WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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, 2008 on the Guru's Den
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You said about something in the fuel line. Do you mean in the hose? Because I used no teflon tape on any of the metal fittings and pipes in the gun assembly. PS. I could cut a shorter piece of lamp pipe for holding the MIG inside the bell. Still got a good long piece of stock on hand, might as well use it.

Also, I ordered a 3" x 1 1/2" nipple for the large piece with the bells on it, not a 4". I'll remeasure it though just to see if we weren't duped or sent the wrong item. I'm *very* sure I *ordered* a 3" long nipple, but then again the place I ordered from (McMaster-Carr was it) could still have made a mistake. It's wee at night while I'm posting this message right now so I can't go and just measure at the moment. As for the second bell I was using that as a holder because I was afraid if I took the weld-the-bracket-on approach that that's a 1-shot deal (No, actually, it's a two-shot deal as the nipple cuts into two 1.5" pieces.) insofar as alignment goes. If I screw up the bracket... Using the second bell was a way to try and get the gun nice and centered. So I've got it now, and so isn't it a good idea to try and make it work instead of wasting it?

Time? Got lots of that. Money? *Don't* *have* a lot of that. So taking _frequent_ trips to Boise would not be financially feasible.


I'm not sure where I could find an HVAC shop here but that might be a possibility. Also, do you mean like using something off a house heating furnace???
   mike3 - Sunday, 06/01/08 03:19:59 EDT

Long time back a cat named Venturi found a way to use the fact that a gas flowing faster than the surrounding atmosphere creates a low pressure area. Nature abhorring a vacuum, the surrounding air rushes in to equalize the pressure. (This is what keeps an airplane wing, and the attached airplane, aloft. See Bernoulli, above.) By injecting fuel gas under pressure into the trumpet bell of the furnace Venturis, you are causing it to suck air in with it. The smooth trumpet-shaped bell of a Vanturi promotes a better flow than does a plumbing bell reducer. Sooooo, yes, by all means, get the Venturis-- cast iron ideally but sheet metal is okay, too-- off an old junk gas furnace and use them.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/01/08 08:13:05 EDT

If the idea of using somebody else's old castoff Venturis (ewwww!) offends one's delicate sensibilities, one can always buy them and other gas-related heating goodies new from Ransome,out in sunny California. If one can afford them, that is.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/01/08 09:54:05 EDT

The never ennding debug: Mike, In either case a "close nipple" is as short as they come with threads meeting in the middle. Note that in my design the nipple is sawed in half shortening it and resulting in 2 usable parts.

Fuel line includes everything from the tank to the tip of the injection orifice. Manufacturers often assemble things with Teflon tape and insects getting into things are pretty universal on our planet.

The ONLY point of my using the lamp pipe in my design and accepting the problems with leaking straight threads was to be able to adjust the injection orifice position with two lock nuts. Otherwise standard tapered thread pipe nipples should have been used. The lamp pipe thread must be heavily doped with a hardening pipe dope (not one of the fancy anaerobic that require a thin tight space).
   - guru - Sunday, 06/01/08 11:21:59 EDT

Actually it's a misconception that airplanes fly using the Bernoulli principle. If you've ever been dumb enough to stick your hand out of the car window on a highway it becomes really apparent. Having the side of your hand facing the wind generates almost no lift, which is opposite of the common theory, the vacuum created above an aerofoil is minimal. If you slightly angle your hand upwards, you'll notice an immediate and strong amount of lift. Airplanes fly by by the wings being angled so that incoming air gets pushed downward and as a reaction force the air pushes the wing upward. Same for the engines, they push air backwards and according to newtons third law, the air pushes the engines forward.
   Nabiul Haque - Sunday, 06/01/08 11:48:02 EDT

For burners you do not need high tech. For my Poor Boy Propane Fordes I use copper tubing within a bell coupler and use a .0303 drill to make the orifaces. I use the KISS principle to the maximum extent possible. Everything is pretty well plumbing/hardware store off the shelf. I do have to send the nipples to a machine shop so they will fit within the receivers on top of the forge.

With each forge I provide a 1/2" cut off valve. Transitioning from it to a propane line requires two adaptors. Had been buying them through a local auto parts store for about $10 per set. Noticed the hardware store I use now carries cast ones for about $3 a set. The auto parts ones are no doubt U.S. made, vs Chinese for the hardware store. But for the price difference I simply can't buy American without either raising the price of the forges or eating the $7 per forge difference. Same with the bell couplers. U.S. produced ones are about $6 each, vs about $2 each for China export.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 06/01/08 12:07:27 EDT

Uh huh, and sailboats can't tack, either.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/01/08 12:23:35 EDT

Look, we all know what really keeps airplanes aloft: it's all those passengers like me, holding them up by the armrests. And gravity helps, too, the gravity of the situation if they fall. For more on this vital question, see: http://tinyurl.com/6kln4q
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/01/08 13:58:46 EDT

I have a Peter Wright Farriers anvil with a clip horn, 130 lbs. in weight, patented england with an "H" stamped into the base. This anvil is in very good condition and is used daily. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what it's value is.
   Jerry Brandt - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:27:34 EDT

I dunno, Miles. When I look out the window, I swear I can see the wings flapping.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:27:57 EDT

I have a Peter Wright Farriers anvil, with a clip horn,130 lbs. in weight, patented England, with an "H" stamped into the base. This anvil is in very good condition and is used daily. I was wondering if anyone could tell me of it's value?
   Jerry Brandt - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:32:00 EDT

So does this "close nipple" thing mean I need something even _shorter_ than the 3" I've got (so short the threads are all along it)? (I measured the nipple I've got, and yes, it's 3", not 4", long.)

And swapping out the lamppipe for a copper nipple like the one you can see in the pictures would leave the MIG tip ending near the beginning of the reducing bell, or maybe even inside the 3" nipple. You said that is where it should be, so I'll give this a shot tomorrow when the hardware store is open again and tell you how it works out.

Looking over my fuel line I don't see any tape holding it together. However, when I shine a light through the gun (the thing with the MIG tip on it), not connected to a gastank, I cannot easily see the other end where the light is coming in through the tip, only the reflection on the walls of the pipes. Have I found my bug?

I'll also may be going out on Wednesday or Thrusday this week to visit someone with a gas forge. You were right, there was somebody near here that had one.

If it still doesn't work then I'll scrap the hemisphere and go for a "side arm" like design with the wye. Interestingly enough, the brand of that big box reducer is WARD, so does this mean they've changed their product?
   mike3 - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:32:27 EDT

If you want to know what the rocket scientists think about lift, go here: http://tinyurl.com/4omnrx and click around some. According to them, we're all wrong.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:39:36 EDT

Jerry Brandt, I paid close to $300 for a Hay-Budden, 140# clip horn anvil about 5 years ago. I don't feel that I got stung.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/01/08 14:53:49 EDT

Jerry anvil prices are about double here than where I used to live and both places are in the USA!

Not knowing what country you live in sort of impedes us guessing where you are at to guess at a price. In the USA it will probably be between US$1 per pound to US$5 per pound with the latter for very special, mint condition anvils.

   Thomas P - Sunday, 06/01/08 15:47:34 EDT

Lift: Nabiul, Follow the link above to the one labled "wrong threory" and the demonstrator at the bottom of the page that demonstrates the CORRECT theory.

Lift in an airfoil is created by the air moving a longer distance over the top of the wing than over the bottom. When a non-airfoil shape is pushed through a liquid or gas turbulence in the form of eddies is created at the back of the surface forcing the bulk of the air flow to follow a longer path just as if there was an airfoil.

When flat surfaces are used for lift (or an airfoil at too great of angle) the turbulence causes vibration and in fluids it causes cavitation (creation of vacumme bubbles on the back side). Cavitation can cause errosion of metal parts in pumps, turbines and propellers. If you do not believe in cavitation just remove the prop on a boat and reverse it OR travel in reverse a distance. In a very short time (a few miles in a small boat) the prop will be nearly destroyed by cavitation.

Lift and cavitation can be controlled by changing the attack angle.

Wings on jet airplanes are nearly flat on the top and bottom both sides being curved with a very slight difference. Lift is so great at high speed that only a slight difference is needed.

Lift in the form used in fluids for pumps and turbines was defined by some of the greatest mathematicians and physicists in the world long before the first airplane.

Propane gas burners are on the far end of most venturi calculations due to the density and viscosity of the gas. The initial reaction in a propane burner is more like spraying water out of a nozzle. Then turbulence entraps air as the gas breaks up and expands. By the time the gas leaves the mixing tube it should be mixed evenly with the air and most of the turbulence gone. It should also be moving at a velocity faster than the flame front moves through the air-fuel mixture. Otherwise you get a back-fire and a lift off of another kind.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/01/08 16:10:00 EDT

Buffalo Broil Air - A Broiling heat in 3 minutes

Well folks, we were ALL wrong. Buffalo Forge of NY and Canada made a heavy duty grill with a hand crank OR motorized blower. It looks almost identical to a round rivet forge on wheels except it has an adjustable grill and a built in food handling tray. Unlike forges it had an enameled surface on the forge pan for ease of cleaning. They were sold in the late 50's and maybe early 60's.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/01/08 16:22:53 EDT

Mike BR-- not to worry: the flapping is a design feature, included to distract passengers from the cavitation in the aft vector area. It stops after a while, when the yield point of the aluminum spars is reached.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/01/08 16:53:52 EDT

Uh, Guru, you should check out Nabiuls comment on Bernoulli. Your statement that airfoil lift is created by air traveling a lnger distance(therefore higher velocity)over the top surface is a restatement of Bernoulli, which actually accounts for something like 3 percent of total lift. The curve of an airfoil applies the coanda effect, not Bernoulli, which directs air moving over the top of the wing downward and increases effective angle of attack without creating turbulence. If Bernoulli were the predominant principle, no airplane could fly upside down. Or slowly. BTW, most jets (commercial, subsonic) still have markedly curved upper wing surfaces: only the really fast movers have the very slight differential you wrote about.
   - Peter Hirst - Sunday, 06/01/08 19:04:10 EDT

I bought the biggest anvil I could find, an old Railroad Peter Wright that is 36" from horn to heel, and weighs a LOT.
...that didn't work. The stuff I made looked like a kindergartener's failed play-doh attempts.
I bought a Uri Hofi hammer.
...that didn't work. The stuff I made STILL looked like a kindergartener's failed play-doh attempts.

Suppose I need more practice?

I respect you "real" smiths who can actually produce what you think up in your head or draw on paper. Thanks for your encouragement and for showing me that it CAN be done.

- a blacksmith wannabe
   Paymeister - Sunday, 06/01/08 21:38:37 EDT


Get some Play-Doh and forge it - maybe it will come out looking like Samuel Yellin's blacksmithing. (grin)

Seriously, one effective tool I use for teaching forging is having my students work with plasticine clay first. It forges like steel, just at room temp and with no effort at all. Mistakes can be wadded up and started over, and successes can be stuck to the dining room table for the whole family to see. Cheaper than steel, too. I still use it myself for "proof of concept" on new elements I want to try out, or for working out complex forging sequences on very involved pieces where I can't afford either the time or the materials to experiment in steel or bronze.

My wife likes getting up in the mornings to find a clay dragon on the kitchen counter or a clay flower in the bathroom. For some reason, she was a bit underwhelmed by the clay centipede in the shower stall. Go figure.
   vicopper - Sunday, 06/01/08 22:42:48 EDT

My first LeavesPractice means making the same thing over and over. . . Every project I did was a learning experience and the first couple were always "backups" or test pieces. . . usually junk.

Forging leaves was something fast and not all that common back when I was demonstrating. I made a LOT of leaves. Maybe a dozen or two in a weekend that I also made dozens of S hooks and such. My very first leaves (shown) were flat and lifeless. Make a few hundred and you get a LOT better. Click the leaf for more.

One project I had was to make a bunch of common round or "brean" end door pulls. They were forged from 1/4" x 1" flat bar. My first samples were trash. But with two identical ends I made a lot of progress by making a dozen pulls in one day. That is too many if you are not in forging practice but it was right for me at the time. After that I had a good new basic shape in my skill set.

I would learn a new shape with each project. After a while you have a set of shape skills that can be combined or used as the basis of something else. At some point you have learned to make all the basic shapes and many combinations at ease. Then you can forge almost anything you dream up. But it is all based on practice.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/01/08 23:24:20 EDT

I was thinking about repairing my 140 lb english anvil. The face is swayed and it has several large chips. Its not in terrible shape, but its seen alot of use. If I do repair it What is the best techneque and is it worth repairing money wise.
   - John L. - Sunday, 06/01/08 23:32:10 EDT

Acording to an aircraft mechanic friend of Mine, Jet airplanes suck their way through the air, and helicopters beat their way through it. As He has worked and flown extensively on both, He should know.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 06/01/08 23:40:38 EDT

Dave, Many high performance fighter jets do indeed suck and push their way through the air relying largely on engine thrust almost like a rocket. . . Helicopters shouldn't be able to fly (like bumble bees can't but do). I'm still waiting for my 21st Century hover car that uses anti-gravity and a mini nuclear power source.
   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 07:30:16 EDT

John, If you have read these pages much you know my feelings about anvil repair (don't do it).

Yes, having good tools is a matter of pride but do not let your pride ruin a perfectly good tool.

While sway is an aggravation sometimes it is better for straightening work than a flat anvil. An anvil is not a flat reference surface. They all get worn and dinged over time and many new anvils are dressed by belt grinding on machines that leave a smooth but not necessarily flat surface. In fact when new your English anvil was hand ground by leaning it by hand against a huge rotating wheel and judging the flatness by eye. On average most were fairly flat but many had dips, crowns and drop offs that were not apparent unless you put a straight edge on them. Machining anvils on big milling machines is a modern advance.

To fix sway you must build up the face. While the best old anvil faces were about 5/8" thick to start they were hand forged and hand ground flat. They are often only 1/2" thick in a places. Since being new 100 years or more ago it may have been hand dressed a time or two as well. If you have the top machined to clean up 1/8" (3mm) sway they will more likely take off 3/16 to 1/4" (5 to 6mm) or more due to difficulties trying to align to crooked surfaces and trying to clean up the edge drop off and wear. The final result can leave as little as 1/4 to 1/8" (6 to 3 mm) of original steel face material. This will be quite soft due to the rapid drop off in hardness in the old steel faces. It will also not hold up. Machining also shortens the step (a useful feature).

So weld build up it the only satisfactory solution. This is more expensive than machining due to the necessity to grind out flaws in each pass and re-weld. Preheating is required to prevent damaging the old plate and forge weld. Some use hard facing rod but this is often much harder than needed and will be harder than any old face left exposed. Others have written articles on this subject and one of our google advertisers has a book that includes anvil repairs.

Grinding: I prefer to just dress the anvil with hand grinders removing as little material as possible. If you start by cleaning up the sides of the anvil near the face you often find that there has been mushrooming of the face and anvil body. Once this is cleaned up the worn and damaged edges may not be as bad as they seem. You can also take a little more off than just vertical thus removing more of the damaged area and taking off the least material.

I would not want to try to remove all the sway (due to face thickness issues mentioned) but you can reduce it or spread it out with a hand grinder. After dressing the sides as above you can work the top down to remove hammer dings and SOME of the broken or worn edges. Then if you dress the edges to a reasonable radius you may find that the anvil was in better shape than you thought. However, producing sharp crisp corners is counter productive and a waste of time and a good anvil.

If you are dissatisfied with it you may want to consider an upgrade rather than a repair. I had a guy trade me nearly identical anvils plus $50 because he could detect a dip in his with a straight edge. He was happy and later I sold his anvil for no less than mine would have fetched.

If you want perfectly flat I would buy a new anvil with a machined face. However, you will need to upsize to get as solid an anvil as the old English anvil as they usually have a heavy waist that supports more of the face than the later and modern anvils (other than types like Nimba that have no waist).

   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 07:47:21 EDT

How flat is flat?

A fine finished concrete floor may LOOK flat, feel flat and measure flat as best as you can tell until you poor some water on it and see it pool in the same place every time. An anvil that LOOKS perfectly flat may be out by 1/16" or more on large anvils. Even new machined anvils are likely out of flat by .005". Those finished with big belt grinders have had curves of 1/4" over 30".

If you work in the precision machine trades you know that there are degrees of everything. You can machine a piece flat in a single pass, un-clamp it and do a simple straight edge check and find it is not really flat. If you carefully machine each side flipping the piece over between passes it will get flatter and flatter as evidenced by being able to take a finer and finer cut and sill cutting the entire surface. But each time you take less you will often find there are dips. . .

However, if you take that piece that you thought was perfectly flat on the mill after many passes and put it on a surface grinder a light cut may skip all over the part. The process of flattening is repeated by flipping the part over between pases until a very light even cut is achieved. I'll alternate the angle of the work taking two no-cut passes on my surface grinder and get a beautiful even checker finish that you cannot feel. This will indicate a near "perfect" flatness as created by that grinder.

But after all that, the piece can still be honed on a precision flat. If the grinding had been done right this will just remove the hatching but often will show a high spot or two . . .

Check THIS surface with an optical flat and you may find that it is still not perfectly flat. . but nothing is.

We have large granite flats in our shop. The big one is a foot thick and 5 by 8 feet. If I remember right it is an inspection grade and was guaranteed to be flat within .0005" overall and .00005" in 6" or better. My small 18x24" laboratory flat is +/-0.000037 overall. Since our best dial indicators are only good for reading .0001 and most .0005 the accuracy of the granite flats is fine for most purposes.

Of course to meet regs both of these and the indicators need to be checked for flatness once a year.

Anvils? Flat? Hah!
   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 08:26:53 EDT

I find that a 2 inch section of the top plate with a sharp edge (right by the table) is sufficient for certain procedures on my little 100 lb Wilkinson. Sometimes when drawing down to a step that sharp portion works better than some of my fullering tools. It's only a small spot on the edge, the rest has a nice radius all over.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 06/02/08 09:41:14 EDT

Thanks for the advice!
   - John L. - Monday, 06/02/08 10:21:17 EDT

Whats the trick in a venturi forge? I have the burner and the forge, but all it does is fill the forge with a cold orange fireball. I've heard something about the shape of the forge, how do I know how to sculpt it?
   Craig - Monday, 06/02/08 10:35:45 EDT

Craig-- please shut it down and don't light up again until you are sure you have the answers to your question. There are many places you might start. Here is one: http://ronreil.abana.org/design1.shtml
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/02/08 12:10:43 EDT

Craig, See all the long discussion above (this part week). If you are building a burner using someone's plans then check to see if you followed their instructions exactly including operating parameters if given (orifice size, fuel pressure. . .)

Forge shape is not critical but the ratios of burner size to forge and forge to forge vent do make a difference.

It sounds to me that you are running too low of fuel pressure AND the burner orifice is too small. Otherwise the fire would be back up in the burner.

As noted above the most common DIY burner problems are DIY designs rather than proven designs and quality of construction (wrong orifice, lack of deburring the orifice, crooked orifice, teflon tape in or over the orifice. . .
   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 13:42:52 EDT

I don't understand a concept that is constantly brought up by tool collectors.
Old English hand planes are supposed to have the very desirable "laminated plane blades".

If they just fold the steel to "laminate" then it serves no purpose does it? The steel should still be homogenous and will still require the forging process and hardening, tempering that a non laminated piece would. What's the scoop on this belief?
   - deloid - Monday, 06/02/08 14:14:06 EDT

They aren't just folding. The older blades had high carbon laminated (forge welded) to the low carbon wrought iron, wrought iron being no longer manufactured. This was done because high carbon steel was expensive in the old days. So to a collector, the two dissimilar ferrous metals indicate that it is an older blade than an all steel blade. The blades weren't necessarily better, but they indicate age. The Japanese may have a different slant on this. They laminate so they can fully harden the high carbon. It becomes martensitic, but will have a shock absorbant "cushion" of softer steel behind the cutting edge to help prevent cracks or thumbnail breaks.

This is my understanding. If others have more info on this, I am open.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 06/02/08 14:54:06 EDT

John: Since you indicated missing pieces of your top plate, a contrarian view to Guru's advice. An anvil is a tool. From time to time tools needs to be be dressed up or rebuilt. There was once several sources in the U.S. where an anvil could be sent to be repaired to near new and returned. Grinding off and replacing the top plate was probably the most common repair, but apparently some also replaced broken/missing horns and heels.

Now my advice somewhat depends on your anvil brand. Mousehole, Peter Wrights and Wilkinsons are common. Another brand may have more collector than user value.

I have retopped (welding) over a dozen anvils. I occasionally see some of the clients at Quad-State and all say they are still quite happy. If you want my technique e-mail (click on name) and I'll forward it to you. Essentially requires an arc welder capable of 7018 rod, large hand grinder and a heavy hammer.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 06/02/08 14:59:52 EDT

Frank, I think you nailed it. What is important to collectors is NOT necessary what be the best in a tool. Like very rare tools made by unknown makers. They are worth less than a marked piece by a known maker that may not have been as good. But they ARE known and others collect them and thus the price is often higher even though the product may have been inferior to a small custom maker.

   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 15:02:25 EDT

Early 20th Century Anvil Repairs: All the folks that I have seen advertising this service were anvil manufacturers some of whom were still forge welding plates on their own product and all of who had the heat treating capability.
   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 15:12:11 EDT

Deloid, another aspect is that the blades may have been made from Shear Steel which is a higher quality steel than blister steel and made by laminating up blister steel billets and forge welding them and drawing them out thus helping to equalize carbon content and to make any inclusions smaller in cross section. Also an indication of age of the piece.

Just depends on what they mean when they say "laminated".

   Thomas P - Monday, 06/02/08 15:49:09 EDT

Debug Update: I just swapped out the lamp pipe on the gas burner for a shorter, tapered copper nipple, so the MIG tip ends in the reducing bell (I think it's in the high half of the bell now.). I also tried straightening the tip out a little as well. The flame now doesn't seem to sputter anymore but is still a little "raspy" (it doesn't look nice and smooth). Is that because of the geometry of the bell, or because it's not in a proper forge, or both?
   mike3 - Monday, 06/02/08 17:52:12 EDT

Sounds like it looks normal. Without a step/nozzle the burner will not perform smoothly. Even then this is not a torch or Bunsen burner it is a forge burner and must have a significant flame velocity (thus turbulence and roughness).

Misaligned tips are best aligned somewhere else (the pipe) or bracket rather than forcing the compression fitting. The copper pipe nipple should bend well.
   - guru - Monday, 06/02/08 18:09:51 EDT

I have a picture I downloaded from ron reil's web site a couple of years ago. I built my burner from it and havent had a bit of trouble with it. If you cant find the picture "Ron Reil's propane burner modifications" let me know and I will email you a copy of it.
   JLW - Monday, 06/02/08 22:13:40 EDT

Looking at the picture again, I made mine slightly different in that instead of fastening the brass nipple to the reducer bell with brackets I drilled through the bell and inserted the nipple that way. I centered the mig tip orifice using water instead of gas and I flared a piece of pipe on the horn of the anvil and threaded it to the end of the long burner pipe instead of using a set screw. I inserted the burner into the forge side then screwed on the flare and then built up the kaowool and refractory in the forge shell. I got a regulator from a web site that sells knife making supplies and refractory and ITC. It is a great little forge and still works pretty well. The refractory needs some patching but that is about all. I used some square steel pipe about 10inches on a side and about 18 inches long.
   JLW - Monday, 06/02/08 22:19:49 EDT

We have an anvil that reads "WILK" with cross hander or a cross under that. The next word under that is "Queens" and then under that "Dudley". This anvil weights 150 pounds. Can you please provide me with any information?
   steve - Tuesday, 06/03/08 00:01:41 EDT

Steve, That is a Wilkinson anvil made in Queens Cross, Dudley England. They made anvils from the 1830's to late 1800's. They were one of the more progressive anvil makers in the area known as the "black country" of England. The origin of this term is not known but at its height this was THE iron working area of England. All the industries burned coal and coke making everything black.

They were a minor importer into the US compared to Peter Wright and Mousehole forge but also supplied the British colonies such as India and Australia.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 00:21:53 EDT

Guru, I work at a county historical park. we have a forge and several of the guys at work do demos for school groups and events. None of the guys are computer literate so they asked me to look online for mold they can use for casting toy soldiers. they want to demonstrate to the school groups and then sell the soldiers at our gist store. I read the FAQs but did not see anything about this.
I have looked online for molds but would greatly appreciate any advice you might give on where to find quality molds for the guys to use. Thank you for your time.
sincerely, Ley Cash
   Ley Cash - Tuesday, 06/03/08 00:33:36 EDT

Ley Cash: I don't know where to buy molds for soldiers today, but I do remember Mine from 40+ years ago. The casting material [lead in those days] said "Home Foundry" on it. Today You should probably use a lead free material, perhaps lead free solder if You can't find anything else.

My molds are not particularly high quality, they are made of die cast aluminum, and they flash pretty badly. This makes for a lot of hand work to finish. These were from a kid's casting set, not production quality.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 06/03/08 01:08:19 EDT

(about the burner project) So if it's now adjusted right, is it time to start thinking about puttin' together the Forge?
   mike3 - Tuesday, 06/03/08 04:11:20 EDT

Guru is right: forget lead, think pewter and white metal. Google "pewter casting moulds soldiers and see what pops up. :-) Prince August in UK apparently supplies for any period, in fact just about any unit, you can imagine
   Peter Hirst - Tuesday, 06/03/08 07:22:55 EDT

Ley Cash: Double check if it is even possible to offer the toy soldiers to school groups. For some a weapon is a weapon, even if on a mineature toy. Remember reading about some 6th grader who had glued some of the small plastic soldiers to the top of his motarboard in support of troops in Middle East. He was forced to cut the weapons off of them before he could proceed.

Question for those with a Hossfeld #2 bender. Is it possible to do centered, closed eyes on them? Best I can do is to come close and then have to forge finish. Since I do a lot of eyes, adds to time, expense and effort.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/03/08 10:07:08 EDT

Casting Toy Soldiers: Wow. . been a long time since that was popular.

A google searh using "Toy Soldier molds" brought up at the third listing:


These folks have all the equipment and molds. Their cart is poorly setup and there are no pictures matching the molds BUT there is an image gallery of finished pieces.

Lead used to be popular but tosay you want to use pure tin, lead free pewter (mostly tin) or lead free solder (also mostly tin with hardeners such as silver).

As Ken pointed out weapons or representations of weapons can get you in HUGE trouble in U.S. Schools. I am surprised they haven't ripped all the war images out of history books they are so ridiculas about it. In Virgina a 5 year old Kindergarten child was expelled for having a pistol key fob (about 1" long) in his posession. A friend's son was expelled from HS AND arrested for having a paint ball gun in the back seat of his car. . .

More. . . Another aquaintance beat himself to death making sample nails for every one of two classes (about 50) of elementary school children. All the nails were confiscated before the children got back on the bus because they were possible weapons!
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 10:46:22 EDT

RE: Wilkinson anvil--Hello Guru, they might have been a minor importer back in the day but I have one that was pulled out of a creek that was used in the California gold rush. The description on mine is different, though: it has JOSHUA WILKINSON stamped on the side, no Queens Cross or Dudley. The weight is stamped in the hundred weight notation (around 110 lbs or so). From the wear patterns, one know-it-all told me it was used for many years to sharpen picks and shape shovels. My other anvil, also from the gold rush but out of an established shop, is a ~200 lb Peter Wright, in much better shape, but much less portable than the Wilkinson.
   - David Hughes - Tuesday, 06/03/08 10:49:25 EDT

Eye Bending: I've done lots of these on static benders. To get a closed eye the holding dog that keeps the end of the work against the die must be quite narrow and positioned as close as possible to the end of the bar. After the bend is made in a P loop it is removed from the bender, flipped over and positioned with the long end on the dog side. It is then given a gentle pull to center the bar on the eys. This must be done hot to get a tight bend centering the eye. I usually work with a light hammer in one hand to tap things around a bit. But the whole process is very fast and the bender just a drum (center) and dog pin in a plate.

Second method. The centering bend of about 60 degrees (45 to 80) is made first. It must be made EXACTLY the right distance from the end of the bar. This is usually determined by trial and error adjusing a stock gauge until it is right. The loop is now bent by putting the piece on the bender with the angle bend snuggly held against the holding dog with the bender nose just behind it. Then the bender is pulled around to make the loop. This can be done cold. I do not know about a Hossfeld but it works on Diacro type benders.

Third method is the similar to the first except that a two lever bender is needed. The loop is bent first and then the second lever makes the entering bend against the first lever. This is normally a machine (rotating table) bender with a second ram or lever. They are not hard to build for manual use.

If the Hossfeld bender manual does not have it then it is probably not a simple thing to do on one. Ries might know but I think it is a Diacro job.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 11:09:39 EDT

When I make a forge simple is better right? Because for moneys sake i was going to make a simple bowl shaped coal pan and run my piping for the blowers, and put this in a steel 55 gal drum and fill it with sand or dirt around the forge. Will this work? Is it good enough? Here there is a farrier supply, they sell 50 lbs of coal for 12$ or 50lbs of coke for 17$ which is a better deal?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Tuesday, 06/03/08 11:11:34 EDT

Wilkinson Anvils: While they are not actually rare they were not imported in the millions as were Peter Wright and Mousehole. However, they were made by several generations of the Wilkinson family and quite a few made it to the U.S.

Wear on an anvil can give you a clue to what it was used for but unless you were there you will never truely know. There ARE wear patterns distinctive to shoing and punching their nail holes. But beyond that I would not hazzard a guess.

I met a fellow that was making Coloinal reproduction hardware, mostly latches. While visiting his shop we noticed the wear pattern in his anvil from the one operation he did the most of. It was a single dip about 1" wide crossing the face just short of the pritchel hole. the fellow remarked that he had never noticed until just then how much wear there was. But he knew HE did it because the anvil was one of two brand new 75# Hay-Buddens he had found in an old hardware store.

Pick and bit sharpening is done in the middle of the sweet spot of the anvil because it is heavy work. This is where most of the wear occurs on any anvil not used for ane specific job and would be impossible to distinguish unless the wear pattern was so focused to be shaped like the tool. This almost never happens unless the shop it was in only did one thing for many years.

   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 11:29:26 EDT

Forge Design and Fuel Costs: Jacob, The coke burns cleaner and probably has more fuel value. But is harder to keep going and makes a very hot focused fire that will easily burn work if you are not careful. The coal would be better for starting out.

Simplicity in design is best in most things. What you are building is a raised pit forge. While this is the earliest and simplest design it works well.

One thing to note is that fuel, ash and clinker fall down into the tuyere unless it is side blast. A clean out is very handy and makes it easier to use the forge. See our plans page and the brake drum forge for a simple tuyere with an ash dump.

Also note that the cross-pipe forge with holes drilled in the pipe for a grate is a charcoal forge design that does not work well with coal. Charcoal does not have the heavy ash and clinker problems of coal which quickly blocks grates with small holes.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 11:40:34 EDT

"good enough" is a meaninless term if you do not include the answer to "for what?" Will this be used to work 4" stock or 1/4" stock? Do you need wide flat access or will a deep contained fire be just right?

Not known what you want to use it for makes any comment pretty much a guess. Also note that *free* can be way too expensive if it doesn't do what you want it to do and very expensive can be dirt cheap if it will do what is needed!

As for getting started I would suggest using real chunk charcoal to learn the basics and then start adding either coal or coke to the charcoal to gradually get used to the other type of fuel.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/03/08 12:00:29 EDT

Actually, on a hossfeld number 2 bender, you do it pretty much the way the guru described- bend the loop in one bend, then flip it, and use the sharp point of the bending dog to center and close the loop. This does not need to be done hot on 3/8" and below- hot might be good if you are making em from 1/2" or bigger round bar, though.
It is clearly described in photos in the hossfeld manual.
I have done a few hundred, in stainless, mild, aluminum, and bronze.
Works great.
It usually requires doing a practice bend or two, to figure out how much stickout you want on the material- once I figure this, I usually premark a big stack of metal with a sharp silver pencil, and then index each piece to the same place when bending.
Like any hossfeld process, it requires studying the manual to learn the right setup, and following the instructions. I still keep a hossfeld manual right under my bender-even after almost 30 years, I still dont remember all 101 setups, hole numbers, and pin configurations.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 06/03/08 12:14:15 EDT

Hossfeld Benders: Even after studying the manual I often have a hard time figuring out this tool. Since I can often build a specialized bender in the time it takes me to figure out the Hossfeld that is the route I often go. However, I'm not the average tool builder.

One thing I like about specialized benders is that they require no setup. For stock lengths I usually weld on a tab so there is no measuring or marking. If a stock stop will not work I try to put permanent marks or even a dimension on the tool. The trial and error testing is done ONE time.

However, you can end up with a HUGE pipe of special benders, jigs and fixtures. . But for repeat jobs they make sense.

Note that you can make setup fixtures that drop onto your Hossfeld that has stock gauges stops and positions on them. These are basically scraps welded up with an index pin or tabs to position it on the bender. The problem with these is they tend to look like junk and unless the job is stamped on them they are hard to keep up with.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 13:02:02 EDT

True Cautionary Tales Dept.: I knew a guy in college who became a military historian, carried his profession over into making lead soldiers to replicate battlefields in miniature, casting them at the dining room table, died young, of lead poisoning.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 06/03/08 13:10:49 EDT

oh i forgot to ask what would you reccomend to start the coal or coke? i heard that you can use pine cones but what do you use?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Tuesday, 06/03/08 13:29:03 EDT

I have the instruction manual for the #2 and have followed it, as best I can. Still can't get that closed, centered eye. Either it is the manual, or me, but...

Bought the #2 from a friend for $300 (with buyback rights). Apparently includes almost all of the accessories.

3/8" I bend cold. Above that I heat end in forge. Both have to forge finished to center and close. Not a biggie, but would be nice to get it right on one try.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/03/08 13:33:10 EDT

On English anvils, I asked Richard Postman about Wilkinson. He said he could only suspect they were all family related.

Mousehole took on the Armitage family name about 1820. When it was bought out about 1875 new owners tried their own name for about a year, then went back to Armitage as it was known in the industry.

Peter Wright factory no doubt went through many owners, but kept the same name.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/03/08 13:38:02 EDT

Starting Coal fires It depends on the grade of fuel. Good coal kept dry can be started with a little paper and a gentle blast of air. Coke needs to be started with a coal fire at full heat or an oxy-acetylene torch. Between these two extremes is the way to do it.

Usually a little paper and kindling is needed. The type of kindling depends on what you have available. If you have big dry pine cones then that is great as long as your supply holds up. I use something different almost every time. One day it will be pieces of broken handles, the next wood curls from the hand plane, we often use wood scraps splintered up from training newbies to hammer or demonstrating a power hammer. When the coal is wet and cold or I have used up all the kindling I use a torch. Many use a little kerosene or diesel fuel on paper and kindling. DO NOT use heavy oil, solvents or gasoline.

For more details see the Movie "Quest for Fire".
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 14:37:06 EDT

About 25 years ago, I visited the Shaker Museum in Old Chatham, NY, and they had a "Dudley" anvil weighing about 200 pounds. My friend Johan Cubillos, found anice "Dudley" with the cross logo IN Costa Rica, and it weighs over 300 pounds. www.johancubillos.com
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 06/03/08 15:39:54 EDT

Utra! Utra! and watch out for those folks with bows!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/03/08 15:53:55 EDT

Lead, Plumbum, Pb: I have a bit of this in my shop. Most is there just in case it is needed for an application it is really needed for. Most of it was inherited.

Things you DO NOT need lead for:

Radiation shielding (a huge myth)
Weights of almost any kind including treadle and power hammer rams.
Soft pliable metal
Bird shot

For most of these applications tin, zinc or steel can be used. For shielding and weights steel is best.

Applications FOR lead:

Some bullet projectiles as it wears and tins the barrel least and deforms when it strikes something.
Radiation shielding were space is very tight. This rules out most applications.
Radiation shielding where the lead is dissolved in glass or mixed with plastic sheeting for special applications.
Electrical solder and solder for non-food contact items.
Part of low temperature melting alloys for fuses and fire related triggers.
Soft faced hammers (other things work).

The problem with lead is, it is easy. It is easy to melt and pour, easy to weld, easy to cut, easy to form and fairly easy to obtain. It is easy to make your home or place of business a hazardous pollution site with lead. It is as easy to poison yourself with it as it is to use. The ancients knew and used lead. It likes flesh, sticks to it and is absorbed by it. But it is toxic and spreads easily as dust when liquid metal is spilled. Mild lead poisoning creates slow learning disabled children, moderate levels creates a whole plethora of problems in adults including death and there is NO CURE, NO GOING BACK, NO REMOVING IT FROM YOUR SYSTEM. If a soil test is done on your property and lead is found you will be in a huge mess with the EPA and may never be able to sell it.

When liquid lead is spilled on a concrete floor it splatters into thousands of droplets and many thousands more small sand and dust size particles. It is then easy to track on ones feet and spread as dust. It is nearly impossible to clean up.

In the nuclear industry lead is popular because of its density. However, for 99% of all applications steel works as well. In fact, where heavy shielding is needed lead sheet is not self supporting. It must be molded in a steel box or bolted to a steel plate. The result is that you are fabricating a steel structure to support the lead when a slightly heavier steel structure could act as the shielding alone. It only takes 30% more thickness to replace steel with lead.

Lead is expensive. $4 to $5/lb. in ingots or shot compared to steel at $1/lb cut to shape. A wall to replace a complicated fabricated lead wall that would cost over $10/lb. would only cost $1.30/lb. or $5/lb fabricated.

Most uses for lead are lazy, ignorant and irresponsible. There are almost always substitutes and they are usually cheaper especially if environmental concerns are added to the cost.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/03/08 17:48:13 EDT

How much lead does it take to contaminate the ground to EPA interest levels? Almost every chimney in town -- including mine -- has several square feet of lead flashing exposed to the weather. Isn't this is because it is a soft, pliable metal? This is enough to keep the wood shingles downslope of the chimney clean and free of slimy growng things. Anything leaching from the flashing is going where the rain goes, which is right to the ground. There must be 50 pounds of lead exposed around the chimney. How much lead would have to be lying around the property before it becomes a soil contamination concern?
   Peter Hirst - Tuesday, 06/03/08 22:54:40 EDT

Guru, I have a question about heating structural steel red hot, inch by inch along a weld that has been ground smooth, to put grey "mill scale" back on it's surface. The architect is concerned that it might weaken the structure. I doubt it as the steel was made red during the welding process. What should we understand about this? I have heard that one is not supposed to heat rebar or weld it when preparing concrete reinforcements. I think maybe he is extrapolating from this idea and applying it to I-beams, which I assume are hot roll "mild steel." Isn't rebar made of melted down scrap which perhaps includes cast iron and maybe some high-carbon steel? And is it because of this random mix of steels that rebar perhaps ends up brittle or is not properly fuseable to the mild steel welding rod of the welded joint?
   brian kennedy - Wednesday, 06/04/08 04:01:22 EDT

Peter, most flashing is galvanized steel. But lead was used on a lot of roofing. Corrosion of lead is not nearly the problem that spreading fine dust is.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/04/08 07:43:03 EDT

Heat and Scale: Brian, You are right in the structurals unless it is Corten rusting steel. Modern rebar is a hardened and temperd product that is supposed to have a specific bending resistance. The high strength stuff is really tough to bend.

Recreating mill scale is the problem. Heating the steel red will create scale. However, the mill scale was created during the heating and rolling of the whole piece. You MAY be able to come close to matching the color but the texture is difficult. The other problem is the local heating which causes expansion and contraction usually loosens nearby scale and results in flaking.

Expecting to use mill scale as a finish is always a problem and something I do not recommend. If the architect want that color and texture he should specify a paint process that protects the steel and reproduces the color and texture.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/04/08 07:52:37 EDT

On the Hossfeld #2, I'm wondering if I might have found the problem. On mine Part #17B (Page 15 in my manual) extends past the bottom of the turning yoke. This keeps the yoke from coming all the way. Is Part #17B suspose to extend past the bottom of the yoke?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 06/04/08 08:07:47 EDT

i need some help on choosing between my 55 lbs cast anvil which is fairly soft, or thes two 3/4 inch steel plates to make an anviltop, and i cant find any refractory bricks around Waco so in the trough style forge, will normal bricks work?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Wednesday, 06/04/08 10:22:52 EDT

I'm on the road for a few days. Be back Saturday.

Jacob, Not enough information Plate doe not make an anvil as the mass is in the wrong direction. The 55 pound anvil is generally too light for average work.

Ask any builkding supply for "fir bricks". Refractory bricks come from foundry suppliers in general.

Regular red or yellow clay brick will do. I would try to find a few refractory (fire) bricks for the area where the fire is the hottest. This is the best route to go in any case as the price difference is about 10:1.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/04/08 10:44:44 EDT

My understanding is that that the term "refractory" fire brick refers to the soft light-weight stuff they use like in pottery kilns. Around here you can get "hard" fire brick at most masonary supply stores, they use them in fire place construction.
   - grant - Wednesday, 06/04/08 11:31:28 EDT

Ken: Go to "hossfeldbender.com" under "tooling options". Does your "17B" look like the one in Fig.2?
   - grant - Wednesday, 06/04/08 11:40:31 EDT

Ken- Hossfeld makes 2 pins that look a lot alike- the 17B, and the 17B3, which is more offset than the 17B. So you could be using the higher offset pin, but it only moves the bending dog, (which is what I am assuming you are calling a "yoke" farther in or out in relation to the centerline of the swinging frame. You use the 17B3 on smaller diameter steel, and the 17B on larger.
This offset is also present, to a lesser degree, on the standard 17B. They call one side the "shoulder, and the other side is more or less straight up.
They specify the "shoulder towards the front", which I think means towards the direction of bend.
But reversing this pin, and therefore moving the bending dog in relation to your center line, could help your problem.

Kinda frustrating diagnosing this type of problem online- If I was in your shop, I could show you how to do it in a minute or two. But not being able to see it, I just dont know.

One thing I often do is turn the bending dog around for the first part of the bend, so its point is pointing to the right, not the left. It seems to grip better, and you can always reef it down with a vise grip too. That way it doesnt make a ding in the round bar. Then I flip it back to the left for the final reverse pinch when I center and close the eye.

Clear as mud, eh?
   - Ries - Wednesday, 06/04/08 11:48:42 EDT

will anyone please send me something describing annealing, normalizing, and tempering in more depth for my research paper please but it has to be understandable for high school because what i have found is not much.
   Nitemare - Wednesday, 06/04/08 16:13:05 EDT

Well I would suggest you go to the local public library and ILL something like "The Complete Bladesmith" by Hrisoulas---you do have enough time to have it shipped in right?

Otherwise you may want to look up a piece called Metallurgy of Steel for Bladesmiths & Others. who Heat Treat and Forge Steel. John D. Verhoeven.

I believe you can find it on-line if you dig around; but *YOU* have to do the digging. The stated policy of this website is that we will help but we will *not* do peoples homework for them.

Good luck!


   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/04/08 17:41:51 EDT

First lead is a toxin that sneaks up on you. Small amounts accumulate untill symptoms appear. Can take many years. Young children 6 and under are most at risk. Most lead in children is injested through the mouth by chewing and by breathing dust.

The prime sources of lead dust in residences are;
1.) lead bearing paint. The old paints, especially exterior white paint had large lead content. The exterior paints were designed to "chalk" that is the surface would break down into a fine dust and the rain would wash it off, producing a dust contamination of the soils at the dripline of the painted structure.
2.) PVC in household items, miniblinds especially. A molding aid often used in PVC is lead. Again the surface degrades, in this case from sunlight and produces lead dust.
3.) Lead melting for fishing sinkers and bullets ETC.
4.) Fallout from leaded gasoline.

Lead in children is a real problem and leads to reduced IQ, and is also now thought to also produce aggressive behaviour.

Lead bioaccumulates in the body, mostly in the bone marrow. The Guru is almost right about never getting rid of lead once in the human body. There is a process to remove lead called chelation therapy. This will over some months pull lead from the body, but it has dangers and unpleasant side effects. But it can be pulled out. If however a childs brain is damaged so far that is beyond repair.
In the lead Risk Assesor, and Lead Inspector courses I took, I did not ever hear of a risk from lead flashing washoff. Does not mean it is not a risk, but I did not hear it mentioned.
   ptree - Wednesday, 06/04/08 17:55:03 EDT

Dear Merl,

I don't have those exact dimensions but it says on it a 20" shaper. It's probably over 2500 lbs. so I deff. want to learn more before I do anything(like how to use it and what all the controls do before I start it up)!
   John in Jersey - Wednesday, 06/04/08 18:53:05 EDT

On Brian's scale question -- the steel was heated a lot hotter than red when it was welded!
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 06/04/08 19:16:48 EDT

brian kennedy: A little more on rebar: It is manufactured in different grades, to different yield strengths. Some rebar is weldable, I forget the specification for it however. Altho not a precision alloyed product, it does conform to published specifications.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/04/08 21:58:24 EDT

John in Jersey, that "20"would mean it has a 20" work envelope (20x20x20)
That is mesured from a bare table so you would always subtract the higth of the vise or fixture but it's unlikely you'll need that mutch higth just starting out.
I would be happy to help you get familiar with the machine and how it all works but, I don't think Guru would appreciate us using his web site for that purpose. Click on my name and e-mail me directly if you like or ask the Guru for advise as well.
A good healthy respect for a machine tool is always the most important first step in the learning proses, false pride and arrogance are left at the door.
Befor you even wire the thing up you had better know how to shut it off.
One thing I was going to mention about the wireing.
If it is a three phase motor then you have a 50/50 chance of getting the motor going in the correct direction on the first try. All mechanicaly driven shapers have a ram motion that is slower on the forward stroke and faster on the return stroke. This is due to the way the Scotch Yolk and ram linkage are arrainged. It is intended to make the machine run a little faster and give some greater mechanical advantage to the forward cutting stroke.
So if you have the machine running and the ram is engaged and you see that the return stroke takes longer than the cutting stroke then the motor is running backwards.
You can't "just live with it" because that would mean other stuff may be running backwards too and it does make a differance 99% of the time.
Like I said either ask the Guru or e-mail me and I'll help you as best I can.
   merl - Wednesday, 06/04/08 22:48:59 EDT

Rebar-- don't put much effort into forging stuff-- pokers, back scratchers, S hooks, etc.-- out of rebar. It is basically reconstituted caca and will only break your heart.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 06/04/08 23:34:41 EDT

If you can find a piece of say 3/4" rebar with the X pattern it does make an interesting snake.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 06/05/08 09:09:37 EDT

I thought rebar had to be made to pretty strict ASTM standards, usually either A615 for carbon steel or A706 for low alloy. I can understand that a short section without the marked end could be an unknown quantity, but if I have a piece with the ASTM mill and grade markings, can't I rely on it ?
   Peter Hirst - Thursday, 06/05/08 09:24:07 EDT

Peter Hirst,

Yes, you can rely on it to meet the specs set by ASTM for that material, but may have nothing to do with the actual chemistry of the alloy. Just like ASTM grade A36 structural steel meets certain yield strength requirements, but has no specific chemistry. Threfore, it may be fine when used as rebar, but very poor for forging, or no good for welding, etc. For dependability of chemistry in alloys, you need chemistry-specific grading like the UNS or the AISI numbers.
   vicopper - Thursday, 06/05/08 12:14:12 EDT

Nitemare, go to www.iforgeiron.com and look up blueprint number BP0078. This is a much more basic explanation of heat treating for the blacksmith than the Verhoven text.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 06/05/08 12:18:08 EDT

Farrier Question: There is a 600 year old Spanish expression that translates; "Strike once on the nail
and a hundred times on the horseshoe". I would appreciate
any insight as to the meaning of this idiom.
   Har Fisher - Thursday, 06/05/08 20:18:06 EDT

Har; my take on it would be that you should spend a lot more time getting the horse shoe *just* *right* than you do putting it on.

Or good prepairation makes for fast use!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/05/08 20:33:07 EDT

Brian K- I do the same thing all the time at the REQUEST of architects. As long as it was welded properly in the first place you should have no problem with the possible exception of additional warpage. Tell him (or her) that it is a normalization process for the crystal structure of the steel and either they will get bored with the tech talk or decide that you know what you are doing. Either way they should leave you alone to do your thing.
   Judson Yaggy - Thursday, 06/05/08 20:42:55 EDT


Maybe it means make the horseshoe, but *buy* the nail. (Actually, I doubt that's it, but I couldn't resist).
   Mike BR - Thursday, 06/05/08 20:54:30 EDT

Guru, I need to roll some hinge barrells on some 3/16 x 5"
flatbar. I seem to remember seeing a shop made hinge roller in my travels, but I can't find my notes on this gadget. Does any one have a design they would be willing to share, Its a real challange (for me) to roll em freehand.
Thanks in advance
   - Tim in Orygun - Thursday, 06/05/08 22:36:01 EDT

Tim in Orygun,

I use one similar to the one Don Streeter show in his book, "Professional Smithing Techniques." 5" wide stock is going to be a real struggle, though - 1/4" x 2" gives me a workout.
   vicopper - Thursday, 06/05/08 23:16:24 EDT

Spanish Horse shoes: "measure twice, cut once"
   Peter Hirst - Friday, 06/06/08 08:32:24 EDT

Rebar -

For what its worth I forge rebar all the time with many techniques including aggressive swaging, long tapers, leaves, twisting and so on. I cannot remember the last time I had a break (or crack).
   - Jamie - Friday, 06/06/08 10:27:56 EDT

JYH tire tip. Look in the trunks of ALL vehicles from the 80's and 90's at your local junk yard. They're sometimes overlooked because they're under the carpet. That's how I found mine.
   - Thumper - Friday, 06/06/08 12:15:52 EDT

Hello Guru

Me and some friends desided to learn blacksmithing as a hobby.But first we need to build a forge.I'm sure there arent any blacksmiths living near us, so i would be very greatfull if you could give us some advise on different forge types preferably coal forges.Thanks in advance.
   Kristian - Friday, 06/06/08 12:32:39 EDT

Kristian - Start by reading the linked page 'Getting Started in Blacksmithing' (bottom of this pages posts right hand button.) Your question has been asked by many others, so the Guru (Jock Dempsey) wrote this as a starting point.

I have to stress GET THE SAFETY GEAR! Particularly the eye and hearing protection. Even if you don't carry on in smithing those things are wise to have for other hobbies, and required for a lot of jobs.

   Don - Friday, 06/06/08 13:45:56 EDT

A well known swordmaker nearly lost an eye mowing his yard something that a nifty set of safety glasses would have totally prevented. I wear my safety glasses whenever I'm not sleeping and my hearing protectors a *lot*; like driving long distances in my old noisy (wind noise) pickup.

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/06/08 13:53:30 EDT

I have a harbour freight copy of a Hossfeld bender, and was wondering if anyone could direct me to some information on how to use it. The instructios it came with are pretty sparse, and I couldn't really figure out how to bend an s scroll of flat stock. Can someone clear this up for me?
   - Hollon - Friday, 06/06/08 14:07:33 EDT

I need a picture of a hammer striking a hot piece of metal on an anvil with sparks flying. I need it for a sermon tomorrow morning. can you help?
   Rabbi Charlie Edwards - Friday, 06/06/08 14:58:58 EDT

The only time you have sparks flying is during forge welding. If sparks are flying during regular forging you have pretty much trashed any modern steel.

Look down the site below to the bottom section and you may find a picture you like

Or do a search on "Forge Welding"

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/06/08 16:41:34 EDT

The harbor freight machine is not a copy of a hossfeld- its a copy of a shop outfitters model which kinda sorta took its inspiration from a hossfeld.

Nonetheless, there are two ways to bend scrolls-
Either you buy a scroll die, which, in the case of harbor freight, means it will bend clunky looking scrolls in one size of metal- in the harbor freight case, 1" x 3/16" flat bar the easy way. (other companies, like Grizzly, sell slightly different scroll benders)

Or, you can draw a scroll the way you want it to look, and bend the steel to match the drawing. Obviously, you can do this hot with a hammer or anvil, or cold with a bender. The harbor freight and shop outfitters designs, unlike the hossfeld, require you to do all your bending in between the top and bottom frame- so on a scroll, the pins and frame can get in the way. But it still can be done- you just use the round pins, no additional dies, and bend a bit, check against your drawing, bend a bit more, unbend where you went to far, and repeat until your scroll matches your drawing.

Do this a hundred times or so, and it becomes automatic.

With a real hossfeld bender, you do this with longer pins, up on top of the frame, and so can make a scroll any size and shape you want- I have done em up to 6 feet or so in diameter from 3/4" material on occasion.
   - Ries - Friday, 06/06/08 16:42:53 EDT

Har Fisher, Maybe something got lost in the translation, if you get my drift. Could you forward the horseshoe saying in Spanish?
   Frank Turley - Friday, 06/06/08 18:39:18 EDT

Getting away from the benders a bit, you can make an oversized "scroll form" or "scroll tool" around which you bend your scrolls hot. The method is shown in the British book, "Wrought Ironwork", pp. 35-36. If the tool is oversized and you have your scroll drawn within, say, a module, you can hold the tool over your drawing and rotate it until if fits the module or frame, making an allowance for the scroll stock thickness. Make a soapstone or Presto correction-pen mark on the tool and do a test piece, stopping at the mark. Check the test piece for fit. The scroll may not look exactly like the drawing in terms of tightness, looseness, negative or positive space, but it will fit the module and might be usable on the final project. This can be a time saver.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 06/06/08 19:03:40 EDT

When I emptied out an old smithy in Trinidad, Colorado, I found a box full of various sizes of pipe with a single 2-inch or so slot cut in one end parallel to the long axis of each. Scrolling jigs, the retiring smith told me. Another way to skin the cat: draw your scroll on the work table and bend it with forks.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/06/08 19:11:02 EDT

Refractory Brick: All special high temperature brick from the light weight foamed insulating brick to the hard dense liquid metal resistant bricks are "refractory brick". Then there are many special pieces called "blocks" of one sort or another like burner blocks.
   - guru - Friday, 06/06/08 19:26:40 EDT

Awhile ago i asked some questions about the tuyere and the piping for a forge and was told to look at the brake drum forge but the tuyere especially is unclear. is there someplace i can go that would clear thaat up for me?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Friday, 06/06/08 20:11:28 EDT

Scrolls- Take the module that Frank is talking about. Weld to a piece of angle iron. Weld the angle iron to a large mechanic's socket. Insert into a standard ratchet (1/2 inch drive or bigger) Clamp or weld down the whole thing. Insert the hot workpiece and rotate the jig as needed. Be sure to make the scrolls to EXACTLY fit within the golden ratio rules just to drive the Guru nuts ;).
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 06/06/08 20:16:04 EDT

A hossfeld bender IS a bending fork.
Its just a better one.
With three pins, rather than two, and being bolted to the floor, this bending fork allows you to put all your energy into bending the metal, rather than holding it with one hand and pulling against yourself with the other, which is why you have to do it hot, rather than cold.

And a hossfeld, with its multiple holes and pins, is 20 or 30 bending forks in one, rather than having to make, and store, all those individual forks.

I find its a lot easier to have the entire mass of the earth holding my metal in place while I bend it.

I often do bend things hot with the hossfeld, though, for the same reasons you bend things hot with a bending fork- its easier, and metal bends differently hot and cold- you can control the hot area, and get different looks by that control of heat. So for aesthetic and efficiency reasons, the hossfeld is often used with hot metal in my shop.

I would be willing to take on all comers, in bending a scroll, drawn by a neutral third party, with me on a hossfeld, and any challengers with their bending forks or just hammer and anvil. I am confident I can produce equal or better quality scrolls, more accurately to the original drawing, faster every time with the hossfeld, hot or cold.
Winner buys the beer.
   - Ries - Friday, 06/06/08 20:19:02 EDT


Mostly I do mine over the edge of the anvil with a hammer since it is quick enough for one or two and I can get them exactly the way I want them. However, one of the handier little items you can have available in your shop is a set of bending pins for your post vise. Only take a few minutes to make them and they'll save you fifty times that time in annoyance alone.

Take two pieces of 1" square bar about ten inches long and drill a 5/8" hole about 3" from the end of each one. Cut two pieces of 5/8" round bar that are 2-1/2" long and chamfer the ends heavily. Set the pins in the holes in the square bar and plug weld the end to retain it. If yo want to save yourself some annoyance, weld a piece of 1/8" x 1/2" flat bar at the top of each piece of squ are bar to keep them from slipping down in the vise jaws.

To use the pins, clamp them in the vise with the pins spaced a distance apart that suits what you're trying to do. One pin acts as the stop and the other is the fulcrum around which you pull your steel to bend it. Like an adjustable bending fork clamped in the vise, right?

Now, for those of you who own one of those basically worthless Harbor Freight benders, there is a bonus: I had you make the bending pins from 5/8" round bar because that is the size that the dies from the HF bender will fit over perfectly. Now you have a variety of fulcrum diameters form 5/8" up to 3" available for those times when you want a circular bend, or just want a fatter pin so you don't ding the stock so much.

On my personal set of pins, I milled a tongue and groove in the mating faces so they cannot twist out of parallel, but that's really overkill if you're working hot. Working cold stock over 3/16" you can exert enough force that you might shift the bars in the vise jaws, and the T&G stops that. Mostly, I just felt like milling something that day. :-)
   vicopper - Friday, 06/06/08 20:21:43 EDT

I have one of the original Lockdown securities benders that HF knocked off. It is not a hossfeld. It is a very usefull tool, making many repaetable bent up things in my shop. I do not bend scrolls on it however. For that I either make them over the edge ofthe anvil or use one of my scroll forms. The scroll forms are great when many of a same scroll are needed. Mine have a solid bar welded to them and drop into the handy hole. I taper the end if desire, start a tight scroll start it around while using the tongs to hold the start end, once around a little the tongs are not needed as the scroll grips the form and around you go. A gas forge with say 18 to 24" of lenght such as mine makes for a one heat nice long scroll. I have one heat rolled scrolls from bar as big as 1/2 x 2" flat the easy way.
   ptree - Friday, 06/06/08 20:30:32 EDT


I have a small bellows that I believe may be part of a Colonial/Revolutionary War mobile or cavalry/farriers forge kit. It is the classical teardrop, double action configuration but measires only about 3 1/2 feet long, including the nozzle. The leather (which is of course shot) is bound by 1" strips of oak or ash, hand-chamfered and fastened by a zillion small hand forged tacks. The hook on the bottom board is hand-forged wrought fastened by screws with square cut -- not tapered -- ends. Slipped over the end of the nozzle is what I believe was the tuyere. About 7" long, about 3/4" i.d. octagonal pipe, slightly flared at one end (to about 1 1/4" i.d.) and constricted at the other. It is either a section of rifle or musket barrel or a pipe of similar construction. There is a residue of clinker and burnt iron just inside the crimped end of this pipe. The bellows was found mounted on a frame consisting of two long pieces of 1/2" sq. hand-forged wrought, bent up and punched about 3/8 " at each end, sort of like sled runners, connected by wood cross pieces, such that the bellows is held about a foot off the ground. One end of the runners holds a 3/8" rod that runs cross-wise through the middle board. The other ends look as though they bolt or screw to the underside of a forge. Above this frame, a curved wooden lever is mounted and connects with a short rod to the hook on the lower board. My intention is to restore this bellows for a Colonial demonstration I have been asked to do. My question is, what the hey might the forge have looked like? I have found nothing remotely like this online. From the details I have described, I surmise that it is a traveling set-up, possibly military, and most likely Colonial. I have seen plenty of stone, brick and wooden permanent forges from this period, but nothing on the small scale of this bellows. My inclination is to fabricate a small wooden side-blast open forge with a sand hearth covered in unmortared half brick, with a small clay firepot positioned to put the opening of the gun-barrel tuyere flush with one side. I also have a small (40 lb, 4" jaws) leg vise with lots of hand forged detail that I believe is also in period and in fact came from the same barn as the bellows, to attach directly to the forge. Any idea what the forge might actually have looked like?

Thanks as always.
   Peter Hirst - Saturday, 06/07/08 07:56:34 EDT

Tuyere: Jacob, Technically a tuyere is the fire resistant pipe or nozzle that forced air enters a fire through. A bottom blast coal forge tuyere is a little more complicated.

What could be more clear than a cross section and an exploded view?

Air from the side enters a T and goes UP into through a simple grate the fire pot. Ashes and clinkers fall through the grate into the T and can be emptied out the bottom. A tilting counterbalanced door or a sliding gate allows quick and easy ash removal.

I show several ways of making the ash dump gate. The easy way is to weld two tabs onto a short piece of pipe (a pipe nipple cut in two) for the tilting gate. BUT if you do not have welding equipment you can make a rotary sliding gate with nothing more than a hack saw, a file and a drill. This requires cutting two slots with the saw to make a tab that bends to the side. The excess pipe is sawed off so that the tab is flush to the bottom of the pipe.

NOTE: Some people close thew bottom of the ash dump with a pipe cap. This does not work if you burn coal. Coal creates heavy ash and clinkers that build up rapidly in the ash dump. They also include burning bits of fuel. All this must be removed often and the pipe cap is too clumsy and gets too hot for this purpose. A pipe cap is OK with charcoal and a fine grate but I do not recommend it.

   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 08:45:24 EDT

"Pipe scrolls", bent around a pipe, as Miles talked about earlier, are not really scrolls. They are atrocious, cheesy things that have a couple of things wrong with them. They are partial curves with no exponential growth. They all have a straight line center from being stuck into the slot of the pipe. Yet we find them installed all over the U.S. on mostly fabbed, cheesy ironwork.

Peter Hirst. I have not had the opportunity to see a colonial period permanent forge setup. The repros of such are often attached to a recent cast iron firepot. The hearth and chimney may be brick, but the U.S.A. firepot is in there. I have a vague clue that I found in Hummel's book, "With Hammer in Hand," page 16. There are diagrams of the Dominy family forge where the bellows was stored in the attic for reasons of space. The drawings are small and difficult to read. I assume it was a side blast from the 1800's. Therefore, I can find little information on a permanent forge setup, let alone a traveling one. Jock did the illustrations for "The Revolutionary Blacksmith," which I cannot find at present. Your answer may be in there. Hawley, in his book, "The Blacksmith and his Art," fills the hearth with wet wood ashes. The horizontal tuyere nose or pipe is a little above hearth level. Hawley forms a dish-like depression where the fire is to be, from whence (I think) came the old expression, "duck's nest". The behavior of a side blast fire is shown in "The Blacksmith's Craft," pp 15-18.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/07/08 09:48:42 EDT

Mr. Undercut is deeply shocked.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 06/07/08 10:17:30 EDT

Small Bellows: Peter, Assuming a bellows was for a portable blacksmith forge setup by size is a big jump in logic. Bellows were made in sizes from the huge machine powered size for iron furnaces down to jeweler's hand held size used to melt precious metals in thimble sized crucibles.

Many kinds of craftsfolk used them other than blacksmiths. All the non-ferrous metal workers that did casting used bellows including the white smith who often made pewter items, early plumbers who melted lead. Small hand held bellows were called moulders bellows and used by foundrymen to blow loose sand out of molds.

Blacksmith bellows size also varied greatly depending on the type of use. Small scale ironwork included nail making, small chain and light hardware. I have seen little storage box hinges with forge welds made of stock less than 1/16" thick. Farm shop bellows were also smaller than commercial shop bellows.

Your bellows support frame is common for floor supported bellows. Most are wood but some have metal parts.

The Forge: When bricks were available they usually were used to build a permanent brick forge. But it is safe to assume that smiths would have used bricks much the same as we do today to modify a forge, reinforce or provide a hearth on an earthen forge if they had one.

Wood enclosed forges were usually side blown and filled with light soil and then coated with clay or a clay/manure mixture. The tuyere may have been the end of the bellows but only an amateur would have done that. To prevent burning the end of the wood bellows the pointed nozzle blew a high velocity jet of air at the end of an open pipe/tube/tunnel or shield stone. Tubes were often ceramic but could be build of stone. Shield stones were make of soapstone. Occasionally the end of the nozzle would be a short distance inside the tube but it did not make a tight connection.

Portable Forges: In my story A Blacksmith of 1776 I describe an apprentice smith quickly promoted to Journeyman as the American militia is called up for active duty throwing together a portable forge on an available wagon. Paw-Paw used this same fictional device in his book The Revolutionary Blacksmith. I illustrated both. However, this is quite different than actual known military portable forges. These were built on heavy axles similar to cannon caissons and had a place to carry charcoal, store tools and such. Very little is know of actual details.

   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 10:17:55 EDT

"Mr. Undercut is deeply shocked."

That's why GFIs are recomended
   JimG - Saturday, 06/07/08 10:24:55 EDT

Pipe Scroll Fixtures and pipe scroll fixtures. There are cheap poorly made circular fixtures and there are better made well used fixtures.

These scrolls made by Pat McGhee of Greenwood Ironworks are an old style used with flat bar and when overlapped create more mass than the flat bar would alone.

Hot/Cold Scrolls: When a spiral scroll jig is used the tight inner scroll is done hot but the gentler outer curve is often done cold. A long heat is not necessary unless the bar is very heavy. I often forge the scroll terminus or end in one or two heats and use the residual heat for the scrolling.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 10:47:11 EDT

How to handle anvil crack?

Dear Anvil Experts: my (probable) Peter Wright monster anvil (36" horn-to-heel; too heavy for me to pick up) appears to have a crack in it - possibly why I got it for cheap. This came from the railroad shops, so it was probably used for heavier work than I can imagine; how careful do I need to be with it? I hope to use this anvil on a hobby basis for a long time: half-inch square is likely to be the biggest I use on a regular basis, with occasional axles being sledgehammered to make anvil tools. Since I'm working solo, I really need to use the hardie hole for a cutter and other tools as I make them, but I *really* don't want to break off the heel! All advice welcome.
(large) If the photo and link don't appear, find the small version at http://www.netdataconsultants.com/misc/cracksm.jpg and a larger version at http://www.netdataconsultants.com/misc/crack.jpg - thanks in advance!
   Paymeister - Saturday, 06/07/08 11:07:42 EDT

Nice tool Vicopper, think I'll make one today before I forget and wish I had one later.
   - Thumper - Saturday, 06/07/08 12:12:45 EDT

Paymeister, It is difficult to tell absolutely but I am fairly sure this is a weld joint. Faces on old anvils were often pieced together. If not then it is only in the anvil face, the wrought under the crack is not breaking. It also appears to be a very old crack. In either case I would not worry about it.

   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 12:14:36 EDT

Re: Refactory fire brick

You're right again! I think the term I was thinking of was
   - grant - Saturday, 06/07/08 12:27:22 EDT

Re: Refactory fire brick

You're right again! I think the term I was thinking of was "insulating fire brick".
   - grant - Saturday, 06/07/08 12:27:49 EDT

Guru and Frank Thanks for the insight on the small bellows.

Guru, I believe we are agreeing on the interpretation of this bellows. Portability aside for the moment, I think it is safe to say it was at least used for smaller, lighter work than in an all around shop. As for the tuyere, it is not the end of the bellows, but a separate piece, much heavier in construction, and has every appearance of being a section of musket barrel modified for the purpose. It does in fact fit fairly loosely over about an inch of the nozzle, which is itself 6 or seven inches long. The residue at the constricted end of the musket barrel piece is unmistakable: it is clinker and burnt iron: looks like stick weld splatter. It may have been mounted in a soapstone shield, but if the edge of the wooden forge is adequately protected from the fire, then the bellows which is a nozzle length farther away than that should certainly be safe.

As for portability, I surmised that from the height of the bellows frame, and the fact that it disassembles readily. It only holds the mounting rod a foot or less off the bottom of the frame, It would have to be raised up, say on a wagon bed, to put the nozzle level with the tuyere. In fact, it would be set up exactly as your cover illustration to The Revolutionary Blacksmith shows!! I'll send pics when I get it put together, but for now, I think it is at least some evidence for the accuracy of your and Paw Paw's conjecture about the militia forge. Now, where to find a covered wagon . . .
   Peter Hirst - Saturday, 06/07/08 13:08:23 EDT

With the HF Hossfeld lookalike, you could also work from the top. Just get some longer grade 8 5/8" bolts. You don't have the force you do working on the inside, but enough for 1/4" cold and better when hot.
   - Marc - Saturday, 06/07/08 14:51:25 EDT

Thanks for all the replies about making scrolls. Thats very helpful. Now another thing. My welding instructor told me that welding on a leaf spring would make it brittle and would make it crack. Even though I've heard this before, I would've thought only air hardening steels would do this?
   - Hollon - Saturday, 06/07/08 15:03:13 EDT

Welding, The HAZ: Hollon, Time and temperature. If you quickly heat a small place above the critical temperature and you cool it fast enough as the surrounding cold metal will do then it will have a hard brittle zone. Arc welding metals results in what is known as the HAZ (Heat Affected Zone). In this zone conditions can vary from nearly annealed to overly hardened as well as the base metal being zoftened. In low carbon steels the condition is not a serious problem but the higher the carbon or the more hardenable the steel the greater the problem.

If you preheat the metal to near its normal tempering temperature then weld it then the cooling metal will not cool fast enough to harden OR it will be tempered by the surrounding metal after hardening. A preheat of 350°F gives you the minimum temper for carbon steels. Since the welding ads heat it may be a little better.

Large pieces that are not high carbon are post heat treated. This after weld heating is designed to return the weld and all the surrounding metal to the original condition.

In tool steels a preheat that would be uncomfortable to work around on large pieces is used and a hardening rod as well. This is followed by peening to stress relieve the weld zone and in some cases a post heat treatment.

Ideally a full heat treatment would be performed. However, even the best weld material is never a perfect match for the surrounding metal.

This messy area or the wled is what I do not recommend anvil face repair.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 17:04:56 EDT

Marc, You can extend the pins on the Hossfeld as well. It just takes bigger pins and they need to be a good heat treated steel like SAE4140 for tight or colds bends.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/07/08 17:59:57 EDT


Yes, you can extend the pins on the HF bender, but I seriously doubt you could work 1/4" cold on it. HF only rates the thing for 3/16" cold between the arms, and going above them puts significantly more stress on that already undersized piece of equipment. Note, I haven't tried it, and probably won't, so I'm just guessing here.
   vicopper - Saturday, 06/07/08 21:28:43 EDT

Vic, at first I thought you were thinking of a different bender, so I checked at HF. Their listing is probably a little wrong. They say 3/16 X 1-1/4 or 1/4 X 2, which doesn't make sense. I'd guess hey reversed a dimension, 1/4 X 1-14 makes more sense. In any case, I formed some brackets on top that were 1/4 X 1-1/2 cold. That strained the bolts a bit, but it was doable. It's done 1/4 X 3/4 on top with no problems at all.

I think doing 5/8 square inside is probably a stretch, but I know 1/2 square works well enough.

Anyway, my point is not that the HF is every bit as good as the Hossfeld - it's obviously not even close. But I doubt a Hossfeld, with dies, will ever find it's way in this hobbyist's shop. They look like wonderful tools, just not cost justifiable in the foreseeable future. The HF knockoff of a knockoff, at $80 (mine was $60), will do enough to keep me happy and out of my wife's hair.

Just as the HF throatless shear is not close to a Beverly. But that little guy has cut lots of sheet up to 14g. Not lots compared to you pros, but enough for me and my doo-dads over the years.

   - Marc - Sunday, 06/08/08 15:51:00 EDT

Shop Outfitters (and HF copy) vs. Hossfeld Benders: The difference between these machines is about 4 to 1 in size. Between HF and Hossfeld the price is 11:1 Between Shop Outfitters and HF there is a 6 to 1 difference. There is NO comparison other than they look a little alike. The Hossfeld also has a line of special dies that allows some sophisticated and extra heavy bending. The Shop Outfitters is now much heavier than their original that was copied by the Chinese for HF AND it has a number of add on dies and features. When you buy the HF you get what you get.

Note that Shop Outfitters has a very nice scroll tool.

While Hossfeld is a very pricey tool for a hobbiest I have known quite a few to find entire outfits with all the dies for a reasonable price. Others have found the base bender without dies for $25 - $50. I have two of the later that need dies bought or made for them. More importantly they need a VERY heavy mount such as on the corner of a weld platen or a very heavy dedicated stand bolted to the floor.

Hobby or not, if you have the work for one of these tools they will pay for themselves as most tools do. But they are NOT tools for one off bends or small projects. Setup often takes enough time that it is almost always less expensive time wise to make single bends by hand on in a vise.

When it comes to most bending I have built my own tools. Scroll jigs take minutes and other complicated benders can take up to a day. Many benders MUST be custom made and in those cases having made simple benders is good practice for the more complex. Then the cost of having made those simple tools has been an education that pays you back later. It is what blacksmithing is about.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/08/08 17:43:39 EDT

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