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This is an archive of posts from July 1 - 7, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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Does anybody have a good source for info on the Champion forge and blower co. power hammers? I saw that the CD with the patent info is sold out in the anvilfire shop.

I've found one in pieces that I may buy, but would like to know that I can get everything back together before doing so.


   Tony Mock - Friday, 07/01/05 01:08:10 EDT

I too am wearing that respirator, Ptree, and I feel better wearing it knowing that you use the same... :) The welding shop recommended the P-100s to me for welding fumes. I use it for dang near everything that makes any sort of dust or similar. Grinding, plasma, sandblasting... makes me cringe six different ways to see people doing that kind of thing without a mask on.

Warm and damp in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Friday, 07/01/05 05:27:32 EDT

Thanks for the information vicopper.The anvil has a chip on the corner of the face,about a quarter of an inch wide and an inch long.I do small welding and fabricating jobs after work,so this anvil is probably good enough for what i need it for.
How can I find out when this anvil was made? Could it be an antique? If so I dont want to use it for straitening out a piece of bent steel
thanks again
   Kevin Hopkins - Friday, 07/01/05 06:51:36 EDT

MILES; Now you've done it! You've let the secret of Eau de Electrode out! And here I thought I was the only one who got off on the smell of 6011. Now the stuff is gonna get scarce and the price is gonna go up. The next thing you know, we'll be buying it on dark street corners under names like "Hobart Gray" and "Phast Phreeze". We'll be reduced to scrounging for stubs under the bench, and pulverizing the flux to be heated in a spoon over a candle. Ah, well, I should have known it was too good to last. Maybe Lincoln will open a string of rehab centers in industrial areas, where we can undergo a 12 step program involving mig and tig.(Hey, man, I know where we can score some helium).
   3dogs - Friday, 07/01/05 07:38:08 EDT


As anvils go, PWs are not really antiques. It *is* over a hundred years old probably, but you need to get to about twice that age before an anvil is considered an antique by blacksmiths. Collectors, antique shops and eBay sellers alll think that it is a valuable antique, but they don't do metal work. Me? I would consider it a tool and use it.

Please note that I am NOT advocating using it to straighten cold iron, or as a welding/cutting table, or as yard art. No, I'm suggesting using as it was intended to be used; forging hot iron, with due care and hammer control so as not to miss the work and hit the anvil. There are many other pieces of scrap junk that work fine for cold work, cutting, welding and tripping over in the garden. That anvil has been around a few generations as a tool and should last several more if treated properly.
   vicopper - Friday, 07/01/05 08:29:07 EDT

malcolm with the lighting problem: if you have not found your answer or ideas yet, i have the following to offer: i highly advise you NOT to use any volatiles while trying to light your coal. unnecessary high risk. use news paper, balls, wade it up, or however you choose. light it and start a gentle blast. as it starts to peak, add the coal ( enough to cover the fire) and adjust the blast (higher). you will notice that it is going. add coal as necessary. i use forge coke, which is really a pain to get going. keep reading...
   - gt4 - Friday, 07/01/05 10:31:40 EDT

gt4---malcolm didn't say *coal* he said *coke* and as you mention coke, especially industrial coke, is a lot harder to light than coal. I don't know of anyone able to do it with the newspaper method.

When I use it I build a coal fire to start and then add the coke after the coal is coking nicely. Most folks I know that use coke use O-A to light it.

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/01/05 11:43:03 EDT

TM, I have a champion 0 hammer in my shop.

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/01/05 11:51:52 EDT

I was Just wondering if anyone knew the weight or make of this anvil, or if its a fake picture, also how thick does plate steel come, i want to get a cheesewheel shaped cutout for a reinactment of viking sword making,
the link for the GIANT anvil is
   TROLL - Friday, 07/01/05 12:11:33 EDT

Lighting coke - current method I use is wadded up nespapers, small dry branches, coke. Wad up the newspaper, and place a good pile of small dry branches over it (all of that deadfall has to get used/burned somehow) light with a match, plug in blower, with intake well restricted. Get a good flame going in the branches than slowly begin adding coke - size of coke is critical, should be roughly 1" or 2" and down. Break it up if it's larger. As you add coke, slowly increase the blast. I don't normally get to full blast until 30 minutes or more after starting - do not need it to forge initially, but as the fire ages I end up cranking up the blast. The blower is a fairly small dayton unit - not certain of the cfm, but iw woks well until I get enough clinker built up to block the tuyere.
   - gavainh - Friday, 07/01/05 12:24:41 EDT

Big Anvil: The photo is real, the anvil is fake, or hollow. An anvil that size would weigh around 6,000 pounds and overload that trailer it is on. Numerous sheet metal anvils have been made over the years as displays or signs. Some are VERY realistic.

A friend of ours Ray Davis made a real SOLID anvil this size. It weighed 5,280 pounds. See our NEWS, Vol 26, page 10 for this and other LARGE anvils.
   - guru - Friday, 07/01/05 13:08:06 EDT

Kevin Hopkins:

The Peter Wright forge was near Sheffield, England. Essentially it was the core of the British anvil production companies.

TROLL: Well, it certainly would be a large one if it is indeed real.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/01/05 13:13:08 EDT

I wanted to ask you about the 'quicklatch' respirator. Does it fit under your welding helmet? I have a similar mask that does not.

   eskimoben - Friday, 07/01/05 14:46:11 EDT

3dogs-- they pay big money for the kind of writing you just gave away, you know. Heeeelarious! Many thanks! Made my day!
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 07/01/05 15:46:43 EDT

The A.O. Safety "Quicklatch" does indeed fit under a standard welding hood, if equipped with the low profile "pancake" P-100 filters. The Quicklatch has a unique system that allows one handed fit/unfit by throwing a latch. This allows the mask to drop down and hang comfortably when not needed, and a quick one handed flip of the latch and the thing is fitted. One source is Hagemeyer @502-961-5930 ask for Mike Morrison. Tell him you heard about it on Anvilfire and he should buy ads.
   ptree - Friday, 07/01/05 16:44:53 EDT

I just bought an anvil. I was wondering if someone could tell who made it. It is marked 284 on the side and it appears to have the word "American" above the # It is about 32 inches over all. , the table is 5 1/4"x20"and the horn is about 12" and it is 12 1/2" in height and weighs about 284 lbs I would guess. It has a 1-1/4 square hole and a 3/4" round hole on top. It does make a nice ring when you hit it with a hammer. Thanks
   stephen hayes - Friday, 07/01/05 16:48:23 EDT

Troll Anstee used a cheese weight not because that's what was used it's just what he had on hand (He also used a chinese style box bellows) or were you referring to a cheese *wedge*... if so make sure it has a lip to prevent it from continuing to sink until it splits your stump.

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/01/05 16:55:56 EDT

When I said cheese wheel i meant like this,http://www.iforgeiron.com/images/Tools%20pix/Anvils/a039roundanvil.jpg
It kinda reminds me of a cheese wheel but its more a cut out peice of sheet metal, anyways does anyone know the thickness of plate steel and what types there are, and what type of companies would use thick plate steel,
also where can i find something like this
   TROLL - Friday, 07/01/05 17:24:10 EDT

Dear Guru and others,

I need your help. I go regulary to NJBA Open Forge nights. At these gatherings I was talking to the smiths there about my gas forge that im planing to build acording to Michael Porter's book. Anyway I got to telling them about ITC-100 and they had never heard of it. After telling them about it they said" nah you don't need that stuff.Just use the kaowool that's what Marshal did and his gets up to wielding heat." so whats a good way to convence them that I should use it?also I'm trying to change their minds so that we can buy it in bulk. thank you for all your addvice. Sincerely, John S.
   John S. - Friday, 07/01/05 18:12:12 EDT

Plate steel is pretty much anything heavier than 1/4" IIRC Thickest I recall is about 9"---anybody know what they are using on sub hulls or battleships these days?

Those pic's look more like a piece of shafting that was cut off. I wouldn't worry about if it's round or square just get it a good size to use. One of the SOFA fellows uses a piece of 12"? dia shafting and his stump is set up to use it flat or on the side to use the curve to draw on.

You can most likely find a nice piece about 1 mile WSW of here.

I don't think he is for sale---you might be able to rent him though...or was there a particular item in that picture you were referring to?

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/01/05 18:51:30 EDT

Stephen Hayes: See Anvil's in America by Richard Postman (available from the forum store), pages 252-255. What Postman provides is more inference than direct information. Your anvil likely dates 1899-1911 or so. Made by the American Wrought Anvil Company of Brooklyn, NY, likely started by a former employee of the Hay-Budden Manufacturing Company. The anvil should be forged steel, plateless, with four handling holes, flat bottom and no serial number.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/01/05 18:57:28 EDT

Thomas P, mr malcolm sounded pretty green to be using forge coke and i assumed that he meant coke from coal, but if that were true, he had a coal fire going and would not need advice on how to light it. i understand your logic. i use forge coke and it is a female dog to get going.a roaring hardwood fire and plenty of blast or forget it. i like it though, plenty hot....
   - gt4 - Friday, 07/01/05 19:15:27 EDT

Thomas, you mind if I email and ask questions? may ask for pictures too.

Thanks, anybody else have any info on the champion hammers?

   Tony Mock - Friday, 07/01/05 22:18:07 EDT

Troll: We had plate up to 12" thick at the shop I used to work in, it took more pressure than our bulk oxygen system was set up to deliver to flame cut that heavy. Steel plate supliers MAY have that kind of thickness, but round, square, or rectangular sections of bar stock might be easier to find. Check with scrap yards or surplus material/equiptment dealers if You are near an industrial or formerly industrial area.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 07/01/05 22:21:46 EDT

like thick bars of steel?

Thanks everyone, im gonna go get me some steel :)
   TROLL - Friday, 07/01/05 23:02:06 EDT

The first photo was a piece of drop from a hole cut into a piece of plate steel. It was 8" thick as I recall, and hole was cut by a torch, which started some 2-3 inches from the inside edge then moved to the circumference. The drop was used in demos to show beginners that "anvils" did not have to look like "anvils" in order to work. This one had a nice flat surface on two sides and a nice curve on the edge, and weighed about 75 pounds.

The second photo is much the same, most likely with the torch cut welded up, and the surfaced finished to smooth. It was being used as an anvil for making armour.

The block of steel can be obtained from the local steel yard (my location). A 12"x12" piece of 4" thick common steel weighs 163.296 pounds or 74.070 kg according to Anvilfire Mass3 calcs. Tool steel weights only slightly more, and H13 tool steel a pound less.

I mention 4" thick as that is close to the width of the face of some anvils. As to the face, you get 2 each foot square surfaces and 4 each four inch wide surfaces for the same price. I would think the edge (4 inch) surface would be somewhat flame hardened if torch cut. I mention these to beginners as it would take a while to wear down or crush all 4 edge surfaces (48 inches total), at which point he would most likely be ready for a real anvil.
   - Conner - Saturday, 07/02/05 04:39:28 EDT

Sub hulls,

They very in thickness and stength. Subs( due to pressure changes) want to be strong but flexable. Most are made of a n alloy @#@#@!@#$%%^ that can %^%&**&^%$% and is roughly &^&%$#$$ thick. A sub mariner friend of mine has mentioned that the passage ways shrink and expand up to a foot.
But the real streagth in a subs hull isn't in its thickness or its(^(*^$#@%, but in the equalization of pressures between the hull and the insides of the sub.
This message can nither be confermed nor afermed and thusly will self destruct in 3.... 2.....1.....

   - Timex - Saturday, 07/02/05 04:44:05 EDT

Will you help me find material prices per pound for these metals in the shape of plates or sheets? Wrought Aluminum alloy numbers 6061,7075,2024 and 2014. Cast Aluminum AA-390, 336.0. Wrought Titanium Alpha-beta alloys. Wrought Magnesium #AZ31C-H24 and AZ31B, and Cast Magnesium #ZE63A. I would greatly appreciate your help as I don't even know where to look. My boyfriend is engineering a new type of motorcycle and he is a metal parts fabricator/welder/designer (everything has to be made of metal..EVERYTHING!) but he's in a Federal facility and has very limited access to information except through me and this time I'm at a loss. Thank-You VERY much!
   gail - Saturday, 07/02/05 07:39:31 EDT


They haven't built battleships since WWII. In fact, I don't think they've built any armored ships at all since then. Missles and non-conventional bombs and warheads made them obsolete. So no really thick plate.
   Mike B - Saturday, 07/02/05 08:13:02 EDT

Thick Plate: All steel starts out as a casting, either into an ingot or a slab, etc. From there the casting must be hot worked to break up the cast structure. A general rule of thumb is that wrought steel must be reduced in thickness by a 3:1 ratio from the cast shape. In other words, you need a 9" slab to roll 3" plate to have adequate hotworking. Insufficient hot working will leave the steel somewhat brittle. The problem today is that most US Steel mills are trending toward thin slabs, ie, 2-3" for flat rolled products. A few mills still cast a 9-10" slab. As far as I know, only two mills in the US still cast ingots; Timken and Lone Star Steel. Timken steel is superb, Lone Star steel is quite dirty because of their primitive melting and refining equipment. There is a product, called cobble plate, which is an ingot or a slab that was in the process of being rolled when something went wrong. The slab may have been reduced only a few inches when it had to be removed from the mill. Because it lacks sufficient hot working, it is good for nothing but weight and is offen cut up for crane weights. Once in a while, a metallurgist gets a couple of pieces of 4" thick 4130 cobble plate cut into 6" x 12" blocks. Makes a fair anvil. :-)
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/02/05 08:47:39 EDT

Gail, for prices and technical info on metals go to www.metals.about.com . Another good link is www.steelynx.net .
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/02/05 08:58:46 EDT

QC; Do you reckon she's referring to a Leavenworth-like federal facility?
   3dogs - Saturday, 07/02/05 09:39:11 EDT

More on armour, IE why ships and tanks no longer use thick steel for amour. The explosive devise known as a shaped charge developed prior to WWII has pretty much regulated thick steel armour for ships and vehicles in production now to the status of chain mail. Pretty. Pretty useless against the current crop of anti armour warheads. Both the depleted uranium and the HET type charges use a focused thermal jet to burn thru the armour. Imagine the mother of all plasma torches. Blows a jet of molten metal into the space that is armoured. Plays havoc with the crew, but the real intent is to cause a detonation of the munitions and fuel that are normally stored in such spaces. In the past when a high explosive warhead was the height of the technology, thicker armour could defeat the explosion. Then the technology of very high velocity solid shot developed to counter heavy armour, could be defeated by sloped thick armour that was quite hard.(see Russian T-34, the best tank in WWII) To defeat this technology, the inertial round, a solid shot with a blunt nose, that used a soft nose for drag reduction was developed. This struck the hard plate and caused a cherry red hot slug of plate about manhole sized to spall off the inside of the plate. Then the Russians developed the hyper velocity round. This was copied in the US, and is called a sabot discarding, fin guided projectile. Made from very dense material, with a tungunston nose, it flew so fast that it often went thru the front slope, the gun mount, the engine ond out the rear armour.

RPGs are somewhat easy to defeat, you need something to disrupt the jet developed by the shaped charge. Stand off plates that cause the warhead to fire prematurly, or reactive armour works.
The russians spent billions to equip their tanks with reactive armour to defeat Americain warheads. We defeated their reactive armour by putting extensions on the warheads of various lenghts to fire the reactive charge before the warhead is in the disruptable phase.

Moral, for every new war technology, a new counter technology developes, and is often cheaper than the original technology, just as in firearms VS plate armour.
   ptree - Saturday, 07/02/05 09:42:52 EDT

John S and ITC-100. NJBA member here also. you do not need much ITC-100 the smallest container they sell should be good if you feel you need it. I don't, I have only 1" of kaowool and my gasser gets up to yellow heat shortly at 5 lb
pressure. At higher pressures it gets up to brite yellow near white ,so one should not look at it. I use a modified "mongo" type burner. 2" kaowool would make more efficient, and adding ITC would be better. Unless you burn a lot of propane, in my opinion it may not be woth the money.
   - Ron J. - Saturday, 07/02/05 11:45:43 EDT

John S.: Do that at least coat the kaowool with satinite? If not maybe tell them that you enjoy breathing and would like to continue for a few more years. The fibers on uncoated kaowool will break off in tiny particles after being heated and cooled multiple times and this is very bad for your lungs. Satinite is good enough to stop that, the benefit of ITC100 over satinite is only a matter of efficiency, not safety. If they can get welding heat without it, but coat with satinite for safety, then they're fine and have no reason to start using it.
   - AwP - Saturday, 07/02/05 12:21:41 EDT

HSLA alloys, I had some polaris sub hull plate from the scrounge of the welding engineering building before it's demolition. I didn't take the alaskan pipeline samples as I didn't have a use for the curved stuff...

They haven't *built* armoured ships recently but folks are taking them apart in third world countries for the steel and so the plate might be foiund on the market in the scrap stream...

Some folks have run across some big die blocks of high grade steel and already heat treated to a "tough" state that would make a dandy anvil. I too sometimes demo with an improvised anvil so as not to present the picture that you have to have all the toys to do smithing---I must look for some basalt to make a consolidating anvil for the bloomery...

   Thomas P - Saturday, 07/02/05 12:22:21 EDT

Re: heave plate
Here in chattanooga, back in the '70s, Combustion Engineering made nuclear power plant reactors. I remember them using 13" plate. That is all gone now and the buildings stand empty.
   - John Odom - Saturday, 07/02/05 12:35:41 EDT

3Dogs, I just figured he was a Congressman?! Federal Facility, restricted information...I dunno......?????
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/02/05 12:53:07 EDT

Air Pipe for Charcoal Forge: I'm doing the setup where you drill holes in a pipe under the firebox and plug the other end. What dia. holes, how far apart, and how many? Will 1\8" thick pipe hold up to the heat and scale? Thank you.
   - Tyler - Saturday, 07/02/05 14:19:41 EDT

I would like to know how to forge a Damascus Ring.
   Ruby - Saturday, 07/02/05 16:40:49 EDT

I agree with Awp, I've been using a lot of kaowool (well, the english version, aquired from a mate at the local powerstation :)
I've been building a few kiln designs I came up with. Point is you can see the tiny particles flying all over when your just cutting it, and if you fire it up a night for the first time you will also see thousands of tiny glowing particles as the dust you didn't move gets blown out. Mine NEVER stopped doing this till it was coated. Mind you it wasn't until it was coated that I STOPPED wearing a cartridge mask. Those particles are bad news, especially a few years down the line.
   Tinker - Saturday, 07/02/05 16:49:35 EDT

Ruby, can you give us a bit more to go on?
By Damascus do you mean the pattern welded steel? This is different steel alloys that are forge welded together in layers, to create patterns, google Don Fogg (sp) That could be worked thin eough to make a wearable ring, but IMO would be a VERY technical exercise. Probably a better effect (and perhaps much easier way) would be to make a pattern welded billet and then machine the ring from it on a mill or lathe. Or if you are just refering to the pattern then look at Mokume Gane. It is similar but uses precious metals as well as base metals.
   Tinker - Saturday, 07/02/05 17:11:24 EDT

John S: Check with elliscustomknifeworks.com. He has all the stuff in small amounts and pictures and instructions for small forges. Satanite coats the kaowool to help to keep you from snagging it out and it keeps you from breathing the little particles. The itc 100 increases the heat efficiency and helps to keep the flux from eating up all of your insulation. Drops of flux go through kaowool like boiling water through cotton candy.
   John W - Saturday, 07/02/05 17:26:39 EDT

I fired up and tried my first twists today. The pineapple was pretty good but my lines were not straight. I let it shift whilst hammering the brick chisel. Otherwise it looks fair. My 4 rod bassket was a disaster. I got a great weld on one end but the other would not stick for anything. I ended up with feathers on that end all smashed togetther but not stuck at all. Lots of flux, good heat, firm mashing together type hammer blow. Bits of flux and molten steel all over my pants when I hit it. But no stick. Heart handled fireplace poker came out pretty good though. Now I need more coal.
   John W - Saturday, 07/02/05 18:31:00 EDT

John, the worst day blacksmithing is better than the best day at work! Heck, I just arc weld basket handles......
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/02/05 20:12:54 EDT

Naw, work is ok, I get to operate on people. It is sort of like blacksmithing but not as hot and if you get stuff close enough it will grow the rest of the way. Steel doesnt bitch about the hammer marks though.
   John W - Saturday, 07/02/05 20:51:22 EDT

Hi. I am wondering if anyone has done any work with the used blades from hockey skates? I have several blades which after many sharpenings are worn down too much for my skates. I'd love to turn them into something else. Candidates include, but are certainly not limited to, draw knife, wood turning tool of the scraper sort, wood turning tool more like a parting tool or a skew, wood carving knife, wood marking knife. I guess the common theme is cutting wood. I suppose if the metal is on the softer end, a scraper sort of tool would be better while if it is on the harder end, perhaps a cutting tool. I'm open to non-tool ideas too, but am more likely to be excited about a tool idea.

I do have access to some basic cutting, drilling, and grinding tools. I currently do not have access to a forge, but someday that may change and I'm enough of a packrat to hang on to them until that time... By then my whopping 6 hours of experience with a fire, hammer, and anvil should be distant memories but hopefully not gone!

Many thanks for your thoughts.

   Dan - Saturday, 07/02/05 21:39:11 EDT


To make a damascus ring or a mokume gane' ring, the process is pretty similar, just the metals are different. The first thing to do is make your basic billet of metal. If damascus steel, then you stack alternating layers of steel with different carbon contents and/or alloying metals, and forge weld them together. Sound simple, no? It is. After about the hundredth one, that is. (grin)

For mokume gane', you alternate layers of different non-ferrous metals such as copper and nickel silver or copper and gold. When workin gwith non-ferrous metals, you need to be mindful of the coefficients of thermal expansion of your metals, and their relative ductilities. They should be similar, or the process of annealing and forging will shear the bonds apart. Non-ferrous metals aer best joined by solid-state diffusion bonding. This is a process of stacking the scrupulously clean pieces of metal and clamping them between two piecesof heavy stainless steel plate (1/2-3/4" thick) and bolting the plates very tightly to compress the stack under a few thousand psi pressure. The stack is then heated in an inert atmosphere furnace and held at a heat a bit below the melting moint of the lowest melting metal. The time at heat may vary form half an hour to ten or more hours, depending on the metals, the atmosphere and the clamping presure. After it is bonded, you take off the SS plates and work the billet.

To make the ring, you need to first do the requisite deforming/forging of the billet to develop the pattern that you want for the ring. Then you dril or punch a hole through the billet and either grind away everything that doesn't look like a ring, or you forge the billet on a mandrel until it is a ring. Nothing to it. All it takes is the right tools, some practice, and plenty of time.

I suggest you start with the mokume gane', as it will be easier to deal with for a first project. Get a copy of Steve Midgett's book, "Mokume Gane', A Comprehensive Study". It will tell you the details that you need to know.
   vicopper - Saturday, 07/02/05 23:30:59 EDT


I failed to mention a few things in my previous post:

After making the initial billet of say ten layers, that billet is usually forged or rolled to half or less its thickness and cut/stacked and welded again, to increase the layer count. A ring has very limited surface area to see the layers, so you won't want more than probably forty or so layers. Any more and they become too fine to see easily.

There are other ways of bonding non-ferrous metals besides solid-state diffusion bonding. Some of them are realtively simple, but not as strong as diffusion bonding.

After you finish forming the ring, you etch the surface with a mild mordant that will reveal the difference in layers, if working with steel. This is also sometimes done with mokume gane', but generally the different colors of the parent metals provide the contrast.

Finally, I should have noted that you might wish to check out Dr. James P. Hrisoulas' excellent book, "The Pattern Welded Blade", for more information on "damascus" steel work. Jim is the acknowledged master of pattern welded sword-making, and what he has to say about swords wil apply just fine to making a ring.
   vicopper - Saturday, 07/02/05 23:42:16 EDT

John W., You might be trying too hard on the basket ends. Too much flux can be contaminative. Too much heat, a big sparking heat, will begin to oxidize the pieces. Light to moderate blows to start the weld are in order. Sometimes, if you hit too hard, you get "shear" between the pieces, so that they don't have a chance to cohere. After you get cohesion with a few moderate blows, then you can hit harder.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 07/03/05 09:33:38 EDT

Price per Pound: Gail, Try our On-Line metals Store, McMaster-Carr and Admiral Steel. In small quantities cutting and shipping is as much or more than the metal so price per pound means little unless you buy large quantities.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/03/05 09:52:48 EDT

Champion CD: Tony, Let me see if I can get that back in stock. It includes basic info as well as pattents. However, if you are looking for operating information there is none in print. The Dave Manzer Little Giant videos we sell are the closest thing to operation instructions for this class of mechanical hammer.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/03/05 09:55:49 EDT


Does anyone know if this site is still "Active" in any way? It's 'up' but seems abandoned.

There are 3 archive articles that I'd like to read, but a subscription is required.

I tried to subscribe, but did not receive the confirmation letter. Then an email to the webmaster bounced back and the phone number listed is no longer in service (Three strikes)

If it is no longer an active site, does someone have a password who would be willing to download and email 3 documents? Based on articles that I can access, I'm guessing they'd only be 8-9 pages each.
   Sriver - Sunday, 07/03/05 11:55:46 EDT

Although they dont tell you how to do it, two of the worlds best damascus and mokeme gane ring makers have websites, and they are both well worth looking at- Jim Binnion, at www.mokume-gane.com, and Phillip Baldwin, at www.shiningwave.com.
Jim recently did some wrought iron damascus rings that were incredible.
And that is my wedding ring on Phillips main page, called a "gothic bridal ring" - in fact, they are both mine, as my wife decided the top one was too heavy for her, and Phillip made her a third, more delicate one.
Both of these guys have been at it for a long long time, and they make it look easy.
   - Ries - Sunday, 07/03/05 13:28:07 EDT

I've run one of the champions before, a few LG's too, I'd just like to have the info handy for one that I'm looking at buying.

On another note, I'm out of the Babbitt daming material I had that came from an old hardware store, and I'd like to buy more, anyone have a good place to get it?

Thanks again,

   youngsmith - Sunday, 07/03/05 16:00:20 EDT

Was wondering could someone tell me how to make candle cup holders? I am a blacksmith in Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
   Wade Ivany - Monday, 07/04/05 06:27:25 EDT

Look on the iforge section from up on the top right "Navigate"
   John W - Monday, 07/04/05 08:26:45 EDT


I had the same problem and after a few weeks I recieved an email granting me a free subscription. The site doesn't seem to have been updated but I can access the articles.
   - Mike Ferrara - Monday, 07/04/05 10:33:14 EDT

Wade-- Copper pipe caps make handsome candle cups. Rivet to a saucer.
   miles undercut - Monday, 07/04/05 11:37:00 EDT

Hi All,
Im just getting started in this blackmsithing , and I want to first thank everyone for contributing to such a wonderful resource and place to meet new friends as this website,its out standing! I have purchased a great little forge, its a standing riveters forge in excellent physical shape, if I recall its names a buffalo #6 .. but dont hold me to that..
the only thing it seems to need is maby some new washers or
a bearing or something inside the housing, the handle turns and it spins up but its a bit raspy and stops after a bit.. im sure it just needs whatever the standard rebuild entails for these kinds of blowers.. that leads me to my first question.. IM SURE SOMEONE HERE HAS REBUILT ONE OF THESE..COULD YOU GIVE ME A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF WHATS UP INSIDE THE BLOWER HOUSING AND WHAT IM MOST LIKELY NEEDING TO DO TO IT ONCE I GET IT APART.. THANKS, and the second question is reguarding something im sure most of you have experince at..
using old files for projects, a simple knife blade comes to mind.. MY QUESTION IS.. IVE HEARD THAT MOST OLD FILES WERE W-1 STEEL, AND THAT MOST NEWER FILES ARE AIR HARDENING.. DOES ANYONE KNOW ABOUT HOW NEW A FILE HAS TO BE TO BE AN AIR HARDENING STEEL.. ID LIKE TO AVOID THOSE IF POSSIBLE AND STIK WITH THE OLD CARBON STEEL TYPES.. ive amassed quite a bucket full of big rasps, files, and the like...all are im sure at least from the 50's or earlier... well thank you for your help if you offer any info on my questions, pound safely, JC
   - J.C. - Monday, 07/04/05 18:37:39 EDT

Thanks to Ken Scharabok and vicopper for the info on my Peter Wright anvil.

vicopper,although I admire the skills and craftsmanship of blacksmiths,I possess none of these skills. I am afraid that this anvil will probably be put away to be passed on to my children or grandchildren. I might consider selling it if someone comes along with the proper skills

thanks Kevin
   Kevin Hopkins - Monday, 07/04/05 19:07:53 EDT

J.C.-- Be careful disassembling that blower. Before getting into tearing it down, give the whole assembly a good long-- several weeks at least-- soak in kerosene and spray on some B'laster derusting solvent. If it still won't spin, proceed with great gentle caution. The fan is probably fastened onto the shaft with a tapered pin. Drive it the wrong way and you'll crack the base and need a new fan. Virtually impossible to find a fan of that vintage, naturally. Sounds as if the bearings may be shot. You can come close to matching the originals with bearings-- adjustable cone and caged ball bearings-- out of a bicycle wheel. When it's back together, keep the shell full of oil. It will leak. Fill it every time you use it. With the old files, you will just have to experiment.
   miles undercut - Monday, 07/04/05 20:38:46 EDT

Mike Ferrara,

Would you be willing to download and email 3 articles? I'd be very grateful.

**Restoration Of Leg Vises Part 2 By James R. Melchor And Peter M. Ross
**Restoration Of Leg Vises Part 3 By James R. Melchor And Peter M. Ross
**Restoration Of Leg Vises Part 4 By James R. Melchor And Peter M. Ross

(Oddly enough, the Part 1 did not require a password)
   Sriver - Monday, 07/04/05 20:57:49 EDT

Was visiting friends this weekend and noticed an old 6" Columbian swivel base bench vise in scrap pile. It is missing internal nut part and lock clip to hold thread rod in front jaw. Beyond my capability to repair, but perhaps someone with machine shop availability would like it for the cost of shipping. Weight guess is 40 pounds. Heck, if you have a Columbian anvil, you could just mount it for a show piece. Marked COLUMBIAN, MADE IN USA, 6.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 07/04/05 21:45:48 EDT

Setting up a smithy: In his reply to an earlier post, AwP kindly suggested, "I'd also recommend a belt grinder before a bench grinder, they're more versatile, especially the good ones." I am not sure what a belt grinder is, though. I see belt "sanders" (see http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=2485) but I'm not sure if I'm looking at the right item. ANd how "good" is "good"? Other than by cose, how would I decide if ___ were a "good" one? Thoughts? Other recommendations?
   Tim S. - Tuesday, 07/05/05 00:18:31 EDT

Heavey Plate/Steel Ingots-
In addition to the Timken and Lone Star, carbon and alloy steel ingots are also still cast by Ellwood Quality Steel, Internation Steel Group (recently purchased by Mittal), A. Finkl and Sons, and Lehigh Heavey forge. Stainless grades can be obtained in ingot form from Universal Stainless Steel and Electralloy. There may be other suppliers as well, but these are the ones we currently work with. Ingots can be be cast in excess of 69" in diameter (100K lbs) so if heavey plate is needed, it can still be obtained as forgings. Also not that there are some continuous casters that can cast blooms up to 24" square, although the one I am thinking of is in Japan.

   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 07/05/05 07:30:12 EDT

Using Hammer drills

Yesterday I rented a Bosch hammer drill to drill the 1.5" anchor bolt holes for the Bradley. What a pain. The drill wouldn't rotate and kept getting stuck in the hole. I got so frustrated after about 2 hours that I took the drill back with only one hole mostly done. Does anyone have any pointers on getting better performance from these types of tools? I should point out that I am drilling through the existing bolt holes in the hammer frame (about 1" thick") and the timber pad (4" Thick). Both the frame and timber already have holes in them. Earlier, a friend had drilled a 1" hole about 4" deep into the concrete, but I am trying to deepen and widen these holes to 1.5" x 15" deep to accomidate epoxy anchors. Thanks for your help.


   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 07/05/05 09:52:35 EDT


Either I forgot my user name and password or something has changed because now I can't get in.

I believe that I have those articles in print though. Shoot me an email and maybe we can figure a way to get them to you...if I can find them.
   Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 07/05/05 10:45:55 EDT

Tim S., a bench grinder is a small motor with a double-ended shaft that spins hard "stone" wheels. Fine for sharpening lawnmower blades and lathe tools, useless for most other tasks.

A belt grinder is kind of like a belt sander, but sits on the bench and spins a long belt of abrasives. Look at www.beaumontmetalworks.com for an example of one of the best ones around. The advantages they have over a bench grinder are many, including quickly interchangeable belts of any grit you want from 24 up past 4000, even scotchbrite, felt, and leather for satin-finishing or stropping; they can have a wheel of any radius or a flat platen at the spot you grind on, so you can hollow grind or flat grind, and you can even use a slack part of the belt for convex grinding.

Now then, what's a "good" one? Depends on what you want to do with it. For knifemaking, the big three are the KMG from Beaumont, the Wilton Square wheel, and the Bader B3, all of which can be had with variable-speed drive. The next step down in usefulness if not price is the Burr-King. Moderate-cost belt grinders that are still decent for many purposes include the Coote and the Grizzly. Avoid Harbor Freight tools that have moving parts or involve heat treatment if you want something you can use.

The best belt grinders use a 2 inch wide by 72 inch long belt. The length allows the belt to dissipate heat more efficiently than a shorter one. The "budget" grinders use a 2" x 48" belt, which will get you through a lot of steel even if they wear out faster. The tiny ones, like the 1" x 42" and the 1" x 30" are fine for knife and tool sharpening, but are of very limited use in the general shop environment. Don't succumb to the temptation that you can use one of those stationary 4" x 36" or 6" x 48" belt sanders designed for use on wood! They will work for a while, but they run too slow for some steels and more importantly the bearings are not sealed. After a period of use the bearings will get grit in them, which leads to their noisy and untimely demise. I know this from personal experience, believe me!

In conclusion, the grinder you want will depend on the work you plan to do. There's nothing you can do with a belt grinder that you can't accomplish much more cheaply, if slowly, with files and sandpaper. Except hollow-grind a blade, of course. For general grinding and toolmaking as done in the typical blacksmith shop, the Grizzly or Enco 2" x 48" belt grinder is the cheapest one that ought to do the job. They run between $200 and $300 U.S., if I remember right. The big 2x72 grinders start at about $800 and can go as high as you want depending on what sort of accessories you want. A decent angle grinder, a couple of big files, and a wooden block with some wet-n-dry sandpaper will set you back about $100 and will allow you to do the same kinds of work, only more slowly. What do you want to do?
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/05/05 12:16:39 EDT

PATRICK: Do you suppose your drill tip could have been snagging on some re-bar? I've had that happen. For plain ol' tough-to-drill concrete, I've dribbled some water into the hole. Your drill point might have needed a touch-up, too.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 07/05/05 12:36:40 EDT

Power hammer questions.

I finally got my power hammer actually running this weekend. I finished assembly last month, but couldn't afford the power cable & belt until this payday.

My question has to do with how it actually runs. I'm finding that the die hold seems to stick at the top of each stroke. It doesn't do it every time, but enough that it is a concern. I have a short video of it running at: http://fredlyfx.com/powerhammer/First run.avi This is video of the very first time it ran. I have since adjusted the guides, but it still does it occasionally. I was wondering if adjusting the bolt that sqeezes the spring on the arms might help. Also, I was wondering what type of oil is best for somethign like this? I am currently using some 5-30 motor oil I had sitting around. Is a heavier oil better? Does non-detergent matter? Thanks Guru

   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 07/05/05 16:13:28 EDT

Follow up. It's running a little faster now than in the video since I tightened one of the v-belts on the jack shaft. It's kind of nice going that slow in the video though, it looks like slow motion almost.

   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 07/05/05 16:15:32 EDT

detergent oil has a carbon dispersent that keeps the carbon from blowby from settling out in the pan in internal combustion engines. Not a lot of help in bearing lube. Won't hurt though.
I tend to oils with anti wear additives and extreme pressure additives for plain bearings and simple slides.
A light waylube or gear oil would be an excellent choice.
The way to determine the viscosity needed is to check the bearing ID and the shaft load and speed. As loads go up and speeds drop the viscosity needs to increase to keep the surfaces seperated. Hydrodynamic lubrication occurs in a somewhat narrow range of speed,load, viscosity. For our upsetters that have plain bearings with 24" bore, a radial width of 18" and low speed a EP-460 gear oil is spec'ed. This oil is easy to shovel at 20 to 30F. Very goopy at 90F.
I would guess that a waylube in ISO 68 would probably be ok.
A typical oil of this type is MOBIL VACTA #2. This is available the world over in pails. Another product would be Wallover WOCOWAY 68. A light gear oil, say an EP-68should also work but is not quite as tacky and will run off the vertical slides a bit faster.

Good lubrication is cheap compared to repairs for any machine. A good source of technical help is the Chevron tech line at 1-800 lub tech. Have the bore size and speed of the shafts handy when you call. Buy you lubes from your local jobber or if desperate due to remoteness try Hagemeyer at 502-961-5930
   ptree - Tuesday, 07/05/05 17:42:54 EDT

Guaru: I swear this isnt homework. I never even did homework when I was in school. How can you figure the distance between the wheels on a 72inch belt grinder? Obviously the total path is 72 and the axles, for a 10 and two 3 in wheels will be at least 8 inches less than 72 but that pretends that the chord between the most distant part of each wheel is the same as the chord that the belt actually follows. Is 250 to 500 fps a reasonable speed? (3"wheel at 1000 to 1400 rpms)
   John W - Tuesday, 07/05/05 17:56:19 EDT

Thanks ptree. Now, being the lazy sod that I am. Would it work to just use 90 weight ggear oil I can get at the auto parts store? Right now my biggest concern is the main guides up front. Their are > < shaped guides on each side of the frame that slide in coresponding recesses in the die holder. I used the assembly lube you had reccomended earlier on the slides to start with, but have been using the oil as that came off pretty quick once I started running it.
   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 07/05/05 18:22:48 EDT

Patrick-- You might try going down a short distance at a time with a star drill and a small sledge, being verrrrry careful not to strike the base of the Bradley and blowing the debris out frequently with a squeeze bulb, then coming along behind that with the power drill to clean the edges of the hole. I've drilled a lot of holes in concrete with a star drill, but never that deep. That's an awful lot of shaft to try to keep the bit plumb inside of, especially going down through the Bradley base, if you try to get the full inch and a half diameter first thing.
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 07/05/05 19:31:11 EDT

Alan-L / Belt Grinder - Very helpful information! Thanks! What do I want to do? It is tempting to write, "I wanna make swords so I'll be cool!" Truthfully, though, I have the desire to make tools and hardware. I expect occasional forays into more artistic versions, too (you know, the pot holder with all of the vines, etc.).

I can't even afford Harbor Freight belt grinders, much less the big'uns, so I'll content myself for now with the "beginner's pack" you describe. And I'll keep my eyes open for deals (and my wallet closed, so there'll be something there should a deal present itself). Thanks again!
   Tim S. - Tuesday, 07/05/05 20:56:16 EDT

Any oil is better than no oil. That 90 wt gear oil will have a good EP and anti-wear package. I don't know about viscosity. Let me check my chart at work tomorrow and I can relate the two viscosities.
The real advantage of the waylube is the tackyness that will help it cling to the slides.
The GN Assembly paste will have slung out the excess but if you had checked inside there may have been more left in the joint than you think. That is what I put in my plain slides on my hammer. after enough time, I notice the slides starting to dry out and then i use the zerks to pump in a 5% moly grease. Every time I disassemble, i check for wear and have found none. I then relube with the 70% moly and start again. The 70% lasts a good while. I would think that the open slides would require oiling alot.
On our VERY expensive to fix,($30,000 for a bearing is not unusual)we use an auto oiler to lube about 150 to 200 points. Consumption of the EP-460 on an average upsetter may go through 1.5 gallons per hour. Much bigger machine.
   ptree - Tuesday, 07/05/05 21:00:29 EDT

Patrick-- More re: your anchor bolts: I know that star drill idea sounds like brutally hard labor. But it will work. Just now recalled going to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC years ago with an archaeologist friend to see some humongous stone vessels-- five or six feet tall. They had been hollowed out, she told me, by workers patiently rubbing their hands together to spin stems of straw to grind tiny grains of sand into the stone! But do you really need 15 inches? There are some pretty effective expandable bolts out there these days.
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 07/05/05 21:20:32 EDT

Patrick: Is the bit You are using a core drill type? These drill a hole in the middle and cut a groove like a holesaw, the concrete in between breaks up from the abuse. Allso, rent the biggest hammerdrill You can find [2.5"?], and remove the debris from the hole with a shopvac & a pipe frequently. As someone mentioned, carbide hammerdrill bits aren't effective on rebar. A diamond core drill would most likely work better, but You may have to mark the holes and remove everything down to the concrete to use it.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 07/05/05 22:04:03 EDT

FredlyFX: If You can't get the real products ptree is recommending soon enough, You may try mixing Your own concoctions of gear oil, grease, & STP to get something thet will stay put more than a few strokes. Allso, there are some open gear/chain & cable greases that are really stickey.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 07/05/05 22:10:00 EDT

I am still beginning blacksmith and just bought a 260 lb anvil from Nimba Forge. I live a few miles from the ocean in San Francisco Iand I want to make sure that ocean air and fog does not gradually take its toll, what can I do to best keep the anvil rust free? Since I will not be smithing with this anvil daily what would make the best cover for the anvil when not in use?

This anvil rings like a bell and my neighbors homes are very close by, what can I do yo reduce the ring, perhaps so that I can work outside? I have heard that placing a magnet under the anvil will reduce the ring, can you explain more about how this should be done and why this reduces the ring? Will any efforts to reduce the anvil's the ring also reduce its effectivness?

Thanks in advance, matthew
   Matthew - Tuesday, 07/05/05 22:15:59 EDT


I prefer cloth covers as they breathe and let the condensation out. Take an old pair of jeans and split one leg open and then drape it over the anvil. Before you drape the anvil, spray some WD40 on it, and you should be fine.

Top quiet the anvil, secure it *tightly* to a stump or baulk of wood. Steel straps and lag screws, chain and bolts, big spikes bent over...the ways are many and varied. What counts is holding it to the wood tightly.

The heel and horn of most anvils is where the loudest noise comes from, but the Nimba is a very stout and squat anvil with a thick heel, so that isn't an issue for you. You might try sticking a big speaker magnet (2-3 lbs) on the anvil in various locations to see if it helps. I don't personally like the magnet deal, as it grabs every bit of scale in the area until it loooks like a giant hairball.

My personal solution to the noisy anvil issue was to buy a Fisher Eagle. Very quiet. Not as fine an anvil as a Nimba, but very quiet. Nothing you do to reduce the ring of the anvil will reduce its effectiveness; that is a result of its mass and resilience.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/05/05 23:29:32 EDT

Matthew - Noisy Anvil
I use two chains attached to my stand with turn buckles - one attached under the horn and the other under the heel. Crank the turn buckles down tight and the anvil will get as quiet it it's going to get.
   dief - Wednesday, 07/06/05 00:40:23 EDT

Hi ,
Firstly, thanks a bunch for the help and quick reply to my first email. However, i must ask for some more of your precious knowledge. I went to my local industrial supplies store today to (try) get a spring for my toggle setup. What followed was a great number of question about percentage weight loadings and pretensions....by the end i was very confused. From looking at old #50 little giant pictures the spring looks to be about 6" long and 2"-2 1/2" round.But as to the other stuff i have no idea. Can you help?? Thanks again,
Ewan Gibson
   Ewan Gibson - Wednesday, 07/06/05 05:27:42 EDT

Thanks for the suggestions on drilling the anchor holes. I am limited in my options since the hammer, which weighs in the neighborhood of 6 tons, is already in place and I can't move it without gettting a big tow truck to come pull it out. The depth is based on the suggested depth for epoxy based anchors. I have not had good luck with expandable anchors in the past. I will investigate the different bit types and sizes suggested. I don't mind spending a whole day drilling, but I do want to make sure the bits don't get stuck in the concrete, which was happening on Monday. (To see a picture of my hammer, go to the powerhammer page and look at the 300 lb Bradley that was for sale a few years ago.)

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 07/06/05 07:31:16 EDT

I'm no expert at all Ewan, and I'm sure the lads who are will get to you in good time,but to my mind the information they want sounds important as far as safety goes I think. Percentage weight loading sounds like how much weight the spring will have to carry, at different points in its travel? (wild guess :) Pre tension I think, is the compressive force that is or will be applied to the spring, before it does any additional work. If they give you too soft a spring then that pre-tension will close it up with possibly nasty results.
The spring HAS to have suitable mechanical properties for the job you want it to do. If you need X amount of travel on the spring under X amount of load, then by giving them those measurements they can figure out what spring you need. Just being around the same size as the one you've seen is not a guarantee of anything. Jock would be the man to help make this a lot clearer than me.
I just know that you need the right spring for the job, figuring out what spring that might be is beyond me :)

By the by, its just been announced on the T.V. that England has been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games! Top Bombing!
   Tinker - Wednesday, 07/06/05 08:01:26 EDT

Anchoring Machines: I know it is a pain but I have always moved the machine to drill the holes. . . The primary reason is that good massonary anchors use much larger holes than the holes in your machine base.

Redrilling to resize with a hammer drill is VERY difficult. When step drilling any material the bit will grab if the feed is not carefully controlled. I would drill new holes rather than than try to oversize old ones.

The best standard anchors I have used with machinery are the lead expansion type. They require a properly sized clean hole as do most anchors but they are more forgiving. Dust must be blown out. If holes are not properly sized THAT is a serious problem. The best cure is lead tape. Wrap it around the anchor until it fits snuggly in the hole before setting the anchor.

Now days I use two part epoxy with studs. You can set the studs with the machine in place rather than lift the machine over them. Removal calls for torching off the studs or lifting the machine.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/06/05 08:34:39 EDT

Power Hammer Springs: Ewan, this is the tricky part of building a hammer and much engineering and trial and error goes into it. I think a 100# Little Giant has around a 5,000 pound spring rate. The spring can vary a lot depending on the configuration of your linkage. Fairbanks hammers use springs about half the size of Little Giants simply because of the toggle geometry. When designing your own you need to be sure the spring never reaches "shut height" (bottoms out). On the down stroke this is easy since the linkage should never reach its maximum travel. At the top of the UP stroke it must catch the mass of the upward traveling ram. I cannot give you a specific answer.

I used to have a detailed drawing of a 50 pound Little Giant spring. . . not sure where it is burried. However, I do remember it was made of 5/8" (16mm) wire and was about 4.5" (115mm) in diameter.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/06/05 08:52:36 EDT

Grinders: Get a copy of Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife shop. (see book reviews). It has plans for CHEAP wood frame grinders that WORK. Also see our NEWS from the NCABANA meet last year. Ray Clontz has a very nice grinder that we published detail photos.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/06/05 08:59:31 EDT

Patrick-- Looking at the picture of that monster, the notion occurs: there might be another way to skin this cat, if your pad is big enough. Forget the holes in the hammer pedestal altogether. Make some hold-down straps out of heavy flat stock bent to a snug fit, and drill new holes in the pad for fastening, outboard of the hammer pedestal.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 07/06/05 09:49:41 EDT

Ewan, I haven't been following what you are up to, but I believe that Sid Suedmeier of Nebraska City, Nebraska, has a parts list for Little Giant, including the coil springs; Ph 402-873-6603.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/06/05 09:52:52 EDT

Tim S.: You're welcome! I made do with three files, a $60 angle grinder, and sandpaper for several years. By last year I had gotten good enough at making and selling tomahawks I was able to afford a KMG basic unit with the step-pulley three speed drive. Know what? Although I love the grinder, I still use files and sandpaper for the final finish. The grinder saves time for roughing out, but I had taught myself to forge to shape enough that it wasn't that big an issue anymore. I estimate on an average tomahawk the grinder saves me about four hours' work with files, plus wear and tear on the files from forge scale. Since I do this on a part-time basis, the time savings are worth it to me. When I was doing it full-time, my big selling point was "done only with hand tools, no electricity used!" My clients like the occasional file marks, since they're generally re-enactors. So, while I can now rough-finish a hawk head in 45 minutes instead of four to six hours, I still have to put in a couple hours of hand work to get the finish "right."

My point, if I have one, is that the tools don't determine the quality of the work, YOU determine the quality. Tools can make things easier. Ooh! That reminds me: one very handy power sanding tool is a simple disc sander mounted flat on the edge of a tabletop. A couple of belts and pullys plus a washing-machine motor and a 9" faceplate gives you a nice tool for producing flat surfaces. Spray-glue some sandpaper on the disc, trim the edges with a putty knife, and you're good to go.

The guru is right about Goddard's book and Ray's grinder as well. If you are handy with tools, and good at making ideas into objects, Alexander Weyger's "The making of tools" (now part of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith") has some good ideas on how to get by on the cheap as well.

   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/06/05 10:24:48 EDT

Matthew. Congrats on your new Nimba. I put a magnet under the heel of my HB anvil. Didnt do diddly for the ring. Turned the whole anvil into a giant fuzzball as all the scale started sticking to it.
   adam - Wednesday, 07/06/05 11:18:05 EDT

Matthew - I have seen one knifemaker that had what looked like a cowbell hung on his anvil. Leather strap loop bedded into a coffee can that was filled with concrete. I didn't get a chance to hear "before and after" rings to tell you how effective it was. You may want to try that AFTER strapping it down securly as already advised.
   Monica - Wednesday, 07/06/05 12:14:04 EDT

As for anvil ring, I remember reading a suggestion to place a layer of silicone putty between the wood and the avil base to help deaden the ring. I tried that and it seems to have worked to some degree. Has anyone else tried this with any success or am I just imagining it?
   Brett - Wednesday, 07/06/05 12:24:29 EDT

I've got a thin layer of silicone under my anvil and it helps a ton to quite the ring!
   - elkdoc - Wednesday, 07/06/05 15:26:54 EDT

Thanks for the suggestions about the oil for my hammer guys. I had a gent last night email me who said he uses chain bar oil becasue of its stickyness. I thought that was a great idea also. I may fool around with a couple of different types to see if it makes a difference.

I was wondering about the other part of my question. There is a big bolt with a lock nut that will push against the linkage spring. I am wondering what that will do to the action? Is the purpose of the spring to arrest the upward travel of the hammer? Does tightening that spring help it do that better? I have it pretty much wide open right now.

Thanks again

   FredlyFX - Wednesday, 07/06/05 15:59:50 EDT


You mentioned Mokume Gane. I have looked for information on this procedure but have not been able to find much on it.

I used to do something named similar in clay called Mokume Nendo.

The process requires depressing lines and punching then rolling flat to get a pattern to form inside the clay and then washing off the top layer. Is this the same method but in metal?

Never mind I read on and found the websites listed and yes it is kind of the same process. However I think I will pick up that book you mentioned.

Thanks and it still amazes me the information that runs through these pages.

It's good to be blue.
   Arron Cissell - Wednesday, 07/06/05 16:47:07 EDT

I am looking for an anvil to use in leatherworking. 30-65lbs. Any suggestions?
Thanks for your time
   Josh - Wednesday, 07/06/05 16:49:23 EDT

Dear Mr. Guru--
We recently had a new air conditioner put into our house,the people were a little sketchy and the unit is not cooling the way it should. Can you tell me how to calculate what the tonage for this unit is, it is supposed to be 4 tons. We just want to make sure that is what we got!!! Thanks.
   jean - Wednesday, 07/06/05 17:15:20 EDT

Josh: Since you are apparently only interested in an anvil for a backer block, one of the 55-pound Asian imports might suit your needs. You can do an eBay item search on 55 anvil. However, beware of shipping costs on these hummers (or any eBay purchase for that matter). If there is a Harbor Freight retail outlet in your area, they might also have them.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 07/06/05 17:35:23 EDT

Jean, This is out of our area of expertise. I could probably try to answer your question after a lot of research but it would be largely a guess.

As to getting what you paid for there should be a BTU rating tag on the unit. Tons are the rating divided by 2000 I think. So you should have an 8,000 BTU unit. Sounds small for a house unit to me. However, as to correctly sizing the unit that is a totaly diferent matter. It depends on the following:

Size of house in square feet and floors.
Level of insulation or lack there of
Leakage around doors, windows and vents
Traffic (how often people come and go).
Number of people.

Traffic and people are live load and the rest static.

Any good contractor or licensed HVAC professional should be able to give you a rough estimate on the above.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/06/05 17:52:43 EDT

Power Hammer Adjustment: Fredly, Etal

There are several adjustments on mechanical power hammers that are critical. Not all have the full range of adjustments but those available are critical.

1) Spring tension: This is largely a preload adjustment on Little Giants. On Fairbanks hammers it can be varied to change the character of the hammer. The normal adjustment is to tighten until the side arms have lifted the ram nearly as much as possible. The side links should make nearly a straight line through the 4 pivot points. However, this is mathematicaly iimpossible to achieve. Tighten until no appreciable change occurs. Lossening slightly will cause the hammer to hit harder at low speed but may hurt high speed performance.

2) After the above adjustment the ram height should be set so that there is about 1" (24mm) clearance between the dies for general work. If you are doing heavy work then adjust the height to about 1/2" (13mm) above the starting size. Then remember that the hammer will not perform well when the work is reduced to less than that 1" general work adjustment. If you are doing a wide range reduction you might need to adjust the height between heats.

3) Stroke adjustment (not available on Little Giants). The stroke adjustment does two things. At a short stroke the hammer hits lighter but can run very fast. At a long stroke the hammer hits its hardest but may lose efficiency at full speed. Hammers with a stroke adjustment can be made to hit VERY hard at low speed (good heavy forging control) or light and fast for plannishing and chasing with hand held tooling.

4) Guides or gibs. Theses should be as snug as possible but free enough at all positions that you can bounce the ram by hand on the toggle spring.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/06/05 18:13:15 EDT

Killing the ring of the anvil

Put two loose wraps of chain around the waist of the anvil. I used 1,000# test chain for mine. There is also a couple of discussions on this topic in the Anvilfire archives.
   - Conner - Wednesday, 07/06/05 18:29:58 EDT


On most home AC systems, there is a plate visible on the back of the outside unit. This plate has model number, serial number, etc. Coded into the model number (not serial number) is the size of the unit. As an example, Model CHP48-1, would be a 4 ton unit. The 48 represents 48,000 BTU's, the cooling capacity of the unit. There are 12,000 BTU's per ton. The general rule of thumb for home cooling says that 1 ton is the theoretical capacity required to cool 600 sq ft of living space, assuming 8 ft ceilings, adequate insulation, average number and size of windows and doors and tight seals on the aforementioned openings. This doesn't take into account things such as your AC zone (where you live), large bay windows on sun facing slopes or heat generating items in the home (computer monitors, TV, fridge, oven etc.). If your house fits into the perfect criteria, and the tonnage of your unit is sufficient, the problem could lie elsewhere. Poorly placed registers, intake or even thermostat, can muck up the funtionality of the system.

Any well trained AC installer worth his weight in poop will be able to look at your home, identify the problem areas and adjust the calculations accordingly to find the right unit for your home, and will explain the process if you want to know.

I get the feeling these fellas don't fall into that category.

(A former Carrier, duct-makin' machine!)
   eander4 - Wednesday, 07/06/05 18:33:24 EDT

The "ton" rating means the AC unit can chill a ton of water by some specific (dunnowhatitis) temp drop in one hour. 1 ton = 12000 BTU

BTUs are a measure of energy not power and can be converted into Watt Hours (or Watt Seconds - Joules). 1 Watt hour = 3.41 BTU

Finally, these ratings are the OUTPUT of the appliance. Because it is inefficient, the AC unit must consume significantly more energy than its rating to do the job.
   adam - Wednesday, 07/06/05 19:02:02 EDT

Kevin thank you for the great info..That pin tip is something no one would guess...it will spin..just gritty acting.. since it probably does need bearings..Ill try the bike bearing tip, while i have the originals sent to the bearing factory in colorado springs to be duplicated.. ill get a few sets..case anyone else needs some.. it looks like it will come apart very easily... im going to have it sandblasted and powder coat painted with hi temp stuff. its in such good shape physically that i figure i can get 10 years out of it if i rebuild it well now.. thanks for your help getting me started in the right direction..jc
   - jc - Wednesday, 07/06/05 19:10:57 EDT

JC: I've got a nice hand crank blower, lubed with ATF fluid, runs like a charm. Continues to spin about two revolutions after I let go the handle. Sounds like it has gravel inside. I ain't messing with mine. As long as it turns as well as it does, ain't no need for me to muck it up trying to fix it. Your milage may vary.
   Bob H - Wednesday, 07/06/05 19:43:16 EDT

That 90 weight gear oil is a 220 ISO viscosity. I spoke quickly with a lube engineer today and top of his head was a waylube in ISO 68. He said to truely pick the right lube, the fits and loads as well as the speeds would be required. He suggested talking to Sid at the LG source, see above post. Amazing how fast he could search for makers when I told him that most of these machines were orphans. He said when made in the early 1900's, the oil used to lube was pretty unsophisticated, and a tacky oil that stayed put in the slides but was not too stiff in the cold times would be the choice and waylude fills the bill. If you shop is always warm the gear oil may work.
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/06/05 19:51:24 EDT

According to my old Mark's Handbook, a ton of cooling removes the heat of fusion of 2000# ice per day. I guess the idea must have been that if your (big) old icebox went through a ton a day, you needed a ton of refrigeration.

A BTU is enough heat to change the temp of one pound of water one degree, so I guess a ton of cooling (12,000 BTUs) would cool one ton six degrees per hour. I think an A/C unit can actually generate *more* BTUs of cooling than the amount of electric energy it draws, since it's not creating heat (primarily), but just moving it. That's why heat pumps are supposed so efficient.

Forgive me, Ptree, but "waylude" sounds like something out of Cheech and Chong.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 07/06/05 20:33:14 EDT

Jean- My dad said 1 ton is = to 500 sf. of floor space. I live in West Texas so a heat pump/ac would be worthless. Any less (a/c) would work it to death- any more it would not work-(1 ton/500sf) also the Thermostat need to be out of the a/c stream of flow. Mr. F-FX have you thought of maybe uaing "slick 50" ? or a mix of the stuff?
   - jimmy seale - Wednesday, 07/06/05 20:59:30 EDT

Re: belt grinder. I am ready to weld up my homemade 72 in belt grinder. I have a 3/4 hp blower motor that is 4 speed and rated at 1060 rpms. I am guessing that the 1060 is at the highest speed. How should I belt it- what speed should the belt be going in fps? 6" wheel would give 530 fps?
   John W - Wednesday, 07/06/05 21:02:37 EDT

John, my grinder has a 1-hp motor turning 1750 rpm. That motor has a three-step pully with 1, 2, and 3 inch diameters. The drive wheel for the belt is a three inch wheel, and it's hooked to an identical three-step pully which is supposed to produce belt speeds of 650 fpm, 1100 fpm, and 2200 fmp. I usually run it on the two slower speeds, since the really fast one sounds like the turbine wind-up on Roadrunner cartoons, which makes me very nervous in a shop with two anvils...

Seriously, the low speed is great for wood and coarse grits, the higher speed is good for steel, the very highest is good for making folks nervous.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/06/05 21:33:16 EDT

John W. Of coarse the dia. of pulleys will give speed. take pi= circ. if you use 2" drive/idler you will have 6.28x1060=6656.8~72=92.455555 FPS the greater the drive the grater the rpm / less work/torq/drag it would take to stall the motor.
   - jimmy seale - Wednesday, 07/06/05 21:42:09 EDT

I am 24 years old and have been apprenticing for just over two years with a Certified Journeyman Horseshoer. I am a certified Farrier through the American Farriers Association. I am just about finished rebuilding a Hermatige Mouse Hole anvil that is around 300 years old and want to retemper the whole anvil when I am done. I know and understand the whole process, but need to know the correct temperature to heat it up too. Thanks John Akron Ohio
   John Warner - Wednesday, 07/06/05 22:20:10 EDT

JOHN W.; It would be best if you had a three up three down pulley system like ALAN L. is talking about. You could then pick and match your speeds to meet your own needs.

I have a set-up just like that and I use them all from time to time. I am a knife and spur maker .

It would be better if the mtr was a little bigger and had a little more speed.

   sandpile - Wednesday, 07/06/05 22:25:34 EDT

Jean: as noted in the other posts floor space per ton is only at best a half of a guess as to how much cooling capacity You need.Heat gain from the roof, walls, windows, number of people, and that given off by equiptment and apliances, air exchange from door opening all get figured into properly sizing a system. The ducting AND RETURN must be properly engineered and executed, and the mechanicals must be properly installed, charged and set up. A service call from a GOOD HVAC tec. is the place to start.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 07/06/05 22:50:23 EDT

Golly Josh, 30-65#?. Maybe I'm missing something.

I do leatherwork and for a bench anvil, I have a rectangular block of mild steel 1" x 4" x 9+". I estimate that it weighs 13 pounds. I use it for odd jobs on the big bench. I have a sitdown desk for stamp work, and have a large marble slab for that, about 7/8" thick. Tandy sells a marble slab, 12" x 12" x 1".
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/06/05 23:02:28 EDT

I am somewhat new to blacksmithing.I built a portable forge
out of a disc,pipe,and some angle iron,an a fireplace blower.but i came accrost a problem.My grate for the air hole,keeps getting cherry red hot,and i was told that,that wasnt good.

Any suggestions to keep grate from getting red hot.
any help a'tal will be appreciated.

thanks a handfull
   - Jim Humatus - Wednesday, 07/06/05 23:07:23 EDT

Josh: When I was in Middle School shop We had granit slabs with the top polished to do lether work on. They don't rust and are easy to keep clean. If You are not near a quarry, try a momument [toombstone] maker. A used and in questionable quality surface plate or a lo grade one from MSC would be a posibility. MSC:1-800-645-7270 12"x18"x3" grade B 85# for $35 or9"x12"x2" 30# for $25 plus shipping in the July sale flyer.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 07/06/05 23:09:31 EDT

Howdy, I've got a question pertaining to hydraulic presses. I have an H-frame press minus the cylinder. It is built out of 6" channel iron and has an adjustable bottom shelf, also channel, and i was told it was rated up to 40 tons, which i find questionable. So, one question i have is if the shelf/bottom die holder needs a support directly beneath it. Looking at Don Fogg's website and digging up stuff on google seems to indicate that it would be best.I just would like a more certain answer. I also wanted to ask about the hydraulic cylinder. This press has two springs tat raise the top die holder/platform up. One of my buddies has a single acting cylinder, while i have a doulbe acting one. My question is which would be better suited for forging purposes. Again, research seems to point towards the double acting, which i personally feel would perform better, but i am not sure, and that is why i am asking you guys for help

Finally i just want to ask if there are any special dangers that i need to watch out for with this press, or if i need to beef certain parts up. Like i said, i don't have much experience with this, but i am willing to learn and get dirty in the process.
Thanks, in advance, for all and any help you guys provide!
   Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Thursday, 07/07/05 00:03:27 EDT

hi, have been visiting the anvilfire site for some time, and have been practicing the trade aswell. I have enjoyed myself thoroughly, but I have a question: if you dont have a crosspeen hammer to help spread the steel out will a straitpeen work in its stead
   antibeous - Thursday, 07/07/05 00:35:46 EDT

Cross-Pein / Straight Pein
Others who really know what they're doing should respond, but I'll add something: the two smiths I've studied under both use (and are thrilled with) *diagonal* pein hammers.
If one holds one's elbow away from one's hip and wrist closer towards one's belly, the angle of the hammer is about 45 degrees to the anvil (if you're right in front of it). Thus a 45 degree diagonal pein hammer will put the business end parallel to the axis of the anvil... or 90 degrees to the axis of the anvil, if you make it the other way. Frankly, I've not done any peining to speak of (the technical term for what I've been doing is "mashing"), so I'll defer to others to tell you which way you want the angle to go. But ergonomically, the diagonal pein hammer beats both the straight and cross pein hammers all to pieces.
   Tim S. - Thursday, 07/07/05 01:04:06 EDT

Mr Jims Hot air Grate:

What is it made from? How much of it is exposed to the "heat " of the forge and what is you're fule?

I've made several junk yard( any thing I could find in a pinch) forges. For the most part all of them have had a sand or ash bottom that all but covered the Air inlet vent. All have used a expanded ( round hole type ) cover. So far the results have been good to great depending on their lay out. To date the hotest was a round nest hole( forge walls ) with the air input set to blow the O2 in a circle( in effect a vortex boiler set up or a mini- reverse- tornado). It ( using charred wood coal and a cheep fart fan) can reach wweld temp for most things.
Most of the other ' engineered ' forges that I have made on the cheep have involved a simple water pipe, a truck rim, BBQ pit( found it by the road side and I use it every day), a drill pipe, a clean paint can( one as well as 5 pint size)
I guess what I'm trying to say is describe the lay out and materials and we will colaberate a working or better working forge.
Have fun and be safe!!
   - Timex - Thursday, 07/07/05 02:00:07 EDT

Antibeous's x peen:

Funny, I've been peening for a year with a flat faced square hammer( on the edge ) and have not had any problens (yet). BUT my peen hammer workes SO SO much better
   - Timex - Thursday, 07/07/05 02:06:37 EDT


Enjoyed your website with the hammer rebuild so well documented! - I rebuild lots of hammers through work, and allways wish i had the time to document them so well, retrospects a wonderful thing! - re lubing the hammer, (I have very little experience on spring hammers as their not popular in the UK, so bear with me...), would it not be worth considering grease lube? a huge number of the small pneumatic hammers I work on have this, and nearly all the big drop stamps on the tup slides, a simple mess free (relativly) shot with the grease gun once a session is all you need.
I have been vounteered to rebuild a similar 'pattinson' spring hammer as a favour to a mate, am quite looking forward to it as a new learing curve, and sites like yours are great for reference!
   John N - Thursday, 07/07/05 05:03:22 EDT

Thanks guys- i think i'll get on from sid- unless i can find some cheap automotive springs that i can try. I can do the math up to the point of the rams aceleration and speed, and this in where it gets difficult.

if you want to know more on mokume Gane, A book called The master bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas has as section on it.

As for the 45 degree pein hammer, it makes alot of sense when you actualy pick your hammers up. As soon as i finish this JYH i might make one....

   Ewan Gibson - Thursday, 07/07/05 05:52:08 EDT

Spreading Metal: The pien of the hammer will draw or spread metal directionaly, the face when crowned spreads the metal in all directions but a "rocker" face moves metal directionaly but less agressively than the pien which is more like a fuller. Many people use the edge of their hammer rather than the pien. I rarely use the pien or the edge. . . its all a matter of training, habit and style.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/07/05 07:16:08 EDT

H-frame press:Ian, These presses come in a great variety of qualities of construction. Those sold by the discount houses as well as those made in NC by "American Industries" are very over rated. The cheap NC presses often have press bent channels rated at 30 tons that will bend easily with a 20 ton jack.

Older presses built from standard structural members are usualy properly designed. However, most were not designed for forging. The load in these presses is between the two horizontal beams and is taken by the vertical section between the two. A brace to the ground does no good.

Under load the two horizontals deflect up and down respectively and the verticals flex inward. At maximum load the horizontals should only deflect about 1/8" (3mm) or less. On a forging press this deflection should be less. On the cheapo presses the deflection is far more and bending occurs.

When designing beams you need to know that deflection increases by the cube of the increase in length. So if you narrow a press the deflection can be greatly reduced. If you want to know exactly how much the parts will deflect Machinery's Handbook has the math.

Double acting cylinders are required for power return (without a spring or load). The most important feature in a forging press is HORSEPOWER. Whithout it the cylinder moves slow and the steel cools. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 07/07/05 07:30:16 EDT

Anvil Heat Treat-Without knowing the specifics of the repairs/rebuild done to the anvil I am only guessing at temperatures. I'll assume that we are talking about an anvil with a brand new face made from a 1060 stell. In this case, I would heat to 1550 F and quench followed by a temper at 500F min.

If the original face of the anvil is there and weld repairs have been made, then I'd need to know the alloy used to repair.

Also, without knowing the procedures used to repair the anvil I can't say for sure wether re quench and temper are actually needed. I have done some weld repairs on my anvil and no re-quench was necessary.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 07/07/05 07:35:08 EDT

As the Guru noted a double acting press, operated by a power unit is more of a forging press than the cheapie hand pumped bottle jack units.
Safety and hydraulic in forging?
1. Be aware that leakage of the hydraulic oil will burn if it contacts the hot metal.
2. A pin hole leak in a hose or line can produce a flamethrower effect. Very similar to a oil fired furnace burner.
3.With the above in mind, pay strick attention to the pressure ratings of all fluid conductors. Use the purpose made hydraulic hose and fittings, and if plumbing with pipe use seamless schedule 80 pipe, not the hardware store junk pipe.
4. If possible, sheild the pump and as much of the plumbing behind a metal wall or barrier to try to control any leakage from contacting the hot iron.
5. As rod leakage from the seal at the cap is pretty tough to protect from, and forging use will somewhat tend to side load the rod, a cylinder with the extra big rod od is a good choice from both the safety and the durability standpoint.

The above is brought to you by a CSI member, who also works in a large commercial forge shop with many hydraulic systems. And yes Virginia, fire does occur with hydraulic and forging.
   ptree - Thursday, 07/07/05 08:03:51 EDT

Mokume Gane:

"The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook" by Tim McCreight al;so has a nice section and illustrations on this technique.

Hunkering down on the banks of the Potomac, after hearing the news from London. Water bottles are filled, bug-out pack is ready and the hiking boots are in the locker for any long walks home. Y'all take care of yourselves, especially our British friends. Keep your heads down and your eyes open. Outside of that, it's a warm summer day with a chance of rain.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 07/07/05 08:10:49 EDT

I'm training to be a Stage Combat tutor with the BADC here in England. Part of my qualifications includes having to research weapons from certain periods so our work is historcally accurate. Finding 'what' things are is the relatively easy part, but 'how they are made' - forging, wood/metal types, sizes etc - is tricky. I know you don't do the research for us so all I need to know is if you can point me in the right direction. Can you give me any good sites/references for the making of Bronze Age weapons?
   Hayley Walker - Thursday, 07/07/05 08:17:51 EDT

John Warner: It would be Armitage rather than Hematige. They only go back to cicra 1820, so your's cannot be 300 years old. If you can tell us what the specific markings on the side of the anvil are, we can tell you roughly when it would have been made. Richard Postman has published a very detailed history of Mouse Hole Forge. I believe the book (same name) is available in the forum's store. Pages 66-67 associate side stampings with years they were used. A less precise association is also in his other book, Anvils in America, also available from the forum's store.

As noted by Patrick Nowak, depending on how you reconditioned the plate (e.g., welding rod) you may need no further heat treating of it. I have never heat treated any of the anvils I have repaired and they seem to be holding up fine. Retempering may only really be needed if the anvil was in a structural fire and was annealed as the result.

My understanding of old timey anvil heat treating is only through Postman's two book and discussions with him. Anvil, likely heated upside down, would have been brought to a plate temperature of critical heat. A magnet can be used - at critical temperature a magnet will no longer stick. However, I suspect much of it was eyeball color. It would have been quickly quenched with a constant and hard water flow over the top. At least Mouse Hole forge used a water wheel. I believe it was Columbus Forge and Iron (Trenton brand) which used a tube under a water tower. After being quenched from the top (but still with a hot body), the anvil plate would have been allowed to reheat. When at the desired degree of hardness, anvil would have been requenched, but this time to cold.

General consensus among forum participants is today a do-it-yourselfer would have to enlist the aid of the local fire department to have them direct a strong hose of water at the anvil plate.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 07/07/05 08:27:30 EDT

Antibeous, About peens.

I don't see any advantage to the diagonal peen hammer. If you ever get a chance to watch Peter Ross work, you can see that it is all easily done with a cross peen. Furthermore, you don't have to reach for another tool; the cross peen is already in your hand.

I have reworked my peens, so that they are slightly flattened, no half round, again taking my clue from Ross. There is less cleanup to get rid of the peen marks, and the work goes rapidly. The peens are crowned.

The straight peen is listed in some of my early catalogs as a cooper's hammer.

   Frank Turley - Thursday, 07/07/05 08:59:32 EDT

Guru and ptree, Thanks a bunch for the information. I will definitely check in my copy of Machinery's Handbook and do the math, and do some research on the maker of my press.

Once Again, thanks for your help, it has put me on the right path.Thanks
   Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Thursday, 07/07/05 09:06:33 EDT

Hey everyone a friend of mine at work just informed me that someone he knows is selling a drill press. A Craftsman 15-1/2" model no. 113.21371. It was previously used by a long time hobiest wood worker in his shop. I have been told that the machine is in good working condition and they are selling it because he upgraded to new tools. They are selling it for $25 and I am wondering a few tools. Is this tool sturdy enough to use for metal fabrication purposes? What kind of things should I look for when checking the tool out? I know check if it works, check the belt weel alignments, check the quill see if it works, check the bit alignment, anything else? Any concerns I should have? Thanks.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/07/05 10:02:00 EDT

I use cross or straight pein depending on the piece I am working and how holding it 90 deg to the hammer pein works my arm.

However you can also get the directional drawing effect using the flat of the hammer and the anvil horn. You can also make a simple fuller for the hardy hole to work on or even make a spring fuller.

You use what you got.

I picked up some old hand rail cap stock that is a lovely smooth curve with a flat back that I have used to make tooling for my triphammer for drawing out pattern welded billets into plate...

He's right that many "modern" hammers have a way too shap pein on them Most of my old ones look more like the curve on 1"+ round stock and are much more pleasent to use.

Heat pumps work fine in west TX---you just got to stick the heat exchanger down in a water well....

   Thomas P - Thursday, 07/07/05 10:49:31 EDT

Cooper's Hammer:

I have one at the forge. The straight pein has a narrow groove down it, making it look more like a swage (which is what I mistook it for). It is used like a top tool to set the bands on the barrels, held in place on the edge of the band while it is struck by a wooden mallet, driving the band up the curve of the barel.

It works on buckets and, when pressed, I also use it for a small swage. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 07/07/05 10:58:24 EDT

Patrick, John Warner here. The face was in tact and just had to re-build the edged and the horn was totally rebuilt and and about 3 inches was added on and girth as well. I used a miller mig welder with a mild steel wire 30 thousands and argon CO2 mix gas. Talked to another blacksmith today and he said for those repairs heat entire anvil to 400 degrees and quench in water repeatedely until cool. Use propane and a weedburner or asphalt torch to heat up to temp and temp. crayon to be sure. Also works well for anvils with soft faces that dent easily. Only on for real wrought iron anvils. Hope this info will help others. John
   John Warner - Thursday, 07/07/05 13:13:52 EDT

I went ahead and bought the drill press. Phew that thing was heavy. It looks and runs like its in good working order but I will dismantell it later today and take a good look in it clean it up. I will post some pictures for everyone later.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/07/05 14:02:25 EDT

I was looking at the product review for the whisper baby forge and Paw Paw said it took 2 min. 25 sec. to bring to a white heat which is a welding heat right. Then Guru said it doesn't get nearly hot enough to forge weld with. Which one? Thank you.
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 07/07/05 14:15:50 EDT

ptree, i thought that welders, forges, flames, oil, ect are not risky situations for fire! not if one is "careful", correct???
   - rugg - Thursday, 07/07/05 14:34:34 EDT

hi, I'm kind of new to all this and I was wondering what the diference between a hot cutter and a cold chisel is
   buck dannar - Thursday, 07/07/05 16:09:08 EDT

buck dannar: They're similer, but a hot cutter has a sharper edge to cut through the soft hot steel faster, but that sharper edge would very quickly be dulled/chipped on cold steel that a cold chisel can handle just fine. You can use a cold chisel as a hot cutter and it'll work fine just cut slightly slower, but if you use a hot cutter on cold steel you just ruin your cutter quickly.
   AwP - Thursday, 07/07/05 16:55:22 EDT

John Warner: 400F is for stress relieving the welds, that doesn't actually HT the face to proper hardness, and depending on the alloy may actually soften it too much. To properly harden it listen to what Ken Scharabok said.
   AwP - Thursday, 07/07/05 16:58:08 EDT

As you note all are fire issues. All joking aside, hydraulics under pressure spray the fuel, and can make a more then normal fire that continues to feed itself until the pump is stopped or the tank runs dry. Factory Mutual requires special temp sensors etc to stop the pump, over the larger tanks in industry. Usually 200 gallons gets FM interested. Ever see a small pinhole leak in a hose? Imagine that spray contacting a hot part.
"Careful" in a forge shop reduces the risk, and gives you a easy fast escape route.
In case you didn't know, my day to day title is Safety and environmental manager. I also do other roles like maint. Mgr.and plant engineering. I continue to write about hydraulics and fire only to make those new to hydraulics and forging aware. I have seen too many photos of burnt out shops to let it lay.
I say again that hydraulics are extremely useful, powerful tools that have many great uses, including forge presses. Good reasonable caution IS required just as in the use of fuel gases, welders, and coal forges.
   ptree - Thursday, 07/07/05 17:42:33 EDT

Tyler Murch,

I have a wisper delux. I have welded in mine but it's marginal and that's only when the burners are adjusted just right and with the gas pumped up to like 15+ psi. Maybe it's me but when the burners will weld is not when I think the flame looks right. When I did have them set so I could weld one burner looked good and the other didn't. Now, they both look ok but I have less heat. Also you can't run a burner by itself outside of the forge to really see how it's burning. Maybe with some modification you could I guess. The adjustment for the burners is pretty crude. Take a look at how it's put together and you'll see what I mean. The jets are fixed in a single tube. Any individual adjustment of the burners takes place by losening the bolt holding the tube down and tilting it. Of course it wants to sit flat and you're just messing around with whatever play there is in the fit. You get it set (or think you do), try to tighten the bolt and it moves.

It's fine for general forging and I'm more than happy with it for fitting horse shoes on the road but when I started doing a lot of forge welding I built a coal forge.

Many of the blade smiths who do lots of pattern welding use gas but I think most build their own forge so for various reasons, heat being one.

Bottom line...I think it's a fine forge but if you're wanting to be set up good for forge welding you should make other plans. As I said, it can do it but it's pushing it so I just don't think it's the best tool for the job.

Well that's my experience anyway and I don't claim to be the worlds best forge welder but I feel defeated if I have to light up the stick welder.
   Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 07/07/05 18:42:00 EDT

John Warner, Heating to 400F and quenching repeatedly doesn't make sense.

Buck & AwP, Maybe it's the way you worded it, AwP, but cold cuts (cold chisels) are kept sharp. No reason to use them dull. They are dressed to a 60 included angle if used to cut mild steel. The hot cut included angle is 30 or less. I would not use a cold cut as a hot cut; the angle is too large, and it may lose its temper in the hot work. Sometimes a hot cut is sharpened all around on the bottom and side edges with radiused corners so that you don't get extreme wedge shaped cuts when going deeply into a bar. This is especially true when piercing through.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 07/07/05 18:43:17 EDT

Still on the bench grinder plan: This may be really obvious but why use two 3 step pulleys. Looks to me that you would then have 9 speeds not 3. One three step pulley going to a single pulley should be 3 speeds.
   John W - Thursday, 07/07/05 19:03:50 EDT

Hey one and all, so I bought myself a 1970's erra drill press today for $25. So far so good, I got it home did some tests and things seem to be true for the most part except for pully in the back that has a slightly worn ball bearin which I have already ordered a replacement for. I want to clean it up which mostly has consisted of dusting and oiling but there is a noticable amount of surface rust on the support shaft. I was just wondering is it okay to sand this surface to get rid of the rust? I ask because the entire machine assembly is friction mounted to this support pole and I don't want it to slide off. Second whats a good way to protect the pole from further rust?
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/07/05 20:38:48 EDT

Clean with steel wool and kerosene. That wont take off any surface, Paste wax will protect the surface and allow the table to move but will not prevent it from gripping.
   John W - Thursday, 07/07/05 21:11:52 EDT

John W,

The reason to use two mated three-step pulleys is so that yu can get your three speeds at fairly wide ratios. So, if you have pulleys with diameters of 2", 3-1/2", and 5", you can get ratios of 2.5:1, 1:1, and 1:2.5. With a 3450 rpm motor, this translates to final rpm of 1380, 3450 and 8625, all using a single belt that will have very nearly the same axle center distance at each of the three steps. This is off the top of my head and very approximate, but close enough for the purpose of illustration. When step gearing a motor, it is handy not to have to adjust the axle center distances much at all.

If you try to get more speeds out of the same two pulleys, you'll have to adjust centers, move the pulleys side to side, and generally have a lot of fussing and puttering to do to get, in the final analysis, the same spread of speeds, just with more steps. Simply not worth it.

BTW, you can only net 7 differing speeds, not 9, if the two pulleys are the same.
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/07/05 21:15:26 EDT


You need two three step pulleys because the belt can (usually) go only between pulleys that line up. With two three step pulleys (one of which is "upside down"), you have three pairs of aligned pulleys with different ratios. And the belt length doesn't vary much when you move it, because the sum of the diameters of the pulleys in each pair is close to the same.

If you used a single pulley, you'd have to be able to move it in and out on the shaft each time you switched speeds. And you'd have a narrower speed range and need much greater length adustment.
   Mike B - Thursday, 07/07/05 21:16:38 EDT


Is the top assembly simply dropped onto the support post, or is there a set screw or two lurking out of view somewhere? Almost every drill press I ever saw used set screws to secure the head and base to the column. The table simply clamps to the column with a clamping screw, but the tiny amount you would sand off doing rust removal will not affect the clamping. The rust, on the other hand, will. I would recommend sanding it off with some 120 grit paper and light oil or mineral spirits. Once you get the rust mostly off, finish sand it with some 220 wet/dry and oil it with chainsaw bar oil. Bar oil is sticky; that is, it doesn't run off and will protect the bare steel. Wipe it on with a rag, and do it again periodically and you won't have any problems.

Look for those set screws on the head. If it really is just a friction fit, then measure it to see if it is a taper fit. In anyt case, I seriously doubt that sanding the rust off will cause any difficulties. Remember, rust molecules are a lot bigger than iron molecules, so it may seem like you're removing a lot, but you really aren't.

One thing to keep in mind if you're going to use that drill press for metal work, the appropriate speeds for metal are much lower than for wood, so only the lowest speed will be right for metal...maybe. Many woodworkers drills don't get slow enough even at their lowest speeds. You want 500 rpm and under for all but the smalles tbits in steel. You might want to look it over and see if you can drop the speed reasonably.
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/07/05 21:25:47 EDT

Thank vicopper and John W, just what I am looking for. I believe they are only friction screws and friction collars (look like a pipe clamp) holding the mechanisims to the support pole. I took everything apart and I do not see any holes in it. as for metal working it is a nice drill which goes as low as 380 rpm specificly for metal, or so says the little chart on it's side.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/07/05 21:31:45 EDT

Michael G : If that drill is the one I think it is, You have a good machine, with a lot of quill travel compaired to most small drillpresses. It sounds like Yours may already have a jackshaft between the motor and spindle,380 RPM is good to about 3/4" drills in mild steel, 1" with water soluable collant in a pinch.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/07/05 22:44:19 EDT

Thanks guys. I was not thinking mechanically, actually not even very mathmatically, forgot that it isnt 3X3 since two of the pairs are the same. Duh! I may still go with using the motor as one of the wheels and give up two speeds for simplicity's sake. That way I can use the weight of the motor as a tensioner and not have to rig up a spring loaded arm and axle. The tracking mechanism will be enough of a challenge.
   John W - Thursday, 07/07/05 22:49:43 EDT

John W : the 1060 RPM blower motor is rated at full load, it is a 6 pole motor and will run at 1200 RPM at no load, a point to remember if that motor ever ends up on something with a maximum safe speed.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/07/05 22:59:09 EDT

The drill press is a Craftsman 15-1/2" model no. 113.21371, Dave Boyer.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/07/05 23:07:44 EDT

MIchael Gora,

For qwuestions such as yours, I usually go to my old Machinery's Handbook for the answers. The recommended cutting speed for mild steel is about 100 feet per minute speed at the cutting lip perimeter. For a 1/2" drill, that works out to about 760 rpm. 3/4" is about 360 rpm. So yo ushould be fine up to 3/4".

Those figures are based on a feed rate of about .005" to .015" per revolution. If you use less feed pressure, the bit heats up, as it is not transferring heat to the work. On deep holes, you may need to use a lower feed rate in order to be able to clear the chips adequately. There is a wealth of information such as this in Machinery's; it's one of the reasons Jock and others recommend it so frequently.
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/07/05 23:13:19 EDT

Miles ( again I exp the soda venting through my nose, you'd think I'd learn by now not to dring while reading your posts.)
Old 'itis ' in your sholder:

Dee Dot Dow martial artists rub( burns but helps fer days)

WD-40: Toxic , but works for bursitis and general joit pain.
Beer: mmmnnn You figure this one out

Asprin rub cream: self exp only lasts for one or two hrs.

Ball PIN to mellon:

Works for split second or untill the fresh air reaches the frontal loab. But after that you can't feel any thing any ways
   - Timex - Friday, 07/08/05 03:23:23 EDT

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