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 8 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Firepot Martin, I haven't heard of this one and I did a couple searches. All the OLD classic manufacturers are out of business. Champion and Buffalo Forge were the biggest. Centaur Forge sells several firepots and one has a "triangular ball" style clinker breaker. Over the years there have been dozens of manufacturers that come and go.

If you are looking for parts, keep asking. Someone may know.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 13:37:22 GMT

Very thankful to see you are back.
Two quick questions:
1. Is it likely that the steel in O2 cylinders contains Molybdenum and if so would it damask well with mild steel?
2. Is it necessary to temper a "damascus" blade? The reason I ask is that it occurred to me that if you harden the instrument the mild steel stays "soft" and the higher-carbon layers harden. Why take the hardness out by tempering if the mild steel is there to provide flexibility?
thanks for your reply (ies),

2. Is it nessesary to temper
Larry Sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Thursday, 06/08/00 13:58:04 GMT

Larry: In most ( read nearly 100% ) cases, the mildsteel is no longer mild steel. The carbon diffuses from the higher concentration into the lower concentration after the first weld is done. With the techniques that I use, after the third weld, the carbon is about equal throughout the piece.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 15:40:20 GMT

Damascus Tempering: Larry, Grandpa beat me to it with a more authoritative answer!

I don't have a clue on the O2 cylinder steel. My reference on welding cylinders has a ton of info but not the specific alloy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 16:09:10 GMT

How should a file be bent. Attempting to convert some files into almost rifflers. Wanting to curve a file to clean the inside of apoon.
Tim Slatton  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 19:25:31 GMT

Rifflers: Tim, I've made these several times. The handle end of half round files rarely gets much wear and makes great spoon files.

I heat locally to a low red with a cutting torch while the extra file is clamped in a vise, bend with tongs or plires and then torch off the extra and quench. The torched end is ground to clean up.

Bending the half round file produces a semi-spherical surface. Since my use was on wood I didn't perform a seperate heattreat. I figured it was better not to have to heat the file and chance burning the teeth more than once. That's why it was heated and torched and quenched in one quik heat.

I've used the same technique to bend triangular files also. If you want to heattreat then it would probably be best to heat in stainless foil.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 20:13:27 GMT

I am working on a turn-of-the-century forge. It has a hand- crank blower, and where it attatches to the forge it has broken apart. It is all cast iron and I have heard that welding cast iron is more difficult than normal welding. I would like to know how it is different. Thanks.
Colin  <homebase17 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 06/08/00 23:53:14 GMT

I would like to here from Bertie Rietvield or any one who might know more detials on his hammer, if he has made any modifications; etc
dauid lucas  <mwood at mylink.net> - Thursday, 06/08/00 23:55:59 GMT


Cast iron is more difficult to weld than miled steel. The higher carbon content makes the material much more brittle and subject to heat stress. Pre-heating the cast and using pure cast rod with an oxy rig is one approach that works, but does take practice.

I've heard, (but never tried) that using a stainless steel rod in a stick welder will work also.

But the two most common repair methods are fish plating bolts and/or brazing.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 06/09/00 01:21:00 GMT

Cast Iron: Welding old broken oxidized pieces of cast iron is very difficult. Carbon migration in the weld zone is part of the problem. Differential expansion of the weld metal and the cast iron is the other. Preheat as Paw Paw said, is REQUIRED and the preheat (400 to 500 degrees for gray iron) must be maintained during welding. Weld with enough heat, but not too much. Slow cooling is also required or the weld and weld zone will be very brittle. There are special rods with high nickel content (bubble gum rod) that help. 60 degree weld grooves should be used if possible. 5/32 rod with 130 amps max of DCRP should work. For gas welding, preheat to about 1000 degrees. Brazing is generally easier and should work if the parts you need to join will never get too hot to melt the braze filler. Use an oxidizing flux to remove graphite. Good Luck!
Tony  <tca_bnospam at milwpc.com> - Friday, 06/09/00 13:20:09 GMT

More on Cast Iron: Tony mentioned the differential expansion but in certain shapes of cast iron the problem is the heat expansion in the weld zone and then the shrinkage that follows.

In rings, tubes and some flat ribbed castings the part must be preheated on the OPPOSITE side of the part so that expansion and contraction is equal and in parallel. If the preheat is not correct the part cracks at the weld OR on the opposite side if the weld is stronger than than the base metal. . which is often the case.

Parts that have been broken due to freezing such as a pump housing or cylinder block may have hundreds of invisible micro cracks. Often these won't effect the function of the part BUT when a weld repair is made these other cracks will open up and you find yourself chasing new cracks all of the place!

Figuring this out is a REAL art and the wleding books only cover the most simplistic cases. Most castings are much more complicated than a simple spoked wheel.

After repairing several pump housings from our shallow well pump and chasing cracks from on side to the other. . . My last repair was fibreglass and epoxy. Took less time and effort, didn't warp the part and worked the first time.

On the other hand, a friend of mine welds cast iron using a cutting torch and cast iron filler. This works on relatively small parts where the entire part is brought up to a red heat. Part of the trick is aggitation of the weld metal. I can't do it and I'm pretty good with a torch.

Yes, welding cast iron IS different.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/09/00 14:25:55 GMT


I am a second year archaeology student creating a blacksmithing display case for the Discovery Harbour tourist center in Midland, Ontario. I am looking for sources that cover basic descriptions and uses of the various tools a smith might use as well as the products created through their use. Can you reccommend any quality reading material? Do you have any suggestions?


Aleisha Stevens  <Stev4040 at mach1.wlu> - Friday, 06/09/00 22:29:27 GMT

Aleisha Stevens: I am in North Bay.. I will be in Hunstville July 1st In the Pioneer Village. Look for the Balcksmith shop and you have found me..Ask away when you see me...TTYL
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Friday, 06/09/00 22:40:55 GMT

I bought a small champion coal forge $20. It measures 20
inches dia. and has a hand crank blower attached. What might it be worth. thanks.
David  <david01 at network-one.com> - Saturday, 06/10/00 01:44:57 GMT


While I will agree that many blacksmiths get a Hossfeld bender and never use it, I think they really should LEARN to use it. I've bent THOUSANDS of different things on mine. In the twenty-five years I've had it I'd wager I've done more than $1 million in work on it! It was the first major tool I bought new when I started out. The shop I apprenticed in had SIX Hossfeld benders. THAT shop had a major influence on me. Hundred year old blacksmith shop it was. Like the guru says, bending jigs are easy to make - difference is I used the Hossfeld as the basis for most of mine.

I've made rings up to twelve feet in diameter, bent 1/2 X 4 flat bar on 1/2 inch radius, even bent 2 inch 4140 on a 1 inch radius! All the parts of a Hossfeld are heat treated alloy, not mild steel like all the knock-offs.

Too bad the Hossfeld manual and videos don't show more than the bare basics. In the above mentioned shop we did things I never would have dreamed could be done in a Hossfeld. Ilearned a lot there.
grant  <nakedanvil> - Saturday, 06/10/00 02:32:11 GMT

Historical Tools: Aleisha, Eric Sloane's Museum of Early American Tools is very good on 18th and 19th century tools. Then Alex Bealer's Art of Blacksmithing is a classic. Both have lots of ink illustrations and are available in most libraries.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/10/00 05:42:07 GMT

Jack, I've heard of using potter's Kiln Wash as a paint insulator on Durablanket to prevent flux corrosion, Have you had any experience with this? I know there are high priced commercial paint available. Many$$$
Dick Rightmyer  <richarda at localnet.com> - Sunday, 06/11/00 01:56:22 GMT

Wash: Dick, Almost anything that provides a hard surface will help. The blanket is relatively low density material with lots of surface area to attack. Some coating to keep the flux out of the blanket will help. It also prevents mechanical damage to a degree. I'm not familiar with the temperature rating of the material you are looking at but if it will take the temperature (max 3,000°F) then it will help protect the blanket.

However, almost all refractories are soluable in flux at high temperature to some degree. You also get what you pay for in most cases.

The construction of forges from Kaowool is popular because it is fast, easy and light weight. It is also very efficient insulation. However, it is not designed for exposed surfaces AND it is an expensive refractory. As an expensive non-durable material you should expect to need to protect it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/11/00 02:18:52 GMT

hello i would like to know the details on how to make a medievil knight sheild made of steel that is curved and very hard to dent. Also can u tell me some of the equipment imight need please e-mail me on some way of making one a steel sheild thankyou G lowe
G lowe  <grifdril at rock.upnaway.com> - Sunday, 06/11/00 11:56:56 GMT

Shield: G lowe, We have an article on the 21st Century page about making helmets, the technique is very similar.

"Hard to dent" is easy. How to carry is hard! 1/8" plate will resist almost any manual attempt to dent (or shape it with a sledge). A 24" (61cm) dia plate would weigh 16 pounds (7.6 kg) and a 30"(76cm), 26 pounds (~12kg). A shield by neccesity is relatively light weight. Half this thickness is still VERY durable but is still a considerable weight to carry. Thinner steel is easier to dent.

Traditionaly early shields were thin wood covered with hard leather (like dry raw hide) and reinforced with metal edging and bands. Typicaly they had relatively thin metal edging and reinforcements for grip and strap (like using large washers). This design extends from the medieval era back to the bronze age.

Later shields (in different periods) had thin metal plate over the wood. This was an outgrowth of the reinforcements metal bands that eventualy had the spaces between them filled. The metal replacing the leather. Small plate shields were used with plate armour.

The combination of wood which is VERY strong for its weight and a thin layer of sheet metal to resist sharp edged attacks is hard to beat.

Modern sheilds (used by riot police) are made of transparent Lexan or acrylic so that they can be seen through. Plastic is heavier than wood but these are not designed for hand to hand combat but rather protection from thrown objects. Many are designed to be rested on the ground due to the weight.

If you want to be authentic you don't need plate steel at all. If you want a metal shield then it will be a rather thin covering over wood. If it is to be a polished metal shield I would use (non-authentic) stainless in place of steel to avoid rust. Brass/steel can be combined to great artistic effect.

Curvature adds great strength and is easy to achieve in one axis in both the wood and the steel.
The greatest durability can be achieved using a semi-traditional method and modern adheasives. Glueing the steel to the wood with epoxy so that there are no gaps will make an extreamly strong composite. IF the steel has raised designs (repose') these will want to be filled with wood or plastic filler before bonding the assembly together.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/11/00 14:43:10 GMT

From the Iron Bodger:

Welding cast iron is like welding ice cream to dog****. It can be done, but will it last?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/11/00 17:19:23 GMT

G. Lowe would recommed that you look at the sca.org site and find the Marshall's Handbook. SCA people are building & using shields & armour. Also look at the SCA merchants, some of which sell shields & armour
Tim Slatton  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Monday, 06/12/00 13:14:49 GMT

Hello, just came across a strange power hammer for 1500.00 and was wondering if it was any good for damascuss work it is a pedington and the main collum is aboute 8 feet tall the hammer is out from the main body about 4 feet and looks to my uneducated eye to be a 25 lbs hammer it also is 6 feet off the ground . any info or advice would be very apreceated.
Erol  <erolion at birch.net> - Monday, 06/12/00 17:20:31 GMT

Peddington: Erol, This sounds like a Peddingell. I have a set of photos I NEED to post (sorry John!). It is a sheet metal working hammer. They are used to shape things like auto body and aircraft panels. Aircraft factories used to be full of them. A pretty rare machine today.

No, they are not heavy enough for drawing billets. They are designed to make the thousands of light blows that one would do by hand when "raising" sheet. That is what that deep throat and open frame is for.

Hmmm would be good for armor work. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/12/00 17:56:52 GMT

From the mail box:

What do you know about Hill anvils?

Never heard of them. . Think its an English anvil. .

Postman has one on p.73 of his book. Its an old syle (1790-1830s) anvil. Looks a LOT like a mousehole of the same age. It will have a forged wrought iron body and tool steel face. Said "HILL Burmingham" on the side.

One this old is both a collectors item and a "user". 200 years old +/-

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/12/00 21:36:33 GMT

What information Postman has on the Hill anvil is on page 73, and there is also a picture on page 74.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/12/00 22:44:16 GMT

Picky picky! ;)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/12/00 23:50:50 GMT

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/13/00 01:05:10 GMT

My steel rulers in shop have become dark and hard to read. I steel wool and wax them, but this only lasts a while. Is there some way to brighten them up? This is a school shop. Thanks, Ron
ron  <ron08840 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/13/00 01:14:09 GMT

Steel Rules: Ron, this has been a problem for centuries (yeah, they've made them THAT long). As an un-chromed machinist's tool it is supposed to be cleaned and oiled with light oil after EVERY use. Do not use motor oil. The detergent is designed to absorb water from the atmosphere and you get rust UNDER the oil. For oiling machine tools I use 20W20 Non-Detergent

The higher the polish on the suface the better the surface holds up. About the only thing that will hold up without daily maintenance is a very thin coating of clear laquer. This requires and absolutely clean oil free surface. It is also what the rules have on them when new so they don't rust before delivery, and hold up for a while after.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/13/00 01:44:39 GMT

My steel rules are black, and will stay that way since I got hold of some antique ones made out of what appears to be monel or some such variety of non-tarnishing nickel silver alloy. I've got an aluminum one too, but it oxidizes a bit too readily for my taste.
Try a fine scotch-brite wheel on the steel ones. They seem to leave a protective thin clear plastic coat on steel. It comes off easily with a bit of acetone if you don't like it.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 06/13/00 14:49:05 GMT

We have a brick built in barbecue without a grill or a metal pan to hold the charcoal. Could you recommend someone in the London area to make a grill and charcoal pan for us? The dimensions for both are 44" x 18". Thank you.
Lora Wilkinson  <lora.wilkinson at citicorp.com> - Tuesday, 06/13/00 23:24:30 GMT

London, UK: Lora, Try contacting BABA - the British Artist Blacksmith Association
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 00:46:05 GMT

Can you help me identify a Little Giant and Mayer Trip Hammer No. 2475 ? It has a belt pulley 12" dia. and 5" wide. The bottom dovetail is 3" X 7 1/4". It is almost 6' tall. Thanks!
charlie Groom  <astro at webzone.net> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 01:41:35 GMT

Little Giant: Charlie, That sounds like a 50# hammer. Most of the other sizes and the later 50# hammers had the size on the crank wheel. See the specs on our Power hammer Page. These early hammers are a little taller than the late models. The serial number says it was made in 1913.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 04:22:43 GMT

I am just getting started and have located an anvil with the markings "VUL 12 CAN" under the horn at the base. These are the only markings on the anvil. What does it weigh? What else can you tell me about it? The face and horn would have to be dressed. I dropped a ball bearing on the face from about 10 inches and it rebounded about 6 inches. What is it worth? Is it worth buying? Thanks

Dan Stolarz  <stolarz at csinet.net> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 04:34:40 GMT

i'm trying to find a blacksmith to work with at the northwest renaissance festival starting next weekend and running for the next 6 weekends...it's located north of spokane washington near tum tum... i have an anvil and forge there now...i would apericate any help i can get to find a good smith who can come out...thanks chris
chris  <cp3crow at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 06:08:52 GMT


Is there a trademark of any kind on the side of the anvil?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 12:12:21 GMT

Camp Fenby:

Latest/ best information is posted at:


(A poor substitute for Flagstaff, I know, but the best we can do given our expedition to Canada for the Lief Ericson Millenial Celebration in July and August.)


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, 06/14/00 12:38:48 GMT

No there was nothing on either side. The VUL 12 CAN was not stamped, it was raised like it was cast in the base. Was there a company or manufacturer named Vulcan. This anvil looks like it has been around awhile.

Dan Stolarz  <stolarz at csinet.net> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 13:38:00 GMT

Camp Fenby: Loads of fun, wish I could go.

VULCAN Anvil: Most cast anvils with paired numerals are cast and the weight marked in 10's rounded to the nearest 10. A 12 would be a 120 pound anvil in most brands.

Value is hard to place as anvil prices are mostly determined by whos selling and who's buying. New anvils sell for as much as $8/lb USD. Good quality used anvils in GOOD condition typicaly sell for around $2/lb but can be as low as 50 cents/lb or as much as $4/pound.

Old anvils are just as functional as new anvils and many in use are well over 200 years old. Anvils range in quality from the best that is possible to make within the limits of technology and materials to cast iron junkers that aren't worth the material put into them (door stops).

Actual value is hard to judge with knowing the type and exact condition. Many folks insist on repairing the slightest cosmetic damage, I NEVER recommend repairs unless absolutely necessary.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 14:34:12 GMT

VULCAN ANVIL: Dan, Raised lettering also indicates a cast anvil. This is probably an II&BC (Illinois Iron and Bolt Co.) anvil. The trade mark is an arm and hammer but this is not to be mistaken with the Arm and Hammer brand.

These were a cast iron anvil with a steel face. This type anvil was developed by Fisher Norris the first US anvil manufacturer. It is a cheaper anvil forged. Many folks like them because they don't ring like forged or cast steel anvils. Anvils are no longer manufactured by this technique. Improved technology has made it uneconomical to manufacture anvils by this method.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 15:06:25 GMT

GURU! I have not really worked in blacksmithing or the trade at all before, but I am involved in a medieval research group. Anyway, an old friend of mine was helping me make some elbow cops out of an old street sign (aluminum type metal?). He showed me how to dish the metal with a ball peen hammer and a dishing stump, but the inside of the cop had hammer dents. How do I dish or shape this metal without causing the hammer dents. As I said before, I really don't have any experience in this area- so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Jerome  <Psistalk2 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 18:56:43 GMT

Dishing & Raising: Jerome, This process is generaly called "raising". Initialy the work is dished in a depression. Afterwards it is worked from the outside over a ball or mushroom 'stake'. A stake is a small specially shaped anvil that can be clamped in a vise, mounted in a "stake" plate or individualy on a stump.

Raising is a painstaking process. Smallish hammers with flat faces called "planishing" hammers are used. These are available from specialty suppliers that also provide stakes. Auto body hammers are the same pattern. Stakes can be made. Trailer hitch balls work well. We have examples on the iForge page under "Swage Tools" by James Joyce. Also check out the armour article on the 21st Century page.

In raising, thousands of light blows are used to stretch the metal and reduce the bigger hammer marks to small facets. Once the piece is the correct shape and the hammer marks are just thousands of little flats a file can be taken to the work to remove the edges of the flats. NEVER do this until the hammer flats are reduced as much as possible.

During this process the metal can work harden and become brittle. The metal must be annealed to remove the hardness or the part will crack. Non-ferous metals are heated and then quenched. Ferrous (iron/steel) is heated to a low red and allowed to cool as slow as possible.

Check out the armour and iForge articles and the review of Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork has some pictures from the book that might help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 20:00:07 GMT

Dishing and Raising: Can I anneal a road sign that is made out of some aluminum typy metal then?
Jerome  <Psistalk2 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 21:53:47 GMT

Aluminum: Jerome, I'm not sure what alloy road signs are made of but they should be annealabel since any metal that can rolled must be. The trick is that you want to heat the metal to just below the melting point.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/14/00 22:23:52 GMT

Guru, Do you know of a CAD program that works well for ironwork. I noticed in the magazine "Fabricator" a program that was being hyped but it was awfully expensive. Thanks in advance. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 01:51:38 GMT

CAD: Tim all the better programs are a little pricey. All will do the job. The learning curve is the trick. 3D programs take years of experiance to produce work as difficult fancy decorative work. If you look at the most sophisticated 3D CAD images they are all surfaces with textures added. Scrolls, leaves, baskets would all have to be individual modeled before copying.

There is no 'magic bullet' to CAD. It is a tool with a long learning curve. It is most valuable in mechanical design where you need to keep and retrieve updated drawings. Learning CAD is like learning to draw all over again.

I'm very good with CAD but rarely use it for illustrations because it is so slow. If I wanted drawings for publication equivalent to inked drawings I'd use CAD. The only time I'd use CAD for wrought iron work is if it were a huge job with lots of repetitive elements.

Now, I say CAD is too slow, but then I draw with a pencil VERY fast and considered being a full time artist at one point. I decided I didn't want to be a "starving artist" so years later I became a "hippie craftsman". . same difference!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 03:02:04 GMT

Hi I am a 18 year old high school student from winthrop , Maine. I am trying to get started in blacksmithing , I am looking for a decent anvil , a forge coal or gas , and any other tools. they all must be at a reasonable price and in the Maine area . respond or email me if you have anything thanks
brian   <gonefishin19 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 03:05:01 GMT

Looking for tools: Brian, you'll find them in your backyard sooner than on the net (unless you are willing to pay top price).

The blacksmithing organizationss in your area are a little thin but there ARE blacksmiths. A couple fellows in Vermont were looking for help and tools (look UP a dozen posts). Contact them, contact the ABANA chapters listed. Look in the yellow pages for ironworks. Search the internet yellow pages for ironworks and blacksmith shops in the nearest towns or in a range you could travel to. Your best sources are other blacksmiths. THEN try every antique shop and estate auction. TELL everyone you know (especially relatives) that you are intrested in blacksmithing and need an anvil and forge. You would be amazed how many have an anvil in the barn or shed just waiting for someone to ask about it. Try old service stations, repair and machine shops. A couple days on the phone using good research technique will produce amazing results. Try it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 21:05:04 GMT

I am an blacksmith interprater at a museum. I know just enough to be dangrous and hope you can tell me how to shape the steel for a flint and steel fire stater and what kind of steel to use. the equipment I have to work on is an original 1860 blacksmith shop. Thank you Nora
Nora  <nononora at msn.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 21:29:53 GMT

I was asked to make some titanium articles. Any info you haave about alloys, temps, properties, ect.. would be greatly apperciated
Tannis  <celticforge at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 06/15/00 22:27:33 GMT


I'll forward you the method that I use for making strikers by e-mail.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 00:28:31 GMT

Striker: Nora, we have an iForge demo on making a fancy "Dragon Head Striker". I just realized I need to do some editing to the demo. . . (Sorry Scout!). He has a page where he and his partner (both teenage boyscouts) make and sell fire kits. www.scoutskills.com

Look for the demo towards the bottom of the list on the iFroge page.

Strikers must be made out of hardenable "tool" or high carbon steel or they won't spark. They must also be hardened. It is common to make strikers out of old files but other high carbon steels will do. Check out Scout's demo and then feel free to ask again.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 00:39:26 GMT

Hi! My name is Erm Caruso. I'am a blacksmith from Toronto, Canada.I have been doing railings and stairs for about 10 years with very few modern machinery,but that is about change.I have received a big order of custom railings for a club,the president of the club wants the railings made of used automobiles axles, they range from 1 to 1.5 inch diameter.I have no problem finding the axles,I'am just starting to get 10 to 20 per day from scrap yards and garages.The whole job will take about 2000 axles.My problem is:I have to make 1 cut per axle, the cut does not have to be very presice ,plus or minus 1/8 of an inch, is ok.I can not wait until I have all the axles and then send it somewhere to cut them ,I need to cut them, myself, as I get them.I have no clue at all what kind of machine I need to cut them,I don't know what grade of steel they are, I know they were tempered after they were machined.Can anybody help me with this? do I need an abrassive cut off saw? a cold saw? a band saw? My budget is $1000.
Thank you very much in advance..
Erm Caruso  <Webito at netscape.net> - Friday, 06/16/00 01:13:43 GMT

Auto Axels: Erm, Axels are normaly hardened medium carbon steel. The alloy and hardness varies but the splined ends are quite hard. A GOOD band saw with HSS steel blades and coolant running at the right speed will do it but probably won't cut the splines. Hard to find a good saw for that price but used ones come up. The chop saw will do the job but the quantity of cuts make the wheels are a significant cost factor. Properly used the saw could do the job with two to four blades (max).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 01:42:32 GMT

i have what looks(and works) like a great anvil...it is in like new shape...but i don't really know any thing about it...can you help? on one side it has rased numbers and letters 1 3/4 CWT and beneath that ENGLAND...on the other side 87 KGS...thanks
chris  <cp3crow at hotmail.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 03:32:03 GMT

Hey Guru,
I recently aquired a Hawkeye #3 Power Hammer Pat. Date 1903.
Where can I find a photo of one of these? It would be helpful to see one assembled. Thanks for any help you may offer.
Davey  <longstory at in-tch.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 04:06:00 GMT

Attached is a picture of a flints triker, the way I make them. I use pieces of broken garage door opener spring for material.

After the striker is completed, I heat the entire piece to non-magnetic. Then I quench JUST the striking surface to black. Allow the heat from the ends to flow back to the striking surface while I sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star" to myself, then quench the entire striker to cold. Singing the little song is just about the right amount of time. You could probably find a more
scientific method to do it, but why?

I tried to send this to you e-mail, but it bounced back twice.

Guru, I've got a picture of a simple striker that I make. Nothing fancy, just the general shape. Want it?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 13:53:04 GMT

Hawkeye #3: Davey, The hammer appears in the book Pounding ot the Profits by Douglas Freund (see our review).

The Hawkeye hammers were built on a heavy wood base made of three or four timbres that appear to be 12" x 4 or 5" bolted together. The number 2 had a wood column supporting the pivot end of the helve and the number 3 had a cast iron column.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 14:06:47 GMT

English Anvil: Chris, There have been a couple makers of cast steel anvils in England. Centaur Forge sells the Vaughn/Brooks brand.

English cast steel anvils are a distinct pattern with a heavy heal and horn. They aren't pretty but they are good anvils.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 14:22:36 GMT

Striker: Jim, send it to me and I'll add it to Scout's demo.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 14:24:38 GMT

How do you temper steel. I am trying to make hard edger blades
Brown  <rnb10121 at aol.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 19:09:32 GMT

Hardening: Brown, The ability to be hardened varies with the carbon and alloy content of steel. The higher the carbon content the harder the steel can become. Low carbon steel has very low hardenability and wrought iron which has no carbon is unhardenable.

To harden steel it is heated above the "transformation point", a low red or just above where the steel becomes non-magnetic. Then it is quenched in brine, water, oil or even air. Afterwards it is tempered by reheating. This reduces the brittleness of the steel a lot and the hardness just a little. Temper temperatures range from as low as 350°F to as high as 1400°F depending on the steel.

The quenchant depends on the type of steel. In general quenching in a more sever quenchant than necessary can cause cracks in the steel. Overheating prior to the quench can do the same.

In general hard parts are always more brittle than soft parts. Using parts that are too hard can be dangerous. On machines this can mean parts that may explode or shatter.

I left a bunch of varibles open above. This is the nature of the game. The starting place is to know what kind of steel you are working with. Then go to a reference like MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and look up the correct heat treating parameters. IF you don't know what kind of steel you are using then you have to become your own metalurgist and do some detective work. This requires lots of trial and error and attention to detail, plus a lot of knowledge.

There is no simple formula or magic bullet. Start with a book like Jack Andrew's NEW Edge of the Anvil and a copy of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. If you start working with a variety of steels you will also need the ASM Metal Reference Book as it has more complete listings of numerous alloys.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/16/00 20:21:32 GMT

Anyone know if there is a good instruction page on acid etching temper lines (as in japanese swords etc.)?

Natan Kay  <bokutoman at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 06/17/00 04:41:35 GMT

Guru: I've obtained very experienced,retired,Kerrihard power hammer, hope to restore to usefulness. I've freed up all the rusty joints so they move and believe there is hope. Feel free to give your opinion about the qualities or lack of them in this machine. It is set up with a pulley for a flat belt. Would a 2HP electric motor be sufficient? Also, what rpm should I shoot for? Do you know of a source of flat drive belts? Thank you for your input.
amateur  <rstephen at dstream.net> - Saturday, 06/17/00 04:50:47 GMT

Etching temper lines (!)
Natan, are you trying to fool someone?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 06/17/00 14:49:10 GMT

Hammon line: Natan, The hammon line is the result of a very technical hardening process where the blade is covered with protective clay and the edge is exposed by scraping off some of the clay. This creates the differential hardness which is then carefuly buffed and polished to bring out the pattern at the line. It is a very high art process. Centaur Forge carries a book on making Japanese swords that should cover the process and Cyril Stanley Smith's History of Metalography is also very good.

According to my expert on the subject, you must also rember to, "Quench the blade in water the temperature of a small lake during a full moon in August".

Blades with etched edges are counterfeits.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/17/00 15:00:48 GMT

Kerrihard: amateur, Several models of Kerrihard's were built. The last, the C-30 ran as fast as 400 bpm. 350 bpm is probably correct for the earlier models. I think all the Kerrihards were 30 poound hammers so 1HP would be enough and 2HP more than enough. Flat belt drive machines often require a "back shaft" or low RPM motor to get sufficient reduction. Line shafting typicaly ran 300 to 500 RPM so the reduction was in the primary drive.

Kerrihards were a fairly popular machine but they have a lot of joints to wear out. It is not unusual for power hammers to have been run without lubrication and see a lot of wear. If it is not worn out then oil it every time you run it and more than once a day if you run it all day.

Flat belting can be purchased from McMaster-Carr but they do not put in the splice. Contact your nearest power transmission suplier or mill supplier. These folks often make flat belts. "Clipper" brand lacing is generaly the best but if you can get the belt on and off in one piece then you can get a glued leather or rubber belt. Folks that maintain several flat belt machines generaly should have their own belt lacing equipment, so check with older machine shops. Clipper laces require a Clipper brand machine. These are quite expensive new but can be found at machine shop auctions from time to time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/17/00 15:38:12 GMT

Just needed some info on an anvil. It's about 100# and on the side it is stamped M&H Armitage/Mouse Hole forge/1.2.12 Any info would be helpful. Thankx
Bill,Ornamental Iron
Spokane ,WA
Bill Heitner  <Lesdeniseheit at AOL> - Sunday, 06/18/00 05:28:47 GMT

Mousehole anvil: Bill, Mousehole forge produced some of the best wrought iron steel faced anvils made. It is an English anvil from one of what was one of the earliest and longest running anvil factories anywhere. M&H was the proprietorship from 1820 until the early 1900's. Mousehole Forge probably produced more anvils than any other manufacturer anywhere.

The numbers are hundred weights (112#), quarter hundred weights (28#) and whole pounds. Weight should be 180#. Quite a bit more than 100 pounds. A nice weight anvil.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 06:42:33 GMT

Guru, I need to make a tooling Die for my Hammer. Would you suggest 4140 for this? Then if possible could you explain the difference between Tempering and heat treating, and which of these would be used for the dies of a power hammer? I was thinking to heat to non-magnetic, quench in oil or water, then put in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour or 1 1/2 hrs. If I'm correct this is tempering and not heat treating? TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 16:14:34 GMT

Venerable Guru..I have a large section of road grader blade and am wondering if it will make good tooling dies for use under a 25# LG hammer. I understand it has high abrasion resistance and if I am correct, should be tough enough for light to moderate work under a power hammer.
R. Guess  <rdguess at bellsouth.net> - Sunday, 06/18/00 17:11:58 GMT

I've only recently started blacksmithing and a while ago I saw an anvil with a cone like projection on the side of it. Can you tell me what this is used for? Thanks
Kuldeep   <sarank11> - Sunday, 06/18/00 20:29:53 GMT

Dear Sir: Would you please describe the life cycle of scale and relate your answer to the timing of the application of flux. Your answer just might save the world a future blacksmith from joining the infantry.
Thanks, Larry
L.Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Sunday, 06/18/00 21:38:54 GMT

Tim, a better choice might be 4340 if you can get it. Your heat treating procedure sounds correct but I would leave the dies in the oven longer and possible at a high degree. To find out for sure how to heat treat you might want to check out Principal Metals online. The master guru has a link to them on his links page.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 22:00:47 GMT

Dear Blacksmith Gurus,
I am currently an employee at the Curatorial Center (museum) in Virginia City, MT. Virginia City is a late 19th century ghost town which has recently been aquired by the state of Montana. My job includes taking inventory of all remaining objects in the historic buildings. Recently, my coworkers and I have been working in the two blacksmith shops. This is where I need some help. I know next to nothing about 19th Century blacksmithing and it is very difficult to determine what many of the objects are. Would you suggest a few books that would that would explain the basics of blacksmithing and the the kinds of objects made in the late 19th Century?
Thank you,
shelby e.
shelby  <shelbell_1 at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 22:52:14 GMT

Hammer Dies: Tim, several manufacturers use 4140. The industrial guys use a variety of steels including 4150, Bull uses H13. Plain carbon steels such as 1075 or 1095 have also been used but require more careful tempering. Modern steels often recomended are the H series, O1, A2 and D2.

heattreating: Tempering is one stage of heattreating. The sequence for most steels is:
  • Normalize
  • Harden (heat to the A3 point and quench)
  • Temper (heat to lower brittlenss and reduce stresses)

Normalizing is like annealing except it does not require as long a cooling period. It is no longer recomended for many alloy steels. Hardening methods vary mostly in the quenchant used depending on the type of steel and the section of the part (how heavy). Heating to non-magnetic works but is not always the recommended hardening temperature. Tempering most steels requires temperatures higher than a kitchen oven's MAX temp rating. 350°F-450°F is the lowest tempering temperature for many steels. This means the part will have the maximum hardness. This is not usualy desired in hammer dies. Double tempering (recommended for dies) is simply going through the tempering process a second time. Tempering should be done as soon after hardening as is convenient. Do not quench after tempering.

Harden 4140 at 1550-1600°F Oil quench
Harden 4150 at 1500-1600°F Oil quench
Harden 4340 at 1475-1525°F Oil quench

Temper to 341 tp 375 Bhn, 37-40 Rc. For the above steels that requires 800-900°F
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 22:53:00 GMT

Grader Blade: Randal, This is generaly a tough abrasion resistant steel. It is also ductile. Abrasion resistance is not always the same as hardness. Some abrasion resistant steels are relatively soft.

Abrasion resistant steels are not normaly used in places where hardness is needed. For low use specialty dies even mild steel works.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 22:57:29 GMT

Anvil projection: Kuldeep, Depending on the age of the anvil this is either a farriers anvil or a carriage makers anvil. In both cases the protrusion is a thin rectangular section similar to the heal of the anvil but thinner. On modern farriers pattern anvils there are all types of odd "custom" or "patent" additions. Most of these are recognized by the extreamely narrow waist and over sized horn. Its difficult to identify some anvil type without seeing them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 23:03:32 GMT

Scale: Larry?, Scale is iron oxide. The more free oxygen there is in your forge fire the faster and heavier it forms. When welding you forge the scarf first then wire brush off as much scale as possible. On reheating you apply the flux as soon as it will melt on the surface. To prevent more oxidation than necessary you can flux in the forge using a small flux spoon (you make your own) or a dipping point. A dipping point is a a bar with a bent pointed end that you heat and dip into the flux. Flux melts onto the point and you transfer it to the work in the fire. You can also use the point to test the heat. If it sticks, its time to weld!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/18/00 23:39:42 GMT

19th Century Tools: Shelby, Blacksmith tools have changed very little over the centuries. However, you are dealing with a time when more variety of factory made tools were available than at any other time. THEN, there are the custom tools that every blacksmith makes for themselves. These often outnumber the 'standard' tools. Some smiths were excellent tool makers and it takes close attention to manufacturing details to know hand made from production.

The following books will help, not all are in print.
  • The Art of Blacksmithing Alex Bealer
  • Blacksmiths and Farriers tools at the Shelburne Museum H.R. Bradley Smith
  • Champion Forge Catalog (in reprint)
  • Blacksmith's Manual Illustrated Lillico

To accuratly identify many of these tools is going to take an experianced smith. A few shall remain mysteries known only to the maker. Identifying that these are personal special tools is the trick. Let me know if you need a couple consultants for a few days.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 00:18:10 GMT

Books: Shelby, I forgot probably THE most important blacksmithing reference of the 20th Century, Anvils in America by Richard Postman. If you need to identify the age or history of the manufacture of an anvil, THIS is the reference. Its available from us or directly from the author. See our review.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 00:51:05 GMT

Guru or Bruce, What is the best oil for quenching tool steel, light machine oil or say 30 wt.? I assume at least a gallon or so (depending on the size of the object) and keep it moving to expedite the cooling effect as the boiling gases produced will adversely affect the process? Thanks TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 03:48:44 GMT

Quenchant: Tim, Mineral oil is the least toxic. For something the size of a die you will want several gallons. Oil is lower density than water, has lower thermal conductivity and flashes rather than evaporate if over heated. Therefore it takes quite a bit more oil to quench a part than water.

If you quench with too little water it just boils off. If you have too little oil it goes up in explosive smoke that is often ignited by the hot steel. If you must use automotive oils use ATF. It has less (possibly toxic) additives than regular oils.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 04:48:38 GMT

Good Guru and Tim :
The splendid smith Burnham-Kidwell pointed out that when he changed from automotive drain oil (the old standard low-rent quenchant) to used deep-fry oil his shop went from smelling like a lousy auto repair shop to a cheap deli...a considerable improvement. Deep fry oil ( often peanut oil) is selected for it's high flash point, is pretty non-toxic as oil quenchants go, and is generally free. It seems to work just fine.....er,avoid the fried fish places
Pete Fels - Monday, 06/19/00 07:26:37 GMT

Guru and Bruce..Thanks for the helpful info on tooling dies amd the steels commonly used. I think I will experiment with the grader blade while looking for some 41XX or 43XX.
R. Guess  <rdguess at bellsouth.net> - Monday, 06/19/00 11:27:54 GMT

Guru...I have two long legged lead birds bought in England a number of years ago. The feet have metal spikes that sit in stone blocks. Over the years the legs have sagged so birds won't stand. Would a blacksmith be the appropriate person to go for repairs? If so can you put me in tough with one in my vicinity? There are none listed in my Yellow Pages. Thanks for your help.
s walters  <swal1230 at aol.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 15:19:40 GMT

Lead Bird: S Walters, Most blacksmiths work with a variety of metals. The birds sound like they need their legs reinforced with steel. Objects made of lead are often not self supporting.

Check the ABANA-Chapter.com site for the ABANA chapter nearest you for a local blacksmith.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 16:07:25 GMT

My 2 cents on the cast weldin. Have fixed several "cheep" cast vise bases that were broken at the clamp hole, or mount holes. Heat the cast (unknown origin of country) to red before welding. Of course, V grind the fracture site first. Forney has a rod called X-1000 that seems to work real well on this. Rod also works on other special deals (like weldin a 12" extension on a 3/8" steel bit ). The package says to leave the slag on till cool. Rod runs almost like 6011 (flow). Cool the cast in a 30 gallon shit can full of oil dry, and come back tomorrow. AS I recall, 100 amps DC (reverse)on an old Lincoln 250 stick welder. No expert here, but works pretty good for me.
Ten Hammers  <lforge at netins.net> - Monday, 06/19/00 16:34:58 GMT

Antique anvils. Where do I find a researchers guide to discoving the dates of anvil manufacturing?
I am researching a family heirloom to find it's time line of manufacturing. I have a picture of it.
Most of the data on the anvil side has been beat flat, but it was made in Brooklyn, New York.
I come from a long line of blacksmiths, and I need help in finding the origin of this anvil.
Is their a book or someone that can help me with this research?

Greg Kingsley  <Gking at hotmail.com> - Monday, 06/19/00 22:02:33 GMT

Amateur, try this if the flat belt you want is short buy a toothed serpentine belt like the one in your car at the car parts store They have big ones run it on the back with belt dressing works on old belt driven metal lathes donít see why it wont work on the Kerrihard
son of an eng.  <pbhaynie at earthlink.net> - Monday, 06/19/00 23:36:34 GMT

Anvil Origin: Greg, That's a Hay-Budden. One of the finest anvils made. Its either wrought iron with a steel face OR has an all steel upper and wrought lower welded at the waist. If you want the full history of the company and the manufacturing process you want Anvils in America by Richard Postman. You can buy it on-line from us. See our book review page or the banners.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/20/00 00:06:55 GMT

Guru, I just read your advice on quenching. I was born in Ireland, and there I was taught to use rendered lamb fat. I have had excellent results with this. However, if cracking is a concern, I recomend first warming the fat to liquid with a piece of hot iron. It will smell HORRIBLE for the first 20 uses or so, but then evens out and is actually pleasant.
Tannis  <celticforge at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 06/20/00 01:52:16 GMT

Perfect, Now I can quench it and eat it too! TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Tuesday, 06/20/00 05:20:10 GMT

Tim, as an artist-blacksmith one does get to eat a certain amount of it just to eat.
Pete - Tuesday, 06/20/00 07:31:20 GMT

hi there , i was wondering if there is a place or site that i can learn the lingo of blacksmiths(for example a "quench" , im new to black smithing , but i have been doing "wrought iron"(cold bending) for many years. i live in australia , and where i am the art of blacksmithing is dieing out , i would like to bring this beautiful art form back to life . any kind of help would be most apreciated
thank you
Jimmy  <Vantage25 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 06/20/00 12:30:48 GMT

Glossary: Jimmy, I started a blacksmithing glossary a while back and never finished. The best source if this information is a book on the subject. Some books have glossarys but you learn more when the terms are used in context. See our reviews and "Getting Started" for references that cover blacksmithing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/20/00 13:42:17 GMT

Who is a good supplier for furnace tools?
Looking for a mechanical claw like device used for removing crucibles. Not looking for crucible tongs.
bill  <schiemiel at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 00:36:54 GMT

I would like to buy some jigs. I need a scroll jig, heart jig, hook jig and any others I don't know about. Do you know where I might locate and buy metal working jigs?
Thanks, eel
eel  <bcook at ee.net> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 00:59:38 GMT

Mr. Guru:
Could you please explain the process for making a rose from steel, I've made the vines and leaves but the rose has eluded me, I purchased a mold for making the individual petals but I am reasonably sure there is a way to make the whole flower from one piece of steel, the thought of making several leaves and then having to rivet them all together is not to my liking if there is another way if not than it is going to be a long day in the shop. For a background in blacksmithing as suggested from your Guidelines. I have been blacksmithing for about 7 years mostly building things from an 18th century design and for the most part these consited of camping wares, knives and axes and 2 attempts with Dasmacus Steel. If you could find the time could you please enlighten me on the steel roses and if you have a picture you could include for a visual reference both would me greatly appreiciated.
Thank You Mark.
Mark  <Fire_Fighter6 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 02:31:10 GMT

Rose: Mark, we have step by step instructions for making several roses on the iForge page.

There are a couple ways to make a rose. Petals made from sheet stock. Or the HARD WAY with petals cut from solid. Then there is the method of carving the petal edges from a rose shaped solid. Both of the methods from solid start with a 3/4" or 1" (19 or 25mm) round bar. The "rose" is upset then the stem is drawn out. The shape to cut the petals from solid can be round or square. Several circumferencial grooves are hot cut with a slim hot chisel to about 3/4" from the center. The petals are then cut by slitting with a hot chisel or a saw. They can then be thined some more in a stack if desired. There are numerous picky steps in this method and it is one of those methods that is done just to prove it can be done. Carving a solid rose is easier and there is nothing wrong with the method of making them from plate. When made from plate they can be welded or brazed, they don't have to be rivited.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 03:17:46 GMT

Crucible Tongs: Bill, there are several types of crucible tongs and the "mechanical claw" is one type. There are tongs for lifting from the top and from the side.

Thomas Register lists 13 suppliers of crucible tongs.

Humboldt Mfg. Co.
Out Of State Call: 800-544-7220
Norridge, IL

DFC Ceramics, A Div. Of Thermal Ceramics
Canon City, CO

Inductotherm Corp.
Out Of State Call: 800-257-9527
Rancocas, NJ

If you need something special almost any of the smiths that frequent here can make them. Try Bruce Wallace if you need several pairs - WalmetaLwk at aol.com
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 03:26:31 GMT

Jigs: Eel, See our 21st Century page article on benders. In 99% of all cases these are special made tools unless you are dealing with light wire or materials that are bent cold by hand (crafty stuff). Like I told Bill (above), there are many smiths that frequent here that could make them for you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 03:30:30 GMT

Mark: 1 piece rose pedal strip..umm, how bout...cut and shape all the pedals from a strip from largest to smallest, leaving them all still connected at the bottom edge. Heat the bottom strip and wrap a tight flat spiral, edge on , around the stem, just above an upset "heart".? For a better suggestion....check out Norm Larson books site and buy several.
Pete F - Wednesday, 06/21/00 04:07:28 GMT

Where can I get information on forge welding. I am interested in making knife blades out of Damascus (sp) steel.
Richard (Woody) Hanson  <woody at enetis.net> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 06:14:45 GMT

Woody: "Sculptural and Decorative Ironwork" by Donna Meilach has a chapter on damascus steel. Several books by Jim Hirousilous (sp)on forging/making knives have info on damascus. Norm Larson, and Centaur Forge have these books.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 12:53:46 GMT

Mark: for a one piece rose: start with 1/2 by 1/8 or so bar stock. Draw a long taper, notch for petals on the hardie, leave about 1/4 of the bar at the base of each petal, draw out and thin each petal on the anvil, roll up in a spiral from the tip, flare the petals out whith needle-nose pliers. This is a bit of a tedious way of doing it, but they look nice when you're done. For the base of the rose round the bar stock to make a stem and fuller the end of the first petal where it joins the stem, if you nick that one on the hardie it will often make a crack.
David Crowell  <gpfarm-dave at northnet.org> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 13:16:56 GMT

What is the best coal, or other fuel if there is a better one, to use in a forge for general purpose work? Is there a nationwide directory for a source of that coal?
pete  <sebergerfarm at alltel.net> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 13:34:23 GMT

COAL: Pete, We have links to coal data on our links page and a list of sellers in North America on the Blacksmith Gazette "Coal Scuttle".

The best smithing coal is a Bituminous (soft) coal with low ash, low sulfur and high BTU. It also needs just enough volitiles that it will clump together and coke down. High BTU's is important to forge welding. High BTU coal makes a very hot fire with little air thus reducing oxidation of the steel. Good coal is difficult to obtain in many parts of the country. Often smiths get together and order a quantity in bulk to reduce the shipping costs. Bruce Wallace and Centaur Forge will ship coal by the bag to anywhere in the U.S.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/21/00 14:34:46 GMT
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