WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from April 1 - 7, 2009 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Didn't we have the "Smithy is a building, Smith is a person" argument last April fool's day? I seem to remember it.
   philip in china - Wednesday, 04/01/09 00:59:52 EST

Melissa M,

As stated, you must use Corten fasteners on Corten or face grievous corrosion problems. CorTen rivets are definitely available from suppliers of fasteners. Check with Fastenal, JC Sales, etc.

As for the issue of needing more force to set the CorTen rivets versus aluminum or copper, this is one of those situations where you let progress have its way. Purchase an inexpensive pneumatic rivet gun, also called a "muffler gun", "air hammer" or other similar terms. They can be had for as little as ten bucks new and will do the job. You'll also need to purchase the correct .401" shanked rivet setting tool for the gun and a "bucking" bar. The rivet setter and the bucking bar will each cost roughly the same as the gun. Of course, you'll need a source of compressed air at about 90 psig, capable of delivering around 6 cu.ft./min. (cfm). A small one hp compressor would do the job for rivets in the 1/16" to 3/16" range.

With those tools, you can set each rivet in as little as two seconds - that's even faster than using one of those "pop" rivet tools sold at big box stores. No real arm strength required, either. The rivets are set cold, by the way. No need to heat them until you get to sizes over 1/2" diameter.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 04/01/09 01:06:57 EST

Melissa M,
I know Blacksmith supply sell the bucking blocks ( a friend has just bought one for me) maybe they would be able to help you.
   philip in china - Wednesday, 04/01/09 01:28:08 EST

First project was a drive hook, or nail hook. I found someone giving blacksmithing lessons in my town and that's what he started us with. We learned to hot-cut, taper, bend, curl, and twist with that project, in addition to the very basic hammering techniques. And best of all, we all went home that first night with something. I still have that hook.
   - Marc - Wednesday, 04/01/09 07:11:08 EST

Fire Steels: The higher the carbon and lower the alloy the better so 1095 or W1. Often old files are used. They work better if you grind off the decarburized surface.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 08:20:16 EST

DIY Grinder Stone: Synthetic stones are a relatively new invention. The old stones were all natural sandstone and pretty soft. Making synthetic stones was the done by very few companies for a long time so I suspect it is easier to describe than do. I wouldn't try it except to make a dummy or theatrical replacement.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 08:24:02 EST

My first project was a set of palm carving tools made from W1 in a 1-brick forge. Charlotte, 1/4" music WIRE? What was that wire made for? A 50 foot harp? Mercy!
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 04/01/09 08:25:58 EST

Big Hint: the free stuff posting was by "Beverly Shears". Um, would that be a Model B1?
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 04/01/09 08:29:38 EST

More First Projects and Practice: We have Scouts and young students make an S hook from small 1/4" (7mm) bar and a sometimes a heavy tent stake from 1/2" (13mm) square. I suspect the hooks are the most common project. For our Scouts that had the time and interest we had them make a candle sconce.

As I mentioned, unless you are a carpenter, stone cutter, sculptor or someone that has used a hammer a lot then first projects need to be very simple and something you can practice. After you make about a hundred hooks your muscles are getting used to the new task and your hammer control is developing.

Before I started smithing I had built a number of tree houses, carved Soap Box Racers from solid blocks of wood, sculpted wood and stone with hammer and chisel and done some old fashined auto body work where you actually straightened crushed fenders. . . I also had a lot of practice with numerous other hand tools. I had a lot more hammer practice and control than most at age 16.

Note that when practicing ANYTHING do not practice to exhaustion OR loss of interest. When your practice gets sloppy you are learning to be sloppy and practicing lack of control. Only practice as long as you are improving or can keep control.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 08:40:31 EST

Moving 'first projects' to hammer-in.....
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 04/01/09 09:14:40 EST

Ok folks, I put my hands up... When I was younger, we called both forges and smiths by the same name, "Smithy's". Don't know if it was naivety on our part cos we were young or if its because I'm a Brit. But to all our Smith's out there, my apologies. I shall remember the difference and refer accordingly... See, Just starting out and I've learned something already!
Peck, Your gonna need biiiiig tongs to reach me over here in Bonnie Scotland.

Beverly Shears? Ha, Ha. Didn't pick up on that one. Should have "cut" straight to the point there.

Thanks for all the first project info... any other little anecdotes like that I'm sure we'd be interested in hearing about (reading about?)
   Duncan (aka. maddragon) - Wednesday, 04/01/09 10:28:40 EST

By the way Guru, Have just taken delivery of my books, "New Edge of the Anvil" and Alex Bealers "The Art of Blacksmithing". Will now be burying my face in these.
   Duncan (aka. maddragon) - Wednesday, 04/01/09 10:35:40 EST

Dear Quench Crack,
Music Wire is an astm 228 specification for a high tensil strength carbon steel wire used to make springs and other similiar items. 0.25 inch is the largest size sold by Small parts. com, and Brownell's, among others.

If you want to make a spring that has no interior defects Music wire is first choice. I belive that astm also has a specification for stainless music wire spring stock but I have no Idea what it contains.
   Charlotte Simonin - Wednesday, 04/01/09 12:00:51 EST

Music wire is generally SAE 1095 steel and most drawn material would be equal to "music wire".

Actual musical strings are no longer just music wire but vary depending on the tonal qualities wanted. Solid metal strings are brass, bronze, stainless and steel. Wrapped strings are almost any combination of the above and also vary by the cross section, round, hex, square and flat. Most core wire is round but some is hex. Winding wires are round, square and flat.

Then there are composite strings, gut with embedded wire for more mass, nylon strands with brass or steel wrap. . .

Much is pure physics but much is also the difficult to define tonal qualities that can only be detected to the well trained ear.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 12:14:01 EST

Char Lotte, I guess I was confused by your term "music wire" versus the ASTM designation "steel music spring quality wire". It is a confusing moniker that implies that the steel quality is as good as music wire but is intended for spring making. Typical ASTM vague verbosity.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 04/01/09 12:26:45 EST

Jock, small differences between music wire and 1095: the 1095 has C= .9-1.03, Mn=.30-.50, P=.04, S=.05. Music wire is C=.70-1.0, Mn=.20-.70, P=.025, S=.030. The improvement of the quality of music wire appears to be mainly in the reduced Sulfur and Phosphorus. Both of these elements would form non-metallic inclusions that would affect drawn surface quality and maybe even attenuate some of the sound. It is interesting to note that with modern steelmakeing using scrap as the charge can achieve a sulfur content that is listed as "ND", none detected =.0000%.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 04/01/09 12:37:21 EST

Guru- re: fire steels Thanks! Should I temper them, or will they throw more sparks if the steels are harder?
   Skip - Wednesday, 04/01/09 14:06:04 EST

Skip, They should be as hard as possible. However, if you use high carbon steel you should always temper. A temperature of 350 to 400 F will change the hardness VERY little but add greatly to the toughness.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 14:47:18 EST

There's a guy here at work who calls me "smithy" every time he sees me. But since I'm making a birdbath for him (for $$), well, the customer is always right. And he's about to be my new program manager, so that makes him more right.

Call me anything you want, just don't call me late for payday.
   - Marc - Wednesday, 04/01/09 14:57:01 EST

Or "laid off. . ."
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/01/09 16:04:42 EST

Amen for not calling "laid off" says Ptree who just was informed he gets to take two weeks of unpaid furlough. And orders continue to drop he says...

But at least its not a permanent layoff.
   ptree - Wednesday, 04/01/09 18:49:20 EST

Let's take the "smithy" discusssion over to the VHI. I've got one to lay-on ya.
   Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 04/01/09 20:05:12 EST

Music wire:

For some reason, my local True Value (bless 'em) carries this, up ot 1/4", and I have discovered, the usual way -- trial and whatever -- that it makes *great* filler rod for gas welding medium carbon steel and low alloy. I.E. I am gas welding 1/8" 4130 trowel blades onto 3/8" 1045 shafts for my garden tools, and filling with 1/8 or 3/16 music wire. Butter. After heat treating (non-magnetic, water quench, dark straw/bronze temper) I did a destructive test. That is, I tried to do a destructive test. I could bend it a little with a 12 lb sledge, but I gave up after a rebound when it tried to do a destructive test on me. I'm satisfied that digging in rocky soil and occasionally in concrete will not crack the weld.
   Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 04/01/09 20:19:57 EST

Just got about 1,000 pounds of coal delivered and loaded into my fuel store for US$70. I am posting this just to annoy you all. BTW I get coke free but prefer coal.
   philip in china - Thursday, 04/02/09 06:15:19 EST

Phillip, April fools day was YESTERDAY. $140 per ton indeed!

Just kidding.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 04/02/09 08:02:24 EST

I came across these scythe making pictures while looking for a hand sickle.
The text is in German, but the power hammers, helve hammer, large stump anvil, and other shop tools are of interest.
Anybody know of a good hand sickle?
   blackbbart - Thursday, 04/02/09 12:15:56 EST

I checked out the website and associated materials.
Really intesting. Do you know of any links to some more precise information on this product's manufacture?

I wonder if the cold thining of the blades by peening could relate to the legend of "packing" steel?

I particulary liked the picture of the finishing smith, his anvil and hammer with the row of blades waiting to be worked on.

The last good hand sickle that I saw was at an auction years ago.
One of the nicest I've seen was made around 1920, achingly narrow, quite long for a one hand blade, and had a little round ball, not much larger than a bb shot, forged on the tip. All things considered it looked like a tool for the "fashionable" gardner.

One of my favorite recent quote's " Our grandparents many not have had as much stuff, but they had better Stuff"

Gives me an Idea. I have some 1/8' 1084 that I bought, on speculation, from Admiral steel's close out. I may try and forge some replicas.
   Charlotte Simonin - Thursday, 04/02/09 14:16:33 EST

Blackbbart, I assume that you have looked at and rejected the Japanese blades offered by the various sites like Fine-tools.com
Most smiths could make blades similar to those if they forge weld effectively. Get tired of the "all things japanese are better" mentality.
   Charlotte Simonin - Thursday, 04/02/09 15:15:28 EST

I'm trying to attach an anodized aluminium rail to the steel body of my airgun. What method would you guys reccomend? I've tried using lead solder and some partial silver lead free solder with a regular iron and it's not sticking. Would using a blow torch give better results or do you guys know of a better way? Epoxy maybe?

The problem is that the sharp jerking shocks from a spring airgun destroys whatever adhesieve I'm using at the mating surfaces.
   Nabiul Haque - Thursday, 04/02/09 17:03:58 EST

Charlotte, I have looked at the Japanese sickles, and one from scythe supply. I'm just not sure what style would work best. Its intended use is to cut down plants in my garden that are past their prime, while not cutting down its neighbors who maybe still fruiting. My thoughts are to forge a curved blade, grind and peen it like a scythe and keep working it until the best shape is found. The peening of the edge did make me think of the "packing myth", tho I have not found any reference to that yet.
   blackbart - Thursday, 04/02/09 17:38:44 EST

Re: the German site for the scythes. I have Google and Firefox. whenever I run across a foreign language site I just right click it, then left click Page Info, then left click "translate page to English". It worked fine for me.
   Carver Jake - Thursday, 04/02/09 18:07:49 EST

Anodized Parts: Nabuil, The anodizing is a combination of chemical action that forms a porous coating of aluminum oxide and a clear or colored dye in a lacquer base. It is corrosion and abrasive resistant. It cannot be soldered to or even welded. To weld the anodizing must be removed. Soldering does not work well on aluminum.

Your best choice is some kind of mechanical bracket. A block with holes drilled into it with set screws or a clamping mechanism.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/02/09 18:42:57 EST

Ack. A bracket would defeat the purpose of attaching a rail directly on the body, as rails are commercially available as brackets that attach to the side of the body. However aren't very aesthetically pleasing.

I've also already ruined the anodizing and bluing on the surfaces while scraping off the super glue which I tried first. Which worked pretty well, but given its low viscousity and the small amount of surface area that makes contact, it came off easily.
   Nabiul Haque - Thursday, 04/02/09 19:39:02 EST

I am looking at giving brazing a try, but with my luck I would probably melt the rail.
   Nabiul Haque - Thursday, 04/02/09 20:20:39 EST

I've read the recommended finish schedule for steel; however I have been using CorroSeal, thought to be a latex based - phosphoric acid conversion coat-primer. It accepts and needs an oil-based top coat. I've gone straight to Rustoleum enamel top coat in the past, but this time I plan to use a zinc rich primer, then an alkyd enamel topcoat on the next project. My son and I have just about completed a two tier "RIMS-HERMS" brewery frame out of 2 inch square tubing and need a durable finish. Can't do much around the propane burners, other than BBQ black, but hope the frame will hold up with this finish.
Comments or suggestions are most appreciated.
   Bob Johnson - Thursday, 04/02/09 21:43:53 EST

Nabiul: There are darn few solders that stick to aluminum, even after You tremove all the oxides [anodizing].

I would use a pollyurethane adehisive, I am a loyal fan of 3M 5200. Sand the mating surfaces with coarse sandpaper to provide some "tooth" smear it up with 5200 and clamp in place. Let it sit for about a week, this is a moisture cured product, and in a thin layer between non permiable surfaces it takes a while to cure. If You ever want to remove it, heat the rail with a propane torch to about 300f and it will let go.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 04/02/09 21:44:24 EST

Nabiul: If the parts fit really closely, space them apart with some fine wire or a few paint brush or broom bristles while clamping so all the adhesive isn't forced out of the joint.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 04/02/09 21:47:23 EST

First forging: ugly tongs I still use for thin sheet items
Second: hammer from rail spring clip, folded over for a larger face, and drawn to a thin spike like a rock hammer. I have no idea why I made this, and no longer use it.
   Mike/Marco - Thursday, 04/02/09 22:13:22 EST

"Zinc Rich Primer" This is generally BS and does nothing except make the manufacturer rich. For zinc to effectively protect steel it needs to be in pure metallic form. Cold galvanizing paints are zinc powder in a very thin binder (something like 98% zinc). Due to the thin binder they do not stick very well and need to be applied to a grit blasted or etched surface. These are the next best thing to galvanizing but still a long way from it.

Prior to applying any paint cleanliness is THE most important thing. IF made of bright finished steel it had oil or grease protecting it. If parts of the work was cut on a saw or drilled it will have oil on it. If you handled it with bare hands it has oil on it. If you welded using coated rods or flux core wire there is anhydrous flux smoke deposits on the steel that will attract water THROUGH the paint, swell and cause the paint to flake.

Bright drawn steel such as structural tubing needs to be sanded or etched to give the steel some "tooth" for the paint to stick to.

Paint jobs hold up very good on clean metal with tooth or use of etching primer.
   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 01:02:09 EST

Note that alkyd enamel topcoats, such as Rustoleum, are not the best choice of topcoats over zinc primers, due to saponification. Epoxys, polyurethanes and lacquers are preferred.
   - Charlie Spademan - Friday, 04/03/09 07:13:24 EST

A friend of mine uses a phosphoric acid based coating before he paints. I'm not sure what the material is or if it is even reliable. He swears by it but....?
He calls it "rust converter"
Any experience or horror stories would be welcome.
   Charlotte Simonin - Friday, 04/03/09 08:42:35 EST

I made a really nice footboard for my bed from railing and old sewing machine tables. Used cast iron weld rod. Came out real nice. I took it outside, painted it and left to dry. A week later (and some rain), decided to bring it in and install it. One end lightly TOUCHED to floor and "SNAP", three weld spots that I forgot to wirebrush flux deposits off of failed. Now I know why.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/03/09 08:46:52 EST

Anvilheads: Take a look at eBay listing #160325594837. I just don't get the impression this was a chainmaker's anvil, although I'm at a loss as to why it doesn't have a pritchel hole and the grooved in side. Rather reminds me of the anvils used on Blacker powerhammers. Could the hole have been to secure it in some manner? Was there possibly a vise jaws or accessory involved?

Received a letter from Richard Postman. He is now working full-time on More on Anvils. No idea as to publication date though. He said publication is it for him on further anvil information.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 04/03/09 09:16:19 EST

Ken: Looks like it was keyed to fit to somethning, but I agree: not a "chainmaking tool". Seller's cred is suspect: note the description of condition claims good square edges, neglecting to mention half a dozen significant chips. And chisel marks in the face I would not refer to as "only". Must be soft like a table, no? I donth think I could put a chisel mark in the face of any of my anvils without chipping or cracking. AN 100 lbs wouldn't support much of a chain on a production basis. On the other hand, chainmakers anvil had no need for a pritchel hole: bick was typically held in the hardie hole on the left side, horn to theright, as this appears to be set up
   Peter Hirst - Friday, 04/03/09 09:43:57 EST

Ken, It appears to be a factory mod but it could have been for ANYTHING. The keyways indicate that something that had torque on it was mounted in the hole. Anything else is pure speculation. No, it does not look like a chainmakers anvil of any period.

Nip, you mmean the welds failed OR the paint failed?
   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 09:49:45 EST

Phosphoric Acid, Ospho, Rust converters: These products are the cheapskate industrial preparation method of painting. Brush it on over rust, dirt and paint one day and paint the next. Paint jobs typically hold up for about a year.

I had a friend that swore by it. However, his paint jobs were crummy and did not last. What he liked was that the acid cut through light oil and the rust was supposedly "converted" to non-rust. He was cheap and did not like to clean (other than a little wire brushing) or prime his work. But it behaves differently on different surfaces and there is always a coat of slightly sticky acid that you can feel. Over tight scale is does nothing except leave white deposits of questionable consequence. It also behaves differently on rusted surfaces depending on what was previously covering the surface. If parts had to be field welded the "converted" coating had to be ground off and that in the HAZ produced noxious fumes.

When you properly clean and prep for a paint job there is no rust to "convert". Good paint jobs on steel SHOULD last as long as you expect the paint on any automobile you have owned to last (a decade without serious defect other than losing gloss and two decades without failing and needing repaint except for places with physical damages OR internal rust from sand/salt). THAT is the type of finish people expect when they pay for a high end product. Rust converters are NOT in that picture.
   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 10:14:37 EST

Today I was holding a piece of 1" plate whilst Sean was hitting it. The rivet in the tongs sheared and I was suddenly holding 2 disconnected handles! I have never had this happen before. A failing of the rivet material or were we doing something wrong?
   philip in china - Friday, 04/03/09 10:17:27 EST

Vulcans tend to have very thin faces; chisel marks are a MAJOR item. They tend to have soft faces as well---notice that the "great rebound" doesn't include any numbers.

Frankly I would probably *not* pick up this anvil for a dollar a pound much less $4 a pound---let it go to a "collector" (especially as it's in an anvil rich area.)

Funny thing about "custom" industrial mods on anvils---they often bring the price down not up!

   Thomas P - Friday, 04/03/09 11:06:10 EST

Anodizing of aluminum. Anodizing converts the surface to a thick (Metalurigically), extremely hard coat of aluminum oxide. The surface is indeed porus and will take organic dyes well, and is then "sealed" in a cold water bath. No laquer. If you are working on aluminum in a breathable atmosphere you can not abrade off the naturally occuring oxide as a thin layer instantly forms.
Dave Boyers urethane is probably best.

Rust converters. Ospho I don't like. XTEND by Henkel Surface Technolgies I do. It is a phosphoric acid, in a latex binder base. If you follow the instructions on the container to the letter, nothing short of sandblasting to white metal and then going with hot dip zinc is better in my experience. I have built structures from deeply pitted and rusted tube. Wire brushed, applied the XTEND per the directions followed by Rustoleum red oxide primer, followed by two coats of satin black rustoleum. That was 1996. The structure has just begun to pop rust on the intact original painted surfaces. This is a mail box post the hold three of the biggest rural mailboxes. I say original as it has been hit by several trucks, a school bus, and at least 5 cars. The undamaged part was fine until this spring. I have used this material on rusted car bodies as well, and several other rusted structures since.
I will repeat the system on the mailbox post as soon as it warms to a consistant 70F+
   Ptree - Friday, 04/03/09 11:23:25 EST

The welds failed, Jock. Looks like they turned into brittle rust. I have so many paying projects right now that the footboard and headboard have been sitting amongst the pile of unfinished works.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/03/09 11:33:09 EST

Sheared Tongs Rivet: Well, there is a LOT of force on tongs rivets AND many rivets are undersized. If you look at the old Machinery's Handbook Tongs dimensions chart you will see the normal rivet sizes. These are "normal", not particularly "heavy duty". Many are 1/16th increment sizes that many folks may not have in their shops.

Besides being highly stressed the rivet is often readjusted and quenched hot. To loosen overtightened rivets the tongs are often open and closed while the rivet is hot. This twists the rivet and can crack it.

I think it is probably a common failure but as smiths we just stick another rivet in the joint and keep working. . .
   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 12:25:12 EST

Nip, Welding cast iron is tricky business. Often the welds create strain that will break the casting somewhere else.

If the weld joints had rust in them then the joints were cracked from the beginning and were holding by a thread.

Some of the best cast iron welding I have seen was done the cast iron rod or base material and a cutting torch tip. The entire part is heated to a red and the joint area melted and stirred with the rod to assure connection. No flux used.

If I was trying to make something from an assemblage of cast iron frameworks I would make mechanical joints such as collars or wraps.
   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 12:43:49 EST

Yeah! I forgot about that. I haven't done MUCH along the lines of joining, a few rivets made here and there, mortise & tenoned once. But if I need to do new things I must! When I first got into forging it took me 6 heats and 10 minutes to make my first J hook. Now I can do 'em in 3 heats and 2 minutes.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/03/09 12:59:08 EST

I've noticed a lot of what I would consider "overdesigned" rivets in old tongs; I just assumed that that was the available rivet. The Athols that I picked up a few years back had huge rivets in them. Just another detail I never thought about before, but makes sense when somebody has a "failure experience."

Is this a great hobby/business or what?! ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 04/03/09 13:22:52 EST

TGN; beds can suffer a *lot* of stress---think 5 college guys watching an exciting football game while sitting on one!

The sewing machine frames are quite light and as mentioned cast iron.

Not a good combination *unless* it's designed so the cast iron has no structural function what so ever. In which case it doesn't need welding a few cold bent collars will probably do.

   Thomas P - Friday, 04/03/09 16:20:01 EST

"One of my favorite recent quote's " Our grandparents many not have had as much stuff, but they had better Stuff""

Wrong!! They had the same amount of cheap junk as us, it just didn't survive.
   - Hudson - Friday, 04/03/09 18:18:00 EST

tong Rivets: when I first started making tongs, I had no 1/4" mild steel or any commerically made rivets. I did have some W1 tool steel in 1/4" rounds. I made a bunch of tongs with W1 and I guarantee they won't shear off. Setting them hot is a bit of a nuisence though.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 04/03/09 18:50:04 EST

Isn't better for the tongs to wear through the rivet than vice versa?
   Peter Hirst - Friday, 04/03/09 19:25:38 EST

I use Ospho on my rusty POS truck. Looks like hell, but keeps the brake lines from rotting away quite as fast. As I don't want my iron work to look like my truck I use real finishes in my work. As far as I can tell around here where EVERYTHING rusts only architects like the look of rust.
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 04/03/09 19:59:58 EST

If you wear out the rivet OR the tongs they have more than fulfilled their life expectancy. I've had a few ancient tongs that were worn out. But even then they were repairable.

I've used grade 5 and grade 8 bolts for rivets when repairing tongs in a hurry. Never anything as exotic as W1

   - guru - Friday, 04/03/09 20:12:26 EST

Peter Hirst: A hard surface, provided it is smooth doesn't WEAR OUT a softer one, it OUT WEARS it.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/03/09 21:32:56 EST


Mind you, I'm not beating a dead horse here, I'm just tenderizing the meat. (grin)

Regarding the earlier exchanges concerning MRI''s and metallic objects in the ol' corpus delectable, I thought you might find this clip interesting:


I'll bet the guy was trying a blockhead routine and got distracted...

   vicopper - Saturday, 04/04/09 01:09:30 EST

I have recently returned home from Iraq and would like to thank all of you for the help and support i recieved while deployed. Thank you so much. I have another question. A friend of mine wants me to build him matching pulley brackets for his dragster...the ones he has are aluminum.... what grade of aluminum am i looking at here? Is it a special alloy or anything I need to know about it? thank you again.
   - matthew - Saturday, 04/04/09 02:58:56 EST

I reriveted the tongs with a slightly larger rivet. (Don't ask. It was just a piece of scrap). They seem better than ever. Given that they are the tongs I use when forging inch plate they do take quite a lot of punishment. They were only a set of my own "20 minute tongs" but all the many pairs I have made have always stood up to whatever punishment I have given them. Maybe that 1 bolt was just a little weak.
   philip in china - Saturday, 04/04/09 03:53:57 EST

Mathew Welcome home Brorher, and thank you for your service.

There are many alloy families of aluminum.
If the bracket is cast, that is one family.
The high strenght, machinable grades are usually from the 2000 series, with 2024 being a favorite of the aircraft and "billet" machinists. High strenght,and machines well. Also fairly common, so easier to find.

From experience the extrusion grades from the 5000 and 6000 series are gummy when machined. Machinable yes, but harder to work with.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/04/09 06:26:08 EST

hi guru and helpers.iam 48,i did my apprentiship as an industrial blacksmith from the age of 16 and have been in this type of field for over 20 years on and off.my question relates to twisting a double tapered square bar from the forge.the stock i am working with is 3/4 square x 2ft long then tapered to 1 1/2 over 3 inches then tapered back to 3/4 over 3 inches and back to 2ft long.i am using a leg vice to hold the stock and a twisting dog with a 3/4 square hole to turn it,my problem is i am not getting a consistant twist over the 6 inches due to the taper.i have tried spot quenching with water but i,m not happy with the results,it,s really starting to frustrate me.i dont want to revert to the oxy so any tips would be appreciated
   doug cairns - Saturday, 04/04/09 07:01:43 EST

Doug, Spot heating with the torch is the only practical way to make a short tapering twist. There are some techniques that are done in the forge and some that are not.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/04/09 09:22:19 EST

You could try getting a good even heat on the taper, then letting cool for a little while before twisting. The thinner parts would cool faster, and be less likley to over twist. I'm not saying this would work, mind you, just that you could try it.

I've seen folks who can do a good job on tapered twists by spot quenching, but they've all had a *lot* of practice.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 04/04/09 09:47:21 EST

A Mississippi smith, Grady Holly, made a good case for finishing the rivet heads oversized during conference a few years ago. The essence of his point was that oversize rivet heads maintain the alinement of the jaws better as the tongs wear in.

He forged the heads hot using a welding torch tip to upset the heads.
   Charlotte Simonin - Saturday, 04/04/09 16:17:04 EST

I had the honor of watching Bob Alexander demo today at the HABA Spring Forging Festival in Oldenberg, Tx. Glad I have a day job. Did buy an old rivet forge though. Needs work but the blower is good.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 04/04/09 19:53:32 EST

hi i was curious if i could use a acetaline regulator for a propane regulator would it run properly? thanks
   - Denny - Sunday, 04/05/09 00:02:56 EST

What metals would be in a small chainsaw blade. I am trying to harden and temper for a knife.
   Bill - Sunday, 04/05/09 00:36:40 EST

Dave: Oh. What wears out the rivet, then?
   Peter Hirst - Sunday, 04/05/09 08:07:45 EDT


Lots of folks (including me) use acetyene regulators for propane. Just be sure the regulator is rated for propane or "all fuel gasses." I think most of them are, but if you use one that isn't, the propane may attack the seals or diaphragm. You don't want high pressure propane spraying out of the regulator, especially if it's near a hot forge.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 04/05/09 08:55:25 EDT

Chainsaw Parts: Bill, The bar or the chain? Anyway, it doesn't matter as I do not know. Bars are laminated from three pieces the core possibly being different that the sides, chains are many pieces, guide plate, teeth, rivets, side links. . each that could be different steels according to different manufacturers and different qualities. Simply put, Junkyard Steel.

But I suspect all are medium carbon of some grade.

One problem with forged blades, especially forge welded blades, is decarburization. A great deal of carbon can be lost at welding temperatures and the surface must be removed. If forged into a thin edge this can comprise the entire edge and it will not harden well. So it helps to plan to grind a good bit off the edge.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/05/09 11:21:07 EDT

Peter Hirst: Friction & abrasion.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/05/09 22:13:19 EDT

Mike BR
The greatest saftey is not to use acetylene regulators for anything other than acetylene.
Without getting technical, let me say that the pressure and delivery range of propane and other fuel gas mixtures like blazer and Mapp much higher than acetylene. You risk destroying your acetylene regular for little benefit.
Really heavy duty use requires a dedicated regulator.

The materials of construction are similar, the orifice sizes, seal, springs and balancing mechanisms are different.

Unless you are planning to do serious scrap cutting, brazing with a hand or machine torch, the adjustable regulators sold with the gas forges are sufficient for forge purposes. If you are having problems with a propane forge the problem is not likely to be your regulator.

Acetylene is a very special material that should not be cross contaminated with anything else.

Follow manufacture's recomendations at all times and do not switch services or change the CGA fittings.

As one of the safety officers for a national industrial gas company at the local plant level I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the potential problems with regulators, chemical gases, and associated equipment.

I want to stress: pressurized gas are extremely dangerous. The only reason that they seem relatively safe is that we, the american worker, benefit from over 100 years of continious refinement.

Regulators should be located as far as practical from the heat source. On the other side of a wall if possible.
   Charlotte Simonin - Sunday, 04/05/09 22:43:49 EDT

Stock twists tightest where it's smallest in cross section *or* hottest; so having two variables you can get an even twist in a tapered bar---but it does take practice. I like using a pump sprayer (think kitchen cleaner) to chill the thin parts when they reach the stop point.

If it's a real long taper with very thin ends; twist the fatter section first and then reheat and do the smaller twist.

   Thomas P - Sunday, 04/05/09 22:47:42 EDT

Yeah but on a short radical taper 1/4" will twist cold easier than 3/4" hot. The question is about a short radical taper.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/05/09 23:21:30 EDT

Denny: The most cost effective source for propane regulator, gauge and hose kits is www.tejassmokers.com. A 30-lb regulator, 0-60 gauge and 5' hose will cost less than $60 delivered.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 04/06/09 05:40:47 EDT

Dave: Ah. Friction and abrasion. From ... ?
   Peter Hirst - Monday, 04/06/09 07:51:41 EDT

Propane side note. Don't use welding hose not rated for propane, it will degrade it and could fail.
   Carver Jake - Monday, 04/06/09 10:29:01 EDT

Another possibly silly question.

How do you use a Tomohawk sledge without helpers? Can you?

I had a helper holding the piece with tongs, on the anvil, with the eye just over the edge, while I worked the sledge into the eye. Is that the best way to do it?
   Dave - Monday, 04/06/09 17:17:58 EDT

Dave I assume you mean a drift to shape and widen the eye and not a punch to punch it through the solid stock? (Actually I start with a slitter and then a drift on my hawks made from solid stock and a bull pin drift when made from a ball peen hammer head; before I go to the hawk handle drift---do most of the heavy shaping with easily replaced stuff before using my store boughten hawk handle drift.)

It's a little tricky until the drift will fit into the eye enough to hold things in proper alignment. If I'm just shaping the hole I start with it on the anvil and drift till the drift is close to the lower edge of the eye and then I can use the hardy hole with a bolster plate or my heavy postvise to drift over allowing the drift to extend past the eye.

Tommahawk eyes are different than hammers in that you drift only from the top to get the taper in place.

   Thomas P - Monday, 04/06/09 18:00:22 EDT

Several weeks ago someone here asked about my efforts to rehabilitate my Whisper Baby forge using the ITC products. A link to my report is on the Anvilfire Home Page.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 04/06/09 18:02:52 EDT

Tomahawk: Sledge? Not sure what you are talking about.

If you mean drift, or drifting with a sledge then that is another thing. A drift is used after a punch or welding an eye. It should not require undue force as it just sizes the hole a little.

The tapered part of the drift should be long enough to stick through the eye. If it will fit through the hardy hole (some anvils have quite large hardy holes) then it could be pushed through there with the hawk resting on the anvil. Alternately a swage block which has larger holes could be used for the same thing.

If you have already flared the blade then you will either need a special support OR the helper. Usually you work out the order of the steps according to your shop capacity (tools, helpers or not. . )

Many smiths hold work as well as tongs between their legs when working alone. When done with tongs they need a good tight tong ring to hold them onto the work. This also means properly fitted tongs with the right amount of spring in the reins. If a sledge must be used then you would use a short handled one single handed. Nobody said it would be easy. . .
   - guru - Monday, 04/06/09 18:10:49 EDT

Tomahawk Drift, yes sorry.

It is too large for the hardy hole on my anvil.
   Dave - Monday, 04/06/09 18:19:31 EDT

Tomahawk: There are other supports. A steel plate about 1/2" thick with a hole cut or punched to use as a bolster could be used over the end of a piece of pipe clamped in your vise resting on your anvil or if long enough it could be used from the floor.
   - guru - Monday, 04/06/09 19:39:14 EDT

Peter Hirst: From use.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/06/09 22:38:13 EDT

Peter Hirst: The point is that if You use a harder & more wear resistant rivet in a pair of tongs [provided that it is smooth] rather than a softer,less wear resistant rivet, the hole in the tongs will wear no faster, but the harder and more wear resistant rivet will wear less.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/06/09 22:49:43 EDT

Peter Hirst,

I suspect that the biggest cause of wear on the rivet is scale. Scale is harder and more abrasive than even most higher carbon steels and is going to lodge in the softer steel and grind away the harder steel. Slow lapping, in other words.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 04/07/09 02:37:53 EDT

I pick up a Johnson model 142 gas furnace cheap from a local company doing some spring cleaning.
Have wired and plumbed furnace and cannot get ignition.
Below is description of the behavior of the furnace attempting to start.

Just as one would expected when THE START BUTTON IS PUSHED, THE BLOWER MOTOR STARTS AND the SV opens and THE IGNITER COMES ON. I then manual open the furnace contol gas valve ( ~1/2 open). BUT THERE IS NO IGNITION. ( this sequence all happens with-in 2-3 secs of hitting start button and SV will stay open ~10 sec attmpeting to sense ignition before closing)
1. THIS MAY BE DUE TO NOT HAVING ANY GAS SUPPLY (seems odd that this would be the case because another furnace tee's off the same supply line and is working ,but when I disconnect the supply on the new furnace and opened the main valve to atmosphere it will bleed and then make one pop sound and seem to stop the flow but if I just barley open the valve and let it leak it seems to not exhibit this same pop behavior . I don't go over 3-5 second as to not fill the shop with to much unburnt gas. Strange thing is that when I have done this test on other trys I can have the other furnace running and get the "pop" and the other furnace does not shut down. Same whether furnace 1 main is shut-off or allowed to run. )
Note : Supply is from Natural gas utility meter ~ 12'run to both furnace 1 & 2 with 1" line 6' run then 3/4 tee to 1st finance then 6' to 2nd furnace.
to operate fine, opens and closes at the command of the control once
start sequence is initiated. Ran a dry test to see if flow was allowed
through Air Regulator Valve (Maxitrol RV43) and SOLENOID VALVE (ITT K3A452A122/sn# 7801C)
disconnected this portion of the circuit and flow does not seem to be restricted as long as the SV is open and works as it should during start sequence.
Also check was performed for good spark for flame rod /spark plug.
Also flow does not seem inhibited thru any of the gas piping to the fire
The red lockout lamp and reset button function well also during attempted starts. If the reset is push the system starts the igniter but still with no ignition.
Unit placared states unit is set up for Natural gas.

   Eric - Tuesday, 04/07/09 10:06:16 EDT

Eric, The behavior of the gas line seems to indicate some flow limiting device OR a check valve in the line reversed.

Have you checked the spark plug? It may be broken, shorted or replaced with the wrong type. The ignitor may be on but the spark is not where is should be or reaching the gas. I would test it out of the manifold but grounded to the frame with the gas OFF.

That's all I can think of. Sounds like you've chased down everything you could think of.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/07/09 10:49:56 EDT

Spark plug checked out fine when pulled out and grounded.
But will try another. Also placed burning paper in fire box to try ignition that way. I don't smell any gas when trying to light so it seems that even pumbed to unit it is seeing the "pop" seen when testing line that seems to make starving for gas.
What do you mean by check valve in the line reversed . I used a yellow flex gas line hose 48" bought at the local hardware store . Could have a built in check valve and maybe installed backwards. It came with 2 end fittings but the one has flow arrows the other was unmarked. Does the std utiliy meter have a flow limit? If so why would one unit still operate (Upstream) while the vavle open downstream pop and not have gas supplied?
   Eric - Tuesday, 04/07/09 11:25:55 EDT

Eric; what did Johnson say when you asked them? The manufacturer is still in business as far as I know and should be happy to support their product and be the *FIRST* place one would go when they were having difficulties.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/07/09 11:38:42 EDT

Yes that was the 1st approach and they were helpful( see response bleow).
Ran accross your site and thought maybe I wasn't seeing the obvious and wanted to the guru a try.
I did just notice that the 48" BrassCraft’s stainless steel gas connectors I used does have a saftey check vavle that would explain the pop shut down .the Safety+PLUS
valve immediately restricts gas flow to a non-hazardous level (bypass flow) in the event of gas line rupture produces as unrestricted flow of gas through the valve, forcing the plate away from the magnet. The plate sits firmly against the seat, immediately restricting gas flow to less than 5 SCFH (the bypass flow) to avert the potential for a hazardous release of gas.In standard operating conditions, the magnet holds the plate in place, allowing gas flow to the unit .
As you can see below Johnson recommend checking the Regulator . got any tips on how to check a Reg?
Johnson response:
First I would check to see if the furnace has the right orifice in the unit. Here are the sizes: Natural Gas is a 9/32 drill. LP Gas is a 15/64 drill.
2. Check to see that the regulator is in good working condition. Some times the diaphragm is worn out on the unit and you cannot get enough fuel through the line to start the unit.
3. Do you smell gas when trying to light the unit?
4. Try lighting the unit with the other machine that is teed off the supply line shut down. Your gas piping may be to small to allow the correct volume of gas through the lines to run both units at once.
5. Your air switch is working correctly because if it was not you would not get power through to the solenoid valve.
6. Have you gone through the lighting instructions?
7. For a last resort you can try throwing a piece of burning paper into the unit and try to light it that way. If you get a flame established then we know that we have a problem with the ignition system.

Thanks again for your response .
   Eric - Tuesday, 04/07/09 11:59:04 EDT

Solo tomahawk drifting:
I do this quite a bit. As has been said, the only trick is to get the hole about the size you want before using the drift, as the drift is only for the final shaping, it does not (or should not) be stretching the metal any.

I usually do it over the vise jaws opened just enough to support the sides of the eye, but if you don't have a post vise, the edge of the anvil works fine. Just remember to do it equally on both sides of the anvil or you can get a slightly cattywampus (technical term for skewed) eye.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 04/07/09 13:13:41 EDT

Johnson Forge: Still sounds like a check/flow valve problem. Either would stop there from being enough gas.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/07/09 14:34:51 EDT

Eric thanks for posting their response. I have a Johnson forge sitting in a corner and I'll save that away in case I ever decide to get it set up for propane and use it. (moved to a place that doesn't have NG service).

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/07/09 17:18:26 EDT

I need to vein a lot of grape leaves, how do I build a jig to do this
   Wayne - Tuesday, 04/07/09 17:49:49 EDT

I've seen people use a spring fuller set for this.
top and bottom tool with a C shape spring supporting the top tool. If you have a treadle hammer it would be real simple.
   Charlotte Simonin - Tuesday, 04/07/09 19:05:41 EDT

Veins, Raised veins? Grooved veins? Both?:

First, the type of tool depends on the other equipment you have available. Power hammer, flypress, treadle hammer, rolling mill, by hand? Second depends on what you mean by a LOT and the third is how heavy material and hot or cold?

The common "die" for raised leaf veins is a slightly crowned piece of steel about the size of the leaf with the viens carved into it with a chisel OR a fine grinder. This is made in the form of a shanked too to fit into the hardy hole, vise or swage block. These dies take a lot of force. This is why they are crowned, so that hammer blows work in concentrated areas.

The same type die to use under a hammer or press is flat with the grooves carved into it. The blank must be very hot and worked with a lot of force to get the steel to flow on the flat surface. I suspect that punch and die lube would help the process.

In a press or hammer you can use dies that work both top and bottom of the leaf. Made correctly these dies take less force because the top parts push the material into the bottom grooves rather than needing to make the materail flow horizontally. Dies of these type must have guides so they line up well. For a limited run you can make your own guides but for higher production you should use a die-set. See our iForge press article on die-sets. Tooling in die-sets can be used interchangably on a power hammer, flypress, arbor press, hydraulic press. . . In a flypress this type of die can be made to fit the press and avoid the die-set.

Mating dies are best made by making the positive side first then using it to sink the negative side. After sinking the negative side you would want to grind out an allowance for the material thickness. To make the raised vein forms on the top die I would start with a thick flat piece of steel and make the veins by arc welding beads on the flat. After adding the raised material a die grinder would be used to grind the raised parts to a sharp V blending into the flat. Then, heat the lower die plate and sink the top into it. This will assure the two have the same pattern.

Grind your thickness clearance into the bottom die as half round grooves with slightly rounded edges. If you want to get fancy round off the mid leaf lands and then do the opposite on the top (cut slight depressions). Dies of this type are made of mild steel and will make thousands of parts if you blow off the scale between parts and reduce the scale on the parts to start.

The above would work best in a fly press with hot blanks about 1/8" to 3/16" thick. If I was making a huge amount of leaves I would make no less than TWO sizes of dies and possibly three. Hand finish the edges with a hammer to stretch forcing some curl before bending to shape and they will all look hand made.

If you are going to hand strike grape leaves with a die it will take a sledge and possibly a helper. Large area dies take a LOT of force. If you are going to do it by hand. . . I would make folded leaves. Bend, hammer, open. . . repeat . . one at a time.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/07/09 20:12:18 EDT

One other thought about your problem; If you installed any significant amount of new gas piping to connect your furnace, has all of the air been bled out of it?
   - Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 04/07/09 20:59:07 EDT


I think your problem is occuring in the safety check valve. If that valve shuts down in the event of a free-flow situation, it may be shutting down during your ignition attempts. You said you don't smell gas, so that means either no gas is flowing or your nose is not working - a little bit of mercaptan goes a looooong way on the human olfactory receptors, so I'd guess there is no gas flow. The safety check valve would be the first place I'd check.

My method would be to remove that check valve and try to get the forge lit without it in the line. If the valve is not removeable from the line, get another line without the check valve for testing purposes. Natural gas pressure is very low, and that check valve may be set for propane pressures. If so, it will think the low pressure of the NG delivery is the same as a free-flow situation - i.e., no back pressure, so it closes down. Due to the low pressures of NG, you could probably use almost any hose for the test run, even garden hose held on with hose clamps - this is ONLY for a one-use test run, not for permanent or even semi-permanent installation.

If my suspicions are correct, then you need to get a supply hose rated for the lower NG pressures or one without the check valve. The forge itself has a safety shutoff so I think that check valve is unnecessarily redundant anyway.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 04/07/09 22:13:32 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2009 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC

Get anvilfire.com GEAR.

International Ceramics Products