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 - 15, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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I buy old files cheap, especially big ones. I then use a file card on them and a scrub brush and detergent. if really bad i use an empty brass cartidge, mash the mouth flat in the vise, and scrape the file with the teeth, not like you are filing. soon the brass fits the teeth perfectly and cleans the file well. now soak in vinegar 24 hours. rinse well with a little baking soda water, dry and oil lightly. Amazing how many old files come out like new.
dennis smith  <dsmith3725 at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 00:39:26 GMT

Chad those kind of Ideas are what keeps a mans shop cluttered and his mind full of plans, be careful you might do something that will change the course of the nation. LOL
Come to think of it I believe I saw an old machine at moms the other day and if I was to need to make a lot of leaves and such..........BRB :)
Mills  <mills_fam2 at netzero.net> - Sunday, 04/08/01 00:45:14 GMT

Hello, I recently aquired a set up for bronze casting/ foundry. It includes all equipment but I need info on how to identify, set up and use it. Also what might be the best way to market it if I choose to sell the stuff? The gentleman who used it passed on so is obviously of no help in this matter... Please reply with any helpful advice - greatly appreciated! Marilyn
Marilyn  <wwstellar at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 01:30:21 GMT

Foundry: Marilyn, Depending on what you have that can take quite a bit of study. A foundry "setup" can consist of a dozen or a hundred items. . . Your best bet is any one of the foundry books by C. W. Ammen. He has one specificaly titled "Casting Brass". Centaur Forge of Norm Larson books can help you if your local library doesn't have something.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 02:12:26 GMT

adam-- this may not need stating, but do not (NOT!)ever (EVER) put an ordinary tanged file in a die grinder. High carbon steel at 20,000 RPM can take off right out of the collet and it does some terrible things to flesh and bone. Even in a drill it's a poor concept.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 03:00:04 GMT

Looking for a place to find parts for little giant #25 hammer. I found one that offsets to one side but needs attention here and there. thanks Doug
doug  <uncledoug2000 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 18:37:20 GMT

Little Giant: Doug, The address is listed on our Power hammer Page manufactures list. Tell Sid we sent you!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 19:11:55 GMT

looking for best book for beginner
john sanders  <buz73 at earthlink.net> - Sunday, 04/08/01 22:13:03 GMT

Book: John, There is no ONE best book. Check Getting Started and the reviews of those books listed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/08/01 22:27:41 GMT

Sewing machine power hammers? Cool idea!
I have alwasy thought an old sewing machine would make a great die filing machine. Make a file holder for the needle chuck and gut the part under the needle for the file to have clearance,and it should work fine.
How about turning one into a jig saw? That shouldn't be hard either.
Oh Oh, now I've done it, between you guys buying sewing machines for mini Power hammers, Jigsaws and die filing machines there won't be any sewing machines left for me to screw up.
Moldy  <nah> - Sunday, 04/08/01 23:11:33 GMT

Gee Moldy, I would have never have taken you for a sewing machine molester. Well, yes i would.
Pete F - Monday, 04/09/01 06:22:32 GMT

Guru & Co,
I am after some information/pictures/diagrams on traditional style Polish and Russian door/furniture hinges. I have spent quite a bit of time trying to find information on the 'net' to no avail.Any suggestions?

Has anyone seen a hexagonal swage block?
I was demonstrating in the Forge at a private machinery museum owned by some friends of mine. In the shop there was a hexagonal swage block, most unusual.The block was approximately 18" across the flats and about 4 1/2" to 5" thick, it also had hexagonal depression cast into one side about 12" across the flats and 2"deep (I presume to lighten the block).The faces and sides had the normal range of shapes. Each side was about 8" long (from memory).
I have been in the trade for over 20 years and been inside quite a few shops in Australia and other countries and I have never seen a swage block like this before.
I wondered why it had been made like this, then I tried to move it, it was very easy to rotate the block to access the side you needed because of the shape and the reduction in thickness in the centre. I think that the shape was the critical factor in this. Even if the block was an even thickness all over,it still would be easier to rotate than a square block of the same size.
It would be great if some clever Foundry made them today' it would save a few backs and fingers I bet.


Bruce  <bbeamish at netspace.net.au> - Monday, 04/09/01 11:19:29 GMT

Block: Bruce, I've never seen one of that type but there is an almost infinite varity of swage blocks. I will admit it is an interesting shape. I've got a collection of block photos that I've been saving for an article but have yet to get around to it.

At one time there was a small iron foundry in almost every town big enough to have industry in the Eastern US and I'm sure other industrial regions of the world were similar at one time. Custom or personal pattern blocks were quite common. The foundries themselves also made blocks from their own patterns and every foundry's was slightly different. To add to the variety there are also flawed castings. These are generally good castings but one or more of the cores was left out resulting in solid sections were there was normaly a hole. Most foundry blocks are what I call "industrial" blocks. All holes and edges, but no bowls spoons or unusual shapes.

A friend of mine, Josh Greenwood, has 3 patterns that he has had cast. One was a so-so design so he only had it cast a couple times and you could call it a personal pattern. The others have been cast more often as he would take them to sell at blacksmith meets in the 1970's and 80's. He stoped casting them when his local foundry closed down. One, a long rectangular block with several (too) deep bowls and too much draft is currently being cast by several foundries in the US (from originals) and is probably one of the most popular patterns being cast. Most do not know its source.

I have two patterns that I had cast in the 1980's and two more that are yet to be cast. One of the first has only had two castings made. The other was cast several times but I tried to have it cast localy and the foundry failed miserably as they did not know how to handle heavy sections. The other patterns are being converted to "boarded" patterns so that they can be cast in production.

So, there's two smiths (Josh and myself) that have been responsible for five designs that are in circulation and I have several more on the way. Maybe I'll make your hex block. Shipping to OZ would probably be prohibitive. . . . :(

I can't help you on the Polish and Russian hinges.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 13:25:05 GMT

Jock, just a quick post to say thanks for the forum. A Mass. smith contacted me and I put my NH client in touch with him. It was important for me to NOT rip off a customer with big shipping charges when many colleagues are available locally! Keep hammerin' Odin Forge
Brian Rognholt  <brognholt at aol.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 14:50:16 GMT

Blackrose Icon, Click for more info

100# Chambersburg and Shaper for sale!
By owner, Click for more info.

The above is a paid advertisement. I would not put it here except I have delayed posting it much too long.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 15:51:44 GMT

Hi Guru , I have a question for you , or any bladesmiths.
I have a 4 inch length of 3/4inch dia. steel cable that I would like to forge weld.I have clamped the ends and spread ,then cleaned with solvent .
Now after bringing to heat and fluxing and returning to heat , am I going to try to weld the whole length at one time , or should I try to weld it say 50/50?

Thanks for the site and forum , regards john
John  <at work> - Monday, 04/09/01 15:55:22 GMT

Look ma, NO HANDS! John, how are you going to hold the piece? Somewhere it isn't going to get welded. . . :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 16:03:44 GMT

Guru , I was thinking along the lines of striking one end of the cable , and having to release , regrasp and strike the other end.But now I see that to much heat may be lost to get a weld from the second strikes.
Thanks for the reply.
John  <at work> - Monday, 04/09/01 17:05:04 GMT

Jock or Paw Paw
question from the iforge page, Paw Paw's demo on twisting.
What's "flats mean"? i.e. "I usually twist counterclockwise four flats first."
L.Sundstrom - Monday, 04/09/01 17:24:48 GMT

Cable Weld: John, you were just over thinking the job. Sometimes you just have to DO it. Yep, the heat will be lost at the tongs end.

Flats: 4 flats should be 360° (on square stock).
Now TURNS is a funny discription. Almost every carburettor manual written says "for the initial setting, back off the screw X turns". X is usualy 1-1/2 turns. My experiance was that turns = screw driver flats. This made 1 "turn" 180° which really defies logic. However, every motorcycle or automobile I ever worked on this worked perfect. If you used turns = 360° the engine would never start or would imediately flood out. . . Final adjustment was always within 90° (usualy 30°) of the initial setting. People would always want to argue the point but they never disagreed that *I* made the engine run when they couldn't.

On twists. . . I NEVER, EVER, EVER counted flats, turns, twists or degrees. I just twisted until they looked right. If I wanted another just like the first, I just made it the same. Others may need to count but I never saw the point. I like slow open swists, others like fast tight twists. If everyone counted twists they would all be alike. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 18:14:01 GMT

Guru and fellow blacksmiths,
would anyone have an idea of what annual pay a machinery and tool repairman would make in the first year of work?
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 19:37:18 GMT

I would like to brass plate some small parts, what I recall from h.s.is 12v. neg to part pos. to chunk of brass in water,but im not sure . any help? thanks.
hugh  <hughmdog at aol.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 19:42:00 GMT

Hugh: As far as "I" know brass will degrade if you try to elektro plate with it. the zink will go first folowed by the copper and making a mess of things.
Only ways I can think of to plate something in brass is hot diping or maby electric arch spray in inert atmosphere (yes there is the leting melt on steel in forge but THAT is T R I C K Y).

OR it could be done the blacksmiths way: Heat to dull almost black red, the metal must be CLEAN before it is heated (perhaps covered in stainles foil while heating). when at heat brush with a brass wirebrush until it is cold, that will give a THIN coating of brass.

Hope this is of any help
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 20:14:00 GMT

guru. when I go from the members area to 21century... i get the banners... it blinks in tere as it looked before but then reloads to the regular... just thought you wanted to know.
OE  <same> - Monday, 04/09/01 20:27:34 GMT

re turns etc....
No wonder I have always had buggered up carbs.....
Should of realized before this what you stated........
Now perhaps I will try to get my truck running better, again. )(grin)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 04/09/01 20:30:48 GMT

Pay: Adam, It depends on the region and type of industry. Between $24K and $38K without overtime.

Plating Hugh, OErjan, I know tons of things are brass electroplated but I am not sure how. I understand the basics but not the details. There is a site called:


that deals in this sort of thing. Either they or one of there links HAD a Q&A forum.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 04/09/01 20:35:12 GMT

LOST POSTS: Last night we had a server error and lost the logs for several of our forums.

This replacement log is from my last backup several days ago. I am sorry your questions and answers for the last day or so were lost.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 14:27:06 GMT

Is there a way to forge weld H13 to mild steel? So far I have failed with borax and EZ weld.

In order to economize with this expensive material, I have been arc welding H13 tips onto mild steel tool bodies. This works real well but I would like to do a forge weld.

Thanks , Adam
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 15:50:25 GMT

Anti-Spam: Many of you no longer post e-mail addresses or use dummy entries due to spamming. I don't blame you so I've said nothing.

However, I THINK I have a solution. There is a way to setup these logs so that you have to send mail FROM the anvilfire page with Javascript turned on. We would no longer show plain text e-mail addresses and what is in the log would be encrypted. Mail could be sent by clicking on the mail link.

This would thwart most large scale spammers. They collect email addresses from forums such as ours with harvesting programs that search for e-mail addresses. These work like search engine indexing spiders or "bots" and do not run scripts on pages. They would be blinded.

The other method used by SPAMMERS is to pay people to collect names. This would still be possible but it would be very slow and time consuming here compared to other places. They would have to click on each name while on-line then cut and paste out of their mail program. We would have a record of their DNS address and anytime someone "mailed" to more than a couple people a once we would be able to report them as spammers. Most SPAMMERS own their own servers or use servers in forign countries now and are impossible to stop. However, many of the collectors and even the big spammers require dial-up accounts. Logging their DNS would track them back to their ISP and a complaint could be filed.

Its not a perfect system but its one shot fired in the war against SPAMMERs. Let us know what you think.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 15:54:44 GMT

Forge Weld: Adam, Tool steels can be forge welded but it is tricky with high alloy steels like H-13. Part of the problem is that the higher carbon steel has a much lower melting point (and thereby welding point) than the mild steel. Then, the alloying metals produce oxides that are difficult to remove (by the flux) and melt at much higher temperature than the metal. H-13 is a chrome tool steel. Chrome oxide is hard to disolve with standard borax flux.

Folks making laminated steels use a small amount (about 5%) powdered flourite (a mineral also called flourspar) in their borax flux. The flourine in the flourite is very chemicaly active and much more aggressive than the boron in borax.

So, you have to have the mild steel hotter than the tool steel and use a more aggressive flux on the H-13. Controlling which part is hotter is a common forge welding problem when welding parts of different size OR different alloy. It takes thought and practice.

I am not an expert in this area. Maybe someone with experiance in this can be more specific.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 16:14:44 GMT

Oh wise guru, thank you for your words of wisdom. Where might I find some of this magik flourspar? Centaur Forge doesnt list it among their fluxes.

Thanks again, Adam
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 16:28:54 GMT

I need to know the tools and materials I would need to
make a sword I desined.
Alain  <aadlp712 at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 16:32:13 GMT

I have read banner adds for Traditional Metalsmiths and saw a link for Blacksmith Journal on your site. Now, without getting you in trouble with one of your sponsors, could you compare and contrast these two publications so as to steer a
mid level blacksmith in the direction that would be most helpful in technical developement. You recommended Werk und
Werk....which is a treasure. Quite frankly, I am looking for something a little less awesome than the ABANA magazine.
My greatest need at this time is to develope a basic "vocabulary" of traditional forms and components.
Thanks for all your help past and present,
L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 04/11/01 16:57:06 GMT

I think flourspar can be obtained from a ceramic supply place. Flourspar is used in ceramics.
Also to do the weld Guru said, in order to heat the mild hotter you will need to heat it to almost weld heat by itself, and then put in the H-13. Not the timing on this will be the tricky part as the esteemed Guru said.

Guru, as for the anti-spam stuff, go for it.

BTW just a public comment. Guru you have done a most excellent job under very trying situations! Great job!

Alain, there is a fair bit of writing about weapons and armour in the armoury section of this site.
If this will be your first attempt at smithing, I would suggest you start with basics. Learn to build a forge, build a fire and maintain it. Learn hammer control, learn how to design your work. Learn a fair bit of metalurgy, since you will need to know it to make a good sword.
Blade making is a rather difficult thing to learn to do CORRECTLY. And a sword is more difficult yet.
Also, remeber that any swords you may have seen make in a movie was not done correctly. For example in COnan it was cast.....
There are several good books and all out there. My opinion would be to learn more about basic metal work and smithing first, then move into swords.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:00:47 GMT

Journals: Larry, From what I understand the Blacksmiths Journal may not be long for this world. I think they are converting to "Wood and Iron" or something like that. But I heard this second hand and it may not be true. It Blacksmiths Journal is beautifuly illustrated and is one of the few resources that makes me jealous as an artist.

Traditional Metalsmith is very traditional. George Dixon was a smith at Yellin's shop and carries on that tradition. He is very much into the classic forms as well as traditional methods. His drawings are beautiful and he doesn't overwhealm. George previously published the Hammer's blow (as well as writing and illustrating most of the articles) for ABANA so you probably have seen his work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:08:35 GMT


If I might chime in here. The Trad Metalsmith looks like a very nice publication (been thinking about a subscription myself) but the BlackSmith's Journal is a MUST.

The Journal covers all topics of smithing from simple projects to the most advanced. It includes tool making and decorative elements. It covers shop practice, drawing, welding filing etc.

Its explanation are done with beautiful, clear drawings and a few well chosen words.

It have learned more from the Journal than any other magazine or textbook. I am in the process of buying a complete set of back issues. I urge you to buy one or two sample back issues - you wont be disappointed.

adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:10:07 GMT

What is the best foundation for a 50 lb. Little Giant? Thank you.
kevin - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:11:08 GMT

Swords: Alain, besides what Ralph had to say I have a few hard words. Your question is one of the most common we get and I am writing an article to cover it.

However, DEGIGN is more than art. It is engineering and materials specifications. Sword making is very heavy on materials science. Before there was science there was a lifetime of study under a master.

Bladesmithing is one of the most demanding areas of smithing and Swordsmithing is probably THE most demanding. The ART is the easy part. The metallurgy is what is hard.

Then there is the question of WHY and what you want to do with your sword in the 21st Century? 99% are wall hangers or show pieces. These can be made of anything and some very non-traditional materials would actualy be best. Aluminium polishes like silver and is much easier to cut and file than steel. However is does not grind well. Many movie swords are made from alloy aluminum. Plexiglas would make a wonderful "crystal sword" that would be a stunning thing to look at. Polish the facets to a glass finish and it will refract rainbows when looked at from any angle.

If you want to make the REAL thing start small. A good kitchen knife that will make a chef happy is as difficult technicaly as making a sword. However, it is a small enough project that it can be done well with few tools or small tools. A sword is nothing more than a BIG knife and made exactly the same.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:32:40 GMT

Hi Guru and all, I just posted some pics of my first attemp at damascus blades, other than an cable damascus knife when I first started smithing, on my web site at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth
There are some pics of my air hammer & other work there too under the Blacksmithing Projects link. Let me know what you think.

Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net.nospam> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:35:58 GMT

just for public information the habit of adding "nospam" to addresses will NOT! work.
The spammer will just let a tiny program remove it from all the lines with the " at " sign.
It can be done as a macro in word, even just ask word/wordpad to replace "nospam" with " " nothing.
no big problem going trough 10 000 addresses that way would it?
I tried it for a while on a few forums, didn't work so i quit.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:49:26 GMT

Hammer Foundation: Kevin, There is a lot of debate about what is the BEST hammer foundation. In most cases the best is any foundation that the hammer actualy gets bolted to. You would be amazed at how many never get bolted down.

A lot depends on your location and your shop floor. If vibration transmission to other parts of your shop, home or neighbors is a problem than you need a heavy isloation block foundation. This is simply a big chunk of concrete several feet deep. However, if you have high gound water that big chunk of concrete may need to float on cushions set on yet another piece of concrete. If vibration transmission is not a concern a 50# LG can be bolted to almost any concrete floor. In ALL cases it helps to put a wood pad between the concrete and the hammer. The wood can be cut to fit and will conform to both the concrete and the bottom of the hammer, neither one of which are usualy flat.

In a shop with a dirt floor OR a location with very soft soil a large thick wood pad set into the ground works. This uses area rather than depth and mass to do the same job. 4x4 or 5x5 feet and 8 to 12" thick.

In most cases the "standard" 2 foot deep foundation for a 50# LG is overkill. But LG's need to be bolted down or they will walk away. If you have a good concrete floor in a garage then that is probably sufficient.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 17:54:37 GMT

NOSPAM: OErjan is right. Putting NoSpam in your address IS a waste of time. We have stripped email addresses from our own forums and it only took me about 10 minutes to clean up a thousand addresses or so. Even when there are variations it is not a problem.

SPAMMERS also test their address lists. In the past week I have gotten several pieces of blank mail. All these were just test mail. If it bounces, look at it, then fix it or scrap it.

It also does no good to report the SPAMMER if the spammer owns the server and especially if it is overseas. Most of these reports just go to the spammer and he KNOWS he has a good address. The only addresses they remove are the ones that bounce mail. And since most spammers use forged return addresses the "bounce" message goes to someone else.

The system I am working on would incrypt the address unless mail was sent from the anvilfire forum. Any "harvester" program run on these pages would return nothing but trash.

Another option would be to require mail users to be registered. Our forums would still be free and open to the public but those wishing to extract an email address would need to be registered. This may be a little too much now but spam is getting to be a HUGE problem. I get about 12 pieces an hour. . . Most selling SPAM lists!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 18:17:58 GMT

I am new to forging. I have a chemena(probalby spelled wrong) that I want to convert to a forge. I am in the process of deciding how to place the piping. Generally how deep does the forge have to be. I have read by some that they have a smaller opening around the pipe. I am thinking about 4" sides. If the air opening is surrounded by refractory how deep should that be? I hope this is not to many questions. I just dont know what I am doing? Thanks.
chuck jones  <chuckj6 at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 18:21:04 GMT

Guru, I think that would be a great idea. I know I'm getting REALLY tired or getting SPAM. Thanks!
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 18:39:52 GMT

Chemena??: Chuck, I don't have a clue what that is. . I'm also not sure if you are talking about flue or air inlet openings. Coal, gas or oil fuel????

See our plans page and the "brake drum forge" for a coal forge that works. Then see Blacksmith.Forge for some more coal forge photos.

There are also many forges in our NEWS. For most coal forges you need at least a 10" flue stack if not larger. Hoods generaly do not work because they fill the stack with cold air. What is known as a "side draft" hood works much better. These look like an enclosed fireplace with about a foot square opening next to the forge fire. The draft is strong enough to pull the smoke and flame sideways into the flue.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 19:05:09 GMT

Blacksmiths Journal is changing. There was a letter in my last issue,the one I can't find right now,explaining the changes. They are looking for a larger customer base. The woodworking projects will require some smithing to complete them , they are hoping to get some woodworkers interested in blacksmithing. There are still going to be some blacksmithing tips and techniques. I'll try an find that issue and get back here.
Tom-L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 19:18:46 GMT

Chuck and Guru,

A "chimenia" is a fired pottery vessel, usually made in Mexico now, but originating in Africa, IIRC. It's resemblence to a pregenate woman is not an accident, it has symbolic reference to the shape of African foundries.

I've toyed with the idea of making one into a forge, but am not certain that it would withstand the heat.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 20:13:08 GMT

Chimenia: Thanks Paw-Paw. It's probably teracota (red and coarse). If so it might hold up and it might not. Probably not. They make fireplace flue liners and chiminey pots from teracota but it is not a high temperature refractory like firebrick. As a flue liner it simply has less joints than the brick. If protected from the direct heat it will work but if not then it will burn and spall.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 20:24:04 GMT

1)What stainless steel alloy is the most forgeable and what is the best way to renew the surface shine after forging?

2)Is there a particular brass alloy that is best for forging and which will polish up with a lasting finish?

3)Is there a fee for this service and if so what and to where do I send it?
Thanks and best regard, Mike
Mike Person  <aanatums at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 20:37:07 GMT

Thanks for answering my post (one of the lost?) about hardening and tempering 01 & 1018 plane irons. Someone seeing my post send me a very clear step by step method to follow that I can do in the back yard.
I apologize if my choice of words was wrong. By seeking an "easy" method, I meant a way to do it without an electric kiln or running two hundred feet of gas pipe with low 02 blowers and renting a pyrometer. (Not that I wouldn't mind having those things.)
As far as "cheap" goes your absolutely right for the price of the whetstones I could have four of Ron Hock's A2 superior blades. But I have wanted to do this since at least 1978 for enjoyment and just to see if I can made a simple but useable tool, plus I've obligated myself to a friend's academic project that requires everything to be done by hand, including all tools. Before posting, I did try to find a shop with a kiln that would rent me some time. Unfortunately, the few remaining machine shops in my area no longer do any hardening on site. Sadly, one guy told me he couldn't afford to do it any more, it was cheaper for him to Fed Ex back and forth custom orders to Spain or Portugal for hardening, dies and molds.
But thanks again, I am going to follow the advice given and forget the 1018 and see I can make a decent job of the 01.

Jeff  <Paroli at worldnet.att.net> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 20:50:51 GMT

Spam: For what it's worth, I have isolated the forums I frequent and this site does not give me a lot of spam. I kind of figured adding no spam was easy to thwart. But thanks for confirming that. I'll stop wasting my time with mapson.

Clay flue liner: From a masons perspective.... Clay flue liners fail when they are expected to carry a load of more than their own weight. And they fail when they can get wet and then freeze. Old natural chimneys with open liners were expected to stay relatively warm from the heat loss through them. New condensing furnaces connected to a clay lined flue in a cold climate will cause the clay liner to fail. That's why plastic pipe is recommended. Fired clay is water resistant, but IS NOT water proof! I would not use a fired clay vessel for a forge if it sits outside since I would worry about it absorbing moisture and then exploding from internally generated steam. Not safe. Use stuff for what it was intended for. Short cuts cut your shorts.

Fluorspar can be had from glass making supply houses too. Many ceramic glazes have fluorspar in them. Borax is common in glass, glazes and enamel too. Be very careful of condensing fluorine gas in your throat and lungs. It is given off when fluorspar is melted. Hydrofluoric acid eats lung tissue for lunch. No warning, just damage.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 21:16:11 GMT

Flourspar: Tony, Thanks for the reminders. I forgot to say where it can be gotten. I understand that the flourine and moisture can create an anesthesia on top of eating your lungs (you don't feel it). Work outdoors with LOTS of ventilation. . Filter masks DO NOT protect from gases of this nature.

Do-it-Yourself: Jeff, Blacksmiths generally do it ALL themselves. However I often recommend to others that don't intend to do metalworking full time or as their primary hobby to seek help when heat treating. To do these jobs correctly don't just take setting up, they require some experiance with hot metal.

Items with thin edges are VERY easy to burn up in a forge. I'm not talking singed or heavily scaled but burnt to an unrecognizable lump. All its takes is a few seconds of inattention.

When the metal is hot and ready to quench (forge or pour), everything tends to go wrong. You forgot tongs, the tongs don't fit, the tongs aren't long enough, the lid is still on the quenching oil, you spill the oil as you turn around with the hot part. . . you forgot your safety glasses. You drop the hot part in the oil forgetting the container is plastic burning a hole in the container from which flaming oil starts to run. . . WHoops! you forgot you mihgt need a fire extinguisher (or sand bucket), no water won't work on that oil fire! All this happens in about 2 seconds. . .

Do several "dry" run throughs. Bury the part in the (cold) coals, retrieve the part with your tongs, move to the quench tank, stick the part in the oil and move it around.

Did you fumble with the part? Not good. Did you have to step around a table or open a door, trip on the dog? You should be able to make one smooth motion from the forge to the quench tank and back. Everything goes wrong when the iron is hot. You are excited, you try to move quickly. . then things go wrong. Practicing a couple times can prevent a lot of frustration or burning down your shop.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 21:37:50 GMT

Forgability of SS: Mike, All stainless is pretty close to the same. It is tough to forge and needs to be worked hot. You select the stainless for the desired properties. Some is hardenable some is not. There is a variety of alloys. 304 SS is the most common.

After forging stainless it will have scale on it and look just like any fresh forged steel. It will have a flat blue black scale finish. A chemical etch with strong acid or mixture of acids will remove the scale and free iron deposits on the surface. Sandblasting can also be used. The removal of surface impurtities is called pasivating. To be "shiney" again requires cleaning and polishing (grind, file, sand, polish). There is a special white buffing compound for stainless.

Lasting Brass Finish: There is an old alloy that was used for mirrors called "speculum metal". 32 parts copper, 15 parts tin, one part arsenic. It is much more brilliant than plain brass but is very brittle.

Naval brass is one of the best forging brasses and polishes well. There are no "lasting finishes" on the active metals. They require some kind of sealer. Paint for iron, clear lacquer for polished brass and bronze. The only metal that doesn't oxidize under normal conditions is gold. That is one reason it is so valuable.

anvilfire is a free service that is partialy funded by our advertisers. But we also have a support group that helps keep us going. Cyber Smiths International. We also accept donations and are looking for (big) corporate sponsors.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 22:01:00 GMT

I found my April issue of Blacksmiths Journal with the letter stating changes. It will be renamed Iron & Wood,as Guru said, They are going to keep the loose leaf format, but will be in full color with a new layout. It will feature woodworking projects that include iron components and will still have iron only projects.It goes on to say if all goes as planned they will be able to increase number of pages and surpass amount of information we now receive. They are still going to stock and sell back issues.
Tom-L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Wednesday, 04/11/01 22:37:22 GMT

Hello Sir...

I am a 38 year old trades worker who has finally found his niche in life. Altho i am not a blacksmith by any means, nor are some of my methods generally accpeted practices in this fine field, but I am what I am and I try to be the best i can be at whatever i do. I have the utmost respect for materials drawn from our Earth. I am a descendant of an Italian Master Blacksmith ..His name was Anthony Tonzelli. I have inherited alot of skills i believe from him. He was my great grandfather..i wish he was still here he was a fine gentleman. I have read this website many times, pondered many thoughts and I must say, i am awed. What i do is make furniture from steel..or as most people say..wrongly.."wrought iron". I use tools that scroll, twist and bend, many of these tools are not staples of the art of blacksmithing , some are. I wish i could invest my entire life to learning what there is to know about smithing, but to date i cannot afford to timewise or monetarily. I have what i have and i do my best never to copy any designs, infringe on anyones creations or rights, and i respect people that respect me. that all said, i also find i have no one to turn to when i am stumped, or confused about the metal trades.. Most of what i do is trial and error and I strive to be unique. I have hit a major crossroads . It entails ..scroll work. I cannoit for the life of me..either mathematically or by effort figure out how much total metal is needed when making a scroll on both ends of a piece of steel, flat round or square. What i have done is made templates of certain size scrolls, and grinded a mark and stamped them with their approximate sizes...i can be here all day just making templates tho and that to me is a waste of time and material. I have heard there is a tool that many Blacksmiths use..called a "traveler"? I was trying to track down a map measurer in an inch scale to roughly do the same thing..except if i dont have a scroll yet made it would be a useless tool to measure with. What i am after is ...the ability to say scroll...on one piece of 3/8 square stock...a 14 inch scroll and other the other end, say a 9 inch scroll...my rpoblem starts , when after making the template...i now have three measurements.. one outside ..which is now larger than the 14 inch scroll...the centerline which is close to the 14 inch scroll, and an inside measurement which is smaller than said scroll size. so my dilema exists...i am stumped as to the ability to predetermine how much total metal in a scrolled piece i need. Yes a very long winded email im sure, and I apologize for that. I have agonozed a few nights debating whteher to bother you or not. MY father said..son..pride can sometimes delay progress..write to the gentlemen and let them tell you no if they do thank them and move on try to figure it out til u get it. Thats what i am doing, and I am thanking you now for taking time from ur day to read this email. All i want to do is create things from steel, or metal, and stand back and be proud of what i produce...whether or not i am any good ...its what i have and I am happy doing it. Id like to quit my dayjob and lock myself in my garage and make items all day long til my hands are raw.. In closing sirs.. i again thank you for your patience, time , expertise, and i hope you dont frown upon a guy who is using tools to do what finer men do with fire, anvil and Hammer. This is my start...God opened a door for me and im walking thru it, im reading about it, studying about it, and losing sleep over it, but im still going forward...never have i felt so at peace as when i weld two pieces of steel that i only minutes prior , thought about what they should look like in my head, together, and wonder if somehow, my great grandpop is proud of me. Thank you again Sir(s)

DaMaela at aol.com
Mark  <DaMaela at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 00:06:08 GMT


A word of encouragement. You're doing fine! Asking questions is the path to wisdom, and anvilfire is here to answer questions.

The guru may be able to give you a mathematical method of figuring stock length for makeing scrolls. I've got a couple of pictures of travelers, and will be glad to email them to you if you wish.

We're here to help.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 00:37:54 GMT

Scroll Length: Mark, These things can be figured mathematicaly but it is faster and surer to do it in the shop.

The Math: The length of the piece will be very close to the length of a line drawn on the center of the bar. The center line is half way between the long outside length and the shorter inside length. Many smiths lay a piece of string on a drawing of the scroll to determine the length.

If the end of the bar is to be tapered then you must alow for the increase in length. If the bar width is constant then the taper is a simple wedge. A triangular section has half the material in it as a rectangle the same length. SO, if you have an 8" taper it will increase the length of the bar by 4". To start with the correct length you will want 4" less than the center line length.

If there is a snub end on the scroll it takes about 1-1/2 to 2 times the bar width to make. Add that to the needed length. If you have flowers or dragon heads then YOU figure it out!

As you can see you could spend all day doing this. Its actually faster to determine the length by trial (There is no error if you do it as follows).

In the Shop The problem is that there is usualy two scrolls on one bar making a "C" or an "S". The easy way to determine the EXACT length is to take a bar of known length (measure it before you start) and forge one half of the scroll. Then do the same for the other end. Lay the two pieces on your drawing an mark where to cut off the ends (about the middle of the "C" or "S". Subtract the amount of left over bar from the total you started with. The result is the exact amount of bar needed. Then weld the two halves together and keep as a pattern. If you stamp the length on it you will have a pattern AND the material length. When I do this I just arc weld the pieces together and don't dress the weld. This marks the piece as a pattern.

The last time I did this I had two similar scrolls of different lengths. I used the same parts twice and ended up with one "pattern".

Over Thinking is often the problem in this kind of work. If you just do it, then think about it a little and then the next time it will be easier.

I rarely measure pieces for free hand scrolls. Just guess at the needed length and start with a little extra. Cut off the extra when one end is finished.

Its only if you have to make a bunch of repeat pieces that you need to know the exact stock length. Then you make a sample as above.

A traveler is a wheelwright's tool used to measure stock for tires. But they still had to know how much to compensate for the bend the weld and contraction on the wheel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 01:22:34 GMT

Just a quick comment on anti-spam addresses: I had used my parent's e-mail before I started to college this year. I didn't use any kind of anti-spam additions. Then I went to college, got my own e-mail, and have been very careful to make an anti-spam addition every time I write my e-mail down. Now my parents are so inundated with spam that they will probably have to get a new address just to escape. I have yet to get one spam at my new address. It definitely has worked for me.
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMSTINKS> - Thursday, 04/12/01 01:28:59 GMT

Guru thankyou for info on klafrestrom hammers, i am nearly finished but i would like one furthur opinion please.I will have to tidy up the anvil and hammer, do you feel that a bolt on type anvil block is as good as a wedged in block and the same for the hammer head. For me it is much easier to machine the old anvil flat and make a new block than it is to make the fancy wedge. The only thing I am worried about is do bolted ones tend to come loose.I also unsure why the hammer has stroke adjustment as the hammer always ends up inthe same bottom position but with alonger stroke, I am tempted to do away with the adjuster quadrent and bolt it solid.Your input would be greatly apriact bugger WELCOMED
Peter  <prb40c at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 01:36:08 GMT

klafrestrom: Peter, yours was one of the posted lost last night. .:(

Bolt on is fine on the anvil if you are not "restoring" the hammer to be like new. However, if the head or ram is cast iron the bolt holes will be close to the sides and the threads will be ideal places to start cracking. The anvil is so much bigger that the bolt holes have little effect.

Wedges seem to hold better but I have seen them work loose on hammers more often than bolts. Just be sure your bolts have a minimum of 1-1/2 dia depth of thread. 2 diameters is better in cast iron.

The stroke length is how you adjust how hard the hammer hits. Long stroke, hard blows. Short stroke, gentle blows. There are many jobs where you want to run fast and gentle while others you want slow powerful blows. You need that adjustment. Some hammers the adjustment requires unbolting and moving parts then tightening the bolts. That may be a solution for you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 02:18:02 GMT

What is the best way to prevent the dreaded white film that sometimes appears around forge welds after time?
Rik  <heartmtnforge at excite.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 02:42:55 GMT

I have a kerrihard power hammer and can't seem to keep the top die in. I've tried brass shim but no good have metal shims in now.
cotton  <cotton at hutchtel.net> - Thursday, 04/12/01 03:08:26 GMT

Cotton: hammer wedges should be made of steel and have a 1/8" taper per foot. If that doesn’t work you might want to try placing a dow pin in the ram and die. This is done by drilling a ˝” hole in the ram and die. Then cut a short piece on ˝” round stock and place it in the new hole it the ram. Index the pin in the ram in the hole in the die and then use your wedges as you normally would. The pin should stop the die from coming lose. Be careful not to drive your wedges to tight. I have seen lots of rams; sow blocks and anvils broken by over tightening. I never use a hammer heavier then 2-1/2 pound to tighten wedges. I have seen some guy use a sledge to knock in wedges and that practice always makes me cringe. Another thing that always helps is to oil the wedges before installing. It not only helps them to seat better it helps when removing them. The three most important things for any hammer are oil, oil, and oil.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 04:28:59 GMT

Flux: Rik, Sorry this was one of our lost questions.

Good joint design prevents flux inclusions. If you have flux trapped in the weld then you have a bad weld. Be sure to start with a proper scarf with convex surfaces so the flux and swarf can squeeze out. Then be sure the weld starts at the center then is welded out to the edges. Sometimes this takes several welding heats.

Most of the time surface deposits are removed in the forging process mixed with the scale. If any remains it must be removed by power wire brushing or sand blasting. There are chemicals that will remove the flux but they also attack the iron.

When used as a flux borax becomes an anhydrous (waterless) substance. The natural state for borax is crystals with up to 10 water molecules per borax molecule. The molecular forces that drive the process of conversion are very powerful and will continue until all the borax is converted. This will occur inside joints if moisture can get there and under paint where water can be absorbed. Many paints and plastics absorb water. Even though they prevent rust those that absorb water will transmit it to the borax. When the crystals expand the paint flakes off and matters get worse.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 13:46:09 GMT

Wedge Taper: Cotton, that taper given by Bruce is a common one but they vary from 3/32" to 1/4" per foot. Wedges must be fairly well fitted. A rough wedge that contacts in just two or three places is better than a smooth perfect looking wedge that only contacts at one end or the other of the dovetail.

I don't know about Kerrihards but the upper die on many Little Giants is a compound wedge. It tapers in two directions! One to match the dovetail and the other to match the taper.

The last dies I machined had the taper on one side of the die dovetail. I used the wedges from the hammer to hold the die in the shaper vise. This created a perfect match between die and wedge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 14:00:44 GMT

I am looking for bushings and seals for my Lancaster Geared Blower No.40 made by Champion blower & Forge. Are there companys that sell replacements? Or will i have to have them custom made?
Jeremy  <Gerbil45 at aol.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 14:11:21 GMT

Parts: Jeremy, sorry, no. Note that these blowers did not have real seals in them and are notorious for leaking oil. When they leak a little they have the right amount of oil. When they stop leaking its time to add oil.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 14:16:01 GMT

Just a note to say how much I appreciate this resource. I have gotten a lot of info and enjoyment from reading the posts here and also from the iForge demos. This site is the best all around blacksmithing site on the web. It puts the ABANA site to shame.

Thanks, Adam
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Thursday, 04/12/01 17:04:06 GMT

dear guru, I am the technician at a university craft program here in oregon. we are looking to buy a forge for teaching purposes and student use ranging from ornamental work to tools to furniure. because we work for the government we have to buy rather than build a forge. Got any recomendations of what who or where??
much appreciated, david
david  <wpitney at Gladstone> - Thursday, 04/12/01 17:27:42 GMT

Measuring scrolls: Draw out the pattern on a piece of cardboard and use a flexible scale to measure it. (check with a good art supply store for one) How much you have to allow for your tapering, upsetting, punching, twisting depends on how *you* do it and we cannot help. Making a calibration piece is always a good idea just like knitters do a test swatch when starting with a new yarn or needles.

And if all else fails---design in an area that can be discretely lengthened or shortened to meet a mandatory length; *or* have a decorative collar that can cover a spot where you cut it and chopped some out or put a bit in.

Remember you are going for what "looks" right at a short distance. Some variation is actually a plus. I have seen many gates that looked *almost* machine made at 25' and when I got close showed an amazing ammount of subtle differences.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 18:35:22 GMT

David, here are three different locations to get gas forges at.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 04/12/01 18:35:31 GMT

guru, I have two questions for you. Im going to make an aluminum letter opener, As I pound the round stock flat, how do I straighten out any curves that begin to show up?

Secondly, my brother wants me to forge a weapon for his girlfriend to carry because of a recent rash of violence at thier campus. I told him it would be best if he gave her some pepper spray, but he insists on a knife. A normal knife is so easy to take from someone who isnt a trained fighter that I think she needs something more.
Do you have any suggestions as to what I could make that she could keep in her purse?

BTW, its in cincinatti, where these terrible riots have broken out.
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 18:48:40 GMT

Weapons: Adam, This I cannot advise you on in a public forum nor would I do so privately. There are various laws involved in each state as to what is legal to carry or not.

Your first advice to your brother was right. His girl friend's best bet would be to take a self defence course for women. Then stay out of the wrong places, be sure to be with friends, don't walk alone at night. . all the usual things that everyone should do in a large city.

In the case of a riot no weapon is going to help. It would only get you in more trouble. The recent curfew should help.

Curves when forging are straightened by forging on the inside of the curve. Straightening a wood block with a wood or leather mallet protects the work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 19:07:54 GMT

Forges: David, Ralph left out Centaur Forge. All the forges listed are sold by our advertisers which can be found on the pull down menu as well as via the banners.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 19:12:40 GMT

Sorry for asking you that one guru, I didnt think of the law side of it.

Its finally spring break, and guru, I handed in my project today, Very proudly, thankyou for your help.
AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 04/12/01 19:25:54 GMT

Where can I buy good metal for sword making ???
Corey Johnson  <Hob Goblin x5> - Thursday, 04/12/01 22:33:54 GMT

Steel: Corey, It depends on how big and how fancy. We have A-2 and O-1 flat stock in our On-Line Metals store. The largest O-1 is 3/16" x 1-1/4" x 18". Sufficient for a short sword. The A-2 is only 1/8" thick but comes in 36" lengths. A-2 is pricey but easy to heat treat. We also carry 304 SS if you are looking to make a fine wallhanger (304 is tough but not hardenable). We also carry aluminum, brass, copper and plastics. Click on "Metals Online" on the pull down menu.

If you want to get ultra fancy Daryl Meier sells laminated steel (Damascus) blanks in various patterns. Click on MEIER STEEL
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 00:04:13 GMT

Guru, a question, I am attempting to build a bed stead using square tubing for the posts. I want to fuller a long groove in the sides of them, hard to do on sq tube (.095 wall), I have thought of making a sorta long bottom swage to fuller into, stuff it in to the square tube (sized for a snug fit top to bottom) and wail with a fuller. I have thought of either fabing one out of pipe and bar stock, or just fullering a longish piece of (say 1 1/2" square). Am I wizzing in the wind or what, any thoughts from anyone are greatly appreciated. Its still snowing in central Orygun.
Tim - Friday, 04/13/01 00:36:06 GMT

Hmmmmm: Tim, Fullering that tube is not like fullering a bar. When you fuller a bar it gets bigger as the material is displaced outward, when you fuller that tube its going to shrink as the wall conforms to the groove. The material will stretch some but only with great dificulty.

If you put a mandrel in the tube and push the metal into the grove the sides will close on the mandrel and it will be stuck IF you don't tear the tube wall. To retain the original size you will need to reduce the material thickness in the fullered area by about 1/3.

So, you will need a mandrel narrower than the tube to start and a tool to push the metal into the groove and then thin the material. You may also need a width form to support the tube when expanding it. The fuller should just fit then get fatter (a taper) with rounded ends. After fullering the tube wall can be thinned some with a flatter (or flat hammer die) at the end where the groove starts (assuming the groove starts somewhere beyond the end of the tube).

If doing this work on a power hammer the mandrel can be supported on the end of a long bar firmly anchored to a heavy bench. You will have to take care to loosen the mandrel by forging with each heat. Its going to take a LOT of practice and developing the right technique but I think it can be done. You many need a helper too. . .

No, not an easy job.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:11:19 GMT

You might consider a piece of channel instead of tube for this part. After you are done fullering you could weld on one face to make a tube if you felt it was necessary.
ada  <adam at whiteson.org> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:23:36 GMT

Tubing: Two pieces of angle work too. . . Will be curved like a snake after fullering but could be straightened.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:45:12 GMT

Tim, Fuller what you want into both sides of a piece of angle. Do this to two seperate pcs of angle and then weld together.
Pete  <ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:49:29 GMT

Guru, I have learned of a tool that sounds exactly like the type of thing i would prefer for stock removal. Its called a SEN and it is a type of japanese scraper, I read that it was used in place of grinding:) Have you heard of this before, and if so do you know where I might purchase one? (I dont think my equipment is sound for such required hardening)

AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:58:02 GMT

Guru, I have learned of a tool that sounds exactly like the type of thing i would prefer for stock removal. Its called a SEN and it is a type of japanese scraper, I read that it was used in place of grinding:) Have you heard of this before, and if so do you know where I might purchase one? (I dont think my equipment is sound for such required hardening)

AdamSmith  <ColdForge1 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 01:58:06 GMT

Dang, sorry about that.
AdamSmith - Friday, 04/13/01 01:58:34 GMT

Scrapers: Adam, I have an iForge demo on scrapers and making them. I suspect they are similar to a SEN. They are generaly limited to annealed metal and will not replace a grinder for scaled hard surfaces.

I didn't heat treat those I made. They are made from old saw blades. When grinding to shape we kept them cool to prevent losing temper. They are quite hard and work well.

One blade was some old band saw I got from Paw-Paw. The other was a cheap circular saw blade. The circular blade was a little thick but was good for a heavy scraper. It takes lots of careful stoning to get the crisp edges required for a scraper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 02:58:50 GMT

Thanks for the info. I'll give it a try.
cotton  <cotton at hutchtel.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 03:11:49 GMT

Hi Guru, Tony and All, I posted the pics of Tony's Trebs tonight to my web site. His are at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth/TonysPage.html

I also added a bunch more pics of my work, my shop, some of my hammer valving & a tool holder I made for it, etc... on my site at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth

Night All, Mike
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 03:22:35 GMT

Web Site: Mike, can you PLEASE set the link colors on your page to something other than blue?? They strobe on the red background and make my eyes hurt! In the BODY tag at the top of your page put LINK="acolor". Yellow would be nice and hot on the read and not strobe. .

Tony who? And what are you launching into space?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 03:43:46 GMT

Hi Guru. I am a very beginner; I have done some little works, but all with arc weld. Can you explain how to do a forge weld ? Thank you very much.
Simone Rabotti  <srabotti at libero.it> - Friday, 04/13/01 12:06:52 GMT

Tony me. Mike was kind enough to post the treb pics on his site. Being the immature yahoo's we are, we'll hurl just about anything from the trebs. Lawyers, dead possum, flaming projectiles, MBA's, etc. (grin) These are just the toy trebs so we know how to build the big one. 100 foot plus arm, 16,000 poundish couterweight, etc.

Square tube fullering: Tim, you are going to have one devil of a time fullering the side with the weld. I don't know if this will work for you, but instead of one tube fullered, how about 4 tubes in a square bundle? The radii on the 4 tubes will give somewhat of a fullered effect. Or fuller 4 flat bars and stick them together into a tube?
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 12:09:00 GMT

Hi Guru, I took your advice & changed the link colors. You're right it's MUCH eaiser to read now!

Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 13:07:22 GMT

I am writting a paper for a masters class on the history of welding. I asume welding got its start from blacksmithing. Where can I get information on this subject?
Cal Palmer  <calsuepalmer at aol.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 14:01:51 GMT

I've been a welder for 25 of my 45 years. I've doing some light duty "wrought iron" i.e. hand rails, repairs etc. out of my garage for about 10 years but I am interested in expanding into some heavier genuine blacksmithing. Ive already started on a brake drum forge and realized that the JYH is practically a required compliment to the forge. My father taught me "why buy it if you can make it". I'm qite a pack rat so in my "junk" I think I have most of what I need to build a hammer. I can also buy scrap steel real cheap where I work. My question is threefold. How do you set up the slack belt clutch? Do I need a flywheel for a cam and beam type hammer? And does flywheel if needed run continuosly or is the motor clutched to it?
Scott  <scheersc at aol.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 14:21:21 GMT

Guru, your recent comments about infinite load were very interesting. I had never heard of that. Could you briefly describe what it is and how it occurs?
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 14:56:15 GMT

Forge Weld: Simone, Forge welding is a true art. It is sometimes difficult to learn and always takes all your attention.

To forge weld the pieces heated until almost melted and then pressed together.

The smith hammers the pieces together but must not hit too hard else the nearly liquid surface all squeezes out. Once the weld is made the joint can be forged as much as you like.

Flux helps the welding process. Borax or certain types of sand are used. When using sand it must be a type that melts well below the the steel's metlting point.

The borax is applied after the metal is hot but before it "red hot". Scaled, or burnt iron will not weld. The iron or steel must be clean to weld. The flux protects the surface AND disolves the burned surface scale. It is also very fluid so that it will squeeze out of the joint.

The joint where the metal joins must be designed so that the flux and swarf (dirt carried by the flux) will squeeze out and not become trapped in the joint. This is called "scarfing" the joint and usualy means making a slightly curved surface that joins first at the center and pushes out the flux as the weld is completed.

The easiest weld to learn is a "faggot" weld. This is when a bundle of bar are welded together OR when a bar is folded back on itself and welded.

Take a small bar about 10 to 15 mm (3/8" to 1/2") and bend 75mm (3") of it back on itself. Heat to a black heat and apply flux on all sides. Heat the piece to a yellow heat (it has been called the color of melted butter). This must be done in a good clean fire that is very hot but not requiring a lot of air. You can test the piece with a small pointed bar. When the point sticks the metal is ready to weld. Quickly take the piece to the anvil a strike it hard enough to push the surfaces together at the bend then work back. Dress the joint a little and when it has cooled some but is still hot try to open the joint in a vise or with a blunt wedge. If it is tight, you have a weld. If it opens, then clean with a wire brush and try again.

One of the best American instructors, Frank Turley, says to practice a weld every day (or every time you fire the forge). Once you become good at simple welds then try and practice the more difficult.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 16:05:44 GMT

Trebuchet: Tony, you forgot TAX men. .

The four tubes is a good idea. Mike Boone did a railing where four small pieces of angle iron are aranged in an "X" and four round bars are placed in each angle. The entire bundle was TWISTED! The result was beautiful and NOT something to be easily reproduced by others.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 16:10:38 GMT

Welding research: Cal, Use my forge welding discription above. There are others spread throughout the archives. If you need references see our "bookshelf" (off the home page).

Yes, forge welding dates to the earliest iron age. The making of wrought iron is largely a forge welding process. A poorly amalgamated iron and slag sponge (called a bloom) is removed from the smelting furnace and forge welded into a solid piece. These pieces are then forge welded to others in order to produce bar of sufficient size.

Note that the nearly pure wrought iron welds at a higher heat than steel. The higher the carbon the lower the melting point AND the lower the welding temperature. Good clean steel in the proper environment will weld at a low red heat.

Forge welding is still used by blacksmiths for the best traditional work and by many bladesmiths for producing laminated steels (also commonly called Damascus). Laminated steels are produced in order to combine the properties of hard brittle steels with soft ductile ones. The results are something that cannot be achieved with ordinary steels. Lamination is also used in order to produce artistic patterns in the steel. Alloy steels, notably nickel steels and sometimes pure nickle are welded up with wrought iron or plain carbon steels. The finished product is ground and etched to bring out the pattern. It is a combination of sophisticated metallurgy and high art. You would be surprised how many bladsmiths pursue this art form. There are also those that produce the material in quantity to sell to others. See MEIER STEEL

Now THAT tangent will keep you busy. OBTW, Daryl Meier, worked on a laminated steel welding project for HIS Masters in metalurgy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 16:30:03 GMT

JYH: Scott, Flywheels are not normally a needed element in a power hammer. The crank wheel must be counter balanced for vibration and this is sufficient flywheel. Power hammers absorb enough energy that all the flywheel can do is smooth the load. The flywheel cannot be used to store energy (in this situation).

The motor is clutched to the hammer shaft which has the counterbalanced crank as noted above. For a flywheel to store energy for this purpose it would need to be one the motor side of the clutch. A slack belt is most commonly a flat belt. To engage it you simply use a roller tensioner attached to some lever and tredle mechanism.

Slack belt clutches work best with a flat belt but V belts can be used. When using a flat belt the pullies still have crown so that the belt tracks in the center, but they also need side guides to keep the belt on when slack. One way to do this is to find and old multi-V belt pulley and machine off the extra ridges in the middle. The outer edges need to have the V angle machined off and the new bottom surface needs crown machined on to it (about 1/16" - 1.5mm).

Side guides made of round bar can also be used to keep the loose belt from falling off.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 16:42:15 GMT

Infinite Load: Neal, Infinity is for us mortals both immaginary and real. For the most part the majority cannot imagine what infinity is, or an infinite number is. You must first have a grasp of it.

The common "infinite" number is the archane "how many angles can you put on the head of a pin?". But HERE is a thought provoking line of logic along the same line.
Axiom, A sphere can have an infinite number of points on its surface.

Then which has more points on its surface, the Earth or a Marble?

Neither, infinite = infinite, one thing cannot be "more" infinite than another.

In many mathematical equasions the result is 0 or 1 when you go one direction and infinity in the other. This is true in vector mechanics. Simply put, in vector mechanics the resulting forces are increased or reduced by the angle of their application. If you have a simple linkage with two legs at an angle the force applied by the legs resulting from a force applied at the center is the force times the tangent of the angle (if I remember correctly). As the angle between the links increases and approaches a straight line the force applied (tangentaly) at the joint produces an ever increasing load in the links. When the links are in a straight line the tangent is 90°. The tangent of 90° = infinity (INF or Error on your calculator). Therefore when you apply a tangent load to any straight line the initial load is infinite. However, nothing can withstand an infinite load so deflection is immediate and the angle is no longer 90°. The TAN of the angle drops of dramiticaly in the first (smallest fraction) of a degeee.

This simple mathematics applies to all types of everyday things. You can never pull a truely "straight" line when looked at horizontaly. Gravity pulls down on the wire or string and it MUST sag some amount or break. In the shop knowing that picking up a load with a sling wrapped such that pulling up on that horizontal section of rigging produces an infinite load is important. One of three things are going to happen:
  1. The sling is going to stretch enough to result in an angle reducing the force.
  2. The object being lifted will be crushed and and angle produced relieving the force.
  3. The sling will fail.
In most cases of failure the sling has stretched to the point of being damaged AND the object being lifted has been damaged as well as the sling breaking. Load chain has slightly oval links. IF you see a load chain that the sides of the links are straight and is tight (no play in the chain) then it has been stressed this way (almost to the breaking point) and should be discarded. Scrap yards are full of such chain. There is a reason it was scraped. . .

In the power hammer toggle linkage the ram tries to exert an infinite force on the horizontal toggles and the spring is compressed. At rest the toggles are adjusted to nearly a straight line but can never BE a perfect straight line. However, as the ram swings through that straight line there is a moment when huge loads are applied (theoreticaly infinite for a moment). The result is that the ram moves easily through the center of its travel and the spring applies ever increasing resistance as it pulls in the arms, returning it at the ends of the stroke. This is what makes the toggle linkage the most efficient in power hammer mechanics.

Elsewhere in the shop, if you put a sensitive dial indicator on almost anything you can gently push on the object with a bare finger and the indicator will react. Even with heavy shafts and plate a thousandths (.001" - .025mm) indicator will move. Put a ten thousandths (.0001" - .0025mm) indicator on almost anything (including a concrete floor) and it will jump all over the place as people walk by.

With most objects gravity has already applied the load. However a shaft in a lathe that you cannot lift WILL deflect sideways from a simple finger press.

In most cases we are talking very small amounts of deflection, however when trying to do precision work all this flexibility can be quite frusutrating.

There can be no infinite force, only situations where an infinite force would theoreticaly occur. As soon as a situation occurs nature backs off and says, "No, you can't do that!" You try to be sure that "No" is not a catastrophic failure.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 17:45:43 GMT

Materials and Infinite Load: Consider the surface of your anvil as a straight line (or flat plane). When a load is applied it MUST deflect. When a round steel ball or the face curved of a hammer strikes the surface there is one of those moments when an infinite force is theoretical. Since neither piece of steel can withstand an infinite load the surfaces deflect (actually compressing) and reduce the infinite to something much less. However, while doing so they have changed shape which is something hard steel resists greatly. So the ball or hammer and the face of the anvil quickly return to their natural shape like springs, repelling each other.

Without that deflection and the material's resistance to change your hammer would not bounce. The harder (more resistant to change) the two pieces are the more rebound there is.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 18:12:13 GMT

I felt a chill down my spine several posts above. I´m not against that anyone should have the right to defend themselves with force if neccesary, but never,ever, try to use a knife for that purpose. You cannot DEFEND anything with a knife. You can only ATTACK with a knife. Spend enough years in training and it will be obvious to anyone. I make swords, axes, any edged weapon and sell them to whoever can pay, but I will not sell a "fighting knife" to anyone outside the armed forces.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 04/13/01 19:01:11 GMT

Knife: Olle, Me too. People are generaly stupid in this respect. Few (if any) weapons are good for "defense". I'll take a quarter staff any day.

In Japan it was once forbidden to carry a staff or a club. So, heavy walled bamboo flutes made from the bottom or the bamboo stalk became popular. The root end making a rather heavy knot. A perfectly functional musical instrument that is strong enough to be a lethal weapon or deflect a samuri sword . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 19:51:34 GMT

I will give it a whirl....
An easy type of weld is to take a piece of 3/8 or 1/2 square stock about 18 in long. about 3 in from the end make a cut about 1/2 way thru the stock(do this hot and cut with a cutoff hardie) bend over back on itself. Ideally it should still be at least red, if not heat up to a nice red color and wire brush off the scale and stuff. sprinkle on some flux where you plan on welding.( I use plain old 20 Mule Team Borax)Place back into the forge and bring to welding temp(make sure tho that it is hot all the way thru the metal and not just surface hot) Weld temp varies due to the type of steel. if using mild steel it is somewhere near a yellow heat. Not quite sparking....(sparking is burning and burning is BAD) Another way of looking at it is this way.
With the molten flux and the metal at weld temp it will look like a pat of butter that has just started to melt under a broiler... The surface of the metal and flux will be the same color as the buter and will also have the swirly eddy type movement as the butter as it melts....
At this point quickly take form forge and LIGHTLY tap the pieces together If you hit it too hard it will just cause the semi-molten metal to fly away and not weld. After the first hit or so you have lost weld temp. If you think the weld held you can forge to shape, or brush reflux and heat and weld again.

NOw before doing all this you must go over all the steps in your head. even practise the motions with cold metal(do not flux or hammer) but just get the rythem down. once you feel comfy do it.
Also there will be splatter of molten scale and flux wear apron safetey glasses etc and insure anyone near by is as well
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 19:57:41 GMT

Sorry Guru, I did not see your post on forge welding......
Also I did not realize Mr Turley said that... I have been saying the same thing about welding for years....
I even try to get PawPaw to do it... but so far he seems to be declining that concept.... (VBG)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 20:00:15 GMT

Welding: Ralph, you had a few bits that I did not. It always helps to have a slightly different perspective.

Yeah. . We need to do an iForge demo on this one. Bill has been after ME to do it. . . It is also hard to illustrate.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 20:23:24 GMT

I'm just turning 75 this year. I've "dabbled" in metal work for years, ie arc welding, acetylene welding, "pounding" & bending with vise and anvil. I'm about to receive a great old cast iron forge from a reletive, and I'm really looking forward to learning & experiencing some real forge workings.

My question is; does the cast iron forge need to be layered with a clay or some other material before I start using it?

Thanks in advance: xcowboy
Vince Carl  <xcowboy at execnet.net> - Friday, 04/13/01 23:00:17 GMT

Hi I need to know where can go to find about 18 sq.ft kaowool or insawool and seeler like satinite to finish my forge.

Also I am wondering if natural gas would work as good as propane, if so would I have to have a larger or a smaller jet. thanks alot. Steve
Steve  <ssstapley at hotmail> - Friday, 04/13/01 23:16:32 GMT

Claying Forge : Vince, Generally not, unless you are going to build a huge fire. Most forge fires are relatively small and you should never leave one unattended else it may "run away". A forge fire can melt steel and a big enough fire can burn the bottom out of the forge clayed or not. A layer of fuel usualy does the job. What damages forges more than anything else is dumping water on the fire. If water reaches the hot cast iron the thermal shock can crack the cast iron. Rust is also a problem and if the forge is stored outdoors it needs to have all the ash cleaned out while in storage. Coal ash contains sulfur compounds that leach out and are very corrosive.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 04/13/01 23:22:27 GMT

Thanks to GURU, Pete, Tony and Ada for advice and suggestions on the attempted fuller on square tubing, it is a real challange, and I appreciate all the input.

On another item, I disagree that a blade is purely an offensive weapon, the weapon is neutral, its who wields and how, some one once said the best defense is a rapid well directed fire, personally I believe the best defense is self defense, the cops are just around to clean up the mess, and I never leave home without a big sharp blade (or two) tucked in about my person, makes me feel good.
(just my two bits......)
Tim - Saturday, 04/14/01 04:12:01 GMT

RE Fullering square tube.
How bout...support the side edges from inside the tube with 2 flat bars that extend beyond the length of the tube and are anchored solidly. Take a torch and locally heat only the center strip to be fullered in short sections. Use a light cross pein hammer or better, a small air hammer to sink the fuller.
The flat bars should be welded in a "V" cross section to clear the side fullers, and shallow enough to clear the bottom fuller.
Let the whole thing cool pretty often.
Kinda slow but it ought to work.
Pete F - Saturday, 04/14/01 04:56:26 GMT

Guru, I fancy myself a wood craftsmen, but recently I've been inspired by some pounded copperwork. I know nothing about copperwork but what my eyes and hands tell me. Even though its not Blacksmithing, do any ideas, advice, resources come to mind?
Thanks for your time,
E.Pilmanis  <epilmanis at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 04/14/01 19:36:02 GMT

Copper: E.P. Copper is fun to work. It is nearly as maleable as gold and takes a nice finish (polished OR hammered). A lot of the dishing and raising can be done with wooden forms, sand bags and simple tools and stakes. Copper can also be worked by repose' (where the back is supported by pitch).

When doing this type work your tools should have a very fine polished finish on the work surfaces.

The Dona Meilach book, Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork has an article on raising with each step. See our book review page. We also have several good articles on our armor page. Note that copper is worked cold and only needs to heated to anneal it after much working (different than the steel helm being made). The armor articles also have info on making tools and there are also several on our iForge page.

Both Centaur Forge and Norm Larson have books on the subject. Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son sell raising hammers as well as stakes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 04/14/01 21:23:03 GMT

Guru, another question if I may, I attended an auction yesterday, (yep, bought another post vice) and they had a lot of farriers tools, one item caught my interest, and I wonder if you or anyone else can give me a bit of info on it. It was a 'cats head' hammer by Heller. It was sorta shaped like a cats head from the side, a fat and short fuller on a roundish head, it actually had four striking surfaces, regular ones plus both sides. It went for $125 (not to me), any info greatly appreciated.
Cool but getting warmer in central Orygun
Tim - Sunday, 04/15/01 00:59:45 GMT

Catshead hammer: Tim, I believe this is one of those big time collectors items. Odd tool, not worth it for use even though good hammers are getting expensive. On the other hand I know NOTHING about the farrier business. I don't deal in "collectables" either. Prices have nothing to do with reality.

ME, I use factory (hardware store) hammers. A light dressing of sharp edges and they are ready to go. If I wanted something special they are too easy to make OR modify from an old hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 01:12:24 GMT

what kind of safety glasses do you recomend?
Ed Benton  <ebenton2ph at aol.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 01:58:37 GMT


The very best money can buy, even if you have to go into hock!

Check out demonstration #66 on the iForge page to see why.

If you've got cheap eyes, buy cheap glasses!

You can walk with a plastic leg, and you can work with a plastic arm, but you can't see with a plastic eye!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 04:48:31 GMT

My wife collects old kitchen utensils. She recently gave me a fifties era laddle and a hand held pot strainer of the same era and asked me to fix them. They have both become detached from their handles where the welds or brads (I'm not sure what method was originally used) let loose. She asked me to solder them. It has become obvious with continued attempts that this is not what needs to be done.
What kind of metal work do I need to do or have done to fix these utensils?
Steve  <Badecooke at home.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 04:51:56 GMT

We are attempting to rebuild a 19th century american smithy. What we have is a 5ft diameter brick and steel forge with a side vent great bellows hung from the ceiling. Where we are getting confused is there is no firepot or ash dump that we can find. There is an opening in the bricks that goes under the forge but not all the way through the forge. The top of the forge appears to slope toward the center of the forge so that the surface is concave and about 5 inches below the rim at the center. However there are bricks placed in the center to bring the surface back up to even with the rim and the air pipe is fed through cinderblocks at a level that is actually above the rim.

I was hoping for some documentation as to whether this was the original design or whether the bricks and air pipe are misplaced by someone trying to get the forge going again.

It would make more sence to me to bring the air in along the concave surface of the forge so the air outlet was at the lowest point of the surface and build a fire up to the rim or higher from there. I could also understand using the bricks to form a firepot around the center of the forge to contain the fire and coal but these bricks seemed to form a platform rather than a firepot. The cinderblock through which the airpipe is fed seems completely out of place and not made at the same time as the other materials of this forge. Then there is the issue of no ash dump. Is this normal for early american forges or was the orignal ash dump closed by some well meaning technician?

If you could point me in the directions of some construction information on this type of forge I would be very grateful. This forge is part of the Mississippi Agricultural museum and we would very much like to get it working again. The forge itself seems sound as is the bellows and the flue. I was just confused about the positioning of the bricks and the air pipe.

Thanks in advance
Erik Kreyling (Editor Mississippi Forge Council)
Erik  <irongld at bellsouth.net> - Sunday, 04/15/01 07:05:34 GMT

Safety Glasses: I need to post a photo but the type I prefer are those with what look like old heavy frames with wire screen side shields that fit snuggly to the side of the face. These are the ONLY type permited at our local foundry. They also come with #3 (I think) UV/IR filter lenses as "flash glasses". These are required under welders helmets and behind face shield in areas where hot metal is being worked.

We have had a lot of queries about these and will start selling them as soon as I can get a shipment in.

Note that on MANY blacksmith forums "dididium" glasses have been recomended for forge welding. This filter is designed for the sodium flare of a glass blower's furnace and is NOT the proper filter for iron working.

For many jobs safety glasses AND a full face shield are needed (see Paw-Paw's iForge safety report he mentioned). His safety glasses just barely kept him from losing an eye but they did not prevent him from cracking his scull and still have trouble months later.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 15:24:00 GMT

Kitchen Utensils: Steve, We have some of these in our kitchen. They were probably riveted with aluminium rivets which have corroded away from bimetallic corrosion while setting in the sink. See our iForge demontrations on riveting
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 15:26:13 GMT

OBTW Safety Glasses: The type I mentioned come is different frame sizes and I have had small ones that FIT a skinny 10 year old.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 04/15/01 15:28:30 GMT

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