posible)? THANKS!
Willis Barrington  <gemini016 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 22:36:43 GMT

Armor: Willis, try our Armoury page. We have one rather dry swords article but I'm working on one titled "Sword making for dummies" that may be more interesting. . .

The helmet articles are the best on the net.

Then try our Web-Ring Nexus. We have the best swords and armor rings there. One is kind of defunct but the others have lots of good sites with information about everything from making mail to how to use a sword.

AND. . . Don't believe 80% of what you hear on many of the blade forums. There IS some good information there but there is also a bigg mess of old AND new myths being pushed as fact. . . NO, slaves or virgins were NOT used to quench blades, YES, the forging scene in Conan the Barbarian is ALL fiction and Hollywood hype, NO, there never was a sword that could cut through a machine gun barrel OR slice a floating silk scarf, "living steel" is a lot of BS and NO, NO, NO, the "old" steels were NOT better than the best today. .

Check out MEIER STEEL for the closest that reality has come to myths. And then the Don Fogg web site about how blades are realy made.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/02/01 23:20:12 GMT

Was wondering if anybody had an idea what it costs to ship an anvil , say 200+ lbs?
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 01:09:33 GMT


Depends on where from, where to, and how. I expect if you want to ship a 200# anvil to the moon by shuttle flight, it'll be pretty expensive.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 01:40:45 GMT

on the anvil ,,,, lets say UPS and from New Jersy to West Virginia southeastern part.....
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 01:46:40 GMT

I found your page on truncated cone layout most interesting. I am not sure how you get the measurements for C1 and C2 to get the side of the cone to the theoretical point. Also, is there a way to get the flat layout angle using a trigometric formula for a chord intersecting the outer circle. Perhaps you have a page on file explaining all this in greater detail and simpler terms? Thanks-Robert Funk
Robert Funk  <r.funk at sk.sympatico.ca> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 02:12:07 GMT


OK, thanks for not being offended by my SA comment. I still can't answer the question, but I suspect that a phone call to UPS would get you an answer. Also, Bruce Wallace (see link on links page, or banner for Wallace Metalworks above) has shipped anvils, and may be able to give you a better answer.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 02:14:40 GMT

Mikey, UPS won't take items larger then 150#'s. I wouldn't ship any anvil any size UPS because they are real pains in the butt to deal with. I'd ship truck freight and avoid using UPS at any cost. To ship a 200# anvil from Jersey to WV would be around $100.00 or less.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 02:38:56 GMT

Iron Smusher- Viking axes:

My parents always said I did a half axe job of things. Actually, when the Viking reenactors in Newfoundland found out how bad the temper was on the axes, they DID lose their temper. BIG chunks and chips out of the blades! We re-forged a couple of them and told their local smith how to temper them.

Medieval Swords:

Dry? Pedantic, of course; maybe a little fussy... Well, we'll keep digging out some really sexy pictures and charts and drawings and diagrams to post in Part II. Okay, maybe a little dry, but at least the humbug quotient is pretty low, and it does give them some good information on why and how the swords were made. ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 03:20:38 GMT

Hello all. I have a couple question and I hope somebody can help. Well the story first... I got a book titled The Charcoal Foundry. It has instructions on how to build and melt pot metal, aluminum and brass. I did some aluminum casting a few years ago in high school and it was really enjoyable, I made some neat projects and still have them. In my high school class we made our molds in an oily red sand. I would like the receipe for this. After we made our sand mold we sifted a white chalky powder over our mold to keep the sand out of our casting. What was the white powder? And the final question, where can I get a crucible? Thanks in advance for anybody who helps me out. Please e mail me at andybermond at hotmail.com - I don't make it to this board much with my limited time. If you have any questions for me, please drop me a line. I also plan on posting some pics, drawings, info, etc on the new about this project. Regards all, Andrew
Andrew  <andybermond at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 03:54:43 GMT

Help Please,
I am 44 yr. old and been a welder and fabricator for over 20 years. Started shoeing horses, then to power plant outages and now in business for myself (6 yrs. +)as an artist and smith. Mainly I draw scenes on flat iron and cut it freehand, I do oranamental gates, fence, beds, chairs, tables,ect... My problem is that I have a new challenge and do not know where to start, knowing where to start saves money, main idea per wife, I need all the advice I can get. Since I am better with a hammer that this plastic and wire contraption I will try to convey what I need to accomplish and hope for the best. I need to hammer out many different shapes which will form one large shape in the end.These shapes will all be in the basic shape of a bowl or dish with all being elongated or squared or what ever they need to be to obtain the end look. If you are forming a dog and you did one shape for the ear, one for his nose, one for his snout, one for his head, his neck showing the different muscles, his legs independently and so forth. Then when completed and assembled they would look like a dog, each being attached to another, some with spaces between them, achieving a 3D look, not flat at all.I hope this all makes sense. As far as what size and type of material all I can think of is thin sheet iron, 16 or 18 or 20 gauge or what?
And for the hammer, size and type I know not. In this web sight there is a photo of a man using a Pettingell Hammer and the piece he is working looks to be going in the same way as what I need. I have known for a while that I need a hammer but am just now to where I am attempting to fund a new original building and needed equipment. I really don't want to buy a hammer and it not be what I need at first. Presently most of my work is lite in gauge, chandaliers and such, in the future I will require heavier equipment I am sure but must walk befor running. I will be very greatful for all advice you could send my way, I don't like to ask for help but if you dont know you go to the master.
Marc Bolton
Marc Bolton  <sbolton at flash.net> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 04:34:20 GMT

hello..I would like info on an anvil, I haven`t seen it but the guy says it reads "bucknorth" or something very similar and on the other side it reads 172..any info would be helpfull..thanks
Ron Leuschen  <little_hen_knives at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 05:05:36 GMT

Repose': Marc, the process you are trying to describe is "repose'". In the classic method a sheet of annealed metal is backed up with pitch. The pitch is melted and poured in a layer an inch or so thick on the metal plate. Then you start chasing, hammering and forming the design in the metal. In some instances when the metal work hardens the pitch is melted off, the metal annealed and then the pitch replaced.

Similar work can be done in a sand bag but with less control and detail.

The plate can also be suspended and clamped on heavy steel bars, a torch taken to it and the metal worked by hand OR with a small hand held air hammer. This method is REAL noisy and requires ear protection.

The Pedinggell hammers were a specialized machine that is no longer made. There is nothing that realy replaced them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 09:06:08 GMT

Thanks PawPaw and no offense taken.glad you remembered I'm from wv and in the hills..(grin)..and thanks to Bruce for the info .....I need an anvil and saw one on e-bay...but not sure that I want to buy one off there.....so thanks..this helps me.....
Mikey   <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 12:13:21 GMT

Used Anvils: Mikey, Have you checked with Bruce? Seems he's had more luck finding big anvils lately rather than small but his prices are generaly better than on eBay. He can also arrange shipping as he regularly is shipping anvils and such which most of us do not do.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 13:44:04 GMT

rather than hash it about on Ebay, why not just contact Bruce for an anvil? He has high quality items and good prices, kinda hard to go wrong there.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 13:52:13 GMT

marc-- take a look at Dona Meilach's book on blacksmithing (1st edition has this, dunno about the 2nd) for a good step-by-step account of precisely the repousse process you seek. Pictures in the back show metal sculptor Bruce Newell (captions are incorrect, but it is Newell at work) forming the elements of a hand he then welded for a life-size human figure. Book also has a terrific section on "raising," similar process used in making vessels.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 14:09:00 GMT

Thanks to GURU and PawPaw and Bruce....I'm sure that ya'll are right,just get with Bruce and order an anvil....but I was trying to get one for nothing.(okay grin!).......
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 17:23:12 GMT

Thanks Wayne........
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 17:24:40 GMT

eBay: Mikey, Etal, You won't get an anvil for "nothing" on eBay. eBay is an International auction. It is designed to produce higher than market prices. Occasionaly you will get slightly lower than marker price.

The "Real Deals" only happen when you find an individual selling something they more or less just want to get rid of. It still happens with anvils and forges but it is getting rarer and rarer.

Beside eBay auctions I've been to hundreds of farm, home and machinery auctions. "Deals" still happen if you are the only one intrested in an item. But it is still rare and VERY time consuming. In the end it is realy cheaper to buy new OR go to a dealer that has done all the running around. Of course there is no fun in that. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 18:03:39 GMT

With reference to Tim and the odd vise. I'm thinking it might be a horseshoers' calking vise. It's before my time, but I've seen them with a pedal to close the jaws. I'm told that they were used to dress toe calks once the calk was welded on. My book retrieval system is sucky right now, but I think there is a picture of that style of vise in "Blacksmiths' and Farriers' Tools at the Shelburne Museum" (Vermont).
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 22:42:21 GMT

Thanks again for the reccomendation guru, I couldnt get it today, ive been Violently ill, but im sure it will be my best bet. Thank you
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 04/03/01 23:19:35 GMT

Have a Royal Western Chief handcranked blower and one of the gears is made out of phenolic (?) laminated wafers of paper, which is in bad shape. Do you know any way to stabilize this gear or is there a source for replacement gears? Would like general information about these blowers since I have three of them.
Bob Portman  <mport542 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 14:09:42 GMT

Gears: Bob, Phenolic gears are good in that they protect the other gear. These blower manufacturers are all out of business. The last ones made were for the bomb shelter craze of the 50's and 60's. If they WERE in business that would be a $1500 - $2000 (US) blower. Imports would sell for $500. . .

That said, you can probably have a replacement gear cut for a couple hundred dollars. Many machine shops have gear cutting equipment and there are specialty gear shops that do mostly replacement gears. The phenolic is still available. I think the canvas type is better than the paper for gears. It also comes in graphite filled (McMaster-Carr sells it under the brand name Garolite). You can take the gear and ask to have a copy made. Its a little cheaper if you can spec out the gear (bore, tolerances, pitch, pitch angle, pitch diameter, OD. .) and provide a drawing. It doesn't need the teeth drawn but things like bosses, counterbores and keyways are detailed on gear drawings. All that measuring and figuring saves the shop that time at THEIR ($70/hr) rates. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 15:50:38 GMT

Hi Guru! I have a potential client in NH interested in coffee tables. I could work with her but I would rather refer her to a smith in the north east (shipping$$). Are there any you know I could recommend? many thanks! OdinForge
Brian Rognholt  <brognholt at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 16:36:24 GMT

Hi. I am looking for information, plans, parts lists, and plumbing diagram to build an Air Hammer for a small blacksmith shop. Can you help?
Bruce Blauw  <blue at ctaz.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 17:34:17 GMT

Hammer: Bruce, ABANA sells the Ron Kinyon Simple Air Hammer plans. The AFC has modified air circuits for that hammer and if you look on our Power hammer Page we have an assortment of photos and discriptions of user built mechanical and air hammers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 18:00:02 GMT

Hi Guru,
Do you know of any places on the net where I can find Anvil Clip-Art? I need a black on white profile for a business card.
Allen Schaeffer  <Studio_518 at prodigy.net> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 20:19:39 GMT

Clip art: Allen, we are working on some for a book. . . will mail you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 20:24:29 GMT

Thank you very much.
Allen Schaeffer  <Studio_518 at prodigy.net> - Wednesday, 04/04/01 20:29:20 GMT

Cone Layout: Robert, Sorry things move fast here and I forgot about your question.

The length of C1 or C1 + C2 is calculated with the Pthagoreum Therom (sp).

C = Square root of the sum of a2 + b2

If you are starting with a known angle it gets a little trickier. I use the Trig chart for right triangles in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. The same can be found in any other geometry reference and most engineering books but MACHINERY'S is a reference every metal worker should have. See our book review page (the bookshelf, off the home page).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 02:45:08 GMT

I have purchased an investment cast tomahawk blade that is unfinished and would like to know the steps involved with regards to tempering and finishing the head and blade. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.
corey  <xp721> - Thursday, 04/05/01 04:23:44 GMT

I have metal lawn chair that I have removed all the paint from.I would like to leave it natural.How can I finish it?It is very hot here ,polyeurethane and varnish will peel.I have seen outdoor metal sculpture that appeared not to have a finish (must have) and it didn't rust.
Pat Fiegen   <fiegen at casagrande.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 04:27:06 GMT

I would like to thank the people that keep this page working it has helped me many a time and that i-forge is very helpfull thanks agin
Richard  <none> - Thursday, 04/05/01 05:47:43 GMT

The way to keep Anvilfire alive
as an invaluable resource for us all
is to join and become a member.
The cost is nominal
and the benefits are considerable....Pete
Pete F - Thursday, 04/05/01 06:52:05 GMT

Corey, if it is a cast blade there probably isn't much you can do about tempering it. Cast metal is usually soft. You can clean it up by filing/sanding it to a nice finish & it will look good, but I wouldn't use it much.

Pat, Other than painting, the only way you're going to be able to leave it "natural" is to have it hot dipped galvanized. Even then you get a dull gray finish. Paint is the only outdoor finish that will last any amount of time. You could try an oil(linseed, danish oil) finish if you don't mind recoating it 2 or 3 times a year.
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net.nospam> - Thursday, 04/05/01 12:52:08 GMT

Tomahawk: Corey, What type metal? For practical purposes only steel can be hardened and tempered. If it IS steel you need to know what kind. There are thousands of grades and alloys and they all require slightly different heat treatment. Also note that cast iron and ductile iron are NOT steel.

Finishing can be performed in many ways. Most items of this type are only partialy finished prior to heat treating and then finished afterward. A good pressure cast investment casting should not need any preliminary work other than cleaning up where the sprue was cut off. This is done with either a file or a belt grinder.

Heat treating consists of several steps aome of which are not reequired depending on the steel. Some steels are annealed or normalized prior to heat treating others are not. The steel is heated to the upper transformation range and allowed to cool slowly. To harden the steel it is heated to the just at or above the non-magnetic point then quenched in air, oil, water or brine, again, depending on the steel. Immediately after hardening the part is reheated to some temperature below the above (usualy 400 to 600°F) to temper the steel. Tempering reduces the hardness a little and the brittleness a lot.

After hardening and tempering the piece can be finished using fine grit belts on a belt grinder or sand paper by hand. I use 320 grit (old system) Wet-or-dry by hand with water before buffing and polishing. Buffing hard steel is done using a sewn cotton buff and Tripoli compound. See our 21st Century page article on wheels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 14:06:44 GMT

"Unfinished" Iron/Steel: Pat, The only "natural" finish on iron or steel is rust, rusted to dust.

Unfinished outdoor sculpture that LOOKS like unfinished steel is most likely stainless steel. Or is nickel plated. Even then it may have a clear epoxy finish.

Freshly forged steel has a beautiful blue black scale (anhydrous iron oxide) finish that many smiths want to preserve without finishing. However, it can't be done. The scale when sealed with a clear finish offers SOME protection however it is brittle and comes off when the steel flexes AND it often contains contaminates from the forge fire that support corrosion. Any finish trying to preserve this "natural" look is only temporary OR high maintainence.

Forged stainless steel has the same blue black scale. Sometimes the scale will rust or blush pink but most of the time it does not. A clear sealer will preserve this finish indefinately.

For outdoor use without rusting,
  • Sandblast or chemicaly clean, neutralize the chemicals.
  • Paint with pure zinc powder paint (cold galvanize)
  • Seal that with a neutral primer sealer (I prefer DuPont Red-Oxide).
  • Finish with a durable colorfast top coat of your choice. I prefer automotive lacquers. You can spend DAYS looking at chips to pick ANY color you want.

I ask my blacksmith corespondants that if Hollywood can make wood and plaster look like anything from brick or glass to chrome plated steel, why can't they make wrought iron LOOK like wrought iron? A good painted finish can look like almost anything you want.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 14:26:27 GMT

Anvilfire is a member supported, grassroots movement and a refreshing change from the traditional way of thinking. Whose goal is not to lose sight and to advocate all aspects of metalworkers at all skill levels with no exclusion. Where everyone’s ones input is significant and welcome. With no self-motivated purpose other then expanding our knowledge. Where else can we get answers to real questions in real time? I’d urge everyone to offer his or her support by becoming a member. It will only develop things in the future for bigger and better things.

We’re proud and honored to do our part and offer our support any way possible. A standing ovation for the Guru, his other supporters and sponsors for a magnanimous job well done.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 14:47:35 GMT

Supporting Anvilfire: Richard, Pete and Bruce are right and I often do not push the sale. Joining the anvilfire support group, Cyber Smiths International, only costs $52/year ($1 a week!) or $6.50 a month on the monthly pay plan. We will also take support donations in any amount (higher or lower).

CSI provides approximately 1/3 our current operating funds, advertisers another 1/3 and sales the final 1/3. However, our current budget is just barely break even. For three years I supported anvilfire out of my income but now it needs to support me (and helpers that I desperately need) as well as itself.

anvilfire currently operates off a dedicated server and is backed up by an office full of electronic equipment (several PC's, scanners printers, fax, VCR, digicam. . .) almost all of which needs to be replaced, and a truck load of software. Much of the important software that this site runs on is custom written and maintained (such as this forum).

What all this amounts to is that anvilfire is like your local public radio station that is always asking for money to stay in operation. Well, this too, is a darn expensive operation. We need at least as much as that little local station.

If anvilfire were funded the way it needs to be, our AnvilCAM would run 24hrs a day, we would report from all the major blacksmith meets (at least 1 a month) and our R&D shop would be cranking out more Junk Yard Hammers and plans. . . on top of everything we do today. Today we answer questions almost 24hrs a day (at least 12 by me), archive logs and produce iForge demos weekly. We also continously add articles with photos and drawings that all have to be created and processed for web publication. We also support other web resources such as ABANA-Chapter.com which we also operate and host as well as provide web space for some 40 ABANA chapters!

To do all this we need approximately $100,000+/year but are currently operating on 1/5 that!

Recently ABC news and the New York TIMES both had tremondous cutbacks because they had found it was too expensive to try to provide the kind of full time web coverage that we do at anvilfire (on a smaller scale). This IS an expensive business.

If you appreciate anvilfire and want to see our level of service continue or even improve, we REALLY need your financial help. If you work for a corporation that makes donations to support the arts or education tell them about anvilfire.

Currently CSI has 67 members but we need at least 1,000. Tell your friends to join up!

We currently have 7 paying advertisers but we need 50 or so. Tell those suppliers you deal with that they should advertise on anvilfire! Its the only site on the web that specicalizes in blacksmithing and metal work that gets enough traffic to make advertising actualy profitable. This year we will have some 1,000,000 visits! Those are REAL counted visits, not pages served (4,000,000+ last year, 10,000,000 expected this year).

Help support anvilfire, we help support you!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 15:37:38 GMT

Jock, that message should have been written a year ago! I'm not fussing at you, I'm agreeing with you.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 17:14:05 GMT


I have just finished my first smithed project in metalwork class. I'm 18 and would like to make the investment of building a forge. I read all the info on hot pots and gas forges but I dont know what would be the best to start off with. I'm looking to make a weekend hobbie out of it so the forge wont get a large number of hours on it. thanks for any help you can send my way

Brenden Murphy, Kelowna B.C. Canada
Brenden Murphy  <bluedoor at telus.net> - Thursday, 04/05/01 17:56:39 GMT

Forge: Brenden, The easiest and cheapest forge is a simple coal forge. That's IF you have a convienient supply of decent coal or charcoal. See our plans page (still off the home page).

Gas forges are not difficult to build but can be dangerous if you are not experianced with gas welding equipment and similar appliances. And I'm talking about REAL experiance, not a 6 week metals course. The primary expense of a gas forge is the refractory. You need a big stack of firebrick or relatively expensive Kaowool. Blower type forges are more fool proof than venturi types and take less effort and skill to make.

If you can afford (full size) gas welding equipment it is a good investment. With a few firebricks a torch can be used for many heating projects and small forgings.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 18:13:33 GMT

Guru and all,

I have been hanging around for a few months, and somehow I did not even know of CSI. I have just joined for the year, and I think it is well worth the price.

That said, I spent 10 minutes looking for where I could join, after reading the last post. If it is not unthinkably rude, I would offer a suggestion: put an obvious and easy to find link on the main pages and maybe in the pull downs that says "Support Anvilfire, Join CSI" and bounces you to the membership form. It was not intuitive (to me anyway) that joining CSi would be in the Store section.

As I said above, I come here almost daily, and it never occured to me that there was anything I could do to support this site. I wouldn't doubt that there are a few other people out there as clueless as I am.

With thanks for all of the good information and advice....

Jim  <freely at zephion.net> - Thursday, 04/05/01 18:13:48 GMT

Jim: You are right. I should probably change the link at the bottom of the log to "JOIN . . . " I've got a lot to do in this area. Its just there are SO many other things to do!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 18:16:40 GMT

PawPaw, what do you mean you are not fussing....!? (VBG)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 04/05/01 22:02:25 GMT

I'm replacing parts in an old double barrel shotgun and need a top leaver spring. The broken part looks like a finish nail about three inches long and bent in a "U" shape. I would like to make this part and I know a regular finish nail must be treated in some way to give it the spring quality. Is this called tempering and how can this best be done? Thank You!
Carl  <scrim_shaw at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 22:30:49 GMT

Spring: Carl, Nails are made of dead soft low carbon steel. Springs are made of medium or high carbon steel and carefully hardened and tempered.

See the above post about heat treating a tomahawk. Heat treating takes knowledge of steels and practice. Most books on blacksmithing have the basics and MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK has particulars about various steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 23:33:41 GMT

Thanks to guru and Mike for the metal chair finish advice.Paint it is then.
PAT  <fiegen at casagrande.com> - Thursday, 04/05/01 23:37:12 GMT

RE: Tomahawk blades:

If I remember right, the major manufacturer of the wax-cast blades uses 4140, blades sold heat-treated for maximum toughness. That's for the throwing hawks, I don't know about the pipe hawks. I've seen all sorts of poor-quality stuff, though.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Friday, 04/06/01 00:47:29 GMT


You've never heard me fuss yet. There is a MAJOR difference. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 01:21:30 GMT

Guru..I am proud to be a charter member of CSI. The fee of $52 was money well spent and a bargain to boot. Though I dont post a lot, I am here almost every day for an hour or more, reading, learning...many of my questions are answered here in the posts by you, Paw Paw, Master Bladesmith Grandpa, Bruce and others. Thing is, I cant remember when I joined. Will you be sending an e-mail notice, cause I think a year is almost up and I will definately renew my membership. I thank you sincerely for all you do here.
Randy Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 01:28:34 GMT

Membership Expiration: We planned to have a pop-up window that returned this information. A year has flown past! Everything has its priorities and this is now a new one. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 02:09:12 GMT

SORRY that i had not joined CSI before I knew not of it and i am going to send in my dues now.yes I do agree $1 per week is not a great sum to pay
Richard  <none> - Friday, 04/06/01 03:16:18 GMT

I just aquired a anvil that has been in our family for a very long time. It will weight about 125lbs and has KOHLSWA
SWEDEN on one side of it. I typed Kohlswa and searched the net and your site came up, but could not find how it tied together. Also tell me what you can about this anvil.
Thanks, Jesse
jesse  <pnutfrmr at brightok.net> - Friday, 04/06/01 03:43:15 GMT

Richard, don't feel I was pointing that post at you. I should have addressed it to ALL. This is a FREE forum. The membership agrees to keep it that way and their dues help support the cause. However, we DO need a lot more members.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 03:48:37 GMT

Kohlswa: Replied to mail
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 05:16:38 GMT

marc-- I mentioned your query to Bruce Newell, the metal sculptor shown in Dona Meilach's book (1st edition), and he had this encouraging advice to add to my first response the other day: "The
incipient welder/artist sounds like he lacks the realization that he can do
what he wants--his skill level is fine, all he needs to do is fiddle around
and find the best way to get his bowl form. I had an old steel sleeve from
some big machine I scavaged at the junk yard--it was great for hammering
into to get curves; I did cut into the metal shapes I was forming to take
out "tucks" and then, as they were hammered to shape, reweld and grind so
no seam showed--not a purist's approach but it worked and gave the shapes I
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 13:41:56 GMT

I am looking for a anvil, if I find one that is rough on the surface and the edges, How hard is it to resurface a anvil, and what rod would I use? Also do you use a angle grinder to smooth things up?
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Friday, 04/06/01 14:57:11 GMT

Anvil: Jim, Most of the time minor dings in the surface of an anvil can be ground out with an angle grinder and dressed with a beltsander. Unless the chipping makes the anvil unusable I do not recommend making repairs. Small chips and worn corners are to be expected on an old anvil. I prefer the dress the rough edges to prevent maring work and further cracking.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 15:30:29 GMT

Not being an engineer, I have what all of you will certainly think is a stupid question, but I would appreciate a layman's answer. Can anyone tell me what the primary differences are in open-die vs. closed-die forgings? I'm not asking so much about the physical aspects of the dies, but from a workpiece material perspective. Are there completely different material characteristics/properties that you engineers are concerned with in open dies as oppposed to closed dies?
John Duvel  <john.duvel at techmar.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 17:03:04 GMT

Dies: John, Generally the benefits are considered to be the same. Errors occur in both processes. Good closed dies produce good consistant results but like everything else there can be good and bad design. Where it is important to do the work quickly in a single heat the closed dies have an advantage.

The biggest difference is in skill level and production rates. Low skill workers can produce high quantites of parts in closed dies. However when specials or low quantities are needed the blacksmith has the advantage. Although the work may SEEM expensive it is much cheaper than making expensive dies.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 18:09:41 GMT

Guru, Do you have any advice on sharpening or renewing the common riffling file?
Adam Smith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 19:03:54 GMT

File Sharpening: Adam, There is a method were files are etched in acid. The process thins the points and leave them sharper. Its kind of tricky and I've never done it. There are folks that do it as a service and there used to be sources of the materials in places like Popular Mechanics.

Files are surprisingly expensive tools that need caring like other tools. Metal that has been flame cut needs to have the surface and especialy the edges ground off before filing. Those round beads of scale will strip teeth right off a file. Forged steel should be annealed before filing and forged tool steel annealed and ground.

Files are pushed forward and lifted on the return stroke. You don't strike the work with the file but be sure it is in contact before pushing. Files need the swarf removed as they are used and IF a file is not making nice crisp chips STOP and find out why.

Files are also like abrasives in that you don't start with a fine file if there is lots of material to remove. Start coarse and work down. Dull files should be replaced. As expensive as they are your time is worth more. I have a shelf full of old files waiting for. . who knows.

Files need to be oiled between uses. Clean the teeth with a fine wire brush or file card and oil with WD-40. I use a fine power wire brush on rasps and coarse files brushing sideways to get under the teeth and with the teeth to prevent dulling both. This is especialy useful when sticky material like body putty, plaster or alluminium clog the teeth.

Its hard to keep your files seperated but files and rasps for wood or plastic should only be used for wood or plastic. Those for brass for brass and those for steel for steel. Files for wood and brass need much crisper sharp edges than those for steel.

Machinists manuals instruct to keep files on a soft surface and not them then rattle against each other or strike other tools while in storage. Few people take that kind of care of their files but those who make a living with them will understand that kind of care.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 19:43:26 GMT

Guru, I am makeing a fireplace front out of A-36 1/4" plate. The customer wants it to stay the natural blue grey metal look. he does not want any paint or sealer. This front attaches on a closed gas fireplace whre the tinny front came off. it is for looks only. I know that over time it will change with touching and air. Is there a light oil or coating I could talk them into using to preserve this lookother than a clear coat spray? Scott
Scott  <vickrey at easilink.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 19:53:43 GMT

I am trying to make a norman helmet. I am following the directions from your page. I was wonedring where i could get a " T stake" or how to make one. Thank you for your help.
Craig  <Eightylbr at aol.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 20:11:34 GMT

Scale Finish: Scott, No. The thin scale finish will rust anywhere it is touched or rubbed through. In an extreamly arid climate it may hold up for several years without showing rust.

Tell the customer its going to rust. Or for 10 times the original's cost you can make one out of stainless and color it with heat.

The problem with ANYTHING made of steel, especialy items with mass is that the steel changes temperature much slower than the surrounding air. Even in a dry indoor location when the weather changes (especialy in the spring), moisture condenses on the cool steel. Rust is inevitable.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:08:25 GMT

Guru, Is there by chance a hand tool that can be used(Taking alot more time) in place of a grinder? something to take up that step before filing?
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:19:36 GMT

Guru, I have been trying to join CSI and everytime I fill out the form, it won't allow the transaction? Can I send you my imformation e-mail? Steve Crabtree
Steve Crabtree  <smithecrab at aol.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:20:34 GMT

T-Stake: Craig, Centaur Forge sells them. You can also find them at blacksmith's gatherings.

They are not difficult to make but they ARE a relatively heavy metal project for most folks. The heavy stake used by Eric Thing is made from mild steel. It is actualy a specialized "stake anvil". He had a welder do the welding.

It is two pieces of 3" square bar welded together (all the way to center). The heal where the small stakes are held was cut to half the bar thickness with an oxy-actylene cutting torch. The square socket started as a drilled hole and was then sawed and filed square by hand. I believe it is 1" square and accepts straight shanks. The reason the hole is straight (not tapered) is that is is much easier to make tools by just welding on a piece of sqare bar instead of forging every shank to a taper. .

The rounded end and nose were simply ground to shape with a heavy angle grinder. If you wanted a raised nose it would be best to weld on a piece rather than try to bend or forge this size stock. Blowhorn stakes are commonly made of two or three pieces of steel.

On our 21st Century page under "anvils low cost" there are sketches and instruction for simple anvils and stakes. On the iForge page Demo #45 is tools made from RR-Rail. There is a heavy stake there. Demo #49 is swage tools, #57 other tools by James Joyce. JJ is very good at picking up common steel objects and converting them to tools. Solid trailer hitch balls make great ball or mushroom stakes. . .

When buying heavy square bar it may be cheaper to have it cut from plate. The price per pound will be higher but the minimum single lengths (12 or 20 feet) for that 3" square will make it quite expensive.

If you can't make this tool yourself there are many of us that can. Let us know. However, it is a good day's work plus materials. Not a cheap tool.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:45:03 GMT

Options to grinding: Adam, Not realy. Grinding uses hard abrasives to cut the material that can't be effectively cut by other (steel) tools. Carbide "rotary files" used in a die grinder work well but flame cut material is still hard on the cutters.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:48:59 GMT

CSI Form problems: Steve, The form is picky about TWO things, the ZIP code must match your billing address for your card AND you MUST provide a valid e-mail address.

IF you are using the time pay option the form always returns an error. . . (real STUPID software). I won't know until tonight if those transactions went through.

AND. . . Yes you may send the e-mail version of the form. Print a copy for yourself. It has our snail mail address.

Thanks! Sorry for inconvience!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 21:57:02 GMT

More Form Problems: Sometimes the bankcard end just doesn't work (too busy, system reset, bad connect). You can wait several hours and try again OR from a different PC.
There is also an anti-fraud system that blocks DNS addresses that have been involved in CC fraud. No, not YOU, but someone in your neighborhood that uses the same ISP. . .

We can also take the information over the phone. Send the e-mail form first so all we have to take is the CC info.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/06/01 22:07:25 GMT

Adam- There is a method for renewing old files in Weyger's "The Complete Modern Blacksmith". It is the acid bath method that Guru made mention of, but I don't know of anyone who's tried it...yet. Let us know if you do, and how it turns out...
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 01:58:06 GMT

NH: Chad, I hope you saw Brian's post above about needing a NH smith. Sounds like a good job for someone up there.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 04:20:00 GMT

I was wondering how I would go about dating a Craftsman poket-knife that I found at a garadge sale, if you could get back to me I would greatly appreciate the help. If at all possible a web site with an archives of searial numbers online would be perfect.

Earl Elliott
Earl Elliott  <lhografe> - Saturday, 04/07/01 12:23:04 GMT

Dating Knife: Earl this is way out of my area. I would think that a knife collectors book would be the place to look. Most public libraries carry quite a few OR can get them from other libraries.


Lists quite a few book titles.


Also has quite a nice list of resources
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 14:44:53 GMT

Files: More ideas... Roll files up in a canvas cloth. Roll one, set the next, roll again, etc. so that no one file will touch the other. Spray the canvas with oil or wd40 or whatever is handy occasionally to prevent rust. In a pinch, rolling in newspaper works well too. Leather can cause rust.

While using the file, clean off the swarf with a stiff non wire brush. If the file gets clogged, a file card (special wire brush) can help. But if a sticky chunk is stuck, I always use the wood end of the file card handle to clean the teeth. Some wire brushes have very hard wire and will dull the file teeth.

For soft stuff like aluminum, bandsaw blade lubricant (stick form) or wd40 can greatly increase the cutting efficiency and reduce clogging. Put it on occasionaly while working.

The right file type for the work is a pleasure to use. The wrong file or a dull file is like.......bad.

Adam, if you don't want to use a grinder, and forging closer to shape doesn't work, use a cold chisel to remove excess stock?

Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 14:53:03 GMT

All very usefull information, I HAVE THAT BOOK!:). I shall try the acid treatment tonight, if I have the right acid.
Thankyou all.
By the way guru, Where might I find a rotary file such as you mentioned?
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 16:28:38 GMT

Rotary File: Adam, These are a cutter that fits into a die grinder. Die grinders are small hand held grinders that are air or electric powered similar to a heavy duty Dremel tool. The standard size takes a 1/4" shank cutter. They are available from industrial suppliers and sometimes folks like the new construction supply stores (Lowes, Building Mart. . .). McMaster-Carr will have them in their on-line catalog.

Because of the high power to weight ratio, air die grinders are more common in industry. However they are relatively noisy.

The most useful of the carbide rotary files is a taper with a round nose called a "tree" shape. The most common sizes cost about $15 each but have a long life.

These tools are an absolute necessity in industrial shops but are relatively expensive (around $200 for an electric).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 17:20:12 GMT

Net: Weird day. . . About half the sites on the net are down. Power outages in California must of hit a major hub or something. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 17:55:37 GMT

Guru- Thanks for thinking of me, but custom work isn't my thing...yet.(Hard enough to make nice things in my eyes...I don't even want to think about making things to specs.)

Anyway, due to lack of space, I was getting rid of a large sewing machine that my wife had around as a spare today, and I was just standing there looking at it when it hit me....this thing would make a GREAT little miniature power hammer! The cam action, the foot pedal variable speed, the large throat around the hammer, I can't get it out of my head. What a great toy- a #2(ounces that is)Littlest Giant. With a little modification and some fabrication I could be pounding out the profits on my desktop. Of course I could only work stock probably up to 3/16" MAX. But it sure would be cool. Has anyone else though of/done this? Am I insane?
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 20:28:23 GMT

little hammer: Chad, I think Sid Sudemeier made a little 12" (or less) working model of a little giant. There was also a guy at the Flagstaff ABANA conference that had a miniture air hammer. 1 or 2 pounds. In commercial hammers they have been made very small for specialists that do small work. In this class a 15 pound machine is huge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 20:54:17 GMT

Adverts: ALL, advertisments go on the Hammer-In page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/07/01 20:56:32 GMT

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