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 8-17, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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Help? what metal material can be melted with a regular propane torch in order to make inlays in wood.

pipemaker  <rickbassplayer at aol.com> - Sunday, 05/07/00 21:27:01 GMT

Inlays: Pipemaker, Inlays are either cut from sheet with a jewler's saw and carefully inlet into the wood, or are wire driven into dovetail grooves cut into the wood.

The one process that is low enough temperature not to burn the wood is a mercury/silver amalgram. The stuff they fill your teeth with. The components are mixed into a paste, then forced into a cut recess before the material hardens. Ask your dentist about the process and materials.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 01:01:23 GMT

Hi, I was wondering if you might have any suggestions as to the correct filler rod for TIG welding of a Volkswagon engine case. Thanks. Dave
D. Gibson  <ifathena at aol.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 03:08:24 GMT

Dear Guru,Last Friday, I heard what sounded like a very expensive noise, coming from my recently installed 1941 model self contained 300 lb Chambersburg air hammer. Upon removing the rear cover seven teeth were found to be missing from the flywheel. I'm trying to find out what could have caused this as the teeth had been cleaned and lubed on installation and no debris was found except the broken teeth. Also suggestions for repair of the cast iron gear or obtaining a reasonable cost new or used replacement would be greatly appreciated. The flywheel is 17 1/2 " in diameter, 3 1/2" thick with a 2 5/8" bore and a 3/4" keyway. Thank you.
Terry Carson  <tlcforge at aol.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 10:17:10 GMT

Oops, Iforgot to mention that it is a 68 tooth gear.
Terry Carson  <tlcforge at aol.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 10:19:50 GMT

Broken Gear Teeth: Terry, at what part of the stroke are the broken teeth engaged by the driving gear? Have you checked for mechanical binding during a complete rotation and have you checked gear alignment? With a face width that wide, alignment is critical to spreading out the stress over the whole face of the gear tooth. Unless you have gear alignment equipment, you might want to use dykem (machinists dye) or automotive ring and pinion dye to check how the teeth are meshing. Where the dye wears off, the teeth are meshing, where the dye remains, the teeth are not touching. A good close up picture of the broken teeth would help immensely in determining the type of failure. Fatigue or overstress. If you post a picture, don't clean the break with abrasive or wire brush. I'd need to see it just as it broke with only the oil or grease removed with a solvent. Were the breaks rusty or clean bare metal? Any polished nubs in the break? Any "waves" in the break? Or are the breaks one consistent color with no polished parts and no waves?

Here you were looking for answers and I've only given you questions back. Sorry. (grin)

A donor gear would be a Godsend for you. If all else fails, you might try brazing new teeth on. Getting the shape right can be VERY tedious. Without doing the engineering, I can't say if brazed teeth would be strong enough. Cutting a new keyway in the bore and rotating the gear so less worn original teeth are meshed at the high stress portion of the rotation and brazed teeth are meshed at a low stress potion might work. Falk in Milwaukee Wisconsin might make you a new gear, but it might cost you more than the whole machine did.

Good Luck!

VW case welding: D. Gibson, I assume you mean aircooled VW engine cases? I know many people who have tried to weld VW cases. I know none who have been successful. Let me know if you find something that works. I have a number of air cooled VW engines from 65 onward. If you don't get it fixed, let me know which case you need. Usually, there is enough oil in the casting to make welding impossible due to outgassing causing porosity. I do not know the actual alloy, but I know it contains magnesium. Maybe a VW engine builder could help too. Lots of them in the warm states where cars don't rust.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 13:56:10 GMT

Broken Gear Teeth: Terry, This is very bad news. The only satifactory repair in this case is a new gear (see other possibility below). What is unusual is that the pinion gear is not damaged. However, the fabric pinion is designed to be resiliant (if the machine has the original pinion gear).

There are numerous possibilities:

The flywheel gear runs very close to the bottom of the sump, a piece of debris (a bolt) could have gotten into the teeth OR between the teeth and the sump. After being ground up as it sheared teeth it may be hard to identify.

All the primary drive bearings in the Chambersburg are roller bearings. If the hammer has sat for a long period it may have failed bearings that locked up intermitently (or cyclicly). Broken teeth due to binding may also mean you have a sheared key. Careful disassembly is going to be necessary.

If the pinion has been replaced with a solid gear, the teeth may be "over meshed" (to close together). The alignment of the motor determines the gear teeth clearance which must be held to within a few thousandths of an inch. If there was no backlash in the teeth there will always be one area where they are tighter than others. Teeth with no clearance are often poped off by the wedging action between the two gears. Most folks don't understand how critical the gear mesh/alignment is. Realignment after disassembly or replacing the motor or pinion on these machines is a BIG deal.

The compressor cylinder may have had liquid in it causing extreame pressure at the top of the stroke (hydro lock). Debris or rust may also be binding the piston.

One possible repair is to have the flywheel remachined as a multi V-belt pulley and replace the gear drive with belts. Flat belting would be better as it wouldn't require disassembly to replace belts. Both cases would require study to be sure the belt brive could deliver the torque.

Chambersburgs are notorious for having gear troubles. Whether from poor maintenance or design I do not know.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 15:03:15 GMT

I am looking for a new or used anvil, at least 100lb.But I don't have a lot of money. Any suggertions?
George T Thornton Jr  <george2 at iname.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 16:44:03 GMT

DEAR GURU: Thanks for your help in the past, you provide an invaluable service to novices like myself. My concern is this: we have just finished ruining two pieces of steel in our forge, one piece of O1 and one piece of A2. We began by drawing them out in the propane forge and attempted unsuccessfully to bring them to welding heat; this prompted us to resort to coal. In attempt to draw out the work further, both pieces began to crack, being pounded at a temperature of around 15-1600deg.F. I don't just mean one crack either but a general failing of the steel altogether. Bending resulted in a prompt crack. The crack fissure looks very granular almost sandy. What have we done?! We were typically cleaning with a wire brush and fluxing with borax between each heat. We are new to this but this hasn't happened before and I am pretty sure there was no overheating.

Thanks for your time,
Corey Smith
COREY SMITH  <BOLTON at SKYLINC.NET> - Monday, 05/08/00 20:09:48 GMT

Tool Steel: Corey, To quote Frank Turley, "The steel is laughing at you!".

It sounds like the steel was overheated. Alloy tool steels are tricky. Some of the alloying ingrediants come out of solution and have different melting points. At this temperature the steel falls apart. If you are VERY careful and let the steel cool to below this point then it can be safely handled and all it not lost. Once you have done anything to a piece in that condition it just falls apart on further working. Sulphur also causes this problem. For machinability some steels have sulphur added and manganese to balance it. Most things that make steels more machinable (adding lead, sulphur) make it difficult to forge.

Three things that tool steels do not like:
  • Thermal shock (warm it before thrusting into the forge)
  • Being overheated
  • Being held at high heat too long

I'm not expert in the handling of tool steels. It takes a lot of practice and judging temperature by eye is not very reliable.

If Grandpa sees this maybe he will put in his two cents worth.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 20:54:33 GMT

Pipemaker------ inlays can be poured in wood with pewter, it will melt with a propane torch at a low enough temp to not harm the wood. A lot of old time knifes were decorated like this. Also nose pieces (forearm) on guns. I wouldn't swear to it but I think I've seen pipes done with peweter inlays. I would practice on scrap before trying it on a finished pipe.
kid  <kidbsmith at yahoo.com> - Monday, 05/08/00 22:27:09 GMT

you have to wrap whatever you want to inlay with heavy paper and poure the pewter, then file off the excess. Hot and humid in In.
kid - Monday, 05/08/00 22:29:14 GMT

PosT Drill.. Got it running about 500 rpms ??.I think. I took a guess and used a 6" pully. Me and Math don't get along very well. It works much better than my store bought one. Now looking into hooking up a foot switch for it...Thanks Folks
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 00:03:53 GMT

Terry, How long was the hammer out of service before you ran it? Did you have the hammer apart before you ran it. It's not well known but Nazel offered both motor driven and belt driven hammers. Your best option might be to convert your hammer to belt driven as the Guru stated.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 00:18:16 GMT

I live in the Detroit Michigan area. I am looking for a wrought iron gate for my drive way, approx. 9 feet wide. Could you direct me as to where I can find one. Thank you.

Randy   <augiedog7 at home.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 01:16:18 GMT

Corey: Just a little more detail on what the Guru said:
Thermal shock--Many of the high alloy steels have a coef. of expansion/thermal conductivity problem such that if you stick them into a hot furnace without a gentle pre heat, the outside surface expands too rapidly for the interior, causing great internal stress which results in microcracks inside the steel. Subsequent forging caused these micro-cracks to grow in size and eventially breaking through to the surface. Melting is required to cure them.
Overheating: Alloy steels have lower temperatures of "overheating" than mild steel or straight carbon steel. Don't know the specifics of A2 or O1, but 52100 red lines at 2250f, whereas mild steel can be safely heated to above 2500f.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 03:24:05 GMT

Unfortunatly Terry forgot to mention that the problem was with the secondary gearset. Unlike a Nazel, The Chambersburg uses a standard 1750 rpm motor and a double reduction gear train. Given that the C-burg gets away without that massive flywheel that Nazel uses, I suspect that the flywheel on the countershaft is at least as important as the one on the crankshaft, and in all likelyhood more important given it's higher rotative speed.

These hammers have a lot of trouble with the plastic gear the fatory puts on the motor. A 200 lb. that I bought in 1977 had gone through eight gears since it was purchased by Pac-Car in 1972. I went through two gears in twelve years and then replaced the primary with double row #40 roller chain. I certainly didn't use it as much as Pac-Car - - they wore completely through the treadle in a little over five years. Now the secondarys, I don't know, sounds REAL expensive to me.

Anyway, I think Terry has to fix the gear, replace it or buy another hammer and use this one for PARTS.
grant  <nakedanvil> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 03:31:09 GMT

Chambersburg: I wondered if Terry was describing the primarys or the secondary. The 'flywheel' is the large gear driven by the motor pinion. The Chambersburg parts list calls it the 'Flywheel gear'. The counter balanced crank shaft gear is also called 'flywheel' on the parts list. The secondary pinion is part of the jack shaft and titled 'gear'.

The 'secondary' gear set is crucial as the large gear (flywheel?) is the crank shaft counter balance and the pinion is part of the hollow 'jack shaft'. Both are expensive parts that should not be replaced with anything less than OEM parts or exact copies.

The primary set could be repaired or replaced and from Grant's experiance it sounds like anything would be better than the OEM parts.

Nazel uses a bigger flywheel because it is a low speed single step drive. This requires an expensive special order low RPM motor which I suspect Chambersburg was trying to avoid.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 05:13:07 GMT

Wrought Iron Gate: Randy, Look up "Ironworks" or "Blacksmiths" in the Yellow Pages. If you want a first class gate made using traditional OR modern methods, contact MABA, the Michigan Artist Blacksmith Association
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 05:19:02 GMT

I'll admit I don't know too much about the internal gear workings of a Chambersburg self-contained hammer. I do know a lot of them have had gear problems. Sounds like a very complicated system that could be simplified with some thinking and reverse engineering. Never had one apart to study how they work. I thought the gearing was like that of a Nazel. It always been a thought if I ever had a Nazel with gear trouble, Id just convert it to a belt driven hammer.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 05:54:29 GMT

Hello Guru It's me again out here in Nevada since we last talked i have found a couple of anvils for the classes that I run in conjunction with the CBA. I have found and am in the procces of rebuilding a 125lb Hay-buden anvil. It came at a good price but not with out challenges. one of the corners above the cutting step on the anvil steel face has seperated form the base what is the best way to fix it. I have access to all forms of welding (stick, mig, tig, )
Thanks Dave
Dave L  <jetjockey at ironworks.reno.nv.us> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 08:35:30 GMT

Thanks for all the help and advice. I'm waiting to hear back from CECO,on the cost of a new flywheel(secondary or crank shaft gear), the price will be shocking I'm sure. So far the braze, file, scrape and fit approach appears to be my best choice. While cleaning and checking today there was still no obvious problem found, the bearings spin freely, the piston moves easily through its travel, the cylinder walls are smooth and clean, end play and bearing loads seem acceptable as does the gear mesh. More research is called for as I can't affford to let this happen again. The next steps will include complete disassembly and inspection. I'll post as more is learned.
Terry Carson  <tlcforge at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 12:35:47 GMT

More on gear train: Terry, Tony mentioned rotating the gear on the shaft, a good idea but not for a counter balanced gear. This drive is always going to see the maximum load at the same places on the the gear. Your repair, if its load related, will be at the point of highest load.

There IS another repair route that is possibly less expensive than OEM parts. That is to fit a new gear to the wheel. Machine the teeth, a portion of the wheel and a shoulder (about 50% depth) on the wheel. Have a steel ring gear made to fit the shoulder/pilot. Bolt and pin the gear to the wheel with socket head cap screws.

The trick to this is that you will have to specify the gear parameters and provide detail engineering drawings and specifications to the gear manufacturer. The gear material could then be high strength steel rather than cast iron.

You need to study the mating gear VERY closely. Perhaps have it magnafluxed to look for cracked teeth. Unless it is a different material (it may be), there is a high probability that IT is also damaged.

The cyclic load this gear train sees in use is high but it is nothing compared to startup. Three phase motors try to achieve sychronous speed instantly (impossible) but they try. Starting current is often 5x operating current. A hammer that is stopped and started a lot may have more gear problems than one that is run continously. An electronic soft start device could reduce wear and tear significantly. Boston Gear manufactures them to go with their power transmission equipment.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 13:14:47 GMT

Anvil Repair: Dave, There is rarely a good repair of an anvil face joint. I would grind out the area as deep as I could (under the face) to a width that gives access for welding and until the seperation runs out. Then preheat and weld with MIG and post heat to assure slow cooling. Normally you want to peen between passes but I don't let things cool any more than necessary. Lightly peening the face and surfaces around the repair will help reduce stresses that may couse further cracking. Do not try to harden. The result is going to be a soft corner but that is better than a broken corner.

The other option is to grind this portion of the face out at an angle to the body and call it a "plow makers" anvil. :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 13:33:34 GMT

Tony, you might want to try a company that just makes gears instead of dealing directly with Chambersburg. Where are you located? I know a few guys who have used a local company in this area. It wouldn't hurt to give them a try.

Philadelphia Gear Corporation
181 S Gulph Rd
King Of Prussia, PA

Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 17:21:02 GMT

Chambersburg Gear: Oops, yeah, rotating a counterweighted gear would give some interesting results. Can you imagine a Chambersburg doing the LG shuffle dance? Terry, if the teeth broke due to load, and it sounds like this is a common problem with the Chambersburg, I doubt the brazed teeth or any other individual tooth repair will work, so I respectfully withdraw that suggestion. (grin) What is the motor horsepower and the reduction in the first gearset? I'm thinking multiple v belt like the guru suggested or cogbelt (like a car timing belt) or maybe even multiple chain. Chain sprockets can be purchased in segments that can be bolted to the gear blank. The existing gear might be able to be machined for a cogbelt or multiple v- belts. I'm still making assumptions and I shouldn't do that, but I have to admit that it's bugging me. Can the driving gear be modified for belt(s) or chain(s)? or is it part of an intermediate shaft?

Or, along the lines of a new gear rim, is there enough meat in the rim to just machine a new gear segment that would replace just the broken teeth with one toothed section and bolt and pin it to the rim? This would require interesting gear hobbing or broaching, but could be done too. And again, you could make the new segment of higher strength material. Try hard to match the thermal expansion rate to the existing gear. .75% carbon should be close to gray iron.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 20:12:45 GMT

I'm not sure what i would do other than get the replacement gear. Chain or belt would be difficult due to the close spacing of the gears and the lack of any way to change the center distance to take up slack. With the small gear (or pulley or sprocket) so close to the bull gear it would be hard to get much wrap on the small one. Not a whole lot of room down in that gear case either. Kinda like trying to do the same thing in a car transmission. Can't drive it direct either because then you loose the flywheel that's on the countershaft.

A little aside:

My Nazel 4-B must have been too noisy for someone in the past. The flywheel has been re-machined on the flat belt part and a Morse Silent chain drive (like they used to use for timing chain in a car engine) installed! Nice and quiet! Sure hope it lasts, a new chain is $2,000.00! Bought that hammer almost twenty years ago for $700.00! Delivered!
grant  <nakedanvil> - Tuesday, 05/09/00 23:45:47 GMT

Sorry, my previous post about Philly Gear was directed to Terry not Tony. Stayed up to late last night working. Need to hit the rack early tonight and get a fresh start tomorrow.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 01:45:30 GMT

need help identifying an anvil.
the only word i can make out on the anvil is Brooklyn Ny.
can you help me identify the manufacturer.
David  <david01 at network-one.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 01:55:07 GMT


Life right now is so busy for me, between scouts, eagle project, school, junior leader training, chores, and a g/friend i totally forgot about my pres this wed. Eeeek, i am mailing the last page, i will do it tommorrow if you can get the page done, if not, i am soooooo sorry, things just slip my mind, going through a mental burnout stage from too much leadership responsibilities.

SmithinScout  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 02:59:29 GMT


Hay Budden Anvils were made in Brooklyn, NY. I don't know whether any others were or not. If you can get a picture or two scanned, and send them to me, I may be able to help a little more.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 03:09:41 GMT

Hay Budden: Yep, That's it. One of the best anvils made. Early ones were wrought iron and steel and late ones had an all steel upper body. Tap it under the horn close to the waist. If its got a lot of rebound there its probably a late anvil.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 03:26:23 GMT

I am looking for a coal supplier or suppliers in oklahoma. I am located in tha sw part of the state.
Chuck  <chuckc4 at webtv.net> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 04:30:48 GMT

Thanks Guru, I will try that on this anvil and let you know how it comes out Dave
Dave L  <jetjockey at ironworks.reno.nv.us> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 08:59:03 GMT

Great Plains Blacksmith Association You GOTTA see this! Get out your Red and Blue glasses folks! Blacksmithing has gone 3D!!!!!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 16:12:10 GMT

How are steels and alloys named?
Is there a system that make the abbreviations and numbers understandable or is it simply a matter of memorization.

also, i used a chimney liner that came with a pre cut 8" hole in the side that is intended to receive a stove pipe. I set it on its end, after cutting from the sides of the hole to the base to make an opening that looks like an arched door. It sits at the back of my fire pot and is capped by a peice of steel laying on its top with a hole cut in it for a six inch stove pipe. I piled fire brick up on the side of my fire pot to suggest to the smoke a preferred flight pattern. I can move them easily if i need to work long stock. this system sucks smoke from the fire horizontally and up the stack in a way that pleases and amazes me every time i use it. My old hood is skrap. My forge is in the center of my shop with a triple lumen pipe going through the roof. I will always be thankful to the smith (Bruce Dembling) who encouraged me to use the side draft air purification system, quiet, clean, surene.

thanks. Larry
LARRY SUNDSTROM - Wednesday, 05/10/00 16:23:04 GMT

Steel Nomenclature: Larry, I never saw a forge that worked well with a 6" pipe. That's GREAT! Of course fire size has something to do with it too.

Steels naming conventions are still disorganized but many systems have been used that make some sense. The first real system and the most common still in use is the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) steel number system. It has been merged with the UNS (Unified Numbering System).

The first pair or triplett is the alloy. 10 representing plain carbon steel. The second pair is the decimal percentage of carbon. SAE 1020 steel being a plain carbon steel with 0.20% (or 20 points) of carbon. SAE 1095 is a plain carbon steel with 0.95% carbon. SAE 4140 is a chrome molybdenum alloy steel with 0.40 points carbon. This system was in use for a long time and is still commonly used because it is LOGICAL and UNDERSTANDABLE. None of the other systems can claim to be either.

ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) numbers are primarily performance specifications and DO NOT indicate a specific alloy. Some specs indicate properties that can only be met by (as an example) a nickle alloy steel with 30 point carbon. But they don't say that. They say it has to be so strong, resistant to corosion at elevated materials. . . .

Tool Steels are all very similar in some respects and very different in others. Tool steels are described by a system based on properties of the steel. A-2 is an air hardening steel. There are steels from A-1 to A-10 in this series. The numbers have no specific logic to them. These are the common types,
  • A - Air Hardening
  • H - Hot Work
  • S - Shock Resistent
  • L -
  • M - Molybdenum High Speed
  • W - Water Hardening
  • O - Oil Hardening
  • P - Mold Steels
  • L - Low Alloy

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is a good source for this information. If you need the details on ALL the latest steels you need an ASM Metals Reference Book.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 17:28:13 GMT

Steels: Whoops! H series steels are in two groups 10's and 20's. Ten series are Chromium alloy and 20 series are Tungsten.

Besides the books listed above, ASTM and SAE published Metals and Alloys in the Unified Numbering System as an attempt to help straighten out the mess. THEN there is the pricey Woldmans Alloys of the World that takes all the above AND manufacturers trade names and tries to cross reference all the data. Its a huge book that becomes dated very rapidly (as do most references today).

MACHINERY'S is the one you NEED to start with as it also covers just about every technical shop subject making it indespensible in any metal working shop including the blacksmith shop.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 17:41:55 GMT

And then you can start on the European standards.....;-)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 17:52:19 GMT

Machinery's: Also has a "steel classification" system for applying steels. . . Then there are the MILitary and Japanese standards. . .

And 'would be' sword makers wonder why I tell them to get an engineering or metalurgy education (or both).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 18:19:53 GMT

Guru: I deeply appreciate this resource. Thannks for all the invaluable information, however, I got lost at "Whoops". Is H series part of the SAE system or is it a system all its own? also...what is a good source of nickle or nickle alloys. You mentioned in an earlier question about files that it "Damasced" well with high carbon steel, and i was wondering how to identify it in the scrap yard.

thanks, and you're right, I try for a small hot fire and keep the green stuff back under the chimmney, Larry.
LARRY SUNDSTROM - Wednesday, 05/10/00 19:03:20 GMT

Nickle Steel: Larry, the stuff most commonly used is made for pressure vessels, specificaly boilers and such. Taste it? I'm not sure how you would identify it as scrap except take some home and play with it. Jim Hrisoulas uses it and talks about it in his books.

H as in H-13 tool steel from the list above the "whoops".

Bruce Wallace sent me this URL this AM. It has a lot of information you are looking for. I rarely use these type on-line references and rely on my print references.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 19:47:41 GMT


ALL RIGHT!!!! Way to go, guys!

Now where can I buy a pair of Red and Blue glasses?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 21:10:01 GMT

I realize that iron is your thing but can anyone give me some tips on how to "age" newer brass furniture hardware pieces that have NOT been laquered? Thanks much...Betsy Jack
Betsy Jack  <itsbetsy at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 23:14:42 GMT

Patina: Betsy, I've been told that "Miracal Grow" works great. Clean and degease the brass, make a paste of the fertilizer with water and paint it on. Test a piece for a specific time before doing a big batch.

Chlorox bleach does a number on iron. Never tried it on brass. Use chemicals out doors, wear gloves and safety glasses!

After any chemical treatment to metal it should be washed and neutralized. Neutralization chemicals vary. Baking soda is good for most acids. Rinse is thouroughly too.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/10/00 23:53:42 GMT

Square Wheel Belt Grinder. Ever heard of it? Is it a generic type of grinder or is it a brand? Still being manufactured? Know where I can get a part? Somebody gave me one today with that label on it and it is a beauty, but it needs a sealed bearing rubber-tired contact wheel. An old McMaster-Carr catalog (Number 88) shows it as a "7-in-1 belt grinder," sez it roughs, shapes, contours, internal contours, polishes, buffs. But McMaster now sez they never heard of it. Many thanks for any leads-- please send direct to jneary at cnsp.com
john neary  <jneary at cnsp.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 00:18:36 GMT

Have you or anyone else had any expeirience with "TEXAS FARRIER SUPPLY" anvils they were cast of ductile iron with a high NI and CU content the reason I am asking is I just made contact with the man who was responnsible for making the patterns, casting and finishing of the anvils and am considering a limited run of them my seld
Bob Keyes  <keyes47 at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 05/11/00 13:05:53 GMT

I beleave the "square wheel belt grinder" is a model name for a large maker of grinders. It is used by knife makers for the most part. You might try looking at knife supply dealers. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the maker, I know I will kick myself later when I remember it!

A question for the guru: I just came back from the CBA conference with a chunk of "grader blade" I know it is a tool steel of some sort and that only experaments will say how to handle it. If you could help me with a place to start as to the type of steel it MIGHT be, I would be thankfull
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 05/11/00 13:51:56 GMT

Where can I get the cheapest price for 1 ft lengths of
4140 alloy, 4340 alloy, 4140 aircraft alloy and 4340 aircraft alloy.

scotty - Thursday, 05/11/00 16:46:05 GMT

Aircraft Alloy: Scotty, The only difference between being just plain old ##### and ##### aircraft alloy is that the aircraft grade is certified material meeting minimum standards. You pay for the paper.

1 foot lengths of material come two ways. You pay for cutting. Few places will sell just one short length. McMaster-Carr will sells a great variety of materials in 3 foot lengths and sometimes cut. OR you find someone using the size/type material you need in a screw machine process where the stub ends are scrapped.

Dillsburg Aeroplane Works, Dillsburg, PA may have the certified material. Over the years we have bought a mile of lock wire from them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 17:36:10 GMT

Grader Blade: Wayne, I suspect this is an abrasion resistant steel. Agricultural type steels used for these purposes are 70 to 80 point plain carbon steels but there are also alloy abrasion resistant steels that are medium carbon chrome-moly alloys. Hardness varies from 30,40 and 50Rc depending on grade.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 18:53:48 GMT

Ductile Iron Anvils: Bob, A number of makers have made them. I was told by Richard Postman that farriers liked them because they "wore in". He also mentioned that one manufacturer tried heat treating them and had so many failures that they quit.

High nickel ductile iron has the tensile strength of mild steel and the same hardness as hardened mild steel (about 200HB - 20Rc).

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 19:12:02 GMT

Is there a type of titanium that would be suitable for a knife blade?
Also can titanium be forged in a coal forge?
Thank you, Jim Ellis
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 19:30:15 GMT

Grader Blade: Wayne, I don't know if this is what you have, but blade cutting edges are usually abrasion/impact resistant, not typical "tool" steels. They are hot rolled and usually sold with scale on. I don't know the actual alloy and couldn't find out quickly. I do know that it is not recommended to heat treat abrasion resistant steels after arc welding since cracks can develop in the heat affected zone. Chrome, manganese and boron are typical alloys in abrasion/impact steel. Hardness from 200 to 550 BHN.

Screw machine stubs: We have a number of screw machines here. Yes, we scrap the bar ends, but, depending on the part, they are usually less than 6 inches long for stock up to 2" diameter. No I don't have any chrome moly (41xx)or nickel chrome moly (43xx). Somebody that has longer parts may have longer bar ends.

Two other good sources for smaller pieces of stock are scrap dealers and larger fab or plate burning houses. Burnouts are frequently scrapped. Steel service centers do burnings too, but they are proud of their scrap around here. The current anvil cap on my JYH is 14" diameter and 3" thick 4340. It was a burnout center and I got it for $.02 per pound. Scrap dealers sometimes know what alloys they are getting from their accounts. Locally, they are paying around $65 per ton for steel scrap, so if you talk to them on the right day, you can get it for $.05 per pound. Most scrap dealers around here like beer and donuts. Since I like beer and donuts too, I usually call during the week and then show up on a Saturday morning with beer and donuts. I like junk yards too, but it's hard to know what alloy you are getting.

Sometimes aircraft (or military) cert cost includes the testing on the actual bar to verify conformance to specs and free of flaws. As the guru says, we usually find no difference in steel that is certified and steel that isn't. I would only pay for certs if I really had to have no flaws. Like if I were building an aircraft landing strut.......
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 19:49:21 GMT

Oops, duplication on the grader blade info I see. (grin)
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 19:51:03 GMT

Dups: No that's validation! Better than a double posting :) I had to search to find specs on AR plate. .

Abrasion resistance is a weird property. 304SS is highly abrasion resistant (try to buff it) but is relatively soft. It is also difficult to work via forging OR machining but is not rated as highly as mild steel when used in load bearing applications. Its good for what its good for. . .

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 20:25:30 GMT

Titanium Blade: Jim, Beta alloys are certainly strong enough but the hardness for good blade holding ability is not there. About 43Rc is the tops.

Ti is great stuff but there has never been anything more High-Tech than laminated steels even though they have been around for centuries. Laminated "Damascus" steels have properties of both hard and soft steels. There is no single alloy that can out perform laminated for knives and swords. Everyone thinks "patterns" but the properties come first.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 20:36:00 GMT

Dear Sir,
I have two questions about 220 volt Champion forge blower I just aquired. The thing moves enough air to blow dry a herd of wet horses. It makes lots of honest noise doing it too. First, is there anyway to cut the RPMS in half without using an expensive rheostat? Then I would be happy to control the out put by damping down the intake. I was wondering if this loads or unloads the motor and if there is any reason not to do it. Another solution would be to build it its own house at the other end of the property and hope enough of the air flow is lost to leakage that it is no longer powerful enough to blow the top of my smoke stack off by the time the blast reaches the shop.
thanks for the info'
Larry Sundstrom,mismithing - Thursday, 05/11/00 22:39:40 GMT

Champion Hurricane: (Typhoon ?) Larry, these old blowers came with a big heavy antique rheostat. I've got one somewhere. . . . :)

Just vent off the extra air. Closing the intake OR discharge puts extra load on the motor. Put a T or Y in the discharge. Two butterfly valves may be needed but one on the bypass normaly works fine.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 22:55:58 GMT

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

Or was it Absence Makes the Fart Go Yonder? I can never remember! I'll be out of town for a couple of days, doing the Revolutionary War Re-enactment blacksmith demo thing. Y'all try and behave yourselves till I get back, ya hear?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 05/11/00 22:59:06 GMT

re: typhoon (tycoon) "does got one somewhere" mean anything like "if I run across it I might be interested in selling it"?......just wondering,
have a nice reenactment,
Larry Sundstrom, mismithing - Friday, 05/12/00 00:38:10 GMT

Rheostat: Larry, I know where it is within a few yards. . . It kind of goes with the blower that fits the forge that fits the new fire pot. . . That will all go in my shop as soon as there is a flue for it. :o) Meanwhile, I burn propane.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 01:54:20 GMT


GARY  <SJBOTH> - Friday, 05/12/00 02:22:04 GMT

First, thanks for the info on the grader blade. It only cost me the price of an iron in the hat tickett and as there was little left to choose from, I took the blade home. I will play with it, heck I might make a grader or plow some day:o It might be ok to make a pick with, who knows :D

Guru: are you sure that closing off the intake adds a load to the motor? It seems to me that the blades of the blower will just spin in a low pressure area and would lighten the load on the blower motor. My electric blower is controled by a slide valve on the inlet and it stays runing cool. It doesn't seem to have much affect on the motor either way.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 05/12/00 02:28:45 GMT

I am having some problems with my hammer. Although they seem to pale compared to The gear problem Terry Carson is having. Anyway, when I depress the pedal the ram goes to the bottom and sticks. Then the exhaust doesn't do anything. Could this be the limit switch? Could energizing the system too many times with the pressure too high have damaged something in the valve? I took the 5-way valve apart and didn't see anything visibly wrong. Also, I disconnected the two valves going to the cylinder and the air was flowing only on the side of the top chamber of the cylinder. This was a clue (I think) that it must be the pilot valve not "switching". Does this sound logical? I am going to go get a couple of new limit switches tomorrow. Thenwork backwards from there. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 02:44:12 GMT

LOGIC: Tim, Sounds like you have a handle on it. Microscopic bits of dirt can cause the pilot valves to fail. FILTER? But often the trash comes from the assembly. I've seen gauges and regulators fail because of a little piece of teflon tape or a chip that was in the plumbing. Pieces of hose get chewed too.

Steve Kayne warns that oilers must NOT oil the control valve circuits. These can become saturated with oil and act strangely.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 03:22:00 GMT

FAN: Someone else mentioned the failure of my fan statement. I'm not sure (would have to look up), But I do know that many fans make noise when unloaded by the closure of the intake or discharge. Then noise is probably the bearings being unloaded and rattling around.

I've got a genuine Buffalo Forge Co. Fan Engineering manual on the shelf if I'd take the time. NO, its a modern one. . . no hand crank blowers. :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 03:26:02 GMT

After 21 years with the same company I was downsized out. However, all is not bad. My co-workers all chipped in and gave me an anvil as a going away present! Sure beats a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant... Anyway, just wanted some info on this old anvil. I can make out the first three letters as TRE about an inch high. Below that it appears to say SOLID GROUND and GERMANY. Is this a Trenton? I thought they were American made. Any idea how old? Thanks very much for your help.
Dave C  <dchvilicek at aol.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 03:33:27 GMT

mystery solved: Square Wheel was built by the Olympic Grinding Co. of Seattle, but they sold it in the 1970s to Wilton-- which, tra la!, just might have the part I need, the nice lady in machines division says. Many thanks for the help, Wayne, Guru and all!
john neary  <jneary at cnsp.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 04:12:41 GMT

Trenton: According to Richard Postman, the Trenton brand was derived from the Boker Vise Co. a German family that had a business in Trenton, New Jersey. Later Columbus Vise and Forge made the Trenton. However, very EARLY Trentons were probably made in Germany as several other brands were imported from there in the early 1800's.

I'm sure Richard would like to corespond with you on the matter (or talk about it). His address is in our book review. Send him a rubbing and a photo. Then give him a call.

The "Trenton" was always in a long low diamond <> shape.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 04:14:23 GMT


I failed to check the "contest" mail box for JYH Photo Contest Entries. I had completely forgotten that I had setup that box. Other entries came to my regular mail address. On top of everything else I am having trouble getting the photos off my old PC. . .

Please accept my appologies. Its too late tonight to for me to think straight. I will address the problem tomarrow.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 05:58:44 GMT

Do you know where in the world was the first forge?
Do you know if there was ever a forge used for cooking food?
MA  <manna3000 at aol.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 06:55:26 GMT

I have been making knives for a while using old saw blades and corn knives. I would like to start using O1 steel, but the persons who sell steel around here only have what they call mild steel. Is this the same as O1?
Mike  <csaky at searnet.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 11:55:06 GMT

i am a amature knife maker, and i like pattern welded steel. we have been welding mild steel & spring steel together for the hilts pommels. etc... We are waiting for w1, l6 to try to weld the blade steel. Do have any other suggestions of a blade steel mix.? is there a good test to check my work, because the welds look good-stand up to a hammer. will an acid test show delamination.
david   <bolton at skhylinc.net> - Friday, 05/12/00 13:04:02 GMT

sorry guru, i didn't thank you on my last e-mail for disspelling the myths of smithing.

thanks, dave
dave  <bolton at skylinc.net> - Friday, 05/12/00 13:05:39 GMT

The First Forge: MA, We recently had this discussion and it is believed that the pottery preceeded metal working and that the first smelted metal may have been discovered by accident in a pottery oven and that the same was probably used as a forge. This is all hypothetical (guesses). When is probably a lot longer ago than we think (maybe 10,000) years. 'Where' is absolutely impossible to determine. All this predates writing and the physical evidence has all been erased by time.

Forges are generally too hot for cooking but many a steak has ben cooked in modern times on a forge with the air blast turned off! Forges are nothing more than a heavy duty barbeque grill with a forced air source to increase the intensity of the fire. A fire pit for a camp fire can become a "forge" with the addition of an air source. Early "bellows" were no more than a blanket or animal hide that was raised and lowered to create a flow of air. Air has also been supplied by one or more people blowing through a hollow tube (wood or bamboo).

Knowledge of technology is more important than the physical technology itself.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 13:25:16 GMT

O1 vs Mild Steel: Mike, O1 is Oil hardening manganese tool steel with a little bit of chrome and nickel. It has 0.85% to 1.00% carbon. Mild steel has somewhere between 0.08% and 0.2% carbon. Carbon is what makes the steel hardenable so "mild" steel is not suitable for knives.

W1 comes in a range of carbon contents but it is generaly cheaper than O1. Any steel above about 0.60% carbon is suitable for knife making. Tool steels are generaly purchased from an industrial hardware supplier or a machine shop supply. There are also folks like McMaster-Carr that will sell by mail order or on-line.

I highly recommend that you find a copy of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and read the section on steels. It has both general knowledge and specifics about various steels and their heat treatment. There are so many steels that you must data to refer to.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 13:47:58 GMT

Pattern Welded Steel: David, I am not an expert on the specifics of laminated steel but there are so many combinations and ways to treat them that even the experts only know what works for them. Then there are the applications. The best steel for an extra sharp working knife is not the same best steel for a sword.

Testing the quality of your welds in laminated steel is generaly not a problem. Inclusions show up as ugly black streaks or cracks when you finish the blade. Bad welds generaly have edges that raise like wetted wood grain when you try to polish the steel. YES, this is the "hard" way and a lousy time to find bad welds. It may also be the best.

There are several ways to find cracks in steel. "Magnaflux" is the process of putting the part across the poles of an electro magnet and observing iron powder on the surface. The powder will collect at cracks because they act as opposite poles of the magnet.

Dye penetrant testing is another. A bright colored dye in a solvent base is applied to the part, allowed to set, then wiped off. Solvent is sprayed on the surface. The smallest pin hole or crevice will give and "indication" by bleeding the dye.

Indications are read as "circular" spots, groups and lines. In welds a pin hole may have a cavity under it. Normally this cavity picks up a LOT of dye and bleeds worse than a surface defect.

The only advantage to this test is that it takes no expensive equipment. However the kits are not cheap either. Someone with equipment to test automotive parts for cracks by magnaflux may be helpful and less expensive. Dye penetrant test what you think is a perfectly sound piece of bar stock and you will loose all faith in steel!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 14:11:08 GMT

Fan Mail: I started this noisy fan thing and here's what I meant to say. The fan makes a loud sound because of its high rate of speed. When you block the in take the pitch rises but not the volume, in other words, the fan is going even faster (unloaded) but the noise is not mechanical "error", rather gaseous "air". I talked to a biotech friend at work and he said that if it is rheostat controlled then it is regulated by voltage, so i could slow it down by connecting it to 110 and then further reduced output by dampening input. Can't wait to try.
Larry Sundstrom,m.i.smithing - Friday, 05/12/00 14:26:26 GMT

Thank you for the answer on using titanium to make a knife.
Do you think it would be possible to work or stress harden titanium enough to use for a knife blade?
I am planning on making pattern welded steel, is it practical using a coal forge?
Thank you, Jim Ellis
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 14:59:01 GMT

Thanks for the info!
Mike  <csaky at searnet.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 16:15:43 GMT

Pattern Welded Steel: Jim, If you have to ask about using a coal forge to make "Damascus" then you aren't ready. YES, coal works fine. So does charcoal, gas and oil. You need to practice your forge welding until you can do it blindfolded before attempting more difficult work.

It you want to use something other than steel for a blade consider lamination by another process. The Japanese invented Moku Gane' a pattern welded non-ferrous material used for sword furniture. Brass/Copper, Silver/Copper/ Brass. This process uses braze welding or silver soldering in an oven or kiln. Titanium slabs could be silver soldered to the sides of a thin steel 'blade' . . . The problems with oxidation and differential coeficients of expansion are mind boggling!

Folks that say "everything has been done" don't have a wild enough imagination.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 17:11:30 GMT

Titanium: Some years ago I saw an ad or evaluation in "Knives Illustrated" about titanium knives. They where made by a thin strip of high-carbon-steel (razor stock) in the middle of a titanium body, just as the Guru said.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 05/12/00 17:51:55 GMT

Original Idea: Dang! Someone stole my idea already!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 19:26:38 GMT

I knew I could use a coal forge for pattern welded steel but I was told it was not practical, so I thought I'd ask you what you thought.I'll save the lamination idea for later :)
Thanks again! Jim Ellis
Jim Ellis  <ellis7 at westriv.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 20:01:03 GMT

how would an average metalworking hammer weigh in the middle ages?
scott irwin  <scotisha at hotmail.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 20:23:05 GMT

Practicality: I suspect the majority of laminated steel comes out of gas forges today. However, in the case of Jim Hsrisoulas the local government deamed his coal forge to be in violation of clean air rules when his shop became a business. He converted to gas kicking and screaming. He was legal when he was NOT a business no matter how much coal he burned, but as soon as he became a business it was no longer legal. . .

There are adventages and disadvantages to gas. In general it is easier to forge weld with coal than with gas. Gas forges tend to scale the work heavily. Therefore you have to flux heavily. Flux eats the bottom out of gas forges. Those who produce lots of laminated steel consider the forge lining (if not the entire forge) a consumable that must be replaced every year or so. Normally a gas forge may have a 20 year life or more.

Gas is clean, easy and relatively efficient. The shape of the forge (an enclosure) is very limiting compared to an open coal forge. A gas forge must be sized to the work. Eficiency can be almost zero if an oversize forge is being used to heat 1/4" bar. With coal you just adjust the air back and keep a tighter fire. When you change from making nails and hooks to forging a heavy billet you just toss on some more coal and crank up the air. A big RR forge is just as efficient as a little rivit forge.

Everything is a compromise.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 20:30:46 GMT

I have constructed a small forge in my back yard. It consists of a break drum and some pipeing. I use an air compressor for the bellows but I am looking for a blower or some other form of high volume bellows (the compressor does put high velocity air but not a lot of volume). I need (or at least think I do)the blower to reach the white color for welding. If you have any alternate ideas of what I can do feel free to help.


Jay Elliott
Jay Elliott  <J_boe at hotmail.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 21:24:01 GMT

Guru, I remember reading Dr. Jim Hrisoulas say one time that he had kitty litter (non-clumping) in the bottom of his gas forge to catch the flux. It apparently works for him. I don't know if there are any details that should be known before you shovel litter into your forge, but I would say make sure it has not been previously used for its intended purpose. This is one thing a blacksmith should not scrounge!

A note about the pottery kiln/forge theory. As I read it, the thought was that ancient man had been using native copper already. After firing pottery with a certain glaze and finding flakes of valuable copper, they experimented and discovered how to smelt copper from ore.
Stormcrow  <mbhelm at cctc.net> - Friday, 05/12/00 22:40:56 GMT

Blowers: Jay, Compressed air works but you need a fairly large expansion chamber to reduce the velocity and create smooth flow. A piece of 2-1/2" or 3" pipe about 2 feet long is needed. A screen or some kind of diffuser in the pipe helps. As said, compressed air works, but it is expensive in terms of HP and noise. Generaly compressed air is inefficient in terms of energy use unless you need the high pressure.

Heating and ventilation suppliers often stock small squirl cage blowers with shaded pole motors that are rated 1/20HP or something in that range. Aprox 140 CFM works for a small forge. 300CFM is sufficient for most large forges. 1/4HP is plenty. Quite a comparison to whatever your air compressor requires.

Hair dryer blowers work, so do 12VDC automotive heat/AC blowers.

Hand crank forge blowers work well and so do bellows. Neither is as convient as a little 120VAC blower running on a light dimmer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 22:53:14 GMT

Good Guru; Titanium is difficult stuff to solder or braise to , much like aluminum and for the same reasons,I think. Jewelers use titanium tools to manipulate hard solders for this reason.
Gunther says that sucker rod is often 4340 and it acts like it in my expierience (re Q above).
Scraper blade ( was me that put it in Iron in the hat) is fine stuff for tongs and bending forks and the like, dont know the alloys and there seems to be some variety
Pete Fels - Friday, 05/12/00 23:18:44 GMT

GARY  <SJBOTH> - Friday, 05/12/00 23:48:59 GMT

Gas Forge: I've heard of folks using "kitty litter" its also the same stuff sold for garages to soak up oil (a lot cheaper). One of the better ideas was to use cheap ceramic tiles. Perhaps with a layer of litter underneith to keep them from welding to the forge floor.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/12/00 23:55:50 GMT

Bellows: Gary, The smallest? Do you mean at the widest? Using 12" (nominal) pine shelving I built mine three boards wide. The nozzle block was about one board wide but could be narrower.

It all depends on how big or small a forge and how much you want to be pumping the bellows. This is one of those areas that many years of tradition determined. You can melt metal (a few ounces) in a small crucible using charcoal and a molders bellows (same thing as fire place bellows).

I used the dimensions given in Alex Bealer's and Eric Sloane's books for an average bellows in a general shop. "Average? General?" I thought. Must be the right size. See article on the 21st Century Page. I was very happy with it and Paw-Paw has it now and is very happy with it. I expect it will be in use when we are both gone if an 18 wheeler doesn't get it. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 01:16:12 GMT

what price range does a Buffalo 500 blower sell for very good condition?
jwolfe  <jwolfe at sonet.net> - Saturday, 05/13/00 02:19:40 GMT

Dear Guru,

I have a product that I would like to mass produce. It is actually an inshave (a single-handled version of a draw knife). The total length, (blade, neck and handle)is 10". The blade is curved and approximately 1/2". The quality of the steel does not need to be superb. It needs to hold an edge relatively well and be relatively easy to sharpen. I have dabbled in some blacksmithing and some machine shop work.

My question is, what kind of steel do you recommend for this small inshave? Is there a way I could make these quickly from a home shop? - or could you recommend an affordable manufacturer? The quality does not have to be supreme, just standard quality.
David Gorin  <sarag at neumedia.net> - Saturday, 05/13/00 02:24:30 GMT

Inshave: David, Plain carbon steel takes an edge better than any other. 1060 Makes good wood working tools. Alloy steels like 5160 resist loosing their temper is over heated a little when ground.

Affordability depends on the quantity you need made. You can hand forge almost anything. However, a man with a power hammer can out produce you 50 or 100 to 1.

Bruce Wallace is currently manufacturing a variety of tools for a couple distributors from 5160. Click on "The Guru's" at the top of this page or the Wallace Metal Works.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 03:32:38 GMT

Allknowing Guru,
I am looking for plans on how to build a right angle break on the cheap. I am not bending anything too rigid so a couple of hydralic car jacks should suffice for power on the other hand diamond plate is not responsive to coaxing by haabd . anything you could tell me would be appreciated.
Frank N. Stringer  <_ashaman at excite.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 03:42:55 GMT

Allknowing Guru,
I am looking for plans on how to build a right angle break on the cheap. I am not bending anything too rigid so a couple of hydralic car jacks should suffice for power on the other hand diamond plate is not responsive to coaxing by haabd . anything you could tell me would be appreciated.
Frank N. Stringer  <_ashaman at excite.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 03:45:47 GMT

Frank: Build a frame ("I" beam?) and use a heavy piece of angle iron for the top, corner edge up. Weld a flat piece of plate across the free edges of a second piece of heavy angle and place ,plate side down, atop the hydraulic jacks that are seated in the bottom member of the frame. The I beam flanges of the frame will act like guides.
Good Guru, will this work or is it another pipe dream? And, am I shooting off my mouth where I dont belong here?
Pete Fels - Saturday, 05/13/00 05:25:43 GMT

Brake: Pete, Intresting design. Nothing was said about how heavy or how wide the job . . .

If the plate is too heavy the upper angle will try to spread. If too wide the frame deflects too much. The problem for brakes is that you like to have zero deflection. In the real world this is impossible. So you build as heavy as you can. Angle is not particularly strong diagonaly. But it is easy to reinforce with channel and plate.

Using multiple hydraulic jacks will get the job done and economicaly. Just be sure nothing can slip and pop out of the frame. Normally jacks are very safe but when you make a spring out of a frame you end up with a lot of stored energy in the frame.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 05:49:25 GMT

I met with a pneumatic engineer yesterday. I discovered that I had left out a very important component of the Alabama Forge Council control scheme. I had put the regulator at the inlet to the ENTIRE system. This did not give me the control that I had thought I would have but I didn't know at the time what to expect anyway. The problem I was having the other day was caused by a blocked limit switch as we had suspected. On monday I will change the schematic with the inclusion of the new regulator in line with the TOP cylinder only. This, along with the new compressor should get me to the point where I can do some FORGING! I have gotten a lot of satisfaction out of building this machine but am anxious to start putting it to work (along with the Little Giant which is waiting patiently in it's corner of the shop)TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 13:19:09 GMT

Whoops: Tim, You can use a (large volume) regulator in that position but only to give consistant performance at an even 90-100 PSI. Yes, the point of the AFC mods are to create a different balance between up and down.

On one hand the pneumatic circuitry of these hammers is very simple (switch AB BA AB BA. . ). On the other the dynamics is mind boggling. There is also much room for improvement in the design.

The old steam/air hammers used a relatively sophisticated linkage that operated the valve using a variable rate cam that could have its position adjusted. The people that designed these systems came out of the steam era where complex lingage geometry controling valves was common and well understood. The hardware looks dead simple (good design) but it has very complex dynamics.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/13/00 13:53:32 GMT

Stormcrow...Dr.H does indeed use cheap kitty litter under the floor brick in his gas forge. I have also begun this practice. I sprinkle about 1/2" kitty liter onto the origional bottom brick and lay a 1/2" cast refractory over the litter.The flux eats up the cast refractory after several firings. The litter catches any flux that drips or leaks by the sacrificial casting. I have used this method for about 3 years now without having to replace the origional bricks. Occasionaly I clean out the whole mess and replace with "new" kitty liter and another castable floor slab about 1/2" thick.
R. Guess  <rdguess at bellsouth.net> - Saturday, 05/13/00 17:50:44 GMT

As we all have found out, it take as long if not twice
as long to clean a piece of work as it does to forge it.
I think I spend a third of the cleaning time untangling
the power cords to my angle grinders. I've tried power
cords that look like the type on your phones hand piece
and they don't tangle as fast but when they go south it
is a bigger mess. Does some one make an attachment or cord
that won't tangle up?
Paul Matthaei  <shod at ix.netcom.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 03:00:39 GMT

Cords: Paul, You've hit on a real problem in many shops. Pehaps the biggest problem is cords OR air lines in the work area that get hot work droped on them or pinched by heavy metal.

About the only solution I've seen is relatively expensive and not very flexible.

Cord Reels These can be hung on the ceiling or wall in the word area. Often heavy angle grinders need counter weight reels to make the system work. Cords extend and rewind as needed. Normaly tools are hard wired into the reel and need good strain reliefs on the cord. This can be a parallel or twined steel cable.

Besides cost reels limit where tools will be used and are best in production or semi-production applications. After a few months or a year using a shop you can probably pinpoint where to locate reels. Reels can also be maintainence headaches when they start to wear out.

A less expensive option is LOTS of outlets so that long cords are not needed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 03:37:32 GMT

Good Guru: With the exception of the one Mark Krause just showed at the CBA conference, the homemade air hammers ive seen hit too slowly or too gently to keep the iron hot like the adult hammers do. Is this perception correct? If it is, please rub your Machinery's Handbook and set your overqualified subconscious to work on an elegant (or funky for that matter) solution....we will redouble our devotion and dont mind if you cheat...or do i go too far, oh master?
Pete Fels - Sunday, 05/14/00 06:26:49 GMT

I'm looking for some information on the origin of blacksmithing and how it relates to the modern machinist.
Chris  <paigemaker at cetlink.net> - Sunday, 05/14/00 13:17:26 GMT

I will post my findings on monday or tuesday as to the results of putting a regulator in line with the top cylinder. The "hydraulic" cylinder I am using gives a very powerful stroke in reference to Pete Fels posting. I discussed the schematic with the pneumatic engineer the other day and he suggested using two limit switches, one at the top and one at the bottom. This might be a way to get more control?? I will time my hammer when I get it "dialed-in". Previously I timed it at 120 BPM (beats per min.)But that was with no regulator in-line w/ the top cylinder. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 14:57:11 GMT

Home Built Air Hammers: Pete, I've seen a number and they have all done fairly well. I'll admit that I have not observed many for long periods of time or while doing heavy drawing.

Part of the problem is that almost no one goes by the plans. Most have much heavier rams than the plans call for and still use a small cylinder. Piping is undersized at best.

A while back we had a discussion about design ratios. A Chambersburg 100 pound air hammer has a 15:1 cylinder ( at 100psi) to ram weight ratio. I made the mistake of thinking all hammers should use this ratio. However, as hammers get bigger they move proportionately slower and the ratio drops to as little as 5:1.

The typical cylinder used in Kinyon type hammers is 2.5" (74mm) dia. At ~100PSI this produces 500# force. On a 40# hammer the ratio is 12.5:1 (still less than the 100# Chambersburg). On a 100# hammer the ratio is 5:1 meaning the the machine can run no faster than a huge multi ton beast of an industrial hammer.

IF you follow the logic of the industrial hammers the small hammers should have a ratio higher than 15:1.

The problem with building a 'home built' hammer that runs 400-500 blows per minute is that it takes VERY careful design and engineering as well as robust construction. The whole point of the "Simple Air Hammer" is that it IS simple.

A high performance air hammer needs a larger cylinder, larger piping, custom valving, ramp rate valve linkage, a custom snubber, a heavy frame . . . Hey, we just described a Chambersburg Utility air hammer!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 15:45:42 GMT

Tim C.: Yes, the single pilot valve appears to be simplistic design but reversed is reversed. The logic of a top "switch" gets real complicated. Its the reason industrial hammers and the Bull use mechanical linkage connected to the ram.

There are also two different types of 4way valve.. . Something to do with a neutral "holding" position. Closes ports in both directions. They look identical externaly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 16:07:39 GMT

Origin of Blacksmithing: Chris, How blacksmithing relates to the modern machinist is that ALL machine tools (as well as other machinery) owe their existance to the blacksmith. This is the story of mechanical and ferrous metalurgical technology starting aproximately 3,000 years ago. Prior to that the bronze age developed alloying and most casting techniques which in turn were adopted to the iron age.

In the early 1800's machine tools were being developed that could make parts without the aid of a blacksmith except for the production of the raw material. During the developemntal process all the shafts and forged parts of these machines were made by blacksmiths using the most primitive hand forging techniques. The early machine tool era did not yet have the planer, shaper or milling machine. Dovetails and cross slides were carved by hand from the rough casting or forgings. Parts based on castings were trued, fitted and finished by hand using hammers, chisels, files and scrapers made by blacksmiths.

In the 1830's machines were being developed that could replace the tedious work of chisling parts by hand. Maudslay invented the screw turning lathe and a hand method of producing precision lead screws which in turn were used to make other machines and screws. In the 1830's and 40's Nasmyth invented automatic feeds, the lathe reversing mechanism and the shaper. About this time American inventors were inventing the milling machine. Nasmyth went on to invent the steam hammer which could make even bigger parts or finished parts in closed dies which in turn reduced the need for certain classes of blacksmith while increasing productivity tremondously.

Up until the early 20th century machinists were still required to hand forge, harden and temper their own cutter bits. Today industrial blacksmiths still produce the steel and forgings for many applications that machinists require or do finish machining on. Small blacksmith shops still produce huge quantities of special tools used by industry. Everything from hammers and chisles to crucible tongs.

The blacksmith is still a crucial member of industry. Without him machinists would not have a job.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/14/00 17:53:33 GMT

Thank you
Good Guru
That was a satisfying answer
Pete Fels  <Artgawk at thegrid.net> - Monday, 05/15/00 00:37:47 GMT

A belated thanks for your response to my question about the Trenton anvil. I am quite sure now that it is indeed a Trenton as I can now recognize the long diamond shape around the name that you mentioned. I will get in touch with Richard Postman as well. One more question about this anvil, one leg (or foot?) is missing. It is the one under the horn clip. I thought it was broken off at the body of the anvil, but upon closer inspection there is no evidence of breakage or grinding to clean up a break. The surface has the same "cast" look as the rest of the base. Were there three legged anvils? I'll ask Mr.Postman about this too. Thanks again for your help.
Dave C  <dchvilicek at aol.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 02:11:08 GMT

German Trenton: Dave, The age and location of manufacture of this anvil would indicate a forged wrought iron anvil body (this is conjecture). A grainy texture would most likely be rust. Anvil bodies were often pieced from "scrap" iron and sometimes the welds were not as good as they could be. Breaks in the body were weld failures and would have a relatively smooth surface. On the other hand I have several very old anvils that have major breakage damage and the surfaces are smooth and polished from centuries of use.

You have to remember that there is a good chance that over the past 175 years one or more craftspeople, metalworkers that took pride in the care of their tools, owned your anvil. A rough break would have likely been dressed to match the surface of the rest of the anvil. Time would have taken care of the rest.

I've never heard of three leged anvils but I HAVE heard of and seen several with feet broken off.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 02:44:41 GMT

was there ever a bell casting forge in Holly Springs, AL befor or after the civil war. The confedarates did cast iron for cannon during the war. I am trying to find a source for making church and courthouse cast iron bells as well as the large plantation bells for southern Alabama.
gaga  <p.atha at worldnet.att.net> - Monday, 05/15/00 05:57:04 GMT

Stripping strength of bolt and nut threads
Is there an easy way to calculate necessary thread length when the properties for the nut material is below that of the bolt.
I'm familiar with different rules of thumb regarding this subject, what I'm looking for is an easy to understand formula.
Jarl-Frode Halvorsen  <j.halvorsen at edm.no> - Monday, 05/15/00 15:15:25 GMT

Bolt Threads: Jarl-Fronde, The "rule of thumb" for cast iron and mild steel using high strength bolts is 1-1/2 diameters. At this length the bolt should break before the threads fail. Matter of fact my fasteners book says one diameter. . .

The stripping strength of the threaded hole is the shear strength of the material at the major diameter. For standard threads the approximate area in shear is:
PI x D x L

The area times the material shear strength is the theoretical pull out strength.

A low percentage of thread has little effect on this as the amount of material in shear is the same. However it DOES have a effect on resiliant materials.

The problem with simplified screw pull out calculations is that they do not take into consideration the expansion of the hole under load (Nut Dilation). Screws can pull out of resiliant material (many plastics) without shearing (stripping) the threads. Even in metal it occurs when the threaded part has thin walls or the hole is near the edge of the part.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 16:53:03 GMT

don't you think a hammer under 100# should run 300 bpm or greater, just for efficiencie's sake? it seems to me that their slow striking speed is the only problem of any kinyon type hammer i've seen, including the commercial ones. if the weight isn't there to penetrate and keep the stock hot, it has to be made up for in bpm or continuous reheating of the stock, right?
mark krause  <kbmk13 at prodigy.net> - Monday, 05/15/00 20:13:19 GMT

A strange thing happened to me while tempering a blade I had made using 1/8" layers of alternating mild steel and a round tooth from a farmrake which i assumed was "springable"
steel. (the rake tooth was probably 1/2" diameter drawn out to match the mild steel. I'm pretty sure that I ended up with billet of about 120 layers, formed a small blade and tang out of it, sanded and polished it and then dipped it in muriactic acid to see the patterns. Of course it retained a smooth finish and was soft. After some more finish work I proceeded to temper the blade. While heating it I thought "why not use Gunter's Super Quench?" in order to get the mild steel a little harder before tempering it. After de-magnatizing the blade, I plunged it into said quench until it stopped sizzling and noticed something strange occurring on the surface so I swished it around in the acid and then rinsed it off. From fire to water was only about thirty seconds. It looked like a piece of sand blasted wood. Something had raised the grain in the blade which had retained its soundness and sharped up nicely. the question is ... could this be from swelling in the foreground or etching in the backgroud? If due to the latter, Gunter's Quench deserves to be be called
Super Etch. I have heat treated other laminates but don't remember "raising the grain". Or, is this the usual thing.
I had assumed that the pattern was more in the color then in the tecture, but then again I haven't seen it often except in the picture books. What are your thoughts on the matter, master?
Keep up the good words,
P.S. if you got another post like this from me ignor this one. I thought I exited without POSTing.
Larry Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Monday, 05/15/00 20:35:39 GMT

Hammer Speed: I mentioned some very fast hammer rates in a response to Pete Fells question and yes speed=power and faster forging rates. The rates I mentioned were in comparison to mechanical hammers. Industrial hammers often run much faster than the "NEW" hammers. They also cost 15 to 20 times more! Those fast rates require a very well built machine with a sophisticated control system.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 20:44:07 GMT

Quench: Larry, There is no telling what you did. Quench rates are critical for many steels. Too slow and you don't harden, too fast and bad things happen. Super quench is for mild steel only. Determining the correct heat treatment and quench for laminated steels is a tricky compromise. However, you should go by the most critical steel in the laminate.

Steels typicaly grow when hardened. The technical reasons have to do with the alloy, crystal structure, grain growth and freezing the structure. Some steels grow more than others. W-1 grows a lot, O-1 much less. O-1 is also much more expensive. Hardening any laminated steel could possibly show this but using super-quench is the most likely way.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 21:11:48 GMT

I WAS THINKING: That scares many people, but here goes.... What about a "dead blow" power hammer? In other words, the hammer is a casing filled with sand or lead shot. And maybe with some fluid too. Similar in concept to dead blow hand hammers. I remember that the physics of a dead blow hand hammer on a "normally" hard surface are such that there is less energy transmitted to the work with a dead blow hammer as compared to a regular solid hammer of the same weight. Since hot iron is "softer" than a typical hammered surface, I wonder what the effects would be. Would more energy be transmitted? Has this been done??? The activity of the hammer at the top of the stroke would certainly be interesting too! I can calculate this stuff, but I thought I'd ask to see if it has been covered before. If it turns out to be a good idea, I retain bragging rights. If it's a bad idea, I'll say someone else put me up to it.

Have fun!
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 21:12:52 GMT

Dead Blow: Tony, That's what hydraulic forging presses are for. "A kinder gentler hammer" to paraphrase ex-pres Bush. Instead of 'shocking' the steel like a hammer does, a press gives the metal time to flow and creates better structure. Because of this hydraulic presses are rapidly replacing drop hammers for most critical work and for processing steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/15/00 22:53:48 GMT

Good Guru: The JYH prototype that Mark Krause showed at the CBA conference appeared to have the speed/power combination that the "simple air hammer" lacks.
Pete Fels  <artgawk at thegrid.net> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 00:39:42 GMT

You owe me a nickle Mark.
P-F continued - Tuesday, 05/16/00 00:45:39 GMT

SAH vs Mechanical: First class mechanical hammers such as the Bradley or Fairbanks have as much power and control as the best air hammers. However, GOOD mechanical hammers are more expensive and difficult to build than the SAH. Mark's hammer is more than a JYH. It has had a lot of design and machine work put into it. It also has an expensive (to purchase new) motor control that I expect gives it great flexibility.

The problem with all these comparisons is that to be fair you would have to build two hammers using all new parts and materials and perform all labor at the same rate. Only then do you really know what is cost effective.

The fact that the SAH can be built with nothing more than a good drill press and welding equipment is a great advantage for the builder. A JYH can be built with the same equipment but it takes greater imagination to adapt parts the necessary parts and more time scrounging them. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 02:08:11 GMT

I also must add my $.02 to the air hammer discussion. Mark Krause did demo a MOST IMPRESSIVE air hammer at the CBA spring conference. It ran at 300 bpm and moved a lot of metal indeed. He had only the night before the show, gotten it together and it's "maden voyage" was at the show and for a tool that had not been "run in" it worked near flawlessly!
All this on a 2 hp motor! It has EXCELENT control and was not overly complicated. It does however require access to a machine shop. It has me thinking of making one insted of the helve hammer that I was going to make.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 02:13:10 GMT

I am having much trouble with my hammer and would appreciate your thoughts. I did put an oiler after the regulator on the inlet to the system. After I did that I have had VERY erratic behavior. I know there is not suppose to be an oiler until after the limit valve but a pneumatic engineer told me it should not cause a problem. I installed a new regulator before the 5-way valve port to the top cylinder. When I first plug the air in I can raise and lower the ram by adjusting the pressure in the top cylinder. However when I depress the foot pedal the air bleeds once, the ram goes to the bottom and stays, and the exhaust stops coming out. I am at a loss as to what is going on. I am thinking of taking the oiler off and seeing what that does. I also will reverse the pilots , maybe that is reversed somehow. If I could pick the thing up I would throw it across the shop! TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 04:18:33 GMT

guru and others,
my hammer has a 1.5 hp single phase motor with no controls other than a salvaged on/off switch. there is a considerable ammount of machining on my prototype, but only because that's my background and i like that kind of thing. in fact, the only complicated thing about it is the valving, which i am on the lookout for commercially. hopefully by the conference i'll have it all written down in an understandable way, and it won't be much harder to build than a kinyon. did i mention it was a self contained air hammer?
p.f. make it a quarter!
mark krause  <kbmk13 at prodigy.net> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 05:49:58 GMT

I am a complete novice in the blacksmithing, forging field.
I am a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering Student at The University of Sydney, Australia.
I have been given the task of explaining the manufacturing process of a air craft propeller.
I know so far the blades are made out of forged aluminium, I am under the inpression the aluminium is no more that forgable grade.
If you could help me with the range of aluminium grades suitable for hot forging and an indication of the temperature range such a metal would have to be heated to before it is 'closed forged'.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks for your time

Robert Walker
Robert Walker  <walker at ihug.com.au> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 12:40:46 GMT

Gday again
another question

What size hammer(approximately) would be required to forge a propeller blade of about 4-5 foot long, about a foot wide and 3 inches down to a sharp edge.
I was thinking it would be in the order of 3000-4000 lb
is this reasonable or would they have to be more?

Thanks again for your time

Robert Walker
Robert Walker  <walker at ihug.com.au> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 12:56:27 GMT

Whoops: I had mistaken the discussion of Mark's new hammer with that of Dan Dryers Proto JYH which is a mechanical hammer using a variable speed control.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 12:57:16 GMT

I am just starting out in this forging business. I have just purchased a
Jay Elliott  <j_boe at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 14:52:51 GMT

I hope I am not taking up your valuble time but I have a simple question. I would like to purchase a large 150lb+ anvil that is oldand for decorative puposes only. I would not know where to begin to look but I am very interested in purchasing one. I live in new york city and would appreciate any help on the matter.thank you in advance
Anthony lisske  <lisske757 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 14:54:29 GMT

I'm just starting out in the forging business. I have just purchased a "squirrel cage" blower for my brake drum forge. The guy I got it from said it would reach 1000cfm (I know..way too much) so I will keep it on the low setting wire. A Guru said that I could wire a dimmer switch to it but the guy at the heating and air place said it could burn out the switch. I have to get (or make) a reducer from 6"X10" to a 2" pipe, is ther anything I need to know about this (i.e drastic reduction/increase in CFM). Also, is re-bar to poor a metal to be of any use? And finally, are there any tips, suggestions of folding?


Jay Elliott
Westminster, SC
Jay Elliott  <j_boe at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 15:05:20 GMT

1000 CFM: Jay, that will run a BUNCH of forges. You can put a shutter (slide valve) on the intake or dump extra air. Dimmers and ceiling fan controls will not work on the size motor you have (1/4 or 1/3 HP?).

Normaly a reduction in pipe size wants to be a smooth transition but in this case losses don't matter. Do it any way you can. . .

Rebar varies a lot. Generaly it is higher carbon than mild steel and can be hardened. Old rebar was not very good steel but modern rebar must meet certain standards. However, these standards do not make it a particularly good steel for anything other than what it is designed for. Lots of it DOES get used by blacksmiths that work with scrap materials.

Prop question in progress. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 15:39:55 GMT

OLD ANVIL: Anthony, Generaly OLD in this business is 200-300 years. A vast number of anvils in use today are 150-200 years old and the majority are about 100 years old.

Anvils are still manufactured new but not in nearly the quantities of 100 years ago. The pattern (shape) of most new anvils is the same as anvils 150 years ago.

Cheap cast iron anvils have been made in the past AND present. They are useless door stops to blacksmiths, but perfect for your puprose. New cast iron anvils are available from farm suppliers and are generaly imported from China. Average price is $1/lb new and less used. Strip it, let it rust and in no time will look old to anyone except an expert.

Good used anvils sometimes sell for as little as $1/lb but more commonly for about $2.50/lb. Average weight being 125 pounds. Your best bet is one of the many tool and equipment dealers down in Brooklyn OR to go upstate to one of the monthly meetings of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths. There are almost always "tailgaters" (part time tool dealers) at ABANA-Chapter meetings. Tell them you are looking for a "junk" cast iron anvil. Your posting here may also get you some responses.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 16:09:34 GMT

Aluminium Prop: Robert, Almost all aluminium alloys are forgable.

The ASM Metals Handbook, lists 1100, 2014, 1025, 2218. . .6061. . . 7075. . . X7080. Forging temperatures vary but are in the range of 785°F to 840°F for most alloys. 1100 series is lower 600°F to 760°F and 6000 series higher 810°F to 900°F.

1100 series takes less pressure to forge than mild steel but the higher alloy aluminiums take more. I suspect their is a specific alloy used for props. In general a hydraulic forging press would be prefered to a hammer. The press would alow the metal time to flow and fill the die. Due to the large hub on a propellor the forging would be "blocked" first in blocker dies and then finished in another impression. Preferably in one heat. Any press big enough for the dies should have sufficient capacity.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 17:13:29 GMT

Hello guru. What is used to make steel have an iridescent ppearance?
DAN  <danielrimweld at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 17:44:15 GMT

I am building a side draft forge and I've seen pictures of forges with a smoke shelf. Could you give the dimentions for the smoke shelf. Also how high above the draft opening should it be located? Also mabe some ideas on the forge it's self. thanks
Roy  <bittercreekspurs at cs.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 18:09:12 GMT

My question revolves around coal......How does coal for blacksmithimg difer from coal for heating, boiler use, etc?
Chuck  <priputin at bellsouth.net> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 21:36:39 GMT

Side Draft Forge Flue: Roy, there are front and back photos on the last page of our 1998 ABANA conference coverage in the NEWS. The smoke shelf in that unit is half the depth of the "hood". There are photos of one in use in the AFC edition.

The important aspects of side draft flues are the opening and the stack. The opening needs to be fairly small and close to the fire. The small opening creates a high velocity flow of air across the fire. The stack needs to be as large as you can afford. Occasionaly someone gets away with a 6 or 8 inch (153-203mm) pipe but 10 or 12 inch (250-305mm) diameters are more likely to work satisfactorily.

A good size forge is 2' x 3' with the firepot centered in one end. Edges 2" to 3" help hold the coal but deeper get in the way. Cutouts centered on the firepot droping the edges to 1" help with long work. The firepot is normaly 4" to 6" deeper than the bottom of the forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 21:45:49 GMT

Coal: Chuck, There is no difference. EXCEPT you can get away with lower grades of coal in bigger furnaces. Blacksmith's need the best grade of coal available. Low sulfur, low ash, high BTU, just enough volitiles.

Most coal sold as "stoker" coal for domestic heating furnaces with automatic stokers is a good grade of coal. "Stove" coal is sometimes the same but in larger lumps. However it can also be higher ash and volitiles than is suitable for blacksmithing.

The best way to tell if local supplies are suitable are to ask local blacksmiths. The next best way is to take home 50 pounds and use it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/16/00 21:57:16 GMT

Gurus: re Quench: I hope I did not give you the impression that I was unhappy with the results of quenching a damascus blade in Super Quench. The "etch effect" is beautiful.
That this is caused by different growing rates of steel, certainly seems plausible. The question is, "when using scrap materials, can results be repeated?" I think the answer is clearly, no. I am wondering if this raised grain occurrance is normal to other Damascateers? to PawPaw?
Larry Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Wednesday, 05/17/00 00:00:11 GMT

Grandpa, excuse me for calling you Paw Paw, its a common mistake for a long time but not native born virginian.
Larry Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Wednesday, 05/17/00 00:08:47 GMT

I am presently building a new forge. I need a shop drawing for the forge that will show firepot, tuyere, ash dump, air gate, hood, etc.. This will a permanent forge to be built in a wooden building with cement floor. It will be powered by a hand blower.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Paul.(rank beginner)
Paul Clapper  <hedy at nbnet.nb.ca> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 00:27:54 GMT

Hi. My name is Peter Mellner, from Italy.

Can You give me an address (Internet link or everything else) of a sword producer that can create a model of blade/sword that I want?

In fact, I have a dream that is to complete my
collection of blades: the one piece that
I miss is ... the "Last sword".

Greetings from Italy, and excuse for my poor english!!

Peter Mellner
Peter Mellner  <zerofear at libero.it> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 00:29:39 GMT

Hello, I'm having a little trouble getting coal started in the firepot. What's the best way to light a forge fire?
Earl Russell  <ffunm at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 01:23:08 GMT


I don't have any idea. Damascus is not my field. But Grandpa Daryl might be able to help.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 01:30:42 GMT

Custom Sword: Peter, Here are the two of the best:



Tell them I sent you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 02:31:49 GMT

Coal: Earl, Coal can be a little cantankerous. Many of us fire up an oxyacetylene torch. . . .

It helps to keep your coal dry (indoors or under cover). You almost always need clean wood kindling, carboard or similar. GOOD dry coal can be started in a clean forge with a ball of newsprint but damp coal in dirty forge needs a good little wood fire.

Once the kindling is started shovel coal on the fire from around the sides leaving a hole in the center. Gently turn up the air (or crank/pump faster). If the coal starts to catch you can fill the center and then poke a small hole in the pile. I use a slightly curved "poker" with a pointed end for this.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 02:54:14 GMT

I bought a used anvil at a reasonable price. It looks kind of like a farrier's anvil but not quite. I weighs about 100 lbs. and has the name FULTON on it. Do you know anything about this beast?
mark  <mskpsm at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 02:55:04 GMT

My son is trying to find info about "Whitesmiths" for a school report. He needs to know what they used, what they wore, what they charged, ect... Your response would be appreciated.

Wayne and Doug
Wayne Simmons  <WMS007 at dotplanet.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 03:36:29 GMT

Larry: I don't have any experience using "super Quench" so cannot address you question properly. In my experience, raised grain (right out of the hardening quench) is usually a function of differences in scaling rates of the two metals as they were being heated.
Peter: There are several custom sword makers listed in the links section of "Swordforum International". How about Fulvio Del Tin there in Italy?
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 04:14:34 GMT

Dear guru

I understand that the temperature of iron can be deducted from the color of the thing. The colors have descriptive names like cherry red. Is there somewhere in the net a color - temperature table. I have not found such. (Cherrys come in many colors here in very north)

Best wished Heikki Putkonen, Oulu, finland
Heikki Putkonen  <putko at rieska.oulu.fi> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 12:05:14 GMT

Fulton Anvil.

According to ANVILS IN AMERICA, (p225) by Richard Postman, they were made for Sear and Roebuck in the 1920's. He doesn't know who the maker was.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 12:34:58 GMT

Color Chart: Heikki, ABANA had the Tempil Guide to Ferrous Metalurgy posted on their old web site and I'm told are going to repost it in the future.

We have a Flash EXE version that we have not distributed. I'm looking into it now.

Judging temperature by color requires practice and consistant lighting. Ambient lighting makes a huge difference in the precieved temperature. Errors of 500°F (230°C) are easy to make between indoor and outdoor lighting. When this was the primary method of judging color it was done in the near dark and only after the viewer's eyes had adjusted to the lighting.

Yes, the old descriptive names were great, sunrise red. . . Is that with or without smog? In American culture "cherry" red is just a little brighter than "Coke-a-Cola" red. . . or is it "Fire Engine Red?" :) Blood red is sort of universal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 14:40:30 GMT

Whitsmith: Wayne and Doug, Go to our archives and pull up these weeks and search on "whitesmith"

April 14 - 21, 2000
March 15 - 21, 2000

Some of the details you ask depend on the time period and are details that might be found in a book on Colonial Craftsmen.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 15:05:55 GMT

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/17/00 15:56:53 GMT

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