WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you. This is an archive of posts from June 1-7, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Welcome Back!: I have missed answering your questions for the past two weeks as much as you you have!

We are just getting the NEW MEMBERS GROUP pages and services setup. Thank you ALL for your support!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 00:00:00 GMT

Glad your back.. When do you request $'s sent to you.. Mine is Canadian..Switched over...
Anyway..how does one remove Silver plating. I have two large platters one is copper underneath the silver and the other is Brass.. I preferr these over the old silver.
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Thursday, 06/01/00 00:28:33 GMT

Silver: We HAD to open with a HARD question! First you need to be sure about what is under the copper. You probably have steel platters that are copper plated then silver plated over that. The copper prevents rust and has a great affinity for staying attached to steel so it is often used as an under plating for bright plating steel. Try a magnet on them.

There MAY be a chemical method that would remove the silver but I suspect that it would remove the copper as well since silver is more chemical (acid) resistant than copper. It would be simpler to copper plate the entire piece over the silver.

Any jewlers out there have a sugestion?

I'm working on the Membership sign-up forms as fast as I can! Should have them operating in the morning! AND its demo night!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 00:53:04 GMT

Finally, I got a real blacksmith's vice. Although it looks good, it is rusted and completely seized up. Any ideas how to make it work again.

Oliver from Ontario
oliver - Thursday, 06/01/00 02:38:26 GMT

Welcome back!! Send the $request and it is on the way.
Try soaking the vice for a day or two in a buckett of keroseen(sp?) That should work through the threads and allow you to get it apart.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 06/01/00 03:44:03 GMT

Thanks Wayne! Working on forms and pages now.

Vise Oliver, Wayne is right. Soak it in as much oil as possible. Lots of WD-40 down the screw threads and on the pivot pin. After it has soaked a week or so try working the screw. If you can get it moving any at all just keep working it back and forth. Sometimes you have to go after the screw with a wood or rubber mallet. Once you get it apart you can go after the threads with some sandpaper or Scotch Bright. Lubricate it with Never-Sieze and it will take a lot less force to clamp tight.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 05:25:51 GMT

I would like to know about the process of using sand as a flux during welding. I have heard some talk about it. Currently I use borax, but if I weld in a gass forge, it eats up the lining. If sand works good as well, I would like to know the process. Thanks Mikel Dawson
Mikel Dawson  <mikelw at vip.cybercity.dk> - Thursday, 06/01/00 05:50:34 GMT

Sand Flux: Mikel, There are as many types of sand as there are minerals to decompose into sand. The types used to make soda-glass have a relatively low melting point and act as a flux. Glass is a more universal solvent than water, thus is makes a fair flux. Minerals such as Flourite or Flourspar are very chemicaly active and are used for flux in commercial steel making and in welding difficult materials such as stainless or chrome alloy steel. Other minerals have a high melting point and can introduce impurities that prevent welds from sticking.

The type of sands that are suitable for fluxing are glass like when melted and will damage forge linings by sticking to the refractory as well as make a mess of your forge.

The fact that borax disolves refractories is what make it a good flux. The soda sand flux works but not as well.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 07:24:13 GMT

Good luck with the vice.
Mineral oil is often overlooked as penetrating oil. It will go where other oils will not. I have even had great success with baby oil wich is just perfumed mineral oil. If all else fails, before you break the vice try muratic acid but be sure to use plenty of water to flush it after the rust gives way.
Wayne  <pwjones at arkwest.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 13:43:28 GMT

I am glad to see you back. ( as if you left anyway!)
Looking forward to the member page and the next generation of the site!
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 06/01/00 16:13:22 GMT

Great to see the guru back. I found myself not going on line for a few days at a time because there wasn't anything on the web too intrest me other then the guru page.
Bruce Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 17:30:03 GMT

Hey guru....what are the steps for re-surfacing a pitted, concaved anvil face? can you point me to a good resource for How-To's? Its a small 75lb one...real nice for transporting.
thanks chris

chris  <causech at goodsamhealth.org> - Thursday, 06/01/00 17:38:23 GMT

Whew! I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

Burce, I caught myself doing the same thing!


Grab a belt sander, put a 60 grin aluminum oxide belt on it, and put it on top of the anvil. Turn it on, and keep just enough pressure on it to allow it to "walk" from side to side. This will flatten the anvil top and smooth it at the same time. You'll be able to tell where yoou've been by the shiny parts. When the whole top is equally shiney, change the belt to a 100 grit belt, and then to a 120 grit. Finally, use a 100 grit flap wheel in your horizontal grinder to polish the step and the horn.

Should look like new when you finish. You will probably want to radius the corners, since the polishing process will make them pretty sharp.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 19:09:47 GMT

Spell checker time!

Burce should be Bruce, sorry!

shiney should be shiny.

And 60 grin should be 60 grit.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 06/01/00 19:13:17 GMT

Thanks for your advice. The vice is now soaking in a bucket of kerosene. I'll let you know how it works out. I also got an old anvil with 1-1-7 stamped on it. It is worn but I already used it with great success. What does the stamped number mean. The anvil has a steel stake hammered into the hole at the heal. Any ideas why someone would put it in. How do I get it out?

Oliver from Ontario
Oliver - Friday, 06/02/00 01:05:31 GMT


First the anvil markings. Those numbers indicate the weight in the old english hundred weight system.

The first number is one hundred weight which is 112 pounds. The second number is 1 quarter of a hudred weight, or 28 pounds, and the last number is actual pounds.

So when your anvil was made, it weighed 112+28+7 pounds for a total of 147 pounds. It might have lost a pound or so over the years. Can you see any other markings to identify who might have made it?

Second on the stake. Soak liberall with WD-40, or kerosene. Then try and drive it out backwards (from the bottom) If that doesn't work, you'll have to drill it and then cut it with either a torch or a cutting chisle to get it out.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 01:12:05 GMT

Looking for information on tool maker's marks. Two marks I am looking for are F.R.P. printed over and anchor and a raftered Y on a foot. Thanks Stan
stan  <sanderso at rconnect.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 01:24:05 GMT

Guru, Welcome back! TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 14:09:04 GMT

Guru, I am in immediate need of photographs of both contemporary and historical spiral staircases. Do you know of any reference material, books, etc... that might have what I'm looking for? Thanks, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 14:34:00 GMT

Thanks Guru...Has anyone heard of English anvils out of Malaysia? I got this one importer who wants to sell me one (he's got around 25 of them at 51 kg each and larger.)He is telling me they are "Sheffield Steel"..left in Malasia after the war when the Brits left. Thisa guy is asking 3.oo a lb!!
Sure theyre nice, newish and dressed...but 3.00? Isnt that a tad steep for an anvil? Please advise!! Chris
chris  <causech at goodsamhealth.org> - Friday, 06/02/00 15:47:59 GMT

Spirals: Tim, I will look. I know I have some of Josh Greenwood's AND I took a photo of the UGYLIEST spiral stair I've ever seen this past weekend in Savanna GA.

My wife thought it was "neat" and didn't appreciate my comments about the at # at # at top rail made of straight sections. . It was a 'sorta' spiral made for a fire escape on the 3 storey building.

I'll also see if there is anything in the books. . . Not in my library. . . sorry

Try this: The Contemporary Blacksmith - Dona Z. Meilich

I'm not sure if there are any spirals in it. I haven't gotten my review copy yet. There is also a combined wood and spiral rail on one of the Blacksmith Ring sites. When I find it I'll send it to you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 16:16:46 GMT

Imported Anvils: Chris, Steel, after its melted and repoured may be no better than cast iron. The original source of the scrap has no bearing on the finished product. Starting with good material is important but the resulting product is up to the foundry. You are being fed a BIG line of BS.

The most important aspect of good anvils is the heat treatment. Too hard and they chip or break and too soft and they have little rebound and mark easily. Cheap anvils tend to not be heat treated very well.

The price is not bad. Good forged anvils sell for $8/lb and good cast steel anvils $5/lb. Good OLD anvils currently sell for $2-$3/lb. Cast iron anvils are not worth the iron in them and a poorly cast un-heattreated steel anvil is about the same.

Tell your importer to send you (me?) a sample. If we test it and its good, he won't have trouble selling the rest. If its no good then they are not worth the shipping cost.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 17:01:40 GMT

I am new to the craft and have only dabbled, but my question is in regards to the use of green chestnut as a fuel. I have read about it but have yet to hear any talk about it.
Dwayne Mattson  <dwayne.mattson at excite.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 18:38:53 GMT

Wood Fuel: Dwayne, The only use of chestnut I remember is an offhand remark by Bealer about some backwoods types using green chestnut. Any dry hardwood can be used in a forge but charcoal (made from the same wood) is better and coal even better than that.

Chestnut once made made up a large part of the Eastern hardwood forests in the U.S. All the mature American chestnut was killed by the blight in the 1930's and was promply harvested. Now what few caches of old lumber that exists is prized by woodworkers. Researchers are still trying to develope a resistant variety of chestnut that will live to maturity.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/02/00 19:15:34 GMT

guru..thanks for the anvil advice...im ordering the book anvils in america...postmans book...sounds great...thanks!!
chris  <causech at goodsamhealth.org> - Friday, 06/02/00 19:30:31 GMT

Hello Guru I'm looking at setting up a 1820 to 1850 blacksmith shop. What type of forge would they have?
Would it be a water cooled or just a side draft.
John Mott  <anvilstriker.mindspring.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 02:05:43 GMT

Early 19th Century Forges: John, this was a transition period. In most places bellows blown side draft were predominate. Factory made forges were just becomming available. Water cooled were more popular in Britian while bottom draft dominated in the US. I'm not sure when either became common but there was huge industrial growth in the early 1800's in Britian and in the Eastern U.S. The further you get from there the older the equipment style be in general.

Industry bought sophisticated coal forges. Many factories were outfitted with "down draft" forges. These had a lip around the edge or a small fold back "hood" that was attached to a powerful exhaust blower ducted under the floor. No hoods or stacks!

As late as the early 1900's there was resistance to crank blowers so "pump action" forges were still manufactured.
Today there is a wide variety of forges in use and in the 1800's there was almost as much variety.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 03:17:41 GMT


Join the anvilfire MEMBERS Group (Organisation of Cyber Smiths)! Help keep these forums open and make them better. Be part of the most truely international blacksmithing organization!

Click on the MEMBERS Group link at the bottom of this page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 03:45:34 GMT

I have been forging for 4 years, mainly as a farrier. I've been making some of the projects I've found on your site: towel bars, heart hooks, (thanks for the info!!)
My question. I've seen some really nice finished work that has a very light gray color, and is clear coated. There is no scale anywhere! HOW is this done? I use a brush and can't duplicate it.
Keith Reece  <Reeceforge at dellnet.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 04:34:11 GMT

I have a few questions. First is, I have a book on my lap, The Complete Bladesmith, that says I need a belt grinder. I have looked on the net for about 10 minutes and the only ones I found were industry sized ones made in the 80s to the 50s weighing around 7500 lbs. Is there such thing as a shop sized belt grinder? Could I use grinder wheels instead? Second, could I use a propane grill for a forge? I am a beginner (well less than a beginner actually.)
B osborne  <dark_archon at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 14:16:03 GMT

Oh, and in the previous post by myself, I meant use a propane grill as a forge power off propane. (would that work?)
B osborne  <dark_archon> - Saturday, 06/03/00 14:36:40 GMT

COLOR of SCALE: Keith, The light grey is 'tight scale' a very thin oxide coating. It is what 'mill scale' normally is. With forged work this is what remains after heavy (power) wire brushing or from minimal heats (one?), in a gas forge. The steel may have also been chemicaly cleaned. If you are using coal you may have bituminous 'plating' or deposits on the surface that make it black. This is chemicaly resistant and hard to remove. Sandblasting is about the only way.

Starting with a grey scale finish different clear coats wet the surface differently. Wax and oil produce black finishes while certain clear paint like "Kryalon" or other laquers do not darken the finish.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 16:27:07 GMT

KNIFE BUSINESS: B osborne, Try this belt grinder link from our links page:

Beaumont Metal

A Propane forge and a propane grill are two different devices. A grill is open and uses a low velocity low temperature flame and low BTU flame. Forges use a higher velocity burner (either venturi or blower type) that produces higher temperatures and higher BTU's. The high BTU's are the result of burning more gas and generaly require a different regulator than a forge because the gas usage is much higher. The higher temperatures require a high temperature resistant (refractory) forge lining.

Gas grills HAVE been converted to forges but its a lot of work and requires more than just the grill.

Gas forges just barely run hot enough for forge welding. In order to achive the maximum temperature they are enclosed and insulated by the refractory lining. The refractory stores much of the heat and radiates it back into the forge. This means gas forges take a while to warm up.

See our plans page for more gas forge infomation. Our simple burner plan has links to a variety of other gas forge resources.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 17:03:28 GMT

Belt Grinders: B osborne, There is a wide varity of knifemakers grinders. Centaur Forge sells one and the knife makers suppliers sell different sizes. For hollow grinding you want a large diameter 'contact' wheel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 17:23:02 GMT

So a belt grinder is the same thing as a belt sander?
B osborne  <dark_archon at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 18:56:00 GMT

Thanks for the information Guru. Now where cen I get information on the "pump action" forge? This shop will be near the sight of a blacksmith in the 1820 to 1850. We know that a shop was there but that is all we know. No record of what it looked like or what was inside. Thanks for any help.
Thank John
John Mott  <anvilstriker at mindspring.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 19:23:38 GMT

BELT sander or grinder: Basicly they are the same. Machines designed for metal working are a little different but not much. HD metalworking units have sealed bearings and are designed for water cooling. Machines designed for wood/plastics almost always have a dust collection system.

The Beaumont Sander being built of wood is a good wood working tool but could only be a light duty metalworking tool. You need to be very careful when using the same machine for both. Buildups of wood dust are very flamable and can smolder for a long time after ignition from metal grinding sparks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 19:45:58 GMT

Lever Forge: There's a listing on our 21st Century page with a photo of one.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 19:50:59 GMT

Guru..Just subscribed to your members group (Cyber Smiths).
Proudly, gladly..The education (grin) that I have gotten here is worth far more than the yearly fees. This page is a never ending, ever changing book of knowledge and information...Bravo Guru..
R. Guess  <rdguess at bellsouth.net> - Saturday, 06/03/00 20:15:15 GMT


If you can do a lay out grid of the area, and a careful chart of metal detector readings on the grid, you should be able to tell where the primary tools are from the metal patterns. For example, a round "doughnut" of metal readings with a clear space for the doughnut hole would very likely indicate where the anvil was located. Scale from working hot metal is metallic and shows up on a detector.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 20:42:48 GMT

I have found a 3lbs crosspeen at http://www.toolworldinc.com/ for $7.97. This seems like a good price to me, but I noticed there was a fiberglass handle. Is this unacceptable for a forging hammer?
B Osborne  <dark_archon at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 21:31:54 GMT


Matter of personal preference, I suspect. I've used several fiberglass handled hammers doing carpentry, never for forging. But I doubt if there'd be much difference.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/03/00 22:42:25 GMT

Fenny enough i had gotten a 3lb crosspein from ebay that had a fiberglass handle..last week the handle broke off...it was then that i remebered that is was a Chinese made hammer...now i need to get a wood handle i like them better anyway..:) just a tidbit of info...make sure it's a good hammer.

Cya'll in 2 weeks!
Scotsman  <albagobragh99 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 02:15:58 GMT

Fibre glass Handles: I've got a good carpenter's hammer with a fiberglass handle that I've built at least two house sized buildings with. Prior to that I had a carpenter's hammers with a steel handle and rubber grip. It was OK but the grip didn't have enough shock deadening and when it wore out the "place America shops" didn't have a replacement AND wouldn't replace the hammer. .

I've also got a wood splitting glut with a soft plastic fiber glass handle. These are designed so that if you miss and overstrike, instead of breaking the handle bends. Pretty slick. Would work for sledges too.

NOW. . . Smith's hammers weigh about 3-4 times a carpenter hammer. They are also used in a greater variety of techniques. Generally a smith uses the same heavy hammer for drawing AND to scroll a paper thin point. Many smiths insist that the handle isn't right until you've shaped it to suit your personal grip. Some like "D" shaped, some like Octagonal, Long, short, stub end, deer foot. . . All these modifications (include shortening) require a wood handle.

My personal preference is a factory stock wood handle. I've had a hammer in my hand doing one thing or the other since . . . . well. . for 40 years. The only handle that I don't like is a round pipe handle or any cylindrical handle. The standard oval, tapered with a slight flare so you know where the end is suits me fine.

The other reasons I like wood over fiberglass is that wood is more fire/burn resistant and survives chipping better. Fibre glass handles also tend to be too springy or too stiff. All wood handles seem to have the same "feel" to me.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 03:38:44 GMT

For Kieth Reece,
To get scale off the easiest way is to use an Oxy-acetylene torch. Turn the gas up and keep the tip very close to the work, the scale "pops" right off. Then you can put any other type of finish you want, wire brush, scotch brite wheels, etc... If you don't get this scale off it is impervious to all but heavy duty wire brushing. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 13:30:09 GMT

Recently we found and are restoring our family cemetary. It has an iron gate around it and there is a name plate of Harnika Fence, Springfield, Ohio. Some of it appears to be the result of being poured but other parts seem to be handdone. Do you have any information about this company or where I could get some. The fence was probably erected anywhere between the 1800s and early 1900s. Thanks for you time. Shauna Hauser
shauna hauser  <smh1092 at aol.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 14:28:14 GMT

Harnika: Shauna, I did a number of searches for Harnika. It appears to be a Slavic name. There are none currently listed in the U.S either as personal or business names. In case the 'rn' was actually an 'm' I searched for Hamika. There was only (3) of those listed in the U.S. and all were in Nevada.

Most of these old fences were fabricated from components. Harnika may have been the manufacturer of the components or the fabricator. The only way to find more about this company would be to go to the Springfield, OH clerks office and search the realestate and tax records.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 15:17:03 GMT

A friend of mine has a welding shop and is also a blacksmith . He is looking for a supplier of coke in Canada, preferably withing Ontario. Can you help? Thanks
Mike Gilbeau  <mrgilbeau at sympatico.ca> - Sunday, 06/04/00 20:06:11 GMT

I really want to start Black Smithing work. Im a teenager and have no clue how to get started. I want to just get out somewhere away from all the crap and sit around working on a forge. Unfortunatley i dont know how to make or buy a the materials i need, and even if i had them i would not know how to use them. I have been searching for maybee classes or a group(like an art group or something) that does this so i could learn and get a feel. I Live in VT though, i figured there might be something, but i have failed in my search. Please do you have advice.
Josh Smolkin  <Znmastr at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 20:41:59 GMT

Getting Started: Josh, This is the place! I've put the link to our Getting Started article at the TOP and BOTTOM of this page now. . . Please look at it and follow the links. Its been updated a few times and will be getting more improvements soon.

I don't believe there is a Vermont chapter of ABANA but there many ABANA members there. I think the closest group is the New England Blacksmiths Association. Check our ABANA-Chapter.com page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 21:24:35 GMT

Dear Guru,
I am in Southern Vermont, specifically Marlboro Vermont, near Brattelboro. I am a 23 year old college student who has just recently (in the last semester, 4 months), become very interested in blacksmithing. I managed to convince my school to pay for a couple of classes for me to take. At any rate, I have arranged for at least one 4-6 month (the semester beginning in Jan. of 2001) period where I will be able to be practice forging solely, other than work. So, What I am looking for is someone within a 2 hour drive from me who might be willing to help me out in an apprentice situation. I have managed to come up with a 200 pound anvil, a really nice post vice and a manual blower rivit forge, and a place to work... but I still need as much guidance as possible in order for my school to give me credit for such a project. Do you have anyone in your vast knowledge bank who may be interested or willing to take on such a student?
Tellman  <tellman at tellmans.com> - Sunday, 06/04/00 23:46:57 GMT

Mike Gilbeau: Coal\Coke. I get mine from St Jacobs Ont. They will sent it to your door using the mail..I just recived 210 pds in 3 70pd bags.. Chk www.forgeandanvil.com .. TTYL I am in North Bay Ontario..
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Monday, 06/05/00 00:12:35 GMT

My brother-in-law will be finishing farrier school in about a month. He is trying to find a used gas forge, preferably a Whisper Mama. Because he has been in training for several months, he and my sister aren't in a position to spend a lot of money for set up. If anyone has information about a place they can buy a used gas forge (two burner), please let me know. Thanks.
Elizabeth Riney  <ibeoo7 at npwt.net> - Monday, 06/05/00 01:35:14 GMT

Eee jock when do you think the I-forge demos for may and april will be posted?
I know you have lots to do and so just asking.
BTW both me and monica are volonters if you want some help somwhere.
thanks for as great forum.
OErjan  <pokerbackenm at angelfire.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 11:10:31 GMT


Finding a used gas forge might be a trick. But building a Ron Riel style forge isn't a very tough job at all. Might be an easier way for him to go. there is a link on the links page to some plans for one.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 12:15:26 GMT

iForge Demos: OErjan, Etal - Kiwi worked on them over the weekend and we will soon be posting them.

When we setup the iForge system it was very labor intensive. We had no idea we would be doing it the same way over a year later! We've been working on a new iForge classroom system that will alow the demos to be "replayed" and perhaps be in nearly the final format.

OErjan, glad to see you're the one breaking in our new members "Blue Ink".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 13:30:53 GMT

Vermont - Tellman & Josh: Sounds like you guys need to get together. For some reason the folks in your part of the country haven't organized an ABANA chapter. The following folks are the closest to you and probably know someone near you.

New England Blacksmiths Mass and CT.

North East Blacksmiths Association, NY

NY State Designer Blacksmiths

Try your yellow pages, many blacksmiths are listed under ironworks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 14:16:15 GMT

Thanks, One up on you though... Already contacted josh and vice versa... will get on getting in contact with the mass. region. thanks.
Tellman  <Tellman at tellmans.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 14:22:42 GMT

Salsa Online?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 18:09:28 GMT

What would you like to know about salsa?
Tellman  <tellmans at tellmans.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 20:44:43 GMT

I am a student and am working on a science project. The experment is the affect of oxygen on the color and temperature on an Oxy-acetylene tourch. My Question to you is ,The different colors have different temperatures could you by any chance tell me at what temperature do the different colors happen? I only need a few examples. I allready know that , A bright white flame can be up to 6000 degress f. Can you help me out? Thanks either way.
Jason  <UKGROMIT at MINDSPRING.COM> - Monday, 06/05/00 20:53:02 GMT

Acetylene: Jason,
Acetylene C2H2 burns at 5900°F w/ pure Oxygen, 1483 Btu/cuft, 25ft/sec. A propane/oxygen flame the same color burns at 250°F lower.

That is a neutral (blue w/ normal inner cone) flame. Acetylene makes a white flame when it burns at a lot less than optimum (rich, with less oxygen). The white is from the flouresing of hot carbon. The white flame is (was) used for lighting. In free air propane burns at about half the temperature as it does with pure oxygen. I haven't been able to find the this info on acetylene but it undoubtably burns at a lower temperature with air than with pure oxygen.

The temperature within parts of the flame is also going to vary a great deal. The trick is to find a method of measuring these high temperatures. THEN. . . color is a VERY difficult to define and varies with ambient lighting. The language used to describe the colors can also be suspect. Blacksmiths have used terms like lemon yellow and sunrise red for centuries. Every smith learns to judge temperature by eye but I wouldn't bet on one judging a temperature within +/- 200°F.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/05/00 23:56:01 GMT

My father-in-law is a welder with his own shop. He is bidding a job that requires punching about 650 5/8" square holes in the flanges of 4" I beam. He has a catalog with a hand held portable punch but it can only punch a 1/2" square hole. I have been surfing this evening looking for one but I am not having any luck. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for you help
Scott Beveridge  <scott_beveridge at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 01:13:03 GMT

Some time ago I read of a finish (wax based?) that can be applied to steel to keep it from rusting. I work in Nova Scotia where rust is almost a cash crop. Your help will be appreciated.

mark krause  <mskpsm at aol.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 01:20:19 GMT

I live in south western PA and am in need of a source of supply for coke to be used in horse shoeing. There is a great deal of coke made here in the Pittsburgh area but it is only sold in thousands of ton orders. I need about 5 tons. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks
Bob  <rdetling at aol.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 01:56:09 GMT


No wax finish will hold up outside. I have a recipe that does fairly well inside, if you want that.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 02:42:12 GMT

Punching holes: Scott, Roper-Whitney makes the type of tool you are looking for.

Be sure you know the tonnage required. A 5/8 hole will be calculated: Tons = 0.625 x 4 x thickness x 30.

Thats the area of steel sheared time 30 tons per square inch. 1/4" material would require 18.75 tons. The closest tool will be 20 tons. This is a good job for a punch press if you are cabable of making your own tooling. In a portable type you are probably going to need a hydraulic unit.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 03:16:55 GMT

LOOK AT THAT!! two mark krause's in the same darn profession! one in nova scotia and one in california. scott, i have had luck punching square holes with less tonnage by first drilling a hole slightly smaller than the square one. this is also usefull when the material thickness exceeds the section of the punch. ie a 3/8 punch thru 1/2 mat'l.good luck, m
mark krause  <kbmk13 at prodigy.net> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 05:57:53 GMT

Good thing I left California in the '70s, two mark krause's would be too much, even for a state that big.
Sure, I'd like the recipe for the wax finish. I makethings to be used inside.
What's your advice on a natural finish for exterior use?
mark krause  <mskpsm at aol.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 11:10:10 GMT


1 cup Johnson's Paste Wax
1 Cup Turpentine
1 Cup boiled Linseed oil
1 cup shaved beeswax
2 Tablespoons Japan Dryer (Art Supply Store)

Melt ingredients together
Mix throroughly
Apply to WARM (not hot!) iron
Wipe excess off with soft rag
Allow to dry

Stainless Steel When forged, it gets the gray color of freshly forged steel, then it keeps it without rusting. Somewhere here on Anvilfire there is a picture of a Norfolk Latch made by our resident guru, (Jock Dempsey) over 20 years ago. On an outside door. Never been painted, or had any finish applied. In daily use, including two kids growing up. Still un-rusted.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 13:09:42 GMT

Hail great guru,
Is there any rule of thumb as to how large (diameter) the chimney should be for a forge in an enclosed space (garage)?
Tom   <tbarnett at isd.net> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 21:12:24 GMT

Chimney Rule: Tom, As BIG as possible! A lot depends on the size of your forge (how big a fire you build) and the design of the intake. Stack height enters into the subject but not as much as one thinks. For an average forge 10" diameter is OK, 12" is best. A close intake and a tight fire in a small forge will work with an 8" if you are careful.

Stainless Latch: Its on the 21st Century page.

The biggest error in forge vent design is to use an open hood. Hoods do not work like an upside down funnel. Hoods try to move ALL the air, hot and cold, at the opening up the flue. The 80% cold air mixes with the 20% hot air and you end up with too much luke warm air. HOT air rises. Warm are rises slowly. . . There is no physical reason for a bunch of luke warm air to squeeze itself into a small pipe.

The better forges have what's known as a "side draft flue" An opening about the size of the stack opens into a larger expansion space that funnels into the flue. The opening is NEXT to or slightly above and next to the firepot. Smoke and flame is sucked into the opening which creates a high velocity venturi. The expansion chamber gives the smoke time to start its spiral path up the flue.

See the last page of our 1998 ABANA news coverage and the 1998 AFC coverage for photos of side draft flues.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 22:12:18 GMT

hey this web page is great , but what i was looking for was
tools such as twisters , scroll formers , tools for wrought iron . i have been wanting to learn how to make everything like beds and funiture and candle holders anything .
i have found a web page metacraftusa.com and loved what they had to offer but im still researching for more tools in my price range, not saying that they are expensive but to see what other people offer . but no find
i am going to take a class next sem in welding tech. and try to get an art metal certif but for now i would love to bend something .
so i guess what im saying is give me info and what you think and how do i find these tools besides what i found now
thank you
gino simental  <gsimental at ayn.com> - Tuesday, 06/06/00 23:55:47 GMT

Thanks for your help with the finish for steel. I'm not sure where I'll find shaved bees or how to get their wax but I'll start working on it :)

mark krause  <mskpsm at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 02:31:07 GMT

Twisters and Scroll formers: Gino, We use tongs or a spanner wrench and vise for twisting and a hammer and anvil for EVERYTHING else.

Hot work doesn't require expensive machines until it gets very heavy. Blacksmiths generaly make their own scroll benders if they need to make numerous identical scrolls but in low production they are hammered out by hand and scrolled over the horn or edge of the anvil. See our 21st Century page article on benders. Most of these have less than $1/2 worth of steel in them.

Hot twisting is done either with one end anchored in a vise or held with two pairs of tongs. Cold twisting is often done using old pipe threading machines. Centaur Forge sells a production machine.

Most specialized tools for doing wrought iron work are made by the smith. Certain common tools are available premanufactured but are not required for much work.

Get the books on our Getting Started page and learn about the processes before going out buying tools that you will never use. Then start small and LEARN how to apply those techniques. Once you know something about the craft then you can start looking for machinery. At that point you may want to come back and ask again. . . You'll need a drill press and a cutoff saw before you need a power hammer. Then you'll need a lathe, press and ironworker before you need a mechanical bender. But you will have forgoten this advise the first time you see a power hammer used to forge a leaf in one heat. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 03:28:19 GMT


Snort! You're sick, you know that! (grin)

If you have trouble finding bees wax, let me know. I can find it fairly easily.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 03:45:58 GMT

I am looking for a website, phone number or address for a business named TomCat Metal Bending. I have an old brochure with outdated information. The address and phone number given for it was in El Paso, Texas. Have you ever heard of this company or can you suggest someway to find this information? Thanks for any help in this matter.
Blake  <bcdpm at webtv.net> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 05:14:22 GMT

TomCat: Blake, There are 3 listing in the Thomas Register (also sometimes called TomCat). One was the Tomcat F-14 fighter, one was a sign company and the last a manufacturer of varmit traps.

What kind of bender?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 06:37:45 GMT

This has got to be a big question...But I'll ask anyway. How would you actually MAKE a japanese sword? Um, actually, I should tell you this first: Our metal works teacher is letting us make unsharpened swords welded with sheet metal shield to take home. I want to make one too, but since swords are extracurricular, my teacher will get really frustrated if I ask him every and all questions to get me working, and then he won't let me do it. In fact, the chance of him letting me make a sword is quite slim, however, if I know enough general steps, I can at least self direct myself, and only ask once in a while when I need the details of a step clarified. So... this is actually what I ask of you: Can you give me enough pointers to know faintly what to do when it comes to forging swords? (japanese style, if possible)to get started? I especially need to know how you fold metal. I've forged the tip of a screwdriver before, and that's about it. Any pointers will be deeply appreciated, thank you for your time.
Kai   <vmc2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 08:51:40 GMT

Years ago I made a forge out of half an old cast hot water boiler and a box fan that blew into a duct I cobbled up. All I was doing was making some antique looking rudder pintles out of strap and it worked fine.

Now I'd like to make some plane blades, maybe some knives, and I'm thinking I have an old cast gas barbeque and add some brick to that and an inlet port that will accept the exhaust from my shop vac, use charcoal for fuel, and maybe I have a forge that might work for small pieces. Am I nuts or could this work?
Bill  <Bil4 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 09:19:31 GMT


I've got a coal forge sitting in the back yard (no longer in use) that was made just that way. I used it for several years, and even hauled it around for demonstrations.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 11:49:44 GMT

We are getting PARTING LINE CRACK in Connecting Rod Forging . How to solve it ?
Kindly help .

Barun Kumar
Tata Engineering , Jamshedpur , India
BARUN KUMAR   <kumarbarun at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 13:26:30 GMT

Forges: Bill, The shop vacuume puts out a lot more air than you need. Be sure to but a control valve in the line. Small squirel cage fans that put out 140 to 300 CFM are sufficient for a forge.

Charcoal works but barbque charcoal is largely sawdust, glue and even has a little bituminous coal in it! It DOES have charcoal in it but traditional forging fuel is 100% charcoal made from wood. The majority of modern blacksmiths burn high grade bituminous coal. This has a much higher BTU value than charcoal and even though it is difficult to find in some parts of the country it is easier to find than real charcoal.

There is also a considerable difference between forges for coal and charcoal. The charcoal forge needs a deeper fire bed due to the lower BTU. To get a hot fire that is not highly oxidizing you need a gentle 'blast' from the blower to a fire that uses all the oxygen. You can make a very hot shallow fire but it will also be highly oxidizing. Depth of the fire is a proportional thing that depends on the size of the forge/fire/work and the amount of air necessary. Charcoal needs to be about a foot (~30cm)deep. Coal can be as little as 4" (10cm) deep. However, jewlers and clock makers have been known to use what smiths would consider microscopic sized forges.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 13:43:05 GMT

Japanese Swords; Kai:

The best book that I've come accross is "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshihara (1987, 1990; LoC 86-45725; ISBN 0-87011-798-X). Check with your local library and see if they have it or can pull it through an inter-library loan. It's presently in print, and is frequently advertised in kife making magazines.

The forging of these pieces is among the most time consuming and meticulous activities that a smith could undertake. To be frank, most of us do not have the skill (and/or the time) to do it right, and even the Japanese smiths have a failure rate of up to one in four. Please read the book, it is fascinating, and it is certainly something to aspire to, but as an end of the year class project, I suspect that it is right out.

As long as you have the shield, an axe or a mace (blunt, heavy object) may be the way to go. Just make sure that everything is cool with your school. ("It's not a weapon, it's an historic stage prop.")

Charcoal: The other fun thing with charcoal and bottom draft forges is th "Mt. Vesuvius Effect". After the fire has burned the charcoal down into smaller pieces a strong blast of the fan will blow little hot coals all over the place. Somewhat unnerving. Charcoal also seems to need a bit more water lightly sprinkled on it to keep the fire from spreading too wide past the work and wasting fuel.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 15:02:38 GMT

Japanese Swords: Kai, Forget everything you have heard about how Japanese swords are made. If it came from the Highlander movies or TV series its bunk or described improperly. If it came from many of the blade forums then it is probably bunk that other folks got from the same sources.

The term 'folding' is incorect. There is one fold made in one type of blade. Otherwise the steel is worked by lamination. This is part of the process of making the steel. The Japanese smith does not start with steel. He makes his own. If the steel is not made by the smith in the forge then it is not a Japanese blade. The Japanese claim it is not a Japanese blade if it is not made from iron derived from "iron sands" from a particular place in Japan!

The process starts with wrought iron (nearly pure iron) and carburized iron or cast iron. The carburized iron is created in the smiths forge by starting with a piece of wrought iron and holding it at a red heat for a long time then actualy melting it. The solidified high carbon iron is removed from the forge and quenched. It is then broken up and the pieces studied for proper crystal structure. The good pieces are kept and the rest discarded. THIS is then piled up on a piece of wrought iron and forge welded into the bar. The bar is then cut and laminated and welded and cut and. . until a nearly but not quite uniform product is produced. THIS is used to make the blade. Some blades are solid, some are wraped around a wrought iron core. The wrought iron core is not hardenable and thus very maleable and almost unbreakable while the outer steel is very hard (thus brittle).

THEN there is the highly sophisticated heat treating process. . .

These are skills that take a lifetime of study to learn. If you are really intrested there are books on the subject available from Centaur Forge and Norm Larson. Bladesmithing is the most technical area of blacksmithing. You need to understand steel, metalurgy, heattreating and even some engineering (THEN forging and art).

If you want to make a 'wall hanger' forge it out of mild steel, file, grind, polish it up and fit it with a guard and grip. It will be a great learing experiance. If you want to make a real sword start with a piece steel such as 1095 or an old coil spring. Do the same as above then figure out how to heatteat something three feet long!

If you are realy serious about bladesmithing start small. Make the best kitchen knife possible (more difficult than a sword but a reasonable size) or a small hunting knife. Then work up.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 15:03:38 GMT

Bruce, As always your response is a good companion to mine!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 15:07:09 GMT

Cracks in Forging: Barun, This is a difficult question and hard for anyone to answer without seeing the dies and the work.

The most common cause of cracks in forgings are 'cold shuts'. Places where the metal has folded and is not welded. Insuficient metal to fill the die can cause this at the parting line. In an "I" shaped section the steel must flow out of the center and fill the heavier section. If there is not sufficient flash (waste) then its possible that the steel folded at the parting line.

Too sharp an edge leading into the parting can cause a problem. If the steel doesn't have a smooth flow path it can form an "eddy" where the steel curls back on it self and creates a cold shut. Sharp edges without sufficient dfaft can also "plow" or shave the metal, especialy on second blows. This metal piles up at the parting and is pushed out at the flash but in layers that have cold shuts.

To be sure of what is going on you probably need a photo-micrograph of the section. Flow paths in forgings are sometimes easy to fix IF you know what is going on.

Two other things that can be happening. A trimming die that is too close a fit may be tearing material out of the parting. OR you may have some bad materials that have a cold shut and you are just exposing what is already there. This is especialy common when using rolled plate for blanks. The cold shut or crack in the plate will always be aligned on the same axis as the parting thus always show up in the same place.

I hope I have been of help. This type forging is not my area of expertise.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 16:20:00 GMT

Dear Guru,
I am a wood butcher (carpenter) of some ten years experience in the field of theatrical fabrication. I work in a shop in the Mid Hudson Valley of NY.
Metal, mostly mild steel and aluminum, while always a presence in this type of work is becoming more and more important, and as a result I have been slowly aquiring some metalworking skills.
The metal work I do falls into one of two categories: armatures to support objects made primarily of wood, fabric and/or plastic, or ornamental objects in which modern materials are made to look (to the unexpert eye and at a distance) like something else. That is in fact a basic theme of this kind of work. Aluminum for steel, Homasote for masonry, vacuum molded plastic for almost anything from tree bark to ornamental capitals.
My question concerns the Hossfeld Bender. We have a manually operated Model #2 in our shop with a substantial assortment of dies, blocks,cams etc. the workings of which I have started to familiarize myself. The last fellow who really knew the tool left and so I obtained a copy of the instruction manual from Hossfeld and have begun my self-education on an as-needed basis.
Can you steer me to any on-line reference material (including specific responsa from your own archives) on the basics of this type of bending and any tips of the operation and maintenence of the Hossfeld in particular?

Eli Ignatoff
Eli Ignatoff  <CADslinger at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 18:07:21 GMT

Hossfeld Bender: Eli, If you can figure out how to install your assortment of dies then you are in pretty good shape. Most of the working setup is trial and error. In cold bending spring back is always a problem. This varies greatly dependant on the temper of the stock being bent. Aluminium comes in a broad variety of grades and tempers. Although it is thought of as a soft material the high strength grades are extremely springy and will break before they can be bent into a tight radius. Each grade of Aluminum has a "temper" number (ie 6061-T6). Six being a very hard temper, one being a very low temper.

Most blacksmiths end up with a Hossfeld bender and almost never use it. It is too easy to make bending jigs. It is the only efficient way to reproduce large quantities of scrolls and spirals. See our article on the 21st Century page titled BENDERS.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/07/00 19:20:25 GMT

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