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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 9 - 17, 2003 on the Guru's Den
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I need to know the difference between hot and cold rolled steel
   roland - Thursday, 05/08/03 23:05:40 GMT

Guru, the complete ASM handbook set (about 14 books) now sells for $3500! ASTM specifications, of which about 12 apply to metals, sell for about $125 each. I just bought a copy of a book on BASIC Rolling Mill Technology for $275, and a copy of Krauses book of Ferrous Metallurgy for $165. I cannot imagine how college kids today can afford textbooks! However, like they say "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance!". Consider the fact that a graduate metallurgist, right out of school, makes about $50,000 per year and still needs years of experience to earn his salary!
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/08/03 23:37:31 GMT

..interesting about those metalurgist text from ASM. I have a friend who is a retired metalurgist and wanted to sell off his set of ASM and couldn't find a buyer with the money. I guess they are still available if anyone is interedted. Big and heavy.
   - Jerry Crawford - Friday, 05/09/03 00:52:09 GMT

Jerry, you can order them one at a time or by the set from ASM. They are the most current editions and come in print or on CD-ROM with a built in search engine. The frustrating part of the ASM books is that they contain most of the stuff that is generic to the metals industry. Lots of information that can be gotten free from equipment manufacturers or metals producers. When you need something REALLY specific, they often come up short. I use mine only occasionally, often to answer a question posted here. US Steel published a book called "Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel" and it is about 2" thick. Same problem, lots of generic information, very short on the important details. Most equipment manufacturers and metals suppliers have their own "internal" library of hard lessons learned and other trade secrets and they are just not going to share that with their competition by putting it in a "Handbook".
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/09/03 01:05:29 GMT

I'm a first year student working on an associate's in welding/fabrication. My budget of course is maxed out just keeping up with tool demands (a welder can never have too many vise grips).

This metallurgy course keeps my interest because this is the hardest I have ever worked for a grade. I guess I didn't need to stress so much over those questions, because the first three hours of Shop Problems class consisted of everyone trying to finish the metallurgy exam by the 3:00 deadline.

Found out that austenitic stainless and austenitic manganese steel AKA Hadfield manganese were the two quench annealed steels my instructor was fishing for with that question.

Mr. K, one of the shop instructors, was rather impressed that I had found this website, and I imagine he will be checking it out as soon as he decides on an internet provider.

Again, thanks for the help and pointing out the right direction.
   Amber - Friday, 05/09/03 01:29:48 GMT


I want you to go look at iForge demo ## 66. Then print it out and take it to class.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/09/03 01:57:31 GMT

If anyone wants a PH here's a little number on ebay in TX

   - Jerry Crawford - Friday, 05/09/03 02:05:21 GMT

Looked up demo #66. A very sobering sight. Will refer it to instructors, they impressed the safety aspect mightily during the first term. I think every other lecture revolved around ways to blow yourself up or set yourself on fire. Hint: If you find a mosquito on your arm while oxy welding or cutting, don't use the torch as a flyswatter, OK?
   Amber - Friday, 05/09/03 05:09:41 GMT

It's being used in school shops all over the country. Not that I'm proud of it, but if it keeps one other person from getting hurt, it's worth the notoriety.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/09/03 05:12:04 GMT

Normaly I dislike the idea of scare tactics being used to teach but in the case of safty I think it is the ONLY way to teach. when I was in tech school my instructor showed us some films from the 50s 60s 70s and 80S all on shop safty. the deepest inpreshion I got from these films.. be awearin the shop as even when you are doing what you think is the safest thing the tools don't care what you think and will still bite.
not to me morbid but.. the story that sticks out in my mind the most... a tool and die maker was flycutting on a bridgeport had all of the gards on it was wearing short sleeves a lab coat safty glasses and had his very long hair tied back in a braid in side his shirt. he was following all the rules. some one droped something in the shop, the sound was enough to make him jump and spin around (hearing anything over a fly cutter is enough to make you jump) as he spun his hair fell out of his shirt was pulled into the flycutter (going about 800-1000RPM) he was killed when most of his scalp was torn off... notice I said most, what remained pulled his head in after it. this all happened in less time than one hould hit the panic botton less time in fact than the cutter would take to stop after the botton was hit. the photo of this man after the fact was and still is the worst image I have ever seen. it made me Very aware of every thing attached to me in the shop, in fact I still don't like wearing long sleeves in the shop.
   MP - Friday, 05/09/03 15:00:02 GMT

If it's too cold for short sleeves in the shop, (while operating machinery) I turn the heat up.

You should have seen the films from the 30s and 40s.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/09/03 15:13:20 GMT

Hot and Cold Finished Steel: Roland, HR (hot rolled) is just what is says, it is HOT rolled from the mill. The usual finish is "mill finish" which is light scale on small stuff and heavy scale on thick stuff (over 2"). Corners are usualy slightly rounded from the rolling process.

"Cold rolled" is generally not "rolled" and is usualy called "CF" (Cold finished). Most CF bar that we are familiar with is cold drawn. It is annealed, pickled to remove scale then pulled through dies to size, shape and finish the bar. It is usualy quite precision (+.000 -.005"), has sharp corners, and a work hardened surface. It is typicaly used for machined parts, screw machine stock and drive keys. It also more expensive than hot rolled steel.

CF can also include stock that is ground to remove scale and to size it. This is typical of tool steel sold to be used in machine shops. Round bar is centerless ground and may come in long lengths but flat and square bar must be ground on a surface grinder and the length is quite limited (18-24" in most cases).

When you purchase hot rolled mild steel is is usualy ASTM A-36 (structural grade steel). When you purchase CF mild steel is should be SAE 1018-1020. This is a better grade of steel. However alloy steels and tool steels also come in both HR and CF bar.

Blacksmiths use HR bar as often as possible because it is cheaper and the mill finish is similar to the forged finish. CF bar is very slick, the finish (texture) does not match the forged surface and often does not accept paint as well. CF needs to be etched or sand blasted before painting. The problem comes in small sizes. You used to be able to get 3/16", 1/4" and 7/16" square bar in hot roll. Today to get these you either must order a rolling of thousands of pounds or use CF bar. So most smiths use 1/4" CF bar and very few use 7/16" square at all (it is mu favorite size for fire tools).

In tool steel the annealed CF bar is very expensive but if you are machining parts the cost more than offsets the shop time required to get the material into precision condition.
   - guru - Friday, 05/09/03 15:21:55 GMT

I have built a set of spurs for my dad for fathers day. I want to brown them. How do I go about it and where can I get the solution. I need helpful hint etc.

   John - Friday, 05/09/03 15:46:00 GMT

Shop Safety and Noise: To me my hearing is one of the most important tools in the shop. Not just for safety but for telling if a machine needs oil, something is loose, a cutter is dull (or loose). . . And it drives me nuts to go in someone's shop that has a loud radio or music playing.

I can work at the PC or read a book with the TV on or music playing. But I CANNOT work in shop. When forging I like to listen to the sound of the forge (gas OR coal) and the sound of ring of the anvil. Changes in the sound can tell you when things are not right, your tuyeer is clogged or hammer handle is loose. The sounds a drill bit makes are critical to me and each size has its own characteristics. When chips stop ejecting, that hissing and crackling of cutting oil starts and the machine picks up the slightest load you have about a millisecond to back off, clear the chips and start again before the bit breaks.

I LISTEN to my tools. I had a fellow cutting the lawn a few weeks ago and from my office I could hear the mower making a terrible rattling squeeling bad bearing sound. When I went out to stop him he was just merrily going along and would not have quit until the mower did. . . The blade was loose! This mower has a sheet metal anti-shear bracket that gives way when you hit an obstruction. Saves the mower and probably the user from a broken blade. But it leaves the blade loose. The noise and vibration SHOULD tell anyone that listens that there is a problem. But you have to listen. To me being deaf would be only second to being blind in the shop. You need both your eyes and your ears.

I generally do not wear hearing protection in the shop for the reasons above. However, at the Armour-In this past weekend the noise level reached painful a couple times. If I had to have stayed I would have definitely used hearing protection.

The need for hearing protection varies with the local conditions. When working outdoors the noise doesn't bounce back at you and is absorbed by the earth. An anvil that rings loudly may not be a problem outdoors but may damage your hearing when used in a close space. When working indoors the closer the space the greater the problem noise becomes. Most shops have walls and floors that are hard surfaces that reflect sound and may bounce the same sound back at you several times before is dissapates. Dirt and gravel floors reduce this problem and so do wooden walls. But open spaces help the most.

If the noise hurts (the Armour-In was my first experiance with truely painful noise) or if it leaves you with a ringing sound afterward then it is much TOO loud and you need hearing protection. Any noise that is hard to talk over is also probably too loud. As in many areas of safety you need to use common sense.
   - guru - Friday, 05/09/03 16:15:34 GMT

i have built a set of spurs for my dad for fathers day. I want to brown them. How do I go about it and where can I get the solution. I need helpful hint etc.

John - I brown gun barrels and it comes out looking very nice - sort of a deep purple. There are a couple of products on the market that do it easily. One is Birchwood Casey's Plum Brown - another is Laurel Mountain Forge brown. They both work but the Birchwood Casey is pretty fast while the Laurel Mountain takes several days and many applications - but you can do that without heat. For your spurs I'd recommend the Burchwood stuff. You can get a 5 oz bottle in probably any gun shop or sporting good outlet. Brownells also carries it but you'll pay extra for postage. It really easy and pretty finish.

To use just park the spur in a vise and heat it up with a propane torch. Use a Q-tip, dip it in the bottle of solution and sort of paint it on the metal. It should sizzle like dropping water on a hot griddle. Having good ventilation around your work area is a safety thing too. You'll have to buff off the finish when the coloration is to your liking and oil them but the result is pretty nice.

   - Jerry Crawford - Friday, 05/09/03 16:50:22 GMT

what is the difference between hot and cold rolled steel
   roland - Friday, 05/09/03 22:04:39 GMT


Try going up to where you asked your question the first time and reading from the. You might even find your answer.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/09/03 22:36:30 GMT

Shop safety and noise
I agree that anything you can not talk over needs hearing protection. But the duration of the sound is also a consideration. Many hours of the same sound (noise) can damage the hearing also.

Guru, I am sure you also pay attention to the vibrations of each machine. Like sound, the vibrations will tell you when something is not right. Any machine that is out of balance, or stressed during operation, will produce a different vibration than when it is running normally. This is especially important when wearing hearing protection.
   - Ntech - Saturday, 05/10/03 01:48:20 GMT

Hi! I've been doing ornamental ironwork for a few years now and never really gave much thought to the health hazards associated with this activity. However, it looks like I might be doing this for awhile and I've started to think, Hmmm is there anything i should know about so I can cut the risks to a minimun? I have an asbestos free liner for my gas forge, but does that automatically make it safe? I do vacum out the loose peices every once in awhile when I'm at the end of a vacum cleaner bag (so I can throw it out after that) I wear a respirator when grinding the metal, hearing protection when grinding or using the band saw. I haven't been using a respirator when I use the oxyacetylene torch but I suppose I could. It's a little tough to weld with a respirator on, how dangerous are the fumes? I try to keep my shop well ventilated, I don't have any special ventilation system I just open the doors as wide as the weather allows. I am planning on building a small shop on my property. Any suggestions to keep the air as healthy as possible? So I guess my major questions are about the potential health hazards of using a mig welder(w/gas), propane, and oxyacetylene. I also plan on eventually getting a coal forge,( and perhaps a plasma cutter) but I will probably do with that the same as I do with my propane forge which is to set it outside my shop door. Thanks for the info...
   - Allison - Saturday, 05/10/03 02:14:25 GMT

Burner issue

I built a simple burner with a blower, a 2" piece of 1/4" copper tubing, an 8" x 3/4" pipe nipple, a 3/4" - 1" pipe flare, and a little blower. I soldered the end of the copper tube shut and drilled a .7mm hole in the side for a gas port, then puttied it into a hole in the side of the nipple. I'm running it on propane; I have some blower control issues so I have to run it at 10 psi or more. The neck of this burner (area between copper gas port and burner flare) heats up rapidly and gets very hot in tests of this burner. Is this normal? What can I do to alleviate this, short of building in a water-cooling system (option currently under consideration)? If I fix my blower so I can run at a lower gas pressure, will this fix my problem?

Cloudy and sun-showering in Kaneohe, HI as I stare at some old gas shocks, thinking about beating them apart for their pistons
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/10/03 10:15:31 GMT

Err... said blower twice in the parts list. There's only one blower.

   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/10/03 10:19:21 GMT


The single most damaging thing that the every day Joe does to their ears is driving their conveyance with the windows rolled down and the radio blaring. I don't remember the DB rating but it is high.

A majority of hearing damage comes from abrupt and intense noises. Our ears can adjust to a continous loud sound and recieve a minimul of damage, at moderate sound levels. However the instentanous loud sound leaves no time for you ears to adjust and protect themselves. Droping a pipe on concrete should do more damage than alot of stuff, except for a lot of hammers.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 05/10/03 16:10:13 GMT

Overheated Burner: T.Gold, You have fire in the burner. You do not have enough fuel/air velocity to keep the flame out of the burner. It should only burn at or beyond the nozzel/flare in the forge enclosure.

Blower burner pipes are generally about the same size as the blower discharge. If you restrict the flow in a small pipe AND you do not have sufficient pressure the velocity will be too low. This is backwards from normal flow situations where a reduction in area increases the velocity. BUT, if you do not have the head pressure then flow drops and so does velocity. It is a complicated subject. I suspect that your 3/4" pipe is much smaller than the blower discharge.

Blower burners do not need an orifice. Using a pipe "T" the fuel pressure can be near zero and get enough fuel if the piping is big enough. In atmospheric burners that work via venturi effect the fuel jet must be high velocity in order to draw air in with the fuel.

Too much burner for too little of a forge can also cause fire in the burner pipe. However, if you have sufficient blower capacity it is usualy not a problem.

On my blower burners I do the OPPOSITE of the venturi burners. I do not use a flare, I use a reducing nozzel. This increases the fuel/air velocity to greater than the flame front velocity and keeps the fire out of the burner. However, you CAN get flash back in this type of burner when you turn the air down. It makes quite a roar when this occurs and the burner should be shut down immediately.

Sounds like you have mixed different design elements that don't work together.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/10/03 16:44:55 GMT

Normal Shop Hazards: Allison, A few points:

There is a slight hazzard from forges lined with kaowool and it is recommended to cover the surface with ITC-100. All the light weight fibrous insulation in forges is one or another kaolin product and some contain silicates. Fibers of both can cause silicosis and possibly cancer with enough exposure.

There is no need to wear a respirator when using oxy-acetylene unless you are (over) heating non-ferrous metals (copper, zinc, lead, cadnium). Generally when brazing you do not release sinc unless you burn the brass. Arc welding is more hazardous as many rods and steels contain manganese and vapors from that are beeing found to be hazardous. Burning off paint while cutting or welding produces more noxious fumes than anything else.

Good ventilation is better than a leaky respirator. Hospital surgical masks are almost worthless and stop less than half of contaminates. Good sealing respirators require replacing the filter often AND using the right filter for the hazzard. Gases and volitile fumes ARE NOT stopped by filters. You must use an activated charcoal filter to stop gases and these must be renued for almost every use. The other problem with respirators is that they cause increased respirator stress and can lead to heat stroke or heart attack. Anyone using a respirator should undergo a respiratory stress test. Responsible industries require testing before a worker even trains to use a respirator.

MIG and TIG welding are relatively harmless vapor wise. However, the light is MUCH brighter and it is recommended to where flash glasses under your welding hood. If you do a lot of forge welding and stare into forge a lot you should also wear eye protection. The #2 filter glasses we sell are good for both.

TIG burns are nasty and different. When a high frequency arc hits skin is does weird things (Think of a Klingon disrupter) and the wounds heal very slowly leaving ugly scars.

Tall ceilings help with ventilation (and noise) problems. In normal 8 foot ceilings smoke and dust hangs at head level. Shops should have a minimum of 10 to 12 foot ceilings. Good fixed shop ventilation (a big louvered wall fan) helps keep fresh air in the shop as well as cooling it in summer.

The most overlooked issue in small shops is buffing and grinding. When buffing copper, brass, bronze the air becomes filled with metalic dust. Copper dust is toxic and many of these alloys also contain lead. All this dust eventualy settles on surfaces leaving a coating of toxic dust. Cotton buffs can also fill the air with cotton dust which is also bad (brown lung disease) if you have sufficient quantity over a long enoug time.

When grinding using angle grinders with semi-flexible (standard) wheels the air is filled with glass fibres from the fibreglass reinforcement. Although fiberglass dust is not treated as hazardous is HAS to be just as bad as silica and I suspect there are social-political reasons it is not treated as such. You need good ventilation when grinding. I prefer to do it outside or in the door to the shop but this is not always possible. Ahh. . grinding off paint? More toxic dust.

Safety glasses with good snug fitting sides are more important than anything. . . STUFF happens when you least expect it. Especially when machinery is involved.

Chemical Hazards: Unless you do etching, bluing or spray painting you and your children are exposed to worse chemical hazzards in you home from laundry, kitchen, bathroom cleaners and beauty products. Nail polish, hair spray and other such products are worse than anything you will see in a typical small shop. There are probably items in your bathroom cabinette that industry must label hazardous and keep under lock and key as well as keep up to date Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on file as well as have a hazardous materials disposal procedure. . .

   - guru - Saturday, 05/10/03 17:36:57 GMT

Guru, thanks a lot! I didn't understand how the larger-to-smaller nozzle worked in your diagram on the plans page, but now I get it and I'll snag one today to see how it works.

Off to Gaspro through the blinding sun as the clouds threaten rain in beautiful Kaneohe Bay...
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/10/03 19:42:45 GMT

Burners - Guru, thanks for the note about the reducer on the output of a blower burner. This is an element I'd noticed in Don Fogg's burner and had wondered if that's somehow related to the "flameholder" that I've been more accustomed to seeing on blower burners, like the Hans Peot type burner. But I recently printed the ABANA plans for the Peot burner, and was surprised to find that concentric rings in the flameholder are actually 3" long pieces of pipe. Never looked that close before; thought it was more like a grille. Does this kind of flameholder really "hold the flame" at the output end of the burner? I'd thought that the flame stuck to the first discontinuity in the path, and so worry that it would really start at the other end of the flame holder, 3" inside the pipe. Or is this a function of fuel and air velocity, where sufficient blower pushes the flame out to the end of the pipe?

   Steve A - Saturday, 05/10/03 19:51:10 GMT

Steve A:

It IS the first discontinuity. You just need to work backward from where the fire is. The concentric rings also tend to keep the mixture cooler which inhibits combustion. Think of the little holes in a cutting torch tip.
   - grant - Saturday, 05/10/03 20:55:07 GMT

Thunder, Lightening, rain. . LIGHTENING! Bye!
   - guru - Saturday, 05/10/03 21:13:58 GMT

More Burner Stuff: I am not crazy about the Peot burner with the concentric tubes. It may work but is a lot of junk in the burner that I think is unneccessary. That, and I have seen many of them lying around in shops that have been replaced with other burners. Unneccessary complexity in something that is going to be home built is not a good idea and leads to more room for error.

I have also found tooth type "flame holders" unneccessary if the burner design is correct for the forge. Most commercial burners get the same effect simply by having a step in the flow path and as Grant pointed out the end of a torch nozzel is the same step with change in gas velocity.

I have used stainless nozzels and flares and find that they scale about as bad as carbon steel due to the extreame heat. So I am going to use refractory flares on all future projects. The most recent furnace I built has a flare and burner holder cast into the refractory. The 3/4" pipe burner is far enough from the heat that it does not scale at all. AND THAT is how it should be.

I planned on writing an article on this furnace with cast in flare but the construction method was overly complicated. It was a good way NOT to build a forge/furnace. It worked but there are better methods. I used wooden forms that took a lot of time and effort to make and were difficult to remove. The next one I build will use cardboard and paper forms that are burned out. You can build the paper-mache' forms in a tenth the time as wood and for almost no cost. Unless you are planning on going into production this makes more sense. You can also make changes and improvements every time you make a paper-mache' form. The same process can be used to make burner blocks.

To make a burner block using castable refractory or rigidized kaowool you make the internal form around a piece of the pipe you plan on using for the burner tube. A couple layers of common typing or printer paper is wrapped around the tube and taped on with Scotch tape. This produces the clearance so the tube will slip in and out easily AND is easy to remove from the refractory the first time.

The paper covered pipe needs to be supported on a block of wood or board also covered with paper. It could be duct taped on OR fitted over a dowel turned to fit the inside of the pipe. Then a 12° cone about 3" to 4" long is formed from poster board and taped around the pipe and to the base paper. This is NOT strong enough to use with castable refractory and must be strengthened. Strips of newsprint glued with wheat paste are used to build up the cone. DO NOT apply them any further up the pipe than needed to blend in (about 1/2" max). DO make a "flange" on the paper base to strengthen the bottom of the cone. Keep the layers smooth as this is the inside surface of your nozzel.

Let the paper-mache' dry. Now you need a mold box to form the burner block in. This could be 1 Qt paper milk carton, a tall tin can, a fabricated cardboard tube OR a wooden box. Keep it simple. What ever yo use should produce about a 1" thick wall at the bottom of the flare. Tape or clamp the mold box to the wood base. Now you are ready to cast the refractory. Remember to use as little water as possible and be prepared to stuff or ram the refractory mix into the mold so that it is well filled.

When the refractory has set give it another 24 hours then remove the forms and the pipe. Any paper that sticks can be left to be burned off later. If molded inside a tin can you may want to leave the can on as part of the burner block. Once the forms are removed the refractory will need several more days or a week to dry. After is has air dried it can be force dried in an oven before calcining (firing).

The same methods could be used to form the insides of a forge with integral nozzel and burner support. The difference would be that the larger body form would need internal support made from corragated cardboard and the shell surface would need to be a little heavier. The whole would be centered in something like a cut off propane cylinder and castable ceramic used as above. Any parts of the forms that didn't peal out would be burned out. Time to build the complete form should only be a few hours. Scissors, knife and glue are all the tools that are needed.

I plan to try a different approach with ITC, Kaowool and a refractory binder to make nozzels. The paper forms will be coated with ITC-100 and alowed to dry. A fresh coat of ITC-100 will be applied and then binder soaked kaowool will be stuffed into the form. After the binder sets the mold will be striped and the part allowed to dry some more. After the part is dry it will be fired to harden and cure the ITC surface. This should produce a strong light weight burner flare that can withstand any heat a propane forge can produce.

For molding castable refractory (or any other water setting cast substance) almost any molded plastic container can be used as a mold box. These items have smooth surfaces and taper (draft) to allow then to be extracted when molded. Thus anything cast IN them can also be removed. Just don't let your wife catch you using her Tupperware to mold concrete. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 05/10/03 23:35:50 GMT

Mwaha... my expeditions to Kilgo's and Gaspro (welding/hardware suppliers) were fruitless... but on my jaunt to CM Recycling, I scored a 145lb chunk of milled stainless steel for $20, soon to be my first anvil! It has a nice jutting-out piece that with some work should make a good short horn, and I've got my eye on a spot for a hardy and pritchel. However, knowing that this is SS, how can I torch-cut it? I've heard laying a bead of regular steel works to give the torch burning material, but I don't have access to a buzz box. Any words of wisdom?

Eagerly looking forward to putting in some time at the forge in sunny... no, cloudy... no, sunny... no, cloudy... argh! Kaneohe, Hawaii
   T. Gold - Sunday, 05/11/03 00:46:02 GMT

I am a novice just getting my act together...I have a small forge with a hand cranked Champion blower; unfortunatley it has only 3 blades left on the fan. Is there a source for "new" old stock parts, or do I need to search out a similar blower for used parts? As I said, I am new, so I do not have the experience or expertise to fabricate new vanes. Thanks for your time! Bryant
   Bryant - Sunday, 05/11/03 00:52:04 GMT

Torching Stainless T.Gold, It is possible to feed a carbon steel welding rod into the cut on stainless but it is tricky and makes a mess. I recommend using it AS-IS except for some grinding. Later you could weld on a piece of square tubing to support hardy type tools if you make them with offsets so they are over the solid material and done load the welds.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 01:15:55 GMT

Champion Parts: Bryant, Sorry, none available. I believe these are simple pieces of thin steel plate. In that case you need to find the plate (probably 16ga or 18ga), cut it with a saw or chisel, drill mounting holes and bolt them on. The hard part will be removing the old rivets without doing more damage. Thin wood blades would also work and even plastic. This is not a job of skill but of persistance and determination.

However, the problem with any replacement part is going to be matching the weight so that the fan is balanced. But this too can be done low-tech.

Low tech balancing requires logic and trial and error. Spin the device, note the vibration. then clamp or tape a weight on a suspected light spot (one of the replacement blades). Then spin it again. If the vibration is worse move the weight one blade left or right. Test again and then the opposite direction (THEN opposite side, you may have guessed wrong on the first try). If it is still worse try less weight. If it improves but still vibrates then use more weight. Adjust right and left. Quit when smooth running and attach the weight permanently (epoxy glue would work).

I have balanced hundreds of mag wheels on the car this way as well as auto drive shafts (it looked funny with hose clamps holding wheel weights on to it). A little logic, a little practice, and you can balance all kinds of rotating equipment. You just need a way to rotate it that lets you sense the vibration.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 01:27:35 GMT

RE: stainless anvil.
I don't mean to throw cold water on the excitement that a new anvil creates, but what kind of stainless steel is it? If it is non-magnetic, it will be an austenitic stainless and, because it has almost no carbon, will be quite soft. If it is magnetic, it could be ferritic or martensitic. The ferritic will also be quite soft. If it is martensitic and in the hardened condition, you hit the jackpot! For $20, I'm sure you can get plenty of use out of it while you are keeping an eye open for a real anvil. I sleep with one eye open for the same reason!
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/11/03 02:08:48 GMT

Guru, that idea is good and it's given me an idea that may be better. I'll use a heavy grinder or something to cut a 1" deep by 1" wide notch in one side of the piece and weld a wide flat piece of bar over the notch. With that I should be able to use most regular hardy tools, and it'll be stronger!
   T. Gold - Sunday, 05/11/03 02:36:35 GMT

T.Gold. Grinding that notch in stainless (or mild steel) will cost you the price of a new small anvil or that buzz box you need. . . Its going to wear out several wheels. Just how thick is this plate?
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 02:47:31 GMT

Thanks for the info on shop hazards, but what exactely is ITC-100, how can I get some, also how can I get some of the filtered glasses? Thanks again
   - Allison - Sunday, 05/11/03 02:51:52 GMT

Allison, Click on the drop down menu, select STORE and look.

We sell cludgy looking old fasioned saftey glasses that WORK (everyone else sells "pretty" ones that I find questionable). The #2 shade is not as dark as needed for brazing but is perfect for using gas forges and under welding helmets as "flash glasses".

We carry the full line of ITC products. They are unique and range from coatings to patching materials.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 03:33:22 GMT

Tyring to use your Mass3j calulator for determining the weight of a stainless steel cylinder 5" diameter and 63" long.

When attempting to calculate, only a "invalid page" comes up. This may be a temporary problem with you server....OR....I am doing something wrong. The instructions are quite clear but I cannot get it to work.

Any ideas??? Of course, I have the formulas for the calculating the weight of objects....but I would like to use your tool.

   John Sewart - Sunday, 05/11/03 04:48:46 GMT

The plate is about ... 2.5 or 3" I think. I'm just tossing the idea out; it already has a whomping big hole in it that I could make a plug for, then tack weld a hardy mount into, but it's a little far away from the area I have my eye on for the face (plus I hadn't thought of it...). Also, I took another look at it, and the part I was going to grind into a horn is hollow! It has threads for a 1.5" bolt. I plan to turn a long 1.5" bolt in the lathe to make the horn now, instead. Seems fortunate, as it'll be easier (and cheaper) than grinding that horn.

About to go test the inward flare that I bought at Kilgo's today, in the fresh-baked pipe forge. (Literally. Drove off the water in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour [VBG])
   T. Gold - Sunday, 05/11/03 05:51:53 GMT

Good Guru;
I found, to my surprise, that my fine particle filter on the respirator loads up just fine using the MIG. It puts off way more crud than is evident. Also, it is difficult to do a lot of braizing without the occaisional flash of zinc vapor. Seeing as it is cumulative and a particle filter takes out most of it..I wear the filter now when braising.
The zinc flares off as zinc oxide, a filterable particle.
Does the manganese also form a filterable oxide particle?
QC....Will TG's stainless anvil work harden satisfactorially with use?
   - Pete F - Sunday, 05/11/03 07:09:30 GMT

Bloody! The inward flare makes my little burner completely nonfunctional; it won't ignite. I gotta buy an inward flare for the big burner and try it; I think I can't feather the blower for the little burner enough and my fuel/air is moving too fast. The big burner should be less sensitive. Does anyone know how hot the necks of these burners generally get in use? I used "steel epoxy" putty to attach the gas nozzles, and they heat up enough that the epoxy softens when I run them right now.

It's dark in Kaneohe, Hawaii right now... but comfortably cool and not too humid.
   T. Gold - Sunday, 05/11/03 07:59:30 GMT

Work hardening austenitic stainless: It might work harden but it would take a lot of time and might not be uniform over the face. I would guess it might get full of gouges and nicks before it became very hard. My Russian anvil is slightly soft for an anvil (about 40Rc is my best guess) and it gets a lot of nicks and gouges. In fact, I recently did a bit of grinding to smooth it out. While there is no substitute for a proper anvil, we use what we have until something better can be obtained.
Guru: Since we are not talking about a PW or HB anvil here, could it be welded with hardfacing to improve the surface? A lot of hardmetal rods are nickel based and should take to stainless very well.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 05/11/03 14:25:25 GMT

Mass3j: John wrote back that is was a temporary connection problem on Mass3j.

The programs requires a server connection because half of the math is protected by running on the server and not your browser.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 15:50:35 GMT

SS Anvil The most effective way to use that plate as an anvil is on edge. Lying flat it will deflect and bounce around (yes even 3" plate). On edge that 145 pounds will be the equivalent of a heavier anvil.

Hard Surfacing: It would be possible but is expensive and TG doesn't have an arc welder. Hard facing rods are expensive, the electricity to apply them is expensive and the grinding wheels to clean up and finish are expensive. Stainless IS a good underlayment. Applying hard facing also requires an expeianced welder that can lay down beads without heavy slag inclusions. That takes hundreds of hours of welding experiance and even then there WILL be inclusions that you have to grind out and reweld. It is not an easy process.

   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 18:17:12 GMT

speaking of hardfacing rod; anybody know anything about KAR 74674 rod? I picked up 10# at the fleamarket wednesday and haven't been able to track down the info on it. The KAR site is not very friendly that way...

   - Thomas Powers - Sunday, 05/11/03 19:49:45 GMT

Welcome Back! Thomas, Glad to see you back on line. We all wish you luck in your new life.

I don't have anything on these rods. Google reports through an MSDS page. The numbers hop around and range through all kinds of products. I've extracted the welding rods.

35073, "Dirtrode" Welding Electrode
35074, "Dirtrode" Welding Electrode
35075, E-Z Cast Welding Electrode
35076, E-Z Cast Welding Electrode
35077, E-Z Cast Welding Electrode
35078, Soft Cast NC Welding Electrode
35079, Soft Cast NC Welding Electrode
35080, Soft Cast NC Welding Electrode
35081, Blast Off Welding Electrode
35082, Blast Off Welding Electrode
35083, Blast Off Welding Electrode
35084, Hydro-Join Welding Electrode
35085, Hydro-Join Welding Electrode
35086, Hydro-Join Welding Electrode
35098, "Hammerhead" Impact Welding Electrode
35099, "Hammerhead" Impact Welding Electrode
35100, "Hammerhead" Impact Welding Electrode
35101, "Hardcrome" Abrasion Welding Electrode
35102, "Hardcrome" Abrasion Welding Electrode
35103, "Hardcrome" Abrasion Welding Electrode
35104, Multi-stain Welding Electrode
35105, Multi-Stain Welding Electrode
35106, Verti-Stain Welding Electrode
35107, Verti-Stain Welding Electrode
35108, Verti-Stain Welding Electrode

35903, Tough Stuff Build-Up Welding Electrode
35904, Tough Stuff Build-Up Welding Electrode
35905, "No Wear" Hardface Welding Electrode
35906, "No Wear" Hardface Welding Electrode
35907, "No Wear" Hardface Welding Electrode
72823, Karalloy E-Z Cast Iron Welding Alloy
72824, Karalloy Super Tensile Welding Alloy
72825, Karalloy Super Tensile Welding Alloy
72826, Karalloy Super Tensile Welding Alloy
72827, Karalloy E-Z Weld Welding Alloy
73548, Karalloy E-Z Cast Iron Welding
73550, Karalloy E-Z Weld Welding Alloy
74335, Karalloy Super Tensile Welding Alloy
77340, KAralloy E-Z Weld Welding Alloy
74515, Karalloy Super Tensile Welding Alloy
74516, Karalloy E-Z Weld Welding Alloy
74517, Karalloy Grooving, Chamfering, Cutting Electrode
78191, Karalloy Impact II Hardfacing Alloy
78192, Karalloy Impact II Hardfacing Alloy
78193, Karalloy Impact II Hardfacing Alloy
78194, Karalloy Abrasion II Hardfacing Alloy
78195, Karalloy Abrasion II Hardfacing Alloy
78196, Karalloy Abrasion II Hardfacing Alloy
78197, Karalloy Posi-Weld
78198, Karalloy Posi-Weld
   - guru - Sunday, 05/11/03 20:29:35 GMT

This may be a dumb question, but safety is important so here goes: I need to wear "reading" glasses to see things clearly which are close to me (within about arms length), what are my options for safety glasses? The safety glasses in the Store look great, but things close will be fuzzy. Know this situation has risen before and would appreciate some advice. Hoping to get to my first local hammer in in a few days and know safety glasses are required (something better than my reading glasses would be better at my own forge anyway). Thanks!
   Ellen - Sunday, 05/11/03 21:45:50 GMT


I bought a set of Jock's glasses, took them to my local Opthamologist and had the lenses replaced with my prescription. Was less than $50, overall cost.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 05/11/03 21:53:09 GMT

Hmm, plate on edge... that will be difficult, as it used to be some weird machine part and has only one flat edge surface backed by solid metal, and that surface is about 3" square and the opposing edge is completely curved! I foresee lots of fun with anvil stands if I have do that... think I'll try it flat first and see how it works, and then switch to edgewise if it REALLY sucks. Heck, I think it might be easier to use a 20lb sledge head instead if it doesn't work out with it flat. In any case, as a newbie, I suspect that I'll need the large flat working area more than I'll need the better rebound.

Note: I just did a little hammer drop test using my 3lb sledge and my 12oz ball peen; both had about a 3" rebound when just dropped onto the face, though I think my hand might have been damping them. With a *very slight* application of force with the ball peen, I got 12" of rebound from a 9" starting height! This was all on the flat side, with the "anvil" sitting in the back of a Ford Explorer on carpet. I think it should do OK.

P.S. The SS is magnetic and appears to have rust on it; not sure if it's rubbed off from regular steel parts, or if it's actually the SS rusting. Whole part has milled finishes all over it, no polished surfaces.
   T. Gold - Sunday, 05/11/03 23:51:45 GMT

T. Gold,

You may want to build an anvil stand similar to the one that Jim Carothers and I designed for the Salt Fork Swage Block. I can send you a copy of the sketch and directions if you are interested.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 01:01:15 GMT

SS Rusting TG, It is hard to tell if it is contamination or not. If it was buried in scrap outdoors it may well be stained from contact. Other staining can come from machined surfaces if a HSS cutter was breaking down (even slightly). Hot grinding swarf can also imbed on the surface and then rust. Magnetic stainlesses are more prone to rusting than others. They are also the hardenable type so you MAY have a nice hard SS anvil.

Working on edge on something like this will make enough difference that it would be worth fitting a stand to the curve. It is not that big a problem.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 02:56:41 GMT

Reading Glasses: Ellen I have just gotten to that point where I can't hold things far enough away because the text is then too small. . . Note that due to the curvature most safety glasses are slightly magnifying. I just checked mine and they don't seem to make any difference.

I'll have to ask if they come in non-prescription reading glasses type lenses. I sort of doubt it though.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 03:01:04 GMT

Burner Problems: TG, You are still not paying attention to all the points. I do not know of any blower burner that can work on a 3/4" pipe (too small). Most operate on 1-1/2 NPT UP. You can expect the first 8 to 10" on any type of forge tuyeer (coal, gas, oil) to get too hot for ANY type of plastic (including metal filled epoxies). Expect 800°F and the end to be as hot as 1200°F if the design is bad. The stainless flares used on most home built units hit a much as 1800°F. Good commercial units never see over 500°F and many home builts do as well.

My "stupid burner" plan works. It used a 150CFM fan with a 2-1/2" output going into pipe only slightly smaller. In operation the fan usualy ran at about 1/2 to 2/3 capacity. The gas entered through a 1/4" pipe fiting attached to reducer bushing (no orifice). The length of the pipe connecting the forge was about 10". This let there be room of the gas/air to mix and to distance the fan and fuel piping from the forge. The end reducer was only one size down. Proportionately the change is MUCH lower going from 2" to 1-1/2" than from 3/4" to 1/2" pipe. You cannot always scale down a device using common parts.

All the parts were common plumbing parts EXCEPT the left hand thread fuel hose connector. There is no welding, no brazing, no soldering and certainly no glue. I have used this same combination of parts in different arrangements on other furnaces and forges with success. But I have also made modifications that I THOUGHT would work better that failed miserably.

If you look at the burner photos I posted above on the 7th it is the same type construction (all pipe) except for one weld. In fact you can avoid the one weld with screwed on brackets OR by using a big "T" to create a "sidearm" burner (see the Ron Reil page).

There are hundreds of combinations of these things that work and thousands more that DON'T. Experimenting is expensive and can be frustrating. Following other's plans as closely as possible can reduce the chance of failure but is no guarantee.

Dependable Design: The recent change from drilled orifices to using MIG tips has been a move to better dependability of manufacture. These things come in a very limited range of sizes and are well made with smooth bores and leading internal chamfers. They avoid drilling oversized, crooked, misshapened holes with burred edges. My design above using a compression fitting on the 1/4" OD of the MIG tip avoids brazing or soldering that can burn, distort and possibly clog the tip. Two simple things that reduce a plethora of possible errors.

These are design improvements aimed at the do-it-yourselfer with limited equipment and skills. They are not designs for a production product. They are also designs that have been tested and WORK.

The burner design posted on the 7th uses half of an 18" long 3/4" pipe nipple and half of a 4" long 1-1/4" pipe nipple. You can make two burners from the two pieces. The center tube is a 1/8" NPT x 4" nipple with a 1/8" NPT to 1/4" tube compression fitting. All these parts were purchased at a local Lowes. The ball valve was purchased at a local plumbing supply. The MIG tip and the hose fitting were purchased at a local welding supplier. I intended to make a parts list with prices but haven't done so but the total is less than $20 US. You could purchase ALL the parts from McMaster-Carr and save a lot of running around.

This burner requires sawing two pieces of pipe in two. It can be easily done with a hack saw. Then a bracket needs to be fabicated to support the center tube. The two best ways are: 1) Weld a simple sawed out piece of 1/8" thich steel as shown. 2) Make a screwed on bracket.

To make the weldless bracket you need a piece of aluminium, steel or brass 1/2" thick and a 7/16" (or 11mm) drill bit to fit the pipe and an assortment of smaller drills and a 1/4-28 TAP. A 13/32 drill is a better fit but you need to check the pipe to be sure it will fit. Galvanized won't fit this smaller bore.

Saw out the bracket, drill a hole for the pipe, drill a #2 hole intersecting that for a set screw and tap 1/4-28. Drill one or two holes in the side of the bracket to attach to the intake tube. Drill and tap the intake tube. Assemble the pipe and orifice parts then attach to the main body. After that it is ready to light up.

I've found these burners need a flare or end tube to "hold" a flame outside a forge/furnace but once part of the forge work well without. However, the penetration in the refractory often acts like a flare but in other cases, not. This is the burner I used on the little furnace in the ITC iForge demo and for brass casting.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 03:11:59 GMT

(nods) Thanks for being so patient, Guru. I'm moving most of my burner parts to the scrap pile and stopping by the hardware store with a printout of the "really stupid burner" in one hand and your posts in the other this week. My goal in working on the 3/4" burner was primarily to run a REALLY small pipe forge. That didn't work out. Maybe someday I'll put together a Reil "Nano-Mongo" burner, but until then, I'm going by the book (site?), building one really stupid burner to switch between the two forges. Using that is going to be like using a hydraulic press to crack walnuts, but it's going to WORK, and as you said, often that's the most important (and cheapest) thing.

Completely missed that pic, Jock... glad you mentioned it, or I would never have seen it. Looks like a simple, effective venturi design. Perhaps when I pick up the parts for the RSB I'll get the parts for one of those; it might do very well for my pipe forge.

Paw Paw, I'd really like to see the design for the swage block stand. My email can handle 1.5mb worth of any images you want to send.

Feeling dumb and pushing down the urge to fiddle with designs in cloudy, sweaty Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Monday, 05/12/03 05:04:42 GMT

Forgot to ask in above post: how long is the pipe nipple between the reduction fitting and the pipe T?
   T. Gold - Monday, 05/12/03 05:12:12 GMT

T Gold;
On most forge burners there is a relationship between the burner design and the volume of the inside of the forge. If they are mismatched, you may well have more problems...in other words, a great whopping burner and a dinky forge isn't gonna work.
Ellen; I got prescription saftey lenses made for my frames with the photo-sensitive lenses..no problem, except for the cost. Allegedly the photosensitive lenses offer more protection than clear ones...or so they insisted.
Got my cast off finally..so I speak with real authority when I suggest you keep all your little fingers out from under your treadle hammer.
And now that I have some authority..JOIN THE CYBERSMITHS and keep anvilfire alive...is my commandment.
   - Pete F - Monday, 05/12/03 08:34:42 GMT

Real small pipe forges: why not just use a propane torch? It's an *engineered* propane burner in small scale and can be purchased very cheaply. I use one for a 1 firebrick forge with good results---though I do not let the brass burner tube touch the side if the brick to keep it cooler---just aim the flame through the hole in the side of the brick.

Thomas; Thanks I'll call KAR and ask directly---may be a manganese rod and so no longer out there due to liability---the tube was marked high impact.

Thomas it's good to be back though a move to SW NM may be in the cards---glad I've stocked up on smithing equipment while here in OH!
   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 05/12/03 12:22:27 GMT

T. Gold,

This stand was designed for a swage block, but could be easily modified to hold an unusualy shaped piece of SS for an anvil.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 12:43:56 GMT

T Gold,

On the way.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 12:44:57 GMT

Burners TG, As Pete pointed out, the RSB is a big burner designed for a relatively large forge/furnace of at least 1 cubic foot. Not shown is a union to make it easy to remove from the forge. That added about 3" to the 8" pipe nipple.

If you are making a REALLY small forge see the MICRO forge on the 21st Century page. One a little bigger could be powered by TWO propane torches.

Years ago I had a cheap propane torch that the burner easily unscrewed from the extension pipe. The thread was a standard fitting of some sort (1/16 pipe I think). I replaced the extension pipe with a three foot long piece of 1/4" copper tube and used it for spot heating on a zinc mold. The long soft tube let me position the burner anywhere I wanted and could still run it off the little throw away bottle. I do not know what brand these were but they would be handy for building mini and micro forges.
As Thomas noted, just be sure to keep the end of these copper and brass shelled burners OUT of the hot zone, they will melt.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 13:08:04 GMT

There is a propane torch on the marke called a "turbo-torch". It's basically a venturi buruner. It comes with a swivel joint built into it so the torch can be used in almost any position. I use mine with MAPP gas for a hotter flame, and I've accidently melted copper tubing with it. I plan on making one of the single brick "micro" forges, and that burner is what I will use with it.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 13:13:15 GMT

G'day,,,just started with this metal banging stuff. I did the basic course at my local tertiary institute. I made a forge out of a wheel rim from a '79 LJ Torana, and I found an anvil in a two foot long rail track. I have tried to use ironbark in the forge but there is too much flame and the heat is tricky to control etc...
I would like to use coking coal, but it's not easily got in these parts. I'd appreciate an alternative to coal. My FAN is the back end of a vacume cleaner. I work at my normal job full time, so I'd like a few hints on how to get started, time management wise.
Looking around the net I found some iron roses, I think I'd like to start small and make some of those roses. I made a pair of tongs, a round punch, an oval punch and a cold chisel on the two day TAFE course. The roses are the only reason I'd want to carry on with this ting ting ting, I want to make my girls a flower each {4}. EE me at ticeteboo@msn.com and give me some ideas or some incentive. Cheers..................
   Flash - Monday, 05/12/03 14:36:03 GMT

I have a question for you gurus?I am not into blacksmithing or anything and i am new here.My question does have to do with machining and cars.SO my question is if any of you know if i can get my entire car engine made from titanium(alloy or whatever)and who can do it near dallas, texas.I am 21 years of age and a car enthusiast.I also wish to know if this is a good idea and what the cost will be even if it is expensive.Thank you.
   joe the imp - Monday, 05/12/03 14:54:42 GMT

Hi Dan, probably the most widely used steel to make rifle receivers and bolts is the 4140, however some firms use instead nickel-chrome-moly steel (eg. 4340 or 8620). Mi question is, ¿what is the potential advantages in using those alloys instead of 4140?, I mean advantage in terms of mechanical properties and heat treating. For a country with poor high-tech heat treating facilities, a more "friendly" steel could be interesting. If a 4340 is a superior steel for this purpose, ¿why it is not widely used?. Thank you very much, and congratulation for this very interesting site.
   Bernardo Navarro - Monday, 05/12/03 16:06:16 GMT

Dan, to complete mi previous letter, when I say "friendly" steel, I mean - among other things - a steel with a more uniform hardness and less distortion, after normal low-tech heat treating. Thank.
   Bernardo Navarro - Monday, 05/12/03 16:12:57 GMT

Hey guru, I'm not much on soldering but I recently got a job that requires a small peice of copper ( the size of a finger nail and simular shape) to be soldered on the end of a piece of steel forged down to 1/8" round. to be more specific it is a sash catch spring for a window restoration project on a 1850's home. The peice of copper is actually the peice you push on to compress or deflect the sping out of a notch in the window ( the catch is fastened to the casing is about 5 inches long is acts like a leaf spring, the end is bend at 90 degrees and a futher shoulder is necked to about 1/8" round bent 90 deg and upset to make a square 90. the copper is fastened to the tip of this) How would you solder or fasten the copper if you were doing it, any tips for a good strong adhesion.....I would of mortis and tenoned the sucker but want to keep it somewhat cost reasonable for my client. thanks - Scott
   - wolfsmithy - Monday, 05/12/03 16:19:23 GMT

the blacksmiths books tell you a lot, however,
i have not seen any that tells you exactly how
to start a fire in a coal fired forge.
can you do this.
   william l. brown - Monday, 05/12/03 16:24:42 GMT

Paw Paw:

That stand looks like the cat's pajamas to me; an unforeseen (by me) advantage of it is that I'll be able to switch back and forth between having the anvil flat and having it on edge... at least, after I start working out (BG).

I'm pretty good at coding HTML and I really like this design. Can I code this into an HTML document and email it to you so you can put it up on the Plans page?
   T. Gold - Monday, 05/12/03 16:27:55 GMT


Jock... Since you have SOOOO much free time, maybe a burner page is in order (Very Evil Grin!)? The reason I say this, is that there's plenty of folks here on Anvilfire that have done some pretty serious burner research, and have good data to share.

I know it's a liability issue -- I have been roundly chastised for giving burner advice myself on these forums. However, there "should" be a way we can share this plethora of information and also insulate ourselves from those competing for the 2004 Darwin Award??

I, as always, would gladly help with images, HTML, etc...

Just my $0.02 worth... ;-)
   Zero - Monday, 05/12/03 17:20:26 GMT

T. Gold,

The versatility is what I was thinking about. You may have to juggle shape and cut outs, but the basic idea should give you a nice working anvil stand.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 17:57:40 GMT

Comment on risk to hearing. It has been posted here that repetitive noise allows for the ears to adjust and offer some form of protection. i disaggree. the worst thing your ears can see is repetitive noise. ten rounds of .45 ACP is not less damaging vs several hundred rounds daily. i do not believe that humans possess any type of tympanic/acustic protective mechanism when faced with high decibel loads.

high end car stereo with windows down is less damaging. typical Db 120 range

windows up the Db + pressure changes are not freindly for your delicate parts of your ears...
   rugg - Monday, 05/12/03 18:47:54 GMT

who was the '03 darwin award winner? the hapless bafoon who was found fumbling with matches, trying to light a fuse poking out of his shoe?
   rugg - Monday, 05/12/03 19:28:27 GMT


If you are refering to my statement on hearing loss and such. Then my meaning of constant sound level was refering to a drill press running or such. The ears do adjust to a CONSTANT sound, to a certain degree. However with high Db levels such as 120 from a windows down, car radio blasting senario situation, your ears have no chance.

Gun shots, just like hammer strikes, lightining strikes or metal pipes falling, are instant and very loud. Your hearing doesn't have a chance to adjust to their sound level and thwart some of the damage from the sound. You are right your ears can't adjust to sudden changes in sound levels no matter how long they are exposed to them.

The reason I stated that riding in a car with the windows down and radio on was the most damaging was that many people don't realize that it is VERY loud.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 05/12/03 19:56:44 GMT

Lathe, Milling machine

I need some advice. I am looking into getting a Smithy Granite 1340.


As you can see it is a lathe, milling machine and drill press all in one.

I already have a good drill press. One made by W.F. & J. Barnes in Rockford, IL in 1883. It has over 6" in drill bit travel and about 2' in table travel.

That being said I am getting anxious to start some machining projects, like small steam engines, parts for my 67 Scout and many of my inventions.

I am wondering if any of you have any experience with the Smithy machines. I don't have any machining experience(although I was a cam grinder for about a year) so I am thinking that this small machine will be a good learning machine, or would it teach me bad habits that would be troublesome if I eventually went to a standard type lathe or milling machine?

I am also wondering if the Smithy is like most of the 10-1 machines and doesn't do any of their functions very well, or if it would just take more time to switch from lathe to milling machine.

I do live less than 15 miles from Rockford, IL. Which used to be a machine capital of America and has many shops shutting down that are selling lathes, milling machines and shapers. What brand would you guys suggest for a gearhead lathe, milling machine or shaper, if I go that rought? I have heard here many times that most all machines from the early 1900's to 1950 are solid and most all new ones are junk, is this true for all of the afore mentioned machines?

Thanks for the help,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 05/12/03 20:11:47 GMT

Mill Drills and Lathe Mills Caleb, They work fine on machinable grade aluminium (small pieces of hard air craft grade Al), some plastics and hardwood. FORGET milling steel, cast iron or brass.

These machines are OK lathes. The carriage IS a lathe carriage. However, it IS NOT a milling machine table. The forces on a milling table are side to side, on a lathe carriage it is DOWN. When you apply alternating side to side motion on a lathe carriage when milling the cariage shakes and the cutter breaks. There is NO substitute for rigidity in the head and these machines have none in the mill.

Mill drills are drill presses with heads that look SORT of like a milling machine and an X-Y table in place of the drill table. They do not have the rigidity to mill anything other than plastic and wood. Generally they are worthless machines because they are not as good as standard drill press for making holes and are not a REAL milling machine.

For the money of the 2 in 1 you could equip a shop with a couple NICE real machines if you shop around the used market.

Brand is not particularly important as long as the machine has all the parts and comes with lots of attachements. Generally you can not get a good deal from a dealer because they sell the attachments seperately OR with a higher priced machine.

The most popular milling machine tooling wise is the standard Bridgeport and its thousands of Taiwanese clones. They all take the same collets, arbors, cutters, vises and such. As long as the knee is not worn out and all the handles are there they are good machines. However, the stepless speed heads are junk. You are better off changing the belts.

The big old Milwaukee horizontals and the Cincinatti verticals are great machines but are VERY expensive to repair if parts are missing. The American tapers are much more robust than the Bridgport R-8 but they are also expensive. If a horizontal has the vertical head be SURE it has the drive gear. A missing gear can cost as much as the entire machine.

Almost all brands of standard engine lathes are good machines. Avoid the British imports, speed lathes, screw machines and hobby machines (unless REALLY cheap).

Shapers and milling machines are completely different animals. Shapers take real skill and knowledge to setup and run. However tooling is CHEAP since they take the equivalent of lathe cutter bits. Mills are easier to make a slot when you are in a hurry and double as a heavy duty drilling machine. The things shapers DO they do much better than a vertical mill but a vertical mill is very handy for whittling out odd shaped parts.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 22:26:10 GMT

Burner Page: I'm working on a couple designs. When they are well tested I'll post them.

Swage Stand: I have seen several of these designs and they have all been first class finger choppers. I have a stand for a huge swage block but it requires a crane to pick up the block . . no finers to get in the way. But I feel the ones where you lift the block in place are VERY dangerous. Since I wouldn't have one in my shop if someone gave it to me I feel the same about posting the plan.

There are some things in the shop that are just going to get you EVERY TIME. Removing a heavy lathe chuck without a support is one. Leaving chuck keys in drill OR lathe chucks is another (DON'T take your hand off it for a SECOND!). And trying to keep from getting severely pinched or chopped with a swage stand is another.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 22:51:46 GMT

Coal Alternative Flash, See our Coal/Charcoal FAQ on making charcoal.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 23:03:00 GMT

Books William, All the books we recommend have detailed instructions on building coal fires. A lot depends on the quality of the coal. Most need wood kindling but good coal can be started with a couple twists of news print. And most smiths that have a torch handy just give it a nudge with that. . .
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 23:11:16 GMT

Titanium Engine: Joe, Ti is NOT a substitute for cast iron or steel. If it made any sense then they would build race car engines from Ti. You could make a non-functional reproduction for about $100,000 give or take 20 grand.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 23:13:34 GMT

Soldering: Wolf. . still not clear what you are making. Are you sure the original part was not berillium bronze spring material? Copper is awful soft. .

In any case, steel is not highly solderable. You must start with very clean metal. Dip it in copper sulfate solution to copper flash it. Then carefully tin with a low temp solder or pure tin and a flux you like. THEN solder the part on. Pre-tinning makes the job much easier and lets you know the solder is working without parts involved.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 23:24:43 GMT

Guru has a point about swage stands possibly being finger smashers. But so are 90% of the tools in a blacksmith shop or machine shop. Rule V of the XII Rules of Paw Paw's Forge states in part, "Assume all active machinery wants to slice, dice, mash or otherwise mangle portions of your body as a reward for not paying attention."

It means what it says.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/12/03 23:28:05 GMT

Noise: I think Rugg is right. I don't think your ears can adjust to high noise levels. YOUR MIND can ignore a certain amount of noise and perhaps your nerves can become numbed to it. But there is no resistance mechanism in your ears that can adjust short of toughening of membrains and scaring which are in fact hearing loss mechanisms.
   - guru - Monday, 05/12/03 23:29:06 GMT

Caleb, Go with the Guru's suggestions- don't waste your money on a combo machine. Unless you plan on making really big parts you can probably do fine with a 10" swing Atlas, Logan, or South Bend lathe (all of which you can still get parts for). These machines are often available with chucks, attachments, and even turret tailstocks for very little money. (I bought a cabinet base Logan with chucks, faceplates, collet closer, tons of collets, a turret tailstock and the standard one, extra cross slides and a couple of almost new Albrecht drill chucks for a few hundred dollars a couple of years ago.)

If you don't insist on having a Bridgeport you can often find a good knee mill at a bargain. R8 tooling is everywhere and it's often on sale from the major suppliers but the reality is most of the tooling you will run will be straight shank tooling (think end mills!). Don't let another spindle taper discourage you from buying as long as you get a few basic collets with the machine. Drill chucks and slotting saw arbors can also have straight shanks and be run in a collet.

You will be much better off with machines with sufficient mass designed for their specific jobs.

Happy Hunting.
   SGensh - Tuesday, 05/13/03 00:06:01 GMT

mr ramsby, my point is that humans do not have any mechanism for protection of the auditory system. unlike the eye, a stimulous intense enough to cause dysfunction and actual changes will proceed unchallanged. the iris of the eye protects the retina by constriction. there is no "iris" for the ear. likewise, there is no adaptive mechanism resulting from continuous stimuli that is "protective".

hearing loss is a product of intensity (Db) and exposure, both of which can be minimized by preventing the damaging stimulous from reaching the organ; ear plugs or "cups" do accomplish this.

this of course is my opinion. if you can provide a reference supporting your statements "the ears do adjust to a CONSTANT sound, to a certain degree" and "your ears can't adjust to sudden changes (implying that "adjustment" does occur with gradual changes), i would be very interested in reviewing the material, and thank you for your reply..

frank, no need to suggest that this issue be taken elsewhere, so as not to clutter the guru's space; i have said my peace...

   rugg - Tuesday, 05/13/03 00:06:59 GMT

Ti does not transfer heat very well a Ti engine would be hard to design as you can't just take an Al or CI engine design and reproduce it in Ti.

Ti is actually a lousy metal for many things (like laptop cases!) it's just the "sexy" metal of the moment. Shoot I forged a set of Ti tongs---it's easier to forge than steel is. CP Ti is dead soft under the hammer at regular forging temps.

Thomas "every alloy has it's place"
   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 05/13/03 00:33:26 GMT

I have a champion hand crank blower. I am looking for plans to build a forge to mount it on. The table the blower was on was my Dads and deteriated years ago and I am not sure how it should be set up. Can you help me?
   Vinny Herzog - Tuesday, 05/13/03 01:10:16 GMT

Info on descaling with a battery charger?
   Steve - Tuesday, 05/13/03 01:14:28 GMT


Take a look at the plans page for the brake drum forge. Rig a separate stand for the blower and pipe the air to the forge.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 01:27:34 GMT

Does anyone know of a book that has descriptions of what the various shapes of sheet metal stakes are used for ?
thank you

   Chris Smith - Tuesday, 05/13/03 01:38:23 GMT


Rugg and Guru,

I am begining to agree with you two on this issue. I will do some research and speak to an audio engineer friend of mine on the subject and see what I can figure out.

3-1 Machine,

Thanks for the advice guys!

I hadn't thought about the different forces involved with the mill machine, just that is enough to sway me from the 3-1. Thanks for all of the insights.

I will study the design of the mechines and look at what aspects I will require, then go looking around town for some machines.

Saddly, many giant old machine shops are shutting down around town. However this does mean many inexpensive machines.

Thanks again,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 05/13/03 02:08:20 GMT

Gidday Guru from Western Australia,
I'm looking at upgrading my treadle hammer to a power hammer as my old legs getting a bit tired after 5 years.Will use the ram which weighs 60 english pound(not sure of the US equivelent).I lie the look of the linkage used by Robert Brothers-Roller Guide JYH .Could you give me some idea of the spring size to use and rough dimensions of the linkage and bolt size?

Thank you

   Brian Puckey - Tuesday, 05/13/03 02:19:32 GMT

Chris Smith, One book is by Richard Thomas; "Metalsmithing for the Artist-Craftsman".
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 05/13/03 03:48:21 GMT

That hearing thing:

I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth on the noise and damage issue. Digging back to those thrilling days of Pre-Med Human Physiology classes, I recall that there are basically three types of auditory trauma you can encounter. The first, acoustic trauma, is the type that occurs when exposed to a loud, sudden noise, such as an explosion (>140 decibals). It typically results in permanant hearing damage. The second is called a temporary threshold shift. This is a result of an imbalance in the fluid dynamic of the cochlea (the snail shaped fluid-filled chamber lined with the hairs that detect sound). This is what happens when you attend a loud concert and can't hear worth a crap right after. The effect is temporary assuming the offending source is removed. The third is a permanent threshold shift. The causes are similar to number two, but continued exposure to the intense stimulus results in permanent damage to the aforementioned sound-sensing hairs. This is the type of damage associated with "getting used to" a constant loud noise. The end result is adaptation of a sort. You simply lose the ability to hear sound at the offending frequency because of the damage. It usually starts at the higher frequencies, where the hairs are more delicate and sensitive to damage, and ends with a hearing aid. All in all, I'd much prefer some good ol' fashioned ear plugs :-).

To satisfy the need for some blacksmithing content, and my curiosity.... I acquired a great "double" stump today (red oak). The larger base is the ideal height for my anvil and the smaller, but taller one will anchor my post vise perfectly, with no cutting needed! It was meant to be!

The question:
Is there anything I could or should do to the wood to keep out the six-legged wood eaters? It will be resting on a dirt floor, and I'd like to keep it for a good, long while.

   eander4 - Tuesday, 05/13/03 04:10:04 GMT


Go to your local Garden shop and get some fence post preservative. It used to be Creosote, but is probably something else by now. Follow the instructions on the container, which will probably have you pour the preservative in some kind of tub (the bottome 1/3 of a barrel works well) and stand the stumps (one at a time) in the preservative for a specified period of time.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 05:21:27 GMT

In E316-16 s.s.welding electrodes,,what does the -16 mean ??
   terry - Tuesday, 05/13/03 08:47:48 GMT

Terry; If I'm not mistaken, I think the 16 refers primarily to the flux composition. The number 16 tells you that you can run the rod on your AC buzzbox, a 15 would require DC. Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 05/13/03 12:57:24 GMT

Upgrade to Power: Brian, Treadle hammers do not convert well to power hammers. Many of the parts are similar and could be used to build one but conversion in this case means scraping much of the machine. Where many treadle hammer lack is in the mass of the anvil. They SHOULD be the same as power hammer anvils but generaly are not. For best efficiency the anvil needs to weigh 15 times that of the ram. Light hammers get away with 10:1 and a few go as little as 6:1 but transmit a LOT of vibration to the floor.

Shock absorber and in-line coil spring JYH's do not give the best performance. Leaf spring and toggle types (the South African design and the NC-JYH) are best. These are followed by spring helve hammers.

Spring size varies greatly with the geometry of the linkage in toggle hammers. Spring rates are around 100 times the ram weight.

Without exact specs and full engineering analysis it is impossible to give bolt sizes. Most do-it-yourself builders GUESS. Heavier is always better than too light with bolts. The general rule is 10,000 PSI maximum loading. However high strength bolts are good in the range of 100,000 PSI. But when doing seat of the pants engineering it is best to plan on the high strength as a safety factor
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/13/03 13:52:05 GMT

Use of Stakes: Chris, Stakes are generaly used on what ever they fit. Actual use depends on the industry using them. A FEW are named after the use they were created for even though they are used by everyone. Sheet metal stakes are used for building aircraft, auto bodys, musical instruments, armour, copper and silverware as well as by artists and commercial sheet metal workers.

Antique blowhorn stake photo (c) 1999 Jock Dempsey

The classic blowhorn stake has a large steep semi-cone made of plate and a long slender round taper on the opposite side. "Blowhorn" refers to musical horns, trumpets, tubas, French horns. Horns are commonly all hand made and many stakes and snarling irons are used.

A candle-mold stake is double ended with two long slender tapers. A needle-case stake is the same shape but smaller.

Some stakes are named for their shape.

Mushroom stakes are round ended vertical stakes. They can vary from almost spherical to a low dome. They are used for raising and planishing everything from a silver drinking cup to a parts of steel plate armor.

A hatchet stake has a triangular horizontal tapered edge and is used to form seams or any other tight bend.

Grooving stakes have a series of half round cuts similar to a swedge block but with plenty of clear space between. These are used to form raised beads and rolled edges. They are also used to manualy close rolled wire edges around reinforcing wire.

Egg stakes and dollies have rounded eliptical surfaces (like an egg) and are very similar to a mushroom stake and used for the same things.

Saddle stakes or saddlehorn stakes look somewhat like a very narrow horse saddle. The raised ends fit well into small cups and the necks of shallow vessles. They come in large and small (long and short?) patterns.

Bar or Cylinder: stakes are just that, long steel bars of various diameters. Many have two ends of different sizes and can range from inches to feet in diameters.

Stake anvils (round and square sectioned horns like a double horn anvil) come in a variety of sizes and are used like a regular anvil but mostly for cold work on non-ferrous metals but are also used for steel and the larger ones for hot work. Sizes range from little 2 oz. jewlers anvils to big stump mounted blacksmiths stake anvils that weigh hundreds of pounds. A very handy stake anvil is one that fits a swage or "dapping" block with complimentary shapes.

Locksmith's stake anvils are about 8" long but have a three foot "stake" to reach the floor. They are mounted through a hole in a work bench but only put a small side load on the bench. A very stable arrangement. Any craftsperson could make use of these but they are primarily found in British locksmiths shops.

Large "T" stakes and bar anvils are used to hold short forming stakes of many shapes. These have a short shank like an anvil tool to fit in the end of the bar anvil. These are used to reach into deep hollow vessles OR to the middle of large plates. A collection of short silversmiths forming stakes may include hundreds of shapes.

Snarling irons are found in collections of stakes and LOOK sort of like a stake but are not stakes. Snarling irons are long and springy with ends that are finished in shapes like a stake. In use the long often curved shank of the snarling iron is used to get the end into a hard to reach place such as the inside of a teapot or neck of a tuba. Then the shank is struck with a mallet to make the end bounce up and down striking the work. Snarling irons are used both for making new work as well as repairing dents.

Many stakes have no specific name or use and are called by their shape as best as can. Large, medium and small, radius, curved, saddled, domed. . . OR by different names by different industries. A "bullet mushroom" stake may be called a "Norman helmet" stake by an armourer and a "Jefferson cup" stake by a silversmith.

Stakes are often one of those "what if" tools that are purchased on speculation. Not knowing exactly what shape you are going to work on leads one to collecting all kinds of stakes "just in case". . . However, some craftspeople know exactly what they need from the type of work they do and experiance doing it. Often new shape stakes are created by individuals for specific purposes just like personal swage block patterns.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/13/03 15:57:40 GMT

I work with alu, 5252,6061.. can they be welded together. they are different but how much different, I do not do the welding myself I fab the pieces and take them to the welders. It stands to reason that all the pieces should be the same but when they are in the junk box!!! with no numbers HAHAH you know what I mean...thanks Gurus

   Devon - Tuesday, 05/13/03 15:14:41 GMT

Aluminium Welding: Devon, It depends on what you are making. They will weld just fine but if there are structural specifications the mixed alloy joint would require special testing to certify since it is not a "usual" joint. If you are just building sculpture or something for yourself then its no problem. In a piece of art work the problem would be if you have the work anodized the different alloys will color slightly differently.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/13/03 16:15:16 GMT


The over 5' tall drill press I have from W.F. & J. Barnes, made in 1883 has been droped sometime in it's 130 year life. As a result about 1/3 of the lower part of the base has been broken around the edge. The prior owners had tried to repair it with a 3/16" X 1 1/4" piece of flat stock bolting together the broken pieces with the solid base. Actually the bolts they used to "repair" it were long enough to jut below the base and the drill press was resting on them!

I am wondering what type of rod to use to weld the pieces back together. The metal, which I am assuming is cast iron, is very easily filed and when ground on my 6" table grinder, it makes very short and dull sparks that don't have any tails. I wire brushed one of the edge at one of the breaks and the grain is very large. I have taken the base off so if some pictures would help I can post some on the Yahoo group.

Thanks for any advice.

Caleb Ramsby

   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 05/13/03 18:03:32 GMT

Hum, that should be a 120 year life that the drill press has had.

Proof then post, not post then proof. arg

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 05/13/03 18:06:31 GMT


I wonder how many times I've typed PTP PP, PTP! in various venues over the years?
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 18:11:50 GMT


I wonder how many times I've typed PTP PP, PTP! in various venues over the years?
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 18:11:56 GMT

Darnit! What is CAUSING that????
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 18:14:18 GMT

Paw Paw,

Maybe you'd better change that to PTPP :-).

Thanks for the stump treating advice.

   eander4 - Tuesday, 05/13/03 19:59:40 GMT


No, Last time I did that, my wife got mad at me. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/13/03 20:40:28 GMT

Well, if not a dumb question, then it is at least a basic question, I keep seeing references to fly presses for metal working, what are those and do they have any similarities to a power hammer? Thanks for ALL of the wonderful information available here!
   Ellen - Tuesday, 05/13/03 21:14:42 GMT

I know sometime I had or saw a reference about polarity selection in stick welding, but haven't been able to find it again. So last night I did some experiments. I'd appreciate it if you could check my conclusions against the prevailing wisdom:

AC - AC-only machines are the least expensive welder for the home shop. Generally AC is subject to the least-stringent duty cycle limitations, though I've never run up against any duty cycle problems in home shop welding. AC seems to get the job done, there is spatter, etc.
DC Electrode Positive - Offers better penetration than electrode negative, but more spatter. I find DC easier to start the arc.
DC Electrode Negative - Less penetration than electrode positive, but the nicest-looking weld. I also find DC seems to be easier to do out-of-position welding than AC.

Some of this, like the bit about out-of-position work, is accumulated experience over the last few months - I've had the welder about two years, just "discovered" the DC settings a few months ago. The experiments last night, in particular, were using 3/32 6013 rod to make horizontal welds joining 14-guage to 1/8 angle. As I said, I once saw something in a textbook or something about the characteristics of the different polarities, but can't find it now. So, do my experiences fit in with conventional wisdom?


   Steve A - Tuesday, 05/13/03 22:33:37 GMT

Reviving the burner thread... hey, it's only been dead for a little bit...

On a Really Stupid Burner and other forced-air burners, are there any problems with putting a 90 degree elbow right before the nozzle? I was discussing burners with my glass teacher; I forget how we got talking about it, think we were talking about optimum combustion chamber entry angles or something, but he said that using an elbow introduced a lot of turbulence without much of a velocity penalty. I thought this might help mix the gases, and he said it would; will this cause a Really Stupid Burner to take a serious performance hit/hike? It would really help me save space if I could use a 90 degree elbow right before the flare on my burner.

PS: I know PTP and try to practice it (grin) but what's PP? Never seen that one anywhere besides here...
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 05/14/03 01:09:59 GMT

Proof The Post Paw Paw, Proof The Post
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/14/03 01:27:53 GMT

Then, not The, darnit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PTP PP, PTP!!!!!!!!!!!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/14/03 01:28:25 GMT

That's the best laugh I've had all day... thanks Paw Paw (wipes tear from eye)
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 05/14/03 01:33:18 GMT

Welding Machine Base Caleb, I know exactly what the shape of that base is right down to "T" slots. It is possible to weld cast iron with NiRod but warpage and cracking are always a problem with welding cast iron. Brazing is safer and a good bolted repair is best.

I would saw, grind and file the bottom flat where broken and then fit a piece of heavy bar bent to shape or a piece of thick plate cut to shape. Then I would drill and tap for flat head screws. If you wanted it to look like new then a little auto body putty will blend and make it look like one piece. Most of these bases had mounting holes and you shimmed the machine level at four points. The actual base rarely set hard on the floor.

   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 02:16:54 GMT

AC-DC Welding: Steve, you got it. However, you DO have to watch those duty cycles. Most buzz boxes are 10%. However, when using small rods it is hard to run constant enough to hit the duty cycle. BUT large rods which are also drawing more current take longer to burn and can become a problem. I've burned many pounds of rods with my little Miller 225 Thunderbolt and never noticed the slightest warmth coming out the vents. But I have never run anything larger than 1/8".
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 02:22:29 GMT

Burner Turns: TG, Both the later burners I built have two T's in the pipe. The main pipe is vertical with the fan mounted blowing from the side and the gas coming in from the bottom. At the top the T turns the fuel/air horizontal. The outside of the T has a fitting tapped for a spark plug that I weld on an extended tip. A constantly sparking ignition circuit is used. Where the gas comes in I have tapped the INSIDE of the reducer to accept a piece of 1/4" pipe. This extends UP past where the air come in. The prevents debris from collecting in the gas inlet and assures the gas is above the fan.

Works FINE. . .

Now I HAVE tried turns in atmospheric burners and had them fail miserably. I know it can be done but it has not worked for me. I think you have to expand the gas/air with a larger pipe.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 02:29:48 GMT

Thanks Guru,

Yep, four mounting points, unfortunatly one of the pieces that broke fractured right through one of those holes. Another issue is that where the bottem pully assembly attaches to the base is another of the pieces that has broken off. There are three pieces in all, all in the rear of the base.

I looked around in the shop and found some Nickel rod and cast iron hard facing rod. However I am not sure of my capability of preheating the base correctly and don't want to make a little problem a large one, also I don't have much experience brazing.

So, I think I will go with your patch work suggestion. I am sure that after studying the base for awhile I can come up with a few bolted repair designs, however I am wondering if by "saw, grind and file the bottem flat where broken", you are talking about removing the protruding rim that "sets" on the floor?

Thanks again,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 05/14/03 03:54:17 GMT

A small personal note for those who are in, or who know about the SCA: This past weekend I had the distinct honour of being awarded the accolade of knighthood, and being made a Master of the Laurel for blacksmithing and equestrian research. It was worked into the corination ceremony for the King of the Middle Kingdom. It was the culmination of 17 years in the SCA, and 16 years of blacksmithing. I have to say it was well worth the wait:-) It was a truly incredible day.

And for those who don't know about the SCA, I was at the best themed costume party, with armoured freisan horses, and other mounted warriors,I won the door prise, and had a very nice weekend, where every person I met was happy to see me and very complimentoryP:-)
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 05/14/03 03:58:32 GMT

It is my with great sadness that I inform the comunity of blacksmiths that C. Carl Jennings died today about 4:30 PM PDT. He had just begun his 93rd year. Those of us who knew Carl and his contrabution to the artistic development of our trade know what a loss his passing is. God bless you all. Go out to your shops and make somthing beautiful in his memory.
   Toby Hickman - Wednesday, 05/14/03 04:30:57 GMT


I understand the first half of your description, but not the second half... that whole "second T with inside of reducer tapped for piece of 1/4" pipe" part completely loses me. A sketch would really help, if possible; seems like as burners go, a picture really is worth a thousand words, or at least a couple hundred.

Interesting that you had such severe problems with atmo burners and right angle elbows... every glory hole in our hot shop runs on a venturi attached to a big ceramic burner head with a 90degree elbow, and they work darned well. However, these are professionally made venturi pipes and burner heads; think that might be the difference?

I'm going to go with a 90degree elbow right before the burner on my RSB, as I'd like to run the body of the burner close to the shell of the forge, with some radiant heat shielding (18ga sheet metal) in between. Any major problems with this design?

Raining buckets all over my new shoes in Kaneohe, Hawaii
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 05/14/03 07:29:54 GMT

Thank you Toby;
Carl was a fine, quiet, warm hearted man and a splendid smith. We owe him so much, my heart sinks.
May we do 1/2 as well.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 05/14/03 07:45:43 GMT

I have a cold-chisel made of crom-vanadium steel, but it need a new heat treat. Does anyone have spec. for heat treating crom-vanadiom steel?
   Raymond - Wednesday, 05/14/03 09:15:38 GMT

Guru, thanks for the extensive descriptions of tinsmithing stakes. I found a large maple table with dual stake plates at an auction and have collected a number of stakes since then. They are really handy but I have a lot to learn about using their features.

   Chris Smith - Wednesday, 05/14/03 10:28:45 GMT

Dorothy Stiegler dropped me a note this A.M. regarding the passing of Carl Jennings. She said that his personal request was to have us "celebrate life" by putting some flowers is a vase and having them in the house today. Carl was one of three big names who kept the forge flames going when other smiths were converting their smithies into auto repair shops and welding shops. I think of Donald Streeter and Francis Whitaker. I'm sure there were others, but these names come to mind.

In his youth, Carl attended the California School of Arts and Crafts. When I met him, I asked him if they taught blacksmithing there. He said that they did not, but that he took the classes offered, knowing that his direction was to be metalwork.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/14/03 12:30:50 GMT

Dam! Another good man gone. Time to ring the anvil again.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/14/03 12:57:35 GMT

Repair: Caleb, saw,grind. . make the base flat where the repair plate needs to go. I would take off all the vertical rim in the broken areas to make a fairly flat place to bolt to.

I have an ancient Rhyerson drill press that the bottom bearing babbit was worn out in. One day while waling through a junk yard I saw this familiar looking piece. I asked the man if he the rest of the machine. . he said no. But I gambled $10 on the bracket and pulley (pricey) and brought it home. Fit perfectly!

These old drill presses were like clone PC's. The 20-21" models all alike enough to swap parts but just enough different that you are never sure. . . They stayed the same for 60 years and were made by a dozen manufacturers. Royersford, Champion, Buffalo, Arora, Barnes. . . Great machines!
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 13:39:31 GMT

TG, The T at the bottom is in-line with pipe creating ONE side port for the fan. The gas comes in through the bottom in-line with the pipe. Inside there is a small tube within a tube achieved by fitting a small pipe to the wrong side of the 1-1/2" to 1/4" bushing at the botton.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 13:45:14 GMT

Carl Jennings: Another giant has fallen.

All the above comments will be found in the new edition of the NEWS that will be covering the Southeast Regional Conference.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 13:52:26 GMT

Fionnbharr WHOOT Congratulations from Trimaris. (Did the scroll come from the Dark River Scriptorum?)

Was that Knighthood and Laurel???? Double Peerage at the same time, or were you previously a knight?

Folks not in the SCA: Becoming a Master of the Laurel is perhaps one of the highest recognitions for skill in the arts and sciences... and not just doing them, but also the willingness and ability to pass that knowledge to others. He's not blowing his horn enough, so I thought I'd add a few toots.

There are Art-Sci competitions that judge indivisual pieces, but becoming a Laurel is closer to a "lifetime achievement, love what you're doing, MORE PLEASE" type thing. It takes dedication to the craft, and enough time for folks to sit up and take notice of said dedication, that it's not just a flash in the pan.

Course, it and a buck still gets you a coffee at Jiffy, which is why he was understating it. So nice to find a new Laurel without the "I'm a Laurel, bow before me" ego.
   Monica - Wednesday, 05/14/03 15:39:02 GMT

Hi. i am doing a project on farriers. i was woundering how much a farrier makes in a month,week and year.
   beckett - Wednesday, 05/14/03 15:54:07 GMT

what are the educational reqirements of becoming a farrier?
   beckett - Wednesday, 05/14/03 15:54:48 GMT

mr caleb, i am interested in what your auditory expert thinks on the topic. this should interest all who are or may be exposed to "potentially harmful noise".

ellen, where have you seen references to fly presses?? here?? i have one on order. i have brought the topic up before( here). i dont think they are very popular. have you seen one in action??? i have not been able to find very much that has been written on fly presses. i would love to find something..
   rugg - Wednesday, 05/14/03 16:11:22 GMT

I live in Bucks County, PA. and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I have been and to this day still deeply interested in learning more about metalworking, in a hands on setting. In particular sculptural or bladesmithing. I have been looking on the internet, but i guess just not in the right places. If anyone could provide any names or numbers of someone in my area with a shop, id be very interested in talking with them. Needless to say very appreciative.
   Justin - Wednesday, 05/14/03 17:10:17 GMT

Guru, thanks on the AC-DC welding question. Just wanted to validate my experiments. I actually have thought and calculated quite a bit about the duty cycle limitations - they worried me when I was shopping for the machine. Comments I saw here and other places finally got me to think, okay, it takes so long to run a bead, then I have to turn the piece over, or clamp something else, or fit another part, or just straighten up and scratch and try to remember what comes next, and the biggest rods I use are 1/8 or just over, and so on... Wound up deciding that I was pretty safe, and then checked that the machine never seemed to get hot. Mine's the Miller Thunderbolt 225, too.

   Steve A - Wednesday, 05/14/03 17:16:08 GMT

Fionnbharr - I really hated to miss that one, now you have a choke chain *and* a license to hang on it! Did you get time to fire up the forge with his ex-ness afterwards?

Course you are a young'n I was in the SCA 24 years and had been smithing in it for 20 years before I got my laurel---but it was worth the weight, (my "peerage scroll" is a carved runestone...)

Monica I don't know too many smiths with ego problems---there is so many ways to do things and so many hecklers it's hard to get the "I'm the sole source of knowledge" mindset.

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 05/14/03 17:25:55 GMT

Fly presses:

Well, I am not an expert in the field but, I did make some tongs for a shop that uses flypresses to make parts from aluminum.

In their case the work was placed in a die set, the bottem die was kept warm by some small natural gas flames or propane I am not sure. Then they sprayed some graphite/lubricant in the die sets before each piece was smashed. Their flywheels were abound 6 feet in diameter and 3 1/2 feet wide. When they hit the clutch lever the flywheel transmited it's energy into the top die and moved it via a linkage system, much like a crankshaft and piston combination. The top die being the piston, the bottem die being the head and the work being the air in between. They squished the original shaft of aluminum once into the rough shape, then it went to another machine with a coresponding die that gave it a more finite shape and then they cut the flashing off and heat treated the part. Most of their parts at that time were being made for the M-16.

Last time I was there they were talking about a big flypress they were getting soon, but I made the tongs too good so I havn't had to bring them some more yet and havn't been able to see their new machine yet. They also use the machines for brass, but at the time they were just doing aluminum. Very interisting stuff.

One realitivly suprising thing is that although the flywheel seems to be moving pretty fast(those things are HUGE), the die moves realitively slow. This makes me think that there may be some gear reduction between the flywheel and die, however this is pure speculation. When they were doing the aluminum 1 1/2" dia X 5" to 3 1/2" x 6" round stock, they only smashed it once with the machine. No second hit, just once and then to the next machine. They seem to use the pure momentum of the flywheel as torque instead of the impact force of a hammer system.

Some web pages I found on the subject after writing the above. Hum, mabey a study, write, proof and then post acronime should be created. Well how about, swptp. I like it.




Rugg, I am also very interisted in what he has to say about the topic. After I interigate him I will report my findings here and hopefully be able to give us some more difinitive data on the subject.

Keep those anvils ringing,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 05/14/03 17:55:48 GMT

Buck's County PA: Justin you are in the HEART of blacksmith country. It is also rich in used equipment. Try starting out with the Pennsylvania Artists Blacksmiths Association (PABA). They have a web-site listed on ABANA-Chapter.com.

But before you go bugging everyone with beginners questions, READ a book or three. See our getting started article for a list to start with. THEN you will be able to ask semi-inteligent questions AND the folks you ask will know that you have at least started at the beginning.

   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 17:57:53 GMT

Fly Presses Rugg, we have an article on the Power hammer Page. It is most of what is printed in the ONE book on forging that I have covering them.

The "reduction" is via the screw that the wheel turns on. Tremondous force that stretches that huge frame is created each time the machine bottoms out STOPPING that flywheel. The stretch in the frame then reverses the motion of the flywheel retracting the screw.

Some claim to be able to do open die forging with them but the motion is slow and much like a hydraulic press. They are used mostly with closed dies for operations needing high pressures to "coin" the metal.

However, there ARE small hand powered fly presses that are used for the same operations as small punch presses.

Fly presses have been popular mostly in European manufacturing. They are almost unheard of in the US.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 18:07:44 GMT

FLY PRESSES I forgot to mention that Kayne and Son who has carried the large "Big Boy" presses is also going to carry a line of the smaller hand operated presses.

Hand operated presses have two types of hand operation. Small ones have a hand lever fixed to the nut that drops down to the side of the machine. A simple flip forward cycles the ram. Some of these do not have a flywheel but just a large ball on the end of the bar opposite the hand lever. Larger models have an operating handle that attaches to the flywheel through a ball joint. The handle is pulled across in front of the operator but the ball joint allows the angle of attachement to change so the operator can flip the flywheel around via wrist action.

When used as punch presses they are used with and without die sets depending on the nature of the operation and needed accuracy. It is typical in high production operations where the machine may be dedicated to ONE job to attach punch holders directly to the ram.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/14/03 18:20:04 GMT

Hi Guru, I have started working with wire damascus and the large amount of flux required is creating problems with my liners. The floor of my forge is kiln shelf painted with ITC-100. This of course got badly eaten and so I placed a stainless plate on top of it, but the plate is scaling away into nothingness. What I need is a good flux-proof refractory clay. I have seen comments about JP Green Pyramid Super Air Set in past posts in the logs, but I don't see this product anywhere doing a google search so I am thinking it is no longer sold. If you could recommend a specific product that would be ideal. Thanks for the help.
   Joe Caldwell - Wednesday, 05/14/03 18:53:16 GMT

Hey Paw Paw, I know you are busy, but I'm again getting withdrawl for the next chapter in Revolutionary Blacksmith. I know it's been raining a lot there, but if you moved your chalk board inside it won't get washed off. (grin,grin,grin) I don't think I'm the only one that's addicted to the series. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Wednesday, 05/14/03 19:02:36 GMT

This is for the person that asked about old cut nails. I was watchin Bob Villa last week and he had a tour of a factory in " I think" MA. They were still using the machinery from the 1800's. They are still suppling those nails. I would suggest for you to go to "www.bobvilla.com" and see if they can provid you with any information. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Wednesday, 05/14/03 19:07:41 GMT

Jock has Chapter Two and the illustrations for it, and I can send him Chapter Three if he want's to post two at one time. In fact, I also have Chapter Four and Chapter Five written, but the illustrations aren't done for them yet.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/14/03 19:26:27 GMT

Rugg, I saw the flypress on Ron Reil's website which Caleb gave the url for in his post, Guru, thanks for your explanation, makes more sense to me as I could not see them as a fast operating machine like a power hammer, seems to me they would be nice for bending things and pressing objects to shape in a die.....but more of a specialized machine instead of a general purpose one.
   Ellen - Wednesday, 05/14/03 19:34:44 GMT

Joe, re Pyramid.
It is not made anylonger. But if you look at the web site and look around you will find some other high phosphate refractories. One of these days i will get around to relining my forge, and I will use one of those, and not pay MIFCO company 600.00 for a reline kit for my forge.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 05/14/03 20:01:58 GMT

Do you know of a good source of blacksmith coal in Oklahoma?
   andy - Wednesday, 05/14/03 21:43:16 GMT

Fly Presses Again:

I picked one of these up for practically nothing last fall. It has a wheel diameter of about 34" and a screw of about 2 1/2" dia, manually activated type. Just to try it out I laid a piece of 3/16' cold rolled on a wooden v-block and stuck a piece of 1/2" dia cold rolled rod into the ram hole. I wanted to see how hard I'd have to swing the wheel to deform the flat stock so I gave it a pretty good spin. First it made the flat into an angle and then punched the rod through it on the outer edges! Lotta force.

If you get one of these be sure to never hit anything with just the ram. Put a flatter in the tooling hole or you will risk damaging the ram and have to repair it. I will have to weld the bottom of my ram and rebore it since the last owner abused it.
   SGensh - Wednesday, 05/14/03 21:56:47 GMT

Ellen, Rugg
There's a Fly Press demo on Thursday May 29 In Grapevine TX the day before Ironfest. John Crouchet from Balcones forge is putting on the demo. I missed his previous demo at our monthly meeting but he showed me a bucket full of tooling he made for his fly press. Sure made me want one.
   Chris Smith - Wednesday, 05/14/03 22:07:24 GMT

chris, if you go, i would be interested in what you saw. no way i can attend....just learned that my press is on its way to houston...
   rugg - Thursday, 05/15/03 00:23:26 GMT

Damascus, Flux and Refractories: Joe, is the bottom of your forge a kiln shelf or is the kiln shelf OVER the forge bottom. Folks use kiln shelves for a consumable layer, not the floor itself.

The problem with flux in a forge is that they disolve almost all metal oxides. The problem? Refractories ARE metal oxides. The primary ones are aluminium and silicon oxides. Where it gets stickier is that fluxes for Damascus often contain flourite, a flourine compound. Flourine is an extreamly active element and flourine compounds disolve almost anything.

When disolving aluminium oxide to make artificial saphires and rubies a boron "liquer" (mostly borax) is used. The only crucible that will hold the mixture without disolving or contaminating the mixture is platinium.

Most folks use some type of consumable floor. In some cases the flux builds up to the point that it must be drained from the forge. It is a serious problem but those in the business just consider forge floors a consumable and include it in the cost of business.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/15/03 01:02:15 GMT

Scadian Awards:

Being a Marklander, I don't get a Laurel... my Scadian mentees get Laurels. ;-)

I guess I'll just have to settle for my humble titles as First Warlord and longship Skipper.

Taking inventory of the naval stores on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 05/15/03 03:08:29 GMT

Southeast Regional Blacksmith Conference:

I'll be traveling Thursday and HOPE to post images from the conference on Friday and Saturday nights. . . at least if we do not party to long. . . and the laptop works from the hotel ;)

Check Whats New or the NEWS.

Be back Monday.

   - guru - Thursday, 05/15/03 03:58:46 GMT

Beckett, As an example, if you shod four horses per day @ $90.00
per horse and you worked a 5 day week, and you had a 49 week year...that would be your gross. But then you have expenses: vehicle; manufactured shoes; bar stock; gas forge; rasps; horseshoe nails; hoof packing; pads, etc.

Cut Nails. Tremont Nail Co., Wareham, Massachusetts. They make a "wrought head" nail, but it has a three-clout head, and the nails all look alike. You might want to 'clout' them a few more times.

In the U.S., there are no specific educational requirements, but optionally, you could become a "jounreyman farrier" by studying and taking tests via the American Farriers' Association. Then you could put a journeyman's sticker on your rig.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/15/03 04:26:44 GMT

Monica, yes I got them both in the same court as part of the corination ceremony. There have been a few same day double peers here in the middle but to the king's knowledge I am the only knight/laurel same day double peer. It was quite a show:-)

Thomas:-) No the noa-count:-) had to stay and party with his other retainers, and then drive back to Fargo, ND in the morning. But the power hammer postrev still went on despite the very lown turn out. Aofinn and I played on the power hammer and made some hack chisels, and a flat backed rounder, we quit at almost 2:00am... When I decided it was nolonger safe to be playing with power tools, especially BIG power tools:-)
   Fionnbharr - Thursday, 05/15/03 04:42:30 GMT

I've been looking into the possibility of doing a cast steel anvil project. I've been in contact with a foundry and it looks like their price is around $2/lb for the casting. Shipping, taxes and any extra work are extra. They want to use 8340 steel, cast in the hardie hole and anneal it before shipping to me. I'd then mill the face and harden it using a pit forge and a fire hose.

I kind of like the south German style of 2 horn anvil with the upsetting block in the side. Start with a 220 lb model.

My idea would be to offer these anvils to other ABANA members for just enough to cover my expenses (and earn myself a free anvil...) Some of the guys in my chapter are interested in making it a group project - others are skeptical. They say a cast anvil isn't worth the effort.

Are cast steel anvils necessarily junk? Is there a way to make it a good anvil, or am I just wasting my time? The price is certainly attractive, but only if the anvil is good.

Thanks for any help,

   Ken Noesgaard - Thursday, 05/15/03 05:49:23 GMT

What would y'all recommend using to apply ITC-100 to Kaowool? ITC says to use "a sprayer", but what do they mean? Hand spritzer? Paint sprayer?

Windy and moving quickly into summer in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 05/15/03 05:57:35 GMT

Allison for most of us how work in or around chemicals fumes and dust, the body is like a sponge takes it all in. The liver is what gets ride of it all if you have been working in these places for a while it is well worth the time to do a detox!!! I do on a month to month. Milk Thistle is the master at helping the liver to work better and repair itself the only other organ that can do that is thre skin so give yourself a hand and boost your liver. You can get it everywhere and does not cost that much, Look it up on the net I have info if anyone wants it "kwoods@hfx.eastlink.ca".. Have a good day all
   Devon - Thursday, 05/15/03 10:01:38 GMT

T Gold, I'll repeat some instructions Guru gave me on applying ITC. Use a short fairly stiff brush ( trimmed 1 1/2" paint brush in my case ) Dip the brush in water and use the wet brush to work up a slurry in the ITC container.
Daub the now ITC saturated brush on the Kaowool.
This works well and goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it and doesn't wase any ITC. - C
   Chris Smith - Thursday, 05/15/03 12:11:52 GMT

Andy, Stigler, Oklahoma used to have a good coal mine, but I don't know if it's still active. Bud Beaston of Oklahoma Farriers' College in Sperry, can probably help you.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/15/03 12:15:14 GMT

Kaneohe Bay.... T.Gold
isn't that over by a USMC Air Station? if so my family and I used to swimming near there while we lived in HI.
   Ralph - Thursday, 05/15/03 14:39:34 GMT

I need to know if this coal really burns or is this just a myth.I can't seem to get my fire going.I built a brake drum forge and tried it out yesterday and it worked great but i can't get the fire going today.ant advice on the best way to do this?
   mike - Thursday, 05/15/03 15:20:32 GMT

Mike, what coal, and where did you get it. "This" is a little vague.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/15/03 15:27:39 GMT

Ralph, yeah, it's a couple miles away. Sometimes we sit outside and watch the planes do touch-and-gos, usually P-3s; we can see them coming in, but the base itself is on the other side of the hill that our apartment sits on.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 05/15/03 16:06:19 GMT

DEMO #66.

Good lesson in safety. I have been afraid of wire brushes since I was about 14. Was at a family reunion at a cousins house. He has a very large rice farming operation. Some of the younger kids were out playing in the workshop. They came running in, one of the little girls was screaming. They had turned on the grinder with the wire brush wheel. How it happened we never found out but her hand got sucked into the brush. It mangled her hand pretty badly.

Another safety hint. When not in use, UNPLUG your power equipment. If you can, put lock boxes over your outlets and lock them. A real pain in the neck to unlock them all the time but it might save you a lifetime of nightmares seeing some childs mangled hands.
   shawn - Thursday, 05/15/03 16:17:55 GMT

Ken, I have two cast steel anvils. Happy with both. Anvils from Old World Anvils and Euro-anvils are cast steel. I'd be very tentatively interested in one of your anvils. Translate that as "depending on how good, how big, how much shipping, and whether the treasury thinks it's okay."

TG, I put my ITC on much like Chris says. I use those disposable foam brushes. They get kind of torn up, but hey, they're disposable. Expect to get dirty.

   Steve A - Thursday, 05/15/03 17:12:45 GMT

I konow you have answered this one before, but I am either to ignorant or too much in a hurry, cos I can't find the answers I need in the archives.

What are the advantages / disadvantages of using puddled wrought iron (aka wrought iron).

The reason I ask: I am getting in a couple of high profile orders for which the customer is specifying traditional wrought iron work, ie forge welds, collars, mortice & tenon etc.
   Tiaan - Thursday, 05/15/03 17:51:04 GMT

Ken before I would be willing to pay $2+ for an anvil I would want to have my own pattern cast and not one that is fairly standardly available.

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 05/15/03 17:52:26 GMT

im workig in the fildof trading of mechanical and industrial equipment and the tools of handicrafts so ples send me your aproducts catalogs by these ways Box :119 Tulkarem Palestine Israel Fax 0097292681959
   - ahmed - Thursday, 05/15/03 18:07:56 GMT

im workig in the fildof trading of mechanical and industrial equipment and the tools of handicrafts so ples send me your aproducts catalogs by these ways Box :119 Tulkarem Palestine Israel Fax 0097292681959
   - ahmed - Thursday, 05/15/03 18:08:22 GMT


One way to get almost ANY coal going is to use some wood to start the fire. I don't meen sawdust or shavings, I meen sticks from 1/2" to 1 1/2" diameter. Just light them like any fire, get them going good, to the point where you can stop feeding air and it burns hot. Then start putting on coal while feeding air into the fire, pretty soon you have a coal fire. This is the method I use almost every time, because I have never had it fail. A substitute for sticks is wood pellets, they can be bought in almost any large hardware store.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 05/15/03 18:14:25 GMT

starting coal. I use walnut and hazelnut shells ( sometimes the whole nut too) Burns hot and once going place coal on it and then you have a fire. If you have antracite(sp?) coal you will have a bit more difficulty in lighting the coal, plus it will want air flow constantly or it will tend to go out
   Ralph - Thursday, 05/15/03 18:55:12 GMT

Swage stand:

I did a back readin and saw the comment on swage stands being finger pinchers. I have a big swage block (6" thick) It is much to heavy for me to lift by myself. As I worked alone I figured out a safe way to "roll" it over. When it is lying flat I insert a big and long piece of steel in the centermost hole. A pull and the swage is coming onto it's side. A slight push with the foot and it drops neatly into the stand. (Safety boot!!)

To turn it so another side can be used is slightly more difficult, as the block must first be turned flat, then righted up with the correct side on top. Again the lever comes into play, but this time it is used to lower the swage onto it's side. Again, a push with a boot and it drops in place.

Make sure that the lever you use is a tight fit else you are in for a sore surprise.

No fingers anywhere near the swage or it's stand.
   Tiaan - Thursday, 05/15/03 19:05:30 GMT


Darn good method, thank you!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/15/03 19:25:23 GMT

I have aquired a regenerative blower that is supposed to put out 45 CFM. Is 45 CFM sufficient to run a propane forge up to welding temperatures? The forge would be small and mainly used for knife making.
   the Duck - Thursday, 05/15/03 19:34:57 GMT

I want to learn about how to coppersmith. Do you know where I can find info about this?
   marcia - Thursday, 05/15/03 19:44:30 GMT


Right now I am using anthricite and pea coke, the wood method I stated is almost nescessary, or like you said anything that has a realitively long burn and burns hot.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 05/15/03 19:50:30 GMT


Check with your local community college, many of them have courses as part of their arts program.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/15/03 21:41:54 GMT

Guru, I understand that flux eats kiln shelf. My forge is a mimic of Ron Reil's 4 burner, so it does use kiln shelf as the floor. My question was what castable refractory product does flux not eat. I intend to either refloor my forge with it or use it as a protective layer. Ralph pointed me offline to EJ Bartells Co. who sell their Greenpack-85-P mix that should meet my needs. They refer to it as a "phosphate bonded" refractory. I was looking for a "high phosphate" refractory and hence my difficulty in finding the proper product.

   Joe Caldwell - Thursday, 05/15/03 22:19:44 GMT

The guru is out of town until late Sunday night, covering the South Eastern Blacksmiths get together. The "mini-guru's" will try to answer questions till then.

Joe, I *THINK* that phosphate bonded means high phosphate level.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/15/03 22:40:41 GMT

Tiaan, Wrought iron means the material, like puddled wrought iron, but it also means "ornamental ironwork". For example, if your customer says, "I just LOVE wrought iron!", he or she does not mean the material.
Traditional ironwork can be done with mild steel or A36. In fact, that's what most of it is, nowadays. Wrought iron, the material, is difficult to find. It is usually scavanged or you might luck into a windfall, a stash of it at the site of an old shop, or something like that. Wrought iron is a little easier to push around with the hammer compared to mild steel, as it has only about 0.01% carbon. Some wrought is low quality and red short, like many wagon tires. Some is high quality, the so-called triple refined iron.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/15/03 22:51:44 GMT

I like knives and have quite a few. I bought a German "Bowie", very expensive though not the right shape. Then I bought for five dollars a Pakistan "Bowie". It looks like a bowie but I suspect the quality of the steel. Can it be tempered or is it junk?
   Glenn - Thursday, 05/15/03 23:30:31 GMT

Caleb Ramsey:

From your description it sounds like a punch press or crankshaft type press. Flypresses are quite different. Were the flywheels on a horizontal shaft? A (power)flypress has a large flywheel on a vertical shaft which is a high lead "Acme" type thread. It actually "screws" the ram down. Crank presses are used in a lot of metal forming. Although the cycle time may be about the same they have much different characteristics. With a crank type press the ram accelerates until the crank is about 90 degrees and then decelerates to a stop at the bottom of the stroke. At the time the ram contacts the work it is going quite slow and in fact stops and goes back up even if there is no work under the ram.

A flypress has a leather belt stretched tight around the rim. Two drive wheels are on either side and either one can be pushed in contact with the flywheel by the operator to make it rotate either direction thus screwing it up or down. With the drive wheels in a fixed position and the flywheel attached to the screw, the drive ratio changes as the screw travels down accelerating the ram the whole way down until it contacts the work or the operator reverses it. The impact is much more like a hammer than a press. Kinda in between. Also the operator has infinite control over the force and stroke of the ram. Much, much faster than a hydraulic press of similar horsepower. That means it doesn’t remove much heat from the work like most presses.

The control, speed and the fact that the stroke is variable are what make it useful for open die type forging. Lots of folks use hydraulic presses for open die forging and those are usually pathetically slow.
   - grant - Friday, 05/16/03 00:55:41 GMT

ITC Application: TG, We send instructions for brush application with the product. Basicaly, just thin per directions and brush on. We brush with water any time it appears dry. You can spray it with a common spray gun but it is not good for the gun. Guns for ceramics have saphire nozzels to resist wear. .
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 02:20:02 GMT

45 CFM Duck, a very small forge. Normal gas forge blowers start at 150 CFM and UP. Yours can be made to work but there must be a balance between the blower, mixer and forge volume.

Copper: Marcia, As Paw-paw said, many art courses cover copper smithing. So do jewelery courses. Silversmithing is almost identical to coppersmithing. Many craft schools like Penland in North Carolina offer coppersmithing courses.

You can also order books on the subject from Centaur Forge, Pieh Tool and Norm Larson. Tools are available from Centaur Forge, Pieh Tool and Kayne and Son. All are advertisers here and on our drop down menu.

Copper sheet is very easy to work. You can do simple repousse' in thin copper (flashing) using a sand bag and simple tools like rounded nut pics or wooden tools, small hammers. I've even used a pencil to sharpen lines. The heavier the copper the heavier the tools but large copper vessles can be made with simple tools. See our review of Dona Meilach's Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork.
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 02:38:51 GMT

Pakistani Blade Glenn, No telling but I suspect it is junk. Many of these are made from whatever scrap can be found. Might be good steel but might not.
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 02:44:30 GMT

I am having trouble locating a supplier for steel around the Greensboro NC area. Any ideas?
   Reed - Friday, 05/16/03 03:01:57 GMT

SERBC Had a long 8-9 hour drive down today. Weather was nice. Have photos to post.

Reporting from Madison, GA
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 03:02:15 GMT


Dillon Steel in Winston is the place. Contact me off list, and I'll put you in touch with them. And there's Carolina Steel over at 1451 South Elm-Eugene Street, too. Or for mystery metal, you can go out to Griffin wrecking Co. 4700 Hilltop Rd.

Have you joined NCABANA yet? If so, see you at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds next time the state meeting is there.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/16/03 03:14:55 GMT

Pakistani Blades:

A lot of the ones I've seen have been stainless steel, some of better quality than others. Besides "Pakistan" what else does it say on the ricasso? If it is stainless, it may, or may not have been properly heat treated. The only real way to tell is to use it and see how well it holds up. If it's just going to be a display piece, then the metal (except for preservation/maintenance issues) and the heat treatment doesn't matter.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/16/03 03:22:23 GMT

Tinder and Kindling:

Among the materials I've used have been pine splints, corn cobs, pistacio shells, wood shavings, the twigs/branches (anything smaller than my thumb) that always drop off the pecan tree, and anything else that drifts by my ken. I've even used stick leftover from protest signs in Washington, D.C. (Waste not, want not!)

I also make sure that there are at least three or four of any of the larger lumps the help sustain the initial fire.

It works for me. Your reality may vary. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/16/03 03:28:52 GMT

Guru does have a connection while he's out of town, but won't be able to check as often. I'm leaving tomorrow for a demo at King's Mountain National Military Park, and will be out of touch until sunday evening. Y'all keep an eye on the place while we're gone, please.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/16/03 04:02:59 GMT

Thanks for the idea! My "anvil" happens to have a monster hole in one end of it, which I think would work pretty well with your method; until now, I was very concerned about the finger-abusing potential of this stand. This assuages (a-swages?) my worries in that regard.

Windy and intermittently sprinkling (though I'm still sick) in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Friday, 05/16/03 04:57:48 GMT

The many and sundry uses for earplugs

Earplugs have proven useful in more areas than the shop. I have two wonderful children, however they are now ages 2 and 4. They occasionially throw tantrums over nothing I can understand and I have to weather it out. When the going gets tough the tough throw in the plugs. I never would have survived the "terrible two's" without!

As far as shop applications go, I think they are good. Welders working out of position (arc and mig) have the additional barrier against eardrum slagburns and spatterballs and the earplugs save their hearing.
   Amber - Friday, 05/16/03 05:10:51 GMT

Paw-Paw. . we passed Kings Mountain on the way down. . its nearly in or IN South Carolina. . . watch that traffic. It was rough today.
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 05:21:56 GMT

Frank, thanks. No, the lady specifically asked me if I can do real wrought iron work. I still have to find out if she means using wrought iron as material, or using mild steel with blacksmithing methods. She seems quite knowledgable on the subject and wants blacksmithing methods used.
   - Tiaan - Friday, 05/16/03 07:34:12 GMT

Tiann, Be sure to show the lady an example of traditional joinery in mild steel. Explain that true "wrought" is generally not available and is very expensive and hard to obtain from the few sources that have it. You would probably have to import it from Englan. There is very little difference in the end result.

Be sure not to underbid!
   - guru - Friday, 05/16/03 12:16:43 GMT


We'll be there till probably 1700 hrs, or thereabout sunday.
Stop by on your way home.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/16/03 12:17:32 GMT

Okay agent 17; I think they're out of town. What time is the coup?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/16/03 13:17:45 GMT

OOPS! Did that post? Where's the covert internet infiltration software? Please contact agent 16, while I deny everything.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/16/03 13:19:48 GMT

Grant, A question on your comment to Caleb Ramsey. I have never actually seen one of these powered presses in action. How is the drive ratio changed as the screw travels down? Is this the effect of slip when accelerating the mass of the flywheel or is there a conical shape to the drive or flywheels?
   SGensh - Friday, 05/16/03 13:46:09 GMT

Grant, Ignore my question- I just looked at the photo of your big boy's presses in the Sketchbook. I mistakenly assumed the drive wheels were on the same axis as the flywheel. Ratio change is obvious now. Should have looked first and asked later!
   SGensh - Friday, 05/16/03 14:00:52 GMT

Wrought Iron

Thanks for the advice. I have been making samples for quite some time now, (rivetted joints, mortice & tenon joints, scrolls, leaves, twists, flowers etc.) I keep these in a wooden box which I take along when I go to see a new client.

I did some reading on wrought iron, the only difference seems that wrought is more corrosion resistant and welds easier.

I have found a way to do welds using a combination of arc and forge welding (arc to keep the pieces in position) that is indistinguishable from a true forge only weld.

I go with all guns loaded!
   Tiaan - Friday, 05/16/03 14:28:34 GMT

Speaking of 'Bowie's"
What is one supposed to look like? Actually I do know but always wonder what others think.
A true bowie is described as just being a large knife. In fact there is only one written reference describing the knife Jim Bowie used. And that was, just a large kitchen knife. Of course this is like one of those "traditional vs Non-traditional" threads.... (grin)
   Ralph - Friday, 05/16/03 14:46:00 GMT

Guru, I´m still waiting for your answer to my letter dated 05/12/03 - 16:06 and 16:12 - (sorry, I confused your name). Another questíon that I´ve got is about "grain structure". ¿What does it mean?. ¿Is that something inherent to each kind o steel or it is something that can be changed by the heat treating?. ¿What kind of grain structure is better for toughness (maximum yield and tensile strength?. It seems that "coarse grain structure" is not good for toughness. I found that terminology in a open furum between engineers, but it is no very common, even between steel makers. Thank.
   Bernardo Navarro - Friday, 05/16/03 14:49:40 GMT

Tiaan and Wrought Iron: Well I wouldn't say that the only difference is that WI welds easier and is more rust resistant:-) The cheaper single puddle stuff can turn into a form of cottage cheeze if you try and work it at too low a temp, and then you have to get it up to a welding heat and re-consolidate it by welding it back together. And even the good stuff will frag if you try to make a hard bend with it too cold. Then there is the potential of slits and punching tearing out along the fibers of the WI, but that isn't as much of a problem with the good stuff.

Welds easier, is more rust resistant, is cold short and needs to be worked hot (You don't need to worry about decarb, so it can be worked much hotter than mild), and caution needs to be used when punching and slitting, the traditional technics to help alleaviate this is to drill holes at the ends of the slit, and with the punching just work at a welding heat and pray:-)

Laminating a steel edge on a tool with a wrought iron body is fun too, the wrought doesn't change much at all when it quenches whereas tools and springs steels do. I think I begin to see where the classic straight razor originally got its shape:-) Somewhat annoying when you are making a knife though:-)
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 05/16/03 17:41:28 GMT



You are absolutely correct. The flywheel was on a horizontal shaft and ran by about 10 cables running around it in groves. I have a really good memory when it comes to machines and when the Guru mentioned that the flywheel stops I was a little suprised. Because on the crankshaft press's they had the flywheel kept on moving. Yep, the top ram was actuated via a crankshaft and had the acceleration, decelaration process of all normal crankshafts.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 05/16/03 18:00:29 GMT

Grain Structure: Bernardo, metals are made of tiny grains which, in turn are made of millions of rows of atoms. When steel is heated, the grains swallow each other up, like soap bubbles do, and get larger. Large grains make the steel brittle. Grains can be refined by re-heating to a lower temperature and air cooling. The atoms that make the grains are bonded together by sharing electrons. The atoms can be made to create different crystal shapes and the shapes cause the iron to be soft (as in ferrite) medium hard (as in pearlite) or very hard (as in martensite). The crystal shapes can be changed by heating and cooling at specific rates, depending on the chemisty. This is a VERY short explanation of a rather complex topic.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/16/03 18:18:54 GMT

Is there a way to maintain copper's shiny look? Not on cookware items, but copper used on the outside of your home, such as: gutters, cupolas and such. How can you protect it so that it does not get an aged look?
   Mabel Mallens - Friday, 05/16/03 18:49:47 GMT

Back to Sound:

Well, I talked with my audio engineer friend. I will give a quick description of the hearing mechanism and the dynamics involved.

1. The sound goes into the ear canal as pressure waves.
2. The pressure waves go inside the ear canal and moves the diaphram.
3. The diaphram moves the bones that act as levers and transmit sound into the fluid.
4. The fluid goes through the cochlea(sea shell shaped) and vibrates the various hares that are inside it.
5. Each hair is a different length (longest being first) and sends a different signal to the brain.
6. The brain interpits the signals and converts them to their pitch and after compiling them gives the complete sound that we "hear".

The diaphram's size is in corespondance with 4,000 hz, so this is the most easily percieved sound wave and being so is the one that we relly on to detect pronuncation in speach. When one begins to loose their hearing the sound in the upper quadrant go first, including around 4,000 hz. This explains why when one beings to loose their hearing they usually have a problem with understanding what a women is saying. Since a womans chest cavity and vocal cords are usually more towards a higher pitch and a mans are more towards the lower pitch a lot of the sound being created when a woman speaks is not detected in the hearing mechanism.

The bones/levers that transmiting the movement of the diaphram to the fluid are suspended by a muscle that acts as a bearing. This bearing/muscle has the ability to contract and restrict the movement of the levers, thus decreasing the intensity of vibration/sound that makes it to the fluid and thus the hairs. This can be experienced by turning up your radio, at first it sounds loud and then gradually it doesn't sound loud anymore. What is happening is that your brain is telling your ears that the sound doesn't need to be that loud for it to interpit it. So, the muscle contracts and lowers the sound transmission.

On the flip side, if you are in a quite room for an extended period of time, the amplifier between the hairs and the brain "turns up the juice" to magnify the sound being trasmited.

They even make rooms that don't let any sound in and instantly absorb 99.9% of the sound made in the room. When one is in this room long enough one can hear their own heart beating and the blood flowing through their body, oddly enough since the walls absorb all of the sound produced in the room, when one speaks they only hear their voice inside their body and not the air moving around them. They use these rooms to test new microphones and pin point sounds made by automobiles, along with many other things.

Oddly enough, when at a rock concert or around a very loud machine, your brain literly can not comprehend the loudness of the sound and you keep on thinking, "That isn't THAT loud". That is until you speek and then you have a referance that is a constant to determine what level of sound you are hearing. THEN one realizes how loud it is.

Back the the muscle/bearing contraction, sound transmission restriction. This is a slow process and only works if the sound is realitivly constant in duration and volume. Such as driving a car with the windows down and radio on. However since it is a muscle it does tire and after a while it will release it's grip on the bones and the full sound will again be transmited. This muscle like all others can be strengthened from regular use and for some people it is naturally stronger than others.

One thing that the hearing doesn't have any capacity to counter is any sudden and loud sound, like a gun shot, pipe falling or hammer hitting an anvil. Actually, I asked him about the latter and he said that it is one of the worst things he can think of for hearing, damage wise. There are of course worse things, but a hammer and anvil is up there.

For more of a finite understanding of the hearing aparatus go to:


One other thing that may be of interest is the "brown note". This is a note around 8 hz or so and is capable of interupting the operation of the internal organs, mainly the bowels. Making them spontaniously have a movement. A few years ago we considered trying to make such a note and see what hapened, but came to our senses and never did it. . . yet.

The Army actually has done research and development on high energy low hz sound waves. A long time ago they had developed a speaker/amplifier system that could produce a sound wave that would cause the internal organs to rub against each other thus causing internal bleeding and eventually death.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 05/16/03 19:02:22 GMT

i bought a small coal fired forge at the BAM
meeting in warrenton mo. question. should i
install some kind of lining before i use it?
refractory cement? fire brick?
also posted a question about how to start a
fire in this forge. now i cannot find the question,
or an answer.
william l. brown
wright city, mo.
   william l. brown - Friday, 05/16/03 19:13:37 GMT


Scroll up to "Thursday, 05/15/03 15:20:32 GMT" there is a question simular to yours about fire starting. Scroll down from there and you will see many answers to the question.

Caleb Ramsby

   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 05/16/03 19:17:36 GMT

Joe...Im not sure there is any refractory that is resistant to flux. I use AP Green products and there are several that will work for your application. Most refractory retailers will sell you a broken bag pretty cheap, but yu have to ask.I have used Mizzou 3300, Satanite, the current bag I dont recal the name, but it is rated for 3300 also. Build a form to fit your forge floor (spray the form with PAM before you do your cast. Even half a bag will make several sacrifical floors. When it becomes damaged and thin from flux replace it with another. I usually cast 3 or 4 and have them ready when needed

T Gold the spritzer is one of those pump spray bottles. Use water in it to wet refractories before you apply ITC-100. I apply the ITC with a small paint brush.
   R Guess - Friday, 05/16/03 22:22:32 GMT

I posted my new website today. Check it out at: www.home.cablelynx.com/~tongandhammer/Ironwoods/
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/16/03 22:47:26 GMT

Ok, ya gotta put the http:// in front to make it work.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/16/03 22:48:43 GMT

Well, I guess I knackered that pretty good. Try http://home.cablelynx.com/~tongandhammer/Ironwoods . This is posted on a cable internet provider and I guess you don't use the www .
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/16/03 23:06:00 GMT


Great site! I see you've been FARRR too modest in regard to your skills. That's true craftsmanship in both woodwork and blacksmithing -- I wait with bated breath for your upcoming demo's!
   Zero - Friday, 05/16/03 23:45:01 GMT

Uh... That's "baited breath"...

   Zero - Friday, 05/16/03 23:48:27 GMT

Zero, thanks, you are generous in your praise. My son-in-law thought it would be a good idea to do some demos. I stress that this was his idea, not mine, and he was the one who designed the site. I do not intend to try to compete with the wealth of information on the iForge.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 00:02:39 GMT

Let me tell any of you who will listen that hearing damage is both insidious and PERMANENT. Also, it is damnably expensive to compensate for. I ruijned my hearing by loud noises such as gunshots, forging, machine work, woodworking and a couple of lightning strikes. The hearing aids I am told might help enough to be worth considering cost about $2500...each. Of course, I need two of them and insurance covers absolutely none of the cost. A really super-duper pair of electronic, noise-cancelling headphones cost about a hundred bucks and will save you the five thousand later. The ten dollar ones will do the job too, but you have to take them off to hear normal sounds, which the electronic ones pass through.

Going deaf is second only to going blind, in my opinion. The ramifications are too numerous tyo go into here, but please take my word for it, they just plain suck! Protect your hearing and do NOT believe anything anyone tells you about "adjusting" to loud noises. That adjustment is called deafness.
   vicopper - Saturday, 05/17/03 00:13:38 GMT

I'm completing my small propane forge soon and want to put a coat of paint on it. like everyong else I've thought of using Hi-Temp paint from auto outlet and took a look at them today. The paint is rated at either 1500 or 900 degrees. The 900 degree paint has better color options. Anyone have experience using this temperature rating or am I asking for trouble? Thanks
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/17/03 00:47:51 GMT

Rich (Vic):

Welcome back!

I buy ear-plugs buy the 1000's, hand them out at the range, or here at the shop to everyone involved. Cheap insurance!

'Course, some are too PROUD, or worried about fashion to wear them. I figure I'll just SHOUT at them in the coming years... ;-)
   Zero - Saturday, 05/17/03 01:59:34 GMT

As an old Industrial Arts teacher I am bemoaning the state of the new courses (CTS) up here in Canada. The new teachers don't have any training in machine use or repair and most machines have fallen by the way side. Everything is done on computer, the students have a minimal hands on experience. I'm trying to rebuild a small hands on area for my students and am looking for a small 14" or so box and pan brake to do some sheet metal work. I'm also the blacksmith at Ft. Edmonton during the summer.
   Doug - Saturday, 05/17/03 02:15:06 GMT


"Protect your hearing and do NOT believe anything anyone tells you about "adjusting" to loud noises. That adjustment is called deafness."

I can only believe that the above statement is directed towards me. If I am incorrect, than please correct me.

I should have made it more clear that the adjusting that occurs is minute and does NOT lessen the extent of damage done to hearing by much, if at all. If one is exposed to a noise that is going to damage your ears, than they will be damaged, plain and simple.

My most recent post about the adjusting of the tenseness of the muscle in the ear was to prove a point. THAT IS ALL!

I in NO WAY was saying that your ears are able to FULLY PROTECT THEMSELVES! Not at all, JUST PROVING A POINT!

I applaud your atempt to push people into hearing damage awareness, hearing is very important.

I just have to point out that my statement was made about a theory I had that was proved true. I think that our hearing mechanism would work splendidly if there wern't all of those unatural noises for our hearing to deal with. In nature besides lightining and other random acts, there isn't that much that can hurt your ears. In the modern world there are many.

I used to have a very noisy conveyance and considered wearing ear plugs when driving it, but figured that hearing my surroundings was more important.

If in fact you were not insinuating that I and others like me are to be disbelieved when stating that ones hearing has the capability(although minute) to adjust to varying sound levels then I hope that someone deletes this post.

If you were, than sir don't assume my ignorance again, nor command others to disbelieve me!

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 05/17/03 02:53:39 GMT

Jerry & Forge paint: If you prep the inside of the forge with ITC100 and then paint it with ITC223? (The one that is supposed to protect metal parts:-) AND do the same to the areas exposed to the hot exhaust. You should be able to paint the rest of it with the hi-temp paints, and not burn through them regularly. If you are using Kaolwool or something like it and enough of it... But you are likely to need to replace the liner at some time with any of the fragile friable refacrtories, so preping the inside with the ITC will make the body of the forge more durable itself. Depending on your design most of the heat should be channeled away from the body of the forge, and if the forge is insulated properly then it shouldn't get over 900 degrees. I have seen designs that had throats on the vents that were effective in keeping the heat off of the body, and if they were treated with ITC it would prevent a lot of the heat from being conducted back into the body. Of course if you are using one of the less insulating castable refactories, your forge will absorb more heat and will likely toast the paint. Most of the castables are considerably more durable, but absorb a fair amount of heat in my experience. I have had some trouble achieving welding heat in my Mankel 2 burner horseshoer's forge after I poured a more durable refactory bottom into it. It also takes longer to heat up and to cool down. Using the ITC products on the inside of the forge including the ITC296 finishing compound will boost the thermal reflectivity and get more of the heat into your work, and less soaked into your forge and then radiated into your shop. When I am working I generally don't need anymore waste heat than I generate myself:-) But to be honest I have no actual experience with painting a forge, but the theory behind all the ITC stuff is sound:-)
   Fionnbharr - Saturday, 05/17/03 03:03:17 GMT

vicooper...I concur with your analysis on hearing. I have been exposed to the sound of electronic and mechanical sirenes on fire and rescue vehicles for over 25 years now and my hearing has most certainly been adversely affected. In my early years in the FD the sirenes were mounted on the roof of the engine, just a few feet from ones head and ears. Now most are mounted in the grill or front bumper, but are still loud enough to do damage over the course of time...in other words time and exposure. I dont subscribe to the theory of adjustment of the ears to damaging noise. If it were true I should be well adjusted, which I'm not.
just my 2 cents worth.
   R Guess - Saturday, 05/17/03 03:09:24 GMT

I saw your recent comment about shop ceiling height needing to be 10-12 ft because a shop with an 8 ft ceiling allows all the bad stuff to hang at head height. I found this interesting because I currently work in my basement which has 2 outside doors that I try and leave open as often as possible. Even in the winter there is always one open. Unfortunately the ceiling is just about 8 ft . We are planning on building a shop out back soon and since I get to start from scratch I was wondering what other specifications I should shoot for to provide the best air quality and most efficient work space. Thanks a million.
   - Wendy - Saturday, 05/17/03 03:14:22 GMT

Quenchcrack: Nice site. Your shop is so clean I shall never let my wif view the page! ;-) Your railroad spike steak turner suggests a good contest- Make anything out of a single railroad spike. I'll have to suggest it to the BGOP for the next Spring Fling (if it hasn't been done already).

Also, on the subject of metallic grains: I understood that a grain is essentially a crystal (of irregular shape) of iron or steel. Is this correct?

Fionnbharr: I glitched my last missive on Scadian awards. It was supposed to include a congradulations note to you. So do they call you Master Sir Fionnbharr or Sir Master Fionnbharr?

Hearing Damage: Hey, it's not all that bad, especially if you like mosquitos playing bagpipes in your ears 24/7. And my wif does have to repeat herself. All my kids wear ear protection while shooting, and are happy to learn from the old man's mistakes. I use shooters muffs in the forge during any noisy operation as well as hammering, and I find the electric drills and such much less irritating. I just crank up the classical station on the radio louder. Good thing I'm about 1/3 mile from the house.

Wet and wettwe on the banks of the lower Potomac. Must be getting me prepared for Seattle.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps,gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 05/17/03 03:40:07 GMT

I'd like to know a way to dissolve silverplate off brass or German silver? I've been a graduate student in chemistry so I can handle strong acid, but I'd rather use "household" chemicals and patience, if I can. Can you help me? Thanks
   Ross C. "Bubba" Nicholson - Saturday, 05/17/03 04:00:07 GMT

I'd like to know more about rhodium electroplating. What voltage and amperage will work best in a hobby application (plating bandflutes). Will it plate well on gold? Silver? Brass? Thanks
   Ross C. "Bubba" Nicholson - Saturday, 05/17/03 04:01:51 GMT

Rich, Caleb and the "Sound Wars":

You're actually both right, but for different reasons, and I think the confusion lies in thinking of hearing in purely mechanistic terms. From an engineering standpoint, the muscles controlling the bones can attenuate sound entry, and thus the perception of noise to a point. However, hearing is a dynamic biological process, and as Caleb pointed out, sound can have an adverse effect on seemingly unrelated biological functions.

Aside from frequencies that make you poo your pants, there is a substantial body of scientific evidence supporting the fact that sound causes changes in cochlear blood flow, intracochlear oxygen levels, and the morphology of cochlear blood vessels. Because the cochlea a metabolically active organ, constant blood flow is essential. The disruption of this flow leads to insufficient oxygen. We all know what happens when you cut off the oxygen. Scientists term this condition ischemia/re-perfusion, and one end result is the production of free radicals, which act like little metabolic bombs tearing up everything in their site (proteins, lipids, even DNA). In this case, it results in hearing damage, and continued exposure to the generation of these radicals leads to cumulative damage.

So, in a nutshell, the muscles of the ear can attenuate the perception of sound, but that does not remove the ability of the soundwaves themselves to cause damage. Caleb is speaking on the basic mechanistic principles and Rich on the harsh, first-hand realities.

Let's all be pals and talk some smithin' gents! I get physiological and biological sciences all day, everyday. This place is my escape from it! :-)

Your Hammer swingin' buddy,
   eander4 - Saturday, 05/17/03 05:46:46 GMT

Oh Yeah!


Awesome site and awesome work, I might add! Atli beat me to the punch on his RR spike steak turner comments. I would have never thought of that use. You've got vision, brother!

I don't know what it entails, but you ought to check with the Great Guru on having your site hosted in the Anvilfire Web-ring. Might just make you famous.:-)

   eander4 - Saturday, 05/17/03 06:13:58 GMT

HEARING. Huh? Eh? Mosquitos playing bagpipes in your ears!! Hey Atli, that's a good one. With me, it's more like a tree frog, cricket, and locust chorus. It's called tinitus and I don't think too much can be done for it. Some M.D.s are recommending Ginkgo Bilboa, that brain food stuff, for tinitus. Maybe it helps some folks. One of my friends said it was a "yeast infection" and by giving up all sugar and taking extract of oregano, he got rid of the roaring-in-ear sounds.

I'm told that ear muffs are better than ear plugs.

My mom had tinitus, and she never worked around loud machinery or hand tools. Life's little mysteries.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 05/17/03 12:09:07 GMT

RE: RR spike steak turner. I wish I could take credit for it but I saw Bill Epps make one at his Hammer-In last year. Of course, he used his power hammer and I had to bang it out by hand, a difference of about an hour's work. As I have mentioned several times, my wife still thinks my shop is still a double car garage. Since it is attached, she asked that I keep it clean. Pain in the patoot! I will pass along your generous comments to my son-in-law who designed the site.
Bruce: grains and crystals are different. Atoms bond together to make a crystal. Ferrite has a cubic crystal shape with one atom at each corner and one in the center of the cube. Billions of repeating crystals form a grain. Billions of grains form a small piece of metal.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 12:23:52 GMT

Frank Turley... What kind of pitch is in your ears high or low? If it is hight buzzing then you liver and galbladder is in need of some help .. If it low hum then you kidneys are in need of help.. Ginko Bilboa is a good herb but not for that!! Nettle and green tea mix them 1/2 and 1/2 this will help you liver and do a mild detox also restore you kidneys.. Good luck if you have any more q's please let me know ok

   - Devon - Saturday, 05/17/03 12:30:55 GMT

Too Much to catch up on this AM. . was too tired to post new photos last night. Will try again. Off to the conference!

ITC NOTE: ITC-213 is used directly over metal and then ITC-100 can be be put over IT if necessary.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/17/03 12:45:24 GMT

That's one spiffy site you have there. Crisp, fast loading and easy to get around. You've been holding out on us. I don't think its fair that you have that kind of talent AND are so organized. :} Let me know if you need me to come by and clutter it up proper for you.
   Gronk - Saturday, 05/17/03 16:11:14 GMT

Devon, Thanx. I'll give it a whirl.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 05/17/03 16:25:40 GMT


Thanks for showing the middle ground there. You are absolutelly correct, we were both talking about two radically different aspects of hearing. Time to go on to other things.


Spectacular work, have you thought about combining you wood carving talents with your blacksmithing talents. There are a lot of posibilities for the compilation of the two mediums.

I have a bunch of HC railroad spikes and am wondering how well the edge holds up for you when a knife is made from one. What heat treating process do you use?

I am all for a railroad spike contest, what do you all think about the head of the spike. It would appear that for verification and challange that the head would need to be retained and the design made around it. What do you think?

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 05/17/03 16:30:12 GMT

Caleb and Gronk, thanks for your encouragement. Yes, I have tried to combine carving and smithing. So far, I have only forged some of the woodcarving tools I use. Today, I forged a small scorp (from W1 tool steel) used to hollow out spoons. I am working on yet another drawknife,too. I have also forged some iron bear claws to decorate a shaman's walking stick. It is difficult to combine forged iron into a woodcarving, however, and if anyone has any ideas, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
RR Spike knives: The HC spike is only about .30% carbon, far below what is considered cutlery steel (.60-1.00%) but a lot of smiths make them, superquench them and don't temper them. I consider them more of a curiosity since they don't hold an edge that well and they are heavy. There is a good demo in iForge on RR spike knives. If we have a contest, I would suggest there be two classes of entries: one for power hammers and one for manual hammers.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 16:48:49 GMT

Wendy, When you design your new shop you might want to plan ahead for both ventilation and air circulation. If you have a 10 or 12 foot high ceiling you will probably want to allow for at least one ceiling fan to bring the hot air that gathers back down from the ceiling. Of course that will also bring down any smoke hanging up there- so plan on adding an exhaust fan of some type preferably with ducting run so you can locate hoods near the sources of smoke and fumes and remove them before they collect. If you use a coal forge make sure you plan on an adaquate chimney stack; if you can't run a large enough pipe then you will need a power ventilator for it.

Make sure you provide lots of wiring for lighting. At ten or twelve feet you are pretty much limited to fluorescent lamps for reasonable coverage. Use the High Output types if you can.

If you work with heavy pieces this is the time to plan for a hoist or a jib crane. Used jib cranes can be found in some scrap yards and one mounted to a footing set in the shop floor could be a huge help. If you are planning on a large power hammer it will be a lot easier to build a seperate footing for it now than cutting out a part of your slab later.

Good luck with the project, I'm sure you will get lots of other suggestions from all of us who have made mistakes with our own shops!
   SGensh - Saturday, 05/17/03 18:02:04 GMT

...disolving silverplate of off...(this true tale may not be the answer but it's a clue or directions)

Years ago (c. 1910-20) the father of a friend of mine (we are both in our 60's) in New York made a very large fortune in secret as a rag picker with horse and wagon. He went to the Kodak developing plant and the local news papers and collected all the discarded film negatives that had been developed, used for prints and then thrown away. He'd take a waggon load of this stuff home to whatever immigrant section of New York poor Jewish people lived in then and in his basement he somehow discovered a chemical soak that would disolve the silver off the film negative. He collected that and turned it into silver bars. Over the years he put three children through college and when he died my friend discoverd the hoard of silver ingots still in the basement - that was sometime around 1950 I think. My friend is still living, quite nicely, off of the value of that hoard.

The point of this tale is there is a way to simply disolve the silver off of things and in my antique copy of Workshop methods for Gold and silversmiths, page 43 (C. Schwahn, 1960)the author tells us not to use nitric acid or suspension of the article in a bath of potassium cyanide because these methods strongly attack the base metal. However, he continues, the base metal is unaffected if you use concentrated sulphuric acid with the slight addition of nitric acid (3/4 oz nitric to 2 pints sulphuric). This solution may be warmed but a cold wash is less troublesome to watch. He concludes by saying:

"After several hours the completion of the process is indicated by a purple color which quickly turns into grey. After rinsing and drying the articles have a thin coat (patina, maybe?) which can easily be brushed off to present the...german silver."

Hope this is helpful
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/17/03 18:10:44 GMT

Frank Turley, I have added my e-mail this time so e-mail me if you have any problems ok. take care..

   Devon - Saturday, 05/17/03 19:00:48 GMT

Chimney draft:

This is for all of those that have an adequate draft in their solid fuel forges.

Tommorow I hope to get to a project that has been on the back shelf for a while. It is making a steam enhancing draft for the stack of my forge. This technology actually predates Hero's "first" aplication of steam. It is over 5,000 years old.

What the aparatus will consist of is an open top container of water that will be atached to the outside of the forge hood. This will most likely be a metal 5 gal bucket. To the bottem of the bucket will be attached a copper tube, I havn't determined the exact size yet. The tube will go through the side of the hood and via horizontal windings will go up the inside surface of the hood, for a distance in corespondance with the water level in the bucket. Then the tube will go straight up until it is in the stack. Since the density of steam is much less than that of air at the same temperature this creates a much greater capacity of draft inside the stack. They used this technology to great benefit in the steam locomotives to name just one aplication. To keep the water level in the bucket constant I am considering installing a water level float from a toilet.

Since the bucket is open on the top there is no chance of having a large quantity of water at the saturation point with the coresponding latent heat that causes boiler explosions. The tube that will act as the evaperator will be realitively short and will have a very small pressure diferential along it's length.

Although there is no posibility of explosion, if you knock your fire rake or poker into the evaperator coil there is a chance of breaking the tube and boiling water and hot steam going every where. If the steam goes towards you and it is superheated by the coil assembly it can enter your lungs and kill you. Needless to say there are very many dangers involved when making and using a system like this so I would suggest that you study steam and it's properties before even considering a project like this. You have been warned.

I will let you guys know when I have the system made and running.


It looks like you really enjoy making figures in wood and backdrops. I would suggest making some stands/enviroments with the iron that correspond with the wooden figures.

Some examples would be:

A tree out of iron and a lumberjack with his ax on his shoulder looking at you.

An iron frame/stand for your reliefs. The frame could just be made from 1/2" square stock and create a border for the relief, with a few small pieces of 1/4" stock to hold the relief.

I think that making stands that contain the atmosphere that would be expected with your caricatures would be superb.

Your eagle would look realy nice with an iron beak with a clear finish!

I think that you are getting the picture.

Either way it's great work.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 05/17/03 19:43:56 GMT

Caleb, Thanks, I REALLY like the idea of making stands and frames! I have been thinking in terms of putting the iron into the carving and I may not have the skill to do that yet. But frames and stands I can do.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 21:38:49 GMT


I like your use of the rolling cart for your forge setup. I was considering a utility 2-wheel dolly with a shelf for the forge on top over the rack at the bottom on which I park the fuel bottle. Do you every set your bottle away from the forge whilst running it or like shown in the pictures?
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/17/03 22:06:37 GMT

Jerry, I leave the bottle in place when running the forge. The heat goes up so the bottle never gets hot. In fact, on a humid day, I can see frost forming on the bottle. Since that picture was taken, I added a hammer rack made from a 3' long piece of 1' square tubing. I welded rings cut from 2-3/8" tubing to it and hang my hammers there. Chisels and punches are now in a 2x6" block with holes drilled in from the edge and stood upright. My tongs still hang on the cart handle, all splayed out like they shouldn't be. Got the cart at Harbor Freight for about $30.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 22:40:10 GMT

Does anyone know what kind of flux should be used when working aluminum (if any)? I was looking at an old design for a pop can recycler, and it didn't mention it... seemed like a fun idea though, as I could snag literally thousands of empty pop cans every week (the folks at my school really like soda). I've looked around on the web, and I can't seem to find any info on the subject... most folks who are knowledgeable about it want me to buy books! I'm still saving up for my CSI membership, I can't do that!

Quenchcrack: Props to you for your excellent site! I look forward to future updates and demos.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/17/03 22:50:40 GMT

T. Gold, Thanks, I remember in college foundry lab we used Potassium Chloride (salt substitute) to remove the hydrogen from the liquid aluminum. Pour on about 1/8" as soon as you have liquid in the crucible. KCl is not toxic, as it is edible, and you should be able to find it in a drug store or grocery store. Keep EVERYTHING dry, as water and molten aluminum can be explosive. Check out the "Foundry 101" on this site.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/17/03 22:55:29 GMT

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