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I recently picked up an old castiron Kalamazoo horizontal bandsaw at the CBA meet.
Any advice on aligning the blade in the new guide bearings i put on? Thanks all...Pete
   - Pete F - Saturday, 04/24/04 05:51:58 EDT

i have a trennjaeger 12" old circular saw that was used to cut aluminum
the speed of the blade is about 1400/or700 rpm
i have 6 hss blades for aluminum some in good condition
i want to cut with the saw mainly thin wall stainlesstel profiels and plain steel and save some mony by converting this saw
1- can i cut with this hss blades slowley will they last long?
2- do i have to coat them somehow?
3-can i use carabide tip blade for hard wood for the thin wall profiels (is the carabide in this blades is the same as on the blades of the new dry metal cuters?
4- do i have to buy the new dry cutting blade for steel ?
5- are ther any other options?
thanks a lot
   - hezi - Saturday, 04/24/04 10:12:56 EDT

Power Saw Adjustment: Pete, This is a tricky and frustrating job. One of those that you have to think through and not panic.

First, think about what the blade is doing. It is coming off the wheels and being twisted 45° and then back. Idealy the axis of the twist is the center of the blade. Imagine it twisted with that line still being straight between each wheel (pushed not right or left, or to the front or back of the blade).

Visualizing this helps keep you from going nuts. Better saws have adjustments in all directions and you can really get off track without a goal.

Adjust the rollers that put the twist in the blade first and leave the back rollers off the blade. Eye ball the line between wheels. The rollers will always feel tight on the blade due to the twist but SHOULD have a little play. IF you are annal about it you would use a .005" (.13mm) feeler gauge to be sure the rollers are not too tight.

Pull the blade through the rollers to let it settle into position. Do NOT let the teeth get between the rollers! Sometimes you need to move the entire guide assemblies back to prevent this and get them in the right position. Then adjust the back rollers to just touch.

At this point you should have the initial adjustment and can run the saw for a moment to be sure things work.

Now, try sliding the adjustable top guide back and forth. IF it changes the position or alignment of the blade as it moves then it (or the bottom guide) are not on that theoretical line. Adjust them until you can move the top guide and there is no change in the blade. If your "eye-balling" is not accurate you MAY want to use some type of guage, dial indicator or pointer. I watch for movement against the grooves in the saw table OR a short square in the vise (see last step).

Now place a square on the saw table and check the blade for vertical squareness. If the blade is not dead vertical then it will cut crooked in the kerf and make curved cuts. To check past the teeth you may need a parallel on the blade (piece of cold roll flat). To adjust squareness you have to twist the guides around. You may also want to lift the saw head up and down and watch how the blade tracks next to a square. There is no adjustment for this in most saws other than shimming but if it is off you will never get the saw to cut straight. The sides of the blade should never rub the sides of the kerf.

Last, adjust the fixed vise jaw perfectly square to the side of the blade. Move the upper guide and recheck.

After adjusting the saw I put a short thick piece of stock in it and take a cut. Then I check for squareness. Even cheap flimsy saws will cut dead square in both directions on 1" (25mm) stock if properly adjusted and with a NEW blade.

If the saw doesn't cut square I recheck the alignment and head tracking. Note that blades that have been pinched or used for free hand cutting may be dull on one side and not track true. Always check with a new blade. Stop the saw mid cut and look to see that there is clearance on both sides of the blade. This is easier on big saws with heavy blades. However, one these you want to see EQUAL clearance.

If you cut long heavy stock and want it square be sure to check adjust the stock stands or rack so that the stock is square relative to the head movement. No matter how square the saw is it cannot cut straight when the stock is crooked in the saw! If you have a portable saw or stock stands (like I do) then you need to check this every time you move any component.

A well adjusted band saw is a pleasure to use. One that is out of wack is frustrating, wears out blades prematurely and is an overall pain. Many that I see in shops are in need of adjustment. It often does not get done because it takes several hours to half a day and everyone is in a hurry or "its not MY job" or they don't know how. This is false economy. Out of square cuts means more cutting allowance is needed, more time is needed squaring stock ends OR correcting work errors resulting from crooked ends. That half day alignment will PAY for itself in the first week if the saw is only used once a day.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 10:29:37 EDT

Cold Cutting Stainless: Hezi, The general rule for cold cutting stainless with HSS is for the cutter to travel a maximum of 90 feet (27 meters) per minute.

12 * PI = 37.7"

37 / 12 = 3.14 (PI) feet

3.14 * 700 RPM = 2200 FPM (feet per minute) 670 M/m.

The saw runs way too fast for stainless or even mild steel. Cold saws for these materials typicaly run 25 to 50 RPM.

This saw is also too fast for carbide on ferrous metals.

The carbides used for wood and metal are slightly different. The biggest difference is that cold cutting blades are thicker (stiffer) and the sharpening is different.

You might "get away" with cutting thin wall tubing because the saw will be punching sections out rather than cutting. But I would not try it.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 10:49:58 EDT

John Mahonney,

Your question on forges was answered within an hour or so back when you first posted it. The question is too vague and required further explanation.

If you meant "micro forge" no they do not need other air or oxygen. Neither does any atmospheric (venturi) forge.

However, the size of the forge and BTU's it generates limits the size and type of work.

Posting e-mail addresses in the plain text of our forums WILL get you on a spammer list. That is why we have a proprietary anti-spam system. See "About This Page" link at the top of this frame.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 11:05:40 EDT

JYH: The two best hammers are the Little Rusty (plans are available) and the NC-JYH. The NC-JYH has excelent control and is fairly easy to build. Both hammers use springs which MAY take some trial and error selection to find one that works right.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 11:18:18 EDT

Kalamazoo: Pete F, Your going to lke that saw once you get it set up. Parts should still be available from the Clausing Service Center but you probably already know that. One thng the Guru didn't mention that you may want to check before aligning the guides is to look for burrs or bumps on the area where the arms holding the blade guides mount. If your saw is like mine you have two vertical arms which slide along a sort of bridge above the blade and hold the actual guides. When I got mine there were a few areas where burrs had been raised along that supposedly flat mating surface. If you find any file them flat before you start alignment because a very slight change in angle eight or ten inches from the blade will cause a significant offset as you adjust the guides for stock clearance and throw the blade out of alignment. Take Jock's advice and set it up carefully and you'll get years of good use out of it. Good luck.
   SGensh - Saturday, 04/24/04 11:22:08 EDT


Your stainless pipe question has been asked and answered twice. Here is another option.

My recomendation for making curved pipes and custom exhust is to use pipe that is already bent. I have made custom exhust systems for cars numerous times by going to the parts store, picking a pipe that was CLOSE or had the right bends, then cutting the pipe, making weld backup rings, assembling the pipe with the rings and adjusting in place, mark the joints, remove and weld.

SOME speed shops have prebent elbows and these can also be used with straight pipe but the sizes and angles are limited.

This fit and weld method took less time than the PROs at the big exhust shops take to figure out a pipe by trial and error (wasting a LOT of expensive pipe). AND my fits were almost nearly perfect because I could easily adjust the pipe until it had the maximum clearance and best alignment at all points before welding.

The weld backup rings were just pipe that had about 1/4" cut out of them so they would fit into the pipe.

There are numerous late model vehicals (starting in the 1980's) that had stainless exhusts. These are available from the scrap yard and can be used as above. I have one on my old 1986 Doge van that I need to remove before it goes to the crusher. . . I need a durable pipe for a stationary engine.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 11:33:33 EDT

IMPORTANT! CSI Members (past and present) and Gurus: The volunteer "stearing committee" is close to finished hammering out the bylaws for the group which will then be used as part of our articles on incorporation (I THINK that is how it works). This is in preparation to incorporation and achieving non-profit status.

PLEASE take time to check into the business forum and put in your two cents. A very small group is doing this work and we would like your input. When finished (it is close) we will call for a vote (we have a system being tested - try it). Don't let 10% of the group make all the decisions for you! These folks may very likely also be our first board of directors.

How this all shakes out MAY have an effect on how anvilfire operates or if it continues at all. We want your input.

The bylaws call for a 30 day membership period before you can vote. However, all members, new, past, present and honorary are invited to comment on and vote on adoption of the bylaws.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 11:49:06 EDT

If you really need to do a custom exhaust pipe in stainless, J.C.Whitney has prebent ells and straight pipe, and as the guru noted, this can be welded up.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/24/04 14:39:19 EDT

Guru I'm new to blacksmithing and need help punching holes in 1/2" sq and 1/2x1/4 mild steel trying to punch 3/8 sq hole using a center punch and pritchael punch. holes I've punched are not centered and ugly. any suggestions would be appreciated.
   David NC - Saturday, 04/24/04 15:41:40 EDT

David, A lot depends on what you are trying to achieve. Do you want parallel sides or swelling? 3/8" in 1/2" only leaves 1/16" per side and a microscopic missalignment will be very obvious.

Punching is like any kind of hole making. You can make an ugly off center hole with an electric drill just as easy as anything else.

To get your center punched place aligned you need to use a rule or dividers and scribe a location. You should be able to do this with common tools to within +/- .002".

Then center punch the bar COLD on the anvil. This should make a good deep mark. If you have been using a center punch hot you will need a new one. Sharpen it to a true 60° point.

Then your pritchel should be ground to a point and nice and true. Carefully align it in the center punch hole and drive it in while over the pritchel hole until it just starts to protrude. Then flip the work over, align the punch and back punch the same distance. Then take a 3/8" drift made to fit the pritchel punched hole and drive it through from the other side. Using tapered punches you should now have a pretty swell. While the drift is in place clean up the outside of the swell. Tap the drift out and flatten the work, then drift the hole true again. You should have a nice clean job.

Punching true requires a keen eye. Some folks can't see perpendicular closer than 20°. Experienced craftfolk can see it to within a few degrees. If you can't "see straight" then you can't make straight. And THAT is the bottom line to craftwork. Otherwise you need to make jigs that are in effect machines to do the true work.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/24/04 19:13:52 EDT

Miller Welding equipment is top-notch. Please don't think that I was badmouthing them at all. In terms of durability, versatility, and quality welds Miller stands up as one of distinction. My point is that ESAB machines deliver great quality welds with infinite configuration abilities and that they are often forgotten when people name the top welding companies. Like any equipment is comes down to maintenence and user knowledge combined with raw skill. I can lay down better bead with an old Lincoln AC buzzer and crappy old 60-11 rod than many I know can lay with a shiny new expensive welder set on DC reverse polarity with a preheat and 70-14 rod. All comes down to ability and proper use of your equipment. And yes, I hope my first welder is the blue box

P.S. Please excuse the soap-box... As you can see I am a welder at heart....lol gonna have to grow another one for blacksmithing it looks like though
   Joe R - Sunday, 04/25/04 03:24:30 EDT


Mail to you @pandemonium.net is bouncing. Have you changed your email?
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 11:28:17 EDT

does anyone have a simple plan for fabricating a light weight stationary metal cutting band saw using one of those portable hand held cut-off saws?
   jerry crawford - Sunday, 04/25/04 12:59:56 EDT


Rigid used to have a set of plans on their web site for makeing a stand/holder for their portaband saw that converted it to a horizontal/vertical cutting band saw.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 14:05:53 EDT


Not Rigid, durnit! Port-a-Cable!
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 14:06:57 EDT


   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 14:08:26 EDT

Hi all, I have recently ( within the past 3 months) become inspired to try my hand at pounding hot steel into various(sp?) useful and/or decorative objects. Most of my inspiration has come from discovering AnvilFire after doing a internet search for Blacksmith. I have found the info on this site to be a wonderful resource. As this is still only a hobby/ pastime for me I would like to try and avoid any really costly mistakes. I began by scrounging materials for a gas forge after researching what was involved in building one thru this site and Ron Reils site I was able to find everthing but the firebrick and castable, these I purchased thru a local ceramics shop from bailey ceramics supply for about $100. I built a 2 burner atmospheric forge with a firebrick base and a half shell top made from 2/3 of a 12" diameter pipe cut lengthwise and lined with the castable refractory, it is 18" long.Works Great! I have been able to forge weld with it after much trial and error. I live near an old industrial area of Rhode Island USA where there are several abandoned railroad sidings and demolished industrial buildings and there, just lying on the ground, I found a large rectangular piece of structural steel measuring 3" wide x 12"high x 18" long with a full width tenon 8"x 2.5"centered on one end which I ground a radius on to serve as a horn. This has worked well as an anvil for the beginning of my learning process, tho the rebound isn't that great and I have left quite a few hammer marks in the 3" wide face of the side I ground and leveled, also I find that the lack of a hardy hole into which I could put tools is making the process harder than it has to be.C-clamps just don't hold after 1 or 2 hammer hits and when your angle iron hot cut tool starts walking away it makes it hard to get anything done, altho the spine of a c-clamp makes a pretty good fuller. As you can probably tell, I am trying( out of neccessity (sp?)) to be thrifty while I gain experiance in my new craft. as an example,most of the stock I have been shaping is old RR steel from the abandoned sidings, the cost of new steel to learn on is prohibitive. after I have learned to duplicate something from an I-forge demo consistently in RR steel I have bought some new steel for the finished project.
I have a large pile of twisted and tortured steel to attest to my novice efforts and also a small number of recognizably useful and or decorative objects to attest to my willingness to learn the craft. I am now hitting the hot steel more often than not and feel that If I am going to be serious about this it is time to move up to a real anvil. You know, one with a real horn and both hardy and pritchel holes. After checking the local market for used old anvils ( non existent ) and looking at your advertisers sites for new ( very expensive) I have settled on the 2 horn classic from Old World Anvils. If anybody could give me feed back on this particular model it would be greatly appreciated, as I stated at the begining of this post, I wish to avoid making any really costly mistakes and with all the accumulated knowledge of the members of this site I trust that if I am told it is a good deal it will be money well spent.
Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions
   lazarus - Sunday, 04/25/04 14:08:37 EDT

Portaband - yep, those are the saws. I went to that site but could not locate any plans. I've seen one and can probably come up with something that works for me but I'm putting together an article for another skill field and illustrated plans make the text stick together better for those of us who learn visually as well as verbally. I'm hunting but so far haven't come across anything.

BTW - how's the iron art community around Ft.Collins? I just bought a home out there and am moving from Maine in a few weeks. Just thought I'd say hi ahead of time.
   - jerry crawford - Sunday, 04/25/04 14:46:08 EDT


I've not used any of the Old World Anvils, but they have a good reputation. So does Euro Anvils.


I'll do some looking and see if I can find some information. In the meantime, stop buy your nearest Portaband dealer and ask them if they know where you can get some plans. They may have them.

As for Ft. Collins, Ft. Collins where? (grin)

   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 15:15:03 EDT

...the one in Colorado, of course (grin). we bought a house on Snowbrush off S. Overland Tr. on the very western edge of town near the aquestrarian fields of the college. Just east of the reservoir. You live in that area?
   jerry Crawford - Sunday, 04/25/04 15:25:44 EDT


No, I'm in North Carolina.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 15:57:51 EDT

Anvils PLEASE NOTE "Old World" IS NOT an advertiser here (too cheap).

Euroanvils IS a regular advertiser and supporter of anvilfire and sells a line of anvils made from their own patterns. They are a good cast steel anvil and are backed by the company.

Our other advertisers that sell anvils are Kayne and Son, Centaur Forge and Pieh Tool.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/25/04 16:07:24 EDT

Portband Conversion: Dan Boone uses his portaband two ways, by hand AND clamped in a bench vise. To use it in the bench vise (I think, it has been a while since I looked) he has attached a hardwood extension to the handle using hose clamps.

When he needs it as a fixed saw he just clamps it in the vise. While doing his famous dragon demo he uses the same saw both ways. I have seen and photographed his demo numerous times but I have not included details since his dragon is a trade mark item.

On page 7 of Volume 10 of our NEWS we have a photo of Dan using his saw in the vise. I'll see if I have a larger more detailed copy but that was a long time ago (February 1999).
   - guru - Sunday, 04/25/04 16:30:34 EDT

aawww, jezz, PAWPAW, I spent enough time there between LeJune & Bragg to be considered a blooded resident. Loved the catfish & puppies but can't tolerate the humidity any longer. LOML & I need the dryer climb's of the Rockie's in our declining years.
   jerry cawford - Sunday, 04/25/04 16:32:56 EDT


Wonder if we were ever at Bragg at the same time. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 16:51:44 EDT

Portaband: Jerry, I found the full size image (only 640x480) and its on the way. Still hard to see details.

Since tool housings change annualy I would not put too much effort into specifics. What works on a brand new tool today won't work on one tommarrow.

We had a VERY nice B&D electric die grinder at one time with an all metal housing. I designed a clamp that fit on the machined cylindrical nose of the housing to use it as a tool post grinder. Worked GREAT! We made the mistake of selling the grinder and a similar adaptor as part of a job. THEN I tried to get a replacement. The new grinders had a plastic body and tapered die cast nose. Impossible to get a good grip on. Oh well. . .

Late Dremmel grinders have a threaded nose (a bastard thread) that can be used to attach it to other devices OR to use with attachments. Great idea except for the non-standard thread. Perhaps they thought that would make THEM the only supplier of attachments. WRONG. I have several routing attachments from musical instument suppliers that fit the 5/8-12 thread.

Prior to this I had made a similar tool post adaptor as above for an earlier Dremel to fit a very small lathe. That was before the threaded nose. . which is not quite rigid enough for tool post work. . . The Dremmel that went with the adaptor was burned up doing something stupid. . and so we now have TWO tool post adaptors that fit nothing.

Dan's use of a hardwood stick (or square steel tube) and hoseclamps (and maybe some electrical tape) makes good sense in this light.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/25/04 16:56:36 EDT

Mikey...... regarding stainless steel exhaust. I have looked around a bit here in St. Louis and the best place to get the pipe to make a serious exhaust system that will be there on the ground when the rest of the car is a large pile of rust is a pipe supplier. the yellow pages have them. I found a couple of companies here. I am welding together a 2 inch exhaust system for my Volvo, mostly out of curiousity and orneriness. I am using 316 Stainless schedule 5 fittings, the wall thickness is about 0.080, if I remember correctly. The fittings are not all that expensive if you weld it together yourself. I think the 45 degree weld-type elbows are about 7 or 8
dollars each. Sounds like a lot until you remember that an exhaust system made from "aluminized steel" 1/16 th of an inch thick that will rust out in 2 years costs at least a hundred dollars! The company, Piping Alloys (314) 991-0024, or (800)456-0244 are easy to deal with if you are a "company" (like Acme something) and are willing to spend a minimum usually about $50.00 I believe.
David Chisholm
   David Chisholm - Sunday, 04/25/04 20:33:31 EDT

Champion 400 blower
Can anyone tell me how to remove the large bronze gear and shaft from this blower ? I'm talking about the gear that drives the spiral gear that the fan is mounted on.
I can't see how to get the shaft out of the housing.
- C
   chris smith - Sunday, 04/25/04 21:58:45 EDT

Joe R,

Why would you want to use DCRP for 7014 rod? Isn't that a DCSP rod? Use RP and you lose the good penetration, don't you? For DCRP, I use 7018 rod.
   vicopper - Sunday, 04/25/04 22:56:03 EDT

Jerry Crawford,

Check with the guys at the CSU art department. I know they still have a strong Metalsmithing & Jewelry Design program. When I was there a few decades ago, we did some blacksmithing in the Metalsmithing program, perhaps they still do. If so, they'll know who is active locally. Also check out the Rocky Mountain Smiths chapter of ABANA.

There used to be a good blacksmith in LaPorte, but he must be in another life by now, he was well along in years back in the late 60's.
   vicopper - Sunday, 04/25/04 23:00:20 EDT


I would recommend that you look very seriously at Euroanvils. Steve Feinstein, the owner, has a reputation of being 100% behind his product and his customers. Everyone I have talked to who has one of his anvils thinks it is a terrific anvil. Steve has a very wide range of styles to choose from as well.

One more point in Steve's favor is that he is an advertiser here on Anvilfire, supporting this site that you benefit from. Like becoming a member of CSI, buying from those who advertise here helps to ensure that this site will still be active in the future. Think of it as enlightened self-interest. (grin)
   vicopper - Sunday, 04/25/04 23:08:55 EDT


One comment I want to make about quality.

If you buy an anvil for a dollar and are not satisfied, it cost too much. If you buy an anvil for a thousand dollars and its exactly what you wanted, it was cheap.

Your satisfaction is more important than your wallet. If something costs too much for your current budget, limp along with what you've got and save like crazy till you can buy QUALITY. Quality is never expensive, it ALWAYS pays for itself in the long run.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 04/25/04 23:51:05 EDT

Hey Gurus

I see carpal tunnel syndrome mentioned with some frequency and was just wondering what exactly this was. My grandfather was a blacksmith and had v.swollen joints in his right arm. Does this sound like carpal tunnel.

Thanks for your help with everything. For a novice in Australia I've found this site to be one of the most valuable resources.

   Peter Caldwell - Monday, 04/26/04 00:29:25 EDT

Okay, after pondering a question for some time, I'm going to show off my stupidity. Consider this an opportunity to blot out a little ignorance. ;)

These S-hooks that are such popular beginner projects... what do people actually use them for? I mean, I have quite a selection of sizes around the shop, mostly used for holding coils of rope or wire, or holding stuff up while spray painting, but no uses where scrolls and twists and faces and so on would fit in...

Actually, I guess I never have forged the classic S-hook. I think all my hooks have been some variation of a wall hook...

Oh, and I'll put in another endorsement of Steve at Euroanvils. Bought a 167-lb Czech anvil from him at a conference a couple years ago. Pleased as can be with it. And every time he sees me at another conference he asks me how it's doing. Also asks if I'm ready to upgrade... ;)

   Steve A - Monday, 04/26/04 00:32:39 EDT


At Demonstrations (for the public) "S" hooks are quick sellers.

Ladies use them to hang plants from the curtain rods, hang stuff outside on the patio, hang pots over a camp fire, etc.

Beam hooks (sometimes called drive hooks) sell for folks to drive into the side of cabinets to hold a collection of coffee mugs, to hold all the keys that a family collects, etc.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 04/26/04 00:36:57 EDT

"S" Hooks (adding to what Paw Paw said):

Besides hanging "stuff" from the attic, barn or meathouse rafters, S hooks were used with open fire cooking equipment in both home and field settings (along with a variety of trammel hooks and chains). On the fireplace crane an S hook or two could get the kettle way down over a banked pile of coals. On a tripod in the field we use them constantly to adjust the height of the stewpot over the fire, according to the state of the fire and the desired heat(Ummmm, cabbage-bacon-honey stew! Gooood!). Hookchains and trammels were used too, but trammels are harder to pack and sometimes you needed that extra length, even when using a hookchain.

They do show up in Viking period contexts, and are quite common in a colonial context; but we're probably making a lot more than any household would have needed because they're quick, simple, attractive and unusual in our present society.

Next, we must publish a book to generate demand: "101 Uses for an S Hook"

Fixin' to rain on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks (...home of many sites employing S hooks): www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 04/26/04 09:55:15 EDT

Carpal Tunnel: Peter, This is a common ailment among workers that make the same repititious short movements for lengthly periods. The "carpal tunnel" is where a group of nerves and tennons pass through the wrist (rough non-medical description). Swelling at this point puts pressure on the nerves and results in pain in movement. Once the condition occurs it is best treated by rest. Those that must continue to work often wear a wrist brace. Once it occurs it is more likely to reoccur.

Carpel tunnel tends to effect workers in certain industries. Typists and slaughter house workers are at the top of the list. You are more likely to get it from sitting at a keyboard all day than working in the shop for years.

Most blacksmiths tend to move gerater distances and I have not heard of them having trouble with carpal tunnel.

Like many things some people are effected by it while others are not. Our local bank has a teller that repeatedly has problems. I have watched her using a calulator (as they do at every transaction) and she punches the keys HARD with one finger in a stiff jabbing motion. I suspect her style of working rather than the work itself.

Elbow problems are typical of smiths. These are similar to "tennis" elbow. Smiths that tend to be stiff, grip the hammer too firmly and try to muscle their way through the steel rather than letting the hammer do the work tend to have elbow problems. It is a matter of style as much as the movement itself. There have been some famous smiths that use a "pile driver" forging style that is garanteed to cause problem in many, however they got away with it or were conditioned such as to get away with it. This included the late great Francis Whitaker and Peter Ross from Williamsburg.

Folks that have had elbow problems can change their style to a flowing one with a loose grip and higher swings letting the hammer do the work and have the elbow problems go away. However, once you have a problem it SHOULD be looked at by a physician.

Your grandfather's swollen joints were probably arthritis.
   - guru - Monday, 04/26/04 10:55:29 EDT

Lazarus. Abandoned rail road steel you say? Wouldn't want to share the location with a few specifics would you? Assuming you left any that is.(BG) I'd be happy to meet you there and we could help load each other's truck. I'll take your word for it that its abandoned. Don't want to come away with more lead than steel.

"Join CSI today. For 15 cents a day you can be a member. Check you couch cushions and under the car seat."
   Gronk - Monday, 04/26/04 11:10:51 EDT

"Abandonded sidings": Until the railroads have removed every trace of their tracks they do not consider them "abandonded". I have seen sections with trees growing them that were cleared and used to transport some large item to/from an indistrial location. I have also seen places where the crossings were paved over that were cleaned out and used. . . Just because it LOOKS abandonded to you doesn't mean its abandonded.

The railroads take tresspassing and theft very seriously.
   - guru - Monday, 04/26/04 11:52:19 EDT

Lazarus, when you say you have checked the local market for anvils---to me that means you have talked to *everyone* in a 60 mile radius of your location, *and* tracked down and investigated all old industrial sites---currently active or abandoned.

Now there is a cost benefit ratio to this search and it may be cheaper to
   - Thomas P - Monday, 04/26/04 12:22:27 EDT

Lazarus, when you say you have checked the local market for anvils---to me that means you have talked to *everyone* in a 60 mile radius of your location, *and* tracked down and investigated all old industrial sites---currently active or abandoned.

Now there is a cost benefit ratio to this search and it may be cheaper to "mow lawns and shovel snow" and devote that money to a new anvil than spend the time hunting an old one. However there is a serendipity effect that comes from *everyone* knowing you are looking for smithing stuff

Remember I found my biggest anvil, 515#, $350 in *mint* condition, from talking with a fellow selling greasy car stereo speakers at the fleamarket---his uncle had an anvil and wanted to sell it...

Spotted a forge behind a house about a mile away from my new place---hope to have it or a new smithing friend as soon as I can stop by and howdy with them.

   - Thomas P - Monday, 04/26/04 12:22:52 EDT

About 20 years ago, I ran an ad in all the local small town newspapers that read
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 12:54:23 EDT

About 20 years ago, I ran an ad in all the local small town newspapers that read "Blacksmith tools wanted". I received a lot of calls and had to weed thru some junk but I still got some treasures. I traded a 22 pistol to one guy for two anvils, one was a 180 Mousehole and the other was a 220 Fisher. Another guy wanted to keep his anvil but the blower and forge could go. His grandpa had bought the outfit from Sears and Roebuck around the turn of the century and they made ONE fire with it then decided it was too smokey. He had tried to do it again some years later but decided it was still too hard and gave up. Needless to say, everything was dusty but they had stored it all in the barn so no damage from weather. I bought the forge and blower for $50 and still have them. After cleaning and oiling, the blower ran like new (which is was). Prices may be higher now but you can still get deals. A buddy of mine ran across a 170 Haybudden in a garage sale a few months ago and gave $100 for it. It is in pristine condition and he uses it daily.
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 12:54:43 EDT

As I'm new to the Blacksmithing world & just starting to sell some product, I was hoping someone could tell me how do you figure out prices of your work. I've done lots of searches online & have found very few site that have the prices of items.(one of my pet pevies) The last thing I want to do is to undercut my fellow blacksmiths. But at the same time I don't want to sell for too much. Do you go by the time spent times a decent wage ($20-30/hr Canadian) I know I don't have the experience as some smiths & therefore my quality won't be as good, So do I still charge the same as them? I thank you in advance for you help.
   Troy - Monday, 04/26/04 13:06:50 EDT

Paw Paw and Atli, thanks for the comments on S-hooks. Now I know, or at least have some good ideas. Figured "ummm" would not be a good answer if someone asked me the question. ;)

'Preciate the note on drive hooks, too. I guess smaller ones would be in order. Most that I've seen seemed too big for anything short of timber frames.

Thanks again,

   Steve A - Monday, 04/26/04 13:36:28 EDT

Paw Paw, I think you may have a virus of some sort or something because i got an e-mail from you with a file and i did a file scan and there was a virus in the file.
   Danaan Henry - Monday, 04/26/04 13:36:48 EDT


PawPaw is unlikely to have a virus in his computer, though nothing is impossible. What is most likely, however, is that someone else has the virus and PawPaw's address in his email addresses. Many viruses forge email addresses when they replicate themselves, taking them from the host computer's email files, usually in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, the two most vulnerable email systems in use.

   vicopper - Monday, 04/26/04 13:51:48 EDT

Viruses: All the new viruses and the most common ones in the past 3 years have forged the return address of the "sender". These come from address books, old mail AND cached web pages. Due to the cahced web pages part MY address from the hundreds of pages on anvilfire that still have it is a source for MY address on tens of thousands of computers.

ANY mail that askes you to read or look at the attachment is probably a virus unless your e-mail program has VERY good filtering.

Due to forging of return addresses you cannot trust mail from ANYONE. Not your mother, sister, best friend or business partner.

If you are not expecting the attachment or there is not a good explaination of the attachment it is probably a virus. If the attachment has a dual extention (.pif.gif or .exe.zip) it is always a virus.

There is a new virus that purports to be from YOUR ISP or mail service. Addresses will be (in your case) admin@charter.net or postmaster@charter.net and will ask you to run the attached program to patch your system or clean up a virus. The mail will be signed "the charter.net team" or "charter.net security" or any one of a couple dozen random signitures using YOUR ISP's name.

I have gotten dozens of these signed "the anvilfire.com team". . . Since *I* am the "team" it is obliously a forgery.

Most new viruses interupt the use of anti-virus programs and the ability to update them on-line. If you are unlucky enough to become infected then you have a heck of a time getting uninfected.

Be alert, don't open suspisious attachments, don't use Microsoft OE or other mail programs that make a "preview" of attachments. At that point the file has been opened and you are infected.

Another new threat is sites that hijack your browser home page. It used to be that these just spoofed the "make me your home page" code in IE and it was easy to undo. The new programs install virus like files on your computer that reset the home page every time you reboot or relaunch the browser. They often came with a system that delivers pop-up ads. This process was considered "ad-ware" and ignored by the anti-virus people for years. Now that these systems have advanced they are finally being addressed. However, it still takes a combination of the latest anti-adware and anti-virus software to clean up the mess.

The fastest way to get clobbered by these browser hi-jackers is to visit porn sites ESPECIALLY those advertised by SPAM and those offering things that are probably illegal (bestiality, child porn. . .).

Yep, they have taken much of the fun out of browsing the internet.
   - guru - Monday, 04/26/04 14:21:16 EDT

Looked Everywhere for Anvil? I did this in my youth before I knew how to find things. . . I scowered four counties without much luck going to hundreds of farm auctions. It took a hundred or so auctions before I bought one.

I was not looking the right way. I now KNOW the right way but am not very good at it. I have learned from the very best and it is an art and requires a certain personality.

First, tell EVERYONE you know that you are looking for blacksmithing tools, particularly anvils and forges. EVERYONE includes all your relatives, your maiden aunt, your great second cousin, eveyone you went to school with. . . Running an ad as mentioned above does not hurt.

Second, ASK everyone you meet if they know anyone with old backsmithing tools. INTRODUCE yourself to strangers in hardware, feed stores on the bus and in resturants and ASK. Take time to draw out the information. If they are curious tell them about why you are interested in blacksmithing (it had better NOT be about making swords).

Third, follow EVERY lead. Go to the next guy that the guy you talked to THOUGHT had some old tools or who knew someone that knew someone. Do not give up or fail to follow through.

Forth, do not get frustrated. There are litteraly MILLIONS of anvils still hiding in barns, basements and under piles of junk. There are also forges and power hammers. If you really LOOK you will find them.

Fifth, DO NOT expect something for nothing. There are some GREAT deals out there but not EXPECT to pay less than $1 pound. DO NOT try to cheat the poor widow that has her husband's tools in an old shed. If she gives you a price that is MUCH TO LOW then politely explain to her that these tools are valuable to you and offer what you can afford. Cheating the old is bad karma and will come back to haunt you.

If you cannot afford to follow the leads, are too shy or don't have the personality to introduce yourself to strangers on the corner to ask about blacksmith tools then FORGET IT and buy new tools. Tell our advertisers where you found them.

Even if you have these skills it will probably be cheaper to buy the tools new. However, step one, telling EVERYONE often has results. I and many others have been GIVEN anvils because folks wanted them USED and didn't know what else to do with them. You just have to be patient.

Seeking things for free or low cost is an art and has hidden expenses. Many do it because they just can't bring themselves to buying NEW. In the long run they often end up paying more in time and fuel than new tools would cost. Others do it for the enjoyment of the hunt and because they prefer OLD to new. They value the hunt and do not count the expense.

The best way to enjoy both used tools and avoid the work of the hunt is to go to local balcksmithing meets and see what the "tailgaters" have to sell. These guys are usualy talented "finders" that WORK the deal (as described above). Most have fair prices that often just barely reflect their costs. Look in our news pages. Almost every meet I go to I bring back photos of dozens of anvils. This is the easiest "finding" there is.
   - guru - Monday, 04/26/04 14:50:51 EDT


I make drive hooks out of ¼" square stock. There are some on my web site, listed under "practical" I think. http:\\www.pawpawsforge.com

I've also made them out of 3/8" and ½" for special orders.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 04/26/04 15:21:04 EDT

"DO NOT try to cheat the poor widow that has her husband's tools in an old shed. If she gives you a price that is MUCH TO LOW then politely explain to her that these tools are valuable to you and offer what you can afford."

On the first anvil I bought, I ran into this exact situaion. It was a Wilkinson & Sons, 115# anvil. The widow was asking $75 for it. I told her that she was not asking enough, that the anvil was worth a minimum of $115. She looked shocked at first, then when I offered her that much, she got tears in her eyes. She told me that her husband would have proud to know me and insisted that I take his leather smithing apron as a gift.

When we were in the truck on the way home, my youngest son looked at me and said, "Daddy, I'm proud of you for telling her the truth! When you are done with it, I want this anvil to remember today."

Worth it? You bet your a$$ it was worth it. How often do we get that kind of affirmation from our kids?
   Paw Paw - Monday, 04/26/04 15:30:01 EDT

I had a little old lady tell me to just get the stuff out of the garage. It was a 75lb anvil and a bunch of hand tools plus a few sacks of coal. I tried to pay her and she said she got plenty of money from insurance and was tired of trying to move it around. I finally said I couldn't take it for nothing and she told me $10 if I would just shut up and get it out...
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 17:35:20 EDT

I have a 12 x 1 1/4 x 1/4" flat spring of 5160 steel. The original spring (which broke) tested at RC 33. What should the final hardness be for the 5160?
   Pete St. John - Monday, 04/26/04 19:01:09 EDT

Stampings -
I'm looking for a source of small stampings in various designs such as circles, squares, etc. in thicknesses of around 10-18 ga. Anyone know of a source in the States?
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 19:05:18 EDT

I'm going to be pretty blunt in this message, so if you are easily offended you might want to skip past this one.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in what folks are deciding about your future, you might want to tough it out.

Jock (the Guru) has asked the members of Cybersmith's International (CSI) to work up a set of bylaws and incorporation papers for CSI. The goal is to provide a method for anvilfire.com to continue operation in the event that Jock is incapacitated or loses interest.

Anvilfire.com has the equivalent of approximately five THOUSAND print pages of information. The iForge section alone is a treasure trove of projects for a beginning smith and a good source of both ideas and plans for a more advanced smith. The guru page archives contain the questions and answers for all of the questions that have been asked in the last SEVEN years. There are less than 30 days missing where Jock has not been able to answer questions.

How many times have you heard of the author of such a tome voluntarily GIVING this kind of treasure to a non-profit organization for nothing?

The small (less than 10 of us) steering committee is almost finished with the bylaws.

These bylaws will govern how anvilfire is operated in the future.

If you want us to make those decisions for you, fine. Roll over and go back to sleep.

If you would rather see what we are up to and take part in the process, join CSI today! Don't wait till next month, by then we will be done and the bylaws will be set in stone.

Your choice!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 04/26/04 19:16:26 EDT

Pete it should be somewhere between dead soft and Very hard and brittle depending on what *YOU* are going to use it for!

Unfortunately the hot dip galvanization I had done to my hair seems to be preventing me from reading your mind. Perhaps you could re-state the question giving the information necessary to answer it? (Knife, leafspring, gunlock spring, fuller, spoon---it could be made into many different things and the final hardness depends on what you are going to make from it...)

Thomas (I'd guess that you want an opinion on what the hardness for the original spring should have been; but that's not what you asked...)
   - Thomas P - Monday, 04/26/04 19:32:46 EDT

Stampings: HW, Most of this work in high production stampings for resale is thin metal or os custom work. Currently if you need parts in anything less than many thousands then plasma or laser cutting is the way to go. Both produce parts that are nearly as clean as punched (better than worn punch and dies). Setup is also a lot less expensive.

The simplest shapes are in the machine and all the operator needs to do is input dimensions and how many. Special shapes are drawn in CAD and converted to DXF format which almost all machines read. Most service houses will make the drawing for you for a small fee OR include it in the cutting if the quantity is high enough.

Let me know what you need specificaly, sizes and how many. We have been thinking about carrying blanks in thicker than the normal cheap stuff that the architectural suppliers carry.
   - guru - Monday, 04/26/04 20:01:33 EDT

Peter Caldwell,
Carpel tunnel syndrome is one of many repetive motion injuries. Any time a highly repetive motion is made, injuries may occur. With carpel tunnel, there are many factors that contribute, ie hard grasp, temp.(cold) displacement from nuetral, and last vibration. A perfect way to get carpel tunnel is to take a small framed woman(smaller tunnel) and have her to assemble something many times an hour, in the cold, with an impact gun, with a bad style grip, with oily hands. Repeat for years.

The secret to avoiding repetive motion injuries is to remove the contributing factors. For a blacksmith, use a handle with a grip increaser, such as beeswax applied to the handle, swing with a grip that keeps the wrist nuetral, ie not twisted in any direction, don't force the hammer, and take breaks. Warming up and stretching the muscles may help. A wrist brace that becomes uncomfortable when you bend the wrist helps to keep the wrist nuetral. Keeping the wrist and arm warm will help.
   ptree - Monday, 04/26/04 20:05:41 EDT

PawPaw - LeJune 57-59, Bragg 80-83

vicopper - CSU is one of the first social calls I intend to make when I finally get settled. My place is about 3 miles from campus. The metalsmithing interests me for the application it has to making flintlocks which is my current interest. 'course, hanging around all those cowgirls probably will be fun too (grin)
   jerry crawford - Monday, 04/26/04 20:23:55 EDT


I don't do custom one-off items but am a production 'smith trying to develop a wider line of products. I'm interested in using circles, squares, stars, etc. as elements in the work - i.e., like a star as a fireplace stand handle. Depending on cost and customer demand, I can see ordering 500 to 1000 pieces per run. I want to use thicker material so it doesn't look like cheap imported crap. Let me know if you are interested and we can discuss. Meanwhile, I will look locally.
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 20:35:52 EDT

Ok, so lets try again. I have a 12 x 1 1/4 x 1/4" flat spring (leaf spring, if you prefer). No, it is not the lock spring of a cannon. It is a new copy of a broken flat spring that was one of two suspension members in a rocking chair. The old spring is made of unknown steel that tests to RC 30-33. I made a new spring out of 5160.

Knifesmiths routinely mention RC 48-50 as "spring temper" for 5160....way harder than RC 30, but they are making swords and knives not springs. I tested a piece of MGB rear spring and it tested at about RC 30. Again, I do not know what steel it is. 1970's British stuff. To draw 5160 to RC 30 takes a temperature well past any temper "color". I will have to fit my propane forge with a thermocouple thermometer to have any chance of getting it right. This I can do, but I don't want to treat the steel to the wrong target hardness. So, a simple ungalvanized answer will do: what should the final hardness of a flat (leaf) spring made of 5160 be? Or put another way, what is the hardness of modern automotive leaf springs in high deflection service?

   Pete St. John - Monday, 04/26/04 21:14:43 EDT


Machinery's Handbook #22 indicates most car leaf springs are standard carbon steels with final heat treated hardnesses from 47 to 53 Rc. A Rockwell of 30 is machinable and equivalent to a prehardened mold steel (P20). However, I have made several flat springs for old post vises and I simply finish forging and let them air cool on the welding table. They will take an initial set and then operate properly so I overset them during manufacture. The ones I hardened and tempered all eventually broke over time but the air cooled ones are still in service. You may want to consider doing the initial hardening in the forge with the part wrapped in stainless foil to reduce decaburization and then draw it in the kitchen oven.
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 04/26/04 21:36:45 EDT

Machinery's Handbook:

Is this a big fat 1800 page tome printed in NY in the 1950s?
   Bob G. - Monday, 04/26/04 22:59:46 EDT


Just answered my own question by finding the above website. Guess I need to update my copy!
   Bob G. - Monday, 04/26/04 23:12:46 EDT

I just knew if we got the right information posted someone who knows something would come along and answer it!

Thomas who had a bunch of astrophysisists gob smacked at dinner tonight when I said I was reading "Steel Before Bessemer, Vol II Crucible Steel" for fun...
   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/27/04 00:21:47 EDT

Mine numbers 2,512 pages and the sad thing is that I have read many of them...
   - HWooldridge - Tuesday, 04/27/04 00:28:18 EDT

Are there any plans for a do-it-yourself ring roller for 1/2", and 3/4" copper tubing. I'm hoping to build something for creating anywhere from gentle to tight curves. Hand crank type. Thank you.
   Greg Alexander - Tuesday, 04/27/04 00:51:55 EDT

Carpal Tunnel:-( And things I have learned the hard way, so you don't have to;-)

Implicite in what ptree said was fatigue is a major contributing factor. If you continue to work past your endurance you will tend to get sloppy form, and hold the hammer too tightly. Which will end up transfering more concussion which causes the irritation and inflamation, and that means more pain and numbness.

A lighter hammer that you have better control over can help. I am a huge advocate of new blacksmiths starting with a smaller hammer, (especially if they THINK they are strong enough to use a bigger hammer) There are guys who can swing a 6# hammer all day long and never think twice about it, but they are generally very experienced blacksmiths (and/or freaks of nature, note I USED to be one of these...:-) You need to balance how much work you need to do, with how much hammer you can comfortably handle. Fatigue leads to bad form (and worse judgement;-), and bad form leads to injure... And anything you injure once is more likely to become a recurring problem. The safe-est thing to do is never injure yourself in the first place. Place safety first, and the first step in being safe in the shop is exercising good judgement and good form.

Another thing that contribute to problems for blacksmiths is anvil height. If you try to save your back by raising your anvil too high, you will not be able to maintain a neutral angle in your wrist when you are using heavy strikes. You can get away with doing light work on a high anvil, but if you want to move metal you need the anvil set so that your wrist is in a neutral position (preferably with a relaxed soft grip) when you strike hard.

Also working the metal cold or if you are doing hot work continuing to work the metal after it has lost its working heet... Increases the concussion you feel, and tends to bother your wrists/hands (this often affects farriers who do cold shoeing)

Good Form and good shop practices in general will help you enjoy blacksmithing for a long time...

One of my other pet peaves in the shop is trying to use tongs that are not properly fit to the work. If you cannot hold on to it, you cannot work on it safely, and you never know where that hot steel is going to fly WHEN you loose control of it. Take the time to make (or refit) tongs to your work, it is time well spent (especially if it saves you from having to debride a wound on your face where the piece you were forging on tried to jump up your nose for some bizarro reason)

The mark of wisdom is the ability to learn from someone else's mistakes, without having to make them yourself!!!:-)

Remember in the shop protect anything you would like to keep! Like for instance: your eyes, your hearing, your lungs, your clothing, your skin! It is also a good idea to have a mirror in the shop so that when you smell smoke and can't find the fire you can look in the mirror and see that it is you that is the source of that burning smell!:-) Been there done that burned a big ugly hole in the T-shirt, luckly I didn't lose any skin over it:-)
   Fionnbharr - Tuesday, 04/27/04 01:05:20 EDT

Agree totally with Paw Paw re: not cheating widows and orphans. The nagging issue, however, remains: how cool does the body have to be before one can approach her for Spouser's tools?
   - Smartleigh Smitten - Tuesday, 04/27/04 01:41:13 EDT

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: as others have stated, it can come from repetitive movements, great force is not required to inflict the damage, in fact, I believe it was first described as "telegraphists hand" as telegraph operators in the 1800's very commonly exhibited the symptoms.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 04/27/04 01:42:25 EDT


With a preheat the loss of penetration you get with using DCRP is minimized. I still like DCSP better sometimes... Also, I meant to say 7018 rod instead of 7014. 7018 has been my favorite basic rod so far. Overall I really like any of the rods from Versalloy. You can weld anything to anything and it lays really nice bead... but it is cost prohibitive.
   Joe R - Tuesday, 04/27/04 01:45:27 EDT

JPPW, old world anvils has "a good reputation"??? hmmmm

gotta go with the guru choice: business relationships are more than product. will contact mc master....

thanks for the rivet advise...
   - rugg - Tuesday, 04/27/04 03:18:12 EDT


I was trying to get thru a credit card payment for my CSI membership, but after I entered all of the info, it went to Order Confirmation and I got this:

>Transaction Status: DECLINED

>Error: Socket write error

etc., etc., etc....

Is this a problem on my end or yours?

   - Don A - Tuesday, 04/27/04 09:05:13 EDT

Store Errors: Don, it sounds like an error on our card handler's server but it is difficult to tell. Declined errors occur from a variety of things such as acidently putting in the wrong ZIP code, leaving out the state, wrong expiration date.

In this case the "socket error" shows on the card handler. I'm calling the card handler to ask what gives (Yep, their end for once. . ). Try again later.

BOOKS: Bob, Have you tried looking at our book review page? One of the first reviews posted was Machinery's. Will be updating the review with the newest issue in a month or so.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/27/04 10:41:22 EDT

Smarleigh Smitten,

Normally, at least have the courtesy to wait till a few days after the interrment. UNLESS the widow brings the subject up.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 04/27/04 11:06:26 EDT


Re, Old World Anvils. I've heard both types of reaction. Since I haven't dealt with them myself, I have to go with the reaction that I've heard most.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 04/27/04 11:08:06 EDT

Chris Smith- i have a disassembled champion 400 in the shop. E-mail me if you like and i will help you work thru it. i think the shaft you are working with is tapered a little, so it only comes out one way.
   mike-hr - Tuesday, 04/27/04 11:52:53 EDT

Paw Paw, I have a friend who's offerd to stand over the pile with a gun while I'm being burried to prevent anybody trying to get a head start---I've thought of being placed in the crucible of the local steel casting company with my stuff and do a run of anvils; but the state is fussy about such things---could probably do it with cremins though...

   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/27/04 13:31:52 EDT

About 1 year ago, I decided to buy one of the new Czech anvils. I sent requests to both dealers at the same time. Stephen at Euro was in touch with me within the same day and I had my anvil within the same week.

Still haven't heard from the other guys.
   - Don A - Tuesday, 04/27/04 13:46:45 EDT


How much of a cut is he demanding to guard the pile? (grin)

Jock will help Sheri when it's time to auction my stuff off.

Don A. That's a good reccomendation for Steve.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 04/27/04 14:08:55 EDT

I think he just wants first pick---BTW after discussing such things I became *much* more cautious about accepting a drink from my *friends*, walking out a door without checking what's out there, crossing the street, etc...

   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/27/04 16:10:35 EDT

Jock, I know you are busier than a one armed paper hanger, but when are we going to see the next chapter of the Revolutionary Blacksmith? I need my fix! Thanks!

Thomas, good precautions. VBG. Watch out for home grown or handpicked mushrooms as well. Lucretia Borgia's Mushroom Souffle to Die For recipe is posted somewhere on the internet.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 04/27/04 17:25:10 EDT

A somewhat cursory inspection of the evidence would seem to indicate something of a diminuation of the intelligence quotient and/or the mental capacity of some of the younger members of this forum. Or perchance, it could be (I suppose) a rather severe case of testosterone poisoning.

   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 04/27/04 21:48:04 EDT

Paw Paw:

What qualifies as young?? under 50? Under 20??
I've voting with ellen, too, by the way. The revolutionary Blacksmith is a brilliant piece of writing. I can't wait to see the next chapter. Keep up the good work.

On to the questions, again:

I've mailed in my csi stuff, but how do I know when my membership get's "activated"? E-mail, or something?
   - HavokTD - Tuesday, 04/27/04 23:43:23 EDT

Hello Guru

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for all you do here on anvilfire. I've been smithing for just over a year, and I don't think I would be nearly as far along as I am without your help & the help of Anvilfire.

I'm involved in a medieval re-creation group here in Southern California. We do several faires here each year. In the last few months I have started bringing my forge and doing demos and selling stuff as well. Every single item I make is straight out of the i-forge demos. I have done some minor modification to make them my own, but they all started right here on anvilfire.

The small amout I paid to join CSI is a tiny fraction of the cost of steel I've saved by not having to learn by trial and error. I work at a college and appreciate the value of education. In my mind Anvilfire is blacksmith college, and my CSI dues were tuition well spent.

Thanks again for all you give to promote this great art form. I can only hope that others will see the value as I have and join CSI as well to keep this invaluable resource alive.

   FredlyFX - Wednesday, 04/28/04 02:18:17 EDT

Let me be blunt. Currently Anvilfire is supported by 84 members paying $52/year. That's about $5,000. Costs for server space and equipment maintainance exceed that amount. We are incorporating CSI as a non profit to keep this site going. If you don't want all of the information posted here to just go away, you might want to get off your tailbones and join CSI. Otherwise, you will be left with....nothing of any consequence online. Think about it.
   Ellen - Wednesday, 04/28/04 03:40:19 EDT

That's $4.32 per month, or about $0.14 per day. How much are you spending on cable or satellite TV?
   Ellen - Wednesday, 04/28/04 03:44:56 EDT


Geez! And I thought *I* was blunt. You go, girl!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 04/28/04 04:45:25 EDT

No new chapter of Revolutionary Blacksmith in a while and I'm going to pout soon.
Too hot to do much forging here on the central CA coast....PF
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 04/28/04 05:08:13 EDT

You might want to consider a semi-annual membership. For me $52 is just too much for me to come up with at one time. $26 or even $30 to make up for two transactions is a lot easier to handle.

I too would like to see the next chapter in Revolutionary Blacksmith.
   RickW - Wednesday, 04/28/04 07:12:22 EDT

G Day. I wish to build a brick forge to suite some bellows I have. They are approx 42" long 27 across and will open to approx. 24". I mostly want to do smaller decorative work but would prefer a larger forge than a smaller one. I have not been able to find any articles or plans on forge design or shop layout. Can you help.


   Mick Rudge - Wednesday, 04/28/04 07:30:47 EDT

Forge Plans: Mick for a good overveiw of a brick forge as well as plans for a set of great bellows try this book....

The Blacksmith ironworker and farrier
By Aldren A. Watson
isbn 0-393-32057-x
published by W.W.Norton & Company

heres the results from an abebook,com search today
   Mark P - Wednesday, 04/28/04 08:41:08 EDT

hmm the link did not work, just try abebooks.com you'll like the results :)
   Mark P - Wednesday, 04/28/04 08:43:31 EDT

Quick question. Can I solder brass piping which im using for a propane forge? I'll clear out the lines first of course, but wonder if it would help with the leaks. I've tightened up the joints very well but still get a few leaks and my 20 lbs propane tank lost about half its pressure with only a few hours of forging. Thanks.
   nuked - Wednesday, 04/28/04 09:29:22 EDT

Paw Paw, that's what I've been telling y'all.
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 04/28/04 11:46:01 EDT


You're in luck my friend! CSI does, in fact, offer a six month membership option to break things up into two easy installments. Just go to the anvilfire Store, click on the CSI link, and look at the options available. We'd be glad to have you aboard!

   eander4 - Wednesday, 04/28/04 11:56:08 EDT

is there a good rule of thumb for the hight of a side blast twyer above the floor of the forge when using charcoal? and is there a minimum distance that the twyer should project - vikings not withstanding. this would be a small, portable forge for smallish work.

john tobako
   john tobako - Wednesday, 04/28/04 12:57:03 EDT

CSI Memberships: OR if you want to pay monthly call your order in and I will set it up. 434-283-5671
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/28/04 13:05:39 EDT

Piping: Nuked, Brass pipe? You don't mean copper tubing? Generaly gas piping is not soldered. It either screws together OR uses flared fittings.

ALL gas piping MUST be checked carefully for leaks! Every joint from the cylinder to the last at the forge or torch.

Leak testing is done with leak test fluid (detergent water with a little glicerine). Very small leaks can be located this way. ALL must be fixed.

Propane is a heavy gas. The smallest leak can create a sea of gas on the floor which can ignite like spilled gasoline. It is much more hazardous than natural gas (methane) or welding gas (acetylene) which are both lighter than air and tend to disapate.

IF your forge is a home built you could easily use a full 20# bottle of fuel in a day. My big blown forge uses about 50 pounds in 6 hours. But it is HOT and can heat big pieces to welding heat. On the other hand my NC Whisper Baby can be used all day for weeks on 30 pounds of fuel.

So I doubt that you are leaking that much. However, leaks can lose a lot of fuel but are MOSTLY dangerous. Get some leak check and test those fittings before you burn down your house/shop/garage/car. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/28/04 13:16:42 EDT

Forge Height: The smaller a forge is the higher it needs to be (if you are standing). For heavy work a low forge is best. Average height is 28 to 32 inches (desk and table height). However, many gas forges are set on benches and are as much as a foot higher.

Location of Side Blast Tuyeers: For brick forges the tuyeer is usualy at (level to) the floor height (like a mouse hole).

For metal forges the height varies but is about 4". However, being extended into the forge and above the floor requires the tuyeer to be water cooled.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/28/04 13:25:50 EDT

Well, the side blast should be level with where you want the hot spot to be. So, if your pot (or sand/ash pile or whatever) is 6" deep and you want the hot area to be 3" above the bottom, then that is where you would put the tuyure. As for the distance, we had a double bellows setup with the pipe protruding ever so slightly from the brick around it and about 4" from the fire. Also in this instance, it was about 2" below the top plane of the forge.

Hope that was of use.
   Escher - Wednesday, 04/28/04 13:32:10 EDT

In all of the side blast forges I have worked, the hot spot was aactually about 2 or 3 inches in front of the nozzle and about 2 to 3 inches above.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 04/28/04 14:24:54 EDT

thanks for the info on side blasts. i wasn't sure if i would want or need a floor of sand (and ash) to adjust the depth of the fire to match the size of the work.
   john tobako - Wednesday, 04/28/04 14:32:03 EDT

thanks for advice guru. I do my forging outside in the back yard away from the house. I'll take some pliers to the copper tubing again and try harder to squash those leaks.
   nuked - Wednesday, 04/28/04 15:28:07 EDT

nuked: one thing that might help with your leaks is if you put some thick sealant on the threads before screwing it together. There's different brands, some better then others, and I can't say which is best never having used any of them personally. The one name brand I can remember reading about is called "Pipe Goop", maybe someone else can mention a few others and which one is best.
   - AwP - Wednesday, 04/28/04 16:17:13 EDT

John, my next forge is going to be a side blast. It will be made form wood with a clay liner ( perhaps some sand too) the nozzle is going to be about 1/2 to 1 inch from floor. about 3 inches in front of nozzle tip it will dip down to a 'bowl' about the size a of a LARGE grapefruit and the far side will rise to about 1 inch or so ABOVE the nozzle.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 04/28/04 17:54:57 EDT

On sealing natural gas and propane. If you have pipe threads, sealant is required. Teflon pipe tape is not sealant, but rather lubricant, that merely allows the pipe to screw together tightly without galling. There are several sealants available that will work, some available at you local hardware store. The best all around pipe sealant for threads of various materials is the LOCTITE brand PST. This is a white, goop that will seal on steel, copper, brass, steel, iron, stainless steel, and monel. Any of the materials that do not have a bit of copper in the alloy will benefit from the primer they sell. Apply as per the directions and if you have anything like a thread, it will seal. Look for a slight ring of white all the way round the fitting after assembly.

Next, are you using compression fittings? If so, with soft copper tubing, tubing collaspe will allow leakage, and the more you tighten the worse the leakage. If you need to use soft copper, switch to flared fittings. Best are "air brake" type. Go to a heavy truck repair shop, and be prepared to pay!. The best( and only type to work) compression fitting will be a Swagelok brand, double compression fitting. Look on the net, and get their local shop, and they will also be able to supply the correct tube. Again expect to pay for the quality. While you are there, ask for a bottle of Snoop. Best leak detect fluid in the business! A little bottle is a life time supply for most. They also sell a very good pipe sealant. If you use the Swagelok fitting exactly per the instructions, they will NOT leak, and you can take them apart and reassemble many times and they will NOT leak.
These are not cheap fittings, but then is you and your families lives cheap? With propane, do it right the first time, as there may not be a chance for a second try.
All the above is based on testing, in the leading valve and fitting manufacturer's r & D lab. I know, cause I did the testing. Took 23 years to develope that knowledge, the companies spent barrels of cash, and here it is free to the world, on Anvilfire.
Join CSI for pennies a day, and keep this site open to all.
   ptree - Wednesday, 04/28/04 18:18:13 EDT

COOL! Less than full year memberships, and PayPal as a payment option. If I had known that I would have signed up long ago. My PayPal payment is on the way.


I guess now I get to tell the lurkers that you can no longer use that big $52 expense as an excuse not to join CSI. Semi-annual and monthly payments are an option. Lets keep this great site on the net.

Once I get my login, I will be known as rwidmer.
   RickW - Wednesday, 04/28/04 18:49:19 EDT

Gingerly Lathe>

Well, this is a little off the beaten path of blacksmithing, and probably something I won't ever be able to do.

And I'd most likely be badly burned (or worse) in the process if I ever tried. But it caught my interest, because I'd like to have an affordable small lathe.

But has anyone successfully (and safely) made a Gingerly Lathe?( If you don't know what it is, have a look at http://www.lindsaybks.com ).

   - taylor - Wednesday, 04/28/04 20:19:23 EDT

Home Built Lathe: Taylor, These projects are a great learning experiance but they are not easy. They require a GREAT deal of persistance. If your time is worth anything you can buy a good used lathe for much less. In fact, if you are into making parts, a beat to pieces lathe with missing parts but still runable can MAKE parts to repair itself and in the end you have a MUCH better tool. You cannot beat a heavy cast iron bed and real steel parts.

My 1916 13" Southbend lathe had handling damage (as the majority of old machines do). It had been tipped over and the feed reversing mechanism casting had been broken. The previous owner tried to braze the high stressed part THEN tried to glue it with a popular "metal mender" (don't work). He then proceeded to continue to run the lathe and wore out the spindle and reversing gears. I had to have the gears made by a local machine shop (about $100 each for walnut sized gears). The casting was replaced with a weldment that was then machined ON THE LATHE using hand feeds. It had a precision outer diameter and bore that took pressed in bronze bushings. It also had a pretty turned handle which I made of stainless and welded on prior to overall machining. I also had to replace one of the special shoulder bolt shafts that one of the gears ran on. This too was made on the broken down lathe.

The Gingery books and several others on making machines from scratch maks it look like you start with nothing. However, you need a forge, foundry, drill press. . A planer or shaper REALLY helps.

In the early 1800's before the invention of the shaper by James Nasmyth in England and the Milling machine by Whitney in America all small castings with dovetails and slots were hand shaped by chisling, filing and hand scraping. The lathe carriage, crossslide, compound rest were ALL made from rough castings with hand tools. Every part was hand carved from cast iron like making a stone sculpture. In fact a number of early lathes had granite beds (stone age meets the Industrial Revolution). All you need is a big vise, a cold chisel, files and hand scrapers (and the tools to do the measuring).

This is TOUGH work. It also takes skill. Making precision flat surfaces with hand tools is very demanding. In fact the precision flat reference blocks that were used to test the parts were made by hand to start with. This was also the era when all files were cut by hand. A much easier task.

As a starter project I would recommend building a small jewler's type lathe that uses a bow to turn the spindle (or you could easily motorize the same). A small machine like this can make spindles and shafts for machines larger than itself and those in turn for even bigger machines. OR you could build a wood bed turning lathe. Early wood lathes were used to smooth and polish hand forged and finished shafts for heavier metal working machines. . . In fact you CAN make steel chips with a hand held tool in such a machine. . . and the revolution progresses. . . Besides, it REALLY helps to have a wood lathe to do pattern work if you are going to do casting.

I've built and repaired lots of machine tools. I really enjoy it and wish I had time to do more of it. But it is a LOT of work. AND the more machines you have the easier and more enjoyable it is.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/28/04 21:25:25 EDT

interesting observation: i have been looking for the blacksmith's cook book on ebay for quite some time and have never seen one. of all of the stuff that is offered, i cant imagine why this has escaped....looking for one and willing to pay.....
   - rugg - Wednesday, 04/28/04 21:45:37 EDT

I am not a blacksmith just a midwest prairie farmer, who knows a little about blacksmithing. The other day I purchased an anvil at an aution sale, but his one is different. the size would be about a 25 pounder but it has a base that is part of it and is about 2 feet long and on the end there is a hand wheel with about 5 inches of acme thread that could push agaist the heel of the anvil. Also the wheel and threads can be turned vertical from the anvil. If you want i can send a didgital pictuer , but what I want is to know what it was used for, as no one I have shown it too has ever seen one or knows what it used for. philip
   philip - Thursday, 04/29/04 00:36:32 EDT

HavokTD and RickW, THANK YOU! And, welcome aboard.
   Ellen - Thursday, 04/29/04 01:13:32 EDT

Don't thank me, Thank Guru and the others for putting up with me pestering them for so long without giving up, and shutting down.
   - HavokTD - Thursday, 04/29/04 01:37:41 EDT

A couple of days after interment! Sheesh! Paw Paw, decorum is all well and good, but I was thinking more along the lines of 98.4 F. or at the outside, say around 80. Unless, of course, the dearly beloved departed as the result of a raging fever, in which case the good-to-go temp for haggling would just naturally have to be accordingly higher.
   - Smartleigh Smitten - Thursday, 04/29/04 01:51:56 EDT

philip: I'm just guessing here without seeing it, but I've seen vices that have an anvil part coming off of it, could it be one of those missing the sliding jaw?
   - AwP - Thursday, 04/29/04 02:23:07 EDT

Gingerly lathe>

My Son-in-law Jeff Taylor is in the process of building one that can be seen at http://sourpuss.net/projects/ it is about 85% done and operating well enough to make the last few parts.

he can be contacted at drgnflt@sourpuss.net, and loves to talk about it.
   habu - Thursday, 04/29/04 02:48:11 EDT

Torch Handle clamp
Does anyone know of a good way to clamp the barrel of a torch handle to hold it securely for hands free use ? I'm trying to come up with a better way to hold a torch on the lever arm of a Weldit Gas Saver valve. The hook supplied with the valve works (marginally) with a cutting attachment by hooking it behind the nut holding the tip.
It's easy to knock the torch off of this hook and it doesn't work at all for brazing\welding tips. Ideally the clamp would hold the torch securely by the barrel and without damage yet also be easy to remove for hand operation.
Thought I would ask here before reinventing the wheel.
- C
   Chris S - Thursday, 04/29/04 06:42:47 EDT

Interesting information on sealing pipe. So how is teflon tape supposed to be used if it's not a sealant ? Should you put sealant on top of it ? in the female fitting ?
I usually use the yellow TFE tape for gas fittings with good result but I'm not checking my leaks with anything better than soapy water.
Ditto on swagelok fittings, I've installed a lot of them
and they are worth every penny.
- C
   Chris S - Thursday, 04/29/04 06:59:26 EDT

Torch Holder:

Chris, what you need to make is a holder clamp similar to what is used to hold laboratory glassware such as Ehrlenmeyer flasks. Picture your indesx and middle finger slightly crooked, about an inch apart. That would be the fixed part of the clamp. A third "finger", also slightly crooked, works against the other two, forming a grip similat to your two fingers and a thumb. The "thumb" piece can be either spring-loaded like a clamp, or screw-down like the lab clamp. I suppose, if you have a laboratory supply near you, you could just buy a lab clamp and modify it.

Lab clamps are made of about 1/4" round stock and have surgical tubing slipped over the gripping curves to afford some traction. They hold astonishingly well.
   vicopper - Thursday, 04/29/04 08:41:03 EDT

Philip, Takes some pictures and send them to the guru and I, we should be able to give you some ideas.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 04/29/04 09:07:40 EDT

Torch Holder II:

Hmmmm. . The torch isn't used ON the gas saver. . .

The best hook is one that is on the tip or gooseneck. My old Crapsman torch had a brass gooseneck that the tips screwed into. The gooseneck was flared where the tips went in and this made a nice place to hang the torch. When the torch died I found that the goosneck thread was a perfect fit in the nut of a Victor torch. So now I have what I call my "Vicman" torch that fits the bracket I made for the old torch perfectly.

The system I have seen folks in radiator shops use is a little fitted sheet metal hook that is held on the tip near the nut with a small hose clamp. The hook is curved to match the diameter of the torch tip and then curves away. Be sure to get the VERY little clamps that FIT. You may have to buy a whole box.

Both the systems above are secure, putting the weight of the (center of gravity) torch down low so it hangs nicely and will not fall off.

Having a hook on each tip sounds like a pain but the reality is that you almost never change tips on such a system. If you are doing small brazing or soldering you generaly use the one smallest tip you have and that is it.

To use the torch in a cradle requires a well designed good fitting device. What is most important is that the pulling on the hoses does not dislodge the torch. The shape of this bracket depends on the brand/model of the torch as well as how you intend to use it. On a standard Victor torch you have the "crotch" between the valves where the torch can be hooked. If the part that is the hook to go around the crotch is long enough to support the top and bottom of the torch body (it could even spring a little) and you have a U shaped cradle for the tip or body near the nut then the torch will be quite secure AND be easy to slip in and out.

Fitting such parts is ideal work for a blacksmith. Forging bends in bar the hard way and making saddle shapes is the domain of smithing and easiest done hot.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 10:32:29 EDT

Odd Anvil: Philip, This is, or is part of, one of those old universal shop tools that were popular in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The hand wheel is part of a vise assembly that possibly was also part of a drill press.

Some of these machines even included a little forge on the assembly. It slices, it dices and even makes Juliane fries!

Like many cheap multi-purpose tools the various bits and pieces were not nearly as useful as stand alone tools and often did not work at all. They were sold during the hey-day of the mail order catalog based on the engraved picture and nothing else. Thousands were sold and I have never seen two alike.

   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 10:44:40 EDT

The Blacksmiths Cookbook by Francis Whitaker: Rugg, this book was popular among blacksmiths and sold direct by Francis at demos, ABANA conferences and by a few of the specialty book sellers like Norm Larson. This means that virtualy every copy is in the hands of blacksmiths or others that know that there are no more. To find it on the bookfinder sites or ebay you will have to check for it daily possibly for years and THEN expect to pay a significant price.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 10:49:33 EDT

Swage Blocks
Just how actualy useful are those big swageblocks with all the differnt shapes and such?
To me they look like some many of those multi purpose tools, a good idea, but........
   JimG - Thursday, 04/29/04 12:22:26 EDT

Swage blocks are great for making shoulders and tennons. They are often much better stake holders than the anvil too.
   Bob G. - Thursday, 04/29/04 12:30:27 EDT

Internet Rip-Offs: If you own a domain name (web address). You may get a mail from "wdrp@name-services.com" about correcting your domain registration per the new rules. This is an attempt to steal your domain registration business (unless you ARE registered with them). If you are them you probably need to move your domain registration. These guys are spammers and crooks.

I get snail-mail from another outfit that is the same thing. They ARE NOT my registrar. Replying to them is treated as a request to change registrars. .

These guys are gambling on you not knowing who you are registered with. KNOW who your registrar is. If you do not know then a "whois" report will tell you.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 12:46:55 EDT

Jim, welcome aboard CSI! I see your login and all is working.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 12:47:53 EDT

Swage Blocks: These are a different kind of multi-use tool. Many have bowl shapes and such that are quite handy. Those with holes are handy for upsetting (heading) and make a good support for a bolster plate. But in general they are a "what-if" type tool sort of like a cone mandrel. You will often find ONE shape that you need and use it until it is worn out.

Swage blocks originally were almost all custom. A smith would carve a pattern from block of wood and the local foundry would cast a block. The smith had some idea what shapes were useful and hopefully got what was needed. One of the oldest bronze age anvils is in fact a simple swage block. These are Personal blocks and are very rare.

Later, foundries started casting blocks as a product. Not knowing exactly what the smith needed they put as much on the block as possible. This is part guess work and part efficient use of material. At the time a lot of industrial work was done by hand in blacksmith shops so holes for punching, shaft diameters for rounding and shouldering and hex shapes for bolts were common. I call these blocks with all holes and grooves Industrial blocks.

Most modern blocks are either personal custom blocks that have been adopted as production patterns or patterns like custom blocks. Vaughns still casts an industrial block. The biggest difference is that the better production blocks are made by experianced or professional pattern makers rather than amatures. Today there are both on the market. Some are good patterns, other bad. Often the professional pattern makers do worse work than the amatures. The ones with the parting line down the center of the block are ALL bad patternmaking. These had the pattern dictated by the foundry which did not have a CLUE what makes a good block.

Jock Dempsey swage block No 1 click for detail. (c) Jock Dempsey This is one of my block patterns that I had cast years ago. I use the long curve for bending and straightening and the half rounds for supporting work while chisling. It was most recently used to form a shield boss in the large bowl. The block is found most often being used as a bowl for borax flux while I am brazing.

This is one of several block patterns I have created. The others have core holes and are larger. Finding a foundry that you can deal with is the biggest problem.

Because of the great variety of shapes that are possible swage blocks tend to be something you collect. I have castings of two of mine, two of a friend's and a big old industrial block. I have two more patterns and another two on the drawing board. They all have different shapes and purposes.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 13:32:16 EDT

There's a nice 20" x 20" x 7" industrial block for sale on Ebay(.UK) no. 3812686170. Like my smaller 14" block it sits in a cast iron stand either on its face or on end. The problems I have with swage blocks are that the stand is too low, I have to stoop over the block, and at about 400lb I can not easily move/rotate the block. I've seen pictures of swageblocks that are quite long and thin and sit in a frame, supported at 2 ends, that facilitates easy rotation of the block. Never seen one in real life though.
I have used a smaller swage block as a bottom tool in a flypress, the more flypress tooling I make the more useful my swage blocks become. (and my engine hoist!)
   Bob G. - Thursday, 04/29/04 13:59:24 EDT

Even in my small shop I have a 60# Grren and Mengel, about 11" X 11" X 31/2" and I find a use for it about every other day or so. (If nothing else it make a good heat sink for hot tongs. ;-)

Sunny and nice on the banks of the Potomac. Finally got my film in on the Florida blacksmiths, can't wait to see the pictures.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 04/29/04 15:01:29 EDT

If my attachments work there will be two pictuers on the way. It is possible that some pieces are missing from the oridginal. Philip
   philip - Thursday, 04/29/04 15:53:51 EDT

Handling Big Swage Blocks: My big industrial block weighs over 250 pounds and is difficult to handle without a helper or a hoist (I prefer a hoist). Big blocks need to be lifted with rigging slipped through the holes. It came with two shop built stands. The edge stand puts the top at about 28" (convienient for its purpose). The other stand puts it about 36" off the floor (best guess). Whenever I dig out that stand (its being used to support junk) I will adjust its height so that the block is level with the top of my heavy welding bench OR my weld platten, one of the two.

My smaller blocks are just heavy enough that they are handleable but dangerous. Where blocks are dangerous is when you can pick them up and have a hard time putting them down without pinching your fingers. Anything over 40 pounds usualy fits this description. Stands can make this situation much worse creating multiple pinch points (actually shear points) around the edges. These are a well known hazzard and the reason I do not have one of the popular swage block stand drawings on anvilfire.

My prefered stand for smaller blocks is a stump or laminated stand. A multilevel wood stand can provide good heights for using a block flat or on edge. Blocks can be rolled and slid from level to level without lifting the entire block. The same stand can also support stakes and such (see the Eric Thing shop article on our Armoury parg).

If you MUST capture a block then do so at the corners and leave the edges free to lift from.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 16:49:27 EDT

Rugg, I'm not one hundred percent certain but I think the Blacksmith's Cookbook is available from Centaur. At least they had it in one of the 98 or 99 catalogs.
   Ed Long - Thursday, 04/29/04 18:26:12 EDT


I think they've run out.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 04/29/04 18:27:16 EDT

John tobako and others
Sand (silica) will melt at forging temperatures and ash will act as a flux (ever thought what glass is?). Use a shovel of dirt (earth, soil etc) to fill up the spaces in your forge.

“the hot spot was aactually about 2 or 3 inches in front of the nozzle and about 2 to 3 inches above.” (Reproduced with typo!)
Ralph got the hot spot about right but it depends on blast and fuel.

I would recommend having the tuyere (sp or whatever you want to call it) 1-2 inches above the bed. This allows room for clinker and other c$@% to collect where it will not be blown back into the fire. Guru you might be right for brick hearths, but IIRC they had low spots in the bed under the ‘hot spot’
   Nigel - Thursday, 04/29/04 19:17:21 EDT

I am trying to find a device I saw a smith useing at a demo. I guess it would be called a gas saver. It was for an oxy acetylene torch. You would hang the torch on a hook when not in use and the torch would only burn a pilot flame (saving fuel) and when you lifted the torch off the hook the torch would resume burning as it had been adjusted for use. My question is : What is the proper name for this device , and where may I find one to purchase for my shop ?
Thanks ,
   Harley - Thursday, 04/29/04 19:46:22 EDT

The proper name is 'gas saver' Probably some for sale on Ebay and most welding suppliers carry them.
   Bob G. - Thursday, 04/29/04 19:52:01 EDT

The proper name is 'gas saver' Probably some for sale on Ebay and most welding suppliers carry them.
   Bob G. - Thursday, 04/29/04 19:52:01 EDT

Thanks Bob G.
   Harley - Thursday, 04/29/04 19:54:00 EDT

Gas Saver: Harley, You can also get a special pilot tip and use them with oxy-propane. That is how mine is setup now (I think).

Gas savers are also a great safety device if you are using a big rose bud torch for heating. It never fails that you get the part heated and then you need to lay down that miniature rocket engine. . . there is never a safe place to put it and your hands are usualy too full to mess with the valves. Gas-Saver to the rescue! Just lay the torch on the lever and it goes out. When you need more heat just pick it up, wave it by the pilot and POW you are back in business. In this application I have just clamped the gas saver to a bench to a bench top and I lay the torch over the lever rather than hanging it on the lever.

In some shops the pilot runs all day. When you need the torch you just pick it up, use it, put it back down. Saves time, gas and wear and tear on the valves. A GREAT device for a one man shop where every second counts.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/29/04 20:07:12 EDT

My initial research seems to indicate that propane gas savers cost twice as much as the acetylene ones. Typical of my luck!
   Bob G. - Thursday, 04/29/04 20:11:42 EDT

Harley You can purchase the Weldit Gas saver from Enco for about $100. Online at use-enco.com
Guru and vicooper thanks for the suggestions on a torch clamping device, gives me a good place to start my design.
My local smithing group (Balcones Forge )just had a workshop where we made stands that hold the gas saver valve around waist height with a foot pedal that raises the torch so you can use it hands free. You have to relocate the pilot over to where the torch hangs or just use a spark lighter. BTW, the only difference between versions of the valve is the pilot which is easy to swap out. Now for that electronic ignition feature .....

- C
   Chris S - Thursday, 04/29/04 22:06:28 EDT

Chris S,
I have no personel experience with the yellow tape for gas. I do have experience with the silver tape for stainless, and for something like air or water it is ok.
Teflon tape is ok for things where a small leak will not cause a problem, such as compressed air. A small leak on air won't be noticed and will usually not present a danger. Most people have moved away from teflon tape in hydraulics. Most of the tape is applied wrong and the tape gets sheared off, and lets little bits into the fluid, and that cloggs up orifices. Tape should start up two threads from the end, and wrap in the direction of the twist.
Soapy water will find leaks, but the foam tends to mask the little leaks. The bottled leak test fluids are about an order of magnatude more sensative. I would say that in good light, with a bottled leak test solution, a methane leak of 1000 parts per million can be found. I did a lot of testing, certifing valves to the fugitive emmisions standard of the clean air act, and 500PPM was the limit. Leak fluid would not normally catch these, but just a little faster would be caught.
Another bit of info, of all the valve packings and gaskets I tested to the standard, the gaskets almost always passed, and the packings only ocasionally failed. Course these were high pressure valves for industrial service, of forged steel, and most cost more than an entire forge.
   ptree - Thursday, 04/29/04 23:09:16 EDT

Propane/Oxy Gas Saver: As Chris mentioned, the only difference was a $6 pilot burner that replaced the regular one.

I think the foot operated torch on gas saver was originaly designed by our friend Pete Fels. I would put the torch on a bracket and use a fixed dead weight on the gas saver. On mine the rod is 1/4" brazing rod and can be extended past the valve where a lever to pull down would attach.

When you are done rigging up that remote control torch you can look at hanging a cutting torch off a lathe and using it for machine cutting. A coarse feed rate on a lathe is about right for cutting 1" and heavier plate. You would be amazed at how nice of stuff you can build from scrap when the torch cuts are machine straight and smooth.

Leaks: I always recommend the commercial leak test but a little soap and water beat no testing at all. . .
   - guru - Friday, 04/30/04 01:05:05 EDT

Hi there,
A very basic question from a complete novice... don't know if I'm even in the right place
I've heard that there is a flux type product called 'solmet' that lets you soft solder metals that you usually can't solder. I'm begining to think it is an urban myth! Can you help me? I live in Australia.
   Linda - Friday, 04/30/04 02:49:44 EDT

Thanks for the quick response to my question on the gas saver. Now that I know what it is called I have found three places to buy it ranging in price from $60 to $117. The information I received here has saved me much time searching for the device. This is just one more example of how we benefit from Anvilfire. PLease, join CSI, help support Anvilfire. It is a small price to pay for all we get from this site.
Thank You,
   Harley - Friday, 04/30/04 05:43:32 EDT

hi, how are you? i have questions about brass casting we are manufacturin brass ingots. we have problem about polishability. what can i do for good polisability? we have look on the brass sample's surface for control about polishabilty.some times therre are some inclusions(Fe2B,FeSi etc...)we don't want see this defect. what can we use in the furnace or what can we do other thing? i am sorry for my bad english. thank you very much your suggestions. see you next time.
   tughan ozcamsirti - Friday, 04/30/04 05:44:43 EDT

Harley , where did you find a gassaver for $60 ? I know about 20 people that are looking for one and the best deal we found was at Enco for $100.

Guru that's a great idea using a fixed weight on the gas saver lever. I've already noticed that my used valve is a little touchy about the amount of weight on the lever, so it may be a problem when I switch between large and small Victor torch bodies. Maybe even taking the cutting attachment off will change the weight enough to not shut the valve. The weighted lever eliminates the need to relocate the pilot, will probably make the pedal operation a lot smoother and simplifies the clamp design for the torch.
Now to Rev. A
   Chris S - Friday, 04/30/04 07:00:50 EDT

I dont know how much the average electric blower goes for, but I was just at walmart and they had this huge inflatable water slide for about $240 with a 12" electric blower. Picture of the blower on the box showed the same circular form as you would see with a champion blower. Prolly made of plastic, but it caught my eye none the less.
   nuked - Friday, 04/30/04 08:11:09 EDT

A guy here at work is going to be doing some body work on a '67 Camaro and he's going to have to do some MIG welding on the 1/4 panels. He was asking about some stuff he had heard of called "No Heat" or something like that. Said you coat thin sheet with it before you weld and it prevents the spread of heat and warpage / distortion. Any of you ever heard of such a thing, and does it work?
   Don A - Friday, 04/30/04 09:04:57 EDT

Nuked, an electric blower is usually free if you check with a heating and cooling company for ones junked when they replace furnaces---not the fan for the whole house air; but the blower for combustion or exhaust.

   Thomas P - Friday, 04/30/04 11:04:03 EDT

DON A; Go to eastwoodco.com, and type in "anti heat compound" in the search block. I've never used that particular item, but if it's anything like jeweler's mud, it oughta work. The description says you can re-use it.
   3dogs - Friday, 04/30/04 11:28:27 EDT

Don, also do a search for "Heat sink compound". I've seen it at A+ welding supply in Knoxville and at various Airgas stores, it seems to be fairly common.

Blowers: There's at least one low-tech knifemaker who powers his forge with an old fisher-price hand-crank toy leafblower. Air is where you find it.
   Alan-L - Friday, 04/30/04 12:59:38 EDT

Chris S, www.atlweldingsupply.com has a good used AirCo. gas saver for $65, they also have a new no-name one on the shelf. Theres a toll free number to call and the guy is very nice and wants to sell stuff. $50 or more is free shipping except wire and rods, he will make a shipping deal by the ton on that.
   - Robert-ironworker - Friday, 04/30/04 14:07:52 EDT

Fullering Question

Good gurus: When fullering both sides of a flat bar (using a spring fuller or similar) I sometimes end up with metal being moved parallel to the fuller. I can lay the bar flat and push this back down, but it never sees to look right afterward.

An example would be when "pinching" a 1/4" by 3/4" bar to make the transition from fork tines to handle. I end up with distortion across the thickness of bar, not just along the length as I would expect.

What can I do to minimize this?



   -JIM - Friday, 04/30/04 14:28:59 EDT

Im looking to get 1 ton of coal shipped to Salem, Oregon on a back LTL trip( or whatever else will be cheapest) I have looked around the internet and checked out the coal scuttle, but I am coming up short on info. Any experiences with this guys? any help would be appreciated
   Joe R - Friday, 04/30/04 15:02:30 EDT


I'd suggest you contact Kayne and Son. They sell Pocohontas #3 in 50# bags, and will make up a pallet for you. They are an advertiser here on anvilfire. Tell them Paw Paw sent you.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 04/30/04 16:02:42 EDT


Try "beating it to the pass" thin the bar down just a bit there, and the fullering will bring it back to near the original thickess as it upsets the metal toward the middle of the bar. After that it's a job for the Williamsburg Milling Machine. (A 6" Mill Bastard file grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 04/30/04 16:04:54 EDT

Fullering question???

JIM wrote: "An example would be when "pinching" a 1/4" by 3/4" bar to make the transition from fork tines to handle. I end up with distortion across the thickness of bar, not just along the length as I would expect."

Why would you not expect it to thicken und the blows of the fuller, and JUST lengthen? Fullers are designed to move metal MOSTLY parrel to their length, but will move material along thier axis as well, especially if it is being used the way you describe across the narrow axis of a bar. Rob Gunter has a video called "Clips and Cowpies" which is about the way that steel moves under different tools. (The whole video is the result of one of Clifton Ralph's moments of inspired eloquence. "Steel is just like Bulls!t: If you smack a cowpie with a stick - it flys off in mainly two directions, if you drop a stone on it - it flys off in all directions equally, if you drop a brick on it - it mainly flys off along the long sides of the brick, but it also flys off the ends of the brick some..."

But back to fullering, shoulders are especially hard to do well. The top die of a spring fuller will do more work than the bottom die, so you need to work carefully and flip the work to try and get a balanced shoulder. It could be partly the way your spring fuller is designed, if you work too fast the material left for the neck will get thinned somewhat as well as thickened at the edges, because the two ends are being driven apart. Do your dies have a noticeable wedge to them, that could be part of the problem. Try working a little slower, and keeping things balanced. Shoulders can be a bear:-)
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 04/30/04 17:04:47 EDT

Clifton is indeed eloquent at times. I was at the Tipton hammer-in for my second time, and had brought me then 12 year old daughter, who weighed about 75#, and was maybe 4'-6" in her overalls and boots. She had her 1# hammer in hand for the beginners session. Clifton saw her, and asked her what she expected to do with that itty-bitty hammer. She told him it was better to hit it with a 1# than miss it with a 4# hammer. He reached over, and gently grabbed the pony tail coming out the back of her hat, and stated to the now amused crowd" lookie here boys, this is a blacksmith with a handle". Later, he was over in the beginners barn, with her, giveing her one on one. She, and I didn't know who he was at the time.
Can you imagine Clifton bent over a tiny girl, helping her learn her first blacksmithing lessions? What a craft of generous people this is.
   ptree - Friday, 04/30/04 18:19:02 EDT

I just took on a handrail job, the rail decends straight down 10 stairs then curves in an arc following the last 4 stairs to the floor, I was able to match the curve of the arc no problem, only to realize the handrail must also twist or curve on its axis to be level on the horizontal just before it terminates at the lambs tounge. Is there any way to calculate and bend this twist short of making a full size mock up of the stairs? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, Thanks, Jeff mc
   - jeff mc - Friday, 04/30/04 18:28:20 EDT

Chris S ,
Gas saver for $60 at weldingdepot.com .
   Harley - Friday, 04/30/04 20:09:52 EDT

While we're talking about fullering...

I have a Swedish pattern hammer I bought from Mr. Kayne last year. It has been recommended to me that I upset the pien a bit, as it is fairly narrow "out of the box". Is this something that is easily do-able, or best left to a professional? I was thinking a roung bottom swage might be the ticket, but then there's the heat-treat. Is this a good idea, or just a good way to ruin a good hammer?
   Don A - Friday, 04/30/04 22:01:38 EDT

...that would be a ROUND bottom swage.

ptp, ptp, ptp...
   Don A - Friday, 04/30/04 22:03:09 EDT


> Is this a good idea, or just a good way to ruin a good hammer?

It depends on your experience level. You might want to practice on some 4140 first.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 04/30/04 22:24:20 EDT


When working down stock like necking a fork shank, the fuller is going to move metal both ways to some degree. The degree depends on a couple of things. One is the amount of rocker, or curve to the longitudinal axis of the face, that the fuller faces have. The more rocker, the more tendency to spread the metal to the sides. The narrower the fuller is, the less effect the rocker has, proportionally. Another factor is the mass of the hammer.

Fullering, like upsetting, is intended to move a high volume of metal quickly. The narrow face of the fuller achieves the movement mostly in one direction, IF it is hit with a solid, "massy" blow. If the blows are dome with too light a hammer, then the metal at the surface is upset to the sides and the metal at the center of the bar is not moved much at all. The stretching of the surface, with the center of mass not moveing much, results in drawing of metal to equalize stresses. Thus, you end up with a necked-down section that has thickened edges and a hollow-ground effect to the center axis. Of course, when you try to hammer the edges level with the center, the whole works stretches more, altering your final shape.

The solution is to use a pretty hefty hammer to hit the fuller. The high mass of the hammer transfers more of the fullers energy to the center area of the bar, resulting in less upsetting of the edges. This is the same thing you want to do if you are trying to upset a piece of bar. Light taps flare the end, heavy blows spread the upset over a deeper length of the stock. I hope this makes sense.
   vicopper - Friday, 04/30/04 22:47:01 EDT

Shipping coal:

One thing I learned a long time ago,which may still be valid, is that sometimes the rate per pound varies, depending on what you say the cargo is.

In college, I ordered a couple drums of casting investment shipped, by rail. The railway wanted to know what it was to figure the tariff. When I saidit was jewelry making supplies, the rate was three times as much as when I told them it was minerals. Both were true, but one was a much cheaper truth. (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 04/30/04 22:56:27 EDT

Stock Hammers: Don, Dress you hammer with a GRINDER. Otherwise make one from scratch OR rework a junk hammer, don't wreck a good new hammer.

Part of the DESIGN of the Swedish pattern hammer which goes back 1,000 years or more is the long tapered pein. If you want a short blunt pien get a different hammer.

A narrow pien can be used to texture leaves, get in tight places, dress inside corners. . .

Most of the German made hammers sold by the Kaynes and others are sold rough dressed. They are NOT usable as-is. All the edges must be dressed round (to your liking) and the pien finished. A belt sander/grinder works best but you can also use an angle grinder. DO NOT use a bench grinder unless the wheel weighs several times the mass of the hammer. Heavy objects bouncing on vitreous wheels cause them to break and explode.

Some brands come ready to use. American made hammers used to all be well dressed. But today with high labor rates the manufacturers everywhere are cutting back on hand dressing tools, especialy ones where the working faces are critical. The German made hammers are left rough ASSUMING that a knowledgable craftsperson who knows exactly what they want will dress the hammer THEIR way so the factory would be wasting their time. . .

   - guru - Friday, 04/30/04 23:16:19 EDT

Curved Rail: Everyone I know uses one of two methods, they bend the rail to fit on-site, OR they mock up the stairs and rail. Some folks have much better three dimensional visulazation than others and would just make the piece, then match it to the pickets and go from there. If the line is smooth without odd offsets this should be easy. However, I've known folks to spend weeks trying to get one of these right. A mock-up can save a lot of grief and is absolutely necessary if you are going to pre-finish the work before installing it.
   - guru - Friday, 04/30/04 23:24:34 EDT


Unless I'm totally out in left field (and guru will swat me if I am) you don't really need the entire set of steps on your mock up. Just the riser that will be closest to the hand rail should be enough, with the appropriate supporting structure.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 04/30/04 23:28:02 EDT

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