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

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

This is an archive of posts from may 26 - 31, 2003 on the Guru's Den
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Looking for a source for coal
Prefer poco#3
Located in central VA in Amelia co.
any qty. from bag to tandem dump truck load.
may stock enough to sell to local smiths having the same
problem finding it as me
any help or info would be appreciated
Mike Tanner
   mike t - Monday, 05/26/03 00:14:50 GMT

Gurus: I finally got around to forging a slitting chisel from a scrap of H13 I had laying around. However, since I run a gasser, I have no coal dust to sprinkle in the cut to keep the chisel from sticking. I am trying to find something else that would work. I am wondering if talcum powder or talc scraped off of a welders marker would do it? Any other ideas?
   Quenchcrack - Monday, 05/26/03 00:24:19 GMT

Try beeswax
   mike t - Monday, 05/26/03 01:03:13 GMT

Guru: I have a question on I beams what do the numbers mean??? W 200x27 Thanks

   Devon - Monday, 05/26/03 01:18:40 GMT

Jacob looks like a lot of good advise. My daughter started at nine in the shop. We only worked with steel, but the daughters of one of woman smiths in our group wanted to start blacksmithing. So she got a bunch of copper wire for them to work with. She kept it annealed and the girls had a great time making jewelry. This is just another thought on material. The big thing is to get them interested without getting frustrated. My daughter totally changed by age 13 (going on 25). Don't miss the opportunity that interest may only last a couple years.

Quenchcrack have you tried graphite powder?
   - Daryl - Monday, 05/26/03 01:36:18 GMT

Is 4140 a good steel to make a hammer?
   Tim Harvey - Monday, 05/26/03 01:40:53 GMT


   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/26/03 01:43:40 GMT

Devon: 200 will be its basic height dimension and 27 will be its mass per metre.(200mm x 27kg/m)
   Tim Harvey - Monday, 05/26/03 01:46:03 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw
   Tim Harvey - Monday, 05/26/03 01:47:00 GMT

Only times I weight my bellows are: when I first start off with green coal and the mass gunks itself together needing the extra force to push air through it. After it cokes up it's fine with no weight but the heavy plywood (5/8-3/4?) top board---except for welding up billets!

Extra weight shouldn't cause problems as there is still "give" in the system. I have had problems with folks *not* using the weight and just inflating the top lung till absolutely full and then keep pushing air in ri get more ooomph out the nozzle.

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 05/26/03 02:03:57 GMT

Quenchcrack~I've always used axle grease on my punches. I found a 2 gallon bucket almost full & probably 50 years old at a garage sale a few years back & probably will never run out. It's Havoline brand.
   Jerry - Monday, 05/26/03 04:42:00 GMT

Quenchcrack, in forging class we used farriers hoof packing for lubing punches, drifts and hot slitters, worked great....I think there are **lots** of common substances around that will work just fine.
   Ellen - Monday, 05/26/03 05:13:23 GMT

Jacob, Jerry C;
A sweet and generous attitude..good..if I might add a bit..( Aww, I will even if you say I can't).
First off...lead and kiddies in a mistake..period.
Blood lead level correlates negatively with smarts.
However, either pure aluminum or annealed copper could serve quite nicely.
Be sure the hammer is light enough with a small enough hammer and make sure the anvil is low enough.
Some manual; feeling of the thermoplastic nature of metal is probably worth arranging. ( heat the end of a small bar, clamp it in the vise and have her pull on the end). Don't let her make anything larger bore than a zip gun.
Louis, Has anyone oiled the leather on those bellows?
Hon.QC...High Temperature Never Sieze works well..I have a glob on a handy post and just tap the cutting tool there when needed. Warning, the stuff gets on everything.
   - Pete F - Monday, 05/26/03 06:56:51 GMT

Did anyone ever reply to QC's post of 05/20/03, 18:01:50 GMT about the circular saw blades on www.metaldevil.com? I'm quite curious about these myself, seems like a useful alternative to a cutting torch.
   T. Gold - Monday, 05/26/03 08:44:19 GMT

Tim: Thanks you very much.

   Devon - Monday, 05/26/03 10:14:06 GMT

Sorry about the mixup on finding the Glen Haven shop on the internet. I thought the park had added something about it to their website, but I was wrong. I have digital photos I could download to this site. Is there an appropriate place for that? Regarding the bellows/weight question, every double-chambered bellows I have seen had a weight on top to give oomph to the airstream. We use a brick on our 42-incher. Using some sort of treatment on the leather periodically will greatly extend its life. If you were folded and unfolded hundreds of times every day, you'd wear out too. Looking toward the day when we have to replace our leather, I used steel strapping instead of wood strips to secure the leather to the wood, with short brass screws instead of nails or tacks. This should minimize longterm damage to the century-old wooden case.
   Neal Bullington - Monday, 05/26/03 12:10:51 GMT

Neall, you can upload the photos to the Yahoo site, if you want to. Or send them to me and I will put them on Yahoo.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 05/26/03 12:48:13 GMT

Lore. A use for the handling hole. Some farriers used to melt paraffin or beeswax into the handling hole under the horn, so that a pritchel lube/coolant was always handy.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 05/26/03 12:55:46 GMT

More lore. Victor Vera {see story section} said that when he was a little boy, his dad and uncle would sit him on top of the bellows when they "had a big, heavy job to do". Wheee!
   Frank Turley - Monday, 05/26/03 13:03:35 GMT

Anvil Value: Xeunieus, We have a bunch of general info on anvils on our 21st Century page. The 88 is probably the weight in pounds as it does not fit the English hundred weight system (second digit is always 1, 2 or 3 never higher). Pete F hit the price and quality right.

I am working on a history of anvils but it will not include manufacturers details as THAT is something covered in Anvils in America in great detail. But without cleaning and the anvil and looking closer I do not think you have enough to find the maker. Often the maker is not marked if the anvil was for a private brand such as Montgomery Ward.
   - guru - Monday, 05/26/03 17:35:24 GMT

Weighting the Bellows: Lous, This is a common practice. Yes it does add extra strain on the bellows but as Thomas noted not nearly as much as continuing to pump the bellows once it is fully inflated.

Often the need to add extra weight is because either the bellows is too small, it is improperly setup, there is restriction in the pipe or tuyeer or all of the above. I have NEVER seen a bellows properly setup in a demonstration shop and I have seen many that were poorly setup in blacksmith shops. Bad tuyeer arrangements can result in needing more pressure to do a given job.

As to the difference between your needs and the elder blacksmiths needs, unless you are very experianced even at 70+ the elder smith can probably work much faster than you and needs more hot iron faster. He is probably used to working at a pace that you can make a living at NOT the typical demonstrator pace. He also is probably used to having an electric blower on his forge and not having the fire die down while he is working as it does with a bellows.

The question about oiling the bellows is critical. IF the leather is getting stiff it is going to go to pieces soon not matter how it is used. They should be oiled several times a year with neats foot oil.

Something interesting to note is that in De Re Metalic the bellows have pressure relief valves on top to prevent damage from flash back and over pumping.
   - guru - Monday, 05/26/03 17:51:04 GMT

Hole punching: We have a nice iForge demo on the subject. Coal powder works. Axel grease works as well, the older thick heavy stuff is best. Never-seize also works well but is messy.

I used to always punch holes dry. Using grease is like using cutting oil on a drill. The tool lasts MUCH longer, does a better job and is easier to use.

No matter what kind of grease you use be sure to dedicate that container to NOTHING else. Packing bearings with grit filled grease is a disaster. When I was in the service station business I almost NEVER finished a can of grease. Someone would ineveiably leave it open and lying somwhere so that you could not be SURE is didn't get dirt or sand in it. . . I always tossed it when I could not tell. . . . Ah yeah, I never let the typical red-neck pack my wheel bearings. . . . Most auto wheel bearings last almost forever. Its the ones packed with dirty grease, no grease or are misadjusted that fail.

   - guru - Monday, 05/26/03 18:02:06 GMT

Metal Devil: Morse is a good company but I could not recommend this product from the on-line information. Nowhere does it say what the speed rating is on this blade. But judging from the large hole in the blade it DOES NOT fit your typical 7.5" carpenter's wood saw. It is a blade designed for a special metal cutting saw that runs 1/10th the speed of a wood saw.

IF it is supposedly used on a wood saw then you still need to double check your saw's speed. You can cut aluminium on many wood saws. But saws like my bandsaw that runs 5,400 FPM (more than 60 MPH) are at the limit for wood and WAY beyond the speed for cutting aluminium.

ALSO. . using ANY kind of metal cutting blade in a tool designed to cut wood will either wreck OR greatly reduce the life of the saw. Seals and various parts ar not designed for metalic grit. These are designed for nice soft sawdust. One use of an abrasive cut off wheel in my favorite circular saw reduced it to junk. I saved a couple hours of hand sawing and lost a favorite tool. . .
   - guru - Monday, 05/26/03 18:16:20 GMT

Kids -

No kids myself, but lots of "nieces" and "nephews" at church. Keep hoping some of that crowd would take an interest in metal, or wood for that matter, but not yet. One of the things that really warms my heart is kids coming to forge meetings or showing up at the beginner classes at conferences. Had one at the last blade symposium that wouldn't leave, almost wouldn't stop talking long enough for me to answer a question, and unfortunately couldn't be persuaded to pick up a hammer. She did, over the course of two days, bring her entire family around to watch. I'm not complaining, mind you. I had so much fun talking I probably burned up two feet of steel. ;)

Ten is a great age. Seems to be about my upper limit too - I notice they get too mature for me about that time. Seems like overnight I go from Uncle Steve The Fantastic to some dumb old guy who's best ignored.

I'd echo the comments about light enough hammer, low enough anvil, small stock, and quick projects. Hooks and steak turners seem to do well. Gentle coaching, easy on the perfection. They don't seem to have the demanding eye for the perfect twist or scroll, so it's pointless to try to correct it. And most recently, I noticed that kids have a different definition of "done". One of them came by at the blade show and seriously wanted to make a knife. Fortunately there were wiser ones than me in charge, and no one got into how this is a long and demanding process, etc. An hour later the kid was happy as could be with with a drop point fresh from the anvil, just the scale brushed off.

Sorry if that was just so much babbling.

   Steve A - Monday, 05/26/03 18:39:15 GMT

Children in the Shop: They learn in the shop just as anywhere else depending on age and interest. Safety lessons always come first. Be sure YOU are up to the task and know the whys. . .

I have bought safety glasses for kids a couple times. Most good suppliers have narrow frames for small adults and these will often fit children. However, the soft goggle type fit a wider range of sizes and fit better.

When my kids wanted to work in the shop I got them aprons and cut them to size. However, many kids will show an interest until they find out it is hard work so do not invest in too much specialized stuff until you know they ae going to stick with it.

Besides lowering anvil there is a LOT of machinery that set is much too high to be safe for children to use. A good heavy duty step platform can help this but it MUST be large enough that they can move around on it normally.

The non-motorized old hand crank equipment is great for kids but there ARE times when they will need to use power tools. Show them how to do it all, not just turn it on and off. I was using my Dad's shop smith when I was 11 years old and converting it from table saw to drill press to lathe on a regular basis.

Let kids DO THE JOB themselves. Show them how, assist them when they ASK, but let them do it. They learn nothing if you do the project for them.

There IS a point when kids will need to work in the shop on their own. YOU will have to be the judge of when that is safe. When I was a kid all I ever wanted for Christmas was tools. I had my own electric drill when I was about 9 years old. I had my own bench and vise when I was 5. But I have had a life long interest in tools and making things. Many children that show such interests early lose them when they are teen agers. You just have to go with the flow. . .
   - guru - Monday, 05/26/03 18:45:50 GMT

Pressure relief valves....
Good Good point Guru. We found out the hard way the need for such. It is cheaper to replace said valve ( and your shorts ...grin) Than to replace a bellows.
   Ralph - Monday, 05/26/03 21:21:36 GMT

Anyone have a good resource for lost wax casting?

I understand the process but need more information on the materials used.
Wax type
Clay type
Brass type
   - Tony-C - Monday, 05/26/03 22:31:15 GMT

Caleb asked about his Edwards Shear.
As It happens, I was just doing a little research on Edwards. Edwards MFG. Co., Albert Lea Mn. founded 1875.
They are still in business, although I dont know if they still make the hand shears. Dont think so. They currently make a line of sort of Mickey Mouse Ironworkers, which are all fabricated- no casting at all.
The oldest catalog I have which shows Edwards shears is a 1922 Union Hardware of Los Angeles catalog.
A no. 10B shear weighs 440 lbs, has 7" knives, will cut 5" x 3/4" bar, recommended handle length 7 feet. They cost $90 in 1922, which is not cheap.
I have another tool catalog from 1912, which does not show edwards brand, but does show almost identical shears by Union and Buffalo. That leads me to believe that Edwards was making the no. 10 that early, and I think they continued to make them up through the 70's or so. Have to check the catalog files to see what the latest date I can find is.
However, Centaur Forge lists repair parts for the No. 5 and the No. 10 in their current catalog, so I suspect they made them until recently.
So your shear could have been made anywhere within about an 80 year window. And all of them I have seen looked exactly the same.
   Ries - Tuesday, 05/27/03 03:20:32 GMT

More Edwards Shear Trivia:
The most recent edwards shear for sale new I can find is 1986. That doesnt mean they didnt make them more recently, it just means my catalogs are disorganized.
A no 10, which cost $90 in 1922, cost $689 in 1986.
A no. 5 cost $50 in 1922, $440 in 1986.
   Ries - Tuesday, 05/27/03 03:31:54 GMT

Propane forge item:

I'm going to coat the inside lining with the ITC-100 and I wonder if that stuff will also seal the joints between fire brick shelving on the floor of the forge to prevent flux spillage from seeping between the floor tiles and destroying the kaewool liner?
   Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 05/27/03 14:09:02 GMT


Oops! Well, the scar will always remind him. I have several which say: "Don't cut rags with a machete." and "Watch where your finger is when wood carving in the round." and "Broken glass is VERY sharp.", etc.

Seattle weather still hovering over the banks of the Potomac, WWZ.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 05/27/03 14:13:33 GMT

Working with kids/new folk. I like to trade off heats when working with new people, especially if it's a project that may take a while.

I show them what to do, then let them do it and then clean up any problems---explaining why they happened and how to fix them. This way they end up with a nice piece and it didn't take all afternoon either---I'm often using a hammer that weighs at least twice that of the one they use. The *next* piece I have them do on their own except for when they ask for help.

Of course I'm usually teaching at an SCA event or MOB meeting and so can't dedicate the entire time to one person.

Having a fairly light hammer with a broad slightly curved face helps too as it's harder to make hammer dings with it and most light hammers are too small on the face for my tastes.

   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 05/27/03 15:00:51 GMT

Ok, so I'm being lazy and coming here before I do a google.
I'm looking for information on how to roast a suckling pig on a spit over a pit fire. Any ideas on the general length of the spit, (besides the obvious "bit longer than the pig")
thickness, what sort of holders to hold the spit over the fire,etc.
   JimG - Tuesday, 05/27/03 15:09:42 GMT


All of the answers are variable, depending on the weight of the pig. But I'd use a minimum of 1/2" stock, and keep the equipment as simple as possible.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/27/03 15:33:26 GMT

Xeunieus, I would suggest you ask the woman who owns it if a hammer will bounce off it, and about how much bounce. I found an anvil in an antique store that had apparently "survived" a barn fire, but the temper/rebound was shot. Instant ASO.
   Monica - Tuesday, 05/27/03 15:51:26 GMT

Lost Wax: Tony-C, We have an iForge demo that can get you started. The centrifugal part is not necessary unless you are looking for very high density castings. The demo shows some of my failures from not properly calcining the molds.

We also have some demos on mold making.

Wax can be any type but hard jewler's or machinable wax is best to carve. I have used parafin and it is rather weird to work. Some works OK, other batches are crystaline and the stuff can get like rubber when warm, stretch and then return. Historicaly bee's wax has been used but it is very soft. When bee's wax is used it is warmed and molded like clay to make the original. Old Crayola crayons are a good hard wax.

Clay? You probably mean plaster for the mold. Regular plaster of Paris (molding plaster) works but needs sand added. Test additions and the local water. Last year I tried to make molds at an event and the local water had sulfites in it and caused the plaster to flash set (sets instantly upon mixing).

Brass can be almost any type. I have melted down brazing rods and last year we used old keys. Two weekends ago a fellow was melting down rifle shell casings. You can always buy casting brass or bronze. Many plumbing fittings are red brass (low zinc) and some are bronze. Old pre 1983 pennies are a low zinc/tin bronze. They can be mixed with later pennies to produce a nice yellow brass (use 40% new to get a 60/40 brass). The reason the old pennies were replaced is that they were actualy worth MORE than 1 cent in scrap copper. . . so you are not wasting money. Finding the old pennies might be a trick.

If you do not need the features of lost wax (undercuts that prevent use of sand molds) then Delft Clay is much easier to produce very nice castings with.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/27/03 15:55:32 GMT

Edwards Shears: Centaur Forge sells them (the #15) and parts. About a grand, new.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/27/03 16:15:27 GMT

ITC-100 Yes it is thick enough to seal some cracks and what not. For large gaps and rapairs I'd recommend some ITC-200 with the ITC-100.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/27/03 16:21:57 GMT

Hereís a dry, but pressing topic. I need advice about liability insurance. My situation is this- Iím a blacksmith in Ithaca, NY with 12 years experience. Iíve been self-employed operating a one-man shop since 1994, though for the past 6 years I have been only working part time. Since the New Year, circumstances have finally permitted me to work full time, and I am pursuing architectural commissions in New York City. In order to do any work there you need liability coverage of 1 or 2 million dollars total and $50,000 per claim. One if the general contractors Iíve done work for gave me the name of his broker. This broker, who knows about construction and insurance, quoted me a price of $6,000 annually. Itís based on projected gross sales of $100,000 (which so far in my business I havenít sold the smallest fraction of, but in New York City all Iíd need would be a few good commissions a year to generate that.) My problem now is that Iím flat broke! I donít have $6, let alone $6,000. What is a reasonable premium? I want to be covered so I can work, and so I wonít lose my house if I drop a wrench on someoneís head form 20 floors up. Anyone got any advice?
   - Kendall McAdams - Tuesday, 05/27/03 16:35:22 GMT

ITC-100 OK, nuther question about it:
Is it adhesive (sticky) enough to act as an bonding to stick two pieces of tile together with as long as there is no shearing pressure put on the joint?
   Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 05/27/03 17:02:01 GMT

Liability Insurance:
For years I had a 1million dollar liabilty policy thru the American Craft Council. Cost under $1000 per year, required joining the ACC, for something like $65 a year, but that includes a magazine subscription.
the policy was tailored for craftsmen, not big industrial companies, and included coverage for other things as well.
ACC- 212-274-0630
   Ries - Tuesday, 05/27/03 17:14:50 GMT


You have a virus that is hitting my e-mail 10 times a day.

ITC-100: Its not sticky, its a clay, but it will bond some refractories if properly applied and cured by firing.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/27/03 18:42:52 GMT

Insurance: Sorry I can't help you find a reasonable co. There was an outfit that advertised in the Anvil's Ring but who has been hard to contact. My opinion about insurance that is based on the amount of business you do (they audit your books regularly) is that it is nothing more than piracy. The cost should be related to the risk not how much YOU profit. By basing premiums on your gross they are making themselves part of your business by letting you stay in business. . . On the streets this is known as the "protection racket" and is a crime.

Read PO and contract fine print closely. Some corporations include insurance provisions in their PO's (AFTER you have bid the job). Then they refuse to pay until you show proof of that insurance. We have had Nuclear utilities that asked for emergency services and recieved them BEFORE the PO was even issued to pull this crap. They know small contractors cannot fight it out in court so they get away with it.

Beware of the fine print.

One way to avoid field libility is to work through a contractor (who has insurance) and let them do the installation. Add their cost to the job.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/27/03 19:09:32 GMT

Lost Wax Casting:

Thanks Guru! I've been coming to this site for years and have sent many people to it. Always with the disclaimer: read before you ask...and then I go and miss the casting demo in I-forge (I thought I had darn near memorized the projects there)....Doh!

I plan on either buying a set of spurs or making a set for my SCA knight. If I made them it would be "cooler" but buying will give me a better product (likely...when was the last time you tried something new that worked the way it was supposed to?) for less money...maybe.
   - Tony-C - Tuesday, 05/27/03 21:17:00 GMT


Unless you plan on super fancy, spures are not all that difficult to make. Simple prods would do.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/27/03 22:06:26 GMT

Pig cooking: are you going to have a powered shaft to turn it? If not make sure your supports and shaft are designed to both turn and hold so you can get it to cook on all sides! A sq shaft with a rounded section and a support that will hold the sq but alloy the rounded section to turn will work. Also make sure you have a method of holding the piglet on the shaft so it will turn with it. It's easy to take a piece of stock and flatten it in the middle, punch a sq hole that just fits over the shaft then draw out the ends into long spikes and bend them parallel to the shaft a couple of inches out from the hole. Make one for either end.

   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 05/27/03 22:07:23 GMT

Think Thomas meant "allow", not "alloy"... metal on the brain (grin). Great suggestion though... around here when we cook pig we dig a trench and toss it in rather than spitting it, which is pretty easy. A spit is definitely more fun, though. Also, for the supports, you can just split the end of some bar with a hot-cut hardy and make a "Y"--slightly easier than punching for a newbie like me, at least.
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 05/27/03 23:00:11 GMT

Yeah Paw Paw simple prods would do...but I want em to be fancy . Casting is about the only way to get the level of detail I would want. We'll see.
   - Tony-C - Tuesday, 05/27/03 23:04:22 GMT

Tony: "plan on either buying a set of spurs or making a set for my SCA knight. If I made them it would be "cooler" but buying will give me a better product (likely...when was the last time you tried something new that worked the way it was supposed to?) for less money...maybe."

interesting response. what caught my attention was your concern over better vs cool. When I tell people that a gun I made has three screws in it that cost me a thousand bucks can't imagind why those screws were so valuable. But that doesn't tell the story about my dseciding I wanted "real" authentic looking screws, having to buy a lathe, then take classes to learn how to use it and having so much fun that metals calss has led me back to blacksmithing and forge building, etc. etc, etc. It's called incidental learning and living well. Don't buy those spurs. Make 'em and make several sets till you learn how to do it well. You might have the most expensive pair of spurs in America by the time you are finished - but your have a hell of a good time.
   Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 05/27/03 23:14:30 GMT

Spurs. . Details can be carved in as well as cast. On small work like this it is amazing what you can do with a chisle and a file (or a Dremel). If the work has a LOT od detail I would not use lost wax. In wax when your master is gone it is GONE! Permanent paterns are better (and often made of metal but can be anything including mixed media). But you can also carve wax paterns and use Delft Clay (patent gliserine bonded green sand) to make repeated castings. See our NEWS volume 29, May 2003 WV Armour-In, volume 25 Camp Fenby (page 5-6).,
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/28/03 00:02:06 GMT

Tony and Spurs:
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 05/28/03 03:24:28 GMT

Here's an area where I have a bit of expertise to share. Silicone molds can easily be made from carved waxes; if you have a wax pot or know someone with one, you can "shoot" as many copies of the wax as you want from the mold. The compounds used to make these molds are easy to find in jewelry catalogs; if you need help finding them, just email me. Also, these molds can support limited underhang; with experience, your skill at making this work will improve, but the flexibility of the silicone allows for the molding of pieces that might be thought impossible.

For making a good metal or wood master with cold work, I suggest you leave the Dremel in the toolbox and buy a Flexshaft or similar; these tools, made by Gesswein and other jewelry companies, are a motor (usually hung up) which drives a hand tool via a long flexible shaft (hence the name). Their speed is controlled by a foot pedal, so both hands are free. They usually come with a 1/4" chuck handpiece and a pedal. I have a lot of experience with these tools and strongly recommend them for any drilling task that doesn't require easy mobility of the whole setup nor high torque. For making waxes or metal masters, you'll probably need some specialized burrs; ball burrs, cone burrs, and separating (Damascus) discs are all extremely useful. Again, if you want help locating these tools or using them, feel free to email me.

Come to think of it, I don't know what level of detail or what kind of decoration you want on these spurs, but you could forge the basic shape and then coldwork the detail with Dremel or Flexshaft.

Hope this helps you out, Tony.

Blazing hot, humid, and beautifully clear in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 05/28/03 03:29:38 GMT

Tony and Spurs: take two:-(

I have a number of freinds that you can certainly buy nice medieval style spurs from, and even research spurs on the web as well. http://talbotsfineaccessories.com/ Master Talbot has online his private collection of spurs, as well as selling actual antiquities, and reproductions. Master Jamie Black Rose also sells reproduction spurs as well as other cast pieces. Here is his phone number 317-931-0561. If there were more hours in the day, I could forge you some spurs, but I am behind on commissions already:-( But if you can read pagemaker files I can send you an article I wrote on making spurs by forging. And most of the spurs were simpler, and lighter than you might think. But you can do a lot with a files. Look through Master Talbot's Strong Collection of Medieval Spurs, and pick a pattern and a style you would like to reproduce. Careful in the splitting, watch the shoulders, don't draw out the branchs too much, and leave enough material for the terminals at the end of the branchs. And remember that you can always file extra material off if you get nervious about forging to close to finished size:-) Treat it like an A&S entry and do all the research first, then get into the fire and start playing, and feel free to contact me with questions:-) Heck do it as an A&S entry, you never know where it might lead...

Master Sir Fionnbharr Mac Shane OL, KSCA, and spur making was one of the things that they laureled me for.
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 05/28/03 03:48:34 GMT

Pig Roast:

To add to what Thomas said: For an 80# pig (for a friend's 50th Birthday gift and party) I used 8' of 1/2", with the last 2' bent into a crank (and, of course, a "pig tail" on the end of the handle). Skewers are as good adea, as well as making the vertical supports so that you can rotate and hold at the quarter turns. The started cooking at 04:00 and dinner was served about 16:00. Allow yourselves plenty of time, and set up a wach schedule for "pig turners".

Good luck and good eating.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 05/28/03 04:13:35 GMT

I just started making knives last week. Everything is going great but the knives have pockmarks and a rough surface after I forge them. They were not like this before. Do you know how eliminate the rough surface?
   Stephen - Wednesday, 05/28/03 13:11:51 GMT


"Forge it thick, grind it thin!"
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/28/03 14:19:29 GMT

in addition to what PawPaw said you CAN get a fairly smooth finish with the hammer. ON the last few forging heats be sure your anvil has no scale on it to start with and that you also use a wire brush to get most of the scale off the metal. I also use fairly light hammer blows to even out every thing.( planishing is what it is called I think)
   Ralph - Wednesday, 05/28/03 15:28:51 GMT


I was recently in class on starting your own buisness and one option is to set up as an LLC. This way, (as long as you wright a good contract) only the assets of the buisness can be lost if you are sued. You can get addtional insurance on the buisness to protect those assests if you want. The gentleman teaching the class had a consulting buisness where the assests were a computer and some buisness cards so he set up as an LLC and then didn't bother with addtional insurance. Good luck.
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 05/28/03 16:07:08 GMT

Liability for welding & fab, cabinet shops etc are almost allways based on labor costs, with a much lower or no cost for insured subs. A minimum payroll is assigned for active owners (usally 20,000 per year). This quantifies the amount of operations/product and reflects the risk; more labor, more work, more product. Finished products are covered under products/completed operations coverage (the deck or rail that failed 2 years later). Policies are adjusted based on the premium basis (labor). Gross sales are used for Professional, Errors and Omissions or high risk products (shouldnt apply to regular stuff). Start very conservative with your estimates, this should help with cash flow. Know the rate and make sure you include the additional overhead in the job and future adjusted cost. Be sure they are not using 100,000 for labor (6% of LABOR is about right)20,000 minimum at 6% equals 1,200 a year. Use INSURED subs for everything else or charge the uninsured sub your rate. And YES GC's do not enforce the mice type on requirements until time to pay; review before, strike the unreasonable parts (done quite often). If you use the GC's insurance ask to be named as an additional insured and get a subrogation waiver (in your favor)on his policy or you aren't avoiding much liability.

Personally, I am trying to make myself judgement proof, in addition to insurance. Separate corps for business (don't co-mingle funds), property in trusts, cash in mason jars;) etc. I've been sued before and one of the first things they look for is assets or insurance.

When getting quotes remember you are a small account on a busy desk (reality). Be polite, firm, accurate without answering unasked questions and insist on return calls quotes, etc. ALL the disclaimers apply, check with YOUR Agent or Broker before following any of these opinions.
   Tone - Wednesday, 05/28/03 16:16:53 GMT

Pock Marks Rough Texture: Stephen, in forgings this is generaly due to oxidation and or a dirty fire. Repeated heats with scaled steel get worse and worse. What happens is some scale sticks and some flakes off and the result is uneven oxidation AND hammering of scale into the surface. Very minor variations in how you work or the condition of your fire can make a big difference in scale thickness and unevenness.

Marks on the anvil or hammer can also be the cause but the is rare since if you know there is a bad place on the anvil you should not be working over it. Hammers CAN get chiped without notice

Working fast, in as few of heats as possible, is necessary to produce smooth work. You may be focusing too hard on getting a smooth finish and working too slow. . . thus getting the opposite results.

And as Paw-Paw noted, in blade work you do not want to forge too close to the finished size.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/28/03 16:20:14 GMT

Legal Myths: Sole proprietors that convert to a corporation to protect assets are often wasting their time. Technically you are protected but the courts have often looked at who was in charge and held them personaly lible. Everything depends on how good your lawyer and their lawyer is. Both will tell you that you can never predict what a jury will do. Legalities also vary greatly state by state. In Virginia you cannot sue for legal costs so even if you win a case you lose due to the legal costs. In most cases the best thing insurance will do for you is pay the lawyers.

Being incorporated does have some tax benifits AND provides a method for a company to continue to exist after you die.

The best protection most corporations provide is a method to distribute libility and then dissappear. It makes it difficult to sue a company when you cannot find the current owners.

LLC's are a new construct that lets you act like a corporation but run it like a sole proprietorship. Consult your lawyer, accountant and insurance agent before setting one up.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/28/03 16:45:10 GMT

The Guru et al have repeatedly mentioned that a slip belt clutch has much superior control compared to the Little Giant's cone clutch. Given that slack belt clutches are pretty easy to make, has anyone locked up the original clutch on their L.G. and rigged it to run with an idler tightening a slipping belt? Just curious. . .
   John Lowther - Wednesday, 05/28/03 19:00:43 GMT

how or what do you use to drill titainium
   dale - Wednesday, 05/28/03 19:14:29 GMT


It depends on the grade of Ti. Grade 2 commercially pure is easily drilled with a standard twist drill, cut slow (like in tool steel) and take a heavy chip-load to pull the heat out with the chip. Sharpen often... ;-)

Some old titanium pieces I have from A-12/SR-71 crash sites require slow speeds and carbide tooling to cut -- couldn't tell you what the alloy is, or what mach 3+ and skin temperatures did to said alloy (it's just TOUGH!).

More corporate stuff:

The Guru's right (why does THAT continue to happen?). A corporation will insulate from general liability, but the officers of said corporation must have followed all the rules, and not cheated. If the officers have not RUN the corporation correctly, they can (and WILL) be held personally liable.

I recommend a good Accountant; a good Tax Advisor (NOT the same thing) and a good Attorney. Consult all three before making any decisions.
   Zero - Wednesday, 05/28/03 19:50:53 GMT

I'm building a 4'x4' gate with forged elements and have a question about the hinges. Theyr'e made of 1 1/2"x1/2" flat mild stock and are 2 1/2" long. They will be lying horizontal to the ground with a pin running through both. So half of each surface will be sliding around the other. This gate is to be painted. Do I paint the hinges and allow for the thickness of paint in the pin hole? Or do I just lube it all up and hope for the best? And what of the sliding surfaces? Paint or not?
   NICK - Wednesday, 05/28/03 19:51:38 GMT


No Paint = Rust I don't care how heavily you grease, some water will migrate under the grease and the steel WILL rust.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 05/28/03 19:57:06 GMT

Paint and Hinges: Normally hinges are made to fit without paint. Paint is applied and then worked off when the parts are assembled.

I recommend ALL exterior ironwork be sandblasted and painted with zinc cold galvanizing THEN primed and painted. I would leave the top coat off the pins and bores (just the zinc). The zinc will help protect the bared or near bare hinge parts. Grease does the rest.

All iron/steel hinges rust some. Folks often put bronze bushings and thrust washers in heavy hinges. But unless these parts are shielded and well greased there can be bi-metalic corrosion.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/28/03 22:40:08 GMT

I am making a set of shish-kabobs, what can I put on them to make them food safe? Thanks.
   Kerry Stewart - Thursday, 05/29/03 00:40:27 GMT

Kerry, I use either beeswax or olive oil. Walnut oil, canola oil, corn oil etc. would probably work to varying degrees. I think any food grade oil can be used. But I favor the beeswax.
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/29/03 01:35:22 GMT

Gru and any smiths who may know,
I would like to brown some steel for interior decorative purposes and I would also like to put a patina on some bronze that I am planing to cast in the near future. What chemicals would work best in either case? My working conditions are outdoors in the humid weather of the Ohio Valley.
Thanks for any help.
   Will - Thursday, 05/29/03 01:44:45 GMT

John Lowther, Excellent question about locking up a Little Giant clutch and running it on a slip belt clutch like a Fairbanks ect...I am waiting for an answer on this with you John.
   - Robert-ironworker - Thursday, 05/29/03 03:15:14 GMT

Where do I look to find comparisons or suggestions on what type/brand of plasma cutter to buy? I plan to cut up to 1/2" metal and will use it in a shop. I have scanned the advertisements and notice that some have more electronics than others. Any suggestions?
   doug - Thursday, 05/29/03 04:20:26 GMT

Do you have any recommendations on what brand of plasma cutter is best? I plan to buy a plasma cutter capable of cutting 1/2" thickness. Plan to use it in shop, no need for portability.
   azdoug - Thursday, 05/29/03 04:25:07 GMT

Sorry for the double-up here. I thought I did something wrong the first time as it did not show up.
   azdoug - Thursday, 05/29/03 04:25:56 GMT

Hmmm... a local gigamall is tossing out four roll-off containers full of old shopping carts. I want some! Gonna go cut me off a few pieces next week. They're all chromed, though; does anyone know a good way to remove chrome without electrically deplating it?

Spent forty minutes using one of my school's hot shop's glory holes as a forge today... heaven! We have an Arm & Hammer wrought iron/tool steel anvil up there, on which I'm beating out a pair of shears for said hot shop. It's pretty dinged-up, but doesn't seem to affect the finish of my pieces all that much, which is good, since I don't own it and can't grind off the 1/16" that I'd need to to clean it up. Heat it and beat it! (VBG)

Furnace tanned in storm-threatening Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 05/29/03 05:18:00 GMT

T. Gold,

Try burning it off. Should work. Stay upwind, just on general principles.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/29/03 12:47:15 GMT

PawPaw I think I would be leary of chromium fumes, but with the brain damage and oxygen depletion I already have, I can't remember if chromium is almost as bad as zinc to breath. I just make it a general principal to avoid ANY nasty fumes. Wasn't there a thread on welding fumes from rods with high chromium, and them being BAD?

Old enough to know beter, most of the time;-) (I just picked up a better resperator from grainger, got a super deal on it, a half mask resperator for 8$ instead of 28$, I'm thinking of doing a forced air system for my resperator, filter smilter, I am just going to get clean air and bring it to me:-)

Take care of your body it's the only one you have, and you will need it later:-)
   Fionnbharr - Thursday, 05/29/03 13:10:34 GMT

Hello, I'm desperately trying to find out about what design of iron gate is appropriate for our Grade II Listed Regency House (built 1840 - but Regency Villa style) which is by the sea on the South coast of Devon. I cannot find any helpful website or book. I've been to libraries and spoken to English Heritage, but no one seems to know of a good source of information. THe house is a very particular style of Regency villa with an ornate iron-work balcony on the front of the house. Do you have any idea on a good book or source of info?

I would be extremely grateful for any help you could give.
THanks very much
Kindest regards
Juliette Terry
   Juliette Terry - Thursday, 05/29/03 13:41:59 GMT


May I suggest that you repeat elements of the balcony iron work, so that the new work will blend with the old? I think that would be better than going with a different style entirely.

Also, I will ask a friend in England to read your message, he may be able to offer some assistance.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/29/03 14:06:31 GMT

Howdy- i got this great gig this spring, building a steel greenhouse on a rocky bluff over the lake. it's all welded construction, 14'x30'. i noticed yesterday that i'm surrounded by lightening-killed juniper trees. I plan on leaving the jobsite when the boomers start rolling in, my question is, would a grounded lightening rod on the top of this construct help the building? does lightening weaken steel and welded joints?
thanks, mike
   mike-hr - Thursday, 05/29/03 14:35:44 GMT

Juliette-- theres a master blacksmith at the college in herefordshire, named adrian legge. he would be an excellent source of information.
   mike-hr - Thursday, 05/29/03 14:39:23 GMT

I would season them the same way you do cast ironware. Clean and shiney first then a thi coat of cooking oil and bake in oven (~200 -250 Deg F).
   Ralph - Thursday, 05/29/03 15:03:16 GMT

Supplied Air Masks: Fionnbharr, be carefull NOT to use compressed air from a non-approved air compressor. Breathing air must be free of oil and be humidified. Dehydrated air can result in pneumonia due to drying out lung tisue. Non-approved compressors often have cadnium coated parts and lubricants containing heavy metals that are toxic.

Supplied air masks are best supplied by a fan with an adequate and regularly replaced filter. A large hose (about 1-1/2" dia.) is used to connect the fan to the mask.

The larger the filter the longer it will last. Although not designed for breathing air automotive air filters are large and inexpensive. Snorkels (U shaped tubes or covers) reduce the amount of particulates picked up by the filter. Putting the entire unit out doors insures that shop air is not being filtered. However if in a dusty location (next to a driveway or pollen source) then outdoors may not be as good as inside.

Supplied air masks are the best because they do not rely on a good fit you your face. Good respirators require a tight fit, come in different sizes AND require one to be clean shaven. Any hair caught under the edges of a respirator (male of female) renders it useless. But supplied air masks can leak everywhere and do a great job.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/29/03 15:29:06 GMT

Juliette, I second Paw Paw. Have the smith look at the old balcony, if it is original to the house.

My father has a turn of the century home that has two distinctly different styles of iron work. Some is in OK condition, and some about to fall to pieces. The better condition stuff is the older. Good craftsmanship pays off, even if more expensive to begin with. (The new stuff also clashed, so I'm fine with replacing it, anyway.)

In addition to two tiers of balcony and a front rail, the Architect that originally built the house included sections of accent ironwork periotically. If the smith doesn't come to the building to personally look at the old ironwork (Red flag in my not so humble opinion) make sure to send him/her pictures of all such work.

   Monica - Thursday, 05/29/03 15:46:38 GMT

Lightening: A properly grounded steel frame building is the safest place to be in a thunderstorm. There are lots of pros and cons to lightening rods.

1) Lightening starts at the ground and goes UP.

2) Sharp points "attract" lightening.

3) Electricity always takes the easiest path (best conductor and/OR shortest path.

Ground systems for lightening rods are different than those for electrical services. They usualy require a number of rods set in the ground some distance apart.

The best ground system for lightening OR electrical system is a ground ring around the foundation OR cast into the footing and connected to the rebar (if the footing has it).

Good heavy conductors are required. "0" (One Ought - about 1/2" dia.) size copper wire is commonly used as a main lightening conductor. The same size is used to connect together the parts of the ground system as well as the lightening rod.

The conductor usualy runs up a chimney because that is a non-flamable surface.

Pro-cons. . IF a building is in a low place and is not lightening prone then a lightening rod rising above a building with its sharp point may "attract" more lightening.

In order for a metal building to be safe every piece of metal needs to be bonded together with heavy copper wire. Machinery and metal objects inside a building may shorten the electrical path and touching them AND the building frame may make you the shortest path to ground. . . OR if the building frame is not well grounded and the objects inside ARE (such as a machine or pipe connected to the electrical ground) then the shortest path to ground will be whatever is connecting the two OR in the air gap between the two.

Metal buildings in a lightening prone area need a well designed heavy duty ground system. Then they are in effect their own lighten rod. However, to prevent stray ground paths due to rust, painted joints and such many steel buildings DO have external lightening rod systems. The lightening takes the heavy copper conductor to (from) ground rather than through the less conductive steel.

Its a lot to consider and there are experts to consult. The lightening rod and frame ground system is a seperate part of the building that is not usualy included in the cost of the steel.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/29/03 15:58:36 GMT

Will - browing metal is easily done - it's called controlled rusting and I do it frequently on flintlock barrels and other parts ofhte furnitures. I use a browning solution from Birchwood Casy called "Plumb Brown" and you vcan get a bottle from Brownells of any gun shop like Kittery Tarding post or Herters. Basically it is an acid that quicklyu rusts the surface and then you stop the process and oil the piece. There are other solutions as well, some have used muriatic acid and some vinegar, to variuous degrees of success. Laure Mountain Forge also markets another solution that is very slow but is more controlled.
   Jerry Crawford - Thursday, 05/29/03 16:36:22 GMT

Will~Jerry, BC's Plumb Brown has to be heated to do the job. There are a few "cold browning" processes that are slow but effective. The easiest is to use a mild solution of muriatic acid & water to pickle (totally clean) and let it rust naturally in the humid weather, lightly removing each coat of rust with a fine steel wool(carding) that has the oil washed out until the desired color is reached. The humidity and temperture will determine the time it takes. I got a very interesting browning design on a rifle barrel by making a trench out back (I live out in the sticks) and lining the trench with dry oak & cherry leaves-plugging the barrel of course, and laying the barrel on the leaves,covering the barrel with the leaves and keeping the whole set-up moistened with a 50/50 mixture of draino & water. Only took a couple of days in warm weather for a heavy layer of patterned brown. After steel wooling and oiling it looked almost like laminated work. Brownells of Montizuma(sp), Iowa may have some cold browning solutions
   Jerry - Thursday, 05/29/03 18:31:48 GMT

Juliette; may I commend to your attention "Wrought Iron and It's Decorative Use" by Maxwell Ayrton and Arnold Silcock

It was published in 1929 and may be hard to find a copy; but it has a large number of very fine english gates in it.

Ch 1: General History;
Ch 2: Introductory;
Ch 3: 14th - 17th centuries;
ch 4: 17th century developments;
ch 5: Jean Tijou;
ch 6: the welsh smiths;
ch 7: the west end of england smiths;
ch 8: the midland smiths;
ch 9: miscellaneous examples;
ch 10: the decay and revival of smithcraft;

Thomas bibliophile Powers
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 05/29/03 18:38:37 GMT

Hi Will, for interior work and you need to broun it there is two ways. One, go to a gun shop that has muzzle loading stuff, and get a bottle of "plum brown" bluing solution. The nest way is to cover your item with "crisco" and put it in the oven at 450 degrees for an hour. You will get a brownish color with some purpleish and blueish colors. Now the oven thing is really only a color coating and is not deep into the metal. Spray with a clear coat of Kylon latex enamel. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Thursday, 05/29/03 20:08:54 GMT

Laurel Mountain Forge is a "cold browning" process.

Muraitic acid is a very fast browning (rusing) agent that works cold. If you place the object in a closed container (a box of some sort) and set in a 1/2 cup of acid diluted with a 1/4 cup of water and close the container the vapors of the acid will put a beautiful brown on the object over night. I found this by accident. I once left an open container of acid on the floor in my shop over the weekend. I had been etching soem forged iron and forgot it was still there when I got called away. When I returned on Monday all my gun barrels, all my wood working tools, (table saw, drill press, jointer, et al), and all my hand tools (chisels squares etc) had a lovely even coat of rust on them. Anything steel and not covered up or in a drawer had browned on the exposed surface. It took me months to recover the mess.
   Jerry Crawford - Thursday, 05/29/03 20:19:24 GMT

T. Gold,
I have used a solution of tobasco sauce and white vineger to take chrome off of brass belt buckles. After a good over night soak I used a buffing wheel and tripoli to get down to the brass. This solution removes tarnish and rust from small items but will ruin the shine of most anything. Old cola (Coke, Pepsi, Mr. Pib, etc.) is also supposed to work but I have never had much luck with it. When buffing use an appropriate filter mask.
   Will - Thursday, 05/29/03 21:57:14 GMT

how does one earn a doctoral degree in "metallography"?
doctor of philosophy? (PhD)
what university or college offers a PhD program in metallography?

   rugg - Thursday, 05/29/03 22:43:07 GMT

rugg - this sounds like a specially (self) created doctoral program within the engineering department of some Engineering college. Assuming you have a post graduate degree (Masters) in metalurgy or some allied field of knowledge take a swipe at contacting a few and see what they call it or how they respond. Sound like a interesting self designed program idea.
   Jerry Crawford - Thursday, 05/29/03 23:26:20 GMT

Rugg, Jim Hrisoulas has a PhD in Metallography. He took his undergraduate degrees from my alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines. I chatted (briefly) with him in the pub one night. He received his degree in France but I regret I cannot remember the name of the university. It is a highly specialized degree and I do not believe any US college or university offers it.
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/29/03 23:51:23 GMT


Was it the Sorbonne?
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 05/29/03 23:53:59 GMT


Endless hours of retropection, and humility will gain you a PhD in Metallography. Or... Set that flypress, and get to pounding steel! -- your choice... ;-)

(Just teasing!)
   Zero - Friday, 05/30/03 00:00:38 GMT

PPW, It could be, I really can't remember. I do recall wondering why a person would earn a PhD in an area most metallurgists consider "lab technicians work". However, the science of metallography is an extremely important aspect of metallurgy. It is the foundation of our ability to analyze and understand what the metal is doing in response to our "abuse" of it. Metallographic techniques involve a variety of mechanical and chemical processes to reveal the structure of the metal.....hmmmm I begin to see the tie-in with making those incredible patterns....
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/30/03 01:27:03 GMT


A belated thanks for the sharing of your research!

That gives me some idea of how old it could be. As for price, mine was around $350. Is that a normal price for a shear in good shape guys?

Interestingly enough, one of the prevous owners being of slight stature, had constructed a composit handle about 6' long, which I am using now. Aparently the handle that was on it at the time was about half that size. As are most of the ones I have seen, which are all aparently about half the recomended size. When he was making this handle his brother, also a blacksmith(who was definitaly NOT slight of build, but instead was lacking in cranium ocupancy) asked what he was doing. When he explained, the larger brother laughed and said,"That won't do anything. . .

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 05/30/03 02:40:36 GMT

Ellen and old iron work

The difference between the old ironwork on your fathers house and the new, could be as simple as the old stuff was actually decent wrought iron, and the newer stuff was mild steel. All issues of style and fabrication aside of course. :-) Dirty arc welds and no painting for twenty years could really take a toll on mild steel... Where as traditional technics and wrought iron holds up pretty well after a hundred years:-) Unless you have a sea breeze:-)
   Fionnbharr - Friday, 05/30/03 03:10:51 GMT


I'd begin looking at schools that offer advanced degrees in metallurgy - I'd try some of the older schools that have a pretty wide and deep history of association with metals rather than ones emphasizing an advanced degree in materials science. Too often materials science today leads off into polymers, ceramics and other specialties. Schools that come to mind that may offer a specialized PHD in metallurgy/metallography include Carnegie-Mellon University, Penn State, Lehigh, Drexel, Colorado School of Mines, possibly the University of Pittsburgh. There have never been a large number of US schools graduating consistently large classes of metallurgists. For example my class from CMU in 1974 was 15, and that was in a top steel producing area near the top of a steel boom. Good luck finding a school.
   Gavain - Friday, 05/30/03 03:31:07 GMT

Thanks, Will. Hopefully I'll be putting that to the test this weekend; I'm going to get as many of those terrific casters as I can to add to some anvil stands. Anyone got any clever wheeled stand designs? I have a few in mind myself but other people always seem to have better ideas than I (grin).

Also, does anyone have any images of well-dressed hammers? Not the suit-and-tie kind, but a nice radius on the bits that had sharp edges when they left the factory. My glass teacher kindly told me to pick out a few drum sander belts and stick them in my locker exclusively for metalwork, so I want to take some of these gnarly corners off of my two hammers (especially the 2lb sledge with the nail-gripping ridges on the faces...).
   T. Gold - Friday, 05/30/03 06:08:25 GMT


Don't have any pictures such as you describe, but do have a couple in Tuxedo's. Will they help?

All right, I just couldn't help myself.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 05/30/03 13:51:31 GMT

I need to do a leak test on a 100# propane cylinder. I'm thinking of testing with compressed air and soap. Anyone know a better way?
   Ron C - Friday, 05/30/03 14:35:16 GMT

to all that responded to the "metallography" question, thank you. this discussion spur is in no way meant to slight or disrespect mr hrisoulas. he is clearly more than a master craftsman.

i am a little sensitive when the word "doctor" is used. O.D. ( doctor of optometry) vs a PhD in biochemistry; both legitimate uses of "doctor". the years, pain, suffering, politics, ect. is different. all that aspire for the PhD will not achieve it. juris doctor vs medical doctor? 3 yrs post undergrad without additional training gets you a JD. 4 yrs post undergrad and several years of training to follow is what most MDs experience before "out on their own". are mechanical engineering degrees post graduate achievements? do you major in mech eng in undergrad, get a BS, and satisfy some course requirement for you to work as an engineer?? a PhD in engineering is very difficult, yes???

one of my competitors claims to have a PhD in biomechanical engineering from stanford. i thought this was BS and looked into it. no such title exists. it is too specialized. you can call yourself a protein chemist. your research interests are in peptides; if you have a PhD it is in biochemistry.

a doctorate degree in the microscopic structure of metal, alloys, ect..'ography means taking pictures. i dont understand how one can be given a doctorate in "metallography" and it doesnt surprise me that no US univerity offers this program.

ideally, when one's education and training are published, specific details are provided. " BS univ of kansas, major criminal justice, JD from univ of NE"...ect

mr zero, i am with you there...this press is way heavy. need to construct something to put is on as step one!!!
   rugg - Friday, 05/30/03 14:54:07 GMT

QC, one more, sorry...

do you think that he worked harder, had tougher competition, or went through more pain than you?? (metallurgist vs "metallographer")

   rugg - Friday, 05/30/03 14:56:40 GMT

Ron C. Putting air (contains oxygen) into a fuel gas cylinder? NO!!! Please! Unless you can assure that the combination will not be a flammable mixture. I assume of course that this propane cylinder has had a fuel gas in it at some point. What are you testing for leaks anyway? The valve?

If there is any question of the integrity of the tank, it's ability to hold the considerable pressure of propane, a propane or welding supplier should hydrotest it. This is done with liquid. If a tank is tested with conmpressed gas and it fails, the pressurized test gas can make the failed tank parts become projectiles. If the tank is tested with liquid, and fails, the liquid pressure drops nearly instantly and just leaks out. The difference is the compressibility of a gas compared to a liquid.

What are you trying to accomplish?
   - Tony - Friday, 05/30/03 15:31:42 GMT

Testing Tanks: Ron, See Tony's warning above! Pressure vessels are tested with liquid that is pressurized by a pump or stand pipe that has NO stored energy. That means that even the water is not pressurized with gas or air.

Water is most often used. But after hydrotesting the cylinder will have to be dried and then purged. In fact, these cylinders must be purged of AIR as it contains moisture and with cause valves to freeze up or clog with chunks of ice. In the past purging was done by fill and vent methods but today it is done with a vacuume system.

Also note that propane cylinders are not rated for compressed air service.
   - guru - Friday, 05/30/03 16:23:15 GMT


I am working on an estimate for my first large-ish project, and 9' square fence, and I am trying to make sure I don't miss anything.

I plan on haveing the fence professionally sandblasted and painted, but I can't find anyone around who does galvanizing. If I have the fence treated at the local auto painting place would I have a finish that would hold up well? I suspect it would just be paint and primer, but probably better than anything I can do on my own.....

I really want to do this right, but I can't easily drive the fence to NC (the closest place I have found) to have it galv.

What should I expect to pay for something like this? Each panel will be about 4.5' long by 4' high.....

Thanks in advance!

   Jim - Friday, 05/30/03 16:39:11 GMT

Rugg, there is definitely such a thing as a biomechanical engineer, my brother is one and got his Master's in this field from GA Tech. Apparently there is such a program at Stanford too, "The BME Division is one of five divisions in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Division originated as the Biomechanical Engineering Program within the Design Division. The BME Program was formed in 1991 and underwent a rapid expansion. In December 1995, the Program received Division status, and the division and faculty are experiencing ongoing growth." The link where I got this is http://www.stanford.edu/group/biomech/
   - mstu - Friday, 05/30/03 16:47:54 GMT

Dressing Hammers: TG, The shape of a hammer face is pretty much a personal preference. Most quality American made hammers have a properly radiused face. All that needs to be done is the machined corner of the chamfer to be rounded to about a 1/16" radius. European metalworkers hammers are rough ground and the user is expected to dress the face and edges. In fact many of these hammers are much too flat and require considerable dressing. Old worn hammers often have a very nice shape that mearly needs polishing. However, it is also common for old hammers to have become flat from use.

The more radius there is on a blacksmiths hammer face the faster it will move metal. But it will also tend to leave a wavy surface. So it is a compromise. Most hammers have a fairly large radius of 4 to 6". A lot of times it is equal to the length of the hammer.

Then there is a matter of the corners. Sharp corners leave obvious marks. From the factory mose hammers have a healthy 45° chamfer. On American smithing hammers the chamfer is enough to produce a circular face and still have at least an 1/8" chamfer. Where the chamfer and face meet is greater than 45° due to the face radius. This corner should be radiused.

If you do not know how much then use this method. starting from a crisp corner split the difference in angle and carefully grind or file a 1/8" (3mm) wide flat. Then, splitting the angle of the resulting corners make two flats 1/3 the width of the original, leaving 1/3. At this point you should be able to lightly blend in these flats and have a nicely dressed hammer.

IF the hammer is a typical new French/German type Peddinghaus such as from Kayne and Son or Centaur then the face and the corners need serious work. The face needs to be radiused first as they are often flat or slightly curved only on one axis. Then all the outside corners need to be radiused from the side. After these operations then the chamfer may need to be reground and then radiused at the face.

Grinding things to a controlled shape is a skill. I can go at it with a heavy grinder by eye without screwing things up. Others will make a mess with a fine belt on a belt sander.

I have a few hammers I am working on for before and after photos but it will be a few days. I have photos of repairing the face of a large 14 pound sledge that someone either tried to hammer very hard rough tool steel with OR scared with a grinder or torch. It was hard to tell and required removing almost 1/8" of the face.

The amount of face and corner radius is a personal preference that takes time to develop. You can have heavily radiused faces with almost crisp corners and flat faces with heavy corner radiuses and everything inbetween.
   - guru - Friday, 05/30/03 17:00:56 GMT

Rugg, I believe Jim has a BS and an MS in Metallurgical Engineering and I am sure we suffered equally to get where we are. A PhD in almost any science is a challenge and anyone who has a legitimate PhD after their name gets my respect for the effort. When you consider that metallography is an extremely narrow field of specialization, he probably had to literally write the books he used. The "literature search" is usually the starting point of any research project, to find out what has already been done. With a narrow field of study, the search may be shorter but it also leaves you with fewer resources for reference.
   - Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/30/03 17:45:42 GMT

Rugg, one more point of clarification. I am technically not a metallurgist. My degree is in Metallurgical Engineering. 3 years of Basic Engineering, 2 years of specialization. It is like the difference between a chemist and a chemical engineer. Both know the chemistry but only one can put it to work in an industrial application. The Colorado School of Mines, and a few other colleges, used to offer what was called the Professional Degree. It took 5 years (for most of us) and the 5th year was mostly 1st year graduate school classes. It took about 170 semester hours to graduate. I belive Jim Hrisoulas also has this degree. To recognize the distinction between the Professional Degree and the BS degree, the Professional Degree Diplomas were engraved on sterling silver. If you ever have occasion to look through the ASM handbook on Metallography and Microstructures, you will get an idea how sophisticated and complex this field can be.
   - Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/30/03 17:56:06 GMT

Hi is any one there
   - Natan - Friday, 05/30/03 18:22:38 GMT

mstu, i dont disagree with you at all. the PhD is in mechanical engineering. BME is a division of the engineering dept. i may be splitting hairs, but purely speaking, to say that one has a PhD in biomechanical engineering i believe is incorrect. a PhD in mechanical engineering from stanford, with research, teaching, and interest in biomechanics i believe is the proper way to describe this. he/she is indeed a biomech engineer. each division or subdivision of a dept cannot offer a PhD; the dept does.

i never doubted that a "metallographer/ 'ist" ever existed. i just thought it would be odd that a PhD could be earned, again, purely speaking.

QC, thank you for your thoughts. the difference between the engineering dept and the chemistry dept., and where the certificate was issued from is one of my points..it can be confusing.
how does one become a metallurgist? purely speaking, you are an engineer with a minor in metals, so to speak, correct??

i would guess that if a literature search was done, most of the references would at least mention mr hrisoulas. make no mistake, the complexity of the field no doubt is vast.

legitimate PhD; i have to think about that. if it is true that university depts offer PhD programs, then how could a PhD in nutrition be legit, since a dept of nutrition does not exist. my point; it is not legit.
   rugg - Friday, 05/30/03 19:23:56 GMT

Tony & Guru, I suspect the valve is leaking. I was wondering if a few pounds of air ahd soapy water would be a safe way to reveal the source of the leak. I had a scuba tank explode right behind me in a friend's shop. Blew pieces into the walls & ceiling. Scared the hell out of me & a piece of metal nicked me on the butt but no one was hurt. Ron C
   Ron C - Friday, 05/30/03 19:43:27 GMT

I have a client that has a outdoor woodstove that need to be repainted and wants something that will not only withstand the heat but also the weather. She told be that she tried painting it with barbeque paint that she got at a local hardware store but it didnít last more than a year or two. Can anyone recommend a more industrial product that is intended for such things?

   IA Forge - Friday, 05/30/03 20:15:20 GMT

Rugg, yes it can be confusing explaining the difference between a BS and a Professional Degree. Most engineering degrees, the 4 year variety, require a certain number of Basic Engineering classes, eg, calculus, physics, mechanics of materials, etc. CSM adds classes in mining, geology, thermodynamics (I took 3 thermo courses!), fluids, LOTS of chemistry, technical and humanities electives, electrical and electronics, land surveying, ad naseum. We were even required to take 2 years of Army ROTC! Yes, I suppose you could say it is an General Engineering Degree with 2 years of specialization in Metals. A normal BS degree would probably not require as much General Engineering study. The objective was to produce an Engineer with a broad basis of study with an emphasis on practical engineering solutions. My last year it all came together with a quote from my favorite professor, Dr. J.D. Lubahn. "All engineering begins with the answers to these two questions: What do I have and what do I need?" If you can answer those two questions, you have the problems on the run.
   - Quenchcrack - Friday, 05/30/03 21:58:06 GMT

John Lowther, Go over to keenjunk site and read the answers to your Little Giant clutch question, I asked it over there for you and there is some good advice to be had.
   - Robert-ironworker - Friday, 05/30/03 23:07:07 GMT

Paint: IA Forge, it is the nature of high temperature paints to chalk and not hold up. The problem is that no paint binder can take the heat. Old fashioned wood cook stoves were enameled (actualy glazed with a glass ceramic that is cooked on in a kiln). This holds up well to weather but is not usualy applied to both sides. However, they DO enamel both sides of washing machine liners. The problem is that is is a production process.

An out door wood stove should probably be cleaned and painted annualy the last use of the season.
   - guru - Friday, 05/30/03 23:46:13 GMT

LG Clutch Question: Sorry I missed that one. Yes it would be possible but is not as easy as it seems. Slack belt clutch pulleys have guide flanges on both sides to keep the belt from falling off when slack. The pulley is crowned as a normal flat belt pulley and has the guide flanges. These can be replaced by close fitting guide bars that the belt slides against when loose.

On late type LG's with the rear mount clutch this modification would be fairly easy, even the motor mount lends itself to this change. On the older center clutch types the tensioner and motor would both need to be positioned above the hammer.

Slack belt clutches need to be made using FLAT belts. V belts will engage and disengage but do not slip well and wear excessively when they do.

Note that most LG clutch problems start with a worn clutch bearing and just locking up the clutch may result in the pulley running out of true.
   - guru - Friday, 05/30/03 23:53:55 GMT

Guru: High temp paint what about Powder coating? is that not hight temp paint.. I know that all the alu that I bring them at the paint shop they bring it up to 350'.So that is will stick and it does not come off ...
   - Devon - Saturday, 05/31/03 01:01:24 GMT

T. Gold and anvil stands

Try http://www.iforgeiron.com -> tools -> anvils. There are several anvil stands shown there.
   - Ntech - Saturday, 05/31/03 01:21:32 GMT

Just a quick question about your #2 safety lenses... I notice when I'm staring in to the forge alot to check the color of my metal( I try not to stare anymore than neccesary but it is a bit mezmerizing) that I have a hard time not staring once I'm done so I figure that's BAD and I need to protect my eyes more. I have tried tinted glasses in the past and I couldn't see well enough when I was at the anvil so I kind of gave up on them. Are your #2 glasses light enough to prevent this?? Thanks Wendy
   - Wendy - Saturday, 05/31/03 02:03:42 GMT

not all powder coat is the same when I worked at a metal box comp. they had a powder coat line for some of the work, if the line stopped and the boxs stayed in the oven to long they were shot the oven was set at 500 if I remember right the idea being that the boxs only got to 350-400 running through the oven but if the line stoped... well let me tell you scorced powderpaint don't look to hot.
now on the other hand the headers on my buddys hotrod were powder coated and he regularly gets them up to 1000-1500.. paint seems to be holding up ok
   MP - Saturday, 05/31/03 03:47:44 GMT

Wendy, That is what they are for. In fact I have used them at night and you could see the metal better than without. . . a weird light color thing.

Getting used to any shade while forging takes time. If the contrast between forge and anvil is too great then try to increase the lighting at the anvil. Many folks suffer with using arc welding helmets and not seeing where they are striking an arc. However, in good daylight you can see well through a number 12 shade. The problem is in poorly lit shops. A spot light on your arc welding table can cure the poking around in the dark.

   - guru - Saturday, 05/31/03 03:49:10 GMT

Powder Coat Temps: Wood stoves commonly get up to a low red in places (1,000 - 1,200°F). I've seen black graphite based stove paint burn and turn white. . . The only exhust system paint I have seen that did not change color was the white. I'm no sure what the pigment is but it holds up better than black.

AND. . . exhust system paint does not protect from rust any better than graphite stove paint. Keep both hot and dry and they don't rust. Ignore them in the weather for six months and you end up with rust.

Keeping things that operate at high temperature from rusting is a problem. In industry they use exotic alloys like inconell to beat both high temps and oxididation. And as I noted ceramic coatings work. But paints are problematic.

   - guru - Saturday, 05/31/03 04:26:19 GMT

Rugg & Quenchcrack

Regarding metallurgists and becoming one. I consider myself to be a metallurgist, who is currently employed in a powdered metals manufacturing plant (we make the powder, not parts) as a quality assurance engineer (responsibility for quality system and ISO 9000 certification). (And who is a hobby blacksmith with an interest in historical blacksmithing) My degree is a BS in Metallurgy and Materials Science, which was issued by the department of the same name. The department was one of the departments in Carnegie Institute of Technology (the engineering school section at Carnegie Mellon University). We had to take some humanity courses, and first year engineering was pretty std for all disciplines - basic courses in calculus, physics, chemistry, etc. After that, except for the humanity electives, we basically took courses offered by the MMS department until senior year when we had a few technical elective options.

I don't usually consider myself a metallurgical engineer because I associate that with being professionally licensed, and I've skipped taking the required certification tests.

My experience in industry has been that the job titles are used loosely - I've officially been titled claims metallurgist, Metallurgical supervisor of heat treat, Senior regional engineer, Mechanical Lab Supervisor, and a bunch of other things sometimes engineer sometimes metallurgist but I still answer to "hey you". To the best of my knowledge, there isn't much in the way of guidelines as to what makes one officially a metallurgist rather than a metallugical engineer, or a process engineer.
   Gavain - Saturday, 05/31/03 05:37:18 GMT

I agree that the whole PhD designation can be quite confusing. Part of this arises from the fact that the actual diploma only says "so and so is awarded the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy" and the only delineations provided are the date and university. Another problem is the extreme degree of specialization required to obtain the degree. In essence, to get a PhD, you take a couple of years worth of general classes (complex, but general) and then must spend the next 3-5 years developing a research discertation which focuses on a specific subject in a single field that no one has ever looked at before. As a result, each PhD is a specialized part of a specialized field.

I suspect your competitor uses PhD in Biomechanical Engineering as a title to explain the thrust of his research in the engineering department. It's an extremely common practice in academia, and is done to distinguish a specialized field of expertise from the complex cluster of fields that are lumped under "engineering". Even with that specification, it probably doesn't begin to describe, in any detail, what he actually wrote his thesis on.

It's a fact of life. We're drowning in a sea of specialists created by the requirements of PhD programs, but remember, the best specialists are the generalists, who can take their detailed and specific knowledge and apply it to the "big picture".

If you do decide to go for a PhD, here are a few things to consider:

Look at the faculty interests as well as the school. Most people don't know specifically what minutia they want to focus on for their PhD. If you do, great! If you don't, find a school that has research areas that look interesting. It leaves more choices.

If you're married, discuss it in detail with your spouse. A PhD will suck your life away for several years. Doctoral students have one of the highest rates of divorce in the U.S.! Even with my wife being aware of the hardships ahead, she still wanted to kill me before it was over.:-)

Make sure you have the commitment. If you can get accepted into a program, you have the smarts to pull it off. The difference between grad school drop-out and PhD is the will to keep pushing when you don't want to. Everybody wants to quit at some point. It's stressful, but if you hang in there, it's rewarding too.

   - Rugg and the PhD - Saturday, 05/31/03 07:42:39 GMT

Rugg and the PhD:

Okay "Rugg and the PhD" isn't my name! I think it's nap time. :-)

   eander4 - Saturday, 05/31/03 07:47:27 GMT

Ron, there is a term used when dealing with flammable gases. It is LEL (lower explosive limit) and UEL (upper explosive limit). This varies with products but without a gas analyzer you will have no control over what it is at any time.
A cylinder of propane (or other) is quite safe because when you have straight gas (100%) and no O2 you have no means of supporting combustion. If you use compressed air then you will have a cylinder full of propane and air (which is 21% O2) and you will probably be within your upper and lower limits. This is a most dangerous situation, explosive mixture+comfortable temperature+confined space+metal spanner=what you read about in the news all too often. and dont think you can purge all the propane out of the cylinder. The molecular structure of the cylinder is such that it absorbs propane under stored pressure and even after being flushed and washed will continue to give up propane gas for some time.
Yes soapy water is the way to test but using air as the source is not. Pure nitrogen or other inert gas is. However by the time you get a cylinder of N2 and hook it all up, find the leak, and then rectify it you may as well have just bought a new valve.
   - 12 bolts - Saturday, 05/31/03 08:00:41 GMT

IA Forge, about painting the wood stove...

If the price allows, have you thought about trying some ITC-213? If the customer won't go for the color (dark grey), try mixing in soot or graphite in small samples and wear-testing it... not sure how it'll hold up and it'll sure soak up more heat with the colorants mixed in, but I bet that probably wouldn't be a problem. The ITC-213 might even increase the stove's efficiency.

Wondering if taking people's trash is illegal in misty Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/31/03 09:41:16 GMT

Propane valve test. Ron,

If you suspect the valve itself is leaking, you might take it off the propane cylinder, open it to let most trapped propane dissipate and screw it into a suitably designed pipe assembly that you can apply compressed gas to and bubble test away. I'd still use nitrogen like 12 bolts said. But I happen to keep a welding cylinder of nitrogen around for tires. The test setup might cost as much as the valve too.

Or why not just fill the cylinder with propane and bubble test?

As part of my day job, I pressure test things all the time with gasses and liquids. Vacuum to 30,000 psi. You can't always find a leak! Duplicating the exact pressure and temperature profiles with the same size test medium molecule can be challenging. What the seals do under pressure can also be quite interesting. What leaks at 2 psi might seal fine at 3 psi. I strongly suggest getting a new valve if there is any question. About $25 last I looked.

The internal pressure in any propane cylinder can be well over 200 psi if the weather is hot. NOT something to mess around with. Unless you have really big balls and like the adrenaline rush of living on the edge. Grin!

And yes, I have had the new OPD valves release propane when the tank gets hot also. The whole OPD thing was a tank manufacturers, lawyers and politicians hay day. At the expense of you and I as usual. The real problem was/is lack of knowledge. Only education can truly make things safer.

So lets all go get a PhD or two! Grin.

Or learn here. Much more fun.
   - Tony - Saturday, 05/31/03 13:09:34 GMT

my 2 cents - FWIW.

I ran into a similar set of problems making the fuel system for my propane forge. I'm pretty ignorant of gas line construction so I hired the local hardware store plumber to assemble it for me to my design. After I got everything home I assembled the entire system and pumped 30# PSI of air from my compressor into it adjusting the regulator from 0 to 30 PSI. Then I soaped all the joints and connections. Found three spots that leaked. Luckly, it was a matter of snuging down the joint. Soap works.
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 05/31/03 13:26:57 GMT

I am a blacksmith in our church's vacation bible school and I am in need of info. regarding blacksmithing during Christ's period on Earth. I have tried lots of searches and haven't come up with anything. I would appreciate your help.
   Andrew Schwartz - Saturday, 05/31/03 13:57:28 GMT


I am working on an estimate for my first large-ish project, and 9' square fence, and I am trying to make sure I don't miss anything.

I plan on haveing the fence professionally sandblasted and painted, but I can't find anyone around who does galvanizing. If I have the fence treated at the local auto painting place would I have a finish that would hold up well? I suspect it would just be paint and primer, but probably better than anything I can do on my own.....

I really want to do this right, but I can't easily drive the fence to NC (the closest place I have found) to have it galv.

What should I expect to pay for something like this? Each panel will be about 4.5' long by 4' high.....

Thanks in advance!

   Jim - Saturday, 05/31/03 16:31:03 GMT


It's really hard to say. If I was doing the job, it would be highly dependent on the level of detail that was on the fence "panels"; the more detail, the more moving around I'd have to do with the blaster and the more time it would take. Have you considered Cold Galvanizing Zinc Spray? It's often available from hardware and boat-supply stores, as it's an excellent coat for trailers and such. I really have no clue from your post of what kind of final finish you want, and since I haven't used the spray before, I can't be sure what you'd get with it. However, I would bet that you could just spraypaint over the zinc spray without any problems; alternatively, you could use spray enamel for a longer-lasting coat. Just my $0.02...

Misty and warm (it never changes...) in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/31/03 21:08:06 GMT

Andrew Schwartz. New Testament era smithing. I had a smithing student, Adam, who studied the Torah and rabbinical teachings in Isreal for several years. He said that to his knowledge there was no native blacksmithing at the time the Romans came in. In fact, the Romans probably brought the craft to the holy land. At least, that was his opinion.

Regarding PhDs, I attended Michigan State in the l950s, and they had some odd curricula. At that time, one could get a PhD in Packaging Technology or in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Right or wrong, the university was preparing you for life in the real world.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 05/31/03 23:03:40 GMT

Blacksmithing at year ZERO: Andrew, The iron age was about 1500 years old in the middle east at that time. The bronze age had preceeded it by four or five thouseand years. So metalworking was fairly well developed. The biggest difference at that time was that iron was just as valuable as silver or gold or ranked close to them. Since tools to work iron are also iron and steel the cost of the iron in the tools was quite high so they were considerably smaller than modern counterparts. Hammers were about the same and tongs not much different. But anvils were quite small. The vise would not be invented for another thousand years or so. Techniques were not much different than today. Air was blown on a charcoal fire using a bellows or wineskins, the metal heated and forged. It could also be welded using the fire and steel was hardenable just as it is today. There is a distinct probability that the smith also worked brass and bronze as well as iron and steel.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/31/03 23:07:44 GMT

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