WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from June 9 - 17, 2004 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I don't recall when I saw it, maybe it was when I was helping Noah build the ark. Maybe PawPaw can refresh my memory on that, but I recall a method for drawing scrolls that was elegantly simple. One would start with a central object the diameter of the inner turn of the scroll, and wrap a looooong piece of string with a pencil,soapstone or whatever around and around it until the pencil arrived at the central area. Then trace around the center object. Every wrap of the string reduces the space between the scroll by one circumference. Try it, it's fun. (Try to keep the wraps of the string from overlapping.)
   3dogs - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:05:22 EDT

fore sure
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:10:57 EDT

Bill Ellis; go to Google.com, and type in "mining equipment" or "ore processing equipment".
   3dogs - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:11:53 EDT

i have a 10,000 word assignment to do and a few examples would go a long way.
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:12:34 EDT


Not to be flip or anything, but if this assignment is due in a couple of weeks, our folks here can tell you where to go to UNDERSTAND the subject and probably provide a few good examples for you too; if it's due in a couple of days, our folks can also tell you where to go, but it won't be as nice. We do not do somebody's thesis or term paper for them. We're happy to provide information, and engage in dialog and debate, but this IS NOT a “paper mill.”

I’ll let those who know more of the subject decide on a further response; I’m just suggesting that you take a good look at this, and related, sites and consider how best to use these resources.

For instance, if I go to a history website and ask: “Name three kings of the 11th century Anglo-Danish dynasty. Did the queen really have two names?” I might receive an answer, but would I understand the society, politics and (believe it or not) technology that enabled the dynasty to exist? If I ask for sources for this information, however, then I have a lot more material to fill up 10,000 words, and I might even learn something.

Hot, hazy and humid on the banks of the Potomac. Ronald Regan has come back to a typical Washington summer day.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby; a laid-back medieval arts and crafts weekend, June 25, 26 and 27. For those with access to yahoo groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CampFenby/ (in draft)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:44:58 EDT

Reagan; not Regan! (I hope they don't fire me!)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 06/09/04 08:52:02 EDT

how is the grain structure affected when annealing.
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 09:03:01 EDT

Its due in today.
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 09:21:55 EDT

I should probably let you get the grade you deserve by leaving it to the last minute, but I did that too and I'm a sucker... here's a link with some metallurgical into made simple.

   AwP - Wednesday, 06/09/04 09:43:51 EDT

Ella, Captian Atli was being quite polite seeing as he is the captian of a Viking raiding ship and head of a government office. So I will say it again:


That said, I will point you to some references. Nope, you won't be able to cut and paste from them. . but then that is cheating isn't it?

The ASM Metals Handbook covering Forging. Mine is volume 5 of the eighth edition. The volume number and grouping varies depending on the Edition. Mine is Forging and Casting". I have earlier editions that are just Forging. There are rudimentary articles on heat treating for forge shops.

Annealing varies as a process and results depending on the base metal and alloy. To answer your question as phrased would take a book or two. I have several books that cover heat treating. The ASM Heat Treater's Guide, Standard Practices and Procedures for Steel covers all standard steel alloys and includes charts and graphs for each. A more general reference is the ASM Metals Reference Book, American Society for Metals International. This has a general article on heat treating a good glossary and various data on ferrous and non-ferrous metals alike. It is THE handiest reference for this type of inforamtion.

ASM also has other heat treating and metalurgy references and any good engineering school library has most of them.

THEN, My favorite is MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. It has some of the most time proven articles of any reference and covers heat treating quite well. Note however that forging articles have been removed in recent editions. See our bookshelf page for reviews of the current edition (27th) as well as a collective review of 90 years of the handbook.

ALL these references are listed in our Heat Treating FAQ which probably doesn't answer you questions in as technical a manner as you need. There are also links to other metals resources. THEN there is our bibliography for our sword making article which covers many of the same references but has brief descriptions of them all.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:16:11 EDT

So if i quench hardend steel the grains would freeze in larger structures.
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:26:31 EDT

10,000 words due today. . . boy that is going to be a lot of cut and paste without proper footnotes and bibliography.

You have two chances, 1) get to the library and FLY. . Lets see. . at 100 WPM (lightening fast typing) that is 100 hours of typing alone. At least two weeks with edits doing nothing else. 2) go to your instructor and pray for forgiveness and a late submission. Even pulling an all nighter you are not going to pull this one out of the hat.

Answer to the above question is NO. The steel would no longer be hard if it were heated to the point of needing to be quenched. You heat and quench to harden which IF done correectly creates a fine crystal structure. To anneal you heat and cool slowly. Grain size should still be small. You need to slow down and comprehend what you read. Skimming will not do.

We all appreciate your predicament but it is YOUR predicament. I have my own late projects. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:36:43 EDT

Note: The above answer does not apply to stailness steels.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:38:51 EDT

i allready have 9600 words i need to finish within the next 5 hours. thenx for ur help, take it easy.
   Elia - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:46:49 EDT

Folks, my opinion is that unless a typo really changes the meaning of something---it doesn't need a seperarte post to apologize or correct it. As smiths we are *used* to looking at something and seeing what it is *supposed* to be and how to get it there. We can hammer mere words to suit---besides which I need the humour...(and on a slow dial-up at home every little bit counts!

Elia, how the phase changes of the iron/carbon systems and the solid solutioning of carbon getting trapped in the lattice causing it to rack and therefore resist deformation is one of the elegant examples of how a beneficial deity looks out for us. You really need to read up on it and understand what's going on.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/09/04 10:50:32 EDT


...well, at least I could spell his name right; I had eight years to get used to it. (Along with Nixon, Ford, Carter...) I’m used to having mine misspelled (not to mention the four family variants) so I need to get it right out of respect.

I'm only six levels down the hierarchy: It's sort of like being Caesar’s stable boy: you get to see Caesar ride by in his chariot, but you're the one who gets to shovel out the stable.

Well, somebody's got to do it, and I'm good with a shovel.

   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 06/09/04 11:10:18 EDT

Hi all.I have a question for you guys.To make some extra money I'm planing on making little lighthouses to sell localy.The question is what kind of metal would be best for this?Lead melts well but is poisenus.Thanks for all your help!this is such a great place to ask questions.John S.
   John S - Wednesday, 06/09/04 13:45:50 EDT

John S is "little" 2' or 2" from the lead comment I'd guess the latter and so direct you towards lead free pewter. It's a low temp melting metal, pretty easy to work with.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/09/04 14:10:44 EDT

thanks for the help thomas
   - John S - Wednesday, 06/09/04 14:29:41 EDT

Thomas P-- Listen-- we're writing for the ages here. Gotta get it right 'cause it's posterity! If Sebastian Chippinghammer wants to post a correction and thus save some Ph.D. candidate 100 years from now the fruitless drudgery of trying to figure out how Ian Fleming's novels became clicks, that's only being kind and thoughtful. Hey-- aren't you on a big deadline? Go bubble pack your cold chisels. And don't forget to plenty of Perrier-- New Mexico has a dilly of a drought on!
   Clinker de la Tuyere - Wednesday, 06/09/04 14:36:08 EDT

What is the general price range for hand railing per liner foot?

How much more would the same design be if it were applied to an elliptical stair?

Any input would be greatly appreciated
   - Dave - Wednesday, 06/09/04 15:30:47 EDT

CdlT there you go ruining *my* dissertation topic! Yes I'm on a deadline; but I am already in NM and so can't do any packing until I return to OH for the big push.

Perhaps we could both use the lithium in Perrier...I'm getting my water from the Polvadera Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association though and I and any vegetation I want to survive seem to like it...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/09/04 15:53:16 EDT

Cast LighthousesL Good lead free pewter in nearly pure tin and is an easy low temperature metal to cast. It turns black over time. Zinc casting alloys melt at slightly higher temperatures (pour @ 1,100°F) is harder and stronger than pewter but also turns black over time. Both need to be cleaned and lacqured. After that the next best thing is brass. This is considerably higher melting temperature but is pretty gold when polished. Casting must be in higher temperature molds like calcined plaster or sand.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 16:02:52 EDT

Railing Cost: Dave, I'll be brief, it depends on the complexity of the rail and if it is a piece of art work or not. Simply fabicated rail starts at around $100 per foot. High class forged rail with traditional joinery can be as high as $400 US per foot (in the US). $300/ft is not unusual. An art piece should start at $500/ft. When curved you should double the price. If it is a full circle as in a spiral stair you should triple the price.

This said most craftfolk underbid their jobs and regret it forever. I lost the last couple jobs I bid on due to price. However, looking back I could not figure out how I could do it for what I bid. Let the other guy starve.

Don't forget that the cost of properly finishing a piece can be from half to fully what YOUR costs are. Grit blasters and paint contractors charge that $100/hr I keep telling you guys you need to charge!
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 16:12:01 EDT

Thanks for the help guru but i still have some questions.1) were would a good place to get lead free pewter and such? 2)Could I use for the mold paster of paris?
   - John S - Wednesday, 06/09/04 17:22:22 EDT

thanks Guru, you just saved my shirt i didnot know that a curved rail was so much higher than straight rail i will work all of this into my bid.
again many thanks, Dave F
   - Dave - Wednesday, 06/09/04 17:41:05 EDT

John S,

You can get lead-free pewter from any number of online metals dealers such as Atlas Metal Sales. Read carefully the descriptions of the various alloys, as you may pick up some very valuable tips on the casting process to use.

For molds,plaster of Paris will work, IF you are careful in handling and curing the mold. Jeweler's investment is better, but more expensive. If you don't have a lot of very fine detail in your model, you can make the mold from plaster of Paris that has some fine silica sand added to it for strength and breathability. Check out the metalcasters website for some good information on casting plasters.

Then there is the issue of how many lighthouses you are planning to cast. This DOES affect your choice of casting method and mold material. Do you plan to use a multi-part breakmold, or do lost wax casting? For just a few, a break mold made from plaster of Paris with some reinforcing will work, but it will degrade with use until all the detail is lost and the mold is falling apart. For hundreds of casts, the better choice for mold material would be steel. Big front-end expense, but very long life with no loss of detail. Lost wax casting, using a silicone mold to produce the waxes and a plaster based investment is more effort, but insures very fine detail and virtually unlimited priduction runs.

   vicopper - Wednesday, 06/09/04 18:47:45 EDT

I'm afraid that I dont understand what you are talkinga bout with regards to the mold other then the plaster of paris.
   - John S - Wednesday, 06/09/04 18:52:58 EDT

¡Ai, Chihuahua! Such delicate feelings you blacksmiths have! I's only trying to be he'pful, is all. As in, don't forget to make a template for the trip hammer hold-down bolts when it's up in the air. ¡Welcome to Nuevo Mexico! Land of the flea, home of the plague! And the chicharrone burrito! And the sopapailla! Columbus is nice, but....
   Clinker de la Tuyere - Wednesday, 06/09/04 19:10:03 EDT

John S,

Molds can be either one-use items, such as those used for lost wax casting (see iForge Demo #137) or multi-use molds. The lost wax process allows for very fine detail and as many or as deep of undercuts as you want. With multi-use molds, the piece must be designed so that it has no undercuts or closed curves so that it will come back out of the mold without problems. Imagine making Jello in a brandy snifter, if you will. There is no way you can get the Jello out in one piece since the mouth of the snifter is smaller than the belly. If, on the other hand, you make the Jello in a glass that is wider at the top than the bottom, it will come right out. The same applies to casting metal. If yo have a shape that is round like an orange, you will need a mold that breaks apart into two halves at the hemisphere line. If the shape is more complex, it may take many more pieces to achieve a mold that comes back off the casting with no damage. For example, one mold I made to cast a standing horse took seven sections to get a clean release.

You should obtain and read some books on casting to fully understand the scope of what you are asking. I would recommend C.W. Ammons' books such as The Caster's Bible, Shar Choate's book Creative Casting, and Gingery's book on casting. I can't remember the title of Gingery's book, but you can find it at Lindsay Publications. I will again suggest you check out the websites on casting such as backyardmetalcasting.com.

Casting any metal, even relatively low temperature alloys like pewter, can be extremely dangerous if you don't FULLY know what you are doing. Safety equipment is a MUST, as is planning and preparation. Molten metal will strip the flesh off your bones faster than a school of hungry pirhanas, and heal a lot slower, too.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 06/09/04 19:39:22 EDT

After reviewing my finances, time budget, projects at the NPS as well as outstanding blacksmithing tasks here at the farm and at church; and my family situation, I have decided not to attend the ABANA conference.

I guess the Spring Fling and Camp Fenby will just have to do. Besides, I'm still trying to get my wif to Boston in August for the LotR exhibit (she's a big fan) and to make up for running off to the medieval congress in Kalamazoo the day after our 30th wedding anniversary.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 06/09/04 20:34:12 EDT

John, AS VIc pointed out, judging from your questions you need to study some books on the subject. Besides the C.W. Ammen book mentioned he has a whole series that are very good including "Wood Pattern Making" and "Brass Casting". They may not all be in print (like many of these references) and you may have to search for them on the used book store sites.

Metalcasting is a complicated subject. Every stage is an art. Pattern making, mold making, melting, casting and finishing all are deep subjects.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 20:42:42 EDT

ABANA Conference: Bruce I understand the expense. Even though my attendence is being subsidized this year by Big BLU Hammers (good folks), I am paying my own motel bill for a week plus transportation (a convienience). OF course it is all a business expense so that I can bring you another great edition of our NEWS. I will try hard to get some pages out directly from the conference.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/09/04 20:48:40 EDT

The difference between 7014 and 7024 is very little. Both are Low hydrogen rods designed to run on either AC or DC. Both have similar coatings as a 6012 or 6013 rod with the addition of Iron Powder. This allows a higher rate of deposition. The main difference is the 1 and 2 1 stands for all position and 2 are for flat and horizontal only.

Cool for a change in SW AZ
   - Azmiik - Wednesday, 06/09/04 23:26:28 EDT

The difference between 7014 and 7024 is very little. Both are Low hydrogen rods designed to run on either AC or DC. Both have similar coatings as a 6012 or 6013 rod with the addition of Iron Powder. This allows a higher rate of deposition. The main difference is the 1 and 2 1 stands for all position and 2 are for flat and horizontal only.

Cool for a change in SW AZ
   - Azmiik - Wednesday, 06/09/04 23:27:01 EDT

Kinzea, RE: New meachanical hammer
Is there any chance that you could post some photos of this machine and/or some measurements and further descriptions? I am gathering parts to build a "Rusty" style mechanical hammer, which is also based on a leaf-spring design. A commercial machine may provide some additional refinements. Thanks
   Don Sinclaire - Thursday, 06/10/04 00:12:51 EDT

Does any1 know what happens to the grain structure when twisting.
   Alex - Thursday, 06/10/04 07:18:48 EDT

Alex, It is twisted, right to the center of the bar (if evenly heated). The heat and heat treatiment has more effect than the twisting. However, IF directional grain exists then it follows the path it is bent or twisted to.

Where problems occur in any deformation of steel is when there is uneven heating or insufficient heating. Then is is common for shears or tears to occur in the metal. Surface heating is a common problem. Steel should not be soaked longer than necessary but it SHOULD be heated evenly throughout before forging.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/10/04 08:36:00 EDT

Book Reviews / volunteers: I am looking for someone to review a book published by Industrial Press titled "Welding Essentials". It is a fairly technical and comprehensive and deserves being looked at by a professional welder (which I am not).

All I need is the text of the review. I will take care of scans and the cover photos as well as stock details (author, publisher ISBN). I will supply the book but I need it back when the review is complete.

E-mail me if you are interested.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/10/04 09:41:40 EDT

Technical Definition / volunteers: I am looking for someone with metalurgical knowledge to write a short concise paragraph defining the Wootz type Damascus steel made in Asia and the Middle East (true Damascus). I've covered the modern laminated and pattern welded product.

The joint article may be published in a major materials reference correcting an old article. I understand that short and concise is difficult in this subject but space is limited. We will probably want to have several people vet the results to be sure we get it right. I know the current article is wrong but do not have the technical depth to argue why (or provide an accurate substitute).

I know there are a couple of you out there that are up to the task.

E-mail me if you are interested.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/10/04 10:00:22 EDT

Guru, I'd track down Verhoeven (sp) who was the tecnical side of the team with Al Pendray in re-creating the wootz process.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/10/04 10:37:31 EDT

FreddyFx, Back on Saturday you asked about hoists for a monorail system. Are you looking for a mechanical hoist (chain hoist or come along type) or an electrically powered hoist? If you are going to use a chain hoist where you provide the power your least expensive choice is to buy one of the import units from Harbor or any of the large industrial suppliers. These things work but be aware that most of them are pretty poorly finished and can fail or jam unexpectedly. NEVER get under a hoisted load! When buying a trolly for one of these hoists it pays to check how far from the beam the mounting point is. Trollys with the same capacity may differ by a few inches in the headroom they take up. It doesn't seem to be a big deal until you need that last few inches in the middle of a project. I'd suggest a visit to a good scrapyard to look at several older models to see how it should be done.

If you are going to use an electric hoist don't waste your money on anything but a real industrial unit. There are lots of good used industrial hoists available if you don't have the budget for a new one. As always headroom is an issue so try to find one with an integral trolley so you save a few inches of mounting space. I have a couple of old Shaw Box brand cable hoists with integral trolleys that came out of a GM plant. If you can it's often better to find a larger capacity hoist with a single fall than a double reeved one with a chain or cable block at the lower hook. The single fall will usually take up less of your headroom.

I know it sounds like I'm fixated on the idea of headroom with hoists but you will be surprised at how much room is actually taken up when you rig something to pick it up. You never have enough to waste any. A monorail is a great help in the shop (a bridge crane is even better) but if you are short on the budget also consider a rolling gantry which is a very flexible shop hoisting solution.
   SGensh - Thursday, 06/10/04 12:54:22 EDT

Casting books:

First a disclaimer: I have yet to do any actual casting other than bullet molds and impromptu solder sculptures, but I've been reading in preparation for a couple years...

If you're going to Lindsay for the Gingery books anyway, I'd put in an endorsement of the Chastain books. They're more $, but in my opinion are better done and have all the information, plus quite a bit more. I hope I can say that without offense. Chastain does give Gingery a lot of credit as one of his sources and advisers. I got a lot of insight out of volume one of the home metal casting handbook, and hope to order volume two soon.

   Steve A - Thursday, 06/10/04 13:15:29 EDT

As the others have said,BE CAREFUL and selective! Better to have more than needed.I myself have a center trolly hoist. On it you need to be centered correctly. If you don't need to move front to back much,you might think about putting a sheave(pulley) on the trolly with a come-a-long monted to a wall,etc... to gain head space.But always consider the weight lifted!! And proper mounting. Also the trolly will have a bind on the side that you are pulling from.Also remember that with cable lifting, the more pulleys you have the easer the load will lift,and, the more waight that can be lifted with a rated capacity.Please consider all the factors.
   - jes - Thursday, 06/10/04 14:47:26 EDT

Light Duty Hoists: I have a number of hoists in my shop and we have several more in our family shop. My aluminium 2 ton Yale is one of the best. It has about a 12" chain wheel which means it has an 8" brake. The little cheapo import hoists for the same capacity have little 3" or less brakes. So what's the difference? About 10 to one in surface area. SO. . . .

When the hoist is holding the load the brake is supporting the load by keeping the chainwheel from rotating. When you lower a load the action of the chain takes the pressure off the brake. However unless you are lowereing the load as fast as it could fall the brake is always working. . and getting HOT. And just like car brakes when they reach a certain temperature they stop working altogether. THAT is what happens with the little cheapo hoists.

NOW. . if you are at full capacity an raise the load a short distance (a few inches to a foot) and lower it the same, there generally is no problem. But if you raise the load several feet (say to put it in a truck) by the time the load is lifted the small hoist will not hold the load. The worst case of this I have seen a couple fellows were using a pair of little hoists to unload a big machine from a tall flat bed truck. They lifted the load OK. Moved the truck and started lowering the load. . . well, it started lowering itself! AND they had a situation where they needed another man to guide the load. So when either let go of the chain their end started dropping. . . . AND. . . neither could go get the truck and put it under the load. SO. . . They put the machine down half on and half off the foundation it was going on which tilted it at a scary angle.

They ended up hiring a $250/hr crane to pick the laod a reset it.

The little cheapo hoists were brand new (bought for the job) and within their "rated" capacity. Well, aparently Cheapo Inc. and Cheapo gov. have different standards than the rest of the world. If you wonder how they can make a hoist that is one fourth the size of an American hoist with chain equaly smaller. . well they can't. They just lie about the capacity. They rate them at what you can lift, not what they can hold or what is safe to lift.

I've used all manner of chain falls and hoists, chain winches and cable come-a-longs. None are as dangerous as the little cheapo chain hoists.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/10/04 14:53:53 EDT

DON SINCLAIRE Would appreciate knowing how the Rusty type power hammer works out. The one I saw on the website was very small. Are you going to upsize it?
   J Myers - Thursday, 06/10/04 16:18:00 EDT

J Myers,
I have a Rusty type hammer, although i upsized to a 32# ram. Like all junkyard hammers it has good and bad points and is a work in progress. Have had it for more than a year, and often draw 1" stock. This is about the practical limit with my present dies/ram weight/spring/anvil. I intend to build a new hammer, with a 454# anvil, and size from there. Haven't decided wether to build a leaf spring or more little giant style.
I will say this about the current hammer, it beats a 2# hand hammer completly.
   ptree - Thursday, 06/10/04 17:14:06 EDT

There is a gentleman...Nahum Herson ...Golden Pheasant Art Metal Shop who advertises on the Abana site a 6 day one on one repousse class. Has anybody had any experience with him? How can I find out a little more?


   Bud Williams (Tinker) - Thursday, 06/10/04 17:28:51 EDT

Lifting: as I've grown, (older, wiser, in circumference), I've realized that I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was younger and my back has had to foot the bill. It hasn't done more than grumble a bit so far; but it could throw a fit *anytime* now.

So this next shop has got to have a small jib crane at the front door for truck loading and unloading and a trolly system for at least part of the shop.

Now during my tooling up days I've managed to buy 3 Yale 3000# capacity chain hoists, the most expensive was $25, the one with 20' of enginered trolly rail was free

Now to get their support systems built without having them to use to build them...

For a light duty system I have seen folks use the rail and hangers from large barn doors, used with a come along they won't take a hammer but sure will move anvils in and out!

Never standing where stuff could fall (not just not underneath!), getting rid of distractions and going slow---don't put enough energy into a system that it can get out of control---and you can build a pyramid. Getting in a hurry, not clearing the area and paying attention and someone else might be having to hose you down the drain!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/10/04 18:27:35 EDT

is there something wron with the slack-tub pub?i try to redister but the page isnt there.can someone help or am i doing something wrong?
   - John S - Thursday, 06/10/04 18:39:19 EDT

Barn Door Hoists:

Please Don't even think of using barn door hardware for anything more rigorous than a tool balancer track. That track is generally just roll formed sheet metal and needs to be well supported with the proper clamps just to do a bad job as door hardware. Improperly fastened and supported it can collapse. If you look at the construction of most of the trolleys used for this door hardware you'll see that they are often just light duty wheels (even two sheet metal stampings) staked onto a rough shaft. Many of the trollys are just spot welded together. A better light duty alternative is to use one of the industrial or agricultural trolleys intended to run on T section steel. I've got a couple of these sitting on a shelf here that were $10 a piece at a scrapyard and are rated for 500 lbs. This type of trolley and some of the old barn conveyer hardware are made so they can be used with curved track sections. Don't take chances on a potentially dangerous substitute.

   SGensh - Thursday, 06/10/04 20:10:34 EDT

Guru: here is the link to the Paper on Wootz.


I concur with Thomas. Making Wootz was not part of the advanced curriculum at the Colorado School of Mines. I could add nothing to the discussion. I would be happy to review the final paper, however, if that would be of any help.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 06/10/04 20:45:42 EDT

Hello, i have a question on the forge i am building. I am using 2 T-Rex 3/4 inch burners, i am using a refractory material and a coating of ITC-100 i was wondering what the largest inside chamber size would be for me to still be able to do basic welding? please e-mail me with an answer if you can.
   John - Thursday, 06/10/04 20:52:06 EDT

Trolleys,tracks and lifting,
As Sgensh noted, door hardware usually is so light as to do a poor job of holding up a door. Light I-beam is so cheap that there is really no reason not to use the right stuff. With all the older factories closing, Real, American made hoisting gear is available cheap. Hang it right, use it right, and live well. Ever see a wire rope part with a hydraulic press hanging a few feet in the air? The rope did about as much damage as the press did when it arrived!
I will not specify or allow hoisting gear with wire rope in under 3 ton rating in my plant. For these small hoists I require chain lifts. Beware the old roller chain hoists as well.Hard to check roller chain condition. Beware the old air hoists, especially the wire rope type I-R's. Brakes almost never work, and the valves stick. Scrapped maybe a hundred, and I scrapped with a torch as these were killers. I would trust a 100 year old Yale chain hoist before a brand new cheapie, or old wire rope hoist.
For reference, at my previous employ, we had 53 acres of shops and grounds. We had hoists from 100# rating to 100 tons. We had so many that we had two full time crane mechanics. Every type from air driven, dc electric, to brand new radio control 100ton bridge cranes.
Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried, or in jail!
   ptree - Thursday, 06/10/04 20:52:21 EDT

If I fill a 3/4 copper pipe with sand would Ibe able to bend it without it collapsing.am saving for a real bender till then could use some help
   james - Thursday, 06/10/04 22:13:29 EDT

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I had already figured out that I didn't want to get a hoist from Harbor Freight. I am a big fan of theirs due to my cheap nature, but I am also realistic enough to know I don't want to use any of their equipment in a critical application.

I've been looking around on the net and found a couple of companies that sell cranes and hoists. I think what I would really like to get is a bridge crane, but I doubt my budget will handle it after the cost of building the building.

Can you guys point me to any directions for building a jib crane? That might be a place to start while I save up and search for a larger crane.
   FredlyFX - Friday, 06/11/04 02:04:19 EDT

If you bend it in a gentle arc, sure. The rule is spread your load, no sharp angles or ridges. Anneal before bending.
The problem is that the sides want to buldge out while the top and bottom flatten. If you control the side bulge, you can bend a bit tighter. If you carve the contour of the bottom half of the bend you want in a piece of wood ( or even find a rope pulley that matches the bent pipe's curves) then you can bend even tighter.
A thought...how bout taking a piece of hose or flexible plastic pipe of the right size and bending it to the right curve, plus a little for spring back, then casting an inside mold around the inside of the curve using cement or plaster? Bending into that mold ought to be just right.
Fredly; I used to be an HF sucker too untill i finally figured up the total cost of the crap i had to replace against the cost of the few good items they sent. HF is more expensive in the long run. If you count the vast waste of time involved it makes the heart sink.
There is some stuff worth getting there...IE 4 1/2" grinding wheels ( wear fast, cut fast and cheap) and the cheapy air hammers that are a lot of function for the money. Sometimes they have good prices on brand name stuff. Returns and refunds are a pain in the ass, ( or were).
One is much better off, generally speaking, buying used good quality stuff for a similar price, usually.
Let me admit that I kept swearing them off, then looking at the next catalogue ( one comes every 1/2 hour)and getting sucked in. The only way i could quit was to get the catalogues stopped. The swap meet helps with withdrawl.
   - Pete F - Friday, 06/11/04 04:09:44 EDT

If i was to temper a piece of mild steel what would happen to the grain structure.
   Savva - Friday, 06/11/04 04:41:05 EDT


the grains would expand and when u quench they will freez in that large state.
   Elia - Friday, 06/11/04 05:56:59 EDT

howabout when drawing out.
   savva - Friday, 06/11/04 06:37:33 EDT

James, About 40 years ago I saw an article in Popular Science by a guy who packed sand in thin wall steel tubing and bent it while heating with a torch. He was making adjustable desks for school classrooms.
As to the HF junk: The pneumatic stuff seems better than the electrical; a *friend* ordered me a cordless drill from HF - not worth the box it came in. I gave it away with some of those 4 1/2" grinders & a 3 wheel bandsaw. I concur with Pete F; Name brand stuff used is a better deal than new junk. Make friends with a pawn broker and you can get some bargains. My favorite pb lets me take the stuff home and use it to make sure it's good. If not it's money back or if something I can fix he makes me a deal I can't refuse.
   Ron Childers - Friday, 06/11/04 08:01:25 EDT

I remember information on the brown (rust?) finish that you often see on outdoor metal "artwork". I can't seem to locate that information for the formula to do that. Can someone point me in the right direction? Also, does this finish "hold up" or does it continue to rust and destroy the piece? Here in Albuquerque we don't have a lot of moistue, so that may help.

   Dale - Friday, 06/11/04 10:17:17 EDT

Dale, leaving it out in the desert seems to work well around here.

(Y'all must have lower grade barns than my kin folk have, the track for a 20' door 20' high that has to hold agains the wind we get does not seem to be the same stuff that's used for cheap little "storage barns"...)

Savva; first what do you mean by temper? do you mean to re-heat a hardened piece of steel to a low temperature to make it tougher? Or do you mean both the hardening *and* tempering steps in heat treat? Drawing temperatures should be low enough that grain growth is not a problem.

BTW heat treating of true mild steel is not common save for removing stresses in cold rolled before machining.

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/11/04 10:55:41 EDT

Elia, Please do not volunteer information here until you understand the processes!

When annealing you DO NOT quench. You cool as slow as possible. When done correctly the grain structure should be as fine as when hardened.

When tempering you DO NOT quench, you heat up to a certain point below the hardening point to reduce hardness. Grain structure does not change.

Drawing out and rolling create long directional structure. When done at the correct temperature it breaks up the crystal structure. This commonly occurs in rolling mill operations where the steel is rolled as it cools to a black heat in the process but is rare in forging unless breaking up gross ingotizim.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 10:59:52 EDT

Elia, Looking at our user log you are both asking and answering your own questions (you IP address is recorded). In the future I will be forced to delete such nonsense.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 11:27:32 EDT

Hi Guru,I'm interesting in rotary grindstones.But,I live in Czech republic and I'm member of group of people which are interesting in living history,specialy for late 15'th century.One of our project is reconstruction,or build new rotary grindstone from this age.I have seen some answer from you about history of grindstones.So please do you have some information,links,pictures, or other stuff obout this?
   Petr - Friday, 06/11/04 12:53:32 EDT

If indeed paint is the only real option as seems to be indicated elsewhere here, where does one find and what are some of the tradenames of the cold galvanize paint?
   Dale - Friday, 06/11/04 12:55:52 EDT

Hmmm perhaps Elia was trying to sneak around the "no homework rule" by proposing an answer and seeing if someone would "correct it"

Petr, grindstones for metal or for cereals (grain)?

Assuming metal I would commend to your attention "Cathedral Forge and Water Wheel" Gies & Geis, for the mention of the first documented use of a rotary grindstone for metal, centuries earlier than you're interested in and then direct you to "De Re Metallica" which has a lot of information on metals mining and refininfg from the early 16th century from close by your area. It is renowned for it's clear drawings of the mechanisms used in the industry.

For smaller use there is a handbook of trades from a bit later IIRC that may include a picture of a portable set up for a scissors grinder.

What are the details of what you are wanting to re-create?
Portable, permanent, water driven, treadle, intended use, etc?

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/11/04 13:29:06 EDT

Browning - There are commercial browning solutions such as are used for firearms and which give an even finish. You can also sandblast and spray with mild acid to accelerate the rusting process. The rust is then "killed" with baking soda or something similar and lightly burnished to give an even color and clear coated. In New Mexico, you may be able to just let it rust naturally.
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 06/11/04 13:54:34 EDT

Grindstones: The first thing to do is find the stone. If you are going to make one they were were of fairly course friable (soft) sandstone. The friablility is important to prevent them from clogging up. Remember that the harder the material ground, the softer the wheel.

In the US most of them came from just a couple quaries but I am sure that in less industrialized times any local sandstone would be used. . . HOWEVER, in many parts of the world materials like this were traded great distances thousands of years ago.

Small wheels had a square hole and square iron shaft with wooden wedges holding the stone in alignment. Large wheels powered by water had wooden shafts.

When using an iron shaft the shaft is square where the wheel goes and round for the bearings and tapering for a crank. bearings can be oiled hardwood. Most fruit wood makes good wood bearings.

The frame the whole set in often varied greatly as they were often individualy made. I have mine at a comfortable sitting height with a foot treadle. It has the first parts I ever forged on it (pretty bad) from before having an anvil. . . I'll see if I can clear enough junk away from it to photograph it.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 13:55:57 EDT

Cold galvanize: is made by CRC Products in both spray cans and bulk. Similar is sold at automotive paint supply houses. Be sure it is zinc powder paint NOT a zinc compound (zinc chromate). Normally over 90% of the solids are zinc powder.

Cold galvanizing needs to be applied over clean metal, then coated with a neutral primer.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 14:00:52 EDT

Hello my name is Dan im 14 and i have recently become interested in Blacksmithing. I am goin to save up my money and by an anvil and some bellows.i would like some advice on what to do. I live in Buffalo NY but am maybe goin to be moveing into the country where ill have land. Thank you and please get back to me.
   Dan - Friday, 06/11/04 15:30:52 EDT

Dan, Step one is to find other blacksmiths. The Capital District Blacksmiths Guild is located near Albany. www.cdblacksmiths.org There is also the New York Designer Blacksmiths. You can do without other smiths to help you but it is a long hard road.

These folks will be able to help you find good used equipment. Most blacksmiths association meetings are attended by folks selling used equipment and ocassionaly good deals are to be found. You do not need a perfect anvil but you also do not want a piece of cast iron junk. There will be folks that can help you avoid this mistake. They usualy have demonstrations at meetings and sometimes lessons and an "open forge" where you can use the equipment.

Note that bellows are more difficult to find than anvils. There are no new ones being manufactured. If you want wood and leather bellows you will need to built them yourself. Most smiths today use electric blowers or hand crank blowers.

Check out our getting started article and the books we recommend. We have reviews of the books linked to the article.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 15:59:28 EDT

Heat Treating Info

Guru-I must disagree with part of your comments regarding annealing. While it is true that you do not quench from the anneal, you DO get grain growth from this process. It is unavoidable due to the time and elevated temperature. Grains can be refined through additional processing such as normalizing.

Just to be nit-picky, there are times when you do quench from the temper. This has nothing to do with grain size, but rather is done to avoid temper embrittlement. Some grades are susceptable to embrittlement phenomena when held for long periods in the 700-1075F range. This is a concern when tempering steels at temperatures greater than 1100 because they spend extended periods of time in the danger zone while cooling unless they are quenched. (Note-This is only a problem on large parts as small parts will cool quickly).

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 06/11/04 16:51:16 EDT

guru, do you have a good formula for a good wax solution that I can mix up to dip small forged items in to seal. I
don't want a product that I have to wipe on as these items
have a lot of crevases that need to be sealed. All are for indoor use. I need to mix up approx 2 gallons. See you in Ky
   - ptpiddler - Friday, 06/11/04 16:51:24 EDT

Patrick, There is always an alloy (exception) for every rule. ;) But you must admit that grain growth is not in the range of what you get from an excessive soak in the forging range. And yes you do ocassionaly quench when tempering just to cool AFTER tempered but if you say it, then most folks will think it is part of the process. . . Then there are the situations where a quench would be a severe thermal shock and need to be avoided. The devil is always in the details.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 17:26:16 EDT

Repairing cast iron:

I've just obtained a small 4' folder suitable for 18g steel. Part of the cast frame is slightly damaged so I want to effect a repair. Is brazing or silver soldering the way forward?
   Bob G - Friday, 06/11/04 17:37:22 EDT

Foot Treadle Grinder - Click for detail Foot Treadle Grinder: Petr, This is my mounted grindstone. It is a little different than many. Originally it had a hand crank. When I got the axel and stone it had been used for many years with the stone setting at about a 10° angle and was worn true to that condition. I have run this one for many hours using a star wheel dresser trying to true it up. I've taken about 1" off the high points and it is usable as is but you still have to follow it like riding a horse.

Originaly it was mounted on a frame that looked like a double beam saw horse. When I re-mounted it on the shaft I cemented it on. This was not the right way but I was 16 and just wanted to make it work.

Water is supplied using a can with a hole punched in the bottom that hangs over the stone. Never setup a trough to fill with water. Standing in water softens the stone, puts it out of balance and can cause the stone to crack in freezing weather.

The bearings are oiled walnut and run quite smooth. I've spent many hours sharpening things with this grinder. Not that I've done that much grinding, it just takes HOURS. These are nothing like commercial grinding wheels.

Later commercial setups had narrower stones on a light weight tubular steel frame. There was a seat that looked like an old bicycle seat and had treadles on both sides.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 17:40:49 EDT

Grain Growth-

Grain growth is one of those things whose rate is temperature dependant. Therefore, grain growth will be more rapid at forging temps than at annealling temps than at tempering temps. However, during the forging process, the grains are broken and made smaller by deformation. Generally, annealing is not followed by further mechanical working, so grain refinement must be achieved through heat treating processes such as normalizing. In industry, certain alloying elements, such as Al are added to act as grain refiners, which means that they retard the growth rate of the grains. In our shop, we anneal things on an infrequent basis and when done, it is for machinablity. This would then be followed by a normalizing step to refine the grains, and in particular the carbides, and then the piece is quenched and tempered. The determination of whether or not to anneal, and/or normalize, is driven by the grade of steel, the post forge processings steps, and the required mechanical/impact properties. Scaling this down to the level of a knife or blacksmith shop tool, I would suggest that annealing not be done unless you cannot grind/file the grade in the normalized condition. The other thing to remeber in the home shop is that phase transformations (what you get as the products of anneal/normalize/austenitize) are time dependant. This means that you must hold a piece of steel at temp long enough for the desired transformation to take place. Otherwise you will not get the desired properties. (I hope this explanation did not lead to greater confusion on anyone's part. If so, let me know and I will try and clarify).

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 06/11/04 18:03:01 EDT

Repairing Brake or Bar Fold Bob, Brazing is usualy the strongest least damaging repair you can make on machine castings. You try to get a wetted joint but usualy end up building up an exteroior surface with brass to hold things together. The heat is still disruptive and can warp castings.

Be SURE on that capacity. The long beam of a brake has to be VERY strong to take the forces applied to it. The old 36" 20ga Pexto bar fold I had weighed about 400 pounds. . . The only thing thicker we bent with it was aluminium. Overloading these things is why they are so often broke.

When I first read "folder" I thought knife. . or did he mean forge, then read the 18ga. . . The brakes are, Brake, Box and Pan Brake, Finger Brake, Bar fold, Press brake, Kick brake.
   - guru - Friday, 06/11/04 19:17:05 EDT

Knife was the first thing I thought of when I read folder, too.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 06/11/04 20:02:39 EDT

The term `brake` isn't often used on this side of the pond unless refering to powered presses. This is a small hand operated, geared straight folder. It came with 40 anvil stakes so I felt obliged to take it!
   Bob G - Friday, 06/11/04 20:47:39 EDT

Just another metalergical question for the guru's. Anyone ever heard of Lithum aluminum? A friend of mine who works for an aircraft builder here was telling me about the stuff. sounds kinda neat.
   HavokTD - Friday, 06/11/04 20:58:49 EDT


Will the 15th Century reenactments be in various places or in one set location? Most of the rotary grinding stones that I have some across in my sources from an early to late medieval context are, as the Guru describes them above, with a square center hole. Most are small from wear, but one from a Russian context was about 30 cm (~1') in diameter. (This was broken in four pieces, so retained at least some of it's original diameter. Many were ground right down to a nubbin.)

The primary question is power: if you are depicting a stable "industrial" shop, it might be powered from a water wheel. If it's a medium size shop, it might be powered off of a hand-cranked great wheel, which would also tend to increase the speed and torque. The one shown in "Science and Technology in Medieval Society (ed. Pamela O. Long; (c) 1985 New York Academy of Science; ISBN 0-89766-277-6) shows a great wheel about three feet in diameter (91 cm) running a belt or rope down to a roller about six inches (15 cm) on the same shaft as the grindstone of about one foot (30 cm).

If it's for a small shop depiction or for field use, I would suggest a hand crank if you do not have a foot crank model. Throughout the period there was no shortage of manpower (save during the plague) and cranking the grindstone was just one more task to keep the apprentice busy and productive. (I love a large labor pool! ;-)

Raining on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby (a laid-back medieval arts and crafts camp-out) June 25-27, 2004; Oakley Farm, Avenue, MD
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/11/04 23:34:01 EDT

Grindstones: Where to find them...

Here on this side of the pond you mostly come across them in rural areas; usually where electrification was fairly recent. (Some folks still prefer them due to their slow/cool running speeds.) We also have some in catalogs that cater to the Amish, a religious sect that tends towards the simple life, without electricity. (I don't think there are any Amish left in Europe, but there might be similar groups.)

I've seen them used as door stoops, as garden steps, in antique shops, in flea markets and junk shops. Like anvils, keep your eyes out and let your friends, family and associates know what you're looking for.

Good hunting. You'll have to let us know when/where you find one. I have a foot-crank in the shop (bought in a flea market) and a hand crank for demonstrations (found as a garden step) so they should be out there.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/12/04 00:30:22 EDT

More Grindstones: Besides the sources given by Bruce they still make a sandstone water stone grinder in Japan. The high class tool catalogs here like Garret-Wade used to carry them. These are a fancy motorized cast iron benchtop units with water trough (and a recommendation to drain when not in use). Replacement stones can be purchased seperately.

If making your own you are on the search for other technologies like quarrying and cutting stone. Mill and grindstone quaries were a specialty. The stones were turned and cut true. On my out of round stone I used old rasps on edge to cut grooves and the teeth to rough dress out the grooves. Yes, the grind stone ate up the rasp but the rasp did more damage than the stone at low speed.

Stone work is not my forte' so you will need to go elsewhere for that.

Years ago a friend of mine told me about an abandonded mill stone quarry in a nearby county. Supposedly had partialy finished stones (maybe rejects) laying about. I never got a chance to go see it. Wish I had. . One of those rare historical places.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/12/04 03:22:40 EDT

WARNING! New Internet SPAM Scam: I have recieved several mails from an outfit called shareyourexperiences.com. These guys claim to have users looking for information about you. The user is kept annonymous. There is always a random sampling of requests and replies ("looking for information", "I have information"). The fact is there is no user. These bogus records are setup by the shareyourexperiences.com (well. . they DO want your information, your credit card information). A little research found the following:
These emails claim that someone made a posting about the recipient at their website. If you then visit the site you will not find any details about that supposed posting. If you want to find out more, you're asked to sign up as a premium member, with memberships starting at $14.85 for one month.

ShareYourExperiences seems to be a reincarnation of an older money-making scheme using the Word-Of-Mouth.org domain, where people curious about what someone might have written about them may get tricked into subscribing to a useless online service. Read more about it on the Urban Legends Reference Pages (follows).

The same principle is at work with Word-of-Mouth.Org, which attempts to lure the gullible into joining their "service" by spamming Internet users with ominous-sounding exhortations similar to the message quoted above: People are filing (anonymous) reports about you! Use our service to find out what they're saying! But only a sucker would pay to find out what anonymous people are saying about him, since anybody (including the people operating the service) could be generating the gossip.

And suckers is what they're counting on. The user who follows the link to "view all reports in our system . . .

Well. . not just suckers. Also the naive and paranoid or people with a public presense on the web.

The SCAM is running under dozens of domain names such as above or "shareyouropinions.us" and includes the highly exaulted "Verisign" logo to give you a warm and fuzzy. Just shows that even the crooks can get secure server certificates. . .

Like all SPAM, clicking the remove link (or view link) just verifies that you recieved and read the SPAM. . . This scam has been around a while but this is the first I have heard of it. I was naive enough to look (but not pay) . . .

The give away was that one of the phoney records claimed they knew me socialy. . . I have no social life and anyone that I know would not be looking for or posting information on some low life site. . . my life is too public for anyone to need to do that.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/12/04 04:52:14 EDT

Li/AL: Lithium is the 3rd element and lightest metal at .53 Sp/Gr. This is lighter than many woods and will easily float on water. It is 1/5 the density of aluminium and VERY soft.

The common enginering grades of aluminum do not contain lithium. There are none listed in my ASM Metals Reference book. My periodic table book says it is used to alloy aluminium. . . but I've not heard of it except for a few questions here.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/12/04 05:49:01 EDT

Light Metal alloys,

I am not very familiar with Al and its alloys, but I do know that Al-Mg and Al-Z alloys are quite common. Less common, but very interesting technically are the Al-Be alloys, which do find extensive applications in aerospace. Beryllium, atomic # 4, is very light and extremly stiff. It is also hazardous to work with and very expensive, about $500/lb. This limits is use mainly to military applications. I had the opportunity to interview for a job at one of the few Be manufacturer's in the world. The processing of the stuff is very intersting-lots of powder metal technology.

   Patrick Nowak - Saturday, 06/12/04 08:39:22 EDT

You've got to know you're neighbor and you've got to know your pal . . . but it's *still* a long way from Albany to Buffalo (grin).
   Mike B - Saturday, 06/12/04 11:04:13 EDT

I have 2 anvils that I need info about. One is a 275lb. Trenton in excelent shape and the other is a flat topped fisher marked 1892. They both came out of the old McLeod saw mill in the late 70's. I know they are of some value, but I would like some input from people who really know what they're talking about. Any help would be appreciated.
Theese items are from my fathers estate and he was very proud of them. Thanks for any help! Kellee
   kellee - Saturday, 06/12/04 12:11:10 EDT

Grindstone... If you fail miserably at finding one somewhere, would a replacement stone for the Tormek or one of the other slow-speed grinders work? I've seen them 10" diameter and 2" wide. But not inexpensive...

   Steve A - Saturday, 06/12/04 15:04:55 EDT

Guru and others,
Once again I’m looking for heat treating information. I’m building a stake plate by laminating (Bolting for now, maybe welding if the technology/skill ever present themselves) 4 pieces of ¾” flat grader blade to a larger piece of 1” mystery steel. This will all be affixed to a large stump. These pieces are aligned so that the ¾” square hole in each piece lines up (creating a 3” deep socket for anvil tools). These pieces are cut in such a fashion as I have a flat area about 3”X4” next to the square hole with 4” of steel under it. Now that I have explained that, a question.

I want to temper/harden this as if it were an anvil face. I know junkyard steel is a be you own metallurgist type thing but any help would be appreciated. My Machinery’s is at home and I have no idea what steel this is. It spark tests like its pretty high in carbon. The piece I want to harden will be about 7”x6”x 3/4” thick. How should I treat this? Keep in mind I’m quiet the novice so little word and maybe a picture would help. (VBG)
   Nomad - Saturday, 06/12/04 17:30:42 EDT

Nomad, A piece of high-carbon steel with a square hole in it is going to be difficult to harden without cracking it at the corners of the hole. I would probably suggest heating to non-magnetic, make sure the heat is uniform in the piece, quench it in warm oil. You can easily warm the oil by quenching a piece of scrap before you quench the stake plate. However, you might be able to use the plates in the normalized condition. Heat to non-magnetic, then go about 100 degrees hotter, and air cool it.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/12/04 18:56:35 EDT

Nomad, I forgot to mention that when steel is hardened, it expands 1.5% to 4%, depending on how well it is quenched. IF the holes do not crack, there is a possibility that they will get slightly smaller...and not be square. Another good reason to just normalize the plates.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/12/04 19:01:56 EDT

Unless I miss my guess, that grader blade is not going to be as hard as it is tough and abrasion resistant. That's not to say that it won't work for what you want, I think it will work fine. But the surface may not be anvil face hard.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 06/12/04 19:52:34 EDT

Okay, so I have a question. My brother and I own a DR bush mower, the old one with the skinny wheels with hard rubber tires. In our climate, those tires, at 50$ a pop, only last one season, tops. So...we decided to get a couple of new rims and fabricadabricate some steel tires for them. We've already remade everything else on the machine, so why not the wheels too?

The rims have a cupped cross section to retain the rubber tires. I determined that a piece of 1/2" square bar wrapped around the rim came up to the same plane as the edges of the rim, so I rolled a couple of rings and tacked them to the rim at the points where the 3/8" round rod spokes are welded to the rim. Next step was to roll a couple of tires out of 1/4" by 2" flat bar and plug weld them to the 1/2" square bar, a dozen or so places around the circumference. The next step is to add the lug bars to the tire. I'm figuring on using 3/8" square bars set at about a 45º angle to the direction of rotation, and spaced so that they just barely "overlap" at the point where the head of one and the tail of the other meet a line at right angles to the rim. That should keep it from being too bumpy when we have to run it across hard ground or asphalt. NOW comes my question:

Should the angled lug bars toe in or out? Or does it really make any difference? I've seen old tractors that had wheels like this, but I can't remember which way the lugs angled. Does anybody know, or can offer a good reason that they should go one way as opposed to the other? Tomorrow I have to finish up gluing on the lugs so we can do some mowing, so I need an absolutely correct answer immediately! (big grin) C'mon guys, help me out here!

   vicopper - Saturday, 06/12/04 21:26:09 EDT

Your tracks should point rearward. If the chevron points forward when you are looking ahead, the lugs will load with dirt. My uncle had an Allis Chalmers with metal lugs and they were straight across the wheel.
   - HWooldridge - Saturday, 06/12/04 23:31:01 EDT

I'd first try going the other way with that grader blade. I torch-cut some hefty bending forks out of it, and they were quite brittle--broke bending 1/2-inch mild steel guard rail the hard way at maybe orange or yellow-- until annealed worked great ever since.
   Goods Inward - Saturday, 06/12/04 23:50:12 EDT

You can get into the incredibly complex calculus of a jib crane-- delving into the modulus of elasticity, moment of inertia, radius of gyration, etc. to get it right-- or you can go find a second-hand rig and hang it on the wall or wide-flange of your choice, or you can weld one of your own up out of an old trailer axle and some scrap, or you can-- big bucks, but, hey, this is your safety and maybe even your life you're dealing with here!-- buy new. I've tried the first three options. The last two of those work fine. But, whichever way you go, as one contractor told me, "Never stand under a piece of steel."
   Goods Inward - Sunday, 06/13/04 00:03:14 EDT

If you don't disturb the existing temper ( IE, cut it with a torch or heat and bend)...then use it as is...it's reasonably hard and quite tough, just right for a stake plate.
   - Pete F - Sunday, 06/13/04 03:44:18 EDT

where can i find information on solar forges also plans how efective are they & is a furnace to melt steel or aluminium possible
thank you colin
   colinau - Sunday, 06/13/04 05:48:37 EDT

VICopper --

I think this is just the comnverse of HWooldridge's point, but I've always thought that lug bars with the point of the vee forward would tend to shear off the small clump of soil within the vee. With the vee pointing rearward, they will be pushing against a larger mass of soil outside the track, and should be more effective.
   Mike B - Sunday, 06/13/04 06:35:56 EDT

Thanks for the suggestions, but the lugs will be straight, not vee'd. I have neither the time nor the patience to make a bunch of vee shaped lugs. (grin)

I'm going to make them so that they angle in to the front, based more on intuitive guesswork than anything else. I have a feeling that the machine will have more stable turning characteristics that way. Probably not, though, since it is not a differential action axle.
   vicopper - Sunday, 06/13/04 07:23:48 EDT

VIc, I hope you get this in time. You do not want angled lugs unless you use the V type. Direction doesn't matter.
The single direction lugs will create significant axiel loading that did not exist before. This means high bearing loads and failed bearings. It also means that if the mower is used horizontaly on an incline it may try to stear itself resulting in high user fatigue.

Either bend a bunch of V's and arc them to fit OR use straight half width lugs that alternate so there is not a straight bar all the way across. Old steam tractors used both systems.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/13/04 09:08:42 EDT

Guru, you may not have a social life but you certainly have a social low-life! I've seen you hobnobbing with all sorts of low lifes at Quad-State---the ones with the funny hats are the worst!

Kellee, what kind of information do you want? You already know maker. Postman's "Anvils in America" can give you pretty much all the information available about them.

BTW all my anvils are "flat topped" save those that have worn otherwise---did you mean to say it was a hornless saywer's anvil?

Trentons are a great anvil and were made in Columbus OH, I like Fishers myself but only have one---and pining for it as it languishes 1600 miles away!

   Thomas P - Sunday, 06/13/04 10:05:03 EDT

Colinau, yes a solar forge is very effective,unfortunately, it only works on the suface of the sun. While solar heating on earth is effective at heating water, I doubt it could achieve forging temperatures in steel. At some point, it could not keep up with the radiation and convetive losses of the hot steel and heating would level off at a fairly low temperature. It would be like trying to use a tiny butane lighter to heat steel. The flame temperature is high enough but the heat content (BTU's) is just not sufficient.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/13/04 10:51:53 EDT

Solar Forge: Qunchcrack and Colinu, Solar forges/furnaces HAVE been built. The French built one in the 1800's that was the first furnace hot enough to melt refractory platinium (natural platinium rhodidium alloy).

The trouble is that to be effective they are HUGE (as in thousands or tens of thousands of square feet). When mirrors this big are built they are made of hundreds (or thousands) of small individualy aligned pieces. Modern ones have individual tracking motors on each mirror. The French array had a comparitively primitive yet complex mechanical system. With enough pieces the individual mirrors or reflectors can be flat. The most efficeient use individual parabolic mirros.

The next problem is the light itself. Such brilliance is like looking at a thousand or ten thousands suns (multiplied by the mirrors). It is more brilliant than arc welding and requires much darker protective shades.

Then there is the control issue. In order to control such power requires careful thought. In the case of a multifacited array with automatic tracking the focous can also be controlled by computer. Applying all the mirrors to a single point the heat would be like a laser vaporizing anything at the point. Adjusting the mirrors to spread out the focus would reduce the energy by spreading it out. To turn OFF the furnace would require a near flat mirror array.

Melting and vaporizing take on kind of control, forging takes much more careful control. You have to remember that incorectly focused this type thing can burn through the most exotic refractories in an instant. Accidents could be devastating. Thus the great advantage of carbon based fuels and our atmosphere's level of oxygen. The combination produce just enough heat that sophisticated controls are not necessary.

Large solar boiler arrays have been proposed with the tank on a large tower surrounded by mirrors on the ground. The array would be carefully designed and controled to only apply as much energy as the surface of the boiler could absorb. However, it would be easy to incorrectly focus such a device and burn a hole through the boiler or take down low flying aircraft. . .

I am not sure where to find information on the French furnace. It was in one of my very old (then) science series when I was a kid. There was a photo of the array built in an ampetheater and a brief descriptive paragraph. As I pack my library for moving I will try to remember to look for it. Would be easier to reproduce the image from memory.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/13/04 11:42:58 EDT

Social Life. . Thomas, THAT is business! Mmostly ;). To me a social life involves the opposite sex, resturants and whatever else goes along with all that (getting hard to remember. . .).
   - guru - Sunday, 06/13/04 12:10:27 EDT

Yes as you can tell-I have no clue on these things! The Fisher is a hornless sawyers anvil. It was taken out of the McLeod saw mill when it was torn down in the 70's. The trenton came from the same source. does that help at all?
   kellee - Sunday, 06/13/04 17:28:37 EDT

Dear Guru:
I recently purchased a set of metal hand pounded chargers (dinner plates). I was told they were over 125 years old (I think they are much older) and came out of an estate on the north shore of Long Island, NY. They are approximately 14 inches in diameter, are fairly symetrical, and have a coating of heavy oxidation (or light rust). The inner circle appears to have been pounded with a ballpine hammer. The outer lip in rolled over to the underside and pounded. They are definitely hand made, but have no identifying markings. How can we find out more information as to their age and worth. I would appreciate any information your could provide or any leads where I might be able to do some research.
Thanks, Sterling
   Sterling - Sunday, 06/13/04 20:50:05 EDT

An off-the-wall question, brought about by having to break-up my parents estate: What metal are sports trophys commonly made of? Plated zinc? Rather than cart some of the lesser ones to the dump (I'm keeping his bowling trophy from the 1930s) can the metal be melted down and cast into something useful or interesting? My sister and the kids have no interest, and things are getting terribly cluttered here, but I hate to just toss them.

Off to Denver for next week... communications may be dubious; can't get my home account and I have to jury-rig my work e-mail. We shall see.

Launched ship; sank same. Bailed it out and got it back on the trailer for more work. Amusing stories available at Camp Fenby.

Cool and humid on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby (a laid-back medieval arts and crafts camp-out) June 25-27, 2004; Oakley Farm, Avenue, MD
For those with access to Yahoo groups, further information and updates are at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CampFenby/files/Fenby2004.htm
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 06/13/04 22:47:22 EDT


Trophies older than about the Depression era were often, though not always, made of pewter. The really high-end ones were made of brass. (The Wibbledon Cup, and others that I never will win, were often made of sterling silver.) After that period, it became more common to make them from various zinc alloys like pot metal. The newer ones are mostly made of plastic.

You could melt them down and cast something new from them, but the end result alloy will be Heinz 57. If you take all the little figures off the tops of them, you can have lots of hood ornaments for your car. (grin)
   vicopper - Sunday, 06/13/04 23:17:48 EDT

The marble bases make good desk pen and pencil sets.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 06/13/04 23:55:26 EDT

Ok I have a real simple knife question. I want to use some small shank bone as handles for a couple of small knives. My problem is I dont know what material to use to fill in the bone where the marrow was to bed the blade. As a related question does anyone have any suggestions on how to finish/ stabalize the bone? thanks!
   Sean Finlayson - Monday, 06/14/04 01:36:52 EDT

Thanks for the info Goods. I think I'm going to just take my time and wait till I get the building build before I worry about a crane. As it stands now I don't own any equipment that requires one.
   FredlyFX - Monday, 06/14/04 02:37:33 EDT

Sean Finlayson: The most common thing one would fill the space with would be common two-part epoxy. Bone tends to be splintery, so you might want to concider ferruls to protect both ends.
   AwP - Monday, 06/14/04 04:19:41 EDT

Hot cutters & hammer eye drifts.

I'm thinking of reusing a few old files as hot cutters. (They seem to be all carbon steel) What should they be tempered to? Or should they be annealed?

Also, I want to make a drift for hammer eyes; I've got some old jackhammer bits (which could be S7 according to the junkyard steel lists I've seen) - would that be a suitable start point?

As for bone handles - I'd agree on the epoxy. Alternatively use shellac or cutlers resin. Depends on whether you're doing a period piece or contemporary!


   Peter Bond - Monday, 06/14/04 07:00:11 EDT

solar furnace

there was a solar furnace with a mirror array recently, in the SW states somewhere, i think for boiling water for electrical generation. There's one at Odellio, in France, used for scientific experiments. It can achieve temperatures up to 33,000 degrees Celsius. someone else took a franzel (flat) lense off a projection tv and was melting copper pennys in the focal point (http://www.scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/light/marshmallows/solar_roaster.html).

control is by distance to the focal point, or not using as much collection area.
   john tobako - Monday, 06/14/04 07:52:20 EDT

Cold Galvanize--CRC Brand is available here (Albuquerque, NM) at Lowe's. Found it in electrical section not paint section when I was getting some electrical stuff. Thanks for the info.

Solar Furnace--there is a huge solar tower here at Sandia National Labs built just south of Kirtland Air Force Base. May be able to find info on their web site.

   Dale - Monday, 06/14/04 08:50:44 EDT

Have been out of touch because of a "browser infection". My e-mail is temporarily on the fritz. I may need to run a new program over the old; however the leaks and memory loss may carryover?? In any event, I have returned for a while and will review some of what I missed.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 06/14/04 09:44:35 EDT

sean, I use bone handles on on some of my knives, you can get a product made by Minwax called wood hardener that you can use to stabilize wood or bone. If you have access
to a vacuum source you can put the hardener and. the bone in a sealable jar and pull a vacuum to impregnate the bone. As for a filler I have used auto body filler such as Bondo with good results. You can get a gallon of Bondo for about
$12.00 ,a lot cheaper than epoxy and is easier to use to fill large voids.
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 06/14/04 09:45:01 EDT

As for a solar furnace, mother earth news had plans for a solar array made from the 1' sq mirror tiles and with an auto tracking device for it too. sustained temps of 1600 degF were reported.

Since sun is the primary scourge of New Mexico I've been thinking of experimenting with a solar forge. One idea is to have a refractory lined box with a slot on one side that the solar "beam" would track along alowing a slightly longer "working time" between adjustments. The other is to use a parabolic reflector and thrust the work piece into the hot zone from underneath through the center of the dish---old wire mesh satellite dishes are being scrounged for.

Kellee, you still haven't told us what you want to know about them! (I'm trying to remember if "Anvils in America" has a serial number:date chart in it for Trentons---my copy should be being loaded on the moving van as I write!

Sterling, are these "plates" steel/iron? (does a magnet stick to them?) 125 years ago cheap metal plates were being stamped out in factories, expensive ones were not made from ferrous materials. I'd want more info; but they might be "colonial" repros from the 1920's---or something totally different.

   Thomas P - Monday, 06/14/04 10:09:57 EDT

Pounded Chargers: Sterling, This is a question for a professional antiques apraiser. If they were custom hand made or made by an unknown craftsperson then all you can go on is providence.

Metalurgicaly it might be possible to determine if they are made of wrought iron or steel. If wrought they MIGHT be older than about 1850. If steel they are definitely later than than that as commerical rolled steel plate was not available prior to that. However, wrought was being made as late as the 1960's and old wrought is still used today by smiths and antique reproducers.

The problem in any most antiques evaluation is that there are many craftfolk that produce perfect reproductions that are very difficult to identify. Those with morals about such things do not use wrought for reproductions. However, I have known of dealers that wanted early (18th century) pieces reproduced in wrought. Let is rust coat with wax and dust and it is virtually impossible to prove its age.
   - guru - Monday, 06/14/04 10:20:52 EDT

Trying to forge weld lawn mower blades for damascus with crs. Anybody know what type of steel this is?
   krautschmidt - Monday, 06/14/04 16:34:40 EDT

Sean Finlayson,

For filling large voids that don't show, Bondo wroks great and is cheap, as ptpiddler noted. For stabilizing bone, the standard seems to be cyanoacrylate glue, (crazy glue), using vacuum impregnation.

If you are going to use vacuum impregnation, you can get a vacuum pump that fruns on compressed air for about $15 from Harbor Freight. They work fine for impregnation work.

Two notes of CAUTION:
1. Cyanoacrylate will stick your fingers to each other, or your eyelids to your fingertips, etc. Not fun to have pried apart at the emergency room.
2. If you want to pull a vacuum on a vessel, be absolutely sure it is rated to handle vacuum. Some shapes of glass vessels such as bell jars are fine, while others will implode violently if subjected to a vacuum. I suggest you use polycarbonate plastic instead if you don't know.
   vicopper - Monday, 06/14/04 17:14:19 EDT

Some knifemakers use the vacuum system that is used to pull a vacuum on food sealing bags. I have not personally used
it but I have seen it described on knifemakers web sites. The tip on using wood hardener has also been detailed on knifemakers web sites.
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 06/14/04 18:06:12 EDT

Lawn Mower Blades: The only thing I know about them is the ones made in the last 25-30 years are NOT like the old ones. The steel in the new ones is selected primarily not to break (not for hardness or wear resistance).
   - guru - Monday, 06/14/04 19:35:16 EDT

Ceramic chip forges:
I've been offered a combined brazing hearth/ceramic chip forge for a good price. The forge uses propane and compressed air to heat ceramic chips, basically it is a propane forge that mimics a coke forge. It is capable of heating 2" square bar and operates at about 1500 degrees centigrade.
I was wondering if any Anvilfire inmates have any experience of using this type of forge?
   Bob G - Monday, 06/14/04 20:12:20 EDT


I've never used one, but if you don't want it, I'll take it off your hands for a small fee. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/14/04 20:33:49 EDT

As we are replacing gas with induction heating, several forges are available at very attractive prices. A little honey just right for you shop is tha gas bar forge, designed for 20 each 8" od bars. Heats about 24" of the bars at once. Its skid mounted and we have a 10 ton bridge crane to load into your truck! You will need a 3", 8# natural gas line and 460 volt 3 phase at 30 amps also.
   ptree - Monday, 06/14/04 20:41:52 EDT


That's a whole lot too big for anything I'm going to do. Plus the power and gas requirements are more (by a LOT) than I have available.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/14/04 21:18:13 EDT


Do you deliver? (grin)
   vicopper - Monday, 06/14/04 22:57:18 EDT

John Fick has built several ceramic chip forges. The one i saw was sort of a pit forge with the pit filled with chips where the gas burned. He had a dry stack top of firebricks on top. He stuck a piece of steel into the chip pile and we wandered around his shop talking for half an hour. When we got back to forge, the steel was a pleasant forging temperature and there was almost no scaling! Very impressive.
Solar forge; i wonder if one could take a big sheet of clear plastic stretched across a frame and filled with water to focus reflected sunlight? You'd need a black hearth on wheels to follow the hot spot underneath. Focal distance would be adjusted by the amount of sag in the plastic.
Forging by candle light would be very slow.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 06/15/04 03:10:11 EDT

Ceramic Chip Forges: I did a bunch of research on these about 18 months ago for a fellow in Britian that uses them in his school. He was tired of paying the high price for replacement chips (yes they are replaced regularly) as they were imported from America.

The chips in the chip forges are a refractory mineral called mullite. Originaly discovered on the Isle of Mull off the English coast. Most of the mullite used in refractory applications is a synthetic mullite made from the source mineral, ground into a paste, molded and fired, then ground to various sizes. The chip forges use the largest as crushed sizes.

In the forge the chips break down and become contaminated with scale. Dust and fines need to be screened out regularly (at least weekly) and the lost amount made up with new chips. Eventualy the chips become so broken up and contaminated that they need a complete replacement (about once a year).

The two compliants I have heard about the Flamefast forges are 1) The firepot is poorly designed for smithing. 2) The mass of glowing chips is like standing near the sun. I do not know about the second but the first is a comment from several smiths that use them.

LAST: Compressed air forges have been around for a long time. They have been made for coal, coke, oil and gas. They are suitable ONLY in industry where gigantic amounts of compressed air are being used. The inefficiencies of making compressed air are huge and the cost of operating a forge off compressed air is significant in the small shop. Blowers are much more efficient and cost almost nothing to operate.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/15/04 11:17:02 EDT

Synthetic Mullite: I forgot to mention. This is used commercialy as aggregate in refractory cements and in making fire bricks.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/15/04 11:25:34 EDT

I have a copper basin which has a very dull finish. I would like this to lovely and shiney. I have tried cleaning it with bathroom cleaner, vinegar and also cola, but to no avail. Can you help? I don't mind if it then weathers to a dull patina but I would like it to start off shiney.
   Sarah - Tuesday, 06/15/04 11:44:23 EDT

Sarah, Copper and its alloys (brass and bronze) build up a few stuborn oxide coating we call a patina. It is good in that it protects the metal outdoors, it is bad in that it is very tough to remove. To do it chemically requires VERY harsh chemicals that you are best off not to deal with.

I have usualy found that the coating is best removed by abrasives (sand paper, steel wool, polishing compound). This requires a LOT of elbow grease when using fine abrasives that will not create more problems.

The coarsest sand paper that should be used is 180 grit 3M wet-or-dry. If you use it wet the paper lasts much longer.

I prefer SOS soap filled steel wool for this kind of thing but it is quite slow. The steel reacts with the some of the copper oxides helping remove them but has no effect on others.

If in the process of removing the patina you scratch the surface then use Dupont Orange Automotive rubbing compound to polish the surface. Start with a wet dab on a soft rag and scrub the surface. As the combound drys on the rag you can use this dusty deposit to make a final finish. For a brilliant finish follow up with a silver polish.

After bringing the copper to a bright finish it can be lacquered with clear lacquer to prevent futur oxidation. Note that SOS pads and most polishing compounds have some wax or oil in them that must be carefully removed from the metal before lacquering. A good detergent followed by a solvent will do this. Note that you do not want ANY trace of a fingerprint on the coper as this will eventualy cause corrosion and show up clearly. Do final cleaning and handling to lacure with throw away cotton gloves.

Hand cleaning and polishing is hard work but I always enjoy the results.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/15/04 13:10:32 EDT

Working with brass is something I have some experience with. (wry grin)

Using an aluminum pan, with the additon of a generous amount of Cream of Tartar, boil the brass (works with copper too) for at least an hour. Continue adding hot water as necessary to make sure that the brass remains well covered.

Remove the brass from the solution, pour the solution down the kitchen sink, and use a normal brass polisher, (I use Brasso, old habits die hard) you should be able to bring it back to a very high shine.

I have to do this regularly with my spurs, which are brass. If I forget and leave my boots on the floor, with my spurs in place my wife's dam mail (Mexican dog) has to claim them.
This of course means that he has to "tinkle" on them. You've never seen patina till you see a pair of brass spurs with dog urine on them!
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 06/15/04 13:27:04 EDT

How is the scrap rate determined in NorthAmerica? Is it changing because of the economy and what the dollar in some countries is worth?
   - Mike - Tuesday, 06/15/04 13:27:08 EDT

In previous, mail should be male.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 06/15/04 13:27:40 EDT

Cats are worse. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/15/04 13:43:20 EDT

Scrap prices are determined by demand and the stock market (which is purely emotional BS having nothing to do with reality). Non-ferrous metals are a general economic indicator with silver and copper closely related to gold prices but set by the world markets. Exchange rates do have an effect. Prices are also effected by economic annomalies like wars.

Currently the temporary spike has been created by George Bush's little sandbox oil war. It is rattling throughout the economy and will cost us a GREAT deal more than the bill at the Pentagon. Look for inflation coupled with economic unrest (probably a recession) for the next decade or two. The current surge in oil prices will effect tht cost of EVERYTHING in your life in a few years, not just at the pumps.

Among other things:

The Pentagon put out bids for large quantities of plywood (millions of sheets). The result was that instead of getting competitive prices if they had just BOUGHT the damn plywood, the industry saw an oportunity and jacked up the price (about double). The result is that YOU pay more too, and housing prices have soared. This also causes rents to increase. Yep, your rent increase is a war tax and this IS inflation.

The pentagon put out bids for millions of tons of rebar (to rebuild Iraq and Afganistan). It was not available so everyone is gearing up to make it (also at higher prices). This drove up scrap prices AND there is a world wide shortage of re-bar. Most of the benificiaries will be Chinese and European steel mills since we have let our primary metal industrys fall into decline (a serious security concern but nobody in charge understands the REAL economy). This will also effect commercial and public construction costs.

And other curious things have been affected. Two years ago you could buy a 20 foot steel cargo container for about $800. The reason was that they cost $1500 to make in China and since goods were coming HERE from China in those containers and none going back in return AND the fact that it cost more to ship them back EMPTY than to make them, they just came here and piled up, sold for bargain prices. NOW all those goods going to Iraq (including that plywood and rebar above) is going on a one way trip to the desert in those 20 foot containers. Today the cost of those containers (I need four) has gone up from $800 to $1800. . . more than they cost to make in China. This has effected me directly as I need four of these containers in order to move. My war tax on these, $4000 (or 125%). Oh, yeah. . I also need plywood for crates. . .

SO. . among other things, China is buying scrap faster than they can unload it to make more containers and more rebar. . . so that George W. can chase down the last bit of oil while we SHOULD be developing other sources of energy instead. The economic fallout will be felt for decades. . . Ever hear the phrase "Nero fiddled while Rome burned"? Well that is what is happening in the US. . .

If you want to respond to my political tirade do so on the Hammer-In or mail me. Please not here.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/15/04 14:40:30 EDT

Hi, am interested in making my own carbon steel. Have you come accross any plans or methods of building a melting type forge? I would imagine this would involve a crucible and tap, but have found no reference to this type of operation bieng conducted by the backyard hobbiest. Please help any way you can.
   Veritas - Tuesday, 06/15/04 16:49:49 EDT

If you were making wood mortising hand chisels, (like might be seen on Underhill's Woodwright shop), what steel would you buy and what commercial heat treat would you specify?
Thanks, Tom H.
   Tom H - Tuesday, 06/15/04 17:54:14 EDT

Guru, so there are different scrap rate categories? what is the rate for things like (anvils,metal sheets) and car parts
   - Mike - Tuesday, 06/15/04 18:59:15 EDT

Scrap Rates - Our local yards have a single price for anything that is galvanized, rusty or unknown composition ($2 per 100 lbs). Clean plate or tool steel brings $4 per 100. One of the yard managers and I are acquaintances so he keeps me in the loop to a degree and echoes all the comments "guru" made, plus he also said the allowance for scrap in their loads has gone down to 1%. In other words, if they ship a load of anything that has a foreign material included, it better be less than 1% or they get a deduction from the buyer.
   - HWooldridge - Tuesday, 06/15/04 19:45:34 EDT

Hello all, how does O1 tool steel do with forge welding? I was told that it wouldn't do well, but thought I'd heard of guys using it. Any thoughts?
   Eide - Tuesday, 06/15/04 19:56:44 EDT

Greetings from Denver. My laptop is down so this is off of the hotel business center.

Thanks of the answers on the trophies; some good possibilities for at least some salvage.

Just a note that our ship (and even the crew and I) SHOULD be on the History Channel (if not the cutting room floor) this Sunday on the program about King Arthur. 9:00 PM Eastern, 8:00 Central; and who knows what further west. If they use the footage we'll be the Anglo-Saxon invaders arriving on the shores of Britain in the horse-headed ship, and the dragon ship carrying the legendary Arthur to Avelon. No guarentees; and I can't believe what they must have paid for the advertising; but at least we got paid our "for profit" (as opposed to "for schools and non-profits) rate for the use of the ship, and the crew got per diem.

Funny weather near the banks of Bear Creek.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 06/15/04 21:37:41 EDT

Isn't there SOMEBODY on the east coast that can video tape that segment for me???? Please??? PRETTY Please???? I don't have cable. I'll be glad to pay expenses and even a little profit.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 06/15/04 22:03:36 EDT

Hi Gurus,
I have a small forge & fabrication unit in India.. our stuff goes to the US & European markets.. I am fascinated by your site which is THE definitive discussion area for all knowledge about AUTHENTIC (& some innovative!!) forging technique. However, I am quite amazed at the lengths you chaps go to in creating these amazing forges!! Here in India we simply dig a hole in the ground insert a grate and prop a few old bricks around the hole and insert a simple mechanical or motorised air-blower in a trench leading into the hole under the grate... seal all airgaps- then a bit of kindling is lit up and allowed to smoulder then we sprinkle a few handfuls of coal granules onto the embers start up the blower and we have a nice forge running in a few minutes!! No hunting around for any mechanical parts or materials.. if the forge is permanent then we daub the surface with an indigenous mortar which is primarily some "end-product" of the HOLY COW! and some other clay stuff...
To show how these primitive forges work I could give you a link to a page of mine at : http://bison.itgo.com/bisonclassic1.htm
where the first photo shows this in operation..
these forges easily heat up sections as large as 2"x2" & depending on the construction of the pit generally about 12"-14" at a time can be taken to white-hot quite easily..
For people wishing to start this really is somehing quite simple requiring no equipment except the blower.. NEW hand-cranked ones cost about $15 here motorised ones about $20 upwards so this is really the cheapest forge possible.. In the same snap you will also notice that we have no fancy anvils either!! Just an off-cut from some heavy steel plate weighing about 80Kgs or 175 Lbs.. most of the artistic forging shown in the Otto Schmirler books can be done on this set-up!! With improvised tools of course for each forging technique..
Just thought this might be of interest to starters... with no resources.. but the zeal to take up this fascinating art.. indeed I am genuinely stumped by the high start-up costs that beginners face in the US. We get excellent tools ..hammers.. tongs.. chisels etc at about a $1-$2 per Lb. by weight here!! Although your equipment perhaps is longer lasting etc... it must be quite tough for newbies without resources.. Although I see some stuff from India... like the Flypresses ... are starting to penetrate at absurdly high costs... (compared to what I get them here for!!) but still I think gradually market forces will see to it that a lot more people can take up this age-old art and perpetuate the wonderful traditions of black-smithing - which your site is so proudly preserving.

Regards... "CJ" Roy

   Roy - Tuesday, 06/15/04 22:21:33 EDT

Forges: Roy, I tell many newbies that all they need is a "hole in the ground" for a forge and they do not believe me! Same as you about anvils. Good tools are wonderful but you can do with much less. The big difference in the West is how we are used to working, standing up. So forges are raised off the ground. They then become a metal replacement for a hole in the ground. But they can still be made of wood, earth, clay and holy "organic binder" as you mentioned.

On the other hand I can tell from the type work on your pages that your workers are not unfamiliar with punch presses, arc welders and twisting machines.

The big difference between our countries is the cost of living and necessity of much higher wages to meet it. Here a man making $10/hour is making poverty wages. The operator of a production shop (such as yours) must charge $100/hour to make a living and can hopefully pay his employees $25/hour.

"Zwirbels" (basket twists), I like that word. What is its origin?

   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 03:32:02 EDT

Welding O1: Eidi, all the tool steels can be forge welded but you must be careful doing so. O-1 and W-2 are commonly used by folks making laminated steels. A lot depends on what you want to do. If edging blades then you are probably better off with a plain carbon steel like 1095.

Most of the letter/number series tool steels are over 1% carbon making them tricky to forge and to heat treat. They are also sensitive to thermal shock. Others with more experiance may have more to say.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 03:54:04 EDT

Making Steel: Veritas, There is a big difference between smelting iron from ore and making steel. The product from a smelting operation is normally cast iron. In the bloomery process wrought iron is made. Neither are steel. Secondary processing is necessary.

To convert cast iron to steel carbon must be removed. This is done by various methods of decarburization but the common methods involve blowing air or oxygen through liquid iron to burn out the carbon (a blast furnace like a Bessemer converter).

To make steel out of wrought iron you must ADD carbon. This is done by carburizing the steel in a carbon filled box then either forging and folding the "blister steel" to make it a nearly homegenous product, OR melting it and making cast steel.

THEN there is the Japanese and pseudo Japanese methods. Here wrought iron is carburized in the charcoal forge and melted into a high carbon cast-iron/steel lump. This is in turn broken up and selected pieces forge welded into a wrought iron billet. The billet is repeatedly cut and rewelded until a nearly homogenous product is produced. By stopping before the product is entirely homogenous you get a patterened steel.

If you want to try your hand at "making steel" it is MUCH more efficient to start with available materials such as wrought, mild steel, cast iron. Unless you REALLY want the experiance of mining ore, breaking it up, roasting it . . .

For a bloomery operation see our links page for the "Rockbridge Bloomery". This is a small scale operation but it still requires several people.

There are LOTS of books on small melting operations. See our book review page for the books by Chastain.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 04:15:25 EDT

Making Chisels: Tom, The last set of gouges I made were made from an unknown junkyard steel (MG Midget leaf springs, maybe 1095. . ). They were edge oil quenched and tempered by heating until fresh oil burned off. . . Both sets have created numerous sculptures out of walnut and cherry hardwood and seem to be self sharpening they hold such a nice edge. The "Eve and the Apple" scupture on our sword making resources page was made with one of those sets.

What steel you use depends on your goals and methods. However any steel you use will work as well as you work it. If you are looking for a steel that takes and holds an excellent edge then 1095 is one of the best. Plain carbon steels are always easier to sharpen than alloy steels. If you are looking for toughness to take abuse (prying rather than chisleing) than a steel like 5160 is good.

Most commercial heat treating is a uniform average temper. The advantage of handmade tools is a selective temper. Soft tangs, tough body, razor hard edge. The better factory tools are selectively heat treated as a production process. The cheaper tools are not.

See our heat treating FAQ for details of heat treating these steels.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 04:40:27 EDT

Scrap Rates: Mike, As HWooldridge stated it depends on the material. There is clean scrap in aluminium, iron and steel, and sorted scrap and identifiable scrap (like plate and bar).

Gone are the days when they crushed an automobile into a brick and it went to the steel mill. Today they shred automobiles and run them through production hand and automated sorts. Aluminium is magneticly sorted by blowing it out (pushing with a powerful magnet). Copper wire is hand sorted. Fluff (all the cloth and plastics) is seperated with air and is a huge wast product. The end result is steel tossed salad by the freight car load.

Four years ago you could not give away cast iron and they were only paying a penny a pound for clean steel scrap. However, if you tried to buy back any of that steel it was still 10 cents a pound like it was when they were paying 4 cents to buy. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 04:53:36 EDT

I am new to blacksmithing and slowing purchasing my shop equipment. I have been looking for a used anvil but haven't had any luck in my area. When I locate one, how will I know what a fair price is? I looked on e-bay yesterday and a 125 lb Hay Budden from 1895 went for almost $900. From the pictures it looked in near perfect condition, but that seems like a lot. Any ideas on books or websites that will list makes and approximate costs? Thanks
   Laura - Wednesday, 06/16/04 08:58:50 EDT

Laura, when looking for the equipment you may want to look under the many pages undernavigate anvilfire. For an anvil it king of depends on size, weight and condition. You may want to start off with one that is in a reasonable price and size. Once your sure of things your going to make then you can upgrade.
   - Boby - Wednesday, 06/16/04 09:40:48 EDT

Laura, what continent are you on; if we had an idea of your location we might be able to make some suggestions of where to look! (they don't call this the WORLD wide web for nothing!)

During the last decade or so when I was living in OH I would buy about 1 good name brand anvil a year for an average price of under US$1 per pound. The way I did this was to talk with *EVERYONE* I met about smithing and that I was hunting an anvil to buy. Trying to get an anvil inexpensively off places like e-bay is like ging to a bank and asking if you can buy some money cheaply!

What you want is the fellow who has an anvil lurking in his garage, never used it, and has banged his shin on the horn for the the third time that week---not
   - Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/16/04 11:34:09 EDT

Laura, what continent are you on; if we had an idea of your location we might be able to make some suggestions of where to look! (they don't call this the WORLD wide web for nothing!)

During the last decade or so when I was living in OH I would buy about 1 good name brand anvil a year for an average price of under US$1 per pound. The way I did this was to talk with *EVERYONE* I met about smithing and that I was hunting an anvil to buy. Trying to get an anvil inexpensively off places like e-bay is like ging to a bank and asking if you can buy some money cheaply!

What you want is the fellow who has an anvil lurking in his garage, never used it, and has banged his shin on the horn for the the third time that week---not "Anvils R Us" or "Ye Olde Anville Shoppe".

As example: I was taking a car for a test drive and saw an old post vise outside an old barn. Came back and picked up the vise and a 125# peter wright at about US$1/#. I was at the fleamarket and a fellow had a small hardy in some plumbing junk, bought the hardy and asked where the anvil was---back home, picked it up for 50 cents a pound, Had a friend call me---an antique dealer they knew had an anvil and didn't want to have to unload it at the show in town, 150# anvil for US$90, and of course I found a 515# Fisher in mint condition for US$350 talking to a fellow selling greasy car parts at the fleamarket---his uncle had it and wantee to sell it...

Some folks have done well by putting an add in the local "nickle" paper---just make sure you don't get someone selling you a cast iron ASO for a Peter Wright Price

   - Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/16/04 11:34:34 EDT

I am in Northern California, an hour north east of Sacramento. I have been taking welding and metal design classes for 2 years. During that time I have been looking in the papers, checking garage sales, asking everyone I meet but no luck. Last weekend I went to a huge fleamarket with over 100 vendors and asked each of them but zippo.
   Laura - Wednesday, 06/16/04 12:10:09 EDT

Finding Anvils: Laura, IT CAN be frustrating. And on the West coast their are fewer old tools than in the East. However, they ARE there. When I was in Sacremento in 1985 I was helping a young lady find blacksmithing tools. In a scrap yard downdown we found a nice little 100 pound anvil for $50. Up on the "Gold Rush Highway" above Sacremento we found a variety of tongs, hammers and set tools at antique shops (you got to look for the scroungy ones with lots of rusty junk - the iron mongers). The day we setup a brake drum forge in her backyard in suburban West Sac and did a little forging her neighbor asked if we could use another anvil. Moments later he was delivering a mint Peter Wright of about 175 pounds. . .

I had my portable rig in my front yard working one day and a fellow pulls up and says, You're a blacksmith eh'? Need an anvil? $50 later I had a sweet 128 pound Mousehole anvil. . . if you do it, they will come . .

Your best bet if you are not a "finder" is to join the local blacksith's association and go to meets. There are always folks there that ARE finders selling used equipment.

Finders are a different breed. They go to EVERY farm auction, they talk to EVERYBODY striking up conversations with every old grizzled character in truck stops, hardware stores and junk shops and they follow every lead. I have two friends that are finders. I think that if they fell into a manure pile they would get up with anvils stuck to them. . . Thomas P is a finder. I am not. IT took ne YEARS to collect what I have and I have paid dearly for almost every piece.

After you have a couple anvils more will appear as if by magic and you will wonder where they were when you REALLY needed them.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 13:27:19 EDT

No expert. However, can use a large chunk of steel, a piece of rail, or even a cheap Chineese anvil. Got a piece of rail from the local RR repair yard for free that I could hardly carry away. Harbor Freight used to carry the 110# one that you could get on sale for pretty cheap that could rework a little a make an ok anvil. The 55# aren't worth the money.

   - Dale Alexander - Wednesday, 06/16/04 13:35:08 EDT

No expert. However, can use a large chunk of steel, a piece of rail, or even a cheap Chineese anvil. Got a piece of rail from the local RR repair yard for free that I could hardly carry away. Harbor Freight used to carry the 110# one that you could get on sale for pretty cheap that could rework a little a make an ok anvil. The 55# aren't worth the money.

   Dale Alexander - Wednesday, 06/16/04 13:35:35 EDT


I'm not a "finder". By that I mean that I'm not good about getting out and talking things up (though I am getting better, very slowly), and even when I do I just don't seem to hit the right people the way folks like Thomas and some of the real "finders" in my circle can. Therefore, I kind of figure on buying stuff from the finders and probably paying them a bit of a premium for their work. And it's okay because they are offering a service I need. Furthermore, it's not something I'm good at doing myself, nor do I really *want* to do it myself. Just not my thing. I tell you all that because it sounds like you may have my problem, at least as far as just not connecting with the right people. Sounds like you're a lot better than I am at actually going out and doing the looking and talking.

Now then, a couple other suggestions... look up a few posts, there's been another round of comments on just using something heavy and poundable for an anvil. Does work. Works great, though I admit I prefer a "real" anvil. Taking welding and metal design, you might know where the scrap yards are. Mine - where I visited yesterday - has suitable chunks all over. Most too big to lift, I'd have to get a little help from the fork lift to get it loaded, and then I'd have to figure a way to cut it out. Probably buy a big cutting tip for my torch and rent some bottles. You might have access to suitable equipment where you take welding classes. People also tell me you can find suitable pieces by asking shops to let you buy offcuts. Haven't actually tried that myself.

Finally, the route I ultimately went, is to just buy one new. I met Steve from Euroanvils (they advertise here) at a blacksmith conference and bought my anvil from him. (Admittedly, shipping to the west coast would be a bear.) Great guy, really like the anvil. Actually, I've come to prefer the double horn pattern to such a degree that I'd rather have that than any of the London patterns or variants that most of the vintage anvils have. That, of course, is just my opinion. Probably if I'd done as much work on some other pattern, I'd prefer that one just because I'd have worked out my uses for that particular shape.

Hope this helps. You're moving faster than I did. I had the spark of interest in 1995, and have only actually been forging for a little over two years.

   Steve A - Wednesday, 06/16/04 13:49:33 EDT

More about buying anvils: You can buy a brand NEW forged steel Peddinghaus from the major dealers for less than what old Hay-Budden's have recently been bringing on ebay. Don't pay collector's prices for tools! AND for about the same as what many "fair deals" are bringing you can buy an excellent NEW anvil from Euroanvils.

There is no shortage of new anvils or choices of style and make. Check our advertiser's pages.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 13:57:32 EDT

Laura- Join the CBA and start going to the meetings and hammer-ins. there's usually 3-4 usable anvils at most hammer-ins in north calif.
   mike-hr - Wednesday, 06/16/04 14:34:33 EDT

Shoot, I'm just a shy introverted fellow until I put on my disreputable red hat then me and Mister Hyde go out on the town hunting down anvils...The red hat is a great way for people to remember me and my quest for the rare greater horned anvil---you went *1* time and talked to 100 dealers---they now know that there is a market and that you are looking, what have you arranged for followup? Zerox out a page of "business cards" with your name and phone number and "old anvils wanted" (you don't need all the folk who want to sell you a harbour freight ASO for a hefty mark-up)

I'm goiung to make one last stop by the house with the anvil behind it while I am in Columbus; just in case they've changed their mind...

If you think about *most* anvils are not london pattern ones we just get stuck on the shape we're familiar with.

"A forge is anything that will hold the fire and not melt or burn; an anvil is anything you can pound hot steel on without it melting, burning or breaking into pieces"

   - Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/16/04 17:02:28 EDT

frank t, bid on a book that you coauthored about south western forge work. missed the bid, but i am still interested in the book. do you have any copies that you would be willing to sell??


   rugg - Wednesday, 06/16/04 17:11:11 EDT

I've been going through the same problem for some time Laura. I have been searching for a decent anvil at a decent price and just couldn't seem to find one. Or, I only found them when I was broke.

Fortunatly for me I have a fellow Ren faire junkie, and certified finder, who has helped a lot. Last year I was whining to him about my search for an anvil at one of the faires we were both doing. A half hour later he showed up at my camp with a 100lb Hay Budden that had been given to him the day before. He is a building inspector in Orange County CA, and while doing a prelim inspection he noticed it sitting on the patio next to a trash pile. He asked the homeowner what he was going to do with it, and the reply was that it was "going to the dump with the rest of the trash.: (I know, what a heart breaker) After explaining what he did, the guy even helped my friend load it in the trunk of his car.

I have used that anvil for about 9 months now. He won't sell it to me, but it is on long term loan till I find one. Then, this weekend the same guy calls me and asks if I want a 200lb Hay Budden for $350. He was at an antuiqe store and saw it there. He picked it up for me and I will be getting it from him soon and returning the loaner.

Keep looking and you will find something eventually.

   FredlyFX - Wednesday, 06/16/04 17:11:18 EDT

I would like to forge weld pieces of stainless steel wire (12-14 gauge). Is this feasible? What would be the steps for making this type of weld.
   - Robert - Wednesday, 06/16/04 18:50:33 EDT

I would like to forge weld pieces of stainless steel wire (12-14 gauge). Is this feasible? What would be the steps for making this type of weld.
   - Robert - Wednesday, 06/16/04 18:50:55 EDT

I would like to forge weld pieces of stainless steel wire (12-14 gauge). Is this feasible? What would be the steps for making this type of weld.
   - Robert - Wednesday, 06/16/04 18:51:12 EDT

I would like to forge weld pieces of stainless steel wire (12-14 gauge). Is this feasible? What would be the steps for making this type of weld.
   - Robert - Wednesday, 06/16/04 18:51:31 EDT

I would like to forge weld pieces of stainless steel wire (12-14 gauge). Is this feasible? What would be the steps for making this type of weld.
   - robert - Wednesday, 06/16/04 18:56:43 EDT


The first thing you need to learn is that this is a message board, not a chat room! Enter messages once, then check back later. Most messages are answered within an hour, sometimes a bit longer
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 06/16/04 19:09:52 EDT

Robert: Just so you know, this is a message board, not a chat room, so you don't need to repeat if you don't get an answer right away. Forge welding stainless is very difficult to do, it's not like forge welding carbon steel. You need an oxygen free atmosphere and stronger then average flux.
   AwP - Wednesday, 06/16/04 19:16:12 EDT

Oops, you beat me to it Paw Paw. :)
   AwP - Wednesday, 06/16/04 19:16:50 EDT


To forge weld stainless steel is going to require a flux that has fluorspar in it, and a reducing atmosphere fire. I've never tried it, but I have serious doubts whether it will work at all.

Stainless steel oxidises in anything but an inert atmosphere, so I have no faith in a coal or charcoal fire to do anything but oxidize it badly. The next problem is the size/shape of stock you are working with. Round wire has too much surface area for the volume and the stock may burn up when you reach welding temperature.

It might be possible to effect a forge weld on stainless by putting the two pieces in welding position, flux liberally with fluorine flux, and then coat the outside of the assembly with ITC-213 to exclude oxygen. Then heat to welding temp, pull from fire and hammer the weld area. If you kept the ITC-213 out of the weld joint, it might actually weld. I doubt it, though.

Let me know how it works out for you.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 06/16/04 21:38:46 EDT

Forge Welding Stainless: It IS possible but why? The wire size is going to make is difficult. Forge welding is great for "traditional" decorative work but in exotic and non-traditional metals (for blacksmiths - IE anything not low carbon steel) it is better to use modern joining methods. Stainless is very easy to arc weld and small pieces such as the wire you describe could be TIG welded OR silver soldered. This is a case of picking what battles are worth fighting.

Bladesmiths do it all the time but they are normally making billets and the non-ferrous metals and high alloy steels are best put in the inside of the stack to protect them from air. All the pieces in the stack are mechanicaly cleaned (ground). Then they are fluxed heavily as soon as they are hot enough for flux to melt on the surface. And as VIc mentioned an aggressive flourine bearing flux is used.

To weld your pieces of wire I might consider a small crucible filled with flux and heating the metal from cold in hot melted flux. One trick to welding with borax based flux is not to boil the flux off. It DOES boil off and then leaves the metal unprotected at a high heat. So the highest practical forge welding temperature with borax is below its boiling point (have not found specifics).
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/16/04 23:45:34 EDT

Mike HR is right.
In your general area there are a number of excellent smiths who contribute greatly to the Calif Blacksmith Assn..our shy but splendid newsletter editor is even there.
The CBA has lots of good folks and there are usually anvils at the tailgate sales at the bi-annual conferences for reasonable prices. ( get there early for the best choice). I can recall only one CBA conference recently that didn't have anvils offered..and it was strong on other tools. Come to the Octoberfest this fall ( just north of Jenner on the ridge above Searanch). It is the sweetest of blacksmiths conferences i think, with great food and camping under the redwoods.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 06/17/04 03:29:05 EDT

Stephen Bondi Passes: Sunday, May 30, 2004

Steven Bondi succumbed after a long illness and will be missed by family and friends alike. I met Steven two years ago when he would often come by my shop and graciously share his knowledge and expertise. He had a sharp wit (and temper) and a dry humor that I enjoyed whenever he was around. He was a champion of Blacksmithing and traveled extensively to study and photograph ironwork.

The Blacksmithing community has lost a truly remarkable member.

Regards, Tim Cisneros

   - guru - Thursday, 06/17/04 11:02:37 EDT

Jock, Please can you detail the valve layout and action of double-action bellows so I can build myself a unit for a small forge. How do you work out the volume of the bellows so it doesn't shoot the coals right out of the fire!?

Roger D.
   Roger DICKS - Thursday, 06/17/04 14:29:27 EDT

Roger, Operation answered by mail.

Sizing is by seat of the pants. Generally bellow do not make too much air or can be regulated with a counter balance if too big. As you noted in your mail the ones you were familiar with had an iron ball weight to increase the pressure.

The size shown in our 21st Century page article about the bellows I built are nearly perfect. When made of 3/4" thick shelving pine lumber they are easy for one man to opperate and produce sufficient blast for most general uses. The only time the top needs added weight is when the fire is dirty and clogged with clinkers. Then I just set a hammer on the top.

Bellows as much as half this size are more economical to make but you have to pump them a lot more to produce the same air. Larger become cumbersum and take more effort to operate.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/17/04 16:01:53 EDT

Now that I have the cold galvanize, how do i spot a neutral ph primer?
   Dale Alexander - Thursday, 06/17/04 16:29:55 EDT

Dale, All red-oxide or netural color (grey and black) primers are neutral. Colored pigments are often reactive with the zinc and some primers are "etching" primers with an acid in them. You do not want an etching primer, these are used on non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, brass, copper and zinc. That includes hot dip galvanized finishes.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/17/04 16:40:07 EDT

Thanks to everyone for the great information and support on my anvil search. I will join CBA and hope that the anvil gods smile on me soon.
   Laura - Thursday, 06/17/04 19:35:20 EDT


Just make sure that the anvil gods don't RAIN on you! A rain of anvils is too much of a good thing! ;-)

Packing up to pack out near the banks of Bear Creek.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/17/04 20:00:28 EDT

Thanks for sharing the knowledge, as you can tell I am muchly a fledgling to the world of metalwork. Soon I will attend a fairly reputable school and learn the art of building fine firearms and knives... much to learn, cant wait to be counted among your ranks.
   - Veritas - Friday, 06/18/04 00:25:59 EDT
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