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This is an archive of posts from June 25 - 30, 2004 on the Guru's Den
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does anyone know where i can get info on what happens when you put copper and galv. metal together
   jeff - Thursday, 06/24/04 22:39:37 EDT


Slow down, son! This is NOT a chat room, it is a moderated forum where things are answered in due time. Usually the same day, but not always.

When you put galvanized steel and copper together, there may be an electrolytic reaction, depending on the ambient humidity, presence of slats, temperatures, free water, etc. In the Arizona desert, not much will happen very soon. Where I live in the middle of the Caribbean on an island, it would begin to show electrolytic corrosion in a couple of months, depending on how close to the shore it was.

Generally, the zinc is the most active and will be consumed sacrificially. Then the steel will go, and last the copper.

For specific and accurate determination of the effects of combining copper and galvanized steel, you need the advice of a good metallurgist or electrochemical engineer. Quenchcrack, our metallurgical expert, may offer some insights. You did not, however, specify what metal was galvanized. Is it steel, aluminum, brass, or something else? It DOES make a difference. As does the condition of the galvanized surface and the method by which it is joined to the copper.
   vicopper - Thursday, 06/24/04 23:06:54 EDT

Do you know how I can get a manual for an electric Reciprocating Hacksaw, Kwik Kut No. 7, D.E.C. Atkins, Indianapolis, Indiana?
   Paul Brown - Friday, 06/25/04 00:10:15 EDT

Hi PPW..
That wire brush joke is one i learned more than once; supposedly...then it sneaks up on me again a few years later. Working on autopilot is OK most of the time, but....
What does your protective gear look like now Jim?
Mike UK: I'll second Alan. A great many attempts at anvil repair fail after a few years of heavy use. Almost all anvil repairs leave soft spots in all the wrong places. Unless the anvil is a useless mess, don't weld on it's sensitive old face.
Paul Brown; Pretty good chance they are unavailable and have been for a long time. Try a Google search. Sometimes you can find the company that bought the company that changed it's name from Kwik Kut to Extreme Hack Corp and in a back room some old guy knows where the manuals are...sometimes.
   - Pete F - Friday, 06/25/04 03:56:36 EDT

Nails Again-

The difference between a nail made of cold drawn wire and one made from hot forged pure iron is going to be in whether they bend or not when driven into the wood. For small short nails, or nails being driven into relativly soft woods like pine there is likely no difference in performance. However, I would expect to see a difference when driving a 4 or 5 inch nail into harder woods like oak or some of the woods treated for out door use. Technically speaking, a cold drawn nail would be stronger and harder than a hot forged nail, resulting in less liklyhood of bending or mushrooming of the head during installation. This is probably a good opportunity to experiment. Take some modern nails of medium size. Put some in a forge, heat to yellow and allow to cool on the bench or floor. Then drive a coulple of these nails in a board and a few of the unalltered nails in a board and see if there is a difference in performace. It is possilble that both nails will perform equally well.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 06/25/04 07:20:35 EDT

Nails again.
Now this is far from scientific, but the only times I have had a forged nail bend or otherwise deform was when I hit a knot in the wood. BUT I have had too many to count instances where the wire nail bent. But YMMV
   Ralph - Friday, 06/25/04 10:15:23 EDT

Ralph and the nails: Holy smokes I didn't mean to start an arguement. Just saying PI doesn't make great nails. Made a few and the tips tend to bend. So, there are better alternatives. You can make nails out of wood if you want... but I think people call them pegs. (G)
   Gronk - Friday, 06/25/04 10:27:41 EDT

While you guys are talking about nails I want some advice about putting heads on bolts. I want to forge bolts for flintlock rifles. They are typically 10-32 which I believe is 0.1875" stock. I want the bolts to be flatheaded (where the head and shaft meet) and domed where the screw slot is. In other words it's going to look like a carriage bolt w/o the little square shoulder they have. Then be slotted with a file for screwdriver use.

Question #1: what kind of stock to use to forge a header plate? Would driveshaft or power-take-off shaft work (tough steel, medium carbon)?

Question #2: Should I try to head them in a series of 3-4 steps? I was thinking the first "stage" would be to upset some metal for a head, nail-header style. 2nd, pop in into a hole that is countersunk V-shaped and the correct head diameter to gather more metal for the head and confine it to the nice round shape. Step 3 would be to pop it into the next hole which would have a flat bottom for the head and nearly vertical sides (must have slight taper to release).

The bolts would be finished in a drill with files, etc and then threaded.

Ideas? will this work?
   rich pierce - Friday, 06/25/04 12:15:05 EDT

Hey Guys,
I would appreciate hearing suggestions for making collars to join different sizes of bars together. Anyone who has done very much of it has to have a better way of doing it than me. it would be easy if the jaw face width equalled the width of the stuff being banded but none of my many vices do. Anyway, I know ther are good ideas out there so please share. I would love to get two bends in one heat.
   LARRY SUNDSTROM - Friday, 06/25/04 13:05:47 EDT


I make a bottom tool that fits in the hardie hole. Basically a flat piece of 1/4x2 with two pieces of 3/8 or 1/2 square welded on. The spacing between the two pieces of square is the desired outside dimension of the collar. Then I make the top tool with a face the width of the desired inside dimension of the collar. (Ok, yeah, you do need a little clearance so you can pop it all apart after making the collar, but that's the general idea.) To use, I cut/draw the collar stock to length, heat, and place it centered across the two pieces of square on the bottom tool. Then I position the top tool on top of the stock, whack, and pop the finished collar out of the bottom tool. Does that make sense?

   Steve A - Friday, 06/25/04 14:42:42 EDT

I have a couple questions.#1 What is a block anvil?#2the ad says that it is cold face.cane anyone explan what that is?#3The anvil was prevously used for cold hammering cirle saws.What is that and is it ok for regular blacksmithing? Any help is greatly aprecated!
   - John S - Friday, 06/25/04 15:02:37 EDT

sure does. I was trying something like that towards the end of the day yesterday only I was clamping the devise to my work table. That is not a good time in my day for research and developement. I'll try again when I am fresh instead of frazzeled. How do you gage the length, say for instance, you wanted to collar two 1/2 inch square bars together. Would a piece 3" long touch where the ends come together? I guess the best calculation would be done volumetrically, so why don't I just do the math? Right?
Any other ideas floating around out there?
   - L sundstrom - Friday, 06/25/04 15:06:09 EDT

Rich: That will work, but it can also be done kind of like heading rivets. Drop your chunk of #10 diameter rod through an exact-size hole in a thick plate, with a stop underneath to leave enough rod sticking up to head. I'd suspect 5/8" or a bit less would work. I'd also start heading it cold with a ball peen, and then use a torch to heat it up to a low red to get the final spread, and then a low-dome rivet set could even start the final head shape, saving time with the drill and file. Heck, I made that sound easy enough I might even have to try it! If you can't get enough meat on the head from the #10 rod alone, you can always thread it, screw a nut on the end, bring to welding heat, and head it that way.

I use 10-32 lock bolts too. Except when I use 8-32, but I wouldn't want to try to head a #8 rod. Frank House makes his lock bolts on a lathe, and only threads them far enough to make it impossible to overtighten the lock.

John S. : Sawmakers used a square-faced anvil that had no horn, heel, or hardy hole. It ought to work fine for smithing. Is it a Fisher, Eagle, or Fisher-Norris? They were made by casting iron into a mold with the cooler steel faceplate already in the mold. This may be what they are referring to.
   Alan-L - Friday, 06/25/04 15:16:15 EDT

ABANA Conference favor? I saw in the Hammers Blow that I received yesterday that they would be selling back issues of Hammers Blow for $1. I'm a newby and only have the last two years - would anyone attending be willing to buy up as many a s possible (they provide the boxes) and send them to me? I would gladly compensate you for your time! Thanks
   Michael Reinhart - Friday, 06/25/04 15:18:14 EDT

i would like to know how to case harden en1a (freecutting steel)to 55 rockwell
   andrew - Friday, 06/25/04 15:33:18 EDT

John S; the fisher anvils that had cast iron cast on the faceplate did not have a "cold face" they were quite hot. However if you cast straight cast iron you could put chills in the mold to get the face to form white cast iron---very hard and often referred to as chilled iron.

Note the person selling this may not know exacty wich type he's got. Don't buy it unless you can find that out---a manufacturer's name would be a good start!

It makes a big difference which of these methods was used. I like the fisher anvils; but would not buy a straight cast iron anvil even if it had a "chilled face"

A block anvil is a big hunk of steel (or in this case iron or iron and stee) that is used as an anvil. They do not have a horn or heel and often do not have a hardy hole. The anvil used by japanese swordmaker's is a good example of a block anvil.

Large circular saws are dished so that when the come up to speed they run true and flat. This anvil was used for that.
If it's a good brand---like Fisher, then it would be a good anvil for smithing though some folks would miss the hardy, horn or heel. I wouldn't mind picking up a several hundred pound Fisher Sawyer's anvil myself. I would not be willing to pay much at all for a straight cast iron one.though.

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 06/25/04 16:00:45 EDT

rich- i would take two blocks of steel bolted together, and drill and tap 10-32down the seam of the two blocks. That way you can thread first, the die may not thread all the way with the head preformed. thread the stock into the tapped hole, leaving 1 1/2 times the thickness of the stock sticking out. make a negative of the bolt head to use for the header. you could heat the stock with a torch and hot form the head. when done, release the two part die, and chase the threads.
   mike-hr - Friday, 06/25/04 16:27:18 EDT

(Heading Bolts)
Mike and Alan,
thanks, good ideas.

i'll try them all and give you a report hopefully in a week. I plan to thread only that part of the shaft I need.
   rich pierce - Friday, 06/25/04 16:42:23 EDT

Do you know of any blacksmiths in the Detroit, MI, USA area that are interested in teaching someone who is interested in learning the art of blacksmithing?
   Elcy Smith - Friday, 06/25/04 17:51:00 EDT

LOL. Not really meaning to argue. But unfortuantely nails are something I really know about. At least forging and using them. We have had to make many many thousands of nails at Fort Vancouver NHS( used in new buildings as they are built) I have used mild steel and wrought and PI. So far I had not noticed any difference in nailing them in. But like I said earlier, that was me and others may or will have a completely different experience.....
Shoot what I DO NOT know about blacksmithing will fill the Library of Congress....
   Ralph - Friday, 06/25/04 19:43:49 EDT

Larry, Collar lenght is Circumfence, plus twice the thickness your collar is made from. I make a test peice to be sure first.
   JimG - Friday, 06/25/04 19:54:27 EDT

Jeff, as Vicopper said, it depends on a number of things: what metal is galvanized? Which metal has the largest area? What is the electrolite? A smart-aleck answer is that one of them will corrode and one won't. The scientific answer needs more data to compute.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 06/25/04 20:03:51 EDT


Go to the Michigan Artists Blacksmith web site at http://miblacksmith.org/. The web site isn't updated very often, unfortunately, but there you will find contact info. Get the free newsletter, and contact Steve Ailing, our president. And if you are free on Sunday, and willing to travel, we are doing a demo over at the Waterloo Farm Museum. That is just northwest of Chelsea.
   Bob H - Friday, 06/25/04 20:40:11 EDT

   Elcy Smith - Saturday, 06/26/04 00:25:28 EDT

The best approach is to join your local ABANA affiliate. You can learn a huge amount at the meets, get some hands on time with the heavy toys, find used equiptment and folks to answer your questions, all at a minimal cost.
Otherwise you must pledge your undying feality for 7 years, work at menial tasks 16 hours a day for the first 4 years and sleep on the coal pile in a dank shop as an apprentice.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 06/26/04 03:34:15 EDT

I am writing a book set in 1814 with a blacksmith as a minor character. In one scene he is at work and I'd like to get it correct. He is putting shoes on a horse. Dumb questions:
A horseshoe is made of iron, I assume, and not steel?
How big is the hammer -- length and weight?
Would the bellows work by hand or foot?
The horseshoe is heated red-hot? White-hot?
If he works outdoors, does he carry an anvil? Is there a lighter weight anvil for farriers? What does he do for the fire if he works outdoors?
Thank you for providing this servive. You may save me some embarrassment.
   Devin - Saturday, 06/26/04 08:49:49 EDT

Thanks Jim,
When I did the math, I came to the same answer. And when I tested it in the shop, it worked. Does the same rule of thumb work for round rings if you are given the inside diameter? I wonder why.
   - L sundstrom - Saturday, 06/26/04 08:58:04 EDT

I like Mike's idea, and you could drill out the unthreaded length to body diameter and not worry about threading to the head! Something like a full-length hole with a #29 drill, followed by a 3/16" drill with a depth stop, then tap the remaining #29 portion. Except #29 is for tapping a 8-32, so never mind. Mike, Lock bolts need around 1-1/4" unthreaded below the head. Well, they don't NEED it, but it's preferred.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 06/26/04 09:02:32 EDT

I'm making a knife from an old file and I was told by a guy that when tempering, the oil or brine quench should be heated. Is this so and if so why?
   Scott Whynot - Saturday, 06/26/04 10:15:43 EDT

Scott Whynot, if you are using an old file, it will probably be high carbon steel. The steel should be heated to non-magnetic, and quenched into warm oil, not brine. The warm oil will cool the steel more slowly, minimizing distortion and cracking while hardening it.

Devin: the first problem is making the blacksmith a minor charater! The second problem is most blacksmiths do not do horseshoes now. Perhaps they did at the time of your story. We have several good historians who frequent this board and I will defer to their comments.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/26/04 10:47:59 EDT


Maybe I should add that the novel is set in a small and declining village. The blacksmith and everyone else has trouble making a living. I'd think this would push toward taking all work, but I came here to be corrected.
   Devin - Saturday, 06/26/04 11:48:19 EDT


In that time period:

Horseshoes would be iron. Hand hammers would be 2 to 4 lbs. Sledges would be 6 to 20 lbs. Bellows typically would work by hand with the smith or a helper pulling a lever to actuate them. The work is heated to very bright yellow to forge and white hot to weld (probably not done on shoes but would be done on wagon tires). The anvil weighs 150 to 300 lbs so the smith would probably set it up outside and leave it unless he was overly worried with theft. The lighter weight farrier anvils are more modern than 1814. Fuel for the fire is probably charcoal or possible mineral coal depending on what part of the country.
   - HWooldridge - Saturday, 06/26/04 12:07:47 EDT

Where can I find pictorial diagrams of swords?
   Josh - Saturday, 06/26/04 13:25:07 EDT

thanks for the reply
I understand now the need for heating the oil when tempering my knife blades.
After the blade is heated to the proper temperature, and I quench it in the warm oil. Should I leave it right in the oil to cool as the oil cools, or just dunk it?
thanks Scott
   Scott Whynot - Saturday, 06/26/04 15:22:57 EDT

Disclaimer: I am 18 years old, just graduated highschool. I am interested in metalworking, smithing, and custom fabrication. I am currently working on a small library of reference books relating to the methods, science, and craft of the art. So, if my question reveals that I am less than knowledgeable on the subject matter, it is because I am. I do however, appreciate you taking the time to read my post, and answer if you do.
I've read articles in other places that claim that water quenching is superior to oil quenching. Is this true, or is it a matter of comparing the pros and cons of each method?
Forges: I saw a show on the History channel or it may have been the Discovery channel that had a blacksmith using a forge that appeared to be a 50 gallon drum turned on its side, with a small door, a stack, and that was it. I must be missing something, but I'm guessing this was a gas design, or is it possible to achieve the appropriate temperatures using just charcoal?
   O'leary - Saturday, 06/26/04 15:45:06 EDT

Scott: I recommend you read the FAQ's on this site regarding heat treating. As to quenching, quickly put the blade all the way in tip first . Swirl it in a figure 8 until the blade is at the same temperature as the oil, that is, when you can withdraw it without it smoking. This should take several minutes. Check to see if it has hardened by running an OLD file over it. If the file scates over the blade, it is hard. If the OLD file bites in, you did not harden the blade. Heat treating is more complex than it appears and you should educate yourself a bit before trying it.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/26/04 16:25:01 EDT

O'leary: The choice of quenching medium is based upon the chemistry of the steel you are trying to harden. Any steel with a carbon content over .30 should be oil quenched, although higher carbon steel can be water quenched under certain conditions. Lower carbon steel can be water quenched. If you are serious about learning why this is, go to www.iforgeiron.com. Click on Blueprints, and go to the one on Metallurgy of Heat Treating for Blacksmiths. This will probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Scott Whynot, you might visit this site, too.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/26/04 16:30:38 EDT

Thankyou quench, I read the article all the way through. Its fascinating stuff, and that particular piece explains several sides and aspects of the science, thankyou again. One thing I didn't understand...Martensite...is this a desirable product?
   O'leary - Saturday, 06/26/04 17:43:22 EDT

Hi Guru, Our company has currently a French Roccocoo balustrading to make. When curving the scrol work around the former to make the 180degree turn does one assemble the panel first and progressively heat and dog the scrols down onto the former or do you draw the design onto the former and idividually set each scroll then assemble. We are assembling with screws not welding.
   Guido Gouverneur - Saturday, 06/26/04 19:42:03 EDT

O'leary: When you desire to harden a piece of steel, it is martensite you want to form.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 06/26/04 20:45:07 EDT


As to your question about the 55 gal drum. I COULD be a forge, but it would be a huge one. It sounds more like one of the old Mother Earth News do-it-yourself wood burning stoves to me. To heat that kind of volume to the temperatures required for forging steel would require a tremendous amount of fuel, and would waste most of it unless you were heating a really large piece. Ideally, you only use as big a fire or forge as is necessary for the work you are doing, so as not to waste fuel and unnecessarily heat up the shop.

My big 4-burner forge is about two feet long by 14" in diameter and gobbles up propane at an alarming rate when run on all lburners at welding temperature. That sort of use would use up a 100 lb tank of propane in just a couple of long days. My smaller 2-burner forge is half that length and about 11" outside diameter. It will run for a couple of weeks on a 100 lb tank, doing regular forging work.

A charcoal forge the size and shape you described would be a nuisance to run, I would think. You have to have a blower or bellows with solid fuel, and a smaller, more tightly controlled fire is generally much better than a large sprawled out one. A broad fire takes a really large amount of air to keep hot, too. But charcoal will most certainly reach appropriate temperatures for blacksmithing. It was the primary fuel for smiths for the first few hundred years, and is still preferred by a number of smiths.

Most solid fuel forges, whether charcoal or coal, have a firepot are about 9" square upo to about 10 by 12". Deeper depth for charcoal, shallower for coal, but rarely any wider or longer. The object in blacksmithing is usually to heat only the area that you are going to work immediately, not all the steel around it. Remember, the smith has to grab it someplce to manipulate it during forging, and hot iron is soft iron and bends easily. Mostly, we heat an area a few inches in length at a time, rarely more than a foot of length. Big pieces are done in stages.
   vicopper - Saturday, 06/26/04 21:07:20 EDT

Thankyou Vicopper. I've been researching and pondering on forge design for some time now. The volume, and as a corollary the fuel consumed given a certain amount of time, had not previously occured to me. Of course...I've never used a forge so I haven't quite got a feel for the length of time given the amount of heat needed for charcoal and gas to burn.
When I get a shop set up, I'm going to start with forging my own tools. I would like to eventually work on knives, and perhaps the granddaddy of that particular family...but that would be years down the road, and thousands of hours of practice and research. My father has been working metal in various functions from the time he was a kid and he originally caught my eye with custom hot rod fabrication. That is...building Lotus sevens from the ground up, jig fixture, frame rails and all.
Thankyou all for your advice, time, and patience. I appreciate it.
   O'leary - Saturday, 06/26/04 22:03:30 EDT

O'leary and questions:-)

Water is superior for water quenching steels. In an air quenching steel it could be fatal... Know your steels and experiment to find the best combination of hardness and durability. Some steels can be pushed a little with a faster quench but it has a higher risk of quenchcracking, and will need to be differentially tempered so that they do not remain full hard all the way through the piece. There is rarely a simple answer to a simple question,when the subject is really complex:-)

Forge design??? There are lots of forge designs and most of them work pretty well as along as they contain the fire safely and provide adequete air blast to the fuel. Without seeing the forge in question (or haveing more details:-) I couldn't hazard a guess at weither the forge was a gasser or some varient on a solid fuel type forge. And yes charcoal is a very good fuel for blacksmithing.
   Fionnbharr - Saturday, 06/26/04 23:13:28 EDT

has anyone seen/used an "old world anvil"? the price seems resonable.
   evisr8 - Sunday, 06/27/04 11:04:57 EDT


Thank you very much for the answers, but they have opened more questions.

What is the difference between a sledge and a hammer other than sledge being bigger? Different function? Shape?
What is the length of handle of a hammer? A sledge?
Which would you use on a horseshoe or would it depend?

Again, thanks.
   Devin - Sunday, 06/27/04 11:11:20 EDT

evisr8: Yes, I own the 167 lb. double horn classic. It is a great anvil. I bought my from Dan Morris when he owned Old World. He has since sold the business and I have not dealt with the new owner. You can get a very similar anvil from Euroanvils, who advertise here on Anvilfire. The prices and shipping are almost identical. People who have done business with Euroanvils have been very satisfied.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/27/04 11:15:44 EDT

I am 28, live in Brewster, Mass. and have been interested in learning the art of blacksmithing most of my life. I have little knowledge to start with, but would like to apprentice if possible. Could you please direct me to where I can find a tradesman willing to teach an apprentice, or a school near to me where they teach this art. Thank you.
   Paul Russell - Sunday, 06/27/04 11:19:31 EDT


May I suggest some reading here on Anvilfire. Go to the stories page, and read the following in this order...

A Day in the Life of a Blacksmith's Apprentice

A Blacksmith of 1776

The Revolutionary Blacksmith

The last is three books, and will take some time to read, but I think you will find it worthwhile.

   rwidmer - Sunday, 06/27/04 11:49:09 EDT


Not volume, but circumference on the collars. For your example of two 1/2" bars, I'd use a collar 1/2 + 1 + 1/2 + 1 + 1. An extra one in there because I usually make my collars where the ends overlap. So that's a 4" piece of collar stock. 4" after tapering or whatever you do to finish the ends of the collar stock, I usually taper mine. And figuring out what you need to start with before tapering, yes, that is done by volume. ;)

   Steve A - Sunday, 06/27/04 14:58:23 EDT

Got a Farmers forge table from a lady who had flowers growing in it, and worked yesterday overhauling it. I made leather belts, but do not know how long they should be, or how to connect them. Any pictures I can look at to give me an idea?? Don

   Don - Sunday, 06/27/04 16:54:38 EDT

Paul, go the home page here on Anvilfire, click on the FAQ section and go to Apprenticeships.

Don, leather belts for what? The blower? Your Pants?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/27/04 17:09:49 EDT

Devin, back in the days when every one was a custom job the length of each smith's hammers would be what *they* though worked best for them---this could range from very short---I've seen german smiths with hammer handles only slightly longer than their grip length, to very long, I've known smiths who like to cut down sledge handles for their hand hammers.

Sledges are usually just larger versions of the smith's hand hammers and were generally swung by a striker using two hands---the single person blacksmith shop *wasn't* you always had a striker or a shop boy to provide assistance---even if you had to hire day labour.

Quenchcracked, the use of coal did not happen in Europe till around the high Middle ages---though to confuse matters they uesed the term "coal" to refer to charcoal back then and called the rock stuff "earth coal" or "sea coal" (cause it would wash up on some beaches); so that should be the first couple of THOUSAND years of the iron age...

Wrought iron being quite soft at a yellow heat should only require the use of a hand hammer when making a shoe.

May I note that knives being very thin in cross section can often be hardened in the next "gentler" quenchant---so a water hardening steel will often quench in oil and an oil hardening steel may quench in air. Going the reverse (oil hardening quenching in water, etc) can result in warping and cracking of the blade.

In haste a storm is blowing up, we sure need the rain but the lightening is hard on computer systems!

   Thomas P - Sunday, 06/27/04 18:51:42 EDT

Other quenching media: When I had a nice tool room furnace at work, I would use oil hardening steels to make knives. However, having no oil, I had to improvise. Compressed air does a fairly nice job of quenching high carbon steel with very little distortion. Point the tip of the blade into the nozzle and quench until the blade is cold. Differentially temper the blade and you are ready for a lot of polishing. Didn't say that the air was a perfect substitute.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/27/04 19:52:27 EDT

Metalurgy question: I saw an article in the news Friday about a "new type of steel"....called amorphous steel, which the article touted as being twice as strong as regular steel, with the ability to form it like plastic, and being non-magnetic so it would have military uses...naval submarines were mentioned. Any truth in this, or was it written to confuse the ignorant, such as myself?

Thanks much.....
   Ellen - Sunday, 06/27/04 23:19:28 EDT

Ellen, I am not in any way a metalurgist, but this sounds very much like snake oil....
Steel can be formed like plastic when it is up to temp. (grin)
   Ralph - Sunday, 06/27/04 23:55:17 EDT

Paul Russell,

Youmight wish to check out the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine. They are relatively new, but offer blacksmithing courses.

   vicopper - Monday, 06/28/04 00:39:16 EDT


Amorphous steel is NOT snake oil at all. Check this out:

   vicopper - Monday, 06/28/04 00:41:21 EDT

ok, so now that you have non crystaline steel, would you be able to forge it and have the steel stay that way, or would the metal revert back to a crystal structure from the heat???
   HavokTD - Monday, 06/28/04 02:07:05 EDT

Based on what the web page ( thanks vicopper) I would say the answer to forging it would be NO.
Also the developers said that they 'feel' it could be produced commercially. And since only centimeter sized pieces have been made I think we may be a ways off.
Be interesting to see how big long pieces work out. Or if it might be too brittle to flex like building supports.....
I am still waiting for the various supper alloys promised in all the sci-fi I read as a kid ( well that I still read...)
That and my flying 'car' that everyone will have by the 1970's and 80's......
   Ralph - Monday, 06/28/04 02:46:44 EDT

Hi, I was wondering if anyone could direct me to a site or some good information on chromoly steel and it's properties.

Thanks WL
   Walker - Monday, 06/28/04 02:48:58 EDT

Amorphous Metals

These have been around for a number a years and some of them are produced comercially. They are also known as metallic glasses and the amorphous nature is achived by cooling so rapidly that crystaline structures are not formed. This was originally achieved by alloying elements with very large atomic radii because the large atoms "bumped" into each other during cooling disrupting the formation of crystals. In college we has some thin foils of these materials. In the non-crystalline form they were quite ductile. When heated with a torch, they quickly became crystalline and were quite brittle. I would say that forging them is definitly out of the question.

   Patrick - Monday, 06/28/04 07:52:04 EDT

Walker, Once again the marketing men in the gray wool suits have taken a mundane product and saddled it with a sexy name to sell more of it. Chromoly Steel is basically just plain old 4100 series alloy steel. It has about .90 Chromium and about .20 molybdenum. Carbon content can be anywhere from about .25 to about .55 depending on the application. It is a readily hardenable steel and depending on the carbon content will achieve a wide variety of strengths. It is weldable (with pre-heat), forgable, and all around a very useful steel. It can be formed in to pipe and tube and cold drawn for precision structural applications (like bike frames). However, it only one of about 25,000 metal alloys available in the world today.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 06/28/04 08:18:29 EDT

Decorative French Ironwork: Guido Gouverneur, Bending and assembly order depend on the specific design. In a rail where the work is repetitive the former or what we call a "bending jig" would be customized so that it made every scroll to a perfect fit. Then all the components would be made first, then assembled on a bench (assembly table or weld platen). It is not unusual that pieces must be adjusted slightly to fit.

In a hand made rail where the design has a lot long and meshing scrolls and few repetive elements the scrolls are all hand fited into the framework. In this case formers are often used for segments of the scrolls such as the closely scrolled section so that the different scrolls have a simularity of appearance even though they are all of different lengths. This gives the piece a certain character or style. The longer sections in scrolls of this type are made to fit the drawing which has been transfered to the table in chalk.

Often long fancy rails will have sections at the ends that are all hand fited while the middle is repetitive elements. In this case both methods are used.

In short rails I would hand forge and bend all the scrolls by eye and matching to a chalk layout. However, this requires a skilled smith who is also an artist. I can make (draw or forge) various scrolls by eye but not all smiths can do this.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 08:30:56 EDT

Chromoly Steel As QC pointed out this is a sales name not an alloy specification. In the early days of producing alloys there was often only one maker and they produced the alloy under a trade name. This worked great until other manufacturers started making similar steels. Today "Chrome moly Steel" is a whole family of steels. Modern steels are all identified by numbers or number letter combinations. These are called "standard steels" (they are made to a standard. Europe, China, Japan and the US all use different standards and numbering systems. SO, not only do you need to know the steels number WE need to know where you are. However, most of us here are in the US OR have American references to steels.

One of the earliest steel standards was SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). There system coded the carbon and alloy class into the number so that those knowledgeable of the system could read the content. Today people still speak of 1018, 1020, 4140, 5160 and similar SAE steels without giving the standard. These should be given as "SAE 1018, SAE 1020, . . .). SAE has been absorbed in the UNS ststem (Unified numbering system) which is not nearly as friendly but covers a wide range of metals and alloys.

A good place to start if you are interested in steels and the various standards is MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK (see our review page). Machinery's has steel standards starting with SAE, steel compositions and heat treating recomendations. See also the references recomended on our heat treating FAQ.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 08:46:06 EDT


I use a hard hat which has a "flip up" full face Lexan shield, and I wear safety glasses underneath it.

Hurt me once, shame on you!
Hurt me twice, shame on me!

Most of you already know what Pete and I are talking about, but if you don't know, take a look at iForge Demo #66.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 10:33:35 EDT

Camp Fenby: Had a good time. Spent much of it helping design the RenFaire Junk Yard Hammer. Twill be an intresting machine and LOOK the part. Some of it actually got built.

Weather was great, company was great, turnout was a little low. Shaving horses were made, Silver jewlery was made. weaving was done, wire bradeing taught, forgings were made. . . AND I made a couple brass castings at the last (sucesses and failures).

The usual high point is the Crab Fest which went well especially in the perfectly cool summer sunset. My hat's off to captian Atli and crew for a wonderful event.

Photos to follow in the NEWS which will be launched next week covering the ABANA conference as well.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 11:08:55 EDT

Hi my name is Terry
I am new ta blacksmithing and I also do woodworking I would like ta make some of my on tools is there a good book out there fer me?
   Terry - Monday, 06/28/04 11:45:32 EDT

Books: Terry, see our Getting Started FAQ and our book reviews of the same. We also have a sword making bibliography that starts at the begining and then shifts to specialization.

Possible Scam and the Blacksmithing Community:

In the 800 mails I had when I returned there was a mail with a sob story about orphans and cripples from Sierra Leone. This mail askes for blacksmithing equipment. I suspect it is a scam since numerous people recived this via both contact forms and spam lists.

On the chance that this is legitimate (I have been warned numerous times this AM that it probably is not), I have written to the person and will see what I can find out.

Generally the way these things work is they do not just need the tools they need money for shipping, then for bribes to get past customs and a lawyer to do the bribing and then. . . on and on. In dribs and drabs from various people this can add up to a lot.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 12:08:32 EDT

Anyone have the web page for Off Center Forge or
phone No# or address
so I can get a hold of Grant Sawyer--sp-?
   IronWolf - Monday, 06/28/04 12:24:01 EDT

Terry, my particular recommendations, some of which are likely on the bibliography list...

Toolmaking for Woodworkers, by Ray Larsen
Complete Modern Blacksmith by Weygers
Toolmaking... something, I forget the whole title, by Jim Kingshott

   Steve A - Monday, 06/28/04 12:27:42 EDT

IW, Grant (Sarver) tends to be kind of reclusive (actually Vbusy) except when he posts here and elsewhere. He has no web page (had ForgeTools.com and abandonded it) and the last e-mail addresses I had for him are defunct.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 12:43:38 EDT

I just finished responding to Devin in Email.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 12:47:39 EDT


Actually forge welding was use to a large extent. Many folks from that time period preferred for their horse shoes to be made from "old stock". Fold two horse shoes in half, link them together, weld into a solid bar, than make the new shoe from the bar. The process of working the old stock helped to refine the iron a bit, and old stock shoes lasted longer than "new stock".
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 12:50:31 EDT


" When I get a shop set up, I'm going to start with forging my own tools. I would like to eventually work on knives, and perhaps the granddaddy of that particular family...but that would be years down the road, and thousands of hours of practice and research"

MANY blessing be upon you for understanding those very simple facts! We will be glad to help you, each in our own field, as much as you need.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 12:54:20 EDT


Thank you.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 12:55:51 EDT

Grant does usually answer his phone, and since he puts his phone number on his tongs, I assume he is not trying to hide it- 800-99-forging, or 800-993-6744.
   ries - Monday, 06/28/04 14:10:34 EDT

ries thanks but that No#1-800-993-6744 is no good anymore
by any chance do you have a snail mail address for
Grant Sarver ?
have a few folks that would like some tongs and stuff from him and can't find away to get a hold of him :(
   IronWolf - Monday, 06/28/04 14:59:04 EDT

PS-- anyone know what city Grant mite live in ?
   IronWolf - Monday, 06/28/04 15:00:42 EDT

I want to thank all of you for answering questions. You saved me from a few dumb mistakes. Also I read and enjoyed your short stories. I seem to have already read the Revolutionary Blacksmith -- it must have been on another site.
   Devin - Monday, 06/28/04 15:16:59 EDT

IW, Other than when Grant sells at local shows all his sales are through Kayne and Son, both wholesale and retail. He is located in Tacoma, WA.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/04 15:44:32 EDT

I recently purchased a ring anvil at my granfather's auction. It was his father's which makes it from the 1800's at some time. Does anyone know what I should look for to date it or find a manufacturer. It is approximatley 3 feet high and weighs about 80-100 pounds.
   Julie - Monday, 06/28/04 16:07:25 EDT


If you find TRB on another site I would really like to know where! Anvilfire is the ONLY site on the internet authorized to host TRB, other than own site. I am the copyright holder, and I have NOT authorized anyone other than anvilfire to show any or all of TRB other than short, fair use" portions for review purposes.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 16:36:39 EDT


"other than own site" should read "other than my own site".
   Paw Paw - Monday, 06/28/04 16:38:52 EDT

while sort of on the topic of sales named steels, what's the story behind sheffield steel? All my chisels that are any good are marked with it.
   HavokTD - Monday, 06/28/04 19:09:42 EDT

Making woodworking tools: About 2 years ago, Woodcarving Illustrated (www.carvingworld.com) had an article on how to make small gouges and chisels. It appears to borrow heavily from Weigers book.

Sheffield Steel: Sheffield is an area in the UK that has a long history of steelmaking and cutlery. In the past, anything marked Sheffield would have been considerd pretty good except the Chinese have adopted the name and now manufacture cheap junk under the name Sheffield. It would be like buying tools made in the US marked "Pittsburgh". You still don't know who really made the steel. BTW, the Chinese also manufacture tools under the name "Pittsburg". Why are we not surprised?
   quenchcrack - Monday, 06/28/04 20:26:24 EDT

Welding Question: Welding rod question (well, ALMOST blacksmithing!): Do they make 7018 in 5/64"? Or is there a decent substitute? This is for a crack in the front end loader supports for an ancient Ford 1500 tractor....I am limited by a 30 amp circuit breaker in what current I can use to weld the darn thing....Thanks
   Ellen - Monday, 06/28/04 21:34:05 EDT

Ellen: 3/32 is as close as you will get,grind out the crack to a bevel,and fill with multiple passes.3 should do the trick,but thats a guess not seeing it.DC at 75 to 85 amps is about right.Then if you have room you can fish plate over the crack togive the supports more strength,
   crosspean - Monday, 06/28/04 22:33:21 EDT


While I don't know of anyone who makes 5/64" 7018 rods, I do think that you should be able to weld it with 1/8" rod just fine. You might not get as long a duty cycle as you would like, but you can push that 30 amp breaker pretty far for short durations. If the 1/8" won't work, you can drop to 3/32."

I would suggest, though, that you use 7014 instead of the 7018. Using DCSP with the 7014, you will get MUCH better penetration than you will with the 7018. You'll probably find it a bit easier to deal with on vertical welds as well, as it is not as slow-freezing a rod as the 7018.

Regardless of which rod you decide on, I strongly recommend that you pre-heat and post-heat your weld area. If using multiple passes, interpass peening is good, too. One reason those things crack is weld embrittlement of the adjacent area, and the post-heat will mitigate that a good deal. Slow cooling of the weldment also is advised. If you have an asbestos welding blanket or some spare Kaowool, wrap the weld area in it to cool slowly.
   vicopper - Monday, 06/28/04 23:13:08 EDT

Vicopper, Crosspean, thanks much. I was kind of leaning towards the 7014 because it is a vertical bead, and yes, I do have a welding blanket, small but adequate. How much of a pre-heat would be good? I also think veeing it out is a very good idea, along with multiple passes......would a map torch work for the pre and post heats? My oxyacetylene tanks are not very portable as they are quite large, but I don't have to fill them so often either.....thanks!
   Ellen - Tuesday, 06/29/04 00:39:53 EDT

Hi Ellen:
A large mapp gas torch would work but my favorite is the $20 propane weed burner from Harbor Fright..it's one of the actual good deals there. Lots of flaming fun
   Pete F - Tuesday, 06/29/04 02:14:06 EDT

Sheffield was where Huntsman operated his crucible steel works and where a lot of blister steel works were prior to that. It became noted for it's knives and other high carbon steel items and even to recent times had a core of ferrous metallurgy knowledge around it.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/29/04 10:24:11 EDT

Cone Mandrel 'Ring Anvil': Julie, Most of these, even ancient ones found in the US were cast in the US and very few have any type of marking much less a date. Almost every iron foundry made them and every foundry made them differently. Early and many old anvils found in the US were mostly made in England and as export products sold by the pound were usualy marked with their place of manufacture and weight.

Determining the age of a cone mandrel is virtualy impossible. If one had a brand name it might be possible to say when it could mave last been made based on the company's history IF it is a known history. However, if the marks are foundry marks then it is doutful that a time of manufacture can be determined as there were thousands of small foundries that have come an gone with no recorded history.

How different can a simple cone be? They come in different heights and diameters varying the angle. Some have a base flange, others not. Some are solid, most are hollow. Some have a "tong groove" or slot, some have a flat for the same purpose, others are fully round. Some have a removable cone point with a square shank that will also fit into an anvil hardy hole. Some are quite pointed and others have a large flat. The most unusual are short cone sections that look like rings. These were used for large diameter hub and barrel rings and came in a nesting set.

A friend of mine has quite a collection of cones and includes most of the variations above. One solid cone is about 3 feet tall and about 2 feet in diameter at the base. It weighs about 1,000 pounds and has a 1" steel eye bolt in the top to lift it. He also has some large and small common cones as well as several of the short ring cones.

THEN there are jewlers ring mandrels that are used for sizing rings which are usualy graduated. These are made of hardened tool steel like an anvil.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/04 11:00:11 EDT

Reading the rules that you have displayed on your Web page you may not be able to help me- but it is worth a shot. I need to have some infomation on MILD STEEL the elasticity,toughness, fusibility and conductivity in comparison to aluminium, brass, copper and spring steel. I have a buisness oppertunity to produce a mild steel product but i need to know why use mild steel instead of the other metals i listed above, I want to know this before I commit to anything.I am sure that you understand. I friend in Australia reccomended this site. So if you could help me with the pros and cons of why I should use mild steel I would be very appreciative Thankyou so much for your time. Daisy- Jeda
   Daisy-Jeda - Tuesday, 06/29/04 11:35:27 EDT

I have a technique question. Having just recently begun to experiment with forging, I'm having some trouble getting the large stock items that I have convienent access to, down to a reasonable width. I've tried drawing out the stock, but my attempts don't seem to be meeting with much success. Do you have any suggestions that would be helpful? I know that a rounded side of the anvil can be used, but I'm not exactly clear on HOW.
   Rob - Tuesday, 06/29/04 15:32:32 EDT

Rob, it would help quite a bit if we knew the size of the stock you're starting with and the size you want to get to from there. The peen of the hammer is good for drawing out quickly by putting a series of dents in the stock that are then hammered flat with the hammer face. That's also how you use the edge of the anvil to draw out. It's a two-stage process regardless. Wide, thin stock, such as 2" x 1/4", is hard to make narrower without buckling.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/29/04 16:15:29 EDT

Dear Guru,
I have been working with metal for almost 25 years. However, I just recently got into the art of smithing. I studied the books and asked a lot of questions when I would see a smith doing a demonstration. I can do most things pretty well. However, a friend of mine from church asked me to make a banana knife for him. Well, that wasn't too much of a problem. Well, he showed the knife to other people and now I am getting orders from everywhere. What I am having trouble with is keeping the stock straight (top to bottom). It wants to curve around on me. I have compensated by cutting an angle on the top then working the opposite side. This helps, but still doesn't completely do the trick. Am I overlooking something here? I looked back thru my books, and it doesn't say anything about this sort of problem. I asked another friend, who had to get out of the trade due to an injury, and he said he hadden't had that happen before.
I am using 1/4"x1" stock and 1/4"x 1" stock (flat).

   Gary - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:00:22 EDT

Paw Paw --

It was probably your site -- no reason to think it wasn't. I wish I could tell you for sure. I have been working on this novel for years and have visited tens of thousands of sites for research and have not kept records unless it is something I am directly using.

   Devin - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:01:23 EDT


No problem, it may have been my site.

One reason I reacted as quickly as I did is that the first book of the series is supposed to be in paperback, in my hands, by this coming Saturday, July the 3rd.

Like you, I've been working on it for years. The first book in publication is actually a combination of what was book one, and book two.

Well over three years of my life between the covers of the book.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:07:03 EDT

Pete, the propane weed burner is a great tool, I've seen coppersmiths use them at shows, but alas, for mechanized vehicles the flame is a bit big considering the flammable liquids (and crusted solids) that have accumulated over the ages......even though I ALWAYS keep a large fire extinguisher handy whenever I am welding.....
   Ellen - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:09:53 EDT

Gary is it curving from one side getting longer when you hammer it thinner? If so there are three ways to deal with it. 1: make sure you hammer the other side an equal ammount---not always possible depending on the shape wanted:
2: pre curve the piece in the opposite direction so as you hammer in the bebel it straightens---takes some experience to know how much pre-curve to put in it. 3: when it starts to curve turn it so the edge is up and at a good forging heat tap it back straight! This is the way I and many knifemakers do it.

If it's curving in heat treat you may want to try normalizing it several times and or switching to an easier quenchent.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:35:25 EDT

I was just wondering if I would need firebrick to make a small forge out of granite cobblestones. I was also wondering if I should use fire clay to cement them together of if I could get away with regular cement. If I would need to use fire clay, what would the compostion of the best mixture be. Thank you for your time.


Steve Forbes
   Steve Forbes - Tuesday, 06/29/04 17:51:57 EDT

Does the same generalisation apply to "surgical steel", then? Whatever alloy they felt like using that day, so long as it worked for cutting people open?

Oh, one other quick question. I was wandering around Lee Valley Tools the other day, (you american folks are missing out on a beauty of a store, there) and saw a knife they called a salmon knife.It had a series of grooves cut in the face of the blade, perpendicular to the edge. What's that supposed to do?
   HavokTD - Tuesday, 06/29/04 18:16:40 EDT

HavokTD... the groves in a salmon knife are so that pockets of air let that wonderfully oily smoked fish release from the blade...otherwise you end up spending a lot of time carefully easing those paper thin slices off the knife not always with a lot of swearing :)

hmmm... previous life as a chef comes in useful sometimes.
   Mark P - Tuesday, 06/29/04 19:20:21 EDT

opps that with = without ...proof then post
   Mark P - Tuesday, 06/29/04 19:21:47 EDT

HavokTD: Yup. As long as it's stainless and has been used to filet your fellow human, it's called surgical steel.

Steve Forbes: You shouldn't need firebrick, but be aware that any stones that are wet can spall explosively when heated. Regular cement will work for most of the structure, with a fireclay lining in the firepot itself. Of course, you really need to know what you are doing with a forge before you literally set it in stone. If it doesn't work exactly right it becomes somewhat of a monument to that fact, which is why most of us do it in steel first. I am close to putting up my first permanent chimney, and even with six years of experience under my belt I'm nervous about the possible effects on posterity...

Mark P.: Smoked Salmon is the food of the Gods. Have you sampled it withsea salt and a glass of Laphroaig? If so, I will be able to detect the drool from here. If not, I await the results!
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/29/04 20:23:53 EDT


That style of blade is called a kullenschliff blade. Mark told you why they're there. They also reduce the area of blade in contact with the meat, reducing drag.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 06/29/04 20:27:26 EDT

Alan, hush! I haven't had supper yet, durnit! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 06/29/04 20:30:12 EDT

Daisy Jeda, It might help if we knew the application. However, the information you need might be found in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics Published by the Chemical Rubber Press. It is actually thicker than the Machinery Handbook and is loaded with tables of the kinds of things you ask for. If you cannot find a copy in a Library, you might try to Google for "physical properties of the elements" or similar string. There might be a website with the information.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 06/29/04 21:15:57 EDT

Metals Comparison: Daisy-Jeda, Too broad a question, There are hundreds of aluminium alloys, thousands of brass and bronze alloys and almost any steel can be labled "spring steel" because ALL steel has the same modulas of elasticity.

Some aluminiums such as the 707x series are stronger than mild steel in SOME ways. However, if you DO try to bend them they break. Very stiff, very springy but little ductility. Lighter than steel (1/3), about as strong as mild steel but cannot be bent.

All brass and bronzes are heavier than steel. Some are stiffer than mild steel while being quite ductile.

Spring steel NORMALLY starts at around 60 point carbon but can be more or less. Stainless spring wire is actually made from a work hardenable 300 series stainless.

As QC said it would help if you told us the application AND the specific choices of material instead having us guess.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/04 21:44:19 EDT

Metals Comparison: Daisy-Jeda, I forgot to mention that the mild steel is the least expensive and generally easiest to fabricate. Hard aluminiums machine the best but are expensive.

Curving Blade: Gary, Apparently you have not studied The Art of Blacksmithing by Bealer or any bladesmithing books. . . They all cover the fact that when you thin one side of a piece by forging that it lengthens thus curving the blade. You start by bending the blade opposite to the edge. The amount is judged by experiance and trial and error.

IF you forge a blade with a diamond cross section with two equal bevels then it stays straight. Many curved blades like scimitars are the natural result of thining one side. The top side of a clip point on blades it the END of the bar which has been pushed OUT at the edge lengthens.

Often when straightening a bar or correcting a bend you give the part a sloping blow to thin on one edge. This always closes the piece on the opposite side. A curved piece like a horseshoe can be opened OR closed using this technique.

If an experianced smith told you he never heard of the problem he was just jerking you around for some reason.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/04 22:00:06 EDT

Forging Large Stock: Rob, Most of the hand techniques forging heavy stock (3/4" and up) are done with helpers swinging sledges. It was NOT done by a lone smith. The modern alternative (and MUCH more economical) is a power hammer. A small power hammer costs about two months wages paid to a helper, works longer hours, doesn't complain, doesn't require a book keeper and tax accountant. . . AND does more work than a TEAM of strikers, which is what was required for most heavy work, not just one striker.

In a large shop with 4 or 5 smiths everyone would strike when needed. This avoided the cost of one or more common unskilled laborers that was needed for little else. In a "village" smithy there were usualy extra hands about (sometimes including the customer) to help.

There is no substitute for help, either human or machine.

For hand working reasonable sized pieces efficiently see our iForge demos on "fullering".
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/04 22:18:23 EDT

Brick, Stone, Refractory: It helps to know what kind of forge, liquid, gas or solid fuel. Good refractories are required to keep in the heat of gas and oil forges.

Coal forges are built of anything that will not burn or spall. All water bearing rock and cement spall. Common brick is a better than a stone of unknown composition. Clay is used as is metal. Fire (refractory) brick is not usualy needed in a coal forge unless it is very large and enclosed.

When forges are enclosed the refractory lining reaches temperatures close to 3,000°F. This requires good refractory (brick, or cement), refractory mortar or other insulation such as Kaowool covered with ITC-100.

If I were using stone to build a forge for esthetic reasons I would line the forge floor and flue intake with brick. If joints are kept tight only a slight bit of the common mortar is going to burn out. If I were building a primitive Earth bound forge I would use some stone to shape it but line the pit with clay.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/04 22:33:18 EDT

Good Guru;
2 big questions.....
How does one get a copy of Paw Paw's new book? and
How does one support anvilfire?

Signed, Straightman
   Pete F - Wednesday, 06/30/04 03:41:37 EDT

Thanks, Guru, Ries, et al. I have abandoned the 800 number as it no longer served me well. Most folks know where to find my tools nowadays. Website? Who has time. Advertizing? Only if you want more business (I don't partiularly).
   - grant - Wednesday, 06/30/04 03:48:17 EDT

Theft at Vermont ren faire!!!!!!
Keep your eyes open for these items.

Looks like we need to keep our eyes open, to help out the Rennies. The theft
occurred over this weekend, the evening of 6/26-27.

Stolen Weapons
GBU/ATP was the victim of theft over the weekend. Full details can be
found at www.gbuonline.com/stolen.html and

if anyone cares to send if anywhere else where they think it needs
to be and isn't . please.

Saint Phlip,

   Steve in New York - Wednesday, 06/30/04 08:07:50 EDT

Where would one get fire clay? The reason I ask is because not many places here in New Hampshire carry it to my knowledge. Also, I've on this forum some time ago that trhere was a way to make your own fire clay. How would this be done? Thanks again.

Steve Forbes
   Steve Forbes - Wednesday, 06/30/04 10:03:57 EDT

Forging technique
Rob, the way I draw out stock with the edge of the anvil is to put the stock on a nicely rounded edge and hit with the hammer face half over, and half on.

Remember F=MxA, sometimes a smaller hammer will move more wetal cause you can swing it faster. Don't use too big a hammer till you know you have the muscles etc. to be able to use it without overdoing it and hurting yourself
   JimG - Wednesday, 06/30/04 10:23:47 EDT

Fire clay:

Look up Corriveau-Routhier. They're a masonry supply place with locations in Concord, Manchester, and Nashua. They've got fire clay, fire brick, portland cement, all sorts of good stuff.

   - MarcG - Wednesday, 06/30/04 10:51:56 EDT

Steve Forbes,
look for a ceramic supply place. They often carry stuff like that for the ceramic making crowd. Also look for a furnace repair outlet as they too will have all sorts of refractorys and fire clays.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 06/30/04 12:09:43 EDT

Peter Wright anvils:

I've just wire brushed layers of paint off an anvil to find the following stamped into the side:
Peter Wright
1 1 0

Are these markings consistent with Wright anvils?
I'm a wee bit suspicious as the anvil face is in excellent condition with little chipping. I have uploaded some photos to my flash and password free site.

   Bob G - Wednesday, 06/30/04 12:28:33 EDT


Envelope arrived in todays mail, many thanks!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 06/30/04 12:35:55 EDT

Markings are consistent with Peter Wright Anvils. I suspect that the face has either been ground (or milled). It may have been welded before the grinding.

Or you may have just lucked out on a darn nice anvil.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 06/30/04 12:40:14 EDT

P. Wright anvil.

There is no evidence of welding or machining (I've welded a few myself!). The face is covered in small indentations consistent with years of careful use. I guess that the previous owners knew how to use an anvil. It looks lke it will be a keeper.
   Bob G - Wednesday, 06/30/04 13:40:33 EDT


Keeper? You'd have one heckuva time buying it from me if it was mine! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 06/30/04 14:23:13 EDT

Why do people insist on polishing off all the evidence of age on possibly valuable antiques? Removing paint is one thing but removing 100 years of rust and the original scale is another. Although most anvils are not considered "antique" today unless they are nearly 200 years old this is changing rapidly. All the old English hand made leg vises have nearly reached collectable status. In another 10 or 20 years enough collectors will have found Richard Postman's books that any anvil made prior to about 1950 may be selling for collector's prices. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/30/04 15:00:35 EDT

Oh great guru, I come forth bearing a humble request from pawpaw's growing fan club. Might we please be sated with chapters 6 and 7 of book 3 in his wonderous work, The Revolutionary Blacksmith? How about if we even say pretty please?!?
   dragon-boy - Wednesday, 06/30/04 15:53:02 EDT

To All, I am looking for a high pressure regulator for a propane forge. I have checked out the advertisers on this site . Seems I have heard others talk about a "Redhead" regulator in the $30-$40 range. Any information would be appreciated.
Thanks ,
   Harley - Wednesday, 06/30/04 20:04:19 EDT

I Use an acetylene regulator from Tractor Supply Corp. High pressure for me on a blown forge is 3-4 psig. Cost seems about right but I've forgotten.
   Jim Curtis - Wednesday, 06/30/04 21:03:04 EDT

I've just started smithing, and was wondering if you could recomend hardening and tempering for railroad spikes i've turned to knives. Thanks
   sylvanwolf - Wednesday, 06/30/04 23:19:11 EDT

RR-Spike Knives: sylvanwolf, See our FAQs on Junkyard Steels, Heat Treating and the many links on each.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/01/04 09:48:26 EDT

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