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 21 - 31, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Iam doing a reserch on medieval metalworking, can you give me some information? or else could you tell me some good resources that would be good?
matt marino  <rmarino255 at aol.com> - Monday, 05/21/01 23:00:31 GMT

I just picked up a B.B. Noyes Shoeing vice and bolt header which is very similar to the Little Giant one showed on pg. 182 of "A Historical Guide to "Wagon Hardware and Blacksmith Supplies" edited by Spivey. It's in good
working order but is missing some optional parts. I think I can make all I need but I need to see or hear what some of the parts look like. Can you help?

Does anyone have a vice like one of these that they are using?

My fixed jaw side has a 5/8" half round in the face. The swing side is flat. In the picture, it looks like both jaws should have half rounds in them. Is that correct?

When I drop in a 5/8" rod to be headed, it seems to line up vertically too close to the rack teeth of the adjustable post. That would be a function of jaw depth. I suppose I could shim out the 5/8" jaw I have. If you have one of these, how far from the rack teeth does the bolt line up? (I would think it should be in the middle of the adjustable post.)

Does anybody know why the swing side can rotate vertically? Is that so it will always mate with the fixed jaw? Duh... I think I answered that one.

My next question is only a guess. The center toothed rack post, that is adjustable and I assume for bolt length, is what I think supports the end of the bolt. However, the top of this is not really flat. Am I missing an
"anvil" top for this? If so, how is it attached to the rack and does it have a receiver for the bolt end?

Thanks for any help you can give.
Walt  <wmullett at bright.net> - Monday, 05/21/01 23:43:54 GMT

Guru, I prefer HEAVY old made in the U.S. no matter what. Even if it is "over used".
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:41:22 GMT

Caulking Heading Vise: Walt, You answered most of your own questions. . .

The outer jaw is supposed to match the inner. Unless the last use was working some half round, which is possible since some shoes are made from half round stock.

On the rack there should be a heavy block with a bolt that goes through the slot to hold the block engaged into the teeth. This is the stop block or bucking block. These are often missing.

I don't quite understand the missing anvil part. However, these vises were made for quite a while by two different makers and there were minor differences between the two and between models as they improved the product.

There is a coil spring that opens the jaws when you take your foot off the pressure lever. This is often missing.

The biggest problem with these vises is that there are no parts available and I have never seen one that wasn't missing something. Spare jaws in matching sets are very rare. Most are missing the stop block or more basic parts. I've seen a few that had no jaws at all and they are NOT an easy shape to make.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:45:26 GMT


If ABANA does not re-think their opinion by the next meeting of the NCABANA, I will do three things.

At that meeting,

1. I will make a motion that the NCABANA change it's name to the North Carolina Blacksmith's Guild.

2. I will make a motion that the NCBG direct a letter to the ABANA Board of Dictators telling them in polite words to go pound sand.

Immediately after that meeting, I will cancel my membership in ABANA, and I *WILL* tell the board of dictators to go pound sand. I probably will not use polite language.

Dictatorship of ANY kind makes me furious!

(or had you figured that out already?)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:53:44 GMT

wishfull thinking. If I could afford a new anvil in the two to three hundred pound range what are the best and what are the mostg practical. Thanks-Burnie
burnie  <wbfree at bendcable.com > - Tuesday, 05/22/01 01:34:03 GMT

Medieval: Matt, Look around here. Blacksmithing has not changed much in 3,000 years. The biggest difference was that iron was very expensive so that even tools like anvils were smaller then. Charcoal was the primary fuel and everything was done the hard way. Check our Armoury page and the illustration lined there. Then see if you can find a copy of Diderots Encyclopedia. It is from the 1700's but tools and techniques were VERY close to those of your earlier period.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 01:46:40 GMT

Big Anvil: Burnie, A hard decision. Peddinghaus is the last forged anvil made but the largest is 275 pounds and they are not very pretty. Nimba makes nice LARGE anvils for a reasonable price. There are several dealers selling Eastern European cast steel anvils that are the best price for their size.

In anvils that are no longer made Hay-Budden was probably the best. Followed by Mouse Hole and Peter Wright.

I want a nice 100-125# anvil for portability and then maybe a 400-500 German Style double horned anvil. I'll probably end up making the larger one.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 02:02:54 GMT

I found a place here in bend that has a 5inch thick slab of steel but I dont't know the type(steel) it is, also I have no knowledge of how to handle the heat treating and putting a top layer on it but I would still attempt it if I knew the right steps to take. I am a rank beginner so I am probably not qualified to attempt this but I do need an anvil as the one I am borrowing(vulcan130#)is doa. Let me know what you think. Thanks-burnie in Bend, Oregon
burnie  <wbfree at bendcable.com > - Tuesday, 05/22/01 03:57:18 GMT

I had a couple of wooden half kegs for slack tubs, one in the shop and an extra outside for demos under a shed roof. Filled both of them with city water and started quenching and cooling steel in the inside one right away. Two days later the outside one which had clean water in it, mostly to keep it tight, was alive with mosquito larvae. The one inside has never had any mosquitoes in it. This in Southern Louisiana where we know about the things that fly and bite.
Rob  <whthrst at bellsouth.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 05:54:17 GMT

Steel Slab and Hard Facing: Burnie, for starters you need to figure out what kind of steel that is. Most of this heavy stuff is nasty old A36 structural steel. It is a low carbon or "mild" steel and quite weldable. However, occasionaly pieces of plate are medium carbon like 4140 or even high carbon die steel. These require care in welding and heat treatment. A spark test can tell you approximately what the carbon content is. However, on heavy flame cut stuff be sure you are not testing scale or flame modified material. See discussion above (to be archived SOON) on spark testing.

There is several very good articles about making anvils and using hard faceing rod on them on Metal Web News. See the link from our anvil series on the same subject.

NOW, some words on hardfacing. The rod is expensive, the electricity to apply the rod is expensive, the labor to apply the rod and clean and grind between passes is a major investment (ie, als expensive). The combined is more expensive than just ordering a piece of tool steel to make the upper half of the anvil. All late forged anvils were (and are) made from a tool steel upper and a cheap low carbon steel base. It is still the best way to make a fabricated anvil. In the end you will need to harden the face but doing that by flame hardening is MUCH less involved than building up with hard face rod.

Currently my posted "plan" for a slab built anvil is not my best recomendation. However, something like the Hoffi look alike it a good candidate for torch and weld fabrication.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 06:52:48 GMT

Wood Slack Tubs: Rob, I seem to remember not having any trouble with my rusty nasty slack tub unless I refilled it and it set for a long time without use.

To keep those wooden kegs or recyled aging barrels from falling apart they need to be kept wet. But invariably they will dry out and it only takes a few days in the hot sun to find it has changed into a pile of rings and staves. I've carefully reassembled these several times and its not always easy. When the barrel is well soaked tighten the rings. Then drill holes in them at each stave for small screws or nails. Then when the wood dries out the container will not fall apart. It will become very loose, but it won't fall apart.

It's kind of old fashioned but I really like an old oak slack-tub.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 07:07:34 GMT

Do you know who I can talk to about getting a stamp made?
chris bernard  <cbernard53 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 12:09:26 GMT

Mr. Dempsey,
Recently bought some O1 from your "store". When I spark tested it I couldn't see any difference in it and mild steel. (same grinder and low light I always use). I thought that the spark burst was caused by tiny bits of carbon exploding. No scientific reason, just speculation. The corollary to that theory was that the more carbon in the steel, the brighter the starburst, the harder the steel. Well, I made a chisel out of this stuff and heat treated it per your directions. The result were ten times more rewarding than the cost of the material. Hopefully, the spark-testing kit you are coming out with will eliminate that moment of doubt that is caused when a pretty expensive peice of steel is laid on the wheel and sparks don't fly.
Can you explain why O1 sparks so undramatically?
Lessons for the junk yard dog.
Every thing that brightly sparkles isn't necessarily hard. (example: case hardened jail bars)
Every thaing that doesn't, ain't necessarily junk.

Next question: may I have your permission to copy and post
Paw Paw's 12 commandments on the door of my shop?
L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 05/22/01 13:54:08 GMT

Rules: Larry, You need to ask Paw-Paw. Send him an e-mail.

See my response on the Spark Test above (or last weeks archive in a few minutes. . )

Yes, working on the spark test kit. Some material ordered.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 14:24:53 GMT

O1: Larry, I tested A-2 (as reported above) and got the expected results. O1 should test the same.

On that expensive steel, either setup a shop color code and paint the end of bars OR stamp an ID into the bar. Best is to paint and stamp using the paint to indicate where is stamped then you don't need a bunch of colors.

THEN be sure NOT to saw off that end of the bar. Yeah, sounds dumb but I've had several people do it in our shop. . . When I noticed one of the guys machining a piece with the paint and mark I commented that we needed to order some more H13. . . he said, "No, there is still most of the bar in the stock room. . " I asked it had re-marked the bar and he asked, "Why?"

Well it turns out he thought it was better to know what material the piece he was machining was made of and thought the marking was real convienient. But didn't think about the fact that there was a reason we marked all those bars in the first place. It seems obvious but logic fails us sometimes.

There is a big difference between A2 and S7 or H13. All will air harden but the results and usefulness varies. They will all LOOK the same and spark test so similar that I doubt that you could tell the difference. I have some 405-SS that looks like nice new carbon steel. *I* know what it is but would someone else coming into my shop??? Not without a laboratory test. 405-SS has the color of most carbon tool steels and is magnetic. It will probably spark test a little odd but its a BIG bar. Too big to apply to the bench grinder. And its about the same cost as annealed tool steel.

Anyway. . Mark that steel. Two years from now you won't have a clue what it is. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 14:50:19 GMT

Stamps: Chris, Centaur Forge has them made. They have an expanded section on them in their new catalog. Give them a call at 1-800-666-9175. I think they require a written order for stamps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 15:06:22 GMT

Chris: You can also get stamps from Off Center Products through Kayne and Son, an Anvilfire advertiser.
Phil  <blacksmith at about.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 16:41:27 GMT

We have an anvil with 1847 William Foster and what looks like a crown on it. Can you tell me anything about it?
sue cook - Tuesday, 05/22/01 16:48:18 GMT

Howdy, got 2 questions. I saw the write-up on rebar and verified the hardness factor, what would need to be done to soften it? I would assume heating it quite hot and slowly cooling, but how slow for that kind of steel? Well I guess I have 3 questions, the other one is how well does concrete filled with rocks hold up to forge temperatures? I have an old college pigeon nest forge that seems to be made of brick, stone and concrete and I am a little worried that it will start to clinker up the place.

Thanks! (sav'n up for that membership ;-))
tom B.  <tom.barnett at isd.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 17:03:17 GMT


I bought an old cast coal forge over the weekend that was in perfect condition. There was not a crack or a split anywhere. I have used it twice and there are now four 6" cracks radiating out away from the clinker breaker. What am I doing wrong and is there anything I can do from stopping the cracks from lengthening?

robert  <thomson at biomed.med.yale.edu> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 17:10:44 GMT

Robert, Did you put out the fire with water? If so that is where your cracks came from, cast iron needs to cool slowly. Other than that I'm not sure what else would cause them. As for stopping them the only thing I know is to drill a hole right on the edge of the end of the crack. I think that works & if not I'm sure the Guru or someone will correct me.
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 17:47:52 GMT

Softening: Tom, You would need to "anneal" the steel. To do this you heat the steel a good bit above the non-magnetic point. For aproximately 30 point steel this would be 1600°F. Then cool as slow as possible. To do this you can bury the hot steel in dry wood ashes, vermiculite or lime. It may still be hot the next day.

Concrete does not hold up well to direct exposure to forge temperatures. But these are only reached in a small portion of the forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 18:11:50 GMT

Mike Roth,

I did not put the forge fire out with water, but I did rake the coals away from the center to speed up the cooling. It was late evening both times. Perhaps the cool night air caused the problem. I will drill at the edges of the crack as you suggest.


robert  <thomson at biomed.med.yale.edu> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 18:52:07 GMT

Forge: Robert, Some of these old forges are labled "clay before using". In other words they wanted the forge lined with fireclay. However, I've never seen a problem unless a really HUGE fire was built in the forge and generally do not recommend claying. In most cases the clay traps water and increases corrosion problems. I seen dozens of old fire pots in use in various shops that have never been clayed.

Is this a cast-iron pan forge OR a forge with seperate fire pot (looks like a heavy upside down truncated pyramid)?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 19:06:27 GMT


Your anvil is probably a forged anvil, made by William Foster, probably in Sheffield, England in 1847. The stone weight should be on the other side of the anvil from the crown. Rub it with a scotch brite pad, and then do a rubbing, you should be able to make out the numbers that way.

Sometimes the crown symbol is used to indicate that the pattern or the maker was approved byt the English Monarch, but not always.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 19:39:45 GMT


It is a large cast iron pan forge with a detachable ash chute and air intake. I can not make out any writing anywhere on the forge. Do you agree with the suggestion of drilling holes to stop the spread of the cracks?

robert  <thomson at biomed.med.yale.edu> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 19:54:03 GMT

I have an old round forge that has a lever operated blower.
It too developed a crack. A few of the old timers I know. (PawPaw even older than you! ...grin) told me to drill and tap 3 or so pairs of holes on either side of crack then on teh bottom/outside of forge bolt on several 'band-aide' patches then grinf the end of teh bolt sticking thru into the forge off. It stopped further crack growth.
But now the really important question is this. Why did you get a crack in the first place? was it water on a hot forge? Or like in my case due to metal fatique? I found that when using the lever it placed a lorge amount of stress on the forge pan. This is what I believe to have cause the 2nd crack in my forge and more than likely the first as well. So I retired this forge from use, except when I hook my elect blower to it. But since I have a larger and deeper forge (the truncated pyramid type Guru mentioned) I use that one the most.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 21:03:41 GMT

who knows how to make an old fasiond pair of big bellows
Johannes  <johannes at mine.be> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 21:04:29 GMT

Cracks: Robert, Drilling holes at the END of the cracks is a standard stress relief procedure. The trick is finding the end of the crack. The center of the drilled hole wants to be about where the end of the crack is and there can be no crack further than the hole. The hole should be close to the metal thickness in diameter.

In this flat pan type it was probably thermal expansion that caused the cracks and the forge should probably be lined before using it again. Oldtimers that didn't use clay would have used loose sand or dirt under the coal fire bed. However, the cracking can also be caused by stress on the air intake fitting as Ralph mentioned. A missing bolt or bracket on the blower assembly can produce a huge overhung load on the bottom of the forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 21:40:00 GMT

BIG Thunderstorm! Be back later!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 22:12:56 GMT

I am with paw paw, I think that ABANA is being rather rash about their actions.. I may have to reconsider my membership when it comes up. I joined ABANA thinking it would be a benefit me as a beginner, so far this site has been much more informative by far! so I may just going the ciber/smiths and forget the other political junk and try to enjoy my time spent chatting with a group of fine people that come here. sorry if I am out of line!
Steve   <smithecrab at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 22:21:19 GMT

I need to learn how to spell.. should read * join *
Steve   <smithecrab at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 22:23:13 GMT

Caulking Heading Vise: Guru, Thanks for the response but ...

This vice is complete with "bucking block" (good term), adjusting bolt, return spring and the set of jaws I described. Besides the spare jaws, what I think is missing is something that went on the top of the bucking block. (This is what I called an "anvil" - see below for reason.)

If I understand the use of this vice for heading bolts, you adjust the bucking block for bolt length (up to 21"), then place your headed rod vertically on the block with the top clenched in the jaws. (There is room enough in the throat of the jaws for you to hold the rod with your tongs until clenched by the jaws.) The heated end would extend far enough above the jaws to hold your header and still have enough material beyond that to swedge into the head.

So far so good?

I would think that the jaws only hold the stock firmly enough to resist swelling below the header and the top of the bucking block resists the movement of the stock. (Like it does when you hold stock vertically on the anvil and upset the end.) Therefore the hole through the closed jaw would be exactly the diameter of the virgin stock because you don't want to compress the shank of the bolt and you don't want any swelling below the header.

The top of my bucking block is NOT flat. Looking at the 1" thick block from the side, the top 3/4" is necked to 3/4" thickness and the end has only a 3/8" thick flat with the inside raidiused to the neck. Not wide enough to catch the end of my stock until I grab it with the vice jaws.

It doesn't make sense as it is. It looks like something could fit over the top of the bucking block and still slide down past the rack teeth but there is no retaining mechanism on the end of the block. No bolt/screw hole but could it be a simple cap held on by gravity?

If there is a missing cap (anvil), the only reason for removal would be if the cap had a "self centering" recess, sized and positioned to match the jaws, which would capture the bottom of the stock and prevent it from jumping out of vertical. Does that make sense? The radius would allow easy removal of the cap.

Thanks for any comments and if anyone has a picture of what they have, I would sure appreciate it.

Thanks, Walt
ps... I still think the jaws would be fairly easy to make.
Walt  <wmullett at bright.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 22:27:25 GMT

thanks for the information on anvils. I have decided to buy a new one when I can afford it. My choices are the anvil from the chec republic or a nimba anvil, both 260#'s. The difference in price is about 400.00. My next question would be is there 400.00 difference in quality and if there is maybe I should save a little longer. Right now I am using a vulcan130# and it is dead so almost anything wouild be an improvement. Thanks-Burnie in Bend
burnie  <wbfree at bendcable.com > - Tuesday, 05/22/01 22:34:38 GMT

SUNDSTROM / SPARK TEST. Re the 01 compared to mild steel, there should be quite a difference in the spark shower. The 01 is a darker color, a kind of orange/red, the bursts are irregular (almost ragged looking), and at the end of the carrier lines, there is often a separation and a spear. The spear will often curve into a mild "J" shape. The mild steel spark is "yellower" than 01, the bursts are about the same frequency, but have more straight lines than the ragged 01 lines.

I would suggest first, dress the grinding wheel to rid it of any residual loading. Press the test piece very lightly against the top portion of the wheel so that the shower goes out into the room. By pressing hard, you get a big shower...very hard to read. Remove or move the tool rest if need be, so that the shower does not hit it a bounce off. Look at the shower about half way out and toward the end, not next to the wheel. Reading the sparks properly takes some practice. Always compare the unknown to a known (unless you're hot spit). The test works fairly well on plain carbon steels and on low alloy steels. It is really tricky on many of the high alloy steels.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Tuesday, 05/22/01 23:27:12 GMT

Is there a web site that I can get yield strengths and shear strengths etc. for typical bar crossections used by blacksmiths? My tables are more for structural I beams and large channels and tubing.
Thanks for any help you can give.
David Robertson  <drobertson at bmts.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:16:10 GMT

Walt: Remember your vise was made for making horseshoes. I'm not a farrier, and I don't play one on TV, but it seems to me that turning a caulk or clip on a shoe is a lot different than heading a bolt.

Burnie: Have you looked at Laurel Machine & Foundry anvils? They're made in USA, cast steel, and in my limited experience (one week of hard use) they seem equivalent to a kohlswa. They aren't quite 260 pounds, they're around 200. But they're competitively priced. And no, they didn't pay me. I used one for a week at John C. Campbell. Look at www.lmfco.com for specifics.

Tony: Doh! I meant 4 times diameter! You ARE right (grin!)
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:21:50 GMT


This vice is both for making shoes and heading bolts. I'm not a farrier either so I'm also curious how the curved slots in the shouldered area on the front of the vice is used both that question is for another time. For now I want to learn how to use it, along with the dozen headers I have, for heading bolts. I don't think you can use the headers without having a working heading vice.

Walt  <wmullett at bright.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:39:02 GMT

Forge Lining...None of my forges{3} are lined. I don't use water to cool them off. Just a sprinkle can to control the fire. A old soup can with holes in it and a long handle. I rake out the coals and place a plate of steel over them to cool them down. Works for me.. TTYL........Barney
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:51:25 GMT

On this ABANA thing all I have to say is this. And it also goes for state and Federal elections.
The Board positions are elected! If you do not like what is being done with your organization vote them out! Quit talking and bitching and do something.
If everyone leaves we will have lost an important tool. One that looks like it is being misused right now.
Remember it is your organization, it is your responsiblity to ensure that our duly elected boardmembers do as WE ask!
Now I must ask you, did you vote in the ABANA Board elections? Well why not! Then stop complaining...... and do something constructive.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:58:44 GMT

What fuel do any of you use for the forge.I can't get it goin.
Joey (omega_d)  <j14oey at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:04:41 GMT

Heading Vise: Walt, As far as I know the vise held the stock and no seperate header was used. There is just enough clearance between the jaws to hold the stock tight. Upsetters work the same way. You are right about there being a piece missing. However, the version of this vise I had just had a big flat block with teeth to fit the rack. I have several photos of these vises but none have your style bucking block.

Jaws - Mine had a fancy milled radius and counter bore that made a fitted hinge joint. I can machine almost anything and this type are HARD TO MAKE. Others were drop in and a bit simplier. Some were even double sided and had several sizes on them. The simple ones can be made on a drill press making both halves while spaced apart with a waste shim.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:07:11 GMT

Fuel: Omega, Soft high grade (bituminous) coal or charcoal. Hard coal (anthracite) works but is difficult to light and needs a deep fire and constant blast. You can get away with using charcoal briquettes but they are mostly sawdust and not very good fuel.

To light bituminous coal you need either dry coal and a couple sheets of newsprint OR a little wood fire built with kindling. A gentle blast from the blower makes a hotter more useful fire than a big blast. Ever start a fire the hard way and need to blow on it? Think about that gentle whoosh you made that excited the tinder the most. THAT is it. Once the coal is going you can crank up the air until you have a white hot fire. But then back off before putting the steel in the fire.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:20:41 GMT


Do I need to get permission from the iForge demonstrators to reproduce their projects?
chris bernard  <cbernard53 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:23:50 GMT

Section Properties: David, I wrote a commercial weight calculation program called Mass2 that calculated these including pipe section properties and did simple deflection calcs. It has a 1,000 material densities database.

So, What happened to Mass2 afer 4 years of R&D? Windirt that takes a team of programmers to produce a product and added functions in many CAD programs. The last version of Mass2 (2.1) remains incomplete and is a DOS program. It was incompatible with Win 3.x works OK with Win98 but I understand the new win OS doesn't support old DOS progs at all. . . I use it answering questions here all the time.

When I first started anvilfire my initial investigations led me to believe the VB modules could be written and used interactively on the web. The plan was to rewrite Mass2 for use here. The problem IS VisualBASIC stuff only works with IE and not Netscape.

Its possible to do some math programming in Javascript but J is a C subset. I'm a BASIC programmer and really struggle with C constructs. I'm learning but I still get crosseyed when I when I edit "between the curley brackets {}"

Anyway, If there is a huge demand for a section properties and deflection calculator I could work on it. But since there is little chance of profit from it I'll have to persue other projects first.

My web search returned several off-line programs you could order but nothing on-line. What do you need? Simple rectangles? I was working on polygons with 3 to infinite sides. . . ;-)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:50:00 GMT

Caulking Vise: Alan, Although some of these vises have a caulking block on the back they were designed as a universal blacksmiths tool (from back in the days when most smiths did shoeing too). The heavy ones made by Greenfield and others are primarily designed for bolt heading.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:54:46 GMT

iForge products: Chris, No, but its NICE to give credit ESPECIALLY if you demo these items! You may note that Bill Epps often gives credit to the person that showed him the item. In this craft there are very few truely original items. I think a few of these items may be but if the demonstrator let us post it he was intending for you to try it. Many of our demos are on the market the week after we do them. Some of our tools are on ebay regularly (sadly without credit).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 02:00:13 GMT

ABANA Trouble: I still support ABANA as a national organization. They have done a LOT for blacksmithing. Phil Rosche summed it up best in a response to a query I sent out.
"Its a dichotomy, I like an anvil shoot as much as anyone else, but I understand the ABANA board position.
Folks that have said that this could have been handled differently are right. The ABANA board has taken a position that is rather hard line and has no exceptions. Many chapters are independently setup as non-profits and have their own insurance and there boards are also in the libility chain. There should be a common sense solution to this issue.

Anvil shooting is a uniquely American tradition that was commonly used to celebrate Independance Day. Its a form of fireworks that only blacksmiths still practice. Like fireworks it probably should be practiced only by trained licensed practitioners. ABANA has taken as much of a philosophical stand on the matter as a safety stand. Instead of finding a way to insure safe anvil shoots they have just said NO. This summer there may be more shoots and the result is that ABANA's policy may be a poison pill further reducing the number of chapters.

Cybersmiths International, our anvilfire support group, needs more members but I would prefer that it not be at the expense of ABANA. We will continue to support the chapters as well as independent blacksmithing organizations.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 02:29:36 GMT

BELLOWS : Johannes, I've finally gotten to your question. We have an article about the bellows I built for my portable blacksmith shop on our 21st Century page. No plans but there are photos of the boards. Centaur forge sells plans booklets on the subject.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 02:33:28 GMT


Your comments ignore the fact that by their actions, ABANA has very carefully dis-enfranchised several hundred members who would have voted against them.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 02:43:52 GMT

ABANA: Disenfranchised the local groups but not the individuals that are ABANA members and can vote in elections.

I'm not sure about numbers but the South Eastern Blacksmiths Conference is made up of some of the strongest groups in the country. Although not all ABANA members, the total would equal a very significant number compared to total ABANA membership.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 03:27:08 GMT

Does anyone have plans for a propane gas forge CART? Diagrams, designs, etc would be helpful, or simply directions for making one.
casey - Wednesday, 05/23/01 04:14:40 GMT

Cart: Casey, Ron Reil has one on his forge page. See our links or our forge burner page.

Paw-Paw scrounges old gas grill carts. Works great for small forges. Then there are commercial tables on wheels (casters). Bruce Wallace moves his forge from hammer to anvil depending on the job at hand.

You can do with two wheels on one end like a gas grill for little forges. But heavier forges will need four wheels. Casters of all sizes can be purchased from McMaster-Carr.

I couldn't make plans for something like this since forge sizes and weights have such a wide range. Start with with 30 feet of light tubing or angle iron, something for a top and a shelf and weld away. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 04:46:51 GMT

Having been a long time (voting) ABANA member, I stopped renewing my membership a while back over this and other issues.
My feeling is that ABANA has grown too large and has become institutionalized. As such, it will become a thing serving its institutional needs, and grow further from the original intent and blacksmithing.
Gee, I'm such a positive thinker!
Pete F - Wednesday, 05/23/01 07:57:39 GMT

I am looking for a small anvil to use as the base for a lamp I want to make. It should resemble the anvil in the logo of the web site http://www.middlesex.edu .

Any help would be appreciated.
Sanford Fogg  <mshades1 at maine.rr.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 12:44:53 GMT

Spark test: Frank, guru, et al.... Would the grinding wheel composition, surface speed and grit have something to do with the spark test? I really like the idea of a spark test kit.

ABANA: Guru, what I know came from your news, ABANA releases, and what has been discussed. Iím sure itís not the whole picture, but Iíll toss some thoughts.

Ralph, I agree that people must vote. But they should also discuss. And thatís whatís going on here. Discussion. Discussion is constructive.

Pete, in addition to being a positive thinker, you are a realist! Grin. Any organization of human beings will eventually become self serving to its leaders. Human nature. Thatís one of the good reasons for term limits. Based on past history, why would anyone think otherwise? Members should expect some of this. Unless the leaders are paid, they must have some incentive to serve. But when the members are no longer represented and SERVED by their leaders, the leaders should be given the opportunity to step down. If they refuse, or make it more difficult for the members to remove them, they need to be lined up and shot. They do not have the right to impose their likes and desires on the membership. Nor do they have the right to protect themselves from liability at the expense of member desires. If there is a true liability issue, and insurance cannot be obtained, but the majority of the membership wants anvil shoots, then the board members would be better off resigning from the board to protect themselves. Iím sure there are some great people on the board that have done some good work. But if the majority of the membership wants anvil shoots and that becomes a defining issue, then the board should either find a way to do it, or step down. Disenfranchising the chapters is only acceptable if the MAJORITY of the membership wants it to occur.

This is very clear to me. Am I missing something?

Please donít forget that the biggest real problem here is the law and legal precedents that the lawyers and judges (ex lawyers) and law making politicians (mostly ex lawyers) have saddled us (and ABANA) with. This is still the best place in the world to live, but our legal system has become self serving. How easy do you think it is to get rid of a bad lawyer or judge? How easy is it to fight ďcity hallĒ? Can you effectively represent yourself in a court of law anymore? Sad to say, it is no longer enough to be right and have the majority in agreement with you. In my opinion, the legal system does not support and represent the public majority anymore, it dictates to it. How do high level judges get and keep their jobs? By public assent or political appointment? That should be a telling note. And hereís another one...When does a lawyer or judge or politician lose in a legal battle?

Be upset with dictates from ABANA, but be more upset with the self serving political and legal systems that have created the framework that made this an issue.

I firmly believe that along with freedom comes responsibility, but freedoms are being removed at an alarming rate. The people who are in charge of an anvil shoot had damn well better make sure no one is hurt. If someone does screw up and anyone should get hurt, the offending person must make reparations and be punished to the satisfaction of those hurt and others present.

The real question now should be whether the majority of the membership wants anvil shoots or not. And whether the majority of the membership wants the anvil shooting chapters disenfranchised.

Human nature........ not always pretty, but always pretty interesting!
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 13:07:34 GMT

ABANA issues:

As much as I would like to gripe about the way it was all handled, it does come down to the law and insurance companies. Anytime you have a governing body over any group, they have a certain liability for the actions of that group. I have been in a couple where we had to put in lowest common denominator rules so that we could keep from being sued (as individuals) for a member's error. The more levels to a group, the more the risk. Granted, they could have put a bit more thought and tact into coming up with a workable compromise, but in the end it is unlikely that any liability insurance would have covered that sort of thing.

my somewhat less than 2 cents.
tom B.  <tom(don't spam).barnett(really, I mean it) at isd.(it serves))(( no one).net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 13:11:30 GMT

Libility Issues: Most of what the current ABANA board is saying is that they are afraid of being held personaly liable.

I'm afraid I've been in a couple lawsuits (on the wrong end) and have been RIGHT twice and have won twice but have lost financialy twice. To be right in a relatively simple case can cost upwards of $10,000. So even if you are not liable and you are found to be so in court you still lose. In most states if someone is actually hurt and sues everyone, the costs of the defendants who were not liable cannot be recouped as they would in a "frivolus" case. Its not frivolous if someone was injured. In cases where the lawyers abuse the system they often "settle" with those they know will win for something less than the defendants expected legal fees. Defendants and insurance companies pay because it is cheaper. Its not right, but it is cheaper (in that case).

So far all of the "seven" I have heard back from are going to continue as always. Some indicated they did fine before being chapters and will do fine without.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 13:54:03 GMT

SPARK TEST: Yes the type of grinding wheel does make a difference. A bench grinder is best and a fine wheel is easier to "read" if a light touch is used. The coarser the wheel the more pressure is required to get a characteristic spark. ALSO: See Frank's coments above.

Last week I wrote on that as well as ran a test to see if hardness of the specimen made a difference. No it does not. However, decarburization such as is common in gas forges OR
carburization as is common in coal forges can both has a great effect.

Some of the material is ordered for the test sample kits. I'm afraid I'm going to have to forge the wrought iron to size. Kits will be available soon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 14:04:56 GMT

Hey, there is an alternative to the disenfranchised. You can all support Cybersmiths International by becoming members. Itís fresh, itís new, itís progressive and itís changing every day to meet the real needs of EVERYONE involved. There isn't anything else offered today that has done more to enhance and promote the metalworking trades then what is offered right here
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 14:08:10 GMT

Let's touch on the insurance issue for a second.


> but in the end it is unlikely that any liability insurance would have covered that sort of thing."

That statement is incorrect. The Florida Artist Blacksmith Association found insurance for the Madison gathering that covered anvil shoots.

Question: If FABA could find such insurance, why couldn't ABANA find it?

Answer: They weren't interested in doing what the membership wants, they were only interested in flexing their muscles.

Bad move! Americans don't deal well with authority. Historically, we never have. Looks like the ABANA Board of Dictators needs to learn that.

We can teach them in either of two ways. We can vote with our feet, and refuse to renew our memberships, telling the "powers that be" exactly WHY we are not renewing,


We can remain in the organization and try to "change it from within". That's an individual decision for each of us.

I've made mine, the money that WOULD have been spent for ABANA membership will go toward covering CSI membership.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 14:11:50 GMT

Anvil shoots: One more thing....

Three cheers and a slap on the back to the guys who decided to do the anvil shoot in spite of what ABANA dictated! We need more people to stand up for freedom.

Wussies who cave in to dictators are as much of the problem as dictators.

Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 14:19:09 GMT

Dear Guru
I am a therapist at the Waldorf School of Baltimore of no experience in the field of blacksmithing. I would like to find a blacksmith near Baltimore who would be intersted in working with young children, particularily in a one on one situation. I appreciate that this is an unusual request. I would be grateful for any information or help you would be able to suggest. Thank you.
Virginia Efta  <teacher at wtwsb.org> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 15:00:17 GMT

No Jim I did not! Only the group and not the individual were removed.
So are all of you going to go and play elsewhere then?
Yes it is a tough statement but instead of trying to change the system you are all talking about running away and play by your selves.
Personally I am sick and tired of all the rhetoric.
I still have not been told EXACTLY how an anvil shoot pertains to blacksmithing and the growth of blacksmithing.
If there is not a REAL reason then I think ABANA was more correct than not. From all I have seen and heard anvil shoots were not allowed since at the very least since 1997. So it is 4 years later and still the membership has not had that changed. How many board elections have we had since then? and still the rule is in the books. It seems to me that the membership HAS spoken, perhaps by not voting but in that case a non vote is just as loud as a vote. Like I said if we do not like the way it is going then change it.
For example, once upon a time there were a people who got tired of the tyranny of its leadership. They decided to fight for what was right. and lo and behold they won. They could have left. gone west out of the British territory or south into spanish......

Perhaps I am just to stupid and stubborn to change.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 15:13:30 GMT

Hi, you guys have been a big help, I am getting my small shop set help. I am useing a side draft flue on my forge, I have a 12" chimney and am getting ready to put a rain cap on, but I was reading that the space between the rain cap must be at least the size of your chimney. So If I read this right I have a 12" chimney I should have 12"s between my pipe and rain cap. If this is ture what keeps the rain and the birds out of the chimney
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 15:53:00 GMT

Jim, Read Tony & Alan's posts from a couple of days ago about a zero loss stack, I think it is in the archives now. It works much better than a cap from all accounts. As for birds, I would assume you need to put some kind of mesh over the top, probably a cone shape would be best.
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:00:49 GMT

Guru, Thanks for explaining about drilling a hole at the end of the crack. That's what I was getting at, but sometimes I can't explain things as well as I can visualize them!
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:02:25 GMT

Jim: If you burn smoky coal, you won't have bird trouble! I've got a layer of soot in my stack you wouldn't believe. Every other month I get about five pounds of it out just by whacking the pipe with a small hammer.

Guru and Walt: I sit corrected about the vise. Sounds like something I need (grin)!
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:13:04 GMT

To make a long story short, I want to do some wood carving but Taylor gouges range from $35 to $65 in Canada so I decided that mayby I could make some.

I am within a week of completing my propane forge (Ron Riel design, 8in cylinder by 14in long lined with kaowool).

I have bought a small amount of 01 oil hardening flat stock (1/16,1/8,1/4 sizes)and some drill rod (various sizes)

Experience obviously none, age 46 average aptitude :)

The question: Gouges are measured by width across the cutting end(1/8in to 2in) and by the sweep or curve at the cutting end (ie: #9 about a 1 in. diameter, a #3 about a 3 in. diameter). What do you think would be a decent method of getting these various curves at the end of my gouges?

Present status:Mayby a cone shaped swage, place the hot metal on this and hammer, or find various pipes, cut them open length wise and hammer hot metal to the same shape?

Any advise you may be able to provide is appreciated, Thank You in advance. Thank You Bruce Blades
Bruce Blades  <blade at psphalifax.ns.ca> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:33:44 GMT

Stack Cap: Jim, you will have less problems with birds if you use the low loss stack cap we talked about. I gave dimensions for a 12 inch stack and see Alan's good description of operation. Most birds are not attracted to an open top pipe unless it is small enough in diameter for them to build a nest on. Birds like a hat section cap because it keeps the rain off their nest. The low loss cap keeps the rain out of your stack, but not off a birds nest. Don't put a screen on top of the low loss cap. No need for birds, and it will reduce the draw considerably. But if you have lots of sparks going up and out the stack, you may need a spark trap close to the forge. A smoke chamber should act as a reasonable spark trap for coal forges.

If you want to use a higher loss, lower draw, hat section cap instead, you will want to have something around it to keep the birds out.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:39:00 GMT

Tony, Thanks for correcting me on that one!
Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 17:00:39 GMT

Bruce Blades - Buy the book "The Complete Modern Blacksmith". It was written by a woodcarver who wanted to make his own tools. It is pretty heavy on making tools from scrap metal, including wood chisels, gouges, and burins.
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldent.att.netSPAMSTINKS> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 17:18:37 GMT

Recently there was a request for materials property info. There is an excellent web site listing this info for many materials in many conditions. Go to Matweb.com. They have infor on most materials. Dimensions and heat treatment are provided.
Patrick Nowak  <nowak.28 at osu.edu> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 17:24:26 GMT

Lightening: Stayed on line 1 minute too long yesterday and now have new modem. . . :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 19:24:14 GMT

Forged Gouges: Bruce, Check JJ's (James Joyce's) iForge demo's on tool making. A well equiped smith would use a swage block OR an anvil swage die and a fuller or a piece of round bar. to make the curves. You can mke your own swage dies from split pipe and various found materials (see the iForge demos). I made several large gouges from flat spring steel 20 years ago to do wood carving. My brother needed a set so I said, "you help hold the tools, and I'll make some for both of us." They've been used to carve patterns, do sculpture in various hard woods, build musical instruments and all sorts of miscelani. Haven't sharpened them since I made them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 19:35:03 GMT

Rain cap: Jim, The current consensus is not to use a cap but a low-loss stack shield (a larger diameter piece of pipe, see discussion above and in archive for May, 15-21, 2001)

Personaly I like the cartoonish looks of a pointed cap. Diameter is needed for the distance problem (at least 2 to 2.5). It has also been recommended to put an internal diverter cap (an upside down cone) inside the top cone to create a smooth concentric flow at the cap. We have instructions for making cones on the 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 19:43:11 GMT

Cartoon cap: Guru, if you want a "funny" looking stack, paint the whole stack and cap beige and add some random blue "veining" accents. A maintenance man added a paint job like that to one of my new stacks once. The owner/CEO was less than impressed, but the rest of us had a good laugh. Grin
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 20:10:19 GMT

Tony, Ooooooooo, bad. . .

Forge Therapy: Virginia contact one or all of the following:

BLACKSMITH GUILD of CENTRAL MARYLAND, I don't have an e-mail address and the webmaster address is ME. .
Don Cornell (301) 682-6790

Keith Kuck kuck at calibresys.com

Dave Hutchison (410) 820-2041
Again, I'm the webmaster.

These groups are composed of amatures and professionals. Many put on demonstrations. Those that have worked with children usualy love it (I do). I've had kids as young as 9-10 at the forge. Note that there are some inherent dangers in working hot metal and that in this situation most smiths would require being under the school's inusrance.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 20:41:46 GMT

Hey my name is Pete and i have a bit of an interesting situation I am in. My next door neighbor who recently passed away left me an anvil and forge both from very long ago. The next part gets more interesting. This summer my father, a carpenter from Wisconsin, and I are going to build a timber frame barn. My Dad and i both agreed that it would be great if we could make our own chisels seeing as we will each need one a peice and they are real expensive. I would also like to make a good felling axe but I can't figure out how to join the steel together. Any information would help me out greatly. Thanks
Pete  <TheSyracuseDude at aol.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 20:52:15 GMT

Woodworking: Pete, I would say it is too short a time to learn blacksmithing, learn forge welding (a tricky task) AND make you tools in time to use them. If you had started a couple months ago you MIGHT have made it.

See the above posts about chisles, the book referenced by Stormcrow AND our iForge demo on making a small ax. Chisles are not hard to make but handling tool steel takes some care AND knowlege of heat treatment (hardening and tempering).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 21:02:38 GMT

Guru: Where can I get plans for a fly wheel press or buy one? Thanks dlee
Dublin Lee  <dlee at pacifier.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 21:11:51 GMT

I don't seem to fine Tony and Allan's post about zero loss stacks. could someone tell me about it or tell where to find that post . I looked in the archives, but no luck. Thanks Jim
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 21:12:22 GMT

BRUCE /GOUGES. I like to make most of my gouge shapes (concavo-convex) with a smooth cross peen into a 90 degree vee block. The step of the anvil can sometimes serve as a vee if it is deep enough. Less tools to reach for, and the vee seems to cup the work just right.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 21:56:37 GMT

Flypress: Dublin, There are no plans, the engineering on these is super critical. Bruce Wallace has a couple small used manual fly presses and Grant Sarver was importing new Korean motor driven units. Check our Power hammer Page for pictures of both.

Low loss stack, last archives, toward the bottom.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 22:06:31 GMT

Jim Glines, I was in the archives anyway, so here you are.

Alan L's first post replying to you below:

For Tony 's low-loss stack cap to the guy who wanted a good draft... If you're using round duct for a chimney, say, 8 inch (in my case) take off your old cap and get a section of the next larger size duct, 10 inch for 8 inch chimney, etc. This bigger duct goes atop the chimney with some overlap. How much? The bottom must extend at least one diameter below the top of the smaller pipe, and the top must extend at least 3 diameters above the top of the smaller pipe. It's held in place by brackets, blocks, or whatever. The point is to have an equal space between the sides of the smaller pipe and the bigger one. Picture a telescope tube to get the idea. It works in at least three good ways: It eliminates any stack pressure loss since the rising column of smoke doesn't have to turn, I suspect it actually increases draft when it gets warmed up due to convection bringning air up between the two ducts, and it keeps out rain better than a pointed cap, believe it or don't. This is because rain doesn't fall straight down. It will go in the top, but it will hit the sides of the bigger duct and run down to drip out the bottom on the OUTSIDE of the smaller duct. I tried it and my shop was immediately smoke free, and the neighbors thought I was stoking a boiler, there was so much more smoke coming out at such a higher velocity!
Tony explained it to me better, but that's the gist of it.

End of Alan's post, my clarification below:

Low loss stack cap: Alan, I think you explain it better.

The over lap between the cap section and main stack only needs to be 6 inches. And the cap length should be 4 times the diameter of the main stack. So if the main stack is 12 inch diameter, you should use a 54 inch section of 14 inch diameter for the cap. 4 times 12 = 48, plus the 6 inch overlap = 54. See, I said you explained it better. I must have told you three times the diameter by mistake! Grin.

There ya go Jim. Guru, maybe you should sell these in the store. Grin.

Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 23:08:09 GMT

Thanks guru. Are there any plans for a simple hydrualic press?
Dublin Lee  <dlee at pacifier.com> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 23:08:23 GMT

Dear Guru
I was wondering if you could help me find a Rivet Heating
Forge(complete with blower)for a reasonable price.I have searched everywhere for one and cannot find one.I would appreciate anything.Thanks.
Daniel Casey
Daniel Casey  <caseywtr at swbell> - Wednesday, 05/23/01 23:22:08 GMT

BRUCE / STORMCROW /VIRGIN METAL FOR TEMPERING. I know Al Weygers was a consumate woodworking artist and he formerly
offered short courses in toolsmithing. He authored "The Complete Modern Blacksmith". It looks like he put a high polish on his tool blades after hardening and removing scale. In the tool photos, the tempering colors shine like
a jewel in a pig's a--. A small British book, which I believe came out in the late 60s, tends to disagree with the polishing idea. The book is titled, "Metals for Engineering Craftsmen". I quote: "The temperature is estimated by the surface colours of the steel, formed by oxidation, but these will only show if the steel is free from scale. It should, therefore, be cleaned with emery cloth or on the grindstone, but must not be polished, glazed, or burnished as this results in different colour changes". This books also states that the tempering colors are to be used for carbon tool steel only.

I have fudged a little bit on this "carbon tool steel only" business. I have made successful garage door spring steel scribers by hardening in oil and tempering to a dark straw, even though the steel is a low-alloy silicon manganese steel. I have tempered 01 to a dark straw, even though it is not recommended to do so, as it is alloyed with chromium, tungsten, and vanadium, among other things. One must experiment, but beware of selling a junkyard steel tool to a customer. It might fail, or the customer will return five years later and tell you they want another one just like the first. Where the heck are you gonna find that
'59 Plymouth torsion bar......if your job card says as much?

Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Thursday, 05/24/01 00:30:51 GMT

I echo Bruce Wallace and Paw-Paw...Join CSI..support Anvilfire. Well put Bruce and Paw Paw.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 00:34:00 GMT

Rivet Forge: Daniel, Try Bruce Wallace. He buys, sells and trades a LOT of blacksmith tools and may come across one. If I needed one I'd build a copy of my first forge. A couple wheels and some pipe with whatever blower I could find. I kind of miss the little junk heap. :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 03:21:47 GMT

Hi Tony and thanks, but I am lost, is there a pic. or a drawing of what you just told me? I have my 12" pipe 5'or 6' above the peak on my roof, now I take a 14" pipe 54"s longer and put on top of that????????? so now don't I just have a bigger hole at the top of my chimney only 54"s higher.

Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Thursday, 05/24/01 14:35:43 GMT

I believe I have what you are looking for. It is a Champion #401 forge, it has a 18'' circular fire pit with a Champion 400
blower attached to it, I have replaced all the legs and also replaced the bottom of the fire pit and it looks and works
great. I am asking $200 for it.
I live in Los Molinos CA. Los Molinos is about 30 miles north of Chico CA. Email me if you are interested.

Richard Borchard rich at vestra.com
Richard Borchard  <rich at vestra.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 15:33:27 GMT

Low loss stack top: Jim, You've got it mostly right. Iíll try to clarify. I donít have a picture to post.

If your stack through the roof is 12 inch, you will want a 54" long section of 14" diameter duct. Your 12 inch stack can be cut so that it is at least 3 feet above the roof or more. Make 4 spacers that are six inches long and 1" by 1".

1" by 1" by 14 gage steel tubing would be ideal for the spacers. Slide the 54" long section of 14" pipe down over the 12 inch stack coming through the roof. The overlap should be six inches, so you will be adding 4 feet to the height of the 12 inch stack. Slip the 4 six inch long spacers in between the 12 inch and 14 inch pipes at the overlap, space them equally at North, South, East and West and screw the two pipes together through the spacers. Support the stack and cap as required.

Yes, you will now have a 14" hole that the exhaust comes out of. And it will be 48 inches higher than where your 12 inch stack ended. 54 inches minus the 6 inch overlap.

Make more sense? Donít think of it as a cap. Think of it as a stack extension.

The total height of your stack above ground should not be more than twice the height of your building. So if your building is 12 feet from the ground to the peak, your stack should not be more than 24 feet from the ground. With the low loss cap, the gap between the two pipe diameters should be at least 3 feet above the roof, so with a 12 foot building height, and a 12 inch main stack, the top of the stack would be at least 12+3+4=19 feet above the ground.

Let me know if it is not clear. Yeah, a picture would be worth a thousand words. I could fax a sketch if the guru wanted to post it. Or you could buy the book it came out of for $90. Grin. Hope this helps.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 15:54:58 GMT

Drawing (c) Jock Dempsey
Click to enlarge

It primitive but I think it gets th point across. Send that $90 to . . . .

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 16:37:06 GMT

What does "decarb" mean. The comparative tool steel table is very good in the "Store".
I asked Paw Paw if I could post his "12 Commandments" on my door and he said yes. Now, I can't find them.
Can't wait for another month's installment from Paw Paw Dickens. Whoever he got to illustrate it is not only a good artist but must know something about blacksmithing.
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 05/24/01 17:14:18 GMT


The 12 Commandments piece is on the anvilfire story page. Click on "stories" on the pull down menu.

Jock Dempsey, the anvilfire guru, is also doing all of the illustrations for THE REVOLUTIONARLY BLACKSMITH. Yes, he does know a bit about blacksmithing! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 17:38:24 GMT

Or call BR-549 and ask for..

Get away for a bit and look what I come back to! I have never joined ABANA as the few dollars I have been able to put into this hobby has been geared toward the most profitable use. In other words I have lurked around these Blacksmith web sites for close to 4 years now gleaning what I could and doing what I could. During that time I was consistently brought back to Anvilfire and KJ from every where else on the web. I have been referred to the ABANA site as well. The real help came from the aforementioned sites for good, solid, timely advice. Not just for smithing either. There has been a marked improvement in the way I size up a project because of the postings on this forum. My skill level has increased dramatically and so has my confidence.

When it comes time to put up the coin, I must support that which has supported me. To that end I joined CSI and The Saltfork Blacksmiths Assoc. ABANA must have been worthwhile at one time and may still be. I do have to ask when I dole out the resources "what is it they do for me?" Heck if a portion of the dues went to support sites like this one then I would see tangible results. Til then if I care to shoot an anvil I never would have considered asking that Organization but would be here or yonder talking to someone who has done what I intend to do.

Support performance based orgs and pass on the name brands. Let them play their silly games and leave us alone. Like Paw Paw, I'm an ex Drill Sgt with no tolerance for arrogance and political shenanigans. I have no loyalty for ABANA as it wasn't that organization that played an active role in where I am today. It is the groups I am already a part of.

To that end I would like to see CSI expand to a more active role. I have my opinion of what would make for a good org but that would be for another time and forum.

Mills  <mills_fam2 at netzero.net> - Thursday, 05/24/01 17:58:07 GMT

We will soon be rebuilding a brick forge in an old blacksmith shop, and I wanted to verify some information I think I have seen posted here.

Chimney: The diameter of the opening at the top should be a minimum of ten inches, preferably larger, so that it will draw well. Correct?

Smoke shelf: A smoke shelf is not required for the forge to operate properly. Correct?

Hood: A hood isn't absolutely necessary, but can help trap some smoke, especially if it is located immediately above the opening in the chimney. Correct?

Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 17:58:53 GMT

Forge: Neal, Yes to all. However. . People will argue about smoke shelves to the end of time. I like an expansion chamber. Both help prevent downdrafts and are primarily a fireplace device. The brick forges in Williamsburg, VA have expansion chambers. In the triangular section of the flue it is hollow with a flat floor. the side draft comes in at an angle entering the expansion chamber at the front corner.

Hoods suck up entirely too much cold air. If you use one it should be vented seperately so that it does not prevent the flue from operating properly. Hoods work fine if there is enough stack with a good draft. Otherwise they are the reason for most smokey shops.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 18:46:19 GMT

Decarb: Decarburize, to reduce or remove carbon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 18:47:34 GMT

Researching the making of my first blade, which will be stock removal, differential temper samurai type blade. Looking for opinions on best steel to use (one best suited to differential temper). Currently looking at 1060 / 1075 cold rolled spherodize annealed. Expecting up to 3/4" curvature over a 38" length due to heat treat. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Gary  <garynorton3 at home.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 18:48:30 GMT


For all that have something constructive to say about the ABANA vs. Chapters crisis we have redicated our ABANA-Chapter.com webmasters forum to that purpose and opened it up to the public.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 18:52:31 GMT

Please change my email address on the slacktub pub, it was the same but aol.com, thanx, bbb
bbb  <bbnm95 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 21:21:29 GMT

Guru and all,

I have been making some small items, and I a bit confused as to how to treat this items to prevent rust. I have read that you do not recommend wax or oil finishes on ironwork, but suggest paint or lacquer. What is the best manner to go about this? What types/brands of paint should you use? If I don't want to change the look of the piece, can I just use some sort of clear coat? What do I need to do to prep the surface? Some of the pieces are dark from the forge, and others I wire wheel to a silver. I would prefer to keep these looks as much as possible.

As stated above, most of these piece are for inside use only, but may see some amount of abrasion, for instance a hook that I hang silverware on.

If I use wax, is there a better way to do it than just rubbing a block of beeswax on the piece while it's warm?

BTW, the polishing X article on the 21 century page seems to be broken.



Jim Freely  <freely at zephion.net> - Thursday, 05/24/01 21:25:41 GMT

BTW, I am using a gas forge, if that makes a difference.

Jim Freely  <freely at zephion.net> - Thursday, 05/24/01 21:29:00 GMT

what then does decarb-free mean?
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 05/24/01 21:51:12 GMT

Decarb-free: Larry, Material heat treated in a furnace or bath can lose carbon from the surface. Decarb-free would be material that was either protected from decarburization OR has had the decarburized surface removed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 22:11:38 GMT

now I get it. the description of the drill rod in the "store" uses the term and it threw me.
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 05/24/01 22:16:15 GMT

Rust Protection: Jim, It all depends on the use of the item and how long you expect it to last.

All architectural ironwork should be protected in the best possible manner because it is usualy used on buildings where it is expected to last hundreds of years. It is exposed to acid rain, auto exhaust, condensation, animal urine and bird droppings as well as hand salts and abrasion from being climbed on. It is exposed to road salts, weed killer, weed eaters and lawnmower discharge. The customer NEVER expects to have to do maintenance and is really upset when it needs painting during YOUR lifetime. The customer no matter HOW RICH will never pay someone to rewax your "natural finish" handrail twice a year. However, the maid or cleaning service may DE-wax portions of it for you. . .
I've described this "best method" at least 100 times AND in a standing post on the 21st Century page.

On small items you can use almost any finish you want. However, if it is a sculptural piece that you expect to end up in a museum, gallery or be used architecturaly as a permanent decoration then SEE ABOVE.

On work that the loose scale has been wire brushed off you can use clear Krylon or clear lacquer. It won't quite look "natural" but the natural state of iron is RUST, rusted to dust. Clear epoxy is better (harder). Clear coat alone IS NOT sufficient for exterior work. Yes, using a gas forge does make a difference. Fresh coal plates work with vaporized coal that condenses on the cooler steel. This is an anhydrous finish that contains corrosives. It will absorb water through paint then rust. It does not wire brush off. If you see it, DO NOT finish over it.

Wax finishes work fine for samples and items you are going to keep and maintain yourself but no other purpose. There are some real fancy wax and oil finishes in various blacksmithing books and publications. Study them, then compare to PAINT. They are nothing more than amature paint formulations. So why not leave it to the professionals?

If you want small pieces that last forever with a natural finish, use stainless steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/24/01 22:39:39 GMT

What is case hardening? can you case bharden brass? Building black powder pistol, has brass frame. Can I just torch it to get same look?
Dan Hale  <Elongknife at aol.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 01:00:19 GMT

Brass: Dan, Case hardening is the result of iron or steel absorbing carbon to form a hard "case". Fancy case hardening colors are the result of a very special case hardening process that both hardens the surface AND produces those marbled temper colors.

No, brass doesn't case harden or flame color. It CAN be colored dull greens via harsh chemicals but it is NOT recommended for guns. Brass is used for places that are to be polished up real pretty in this type work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 01:24:10 GMT

Tony and Guru, thanks for all the help. I think the drawing done it, the light came on and I think I under stand.This is a great page for new people to come to and find out what they need to know. I thank you all for being so understanding. I have alot of pine trees all around my shop, do you think that will be a problem with no screen? if I were to put a large screen at the top of the 14" pipe, do you think that I would have a draft problem?
Thanks again
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Friday, 05/25/01 03:52:16 GMT

Screen: Jim, Probably not but it DOES reduce the efficiency AND make a nesting place for birds and leaves. Spark arrestors are put on the sides of stack caps. Using coal the screen must be stainless steel or it won't last long.

I couldn't say without seeing your shop situation but coal forges put out almost no sparks that leave the chimney. Charcoal is not as good and paper for starting the forge is the most likely source of any sparks that leave the stack. Locally (Virginia) pine trees are not much of a fire hazzard unless they are dead but in more arid states there may be a different situation. Pine needles in gutters could possibly be a problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 04:39:17 GMT

I am looking for people or classes that will help me with coal fire forging near Everett, Wa. Also I am wanting to join the closest blacksmithing ass.
easy  <easyseagle at hotmail.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 05:59:11 GMT

WA: Easy, You have two choices, the Northwest Blacksmiths Association and the Inland Blacksmiths Association. Both are quite active the second is fairly new. See our ABANA-Chapter page for contact info.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 12:33:57 GMT

Jim Glines: Also, if you put a screen atop the stack you lose the rainguard function. Any water that hits or condenses on the screen will fall straight down your chimney. My stack exhausts straight up into a maple tree (or an ash, depending on wind direction) with about eight feet of clearance. No probs so far.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Friday, 05/25/01 16:04:06 GMT

I am looking for some advise on building up the bottom of the dovetail on the anvil of a 50# little giant. One side is about 1/4 inch lower than the other from long use of plow sharpening dies i would guess . Also if anyone is wondering if its worth the trouble to build a brake for their hammer I built a band brake patterned after the one on Dave Manzers video and it is a great asset!
aaron  <ironbyaaron at yahoo.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 17:45:33 GMT

Dovetail: Aaron, the only repair to the dovetail that will hold up is remachining. This is not too bad a job on hammers with an anvil cap or "sow block". The dovetail will need to be machined oversize and then extra thick wedges used and a shim under the die OR taller dies made.

Be very careful not to use short dies on a Little Giant or the toggle arms will hit the guide OR the spring will bottom out.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 18:13:37 GMT

Storm crow. Weygers (the author of the complete modern blacksmith) was a BLACKSMITH by education and went into woodcarving from there. making his own tools was natural for him.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 20:32:12 GMT

COSTS!: I've had a couple little jobs I've been putting off because I was out of welding gases. WOW! $60 to refill my oxy-acetylene cylinders! Propane has come down but is still more than double a year ago!

We have also recieved a T-Rex burner made by Rex Price to test. Its an impressive looking piece of hardware. I'm currently working on an instrumented "test forge" so that its performance can be compared to other burners.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 05/25/01 22:20:16 GMT

I use an Allstates propane torch. Propane is about $8 per bottle in Santa Fe and one bottle lasts for about 10 tanks of oxygen. There isn't much acetylene in tank - it's mostly full of the matrix material and acetone.
Adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Saturday, 05/26/01 02:37:31 GMT

er.. I meant to spell out that that's an oxy-propane cutting and heating torch.
Adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Saturday, 05/26/01 02:38:26 GMT

OErjan - Sorry, thought it was the other way around. I stnad corrected.
Stormcrow - Saturday, 05/26/01 04:52:47 GMT

I live out here in the chapparal and it gets real dry by the end of summer. The law requires that all stacks have a 1/4" mesh screen as a spark arrestor here. If you live where it is dry , you pretty much gotta have one. Probably a conical screen atop the inside pipe is the way to go.
Pete F  <ironyworks at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 06:36:48 GMT

Virus Alert!: NEW, Unknown Virus. This morning I recieved several e-mails with EXE files attached. These came from people I know. However, there was no mention of the EXE in the body of the mail AND there were tell tail code errors in the body of the letters. I have NOT confirmed that this is a virus. But DO NOT open EXE's attached to mail. If you use MS Outlook Express you may inadvertantly launch and spread a virus by just looking at the mail and not "running" the virus since Outlook Express does that automaticaly.


I will report more details when I find them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 13:49:37 GMT

Screen on stack: Codes, laws, rules.... man, they are everywhere. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes uninformed and down right wrong. But sometimes they are easier to follow than buck. You decide.

Pete, the screen on the inner stack is an interesting idea. For a straight up stack with no elbows, 12 inches in diameter, I'm inclined to say a screen on the top of the inner stack won't stop the draw. It will be a restriction, but it will probably not be enough to cause a serious problem. But I can guarantee that if the stack is used only occasionally, at some point, a bird WILL build a nest on top of the screen on the inner stack. At least it would surely happen in Wisconsin.

My gradfather died because of a stack cap with screen. From the smoke backup in his home caused by a bird nest in a stack cap. All was fine when the fire was roaring, but he went to bed and the fire got colder and the draw was reduced and smoke filled the house. He ended up with severe brain damage and died of esophogeal cancer a year or so later. Yes, he should have gotten up on a ladder and checked it before building that first fire of the season.

My father installed the stack cap and feels guilty about it to this day.

Obviously, that is not likely to happen in a forge situation.

Here are the facts. Believe them or not.
1. A 1/4 inch screen on top of a stack will not stop all fire causing embers. Install one if you must, but don't rely on it to stop all potential fires.

2. As I have said before, a much more effective way to reduce the embers and sparks is a screen in the smoke chamber. The gas velocity in the smoke chamber, behind the opening to the forge, is lower since the area is larger. And the gas is more turbulent there since it is changing direction, so it is more likely that any sparks will hit the screen.

The problem here is that building officials are uninformed and treat a forge as a fireplace. And even the fireplace rules are uninformed and dangerous.

If my explanation about the screen in the smoke chamber is unclear, please ask and I will try to explain better.

Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 14:18:23 GMT

YES ITS A VIRUS!: I do not normally report viruses here but this one is in our group. It is VERY nasty.



This per-process, memory-resident, polymorphic virus uses complex routines and anti-debugging techniques, which make it very difficult to analyze. It has both virus and worm capabilities in that it infects the local system as well as all files with .EXE and .SCR extensions. Upon execution, it
infects Windows System files and then sends infected files via MS Outlook/Outlook Express/Netscape Navigator to all addresses listed in the infected user's Windows and Outlook Express address book. Its destructive payload trashes the primary hard disk drive controller, overwrites CMOS RAM,
and erases flash memory (BIOS). Due to its polymorphic nature the email that it comes with does not have a static subject line, message body, or attachment filename.

Trend Micro Anti Virus

Trend Micro House Call Virus Scan This program takes a while to download its components but it will search and destroy the virus.

If you have not run the suspect files you can carefully delete them. However, it is much too easy on a windows system to acidently RUN a file when you try to delete it. Please be careful and STOP using MS Outlook!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 15:13:43 GMT

Virus: For you non-technical types what all this means is that once you open one of these attachements your system is infected. It then sends some of your old mail PLUS infected files to everyone on the mailing lists in Outlook Express or Netscape mail. It uses YOUR old mail and subject headings. Afterward it proceeds to destroy your system.

This is a relatively NEW virus (March 1, 2001) and is very smart and very nasty. If you haven't updated your virus scan software since then it WILL NOT DETECT IT. As I mentioned, I recieved copies from two trusted members of our group. One is a PC-guru and should know better.

STOP Using MS Outlook or Outlook/Express mail. These are the world's leading spreaders of e-mail viruses. NEVER, EVER open attachments that can "execute". These are EXE's, COM, DLL, BAS and SCR files. If you can't tell then turn ON the option on your system that displays file extensions. Hiding file extensions is another Microsoft default setting that is VERY bad.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 16:12:31 GMT

Acetylene: Adam, Acetylene is disolved in the acetone in the cylinder. There is also pumice blocks filling in the cylinder to prevent the probagation of an explosive shock wave through the liquid. The pumice doesn't take very much volume and the acetone abosorbs a very large amount of acetylene. At normal cylinder pressure the acetone holds 250 times its volume in actylene at atmospheric pressure. The cylinder also has melting fuses in the base and valve to prevent over presurization by heat. Acetylene is very unstable and these are all neccessary safety precautions.

These are details that are all taught in formal welding classes and is the reason I recommend that everyone take a formal welding course at an accredited school. Too many important safety details are either not taught or are glossed over in other situations (OJT). Otherwise you would NEVER see acetylene cylinders laying on their sides while in use on construction sites (which is common, a stupid and VERY dangerous thing to do).

Yes, propane is (was) cheaper in general but isn't quite up to the task in some situations. I use both oxy-acetylene and oxy-propane as the job requires.

NOTE: We had a long discussion at one time about hoses and propane. I asked my supplier yesterday and THEY knew immediately what I wanted (good supplier). Grade "T" is used with propane and MAPP. It can also be used with acetylene. However, your standard acetylene hose should not be used with propane as it rapidly degrades. All the hose I purchase in the future will be grade "T" since I am constantly changing fuels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 17:14:24 GMT

Jock, I got that virus today as well! but my anti-virus softward caught it, so am I in good shape? Not really blacksmithing related, but you know more about this stuff than me. Thanks Steve C
Steve Crabtree  <smithecrab at aol.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 19:43:53 GMT

Acetylene: That's sound advice IMO and in fact I did take a welding class not long ago in which we covered those points that you mentioned.

The big advantages of propane are a. cost b. flexibility. c. doesnt carburize the surface

Because it's unstable at high pressure, acetylene requires a different nozzle for almost every job. I have used the same cutting tip on my propane torch for sheet metal and also for 6" plate. Mfr says up to 10" is possible. The only limitation of propane that I know of is that it is tough to weld with it. The metal tends to foam up. It's possible but tricky.

Propane has more heat energy per unit vol than acetylene. The flame burns a bit cooler but it is so much higher than the melting point of steel that this makes little difference.

A well designed propane torch heats and cuts *very* fast. I would pit this torch against any acetylene torch I have seen. However, running propane through an acetylene torch gives poor results. So do the conversion kits. It also causes the hoses to degrade unless they are "T" rated, like you mentioned. For the torch to work well, it must be part of a system designed specifically for propane.
Adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Saturday, 05/26/01 19:44:55 GMT

I need help and have exhausted known resources. I own a Ridgid chain pipe vise that still works beautifully. Model #4-C. Factory records go back to 1956. They are trying to help. This vise predates all archived manuals at factory. I am currently in process of having it sandblasted(lightly) and want to paint it and build the legs for it as close to the original design as possible. I know it is not blacksmithing but it is nice piece of iron to let go to waste. Any help would be appreciated.
Larry Maddox  <johngalt at wfeca.net> - Saturday, 05/26/01 20:14:59 GMT

Virus: Steve, If your system caught it and deleted the file or didn't accept the file you should be OK. However, if you have run the file at all your system could be infected. Since I haven't recieved virus generated mail from you then you probably didn't get infected. However, all that means is that may not be using the mail routines that the virus can spread itself with. In that case the virus could still damage your system. It varies from virus to virus.

Currently I am still sent the "Snow White" virus from HAHAHA on a regular basis. I have a filter setup for it because I got tired of hunting down the files and deleting it. However, I still see its files in my recycle bin occasionaly. So, be SURE to empty your recycle bin regularly and never run or restore files from it that you do not recognize.

Anti-virus programs do nothing except recognize a bit of text or code in the virus file that someone has determined to be the virus's "signiture". If you do not keep your anti-virus program updated then it can not recognize a new virus. The trouble IS that until the virus is recognized and "signiture" isolated AND you update your anti-virus software you have no protection. So, you always need to take normal precautions as if you don't have anti-virus software in the first place.

OBTW-Our mailing address is on the bottom of the "store" page and all the order forms.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 20:53:49 GMT

Acetylene vs. propane: Propane does have more BTU per unit because of its large molecule but it also burns cooler AND slower. Flame probagation is half the velocity of acetylene. Thus it is described as having a less "energetic" flame than acetylene.

There are other pros and cons. Propane is safer to store, however when there is a leak it settles into low places and creates a great fire hazzard. Acetylene on the other hand is a light gas and dissapates thus being less of a fire hazzard.

Both gases can only be withdrawn from cylinders at a given rate due to the need to absorb heat to evaporate.

I like propane for heating when using a rosebud tip as it is less like holding on to a rocket engine! It is more economical for cutting but is difficult to use on dirty or rusted material. In the end it is a decision we each need to make.

Now what I would REALLY like to try is one of those gasoline oxygen cutting torches.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 22:20:10 GMT

To Burnie who wanted to know what type anvil to buy. I have just ordered a third peddinghouse double horn anvil from Kayne and Son for our shop. I find that there is no equal. I will be selling off two trenton anvils to finance it. The 235 pound is the same size as the 275 pound the difference is that you have an upsetting plate with the 275 pound one. I don't personally see the value in it. I'm adding a 110 pounder to use as a portable anvil. All you have to do is work for awhile on a peddinghouse then try any other. The difference is like jumping in sand and jumping on a trampoline
Bill Robertson  <applecrossforge at nettally.com> - Saturday, 05/26/01 23:57:47 GMT


You bring up some good points. May I answer them one at a time?

> On this ABANA thing all I have to say is this. And it also goes for state and Federal elections.
> The Board positions are elected! If you do not like what is being done with your organization vote them
> out! Quit talking and bitching and do something.

You've hear me say "If you don't vote, don't bitch!" I've said it many times, in many different venues.
And before I go any further, I've voted in every ABANA election since I became a member.

But in my opinion, that's not the answer THIS time. Here's why:

ABANA board members are elected on a rotating basis. So many each year. That's just good sense,
it allows for continuity. But in order to elect a majority to the board will take six years. (I'll accept correction on that statement. That how I remember the election schedule, but I may be wrong.) After that, it will probably take at least 10 years to undo the harm that this board has done. Frankly at age 60, I'm not willing to wait that long.

> If everyone leaves we will have lost an important tool. One that looks like it is being misused right now.

Mis-used by ABANA, I will agree.

> Remember it is your organization, it is your responsiblity to ensure that our duly elected boardmembers
> do as WE ask!

Only when they give us an opportunity to express an opinion! Have YOU seen a poll of members? Have YOU seen a vote of the membership on the issue? I haven't. If I've missed one, I'd be pleased to hear the results.

> Now I must ask you, did you vote in the ABANA Board elections? Well why not! Then stop
> complaining...... and do something constructive.

Not applicable to me, see the statement above.

And we are doing something. It may not be something you agree with, or approve of, but we are
trying to do something.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 02:53:38 GMT

Good Tony:
I proposed a conical inner-pipe screen thinking that the steepness would discourage birds and allow for more surface area to clog up.
Pete Fels  <ironyworks,no bulkmail at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 05:54:40 GMT

I'm a 15 year old that has never forged in his life. I live in central Washington State. I'm a very good welder and would like to start forging metal. I was wondering where I could buy a forge and how much they cost. Thank you for your time.
Jared Trostel  <kobain_28 at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 06:29:39 GMT

VIRUS . Thank's guru & the other's who helped me today , got this one , thankfully only lost 2 file's ( wife's , still havn't told her ) ,, as of NOW i'm running FULL antivirus protection ,,, 2 hr's of virus scan was not fun

chopper downunder :)
chopper  <chopperdale at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 08:10:05 GMT

O Wise Ones Who Help Though They Cannot Be Seen:
I'm making some of those four and six branched hanging candelabra. When I finish the weld that attaches the branches to the center hanger, I can't seem to get the tips of the branch scarfs nailed down without thinning the middle piece too much.
My wife doesn't think it looks good with those tips showing, but I don't think it looks good with the center necked down.
Is there something I can do to compensate, or a "right way" to work the weld so this doesn't happen?
Worried in Washington
Andy  <gladish at cnw.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 15:13:09 GMT

Forge Weld: Andy, this is the difficult part of forge welding. To prevent this reduction in section you have to upset the center bar. In this case the upset may need to be in the middle of the bar where the other pieces blend in. Heat just that part or quench around it to control the location of the upset. It doesn't take a lot, just a little more than the loss you are getting.

Almost all forge welds need to have an upset to prevent loss of section at the weld joint.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 15:46:35 GMT

WA State: Jared, Contact the Inland Smiths (see our ABANA-Chapter page for their listing), these folks will be your best source of tools, materials and hands on help.

If you have the budget for it you can purchase new gas and coal forges from our advertisers, Bruce Wallace, Centaur Forge or Kayne and Son. Prices start at around $325 for a very small forge and UP quite quickly.

We also have plans for a starter coal forge on our plans page. The brake drum forge can be built for very little and will give you a way to test available fuel and let you get enough experiance before you buy/build a larger forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 15:55:40 GMT

Conical inner cone: Pete, I was going to suggest the same thing. Then figured it would make a nice nesting place OR a hidden place for leaves.

Spark arrestors need a large, visible, vertical surface. Vertical to prevent debris from collecting, visible so it can be inspected from the ground, and large to prevent flow reduction.

I like Tony's idea of putting the screen on the intake next to forge where you can easily clean and inspect it.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 16:11:22 GMT

Thanks- like most problems the solution is simple in hindsight.
Looking forward to taking a welding workshop- being able to weld and making consistantly good looking welds turns out to be two different things...
Andy  <gladish at cnw.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 16:45:29 GMT

Andy, everything is "obvious" once you have seen the solution, but determining that solution is not always so obvious. Check out our iForge forge welding demos.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 17:27:29 GMT


Frank Turley does a week long (I think) class on forge welding at his school. I've never attended the class, but I know several folks who have. They all say that you couldn't find a better teacher, and I believe them.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 05/27/01 18:21:50 GMT

Hanging candelabra: I donīt know the american model, but mine are made without the central hanger piece. Just weld 4, 6 or 8 rods together and there will be lots of stock to draw into a hanger.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Sunday, 05/27/01 19:33:38 GMT

BILL NEWMAN  <bjnewman at tds.net> - Sunday, 05/27/01 22:53:48 GMT

Olle, I like that method, but will wait to try it until I get the power hammer up and running.
For now, the upset is what was missing from my weld- Blacksmithing must be the only craft where getting upset can actually make the work turn out better! yuk, yuk...
Paw- does Frank have a website with info on classes?
Andy  <gladish at cnw.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 01:49:26 GMT

Forge: Bill, This was made by Champion Blower and Forge Co. They were one of a few very popular makers of blacksmithing equipment. They made forges, blowers, hand crank blacksmith's drills and vises. They eventually started making more machine tools (heavy industrial drill presses and such) and let the blacksmith part of the business fade away as blacksmithing itself did in the 1950's. Parts of machine tool business still exist but they no longer support the blower and forge end of the business.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 02:00:59 GMT

Chandelier: Andy, I've made four arm versions where one pair made a loop to hang the chandelier with and the other looped over the bottom of the ring made by crossing the first. All four arms were then twisted into one mass.

You should also consider designs using collars and other decorative elements that are used to cover (hide) unsitely terminations.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 02:16:07 GMT


I don't know. But you can e-mail him direct from either the top of the page or from one of his messages here.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 02:29:26 GMT

I'm just starting out in the blacksmith world and would like advice on how to start making tonges or small knifes. Step by step instructions would be nice or any good books or videos. Maybe if possible you could send me pictures of work as you go about making it.
Thank you Jerry Mcburney
Jerry McBurney  <kdublin at teleport.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 02:43:29 GMT

The TURLEY FORGE classes are all three weeks in length, and the emphasis is on hardware, toolsmithing, and scrollwork. The forge welding and heat treatment demo/lectures are part of the curriculum.

I was told that CHAMPION Forge and Blower became the Channellock Company and moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania. Is true??
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Monday, 05/28/01 03:04:19 GMT

I am interested in getting started in blacksmithing, Bladesmithing to be exact, and I have one simple question.
What's the best type of forge to start Bladesmithing with?

Thanxs for any opinion you can give

John Turnbull  <Dominion0 at lightspeed.net> - Monday, 05/28/01 04:25:22 GMT

The Best?: John, That depends on a lot of things but most of todays professional bladesmiths use propane gas forges like the NC-TOOL "Knifemaker" or the Forgemaster "Blacksmith". All our advertisers of blacksmith supplies carry gas forges.

The ideal forge for blademaking would also double as a heat treating furnace. For many of the exotic steels and mixtures used by modern makers this would mean automatic temperature controls. The above forges do not have that feature. Nor do any "forges" that I know of. I have built propane furnaces with temperature controls but the controls cost more than the rest of the forge.

Then there is the debate between gas and coal. Traditionalists prefer coal but it is getting hard to find. many are converting to gas or using charcoal. Those using charcoal often have to make their own.

Coal forges have the advantage of flexibility. Solid fuel forges are as efficient with a large fire for large work as they are with a small fire for small work. Gas forges do not have that flexibility. Then there are oil (fuel oil or diesel) forges. They have better atmospheric conditions than gas thus are easier to weld with. However there are no small commercialy built units available. They still have the size problems of gas.

So, there are many pros and cons to what is "best". Generaly what is best in this field is determined by what you can afford. Most of us start with much less than the best and work toward that goal. To solve the problems of flexibility most us end up with multiple forges and furnaces for different purposes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 05:41:35 GMT

I'm writing a research on traditional blacksmithing and would like to get some info on what they make (specifically with metals)and the hazards of the job.I would also appreciate it if you could give me any other useful info and helpful links or resources.
Thank you.
Edirin Osah  <edirin_tiana at hotmail.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 11:25:35 GMT

Jerry McB: look at the "iForge" page on this site. It's exactly what you asked for.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 05/28/01 13:44:41 GMT

Frank, The Channel Lock Company started out as a one-man blacksmith shop around 100 years ago and has always been located in or around Meadville. The story of Champion becoming Channel lock I don't think is true. Pennsylvania Cable Network did a profile on Channel Lock and there was no mention of it being associated with Champion.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 14:19:37 GMT

Duh! Hellooo! I let my fingers do a little walking to channellock.com, and the company has a nice website. I clicked on Contact, then History, and there is a beautiful little section with pictures, telling the story of the company. It was founded in 1886 by a farriers' toolsmith, George B. DeArment. Not long after, it was called Champion Bolt and Clipper. That's where I got confuzzed. Apparently, it is not the same as Champion Forge. Tune in; the site is worth a look.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Monday, 05/28/01 16:15:27 GMT

Is a good site, Frank. Nice to see a company that cares enough about their history to write it down. Course, looks like it's still pretty much family owned.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 16:30:33 GMT

iForge: Alan, Thanks for catching that one for me.

Channellock: The last smithing hammers I purchased were made by Channellock and were well made. They are a good company. Vise-Grips was another company that was started by a blacksmith. However the company no longer belongs to the family and the new conglomerate has little interest in the company history. Money people generaly don't believe individuals are important, only the money. . .

Items Made: Edirin, In the not so distant past blacksmiths made EVERYTHING made of iron that was not cast in molds. Today blacksmiths still make a huge range of items. Tools including everything from hammers, pry bars, wrenches to surgical instruments. Auto, aircraft and truck parts such as crankshafts, axels, couplings. Many of these are made using "drop hammers" but in many cases blacksmiths still operate them. Then there are the items the public normally thinks of, horse shoes, wagon tires and fittings and decorative railings, gates and other architectural pieces. Today most horseshoes are made by automatic machine than by hand.

Blacksmiths still make many of their own tools and tools for other craftspeople. Hammers both common and specialty, tongs, chisels, punches and various dies of all types.

In Blacksmithing there are many specialists knife makers and architectural smiths are the two biggest specialties. Toolmakers and tool dressers are also a large class.

Hazards: Most of these problems are common in every metalworking shop. There are both mechanical and chemical hazzards.

Hot metal and flying sparks is the most obvious but handling heavy objects is probably where more accidents occur in the shop. Droping a 5 pound (2kg) hammer on your toe or hand can break it or permanently damage the bone or nail. Droping a 40 pound (18kg) swage block can break large bones and result in loss of digits and wearing a cast for an extended time. We commonly move machines that weigh tons in the shop and every time there is considerable danger. Next most hazzardous resulting in more minor injuries is from working around grinding and buffing equipment. Flying parts is most common, followed by eye injuries from grit and sparks (WEAR those safety glasses), but occasionaly grinding wheels fly apart flinging high speed shrapnel that safety glasses and safety shields and body armor will NOT stop. Proper guards and maintianence are the only way to prevent these problems.

Then there are inhalation hazzards. Most of these take a long time and require a chronic exposure to do harm. These include problems from coal smoke, carbon monoxide and welding flux fumes. Generaly in blacksmithing there are few problems with metal fumes. However, working with plated material and non-ferrous alloys such as copper alloys (brass and bronze) can produce both hazardous fumes and dust. Polishing dust is the most common problem when dealing with copper alloys.

Then there are common machinery hazzards. Most blacksmith shops resemble a machine shop more than anything else. Any thing that will cut or shape metal will do the same to flesh and bone effortlessly. Then there are the pinch point and belt hazzards. Parts of the machine that move but are not intended to do work. These cause more injuries because we are usualy closely watching the cutter or working part and not paying attention to other parts.

In years past it was not uncommon to go into any metal working shop and see several workers missing fingers, toes or wearing an eye patch. . . Today this is much less common due to better safety conciousness and machine design.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 17:07:44 GMT

Guru,Is there an online resource for examples of forged architectural railing elements: I.E... brackets, collars, riveting, etc... I am looking for ideas especially for brackets for attchment of posts into concrete, wood etc......Regards, Tim C.
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 05/28/01 23:24:11 GMT


I got in trouble with Sheri a couple of nights ago. We were eating supper when the phone rang. Some kind of sales call. After the obligatory, "Hi there! My name is Roger, how are you this evening?" I answered. "Angry! You just interupted me in the middle of a piece of #**. Go to h###!" And hung up on him. Sheri was NOT pleased! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 00:30:21 GMT

Guru: I have found an anvil and need some advice. The only mark it has is an inverted triangle with the letter 'C' or 'G' inside. Does that make any sense to you?It looks good and has good bounce in the middle and some bounce at the end with the hardie hole. Any thoughts?

Thanks Don Agostine
Don Agostine  <agostine at midlands.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 02:11:29 GMT

Howdy, Im am trying to figure out how to build a pottery wheel. I have A rod (shaft) and two pillow blocks and a motor and belt setup. The frame will be wood thats no problem.I need to know how to secure the shaft which will be verticle. Is there an end type bearing that the thing could set on? I need to have a rotation of about 150 rpm. How do you figure this out? How to secure a flat plate to the top side of the shaft? Thanks alot!!!!---D
Dave  <bonsaidave at usa.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 03:50:40 GMT

Online Parts: Tim, Traditional Metalsmith has a few sample pages as does (or did) The Blacksmith's Journal. However, these guys are in the business of selling their print publications. So far the component people have done a very poor job of putting catalogs on-line so they are little help. However, their print catalogs are full of ideas. Looks like another opertunity for anvilfire.

This is an area where most long-time smiths rely on their private library of books and old catalogs. Some of these include graphical and architectural pattern books such as those reprinted by Dover Publications. Skipjack press has some wonderful books illustrating the work of various smiths. Most ABANA chapters have libraries and these often have references that were donated and are impossible to obtain new.

The problem with many historic designs is they no longer meet current standards. The top and bottom of rails are now required to be free from places where a finger or hand could be wedged.

Where posts and pickets enter concrete many smiths use cast decorative covers or forge similar devices. These fit the bar snuggly and slip down over lead or epoxy anchor material. Another method is to dam the lead producing a raised "bush" and then cold forge it into a decorative molding.

Where work meets wood you need large surface areas to prevent damaging the wood. Where the same bracket is on a plastered surface there should be large diameter bushings transfering the load to the wood behind.

In a recent edition of BABA's Artist Blacksmith there was a series of brackets that had oval medalians each with different hearldic elements in brass on a tooled steel background. There were three fluer'de'les shaped tabs for bolts (side, side, top) spreading the load. A beautiful but not easy solution.

On many of Yellin's pieces where set into stone the bar just went straight in. The hole was a snug fit and the bar leaded in and the lead finished flush so that the bar appeared to simply penetrate the surface without any special joinery.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 04:09:06 GMT

Pottery Wheel: Dave, You sure you don't want me to build it too?

Yes, you need a "thrust" bearing. Most ball bearings have a ratio of load that a small portion is thrust. In this case you either use a thrust bearing under the wheel OR a large pillow block that can take the thrust. A flange mounted spherical roller bearing would be the best. It could be screwed to a cross member with a hole in it and the flange on the wheel supported against the bearing.

The wheel (that flat plate) generaly has a boss or extension into which the shaft fits. OR the shaft can have a flange fitted to it and the wheel screwed to the flange. Most modern wheels are an aluminium casting with ribbing for rigidity and a center boss with a precision bore to fit the shaft and set screws to lock it to the shaft.

If you have a boss or flange welded to a flat plate it won't be flat anymore and will need to be machined. Of course the wheel can be a rough wood thing with a plaster of Paris surface cast onto it and then hand turned smooth using the wheel and a hand scraper to machine it true.

Pulley sizes are measured in inches and the ratio determined by simple division. Your motor probably turns 1800 RPM (nominal, plate rating will = ~1775). To reduce that to 150 RPM you need a ratio of 1800/150 = 12:1. This would mean a 1" pulley on the motor and a 12" pulley on the wheel. The problem here is that a 1" pulley is almost impossibly small on this size device. A 2" is more practical. Then you need a 24" pulley on the wheel. That is a LARGE pulley.

SO, the next option is a "back shaft". This is a shaft with pulleys on it between the motor and the wheel shaft. In this case you would start with 2" motor to 8" backshaft (4:1), then another 2" on the backshaft to a 6" on the wheel shaft (3:1). The total reduction is r1 * r2 = final. In this case r1 * r2 = 12:1.

However, I've used potters wheels (a long time ago) and I think 150 RPM sounds fast (60-70 sounds good to me). If you scrounge a motor off an old clothes washing machine most are two speed (1800/1200 1/3HP) and would give you 150/100 RPM using the 12:1 reduction. Check with someone using a wheel before fixing the speed.

To get 75/50 RPM you would need double the above reduction.

2" to 10" = 5:1, twice = 25:1 (same pulley set in 2 places)

2" to 9" = 4.5:1, 2" to 10-1/2" = 5.25:1, 23.6:1 total

Remember you are going to need to adjust the belt tension on both belts.

Because of the water soaking everything on the machine your electrics need to be closed and well protected. The switch should be operated by a wooden lever so that you are insulated from the switch and so it can be in a protected location under the bench top.

I've used motorized wheels and if I were building a wheel for artistic use (not production ceramics) I would build a kick wheel. Direct drive, foot operated. Needs a heavier thrust bearing but no electrics. For either of these projects you should really find a set of plans.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 05:04:59 GMT

The kick wheel for potters has been transformed into an engraver's kick wheel, which is described in Neil Hartliep's book, "The Basics of Firearms Engraving". He discusses its construction, but doesn't get too specific about which type of bearings to use. The spindle comes up through the workbench and has a ball-joint vise on top to hold the workpiece. The author says that after a few hours of use, you forget your foot movement. Your foot simply begins to coordinate with your hand graver movements. I ordered my book through Brownells, Inc., a great resource for gunsmithing supplies; ph: 515-623-5401 for catalog.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 12:25:55 GMT

Searching the archives: Apologies in advance as this is off topic, but it might be helpful to someone! To search the vast archives of excellent Guru answers, I have been using the Google search engine. Go to www.google.com and enter the following as your search string:

site:www.anvilfire.com inurl:archives

This restricts the search to the anvilfire site and only returns hits with "archives" in the URL. (This will search the Virtual Hammer-in as well, I believe). Of course you can omit the inurl:archives bit to search the entire anvilfire site. If there is already a search engine on anvilfire that I've just missed, or someone has already said all this, sorry and ignore this post!

On another subject, I have just bought my first anvil (for anyone in the UK I got it from the treasure trove that is Pennyfarthing tools in Salisbury - www.pennyfarthingtools.co.uk), it's quite old and battered but I think it's great. I'm currently trying to gently clean it up a bit (it was covered in black paint) looking for any identifying marks!

Matt I  <matt at inglisfamily.freeserve.co.uk> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 12:58:57 GMT

In my last post, the search string should have been:

"your search words" site:www.anvilfire.com inurl:archives

but I put the "your search words" bit in angle brackets and this was removed by the posting process (presumably because it thought I was putting an http link in?). Oops!

Matt I  <matt at inglisfamily.freeserve.co.uk> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 13:08:03 GMT

Don Agostine: You are the proud owner of a Columbian brand anvil! It's cast steel (like a kohlswa) and was made in Ohio in (I think) the 1920s. I have one myself, and if the edges were still there I'd use it all the time. They're great anvils, the only complaints are the usual ones with cast steel anvils: the edges seem to chip easily, the horn tends to be way dull (mine is about a 1" radius) and the base may need to be cleaned up a bit to sit steady (mine has a parting line that makes it rock on a flat surface).
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 13:20:03 GMT

Potter's wheels: There's good diagrams of a kick wheel in two books: "Turners and Burners" by Charles Zug, and "Brothers in Clay" by John Burrison. Zug is a bit more technical.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 13:23:02 GMT

Alan, Thanks twice! Zug eh? I've done a lot of ceramics and pottery (its in the family) but never studied it.

Matt, Thanks for the tip, I've got search code somewhere but have never gotten it setup. Yep, our HTML filters stripped your angle brackets.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 13:51:01 GMT

Hi All,

I just posted some pictures of the blacksmith shop the Amherst Historical Society built us in '99. It was made for demonstrating to the public out of old materials. We're really happy with it. The pictures are at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth/AHSShop.html

Mike Roth  <mcroth at adelphia.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 16:18:21 GMT

I was thinking about a bigger forge again. Last year, I got some big agricultural wheels from the scrap guy. 42 inch diameter rim on the smaller ones. The center section that is welded to the rim and bolts to the hub is stamped like a dished head. 1/2 inch thick with a 4 inch rim. So yesterday I spent 6 hours or so liberating the center section from the rim. There was a beautiful Ĺ" subarced fillet weld holding the center to the rim. I torch gouged and ground that sucker away. The rim will make a great firepit. The center section will be my new forge.

So now I have this 36" diameter rimmed pan with a 9 inch hole in the center. Iíd like to do a rectangular fire pot so I can do longer work than my current 4" diameter tuyere. Iíd like to be able to get 10 inches to forging temp for upsetting. I can fill in the extra length with firebrick when I donít want a big fire. Any ideas for the firepot? Iíll fab one, and it will be about the same depth as the ones you can buy, but Iím trying to decide what and how. I donít think mild steel would melt away? Will clinker stick to firebrick if I put firebrick on the sloped sides or will it run down the brick and into the tuyere/clinker breaker?

Yeah, Iím reinventing the wheel to fit what I have again. Too cheap or boneheaded to buy one. But unless the commercial ones can get me 10 inches of hot stock, I have not seen one. I use lump hardwood charcoal.

Potters wheels: I have a bunch of non powered ones. Employee cheep sale from my previous employer. The thrust bearing is just a cone machined on the bottom end of the 1-1/2" diameter vertical shaft. Not suitable for power, but the tops are 20" diameter or so cast iron. Very heavy and stable. The bearings are bronze or iron and bolted to the wood frames. Would probably make a good start for a powered one. Dave, contact me if you want one. Many Kohler toilets were finished on these after demolding. I tried, but I canít keep all six busy. (Grin) The shaft and top combo probably weighs 40 pounds, so shipping from Wisconsin might not be worth it.

Posts in concrete: Iíve found that drilling round holes in concrete to accept square or rectangular steel bar, then grinding the edges of the bar to fit the hole tight works pretty well in many cases. Then fill the hole with epoxy and top off with sloped urethane or silicone caulk to keep the water out. In Wisconsin, water in a hole in concrete in the winter will split the concrete when the water freezes. Lead would be nice unless somebodies kid licked it. Need to keep the steel bar dry to keep rust down also.

Paw Paw, as an answer for interruptions, Iíll use that one if you donít mind? Grin
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 16:22:47 GMT

Telephonous Interruptus: You guys sure do make it difficult to keep our our SafeSurf PG rating. . .

Tony, There was some interesting research in coal fire grates a few (15-17) years ago. The articles were in the Blacksmiths Gazette. A fellow was using parallel stainless steel bars with small spacing between bars. The bar was small stuff. 3/32" bar welding filler rod. It was set with .010 to .015" spacings. Air cooled it. The diffuse air made a very good forging fire. I have some sample filter "V" bar grating that is VERY similar if not better. . hmmmmm.

Another one is my friend Josh's favorite. It is just a replaceable cast iron grate with straight slots. The angles of the slots help spread the fire right to left. For heating long work he generaly built a bigger fire but he always wanted to make a tandem firepot. In a tamdem firepot the two truncated pyramid shapes would intersect creating a low spot between them of about half the fire pot depth. Two seperate twyers and grates would provide air and ash dump capability. This would create almost a double width fire and provide long heats of up to 2 feet or so that were relatively even.

Now, that will keep you busy for a while. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 17:07:46 GMT


Be my guest! (grin)


Oops! Sorry, I'll be more careful.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 17:30:37 GMT

I got the virus last night!!!! Somehow it got past the v-shield in McAfee virus scan. Clean now after 4 hours of breathing blue air :( I only had 3 e-mails and 2 were from Anvilfire friends. Now I'm afraid to mail anyone.
Jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 20:34:08 GMT

Venerable Sirs,

With your permission, a
Comment: The simple answer to the question: What kind of forge, gas or coal? ...Both. If you can afford gas, get it and then build a coal one out of scrap, and revise, revise, revise. Forging with gas is like cooking in the micro wave, quick and clean. But a coal forge gives a sense of involvement with both the past and the process that you don't want to miss. Each play a vital role in the well appointed shop.

Question: Master Meier says that after the first few welds
the carbon in the high carbon steel mixes with the low carb contrast steel. Also, with every heat is it not true that some carbon is lost? So, in terms of carbon content, can you say that what you end up with is roughly the average of the two steels that are used?

Second question: Where is Cracked Anvil when we need his incisive wit and humor most? I really miss his contributions.


L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 05/29/01 20:47:50 GMT

Clinker Content: To my surprise I noticed that a magnet
will pick up a clinker. What impurities in coal attract
the magnet?
Har. Fisher  <coyoteforge at aol.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 21:08:49 GMT

Virus: Jerry, Yes, these things are very disconcerting. See my posts above on the problems. The biggest is that virus scan software is no good unless it has the "image" of the virus to look for. These are really DUMB pieces of software. They do not detect viral activity. They look for signitures and images that have been found in other copies of the virus. Unless you have the latest library of image files then the software is "blind" to a new virus. When a REALLY new virus is launched all systems are blind to it. This particular nasty was only launched on March 1st. It is still relatively new.

All you can do is fix it and go on with life. But remember that ALL attachments are suspect. If you are really paranoid you will scan every one before opening it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 22:02:06 GMT

Clinker: I believe that magnetic material is from the iron you worked. . Scale mixes with much of your ash and clinkers.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 22:04:22 GMT

Carbon Migration: Larry, Carbon moves from a high carbon layer to a low carbon layer at a rate dependent on time, temperature and alloy. The faster you work the less migration occurs. Many laminated steel makers start with thin layers so that few heats are needed and less migration occurs. Machine forging also reduces the time factor and thus the carbon migration.

The "averaging" is why the absurdly high layer or fold count spouted by tyros are foolish. The point of laminated steels is to take advantage of the different properties. Too many or too fine a layer and you end up with a homogeneous material. When MAKING steel via the old method of mixing high carbon or cast with wrought that is the desired result. But not in laminated steels.

You can lose OR gain carbon in the forge. You are more likely to lose carbon in a gas forge and gain carbon in a coal or oil forge. It depends on the atmosphere

I haven't heard from Cracked in a while. Could be its finally spring time and he has work to do!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 05/29/01 22:20:08 GMT


"Now, that will keep me busy for a while..." ???

What, you think you know me well enough that you can plant seeds like that, and they'll keep my noggin busy?

Gosh darn it! I really hate it when I'm that easy to manipulate. grin

Yeah, the wheels are turning a little. Or should I say grinding and screeching?

Here, for once, I was just looking for the easy answer. And is it forthcoming? Nnoooooooooo! I gotta work on it myself again.

Ok, Ok. Truth be told, I would have modified any easy answer too. Grinning sheepishly.

Tight spacing on small stainless bars sounds interesting, but how did that work with the clinker? I would have thought the small stainless bars would get beat up pretty bad. Stainless wedge bar in say a half inch cross section sounds good. Even with the small amount of clinker I get with the lump charcoal, I know that slots are preferable to holes. Much easier to clean.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 02:44:00 GMT

Dear guru:

First off let me say that this has to be one of the best sights for any purpose out there and that I have learned a lot from what I have seen and read here. My question is I am building a furnace to melt metal it is propane fired and uses a blower. I hope to melt iron and alluminum and bronze in different crucibles. I plan on the primary refractory being a solid one made up of furnace cement (rated to 3000 degrees) and perlite. Another smith said that this would hold up but it might work even better holding the heat in if I used a fiber refractory in addition. I know that kaowool (ceramic wool)would work nicely but it is expencive and hard to find I wanted to know if because it is already behind a sizable about of solid refractory if fiberglass isulation would hold up and help keep the heat in. I know this is an odd ball question but I apreciate any responce
Mike Custer
Mike Custer  <Mcuster at eclipse.net > - Wednesday, 05/30/01 03:53:24 GMT

Refractory: Mike, Not an odd question. I'm working on the same for building forges.

First, be sure your furnace cement is designed for molding. The fine stuff for mortaring fire brick will shrink and crack badly if used in large masses. Foundry suppliers sell "moldable" refractory for this purpose.

I'm not sure about the perlite. I was planning on using vermiculite but what I found at the gardening supply was ground too fine. There is a version called "mica pellets" that I am looking for now.

My plan was to mold the inner 1/2 to 2/3 of the forge wall of moldable refractory. The balance would be vermiculite or perlite with just enough moldable refractory or furnace cement to act as binder. This light outer portion would be an insulating layer. If I could afford it I would add 1/2" of Kaowool outside that.

Most kilns and melting furnaces use a relatively porous light weight refractory that acts somewhat as an insulator. The exterior shells still get very hot.

Fiberglass will work in most cases outside the refractory. How long the furnace is fired determines how hot the exterior gets. You have to test the glass as many types used for home construction use glue binders that will burn. Be sure to strip off the paper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 05:11:26 GMT

I live about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, PA.
Can anyone steer me to a source of good coal somewhere near where I live. Thanks.

Vince Carl
Vince Carl  <xcowboy at execnet.net> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 10:51:39 GMT

Bar Grate: Tony, The grates with the small bars were reported to work well. However, it was a LONG time ago that the fellow was working on it. Ideas that die out tend to die for a reason. Although sometimes "different" ideas get killed off for simply being different. Or somtimes ideas die with the inventor. The point of this grate was that clinkers and ash didn't get past it and the difuse air made a better fire. It was an interesting idea. I've mentioned it here a couple times hoping someone might remember it or who was working on it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 11:43:02 GMT

I'm making a few arbors, and was planning to bend 1/2 inch square cold around a radiused wooden form to make 24" radius arches.

I'm wondering if there is a way of determining the form radius to allow for the metal springback that I assume will occur, or should I start with a 24" form, then cut the form down a little at a time, and rebend until I get it right? Or, will there be negligible springback?

Gary  <gary.j.caron at honeywell.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 12:53:07 GMT

Springback: Gary, This is a thorny problem. But is sounds you you understand it. Yes, there is significant spring back. The larger the radius the greater the amount. But the actual amount is determined by the "temper" of the steel. Dead soft annealed steel will almost need to be sprung open to get it off the form. Work hardened OR heat treated hard steel will spring back to more near straight than to this size curve.

Normal mild steel (HR-bar) will bend fairly close to your jig size. You may need to undersize it an inch or two (or just make the arbors a little larger). However, the temper of the stock you purchase is critical and you have little control over it. One stick of hot roll (HR bar) will be dead soft and the next springy. Cold drawn (CF bar) is always springy but it is more likely to be consistantly springy. Rebar is generaly harder (thus springier) but is faily consistent among grades. The high strength grade is VERY springy and difficult to bend. The lowest strength grade is still springy but not nearly as bad as the higher carbon stuff.

If you need consistancy either purchase CF-bar OR purchase all the HR-bar you are going to need and specify that it all come from the same mill lot. Future lots MAY match in temper but they often do not.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 13:42:58 GMT

Hi Jock, got back on several time but IForge still shows the last demo to be Hinge I. Has there been a problem to the website or am I doing something wrong.

Thanks Ray
ray robinson - Wednesday, 05/30/01 19:07:48 GMT

iForge: Ray, The most recent demo is #97 "Spike Knife" by Bill Epps. There have been seven since you last looked. You may have a caching problem. You can set your browser to "Check for new file every time". This forces your browser to check the date of all files loaded. It doesn't take much time and if files have the same date/time it still loads from your cache.

Several people have reported this problem at various times so I will look at setting an expire date on the file.

Tonights demo will be #98, Molds and Pattern Making.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 05/30/01 20:45:35 GMT

I'm looking for plans or genral guidelines for building a forge do have or know where i could get some
friday  <jharlow872 at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 00:50:33 GMT

Can anyone tell me if you can install a 1/4" pipe on the side of a T-Rex burner to except a universal grill igniter assembly, WITHOUT effecting the performence of the burner. Thanks in advance.
keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 01:13:46 GMT

Go to links, scroll down untill you find RON REIL. Check it out, GOOD STUFF!
keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 01:17:54 GMT

Check out http://members.nbci.com/zman59/forge.html
I just started to build a forge using this design, I'm making it 12" long, so I should be able to use just one burner.
keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 01:42:34 GMT

CHRIS MAKIN  <CFM15 at HOME.COM> - Thursday, 05/31/01 01:56:24 GMT

Chris: The hamon is the transition from "cooled fast enough" to form martensite to "didn't cool fast enough" to form martensite. Shallow hardening steels are the best choice to get an hamon. Deep hardening steels, such as O1 may require keeping that part of the blade that you want to become pearlitic above 900f (but below the critical temp ) for as long a 3 minutes after the edge has been cooled. Air hardening steels require even longer--- as much as 20 to 30 minutes. What is possible depends on how creative the techniques are.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 03:50:31 GMT

Hammon Grandpa, Thanks! Clear and concise as always.

T-Rex: Keith I'm sure Rex Price (the maker of the T-Rex) would give you an answer. I have a T-Rex that we will be testing shortly. I want to compare it to other burners so we are building a special test forge that we can swap burners on. Hope to have a report in a month or so.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 04:32:25 GMT

Virus Hoax: While we DO have the virus described above in our midst there is also a hoax warning going about. It tells you to find a specific file in your WINDOWS/SYSTEM folder or other such place and delete it. The problem IS that this is a real windows utility file you are being told to delete!

Viruses do not work like the hoax letter indicates. Virus files don't just magicaly appear in sub level folders. They come in through e-mail as a "Trojan", a file that has to be executed (RUN) by you or by your system as does many MS mail products.

Once executed, the Trojan may create new files in the system area, modify the OS to run those files or itself everytime your systen is restarted, append its code to real system files and of course, take advantage of the HUGE security holes in Windows to mail itself to your friends.

What this means is that once infected there is usualy more than ONE piece of the virus on your system and other changes that may need to be corrected. DO NOT apply home remedies to computer viruses. Use a current professional or commercial virus scan. And DO NOT believe everything that comes into your e-mail! Virus hoaxes are more common than viruses and are often equaly destructive.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 13:16:34 GMT

CHRIS MAKIN  <CFM15 at HOME.COM> - Thursday, 05/31/01 13:03:19 GMT

Chris: Yes, 1095 is shallow hardening, as are all the 10xx series.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 13:37:47 GMT


adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Thursday, 05/31/01 13:57:50 GMT

Just a thank you to Guru, Frank and others for the suggestions on attachment, bracket ideas. I have an extensive library as well of historical to contemporary ironwork which I draw on for ideas. Occasionally even this is not sufficient, which is when I go to you guys. With the advent of modern epoxies we can can do many of the things Yellin did ( brackets going into concrete then leaded) much more effient and easier. When the client is willing to pay that "little extra" for hidden brackets epoxy is the way to go. Hilti makes some of the best attachment systems that I have found but you pay for it. It's all relative though, if the money is there for the job. Regards, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 14:13:30 GMT

I just found a link to a site that gives instructions on how to make a sword . . . fairly accurate if a trifle skimpy on the details ;-) (VBG)

Check it out, might be amusink.

Tom  <tbarnghghghghgett at at at isd.moregarbagecharactershere.net> - Thursday, 05/31/01 17:43:02 GMT

I suppose I could post the link, while I am at it:

Tom  <tbarnghghghghgett at at at isd.moregarbagecharactershere.net> - Thursday, 05/31/01 17:43:34 GMT

Actually the skimpy is OK but the use of many terms is incorrect appearing to be written by someone that didn't have a clue.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 18:08:23 GMT

sorry about the caps i did'nt know.i wonder if anyone out there has done any clay tempering that could share notes with me
chris makin  <cfm15 at home.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 18:14:52 GMT


Be glad they didn't post more erroneous information. (grin) In this case, skimpy is good.

Reminds me of the guy who walked up to me at Bethabara carrying an imitation Gladius. Handed it to me, (in-correctly) and asked me what it was made of. I took one look and told him it was made from a truck spring. He looked surprised and asked how I identified it so quickly. I answered that who ever made it didn't bother to
take the curve out of it when he made it. He looked insulted and said he didn't want to lose the temper. I replied that a real bladesmith would have known how to re-temper it.

He left. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 18:18:38 GMT

I'm looking for someone to reinforce a reproduction clockface (36
Brad Holbrook  <tennistv at nycap.rr.com`> - Thursday, 05/31/01 18:44:14 GMT

I was wondering if you would be able to help me find plans for building a coal forge .
thanks for any help you can give
mike  <mcook1971 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 20:02:13 GMT

I am trying to remove the galvinization on some sheet metal panels. I've considered burning them but they're pretty big (3'X 7') and besides that emits toxic gases. Can you recommend a chemical treatment that will remove the galvi without destroying the roofing guage metal that it's bonded to? Thank you guru, you are most wise.
Andy  <blacksmythe at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 05/31/01 23:10:02 GMT

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