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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from July 17 - 24, 2004 on the Guru's Den
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   - guru - Saturday, 07/17/04 01:48:47 EDT

I love this place! Ask a question, and get an intelligent, thoughtful reply from someone who has working knowledge.
Join CSI!
   ptree - Saturday, 07/17/04 09:46:51 EDT

What would be the temp and quench to bring 106 grade b plate to the hardest temper posible
   davettlsed - Saturday, 07/17/04 10:51:15 EDT

Vicopper; I discovered some adhesive aluminum tape at my local Haba Flate recently, the kind used by heating contractors for whatever, and bought it just because it looked interesting. It cost $8.00 for a 3 roll package. I soon found that a lot of fun was to be had with the stuff. One can make letters and background silhouettes with it, and it can be laid on a compound curved surface such as a hardhat. You can work the bubbles out with a cotton ball, then polish it with, say, some Mother's aluminum polish, and it actually looks like a mirror. Chuck up a dowel rod with chamois, as you mentioned, in a variable speed drill motor, and you can engine turn it. Lettering looks great with a 1/4" outline of One Shot red. Maybe some old letterhead found the stuff a long time ago, but I'm getting a lot of grins with it now.
   3dogs - Saturday, 07/17/04 11:02:01 EDT

That aluminum tape is used by heating contractors to seal the joints in HVAC ducting instead of using Duct Tape.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 07/17/04 11:06:39 EDT

106 grade b plate: Davettlsed, this is not a specification I understand. Perhaps it is a European standard? Here in the US we use three standards, SAE, ASTM and the UNIFIED numbering system. The unified system largely incorporated the SAE and AISC systems into theirs but they also inlcude the ASTM spec steels. It should be noted that ASTM specs are performance based and can include a wide range of carbon and alloying compared to the more specific SAE and AISI steel specifications. UNIFIED numbers are always prefixed by a single letter (A-Z), no dash and have five digits.

Although we commonly discuss SAE and AISI steels without giving the standard it is very bad practice. Anytime someone says 1020 steel they SHOULD indicate "SAE 1020". Most but not all ASTM steel specs include an "A" prefix such as A-36 but they should also be given as "ASTM A-36" because not ALL the ASTM specs us an A prefix. Unified numbers should always be prefixed by "unified". Tool steels should always be prexixed with AISI such as "AISI H-13". We had a long confused discussion here once about an "M" steel which some thought was a High Speed Steel where in reality it was a structural steel plate with the same number as the HSS steel. . . I admit it, I am guilty as well.

The hardest possible condition for any steel is as-hardened. Tempering is almost always recommended and as soon as possible. Usualy a tempering temperature of about 420 to 450°F leaves the hardest condition with the least reduction in hardness. However higher temperatures are recommended for many steels. ALSO, steels such as ASTM structural grades are generally not hardened and tempered after leaving the mill so there is no recommended heat treatment (other than for post weld stress relieving). This means you are on your own AND if you do heat treat these steels AND they no longer meet the ASTM spec. The hardest condition for may steels may to much too brittle for practical use. Tempering steel is always a compromise, "hardness or ductility?" THAT is the question. . . you cannot have both.

Consider glass, wonderful stuff, hard and abrasion resistant, flexible in thin sections but much too brittle for tools or structural purposes. Steel improperly heat treated can be "brittle as glass".
   - guru - Saturday, 07/17/04 12:06:22 EDT

Tres Perros,

Yep, back when I was a letterhead, we used that stuff for just that sort of thing. All the spiffy metallized Mylar stuff wouldn't do compound curves, but that hvac tape that we used to get from the A/C man worked just great. If you engine turn it, you really want to clear coat it for maximum durability.

For flat surfaces or simple curves, the stainless steel trim tape has some possibilities as well.
   vicopper - Saturday, 07/17/04 14:19:11 EDT

Thanks for the excellent photos of your spring helve hammer. You captured some of the critical parts such as the bearings and the safety aspects. I was considering using a leaf from my broken pickup truck springs, but thought that if one leaf had failed, the others might not be far behind. I will buy some new 5160 material. What is the length, width and thickness of your present spring?
I thought that your domensions would be a good starting point, since my ram and die will also total about 32 pounds. I have a 2" pulley on a 1 hp motor driving a 13 inch flywheel resulting in about 250 rpm max. Is that a reasonable speed for this combination?
   Don Sinclaire - Saturday, 07/17/04 15:08:16 EDT

Don Sinclaire,
That is about the sizing of my present system. I have played with many spring combos, and the best so far was the 5/16" thick, by 2 1/4" with an upper short leaf, about 18" overall. I think that I have about 44" overall on the main. I did not put a reasonable radius on the center pivot, and the somewhat sharp corner on the cylinder rear pivot caused a stress riser and failure of the spring. Boy was I glad of the 10 ga. hood. Parts rattled aroud, and then fell gently out the bottom.

I have increased to 44 to 45# on the ram, and tried a tapered single leaf. Spring was too stiff. Then went to a 1/4" thick, with upper and lower short leaf. Too limber. With these type hammers, too limber gives an every other revoloution hit, and too stiff gives a short stroke. With the 32#, at the best set-up, I got about an inch at each end of the stroke, and good hits and controlibility.
I have decided to go a bit bigger, and have started to experiment with springs, but as I was in an industrial accident yesterday, I am unable to proceed for a bit. I can measure a bit better when my shoulder heals and I can remove the hood from the hammer.
The most important advice I can give is to use new springs, and to have a steel guard aroud the moving parts on top, sufficient to retain spring parts with high engery levels.
Good luck.
   ptree - Saturday, 07/17/04 18:34:04 EDT

Shop Size: remember that your "good junk" will expand to overflow any building---and then you move!

Flew up to OH July 5th to get my shop ready to move the 12th. Had a couple of friends who did more than I could ever expect helping after work, taking time off of work, etc. Even had friends load and transport my champion hammer while I was stuck in traffic!

I had to give on/junk a lot of stuff, including over a ton of WI plate.

Then the truck arrangements fell through; I toughed it a couple of extra days---though the pallets got ugly looking as I "added" a few more items; but finally had to cover them the best I could with plastic and leave them in a very unsecure neighborhood and load up the car with a few "non-shippable" things, (propane tanks, paint, cannon fuse, etc) and head back to NM. Now the wait starts, hope the cardboard boxes don't degrade from all the humidity---I had forgotton that your gill slits start to mold up there during the summer! Hope stuff doesn't mildew too badly, I expect I'll do a lot of rust removal when stuff finally shows up.

   Thomas P - Sunday, 07/18/04 00:28:37 EDT


Dam, I hope you get it quickly and all there!
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/18/04 00:42:53 EDT

i am very interested in starting my own forge and i cant find bituminus coal near my house or near my farm. i live in cook county in illinos and have a farm in jo davies county. is there any where local i can buy coal
   alex - Sunday, 07/18/04 01:02:32 EDT

Alex - Coal in IL.
Bost Trucking, 1134 N 11th St, Murphyboro, IL. TEL: (618) 684-3166. Has Schell Blacksmith coal for $159 a ton. Source - Anvilfire/Coal Scuttle.
   - Conner - Sunday, 07/18/04 02:06:13 EDT

Alex - Coal in ILl.
"Coal seams underlie 37,000 square miles of Illinois -- about 65 percent of the state's surface." In 2002, Illinois ranked ninth among coal producing states, mining over 33 million tons of coal.

Contact the State of Illinois, Office of Mines and Minerals, General office Springfield Office 217/782-6791 or Illinois Clean Coal Institute 5776 Coal Drive, Suite 200 Carterville, IL 62918 Phone 618/985-3500
   - Conner - Sunday, 07/18/04 03:04:32 EDT

106 grade b plate: This sounds like an ASTM spec to me. The is an ASTM A-106 specification and I think it is for plate. I am not at work right now so I cannot look it up. Tomorrow (Monday) I will look it up and post it.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/18/04 11:13:03 EDT

Alex, try Mid-Continent Coal and Coke Co.
915 West 175th Street
Homewood, Illinois, USA 60430
Phone: 708-798-1110
Fax: 708-798-1299
City Coal Yard~Brazil, Ind.~116 n. Depot St.~47834--ph. # 812-448-8128 pocohantis #3--W. Va. Coal--bag or truck load

I live in Momence, IL, Kankakee County, south of Cook County.
   Jerry - Sunday, 07/18/04 15:32:04 EDT

Dear Guru, I am trying to forge some cones out of thin 1 inch stock, perhaps 3.5-4 inches accross. These are going to be the feet on wooden bowls (so pick up a piece of your wife's pottery and look) and need to be flaired on the bottom end. I have tried several approches but am disappointed with them all. They are time consuming and go squirlly on me and are difficult to keep straight. Any ideas? Thanks, George
   George Saunderson - Sunday, 07/18/04 17:45:39 EDT

George and cone sections:-)

At a guess you are using 1/8" by 1" strap. A little thicker would be easier to work. You should be able to work it out pretty quickly by edge bending the strap into a shallow arc, then forging it around the horn into a ring. But then what are you going to forge weld it, or arcweld it, or rivet? I don't like forge weldeding thin stuff unless it is wrought iron (still don't like but it is easier:-) Once you get the shape you want, you should flatten it back out with the end how you like them, and use it as a pattern. (You can also do this in thin cardboard, to find your pattern...:-) Then you can forge the shallow arc on the end of a longer bar then hot cut the ends to the proper angles. Then its just a matter of rolling it up and fixing the ends together...
   Fionnbharr - Sunday, 07/18/04 23:10:23 EDT

Bought aFisher 100# anvil.
Great rebound,flat and good edges.
No ring at all, it thuds when hit.
I am wondering if this is the normal condition for anvils of this type ( ones with a welded on tool steel face) or should I be looking for a crack or some other defect.
thanks in advance for any info you can provide.

   lazarus - Sunday, 07/18/04 23:12:26 EDT


Th3re is nothing wrong with your anvil. That lack of ring is what Fisher anvils were famous for. The cast iron body absorbs the sound and that is as it should be. That will help to save your hearing.
   vicopper - Sunday, 07/18/04 23:15:27 EDT

Cones: George, Take a look on our 21st Century page under MATH. We have some information on cones. Look at what the piece should look like flat before you select stock and try to forge it.

An alternative method is to start with pipe, use a fuller to to fuller until closed some distance from the end, forge to taper then cut off. If you cut off at the length for the second cone you can work two at once then cut apart at the closed section. Forging pipe takes practice but has some real advantages fo many shapes.

5:30 am, just posted a couple more pages of ABANA gallery images. Up to 7 pages nd 48 new images now.
   - guru - Monday, 07/19/04 05:45:38 EDT

Whoops. . that is 24 new images. . . Took most of the day to do final processing on them and a full day to select from the 300 some high res images sent to me on a CD. .
   - guru - Monday, 07/19/04 05:55:03 EDT

Looking for software for art-blacksmith-designing.
Thank You for help.
   Lubomir - Monday, 07/19/04 06:47:43 EDT

Great answer on Guilding - How about this one...what materials should I use to make a vacuum mold for a complex shape like a horse. I got the vacuum hose and material feed figured out. Would like to use a rubber surface for release but vacuum would deform it, will I only be able to use solid material w/mold release?
   Glenn Schot - Monday, 07/19/04 13:58:56 EDT

Vacumm Degassing: Glenn, IF the entire mold is inside the vacuum chamber there is no distortion. The vacuum causes air bubbles and disolved air to expand greatly and float out. The trick is to build the vacuum chamber strong enough to take the 15 PSI external pressure and have a quickly opening lid. However, the advantage to a vacuum chamber is that it closes its own doors/covers. A smooth plate and an o-ring in a groove work great.
   - guru - Monday, 07/19/04 14:27:41 EDT


I need more details on what you are trying to achieve. Are you intending to vacuum mold the model or the final casting? For molding wax models, it is actually more feasible to pressure inject the wax into the rubber mold than it is to use vacuum to draw it in.

For vacuum casting of metals, standard jewelers' investment compounds, such as Kerr SatinCast, are plenty permeable enough to facilitate vacuum casting. Of course, if you are going to be casting a foot tall horse, (about 15# silver or bronze), then you would need either a huge vacuum pump or a large vacuum receiver in order to move sufficient air to evacuate the flask thoroughly before the molten metal cooled to the solidus point.

As I said, I'm not exactly clear on what it is you are trying to achieve. Feel free to email me with more details and I can give you a better answer.
   vicopper - Monday, 07/19/04 16:40:04 EDT

For building a small vacuum chamber, 1/2" thick Plexiglas works pretty well and is easy to work with. Use a table saw to cut it, and solvent welding with dichloromethane for joinery.

As the Guru said, a simple groove with an O-ring sealing against a flat surface will work just fine. I've found the easiest method for me is to cut a square groove using a 1/8" router bit and then use a 1/8" Quad-ring. Quad rings look like a 4-leafed clover in cross section, and offer somewhat easier and better sealing in do-it-yourself situations.
   vicopper - Monday, 07/19/04 16:45:55 EDT


Help me remember at Quad State that I want to talk to you about using a vacuum chamber for some projects.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 07/19/04 17:43:54 EDT

thanks for the good websight. i'm just getting started and it's really a big help. i found and joined tidewater blacksmiths guild through anvilfire . thanks again.Travis
   Travis - Monday, 07/19/04 18:23:23 EDT

Do you have any recommendations for a coal forge. I have a budget of about $300 and wondered where to look. Thank You
   - Andrew - Monday, 07/19/04 20:49:10 EDT

Andrew, you may want a forge that is in good shape and will last and will also be efficent for use.
   - Steven - Monday, 07/19/04 21:33:41 EDT

Andrew, you may want a forge that is in good shape and will last and will also be efficent for use.
   - Steven - Monday, 07/19/04 21:33:42 EDT

...if I'm a little non-responsive, I'm in class all week, and short on computer time due to studies.

Looks like catch-up this weekend.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 07/19/04 22:43:08 EDT

hi, been a while
got a question about tig welding:
my father and i are looking around at tig\mig welders (miller) and were wondering if in tig like mig you need different shielding gasses for different materials i.e. with mig you use argon (or xenon etc.) for steel but you would use a different gas for say aluminum
we are looking to get the best general pourpose machine for the money (in the range of about 2500$ or less ;) )
thanks for any input
   MikeKruzan - Monday, 07/19/04 23:06:31 EDT

Flush with success from my first forge weld, I humbly ask of the gurus: Outside of pattern welding, is it difficult to forge-weld stainless steel to mild steel? I assume you have to add fluorspar to your flux... not sure how much though. Is a lightly sparking heat still just about right? Hotter? Colder?

It was a nice day by the forge in Boston, MA... Thanks Harley.
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 07/20/04 00:07:37 EDT


Yes, with both TIG and MIG you will need different shielding gases for steel and some other metals. Usually, having both argon and CO2 on hand will cover most everything.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/20/04 01:04:37 EDT

I run a custom drapery workroom in CA and have recently begun to do some simple fabricating of curtain hardware. Somewhere out there is a source for curtain rings in bulk, but I haven't been able to find it. The type of ring I'm talking about is made from 3/16" or 1/4" round mild steel, is anywhere from 1" to 3" inside diameter, and most importantly comes with a small attached eyelet (for the curtain hook). I've looked at numerous suppliers such as King Metals, but all of the ones I've found seem to focus on fencing and gate hardware, which means rings in larger sizes or in any case without the eyelets. I remember hearing somewhere that the kind of rings I'm looking for are made in bulk in Mexico. Any ideas as to where to get them? Thanks in advance.
   Steve Bloom - Tuesday, 07/20/04 04:52:40 EDT

Please sign me up for the PUB. I have an interest in smithing. Someone wise once said the only thing you learn with your mouth open is how a fly tastes so i am just reading in the PUB for now but it sure would be nice to say hello to the group once in a while.

I noticed there was another post asking to be added, if there is an issue maybe I can help being a computer tech by trade.

Pls email me either way.
   e_mike - Tuesday, 07/20/04 08:24:07 EDT

Straight Argon works well on TIG for most metals. MIG uses straight CO2 or blends thereof and other gases, primarily Argon and Helium. If you don't know how to weld and want a fairly versatile machine, a MIG is easier to learn than a TIG which requires more skill. However, a TIG will weld a lot of exotic materials so factor that in if you are welding Titanium or Hastelloy or some such.
   - HWooldridge - Tuesday, 07/20/04 10:43:34 EDT

You are welcome. It was a nice day by the forge BUT, the forge is in Royalston, Ma. Two hr. ride west of Boston.
BTW I did make it out of Allston without getting lost and ending up back in downtown Boston. Got home At 8:00 PM.
You may want to consider mailing the items you forged back to the Islands. Airline security will not allow anyone to cary nail clippers onto a plane they end up confiscated. I'm sure that you will not be permitted to board the plane with thoes items .
   Harley - Tuesday, 07/20/04 10:52:56 EDT

TG, Sparking is generally a little too hot and with alloy and high carbon steels much too hot. You want flux grade flourspar and only add 5-10% to the borax.

Other than pattern welding I cannot think of a good reason to weld stainless to mild. . Although I have done so for integral machine handles. Arc welding using stainless rod works very well for mixed welds and for high alloy steels.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 11:25:57 EDT

Flying: Almost anything (other than bombs or explosives), even handguns can be carried in your checked lugage. Carry on is a different matter.

I searched my carry-on computer bag for any tools after 9/11 and missed a thin 6" warding file. It got by 3-4 searchs by airport security but was finaly found in Atlanta the last time I flew. Because it didn't have a point the fellow let it go. He shouldn't have as it could have easily been broken to produce a very sharp point. I left it with friends in Costa Rica. . .

The tools that had been in my computer bag (small screwdrivers, pliers, picks, tape measure) are now in a zip-lock bag that I carry in my checked luggage.

What passes as "not a weapon" in my conputer bag is amazing. Bricks (power supplies) on cords and the cords themselves. . . But the whole thing is pointless anyway. If someone wants to hi-jack a plane they will find a way. BUT, another will never be used as a WMD over the US again. The unarmed passengers will stop the hijacking or bring the plane down so that it WILL NOT reach its target. Knowledge is more important than weapons and the bad guys have this knowledge too. . . It will never work again, . . unless we forget.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 11:46:01 EDT

Dear Guru,

I'm a technical translator, but up to now, I haven't dealt a lot with welding. Now I've got to translate a text, but cannot manage to find out the meaning of some of the words. Could you please be so kind as to tell me what "shoulder position" means with welding? I cannot find "cross seam axis" or "traveling axis" either :-((

It would be quite okay if you indicate me a kind of glossary where I can find the definitions, but I spent hours and hours with googling without any satisfactory result.

Many thank in advance!

   Gabi Francois - Tuesday, 07/20/04 13:25:42 EDT

Hi there, I'm setting up a small garage shop primarily for small blades and sheet work. I have a coal forge, a cast steel anvil, about 20 hammers (a good start) and several homemade stakes. My forte is SCA armor and woodworking knives and chisels. Currently I purchase most of my stock but this can get pricey. I need to make some tools and I don't want to purchase a hunk of tool steel every time I want to make a hammer head. Can you recommend junk stock that would be appropriate (and cheaper)? The hammers I want to make will be an assortment of raising, embossing and dishing hammers, I do about 50% of my sheet work hot (up to 10 gauge mild) and the other half cold (up to 14 gauge mild).
   Mike - Tuesday, 07/20/04 13:30:56 EDT

Airline Security,
I stand corrected. Being that I am not a traveler and have only once flown (30 yrs. ago) I am not fully aware of what one may or may not transport on an aircraft. It makes sence to me that one may transport most anything in stored luggage with the exception of bomb making materials. That said, I carry a knife with me at almost all times therefore I could expect that if I were to fly again I would be able to bring my knife with me as long as it is in my luggage that is kept in storage and not in a carry on ?
   Harley - Tuesday, 07/20/04 14:09:16 EDT

Andrew and the forge quest:

You can build a decent-sized coal forge from an old brake drum or wheel for under $40. That's if you buy the plumbing yourself, it could be lots cheaper (i.e. FREE) if you have decent scrounging skills. Most places that replace brakes will give you an old drum (bigger=better) if you just ask. Plans for construction can be viewed here on anvilfire. If you really want to buy one, I'd put a "want ad" in the local paper. You'd be suprised what folks have in their garages and old barns that they'll often let you have for a song! If you want to buy new, I'd recommend looking at Kayne and Son (one of our advertisers in the pulldown menu at the top of this page). They have a really nice firepot/tuyere/clinker breaker combo for $255 that is as durable as they come. You'll need to build a table to set it in, but that's no too complicated. He has reasonably priced blowers as well.

Mike and hammer stock:

I've had friends make various hammers out of old car axles they picked up at the local junkyard. From all appearances, they've held up nicely. Also, you could check your local scrayard. Ask if you can browse, and take a hacksaw. Usually they'll even steer you in the right direction, if you tell them what you have in mind.

   eander4 - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:07:34 EDT

That is correct. My pocket knife that I always carry was also stowed in the checked baggage. You just need to be SURE to empty your pockets and repack when you return home!

When Paw-Paw and I flew to Texas for Bill Epps last hammer-in Paw-Paw bought a hot dog at a stopover . . . then he tried to open the very stuborn plastic mustard container. . .
simultaneously we BOTH reached for our pants pockets. . no knives! We had been reduced to less than apes because we had no tools to open a food container. . .

Finally we used the clip edge from my anvilfire ID badge. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:08:58 EDT

Junk Yard Hammer Steel: Pieces of car or truck (they are bigger) axels work well. I have a little hammer made of laminated steel. . maybe old files. Many a hoof rasp has been recycled into larger pieces of steel for hammers, punches and so on. But it is easier to start with a larger piece.

See our FAQ on Junkyard Steels before you ask about heat treating.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:12:30 EDT


You read Jock's message correctly. I've even flown with guns since 9-11. They have to be a hard case, unloaded and tagged as a firearm. Your knife (yes, I usually carry at least three or four) can go in your checked luggage, but not in your carry on.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:13:09 EDT

I have a SAK (swiss army knife) that's basically been around the world with me in my pocket---previous to 9/11. It now travels in my checked luggage and I'm training my family to ask me before I get to the checkin counter if it's packed---I put it in my pocket every morning as a matter of course.

Sometimes the only reason I have checked luggage is that I have to get my pocketknife to where ever I'm going...

   - Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:38:46 EDT

Technical Translations: Gabi, This is a difficult subject. We have worked on word translations for blacksmithing terms but there is still much disagreement. See our FAQ's page and our International Glossary.

You did not say what language you are translating to. The book Welding Essentials by William L. Galvery, Jr. & Frank B. Marlow from Industrial Press has an English/Spanish glossary.

A "shoulder" in English enginnering terms usualy means a "step" or offset. Out of context I would not be able to say how it applies to welding. It could mean the operators shoulder position.

The "cross seam axis" should have been indicated as "cross section" or "joint cross section" and is perpendicular (in all planes) to the "traveling axis" which is the "weld bead axis" (the dirction of the weld bead). Study the diagrams.

Sounds like the text you are translating used some strange English or the author tried to be overly technical.

One problem dealing with axis and cross sections in any language is that words almost never sufice. Diagrams are always necessary. Then. . . the problem translating technical works is that you must almost know the subject as well as the author or at least be very well grounded in the subject. Most languages do not have as many technical terms as English so it often takes a long sentence or paragraph to replace on word.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 15:58:32 EDT


I think that the term "cross seam axis" refers to an axis perpendicular to the line of the weld seam. Likewise, "weld bead axis" refers to the line of the weld seam. In stick welding, there are two axes that matter when holding the rod. One is the angle of the rod with respect to the direction of travel, or "weld bead axis." The other is the angle of the rod relative to a line at right angles to the weld bead axis, or "cross seam axis." If your text is discussing stick welding, this may be what is meant.

The term "shoulder position" is one I am not familiar with, except as to the operator's shoulder. I don't however think that is what is referred to in your text. Perhaps with more of the text, in context, I could decipher what is meant.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/20/04 17:15:29 EDT

material for hammer heads.... Unless you are looking for BIGGER hammers get thee to either someplace like Harbour Freight or garage sales and buy all of the large ball peins you can or want.... Then just reshape the working ends to the shape desired.....
   Ralph - Tuesday, 07/20/04 17:34:10 EDT

Hello to all,
I'm looking to make my own "Power Hacksaw" and I wanted to know if anyone has plans already drawn up, that would be willing to share them. I could come up with a design myself, but I'm trying to save a little time and avoid any "Bugs" that would have to be worked out with an un-tested method. Any help would be greatly appricaited!

   USMC - Tuesday, 07/20/04 18:36:24 EDT

Does that stand for Uncle Sam's Mis-guided Children? (big grin)

I used to have a set of plans for doing that with a washing machine gearbox. I'll see if I can find them.

CSM Jim (Paw Paw) Wilson
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/20/04 18:47:14 EDT

Poker went straight into my checked luggage, as did all the other goodies. I do *not* intend to have those confiscated :)

The reasoning behind the question was as follows: I'm going to be making a fair number of blowpipes pretty soon, and one of the common failure modes on a blowpipe is the weld between the stainless head and the stainless or mild steel body separating. A good forge weld in this spot would, I think, be far more durable than the standard welded seam. Just for background, this is a piece of 316 or 309 stainless with a 1/2" long shoulder turned on it (normally... I intend to make mine with 1" shoulders) fitted into a piece of pipe. The most durable pipes on the market have holes drilled through the pipe body and socket welds made to join them more securely to the heads. I thought it would be slick, not to mention more effective, to bypass all that and forge-weld them if possible.

Vince Gingery (brother of the well-known Dave) built a power hacksaw which is reputed to work pretty well. They're available from Lindsaybks.com for $8.95 plus shipping.

Link: http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/hack/
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 07/20/04 21:02:01 EDT

Guru: I have a Prest-o-lite acetylene torch set-up for silversmithing.In the base of each torch head and pressure regulator is an allen screw with a bunch of small rods inserted within the screw. These rods are about .5 mm in diameter.One torch head stopped up and wouldn't deliver the acetylene.Are these allen screws a safty feature in case of aflashback? Or,are they agas filter? My supplier they are not necessary.Is this so?
   Archie Scott - Tuesday, 07/20/04 21:26:48 EDT

A stainless steel to low carbon steel weld in the valve and fitting trade is a "p-12 weld" and is easly done with a 309 SS rod. We joined stainless steel yoke to the carbon motor mount for actuated valves. This weld took the entire thrust and torque of the actuator, and I never heard of a failure.
309ss rod in the small sizes is a somewhat pricey, but extremely versatile sorta stick anything together rod. Thats how we used them. A 3/32" 309ss rod was our choice for welding thin sheet steel, before we had mig available.
   ptree - Tuesday, 07/20/04 21:30:44 EDT


My thirty year old Prestolite torch doesn't have those, as far as I can see. I'm guessing they are both a flashback arrester sort of thing and a filter, all right. It is probably not a great idea to remove them if that is what they are. I would try removing them and cleaning them with some carburetor cleaner and fine steel wool and replacing them.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/20/04 22:13:05 EDT

Blowtorch query: what did those gorgeous old brass beauties burn? One book by a major publisher says they used kerosene. But another says gasoline. Ebay has scads of them and some vendors say they are gasoline torches. I have a mini, a Primus (the very same outfit that made the little backpacking stoves with whose towering pillars of napalm I have nearly burned down two forests), in which I have used white gas, Coleman fuel, and it works okay. The notion of holding a quart or so of gasoline in my hand next to a roaring flame seems a bit counter-intuitive. (Yet my great-grandpere, an Alsatian tinsmith, did many a steeple with one, dangling wayyy up there in his bosun's chair. But, then, he drank a lot.) Anybody have any first-hand (and with that hand still attached) knowledge? The torches I have seen carry no markings as to fuel. ¡Gracias!
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 07/20/04 22:42:26 EDT


I have my grandfather's torch. He used AMOCO white gas in it. I've used it that way a few times.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/20/04 22:47:58 EDT

Prest-o-lite acetylene torch: Archie, those screws are vents, fuses or pressure relases. They are an absolutely necessary safety feature. If a welding supplier told you they are unnecessary then fire your supplier and find a new one.

Generally these "screws" are vents to allow small amounts of air or gas through, the rods act as filters to prevent clogging by insects and restrict flow. Other plugs of similar type may have pressure diaphrams that rupture on overpressurization or melting fuses to prevent explosive pressurization in a fire. In all cases if they are OEM parts they are safety related. If they are clogged they can be removed and cleaned with solvent and replaced OR better yet replaced with OEM parts.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 23:35:41 EDT

Gasoline Torches: These were supposed to be fueled with additive free "white gas". The natural high octane Texaco product was commonly used but is no longer available. Coleman fuel is a similar additive free fuel but not high octane. It is the correct fuel for torches, lanterns and stoves.

Although I prefer propane and MAPP they are equally dangerous to gasoline. However, most small propane and MAPP cylinders are not refillable and are intrinsically safer than refillable (and often leaky) gasoline tanks.

As an aside, locally two irreplacable architecturally and historicaly significant buildings burned down while having roof repairs made. In both cases roofer's gasoline torches were found to be the blame.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/20/04 23:58:18 EDT

Paw Paw-- Thanks! White gas as in like what's in Coleman fuel, not--NOT-- the stuff that makes the car go Vrooooom? That's what's confusing. One of the books I have, by an eminent authority, says, for example, that Indian (native American) silversmiths quit using blowpipes and charcoal fires to do their soldering after the advent of the automobile brought gasoline to the rez and made blowtorches feasible. What's behind my curiosity is, I want a cheap heat source for annealing silver and brass and I can't use my coal forge on account of the trees have all died and the canyon is a tinder box. So it's my propane or acetylene or oxy-propane or oxy-acetylene torch-- or one of these pretty little antique brass Molotov cocktails if I can figure how to use one without immolating myself. The notion of gasoline under pressure is a tad unsettling.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 07/21/04 00:03:18 EDT


White gas as in what makes the car go VROOOOM!

Although I expect that Coleman Fuel would work as well.

Contact me email, and I'll walk you through the operating procedure.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 07/21/04 00:16:10 EDT

Ptree, another common failure mode (though relatively easy to fix) of these pipes is bending where the weld is... in fact I have been known to do that myself, once or twice. I think (though am not sure) that if they are forge-welded then they will be less likely to bend at the weld. If I end up electric welding these 309 will be the rod of choice, definitely. (And thank you for confirming my guess! :) I may forge-weld and stick weld them, forge-welding the tubular contact area and using the stick to fill the seam. Stainless flux recipe, anyone?
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 07/21/04 01:42:09 EDT

T Gold;
Forge welding stainless to carbon steel is tricky and doing so with pipe will be much more difficult.
Stick welding with stainless rod ought to have the best strength if your prep is good. If you use small SS rod and do quick little stringer beads ( with cooling and chipping between passes), you will have the smallest HAZ ( heat affected zone) and thus avoid the wide,soft, annealed area around the weld that's tending to bend.
The weld itself shouldn't fail. It may be that the apparent weld failure is because the plain steel itself is weaker at working temperature or suffering greater scaling damage in use and the closest plain steel to the heat is at the joint.
Last, the flux necessary for this forge weld is pretty toxic stuff.
It may be an impure thought, but i'd respectfully suggest modern methods...ZAP!
Miles: I use a harbor flight weed burner ( propane) and a open front,dry-stacked firebrick enclosure for annealing larger pieces of metal. It's fast, cheap and fairly safe. The old gas blow torches have great style and character, but you might wait till the rainy season to use one.
Note that around the annealing temperature of copper, the color of the propane flame bouncing off the metal will turn orange.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 07/21/04 03:45:13 EDT


This souds like a perfect application for friction or inertia welding, which is the same as forge welding except done under a much more controlable conditions and w/o flux.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 07/21/04 11:11:07 EDT

Guru: Thank you for the quick reply. Your answer was what I had thought but couldn't get anyone to verify my reasoning. I had e-mailed some Prest-o-Lite dealers with no response. You have a lot of info on this site. Eventho I have no knowledge of blacksmithing, this site will be added to my list of favorites. Thanks.Archie Scott
   Archie Scott - Wednesday, 07/21/04 11:32:25 EDT

White gas as in what makes the car go VROOOOM!: NOTE, This product is no longer available (Only Texaco sold it after the development of lead additives and they no longer make it). There is NO additive free gasoline sold at the pumps. Gasoline additives clog torches and are quite toxic. The ONLY suitable fuel is now Coleman type fuel.

I would use a propane torch for annealing.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/21/04 11:53:15 EDT

I have a Japenese type 32 cavarly saber made in 1899. It was covered with rust. No matter what I tried it took it down to bare metal. It is supposed to have a blackened finish on it. I would like to restore the finish and protect it from rusting again. However I do not know how to blacken or perserve this sword. The rust has pocked the metal in places. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You
   lori - Wednesday, 07/21/04 11:53:57 EDT

Brass Torches
I have my Dad's old brass gas blowtorch, and when he gave it to me he made me promise I would never try to use it, or he would punch a hole in the bottom of it first.
Tyler, how would a mechanical (thread) work on the blow pipe?
Why does it have to be stainless and mild?
Wouldn't all stainless work?
   JimG - Wednesday, 07/21/04 12:07:24 EDT

Japanese Sword: Lori, The blackened or gunmetal finish is an oxide coating almost exactly like rust. The difference is that the black was an oxide created chemicaly and had traces of chemicals other than pure oxygen as in the rust. To remove either, removes both. ALL oxide coatings only act to slow rusting and to hold oil or wax (to prevent rusting). Once rust starts on an unprotected oxide coating it spreads fast. These kind of items require constant maintenance in the form of cleaning and reoiling.

To replace the finish requires the bare metal to be finished to the original polish. This requires removing some of the surface mechanicaly with buffing compound and can be detrimental to the value of the blade. After cleaning to remove all traces of oil, wax, fingerprints, the blade would be treated in a special acid bath (preferably by a gun smith or someone with the right equipment and knowledge). This also requires the removal of all the furniture (complete dissasembly).

It IS possible to repair blueing/blacking with brush on compounds from Birchwood Casey. However, they require the same cleaning/finishing preparation as above except for dissasembly AND require practice in use. On a large object the finish will not be perfectly even as it would from a full emmersion bath.

The pits will be impossible to repair without damaging ALL remaining value in the blade. It is too late now but the best thing to have done was as little as possible, scrub lightly with fine steel wool then apply oil to the remaining rust and finish. The rust would have darkened from the oil and been a dark brown close to the original black. It would not be perfect but it would not have been damaged by an attempt to refinish the blade.

Attempts to clean and refinish antiques destroys the value of collector's items EVERY day. The rule is to do as little harm as possible. In the case of iron and steel items dusting off loose dirt and rust then oiling is the best. Any application of buffing, grinding, wire brushing, de-rusting compounds destroys any remaining original finish as well as age defining rust. If you want new looking, sell the old to someone that appreciates it as-is and buy new. Reproduction weapons are readily available and are very inexpensive.

I see this problem every day on ebay. Well intentioned people grinding or wirebrushing ALL the rust and original finish off old tools (everything from screw drivers to vises and anvils) thinking they are improving the value. To someone that plans on using the tool they might have increased the value, but to a collector they have just removed hundreds of years of history. . .

   - guru - Wednesday, 07/21/04 14:16:03 EDT

Guru, JimG, Paw Paw, Pete F-- Many thanks! If you see a blinding blue flash off on the horizon, think a kindly thought....
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 07/21/04 14:36:55 EDT

Have any good web site links or books with pictures or diagrams of complex, multi piece rubber molds?
I am cold casting gypsum and resin and would like to avoid cutting and gluing as much as possible.
Thanks - Glenn
   - Glenn Schot - Wednesday, 07/21/04 14:41:10 EDT

Hi again, I am going to try casting Sterling Silver for 15 lb. pieces in my electric furnaces. How will handeling this metal compare to my regular Si Bronze casting? Know any tricks?
I know this metal is subject to Oxygen gas absorption.
Clay/Graphite crucible OK? Thanks again, Glenn
   - Glenn Schot - Wednesday, 07/21/04 14:48:19 EDT

JimG Thank you for the advice. I know of a Gunsmith hopefully he can help. again thank you. Lori
   lori - Wednesday, 07/21/04 14:48:57 EDT

Multi-Piece Molds: Glenn, I do not know of any photo sites for this. The trick is to study the piece, divide simply and build your mold. Often the piece must be designed with the mold in mind. I am used to rigid molds like plaster. We used to make ceramic parts that required five and seven piece molds. There was often a base, side pieces and a cap. In rubber you can get away with a lot less pieces.

If I were going to get into the business again I would first make a bunch of tapered locator pins or buttons in aluminium. These are stuck into the backup plasticine clay when making the mold pieces.

I have also divided molds using sheet metal stuck into a plasticine original The sheet metal is bent to fit a parting line and a wrap around mold can be made with one parting. Thin sheet like aluminium flashing is used. The thickness of the flashing is lost. This could be critical on small peices but is not appreciable on larger pieces. I would press alignment button shapes into the sheet metal before starting. Using this technique the number of pieces of a rubber mold can be greatly reduced.

Standard books on pattern making and casting such as those by C W Ammen and ASM cover fairly sophisticated multi-piece molds and equally sophisticated (or ingenious) solutions to reducing the number of parts. However, almost every mold requires a diferent solution. The best solutions require thought and imagination.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/21/04 15:39:30 EDT

Please advise, date of manufacture for a Hay-Budden Anvil, serial number 123323.

Thanks, Frank.
   frank johnson - Wednesday, 07/21/04 15:59:01 EDT

Good afternoon gents. It has been a few months since I have posted here but I have been keeping up my reading. I have just been too busy building the new shop to spend much time here. My question is: Who makes and or sells the rubber bumpers used in Bradley hammers? I bought a 60# upright hammer from a retireing smith, a really nice one but the bumper under helve above the ram is starting to flake off. The other ones seem fine for now. I seem to rememeber that one of the advertisers here had them but I was unable to find out who. Any help is welcome. Thanks
   - waynecparris - Wednesday, 07/21/04 16:18:40 EDT

I've run into "damaged" antique tools and weapons more than I would like to. I've learned that chewing out the seller---who has often done the damage to "increase it's value" just sets up their back. Instead I comiserate with them that a "previous" owner has ruined the piece and dropped it's worth by $XYZ explaining why the damage (can you say sharpening a 500 year old sword on a grinding wheel?) lowers the value.

Done well you can almost make them sick to their stomach about the money they threw away and know they will be more carefull in the future.

In particular I remember a hand forged,steeled, wrought iron T adz that was the spitting image of a viking find that the fleamarket dealer had sharpened on the wrong side for it to be used as a hoe. I bought it cheap but lost about 1/2 the steeling putting the bevel on the other side---told him I would have cheerfully paid twice as much rather than grumbling paid what he asked if it had't been ruined...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 07/21/04 16:35:15 EDT


Your Hay Budden was manufactured in 1906.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 07/21/04 16:56:20 EDT

Bradley Bumpers: Wayne, These were made by Bradley for Bradley. Cortland Machine & Tool Company owns what is left of Bradley and has the drawings. Bruce Wallace was setup as the bumper supplier and seller. One of our members "moldy" was making them. However, moldy changed jobs and I do not think there is a current source. You would have to ask Bruce Wallace.

Save the metal parts they can be reused.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/21/04 18:37:20 EDT

Patrick Nowak,
Having lived with a friction welder for 21 years, I can testify to the fine quality welds. We welded flanges on steam valves with working pressures to 1500 psi steam at 1000F. Takes a mighty good weld to handle that, and each weld took less than 30 seconds. What I can't testify to is a stainless to carbon friction weld. We never tried that, and the 316L SS to 316LSS friction welds took a lot more developement to achieve.
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/21/04 18:46:27 EDT

Pete, the working temp for that area of the pipe is probably around 750-1200 degrees fahrenheit, with bursts of up to 2400 degrees. I have every intention of using whatever methods I feel necessary to make good pipes that will last, and they will probably include electric welding :)

JimG, to be honest, it never even occurred to me to use a thread. The tap and die would be expensive, but it is definitely worth some consideration... Hmmm. And to answer your other question, stainless is commonly used for pipe bodies, but mild gives a better grip and is more pleasing to the eye. Stainless pipes are generally (though *NOT* always!) student or production pipes, which can't usually expect the TLC necessary to keep a mild steel pipe in good condition. (The best pipes are made out of chrome-moly with 309 heads... If I could find some seamless chrome-moly tubing I'd be all over it! Hint hint... dig through your scrap piles and toss me an email :)

Warm and sticky in Boston, MA.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 07/21/04 18:58:13 EDT

What would be a good weight to start with(talking about anvils)?
   - John S - Wednesday, 07/21/04 19:00:03 EDT

Arcane knowledge, instant answers, only on anvilfire.com!
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/21/04 19:06:04 EDT

I have a great book that covers plaster mold making, and many of the principles are adaptable to rubber molds as well-
plaster mold and model making, by chaney and skee. isbn 0-422-21515-0.
   - Ries - Wednesday, 07/21/04 20:40:01 EDT

John S, anvil weights.....
I would probably say first it really depends on what you are needing to do?
But for beginning ( which I am guessing you are ) an anvil in the 120-150 range would be good. I currently have a 149 lber, but I wish I had one that was about 100 more.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 07/21/04 22:31:21 EDT

Hey, I have seen with my own baby blues what was said to be colonial Spanish armour repaired with pop rivets. With gallery provenance, no less! I have seen a magnificent antique Go board used as and being sold as a cheese board, with the deep knife scars to prove it! An ancient Spanish colonial New Mexican leg vise amputated and made into a bench vise with a machine bolt for a screw! Cross my heart! As W.C. Fields or Barnum or somebody said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the people.
   Juan leGubrious - Wednesday, 07/21/04 22:36:09 EDT


The techniques and tools for casting the sterling silver will be the same as for the silicon bronze. Graphite crucible is fine, although silicon carbide is stronger and lasts longer. For flux, a mixture of 7 parts borax to three parts boric acid works for me.

The O2 absorption will not be a problem as long as you flux the surface of the melt in the crucible. Skim any dross and flux lightly just before pouring. Silver has jconsiderably higher thermal conductivity than bronze, so yo want to have your mold flask up to a pretty good heat for the pour. I like about 1200ºF. Use good sized gates and plenty of risers, too. Also a fairly hefty sprue cup. You don't want the metal cold-shutting in the mold, so you need a quick, continuous pour.

As soon as the sprue button is down to showing only a dull red color in very low light, you can drop the flask into a LARGE barrel of water (minimum of 55 gallons) to fracture out the investment. If you're going to do this, do it ALL AT ONCE from behind a shield barrier, as the resulting steam fireworks can be pretty impressive. All the usual cautions about metal casting apply; safety gear, proper clothing, sandbox, helper, practice, practice, practice.

Let us know how it turns out.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/21/04 22:53:44 EDT


The quote is usually attributed to H.L. Mencken.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/21/04 22:55:04 EDT

Where can I get 16 gauge mild steel sheet metal?
Where can I get 16 gauge pre-annealed mild steel sheet metal?

Note: If anyone knows about places in south central wisconsin it woud be great.
   arlo - Wednesday, 07/21/04 23:22:16 EDT

Guru--I'm looking for a source for a paint on antique brass finish. Is there such a paint? Do you think there is a powder coat finish in antique brass? Thanks.

   S.L. Stransky - Wednesday, 07/21/04 23:26:59 EDT

T. Gold,
What grade, od and wall Cr-Mo tube? The aircraft homebuilders use 4130, in thin wall, in various ods for welding up structures like fusalages and engine mounts. There are suppliers that will ship cut to lenght.
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/21/04 23:52:41 EDT

Vi-- Aw, shucks, I shoulda known that, me being from Balmer and all, hon!
   Juan leGubrious - Thursday, 07/22/04 00:17:26 EDT

Glenn Schot

Re: Rubber molds, Freeman Supply has a nice CD on the use of their rubber molding products. Titled "Parts, Patterns, tools and Molds". Should be available through WWW.Freemansupply.com as a freebee.
   habu - Thursday, 07/22/04 00:57:14 EDT


Cortland Machine is the official Bradley rep. I don't have their contact info at the office, but I have heard that getting new bumpers from them is pricey. When I bought my Bradley, the previous owner suggested that new bumpers could be made by machining a block of rubber to the required shape. His suggestion was to freeze the rubber and then manchine it while cold. I have been looking into rubber a bit latley and my suggestion would be to use 80-90 hardness rubber, I believe measured using the Shore A scale. I think that I recall seeing tires as being about 60 on this scale and it seems to me that the bumpers I have are a good bit harder than tires. If you are note able to find any blocks of the there required size, you may be able to laminate sevaral sheets with the laminations in the horizontal plane. Good luck.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 07/22/04 07:12:18 EDT

What is the correct way to purge a fuel gas cylinder
, propane for example, in order to safely flame or plasma cut it open ? I'm thinking it would be adequate to remove the valve, wash out with soapy water then run a few lbs of CO2 inside while cutting.



   Chris S - Thursday, 07/22/04 07:17:08 EDT

Machining Rubber Parts: Yep, can be done when the rubber is hard frozen. I THINK you an do it with dry ice but liquid nitrogen may be required.

However, you cannot make most Bradley snubbers this way. On all the Bradleys EXCEPT the Compact, the conical snubbers are molded onto the metal studs that support them.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 08:30:27 EDT

Purging Cylinders: Chris, It depends on what you are cutting with. Cylinders often explode NOT because of previous contents but from the unburned oxy-fuel mix that fills them while cutting. When using oxy-actylene or any oxy-fuel torch this is a problem. Eventually the entire volume of the container is filled with the gases from the torch. If you are lucky the fuel level will not reach the detonation level, if you are not lucky. . well then, you are not going to have a nice day.

This problem is the one that surprizes many (now headless) welders who KNEW there were no flamables in the container to start. . . It does not matter WHAT was in the container to start when using oxy-fuel cutting.

The second senerio is that there ARE flamable contents in the container and the excess oxygen (there is LOTS from flame cutting) creates an explosive mix of fuel vapors and oxygen. It is almost impossible to clean all the residue of oils from tanks and the heat will liberate the stuff hidden in crevices.

The purge for oxy-fuel using CO2 should start as having displaced ali the air in the tank and then be equal to the amount of oxygen entering the tank from cutting. As large a vent as possible is needed. CO2 can be used but compressed air is cheaper. If sufficient air/gas exchange is going on then explosive levels of fuel/air/O2 cannot build up.

When oxy-fuel cutting a container it is good practice to do so in short bits. Alow the pruge to clean out the container between cuts.

Full tanks of volitiles are welded all the time. FULL prevents there being space for an oxy-fuel mix and the possibility of explosion. This is NOT something I would do but it is done.

On anything larger than a 5 gallon tank I like to fill it with water THEN cut.

It used to be industrial practice to purge large tanks with auto/truck exhust. . .

Plasma cutting is much safer than oxy-fuel because it does not add to the possible problems. A simple purge as you suggested will do after cleaning the container.

   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 09:00:05 EDT

The Bradley - Cortland Machine info is on our Power hammer Page list of manufacturers.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 09:02:59 EDT

Making bumpers
Couldn't you laminate the studs into the layers of rubber? I understand that they were molded in but with the adheasives we have today and the materials available, you would think that we could make replacement parts that were made 100 years ago!
I have yet to pick up the machine and be able to take a good look at it, but I have run it and I have known the smith for a long time and he rebuilt it about 15 years ago, everything but one babbit bearing that needs to be replaced and the bumpers. The rubber on the snubber has only recently started to flake off, in the last 6 months or so. I suppose I could rotate the snubber to expose the back side to the pressures for a while. It sure beats the heack out of a little giant though!
   - waynecparris - Thursday, 07/22/04 09:14:42 EDT

Anvil Weights: John, Generally you want as large as you can afford. But then there is also the portability issue. See our FAQ on Selecting and Anvil. It also has links to all our anvil articles.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 09:26:41 EDT

On rubber machineing ETC.
Haveing made various rubber parts that were machined, years ago for prototypes, yes rubber can be machined. Liguid nitrogen was the freezing agent of choice, high speed tooling for lathes etc, and grinding also works. Be prepared to repeatly refreeze as the machining warms up the worked area.
As an aside, could these parts be cast from the moldable urathane molding compounds availabe from DEVCON? I have made parts from these two part mixes and as I remember they are available in different durometer ratings from 70 to 90.
To place durometer in prospective, a standard O-ring compound is 70 durometer, Shore A. 90 Durometer would be more like the hardness of a dead blow hammer of the molded plastic type.
If lamanating or machining, get in touch with an industrial rubber supplier, and they will be able to supply the correct durometer rating and adhesives.
Good luck
   ptree - Thursday, 07/22/04 11:16:08 EDT

Dear Sir,
I bought a forgemaster SN0001709. In my country we only have butane gas. Does a forgemaster operate (30PSI) on butane gas ? Do I need a different orifice ? Where can I buy it ? Thanks a lot for your answer. Best regards HENON HILAIRE
   HENON HILAIRE - Thursday, 07/22/04 12:36:20 EDT

Hi, I'm interested in getting started in blacksmithing. Right now I'm saving up for the materials needed. Also, I've been looking around for places to get steel to work with. I found a hardware store that has a good selection and at not too bad prices. But most, (if not all) of the steel is marked as 'weldable'. Does this mean that it can't be forged, or won't forge as well as other pieces?

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm really REALLY new to all this, and am learning everything I can quite on my own.
   Justin W - Thursday, 07/22/04 14:19:25 EDT

Justin, Virtually all steel is "weldable" and forgable. They may have bare stock marked weldeable. Most hardware stores carry zinc plated steel which when heated to forge or weld gives off small amounts of burnt zinc which can be hazardous to breathe.

Generally hardware store steel is too expensive for blacksmithing. You want to look for steel wharehouse or service centers in the yellow pages. Most require a minimum purchase and will not cut to length unless cash orders are prepaid. The other place to ask is a weling or fabrication shop. Do NOT make a nuisciance of yourself at either place. Expect to buy $50 worth of steel and to pay cutting charges. It will still cost 1/3 of the hardware store price.

In sizes from 3/8" square UP you want to buy hot roll steel. Most is structural grade (ASTM A36 or thereabouts). In 1/4" and below all that is available is cold drawn, ask for SAE 1018-20. IF they don't have it then structural grade is OK. Most starting smiths like to have some square stock in 1/2", 3/8", 1/4" and 3/16". The 1/2" is the heaviest you want to try to forge until you have lots of practice and develope both the forging skill and muscles to go with the skill.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 14:44:23 EDT

ForgeMaster: Henon, I called Forgemaster and they say their forges have not been engineered or tested on butane.

My recomendation is to drill out the orifices to .045" (1.143mm) and try the forge. If it does not get up to heat (give it 20 to 30 minutes) drill the orifice out to .060" (1.524mm). This last is Natural Gas size and you should not go larger.

Forgemaster Orifices
Standard .030" 0.76 mm
Oversize .045" 1.1 mm
Natural Gas .060" 1.5 mm

   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 15:10:26 EDT

First I'd like to say what a valuable tool this site and all your knowledge has been to a fella just starting out.
My question is I have a 215# piece of overhead door counterwieght, a 5" cylinder. My plan is to stand it on end and apply a hardened surface to it. Any suggestions on what would be easiest? I have read that you can take a welder and create a surface, but that it may be expensive and time consuming. Would it be better or cheaper to have a piece of hardened tool steel cut to fit and welded on? I have no welding equipment and not much experiance, and could probably con somebody into helping out, to a point.
Just trying to get away from that poor piece of rr track I been beating on, until I can afford to pry a good anvil out of a antique collectors hands.
Thanks for any suggestions and many good returns
   James Caroen - Thursday, 07/22/04 15:49:55 EDT

Are there any suppliers for metal stamping dies for alphabetic characters in Cyrillic?
   smittylite - Thursday, 07/22/04 16:37:41 EDT

Rubber for Bradleys

On my machine I don't think it would be at all difficult to machine the needed shape. The rubbers are all replaceable, ie there are a loose slip fit on the studs rather than being molded to contoured studs. I do think that laminating would work rather well. I am thinking that a local water ject shop could provied a rough shape that would require minimal finishing, and I suspect that perfection is shape is not absolutely necessary anyway. All this is speculation of course since I have never machined rubber, and I (at this point) don't need to replace the bumpers on my machine. Keep us posted on the replacement method you use and its success.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 07/22/04 17:03:17 EDT

If I were to heat a leafspring in order to bend it into a semicircle for use as the spring on a powerhammer would I then need to reheat treat it or would it function well enough as is. The reason I ask is I wont have the forge size/capacity to heat the whole length at once to harden.
Could I just heat treat the middle section to harden and leave the ends.Or maybe harden it in three sections, I'm thinking that would leave me with 2 soft spots tho.

any help is gretly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
   lazarus - Thursday, 07/22/04 17:17:54 EDT

Hi there...this is a question about 'SPRING STEEL'.

I want to know how spring steel will react when I hit it at red heat and how to quench it... Is there any problems with forging spring steel?
   Ryan L. - Thursday, 07/22/04 19:28:26 EDT

Counter Weight: James, It depends on what that weight is made of. There is a good chance it is cast iron. If so it is not suitable for an anvil and hard facing cannot be applied.

The hard steel plates on old anvils were forge welded on. A continous full face weld is needed. It is possible by arc welding but requires a tremondous amount of build up. A solid piece of tool steel would be cheaper than the the electric bill, much less the rods and the labor.

Hard facing CAN be applied to steel by arc welding. The rods are expensive and require skill to apply properly. You can also eat up a half dozen grinding wheels for and angle grinder making it flat and repairing flaws in the welds. It is NOT a small job.

For alternative methods of using RR-rail see our iForge demo on tools from RR-rail. There are better ways to use that rail.

   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 19:51:46 EDT

Lazarus and Ryan, See our Heat Treating FAQ

Note that ANY steel can be labled "spring steel". All steel has the same springyness (modulas of elasticity). The only difference is how far the steel will flex before it permanetely deforms.

Any spring should be uniformly heat treated. Hard and soft places in a spring will result in it bending or breaking.

Most medium-high carbon and alloy spring steels are oil quench and should be tempered immediately after hardening. Good spring steel is usualy drawn back to a blue (around 650° F).
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 20:03:06 EDT

Bradley Snubbers: Patrick, If your snubbers are the exposed end type with a single stud mount ans they are not tight on the stud then they are not OEM parts or have worn loose. The originals were all molded onto the studs like motor mounts and machinery isolation studs. The only ones that were not molded to the studs were the "doughnut" snubbers on the Compact.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 20:08:18 EDT

Cyrillic characters: One of the big US outfits that made letter stamps used to make Cyrillic sets but I cannot remember who. If you call McMaster-Carr they might help you.

If you only need a specific character it might be easier to have one special made.

Otherwise I am sure there are hundrreds of places to obtain them in Russia and the former states of the USSR.

   - guru - Thursday, 07/22/04 20:16:42 EDT

Speaking of springs, what d'you s'pose happens to a spring-- a watch mainspring, for instance, or a shutter spring in a camera-- if it is kept under tension for a lonnnnnnnng time? Nothing special re: hyper-stress or ambient temp, mind you. Just no relief for, say, a few years.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 07/22/04 23:54:10 EDT

How are the prices on Centaur's website for bar stock? I live in Illinois not too far away to drive to the store, so, if they are reasonably priced, I could go there and stock up every once and a while.

...Or would it still be a better idea to go to a steel wharehouse if I could find one?
   Justin W - Friday, 07/23/04 00:45:00 EDT

Miles - Springs
There are stories about the magazine springs in 1911's (45's) still functioning from WWII, having been depressed from being fully loaded and in storage.

They suggest that camrea shutters be "tripped" and stored uncocked to save the springs. I have heard of no hard evidence either way. DO take ALL the batteries out of the camera for storage as they will fail causing damage to the camera, flash, light meter, etc. Storage is considered 6-8 weeks without use for a camera equiptment.
   - Conner - Friday, 07/23/04 02:47:17 EDT

Hi all,

I've got a question which will probably get the response "get a copy of the machinist handbook" which I now I should, but haven't done yet. I promise I will.

Now for the question: I am experimenting a bit with pattern welding, beginning with a stack of 9 layers alternating mild steel (5 layers) and bandsaw (4 layers). I called the suspected manufacturer of the bandsaw (bahco) and they told me it should be made out of one of these two alloys:

C: .7% or 1.1%
Cr: 3.8 4.0
W: 1.0 1.5
Mo: 5.0 9.3
V: 1.0 1.1
Co: 7.0 7.9

Questions: Does anyone know a name or ansi-code or something for these alloys?
And, How should I heat treat them?

PS, I looked in the metals section of "the complete blacksmith" but couldn't find anything similar apart from maybe A-2.

   matthijs - Friday, 07/23/04 07:43:01 EDT

Bradley Bumpers:

It is quite possible that rubber parts on my machine are not OEM parts. The hammer itself was made in 1944. Also, the metal studs have rusted rather severly in some locations due to exposure to the elements. Currently, I have all the rubber parts off the hammer and in inside storage. Some of the rubbers do show wear on the holes, but before I pulled the hammer apart, they seemed to be snug. I would think that a little slop in the rubber would not necessarly be cause for replacement since the hammer is equipped with adustments to control the tension on these items.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 07/23/04 08:28:45 EDT

Conner-- Thanks. Prudence suggests all of the above. I'm just wondering, though, if prolonged stress, even though not beyond the yield point, nonetheless produces strain, a "set."
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 07/23/04 09:14:21 EDT

Justin, Centaur is possibly the most expensive place in the entire world to buy steel barstock, unless you work for the Pentagon. Look in your yellow pages under "steel suppliers, distributors, and/or fabricators." It is not hard, and it will save you much money. For example: A typical hardware store chunk of 1" x 3/16" flat steel strap three feet long will cost you about $4. That same $4 will buy you a 20 foot section of the same steel at a warehouse. If you bought it from Centaur, assuming they carry that size (I'm extrapolating from the catalog here) it would be maybe $10 per foot.

To ALL newbies and wannabe's:

Find and join your local blacksmith club/guild, you will learn more in an hour watching actual smithing than you can in a year floundering about on your own. If there's an active guild near you, and you do not go and play with them, you have no excuse. Don't be embarassed or shy, just introduce yourself and be honest as to your skill level. Don't tell folks you want to make a sword as your first project, just say you are willing to learn anything they will teach you. Then, PAY ATTENTION! Nothing irks a smith more than someone who asks a question and then doesn't listen to the answer. The only way to stop being a newbie or wannabe is to get yourself educated. This site helps quite a bit, but there is no substitute for actually seeing it done and then doing it.

Sorry for the rant, it's been a looooooooong week.

   Alan-L - Friday, 07/23/04 11:51:08 EDT

Miles, I have a pocket watch from about 1906 that I
had to get a new mainspring for last year. The old one had not taken a set as such, it had just lost it's "oomph" over the years and would no longer keep time. The new spring has taken a long time to break in, oddly enough. It keeps good time, but every time it gets fully wound up it lasts an hour or two longer than the previous winding. The old spring would run for 30 hours. The new one started at 8 hours, and now will go about 18 or so. It only gets wound about once a month, so I'd bet it would have achieved relative normality in less than a month if I wound it every day.
   Alan-L - Friday, 07/23/04 11:58:58 EDT

Stress always produces strain. Only stress above the yield point will produce a "set" or permanent deformation. length of time does not enter in as long as you do not exceed the yield point. All stress produces some deformation but most situations the deformation is so small that it is not of consequence. In extreme cases(think of flatbed trailers for heavy loads) there is reverse deformation built in so that when the load is applied there is no sag, just a straightening of the hump in the middle of the structure.
   - Jim Curtis - Friday, 07/23/04 12:06:06 EDT

Alloy ID: matthijs, So you are going to force me to put on my reading glasses. . .

OK, nothing matches perfectly. But the closest alloys are Molybdenum High Speed Steels. The cobalt puts it as being roughly (or closest to):

AISI M33 / UNS T11333 OR
AISI M42 / UNS T11342

This steel has a low resistance to decarburization so you will need to grind off at LEAST 1/16" of all the exposed surface after final forge welding the billet.

Do not normalize. To anneal cool from 1650 max to below critical at a maximum rate of 40°F (20°C) per hour.

To harden, heat rapidly from preheat to 1200-1220°F, 15°F lower if in a salt bath, time at temperature 2 to 5 minutes, quench in Air, Oil or salt bath. Temper at 540-595°F

HSS is pretty picky stuff. In blade thicknesses air cooling should be sufficient. These are VERY hard steels (60-65Rc) and I would temper to the highest rrecommended temperature or a little higher. Check your Machinery's Handbook for heat treating HSS. Its much more complicated than described above.
   - guru - Friday, 07/23/04 13:37:16 EDT

Very many thanks guru.


   matthijs - Friday, 07/23/04 13:50:55 EDT

Bandsaw Blades:

Those alloys you posted are as Guru said, high speed steel and are almost certainly NOT what the blade is made of. Those alloys are found in the teeth of bi-metal blades. I had one of our big band blades chem checked here at work about a month back and it was a Nickel alloy steel similar to 2317. It had 2.87% Ni and .1% Cr with a few other alloying elements, but nothing besides Ni over 1%. I was not able to measure Carbon content, but is suspect a medium carbon level. This blade was about 2 3/8" x 1/32". We use these to cut ingot, billet and bar up to about 30" square. The teeth are either a high speed steel alloy or carbide. The blade itself should be quite good for a damascus element and when welded to strapping iron produces a hardenable knife steel. The bandsaw blade material will be the bright element in the damascus unless you use a very high nickel steel or pure nickel. No special fluxes are required to weld band saw blades.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 07/23/04 13:58:35 EDT


Guru, I know from long term reading that this question about "springiness" and modulus of elasticity comes up at least monthly. The answer doesn't quite satisfy my intuition, so I got into Machinery's and Marks' handbooks and found, sure enough, modulus of elasticity is pretty constant for steel at 30e6 psi, and the yield strength is related to draw temperature as lower draw temp means greater yield strength. More deflection produces more stress in the steel, so a higher yield strength means more deflection before it deforms. I'm still contemplating setting up an experiment of the clamp different bars on a bench and hang weights from them variety, just to get it all through my head. The one sticking point in my thinking here is that it would seem that the very highest yield strength would come in the as-hardened state. But that state (and the lower draws) are considered to be so brittle... I think of brittle as "breaks with very little deflection". I looked, and ultimate strength progresses in the same way as yield strength. So... admittedly I'm self-educated in the strength of materials department. What am I missing? Is it a matter of definitions that I don't quite understand?

Thanks, Steve
   Steve A - Friday, 07/23/04 14:06:28 EDT

Finding a steel wharehouse: Blacksmithing is not crocheting or decoupage, it is white hot steel, industrial processes and industrial tools. It is a great hobby OR business but it is a serious activity. Besides finding a good source of steel you also need welding supplies and safety equipment that you don't find at Walmart. You need to find a welding supply house that carries in the LEAST besides welding equipment and supplies; leather aprons, grinders, wheels, face shields, safety glasses, ear protection, respirators. . . .

OCASSIONALY, out in farm country, a farm supplier or hardware store will carry SOME of this stuff. But it is not unusual to have to drive 50 to 100 miles to a first class industrial suppliers of steel, welding and safety equipment. Ocassionaly there are also large hardware suppliers that handle welding equipment, tools and safety equipment.

In recent years welding supply houses have carried less safety equipment as safety equipment supply houses have cropped up.

Use your local yellow pages. If your local phone book is only about 3/16" like mine then you need to go to the next largest city (population 50,000 to 100,000). Joining your local blacksmithing group can be a GREAT help. These folks have already do the research.

Finding your local supplies is something you need to do for yourself. Industrial suppliers expect YOU to know what you are asking for, so study up. They also commonly have minimum purchases unless you have an open account. Although minimums are usualy a shock at first, you will find that you almost always need more than the minimum. If you are a regular cash customer (and not a nuisance) many places will ignore the minimum after you have done some business with them.

It is EASY to be a nuisance customer. . . Asking repeatedly for quotes on small amounts of materials without buying is a nuisance. Not understanding that the minimum is to scare away nuisance customers is a nuisance. Not being prepared to handle long stock (bring your own flag or saw) is a nuisance. Asking to have $50 worth of steel delivered by a $50/hour truck is a nuisance. Asking sales people "dumb" questions without making purchases is a nuisance. Expecting a small amount of stock to be cut to tight tolerances or odd dimensions is a nuisance. Expecting to buy less than a full length of material is a nuisance.

Many things that are usualy a nuisance will be handled with a smile for good customers. Sales people do not mind making quotes for jobs you do not have BUT you should try to make a purchase for at least every other quote. Wharehouses gladly cut stock into halves or thirds for handling (and usualy charge) but tight tolerances (+/- 1" or less) are not their business unless it is a significant order and you have discussed the tolerances before. Many wharehouses will accurately shear and saw production orders for you. But cutting a couple sticks of 1/2" bar in half is not a production order.

There is an etiquette to being a comercial customer at an industrial supplier. KNOWING what you are doing and asking for more often than not is one of those things. Most of these folks have phones ringing off the hook and orders to fill and are rarely in the mood for a fishing expedition. Once you have a business relationship with these folks they may volunteer to research something for you. But until you have proven to be good customer (or know how to look and act like one) you will generaly recieve little respect at these places.

Do your research, pick a supplier and don't pick up the phone until you have cash in hand to do business.
   - guru - Friday, 07/23/04 14:21:52 EDT

Springs taking a "Set" This is a common and well known occurance. It is a thing that takes a long time and is proportionaly related to how much strain the spring is under. A low stress spring may retain most of its original condition for centuries. But a high stress spring may lose effectiveness in a few decades. As the spring loses effectivness the stress (caused by the spring) is reduced and the amount of loss slows. At some point the time required for any measurable effect is nearly infinite and the spring will stop changing any measurable amount. Perfectly engineered springs have near infinite lives. However, many springs are designed for high performance (lower weight, less steel) and have shorter lives.

The fact that a spring still works does not mean that it has not lost some of its original strength.

Steve, That brittleness means that the steel will not bend (much) before it breaks. It does not mean that is will not be hard to break. HSS cutter bits are very brittle hard steel. But try to bend or break one. . . VERY difficult.

   - guru - Friday, 07/23/04 14:40:30 EDT

Wasn't that an old tongue twister "rubber bradley bumper-snubbers"?

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/23/04 15:24:04 EDT

Thomas P, Sun's pretty bright out there where you are huh?
   ptree - Friday, 07/23/04 16:51:50 EDT

My husband is a boilermaker by trade but works in the cattle industry with his own horses. For years he has worked with his anvil on the ground when shoeing horses, but finds age is catching up with him. He has a fairly definite idea about a stand on which to place his anvil so he does not have to work at ground level, but i am wondering at other solutions (on his behalf) just in case someone has been there and done that and has found a really good solution. My husband intends to make his stand out of pipe (about 6" diameter. He will weld a plate - sufficiently big enough to hold his anvil - onto one end of the pipe and three legs onto the other end. The plate will have holes in it so the anvil can be bolted on while in use and removed when the work is complete. In this way the anvil is portable and therefore can be used at any location.

As i said just wondering if there is a better solution to the design and if there are materials that are lighter than steel plate and water pipe but which have the strength.


   Glenda - Friday, 07/23/04 21:51:36 EDT

for a farrier type use this sounds perfectly fine and sensible to me.
   Ralph - Friday, 07/23/04 22:29:48 EDT


You might also check out our iForge Demo #144 on anvil stands. You can find it by going to the drop-down menu at the top right of this screen and scrolling down to iForge-How To.
   vicopper - Friday, 07/23/04 22:34:59 EDT

I don't know about leaving cameras cocked being bad for the spring; but I do know that leaving a camera in a cocked condition (this is pre-digital, of course ;-) is a bad idea if the camera is subjected to a sudden impact or drop. At least so the camera shop assured my father-in-law after he had to get his repaired. Makes sense, with components under tension, and stuff flexing out of true and bouncing about from an impact.

Finished my class, but back to the normal grind next week. What I do for us taxpayers!

Lots of cold work to do in the forge on the farm bell, RJYH and GIC. Catching up on e-mail and surface mail; and sending stuff out tomorrow via post office on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 07/23/04 22:48:48 EDT

I purchased a used peddinghaus ironworker type-210A/20.
I have been unable to find a manual on it. can someone help
Andy Clark
   Andy Clark - Friday, 07/23/04 23:01:49 EDT

ANDY; Try going to Google.com and typing "Peddinghaus 210A/20 in the search block.
   3dogs - Saturday, 07/24/04 02:32:07 EDT

T Gold;
Then the right alloy would be one that stays stiff at higher temperatures like H13 or S7. Don't know where you'd have to go to find tubing in those alloys and forging it out by hand is going to be kinda slow.
Chris: Cutting pressure tanks....I've always followed your scrub out plan with the valves removed, then filled completely with water (openings on the very top) and used a torch to cut a port out near the top first.
JOIN CSI OR SUFFER CRS, join even if it's too late!
   - Pete F - Saturday, 07/24/04 04:30:45 EDT

Join CSI or suffer CRS.
Are you aware that CRS is the precursor to CRAFT?
   ptree - Saturday, 07/24/04 07:15:40 EDT

Mainspring Getting Better: Alan, This is a librication/finish factor. When coiled energy storage springs are wound up tight they slide against themselves. A good clean, well polished and lubricated spring will work the same from the beginning. But any burrs, dirt or lack of lubrication keeps the spring from fully unwinding and giving full return value.

These are a turns in, turns out device. IF it lasts longer then it is returning more turns than originaly. In other words, it was hung up. . . That is also why you can lock up a watch or clock by overwinding the spring. Wind it up too tight and it locks up. . . Been there, done that, taken dozens of of old mechanical clocks and music box mechanizims apart. . . (when I was a kid) learned a lot but not enough to fix any.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/24/04 09:58:38 EDT

Computer Virus infection: For several months now I have been getting the same block of virus infected mails in the same order, PROBABLY from the same person. Their return mail path is:


The forged return addresses (form the infected machine) are:


If you have an Ohio adelphia ISP acount and have corresponded with the three people above then CHECK YOUR MACHINE. Ohio Northolmstead is the ISP interchange. You may recognize it.

This one machine has been sending out thousands of virus mail for MONTHS. PLEASE clean it up!
   - guru - Saturday, 07/24/04 10:22:06 EDT


Have your husband make an anvil stand from angle iron. Four legs from 2x2x1/4 and the top frame from the same will make a good, portable stand. I had one like this and put a piece of expanded metal about three inches up from the ground to hold small tools while working.
   - HWooldridge - Saturday, 07/24/04 10:40:06 EDT

Pure Iron: I have a contact that has almost ten tons of PI in 1/4" round bar. He wants to sell the lot. Personally I think he has a problem with this quantity in this size but I thought I would put it out there.

I have not heard from the 00Fe folks but they have a similar situation. Theirs is in 1/4" plate and bar sheared from the plate. I suspect the lot is or will be avaiable.

That makes almost 20 tons of PI/00Fe all in small stock.

Contact me if you have serious offers.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/24/04 10:41:02 EDT

JIm said "length of time does not enter in as long as you do not exceed the yield point". Not so. There is a mechanism called "Creep" where metal under constant stress will very slowly deform. It takes place faster at high temperature but it will happen at room temperature if you wait long enough. It may take decades but it does explain why some really old tools that rely on spring actions begin to stop working.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/24/04 12:38:24 EDT

Peddinghaus is still in business, making ironworkers-(now they call them "steelworkers") in Germany, and selling them here.
Peddinghaus.com will get you to them. They probably have some parts for them in stock, maybe even a manual. And all the punches you could ever want are available from cleveland punch and die. Cheap, new, off the shelf, and made to last. clevelandpunch.com will get you there. Peddinghaus, along with Mubea, are the Cadillacs of ironworkers- almost nothing ever breaks on those german made machines, which is why old mechanicals like yours are still around, and hold their value. A 210/20 is quite a beast- at least 100 tons, which will punch or shear amazingly big material. Nothing quite like the look of glee on someones face the first time they punch a 1" diameter hole in 3/4" plate, and the machine doesnt even whisper, much less groan.
   - Ries - Saturday, 07/24/04 15:17:50 EDT

Pete F,
S7 would be obliterated under these working conditions; these pipes get quenched, thermally shocked, and generally beaten about. An alloy like S7 would be destroyed within a day's worth of work, not to mention being prohibitively expensive. The bends usually occur at the weld, not in the pipe body, which is why I'm seeking methods of making the weld stronger and stiffer.

Thanks for the tip on the tubing, I'm looking into that now. 4130 is (if memory serves) the alloy that's generally used for pipe bodies when a stainless alloy isn't used.

Finally back in Hawaii... Hot, sunny, and humid in Upper Aina-Haina.
   T. Gold - Saturday, 07/24/04 18:03:54 EDT

mister or miss guru
id like some links or sources to info pertaining to damasscus steel. ive forged a single blade so far from a rail spike. heat treated it and drew back down to rockwell 55. its a decent blade. i hammered it into a tree and stood on it. i would just like some info if you can help that would be appriciated. thanks mitch
   mitch - Saturday, 07/24/04 20:05:28 EDT

www.knifenetwork.com has a damascus forum. Check there for all the technical help you could ever want on how to make and process pattern welded Damascus steel. Also, check out www.dfoggknives.com
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/24/04 20:22:10 EDT

Hi, I can across this website researching for answers on cast iron building stars. I am trying to find the history, original picture of one and how I tell if I have an original.

I am going to forward your site address to my brother in law who is a metalergist. He told me to do the research to help get him some informaltion.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

   polar - Saturday, 07/24/04 22:03:56 EDT

I have an old pair of brass tongs, the jaws are completely flat and and round. I was wondering if they were for working with metal or for moving coal becouse of the grey stains on the inside of the jaws.
   - Lone Blacksmith - Saturday, 07/24/04 22:40:21 EDT

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