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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 1 - 7, 2001 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I just e-mailed the *Victor Vera, Man of Metal* story to your esteemed webmaster in order that it be posted in the "story section".
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Saturday, 06/30/01 16:45:37 GMT

Victor Vera, Man of Metal: is now posted along with Paw-Paw's next chapter of Revolutionary Blacksmith.

Frank's story of Vera is very intresting and worth reading.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/30/01 21:51:42 GMT

Anyone who can help: Couple of things, I haven't been on the page in like 6 months, I like all the new stuff, anvilfire looks better than ever. My father and i are having a discussion on a metal bar I am attempting to forge into a Broadsword, it's about 3 1/2 feet long, and 3/8 arm to a PTO hitch for a tractor. It's very hard, in fact i worked on it for 3 hours this morning, and i was unable to gain much progress. I work out of a brake drum forge, which i got out of a West Virginia Coal truck, and since i live in Florida, coal is in short supply, and i can't find anywhere locally that will sell me any. This bar that i've been working on, my dad says that it's too hard to forge, and that when finished it will be very brittle. I'm only 16, but i've been forging for about 2 years now, and from my knowledge, it should make a good blade, once it's forged and tempered. Any information on either obtaining coal, or whether i should give up on forging this bar. And secondly, i was going to try to make some bronze, from copper and tin, but my dad says that the galvinazation in it will effect the metals. Once again thankyou all for your help, you guys have helped me in the past, whenever I remember my password, i'll be back in the slack tub pub. Farewell all
Landon(Smithy Frog)  <Frogwarriorglenn at Aol.com> - Saturday, 06/30/01 21:53:23 GMT

Drag arm: Landon, If the part is what I think it is (bent flat bar) it is probably just the right stuff for a sword. These are usualy a medium carbon steel (but possibly could be mild steel). However it is probably more material than you need to start with. A broad sword will most likely be only 1/4" thick at it's thickest and thinner everywhere else. This means that you probably have twice as big a bar as you need.

Working this size stock by hand is very difficult. In earlier times several strikers with sledge hammers would have been "volunteered" to do the job and today most smiths would use a power hammer.

Other stock that will work: Small automobile leaf springs (some of these even have a "distal" taper. Large automobile coil springs or sway (stabilizer bars). Often coil springs lie loose in auto scrap yards and can not be identified as to what they fit. In this case the yard SHOULD give you a very good deal (a couple dollars).

Although round stock doesn't sound like the right shape to start it works easier than rectangular stock that is oversized. Flatten it some and then start on the side tapers working back and fourth. Fullering the center will widen the blade considerably. Many finished blades are fullered to 1/8" or less in thickness at the center. This combined with the ridges outside the fuller groove make an "I" beam type section that is light and strong. You will probably want to make a spring fuller with flat centers before starting on the sword.

Check with the Florida Artist Blacksmiths Association about coal. These groups often import truckloads to divide up among the members. Otherwise you had best convert to propane.

Making your own bronze is quite possible. However, the melting point of the tin is much lower than the copper. It can be done in a small forge (coal or gas). You will need a high temperature clay or graphite crucible. Flux the crucible with borax before starting and then flux the mix as soon as it starts melting. You can stir with a steel rod (heat it some to prevent cooling the melt) but a graphite stirring rod is recomended. Onve the metals are melting you will want to flux the mix.

Note that the high copper brasses and bronzes are the most forgable. This means a red bronze. If you want a yellow you will need to make a brass using zinc. Generaly it is best to use alloys formulated by industry.

Last weekend we saw pewter being cast using a small clay crucible and a MAPP torch. The plan was to pour brass too but it was too windy to keep a good heat going with the little torches. (report in the next NEWS) It COULD have been done with two MAPP torches and usualy works with one. A small propane crucible furnace would work better. But I have also seen brass and bronze cast using a handful of fire brick and some foundry coke blown with an old vacuume cleaner.

Be VERY careful with liquid metal. It splashes and can run down inside your shoes! Wear LOTS of safety equipment. Keep liquid metal away from anything wet. Practice every move before hand. If you can't smoothly transfer that crucible out of your furnace to the pour and back cold then FORGET trying it hot! Debug your method before melting metal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 06/30/01 22:42:10 GMT

Great bio thanks Frank
JohnC  <careatti at crosslink.net> - Saturday, 06/30/01 22:50:48 GMT

Thanx guru, you've been a lot of help, i'll print this all out to keep for reference. And thanx for the password, see ya'll tonight in the Slack tub pub
Landon(Smithy Frog)  <Frogwarriorglenn at Aol.com> - Sunday, 07/01/01 11:55:45 GMT

Does anyone know where I can get parts for a Buffalo Forge blower motor Type 2E or a replacement motor? I need brushes and bearings. Thank you.
Jim  <jsb at lbwl.com> - Sunday, 07/01/01 12:07:54 GMT

Buffalo Motors: Jim, No good news here. These haven't been made for maybe 40 or 50 years now. There are no parts that I know of. A motor shop may be able to help you with substitute parts. However, if the bearings are not standard they will need to be special machined.

A replacement motor would probably be your best bet but the different type will probably not work with the OEM controler.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/01/01 13:03:56 GMT

Another Buffalo Forge question: My hand crank blower has a place to put in oil (at the top of the gear box), what should I use as a lube? It's a "spring & ball" type thingy.
George Frazier  <george at pinenut.com> - Sunday, 07/01/01 21:18:40 GMT

to any and all, I am fighting a battle like kiwi is fighting, I need some email from yall about not being able to unveil the World,s largest anvil" due to some boundry disputes, ( the slumlords next to Marie are trying to claim property she has had for 30 years) we are going to court on the 5th of July, any email will be appreciated!!!!!!!!!
Ray Davis,   <fforge at flash.net> - Sunday, 07/01/01 23:12:36 GMT

Blower Oil: George, Any good lubricating oil will do. In the South and where it will always be warm a gear oil is best. Anywhere it gets around freezing and lower then straight 30 weight motor oil is fine.

Note that these things leak like crazy if over filled and leak some even when not over filled. Just keep some kind of oil in it. I think there is a side port to check most. Something near but below this is best.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 02:41:08 GMT

i just found your website today and am really enjoying looking around. My dad worked as a blacksmith at the Gulf Oil Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas for 35 years. I wonder if you can help me with some information. I have an anvil (about 175lb) that belonged to my Great-Grandfather. I know it was manufactured in the 1800's but not much else. It is marked with what i believe to be "M & I, RMATAGE, MOUSE, HOLE Can you suggest where i might find some more info? Sucha s when and where it was made? Thanks.
Glenn Burdine  <boyedward at aol.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 03:11:48 GMT

GEORGE. When working full time, we put a couple drops of 30 WT oil in about every third day. The hand crank blowers are not designed to hold a big oil "bath".
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 03:49:37 GMT

M&H Armitage: Glenn, M&H Armitage were one of the last propriators of the Famous "Mouse Hole Forge" in England near Sheffield. The M&H markings were used from 1827 to 1911 or a little later. Anvil manufacturing ended there about 1933. Later anvils have serial numbers on them. The exact layout of the markings and the style of the anvil can also help narrow down the date of manufacture.

For an exact weight she our anvil articles on the 21st Century page for details of how th read the hundred weight markings.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 04:00:42 GMT

Gurus and gurinios, I have been experimenting wiht making metal wicker/ratan stuff and I thought I would try to 'lash' some of the parts together. Problem is I can't figure out what to use, I am about to try 20g sheet metal cut in about 1/4" strip, but hate to spend all that time cutting (with beverly) and then cleaning off the burr. I have looked in Rio Grande Catalog, hoping to find flat wire, I could use steel, copper, brass or bronze (but not gold or silver). Any suggestions?
Tim - Monday, 07/02/01 13:52:34 GMT

Flat Wire: Tim, they make flat wire for electrical purposes. Seems that iron wire was available at one time that would be perfect. Here are three places that sounded promising from the Thomas Register.

Rolled Wire Products Co., A Div. of Hynes Industries Inc.
Youngstown, OH
Cold Rolling Of Flat Wire & Special Wire Shapes To Standard & Custom Specs. Material Grades Include Low Carbon, High Carbon, Copper, Stainless, Brass & Aluminum. Flat Wire With Round Or Square Edges; Other Special Shapes Available. ISO 9002 Certified.

Microdyne Technologies
Plainville, CT
Special Shaped Wire; Square, Rectangular, Flat, Half-Round, Ribbon, Available In Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel & Non-Ferrous Metals.

Alumat, Inc.
Pomona, CA
Mfrs., Wire Drawing In All Shapes, Continuous Standard & Custom Anodizing, Insulating & Coating Of Aluminum Alloys, Worldwide Wire, Ribbon & Strip Anodizing In All Colors & To MIL-SPEC Standards, Continuous Chemical Conversion Coating, Edge Treatment, Design & Engineering Available, ISO 9000.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 14:38:51 GMT

I'm beginner in blacksmith and I would like to know how to build my onw gas forge. Can anybody help me?
ricardo vilar  <ricardovilar at ig.com.br> - Monday, 07/02/01 14:55:45 GMT

Gas Forge: Ricardo, Check our plans page. Our gas burner page has links to other pages including the Ron Reil forge and burner page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 15:52:08 GMT

Where can I learn to blacksmith? I live in northern NJ and would love to learn! I have no idea where to go or where to even begin. Can you help me?
Carl  <yelunatic at aol.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 16:39:06 GMT

Guru: Re tinning of iron 1120 AD "You should also make strong iron bindings, tinned inside and out so that they cannot be destroyed by rust"; also, "If you want to coat an iron object with tin, first file it and, before touching it with your hand, while it is freshly filed, throw it into a pot of melted tin with tallow and stir it about with tongs until it becomes white. Then take it out, shake it vigorously, and clean it with bran and a linen cloth"

Since galvanization was not done at this time period tinning took it's place.

Thomas "Better Living Through Medieval Technology!"
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.news> - Monday, 07/02/01 16:40:34 GMT

Learning: Carl, Try the link at the top and bottom of this page titled Getting Started in Blacksmithing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 16:43:28 GMT

I am struggling to weld internal corners neatly,any tips please
mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 18:29:33 GMT

CARL, A friend and former blacksmith and farrier, Tom Maiorana, operaters Montague Blacksmith Supply Co., in Port Jervis, NY, just across the NJ border. He is fun to visit with, and his son is studying smithing.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 18:35:09 GMT

Welds: Mark, What kind of welding process? Forge, gas, stick, MIG, TIG? How heavy of material?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 18:55:01 GMT

MARK, I reckon we all struggle with welding internal corners. If you're by yourself, use the radiused edge of a round hammer face, the radiused edge of the anvil, the radius near the point of the horn, or a specialized stake...at a welding heat. If it's a regular T-lap weld and not a pocket or bird's mouth, the end scarf of the one piece should be shaped a little like a "T". Let the corners come out; do't edge hammer them back to the original width. When the diagonal shuts appear, you should have retained enought radius there, to hammer directly on the shuts and still have enought radius for strength and appearance, when you are done. If you have a striker, hold for him/her a necking tool(a halfround fuller with an incurve, a slight concavity), or a radiused set hammer.

You can take several welding heats on mild steel or A36 without appreciably oxidizing the metal, as long as they are "sweating heats" and not BIG sparking heats. With too many sparks, you're already in the incipient burning range.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 18:55:14 GMT

Guru,I use mig in the main but occasionally use stick electrode.
mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 19:34:40 GMT

At present I am welding 12mmsq bar to 3mm flat using a 2.5mm rod.
mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 19:41:58 GMT

I am only a novice and obviously not in your league but I like the tip about using the radius of a hammer face.
mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Monday, 07/02/01 19:49:43 GMT

Thick to thin: Mark, on picky like you are doing I weld mainly with stick. The trick when you have two different weights of material is to direct the heat into the heavier section. In this case the flat or plate should have enough mass to take a nearly equaly split weld. If you are welding bar to plate don't try to make long continous welds. Run short "stitch" welds about 20mm long with an equal space or double space between each. If you want (need) a continous weld come back and fill in the spaces. The reason for the spaces is to allow expansion and contraction and reduce extortion.

If you are making a "butt" weld (the small end of the bar against the plate) then you will want to grind a chamfer on the bar the width of the fillet. Then tack weld two opposite sides quickly. Check to see if the joint is closed. If not break the tack and try again. After tacking be sure to clean the flux from the tacks. Often welding over old flux creates holes in your weld. Then, weld the two tacked sides and clean them. Last weld the two remaining sides and clean up again. This joint will warp the heck out of a piece of plate.

Clean up between passes, tacks, stops and starts, is critical to a clean sound weld.

I have found after many years that I tended to run my rods too cool (AC). Now I crank up the amps and run as fast as I can go. If the rod overheats then I back off a little.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/02/01 21:24:48 GMT

MARK & All, Hey; at least I got to talk about forge welding.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 00:03:22 GMT

And a darn good talk about forge welding it was, too! Thanks! I know I can use it...
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 02:02:20 GMT

I just purchased a wire feed welding machine and need some help. I need to make a table with a metal top to weld on and am looking for suggestions. Any help you could offer will be appreciated.

Lefty  <lefty701 at earthlink.net> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 06:13:19 GMT

Lefty, I made my table from 3 x 3 square tubing for legs, and bottom frame ( about 6" off the floor ). I also put a frame around the top, to support the top. I put a 1" frame about 9-10" from the top frame, and added some exanded running length and width. I keep " previously cut pieces" in the space under the top ( from the end, to keep track of what I've got ). The top of the table is 1/4 plate. The bottom frame holds a scrap can ( 1/3 of a 55 gallon barrel). I also keep the previously cut sheet beside the scrap. The mig / plasma stand sets within 6" of the table, and the grounds are hooked on a piece of sheet welded to the side of the table. I may have a picture somewhere. Hope this helps some. I'm sure there's more ideas out there. My first table was a corn planter wheel, with some sheet welded to the top. Piece of pipe through the axle of the wheel running down to a large truck rim ( split ring ). It is still going strong in another mans shop. Sorry for the long post.
Ten Hammers  <lforge at netins.net> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 07:43:42 GMT

Guru- Please help me if you can. I would like to know asap the properties and applicable uses of 12L14 steel. In particular I would be interested to know if it would be well suited for use in which it would sustain an impact. Would it display good strength and resistance to breakage or would it be prone to fail due to being too brittle, etc.? THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!
worldsazoo  <worldsazoo at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 12:48:17 GMT

Table: Lefty, Ten covered it the way many weld benches are built. There are several types of welding table.

My welding bench has a 1" thick plate about 3x3 feet square on one end and a refractory brick top 3 feet by 3 bricks long on the other. Legs and frame are 4 x 4 x 3/8" angle. It has a bar grating shelf underneight for storing junk. The refractory bricks are supported by bar grating also. It weighs about 1800 pounds and materials cost $800 in 1983. Took a day to build with my (then) new MIG machine. It has a 3/8" thick brass plate to hook the ground cable to the bench and that in turn is attached with star washers PLUS there is a cable running from the brass plate to the underside of the benchtop. There is also a second short cable with a ground clamp to attach directly to the work.

At the time I had the money and I always tend to over-build. It is a GREAT bench! But I couldn't afford it today. The only trouble I have with it is moving it! But the 1" plate unbolts and the bricks lift out reducing the weight by about 1/3.

Another type of welding bench has a bar grating work surface over top of a hopper shaped sheet metal (SS) enclosure. Sputter balls collect in the bottom and the enclosure has an exhaust fan ducted outdoors. This sucks up spent weld gas and smoke. The hopper has an access door on one end to shovel out the debris.

This is a pretty slick system for a production welding station. It keeps the shop clean as well as the air. There is no overhead exhaust hood to get in the way. The drawback is if you drop small pieces or tools through the bargrating top. It would help to set several square pieces of plate flush to the surface of the bargrating for small sork. These would want to be a foot square of less so the ventilation system still worked. You also need to be careful with sizing a ventilation system where you are MIG welding. The MIG cover gas is easily blown off the arc/puddle creating welding problems.

The above would also make a good cutting bench but in that case the bar grating needs to be easily replaceable.

My second welding bench is a 4 foot square cast iron weld platten or "Acron plate". It weighs exactly 2,000 pounds without legs. The holes in a weld platten are used with heavy banch dogs made from 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" (32 to 38mm) round steel bar. . . Another GREAT tool. However, except for the stand, you don't make these yourself.

My third "welding" bench is some sort of huge cast iron printing press platten that I bought at an auction. It had already been converted to a bench (sitting on steel horses) and had a HUGE chipping vise attached. I was bidding on the vise and the bench top was an "extra". Currently it is setting under two punch presses and needs to be gotten out and have a proper set of legs made for it.

Benches are an important part of any workshop. When you don't have them you know you are missing something but when you have them it is easy to forget how important they are.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 15:08:44 GMT

AISI 12L14 Steel: Worldsazoo,

Carbon Steel; AISI 1000 Series Steel; Low Carbon Steel

Same as: UNS G12144, ASTM A29, ASTM A108, SAE J403, SAE J412, SAE J414, DIN 1,0718, UNI 9 SMnPb 23, JIS SUM 22 L, JIS SUM 24 L, SS14 1914 (Sweden);


Component Wt. %
C     Max 0.15
Fe   97.91 - 98.7
Mn   0.85 - 1.15
P    0.04 - 0.09
Pb   0.15 - 0.35
S    0.26 - 0.35

Note the lead and sulfur. These are additions to make this a high machinability steel. Sometimes this is called a "re-sulphurized steel" It is a soft steel and is generaly not heat treated unless it is case hardened. The lead acts like a lubricant when machining and the sulfur helps chips break. It is a pleasure machining this stuff.

It is relatively ductile and would not break from impact but it would dent, bend or deform.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 15:22:40 GMT

1914 (swedish)is sometimes refered to as "butter" since it machines so easily and is difficult to grind, often "smearing" the wheel.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 17:00:23 GMT

mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 18:28:57 GMT

Hello, I have a question regarding a metalworking shop.
first off, I would call myself a metal sculpture if that helps you answer my question. Ok, so right now I work outside on a concrete slab in my backyard weather depending. I do a lot of torch cutting and stick welding, and I will soon be building a garage/shop to work in. My problem is my indecision and lack of knowledge as to how to protect my new concrete slab from the molten slag, and having it chip apart upon contact. I was wondering if there is some kind of product to prevent this. Ive tried plywood and sheet metal, but Id like to go a step further. Is there some trade secret I am missing? What do they use on the floors of steel mills when working with all that molten steel? This has been bugging me for a long time and i would greatly appreciate any info regarding this subject.
thanks for your time!
Jamin B.
Jamin  <Aquaticent at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 18:35:32 GMT

Novice blacksmith, rudiments of metallurgy, adequate welding
skills. Want to make a propane forge, have old propane tank. Are there plans available? How do I get the valve out? How do I make it safe to cut/weld?
Bill  <wmeines at csc.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 19:42:49 GMT

Concrete Floors: Jamin, besides being hard on the feet this is the biggest failure of concrete. Nothing will help. Concrete contains water bound in the molecules and heating turns it to steam and then it spalls. If you want a hard flat surface use brick pavers. They will take a lot more abuse and are much more heat resistant than the concrete. However, if you cut thick stock where the slag piles up the brick may spall too.

If you need a hard floor that will take molten slag then you will need to use refractoy (fire) brick. A couple dozen of these could make a good "hot work" area in the surrounding brick OR concrete floor.

The other way is with a cutting bench. These normaly have bar grating surface or a series of parrallel bars set on edge. (see bench descriptions several posts up). This is raised no less than about 2 feet off the floor. Under this at the "hot spot" used most often there is sometimes sand or something to protect the floor.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 19:43:29 GMT

Propane tank: Bill, The valve screws out. These are thin enough to cut with a chisel (by air or hand). Torching tanks of any size requires a lot of care. The explosive gas in the tank comes from your torch. A mix of unburned fuel and oxygen. Water tanks are explosive when cut with oxy-fuel torches. To safely torch a tank you can fill it with water then torch at the water line. Large tanks should be ventilated or purged with inert gas.

There are articles about making a forge from a freon cylinder on the Ron Reil page. See our plans page. There are links from the gas burner page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 22:36:13 GMT

Gas forges: We have just purchased some castable refractory and will soon have an article about building forge shells. The castable is much cheaper than Kaowool but is also a LOT heavier. We will also be experimenting with the home brew refractory mixes and testing the T-Rex burner.

We also purchased a carton of 1" Kaowool and will be using some of it too. The remainder of the carton will be divided up and sold in the anvilfire store. Anyone intrested please drop me a note about lengths needed. We will probably be packaging it in quantities sufficient to build a Ron Reil freon tank type forge. I'll see if I can find the other refractory items he uses and offer them as a kit if anyone is intrested.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/03/01 22:44:34 GMT

i am a green blaaksmith/welder who took a semester class in metal arts and forged a pretty cool floor candelabra-im in the boston area now looking to find metal workers who may need an apprentice so i could practice and learn untill im able to set up my own tool-forge etc..? any thoughts are much appreciated!! JOAN OF ARC
Joan of Arc  <shockingpigseye at aol.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 00:00:20 GMT

Apprenticeship: Joan, Most folks want someone with more experiance in their shops. Training workers is very expensive and shops that do it want someone that is going to stay around. There is also no incentive in training your future competition either.

There is no real apprentice system in this country and if you looked at how it realy worked the apprentice not only worked for the Master the prescribed seven years but in many cases a sizable fee (tuition?) was paid to the Master. Keep looking but I suspect you are going to need to pay for classes to learn the things you want.

Look at our Getting Started article.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 01:59:13 GMT

re Concrete floors:
An option often overlooked in floor protection is sheetrock. It is relatively nonflammable It is cheap, sometimes free, easy to move/replace. It also gives some cushion underneath and is much easier on the Knees when you must "get down with it". Down side is the need to replace sometimes often depnding on traffic. I have several pieces stacked against the wall and break off what is needed for a job. I'll throw it when it starts to do its own breaking. Things don't bounce as bad either when dropped. Probably not for a production environment but works great for the intermittent duty I put it to.

I gotta build a cutting/welding station with the downdraft! That would be so cool!
Mills  <mills_fam2 at netzero.net> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 02:12:02 GMT


Tinned nailheads are featured prominently on one of the chests from the Oseberg ship burial in Norway. That kicks it back to at least the 8th century in a Northern European context.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 03:11:54 GMT

Ten Hammers & Guru,
Thanks for the tips on the welding table. I hope to get started this weekend. Should be a hoot!
Lefty  <lefty701 at earthlink.net> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 03:44:22 GMT

Looking to build a power hammer, air maybe, and have heard a lot of reference to the Kinyon simple air hammer and am wondering where to get plans. Also, are there other plans you would recomend? (got the EC-JYH plans.)
Jovan - Wednesday, 07/04/01 04:30:00 GMT

Air hammer: Jovan, ABANA sells the Kinyon plans. Soon Mark Linn of the AFC will have a video detailing the controls and some hammer design considerations. We have a review copy and it should be available soon. Look for the announcement of the review.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 04:43:47 GMT

Joan, Go to the ABANA-Chapter.com link here in Anvilfire, look up the New England Blacksmiths . They are based here in Mass. Would be your best bet on finding classes or someone you could learn from near you.
Tom-L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 10:46:31 GMT

I'm brand new to this so I don't have any experience. A friend of mine bought a tub of oil for metal working from a local high school auction. It still has the oil in it. Here is the big questions. There are two pieces that we are looking to temper. The first is lawmower blades. Is this a good idea or a bad one? If it is good how? What color should the steel be before cooling it in the oil? the other piece is a large home built wedge for a log splitter. I talked him out of having it carberized as that would make it too brittle. Can it be tempered to increase it's strength without making it brittle? I guess it's the same for the mower blades. Any help is well appreciated. If needed I can send picture of wedge. It is ready for tempering stage now I believe. Thanks.
Robert G.  <rg81247 at alltel.net> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 17:17:46 GMT

quenchants: Robert, If you intend to use the lawnmower blade on a lawnmower DO NOT try to heattreat it. Manufacturers go to a great deal of trouble making them soft enough not to break and shatter. If you change the temper then you become lible for the death or dissability of whomever gets hurt (and its not always the operator).

A log splitter wedge does not need to be hardened. If it is then it should be tempered fairly soft. In most cases the edge will wear a bit then stop dulling. This is the right edge for that piece.

Tempering is part of the heattreating process and is just one step of several that all need to be done peoperly. First you need to know the type of steel. Different steels require different quenchants, brine, water, oil or air. Some steels require normalizing before hardening while others do not. Normalizing is heating to the point at which the best (smallest) grain structure then cooling slowly. Most steels harden at the same temperature which is just at or slightly above the non-magnetic point. The steel is heated to this point, held briefly a certain time, and then quenched in the proper quenchant. You do not heat above the hardening point and then cool before quenching. You only heat TO the correct temperature or quench on what is known as a "rising heat." Then each steel is tempered by reheating. Each steel is different. Some are tempered as low as 350°F and others as high as 1400°F. So again, you need to know the type of steel you are using.

Tempering reduces the hardness a little and the brittleness a lot. However, there is a wide range of tempers for each steel. Hardening is determined by the carbon content. The more cardon the harder the steel can be made. Some steels have very little carbon and therefore can't be hardened to a great degree.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 18:18:45 GMT

Round de Round: Earlier today I had an e-mail question about the ratio between bars and PSI. I knew millbars was used in weather to describe the air pressure but I couldn't remember the basis. It could have been a function of inches of mercury (which I always used).

So, I looked in a couple references and in the Standard Practice for Use of the SI International System of Units, ASTM E380-98a, I found

1 bar = 100,000 Pa = 100kPa

1 PSI = 6.894757 kPa (6894.757 Pa)

soooooo I calculated

1/6.894757 = 0.14504 PSI = 1 kPa = .01 bar.

0.14504 PSI = .01 bar.

Shift the decimal points and

14.5 PSI (approximately atmosperic pressure at sea level) = 1 bar

Boy was THAT a dumb round de round!

Now I know what a bar is! Its the full length of a column of mercury (or any other liquid) at sea level. Divide that by 1,000 and read the pressure in millibars. But now we also know what a Pascal is. It is onehundred thousandth of atmosperic pressure at sea level.

That means two metric units depend on relationships to sea level (constantly changing) on our little planet Earth . The standard for pressure and the standard for temperature (boiling point of water at sea level).

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/04/01 21:50:51 GMT

Metric System:

A Napoleonic plot based on the inaccurate measure of the circumference of the earth (at least as changeable as the king's foot depending on where and when you measure it, and what with) and the tyranny of "ten!" Not that the English system is any joy, either, but since it is body based I'm constantly using yards (nose to fingertip), fathom (outstretched arms, with or without a sounding or anchor line) and the double pace (about 5') for rough and ready measurement at work and on the ship.

Napoleon even outlawed the dozen in legal trade. As for me, I love the dozen. It's a quantity that you can divide by halves, thirds, quarters and sixths and things come out even!

On the other claw, I will give the metric system its due- socket wrenches! When you open the case upside down and pie a batch of sockets, 12mm, 11mm, 10mm, 9mm… is a lot easier to figure out than 7/16, 11/32, 5/17, 9/32…

Hope y'all have a happy and safe 4th of July! Don't burn any fingers!

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, 07/05/01 00:03:32 GMT

In Napoleon's early years, the great French watchmaker Briguet made a series of watches and clocks to measure the metric day! Yep, ten hours (decidays?) per diurnal rotation, divided into 100 centihours(roughly corresponding to minutes) and so on. Even those crazy French folks relized very quickly that people would NOT stand for that, no matter how revolutionary! I often have to use metric at work (I'm an archaeologist), even when investigating something that was built by folks who used english measures to build it! Ain't bureaucracy grand?
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Thursday, 07/05/01 01:27:23 GMT

Hello - I was wondering about the old Anvil book that has recently been reprinted. It is a big old book, probably about 800 pages. It has a ton of photos and histories about all the anvil makers. The first time this book was printed was back in the 80's I think. I would like to know the name of this book and the author. If there is more than 1 book please tell me everything you know. I will try and stop back by this board, but please drop me an e-mail if you can. Thanks in advance for your help. Andrew - andybermond at hotmail.com
Andrew  <andybermond at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 02:43:44 GMT

Welding and cutting on concrete: Mills, the sheetrock sounds good. I'll have to try that. I usually spread sand down when I am welding or cutting on the concrete. Keeps the hot stuff from spalling the concrete and can be swept up and used again next time. And you can still use the relatively flat concrete as a reference plane by pushing the sand away where you need to.

Weld tables: I mentioned before how I have an accidentally magnetic steel table top. My scrap guy loaded it with his crane magnet. Having the stuff I am welding stick to the table works great! I'm still waiting for it to weaken. Hasn't in quite a few months. I'll take it back for another hit from the nmagnet when it does weaken. I'd love to have an acorn platten some day when I grow up. Grin.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 03:52:44 GMT

Anvil Book: Andrew, It is not an OLD book. Anvils in America by Richard Postman was first published in 1998. It is the first and only book about anvils. It is in its second printing and will be in its third printing next year.

We have a book review and we sell it online. We can have it personaly inscribed to you at no extra cost or delay.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 07:00:33 GMT

There are some hefty magnets on the underside of my main anvil's horn and tail to quiet it down. Now, after a few years, I'm finding that all sorts of shop tools are sporting iron hair, which is kinda cute, but is proving to be a nuisance. Filings stick to files, needle nose pliers with filings on the ends are not the best for reassembling hydraulic components...and so on...so, I dunno Tony.
P-F - Thursday, 07/05/01 07:09:50 GMT

Magnetic Bench: Tony, Tools becoming magnetic is usualy the bane of mechanics and machinists. Chips and scale stick to them and make a fuzzy mess. In the case of sharp chips it can be just plain hazardous.

Did you know that the harder a piece of steel the more permanent a magnet it will be? Nearly pure iron is used in transformers and solenoid cores so they do not become magnetic and fight the change in direction of the magnetic field in AC circuits.

METRIC Its a shame that those arguing against the metric system in the 1700's did not understand how unscientific it actualy was. Using any feature of the Earth or relying on properties of the Earth was just as bad as the Sumerians using 360 days for their year because it fit their mathematical system. As I've pointed out before, my argument with the metric system is that it is NOT universal system that you could easily explain to someone from another planet. There is nothing wrong with a decimal system but fractions ARE natural and learning how to manipulate them is a precursor to learning algebra. The decimal system was great when applied to monetary systems which are entiely arbitrary in the first place and require a great deal of summing but it is not necessarily good for everything. People naturaly look at things in halves and quarters and denying that is denying nature.

In engineering it does not matter a wit which system is in use because almost everything is in decimals anyway and even things like inch series bearings end up with very bastardized sizes in order to account for press or slip fits. So even if you know your fractional equivalents off the top of your head it doesn't matter because the actual dimensions rarely are even values in the metric OR the English system. You end up using a calculator or spreadsheet listing the dimensions and various conversions and tolerances. Machinists making parts to decimal inches do not know if the base size of a part is metric or English. It doesn't matter when you are dealing in small decimal numbers .

Several years ago a local company purchased a French companies designs and inventory. My father and I were hired to convert the designs to English dimensions. Many of the large high strength fasteners were English size and threads. Small components used metric and the stock sizes were often different. The stock size difference was the biggest problem. When you changed the thickness of a mounting plate then the positions of many parts changed. We also manufactured many of the replacement parts that were sent out to bid with metric dimensions (and materials) because others looked at the drawings, saw metric and refused to bid or asked for modified drawings. We bid the jobs and included the conversion as part of the price. It didn't matter to us. Numbers on a piece of paper are just that, numbers.

I grew up using the English system using it in drafting, mechanical work and machine work. I can judge sizes too acurately in inches (down to thousandths in some cases) to want or need to change.

Today in the US we teach our children the metric system but when they go out into the REAL world they find that Feet and Inches and fractions of an inch are still the defacto standard in most businesses.

Years ago the argument for the U.S. to convert was economic. "We couldn't compete if we continued to use inches" was the argument. But today we import almost all our English sized fasteners from metric countries! It doesn't matter to them. Its just numbers on paper. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 07:48:28 GMT

Magnetism: Pete, you can purchase a small device called a "demagnetizer" for a reasonable price. It is a small magnetic device that runs on AC and scrambles magnetism in weakly magnetic parts canceling out the magnetism. Most machine shops have them. Cutter bits tend to become magnetic quite often and the sharp little hairs they attract are a pain in the neck. Thus demagnetisers are common.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 07:53:30 GMT

I intend to re-tin old, copper pots using a small forge as a heat source rather than a torch. Is this a sound idea? Moreover, I intend to pour a bit of virgin, molten tin into the cleaned, fluxed copper pot [showing some wee spots of copper through the old tinning] and then wipe it on with a tallow-soaked rag. Any tips?
Heywood Becker  <heywood at comcat.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 15:08:49 GMT

Tinning: Heywood, look at last weeks LONG archive. There was a running discussion on the subject including some very good historical discriptions. I wouldn't use tallow because the flash point is too low. Palm oil is used commercialy. I'm not sure what the flash point of it is but it is used as a cover fluid on tanks of liquid tin.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 15:14:40 GMT

Are there any masks available that would be suitable for work with a propane forge and arc welder while pregnant? I started working with metal two years ago, and if I can find something that will allow me to continue while I am pregnant and not harm the baby I would love to do so. I know this isn't a typical request for information, but I can't find anyone with a lot of experience in this area where I'm from.

Thank you
KJZ  <kzandber at ns.sympatico.ca> - Thursday, 07/05/01 15:26:17 GMT

"I can judge sizes too acurately in inches...to want or need to change."

Guru, you just pointed out the major failing of metric system edjucation, IMO. We were taught in school many conversion factors, but no one addressed eyeball-judgement or dead reckoning. If we are going to change to a new system, we must let go of the former system. We need to be able to hold our finger and thumb apart and say "That's a centimeter". We will never be able to be effective with the metric system until we think in the metric system. Otherwise, we would be better off sticking with what we are good at. I'll get off of the box now. Thank you.
Ron Holcomb  <holcombron at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 15:50:33 GMT

Guru; I have a 1st printing of "Anvils in America"; my wife bought it for me as a surprise---since she sent the check guess who it's inscribed to!

Thomas "can't never get divorced; she's got *her* name in *my* copy of AinA" (we celebrate our 17th anniv this summer!)
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 16:28:18 GMT

With Child: KJZ, this is a tricky area. The arc welding cables are surrounded by a strong magnetic field when in use. It is absolutely known that magnetic fields stimulate growth and it is used heavily in sports medicine. However, what is not absolute is if this stimulation is good or bad in the long run. I personaly don't believe it can be in the case of an unborn child. In this case distance is all that it required. Don't have the cables draped across your abdomen or lean against them. Stay at least a couple feet from the welder as the trasformer creates a huge magnetic field. The same goes for large motors if you have them.

Filter masks are a problem. In order for them to be effective they must fit snuggly to the face so that all air goes through the filter. An MSA qualified mask with a combined particulate and activated charcoal filter would be required to stop welding smoke and gases. Most welding or safety suppliers can provide them. The problem is that the resistance of the filtration system puts stress on your lungs and heart. Regulated industries that regularly use these masks have workers tested for the ability to withstand the stress before they are even trained to use these masks. Believe me, it IS stressful. The stress due to reduced oxygen is real and also cannot be good for the unborn. However, there is no restriction on there use by pregnant women that I know of.

In this regard the best thing to do is be sure that there is superior ventilation in your shop. Gas forges are relatively clean but should be vented outdoors unless the shop is very well ventilated. Arc welding smoke and gases are generaly taken care of via a protable fan an fire proof hose. This is the prefered method over filter masks. The comercial units for this purpose are not cheap. You could rig one yourself but the silicon fibreglass hose is rather pricey.

THEN there is the question of noise. The child in utero can hear quite well as sounds are transfered quite well by the surrounding fluid. Working at the anvil I would worry about this as much as the others. Good sound insulation is heavy and I don't think you will want to wear it in the summer. It WOULD make an intresting looking shop "apron" :).

An option would be to deaden the sound of the anvil AND insulate IT. Bolting an anvil down tight helps kill its ring. Sound insulation would need to be something non flamable like fiber glass cloth. Fiber glass batting (insulation) could be laminated or quilted with fibre glass cloth and the whole wrapped aound the waist and base of the anvil. However, light weight materials do not deaden sound well. Lead is used as fill in many products to increase the sound deadening. I wouldn't use lead but needed to point it out.

Hope this helps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 16:48:57 GMT

Guru- Thank you so much for the 12L14 info. I REALLY appreciate it! Would you be able to tell me how 12L14 compares in tensile strength and such to 6061 aluminum? What would really float my boat is if you could tell me what book or website or ? that would have this type info so I could look it up myself and let you do more important things. THANKS MUCH!!!
worldsazoo  <worldsazoo at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 17:22:50 GMT

Metric Education: Ron, You are right. However, my children who are just now on their own went through this type of education and now that they are in the "REAL" world are finding out that most businesses and industry in the U.S. use the English system. Luckily they are both mathematicaly competent (better than most) and halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths are not strange concepts to them.

Atli mentioned wrenches but in metric tools the small sizes such as in hex wrenches become 2.5, 2.25. . . halves and quarters. People that grow up using metric use "half a millimeter" or "quarter" of a meter like we use fractions of an inch or mile.

This is one big fallacy of the metric system, that fractions are not used. Yes, the difference in major units is by powers of ten but we could have just as easily created an inch based system that worked the same. In engineering we use inches from microscopic parts up through hugh objects that most people think of in feet. In the metric system most people I've had discussions with use millimeters this way. Rarely do they use centimeters or decimenters but half and quarter units come up often.

Although the metric system is the "official" system in many countries their customary units are still in use.

My complaint is that for the vast majority of the world that has not yet actually adopted the metric system, is that it has so many failings that I can understand their not making the change. So why change from one arbitrary system to another? IF a change is to be made it should be to a system that is not so arbitrary. There is still time and we may now be enlightened enough to know better than to base a units of measurement system on terrestrial features.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 17:25:24 GMT

Worlsazoo: Comparing different alloys is complicated business. High strength aluminium alloys are as "strong" as mild steel up to a point then fail. Titanium alloys are the same but can withstand higher temperatures and keep that same strength (thus the aerospace use). Graphite fibre epoxies retain their stiffness at higher temperatures than aluminium or titanium so are used in high performance aircraft even though they are heavier.

There is no single source to use for materials information. The best book is The ASM Metals Reference Book published by ASM (see our links page). A more universal reference that I recomend ANY metalworker purchase first is MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK (see our book review).

But to evaluate the information in either you will need some understanding of the "strength of materials". Many engineering references cover the jubject.

On-line there is

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 17:39:57 GMT

KJZ From your post you look to be a fellow cdn. I have had some dealings with a lady from 3M Canada, and a representative of their Occupational Health & Environmental Safety I will email you with more contact info. I'm sure that there would be similar people in the USA. If the guru would like the info as well I will post.
Daryl  <darylr at sksympatico.ca> - Thursday, 07/05/01 18:48:16 GMT

Metric system:I think you´re missing a point here. It doesn´t matter how the system works as long as you are used to it. I agree that a "body-based" system is great, my right thumb is exactly an inch across, but I can SEE only meters and decimals thereof, just as you can SEE inches.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Thursday, 07/05/01 19:10:17 GMT

There are two reasons why the sun never set on the English Empire.
1. They had to be tough to wear those shorts everywhere and
2. They had to be smart to make change.
P.S. Your answers to safety question never cease to amaze me of your thorough knowlege of practical things. How do those positive pressure masks work in a welding enviroment?
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 07/05/01 21:33:34 GMT

Guru and Daryl, Thanks to you both for responding. I will look into the suggestions and the contact that was provided. I just can't imagine stopping my blacksmith work for 9 months. But I certainly will if it will put my baby at risk. Thanks again
KJZ  <kzandber at ns.sympatico.ca> - Thursday, 07/05/01 21:53:19 GMT

With Child: KJZ, Just consider modifying the way you work OR the character of the work for a while. Although I am a lifetime blacksmith I occasionaly do wood sculpture, build musical instruments and such. It might be a good time to practice all those hot chiseling techniques in a vise (how many different dragon heads CAN you make). Or study you countryman Charles Newton Brain's form folding. AND, as I mentioned add lots of ventilation in your shop.

Supplied Air Mask Larry & KJZ, These are much better stress wise but are fairly expensive. There are two types.
One is those that work on compressed air. The mask is simple but it takes a VERY special air compressor. All the compressor parts must be approved for breathing air and the lubricant replaced regularly with special lubricant. The air is then filtered. It must also be hydrated before entering the mask. If you breath 100% dry air long enough it irritates the lungs and causes pneumonia. Meanwhile you have grown a long "tail".

The second type uses a little fan and filter assembly that you wear on your belt. I think most are battery operated but you could probably replace them (again you grow a tail). These are bulky and filters must be replaced often. Most are designed for a "bubble hood" that covers you entire head and must be sealed to your body or anti contamination suit.

These are good practice for that Mars mission you have always wanted to go on. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 22:55:46 GMT

Last Word on Metric: Olle, You are right. English or Metric its the USING IT. The biggest problem I have run into with hiring shop help is the ability to make simple measurements. It is amazing how many people never learn to use ANY kind of ruler, yard (meter) stick or tape measure.

Interview a dozen (general labor) workers and ask them to measure something simple in practical numbers and 10 won't get the whole numbers right much less the fractional parts.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 23:02:52 GMT

Hoping for a definitive heat treat protocol for 52100 and 5160.

Corey Smith
Corey Smith  <coreysmith at smithandboltonknives.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 23:12:36 GMT

Oh yeah, one question concerning ATS-34. What's the bottom line on the corrosion resistance of this steel? I have noticed some slight red oxide formation when the knife is used to wet form its leather sheath. Is this reasonable, or do I have a problem somewhere? We are using the Paul Bos method as described in Wayne Goddard's "The Wonder of Knifemaking". We are certain that our pieces are sporting good edge-retention, and in fact, its only been a few problem pieces. Water may have been trapped against these pieces for several hours or more, and its not like they are full-blown rusting, as they do in the annealed state. Any ideas?
Corey Smith  <coreysmith at smithandboltonknives.com> - Thursday, 07/05/01 23:20:29 GMT

Definitive Heat Treat: Corey, No such thing. I can give you the temperatures the books call for and you will need a calibrated pyrometer and temperature controlled furnace and tempering baths. But you will still have to TEST. Why? Because every shape needs slightly different handling. To get expected results you have to take your specific shape and cause it to go through the temperature transformations in the time frame required. Time is a crucial element in heat treating and except for annealing and some generalizations for tempering very little is published. You just have to find the right way to make the process "fit the curve". Then afterwards test the piece and adjust your methods.

It is not nearly as bad as trial and error testing of an unknown steel because you start knowing the general process but if you want to be picky and want an EXACT hardness or material condition then you are going to have to test.


Anneal at 1525°F then cool rapidly to 1300°F and cool to 1200°F at no more than 20°F/h for 5 hours.

To harden heat to 1525°F and quench in oil. Temper as needed (minimum of 350°F).

Austempering at 1550°F and quench in a salt bath at 600°F and hold for 1 hr. Cool in air, no further tempering is needed.
Normalize by heating to 1625°F and cooling in air.

Pearlitic structure not desired in this steel. To anneal for a predominately speroidized structure heat to 1460°F and cool rapidly to 1380°F then continue cooling at a rate not exceeding 10°F/h. to 1250°F.

To harden heat at 1550°F in a neutral salt bath and quench in oil. Temper immediately after cooling to 100-120°F at a minimum of 250°F. Normal practice is to temper at 350°F.
ASM Metals Reference Book and ASM Heat Treaters Guide, American Society for Metals International

I recommend both the above books for ALL knife makers that do their own heat treating. Both books include graphs and charts with more detail than can be produced here. See our link to ASM on the links page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 00:03:58 GMT

AST-34: Corey, I always have trouble finding information on this steel. I think primarily because this is not an ANSI, UNS or SAE designation. The best I can remember this is a nickle alloy but is not a true stainless.

The other problems are leather sheaths often contain a lot of salt increasing corrosion if not well oiled. Leather is an organic substance that varies greatly as well as being treated in various methods.

Then there is contamination of the steel. If you grind or buff carbon steel on a wheel then follow up with a piece of stainless then carbon steel will be imbedded in the surface of the piece. If the piece is in contact with carbon steel and the right electrolyte (salt water, acid) is present the steel will plate the stainless, staining it.

I would vote on contamination being the problem. All it takes is a worker dressing a screw driver on a belt or wheel and then grinding stainless to contaminate the part.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 00:15:17 GMT

Answers: Were any of the above answers of value to you? This page costs a great deal to operate and to MAN every day. The references used are also not cheap. Donations in ANY amount to keep us operating are appreciated. Put a couple dollars in an envelope and mail it to:

1684 Mitchell Mill Rd
Gladys, VA 24554-2938
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 00:22:09 GMT

Magnetic bench: Pete and Jock, yeah, the fuzz can be a pain, but having things stay put for tacking is a plus. So far the fuzz sweeps off with a bench brush. I think the bench in question is T-1 plate. Fairly hard and maybe why it's hanging onto that magnetic flux. Pluses and minuses with everything. But fuzz on files would be a BAD thing! Grin.

Metric? As far as I'm concerned, I need both to function now. My son is being taught metric. We make it a game to convert when we are working together.

Supplied air helmets. There are filters that will take dirty grungy oil laden industrial compressed air and make it breathable. Still need that tail though. And the filters are expensive and need to be replaced often. We used them in the foundry for the iron pourers. Helped to keep them cool also. A good coalescing 10 micron filter ahead of them saves a bunch of money.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 03:51:16 GMT

MENSURATION. The boss of the machine shop was getting really peeved over the inability of one of the younger men to measure properly. The youngster hardly ever got it right. Finally, the boss wasn't able to contain himself any longer. He said to the kid, "I'm sick of your not being able to measure! For once and for all, how many thousandths in an inch?" The kid looked up, and with a sheepish grin, said, "I dunno, but there must be a million of 'em!"

The following is reputedly true. In a harpsichord factory in the eastern U.S., the boss asked a fairly new employee to measure something on the other side of the room and to holler out the answer. The kid fumdiddles for a while, and finally yells out, "It's eleven and uh, and uh, two bumps past the big bump in the middle!"
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Friday, 07/06/01 04:03:16 GMT

MENSURATION.: A friend of mine uses the following when interviewing employees.

How many halfs in an inch?
How many quarters in an inch?
How many eights in an inch?
How many sixteenths in an inch?
How many thirtyseconds in an inch?
How many hundredths in an inch?

A surprising number of folks get confused at eighths or sixteenths. And they haven't even been asked to measure anything yet!

I interviewed a fellow that ran his own welding business. He didn't know there were 32 thirtyseconds in an inch! When I explained it to him then asked about sixtyfourths he still didn't get it.

Then there was the guy that measured and cut a part in cm that was dimensioned in inches. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 04:37:34 GMT

Has any one thought of starting a help group for people like me who have become totally and hoplessly obsessed with collecting scrap steel in all shapes and sizes, trying to find "a bigger anvil", building "a better forge", or needing "a bigger shop". We could simply call it Blacksmiths anonymous.
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 05:19:26 GMT

Hat off to you for being careful. Be sure to avoid exposure to heavy metals and metal fumes in general. Don't forget to make sure your forge is vented outside. Also, to confirm the good Guru's conjecture, Chick embryos exposed to magnetic flux have a significantly higher failure rate.
Generally, a positive pressure air supply mask is the safest way to go assuming the air is clean. When I had to weld nasty stuff in the past, I put a blower outside and ran a hose in to where the filter on my mask used to plug in. It is rude and awkward , but metal fume fever can be real memorable.
Tony, do you have any problems with arc blow on that table?
Leads one to think that with some windings and a switch, one could turn a magnetic table on and off at will.
Pete F - Friday, 07/06/01 06:07:39 GMT

Good Guru, or perhaps Steve R;
There used to be some stuff called "carbon paste" available ( Forney used to carry it among others) that you could use to make a little mold to pile weld metal up against. It was resistant to a torch flame and when the weld cooled it knocked out easily. Was good for saving threads and so on.
Does anybody know where it can be had anymore?
Pete F somemore  <ironyworks at hotmail.comm> - Friday, 07/06/01 06:50:24 GMT

I purchased an unusual tool yesterday which I believe is some type of sledge hammer. It has a wood handle approx. 36" long. The head has two round faces one is about an 1 1/4" dia and the other is about 1 3/4" The total length of the head is about 14" with the eye for the handle offset toward the larger face. This tool resembles a pick with round hammer faces rather than sharp points.

Do you have any idea what this is? I got it as part of a package deal that included a bunch of nice tools including Brown & Sharpe dial calipers, two micrometers, bore siting device, immitation dremel tool with lots of cutters, tool box, a good 8' work bench and much, much more for $100. They weren't stolen it was a post divorce moving sale.
Andrew  <bornman at bnin.net> - Friday, 07/06/01 12:16:22 GMT

Arc Blow: Pete, I've not had a problem, but I've not looked hard at the arc to see if it wanders. I'll check next time I use it. Sure, a switchable magnetic table should be doable, but as the guru said, most steel will have residual magnetism, so if you don't like the grinder fuzz on the edges, you may not like a switchable table?

One more comment on fractions, scales, etc. Not that there is a problem with them, but no Barney dolls in my house. Grin. Well.... there was that one that was given to us and shortly found it's use as a target. sheepish grin...

Kids have a lot of fun with just about anything. So a good sturdy tape measure was one of the early "toys" around here. You can teach a lot about fractions, addition, subtraction, geometry, etc. with a tape measure. I think the people at Sears were wondering how I went through so many Craftsman tape measures. Funny how familiarity helps when they start to learn in school. Protractors, drawing templates, and the like were also in the toy box. Start 'em young. Even if they don't turn into smiths, it will help them through life.

Keith, there are local meetings at your favorite scrap yard. Grin. We're here for ya man! He who dies with the biggest pile of "useful stuff" wins! He He He.....
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 13:27:02 GMT

I guess I got lucky, I started in the Aircraft field at an early age and started with thousandths of an inch right off the bat. I can read these scales with no problem but give me one of those things that measures in fractions (1/16, 1/32 etc.) and I have to count the "bumps" to read it, first to figure out what the division rate is, then to read the scale, then multiply it by the division to convert it to decimals.
I still hate metric even though 1/1000's is nearly the same. I just can't "see" in mm. I KNOW that a mm is just over 0.0039" but to visualize it..... Nope, can't do that.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 07/06/01 13:43:51 GMT


You and me both, although I didn't start in Aircraft.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 13:58:40 GMT

MENSURATION: Wayne, you can't "see" that mm if you add a zero to it! 1mm = 0.039" :)

Junk Anonymous: Keith this has been discussed before and I'm afraid you have the disease "acquisititus". There is no cure.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:01:58 GMT

I don't post here often but I sure learn a lot by just reading along every day. I'd like to join Anvilfire as a paying member but don't know where to sign up.Please let me know. Also, regarding Andrew's post; I think what he has is a railroad hammer. My understanding is they were used to drive spikes for the rails. The long head made it easier to reach around the rail without breaking the handle.
Dave C  <dchvilicek at wi.rr.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:32:04 GMT

Keith: you’re in Dire Straights, man you’ve got Industrial Disease. Anvilfire can help and perhaps it should be called Blacksmiths Anonymous. I urge anyone with your affliction to please show his or her support and join CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group. It’s easy; details to join are conveniently located at the bottom of this page. Part of the cure is recognizing you have a problem. Once you join you’ll be on you way to a quick recovery from ID. Well, maybe not a full recovery because you’ll never really be cured. You’ll learn to live with your disease and be at peace and harmony with yourself because you’ll know you’re not suffering alone. We ALL have it! I’m afraid without anvilfire and CSI most of us might fall of the wagon and go back to our old ways of sitting around all day doing nothing.

Please show you support and join. We need YOUR help. It can’t be done without assistance. CSI has the cure for ID. Look at all anvilfire offers. Just don’t go to the Guru Page when you visit. Take a look around. It could take you days to see it all. Where else can you get real answer to real question in real time with no political overtones? If you’re into anvil shoots done in a safe and responsible way? Well, that’s okay too. Blacksmithing is a way of life for most of us and its all good. If blowing up a fricking anvil gets you jolly? I say go for it. We all don't have to be artists to be content.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:38:20 GMT

Don't forget the NASA rocket scientists who forgot to convert English to Metric!
I can't get over about the general laborers, what's so hard?! Then again, I grew up woodworking with my dad & grandpa, but still!

Tony, thanks for the ideas for toys for your kids, I'll definitely be picking up some for my son! He already has the right idea with hammers, I was building a small pallet the other day & he kept grabing the hammer & trying to pound on the wood! He's a great little "helper" already!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:38:44 GMT

The first meeting of Acquisititus Anonymous was supposed to meet at my shop a month ago. The idea was to bring your junk and leave is for safe keeping with ME. . . :) Nobody showed so I guess its incurable!

Railroad Sledge Dave, you are right. The length of the heads is so they clear the track when used from either side. To find the Cybersmiths International page click on the link at the bottom of this frame.

Teaching Children: Sometimes you can't help or your help backfires. Before my son started school we would play a game. "Add or reduce the fractions". I would ask "What is two quarters?" Answer "one half" Later we got up to really bastard problems that I had a hard time figuring out in my head.

What is eight twentyfourths?

What is six twentyfourths?

What is four twelths plus two thirds?

We played this "game" while riding in the car for several years. In the first years of school Patrick did well in math. But when he got to algebra he had one teacher that insisted he "show his work" for answers like above. She did not understand that anyone could possibly do these in their head almost instantly. He knew what cross multiplication was and finding the least common denominator, we discussed those terms. But the teacher wanted to see a long series of steps HER way. . . We had meetings with the teacher but she still couldn't understand. Patrick almost failed math that year and was never intrested in math after that.

Now, MY complaint is that schools don't teach us WHY things are. Such as why there are 360 degrees in a circle or that there is 180 degrees difference between 32°F and 212°F and 100/180 reduces to 5/9ths and THAT is why it is used in the conversion of Fahrenheit to Celcius. The explaination would have made it much easier to rember rather than route memorization of -32*5/9. . .

It wasn't until I was in my late 30's and I read the book A History of PI by Petr Beckmann that I heard the story of the ancient Summerians and their calendar based on their mathematical system using base 60 that explained why there are 360 degrees in a circle. I had read about the Summerians and their base 60 many times in school but it was never mentioned that THEY are the reason we use a 12 hour clock with 60 minute hours and that there are 360 degrees in a circle. . . I suspect the authors didn't know either. But I had wondered WHY "360" degrees all my life.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:52:39 GMT


Templates in the toybox? You too?

My kids had a blast with architectural and layout templates when they were growing up. Gave them to them for Christmas, and sometimes have to borrow them back. They're hard to come by with the ascendancy of CAD.


Tire weights, nuts, bolts, washers, springs. Wondeful tosh is littering the streets of the city. Just remember to look out for traffic first, before leaning down and snatching the prize off the streets. Down in the country I just missed a logging chain a while back. My wife makes fun of me, but I almost always have that odd nut or bolt that fell out of some appliance and got lost. I even have friends helping out.

Remember, no toshing at construction sites until the project closes down. Anything that's left is yours.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <Remote> - Friday, 07/06/01 14:56:17 GMT

Guru, thanks for getting me thinking again!! Took me a minute to remember my fractions! Used to HATE them & still don't have to use them much, but it's still good to remember.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 15:06:22 GMT

Please e-mail your answers to me DO NOT post them here. The first right answer win an anvilfire CAP. Answers must be received before Sat 14th, GMT.
Besides the ancient system of 360 degrees and the newer system of Radians (2PI) what two (2) other systems of dividing a circle for the measurment of angles have been used?
Please e-mail your answers, do not post.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 15:11:01 GMT

I had some teachers kind of like your son's. Luckily they never managed to destroy my sense of curiosity! I was usually the one asking the hard questions that they either didn't want to answer or couldn't, espically in church classes! I always need to know the WHY too. I eventually lucked out & got a math teacher for two years I had an understanding with, I would get A's & she would leave me alone & let me read or do homework or whatever, it was a good relationship!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 15:11:30 GMT

ERROR (cool it hotter): It the Heat treat for 52100 I used the wrong numbers or transposed numbers on the anneal. Will check an correct shortly! Thanks Glenn!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 15:40:12 GMT

The error is now corrected.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 15:46:20 GMT

LOL :) I guess I did put an extra 0 in there didn't I? BIG GRIN but really what is the difference, I still don't see it at 0.039" either :D
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 07/06/01 17:52:14 GMT

This isn't exactly forge etc related, but since a number of us TIG weld leaves and stuff together, does anyone have an opinion on the miller econotig?
robert  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 18:49:40 GMT

And did not the concept of "zero" arrive on the continent of Europea from the Arabic world? And when it occurred a few centuries ago, the Great Thinkers of Europe were confounded by the concept. They *really* had a difficult time envisioning it. I'm told we can also thank northern Africa for the idea of "desserts". Yummy.

Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Friday, 07/06/01 18:57:41 GMT

Thanks for the guidance on how to sign up for Anvilfire membership BUT... Aren't residents of Wisconsin allowed to join??? My state isn't listed in the form and it won't let me register without state info. We're really not all THAT bad up here.... :)
Dave C  <dchvilicek at wi.rr.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 19:08:29 GMT

Form: RATS!!!! Dave, The state routines on our forms came from the blankety blank credit card handling people. West Virginina was missing too! I THOUGHT I had fixed them ALL. Will do now and report back!

0 Frank, I know a lot of folks that don't understand the concept of ZERO in their bank accounts today!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 22:11:07 GMT

Member Order Form: Its now fixed. I also noticed that it is in alphabetical order according to abreviation (which doesn't show) instead of by name which DOES. And these are supposed to be one of the best CC processors in the country! So our capital Washington DC comes after Connecticut which is up at the top of the list while the W's are at the bottom and all out of order for the same reason. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 22:33:48 GMT

1/10x: Wayne, thats a LOT of difference! Suppose your pay check slipped a decimal place to the left????

Years ago I designed a gear box in a differential drive. I was given the reduced formula for the system and designed the gear box accordingly. Yes, differential drives require differential equasions. Months later when we built the machine and went to test it the feed didn't seem to work! We removed all the covers on the gear boxes and watched the machine run to be sure the clutches were engaging and the gears were all turning. They were. So we put a dial indicator on the feed mechanism and watched. . . It took a LONG time but the indicator finaly moved and did so steadily, at 0.00041" per revolution (on a 10PRM spindle). Now, we wanted a FINE feed but this was ridiculous! Luckily the machine was very sensitive to a difference in a few gear teeth and was shortly fixed and machining at a rate of 0.0041 per revolution. I was lucky that the guy that did the other calcs remembered giving them to me! However, ever since then I VERY carefully quadruple check gear ratio calculations from start to finish. I also don't reduce gear formula's unless they are being published.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/06/01 22:51:57 GMT

Robert, I recently bought the Miller "MaxStar" 140. I have not used it yet for the installation I bought it for but am pleased with the performance in the shop. TC
tIM cISNEROS  <BLACKSMITH at THEFORGEWORKS.COM> - Friday, 07/06/01 23:28:20 GMT

Did not the concept of zero originate with the east indians, and got transhipped by the desert cats?
Ever try to multiply with roman (or egyptian numbers), try dividing, try fractions! bring on binary numbers, there is only two, the multiplication table is 2x2, easy to do, but takes a lot of pencil to write out a googleplex!
Tim - Saturday, 07/07/01 04:04:11 GMT

Tony: I'd imagined the switchable magnetic table to be pure iron salvaged from a giant armature of some sort and handily perforated to accomidate the orig windings. But moments later realized the constant temptation to whack off chunks to put in the forge and the table shrinking day by day.
Keith, there is no hope, nor should there be.Sometime in the distant past, either, guys with junkpiles and the ability to use them enjoyed enhanced reproductive success, or....folks bereft of a junkyard all perished.
We almost hope, somewhere secretly inside us, that those times might come again.
Presently however, it is our wives, significant others and neighbors who suffer. Therefore, hoping to come to a fuller understanding of their involintary condition....THEY should also Send in a check to Anvilfire and keep up with the Good guru's postings.
Pete F - Saturday, 07/07/01 07:29:08 GMT

ZERO smithing content in this post.

Teachers who want it "their" way. Yeah, we have those too. First, we explain to the teacher (and the principal) that there is more than one way to solve a problem. Then we explain to the kid that there is always going to be someone in charge who wants things done "their" way. Not necessarily right, but real. Until you are the boss, It may not be so bad to do things as the person in charge wants it. Unless, of course, the boss wants it wrong. Grin. Then the challenge becomes to teach the boss. How many teachers are good students?

We do a preemptive strike on each new teacher now. At the beginning of the year, we talk to them and go over what we expect and what the teacher should expect from our kid. Works better that way. Like Lombardi said...... Offense, not Defense.

I find that using most tools (like knowledge) shows me the "why". Honestly though, being sometimes cerebrally lazy, I just want to build something. Grin. For me, history is good, but making stuff is better. Knowledge is a tool. That's the way we teach it. Knowledge without making future use of the knowledge is a waste of my present time. Just an opinion!

We do the same games while driving. The boy is to the point that he likes the game to be "stump Dad". It gets difficult to watch the other drivers and visualize the numbers. Darn kids! Grin. The little fart brings the Mensa quiz book along when we drive now. If stumping me gets his head in the game, I don't mind getting stumped.

Toys again.... Mike, if you have a budding carpenter, I suggest getting some softwood log chunks about 8'long, some roofing nails and a 12 ounce hammer to start. My son spent many hours covering the cut end of log pieces with roofing nails. The whole end would be solid nail heads! Driving the nails into the end grain is easier for them to start out and roofing nails are easier on the little fingers. Kept him occupied while I was building the full log timber frame for the house.

Bruce.... Industrial Disease. Good one! And good tune! It's running around in my head now..... along with the bats.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmilwpc.com> - Saturday, 07/07/01 12:15:23 GMT

CONTEST: Lots of good answers so far but not the right ones! You still have plenty of time!

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/07/01 15:09:14 GMT

Jack Hammer Bits. -- My local hardware store has asked me to tune up their bits . What is the best way to harden them ? I have the quinch recipe. Oil dipe or stick them in sand to cool slowly..
Dues --
Can you sent me your snail mail address so I can mail the funds to you.. They may be a bit late due to mail..Thanks
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Saturday, 07/07/01 17:31:39 GMT

Bits: Barney, Its a heck of a chore and a very competitive business. Most are forged then oil quenched and then the tip ground. Forging includes "nipping" off the extra material. As little heating (length wise) is done as possible. Hand forging of large bits is not recomended because it requires too many heats.

A typical bit sharpening setup consists of:
Gas forge to heat 8-10 bits at once (see 10min forge)

2B or 3B NAZEL (or 100 to 300# hammer)

30-40 ton punch press with nipping bits.

Oil quench tank (55 gal) with HD rack to keep bits from ending up in bottom and lid to put out fire if over heated.

Heavy pedestal grinder.
The above is for plain pointed bits. There are other things needed for special bits. Rates run as low as $2-$3 per bit but with the above setup it is possible to do 100 and hour if you really hustle and half if you take your time.

Then when they come in by the barrel load you need a fork lift to load and unload them. . . And a truck to make pickups and deliveries. Most outfits like to get back the same number as they send out but many bits may be beyond repair (cracked, bent), so a replacement inventory is often part of the package. Of course you SELL those replacements.

Now, I HAVE heard of one shop using 25 Little Giants but that is not very efficient. Most shops use 100 to 150 pound (45 to 60kg) hammers but up to 300 pound (135kg) are best for this class of work.

Our mailing address is on every order form and at the bottom of the store page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/07/01 19:36:50 GMT

Thanks Guru... I only do a couple at a time.. Its a small store and has small jack hammers. I do them by hand with large hammer...And a strong right arm..
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Saturday, 07/07/01 20:16:28 GMT

:) Barney I did large bits by hand ONCE. . . The pay is the same :( In small quantities the price should be approx half of a new bit. Long slender bits will bend in the middle if not carefully quenched after heating. Heat treating part of an item is generaly not recommended but what I reported above is standard practice. You also need to practice all the standard tool steel precautions. Don't soak, don't overheat, work too hot or too cold. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/07/01 20:24:43 GMT

I played on a couple of small ones. Worked ok so far..No complaints that I know of..I will figure out some price latter.. Maybe I can get some product from him..Even trade/barter system. Know the owner well.. TTYL...
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Sunday, 07/08/01 00:03:03 GMT

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