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. This is an archive of posts from July 10 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]


I sort of stumbled in a couple days ago and saw a question about bolting runners on a big sled. Horse or tractor drown I suspect. I knew the answer but couldn't think of it at the time.

Anyway, steel runners were attached to sleds (Not sleighs!) by using purpose made bolts that had a big "flat head" like a machine screw but no screwdriver slot. The holes in the runners were countersunk so the heads were below the surface and didn't wear any faster than the runners and by the time they pulled through the runners were too thin to be of any more use anyway!

Great place! Glad I found it!!

Dennis  <wix at eskimo.com> - Monday, 07/10/00 21:42:48 GMT

Welcome: Dennis, Glad you found us! Look around. There is a whole lot to anvilfire! The home page has the main menus and we have three forums. Later this week we will be netcasting video from the ABANA conference in Flagstaff, AZ!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 00:42:13 GMT

I'm looking for information on any forges and blacksmithing equipment for sale in North Carolina. If you know of anyone selling the above, please contact me. Thank you.
Johnathan  <aszo at bellsouth.net> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 01:03:49 GMT


Where are you located in NC. I'm in Winston-Salem, and I may be able to help you out. I'll be at the ABANA conference this week, but will be back in town Sunday.


Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 01:17:51 GMT

Guru, I have had good luck forging strikers for flint-and-steel fire making from old files. Problem is, it is quite time consuming splitting bastard cut files (Nicholson is quite good)into strips suitable for forging. Is there a commercially available high carbon steel that can be purchased in approx. 1/4 inch square stock that would be suitable for this type project? I am a newbie at purchasing steel, so please be as specific as possible. Thanks!
My best strikers have been made by heating the shaped striker to red-orange and then oil-quenching. This was followed by grinding a final smooth face for striking on flint. They produce a tremendous shower of sparks!
brian  <bwhatley at shreve.net> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 03:25:05 GMT

Steels: Brian, Any high carbon steel will do. Find an old garage door spring and you'll have 100' of coiled up striker steel.

Plain carbon steel drill rod with 1.25% carbon is what many files are made of. Ask for W-1 drill rod (that's water hardening) or 1095 high carbon steel.

Most machine tool suppliers have W-1 drill rod. McMaster Carr sells 1/4" dia. x 36" W-1 for about $2.

Don't ask for oil hardening its a lot more expensive. W-1 will oil harden in small pieces.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 04:32:35 GMT


I made a bunch of flint strikers for a company that sold them to reinactors. I got my steel distributor to order 1/4" square 1095 for me. It came in 3' lengths. A lot handier than slitting files.
Phil  <rosche at dogbert.aticorp.org> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 11:02:25 GMT

I am looking to purchase iron wheels like those used on antique wheel barrows (small quantities to start). Completely ignorant of metals, process, and blacksmithing, I haven't a clue on where to find a source of these wheels and specifically what to ask for. I have searched Ask Jeeves and Thomas Register with results that are either for horseshoes, high performance auto wheels, gears, manufacturing parts, etc. Any advise?
Pam  <pseverin at mindsetsforyouth.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 16:09:55 GMT

Wheels: Pam, I searched the Thomas Reg. CD's and came up with the folks lsited below (out of 256). A search for "wheels, steel" came up with HD forged wheels.

McMaster Carr HAS the type wheel you want but the smallest is 16" in diameter and costs $48 (See our links page). McMaster-Carr sells to industry or individuals and takes phone orders.

Other possibilitys (maybe):

Fairbanks Co., The
Rome, GA

Products Include Oak Hand Trucks, Steel Hand Trucks, Platform Trucks, Lever Dollies & Hardwood Dollies, Plus A Large Selection Of Casters & Wheels.

In Printed TR: See Our Full Page Ad At Casters; See Our Lit-By-Fax Information In The Catalog File

Jilson Corp., The
973-471-2400; Or Call: 800-969-5400
Lodi, NJ

Casters & Wheels Ranging From Decorative Furniture To Hospital/Institutional To Extra Heavy Industrial With Capacities Up To 15,000 Lbs. Also Available Are Nylon Or Stainless Steel Casters Where Corrosion Resistance Is Required.

In Printed TR: See Our Full Page Ad & Multiple Ad Program At Casters
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 17:21:01 GMT

See Ya'll there!

Pouring rain in Central Virginia. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 18:46:35 GMT

Can you tell me when blacksmithing started
Frank  <MR FM 8198 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 20:04:03 GMT


As near as anyone can tell from the archeological records, approximately 6,000 years ago.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/11/00 20:18:30 GMT

Just recived an anvil to day.One side is badly damaged.It is a cresent shaped brake about 1/4 inch deep on the top. I have never attemped a repair like this.Would feel better about repairing it if I knew some thing about it.
Donald Walter  <donbev at pld.com> - Wednesday, 07/12/00 00:16:19 GMT

Anvil repair is problematic, as you guessed. If at all possible ( assuming that the tool steel face is thick enough) grind the worst of the break smooth and work around it. Most often the damage is to the edge of the face, frequently on the side nearest the horn.
If that's the case, you win. The edges of the face should not be square mostly but should be gently radiused (rounded).
It's desirable to have a very round edge on the far side of an anvil. Take your 4" (or larger) grinder with a flap disk and smooth that divot out. Keep moving so you dont overheat any one spot. After that , work out the scratches with finer grit abraisives. You will find that certain irregularities are actually kinda handy.
Many good anvils have been ruined with welding repairs. It is almost impossible to weld an anvil face and not get soft spots or worse next to the weld. Welding is to be used only in the worst cases.
If you must weld, see the article on the subject elsewhere on Anvilfire and do it as well as possible. Preheat the whole anvil to 400 after careful prep. use a tough, low hydrogen rod like 8018 as an under layer. Chip and pein each stringer bead and skip around to avoid overheating any 1 area. Be very careful in your selection of hardfacing rod and expect it to be expensive.....good luck, Pete
Pete F - Wednesday, 07/12/00 07:18:17 GMT

Mr. Guru,

The following is a partial excerpt from one of your answers:

ď Temper immediately (as soon as possible) at a minimum of 450įF for up to 2 hours to obtain Rockwell 57-58. It doesn't hurt to double temper. I'd go a little hotter (say 500įF) for a more durable blade. If itís 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. ď

Could you kindly elaborate on what you mean by temper. I always understood temper as the process you are referring to as draw temper in the above! Some elaboration on Rockwell numbers would be appreciated also.
Davar  <dparvin at att.net> - Wednesday, 07/12/00 19:03:32 GMT

i have a quetion regarding the mig welding of two 2"x 3/16" wall square tubes together each cut at a 45 degree angle in order to make a "square corner". i have been mig welding for about a year and a half now with two different companies and a quite capable in the set up and welding procedures. my question is in order to keep the afformentioned pieces "square" after welding, how much over square should i make the corner so when i have put the final weld on the inside corner the pieces will pull together to the appropriate 90 degree angle, assuming the piece is clamped to the table?
i am trying to prevent having to do this a number of times to get it right and any info. you can give me would be greatly appreciated, i can not seem to find this info. anywhere on the web and do not have any reference books at my disposal. thank you. kevin birdsall
kevin birdsall  <mjkbs at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 07/12/00 23:02:51 GMT


My son and I are not blacksmiths but are having a lot of fun building a Cap Lock Muzzleloader Rifle. We have done a good job on making and polishing all the brass parts and have a great bluing on the barrel. The only dilemma we have left is how to get the full color of the case hardening on the steel lock itself to come out. The Lock came in the kit and while you can see the color gradations they do not stand out like I am used to seeing. Moreover, the base color is not that of polished steel, but more of a brown/blue color.

Does this piece simply need application of a polishing process like used on other metals or is there another process that need be used to attain the maximum color?

Thank you,


PS: I originally got into youe FAQs page and sent this question to your web master. Please tell him to forget the message - sorry about the mistake.
Mike R  <savage250 at aol.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 01:46:11 GMT

what is the high sliver content that you can add to your metal when forging a knife without making the the blade to weak?
glen  <waughtalg at mag-net.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 01:53:18 GMT

Silver: Glen, 0%. Silver is not an alloying ingrediant OR laminate in steel. Maybe you are thinking of nickel. It is commonly used in making laminated steel "Damascus". The term "too weak" is dependant on the intended use, blade cross section, and other laminates. You need to purchase one of the many books on the subject and study it. The sections on heattreating and steels in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK would also be of benefit. You will need MACHINERY'S or some other reference with steel specifications if you are going to be designing your own laminates.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 07:37:31 GMT

Color Case Hardening: Mike, this coloring is part of the process of "color case hardening". The colors are temper colors (same as heating any piece of clean steel) and are very thin (one atomic layer) and cannot be improved.

The part must be polished FIRST. The better the polish the brighter the colors. The part must be absolutely CLEAN. It is then packed and sealed in the case hardening case with powdered charcoal. It is then heated to a red heat and held there for a time determined by the weight of the part and the desired case thickness. Last, it is removed from the heat broken open and quenched in clean water. The TRICK is that the quench tank has air bubbling from a grate in the bottom. As the part cools the air oxidizes the surface at different rates creating various temper colors.

Afterwards the part can laquered but most gun parts are just oiled. There is no repairing or refinishing the part and keeping the temper blue. It IS possible to clean, finish and color case harden again. The difference is that the part is not held at temperature to absorb more carbon. Most parts are blued rather than trying to reproduce the color case hardening.

This question was what got me started in blacksmithing and took me 20 years to find.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 08:07:26 GMT

ABANA Conference: Beautiful weather in Flagstaff, AZ. Will post photos from this evening. Video camera failed :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 08:09:25 GMT

Weld Joint: Kevin, Trial and error is about the only fool proof method. You shouldn't need to compensate for the distortion IF the order and direction of welds is correct.

Welding the outside corner will cause the angle to "open" up when the weld metal shrinks. Welding the inside corner will cause the angle to close. Welding the sides will cause the least distortion.

Weld the sides first then weld the outside corner. If you don't have to don't weld the inside corner. It will always cause the corner to draw inward, actually bending the joint to do it. If you must weld it keep the fillet as small as possible.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 08:29:17 GMT

Greetings. I recently snatched a 7/8" hex key from the scrap bin at work. The key was welded to a piece of (bent) 1" pipe. I chopped the key off through the weld, took it home, straightened and have almost completed transforming a hot punch from it. Can you tell me the specifics on common hex key stock please, and perhaps the ( really ) correct hardening/tempering procedures ? I usually just harden at red, and draw at somewhere after straw. Usually works pretty well, but chips from time to time. I usually do NOT know the specifics in the steel though, and also forge at bright red to orange ( in the past with say a piece of coil spring, and with this stock as well) to get movement in the stock even with the 30 # triphammer. Some books state that anything over red is too much. Commomly, I have other work to do, and forge on the tool till I get to the point of needing to move on, and ( as the case with this tool ) finish the heat and forging, and place the still red tool in an old quart can (steel) full of oil dry, so not to risk getting any air temper. I typically dump the ash can at the start of the day. Sincere thanks.
Ten Hammers  <lforge at netins.net> - Thursday, 07/13/00 09:55:33 GMT

I'm looking for any blacksmithing equipment for sale in Connecticut, Mass, NY area. If anyone can help please contact me. Thank you.
Davar  <dparvin at att.net> - Thursday, 07/13/00 15:01:43 GMT

hello guru,

my name is colin eddy, i am from medecine hat alberta, canada. i have been interested in the art of blacksmithing ever since i found that my great grandfather was a blacksmith. i am 24 yrs old and have limited experience but i have tinkered around for the past 3 months with my forge. this forge is a propane powered unit with an old hair dryer for a blower. the forge is about 12" wide by 12"long by 6" high. on this "box" i welded a 8" high dome, made from a 18" pipe split end for end.

my forge works well for heating mild steel hot enough to hammer out and bend and shape to almost everything that i need, but it doesnt get hot enough to forge weld. my question is: is it possible for a propane forge to produce enough heat to forge weld?

i've tried to increase my psi on the propane to accomidate the forced air that is supplied, but it just doesn't seem to get hot enough. any suggestions?
colin eddy  <cowboycaddy76 at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 16:00:43 GMT

Gas forge: Colin, Yes, thousands forge weld with gas. There must be a careful balance between the forge chamber size and the amount of gas/air provided. Increasing them can sometimes reduce the temperature instead of increase it. The 'best' fule/air mix in gas forges produces a deep rumbling roar. Generaly ypu have to adjust a little out of perfect to prevent the noise from being obnoxious.

You also have to choke or close the outlet (door/vent) just right for optimum temperature. Then, depending on the type of refractory you used and how masive the forge, it can take hours for a gas forge to get up to maximum temperature.

Commercial forges are often tricky in this regard and home builts can be down right cantankerous. If YOU built it you are now the designer/engineer. Testing and trial and error optimization are part of the job. Be patient, only change ONE thing at a time and try to be logical about figuring it out.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 16:36:34 GMT

Another beautiful day in Flagstaff!:
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/13/00 16:37:46 GMT

ANVIL CAM: Live now! Tai Goo, primitive knifemaking.

Junk Yard Hammers tonight.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/14/00 00:17:44 GMT

Paw Paw, a few weeks ago I comented to you that everyone in the world could get my strikers to spark, cept me? I was using the wrong side!
Tannis  <celticforge at hotmail.com> - Friday, 07/14/00 03:03:36 GMT

Dear guru i am a 17 year old boy VERY intrested in blacksmithing but i do not want to be making sculptures or use a torch to weild a ffew peices of iron together. i have a dream and the ambition to make swords, jewlery, armor and than i guess a few homemade things but i just want to learn how i can let my imagination flow into midevil works of art. but i do not know how to come by the information to do this all i read is how to make the stuff i do not want to be making. i also still have to learn the basics which i am going to start on asap thanks to this site but if you could help me out in any way i would be more than greatful.
sincerely Chris
Chris  <plorbach at earthlink.net> - Saturday, 07/15/00 01:29:14 GMT

Dreams: Chris, if this is what you want to do you will surely do it. Start with the books recomended in Getting Started and seek out your local ABANA chapter. Chapters consist of professionals, amatures and those just intrested in blacksmithing. Chapters often have classes and demonstrations. The more you are exposed to real forge work the more what you read will make sense.

If you are in school STAY in school. Blacksmithing is as technical a subject as any other and today smiths are using increasingly technical tools. CAD to produce designs and presentations, plasma cutters and lasers are becoming more widely used. Then there are building codes to meet as well as OSHA and EPA. Artist blacksmiths must submit proposals and grant applications.

Read those books and if there is something you don't understand then we as well as others are ready to help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/15/00 06:22:18 GMT

Im looking for a way to anneal(soften) a steel with a high carbon content so i can work with it. the steel im using is an old leath spring from a car (not the ideal metal i know but all that is available at the momment)Any advice on the best way of doing this or other hints on working with it would be most appricated.
Nathan  <drider57 at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 07/16/00 02:57:19 GMT

Nathan. If you dont need the strength, get softer steel.
Heat to a comfortable red-orange slowly, then bury completely in light fluffy fireplace ash so as to cool it as slowly as possible. Pearlite, vermiculite, portland cement powder and lime are all traditional for this. The minimalist method is to heat it in a hardwood fire to color, cover it with hot coals and bury the fire in dry ashes. should be cool in a couple of days, and soft.....
Pete Fels - Sunday, 07/16/00 05:29:15 GMT

Dear Guru
I need your help!Please offer me some companies producing the suface spary coating eqiupment.I want spray coat the screws applicaed in plastic processing machine to improve
they anti-abrasion & anti-corrosion strenth.I have visited some web such as BENDER,TAFA and send E-mail to them,but
no reply.I also want to find more relative companies in Japan & Germany.So I need your help.Thank you very much!
My web is WWW.huaye-machinery.com
WuJinlong  <huaye at mail.zsptt.zj.cn> - Sunday, 07/16/00 08:23:05 GMT

I am working with hot rolled 1/4" sheet and the dark scale look is what i want to keep. Where I used a sanding disc it of course turns silver steel color. How do I get the basic look without painting?
Jerry - Sunday, 07/16/00 17:37:24 GMT

Answer Man: What does the 90 in 90lb air hammer stand for?
The reason I ask is that the amount of work a hammer blow does is a function of how heavy times how fast. Is there a term as expressive as horse power for hammers? How do they compare with say a full two handed swing of a six pound hammer by a 250# gorilla?
Larry Sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Sunday, 07/16/00 22:28:48 GMT

Where does one look to find skilled metalworkers with experience in architectural metalwork in the USA outside of advertising in the Anvil's Ring and the Fabricator?
Doug  <d99brack at aol.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 01:43:55 GMT

Hi, Im a knifemaker in Gatlinburg Tn. I was told heating a blade to 1700 degrees and throwing ashes across it would put a grainy surface on the steel.I cant get it to do right. Do you know how to texture the surface of steel?
Doug Price  <GDMPRICE at aol.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 12:18:54 GMT

All: remember the Guru (s) are mostly in Flagstaff or on the way back. Be patient, and you will get answers.
My two cents: Jerry: wax the steel after you've got it in the shape you want. It'll hold up indoors in low humidity, but if it's going outside, paint is the thing.
Larry: that info is on the power H. page on this site.
Guru: Hope I'm not being too presumptious by doing this!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 07/17/00 14:18:59 GMT

Larry Sundstrom: In modern air hammers the 90lb would refer to the weight of the tup(ram) and generally includes the weight of the top die. The older hammers were rated by a slightly different method, which relates to the weight of the ram plus some factor for the down pressure of the air.
My 3B Nazel ( 400 lb hammer) will deliver 1700 ft lbs per blow, the 5N was rated at 800lb and would deliver 7200 ft lbs.
Doug : You might look in the ABANA website under education for people looking for positions , or place an ad there.
Doug Price: The method you were told about depends on differential oxidation to produce a texture on steel. Any material that will stay on the surface during heating will work. The trick is to apply the material in a random pattern.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 16:44:10 GMT

hi, im an experienced blacksmith that wants to build my own gas forge, ideally one that is quite long so i can heat up long lenghs of bar. i was going to use an old gas cylinder. have you got any tips at all. what are the main things that are needed to build one? what should the door be like? what other holes are needed?cheers
paul  <soundsmith at currantbun.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 19:23:07 GMT

Doug if you are looking for a local talent try looking in the yellow pages most professionals are listed, or you can try calling architects they would have had contact with not only the man but his work.
M Parkinson - Monday, 07/17/00 20:34:33 GMT


Sounds like something I would do! Happens to all of us now and then. I usually admit to having a "senior moment"! (grin)

Got in from Flagstaff at 0300 hrs this morning. Jock is still passed out on the couch, he's planning on going home this evening. Probably will start answering questions when he gets home.


I don't think that was presumptuous at all! I think it was helpful, and I for one appreciate it. I rather suspect that Jock will too.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 21:15:22 GMT

Hi folks, been on your site for about 20 hours total, still not all the way thru and enjoying everything. thank you for all the info..I've been interested in smithing for some time, finally got the hot deal.. Traded some nail pounding for a forge, blower, anvil,and a pile of tongs! The blower is an old buffalo "climax", after teardown and oil it works great. Any idea on when they were made? I noticed it was manufactured with non standard nuts + bolts (1/4-18 thread?) My most important quiz is the anvil. Best i could interpret, it says, TRUE TON GERMANY SOLID ?OU? 132. 1 1-8" hardy, 5/8" round hole. it looks as if the working face is a laminated piece. The problem is this anvil is beat up bad. I want to hardface weld the edges and shoulders back. Can this be done? What rod do i use on the top surface, what rod on the step shoulder, pre-heat the anvil?, quench after welding? I've burned a lot of 7018 and some 80FN cast rod, but weak in metallurgy . thanks a bunch, again, keep up the good work.
mike hricziscse  <mikecindyjon at aol.com> - Monday, 07/17/00 21:41:00 GMT

Larry: Generally speaking, if you were to weigh the ram of 90-pound hammer and its components, they should weigh in at around 90 pounds. This 90 pounds could also be called falling weight. Iíve always said that perhaps a better way to assess a hammer would be to measure the energy of blows in foot-pounds. It would cut out lots of confusion. A later model Nazel 1B hammer was sold with a 75-pound falling weight - it was steam rated at 100 pounds and the energy of blows in foot-pounds was 450. Talk about fudging numbers and confusing things!
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 01:30:23 GMT

I'm HOME!: Finally! Spent the day at Paw-Paw's sleeping before the final drive home. Had a great but tiring trip. Will have to plan on added days next time.

Will be archiving this page (shortening it) and posting more conference news tomarrow (and the for the next week). Time for more sleep now.

Doug You have found the top two periodicals. If you are looking for folks that are not listed there order a copy of Dona Meilach's new book The Contemporary Blacksmith. We just posted a review. Although it does not contain all, it does contain MANY of the finest of todays smiths.

Gas Forges: Paul check the Ron Reil page. Its listed on our links page. A modular forge makes the best LONG forge.

Anvil/Forge Mike, That is a Trenton import. Face is tool steel and it is best not to try to repair unless you have a lot of experiance with tool steel. Repairs require special rods and lots of preheat. You are best off grinding to make repairs. The blower was made by Buffalo Forge and Blower Co.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 03:31:00 GMT

I live in Calgary Alberta and would like to know where the nerest ABANA application center is and how I can get ahold of them to join. Also can you give me an idea on how to find other blacksmiths in my area as well as finding a course in it.
I am 46 and just getting interested in the hobby. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
Andrew Hayes
Andrew Hayes  <hayesap at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 06:41:57 GMT

Dear Friends:

Looks like I'm going to be off board for a while. I will be on the Longship Company expedition to L'Anse aux Meadows in Canada from Friday, 21 July to about Wednesday, 9 August. Then I will be in Government training in Norfolk from Sunday, 13 August through Friday, 18 August. Needless to say, life is going to be a bit messy for a while. Please be gentle with any off-board e-mail. I'm not going to be able to get much out of 400+ e-mails when I return.

I'm dragging my bellows, shield stone, and tools with us. I also plan to photograph the other forge(s) while I'm there, and talk with the Parks Canada folks about their findings. It should prove interesting.

Maximum coverage of the Viking event in Newfoundland is expected on Friday, 28 July, as 14 Viking vessels sail in, two of which, the 32' Fyrdraca and the 20' Gyrfalcon, are ours. If you see any black and yellow sails, that's probably us! We're supposed to be transporting the direct descendant of Leif Erickson from his 76' ship to the land (they don't want to damage their propeller). Coverage may continue through the weekend.

I'll try not to drown.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 12:48:34 GMT

I am looking for a large anvil. I can't find one, can you help me find one with good sound.

larry  <labooth at wa.freei.net> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 17:12:21 GMT

guru I have a minor problem.
I need to make a split nut for a acme tread that is non stadard in all ways but none. pitch is 4.34 treads per inch. diameter is 1.078". and inner dia is 0.873".
As I have no working treadcuting lathe I have no idea how to make this cheaply.
it needs to be cheap as I will likely ruin it in short order in the use i'll put it to.
any ideas?
I thought about making the nut in babbit but it wont hold upp to the loads (i suspect the shocks wil strip it and/or make it loose).
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 19:05:51 GMT


Could you hot forge some fairly heavy stock around the thread? Out of a mild steel, should last for a fair while.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 19:52:56 GMT

Greetings Sir,
I have a couple of questions if you wouldn't mind taking a moment of your time to look over them and see if you can help me. My cousin brought me a peice of scrap steel from his work, and i'm confused about it. It holds an average edge, but it's harder then hell to forge, i don't know what kind it is, what kind does it sound like to you. I want to make a broadsword out of it, but i'm not sure it's the right steel. Also, i'm using a brakedrum out of a coal-truck for a forge, and it's stacked full of coal, is there anyway i can get all the coal to burn orange, instead of just the top, it's hard to forge the longer peices of metal. Thankyou for your time,
The Frog Smith
Landon Canterbury  <FrogWarriorGlenn at Aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 20:05:17 GMT

Lets get the story told.

The video problems were NOT Jocks fault, they were MY fault.

I'd been assured that all three batteries for camera number 1 were in good shape.

Wrong! Bad shape, not good. Wouldn't even take a charge.

Not enough power cords, so we were limited in how far away we could move
from the power outlets. THAT meant that we frequently had bad lighting

The Batteries for Camera Two (a borrowed unit) worked. The camera didn't! I should have checked everything before I left, I didn't.

Bah! Humbug!

Add to all of the above that both of my cameras and the borrowed camera are
over 10 years old, and the videographer ain't as young as he used to be, and
you can see why I'm pi**ed off.

Torin saved my butt!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 20:55:46 GMT

Acme NUT: OErjan, Use the same technique as making a nut from babbit (heavily soot the threaded shaft for clearance) and use Zinc Alloy. Zamak Z-25 is as strong as bronze and has nearly the same bearing properties.

Casting temperature is 900-1,100°F (500 - 600°C) Warm the shaft and preheat the mold. The mold can be iron/steel or plaster. Plaster can be cast around the threads to seal and plasticene (oil - modeling) clay used to form the nut shape and removed. Calcine (heat to remove all water) the plaster at near the melting point of the zinc. You will need at least 50%-75% volume for the riser.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 21:05:34 GMT

Unknown Steel: Landon, You don't have enough information. It could be anything from a high carbon steel to an alloy steel. When dealing with unknown steels YOU have to become the metalurgist. It takes a lot of knowledge , testing and trial and error to determine even approximately which one of tens of thousands of possible steels it could be.

A copy of New Edge of the Anvil and MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is a good place to start. Then you will also need the ASM Metals Reference Book for more specific metal and alloy specifications to compare to.

Your brake drum forge is good for small work and it is possible to forge a sword with one but a larger forge would be better. Except for heattreating swords are heated for forging in short sections because if the whole thing were hot it would be too limp to handle. You also don't want the entire mass of coal at full heat because you will melt your forge. All it takes is good coal and enough air.

Brake drum forges work OK for small work but a fire pot about 8" (~20cm) deep is best for general work.

Try to make a small blade from the steel and use general heattreating methods then test it. A good blade will trim the corner off softer steel and be flexible enough to be visibly sprung and return to straight.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 21:30:50 GMT

Large Anvil: Larry, New OR used large anvils command a significant price. Russel Jaqua makes and sells his Nimba line of anvils which includes the Gladiator at 450 lbs. It is one of the largest new anvils available. Tell them we sent you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 21:46:45 GMT

Alberta: Andrew, there is a Northern and Southern Alberta Blacksmith's Guild. Both are listed on our ABANA-Chapter.com page. Here is the contact for the Southern Guild.

Tom Wallace
Box 652
Cochrane, AB T0L-0W0
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 21:52:16 GMT

Well, I finally got caught up on my sleep. As soon as I can I'll start dubbing off the videos I have, then send the originals to Paw-Paw. Looks like I may have to rent 2 VCRs for that operation. My (old) VCR doesn't like the tracking of the first 5-10 minutes of the tape. Glad everybody made it back safely.
Torin  <torin at primenet.com> - Tuesday, 07/18/00 21:59:12 GMT

At the ABANA Conference Rob Gunter put the hammer he had finished forging into "Vermiculite" for annealing. Where can I obtain some for the same purpose?
Chuck Smithers  <csmithers at macnexus.org> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 00:07:34 GMT


Any place that sells gardening supplies.

A 10 lb bag will just about fill a 5 gallon bucket.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 01:52:06 GMT

Annealing: You can also use quick lime. Just be sure to keep it very dry.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 02:20:51 GMT

I have about 16 hours of deomos recorded plus the opening ceremony and the gong show. As the camera was new I was not yet used to it but the demos are entirely viewable. The exposure was hard to do as the demos were in tents and the sunlight outside the tents was 3 f stops brighter than inside plus the clouds coming and going changed things constantly. If you could use any of the tape, you are welcome to it.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 03:44:16 GMT

Video: Wayne, Love to have copies. I'm reviewing the gong/JYH show now. . . Dang back lighting was killing us. We got great video at chapter meets where we could get closer. The stuff Torin took was much better than ours due to the elctronics being just a few years newer. Center weighted exposure worked much better. Once we loaned him a tripod it was pretty good video.

I just finished running the KA-75 demo video. Now IT looked great due to the tight close ups of the work. It gives us a goal for future video demos.

In all it was a HUGE learning experiance. On the other hand I KNEW we needed at least two helper/gophers that we didn't have (and couldn't afford).

Working on news now. . Too many pictures to sort through!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 04:38:29 GMT

Guru & Jim Paw-Paw,
I, for one appreciate you guys trying to film the conference and post it on the web. Because of other commitments I was not able to attend the conference and feel like I've really missed a great learning experience. I hope to attend the next one and wanted you to know that even though there were some technical glitches your efforts were appreciated. Tim Cisneros, Cisneros Forgeworks
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 04:53:50 GMT

Guru's, I picked up a 50 lb. bag of "Carbo Coke" from Great Lakes Carbon somewhere in Texas and a 55 lb. bucket of Ankor C bond refractory cement mix made by Harborson W???? co.. Can the coke be used in my forge like coal or is it a carborizing compound? Maybe a forge can be lined with the cement? They are from a local steel mill that was being dumped along with some other interesting "stuff". Asking at the mill didn't get any answers.
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 06:30:51 GMT

Foundry Coke: Jerry, All organic fuels are carburizing. It depends entirely on the fuel/air ratio. Foundry coke is relatively high density and is much like burning hard coal. It is hard to get burning (requires a coal fire), and then is hard to keep burning (requires a deep fire and a continous blast). Blacksmith's coke made in an open forge is much softer and less dense. Some foundry coke, if broken up in fine pieces and mixed with coal works well in the forge.

Refractory cement is used to cement or glue refractory bricks in place. Large sections of it will shrink and crack. It could be mixed with grout, vermiculite or broken up refractory brick to make a trowlable refractory.

Foundries and mills are great sources for odd refractory bricks and other refractories.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 14:39:29 GMT

I was wondering if you had any plans for a Broad Axe... If not well thanks for you time anyways.
Johnny  <The_unknown234 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 16:04:05 GMT

Thanks - will get some Vermiculite today. How about pure Borax? Don't want to use the soap if possible. Chuck
Chuck Smithers  <csmithers at macnexus.org> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 16:13:06 GMT

Borax: Chuck, 20 Mule Team Borax IS pure borax. It is sold next to the bleach in many stores. Boraxo hand soap IS NOT pure borax. See our article on the 21st Century page for details.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 16:31:27 GMT

Broad Axe: Johnny, Not specificaly but in general axes are axes and they all came in various sizes. See our iForge page for how an axe was made. The books by Eric Sloane A Museum of Early American Tools and A Reverence for Wood have the shape and how they are used.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 16:34:28 GMT

Thanks Jock, the coke is REAL fine, about what some folks would call "fines". When I find out what the other stuff is I'll give you a line. Might be something I can share that's hard to find :)--Jerry
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Wednesday, 07/19/00 16:35:51 GMT

I noticed that Mark Krause has information about the valving setup in Nazel type hammers. I'd like to purchase a copy of this information, something I've been puzzling over for some time.Does he have a scematic or specs on his version? Thanks!
Tom Chenoweth  <astradesign at mindspring.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 01:11:53 GMT

Broad Axes: Unless, of course, he means the weapon (as opposed to the tool) used by the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. If so, I'd be able to respond in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Personal gear packed for Canada. Tomorrow, the "portable" Viking forge.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Thursday, 07/20/00 03:10:55 GMT

Mark Krause: Tom, Yes he does. Its an impressive piece of work. Its an explaination with diagrams but not detailed plans. His machine sounds and runs just like a Nazel (when they run RIGHT).

E-Mail: Mark S. Krause

Mark Krause and hammer at ABANA 2000
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 03:41:00 GMT

Atli: Bruce! Bring back lots of photos from your adventure(s)!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 03:44:01 GMT

JENNIFER  <TINDELLFARM at AOL> - Thursday, 07/20/00 04:00:38 GMT

Schools: Jennifer, Please don't use ALL CAPS. Its considered yelling on the net.

First, There is a very active ABANA-chapter in Florida. Join! A few meetings will expose you to things that would take years to learn on your own.

Schools. . The John C. Campbell School of Blacksmithing and the Penland School are both in North Carolina (see the ABANA website for info on these and other schools.

Besides Florida Chapter Events the Alabama Forge Council puts on the next nearby big event (Tannehill Park near Birmingham, Al) this September. See our NEWS for details and for coverage of past events.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 05:46:33 GMT

Hello. I am just getting started in the wrought iron biz.. I am looking fir an easy way to paint, that is inexpensive. I am using heavy equipment paint(versickle) but it doesn't seem to be very tough. Acid primer is expensive. I have tried adding muriatic acid to the primer, but the primer is oil based. Linseed oil is time consuming. wirebrushing is time consuming.. ANY IDEAS???
Eric Holmes  <eholmes at hi-line.net> - Thursday, 07/20/00 07:53:49 GMT

Good Guru: who sells Zamak Z-25 ? Pete
Pete Fels  <artgawk at thegrid.net> - Thursday, 07/20/00 08:58:48 GMT

Ruined H-13 ?
I recently was removing a large piece,3"x4"x8", of H-13
from my forge to a bucket of lime to anneal it when I
droped it in the slack tub!! Is it ruined or can I start
the process over again?
Paul  <shod at ix.netcom.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 13:09:35 GMT

ZA-24,25: Pete, Zamak is a zinc-aluminum casting alloy and is used in die casting as well as sand casting. It is easily melted in steel crucibles but they should be refractory lined to prevent the zinc from disolving the steel. If you are going to melt a lot of it you should use graphite or ceramic crucibles.

It can be purchased from McMaster-Carr or a dozen other non-ferrous metals suppliers. These folks sounded like good possiblities.

Belmont Metals, Inc.
320 Belmont Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11207-4000

Asarco Inc. (Globe Plant)
Denver, CO

Producer Of High Purity Metals & Specialty Compounds For Assaying, Thermoelectric Applications, Lead Free Brass Alloys, Standards, Semiconductor Materials, Sputtering Targers, Test Lead & Other Requirements Needing High Purity Non-Ferrous Metals.

Zamak is used for auto carburettors and trim, motor end bells and the frames of the disk drives in your PC. It can be confused with aluminum but is heavier and oxidizes a dark grey.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 13:29:24 GMT

Paint: Eric, There is no easy (cheap) GOOD way to paint wrought iron. Sand blast, zinc prime (cold galvanize), neutral prime then use a color fast weather resistant paint of your choice. There are variations on this but anything less WILL rust and in a short time. It is your reputation.

Etching primers are specialy compounded for binding to certain coatings and metals like zinc or aluminium. Adding acid to primer for steel is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. . .

Ironwork used indoors in a stable environment or an arid place will hold up a long time with oil or wax finishes however it WILL rust albiet slowly. In humid locations water condenses out of the air onto metal due to its temperature changing slower than the air. It doesn't need to be exposed to rain.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 13:42:13 GMT

H-13: Paul, H-13 is an air quench steel. More sever quenching usualy results in cracking the steel. Often it just falls apart but it can also have thousands of invisible cracks and appear to be be sound metal. You could see them by magna-flux or dye penetrant testing.

Annealing tool steels such as H-13 requires careful temperature control. Heat to 1600°F +/- 50° then cool no faster than 40°F/hour.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 14:00:09 GMT

Thanks for your answers to my questions on power hammers. But I am still not sure what it means.
It may be nice to know the weight of the falling hammer but if it only falls one inch it's not going to hit as hard as if it falls a foot. Now add a force that accelerates it faster than gravity and you have another variable. And just how meaningful are footpounds to the average ardvark?
What I want to know is this: You come to my shop and pick up a six pound hammer and hit a piece of heated 1"x1" stock
as hard as you can. Now measure the change that one blow makes in the iron. Then do the same thing with a power hammer. Does a 90 lb. hammer hit twice as hard, three times as hard, ... of course the hits per minute are probably more inportant than the force per blow and another advantage is that they add a hand to the formula. But to a
understand the answer to the question: "How hard does the thing hit?", the answer needs to be in a unit of measurement that I can relate to.
I'm not talking precise number or trying to pin anyone down.
I just want an over the fence answer like "one hit and its flat, another and its gone".
hope I'm not being a pest. I really appreciate what you do.
Are any of you all from Virginia?

L.Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Thursday, 07/20/00 17:54:32 GMT

greeting to guru's
I have indoor fireplace, it has a 800mm base tapering to the top 1.2m. the chimney is a hexagon which is about 150mm across flats and about 5m high.In this part of the world its called a JETMASTER. It works very well with wood or charcoal, but not so good with coal. I want to start using coal as wood is very expesive here.
The question is how do I get it to burn coal hotter and more efficient.
I have been told its due to lack of air that causes the coal to burn cooler than the wood and eventualy dying.
I contemplated putting in a air pump of some sort to increase the draw? would this work?
thanks in advance
Dave Smith

Dave Smith  <dsmith1 at xsinet.co.za> - Thursday, 07/20/00 18:59:08 GMT

BOBMCLEA  <RMCLEA4000 at AOL.COM> - Thursday, 07/20/00 19:37:08 GMT

Hammer Ratings: Larry, you have pretty much summed up the problem of rating hammers. Too many variables.

To rate the capacity per blow the standard reference is the percent of deformation of a lead plug 1" (25.4mm) tall by 1" diameter. When the hammer is too big the cylinder size changes. THEN you could compare this times the rate of blows per minute.

The problem then becomes, How do you get a single hard blow from most small hammers? You can't. The better hammers under expert control will strike a relatively hard blow but not nearly as hard as at full speed.

So, lets look at it this way. From my experiance a 50# Little Giant hits like a heavy hammer(3-1/2# - 4# or 1500g), A 25# like a light hammer (2# - 3#) and a 100# LG like an 8 to 12# sledge. These are my judgments and may be argued by many.

The point IS that a 50# ram driven by a 2HP motor that must also reverse the motion does NOT hit 10 times harder than a 5# hammer swung from overhead by a smith (two or three times the travel of the machine at greater velocity).

However, a little 25# hammer that hits a lot lighter than you do can do it all day and all night continously. My powder puff JYH that hits like a 10-15# machine can forge points on 1" bar all afternoon. It can do a lot more work than this old out of shape computer jockey but not keep up with a smith in good condition. A 50# LG will turn out more work than several smiths working alone.

Bigger hammers in the 100 pound (45kg) range and up are often used for delicate work such as pointing 1/4" (7mm) bar as well as forging top rail and drawing long tapers in 1" (25.4mm) bar. This size hammer can used for production forging of small tools and architectual elements. The slower speed makes it much easier to control.

Hammers in the 200# (90 kg) to 400# (180 kg) range can be used for small closed die forgings and open die work in the 2" (5cm) range. These are still controlable enough to do relatively delicate work but should be limited to about 3/8"
(1cm) bar. However, with lots of practice delicate chasing can be done under a 500# air hammer. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 19:41:05 GMT

I built "my first forge" bought the coal and am having difficulty getting the coal to burn hot enough to keep going. Secrets.....suggestions???????????
George  <george at gwpiii.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 20:10:46 GMT

Jetmaster: David, A blower would work but fireplaces are designed to work on natural draft. Blowing the fire will make it hotter but may make more smoke than can go up the chiminey.

Old coal grates were shallow (front to back) with a small grate spacing. They also had a metal front that radiated the heat AND forced the air to come in through the fire at high velocity (no fan needed). The natural draft is no more than the chimney/flue can handle.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 20:18:12 GMT

BOBMCLEA: Simply put a fire with forced blast of air to it is what we call a forge. Here I have a few minor pieces of information that you might find helpful.
1. A forge is either gas (both natural and propane), oil, firewood, charcoal, coke, coal...
2.the difference between the ones using solid fuels is mainly how deep the firepot is (coal 4-6" charcoal 5-7"...).
the differences between gases and oils are more in the burners.
3.for most gasforges you need either a venturi (a jet of gas travelling with enough speed to draw the air with it) or a fan to get enough air. In solid fuel forges a fan, kompressor or bellows (other ways exist but some sort of fan, kompressor or bellow are by far most used).
what you are talking about seems, eeh not very practical.
There are several ways but all are basically as I said in the beginning oxygen and fuel.
the brake drum forge on 21century part of this page to mention one.
and my Ron Reils page for gas forges (you can find him on the link page)...
sorry to sound like a lecturing parent.
hope to help
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 20:36:49 GMT

Hammer Effectiveness: Larry, how hard does it hit? That is answered by the force that it hits with. I think you are looking more for a "Effective horsepower" number. As you know, a small hammer swung very fast can move as much hot iron as a large hammer swung slow. Both the weight and speed must be considered. There is significant variation between different power hammers. That's why you can't just say a 90 pound power hammer is the same as a 250 pound gorilla swinging a 8 pound sledge! The horsepower calculation would be a good one since it is a measure of Power. But you must use the effective horsepower or in this case, something like, "how many 1/4" stock plant hooks per hour". And power could be measured that way!

If you want to get technical....

The basics: Force is measured in pounds. Work is force times distance, measured in foot pounds. Power is work done over a time period, measured in foot pounds per second or horsepower or some other measurement. The force calculation goes as follows: Force (F, in pounds) = Mass (M, in slugs, pound second squared per foot) times Acceleration (A, in feet per second squared)

Mass, is weight devided by the acceleration of gravity which is 32.2 feet per second squared at sea level on the earth.
Acceleration is the change in speed divided by the change in time to change the speed.

As an example...... To calculate the force exerted on the steel when you hit it.....
Say you are using a 4 pound hammer (because you are such a man) Mass=w/g or 4 pounds/32.2 ft per second squared. So 4/32.2=.124 M=.124
Lets say the hammer is moving at 30 feet per second when it first touches the steel, and it comes to a stop in the steel in .3 seconds. So the change in speed is 30-0=30 feet per second. Acceleration is change in speed/time to change speed . So A=30/.3 A= 100 feet per second squared.

Remember that Force (F) = M x A So F=.124 x 100 F=12.4 pounds in this example. The usual problem in calculating force is determining the initial speed (of the hammer when it first contacts the steel) and determining how fast the hammer comes to a stop. Change the numbers in the above example and you will see that a small change in the .3 seconds or the 30 feet per second will make a big change in the force number.

Work is force times distance. So lets say the hammer dents the steel one half inch. Force was 12.4 pounds and distance is .5 inch, so the work done is 12.4 x .5= 6.2 inch pounds or .52 foot pounds. I'm making some generalities, here, because the force does not stay the same throughout the hit, but roll with me on this one please.

Power is work done over a time period. So how long did it take to do the whole thing. Pick up the hammer, swing, hit. You decide the time interval. Say it took 5 seconds to make the hit. Work was .52 foot pounds and it took 5 seconds to make the hit. So Power is .52 times 5, or 2.6 foot pounds per second. 2.6 foot pounds per second is equal to .005 horsepower. Those darn horses are quite powerful! If you hit faster, say with a power hammer, the time interval goes down and the power goes up. The force would probably go up for a 90 pound hammer too, and raise the power even more.

There! Simple, right? Well, if I made myself clear, it should be simple. Was it clear? If not, tell me and I'll explain. Again, the real problem is deciding or measuring the time that it takes for the hammer to come to rest in the steel and measuring the speed of the hammer when it first hits the steel. A measure of how many plant hooks per hour would be much more useful. But then we would have to factor in how motivated the smith was too. Hey, if it were easy, anyone could do it!

I can't be reached at the address below because a lightning strike fried my modem through the phone line and I haven't fixed it yet. I need Jock to send me that check from the photo contest so I can get a new modem. (grin)

Have fun! Yes, I know this probably didn't help much to answer your question, Larry, but it was fun for me to try to explain.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 20:38:40 GMT

Hammer Effectiveness: See, that dang guru beat me to the answer and gave a better one to boot! I type too slow! I can't compete! He He
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 20:45:25 GMT

Tony, it only seems that way. You gave the technical answer that many want even if they don't understand it. Meanwhile OErjan beat me the post on forges. You both added good information to mine. Thank you!

Gas/Coal: Bob, I don't undrstand your forge. What are you using the propane cylinder for? Are you burning gas AND coal??? These fuels each require a very different forge.

Coal, coke and charcoal is burnt in a enclosure that has either flat or has an upside down pyramidal bottom. Air is blown in through a small grate to produce a small concentrated fire about the size of one's fist.

Coal can vary in quality from oil shale (98% clay) to peat to nearly pure carbon hard coal and is found in thousands of grades. Only a few are good for smithing. The best smithing coal is soft coal (bituminous) with low sulfur and ash but with just enough volatile hydrocarbon to make it easy to burn and keep burning. Even the ash is categorized. Good ash forms a glassy clinker so it is easy to remove from the remaining fuel. If you cannot obtain good smithing coal you are best off to use natural charcoal (not briquettes).

A gas forge mixes the gas/air outside the forge in the proper proportions. Some burners have mixers to help break up the gas (propane is a heavy viscous gas). Others preheat the air to improve efficiency and to overcome high altitude limitations.

The gas is burned inside a refractory enclosure that must be proportioned to the burner. The volume of the forge creates a slight back pressure that increases the burning temperature. The refractory stores and reflects the heat back into the forge. The combination of back pressure and stored energy creates temperatures higher than the "open air" burning temperature of the fuel.

If you consider these two descriptions and look at these forge types you will realize that a gas/coal forge is not in the realm of possibilities.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 21:00:49 GMT

Hammer effectiveness again.....
And then on top of it all, I make a mistake!!!!
Go to the power calculation. I say "Power is .52 times 5, or 2.6 foot pounds per second"
Change that to read... "Power is .52 DEVIDED BY 5, or .104 foot pounds per second." That equals .0002 horsepower. Jeez, those horses got even more powerful!

As an aside, when power machinery came out, people had the same trouble comparing it to what they were familiar with. Just like Larry is trying to decide how big a power hammer to equate to. People were used to horses. How many horses does it take to plow,etc. So power machinery was rated in Horsepower so people could figure out what it would do. Like you said... "how meaningful are foot pounds to the average aardvark"? 550 foot pounds per second is one horsepower. Most horses can't put out a sustained horsepower. Aardvarks move pretty slow, so I would guess 25 foot pounds per second would equal one aardvark.
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 21:22:15 GMT

Coal Again: George, good coal will burn on its own once started. A forge is shallow enough that it will just smoulder but if the tuyere is open and there is a natural draft it can burn pretty hot. I've had forges full of coal burn up overnight because I didn't put out the fire or was coking some coal down (in a mound in the forge) and didn't attend to it. . Yeah, I know, BAD guru!

Anthacite is hard coal. It is hard, shiney and nearly pure carbon. It is good fuel in a deep fire and requires a constant blast of air unless it is a very deep fire. Smiths HAVE and do use it but it is difficult to work with. Normaly it is NOT recomended.

Foundry coke is made from high grade coals and petroleum. It is nearly pure carbon like anthracite but is porus from the manufacturing process. It too can be used in a forge but is also difficult to keep burning without continous blast. It takes a coal fire to ignite the coke!

Other coals that don't burn well are high ash coals. Many years ago I was in Sacremento, CA and needed coal for a forge. All that was available was sold for landscaping (black rocks). It was not the worst coal I've tried to use but was pretty bad. The worst I've used came from a Virginia mine. We have some very good coal here but this was NOT. It was the "oil shale" I described in the post above. It made huge leaping orange flames, lots of smoke and left the same volume of "clinker" as coal put in to burn. The heat could be extracted in a boiler but it could not be forged with.

As mentioned above, coal comes in almost infinite varieties. Few are good for smithing. In the older developed areas where coal was used for domestic heating there used to be many coal dealers. These are rapidly dissapearing. Due to this and the variable quality of coal many ABANA Chapters order quantities of good coal to distribute among their members. If you don't have a good local coal dealer it is a good reason to JOIN that local chapter. Otherwise you need to order coal from a reputable dealer like Centaur Forge or Wallace Metal Works and pay the shipping costs.

The alternative? That's why gas forges are becoming so popular.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 21:44:11 GMT

Ok, here goes, to add to the hammer power force debate. Go get your machinery's handbook and look up forging hammers. There is a section on how to measure the force of falling hammer weights called the Heim formula this formula will give you the foot pounds. Well at least it's there is in my 20th edition.
Now for a question. I made about a 3 pound deadblow hammer with 17-4ph stainless. I use it when I want to really move metal. It is harder hitting but more tiring to use. Now if I built a power hammer, and used a deadblow type hammer for the tup it seems to me it would be able to be somewhat more efficient. This may be just my impression, so I am asking if you think it would be worth the effort to add this feature to my design. What do you think?
moldy  <moldy> - Thursday, 07/20/00 22:35:04 GMT

Dead BlowMoldy, On big hammers the anvils are cushioned so that:

1) Less shock is transmitted to the surrounding earth.

2) The blow has time to penetrate the work.

The blow penetrating the work and alowing time for the metal to flow has been found to be so important that hydraulic presses are now prefered for processing steel billets over the more severe "drop hammers" (when hammers/presses are used at all). On small work and work that does not need the material's structure to be refined there is little advantage. However, hydraulic presses used in welding laminated steel is much better because of the controled application of power.

On the other hand there are advantages to "hard" impact in certain types of hammers. . .

From the designers point of view, isolating the anvil from the hammer frame reduces stress on the machine's frame (which often DO break). However, in the era of steel plate construction this is not much of a concern.

Most important is the anvil to ram ratio. The higher the ratio, the less movement of the anvil. The less the anvil movement the less impact/vibration transmitted.

Rams are difficult enough to make well without complicating them.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 23:16:50 GMT

From: dmeilach at email.msn.com Thu July 20 20:22:51 2000
From: Enrique Vega <enrique at artmetal.com>
Subject: Memorial to Christopher T. Ray

To all who knew Chris Ray,

You will have to excuse me, but since I read Gabriel's mail of Mon, 10 July 2000 22:56:52 which stated in part:

Chris Ray's physical presence passed on at 5:30 pm today.

I have been in a difficult state of mind and feel a need to commemorate Chris because he has been a good friend to me, and a great teacher! I believe that many of you who have had the pleasure to know Chris, whether in person, or through the mail list, most likely have an empty feeling right now because he is no longer with us in this physical reality.

I would like to invite you to come to a memorial of sorts this coming Thursday July 13, 2000 at 10:00 pm eastern standard time in the ArtMetal Village Chat Room. In fact, if you can't come at this time, you can still participate.

What I would like to do, is to use the chat room to create a memorial log of ways that Chris Ray has touched us. Look through your old email messages from the mail list, or personal notes which have touched you, and put them in the chat room. You can also use urls which you have found at Chris's web sites. Simply copy and paste the url (including http://) after you have logged on to the chat. Then enter your sentiments.

I will keep the memorial log running in the chat room for two weeks to give everyone a chance to make their peace. Then, with the help of volunteers, we will edit the log and archive it with the rest of Chris's work in the Bramblebush.

Some useful urls:

ArtMetal Village Main Chat Room (Chris's memorial log):

Link page to most of Chris's work on the web:

The Bramblebush - Chris's editorial & teaching site:


Please feel free to forward this invitation to other mail lists or individuals who may be interested in participating.

Thank you!
enrique - ArtMetal founder/director

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 23:20:07 GMT

The above was forwarded to me by Dona Meilach and I have posted it in its entirety. I did not know Chris but his work was an important part of Dona's Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork and we included his Mansects in our review of that work.

Chris was another important piece of what made creative metalworking in the Twentieth Century. We mark his passing as we do Bill Pieh, Francis Whitaker, Emert Studebaker and others that brought us where we are today.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/20/00 23:28:43 GMT

All -- the next ABANA conference will be in early June 2002 (want to say the 5th through 9th, but don't quote me), held at the University of Wisconsin, in Lacrosse, Wisconsin
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 00:04:09 GMT

Most Friendly Advisors:
Sincere thanks to you for the answers to my question on hammers with power. I think after reading and understanding all that was written on the subject that one would be useful for the follwing reasons, they hit pretty hard, they free up a hand, and they don't complain about long hours. Accepting contributions,
L.Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Friday, 07/21/00 00:21:04 GMT


The message about ABANA 2002 is copied from a message b y Jerry Venenziano. If there's any mistake in the message, it's my fault.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 00:57:46 GMT

Who would have thought that a careless remark about aardvarks would have produced 1) a correct spelling and
2) a serious contribution to the common table of weights and measures. Now please advise: If there are 22 aardvarks in one horsepower, how many aardvarks are there in a mules kick? Maybe we could come up with the "mulevark".
You guys really do deserve lots of thanks for the great way you share of your time and knowlege,
L.Sundstrom, m.i.smithing - Friday, 07/21/00 01:09:02 GMT

Dear Guru
I am looking for information on a product called Tomcat Powerbender made by Tomcat Products out of Texas.Would like to know if you can assist in finding out if the company is still in business and products still available.
Blake  <bcdpm at webtv.net> - Friday, 07/21/00 01:33:41 GMT

I think that one of the high points of ABANA2K was when a videographer (who shall remain un-named) asked one of the ladies behind the registration desk if he could put his camera equipment behind the desk until after lunch.

She looked under the table and said "Sure, just lift up the skirt and stuff it in!" To his eternal credit, the videographer in question didn't say a word. But a passing blacksmith, turned and exclaimed "Say WHAT?"

The lady involved started to laugh and said, "You'd think that by 70, I'd have stopped saying things like that!" And the videographer responded "And you'd think by 60 that I'd have stopped responding, too!"

For the rest of the convention, all the videographer had to do was LOOK at the lady involved, and she'd turn red and start to laugh!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 02:06:59 GMT

Tony: Your statement about a small hammer swung fast vs a heavy hammer swung slow is debatable. Energy/contact area will usually be different, therefore energy per unit area will usually be different. I suspect that there will also be some difference in absorbed energy due to differences in dwell time/ velocity relationship.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 03:17:31 GMT

Hossfeld Bender - model # 2 wanted used. Any ideas on how to find one? Thanks, Joan in Mendocino, California
Joan Emm  <joanemm at mcn.org> - Friday, 07/21/00 03:22:02 GMT

Tomcat: Blake, I looked in Thomas Register and there were no bender manufacturers in Texas (out of 58 Hydraulic Bender mfgs). That was only one catagory out of hundreds. There was nothing under the company or tradename. The two Tomcat companies did not make tools of any type and neither were in Texas.

That doesn't mean they don't exist. Just don't have a Thomas Register listing. .

These guys were listed in the yellow pages under insurance. . . Maybe a holding co?

Tomcat Products
5959 Gateway Boulevard West
El Paso, TX 79925
(915) 772-7177
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 03:36:47 GMT


Harbor Freight Tools sells a chinese knockoff of a Hossfield that works very well, for considerably less money. I have one, and was pleasantly surprised with how well it was made. You can call them at 1-800-423-2567 and they'll send you a catalog.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 04:11:40 GMT

do you think rivetting chainmail links together is nessicary
Anubus Ra  <> - Friday, 07/21/00 04:50:49 GMT

Hossfeld: Post your wanted notice in the Hammer-In or attend as many ABANA Chapter meetings as you can.

The debate continues. . .

grandpa's comment about dwell time puts an interesting twist in the calculation. Any mass stopped instantly produces infinite force. Of course that assumes an infinitely massive anvil of infinite rigidity.

Now this IS within the realm of cosmic possibilities. If the anvil is the cosmic egg and a lost bit of cosmic matter (say the infinitely dense core of a neutron star or black hole) smashes into the nearly infinite mass of the cosmic egg. . . THEN . . . . You have the BIG BANG!

Perhaps the ancients understood this at some level and that is why many gods swung hammers.

Don't believe in infinite numbers or infinite forces? When a force is applied to any straight line (like a guitar string) then the initial contact at 0° of angle produces an infinite force in the string. This is simple vector mathematics
(tangent of 90° = INF)
However, as soon as the wire deflects then the force is much less than infinite. At 1° deflection or 178° included the multiplier is only 58 (instead of infinity at 0°).

So, what happens when a very hard hammer strikes a very hard anvil? Does the hammer stop instantly before rebounding? No, 0 time is a lot like 0 angle. For any moving mass to be stopped instantly (0 time) then there would be an infinite force. So what happens is the face of the anvil AND hammer deflect and the motion stops in some non-zero time period. The energy absorbed is released by the steel returning to shape, accelerating the parts away from each other.

If the hammer and "anvil" are of equal mass and velocity then both move away from each other with equal velocity. If one is stationary then it stops the other and accelerates away. That's how marbles and pool balls work. But if the stationary ball or anvil is twice the mass (or is it 1.41x ??) of the hammer it will move away at half the velocity.

Ahhhh. . . So now we know why we want the anvil to be as much larger than the hammer as possible AND why the face of the hammer should be well radiused (to distribute that near infinite force). This also illustrates the difference between the velocity of the hand swung hammer and the machine. The smith swinging a 3# hammer vs. a 200# anvil has a 67:1 ratio or 100:1 with a 300# anvil. However, a power hammer with a 20:1 ratio is considered near optimum and 10:1 is common.

Yes, the smith swings a mighty hammer but the the machine can do more with less because it never tires. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 04:59:15 GMT

Rivet Maile links? No, not unless you expect to use it in REAL battle where your life depends on it. In that case you want the maile made as perfect as possible. The only other case is for historical purposes where you want it as perfectly reproduced as posible.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 05:07:18 GMT

Woo! Didn't know there was so much technical things (velocity, mass, infinite force, energy per unit area) going on when it came to power hammers. Man, my head is spinning. I guess there is no real simple answer for my simple mind? The only think I can add is. If youíre using a power hammer thatís to light for the work youíre doing move up to a bigger hammer. Try to keep things a simple as possible. If big is good bigger is better. Thatís why so many of the older hammers were over built. I guess they thought a few more pounds of iron wouldn't hurt anything. Nothing was built marginally. In fact a 200-pound Bradley Rubber Cushioned Helve weighed 10,000 Lbs. That's my kind of thinking.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 13:03:28 GMT

Hammers, mulevarks, infinite forces, Big Bang Theory ala guru, etc!
I'm sitting at my desk and people are walking by wondering why I have this grin on my face. You guys kill me!

Grandpa, you are correct, of course, that depending on the situation, the small vs. big hammer is debatable. I can crank the numbers correctly, or setup real world situations and have it come out both ways depending on what is being hit and who is swinging, and the shape of the hammer head, etc.

But then, you'll find that most of what I say is debatable. I love intelligent debate! Pick a topic and pick a side and lets go! Wait. I have to get a cooler full of beer first. (grin)

Larry, I'd guess 7 aardvarks per mules kick. So that would make approximately pi mules kicks per horsepower? Wow! we may be stumbling on answers to a nagging mathematical question. The nature of pi!

Jock, I like the smithing big bang theory! If it's OK with you, I'll use that as an ice breaker at my next engineering card game/BS session.

Here's another tidbit for you. Picture an infinitely strong string pulled straight in a horizontal position. Use the guitar string if you like. Is the string ever a perfectly straight line? The answer is no. Since gravity is pulling down on the string, there will always be some downward deflection. Every time a force acts, there is a reaction.

Moldy, I don't doubt that your dead blow hammer moves more metal per hit than an equivalent weight solid hammer. But did you know that a dead blow hammer hitting a "solid/hard" surface actually transfers less total energy to the object being hit than an equivalent wt. solid hammer? Solid/hard is a relative/debatable term, but it's that time element again. A dead blow hammer spreads the impact time out. The other energy loss in a dead blow hammer is the forward movement of the shot cancelling the rebound of the hammer face. I suspect that this energy loss is why you feel the dead blow hammer is more tiring to use.

Hey, we put springs on the hammers of the power hammers to increase the energy transferred to the work (as well as other reasons). Why not put a stiff spring between the face of a hand hammer and the body of the hammer? If someone builds one and makes a bunch of money, remember where you got the idea! (TIC)

I thought about making the hammer on my JYH to be a dead blow too. But I was too lazy to try to figure out how the shot in the hammer would interact with the spring mechanism. That is not a trivial calculation and the real problem is that you can't accurately and repeatably determine how much energy is transferred to the stock. You move the piece between hits, it cools down, etc. Very complicated stuff! My long term plan is to build a hydraulic hammer also. In fact, one of my fellow scroungers called me yesterday to tell me that he noticed a hydraulic press in our favorite boneyard last weekend. I have my torch with me today and after work, I'm there. More "useful parts"!

Different work requires different tools. Sometimes a surface dent, sometimes a penetrating force, etc. More excuses to have/build/design more tools! Yeah!

Dang that money and time limitation. Oh well, we can rest when we're dead.

Hey, if we keep this up, we'll soon have a textbook. Oh yeah, a bunch of them already exist.... It's still fun though.

See what you started Larry?

Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 13:31:40 GMT

guru's BIG BAM theory and others:

Yes, Creation = ThØr's hammer striking the cosmic egg -> infinite energy release. . . and a constantly expanding universe.

Or is this akin to OErjan's "egg" test for the JYH competition (AKA the egg smash test).

Yep, there is no perfectly straight taught line and for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

However, if that wire is stretched verticaly (or on some theoretical axis perpendicular to the gravity 'waves') then only the cosmic wind deflects it. ;) But since space is supposedly curved then straight may be relative and not apply except in theory.

For years my brother Daniel (fine artist, now computer programmer) has had a particle theory of gravity that has the universe filled with gravity particles that moved in random directions like molecules in a gas. He created a computer model with masses that moved like we expect masses to move but by the minute reaction to the gravity particles. My brother LIKES an argument and will take a position like this just to agrue it. .

Now, the curious thing about this model is that if the masses are too far apart they are no longer attracted to each other but are repelled. . . . (mass of the gravity particles between the two 'real' masses greater than those masses).

Guess what? The most recent observations of the universe show it expanding AND the rate of expansion accelerating! The only explanations the physicists have is that there MUST be some small undetected particle. . . making up cosmic ether.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 15:31:02 GMT

Guru, I got an email from Mark Krause amd intent to get his booklet on the nazel powerhammer valving from him so I can work up a self contained powerhammer. I guess I should explain that I have access to a full machine shop and over twenty five years experience as a moldmaker/toolmaker (hence the moldy moniker)
I also have access to a bunch of professional engineers and technical people. Unfortunatly most of thier experience is with tiny electromechanical devices IE: barcode laser scanners. So the scale of a powerhammer is a bit of a reach for their experience.
I still think it might be worthwhile to us some sort of deadblow device on the tup. Both to hit harder, and to protect the hammer cylinder from excess shock. I am going to build a prototype in about 1/4 scale first as a table top hammer to try this out.
Now, I also have a couple of surplus 2" ballscrews from a cnc that I might be able to use to make a flypress if I had more information on their design. Can you point me to more info?
Thanks, Moldy
Moldy  <moldy> - Friday, 07/21/00 17:40:26 GMT

Ballscrews: Moldy, Ballscrews are great tools but they have a significantly lower capacity than a plain screw of the same size. Both ball screws and slides are excelent anti friction devices. The cost is the low contact area and the springy little balls. Slides have a capacity of about 10th of standard dovetail slides of the same size.

There are two problems. The springyness of the balls and the the small load distribution area. The balls when heavily loaded act like springs. Beyond that they put dents in the races "brinelling" the race.

You CAN build a press with a ball screw but be sure you understand the load limitations. The folks that build ball screws have application catalogs that should help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 18:11:58 GMT

Well I was a little concerened about that. One Idea I had was to use the screw and make a bronze/brass or maybe even Babbet nut to use instead of the ballnut. Although the threadform isn't optimum, if I make the nut strong enough it might work. What kind of pitch do the screw presses use? The pitch on the ballscrews may be too coarse at about 4 tpi. But they were free, so that counts for something and if nothing else they are probablt 1055 induction hardened steel.
Speaking of which, do you know of anyone who uses Induction hardening for knife blades?
Thanks, Moldy
moldy   <moldy> - Friday, 07/21/00 18:52:19 GMT

I have a new found supply of 3/8" stainless square & round
stock. I am wondering if I can forge this into the hooks,
spoons and other small impliments I make with mild steel.
I don't know the grade of the SS.
thnx, George
George  <t_boater> - Friday, 07/21/00 19:22:20 GMT

Straight lines: Ya Know, I just knew you were going to come back with that string in the vertical thing! (grin) Yup, perpendicular to gravity AND in a vacuum, with a truly homogeneous string should result in a striaght line. Nature still abhors (sp?) a straight line though.

Moldy, I'll offer to help with engineering if you want also. Ask away. Off the top of my pointy head, if I am assuming correctly, you would propose to have a self contained air hammer with a dead blow hammer weight connected to the driven cylinder? If that's correct, then I think all you need to do is make sure you have enough dwell time on the down stroke of the driven cylinder to make sure you don't try to lift the hammer back up before the dead blow shot are done falling into the face of the hammer.

With the exception of rod column bending and the air piston itself, the air cylinder doesn't care about shock loads along the axis of the cylinder since that is just seal and guide friction. The rod needs to be stout enough to not buckle on the down stroke. The air piston needs to be gusseted or thick enough so that it doesn't act like a diaphram and eventually have the rod separate from the piston. Side load to the cylinder is a bad thing. Looks like Mark separated the hammer from the driven cylinder and guided the hammer to absorb side loads. There are spherical connections that can help with side loads too. Were you intending to have a variable volume cavity for the dead blow shot? Flexibility in the amount of shot and the distance it travels might help in tuning.

If I remember correctly, and I'l go look after I post this, many/most of the self contained hammers use the driven piston and rod as the hammer and make it big enough in diameter to handle the side loads from the impact. That also has the advantage of reducing the volume that needs to be filled when the piston is raised. That should speed up the cycle. Of course, the down side is that those cylinders and pistons are not readily available. Maybe you would want to machine your own? I could certainly help with seal selection and clearances. Pre honed cylinder tubing is not expensive.

Have fun!
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 19:39:12 GMT


Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 20:20:19 GMT

Do you know of any salary survery for blacksmiths or metalworkers? I need to know (for a Dept. of Labor Application on behalf of a foreign blacksmith) what the prevailing wage is for blacksmiths, and was hoping that someone knew of a publication or organization I would contact.
Kirsten  <s1o9l4d8ier at hotmail.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 20:22:20 GMT

Wages: Kirsten, In the U.S. most (decorative) blacksmiths are part time OR self employed. There ARE industrial smiths that are often members of the Boilermakers and Blacksmith's Union.

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, AFL-CIO.

Most self employed decorative smiths working in the architectual field can be classed as "starving artists". They will often make fair wages on a big job but then not have work for many months.

Wages for industrial smiths should be in the $25/hour range but will vary according to senority, experiance and region.

Independant industrial smiths may have shop rates of as high as $200/hour but this includes equipment, fuel and labor. A lone smith may earn $40/hour when there is work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/21/00 22:34:37 GMT

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