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This is an archive of posts from May 17 - 21, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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I have the book Anvils in America, and I can't find anything about serial numbers on a Peter Wright anvil, it does not mention using serial numbers to identify the year.One thing it says is that If it has the word England on it it was made after 1910. I would need to know what it looks like and everything written on the side to give a better estimate based on the book.

also about the USA anvil. I have one of those, mine weighs 55 lbs and has the letters USA in the side. mine is a cast steel anvil, and has decent rebound and does ring when I tap it with a hammer.It looks almost identical to the Rockwood anvil on page 225 in Anvils in America, except it has the letters USA instead of Rockwood.
   Brian Nalley - Tuesday, 05/17/05 07:51:03 EDT

Lining Cast Iron Forges-I am helping a friend rebuild a champion blacksmiths type forge. I recnetly saw the same model in use with a refractory lining. I have been given recommendations both to line this forge, and to use it without a lining. What is the consensus of the group on this issue? I don't want it to crack, and I have seen numerous cast iron forges with severe cracks. Thanks for your help.

   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 05/17/05 08:04:00 EDT

On random numbers on anvils I had a discussion with Richard Postman on them. He said he can find no real rationale for them and they might have been used to identify the anvil crew, inspector marks or even to identify a particular lot of metal back to the source. Only Trenton, Hay-Budden and Arm & Hammer were known to put on serial numbers (and even then apparently not on all of their anvils). Only William Foster and Fisher were known to put on dates. With WF it is presumed to be the actual date as it is stamped in. With Fisher it was the date the mold was introduced or possibly reworked. However, year of production, if not a match, should be very close. Since they used a wood pattern I'm told the numbers were just bradded on, so it would have been fairly easy to change them on the pattern. With most anvils the only way to get a general date is the style, logo (wording) used and placement of it.

This isn't to say PW might not have started to put on serial numbers at one time and then abandoned the practice.

There are a couple of possibilities for the USA anvils on hardness. For example, for those with Anvils in America look on page 139 at the Buffalo Forge Company anvil ad on the right. Note last line. "These semi-steel anvils are considerably cheaper than regular steel anvils and are entirely suitable for such light work as is usually done in a Manual Training Forge Shopo, but when preferred we can furnish a steel anvil of any standard manufacturer." Postman is not sure what they might have meant by semi-steel (perhaps something akin to ductile iron) but does note, "These were said to be made of semi-steel, with a chilled face and made in weights from 50 to 150 pounds". Chilling cast iron to toughen it was fairly standard on plow shares at one time (see the history of the Oliver Implement Company). My understanding is something was placed in the bottom of the mold which would quickly cool the top of the anvil after it was poured, giving the easy of casting a complete anvil, but with a top harder than traditional cast iron.

I have a 60-pound anvil which meets the requirements for being a Badger without a decal. I can find no top plate on it, yet the top is very, very hard, but the body is softer. Will have Richard take a look at it at the next Quad-State, but perhaps it is also a cast iron anvil with the face chilled hardened.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 05/17/05 08:39:43 EDT

How do all, I am looking for a little advise about caring for my new anvil (is it noraml to keep looking appreciativly at them???) - though i do alot of work (repair etc) on power hammers I am a newby to the art itself. So... ive acquired this anvil, which I think is steel, no makers mark, guessing 2 - 3 cwts, but not weighed yet. Ive given (her?)a light dressing over the face & bick with a 'soft' grinding pad but theres quite a few dwell / hammer marks still showing, now, is it ok to take a skim over the face on the miller? , or will this ruin it?? I like the pattina, and aged look but the engineer in me wants it flat! theres (obviously) alot I dont know about anvils, such as if the face is tempered etc, any advise will be appreciated by a newby!!
   john - Tuesday, 05/17/05 08:54:17 EDT

in reply to myself.... just read a lot of the previous posts (yes, should have done that first) re anvil repair and I can see its not a yes / no subject by a long shot! - I think ill leave it well alone for the mean time, and try and stop thinking like an engineer and appreciate it for what it is!! :)
   john - Tuesday, 05/17/05 09:17:50 EDT

I am thinking about backyard brass casting and have been told that I should use a respiraton, I guess because of the zinc. I checked McMasters and there are pages of respirators. What do I need? Acid fumes/cartridge mask was the most likely thing I saw there. Is an army gas mask ok?
   John W. - Tuesday, 05/17/05 09:40:53 EDT

Semi Steel is ductile cast iron.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/05 09:51:49 EDT

How much is too much? A friend just gave me a 3/4 hp squirrel cage blower to use for my forge. It has a output hole about 12x6. I dont know what the output is in cfm but it was a household furnace blower. Is it too big for a forge?
   John W. - Tuesday, 05/17/05 09:54:10 EDT

Thomas P:

I thought ductile cast iron was a relatively new technology. Does it go back to the late 1800s and early 1900s?
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 05/17/05 10:46:10 EDT

Thanks for the info on the forge floor and hammer technique.

With drawing out I use what is taught here in iforge of using rounds and peen, then flatten. It works wonderfully for me until the work gets smaller then .5”. Was wondering about this form because it seemed to work better for drawing smaller/thinner metal, points and wedges.

I am still learning hammer control and look at what others are doing. I do not want to injure my arm so I may ask on a couple different hammering styles as I encounter them. I remembered this style mentioned here but do not remember when and still trying to find it in the archives.
   Arron Cissell - Tuesday, 05/17/05 10:54:54 EDT

This is going to be a long post with multiple questions, so please bear with me. I took metal shop in high school, and my main draw was the forge. My teacher said my tailgate hook was the best he'd ever seen. I now have the opportunity to work in a renaissance fair as a weaponsmith. I will be expected to make functional and decorative pieces, as well as maintaining the swords used by the knights in live combat. The main concerns I have are as follows... What processes should I use for a decorative piece, as far as annealing, hardening, and tempering? What processes should I use for a functional piece? I will also be having to put some projects on hold over night, and pick them back up the next day. How should I store unfinished works overnight, while the forge is shut down? As far as working the metal, is it okay to heat it one part at a time? Or do I need to heat the whole object, even to work on only a small part? I apologize if I didn't look the site over thoroughly enough, but I only have a week before I start, and I'm going to be busy in the meantime. I don't really have the time to do all the research for myself. Thanks in advance.
   Kirk - Tuesday, 05/17/05 11:05:04 EDT

What I've read about blowers for a single burner forge is a 150 cfm works. See this website: http://home.flash.net/~dwwilson/forge/fgpl.html

Also note the concentric rings in the burner, these coallate
the air/gas flow and quiet the forge down significantly.
   blackbart - Tuesday, 05/17/05 12:13:03 EDT

Black bart: Sorry, I wasnt clear, I am talking about a coal forge with a 3" id air inlet.
   John W. - Tuesday, 05/17/05 12:45:24 EDT

At the risk of sounding snooty and putting a damper on your enthusiam I think you are jumping in on the deep end of the pool. If your smithing experience consists of making one hook in high school metal class (whether it is the best one your teacher has ever seen or not) I don't think working on swords would be the best idea. As has been often said around here makig swords are at the peak of a mountain that you are just starting to climb. Of special concern to me is the possibility of someone using a flawed sword that then snaps and sticks in unintended body parts. You would feel pretty aweful and likely (and justly) be held fiscally responsible. Stick with hooks, forks, tremmel chains, and other assorted iron work that will not have as catastrophic effects if it fails until you get a better understanding of what you are dealing with. And in the mean time read the getting started and sword making sections of this site. Please don't let this curb your enthusiasm.
   Martin P. - Tuesday, 05/17/05 12:57:46 EDT

Hello, fellows.

I am condidering making a trip to Birmingham Alabama to get some coke. Has anyone here done business with Empire Coke?:


Mike Mandaville
Austin, Texas
   - Mike Mandaville - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:04:25 EDT

If I might suggest you really need to read up on casting. And not just the physical process but READ and LEARN all the safety issues about the metal(s) you will be using.
If possible find a local to you group or individul so you can watch and help and learn.

Remember even small amounts of liquid metal can and will go everywhere. Did you ever play with mercury as a child. If you did I imagine that you remember how fast it gets out of control. NOW just think of the mercury as being molten due to being very hot.

Libraries and book stores have good books about the whole casting process.

What am I saying? Well if you are not even sure about a resparator you need to learn more.

Remember use the most valuble tool you have.... your brain.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:20:00 EDT

Kirk; if you don't know the answers to these sorts of questions you are not ready to be portraying a weapons smith; you might make a great assistant to one though.

I've been smithing for close on 25 years now; spent a year apprenticed to a professional swordmaker, (6 days a week in the shop, no pay, 2 meals a day with the family, etc) and I still do not do certain bladsmithing procedures under demo conditions. Most knives I do do for a general audience demo I test to destruction because like a man cannot serve two masters you can't concentrate both on the steel and on the crowd. When our group demo's for events we have three people minimum; one to watch the display table and roped off smithy, one to talk with the crowd and one doing the actual smithing. It's nice if you can switch off with these people so everybody gets a turn to have "fun".

Check up on your liability for injuries either from the demos or from items you have made.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:24:02 EDT

Hello again everybody

I could use a price check on a

Roger Lorance Swage 50# Block. The corner where the serial number is has a .5” section broke off. He wants $100.00 for it.

Is this a good price? The only one I have found was a 75# Swage block and it was $185.00
   Arron Cissell - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:26:06 EDT

John W. The furnace blower while not the best choice is available. An ideal coal forge blower is a pressure blower. These have straight blades that radiate out from the fan axle. The furnace blower is a squirel cage blower and is intended to make a large volume of air move at pretty low pressures. A small blower off a copy machine, or from a surplus store would be easy to adapt to the three inch size you need. Another excellent source is the suppliers who advertise on this site. They sell very good blowers that are just right for the job.

   ptree - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:33:49 EDT

The price of things depends on many factors. East coast?, West coast?, time of year, yard sale, flea market "antique" dealer? is the item in the sellers way? What is the condition of the item? How "rare" is the item? What is the size of the item? The list goes on and on.

Some people have a knack for good prices and others don't. With the little info you provided, for me on the west coast of the U.S. not needing another block at this time, if the block had many usefull shapes and was of a reasonable size say 4" thick and 12" x 12" I would be willing to pay that for a block. Your needs and market may vary
   Wayne Parris - Tuesday, 05/17/05 13:58:24 EDT

Arron Cissell: Check out the suppliers listed under the Advertiser's section under the NAVIGATE link. See what they are getting for new, similar blocks. I normally use the rule of thumb not to pay more than 60% of new for used, but then you have the damage cited. Also something might be worth more if picked up vs shipped because shipping adds to the cost.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 05/17/05 14:03:34 EDT

John W.
On respirators.
There are many things to consider when picking a respirator.
The first and most critical one is the choice to do the job that will generate the hazard, and then whether to wear a respirator. A good friend to us all on Anvilfire recently chose to do a job, invloving a hazard, without the respirator, and with the complications of his bad health, paid the ultimate price. Please always err to the side of caution. The following are some of the issues to consider;
1. Can you safely wear a respirator? Many persons with lung health issues or heart problems can not safely wear a respirator that requires the wearer to pull the air through a filter. Powered respirators are available, but are very expensive.
2. Some can not wear a respirator due to clastrophobia.
3. Facial hair in the area to seal the respirator to the face will not allow proper protection. Facial scars will also cause a lack of seal.

There are half masks, and full face masks. Full face masks are easier to get a seal on, but require a special set of eye glasses if you need them to see..

Now lets talk hazards. There are fumes, dusts, and mists.
Fume is the solidified droplets of a metal that were atomized in melting. Think welding, casting and oxy/fuel burning.
Vapor is an evaporated material such as a solvent. Think painting, pesticides, solvents.
Dust is fine particles and fibers. Think grinding.

Some filter types can handle several types of hazard. Some filters can be stacked to handle several hazards. ( stacking filters increases the resistance to breathing)

In the U.S., in industry, I as a safety guy am required by OSHA law to put a worker through a respirator physical by a doctor. The questionaire is about 108 questions as I recall. Then I would have to train you in the fitting, testing for seal, identifing breakthrough of the hazard, removing the respirator, cleaning and maintnance, and then fit test for a good seal. This would be a yearly requirement. As a hobbiest, you should visit you doctor to insure that your heart and lungs are capable of handling the burden. Do not use a hardware store paper mask, as they do not protect much. If any respirator is used, a NIOSH rating should be plainly stamped on it or it is not worth using.

That all said, Hagemeyer at 502-961-5930, ask for Mike, and tell him you saw it on Anvilfire for better price,has a very nice half face mask from A.O. Safety, called the
   - ptree - Tuesday, 05/17/05 14:16:17 EDT

Sorry post cut off,
The best half mask I have ever used is the A.O. Safety #50107(for a large) Quicklatch for $19.32 The P-100 filters in the low profile size to fit under a welding hood or face shield is the #50532, $26.10 for a box of 10.

Army gas mask? As a former U.S.Army CBR NCO, NO! wrong filters.

This is a long post that does not come close to providing a real leason, so if you work in industry see you safety professional and ask for help, we get paid to do just that.
   ptree - Tuesday, 05/17/05 14:21:49 EDT

I have a bunch of 1/2" and 3/4" emt tubing to flatten 1 1/2" on each end and I need some ideas on how to set a jig up to do this. I thougt of using a big hammer but after being laid up for two days with sore shoulder I thought I would ask the experts.
   smitty7 - Tuesday, 05/17/05 14:33:57 EDT

Having trouble with the Rosebud on my torch (sat unused for too many years to count. It readily lights, no apparent restrictions in the oxy or acet orifices. Lots of bangs, loads of soot but no heat. Needed for a repair job I don't want to disassemble, to heat in the forge, to straighten. I know, I know what's wrong, it's just the line is busy to my brain. Any suggestions?
   brian robertson - Tuesday, 05/17/05 14:39:56 EDT

Smitty7 if I had that job to do I would use my flypress, one yank per flat end. I would use a piece of 1/8" stock as a stop held to the table with a c clamp.

Since You can't tell us what you have access to it makes it hard for us to guess what would work for you. Treadle hammer? Small powerhammer, Daughter's boyfriend---it's amazing what they will do trying to win your approval...

I'm going to insatall a positive pressure mask as I have a beard and will enjoy the breeze during the hot summers----hmmm may have to hook up a miniature swamp cooler to it. And yes I will have a bee/wasp filter on it! I'd hate to be responsible for my friends injuring themselves laughing after a description of a mask/wasp interaction...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/05 15:05:14 EDT

Ken Scharabok,
Not knowing how to post a photo on this forum, I sent you email(s) to your *.aol acct. Its from my civ email account (nnn0rau@hotmail.com.. works sometimes but still free ;-) I'm not at work thus, unable to access my other email (published) acct from home. If you have an opportunity, please review the photo and provide whatever insights you may have... Your experience is sincerely appreciated.
   russ - Tuesday, 05/17/05 15:59:12 EDT

Brian Nailey,
ditto what i sent Ken via email... Any insights would be sincerely appreciated!
   russ - Tuesday, 05/17/05 16:03:15 EDT

I hate bio-focals... can't see or spell... sorry
   russ - Tuesday, 05/17/05 16:12:39 EDT

Yeah, I know I shouda put more info in but was in a hurry to shut down on acccout of a t-storm. A treadle hammer would be nice along with a fly press, but all I

have is hand tools. I don't think that I'm going to get away from the hammer just hoping someone had a better idea.
Thanks anyway, Was just feeling flustered.
   smitty7 - Tuesday, 05/17/05 16:36:25 EDT

ThomasP. Laugh? who me? Might cry from holding it in, but laugh? Never:)
   ptree - Tuesday, 05/17/05 16:56:27 EDT

Smitty7, some way you could design a form that would allow you to drive a car over it apply pressure to a number of levers closing a number of the pipe ends at the same time? Borrow an arbor press?

If you were near me you could use my flypress.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/05 16:58:41 EDT

flattening tubing.
Well how many pieces are you talking. Perhaps you can fab together something like a smithing magician and have a youngster hit with a sledge.

If it is a lot as in 1000's then make something like an old clothes wringer. Use a set of screws to crank it down.

   Ralph - Tuesday, 05/17/05 17:39:09 EDT

I'm trying to diagnose a problem with a Nazel 4b. When the treddle is first depressed there is a metalic banging coming from inside the main houseing. The noise is at the same BPM as the hammer when in opperation. I adjusted the bolts on the bronze bushing that forms the linkage at the bottom of the piston shaft. That was not the problem. Any suggestions on the cause, or places I can find a manual and/or schematics? Thanks
   Wayne Suhrbier - Tuesday, 05/17/05 18:58:27 EDT

We don't normally think of anvils as musical instruments, but in Verdi's 1853 opera "Il Trovatore", there is an "anvil chorus" with Spanish gypsies striking their anvils at dawn. At the World Peace Jubilee held at Boston in 1872, the anvil chorus was performed by an orchestra that included 100 Boston firemen striking 100 anvils. I hav a scan of a photo showing about half of the anvils if there is a logical place to post it.
   Neal Bullington - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:26:18 EDT

3-M Respirator Guide http://multimedia.mmm.com/mws/mediawebserver.dyn?7777771amfi7oYv7HYv77V&N4FpZZkAp-
Care should be taken when using a respirator (Filter Type)depending on health a Pulmanory Function Test maybe need or at less a Questionaire with a Doctors review.
   BobbyN - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:35:59 EDT

More on Welding and Protection.
   BobbyN - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:41:04 EDT

Flattening tubing:
A regular machinists vise will do it. Wouldn't want to do 1000 that way, though. Maybe a pneumatic vise? Or try an impact wrench on the screw of a vise you don't care about?
   Mike B - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:43:43 EDT

ptree: About the blower: what I want and what I got are different. But, I have a whole house-system vacuum cleaner blower(one speed) and a squirrel cage blower (4 speed motor). I'm thinking that I will hook up the vac and see how it does and save the 3/4 hp blower motor for a belt grinder. That will also mean I dont have to make a reducer for 12"x8" to a 3 inch round pipe.
   John W. - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:48:25 EDT

   BobbyN - Tuesday, 05/17/05 20:54:46 EDT

1/2" and 3/4" emt don't take any great force to flatten. Just make a quick jig that will provide for a stop to gage the length and any method at all to flatten tham. For less than a hundred, I would just use a 4# hammer and piece of plate to act as a flatter. The plate could be on an arm with a bungee cord to hold it up. Slide in the tubing, smack the plate with the hammer and repeat as necessary.

If I had a thousand to do, I would do pretty much the same thing, just improve the jig to get the flats perfectly located, eithe rcentered ot not as desired, and I would hire a hammer swinger (striker) for a couple hours to do the job. With one person feeding stock and the other smacking, a thousand pieces would take only a couple or three hours after jigging.

If you have ten thousand to do, build a quick single-blow pneumatic hammer. A 1-1/2" diameter cylinder with a 5 or 6" stroke would do lovely and a hand control valve would be all you need. Build the jig and airsmacker, buy insurance, and get a college kid to run it. Smash one Kentucky Fried drumstick to impress the kid with the reasoning behind the safety warnings.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 05/17/05 21:25:27 EDT

John W since a cheap blowdrier puts out too much air for a reasonable sized coal forge I thing a whole house vacuum might be overkill.

When I was doing a trench forge about 3' long I used a shop vac and that was overkill I had to stake down the two pipes with an air gap and then use concentricity to control the ammount of air to the tuyere.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/05 21:32:02 EDT

JOhn W,

That vacuum motor will blow fist-sized chunks of coal about five feet in the air if you don't throttle down the intake.

Regarding casting brass: Look at the iForge demo on casting. Look at it again, paying great attention to the safety cautions. Get some books on jewelry casting, such as Sharr Choate's book "Creative Casting" and *study* them. Then get C.W. Ammons books on casting, Chastain's books on casting, and any others you can find, and *study* them. Then go watch someone else do it a couple times. After that, try the jewelry casting. Then assist someone experienced when they do a larger pour. Do it again. Re-read the books and do it one more time. Or two. At this point, you MAY be ready to try it on your own. Or not.

Brass melts at a temperature that will char flesh to ash in seconds flat. Charred flesh does NOT grow back. Burns almost always get infected. Infections are bad. Get and learn how to use a good first-aid kit. Every blacksmith should have at least one. Life is dangerous. Just *how* dangerous is largely up to you.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 05/17/05 21:35:17 EDT

Burns-- Keep a close watch on any burn and at the first sign of that nasty pink aurora around it, slather on a thick layer of silver sulfadiazene 1% (prescription necessary) and bandage it with gauze. At the very least get some Neosporin on it. As Vicopper says, burns tend to get infected. And once they start, in my experience, infections do not stop spreading of their own accord.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 05/17/05 23:12:06 EDT

Pipe flatner:

if its square: pre crimp the ends with the pipe holder side of a vise( the v shapped toothy side, on the bottom) after that beat repeatedly( and eighteen or nineteen yr old kid should do any older they want to much $ any younger they want to much mommy) if round pipe: get a swedge expander from a welding supply store( I have a wasp brand and bang per buck it does OK) shave the round rings ( located on top and bottom of rubber gasket) into a eye or almond shape( pointy on both sides "" ) get a cheep! set of ratchet set extenders, place swedge into pipe and hook it to a high tork LOW speed drill( air if possable ) and expand the tube untill past the round( starts to develope a corner). Then apply helper listed above.
   - Timex - Wednesday, 05/18/05 01:00:33 EDT

John W.

dude you need to look at the cfm's needed to supply air the the coal! Both hair driers and house vac's are TOO powerful. The house vac. will pretty much BLOW the coals out of the forge and on as well as into every thing. An cheap alt. is a standard house hold 'Fart fan' ( bath room vent fan), It too comes with a varied speed ie : " Ho man it stinks!", " hmmn whats that smell ", and " Corn! I don't remeber eat'n corn". It also can supply too much air but you can cover the intake and not hurt the motor.( cardboard carberator).
   - Timex - Wednesday, 05/18/05 01:13:01 EDT

Bear in mind for some thousands of years the air supply to blacksmith forges was a bellows. Probably initially an animal hide and then latter the single and two chamber, tear-drop shaped we are more familiar with. While it does take a bit of an air blast to get a coal fire going, once it is, it takes very little air blast to keep it at heat. For example, if using a hand-cranked blower, when forge welding the air supply is maybe 30-60 rpm as you want to limit the oxygen to just enough to bring the metal up to forge welding temperature. It is way, way, way easier to oversupply a coal fire with an airblast than to undersupply it. As noted in an earlier thread, it is better for the blower to limit air intake than to regulate air exhaust.

Surplus Center (www.surpluscenter.com) usually has a variety of 12v, 110v and 220v blowers.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 05/18/05 06:29:09 EDT

In Australia we call them 44 gallon drums, you call them 55 gallon barrels. They will both kill you the same. No matter how long they have been empty there is often enough inflamable liquid locked into the rolled seam top and bottom just waiting for you to apply an oxy torch or angle grinder and turn it to gas. You may be less lucky and live as a cabbage. Salvage yards will cut drums or barrels to your requirements at much less cost to your family.
   Hugh McDonald - Wednesday, 05/18/05 06:46:42 EDT

Ken, USA anvils were made recently and may still be, though I haven't seen any new ones in the last couple of years. They were cast, painted black and shipped. I will find out more information for you at the Madison, Ga conference this weekend. (Where when, etc)but they, like the Coscoa anvils (cast steel)don't have much historical significance. The Coscoa foundry was in Panama City, Florida in the early 1980's and cast a number of anvils for our FABA group. They were cast in a mold made around a 140# Hay Budden and are decent anvils, but I traded mine for a 100# Peter Wright which is a bit more portable. They also cast a larger stanless steel anvil for a friend of mine. You could have your on logo cast on it too.

Brian, I suspect the problem with your torch is deteriorated "0" rings. That happened to a set I got from Sears in 1954. Have your local welding supplier send it to the repair facility to be rebuilt.
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 05/18/05 07:17:40 EDT

I asked this question a few days ago, but I think it got missed with everyone sharing their stories about Paw Paw.

Should a cast iron blacksmiths style Champion forge be lined with refractory to prevent cracking of the "table"?

thanks. Patrick
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 05/18/05 07:51:10 EDT

Ken: what a great web site. thanks. I will scale down my concept of air needs.
   John W. - Wednesday, 05/18/05 08:37:01 EDT

I am going to guess that what you have is a rivet forge. These are shallow and the cast iron tends to heat up from the fire and cause great stress in the pan. This stress will more times than not result in the pan breaking. If this is what we are talking about, I would line it with clay. This can be nothing more than local dirt with a bit of water to allow it to be shaped. Let this dry in the sun then make a fire in the forge. This will also allow you to form a "ducks nest" if the forge does not have one. A ducks nest will help shape the fire also.
   Wayne Parris - Wednesday, 05/18/05 09:00:38 EDT

Ron Childers:

Please do see if you can get more information on the USA anvils, in particular where, when and how (metal content and process) manufactured. I would like to pass it on to Richard Postman for his information and files. At least the information will be documented somewhere for future historic reference.

On the www.surpluscenter.com site, they are a surplus dealer and as such their inventory is subject to change as they sell out. As with anything ordered, check out what S&H will be before purchasing.

Although I haven't crank it up in several years now, I have a coal forge with the largest of the SOF&A Zeller firepots. The blower on it is only about 6"x6"x6" but put out more than enough air for it.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 05/18/05 09:32:50 EDT

Ken: they have a multitude of blowers from 6 to 25 cfm for under $10.I will check the junkyard and the local home store for ventilators and then make a choice. I forged out part of the feed pawl for my champion drill press. I need a larger piece of metal for the arm. I am not very sucessful at my upseting techniques. I have a piece of mild steel that is just under 1" or a little less in dia and I wanted to bump it up to make a 11/16 X1" rectangular bar at the lower end for the other part of the feed. It did not do too well. I am afraid to use to heavy a blow for fear of folding it up. Any words of wisdom on bumping up a 12" long bar?
   John W. - Wednesday, 05/18/05 10:24:43 EDT

Patrick I will assume the opposite and guess that you have one of the close to 4' square champion forges. All I have seen in "old" shops were lined with firebrick; but they didn't expect to move them once they were in place.

So what is a "blacksmith's style forge"??? and how does it differ from a regular forge?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/18/05 10:37:14 EDT

UPsetting: John, a good friend of mine calls upsetting an "upsetting experiance". Here are some hints.

1) Don't do it at all, start large and draw down. .

2) Localize the heat. This can be done by partialy quenching the piece and is how you make an upset in the middle of a bar.

3) Quick blows work better than slow heavy blows.

4) Use the quick blows to push down the edges slightly then strike the raised center, repeat. The raised center helps concentrate the blows in the middle of the work.

5) Clamp in a blacksmiths vise and upset. Note that when you do this the vise can easily compress the hot metal in the jaws. If it is oversized it is not a problem but if not then it is (a problem).

6) Forge a shoulder, drop the part in a swage block or clamp lightly in a vise and upset. Note that SOME of the metal beyond the shoulder will extrude into the hole or vise. Plan for it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/05 10:41:14 EDT

Paw Paw's passing; this past Monday seemed gloomier for me when I learned of Paw Paw's passing. I met Paw Paw at Quad State last fall. I enjoyed several hours of conversation with him. He came across to me as that near ideal 'Uncle' everyone wishes they'd had. Irascible, honest in praise and criticism, mixed with a wry sense of humour. I feel honored to have talked and spent time with him.

Draconis - for a round/square anvil keep checking the scrapyards. I came across two rollers at the local scrapyard. 220 lbs each, 7 inch dia by 23 inches long with
bearing stubs at each end. I'm between Toronto and Kingston Ont. if you're interested in one. As for your question about the metal block in cement check out the 'Basic Bladesmithing Set Up' shown on Tim and Marian Lively's web page (www.livelyknives.com). I intend to do something similar with one of the cylinders mentioned above (after removing at least one of the bearing stubs.)

Sunny at 13 Cel. North of the Lake (Ontario.)

   Don - Wednesday, 05/18/05 10:55:38 EDT

USA Anvils: Paw-Paw had one in his shop. It is just one of thousands of worthless ASO's made by various foundries and is not worth noting otherwise. Paw-Paw had someone machine the face down considerably then he had a large block of steel hed had tried to bolt to the top unsucsessfully. I remember him saying he had bought the anvil and used it a couple times in desperation but quickly replaced it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:00:52 EDT

Gothic design forms:

I'm interested in the design elements used in gothic ironwork, and woodwork. A primt example of this is at http://www.artist-blacksmith.org/education/drawing1.jpg. From the article I see that the basic designs are created using a compass to layout circles. I've gone through a couple exercises, but need further guidance.

Any suggestions for resources where I could find out more information about how to make these design? The article references a book Drawing for Carpenters and joiners, 1870. I'd like to get my hands on that book, but haven't been able to locate a source yet.

   - Tom T - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:21:35 EDT

New development: I found some copies of the Drawing book on abebooks. Happy days.
   - Tom T - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:25:04 EDT

my cast iron forge was retired due to cracks. But it was not due to heat and rapid cooling, as both new cracks happened while it was cold. I believe that it was just due to metal fatique.
My forge is a lever operated one and it did put a lot of twisting stress on teh forge pan.

   Ralph - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:32:28 EDT

Forge-Thomas, I was trying to indicate that what I have working on is NOT a round rivet forge. It is similar to what we used to use at the OSU renfest for demos. It may be a bit heavier than that, but basically the same idea.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:50:04 EDT

New question-what material is used in Bic lighters to generate sparks? Is it flint, like flint and steel, or is some other material?
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 05/18/05 11:52:03 EDT

Patrick; Do your search on "Misch Metal" to find the composition of lighter flint.
   3dogs - Wednesday, 05/18/05 12:47:45 EDT

unless its one of those 'fancy' electric spark lighters I'd say its a good bet its flint and steel, if you take it apart you'll find a little spring shoving the flint up against the striking wheel, over here in the uk you can still but packets of 'flints' for your lighters.
At last! a question I can answer :)
   - Tinker - Wednesday, 05/18/05 13:36:35 EDT

b***er! 3 dogs just kicked my a** on that one LOL
   - Tinker - Wednesday, 05/18/05 13:37:57 EDT

The "flint" in a lighter is cesium (sp?).

Sorry to hear about PaPa.
   - grant - Wednesday, 05/18/05 13:51:04 EDT

thanks guru. I will give it another try. I just took my lunch hour to go to a junk yard and found a nice piece of bar just over 1" so I can forge it down if the bump up doesnt work again tonight. found some angle iron and 4 legs off of something square metal that will make great legs for the forge I am building. I got some 55-nickle rods to try to weld up the pipe on the bottom of the forge. If that doesnt work I will make a new one or sheathe the old one. The junk yard also had a wealth of pieces of iron pipe in 3 to 6 inch sizes.
   John W. - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:04:51 EDT

Thanks for all of the ideas. I've got over 900 pc. on this job. I have been thinking of a magician w/ spring return but Mr Thomas idea of using a car has merit. I wonder if atruck would work? I'll have to get back to you on that. (Must be that dry desert air)
   smitty7 - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:07:17 EDT

Camp Fenby and Musical Anvils:

With Paw Paw gone(which still hurts more than I could anticipate) I’m putting out a call for anyone who wants to demonstrate blacksmithing/metalworking at Camp Fenby this year. If Jock comes, he can spend his time NOT doing intricate calculations on my behalf, but it would still be nice to also have someone to replace Paw Paw.

The concept behind Camp Fenby is simple: some come to teach, some come to learn, most of us do both. Generally, emphasis is on artifacts and processes of the medieval period. In the past we’ve done blacksmithing, silverwork, small scale brass casting (sword pommels are popular), spinning, weaving, pottery, wood carving, woodworking, cheese making… Just about anything one can find an instructor (or an interested group of instructees) for.

There’s usually one or two morning sessions, one or two afternoon sessions, an open forge at night, plus feasting and singing. We also plan to be launching and operating our smaller vessel, the Gyrfalcon, from Wade’s Landing near the point; and may run some folks over to look at the Sae Hrafn, which should either be getting the finishing touches or actually be in the water by then, at Solomons Island. Blacksmithing projects may include some fittings for the rigging and a small “lunch hook” size Viking period wooden-stocked anchor.

Saturday night we usually have a crab and seafood feast, sing songs that would make a sailor blush (as several sailors have) and talk far into the night.

Costs are minimal (mainly to cover the porta-potty), there is camping on-site, and there are several reasonable motels in Charlotte Hall and Lexington Park.

We’re having a clean-up, set-up and barn sale session (disposing of some of my father’s tools and excess medieval reenactment gear) the weekend before, June 18th and 19th. Camp Fenby is Friday through Sunday, June 24 through 26.

If you belong to Yahoo Groups, there’s a bulletin board for Camp Fenby at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CampFenby/ . There are also several items in the Anvilfire News pages.

Musical Anvils:

I took my eldest daughter, the theatre techie, to see Carmina Burana a few months back. As part of the program they had a "Viva Verdi" prelude to the show, and featured the Gypsy Chorus. I was crushed to not that they used chimes instead of an actual anvil! As I understand it, actual "musical anvils," either manufactured or selected from industrial stock, were traditionally used for this piece (as well as a piece involving some dwarves in one of Wagner’s "Ring" operas). Well, I guess a couple of chimes are a lot easier to lug around than a 100#+ anvil!

Partly cloudy and fixin’ to rain on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your national Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:11:35 EDT

Smitty7---geodesic dome perchance?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:15:38 EDT

The thought of getting in and out of the car 900 times just sounds like too much work! If you don't have one, a arbor press is inexpensive from a place like Harbor Freight. A small fixture is all you would need under the press and it would squash that EMT easy and it would be quick.
   Wayne Parris - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:21:03 EDT

I have a large amount of Sterling Silver. I am wanting to change it into .999 silver instead of .925. How would I do this? How do I seperate the copper or alloy from the silver itself. Is there away?
   Chris Bothwell - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:51:28 EDT

also I am looking for a new electronic silver tester to make sure I am dealing with real silver. Where would I get one?
   Chris Bothwell - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:54:20 EDT

Ah! 3dog nailed it for sure. Cerium alloy, thought I had the spelling off. "Misch Metal" sure produces a lot of hits.
   - grant - Wednesday, 05/18/05 14:59:20 EDT

Patrick: Lighter flints are not real flint but some easy sparking man made material probably with a lot of magnesium in it
   adam - Wednesday, 05/18/05 16:29:16 EDT

Musical Anvils:

It would be technically possible to 'tune' anvils to different levels of 'ring'. For example, you should get a different ring from one set on styrofoam, than cardboard, than cloth, etc. Once on a block how secure the anvil was fastened to it would also affect the level of ring. Length and weight (and the distribution thereof) would also be a factor. For example, an Arm & Hammer may have a higher ring than say a Peter Wright of the same weight.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 05/18/05 17:03:51 EDT


I know of several electronic testers for gold and platnum but I do not know of any for silver. You might want to look at the Goldstar series I have the 24 but this is for gold not silver. I think if you can find them they might have one or be able to point you in the correct direction.

I know that with any elictronic tester for precious metals the results are not garenteed nor supported and an acid test should be used to double check findings.

Shor International is where I got my tester from but they only deal in gold as far as I know
   Arron Cissell - Wednesday, 05/18/05 17:05:35 EDT

Testing Silver: The new laminated US coins were originaly designed to emulate the exact same resistance as coin silver. . There might be problems with this method of testing.

Purifying Metals: This is an expensive process usualy requiring disolving in large quantities of acid and then processing out the contaminates. In the case of copper/silver it is probably cheaper to dilute the copper by mixing with more silver.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/05 17:43:23 EDT

Chris; that would be refining of silver and will probably cost more than buying .999 fresh. Are you sure you want to do this? If I was in that situation I would probably find a bullion dealer and work out a swap with them.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/18/05 17:46:58 EDT

Refining silver: Firse, it aint easy to do right and involves a lot of nasty stuff. If done right it can be profitable, but the profit margin is small. I ran a refinery in the '70s, we processed 5000 troy oz/day, from sterling and coin scrap scrap to 0.9999+ fine.

Electrolytic refining is most appropriate for the sterling or coin silver to fine silver conversion. You also need furnaces for melting and casting the final bars. We mostly made 1000 oz bars, but sometimes 100 oz bars.

If you don't do a LOT then the overhead eats you up. Most bullion dealers provide toll refining service for people who have scrap.

I know of no simple electronic gadget to check the silver. We chemically assayed each serial numbered bar. If it was not 0.9999+, it went back through the whole process. Actually most bars came out 0.99998+
   John Odom - Wednesday, 05/18/05 19:08:59 EDT

purity of silver.
How would the weigh it, see what it displaces method work to find out the purity of silver? or are we talking too small of amounts.

Oh (grin) and since this is a blacksmith forum the best way to refine silver is to send it ALL to us in the form of CSI dues.
   JimG - Wednesday, 05/18/05 20:09:11 EDT

Poor Man's Press

You don't have to get in and out of the car 900 times. Lay the 900 emt tubes side-by-side on top of a long, narrow sheet or tarp. Run over a car-length of the tubes. When the tarp lines up with the rear bumper, tie the tarp to the bumper. Then when you finish the job, all the tubes will be bundled up for you.

   - Marc - Wednesday, 05/18/05 20:45:20 EDT

Purity by Density: This is tricky and tells you little. The ancient story about Archemedies floating in his bath and shouting "Eureka!" when the specific gravity method came to him was for the substitution of lead for gold.

Pure Gold has a specific gravity of 19.32.
Lead has a specific gravity of 11.35.

As heavy as lead is, gold is much heavier and any impurities are most likely to make it lighter. In this case the science was unknown so the crook was at a definite disadvantage.

Silver has a density of 10.35 (close to lead).
Copper 8.96
Tin 7.29
Zinc 7.113

So, you COULD formulate a Ag, Cu, Pb alloy that had the exact same density as pure silver. Same with a little gold (less than the lead).

DENSITY is about the only thing predictable about alloying. To within a very small percentage the density is exactly the ratio proportioned by volume. However, there IS a slight error as the molecules fit together a little better or worse in some alloys than in others.

   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/05 22:17:53 EDT

hi my name is daven
   - Daven - Thursday, 05/19/05 03:20:44 EDT


Take a look at eBay auction #6180542573. Has everything needed to do your job. Make a frame for the very large crosspeen sledge and use it as an anvil. Put a handle in the smaller (but still heavy) sledge and then hire a kid as a striker while you position and hold each pipe. Once you get rolling, I suspect you could do both ends of about 12 or so a minute. You would be looking at two hours of work with periodic rests. When the job is over, resell the large sledge heads on eBay.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 05/19/05 06:29:09 EDT

I have made a cut-off or parting tool (I am not sure of the correct terminology). After edge hardening the tool, I put it in the vise and proceeded to cut off a piece of 1/2" square O-1. It worked great, but I am concerned about damaging the edge with a hammer blow.

Is there a proper technique for using this tool to avoid damaging it?
   ano - Thursday, 05/19/05 07:55:41 EDT

Two solutions I use for that.
One, don't cut all the way through. Leave a wee bit and just sort of bend/break it off.
Two, use a soft hammer.

I use a combination of both just incase I miscalculate and hit the edge.

I forget where I read it, but on recomendation is.
A hammer should be harder than the hardy, but softer than the anvil, because a hardy is easier to dress than a hammer, and a hammer is easier to dress than the anvil.
   JimG - Thursday, 05/19/05 09:19:16 EDT

Ano, if you edge hardened the tool that should do fine as the back is (should be) soft. If the back of the tool is properly radiused then between being softer than the hammer and the radius it should not mark the hammer or power hammer dies The radius is ususaly such that the missaligned blows are directed toward the edge. These tools are also tapered and often used with one side vertical so the radius is important then. You could layout the radius but I would fudge it.

Welcome to CSI!
   - guru - Thursday, 05/19/05 09:24:20 EDT

The 900 pc. of emt is for 10 tree stands this guy ordered ( his design).I made a jig with a stop, using a 10# sledge works good,but hard on these old arms and muscles.Wife is the turner. Had my doubts about using emy but he said that the sample he brought me belonged to guy that weighted 275#. It's really a neat design, but I think I'll tell him that the weight limit 150#.
   smitty7 - Thursday, 05/19/05 09:59:30 EDT

Ano; another technique is to make the final blow(s) *next* to the cutoff instead of directly above it so when you go through the hammer head is beside the cutoff instead of resting on it.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 05/19/05 10:36:43 EDT

Guru: the bump-up advice worked. I hammered in a little shoulder. Took another heat and put it in the leg vise. It took a couple of heats and I got some skid marks on the work from the vise but I brought it up to size.
   John W. - Thursday, 05/19/05 11:02:09 EDT

I have made a small knife blade, and was wanting to make a slot in the top, but i don't have a milling machine. is it possible to cut it out without a milling machine? ie drilling and filing etc.?
   Ben - Thursday, 05/19/05 11:56:20 EDT

I have a Champion Blower @Forge Company. drill press, Pat.#768,282 Aug. 9 1904. I,m trying to find out how old it is and it,s value.
   kent3427 - Thursday, 05/19/05 14:14:02 EDT

I,m trying to find out how old and value of a drill press. Champion Blower @ Forge Company. Pat.#767,282 Aug. 9 1904
   - kent3427 - Thursday, 05/19/05 14:18:47 EDT

Kent: I have one of them that I am working on now. The feed pawl is broken. What model is yours? Just about all of them had the 1904 patent date.
   John W. - Thursday, 05/19/05 14:53:31 EDT

Ben, well you could hot punch and file, cold punch and file---given the proper equipment, drill and file, drill and saw and file---look at the jewelry saws that cut metal, laser cut, drill and water cut, plasma cut---whatever you have the tools and skills for.

This is before heat treating right? Watch sharp corners

The bigger question is *why* do you want to do it?

   Thomas P - Thursday, 05/19/05 14:59:05 EDT

MY technique is to cut on all 4 sides until there is just a small connected area and then twist off.
Yes you could cut on one side but then it leaves a nasty off-centered mess.

Also you WILL have to eventually redress the cutting edge. SO with practise and hammer control you will get it down no problems
   Ralph - Thursday, 05/19/05 15:04:42 EDT

Ralph, you forgot to add "just perfect for some techniques" to that first bit.

I once showed a friend that by cutting his stock at a sharp angle he could cut the time it took him to draw a point on it in half or more than from a nice 4 side cut. As he was doing production work on a cheap item it made a big difference.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 05/19/05 16:02:50 EDT

Welding rod question: I buy stainless steel rod in quantity. It is marked Lincoln LEO7236 SS 312-16 1/8". Most of the one pound boxes are BLUE MAX 2100. However, I run into boxes of NICHROMA. End of BLUE MAX is blue and NICHROMA is red. Are they the same rod, just a different supplier to Lincoln?
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 05/19/05 16:36:08 EDT

Hey guys does anyone know what type of steel the old buzz saw blades are? THe type old saw mills had or the type behind the tractor people used for cutting fire wood to length. The guy asking about cutting a notch in a knife blade yes you can do it ,I use a dremel works good for me. ----------------
I would like to say my (condulances?) to Paw Paw's family and close friends. He will be missed greatly.
   Carl - Thursday, 05/19/05 17:40:51 EDT

Hello to all. I read this site when I can, but cannot often post in a timely fashion. I have enjoyed reading the posts of the regulars (in particular) and the wealth of information they share. I miss and will miss those of Paw Paw.

Someone asked about welding with about a $500 price tag. I will mention the ready welder(a spool wire feed) from readywelder.com. Hook up two or three deep cycle batteries in series and pull the trigger. It uses one or two pound wire spools. This is more expensive than ten pound or more rolls, but it is easy to use before rusting. Msrp is about $600 new. I have one and have greatly enjoyed it. I can't weld all day off acouple of batteries, but I can weld half inch plate, and charge the batteries from 110 volt wall outlet.
   - ironspider - Thursday, 05/19/05 17:55:27 EDT

I am looking for diamond plate with a smaller pattern than is usually seen in diamond plate.... would you know of a companty that sells this stuff? Please put DiamondPlate in the subject line when you respond. Thank You!!!
   Jer - Thursday, 05/19/05 20:17:22 EDT

re cutting. You are correct. I was making an assumption that once you start smithing many of these items will be obvious. Silly me.

   Ralph - Thursday, 05/19/05 20:46:39 EDT

Does anyone know if there are any Blacksmithing clubs in Cincinnati, OH? I know SOFA is north of Dayton but is there anything on the south side of OHIO?
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/19/05 20:52:31 EDT

I have a client that is restoring a turn of the century home and they were told it originaly had an iron fire place and mantal. any pictures or info as to what im might have looked like would be great thanks
   Trent - Thursday, 05/19/05 21:29:42 EDT

Never real comfortable talking about the departed. I'm gonna force myself here because PaPa deserves it.

Ever since we met we had a friendly banter going. Sure going to miss the old fart. Beyond the facade he was a warm, generous, giving person. Damn, I'll sure miss him!

Being remembered well is all any of us can ask for, I think.
   - grant - Thursday, 05/19/05 22:33:12 EDT

Trent-- Old House Journal (I think that is the title of the magazine) puts out a fat catalog, or used to, of suppliers of all sorts of stuff for authentic period restorations.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 05/19/05 23:06:37 EDT

is anyone familiar with quick change forging hammer dies (no more wedges)
   - Daven - Friday, 05/20/05 01:40:58 EDT

Some fellow named Dave has posted some pictures of a stone catalin forge in action, producing a wrought iron bloom, which is then hammered into a bar. I'm sure that Thomas Powers especially will want to see this:

   - Mike Mandaville - Friday, 05/20/05 04:31:06 EDT

Just got of the phone to a landlord of a local(ish) pub, He's got a 'ye olde' pub and in the front porch is... an anvil! :)
I keep walking past the damn thing when I take the Missus out for a Sunday dinner and I'm sure it wants to come home with me.
He's not playing at the minute but time will tell...
   - Tinker - Friday, 05/20/05 05:57:36 EDT

I have just recently purchased a 4 inch Ajax upsetter form Canada and wish to install it in my plant. The problem being that I cannot seem tobe able to lay my hands on a catalogue or a manual for this machine. It is built sometime in the 1940s but was refurbished by Ajax themselves in 1983. Any assistance in laying my hands on a catalogue or a manual for an Ajax 4 inch upsetter will be highly appreciated!!
   Mahesh Someshwar - Friday, 05/20/05 06:06:31 EDT

I have just recently purchased a 4 inch Ajax upsetter form Canada and wish to install it in my plant. The problem being that I cannot seem tobe able to lay my hands on a catalogue or a manual for this machine. It is built sometime in the 1940s but was refurbished by Ajax themselves in 1983. Any assistance in laying my hands on a catalogue or a manual for an Ajax 4 inch upsetter will be highly appreciated!!
   Mahesh Someshwar - Friday, 05/20/05 06:07:10 EDT

Quenchcrack: Hamiliton is is norther suburb of Cincinnati as I recall. I believe OKI stands for Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana for the tri-corner area there. Pretty much the same area covered by SOF&A, except Michigan. When I need to find a local group I use the affiliate list at www.abana.org as it should be the most current.

Pres: Jack Geisler
1340 High Street
Hamilton, OH 45011
(513) 844-1074

Ed: Bob Schutte
1895 Howell Avenue
Hamilton, OH 45011
(513) 868-7769

Grant: If one measure of a man's wealth is the friends he leaves behind, Paw Paw was indeed a very rich man.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 05/20/05 07:10:09 EDT

Tinker, see if the pub guy will take an ASO in trade. Plenty of those around for cheap. You could "distress" it in your backyard for a couple weeks.
   - Marc - Friday, 05/20/05 07:19:57 EDT

I've heard it said that after we pass on we won't be asked what kind of house we had but rather how many people we housed...or what kind of car we drove but how many people we drove. I didn't know Mr. Wilson but from what I've read he housed he'll have the right answers to those questions. I also gather from what I've read that he was a man of faith and my guess is that he shared more than his roof and the food on his table. 27 foster children? I only raised 2 of my own and I'm a tired man!
   Mike Ferrara - Friday, 05/20/05 07:48:44 EDT

Dear Sirs,

Please give us prices for the following material:

Kaowool ITC 100
Kaowool ITC 200

Quantity: 100 m²,
500 m² and 1.000 m²

Delivery duty paid, free our plant in Germany

Our adress:

Lydall Gerhardi GmbH & Co. KG
Auf der Koppel 9
Germany 58540 Meinerzhagen

Tel: 0049/2354/709-103
Fax: -112

Thank you for your answer.

Kind Regards

Britta Schröder
   Britta Schröder - Friday, 05/20/05 08:17:17 EDT

I was wondering in your oppinion what would be better to use, a fifteen pound sledgehammer head set in concrete or a 5 x5 x 15 inch block of steel set in concrete , also can you use the available fittings and nipple and guage from a barbecue for ur propane forge , also can you use regualar bricks or do you need firebricks?
   Draconas - Friday, 05/20/05 13:16:00 EDT

I would go with a 5x5x15" block as it is heavier than my travel anvil (about 106 pounds).

A BBQ regulator will not allow enough gas through to run a gas forge.

Fire bricks are superior to regular bricks; but a fiber refractory blanket provides for a much faster forge heat up.

   Thomas P - Friday, 05/20/05 13:32:32 EDT

OK yet another stupid question- I am looking for a source of square rod with the dimensions of 7mm x 7mm x 36 inches long(or the metric equivalent).
Anyone know of a source where I may be able top find this in high to medium C steel?
   Ed Green - Friday, 05/20/05 14:05:08 EDT

Does anyone know of a blacksmithing shop in calgary that would like a aprentice in high school, there arent many shops in calgary with websites or anything and i was just wondering if anyone on this sight may know of one , i dont expect anyone will know but i thought ide ask
   Draconas - Friday, 05/20/05 15:00:35 EDT

You might ask around the farriers if there are any smiths around Calgary. The farriers should be listed in the phone book, check "horse shoeing" for one suggestion.

Farriers and Smiths often know about each other and swap tools around.

   Thomas P - Friday, 05/20/05 15:07:05 EDT

perhaps McMaster-Carr.
   Ralph - Friday, 05/20/05 15:07:24 EDT

Ano: Hardy cuts. When you are most of the way thru, like Ralph described, you can finish the cut with a shearing blow in which the near edge of the hammer lands on the far side of the cut. Do it right and you will get a cleanly finished cut and the hammer will slide down past the hardy. Some workers dont like to do this because the cutend might goflying across the shop and land on a pile of oily rags.

   adam - Friday, 05/20/05 15:48:33 EDT


Why not ask your local blacksmithing group:


Ed: Curtis Evans
1123 Trafford Drive, NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 274-5621

Saskatchewan Chapter President:
Al Bakke
Box 7773 Stn Main
Saskatoon, SK
(306) 343-1355

Founding Chapter President:
Bill Reynolds
14707-115th Street
Edmonton, AB
(780) 456-0786

South Alberta Chapter President:
Sig Giverhaug
7115-4 Street, NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 274-6486

   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 05/20/05 16:00:53 EDT


I've been trying to find out about the difference between the BLUE MAX and NICHROMA rods (you tweaked my curiosity). All of the information on the NICHROMA rods is found on European sites for Lincoln. The basic description, from Lincoln Electric UK, for NICHROMA is:
For the general purpose electrode for repair welding, for welding dissimilar joints and for joining steels difficult to weld. Suitable for hobby and professional applications. Excellent bead appearance and slag release.

This is as opposed to BLUE MAX, on the US Lincoln site, which is described as:
• Use on high carbon steels, low alloy high strength steels, manganese steels and tool steels.
• Can be used for a base in hardfacing or stainless steel cladding applications.
• Requires a wider weave technique in the vertical up position than does a Red Baron stick electrode.

Basically, it looks like they are different rods. I suspect the NICHROMA wouldn't work for hard-facing, but for joining oddball steels, it looks like the bee's knees.

   eander4 - Friday, 05/20/05 17:52:38 EDT


Thank you. Rods appear to be interchangeable for my purposes. Thought perhaps NICHROMA might be nickel rod included by mistake.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 05/20/05 18:20:50 EDT

Mahesh Someshwar,
AJAX Is still in business is cleveland Ohio, USA.
Parts etc www.ajaxtech.com
They make a good strong machine. We forge on them every day and have for more than half a century. In fact we have a 4" up to a 10"
   ptree - Friday, 05/20/05 19:35:19 EDT

Mark Pearce gives courses and is a good teacher.
   - Daryl - Friday, 05/20/05 20:08:31 EDT

Hello, we are new here but was wondering if you could give some advise on a Anvil I am selling on eBay. Or if this allowed?
   macgiver - Friday, 05/20/05 21:09:55 EDT

I am very interested in blacksmithing and have found this site to be very informative. I have also recently heard of redsmithing where one uses bronze and am wondering if anyone knew of anywhere I could find information on this subject?
   James Marcellus - Friday, 05/20/05 21:13:54 EDT

ironspider: I have seen that unit in NORTHERN HYDRAULICS catalog. They say it will also work from a stick welder. Have You tried this?
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 05/20/05 22:29:55 EDT

Please forgive me if some of these questions are duplicates of what you have already answered. I tried to do a search on the archives and was unsuccessful, but that may be more user error than anything else. Ok, here goes:

I don’t think I’ll need a large forge, at least not at first, I do jewelry work, some MIG welding, and a little light machining but would like to try my hand at a couple RR spike knives and/or tools and see how blacksmithing might mesh with my other metal working pursuits.

I’m planning on building a gas forge and have been doing a lot of web based research both here and on other sites. There is a lot of references to forges made of thin walled steel (cans, pipe, freon canisters, etc.), is there some advantage to using a thin wall v. a heavy wall material? I’ve got some 8” square steel tubing with ¼” thick walls I was thinking of using. Too heavy? Too small? Just right?

Fire Brick v. Koawool v. refractory coating. Ok, I’ve used fire brick in my electric burn out oven used for lost wax casting, why wouldn’t I just line my forge with the same stuff? Most references I’ve found seem to call for Koawool coated with a refractory coating (for protection from flux?) with maybe some fire brick on the bottom.

How high a temperature to I have to be able to sustain and survive? Will 2300F degree fire brick be sufficient? 2600F degree? 3000F degree?

I notice that most of the burner designs I see use venturi type burners. Is a burner/blower combination more efficient?

That should be enough to make my lack of expertise plain for all to see, but any answers/advice will be greatly appreciated.
   keysdiver - Friday, 05/20/05 22:34:19 EDT

Well RR spikes are a poor alloy for knives; but

Advantages of thin wall---lighter to move around
Advantages of thick wall can weld jigs to it more stable when moving stuff in and out

I have one of each; one is light sheetmetal the other is made from an O2 tank

Hard fire brick or soft fire brick? Hard absorbs a lot of heat to start and then stays more stable at temp. Soft is more insulative but doesn't buffer the temp swings as well.
Refractory blanket is a fast heating/insulative type and is easy to fit to the common "round form---which is more efficient to heat. Use what you have!

The temp of the brick is tied to how fast it will break down. If you are not welding in it any of those will do fine for quite a while---however the refractory lining of a forge is a consumable, expect to replace it.

Blown burners are very nice, easy to build and have great atmosphere control---important for knives and jewelry; but they require electricity and so can't be thrown---ok carefully placed in the back seat and trucked to the beach, park or friends backyard

I have one of each and getting ready to take the aspirated one on a 6 day campout.

Thomas "Go not to the elves for advice for they will say both yes and no"
   Thomas P - Friday, 05/20/05 23:18:20 EDT

keysdiver-- God is in the details. Getting the most bounce per ounce out of your fuel is why insulation and enclosure matter in gas forges. ABANA sells plans for a gas forge (Robb Gunter's Sandia design) that is a sheet metal dream and that recycles the last BTU of exhaust. However, an open-ended box of loose firebricks with properly sized propane jets feeding through Venturis will suffice just fine for general architectural heating and beating. Tightening up the joints of the box and affixing doors will of course make a difference accordingly. Life being a finite affair, you get to decide. And modify.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/21/05 00:06:49 EDT

kesydiver-- re-reading your query, want to add that my hard firebrick open box propane forge has produced many a RR spike knife and tool. For forge welding I think tight doors would be necessary (although a friend with the same open box design gets a forge welding temp out of his) but I think coal is better-- gets hotter faster, is more controllable-- for that anyway.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/21/05 00:15:07 EDT

guys the spikes are made for 'show' knifes. As for a feild or generald oil feild knife they have never failed me. They bend before breaking( can be straitned with a rock in a pinch), hold a good edge( tempered to light or electric blue) have a wide base to hammer with. Why, other than carbon content, does everyone think they are poor? Have I missed something? is the steel mix bad, if so LET ME KNOW so I can understand and adapt for the short cummings.
BTW some of us have been using soft feild knifes to feild dress game for years. A simple, small, strap of leather is needed to resharpen the blade to razor quality cutting and is easier to take care of in the " hunting blind " than a harder steel blade.( stones make more noise than a strop with ruge)
   - RR spike for knifes - Saturday, 05/21/05 01:56:48 EDT

above post was by Timex, sorry I'm tired from work'n all day in the nevada sun. 102F today
   - Timex - Saturday, 05/21/05 02:01:54 EDT

RR spike knives: It's just the carbon everyone is down on, since it's so low in carbon they can't get full hard, which means more resharpening then most other knives. It sounds like you don't mind the resharpening, so for your purposes it's fine.
   AwP - Saturday, 05/21/05 02:24:57 EDT

Hello everyone, I'm new here. Hope that maybe someone will be able to help me out with this question. I have been looking around for a new anvil. I really like what I have read about Pedinghause and lots of people speak very highly of them. There biggest anvil weighs in at 275 lbs, but I would prefer something much bigger. Does anyone here know of any large drop forged anvils preferably over 500 lbs or am I going to have to get a cast one? One other thing that popped to mind, does anyone here have any opinions of Nimba's Anvils good or bad I would love to hear them..Thanks to all who reply. Art
   Art Klicper - Saturday, 05/21/05 02:52:47 EDT

keysdiver: I built a gas forge from 18" of square pipe with 23" inswool covered in Satanite, then coated with itc-100. I have a single reil 1" venturi burner and then went all out and got a red hat regulator from Kevin Cashen. It is on a brick pedistal and I put a piece of insboard behind it to block the back opening when I am working on a long piece of steel. The relevant links are www.elliscustomknifeworks.com and http://www.frontiernet.net/~gnreil/burnerdoc.shtml. I am now setting up a coal forge for the things that a propane forge doesnt do well.
   John W. - Saturday, 05/21/05 09:02:38 EDT

Editing comment: The insboard blocks the back opening when I am NOT working on a long piece of steel.
   John W. - Saturday, 05/21/05 09:04:01 EDT

Art Klicper:

I would question why you need an anvil weighing over 500 pounds. Those were for working very large stock, such as in shipyards, railroad yards and industrial plants. If you are working by yourself with just a forge and hammer I rather doubt there is anything you can physically do which would require an anvil larger than 275 pounds. Large ones like that are fairly rare. I see 1-2 about every other year at Quad-State. Don't recall one on eBay in some time. As a rule-of-thumb anvils under 100 pounds and over 200 pounds sell for more per pound than 100-200. With a 500+ anvil you are likely looking at, at least, $2.00 plus per pound for just the anvil and at least $1.00 per pound for shipping. I know of no anvils made today larger than those coming in from Europe.

Tell us what you plan to use it for and the forum can likely give you a recommended size.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 05/21/05 09:44:49 EDT

Someone showed an interest in acquiring an air hammer a bit back. Take a look at eBay 6179927596. KA75 stands for Kuhn Air 75 pound (I believe). Centaur Forge has them new in their catalog for $3,850. Auction opening price is around $1,300. No dies with it though. A set will run $600-$800. With prompt payment seller is willing to store and delivery to Quad-State.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 05/21/05 11:19:53 EDT

Draconas-- Keep it clean and leave it alone. Don't pop it. It'll open on its own. When it does, slather it with Neosporin and cover it with a gauze bandage. If it turns pink or red around the edges despite the Neosporin, see a doc pronto and get some sulfadiazene 1% to cover it with.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/21/05 11:49:10 EDT

Draconas, Your burn is whats called "one of lifes lessons" also refer to "heat transfer". Hang in there, you`ll catch on or start missing body parts
   Robert IW - Saturday, 05/21/05 13:06:14 EDT

As far as I know, there are no books or reference materials specifically about forging bronze. Accurate manufacture of bronze alloys is a relatively recent thing- its only in the last 50 years or so you could reliably buy the exact same bronze alloy, or so many different ones. So old time bronze forging was a hit or miss thing, with experience as the main teacher.
Nowadays, you can buy several alloys of bronze that are good for forging, depending on what you want. It really makes sense to buy a little brand new to experiment with- there are close to a hundred different alloys in the copper/bronze/brass continuim, and so junkyard bronze could be a lot of stuff- some of it just impossible to forge, and some of it outright dangerous, containing toxic elements.
I would recommend starting with the most forgiving, which would be silicon bronze- C655. This has nothing in it but copper and silicon, and will forge quite well, and can also be tig welded. It is pretty widely available- do a google search for Alaskan Copper and Brass, Copper and Brass Sales, Farmers Copper and Atlas Metals- all of them sell it, in many shapes and sizes.
It is not cheap. $3 to $5 a pound, depending on the shape. And since it is a commodity, its price could change daily.
The biggest thing to learn forging bronze is that it has a very narrow heat zone in which it is forgeable. Too cold, and it cracks. Too hot, and you get cookie dough, or just liquid.
In the zone, its like butter- very fun to forge, as it moves quite easily. Almost too easily, if your arm is accustomed to steel.
I like to run it up to just past the point where it starts to change color, going brown, then blue- if you wait till it starts to get reddish, its probably too hot.
There is no way to learn without ruining a few pieces- expect to, and buy extra.
One thing some people dont like about silicon bronze is the color- a kind of dark, reddish brown. For a more traditional gold colored bronze, Naval Bronze, C465, is forgeable, but since it has zinc in it, its a little more tricky, and although it can be tig welded, its harder and more toxic. I have a buddy who has forged aluminum bronze, C614, with success, but I havent tried that one myself. Avoid any bronze with lead in it- you will have nothing but trouble.
   ries - Saturday, 05/21/05 13:14:32 EDT

Ken- KA 75 does not stand for KUHN. It is Grant Sarvers design, as made by Bob Bergman over at Postville Blacksmiths, and it is Grants update of the old air powered upsetting hammers used to sharpen bits in mines and on construction sites. It is a cool tool, able to do a lot of stuff, but a bit different in design and conception than a standard air hammer. If you go to Bob's website, at ka75.com, you can read all about it.
   ries - Saturday, 05/21/05 13:20:06 EDT

I am setting up forge-blacksmithing shop area. I just acquired a type of vise-post vise that has foot pedals to close and release vise. Rivited tag on side says "Automatic Vise Sales Co.". I would like to know more about this vise, can you offer any? Thanks, Bob
   Bob Garay - Saturday, 05/21/05 13:27:00 EDT

Okay- third time is the charm, I guess.
I know several blacksmiths who have 500lb or larger anvils. Most of them have them because of their deep love of anvils, bragging rights, and just because. But a few people I know really do use that big of an anvil. Usually they work with really big stuff. Bruce Wilcox, in england, for example, recently posted pics across the street of handforging a 500lb anchor. A big anvil is handy for stuff that big.
I have a 250lb Nimba, and have looked longingly at the 500lber. But realisticaly, with the size work I do, up to about 2" in diameter, but mostly under 1", the 250 lb Nimba is a lot of anvil.
Anvil preference is an extremely personal and controversial thing. Nimba's are great anvils, but not to everyone's taste. They are a wee bit soft, by some peoples standards, at rockwell 50.
I think of my Nimba as a beautiful classic design, which will appreciate in value, and a very useful tool. I have a London Pattern Arm and Hammer right next to it, but most times I instinctively use the Nimba- the mass is distributed much better, more work results in less muscle, and the horn is just great.
So if I was looking at a 450-500lb anvil, I would certainly consider the Nimba. It is more expensive than the Czech anvils, but you are paying for made in america quality, better design, and the coolest cast in logo in the business.
   ries - Saturday, 05/21/05 13:33:52 EDT

Nimba. I used a 260# Nimba recently while demonstrating for the Northwest Blacksmiths in Corvallis. I liked it, especially the wide face. Occasionally, I looked for the London Pattern step which I use as a right-angle block to work against. On the Nimba, instead, there are two small, stepped areas that can be used where the horn base meets the face.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 05/21/05 14:45:43 EDT

ries: Thank you. Old saying about assumptions (e.g., it was a Kuhn because Centaur carries them). When you ASS-U-ME you make an ass out of you and me.

Ken Scharabok
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 05/21/05 14:56:02 EDT

Sorry u got burnt, iron rich material retains heat a long time. ALWAYS use a good set of leather gloves, or if you perfer( like me ) use a good set of plyiers or tongs. i don't EVER assume that your metals are safe to touch untill you konw beyond a doubt that they are cool.
BTW leave the blister alone and let 'new' skin grow back under the blister. It will bust on its own, if not it will become an calluse and will be tougher.If it gets pussy or starts to look infected( white and red streaks, or starts to smell bad) get your doctor to look at it.
Pls be careful and welcome to the hot hand club.
   - Timex - Saturday, 05/21/05 15:03:11 EDT

Draconas, sorry fer the two posts. But...

Blue Blushing a knife blade

1. clean and polish all flaws and sanding marks from blade.
2. true and sharpen blade
3. preheat standard household oven to 450F or set on max temp.
4. place blade in oven and wait, look and time.
5. turn sink on or have a steel bowl full or water ready to cool the blade.
6. when blade is at the 'color' you want( see color temp chart in FAQ section) remove blade with tongs or pliers.
7. quench blade
7a. if in sink quench under cool not cold water stream from handle to piont, back to front sharp side up.
8b. if in bowl or tub quench point first sharp side down and quickly plung the whole thing in with a stirring motion.( kind like stirring pankake batter.)

9. look at Blue Blushed blade, puckker lips slightly and make " OOOO" or "AHHH" noise.

Patterns can also be created in the blade this way if you wrap the blade in a copper wire, Alum. foil, ect.. just be carfull.Have gloves and tongs or pliers with water at the ready.
   - Timex - Saturday, 05/21/05 15:20:01 EDT

Torch blueing can be a bit much of a draw of the temper depending on the alloy. What were you using?

As for RR spike knives .3% carbon is a very traditional early knife level, say just after the fall of Rome; but the higher levels generally used nowdays tend to create more carbides that provide a longer lasting edge. Most RR spike knives are way too heavy for the ammount of knife you have; If I need to pound something in the field I'd rather carry a meigs ax with me that use my knife---but to each their own. I do like a blade that is easy to sharpen rather than taking a diamond hone though.

   Thomas P - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:11:32 EDT

Can you use this procedure for any kind of knife, even storebought ones?
   Draconas - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:13:39 EDT

DRACONAS: Make sure you are up, on when they have the world champions horse-shoeing and blacksmithing contests at the STAMPEDE Fairgrounds in the first part of JULY. It will be coming up pretty quick. You will not want to miss it.BOG. I wish I could be in CALGARY for it.

   sandpile - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:15:10 EDT

Sandpile, i know of this but they wont be anouncing what days or times it is exactly
i saw a horseshoeing competition last year and tahts what got me into blacksmithign
this year i will have more knowledge and understand mor tho
i cant wait
   Draconas - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:20:00 EDT

I suspect the 'thing' with railroad spike knives is almost everyone immediately knows what they are. I have seen some glorous knives made from them.

Ries: I went to Bergman's site on the KA75. Interesting concept in that it is more of a striking than production hammer - although it apparently can be used for the latter with repeated tripping. If I read the information correctly, each tripping of the foot level produces one blow with the intensity depending on how hard the trip was. This concept lessons the demand for compressed air.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:21:49 EDT

also, does anyone know of a blacksmith suply store of some kind in calgary, thanks
   Draconas - Saturday, 05/21/05 16:49:21 EDT

Ken, Thanks. The area might be in my future.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 05/21/05 17:53:20 EDT

I can tell that there is a difference of opinion about blisters and I respect the knowlege from people that get them a lot. I have found that if you leave the fluid in the skin is more likely to tear open and expose the new skin but if you deflate it it plasters the old skin down and it will sort of stick to the under skin better and a bandage will protect it better. It works for me. and I am a doctor but I am a gynecologist not a burn specialist. Now, I am ready for the gyn jokes, i can take it........
   - John W - Saturday, 05/21/05 17:59:30 EDT

John W.
Standard first aid teachs to never puncture a blister as that makes a route for infection. That aside, I tend to deflate mine in a controlled manner as otherwise I always seem to tear the whole top off. I do like a bit of triple anti-biotic.
And a note to all, a thing called "Burn gel" is heaven to put on a fresh burn. Right after I pull the burn out of the cold water, I open the foil package, and gently place the gel on the burn. Best thing I have found. As we have about 150 people working directly in forging we get some practice at work. Available in many sizes, and at Hagemeyer.
   ptree - Saturday, 05/21/05 18:42:06 EDT

John, Doesnt it kinda turn into a calus of dead skin over the burn and get all dry and cracked and painfull, also its right between my thumb and first finger and now i cant fully open my hand , like the thumb and first finger stay the same distance apart no mater what i do
any suggestions?
   Draconas - Saturday, 05/21/05 18:43:35 EDT

If you are having physical difficulty opening your hand (as opposed to just experiencing surface pain from the attempt), SEE A DOCTOR NOW. Of course, if it is just pain from stretching the burned skin, simply avoid doing that until it heals.

Overcast and wet in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 05/21/05 19:16:04 EDT

Draconas-- Hard to tell from your posts exactly what's going on. If you already have a charred scab on the burn, or one is forming, then you have a third-degree burn, a serious problem. If your hand, which is probably one of your favorites, is not working, you have a serious problem. I am not somebody who enjoys seeing doctors, but it sounds to me, and I have had many bad burns while blacksmithing and welding, as if you should go see a doctor. Now.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/21/05 20:03:21 EDT

Rule Number Two in any blacksmiths shop. ALL IRON IS HOT
The best advice I got from John Graham, Blacksmith at Landis, "you can't be scared to burn your fingers if your gonna be a Blacksmith"
First aid for any burn, cold water imediatly. fully immerse. One reason to keep your slacktub clean.
   JimG - Saturday, 05/21/05 20:20:57 EDT

the burn was uncomfortable for all of yesterday , i had ice on it for all yesterday and all last night, the skin around it is pink and rough , and the center is white and has a large blister on it, no charring or anything like that, its right where the skin stretches inbetween your themb and first finger and theres a tightness, i guess because the skn goes up instead of flat in that area the blister is white and is filed with liquid, not blood, clear liquid, the blister has clearer streaks along where the hand has natural folds and stretches it took about 35 minuites for he blister to form, actually maby 50 minuites and it only hurts when i stretch the hand and the wound pulls, i havent popped the blister and its still tender underneath and the top has no feeling
i hope this is a better description, im not afraid of burns i just dont want anything to go seriously wrong
i told my parents i burned it cooking,lol, they would never let me fire my forge again if they knew
   Draconas - Saturday, 05/21/05 22:04:12 EDT

Burns: Now, a dear friend, Paw Paw, used to keep an alovera plant in his shop for just such occasions. Me, I first soak in water, and that even means the slack tub. Yup, clean water is better, but the closet water is best. Then I like aloevera. And I only pop the blister if it gets too big, too uncomfortable. But never right away. But then again, that is just me. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv.
   Bob H - Saturday, 05/21/05 22:18:39 EDT

Burns? 1% Silver sulfadiazine cream for any burn that is "open". Available from the pharmacy with a scrip from your friendly local doctor. Heck, I'll bet even your vriendly local ob-gyn will scrip you a jar. Though the thought of the relationship between burns and gynecology is not something I normally contemplate a lot. (grin) The Silvadene™ cream is hands down the best stuff going for burns, based on first hand (and arm, chest, foot, etc.) experience. I had a silver-dollar sized second and third-degree burn on my foot froom a piece of glowing scale in my sneake a couple years ago. That leg has compromised circulation, and would surely have been badly infected without the Silvadene. Anybody who is as clumsy as me should definitely keep a fresh jar on shelf by the forge.


This is probably a good time to get aquainted with your local general practitioner M.D. or Licensed Nurse Practitioner. That bit about the lack of mobility in your thumb and finger may be a warning sign, and every blacksmith needs to know a good medical practitioner, anyway. Take the opportunity Monday to meet yours.
   vicopper - Saturday, 05/21/05 22:21:54 EDT

Ptree: I like the sound of the gel. I figure that the blister is going to get opened anyway whether you drain it or not so I always open them myself so it happens in a controlled manner to preserve the covering. In a better world we might be able to keep intact on a hand that we use all the time burned or not. I agree with the above that if there is any suspicion of a deeper burn. Charring, numbness or muscle damage, get it treated immediately at the ER or Doctors office. Keep your tetanus booster up to date if you are going to work with sharp, hot metal things. and expect to get burned. If you mess with the bull eventually you get the horn. Doesnt mean you shouldnt be careful.
   John W - Saturday, 05/21/05 22:27:47 EDT

I can vouch for the Silver Sulfadiazine cream. About a year ago I underwent radiation treatment for colon cancer, My most private apendage was in the radiation field, and got burned BIGTIME.It looked like the pictures of people in Hiroshima after the bomb went off. I used the cream liberally as directed, and it never got infected.
   - Name witheld, thank You - Saturday, 05/21/05 22:57:51 EDT

I am a silversmith who is looking to reproduce a renaissance metal shop for a ren fair. Are there any specific books or websites that deal with the tools/setup/techniques of the period? (Using steel or otherwise)
   Jackie Bell - Saturday, 05/21/05 23:07:50 EDT

SLACK/QUENCH TANKS: It is a good idea to change your water every once in a while. I change mine /usually every week and put a cup of bleach in eight gallons of water. That is a little strong but out here, we have real low humidity and I add a little water twice a week.
DRACONAS: Quench tank or slack tubs are nasty, at best. I have dunked my hand in mine for just getting to close to a piece of red hot steel. Just a slight bump and you have charred the outter layer of skin. Noting serious but would scare a young man, that was not familiar with hot steel. When you have a bad burn like yours. Level with your folks and tell it up front. They will/should start helping and guiding . My grandkids have burnt themselves, but I watch them like a hawk. EVERYONE of them has started to pick up hot steel. dropped from tongs. So far I have caught them before they pick it up.
With no supervison you are treading on thin ice. BE CAREFULL.


   sandpile - Saturday, 05/21/05 23:26:54 EDT

I think I'll chime in here, just to share a burn related revelation. The first day that I fired up my charcoal forge (about two and a half years ago), I used a charcoal briquette chimney (although I used genuine charcoal for the fuel). Foolishly after I had dumped the embers into the forge I neglected to move the hot chimney away to a safe location while I forged and I paid the price . My forearm brushed up against it while I put my steel back in the forge for another heat. It was a very bad burn, but I went and got a rag along with some pure aloe vera gel that has a painkiller in it. I soaked the rag in the aloe vera, tied it onto my arm, applied ice and waited. The results suprised me. I felt no pain at all, and there was only some very minor redness on my arm the next morning. The burned spot had healed completely overnight. I have no clue if that was a fluke or what, but as far as I am concerned, twelve hours (eight of them spent sleeping) is hardly any downtime at all. By the way Draconas, the next time you are in close proximity to a pharmacy, ask the head pharmacist about the blister. Normaly (In the US at least) the head pharmacist has a doctorate in the medical sciences and it may suprise you how much they can help with stuff that you would genrally ask a physician. And Draconas, allways remember that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Experience is seldom a kind teacher, but it is a good one.
   Matthew Marting - Sunday, 05/22/05 00:00:40 EDT

I am not exempt from burning myself, but I want to share something that someone told me once upon a time. You test the iron for heat quickly with the back of your hand. Electricians do this with wires, because if they touch the inside of the hand to a hot wire, a nerve reflex causes them to grip the wire. ¡Ay, Chihuahua!

Blacksmiths do it for a different reason. If they grab hot iron, they can't work for two weeks or more.

   Frank Turley - Sunday, 05/22/05 00:04:59 EDT

Jackie Bell,

I commend to you the "Treatises on Goldsmithing and Sculpture" by Bienvenuto Cellini, master goldsmith, sculptor, swordsman and raconteur of the Renaissance. Sadly, he didn't illustrate his treatise, but it is a worthwhile and fascinating read. As is his autobiography. Both are available in Dover reprints, I believe. You might also look at Diderot's Encyclopedia, another reprint. It is illustrated with engravings and/or woodcuts of various tradesmen's shops.

If you check out the shops of workers in under-developed countries of the twentieth century, you will see examples of many tools that are very little different from those used in the Renaissance. Oppi Untracht's book, "Metal Techniques for Craftsmen" has a number of pictures of shops in India, Nepal and other less developed places, mostly taken in the 1950's and 60's.
   vicopper - Sunday, 05/22/05 00:07:43 EDT

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