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Ask the Guru any reasonable blacksmithing or metalworking question. 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 May 1 - 15, 1999 on the Guru's Den

New to blacksmithing? Check out our FAQ Getting Started.

The Guru has four helpers that have been given a distinct colored "voice".
  • Bruce R. Wallace of Wallace Metal Work (purple) as of 12/98.

  • "grandpa" Daryl Meier of MEIER STEEL (green).

  • Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson, of Paw Paw's Forge and official demonstrator at Bethbara Historical Park, Winston-Salem, NC (OD green).

  • Bruce "Atli" Blackistone, of the Longship Co., color "ink" to be determined.

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    Your input, answers and comments on questions to the Guru are welcome.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/01/98 00:00:00 EDT
    ca anyone tell me how to get a raindrop and ladder pattern in a damascus billet thanks

    robert -- nghtcooner at Friday, 04/30/99 15:11:42 GMT

    Im doing a school project i need to how much money a blacksmith made back in the colonial times. Example: how much top shoe a horse for intance?

    joshua -- fortrx250 Friday, 04/30/99 19:36:57 GMT

    trying to find some info on making power hammer dies as in ball tools
    and finials just starting to get to grips with my 3cwt hammer and am
    to busy to find out the usual way(the hard way)allso i would apreciate
    any help you could give on die forging bars.

    david cooper -- david.cooper4 at Friday, 04/30/99 20:40:28 GMT

    I would like begin learning about black smithing in particular sword and knife making??

    tom espy -- tde at Friday, 04/30/99 20:45:45 GMT

    I would like begin learning about black smithing in particular sword and knife making??

    tom espy -- tde at Friday, 04/30/99 21:21:12 GMT

    tom : start with the basics of blacksmithing first, then learn everything you can about heat treating, annealing and normalizing. get ahold of some of jim hirsoulas (sp ?) videos.( review is elsewhere on this site ), one problem -he makes it look soooo easy. dont be fooled. he has years of practce and can easiy produce three swords in a day. sword making is specialzed, it requires you to be a blacksmith and then some... but thats my own opinion...if you get a chance try to go to the john cambell folk school sword making class this summer.

    lochinvar -- lochinvarswords at Saturday, 05/01/99 01:24:02 GMT


    Prices are funny. In certain periods, some things are more valuable than others, plus there's almost always some percentage of inflation to put a constant change in value. Gasoline may seem expensive to some of us at $1.20, but back when we could purchase it for $0.22, houses that cost $150,000 now, cost $20,000 or $30,000 (which didn't seem all that cheap at that time, either). My first full time job in '72 paid $5,200 a year. (Wow, a hundred dollars a week!) That doesn't even meet minimum wage now.

    Keeping all that in mind, here are some blacksmith's fees from the colonial period. They are in pounds, shillings and pence (L,s,d) since we were still under the British, and continued using their system for a time even after the Revolution. There are 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. The rule of thumb exchange rate at the end of the period was seven shillings to the dollar in the colonies. This also ignores barter, which was often used for partial or full payment. Sometimes a smith would fix a wagon in return for pasturing his horse on the farmer's land for a couple of months, or take old iron in partial payment for some other job.

    Mending a bridle bit......................7 1/2d
    Make a nut for a chair....................7 1/2d
    Making a key for a lock...................7s 6d
    1/2 year's salery as armorer in magazine..L10
    Pointing a plow...........................2s 6d
    Iron work for ox yoke.....................5s
    Ditto.....................................3s 9d
    Mending a broad ax........................1s 3d

    Set of dentist tools......................L1 2s 6d
    3 hooks for looking glass.................2d
    20 pounds of nails using his iron.........1s 6d
    Boot scraper..............................2s 4d
    Hook and eyes for garden gate.............2s 9d
    Nailsmith's anvil.........................L4
    19 pounds (!) of tongs for forge..........15s
    "tomahawk to kill Indians"................7s 6d

    Oddly enough, shoeing horses wasn't all that common in the colonial period, and didn't become a mainstay of smith's work until well into the 19th century. (The only price I could find was $0.25 a shoe in 1862, but prices had been stable for a time.)

    Meanwhile, as to what other things cost; to put it into perspective:

    20 bushels of corn........................L2 16s
    18 yards of calico cloth..................L3 12s
    2 quarts of rum...........................6s 10 1/2d
    1 day of plowing new land (hard work).....2s
    1 day splitting rails (also hard work)....2s

    Whatever the smith was paid, he was solidly in the craftsman/tradesman class, a part of the growing middle class in the new country. On Southern plantations slaves who became smiths were frequently hired out to other plantations and towns, and often enough made enough on their own to purchase their freedom. Northern smith's were frequently offered house and garden lots in new towns as an inducement to settle there. Wherever he was, the smith was considered a valuable member of the community, and stayed well employed.

    Further reading: The Blacksmith in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg [An account of his Life & Times and of his Craft]; published by Colonial Williamsburg, 1978 (presently out of print, but common in libraries. Ask your librarian about an inter-library loan)

    To Draw, Upset & Weld [The Work of the Pennsylvania Rural Blacksmith 1742-1935] by Jeannette Lasansky; Pennsylvania State University Press, 215 Wagner Building, University Park, PA 16802; ISBN 0-271-00265-4

    You might also check out the two National Park Service websites on the Anvilfire links page for more books and further information.

    Good luck in your class, and always remember which end of the iron is hot!

    Cool, with clouds stars and moon over the banks of the lower Potomac. A good forging night!

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Saturday, 05/01/99 04:25:12 GMT

    Dear Sir:
    I am new to blacksmithing and am really enjoying it. I am very fortunate to have at my disposal a blacksmith of some 30 years and will learn much from him. However his knowledge is limited to 20th century techniques and tools. A hobbie of my family is participating in revolutionary war (living history) re-enactments. I am very interested in finding resources that discribe the tools (with diagrams and diminensions) and the techniques that would have been used during the eighteenth century. Our re-enactment group is known for its accuracy in period interpretation and I would need to reproduce period tools including forge, hammers, anvil etc, and then use them in an 18th century manner. Any help in pointing me in the right direction for this information would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely, Ron Miller

    Ron Miller -- rmiller at Saturday, 05/01/99 04:31:00 GMT

    Hello out there,
    I'm new to metal working. I have been working out sheet metal with a hammer and dollie, I need a faster way to work it out. Does a power hammer do this task. plus I would like to make a english wheel, brake and a slip roll. Any help will be appreciated thank you Primo.

    Rick Primo at Primo Customs -- PrimoCustoms at Saturday, 05/01/99 06:46:53 GMT

    im intrested in forging knifes , and dont have a clue where to start.i just have the desire, I worked 4 years at a sawmill and 8 years as a navy deep sea diver so I aint scared of hard work. thanks

    yaden -- Dsdiver90 at Saturday, 05/01/99 08:07:33 GMT

    WOW, Take of one night and look at the backlog!

    POWER HAMMER DIES (David): For low production (less than 1000 parts) mild steel dies work fine. You can also clamp the special dies onto the standard dies as a "cap" rather than making a full dovetailed die. These are normally welded up with a band that fits around your dies and a set screw to clamp them on.

    Die sinking can be done from a hand made mild steel pattern and sunk hot. After making the intital impression the edges where the the dies meet should be "cleared" - rounded so that they don't leave marks on the work. Parts such as a long tapered finial may need to be preforged or made from a precision torch cut blank.

    See the article Clapper Die 001 on the 21st Century page and in the NEWS covering the AFC conference there are photos of making a little rope dies. The clapper die shows a two stage setup where you work the stock rectangularly then finish it in a second impression. For odd shapes the first stage is often a bending operation so that the stock will fit into the impression. Most well planned dies of this sort require little cleanup since you don't have the power to just put any old shape in the die and BOOM! Finished part with lots of flash. .

    Tool steel dies can be made of 4140 and 4150. When you get into making 10's of thousands of parts then you need to study the optimum steels for the class of work and have the dies sunk by machining or EDM and having the finished die properly heat treated.

    Scale is the enemy of dies. It is highly abrasive and can cause a lot of damage (as well as bad parts) in a short time. A preforging step often knocks of the scale so that clean steel goes into the finishing die. Josh Greenwood makes very good use of this technique by using multiple hammers to produce parts. He blanks or upsets the precut blank under open dies, then finishes the part on a second machine in the same heat. Mild steel dies have been used to make 10's of thousands of parts this way.

    -- guru Saturday, 05/01/99 13:13:10 GMT

    GETTING STARTED, Yarden, Tom Espy, Etal. See this article, then read the book reviews and buy the books.

    If you are intrested in knife and sword making you will need to start with blacksmithing basics first, then study a LOT of metalurgy. The difference between a metal sculpture and a KNIFE is in the material and heat treatment. It is also the diference between a good tool and a posibly dangerous piece of work. See Lochinvar's post to you above.

    Centaur Forge has the books and the tools you will need. Remember, a craftspersons's most important tool is knowledge. His second most important tool is friends that will share that knowledge. Finding anvilfire is a good start!

    -- guru Saturday, 05/01/99 13:27:44 GMT

    Greetings! I have acquired some silicon bronze round stock that I have some questions about and am also in search of any information about it. It seems to be very fragile and if heated too long just disintigrates although I noticed that it would melt nicely and puddle either in the bottom of the forge (gas) or when placed on a piece of steel. It does not seem to want to bond to itself however. I can coat another piece of bronze with it and when hit, it falls off.

    Is there a way to forge weld or braze this stuff? Any input would be appreciated.

    Beverly Estabrook

    Beverly Estabrook -- bevly at Saturday, 05/01/99 14:56:15 GMT

    Beverly, mlb: wrote at 12:37:00p on the Slack-Tub Pub,

    "Silicon bronze can easily be forged at about 1500 f"

    I'll post more later.

    -- guru Saturday, 05/01/99 20:56:07 GMT

    Beverly, Many of the characteristics you discribed are the same for any copper alloy (brasses and bronzes).

    WORKING BRONZE: Its a REAL art. Temperature control is key to successful working of any bronze. The difference between forging temperature and melting temperature may be as little a 100°F. It is almost imposible to determine by look and is done more by feel. I've known people that forged bronze using a coal forge but I can not. I use either a torch or carefully adjusted gas forge. The surface of most bronzes flash white just as they hit forging temperature. Bronzes can be braze welded with a torch and rod for brazing silicon bronze is available but you will likely have to order a full container.

    -- guru Saturday, 05/01/99 21:30:34 GMT

    18th CENTURY TOOLS (Ron): The basic blacksmiths tools have not changed in over one thousand years. I have a catalog of watch and clockmakers tools from the 18th century and many tools such as needle nose and side cutter pliers are identical to those sold in your local hardware store today. Hammers and tongs from the earliest European sites are no different than todays.

    Alex Bealer's Art of Blacksmithing is mostly about 18th and 19th Century blacksmithing techniques. The only difference between the two was the availability of the cast iron forge with blower and tools like the post drill. Given that difference and discarding modern welding equipment and electic tools and you have 18th Century Blacksmithing (as well as any period prior).

    Probabably the biggest visible change is in the anvil. The colonial anvil was a simple less dramatic shape than today's and was often hornless (see the current edition of the anvilfire NEWS for a picture, Vol. 12). It was common to have these simple hornless anvils and use bickerns or "stake anvils" for rounding or bending work.

    The blacksmith's leg vise, much like the violin, was perfected early in its development and did not change thereafter. There are very few modern examples available (that are different) and all the rest are hard to distinguish from 18th Century models.

    See Bealer for general technique, my article Blacksmith of 1776 on the 21st Century page for a little about Colonial era forges and Denis Diderot's Encyclopedia of Trades and Industries for equipment in general.

    Other tools that haven't changed or changed very little are files and saw blades. However, to be authentic you have to dispose of ALL of your modern High Speed Steel twist drill bits, vitrous grinding stones and wheels and use charcoal fuel only!

    While other places in the world were using coal the North American blacksmith used charcoal exclusively well into the 19th Century. The U.S. iron industry in general lagged almost 100 years behind their European counterparts in using coal due to our vast timber resources!

    -- guru Saturday, 05/01/99 21:58:26 GMT

    Howdy all, was wondering what you could tell me about a "Southern Crescent" anvil. Thanks Toby

    Toby -- Kiamichi at Saturday, 05/01/99 22:37:37 GMT

    Hi! Having 13 years at the forge Ive spent most of my time practicing the basic of ornamental iron work for clients,the only tool making Ive done has been for hardies and of course tongs!any punches that Ive needed were usually made from old top tools and I got by!Hammers on the other hand are what Id like to tool up for and have made a set hammer or two thats it!Punching the handle holes has been a challenge!Im aware of the rule:1/4 in,coal dust,then 3/4 in, and finish from the other side,finish with drifting tool.Question? Of what material is a good eye punch made of and do you have any other tips? Thankyou Tim.

    Tim Prusak -- ccforge at Saturday, 05/01/99 23:24:08 GMT

    What kind of drill bit should I use to drill a 7/64 hole into a 3/8 stainless steel ball bearing. I've ground one end of the bearing flat so I'll have surface I can actually drill into, but the drill bit I'm using still can't cut into the metal.


    Eric -- odin at Saturday, 05/01/99 23:40:24 GMT

    What kind of drill bit should I use to drill a 7/64 hole into a 3/8 stainless steel ball bearing. I've ground one end of the bearing flat so I'll have surface I can actually drill into, but the drill bit I'm using still can't cut into the metal.


    Eric -- odin at Saturday, 05/01/99 23:40:47 GMT

    eric, what you need is a carbide drill. you also need a fairly ridged setup. any lateral movement will shatter the drill. You could aneal the bearing drill your hole and then re harden it.Might not be to easy to find a 7/64 carbide drill.

    kid -- n/a Sunday, 05/02/99 01:59:57 GMT

    Beverly writes:"It does not seem to want to bond to itself however. I can coat another piece of
    bronze with it and when hit, it falls off.

    Is there a way to forge weld or braze this stuff? Any input would be appreciated."
    Cleanliness is next to Godliness-- maybe even better-- when it come s to soldering or brazing. Are you sanding or emory papering the stuff you're trying to get to stick together until both pieces are nice and shiny and oxide-free? Are you using the right flux for the material so it stays oxide-free whilst (love that word, love it!) them li'l molecules merge and bond? Is your flame neutral? Are you, maybe, overheating it, and thus burning off all the flux? Hmmm?

    john neary -- jneary at Sunday, 05/02/99 05:32:57 GMT

    SOUTHERN CRESENT ANVIL: "This cast-iron steel-faced anvil was made by the Southern Skien & Foundry Co. of Chattanooga Tennessee. . . They are listed in a 1925 catalog . . . 1932 directory" Richard Postman, Anvils in America

    The manufacturing process is similar to the Fisher-Norris "Eagle" anvils. Relatively cheap but servicable as long as in good condition. Not repairable otherwise.

    MAKING HAMMERS: Tim, the best tooling for making hammers is helpers or a power hammer. Any pause in punching holes is counter productive. A little lubricant on the punch before you start is helpful but punching FAST is more important. I haven't done any in a while and have only become aquainted with the "non-tempering" non-agon steel from Atlantic Steel. Its an excelent hot work steel and what I would use for hot work tools (see Daniel Boone demo in the anvilfire NEWS Vol.10) H-27 is next and then H-13 as it is more common.

    My method is to rough the pien to shape on a long bar, punch and drift the hole, then cut off at the face. Tongs that grip at the hole are used while finishing. Oil quench and draw to a straw yellow (if low alloy steel).

    NOTE: Charts for judging temper temperature by color are only good for non-alloy straight carbon steels. Nickle and chrome greatly change the way the steel oxidizes which is what produces the temper colors.

    -- guru Sunday, 05/02/99 14:41:35 GMT

    Eric, Kid is right about the carbide drill and rigid setup. It also takes high speed, high pressure AND coolant (copious pumped quantities) AND the finesse of an experianced machinist. The rigidity required is that of a milling machine.

    In most cases if you can drill a bearing component it was no darn good to start with. Find a shop that does EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining). EDM doesn't care how hard the material. The job should cost just a little more than the price of the multiple broken carbide drills you would produce.

    If you have some ideas of threading the hole FORGET IT! Of course the IS a way for the EDM guys to do it. They can even produce spiral (coil spring) shaped holes in hardened steel. $$$$$.

    -- guru Sunday, 05/02/99 14:51:35 GMT

    what is the proper way to make a tennon
    im making a rose trellis and i have it a bout half way done but there must be an easier way. I made a square drift punch to make the mortis hole with. Then i took the drift and tried to make a spring fuller for the tennon by getting the fuller hot and placing the drift in between the top and bottom die and smashing the hot meatle around it
    it worked but only so well any info would be appricated

    Lon -- lhumphrey at Sunday, 05/02/99 17:55:00 GMT

    Lon, Forging tennons takes practice and patience. Spring dies work best under sledge or power hammer but work OK by hand if they are fastened to the anvil and are for small work. They can also be used in a treadle hammer. Hand held "set" tools work fine if you have helps to hold and swing sledge too. You have to remember that many blacksmithing techniques assume a helper (apprentice, slave, child. .).

    Mark your shoulder with chalk or with a punch. Then with or without a die you forge the tennon square and to length first. Then you round it by hand or finish in a die. The die should have a radiused side and a sharp cornered side. Start on the radiused side and rotate the work in the die. Then if you need a sharp corner or shoulder switch to the other side just for the corner.

    If you have a LOT of tennons to do it is faster to turn them in a lathe. It is also much more precision in both shoulder position and diameter. Despite popular belief machined shoulders are just as strong as forged.

    -- guru Sunday, 05/02/99 19:33:48 GMT

    In reference to "While other places in the world were using coal the North American blacksmith used charcoal exclusively well
    into the 19th Century. The U.S. iron industry in general lagged almost 100 years behind their European
    counterparts in using coal due to our vast timber resources!"

    Not all North American smiths were using charcoal. The smiths in the PNW (Hudson Bay Co.) were using coal. OK, OK they were British subjects, BUT they were here in the Pacific NW, which is still in North America.

    But the HBC would have prefered charcoal as it would have been cheaper( no shipping). But the fir forests around here just did not produce charcoal that was efficient enough.

    Ralph Douglass

    Ralph -- ralphd at Monday, 05/03/99 00:24:57 GMT

    Ralph, we are talking about a period in time when the majority of the iron industry was East of the Blue Ridge and the Ohio River. Blacksmiths used charcoal as fallout of the iron industry which was supplied by significant coaling operations. This made charcoal relatively cheap where if it had been produced in quantities just to satify the village smithy it would have been significantly more expensive. We are also talking about a time when the policy of the British government was to push exports on those who could not refuse. Politics and outside economics had a lot to do with those coal imports.

    -- guru Monday, 05/03/99 00:55:08 GMT

    Ron (18th c. Reenactment):

    Another source you may wish to study for 18th century blacksmithing is "Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works" by Joseph Moxon, 1703. My reprint copy is (c) 1979 by the Early American Industries Association, Scarsdale, NY; LoC TT144.M93 1979 670 79-15526. Centaur Forge (see links) and Norm Larson Books (larbooks at both carry reprints (tell 'em Anvilfire sent you). You may also wish to try your library, or an interlibrary loan.

    Actually, if you purchased a copy and had it properly rebound, you could use it as part of the display. Diderot has prettier pictures, but Moxon takes you through the processes step-by-step. When you read Moxon telling you to "don't botch it", you know he's speaking from experience. You may also want to check out Saugus Iron Works and Hopewell Furnace on the links page.

    For real fun, wait 'til you try a diamond shaped bit and a bow drill on steel. Wheeee! Makes you careful to do a deep, slow anneal.

    Chilly, cloudy and damp on the banks of the lower Potomac. Still feels closer to November than May. (Except the bugs. They know it's May, and they know I'm warm blooded. Yum!)

    Visit your National Parks:

    Come have a row with us: (cASE sENSITIVE)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Monday, 05/03/99 03:51:15 GMT

    I am putting together materials for a gas fired forge. I need info on the type of burner(s), where can I obtain castable refractory materials, or is it possible to mix my own?? I am a novice and would really appreciate the help............Many thanks...Steve

    Steve -- rich8 at Monday, 05/03/99 04:45:12 GMT

    GAS FORGE (Steve): I don't recommend novices build gas forges. If you have experiance with gas welding equipment AND have been trained in the safe use of same then it is another matter as the equipment and safety issues are similar.

    We have a blown burner design on our plans page and Ron Reil (see the links page) has a lot of info on atmospheric (non-blown) burners. Refractories of sufficient temperature rating (3,000°F) are generaly available from foundry suppliers or outfits like McMaster-Carr. The best refractory for your money is "castable refractory" from your foundry supplier. Kaowool™ is convienient but expensive and the minimum purchase is enough to make several small forges. Furnace and boiler service companies often carry Kaowool or similar refractorys. The temperature ratings vary greatly.

    We've had a recipe for forge lining material posted here several times (see archives) and I SHOULD have a permanent posting but can't remember if I did (Monday morning fog). It consisted of silica sand, a little Portland cement and vermiculite. As with all refractories it should be mixed with as little water as possible (too stiff to pour) and should be cured AND dried for several days before applying heat. Then the heatup rate should be as slow as possible.

    -- guru Monday, 05/03/99 13:52:59 GMT

    Reprosse in steel is one of my summer projects. Since hot steel will burn traditional resists I use for copper, what are some practical ideas? I thought pieces of steel pipe might work. Any other idea?
    Thanks, Chris

    Chris -- contosc at Monday, 05/03/99 14:18:33 GMT

    I have limited metalworking exp but am making a cradle for my first grandchild. I have some zinc coated hardware that I would like to color that will be used for the swinging mechanism. Paint will likely chip so I would like to do something like an anodized or black iron finish. Is there a process I can do at home to achieve this? Thought of gun bluing but was not sure of the results to achieve over zinc coated matl. Any help would be appreciated. PS Just found your site - its great!

    Rick Schultz -- unorick at Tuesday, 05/04/99 00:45:03 GMT

    Chris, Reposse' in steel is the same as in non-ferous materials the difference is in the annealing. Most non-ferrous metals are heated and quenched to cool when annealing. Steel is heated to a dull red and cooled as slowly as possible. The backing media is much the same. At Spring Fling (see anvilfire NEWS) Kirsten Skiles was doing some pretty extream stuff with excellent details in steel. She uses special "deep draw" steel.

    Rick, That zinc coating can be anodized an awful looking yellow green but that's it. Normal anodizind is a process used on aluminium and the colors are actually tinted lacquer. Gun blues require oil to prevent rust. Paint does not stick well over zinc coatings until the surface has oxidized sufficiently. The zinc can be removed or heavily oxidized by emersion in vinegar for half hour or so. Neutralize in baking soda solution then dry and paint. A clear lacquer over the results might make an intresting "antique" finish. Be sure any paint you use around small children is lead and cadnium free. They ARE going to suck and chew on it!

    -- guru Tuesday, 05/04/99 03:34:12 GMT

    Is there any way to get Kirsten Skiles on line? Or US Mail?
    My address is Chris Contos POBox 3016 Prescott AZ 86302

    I wondered after reading Spring Fling, what was the gage of the steel?
    I'm amazed she got that detail and depth working steel cold! Thanks

    chris contos -- contosc at Tuesday, 05/04/99 14:33:30 GMT

    Hi I was wondering if youd recommend 5160 for the making of a hammerhead eye punch and drift?

    Tim Prusak -- ccforge at Tuesday, 05/04/99 16:25:59 GMT

    Tim, 5160 is tough stuff and works great for tools if you have it. Don't overheat but be sure to keep it hot while forging. Its very hard at a black heat.
    Chris, I believe it was pretty thin steel 24-28 ga. Don't know how to contact her. Anyone have an e-mail address or demo schedule? I did a search on the internet and came up with Anvilfire NEWS Vol. 4 p.10 :)

    -- guru Tuesday, 05/04/99 21:59:27 GMT

    I am looking for a control valve design for a small air hammer. #" air piston diameter, 20 lb hammer wt. I have all the material except the control valve. would like a drawing of a old steam valve with control for delicate hammering and a shuttle valve. are there drawings available. Your web is great for info and enjoyment, thanks.
    jim crum

    jim crum -- crum2 at Wednesday, 05/05/99 07:38:56 GMT

    Hello everyone,
    I have a forge made by the Champion Forge & Blower Co. and right beside the fire box it says "clay forge before use". What does this mean? It is a cast iron forge, but do I still need to put refractory clay around the fire box? Also what is good "color heat" for punching 3/16" - 1/4" through 1/4" stock. Thank you.

    Bob Conner -- bob.conner at Wednesday, 05/05/99 12:49:48 GMT

    Thanks for the efforts: I printed out the photo and am left wondering about UMBA? If anyone out in cyberspace has any more information on steel reprouse, I am interested. I'm online for about a month as this is a school server. Then off to the forge for the summer of experiment and joy.

    CHRIS CONTOS -- contosc at Wednesday, 05/05/99 14:22:47 GMT

    I'm working on a project about blacksmiths and need information about what tools they use, items theh can make...ways they can be made etc. I would greatly appreaciate your help in this matter...

    MetaSigma -- NeoMetaSigma at Wednesday, 05/05/99 18:22:04 GMT

    STEAM HAMMER VALVE (Jim): Look on the Power hammer Page under the article on the Niles-Bement power hammer. There is a drawing toward the bottom of the page.

    For a do-it-yourself hammer a standard 5 port 4 way valve is what is commonly used. These are standard for use on air and hydraulic systems. The spool valve swaps the intake and exhaust lines going to the cylinder. They can be mechanicaly operated OR by air pilot circuits that push the spool back and forth.
    CLAYING FORGE (Bob): There are varying opinions on this. The clay refered to is refractory fire clay and it is put in a layer 1/4 to 3/8" thick inside the firepot. It should dry several days before use. I do not recommend claying a firepot unless you are planing on doing HUGE work. THEN it should npt be done if the forge is exposed to the elements. The clay becomes part of a corrosion problem when the forge is outdoors.

    Heat color is grossly affected by the ambient lighting. In direct sunlight a bright orange heat look like a low red. In a dark shop a bright red (elsewhere) will appear to be a yellow or white heat. Size of the stock doesn't make a difference. If you are doing decorative work then work the steel as hot as you can get it without burning it. High carbon and alloy steels must be worked at lower temperatures and not held at high temperatures for a long time.

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/05/99 19:39:04 GMT

    UMBA = Upper Mid-West Blacksmiths Association, An ABANA Chapter.

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/05/99 19:40:11 GMT

    Hello. I thought I found a list of blacksmiths that hold monthly meetings on your web site-specifically :Bob Tompson, 80095 Moringside Drive,Loomis, CA.-when I go back to check I cant find it-I live near this address and would like to attend. Did I just confuse this information from a different web site? Please confirm-thanks, Laura Parker

    Laura Parker -- parkerl at Wednesday, 05/05/99 20:50:26 GMT

    Laura, it may have been here on the guru page or on our more general purpose Hammer-In. However, THE place to find your local ABANA chapter is from their web site. Click on the above link, go to Chapters, then Contacts. There will be phone numbers to call and e-mail if they have it. You won't regret joining your local chapter, you'll only regret not having done it sooner!

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/05/99 22:53:16 GMT

    I'm new on metal working, I'd like to know where can I buy "twisted wire"? Any info on the Web?
    I need to know how to cut thin metal sheet using torch or someting ?
    Any web site to visit ?

    Alex Tex -- canito at Thursday, 05/06/99 00:33:12 GMT

    Guru and Team;
    I love this web site. The information that pops up on it is amazing. The problem is that I have time to look in only a few times a month. There was a gentleman a while back that was wondering about the best type of steel to use for making an anvil. I was visiting with an area blacksmith a few months back and the subject of making anvils came up. His question early on was how to harden the top. With his mind somewhat put at ease about that, his comment was a that few years ago a local defense contractor went out of business leaving massive amount of armor plating behind that was almost worthless for scrap because of the manganese content. Or at lease none of the scrappers in this area would have any thing to do with it. His opinion was that it would have been just about ideal for anvils. He said that there were pieces up 9 inches thick. I did not catch the specification he rattled off except for the last phrase that mentioned that it was a hammer hardened alloy. It sound like it would take anything a man with a hammer could give it.

    Mark Kisner -- mekisner at Thursday, 05/06/99 02:26:42 GMT

    MetaSigma, Blacksmithing basics. . . .

    The blacksmith works the black metal, iron (now steel) and hits (smites) it with his hammer.

    The smith heats steel in a forge to make it soft enough to work. Then he forms it between hammer and anvil. This process is called forging and the blacksmith's shop is called a forge or a smithy.

    The smith can make almost anything that is commonly made from steel. Agricultural implements such as plows, shovels, hoes. Building hardware such as nails, latches, hinges, bolts, railings. Tools including everything from his own hammer, mechanics wrenches, knives, springs and even machinery that can do the work of the smith! Weapons and armour, swords. Scultpure including free standing works of art and decorative work integral to the items listed above.

    Besides forge, hammer and anvil, the smith uses tongs to hold the hot steel, punches to make holes and depressions, swages to make more complex shapes and set tools to further refine those shapes. He uses a vise to hold work steadier than he can alone. The modern smith may use modern welding equipment and even the most sophisticated machine tool. Todays smith may even use a computer guided laser to cut steel.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/06/99 02:44:09 GMT

    Alex Tex, I suggest you study a few metalworking books to start out (see our book reviews page).

    Most folks such a jewlers make their own twisted wire (pairs) but I expect some jeweler supply has pretwisted gold and silver wire. If you are talking about twisted square bar that is also done in individual shops by hand or with a machine but it too can be purchased from a decorative iron component supplier such as King Supply Company.

    Thin sheet metal is best cut with tin snips. It CAN be torched but a lot of cleanup is necessary afterward. The best tool I have for cutting sheet metal is a "slitter". Its a tool used in a hand held air hammer that "plows" a little strip out of sheet metal. For producing special shapes efficiently in large quantity a punch press is used. Today medium production work is cut with that computer guided laser mentioned above.

    For the kind of basics you are looking for THIS is THE place on the web. However, my recommendation is you hit the books and come back when you need help you can not provide for yourself. We also have a lot of standing articles on the 21st Century page, in the archives and the anvilfire NEWS besides the article on Getting Started.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/06/99 02:59:07 GMT

    Mark, there ARE all types of intresting steels out there and the stuff you describe sounds pretty indestructable. That indestructability may be why the scrappers didn't want it. An anvil CAN be just a big lump of steel with a flat spot but most modern anvils are a pretty sophisticated shape developed over centuries. So there's the rub. If it is impossible to cut, shape or form then it is going to be very difficult to make a tool out of it.

    THEN there is the problem of it being ARMOR PLATE. Many times this stuff isn't just an homengenous material. It may have been poured with a grid of another grade of steel (or other substance) within it. When building a safe the "hard plate" armour in front of the lock is often a piece of cast material including soft wire for toughness and carbide chips to make it impossible to drill. This material was a primitive precursor to modern "composite" materials.

    It would still be intresting to try a sample.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/06/99 03:11:09 GMT

    Can any of you help me with the names of manufacturers of beltsanders for knifemakers. I'm sure Daryl must have a favorite model!!
    Within a moderate budjet Please

    Dave Sprague -- smedje at Thursday, 05/06/99 04:08:32 GMT

    Dave: My choice on belt grinders is "Bader". Sorry I don't have any information on their address. Suggest that you find a copy of "Knives 99", It has a wealth of information about knifemakers, and knife making supplies sources.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at Thursday, 05/06/99 04:23:18 GMT

    I think "Bader" IS the top choice among many knife makers. Besides the publications referenced by grandpa you could try the links at (see our links page). Centaur Forge carries Baldor (the electric motor maker) and Ickler. This is an item you want to stick to a reputable brand or one that comes recommended by a user. Belt sanders and bandsaws must meet certain minimum sturdyness criteria to work properly. It is common to find what looks like a "deal" when it is actually non-functional device because it does not meet those minimum criteria.

    Along the same line, I was browsing through a Milwaukee catalog and saw the neatest little tool. A "band file". Its a little single hand held belt sander that takes 1/2" (13mm) wide belts. The belts run on a platen OR unsupported to conform to a surface. Its not a very universal tool but it sure does look like it could replace a lot of hand filing.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/06/99 13:24:52 GMT

    In the past, you have given me such great advise/suggestions, that I had to come back with this simple question: My anvil is mounted on a stump that has just begun to "check". The bottom-side of my anvil is rusting. Is there something that I can apply, such as an oil or a wax, to stop the corrosion and will this problem stop after the wood has dried-out? I am fairly new to blacksmithing, so any advise will be greatly appreciated.

    Jason Nitsche -- nitsche at Friday, 05/07/99 03:27:59 GMT

    Jason, A little rust isn't going to hurt your anvil. The bottom will stop rusting when its completely covered with rust! Its not good to let the face rust as pitting will show in your work. However, a friend of mine actually waters his anvils after dressing them to give the face a little "bite". Just enough haze to keep it from being slippery!

    You can slow the shrinkage/checking of the stump by soaking the end grain with anti-freeze. This will also prevent the rust and act as a preservative :) It is not slippery like wax (don't want your anvil sliding off its stand). Just be sure to keep the antifreeze away from children and pets.

    -- guru Friday, 05/07/99 03:38:21 GMT

    Dave: I ended up buying a Bader as well & have not regretted it at all. The Stphen bader Co does have a web page, fraid I don't have the URL on this PC. They are still up there in cost but they sure work nicely. AN alternative that gives you most of the features is to look at the Canadain BEE grinder which looks a lot like a WIlton SQ wheel. I haven't used one personally but they sell for about 1100 Can $ which would be about 750 US $. Another one I saw for an economy price was a 2x72" belt as well made by Grizly. (However be warned this is a buffer with an attachment on one side & has no features like flat platten's, small wheel's etc. Hope that is some help.

    Bob -- robert_miller at Friday, 05/07/99 06:15:11 GMT

    Armor Plate Anvils (Mark):

    First thing you should probably do is try the rebound test listed under the anvil's section of the Guru's "21st Century" page. There are various schools of armor construction and composition, using different methods of disapating the energy of the projectile or explosive charge (everything from tungsten alloy penetrators to "squash head" high explosive charges that don't penetrate but spall off a chunk on the inside of the armor). Try both faces, and if you don't get a good rebound from either one, then I doubt if the game is worth the candle.

    Very busy on the banks of the Potomac (which is why nobody's hearing much from me lately).

    Visit your National Parks:
    (Try Fort Pulaski, rifled artillery vs. bricks.)


    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Friday, 05/07/99 12:40:01 GMT

    Hi, I have a piece of plain steel flat stock that I wish to form, and then heat treat to retain it's shape to undergo moderate wear. In other words, I have forgotten the procedure to "temper" steel. Could you provide me with simple instructions to do this? I remember that it involves: heating to red or white hot, and stopping the cooling at a specific point by dipping in oil to acheive different hardnesses, from spring to various hardnesses, but where do I get color reference from?

    Danny Kopel -- dkopel at Friday, 05/07/99 16:08:39 GMT

    All the posts about armor anvils bring up a question I've pondered for a while...ignoring for the moment all the composite armor and stuff, I'm curious about this stuff called RHA, or "rolled homogeneous armor", I think. What is special about it, metallurgically? It seems to cut just fine with a torch, and the machine shop doesn't complain about carving on it...but it seems to me that it can't be just ordinary steel, but it can't be hardened and tempered or it would be too brittle for its intended purpose. Anyone familiar with this stuff?

    Steve Alford -- alford-sj at Friday, 05/07/99 16:33:12 GMT

    my questions are about american history,and are 3 with 4 parts each one, would you help me to answer them? i am in college but i speak spanish and i don't know to much about U.S:
    1- discuss the U.S civil rigths movements fronthe Kennedy to the Regan administration.
    a)describe two ot its successes
    b)write about 2 obstacles it had to overcome, in society and in different governmet administration.
    c) reflect on the conflict between Malcolm X's and Luther King Jr.'s tactics within the movement.
    d) what other events in the in the 1960s drew attention from the movement?

    2- How did Cold War end?
    a) What situations created the climeta for the fall of the Iron Curtain?
    b) Describe the sequence of events durin 1989 to the disintegrarion of the Soviet Union.
    c) How did the United States react? Compare the Bush administion's stance with what many North Americans wanted.

    3- What was "Reaganomics"?
    a) Outline the basic economic theory.
    b) How did it affect different sectors of the U.S. population?
    c) Who supported it, and who opposed it? Why?
    d) Did the reality hold up to the theory?

    my question are due this monday 10,at 5:00 p.m,thank you for your help.

    mandy reyes -- bebe_43 at Friday, 05/07/99 17:23:44 GMT

    Hi!Have you punched under the power hammer much? I plan to make up some low profile dies (4140) that would let me get stacked up safely for punching hammer eye holes!Also have you ever concluded a perfect angle (draft) for punches? Thankyou

    Tim -- ccforge at Friday, 05/07/99 22:45:52 GMT

    MANDY, We answer questions about blacksmithing and metal working here. AND we don't write term papers. In fact, most of these questions could raise considerable debate among anyone knowledgeable in American politics and especialy among those that pay attention to the REAL reasons things happen.

    Reagonomics was the ecomomic policy of the Regan administration and his boy wonder economic advisor. It made the rich richer and the poor poorer and is the kind of policy that if sustained leads to revolutions. The history books aren't closed on this chapter of American history but I suspect the "great collapse" of the stock market (what goes up must come down) will be found to have roots in Regan's policys.

    The cold war ended due to the economic colapse of the Soviet Union. It broke up into its individual "states" when there was not enough money to pay the military to keep it together. Some claimed that the sucess of the "revolution" was due to modern comunications, "FAXes" telling the world what was happening inside supposedly closed borders. The truth behind the economic collapse may never be known, however there are economic powers in the world greater than any one single government, even the United States.

    All these questions, except perhaps the Civil Rights questions are a matter of world history and something that shouldn't be affected by language "barriers" or background. The problem is, no matter where you live the local history books portray events in a much different light than that of truth. The really stupid or down right evil things done by governments are left out of the history taught in schools. The fact is that even the U.S. Civil rights movement is important to world history. It is a battle that is still being fought. But discrimination is not just a U.S. problem, it is a world wide problem.

    -- guru Friday, 05/07/99 22:52:46 GMT

    HEATTREATING (Brief): Heat steel until nonmagnetic, quench in suitable quenchant (oil or water depending on the type of steel), reheat to something well below the hardening temperature to reduce the hardness (tempering). Temperatures needed and hardness produced vary greatly with carbon content, less so with alloy steels but alloys often require different quenchants (including air). If you don't know what kind of steel you are dealing with then heattreat and test several samples.

    -- guru Friday, 05/07/99 22:58:04 GMT

    PUNCHING HOLES on a Power Hammer is nothing less than slick. The method is the same as by hand with slight modifications to the tools.

    Method 1) A short handled punch (taper 2 to 3 degrees) is driven 2/3 or further through the piece the part is rotated over a hole (or a slab die with a hole) and a "follower" punch is driven through. The follower is just a plain cylindrical piece about the same height as the thickness of the work.

    Method 2) Upper and lower dies have punches that remove about 85 to 90 percent of the hole. Initial punching proceeds from both sides simultaneously (part is also being finished to shape). These punches have 3 to 5 degrees of taper and rounded corners. Then a second station punches out the biscuit with a nearly straight punch. A "stripper" is required to hold the work down so that the punch can be extracted on the up stroke. These dies can be built to replace the normal dies or be in a "die set" that simply goes between the flat dies of a BIG hammer. Dies can easily be designed to produce swell for decorative work or clean sides for commercial work.

    -- guru Friday, 05/07/99 23:11:54 GMT

    I'm looking for historical info about blacksmithing and how it opporated, as a trade, in Scottland. Where do I look! I promised to explain this to my seventh grade class on Monday! I sure hope can help, because I haven't found a thing!

    Irene -- xatzit at Saturday, 05/08/99 17:40:58 GMT

    Minutes ago I tried posting this same question, however I'm not sure you recieved it.Please excuse my redundancy (and computer ineptitude!) I hoping that you can give me some historical information about blacksmithing in Scotland. I'd like to know how the trade was applied and advanced. Where did the raw materials come from, and how new techniques and ideas were spread. I'm really hoping for some magical assistance! I'd like to present this info to my 7th gr. class on Mon!

    Irene -- xatzit at Saturday, 05/08/99 18:06:19 GMT

    I have been away from the heat for over ten years know but can't seem to stop thinking about it I did open die forging at Schlosser Co. Areo/Sace stuff your web page is GREAT. I realy don't have a question however i'll check back to see more cool pictures and articles

    Edward Simpson -- jrsimpson at Saturday, 05/08/99 18:32:52 GMT

    i am looking for adressres in europe where i can learn blacksmithing.
    priority to taditional kind of work.
    thank you

    shlomo -- shin111 at Saturday, 05/08/99 19:38:05 GMT


    Welcome back to the fire! "From the iron age to the space age, the blacksmith did it all!" And little did the first blacksmith know that the first space ship would be launched from the face of the anvil!

    Be sure to check out the rest of the Anvilfire Website, there's a TON of stuff here that you'll enjoy.

    And get a forge going again! Once you get iron in your blood, you never really get over it. You'll go into withdrawal if you're not careful! (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 05/08/99 21:55:43 GMT

    Irene, Specific historical/social/economic information is hard to come by, however, the trade of the blacksmith has changed very little since the beginning og the iron age some 2,500-,3000 years ago.

    Try Alex Bealer's Art of Blacksmithing for general historical technique (its fairly common in public libraries and book stores). Then there is Frontier Ironworks (I can't remember the author), its about Saugus Ironworks in Linn, Mass. They have a web site and we have a link on the links page as well as to some other national parks that have blacksmith shops.

    On-line there is the Autobiography of James Nasmyth. His early education in Scotland is intresting and illustrates the dynamic changes of the time. Naysmyth invented the steam hammer and his hero's were famous engineers of the times. The WHOLE thing is on line and I have a link to it on the review page.

    For some light on the 18th Century blacksmith see my piece of historical fiction The Blacksmith of 1776 on the 21st Century page. I wrote anothe piece focusing on the apprentice that I'll dig out and post for you this evening. It was in response to a student's inquiry about a "day in the life" of a blacksmith. I couldn't write his paper for him (could I :) ) so I took it from the point of view of the new 11-12 year old apprentice.

    Good luck in your search but you know what you would tell your students about waiting this long. . .

    -- guru Saturday, 05/08/99 22:27:17 GMT


    Be nice! (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 05/08/99 22:29:23 GMT


    Is there any way to hook a spell checker up in here! (grin)

    Gugu, indeed!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 05/08/99 22:30:39 GMT

    In front of the teacher too!

    Irene, I shouldn't have been so hard on you. Blacksmithing is indeed hard to research if you don't know where to look. On of my tests for a set of encyclopedia or a dictionary is to look up the word "anvil", the "blacksmith". Oh, you tried? Well there are tens of thousands of us and we are quickly being erased from existance by editors of reference material.

    That second article I mentioned is in the archives for Nov. 1-15. Please excuse the typos, it was written "live" on-line.

    -- guru Saturday, 05/08/99 22:51:23 GMT

    Yes i would like to know about suggestions on how to make battle-axes Please if you know anyhting e-mail me

    Isaiah -- blackblade68 at Sunday, 05/09/99 01:59:57 GMT


    Scottish blacksmithing! You need to do a quick web search for Gretna Green, where underage English couples slipped over the border and got married "over the anvil". It's a tourist trap now, and they concentrate a lot more on the romantic angle than the smithing, but at least it's Scottish. (Note to south-bound yanks headed for Florida: Remember "South of the Border"? It reminded me of that, but much more understated, in the Scottish fashion.)

    The blacksmith was seen almost as a magician, a man of power who could perform important ceremonies. At least in Scotland this persisted until almost the 20th century. Beyond that, a Scottish smith would have used the same tools and techniques as any other smith across Europe, and later, the New World. The only real variation would be the timing of the switch from charcoal to mineral coal; and switching the proportions of the work from manufacture to repair, and to farrier & carriage work as the Industrial Revolution set in.

    A question that you can answer by observation is: How predominant was iron work in Scotland in an architectural context? Do you remember a lot of gates, fences, window grills and such in the older sections of your towns? Great door hinges and funerary fences in the churches and cathedrals? Balconies on public buildings? (Actually, I think you've got the makings of a class project here. Have the students report on ironwork as they observe it in their surroundings. They might also differentiate between wrought iron and cast iron. Tell them to see if it's made of individual components riveted, welded or collared together, or if it looks to be cast of one piece.)

    Lastly, check out the National Park Service links in the Guru's links page, and try some of the links under the ABANA site there. There's a lot to learn, but I think you're off to a good start.

    Good luck. (I think I got all the pselling rite!) (ppos! ypographical terror!)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Sunday, 05/09/99 03:34:17 GMT


    Click on NEWS and take a look at Page 7 of the Spring Fling article, featuring Clay Spencer. What works for a tomahawk works for larger battle axes. Cut out a "butterfly" shape, fold it over a mandril for the eye to house the handle, weld the sides together, lay the high carbon steel in the end for the cutting edge (be sure the steel extends further than the softer iron, or the steel part of the cutting edge will end up too narrow), weld that part up, and file and sharpen it to your pleasure. That's how both weapons and tools of the axe family were made from at least the early medieval period to the late 19th century.

    Looks simple, sounds easy. Now, spend the next few months reading everything you can on blacksmithing. (This site is a good start. Chek out the 21st Century page.) Next, find out if anyone in your area does blacksmithing. Check the ABANA page (see links) to see if there's a chapter in your area. If you're still in school, check with the Industrial Arts instructor. (Do not refer to battle axes. In this case, refer to the tool. You want to cut down trees and shape them. [Heck, the Vikings could practically build a ship using mostly axe work.]) If you do link up with a local ABANA chapter or blacksmith, ask questions, but for the most part observe carefully and talk seldom.

    In maybe six months, after you learn to shape the metal, forge weld the sides, and steel the edge, you'll have your axe, AND it will be worth the wait. (You'll also be able to repair lawn mower housings, make camping gear, and your friends and family will ask you to open all their stuck jar lids for them!)

    Good luck and be careful.

    Cloudy and finally warming up on the banks of the lower Potomac. No forging today. Spent the morning helping to rip strakes off the longship, and the evening justifying the cost of facilities for the NPS. (I'm suffering from a rising rental market!)

    Visit your National Parks:

    Go viking: (cASE sENSITIVE)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asyum at Sunday, 05/09/99 04:02:18 GMT

    Guru, I am not a blacksmith. However I am a horseshoer who needs to know how I can quiet the ringing of my anvil. I live in a residential neighborhood so the quieter the better. I would also like to know how different ways of treating this problem effects the anvil. Also are there any short blacksmithing courses (2-14 days) available just to help me learn more about blacksmithing principles and tools? Thanks, RTD29 P.S. I live in the Los Angeles area.

    RTD -- RTD29 Sunday, 05/09/99 22:24:34 GMT

    Rtd, You might try a magnet under the heel of the anvil or lay a chain across the face. A friend who has a shop in a residential neighborhood passed on these tips when I asked what he does to quite his anvil. You could also try to find a Fisher anvil that does not ring as loud.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Monday, 05/10/99 00:19:54 GMT

    if it is tied down tight it won't ring. I have a haybuden that rang like a bell now it dosen't. anything you can do to elimimate vibration will kill the ring.Sometimes just a bunji cord arround the waist is enough.

    kid -- n/a Monday, 05/10/99 01:08:48 GMT

    It's not a good idea to tie an anvil down to tight. There is a greater chance of breaking an anvil if it's hit with a hard blow in the right spot.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Monday, 05/10/99 02:30:17 GMT

    I have beenlooking for plans to build either a trip hammer or a small power hammer cheap and was wondering if you could either help me find these or could you tell me where to find someone with plans i have been a knife smith for 6 years and am loosing use of my right arm and this would help greatly thank very much.

    greybear -- cassavan at Monday, 05/10/99 06:33:17 GMT


    Go the the plans section here at anvilfire, and check out the Junk Yard Hammer plans. Also, there is a story in the news section about the Junkyard Hammer contest at the ABANA conference last summer.

    Where are you located?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 05/10/99 18:07:33 GMT

    RTD: Anvils rings due to their hardness ( = resisiancy ) and their shape. The late London pattern typified by Peter Wrights and then copied by and actenuated by Hay-Budden is a shape designed to ring. It is essentialy a double ended tuning fork.

    The only way to reduce the ring is by dampening. Tying the anvil down with metal cleats reduces the ring substantialy. LARGE speaker magnets also help but you need to experiment with location. Lead ( a great sound absorber) weights tapped around the waist also helps (The McIvor duck tape method &tm;.

    Some of the European smiths like to set their anvil in a stand filled with sand. the anvil is worked into the sand and it helps reduce the ring. This also makes it easy to adjust the height, level and position of the anvil.

    -- guru Monday, 05/10/99 19:47:44 GMT

    I have a customer that wants me to permanently color steel, and I remember heating steel as a kid and quinching them in various solutions to produce different colors. I need black, blue and brown. Thank you in advance. Frank

    Frank LaRoque -- laroque at Tuesday, 05/11/99 00:45:10 GMT

    Bruce Wallace, in regaurds to tying an anvil down too tight. What I did was used 1/2" staples driven into predrilled holes on all 4 corners into a block of green pin oak. When the oak dried it shrank arround the staples. the block also checked causing things to tighten up more.There is on ring whatsoever. Deader than a cast iron door stop Since it's dads anvil I sure would hate to knock a chunk off it. The block is sitting on concrete or the ground depending on what I'm doing. Does this still sound dangerous? Thanks.

    kid -- n/a Tuesday, 05/11/99 02:10:53 GMT

    To all who answered my questions, Thank You.

    RTD -- RTD29 Tuesday, 05/11/99 03:59:03 GMT

    COLORING STEEL (Frank): Steel itself is not a very "permanent" material and chemicaly applied coatings are even less permanent. Nor are they very good rust preventitives. Oxide coatings like gun bluing, parkerizing and browning (controled rusting) mostly act as a surface to hold oil. As long as the item is kept well maintained (cleaned and oiled) the surface will not degrade to a great degree.

    TEMPER BLUE (Yellow, purple. . .) is applied simply by cleaning the brightly finished part (handle with clean cotton gloves after degreaseing) and heating the part. The best method I've found is to heat a heavy piece of plate to the desired temperature and then set the part to be colored on it and let it soak up the heat. When the part is evenly colored, remove and quench it in clean water. Oil or lacquer the part immediately after. To judge the plate's temperature grind a clean spot and watch its color. Note that alloy steels do not show the same colors as plain carbon steels. The colors available vary with temperature and are brilliant.

    Gun blueing is produced with Nitric acid (and others) and is often called "niter" blue. See any gunsmithing reference or MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. MACHINERY'S discusses several other chemicaly applied finishes including Parkerizing (a flat black).

    ANTIQUE BROWN (Convertable to "Plum Brown") is simple controlled rusting. A part is brightly finished and cleaned then put into a "damp box" to rust. A damp box is just what it sounds like, a box with a pan of water and rags to help evaporate the water and make a damp atmosphere. After rusting a while the part is "carded" (rubbed with the end grain of a piece of clean softwood) to remove the loose rust. Then it is rusted again and carded again. Eventualy you get a nice even brown like an antique tool. This finish can then be used as is with oil or lacquer OR it can be boiled in a soda water solution to convert to a plum brown (please check with a gunsmithing book on this for details).

    The scale on stainless steel can be left as is or lightly oiled and makes a nice permanent finish. Aluminium can be anodized and colored virtualy ANY color as the colors are simple dies in a lacquer carrier.

    -- guru Tuesday, 05/11/99 14:02:33 GMT

    I have some hardies that have 1" shanks, but the hardy hole in my anvil is 7/8". Grinding them down seems like too much work. I assume I can just heat them up and hammer them out to the proper size. But I also assume this would adversely affect the hardness of the working end, so how would I restore the proper degree of hardness?

    Neal Bullington -- NRobertB at Tuesday, 05/11/99 15:24:52 GMT


    You would have to go through a tempering process. I had the same problem, and I decieded to use the angle grinder on them. Worked well, and saved all the work of re-tempering. And I had to go from one inch to three quarters of an inch. Really wasn't all the much of a jobe, with the angle grinder. Take a shaving off of all forur surfaces of the shank, test for fit, take another shaving, test for fit, etc.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 05/11/99 15:35:26 GMT


    Line four of the previous SHOULD be

    all that much of a job,

    Guru, we've GOT to figure out a way to include a spell checker!
    These typo's are driving me crazy! Well, crazier! (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 05/11/99 15:37:32 GMT

    Kid, I don't think you have worry to much about knocking a chunk off your Hay-Budden. You have to particularly watch older anvils that have the horn, heel and feet welded on. Hay-Budden's where forged in two pieces. There is a chance of trouble with your Hay-Budden's if it has no ring whatsoever. It sounds to me you might have it to tight. I would recomend you losen it up if you can. I have a built up Hay-Budden that was cracked at waist where it was welded together. I don't know how the crack became to be. It could have been a factory defect or someone could have had it tied down to tight or a combination of both. I admit it would take one heck of a blow to crack but it could happen.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Wednesday, 05/12/99 01:17:13 GMT

    I'll try to loosen it up a bit. It's the one I use for demos and the people always ask why the anvil dosen't ring. Might not be too easy though ithink the 1/2" staples I made are rusted

    kid -- n/a Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:16:46 GMT

    Rusted tight

    kid -- n/a Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:18:09 GMT

    Guru, I have just started pursuing black smithing and I would like to try it before I start pouring large sums of money into it. I am going to build the wheel-rim fordge that you have plans for on your site. I do have one question. When you put the fire clay in the rim what shape should the clay form? I ask this because I have never seen a commercial product. Should it be straight, concave or convex?

    Thank you for any info you can provide, and thanks for running such a compressive web site.

    Nick j.

    nick j. -- nomentiscompos at Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:41:13 GMT

    Im also new to this fasinating art work. Im making a suit of armor. Ive made my patterns, had them cut out of cold rolled (16 & 18ga.)mild steel.Ive got an anvil and some tools. Now to my questions. My cliff carrol`s anvil has some holes in it. Are there special tools that will fit in them? Where can I get some? Where can I get a (is it called)"a cows tonge" at? Or where can I find tools that I can pound round bowl shapes for knee`s and elbows etc.with? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance Steve

    Steve Berry -- rokket at Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:43:16 GMT

    Kid, an anvil being tight on the base is not a problem if you don't use it for heavy work. Normally an anvil tips if hit with a sledge on the heal of horn (off center). Anvils anchored tight to a heavy base can be dammaged in this situation but it is unlikely to happen in light service. Just use common sense, the things that break anvils are generaly abuse in the first place. Just always keep in mind that a good anvil is a high tech tool and not just a lump of iron!

    Did I say "high tech"? Yes, I DID. The modern anvil if the product of thousands of years of experimentation, trial and error and some darn good design. It is unlikely that there will be a better design for the purpose. The best are made of two or three kinds of steel, shaped to perfection then hardened and tempered with great difficulty (therefore skill). Until they come up with something better than tool steel the anvil will have reached the height of the technology.

    This is what happens when I stay up too late. . .

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:44:17 GMT

    Nick, No clay is needed in the brake drum forge. It won't hold a big enough fire to be a problem.

    Steve, Cow's tongue? The butcher shop? Seriously, the holes in the anvil ARE for tools but do not use LONG extensions as the length may give you enough leverage to break off the heal. The square hole is called the "hardy" hole for the short chisle like tool that fits there. "Set" tools (bottom dies) and small benders can also be fitted with a shank and used in the hardy hole. A bent hold down like carpenters use can be used there too. The small round hole is called a "pritchell" hole and is used for punching small holes. It is a development of horseshoeing but is found on all modern anvils. more. . .

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/12/99 03:53:06 GMT

    Steve Armouring tools are usually best made by yourself to solve a problem particular to you. Not all solutions fit the tools or space you have. (whitnessed by the people armouring on apt balconies who don't have a tree stump or the group of freinds to wrestle it up to the 12th floor) One of the best solutions I found for dishing albow & knee cops was a series of brass heavy duty pipes. For plannishing I used the head off a RR spike welded onto a 1' piece of 1x1 sq stock....All of which was very low tech but it fit the budget at the time as most of this was salvaged out of local scrap yards. Tooling for anvils is also one of those things you might want to consider making for your anvil. However you may want to consider getting a centaur forge catalog who handle a wide variety of differing anvil tools & everything else for that matter. I am sure Bruce probably can elaborate as I bet they have something else that works well for them.

    Bob -- robert_miller at Wednesday, 05/12/99 04:00:04 GMT

    Guru, I have just started pursuing black smithing and I would like to try it before I start pouring large sums of money into it. I am going to build the wheel-rim fordge that you have plans for on your site. I do have one question. When you put the fire clay in the rim what shape should the clay form? I ask this because I have never seen a commercial product. Should it be straight, concave or convex?

    Thank you for any info you can provide, and thanks for running such a compressive web site.

    Nick j.

    nick j. -- nomentiscompos at Wednesday, 05/12/99 04:01:42 GMT

    The handyest tool for armor work is same big old sections of tree trunk. Hardwood is best but pine works too. A "stump" about anvil height can have shallow deppressions carved in the ends (both) and used to "bow" the steel plate. Bowing is the starting point of the raising process. After that a "mushroom stake" (no onions) is used and the material is worked with a relatively light hammer. A mushroom stake is a piece of steel that looks like a mushroom but the root is a square shank. For long cylindrical sections anothe type of stake is used. For small work they are called a "needle" or "candle" stake I'm not sure what the large ones are called but both are easy to make from "found" materials. These too can be set into (or bolted to) a chunk of log.

    Then go to your local scrap yard and look for anything HEAVY with an intresting shape. Collect hammers, all kinds except carpenters claw hammers. Auto body workers use classic sheet metal raising hammers, ball piens of every size are handy as are little "tack" sized hammers. A car or truck axel could make a pretty good mushroom or helmet stake (the steel is good for tools too).

    Use your imagination. You should be able to outfit a pretty intresting "armory" in short order.

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/12/99 04:06:19 GMT

    SHAPE of fire pots. See the Centaur Forge web site under forges. There is no real standard but an upside down, truncated pyrimid works as well as a bowl shape. But flat bottomed forges work too. The "pot" makes a slightly deeper center and makes the fire easier to control.

    -- guru Wednesday, 05/12/99 04:13:07 GMT

    Guru, Would a coil-over shock work better than a plain shock in the JYH? Thunderstorms in MN thanks! brian

    Brian Rognholt -- brognholt at Wednesday, 05/12/99 07:00:59 GMT

    Hello, My name is Seth and I live in Massachusetts USA, I'm interested in finding some info about apprenticeship? And where someone could go to become one. Or somewhere or someone who is teaching smithery. If you could e-mail me back it would be appreciated thank you

    Seth -- slorusso at Wednesday, 05/12/99 08:10:38 GMT

    what makes a better crucible, hardened steel or fireclay

    Ian Small -- Keeper_39 at Wednesday, 05/12/99 16:05:44 GMT

    On behalf of a library patron who will be making repairs to the roof of an 18th century church. We are looking for the 18th century term for the iron "snow birds" which are affixed horizontally along roofs to prevent accumulated snow from slipping to the ground and whether they were affixed with wooden or iron doweling. Please answer by return email. Thank you.

    Joyce A. McMullin
    Alexandria Library
    Alexandria, VA

    Joyce A. McMullin -- jmcmullin at Wednesday, 05/12/99 16:07:18 GMT

    I have an assignment with the tittle "Blacksmithing and Forging" for my engineering degree. This should include the following topics.
    Fe-C Eqilibrium Phase diagram
    Euectoid Steel
    Cast iron & its usses
    Heat treatment of steels
    Quenching of steels
    Usses of carbon steel
    The assignment should also contain background information on what blacksmithing is all about. Any information to do with any of this will be greatly received.

    mark -- be98mds at Wednesday, 05/12/99 17:08:28 GMT

    To the guy above: Donīt trust internet for everything. You should be able to find the answers to your questions in almost any library. (Woops, that came out like some kind of rebuke. Itīs not, just friendly advice.)
    Now to my question: O Guru and other wise people, I need to make a crossbow weightless, and I think this site is the only one where a problem like that would be taken seriously. Iīm building a crossbow that will be attached to one end of a shooting-gallery, for the enjoyment and education of our visitors. The crossbow will be hinged in the front so it can move in two planes, but it should be able to move up and down as well, so that children and the disabled can use it properly. The slab of acrylic glass it will be hinged on should move in slots and be counterweighted somehow but I canīt get a clear picture of it. Ideas, anyone?

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at Wednesday, 05/12/99 19:33:43 GMT

    I ordered the book on building a metal bending machine by R.F. Mann and am about to begin a smaller version as I do not think I will need to bend 3/8" flatbar that is 4" wide. Has anyone built one of these benders? Any suggestions would be appreciated on this or other types. Thanks,

    Mark Hachmer -- marlin at Wednesday, 05/12/99 19:48:16 GMT

    I would like to know if there is a good way to tell steel from true "wrought iron" visually or by some other non-destructive method. My intentions are to look in some local scrap yards or around old farms for old-old machinery.

    I know that scrap dealers can tell by the sound of certain metals, what it is they are about to buy. Unfortunately, I was'nt paying close enough attention to that free lesson to know if this would work for me.

    Dale -- dbarr at Thursday, 05/13/99 02:07:26 GMT

    I am new to metal working.
    I bought an old lathe. After 3 months of working with the lathe, I am looking to expand my knowledge to welding and simple blacksmithing techniques. I built a small furnace for heating metal similar to the one listed at you web site.
    The questions: What is a good resource for learning how to bend and shape metal, and to make simple tools to do so?

    I also want to start welding; any recommendations?

    steve -- monroe at Thursday, 05/13/99 06:07:38 GMT

    Howdy, I am real new at this. I am trying to split 3/8 rod to make a fork. My problem is that the hot rod rolls and I can't get the split even. Any suggestions? Should I use a square bar so it doesn't roll or what. Thanks. Great site.

    Lefty -- lefty701 at Thursday, 05/13/99 06:14:27 GMT

    I finally found a pice of old IRON to have a play with, its 40mm square bar, after heating it and attempting to work with it lots of splits started to appear. Is there any way of reforming it into a workable pice of metal?


    Andrew Hooper (Kiwi) -- andrew at Thursday, 05/13/99 10:12:43 GMT

    Hey Lefty: With regard to making the fork, I have three suggestions:
    1. Flatten the end of the round rod a little where you are slitting it. Have someone hold it while you slit it.
    2. Use something like 1/4" or 5/16" round and fold it back on itself, forge weld it there, split the end open, and forge out your tines.
    3. Use 3/16" X 3/4" flatbar and slit the end. This is the common size stock for fleshing forks.

    Phil -- rosche at Thursday, 05/13/99 11:25:28 GMT

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will give them a try next time I fire up.

    Lefty -- lefty701 at Thursday, 05/13/99 15:19:16 GMT

    Is there any way of putting an archives on the slack tub. I like to read the post the night before and there is good info in the Tub. I'm
    not complaining because as fur as I concerned this is the best of the best metal sites. Thanks for the Hard Work you do a great job Bobby

    Bobby Neal -- nealbrusa at Thursday, 05/13/99 19:21:15 GMT

    Brian, The Spring on Shock, is in the wrong place. It actually increases the flaws in the shock absorber linkage. Keep working on the problem. There will be a "Best Shock Absorber Linkage" prize in the ABANA 2000 (yet to be named) comptition.
    Seth, Check with ABANA they have a Journeyman program (comes way after apprenticeship) and they also have a list of schools. See my article Getting Started and Aprenticships (on the 21st Century page).
    CRUCIBLES (Ian): The "best" material depends on what you are melting. Fired refractory clay takes much higher temperature than steel but is more expensive. Steel (no need to harden) is great for melting lead and some low temperature alloys. However, liquid zinc or aluminium disolve steel crucibles. Cast iron is better than steel but should be lined with fire clay before use in zinc/aluminium service. Graphite crucibles are the best for most metalurgical work. For melting refractories Platinium crucibles are used.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/13/99 21:12:42 GMT

    Mark, Great topic but way too broad. You could write a thesis on any of these subjects. See our book reviews on the Book Shelf off the main page. Dona Meilach's book we answer just about all these questions. Your school library should have the ASM books covering all the higher tech stuff. If not, see the link to them. You should have a MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK if you are an engineering student (Marks' is OK but not nearly as useful). Both will answer most of your questions in detail.

    Olle, Counter balancing any device requires that you know where its "center of gravity" is located. This depends on the size and weight of the parts (determined by density) and their location relative to each other. The math is simple levers and proportions although there is a calculus solution given in most engineering references. I wrote and marketed a nifty engineering program called Mass2 that did all the related calcs and the cg. Great tool, bad marketing. V.2 never got out of beta. Some CAD programs do it now. Even with a program to keep the math straight you will need to start with a simple layout and determine the weights involved and then work from there.
    Mark, Bigger is better! I expect that it takes a LOT of effort to bend that 3/8" (10mm) bar and lighter stock would bend "just right".
    WROUGHT IRON (Dale & Kiwi): You can identify most old rusted wrought iron visualy as it looks a little like rotting wood from the coarse boundry layers of iron and silica inclusions. However , if the grain is obvious from rusting the metal may not be suitable to work due to the internal seperations. In some cases this can be cured by bringing up to a welding heat with heavy flux and reworking the bar back together. Sound??? Maybe, but not very reliable. Wrought iron is not hardenable and therefore does not ring very well (makes lousy dinner bells). However, some shapes ring well enough that material is almost irrevelant.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/13/99 22:25:59 GMT

    Bobby, The Slack-Tub Pub logs are all in storage (I think) but are a huge amount of data. For a long time we could let the log run for a week, now it amounts to over 100K a night. In comprison, we archive 100K of this page every two weeks. We are looking for a way to make the last log available but since we are using custom software it is time consuming (expensive) to make changes. The problem is the handling of DAILY archives. There may a lot of good information in those logs but the bulk is just plain old chat. . . Given time we will work out a better system.

    -- guru Thursday, 05/13/99 23:28:03 GMT

    Guru, I've been doing some mig welding on some old town square size clock faces. These clocks are sheet metal faces with metal rings and cross members to support the hands and clock works. The innards are gone and I've been welding up spindles to attach the hands for display. My question is that when I try to weld on these new spindles to the old back the weld sputters like crazy, it just dos'nt like to be welded. I think this old material must be wrought. Is this whats going on? whats the trick to welding modern material to old?

    Pete -- Ravnstudio at Friday, 05/14/99 01:52:22 GMT

    Pete, The old material may or may not be wrought. Plate often has layering resulting from rolling material that had inclusions, cold shuts or pipes. It also may have shear tears produced in cold rolling to thickness. Age also enters into the picture. Material that may have been reasonably sound when new sometimes rusts in the above mentioned faults.

    Mig welding is particularly sensitive to contaminates in or on the metal. Rust produces porosity as does paint. The plate may have a coating of tin or worse, cadnium. You might want to try another welding method. I've had the best luck on thin material using a gas torch or by brazing.
    Steve, The lathe is a great starting point. See our article on Getting Started the list of books, catalogs and resources there is short and to the point.

    -- guru Friday, 05/14/99 02:31:26 GMT

    I have just taken an interest in blacksmithing. Could somebody please tell me how I could make a forge? Would also like info on how to quench, temper, and anneal. Are leaf springs from trucks any good for knife blades? Please answer soon!!!

    John -- Rocketman169 at Friday, 05/14/99 02:50:40 GMT

    I have just taken an interest in blacksmithing. Could somebody please tell me how I could make a forge? Would also like info on how to quench, temper, and anneal. Are leaf springs from trucks any good for knife blades? Please answer soon!!!

    John -- Rocketman169 at Friday, 05/14/99 02:57:06 GMT

    I have a Vickers Hardness Tester and the microscope comparator is missing part of the impression size micrometer. Do you know of anywhere I could find some parts (new or used). I have tried to contact Vickers in England (who made this unit) with no answer. sunny and not raining in Victoria B.C.

    Neil Gustafson -- swedefiddle at Friday, 05/14/99 05:15:23 GMT

    Armoring: Steve-
    As the Guru said, keep your eyes out for useful shapes. I call them "field expedient" stakes. One of my favorites is trailer hitch balls for plannishing and stretching. They come in different sizes, and can be attached to different mounts for different tasks.

    Wrought Iron: Kiwi-
    Peter Ross gave an excellent demonstration on this subject at the BGoP Spring Fling. Because of it's fiberous nature, wrought iron acts like a bundle of spaghetti; if you don't draw it down exactly square, and it slips into a paralellegram, it collapses into the bundle of fibers that you observed. Likewise, drawing it down to round, you have to draw it square, then octagonal, then round it. You can't take short cuts or get sloppy, like you can with modern mild steel. To correct this outcome you need to bring it back to square and reforge at a good yellow. Pete does it a lot better than I ever could.

    Just flew in from Tucson; look at the time. I'm outta here!

    Visit your National Parks, I stay up late for them!

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Friday, 05/14/99 05:56:57 GMT

    To the person trying to make a 'battle-axe'. While Bruce is correct in evrything he said, here is a simpler method, if not entirely historically accurate:
    Go to your local farm supply and by a flat harrow disc for about or under $10. Lay out your design on the disc, making sure of two things; first, that the eye of the axe does not coinside with the hole in the harrow disc, and second, that add a little to where the eye will be for the dishing process.
    Now, cut out your design, or have it cut out. save the scrap, because it will be used to make the other half of the eye. Heat the eye area and bend/hammer it concave. Cut out the piece of scrap to form the other side of the eye (Assuming a two bitted axe here) and heat and forge to match the other side. Now weld the two eye pieces together, or have them welded.
    Grind an edge, heat treat, and finish to taste.

    Note: You can hammer an edge, but for a first project, I suggest grinding. Your third Axe will be made Bruce's way, but by then you will undertand why you want to take the trouble to do it that way.

    Chris -- kilpe4 at Friday, 05/14/99 14:29:42 GMT

    To All,

    I ordered 2-1/5" x 4-1/5" x 48" or H-13 for my Nazel 1B and a friend's Kuhn's, from Carpenter Technology, Reading PA. Somewhere along the line, the order got mixed up and I was sent 96", double the amount I was expecting. If anyone is interested in making new dies for their hammer, I'll have some blanks for sale. I'm selling the material for the amount I paid for it, $3.22 per pound, rather than send it back. Carpenter is good about it and they're willing to take the extra back. I figured to lessen the hassle, I would offer the extra to whomever might be interested.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Friday, 05/14/99 16:09:02 GMT

    I am a student in wisconsin, I am intrested in a job where I could work with metals. As part of a current assignment I must interview two people who have a background working with metals. I hope that you will take time to read and respond to the following questions.

    1. What are some advantages of your job?
    2. What are some disadvantages of your job?
    3. What traning or education is required?
    4. What is the typical workday like?
    5. What is the typical starting pay?
    6. What tools are required?
    7. How long have you worked at this job?
    8. Why did you chose this job?
    9. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
    What is the future out look for this job? How will it change in the future?

    Please send any responce to:
    countryboy87 at

    James -- countryboy at Friday, 05/14/99 17:21:23 GMT

    hey guru just got a 25# little giant that has been run on a line belt need to know how to convert to a belt drive can you help ive got a 2hp elec motor and some 3/4 hp motors thanks

    robert -- nghtcooner at Friday, 05/14/99 17:33:23 GMT

    John (Rocketman), The answers to all your questions are here on these pages. Read the Getting Started article referenced at the top of this page, then go to the 21st Century page.
    Please note Chris' comments on making an ax. Many of these type projects require PRACTICE. Make one, then another, then another and eventualy you will start making a decent piece. Edged tools, swords or anything requiring hardening and tempering requires a lot of skills that all require practice. Start simple then work up. You will not make a masterpiece the first time you try.
    Robert, Flat belts work best but it is common to see a couple V-belts running over the flat belt clutch pulley. It works. A 25# LG will run on 3/4HP but came with a 1HP motor. See the Little Giant specs on the Power hammer Page for speeds. I recommend running Little Giants about 15-20% slower than the (over) rated speed. The ratio of the diameters of the pulleys is the reduction ratio. You will need to mount a motor on the side of the frame, set a ways beyond the pulley to allow for clearance.

    -- guru Saturday, 05/15/99 02:55:12 GMT


    Under a beautiful sky of scattered white cumulus clouds a wonderful time was had by all today. Manfred Bredohl of Aachen, Germany demonstrated traditional techniques with the assistance of Scott Lankton. Both demonstrated hand and machine forging techniques. A Kayne and Son "Big Blue" air hammer was used in the demonstrations. The Kaynes were showing off improvements in their machines which preformed flawlessly. The wonderful work of Ward Grossman, Lady of the Lake Forge, was on display. In the past we had erroneously identified his work as "Belgian" and will correct the mistake. Ward's demonstration was in iron chisling or carving. Paige Davis demonstrated sculptural forging in solid and in plate. We missed the demonstration by Frank Turley.

    Among the vendors and tailgaters were many friends and aquaintences. Steve Kayne and his family, many of our friends from Virginia and folks we hadn't seen since the AFC conference at Tannehill last fall. We were also happily surprised to meet Jere Kirkpatrick, who had driven all the way out from California and Sid Sudemier and his wife (also a long way from home). Jere put on a slick demonstration using a tredle hammer. Sid had a couple 25# Little Giants to sell as well as a table load of parts and dies.

    Today's show stopper was a cast iron foundry demonstration by Alabama Art Foundry (I think, will correct if wrong). The group setup a small coupla operation and melted batches of cast iron which were poured in "scratch molds". The open faced molds are made from precured petrobond sand and a shape cut into the sand. For a nominal fee you purchased a blank mold and carved an impression into the bonded sand. The molds were then poured in iron as part of the demonstration. This highly educational demonstration was a joy to watch. Tomarrow we will video the demo from start to finish. We also have stills of this and the other demonstration for the next edition of the anvilfire NEWS!

    -- guru Saturday, 05/15/99 03:42:16 GMT

    Do you know of any good books on smelting metal ore? I want to try it the old way. I got "the pirotechnia of vannoccio biringuccio" he writes of the 4 elements fire, air, earth, and water. But I am worried about the safty aspects of it and I want to have more reliable results. eventually I want to cast a bronze cannon. The type used in 1500.

    Matt -- mwiggins at Saturday, 05/15/99 21:12:47 GMT

    I am looking for drawings and info about building a roller for wagon tires.

    R.L. Dack -- dackattack at Saturday, 05/15/99 23:35:43 GMT

    Guru, Sounds like great fun, almost like we are all there ourselves. Keep up the great work. Goes to prove Anvilfire is the best place on the web to get the latest, best info first hand. Your services are an asset to all who have an interest in our craft.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Sunday, 05/16/99 04:08:38 GMT

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