WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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. Please read the Guidelines before posting a question.
This is an archive of posts from July 1 - 10, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Hello Baba
I got some questions from Norway for ya. I want to make knives I wonder what I need there wont be any electricity around. Cheap stuff would be nice.
Also can I use regular wood as it will be heckuva work to carry all the coal up the mountainside.
One more do you know what steel is used in railroads and railroad clamps and screws?
sigurd  <sigurdgrung at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 01:46:54 GMT

hello greets i dont know if the first post reached

I want to make knives and up at the mountains in Norway.. no electricity but a railroad nearby.
What kind of gear must I have? Can I use wood or must I have coal or gas? I can use rail piece for anvil?
What kind of hammer should I look for, I dont think theres a shop for such things around here...
sigurd  <sigurdgrung at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 02:10:24 GMT

I'm trying to heat and hammer 5160 steel for knives and need to know if I can heat it above critical without ruining the steel and if so,how hot can I get it without overheating.Thanks for any info.
Bill   <camper at usmo.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 02:35:52 GMT

Primitive forge: Sigurd. See our plans page for a "brake drum" forge. Air can be supplied by blower or bellows. A forge need be nothing more than a pit to contain the fire and a method of providing air to make the fire more intense. Use your imagination.

Yes, wood works but you need a deep fire to get a hot enough fire for forging. If you convert the wood to charcoal first it is much more efficient. Wood uses up a lot of its heat energy evaporating the water and volitiles in the wood. This reduces the temperature of the fire. Converting to charcoal uses this energy in a seperate operation. Then the forge fire is much hotter AND cleaner.

Yes, you can use rail road rail for an anvil. It is more efficient set on end giving the equivalent of a much heavier anvil. See our iForge page for an article on RR-tools.

A heavier solid anvil is better. See our 21st Century page for another article on making anvils.

Railroad hardware is typicaly medium carbon steel. It is very tough and has medium hardenability. Railroad rail is aproximately 1075 carbon steel and has high hardenability.

Smiths hammers (straight pien, cross pien or engineers) are the most common type of hammer the world over. Tinsmith's or riviting hammers are a small version. Ball pien hammers (one cylindrical end, one hemispherical end) also work. About the only type of hammer that is NOT suitable is a carpenters claw hammer. A typical smiths hammer weighs 1000 grams. An 800 to 1200 gram hammer is a good starting weight. One you have a lot of practice and have gained control of the hammer a 1500 gram hammer may be wanted.

Old springs (automitive leaf and coil springs) are good scrap material for making knives as well as other tools.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 03:04:12 GMT

Forging temperature: Bill, Forging temperature for alloy steels is a bright orange to low yellow. 5160 is very difficult to forge below that temperature.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 03:07:28 GMT

I am new to the internet. I assumed that there was a connection between the things listed on the front page of the Anvilfire site. There is something called Coal Scuttle there and i can't figure out how to get a dealer in Virginia listed. The name of the dealer is Monger Coal and Oil in Elkton, Virginia. How do I get this information to the Coal Scuttle?
l.sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Saturday, 07/01/00 11:41:57 GMT

Thanks for the forging colorsfor 5160, but I heated a piece
to bright orange and hammered flat and after it cooled it was real brittle.It that common before you temper or am I doing something wrong? Can you over heat it when forging?
thanks again.
Bill  <camper at usmo.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 14:07:24 GMT

Coal Scuttle: Larry, The Scuttle is maintained by Fred Holder of the Blacksmith's Gazette. It is one of the few things on anvilfire that we don't maintain. We have a deal with Fred. Every few months we copy the coal scuttle to our server. There is a banner for the Gazette on the page in exchange.

Send your suggestions to:

Fred Holder
fred at fholder.com
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 14:32:25 GMT

5160: Bill, You can overheat any steel, alloy steels are pickier than plain carbon steels. 5160 is very tough forging and thin sections will harden between hammer and anvil. You don't want to forge too hot OR too cool.

I may have recommended a slightly too high a temperature. The correct forging temperature for 5160 is 2225°F a bright orange (according to the Tempil color chart).

The problem with judging temperature by color is that it varies greatly with amdient light. In a dark shop an orange will look like yellow and in direct sunlight a yellow will look orange. . .

It just takes practice. Try to work in a location with the same lighting. I often worked outdoors where lighting varied from direct sunlight to shade. It was a constant guessing game. It didn't matter much with mild steel but made handling tool steels difficult.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 15:23:24 GMT

auctions by simnitt : I removed your notices because this is a question and answer page. Users may post notices on the Vitrual Hammer-In.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 16:24:04 GMT

Could you please explain how to create a Clayton Kont?
I would be interested in a step by step procedure.
Pete Cardimen  <pjc71 at msn.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 18:42:37 GMT

Claydon Knot: Pete, We have step by step illustrated instructions on our iForge page courtesy of Bill Epps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 19:02:26 GMT

thanks for the address to the coal scuttle. I'll send him the information on the coal suppier in Elkton, Va. You do a tremendous job. You have a really clean touchmark. I like the registry and will send one in whenever I come up with one that looks as good as yours.
l.sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Saturday, 07/01/00 19:21:36 GMT

Touchmarks: Larry, I'm afraid the registry has been somewhat neglected. I have several submissions that need posting and a promised how-to. There's ALWAYS too many things to do!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 19:33:46 GMT

Bill, We forge a lot of 5160 into specialty tools. 1-1/2 tons cut into 7-1/2 inch pieces, forged and shipped in 9 mounths. Having a self-regulating gas forge is ideal for this purpose. You don't have to worry too much about over heating. Set the irons in the fire and you can almost walk away and forget about them.

One thing for sure, you don't want to forge 5160 without a soaking heat OR at too low of a temperature. If youíre using a coal forge you can look up and have over heated without trying. Itís not uncommon with some steels to rush things by use of too much blast. This will only heat the surface without getting a good soaking heat. If youíre using a coal forge, you might want to get your work up to temperature and then shut off the blast for a few minutes. The temperature will fall while sitting but the steel will get a good soaking heat. Resume at a lower blast and bring your work up to forging temperature.

With a power hammer and a gas forge I sometimes find myself rushing. Itís easy to get ahead of yourself. I have to stop occasionally too let the forge catch up with the hammer. We have the gas pressure on our gas forges turned back lower than recommended. They still get up to a nice forging heat; it just takes a little longer to get there. This insures us of a good soaking heat. I couldn't tell you what exact temperature we forge at, but we stay consistent in any lighting condition with our settings. We try not to complicate things too much. Stick them in the forge until theyíre hot enough. 5160 is a temperamental steel to forge, itís very picky. Thereís a fine line between hot and burning. The way I can tell if the steel isnít hot enough is by the feel it gives me under the hammer. If itís even a few degrees below temperature itís a real bitc_ to forge.

Bruce Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Saturday, 07/01/00 19:39:02 GMT


New to smithing (historical interperater - museum). Know the basics and not afraid to do or try anything. Problem: Don't know much about proper 'respitory protection' and 'skin protection' --- more concerned with the respitory protection for now! Basically how do I keep the coal dust from getting in my lungs and how do I keep the sulphur out of my lungs!

Question Two: Is there such thing as a 'vise' or 'third arm' for an anvil? How could I make one that would be relitively safe and quick to tighten (I'm thinking about a small bar with leather tied at both ends to make a loop with the loop set up so that I can hold it with some pressure with my foot!...any better Ideas?) The shop is a 'historic site' dated 1860's (Toronto, Canada). Thanks!
Kimberly  <mathews at techcomnet.com> - Sunday, 07/02/00 01:23:02 GMT

One more question.

How should I go about trying to put a 'very very small' knitting needle (crochet hook) on the end of a bar? I have tried a hundred times...but I cannot figure out how to do the 'PINCH' at the end of the hook ---- take a look at one and let me know what you think. I am referencing a 1860's rug hooking needle but any crochet hoot will do!
Kimberly  <mathews at techcomnet.com> - Sunday, 07/02/00 01:28:12 GMT

Coal dust smoke: Kimberly, A good working flue is number one. Good ventilation is number two. If the shop is smokey nothing short of an MSA full face respirator is going to make any difference. But note that the respirtory stress induced by a full face respirator is more likely to kill you and a lot sooner.

An 1860's shop in your area probably burned charcoal (a guess). It makes a lot of fly ash but the smoke is generaly not as noxious. It is also hotter and lighter because its not full of the volitiles like coal. Therefore it went up the chimney better. . . So much for being historicaly accurate.

Blacksmith's Helper: There are all types of blacksmith helpers for holding work on the anvil. Foot operated lever devises attached to the anvil stand were common. A heavy weight (bucket of sand) attached to a chain looped over the anvil works and is dead simple. It also deadens the ring of the anvil. Then a plain bent bench dog works just like in a wood working bench. These hold down very tight but are prone to loosing from vibration. Therefore they hold better on larger anvils.

Crochet Hooks: I've made dozens of crochet hooks out of wood. Smallish ones down to 1/8" (3mm) work well in dense hard wood like cherry, maple and dogwood. Smaller ones would have traditionaly been made of bone. All carved with a knife and finished with a scraper.

Knitting needles have a head on one end and a point on the other. Only crochet "hooks" have a hook.

To make a crochet hook start with a round bar. Forge the very short point first, then with the point extending the right distance beyond the anvil and held up at a 20 to 30° angle give it one hard "half on half off" blow, then roll it 45° and give it a gentle tap and then 45° on the oposite corner of the flat and give it another gentle tap to chamfer the corners. Let cool and finish the notch with a thin file or hacksaw blade. Radius the notch with a triangular file and finish all over with a flat file.

IF you insist on doing it without a file then make a holder that you clamp in the vise or put in the hardy hole. The holder would be punched with a punch the same shape as the hook's point. Forge the same as above, then stick in the holder and finish the hook notch using a thin chisle or screwdriver shaped tool with smoothly radiused corners. The punched conical hole in the holder needs to be just deep enough so that the notch is above the surface of the holder. If you don't have an assistant then the upper end could be supported by a piece of wood or metal with a hole or loop.

NOTE: This requires a fairly sharp corner on the anvil that you probably don't have. A bent bar setting in the hardy hole or some other tool with a crisp corner will work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/02/00 02:55:15 GMT

Mr Guru.

I was wondering if a person should wear welding glasses
when heat treating and light forging.If so what color lens
would work the best for distinguishing the steel colors.I use a coal forge.What brand would you recommend? Thanks, Bill
Bill  <camper at usmo.com> - Sunday, 07/02/00 14:32:54 GMT

Safety Glasses: Bill, you SHOULD always wear safety glasses with fitted side shields when working in the shop or with any type of machinery (see article about Jim Hrisoulas in the NEWS). Generally filter lenses are not required unless you are doing a lot of forge welding which requires looking into the fire often.

Gas forges are worse than coal forges in this respect. In a coal fire the fresh fuel generaly shields the center of the fire much of the time but gas forges have a large wide open area radiating huge amounts of infra-red.

Welding and saftey suppliers that supply foundries will stock a low number filter lens safety glass. There is also a trade name lens (I think) called didyium for this purpose.

Somtimes getting the filter lens and fitted side shields (the ones with screen in them) is difficult but they ARE available. Most of the pretty wrap around types are only good for non-participating visitors and will not stop much of the material that bounces and comes at you from any angle other than straight on.

Full face shields are good for grinding but you should also wear fitted side shield glasses under them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/02/00 15:31:39 GMT

SS THALABATHI  <S_S at FORINDIA.COM> - Sunday, 07/02/00 16:21:42 GMT

Blower and Vise Price: Ralph R., Your e-mail bounced. So here is my response.



Without a better description it is hard to tell. Both items are common enough that they are used by smiths more than bought by collectors. Many blacksmiths are using tools 200 years old. Antiquity doesn't neccessarily increase value of some items.

The blowers were sold with optional stands and are more desirable with them. Typical prices run about $150.

There are various types of blacksmith vises. There is a heavy duty cast farrier's "caulking" vise that is foot operated that sell for $300 to $600. "Greenfield" is a common make.

Typical blacksmiths leg vises vary from 30 pounds to 300 pounds and sell for about $1.50 - $2.50 per pound if they are in good condition. Small bench types and large double screw types sell for more. Good condition means they have all their parts and the screws are not worn out.

Hope this helps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 03:11:18 GMT

Good Guru and Bill too;
Skip the dydidium lenses. They only provide protection from the sodium vapor glare and are designed for working hot glass only. They will not provide adaquate protection for the likes of us.
standard welding lenses come from very light to black.
Gold vapor deposit lenses are good if delicate.
I was told that ordinary photo-grey, light sensitive glasses block most IR and UV and thus most of the problems. Have used them for years with gas flame with no problem...Pete F
P-F - Monday, 07/03/00 07:12:28 GMT

Dydidium Lenses: Pete, Thanks for clearing that up. I wondered why welding filters (also used in foundries) wern't considered good enough when they should have been (and are).

I tend to distrust things named to sound like (non-existant) elements. Borium, applied to horseshoes, is another.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 11:26:49 GMT

Words: Distrust was probably the wrong word to apply to Dydidium and Borium. Its the words I dislike not the products. I just don't like these particular terms. We are flooded with too much pseudo and faux science these days and don't need to add to it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 14:11:01 GMT

Hello Guru,
I went to Welding School 4 years ago and have recently had 3 Blacksmith classes. I have a shop in my garage with arc welder, oxy/acetelene torch, plasma cutter, grinders and lots of tools(that my husband and I share). I am currently selling my metal art in Northern California and this is my full-time job. I have an order for 3 Garden Arbors but have never made one. My customer is willing to wait. My question is: How do I make a jig for a garden arbor?
Palomino Irons
Laura  <Palomino Irons at aol.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 16:14:25 GMT

Just a note to all who lurk and learn here. If you haven't done so already, read through all of the archives. I have had a dozen questions answered and re-answered just by looking through what has been discussed. "Someone" may want to combine the various questions and answers into an indexed group (say, doing calculations, machine hammers, cheap metal bandsaws ;-) . . .). Just a thought. Thanks for all of the good info.

Tom  <tbarnett at isd.net> - Monday, 07/03/00 16:30:53 GMT

Bending jigs: Laura, For large radi in relatively small stock, say 18" radius and up to 3/4" stock you can build a bending jig out of wood or metal.

To make one of wood use two layers of 5/8" or 3/4" plywood. Layout the radius about 5% tighter than the finished curve and 10 to 15° further than the 180° I'm guessing you want. The over bend and the tighter radius are for spring back. On large radi the metal isn't going to stay where you bend it so it takes some trial and error. The two pieces of plywood should be glued and nailed to a third. The whole assembly anchored to a heavy bench (or truck bed). Anchoring the jig is harder than making it sometimes.

The bar is clamped at one end (you can also glue and nail a starting block to hold the material in place), and then bent by walking around the jig using the extra material for leverage. Sometimes a piece of pipe sliped over one end for added leverage and to keep from bending the straight portion.

A 2x4 attached on the starting side to put the long first leg against will make it easier to make each part the same. Mark the starting point and clamp the end near there.

The same jig can be made of steel. Old wagon tires might make a good prebent starter (as would other prebent junk). You don't need a plate or flat plain like the wooden jig, you can use spokes made of flat bar or angle iron.

We have an article on the 21st Century page titled "benders" that has the details. These are small bending jigs but large ones work the same. Once you see how its done you'll say "Why didn't *I* think of that!"
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 16:51:47 GMT

Organization: Tom, thanks! Yes, have thought about it a LOT. Huge job for someone. . lots of editing and repitition to remove. Thanks for volunteering! :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/03/00 17:05:06 GMT

Hello Guru,
Thanks for the lead on Freund's book for information on my KERRIHARD power hammer.
I have a spare post vise that I would like to trade for tongs, hardies, hammers, etc. Any ideas where I could post?
Thanks again,
Tommy  <tommy at tca.net> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 14:49:14 GMT

Posting: Tommy, You can post your items for sale (free) on our Virtual Hammer-In. These items also sell fairly well on eBay. If you are looking to trade check into your closest ABANA-Chapter
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 15:00:04 GMT


Just curious. To date, what is the enrollment in the members section of Anvilfire!?

Tedd Harris
Tedd Harris  <ktrhfam at uswest.net> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 16:53:02 GMT

Note: Didymium is, in fact, an elemental salt, isolated and first described in 1842. It is a form of the rare earth lanthanide metal Praseodymium. Right between cerium and niobium on the periodic table. Apparently, all the various salts and oxides of this element, when mixed with glass, filter out specific wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, and as Pete F said, didymium just filters a very narrow spectrum of sodium flare. This info is from the Los Alamos Natl. Labs periodic table web page.
"Borium," on the other hand, is a pseudoscientific word. Itís nothing more than tungsten carbide melted into a mild steel or brass brazing rod, used as hardfacing on horseshoes. Itís applied by building up layers with a gas torch. Itís also a trade name, there are other varieties of the same stuff out there.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 19:51:28 GMT

Dear Sirs,
I just built a forge for my shop. I have a business doing ornmental work and welding. I do the old fassion ornamental work. I would like to know how to build a metal bowl with my forge. I need this for an ash tray. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Vic Westerlin  <westec at webcombo.net> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 20:04:51 GMT


What is an MSA full face repirator? (is that a 'model name' or a 'brand name'?) We are useing a 'coal forge' and I was wondering what the short and long term respitory or other aliments would be (if known)...IE - what side effects can be expected and which are potentially hazardous (ie. hours of exposure)? Right now I have gotten permission to where a simple paper face mask with a cotton bandana over top. Is the 'smoke' only harmful when the 'sulphur' is being burned off? Thanks for all of your help!

"Coal dust smoke: Kimberly, A good working flue is number one. Good ventilation is number two. If the shop is smokey nothing short of an MSA full face respirator is going to make any difference. But note that the respirtory stress induced by a full face respirator is more likely to kill you and a lot sooner.

An 1860's shop in your area probably burned charcoal (a guess). It makes a lot of fly ash but the smoke is generaly not as noxious. It is also hotter and lighter because its not full of the volitiles like coal. Therefore it went up the chimney better. . . So much for being historicaly accurate."
Kimberly  <mathews at techcomnet.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 20:24:19 GMT

Elements Alan, thanks for the details. I looked it up alpabeticaly and it wasn't an element and let it go.

Nd is Neodymium (another rare earth) not Niobium. Niobium is a metal used as an alloying ingrediant. It used to be called Columbium in the US and still is by a few. The abreviations are easy to confuse.

Sodium (Natrium, l), Potassium (Kalium, l), Mercury (Hydgraium, l) Lead (Plumbum, l) and Columbium (Nb) are those peculiarities of the periodic table that we were taught by rout in American schools without explanitory details. Here's the name, thats the symbol, learn it! The books at that level do not even have the Latin names that are used Internationaly. It would be so much easier to learn the reasons why than to be presented with a mystery.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 20:29:05 GMT

guru, i have a coal forge with a pretty large firepot,great for heating up large work like making hammers, but it can go thru the coal...i'm going to be making a lot of small items and was wondering if there would be a problem with putting an insert made of steel, with a grate, in the fire pot to make the bowl smaller for this work...thanks...
chris  <cp3crow at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 20:44:45 GMT

MSA: Kimberly, MSA is the Mine Safety Appliances Company and MSHA is the Mine Safety and Health Administration (part of OSHA the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and all industrial respirators used in the US are MSHA and OSHA rated. MSA is the major manufacturer of approved respirators.

If you work in industry anywhere in the US and are exposed to hazardous materials your employer is required to provide protective gear AND train you how to use it. An MSA full face respirator is exactly what it sounds like. It covers your entire face and seals around the edges (looks like a "gas-mask", photo forthcoming). Full face respirators are the type used in the Nuclear industry and by Asbestoes abatement crews. There is respiratory stress associated with wearing these and rigorous training is required before wearing them. The Nuclear industry requires a medical including a lung capacity test before taking the training.

These masks really work. Medical masks are to keep contaminants IN not out. The do help but are only as good as the seal around the edges. Due to the filter causing a pressure drop (resistance to flow) air tries to go around it and DOES. Efficiency is probably around 50% (a lot better than nothing). MSA masks are 99.99% or better for their designed purpose.

THEN there is is question of what you are trying to filter. Most masks used in industry are "particulate" masks. That is, they remove particles of a certain minimum size using a filter (like your medical mask). Smoke particles are often smaller than the filter rating and "supplied air" masks (like fireman use) are usualy required as well as an air or oxygen tank. Gases can be "filtered" but require an activated carbon filter to absorb them. Particulate masks do nothing for gases.

THEN there is the concentration of particles or gases. OSHA has specific concentration numbers for certain contaminants. The only way to determine the level is with a device that pumps contaminated air through a filter and then the filter is examined.

Respiratory risks in the blacksmith shop are greater when welding with coated rod or using a grinder than when working with the forge. So I go back to my original statement. If you have a bad flue and smokey shop (and you are worried about the smoke) then fix the flue or increase the ventilation. So how much smoke is there? Even the best shops get a little smokey when starting the forge or adding fuel. Your medical mask may reduce particulates by 50% but gases by zero.

If you look at most historical blacksmith shops they were often open sheds or had large doors or shutterd openings for ventilation. Modern shops should have forced ventilation.

Results of breathing coal smoke would be argued by many. Concentration and durration of exposure to any possibly hazardous materials are key factors. Breath coal smoke and dust every day for 30 years and black lung disease, lung cancer or emphazema is the probable result.

If you live or work your entire life with tobacco smokers then the risks of lung disease are far greater than working a few hours durring your life in smoke filled blacksmith shop. With a few exceptions (heavy metals and asbestoes) the human body cleanses itself of forign contaminates.

Wearing your medical mask won't hurt.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 21:44:12 GMT

Forge size: Chris, There is nothing wrong with limiting your fire size. A heavy plate cut to fit about half way down the fire pot with a hole in the middle will work. Small stainless bars arranged parrallel to each other can be used for a grate.

I've done everything from extending the air inlet with a short piece of pipe to arranging some bricks in the firepot. If you do a LOT of small work it would pay to make a small second fire pot or use a side blast. The size of the fire in a side blast forge is controlled strictly by the amount of the blast and volume of coal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 21:52:06 GMT

Howdy, I've been building handmade shoes for my farrier practice for quite sometime now the shoes i make on a regular basis i turn without much effort heck i can even hold a conversation with the client while im forging but, when i try something with a new twist or even what some would consider simple blacksmithing projects i have a problem visualizing steps in advance and even what the finished product will or should look like. Could you reccomend any forging or mind excersizes that may help me see a project through efficiently. I also have a bag of railroad spikes to play with, so far I've made two spike knives polished, with bondo handles. Do you have any favorite railroad spike recipes? Thanks,
D.C. Mims  <DCforges at cs.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 23:01:56 GMT


Go to the iForge section here at Anvilfire, and look through the projects. There are several items made from RR Spikes.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/04/00 23:52:08 GMT

MSA Fullface respirator
Click image for closeup.

This is a standard type particulate mask used in the Nuclear industry.
The filter is replaced after each use and can be replaced with other types including activated charcoal filters. Other types include partial coverage and supplied air.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 02:43:10 GMT

Hi, everyone This is my first post here but I thought somebody here's buond to know!! OK here goes I do alot of buffing ?pollishing and would like to make my own buffing compounds {white rouge tripoli etc.} does anyone know the recipe for these or any other buffing compounds??? Thanks for any help that you can offer ,Danny
Danny Jones  <danno at digitalpassage,com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 04:36:04 GMT

Feel free to email me at this address if you can help. Thanks again, Danny
Danny Jones  <danno at digitalpassage.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 04:38:25 GMT

Buffing Compound: Danny. Tripoli and Rouge are both minerals. A type of Tripoli was also known as "rotten-stone".

Tripoli "An infusorial diaomaceous earth known as tripolite, a variey of Opal" A crude grade is used as well drilling mud.

Rouge is a hydrated iron oxide finely ground. White compound for SS is a synthetic.

Then there is the hard black emery or corundom (aluminium oxide embeded in a matrix of iron oxide) used for steels. It is ground in a variety of grits and screened to size. Emery takes is name from Cape Emery on the Isle of Naxos (wherever that is).

You locate the minerals, mine them, crush and grind them to the desired fineness then screen and wash them. Mix the abrasive with hard wax and pour in a mold or consumable paper tube.

Ta daa. . . But why?

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK will tell you about the materials and grits, some the above is from the 13th Ed of Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill. Various government publications will tell you where to locate the minerals geographicaly. It will take more research to locate mines or quaries that will sell you material. Norton is one of the biggest abrasive companies in the US and sell both raw abrasives and finished products. Besides natural abrasives they manufacture large quantities of synthetic abrasives.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 06:14:07 GMT

A good quality particle mask with a replaceable element is a real good idea...especially for grinding, polishing etc. The MSA company makes a nice light one called "dustfoe 66".
Many welding contaminants, like zinc oxide from galv are mostly taken out by a particle mask. There are filters just for welding, with replaceable elements that work even better. Even MIG and TIG welding put out grim fumes.
Many of those nastys do stay in your lungs and are encapsulated there..the result is less usable lung. Other substances are cumulative..build up, in your body and stay there..some can really screw you up.
I've had metal fume fever ( the zinc shakes) 3 times now. each time it has taken less exposure than the last. The zinc shakes can be a really memorable experience!!
Many old welders have lots of trouble breathing.
Pete F - Wednesday, 07/05/00 06:16:04 GMT

thanks for the tips on making my fire & firepot smaller..
i've been looking for a hand or foot powered gringer...i use to own a bench model and grand pa had a big floor model but they are both long gone... i wouldn't mind making one of each, i can find the wheels... where can i see one even on line? they seem to be pretty rare nowdays...also what would a working post drill be worth?
chris  <cp3crow at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 07:00:32 GMT

I make art out of copper sheets. I currently sodder the pieces together with a small propane torch from home depot. Someone told me that I should braise the copper together instead. How do I braise copper together?
bob  <bobs at surfpci.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 13:23:52 GMT

Grinders: Chris, One of my first blacksmithing projects was to make the crank and link for a foot treadle grinder. They were for a huge grind stone I had picked up while searching for blacksmith tools. The stone had a loose shaft which I cemented in place. Then I built a heavy wooden "horse" of the type you sit on while using the grinder. The crank was offset about 3" and connected to a treadle board. Its fun to use but the old stone had been run loose on its shaft for years and was way out of round and square. I spent many hours pumping the treadle while trying to try that big 4" (100mm) wide stone.

I could photograph it and post a picture if you like. However, these type things are great for historical display but are actualy lousy tools. The are very good for dressing wood working tools and the occasional knife but unless they run extreamely true and you practice a great deal jobs like sharpening twist drills are almost impossible. They will put an edge on items that are a little dull but you don't want to have to use one to finish an entire knife. Even hundreds of years ago grinders use for manufacturing were powered by wind, water or slave power (of one variety or another, child, aprentice, bondsman or actual slave).

Little 1/3 and 1/2 HP motors picked up at the flea market are much more useful. Most hardware suppliers and many tool catalogs have threaded mandrels that fit on 1/2" and 5/8" motor shafts. You don't want to mount hard grinding wheels on them but flap wheels, wire brushes and buffing wheels work well. You can't have enough of these little electric slaves.

Old hand crank drill presses sell for anywhere from $25 to $150 US. They are great tools for drilling relatively small holes (up to about 1/2" - 13mm). The low speed and high pressure feed is perfect for drilling steel, something that department store drill presses ARE NOT. Most small drill presses sold for "home and shop" use are designed for woodworking and run much too fast for metal work.

Hand crank drills were designed to use drill bits with 1/2" shanks called "blacksmith's drills". These are no longer available. To be a useful tool you will need to add a Jacobs type chuck with a 1/2" shank arbor. New, these will cost about $75-$125. NOTE: Chucks are sold without arbors.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 14:10:48 GMT

Dust Masks and Coal Smoke:

Based on our empirical method of testing (blow your nose and take a look) the stiff paper commercial dust masks sold at the hardware for casual jobs are almost worthless. They seem only suitable for large particles, like scraping the bottom of the ship. I have found a simple handkerchief, worn bandana/outlaw style, to work far better. With the 6' extension on the chimney (for a total of 15') and a new window exhaust fan, I generally only wear it when firing up or when the smoke is actually bothersome. Lots of flow-through fresh air these days.

A couple of years back our National Park Service industrial hygenist kindly allowed me to check out her library. The only occupational hazard listed specifically for Blacksmithing was eye damage due to infra-red (and maybe ultra-violet as I remember) radiation. Nothing was mentioned about respiration or hearing! I suspect that since this is no longer a common occupation, and farriers are working mostly in the open air these days, there are just no studies of these aspects and thus no warnings.

Rouge vs. Tripoli:
Which is finer? I'm doing a knife restoration of some rust spots and plan to buff a bit to blend them in with the near-mirror finish of the rest of the blade. I don't want to mess up what's still in mint condition, so I was planning on some rouge on a pencil eraser chucked into my variable speed drill. Suggestions?

I'll be at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History on Saturday and Sunday from about 9:-5:00 demonstrating Viking weapons and war-gear at the "Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga" exhibit. I'll be packing some of my Viking-style blacksmithing gear to explain how it was made. I'm listed under:

For a reenactor and amateur historian, this is like playing Carnegie Hall. A really good exhibit full of the information and artifacts of daily life, including a case devoted to blacksmithing. Well worth the trip. According to my intelligence service, Sunday morning has the least crowds. Weekdays are good with little or no lines. Peak on weekends has the line running past the elephant, across the rotunda and out the door; about a half-hour wait. Hope to see some of you if you're in the area.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 14:23:36 GMT

Hand Cranked Drill Press:

Needed to drill a .5" hole 1.5" deep into a 3"X 3"X 4" steel block for my Viking-style stump anvil yesterday. I hand fed the pressure/feed wheel and kept count: 1,700 rotations! EXCELLENT exercise. Used both arms (alternating every 100 turns or so) and the humidity kept me lubricated. Dropped in a little penetrating oil every hundred turns, 25 turns to each quarter turn of the feed wheel. And to think; people go to health clubs and pay for this sort of thing!


Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 14:36:17 GMT

experience level scale 1 to 10, 1 being very enthusiastic,10 is a well seasoned veteran, I'm a 1. My question: how is metal given the blakened finish,similar to, but not, gun blueing
THOM  <pops03> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 14:44:06 GMT

Brazing Copper: Bob, brazing copper is a considerably higher temperature operation than soldering. It requires an oxy-acetylene or oxypropane torch. Although special alloy rods are available common coated brazing rods work fine.

Brazing is more akin to welding than soldering even though the brass does flow into the joint. The torch is used to heat the work to a low red heat and then the brazing rod is brought into the flame and melted onto the hot metal as the torch is manipulated with a circular motion on and off the work to control the heat. The flame is also manipulated to stir or move the puddled metal and flux. If you've never welded with a torch it takes some practice to get used to making the circular motion with the torch and bringing the rod in just at the right times.

The mixture of brass and copper make a nice color combination and effects similar to Mokume-gane can be created. Cleanup of brazing flux and the discoloration from the higher temperatures.

If you haven't taken welding courses I highly recomend a formal course at a trade school of community college before purchasing or using oxy-acetylene equipment. There are a ton of safety rules that apply to using this equipment and handling the cylinders that NEED to be learned.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 14:48:14 GMT

Black metal: Thom, They call it BLACKsmithing because a hard blue-grey oxide called "scale" forms iron/steel when heated above a red heat. When this oxide surface is wetted by water, wax or oil it appears black.

"Mars" black artist's paint is anhydrous (not water bearing) black iron oxide in a binder.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 15:01:24 GMT

Hand Crank drill: Bruce's comments are quite true. You can really learn what Horsepower is when YOU are the horse! Most of the drilling I've done with a hand crank drill were 3/16" and 1/4" (5-7mm) holes. No sweat (pun intended). However, I HAVE drilled a few 3/4" (19mm) holes in steel with it. . . Even if you step drill the effort goes way up due to the greater torque required by the larger diameter.

When drilling deep holes my technique was to get the drill moving pretty fast and trade off right and left arms on the fly. Its sort of like working with a speed bag. You need to be be synchronized just right as you trade off right and left hand. The trick is that these machines are all right handed. The automatic feed must be working for this technique to work.

A great work out machine!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 15:16:04 GMT

guru, at home i've got all the "electric slaves" grinders,drills,cutoffsaw,wire wheels ect. ect. it's for working at a renissance festival i'm wanting to go hand powered...mostly just for show...right now i use a file for every thing...we'er not suposed to use power so i would realy appreciate it if you posted some pictures & plans or/and pointed me in the right direction to find some...i'm also looking into building a bellows...at present we hide the "electric slave" blower behind a fence...thanks again...
chris  <cp3crow> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 16:28:55 GMT

Looking for company named Hutson Iron Works I know it is in Los Angles, CA,but can not find phone number or address. Hope you can help.
Randy Clapp  <Davclapp at wk.net> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 16:31:47 GMT

RE Smithsonian:
Bruce, stop bragging, Iīm getting envious. Let me know when they need a bona-fide viking-descendant-nordic-archeologist-blacksmith(GRIN).
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 17:26:38 GMT

Finder: Randy, If a business isn't listed in the phone book it probably doesn't exist anymore (or has changed its name). I did a search for "Hutson" in California. There were only a hand full of results. One is a plumbing supplier and the other an Insurance Co. Both in the same town. Give them a call. They are bound to be relatives.

Hutson Bi State Warehouse
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 642-1771

Hutson & Partners
417 30th Street,
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 675-9195
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 17:40:57 GMT

Olle! I'm with you! Throw the phoney out and get the REAL thing! :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 17:47:27 GMT

Olle & Guru: I am properly chastised.

They had a friend of mine and I do a special nightime gig a few weeks back in conjunction with a party for contributor$. She was located in a different (fibre arts) section of the exhibit and before things got started, I was standing alone in full gear in the exhibit surrounded by all those actual artifacts that were used, displayed, admired, valued, coveted, despised and disposed. All I could think of is "what would the people who first held these artifacts think of me and my presumptions? They can no longer speak for themselves, and now I must somehow speak for them."

I hope I did a good job.

On a funny note, the crowd was sometimes sparse and I would stand very still, so when I'd turn to talk to someone, someone else accross the room would jump and exclaim: "It moved!" :-)

Post Drills: "Any sufficiently low technology is indistinguishable from hard work."

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 19:41:07 GMT

Any sufficiently high technology is indistinguishable from magic.

We sure are going to miss you at Flagstaff! Are you SURE you don't have to inspect the results of the recent fires?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 21:35:36 GMT

Tripoli vs Rouge: Bruce, Rouge is softer and finer. After you have thoroughly buffed with Tripoli you come back with Rouge to bring out more "color".

DO NOT put it on your pencil eraser! Many erasers have pumice in them that is considerably coarser than the rouge.

I think the big rectangular "Pink" erasers are abrasive free but you can never tell about pencils these days.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/05/00 21:53:32 GMT


Use an art gum erasor.

I could just see you standing still and scaring the poop out of someone! (grin) My kind of joke!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 07/06/00 00:44:13 GMT

To the Guru's,

Thanks for the info on the gas forge. Bruce thanks for your info and speedy work.

Sat night at 10:00 we set up shop and began heating 6" pieces of 1/4" square stock. the forge (NC whisper momma) held 25 pieces. soon we began bending the pieces into strikers for flint and steel. at 1 in the morning we took a break and decided to call it a night. Two days and 30 hours of work later 1,000 strikers were bent and hardened. This was all possible because of your knowledge and speedy service.


Thanks for the help.

If anyone is interested in flint and steel kits, email me with your mailing address and i will send a brochure to you.

Once again, Thank You

Rob "SmithinScout" Hogg

Rob "SmithinScout"  <brokenfootforge at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 07/06/00 20:25:26 GMT

NOTE: If you misplace Scout's address there is a link to his web site www.scoutskills.com on his iForge demo.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/06/00 20:49:33 GMT

I am interested in obtaining some of the "old time" formulas for coatings for ornamental iron. I know epoxy paint and powder coating will beat the old time stuff, but I teach a "how to do ornamental iron" course at the local community college and I keep getting requests from my students for "old time" formulas for the finishes used in the past. This would include the traditional black coating, and any other such coatings that may have been commonly used.
Tom Gentilo  <intec at televar.com> - Friday, 07/07/00 01:18:45 GMT


Here's a recepie for a bees wax finish. It's been up-dated with brand names, but is essentially the same as the old bees wax finishes.

Doug Merkel's Beeswax Finish

Interior Use Only

1 cup Johnson's Paste Wax
1 Cup Turpentine
1 Cup boiled Linseed oil
1 cup shaved beeswax
2 Tablespoons Japan Dryer (Art Supply Store)

Melt ingredients together
Mix throroughly
Apply to WARM (not hot!) iron
Wipe excess off with soft rag
Allow to dry
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/07/00 02:39:17 GMT

Eternal Exterior Black Finish

Tom: As the Guru has mentioned, there are few effective low mainainance exterior finishes for iron. I've observed that some real wrought iron takes on a brownish to black patina over the years (and we're talking lots of years). How well mild steel would do is another question. A lot of this is site/climate/pollution/environment conditional. From what I've observed, this may work under some circumstances: Clean/sand/sandblast thoroughly. Slather with oil, beargrease, yak fat... mixed with some wax and carburize; or lightly paint with commercial primer and top coat. Install and inspect on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis (depending on whether you're on the Gulf Coast or the Mojave Desert). When rust appears, sand and re-coat/repaint. It's just like some folks clean and oil their guns every day when out on a hunting trip, and every so often when they're stored at home.

I have my tongue a little in my cheek here, but the Guru's main point has been that you can't expect customers (at least not in the late 20th century) to perform regular maintenance. Before I checked it out here, I made some barn hinges for a neighbor and used regular hardware store metal paint. They've started to rust, and I still haven't heard the end of it from her. (I'm still "getting around to" the high zinc paint to re-do the hinges. In the meantime, each barn door will be out of action when I have the hinges off.)

To sum up: If you have the time and labor for regular maintenance, almost anything will work. (You could buff it bright and re-buff every day!) Also, finish durability is highly site and climate specific. Cool and dry is a more stable environment than hot, wet and salty. Beyond that, it comes down to personal choice and labor. You can always let it rust and suggest that it's a statement on the transitory nature of the material world. ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Friday, 07/07/00 12:25:17 GMT

Natural Finishes: Bruce, Thank you for giving the lecture this time.

The "proof" of old time finishes is how rare old ironwork is. Even though it was made from charcoal wrought iron that is more resistant to rust, there is very little exterior iron work 200 years old, 500 year old examples are very rare and iron over 1,000 years old almost non-existant.

The natural state of iron and steel is rusted to dust. As ironworkers its our job to prevent our work from deteriorating. Everyone wants quick and easy wipe on finishes but there is no magic bullet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/07/00 14:56:17 GMT

Dear Guru,

I am a beginner building my own anvil out of a piece of a rail road track. I have a slab of mild steel which is 2Ē X 6Ē X 9Ē. I intend to weld this slab on the rail road track (over one other layer) as the final working surface of the anvil. Could you direct me to any material in the archive or otherwise in regards to heat-treating this slab.
Davar  <dparvin at att.net> - Friday, 07/07/00 17:14:09 GMT

Heat Treating: Davar, All steel does not necessarily harden. Carbon content determines hardenability. The method of heattreatment is determined by the the type of steel and carbon content. If you don't know what type it is you will have to find out by trial and error.

Railroad rail is relatively high carbon steel and is VERY hardenable. You must take care when welding it to prevent hard brittle weld boundrys.

The shape of rail actually makes a lousy anvil. The web is much too thin and it results in a a very springy shape. It is also too low a mass for doing forging. One of our iForge demos is making tools from RR-Rail. Too provide a non-springy mass I recommend seting the rail on end. The end section is a small work area but provides VERY substantial resistance to the forces of forging. It makes a much more efficient anvil than the rail laying flat and acting as a spring. Check out the iForge page demo.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/07/00 18:07:10 GMT

jdd - Friday, 07/07/00 19:55:10 GMT

I just saw a knife made out of an old chain saw blade. How can you clean and prepare all those little joints for welding???EEEEP!
Tannis  <celticforge at hotmail.com> - Friday, 07/07/00 23:31:45 GMT


Soak in solvent to remove the greese, etc. Then rinse with Alcohol. Then sand blast. Use lots of flux.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 00:16:52 GMT

Would like any and all info on shop built air hammers. places to get plans maybe. Would like to get more info on the beast too.
Ron  <DFFfab at aol.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 06:09:11 GMT

Air Hammers: Ron, ABANA has the plans for the "Simple Air Hammer" and the Alabama Forge Council has a modified air circuit for the Simple Air Hammer.

Mark Krause has a new design for a self contained air hammer that we will see and report on from the ABANA conference in Flagstaff next week. Mark says he has information on the hammer.

AND. . . We have several plans in the works but can't promise anything at this time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 12:22:06 GMT

I'm making some plant stakes out of steel rod for the garden.
What is a good finish to put on steel to keep it from coroding outside.
Deborah Woods  <djewoods at aol.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 18:04:24 GMT

I have just got started in the Anvil Collecting - I have retired and have a little time on my hands. My Uncle John operated a Blacksmith shop in Sheldon, Mo until the early 50s. I spent many a day in his shop, and wish to set up a small shop of my own, Not a working shop, Just a playhouse. I have come into possession of a 75lb. "HAYBUDDEN and also a real nice "all-Steel" anvil which weighs 149lbs. It rings as good as the "HAYBUDDEN", but, I know not what it is. It is marked EDI&Co. Do you have any idea of what I have. I also have aquired several old tongs. None of the tools are marked. I assume they were home-made.
Bill Hickman  <hickmanab at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 19:50:47 GMT


Are you sure that it is marked EDI&Co? Could it be EDK&Co? EDK&Co was a brand name,but the anvils were actually made by Hay Budden. Look on the foot, under the horn and see if there is a serial number located there.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 20:37:58 GMT

Rust: Deborah, There are finishes and then there are finishes. First, you need to start with clean metal. Remove rust and scale with steel wool then degrease and wash thouroughly. NOTE: If you purchase "bright" finished or galvanized rod it will have a very thin finish that is designed to prevent rusting while in inventory. After cleaning you will need to soak in vinegar for a short while to give the surface "tooth" for paint to stick to. Paint will not stick well to new galvanizing. However, as mentioned, the coating on most hardware store items is very thin and will not prevent corrosion when exposed to the elements.

Zinc paints that work like galvanizing are the best primer to prevent corrosion. These paints are sold at hardware stores in spray cans under a variety of names including "Cold Galvanizing". These are a pure zinc powder paint and will be a flat medium grey in appearance. Paints that claim "high zinc content" or "zinc chromate" are a joke. Read the label. Shake well before and during use. The zinc powder is heavy and settles out rapidly.

Zinc acts as a self healing plating. When scratched through and exposed to moisture the zinc is electrolyticaly transfered to the bare steel.

Over top of the zinc you need to apply a weather resistant top coat. On large items (fences, furniture) you would want to apply a neutral primer (red-oxide) before the top coat. On your stakes you want any hard finish that will resist being scratched through. Lacquers are harder paints than enamels and are generaly available as automotive touchup paint from hardware stores or auto suppliers. Pick any color you like.

If you were refinishing large items I would recommend sand plasting first, then zinc paint, a neutral primer and then a lacquer top coat.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 21:20:24 GMT

Howdy Guru,
I'm looking to find out how to harden and temper the blades of horseshoe rasp Knives. I don't want to experiment, they take to long to pound out to have one crack on me. Thanks,
D.C. Mims  <DCforges at cs.com> - Saturday, 07/08/00 23:34:38 GMT

Heattreating: DC, Unless you know exactly what kind of steel you are dealing with there is no "exact" and trial and error is the rule. Don't assume every piace is the same. EVERY manufacturer make their own steel selections and may change them at any time. Where one manufacturer uses plain carbon steel another may use an alloy steel.

THEN there is the matter of temperature control. Unless you have calibrated temperature measurment equipment and controled furnace/salt pots then determining the "correct" temperature will require more trial and error.

Blacksmith style heat treating is about as close to alchemy or magic as you can get. Judging heats by colors described in florid terms like "sunrise red" that can vary 200 degrees depending on ambient light and working with steels of unknown pedigree. . . .

Assuming a plain high carbon steel like 1095 you would heat until non-magnetic and then 50°F more to 1480°F. Then quench in warm water.

Temper immediately (as soon as possible) at a minimum of 450°F for up to 2 hours to obtain Rockwell 57-58. It doesn't hurt to double temper. I'd go a little hotter (say 500°F) for a more durable blade. If its a single edged blade then you can come back and draw the temper of the back some more. This is best done with a block of steel heated to the desired temperature and watching the colors "run" on a clean ground surface of the blade.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 02:24:59 GMT

Thanks Guru you just told me more than i ever knew about heat treating.

D.C. Mims  <DCforges at cs.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 04:36:31 GMT

Thanks Paw-Paw.
I`m sitting here almost in the dark, got your message at 4:54 AM Missouri time. Got my flashligh, went out and found the Anvil to indeed be Marked EDK&Co. The only number I can find on the foot is the #2. On the side of the anvil is the weight markings of 149. As I said before, the ring is as good or better than my small Hay-Buddin. I almost had problems ,explaining to my wife of 43 yrs, what I was doing out in the shop with a flashlight at this time of the morning. I believe I will hang on to this anvil.
Thanks for the info Bill in Missouri
Bill Hickman  <hickmanab at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 10:06:47 GMT

Hello GURU,
First a Great Hello from Belgium where the weathers today is very wet...
I begin in metal working and I would like to know, how determine the right hight for the anvil's table.
Thanks a lot, and sorry for my bad english.
Hope read you soon,
Nicolas  <ferodec at skynet.be> - Sunday, 07/09/00 11:01:05 GMT

Anvil Height: Nicolas, With your arm relaxed and your hand closed your knuckles should just be the height of your anvil. If you do a lot of heavy work then the anvil may need to be a little lower. If you do small detailed work and your eyes are getting weak then it helps to have the anvil a little higher.

Dippy Duck This range is best no more than +/- 1-1/2" (4cm). The image to the left is from our iForge demo on hammer control by Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson and Andrew "Kiwi" Hooper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 13:27:28 GMT

P.S. D.C Mims. For many subjects such as heattreating, types of steel, selecting grinding and buffing wheels, and a thousand more MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is the best general metal working reference available. Knife and tool makers that do their own heattreating should also have the ASM Metals Reference Book. I looked up some of the response above in the ASM book and learned most of what I know about heattreating from MACHINERY'S (see our review on the Book Shelf).

Nicolas, Your English is fine, its much better than my German or the results of a machine translation.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 13:42:54 GMT

Anvil height:
When asked (by males) how far above the ground an anvil should be I usually use an entirely different bodypart than knuckles as reference....
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Sunday, 07/09/00 19:15:56 GMT

What about these black powder finishes you see on commercial ironwork both exterior and interior. Will they hold up outside? What is the product sold as and how is it applied?
thanks, Deborah
Deborah Woods  <djewoods at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 19:21:03 GMT

Powder Finishes: Deborah, Powder finishes are applied by an electrostatic process and have just enough volitile in them to make them stick to the surface. Then the finish is baked on. Its strictly a commercial process. It does an excelent job getting into cracks, crevices and hidden surfaces. Because of the minimal volitiles it is considered environmental friendly. However, this is one of those process that moves the pollutants elsewhere (to the power plant).

These baked on plastic finishes are excellent but do not address the scratch through issue like the zinc or galvanizing do. However, they are very hard durable finishes and users generaly gamble on the finish not getting broken through.

If you are manufacturing a product in production quantities it is worth looking into. Most cities have someone that does it on contract basis. Look under "Powdered Coatings".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 19:47:00 GMT

Dear Sir,
I recently aquired a set of pewter measuring cups. They have a touchmark on the bottom. I was wondering if you knew of a place online that showed the different touchmarks.
Thank you,
Kinah  <kinah at iwon.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 23:13:32 GMT

Hey everyone! I have a question and I hope someone out there can offer some direction. I own a clothing company and one of our clients has requested a shirt made of chainmale....do you know anyone out there who could make this for me? Any help is appreciated.
Candace  <FuClothing at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/09/00 23:36:54 GMT

mr.guru could you please tell me what do you make super quench from if shaklee basic 1 is used what is it thank you ed viadock
ed  <hotforge200099 at icqmail.commr guru could you please tell me what chems you use to make s> - Monday, 07/10/00 00:02:17 GMT

Mail: Candace, Try these links. There are more on the Armourers Ring webring. You can find it on our webring page.

The Colluphid Armoury is dedicated to providing chainmail construction techniques and patterns to any and all armourers who are interested in the craft.

Sir Eldren's Maille Making maile for 6 years. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 00:33:23 GMT

Pewter: Kinah, Silver and Pewter have "Hallmarks" (as I was recently informed). There is a silversmith's registry but I have yet to find it. . We are developing a touchmark registry here for blacksmiths but it has been slow going.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 00:36:29 GMT

Hello I am a California resident who is sort of a techie. I was wondering where I could get a small box that was 1/4 of an inch high, 3 3/4 long, and 3 3/4 wide or about the size of the normal floppie diskette?
Ryan  <Chandler5000 at aol.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 07:59:40 GMT

Specifications: Ryan, As a "techie" your specification is lacking. Material? Wood, metal, plastic, cardboard, other? Wall thickness or maximum space envelope? Weather, chemical or radiation resistant? Strength or impact resistance? Open end or side? Closure hinged, slip fit, snap closed or N/A? EM shielded Y/N? Certifications, ISO, MIL, ASTM, UL, CA? Custom, stock, samples needed? Quantity? Intended purpose?

We answer blacksmithing, metalworking and related questions.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 12:49:28 GMT

Dear guru,

I took note of turning the RR piece on its end. However I still need to harden the surface of the anvil, as I had mentioned I have a slab of mild steel which is 2Ē X 6Ē X 9Ē what is the best way to harden this before I weld it on the RR track. Thanks
Davar  <dparvin at att.net> - Monday, 07/10/00 16:34:06 GMT

Steel: Davar, What kind of steel is it? Not all steels are hardenable. Every grade of steel is hardenable to a different degree dependant on it's carbon content. If its mild steel it is not hardenable enough to be an anvil face. Most heavy plate is A36 (structural grade) which is a little higher carbon than "mild" steel but is still not considered hardenable for any useful purpose. Anvil faces are tool steel. They are hardened as hard as many cutting tools. The basic process is described above with the heading "Heattreating".

Mild or low carbon steel anvils can be "hard faced" by welding with special hardfacing rods. Its a lot of work and requires a heavy duty welder and lots of time grinding the hardfacing flat. It is more time/cost effective to start with tool steel or find a used anvil.

Alex Bealer wrote, ". . the anvil was the only one of his tools a blacksmith couldn't make."

This isn't true but tool making takes a certain degree of skill and knowledge. Anvils are NOT the simple lump of iron they appear to be. Tool steel takes great care when heating and forging. Heattreating large lumps of steel is more than a little difficult. It takes a large forge or furnace, a method of handling and quenching then refinishing when done. Failures are common even among the experianced.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 17:43:19 GMT

This weekend i tryed to hammer out some old leaf springs for makeing blades, i read earlier that it can get real brittle, but i was supprized, some of this stuff was just breaking in my hand while i hit it! i assumed that it had cracks or fissures(very old springs). is this metal really any good to make blades? how do i go about makeing it not so brittle?

Thanks, Abraxxus
abraxxus  <abraxxus at abraxxus.net> - Monday, 07/10/00 19:03:25 GMT

Dear Guru,
I'm a Acrylic painter with a desire to incorporate copper metal into my paintings. I know vertually nothing about the characteristics of copper. What I would like to do is melt copper into abstract shapes (with a flat bottom surface) so that they can be secured with heavy molding gel used in painting. I'm not sure if you can use a sheet of heavy glass to receive the melted droplets of copper....then using a scraper to remove them, thus getting the flat bottom. What can you tell me about the best way to do this? What can I use to melt the copper wire?
Thanks for any information.
Suzanne Veriga  <azsage at sedona.net> - Monday, 07/10/00 19:08:24 GMT

where can i find a list of touchmarks i have a pewter piece that has a touchmark that i cannot place to a forge
dawn  <creation at win.bright.net> - Monday, 07/10/00 19:20:26 GMT

Blades: Adraxxus, If you overheat many high carbon or alloy steels they will crumble or crack when you forge them. Alloy steels may fall apart. Used springs are very likely to have cracks but it is rare. Generaly if there are cracks the spring would have failed in use.

Forging temperature for tool steel and high carbon steels is a bright orange. Yellow or yellow white is too hot. Forging either too hot or too cold is a problem. The higher the carbon content the lower the maxium temperature. A red orange (2200°F) if the maximum for high carbon steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 19:57:07 GMT

Copper: Suzanne, Copper has a fairly high melting point, 1980°F (1082°C) and is highly conductive. The conductivity carries away heat rapidly so that a lot of extra heat is needed to do the job. Generaly an oxy-acetylene torch is required. Copper has a great affinity for oxygen so there is a likelyhood that your droplets will be porous or foamy unless you are careful to use a neutral to carburizing flame. I've never melted copper with a torch so I'm not sure. Brass brazing rod may be more suitable for your needs.

Hot metal on glass is not a good idea. Common soda-lime glass is suceptable to cracking from thermal shock and the melting temperature is too low. Even Pyrex class will not take dropping molten metal on it very well. At the least there will be localized spalling.

Melt your metal over a clean steel plate. If you heat the metal close to the plate so that it doesn't drop far you will get the shapes you desire. The copper will not stick to the steel. Afterward you may need to clean your droplets in acid. When doing this type of thing be sure to wear high top boots or foundry spats to prevent runaway droplets from ending up in your shoes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 20:21:03 GMT

Touchmarks: Dawn, See my response up a few posts UP titled "Pewter"
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 20:23:41 GMT

[ anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter   Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC