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This is an archive of posts from June 8 - 14, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Guru Sir
I tried some collars and I measured plus I cut them shorter than I needed and I ran myself around the anvil and I couldnt get them as hard as I tried to close up and give me A Tight joint .....What am I doing wronge? I tried it 3 times , and i felt like a squrel chasing his tail I would hammer here and then it (the collar) would deform and grow some where else and I couldnt get it tight?? what am I doing wrong? that would be a Great Demo some night, Can you help Me?

Hawk  <Hwk at cs.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 01:23:14 GMT

Guru Sir
I tried some collars and I measured plus I cut them shorter than I needed and I ran myself around the anvil and I couldnt get them as hard as I tried to close up and give me A Tight joint .....What am I doing wronge? I tried it 3 times , and i felt like a squrel chasing his tail I would hammer here and then it (the collar) would deform and grow some where else and I couldnt get it tight?? what am I doing wrong? that would be a Great Demo some night, Can you help Me?

Hawk  <Hwk at cs.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 02:04:23 GMT

Collars: Hawk, We have an iForge collaring demo. Getting collars tight is a bit tricky. Many are are squeezed tight cold. The most fool proof type are the overlapping type with tapered ends.

One trick many modern smiths use is to grind a weld prep and arc weld the parts toether. The weld is dressed flat and then collared over top of that.

Collars that are carefully heated with a torch and then closed tight should shrink enough to make a tight joint. However, loose pieces attached to a bar with one collar will never be very tight. When multiple collars are used the construction becomes very tight. Check out the various types on the iForge demo (#67).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 03:06:55 GMT

Thought I'd pass this on since it has been so helpful to me, almost like having another helper. Even with wall to wall workbenches it seems I never have any place to lay things like air sanders, grinders, do-all saw and various other tools which take up a lot of room on the workbench but tools which I want to keep handy but not bury the tools on my workbench in the area I'm working in. I wanted another "bench" but not something I had to walk around all time. What I came up with was a round "cage" 3 feet in diameter by 4 feet in height made of 1 inch mesh "chicken wire" (as we call it 'round here) but some folks call it poultry wire. Cut a piece of wire 120 inches long and tie the ends to form a 3 ft circle. The wire should be 4 ft. wide when you buy it. Four upright post made of half inch PVC (or wood or steel, depending on your needs and what's handy) are cut to 47 inches and glued to 90 degree elbows into the half inch PVC braces across the top and bottom and joined in the center of top and bottom with a 4-way nipple to support the wire on sides and top and keep things on top fairly level, yet still retain enough "sag" in the top to allow the tools to stay in place, yet be stable. The upright and bottom braces keep it stable even when loaded. The 4-way nipple keeps the bracing level across the top. No wire is put on the bottom. Use tie wire or plastic ties and tie the bracing to the sides then cut a round piece of the same poultry wire for the top, allowing a little extra, about 4 inches, for bending over the sides. Tie wire it to the top braces and sides. Be SURE to bend the ends of the poultry wire inside the cage after tying the top to the sides so they want stick you. Galvanized wire is second only to a file in making a very sore cut. I ran 2 or 3 layers of duct tape around the joint where the top and sides meet, after bending the points inside, just for added safety. The cage is a good place to lay something to cool that you've been working on and its good for the power tools also as it lets them cool and keep them out of the way of grinder/sander dust. This tool cage is inexpensive, takes and hour or less to build, and its light and very portable. And there's hundreds of holes to hang things on by "s" hooks or whatever. One of the handiest benefits is there's so many places to stick the end of the air hose when you disconnect from air tools and the hose is right there when you're ready for it again. Of course metal bracing/heavier wire would make it stronger, especially if you don't wish to move the cage around. I have another made of concrete reinforcing wire that is on small wheels that I lay the cutting torch on while it is lit to free my hands but not have to light it again or hunt for some place to prop it up. The heavier wire will stand for very hot stock to be laid there to air cool. Or, modify to fit your shop and needs. Also works good for woodworking tools. This tool holder has saved me a lot of steps and aggrevation. Anyone who has anything to add to this or improve on it, feel free to do so. S.O. EASY
Sam Easy  <soeasy69 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 03:28:28 GMT

HAWK, I suppose everyone has their own length formulas for collars. For a butted collar, I use "periphery of work plus two times collar stock thickness" and for lapped collars, I use "perphery of work plus 2 1/2 times collar stock thickness". The latter is Francis Whitaker's style, and his collars were often of 3/16" thick stock. He did two cold bends, making a "U" shape with sharp right angle inside bends. A cold right angle bend on stock thicker than 3/16" will usually cause the corners to tear. The collar is then heated, driven on the work, bucked, and the remaining two bends are done on the work itself. See THE BLACKSMITH'S COOKBOOK by Francis Whitaker. Jim Fleming Publications, Vail, CO, 1986.

The butted collar should probably be finished on a mandrel, then opened partially with the needle-nose tongs, hot. Then, reheat and apply. Again, buck (back-up) with one hammer and close the other side with a hand hammer. Reverse positions, buck and close. True up quickly with tongs, if out of alignment.

Check the guru's collar demo on iForge-How-to.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Friday, 06/08/01 03:34:19 GMT

Maybe no one caught the question about using flamespray on the inside of a forge. If anyone has tried this please letn me know the results. I have been told that forges need some type of lining. I don't know, but would appreciate any info on the subject before I start building my first forge. Also, could anyone give a suggested price on antique tongs? Is $50-$70 each too much?
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 04:55:01 GMT

Sam: I've done something similar using old fridge racks tacked together. They allow a good density of tool storage with visual access. They are light and easy to move, unless you keep adding layers and tools...like I did.

Art; $50 for tongs, ummm, wanna buy a bridge? It IS an antique!...sorry...a little.
My rule of thumb is that I'll pay $15 for old tongs if I really like them and need them a lot. Otherwise, $10 is reasonable here at west coast swapmeets and less isn't unusual.
Given a $50 plus price, start forging them yourself, quick!
Pete F  <ironyworks at hotmailno.comm> - Friday, 06/08/01 07:33:59 GMT

Old Tongs: Art, Antique? What is antique in this business is centuries or millenia old. 50 to 100 years is just "old" or "used". . I used to pay $5/pair and now a good deal is approx $20 USD but too much is $25 USD. Then there is a matter of quality. What I call "farmer tongs" often made by farmers or other untrained people are absolutely worthless. They are very common and so poorly made that they are usless AND are not even worth reworking. Tool dealers will ask the same price for these as good well made tongs.

Then there are factory vs' handmade. REALLY good hand made tongs that are out of the ordinary are quite rare. These could be collector's items IF you know what you are looking for.

Would you know one pokeman card from another? Its like that. I don't have a clue. But I know tongs. After making and using tongs for a few years you will recognize good from bad (or you should). Until then, don't pay colectors prices. Look at the tongs on the Kayne and Son page or in the Centaur catalog. Then pay half or less for tongs that LOOK usable.

I have no idea what your "flamespray" is. It may be a trade name for a product we use but I don't have a clue. If one of our group has used it they would have spoken up. Are you taking about coal forges, oil or gas forges? Hard lining, brick or blanket?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 08:00:02 GMT

I am trying to refinish an antique machete which is quite rusty. I'm thinking that I need to somehow "sand" or take it down to bare metal and start from there. I want a mirror finish when completed and was wondering if you could help with any tips, suggestions, and materials that I may need. Sincerely Ivan...
Ivan of Locksby  <rustatse at juno.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 08:18:40 GMT

flamespraying: metallpowder is sprayed through a acetylen/oxigen flame, melts and fastens to the underground
comercially done with plastics, toolsteels, they even do kopper, bronce... very interresting if you want to build up on ekspensive tools, the powders are expensive
for a forge a little costly, at least where i am living
Stefan  <stefan at imv.uit.no> - Friday, 06/08/01 11:39:32 GMT

Flame Spray or Thermal Spraying is defined by the "American Welding Society" as "A roup of processes in which finely divided metallic or nonmetallic (read this as ceramic) surfacing materials are deposited in a molten or semimolten condition on a substrate to form a thermal spray deposit. The surfacing material may be in the form of powder, rod, cord, or wire."

What Stefan said!
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/08/01 12:16:40 GMT

IF that machete IS an ANTIQUE just rub it with oil and leave it be.

Pure mineral oils on the blade and linseed oil on the handle if it is wood, shoe-wax if leather.
BE careful rags, paper, brushes... with linseed oil may CATCH FIRE!! if not taken care of CORECTLY.

If you are worried that rust is to bad then you might use mild rustremover on the blade (careful the handle/sheet may become damaged if exposed) and then just wipe well and oil a 3-4 times RICHLY(oil SHOULD be running slightly) let rest 5 -10 min and wipe of.
From then on store it out if its sheet dry and well oiled from now (that goes for most knives).

I have used raw cold pressed linseed oil on blades to keep from rusting and if lightly applied it is not much in the way and it is not harmful if washed of before use with food (bacteria YES likely! chemical danger low)

Sadly antiques are often ruined but people trying to "restore" them: coins polished with abrasive polish to get shiny, valuable magazines/comics stored in plastic folders, old furniture with modern hinges...
This is sad let the experts do the job and be certain that he IS an expert, Read up on what to do/expect and look for it on things HE has previously restored. i have seen several sadly ruined antiques, most where ruined by well meaning but misinformed persons. one was ruined beyond repair by profesional:-(.
hope it was the info you needed.
If I am in anyway wrong someone here is likely to inform us in short order.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 12:17:33 GMT

That *should* read "...A GROUP of processes..."
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/08/01 12:20:49 GMT

More Antiques: Ivan, OErjan is correct. That machete never had a "mirror" finish when new. If it is antique then do nothing but oil lightly with clear mineral oil. The linseed oil OErjan recommends is "OK" but will eventualy harden and be difficult to remove.

If it is just a rusted modern junk piece then have at it. We have polishing instructions on our 21st Century page. A word of warning, there is no easy way to make something really shine. It takes hours and hours of hard work.

Flamespray Thanks guys, I know what spray metalizing is but I don't understand what this would have to do with a forge lining. Rust resistance? I thought maybe Art was talking about some other process for applying some kind of refractory material.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 14:15:55 GMT

IVAN - METAL FINISH. I worked part-time at a local museum as a conservator in the 1960s, and I use the term "conservator" advisedly. We de-rusted superficial rust on small iron pieces like gun parts in a caustic soda (lye) solution, 20% lye to 80% water by volume. I mixed the two in a one gallon *GLASS* beaker. Beware! Heat and fumes develop, and the solution will burn one's skin. We placed the ferrous parts in the solution and sprinkled zinc crystals or zinc powder on just like shaking salt on food. The crystals fall through the liquid and land on the parts. There will be some effervescence as the rust is removed. After a few minutes, the pieces were removed and thoroghly rinsed in cold water. The resulting finish was normally a matte gray, which if you have a curator-mentality, you liked. We then gave the pieces a microcrystalline wax finish with a transluscent, refined wax. This is different than the wax that sculptors use.

I guess this would work on deeply pitted rusty iron, but you would still have the pitting. Nowadays, conservation labs have big electrolytic tanks which they use to "reverse the rust process".
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Friday, 06/08/01 16:10:48 GMT

More on Antique Finish: The new "reverse" rusting process Frank mentions is great for restoring items that are so encrusted that they are hard to identify. Its made a big difference in saving many old iron pieces especialy those from wrecked ships.

The "original" finish is hard to determine on many items. However, on many blacksmith tools and other iron or steel tools that are well maintained they take on a natural rust "browning" in a short time (considering they may be centuries old) and if re-oiled occasionaly will have kept this brown finish. Many of these items may have been unfinished or had a very thin black Japan finnish when new but for 99% of their life have been browned. Because of this I consider that the "original" finish. Those that completely derust are damaging the "finish".

I'm embarassed to say many of my tools are not so well maintained. When I clean them up I use a soft power wire brush to remove the loose rust and then re-oil. After several cleanings this way many tools have developed that nice all over brown. However, oil does not stay on used tools very long and the rust starts again (I live in a very humid location next to a creek). So the "natural" process continues.

I've recently seem antique blacksmith tools, especially old leg vises, that were cleaned with an abrasive flap wheel and then painted. Not only is the old finish being removed but the grinding is also removing possible identifying marks!
Many old anvils have been reduced in value by non-smiths using them rock crushing, cutting and welding tables and other abuse. Now we have amature "restorers" grinding the finish off old tools. The abuse continues. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 17:07:27 GMT

The Ron Reil site has a condensed version of "theforge". In this forum is a how-to on rust removal. Using a five gallon plastic bucket, small battery charger and arm and hammer laundry additive(I think?).

Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Friday, 06/08/01 19:48:15 GMT

I have used the electroysis method and it works well. I just used baking soda, but washing soda was recommended, but the baking soda is safe and it was cheap. NOt to mention that I had some on hand....grin
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 06/08/01 19:50:55 GMT

Tank: Most of the stuff I need to de-rust won't fit in a convienient tank or bucket. Things such as lathe, shaper, drill press. :-(

Parts might fit! Now all I need to do is fix my old battery charger. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 19:56:33 GMT

Go and see if any farmers have any old plastic stock tanks around! VBG
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 06/08/01 20:36:18 GMT

Or perhaps an old above ground pool...... just besure the lining is good...... Probably would need a tad more power than a charger could provide tho......
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 06/08/01 20:37:26 GMT

Ralph: do you think a DC welder would be sufficient? My small one (ESAB) goes from as low as 8A measured with accurate amp meter(factory said 0.2%on the meter)and I dare guess that Guru has acces to atleast one quality DC welder capable of low amps.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 20:49:42 GMT

I have recently became interested in the making of swords. I have to admit that this was mainly because of the interesting sword in the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." But oh well. Anyway, I was looking up information about swords when I came acrossed something I have seen before. It was a Damascus sword. I know that the procedure that was used made swirls, stripes, ect. in the blade. I was wondering if this game the sword any advantages (ex: stronger, more flexible, better at holding edge) and I was wondering if this technique has ever, or would be practical, to use when making a rapier. Thanx for you help.
Liam  <frndlefire at aol.com> - Friday, 06/08/01 23:30:13 GMT

To Guru and Steve,the flamespray I am talking about is deposited by an electric arc gun similar to a MIG gun but several times larger,it uses wire like a MIG which is then vaporized and sprayed on the tubes or any other material. It is extremely heat and abrasive resistant.The flamespray is an anti-corrosion coating that keeps the boiler tubes from falling apart from the heat inside. The coating is only used on the inside of the boiler and is made up of aluminum,tungsten,and inconel or any combination of the above. My question is - would this be a substitute for fire bricks(if they are required to line a forge)or do I have to use fire bricks(in a coal forge)? I am going to build a forge in the next month or so and need to know if you have to line it or will it last without anything?
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:02:07 GMT

Also thanks for the info on tongs. I thought that was a little steep. The same antique store wanted $375 US for a 90# anvil. I found a 100# for $150 US from a farrier who doesn't need one that big.
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:07:40 GMT

Laminated steel AKA Damascus: Liam, This is a very complicated subject. True "Damascus" the steel made famous durring the crusades and thought to have originated in that ancient city was a form of carefully processed crystaline steel created by the decarbonization in crucibles of a high carbon steel or cast iron called "Wootz". It was recently found that Wootz was in India and exported throughtout the ancient world. However, the newest discovery is of a steel processing operation in Turkey. The mystery continues. . .

Wootz had variations in carbon content around crystal interfaces that produced a characteristic "watered" look that was enhanced by etching. The term for that irridecent look used for certian fabics called "Damascus" or "Damascene" comes from the metal and thus the city.

Europeans trying to reproduce the mythical metal invented laminated pattern welded steels. In these layers of soft iron and hard steel are laminated by forge welding. Some are left plain to get the advantage of both the hard and the soft. Others are cut, twisted and manipulated in various methods to produce artistic patterns. There was a similar parallel developement in Japan that may or may not have been related to Wootz. The peak of this developement occured at the time of the French Revolution when a French blacksmith laminated the motto of the Revolution into a billet of steel that anywhere it was cut showed the motto. This feat was not reproduced until Daryl Meier produced his now famous Presidential presentation Bowie. Laminated steels were made for various purposes through WWII.

Laminated steels are being created by modern smiths for both artistic purposes as well as looking for that ultimate steel for the ultimate blade. They are also used to create reproductions of medieval European blades. NOTE that the steel used in traditional Japanese blade is an entire different process from Wootz OR laminated steels.

Folks like Centaur Forge have whole libraries of books and videos that can be purchased covering the subject. See our book review page for several.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:23:20 GMT

Until I can find you a better answer, bricks, castables and ceramic wools are cheaper for forge building. Don't give up, I'll give you any info I find. STEFAN, got anything?
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:30:24 GMT

A possible source of large plastic tanks may be as close as the closest commercial laundry. Many get soaps and anticoagulants in 250 - 300 gal containers which are in galvanized tubing cages and palletized. There is free shipping if the laundry will hold them and ship them according to the hoops the particular manufacturer has set up. most just want rid of them. I have used several for dog houses, compost bins, etc. If your close to OKC I'll tighten you up.
Mills  <mills_fam2 at netzero.net> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:38:09 GMT

Flamespray: Art, no. It wouldn't hurt but forges are made of combinations of steel and cast iron. I don't believe spray metalizing works on cast iron. What you are describing is "plasma metal spray". Flame metal spray is done with an oxy-acetylene torch with a little hopper of powdered metal that feeds into the flame. Both systems create a weld like bond and dissimilar metals can be joined. Early 1970 Ford Pintos had aluminium coated steel exhaust systems that had exceptional life.

Most of the metals used are not heat resistant to forge temperatures. It might reduce rusting. Forge linings are made of refractory materials and in the case of certain coal forge pans act as an insulator but do not need to resist much heat. Fire bricks used in gas and oil forges are also insulators and heat storage medium. They must withstand extream heat that would melt the substrate used in a spray metalizing process. About the only metals that will resist this heat and oxidation is Platinium and related metals.

Coal forges vary from masonary construction to sheet metal. You have given insufficent information to answer your question.

The $375 for the 90# anvil was a little steep but it depends on the anvil. A friend recently bought a 150# 1700's armourers anvil and paid $600 (a steal). Some collectors anvils go for a thousand dollars or more depending on rarity and condition. However you are just as likely to find a 10 year old cast iron doorstop for "collectors" prices at many antique shops. These folks see rust and wear and think "OLD". There are very few experts in this area and nobody should pay collectors prices without consulting one.

The price for the 100# anvil may be good if its a decent anvil (probably is). However, there are thousands of those castiron door stops mentioned above that are not worth the metal it took to make them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 00:51:10 GMT

Arc Spraying (ASP)is a thermal spraying process using an arc between two consumable electrodes of surfacing materials as a heat source and a compressed gas as an atomizer to propell the surfacing material to the substrate. The two electrode wires are fed by a wire feeder much the same as a mig welder. Sort of!

Plasma Spraying (PSP) uses a non transferred arc (inside gun) to create the heat to melt the surfacing materials.

There is also High Velocity Oxy-Fuel Spraying (HVOF)and Flame Spraying (FLSP) which are kind of self explanitory.

The coatings are generally only used to give surface properties such as wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

The aluminum/metal composites produce equal levels of exothermic reaction due to reactions of aluminum with metals like nickel (monel)to produce aluminum oxides and nickel aluminides.

The surface of the substrate has to be prepared (quick answer,sandblasted)in order for the metal spray to properly adhere. The operator must have some knowledge of what works and what doesn't. In other words, it can be tricky to use.

The American Welding Society is in the process of creating certification/qualifications for operators.

Maybe something of this will help.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/09/01 01:40:47 GMT

Derusting: Hmmmmm, Plastic drums are a good idea for large pieces but my lathe still won't fit! I'd have to put the above ground pool in the center of my shop under the crane. . . an interesting idea. However i think it would be less work to derust using the elbow grease method. :o) The DC welder is also a good idea but I suspect this process requires very low amperage. Not sure mine goes that low. Still be interesting to try.

I also remembered that my battery charger (old one about the size of a small welder) has a polarity protection system on it that won't let it connect unless it is hooked to a working battery of the right voltage. You can trick it by connecting to a working battery and then moving the electrodes without turning it off, but this is a bit of a pain if you don't have a spare auto battery convienient and creates an arcing hazzard. I've probably got an old PC power supply that is more appropriate. Lets see. . . do you cut the green wire or the red wire first. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 02:12:51 GMT

To Steve at Hammerdown Forge and The Guru, thank-you for the info. The process I am talking about is used inside power plants and is done with a very large arc. It looks and sounds like pulse mig;very bright and very loud. The forge I plan to build, I will either use the plans Mr. Hrisoulas has in his book "The Complete Bladesmith" or something similar using a high pressure- air or hydraulic, tank cut in half-with a wind channel cut in the bottom of said half, boxed in, and fed with a squirrel cage type blower. Mr Hrisoulas doesn't mention in his description of the forge if he used any type of liner/coating. All he mentions is a grate and ash dump. Should this type of coal forge have fire bricks lining the inside or is the fact that the outside of the forge air cooled enough? Or am I taking the totally wrong approach here?
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 06:06:00 GMT

Good Guru;
You are correct...the amperage draw is quite small. It read about 3/4 of an amp in a 5 gal bucket on my old battery charger.
For large objects you can use a soaking mass of rags, I think, with the washing soda solution.
Theres a pretty good exposition on it at
Pete F - Saturday, 06/09/01 06:39:00 GMT

I have one question about forge welding. I use 20 mule team Borax as a flux, my question is this: At what point should I introduce the flux and how long should I leave it in the fire ?
Thanks ,
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 08:40:10 GMT

Put the borax on when you're at least at an orange heat, so that it melts right away and glazes the surface of the iron. In a coal forge, the workpieces are brought out to weld when they turn the same color as the heart of the fire, a bright yellow-white color. Sparks emitting from the work are not necessary. A few incipient sparks are OK, but you don't want a big shower, because then you're well into the "burning range". How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Saturday, 06/09/01 10:41:50 GMT


You practice, practice, practice! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 11:41:46 GMT

Carnegie Hall: Paw-paw, I thought you got off the sub-way at. . . . :o)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 12:32:09 GMT

Coal Forge: Art, Steel coal forges generaly do not need to be lined. It only creates moisture traps that inhance corrosion from the sulphur compounds in the coal ash. Firebricks are not necessary and they make the forge much heavier. I have used a few to change the depth of the forge and to shape the fire but these are loose and not part of the forge.

Forges made from tanks as light as old electric hot water heaters work well. See the "Montgomery group" forge in our first AFC news coverage. High quality water heater tanks have the feature of having been "glass lined" (porcelinized). Except for minor pitting where the tank probably failed this creates a very nice corrosion resistant surface.

Forges have also been made of old propane tanks and my first forge was made from automobile wheels. I built mine years before ever hearing of a "brake drum" forge. See our plans page. The plumbing works for larger forges.

Some cast iron pan forges are labeled "clay before using" this is to prevent overheating the brittle cast iron and cracking it. Most other steel forges and those with heavy firpots are not lined.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 12:58:58 GMT

Art: Sounds like you want to built Dr. Hrisoulas' sword forge. Remember, if you're making swords you only need to get a little bit hot at a time until you heat treat, and the sword forge is only for that last step! So you need a smaller forge as well. Also sounds like you're overthinking a bit. This is low-tech stuff! Even with a welding-heat fire running for hours, most coal forges don't get hotter that a few hundred degrees on the outside.

Electrolysis: I built a power supply to use for this process from radio shack plans. Variable voltage, 0.5-30 V at about half an amp. In this case it's the voltage that counts, you don't want much current flow. Fun lab tricks: When you've been electrolyzing something for a while and the surface starts to hold big bubbles, touch a lit match to one of those bubbles! Then guess what just happened...
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Saturday, 06/09/01 14:56:51 GMT

I would think that what you said is exactly what Art needed. Getting too high tech too quick. Start with the basics. Although, it was a good question from Art.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/09/01 16:08:59 GMT

To Frank Turley,
Thanks for the instruction. And I know......practice man practice.
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 17:04:14 GMT

RE:"Damascus" rapiers.
All good old european swords where made of different grades of blister steel welded and rewelded to get a steel of even structure. If etched they would look much like the laminated steels thats often labeled "damascus" today. When rusted, the way Ive seen them, they look "fibrous" just like rusted wrought iron.
Ive also seen small-swords and sabers of pattern-welded steel, but sofar not a true rapier. No reason there aren't any, though.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 06/09/01 17:09:37 GMT

Spray Metalizing: It is a very useful technique and in Germany they use it to galvanize much of their ironwork. They etch the surface with acid first then use a torch type metalspray rig. In the slide show I saw the operator was wearing a surgical mask which was entirely useless as protection. The zinc was being left as the final finish. To paint it requires etching and special primer. I would think it more economical to use stainless in most cases. For ironwork I recommend zinc powder paint because it is within the capacity of the small shop and requires no special equipment. However, it still requires a sandblasted or etched clean surface.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 17:48:39 GMT

Electrolysis: Alan, that is right up there with some of my stupid blacksmith tricks. . Try using salt water for your electrolyte. But only for a few seconds. Been there, done both.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 17:54:24 GMT

Guru and All, did Little Giant recommend anything between the hammer base and the floor? somewhere i remember a felt/wool pad being used for this? i was told plywood works fine also. i`m doing my "measure twice, work once" before i get this project rolling. also i`ve heard some negative feedback about Little Giants. they were cheap, sold on credit ect...i`m not industrial here at all, just a backyard shop and got alot to learn. never ran a power hammer either, my thoughts were this nice hammer would last way longer than me and serve me well?
robert  <ironworker1098 at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 18:24:03 GMT

To everyone, thanks a bunch for all the advice. I just picked up an electic furnace for free. It's a Cress that goes up to 1800 degrees and has a little over a cubic foot of interior space. I'm thinking of using this to start with. It should plenty big enough for knive blades. If anyone has any thoughts on this or experience with an electric furnace,please let me know. Again,thanks to everone for all the help and advice.
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 20:08:52 GMT

Little Giant: Robert, Little Giants are an OK hammer. They just pale in comparison to Bradley's and Fairbanks. They are also a little quirky. There is good reason they are infamous for doing the "Little Giant Hula" (going UP when they should be going down and vise versa).

Yes LG's were cheap (not the cheapest) and were sold on credit to ANYBODY. Many thousands were sold to farmers that never heard of an oil can and ran them to death. Many others have been in fabrication shops and used to point pickets by the thousands by non-smiths and maintained by folks who's credo was "Use a bigger hammer and if it falls off arc weld it back on". All this combined means that there are a LOT of really trashy (or trashed) LG's around.

In good condition they are a good hammer. But it takes a lot of practice to learn to get fine control of them and they must be in tip-top condition and adjustment to be controllable. The other hammers mentioned can be falling apart and still have excellent control.

Yes, there should be some sort of padding between the floor or foundation and the hammer. The reason is the bottom of the machine may not be flat and the floor may also not be perfect. The combination with the pounding will result in a crumbling floor or a broken frame. A layer of plywood will work but if the machine rocks (unbolted) then you need something thicker that the machine will pull down into. A layer of pine 2x4's will work. If you use hardwood the wood must be shaped by hand to fit the hammer/floor. Old conveyor belting has also been used.

The machine needs to be bolted down. Often there is a seperate foundation but many get run on concrete floors. 25 and 50 pound hammers work OK this way but bigger hammers should have some isolation foundations.

Even the worst hammer will out work the individual smith in any given hour. Run one all day and you have done the work of a half dozen men working as hard as they can. This is not to say that the little hammers hit as hard as a man with a sledge. What they do is run continously. . . without tiring.

OIL that hammer! Everything on the LG gets oiled including the clutch faces. YES, the wood, leather or cloth gets oiled. It is NOT a dry clutch. You can't control the clutch is its not soaked in oil.

The ram must move easily in the guides and not stick. But it also dosen't want to be loose. Early models are shimmed. If you need to reshim then make a shim set down to +/- .002" increments. Make a complete set. Otherwise you will not do a good job.

There is a lot to understanding and tuning up the Little Giant. See our review of the Dave Manzer Video. It is the best on the subject of tuning up Little Giants and recommended by power hammer guru Clifton Ralph.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 20:17:32 GMT

Electric Furnace: Art, these are not a forge and the cost of operation is horendous. The temperature is much too low for forging. Forging temperature for steel starts at 2,000°F and extends to 2,400°F for low carbon steels. Electric furnaces are used for heat treating when they have temperature controls. Scaling is severe if the furnace does not have an inert atmosphere. Most heat treaters that use electric furnaces wrap work in stainless foil.

An 1,800°F electric furnace is generaly a ceramics kiln. These will fire low temperature clay slip but not stoneware. A gas forge will boil common white ceramics clay.

Its a handy little furnace for all kinds of things. But not for forging.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/09/01 20:28:10 GMT

Robert, My first and at present only running hammer is a 50 lb Little Giant. The only other hammers that I saw in use before I bought this hammer were fabricated air hammers, german and turkish.I bought the hammer because it was near by and I was curious what made them tick. At first after I got the 50 lb'er going I was very unhappy and even put the hammer up for sale. I kept working with it, learned it alittle more, Bruce Wallace came by, made one suggestion, "tighten this" and really improved the preformance of the tool. So I decided to keep it. I don't even know if it is really running as good as it can yet. I'm learning it still. But, you would have to pry it from my cold dead hands to get it away from me now. It makes me money and saves my body, BIG time. A 50 lb hammer is a "little" hammer. I need and want a bigger hammer so I'm going to be setting a 165 lb air on its brand new foundation next week. At some point I'll let you know how that one works. The upshot is that I would advise any one to pick up a LG and use it for awhile. It may not be the best but who cares, it will help you and teach you in many ways. It was worth the $1400 and the time and I forget how much I paid for shop work to get it running. One day I'll even sell it. Saw a Bradley a Bruce Wallaces shop, man that thing is built like a brick outhouse. Like to try one of those! Any hammer is better than no hammer.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Sunday, 06/10/01 03:09:43 GMT

The book I have from Mr. Hrisoulas lists several forging temps. for different steels. The temps vary a little from 1500 - 2200 degrees. If the electric furnace does work and can get the metea up to 1800 Can I then use a oxy-acetylene rosebud to bring the material up to forging and/or welding temp.? I also picked up a leg vise today for $60 US. It has about a 4 inch wide jaw and is about 3-3.5 foot tall. I am just getting in to this and apologize if I am being a pain in the rear with all these questions. But the best place to learn is from someone who has done it before. Again thanks for all the advice and info and once I get going And learn this for myself I will not bother you as much.
art  <sam.presgraves at mailcity.com> - Sunday, 06/10/01 05:00:45 GMT

Carnegie Hall!!!! I did not know us blacksmith types could even go there! (VBG)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Sunday, 06/10/01 05:38:17 GMT

Yeah Ralph, you get off the subway at. . and buy a ticket! :o)

Art, just keep asking questions. Good buy on the leg vise. They are the ONLY vise. . even little ones out perform expensive machinist's vises. Average prices are about $125.

Yes you can use the ocy-acetylene. Now you are using the two most expensive fuels money can buy. However, its not going to work for forge welding.

The lowest temperature for forging high carbon steels is 1500 but you will hurt yourself trying to move it at that temperature. 1800 is the MIN for mild steel and most of us work it a 2400-2500. Moving to the rosebud will produce a high surface heat and things will forge weird AND be very oxidized. You can also use oxy-propane (its cheaper and gentler).

Put together some kind of forge. Coal or gas. Either way the heat is concentrated and stored thus becoming much more efficient. You also get a less oxidizing atmosphere.

I've used electric kilns since I was 8 years old (stacking ceramics, reading the cones, waiting for cool down). Took 8 to 10 hours for them to get to full temperature and in the 1960's a little one like yours cost $18-20 per firing. Read your electric meter before and after running that thing 4 hours. You might be very surprised.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/10/01 06:27:13 GMT

Guru, I remeber a British scholar who spoke at the ABANA conference in Carbondale, '76, about a shotgun presented to Prince Albert, I believe, which had his name and some symbolic representations in the patterns of the twisted barrels, remarkable in that the right and left barrels twisted in opposite directions and the pattern repeated with every twist in the same place, and that the pattern grew progressively smaller as the barrels tapered. Don't remember his name, or what I saw exactly on the slides, but the team of grad students there at SIU involved in pattern welding, which included Daryl Meier, and Jim Wallace could probably clue you into who that was, and which exact shotgun that was. Brent Kington might also know: might be something for your personal archives. Regards...Rob
Rob  <whthrst at bellsouth.net> - Sunday, 06/10/01 13:40:54 GMT

Laminated Steel: Rob, Thank you for correcting me. Still, that makes Grandpa's (Daryl Meier) feat only one of several in recorded history up to that point. And then the methods used were still a mystery. Now anyone can pick up a book and learn about the mosaic method and with enough pattience produce almost any design or pattern. Any one of the thousands of bladesmiths producing laminated steel can do it.

I may be wrong but I believe Grandpa did it the hard way building each part from shaped sections. One of the stars got lost in the U.S. flag and he had to rebuild that most complex part all over again. Yep, he counted all those little stars in the finished work.

Did you know that the mosaic method is used by luthiers (stringed instrument makers) to make sound hole rosettes? "logs" of the pattern are built up using small 1/32" square boards and then are fitted and glued up around a mandrel. Stripes are verneers wrapped around the mandrel and pattern pieces. The result is a large rosette log (6 to 12" long) that is then sliced up in verneer thin pieces.

Production inlays and borders are created the same way. But these are done by the piece method where shaped pieces are fitted together. Slabs are built up by skilled laborers and then sawed into verneers. I've laid out a Greek fret border I want to build from walnut and maple. The trick is sawing up all those pieces in end grain so that when sliced up the grain goes with the verneer.

I'm afraid I don't have the patience to do it in steel. However, there IS an advantage. You can start with (relatively) large pieces and when you draw it out the pattern shrinks. The trick here is even heats and careful drawing. Like the dots on a hi-res computer monitor the mosaic bits then become almost indistinguishable.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/10/01 15:47:48 GMT

Hi... has anybody heard of a blacksmith named Louis E. Stilz or history of Louis E. Stilz & Bros, Philadelphia PA?
Joel  <irbfljnb at aol.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 01:11:19 GMT

Doesn't ring any bells, Joel.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 01:25:01 GMT

I am looking for a line on scrap cylinders anywhere in the southeast. Anybody have any sources?? Thanks.
MKW  <MKW36 at aol.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 02:59:49 GMT

What kind of sodder can i use for joining thin pieces of steel or copper?
Rudy Moncada  <tinyrita at msn.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 04:56:46 GMT

I bought a BIG HD salvaged cylinder from these folks and they were a pleasure to deal with
Pete F  <ironyworks at hotmailno.comm> - Monday, 06/11/01 05:13:15 GMT

Gday, I'd just like tro tell you blokes how great I rekon this whole site is I've been a boilermaker here in Australia for twenty odd years and have just started doing a bit of artist blacksmithing as a release . I cant tell you how much ive learnt and realised how much i have to learn from you guys . This is a real great way to keep the trade alive and commend and appreciate the efforts and quality of the content put into this site.please keep up the good work for us novices and all.
Gary from oz  <gziebell at soh.gov.au> - Monday, 06/11/01 06:20:35 GMT

My son is restoring a rusted Hendley & Whittmore ironworker. It has two numbers on it: 14264 & 369. It is not a large machine and only weight about one ton or so. He is seeking literature on it, size of electric motor etc. Any help would certainly be appreciated and I want to thank you for your help. Jay
Jay  <jaysue at GTE.net> - Monday, 06/11/01 11:42:57 GMT

Jay, there should be a capacity plate on the machine saying how many ton it is. Our 28-ton ironworker uses a 2hp, 1800-RPM motor. Weve found that horsepower to ton capacity is pretty standard on most ironworkers. If you can give us the rated ton of the machine we can help you come up with a motor size.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 12:29:52 GMT

Carnegie hall . . . blacksmiths . . . hmmmm, perhaps a rousing rendition of the "Anvil Chorus" is in order ;-)}
tom  <tblahbarnett at blahisd.nblahet> - Monday, 06/11/01 13:06:52 GMT


Any kind of "soft" solder will work. If you've got a lot to do, you might want to get a roll of rosin core solder from the plumbing department of your local "home center". Remember the six rules of soldering,


and more flux.

Your work can't be TOO clean, and you can't use TOO much flux. The rosin core solder will have the right proportion of flux to solder. It's a little easier to work with. If you're working with OLD dirty copper, you COULD use acid core, but I don't generally advise that. The acid has to be neutralized (soda water works) and cleanded from the work quickly, or it may cause other problems.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 13:23:06 GMT

Soldering: And after all that, Paw-paw forgot to tell you that you can't solder steel without special preparation.
Fresh clean metal is copper flashed with copper sulfate solution. Then it is tinned with 100% tin. I find it easiest to use a rosin flux with powdered tin in it. As soon as the metal reaches the proper temperature it will flux. You can see the tin flash the surface under the flux.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 14:19:21 GMT

Hendly & Whitmore: Jay, These folks were making punches and ironworkers in the 1800's and are no longer in business. They were based in Beloit Wisconsin. I've got OLD industrial catalogs that may have your ironworker but the problem is that the machinery sales folks rarely used the manufacturers catalog numbers. On this particular machine on number is probably the pattern number and the other the assembly number. These may or may not be equivalent to the model/catalog number.

I've got an old Hendly and Whitmore 40 ton shear-punch. The rating was determined by the round bar shear hole in the back of the jaws. It will shear 1-1/4" round. I had to determine the RPM to run it by using the flywheel calculations in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. Both capacity and max safe speed were calculated. Maximum RPM is a critical value. Running faster can result in the flywheel breaking apart and pieces flying through your shop (and ABANA thinks Anvil shooting is dangerous!).

Reverse engineering old machinery is often the only method of determining correct opperating parameters.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 14:48:40 GMT

OBTW: My old Hendly and Whitmore had no rating plate. It was made way before such niceties.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 14:50:51 GMT

Guru, I have a forge which I have converted from
propane to natural gas. I removed the 1/16" orifice and now have a 1/4" opening. It seems to work OK but if I put more air into the blower end (using an air nozzle) I noticed it worked much better. I had been using a Dayton 4C440 blower ( 60 CFM at .54amps) It looks like I need at
least double the volume with more pressure. question: does getting a blower with double the CFM mean there
will necessarily be more pressure as well? Dayton 4C443 has (100CFM at .74 amps) Do you think this will do the
job? I'm trying not to experiment too much although the cost is relatively minor for these types of blowers. Thanks in advance, Tim C.
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 14:51:58 GMT

Blowers: Tim, Given identical style blowers there should be more "head" pressure. However, the bigger blower will probably have a bigger outlet. What happens is when you try to squeeze that extra CFM through the same pipe there will be a reduction in volume as the pressure goes up.

Without doing the math I would guess you need to triple the blower rating to get double the air through the same pipe.
With extra blower capacity you can always choke it a little if you need less air.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 15:22:58 GMT

I didn't even see the steel in his question. All I saw was the copper. I should have read him message more carefully. Thanks for catching it!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 15:30:34 GMT

Hi Guru,

I am new to blacksmithing, and have a question concerning forge basin's. I have an opertunity to buy a forge with a basin constructed out of Steel or one made with Cast Iron. Given a choice, what would you choose? Are there any pros or cons on either metal? Any info or experience you have on these metals would be helpful. Thanks.

Thanks for your time,
Kim Crawford
Kim Crawford  <drifter at colton.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 15:36:59 GMT

Greetings. My question today is about a Little Giant 50lb. power hammer. I have a 2 h.p., 1740 rpm motor mounted on a 50 lb. with a 3 inch pulley. I've been told that this can be an unsafe pulley size, possibly resulting in the arms breaking. Should I be looking for a smaller pulley? Any info. is appreciated.
Kevin  <frontierforge at hotmail.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 16:49:26 GMT

Kevin: That 3" pully should be just fine if it is not abused, cracked, sideloaded, unbalanced...
We always have to think about that optimist Murphy and his laws.
Now with Murphy in mind I am guessing what the person MIGHT have meant.
1. that the larger weel (or other weels if you are using several to reduce speed)is at risk.
2. that you are running the hammer too fast for the linkage to keep up.
3. you have some other material in the pully than cast iron or steel (I have seen wooden ones on old machinery).

Some of the people experienced with hammers (other than crosspeen, ballpeen...) may chime in and help further/corect me .
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 18:18:05 GMT

Blowers: Tim, short answer is that yes, you will get more pressure and flow from the 4C443.

A complete blower spec has flow, pressure and power. CFM, PSI and amps. Guru is right, a smaller outlet will be more pressure drop and the higher pressure drop will result in less cfm. Outlet size is the same for both models at 2.125" so you won't have a choke point at the outlet, but more cfm in the same system means more pressure drop. If you use more amps, you will have more CFM or more pressure or both. The answer to your question about whether there will be more pressure with more CFM is "usually", but not for sure. Fan pressure comes from blade design and tip speed of the blade. For a given blade design, to increase pressure at the fan outlet, you increase the tip speed either by increasing the wheel diameter for the same rpm, or increasing the rpms. To get more CFM, you increase fan wheel width. Generally, you will get more cfm from a higher pressure fan also because like you, most applications that require more CFM also require more pressure. As the Guru said, "Given identical style blowers"....

Since the main difference between the two models is a larger wheel diameter for the 4C443, you will definitely get more pressure as well as more flow. But you won't get anywhere near the pressure that you will from a compressed air nozzle. The 443 has a slightly lower rpm, but not lower enough to offset the increased wheel diameter. Tip speed is about 10% higher.

If it works better with more air, you may be running fuel rich now. Do you want to try a little less fuel and leave the air alone? Decrease the gas nozzle from 1/4" to say 3/16"? Another possibility is that the mixing of the air and fuel is not the best and the additional turbulence from the air nozzle might be increasing mixing and thus better combustion. This is a common problem when converting from higher pressure propane to lower pressure natural gas.

By the way, you can measure blower outlet pressure with your current setup quite easily with a manometer.

Play with it safely. Sounds fun.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 19:16:38 GMT

BTW, Tim, you won't get double the cfm or double the pressure from the 443. 30 % more at best. A 4C442 would give you about double the cfm at a somewhat higher pressure, but still not double.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 19:50:59 GMT

Guru; one correction: European pattern welding was *NOT* an attempt at replicating wootz. It is an outgrowth of the processes of refining wrought iron and carburizing it into steel. To make blister steel you take thin rods and carburize them. You then have to weld them up to get larger stock to forge blades----not a big step from simple piling to doing patterns. You can see examples of low grade pattern welding in celtic swords predating wootz production by centuries! (See "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner for metallographic info on Celtic blades). Folding and welding help equalize the carbon content and reduce the ferrous silicate size and percentage so a blade that *showed* evidence of this would generally have been a better blade *at* *that* *time*, sort of like you expect a better car from a BMW than a VW but you could get a lemon or an exempliary version of either one.

The idea that pattern welding was an "imitation" of wootz derives from bad 19th century scholarship---including that pattern welding came from people trying to replicate stuff they saw in the crusades---pretty neat trick since the first hey-day of pattern welded swords---the viking, anglo-saxon and frankish blades pre-dated the first crusade by several centuries.

Pattern welded swords were also fairly common in Europe in the 19th century and it was revived as a folk art under the Third Reich.

For those who like twist barrels the Hunting and Fishing Museum in Munich Germany has a large number of impressive examples including many that were made in the 1930's and 1940's

As for a pattern welded rapier: Manfred Sachse's book, "Damascus Steel" shows a laminated rapier from 1600 IIRC; as well as 19th and 20th century pattern welded swords.

Made it through a whole rant on Wootz and Pattern welding without using the *D* word!

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 19:56:55 GMT

Post Vises: I just picked up a sizable post vise; its a Columbian and while cleaning it up I found out that it had the remanents of an old coat of dark green paint over a coat of red-lead primer. I'd reckon the paint was at least 60-70 years old if not older---looked to me that it dated to the original owner if not the dealer. I plan to restore the "original" finish. (of course most of the rest of my vises are done in a "medium" rust, save the one with a heavy coat of battleship gray paint.)

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 20:07:07 GMT

I bought a Miller bending kit at a auction. It has at 50 pieces including dies, plates, and handles (all packed in foam cases)weighing in roughly 150#. I'm looking for literature or any information on using it. I would also be interested in selling it. Thanks.
Joe  <joeg at uconcrete.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 20:31:27 GMT

I acquired some short sections of RR track. Unlike most of the steel I have acquired, I actually paid for these . I am thinking of cutting the rail away from the web and using it as stock to make a 3lb hammer head. Do you think this is a suitable steel? The other hammers I made from truck axles are a bit too soft.
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Monday, 06/11/01 21:07:51 GMT

RR-Rail: Adam, Rail varies but modern rail is about 75 point carbon steel. Just the right stuff for a hammer. Axels tend to be around 40 point carbon. It will harden but may be a little soft for a hammer as you have discovered.

One word of warning, heavily used rail often has cracks and cold shuts from being cold swaged by the rail cars. Look on the worn inner edge of the rail. If the wear or mushrooming is noticable then be sure to grind out the flaws before fabricating something from it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 21:57:22 GMT

Damascus: Thomas thanks for the correction. Boy you guys are tearing up my blurb on Laminated steel. And to think it all started with a mythical movie sword etched and dyed green. . .

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Great on CD. I watched it in Chinese with the subtitles. After a while you think you understand Chinese (NOT!). The whole seems more natural that way. Its also nice to see a movie with the actors mouths matching the words spoken. The subtitles are less disconcerting than mis-matched movement.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 22:04:00 GMT

Little Giant Pulley: Kevin it depends on the model of hammer. Old center pulley hammers ran off low speed line shafting and had relatively small pullies. Later rear clutch hammers had bigger pulleys.

Check our spec sheet on the Power hammer Page. A 50# LG runs 328 BPM max. If the spring is old and tired it should max out at less. I usualy recommend about 10 to 20% less than factory specs. Measure the clutch pulley and do the math. BPM = OD1/OD2 * motor speed

Little Giants that run too fast don't run well at all. Generaly they do the "Little Giant Hula" (the ram going UP when it should go DOWN and in the end not moving at all). The arms are not a problem but springs do break on LG's. Its a good idea to put a guard on them. The only thing that dammages the arms is not oiling the joints AND using too short of dies. If the arms ever strike the guides then the dies are too short.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 22:20:35 GMT

Forge material: Kim, Generaly cast iron forges are more durable as they resist corrosion (rust) better than steel. However the type without seperate firepots are prone to cracking. Most cast iron forges are relatively old so wear and tear, rust and missing parts all have to be considered. New steel forges made from heavy plate do not crack and some have heavy cast firepots, the best of both worlds. Thin steel pan riveter forges (look like a charcoal grill) are OK but they rust out rapidly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/11/01 22:28:30 GMT

I had asked about creating a convex out of a flat sheet of copper and you said to hammer the thin sheet in concentric circles.what type of hammer should i use for a thin sheet with a diameter of 10 inches?
Rudy Moncada  <tinyrita at msn.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 02:41:06 GMT

Can you give me data on welding rod as related to steel quarter inch and thinner.What size rod do you use etc.(using gas welding).
Rudy Moncada  <tinyrita at msn.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 03:05:51 GMT


About a 12 ounce ball peen would work.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 03:11:05 GMT

Sheet Metal: Rudy, How thick/thin? Annealed copper Flashing .008 - .010" can be worked with your bare hands and wooden tools. A light wooden mallet of 3-5 ounces is heavy for this material. A sand bag is used for support OR you can made a wood form. 1/8" plate would take a couple pound hammer and steel stakes or iron swage blocks.

I last piece of copper work I did in thin sheet was a woman' Greek crown. A sand bag made from a leg cut off a pair of jeans and wooden tools were used. A lead pencil was used for the fine work. To get fine detail repose' methods using pitch backing is required.

Ball pien hammers work but most have a round flat face. For sheet metal raising you want the hammer face to have a very gentle radius across the entire face. The corners should be radiused and the whole polished. Auto body and tinners raising hammers have the right face. Most will LOOK smooth new but need to be finished for work with soft metals. Use 320, then 400 grit wet-or-dry and then polish with fine emery on a cotton wheel or rubbing compound and a cloth.

General purpose steel gas welding rod is 1/16" dia. You can use thin rod for heavy work (just feed more in) but it is difficult to use heavy rod for light work. So 1/16" is a general purpose size rod. Gas welding 1/4" plate is relatively heavy welding. If you have more than a foot or two to weld then a small arc welder will pay for itself in fuel savings.

The most efficient (economical) general cutting of heavy steel and plate is with an oxy-fuel torch. The most efficient method of sticking two pieces of steel together is by arc welding.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 04:51:35 GMT

1)what is forging and rolling process ? plesae tell me in details.

2)what are its applications and advantages ?
NITIN  <nitinb1978 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 04:53:07 GMT

what is wire drawing?
NITIN  <nitinb1978 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 04:56:47 GMT

Forging, Rolling and Wire Drawing: NITIN, These answers will be brief because we do not do folks homework for them. And these sound like homework (or a test).

Forging it the shaping or conditioning of malleable metals (hot or cold) by force such as by a hammer or a press, by hand or by power. Most metals are forged hot because they become more plastic (soft) a high temperatures.

Rolling is the shaping or conditioning of malleable metal by passing it between cylindical rollers. Shapes such as plate, sheet, bar or structural sections can be produced by rolling.

Wire drawing is the reduction in size of bar that has been previously forged, rolled or drawn by pulling it through a tapered hole in a hard metal "drawing" die. Wire is produced by drawing it through progressively smaller dies. Drawing is done cold but the metal must be annealed (heat treating to make soft) to start and after so many reductions in size as the metal "work hardens". Drawing is also used to produce precision bar sizes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 07:17:00 GMT

Subtitles:- I completely agree with the guru. Subtitles are a bit more work than dubbed sound but in the end the feel is more natural and you do get the pleasant illusion that you have understood the dialogue in it's original language.

Rant:- While searching the archives, I was dismayed to see that the guru had completely missed the boat on Jackson Pollock aka "Jack the Dripper" :). His paintings are just marvelous! They are like music in visual form. It's much easier to appreciate something like this when you see it "in the flesh" - reproductions dont do it justice. I was privileged to catch a Pollock exhibit at Moma when visiting NY city a couple of years ago and I found it absolutely thrilling.

There is indeed a lot of "art" which is indeed just gimmicky rubbish but this is not Pollock and standing in front of one of his paintings might convince you of that. The media made much of his unorthodox technique and portrayed it as a gimmick. In fact Pollock never played up this aspect of his work. IMO his stuff may not be for everyone but it really does deserve a serious look.
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 14:24:35 GMT

Adam, I have to agree with you. I've never seen his work before, but I just looked him up on the net & I kinda like what I saw. It doesn't look like your typical "modern" artwork, seems like there is a lot of substance to it.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 14:55:47 GMT

Guru and all,

I wish to make some hardy tools (my first try at this), so I am getting ready to purchase some steel and wanted some advise.

I have a 7/8" hardy on my main anvil, so I was planning on purchasing about 1.5" square stock. Is this about the right size? What type of steel is good for tools like fullers and swages and such? Iv'e been told to look for S1 or L6, but I don't see that around much in the size I would need. Would 4140 work?

This is my first advaenture with anything onther than A-36, so is there anything else I should know? I have been re-reading through the high carbon section of my various blacksmithing books, but any hints would be greatly appreciated.


Jim  <freely at zephion.net> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 16:50:31 GMT

The Dripper: Adam, I've seen numerous Pollocks. Yes, the little page width images in art books don't do most works justice nor reproduce the colors very well. Try comparing any two (three or four) art books with the same images. . ALL will be different colors. And yes, those images are nothing compared to the 40 foot long canvases of Pollock's.

Decades before I was a blacksmith I was a very serious artist. I studied many artist's works, biographies and traveled to museums to see the "real thing". Luckily I live in Virgina where we have the Virgina Museum as well as the Crysler Museum. Both surprising collections. I've also had many opportunities to visit the museums in Washington, DC, the Met in New York and one I can't remember the name of in Chicago. . . I still make it a point to visit some of the traveling collections. Over the years I've also collected a fair lot of books on various atists as well as some of the more common profile series. AND a surprising number of my family have been amature or professional artists including 3 brothers and one sister a great Aunt and my Father. Today my skill level is one tenth of what it was, but I still dabble here with iForge illustrations and those for Paw-paw's book. You could say I've studied art a little.

Copy by Jock DempseyAs an artist I spent many years looking for a completely original style or method. I copied the works of numerous artists in various media as a learning excersize (example, my 1969 copy of Jacques David's Charlotte d'Ognes at left). I also studied how artists got where they were. Those that were sucessful or most famous during my time were some of the worlds biggest BS (bull s**t) artists that every lived (Andy Worhol, David Smith, Etal). Having little talent they sold themselves and their art by making people feel like they were inferior if they didn't understand it. Pollok was one of the early leaders in the BS school of art. He even produced a short film mocking the art establishment. They did not understand that THEY were the butt of his joke and praised it for the "depth of symbolism". The other side of the coin is art instructors and critics that find symbolism in everything including Pollok's dribbles. But the REAL symbolism in almost all art is the little private inside jokes that only the artist or his close associates know. So the educators add to the BS level by putting things into an artist's work that are not really there. And making YOU believe it by making you feel inferior if you don't agree. It was all the BS that made me leave the fine art world. I figured if the art could not sell itself on face value then it was not art. However, the modern art world has placed more importance on the BS than on the quality of the art.

Imagine my shock when after years of blacksmithing I was refused in a juried show where the chief juror was a hack blacksmith that was more BS artist than smith. One of those that purchased a power hammer so that he could put hammer marks on every square inch of his work!

Today there are some very fine artist blacksmiths in our midst. But there is also a fair number of BS artists. Luckily they are becoming fewer and fewer as other realy fine artists come forward. But the BS artists still manage to manipulate their way onto center stage. That is their true skill.

To me Pollock is more MUZACK than music. Or perhaps more visual noise than anything.

Take a close look at the drawings of Picasso. He could express more in a half dozen lines than Pollock could in a dozen 40 foot canvases. Or the monocromatic water color sketches by Andrew Wyeth. With nothing more than yellow on white paper he could capture the light, the mood, the very atmosphere of a place.

Charlotte d'Ognes from the web. The original is in the Metropolitian Museum of Art in NYC. This image from the web is apparently from a faded brown copy of the image from an art book similar to the one I used. Mine is closer to the original's colors though my scan of a bad photo does not reproduce my colors well.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 17:27:02 GMT

Anvil Tools: Jim, The steel selected can vary. Commercial swages and sets are quite hard. Often made of something like 1095 or W1. But this was largly because many factories used one steel for everything and then tempered as needed. Low use tools dies and swages can be made of mild steel. These will work for hundreds of uses, thoutands if you keep the work hot and dust out the scale. 4140 or similar should work very well. Hot cuts can be made of carbon steel or you can get fancy and use H13 or H27.

We sell 4340, 4130, A2, D2, S7, O1 and W1 in our on-line metals store. Many smith recommend S7 as a general purpose tool steel. It is high alloy enough to be close to air hardening and does in small sections. As with all alloy tool steels you want to heat it slowly at first and then must be careful not to overheat it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 17:52:34 GMT

Junk Yard Wars: Has anyone else noticed that most of the US shows are repeats of the British "scripts" including the designs used, the scrap used, and even the outcome of the "combat" including exactly the same failures. Who would want to take part in this if they were told, "THIS is how you are going to do it and WE determine the results. YOU lose, the other side wins."

Something REALLY stinks on the Texas (USA)set of Junk Yard Wars.

I've posted the same in the Hammer-In. Please respond in the Hamme-In.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/12/01 18:23:07 GMT

What does one use for soldring aluminum-thin sheet?
Rudy Moncada  <tinyrita at msn.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 01:20:36 GMT

I've been checking in now and agian for quite some time now, formerly as HPL Steele and now as Asgard Act Smiths. What we basically are, at the moment, is an Acting Troupe in the making in Tennessee. What do we do? Well, we make our own weapons and Costumes to put on shows to promote the sale of our weapons..... though some like to say that what we do is act like blacksmiths. Right now we have the old plow disk forge and a anvil we borrowed from a friend with several actors and others planning to make weapons. Actually, we don't do any of that at the moment, but we're working on it. The scripts are almost written, and we're working on the weapons... when tragedy struck. Now we're rebuilding our workshop from scratch, because the H and P in HPL decided to pull out of the fun stuff completely, leaving us with no anvil (we since got a new one from above stated friend) and no place to work. Now we've moved into a new farm, and a new workshop in construction and things are looking great. But we've hit a serious snag. HPL had a steady flow of coal coming from the back yard of H's cousin, which has now been exhasted (the coal, not the cousin ;) )... and so we need coal. If you can help us in any way in finding and buying coal in Middle Tennessee, or with making a blower/bellows that do not require electricity (long story) that would be most appreciated as well. Anyone interested in pictures of the things we've made so far, or with any information concerning Coal or an air source for the forge, can contact us at VIRACNIS at AOL.com any time... just be sure and put something catchy in the subject line, as we all know how easily a perfectly decent email can be mistaken for the many porn messages that AOL customers are great at getting. Thanks for any assistance you can offer, and know that the all knowing Guru has been a wonderful inspiration to us all.
Yub Yub,
Asgard Act Smiths  <viracnis at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 01:45:20 GMT

Bellows: Bellows are not hard to make and are VERY dramatic. Folks of you ilk will need to carve celtic borders and knots into the top and bottom boards. . ;-)

However, materials can be pricey. Wood needs to be as knot free as possible. Luckily I think Lowes is running a national campaing that includes clear pine lumber.

To start, see my article on the 21st Century page. My design requires 5 "boards". Top, bottom, middle and two spreaders. The top and bottom are hinged. The center has the end block laminated on to it and the spreaders float on the leather.

I used 12" (nominal = 11-1/4") pine shelving. The boards were tongue and grooved using a router. It could be done with old hand planes but would best be done on a jointer if you have access. A table saw will also work. The boards angled sides were laid out overlaping on the shelving to save material. The end curve was cut on each after gluing up the boards. The spreader boards have large open spaces in the center to make them lighter and to allow air to pass. Do not lighten them up too much. Remember you have to drive all those nails into the edge of the boards to hold the leather.

The end block is built up on the longer center board which has a cut out for a piece of 1-1/2" pipe. The hole slopes to the upper side of the board. 1-1/2" pipe is 1.90" dia and 2" OD exhaust pipe fits nicely over it. The center board also has a steel or hardwood cross bar attached about half way toward the back. Around this you need to fit a short piece of wood to nail the leather on each side.

The "working" edges of all the boards were the leather rubs need to be rounded and sanded smooth. That the inside edges of the top and bottom and both edges of the rest.

Traditionaly leather forms the hinge and seals the joint. I used big steel hinges on the ones I built but today I would use common door hinges and then cover them with leather to look like the traditional bellows.

The valves are simple flaps of wood or wood supported leather. I used two 3" diameter valve holes in the middle board and four in the bottom. See article for further description. My valves were built in seperate removable pieces held in with screws. These were left out for access to remove the props used while fitting and attaching the leather.

To fit the leather you need to prop the boards open (total height should be about equal to the width of the bellows or a tad more. With the boards propped open fit a pattern to the bellows. I used several sheets of newspaper glued together. The outer edges need a 3/4"-7/8" "seam allowance" to tuck under and create a finished edge.

My bellows had split cowhide sold as "buckskin" by Tandy leather with a pretty red orange taning and swede texture. This was probably not the best leather but it has held up. What is important is that the leather is tanned and worked to a soft consistancy. I've seen a lot of bellows that the leather was too stiff.

Tanneries produce beautifuly tanned and finished whole hides in a bewildering array of colors. Currently these sell for around $100 if you can find a good upholstery supplier.

I had to piece mine together and sewed it with nylon upholstery thread. It wrecked the sewing machine we used. . . :( It would be worth it to get a shoe or leather shop to sew it. Seams were 3/4" overlapped with two courses of sewing about 1/8" from the edge.

The leather was nailed on using 5/8" roofing nails. To make them pretty (and prevent rust) I covered the heads with brass using brazing rod and a torch. I think there was something like 350 nails. Where the leather was doubled over no cover strip was used. On the middle board and spreaders I used a 7/8" wide strip of leather to reinforce the leather. Nails were set on 2" centers.

I did all the construction on my own except the fitting and attaching the leather. It takes more than one set of hands and can be a little frustrating.

A good bellows is a joy to use and will last a generation or more.

OPTIONS: The Japanese use a "box bellows". It is a square box about 16" x 16" x 5 feet. A square piston is pulled back and fourth with a broom handle sized wood shaft passing through a hole in the end board. I do not know the details of the valving but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

Hand crank blowers can be built from junk. A bicycle has been suggested. Run the tire against a small pulley and the fan will really hum! A four blade blower can be built using two boards cut with the blower scroll and side made of bent sheet metal. The rotor made using a square block with four sheet metal or wood blades attached. The shaft can be a small steel bar (1/4" - 6mm) set in wood and oiled. Oiled wood bearing work pretty slick. Millers have used them for centuries in old grist mills for blowing grain, dirt, flour. . . Works great. You just have to turn it.

One imaginative fellow from Finland was using a modern recyclers variation of the ancient "wine skin". He used a 5 gal plastic sheet rock mud bucket with intake and outlet holes cut near the bottom. Duct tape was used to tape a heavy plastic bag to the opening of the bucket and to attach intake and exhaust valves made of thin plastic over the holes in the bucket. To operate you grabbed the center of the plastic bag and made a fist. Then pushed it into the bucket and OUT gors the air. Then you pulled back up to refill the air and push in again. This is probably the most uniquely resourceful idea I've come across. Its not enough air for a large forge but its enough for small work. You could build two in tandem if you had a helper. Then they would be worked as opposites and a continous air supply would result. If the "Blue Men" had a forge this is how it would work!

May the force be with you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 05:06:31 GMT

in the old days when they made bridges like the sydney harbour bridge.How did they drill the holes for the rivits?Did they do them in place or measure them on the ground then place the girders?
james  <jamesmannar at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 06:13:57 GMT

What are the snags to changing the die position on a Nazel 3b by rotating the ram and ram guide?
JohnC  <careatti at croxx.net> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 11:20:20 GMT

Dear Guru,
I have been studying metal working for the past couple of years here in Germany. I have been asked to set up shop and teach at the High School level in New York. I am now in the process of putting a tool list together of tools and equipmeint that i would need in order to submit it to the school who wishes to hire me. My first problem is that my knowledge of tool names for copper smithing is in the German language. I need to find either some tool catologs or books on copper smithing in order to help me translate my tool list into english. It would also do me good to have tool catilogs from the states both from black smithing and copper smithing tools so I can aquire the knowledge on what is available in the states and what the price diferences are. Lastly I couild do with some recomandations on good books to buy on coppersmithing in english, I already have a nice collection of books in blacksmithing in english. I f you could point me in the right direction it would be a great help.
A hopefully new friend in the American smithing world
Virgilio Benoit
Virgilio Benoit  <virgilio_benoit at web.de> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 12:05:55 GMT

Hi there
has anyone!
an good plan for a closed forge, the materials I have:
-a whole lot of fire proof briks
-fire proof concrete (whitch I can cast in anny Shape)
-concrete building bricks
-casted steel tubes big and smal (dia20cm and 3cm)
-stone chimney tubes
-fire proof pavement stones

who can help me??
Johannes  <johannes at mine.be> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 14:00:03 GMT

Bellows: I think my large double action bellows cost me around $20 to build 20 years ago. The top, middle and bottom and horseshoes came from some oak veneer plywood that had been water stained. The "leathers" came from heavy treated canvas scrap from a commercial awning shop that used it for wind shields for oil drilling rigs (Beringuccio mentions cloth sided bellows in the 1500's in "Pirotechnica"). Top and bottom hinges I used piano hinge scrounged from a junked piano IIRC---they hold the air in pretty well though you could tack some scrap leather on to make it look better. The flappers were T6 Al from scrapped street signs with loose cabinet hinges.

The beast looks pretty good, has lasted a long time and blows up a storm! I often use it for welding billets up.

As fo an anvil that thing you were using doesn't look like a renaissance anvil anyway! (London Pattern came about around the 1800's). Go to a good scrap yard and find a hunk of steel (*not* cast iron!). Now you have a much more medieval/renaissance anvil, dead cheap too. To make it more pretty you can weld little legs on it and a horn at either end. But you can start forging on it from day 1. Heat treating, hardfacing, welding on a toolsteel plate will all improve it; but even as it stands it will be just as good as most of the medieval anvils.

Have fun; be safe, realize that they did things the way they did back then because it *worked*; so deviate from period designs only if you are *sure* it's an improvement.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 14:07:59 GMT

Structural Rivet Holes: James, We are talking well into the machine era. Almost all rivet holes were punched with big punch presses or special "ironworkers" (special a combination machine). Most of this work was done as it is today in an ironworks or "bridgeworks" where all the pieces were fabricated and prefitted. Some of these shops are huge and most subassemblies are test assembled using bolts. Smaller bridges were completely assembled, larger bridge in sections the section to section joinery carefully tested seperately.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 15:39:33 GMT

Die Rotation: John, the old Nazel catalogs show the all models available with the dies rotated to any of 4 angles corresponding to the flats on the anvil. I SUSPECT the ram parts are designed to be installed as needed. I believe special anvil caps were used to change the lower die position. Bruce Wallace may know more details.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 15:50:19 GMT

German to English: Virgilio, The Centaur Forge catalog is a good place to start. They carry a line of stakes (small special anvils). They also carry numerous books on metal working subjects. I am not familiar with a specific book on copper smithing. Kayne and Son has a new on-line catalog with images of all the tools they carry. They have few tinners or sheet metal tools but carry a wide range of hammers.

I believe most of the techniques and tools you are looking for will be under silversmithing in English.

English names for tools are either so ancient that the origin is unknown OR the tool is named for the item it is most commonly used to make. Sometimes these names make little sense in English or are archaic enough that they confuse modern users. In German the names are longer describing what the tool does or how it is shaped.

A "Blowhorn Stake" is named for musical horns that are blown (low brasses, hunting horns). In German it might be "stake anvil mit large cone und small tapered cylinder" or "large short und small long cone stake.

A "Candle Mould Stake" is named for making candle molds (note the archaic 'mould' for mold). In German it might be "stake anvil mit long und short slender tapered cylindrical bars".

I may be wrong on this as I understand a microscopic amount of German. However, I have had German friend try to translate some metal working names for me and even though she has spoken English for 20 years or more and is married to an American blacksmith she has trouble with translating technical terms.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 16:29:37 GMT

German to English (more): Virgilio, Let me know if you need catalogs sent to you. I have some old ones I can send as well as make copies of pages from books. Maybe we can work together on an English - German glossary of tool names.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 16:34:14 GMT

Guru. it would be interesting if I could join (perhaps olle is interested?) and make it an Swedish/german/english glossary of tool names.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 17:58:50 GMT

some of the names are in Otto Schmirlers book Werk und Werkzeug der kunstschmieds are both in eng French and German.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 18:06:02 GMT

Hello again, a few weeks back I asked you about a Barber power hammer, upon further inspection the name on the ID plate says, [500 Barbour Stockwell Co., Cambridge,Mass., trade mark Beaudry Champion, registered, serial #4121].
Can you say about what this thing is worth? Any guess is closer than I could guess! Actually, Guru, my main concern is that this thing might be too big as most of the work I do is under 3" stock, and would it just so much overkill so as to be a problem? Would this thing have enough control to do much smaller stock than it was designed for. Also, would you know what HP motor should be used as present motor heats up a bit I'm told(motor looks ancient!)
Thanks again.......armand
Armand  <armandanvil at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 20:31:25 GMT

Beaudry Hammer: Armand, Bruce Wallace posted something on the hammer last week. He has the literature with serial numbers. The "500" should indicate that it is a 500 pound hammer. I thought you said it was a 250#. That MAY be a tad big.

3" square stock (3x3) has a 9 square inch cross section. The old industrial rating for efficient forging of mild steel is 50 pounds per square inch of cross section. That is 450 pounds.

3" round stock has a 7.07 square inch cross section. Using industrial rating for efficient forging of mild steel that is 354 pounds.

Little giant used a 15 HP motor on their 500# hammer and a 7-1/2 HP on their 250. However, due to using a clutch that could grab instantly if not properly maintained they used heavier motors than necessary to do the job. Starting inertia being a large part of rating a motor. Fairbanks used about 1/2 the HP that LG used so a 7-1/2 to 10HP motor should be right for a 500# Beaudry.

Motors run continously under load get surprisingly hot. 60°C (140°F) is normal. Old motors often get clogged with dirt preventing proper cooling. Shortly afterwards they fail. However, on a power hammer the load (duty cycle) should only be about 20 to 50%.

Power hammer prices vary like all blacksmithing equipment. Everything depends on who's buying and who's selling. There is little demand for the bigger hammers so prices on 250's and 500's are similar to smaller hammers. When someone WANTS a big hammer the price often goes up. Especialy if a dealer has it. Big hammers are hard to move and the dealer will need to recoup moving and storage costs as well as profit on the initial investment.

Old "steamers" in this size range are even worse. Industry in general is getting rid of the small air/steam hammers (less than 1000 pounds) as fast as they can. Scrap prices are not unusual. For years they have been PAYING to have them hauled away. The problem with all open die equipment is the need for teams of skilled laborers. In the past every HUGE hammer had a little 300 to 500 pound "tool dressing" hammer with it. The same folks that ran the big hammer used the little ones to make tooling for the big hammer. Today skilled labor is being replaced by automated equipment and more sophisticated tooling. So there is no one to run the little hammers and the little open die made tooling needed is often out sourced (purchased).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 21:36:00 GMT

Glossary: OErjan, I have that book! A good start. I didn't think of using it. The trick will be figuring out which words in language X = language Y.

Several years ago I had a request for a Portugese blacksmithing glossary. . . HAH!

To make the thing universal it would be best to have pictures of the tool in question. Another NEW project. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/13/01 21:42:58 GMT

100th iForge demo tonight: Bill Epps will be doing his famous humming bird!

iForge Classroom 9:30 Eastern, 8:30 Central
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 00:47:15 GMT

Update on the bellows: A basketball. Sounds strange? Well we only needed a small bellows, as it was a very small forge.. and so we took an old basket ball that had a hole in it, and removed the innertube from inside. That we attached between two boards hinged together, and ran a pipe up and into the forge. Push the top plank down it deflates the ball out through the pipe and blows the air... pull it up and you're ready to go agian. Takes a lot of pumping, but it works decently well until we can get some heavy canvas for a real one (leather is just plain too expensive).

We tried something new that worked rather well... but it takes a LOT of pumping. We had two pieces of leather left after the wonderful destruction of the basket ball, which we used as a plunger. Sandwhiching the leather between two small pieces of wood, we nailed them to a broom stick, and pushed into a large piece of pipe... which was attached to a smaller pipe leading to the forge. Pumping the broomstick in and out puts out a good bit of air. This was an adaptation of the picture I got of the box bellows you described... that idea added to an air pump I saw made on Junkyard wars produced a workable air mover for the small forge. The basketball version was just completely random... I'm still not sure where it came from, but it works well enough that I prefer it over the pipe.

I'm still in a lot of trouble though, because thus far we've been using charcoal in the forge... and the combination of a small forge and charcoal just isn't working as good as the coal we'd used up on HPL's forge, which was the same size, but burned coal. Any ideas where I can get coal at a reasonable price? Right now the thought is to go out of state for it, as we're not turning up any leads... but there HAS to be coal in Tennessee SOMEWHERE.. and the gas to drive out of state would be horrible.
Asgard Act Smiths  <viracnis at aol.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 04:46:29 GMT

G'day Guru

I am a saddler in Australia, looking for a supply of folding hoof picks, preferably in brass. I can get steel ones over here but nobody seems to stock them in brass. Do you have a contact for a manufacturer of these items, and also would you know if a particular brand is better than another. If I can find out the manufacturer I hope to be able to put my importing agent onto them.


Richard Miller
Richard Miller  <rgmiller at ozemail.com.au> - Thursday, 06/14/01 05:07:57 GMT

I am trying to locate #14 copper nails. These nails need to be 1" long and have a square shank like a cut nail. I need about 500 nails. They are to be used in the construction of a sailboat which will be used in salty water. I think that brass would be acceptable.
Andrew Bornman  <bornman at bnin.net> - Thursday, 06/14/01 05:58:54 GMT

Hi Guru and all,,,
I'm in the process of cleaning and painting the 50 lb Bradley I recently bought on ebay. I've finally scrapped and power washed my way thru 80 years accumulation of carbonized grease (and I thought old diesel oil was nasty stuff!) and numerous paint jobs. I believe I'm now down to the original paint, which I would describe as a medium blue green. Does that sound like the original color? Any idea where I can find a match for this paint?

I originally planned to paint her John Deere green, which I use on most of my equipment. But I've decided that in reverence to the makers of this finely crafted beauty I'd like to put her back in her original color. They really made them to last, 80 years old and no excessive wear anywhere.

Any help is appreciated, and many thanks for what I've already learned from lurking the past month.
karma-kanic  <cimport at swbell.net> - Thursday, 06/14/01 06:43:33 GMT

Asgard Act Smiths: go here: http://www.keenjunk.com/
and look for Sketchbook, under that you find ALL WOOD BELLOWS.
here is direct address: http://www.keenjunk.com/sketchbk/ak90315a.htm .

Now as to charcoal. if you use REAL charcoal you first of all need less air than coal, second you need somewhat deeper fire to get same temp.
if you use charcoal you will be somewhat more autentic (yes evidense say that it was used as early as 1250) and alow the audience a better environment.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 11:54:58 GMT

AAS: gotta watch the fingers when typing that one... Where in TN are you? There are at least four active smithing guilds spread across the state, all of whom have had vast quantities of coal brought in from their respective favorite places. And as Oerjan said, you have to use real charcoal, briquets will not work.

I know you're in Middle TN somewhere, have you called up the Edgar Evans center for Appalachian (note to yankees: this word is pronounced Ap-uh-LATCH-un, not appellation, which is french for name) Crafts at Smithville? They teach smithing, and should be able to turn you on to some coal.

Alan formerly of the Clinch River guild of Knoxville, TN
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Thursday, 06/14/01 13:15:11 GMT

Anybody know what colour Champion used on their equipment?
I have a champion forge, a champion triphammer and friend just picked up a champion grinder and we were thinking of trying to class up the shop by cleaning and painting everything and was hoping there was a "company colour" we could use.

(BTW that was (yes evidence says that coal was used as early as 1250) charcoal has, of course, been used from day 1 of the iron age up through today and I'd bet my hammer that it would be in use tomorrow and the next day as well...)

Problem with coal is that you can't find it everywhere, it stinks, puts sulfur in the metal, etc. I'd bet that it was pretty slow to take over from charcoal for smithing over most of europe. For smelting it was the 1790's (Abraham Darby) and there was still some charcoal smelting going on commercially through 1900!)

Almost done with "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" C.S.Smith---1780's they have done figured out that its *carbon* that makes iron into steel but are still having a bit of confusion with oxygen's role---of course they call it dephilogisticated air...Early part of the book has a lot of good quenching receipes from the renaissance---snails, radish juice, etc.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 14:16:32 GMT

Coal vs. Charcoal: North American ironmakers used charcoal for 100 years after coal was in almost universal use in England and most of Europe. The reason was sulfur. North America had the vast timber reserves necessary to contiune using charcoal. The change finaly came as an logistic and ecconomic neccesity. Making charcoal in huge quantities is a relatively slow process compared to mining coal. It was also very expensive in manpower. It could not be made fast enough to smelt all the iron needed for a growing country.

Sulfur is not good in steel. However, the sulfur in coal used to forge steel has little effect unless the material is thin and soaked a temperature for a long time. It is in the smelting process that sulfur is the big problem.

"Charcoal Iron" from Sweden was imported into the US well into the 1900's for special purposes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 15:51:08 GMT

OEM Colors: Most of the early blowers and forges I've seen that had the original paint were black. Bradleys that appeared to have original paint have been black and later ones grey. During WWII machine tools were almost all painted to government specs including color. However, I think the color was for various pigment specifications that did not take away from those needed by the millitary.

Before WWII the majority of machine tools of all sorts were painted black. After WWII Navy blue grey (now called machine tool grey) became very popular. This is not an absolute but was very common.

Black is a good color for machines because you can't see all the black oil streaks on the machine and wiping it down just shines it up rather than making it look worse.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 16:04:30 GMT

FWIW--Charcoal-- Somewhere, years ago I read that Marco Polo was arrested and jailed on his return to Italy for saying that the Chinese burned black stones (rocks) for a heat source. If true, it would imply that mineral coal was unknown in Europe before that time !!!
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 16:18:09 GMT

I am relatively new to metalworking but have a little mig welding experience.
my question is thus....
Is wire size,ie 0.06,0.08 etc directly related to amperage.if I reduce wire size do I need to reduce amperage.ie I am using 0.08 wire to weld a 3mm strip to 12mmsq bar,however I find the weld to thick for decorative work and was wondering if I could use 0.06 wire in order to obtain a less obvious weld.
If I do this do I keep the amperage the same as for the 0.08 wire.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Thursday, 06/14/01 16:21:28 GMT

Coal and charcoal, part XXIV: During WWII swedish iron-smelting depended on charcoal. The story I have read (Somewhere. One ought to xerox all these scraps of information when they are found to be able to remember if they where credible.)on mineral coal in medieval europe was that it was known, you can pick it up from the ground in certain areas, but considered poisonous and forbidden inside town limits. Punishable by death, as I remember.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 06/14/01 16:54:46 GMT

Hey Gurus, Anyone know what liscence plates are made from

Jan Ouellette  <daeth1 at juno.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:16:30 GMT

Reality vs. "Truth": Grandpa, Its possible that coal was known outside Italy but that in this very narrow minded era where the church often decided what was "truth". He may still have been punished as many others had over the millenia.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:24:24 GMT

MIG amperage: Mark, There are others variables. Small MIG machines use "dip transfer" and larger machines use "spray transfer". Wire speed also determines the shape of the bead as much as operator movement and amperage.

In GENERAL you reduce the amperage with reduction in wire size. But wire feed rate is still an important factor. If the wire is fed too fast the bead may lay on the surface with absolutely no penetration. Everything in welding requires a balance.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:34:46 GMT

If you reduce wire diameter you can

1-reduce *VOLTAGE* to weld colder to better match wire

2-increase wire speed to dilute heat by pushing more wire
into the puddle.

If you want the weld bead to flatten for a better blend to the metal try turning the voltage up. If you have a voltage indicator it should be somewhere close to 18-21 volts.

If this doesn't flatten out the weld bead turn the wire speed (amperage) down. Turn it down in small increments and watch the bead as the wire feed gets slower.

One of these should help to flatten the weld bead.
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:39:33 GMT

License Plates: Jan, In the US auto license plates have been made of aluminium in most states since the late 1960's or early 1970's depending on the state. These were the new "permanent" plates that used annual stickers. These were found to be less expensive than the steel old plates that were replaced every year. I currently have plates that I've been running for over 20 years.

The aluminium is a soft alloy or pure aluminium. Early plates had plain paint. In the mid 1970's reflective paint was adopted. In most states you can re-register old steel plates for antique automobiles.

I do not know what is currently used outside the US but old plates were steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:49:21 GMT

Differences in Welding Machines: Steve, my cheapo Airco DipStick 160 welder ($2,300 in 1984!) uses only the transformer range adjustment and wire speed and has no meters. I know changing the "amperage" setting changes the voltage but many machines do not have a direct voltage setting.

Thanks for a better explaination than mine. Its been too many years since I used my MIG welder. Since most of the arc welding I now do is on nasty old rusted and sometimes painted steel so I prefer to use stick.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 17:59:43 GMT

When I started typing you had not posted your answer. There was no intention of stepping on your answer (which as usual was good)!

Coming forward to 2001, Gas Metal Arc Welding (mig)machines still have the very same adjustments. Some machines have a *LOT* of whistles, bells and buzzers. Although some names have changed, dip weld is now short circuit, the theory and operation are basicly the same. Mig machines are constant voltage (CV). This means that when you turn the heat up you are turning the voltage up. It really means that when you set the voltage at a particular range the voltage will remain relatively constant. On the stick machine, which is constant current (AMPERAGE), this holds true for the current. Set the amperage (CURRENT) at 125 amps and the machine will hold at 125 amps...plus or minus.

On the mig machine amperage is turned up or down with the wire speed. Add more wire (faster speed) and the machine adjust amperage up to compensate.

Again, you were correct stating that small machines do the short circuit (dip) welding and large machines do spray welding. Of course, there's a *LOT* more to it than that. But, your answer was sufficient! I could go on about how gases can stop a machine from creating spray transfer or how to get globular transfer... but right about now I'd guess that you would be thinking "If I want to learn this I'll go to school"!

The curse and ramblin's of a welding instructor. ;o)

It's almost as bad as being an engineer. Tony, that was said as a pat on the back. You and Guru have my respect!
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Thursday, 06/14/01 19:52:12 GMT

Steve or Guru, What's the difference in performance between dip or spray welding? Also, what do you concider a "large" machine? One of these days I want to get a Millermatic 200 Mig welder, is that concidered a large machine? Thanks!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 20:04:10 GMT

Mike, I just saw your grinder. Really great!

I have the Millermatic 200 in my home shop. You'll probably never need anything bigger unless you're going into major construction. I can use this mig welder for short circuit(dip) welding on thin gauge metals and with a gas change I can do the much hotter spray transfer on 1/2" thick or thicker.

WOW! Lightning----big time...back later!
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Thursday, 06/14/01 20:12:41 GMT

Spray Transfer: Mike, as Steve said it is much hotter and I suspect much deeper penetration.

I've done a lot of MIG welding and except for the convienience of not needing to clean up flux and slag I like stick welding better for its flexibility. In production work you must use MIG if its applicable to be competitive. But if you need flexability, light/heavy work, old rusted material, some SS one day and hard facing the next then stick is the way to go.

That is why at the time I bought my Airco welder I bought a combination machine. I already HAD a buzz box but needed a new welder to use in the family shop as well. I asked for a Miller but let the dealer talk me into the Airco. BIG mistake. The Airco LOOKED like a deal. $1400 I think. But that was without the wheels and cylinder rack. So I added a heavy duty unit that would carry two cylinders. I also added a TIG unit (that required a second regulator) and customized the cable plugs to accept my Miller cables. In the end I had a $3500 investment! A year later Airco quit making and supporting the machine. Now it has Radio shack and electrical store components and I have to do all my own trouble shooting/repair.

Live and learn.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 20:49:42 GMT

I was given a tea pitcher that is dated 1854 and was made by the Meriden B Company. Have you ever heard of this company?
Thank you.
Pat Liggett  <Genbiz2849 at aol.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 21:11:59 GMT

Mike, I echo Steve. I also have a Millermatic 200 and the only other thing I'd like to have at this point is a good TIG machine. I can weld everything from 18 gage to half inch plate with .035 wire and AG 25 gas. Yeah, I have to switch wire and gas for stainless or aluminum. But that only takes 10 minutes. Stick welding is more versatile and you can get stronger welds, but I'm not patient enough for stick welding anymore. Grin. I'd say a Millermatic 200 is a medium sized machine. Small is the little 120 volt jobs. A Miller 35 is smallish medium. I can tax the 200 if I really have a heavy weld, but that doesn't happen often. You would be happy with it for doing stuff like your air hammer. I used it for welding my anvil and I don't think anyone will be breaking those welds. For setting mine, I use the book for main tap selection and have my son tweak the wire speed as I weld. He has a pretty good ear for it now.

Steve, thanks for the compliment.... I think? Big Grin!
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 21:39:32 GMT

can anyone tell me the composition of w-2 steel?
chris makin  <cfm15 at home.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 22:45:15 GMT

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