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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.
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This is an archive of posts from July 22 - 31, 2001 on the Guru's Den

[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Bill-- My patented system, devised by my lissome blonde assistants over years of research here at Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis: find a stout tree with a gallows limb close to where you want the load to wind up. Hook a come-along to a chain snugged around the tree limb. Hook the other end of the comealong to the 200 pound load. Lift the load a bit. Drive out from under the load. Lower the load-- do not (NOT!)stand under it! Never stand under any load! When they are hoisting material up to the 34th floor on the new high-rise they are building? Cross the street! Go around the block!-- onto a dolly or into a truck bed.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 00:01:30 GMT

Thank you for your quick response. I can get the steel tubing in 0.120" or 0.083" thickness.
Bill Weiler  <weilerb at ix.netcom.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 00:04:19 GMT


1-1/2 x .120" (11ga) wall sq. tube = 2.21 pounds per foot
1-1/2 x .083" (14ga) wall sq. tube = 1.47 pounds per foot

1-1/4 x .120" (11ga) wall sq. tube = 1.766 pounds per foot
1-1/4 x .083" (14ga) wall sq. tube = 1.288 pounds per foot

A 72" piece of the 1-1/4" .120 wall will deflect .39" and be stressed to over 16,000 PSI (too much) with a 200 pound load at the center. And this is without rigging or safety factor (extra load).

A 72" piece of the 1-1/2" .120 wall will deflect .241" and be stressed to over 12,000 PSI (still too much) with a 200 pound load at the center. This is almost acceptable but there is no safety factor.

Mass2, Mass and Weight Calculation program, DOS only, Jock Dempsey

This simple model is with the load centered and the tube free to move at the ends (most ideal for stress). Deflection increases by the cube of the increase in length. Stress increases by the 4th power of the increase in length (I think). 10,000 PSI is a common stress limit for lifting devices. Minimum safety factors should be 2 to 1 but on cranes and hoists it is 5 to 1.

Tubular structures SEEM very strong due to the rigidity of the tubing but that is a false sense. Tubing IS rigid at the expense of stress. Highly stressed tubular structures support loads perfectly right up to the moment they collapse.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 01:32:04 GMT

I am new to blacksmithing and just purchased a 150# anvil in an antique shop. On the side of the anvil is faint marking that appears to read "Wolf" under it are symbols that appear to be vertical lines and dots. then the number 19 I think. It has a hardy hole and one horn. Do you know anything about such an anvil? It appears to be well used, with two chips missing along one long edge, but otherwise sound. It rings when I strike it. Thank you. I have been doing some reading on the internet about blacksmithing, have purchased the Hershel House video, and have made my own coal forge with black pipe and a disgarded industrial squirrel cage fan. so, as you can imagine, am pretty ignorant of the whole blacksmithing business.
John C. Horst  <guntherhorst at home.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 01:32:12 GMT

i potray a blacksmith in the union army, and would like to make a double action bellows but i cant find any instructions...HELP!!!! PLEASE!!!!
chad   <CLCW119 at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 02:53:44 GMT

NEW VIRUS WARNING: Have you recieved an odd mail from someone that runs like this?
Hi! How are you?

I send you this file in order to have your advice

See you later. Thanks
The attachment contains the trojan TROJ_SIRCAM.A. Click on this to find out about it.

I've been getting clobbered by this one over and over. Judging from the phoney return addresses apparently one of the International SPAN lowlifes has gotten it and its going out to the millions on their lists. . . Lets hope the scum gets charged for band width!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 03:12:09 GMT

Bellows: Chad, We have a bellows article on our 21st Century page. Its not detailed plans but it should give you the idea. If you need detailed plans Centaur Forge sells a little booklet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 03:15:11 GMT

Does anybody know a supplier for jewelers metals? I need a pure platinum wire and palladium strip. A web address, catalogue, anything is appreciated.

Robert  <Robert29b at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 04:10:41 GMT

I saw the earlier post on the nitric acid solution test for steel/wrought/malleable determination and was wondering if this blackness it forms on steel is at all a stable patina and if so is it a close approximation for the oxides that form from heating. Is there a good book or books or an e-source for steel (mostly) and other metals? What chemicals are used for gun blueing? Parkerization? Also, I have been using shoe polish to finish my fire blackened pieces. To me it seems an ideal wax finish. It darkens the color, makes a deep rich shine, it is readily available, camoflages rust, and seems to protect well in indoor or protected outdoor situations. Do you see any serious drawbacks to this finish?
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 04:56:21 GMT

Sorry, good book, e-source for patinas on steel(mostly)....
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 04:59:26 GMT

I've been getting slammed every day with this new virus. Thanks for the info. I was wondering how I got targeted by this one. I'm just glad I have the software to smack it down when it first come in.
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 04:59:43 GMT

One used to be able to get platinum and palladium sheet and wire from Swest. 1.800.527.5057 was the number for the Dallas store in the early 90's, probably still is.
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 05:06:45 GMT

the mantra is not exactly what im repeating. I was more like having a bad case of dejavu. the anvil I tried was soft enough to dent from red hot iron in some places (next to weld beads) and hard enough to chip in other placec (one bead near corner parted with a few shards).
The poor felow will have to reface the entire anvil to get it back to usefull state(and use a tougher hardfacing rod aswell I guess).
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 10:27:55 GMT

How is metal galvanised,whats the composition of the coating and whats the life expectancy of a galvanised gate post?
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Sunday, 07/22/01 12:07:54 GMT

I was hoping that someone could tell me what the difference was between hot and cold rolled mild steel. Is one or the other better suited to forge welding ? I was having some success at welding with some steel that was thrown in when I bought my equipment, but I haven't had much success since (using cold rolled). I suspect my early success was beginners luck, but I thought that I'd better make sure....

Greg  <gmr at myhouse.dyndns.org> - Sunday, 07/22/01 13:46:45 GMT

Galvanizing: Mark, Modern galvanizing is zinc plating. Old galvanizing also had cadnium and other metals that were highly toxic if burned or welded. Zinc fumes are not good for you either but they are not nearly as toxic.

Galvanizing prevents rust by acting as a sacrificial annode AND by replating scratches in the steel in the process. The length of time of the protection varies with the thickness of the coating and the soil conditions. In almost all cases hot dip galvanized parts will last aproximately 10 times longer than uncoated or painted steel.

There are a variety of methods of applying the zinc that make a difference in thickness of the coating. Modern hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, hinges) are often coated by a zinc pellet blast that puts a very thin coating on parts that mearly keeps the parts bright until they are used.

Then there is spray coating. This too is usualy relatively thin but can vary according to the specifications and the operator.

Then there is hot dip. This also varies in thickness but is generaly thicker than the two methods above. Your fence posts are probably coated by this method.

Since environmental factors have everything to do with the rate of corrsion there is no way to predict the actual life except to ask others in your locality what experiance they have had with a similar product.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 14:23:05 GMT

HR and CF steel: Greg, Hot rolled steel is just that. It has a fine even scale finish from the rolling process.

"Cold rolled" is generaly an incorrect term. The current term is CF for "cold finished". Most of this steel is drawn through a die to size it. Prior to drawing it is hot rolled steel that is pickled to remove the scale. It is then pulled through the dies (with lots of oil) to reduce it and make it a precise size. This is "cold drawn" steel. Key stock and most of your small square stock is made this way as well as most wire.

CF steel generaly is slightly work hardened and is more springy than HR bar. The necessity of it needing to be able to take the drawing it is often a better grade of mild steel than HR bar. Most CF bar is SAE 1018 or 1020 while most HR bar is A-36 (structural grade) steel.

Generaly there should be no difference in forge welding. However, there is a lot of wrought iron still in existance and blacksmiths tend to collect it. You can also purchase pure iron bar. Both forge weld at a white heat and wrought tends to be self fluxing. Carbon steels burn easier but they are also welded at a lower temperature.

THEN there are screw machine steels, much of which is leaded or sulfurized. Neither one forge weld very well and they come in the same sizes as CF bar. Occasionaly some of this will get put on the rack with common mild steel. Machine shops love it when they get "the good stuff" at mild steel prices. But its NOT good stuff for blacksmiths.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 15:13:37 GMT

The thing about those American Institute of Steel Construction tables of shape characteristics is they are presented in terms of such factors as: the modulus of elasticity, the moment of inertia, and my own personal all-time fave, the radius of gyration. To put them to any practical use, you gotta know calculus. Problem is, the furthest any of the staff here at Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis ever got in school was the angle of the dangle. Which is equal, you will recall, to the torque of.... So, in real life: here at CACA we find a big tree. Come to think of it, though, two hundred pounds is a helluva load for a car carrier. Find the guy who built that carrier and get him to make a jib crane.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 15:26:16 GMT

Nitric Acid: Jovan, nitric is used in gun bluing and produces what is called a "niter blue" when used with potasium nitrate. There are thousands of formulas for blueing and blacking. Most use combinations of nitric and sulphuric acid. All chemical oxide finishes start with absolutely clean metal. If you want to learn about them start with a copy of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK (you know, the one I recommend in Getting Started) and then look into gunsmithing books. There are several on blueing and blacking.

Oxide finishes prevent rust MOSTLY by being a carrier for oil or wax. The fact that the steel is already oxidized means it will not stain. However, most of these will readily rust from salt on the hands or if scratched slightly. Most gun parts are case hardened to prevent scratching, THEN blued and THEN kept cleaned and oiled. It is a high maintenance finish.

Wax finishes are a quick temporary finish and only stick properly over tight scale (an oxide finish). Wax rubs off and is not as much a barrier to moisture as you would think. Bright steel will rust under wax.

The biggest problem with wax finsishes is surface preparation. When you pull a piece of steel from a coal fire and wire brush it parts of the surface is often coated with a shiney black coal plating. This is VERY bad stuff. Your wax finish blends right into it and it all looks as one. However that coal finish (weld slag too) is full of anhydrous hydroscopic substances (waterless crystals that crave water) as well a sulphur compounds. Eventualy these compounds absorb moisture from the air, break down and make wet spots next to the sulfur compounds. A perfect rust breeding ground.

If you use a gas forge the problem of scale still exists. Thin "tight" scale is acceptable on most work. However, all scale is brittle and will crack and flake off it the part is flexed and sometimes just from changes in temperature. When it flakes off it takes the finish with it and rust ensues.

So heavy scale is very bad on work that is used outdoors. A lot of people consider scale to be a protectant but it is only a protectant on certain places on the work where it remains a tight un proken finish.

The above is why I recommend that all architectural ironwork be sandblasted and painted using a three step process (zinc, neutral primer, top coat). Any major sculptural pieces should also be done the same. If you worry about surface tezture and are going to use VERY thin paint then use an acid bath to remove the scale. Small work is different but everything depends on the application and your reputation.

Your customers WILL NOT clean and rewax or oil your work. Recipes for "wax" finishes using the addition of drying oils (linseed oil), hardeners and dryers are nothing more than amature paint formulations. If you are going to use paint, then use paint made by professionals.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 15:45:56 GMT

More about wax finishes: Like everyone else I use wax finishes on samples and pieces sold or handed out at demontrations. It darkens the finish and brings out highlights.

But, setting in the shop, I have a stack of beautiful leaf samples made by a friend of mine that were cleaned and rewaxed a year ago (to photograph) that are now entirely coated with rust. This was the third time they have been waxed. One day when I have nothing else to do I'll wire brush them with a fine brush and rewax them. Over time this will result in a mixed scale and browned finish. But I know they will still rust.

On my desk I have a leaf I made 20 years ago (see photo in my bio). I cleaned and waxed it prior to photographing it for an iForge demo and since then it has been setting in my office that is a much more stable environment than my shop as it has heat and air conditioning. The wax is starting to show some brown rust on the scale again. Not enough that most people would notice, but I see it. I can't remember how many times I have rewaxed this piece.

Many times a piece will not show any signs of rusting. But if you look closely they will be a few spots that are deeply pitted. At a distance this will be dark enough that you can't see it, but it is there. It might be just one tiny spot now, but over time it will grow.

We have very little ironwork from a millenia ago. And there is virtualy none from two millenia ago. The Ancient Greeks produced beautiful artworks in stone, bronze, iron, wood and paint. It is said that their paintings far excelled the other arts. There are none in existance. They also made beautiful furniture and highly shophisticated wooden musical instruments. There are none in existance. Their bronze sculptures are known to exceed their stone sculpture and were at one time more numerous. There are few in existance as most were melted down to recycle the bronze. Most that exist today were retrieved from sunken ship wrecks.

They were a transition society between the bronze and iron age. They made great use of steel tools and also made some steel armor and surely smller decorative pieces. There are none in existance.

Today much ironwork from 200 years ago is gone or rapidly disapearing. I've had works that were less than 20 years old come close to being scraped due to poor finishing (yes, I did it too). But other pieces that were properly refinished have shown no sign of needing refinishing in 20 years. They will most likely outlive me without need of refinishing much less restoration.

So where will your work be 20 years from now? 50? 100? Will there be any ironwork from the great rebirth of blacksmithing in the 1980's left to see in 2080? 3000?

Proper finishing is a lot of work and a major expense. But it insures your work and your reputation will outlive you. If another generation cares about your work they may take your finish as an example and refinish it the same way.

NOTE: There are arid places where ironwork will last hundreds of years with nothing more than a rust finish. But for the rest of the world rust can reduce your work to scrap in your lifetime or worse, during your carreer as a smith.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 16:42:22 GMT

I live in the desert, so I can probably get away with wax for interior work, but should probably go the stainless route as I hate paint. Is there a good stainless alloy for smithing or are they all tough to work with. I've only used 304 as it was available to play with.
Thanks again,
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 17:06:40 GMT

304SS: Jovan, this is the most common alloy and is commonly used for forgings. The great thing about SS is you can leave the scale on or polish it off OR both. Having brilliant buffed highlights contrasted with the black scale is verey nice for scultptual pieces. Wax will help blacken the scale just as it does carbon steel.

For a GREAT example of this technique look at any high quality heavy stainless tableware that has dark embossing. Then think about what it withstands.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 17:23:42 GMT

Re galvanising.
Thanks Greg
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Sunday, 07/22/01 17:52:11 GMT

Are there common alloys better than 304? I've twisted it in half trying to produce moderate twists. Do I just need to be more careful with temp, change alloys, or is that just the nature of the stainless beast? I did make some bracelets out of 304L that I could twist tightly, but I've only seen this in small round rod sizes (welding rod I think).
Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 18:18:16 GMT

Need a little help, at one time I was told of a way to hit shift and several # keys and it would put the little degree symbol next to your # any help would be great.
Mike  <mcruder at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 18:42:22 GMT

Ironwork? Will the human race be around in the year 3000? Doesn't look good.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/22/01 20:55:17 GMT


Just saw your message.




I recently got their catalog from the 800 number. They sell gems and findings.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 00:40:55 GMT


I'll tell you what, this trojan is a bitc*!!!

Hit my machine this morning, went through the network and got Sheri's machine. I've spent the entire dam* day cleaning it out of the two machines.

If I ever catch the author, I'll bet I can make him/her/it scream 24 hours a day for at LEAST a week.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 00:44:19 GMT

Am interested in forging sword, suggestions/advice?
MikMccy  <MikMccy at aol.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 02:03:22 GMT

Am in need of a procedure for a pineapple post finial. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 02:27:24 GMT

I have an anvil that says "Made in Sweden" and "112 lbs". It has a rectangular mark to the top left of this, but the rust has made it un-readable. It's an antique bought from a farm not far from here.
My question is regarding a seemingly second hardy hole (?) in the neck. It is the same size as the hardy hole on the top, and I couldn't figure out if it could serve me any useful purpose.
I am an amateur who is just starting out. I intend on farm/hobby blacksmithing and have learned a lot from folks on the "pub" and the i-forge.
Great Web-Site!
Paul Burrell
Talladega, Al
Paul Burrell  <pgburrell at mindspring.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 03:09:22 GMT

Thanks. It's just what I needed. I appreciate it.
Robert  <Robert29b at aol.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 03:55:03 GMT


No problem.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 04:02:23 GMT

From this page, go to links. Find Ron Reil's web site. Scroll down to find "Forge and Foundry page", from there scroll down to "So you want to forge a sword". Start there, you have alot of homework to do.
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 04:51:11 GMT

Degree Sign: Mike, ALT codes do not work on my PC like they worked in DOS so I can't help. However when I do it I'm useing the HTML code to embed the windows code for degree sign. However, I'm the only user that has permission to embed HTML on our forums. One minor error (one character) can blow up the whole log so I don't let anyone else do it. I spend too much time fixing MY screwups.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 06:26:09 GMT

304 SS: Jovan, You are working it too cold if it broke.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 06:26:56 GMT

Swedish Anvil: Paul, Forged anvils have as many as 4 square "handling" holes in various parts of the anvil. It is common to find two in the waist and one in the center of the base. Most Swedish anvils shiped to the US are cast anvils which do not need the handling holes. However, a few do have cast in holes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 06:34:52 GMT

Jovan  <Poprox at msn.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 14:05:54 GMT

VIRUS II: I am now getting a second wave of virus hits (see above) from a few of OUR people! So this means you probably got mail from a trusted friend that says"

"Take a look at this and tell me what you think"


IF you are lucky and your system does not automaticaly open the attachment (like ALL versions of Microsick programs do AND late versions of Netscape and other programs), Then you have a chance at seeing the .PIF extension which means it is NOT a document file, but a program. Specificaly, a virus program. Delete the mail and the attachement (it should be in your attachment dir). Be VERY careful not to double click it!

If your system has opened the attachment you are infected. Your system will now mail itself to everyone you ever sent mail to. The link in the first post will tell you how to remove the virus. It is tricky to remove. If you do it wrong your system will not reboot without major expert fixing. DO NOT go deleting the the virus files willy-nilly. Follow the instructions!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 14:34:48 GMT

Pawpaw. may I join? i know a few good ways to make people
S U F F E R!! like me singing to them (yes it is cruel but...) ;-).
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 15:37:24 GMT


You can provide the background music, while I do the dirty work.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 16:17:11 GMT

Mike try usilg alt + 248 or alt + 0186 or alt+0176 (on numerical keyboard)to get the ° .
as you see there are SEVERAL ways these are just two
to get °.

Btw here you have a few more useful ones.
use "alt" key + these numbers (again numerical keyboard) to get these (should work on most puters).

¹ = 0185 or 251
² = alt+0178 or
³ = 0179 or 252
± = 0177 or 241

For more look for ascII tables on the net. there are 4 different ASCII tables IIRC (8 bit 16bit).

Laptops usualy require the use of several keys, first one set to simulate a numerical keyboard then as above.
To name one my (ancient) COMPAQ©® P75 laptop uses a special key combo (different on other laptops I bet), first hold one called fn (printed in blue) and then hit a key marked numLk (in blue again) and now m=0 j=1 k=2 l=3 u=4 i=5 O=6 789
are just that 78and 9 (numbers are printed in blue next to letters)
complicated but used to save space.

hope it helps OErjan
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 16:48:16 GMT

Here is a slightly less confused version on the other ASCII symbols.

Btw here you have a few more useful ones.
use "alt" key + these numbers (again numerical keyboard) to get these (should work on most puters).

¹ = 0185 or 251
² = 0178
³ = 0179 or 252
± = 0177 or 241
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 07/23/01 17:27:32 GMT

No experience. Wish to make woodcarving chisels (typically end is one quarter to one and one half inches wide with varying curves (one inch #9 to 5 inch #2 diameter)).

Have home-built propane forge, various tool rod sizes and flat die stock. Eyes are watery from reading hardening and tempering material

Required: So as to waste as little stock and time as possible, a method to form stock into chisels.

Thank You
Bruce Blades  <blade at psphalifax.ns.ca> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 00:03:19 GMT

Chisles: Bruce, it depends on the the stock size and shape and the type of chisle you want to make. Generaly hand and open die forging wastes no material. Make a bar shaped piece of plasticine (oil clay) and practice mashing it into a chisle shape.

I used to make chisles out of flat stock, but found that slightly oversize round or hex let me make heavy round shoulders like good commercial chisles. Tapered ferrules with a shoulder on the chisle shank that fills the ferrule is as good as a socket shank and much easier to make. I like coke bottle (the old ones) shaped octogon handles. Flatening the round steel is easier than upsetting the flat.

I've made gouges with the taper inside AND out. Both work well. Temper as little as is called for as a minimum for the steel.

Hardening and tempering is not too difficult if you know what kind of steel you have and understand the process. However, tool steel is sensitive to being over heated, heating cold steel too fast, soaking too long.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 03:43:56 GMT

I am looking for a good "how to" book on power hammer techniques. just got access to one and would like to study up on it before I just jump into it. Any suggestion would be appreciated.
Jeremy   <Whyiterp at Yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 03:45:35 GMT

Hammer Technique: Jeremy, I know of one being written but otherwise you will need to purchase videos. Centaur Forge has the ones by Clifton Ralph I believe and well as the Lillico book below.

If the hammer you are running is a Little Giant and needs tuning up (got the Little Giant Hula blues?), we sell the Dave Manzer Little Giant video.

Some of the old blacksmithing books have basic power hammer technique including the common tools used for open die forging. The industrial books such as those by ASM concentrate on closed die work but usualy have one chapter on open die work.

Blacksmiths Manual Illustrated by Lillico is good.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 04:09:49 GMT

If them scientists are so dang smart, howcum we don't have magnetic soap to pull those bastardly micro-whiskers of swarf and filings and other gradue out of our epidermis without going for the tweezers? Well, here at CACA, the Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis, we are working on
it! You'll be the first to lather up! Take off your watch first! Watch this space!

Anyone have a sure fire non-letal method of getting rid of unwanted bats? Yep, ol' cracked really DOES have bats in his belfry! Or guest room as it may be. . .
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 04:51:29 GMT

Cracked Bats;
Ive faked up a little one way door over their where they enter..be sure to mark it "exit". seems to work.
As for me, I figger anyone who eats mosquitos (sp) is my buddy....still, dont really wanna sleep with em, cute as they are.
Will you still be "cracked" if they aren't driving you bats?
Pete F - Tuesday, 07/24/01 06:14:06 GMT

Pawpaw. believe me YOU WON'T HAVE TO DO ANY "dirty work". To be honest you would not even CONSIDER staying if you had any kind of choise. ask monica she will agree, as will anyone ever heard me try the S thing.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 09:23:22 GMT


Since it took me almost two full days to clear this dam* SIRCAM Trojan from my system, and I still have to finish Sheri's machine, I'll put in ear plugs so I don't have to hear you! I like to muffle the screams, anyway.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 11:37:16 GMT

Bruce, Alexander Weygers did a pretty nice bit on forging chisels (he did wood and stone carving as well as smithing)

IIRC it's included in "The Complete Modern Blacksmith"---in print and under $20 last time I checked!

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 14:44:21 GMT

Cracked: try moth balls, they work well. Only it's hard to get the moths to hold still...

Bruce Blades: Get a copy of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander Weygers, he has lots of information on making all kinds of hand tools, especially conic-section gouges for woodcarving. Very low-tech, as well.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 14:49:09 GMT

Guru, I have a Whisper Momma, which I really like. However I need a larger forge for a particular project. I tried my hand at casting a few years back, and bought a "cheapie" furnace. I think it was called a pyramid, sort like a "speedy-Melt", but not NEAR the quality. Anyway, why wouldn't this work for regular forge work? It has a blower, uses tons of propane (slight downside there), is incredibley noisy, but it used to melt cast iron really nice. Could I turn this thing on its side and use that way, maybe with some Kaowool? I remember not likeing to start the thing, had to put burning newspaper in it, turn on the gas and step back and WHAAOOOMMMPP!! (another slight downside).
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 18:07:07 GMT

Forge/Furnace: Robert, The "mechanism" is the same. The refractory is enought to do the job. If you use Kaowool you may want it OUTSIDE the shell to keep you and the shop a little cooler.

The noise when loudest is when the forge is adjusted the best. You can add a very little gas (or reduce the air) to reduce the noise and make the atmosphere less oxidizing.

Manualy lighting gas and oil forges is a bit of a pain. I built my big forge with an extended spark plug and a kerosene jet heater igniter transformer. I understand pizeo igniters like those on the NC forges are available and could possibly be retrofited.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 19:55:23 GMT

Came across some square bars 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 marked 4033, can this be used for anvil tools?
Jeff  <Breezewayforge> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 20:43:49 GMT

I'm needing to make several sizes small rings(1" to 3"} with hand twisted 1/4" stock and some small French scrolls with flat stock. Are there any plans available on making hand benders? Right now I'm using several sizes of pipe and vice grips and of course the horn of my anvil.
thanks chris
chris  <cp3crow at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 21:05:27 GMT

Benders: Chris, See "benders" on our 21st Century page
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 22:05:14 GMT

4033: Jeff that appears to be a rather odd steel. It is a manganese alloy steel (with a little moly but nothing else). The 33 points carbon put it on the low end of the hardenability range. It would be good for all kinds of tools where mild steel would work but it would not wear nearly as badly. I'm not exactly sure what this steel was designed for.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/24/01 23:02:34 GMT

Jock, as usual, your advise and expertise is invaluable! I don't know how you have the time to work with the lot of us. I'd surely like to meet up with you one of these days, what a honor that would be! Thanks for this site!
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 00:56:42 GMT

Jock, as usual, your advise and expertise is invaluable! I don't know how you have the time to work with the lot of us. I'd surely like to meet up with you one of these days, what a honor that would be! Thanks for this site!
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 00:57:31 GMT

Lowes and Home Depot both carry pizeo ignitors as replacement parts for gas grills.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 01:05:32 GMT

Guru...this is more of a computer question than blacksmithing....I'd really save a copy of the iforge demos for future reference (purely personal!!!)..is there any way to save demos without saving the text and each individual picture, then piecing it together later. Your help is appreciated. Thanks
Mark  <mmwoodnglass at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 02:15:59 GMT

Hi There! I really appreciate this web site. It's helped me learned a lot. I am a 31 selfemployed father of one. I have enjoyed welding and working with iron since a teen. Ornamental iron work has become a hobby for me. About 2 years ago I took a weekend course on Blacksmithing. Since then my hobby, has become a small side business. Unfortunately I have no blacksmiths in my region to network with. I am working on my first big stainless steel project. It's made with 2" pipe with forged 3" spherical joints. My problem is, my customer wants it very shiny and I can't get it shiny enough. So far I have tried;
-Power wire wheel
-Power cotton buffing wheel with tripoli abrasive
-A 10 hour soak in 10% muriatic acid solution
-A tumbler I made from an old hot water tank It turns about 24 rpm. I use sandblating grit inside. (But it leaves little scratches)

After all this I still only have a dull shine where ever my project was heated. Kind of like tarnished silver. Now I remember my mother restoring the shine to her silverware by boiling the silver in water with baking soda and tinfoil. Will the same process restore the shine to my tarnished stainless steel. Your advice is appreciated.
Dan DeVries  <Dannyd at mb.sympatico.ca> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 02:49:10 GMT

eric nelson  <dimooo at aol.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 03:15:01 GMT

I need information regarding the forging of pewter. My intention is to make a rod of a diameter of approximately 1/2 inch and length of around 1 foot. Unfortunately the only large piece of pewter available was an ingot. I have succeeded in making an octagonal prism out of this. However, the amount of work required to do this was enormous. What suggestions do you have to make the task easier? (the only tools I have are an anvil and hammer. no casting equipment)
Graham  <dirtybastid at aol.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 03:24:41 GMT

stainless-- don't use a steel wire brush on stainless-- bristle ends get buried in the surface and will rust, giving it a freckled appearance. Get some 3M Rol-loc disks-- not sanding pads, the abrasive polishing ones-- or the equivalent and a backing pad for your 4-inch grinder. they come in three grades, rough, medium and fine. They'll wear out fast, fast, fast, and cost mucho dinero. But they'll do the trick.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 03:41:02 GMT

iForge Demos: Mark, Print them or buy the future book or CD.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 05:04:59 GMT

Shiney Stainless: Dan, nothing but HARD work produces a polish. See our 21st Century page article "Polish X" and "Wheels".

Normally you start with an acid dip or sand blasting to remove all the scale and discolored surface on stainless. Then coarse abasive wheels such as Cracked recommended (He is quite knowledgable when he isn't making fun of when we take ourselves too seriously). Filing or machining are other options since stainless is quite abrasion resistant. Only when there are absolutely NO pits or porosity from heating do you move to a finer abrasive. Skipping steps waists a HUGE amount of time and almost always produces an inferior job.

A polished finish on a piece increases the cost/price by at least a factor of ten. Doing so on stainless is even more so due to its abrasion resistance. Jewlers charge a lot more for stainless jewlery than for silver due to the high labor. In some cases as much as for gold.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 05:17:31 GMT

Forging Machines: Eric, if you commonly work material up to 1" then you want a hammer of 100 pound (45 kg) or larger. If it is all 3/4" round/square or less then a smaller hammer is suitable. Most good hammers are controlable enough to work small stock down to wire size. But there is no substitute for power when doing larger work.

Architectural work commonly uses 1-1/4" square posts as well as custom top rail IF you are intrested in first class hand made work. Top rail and closed die work require a lot bigger hammer than for typical small shop work. 250 to 350 pounds is a good size for this class work.

There are numerous types of dies used on forging hammers. Small hammers commonly have "combination" dies but larger machines usualy have flat dies that hand held or clamp on dies. Special shaped dies are only used when the production rates are fairly high. Some smiths prefer dies with a gently rounded top for general work instead of combination dies.

Technicaly there is no such thing as an "electric" forging hammer. The old mechanical types like the Little Giant, Bradley or Fairbanks are the closest to being "Electric". These are followed by the "Electro-pnenumatic" hammers such as the Nazel, Kuhn or clones like the Striker. These has a built in compressor that the ram is pneumaticaly linked too and runs in time with. Then "air-hammers" which are derived from the original steam hammers now run on electric air compressors. These are very good machines but they require a seperate air compressor of sufficient capacity. Old steam hammers are now run on compressed air as well as there being new small hammers designed exculsively to run on air.

Our advertisers sell almost every brand of small hammer made in the past and present. See the Power hammer Page manufacturers list for a complete listing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 05:39:44 GMT

Forging Pewter: Graham, Pewter is typicaly worked cold in sheet stock and cast in heavier sections. It CAN be forged cold but you have to be careful not to overwork it without annealing it. It can also be worked hot but melts at a very low temperature so you have to be very careful when heating to anneal OR work hot. A low red glow in low light is too hot. Depending on the alloy (good pewter is almost pure tin) the working temperature may be as low as 700°F.

Normal forging sequence for all metals is to forge to very near finished size in a square first. This is due to having better control of flat square faces. Once sized to square you make an octogon of it it with equal faces on all sizes. From there you flatten the corners of the octogon making 16 flats. In many cases this looks round enough in forged work. But if a truer round is needed then the stock is rolled while hammering and working along the length OR it is forged in two half round dies.

Dies for this may be actual half rounds with well rounded edges but if the work is to be sized down from rough then the openings are slightly oval so the the work fits. As the work is rotated in the dies it becomes sized to the smaller dimension of the oval.

Typicaly these are "clapper" dies. Two blocks connected by a long flat leaf spring. They may be used under hand or power hammer. There are also the classic top and bottom dies where the bottom fits the hardy hole and the top is hand held by a long handle.

Heat or a power hammer are the only things that will make it easier. However due to the low melting point it is VERY easy to melt and cast to size/shape.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 05:57:18 GMT

I've been dealing with an outfit called A-Cut_above for abraisives and they have come through with solutions for most of my polishing problems. Tell em I sent you ( and they'll probably say, "huh?") They sell a fine non-woven fabric abraisive wheel that wears a little better and cuts pretty well. Beyond that you will probably have to go to cloth buffing wheels and special abraisive compounds in several stages. The modern stuff is a lot faster than traditional methods, but not cheap. You should be able to achieve a mirror finish.
I hate finishing.
Promote the aesthetic value of rust!
Pete F - Wednesday, 07/25/01 06:24:28 GMT

I'm having trouble selecting brass for forging and shaping. There are so many alloys I'm not sure which is best. The properties I'm looking for are hot working (forging), bendability, shine. What do you recommend?
muleskinner  <kbraitman at frostburg.edu> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 10:35:08 GMT

Jock, Are you doing anything ar the moment regarding Hugh McDondald type damascus/steel rollers. Is there a review forthcoming? If possible please email me the answer.
Jim Steele  <bushmansedge at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 14:30:53 GMT

Graham: Get yourself an 18 inch long 1/2" drill bit (I've seen them at Lowe's and the Home Despot) and a wooden board like a 2 x 4 at least 13 inches long. Drill a hole through the board longways,then saw the board in half along the axis of the hole so you have two boards each with a half-round groove in them. Sand the grooves smooth, and clamp the boards back together, making sure the hole lines up with itself. Plug one end with a dowel or even a wad of aluminum foil. Melt your pewter on a forge or even a gas stove burner in an old steel or iron pan you're not going to use for anything else, and as soon as it turns liquid pour it fast and smooth into the hole in the board. Wait a few minutes, open your mold, and polish your 1/2" pewter rod with 0000 steel wool until it shines.

You really don't need casting equipment, just an old pan or big ladle. And as always when dealing with liquid metal, BE CAREFUL! Molten pewter will leave deep pitted scars, trust me.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 14:40:31 GMT

Forging Brass: Muleskinner, For ease of forgability you want Alloy 377 (UNS C37700) Forging brass (the 100% standard) 59Cu, 39Zn, 2pb. The next is Naval Brass Alloy 464 (UNS C46400 - C46700) with a forgability rating of 90% - 60Cu, 39.25Zn, .75Sn.

Architectural Bronze is C38500, is very similar to Forging Brass its make up being 57Cu, 40Zn, 3Pb. Its forgability is also very near 100%.

The high degree of zinc in these alloys make them a pretty yellow. Shine? That is always a labor issue and is up to you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 14:43:25 GMT

Rolling Mill review: Jim, Yes it is in the works but I have been unexcuably slow on the job. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 14:45:00 GMT

SAFETY: We have finally launched our new SAFETY page. It includes links to standing articles as well as some new information. I have yet to dig out the Hammer-In log from our safety discussions and edit all your valuable input.

There is some information about manganese in welding fumes related to Parkinson's disease curtesy Dan Stotland - AKA Slag.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 17:22:06 GMT


Safety page. Darn well done! Suggest that anyone who sees a safety article that would be applicable to smithing forward the information to you for inclusion in the page. I had a good Bookmark on Metal Fume Fever that I lost this spring. If I can find it, I'll send it along.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 18:06:15 GMT

Safety Page:
Great addition to the Anvilefire Site. Thanks
Conner - Wednesday, 07/25/01 21:53:10 GMT

I am an interior design student and I am currently designing a store front that requires a corrigated metal awinging I need to get a small sample of this material and I don't know where to find it. I live in South New Jersey and Home Depot in my area does not carry corrigated metal.Hopefully you will have some suggestions. Thank you for your time, Caroline Pezzano
caroline pezzano  <gpezzano at aol.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 21:54:55 GMT

Does anyone know if it's possible to forge a ring (as in jewelry) and what have been the results.
Eli Barrieau  <rroseselavy at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 22:11:53 GMT

Coragated Metal: Caroline, Look under Construction Supplies and try a regular commercial supplier rather than the department store type. If that doesn't work look under steel distributors or steel service centers.

Your best bet may be to go to a "steel errector". That's someone that puts up steel buildings.

Getting a sample might be tough. But you might also be asking for the srong thing. "Corrogated" implies the old sine wave type roofing that is still used globaly BUT is used very little in the U.S. Talk to the steel erector. The roofing on modern steel buildings is the same as the sides.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 22:29:44 GMT

Forged Ring: Eli, Work this small is commonly done. Most often the steel used is pattern welded "Damascus". The amount of labor that goes into some laminated steels puts it in the same class price wise as silver. I've seen it set into a gold band. The gold was used for practical purposes (skin reactions, corrosion).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 07/25/01 22:33:55 GMT

Caroline, I just had to find/match some true constant radius repeating corrugating roofing last year too. In galvanized. Guru is right, go to the steel building people. Or go to the library and look in Sweet's architectural catalogs. If you don't find it, ask again, and I will dig up where we got it from last year. But I'm in Wisconsin. There are different center to center distances and corrugation height too. If I remember correctly, the price per square (100 square feet) was almost double the price of the newer common 9" spacing rib.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 01:03:40 GMT

Corrugated & Stainless-- beware there are two main thicknesses of corrugated. One is realllll skinny, practically see through it, used mainly for trailer skirting, to keep the chilly blasts of winter away from the pipes under the double-wide. The other stuff is what you want, much stiffer. Try to get U.S.-made, much, much tougher stuff. Brand name to look for: StrongBarn. Stainless-- forgot to mention that even after you've done all that work bringing it to a mirror (or mirro as we used to say back in Balmer County, Merlin, hon) finish, it ain't going to stay that way forever. Eventually, sooner than later, it turns dull gray.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 01:49:27 GMT

I recently talked to some people who want an iron railing. They say that they want to decorate "old world". Do you have any ideas on "old world" style iron work? Also, are there any good books,etc. on railing design? Thank you very much.
Kevin - Thursday, 07/26/01 02:28:04 GMT


Try to pin them down a little more. WHICH old world. European, (German, French, Italian) New Orleans style, Charleston (SC) style, New York style, San Francisco style.

They are all somewhat different, though there are many characteristics in common.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 02:56:01 GMT

"Old World" Kevin, your clients have probably not seen much "Old World" ironwork. Much of it is beautiful stuff but it is often very modern and quite artistic. Some, to our eyes, looks rather strange, such as a modern motif on an 800 year old Cathedral. . .

Your clients may be intrested in classical or boroque styles. However, much European ironwork is full of whimsey and stange characters.

Try books by Fritz Kuhn Wrought Iron, Larson Publishing, and Otto Schmirler's The Art of Wrought Metalwork for House and Garden. Then Dona Meilach's new The Contemporary Blacksmith is filled with the worlds BEST ironwork being made today. See our review.

No matter the style, this class of ironwork requires a huge amount of labor. The work may be hand forged, but architectural work is full of repetition and it becomes like a production job. Often the last pieces will look nothing like the first and some of the first made over again. No matter how you quote it you almost always under bid.

Railing design is an art. You start with the building code, then an artistic design, then you find where its not strong enough or where fingers might get caught. You have to find proper anchor points. Then you itterate the design. Look at where it has to be installed. Will you be drilling masonary? Stone or marble floors? Ask the general contractor or mason to do it. Is there a stud in the wall to attach to? Will it fit through the door? How much do you have to fabricate in place? Now many helpers? When you are done you will find that making the iron is the EASY part of architectural ironwork!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 03:05:21 GMT

old world-- I know a guy, so help me, who bid $350 a foot on hand-forged railing a week or so ago, plus $80 an hour to install it, on a sizeable railing job-- and got the job! No, I did not drop a decimal point. It does such people a truly healthy amount of good, ratifies their sense of well-being, reaffirms their awareness of the isness of now. Best of all, makes 'em feel rich!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 03:19:29 GMT

Tarnishing Stainless: Cracked, I never had any trouble with it. Maybe someone is cleaning your stainless with an abrasive! Down wind from a salt flat? Sand storm? You're not breathing on it are you? :-)

Generaly annealed and polished 304 is good for a lifetime or more. But most of what I have made is machine tool handles and such that are indoors and protected (except for hand prints and salts). Of course there is all that automotive stainless trim. . . but they like to start with a flat brushed finish in most cases.

Now aluminium will take a mirror finish and then turn a flat grey if outdoors over a year or so and not protected. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 03:23:48 GMT

Bids and Prices: Be careful what you give up on a bid. If you have to design it don't give the clients a copy of the drawing until you have the job. They will take your $500-$1000 worth of design labor to a fabricator who will look up the components, make some minor changes, and under bid you by the cost of the design work. If they want the drawings, get paid for the design work. That was at least $100 worth of references I listed. The money has to come from somewhere.

We just saved you 10x the cost of a CSI membership!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 03:32:26 GMT

It's not my fault, dammit, it's the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy rules! Rust thou art and rust thou shalt.... Stuff just oxidizes, is all, Guruissimo. Just you wait a couple hundred years or so and then check that shiny stainless.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 04:12:32 GMT

We are curently testing an auction system that will become another Anvilfire Service, at the moment its still in testing and trial but feel free to sign up and advertise items you want to auction off. The system is currently opperational and there are allready a couple of items there for sale.

You can access the site from its temporary home at..

This will change once we formally go live with the system.

Andrew (Kiwi) Hooper
Kiwi NZ  <andrew at best.net.nz> - Thursday, 07/26/01 05:26:29 GMT

Dear Mister Guru:

A few months ago you made a reference to a Hugh McDonald rolling mill, for which plans are evidently available. Could you please tell me where I might be able to purchase those plans?. Thank you.

Michael Mandaville
Austin, Texas
Michael Mandaville  <MchlMndvl at aol.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 10:28:52 GMT

Rolling Mill Plans: The Hugh McDonald rolling mill plans are available from Norm Larson and are well work the price. See Getting Started for Norm's contact information.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 12:02:35 GMT

Jock, I believe that is the alloy used for cement mixers. A friend of mine uses very high manganese/moly alloy in there construction. It seems that is what he said its designation is.
Mills  <mills_fam2 at netzero.net> - Thursday, 07/26/01 12:15:57 GMT

Stainless gray. Cracked is not cracked up. Polished stainless left to oxidize will turn matte finish gray. And a mottled gray at that. Just ask owners of DeLoreans. Stainless car bodies got mottled and quite ugly to some. And if the stainless gets hot, it gets even more mottled and uglier yet. 304 or 316 stainless that gets rubbed or cleaned with caustic solutions (dairy and food equipment) frequently will mostly stay bright. So says one who has had to polish a lot of dairy equipment as a younger boy. An "ugly" job. Grin. I guess there are some clear coats that can slow it down, but I don't know what they are.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 12:21:44 GMT

On forged rings: you can hot forge silver and gold as well as ferrous metals---just the working temp is a *lot* lower. Larry Wood used to demo this at SOFA taking a silver ingot and cutting a piece off, forging it down and then doing decorative twists in it for bracelets----one warning silver does not like sulfur, a gas forge or charcoal is suggested (or a large propane torch and a couple of firebricks)

I did a forged silver penannular brooch last Pennsic (and a forge Ti one earlier than year!)

Old world ironwork; take a look at the gates Tijou forged, the Schoene Brunne in Nuremberg the iron work in Spain---there is a wide range of "styles" Kuhn's books are also a great place to get design ideas---I picked up an original copy of one of his at a fleamarket in Germany (published in 1939!) for less than the cost of the modern re-print over here (knowing enough German to be able to ask for books about old ironwork was a big help altes eisenwerk or kunstschmeide (I can pronounce it not spell it!)---I also tried to buy all the "pre-war" guidebooks I could find to show stuff that was either bombed or donated to the war effort as the original rather than restored in recent times).

Oh yes, the COSIRA books has some nice gate/railling ideas in them too.

Post drill: for $200 they should throw in a 150# anvil and a couple of tongs---I remember almost weeping at my spendthriftlessness when I paid $4 for a pair of tongs lately at the fleamarket...
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 13:02:11 GMT

About the auction page.

I am in need of a hydraulic pump. There is one listed. HOWEVER, with no specs, pictures, location of item, or weight, there is no way I can know if it is in the ballpark of what I need, or how much it will be to ship. If you list something for bid, more information is better than less.

This is not intended to offend anyone. I just want to see this feature of the board work, as I beleave it will be an asset to us all.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 07/26/01 13:44:35 GMT

Pump: Wayne, it is huge, has no specs other than a corroded aluminium plate about 1" square. It was put on the page as a test item (sorry it should have been labled such). I can examine it closer if you like but I'm guessing it weighs a couple hundred pounds and shipping would not be cheap. However, if you want it you can come pick it up anytime you want!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 14:58:00 GMT

bless you, Tony. IOU for the defense testimony. What our lissome researchers here at Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis have ascertained is that what polishing the living bejesus out of stainless does, is, it minimizes the surface irregularities that afford moisture and gradue a grip and oxidation a place to get started. By the way, those 3M Rol-loc pads are not abrasive to the same degree as a grinding wheel or sand-paper. They are some kind of plastic. They do a nice job-- but they are expensive as hell-- $1.80 or so for a 4-incher, if you buy by the hundred-- and they wear out in a flash. Rejoice that 3M does not make our tires, or we'd need a new set every trip to the store.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 15:00:40 GMT

LOL! If it is THAT big, it is probably just a tad larger than I need! (BIG GRIN) It appears that the price it was going for, was close to scrap/lb price!

After re-reading my post, I came across much more grumpy than I truly felt, to all, I'm sorry about that.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 07/26/01 19:06:21 GMT

Howdy. I'm having trouble transfering paper drawings onto steel, as in drawing a tree, then plasma cutting. Carbon paper is the same color as hot rolled, i don't really want to paint the steel, as i would be eating the fumes. any ideas? Also, i have friends in Portland, OR, who do nothing but electro-polish stainless steel, for refrigerator brackets, etc. I can get their phone number if you e-mail me. Thank you ,Guru, for this forum. it's like a constant refresher course for me.
mike-hr  <mikecindyjon at aol.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 21:15:50 GMT

Tracing on Steel: Mike this is always a problem. That is why so many people have gone to computer guided torches. Draw it in the computer or trace into the computer then let the machine do the work. If you like the shape you can reuse it. Some of this type thing is becoming economical enough to do it for one offs. If you can't afford the compu-torch then let someone else do the cutting. If you can access this page you have more than enough computing power. Almost all cutting machines will import a DFX file from a CAD program.

OK, so you still want to do it by hand. .
  • 1. Make a copy of the drawing you can trash.
  • 2. Spray it with demountable spray photo adhesive.
  • 3. Apply to steel.
  • 4. Trace with center punch, chisle or even better a vibrating engraver!
  • 5. Peel off the paper and cut.
I use this technique on parts I am going to saw but I just saw through the paper. You can glue CAD layouts to wood or metal. Prints from most lazer printers are accurate to +/-.005". You can transfer drill centers and other features this way too. Works great!

Optionaly you can just use the silver pencils that are available from our advertisers or any good graphic art supplier. On plate you will need to give it a coat of flat black (B-B-Q black works) then draw on that. Skip the paper altogether.

You can also get different colored "carbon" paper from sewing and fabric supply centers. The serated wheel tool used with it will also work on steel. However, I have trouble with both wax pencil and transfers melting in advance of the torch. . so you might be back to the engraver.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 21:56:55 GMT

Tracing on Steel. A friend of mine (and a great blacksmith!), Tom Stovall, prints the photo or whatever he wants to plasma cut, from his computer onto transparent paper that can be used with his printer. He puts this in one of those overhead projectors, and shines it onto the metal, which is standing on its side in a dim room. The size can be varied with the projector. He uses a grease pencil to trace out what he wants to cut. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm setting up to do it later this month. Can do same with scenes, letters, emblems, and so on. You can then keep a master folder with all your transparences.
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Thursday, 07/26/01 23:12:30 GMT

I like to go free hand with a soap stone for hot work or a sharpie for cold work the soap stone is nice realy heat resistent and easy to clean off if you mess up also show's up real good on scale. it isn't so good for cold work that is being touched alot marks get smuged and hard to follow. the sharpie seems to work a bit better for this kind of work (cold chaseing, fileing, rope work ..etc)
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 04:17:15 GMT

Hello everyone, being new to blacksmithing im not really sure of the attributes
of steel and iron.I have recently been getting some peices of stainless steel from
a reletives work, they are round and about 1/4" across with a threaded hole on each end which goes in
about an inch. I was hopeing to know that if I flattened them could the end with hols be forge welded down together
also I was hoping to know what level you all you would put it as in ways of experience. I know unlike some steels and iron it is a bit unforgiving
but how much so I am not sure.
Thanks ahead of time
Aldron  <mmundy at nclink.net> - Friday, 07/27/01 04:55:59 GMT

Stainless: Aldron, SS is good for lots of things but it is labor intensive to do ANYTHING with. It is more difficult to cut, drill, file, weld, forge, finish and polish than most carbon steels. Everything takes 3 to 4 times more time and effort.

It absolutely is NOT a material to learn forge welding on and special flux with flourine compounds is required.

Closing a hole is more difficult than it would seem. It used to be common for ingots to have shrinks in the canters and the hole was difficult to near impossible to close AND weld solid. It is still a common flaw in rolled steel.

Save your pieces of stainless (its expensive stuff) for when you have more experiance AND have a good idea for using it WITH the holes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 05:36:39 GMT

Transferring patterns from paper to steel. You can take hand drawn standard sized paper drawings to the local copy center and have them blown up to just about any size you want. Then get some white school chalk and take your file and proceed to turn it to dust (I suppose you could buy the chalk for chalk lines as it is already powdered) and sift a fine layer onto the metal. Place your paper template on the metal and with a blunt object trace over the lines on the paper. Remove the paper and blow off the metal. The chalk will stick to the metal where it has been traced over and will blow away from where it wasn't. We used this method to make a full size pattern for a free form garden gate onto a steel plate so that the pieces could be checked as they were forged.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 07/27/01 13:34:01 GMT

I know very little at all about blacksmithing. The story I am working on has a blacksmith as a main character, but he is a blacksmith at a time when the world is not like it is now. It is not of the past, but of the future. A future in which there is no coal, or propane with which he may make a fire.

From what I understand, a wood fire is not hot enough and therefore means that any work would take a great deal of time; and that coal is used because once it catches it maintains the forge at a temperature more suitable for the shaping of metals.

Now we get to the actual question part.

1) Without coal or propane, what besides wood could a blacksmith use to heat the forge?
2) How hot does the forge have to be?
3) Of all of the touristy-type places which use pioneer-period methods of blacksmithing, in your opinion, which provides the most accurate representation?
Lorraine Brydon  <rayne at idirect.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 14:35:41 GMT

While I'm at it. Do you know if a Smithing Guild has ever been considered? A place for young men and women to be trained and then go to work, for what ever period is necessary, as an apprentice to a veteran blacksmith?
Lorraine Brydon  <rayne at idirect.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 14:47:09 GMT


While wood is hard to work with, it can be done. First making the wood into charcoal works much better. You can find the method for that in any good encyclopedia.

The guild idea never really took hold here in the US. We're too indipendent.

However, apprentices were traine by Master Smiths Up until the early 1900's

If your story line is as I visualize, (re-building a world after a total breakdown of society) the book "The Revolutionary Blacksmith" found on the story page here at anvilfire will be of help to you. Blacksmiths in the middle to late 1700's faced many of the same problems. And smithing tools and methods have changed very little in the last several thousand years.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 15:19:10 GMT


Two things.

Pardon the typoes in the first message, please. Sometimes my mind outruns my fingers.

(All right you knuckleheads, stop laughing! grin)

And two, if I can help, contact me via email, and I'll do what I can.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 15:28:10 GMT

FUTURE SMITHING: Lorraine, You have a LOT of studying to do if you want to write even a semi-acurate depiction of your future world. Luckily for you there are hundreds of books on the subject.

For over 6,000 years (since the beginning of the Bronze age), charcoal made from wood has been used to smelt and work metals. Many smiths today still use charcoal. In many parts of the world it is still the primary fuel for smiths.

Even in the U.S. the use of coal has declined since the 1960's along with the decline in using coal for domestic heatiing. As distribution systems dry up smiths have been forced to use other fuels. Propane is most common today but natural gas (methane) is used in industry and fuel oil is also used. But solid fuel is much more suitable for many smithing operations because gas and oil forges are enclosed making it hard to manuver long or odd shaped pieces of work.

Charcoal is commercialy available in many places and many folks make their own. We are NOT talking about charcoal briquetts. These are made largely of sawdust and glue. They also have bituminous coal powder added along with the ground charcoal. REAL charcoal is simply wood with the volitiles cooked out of it and the cellulose reduced to nearly pure carbon. Charcoal can also be made of bone.

Forges typicaly reach 3,000°F, hot enough to set iron on fire. Forging of most iron and steel takes place at 2,000°F to 2,500°F.

Accurate Depiction The most accurate dipictions of early blacksmithing in North America are at Williamsburg and Jamestown Virginia. Williamsburg is one of the few places that have full time staff and a goal to be as accurate as is possible. In the early days it was not a lot different than many tourist smithing demonstrations. But when Peter Ross took over as Master Smith they had a complete restructuring of their blacksmithing program. Everything is now done as historicaly accurately as possible (in the public demonstration area). See the anvilfire NEWS, Vol.17, Spring 2000.

Blacksmithing Guild In Europe there are still vestages of the old apprentice system. In North America we have ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) and it local chapters. The local chapters are where the action is. Anyone can join (or visit) that has intrest. Meetings are monthly and there is almost always an opportunity for hands on experiance. There are also numerous schools. See ABANA-Chapter.com for a chapter near you.

And the NEWEST thing on the horizon for smiths are internet sites like anvilfire where anyone can come and learn about blacksmithing without leaving the comfort of their living room. Besides having a board of experts to answer your questions we have many standing articles "FAQs" and hundreds of "how-to" articles and plans (see our iForge page). Anvilfire is supported by advertisers and by Cyber Smiths International one of the first truely international blacksmithing groups.

Background Reading List:

  • The Emergance of Man series, The Metalsmiths, Time Life Books
  • The Art of Blacksmithing, Alex Bealer
  • A Museum of Early American Tools and Diary of an Early American Boy - Noah Blake, by Eric Sloane
  • Pioneer Ironworks, by Mary Stetson Clarke
  • The anvilfire! STORY page an on-line collection including the serial novella by Jim Paw-Paw Wilson
The biggest problem facing your apocalyptic world blacksmith will be identifying the materials he uses from the remains of past civilization. This is a problem that most hobby smiths that use scrap materials face today. There are literaly tens of thousands of steel alloys in use and new ones constantly being developed. They all look and feel alike but are vastly different in their properties and how they are treated. Identification is not easy and requires much testing by trial and error. Or maybe I am getting to technical. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 16:01:53 GMT

Powdered Chalk The chalk-box stuff comes in several colors. Some are called "permanent". I believe moisture in the air makes it stick to surfaces so it doesn't blow away like the powder blue does. Its great for certain applications but don't use it on porous surfaces (including concrete) that you don't want the lines on forever!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 16:15:05 GMT

I am looking for plans to make a pair of tongs. can anyone help?
Dave Muncy  <awful at aroma.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 16:17:21 GMT

One other aspect---he didn't specify low tech though he implied it---just no fossil fuels So: biomethane, alcohol, bio oils, solar and hydropower could all be used to heat metal---basically almost anything that burns can/has been used to fire forges (even peat!) the fossil fuels are just really convenient on the consumer side...

How much infra structure is in place? (where are they getting the metal, do they have to smelt it from rust?) I point out when people say I have such a good survival skill that there are probably more shovels in the garages of my city than in all of england in 1066---why would I want to waste time forging one---scavanging would be much more productive even if I had to re-handle it.

If you could narrow down your constraints we could make better suggestions. BTW have you looked through the Neo-Tribal sites? NT is a loose movement that tries to get back to earlier forms of smithing. Some people have used rocks for anvils, building a forge from clay and ash is par for the course, power tools are generally *not* used, a couple of fellows actually make their living forging and finishing without electricity! Meanwhile we are scavanging off the greater culture making new stuff using old ways from thrown out modern materials.

Thomas Y1K-Y2K+ smithing (doing a Y1K demo next weekend for about 30 hours of smithing Fri, Sat, Sun at the Dublin OH Irish Festival)
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 16:33:14 GMT

Tongs: Dave, We have methods of making tongs on the iForge page and the 21st Century page. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK up to about the 21st edition has a chart of standard tong dimensions.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 16:49:15 GMT

Is there an auction page at Anvilfire?
L.Sundstrom - Friday, 07/27/01 17:06:10 GMT

Auction: Kiwi is testing an auction system that once we get debugged and customized for anvilfire we will post officialy.


Have a play but consider bids/sales serious. Currently it lets you register on line and get a response directly via e-mail (do that first). However, to prevent abuses the final system will require us to manually verify the identity of the person.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 17:15:46 GMT

On marking patterns on steel, another option is to use "whiting". Chalk powder dissolved in alcohol and brushed or sprayed on. Cut out your full size paper pattern, attach to the steel, and spray or brush on the whiting. The alcohol evaporates and leaves a white film that is easy to follow with a torch. I wonder if there is any bad fume from torched chalk? I doubt it.

We used opaque projectors at the sign company to transfer artwork to plastic sign faces similar to what Robert did with transparencies. Just didn't have to make the transparencies. But did need the opaque projector! grin.

I like the engraver through the pattern idea. Could fill the dots in with soapstone to make it stand out better too.

Powdered snap line chalk lines on concrete. Yeah, I have some red stuff that has lasted through numerous power washings and several Wisconsin winters and is still visible. It was my offset expansion joint saw mark line. It doesn't say permanent on the bottle, but it sure is lasting. Grin.

Paw Paw, you shouldn't open doors like that! But I do the same thing. Grin.

Stainless oxidation again. I think one of the problems with the DeLorean stainless body was that it was a light brushed finish. I suppose the better the polishing, the less surface area (less suface irregularities) available to turn gray from chrome oxide. Gotta have that chrome oxide because that is the protective finish that stops further oxidation just like aluminum oxide does on aluminum and rust does on cor-ten(or was supposed to). Stainless is better because chrome oxide sticks to the base metal better than aluminum oxide does to aluminum. Chrome oxide is also more durable than aluminum oxide in *most* environments.

onward. or sideways. or whatever. seems like backwards today for me.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 18:49:04 GMT

I,ve been trying to get started in knife making.My first attempts hav been with 1/8 mild steel.Ive been cutting the blanks with acetylene torch and then shaping in gas forge.I was wondering if carbon could be introduced in a coal forge to increase the hardness of the metal,would the coal intrduce the carbon content or would i need bone added to the fire?
broken knife  <gandlhsg at qnet> - Friday, 07/27/01 19:41:07 GMT

Just to let everyone know, Bill has some Hand Made Scroll Jigs for sale on the auction site !

Kiwi NZ  <andrew at best.net.nz> - Friday, 07/27/01 21:12:17 GMT

Carbon / Heattreating: Broken Knife, Other than for common table knives which are not very sharp in the first place, mild steel does not make much of a knife blade. However, it IS good forging practice and there is nothing wrong with that.

Picking up carbon in the forge will occur any time the metal is at a red heat and the atmosphere is carburizing (rich). However, for the short time that the steel is in the fire this is very negligable. Any amount of filing, grinding or sharpening will remove this higher carbon surface.

In case hardening, the steel is surrounded with charcoal powder (often bone charcoal) and sealed in a box to exclude air OR emmersed in a hardening salt that contains carbon, also excluding air. In both methods it takes about 4 hours to achieve a 1/32" (~.8mm) deep "case" of high carbon steel.

Longer times were used to make what was known as "blister steel" because of the rough blistered surface that resulted. This product was then taken and "refined" by forging and folding and forge welding over and over until a nearly uniform product resulted. This was the steel commonly used in Europe until in the 1700's Huntsman melted some blister steel in a crucible and cast it producing a uniform product called "crucible steel". Today all high grade tool steels and alloy steels are made in crucibles (or melting furnaces), poured and then forged or rolled to further refine the structure.

In any case it is a long involved process that most of us understand but do not particularly want to have to do ourselves.

Your best bet if you insist on using scrap steel is to use spring steel to make knives. Leaf springs or coil springs, almost all springs are good for making good knives, chisles and other hardened tools. Many smiths use auto leaf springs for larger blades but coil spring which are more common today are just as good. Forging the 1/2" to 3/4" round into a flat knife shape is actualy easier than starting with a leaf spring that is probably big enough to make a large heavy sword! Even small springs like valve springs are good for making small tools and blades and are a very good alloy steel.

Auto scrap yards will often give or sell very cheap, coil springs once they are out on the ground and loose as there is no way to udentify what they came from. There is also almost no demand for used springs. Ask nice and you could come home with a truck load!

Forging high carbon steel is different than forging mild steel. For one thing it should be forged at an orange not a yellow heat. It is also more difficult to forge than the lower carbon steel. When hardening I have best luck using an oil quench. However, if you have an even heat and have not over heated, warm water works fine.

After forging take one more all over heat to the hardening temperature and let the part air cool. This is called "normalizing". If done correctly it reduces stress and creates an even crystal structure.

After normalizing heat slowly to the hardening temperature. This is approximately the point where the steel become non-magnetic. You can test with a magnet on a string or a stick. Be sure not to use a composite plastic magnet!

When the piece is evenly heated to the hardening point remove it and quench (oil or warm water). Most blades are quenched edge down but sometime they are quenched point down. I think you get less warpage edge down. The steel should be very hard now. Test it with an old file. It should slide off like the blade is made of ice and just barely scratching the scale. If it digs in then the steel is not hard. It was either not hot enough OR you need to quench in water or brine (salt water).

After hardening you want to "temper" the piece. This is the re-heating of the steel to reduce the harness a little and the brittleness a lot. Most steels need to be tempered to a minimum of 350 - 375°F. This can be done in your kitchen oven if you want. Otherwise temper was determined by "temper color" before high temperature thermometers. Temper colors are the rainbow colors clean bright steel turns when heated. Straw yellow is a good low temperature temper color. Modern alloy steels do not turn the same colors as plain carbon steel so beware of paying too close attention to color tempering charts. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK has a color chart as well as detailed heat treating information for many steels.

To do an even color tempering job you can take a heavy slab of steel about 1" thick and at least as long as your part and heat it in the forge or stovetop, then set the part on the slab and watch the colors run. If you grind a clean spot on the top of the slab and watch its color you can determine the slab's temperature. Then you can sit a smaller part like a blade on the slab and let the heat soak through it. This does a good even tempering job without danger of burning or overheating the part.

The difficult of using temper colors is that all the scale must be ground off and you cannot tell when the temperature of the part (like the slab) goes down, only UP. It is also only the surface temperature. Using a heatsink like the slab makes sure you get an even through tempering. I have used the technique to "temper blue" parts like a gun butt plate and got an absolutely even dark blue.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 07/27/01 21:20:03 GMT

I am looking for a forge in Atlanta Georgia that will make custom sword parts. I really don't car too much if it I can find someone in Atlanta or not, but I thought I'd ask you if you know someone that would be willing to make some parts for me. If you can help me out that would be great, so just email me back if you find anything for me. Thank you very much for your time.
Sid Perkins  <Atomic187420 at aol.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 00:29:16 GMT

Glenn-- by all means, post your research topic on howcum glass attracts steel chunks-- glasstropic iron particles-- in the shop! I think it's a promising area, directly related to a number of other hitherto baffling phenomena, such as howcum china coffee cups don't last in a shop, why watch crystals and weld spatter don't mix well, etc. I'm asking my chief research coordinator, Ms. Chastity Dangerfield, to open a special folder on this. Comments invited. On the phenoms, that is, not Ms. Dangerfield.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 04:35:35 GMT

Lorraine, We were fortunate to recently have two young men from Europe come to work in our shop for six weeks or so. One was from Holland and the other from Denmark. They were on a world tour (working) of Blacksmith shops. They were quite skilled from this experience after having worked in Spain, South Africa, and then California. I was able to learn quite a lot from them as well! It was a great exchange of ideas, culture and politics. I am going to try to support this kind of exchange in the future. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 12:27:02 GMT

Hi, i am trying to find out what kind of metal "spelter" is and i got directed to you site

if you can help, please

Al  <allennicol at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 13:45:25 GMT

Spelter: Al, The old name Spelter was often applied to slab zinc brought from China by Dutch traders. Many times you here of antique cast sculptures as being made of "spelter metal".

What REALLY confuses the use of this term is that in blacksmithing and some other metalworking fields spelter or spelter solder is a 50/50 copper/zinc brass. Granuulated or powdered spelter is used to forge braze iron and steel. Smiths commonly call this spelter brazing. It is a technique much older than the importation of zinc by the the Dutch but I do not know if the application of the term is that old.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 14:37:24 GMT

SEARCH! Last night we intalled a SEARCH on the new archives page! This often asked for feature searches only the archives. Future searches may be put on other hard to sort through parts of anvilfire such as the NEWS.

On many terms that we use commonly it returns too many pages. However with terms like "spelter" above it returns a good short list.

Preliminary testing shows that we need to improve many aspects of our archived pages and future pages. The search includes the HTML keywords lists which are as broad as the subjects we cover on anvilfire. Common terms like "anvil" are found in our title ...anvilfire... and are therfore useless in the search.

This is just one more of the continuing additions and improvements on anvilfire. Check it out and let us know what you think.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 15:18:19 GMT

Hi I have an amvil Willaim Foster 1816? or 1846? on ebay with pictures and I was wondering if you could take a look and tell me what kind of shape this is in.....THANK!!
Here is the link: http://cgi.ebay.aol.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1172111630
Mike Barnett  <barnett569 at aol.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 16:56:08 GMT

Anvil: Mike, I will not validate the condition. Your photos do that well enough. 1846 IS the right date for that anvil. Earlier anvils did not have a pritchel hole. However, occasionaly they were drilled into anvils.

I WILL tell you this. It is a carriage makers anvil (note the square side clip horn). This makes it relativly rare and somewhat of a collectors item. I hope you have a high reserve, its worth a LOT more than $50. But I don't deal in collectables. Those prices are crazy. On the other hand, I've been told that anvil prices are down on eBay.

Currently we are testing a primitive auction system here on anvilfire. When it is fully operational we may put a "guru's seal of approval" on items that ARE as described, for a small fee of course.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 17:22:11 GMT

C.A.C.A. Research Topic

Just wondering if you had noticed that glass becomes highly magnetic at times?

For instance, put a $100 piece of glass in the blacksmith shop, against the far wall, for temporary storage, and then forge. The glass will become highly magnetic and draw a piece of steel from clear across the room with enough magnetic attraction as to give it flight, and with a velocity great enough to break the glass upon impact. This magnatic attraction seems to be directly proportional to the cost of the glass and/or how well you tried to protected it.

To counteract this baffling phenomena, I have placed a piece of 1/8" steel plate in front of the glass. It seems that when the magnetic attraction is blocked perpendicularly to the surface of the glass, it will then creates a force field at approx. 90*. This redirected magnetic attraction is even stronger, strong enough to cause a piece of angle iron that has leaned against the wall for a year or more, to rotate and fall, breaking the glass.

Any insight is appreciated as I have a glass top coffee table to make, and would like to get it to the customer before the glass gets broken, if that is possible.
Conner - Saturday, 07/28/01 20:55:39 GMT

Conner. would ordering the glass afterall work is finished and then using the magnetic force, under controlled forms ofcourse, to keep the glass in place?
or is it as i suspect that the glass looses its magnetism about when money change hands? if so is that a possible solution?
hmm seems i am only ADDING! to the flow of questions.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 07/28/01 21:28:47 GMT

RAZZAMATAZZ2U  <RAZZAMATAZZ2U at AOL.COM> - Sunday, 07/29/01 01:19:49 GMT

I'm new to the smithing field. I have been studying the process of sword smithing for about 3 monthes now and have sucessfully created a forge out of common parts. My question to you is this. Is aluminum a sufficient metal to use in casting molds? If so then is would bring costs of materials down, make the items a lighter weight and it would lower the necassary temperature for melting point. I would like the opinion of someone in my new craft and so i come to you. If you could aid me i would be greatly appreciated.
Cadwallion  <cadwallion at excite.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 01:21:41 GMT

I'm fifteen years old and I am very interested in Blacksmithing. What would be a good way to increase my knowledge and maybe gain some skill. Is their a group like ABANA in NH? What would be a good way to get some experience at the forge? Do you have any suggesttions? I don't have a lot of money or a job, but I am really interested in becoming a blacksmith. How could I start?
KLN  <funwriter1 at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 01:50:43 GMT

Well all, I am here. I am an avid reader on all things related to swords. I decided to take up blacksmithing so I could forge my own blades. Now I know how much I need to learn.
So, I am looking into a welding course at the nearby school, and seeing about getting started. I've also visited Centaur forge and am probably going to spend a small fortune to acquire most of their available books.
This is where I stand, a novice with no real knowledge yet, but, hopefully, one about to learn.
I currently reside in Calgary. Does anyone know of any groups or chapters here that I may join?
David Dubé  <Lyonsbane2000 at home.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 02:45:01 GMT

OAK LEAVES: RAZZ, We have a fellow here in Virginia that uses plain steel plate. He uses a plasma torch to cut blanks from 10ga (~1/8") steel plate. He then heats them in a forge and folds, unfolds and forges the leaf. See our NEWS article Vol. 17 (Spring 2000) p.6.

You can purchase wrought iron plate for sculpture but it is relatively expensive.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 04:49:02 GMT

Molds: Cadwallion, Your question needs to be refrased to make sense. Yes, you can makes molds out of aluminium. But what are you going to cast in the molds?

If you mean cast the parts from aluminium then yes you can do that. Aluminium can be sand cast or investment cast in calcined plaster molds. If can even be cast in permanent cast iron molds.

For the itinerant sword maker it is far cheaper to fabricate, forge, carve or sculpt parts from bar stock than to cast them no matter what the metal.

Stop looking a sword references and especialy stay out of the blade forums. There are some knowledgeable people there but the vast majority learned what they think they know from fictional dipictions in movies and on TV. Start with some good metalworking references. Learn the basics first. See our Getting Started article and Book Review page for references.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 05:00:59 GMT

New Hampshire: KLN, Sadly the closest chapter to you is the Conn. Guild. However, there ARE blacksmiths and wantabees in NH. Ask around. Posting here should get a response. See our ABANA-Chapter.com page for local chapters.

Read our Getting Started article, find the books referred to. Your local library will buy or borrow them if you ask. You can build a forge from junk and scrounge many of the tools you need. Start with the how-to knowledge from books then go from there. Although mosts smiths will welcome any intrested youth into their shop they are much more likely to help someone that knows the top of the anvil from the bottom. Read our anvil series on the 21st Century page before you start looking for an anvil.

Although you can build an entire shop from junk many tools cost money and there is no way around that except to get a job.

If you were a little closer I am looking for someone to cut my (now head high) lawn in exchange for lessons and shop experiance. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 05:19:28 GMT

Crackled and Conner; The magnetic attraction of steel to glass is a function of Murphy's Law and, as you noted, it is stronger than the Law Of Gravity.
This infers that anti-gravity mechanisms are possible. Please accept this as a submission for further study at C A C A....Pete in CA
Pete F - Sunday, 07/29/01 05:33:23 GMT

All Things Swords: David, there are a mess of blacksmiths in Calgary. Did you go to the Stampede? They are not ALL horseshoeing, they have decorative smithing contests now. Folks from all over the world enter.

There is a North and a South Alberta blacksmiths guild. See our ABANA-Chapter.com page. You may need to check the official ABANA list for contacts because we have not kept up the data base on the Canadian groups. I think the Valentine Armoury is local to you (I may be wrong).

DO NOT start out with blade making books. Start at the BEGINNING. That means Alex Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing and METALWORK, Technology and Practice, NEW Edge of the Anvil, Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork and MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. When you understand the basics and know the difference between hardening and tempering and how to do it, THEN start on the knife and blade making references.

Calgary is a beautiful spot. We really enjoyed ourselves when we were there for CanIron II in 1999. See our News Vol. 14.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 05:36:24 GMT

I am rebuilding a "Perfect" power hammer. The babbit bearings need replacing. A while back, I saw a reference to a kit available with babbit, damming material, and instructions. Can you tell me a reference for such a kit. Also, I would like to hear from anyone with experience with this hammer. Thanks, George
George Blackman  <gblackman at deschutes.net> - Sunday, 07/29/01 06:00:20 GMT

Babbiting Kit: George, This is a machine specific kit that Sid Suedemier makes and loans out for Little Giants ONLY. It would not work on your hammer.

Normaly you use the machine's own shaft to do the babbiting. You support the shaft in place properly aligned. Then you dam up the bearings with daming compound such as Damtite and brass templates. Then you preheat the casting and pour the bottom bearings. Then you install the journal caps on shims, dam up, heat and pour them. Afterwards everything is disassembled trimed, sometimes the bearing are scraped, oil grooves are cut and oil ports drilled in the bearing caps. Then everything is reassembled and fits checked.

Using the machine's own shaft has the advantage of fitting a worn or turned down shaft. Mandrel kits only produce the proper fit when the machine shaft is like new.

You can purchase a babbiting kit with babbit, instructions and daming material from Centaur Forge. If they are out, you can get the materials from McMaster-Carr.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 06:48:33 GMT

Pete F.,

Are you a member of the California Associates of CACA? In other words are you a CACACA?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 13:44:03 GMT

Beyond Murphy's Law-- Old Murphy did okay, Pete, for his day, working as he did with the primitive investigative tools available to him. But here at Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis (CACA), we are delving even deeper, laying bare the hitherto unknown but fundamental laws underlying Murphy. Our staff of shapely physicists and engineers are not merely identifying, but actually out there laying bare, explaining the root causes of phenomena that have baffled science for centuries, important stuff such as howcum jelly bread is always falling jelly side-down.

One team, directed by Research Director Chastity Dangerfield, sees the juxtaposition of glass with steel in Conner's shop as in effect the inadvertent setting-up of nothing less than an entropic lens. This situational "lens" then magnified the ever-present ambient entropy, much as a reading glass focusses the sun's rays, and the inevitable result was: a smashed piece of glass. This event, we believe, is the dread entropic surge, a truly awesome event to behold. Consider yourself not the victim of a mishap, then, Conner, but fortunate-- nay, privileged!-- a witness to a cosmic event, your shop a window into the cooling of the universe!

Meanwhile, however, another team, led by Samantha Goodbody, is investigating a totally different hypothesis. Their suspicion is that the hunk-of-steel-flying-across-the-shop-into-the-glass was a psycho-kinetic event, triggered by Conner's apprehensions that it might happen.

Stay tuned.

Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 15:44:09 GMT

Guru: I am fairly new to blacksmithing, but have had minimal experience in the art. I know the basics, so my question(s) have to do with the basics:

What sort of brick and bellows are best to use when making a forge? (and where can I get info on the construction?)
Is standard automobile frame steel worthy to be used for metalworking and knife making?
Final question (for now anyway): What is better used to cool metal so it does not become brittle, water or oil?

Thank you.
Eskort  <SxLoCoxS at aol.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 17:28:13 GMT

BASICS: Eskort, The immediate area of the forge that is exposed directly to the fire needs to be made of refractory (fire) brick. Only a dozen or so are needed. The rest of the forge including the flue can be common clay bricks. However, local building codes may apply and have more stringent requirements such as the use of flue liners.

The book Practical Blacksmithing by MT Richardson has numerous brick forge designs.

The "best" bellows is a matter of your needs and conditions. The best air source is an electric motor driven blower with a speed control. There are many other choices.

Automobile frame steel is a special "deep draw" steel that is designed to be easily worked in a huge press. It is good for many things but not making knives. It is a low carbon steel that is not very hardenable. If you want to use scrap steel for making knives then almost any spring will do quite well. See my long post above to BrokenKnife titled "Carbon / Heattreating".

To prevent steel from becoming brittle do not quench it at all. The point of quenching steel is to harden it thus making it brittle. After hardening you must reheat the steel to temper it, reducing the brittleness.

Smiths often quench steel in the slack tub (water) to cool it quickly for handling. If the steel has air cooled below the lower transformation point (a low red or black heat), then quenching cools the steel but does not harden it.

For hardening the quenchant depends on the type of steel. Some are water hardening, some oil and quite a few tool steels are AIR hardening. In most cases oil quenching is the safest for knife, spring and tool steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 18:36:42 GMT

CACA Reasearch

Cracked, as you mentioned jelly bread is always falling jelly side-down, cats always land on their feet, etc.

IF you were to tie a piece of jelly bread to the back of a cat, and the assembly were to fall, you could, in theory, approach perpetual motion. Could this new energy source be used to drive a power hammer?

Conner - Sunday, 07/29/01 19:24:15 GMT

I would like to know if anyone knows were I can get some casting sand (petrabond?) I've searched the net and can't seem to find a source....I live in WV and need around 50-100lbs...thanks
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Sunday, 07/29/01 20:24:30 GMT

Entropic lens - Hmmm, mayhap the entropic lens could be used to focus a stream of order particles to produce an Improbability Drive much like that in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". The jelly bread/cat assembly could be outfitted with electromagnets to provide the power to stip the order particles produced by a matter/anti-matter reaction. It looks like CACA may be the foremost theoretical physics group in existance!
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldent.att.netSPAMISBAD> - Sunday, 07/29/01 22:12:03 GMT

Foundry Supplies: Mikey, It helps to spell the product right. petrObond


Tell them we sent you!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 00:12:44 GMT

Conner, I try to refuse anything that has glass in it. The last job I did was with an antique: read-EXPENSIVE/IRREPLACEABLE piece of stained glass that they wanted a frame for that could be hung in a window. I never took the glass to the shop until the day I installed it in the frame. It stayed under our bed for a month. I took it to install the next day fearing ALL pieces of steel in the shop. It was a success but very stressful. My advice is to take measurements and keep the thing safe at HOME until it's ready to install. Blacksmith shops and glass do not mix well. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 00:18:30 GMT

KLN- acutually, there is an ABANA chapter around here (sorry Guru) called New England Blacksmiths. It is a great bunch of people, and we even have a teaching/workshop center in Brentwood, NH. If you want to join or have any other questions, please email me.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 00:45:45 GMT

Hey, I have been trying, its very trying, to forge some hand tools out of solid stock, I previously asked questions about cracks forming in the fullered areas, and after intensive research (in the style known as deep CACA), I have verified the truth of the matter, and it was (no suprise) just as the guru said. But, I am going nutzo trying to forge a regular though non symetric 26 sided dingus with handel out on one end, business out of opposite, with two cross arm thingies out the sides, (It looks like an octagon from any end/side (if ya ignore the extensions) ya with me here guru?. Now, i am thinking of getting them cast (not by me,,,to complicated for me).
Finally the question. If I want to get say 100 of em cast, what do I have to supply, a mold (negative) or a model (positive) or drawings (cad) or what...I am totally ignorant about castings, I will guess that I will end up specifying some fancy 4xxx steel, and will heat treat myself after 'polishing'..... so heap it on me.
Tim the confused and stupid one - Monday, 07/30/01 01:21:21 GMT

We are working on a fluid/flux armature to harness the potential cat-jelly bread reciprocal drive-power. But because of the little-known CACA corrolary to the Heisenberg effect-- observing the process not only affects the process, as Heisenberg noted, as the photons impact upon it, but we find the act of observing also has an effect upon the observer, too-- we keep getting hungry and go out to make ourselves a slew of peanut butter and jelly sammies. Every time, so far, when we got back to the lab, the cat has managed to wriggle loose. Work continues.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 01:23:34 GMT

Cracked: Obviously, you need to get a Schroedinger cat. They are specially bred to be unobservable during an experiment. Of course, during the experiment they tend to hang out in a region of uncertainty as to whether or not they actually exist...And upon observation at the conclusion of the experiment there is a 50% chance of their having become a Cheshire cat as well.

Good luck!
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 07/30/01 01:31:57 GMT

I'm a woodworker attempting to make a pail like a sap bucket with a swing bail handle. First, how do I form the two tapered 3/4 inch bands (both the rounding and the tapering), and second, how do I make the complex bends in the bail handle(with the wire going thru the turned wood handle at the top)? Thanks Frank
Frank Meehan  <frankandnell at monad.net> - Monday, 07/30/01 02:56:30 GMT

You should aquire a Maxwells demon. I see a great potental use for a light portable forge using one.
Cats don't land on thier feet if they are dropped from a hieght of 3".
Just an idea.
Jim E  <NoSpam> - Monday, 07/30/01 03:10:00 GMT

last I heard the CT chapter had closed up shop there was some talk about restarting it but no one had the space/ time for meetings in there shop. so far as I know there was just one meeting of the revived guild.
if I am wrong PLEASE correct me and pass along the contact info.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 04:34:04 GMT

Wow! I ask you: is this synaptic symbiosis, dynamic synergism, or what! If I got me a right-thinking Maxwell's Demon, it would eat the damned bats, and then if I get hold of a Schroedinger cat with attitude, it would eat the demon-- or better yet mate with it-- and I could then sell the demonlets and-- listen! Not a word of any of this to the ASPCA!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 04:43:27 GMT

Yes Paw Paw CACACA as the crow's nose knows.
Pete F - Monday, 07/30/01 05:13:45 GMT

Cracked Anvil...Your Beyond Murphy's Law exposition is simply splendid...but it raises some questions.
If the situational lense will in fact direct an entropic surge, can this force be used to counter gravity ,( the force whereby the earth sucks) or
If the 2 forces are combined will it send us straight to Hell?, ummm, any quicker.
Alternatively, If it was a Conner induced psycho-kenetic event ; Then does the future of antigravity research rest literally on connor's head?
The proposed subject of a cat/peanutbutte-spread-bread antigravity was extensively covered in the Journal of Irreproducable Results some years back ( funny and venerable publication that may or may not still exist).
However, clearly, the CACA Associated Convocation of Cybersmiths, including CACACA and PawPAw have advanced the study considerably,considering the considerations.
Pete F - Monday, 07/30/01 05:40:34 GMT


Pete, shouldn't that have read:
the CACA Convocation of Associated Cybersmiths?

Cracked, I see the cat/jelly-spread-bread antigravity research has been assigned to the PawPaw chapter. Those cats that tried to wiggle out of the research will find that you can not pussyfoot around PawPaw.
Conner - Monday, 07/30/01 09:31:56 GMT

Frank Meehan: The easiest way to do the tapered bands is to cut them out of sheet stock. Draw them as conic sections of the right size for your bucket, that is, when drawn on a flat sheet they will be curved. when you cut them out and join the ends, they will be flat but tapered. There are other ways to do this, of course. See the plans page here for how to lay out cones, I think there's a how-to there.

As for the bail handle, put the turned wooden bit on when the wire is straight and bend the wire afterwards. It may take big pliers, or cold-hammering, but it should work as well.
Alan-L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 07/30/01 14:31:39 GMT

You're a caution, you guys!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 14:40:54 GMT

I'd go with the first part of your "best" reply.

The "best" is what is best for your conditions! You would be welcome to take your electric motor driven blower and set it up in my shop and race me on a piece---however the fact I don't have electricity in my shop might be considered cheating!

I started out with an electric blower, then went to hand crank which I preferred to the electric blower and now am using a double lunged bellows which I prefer to the hand crank---of course I'm not doing production work and I do a bit of "historical demo's" but its almost meditative pumping the bellows---I have a nice set and can pump it with 1 finger. Course when I need to shove some metal out the door I use a blown propane forge---currently set up by my triphammer in a friend's shop who does have both the electricity and the lack of neighbors allowing the hammer to run!

Thomas "best" is *ALWAYS* relative
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 14:45:36 GMT

Hi, I'm glad to hear that stuipid questions are allowed. I live in Norther New Brunswick Canada, and I'm 35 years old. I have welded in the past, but I'm self taught. I have little knowledge of metal, but I'm reading. I bought a hand forge and anvil two days ago. I tryed getting the fire going, but had difficulty maintaining the fire, and it did not get hot enought to get the steel red. I used an old horse shoe that i had around the farm. The old guy I bought the forge and anvil from gave me a bucket of "blacksmiths" coal and that what I tryed. Could you tell me the nearest place to buy coal, and some tips on how to build and maintain the fire. Thanks. caio....eric
Eric Poitras  <epoitras at nb.sympatico.ca> - Monday, 07/30/01 15:31:07 GMT

Bucket BandsFrank, Normaly the cooper went to the blacksmith and bought them. However, most barrel bands are not conic when put on. They are cylindrical and stretched to fit. But if you want them fitted they are simply hammered on one edge (flat) which stretches the material thus putting the curve in the band. This takes a small anvil or block of steel. If you can't wrap the material around the bucket/barrel or off, by hand then it is too heavy for the job.

New England Blacksmiths: Chad, I'm sorry. We have them listed under Maine and I missed them.

MP The CT chapter is reorganizing the last I heard (as of March - April). I do not know their current status.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 15:43:05 GMT

Cold Fire: Eric, A lot of things can go wrong in a forge fire if you are not used to building them. In your part of the world I suspect you have hard coal or anthracite. I know that is all that's available in Nova Scotia. Hard coal needs a deep fire and contimous air. Its difficult to keep going with a hand crank blower. But it WILL create a white heat. It just takes longer to get the fire up to temperature. It will then cool quickly if air is not kept blowing. Even the short time it takes to hammer a little on a piece is long enough to lose a LOT of the fire.

"Smithing" coal is generaly good quality soft coal (bituminous). The best is easy to light and takes just the gentlest blast of air to come up to heat. Once started it will burn up the fuel in the center of the fire from the natural draft that comes through the tuyeer.

Where to buy is a difficult question. On the "Coal Scuttle" list provided by Fred Holder of the Blacksmiths Gazzett there are several suppliers listed in Canada but they are relatively far from you. Check his page for the newsest version.

Your best bet is to find other local smiths and ask them what they use. Often blacksmiths buy coal as a group to cut down on shipping costs. In the US it is getting harder and harder to find coal because it is used much less for heating and there are fewer dealers. See if you can find a local coal dealer. He may be listed under fuels or fuel oil. Buy a small quantity of "stoker" coal from him and try it. Get no more than a bucket full to test. If it works well, then try some more.

If all else fails Bruce Wallace and Centaur Forge sell coal by the bag.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 07/30/01 16:02:27 GMT

CACA _CACACA-PAWPAW - the Professional Association of Workers in Physical Analysis of Whatever?
or Proverbial Applications of Welding Parts and Widgets?
Yeah, a stretch, now please, an answer to the question on what I need to do to get a metal caster to cast me something
(remember, model, mold, drawing?)
Tim - Tuesday, 07/31/01 00:41:09 GMT

Good Guru. your 10% design fee was mailed today :)
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 00:47:06 GMT

Castings: Tim, I can't say I've ever had a 4xxx series casting made, and I know it can be done, but I think the number of foundries that can/will do chrome moly castings is limited. I don't know of any. I would have to seach the web or Thomas Register or such. Or talk to my local foundries or the American Foundry Society (AFS). But in answer to your question, to get a part cast.... A foundry usually wants a part drawing at least. A drawing of what you will end up with. Even better, they want a casting drawing. A drawing of exactly what you want them to provide to you. Including showing where the draft should be, excess material required, and any limitations on where gates can be. Gates are the spots on the casting where the metal fills from. If you don't know pattern design, talk to them and work out the details. Then you will want to look at a casting drawing that THE FOUNDRY creates before you sign the purchase order. You should also discuss things like porosity, inclusions (you want zero) and excess material for machining. I, personally would grind off the skin on any casting before forging it.

Supplying a pattern that a mold can be made from is only valuable if it will fit the molding equipment of the foundry. Flask size, match plate dimensions, etc. And even then, they probably won't like it due to their particular style or equipment. It sounds like a somewhat difficult casting. I think you'd be best off showing your desired finished part to the foundry.

How big is this part? Can it be investment cast?

Hope it helps.

If any one of you figures out how to make the unavailable, available, (eliminate Entropy) please fill me in! I'd like a ride on THAT trian! Grin!
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmilwpc.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 02:26:11 GMT

Guru and all,

I have been offered a ~500# Fisher anvil, which appears to be almost unused, for $1200. I have also been offered a 404# Peter Wright for the same price. The Wright anvil has seen more use, but appears to be in good shape.

I heard many people commenting on how wonderful Wright anvils are, but I haven't heard much about Fisher anvils. I am leaning toards the 500# Fisher, partly because it's in such great shape, and partly because it's bigger *grin* Is the fisher a good anvil, comparable to the wright? Or am I better off with the smaller anvil?

Maybe I should just by them both..... I can spend $2400 on anvils.... sure I can....

Jim  <anvilwyrm at earthlink.net> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 03:20:37 GMT

Eric, Try contacting the pioneer village at King's Landing near Fredricton, New Brunswick, There used to be a blacksmith there years bac. He may still be there, or they may have someone else working at their smithy, on site. Also check the yellow pages for St. John N.B. there should be a coal supplier in that burg and, perhaps a blacksmith shop or farrier there too. There are a lot of smiths in Nova Scotia, that could be contacted for a bituminous coal supplier. (i.e. smithing coal not heating coal). Bonne Chance, Slag.
slag  <dstotland at videotron.ca> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 03:43:59 GMT

Jim- You are not going to hear alot of good stuff about Fisher anvils. Fishers are at the lower end of desirability(?) in anvil circles. I always speak up when folks start talking about this or that tool is best etc. Any type of tool is better than none, first. Second, is the tool right for you, regardless of brand? What comes from the tool is much more important than having a tool from which nothing is made. Can you test both anvils. The fisher will be much quieter to work with, but the PW will have higher resale value. At 4-500 lbs, they are both big honking anvils. You can bargin harder on the fisher though I think.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 04:03:05 GMT

Fisher vs. Wright: Jim, The Fisher is a cast iron anvil with a tool steel face welded on in the mold. The Wright is a forged wrought iron anvil with a tool steel face.

The cast hybrid anvils are an American design (patented by Fisher) that was much cheaper to produce than forged and forge welded. Some people love them and other hate them. They are quite dead due to the properties of cast iron.

The difference in value if based on original (NEW) prices would make the Fisher over priced. OR the Wright a good deal.

Bruce Wallace has a number of large anvils he's trying to sell and my give you a better deal.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 04:13:12 GMT

Great Guru, Please add this supplier to your coal scuttle. H. Riendeau Inc. at 2640 St. Charles St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Phone # is 1 514 932 9144. They carry good blacksmith coal and sometimes have coke (for idiots, like me, who work the hard way). Their French is fluent and their English is passible. Regards, Slag.
slag  <dstotland at videotron.ca> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 04:41:27 GMT

Castings & Viruses: Tim, Sorry I didn't answer sooner. I've been killing incomming virus files as fast as possible (another effing spammer is infected. . ). The national news says to expect another wave of CODE RED but SIRCAM is still flooding my system. Many from the same people. Step two is to track down their ISP's with whois and have their service disconected for abuse (leaving their system on line and mail running unattended is abuse on most contracts). I'M getting REALLY P.O.ed about the ignorance of some people on this subject.

Sorry, but these folks are taking the fun out of life and the virus authors are not nearly as much of the problem as Bill Gates and the National News.

  • Problem number ONE. Getting ANY foundry to talk to you about anything less than a couple hundred castings.
  • Problem number TWO. Being able to afford to have them do the pattern work. I am very nearly a professional pattern maker and delt with numerous foundries but still have a terrible time getting anything done OR for them to accept my patterns. They want to do the work in their shop for thousands of dollars.
  • Problem number THREE. Is your "product" a suitable design for casting? Many shapes are not. Yours sounds like it is not (too big of change in section).
  • Problem number FOUR. If you can't answer most of these questions yourself you do not have the skills to design a part to be cast or to make the patterns yourself. It takes many years of study and practical experiance to learn what IS and IS NOT good casting design. The answer to this is simple, MONEY. You need to pay someone to advise you on the details.
If you need a more precise answer to your question you will need to provide an engineering drawing (three views with toleranced dimensions, preferably to true scale). I can help you with the design but I have to charge for my time on this type project. I have a dozen or so of my own that need attention . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 05:08:47 GMT

Guru thanks for the info on PetrObond .....as for spelling,I did mention that I was from WV....(grin)...thanks again
Mikey  <pbrs at 1wv.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 11:35:20 GMT

How is the best way to make a knife or hatchet blade out of motorcycle chain?
Ron C  <h1office at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 12:03:43 GMT

Any hints on making damascus type steel billets using motorcycle chain?
Ron C  <h1office at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 12:11:51 GMT

Et All,
a serious inquiry

How much "junk" musta hammer have,
To be a Junk Yard Hammer?

In the interest of fair competition, and in the expectation of your gracious response, though for the moment incompacitated by the necessity to forego the joy of smithing in the pursuit of income, I am ever-grateful,
Yours truely,
L Sundstrom - Tuesday, 07/31/01 12:12:52 GMT

Does the Fisher have a rectangular piece out of the side of the face (about 1" deep and 6? in long) if it does it was the anvil for a Blacker Triphammer and should weigh 515# there will also be a serial number stamped in the side of the face plate near the notch that I would like to know. I bought a Blacker that had gone through a fire just to save it from the scrap heap and passed it on to the fellow who's working on a museum dedicated to Fisher.

Don't know where you're at or how fast you need an anvil but I've bought a mint 515# Fisher (before I picked up the hammer) and a 408# Trenton that's in fair shape both for less than $1 a pound in the last couple of years. I wouldn't pay that much unless you *really* need a big anvil. I'd get a 150-250# anvil and buy a triphammer with the rest of the money.

Fishers are decent anvils---sure like them more than Vulcans and the quietness can be a big help in the shop; however their resale value is lower and repairs are much harder to do.

Thomas getting ready for Y1K smithing at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 13:05:29 GMT

Motorcycle Chain: Ron, First you put if back on your Harley, then you ride down to your steel supplier. . .
  • Start with clean degreased chain. A little oil will not hurt but internal rust may result in bad welds.
  • Double over, heat, flux and weld.
  • Heat (yellow) and twist.
  • Double over, flux and weld twice.
  • Flatten ends of piece to about 1/2 thickness leaving a thick place in the center that will become the back side or poll
  • Fold over an ax eye drift.
  • Heat flux and weld the part in front of the eye without the drift then drive the dfift back in and rough finish to shape.
  • Optionaly you could have "steeled" the edge in the welding process.
  • Finish the rough blank to shape by grinding to bring out the pattern.
  • Harden and Temper.
  • Grind and polish final finish
  • Etch with your choice of etchant.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 13:13:37 GMT

Junk Yard Hammer Grades: Larry, A First Class JYH has 96% junk content the balance consisting of welding rod, a few fasteners and paint and some odd parts. A second class JYH has at least 50% or more junk content the balance being odd plate, angle iron and such from your shop. A Third Class JYH has some major recycled components (less than 50% of the mass) but the balance is new steel, motor ect. . . Generaly it is hard to determine the difference between a Third class JYH and a FAB JYH.

Now first class JYH hammers come in various levels dependent on the cash expenditure to obtain the junk content. The lower the cash expense the higher the grade of hammer. A Primo First Class JYH will cost less than $100. Anything over that is a common First Class. Below $50 it is a Super Primo First Class JYH.

Of course this is balanced by the hidden labor costs which are always double the reciprocal of the cash value. Mathematicaly this gets complicated because as any system approaches zero its reciprocal nears infinity. Thus we modify the formulae by setting an arbitrary ceiling of double the installed cost of a NEW commercial hammer of twice the "rated" capacity of the JYH. Otherwise it would require you to be immortal to complete the project. Ultimate First Class JYH (AKA Holy Grail JYH) are only rummored to exist due to the mathematics predicting that they are never completed in the life of the builder.

Now what competition you speak of I do not know.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 14:12:52 GMT


There are formal competative events. and then there are the inward urges of the soul that exist only on the barren fields where junk yard dogs howl. For those there are judges of such events who have a true grasp of the nuance degrees that torment them what upon such feilds compete. Sir, you have defined the terms of the struggle beautifully. I am grateful.

With deep appreciation I submit to this most highly defined standard...

and press on in all due respect,


L Sundstrom - Tuesday, 07/31/01 15:06:38 GMT

JYH Math: I forgot to mention that the rules of improbability theory (based on Bistromathics) apply strictly to all JYH calculations.

Blacksmiths Guide to the Universe
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 16:09:41 GMT

Guru and Larry,

I begin to think you are both constipated.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 16:27:10 GMT

Guru and gurinos...I found a supplier of calcium fluoride/fluorspar..Reade Chemical..quoted 500gm for $95. Lets see..453.6gm = 1 lb..so its about 1 lb and almost 2 oz. Does anyone know if thats a reasonable price and how much is added to say one pound of borax.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 16:49:22 GMT

Got a couple of helpful ideas so far in my quest to perfect a forging technique for motorcycle chain.
Ron C  <h1office at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 17:18:41 GMT

It's a gift.
L Sundstrom - Tuesday, 07/31/01 17:31:50 GMT

Flourspar: Randall, 10% is what the published recipes call for 90 brorax 10 flourspar. But, being a mineral not all flourspar is created equal. The high grade stuff (98% CaF2) is imported from Spain and Italy. There are domestic grades mined in Ohio and other parts of the cnetral US but they are not as good.

Try Kick Wheel Pottery on our links page. Their price is $10 for 5 pounds. Not sure of grade. Let me know what you find out.


- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 17:56:27 GMT

Oh Good and Great Guru....:)
I would like to find a method to make square holes in 1x1/4 mild steel ... I have to make a 6' high fence 150' to go round a pool the pickit have to be 4" on center so roughly with a center bar this means 1350 holes...:( I have done small sections and gates before where I have drilled 1/2 and then squared off with a file but 1350 holes just scares me (and the file) any suggestions

yours in hope
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 19:10:52 GMT

Mark, thats a lot of holes! You didn't say what size the hole needs to be but I would guess you are talking about a 1/2" x 1/2" hole. Put aside traditional methods, you are talking production here! Have you concidered a hydraulic punch press? The Guru could give the math for the forces needed but I would think that a press would be the way to go!
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 19:42:11 GMT

I am looking for any technical and historical information on a spring locking leg vise. It is called an "Improved Fuller" pat. 1908. No other markings on it. I am restoring it for display at the Rocky Mtn. Blacksmiths conference in Carbondale, CO, next week, and would like to print up a little info about it. It has a ton of rube goldberg linkages in it, and must be seen to be believed. Thanks in advance for any leads or data.

Carl Plehaty  <cplehaty at ball.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 19:52:03 GMT

Yo Carl, Contact U.S. Patent office and try to do an on-line patent search. Search in the name of the company that made the vise. (i.e. the assignee of the inventor-assignor. an assignment is essentially a sale of the patent). You can also search through the year 1908. I am assuming that that patents that old are now in the data base. If you have any trouble, the patent office staff are often helpful and may give you some searching tips. (but they will not do the search for you.). When you find the patent, you will get the text for certain but I am not sure if they have the drawings in the data base. Some regional libraries have full patent documents but I'm not sure if their patent collection would go that far back. The Patent Office will send out patent copies requested, for a fee. But I think you are in a hurry. Some private patent search firms may be able to fax the patent to you, for a fee).Or courier it to you for a more hefty fee. But it is always cheaper to do the patent search yourself and just provide them with the patent number, than to have them search for it and then send it to you. Good luck. Slag.
slag  <dstotland at videotron.ca> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 20:24:05 GMT

Casting; remember if you make a mold *directly* from a part, the pieces cast from it will be *smaller* as the piece will contract as it cools off from liquidus. This contraction needs to be built into the pattern if the final size is important.

I found a neat patternmakers scale at the local fleamarket. Metal, with 4 different scales: 1 "normal" and the others offset to allow for the shrinking of the casting for Cast iron, Brass and Cast Steel. for $3. My fiend with a hobby foundry got his birthday present early that year...

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 20:47:40 GMT

Holes: Mark, Wayne is right. That is a job for an iron worker or punch press.

Tonnage = 30 x Perimeter x depth

1/2" square = 2in perim, x 1/4 = 1/2. so 15 tons

5/8" square = 2.5" perim x 1/4 = 5/8 so 19 tons

(always round UP)

A hyraulic press will work BUT you have to remember it takes considerable effort to extract a punch. Normaly you use a die set with a couple tons of springs to extract the die. Square punch and dies can be purchased from a number of suppliers including whoever Whitney-Roper is now. Then you need the die set.

On iron workers and punch presses the inertia of the flywheel will pull the punch out if it is fitted into the ram OR if the dieset is linked to the ram. So no springs are required in the dieset except to keep it open when not in installed in the press.

The punch goes through a plate called a "stripper" that holds the work down when the punch pulls up. Normaly this is a loose fit
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 21:37:05 GMT

Wayne... yep lots of holes and yes 1/2x1/2" in 1/4" thick stock.... I have an old bottle jack (25 ton) and was wondering if mounting this in an H frame with a punch and die would work... predrilling the holes to 7/16 so all the die is cutting is basically the corners... like the tennon jigs and drills for woodworking?
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 21:41:20 GMT

Guru...Thanks for the fast reply. I should have included the following: 98% purity, -140 + 325 mesh, CAS # 7789-75-5.
I will check out the kickwheel site too. $95. is a little rich for my blood for barely more than a pound.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 21:48:08 GMT

Guru..checked out kickwheel.com and you were correct...5 lb. for 10$. Ceramic grade, whatever that means. Ordered 5 lb. to give it a try. Thanks again.

Support Anvilfire..Join CSI.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 22:08:06 GMT

Hi,Helpful freinds
This may sound lame but could somebody out there check out my available items page on my website (www.sandiaforge.com)and give me feedback to see if i'm way out of line.I would much appreciate it.
Thank you,chris
Chris Makin  <cfm15 at home> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 23:03:47 GMT

Chris, Nice looking site. I think your prices are fine. I paid $400.00 for a folder that was custom made to my specs about 7-8 yrs ago and I thought that was a bargain at the time and still do. Where are you located?
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Tuesday, 07/31/01 23:25:40 GMT

Punching: Mark, do not predrill the holes. But remember you need something to retrack the punch. Its takes TONS not pounds.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 00:01:02 GMT

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