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I just picked up an edwards #10 shear. It is a monster. No handle. Any slick ideas on forging a handle (tricks, design, ect..)? comments appreciated!
   rugg - Tuesday, 07/08/03 23:44:41 GMT

Rugg, The Edwards #10 is a hogger, all right. I have one, and the handle it came with was cobbled, but it works. The portion that fits the leverage receptacle is 3/4" x 2" x about 8". Then Whomever flattened 28" of thickwalled pipe, fit one end over a little of the 3/4" x 2", and arc welded it. The other end of the flattened pipe was arc welded to a length of 1" round. The total length was 52". I have no idea what an original handle might look like, but I bet the 3/4" x 2" is pretty standard.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/09/03 01:36:53 GMT

#10 Shear: Rugg, Frank's description is fairly standard. The originals I've seen were just long flat (heavy) bar, sometimes with a slight dogleg at the connecting end to raise the handle. Due to side flexing (you gotta HANG on thet handle to do the rated work) many get bent so they have been cut off and welded as was Frank's. A long tapered forged handle would look nice with a little 1-1/2" ball end forged on it. . . Heck of a job by hand. The REAL trick is anchoring the thing so you can hang on that handle! Needs a weld platten at mid calf level OR to be mounted on a heavy (1" +) plate that is then bolted into a concrete floor.

On the Road Again. . . : We are going to the Kayne's for tomarrow nights (7:pm) Western NC blacksmiths meet. The demo will be the NEW flypresses. They are IN! See you there. Directions on the Kayne and Son About Us page.

I'll be back late Thursday.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/09/03 02:37:40 GMT

Chris, If all else fails, I am willing to negotiate to make the cutler's hammer for you. Turnaround time about 5 weeks. My e-address is near the "Top Post"; click on "GURUS".
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/09/03 03:12:29 GMT

I made a handle for mine that worked well...used a piece of flat bar that fit the socket and welded it to a 2'piece of 2" heavy wall pipe at about a 30* angle. To that I welded a 2'piece of standard pipe and on that I welded 6 more feet of thin wall pipe from a child's swing set. The weight wasn't too bad and i could comfortably dangle from the long end of the handle to take a heavy bite. The dog-leg at the end allows you to get a grip from both ends of the shear.
Bruce; I think pure tin was standard..or so I was told. Is it possible that the 90 wt gear oil is just too thick for the blower...if you added enough to reach the gears then pushing it around might be a lot of extra work.
QC...perfect gifts...you clearly have a gift for choosing.
3Dogs...bepraved declivities...just be brave if you gottem..like "Paw-Pawism"...might stick.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 07/09/03 08:52:26 GMT

Oil for forge blowers
I like to use chainsaw bar oil for my forge blower, it seems stickier than motor oil. I just give it a couple squirts in the morning and for a average days work it seems about right.
   JimG - Wednesday, 07/09/03 14:32:58 GMT

pete, you could comfortably dangle from a 8' handle?? what size shear do you have? this one weighs about 450# (they guy @ the dock reported this), is was not cheap, it was a pain in the glutes to unload and move, and i will be upset if i need to use a handle that long. i read that it will easily handle 4X3/4" bar, or 1" round or square.

guru and frank, thanks for the responses..the ball on the end idea is cool.

   rugg - Wednesday, 07/09/03 15:28:18 GMT

guru, Kaynes sells "smithin coke". If you get the chance, ask or see how this stuff performs.

thanks again
   rugg - Wednesday, 07/09/03 15:54:48 GMT


When I got my Edwards shear the prior owner had neglected it and all of the pivoting joints were very DRY and caused much friction!

I highly suggest that you take it apart, clean and grease all of the pivots on it with wheel bearing grease or such. The bearing surfaces are all of the same cast iron that the whole unit is made from. The wear on the bearings is dispicable, but there isn't much that I could do to fix it without babiting, welding or filing the heck out of it. So LOTS of grease made it work much better. I also greased the gears since there were some wear "gouges" in them.

If you want to cut stuff that thick (4X3/4" bar, or 1" round or square) you will need a long handle. My Edwards shear (also around 500 pounds, when I had it disasembeled I weighed it) has a 5 1/2' handle with the same solid tang and fabricated tube type asmebly that Pete described. It is not bolted down, so I can't hang my 210 pounds off of it, but I can pull pretty hard on it.

I have cut 1" round stock with it, but it wouldn't cut the steel cold. So I heated the steel up to a blue temper color and threw it between the jaws and cut it very quickly so as not to draw the temper from the jaws. That worked very well and cut with no problem.

Hope this helps,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 07/09/03 17:23:13 GMT

Anvil Repairs

This morning I took the plunge and repaired my anvil. It is a german - style anvil, with a conical horn with the hardy hole at the horn's end. The other end was broken off when I bought it, it still weighed close to 180kg.

The first step was to grind deep chamfers on the sides of the break. This is where I discovered that the anvil is made of wrought iron, with a steel face welded on. I had 7 pieces of 22mm sheet stock profiled at a local engineering place. For the top I used two pieces of guillotine blades, the type printers use, welded together with tool steel welding rods.

I then started working from one side, welding a vertical to the anvil, and welding it to the top. I used a tip I found on anvilfire, instead of having the bick tapering on bothe sides I put a long straight edge on one side, the other side tapers.

Welding the chamfers on the sides used a huge amount of welding rods!

The welded on part has a bounce that is slightly lower than the original face.

I still have to grind the edges to decent radius.

With a bit of thought and carefull welding I now have an anvil with almost double the surface area. I have taken a number of pictures of the process, email me and I will forward them.
   Tiaan - Wednesday, 07/09/03 18:02:42 GMT

I am considering a 125 lb beaudry but the sow block is cracked and a band welded around it . is this piece cast steel ?and also the bases upward flange is cracked with a piece missing i am wondering how much this detracts from the hammers value in your opinion.
   maz - Thursday, 07/10/03 00:57:50 GMT

When i sold my Edwards #10 shear, the buyer tried to load it with a Harbor Fright truck mount cranelett rated for 1/2 ton....LOL!! What a POS..another lesson from HF.
When I bought the shear , years ago...Had to disassemble it and hand carry the pieces up a flight of stairs and on up a hill to my truck..was a very tired puppy afterwards.
Yup, it needs to be bolted down and the longer the handle, the more use it will be to you...otherwise the tool is bigger than people I think.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 07/10/03 06:09:39 GMT

I wish to thank everyone that has helped with suggestions in constructing my forge and fuel of choice. It is so good to have knowledgeable help to get it right when inexperienced.
A question of technique: - I want to make some raising hammers out of 1"x1" 4140 stock. The heads are D shaped and will be of different weights. The intent is to maintain the 1" uniformly in the hammers cheek-to-cheek direction. The bottom of the hammerhead is flat. Looking at the heads from the cheeks the shape is a D. The question is how do you forge and minimize spread? As I form the "tapered" heads do I even out the cheek-to-cheek dimension as I go?
I very luckily do happen to have, for free, a large anvil that is crowned slightly. Does this help?
Also any recommendations on tempering a hammer head?
   Alan - Thursday, 07/10/03 11:12:39 GMT

Hello, Guru* I hope you can help me. I have aquired an antique metal lathe,serial#3483. It is supposed to be from the early 1900's and quite possibly a Southbend.Have it running very well but I need a half nut and more information on it.All I have is the serial number.It has no other markings.Thank You.Connie.
   Connie - Thursday, 07/10/03 18:06:59 GMT

Hello all, a couple questions.
First let me say thanks for all the information everyone has given me over the last few months. I’m very new and am engaged in the slowest forge build in history. For the last seven months or so I’ve been working on building a forge, mostly with information gleaned from this site and emails from contacts from this site. The fact that I am away from home 50% of the time and that I’m broke have kinda drawn the project out.
I’ve gotten my burner “done” and actually set spark to it once now and realized I don’t have a clue how it should burn. It’s basically the Jock’s simple burner though I think I need to increase the diameter of the mixing chamber. Currently I’ve got a mixing chamber that is 1” with ¾” reducers on each end. This goes into the forge on one side and a T piece on the other. The Propane is introduced from the bottom via a Tweeco tip (.035 I think) as a jet. The blower enters from the opposite end and is 27 CFM with a ball valve inline to regulate delivered flow. Like I said, I think I may need to increase the mixing chamber (via reducers since I’m using pipefittings) up to 2”. As of right now I have no regulator between the tank and the burner but will be putting one in that I plan to set around 30psi and hope to leave that as a constant

My questions are: While test burning, I had a small blue flame about 1-2” from the end of the burner, is this what I want when I put it in the forge? Should I go with my plan as it stands to set the gas flow and make my adjustments with my blower? Suggestions are appreciated. I haven’t tried to contact any smiths face to face figuring I ought to spend a little time at the forge before I do.

Thanks for the info, no need to hurry to respond, wouldn’t want to break tradition.
   AKsmith - Thursday, 07/10/03 23:54:25 GMT


I'm a coal and coke man myself, but I do recall that Ron Reil has a nice troubleshooting section on his site, with clear pictures of various "good and bad" flames. If you use the navigation bar here to go the "Plan File" and the to "Simple Gas Burner and Gas Forge Resources", you'll see a link to Ron's page at the bottom. His troubleshooting and pictures are linked on page 1. One caviat is that he asks that you be at least 21 to enter his sight. Apparently he's had some problems with youngsters trying to burn down their parents' homes and blaming him. Anyway it's a great sight, and might be of some help.

Also, don't be afraid to make early face to face contact with your local blacksmithing community. They're really a great bunch, and one on one interaction with a good smith can save you years of trial and error heartache. I don't know a blacksmith out there who would think badly of you asking questions if you're respectful and sicerely wanting to learn the craft. We all started out green.

Happy hammering!
   eander4 - Friday, 07/11/03 01:18:57 GMT

more edwards shear stuff..it cut through 1/2" sq, using a crow bar for a handle, like buttah! now i know.. i am now confident that the longer handle will deal with anything that i work with..ill grease 'er up, but no way am i taking it apart!!

yea pete, that is the monster shear!

thanks again
   rugg - Friday, 07/11/03 01:30:30 GMT


How are you going to grease it while it is still together? All of the bearing surfaces are inside the mechanism and can't be gotten to without it being taken apart or holes being drilled, taped and zerks inserted. There are only two real bearings, the one on the back gear and the front pivot. The large lever also rubs slightly (on mine at least) where it contacts the body near the back gear and requires some grease also.

Really it isn't that big of a deal to take the beast apart. Well I guese it would be if one didn't have any tools large enough to take off the nuts. However that could just be another neat forging project!

What does your hold down on the front look like, mine was in very poor condition(design/fabrication) and I had to make another one. I will get a picture of it onto the Yahoo groups. I am interisted in what the others out there look like.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 07/11/03 02:01:51 GMT

an Edwards no 10 originally came with a 6' long "high carbon" handle. supposed to weigh 460lbs, and be able to cut 1" round and 3/4" x 4" flat.
   - Ries - Friday, 07/11/03 05:42:58 GMT

I just bought an old leg vise, and was wondering where it was made and where. on the side of it is marked Atwood's Best, Stourbridge. It is fairly heavy, and i think i got a good deal on it.
thanks, john marrow
   john marrow - Friday, 07/11/03 15:17:34 GMT

People keep talking about 'blueing' steel as a finish, i don't know what this is and i haven't been able to find a description anywhere. Can anyone clue me in?
   Condredge Dole - Friday, 07/11/03 15:24:29 GMT

blueing is a process that will make an oxide layer Usually blue on the steel. This serves to provide some protection against unwanted random oxidation(rust). Usually it is done at home with a blueing kit you can get at most gun shops or sporting goods stores in the firearms area. There are also more commercial methods but since they involve nasty chemicals etc most folks do not want to do it at home and so will send parts out to have it done
   Ralph - Friday, 07/11/03 17:32:09 GMT

Connie: go to www.practicalmachinist.com, someone there may have the parts you need or may know where to get them. they will need the the type,or picture's to give you the info you need. Coldiron.
   Coldiron - Friday, 07/11/03 17:45:00 GMT

Pete F; I'm curious about the Harbor Freight pickup crane you mentioned. I have one, and if it's used within the bounds of the instructions, it'll do what it says. the 1/2 ton rating is in effect with a short boom. Also, some people seem to think that if they just bolt it on through the sheet metal of the pickup bed, that will do the job. WRONG!It clearly states in the directions that the mount has to continue on down to the frame rail, and that's the pain-in-the-butt part of the job. When I sold that pickup, I took it out and mounted it on the shop workbench (VERY heavy bench). Works well for picking stuff off the floor. Does HF sell a lot of "POS"? Yeah. But occasionally a flower grows out of the manure pile. (Like the optimistic little boy said, while shovelling like mad in the mountain of horse manure, "I just KNOW there's GOT to be a pony in there somewhere."
   3dogs - Friday, 07/11/03 19:06:08 GMT

More Bluing:

There is also fire bluing, which takes advantage of the temper colors (heat induced oxidation, actually) to provide both an attractive color and a protective coating. However, fire bluing is neither as protective nor as durable as a chemical blue. (On the other claw, if you've got a squire cleaning and oiling your helm each night, it will last a goodly time, and darken with age.)

Visit your National Parks (I bet the folks at Springfield Armory know all about bluing): www.nps.gov/spar/

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 07/11/03 19:12:49 GMT

Does anyone know how I can get a registration packet for SOFA?
   Paw Paw - Friday, 07/11/03 20:51:24 GMT

mr caleb, i will grease the teeth of the lever mech and the pivot arm mech. the bolts and nuts would be a pain to get apart (years of wear and the elements) and i dont think that the piece would perform better if i did based on my test....there is a bracket for the hold down, part of the casting. it didnt move when i cut the 1/2" stock.

"high carbon handle"; maybe i will see if i can put to use some truck springs...mild should be OK for what i do...

hope to get a dig cam out there and post....one day
   rugg - Friday, 07/11/03 21:13:17 GMT


I have the shear picture up now. If you look at it will you try and see if there is any differance between yours and mine. Mine is an Edwards Shear NO. 10B, I don't know if there is any differance between a 10 and a 10B or not.

I think I will make a few more hold downs. The problem I had with the one that was on there when I got it, was that it had too large of a clearance between the bottem cutter and the hold down. Only near the crotch of the cutters though, there was a horizontal piece that decreased the clearance after about 3". This gave it much less leverage for the small stuff and caused problems. For 1/2" stock, the stock would bend way up on the hold down side before touching it and the 1/4" stock would get mangled. Now it is perfect for 1/2" stock, only it will not fit very large stock now, so I am thinking about making a variety of sizes for the different stock size.

This is probabley a little excessive design work for a simple shear, but it is fun.

Even just greasing the gear and rubbing part of the lever does help out some. I was astonished with how much better the shear worked after I had greased it, although the bearing surfaces in mine are damaged very badly so the grease is esential. It sounds like yours is in much better shape.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 07/11/03 22:04:34 GMT

SOFA: Funny you should ask about that Paw Paw. I was just gonna look into that myself. And it looks like I will finally get to meet you. Cool. My brother in law and I plan on staying for the whole thing. Last year we just ran down for one day of shopping. See you in Ohio.
   Bob H - Friday, 07/11/03 23:03:47 GMT


Go to http://www.sofasounds.com

Click on the conference link and fill out a membership application. Send it (with $10) to Hans Peot. I just finished printing it out to mail. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 07/11/03 23:07:53 GMT

I am about to build my very own blacksmith shop, finally!
The problem I have is that until now I have always worked on a "dirt" floor; packed earth. This I believed was best for fire safety. How ever I have moved to an area where there is no "dirt" but, as near as I can tell, pure sand.
I am toying with putting in a poured concrete slab but am worried about the effect of standing on this floor for any length of time. I am 62 years old and not getting any younger.

For those of you with "professional" shops, what are the floors made of and do any of you have recommendations for a "good" blacksmith shop floor material?

Gary Williams
   Gary Williams - Friday, 07/11/03 23:47:01 GMT

Gary, just thought I'd pass on a couple things I saw in a very nice shop recently. The owner purpose built the shop and his is concrete with an "anvil" set flush with the floor for upsetting and also seperate foundations for each of his power hammers. he also made sure to plumb gas, compressed air and power through the front wall where his big doors are so he can work outside without hassle. Just a couple things I found noteable.
   AKsmith - Saturday, 07/12/03 00:27:16 GMT

hi i have a buffalo blower and gear box no210 it is made of carstiorn with 3 mounting points . can you help me with a picture or somthing as to how it was mounted thanks dave .
   dave - Saturday, 07/12/03 00:52:12 GMT

Simple Burner:

1) No where does it say to use an orifice. This type burner does not need one. Just a valve and a pipe. Orifices are for atmospheric (venturi) type burners.

2) Blower burners are BIG! 1-1/2" pipe min. 2" more common. CFM should be 100 to 200 or more.

3) The reducers are one size down on ONE end and if you scale down the burner the normal drop in pipe sizes is way too much.

4) All these burners are designed to burn INSIDE a fire box, they are not torches or weed burners.

5) IN the fire box the turbulence usualy prevents a visiible "flame", instead the entire interior glows yellow/orange. It is very difficult to pick out a flame in all this much less a blue one.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/12/03 01:44:43 GMT

Shop Floors: Concrete is best for moving and setting up machinery as well as cleaning. To avoid tired feet good cushioned shoes help. But you can also do as many machine shops do and put a cushioned floor pad in front of anvils, benches and machines where you may be standing for long periods.

You can also build a forge area and a machine area and fill the forge area with clay. Old forge shops had brick floors over sand or dirt but these are high maintenance.

The most important thing in a blacksmith shop is good cieling height and VENTILATION. Then a place to anchor benches.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/12/03 01:53:01 GMT

Leg Vise: John, Not sure but google brings up England under Stourbridge and Atwood. Most old anvils and vises found in North America were made in England and the later vies were often made in North America and England. So it is a good chance it is an English vise. These things were so standardized they were simply sold as "sold box blacksmith vises" and no particular brand. Very few wer marked.

It is difficult to date these things since they were made almost identicaly from the 1700's up into the 1900's.

Prices vary greatly depending on condition and size. Some folks give the size by jaw width but leg vises were sold by the pound in 10 pound incremts. Prices are currently running around $1 to $2/pound depending on where you are in the country.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/12/03 02:09:18 GMT

Blower Mounting: Dave these mounted all kinds of ways. Some set on a three legged stand and others hung off the twyeer (air pipe) going to the forge and a few were mounted on brackets. Most are about two feet from the forge to get the smith away from the heat a little and at a confortable height to crank (centerline a little above the forge).
   - guru - Saturday, 07/12/03 02:17:09 GMT

SOF&A PawPaw, yer gonna love it! They've kept me comin' back for about 25 years. See ya there.
   3dogs - Saturday, 07/12/03 04:01:49 GMT

Hi 3 Dogs;
It tried to lift the Edwards# 10 on the short reach, and as smoothly as possible...when the upright member started to loose paint on the tension side under load, we slowed way down and as we cranked the boom kept bowing down and Ed remained stuck on the rusty deck. The mount was OK. When we let slack, the boom had bent some.
Yes, I've got some ponies at HF...but I sure bought a lot of expensive manure along the way.
Rugg, on the handle, I figured that tubing has the best rigidity to weight ratio for junk steel. If yr not gonna grease the pivots, dribble oil all over them regularly. I used to fill the jaws with a row of 1/2" stock and cut them all at once.
AK; Leave a dirt area for hot smithing and power hammers...I have concrete in most of the new shop but wear shoes with a layer of soft foam rubber under the leather bottom liner but above the sole. Add some clay to the sand and sprinkle.
Putting a copper liner in a wood fired hot tub i built almost 30 years ago ...finally sold the rusty old thing, just before my wife made it into a planter. Just gotta hold on to some pieces till they sell I guess. One of those things that was " sold" half a dozen times over the years.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 07/12/03 08:46:04 GMT

Is anyone in need of bending tubing without kinks>> Or any other application for alloys that melt out even at 117ºF? My temp reange is about 177ºF to 400ºF. Also, lead and cadmium free alloys>>email me
   Ken - Saturday, 07/12/03 10:27:09 GMT

3dogs, See you there, I think.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 07/12/03 10:51:39 GMT

Hi all,

I've been lurking on here for almost a year now. I finally hammered a piece of hot steel into an S-hook this morning. :) I still don't have a shop or a proper anvil stand or even a slack tub, but I lit off a huge pile of lath from my old house and when it got down to being charcoal I decided to try and beat some metal into something. Now if I ever get the remodeling stuff finished I can build my garage/shop and actually work on some hobbies. Now I've gotta get around to sending some money in to join Cybersmiths :) This is a wonderful site with more information than I have managed to read through in a year and I am addicted to your story Paw Paw.
   Juterbock - Saturday, 07/12/03 15:23:50 GMT

Hello out their,from Canada.We're looking for half nuts for the driving carriage or another carriage for a Southbend Metal Lathe.The serial #3483.It's a flatbelt drive.The distance between the spindle and the tailstock is 23 to 24 inches.The bed length is 43 inches.From the centre of the spindle to the bed is 5 and 1/2 inches.The worm that drives the carriage has 8 teeth per inch and is 3/4 inches across.Would appreciate any information.I have put this message on practical machinist too.(Thank you Coldiron).
   - Connie - Saturday, 07/12/03 18:20:38 GMT

Guru- I was wondering if you might be able to direct me to a website or other source that might show me a simple, portable leg vice set-up. Thanks.
   clinker - Sunday, 07/13/03 03:38:00 GMT


Go to IForgeIron.com . There are many photos and descriptions of contrivences that are usefull to the blacksmith. Including a portable stand for a leg vice.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Sunday, 07/13/03 05:08:45 GMT

Shop Floors: I have a concrete slab floor too. I went to a restaurant and asked for old "Fatigue mats". Black rubber mats about 3/4" thick with holes all through them. Restaurants will replace them when they get too many rips in them but you may be able to cut them down to a usable size. Slag, splashes from the slack tub, etc... fall through the holes and they are fairly non-slip. That's why kitchens use them. You could order them from any restaurant supply house, but being poverty stricken I went around begging. :)
   Gronk - Sunday, 07/13/03 14:39:49 GMT

Leg (Post) Vise Mounting: Clinker, The best you can do with leg vises is semi-portable. For a blacksmith's vise to be useful it needs to be able to withstand twisting forces. This is difficult to do in a portable stand.

See this archive from June 17-23, 2003 with info on post vises. See "Mounting Leg Vises"

The one with the plate base works very well but the 3/8" plate is a little springy. The vise bounces when sawing or doing heavy filing. We will either attach ribs to the plate OR remove the column and add a larger flange between the current flange and the plate for stiffness. Due to the fact that you stand on the vise base this is the best anchored design you will ever find for its weight. You absolutely cannot move the vise with force you apply because YOU are part of the vise when you stand on the base plate (my design).

Many folks mount vises on heavy truck brake drums but this is not enough base area OR weight. The big wheel sprockets off tracked equipment (bull dozers) work very well and are often available as scrap from heavy equipment repair places. Their combination of size and weight make a good movable vise stand but they are not very portable due to the weight. However the thick sprocket teeth are a tripping or toe stumping hazzard.

See also, on our Armoury page for the "field expidient" vise setup by Bruce Blackistone. His tripod stand is a bit unconventional but is very solid. He has just bolted two legs to the split bench bracket. If you want portability this is about the best you can get. If the legs are removable the whole thing will store in no more room than the vise itself.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/13/03 14:58:50 GMT

Is there a way to view the rouges gallery while still chatting in the slacktub pub.
or without going to the pub to access it.
have tried minimizing but both are still to large to fit the screen at the same time
would like to see who im chatting with from time to time.
sometimes would like to look someone up without having to join the pub to do it.
thanks Mike-T
   mike-t - Sunday, 07/13/03 15:37:51 GMT

I just went to a local flea market. One guy has two different cone mandrals and a rather beatup old swage block. He wants 150 for the swage block with one good size corner busted off and he wants 150 for one cone mandral that is ~3 feet tall and ~6 inches at the base, the flange around the base is missing off of one side. The other cone mandral is same size/shape but has the entire flange but the tip of it is chuncked up pretty bad and he wants 225. Are any of these things worth the asking price(other than what I have stated they are in goood/straight/smooth condition)?

   Juterbock - Sunday, 07/13/03 16:19:45 GMT

Juterbock, Saltfork Craftsmen (Abana club) has a very nice swage block for $75. Unless you really want an antique, this does not sound like a bargain. As for the cones, get the price on new ones first, then decide how much life is left in the flea market versions. Personally, I don't find many bargains at flea markets.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/13/03 17:40:28 GMT


What QC said. In additon, question yourself very seriously about what you will use a cone for. Every smith want's one, most get used about once every ten years of so.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/13/03 18:25:50 GMT

Quenchcrack, Paw Paw,

Thanks for the advice. I think I'll just leave them were they sit.
   Juterbock - Sunday, 07/13/03 18:48:24 GMT

Juterback, I was like everyone else, I just HAD to have one. I've got one that has a hardy shank, so I can use it with the anvil. I've had it at least 6 or 8 years. Have never used it.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/13/03 20:23:22 GMT

Another View of Blocks: Juterbock, Swage blocks vary a LOT in usefulness and there have been hundreds of patterns. Often old broken blocks are more useful and interesting than new blocks. The old ones also tend to have a MUCH better finish. Even when old and rusted they are smoother than most of the just out of the coarse sand modern blocks. Old blocks were cast better and then finished by the maker THEN the user. It can take days and lots of expensive abrasives to clean up a fresh cast swage block.

Old blocks that are not just all holes and grooves are often personal one off or on cast a few time blocks. These are both nifty tools as well as collectors pieces. On the other hand, few of the cored blocks (those with holes) are being made today so even those may be more valuable than new.

I agree with the cone being a very little used tool. New ones are expensive and should be a low priority in your tool buying. However, when you need one you need one. If you forge a lot of rings one may get used daily. Otherwise it may set for decades.

Blocks and cones sell for more per pound than anvils due to their rarity. A few chips hardly reduces the value of either as tools especialy if they are old pieces.

I've got five blocks (one in hiding . .) and would buy more. Two are my patterns, two are a friend's patterns and one is a big old industrial holes and grooves block. Almost nothing is duplicated on any of these blocks. I also have two patterns I want to get cast but the requirements of foundries keep changing faster than I can finish patterns.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/13/03 20:43:55 GMT

Thanks to everyone that responded to my request for ideas on shop floor material. These are really good ideas and suggestions. I especially liked the ideas about getting the proper ceiling height, an upsetting plate built into the floor and the fatigue mats. Again, thanks everyone. Gary Williams
   Gary Williams - Sunday, 07/13/03 20:48:17 GMT

Check this out... there's a 50 ton power hammer with a 550 h.p. electric motor, free for the takin' here in south oregon. it's gonna get scrapped in three weeks if nobody takes a shine to it, does anyone use this kind of machine, or should i contact the logging museum to see if they want to truck it up there and watch it rust...
   mike-hr - Monday, 07/14/03 00:43:46 GMT

What is the correct term for the place in which a blacksmith works ? Is it " blacksmithery " ? Or what ? Thanks in advance. Rinna Samuel
   Rinna Samuel - Monday, 07/14/03 03:21:44 GMT


Depends to a large degree where you are from. Usually called a Blacksmith Shop, or a Smithy.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 07/14/03 03:39:59 GMT

Mine gets called a MESS frequently..is that any help?
   Pete F - Monday, 07/14/03 07:10:38 GMT

Blacksmith Workplace: Rinna, Paw-Paw left out "forge". Large forge shops with tilt hammers and later drop hammers were called a forge. This is one of those confusing uses of English where a forge is where you build the fire or a device to hold the fire and "to forge" is the verb form signifying hammering a piece of metal. A "forging" is a part that is the result of the forging process.

Smithy used to be the more common term for a small one or more man shop but in America "Blacksmith Shop" largely replaced smithy. In Europe most languages have a variation of smith (smede, smiede. . ) to signify the place a blacksmith works and thus smithy is more compatible internationaly.

The plural of smithy is smithys.

   - guru - Monday, 07/14/03 12:23:26 GMT

Ah. . Pete understated the discription of his place. Officialy I think it is labeled a "hazardous waste storage facility and art emporium". . :) It is typical of many.

The modern smithy may resemble a machine shop (or a junk yard) more than a blacksmith shop. The modern smith may have welders, lathes, milling machines, presses and all sorts of other machinery in and around their shop.

Also note that the modern professional smith may just as likely be a woman as a man.
   - guru - Monday, 07/14/03 12:29:45 GMT

After registering for the online auction a couple of weeks ago (paw paw) I recieved an ad for a new lincoln welder from tony baldwin. Are addys being harvested on the sly here somehow guru?
   12 bolts - Monday, 07/14/03 13:09:30 GMT

Further notes on Post Vises and Forge Floors

Post Vise: The "tripod" mounting was adapted from another smith who did some American Civil War (“War Between the States” to us, suh!) reenacting up in Pennsylvania. Before I could ask him if he had a historical basis for the setup his web site disappeared, and I've not run across it since.

The 1 1/2" legs make quite a difference due to their sheer mass, and help to seat the whole vise in place. The foot of the post usually digs in fairly well. If I were to make one improvement, (and if I were to use it for anything heavier than an occasional demonstration with light work [usually less than 3/4" stock]) I would put together a triangular base of hardwood for the leg(s) to socket into. The key point is to get used to the angle and keep your heavier blows (relatively) in column with the leg. On the other claw the height and angle of the jaws is very convenient for certain operations, and very handy for some filing and angle grinding.

Forge Floor:

I've supplemented the dirt floor that runs down the middle of my forge with "playground" sand. Not only is it convenient to kick or prod fallen hot work off the rubber mats or wooden floor-planks and onto the non-flammable surface, but I also have a "self-fluxing" floor for when I fumble a drop-tong weld. ;-)

Hazy but reasonable temperatures on the banks of the Potomac; with rain this morning and the "4 o'clocks" due this afternoon.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov (National Public Radio [ http://www.npr.org/ ] is doing a series on us this week.)

Go viking: wwww.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/ (Had a good "photo-session" voyage Saturday for Chesapeake Bay magazine; feature article due out in October.)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 07/14/03 13:24:51 GMT

SPAM: 12 Bolts, There is no way for folks to harvest addresses from the auction system. AND we do not sell or distribute our user lists OR spam our users. We occasionaly send a test mail to pub registrants in order to find and clear out old bad addresses.

However, on our forum pages (here) addresses may be gotten manualy (but not by harvestor programs). It is a compromise that makes spammers WORK for the address which most do not do.

We are now looking into modifying the system so that forum users can only be contacted via an online form. But this is a tricky bit of programing in order to prevent spammers from using the form as a mail relay. But it would also prevent manual harvesting.
   - guru - Monday, 07/14/03 13:45:30 GMT

I'm working on a bird table - forged mild steel legs, copper table, stainless steel machined section connecting the copper parts onto the forged mild steel legs. I plan to sand blast all the parts, zinc plate the legs and then spray the legs and stainless steel parts with urethane car paint. The copper will be given a verdegris finish. The copper parts are riveted onto the stainless parts with no room for plastic insulation, likewise, the stainless is also in contact with the iron legs. This birdtable will eventually be sitting in a often rained upon garden. My question is this - with regard to bimetallic corrosion - will this all slowly turn into a puddle of rust? I'd much appreciate to hear from anybody with any experience of multi-material pieces.
   CO - Monday, 07/14/03 15:15:28 GMT

mr blackstone, go to yahoo and check out how i mounted my vise "on" concrete. did the best i could..

mr caleb, 2 good pics of the shear. i noticed that there are holes placed directly over "pivots" in the casting that me thinks are for dribbling oil in, which i did.

JPPW, had some help from my cousin and posted some pics. the grill is one of my first study projects.

   rugg - Monday, 07/14/03 16:01:39 GMT

CO, This gets pretty complicated. First, the galvanic series is for pure elements but iron is the least noble (most likely to corrode), then probably the stainless, and then the copper. However, the mass of the various metals and the application of urethane may totally re-arrange things. You may want to consult a corrosion control company about this if it becomes an issue. One off the wall idea would be to ground the table to earth and plant a sacrificial anode to protect it. They do it to buried pipe lines all the time and a 1 Lb. magnesium anode might be enough to protect it for 20 years.
   - Quenchcrack - Monday, 07/14/03 16:44:42 GMT


Nice workmanship there. I like the vise mount especially.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 07/14/03 17:02:15 GMT

Are w-1,w-2 high carbon steel and would they be considered shallow hardening.I have a bar of w-1 5/15"x2" and I would like to forge some tantos out of it.My concern iswill they produce a nice hamon in a water quench.I have been using 1095 for a while and have that process down pretty well.
   Chris Makin - Monday, 07/14/03 17:18:48 GMT

Where I "work":

My wife calls it a "garage". I don't know where that term comes from, though. Isn't that where you bring your car to get fixed?
   MarcG - Monday, 07/14/03 17:19:24 GMT


Nice work, yeah some oil driping should be good if kept wet.

Neet grill too.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 07/14/03 19:25:37 GMT

Bimetalic Corrosion: CO, If well sealed in the joints it may last your lifetime. However, most finishes do not last that long and then bimetalic corrosion takes off. It is basicaly a plating de-plating process. Metal ions of one part move to and coat another. On the de-plated end you get very deep pits and on the plated side you get stains. This means rust stains on the stainless, the copper and what ever the table is setting on (many of those little iron atoms wash off before making their trip).

This gets very complicated on assemblages. The common practice in Europe is to do a first class paint job on the iron and then use gold leaf over the painted surface. Gold and iron are about the worst combination you could use but the gold is thin and wears off with the rest of the finsish and in the end you have just plain iron (without deep pits or disolved rivets).

For exterior work that is to look like mixed metals I would do something similar using paint. I'd start off with a good three coat (zinc, neutral prime, topcoat) finish and then use metalic paint and artist's paints to produce the desired effect.

I've said this before and I will say it again, If Hollywood can make wood and plaster look like metal, why can't metalsmiths make metal look like metal?
   - guru - Monday, 07/14/03 19:55:01 GMT

mr caleb, did you make note of the mount for the shear?? this one has "#10B" also...
   rugg - Monday, 07/14/03 21:59:38 GMT


Yeah, I noticed that yours is also a #10B. It looks identical to mine. From your photos I noticed that the bottem jaw on yours looks to be flat. On mine the bottem jaw has four 1/4" wide by 1/8" deep slots on the top of it spaced about 3/4" apart at the V of the jaws. I believe that these are to keep the stock from moving when it is being used. However, these slots seem to mangle up the stock when it is being cut, I guese it is a trade off.

I like that little "bonnet" you made for you anvil. Did you make the spring for your post vise? It looks pretty neet!

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 07/14/03 23:04:35 GMT

mr caleb, the spring was made from a leaf spring. i cover the anvil with WD-40 soaked cloth towels to keep off the rust. someone spilled muriatic acid in the vacinity and all of my steel stuff rusted.
   rugg - Tuesday, 07/15/03 00:18:50 GMT

Hi Guru, I have a question. I notice quite oftin about going to "yahoo" to veiw pictures of items smith's talk about. How do I get to this site? I'm not that computer friendly(note: very limmited in computer use). please be as specific as you can. Thank you. This is a GREAT site. JWGBHF
   JWG Bleeding Heart Forge - Tuesday, 07/15/03 03:01:06 GMT


On the pull down menu, scroll down to User's Gallery, Yahoo and click on it.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/15/03 03:43:05 GMT

Dear Guru;;;;don't even kid about that...this is California after all.
12 bolts...they didn't get me...yet. Anvilfire is good about that.
Quenchcrack; I've wondered about doing that for years..how generalizable is the grounded sacrificial anode technique? Would it work for a gate? A parked car? I know something similar is done on boats.
My dogs bark. The coyotes across the highway snigger.
   Pete F - Tuesday, 07/15/03 08:04:34 GMT

CO,QC, Bimetallic corrosion.
I work in the offshore industry and I know that as well as needing a good bonded earth between the sacrificial anode and the metal being protected they also need to be under water to work. Anything in the tidal zone is subject to greater amounts of corrosion because when the water level drops the protection stops also. The water acts as the electrolyte and completes the circuit for galvanic protection. (Buried pipelines work because the ground moisture works as the electrolyte. And to muddy the issue even more there are different types of anodic metals for protecting different metals. The zinc plating will work as an excellent corrosion inhibitor. How do you plan on fastening the ms legs to the s/s section. If you can insulate that area (even just with a good zinc or oxide paint) and then coat over it to keep out the rain you should be well and truly buried before it falls to pieces. The copper/stainless (is it a copper alloy because that may be a prob? but if it is pure) connection should be very minimal in the corrosion department.
   12 bolts - Tuesday, 07/15/03 11:27:26 GMT

Notched Dies: For cutting round and square bar in shears they often notched the dies. If the top and bottom match you get a cleaner cut. If only the bottom is notched that is to keep the round bar from rolling or sliding out while shearing. Bottom notches are common for cutting re-bar where the quality of the cut is not important.

These shears were designed primarily for cutting flat bar and small plate. They work on square and round but not very well. For round bar there are special bar shears with holes for each size bar. For square bar ironworkers use two diagonal square holes that result in a clean fit for any size. Ironworkers also have special die opening for angle and round bar.

Image Gallery: I am looking for software to get away from Yahoo.. . We have the space on our new server (the old one was running out).
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/15/03 13:45:28 GMT

Thank you for looking elseware for image hosting. I have had nothing but problems with Yahoo. I pretty much refuse to go there for any reason. Thanks again
   Wayne Parris - Tuesday, 07/15/03 13:57:16 GMT

Thanks to you all for your help regarding my bimetallic corrosion question. In answer to 12 bolts question - The top of the bird table is hammer raised tough pitch copper, this is connected with rivets to a SS (304) machined piece. I'm planning on using SS rivets as I can't seem to find monel rivets here in Tokyo, I plan on sealing in the rivets with epoxy glue when I rivet them. The SS machined piece has a screw which bolts into the top of the forged MS legs. These parts will be paint sprayed seperately because of shipping weight considerations ( I have to ship it in two sections). So the two parts, SS and MS, will be urethane painted on the outside but in contact on the inside. The SS will first be coated with an undercoat, and the MS plated with zinc under this urethane. I'm wondering how best to seal up this screw joint to stop moisture getting in - epoxy glue? - any recommendations? I spoke to another blacksmith today and he commented that, in this piece, the rain will be running downwards from copper to stainless to mild steel, and so the corrosion/ staining will not be as bad as if the order of the metals was the other way around.
Thanks again- great site!
   CO - Tuesday, 07/15/03 15:26:59 GMT

The lovely folks in our corporate won't allow Yahoo-group or mail access. Ah, well.

I have a question on welders. I own an ancient Lincoln Buzzbox (circa 1952). It works fine, (the wiring is kinda worn), but in my current abode I have not yet had 230v (it is actually 180v welder) installed into the garage. So, while I am contemplating putting this in or rebuilding the garage or any number of other potentials, I thought in the meantime about buying a smaller 115v or 115v/230v to tide me over until I get more juice.

Mainly I will be using it for sheet-metal or tubing applications, I don't plan on doing any heavy-duty structural welding anytime in the near future.

So, after going all the way around the barn, are there any recommendations for inexpensive (under $400) welders? I am planning on sticking with Stick as that is what I am most used to.

Just renewed my CSI -- Everyone get out there and join!
   Escher - Tuesday, 07/15/03 15:46:38 GMT


I have a 220v welder and didn't have a 220v source either. I did have room in the breaker box for a 220v breaker, though. I just rigged a 50amp breaker with an extension cord that has a receptacle for the welder. When I needed to weld, I opened the panel, plugged in the breaker and flipped it on. At another place I lived, I used the same cord with a plug for the clothes dryer receptacle. In my current digs I have a bit more freedom, so I put a receptacle below the service entrance panel and use that for the welder extension cord. The receptacle is wired to a dedicated 50 amp breaker that is appropriate for the welder I own. You should always size the breaker and wire for the individual piece of equipment that will be on it.

If you like the welder you have, why not invest a hundred bucks or so in wiring for it, rather than buying a new welder? A stick welder that will operate on 120v ain't gonna be much of a welder and probably won't be stable enough to work well even on light stock.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/15/03 16:23:21 GMT


I would have to agree with Vicopper. As an electrician I can assure you it would cost less to wire for the welder you have, than to buy another. Most electricians charge between fifty and eighty dollars an hour plus material. A reputable company does not charge to quote a job, so it should not cost you anything to find out for sure.
   Myke - Tuesday, 07/15/03 16:40:03 GMT


Thanks for the enlightment on the perplexing usage of notches on the jaws.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 07/15/03 17:38:26 GMT

Welder Wiring: For much less than the cost of a new welder you can purchase wire and ends for a HD 240VAC extension cord (from house to garage/welder). But as Myke mentioned for about the same cost you might be able to have the garage rewired. You are only talking about the supply and a small distribution box. OR as VI noted, check to see if you have 240V there but no outlets.

120VAC welders are not much of a welder.

Power Ratings: When I was growing up, domestic power devices were rated 110/220 volts in the US. This was due to the size of the services and resistance in local distribution lines. Later it was 115/230 and now it is 120/240. This is I believe the full rating comming off the transformer. BUT I HAVE seen 125 volts.

For most devices this is not a problem but with light bulbs it raises havoc with their rated life. The higher the voltage over the rating for the bulb the shorter the life (by a significant amont). In our family shop we were replacing bulbs every couple weeks! Bulb replacement was almost a full time job. Then I found out you could purchase 130 VAC bulbs. Bulb life jumped to about a year.

Check you line voltage. If it is equal or above the standard you might think about getting higher voltage rated bulbs. Commercial electrical supply places usualy carry them.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/15/03 18:11:50 GMT

The extension cord wired to the breaker sounds like a neat idea. But how did you work the ground? Big aligator clip?

   Mike B - Tuesday, 07/15/03 22:23:24 GMT

MIke B,

No on the alligator clip, too risky. I simply tinned the end of the neutral and ground wires and slipped them into open holes on the ground bus and tightened the set screws. Only takes a minute to do an is a whole lot more secure. If you clip the neutral or ground in and it comes loose, you can end up with a "floating neutral" which is a VERY bad thing. When using any sort of temporary wiring, it is mandatory that you have things well grounded to avoid shocks and transient spikes in the lines. If your welder is going to be in a fixed location in the garage, I would heartily recommend that you drive a grounding rod into the soil next to the foundation (6' deep) and run a #6 or 8 copper lead to the welder grounding lug. If nothing else, it will reduce the amount of interference it causes on your wife's TV when you weld, and it could save your life. From shocks, I mean, not from your irate wife. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/15/03 23:51:41 GMT


If you do not KNOW exactly what you are looking at and KNOW what you are doing; DON'T DO IT!

If you mess up your plumbing, your toilet won't flush. If you mess up the framing on the house, your doors won't shut. But If you mess up the wiring you can burn down your house and kill people. This is one field that you can not experiment with and hope it will turn out ok. The risks are too great.
   Myke - Wednesday, 07/16/03 00:23:30 GMT

I have a roto-phase convertor but I have to start it by hand ,I"ve heard that you can wire it to start automatically but I have no schematic on it I have got this far by general knowledge of 3-phase .HAVE ANY IDEAS????
   JIMBO - Wednesday, 07/16/03 01:05:04 GMT

Vise Location in the Shop?
Gentlemen; I am in the process of totally rebuilding myself a new shop after many years in the old one. I have a nice heavy 6 inch post vise that I am going to mount near the forge. This will be mounted on a chunk of telephone pole sunk into the ground/concrete. My current shop has a 5 inch mounted that requires a 180 degree turn to access. I would appreciate your input/experience as to the best location and or mounting for this vise. I am thinking of the left front corner of the forge. What works best? Thanks in advance.
   RC - Wednesday, 07/16/03 04:22:54 GMT


This is a little bit like asking if a guy prefers red heads or blondse. But I arrange my primary working area in a circle, with the vise at 3 o'clock, the power hammer at 6 o'clock, the anvil at 9 o'clock and the forge at 12 o'clock. When I stand in the circle, it's one step from where I stand to any of the "stations"

Cutting table, welding table, etc. are arranged on the sides of the shop, outside of the primary working area.

That's what works best for me, other folks may prefer a different arrangement.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 07/16/03 05:32:13 GMT

Roto-Phase: Jimbo, "Roto-Phase" is a trademark name for a self starting motor generator phase converter. If you have one that must be started by hand then you have something else OR the unit is broken. However, it IS common to build these units from plain old 3PH motors and start them by hand. But this is NOT a commercial unit if that is the case.

Self starting motor phase converters are built from a large 3PH motor. Roto-Phase uses special order motors without exposed shafts. But any large 3PH induction motor will do. Normally the motor is equal to or one size larger than the largest motor on the circuit.

A bank of motor running capacitors (not starting) capacitors are wired between two of the poles of the motor. Capacitance causes lead in the leg wired to the capacitors. The other leg lags from induction and thus you get enough phase shift for motors attached to the circuit to run. These are hooked directly to the motor leads which can often be wired for different voltages. Be sure yours is wired for the right voltage.

The best way to install these devices is on one breaker of a three phase panel supplied by single phase 240VAC. The third leg is generated by the converter and "back feeds" the panel. Large units are wired through a magnetic contactor or "motor starter". Since this is a special situation the normal wiring of the starter will not work and requires an expert to hook up.

There is a very detailed article on capacitor selection and building a 3PH converter on Metal Web News. However, if you do not have experiance in industrial wiring I do not recommend you try to do this yourself. Even professional electricians often do not understand the details of motor starting circuits and 3PH motors much less DIY converters. Our local electrical inspector had to study the Roto-Phase manual and my plans for a month before he would approve the installation. He kept asking how I was going to prevent the motor from "single phasing". It took a long time to convince him that the POINT was to run the motor on single phase. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 06:04:11 GMT

Vise arrangement: RC, The most efficient setup I ever had was with the vise a few feet away from the forge and the anvil an equal distance from that making a triangle or circle. If you are going to have a power hammer in your shop you may want a fourth (or fifth) working position. In a ONE MAN shop each station (vise, anvil, hammer) should only be a pirouet away from the forge (a rotation on one foot). Done correctly this is about two steps or more since most work is either long or held in tongs. If you do large forging or more than one man works at the forge the distances need to be greater to prevent tripping over one and other. If you do small production work then a tight arrangement can be VERY efficient. The scale of the work is the critical factor in shop arrangement.

The best way to layout this arrangement is to go in the shop with a piece of steel in a pair of tongs and move from forge to vise, forge to anvil, forge to hammer (or pretend they are there) and mark where you think they should go. If you are going to forge on long bars (like top rail) then try to move around with a ten foot bar and see what interferes. Practice making that pirouet move and test the tool locations. If you find yourself shuffling or making several steps then it may not be a good arrangement.

   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 06:20:26 GMT

More on Vise location: Blacksmiths vises are best mounted some distance away from walls and other objects AND so that the smith can approach from the front and sides. When mounted at a bench they were usualy on a post in front of the bench so that they were accessable from the sides. One one setup I made a triangular extension of about 30" to the bench to support the vise.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 06:52:45 GMT

220V outlets are about $10. A breaker, depending on type, is about $20. A few feet of 10ga wire is less than $1 per foot. We put one in my garage for less than $30. Of course, it pays to have friends who know what they are doing to help you. Thanks, Bryan!
   - Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 07/16/03 11:50:36 GMT

Breakers: My Miller 225 and AirCo 160 both called for a 90A breaker. In Square-D these cost around $50. But I have run it on 60A breakers ($14) for many years. I wire welders with 6ga or heavier wire.

I've stopped using the tombstone shaped 220V bakelite recepticals (like those for stoves) because they break too easily. Instead I use round ones (nylon when I can get them) in large steel utility boxes. These hold up much better. However, if you are only going to have one outlet and never move the welder the cheap ones hold up fine. Note that the plugs on most new welders have a different pin pattern than a stove outlet. It is handy to make up a short extension cord using #6 SO cord OR a stove cord and a welder outlet as an "adapter". I've plugged into stove outlets this way many times.

Although I have never had trouble with the Miller buzz box, while running TIG on my old AirCo welder I've triped 60A breakers and had to move up to 90A (as recommended). THEN the internal thermal relay trips in the welder (I'd rather have the breaker trip). High frequency TIG units draw a LOT more current than MIG or common sized stick welding.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 14:02:12 GMT

Thanks for the advice . . . somehow I kinda figured it would be this. I have underground conduit to handle more circuits to the garage, I will give our electrician a call and see what is what.

From previous experience, I don't play with this sort of wiring myself. ;-)}

Now if I can find a replacement for my electrode and ground wires . . .
   Escher - Wednesday, 07/16/03 14:23:17 GMT

4140 supplied heat treated 2034 Rockwell as starting point for my raising hammer heads.
I am planning to anneal first 1600 deg F slow cool. Is this correct before forging?
Do I have to fire up the kiln or can I anneal in the forge?
Can I skip the anneal step and heat and forge?
How do you anneal using a forge and obtain the slow cool,.. leave it in the forge as it burns out? I am using charcoal.
Thanks Alan
   Alan - Wednesday, 07/16/03 14:36:18 GMT

alpha guru, did you get a chance to see the kaynes' smithin coke in action?? i am getting close to completing my "solid fuel" forge and i am curious about options other than coal. has anyone ever tried the wood charcoal for smokers (cooking)? not the briquettes. i recently bought a smoker and got a large bag of charcoal. yes i could try it an see, and i probably will. just want to get some input. if it would work well, would save me a ton on shipping..

   rugg - Wednesday, 07/16/03 16:09:24 GMT

Oil quench! Will I really need a gallon for a 1"x1"x3" hammer head to avoid flashing?
Just trying to get all my ducks in line :-)
   Alan - Wednesday, 07/16/03 18:13:19 GMT

Can you send me a list of all the necesary tools that are required to create a sword? If you could do that I would really appreciate it.

Thank you,
   Jeff Williamson - Wednesday, 07/16/03 18:56:53 GMT

Jeff, The list is several books worth INCLUDING the knowledge to use the tools. I suggest you purchase and read some references on the subject OR try your local library. Knife making is popular enough that any decent public library will have several on the subject.

There are different schools of thought on bladesmithing and each require different tools. Until you know something about the subject you will not be able to ask questions that get the answers you want.

   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 20:15:43 GMT

4140: Alan, Generaly annealing is done AFTER forging to help normalize and reduce stress in the forging before further heat treatment. Yes, just heat and forge. Warm first then heat.

Shop annealing is done in wood (or charcoal) ashes, quick lime or vermiculite. Heat to a red and bury the part. It should be too hot to handle 24 hours later. After 3-4 hours you should be able to remove and quench (if it is no longer at a visible red heat).

Yes, you will need that much oil or more. Oil has a much lower density AND lower thermal conductivity than water. This means it heats much more rapidly than an equivalent amount of water.

See our Heat Treating FAQ for more about 4140 and the subject in general.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 20:26:11 GMT

Coke: Rugg, We just spent a whole day at the Kaynes looking at the new fly presses they now have (see their page). SLICK machines. I want one.

The fellow demonstrating the fly press was using a gas forge that is not often used in the Kayne's shop. They themselves prefer coal and that is all that was in their forges. So I didn't get a chance to see any in use. However, I saw the same product in use at CanIron a few years ago. It was clean burning (they were using it in TENTS) and easy to weld with. The only problem I saw was when our distinguished friend Frank Turley put on a big show of how to light a coal forge and it wasn't until AFTER it fizzled that they told him it was coke. . . It IS harder to start (more than a couple sheet of newsprint) and you need to keep air on it to keep it burning. I do not recommend its use with bellows or hand crank blowers. Dollar for dollar the BTU value is there and it IS cleaner but not as clean as charcoal.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/16/03 20:34:37 GMT


I have used wood, charcoal, coal, coke and anthricite in my solid fuel forge.

The main differance that you will need to be concerned with is how deep the fire pot needs to be to get a neutral fire at the height that you can horizontally admit the work into it.

With coal, coke or anthricite the fire pot should be about 2" to 4" deep sometimes up to 6". The shallower firepots are more adventages for longer pieces. When you have a solid fuel fire it forms a sort of ball of fire and you want the iron to go into it's center or heart. With coal the ball is around 8" in diameter or so. Thus the table that the firepot is set into must be taken into consideration. If you have raised edges on the table then this height should be taken into consideration when designing the firepot since you want the iron to enter the fire at a right angle so that the whole length of the bar is at the same height in the fire.

Cahrcoal does not consume the air as fast, so the fire ball is larger. Around 12" to 16" diameter, this is assuming that the fire ball is actually a circle, it is not, the bottem of it is longer than the top in a forges case since the main concern is to use up most of the air in the fire before it reaches the iron. From then on there just needs to be enough of a mass of fuel to make a cap to reflect the radiant heat from the fire back into it. So for charcoal the fire pot should be from 6" to 8" deep or greater dependant on the density of the fuel and about a 1" to 2" range for the iron to be placed in the fire with around 4" to 6" or more of fuel over the iron as a cap. So the total fire size for charcoal is from 11" to 16" or greater tall.

In my experience coke and anthricite seem need about the same fire depth as charcoal, however it does need a larger mass along with a constant supply of air. The latter can be suplied with a gate that allows the fire to draw it's own air without it having to go through the fan or bellows, this can be simply keeping the ash dump open when not fanning the fire. However as they say results may vary.

As currently I am using a 7" by 7" square experimental grate that I made from 1/8" steel with numerous 3/8" holes drilled into it. The begining depth was 2", after a much deeper fire pot wasn't working well with the coke and anthricite. After warpage the firepot is now about 3" deep. Both depths worked well with anbthricite and coke. Under the grate there is a cavity as the firepots sides(which at the top are 9 1/2"" square) keep going(the total firepot assembly is 4" deep) until it reaches a 4" square area with a nose cone from an oil furnace that swirls the air as it enters the bottem of the firepot assembly cavity(I believe that this cavity acts as a combustion air preheater area). With the larger square grate I can obtain a very consistant and large fire with the coke and anthricite that would have been difficult with a normal firepot and it made a visually square fire naturally which made it easier to heat up oddly shaped pieces. However cleaning what little clinker formed from the anthricite and coke was a major pain as it would make small 1/4" diameter worms of clinker instead of a good sized chunk. There is also an increased consumption of fuel.

This is another issue because charcoal being much less dense than coal or coke get consumed at a much higher rate. However it can can be produced with a great amount of work and not much capital. Lindsays publications has an excellant booklet on large cinder block charcoal makers, which utilize cords of wood. They are at www.lindsaybks.com . I have the booklet but have not made one. . . yet.

In my opinion the most important aspect to solid fuel forge making and using is that one makes one and then PAYS ATTENTION to what the fire is doing when they use it and what dynamics are being acted upon. Remember that the second time you make a firepot it just gets easier and you will most likely have a much more managable fire that is working well for what you are using it for. If you like studying dynamics, maintaining, using and building a solid fuel forge can be very exciting and intruiging. Especially when one understands that one can make the fire do exactly what they want with a little baffle here and a port there.

Some great books on fire design are Combustion Engineering and Marks Mechanical Engineers Handbook. These have a lot of information about furnace and thus fire designs. I learned more about fire reading ten pages of one of them than all of the blacksmith books I have read. They are books from the 50's and should be at a local used book store.

Have Fun,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 07/16/03 20:46:26 GMT


The Guru brings up a very good point on the use of coke and anthricite. It take a good amount of heat to light it.

What I do(this is not recomended for the timid and can be very dangerous if not well executed) is fill the firepot with crumpled newspaper. Lay some 3/4" to 1 1/2" sticks on top of the firepot with a 3/4" gap between them.

Then at a 90 degree angle to them lay a layer small sticks, about 1/4" to 1/2" diameter with a 3/4" gap between them.

The third layer is the same as the second except at a 90 degree angle to the second.

Then I put a few layers of sticks of the size that I used on the first layer in the same manner as the afore mentioned layers. This is much like stacking tinker toys.

Then light a few corners of the paper and let it get going. When the paper is going good start a gentle blast and then work up to a vigerous blast as the fire size increases. The gases of the wood will soon begin burning off and the second and third layers of sticks will give off a flame that is sufficient to light the larger sticks above them.

The first layer will hold the larger sticks out of the firepot as the smaller ones burn up and the tower of large sticks will burn very fast and hot with a flame about four feet high! Very soon most of the gases will have burnt out of the wood and you will have a firepot full of charcoal.

Note that many sparks and volcanoes of small white hot embers will try to attack you and those around you. With experience these side effects can be avoided with a carefull useage of fan blast. This method works best with a hand cranked fan.

Upon this pile of white hot charcoal start dumping the coke or anthricite and keep fanning vigerously. Very soon you will have a burning mass of coke or anthricite. Within almost no time the charcoal in the firepot will burn up and you will need to push in more anthricite or coke to replace it. Then you are ready to forge.

Note that the larger the mass of coke or anthricite you are burning, the larger the fire grate size and the easier the air can get to the fire the better the fire will keep itself burning.

If you control fire it is a tool, if it controls you it is an enemy.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 07/16/03 21:15:09 GMT

I should give an additional warning about my style of starting coke and anthricite.

The stack design that I use for the sticks is to have the top layers of heavy sticks to fall onto the bottem layer of large sticks after the small stick layers on the bottem have burned up. If the pile is lopsided it will not fall straight down and fall to one side or towards YOU. However if it is built with care they will all fall straight down. As the small sticks are burning up I keep my rake near the stack to adjust it.

Also, because of the stacks design the surface area of the sticks is utilized to the utmost as an air absorber/heat generator/heat receptor and the speed at which the fire grows and the size it becomes is VERY astonishing. I have had a 4 foot fire in less than a minute of lighting the paper.

Also of great hazard is the fact that the fire is very intense and about two feet of the four foot flame is WHITE HOT. This meens burnt eyes if you look directly at it, a welders helmet helps or some tinted gas welding gogles. The first time I designed a fire like this and tried it I had some trouble seeing for the next few hours and most likely could have gone blind had I not decided to look away. When I did so even the reflection off of the adjecent(over 10 feet away) structures white paint was bright. With a fire this hot and large skin burns are also possible a few feet away from the fire. Welders gloves are desirable and all of the other skin protection aparatus.

Once again this fire starting style is not for the timid or ignorant and is very dangerous.

However it is also very fun.grin

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 07/16/03 21:52:33 GMT

Allright, one more thing.

This same fire design can be used with a greatly lessened amount of danger(see excitement) if one simply does not give a vigerous blast when they are burning up the stack of sticks. It will just take a bit longer to burn off the gasses because of the lessened amount of heat. However you will not have the four foot white hot flame to deal with. So choose what suits your style and experience the best.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 07/16/03 22:15:59 GMT

guru, thanks for the response. i will be using a crank blower (as soon as it arrives). i am glad that you mentioned that coke needs constant air flow. what about the wood charcoal that i can get @ lowes (for BBQ use)? does this require constant flow??

mr caleb, now i understand some of your pics on yahoo! i wondered what that tower of fire was. now i understand your rec of using welding gloves and welder's mask. since i dont like the scent of burning flesh, especially mine, i will keep the flame component to a minimum. i hope that the vigorous fanning can be acomplished by the crank blower. i have a 12X12" buffalo style fire pot. i do have some experience with coal. i was able to start the coal fire with wadded up newspaper without much difficulty and without smoking out the shop, unlike some know-it-all joker that was taking the class with me. if i cant use the charcoal that i can buy @ lowes, i will have to bite the bullet and ship out some coal...i am not willing to work as hard as you do for a fire! i guess that is why i got the gas forge first...thanks for the input.
   rugg - Wednesday, 07/16/03 23:27:14 GMT

Alpha guru, I just looked @ the Kaynes new flypresses. The #5 looks identicle to the one i just receieved. karachi manufacturing out of india. very nice machine. i have noticed that the screw will not extend all the way down. i am working on that now with the importer. the ram stop/limiter is threaded on the upper part of the screw and i think that the threads that are cut in the main screw threads are not allowing that portion of the screw to enter the "receiving" part of the frame..will work it out some how...i did ask some fly press questions awhile back. glad to know you were impressed. what were some of the operations that you saw it perform to impact you this way?? please tell. there is practically nothing that i can find written on the use of this type of machine. unlike a hydrolic press or power hammer, the tooling design and use must be somewhat different, no?? thanks again..
   rugg - Wednesday, 07/16/03 23:40:07 GMT

Didn't realize your welder required a neutral -- most of the ones I've seen don't. I think the main safety function of the ground on mine is to keep the case from going hot if there's an internal short. Far from impossible, but I'd think running an unreliable ground would be less risky than playing Russian roulette with a 9mm. Wouldn't even think about using clips if there was a neutral involved.
Good point about the RF, too. I've got a TIG in my basement (on a permanent circuit). The first time I struck an arc while my wife was watching a video tape, I heard her loud and clear over the welder, exhaust fan, and everything else I had running.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 07/16/03 23:57:48 GMT


Actually the photos of the large fires in my forge on Yahoo are of the first fire that I ever made in that forge. The fuel used then was wood pellets(for experimental purposes). Which are 1/4" diameter by about 1 1/2" long. They are made from compressed sawdust and use a natural(resin) bonder.

That fire is nothing compared with the type that I described earlier today and if it were, my nephew would not be within 20 feet of it, especially not staring directly at it. Being at night the pictures look much more spectacular and brighter than they really were.

The massive amount of sparks on the one entitled bigolfire are when someone(in this case my crazy old man) pushes too much air into the fire, the pellets begin to disentegrate and then become thousands of very little sparks. Which makes for a neet light show, just have a lot of water handy.

How deep is your buffalo style firepot? If it is very shallow to use charcoal you will need to have a significant heap of charcoal over the firepot, unless you don't mind excessive scaling.

Charcoal does not need a constant air flow. It will stay hot very well and heats up instantly to a bright yellow/white glow in its center when air is admited.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 07/17/03 01:03:11 GMT


I've never seen a welder that used a neutral, since they're mostly a straight single-winding primary circuit. The only reason I wire my extension cord with a neutral is that I sometimes want to steal a bit of 120v off one leg. The ground, of course, is never optional, no matter that it is very unlikely that a welder would short to case. Good grounds save lives at least as often as good insulation does, and I don't want my delicate corpus to be the ground path, ever.

I doubt that there's much you can do to eliminate RF interference from a high-frequency TIG arc, though. Way back when, Teswla and Marconi were using arcs to generate RF, and the principle hasn't been repealed that I know of. Maybe wrap the whole TV in aluminum foil and ground it? (grin)
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/17/03 02:04:57 GMT

Hey paw paw I found the page in metal web news and it not that complicated.so thanks,Now to tell the whole story I have a 30 hp roto phase motor and now it starts automatically but when it under a full load (like my air comp.(5hpmotor)calls for air at 70 psi it wont start it trips the breaker so what I found is that the third leg voltage is lower than 1 and 2 so I need to figure out is what the best size capacitors I need to pick it up .
   JIMBO - Thursday, 07/17/03 02:36:29 GMT

Fly Presses: Rugg, I just ran a preview of an iForge demo covering our trip to the Kaynes. It will not be posted on the iForge page as a preview but is IS in the iForge classroom.

The Kaynes have contracted to purchase "first quality" machines only (the best). The Indian manufacturers grade their machines prior to export and the different grades command different prices.

On all the models I've seen (both at Kaynes and in films of similar machines being used in England) the screw extends down until the stop nut is contacted. It is normal for the stop nut to be run up as far as possible (as long as it has full thread engagement). If the machine binds up before bottoming out on the nut then there is something wrong. Either something is crooked, the screw bent or out of adjustment OR out of tolerance (a manufacturing problem). It may be possible to adjust the ram guides and solve the problem. I would loosen them up and then see if the srew travels all the way. If not then there is some other problem.

All the machines at the Kaynes operated smoothly from the top to the bottom of the stroke without binding or changing in any way (I was working the screw during tool changes between taking photos. . ). The demo by Russel O'Dell was done on a brand new machine right out of the crate THAT DAY. In fact we had to trim some of the paint from around the T-slots to get his T-bolts to fit.

Tooling can be slightly specialized OR commonly available types used on the anvil or power hammer (see the iForge classroom). Many of the spring swages made by Grant Sarver and sold by the Kaynes and others will work very well on the fly press. You will want to make a tool holder like they do for power hammers and treadle hammers. Texturing tools and tools like the rope dies and center-V tool should all work very well on the flypress.

In many small shops they are used for punch press operations, blanking and punching holes using die sets. Knife, lock and other and other small parts manufacturesrs use them to punch holes and set rivits. They can also be used to notch and bend.

We will be creating a tooling page with photos and drawings of tooling suitable for these presses in the next couple weeks.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/17/03 03:28:03 GMT

Roto Phase: Jimbo, the one machine that doesn't run well on a roto-phase is an air compressor. The low voltage on the third leg is typical and completely drops out when other motors start. It is important to NOT wire control circuit wiring off the generated leg for this reason. However, a 5HP compressor should run on a 30HP Roto-Phase. Check to be sure the compressor has a working compression release and that the control circuits are not on the generated leg. If your system doesn't have capacitors then they SHOULD help. Breakers (and wiring) on Roto-Phase generators generaly need to be about 20% oversize.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/17/03 03:35:56 GMT

   JIMBO30 - Thursday, 07/17/03 03:56:22 GMT

   JIMBO - Thursday, 07/17/03 03:57:58 GMT

Jimbo, Go to http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ (click on phase converters and VFD's)and learn all about 3 phase systems - how to build and install them safely, how to size the start capacitors, how to balance the run capacitors (your problem) and much more. The best site on the web for this information.
   - dloc - Thursday, 07/17/03 04:55:16 GMT

Yes, a large volume of oil is desirable. Fortunately, your local deep-fry joint has probably saved some up for you.
Mike; Adjusting the point gap on the high freq unit of your TIG will often diminish the amount of RF interference ..sometimes a lot.
Got the MIG to run Si Bronze wire smoothly after a few hours of dinking around..Never suspected I'd have to turn the juice up that high to get it to lay down. Now I have to weld a bunch of 20 ga ( and thinner) copper to 1/4" steel, out of position. Cross fingers...doing it with a torch was very slow and kinda messy.
While beating the 2 sheets worth of copper into shape, I noticed a lot of scale got airborne, especially after each annealing. So I put on a particle filter and after just a couple of days of hammering the filter was surprisingly loaded up!. Copper oxides aren't good in the lung. MMMMMM
Rugg; Flypresses were used extensively for coining...That means you can make money using your craft.
Jimbo; Most larger comporessors have some sort of " unloader circut". I made my own...or you can get one off the shelf. They allow the motor to start before applying the load.
Also, on some 3 phase wiring schemes, the 3 legs have different voltages.
   Pete F - Thursday, 07/17/03 07:10:57 GMT

Some of you may be aware of the military legend about Lt. George Dixon's gold coin. I've got a copy of it that was probably turned out in a fly press. It may have been a two die operation, but I can see it as a step die.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/17/03 11:28:20 GMT

I have been using my home made 3-phase converter for years now with no problems. My converter is a self-starting type as in the Metal Web News article.
I run a 3 hp air compressor from a 5 hp ideler motor with 150 mf between lines 2 and 3. I wired my control circuit to line 1.
3 phase converter

I would certainly think that a 30 hp phase converter should start a 5 hp air compressor! As has been mentioned, check that the unloader on the air compressor is working properly and that the control circuit is not on the “manufactured” phase but rather is on “pure” power from the electric co.
   Wayne Parris - Thursday, 07/17/03 12:41:30 GMT

Some how my "title" got stuck in the middle of my post, Sorry about that (shy grin!)
   Wayne Parris - Thursday, 07/17/03 12:43:45 GMT

What is a forge and what is a smithy?
   William - Thursday, 07/17/03 14:10:51 GMT

Phase Capacitors: Jimbo, The capactitor size question is answered in several articles on the web such as the one I mentioned at metal web news. It is not a simple question and is actualy a problem for an electrical engineer. Capacitors come in a variety of types, not just sizes. The folks selling them to you will not be very helpful, you will have to KNOW what you need. Using the wrong ones or wiring them incorrectly can result in a fire or damaging the motor. Capacitors STORE an electrical charge. Big ones can store enough to kill you hours after the power is disconnected. Some capacitor systems ground them when the power is off so that they do not hold a charge.

If you are going to do these things yourself you need to do a LOT of studying. Not just about capacitors but about both the theory AND practical aspecs of motor wiring as well as the Electrical CODE. The practical part is almost impossible to learn without equipment and hardware manuals. That is why electrician's licensing systems ALL require a period of on-the-job training. They are called electricians "helpers" but it is a paid apprenticeship. My training came from doing electrical work since I was 12 years old. . . going from wiring lamps, to adding home circuits, to wiring a shop then a house, to designing control systems and THEN building them. . . all the while reading every little detail on every piece of hardware. . . If you are not this interested the subjest then hire an electrician (preferably one with lots of industrial experiance).

Other capacitor tid bits: The electrolytic type used in DC power circuits burn up instantly if the polarity is hooked up backward. A little one the size of peanut shell can shock the you know what out of you. One the size of a soda can can kill. Those designed for motor use are classified as "run" and "start" types. Often the dimming of lights in a circuit when a motor starts is from the "in rush current" charging the capacitor(s). Capacitors that get old and absorb moisture can explode when power is applied. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 07/17/03 14:26:03 GMT

guru, i thought of the ram guides. i removed them and determined that it must be the screw. ron reil has a fly press page. he has a machined tool holder that is pretty cool. this distributes the force uniformly to the ram face. if there is interest, i will keep you up to date on my experiences with it. i bought it from one of AF's advertisers. i try to do that if i can..
   rugg - Thursday, 07/17/03 14:27:59 GMT

William, Click on our drop down menu, then Glossary. Both are there.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/17/03 14:31:13 GMT

Another word or two about capacitors.

Run caps, the kind in a metal can that is oil filled and are the size of a large prescription bottle to a soda can, can kill you. They do however last for a long, long time. The value might drift a little from what is labeled on the can, but unless the can is leaking, the cap is probably good. This means that you might be able to pick them up used for a much more agreeable price. But, be careful with older metal can run caps. They are filled with oil that is not used anymore due to the high PCB content of the old oil. (They then become YOUR hazardous waste problem!) Also, these caps, as the Guru mentioned, hold a charge for a LONG time. Always short the contacts of the cap together to discharge the cap before handling, even if it has been weeks since it has been charged.

Caps can be hooked up in parallel to get a required value. For example to get my 150mf value that was required for my converter, I connected several 20 to 30 mf caps together. The result is an assembly of caps that take up as much room as a small 12v battery. This amount of electricity just sitting there, silently, waiting to be used, is a serious hazard to someone who doesn’t understand it (and those that do!). My caps are in a closed metal box to keep uninformed fingers from touching what shouldn’t be touched.

If you understand electricity and caps in an industrial application, you already knew everything I just said. If you don’t have a good knowledge of it, study and learn from informed people before taking on a project like this. THIS PROJECT CAN KILL YOU, this however is no reason not to do it, just know what you are doing, and take extra precautions for safety.

   Wayne Parris - Thursday, 07/17/03 15:09:55 GMT

Kayne's flypress - mmm, I want one too. Nice writeup guru.
   Two Swords - Thursday, 07/17/03 15:46:41 GMT

As a side note to Wayne's post... when shorting the contacts of a cap, use something extremely well-insulated (plastic-handled screwdrivers are good if they're pretty big). It produces a big, scary spark and makes a loud noise... and can make a serious dent in whatever is doing the discharging (Electrical Discharge Machining, ring a bell? :). And BE CAREFUL! Burns will kill you slowly, but electricity can kill you INSTANTLY!

Humid and misty in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 07/17/03 21:36:41 GMT

What is blacksmithing?

p.s please answer within the next five minutes or not at all.

   - sarah - Friday, 07/18/03 01:51:17 GMT

Something too important for 5 minute time limits. It is the basis for all modern technology.
   - guru - Friday, 07/18/03 02:34:03 GMT

What is the meaning of life?

Please answer immediately or not at all, my entire future rests on the answer!

OBTW...any winning lottery numbers? (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 07/18/03 02:55:12 GMT

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