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

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This is an archive of posts from March 16 - 21, 2009 on the Guru's Den
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A couple of things I learned building a broadfork . some years ago I felt moved to make a broad fork it took a couple of tries to get it right. The tines I made out of potato chain which is something like 1080 x 1/2 round forged to a rectangular point normalized but not tempered because my attempts at tempered tines resulted in breakage. the end couple of tines bend from time to time and just get bent back then replaced when they break. To end breakage I wound up using a 30 inch length of 1.5x1.5 x11g square tubing as the beam with 1/2" holes drilled through with the tines passing through , welded at the top and not at the bottom. This dealt with breaking tines for the most part and makes them easy to replace when they do break.
I used 3/4 schedule 40 pipe for the handles this resulted in a tool I would be more than happy to run in a John Henry style competition tilling unbroken ground against a troy bilt tiller (ideally with younger brother running fork)any day and for the most part expect to come out ahead.
   Aaron Craig - Thursday, 04/16/09 00:28:21 EDT

I have two turning forks. They both have tines that are triangle shape with a base length three times the hight, the flat side being towards the front.
What was said about the square side being harder to bend than the diamond is what I was told also. Something to the effect of greater leaverage over the fulcrum point with the diamond vs. the square of the same stock. Something like that anyway....
   - merl - Thursday, 04/16/09 00:34:13 EDT

The advice to not use copper for food service v. copper piping, breweries, stills, and the like seems to be in conflict. I did read on one of the homebrew sites that copper can be used un-tinned at typical beer pH levels, but brass valves and fittings should be treated in a bath of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. This is supposed to remove surface lead, and the treatment does result in a bright gold surface color. I think the concern must have to do with the level of acidity in the food; high acidity is bad, alkalinitity is ok (with in reason). Larousse Gastronomique says verdigris that forms on the surface toxic and the surface should be tinned or better clad with stainless. One exception are pots used to make candies, jams, and jellies due to the high temperature required that can damage a tin coating. Bare copper bowls are supposed to be the ultimate for whipping egg whites. The chemical reaction of the copper and egg whites allows for quick stiffening of the mixture and is not harmful since eggs contain no acid (it acts as a catalyst for the whipping of the protein in the whites).
   Bob Johnson - Thursday, 04/16/09 02:14:49 EDT

I think the advice against copper alloy is because of the lead that is used in a lot of brass and bronze. I use a lead-free navy brass, which I think Online Metals. carries. My kitchen and a lot of others -- including all the residences at Plimoth Plantation -- is full of brass and copper utensils.
   Peter Hirst - Thursday, 04/16/09 09:47:45 EDT

Copper Utensils. . . When used properly have been proven safe. However, the above assume the utensils are used for the stated purposes.

It is common to make apple butter in copper kettles. They start out brown with oxidation and end up bright and shiny. Where did the copper oxides go?

I had a friend that made beeswax candles. He asked me to make him a brass melting pot, which I did. When he started melting the wax in the brass pot the wax turned green from the copper. We found the same happened with copper and brass drip pans. Copper was clearly absorbed by the wax.

Wearing brass and copper jewelery makes green stains on the skin and copper is probably absorbed. . .

Copper is both toxic and a needed element to sustain life in the right forms and small quantities. But metallicly it can be a dangerous toxin.

There are lots of things we once considered safe that we do not and others that are questionable. Lead pipes were once common then we changed to copper with lead solder. . now we use tin solders with copper pipe but most is plastic. There are questions about plasticizers and the solvents used to glue it together remaining in the system. Aluminum cookware with Teflon was common and then the old Teflon started flaking and IT was considered bad as well as the exposed aluminum. They have better grades of Teflon now. Most people will not use bare aluminum cookware but that is what most commercial kitchens use. The medicos are still working on this one.

So, you never know.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/16/09 14:57:28 EDT

Copper in drinking water at elevated levels will lead to nausea and vomiting as well as intestinal "Upset"
But these are fairly high levels.
   Ptree - Thursday, 04/16/09 17:01:47 EDT

Historical footnote. In the colonial Southwest and in Old Mexico, hot chocolate was the national drink, not coffee. It was mixed in a taza, an oversized copper cup, and I never saw one that was tinned.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 04/16/09 20:47:50 EDT

Frank, chocolate was the drink of the Mayan nobility, too. What happened to them?
   quenchcrack - Friday, 04/17/09 07:53:27 EDT

Throwing more metal in the pot:
What about the myth that cooking with aluminum causes Alzheimers disease?
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/17/09 08:32:11 EDT

I also heard that you can get Alzheimers by cooking with aluminum.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/17/09 08:32:34 EDT

Huh? Zzzzzzzz.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/17/09 08:32:56 EDT

Alzheimer's and Aluminum: That is one of those things that is still undecided by the medical community. Many folks are avoiding aluminum just in case. . . Others believe that metallic Al is dangerous since it does not exist in nature. However, Al compounds are one of the major components of the Earth's crust and most clay soils are full of it.

The big problem is that the baby boomer generation was one of the most aluminum exposed generations in history so we are the guinea pigs and it COULD be the reason for so much Alzheimer's. But were were also the first full generation exposed to modern plastics, most pesticides, universal mercury in seafood and fallout from above ground testing of nuclear weapons, Twinkies and Diet Coke. . .
   - guru - Friday, 04/17/09 08:52:17 EDT

I suppose the Mayan nobility became less and less noble; witness what is happening to European nobility. In America, we got rid of it, but we miss it. That's why we have so many princess contests. There are still boo coo Mayans, especially around their home territory, the Yucatan peninsula.

Before Alzheimers was a catchword, we used to say that aluminum cookware ate away your gray matter.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 04/17/09 09:10:30 EDT

"Most people will not use bare aluminum cookware"

Yet how much pop, and beer is consumed from aluminum cans?
   JimG - Friday, 04/17/09 09:17:10 EDT

Those aluminum cans have a thin laquer coating inside every can.
   Ptree - Friday, 04/17/09 09:38:10 EDT

Power Hammer envy

   - Hudson - Friday, 04/17/09 10:10:57 EDT

What happened to the Mayan nobility? First Aztecs, then Spaniards with guns germs and steel, all after internecine warfare and possible ecological collapse. (Sounds like one of my medieval reenactment scenarios! ;-)

Out of here at noon for farm and church chores before BGOP; then working in Tallahassee and the Everglades on various days next week.

Visit your National Parks:



Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 04/17/09 11:06:22 EDT

Last I read the "Al causes the plaques" had been shown that the *stain* used to identify the plaques contained Al and so it's presence was a false positive.

As the guru mentions Al is one of the most common elements around us in soil and rocks.

OTOH, I am past the reproduction stage and so worry less about environmental toxins; shoot the drugs I take to keep me alive will probably toast my liver before most of the Environmanrtal Toxins get a chance at me.

   Thomas P - Friday, 04/17/09 11:53:38 EDT

Well, I think Hot Chocolate ate the Mayans brains. They probably cooked it in an aluminum pot, too.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 04/17/09 13:11:43 EDT

Now to metals that heal: Put silver in a fresh pierce and you will get a serious problem from the black silver oxide that leaches into the bloodstream. Same element in a colloidal state and it will heal pretty much everything except cancer.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 04/17/09 13:54:51 EDT

Power Hammer Envy: Great old machine. The photo has floated around for a while. . . They come up for scrap price on a regular basis. The problem is moving these things, then powering them . . Hundreds of horse power.

I've got a 350 steam hammer (not yet setup), and a big portable air compressor to power it. The trick is the gasoline powered air compressor. You can't run over 10HP in a residential neighborhood or on most rural lines. It takes an industrial 3PH connection to run the necessary 30HP or up compressor.

On day. . . I'll take off a couple weeks and set it up.

If you're interested in a 2,000 pound C frame hammer I can hook you up. . .
   - guru - Friday, 04/17/09 14:19:45 EDT

On my way in to work this morning I passed a flatbed truck with 3-4 large power hammers strapped to the bed along with what looked (to my untrained eye) to be a large lathe.

By the fact that they were standing up, and appeared to have been cleaned off recently with some kind of abrasive (fresh metal exposed through the rust and paint in swirl patters) I'm hoping that they were going to be restored and not (as the sticker on the cab of the truck indicated) scrapped out.

Hudson's link reminded me of it, and I wanted to share.
   Bob - Friday, 04/17/09 14:51:36 EDT

We are also the first generation exposed to food and cosmetic dyes made from petroleum rather than natural products.
   blackbart - Friday, 04/17/09 16:07:10 EDT

Sad story but maybe true. A lot of usable as is equipment has been shipped overseas as scrap, cleaned up and used by or third world friends. Local laws often have high taxes for new equipment but old scrap doesn't pay a lot of import duty.
   Charlotte - Friday, 04/17/09 16:41:54 EDT

I can't remember right now (Alzhiemers?) but I seem to recall that some foods react with copper to form dangerous byproducts.

Hammers & such going bye-bye: Sad? Yes! But, at least they will get used, no one here seems to want them.
   - grant - Friday, 04/17/09 18:57:50 EDT

When used machinery is handed down, even out of country, I feel better about it. Its when usable machinery is melted down to make ASO's that bothers me.

A lot of machinery is going to Mexico and Central America. While this does not help the jobs situation in the U.S. it helps the overall North American economy. Having strong neighboring economies is good for everyone. Everyone's wages go up, trading becomes more equal, crime goes down. . .

But machinery exported for use OR scrap to slave-wage countries only hurts our economy in the end. If iron is going to be ground up into scrap, WE should be using it. It is one of our most valuable resources.
   - guru - Friday, 04/17/09 19:06:57 EDT

Petrochemicals in Makeup; Blackbart:

Ah, but in the good old days of Queen Elizabeth I you had makeup with all natural ingredients, like lead and cinnabar!

Every age has its hazards. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 04/17/09 21:22:56 EDT

Unfortunatly those somewhat cleaned hammers may have been headed to scrap. here. Many of the bigger yards are moving to a requirement of old machinery being cleaned to send to them.Not built up grease, hoses must be off or cut to prove empty and so forth.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/18/09 08:20:01 EDT

scrapped machines

perhaps they were cincinatti mills. we had several of them at the local scrapyard. if/when certain parts fail, (maybe gears??) the entire machine is often scrapped from what a shop foreman once told me.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 04/18/09 10:39:15 EDT

I haven't posted here in a long time, but I saw something of interest on the history channel. Did you see where an
underground cavern was found in China. This is where an emperor had been buried, there were thousands of lifelike clay soldiers, chariots etc., supposedly guarding him.
Each soldier had an authentic sword, now after two thousand years, scientists noticed that there was no rust or corrosion on the swords. After careful examination, they discovered that these swords had a chromium coating on them. This was astonishing since modern man did not discover chromium for another two thousand years.
   - Mike - Saturday, 04/18/09 13:43:17 EDT

History and Technology: The problem with virtually all histories is that they are VERY Eurocentric and only include Asia as far as the Middle East and import traffic from the Far East. The Chinese, Indians and Burmese had technology and civilizations that were far in advance of the West. Even Africa had great civilizations that were only vaguely known when historians started keeping records. Much was lost for various reasons. The Chinese jumped past the wrought iron and steel production to large scale cast iron. This was largely a technological dead end. Other Asian civilizations developed and were lost with almost nothing known about them today. Russia is also largely left out of Western histories.

Even the "enlightened" National Geographic Society recently had an article and map titled "the Cradle of History" talking about the Eastern Mediterranean. This leave out the largest civilizations and populations of the world.

So, what most of us are taught about the world is largely distorted by that Eurocentric view of the world.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/18/09 14:25:07 EDT

OBTW - The discovery in China is decades old and still being studied.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/18/09 14:26:19 EDT

Most of the sources I can find state that the weapons of the TerraCotta Army, in China, were mostly stolen soon after they were built.
They are not in a cavern- in fact, they were originally in a building, above ground, but it was burned by raiding armies. The ground filled in around them, and they became buried.

Most of the weapons that did survive are bronze- hence the lack of corrosion. I cant find any online citations that say the weapons were steel with chromium. I think thats one of those internet urban legends.

   - Ries - Saturday, 04/18/09 17:16:15 EDT

There are Hollywood cavern scenes in at least one movie if not more. This does not help historical facts. National Geographic Had an article about this years ago.

I recently watched "Mutiny on the Bounty" (the 1961 version). Then I researched the history. While the movie took liberties they were not far off if you consider the differences expressed in the historical record. Where they deviated from fact it would not make much difference unless you were being tested on the details of the record.

The most interesting thing was the extras on the DVD. The ship in the movie was a close replica with some additional space for filming on the ship. But if was built entirely by hand including the forge work being made to historical methods.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/18/09 18:10:47 EDT

Charles Norhdoff and James Norman wrote a trilogy about the H.M.S. Bounty. Mutiny of the Bounty, Pitcairn's Island and Men Against the Sea. The Bounty included a blacksmith and when they reached Pitcairn's Island one of his first jobs was to turn cutlasses into machettes. Your local library should be able to get you a loaner copy.

When I was in the Navy we made a port stop in Plymouth, England. I went to the British Naval Museum there. In the entry area was a long boat. Didn't realize at the time it is THE one used by Captain Bligh to carry 18 of his crew some 3,600 miles.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 04/18/09 20:45:41 EDT

I just got back from demonstating at a local Boy Scout Mountain Man Rondevous(lots of fun). Its amazing how much more difficult it is to forge outside your own shop in the bright sun light(more difficult to judge the color). I have finally found a source of coke, I just may abandon coal for now.
   - John L. - Saturday, 04/18/09 21:42:17 EDT

Working in the Sunlight: About all you can tell in bright sunlight hot, medium, and cold but it feels hot. . . If you work a small gas forge in the sun about the best color you get is "medium". So coal, coke or charcoal is best outdoors.

Ambient light makes a big difference in perceived temperature or the ability to perceive temperature. Low light is better than bright but consistency is best.

I prefer bright light in the shop especially since my eyes are getting old and I do not see nearly as well in any light, much less dim. I often do close work where detail is is important. Even brighter light is good for welding.

If you are doing something critical that you need to judge the temperature you can dodge it under a shade or into a box. But this doesn't help on the anvil. There you have to go by feel.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/19/09 01:19:50 EDT

Movie representations of history! One big problem is the so called "faction" which is a combination of fact and fiction. The trouble is people watching have no idea where one ends and the other begins. The very ill informed go away thinking that it was all fact. So many many examples it isn't worth quoting them.
   philip in china - Sunday, 04/19/09 05:42:44 EDT

Re Hardy Tools.
I shall shortly be getting a few new anvils for the shop. They will have 1" hardy holes so I shall have to make some new tooling for them. Usually for 1" I use 25mm stock as it is a nice fit but loose enough to get in and out easily.

For tools where I might want them at an angle (e.g. bending fork) would 25mm hex stock work? That way I could have quite a variety of positions in which I could insert the shank.
   philip in china - Sunday, 04/19/09 07:11:17 EDT

Horseshoers get used to working in the sunlight, since most of them have traveling rigs. When I can take my own coal forge to a demo, I have an enclosed sheet metal hood with a front opening only,* so I can see the heats in shadow before removing. The hood also keeps the smoke out of your face.

*I lied. For placing long pieces through the fire, I made a small removable door in the back of the hood.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 04/19/09 08:46:27 EDT

I mean 25mm diagonally across the hex. Not sure how the geometry would work out.
   philip in china - Sunday, 04/19/09 09:14:22 EDT

I was told by an industrial arts teacher that bench motors with wire wheels or buffers should not have a tool rest guard on them. I have a 6HP motor with guards and am glad they are there. I remember Paw Paw had an accident and broke up his face with a wire wheel, but don't remember if there was a guard on the motor.
What's the consensus, to guard or not to guard, and I'm not talking about buffers for plating shops where they do large objects.
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 04/19/09 10:43:39 EDT

Phillip in China-- Octagon stock (instead of hex) gives you eight positions of tool location. Check a gunshop (do they have them in China?) for an old barrel.
   - JBelk - Sunday, 04/19/09 11:56:36 EDT

Wheel Guards: We just had a long discussion of same on the Hammer-In. Paw-Paw's did not and it was only a fractional HP motor that nearly killed him. There was no consensus on what would be best. However, I think there needs to be at least ONE guard to prevent work from hooking and traveling all the way around. Someone mentioned getting a hand caught and hitting the guard would be worse than not. However, I've only heard of this happening when people were wearing gloves which is a safety hazzard in this case. So, one guard with rounded edges (or a round bar) would be the minimum.

A 6HP motor has enough torque to break your arm and pull your shoulder socket apart.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/19/09 15:22:46 EDT

Hex tools in Anvils: One of the ideas Grant Sarver mentioned and used on his WC-JYH was a hex hardy hold to take standard jack hammer bit shanks. Old bits, which are good tool steel, could be recycled. They already have a shoulder. While not providing as many angles as octagon, hex is much more available. Even the old standard octagon chisel stock is getting hard to get.

Better yet is the eight corner stake holder hole which takes a square shank at 45° angles. However, this makes a larger average hole size and tools need a larger shoulder. There is also a disadvantage in an anvil as it puts square corners diagonal in the anvil face.

Diagonal hardy holes are extremely bad design as is weakens the anvil AND creates a stress concentration at exactly the weakest point. The ONLY purpose this serves is to make like easier for the patternmaker and foundryman, neither of whom should have any say in the design of an anvil.

A hex hardy hole would put less stress on the anvil but the angles of use are not as convenient as square. If you want multi-angle tooling use a round hole. OR, use a seperate tool holder.

   - guru - Sunday, 04/19/09 15:37:48 EDT

Hi all, I have a Buffalo Forge that I'd like to sell. It is large, it is The Down-Draft Forge System. It is in very good condition, it has natural gas conversion if wanted. I also have a Champion No. 1 Power Hammer that is in very good condition. I am trying to find out what would be a good selling price for these? I am located in CT Thanks, Joe
   gint - Sunday, 04/19/09 16:56:32 EDT

Buffers- In the orthopaedic shop where I grew up we used a 5HP motor, about 1.5 shaft, with a 18-20 in. sewn wheel. No guards. It was very efficient, but it would hurt you real quick also. No such thing as "duck & cover", it was over before you could think about it. But it sure did turn out a lot of nice work for a lot of years.
   Brian C - Sunday, 04/19/09 18:37:49 EDT

Buffers should only have guards in the back and top, mostly to direct the buffing swarf into a collection system. Any guard at or below the centerline of the wheel is a disaster waiting to happen. The same applies to wire wheels. The top/rear shield will prevent the wheel from pitching something at you as it comes all the way around the wheel.

Probably someone with more time on his hands than I have could work out the physics of this for a definitive answer, but my opinion is simply based on more than forty years of experience with buffers and wire wheels in almost every configuration imaginable. Your mileage may vary and no warranties are expressed or implied - you use any rotating tool at your own risk and mistakes are generally punished speedily and painfully.
   vicopper - Sunday, 04/19/09 19:56:25 EDT

I don't know if it is true for all alloys but I have had a harder time finding hex stock than octagonal. I had a job that I have been asked to quote a numer of times, the material specified is either S1 or S5 1" hex. I called all over North America and was unable to find it in the hex. I could get it in both round and octagonal and quoted it both ways but never got the job.
   - JNewman - Sunday, 04/19/09 21:31:59 EDT

I'm having an even HARDER time trying to find 5/32" round stock 316L steel. Actually, any 32ths stock seems to be unobtanium.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 04/20/09 09:12:35 EDT

Yep, they don't even make TIG rod in increments finer than sixteenths. Your only hope would be to locate a screw machine company that used that size and ordered a special heat for custom fasteners, but that isn't very likely since they would just turn down 3/16" unless they were doing ten million parts or so.
   vicopper - Monday, 04/20/09 09:57:56 EDT

Nip, Try a welding supplier. Bare TIG rod of various chemistry is available and should come in 32nds.

The reduced size and shape availability has been a continuing problem. 1/4" hot square disappeared in the 1970's and other shapes and sizes before and since. I did not publish a review of a welding book because in the introduction the author had the same information about available shapes published by Machinery's Handbook in the 1940's. They listed as easily available odd sections including heavy T bar, pentagons, ovals, half rounds and half ovals. Over half the items in the illustration have not been available in decades. Rather than having to state that the author was out of touch with reality I just did not review the book.

Reduced availability of stock sizes and shapes is just one sign of a faltering manufacturing sector. Most component catalogs today such as bearings and seals are just wish lists. Often only 10% is available where as recently as the 1980's 90% was available.
   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 10:05:29 EDT

Several places list 3/32 TIG welding rod but no bigger than 1/8. 308 coated rods are available in 5/32 but not the other alloys . . .
   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 10:27:36 EDT

Guru, my whole point of the wire wheel discussion was not so much the guard or no guard but, the type of wire wheel.
If the part you're working on starts to pull into the wheel a finer or smaller gage wire will more easily flex around it. The heavyer wire and a knoted or twisted style will easily grab a part out of your hands, especilly a piece of bar or rod that is small enough to fit in between the knots.
   - merl - Monday, 04/20/09 10:41:53 EDT

I think the dynamics of wheels grabbing is more complicated than that. Soft wheels develop a wave as you press against them that wraps around the part. A small wave is always present at the contact point. As you press against the wheel the wrap increases exponentially relative to the pressure and at some point rapidly becomes more than you can hold.
   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 12:19:35 EDT

Actually all, flexible wheels, hard or soft do this (the wave mentioned above). In some cases the wave is a standing wave that is mirrored on the opposite side of the wheel. This increases the available force and the suddenness of the grab.

   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 14:42:14 EDT

Lest we fall into a gloomy mood; The USA is still the biggest, most cost effective manufacturing economy in the world. It is 2-1/2 times the size of China's. Don't even think about Europe, they are content to buy American goods and complain about it. Yes, we have givn up some manufacturing jobs. Usually because an incompetant CEO thought sending jobs overseas would reduce costs enough to get him his BAZILLION Dollar bonus. We have shed more capacity than most countries currently have working!
   quenchcrack - Monday, 04/20/09 14:52:22 EDT

Dear Guru,
I am a somewhat "weathered" metal worker.I presently live in Maine but have done most of my wrought Iron work dwn in Georgia,and a couple other southern states.I have been flattered many times by being told I was a "natural" Iron worker.My question for you,at least the first,is what kind of mineral is used in sword making to develop a rust-resistance,rust proofing.I believe it is added in the ending of the smelting/forging process.I very much appreciate your help in this matter.Thank you for your time,
William Szymanski Standish,Maine
p.s.I love the site.I have bookmarked it and am glad to have found it.Keep up the good works...
   William - Monday, 04/20/09 16:20:57 EDT

Dear Guru,
I am a somewhat "weathered" metal worker.I presently live in Maine but have done most of my wrought Iron work dwn in Georgia,and a couple other southern states.I have been flattered many times by being told I was a "natural" Iron worker.My question for you,at least the first,is what kind of mineral is used in sword making to develop a rust-resistance,rust proofing.I believe it is added in the ending of the smelting/forging process.I very much appreciate your help in this matter.Thank you for your time,
William Szymanski Standish,Maine
p.s.I love the site.I have bookmarked it and am glad to have found it.Keep up the good works...
   William - Monday, 04/20/09 16:21:55 EDT

Smelting is making metal from ore.

Forging is changing the shape of metal that is already made.

Once the metal is made you can't add stuff to it save as a surface patination. (carbon being an exception as it has a relatively high rate of migration inside iron.)

I've been in the knife and sword world for about 32 years now, about half of those I have also participated in smelting ore into wrought iron and I have no idea of what you are talking about.

Can you descibe it in greater detail?

When smelting you could try for chromium uptake and try to get a stainless steel but they are generally not very good for blademaking.

After the blade is done you could "parkerize" the surface but that's a surface treatment.

Tis a puzzlement!

   Thomas P - Monday, 04/20/09 16:29:44 EDT

Hello Guru,not sure if the last attempt got through,so,shall post again.I am a somewhat seasoned metal worker with most of it involving Wrought Iron.I live in South-Central Maine.My question is this;what minerals or compounds are added to the Iron when sword making to create a rust resistance/rust proofing?
I have been flattered many times by being called a "natural metal worker".It is definitely my favorite craft of all that I have acquired through the years.I would be very appreciative if you could answer this question for me.When I lived in GA.,I acquired much experience with custom pcs and specialty works.I have never had the chance to completely set up my "Smitty" station as I would like but think the day is coming soon.Thank you in advance for any info you can provide. Wm.Szymanski Standish,ME
   William - Monday, 04/20/09 16:35:02 EDT

Well, I've been saying it for a while now, and here it is. A small photo montage of the new electropolishing set up I have at home for stainless. Any questions, let me know.

   - Nippulini - Monday, 04/20/09 16:42:21 EDT

Thank you Thomas.I wasn't quite sure that it was a real item.I would love to learn the smelting technique and where to find,what to look for when searching for raw iron ore.Maybe you have some suggestions..?My love for the art is enough to drive me to do whatever it takes,to construct the correct setting,etc.Once again,love the site!By chance,would there be any instructional/tutorial videos available...Also,I have found it quite hard,almost impossible,to find good Iron stock up here,where it is very easy to come by dwn south,20' sticks of anything from 3/4" solid stock to whatever else a person may want.Here in Maine though,I may find a decent sized stick of "something" once in a blue moon....Help..Please. Wm.S. Maine
   William - Monday, 04/20/09 16:47:22 EDT

That is great stuff Nip!! Thanks for sharing.
I think that's going to be the answer for me one of these days soon.

   - merl - Monday, 04/20/09 17:20:28 EDT

William; ores probably available in Main might be bog iron and certainly will be magnetite sand, drag a magnet along a creekbed or on certain beaches and you can pull out quite a lot of magnetite (helps to have a bag around the magnet so it's easy to drop the sand in a container as you go along.

As for building a bloomery; there are "foolproof" instructions in the first appendix of "The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity" Rehder, ILL it at the local library.

I've posted *many* times on the net my experiences smelting and would prefer you seek them out rather than to type it in again.

As for net info; search on bloomery and discard anything to do with flowers and you should have a good set of sites to look through.

   Thomas P - Monday, 04/20/09 18:58:48 EDT

Nip - You MIGHT be able to use 5/32 316L stick welding rods with the coating removed, but then again You might not, as some of those have the alloy elements in the coating, rather than in the wire. Some use mild steel core wire and have all the alloys in the coating. Even the ones that have the alloys in the wire may be a little different than 316L bar stock or TIG rod, as metal deposited through the arc tends to loose some alloy content, and they allow for it in the initial mixture.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/20/09 21:19:37 EDT

On 9/11 an aluminum tubing light pole is said to have pierced the windshied of a taxicab near the Pentagon.

Here are links to two views of the pole after it is said to have been removed from the taxicab:



here is a link to pole specs:


In the photos, the upper part of the pole is bent in a very smooth radius. Is this the way an unheated aluminum pole would be expected to respond to being violently struck near the top?

It would seem to me, that a strike at 535 mph to a cold aluminum tube might create a crease on the side away from the strike, resulting in an angular deformation. I cannot picture a cold aluminum tube being struck at 535 mph and bending in a beautiful, smooth arc.
   Gordie - Monday, 04/20/09 21:53:53 EDT

whoops better links on the way
   Gordie - Monday, 04/20/09 21:56:03 EDT

Better links - sorry



   Gordie - Monday, 04/20/09 21:58:10 EDT

Hey guys, I just got some coke from a nice gentle men. My chimmeys not the best, so i try not to burn to much other than the coke, but I find I have to make a fairly large wood fire first to sucsessfully start the coke. I think its a great fuel, I just wish it was easier to start. Now for the question. Is there any special tricks to get a coke fire going without having to make a Bonfire? Does it start better after being fired once? Any techniqes(beak it into small crums, lots of air)?
Any info would be great. Thanks.
   - John L. - Monday, 04/20/09 23:22:54 EDT

Gordie, if you look at the photos you can see other poles on the far side of the road with the same bend AS they cam from the factory. These poles are designed to break off at the base when struck and often fall on what hits them.

If someone is claiming a plane hit it or some other urban myth or conspiracy then they are full of BS and the photos themselves speak quite clearly to the facts.
   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 23:46:58 EDT

Lighting Coke Forge Fire: The common method is to use an oxyacetylene torch. A small coal fire OR natural coke (which is easier to light) can also be used. the amount of air needed is the amount of air. Coke however goes out quickly when the blast is turned off. Thus I do not recommend it for bellows or hand crank blowers.
   - guru - Monday, 04/20/09 23:49:34 EDT

Coke seems to work ok for me with a hand crank blower, but I know what your talking about. I do not own a oxyaceylene torch and it might be difficult to always have natral coke on hand. Are there any other easier ways?
   - John L. - Tuesday, 04/21/09 00:06:23 EDT

re: looking for 5/32 stainless bar stock.

Have you asked onlinemetals.com? they might know a source of odd lots.

How long is the part? Could it be made from a bolt or screw?

Have you tried looking for 5/32 stainless steel wire?
   - Hudson - Tuesday, 04/21/09 00:29:41 EDT

Online metals has nothing. Neither did Metals Supermarket. I did find some 5/32 TIG rod at the Airgas website, I might order some as the local store doesn't carry it. I need about 20 feet of stock for my projects (nails, jewelry, belt buckles, etc.)
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/21/09 08:52:17 EDT

John L. I had the same problem lighting a coke fire- I started using some Match-Lite charcoal under the coke- worked great for me. Hope this helps
   - ptpiddler - Tuesday, 04/21/09 08:58:14 EDT

Match lite: Ah yes. . good idea. While barbecue charcoal is lousy for for forging it would be good as a starter.

5/32" Rod: Nip, if you use it regularly I would buy a full container of 50 pounds. .
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/21/09 09:10:59 EDT

William S., you're not very far from the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, ME. While they don't (yet) offer a smelting class, they may if enough interest is shown. Their website isn't the most logically set up, but there's a lot of information there. www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com is the address, oddly enough.

   Alan-L - Tuesday, 04/21/09 09:40:18 EDT

Jock, I would too, but it's priced at $8.50 per pound! A little steep for me, but I COULD make $360 from on 6 foot rod... that is if I actually SOLD anything.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/21/09 09:47:29 EDT

Guru: Thank you for replying. When seen at a distance, the poles do look like their tops are bent. But in fact, the poles are straight. What gives them the appearance of being bent (when seen at a distance) is the six foot truss arms which are attached to the poles, project from them, and on which the lamps are mounted.


Here is a view of the poles separate parts and specs:

Here is a view of the bent pole on the ground (foreshortened by the angle) in which you can see the top which is bent in a smooth radius.

Guru: Now that you can see that the bent pole was originally straight, we are back to my question:
Is this the way an unheated aluminum pole with a break-away base would be expected to respond to being violently struck near the top?
I cannot picture a cold aluminum tube being struck near the top by an airplane wing at 535 mph and bending in a beautiful, smooth arc - especially as there is no fulcrum or cam against which the bend could be made - as there is in a bending jig.
What do you think? The alternatives seem to be that either the pole was bent by an airplane wing hitting it near the top, or it was bent some other way.
   Gordie - Tuesday, 04/21/09 11:51:54 EDT

Starting coke - we've had access to free coke from a friend in a testing lab (the source has since dried up, but we still have some on hand.) We've always started it by lighting paper, then wood letting that get going then adding coke and starting the blast on low then gradually increasing it as the coke caught. Never had any problems, and never needed to break out the acetylene torch. We've been doing it that way for about 8 years now.
   - Gavainh - Tuesday, 04/21/09 15:46:04 EDT

Aluminum is cold bent into nice smooth curves all the time.
I have done quite a bit of it myself.
So there is absolutely no question that it is perfectly possible that the streetlight was bent by the airplane.
Just last week I saw an absolutely flawless bend in a large truck bumper, caused by driver error in backing up. You woulda sworn it was done on purpose in a well tooled shop.

It also possible that little green men did it with their enormous strength, after eating a big can of spinach.

But there is no physical reason that this bend proves some mysterious conspiracy took place, involving Dan Brown, Masons of the 39th level, the CIA, and the Trilateral Commission.

People who choose to believe in conspiracies will continue to do so, however, and no amount of physics or metallurgy will dissuade them.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 04/21/09 16:59:57 EDT

Ries, you are aware that the impact hole in the Pentagon has NO corellation to an airplane hit, right? And the possibility of the USAF scrambling jets to shoot down the plane on Schwenksville?
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/21/09 17:03:35 EDT

When you drive your car through a brick wall the hole looks nothing like your car AND the car may look nothing like it did before the crash. Add reinforcing steel, beams and light weight airplane construction and NOTHING "correlates".

And as blacksmiths WE KNOW the biggest myth is that "fire can't melt steel". Rosy O'Donell is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this kind of ignorance. Besides which, the steel did not need to melt, all it had to do is reach about 700-800°F to lose most of its strength as a highly loaded structural. Large fires create their own draft and easily reach the maximum for fuel/air which WILL melt steel. Need a building that will withstand fire? Use wood. It becomes stronger with heat and must be 50% or more consumed before structural failure.

The poles in question were made in the millions with that bend and without braces. The type with braces are a different brand/make/type. . .

AND as Ries noted some very graceful bends can occur from random applications of force, especially on a tapered structural. But the bend was already there.

I'm sure there are many web sites out there to take conspiracy discussions to where logic and physics mean nothing. Please do so.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/21/09 17:27:10 EDT

Nippulini the answer to your quest is at SMALL PARTS INC.
They sell all sorts of small amouts of other wise hard to come by stuff. Their part number
CGSX-025 is a six foot piece of 303 stainless which sells for 3.16.
   Charlotte - Tuesday, 04/21/09 17:28:35 EDT

Ries is good; perhaps he is nearly ready to be let into the inner wards of the blacksmith conspiracy BWAhahahahahaha

Thomas, Excessive Clinker to the Grand Forge Weldor.
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/21/09 17:49:04 EDT

Who said anything about Rosie O'Donell or little green men, or The trilateral commission?
This is a blacksmith's forum where legitimate questions can be asked about the behavior of metals. Right?
Anyway, if you look at the photo (link below) you will see that all the poles in the area were straight shafts with bent truss arms attached. The bend in the main shaft of the poles was NOT already there. Something caused it.
Everyone is free to offer an opinion on the behavior of an aluminum tube being violently struck at the top with no cam or disk or fulcrum impacting the center of the shaft as there is in a bending jig.
The fact is the poles were all straight. So can we leave the talk of little green men out of the discussion?
Here is a clear photo of the poles:
   Gordie - Tuesday, 04/21/09 19:02:10 EDT

Gordie, Having in my youth helped to retrieve a number of small plane wrecks, I can testify that when a high speed aircraft strikes things like trees, power poles, houses etc, odd things happen. I have seena Cessna 150 that had a minor midair collusion on final to land, and the aileron was bent and locked, and that aircraft hit power lines, a tree, a garage and the ground. The powerlines were nearly undamaged and were still intact and up. Broke some insulators. The tree lost a few small limbs, the garage lost some siding and corner trim. The aircraft was in pieces and the biggest hunk was the detached engine. Everything else was carriable by two 16 year olds.
Now that little Cessna was probably doing 100 MPH max. The 757 that hit the pentagon was probably at 350 to 450 MPH. If the wing hit that light pole, I would expect to see a big debris field from the pole to the impact point. If the landing gear was down perhaps that could have hit the pole and left no debris.
A possibility is that something from the impact explosion rebounded and hit the pole, bending it, and it flexed away from the building and then when it returned in the "snap" broke from it's mounting.

Since aircraft aluminum skins are very thin, that pole would have cut the aircraft skin like a knife.
I know nothing of the background of the pole and story. I personnally would not attribute too much to the pole, as having been in the military years and years ago, have seen the effects of blast damage and it is often peculiar in its effect.
   ptree - Tuesday, 04/21/09 19:22:36 EDT

Look folks, it is almost a proven fact that the Pentagon was hit by a UFO carrying a block of stone from Machu Pichu. It was headed for Cairo to rebuild the Great Pyramid. What is not widely know is that the alien bodies were reanimated and became the Republican candidates for 2008. Having lost the election, they were teleported back to the planet Munimula where they live in shame and obscurity.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 04/21/09 20:13:58 EDT

Ptree says: "Since aircraft aluminum skins are very thin, that pole would have cut the aircraft skin like a knife."
Seems that way to me too. According to the official report the plane downed five light poles. As you can see, the right wing would have had to take down two poles and the left wing three. Is this plausible without leaving a debris field? This is a reasonable question for metalworkers to discuss without the ridicule. This is a serious blacksmith's forum. We are not here to ridicule one another.
Nor are we here to avoid questions about the behavior of metals because we might not like where those questions may lead us.
Here is a diagram showing the path the plane would have to have taken to down 5 light poles.
   Gordie - Tuesday, 04/21/09 20:44:21 EDT

Gordie, It is for practicle reasons impossible to prove that something can not happen. If You set up 100,000 million tests and can not duplicate the results, You still can not say for sure that the next test will not prove it possible.

A tapered aluminum pole of a non heat treated alloy [5083?] could take such a curve if loaded from the top, but You might never be able to make one that nice.

What do the other 4 poles look like? Have You seeen a "before" picture that documents that the exact bent pole in question was a straight one ? Have You verified that it is the same section and has the same fastner holes as the others "just like it" ? Have You examined any of these parts Yourself, or are You just taking the word of some "experts" that may understand metal work less thoroughly than You do ?

I am not picking on You Gordie, but it is easy to be fed misinformation by people claming absolute truth.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/21/09 21:21:24 EDT

Nippulini, I want to start the research path for the electro-polishing set up you have. I have the web site book marked and have some additional links but, is there anything that might be easily missed?
I need to know the whys of the proses not just "were do you get it and how much".
For example your set up uses phospheric acid. Can another acid be used like muratic or citric or viniger?
I think I have most of the parts here already but I want to know about the acid and so far I have not found a definate answer.
Going to do some more searching tonite and see what I come up with.
BTW seeing the wiggly ear nails gave me an idea for you. Why not some nice SST clevis and hitch pin orniments for the discriminating peircer?
   - merl - Tuesday, 04/21/09 22:04:38 EDT


Gordie, It is for practicle reasons impossible to prove that something can not happen. If You set up 100,000 million tests and can not duplicate the results, You still can not say for sure that the next test will not prove it possible.


A tapered aluminum pole of a non heat treated alloy [5083?] could take such a curve if loaded from the top, but You might never be able to make one that nice.


What do the other 4 poles look like?



Have You seeen a "before" picture that documents that the exact bent pole in question was a straight one ?


Have You verified that it is the same section and has the same fastner holes as the others "just like it" ?


Have You examined any of these parts Yourself, or are You just taking the word of some "experts" that may understand metal work less thoroughly than You do ?


I am not picking on You Gordie, but it is easy to be fed misinformation by people claming absolute truth.

   Gordie - Tuesday, 04/21/09 22:40:36 EDT

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