WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you. This is an archive of posts from May 1 -7, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Hi. I have been reading up on leaf springs and coil springs of automobiles and so far have found differing opinions on the type of steel that they are made from. I understand that it is not a definate subject but perhaps you can shed some light on this.
1090, 1095, & 5160H are the different possibilities I have read. Which are the coil springs most likely to be made from? and what is the difference between these three steels?
Thanks in advance, Dave.

p.s. Anyone know where I can view plans for a cheap and easy to make belt grinder?
Dave. - Monday, 05/01/00 03:40:03 GMT

PawPaw, I picked up another trip hammer the other day sight unseen, It is a Star model 50lb. ram weight. I think it is a beam hammer like the Central Machinery works hammer I have for sale. Where can I go to find Info. on these hammers? would Bruce be able to help? thanks Stiffy ///Warm and dry in westcentral ind. at 23.0
Stiffy  <mklbjean at k-inc.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 03:57:52 GMT

I know it´s difficult to compare income between countries (cost of living etc.), but $40 000 would be considered quite a high salary here in Sweden. I´ve never been close to that, neither as a foreman nor as a curator. AND we have the highest taxes in the civilised world! Anyone over there who needs an archeologist/curator/blacksmith/soon-to-be-toolmaker?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 05/01/00 09:24:31 GMT


Bruce can help, also you can learn quite a bit from the book POUNDING OIUT THE PROFITS. There's a review on the book shelf.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 12:44:46 GMT

Good News From Williamsburg !!

I visited collonial williamsburg this week and spent quite a bit of time with the blacksmiths, Master Smith Pete Ross and a journeyman named Shell. Both vey nice fella's. They were warm and very interested in my work and my progress seeing that i am teaching myself the art. Pete and Shell had never heard of anvilfire, i told them, pete may be showing up to see my demo, and im sure he will get hooked to this site just like i did, he is quite an intellient man and a very good blacksmith, definitely a benefit to the community here.

To Jock, i will send the other page of the demo tonight, it must have been to large to fit on the last email.

Till Soon,

Rob H
SmithinScout, Master Blacksmith of Broken Foot Forge :o)
SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 14:34:21 GMT

Spring Steel: Dave, Please heed my warning about scrap steels. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of steels used for springs. EVERY manufacturer makes their own choices. Spring steels vary widely according to the application. Application environment temperature, expected life (in cycles), costs.

Cost of a steel, including part production costs are often more important that the specific steel in modern applications. Planned obsolescence includeing the life of parts (when they fail), is predictable and often used in making material selections in high production applications.

1090 and 1095 are plain carbon steels with .90% and .95% carbon. They are almost indistinguishable and there are only some very minor differences in how they are heat treated.

5160 is a very tough alloy steel. It has many applications including all sorts of tools. It is a chrome manganese steel with .55% - .65% carbon. H steels have slightly wider content tolerance range. 5160 is an oil quench steel and is very strong when properly tempered.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 14:53:24 GMT

Star Hammers: Stiffy, Star made a cheap Little Giant style hammer with a bow spring linkage. The early models had a nicely supported long ram design and no counter balance. Late models had a cheapened guide system but had a crank wheel big enough to be balanced (I do not know if they balanced it).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 15:32:58 GMT

Guru-I am new at smithing and need some help on tempering. I read somewhere that you could test metal with a magnet to get the right heat to temper. My question is what type of metal and what degree of temper will this magnet test result in.
Don  <dmerrix at msn.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 17:24:54 GMT


I was just wondering if the pictures for the JYH entries are posted here somewhere. I couldn't seem to find the right link.
jdickson  <TheIrony at worldnet.att.net> - Monday, 05/01/00 17:52:24 GMT

JYH Photo Contest: Will be posted with the new edition of the NEWS. Should have been this weekend but I'm running behind!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 17:59:58 GMT

Hardening and Tempering: Don, See Knives01 on our 21st Century Page. Its not very well written. . . Been a long time since I read it. The following is a bit clearer.

Steel is normalized, hardened (heat and quench) and then tempered.

Normalizing is similar to a brief anneal (softening by heating to the transformation point and cooling slowly). It is recommended for most forgings to help reduce internal stresses but not recommended for some steels.

Hardening is done by heating to the upper transformation point (AKA A3) and quenching to cool. The A3 point varies from several hundred degrees above the non-magnetic point for low carbon steels, to just a little below the non-magnetic point for high carbon steels. For most tool steels the hardening temperature is close enough to the non-magnetic point for blacksmiths.

Quenching is done in air, oil, water or brine depending on the type of steel, and the thickness of the steel. Air quench steel will shatter when quenched in water. A few air quench steels are also oil quench and vise versa. Hardening occurs when the part is cooled faster than a certain rate.

Tempering is the reheating of the hardened steel to some point well below the transformation range to reduce the hardness and increase toughness. This also helps reduce stress. Tempering temperatures vary with the type of steel and the hardness desired. "Double tempering" is simply retempering the part to the same temperature. This assures that the entire piece is evenly tempered. Tempering should be done as soon as possible after hardening.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/01/00 18:27:24 GMT

Guru. Thanks for your info and advise. I will heed your warning about scrap steels, if I use them for anything I will make sure I test them seperatly before any kind of use.
What stock do you recomend that I purchase for knifemaking? something tough that can hold an edge yet is easy to use, and the hardening & tempering procedure (if you have the time). Thanks, Dave.
Dave. - Monday, 05/01/00 21:02:49 GMT

Hey guys and gals of weldin sorts, i found a new old site really go check it out if you like. it's at, weldsite.com



jeff spoor  <flaminganvil at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 00:37:29 GMT

How do you use and make the beeswax/lineseed oil wax.

Thanks cowboy
Cowboy  <wmorse at ev1.net> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 01:49:02 GMT

Hi! my question has to do with how to "finish" wrought iron. I have looked all over for books and cannot find anything on ways and procedures of finishing iron. I am in the process of making chandeliers and wall sconces and would like to know different recipes and possibilitys. Do you know a good resourse book or have info yourself? I would greatly appreciate some help and direction in this area. Thanks much!
D.J.  <crofrench at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 02:16:44 GMT


Beeswax finish formulae enroute via e-mail.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 02:37:19 GMT

Guru, Tried to find a local company for testing the air tanks and no luck. Went to Graingers and bought an ASME certified 120 Gal. horizontal tank. Now I don't have to worry that someone might get hurt and I can sleep better at night (Wallet is a little lighter though). I am going to hook up a compressor pump with a 10 HP three phase motor. Still saved money over buying a new compressor, and have a bunch of parts from the other two compresor pumps. I bolted "The Giant" to the floor today, Can't wait for the compressor to come together so I can start pounding iron. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 02:53:09 GMT

Tanks again: Tim, You will have found that the inspection procedure would be close to the cost of the tank (new), AND that it is required every so often. Not just once in a lifetime. The inspector's cert would have been dated. . . It only pays on VERY expensive tanks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 03:49:11 GMT

Finishing Ironwork: D.J. A professional paint job is the only satisfactory protection. "Natural" finishes lead to "natural" rust (also a natural finish). If you don't want compliants in your lifetime (much less next year) then clean and paint properly. See my article on Corrosion and its Prevention on our 21st Century page.

Natural finishes are high maintenance. If you think your customer is going to do it you are fooling yourself. Now if they would agree to a lifetime contract to pay you the your hourly rate plus expenses to refinish the work once or twice a year. . . Right.

Everyone forgets that finishing the work is often as expensive as the work itself. Sandblasting, primers. . touchup after instalation. One the other hand paint lets you do some wonderful things with color.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 04:01:50 GMT

Yep another Q!: Is there a way of forging the spike and pan of a candlestick out of one piece of stock, and if so can someone tell me how? can't find any instruction on this. Thanks again, Dave.
Dave. - Tuesday, 05/02/00 04:27:25 GMT


Center upset the piece of stock. Forge the upset to make the pan. Then forge the end of the stock for the spike. Not going to be easy to do the upset, you're going to have to upset a LOT of stock in order to have enough to forge the pan.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 06:14:52 GMT

My low and dirty way to check air tanks is first to pull the plugs and lower a flashlite bulb on wires inside to check the bottom for pitting.
Then,plug except for top of tank, install pressure ga. and fittings. Fill ALL THE WAY with water. With tank at the other end of the yard. Hook up pressure washer with long hose and fire it up a safe distance away. Watch pressure ga. with binoculars. When pressure reaches 5/3 of the tank's working pressure; kill pressure washer. Wait a while and bleed down pressure. This aint approved, but as we say, it is better than nothing and it has worked for me so far.
Pete  <ironyworks at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 07:22:33 GMT

Where is a good source for purchasing tournament swords? There are many "decorator" swords, but what I want is a good, tough, broadsword or battle sword that can take a beating.
Jennifer Demsoey  <Kell0thecelts at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 13:36:05 GMT

Swords: Jennifer, there are SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) approved swords and there are collectors swords. The folks making quality collectors swords probably make a finer product than was ever made historicaly. They are not cheap. The SCA has rules for weapons so that combatants don't actually kill or maim each other. Both can be found on sites on the swords and armour web-rings. Try our Web-ring Nexus. We also have some more armor links on Emile's Links
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 14:54:49 GMT

Guru, Do you know if it is possible to purchase flat steel that has been textured (peined) on one side? I am interested in material that is 1/4" thick and 3" wide to make small boxes with. I have seen alot of catalogs that advertise textured round and square stock, but I have never seen any flat stock. This process is very labor intensive and slow when you only have a cross-pein hammer to work with. Do you think a machine shop could do this type of work? Thanks in advance.
Greg Allen  <g-allen at tamu.edu> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 18:19:20 GMT


Olin Wrought Iron.


Their catalog, (which I have) shows several sample of textured flat stock. Whether they will have the dimensions you need or not, I don't know.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 18:57:52 GMT

Hi. I'm looking for some detailed info on pewter. Any url's will be much appreciated. Thanx
tjommels  <tjommels at webmail.co.za> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 19:17:34 GMT

Textured Metal: Greg, I looked at the site Pa-Paw suggested. I doubt they have what you want but it wouldn't hurt to give them a try. These outfits produce textured sheet metal. Years ago I had a catalog form someone along this line and they had some beautiful stuff. Included hammered brass and brushed stainless. But you had to be able to handle 4' x 8' sheets.

Rimex Metals (USA)
Edison, NJ

Mfrs. Of Textured, Etched & Colored Metal Finishes In Sheet Or On Tubing For Decorative Panels, Grab Bars, Elevator Doors, Cases, Boxes, Floor, Material Handling Products.

Rigidized® Metals Corp.
Buffalo, NY

Otherwise it IS a lot of work. I've done it. . . You might consider renting a jack hammer and using a worn out chisle (would need to be polished). A day's work might have you set for quite a while. You would probably need to rig up some kind of guide to keep the hammer on the bar and have a helper feed the bar through to guide (over an old anvil or heavy plate).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 19:29:22 GMT

Pewter: tjommels, I posted a long list of resources a few weeks ago. It might take some digging to find. Centaur Forge has the following books:

"Pewterworking" by Osburn
"Pewter" by Hull
"The American Pewterer" by Kauffman

Tools, techniques and equipment for pewter working are very similar to silversmithing and other non-ferrous metal work. Raising and chasing, spinning and foundry work are all applied. As with most non-ferrous work the biggest difference in your tools is the high polish you want on them to prevent maring the work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 19:44:00 GMT

Hello, I am confused about propane forges. The litterature I just finished reading at the Gas Forge Q+A and the GAS FACTS page on www.anvilfire.com says that the propane taks will freez up unless you have an enormous 150 lbs tank. The Information on Ron Reil's web site says that his 10# tank was more than adequate and never got cold. Is there a problem with the propane tanks freezing up??????
shawn  <lemming at northcoast.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 21:02:44 GMT

Propane: Shawn it depends on the type of forge and how much propane you are trying to draw. Both propane and acetylene cylinders have a limited discharge capacity because the fuel must evaporate. As it evaporates it cools the mass of the liquid gas. The cooler the gas the less energy available to evaporate the gas and eventualy you can not draw suficient gas from the cylinder.

A standard acetylene cylinder with fuel a small rose bud tip when full but not very well when over 50% discharged. A large rosebud will fail after just a few minutes on a single cylinder. It often requires 3 acetylene cylinders to fuel one large rosebud for an hour or so. .

A common bottle mount propane torch will freeze up (with your hand attached) after 5-10 minutes in 20-30°F weather. I've used a few dozen over the years to thaw frozen pipes and I KNOW.

Small propane forges run well on "picnic" size (20-30#) bottles but the larger the draw the bigger the cylinder needed. A one or two burner NC-TOOL forge can run continously on the small cylinders. I'm not sure at what point they need more than one. Ambient air temperature makes a difference too.

My blower type forges use a LOT more gas. They also run hotter and will heat more faster (more gas, more BTU). But they need a lot bigger cylinder. I have two 40# cylinders manifolded together. FULL on a warm day they will run about 3-4 hours and then freeze up. On a cool day starting half full the forge just barely has time to get upto heat (about 20min) before the cylinders freeze up.

It is common practice to put the cylinders in a tub of water to act as a heat sink. This helps quite a bit. It also makes VERY cold water and has been used to cool various refreshments. . . The cylinders will float so they must be tied down. Otherwise as the fuel is used up the cylinder will float and roll over, possibly breaking the regulator.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/02/00 22:26:22 GMT

Swords; Jennifer:

The Scadians use rattan for their combats and tounaments and mostly show a distaste for what they call "live steel", except for display. The Marklanders use padded wooden weapons for combats and steel for reenactments, or, as we put it: real fighting with fake weapons and fake fighting with real weapons. We find the two to be complimentary. Markland's web page is at www.markland.org (someday to undergo radical editing and improvement). To see all sorts of facets of swords and swordsmanship beaten to death (or jawboned to pieces) try http://www.swordforum.com/ .

There are good swords out there, and many useable ones, and quite a few wall hangers that I wouldn't clean my tonails with. I've had a few fail on me, too. Years of experience have left me fond of the verse from the Havamol (the wise sayings of Odin):

Praise no day 'till sunset,
no maid 'til bedded,
no sword 'til tested,
no ice 'til crossed,
no ale 'til drunk,
and no wife 'til on her pyre.

On the whole, I've had more luck with my wife than with my swords. It has left me very fond of axes.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 02:42:51 GMT

Greg Allen, I use 1/4 by 1 up to 1/4 by 3 textured on one side that i make myself on a 300 lb hammer.I just finished a job for another shop that required just under 3/4 of a mile of various sizes. Call me at 970-249-3626 mtn time [Colo.] 8 to 5 and we will talk about what you need. Smokey--Second Circle Forge.
Smokey  <smokey at rmi.net> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 02:43:20 GMT

I was wondering if there were any people in the Austin-Georgetown area that make swords and armor. I am extremely interested in getting involved in this aspect of metal working. I would appreciate any help that can be given. Please contact me at colossus101 at yahoo.com with any information. Thank you for your time.

Patrick Bjerke
Patrick Bjerke  <colossus101 at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 03:16:45 GMT

Thanks for the great info on painting iron. It really helped! I have a question on getting the rust off with Acid. I use Muriatic acid, and my question is: what do I use to neutralize the acid and then, as you say in your artical, passivate afterwards?
D.J.  <crofrench at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 14:27:44 GMT

Thanks for the great info on finishes! I have a question about using Acid to eliminate rust. I use Muriatic Acid and my question first of all is: it a good thing to use and secondly, what do I use to 'neutralize' the acid and then how do I passivate? I'm not sure what you mean by passivate.
D.J.  <crofrench at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 14:41:59 GMT

Odin: Bruce, that is a great verse! I read it to my wife. (over the phone when she was at least 50 miles away) She asked if the next time I was going to say anything nice to her was when she was dead. I said, "that's up to you". She liked that equally well. Where can I find this "Havamol"? Library? I searched the web and found nothing. E-mail privately if you like and have time. There is an underscore between the a and b in the address. Thanks in advance.

Have fun, or die earlier than you need to.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 15:01:28 GMT

Neutralizing - Pasivating: D.J. After cleaning with an acid you neutralize with an alkali. A baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) solution works well. Then rinse THAT off. Neutralizing produces salt and mild alkaline residue which is not quite as bad as acid.

Pasivating is NORMALY used in relationship to stainless steel only but the term can be applied to any metal (different processes). On stainless acid is used to remove any iron that is near the surface so that it won't corrode later. On other metals the term means to make the surface chemicaly inactive. On iron there are compounds like "Naval Jelly" and "Ospho" that convert rust to less hydrous oxides and coat the metal with a phosphorus compound that prevents further rusting. Both of these leave a white haze on the metal (sometimes called phosphating). After application the surface is sometimes painted but it should be rinsed, primed then painted. Gun blues and browns are forms of pasivating steel.

In all cases, when finishing, cleanliness is of utmost importance. Oil (from hands or elsewhere) prevents paint from sticking. Any compound that acts as or converts to an electrolyte accelerates rust and corrosion. Any anhydrous combound such as flux or coal plating can hydrate and expand producing boils in paint.

A clean hot worked surface has "tooth" that paint readily sticks to, but cold finished steel is smooth and oiled. Paint won't stick to it. Cold finished steel needs to be sandblasted or cleaned and etched to produce tooth for the paint to adhere to.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 15:58:07 GMT

Please excuse my inexperience. In getting an Iron piece ready for painting I'm not clear on one part or the process. After applying the baking soda to neutralize the acid, I then [and this is the part I'm not clear on] wash off the baking soda residue with water and it's then ready for painting, or, rather, I should apply Navel Jelly to the piece, wash THAT residue off, and then it will be ready for the painting process. thanks alot!
D.J.  <crofrench at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 19:22:53 GMT

Paint: D.J. The Naval Jelly does a lot of what your muratic acid does. Its just better at removing rust. Use either one. Neutralize and then prime and paint.

I forgot to mention, Borax flux and arc welding flux is VERY hard to get out of joints. The glassy form of it is anhydrous and hydroscopic. That means it attracts water from the air in order to form hydrous crystals. Paint generaly lets some water pass as vapor or absorbed water. Flux under paint absorbs the water, forms crystals larger than the anhydrous form and creates loose pockets in the paint. These in turn admit more water and. . . so it goes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 20:05:24 GMT

A belated thanks for info on how to rust 10-gauge carbon steel for garden art. It works great. What a neat service, Guru. Kay Myers
Kay Myers - Wednesday, 05/03/00 22:59:46 GMT

Forgot to plug in my email address, so in case my post did not go through, will repeat. Thanks, belatedly, for great info on rusting 10-gauge carbon steel. Working great. What a great service you provide, Guru.
Sincerely, Kay M. Myers
Kay Myers  <kmcmy at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/03/00 23:07:11 GMT

what is the best way to punch square holes in a-36 steel plate and most economical
jc blair  <jcchris at gte.net> - Thursday, 05/04/00 01:47:25 GMT

Read the articles on new air hammers. Wondering about the hammer you called TRIP AIR. Any info would be nice, I,m looking to buy a small air hammer and would like a new one.
Do you have an address? E-Mial? Phone # ?
Peter Martin  <martinknives at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 05/04/00 02:45:04 GMT

Occasionally I read posts asking questions about the safety of handling Kaowool. Since it seems to be used in a lot of gas forges I was wandering if working around the forge poses a hazard that requires any respiratory precaution. I appreciate your thoughts.
Dennis  <sawmill at erols.com> - Thursday, 05/04/00 08:08:26 GMT

Holes in A36: JC, You aren't specific enough about the conditions. Plate thickness, hole size, distance from edge, tolerances.

The cheapest way to make holes in production is with a punch press. Punching is limited to a hole size less than or equal to the thickness of the plate. Square holes can also be made by drilling and broaching. Both punching and broaching are limited by the throat depth of the press. If you have to start from scratch, tools for broaching are
cheaper than purchasing a punch press and tooling for it. However, broaching requires drilling a hole first and then broaching (a relatively slow process). With a punch press you could punch dozens (maybe hundreds) of holes in the time it takes to drill and broach a single hole. Generaly broached holes are limited to not quite cleaning up the entire hole and having rounded corners.

Proportionately large holes are best cut by flame, plasma or laser. All have limitations depending on plate thickness.

In thin plate (14ga or less) hand operated "knock out" punches (like those used for electrical work) are the cheapest tooling but are not satifactory for a large number of holes. They have the advantage of not being limited by throat distance.

Then there is the blacksmiths method of hot punching. This requires bringing the plate up to a yellow heat, punching 2/3 through from one side (spreading the metal), flipping the plate over and finishing the job. If the hole size it critical a "drift" it then driven into the hole to size it. The advantages are, the tooling is inexpensive and a proportionately deep hole can be punched (depth 2x hole size).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/04/00 12:51:02 GMT

Trip Air: Peter, all their contact info is on our Power hammer Page, List of Manufacturers. It includes contact information of all current manufacturers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/04/00 12:54:20 GMT

Kaowool: Dennis, Kaowool (dust) is listed as a "possible human carcinogen". Testing on rats required grinding a special "micro fine" grade of Kaowool (an artificial product/condition) and then having them inhale high quantities of the special grade.

As a replacement for asbestoes it is VERY safe and much less of a hazzard than possibly breathing large quantities of carbon-monoxide (and or coal smoke).

If a forge lining were to become badly frayed or weathered, and it worries you, then there is a binder/coating performance enhancer (it reflects more heat) called ITC-100.

The greatest possible respiratory problem in metal working shops is the use of fibre-glass reinforced grinding wheels. As the wheel (rapidly) wears down, where does all that fibre-glass go? Into the air and your lungs! I had never thought much about it until I saw a late afternoon sunbeam in my welding shop after I'd done a little grinding. . . The air was filled with floating glass fibres/particles!

Grinding, welding, burning, everything we do in the blacksmith shop requires good ventilation (preferably forced). If you have sufficient ventilation for the obvious problems in the blacksmith shop then the microscopic amounts of Kaowool possibly lost from a forge is NOT a problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/04/00 13:25:02 GMT

Champion forges and blowers! Mine does not have a model number that I can locate, any suggestion on how to identify it? The raised lettering on the blower "Champion Forge and Blower Co. Lancaster PA USA" The Blower is about 10" in diameter. I got it on a small forge, about 22" in diameter. The cast air tube going from the blower to the bottom of the forge had (?) 146-18 (?) cast into it. Found it in a garage that had fallen in, got it for $12. Remove the mud daubers nest and add oil and it was cranking. Replace the concrete in the forge, legs and grill in bottom, ready to fire. Any help on model would be appreciated.
Nolan  <Ndorsey at ck.tec.ok.us> - Thursday, 05/04/00 17:41:01 GMT

I looked at mine again last night. In addition to the Champion name on the side of the gear box I also have a BUNCH of patent numbers, does yours? And the Number 400 in teh fan housing on the front(flat part) It too is a cast part.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 05/04/00 17:48:26 GMT

Guru. I read your artical on 'finishes' in chapter 13 of your book like you suggested. You said in the artical that the only way to have your work hold up in an outside envionmint was to use a 'pure Zink powder paint' sometimes called 'cold galvaizing', as the first coat. Well, I've looked around quite a bit for this paint and the only thing I have found is the 'Rust-olum' brand of Zink paint. When I called the Rust-oleum company they said that it would be better that I use their 'Rusty-metal' primer. Is this the stuff you are talking about? If not please tell me the brand name and any other Info on it that you can think of so I can call around and find it. I live in California and they have fairly strict envionmental laws here, but I should be able to find it somewhere I would think.
Thanks D.J.
D.J.  <crofrench at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/04/00 22:03:21 GMT

Zinc Paint, Cold Galvanizing: DJ, CRC makes it in spray cans and I think you can get it in bulk. Other brands are available from commercial/industrial paint suppliers. One similar primer with less zinc is called "Carbo-Zinc-11" It is a combination rust inhibitor/primer. We are talking products labeled "For Professional Use Only", not "Yard and Garden".

The zinc paint is normaly something over 90% zinc powder. Not a zinc compound. It acts like galvanizing. When the paint is scratched or chipped through to the steel and then becomes moistened, the zinc disolves and plates (attaches to) the iron.

Its a cheap alternative to galvanizing. It can also be painted directly over. Galvanizing must aged or be etched with acid before painting. The next coat is a neutral primer. The neutral primer reduces chemical action between the zinc and the top coat and or the environment. Most automotive sanding primers are suitable. Both the zinc paint and the primer are slightly absorbant so should not be contaminated by oil (form hands or other sources). The top coat is a weather resistant color fast paint of almost any type.

In most painting systems you should go with the manufacturers recomendations. But ask industrial paint suppliers. Not consumers suppliers.

99% of all ironwork is dusted off and paint applied. A few throughly wire brush their work, and then toss on a coat of paint. Others install the work and have in their contract for the customer to paint the work (or wax and oil it). In some cases this is done by "professional" painters but they expect a "ready to paint" surface. Many cheap and dirty paint jobs hold up, most do not.

A lot depends on the environment. Up in the California Gold mining country at one of the big old mines there is a superintendants house surrounded by an unpainted iron fence around the garden. It has a light even coat of rust. This is in one of those arid parts of California where there may be a brief wet season but the majority of the year is very dry. Their is no condensation. Rust may not be a problem for another 500 years. Paint might create more problems than it solves.

Where I live is near a stream in a valley. Cool air settles in the bottom at night and then during the day when things warm up cool metal surfaces SUCK moisture out of the humid air. Surface tension lets condensation build up thicker than if you poured water on objects. Machine tools and heavy metal objects INDOORS rust at an incredible rate. In one year unpainted steel with have as much or more rust than than that 1850 fence.

Do the best you can. Don't put the responsibility on your customer. It may be their property but its YOUR work and your reputation.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/05/00 01:12:18 GMT

Cold Galvanizing: Another source for good cold galvanizing is electrical utility contractors and good electrical supply houses. They usually have it for touching up galvanized high voltage towers after assembly or maintenance. The Rust Oleum cold galvanizing in a can works OK too. MUCH better than the rusty metal primer for outdoor work in my experience. Although, as far as paint goes, the Rust Oleum rusty metal primer works pretty good for me as long as no road salt is going to get at it. But it is soft paint and doesn't hold up well to surface wear. Personally, I don't like paint prep with a powered wire cup brush. The wires get rounded on the ends and seem to polish more than scratch. I do use straight wire wheels on the angle grinder and turn the wheel over occasionally so the sharp points dig in again. I really hate it when those wires fatigue and break off and embed themselves into my legs and arms though! Sand blasting is best.

And if you are painting, remember to put a top coat on. Most primers do not seal out moisture very well and need a top coat to seal them. I needed something flat black and hard paint to take abuse. I used Ditzler DP 90 two component (flat black) primer and left it without a top coat. One year and 120 dollars worth of DP 90 later, I was blasting it off because water got underneath and rusted the whole iron surface. The primer wasn't stuck anymore, but it's so hard that it wouldn't flake off. A real bear to remove. I don't use the DP 90 anymore because it's one of those urethanes that kills your lungs. So much for a short cut. MY best paint experience has been with Verathane self etching two component primer and Dupont Imron top coats. Both have the same hazarous lung problem too however. Need a space suit and appropriate respirator. Hmmmm, maybe that rust color isn't so bad after all......
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Friday, 05/05/00 16:23:01 GMT

No Numbers, Nothing!
Nolan   <Ndorsey at ck.tec.ok.us> - Friday, 05/05/00 20:29:49 GMT

Venerable Gurus, A pervious question and your anweres have percolated about in the skull for several weeks, and actions have been taken, but new questions arise in the feeble mind of this unworthy supplicant (grin).

Questions relate to my 50# Little Giant. It wobbles and you all said that was not desirable. I have studied the hammer in action, and been reading and re-reading Kern's book trying to solve the wobble problem. I even tried to reverse the crosshead as the 50# evidently came in both Handing and Verticle, but in the vertical (on my hammer) the ram hits the crankplate and the dies are about 6" apart at rest. Now the geometry of the whole lashup is out of wack, and I can't seem to adjust it right. Everything slants at about 12 degrees to the left, the pitman hangs straight down at about 4 oclock, and the offset it at max from 8 oclock (over the top) to about 2 oclock. The dies are about 1/2 inch at rest (way too close according to the book, but working fine (I seldom forge anything over 1")).

I have new toggle links from Sid, and only one is adjustabe, prehaps this is my problem, Should I order another adjustable, or is there anything else to be tried.

Further confusion, the book talks about an adjustment to the spring on the toggle arms, I find no such adjustment on my hammer, the spring is held in place by two rubber snubbers and the only moving bit (therefore adjustable) are the nuts and bolts holding the snubbers to the arms. Am i confused.

I would like to email correpond with a guru of the mayer brothers persuation...many thanks for a source for such vexing questions oh venerable ones.
Tim  <leepil at bendnet.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 03:38:24 GMT

Im new and have never really done anything. Could you tell me whats a good way to start, and what tools are needed? My dad has a gigantic garage, bigger than our (slightly large) house, so i have acces to tons of tool already, put i wan't to know what i need
Animel  <Animel12 at aol.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 03:47:49 GMT

Tim, First of all there shouldn't be any rubber parts at all anywhere on your hammer! Early LG hammers with wrap around guides had hanging crosshead and later hammers didn't. It might be best to know what age your hammer is. One thing that shouldn't be happening is the ram hitting the crank plate. If I were to guess (without seeing your hammer) I'd say your hammer should have the crosshead hanging. More then likely your problem is with the spring and its adjustment . . . I don't know of any LG's that came from the factory with rubber snubber spring keepers. There's no telling what someone else might have done to your hammer over the years.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 06:49:03 GMT

I am looking for plans for a simple gas (LPG) fired furnace
able to melt up to 1/2-3/4 Kg of Al. Any sites you know of would be apreciated. Thks.
Che Caldwell  <s005566 at student.uq.edu.au> - Saturday, 05/06/00 12:06:17 GMT

Furnace: Che, Check our plans page. The gas burner plan has links to other sources.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 14:32:05 GMT

Bruce Wallace, Thanks for the response on LG Hammers, Mine is #1028, aprox ought six, it has wrap around guide. I know that the ram shouldn't hit the crankplate, this was just a test to see if reversing the pitman/crosslhead would solve the problem, turned by hand the crank ear rubbed the crank plate at TDC. I never spun it under power in this arrangement. The spring sits on over snubbers and is actually held in place by tension from the toggle links. I am not sure they are rubber, but they sure as hell arent adjustable as the book seems (to me) to imply. The only way I can seem to adjust them is with the one adjustable toggle link. If you have Kern's book, on page 42-43 he has some diagrams, my problem (at least I think its the problem) is that the triangles in fig22 are tilted (rotated about 12 degrees CCW). And DAMM, now that I look at fig 21, my hammer (crankplate) rotates CW, while he showes CCW, is that my problem? (Book says either way???)
Anyway, thanks for the response, I am gonna put it back together with xhead hanging, and continue to expirement, all suggestions welcommed.....thanks Tim
Tim  <Leepil at bendnet.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 14:37:01 GMT

Little Giant Blues: Tim, Go to Dave Manzer, Little Giant Video (How to Cure the Tap Tap Bang Bang Tap Tap Blues) and order a copy. We will have a review posted next week and be selling the video in a few weeks after that. I highly reccomend it!!!

Dave has done the only correct analysis of Little Giant problems that determines AND solves the problems. Some relate to bad design engineering, others to poor quality control and then others to Jack-leg mechanicing. The result is gross timing problems including the "Little Giant Hula"

Direction of rotation is irrevelant unless you have an after market brake. The appearance that the linkage is tilted and would work one way better than the other is a typical OEM problem. Some hammers had adjustable springs and others didn't. The problem is that most springs get adusted because they are tired (taken a "set" or shortened). This reduces the travel and screws up the spring rate. Dave Manzer indicates that many Little Giants didn't have the optimum spring for the speed they are setup for.

Dave has figured out how to tune up a Little Giant so that it performs as well as the best hammers made. He shows you how to adjust your hammer and looks at toggle link problems that originated at the factory (the single adjustable link).

Anyone that has a Little Giant, Meyers Bros, Murray, Moloch, Jardine Canadian Giant or other LG copy NEEDS Dave's video.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 16:37:06 GMT

Hey guys, buy an old swedish power-hammer instead (grin).
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 05/06/00 17:23:41 GMT

Little Giant Crosshead: Tim, Early Little Giants and Meyer Bros hammers had the part below the crank pin. Later model hammers put it on top alowing them to shorten the frame. Yes it IS confusing when you look at two hammers and they have moved the identical part from one position to the next.

Another problem is that our 1976 data chart we have posted on the Power hammer Page has significantly higher operation speeds for 25# and 50# LG's than nn earlier 1955 chart I recently found. These differences corespond exactly to optimums that Dave determined.

I have always said that most LG's were setup too fast (from the factory). Now I have evidence that a change was made in specifications between 1955 and 1976 but there was no change in the mechanics! Dave Manzer supports this by pointing out that the hammer should hit harder and harder the faster it goes. However, most LG's hit softer blows above a certain speed. This is the result of timing problems when the hammer runs faster than the optimum for the given spring. The "hula" is the result of gross timing problems and poor maintence (wear, lack of lubrication. . .).

Since you mentioned the Kern book several times I thought I'd better refresh myself on it. The explaination of the way the linkage works is absolutely wrong and doesn't consider timing. It also mentions spring problems but the tolerance for replacing the spring is too great. If your spring is not up to spec it should be replaced. Kern IS correct in that the links on both sides should be adjustable.

The Kern book is good on mechanics and rebuilding but not very strong on dynamics. It is doubtful that Little Giant understood the dynamics. I know the people writing their sales literature didn't.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 17:38:17 GMT

Swedish Hammer: Olle, keep reminding me and I'll get that picture posted. . . . TOO many things to do. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 17:41:29 GMT

AUCTION: We are posting the 19th Edition of the NEWS with info on the Judd Nelson auction next weekend. The news is not complete but this is a time critical announcement.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/06/00 19:43:50 GMT

Thankyou to all the people for info on my post drill.. Got it working. Turn the bit down by hand, more control also I can feel the pressure..I have an RPM question now.. The motor is truning at 1725 rpm {Its 1 hp}with a 4.5" pully on it. The drill press has a 12" pully on it how fast is the drill bit going..I am for around 500rpms Do I need to go to a 6" on the motor.?
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Saturday, 05/06/00 21:32:34 GMT

Guru, Didn't realize what I was getting myself into when I decided to build a compressor. Not only is the plumbing tricky but the 10HP three phase hookup is going to cost a small fortune! Let's see, 100 ft. of 3/4 inch conduit, 240 ft. of #8 wire, 10 ft 1/2 inch steel flex, 15 ft. 3/4 inch steel flex, magnetic starter w/ ON/OFF switches, pressure switch with relay, unloader relief valve, 25 ft. 1/4 inch copper tubing, flaring tool, ..........you get the picture. I only wanted a SIMPLE compressor! Been an education though...thats worth something. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 00:00:12 GMT

Gear Reduction: Barney, I'm not sure you've given enough information. The ratio of the pullies is:

RATIO = 4.5/12 = .375

RPM = 1800 * .375 = 675

If there is any gearing then you have to use that ratio also. With gears you count teeth and do the same as above.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 01:33:17 GMT

MOTOR SPEED: The rated speed of a motor is the "slip" speed below synchronous at full rated HP. Most machines rarely draw full HP and with drills the critical time is when its not cutting heavily. So it is better to assume the no-load speed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 01:42:38 GMT

RIVERS  <BEYONDUALL at AOL.COM> - Sunday, 05/07/00 02:18:44 GMT

RIVERS  <BEYONDUALL at AOL.COM> - Sunday, 05/07/00 02:22:15 GMT

Keith Doms, our archeologist friend from the U. of Delaware, has dropped a number of (non-historic) blacksmith/farrier tools on me from a farm up that way. One item that is new to me is marked "HANDY RIVETER" "PATENT PENDING" on one side of the cast iron body and "STANDARD SPECIALTY COMPANY" "SALEM OHIO" on the other. The base bolts down to a bench, there's a threaded, adjustable anvil with a small center nub at the top of the fixed jaws, and a steel piston that raises against it when the handle is depressed, with a return spring to push it back down.

I suspect that this is harness-making equipment, and uses hollow ended copper rivets or something similar. Just looking to have my suspicions confirmed (or denied) and asking for a source if the proper rivets are still available.

Hot and humid on the banks of the lower Potomac. Voyage tomorrow, then off to New Orleans and Omaha for the work of the Republic…


Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Sunday, 05/07/00 02:26:01 GMT

your right it's for leather, not all rivets were copper though the majority of the hollow ones were iron.

kid  <n/a> - Sunday, 05/07/00 02:37:25 GMT

Almost forgot-- Sunny and 80 in south central Indiana--:)
KID  <n/a> - Sunday, 05/07/00 02:39:06 GMT

Grants?: Rivers, Engineering? The most essential tool needed by a blacksmith is a high degree of intelligence. A majority of smiths are self employed and must be able to manage a business. In the 21st century this may mean everything from accounting, creating CAD drawings to feed a plasma or laser torch, being highly skilled at all types of welding and doing your own research. Most sucessful modern blacksmiths have both a formal education and vast amount of self education from the vast printed resources that are available today.

TOOLS: Blacksmithing can be as primitive as you want to make it, OR include the better part of a complete machine shop. Even a hobby smith quickly realizes they need a cutoff saw, shear or ironworker (multi-function press), drill press, lathe, buffer and grinders. All the mechanics and machinists tools needed to maintain same and a pickup truck to haul it around. Stock racks, welders and very heavy work benches. Hm m m m you notice I haven't listed any classic "blacksmithing" tools? A VERY small part of the real business. It all depends on the scale and variety of work you want to do.

Oh, yeah, A big part of the job is writing contracts, bids and proposals in proper English.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 03:25:24 GMT

I am a beginner with very little fabrication experience. I have decided to build a Kinyon style air hammer. I have read up on the hammers, and was even lucky enough to be invited over to a gentlemen’s shop to see his ( Which I very much appreciated ).

My first question has to do with hammer rigidness. I plan on the hammer having a 100 lb head with a 2.5" by 12" cylinder. I have a piece of 30" by 30" 3" plate for the base, and a 7" by 7" by 31" flame cut castoff for the anvil. I intend at this point to use 5" square heavy wall tubing as an anvil stay/spacer, and as the main support column. For my use, I believe this will give me adequate 'swing' ( 8.5" to center of die plate ). Will this size upright be rigid enough?

Second question has to do with welding the anvil to the base plate. Everyone I have talked to indicates that warpage is a prime concern during fabrication. How much should I bevel the anvil corners for welding onto the base plate to create an adequate joint without warping the base plate?

My third question has to do with the AFC control system. If I understand how the system works, it is like a car with two concrete barricades; one in front, the other in the rear. The driver steps on the accelerator. When the car passes a certain fixed point ( the pilot valve ), the driver slams on the brakes. When the car skids to a stop, the driver puts it in reverse, and hits the accelerator again. When the car passes the same fixed point, the driver slams on the breaks again. The car skids to a stop in the other direction, and the cycle is repeated. If the driver accelerates fast enough ( depressing the foot operated exhaust valve more, or increasing the pressure on the regulator in the AFC control plans ), the car skids into a barricade ( anvil ). I am I even close to being on the right track here?

This rational does explain why the hammers consume less air than one thinks they would based on calculations. The hammer cylinder never gets a chance to be completely filled to working pressure, before the main valve reverses direction. If this is the case, it seems to me that one is not getting nearly the power out of the hammer that one could. By not reversing the main valve until the hammer had hit the work ( anvil ) and the pressure in the top of the cylinder reached working pressure, the hammer should hit harder. In other words, the car would hit harder if one did not slam on the brakes, but continued to accelerate. Of course, on the up stroke, one still needs to brake in order to not tear the hammer apart. This would result in increase air consumption, though.

Don't get me wrong; right now I intend to build the hammer with the AFC controls exactly as I can. My priority is a working hammer at the moment. If I am on the right track, and can find some references on air system, is this thought worth pursuing????

Thanks for putting up with some rank beginner questions. Fred.
Fred  <jyblood at nwi.net> - Sunday, 05/07/00 05:17:50 GMT

Hi I've checked out your sight a few times in the past and have enjoyed the hints and info.I'm in my forties and have run a fix and repair shop also doing a lot of ornamental work. The other day I ran across a large supply of enamels for copper enameling,is it possible to use these on stamped steel leaves,butterflies etc.that I get from Indital through Stock Steel of Spokane WA?
bill heitner  <lesdeniseheit at AOL.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 06:24:38 GMT

Air Hammer: Fred, The column is marginal. The spacer will stiffen it front to back but you should rib it side to side as high as possible (to the anvil top).

Heavy plate is funny. It warps as bad or worse than thin plate when welded. I would bolt all the parts to that base plate. This requires some heavy drilling but will make a much nicer machine if you can manage it. Access to a heavy drill press (yep, they make them that big) or a Mag-base drill press is required. Check a local equipment rental. You may be able to rent one for a weekend. Call well in advance. Contractors rent these well beyond where they could have bought them. . . Weld 1" to 1/2" thick flanges to the column and rib. Don't weld the anvil to the base. Tie it to the column and bolt angle iron around the anvil. Put a thin rubber pad between the anvil and the base. After everything is assembled and aligned you may want to weld the angle iron to the anvil. . . That base weighs 765# !!

Throat depth is overrated in power hammers. Set your dies at a 45 or 90 to the frame and depth is not a problem.

more. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 07:09:34 GMT

On Kinyon-style hammer. I have just completed a Kinyon-style hammer and would like to help if possible. I
used a 6" X 8" X 3/8" Tubing for the vertical column. This seems to be rigid enough but I would not use anything
smaller. My base-plate is 3" X 36" X 32". Anvil is a Stainless billet ( got it for next to nothing) octagonal 8" X
34". Ram is a piece of RR track with a 1/2" X 18" X 10" plate welded to the back. I used a converted hydraulic
cylinder for my "air" cylinder. This cylinder works well but uses more air than I anticipated. As a result I am
building a bigger compressor. (120 gal. tank, 10 HP three phase motor, 25(approx.) CFM pump. Warping is
a problem if you are not careful. Access to a well equipped welding & fabrication shop is EXTREMELY helpful.
Tack weld first, then weld alternately from side to side approx. 2 inches at a time. Clamping is a MUST. Also a
heavy lay-out table with hold-downs welded to the top with small wedges to assist the clamps. I also bolted my anvil to the base-plate so as to be able adjust it's position later if I found it necessary. Good luck, any
help you need just ask. TC e-mail: blacksmith at starsticker.com
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 07:29:06 GMT

Air Hammer Controls: Fred, Air hammer controls have to take innertia and timing into account. Once the ram is moving reversing the air has little effect for a period of time. You also rarely run a hammer at full tilt. You spend much more time feathering and trying to give light blows. Control is more of an issue than power in general.

I'm sure there is room for design improvements in controls but inertia is a major consideration. On a comparitively high speed 100 pound air hammer such as a Chambersburg, the cylinder is 4-1/2" in diameter giving a 15:1 lift/mass ratio. You are working with about 5:1. Think about it. How much energy does it take to stop AND reverse a hurtling 100 pound weight? Not wrecking the top of the cylinder has always been of critical importance in air hammer design. The "Snubber" built into many modern cylinders are derived from the Chambersburg pneumatic safety cap and the Nazel upper snubber. The problem is that they are not designed for the high enertia loads of a hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 07:29:16 GMT

Enamels: Bill, I know very little about these but if you catch Torin in the Slack-Tub Pub he is very knowledgable on the subject. Sounds like it would make a nice finish on leaves. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 07:32:53 GMT

I work at a comercial refrigeration manufacturer. We are thinking about welding copper pipes using propane instead of acetyline. Does propane produce enoygh heat for a faultless weld. High quality welds are required to prolong refrigerators leak free life
Adam  <adam_antoniou at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 10:55:07 GMT

RIVERS  <BEYONDUALL at AOL.COM> - Sunday, 05/07/00 11:21:56 GMT

Fred, As the Guru says, the hammer needs a snubber to prevent the piston in the cylinder from "bottoming out" on the up-stroke. I used a 1/4" spring steel spring that was about double the size of a large valve spring. I found out after the hammer was working that it was not big enough. I then had a new spring made from vanadium steel which was twice the size of the first spring (455 lbs. at 1/2" compression) This seems to work beautifully. Guru says this should not be the primary reversing mechanism however. I think the distance of my "snubber" is too far down on the stroke which means that the spring is sending the ram back down before the air has a chance to reverse. I am now considering modifying this design problem on my machine. Overall I am thrilled with the results so far. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 13:38:00 GMT

Money Pit: Rivers, My experiance is that anything can be a money pit. If you want to go into architectual ironwork competitively it takes all the tools listed above plus power hammers, rolls, benders, 3PH service. . . . If you want to produce forged jewelery items then you could work with a micro forge, 50# anvil, a motorized wire wheel and a box of hand tools in the corner of a small room. Its all a matter of scale.

The problem is that many blacksmiths become tool collectors. They are afflicted with "aquisititus", the need to possess everything associated with a field of intrest. A friend of mine coined the term to describe his own symptoms. . . How many anvils does one smith need? I had eight at one point, I'm down to three now. . I had 4 Little Giant power hammers. Sold them all when thought I was going to get out of the trade (1 year before anvilfire).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 15:08:47 GMT

Top snubber: The reason you don't want to be bouncing off a top snubber is that it is hammering UP on a machine that is not designed for it. Reversing the motion of the ram at the top of the stroke DOES apply upward thrust on the frame (Physics 101 for every action there is an equal and oposite reaction). However, this load needs to be applied over time. Reversing with the air absorbs the energy gently over a long portion of the stroke AND sets up the hammer for the next blow. A spring does the same IF its long enough. The problem with the spring is that it is a fixed device that has no adjustment. Springs can also be compresed to their "shut height" and become solid. Then the ram IS hammering the spring, the spring mount and possibly the cylinder.

Put a guard on that spring Tim. They DO explode occasionaly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 15:57:06 GMT

Hello, I'm 18 and want to get started in blacksmithing. I've been interested in it for a ong time, and rrecently met a blacksmith named Jeff at a fair here. He suggested that I take a look at this site and keep my eye on state sales for supply's. I've read through alot of the info on your site already, and am signing up for a welding class next simester. I was wondering where I can find info about state sales, I've asked my parents about them and they don't know. Also, I was wondering how long it takes and what tools are needed to acomplish tasks such as crafting swords and armor.

Thanks for a great site, and great advice.
Bryan  <vorlin at wt.net> - Sunday, 05/07/00 17:03:23 GMT

Sales: Bryan, The word is "estate" sale. Auctions where they sell off a person's belongings to settle a will or when they retire. Most are held on weekends and will be adverised in the classified pages of your local paper. You can also ask the local auction houses to put you on their mailing list.

Purchasing tools at auction can be fun and profitable. However it is a real ART. Read my article "My First Anvil" on our 21st Century page. Most blacksmithing tools are found at farm auctions but occasionaly an old shop comes up for sale. Its a long slow way to collect tools. You are much better off to join your local ABANA chapter and deal with the guys that have been doing it for years.

See our Armor articles also linked off the 21st Century page. We have sword and armor web-ring links on the Web-Ring Nexus. Besides geneal smithing tools swordsmihing requires specialized grinding and heattreating equipment to do a good job.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 17:33:57 GMT

RIVERS  <BEYONDUALL at AOL.COM> - Sunday, 05/07/00 17:53:10 GMT

Looking for a rustic door lock and or door knob or handle that is forged for a cabin. Also any additional cabin accessories for decorating. Thanks
Vic  <viclj at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 19:08:06 GMT

Looking for a rustic door lock and or door knob or handle that is forged for a cabin. Also any additional cabin accessories for decorating. Thanks
Vic  <viclj at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 19:08:31 GMT

Good heavens, how many young yahoos are starting blacksmithing? Three here at least, counting myself. Seems like there are about three different times a person starts this hobby: young people like myself, about to run off to college, middle-aged folks who want a hobby to do on weekends, and retired folks who finally have time to pursue something they've been interested in for a long time.

Just an unimportant observation. Now down to the meat. Rivers, I too am 17 (and crazy). I am extremely lucky in that I am currently living on a farm with metal-working equipment (including an anvil and post vise) and scrap to experiment with. Not knowing your situation, I'll wing it.
The three basic needs for a blacksmith are a heat source, some kind of anvil, and a hammer. Hammers can be bought cheaply, just make sure that they are made for hammering metal and not driving nails. So a cross-pein or ball-pein are what to get.

You can probably get a forge from a nearby antique store, but you can also build it from almost nothing. All it really needs is something to blow air, a pipe going from the air source to the fire, and some kind of wall to contain the heat of the fire a bit. A hairdryer, a bit of pipe (not galvanized, it gives of poisonous fumes when heated), a pile of bricks to contain the coal or charcoal, some duct tape, and you're in business.

A real anvil sure is a pleasure to work with, but a piece of rail road track or just a fairly thick piece of plate steel will work.

A fourth tool that is not absolutely necessary but is used an awful lot is a vise. Post vises are built to be hammered on, but a standard bench vise will work well also.

With these tools, you can make almost any other blacksmithing tool you need to start out.

I don't know how much space you have to work with, but not much space is needed between the forge and anvil. If you have a backyard of any sort, it will be fine (except for the possibility of irate neighbors. Try to let them know what you're doing first and be real nice.). If you're in an apartment, that certainly is an obstacle to probably any hobby except drawing and crochet.

If you don't have the equipment that makes it really easy to make stuff out of metal, such as welders and a cutting torch, then try your local high school metal schop. As long as you aren't being a destructive psycho with the equipment (as seems to be the case with most metal shop students), they ought to let you use it. If you have another year of high school and haven't taken metal shop yet, it's a good idea. I warn you now, you have to deal with an awful lot of idiots who love to annoy anyone they can, but they can be either ignored or "accidentally" branded with hot metal. School shops can also be a good source of scrap metal to make forges, anvils, or other projects out of.

I think on some level or other, everyone who takes up blacksmithing wants to make blades. For now I would ignore that and learn the forging basics. After a while, then try blades. You have to know how to hold a pen before you do calligraphy.

Give it a crack. It's even fun to make mundane ol' candlesticks.
Stormcrow  <mbhelm at cctc.netNOVIRUSFORME> - Sunday, 05/07/00 19:09:27 GMT

Looking for a rustic door lock and or door knob or handle that is forged for a cabin. Also any additional cabin accessories for decorating. Thanks
Vic  <viclj at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 19:21:49 GMT

RULES: Rule #1 is that ALL CAPS is considered yelling on the internet. #2 Steel is never "folded" except one time in making a specific type of Japanese blade. #3 All steel acts like rubber except when apposed to flesh.

"Folding" is incorrect and confusing terminology when applied to making laminated 'Damascus' steel. Don't believe any pseudo "techno-jargon" from Hollywood (Conan, Highlander) OR knife forums frequented by people that think those are based in reality. Hey, I liked Conan the Barbarian as much as the next guy (on DVD now) but NONE of it is real.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 20:10:51 GMT

AGREEMENT: Stormcrow, Thanks, That's some of what it says in our Getting Started article. Glad you agree.
Vic Many of the folks that frequent anvilfire can provide the hardware you seek. Someone will volunteer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 20:27:04 GMT

Counter   Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC