WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from May 1 - 8, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Rugg, Nothing clever. I tried to copy my scrolling pliers from the British book, "Wrought Ironwork". They wound up being about 12" long overall with drawn reins, not forge welded reins. The jaws are forged to a round taper; you're trying not to mar the material they're grabbing. My first pair of mild steel were too weak. The jaws sprung open when I applied pressure. Since then, I have forged them out of auto coil spring, which is 5/8" round. After assembly, I let everything air cool from a bright red [salmon] heat. The silicon and manganese in the steel seem to give enough strength and spring without further heat treatment. Mine fit 1/4", but of course, that can be changed if need be.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/01/03 00:20:22 GMT

Dragons Breath: For anyone used to using a gas forge having folks flitting around turning the forge on and off was probably a nuisance and a distraction on top of letting the forge cool down between heats. . . I don't even shut the forge down with neophytes such as the Boy Scouts we have worked with.

Beside being a distraction it is a BAD lesson. Gas forges do not turn themselves off when you reach for a piece of work. Having one off every time you go to pull work in and out just teaches you bad habits. Dragons breath is NORMAL.

If I were the demonstartor I would have been rather impolite and barked "leave the _ _ _ _ forge alone!"
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 00:24:21 GMT

Opening Forge Doors: It depends on the forge and the forge design and how hot it is. Most well designed and built forges do not need the door open unless you have some reason to cool it fast. Many small forges do not have enough mass and residual heat to hurt the burner parts. However, some early NC-Tool forges had aluminium burners and had problems melting and sometimes burning the ends while in use . . . the new ones are all cast iron.

The slight turn in the NC-Tool type burners is so that incandescent heat does not overheat the burner and so that hot air hugs one surface as it flows out. Mankle had a right angle in their burners to do the same thing and Forgemaster has up blown burners with two right angles in them.

Burners mounted on the side of a forge often act as a cool air inlet unless there is too big of an opening in the forge (ie the door) then hot air may flow out rather than cool air in. . . So leaving the door open to cool the forge would heat up the burner. . .

Then there are blower type forges. . . and compressed air forges. . .

There is no hard-fast rule. Use some common sense for the given situation.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 00:39:44 GMT

You could be right, guru -- and I don't know exactly what our demonstrators thought. We opened to door for them as well as shutting off the forge; hopefully it wasn't as annoying as it sounded from my post. I certainly agree it could cause bad habits and wouldn't be a good idea if teaching a beginner.
   Mike B - Thursday, 05/01/03 01:30:00 GMT

Thank y'all for the input on the mysteries of gas forges. Does somewhat make me appreciate burning dirt. ;-)

(Sigh!) Another art to master.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 05/01/03 02:57:54 GMT

I've been following the gas forge discussion with great interest, and a couple of questions came up for me. Is radiant heat the same thing as incandescent heat? If not, what's incandescent heat? And is there any good formula for calculating chimney area (for a forge with a closed door) relative to volume or dimensions of a forge? Important issues for me as my gas forge is getting to the point where I need to figure this stuff out.

P.S. Has anyone done any work with a Lagrange-Hoho forge like the one described in the 21st Century section? I got a 35-amp bridge (AC to DC converter) from one of my friends, and I was thinking about stepping up and rectifying some house current to power a water pail forge. This would be a great option for me, as I live in an apartment with no yard and nowhere I can easily set up a forge. (Yes, I'll be very careful, use a relay to connect the circuit, wire a protective fuse. I'm a good boy!)

Sunny and cloudless today (though it's dark now) in windward Kaneohe, Hawaii
   T. Gold - Thursday, 05/01/03 05:25:40 GMT


need this for a history project, and I was wondering if you could maybe help me. Do you know how exactly a sword was forged in the Middle Ages? I am sort of looking for a step-by-step sort of thing, but IŽll do with anything I can get. (eg Links, Books, whatever)

Thanks for your Help!
   Meg Clakswood - Thursday, 05/01/03 11:29:27 GMT


Click on the Anvilfire Armoury for "Swords of Iron, Swords of Steel" and see if that works for you.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 05/01/03 12:36:11 GMT

Swords Meg:

Our Armoury article is a start but may be too technical or not technical enough. Steel during that time varried greatly in quality, was very expensive and more difficult to work than modern steels. They also used "wrought iron" which is nearly pure iron and cannot be hardened. Often the wrought iron and steel were laminated (welded together in layers) and sometimes the core of a sword was made of wrought iron covered with steel. All the welding was done by heating to a white heat in a charcoal fire and then hammering together. Often the processes of hand refining the steel or laminating the blade was a major part of the job and there was dozens of steps. There would also be a big difference in the quality of the blade and the effort that went into making it depending on one's station in life. Most museum blades left from that period are the fancy blades made for the rich that probably saw little use and were carfully kept from harms way.

However, the basic steps were and still are:
  • Forge the blade nearly to shape
  • Harden the blade (heat red hot and then quench in water)
  • Temper the blade (reheat to less than red hot reduce brittleness)
  • Grind the blade to finished shape.
  • Engrave or decorate if a fancy blade.
    Forge or cast the furniture (guard pommel)
  • Fit furniture and grip, brad (or rivet) the tang to hold them on.
These are basicaly the same steps used to make any sword or knife with a guard and pommel including a kitchen knife or letter opener. Modern methods are the same with the exception of using motorized tools, gas torches and funaces and modern adheasives such as epoxy.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 13:45:50 GMT

frank, thanks for the reply. like mini tongs?? how long are the jaws?? the british book, is that one of the rural commision books?? i did see a picture of a generic pair of pliers with two rods welded on the ends of the jaws @ right angles. i think it was one of meliak's (sp) books. thanks again...
   rugg - Thursday, 05/01/03 14:27:10 GMT

one more gas question: burner holder; any disadvantage in a tight fit?? the ones i have seen are about 1/2" bigger thatn the burner. thanks..
   rugg - Thursday, 05/01/03 14:32:00 GMT

Gurus, relating to all the comments about old air compressors (and knowing very little about them) I have an old (big) air tank, stripped, and 2 of the 'craftsman' type
air compressors of about 3 hp each. I want to merge these things. I have two questions. First, what is a hydrostatic test, and how does a non tech self taught twit perform one. Second, the old tank had a self draining feature on it, gone now, and no drain petcock on the bottom, how do I deal with that? Thanks
   - Tim - Thursday, 05/01/03 14:33:00 GMT

Lagrange-Hoho: T-Gold, I haven't heard of anyone researching or experimenting with this method. Again, it is one of those things that requires lots of horsepower or in this case Killowats. 220 Volts was used at considerable amperage. The demonstration described in the article was at a facility where they had large coal/steam powered DC generators.

In a modern transformer based unit there should be no need to "step-up". In fact my experiance with bridge diodes is that the resulting DC current is considerably higher than the incoming AC. But it could be the quality of my measuring tools. . . A 12 VAC current often results in 18 VDC. If this ratio held then 120 VAC would produce 180 VDC or 240 VAC would result in over 300 VDC. SO. . it may take a step down transformer to keep the voltage under 300. But then it MAY be possible to build a very small scale 120 volt unit.

I doubt that the bridge you have is heavy enough. Normally bridge rectifiers are rated at volts AND amps AND require a good heat sink. The total results in watts. I do not think any of the little square one piece units would do the job even if mounted on a fan cooled heat sink. Maybe a bank of dozens would hold up.

In a typical AC/DC transformer arc welder the diodes are big individual things with a threaded end to attach to a hot (live current) aluminium bus that also acts as a heat sink. The top end has a large screw terminal that has flat solid ribbon wire attached to it. It requires four of these units to make up a full wave bridge and welders often have multiple bridge circuits.

Resistance welders and forges are just a big short circuit. The only thing that allows them to function is a very large input fuse or breaker and a time limit on the load (which alows the breaker to cool, preventing tripping). It is a balancing act. In most cases the metal caught in the short circuit should melt or vaporize before the larger (high voltage input) fuse does the same.

Probably safer than Lagrange-Hoho, I have seen demonstrations of heating large steel bars using low voltage resistance heating. This is powered by a VERY large welding type transformer. Cables with clamps (like welding grounds) are attached to the bar, then the power is turned on for a few seconds (probably via a foot switch) and the entire length of the bar heats to an orange heat in those few seconds. A typical AC buzz box will do this to a 1/8" welding rod. Scale up the needed capacity by the cross section of the bar to be heated.

They also used to make electric resistance rivet heaters for girder construction. These consisted of a heavy transformer power source and the heater which has a pair of foot operated electrodes to clamp the rivet between. The operator (rivet man) held the rivet with a pair of tongs, placed it on the stationary bottom electrode then steped on the pedle which clamped the top electrode on the rivet. Heating only took seconds and one of these devices could supply hot 3/4" rivets to several riveters. OR pieces of small bar to blacksmith.

The problem with all these devices is TIME. Heating time is short so the power requirements are huge. Kilns and other heating devices are different in that they heat slowly and the heat is stored in the refractory insulated furnace. By spreading the power requirements over a many hours (kilns take eight hours or more to reach full heat) the power requirements are much lower than dead short nearly instantaneous heating.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 14:36:56 GMT

Home built compressors: Tim, Generally a hydrostatic test is no good unless performed by someone qualified to perform and certify the results of the test. There are written ASTM and ASME test procedures for doing such.

Basicaly, the tank to be tested is filled with water which is pressurized to some value (usualy 1.5 times) the working pressure of the tank and held there for a brief period of time. Critical to the pressurization is that there is NO stored energy in the system. Usualy small high pressure piston pumps are used. If the tank should burst and there is no stored energy then the pressure drops immediately and you just have a leak, not an explosion. Water is used because it in a incompressable liquid that does not store energy the way a compressed gas would. Great care is taken when doing hydrostatic tests to assure that there is no air in the system before pressurizing.

Prior to performing a hydrostatic test there is usualy a visual inspection of the tank using a bore-scope or small remote camera. Heavy corrosion or pitting will often reject the tank prior to hydrostatic testing. A tester may also do a dye penatrant test on welds.

In general it is cheaper to purchase a NEW tested and approved tank. McMaster-Carr sells a variety of sizes.

In many states there are regulations covering pressurized tanks and boilers. These can be used to deny an insurance claim in the event of an accident (or fire) and put libility directly on you (as it should be). Home built compressors are a big gamble in this respect.

Ah. . did I mention that ANY welding on the tank voids all previous testing and certification?

The self draining feature probably used a pickup tube that screwed into a fitting on the top of the tank and nearly touched the bottom. Fittings of this type are made from a reducer bushing with a brazed pickup tube. The trick is figuring out how long to make the tube relative to where the plug stops threading into the tank and have it close enough to the bottom. I have made these double pipe fittings by threading the normally unthreaded end of a reducer bushing instead of welding or brazing.

An option is to put the compressors and motors on a seperate base instead of mounting them on the tank. This is common in commercial compressor systems. Then any convienient reciever (tank) can be used and is easy to change out.

If you insist on building your own compressor be sure that you use an appropriately sized and rated safety pop-off valve. The valve must be rated for more CFM than the compressors feeding the reciever produce. Otherwise the compressors can continue increasing the pressure in the tank after the valve has opened. Pop-off valves must be mounted according to the manufacturers instructions (usualy vertical of horizontaly) and be inspected regularly. Obstructions in the discharge such as insect nests (mud-daubers) can render the valve ineffective.

   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 15:21:17 GMT

Bugs and Safety: Where I live I have to continously check any pipe or hole for mud-dauber and spider nests. Once they plugged the vent cap on my truck's rear axel and it began leaking oil from all the seals. When the vent was cleared the leaking stopped. But I still had to replace the brake shoes. . . Another time they built a nest in the stinger hose of my paint spray gun and it took me a year to figure out why it wouldn't work. I took it apart and cleaned it several times beore I realized that it was the short piece of hose that was clogged several inches from the ends . . . . They are also bad about building nests in welding torches and have ruined several of mine. I have bought and made dozens of hose fitting cap sets for regulators and torchs but the bugs still come in from the working end of some tips. . :(

In the past I had to check fire extinguishers almost weekly in the summer. Now I put a piece of tape lightly across the discharge opening. This keeps the bugs out and will easily blow off when needed. DO NOT wrap tape around the nozzel. They still have to be inspected regularly as the tape will ocassionaly fall off (if applied properly it SHOULD fall off).

When was the last time you checked the nozzels of your fire extinguishers for unwelcome guests?
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 15:30:54 GMT

Burner Holders: Rugg, Do you mean the home made pipe types with locking screws? No reason other than common pipe does not come in telescoping sizes and most of the forges you see using this type bracket are built from scrounged materials.

I personaly think this is a rather ugly bracket for holding the burners and that there are many other more elegant ways to support them. One guy did it and everyone else has followed his lead. . . No commercial forge uses anything like the tube in tube mounting. However, it gives you lots of room for alignment and adjustment if you need it.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 15:39:05 GMT

A moment of silence please. Today, Bethlehem steel's lawyers are preparing the paperwork to hand over whatever is left of
the company to the International Steel group. Bethlehem Steel as we knew it no longer exists. A touch of quiet formality should mark the end of one of America's greatest enterprises.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/01/03 15:46:05 GMT

Some diode and other electrical things:
The voltage rating in diodes is what's called Peak Inverse Voltage. Since diodes block voltage in one direction, exceeding this voltage would cause the diode to break down and conduct in the opposite direction, possibly burning out the diode and maybe what it's connected to. This feature is used in zener diodes, but they're designed for that and don't burn out because of it (up to limits, of course).

This PIV doesn't compute into the wattage, though. The power dissipation comes from the current passing through it times the forward voltage. This forward voltage is usually around 0.7V, but can be as low as 0.3V for some rectifiers. Even at this low voltage, 100A X .3V = 30W. Touch a 30W light bulb and you'll get an idea of how hot this can get.

The Guru's right about those little square bridges. I've never seen one that will pass more than a few amps. For big stuff, you need the big rectifiers. Their cases are built to bolt onto heatsinks.

AC voltage is usually measured as RMS (Root Mean Square) voltage. For a sine wave, RMS = Peak Voltage / square root of 2. The peak voltage is what you would see when looking at the signal with an oscilloscope.

When rectifying AC (turning it into DC) the bridge diodes flip the bottom half (negative peak) of the AC cycle up to the top half. On a 'scope it now looks lilke a mountain range. Then the output is filtered with a capacitor, filling in those valleys and making the signal as straight a line as possible. This makes the DC output closer to the positive peak voltage. So a 12V AC turns into about 17V. Usually the 12V is really 12.6V (I don't know why), so a 12V transformer makes an 18V DC power supply.

   Marc - Thursday, 05/01/03 15:48:20 GMT

I've been following along silently for a while now (I've moved most my questions to the Pub, so I've not posted for a long time), but I've got a question about gas forges.

Our gas forge (some commercial thing - not home built) has a "flat" table-like top with a large, rectangular hole in it. This hole goes down maybe 9 inches and the burners shoot into one of the sides (the "table top" and sides of the hole are all refractory-lined).

We build a small 'arch' over the hole (usually about 2 bricks high), and usually close one end of the arch, leaving the opposite end open for the work to be put in.

The point of this discription: no door.

Since using our setup without problems for roughly two years, I don't understand the need/point of the door.

Could someone explain, please? Would our setup be more efficient with a door?

BTW, guru mentioned "then there are blow type forges. . . and compressed air forge. . . " I don't really know what all the different types are, or what their differences are. But our gasser does use a blower, if that somehow effects the answer to my question.

Thanks, fellers.
   Mike the Red - Thursday, 05/01/03 16:59:29 GMT

What is a "smith's devil"? I have heard that it is the term for a piece of metal that flies off at random when something is being hammered. Is this true? I haven't been able to find this information anywhere else. I am not a blacksmith, just a curious civilian. Thanks!
   Karen - Thursday, 05/01/03 17:00:12 GMT

Guru- I read the "no demo" message last night on the Pub classroom page. Just wanted to say thanks for all the work you do to keep anvilfire going. I'm sure everyone is as willing as I to wait on the demos until you've had time to catch up with those government b_ _ _ _ rds and their regulations!
   Mike the Red - Thursday, 05/01/03 17:02:05 GMT

Where can I get a touchmark made. I read the iforge lesson on matrix punches and touchmarks and I don't have the steady hand or the patience.
   robcostello - Thursday, 05/01/03 17:52:28 GMT

Touchmarks: , Rob, Grant Sarver makes them for Kayne and Son and you can also get them made through Centaur Forge. In both cases you will be dealing through an intermediary. Plain letters are common and pretty inexpensive. You can also have them cut from your artwork.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/01/03 18:03:29 GMT

Mike if it is a "commercial" gas forge designed of schools, then it is likely a natural gas unit and is designed to be run without being capped. That is not necessarily the most efficient way to run it, but it is designed to run efficiently the way it is. The doors being talked about are put on smaller are generally smaller atmospheric forges that are commercially produced, or are home built. The doors help hold the heat in so that the working temperature is raised to the point that you can forge weld. Doors on these smaller forges also help maintain a more consistant atmosphere. If you run with the door open you get more air in your mix, and can change your flame to a oxidizing flame, because you have too much free oxygen. I used to work on a big Johnson Gas Appliance forge that ran on NG and I never was able to forge weld in the thing, but I could stack A TON of pieces in it and everyone of them was hot when I gto to it. I am sure that there are NG forges that are designed to get to welding heat, but the one you are working on might not be one of them:-) Course if you stack up enough insulating fire brick and insulate your fire from extra oxygen and get your fire adjust properly you might get there.

Most people's biggest complaint with gas forges stem from not being able to control the fire to get a neutral/slightly reducing flame, and putting enough heat into the metal so that you can weld... The three most common culprits, improper gas/air adjustment, inability to controling the heat you have(meaning the heat either bleeds out the door, or gets sucked up by the heavy refactory, either way it ain't going in to the steel where you need it:-), and just not having enough BTUs.

Look at the commercially available forge designs, most have doors to keep the heat where you need it, and to save fuel costs.
   Fionnbharr - Thursday, 05/01/03 18:07:24 GMT

T. Gold. What a smith means by "incandescent" is heated iron that gives off light.

Rugg, Yes, the "Wrought Iron" book is by the Rural Development Commission, which in the 1950's was the Rural Industries Bureau and later was the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas [COSIRA]. They show two styles of pliers, one being the straighforward design I tried to describe and the other is a pair of "bow pliers" for handling collars. If the jaws are bent at a right angle, as you describe, they're usually used for levering and tightening the hot scroll around a scroll forming tool.

Karen, The anvil devil is a cold chisel which was made in the cross-section of and equilateral triangle, about 5/8" to 3/4" on a side...and maybe about 3" long. You put it on the anvil face and drive your workpiece down onto it, attempting to notch the piece and cut it off. I tried it. It seems that either the devil broke because it was tempered too hard, or it goes flying off the anvil. Poor design. It't better to put our tooling in the holes provided at the anvil's heel.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/01/03 18:40:52 GMT

Hey chaps, I've got things working again, and have just been and caught up on the replies that you've sent. Jerry - No I've not won the lottery - shame - its actually my mum that is supporting the cost of 'setting up shop' - we're quite lucky here, although we're not 'well off' mum has always had a lot of faith in my brother and I and tries to support us when she can. I've got involved with the workshop project, because I run the PC, and when Rob and I get together on the ideas front we are pure dynamite. I'm copying all your replies onto another document for him and I'm sure he'll be interested in trying to make his own forge - I'll also get him the BABA contacts as this sounds very useful. I might also get him to look up some details about his compressed air tank as it's possible that someone here may have used similar in the past and might be able to help with use instructions. I know that he's just had all the corroded seals? (I'll check with him!) skimmed so that they are smooth as he did have a lot of leaks - I'll also suggest that he runs a visual check for corrosion with a good torch. I'm sure that he would welcome a helpful contact in the UK if anyone knows someone nearby - we are not far from the coast in South East Essex (at the bottom of the big East Anglian bump!).

I'll be back soon - esp now I've now worked out how to get the list to refresh - You wouldn't believe the number of times that I read about the co-efficient of expansion!!

   Julia - Thursday, 05/01/03 20:12:48 GMT

Hi, Julia,

Glad you made it back! I always get confused about the Mate = Friend, cause here in the colonies mate implies a much closer relationship! (grin)

At any rate I've a mate in East Kirsksby that has given me permission to pass his email address on, if you are interested. Tony (his name) is pretty well set up as a welder, has a steady job and does a good bit of what we would call contract work on the side. He's also a lot better blacksmith than he thinks he is.

   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/01/03 20:36:23 GMT

Hi Jim

I'm sure Rob would be very pleased to receive Tony's details - I've found an East Kirkby in Lincolnshire (I can't find a East Kirk s by)anywhere so I guess this is the right place (Typo allowing :-) ) It's not so far away as to not be a possible visit in the future if necessary.

   Julia - Thursday, 05/01/03 20:48:25 GMT

OK, I'll send you Tony's address in email.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/01/03 20:50:28 GMT

And I'll send tony a message that he'll be hearing from Rob.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/01/03 20:52:23 GMT

I'm back again! I've just popped all the details out to Robs Caravan to enthusiastic reception. He's also given me info. on that compressor. This might mean something to someone - Apparently its an A I D compressor, Type AT12, series number 8461, Number 265. I also asked about the work he had done, and apparently it was the valves (not seals) that were skimmed smooth (its funny I was going to plump for valves when I wrote before and then chickened out!). I also reiterated the warning about the corrosion and he assures me that he has already checked this out. So if anyone knows anything about this bit of kit we're all ears.

   Julia - Thursday, 05/01/03 21:00:35 GMT


Tony is online, "even as we type". Send him the compressor info, too.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/01/03 21:08:20 GMT

Mike the Red:

Take a look at: johnsongas.com/industrial/frn-forge.asp

Your description sounds like a Johnson. As you can see from the pictures there is supposed to be a brick cover just above the trough. Generally called a "slot forge". Clifton Ralph used to swing the cover away, stack up brick and configure it for the work at hand.
   - grant - Thursday, 05/01/03 23:12:23 GMT

Hi ya'll. I guess there isn't anybody out there that has an opinion on the question of the Barth metal shear or just missed the post. How about it want to try again. Check my post( JWG Bleeding Heart Forge-Wednesday,04/30/03 04:29:17 GMT). Thanks JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Friday, 05/02/03 01:40:19 GMT

Hmm... I remember seeing slot forges somewhere on anvilfire. Does anyone have any plans for 'em, or know where to find some? Seems like a pretty good design, especially for people like me who fear the dragon's breath (BG).
   - T. Gold - Friday, 05/02/03 02:07:59 GMT

T Gold;
The slot forge will still have " dragon's breath". They were built for constant use on a scale heavier than most of us use. AS that big mass of heavy refractory takes a while to heat up.
For most , a forge built of modern refractories will be much smaller, simpler to build, faster to heat, cheaper to run, But perhaps less versitile.
A modest blower putting a wall of cooler air from below the outside of the door opening will deflect the dragon breath...the other answer..very traditional..is long handled tongs.
Tim. You do need to put a drain on the bottom of the tank and empty it often. Water condenses in there, especially in damp climates. I once bought a compressor from a local gas station cheap. They thought it was shot because the compressor came on so often. I drained 100 odd gallons of water out of the tank before I moved it.
It is reasonable to be very afraid of old compressor tanks..they are real bombs sometimes.
   - Pete F - Friday, 05/02/03 06:39:49 GMT

Thanks, Pete. I was thinking more of the *horizontal* dragon's breath that I'm used to working around as it comes out the port of a glassblowing furnace with a vertical door. (grin)

Yet Another Question About Anvils:
I'm currently looking seriously at a good-sized anvil with a hardy hole, but no pritchel. Is it feasible/a good idea/completely idiotic to drill your own pritchel if you want one? I like the designs for work clamps and rests using pritchels in iForge. Suggestions?
   T. Gold - Friday, 05/02/03 07:45:37 GMT

No pritchel hole. . . Hmmmmmmmmmm nobody that I know of has made anvils without since the 1830's except for some ASO's. . And the little one I bought as an example did not even have the "square hole" promininantly mentioned in the ad. . .

Early anvils without pritichel holes also had very small hardy holes.

If the anvil is any good it is not feasible to drill the hole unless you have a heavy duty drill press that can produce very high feed pressure AND you use an expensive solid carbide drill. . . OR you pay someone with an EDM machine to to it. OR you can anneal the anvil, drill the hole and then reharden the anvil. . . The fuel costs would buy you a very nice used anvil. . .

If the anvil is an ASO you could do it with a hand drill but a drill press will produce a straight hole. When was the last time you drilled a 1/2" hole in 1-1/2" of cast iron?
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 13:24:37 GMT

Trough Forges: My first gas forge was a trough forge (see plans page, stupid gas burner). It was a gas hog and it was a REAL pain to pull short pieces out of that trough. Even with the forge shut down it would burn the hair off your arm reaching in with tongs to pull the errant piece out. However, it did run well and ran very hot. I made the mistake of using bricks on edge on the ends of the forge (thin wise). This resulted in the exterior being so hot you could not comfortably stand within four feet of the sides. . .

The famous 10 minute forge was also a type of trough forge. It was designed to heat just the ends of pavement breaker bits.
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 13:26:10 GMT

Thanks, grant. I think that might be what we have. (the #122) . . . but ours is so old, I wonder if it ever had the lid, or if it was removed by the old shopkeeper (not the wisest of individuals - did many strange things to the shop before the current guy took over.)
   Mike the Red - Friday, 05/02/03 14:31:08 GMT

Mike, The lid on some of these swings away as well as rise up and down. I have seen them get broken or nearly torn off in the process of moving the forge. If bought used there is a possibility of moving damage. . .

Johnson's use a blower burner and self igniting models have a spark plug down in the manifold where you would not think it would want to be. Almost every school shop in the country had a Johnson forge. Now that most American schools are all closing their shops the forges are often found in good condition on the used market.
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 15:49:27 GMT

I noted your comment about only ASO's not having pritchel holes. The new, small(<100#) Peddinghaus anvils do not have pritchels. Would you consider these ASO's? If so, would that be because of the small size of these models or just in general?
   KayeC - Friday, 05/02/03 17:10:15 GMT

Guru- most American schools are closing their shops ?!?!?! SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!
Our shopkeeper and I are working to expand ours - not CLOSE it!! And I'll probably only be here another year - gotta leave things better than I found them for the next set of people to come through the program.

Do you know why the schools are closing their shops ?
   Mike the Red - Friday, 05/02/03 18:25:57 GMT

Mike, sadly enough, it is so. School shops are being shut down all over the country, on almost a daily basis. Many of them are being converted into "Information Laboratorys". ie computer labs.

Personally, I think it's stupid.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/02/03 18:37:49 GMT

Kaye. . WHOOPS. . . yes some small modern anvils do not have pritchell holes but all the old standard make London and American pattern anvils had pritchell holes on anvils as small as 45 pounds. Sawyers anvils had no holes at all unless they wer in the feet to bolt them down.

Many European anvils, especially the double horned type, do not have a "pritchel" hole but have a large round punching hole opposite the hardie hole.

18th Century Jewlers stake anvils weighing as little a 1.5 to 2 ounces had small round punching holes as small as 1/32". Much larger stake anvils often had no holes at all while others had multiple punching and wire bending holes.
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 18:51:58 GMT

Schools Closing Shops: In many areas it is a budget issue as they were closing them before computer labs were in vogue. Many localities that HAD shops in every junior and high school are now moving them to centralized locations where they send students that they do not expect to succeed otherwise. Long gone are the days when you could be on the college track and still take some shop courses. The white collar types have lost touch with the real world and I suspect that many do not have a clue that operating modern machine tools or working on modern automobiles is probably much more technical than what THEY do. The old sterotypes still exist and many folks think working with their hands AND mind to make something REAL is not a desirable thing.

The result is that we have CEO's that think it is fair to make 200-300 times what those producing PRODUCT make in their business and accounting firms that have pushed creative accounting beyond simple fraud to international scandle. Employees are now looked upon as COST centers rather than profit centers because management has forgoten that you have to produce a REAL product or provide a valuable service to those that DO produce real product.

That is why I enjoy blacksmithing. I can imagine a thing (almost anything) and go into my shop an MAKE that thing. I can turn raw materials into something that is worth 100 times more OR into a thing of great beauty and sometimes BOTH. Smiths can produce their own raw materials if they have the desire AND make their own tools as well. What could be more satisfying?
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 19:15:39 GMT

Hi chaps

I had a real result from taking Rob the information about the forges. Such enthusiastic terms as 'Wicked', 'I'd have never of thought of such a brilliant idea' and others that I wouldn't repeat on a public site! were being bandied about this morning as he appears through the door brandishing the plans for the Brake drum forge. He then proceeds to nick my bicycle, and reappears from his mates car mending business about re-appears about 20 minutes later resplendent with the brake drum from a Bedford CK lorry with comments along the lines of 'well it'll make a larger one than a car drum'. He then spent the rest of the day rather fed up that his local scrap metal merchant (about 1/4 mile down our road) was closed on a Friday so he couldn't get the necessary metal bits to continue the project, and as an alternative spent the time regaling to all his mates about this wonderful site full of information that I'd managed to find for him. I've now got standing orders to print off all the stuff on 2nd hand Anvils, the instructions for making a set of blacksmiths tongs and the contact details for BABA.

On the compressor front he's specifically looking for information on setting up and adjusting the inlet and exhaust valves and also what sort of spring tension he needs for each of these valves.

Maybe when he gets the forge finished I can find a way of posting you a photo so you can see how he gets on - he is already deciding that he might make a larger stand for it and also incorporate a quenching tank (possibly an old stainless steel sink from the scrap merchant) to sit next to the forge.

Suffice it to say that you've succeeded in firing the imagination of a beginnner blacksmith. This must be a good thing and some of the point of a site like this so I thought you would like to know.

   Julia - Friday, 05/02/03 20:25:32 GMT


Thank you!

You see, that's what it's all about from our point of view. Keeping the art and the craft alive. It bloody near happened here in the colonies. We'll never let it get that close to death again.

Let me ask you to look at and read the link to the CSI that's located at the bottom and the top of this page. Just read it, get Rob to read it, then do what you think best.

Also, get Rob to read the iForge section. Teach him enough about the mouse and the computer so that he can navigate around Anvilfire. Encourage him to ask questions.

Not that we're trying to get rid of you, far from it! We'd love for you to get interested too. Some of the finest blacksmiths I know are our ladysmiths. They have a far more delicate touch with the iron than I do. I tend to beat it into submission, while the lady smiths tend to coaxe it into sharing it's beauty with us.

That's a good thing!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/02/03 20:57:51 GMT


BTW, something I should mention. None of us get paid for what we do here on Anvilfire. No pay checks are mailed, though some of us do get some "perks".

Jock tries to keep from going broke, but it's been a long haul on short commons for him.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/02/03 21:03:26 GMT

Hello the Guru's page!

Tomorrow is a great day for me. We ( a bunch of SA smiths are getting together for a forge in as well as the roof wetting of my new workshop, in town, on the main street, across from the bank! I have been working for a bit more than a month, and nobody has complained about noise or smoke! Ain't this a wonderful place?

We are also having a bit of competition going. Each smith gets a piece of 12 mm square bar, 250mm long. He then gets three heats during which he must draw out this piece as far as he can, without it burning or breaking in two. The winner gets nothing.

Tomorrow evening I will post the results here, maybe Guru can file them away somewhere. Next time you guys in the USA, Oz, UK, NZ have an investation of smiths at some bloke's shop, you do the same. And send the results to Guru. Then we get a little international competition going...see who's elbow got the best grease!

Regards from South Africa

Tiaan Burger
   Tiaan - Friday, 05/02/03 21:42:08 GMT

10 inches of 1/2 inch square stock. Close enough for government work. I'll have to try that, and see what I can do.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/02/03 21:44:26 GMT

Tiaan, will you permit us to work with a marked 10 inches on the bar? Marked with a cold chisel before the first heat, and measured from that point after the three heats?
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/02/03 22:29:26 GMT

paw-paw. . no. .tongs ARE required. .

12 mm that is tough 12.7 = 1/2" The closest fraction is 15/32" = 11.91 mm.

I have a bunch of 7/16" hot roll but that is 11.1 mm. But again. . this is not standard bar, I had it rolled. 11mm bar would be VERY close.

5/8" bar = 15.88 mm. That or 3/4" (19.05mm) are probably the closest metric/english bar sizes that come close to matching.

Hard to believe it would be this hard to organize a simple bar smashing competition. . . I'll look for some metric bar.
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 23:26:55 GMT

Tongs: Julia, There are several tong making instructions here. There are two one or three on the iForge page including one for beginners that haven't learned to forge yet.
   - guru - Friday, 05/02/03 23:52:45 GMT

For those of as at the begining of this hobby does the bar have to be a clean draw or are no burning and no splitting the only requirements. I ask because I am still working on the no leftover marks part of smithing. Ill suggest this at the next Salt Fork central region meeting but I would like to give it a try.
   Jacob - Saturday, 05/03/03 00:25:03 GMT


The way I read it, the only requirments are no burning and no splitting.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 00:51:28 GMT

Tian wrote: "The winner gets nothing." Not true. The winner gets a long, thin pointed thingie! ;-)

Bound for Ft. Washington (www.nps.gov/fowa/), just up the road for Universal Soldier this weekend. Since I couldn't find the wiring harness to the faering boat I'm taking the Y1King forge instead. Bummer on the boat, but at least I'll get some forging in.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 05/03/03 02:57:28 GMT

Hi Guru, I haave a question. I have made two postings recently about a Barth shear. I've receive no response. I just wonder if I may be having trouble like Julia was having about posting. If you have information for me (or not)please let me know that the posts are being received. Thanks JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Saturday, 05/03/03 05:40:33 GMT


Your messages are being recieved, I suspect (but don't know for certain) that Jock is trying to find some information for you. I know that I've never heard of a manufacturer by that name. I also know that Jock is out of town this weekend, so it will be at least late sunday or sometime monday before he sees our messages.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 05:59:12 GMT

JWG, Sorry, never heard of it and its not in any of my catalogs. When I REALLY don't know I let it go for a while hoping that maybe someone else might know something.

OFF to the WV Armour-IN in a few hours. .
   - guru - Saturday, 05/03/03 06:13:16 GMT

I thought he'd already left.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 07:07:11 GMT

You might try giving John Birchfield at Tornado Machinery over in Houston a call. He's a nice fella that sells used equipment including shears, Whitney tools etc. He may be able to point you in the right direction if he can't answer your questions.
   Chris Smith - Saturday, 05/03/03 12:18:06 GMT

Jock, Your post concerning the closing of school shops is very well said. I recently proposed to the school district to put together a blacksmithing demonstration. I submitted a letter to the school board stating the reasons I felt that the children should be exposed to our profession and included safety guidelines used by the CBA to minimize the dangers to both demonstrators and children. I also got a corporate sponsor (Praxair)to provide 100 pairs of safety glasses for the demo. The school board is dragging their feet because I included these guidelines! They are saying that it appears to be too dangerous for the children. I did a horseshoeing demo four years ago at the same school but this time there is no horse (which was more dngerous than they realized). I will continue to press them for this as I feel it is VERY important for the kids to be exposed to a REAL trade not virtual reality. TC
   Tim Cisneros - Saturday, 05/03/03 14:04:27 GMT


Hang in there, bud. What you are doing is important.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 15:20:00 GMT

Hi ya'll, thanks for the reply and information. I wasn't sure if it was being receive. I have another question. Some one a while back said there is a picture of a hack saw that Jock made on the Anvilfire web. I searched every where I could and could not find it. Could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks again. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Saturday, 05/03/03 15:36:11 GMT


I think it's somewhere in the iForge section, but darned if I can find it.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 16:01:23 GMT

Anyone seen Centaur's new website? I think it really sucks! Text only - no pictures and they call it new and improved! Unfriendly sorta thing it is too.

Just my opinion.

   - grant - Saturday, 05/03/03 16:27:26 GMT

I have to second Grants opinion, alot of the peddinghaus tools that are on sale are not marked as peddinghaus (even though I remember that they are from the catalog:-) It is hard to use, they need to get the Guru to do the web design, and whip the site into shape. Well atleast Jock gets some banner income from them:-)
   Fionnbharr - Saturday, 05/03/03 17:10:12 GMT

The hacksaw is in the 21st Century section, under the Getting Started (not the title word-for-word, but you get the idea) FAQ.
   - Stormcrow - Saturday, 05/03/03 17:26:37 GMT

Stormy, thank you. I couldn't remember and spent darn near an hour looking before I got disgusted.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 18:30:37 GMT


I'll agree with you too. Even if I hadn't already planned on staying with Amy Pieh, that website would convince me.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 18:42:27 GMT

Tim C - I empathiz with your school demo problem. I recently read on another site that schools are really on the defensive regarding student safety after events like Colombine, Kentucky, and other 9/11 spin-off's. The situation I'm refering to is schools blocking library computers from posting information about the NRA, NMLRA (et al). It seems silly to us but HS students are generally not grown up and they make stupid irrational decisions about stuff most of us don't even consider. The concern is the students will read something about guns or see some way to turn a piece of iron into a WMD then blame the school or librarian for having the information abvailable. Even a stupid lawyer can present information about almost anything to court in a manner that places the suspicion of deriliction of duty on the school. Even if the case doesn't prevail it still takes time of the administration to defend it.

Any more, it's becoming the responsibility of parents to provide life enrichments such as Blacksmith and horse demos for their kids. Unhappily, most parents don't do that.
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/03/03 18:52:45 GMT

Paw Paw:

You're "staying with" Amy Pieh? What's the redhead say about that?
   - grant - Saturday, 05/03/03 19:05:59 GMT

any one know when and where the New England gathering is?
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/03/03 19:14:12 GMT

Grant, I haven't told the redhead. Do I really look that dumb? Never mind, don't answer that! Besides, Amy can do a whole lot better than me or you, either one! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 19:29:03 GMT

Yeah, but I got the tools!

Uh, That's blacksmith tools!
   - grant - Saturday, 05/03/03 20:01:19 GMT


LOL, I think I'll just sit back and watch you dig yourself a deeper hole! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 05/03/03 20:08:54 GMT

The New England Blacksmiths are joining in a regional event this year. The Age of Iron is being held May 31st and June 1st at Hancock Shaker Village in Lenox, MA. We've got some details at www.newenglandblacksmiths.org

   - Marc - Sunday, 05/04/03 00:16:26 GMT

I need some help with my hoz band saw. I just installed a new blade about a month ago and I noticed tonight that it was cutting out of square. I put in a piece of square tube and trued it up. Then I went back to cutting 1" solid and it cut out of square by 1/8". So I tried to square it up w/the piece of solid. It will cut ok for 3/4" and then run out again. Making the end concave. Its driving me nuts. Is it the blade or is it me??? Can I return it to McMaster-Carr? I don't think I've run any quenched material thru the saw. I try very hard to be nice to the blades. At 50 bucks a pop it pays to be gentle.
   - Pete-Raven - Sunday, 05/04/03 01:12:55 GMT

Pete, is something coming loose? I have to be sure to check the sqaure from the vise to the blade and kind cinch the vise down to the frame pretty good.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 01:27:37 GMT

Also, sometimes if the bearing on the blade pulley, (either one) gets a little sloppy, it'll cause the blade to run out a bit. Some of the Taiwan/PRC saws don't have very good bearings, BUT they almost always interchange for sealed Timkens which are not expensive.

Why in the world are you paying that much for blades? What size are you using? I'm buying custom made bi-metal blades for my saw, .025X1/2"X64 1/2" in 10 TPI for my saw for $16 each.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 02:15:25 GMT

Do you know of a practical way to remove the weld from the inside of square tubing ? I'm trying to make some telescoping components using 2 - 3 Ft long sections of 1.25" and 1" 11 Gauge tubing. I tried Tig welding a bastard file to a long piece of square stock and used it like you would clean a shotgun. This works but takes a long time and wears out the file quickly where it contacts the weld. It's good exercise but I would rather be hammering than using a 20 Lb file.
The latest ENCO catalog has something called a Shur-Kut Bore Polisher, essentially a rotary flap wheel I could put on a drill motor with extensions. Might be worth a try unless you have a better idea. I understand that there is something called flash reduced tubing but my usual supplier doesn't carry it.

thank you

- Chris
   Chris Smith - Sunday, 05/04/03 02:21:49 GMT


You'd have to special order the flash reduced, and that jacks up the cost a BUNCH. A flap wheel and a flexible shaft should work and be a lot cheaper.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 02:32:19 GMT

Chris Smith,
If you don't absolutly have to have the telescoping part be square tubing just use a piece of 1" round tubing rather than square. The welded joint is often not right on the centerline of the larger square tube so the round inner tube will clear it in many cases. If it works for you it sure saves a lot of work.
   SGensh - Sunday, 05/04/03 02:45:54 GMT


The other way around removing the weld flash is to simply dish the side of the inner tube enough to clear the flash. It is the quickest method I know, if cosmetics aren't a major factor.
   vicopper - Sunday, 05/04/03 03:07:44 GMT

Grant, re: Centaur web site. Their "old" site was much better than the new, it did have some pix on it. Likewise their new print catalog is much smaller and less informative than their old, and virtually no books or videos listed. Looking forward to Pieh Tool Grand Opening in May. Hope to visit them then.
   Ellen - Sunday, 05/04/03 05:26:10 GMT

Ellen, If I remember correctly, (and I may not) the guru was involved in building their "old" site.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 10:54:39 GMT


Thanks for the advice on removing weld swarf from tubing.
I'm going to try some of those Bore polishers and report back.
I was reading the earlier posts on compressors and had a question about attaching mine to the floor. I have a large vertical 5 HP Curtis two stage compressor with the typical four legs in a cross pattern under the tank. The legs have 3/8 to 1/3" mounting holes out near their ends. When it was in my garage I had it on the original shipping pallet for years ( something the manual said not to do ) and it never tried to walk across the floor. Now I have moved it to the compressor shed behind the shop, removed the pallet, and it wants to walk around on the slab.
What type of concrete anchors would you recommend to hold this thing in place ? I was thinking about co-mounting it to a few layers of plywood laminated together then anchoring the wood to the floor for a little vibration isolation if I can figure out a way to lift it in the small space of the shed.
BTW, the guy I bought it from went through a couple of Cambell Hausfeld compressors with similar specs. before he bought this commercial baby. It works like a dream, I do everything from sandbalasting to running a brad nailer with it.


   Chris Smith - Sunday, 05/04/03 12:22:13 GMT

Paw-Paw .035"x1" 11' 9" $48.09 + shipping. I need to get a welder so that I can bring the price down on my other blades too.

The back support is pinned so its not that. I'm pretty sure its the blade which means I've got to spring for a new one. Its cheaper if its me. I'll check the bearings again. I'm not the only one using the saw so something might have happened that I don't know about. I was just pretty frustrated last night. Thanks for the git back.
   - Pete-Raven - Sunday, 05/04/03 13:32:58 GMT


For that size blade, it'd be worth while to pick up one of Northern Hydraulics spot welders and buy blade stock!
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 13:36:11 GMT

You can just silver solder the ends of the blade. High-temp silver solder is what I've used for years with no problems. No fancy heattreating after soldering, either. A good blade wleder is upwards of $400, but silver solder is cheap in comparison.
   vicopper - Sunday, 05/04/03 15:03:28 GMT

Thanks Stormy. I was like Paw Paw I knew it was in there some place, and I spent alot of time trying to find it. I guess at times we all have a senior moment(grin). Thanks again for all who took time to answer my requests. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Sunday, 05/04/03 15:52:00 GMT


Senior Moments, huh?

I think I've been insulted! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 16:30:47 GMT

RE: ID Weld bead removal. As has been stated, small tubing with the flash removed is a LOT more expensive because it is extremely difficult to remove it as it is being welded. However, you might look around for High Pressure Boiler tube. It is often seamless. You might get lucky and find some cold drawn tubing (Drawn Over Mandrel, DOM) and it will have a smooth ID. Also, stainless tubing made for food service is seamless or laser or TIG welded. The laser and TIG welded stuff has a very smooth ID bead. The biggest IF is whether you need it square. Most of this stuff is round. Failing that, rigid electrical conduit usually has a smooth bore to keep from scratching the insulation off of the wires. Again, the conduit is round, not square.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/04/03 16:51:02 GMT

I've not played with tube in the fire before. . . but, if it IS important for him to have it square, how difficult would it be to take seemless round tube and hammer it square ?
   Mike the Red - Sunday, 05/04/03 18:40:38 GMT


Pretty difficult. Really needs a set of dies.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 18:48:52 GMT

Guru- In regards to collaring. . .
Bealer's book mentions upsetting at the corners before making the bends to allow extra material to form hard corners, rather than rounded corners.

I've seen decorative collars (ex. Fig 7 in iForge Demo #67) that have hard corners, though the ones I've seen are obviously cast.

Is there a similar method to putting hard corners on decorative collars with curved cross sections? seems like hammering the rounded part of the section to form the hard corner would also flatten the round.

Also, I like using the wrap method from this demo with hex bar around round or square, but I have problems finding hex bar except in small amounts around the scrap yards. Do you know why hex bar is so hard to find ? Nobody but the scrappers seem to carry it.
   Mike the Red - Sunday, 05/04/03 18:56:39 GMT


One way to form hard corners in curved cross sections is with dies in a hydrualic press.

Hex bar. Special order item. Not sold often, so it's expensive.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 19:02:19 GMT

Centaur Forge Website: Well, I just had to go see the new site. Hope the new owner did't give up his day job. I am going to delete it from the "favorite links" section of my website. I am anxiously waiting for Amy Pieh to get her site up and running. On a better note, I am adding Kayne and Son website to my links section in spite of the fact that Grant (the original off-center tool) tried to kiss me.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/04/03 19:49:46 GMT


You mean you stopped him? (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 21:09:23 GMT

I have an old drill press in working order. This is a Canedy Otto Manufacturing belt driven press. Do you have a value on this?
   Bill Blacklock - Sunday, 05/04/03 21:12:13 GMT

Paw-Paw, yes, I had to decline his unseemly advances. My wife of 33 years reminded me that she was raised by A COP and qualified with a Colt .45 auto when she was only 15 years old. Good 'nuff fer me!
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/04/03 21:27:30 GMT

I have had two classes on forging knives and have made a few using that process. My question is related to a stock removal then hardning the blade. Can I use my forge to harden a blade of ATS 34
   Paul - Sunday, 05/04/03 21:45:08 GMT


Well, yes that would have made a difference. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/04/03 21:55:43 GMT

Chris, my old Wayne vertical tank compressor has only three legs spaced around the tamk. I mounted it using the rubber footed machinery mounts which are occassionaly on sale at MSC. It stayed in place on my concrete floor for five years and has been happily residing in a friends shop for the last three. It hasn't turned into a free ranger yet. If you use this type of mount make sure to select the ones with the integral threaded shank.
   SGensh - Sunday, 05/04/03 22:49:38 GMT

Paul, ATS 34 is a rather expensive stainless cutlery steel. If it were me, I would send it to a heat treater who had proper temperature control and, hopefully, inert atmosphere furnaces. Texas Knifemakers Supply in Houston, Tx, has a knife heat treating service and they have a website to get details but I do not have the URL. ATS 34 is a proprietary grade and is not listed in most books so I cannot give you details as far as temperatures go.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/04/03 23:23:01 GMT

Paul, check out www.texasknife.com . This is the Texas Knifemakers Supply site. They advertise that they will heat treat ATS 34 for $5.50 if the blade is under 10" long. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/04/03 23:27:06 GMT

Centaur Forge...I ordered 5 tempil sticks on Dec 22, 2002. I got order conformation # on my e-mail next day. I e-mailed them about my order around the middle of Jan, 2003. I got another e-mail from them around the first week of March asking if I still wanted them to ship the tempil sticks...I didnt.
   R Guess - Monday, 05/05/03 00:31:37 GMT

R. Guess,

Pieh Tool Company is having their grand opening on the weekend of March 16th and 17. They are already accepting telephone orders. You can find them in the pull down menu at the top of the page.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/05/03 00:38:35 GMT

Hi ya'll, OK Paw Paw, I don't know your age, but my daughter is only 34 and she has plenty of senior moments. Boy I hope she doesn't see this. She packs. I have another research question. I come by a Hydrolic paper shear blade, and I'm trying to figure out the metal composition. It's 43"slx1/2"tx41/2"sw. On the blade it states"made in Sheffield England espressly for Heidelberg Eastern Inc." Anybody have any ideas of what type of steel it is or where I may find a source. I tryed AOL search and didn't come up with anything. Thanks G&G's JWGBHF.
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Monday, 05/05/03 03:10:22 GMT


Well, I'm almost 30 years older than your daughter and I still occasionally pack. (grin)

Take a look at:


I haven't read the entire article, Hiedelberg made printing presses and paper shears. You may be able to back up through the article to find a current representative who can research the composition for you.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/05/03 03:35:14 GMT

Back from the WV Armour-In: There was a small turn out but everyone had fun and learned a lot. Should have photos posted in the NEXT NEWS (coming soon!).

Many thanks to Ted and Ann Banning for hosting the event at their home.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 05:28:08 GMT

TG...forge up a plug for the hardy and drill whatever sized hole you desire in it...removeable, doesn't weaken the anvil or ruin the antique value...way less work too.
JWG...never heard of a barth shear...functionally we tend to ignore the instructions and just push a tool till it protests...that is the capacity.
Pete R...check that your guide rollers are adjusted right and aren't wearing out. Of course, if you hit a hard spot in something you were cutting,,that's that. Lots of hard spots in modern A36. In such cases see if it's localized dullness or the tooth set has been knocked off in an area. I've resorted to equalizing the dulled area, side to side with an old file in desperation. Check the blade for tension and longitudinal cupping too..You can silver solder blades with a little propane torch just fine, scarf the ends and file the joint flat.
..After a month it takes a lot of chutzpah to return a blade.
Chris; Make up an offset cold chisel with a long handle..ideally one that fits an air chipping hammer. A square piece of tool steel with a slanted cutting edge that fits properly might hammer it clear too.
Mike; Isn't hex bar usually tool steel?

   - Pete F - Monday, 05/05/03 06:46:27 GMT

Hi all from downunder. Am planning on building an electric foundry for casting bronze. Was wondering if you could suggest any plans or books with plans/ideas for construction. Planned on using a couple of truck brake drums for the housing and lining it with refractory bricks and fibre insulation.
   Phil M - Monday, 05/05/03 11:13:29 GMT

Pete F -
it's my understanding that all cold rold steel is some form of tool steel, though I don't know what alloy/composition it usually is.

I've always been told that if it's got hard corners, it's cold-rolled; so yes, hex bar would be tool steel - I've never seen hex with rounded corners.
   Mike the Red - Monday, 05/05/03 11:17:19 GMT

Could someone answer this for me? This weekend I was involved in a conversation concerning the origin of the names of various carpentry and metalworking tools . One we could not figure out was "bastard file". I have examined said file closely, and cannot find any resemblance to my ex.(grin).
   KayeC - Monday, 05/05/03 13:37:31 GMT

Cold Roll (Drawn) or CF (finished) Steel vs. Bright Finished Tool Steel:

Mike, standard "cold roll" is SAE 1018-1020 commonly called "mild steel". It is NOT tool steel. Most hot roll "mild steel" is actually A-36 structural steel. Tool steel comes hot and cold finished. In fact the vast majority of tool steel is sold in hot roll as rounds and hexes and squares (by the freight car load). Only the limited quantity 3 foot stuff sold to machine shops is cold finished. AND it is not cold drawn.

Tool steel is tool difficult or nearly impossible to cold draw. All the shiney tool steel is machined or ground to size. Most is ground and thus the short lengths. Precision round (drill rod) and square tooling bar is annealed and then ground. Rounds are centerless ground and are only sort of precision. Centerless grinding does not necessarily produce accurate rounds nor is very straight. Actual cold drawn bar is more precision.

Hot roll tool steel is usualy not annealed and is sold in "as-milled" condition. Some grades usualy with the suffiz "HT" for heat treated are annealed or heat treated to a machinable condition. But there are many propriatary grades such as Latrobe Steels Viscount-44 which is a slightly modified H-13 hardened and tempered to a just barely machinable condition. It is supplied hot rolled and heat treated with a beautiful plum color. Tool and die people use it by the tons for both machined and EDM sunk does. Our shop used a lot of it to avoid heat treating parts that required hardness.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 14:07:48 GMT

Hot Roll Tool Steel: I left out "plate" in the list of shapes. Almost every tool steel is sold in both hot roll plate and heavy billet.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 14:12:36 GMT


Email to you bounced.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/05/03 15:13:18 GMT

School Shop Closings,
Most schools are claiming they are closing school shops that work in metal from the liability concerns.

Think about how easy it is to make sharp pointy things.

The one good that can come of this is sometimes the equipment can be purchased cheaply.

   - slattont - Monday, 05/05/03 16:05:40 GMT

Walking compressors:-)
If you can't find the rubber feet, then the Quincy company recommends for their light industrial compressors that you use a concrete anchor and slip a "isolator pad" between the foot and the concrete. Basicly a little rubber and some plywood. I would use the high proformance chemical type concrete, the kind that takes a 1/2" bolt are only 10$ apiece from Grianger :-) don't drill the hole oversized. You want a snug fit and a good quality epoxy to hold it to the concrete. My holes were slightly oversized on my power hammer temporary install:-) and they jerked right out:-) I'll get the proper foundation poured with the anchors set in properly, and I should be golden:-)
   Fionnbharr - Monday, 05/05/03 17:19:28 GMT

Bandsaw Blades

My bet is on the blade, I have very little luck with bandsaws:-) One side or the other is always dull and the cuts are rarely straight. But thats not with a good blade on good equipment:-) Try turning the blade inside out reset it on the saw, and see if it cuts a convex end.

IF it cut straight on the tubing, it might be a heat/dullness issue and lubing the blade might help you eck through till you get a new blade...

:-) Probably not terribly helpful, or funny for that matter:-)
   Fionnbharr - Monday, 05/05/03 17:29:02 GMT

Canedy Otto Drill: Bill, They made several models of these and they vary in utility. Most have little "collectors" value but are often good tools. The heavy duty late models are worth about $250 US in good condition. The lighter models with less features and any that are missing parts sell for as little as scrap unless the buyer is not savy about these things.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 18:21:09 GMT

Small Foundry: Phil, The books by CW-Ammen are very good books. He has drawings of a variety of furnaces including small iron melting coupla's. However, for brass and bronze a simple little propane fired furnace is much cheaper and simplier to build and operate. Ammen also has books on brass casting as well as pattern making.

I build small melting furnces using old freon bottle or scrap propane cylinders. The inside is lined with kaowool covered with ITC-100. A piece of fire brick makes the floor. A simple propane burner fires the thing. I have one for a 3 pound crucible and one for an 8 pound. The same burner fires both as it just slips in and out.

More important than the melter is crucibles, crucible tongs, flasks and sand. Most small foundry work today is done with either Petro-Bond sand or Delft-Clay. Both are propriatary materials that make foundry work exceptionaly easy and much more dependable. They may be available in OZ or at least a similar material may be. Petro-bond is used in big foundries and I believe is available globaly. Delft-clay is used by jewelers and folks making small castings up to a pound or two. It is reusable and produces very fine finishes and detail.

You can make much of your own equipment but crucibles are best purchased. Start small. A couple pounds of brass goes a long way and you do not want to heat up a crucible that is ten times bigger than you need.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 19:10:59 GMT

Small Hex Bar: Many small sections used to be available in mild steel and brass but the variety has been considerably reduced over the past 30 years as American industry has fled to other lands. You used to be able to buy octagon among the other sections as well as hot roll in 1/4" and up in 1/16" increments to 1/2".

This is just ONE of the many signs of how sick our economy is. Another is the change from having stock parts and materials avaiable in wharehouse inventories to having NONE. This came about when the bean counters and stock gurus convinced industry that inventory was BAD and putting your CASH into high yeild stocks in OTHER undercapitalized companies was GOOD. They were telling industry it was BAD to be in business as industry making things . . .

AND we are exporting coal and scrap iron out of this country as fast as it can be moved. This is BAD wrongheaded economics. You NEVER sell raw materials. Selling raw materials is what "third world" countries without industry do. As a developed industrial country we should only export finished goods or processed materials. . . but NO. . we are currently importing finished goods and exporting raw materials.

Our economy is slowly dieing along with big steel and other critical manufacturing areas. Employees are now "cost" centers instead of "profit" centers and we have nearly converted to the "service" economy that Reagan thought was a good idea. . . When all the industry is gone then all we will be is the pimps and whores to the world. . .

It is happening fast and congress and the big money people are letting it happen. In fact they are working overtime to make it happen. The next thing you know China and Russia will be fighting over American oil and coal reserves. . . and we will be the "third world".

Remember Perot and his saying NAFTA was going to make a giant "whosh" as jobs and money left America? He was right, except the sound was that of a flushing toilet.
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 19:34:03 GMT

Does anyone know how BAM went? The news of the tornados in Missouri was pretty bad. Weird weather. Been so cold here today that I have been wearing my stocking cap over my ears. . . what happened to spring?

65 Days until CanIronIV!
   - guru - Monday, 05/05/03 21:35:53 GMT

Spring? Durned if I know. I hope it warms up by this weekends demo!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/05/03 21:43:48 GMT

RE: loss of manufacturing in the USA.
Guru, the other thing that scares me is that we willingly gave up manufacturing to become an information society. To me, this implies we will have the intelligence and education to use the information to make a profit. One encounter with the average high school student will lead you to conclude that our education system never got the message about the information society. I am about 14 years from retirement and I sure hope those kids can earn enough to pay my Social Security payments!
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 05/06/03 00:27:13 GMT

Bar streching competition

Sorry that I am only posting this today.

First place: Paul Mikula: 683mm
Second: Coenraad Vegter: 585mm
Third: Tiaan Burger: 542mm

Here are the rules: You nonmetric types are allowed to use 1/2" stock, 10" long. (Square, mild steel)
(12mm sq bar, 250 long)
The stock must be pre cut. Tongs may be used. You may use the edge of the anvil or the horn as a fuller. Only a hammer and anvil may be used. No assistance.
The piece is allowed to reach "sparkling" heat, but if it burns off, you have to start with a new piece.
If the edge of the anvil cuts the stock in two, you have to start over again!
You only get three heats. You can use coal or gas forges.
You are not allowed to take the first heat in the morning, the second in the afternoon and the last in the evening!
All in one go!

Best of luck

ps I am keeping the pieces we did on Saturday should there be any disputes!
   Tiaan - Tuesday, 05/06/03 05:58:40 GMT

Quench: our "education" system is too busy teaching the joy of socialism and the necessity of being "politically correct" to worry about teaching anything practical, let alone teaching skills essential to do an actual job making a tangible product.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 05/06/03 10:32:47 GMT

Tailgate hunt: I'm seeking a good (who would buy a poor?) used MIG system for a small shop - must be in reasonably good condition (no abused basket cases please}. "Small" meaning I'm a craftsman not a welder in the ship yard. I'm traveling between Maine and Indiana pretty soon so my search area is fairly broad for the right opportunity. Any suggestions?
   - Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 05/06/03 11:13:50 GMT

I bought a factory refurbished Centry that I'm happy with. You may want to try to contact the manufacturers. They have these units at a good price. They seem to run about a third less than a new unit. - Assuming that's still in your budget.

Mine is a 150 amp, 220v powered unit with shielding gas that cost me about $300.
   Stephen G - Tuesday, 05/06/03 12:09:17 GMT

Used Welders: Ocassionaly dealer have used units they have repaired but the owner abandoned (because they couldn't wait). . . Factory rebuilts are often the same story. It would not hurt to check with welding shops. Folks are constantly upgrading equipment and nobody wants to use the old machine. . .

After all that. . I recommend purchasing these units NEW and getting a major brand. I like Miller myself but let a dealer talk me into an AirCo which was promptly orphaned a year after I spent several thousand dollars on it. . . The reason for NEW is that these machines have lots of picky parts, diodes, servo motors, electronic controls and such. They are not like an old buzz-box that will continue to operate years after all the paint and markings have flaked off the box. . .

The best MIG units have a seperate power supply and the MIG unit itself is a seperate item. The power supplies are a lot like a buzz-box and will outlive the MIG hardware by many years. Most have AC and DC taps for standard welding and are heavy enough to also power a TIG unit. This modular approach gives you the capability to maintain the equipment much longer. The thing about being a hobby or self employed worker is that you will not put a lot of hours on a piece of equipment meaning that it SHOULD last you a long time. The problem is that by the time the first thing goes wrong the machine may be archaic or considered an antique. If it is not from a major manufacturer parts will be impossible to get.

   - guru - Tuesday, 05/06/03 15:08:24 GMT

Contest results - for us non-metric types:

First place: Paul Mikula: 683mm = 26-7/8"
Second: Coenraad Vegter: 585mm = 23-1/32"
Third: Tiaan Burger: 542mm = 21-11/32

That is pretty impressive from a 10" (254mm) bar.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/06/03 15:14:14 GMT

HANLEY FARM HAMMER IN, Ralph and any others, Email bounced, This event is in Jacksonville Oregon, May 30=June 1, Is that correct??? Anyone with additional info, etc Please email leepil@bendnet.com and thanks
   - Tim (Steampunk) - Tuesday, 05/06/03 15:31:04 GMT

I say steampunk, cause there appears to be several with the sacred name.
   - Tim (Steampunk) - Tuesday, 05/06/03 15:32:37 GMT

Information Society: Being the leader in producing knowledge is a good thing but we also gave that up in the Regan era. When the scientists and engineers kept insisting that we needed the Super Collider in order the "understand the Universe" they were using the wrong argument. Telling the religious right that we need to "understand the Universe" is saying that you do not believe the Bible or that it is the word of God. . there was nothing to understand we did not need the Collider.

If they had used the argument that we needed the Super Collider to make better metals that would keep us at the forefront of technology and possibly make us independent of fossil fuels and the Middle East, THAT might have saved the day.

Localy research was being done by Frametone (formerly Babcock and Wilcox) on the magnetic material in order to build the collider. It was a huge research project that had made great progress and was close to new breakthroughs in magnetic materials that might have also led to breakthroughs in fusion, superconductivity and more efficient electric motors . . . Forget the super collider. . the research going into bulding it was going to profit us in many other ways.

The same goes for the "China Clipper" (the sub-orbital craft that would replace the Concorde). It was a highly impractical project especially in the current state of the world economy BUT. . . the fallout from the materials research alone would have paid us back thousands of times.

Travel to Mars? The same. A permanent Moon base? The same. A better replacement for the Space Shuttle. . the same. Even projects that are failures on first glance often produce great benifits in the long run. The problem with these projects is that they ARE risky and big business is not willing to take those risks. Government needs to finance these projects OR create conditions where businesses are willing to take the risk.

I agree that our school systems are a mess. However, we are still producing tremondously creative minds that NEED places to work. We NEED those space projects and cutting edge research projects that attract the brightest and most creative people on the planet AND give youth a goal.

But at the root of all economics you MUST produce true wealth by MAKING something. Making steel from iron ore and coal is making something that benifits society and is wealth our civilization. Selling our scrap iron to others (such as Japan) is giving away the wealth that took generations to create. It took raw materials, it damaged the environment AND it took peoples lives. Shipping that off to let someone else take advantage of all that is a national crime. Shipping off the raw materials to someone else so that they can sell finished products back to US is a national crime.

So not only are we not producing new wealth, we are giving away our OLD wealth. And THIS is the basics of economics that our leaders do not understand. We are in an economic war and we are losing. The only reason things SEEM OK now is inertia. We are still living off the inertia of the first half of the the last century.

Creating NEW knowledge is also wealth. But it is transient and eventually becomes the wealth of all not just one. There is nothing wrong with that, but to base your existance on knowledge means that you must continually produce new knowledge. And that requires research on a grand scale and we are not doing that.

So we are failing in both material and knowledge.

   - guru - Tuesday, 05/06/03 15:57:16 GMT

Square Corned Collars: Mike, sorry I did not address this part of your multi-part question earlier.

These are tricky to make, especialy when they have a fancy crosssection. Most of these ARE cast but they can be made by forging. However, to forge them requires a die and quite a bit lots of power. In the end they do not form a full collar and either have a flat back or are welded on. There are many one-sided pieces of this nature but have limited use. Two half collars could be brazed or riveted on to produce a two sided piece.

It could be possible to create a standard lapped or welded collar and then reshape it in place with an upper and lower die. But this is also quite involved and not economicaly practical unless it is VERY high class work.

Lots of old collars and decorative elements in production fencing and old metal beds are cast in place. These include rosets, balls and collars (with square corners). Some are cast lead and other cast zinc. I would go for the zinc. Tin (pewter) could also be used. The bars to be "collared" are either wired or tack welded together. Then a permenant cast-iron or steel mold is placed around the bars, the whole preheated and the lead or zinc cast. The mold is removed, the sprue cut off and the piece dressed with files. This produced effects that many have tried to reproduce by forging. It can be done but as I said, it is not economicaly practical.

Collared looking moldings with square corners are also made on single bars by creating a blank with material for the collar and forging in a pair of dies. The blanks are created forging from larger bar OR material is forge welded on. Most work of this nature is done with large power hammers and it is all done by forging.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/06/03 16:26:49 GMT

Guru, Well said! Don't forget that research costs money and the greedy stock holder (that's us, folks) want to see maximum returns on the investment. The push for quarterly profits and the loss of government funding and tax credits all but killed corporate R&D. 10 years ago, my company had 60 people in R&D. Today, there are 3 of us and we only do it part time.
   - Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 05/06/03 16:40:37 GMT

Used welders: Stephen. yeah $300 is well within my budget for a factory refurbished welder. I'm assuming the 220 VAC model was rhobust enough to weld up more than sheet metal. I looked at the Century home page - from where did you acquired your refurbished unit?
   - Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 05/06/03 19:50:24 GMT

Guru, well said, and Quench: years ago I worked for a major electronics manufacturer...Motorola...and the decision was made to "cut back" on R&D and focus on "cost cutting". End result: both of their major plants in the Phoenix area are closed, all the jobs are in Indonesia, Singapore, and Mexico, and their stock price is in the toilet (where it belongs).

One of the real delights of this site is the sheer amount of knowledge here and the willingness to share. The small amount of forging I have been able to do to date has given me more pleasure than anything else I have done in a long time (other than riding my horse in remote areas and shooting blackpowder).
   Ellen - Tuesday, 05/06/03 20:23:52 GMT


> The small amount of forging I have been able to do to date has given me more pleasure than anything else I have done in a long time <

Now you know why some of us (most of us here at anvilfire) love the craft so much.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/06/03 20:35:07 GMT

I gotta chime in on the research and gov't projects. When the gov't has no cost controls, huge cost overruns, fraud and what not, how do I, as a tax payer, get proper representation for my tax dollar? Remember no taxation without representation? I talked to a guy that worked on the Hubble telescope. I asked him what I got for my tax dollar there. He said nothing. It was all theoretical science. And he saw massive fraud and waste, and was told to keep his mouth shut or lose his job. So why should my tax dollar go for this?

On another subjsct, I ran out to the forge last nite and made a nice fire poker for a friend. He gave me a bear skull and he gets a poker in return. I got the better of that deal.
   Bob Harasim - Wednesday, 05/07/03 01:41:08 GMT


Lucky! If he want's to get rid of some claws, I could use some. About four actually and all about the same size. And I'd be willing to pay for them with another piece of his fire set. (grin) Does he need a shove or a broom?
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 02:02:11 GMT

Sorry PawPaw, all he had was the skull.
   Bob Harasim - Wednesday, 05/07/03 02:04:06 GMT

Guru: I noticed your inquiry about the BAM conference. I was only able to spend a half day there Sat am. I didn't really do it justice but they had two great demonstrators in Geo Dixon and Don Fogg. I bounced around some but felt better educated when I left and also considered it a privilege to have a brief converstion with Mr. Fogg. Also there was a great display of old power hammers and some demos using some special dies and tooling.
   anvillain - Wednesday, 05/07/03 02:19:32 GMT

Oh Well! Did it have all of it's teet? (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 02:49:54 GMT

Teeth, darnit! get you minds out of the bed room!

   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 02:50:22 GMT

Regarding manufacturing leaving the country and stocks going down the sewer, I submit the following first page from a 1911 "Working in Metals" book by Charles Conrad Sleffel, Doubleday Page & Co. Please take this excerpt in context. It is written for a "junior audience" and it's a bit stilted, but it expresses a joyful, hands-on work attitude.

"What a pretty copper box, John. Where did you get it?"
"I made it." "You made it?"
"Yes, out of sheet copper in my room last night. That's the way I spend my evenings. And such fun it is! I enjoy every minute of the time. Mother says I'd work all night if she didn't stop me."
"I'd like to do something like that. Do you think I could learn to do it?"
"I'm sure you could. Do you know the blacksmith around the corner? He taught me how to do this work, and ever so much more. He got me the tools, too. He says every boy can learn to work with metals, so I thought I'd try it. I'll take you around to see him sometime. Come up to my room and I'll show my workshop and all the tools I use."
"It would be mighty nice to know how to do something else besides running an elevator all day."
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/07/03 03:24:30 GMT

Hey guru... my father-in-law put in a request for access to the pub a couple days ago but hasn't heard anything back. Any chance you could check to see if it came through? Should be under the nick 'Habu' for Mike McGinty.

   Shdwdrgn - Wednesday, 05/07/03 03:37:12 GMT


Guru has been so busy, that he's almost a month behind on pub registrations. He'll get to them as fast as he can.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 03:41:10 GMT

Frank,nice post. I have a reprint copy of "Forge Work" by William Ilgen, Forging Instructor, Crane Technical High School, Chicago, 1912, and it is a wonderful look back at the opportunities so many kids had to learn something useful.....and FUN!

Just FYI this month's Blacksmith Journal (May 2003) has a wonderful how-to on making star drills, and then how to use them in masonry after your electric hammer drill has quit working on a piece of hard aggregate. Great article, and nice pix of vice jaw inserts for holding star drill while working on it. I learned a lot from reading this one!
   Ellen - Wednesday, 05/07/03 03:46:22 GMT

Basket twists

I am building a gate, and the client insists on 1/2" sq bar, twisted, with a basket in the center. 14 of them. I tried splitting a test piece, but it doesn't work. So I welded some 10mm squre bar into bundles and am now trying to make 14 baskets that looks about the same. Thus far I have three, out of twelve attempts. At this rate I will be running out of bar stock very soon. Any advice on how to get a consistent twist, besides a very even heat, going the same amount of turns on each, applying the same amount of pressure to open them up...

(I am having heaps of fun scrapping 10mm sq stock and getting paid to do it! I love blacksmithing!)
   Tiaan - Wednesday, 05/07/03 06:03:52 GMT

Actually Tiaan, shouldn't you should be using 6 mm bar if you can find it.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 12:09:15 GMT

Tiaan, It sounds like your technique is all right, as far as it goes. I always fine tune the basket with needlenose and/or flat tongs by closing and opening the strands while the piece in clamped in the vise, paying careful attention to the negative space between strands. The negative interstices should look pretty much the same.

I have used oversized strands welded to an "undersized bar". For example, I've used four 1/2" squares for the basket and welded either end to a 7/8" square standard. It works, even though you couldn't hot split it and get the same result.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/07/03 12:50:44 GMT

I finally got it right, I am waiting for delivery on more bar stock as I have 7 more baskets to make.

Paw Paw, the 10mm stock gives a big bulky basket, which goes well with the gate, which is quite big (3m x 1.8m or 10' x 6' approx).
I taper down the ends and weld it to 12mm stock. It looks like it grows out of the 12mm square stock, whereas 6mm would give me a straight joint and not enough bulk.
   Tiaan - Wednesday, 05/07/03 14:13:35 GMT


OK, I see what you mean.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 15:05:07 GMT

Tiaan - come on now, don't scrap the 10mm "rejects." They should do fine for stand alone pieces, even if they don't match. Just reserve them for other projects.
   Monica - Wednesday, 05/07/03 15:40:37 GMT

Big Basket Twists: Tiaan, There are two common methods. In heavy production (fabricator) parts they make them cold in a twisting machine. The four bars are welded, put in the machine and then the machine feeds and twists at the same time. It is a specialized machine and I think the only folks that make it are the Germans. Another method is to make a sample twist, disassemble it and make a form to bend single pieces on. All the parts are the same and welded together. The form is a little tricky and usualy there are several bends made in steps in a press. Both these methods are done cold and the perfect uniformity is the give away that it is done by machine.

To to it hot I would recommend making the twists before tapering. Have enough welded end to clamp in the vise and to grab with a twisting wrench. Having a nice radius on both the vise and the twisting wrench will make a smooth transition. Using "V" grips in the vise and a twisting wrench with a square hole (fits over end of work) also improves uniformity.

Another way to get the appearence of mass is to use more than four bars. You can use thinner bars but increase the number. Five, six and seven bars looks good and can be tapered and shaped to fit either round or square. 1/4" round as used on standard basket twists can create significant mass when used in higher numbers.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/07/03 15:49:11 GMT

guru, in as much detail as you are willing or have time, please describe how you would mount the burners for a gas forge. i would imagine that there would be no need to adjust the depth of the burner once mounted. the nozzle recessed about 1" in the kaowool and other "tuning" via the choke. if the body of the burner were welded to the forge, would this be bad?? brazing in place would be OK i think. this way if the burner would ever be replaced, it would be relatively easy to remove.

how would you do it???
   rugg - Wednesday, 05/07/03 15:57:21 GMT


During the Korean war my grandfather worked at W.F.&J. Barnes in Rockford, IL. He was in charge of the floor making sure that everything worked, assembling/installing/redesigning new machines and tried to keep production up.

The most important thing they made was high explosive shells for the Howitzers. There was an independant storage facility that had many left overs from World War II, but they didn't turn them over so that the liquid inside of them didn't solidify and they were all ruined.

That meant that they had to make a LOT of them and FAST. His brothers were over there just like in World War II and they would send him letters and say they needed more shells BAD, men were getting killed.

But there was a problem, every third shift they would have to replace the dies that formed the shell. My grandpa knowing that this wasn't right figured out that if he faced the dies with hastaloy C they would last MUCH longer. However the people who supplied them with the dies were in it for the money and were in cahoots with the guy in charge of the plant. So, when the people from Babcox and Wilcox came to look over the place before they bought it, they asked my grandfather why the production of the shells was so low. He told them and when they took over the place, he had them get him three hundred pounds of Hastaloy C hard facing rod(which could be machined) and coated and machined the dies. After that instead the dies having to be replaced every 3 shifts, they lasted over 3 MONTHS.

My grandfather was ready to kill the guys who were scamming the place, they were one of the few and mabey only place producing the shells and our guys were getting killed because they didn't have enough of them.

Because of the influance that money and other benefits have on people, the government and any orginization involved with them will always be easy to manipulate and take advantage of. This is only becoming more and more pronounced as we slip further into being soley a Capitalist nation.

The biggest problem I see right now is that the people in charge are looking right in front of their feet and don't see the mountain looming in front of them. I have a feeling that when we get to the mountain we won't be able to conquer it by climbing it, and we will have to blast it out of our path. . . only it will be blasting back at us.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 05/07/03 17:32:42 GMT

Big Basket Twists:

Guru, thanks for your advice, I will keep it in mind for the next project...
I do not use baskets in my own designs as they are common as green grass, every second cut&weld shop uses them, but I think I can make room for baskets with more than four bars. A while back I made a door handle with six round bars in the basket twist...

   Tiaan - Wednesday, 05/07/03 17:56:08 GMT

how has blacksmithing progressed in the past few years?
   - no-name - Wednesday, 05/07/03 20:02:35 GMT

i need the updated equipment...
   - no-name - Wednesday, 05/07/03 20:04:37 GMT

Non-name, the past FEW? how few? 2, 5 10? In the past two years there has been no change. The last significant technical change was the McDonald Mill. Blacksmithing has been around for millinea and is the story of industrialization. Almost every new metalworking tool started or ends up in the blacksmith shop.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/07/03 20:16:43 GMT

gas forges - Rugg - take a look at the site operated by Ron Reil at www.reil1.net and see how he has arranged burners on his home made forges. There is a ton of information (not well organized I'm afraid) on his site about propane forge building and use. I'm fabricating my burners now for a two burner forge in a portable air tank.
   - Jerry Crawford - Wednesday, 05/07/03 20:35:41 GMT

Mounting Burners: Rugg, If I were designing and building a forge for myself the burners would be bolted on using flanges or brackets. This is for ease of assembly and maintenance. Forge burners that extend past the shell often get red hot and would melt a brazed joint.

I do not like the currently popular metal nozzels or flares. I would use castable refractory or ridgidized kaowool molded on a form and coated with ITC-100. The last furnace I built has a deep hole cast in the refractory with the flare as part of the refractory. The burner slips into the hole and can be left loose. The valve and hose fitting are on the burner. It is a test furnace and the burner may never be permanently mounted. If I were to do so it would only need a little bracket and a single bolt.

Permanent construction of experimental forges is a bad idea. Unless you KNOW every detail is going to work you may find yourslf with a large piece of junk that is difficult to modify. When you build your third identical forge after testing and using several like it, you may have figured out which parts can be permanent.

It takes more time to build things so they can be unbolted but it can save a lot of grief later. And when building experimental devices it pays to leave everything as loosely assembled as possible until you know it is going to work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/07/03 20:44:09 GMT

Burners and Forges:
Easy burner photo by Jock Dempseyphoto by Jock Dempsey

The burners above use MIG tips and compression fittings to connect the tip. No drilling of orifices. There is no air adjustment. But so far these have worked every time.

The center parts with the brass tubes are clamped in place. The burner bell shown has the tube welded in place and uses the same hardware as the others. The end of the injection tip is about mid-way down the burner bell.

Note the shape of the 1-1/4 to 3/4" reducer. It has sloping sides rather than hemi-spherical. I feel this makes a difference in performance but it is hard to prove. You cannot specify the difference in shape when ordering parts. Some are one way, some the other.

So far it has performed as well as a T-Rex in my melting furnace. However, when I was testing the T-Rex it had a teflon tape blockage.

This past weekend I saw a forge built to popular plans found on the Internet. It had a blower burner and a fancy nozzel design. It was a failure as far as could tell. No matter how it was adjusted it got no more than a low red heat. I think the little blower didn't have enough head to overcome all the trash in the nozzel design. Maybe it will work with a bigger blower, maybe not. A lot of effort went into building this forge. To much to be such a failure.

When building experimental forges there are many variables in the above burner design. The length of the tube relative to the flare, the position of the injection tip, the orifice size (mine is .034"), the shape of the reducer. Then, did you chamfer the insides of the ends of the pipe, is the orifice lined up in the center of the bore, is it aimed straight into the bore, if you drilled an orifice did you debur the inside end of the hole? Quality of construction can make a huge difference. The burner above reduces a lot of the problem areas but not all.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/07/03 21:37:49 GMT

Jock has a virus, it may be a couple of days before he can get back on line.

Guru's keep an eye on things, answer as many questions as y can, and I will do the same.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/07/03 23:44:26 GMT

guru, I am a welding student at the local college and I have some questions about heat treating. They are for a take-home midterm, and I have put in hours of research already. My deadline is swiftly approaching. This website is my last resort. The three questions are:

If distortion due to heat treating is a concern, then what type of steel should be used?
Give 2 examples of quench annealed steels.
How soon after hardening should a part be tempered and why?

Answer these and you shall have my eternal gratitude.
   Amber - Thursday, 05/08/03 02:12:08 GMT

Virus Problem: I've managed to get my PC bootable after reinstalling Windirt twice. But the virus is still there. . I'm downloading some anti-virus software from OZ that my brother swears can fix anything. Will report later. But its going to be a LONG night. . :(

Heat Treating Homework: Amber, The answers are in the handbook you probably took a course on then promptly discarded - MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. After that most steel catalogs have recomendations.

The least severe the quench the less distortion there is. Oil quench is better than water and air quench is better than oil. The oil quench steels are also low growth and thus distort less than others. For economy I would select an oil quench steel (one of the "O" series tool steels).

Look up stainlesses for quench annealing. For specific alloys and heat treatments the ASM Metals Reference Book is very good but MACHINERY'S has good representitive steels.

Parts should be annealed immediately after quenching (before reaching room temperature). I'm sure the reason is technical but I suspect it is to reduce stresses and make the steel more resistant to their effects ASAP. The most practical reason is so you don't forget to temper. . . (but I have never seen that in writing).

Don't take my word for the above (I may be wrong on all points - I am not a metalurgist). Look it up. General references rarely discuss these things in broad terms. Read the specs and recomendations on specific steels. MACHINERY'S has a sufficient range to answer most questions AND has good generalized articles. For more specifics on a wider range you need the ASM Metals Reference Book OR the ASM heat treater's guide. You should be able to read the whole section on steels in MACHINERY'S in two or three hours including the steels specs section. I've read it a few times over the years and refer back to it off an on.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 03:55:01 GMT

My hero! All of the texts you referred to were already on my wish list. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is required next year, and I have been wishing for the Heat Treater's Guide since before finals last term. Right now I am limited to Practical Metallurgy and Materials of Industry and Lincoln's Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding (by budget and program textbook requirements).

Love #3 question--hunted for words like that through Practical Metallurgy for a while.

Thank you thank you!
   Amber - Thursday, 05/08/03 04:54:09 GMT


The ASM Heat Treater's Guide is a rather pricey book if you are not going into the business or going to be a tooling engineer or metalurgist. They are impossible to find used. Machinery's Handbooks that are only a few years old are often available for 1/4 of new and I recommend them to EVERYONE in metals and engineering. However, if you are taking one of those classes generaly only the latest edition will do as the instructor usualy wants to know what page number you found the answer on. . . Otherwise they change very little. See out book review.

The other general engineering reference that is often prefered by engineers and engineering students is Marks' Mechanical Engineers Handbook. It covers more theoretical subjects like heat transfer than Machinery's. It does not change very often and a 10 year old copy is current. They too are available used for reasonable prices.

The ASTE Tool Engineers Handbook is very good but I am not sure it is in print. Both my father's and my copy date from the 1940's.

Your school library should have both Machinery's and Marks'
   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 06:21:10 GMT

He got back on line a lot quicker than he and I thought he would. Good Show!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/08/03 07:09:31 GMT

Amber, Since Guru is fighting a virus on his computer, I will try to provide some information.
1.If distortion due to heat treating is a concern, then what type of steel should be used? Distortion in heat treating is caused by uneven heating and cooling and high temperatures. Depending on the section size, a steel that can harden with the least severe quench will distort the least. That usually means an air hardening grade, or at worst, an oil hardening grade.

Give 2 examples of quench annealed steels. Quench annealing involves solution treating of an austenitic steel, like 304 stainless or 316 stainless. By heating the part to around 2000F, all of the chromium carbides are dissolved, quenching after heating prevents the carbides from re-precipitating, leaving the part soft and corrosion resistant.
How soon after hardening should a part be tempered and why?
Parts should be tempered immediately after quenching. Quenching creates high stresses and these stresses may cause cracks or distortion if not immediately relieved by tempering.
I usually get $100 per hour for consulting but in the interest of higher education, I will wave my fee. Good luck!
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/08/03 12:17:57 GMT

I have some additional info to add to the answers you have already recieved. In particular, question # one. What has already been written is correct, but is general information. To properly answer you question, you really need more information like:
What is the application?
What properties are needed for that application?
Just because an Air Hardening steel doesn't warp as much as an Oil hardening steel is no gaurentee that it is appropriate to use. You may infact be stuck with the oil hardening grade and have to alter you heat treat process to eliminate some of the variables that Quenchcrack mentioned.

As to how soon things have to be tempered-Most people who do heat treating for hobby purposes will tell you that it must be done immiedieatly. This is not entirely true. Each company will have its own standards for this, but when I worked at Timken, 4 hours was the max time between quench and temper. So, its not immiedietly, but pretty darn close. I think that Quenchcrack covered the third question very well.

By the way, for you regulars here, you will note that I said "When I worked for Timken" in the above note. That's right-I am officially between jobs. I was told I was being laid off two weeks ago tomorrow. If anyone out there needs a metallurgist, I'd appreciate knowing about it.
Patrick Nowak
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 05/08/03 13:50:05 GMT

I think I found the stainlesses mentioned (not exactly where I had been looking for them, but looking anything up in this book is like a wild goose chase). All of the info provided is much appreciated.
   Amber - Thursday, 05/08/03 14:11:07 GMT

I have the need to know when exactly did welding begin you know like the discovery of electricity when was welding invented.As a welding student at Clearlake college in california. So far no one has been able to find out,so its my turn to try.Thankyou Jocko G
   - Jocko G - Thursday, 05/08/03 14:47:27 GMT


Take a look at: http://weldinghistory.org/htmlhistory/wh_index.html for a comprehensive history of welding.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/08/03 15:33:18 GMT

"Jock has a virus." PawPaw, His computer has a virus. I was all set to wish him well for a speedy recovery, bedrest, drink lots of fluids, and don't worry about us.

I don't think lots fo fluids is good for the *Computer's* virus. ;P
   Monica - Thursday, 05/08/03 15:55:10 GMT

Let me try that again: I don't think "drink lots of fluids" is good for the computer virus.

Anyway, glad it's only the computer that was sick.
   Monica - Thursday, 05/08/03 16:05:35 GMT

I think drinking lots of fluids really helps when you have a computer virus. Of course, it depends on what kind of fluids you drink and what kind of mixers you use.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/08/03 16:35:00 GMT

Handmade Hammers: I'm picking up some 1045 today to attempt making a hammer. It's two inches in diameter and I'm going to mill four sides, leaving some radius in for a final square stock size of 1.63 (just to give you an idea of the size hammer I want. I'd appreciate any advice / tips on technique, tooling, heat treating. Slitting and drifting a straight hole is the scariest part and I think I want to build a tool to hold the slitting chisel square to the work. That's as far as I've gotten.
   Edward - Thursday, 05/08/03 16:54:21 GMT


OK, OK, I could have worded it better. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/08/03 17:24:57 GMT

Patrick: Good luck on job search! You've got an extremely marketable skill.
Quench: you're not charging enuf....$100/hr for knowledge like than when the local shop is charging $65/hr to work on a motorcycle or my truck. Fluids for computer viruses are best used on the author of the virus....headfirst immersion in a bucket of any fluid for at least ten minutes should do nicely.
Ed: as one who just recently punched my first hammer hole I can tell you that a drilled pilot holes helps immensely, the bigger the better if you have a drill press. Some sort of jig to start the punch square to the axis of the hammer would be GREAT! This process really shows the use of a good power hammer.
   Ellen - Thursday, 05/08/03 19:09:49 GMT

Well. .. I'm back again. Sort'a. I'm on the third install of Windirt this time with all driver disks in hand. . and sound still doesn't work. . Actually I am READY to drink lots of high octane fluids at this point. . .

Patrick, sorry to hear the news. Lot of that going around. . . Thomas our historical metalury expert is also pounding the pavement. Feel free to use your friends here as references if needed. Blacksmith/metalurgists GOT to be the creame of the crop!

   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 19:59:12 GMT

Hammer Making: Edward, mixing machining and forging in this case is not particularly beneficial. Either machine the whole thing OR forge the whole thing. Lots of hammers have drilled eyes. If you want a good taper on-axis hole start round and mill on angle with a slightly undersized end mill. Then from the bottom chamfer and radius the hole.

You do not slit when making an eye. The cut from the slit will induce cracking if not completely removed. Slitting does not particularly save a lot of material. When hot punching the metal flows around the punch and as little a 25% of the material in the hole is punched out when flipped over to complete the hole.

Starting with round stock is a good way to make a hammer. Forge it slightly square and you are close to the semi-octaganal shape of many hammers. Once the flats are formed forge the pien (if it has one). Isolate the stock at the face with a fuller but leave enough to connect to the bar for a handle. Then punch the eye, redress the shape and cut off at the fuller.

See our iForge demos on punching and hammer making.

Q&A: QC and Patrick. . . I was dancing around trying to get the young lady to do the research. . Give a nudge in the right direction instead of doing her homework for her.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 20:15:11 GMT

Booty: Had some luck recently. Been going to the trade lot once a month (we have one on the first Saturday of each month). Two months ago I picked up a perfect 50 pound leg vise, the month after - a planishing hammer and a little 2oz ball pien. And this past weekend an 8# sledge for $5 and a 6oz ball pien for $1.50 AND a Whitney #2 punch for $12!!!. Then at the WV Armour-In I bought a nice blow-horn stake. TODAY. . I went looking for truck parts and saw main parts of a Hossfeld bender on the ground (no pins or dies). Bought it and asked if the fellow had and blacksmithing type tools. Yep.. . he had two anvils. I bought the beat up little one for $15. The big anvil had a big 4" diameter dish cut into the step area of the horn and a piece of the heal broken off. . . but I may go back and get it.

I've been buying ball pien hammers lately because I recently found my graduated set had walked off or maybe got lost in the last flood. . . Handle Day alerted me to the fact that my favorite riveting hammer and my candle cup flaring ball pien were missing. . .

These things come in spurts. As I often advise, anvils are where you find them. But you gotta' LOOK and you gotta' ASK.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 20:35:30 GMT

Guru, Yeah, I realized what she was asking for after I posted it this morning. I agree with your approach. However, without knowing what grade or level she is in, it is difficult to recommend a graduate level engineering text or even one of those $300 ASM books. I am fortunate to have accumulated a fairly good library on Metallurgy and can usually find the answer faster that making a recommendation that the student go look in such-and-such book.
   - Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/08/03 20:38:39 GMT

Except for the tech stuff Machinery's has most of the answers for those questions and would start one down the right path. Schools that teach a how-to use the handbook course always have a copy or two in the library.

But you are right. Even most PE's do not have the Heat Treater's Guide and rely on the company library. In fact most ASM sets and ASTM standards are owned by large engineering firms and a few engineering schools. Its like law libraries and law firms. Few individuals can justify the cost. Localy UVA has a complete set of ASTM specs but they get out dated rapidly. I only have selected volumes of the ASM reference set. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 05/08/03 21:11:28 GMT

I went to the auction page a few minutes ago to see what is for sale, and to familiarise myself with the process of selling. There is nothing going on there.

Is it an effective selling tool? I have 5 topless tables, and two large door handles I would like to sell. All hand forged. (The Rand US$ exchange rate makes it very much worth my while to look for outlets in the USA)

   Tiaan - Thursday, 05/08/03 21:20:13 GMT

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