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 1 - 7, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]


Bang-on with the silk shirt, but mail would not be Mongol period equipment, usually. More likely an armor of scales or bands, or leather. (It is Mongol, by the way... we don't like being called Mongrels. Watch for the arrow in your door ;)

Rainy and cool in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 06/01/05 01:01:04 EDT

I'm Back! Two stents and a load of pain, but I'm back at home . The doctor said that it may be a few months before I can go back to hammering. I guess its better than losing my arm at the sholder, or a lung. Interesting note the some surgical implants are made of stainless, and some plastic or ceramic with metal impregnated into it.

CJ pick up your slide rule and do the math and figure out the missing volume. Its called basic high school math.

   - Timex - Wednesday, 06/01/05 01:42:44 EDT

Safer cutting. Hi JimG. Thanks for the two quick solutions. I have tried both approaches, and both have worked out well. The first one I did when striking for a master balcksmith. He told me to slow down when I was almost through, and then offset the blow to the end of the stock so the hammer on its downswing would pass the hardy. This worked well, but was done with smaller stock. Same with the second method. The helper holds the stock, and I strike with a one handed hammer. This also works well, but again for smaller stock.

vicopper, the stubby top tool idea with the rodded handle (fullered and wrapped?) sounds great. I will give this one a try. I had a chance to pick up a set of rodded tools at a garage sale. They looked ugly, but now I understand that they are safer.

Frank, you are right about the striker being a striker. Unfortunately (or fortunately), in these modern times, no one wants to be a striker. They are willing to strke up to half the time if they are the "journeyman" the other half, and the work progresses MORE than twice as fast. Otherwise, most would rather work alone, as it is often more convenient, and perhaps presumably safer as well. Bruce, also, the admonition of no wedges seems right on. This hot cut was wedged. When I replace the handle, I will make sure not to wedge it. I took a look at Ebay, a poor man's instruction manual, and most of the handled hot cuts did not have wedges. Must be a good reason.

Fionbharr, you are right about teaching the helper. I don't think he'll tolerate being a striker more than half the time. I can almost tolerate it The handle strap idea is a good one. Kind of like a suicide cord. The picture is a little incomplete, but I'll try to work it out.

Timex, sorry to hear about your injury. This is the sort of thing that we all are trying to avoid.

Thanks again for all the helpful and constructive comments. Plenty to work on!

   EricC - Wednesday, 06/01/05 02:26:48 EDT

T. Gold:

Actually I am likely of 'Mongol' stock myself on my father side being from Eastern Croatia. It is thought the Croats were from 'north of Turkey' and rode with the Huns when they invaded Hungary in the mid 1500s. They liked the area across the Darva River from Hungary and settled there, intermarrying with what was left of the local population, which likely wasn't much.

Was not silk available during the period of the Knights?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/01/05 06:49:40 EDT

EricC: Centaur Forge, at least, carries the Top Tool Lock. Basically it is a strap which runs alongside the top of the handle. One end has a bend which goes to the outside of the eye top on the tool head. It is then bradded into the handle itself under the head. In the 2004 catalog see page 14.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/01/05 06:56:10 EDT

Correction to above: Croats rode with the Huns in the 900s, rather than 1500s. Croatia, as a country, dates from the late 900s.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/01/05 06:57:53 EDT

Anodized aluminum parts...

I used to have several guns that had external aluminum parts like rifle magazine floor plates and hand gun trigger gards and back straps. These were refered to as anodized although I don't know the exact process so maybe it technically wasn't anodizing.

The bottom line though is that the finish wore off these parts VERY quickly with use and contact with skin. I used to paint them with a wrinkle finish paint and bake it on. I don't remember what brand of paint that I used but it was a truely hard and durable finish. I never had to re-do a single piece. Oh, the main reason that I used the wrinkle finish was that it looked good.
   Mike Ferrara - Wednesday, 06/01/05 08:08:07 EDT

Aluminum Oxide is what most common grinding wheels found in the machine shop are made of. Pretty hard.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 06/01/05 08:18:15 EDT

danke folks, I'll check over at the maile forum as well. The question came from someone who likes to wear the chainmail without an undershirt. Seems to think it sexy or something. ;-)}

Anyhoo, he started looking on the net and found all kinds of writeups on Al Oxide. I haven't found anything definitive, or even close to it. But there is research being done.

I'll pass the info along.
   Escher - Wednesday, 06/01/05 09:22:58 EDT

Anodizing: Mike, if it wore off from hand contact it was NOT anodizing. There are two grades, color anodizing and hard anodizing (with color). Hard anodizing is used for wear against other metal parts. Color anodizing is thinner but will resist hand contact, washing and other soft contact use for decades.

EXAMPLE: We used to have a set of color anodized aluminium drinking glasses and they lasted for decades of daily use in a large family and were eventualy discarded due to dents, dings, edge wear and looking generaly disreputable. This had brilliant red, green, and blue coloring that would easily show scratches IF they were scratched. The most wear was on the bottom, some minor on the edges from handling, biting and spoons and some low inside from mixing choclate milk. The sides took over 20 years of heavy daily family use.

Hard anodizing is used on machine parts, conveyor slides and many other places. When used on machine parts there must be an allowance for surface thickness increase like for plating. When parts have complicated fits or threads they requires careful tolerancing and trial and error batch runs. Threads are particularly tricky as special oversize clearance taps must be obtained.

Hard anodizing is nearly as hard as saphire. However, hard coatings over soft material WILL scratch if the force is sufficient to cut the underlying material. This is generaly heavy wear from other sharp metal parts or hard grit (sand, rock). Hard anodizing is best when applied on the hard grades of alloy aluminium.

Currently many of the high performance knives are being made with hard color anodized slabs or frames. These often must withstand YEARS of being carried in a pocket with coins and other metal objects rubing against them. This duty has worn the rose-wood slabs on my Buck quite thin and beat the SS frame up to where is looks like it was run over by a truck on rough pavement. The anodized AL parts will take this duty for years but will eventualy start to wear.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 10:09:12 EDT

More Anodizing: Both hard and color anodizing are the same process, the hard is just a longer dip in the acid and a thicker coating. Color is mearly dies in a lacquer base that penetrates the porosity produced by the process. MANY colors are available. The anodizers we have worked with ran different colors on different days,

Anodizing has little effect on the surface finish of parts so the starting finish must be very uniform. Clean raw unoxidized surfaces are best. We would hand finish parts with fine grades of sandpaper in the lathe, by hand on flats or with an occilating sander (yes the swirl marks show).

Clear anodizing (no color) looks like a slightly flat version of the original finish, maybe a little whiter. It is difficult to detect unless you have a sharp eye and know what to look for. It is not unusual for someone to inadvertantly sand or polish off the anodizing leaving a raw surface that will corrode. It is also easy to substitute non-anodized parts for anodized with the resulting problems.

Sometimes it is difficult to get a good dark black anodized finish. Variations in the alloy and the surface finish can result in a range from a good opaque black to a translucent grey-black. If in doubt have a test piece run. Most anodizers will run odd lots of parts along with other parts so you do not have to pay for a complete run. However, there will be a small sorting fee. We used to have as few as half a dozen parts anodized while we waited.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 10:27:09 EDT

Ken the period when there were knights is over 500 years; so the question is a bit loose; but yes silk was available in that time period. In the west it was quite expensive as it had to travel the silk road to get there.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/05 10:54:40 EDT

Subject: cryo quenching

Can someone here tell me the steps involved in cryo quenching?
The reaosn I ask is that I have access to LOTs of liquid nitrogen which is a very cold liquid. I have been curious about whether or not quenching a hot piece in some of it would cause an explosive situation because of the violent reaction between hot metal and an "instant" cold quench.
My gut tells me it wouldn't be a safe thing to do although liquid nitrogen is not explosive.
Any thoughts?? Anyone?
   Ed Green - Wednesday, 06/01/05 11:30:57 EDT

I know i posted this before, but i got caught in a kansas lightning storm and was unable to get on my computer. So, which is better for general blacksmithing, a forge with the air blast through the bottom or through the side. Thanks!
   Robert Shultz - Wednesday, 06/01/05 11:35:29 EDT

Steel will cool too quickly in liquid nitrogen and become too hard and brittle.
   - Trapper - Wednesday, 06/01/05 11:43:42 EDT

then what do the "pro's" use for cryo quenching? is it sort of done like annealing- cooling slowly or under constant temp in a low temp atmosphere?
Have you tried liquid nitrogen?
I would think that the reaction of hot metal to instant cold would cause a very violent reaction that might cause the metal to "explode" BUT if done in a way like normalizing I would think that the stresses would be alleviated after the metal returns to 'room' temperature.
Perhaps in my twisted mind of how metal works I could be wrong. I dunno.
   Ed Green - Wednesday, 06/01/05 11:51:27 EDT

Never mind I just found my answer.
I was somewhat correct in saying that it is like a normalizing or annealing method.
Pieces are put into a low temp atmosphere at room temp and then the temp is dropped slowly to anywhere from -100 to-500 depending on the type of metal. So my assumption that "instant cold" would be far to violent for hot metal is correct. However- possibly putting a piece of metal in Liquid nitrogen when it is at room temp may be an option to experiment with. I personally don't see how the molecular structure would permanently change without some sort of reaction taking place, i.e. some sort of opposed temps like hot and cold being introduced to one another to force a permanent structural change from austenite to martensite. Furthermore I don't understand how commercial knifemakers can do this without affecting the whole blade. For instance if you want a soft spine and a hard edge(martensite) such as what one might find in a Japanese blade.
   Ed Green - Wednesday, 06/01/05 12:04:32 EDT

whooooo haaaa! a PLETHORA of info regarding cryo quenching here:
   Ed Green - Wednesday, 06/01/05 12:08:34 EDT

The steel is cryogenically quenched when it is at room temperature after it has been normally heat treated. You can't cryogenically quench steel while it's out of the forge hot.
   - Trapper - Wednesday, 06/01/05 12:09:47 EDT


This is can be an effective tool to transform retained autenite to martensite after the initial quenching is done. For example, if you forge and water quench a 1080 knife blade, you may have 25-30% (very rough number) retained autenite in a martensite matrix. If you then (from room temp) submerge the blade in liquid nitrogen, you will provide the necessary activation energy to get the retained austenite to transform to martensite. You MUST temper after cryo-quenching or you run the risk of having very brittle components.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 06/01/05 12:31:29 EDT

Aluminum adodizing
I believe that non-stick cookware is basically an anodizing-like process with the addition of whatever the secret ingredient is, such as teflon, etc.,.
Also, some anodizers will want to know what grade of aluminum, (6061, 2024, 7075, etc.,.) as it may somewhat affect the process.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 06/01/05 12:45:08 EDT

which is better, a sedan or a pickup truck?
They are both good. But just work a little differently.
Personally I like a side blast better.
If you are using coal both will work. But if you ever plan on using chunk charcoal a side draft is better as it is less likely to blow the charcoal out of the forge. Feel freeto email me questions
   Ralph - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:13:39 EDT

Cryo-Quenching: Ed, Note that Patrick is a Metalurgist. One of two on this board.

Also note that cryo treatment is recommended for some steels and not for others. LN is the right substance. Some folks claim they cryo treat using dry ice or CO2/alchohol slush, its not cold enough.

Order of operations ARE:

1) Anneal or heat pack
2) Harden and quench in appropriate medium for steel and shape/size.
3) Temper (optional step depending on steel and practice).
4) Cryo treat (time is an element).
5) Temper or double again.
6) Examine and Test to compare to non-cryo methods before assuming significant or cost effective gains.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:25:03 EDT

Super cooling: Heard this story sometime back. Robb Gunter works (or worked since we are all aging now) at the Sandis (sp?) National Lab and the question came up as to how to totally destroy nuclear warhead guidance systems under one of the SALT Treaties. His method was to super cool them in liquid nitrogen and then give them one blow with a large powerhammer. Virtually nothing left but dust.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:25:23 EDT

Robert, besides Ralphs comments there were responses to your question which are now archived. This page is archived weekly (may need to go to 5 days) so things move fast.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:27:22 EDT

Pickup truck. No contest!
   adam - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:30:49 EDT

Ken, Sandia must not have gotten much use of that method as they sold all their power hammers a year or two ago. . .

Power hammers have been used for some strange things. Bruce Wallace had two pass through that were used as crushers. One for crushing silicon carbides to powder and another for some rock or mineral. The carbide dust made a mess of the ram but the old Nazel kept on running.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:32:18 EDT

Thanks guru! Thanks Patrick. Logic dictated to me that I was correct in my assuymptions regarding cryo- quenching/tempering. this was confirmed by several non-vendor related articles I have read since this morning.
I also figured that LN was the correct substance to use for this since I know of no other non-flammable substance that is capable of reaching the temps needed to do this.
I have never heard of any electrically produced mechanism that would be capable of doing this either, i.e. some sort of freezer run.
Another question regarding this issue:
I think I might direct this to Patrick if he is listening. If i were to take a small tank of Ln and drop a piece of forged 0-1 tool steel that has been cooled to ambient temp into it and leave it in there for say 24 hours would there be any effect? I have seen some charts for length of time for certain steels in cryo and I saw that 0-1 requires around 24-48 hours for cryo to have any effect at all(dimensions or weight and girth may be dependent on this time frame - I don't know). Or would the LN need to be recirculated somehow to keep it "alive"? We have some special containers designed to house LN and seal it in so that it does not evaporate significantly ( We specifically use it here for the freezing of DNA samples and cells in certain states.
Could this be a "poor man's" cryo chamber?
   Ed Green - Wednesday, 06/01/05 15:14:28 EDT

guru, what is a good material that wont melt for a blower tube to a forge, ive looked around and havent found anythign. also i checked into my calgary blacksmithing thing, and this is the best plave for me to find out answers to questions. so no one has to tell me to check these out anymore
   Draconas - Wednesday, 06/01/05 15:37:19 EDT

This is a great place yes, but the BEST PLACE TO LEARN smithing is with other smiths in person.
If you would go and see other smiths and look at how they do stuff you will stop wasting your timne and ours. Blower tube? What is that? Are you talking the pipe the is in the forge or are you talking the air inlet form the blower?

The air from the blower cqan go in a dryer vent duct.
The other pipe can be a 1 or 1 1/2 inch pipe ( black pipe)
   Ralph - Wednesday, 06/01/05 17:00:58 EDT

CRYO-As long and the LN doesn't evaporate, it will be cold and will never get "used up". Hold time at temp will depend on part size as you noted and possibly on grade. Note that not all grades benifit from a cryo treatment and that some grades that do show improvements in hardness after cryo may not have been heat treated properly to begin with. In these cases the cryo treatment is a "fix" rather than a method for accomplishing something that is not possible by any other method. Be very cautious of claims made about cryo treatments. The best info will come from technical papers, not supplier adds/claims.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 06/01/05 17:33:32 EDT

1 LN at room temp is an oxymoron---unless you have *very* high pressure!

2: if you put glowing steel into LN it would not quench---unless it was an air hardening steel---it would never touch the LN as the radient heat would keep a layer of gasseous N around it---why you can do stupid LN tricks I won't describe but many of us know...

3: LN is stored in a special type of thermous called a Dewer

4: as long as it's liquid LN will have the same temp the temp it boils at (or lower), no recirculation needed.

Working with LN is a hazard; be sure to know the safety rules before playing around with it!

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/05 18:13:49 EDT

Hi, I recently asked you about sharpening / dressing jackhammer points. Thanks for the info. Now I'm trying to get the appropriate quenching oil. I don't sharpen a lot of points so I don't want to outlay a lot of $, but I've contacted the major oil / lubricant companies and they only sell it in 200 Litre drums at $2.95 per Litre Australian (about $2.10 US). Thats a lot of oil and a lot of $ sitting around for a long time. Is there any alternative? The guys at the oil company were very specific about the quenching rate of the oil, about 19-21 seconds, so I'm guessing not just any oil will do.

   Malcolm Hollis - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:31:16 EDT

I have an old anvil I found thirty-five years ago and was wondering If you could tell its age by the numerals stamped on the side? It was made in england by ? and Wright and weighs about a hundred pounds. Do you have any idea what it would be worth?

Thanks and best regards, Rick
   Rick - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:32:01 EDT

Rick if you can get a more accurate description of the words stamped on the side we can give a date range. This sounds like a Peter Wright and the numbers stamped on the side are the weight in the old cwt system (X * 112 + Y * 28 + Z = pounds)

The price depends a lot on size condition and location---none of which were provided.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:50:18 EDT


I sense there is something more going on than you want to admit. I have not run across a single blacksmith, much less a group of them, unwilling to make an extraordinary effort to help a newbie. If you approached them for help in answering your questions and they couldn't or wouldn't - well, I would find that extremely unlikely. My recommenation remains the same: get with your local blacksmithing group and they can provide the information you need first hand.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:55:24 EDT

I build an extruder used in the art of pottery making, but I'm having a little trouble with the hardness of the steel I use in the handle. I use a 3/4" sch. 40 steel pipe and bend the end at about 30 degrees with a hand conduit bender. I weld two pieces of bar stock onto the handle at the bend and use it like a fulcrum. I have made about 130 of these and have had two sent back to me because the handle failed at the bend. Is there a way to harden the area of the bend after I have welded it? Or is there another steel on the market that would beter serve my needs? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
   Dan Mullen - Wednesday, 06/01/05 20:42:44 EDT

Guru: Amatuer metal smith back again... I was wondering (after talking with a few people) if purchasing this machine would help me in making my large metal cup-like flower forms (they are a little larger but pretty much the same sort of form as the helmets on the armoury link. Here's the ad:

Northern Industrial Tools Benchtop Hydraulic Shop Press — 12 Ton
Heavy duty steel H-frame has a 12-ton hydraulic bottle jack. Great for straightening, bending and stamping. Ideal for rebuilding engines. 10 1/2in. to 35in. working range. 53 1/2in.H x 16 1/2in.W between channels.
   Vivianne Carey - Wednesday, 06/01/05 20:45:21 EDT

Vivianne Carey,
That bottle jack press will be very very slow, as you have to pump it by hand. The ram advances about 1/4" per stroke.
   ptree - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:10:07 EDT

My Dad ran and extrusion/anodizing/fabrication company for about 40 years. Grew up there helping him on weekends. We built many special machines to texture stuff like picture frame rail prior to anodizing. They pushed 50 and 60 series Al.
As I remember all the dies were wated based and not in a laquer or solvent base. They did the rainbow. They did brite dip, etch and polish finishes as well as the textures like wire brush, scuffed and chained. Punch presses everywhere, and more Al oxide than you can imagine. Great place for a kid to learn about those important childhood items like limit switches and hydraulic systems with 20 ganged 50 horse pumps.
   - ptree - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:16:19 EDT

Manual Press: Vivianne, These low dollar presses tend to have under rated frames and for what you want to do you MAY be operating at the max. However, a press WILL work. If I were shopping for a hydraulic press I would look for a 20 or 30 ton.

Due to needing to pump up the cylinder then open the valve to release, watch then stop the return, using a manual bottle jack can be very slow. I put a large knob on the valve of my press so that it is easy to use by hand.

What you do is use a small diameter pair of dies around 3" in diameter. On a bowl shape you would do much like sinking. You would press a series of overlaping spots around the edge then move in a half step and press another series of spots overlaping the first and each other. This is done in concentric circles and it is sometime benificial to lay them out. On the second pass you would probably see some wrinkling at the edges and need to gently iron them out as you go. This will make the edge thicker and at this point you are raising with a press.

To do this with a press you will need an offset extension tool that is pretty heavy duty (shaped like an upside down question mark). This will allow you to work in the hollow form as it approaches and passes hemi-spherical.

Doing this with a press will not be as fast as working with a heavy hammer but it will certainly require less strength and stanina.

The heavier the press the larger the dies. Similar to working by hand cold the concave portion can be hardwood, plastic or even rubber. The convex or male die will need to be steel.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:19:23 EDT

I don't mean to offend (honestly) but I seem to utterly fail to see why you asked that question? If as you say the 'calgary blacksmithing thing' (I'm trying not to cringe) is the 'best place' for you to get answers and the gentle folk here don't need to remind you of that fact anymore then why is that post there at all?

If you are at all serious about this 'art' then I cannot stress enough that going to see a smith at work is somthing you simply MUST (and I do mean MUST) DO.

Do it the justice it, and the folks who have sweated to learn it, deserve at least. If nothing else.

I'm only saying this because I did.

I went to see an Armourer at work (Royal Armouries, Leeds)in his shop earlier today, and spent four of the most incredibly rewarding and educational hours of my life watching someone who's skill I couldn't help but openly admire.
   Tinker - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:30:53 EDT

Extruder: Dan, The pipe you are using is low carbon and will not benifit from heat treating.

I am not exactly clear on how the part is shaped but you could use Schedule 80 pipe for a stronger part. It has a thicker wall but the OD is the same and the bender you are using should work (with a little more mASS).

IF that is not sufficient I would go to solid mild steel bar stock. The bends can be made cold but will need a hydraulic press or a LOT of leverage. THEN if THAT is not sufficient I would go to a medium carbon steel like SAE 4140. This will probably need to be heated to bend it and air cooling will be sufficiently hard.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:31:33 EDT

I have a small press I got from a truckload sale, it is rated at 20 tons,but is under as much strane as I am comfortable with at 11 tons. It should be called a 10 ton press as then it would have some safety factor.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/01/05 21:57:55 EDT

Liquid Gases: Patrick, Ed etal,

The way liquid gas Dewer's work to maitain the cold liquid is that the gas is constantly evaporating and refridgerating itself by conversion from liquid to gas which requires a significant amount of energy (heat).

IF the container is sealed it will eventualy explode from the evaporation of the gas unless it is a very thick walled container and Dewer's are NOT. They are not a pressure tank.

Nitrogen is roughly the same density as air (90%) and will not run off or rise. This results in closed rooms where Nitrogen liquid OR gas is stored to be hazardous areas. It only takes seconds to die from affixiation in a gas filled room. Nitrogen is particularly hazardous because of its lack of odor and closeness in denisty to air. Carbon Monoixide is the worst being 97% the density of air AND poisoness. Argon is next being slightly heavier than air (138%).

NASA had one of its worst accidents when a group of workers entered a nitrogen purged room under a launch platform. The first worker steped in and fell, another went to his aid and a third to theirs. . . The fourth had enough sense to get help. It was not as exciting as astronauts burning up in a pure oxygen atmosphere fire but the number of fatalities were the same. One made international news and the history books while the other is a forgoten industrial incident.

As Thomas pointed out there are a BUNCH of critical safety rules to learn about this stuff. Many are not learned "on-the-job" and are found in places such as lab-tech manuals. It is the same with many welding safety rules and why I tell folks to take classes at a qualified school. Your life may depend on it.

   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 22:22:49 EDT

Malcolm Hollis, 30 weight non-detergent motor oil should work for you. You could experiment with it. It seems an anomaly, but warmed oil quenches faster than room temperature oil. You can warm the oil by stirring with a heated length of steel. Totally submerge the red hot end, so that you don't get a flash and burn off on the surface.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 06/01/05 22:25:04 EDT

Cheap Presses: Dave, our family shop has a similar press. The top beam (a press break formed U with flanges) is bent from much less than maximum capacity. The frame SAYS 30 tons and has a 20 ton jack that never had a lever longer than the first piece (1/3) used with it. Its junk. . .

There are very good press frame designs but they require some STEEL in them. The critical thing to remember is that deflection increases by the CUBE of the increase in span. Take 6" off the width of that frame and may be plenty rigid.

My press frame on the 21st Century page is almost TOO rigid. I could replace or add a few bolts and it will easily take 50 or 100 tons. I plan to upgrade it to 50T and use the 20T jack on a more open frame.

The problem with under designed steel press frames is springyness and stored energy. When a part slips or breaks free the tons of energy stored in the frame are released. If the frame only moves a small amount then nothing happens. But if a bowed frame with an inch or so deflection snaps back in place then it can send parts flying at high velocity. Same force, huge difference in safety.

Press frames are like crane beams and must be designed for minimal deflection NOT safe stress. At safe stress the part may be deflected a HUGE amount. At reasonable deflection stress may not even be a concern except at joints.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 22:37:17 EDT

Tinker, Daconas is only a short distance (same city) from one of North America's finest armouries if he would just look, or take a walk. It may not be up to British Royal standards but they are VERY good. See our NEWS coverage of CanIron II. Calgary is also the home of the "Galgary Stampeed" that even though it is focused on the horse and thus shoeing they also have a forging contest where then declare the "World's Top Blacksmith". . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 22:58:00 EDT

re: Liquid Nitrogen - it's Dewar flask, Theoretically from a temperture viewpoint you could also use LOX or LAR. Reason not to use LOX - boil off generates a oxygen enriched atmosphere - funny things happen in oxygen enriched atmospheres - things burn & explode that normally won't like asphalt paving. Ignition requirements are reduced drastically. Reason not to use LAR - expense - LN & LOX cost about the same in the markeplace per 1000 scf, LAR costs 4 to 5 times as much. All 3 are really close in liquid temperature with LN being the coldest.Biggest problems with LAR & LN are the cold - they will freeze burn flesh, and on boiling the vapors will dilute the oxygen content of an enclosed space.
A good way to learn the dangers of industrial gases is to have your supplier come in & give you a safety seminar - something they usually offer as part of their service package. A better way is to work for an industrial gas supplier and have to learn the dangers so you can help give the seminars. :)

It's been awhile since I checked out cryo treatment of steels, but most setups were made to use the LN vapor to reduce temperature of the object being treated first, before immersing it in the LN. Done partly from a thermal shock concern, and also from efficient use of the LN's cold.

Guru - only other issue would be you have 3 mets posting - Patrick, Quenchcrack & me - BS in Metallurgy from CMU in 1974, about 19 years in the steel industry, 8 in industrial gases & 4 in iron powder. regards.
   - Gavainh - Wednesday, 06/01/05 23:02:36 EDT

Stampeed: See NEWS Volume 19 - Page 10 for the details of the 2000 forging contest.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 23:07:26 EDT

LOX etc......
Once upon a time when I was working for one of NASA's contractors at KSC there were several 'incidents' dealing with liquid gasses.
My favorite was one of the renta-cops ( sorry vic) was sent out to see why a sensor at LC-39B ( or was it A?) was alarming. He drove out to the pad and stopped his car. He thought it was odd that the car started running real fast, but got out anyway and went inside the area of the sensor. Then he heard a WHOOOMP and by the time he could get out of the shack the car was mostly gone.
He called it in and a SECOND patrol car came out and parked not far from the hulk of the first car. He too wondered why the car started to run fast. GOt out and went to find the first guy. Odd thing there was another WHOOMP and another car was gone. FInially one of the gas pad engineers asked what in teh hell they were doing? As the LOX tank ( size of a good sized building) had a leak and the pad was closed to humans until the leak could be found.
It is a wonder that no-one was killed.

Then there are as others have said about the COLD aspects.
LN is especially bad as Guru pointed out. Odorless and not good to breathe.....
   Ralph - Wednesday, 06/01/05 23:17:00 EDT

thanks again, what was this armoury you were talking about, whats its name. also im going to stampede this summer and im trying to get a job as a aprentice to the blacksmith at heritage park, where they have a full time blacksmith on duty to show kids how horse shoes and other tools/ equipment was made in cowboy times.
stampede doesnt start for about another month tho
   Draconas - Wednesday, 06/01/05 23:27:53 EDT

Gavainh, Sorry, didn't mean to leave you out. Probably time to draft some folks into the guru corps. . .

Whoops. . I knew that, "Dewar". . .

I'm going to have to hush up on metallurgical topics . . too many folks watching over my shoulder ;)

Oxygen Atmospheres. . NASA didn't expect a small enclosed switch arc to ignite wire insulation, then spread to everything else . . . Pure OX was a shortcut that cost three lives. Its amazing that they haven't had a major incident related to LOX. Fun stuff to play with, like Nitro. . . "Look Ma, No hands!"

Ed, LN is made electricaly. . or rather electromechanicaly by the compression of air into liquid air then the seperation into its components. Just a series of every increasing pressure steps with smaller and smaller compressors and heat exchangers. . .

Thermal Shock. Setting the steel on the hearth to warm before placing in the fire, setting the steel above the LN to cool. . same thing, same reason, different directions. Both requiring patience.

Industrial Safety courses can be great in high tech industries. My only problem with them was the requirement to take the same courses at EVERY Nuclear plant we visited not matter how recently we had taken the same course. I took the same series four times in one year and our crew six. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 23:31:13 EDT

Vivianne Carey-- Suggest you have a phone chat with Bill Weaver-- he is in the Santa Fe, NM book-- an absolute total master metal worker who has specialized for years in squashing stuff, bronze, ferrous, stainless, for his incredible sculptures. Bill can make anything-- anything-- he can imagine. If anybody can answer any question you might have about gear, press capacity, whatever, he can, and surely would, being one of those geniuses who can explain.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:11:26 EDT

Art, Science, Blacksmithing: Ralph, Great story. . car running fast. . a mechanic or someone mechanicaly in-tune might have noticed, thought about it and carefully backed up. . . but might have been too late anyway. .

When I was a kid we had been cleaning a bunch of parts in a carbon-tetrachloride and gasoline mix. Somehow it ended up in our lawn tractor. I was the only one that noticed the green tinged exhust smoke and the chlorine smell. The mower was spewing copious amounts of chlorine gas. As soon as I smelled a little of it I know what was going on. Carbon-tet does not burn but it DID break down under the high compression and temperatures in the tractor engine. . Dad thought I was crazy yelling and waving for him to stop the mower!

Being a little geeky can be very helpful sometimes.

On that note. . I worked with a 15 year old girl the other day on laying out a hand rail. The steps were a typical crooked mess (rises, 6.5, 6.4, 8.6) and we needed a good reference angle. A few itterations using the Pythagorium Therom and we had a good reference triangle to set our slope with (13.635, 24, 19.75). I did one test calc to see what was close and then she did the rest without notes, looking up the formula or writing down her work. We iterated two directions and she quickly made the calcs on my old TI-30 (and was right). Smart young lady. She is working on the butterfly layouts now. . .

Prior to making our full scale layout on the weld platten we will make a 13.635, 24, 19.75 right triangle from a scrap of plywood. This will be used to keep the layout true and for touch ups as the chalk drawing gets smeared.

SO. . How many of you (non-engineers) can remember enough plain geometry to work this problem to build a simple 3 step rail? Yes blacksmithing requires math and there WILL be a test.

When we were discussing cross sectional area this young lady was one of three (the others were young men) that understood that a 1/4" square bar is 1/16 sqin. And thus takes roughly 1/16 the effort to work as a 1" square bar and 1/4 the effort to work as a 1/2" square bar and the 1/2" square bar 1/4 the 1". . without a diagram.

Blacksmithing is art, science, math. . . When showing someone the weld platten with all its holes that we had to draw the rail on a woman asked, "HOW can you draw on that?" And then I drew a two turn scroll about a foot across skipping over several of the holes. . . Its art. Its practicing ART. Practice drawing scrolls by the thousands and you get good at drawing OR making scrolls. Drawing over gaps. . more practice and a good eye.

But if you cannot draw it, it is darn hard to forge it. Can't forge a smooth scroll? Practice drawing them.

   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:27:18 EDT

Draconas, The answer is IN my post about the Armoury. All you had to do is read all the words, THEN look it up (two mouse clicks). OR you could look them up in your local phone book or google. .

This is the reason we are starting to be hard on you. If you do not read closely and THINK about what we tell and take a little initiative then we will ALL stop answering your questions.

See my post above about art, science and math. How were your math grades this year? More to think about. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:39:36 EDT

Vivienne Carey-
There are many ways to form sheet metal into bowls. 16ga is sheet metal. The simplest is to do it cold, with a hammer and a leather bag filled with shot. This takes a little more muscle than hot, but it slower, and hence more controllable.
This technique, along with many others to do with sheet metal, is discussed in the excellent book, "metal fabricators handbook" by Ron Fournier, HP books.
Another trick is rather than buying and lifting a heavy and expensive bowl form, you just make the part you are actually using- the edge. I have several donuts, or circles, made from 3/4" round bar, in circle sizes like 6" or 8" diameter. These are welded to a "y" shaped yoke, which in my case fits into the hardy hole of my anvil, but could also be held in a vise. You pound on your metal in the center of the donut. There is nothing beneath the metal being pounded on, but the rim of the donut supports the piece of steel. Any curvature of dome is possible with this technique.
   - Ries - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:43:14 EDT

Guru, I can remember it... but I'm in college now. :)

Tho I think I will take your advice on the scrolls. I could use some practice at that, and pencil lead is a lot cheaper than steel at this juncture.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:44:11 EDT

Posted the posthumous iForge safety demo on metal fume fever by Jim paw-Paw Wilson. Moved safety demos to top of the list.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 05:00:00 EDT

Speaking of sheet metal, how long has sheet metal been produced? My wife does geneology and ran across a relative who was a tinsmith in a sheet metal factory. This was back in the 1800's, I believe. She was surprised that they had sheet metal factories back then. And now I'm curious.

   - Marc - Thursday, 06/02/05 08:12:00 EDT

What a demo Jock. I can't imagine how rough it was for you to put it together and post it for us.

   JimG - Thursday, 06/02/05 08:46:50 EDT

hmmm, just read the Safety How-to's on Paw Paws demo's.
Man that grinder one is a nasty one!! But the other that killed him is even worse.
That zinc poisoning is EXACTLY the reason I quit using zinc plated stock altogether. It is also another reason all of my work is done in the open air OUTSIDE. I have been around toxic chemicals and fumes from one thing or another almost all my adult life. Recently I think I may have suffered from the zinc poisoning. I thought it strange that I would get the flu around this time of season. then I thought it was allergies(which I have none that I am aware). I wasn't violently sick but sick enough to keep me out of work for a couple of days with fever, bad coughing, sneezing, etc.
Once I thought about what I was doing it hit me. Since I also work with exotic woods I couldn;t rule these out either since some of them in dust form are also toxic to the human body like purpleheart and Ipe(just ask the inch long splinter of purple heart that took me two weeks to get out of my hand- nasty stuff). Fortunately having trained i the martial arts and studied homeopathic medicine and it's effects that I hve learned to listen to my body. I do what it tells me I should do or not do so I was quickly attuned to what was going on.
As for the grinder wheels I can second and third the bit on respect for them. Since I make what could be considered deadly weapons to begin with this compounds the matter. I have had a couple of close calls myself with polishing stainless shuriken I have custom made for a guy. Even a SLOW speed poloshing wheel can be dangerous! I have had this thing grab two or three shuriken and litereally throw them at me(one actually stuck 4 inches in the wall behind me once!). Needless to say everything in a shop should be given the respect it deserves right on down to a screw driver(yes they can kill you too). Machines are not forgiving- they have no heart they are pure power they will kill you if given the chance. I admit that I don't always use the best safety practices where working by myself is a concern. However this is more out of necessity becasue some machines simply won;t do what I need them to do(or I can;t affoird the one's I need to do it. So I do what any Marine would do- adapt, improvise, and overcome(don't we all do this?). Since I have now hired some part time help the issue of safety is going to be a VERY important factor.
Like I always said about riding motorcycles- "if you ride one- use common sense and ride it like you are scared of the other guy on the road. Don't do stupid things or you will surely die(or wish you were if something happens). And if you are not comfortable doing something simply don't do it or take it very slowly and READ READ READ READ up on the subject(take my questions about cryo quenching for instance).
   Ed Green - Thursday, 06/02/05 09:30:13 EDT

guru: I just read the iforge safety on metal fume fever. I am glad you posted all that info. A couple of weeks back I purchased a respirator with special filters to use in my blacksmith shop while using the electric welder. The only window in the shop no longer has stuff piled in front of it and now opens. The metal fume fever Paw Paw suffered really made me think- a great deal.
   burntforge - Thursday, 06/02/05 10:30:16 EDT

Demo: Jim, I still cannot read or think of the first paragraph without tearing up. I had Sheri review it and she said that Jim HAD mentioned a safety demo when he got sick. Of course he expected HE would be around to do it.

I am still trying to get past the current edition of the NEWS (in progress). I have had to write too many obituaries for our news from natural causes and I don't need you guys adding to the job!

Machinery: A friend of mine states bluntly, "Machines have no moral imperitives". I add to that, mass and gravity are silent destroyers.

   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:04:29 EDT

Nicely done safety demo. guru. Paw Paw would approve. I've since tossed out any galvy material to remove temptation. (As I know others have).

What gets me are the "Tough Guys" That have "been doing x,y and z for years". Don't need all that equipment "I know what I'm doing".

I was taking to the owner of a fab shop a couple years ago about a beautiful Hossfeld bender with all the fixin's. (Burried in a corner, unused). There was this kid (late teens, early 20's) putting on his leather sleeves before starting a job. The owner started making fun of the kid. Saying things like "Geez, I could have that job finished in the time it takes you to get dressed". He shoots me a glance with a chuckle like I should be giving the kid a hard time too. Then he (owner) proudly points to his t- thirt and says. "See all these holes? No big deal". "You get used to it". I told him if he really wanted to impress me "Try putting a cigarette out on your eye". The kid laughed. I left.

Being safe and being a "sissy" are in no way related.
   Gronk - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:12:03 EDT

Guru, I have a 94% in pure math 10, and a 92% in science and in my science final i got 98%

   Draconas - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:20:16 EDT

History of Sheet Metal: Marc, This would require some research to be definitive, however plate products have been around for quite a while. Rolling and slitting mills for bar stock have been around since the 1700's. Brass wire drawing was a factory operation in the 1300's. This date is critical for musicologists because wire strings became available then. Prior to that wire was drawn by individual craftsfolk for their own needs. Plate or sheet was also made in small quantities by hammering from a fairly early date.

The early 1800's were the begining of the industrial steam era. Along with steam power came machine tools and the capability to build larger machines. By the mid 1800's a LOT of industry was developed to the point that it would be recognizable to us for what it was. This made the US Cival War one of the first truely mechanized wars. Railroads made it possible to move heavy goods, equipment and manpower quickly. Although this was a transitional era in transportation, industry was developed to the point that it could provide anything needed by an industrial society of the time. Including sheet metal.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:23:11 EDT

Demo: Good work Jock. Must have been a tough one. I think Jim would approve. I recently had forged some 3" galvanized conduit. I left the shop while the zinc burned off but at the time I was pretty casual about he whole thing. Not again!

When I took a welding class at the local community college the instructor warned us about zinc but he made it sound like no big deal - stomach ache, head ache - all passes in a couple of days. Must have a chat with him.

Just a thought. How about a Safety Demo on the dangers of testosterone poisoning?
   adam - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:32:33 EDT


I had a chance to use a nibbler this weekend to cut some contours out of 1/4" plate. I am wondering what, if any, are the advantages of a nibbler compared to plasma/oxy fuel cutting methods. Thanks.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:46:36 EDT

Draconas, then apply some of your abilities to research. Most of your answers are already here. Or apply that logic to learning some php programming . . our search routine NEEDS serious improvement.

Tough Guys: This is one of those areas where I remind people that some folks "get away with" things. A purely English expression that I wish translated. "Getting away with something" that should kill you is just dumb luck. Same with many construction struction techniques. We have ALL "gotten away with" something that could have turned out terribly (le mas teribly)

Simple probabability says that you have a 1 in 6 six chance in Russian roulette. But it is possible to pull the trigger dozens of times without fire OR have it fire the first time. SOMEONE always wins the lottery but its never going to be ME (I don't play). But my probability is not much lower than those that play regularly as it is billions to one (Someone MIGHT give me a winning ticket as a gift so my probility is not realy 0). But I am not going to count on it.

Tough guys used to claim they could hold on to the stearing wheel and not get thrown out of the car or launched through the window. Physics says they can not but these guys don't believe in science either. They are dead wrong. Wearing your seat belt saves lives.

I've recently found a "rural route" that makes my commutes to North Carolina much easier. Same travel time at 45 MPH rather than the 70-75 MPH on much of the crowded Interstate. Less stress, lower velocity, fewer trucks. I'll live longer for more than one reason.

LIFE is a gamble but we do not need to bet on it every day.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:49:29 EDT

Nibblers: Patrick, 1/4", WOW, heavy nibblers! Prior to the low heat effected zone cutting of laser and plasma these were the best way to sheet without heat warpage, discoloration and such. With a drilled starting hole they can cut inside shapes that are impossible with any sheet metal tool including a Beverly Shear.

Most nibblers are small air tools that zip through sheet metal and light plate slick as can be. Their only down side is the NOISE. They do not require one or more fuel bottles and there is absolutely NO heat effected zone. By their very nature they cut a smooth line and they do not leave the repetitive burrs as do snips (unless the blades are worn).

Generaly they are a cost effective tool and most sheet metal shops and armourers have them. For good burr free work you need a range of sizes if you are going to cut a range of thicknesses. The ones you used on 1/4" plate will have too great a clearance for thin plate and would probably leave a nasty burr. Those that are tight and designed for thin plate don't have the capacity for heavier plate.

   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 12:18:30 EDT

Nibblers-The one I ran was running off a line shaft at a friend's shop. It did leave a burr, but he said the dies needed some adjusting. I happened to see a nibbler in a field a few days later that appears to be bigger than the one my friend has. The one I ran had a single "arch" with the drive wheel mounted at the bottom of the unit. The one in the field has two "arches" comming together at the woring end. The drive wheel is mounted between the arches with the motor underneath.
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 06/02/05 12:35:04 EDT

Our problem is that we need to heat treat about 100 sword blades per day, which we are doing manually over open fires etc. I acheve a hadness of about 55-58 on RC scale without a problem. Unfortunately during atmpring atleast 25% of the blades are destroyed due to cracking. Balance of the blades have an excellent toughness and bear a gardness of about 48. What is the remedy ?
   Gagan@Deepeeka - Thursday, 06/02/05 12:54:59 EDT

are you fully annealing the blades before heat treating?
Are the blades folded?
What style of blade are you making?
What grade of steel are you using?
For the sake of example I will use Japanese bladesmithing practices for my examples.

It could be any number of problems from bad steel, overheated steel, wrong quenching temp, quenching medium, etc, etc.
As an example, It could be that the carbon distribution in your steel is poor causing small voids in the metals crystalline structure.
Japanese bladesmiths tend to remedy this problem by folding and folding the steel until the carbon is appropriately and evenly distibuted and using a clay slurry to reduce the amount of carbon lost during the forging heat portion of forging.
Typically in a sword you want a balance of hardness with flexibility hence the reason Japanese smiths use a two to four piece construction of their blades using different grades of steel- this of course varies on the type of technique you use. For the most basic it is a two piece construction of the outer shell encompassing the cutting edge and the sides with a harder steel and the core a softer steel comprises the mune(spine) for flexibility. Typically for the spine you want no more hardness than 40 and 55-58 is good for the cutting edge.
From what I understand on straight forged(not folded) blades a 15-25% loss is a normal condition. Even Japanese smiths lose a blade every now and then. Also from my studies I found that blade cracking is caused by some defect in the metal to begin with (See my first paragraph). I get them all the time in the smaller blade items I make as well using 0-1 tool steel.
you might try chnaging quench mediums to a light oil rather than water(if that is what you are using).
Of course if you are making other types of blades, i.e. medievil broadswords things will be a little different but not much.
Hope some of my research material helps give you some ideas in solving this problem.
   Ed Green - Thursday, 06/02/05 13:24:44 EDT

Hi there . just a short question .....how do i make a sword? ...... Sorry just joking .... what i wanted to know if you could help me is "how do you or can you weld cast iron? i have been in the welding game now for just under 18 years and this is the first time i have had to weld this melal ... the part i need to weld is a chain gear from an old crain . i weld mainly with mig but i do know how to use arc and oxy . any help would be appreciated.
   adam ayers - Thursday, 06/02/05 14:17:59 EDT

More Nibbling-
Nibblers used to be pretty common in fabrication shops, mostly made in Sweden, for some reason- there were 3 or 4 swedish brands, most well known was Pullmax. Also German made Trumpf's, and a few older american brands like Libert.
Aside from the noise the guru mentioned, there are a few other reasons you dont see them used much anymore- they take a pretty wide kerf out- often as much as 1/4", wasting a lot of material. They make a godawful mess, leaving behind the sharpest little halfmoons of metal, which stick like burrs to the bottom of your shoes, and get tracked into places you dont want em.
To work well on something like 1/4" plate, they need to be very large and heavy- a pullmax that will cut 1/4" plate weighs in at about 7000lbs. This makes them expensive, big, and hard to move around. They are also relatively slow, compared to more modern techniques- my plasma cutter, for example, will cut 1/4" plate at a constant 50 inches per minute.
The basic concept of a nibbler does survive in industry- its just called a CNC turret punch now. Many large CNC punches nibble interior openings, often using punches as big as 3" square. These machines combine a 50 or more station turret holding different punches, with either a laser, or a plasma cutter, along with auto sheet loaders for 4x8 sheets. When you see one of these run 24/7 unattended, you understand why nibblers arent common.
Plasma, oxy fuel, lasers, and waterjet all do the same thing, but all have a smaller kerf, and are usually computerised.
For a while there, they were scrapping pullmax nibblers right and left, but the sheet metal working community, the panelbeaters who make car and airplane parts, have discovered that you can put doming and planishing dies on them in place of the cutting dies, and they work great for 3d metal shaping. As a result, the price of used ones has gone more to the $2500 to $5000 range, and they are usually snapped up at auctions by car guys.
   - Ries - Thursday, 06/02/05 15:03:52 EDT

Carbon Distribution in Iron-

Ed-In your example above, you assume that uneven distribution of carbon on the microstructural level in iron results in voids. This is not so. If the carbon (or any other alloying element for that matter) is unevenly distributed, there will just be a higher iron content in that area of the bar. The reason that japanese steel had voids to start with was not due to uneven distribution of carbon, but to the way in which the steel was produced. From video I have seen of the process, it apppears that the smelter used does not completly melt all the ore that is put in it, unlike a modern blast or electric arc furnace. The product of the smelter is very porus and does require extensive forging to consolidate it. There is also extensive segregation of carbon, which is made more uniform by forging. Voids are rarely present is steel produced by modern methods. It is possible to have non-metallic inclusions, but in rolled bar of the size typically used for cutlery they are extremely small.

Stress due to quenching, followed by rapid heating could induce cracking, althouth cracking will usually occur during or just after the quench rather than during tempering. It is also possible that if time between quench and temper is too long, cracking will occur. To completly answer the question of why the swords are cracking, much more information is necessary.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 06/02/05 15:23:42 EDT

Cast Iron: Adam, Most of the sucessful repairs I have seen on old machinery as well as those I have made have been braze jobs. Small parts can be torch welded with a small rose bud (4 jets). The whole is brought up to nearly melting and CI rod is used. . . A friend of mine has ripaired many small simple shaped parts that way over the years.

If arc welding you use Ni-Rod. Prep, preheat then weld away.

The big problem with CI parts is that there are numerous types of CI and then there is ductie which LOOKS like CI and is not. Many CI's shrink and crack where the weld is NOT and often require preheat on the opposite (mirror) side of the part depending on its shape. The idea is for shrinkage to happen in parrallel.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 15:42:00 EDT

my faux pas- YES I do realize much more info is needed. Hence I investigated where this fella was writing from.
His company apparently makes swords and such largely from stainless steel(from what I read). they say they do make from damascus as well. So once again the questions I asked was what kind of steel was being used etc.
If it was stainless then I have to agree with your summation that time between quench and temper is too long considering they say they are doing hundreds of swords daily I would have to "ass" u "me" that is the problem as well.
As foir my info on Jap-anese smelting and swords- this is how it was explained to me or maybe my interpretation is incorrect. Oh well, I know what it means to me I just may have a problem conveying it properly.
   Ed Green - Thursday, 06/02/05 15:55:55 EDT

In the book about the technology of the Royal Armouries at Greenwich they mention sending iron out to a "battermill" to get it made into sheetmetal---this is in the 1500's IIRC.

But it was still expensive and not real uniform until the rolling mill came along which did not become real common until over 100 years later. With steam powered rolling mills there was an explosion in "tin ware" and "tole ware" as it became a cheap replacement for items previously made in much more expensive metals.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/02/05 16:18:35 EDT

Guru: re welding cast iron. I am restoring a champion 200 1/2 drill and the feed arm and the feed handle for manually lowering the drill were broken. We were able to do both of them and as well as a champion cast iron forge with the 55rw rods and about 75 amps. I am quite willing to belive that it is more luck than skill though. We didnt preheat or anything. The handles had been brazed in the past and it did not hold. I also figured that a forge was not a good place to trust braze.
   John W - Thursday, 06/02/05 17:19:29 EDT

Adam Ayers, re welding cast.
If it were me that was doing it I would have a new gear made.
I do know several folks who have welded cast before. But they also say that if it is a load critical piece they tell the client to replace with new.
   Ralph - Thursday, 06/02/05 18:26:24 EDT

Hello Everybody

Guru nice work on the Safety Demos I know it had to be rough getting through them.

I would like to add one metal that was not listed and is also very dangerous. Lead. I used to make fishing lures (Pro-Line if any of you have used them). When the Lead was at the correct temperature there was no problem as the OSHA approved ventilation was more then adequate.

The guys that did the pouring and molding wanted to get their numbers up. They turned up the heat on the Lead allowing them to pour an extra mold per casting cycle. This caused a heavy gas that OSHA simply called Lead Vapor. This resulted in four of our workers ending up in the hospital being treated for heavy metal poisoning. All but one fully recovered. My friend Alex Mendoza now suffers extreme daily headaches, joint pain, and memory problems. He also has had a major change in his overall demeanor and is now easily irritated at/by people, objects and situations. He is now disabled and has not been able to hold even a part time job to help make ends meet.

This same issue happened to another friend but not as severe. He works on high performance wheels. He was heating a specialy made wheel to change the bead angle when he “suddenly smelt something funny, got dizzy and dropped to the ground.” The hospital stated that it was heavy metal poisoning caused by Lead. After hearing this his boss inspected the wheels and found that Lead was used to fill and weight the bead. He had massive headaches for almost six months afterwards.

Please be careful around Lead especially when melting or casting. OSHA approved ventilation is not sufficient if lead vaporizes. This can cause serious and permanent health problems.
   Arron Cissell - Thursday, 06/02/05 19:08:34 EDT

adam ayers-- any way you could drill the chain gear from the old crane and affix a repair plate on each side of the break? I would not trust working with a welded-- or brazed-- cast iron gear on a crane unless The Great Welder in the Sky did it Her Very Own Self. And even then I would never stand under it or near it under load.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 06/02/05 19:44:47 EDT

My reprinted catalogue for the Champion company 1909 arrived and to my disappointment the detail in the photos is not clear enough to see the gearing. The 200 1/2 has two speed gears. My drill has no obvious way to shift the gears. There is a pin and a ring groove on one of the clusters that could have held some sort of snap or clip. How do you shift the gears and did anything hold the upper cluster in engagement?
   John W - Thursday, 06/02/05 20:28:08 EDT

Ries: You seem pretty well versed on the nibbler issue, perhaps You can help. I have an old AEG model KN-5 hand nibler,and no information on it. This is a 6 ga [5mm] unit, the motor end resembling that of a 7" angle grinder. AEG's website does not list this large a nibbler. I dont know where to get a punch for it, it has a male metric thread which I can't cut on My lathe, if memory serves Me it is 12mm coarse. The punch that came in it has the TRUMPF spade logo on it. Any ideas on where to get another punch?
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/02/05 22:31:20 EDT

Arron, I have added your poinient story to the safety demo.

Adam, I meant to mention the same as Miles. . I'm not sure I would want to work under a crane with a repaired CI lifting part.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 23:11:00 EDT

A good data point for sheet metal production is the Crimean War, apparently the 1st use of tin cans for rations.

Someone in Great Britain would be cranking out large amounts of tinplate to supply the cans.
   - Hudson - Thursday, 06/02/05 23:24:51 EDT

Champion 200 1/2 Drill: John, the step or cluster gear shifts up and down to change speeds. Up is high speed and down is low or regular speed. The catalog engraving in our CD is perfectly clear but does not show the snap lock detail. The instructions says it only takes an instant to change speeds. Yes something needs to hold the gears UP. gravity will hold them down. . .

Strange machine. Definitely needs to be powered OR the feed should be on the oposite side. I would not want to be operating the feed lever while the crank handle was free wheeling. It is interesting that the feed lever and engagement mechanism is the same that was used for many years on all brands of floor model drill press.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 23:28:11 EDT

Load Critical Gears: My old Hendly and Whitmore 40ton Shear Punch had a wrecked pinion gear when I got it. The original was an as-cast gear with side flanges to support the gear teeth. This is impossible to machine so the replacement is made or 4140 and has set collar sides to protect the gear. The gear cost me half of what I paid for the whole machine and I still haven't finished putting it back in service. It will shear a 1.25" mild steel bar in an instant.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 23:33:10 EDT

Marc, Diderot's Encyclopedia shows good examples of them from France in the late 1700's. The main thing that has changed over the years is the power source and the size of the mills.
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 06/02/05 23:52:16 EDT

Thank you all for your input and advice . After carefull consideration and not wanting to risk life and limb to myself or others i will make a new replacment gear and use the old CI gear for welding practice. Thank you all once again .
   adam ayers - Friday, 06/03/05 00:45:05 EDT

Nibbler tooling- Well, I wouldnt just go by the website, I would call in person, and ask to talk to parts, as AEG is gonna be your best bet for new punch and die for that nibbler.
Its possible that Trumpf USA could tell you where the punches are sold, but unlikely, as they specialize in half million dollar turret punches.
Other brains to pick, that is, salesmen to ask if they know where to get one, might include Cleveland punch and die, and Mate.
Both make lots of different punches, and probably dont make one for your nibbler, but might know who does- www.clevelandpunch.com and www.mate.com
   - Ries - Friday, 06/03/05 00:46:51 EDT

Ries: Thank You, I will give them a try. I have 3 dies started, but not finished and wasn't sure what I was going to do about the metrick thread punches - buying a couple punches may be the easiest way out... if I can find them.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/03/05 01:24:27 EDT

We are looking for a manufacturer of RAM for Huta Zygmunt Hammer MPM25000B. The manufacturer has closed down. Can you tell names of any manufacturer.
   Sameer Khandelwal - Friday, 06/03/05 05:22:05 EDT

Adam Ayers:

I have found welding cast iron to be about like hardboiling eggs. Even if you do it identically each time, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have had some success in using a combination of both oxy/ace and welding with nickel rod. Scraf/bevel the edges of the break. Preheat with the oxy/ace and then arc weld under the oxy/ace flame. Remember to clamp the gear down to minimize warpage and expansion and to let it cool slowly.

One cast iron part I repaired was off an old farm tractor. It was the yoke which held the steering column below the steering wheel. Guy couldn't find a used part and the dealer wanted something like $200 for a new one. Repair has worked nicely, but it is not under stress nor a critical part.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 06/03/05 07:20:47 EDT

Thanks, guys, for the sheet metal info. Another tidbit of information on my way to having knowledge of the entire universe.
   - Marc - Friday, 06/03/05 07:24:23 EDT

Champion 200 1/2: I am goin gto keep it hand powered. The flywheel was replaced with a flat belt wheel/pulley, but it will just have to serve as the fly. Time will tell if I need to figure out a snap for the gear cluster. The catalogue engraving is clear, just not large enough, and from the right angle I guess.
   John W - Friday, 06/03/05 07:56:09 EDT

Punches and Dies
Heres a list of MFG's that I have accumalated over the years. This is in no way to be considered a "plug" for any particular Co. I used to buy from some of these. I sent this to Dave Boyer, but Someone here may want the list too,

Strippit, Inc 1800-828-1527
Dayton Precision Punch, Inc 1800-837-8665
W.A. Whitney Co 815-964-6771
Danly Die Set 800-243-2659
Bolden Die Supply Co 800-277-4278
Pivot Punch Corp. 800-622-3227
Milwaukee Punch Corp. 800-558-0564
H & B Tool Supply Co. 704-376-8531

These are off my old business cards, the numbers may have changed. Some of them used to custom punche and die sets.
   daveb - Friday, 06/03/05 11:38:09 EDT

John W-- My Champion 200 1/2, which I rescued from a junkyard and intend to haha restore, is also missing its gear retaining snap. However, I think I can see how it worked (in a general way anyway) and herewith for what it is worth, is how it looks to me. Look under the horizontal bevel gear that engages the vertical bevel on the drive shaft and you will see the bottom part of that gear contains a deeply machined horizontal groove. Next, on the top side of the topmost sliding gear look for 1/16 inch or so D. pin or the remains of one (all that is left on mine). That pin held some sort of spring loaded detent that engaged that groove, when the top gear was adjacent to the bevel gear, and which would serve to hold the gear cluster in the up position. My Canedy-Otto has the same arrangement and it has a home-cobbled spring detent that was made by the smith I bought it from or by his father. I guess those detents took a lot of wear and had to be replaced in situ with what was at hand. I hope this helps. Ain't they something, these gorgeous old monsters? Relics from the golden age of cast iron! Going on a century and still ready to rock and roll!
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/03/05 11:42:34 EDT

John, I zoomed WAY in on the engraving and its just not a detail that shows. The Pully MIGHT be heavy enough for a flywheel. THese machines depend on them. All you can do is try it.

Huta Zygmunt Sameer, I have never heard of this manufacturer here. Are you sure this is the manufacturer? Sometimes the importer or dealer buts their name on the machine.

If indeed the manufacturer is out of business then it is an orphan machine and you must do what we all do with orphan machines. Reverse engineer and manufacture your own replacement parts. Sometimes a machine shop can reproduce the part using the old part as an example, other times you need to provide your own detail engineering drawing.

Maintaining orphan machinery by reverse engineering is much more common that most people know. It is not easy but it is commonly done. In the US the forging industry is declining at an alarming rate and many of the major machine manufacturers have gone out of business. Now it does not matter if a machine is 20 years old or 100. Maintenance is the same problem on both.
   - guru - Friday, 06/03/05 11:50:07 EDT

John W-- Seems to me a clip-on pair of half-cylindrical shims would work to hold the gear cluster in the up position if one did not feel like making a spring detent. Also, for what it's worth, my Champion 200 1/2 has a much smaller, wider port side pulley (obviously to match up with a line shaft drive belt) than the one shown in the 1909 catalog reprint, which is a fly wheel for sure. But mine also came with a crank and the drive shaft has a flat spot for the set-screw thereof. So a fly wheel is not absolutely essential. It has an automatic as well as manual feed.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/03/05 12:23:28 EDT

Yep, that sounds like the machine. Weighs 240 lbs. I will look at the thing tomonrrow and see if I can visualize the spring or clips. Maybe they offered the machne with the line shaft drive as an option. I will get some pictures tomorrow.
   John W - Friday, 06/03/05 15:37:28 EDT

Miles: I am thinking about a v spring, like in a percussion rifle lock. with one end of the spring fitted on the pin. the belly of the spring in the groove and the bridle end of the spring with a finger loop to pull it out to change gears. I can't draw it on this system but does that make any sense?
   John W - Friday, 06/03/05 15:58:11 EDT

Tin cans for food were actually used in limited quantities starting in the 1790s, but only for things like hardtack that didn't need an airtight seal. There was also an arctic expedition in 1807 that took along canned rations. Unfortunately, they hadn't figured out lead poisoning yet and the cans were soldered with lead. Napoleon also experimented with canned food for his troops between 1804 and 1813, and no doubt would have continued had he remained in power. In other words, the Crimean war (1850s) isn't a good starting point.

Tinplate was used for many, many things beside food cans, which are actually a fairly late use for it. Simple tinware and toleware was around, if not extremely common, over 100 years before the Crimean war.
   Alan-L - Friday, 06/03/05 16:09:10 EDT

It is currious that folks can not believe that sheet metal was around for a long time. After all gold gilding was around for a lot longer. Sure it was softer than iron but the same basic principles were used.
   Ralph - Friday, 06/03/05 17:49:27 EDT

John W-- I think a V spring heavy enough to work would be a real bear to retract enough to drop the cluster, and I think affixing the finger ring to pull on would be a problem. The Canedy-Otto dingus, which as I said looks home-built, rides atop the upper side of the top gear, is long enough that you can get some leverage on it, with a fairly feeble spring. There ought to be some elegantly simple swivel clip that would work. Barring that, seems to me that what I would do is make a snap-cylinder shim to hold it up when you need it. Sooner or later you will come upon one of these machines in mint condition and then you can take a peek at how those clever boffins at Champion solved the problem. Everything, everything, comes floating along through the flea markets, garage sales, tailgate sales at smite-ins. Patience!
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/03/05 18:46:17 EDT

I have a question about zink casting. Is it safe for a DUMMY like me that has no safety equipment. I found this site,
On a Goggle search, But after what happened to PawPaw, Should I just stick with casting and melting aluminum.
   DanDSkabvenger - Saturday, 06/04/05 00:21:10 EDT

if after reading the Safety demo, you still have to ask....?
Dan stick with casting AL.
   Ralph - Saturday, 06/04/05 06:29:35 EDT

Ralph, I it's the sheet metal *factory* that I was most curious about. I figured that as soon as the ancients knew how to reform metal, they'd be able to figure out how to make it flat and into sheets.

   - Marc - Saturday, 06/04/05 07:25:28 EDT

Zinc Casting: Dan, Casting zinc is safer than casting brass. At brass pouring temperatures exposed brass flares off zinc and can be pretty nasty. Normally you keep the melt covered with flux which prevents the evaporation and flare of the zinc.

In zinc casting you operate at considerably lower temperatures and flare is an indication of overheating. However, without temperature controls flare is common.

The article you pointed to gives the industry line on zinc fume fever which greatly downplays the problem. Relatively mild exposures can make you sick for several days with flue like symptoms (shakes, fever, headache). Repeated exposures tend to have worse and worse symptoms. The results can be emphasema and various joint complaints. OR if you have bad lungs as did Paw-Paw the results can be death.

The other problem is that metals are very rarely pure and there is always more toxic elements involved such as lead and cadnium. Although small amounts it does not take much to make you permanently ill or worse.

Common sense and VERY good ventilation is important. I've welded galvanized parts, cast zinc and brass and never had enough zinc exposure to feel any effect. But I have always been aware of the problem and always stop what I am doing when something dangerous or problems occur. Then correct what I was doing THEN continue.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/04/05 08:07:32 EDT

Ralph: A fair number of people wanted to stop manned space flight as too dangerous after Apollo One*. You learn from the mistakes and go on.

* I put the Space Shuttle and Space Station in an entirely different category. There I think the benefits don't outweigh the risk and cost.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 06/04/05 10:20:06 EDT

Risks: One wonders, how many people met their death just trying to figure out flight in general. "Faint heart ne'er fair maid won".
   3dogs - Saturday, 06/04/05 11:21:13 EDT

Ken, there is a slight difference.
Personally I do not care what folks do with their lives, as long as it does not impact me or my family.
Sure casting zinc is and can be done. BUt why would you want to since this life has so much to offer? I mean there are too many other things I want to do and so why risk it?

Space exploration was a different ball of wax. In fact all exploration has always entailed dangers.

   Ralph - Saturday, 06/04/05 11:21:29 EDT

Yes but yall miss the point. It would be a different thing if zinc casting HAD NEVER BEEN done before. But it is being done, so it is not like trying to learn or develop something new.

But like I said Dan can do as he wants. And yall can encourage him all you want, but just remember that if I repeat if ( a big if) something happened to him, you would be a wee bit responsible as well.

Just like if you sell knives and one is used in a crime and someone was hurt.
   Ralph - Saturday, 06/04/05 11:24:34 EDT

Anyone close to North Carolina with a used 60lb+ treadle hammer in good shape....could save this novice from untold trama cause she's gonna build one. Sure would help. Thanks.

   BD - Saturday, 06/04/05 12:16:37 EDT

BD: Someone has a treadle hammer for sale on eBay now I believe. However, I don't remember where it is located. You are not that far from the Guru of Treadle Hammers, Clayton (Clay) Spencer. Last address I have for him is in Murphy, NC. Clay may not have invented the treadle hammer but he sure has added the features and options to it. You would do well to take one of his workshops.

Speaking of hammers - someone also has a 100 LB Little Giant on eBay ready to go. I believe it is located in MI. They can load onto a truck or trailer.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 06/04/05 12:34:10 EDT

Ken, the hammer is in PA. Or else I'd be tempted to jump on it like a chicken on a June bug.

Bob from Michigan
   Bob H - Saturday, 06/04/05 13:42:49 EDT

That Little Giant is impressive - would a novice be able to keep it running? Glass has eaten up my space and world for years and years but gradually metals took over. Welding wouldn't do. But the space didn't increase. And there is so much to learn (I'm still at mechanical moron level.) I have the plans for the ABANA treadle hammer. Have i mentioned time? (Murphy, NC is so close.)
Thank you so much for your help.
   BD - Saturday, 06/04/05 14:05:09 EDT

BD, if you're close to Murphy you're close to the biggest concentration of really good smiths in NC. Go hang out with them! I don't know when they meet, unfortunately.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 06/04/05 14:13:22 EDT

Guru, and Other's,
Thank you,
I'll stay away from the zink and brass,as my lungs are already shot. And I should get somemore safety equipment before I do much more melting of any metals.
DanDSkab, back to silent mode.
   DanDSkabvenger - Saturday, 06/04/05 18:08:00 EDT

Is something going on in the world of backyard casting? I hadn't sold a pair of my 5" crucible tongs in several months, then - blam - four in four days. Is casting a hot hobby for the moment?
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 06/04/05 19:11:24 EDT

Hello all!
What is a the correct or good "rule of thumb" height for a swage block? Same as your anvil or a little higher or?
   Ray - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:21:22 EDT

I like to set my swage block so that when it's on edge it's the same as my anvil. That way I can use it as a work support.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:34:44 EDT

Ray. Swage block. I doubt if there is a rule of thumb for height. It would depend on end use. I have an old block, one foot square and 4 3/8" thick. It came with its own cast iron stand. When sitting flat, the ensemble is 19" tall. With the block standing on edge, the swages are still way below anvil height.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:37:43 EDT

I just finished my " JunkYard PowerHammer", using Ray Clontz's unique car tire clutch, and for a somewhat, rusted in spots, unpainted assemblage of old farm, horse and car equipment....she's a beaut!!! The question is this. Total weight of the unit is about 350 to 400lbs with a 30lb hammer. At full speed she's almost airborne from the torque. Ray said to use 5 to 10lbs as a counterweight on the tire....and if that didn't work, keep experimenting buy adding more weight. I'd like to figure this out before I bolt it to the floor because that would just hide the problem, not fix it. Does anyone know of a formula I could use to get instant some gratification with this problem??? Thanks, Roland
   Roland gerson - Saturday, 06/04/05 21:35:20 EDT

   WESLEY - Saturday, 06/04/05 22:14:16 EDT


Using all caps is considered shouting on forums. I'm pretty deaf, but I see just fine. (grin)

The quickest way I know to get steel to rust is to spray it with Clorox™ Bleach and wait a few hours. Not exactly sure what you mean by the term "powder rust finish", though.
   vicopper - Saturday, 06/04/05 22:35:10 EDT

   WESLEY - Saturday, 06/04/05 22:47:30 EDT

sorry about the caps
   WESLEY - Saturday, 06/04/05 22:48:50 EDT

Dan, no reason to go silent! Just remeber that every question you ask there are more than likely 3 or 4 others who were afraid to ask.
AS for disagreements in opinions that is normal. SHoot get 4 smiths together and you will have at least 5 opinions.

You might want to see if there are casters near to you. And see how they are operating. ( both commercial and home folks) Not to say that they are going to be doing it correctly( read safely ) but seeing how others do stuff is ALWAYS educational.

So please do not lurke. As you seem to generally have good questions. ANd we ( anvilfire) need that.
   Ralph - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:06:53 EDT

i have recently aquired a bar of aluminum about 30 beet long, one inch by a quarter of an inch or so, and i want to make a sword out of it, do i need to use a forge to heat it and pound it out to shape or can i do it cold.
   Draconas - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:33:39 EDT

Wesley, if your talking about a building like the one in Pittsburg PA, I thinks its the U.S Steel office building all rust color, My understanding is they used grade 50 steel. and let it rust. It produces a natural rust barrier, that powdery surface it really rust. Now you can get a rust powder coat, with texture and color, check around for a powder coat supplier someone like H.B. Fuller Co. or TCI CO. Min orders will apply,then find someone who has a powder system.But be aware they will probably charge a lot to run just one or two parts. If they will. Some body shops use powder systems now, it may be easier to get one of them to do it.
   daveb - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:36:10 EDT


The rust surface you're referring to may be that which occurs on a special alloy of steel called Cor-Ten, used extensively in architectural and sculptural pieces back in the sixties and seventies. The hype was that it would rust to that powdery reddish finish and then stop rusting, so it wouldn't just rust away. Wrong! What happened was that almost everywhere it was used, it left nasty looking rust stains all over the area beneath it. I know of a few locations where sculptures were erected and the removed a year later because of the rust trails.

Steel is going to rust if not properly finished. There is no such thing as a rust finish that doesn't keep on rusting. If you want the rusty look, but don't want the continuing rust, then you nee to do a good paint job that *looks* like rust, which isn't really very hard to do at all. Only you can decide how long you want the piece to last.
   vicopper - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:42:40 EDT

WESLEY: Most of those things that have a "rust finish" are probably made of Cor Ten or some other "weathering" steel. These tend to get a uniform brown rust coating, then rust verry slowly after that. Structural steel will keep on rusting, might not be a problem if You start thick enough and keep the water Ph around 7.2 [neutral], but fountain,splashing & waterfall type stuff will keep the water full of oxygen, and the rust active.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:46:11 EDT


The Franklin Expedition to discover the Northwest Passage in the early 19th century greatly relied on tinned food. Unfortunately, the tins were sealed with lead solder, and autopsies conducted in the late 20th century showed that some of the crew died of or suffered from lead poisoning. It might also explain some of the irrational acts of the officers and crew when the ship was crushed by the ice.


I think Draconis was asking about Leeds Armoury, mentioned in Tinker's posting. Leeds is the key museum for medieval arms and armor in England, and (according to my frinds insert geen "envy" colour here]) is both beautiful and educational. It's been featured on some of the History Channel's Arms and Armor programs.

Paw Paw's Last Safety Demonstration:

A fitting memorial to a man who showed such generous behavior to all of us in the smithing community over the years. It was a privelege to know him, and his hard-learned lesson will undoubtedly save many folks from further danger. He'd like that and I'm sure, from a better place, he approves. Thank you Jock.

Off to Omaha Monday to work on your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:54:46 EDT

Draconas: You could just start on it with a file, disk sander or belt sander. You have a lot of the material, so You can experiment with forging it cold, at some point You will probably have to anneal it, If it is 1XXX series it will move a lot before it workhardens, If it is 2024, 7050 or 7075 in one of the hard tempers You probably wont be able to work it without annealing it first. If You don't know what it is You have to try & see what happens.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:58:28 EDT

FOR what it is worth... A good friend of mine is in the hospital right now. Waiting for a lung transplant.

He welded all his life and ruined his lungs. When they cut the bottom off his lung, it was full of GALVANISE... He had already lost the other one.. That is what the docs told him and his wife. I would have thought they would have said ZINC or TIN.

He and I are the same age, we were both born in '41'. It sad to watch someone you think a lot of of, wither away and turn all kinds of colors besides normal.

Just something to think about.

   sandpile - Sunday, 06/05/05 00:08:04 EDT

What are some of the things i can use to make steel or iron hot enough to spring temper it, and where can i find them?
   jaime - Sunday, 06/05/05 00:56:17 EDT

Al for the most part, is easy to work. You should try to work it cold first (to see if it needs to be anealed)
But some thing to keep in mind Al will work harden much like copper and will break or shatter if worked too long with anealing. Second make shure that you aneal throught the piece. if not the surface will pull away from the core and you will end up with a hollow broken piece of scrap.
Al will blue blush
   - timex - Sunday, 06/05/05 03:37:19 EDT

sorry thats wito out anealing
   - timex - Sunday, 06/05/05 03:38:04 EDT

Fire , electricty, plasma, friction, hmmn...
Junk yards, scrap dealers, wharehouse 'o' car parts, Hommie Depo. Hmmmn

OR are you asking if or what to use to make a mild steel harder for use as a spring?
   - timex - Sunday, 06/05/05 03:42:37 EDT

I did put where the Armouries are located within the post....:( !
If you ever get the chance to go to the Armouries at Leeds sir you REALLY should, about a year ago they did a mini 'Ygdrassil-The Viking Way' exibition, (They do different themed exibits all the time)Repro longboats from York (not as big as yours, by the way...swimming in chainmail, had me in stitches. Top bombing!) GENUINE norse blades and other artifacts from digs around the U.K. Several reenactors from the Yorvic (York) Viking Centre (who brought the boats AND the beer:). We have a hell of a lot in my neck of the woods about the dreaded 'Norsemen', so if your ever over this way give me a shout. I'll gladly show you around.
   Tinker - Sunday, 06/05/05 04:48:17 EDT

Cor-Ten: This is a US Steel grade but a lot of mills make a generic equivalent now that the patent expired. It is made by adding about .2% Copper. Years ago, when blast furnaces were suppling nearly all the iron to the steel mills, residual copper was very low and copper had to be intentionally added. Today, with automobile bodies suppling A LOT of the scrap for Electric Furnace Steelmaking, residual copper content has risen to the .3-.4% range. This is because of the copper wiring harnesses that do not get removed when the scrap autobody is shredded. I guess a lot of the low carbon structural steel made today would behave very similarly to the Cor-Ten alloy.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/05/05 08:26:09 EDT


My recommendation would be to forget forging, annealing or tempering the aluminum and use a large angle grinder instead. I suspect all you are after is a show blade. Be aware though to grind a bit at a time. If you try to horse the grinding disk you will find the aluminum melting rather than being abrased. Wear safely glasses. a dust mask and fairly heavy duty gloves. Start at the tip end and then work your way back so the stock held in the vise jaws is still the 1/4" x 1". Is the piece really 30 feet long?
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 06/05/05 10:54:17 EDT


i think that if i start with 6"x6" I-beams that it should take many years before the rust could make the structure unsound. the steel structure will be welded to form 2 verticat I-beam pillars spaced 4' apart supporting a 5' horizontal I-beam at the top. this structure will be suspending a 3'x4'x6" slab of granitethat will weigh approx 1100# ,not very much weight for the steel. also the holding catch basin for the water (i.e. pond liner) will be covered by black rocks, so i dont have to worry about staining.

thanks for all the input so far.
   WESLEY - Sunday, 06/05/05 11:20:12 EDT

My restored Champion 200 1/2 drill press is at this web site http://www.owwm.com/PhotoIndex/enter-5.asp?PID=54740BC0216F97A0 I am still thinking about the gear support clip or spring.
   John W - Sunday, 06/05/05 11:42:26 EDT


You didn't specify the section of the I-beams, so I won't hazard a guess as to whether or not they'll be strong enough at any point in the life of the piece. There are flimsy I-beams and serious I-beams. Generally specified as something like W8-45, meaning a beam with an 8" web that weighs 45# per running foot. More weight per foot means higher deflection strength.

Can a person walk under it? What is the possible fallout if it does collapse? Is it in a public area? Is wind loading a factor? You may want to consider having an engineer run a quick calc or two and give you a sign-off on it just to cover yourself. The greatest amount of rust degradation will come right at and just above the water line. If you use heavy enough seciton members, it will probably be good for a number of years, unless in salt water. I might still opt to triple up the vertical members up to a few feet above the water line, though. I'm cowardly about lawsuits.
   vicopper - Sunday, 06/05/05 12:10:54 EDT

John W,

The link you posted is not correct. The correct link is:


It looks nice. If you can get some high resolution shots of the gear train, maybe someone can figure out an elegant little method of shifting gears.
   vicopper - Sunday, 06/05/05 12:14:18 EDT

Wesley: Rust run-off will still stain the black rock. Thing of it more as a rust coating than stain. The effect of the brown against black might be quite striking though.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 06/05/05 12:43:00 EDT

ill just grind it to start
then ill try forging it , see what i like more, if i do forge tho aluminum will heat up really quick right, i wont ahve to have the fire as hot as i would for steel right.
   Draconas - Sunday, 06/05/05 14:01:49 EDT

Back to heat-treating the sword question for my own information: He mentioned the swords were being heated over an open fire. I take this to some type of firepot. With a standard firepot it would be difficult to get an even (within say 100 degrees) heat in the entire blade. If quenched with different parts of the blade at different temperatures I can see it affecting hardness, but might it also cause cracking?
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 06/05/05 14:50:04 EDT

Ken, my guess they have made a 'trench' forge.
Imagine a air pipe that was as long as the sword. Should with care be able to heat the whole thing more or less evenly.
But I am not sure how you would get it to the quench with out doing the limp noodle thing.

Hmmm mebbe a stainless steel 'basket' to heat it in and move it to the quench?

One of several reasons I do not do swords.
   Ralph - Sunday, 06/05/05 16:32:22 EDT

I am looking for a supplier for fine chain mess or curtain. I have a job requiring a three sided fireplace curtain. Any leads would be appreciated.

Fisher Forge
   David Fisher - Sunday, 06/05/05 19:56:37 EDT


the size and location of the structure greatly decrease the liability of injury and the I-beam will be 6x6 with a thickness of approx 1/2"

any way thanks for the input
   WESLEY - Sunday, 06/05/05 20:10:07 EDT

Heating and quenching swords vertically will prevent a lot of distortion......However, 'taint easily done. I'm thinking 55 gallon drum with many burners and a lot of refractory lining....sounds expensive to me. Yep, stick to knives.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/05/05 20:11:40 EDT

Vicopper: Is there an address that I can send you the pictures? I will try to put them on the owwm.com
   John W - Sunday, 06/05/05 20:52:29 EDT

Done. The picture is with the others on www.owwm.com. http://www.owwm.com/PhotoIndex/detail.asp?ID=2823 this is the address I copied, dont know why it was wrong last time.
   John W - Sunday, 06/05/05 20:59:23 EDT

I think MacMaster-Carr sell firescreen.
   Ralph - Sunday, 06/05/05 21:01:25 EDT

I have several questions.
1. What is the forging temperature of A-36 HR steel.
2. Should the anvil horn be on your left or right, I assume it's personal preferance, just wanted to know.
3. I've been making charcoal, but I haven't been letting it coal. I've just been burning it like a campfire and then snuffing it. How long should you let it coal (let it burn while depriving it of oxygen)?
   - Trapper - Sunday, 06/05/05 21:25:55 EDT

Yeah my peice is 30 feet long
my friend gave it to me, says i have to make him a sword with it, just a wallhanger, and hes gonna do all the furnishing, skullcracker handle
   Draconas - Sunday, 06/05/05 21:29:17 EDT

there are seveal publications on collier ( making charcoal.)
They lay out the different ways of making charcoal.

Somewheres on anvilfire there are some basic plans for a charcoal retort.
   Ralph - Sunday, 06/05/05 22:49:58 EDT

Trapper and the charred wood coal
i've been experminting with the process fer a few months.

so far the easiest way it to do a direct burn in a steel barrel. once you get the wood burning, add more untill the flame goes out and starts to smolder. After that place a tight fitting lid on the container( must have some vent holes in the top ). Then wait for a yellowish white smoke to emerage from vents. Light the smoke with a lloonngg match. Keep the smoke burning for about one to two hrs. carefully opne lid and stir the char coal with a long rod or stick and replace the lid and light the smoke again.( it should reflash or reignight) then wait about another 30 to 40 min. then tightly close the container, vents and all. After that just wait untill the next morning and you should have some hard lump chercoal.
your times will vary do to the type of wood to be used and how 'green' it is.
Be careful and have fun.
   - timex - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:11:10 EDT

Trapper, A36, from bright lemon, 2100ºF to low cherry red, 1365ºF. Most right handers have the horn to their left. A large amount of wood that I charred once, about three pickup loads, took 12 hours. We covered the mound with adobe, and left a few portholes near the bottom for a minimal draft. If a wind came up, we blocked the holes a little with more adobe.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:13:40 EDT

Tinker: You mentioned Leeds, but you didn't mention it was the one in the U.K. Between the U.S and Canada there's probably a number of "Leeds" scattered about. I just thought that Draconis' geography might be a bit shakey. :-)

Trust me, if I get back over that way I would be honored fro you to show me around.

Up to the 80s f. on the banks of the lower Poromac. Off to Omaha tomorrow, given the agenda, I doubt if I'll be able to visit any local blacksmithing sites, even in the evening.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:24:17 EDT

Copper in the scrap chain - another source is powder metal parts - a fairly typical addition to the iron powder is 2 % by weight copper powder. The copper ends up in the finished part, the parts are magnetic and don't get separated when a car is scrapped. About 60% of the iron powder produced ends up in automotive applications - weight per car is still small - less than 25 lbs but the amount per vehicle is growing. The kicker is - that auto shred has too many residuals in it to be recylcled into top grade iron powder - you need better scrap with much lower residual element content (Cu, Cr, Mo, Mn, Ni are the big offenders).
   - Gavainh - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:47:34 EDT

What besides Iron is in the parts made by metal injection molding? That should start showing up in the scrap chain soon if it isn't there already.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 06/06/05 00:08:22 EDT

re: Sameer Khandelwal Huta Zigmunt Hammer ram

For those interested Huta was a Polish make of closed die pneumatic double acting 'die forging' (closed die) hammer. Ram weights upto 6 tons, that ive dealt with. Theres not much info available about them, and parts manufacturing drawings are very hard to come by. The Hutas, though very well constructed do break their rams eventually (they are scary when running - the blow energy has to be seen to be believed). It is common to weld repair the ram, but this is a job for the pros, and then can be hit and miss.
Sammer, drop me an email to discuss further (sure this isnt to interesting for most folks :), I could make one from scratch for you but will be VERY expensive due to the taper bore & the cost of the (en19 usually) forging to start with, I might be able to track down a used one but would need to talk budgets etc...
   John N - Monday, 06/06/05 06:06:02 EDT

Trapper: E-mail me (just click on my name) and I'll send you an article on the two basic charcoaling processing. As noted, there is information on making charcoal in the archives and I suspect if you do a www.google.com search on it you will find a further wealth of information.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 06/06/05 06:48:41 EDT

e: Sameer Khandelwal Huta Zigmunt Hammer ram

Just looked up the spec sheets on the Huta MPM 25000b, ram weight 8 tons blow energy inexcess of 180,000 ft/lbs hammer weight (inc anvil) 225 tons - quite a big 'un by any standards!
   John N - Monday, 06/06/05 07:36:08 EDT

Cutting knife blanks: First I did an hours' google search, including Anvilfire. I produce a specialty line of small woodcaving knives in O1 (using Starret 1/8 6x36 annealed sheets), I make about 300 of this paticular knife a year. For 10 years I have been cutting the blanks out with a small metal bandaw using 1/4" M42 blades (powerband matrix). The time involved and relatively short life of the blades sure makes me want to find a better way. A small plasma cutter, or a Henrob torch might cut down the time and give a more accurate cut, but I have found no info on potential decarburization or hardening of the annealed material. Info and ideas? thanks , Del
   Mn Del - Monday, 06/06/05 09:37:24 EDT

Mn Del: You are a prime cadidate for waterjet cutting. Plasma and the henrob both make a small Heat-Affected-Zone (HAZ) that would be both hardened and decarburized to some extent. Laser cutting is better, but still has a HAZ. Waterjet produces no hardening or decarb, and should be pretty economical if you have a scan of the blade shape given the quantity you're producing.
   Alan-L - Monday, 06/06/05 10:56:38 EDT

Cutting: Mn Del, Heat effected zones will always occur with gas, plasma OR laser cutting. Decarburization only occurs with gas and possibly plasma but the depth is so little (surface only) that it should all be easuly removed in the normal grinding process. However, the heat effected zone can be a considerable distance and varies with process and technique laser having the least effect. IF as-is temper condition is important (it usualy is in stock removal) then all the heat effected zone will need to be ground off. With laser the amout would be just a tad more than removing the surface.

But I suspect you already knew all this were hoping for a cheap "out".
The BEST method for machine cutting without effecting the temper is water jet. However, it is the most expensive. The same type template files are used for laser and waterjet and there are many places that do contract waterjet and laser cutting. Either method can be used for low or medium production runs.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 11:09:15 EDT

Charcoal: Ken, Etal, We have extensive articles on our FAQs page.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 11:10:10 EDT

Die Casting (metal injection molding): Dave, 99% of all of this was formerly known as "pot metal" but the alloys have been greatly improved. They are mostly zinc with some aluminium and traces of other metals. The good Zamak ZA alloy series is nearly as strong as bronze, equal as a bearing, lighter and casts at reletively low temperatures (1,000 to 1,100°F). Generaly these have no iron except what is picked up by there disolving any iron they come in contact with at high temperature.

Typical parts include everything from detailed auto parts like carburettors and metal trim, conduit and pipe fittings, to the frames for the disk drives in your PC.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 11:19:03 EDT

Metal Injection Molding-

This is NOT the same as die casting. In die casting, liquid metal is forced under pressure into a metal die. In MIM, solid metal poweder is mixed with a binder, and injected into a die, more like a plastic injection molding operation. The part is sintered, simalar to a powder metal part and the binder burns off. I don't know what binders a used or the alloy compositions, but it believe that it is a flexible process so that iron, copper, etc alloys to be used. The have been some article within the last year on MIM in the ASM "Adavanced Materials and Processes" magizine.

   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 06/06/05 12:13:42 EDT

Guru - with your engineering/computer background, I hope you enjoy this one:

Could one take a video or digital camera, put a long lens on it, wire it to a computer, and use it as a pyrometer/thermometer?

If I'm understanding things, the various types of iron I am likely to work with, if all at the same temperature, would all put out the same color light. If such were the case, a lens that had a very narrow field of acceptance (so as to only "see" a half-inch circle, for example) could show the computer the color. With a bit of calibration and some trick software, it would seem I could get the heat-treating/welding stuff down to more of a science. Thoughts?
   Tim - Monday, 06/06/05 12:25:52 EDT

Shoot, if this worked, one could market blacksmith's cell phones with built-in video pyrometers! Be the first on your block...
   Tim - Monday, 06/06/05 12:28:48 EDT

I wonder if you have any leads on an old fashion Grinding wheel. Foot pump or hand crank style with large wheel.
I am working on a movie up in Vancouver Canada.
Medievel period movie. We are doing a scene where they will be sharpening swords & weapons on a grinding wheel
   - wes - Monday, 06/06/05 12:29:27 EDT

do a search for optical pyrometers. There are some fairlyy interesting plans out there ( home built)and are not too costly.
   Ralph - Monday, 06/06/05 14:50:33 EDT

Grinder: Wes, Time to go to the Propmaster. They can be found but by the time you run all over finding what you are looking for you could make one with a concrete wheel for less cost. It won't grind well but then neither did the real thing. Sandstone wheels do not turn fast enough to make sparks so the concrete makes no difference visualy. If you want phoney sparks go to FX. But for all us techies out here all you will do is make us laugh like when he see actors that NEVER used a hammer for anything in their life trying to look like they are forging.. . tink, tink tatinkata. . . tink tink. . . oh no NOT another one. . . ha ha ha ha. . .

Guru's foot Treadle grinder Image (c) 2003 Jock Dempsey
My foot treadle grinder

   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 15:09:47 EDT

Power Hammer Counter Weight: Roland, In crank type hammers the ONLY mass you balance is the linkage between the crank and ram. You cannot balance the ram mass. Only side to side motion and non-dynamic mass. If you try to balance the ram the hammer will tip over.

The counter weight should equal HALF to TWO THIRDS the mass of the linkage IF the centers of gravity are equal for the center of rotation. If the CG's are different (probably are) then the counter weight must be adjusted according to the ratio of the centers of gravity (simple lever mechanics).

Lifting thrust is absorbed largely by compressing the spring, the balance by the mass of the hammer. If the spring is not properly absorbing the upthrust energy then the the hammer will HOP. Too stiff a spring or linkage over travel locking the compression and the machine will hop uncontrolably.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 15:36:50 EDT

Real chain fireplace screen-
The biggest manufacturer of this stuff that I am aware of is Cascade Coil- they will make the interlocking coil spring type fireplace curtain in a variety of sizes and materials.
McMaster sells rectangular wire mesh in sheets, but that is totally different from real curtain- it is made kind of like a chain link fence, only with round spring like verticals, instead of flat wavy ones like in a chain link fence.
   - Ries - Monday, 06/06/05 15:44:57 EDT

Draconas Aluminium Sword Question:

This is answered in DETAIL in our Sword Making FAQ. Please do not answer any more of Draconas's questions that are covered by our FAQ's, iForge demos, Getting Started articles or 21st Century page articles. He can read and needs the research practice.

You DO NOT grind aluminium, it clogs wheels. It will also generally clog belts quickly too. There are some anti-loading compounds that would add some life but you would still be going through belts by the hundreds of dollars. Low alloy nearly pure aluminium such as archetictural grade will clog the fastest. Hard high zinc alloy aluminums clog the least but they still clog. Their advantage is that they CAN be wet sanded with fine finishing paper and polished.

You SAW, FILE, TURN or MILL aluminum. Again hard alloys are best and soft the pits. It can be forged but is VERY tricky and not recommended in a hobby environment.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 15:47:24 EDT

Treadle Grinding wheel- I happen to have one in my shed, and I am only an hour and a half south of Vancouver BC. But, and its a big but- we tend to shoot movie people on sight here- you see, I spent 10 years living in LA, and so I am singularly unimpressed with anything and everything to do with movies. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by the desire to direct, and I saw genuinely creative people think they were "telling a story" while they were producing the most juvenile dribble possible. So to get me to go out of my way for a movie shoot- well, you gonna have to sweet talk me, pay well, and deal with all the details. And even then, its lucky my wife doesnt have a shotgun, because she has even less patience for the upwardly mobile than I do. But heck, email me, and maybe I can help.
   Ries - Monday, 06/06/05 15:53:21 EDT

I do not want to encourage Draconas, who seems to think all things come to he who doesnt do his homework, but I have personally used a grinder on several thousand pounds of aluminum. We have ground miles of bevels for welding 1/2" and 3/4" aluminum plate, as well as grinding out aluminum welds. If one needs to grind aluminum, the brown grinding wheels from REXCUT work quite well- they do not load, and they feel just like a regular grinding wheel on steel does. Particularly for 6061, they work exactly as well as a steel grinding wheel. They are a bit pricier, and often must be special ordered, although a good welding supply house will stock them.
When grinding aluminum, though, a respirator is recommended- the dust gets everywhere, and it is not good to breathe.
   Ries - Monday, 06/06/05 15:59:22 EDT

Cor-Ten, Self finishing steels: In most applications these have turned out to be disasterous. Hundreds of bridges on the Interstate system were built using these steels and they are now all now painted. Electric utilityies built thousand of miles of power towers with it and have been forced to replace them.

The problems include, EVERYTHING must be the same matched alloy. That includes special welding rods and all facteners. Then there is the method of attachment to what ever it is standing on or connected too. TEMPER is part of the alloy spec and that means any HAZ (Heat effeted zone) must be reheat treated. This includes torch cuts and welds.

Paint it properly.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 16:04:22 EDT

O.K. I am confused, who has the best newly made anvils? I spent the weekend at Ironfest taking to the various vendors about the quality of their line of anvils. Whats the straight skinny on this stuff? I am impressed with the Peddinghaus anvils , I know they are forged and they seem to have the best overall finish. But they are also the most expensive by a fair amount. Is forged really worth the extra money up front given modern heat treating etc? With the cast anvils, Old World, Euroanvils and TFS all seem about the same to me. They seem to have about the same rebound, finish etc, the only difference is that the TFS seem a little more expensive.I was told they are all about a 40 hardness, seems a little soft to me? Could you guys give me your thoughts, I have read the FAQS on here, but want your opinions.
   - Gary - Monday, 06/06/05 16:09:05 EDT

Wes what time in the medieval period? Early medieval (dark Ages) is pre-round grindstone..."Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" Gies & Gies, show a drawing of the prep for a battle between the angels and devils---the angels are using the new high tech round grindstone whilst the devels are still using the old fashioned whetstones---God is on the side of the high tech!

   Thomas P - Monday, 06/06/05 16:34:50 EDT

I have a Trenton anvil which was made in 1898 but I've been looking at new ones and I like the Nimba anvils the best. They have tons of working area. The weight in a Nimba anvil goes towards making a large working area where as the weight in a Peddinghaus mostly goes towards making it taller. That's where they get ya'. For example say you need a 150# anvil, the Peddinghaus that is closest to 150 has a little bit less working area than you would like so you have to get the one that is one size up. They have it all figured out. But I think that Nimba should have a better selection because they make such large jumps in weight, 120 to 260 to 450. But maybe that's their way of getting you to pay.
   - Trapper - Monday, 06/06/05 16:44:44 EDT

Lesson learned for what it is worth:

I ordered 96 pieces of 1/4" x 4" x 11" from my steel supplier. Started using them this past weekend. I have found none which are 11". Either 10 15/16" or between 11 1/16" and 11 1/8". A good 3/16" variation in length. Called steel yard this AM. They said they had just fired the employee who did the cutting (for other reasons) so my call didn't surprise them. Lesson learned was to double check measurements before paying for speciality cuts.

(Heck if I has wanted them not all cut the same length I would have done it myself.)

Supplier offered to recut them all, but it would be two round-trips of about 100 miles each. Fortunately I can use them by matching up two of the same length. I just have to alter another cutting to take difference into account.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 06/06/05 17:13:09 EDT

Anvil Quality, Best Better: It depends on how you define best. The absolute most durable, hands down is Peddinghaus. Hardest, again Peddinghaus. The best price per pound, probably Euroanvils. The classiest design AND best finish Rat-Hole-Forge. The stoutest Nimba followed by TFS (they have a similar model with very small feet). Best classic design Kohlswa or the farrier supply copies.

Generally the cast anvils are softer because they are likely to have problems. Kohlswa is or WAS the exception and had problems.

It used to be that almost all the anvil makers provided anvils in 10 pound increments or less. So you could get several identical weight anvils or choose the exact weight you wanted or fit your budget. Currently Peddinghaus has the most sizes in their range of one style. If Kohlswa was imported in the full line they would have the most sizes.

Then you have shape features, upsetting blocks, side clips, round verses ovoid horns, multiple punching holes.

The height of the Peddinghaus put more steel under the direction of blow at the center of the anvil. Long short anvils generaly have less mass directly under the hammer but in the case of nimba the section is quite stout. You have to hit an anvil REALLY hard and have a good touch to detect it but that tall anvil takes less effort to use over the sweet spot. It may seem like less effective use of steel but it is there for a reason. Some of the old classic mouse hole patterns had much more mass under the hammer and relatively small work area for the weight. But they were SOLID.

Its all apples and oranges. Your preference. Any REAL anvil is better than no anvil at all. New are pricey but will last generations. Your budget will probably make the decision.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 17:16:12 EDT

If I'm not paying machinist rates for a cut I assume it will be +- 1" at best. If I am paying machinist rates I expect to see 1/2 of the scribed line...or all of it depending on how I toleranced it (-0, +X...).

   Thomas P - Monday, 06/06/05 17:42:56 EDT

Hi Guru,
I'm making some anvil tools from a large truck leaf spring, I guess 1095, and would like your opinion on the tempering of them. I take it they don't want to be too hard and brittle, so after hardening should a blue temper be sufficient? I'm also wondering if I should leave them to air cool instead of quenching in the salt bath.
   Andrew - Monday, 06/06/05 18:31:55 EDT

Andrew, Spring steel is often oil quenched, salt can be too severe. When working with an unknown steel it is best to assume a soft quench. For many anvil tools simply normalized (evenly heated to non-magnetic and air cooled) is sufficient. About the only tool that needs to be very hard is edged tools like hardies. These should be left soft and edge hardened then tempered.

Soft tools can be easily dressed but tools broken because they are too hard are generaly scrap.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 19:04:49 EDT

ASO vs. Peter Wright

I just got my 100# Peter Wright. Weight 0 3 16 or 15 not sure. This is a used anvil that has a great top with few dings. I compared both this weekend and this is what I found.

1) The Peter Weight. I thought that the smaller face was going to be a problem. As I looked at, I felt that I was going to be cramped on working space. I was wrong. I actually improved my hammer placement. I think because I am really looking at where I place the metal on this anvil and the X that is formed with the metal crossing the anvil, giving me a better sight marker to hit. But I could be way off. I never felt cramped on the anvil. The rebound is much, much, better and the first few hits I felt like the hammer was returning faster then my arm. My arm did not get tired at all.

2) ASO i.e. Russian anvil. After much work getting the horn into some kind of useable shape and making the face smoother it seemed to be a decent anvil. I could not find hardies that fit it without shims. The hardy started cracking as it was set at a weird 45-degree angle to the anvil making the corners of hardy face the thinner metal. I never used the pritchell from fear of breaking the heal off. Rebound at first seemed ok but now I know it is really week.

I used the ASO because I bought it when I did not know what an ASO was and had no frame of reference besides my friends ASO. I thought I saved some money. I made a few really bad hits on it and left some big dings and was glad that I did not do that kind of damage to a real anvil. If I had to do it all over again I would wait the extra month and buy a real good used anvil.

   Arron Cissell - Monday, 06/06/05 19:28:54 EDT

Wharehouse Cuts: As Thomas pointed out when you are not paying high machinest rates expect rough dimensions and out of square. When parts are setup and cut in manual setup machines on an as-needed basis you never know WHAT you are going to get.

Then Thomas pointed out tolerancing. Did YOU provide a reasonable tolerance?? If you give even inches for something less than a foot in size it is FAIR to expect 1/2" error in any and all directions and . THAT is what you asked for. IF on the onter hand you said I want 6.00 x 8.00 parts then the unstated tolerance is +/- .050. However not stating the tolerance is leaving it up to someone else and you don't have a leg to stand on in negotiating rework.
   - guru - Monday, 06/06/05 19:34:16 EDT

This is a small combination scrapyard and steel supplier. I specified 11" with no stated tolerance. What is a resonable tolerance to ask - say +/- 1/64"?

I was charged $1.00 per cut with a stack of four being cut at one time.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 06/06/05 19:42:16 EDT

Aluminum grinding and safety.
To those who grind aluminum with a vitrified wheel, DON'T. This will load up the wheel, cause overheating and the wheel may well fail at speed with very ugly results.
Abrasive material removal of aluminum makes a combustible dust. Aluminum dust, especially fine dust has an ugly tendency to explode at an ignition point. This usually shakes more dust loose, with a stronger second and even third blast that often level buildings.
Please play safely.
   ptree - Monday, 06/06/05 20:00:31 EDT

For someone out there just starting in blacksmithing I have a deal for you.

I made the mistake of double purchasing the book Practical Blacksmithing the 4 volume book. If you want to supply a pre paid shipping label to me I will send you my extra book for free.

No joke, don’t feel like selling one item when it could go to help someone else out.

Just email me.

For everyone else.

I bought Practical Blacksmithing, The Art of Blacksmithing and Practical Projects for the Blacksmith. I have looked over your book review page but am unsure where to go from here in books for the just starting. I am thinking The Artist Blacksmith and $50.00 Knife Shop. I have a lot more to learn so some direction would be nice.

I think it would be a great idea to take information available on this site such as Iforge and turn it into a book. The information in Iforge is great and I was able to clearly read what was going on and do the project with some success before reading any books or other information on how and what to do.
   Arron Cissell - Monday, 06/06/05 20:11:53 EDT

Arron Cissell-- Get the COSIRA (Council of Small Industries in Rural Agriculture) or whatever its new name is blacksmithing book from Centaur or Norm Larson and work your way through its basic exercises. I know at least one master blacksmith who taught himself with that book.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/06/05 20:36:33 EDT

Arron-- Then get Schwarzkopf's classic vocational high school text, Elementary Forging, I think is the title, and also Francis Whittaker's Cookbook and you're pretty well set.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/06/05 20:40:04 EDT

Oops!-- Aaron-- Get The Edge of the Anvil, by Jack Andrews. Indispensable.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/06/05 21:23:06 EDT

The COSIRA book is available online for free download form the source. You can download it at:


I recommend The Artist Blacksmith by Parkinson. I think I pretty well covered the whys of it in the review. If you get it, please tell the seller that you heaerd about it here on Anvilfire. The COSIRA online books are excellent as well.
   vicopper - Monday, 06/06/05 21:25:40 EDT

HELP! trying to produce damascus...coal and charcoal forge didn't work well...new gas forge gets hot ....followed all instructions I can find....nothings welds?
   William LameBull - Monday, 06/06/05 21:41:45 EDT

Guru, read your post on my hammer question and it all makes sense. I counterweighted the tire with 8lbs and that took care of the wobble, however, if I use the hammer at over 110 beats per minute, it starts to get pretty jumpy. Everthing SEEM's to be balanced correctly with spring tension etc. so I'm wondering if the problem is that the arms and rotating tire are just too heavy for the frame. I only have a 30lb hammer and about a 80lb anvil made out of railroad track. Would more weight on the anvil help solve the problem? The entire unit weighs probably 350 to 400lbs. Thanx, Roland
   Roland Gerson - Monday, 06/06/05 21:52:46 EDT

William LameBull-- Ends of the billet tacked? Through and through hot? That greasy, almost viscous near-white, just-below-sparking hot? And all fluxed? Thomas, help this man!
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/06/05 23:01:40 EDT

re: Other adds to iron PM parts - Dave, did you mean metal injection molding, or general powder metallurgy? I haven't tracked MIM, but am familiar with the powder metallurgy processes - currently work in quality assurance for the american division of the world's largest iron powder producer. For powder metallurgy, you make a mix, place it in a die in a press and then press it to a near net shape part, eject the part and run it through a sintering furnace around 1900 to 2050 degrees F in a protective atmosphere - typical is 10 % hydrogen in a base of nitrogen.

Most of the powder mixes for standard PM consist of a base of iron powder, a lubricant powder such as zinc stearate or Acrawax (a trade marked amide wax), and graphite powder to turn the carbonless iron powder into steel during the sintering process. The lubricant burns off during the sintering process - typical lubricant additions are on the order of 1/2 to 1 % by weight of the mix. Possible alloying powder additions include copper powder, bronze powder, nickel powder, manganese sulfide powders, molybdenum powders, etc. A lot of the alloying powders mimic fairly typical wrought steel alloys when they've been sintered into a part.

There are also specialty powders that mimic fairly typical alloy steel compositions, but with no carbon - carbon is added through the graphite additions. You can make the specialty powders one of 2 ways - melt in the chemistry in an EAF, then atomize it, or diffusion bond an alloying powder to a base iron powder at high temperatures in a controlled atmosphere belt furnace.

Also in general there are 2 broad types of iron powders - powders made by atomizing molten steel or sponge iron powders produced by solid state reduction of an iron source (could be prepared iron ore or mill scale).

I'm less concerned about most of the additions other than copper because they end up acting more like traditional wrought alloy steels, though a number of them such as nickel also build up in the scrap chain. Copper is probably the most common addition, and it builds up in the scrap chain and has a deleterious affect in wrought steels when the level gets too high.

For detailed information, there is an entire volume of the ASM Metals Handbook dedicated to powder metallurgy, there are also a couple of good intro books to PM written by Randall German - professor at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA (Spelling of the last name may be slightly incorrect - may have 2 "n's" not one at the end of the name.)
   - Gavainh - Monday, 06/06/05 23:41:02 EDT

Gavainh:The process I was asking about is the one described by Patrick N in the above post. I have been told that this process can achive any hardness to about RC60, I dont know what range can be achived with the other mechanical properties. I guess a lot of the process is similar to what You are doing, but instead of compressing powder into a die, there is a thermoplastic binder mixed in that allowes it to be injection molded. The parts are baked then sintered.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 06/07/05 01:26:16 EDT

it will be helpful to know what you are using for your billet.
Did you let the billet soak so as to insure a weld temp thru and thru? Perhaps you are making the first hammer blow too hard?
To be homest I like forge welding better in a coal or charcoal forge. But that is just me.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 06/07/05 03:34:40 EDT

I was wandering if you can buy an adapter that will screw onto a size 3 acetylene bottle, so you could use a regular, you know the big acetylene, and if they do can anyone tell me what this type fitting is called and where i can purchase one. the threads on this acetylene valve are right hand threads 18 threads per inch and somewhere around 13/16 in. in diameter. i hope someone can identify this adapter that i need.
   - kevin - Tuesday, 06/07/05 06:29:11 EDT

I need to know if they make an adapter for a size 3 acetylene cylinder, so you could use a regular acet. guage Set whith this small set of bottles. And if they do could someone tell me what it is called. This Acet. valve has external right hand threads that measure 18 threads per inch. with a diameter of somewhere between 7/8 and 15/16 in. thanks for any help
   - kevin - Tuesday, 06/07/05 06:38:15 EDT

JYH: Roland, You have the common DIY hammer problem, not enough anvil. The anvil alone should weigh from a minimum of 8 to 10 times the ram and up to 20 times. 15 x was a standard for many years but steel prices have forced makers to economize.

However, I still think you have a problem with spring and lever dynamics. The Dupont toggle linkage is the most perfect mechanical contrivance for this purpose. However, its dynamics are complicated and easy to screw up. The spring should be sufficiently tensioned so that the toggles make a nearly horizontal straight line. It will NEVER be straight because the vector dynamics at that point result in theoreticaly infinite force so the arms MUST sag a small amount. At this point the spring must still have enough travel to absorb the upward inertia of the ram without going shut (bottoming out). This should be with the toggle arms at roughly 30 degrees from horizontal. NORMALY the spring absorbs the upward inertia over a period of about 90 degrees of crank rotation which should considerably deduce the force at any one point. But if the spring is going shut or is too soft and the toggles are getting in a bind then that upward force is not absorbed. Only 50% of the upward force can be absorbed due to ther needing to be a balancing resistance. THIS energy is given back on the downward stroke and is why the Dupont linkage is so efficient.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 07:20:55 EDT

Regulator and Cylinder fittings: Kevin, Every welding supplier has a selection of different nipple adaptors to fit different cylinder fittings. There is also a bushing type adaptor to go from the nipple with LH nut to female RH threads. Sometimes you you change out the nipple and nut on the regulator. This is a good thing to do ocassionaly as the spherical sealing surfaces often get scratched and no longer seal properly.

This is an area where the welding texts indicate there is a "standard" with all fuel threads being LH but nobody has told the welding industry. . . .

You are always best to go to a welding supplier for this kind of thing. If they can fill your cylinder they will almost always have fittings and adaptors. In the least they will know what you need. You can also check online hardware catalogs like McMaster-Carr. I'm sure they have the part you need. But if you are going to go to anyone other than your welding supplier then you had better take time to proberly measure the thread diameter and pitch.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 07:33:49 EDT

Powdered Metal Technology: This has been one of the fastest growing areas of metallurgy in the past 40 years or so. There are many processes that range from making zinc parts bound only by pressure to ceramics bound in cobalt matrixes. My old Craftsman lathe made by Atlas has gears and other zinc parts that are press formed from powder. Today there are PM parts with graphite fibers, some made dense enough to be forged afterward, others with voids to absorb oil, other lubricants or be graphite filled. Oilite is a trade name most of us are familiar with for porus oil filled bearing bronzes.

New processing methods are constantly being developed as are new PM alloys. As Gavainh pointed out many mimic common crucible made alloys but the great advantage of PM is that alloys that cannot be made in the crucible can be made by PM. There are infinite possibilities.

Recycling: With these endless possibilities I would not want to be scavaging scrap PM parts. We have enough trouble identifying and knowing how to handle common junkyard steels without getting into possible exotics that were designed to be formed ONLY by the PM process and cannot be shaped by other processes.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 08:01:29 EDT

William LameBull:

If you can bring mild steel up to sparking temperature in the coal or charcoal forge it is capable of forge welding. Problem is then your technique. Centaur Forge (one of anvilfire's advertisers) carries a book specifically on how to forge weld. However, I recommend you also use the NAVIGATE box in the upper right to find the list of blacksmithing groups. Find ones in your general area and then find out where and when they meet. Likely they can give you a hands-on lesson in forge welding billets. There are many variables in getting a good forge weld. For example, what, if anything, are you using as a flux?

On forge welding in a propane forge, that is another step up in the process. Some propane forges are designed for just forging, not forge welding. The one you are using might be capable of forge welding but you simply aren't using a large enough regulator to give it the extra propane it needs to reach forge welding temperature and/or aren't using the correct air/fuel mix.

As noted, for forge welding some (perhaps many) smiths prefer a coal or charcoal fire over propane.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 08:01:59 EDT

who are/were the "Iron-Craftsmen"? i have recently seen some pictures of their work, very impressive. i believe they are american. no reference to who they are/were and no date was given. i suspect that renzetti, claire yellin, and the third (forgot his name) are responsible.
   - rugg - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:19:35 EDT

I am 14, and I am interested in doing blacksmithing at least as a hobby. I want to build one of the brake drum forges from the plans on this site, but the plans really arent very specific about what the actual parts used are. If you or someone else could elaborate on this for me, I would appreciate it.

   - Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:30:36 EDT

I am 14, and I am interested in doing blacksmithing at least as a hobby. I want to build one of the brake drum forges from the plans on this site, but the plans really arent very specific about what the actual parts used are. If you or someone else could elaborate on this for me, I would appreciate it.

   - Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:32:01 EDT

Optical pyrometer. Like Ralph says, there are plans out on the web and its not that hard. But for the same work you could train your eye to where it is accurate enough for smithing. Then you wont need any extra equimpment. I bought a selection of carefully chosen Tempil Stiks to calibrate my eye.
   adam - Tuesday, 06/07/05 11:02:05 EDT

Nolan, blacksmithing is a craft which depend heavily on scrounging and ingenuity. For this reason "plans" tend to be rather vague. Also, most of the designs are not "critical" - similar parts will usually work fine (or better). So, scrounge around. See what you can find and talk to us here about making it work.

   adam - Tuesday, 06/07/05 11:10:26 EDT

Nolen; the reason that specific parts are not mentioned is that you should build it from what you have available. We find it very odd and a bit funny when folks go out and try to buy stuff to exactly match what we drug out of the scrap pile.

So the size of the brake drum may vary or even be a disk from a farm tractor. It might have welded legs or be dropped in the metal frame from an old stool. The plumbing parts might be 1.5" or 2"---whatever was cheap at the flea market. The blower might be an old ('60's) handivac or a blower out of a copy machine---or a home built bellows.

Think of the "plans" as being "suggestions". Also don't think of the forge as being some immutable object. Expect that you will tinker with it until you get it working just the way you like it---and someone else may find it nigh unusable to them!

As soon as I get power to my shop I will be re-building my travel forge into about it's 5th re-incarnation to add in a few options I've decided it needs.

Miles; I'd be happy to help out William; but he didn't give us enough info to go on!

I will add that you must size your billet to the size of the forge and that Ni steels don't like to weld to themselves and so a thin slip of plain steel in between can help.

Hitting too hard can be worse than hitting too soft. and that judging welding temp in a gasser is a whole nother kettle of fish than judging it in a coal/charcoal forge---it looked to be a lot cooler in the gasser I was working with last weekend but with the 100# hammer my billet welded up very nicely indeed.

The easiest way to learn is to have someone who does it on a regular basis work you through the first couple of welds, if William is near central NM; I'd be happy to oblige.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/07/05 11:29:12 EDT

Nolan, if you are going to be forging small objects you can make a forge out of about a dozen firebricks set on the ground or a table with dirt under the forge to keep it from burning the table. Make sure you use plenty of dirt. You can use a hair blow dryer for the blower (side blast) with the tip inserted into a metal pipe that won't melt. Make sure the blow dryer doesn't get too hot.
   - Trapper - Tuesday, 06/07/05 11:31:32 EDT

the very earliest forges were little more than holes dug in the ground. Don't worry too much about it being EXACTLY like the ones you can find on the net. Its about function first and form second (at least until you get a real grasp of things, which I haven't, and want to be fancy :)
It doesn't matter if its a 'truck' drum or a 'tractor' drum, so long as it meets your needs. High output foundries use furnaces that would fit me, and ALL of my tackle in them. I use one that is just big enough for me :)
Take ten minutes now to think about what you want to do, and what you will 'really' need to do it. You will save yourself a lot of time and sweat down the road. One of my favourite things is 'looking' around scrapyards, you will be surprised how somthing can be used for a totally different purpose than its original one (take the old steel bar stool example above)and yet do the job remarkably well.
I 'found' an excellent work table, 26" by 20" by 1/4in steel plate, on 1/4in box steel legs. Part of an old 'plant' boiler I think, that the scrap man was happy to torch out for me. Now I don't crick my back bending over the furnace. At £2 a bargain. Go rummage about with your Dad and get inspired.
   Tinker - Tuesday, 06/07/05 12:41:56 EDT

Dear sir,
My deep puzzle on standing up tall as a blacksmith should.
I happen to come from a third world nation,yes 21st century blacksmithing is yet to visit our nation,though kind hearted fellow as Mr Frank Turley has tried developing some of us via the internet over here in the third world area,within his over time knowledge capabilty, overlooking the rampant nagative image coming from that side which does exists! i agree, discremination holding us back from robbing minds with fellow creative minded art/crafts man and woman like you have amongs you.
Here is our quest!
We have a very high market for quality blacksmithing knowledge and use of its marchines for development is spinging up here every second of the day,if their is any company doing good,the Eliphant of Africa ,which Nigeria stands for has got a part in it.
Personaly i am presently setting up a wrought iron company with a website which i need you to showcase your products there,if i can not get few samples to show clients to have physical inspection which is most important in this field, here in Nigeria it is souly a monopoly,but some lazy national spoil the market for some of us,which we must fight.
I need to know how i can gain a recognition with companies oversea to creat a brige enablement,with that we can sale some of the marchines you showcase.We know that there is an existing oganisation or some what? this can be established,if none exists,please we seek you to make provition, so that the few legitimate blacksmiths negleted in third world community that you may not know, would enjoy a bit of the great things you have to offer the world at large sir.
Kindly look into our dear prayers.
Ikenna Dibor.
   steel - Tuesday, 06/07/05 12:48:54 EDT

The "Iron Craftsmen"-Quite a bit of work done by this group is shown in Geerlings "Wrought Iron in Architecture" which was originally published in the late 1920s or early "30s. I think that they were contemporaries of Samuel Yellin, but I don't know where they were located. Based on the pictures I have seen, their work is similar in style to that of Yellin's.

   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:06:09 EDT

Nolan. I made my forge out of a school bus brake drum. This size is ideal for smaller and medium sized projects. You'll have to cut it down because the walls are too high, but it was a perfect fit to replace the burned out fire pot on an old Champion forge. If you give me your email I'll send you some pic's of it and an electric blower I attached. Roland
   Roland Gerson - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:07:46 EDT

Guru, I took your advice and checked everthing, couldn't find anything wrong with the workings so it has to be the weight. At this point I'm not sure where I'm going to permanently install it, so I need to keep it light enough to move. My quick fix (which may become permanent), was to change the speed setting on the motor from 1750 to 1140. This makes it infinitely more controlable with the foot pedal and 100 beats per minute seems to be plenty fast for my not so young, eye's and reflexes. Thanks for your help, Roland
   Roland Gerson - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:13:51 EDT

How and where heat treat 422ss annealed to 422 ht per GE B50A125,or B50A951
   MARK - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:14:16 EDT

patrick, that was the book that i saw the pictures in, original publication in '29, which means that renzetti and claire yellin were not part of the crew. that is the style and high level of craftmanship that they can and do now...
   - rugg - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:18:18 EDT

I have a 110 lb. Sahindler air hammer which I have been using now for a couple of years. I bought it used and did not get any manuals, etc. with it when I bought it. The automatic(?) oiler on it has not worked since I bought it. I have to manually oil it every couple of hours of operation. That has seemed to work fine but the hammer seems to be generating a tremendous amount of heat lately. I really need it right now, as I am very busy. Do you have any suggestions where I can get manuals, parts, etc. and any maintenance tips? Thank you, hilandhillbilly.
   hilandhillbilly - Tuesday, 06/07/05 13:47:47 EDT

Ikenna Dibor:

Unfortunately Nigeria suffers from rather an image problem in that it seems like about half of your fellow countrymen try to deprive me of money or my goods on an almost daily basis through various scams. A few bad apples can spoil the barrel so to speak. You may well be legitimate, but your posting does read about like various scams.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 14:24:19 EDT

Guru, yesterday you were talking about anvil height causing a better rebound and making it easier to use. Is that height in proportion to it's length or is a 12" high anvil always better than a 10" high anvil even if the 12 incher is shorter in proportion to it's length?
   - Trapper - Tuesday, 06/07/05 14:25:10 EDT

Just catching up on reading the last couple days postings. Had a little food for thought.--Regarding AL dust, I was glad to see a comment noting how volital it is. This is something that should be taken very seriously. Just small amounts of AL dust in the right concentration if compressed while burning acts more like it detonates than explodes. Serious and very powerful stuff. Although Atomized AL power is also used as a filler in various resins, it is considered dangerous enough that even prior to 911 (in the mid 1980s) it was not allowed to be transported between Canada and the U.S.

Regarding forge welding, I have done both gas and coal forge welding. I prefer coal but more important is that to be any good at it, you need to practice. I have made it a point for the past 2 years that everytime I light a fire I make at least one or more forge welds. This has dramitically improved my welding. for someone new at it, an easy starting weld would be a fagot weld and when comfortable with that progress to drop tong welding etc. Although forge welding without flux can be accomplished with the right reducing fire and clean metal, A lot of people prefer Boxax. however, it has been noted that Borax can produce a white line after a period of time at a weld seam. Although there are several commercial fluxes on the market, I prefer to use Boric Acid mixed in equal parts (by weight) with ferric oxide. The Boric acid is readily available at most pharmacies, and ferric oxide can be purchased very cheaply thru pottery supply houses. It is cheap to make, and one pound of each when mixed is enough to give a lot to your friends, and still have enough to use for several years.
   IRONDOVETAIL - Tuesday, 06/07/05 16:48:18 EDT

Trapper: you want the most mass directly under where the hammer is hitting. So the lovely slim "attenuated" anvils are not as good as the short squat "no waist" ones.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/07/05 17:18:43 EDT

Hello. I am 14, and just starting blakcsmithing. All I need at this point is a forge, and I was looking at the brake drum forge plans. they really arent very specific, and I was wondering if somone could possibly explain what the parts are better, and what was used. Also if you could link me to a few iForge demo's that would be good for a beginner, that would be great. Thanks.
   - Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/07/05 17:42:31 EDT

Thanks Miles & Vicopper

The COSIRA PDF files were sent to me a while ago but I did not think that it could be found as a book anymore so I diddent mention it or the other online information printed from sites like this that I am learning from.

Thanks for the book recomindations.
   Arron Cissell - Tuesday, 06/07/05 17:59:16 EDT

Nolan, Nolan, Nolan, Nolan, Nolan!

We already answered your Q the first two times you posted. Scroll up and read.

   adam - Tuesday, 06/07/05 19:05:01 EDT

The new name of COSIRA (Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas) is the Rural Development Commission. Its book, The Blacksmith's Craft, is available directly from one of the forum's advertisers, ArtisanIdeas.com. It is also offered on eBay (do a title search - including in the stores) and perhaps at Half.com and/or Amazon.com. While a free download is nice, some folks prefer a hard copy.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 19:28:54 EDT


For starter projects, I sugget you lookj at the simplest iForge demos, such as hooks and such, and start with those. AFTER you have just settled down and practiced the basic techniques of drawing out, bending, tapering, upsetting, etc. Get some small steel square or round bar, about 1/4" or 3/8" , and work with that to begin with. When you get the basic techniques figured out, THEN you begn making things. The same sort of thing you did as a little kid when the teacher made you write hundreds of little circles and lines before starting you on actually writing letters. Creep, then crawl. We ALL had to do it.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 06/07/05 19:41:27 EDT

I am looking for 2" steel ball (mild steel is fine). All of the ones on eBay are specialty and high priced. Did a google search with no useable results. Can anyone suggest a supplier?
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 20:20:09 EDT

Yes I know, hence why I posted the apology afterwards.
Since I am posting anyways, what would be a good diamater square rod to use for making chisels and punches? I was thinking 3/4" to 1"
   - Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/07/05 20:32:40 EDT

Ken, try King Architectural Metals 800 542 2370. Get their catalog - they have them for a few buck apiece.
   adam - Tuesday, 06/07/05 20:33:53 EDT

Doh, I keep getting who posted what mixed up. I meant Adam, Sorry. (i'm used to the poster's name being ABOVE their post)
   - Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/07/05 20:34:17 EDT

Nolan - Just a little fun at your expense :). Glad to see you did some reading before you posted your questions. Many people dont bother.

Chisels and punches are made from tool steel which is much tougher to forge than mild steel. Handled punches and chisels can be made from 1" sq tool steel if you have it but its not a project for a beginner. Small, hand held punches and chisels are made from 1/2" rod or similar. You can often find coil spring in this size. Thats an easy forging.

Dont use plain mild steel for these kinds of tools - its a waste of time.
   adam - Tuesday, 06/07/05 20:40:09 EDT

Draconas AKA Matt IP#

Sorry you cannot take constructive criticism.

We have been VERY patient with you and answered hundreds of questions repeatedly. Posting gross obscenities is against our rules. Our long time policy is to ask you NOT to post on our forums, leave and not come back.

IF continue to post here I can lodge a complaint with your ISP (do I need to decode it and tell you their phone number and physical address?). Abuse of services can get your account disconnected. Explain that to your parents.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:11:47 EDT

would a trailer hitch ball work?
   Ralph - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:20:40 EDT

An armourer's trick for trailer hitches---you generally find the ones with a flat on top and generally need one that is completely round on top so---you cut it off the stem leaving it a bit proud to grind down to spherical and weld the flat to stock to make your stake...

   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:30:27 EDT


McMaster-Carr sells them; I don't know how much they cost.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:44:04 EDT

I am using cut-off trailer balls now. As noted, they work, but require cutting off, extra welding and grinding to round the top flat place. While I can get close to round, I doubt I have ever been right on. Thanks for the two leads.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:53:34 EDT


In case you are not aware of it each time you transmit on your PC it send out a code unique to that PC. I believe it is known as an Internet Processor Code (IPC), but more commonly known as a 'cookie'. Your host Internet provider can probably trace your IPC (Internet Processor Code) back to your account with them. Most forum monitors can easily find out the IPC of users.

A couple of years ago on another forum a troll was spamming it with very vulgar language. Not only was the IPC traced back to a particular university, but down to a specific dorm room. The university responded they had addressed the problem with the particular user.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 22:01:05 EDT

2" ball follow-up. Looks like the largest McMaster-Carr carries is 1". However, King has 2" ones which appear to be just what I need at about the same price I'm paying for trailer balls.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/05 22:37:25 EDT

Arron-- Everything, everything that ever got run through a printing press can be found on the Internet in the used book stores of the world. http://www.campusi.com/ is a wonderful book-finding search engine devised by some boffins at MIT. There are others. And don't overlook interlibrary loan. Get the local libe to find the book for you, then photo-copy it, yup, the whole entire thing. Just don't crack the binding. Old James F. Hobart, who scrove the best book ever on soldering, hard soldering and brazing wayyyy long ago won't mind. I doubt that Schwarzkopf will, either.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 06/08/05 00:19:14 EDT

Sahindler: Hiliandhillbilly, These are still sold by Brian Russell See www.powerhammers.com. He should be able to fix you up with a manual.

Note that when these hammers overheat it is usualy due to recycling to much air and not taking in cool fresh air. They can reach a point where they will desiel with the cylinder oil. This can wreck the hammer. Give Brian a call I am sure he will help you keep your hammer running.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/08/05 02:11:29 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2005 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC