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This is an archive of posts from June 15 - 20, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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can anyone tell me the composition of w-2 steel?
chris makin  <cfm15 at home.com> - Thursday, 06/14/01 22:45:15 GMT

Hi Guru , Hi all
I am a Fitter , Macinist in South Australia. Whilst I do have 18 years experience in my trade , Blacksmithing is new to me . I have an old Buffalo Forge I have repaired , but I cant get the fire to burn properly. The grate in the forge was missing , and I have made a few attempts at replacing it without knowing what I am making and with little success.
What size holes should bein the grate ? The coke I have is approx 1/2" to 1" in size if this has any bearing on the answer .
Allan  <lucasa at seol.net.au> - Friday, 06/15/01 00:18:31 GMT

That lightning was TOOOO close!

Tony, that's a very good explaination.

If I may try to correct one image of Mig welds...

Mig welds can be and *ARE* as strong as stick welds, except when Tony is welding submarines. Big Grin Tony! For the rest of you that is an inside joke... you had to be there.

A quick comparison, sort of,
I'm using the American Welding Society's number system.
The Canadian Welding Society's numbering system can be cross referanced. The European system is unfamiliar to me.
Using the ever popular E-7018 stick electrode. This electrode has a minimum tensile strength of 70,000 pounds per square inch. That's the 70 in 7018. The mig wire designation is ER-70S-X. Notice the 70? Same strength as the 7018.

A lot of people fail welding certification test with the mig because of poor manipulation and technique. Cleaning the welds and metal preperation seem to be the next reason for failures. As a lot a people failed these test the rumors get passed around that mig welding is not as strong as stick. I've administered a lot of weld test and the knowledgable pass and the unknowledgable may luck out every once in a while.

This is not picking on Tony. Our joke was started over a comment about submarine welds failing due to the copper coating and lubricants on the wire. This came from an article that I read about wire welding on nuclear subs. Those subs have to withstand tremendous pressures at the depths that they dive. The welds have to be perfect.

Mike Roth, you'll enjoy the MM200. Questions about short circuit, globular or spray welding or anything about backyard shop welding (grin) E-mail me psrrfr at bellsouth.net

No, I do not consider myself an expert. I don't have all the answers and I'm still learning. However, I do enjoy what I do.

My version, "Those that can, teach"! We also DO, DID and HAVE DONE! Just a little poke at JJJ.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 00:34:52 GMT

Chris: you really need to get a copy of either of Jim Hrisoulas's books on bladesmithing. They have generic specs for most grades of steel. Each manufacturer's will differ a bit, though.

Allan in Australia, torch-cut slots in a bit of steel plate. 1/2 in (1.4 cm) wide slots will be fine, and you don't need to clean up the cuts much. I used 1/4 inch plate to make mine out of, and it works fine.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Friday, 06/15/01 01:16:44 GMT

Hi, I have a lamp that looks to be quite old, however it has what looks to be arc welding on it.
How old is arc welding? When does it date from?
Thanks for your help.
Carol Hurst  <faithangl1 at aol.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 01:36:42 GMT

Age of arc weld: Carol, Some "historians" will push arc welding back to the invention of the wet cell battery (hundreds of years). But for all practical purposes it became a commercial process after WWI (early 1920's).

So you have three possiblities, 1) Its not over 85 years old. 2) Its been repaired. 3)Its a reproduction or a fake.
Since the 1950's reproduction colonial lighting has been big business. Some has just been copies without regard to technique (not fake) and arc welding is a possibility. Some have been outright fakes artificialy aged.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 02:26:06 GMT

Metal Specs: Chris, If you are going to deal with anything more than mild steel you should have a copy of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK as a minimum, or The ASM Metals Reference Book for more detail including, composition limits, characteristics and heat treating.

www.matweb.com is also a very good source of material informaion.

W-2 UNS T72302

C 0.85-1.50
Mn 0.1-0.4
Cr 0.15
Si 0.1-0.4
Ni 0.20
V 0.15-0.35
Mo 0.1
W 0.15
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 02:58:38 GMT

Guru, Thanks again for all your help. I worked on horses for 23 years and there "ain't much I can't tell you about horseshoeing". However this Blacksmithing full time thing is humbling me BIG TIME. I seem to be able to make up for my lack of blacksmithing skill with "modern" help. Question: I just purchased a Miller tig (maxstar 140). It's a super light unit that can be plugged into a 115 outlet. I am going to use it as an installation welder over the hardwood floors I seem to find everywhere I install. It has little or no sparks and is TOTALLY controllable. Is there an online resource for welding "tips" such as overhead welding with a machine like this or is this not the forum to even ask the question? Thanks in advance TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 03:45:31 GMT

Overhead Welding: Tim, Practice, practice, practice. .

Wood floors are a real problem. Even a few sparks are too many, either from welding OR grinding. Losts of blanket or firescreen is the only way to be sure. Oh for the good old days of asbestoes!

A real easy screw up is grinding near anything. Iron dross embeds in wood and eventualy shows up as rust stains later even though it may not show when you do it and is varnished over. Hot sparks weld to glass permanently and leave a rough surface that cannot be cleaned.

Drops of weld spatter not only burn wood but can make spall marks in stone and marble floors. Spatter droplets on black marble make round white spots. In other stone is may make rust spots.

Installation is a big part of architectural work that is often underestimated.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 04:17:53 GMT

Guru, I was afraid you were going to tell me to practice! I have until next week before the installation. I guess I'll stay up and "burn the midnight ...oi..argon" TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 04:40:45 GMT

Overhead welding: Tim, Take Tony's advise and wear earplugs or covers. . . don't need sputter balls burning holes your ear drums.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 06:18:45 GMT

SteveR or anyone..., educate me on weld strength. I know that E70 stick (SMAW) welds are the same strength (70,000 psi) as ER70 wire (MIG or GMAW) welds, but I thought stick electrodes were available up to 120,000 psi per AWS A5.5?? That’s why I said stick welds could be stronger. Did I miss something? I didn’t mean to imply that wire welding was inferior.

I always clean to bare metal whether I’m stick OR wire welding. I see no reason to make that flux work so hard on sticks. And arc starting is easier on clean metal for me. Grin. I take great pride in being able to say none of my welds have ever broke. Well..... except for that ONE submarine...... I don’t want an inclusion or porosity to wreck my record. Grin.

By the way.... I like to think of welding in terms of power, not just amps or volts, but both. It takes a given amount of power to melt the base and/or filler metal. You can adjust volts and/or amps to get the power to do the work. More work (bigger or faster) means more power required. Of course, you do have to live with the adjustments the manufacturer gave you on your machine..... Or.. if you are welding the axle on your jeep back together in the middle of a mud hole on some remote logging road with 2 car batteries and jumper cables and 6011 stick and beer, you do what you can. Or have to. You can get a surprising amount of control by varying how many wires are attached to the jumper cable clamp. Grin.

What I DON'T like, is the trend I see on new machines. More microprocessor control. You tell the machine what you are welding through a keypad and display and the machine sets the parameters for you. Yuck! I like to make my own decisions. We don’t need no “stinking” machine to think for us!! Guess I’m just old fashioned. Or maybe it’s that I don’t trust the wet behind the ears kid who may have programmed the machine. Grin. Gee.... was I ever a “wet behind the ears” kid??? Hmmm.... yup, probably. Well, OK... for sure. Very wet ears.

Happy Friday all. I'm leaving in a few hours to go play in the mud for 3 days. And yes, I will have the jumper cables and some 6011 stick.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 13:03:39 GMT

Tony and anyone that's interested,
Using the American Welding Society's numbering system the higher the first two or three digits the higher the minimum tensile strength. Such as,

E-6010=60,000 PSI
E-11018=110,000 and so on and so on, etc.

I feel like welding is a LARGE part of blacksmithing unless you're a purest or ultra Neo-Tribal. (That is NOT a flame)

Tim Cisneros, If you're Tig (Gas Tungsten Arc or Heli-Arc)welding the only potential problem that I forsee may be lack of power on heavy pieces of metal and duty cycle. I suspect that the duty cycle is only 20%. That means you can weld 2 minutes out of 10. The next thing would be that you'll need 2% thoriated (radioactive) tungsten or 2% Ceriated (not radioactive) tungsten, there are others. Your gas flow should be approximately 15 to 25 cubic feet per hour and you'll need a number 6 minimum nozzle(cup) or a number 8 nozzle. Remember that as the cup gets smaller the gas flow should be turned down also. Too small of a nozzle(cup) size without turning the gas CFH down will create problems by allowing air to be sucked into the weld area. The tungsten should stick out past the end of the nozzle by half of the nozzle diameter. Measure the nozzle diameter. If it measures 1/2" then the tungsten should be approximately 1/4" past the end of the nozzle to the point of the tungsten. Of course, you don't have to be perfect, there's room for cheating.

If the Guru suggest NOT asking and answering welding questions I will respect that.

Those that can, teach! My version. ;o)

That's why I hang out here. I learn stuff!
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 13:57:26 GMT

Tony, very wet ears, batteries and 6011...

Let us know if you survive! Big ole snaggle tooth grin!
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 13:59:23 GMT

Hi Steve, Tony & Guru, Thanks for the lessons! An engineer friend of mine & a welder friend both suggested Miller machines & when I get the cash together that is what I will get. I was just wondering about the actual weld mechanics, with the talk of short circut welds & spray welds. Thanks for the education!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 14:08:50 GMT

Steve, I suspect it will be a LONG time before the guru asks anyone to NOT answer questions of ANY kind.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 14:28:33 GMT

TIG vs MIG Whoops! Did Tim say TIG? Yeah, very low power indeed. The high frequency requires a lot more watts than other types of electric welding. Yes, shouldn't be any weld spatter but drips DO happen.

Steve, Keep answering those welding questions!

Welding Dirty Metal: My experiance with MIG is that the metal doesn't need to be just clean but scale free. Most of the time you can burn through the scale but any amount produces gas (oxygen) as it disassociates from the scale (or rust) due to the high temperature of the arc. With small amounts of scale this is untectable by visual inspection but with heavier rust/scale the results are a foamy looking bead full of holes. Flux coated rods disolve these contaminates ahead of the arc. Yes, there is flux-core MIG wire but it is generaly only usable on larger machines and much of the post clean-up advantage of MIG is lost.

SO, "clean" metal in MIG welding means bright and shiney.

My problem is that I am often welding old rusted (read heavily pitted) structurals that may have been painted over the pitting at least once. Yes I clean up with a grinder but to do so on both sides to the bottom of all the pits would leave little or no material. Those pits full of paint will leave huge blow holes in a MIG weld while almost any coated rod will make a nice smooth bead and a strong joint. In this case (heavy rust/pitting)to use MIG requires sandblasting.

So, MIG is good for production work on clean (new) metal. Stick is generaly better for us junkyard steel iron bodgers.

And that WOULD also apply to JunkYard Wars except their "yard" is seeded (stocked) with miles of nice clean NEW structural tubing, angle iron and plate.

My biggest complaint is folks that learn to use MIG (point and shoot) and then think they can (electric) weld. Rod is still burned by the ton for good reason.

For the small shop or hobbiest stick is also better due to low maintenance and operating costs. MIG machines require a (usualy rented) gas cylinder. The wire rusts if not used. AND there is a lot of high-tech electronics to fail. A small buzz box (transformer arc welder) will work until the insulation falls off the wires. Rod will work for decades if kept dry and if it has only degraded a little it can be dried and will still work. In a post industrial society living off the remains of the past, if you still have electricity you will still be able to stick weld (as long as the rod supply holds out).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 14:40:16 GMT

Guru, Thanks for the explanation of the differences in stick/mig welding. A lot of that is kinda what I figured from talking to people. I still plan on keeping my stick machine, although I DO want to get a good DC welder, the one I have is just a cheepo AC machine, does the job though. I tend to weld mostly junkyard steel too! Pretty much everything I've made is out of scrap, much cheeper that way!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 14:50:40 GMT

Let's give equal time to the Lincoln Power Mig 255. When I go my welding supply dealer, see the Millers and say "Maybe I shoda bought a Miller" they say, "No, you bought the right machine." (Lincoln). He may have been a Yankee but he got the color right. Big Red's the one.
L.Sundstrom - Friday, 06/15/01 15:18:58 GMT

as we have been on this welding kick for a bit I need some addvice I am thinking of upgrading my welder (read buying something over 70 amps) I was thinking of the combanation arc/mig unit from miller (250 amp) and adding the tig unit (total cost around $2500 from a local dealer + tank's and gass) this unit is AC/DC and looks to be based on a mig set up. I can't find the info I had on it so I can give the model # but have any of you had any experance with the miller combo units?
It looks like a good deal and it will take up A LOT less space in an allready cramped shop so I was thinking it may be the way to go.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 15:46:22 GMT

There's nothing wrong with Lincoln welding equipment. My personal shop equipment is the Millermatic 200. I bought it out of rental. At the time this type machines new cost was $1500 U.S. and I paid $950.

I also have the Miller Synchrowave 250 Tig/stick machine. The reason... it was $500 cheaper than the comparable Lincoln.

At the school where I teach welding I have Lincoln, Miller, Hobart, PowCon and L-Tec(Esab) and even a couple of very old Airco.

The welding machine being used does NOT make the weldor.

As Guru stated, stick welding may allow the weld puddle to stay molten longer. This will allow inclusions such as paint or maybe even some rust to float to the top of the puddle. When the inclusions are trapped in the puddle they become problems. Bubble holes/foamy looking welds are called porosity. Trapped gas bubbles. Within small limits these bubbles are not detrimental to the structural integrety of a weld. Bubbles being round do not have sharp corners or stress risers. Again, I said SMALL limits.

< Those that can...Teach. Just like everyone here.
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 15:48:03 GMT


You stated that the machine has AC/DC. Does it also have CC/CV?
CC-Constant Current for stick/tig.
CV-Constant Voltage for mig.
It MUST have both to do both. Don't be fooled. CC can be made to mig weld, BUT it ain't gonna be pretty.

The only problems that I have encountered with combination welders made for that purpose is a major tangle of cables. In a small shop this will become a hassle and a hazard. A fabrication shop that I worked at had the Miller ShopMasters. Wonderful machines. Near impossible to keep the cables seperated. Someone with little or no experience in setting up the machine will NOT be able to do it.

Get more info.
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 15:59:58 GMT

Historical bellows trivia: I recently put new leather on an old 42" great bellows, and was surprised to see "Chicago House Wrecking Co. West 35th and Iron Sts. Chicago, Illinois" painted on it. I couldn't imagine why a house wrecking company was selling bellows. Since then I found an 1898 catalog from the company. Besides used architectural elements they sold all sorts of miscellaneous tools, and even china tableware. I quote one ad.: "We purchased 1,000 bellows, brand new, from Sheriff's sale..." Prices ranged from $3.10 for a 24" model, to $8.40 for a 44" one.
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 17:28:10 GMT

Steve, perhaps welding is a lrge part of *your* blacksmithing but others who are not purists or NT may not be doing the sort of things that need welding. I came into smithing through bladesmithing, I do a bunch of *forge* welding for pattern welded billets but generally have only needed to hunt down someone with a buzzbox maybe once or twice a year. I know several folk who do camping equipment who *never* use a weld (forge or arc). OTOH someone who is doing ornamental gates may *need* hours of access to a welder each week.

Its a skill and like most skills, some projects require it, some you can work around it or farm it out and other projects it's as usefull as a bicycle to a fish.

What I will say is that it speeds up jig making quite a bit.
I finally bought an old tombstone lincoln and last night found out that the unused electric range plug will fit it and plan to be welding tonight---gonna weld up the bolts on a postvise attached to my welding table (bought 5 years before the welder $5 at the school auction) to help encourage it to stick around awhile.

Luckily I have a lot of scrap to practice on; 30 years of not using one dulls the skills a bit. (Got a retired welder as a friend and "coach" though!)

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 17:45:10 GMT

Anybody know,
Where I saw three or four really good pictures of the
Uri Hofi anvil. I looked at the Ozark site and there was only one small picture. This is about the only place I go to on the Internet. Could it have been in the news section?

2nd question: I asked a computer friend or two and they don't know. What does it mean when there is an (*) before and after a capitalized word. First time I asked a question here I used all caps because I'm not a good typer. Then I learned that it means that you are yelling. Now, I see the (*) used where I would have thought a (") would normally go. *YELLING* on a **** filled night?????
Maybe it is computer for italizied. Just curious.
L.Sundstrom - Friday, 06/15/01 19:34:26 GMT

Hofi Anvil: Larry, Should be in our first AFC edition of the news. There is also a drawing in our anvil series on the page on making built up anvils.

*I* occasionaly add emphisis to certain words with asterics such as the normally capitalized worrd "I".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 20:07:30 GMT

I see Tony and Steve are spreading the welding word.
JohnC  <careatti at croxx.net> - Friday, 06/15/01 20:48:31 GMT

Thomas Powers,
Good point. I spoke from only one point of view. Now that you have made me review how I "blacksmith" I see that I do a lot of fabricating. OK. Welding has it's place in my type of blacksmithing. Or as I've heard it put "I sit corrected". ;o)

Those that can...Teach. Thomas, you taught me something.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 20:59:16 GMT

Guru, yeah, deep rusty painted pits and mig don't mix. Most of my scrap isn't that bad. And I agree 100% that those that can weld mig, can't necessarily weld stick or tig or gas. Personally, I'd like to see every welder start with gas welding. Or forge welding might be even better.

I've had no problems with Hobart or Lincoln welders. I just have more experience with Miller and it has been good. And I have friends who work there. And they are geographically close, here in Wisconsin. Yada, Yada..

I payed $1200 for my Millermatic 200 in 1984. That included buying a 139 cubic foot AG 25 tank and all the usual spares and consumables. Mike, if you price one, let me know how much now.

Survive welding wet? Sure, done it a bunch. I was welding kneeling in water on Tuesday when the big wind and rain visited us. Dry leather gloves and not touching the work keeps me out of the electron path. Grin. But maybe a little tickle every now and then isn't so bad, huh?

Spreading the word... well, John, they did ask...... grin. Those who can..... and have the patience...... forge weld.

So many decisions to make. To heck with it. I'm off to get as mature as a 12 year old. You guys handle the heavy decision making, OK? Grin.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 21:30:15 GMT

Arc Welding in "Traditional" and modern smithing: In first class traditional work including architectural work there is no place for arc welding. However, smiths turning out the finest of architectural work will use plenty of arc welding in building jigs and fixtures. As well as a full machine shop if they have it.

Arc welding is THE most efficient method of attaching one piece of steel to another.

Oxy-fuel is THE most efficient method to cut heavy steel and plate.

An Ironworker is THE most efficient method of cutting bar and angle as well as punching holes.

A power hack saw or band saw is the most efficient method of cutting bar in quantity where a clean precise cut is required.

A Power Hammer will let one smith working alone produce the work of 5 or 10 skilled smiths as well as letting the smith do work much heavier than working alone.

ALL of these tools can be and ARE used by the smiths producing the finest traditional work. They have no choice because it is required to be competitive. ALL these tools can be used to produce a piece of work without taking away from the quality OR the traditionalness of the work.

Yes, you can sub out your arc welding. But the first time you need to build a bench or piece of tooling it will pay for itself AND the lessons needed to learn to use it.

While in Flagstaff last year we saw a loom/stand made by Francis Whitaker for a Native American weaver. It had his touch mark on it. It was 100% arc welded. It COULD have been joined, fitted and riveted. But there was no point in it. The twentieth century god of traditionalizm who stirred up the biggest controversy in ABANA (prior to the current one) when he stated in an article in the Anvil's Ring that "real blacksmiths use forge welding" also knew when and how to drag out the arc welder.

Besides the machines above, a Lathe can be used to produce tennons faster and better than forging in many cases, a Shaper can be used to produce perfectly fitting lap joints (as well as dies for hand or power hammer).

If there is ANY insistance on doing things the "old" way using "old" tools then throw away all your HSS drill bits, all of your machine cut files and all of those bonded abrasives including every belt and grinding wheel (except those hand crank natural stones). Replace those files with hand cut that you make (unless you happen to know a custom file maker).

The problem arises when short cuts are taken at the cost of quality work. In our machine shop I forbid welds to be cleaned up by grinding. There are exceptions in certain finished work but generaly not. If the weld doesn't LOOK right it probably isn't right. It should be ground out and rewelded.

There is a metal sculptor that builds wonderful pieces from scrap yard junk. The shapes are built up from old brake drums, welding vylinders and industrial junk. The work has a wonderful classic symetry to it that would look right setting next to an Ancient Greek vase. The fellow has a wounderful sense of style and proportion. The welds are all absolutely perfect MIG welds. There is no grinding on them.

There are many that copy his work. An artist could tell at first sight that the copiests do not have the same sense of style. But anyone else should be able to see how poorly the welding compares.

There are many blacksmiths that use arc welding in their work. I have done much myself. Most is poorly done and is just plain bad work. If welds are going to be cleaned up they should be cleaned up so that you cannot detect that there was a weld. Then you shouldn't be able to detect that a grinder was taken to the work. It is very common to see a reduction in section or missing corners where the weld was. In forge welding you upset the area to be joined so there is no reduction in section. In arc welding you have to NOT have undercuts or burn off corners. The cleanup often requires more than just an angle grinder. Die grinders and air chisles are often needed. THEN the surfaces and edges need to be filed. In the end, a first class piece of electric welded ironwork may have more work in it than a traditional forge welded piece.

Before using arc welding in a piece consider if you want it to be the class of work that your welds show. Are you good enough that the welds won't detract from the work? Does the design make good use of the welding? Can you afford to dress the welds to where even another smith can't tell where you welded it?

The problem many smiths have with those that use arc welding is not the fact of the technique but of the poor quality work in general. This ends up reflecting on everyone in the craft. The good news is that as our craft grows there is more and more quality work and the impact of the bad is diluted.

Any tool can be used to produce bad work. Learn to use them
all well.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 21:33:46 GMT

Steve. have you considered to write a article on the "shortcuts" you have picked up during your welding career.
I for one would love to see them:-).
and if you could post 10-20 pages of instructions and how to see and corect problems arch welding *I* would certainly be very happy.
I have knowlege and experience with welding but try to tap every source I can on everything metalworking bone dry before i let them go;-)(just look in the past archives here and on the other place:-) ).
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 22:05:22 GMT

Steve R: With shortcuts I mean things like how to adjust for different electrodes and what one could expect to differ between how 316L welds compared to say 7018 (yes “I” know, enough to get myself in trouble anyway)
In other words share ALL your knowledge on welding to us non welding-gurus Please ;-)? Hmm on the other hand that would perhaps be easier if you where asked specific Questions. Somehow I suspect Guru won’t have room for your full knowledge/experience bank on his poor overloaded server(s).
ooh well, guess I have to hang around on the web and wait for things to ask you.
thankyou for sharing your knowledge and that goes for ALL you answering questions (Guru, Grandpa, Pawpaw, Bruce Wallace, Atli, Bill Epps, Cracked , Frank Turley, Tony...
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 06/15/01 22:42:44 GMT

Well stated Guru!

Thanks OErjan. The difference between 316L and 7018... night and day (wicked little smile).

I must confess, I preach metal preparation due to the fact that I am a Certified Welding Inspector. Doesn't mean diddley when I'm creating something in the forge. (grin)
On the other hand, I still expect only one thing from my students...PERFECTION! Bigger grin.

Like the Guru said, "Any tool can be used to produce bad work. Learn to use them all well".
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Friday, 06/15/01 23:23:53 GMT

For an upcoming rose-making demonstration (audience is three beautiful, intelligent young ladies!), I would like to give some background on blacksmithing through
the ages. Before I give out the information, I want to be absolutely sure I have it down right. Help me out here,

Vises were a Renaissance invention. Prior to that, they may have used large tongs with one leg bolted to a
table or various methods of wedging. Anything else?

Charcoal was the main fuel until the Industrial Revolution and other factors made lumber scarce. Coal had been
used to some degree since the Middle Ages. European cast iron came about in the fifteenth century. The
Chinese were using coal B.C. and producing cast iron. Charcoal used to be called coal, but gained the "char"
to differentiate it from mineral coal.

The "standard" London Pattern was developed around the 1840s. What was the standard (assuming there was
one) prior to that? When did Mouse Hole begin making anvils? Peter Wright? Fisher?

When did the cutting torch become practical?

It seems to me like there are four ways to make something out of metal: forging (under which I'm including
rolling, stamping, and any other method of forming metal by the use of pressure), casting, milling, and arc
welding/cutting torch. Right?

Were old hammers (from fall of Rome to Renaissance) straight wrought iron, or did they have steel faces, or did
it depend on where you were? What about anvils?

I may come up with more later, but that's all I can think of right now.

Thanks, guys!
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMISBAD> - Saturday, 06/16/01 03:24:51 GMT

Another question - Cast iron is iron crystals interspersed with graphite. Are the crystals high-carbon steel or pure iron?
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMISBAD> - Saturday, 06/16/01 03:31:56 GMT

Guru, EXTREMELY well stated! TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 04:19:58 GMT

Cast Iron: Stormcrow, Cast iron was available from the beginning of the iron age. If you can smelt Iron, you can make cast iron. The trick is NOT making cast iron.

If some reference says the 15th century its because that particular researcher coudn't find the evidence. The problem is that cast is TOO easy to recycle due to its brittleness.

There never was a "standard" London pattern anvil. Only the one we percieved to be standard in the twentieth century and the "experts" had already broken that into the London and American pattern. English anvils both cast and forged tended to have a heavier waist than the "American" pattern. This general shape was being developed as early as the 14th century in Europe, by the 1600's anvils with and without horns were common. In the 1700's the horn started to become standard on English anvils. However many were still made without as the "bickern" was still much in favor. The little anvil drawing I use in Jim Wilson's Revolutionary Blacksmith is a typical English anvil of the type made at Mousehole in the mid 1700's and had developed there over prior centuries. Every generation of so the horn grew larger and the waist thinner. Modern farriers anvils are the extreame development of this trend. The last anvils made at Mousehole and exported by the millions were roughly the same shape a those that copied the design, Fisher, Hay-Budden. . . and others including the imported Swedish anvils. This is probably the most "standardized" period of anvil maufacture in England and America. However, European makers continued to make the double horned styles favored there. The evolution of anvil styles continue today.

The history of "steel" is constantly being rewritten. The common histories were all wrong and we are finding that steel was available as was cast iron, from the beginning. It just wasn't very well understood and it wasn't written about. Hammers from the Mastermyer find in Sweden ca. 1,000 AD had steel faces. Steel would continue to be very expensive and applied to cutting edges and faces of tools up until the mid 1700's and in some places such as the American frontier until the 1800's.

Anyway. . you are getting too technical for the casual observer. They are going to end up asking you those questions that you never have the right answer for at the time. Do you ever get burnt? Why do you heat the metal? What makes your fire so hot? How hot IS it? What's that grey stuff? Why do you do this?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 05:58:10 GMT

As Sean Connery said in one of the Highlander movies, "If you REALLY want to impress the laidies. . . " Use one of Paw-Paw's hot iron pickup lines!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 06:02:05 GMT

Linus Pauling said, " There was no iron age".
If you cant make steel you might as well stick with bronze which has better properties, takes less fuel, forges more easily and doesn't rust.
Shortly after St Francis wrote his forge-welding-is-the-only-worthy-welding article, i went to a Rocky Mtn Smiths conference where He taught. I saw a big old arc welder tucked back under a workbench in His shop.
when I wrote my " Its all right now" article ( allright to use oxy-acet cause the welding supplier said it was obsolete) and chided St Francis for the arc welder; I was asked not to come back to the conference the next year and a visit to bless my shop with his presence was canceled.
Now,I find,"cheating" is a little more fun, in a perverse sort of way.
Pete F - Saturday, 06/16/01 07:39:56 GMT

Guru, I just want to second TC. Extremely well stated about "traditional" and "modern". If you´re into museum replicas things often get even more complicated though. Someone dare to explain what "authentic" means?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 06/16/01 11:05:24 GMT


Which one should I give him? "A piece of steel is just like a woman..."? (grin)


Doesn't surprise me after seeing the loom at Flagstaff.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 12:19:45 GMT

Replicas: Olle, This gets thorny for many smiths. A fellow I know was making 18th century lighting fixtures for an antique dealer. They were beautifully forge welded and forged all over. Then the dealer asked if the smith would rust them. His customers wanted rusted ironware. . . Later the dealer brought some wrought iron bar and wanted the pieces made from wrought. He said something about the mild steel didn't "rust right". THAT was when my friend stopped making the chandeliers. He told the dealer that reproductions were one thing and forgeries were another! At the time there was great demand for Colonial American ironwork. The difference in price between a reproduction and an original was ten to one or more. A good wrought iron copy rusted nicely would be indistinguishable from an original short of very expensive laboratory testing.

Making replicas for museums is also a questionable practice unless every piece is carefully marked as such. Museums are like any other place. They sometimes get sold, close or sell excess items. Without clear identification there is not telling where a "replica" will turn up. I've been surprised at how often museums (public and private) sell items to private collectors. I have several old pieces that belong in a museum or public collection. But I am not ready to give them to a museum and have them turn around and sell to a private collector or dealer. But this is another problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 13:30:05 GMT

I ran across a Hammerin picture in one very old "Anvil's Ring" that was taken at the blessed Saint's smithy. As Pete states there *is* a little red welding machine tucked under a bench. I couldn't help but laugh. I'd just finished rereading his arguement about *REAL BLACKSMITHS*.

I'm in hope that he was only trying to keep the old ways alive and not let them die out. Deep down inside(of his wallet) he had to pay the bills.

Oh well, you do what you gotta do!
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/16/01 13:41:15 GMT


I'd love to have a scanned copy of that picture! I can think of some folks that need to see it. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 14:41:47 GMT

i have a not for sale steam hammer i need to know value of. it is approx. 3k to 4k lb. w.p.,18 ft. high, double arch working monster. it was last used in 1985 and is in great shape. total wt. is approx 30k lbs. the hammer will be donated to a museum and we need to establish value for matching grant purposes.
Jay Hurley  <tgle103193 at aol.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 16:58:24 GMT

i have a not for sale steam hammer i need to know value of. it is approx. 3k to 4k lb. w.p.,18 ft. high, double arch working monster. it was last used in 1985 and is in great shape. total wt. is approx 30k lbs. the hammer will be donated to a museum and we need to establish value for matching grant purposes.
Jay Hurley  <tgle103193 at aol.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 17:12:29 GMT

Replicas: We throw modern coins in the postholes for our replica houses, we do the flint-knapping on tarpaulins to collect the shards, but it doesn´t always help. There is today a silver bracelet in a museum that I KNOW was lost by a viking re-enactor shortly before the site was investigated...
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 06/16/01 17:21:51 GMT

Paw Paw,
Been a while, but I'll start digging. As a favor to me, please continue to request this picture. Keeps me active.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/16/01 17:45:43 GMT


Will try to remember, thanks for making the effort.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 19:23:50 GMT

Wasn't the point that Whitaker was making in his letter to Anvilring that if arc welding was used to imitate a traditional joint it was dishonest. i.e. a mig welded butt joint made to look like a mortice and tenon joint would be
deceptive work. Leaving the bead to show would not be offensive but grinding it off and filing a grove around the joint would be.
So, the two points I thought Whitaker was making were:
1. To call yourself a blacksmith, one of the skills you should have is that you can forge weld.
2. Traditional joints should not be faked.

My mig welder is way up there on my list of favorite tools. I can do alot of neat things with it but I'm not even close to being a welder. I think I would feel the same way about being a blacksmith if I couldn't forge weld or wasn't making an effort to aquire the skill along the way to becoming one. On the other hand, I know good working artistic blacksmiths who cannot afford to take the time to fuss around with coal and forge weld. These are guys who make their livings at it. They have gotten to a place I would like to approach one day. And then there are blacksmiths who have never shod a horse........

I would want to give up my mig welder about as much as Peter Ross would like to have one in the colonial Williamsburg shop. But the nostalgia and respect I have for the pre-arc era is at least as deep as the inconvenience of it. Can you imagine Will Dunagen throwing a buzz box in the back of his wagon. (read the book)

Just a short quote: "Forge welding is the noblest and oldest method of joining peices of iron. Today autogenous and electric welding have surpassed forge welding, for finacial and practical reasons, but they must be done properly to achieve the same effect".

Have a nice weekend,

L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 06/16/01 19:54:37 GMT

Steam Hammer: Jay, Sad to say but at least in North America a scrap dealer is who you go to for a price on many of these machines. Even then, they look at how much trouble it is to move and dig out the anvil.

For a 3,000 pound ram weight machine the anvil will weigh between 24,000 and 30,000 pounds in one huge block (8-10x machine capacity). The frame may equal this so at a minimum you are talking about 25 tons. That is two flat bed trailers at full capacity.

Now. . . a machinery dealer would pay scrap (~$5,000) or less depending on how old it is, add his moving costs of ~$6,000 then ask ten times that. But even though he may ask over $100k for it, in the end he may take cost plus storage or something around $20k or less.

Often the seller is looking at significant moving costs just to scrap a machine like this (which is happening every day) and may even pay the scrap dealer to haul it away. If the machine (no matter the condition) is old enough to be a museum piece then this is even more so.

Currently folks think that the bigger the machine the higher the price. But that is not true in today's market. The market for used forging equipment today is in small hammers and HUGE hammers. Per pound, small hammers under 1,000 sell for more the smaller they get. Little Giants (toys) in the range of 25 pounds to 250 pounds all sell for about the same price. The most valuable used hammers on the market are the Nazel self contained hammers. A ~90 pound hammer will sell for the same or more than a ~200 and both sell for more than the ~300 3B. The Nazels bigger than 3B's sell for scrap or less. Again, Dealers will be asking big bucks for these hammers hoping to get lucky. There is still an industrial demand for machines of many tons of ram weight. But hammers between 1,000 and 10,000 pounds are a size that are too big for most small shops and not big enough for industry.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 20:08:47 GMT


Do you know of a source for used blacksmith equipment particullarly gas forges and power hammers?

Thank you,
Woody burwell
Woody Burwell  <sburwell at bkbank.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 21:00:33 GMT

I like my crow with a little Carolina Pride barbaque sauce. Paw Paw I found the picture of the "Saint" next to the welding machine.With a deep red embarrassed face I read the article again to find out where it was taken. It was NOT at Whitaker's shop, but it *was* at Yellin's shop. Francis had gone back to Yellin's. According to the article the workshop was "...devoted to the Yellin tradition...". The workshop was sponsored by Harvey Yellin who allowed the use of the shop. The work shop was led by Francis who had left Yellin in 1923 to go work for Schramm.

Oh well, I was wrong, but Yellin's got a welding machine? Who'd a thought it? Great Big Sly Grin!

"the Anvil's Ring" Summer 1983 Volume 11 Number 2 Photos and text by Jack Andrews

Photo in question on page 17.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Saturday, 06/16/01 21:12:24 GMT

USED EQUIP: Woody, Bruce Wallace of Wallace Metal Works buys sells and trades all sorts. How BIG a power hammer? Need more than ONE? ;)

Your next best bet is to join your local ABANA chapter and go to meets.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 22:21:58 GMT

Yellin's Shop: He also had several Nazel hammers, lathes and I'm sure an ironworker or two. You will find that the shops that do the finest handwork are also the best equiped to do general metal work. This was before the snobery of the "purist" and traditionalists. Yellin was in business. He didn't take any shortcuts but he also had the best of tools at the time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 22:36:01 GMT

Larry, I joined ABANA after that particular controversy, so I've never read the article. So I can't respond to that part of your message.

Now I *AM* pretty familiar with Will Dunagen! (grin) No, he wouldn't have thrown a buzz box in the back of his wagon, because they hadn't been invented yet. Nor did they have any way to power one if they had been.


As time goes on, we'll see that Will is a "progressive" blacksmith. And another blacksmith who has appeared (but not as a blacksmith) will be even more progressive than Will.


if he HAD been able to throw a buzz box in the back of his wagon and find a way to power it, he would have. (BIG grin).


No need for crow, you just corrected an honest mistake. I didn't join ABANA for several years after that article, and will be letting my membership lapse when it's time for renewal.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 22:36:27 GMT


I know that Yellin had a lathe. I pulled a trailer loaded with it from near the Campbell Folk School to the Dixie Classic Fair Grounds here in Winston-Salem! For a while, I wasn't sure whether the trailer or the truck was going to get to the bottom of Black Mountain first! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 06/16/01 22:39:33 GMT

Steve and Tony - learning welding - I got started when I inherited my grandfather's oxy-ac set. My father - retired machine shop/welding teacher - commented that that was for the best. So I never questioned it, and I'm learning torch welding first. Then the esteemed father says stick is next, so it will be. Besides, that's what all the farmers who need the kind of welding that I need use. Soon I'll be buying a buzz box, I guess. All others come after that, and I may never bother if my suspicions are correct that the torch and the stick machine will do all I need. I did get to try a mig machine a couple years ago in Guatemala, of all places. ;) The journeyman welder got tired of me hovering over his shoulder watching, so he let me play for a while. And pointed out that thin-wall tubing is not the ideal material for a newbie to practice on.

Um...question...yeah, I'm supposed to ask a question...why would I buy an AC/DC machine, as opposed to pure AC for $100+ less? I don't mind spending the extra if there's a reasonable chance I'll find a use for it. So what's the advantage of DC? Penetration? Economy? Useful in awkward positions? That's just throwing out possibilities that have crossed my mind. Oh - what I mostly imagine doing is "farm stuff" - tractor implements, trailers, benches and brackets...

Great forum. Thanks guys - gurus. :)

SteveA  <alfords at hiwaay.net> - Sunday, 06/17/01 02:36:07 GMT

Greetings. I've held an interest in blacksmithing for many years and am considering opening up my very own forge. Could anyone help me with beginners info, like techniques, tools, equipment, etc. ? First and foremost, a forge would be nice! Thanks, and hopefully this isn't too much of a bother.
Mark Komar  <mkomar at ameritech.net> - Sunday, 06/17/01 05:40:48 GMT

Dear Guru,
Thank you for your response. I was gone for a few days and did not have the chance to get on the net again. I would love it if you could send me some catalogs or copies of some, it would be of a great help. I am a bit pushed for time. I will be coming to the states on the 24th of July and should have this all prepared by then. I would of course pay for the post and catalogs, or perhaps you would want them returned? I would also be very interesting working on a dictionary of terms from the different languages.
I was short on time before, so I do not believe I mentioned it, but I am American and have been living in Germany for the past four years. My knowledge of the language is not at all perfect, but I get around. I am teaching copper work and smithing in a private school (Waldorf), even though I am very much a beginner myself in the trades. I go back and forth between the English and German names confusing even myself. I have a small English- German dictionary on Metal Design written by Ronald B. Wiles, are you familiar with it? is ok, but I do not feel very practical. I would love to join you and anyone else who would like to put something together. But as you have mentioned Guru, it is difficult. the Swedish name for mandrel translated is "the priest's prick" you just have to know your history for some of these things!
Thank you again sir, I will leave my address and hope to hear from you soon
Virgilio Benoit
70190 Stuttgart
Virgilio Benoit  <Virgilio_Benoit at web.de> - Sunday, 06/17/01 07:37:52 GMT

To OErjan,
I would also like to thank you for the book title, I will try and find it in the Library. I know another Swedish smith who might be introested in joining in as well.
Virgilio Benoit  <Virgilio_Benoit at web.de> - Sunday, 06/17/01 07:50:14 GMT

Steve A,
To keep it simple and not get into a lot of technical stuff I'll try to stay with what you asked for.
The DC (Direct Current) welding machine is more versatile than the AC(Alternating Current) welding machine.

By versatile I mean that a large variety of electrodes and equipment can be used such as,
1- E-7018 Ac or Dc
2- E-6011 Ac or Dc
3- E-6010 Dc only electrode positive
4- E-6012 Dc electrode negative
These are only a very few of the many different types of electrodes that can be used with Direct current.

With AC you will be limited to electrodes such as E-6011, E-6013(sheet metal 1/8" thick or less) and a couple of others.

AC does not penetrate the metal being welded as deeply as the DC.

These are only a few comparisons. Another reason for DC over AC is that you can add Tig welding (DC electrode negative). Later you could add a high frequency box and be able to weld aluminum. The DC machine is "upscalable" or however it's spelled...youll be able to upgrade.

If you'll do a little more comparative shopping you may find that you can purchase a machine that has both AC and DC.

Most manufacturers have small home shop AC/DC machines. One thing you may want to consider is the way these machines control the amperage. I am NOT trying to sell you a Miller brand machine. I am telling you of personal experience. Miller does have a machine that has a crank handle that allows fine amperage adjustment. The machines that have the dial that clicks from one setting to the next or the welding cable is plugged into the amperage that you want are NOT as adjustable as the crank type such as the Miller Thunderbolt. Again, Lincoln, Esab and all the other manufacturers may have a comparable machines.
If I were to by another small machine I would look for a AC/DC with fine adjustment. It may cost $100 more, but it will become a $100 well spent when you begin to use it.

Please do me a personal favor, never weld a trailor with 6013. I know, I know, there are 10hundredbazillion 6013 welded trailors on the roads. 6013 is a sheet metal rod that is used because it will easily fill a gap. I can tell all sorts of stories, but suffice it to say that because I am a welding inspector, I've seen what this rod can do. Maybe I should say "cannot" do. It's an excellent rod if used for what it is made for.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Sunday, 06/17/01 12:41:26 GMT

Paw Paw,
But would you have found it in that old trunk of beautiful tools in your attic?
Larry (oh yeah............grin)
L.Sundstrom - Sunday, 06/17/01 13:03:19 GMT


If he'd had one, probably not. It would have been a "utility" tool, not hand made like the hammers, and without the personal history of the anvil. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 06/17/01 13:51:36 GMT

Dear Guru,
I must correct myself on a comment I made about the sweedish translation for mandrel. It is actually the Danish translation and dates back to the Viking days. These old vikings had a way of piercing thier enemies from the back side with a stake and standing them up. So anyway, I appologies for my mistake and hope I did not offend any of our Sweedish Smiths. I am still young in the trade and confuse my stories a bit.
Gotto go, the wifes on my tail about beeing on the net.
Virgilio Benoit  <Virgilio_Benoit at web.de> - Sunday, 06/17/01 15:07:59 GMT

Louis Kahn the architect said “Every edge and every connection provides a place for ornamentation”. Welding is a means of connecting. Welding, no matter if it is forge, gas, electric, or any other method provides for limited ornamentation. It is, in my opinion, either invisible, or obtrusive and uninteresting.
If the connection is to be invisible, then why not use one piece? If making from one piece is impractical, then how can I change the design to provide for a visible, interesting, and ornamental connection. A lot of labor is spent on connections. I would rather have that labor visible to my customers and audience, than to spend more labor (as Guru said) removing all traces of my work.
As far as economics goes, many processes that were very un-economical for me 30 years ago, I can now do with speed and accuracy. In all cases they are less expensive than arc welding, grinding, buffing, filing and re-coloring.. I have jigs and fixtures to thank for the increase in productivity. (Yes I use my arc welder, to produce some of them. Those jigs and fixture aint pretty they are practical.)
My philosophy on arc welding is “it is the very last choice for a connection”. If I have to arc weld, there is either a flaw in my design or a lack of skill on my part. So Its back to the drawing board and looking at ironwork or practice and perfect.
By the way, I don’t call those smiths like Pete Ross, Samuel Yellin and the smiths in his shop, or Francis Whitaker traditionalist, old timey, unprogessive, or purist; I call them damn good smiths.
JohnC  <careatti at croxx.net> - Sunday, 06/17/01 15:17:10 GMT

"Purist": John, I did not intend to put those great smiths in this catagory. But there is a large group of folks that insist on doing many things the "old" way then don't consider the fact that they are using modern abrasives, HSS and other alloy steels that would have seemd "magic" to smiths a little over a century ago. Throughout history blacksmiths have tended to be very progressive in their use of tools. There is a big difference between using modern methods to be more efficient and using methods that reduce the quality of ones work.

There are folks that don't understand that if they are going to be serios about their work and make a living of it that they will need to invest in every possible modern advantage just to compete OR produce a product that the customer can afford.

The big problem in the forge welding vs. non-forge welding issue is that in most cases the customer will not have a clue as to the difference. This upsets the smiths that forge weld their work and compete in world where everything from cheap imported ironwork to the competitor next door is doing a "lower quality" job. This issue has heated up greatly with the new components that are available for the fabricator to assemble. In Europe they call it the "component disease". In the North America the fabricators are generaly the ones getting the jobs and having a profitable business.

What this means is that the archetectural smith in North America is competing with factory made parts that can be assembled by much lower skilled labor in much less time. No, the quality of the work IS NOT the same but the majority of customers do not care. In most cases all the customer sees is the silhouette of the work. They do not see the fine details or the methods of assembly. Not only do they not SEE it they do not care. They want a beautiful (in their eyes) railing the does the job for the least money. And this narrow view often includes the rich who could afford better.

Its a sticky issue and it will probably never be resolved. If nothing else it will just get worse.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/17/01 16:05:42 GMT

The *best* weld is *no* weld!

This has been a war cry of designers/architects/engineers/etc. for ages.

But, when you gotta have one, you gotta have one.

I've stated on many posts that I don't agree with Mr. Francis Whitaker on many thoughts. I still admire the man. I wish I could reach the skill level that he used every day.

Hopefully, one day the students that I have taught will use hand sized welding machines that use ultrasonic sound waves or lasers or any technology that will make the job faster, easier and cheaper to produce.

If I were to make a forge weld every time I needed to join two pieces of metal it would be unprofitable.

Knowing how to forge weld does open areas that are unaccessable. I can't possibly arc weld a damascus billet.
It all has it's place.

As far as I'm concerned Ross, Yellin and Whitaker are the reason that I got involved with blacksmithing. Thank the Good LORD that they kept the fire alive! Let's hope that enough new smiths keep feeding the fire.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Sunday, 06/17/01 16:42:52 GMT

Novice mig welder.
When I am welding 3mm strip to 12mm sq bar I am using 0.08 wire with the amperage set accordingly,but i find the weld to Thick for decorative work.
Could I dropp down to 0.06 wire to obtain a neater less obvious weld ,if so would I also need to reduce amperage .
Any advice appreciated.
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Sunday, 06/17/01 16:58:52 GMT

Seeing the interesting exchanges on arc-welding going on, I've gotten up the courage to ask a question of the pro arc-welders out there: what is your opinion of 7014 rod? I almost never see it mentioned in "best all-around rods for beginners" discussions. I use it for almost everything I need to arc weld, mostly tools and jigs for working with sheet metal. I use an old AC Lincoln buzzbox, and the 7014 flows on just fine, make pretty beads, flux pops off like a banana peel, etc. The welds seem very strong, too: I regularly use it for welding shanks to little stakes that get pounded on for hours, and I've never had a weld crack. Is there something not-nice about this type of rod I don't know? Any rod that can make a bonehead welder like me look good even part of the time, must have something going for it!

Eric T
Eric Thing  <desert_bufo at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 06/17/01 17:01:10 GMT

7014 Electrode,
Eric, as you already know the 7014 will operate on AC. It also welds on DC either positive or negative. The 70 indicates 70,000 pounds of tensile strength (minimum). This means that it will stretch further than a 60xx electrode weld before breaking. The 1 says it's an all position welding rod. Flat, horizontal, vertical or overhead. As I said at the beginning it welds using AC/DC. Great rod. A lot of the construction companies in this area use it because of the ease of welding large iron.

I don't have anything against AC welding. Fact is,AC welding may be used on really thick materials to counteract arc blow. Arc blow is the magnetic pull generated by direct current. Direct current is current that travels in one direction. You can see direct current in use by using an iron/steel nail wrapped in insulated electrical wire. Attach each bare end of the wire to a flashlight/torch battery. The nail becomes magnetized. The same thing happens to the steel that is being welded using Direct Current. This pulls the arc to one side. You get arc wander or arc blow.

Mark, you can go to the smaller diameter wire. When you do,make a weld using the same settings as the larger diameter. That should make the weld hotter and you'll get a flatter weld. Maybe someone other than me can explain this. I explained this in a much longer post the last time you asked. Hopefully someone else can help. You might also want to try moving a little faster. Don't stay in one place so long.
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Sunday, 06/17/01 19:01:55 GMT

Pro welder? Gee...
I only want to be a Pro blacksmith!
I'll ask *YOU* questions next time!
Steve Rutterbush  <Hammerdown Forge> - Sunday, 06/17/01 19:04:48 GMT

how do you go about turning a tight colonial scroll?

will - Sunday, 06/17/01 19:30:53 GMT

Thanks for the explanation,I didnt see the first post.
I am making mainly decorative items where a discreet weld is desirable and have been wondering how other people seem to be able to get flatter more discreet welds,thanks for clearing this up for me.Where strengh is a factor would dropping to the lower diameter wire be a problem.
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Sunday, 06/17/01 19:59:17 GMT

I am looking for info on a Heller Power Hacksaw....any suggestions?
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Sunday, 06/17/01 21:58:07 GMT

Mark, wire size will not affect the strength of the weld. If the smaller wire is the same number (such as ER70S-X) as the larger wire the only change that you should see is the amount of weld that is put down.

You may also consider hiding the weld. Holes can be drilled and filled where two pieces contact.

Hope this helps.
Steve Rutterbush  <Dad's Forge> - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:15:17 GMT

7014: I like this rod too - it makes pretty beads and gives good welds but 6011 is usually recommended as an all purpose rod because 1. it has better penetration 2. It's a fast freeze rod that works better than 7014 for out of position welds.

On multi pass welds, my instructor recommended doing the first passes with 6011 and then finishing with 7014 to give a pretty bead.

adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:46:01 GMT

Tight Scroll: Will, Are you talking about the scroll or its end? The end starts with a long smooth taper that is paper thin on the end. Then you start a tight curl at the edge of the anvil pushing towards you and upward with a brushing stoke of the hammer. This brushing stroke will roll the long taper into an end that looks like a half penny snub end.

As to the rest of the scroll we have several iForge tutorials on laying out and making scrolls. Many smiths that have a good eye for the line of the scroll just do them off handed. It helps to sit down and draw the scroll you want over and over. If you can't draw it or visualize it well enough to draw it then use one of the methods on the iForge page to lay out the scroll and then make a jig to fit the layout.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:57:24 GMT

i am a 15 yr auto machinist that has been doing industrial jobshop machining for the last 3yrs.my question is about heat treating aluminum cylinder head castings.my brother(a 18yr welder and fabricator)welds some of the heads that come into my part time race engine shop.the manufactures say their cast aluminum heads are 356 aluminum treated to a T-6 heat treat.i have done heat treating on A-2 tool steel at work so I have a little knowledge on heat treating.what i need to know is what to do on these castings to bring them back to the T-6 temper thanks ron at RPMS
ron silvey  <rwsrgs at hotmail.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 00:39:33 GMT

i am looking for a plan for a tilt bed trailer online.
if you could point me in the right direction it would be
appreciated. thankyou.
mike  <gsmikecoll at aol.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 04:38:29 GMT

Guru and all,
You're right! Grill-type charcoal bricks just don't quite cut it. We're not again in search of something that will burn hotter. We're using a new forge... not quite sure what the thing is, but it's the same setup as our plow disk forge, only significantly deeper and with a bigger hole (which we're using to mean more air.. and covering with a nice sturdy grate). We are in Middle Tennessee.. the franklin/columbia area, and are in DESPERATE need of coal. We've tried finding information on other blacksmiths in TN.. but just can't seem to find anything.. any leads would be VERY much appreciated!
Asgard Act Smiths  <viracnis at aol.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 04:52:54 GMT


If you haven't found anything by the middle of september, contact me. I'll be at the Museum of Appalacha in October and can bring you a little bit.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 12:44:13 GMT

Aluminum cylinder heads

Ron Silvey, If the aluminum "356" is the A356.0 that I have reference to, a 4145 aluminum filler wire is recommended for sustained high temperature use. This is an area that you can compromise in by using other filler wire to attain different requirements.

The T6 designation indicates solution heat treated and artificially aged.

Solution heat treating is similar to annealing. This procedure is to heat the casting to 940/970 degrees F (504/521 Celcius) hold at this temperature then quench in cold water. This helps to distribute the alloys evenly.

Aging T-6, bring the casting up to 320/360 degrees F and hold for 6 to 12 hours. When aged it has better strength and hardness.

Hope this helps.
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Monday, 06/18/01 13:16:19 GMT

Aluminium Cylinder Heads: Steve, Thanks for looking that up. I was too tired last night. . .

Ron, There are some more practical problems. At those temperatures the part will likely sag or warp. Heat treatment of aluminium castings must be done before all the machining. Normally this is done as part of the casting process immediately after cutting off the sprues and gates.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 13:41:51 GMT

This past week end I got a small round forge at a sale. The forge is about 24" across the center and about 2" deep. I was told that is was a horse shoers forge. anyway makes no differance to me what it was , I will now use it to take to hammer ins. I can put it in the back of my truck and away I go. What I wanted to know is do I need to clay it? I looked all over the forge, it does not clay before useing. I have seen these small forges being use and they have not been claied. So what do you think.
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Monday, 06/18/01 13:50:09 GMT

You're in kind of a blank spot on the map as far as smiths I know of goes. In Memphis, there's the National Ornamental Metal Museum with its own blacksmith guild, but that's a fur piece west. In Soddy-Daisy (if you're not from TN don't laugh, they shoot...)there's a guild, but that's a good ways east of you. Ditto the Knoxville area guild. There's some solo smiths around, but I don't know any of them. Call Tennessee Tech and ask them about the smithing program at the Center for Appalachian Crafts, that's an hour away from you. If all else fails, three hours stright up I-65 will take you to Louisville, KY where you can get Cumberland-Elkhorn smithing coal at $120 a ton. It's very nastily smokey and dirty compared to Virginia coal, but it does work. If I had any to spare I go to Franklin about once a month, but I don't have any to spare. If you want directions to C-E in Louisville email me.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 06/18/01 14:01:45 GMT

I just looked up the Appalachian Area Chapter formerly of ABANA and found loads of contacts for you guys, including one in Columbia. So let your mouse do the walking to www.abana-chapter.com and look it up yourself.

Jim Glines:
I have one of those and have used it for years without claying it, no problem.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 06/18/01 14:22:04 GMT

I am installing a railing that I built and a few of the pieces have exposed screws for attatchment. My problem is that my screws need to match the fire blackened forgings and twists without compromising their strength. Is there a chemical that will reproduce (or approximate) the oxide that forms on the metal or is heat treatment my only option. If I must heat treat will the screws be as strong if I reharden them? What temper?
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 14:57:02 GMT


Are just the heads exposed, or are you talking about a machine screw/bolt combination?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 15:16:15 GMT

Screws: Jovan, What type screw or bolt? It is a heat treated or high stength fastner? Many are not heat treated. Common wood screws may be work hardened but old ones were made from soft mild steel screw machine stock?

Are you working to a code spec? If so then any treatment other than paint would be be considered compromising the fastner since the codes include the finish.

Rehardening would also require retempering. Again, you need to know the fastener type and grade. I have several fastener standards manuals but there are tens of thousands of fasteners and hundreds of grades.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 16:02:54 GMT

who has a good plan for a semi closed forge (it has to be ouside under a shelter) I have a whole lot of fire proof building briks an pire proof pavement stone's .
can annybody sent me a good plan
Johannes  <johannes at mine.be> - Monday, 06/18/01 16:16:09 GMT

The screws I am using are standard galvanized wood screws (#14). I used muriatic acid to strip the Zinc and fire to blacken. Just the heads are exposed so paint should match close enough, I just didn't want to find out later that there was an easy solution that I wasn't aware of.
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 17:15:23 GMT


Vinegar is cheaper than Muriatic. It will work, although it will take longer.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 17:21:07 GMT

Guru; may I respectfully state that making cast iron with a small bloomery furnace is not a common occurance, (in the last decade of experimentation we have not done it even once even in the firebrick/electric blower furnace version.

Also cast iron is not an easy material to re-cycle in a bloomery furnace as you have to oxidize it to get it to a usuable state and bloomery furnaces are designed to be *reducing*. It is also not easily converted in the forge requiring time and a lot of charcoal to "convert" Thin plates are the easiest to work with and that is not a likely output from a bloomery either.

Did it happen; I'd bet a 187# Hay-Buddin in great shape on it! Was it common? IF it was I'd sell the ironmaster as a galley slave for wasting ore, fuel and time!

We're finding out that a lot of different things went on ferrously during the early iron age; but that a lot of these seem to be very limited in scope. Diffusion of information was very bad---I expect that had 2 baud modems and a very dirty line...

One of the nice things about iron smelting is that it tends to leave "rubble heaps of evidence" laying about that can be analyzed and give us some info on what went on. Sometimes we are surprised at what turns up sometimes we are surprised at what doesn't.

When you get to the tall tower furnaces and water powered blowers you are in a whole nother time&temp range and see very different results.

Thomas perhaps I'll try an experiment at the MOB hammerin next month. get some CI plates and leave them in a propane forge running *lean* for several hours and see if I can convert them to steel or iron. (got some from a bathtub that I was using for hardfacing and some PW experiments)
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 06/18/01 18:23:30 GMT

I am thinking about getting gas forge,am a sculptor with good welding background,need a forge to bent the different type of metal,what about Nc wisper baby product
Jeesun  <Uqbar at worldnet.att.net> - Monday, 06/18/01 22:44:40 GMT

Cast Iron: Although it was not popular in the West the Eastern cultures used cast iron from very early times. The furnace size necessary to make CI is only a little over 5 feet, although later taller furnaces were more efficient. Ancient Greek vase paintings show furnaces this tall and slightly taller. I'm afraid I don't have one really GOOD reference in this respect however I've seen cast iron melted in relatively short furnaces (albiet using foundry coke). The many (Eurocentric) references that that state that primitive furnaces didn't get hot enough are just plain wrong. Steel can be melted (or set on fire) in a small forge. Temperatures greater than needed to smelt and cast iron. Yes, it is difficult to recycle cast iron into wrought but cast is still recylable into more cast.
Cast iron was first used in China around 600 B.C. Some evidence exists that suggests the first casting was a 600 pound tripod, whose use is unknown. Useful castings began to appear around 235 B.C. as records exist that cast iron plowshares were used in 233 B.C. by the Han Dynasty
Walton, Charles. (1971). Gray and Ductile Iron Castings Handbook, Cleveland, Ohio: The Gray and Ductile Iron Founders' Society Inc.

The Chinese produced cast iron as early as the 6th century BC, and it was produced sporadically in Europe by the 14th century. It was introduced into England about 1500; . . .

Broadly speaking, Europeans were devoted to the bloomery process until late in the Middle Ages, while the Chinese followed the opposite path, producing high-quality iron castings from the Chou Dynasty onward. . . . the Europeans made steel from their low-carbon wrought iron and seem not to have used cast iron at all. (There is some evidence the Romans made small amounts of cast iron by accident and discarded it as a "waste product.")
Medieval Science and Technology Index

Marco Polo has mentioned that iron and Ondanique was sold in the markets of Kerman in Iran. The word Ondanique has been interpreted as a corruption of the Persian word Hundwaniy which meant 'Indian Steel'.

Even earlier, during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, Ferrum Indium appears in the list of dutiable articles. There also exists an ancient Greek chemical treatise entitled "On the Tempering of Indian Steel". Edrisi has noted that "The Hindus excel in the manufacture of iron. They have also workshops wherein are forged the most famous sabres in the world. It is impossible to find anything to surpass the edge that you get from Indian Steel".

In ancient times, in India, Loha-churna meant iron ore; Kupya-shala and Sandhaani meant an iron foundry'. A furnace was called Chuli or Agnikund. Wrought iron was called Lohabandhan, iron bars were called Loha-pindaha. Smelting of iron was called Loha-drava-Karan (literally, liquefaction of Iron). Loha-chinha meant an iron mould and Lohakaraka meant a smith or ironmonger.
Ancient India's Contribution to Production Technology and Mechanical Engineering, Hindubooks.org

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 00:12:25 GMT

NC-TOOL Forge: Jeesun, The Whisper Baby is very efficient but it is also very small. If you are going to be doing small work it is fine. For generaly purpose bending an oxy-fuel torch is better. Using oxy-propane and a few fire bricks you can bend anything from pencil sized pieces to heavy bar and pipe of infinite length.

Forges are better for the repeated soaking heats necessary for forging. Gas and Oil forges are limited by thier enclosure and door size. Open coal or charcoal forges are not limited like the enclosed forges but do require relatively large fires for heavy bending. Both oil and solid fuel forges require a stack or chimney. Gas forges can be used simply with adequate ventilation.

For more details about gas forges see the on-line catalogs of Kayne and Son, and Wallace Metal works. We also have reviews of the NC-TOOL Whisper Baby and Momma forges on our 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 00:26:24 GMT

Could someone tell me what old window counter weights are made of. I'm just scrounging for forgable scrap and I have come across some. It looks like cast, but I was hoping it's not.
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 01:21:46 GMT

Thank you guru! I've visited all the sites you've recomended,also red "Getting started",I still think I need a forge in addition to oxy-acetylene torch to form the sheet metals to...I'll continue to do self study/research.Do you know any blacksmith group around the Cleveland Ohio?
Jeesun  <Uqbar at worldnet.att.net> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 02:02:07 GMT


Sorry, they're cast iron.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 02:15:05 GMT

Or at least I'll the ones I've seen have been.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 02:15:32 GMT

Paw, Like pa would say "If it looks to good to be true...." Thanks for the reply.
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 04:03:20 GMT


I've got a pile of them too. Don't know what I'll ever use them for. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 04:06:48 GMT

Sculpture: Jeesun, Check out the two articles on our Armoury page. Erik Thing has a really wonderful custom sheet metal working forge. No, don't ask him about how its made. Too much libility. But there are fairly decent photos.

Check our ABANA-Chapter.com website. The Western Reserve Artist Blacksmith Assoc www.wraba.com may be your best bet but Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil is one of the most active in the area.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 04:28:38 GMT

This one is for Grandpa Daryl Meier:

Mr. Meier,
Have you written or do you plan on writing a book detailing your techniques for making pattern-welded steel? I have heard several times that you are the best at it, and have even seen some of your work. Outstanding! Just wondering.
chris bernard  <cbernard53 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 10:53:30 GMT

Hello Guru!!! This is going to be a hard question. Do you know where I can find a service manual or schematics for an old Dimetrics Centaur '75' tube welder. I would like to convert it to a hand TIg welder but need the schematics to do so. Thank you.
bret  <banderson at swagelok.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 11:37:14 GMT

I don't want to be a Cybersmith. I hate computers. By looking at your home page I can't even find out the directions on how to join. When it comes to reserch I'm a complete idiot. (In fact when it comes to lots of things....)

I can click on favorites and I get right to the Anvilfire page. One more click and I'm here. Now my question:
Where do I send my check to join Cybersmiths? It's probably so simple the answer will really make me feel stupid. I love this site and want to contribute to your work.....I'm just not to sure about the rest of it. Can't even find the application form. I hate computers. Would Will Dunagen be sitting on the wagon seat on his way to Valley Forge with a lap top on his leg? (Yeah, I know...
Regressively yours,

L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 06/19/01 11:49:17 GMT

Dear sir,Im contacting you in regards to making forged leaves and flowers.Im considering trying to make my own dies to use in conjunction with a power hammer to form the leaves.Do you have any suggestions in these processes and making dies.
Thanks Brett.
Brett White  <katarina at satlink.com.au> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 12:06:39 GMT

Jeesun & Guru, WRABA is a VERY active group also. Actually all the groups in Ohio that I know of are very active, WRABA, NOB, MOB, SOFA. WRABA has monthly meetings & we demo at Century Village in Burton, OH at all their shows during the spring, summer & fall, so we get together at least twice a month then. SOFA is just the best known because of Quad State.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 12:46:07 GMT

Chris: I co-authored one chapter of Donna Meilach's book " Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork" back in the 70's. I would like to write a book on pattern-welded steel, but find it hard to find the time to get started. Toooo many projects !!!
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 12:56:59 GMT

Bret, try this. http://www.liburdi.com/
Maybe (?) they can help.

Are you going to use the power source and get rid of the orbital head?
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 14:30:05 GMT


(chuckle) Well, If he had HAD one...... (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 14:49:08 GMT

Cyber Smiths: Larry, You hate computers but SOMEONE has been posting in your name here an awful lot! :)

At the bottom of this page click on "anvilfire MEMBERS Group", From that page click on "mail order form". Our mailing address is at the bottom of all our order forms. We take cash, checks, gold, silver. . . even Visa and MC.

Folks we can use all the help we can get. Maintaining the vast (and growing) amount of information and graphics on anvilfire requires expensive server space. We passed the point of no-return (space wise) a long time ago.

Yeah, I'm regressive too about things like upgrading software. . . I LIKED PC-DOS (and still use it on my old machine) and TRY to keep anvilfire at least 2-3 browser versions behind the rest of the world so you guys don't have to constantly upgrade. Currently I refuse to link sites that crash my 4.0 browsers. . . . I also still like the Professional BASIC programming environment that Microsoft no longer supports. . . One of the best ever program development platforms (that I had years invested in). But the world moves on and us "throw back" blacksmiths must move with it sometimes. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 15:16:25 GMT

Wow, I go play in the mud for 3 days and it takes me 2 hours to catch up!

On forge vs. arc welding, I still lean toward using arc welding because I’m better at it, and being impatient, find it faster. But I do still like to be reminded by John C that I should consider the forge weld and even lack of weld alternatives. I need to be reminded of that. My thinking is that to be the best, one should be able to do it all and then select from the abilities to suit the job. I certainly appreciate the forge weld and lack of weld approach. I just don’t often have the talent yet or the patience. In my opinion, the customer is the final arbiter. What the customer wants is what the customer should get. No more, no less. Quality and longevity being a given of course. Those that ask for, build, or make junk are part of the problem, not the solution. If a smith is in the position that he can make what, and as, he wants... and has customers to buy it, all the better.

Excellent set of comments on that topic this time by the way. Should be saved and regurgitated when it comes up again. Grin.

Steve R. “those that can... teach” No nobler or more important profession than teaching in my opinion. My hat is always off to good teachers. Bad teachers.... well.... we always need targets. They can do more harm than many influences.

Stormcrow, I’m no metallurgist and maybe Grandpa Meier would give a much better answer, but cast iron is not pure iron and carbon. The iron has varying levels of iron carbides, FeC. Silicon reduces the iron carbides. There are generally other alloying elements also. Like guru said, it may be a rare audience that wants that detail.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 15:37:42 GMT

Leaf and Flower Dies: Brett, For short production runs most blacksmiths use clamp-on dies that fit over their existing dies. This only works with flat or combination dies with a full flat on one half. On combination dies the impression should be over the flat side. For high production the dies should replace the existing dies and fit the dovetails (or other attachment) of the machine.

Low production dies that do not have fine detail can be made of mild steel (or better). High production dies or dies with fine detail need to be made of a tool steel such as S7, H13, 4160.

In the blacksmith shop dies are commonly "hot sunk" using a master part. The die(s) are then hand dressed with files and die grinders. The other options are to cut the impressions using machine tools OR the modern way using EDM (from a master part).

It is VERY common for dies to perform one or more bending or preform steps before the finishing die.

Unless you have a fairly big hammer (250 - 500# [100-225Kg)]) or you are making very small leaves (1" - 25mm) you will be disappointed in the results. Forging dies will almost never produce the crisp edges and surfaces of hand (or open die) forging.

It is good to have a preliminary step such as bending or a slight upset prior to putting work into cavity dies. The preliminary step will knock off all the heavy scale. More scale quickly developes but the part will be much cleaner going into the die. Scale is hard and can wear dies rapidly. If you use clamp-on dies you want to be sure scale doesn't collect between the fixed and clamp-on die. It is also a good idea to brush the scale out of the die between every part.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 15:38:20 GMT

That ain't the way I heard it sonny, the way I heard it, one feller says to the other feller "Those that can do, those that can't do teach,while those that can't teach teach teachers"
Tim - Tuesday, 06/19/01 19:53:28 GMT

check's in the mail....US Mail....hand written check.... overland....on the ground....my last post forever.
Larry, last seen muttering (danggone bunch of progressive/regressive reactionary troublemakers)
L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 06/19/01 20:16:58 GMT

Tim, read it again.

Those that can...Teach. My Version.
Steve Rutterbush  <Blue Ridge Forge> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 20:18:27 GMT

Sirs, I am looking for blacksmiths in my area (Salem,OR) that I may go to to learn more or appremtice with. The gentalman that I started with has passed away and I only worked with him for about 2 years. I am wanting to learn more about the art of smithing. Thank you for any contacts you may provide.
Micheal C.  <snakehandler25 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 20:41:05 GMT

Oregon: Micheal, Try the

Nortwest Blacksmiths Association www.blacksmith.org

There are others in the WA OR area. Check ABANA-Chapter.com
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 06/19/01 20:51:37 GMT

I am wanting to try the rr spike ax demoed by mr. Epps on iforge and I have a few questions about it. whe does he show the bumping up process being done with the spike parrallel to the anvil face? wouldn't it be easier to upset with the spike perpendicular to the anvil and beating on either end of the spike? also, he mentions the importance of the splitting punch, but I don't know what it is. could I use a regular punch? [round, that is] my htanks for your help on this. sure do love iforge.
mike morgan  <lmorgan906 at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 00:21:39 GMT

i've been smithing now for about 2 yrs, and i've yet to been able to find how to forge a cross from a single piece of stock. i figure it has to do with certain cuts made before it go's to the coals.
thanks for your time.. Mick
Mick Cain  <bufflospit at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 00:35:35 GMT

Cross: Mick, There are two cross demos on the iForge page. Note that the amount of overlap of the cuts determines the size of the opening.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 01:06:24 GMT

Hi Guru,,,et.al.
Could you'all give me some pointers on an appropriate foundation for a power hammer. (50 lb Bradley, total weight around 2200 lbs). I'm assuming concrete is best, but how thick. How much rebar? Should the hammer foundation be separate from the shop foundation? If separate, should it be floating free, or tied the the shop foundation with rebar? The bottom of the hammer casting is not perfectly flat, should I use something (wood?) between it and the foundation?
As usual, and input is apreciated. You guys are the greatest.
karma-kanic  <cimport at swbell.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 01:27:09 GMT

Cross: Mick, iForge #56 gives the details you need as drawings. iForge #79 photos 1-7 show how to make the cross with photos. Different ways to get a simular cross. Use the method that best fits your style.
G. Conner - Wednesday, 06/20/01 02:36:02 GMT

Upsetting: Mike, When upsetting small pieces it works better to hold the part and upset toward you. It is a skill that takes practice. Upsetting an unsupported bar verticaly ends up bending the bar and with a poor upset. On heavier bars you can strike the anvil (or upsetting block) with the end to be upset. Both methods work and work best. They are the result of trial and error over centuries.

A slitting punch is a punch with a chisel end with rounded corners. It opens the metal smoothly. There are details in one of the punching demos.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 02:52:33 GMT

I have a question, but you'll need to hear this rather lengthy story to help you fully understand how important this is to me first. Thanks.

There once was 16 year old boy who took great interest in metalworking and forging. He signed up for a metalworking class at his high school for next year, and decided to build a small blacksmith shop. His father was rather strict, so he had to improvise all the material.

For a anvil he used a heavy steel plate which he found dumped in the woods, and set it on top of a tree stump. For a forge, he dug a pit and lined it with stones. He had no access to coal, and his father would never let him use propane, so he was forced to use *WOOD* as fuel for his forge. The wood barely got the iron red hot, no matter how long the piece stayed in the fire, or how big the fire was. It was almost like cold forging; very difficult to do because the iron had to be hit very, very hard. So hard that it made his arms sore every night after he had finished forging. He had to use a ball peen hammer because he didn't have a cross peen or hand sledge.

This made things all the more difficult. He had no fire tongs, and his father wouldn't get him any, so he had to use a pair of rather short channel locks. He frequently got burned when he tried to work on smaller irons. To quench irons, he dug a muddy hole in the ground next to his forge and filled it with water from the hose. This shop was certainly was improvised, and worked to some degree.

Soon after completing the shop, the boy began to forge a sword. He finished it in about a week. Although kind of crude and messy, and not forged as good as it could have been, it was a sword. Well, you know, the sun came out that day when his father saw the sword. He was so impressed with his sons passion for iron working, and his adequate skill, that he bought his son 30 concrete blocks for a forge, a small #55 anvil, a pair of fire tongs, and a hand sledge.

His son brought to his attention the importance of a hotter burning fire. His father still denied him propane, but had a friend who had several tons of coal that he had used is an old stove to heat his home.

So the boys father had the coal brought to their house and the forge now seemed ready. Using a fireplace grate and a grill grid to raise the coal off the ground , the boy attempted to light the forge. Not to his suprize, the coal wouldn't light! He knew why that was too--the coal was anthracite!!! He tried charcoal and charcoal starting fluid... it just wouldn't light!!! The forge had many air vents at the bottom and was relatively large. It was elevated so that air could flow under the coal. The coal didn't light!!!!!!!! He was so close to his dream, and this crushed it. For a time. He didn't want to wait until he moved out of his parents house until he could forge. That was years! He had no other source of fuel. No propane, no bituminous coal. Only that blasted anthracite... If he could as God one question, it would be---


So anyone who knows, please tell me!!! PLEASE!!!

Thank you so much. I'd really appreciate it!
Robert  <Robert29b at aol.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 02:59:46 GMT

Hammer Foundation: Karma-kanic, a rectangle a little bigger than the hammer by 3" to 4" on a side and the depth equal to the width. Yeah, A big chunk of concrete. The base should be on compacted earth. The foundation should be isolated from the surrounding floor. Line the hole with fiber board or multiple layers of roofing felt before pouring the concrete. Anchor bolts are often set with pipe surrounding them to allow defelection in the event they do not line up with the hammer. 1/2" Rebar set on 6" centers should do it. There also needs to be a cushion between the hammer and the concrete. Conveyor belting or plywood is used. You can also fit a layer of 2x4 lumber to raise the hammer if you wish.

If you have expansion plans put in a much larger foundation so you can install a bigger hammer later.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 03:57:42 GMT

Anthrcite: Robert, the best way is with some bituminous coal. . . Anthracite requires a forced air blast to burn OR a very deep fire. Like bituminous it can be started with a small wood fire and a forced draft. Where it was burned in grates there had to be a tall stack that created a strong draft and it still required a hot fire to start it.

Anthracite and coke are similar in that they require a continous forced blast and a deep fire bed to work well.

A deep wood fire with forced air will also reach forging temperature. If the wood is converted to charcoal first then in the forge it will reach welding temperature or melt steel.

The answer is, with a little wind.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 04:20:28 GMT

Back from San Francisco, but presently in Arizona...

The latest Camp Fenby Schedule is posted at:


Click on the "back" link at the bottom of the page for more details, directions, etc. As always, it is subject to change. I'll be back from the Southwest late Friday night.

Muddling on in 105 degree heat.

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <On the Road> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 04:54:38 GMT

ken tucker - Wednesday, 06/20/01 06:42:31 GMT

Hi all, And thank you all for all the help you have given me. I now have a side draft all welded and setting on my forge right next to the fire pot I have my 12" smoke stack with the 14"pipe on top, for my low loss cap. My side draft has a somke shelf. Now can somone tell me where to put a spark trap. I understand That I can put a spark trap close to the fire, and won't effect your draft that much. What is this and where would it go? Would I take some exspaned metal, and set that in front of the door going into the smoke chamber?
Thanks again for all the help and ideas!!!!!!!!
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 15:01:47 GMT

Robert, the guru said it, but here it is again: You need a forced air draft through that coal! An old hair dryer might work. Or an old car heater fan. You'll be amazed at the difference in heat you get. Good Luck! I like inspiring stories like that.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 15:06:22 GMT

Forgot to say, Robert, do you have any books on smithing? Alexander Weygers' "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" is great for low-tech solutions to smithing problems. It's not very expensive ($20 or $30, I think) and will help you a great deal. "Edge of the Anvil" by Jack Andrews is good too.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 15:09:54 GMT

Spark Trap: Jim, since you are not using a commercial device I'd suggest an 1/8" mess stainless screen with relatively fine wire. McMaster-Carr sells a variety and in small quantities.

I'd put it at the throat of the smoke shelf. It could be put at the intake but flame is occasionaly sucked in that far and there is a possibility of burning up the screen. Yeah, I know. . . You already have it built :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 15:42:55 GMT

Michael C,
re Smiths in the Oregon area.
Give me an email. ralphd at jps.net
I am just west of Portland, but I will gladly try to help you either with smithing or finding someone closer to you.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 16:05:07 GMT

It may be more than they want to know, but it would be nice to know in case they do ask. Not to mention *I* want to know!

Of the questions in the list that haven't gotten a response, the one that I really want to know is the dates on the anvils. The man (Joshua Kavett) who now owns the Fisher company gave me information in Fishers, but I would like to know when Mouse Hole and Peter Wright started their respective companies.

Tony - Thanks, that's what I suspected about cast iron. The iron is able to combine with only so much carbon, right? Introduce more carbon than they can combine with and it goes from being steel to being one of the cast varieties.
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMSTINKS> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 19:04:46 GMT

Oh yeah, there was a list posted of famous people who were blacksmiths or at least had blacksmith training. Included was Henry Ford and the Wright brothers. Could anyone post the list again, or tell me where to look in the archives? Much appreciated.
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMSTINKS> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 19:07:19 GMT

I scavenged a pile of worn out air tool bits. The steel chart at 21st Smith says that these might be S7. What would be a handy way to test this?

Also got some jackhammer bits - what is a good use for S5 steel?
adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 20:01:14 GMT

guru thanks,I can pull the pipe off and put the wire right at the beging of the stack. Thanks I am getting close, I can almost smell the smoke.
Jim R. Glines  <jglines at kdsi.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 20:13:26 GMT

Greetings Gentlemen;
This is not a post, It's a question:
George Dixon calls for using 16 gauge naval bronze and describes it as having good hot forging and cold chasing properties. Only problem with it is that it doesn't seem to exist. I called my local scrap dealers, the warehouse at the fabricators I deal with, and two metal dealers in Richmond. Closest thing they had was some HIGH dollar 1/4"
diamond cut plate that had to be imported from one of those Pacific Rim countries called California. My efforts once again insured me of a place on the far left side of the research curve.
I have absolute confidence in the fact that if Geoge Dixon said he was using naval bronze, that is what it was. He probably found it at the Yellin shop and it had probably been there since WWI.
What is naval bronze?
Where does it live?
P.S. Which just goes to prove why even if you are not totally lazy and to attempt to root out the answer to a question yourself....you still need ANVILFIRE. Keep this site alive....Join Cyber Smiths.

Can you recommend a suitable substitude and a possible sorce of poundable sheet bronze.

L.Sundstrom  <lsundstrom at augustamed.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 20:32:53 GMT

On Mousehole I am not sure but here is one link to anvil info

As to PW...
Perter Wright started out working at Mousehole, but left and started his own anvil forge around 1848-1850. Made anvils til about 1914 or so.

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 20:54:51 GMT

Stormcrow, you're welcome! I kind of figured some of it was your most excellent curiosity. grin. Yes, only so much carbon will combine with Fe. Alloying does affect how much though. Then the excess carbon is a mechanical admixture in the iron with the excess carbon in flake form in gray iron and chunk form in malleable or nodular. Nodular iron has tighter graphite balls than malleable and is stronger because the balls create less of a stress concentration. The flakes are a stress concentration and thus gray iron is more brittle and breaks easier. Flake graphite in gray iron is better at vibration damping than nodular or malleable. The extra carbon in cast iron makes it flow easier at lower temps and thus it is better/easier for castings than steel.

Then we could talk about nodule size and count in ductile iron. For a recent ductile iron casting, I wanted very small graphite nodules because I was going to hard chrome plate the cast iron after finishing it to 7 Ra microinches. A small nodule count means the graphite nodules are larger and when it gets plated, the graphite dissolves and leaves a pit which makes the plated finish rough since electroplating gives buildup on edges. On another ductile casting I wanted big nodules so they would hold lubricant. Lots of technology out there. Only a little of which I know. But I'm still learning! Grin!

As the new PBS commercials say.... Stay Curious!

I especially like the one where the girl gets up early to fool the rooster into crowing by shining a spot light in the chicken coop window. Kills me every time I see it.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 21:26:12 GMT

Mousehole Forge: Stormcrow, They were making anvils there so long ago that nobody is sure. There were many proprietors over the years and its only the most recent that are known well. The most complete history is in Anvils in America. If you want to know the dozens of recorded markings and how the the style changed you will need a copy which we will gladly sell you AND have it personaly inscribed by the author. :)

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 22:42:32 GMT

OBTW: Richard Postman's next book is largely the history of Mousehole Forge.

Did you know that this most common English anvil in the US is very rare in England? Yep. The were all exported.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 22:44:04 GMT

Naval Brass: Larry this is most often mistakenly called Bronze, it is a brass. Also the nearly the same as Muntz metal C28000

Alloy 464 or C464000 to 467000
Cu 60
Sn 0.8
Zn 39.2

Forgeability 90 compared to Forging brass alloy #377 at 100. This is similar the Cartidge brass. We have catridge brass C26000 in our on-line store in almost any size and thickness you want.

Cu 70%
Zn 30%

The trick is that MOST of this stuff is delivered as-rolled in a hard temper. If you anneal it then it works like butter. Try forging some large brazing rod at a low red heat. . it says BUTTER!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 23:06:08 GMT

thanks, that really clears it up. one guy kept saying naval brass and I kept correcting him. "No, I said BRONZE"
I also heard the word "Muntz" and I said "No, I want bronze". So, want should I ask for if I don't want the typical brass look, but want the look and color of what I am thinking "bronze" statues have. Would the C26000 you have in the store work. Maybe its a question of finishing rather then of materials. I've seen silver colored brass so maybe I have a mistaken concept of brass, origin...DRILL SARGENTS(grrrrrrrrrrrrin).
L.Sundstrom  <lsundstrom at augustamed.com> - Wednesday, 06/20/01 23:53:31 GMT


Add John Deere and McCormick to the list. Woodrow Wilson's grandfather.
At some point in time, President Dwight David Eisenhower's family were Iron Carvers, (Eisen = Iron and Hower = Hewer or carver) Same kind of work that Ward Grossman does.


Be careful! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 06/21/01 01:16:23 GMT

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