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

This is an archive of posts from July 24 - 31, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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Metric (SI),
The official system of wieghts and measure for the US has been the metric system since Mr. T. Jefferson was President. He thought that most things French were better than anything developed by the British, and therefore had the metric system adopted. Apparently the rest of the nation did not agree.
   ptree - Sunday, 07/24/05 08:22:08 EDT

As I recall, one of our Mars Probes went missing due to a calculation done in mm instead of inches. I am usually hesitent to question the use of temperature ranges for various metallurgical transformations. The use of this data without an understanding of how it was generated can lead to misunderstandings. Almost all charts such as TTT curves, phase diagrams, etc. are created isothermally, ie, while the steel of a single, known composition is held at a singe, well-controlled temperature. When other elements are added and the temperature is changing, the charts become much less dependable and the results less predictable. Just because I own a hammer, anvil and forge does not make me a blacksmith. Owning a book on basic metallurgy does not qualify you as a metallurgist. Both endeavors require much study and understanding of the principle before the practice becomes effective. (We have a term for folks who know a little bit about metallurgy but feel fully qualified to expound on things metallurgical. We call them "But Metallurgists". You know, "I am not a metallurgist, BUT....."). I can only quote the Alpha Guru and advocate the use of steel of known chemistry. Do some basic experiments to develop a practice that works, document it and learn to repeat it.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/24/05 10:03:23 EDT

Since you first thought the Fairbanks was a Little Giant, I'm assuming they are similar in set up. If that is so get Dave Manzers video on The power hammer cycle or how to cure the miss bang tap blues availible right here from anvilfire access the book review from the drop down menu here. Dave did an excellent job explaining the relationship between everything in the hammer, and has some neat strobe photography showing whats going on. The video is well worth getting.
   JimG - Sunday, 07/24/05 12:12:19 EDT

How did Smiths forge huge tenons on the frames of big gates without a torch? Did they do them cold? Did they have a low fire? Did they hold the gate in the forge using lots of helpers?Did they use cranes?
   Claudio T - Sunday, 07/24/05 12:28:45 EDT


Tenons are forged using the regular forge, (whether charcoal, coal or gas), for the heat. Since tenons are forged on the ends of stock, it only requires that the very end be heated to form the tenon.

For setting the tenon in its respective mortise, the tenon can be heated, then fitted up, then quickly upset to lock the joint. It can also be done cold, if not too much metal has to be moved. The better the fit of the joint, the less metal that needs to be moved to lock the tenon in the mortise.

Very large pieces can be assembled one joint at a time, if the job is designed and planned properly. Thus, only a normal forge is required. An oxy-acetylene torch, in use since the beginning of the 20th century, can certainly make things easier, but it is not necessary if the job is designed and built to a good plan. Of course, as the project is assembled and gains size, it becomes necessary to have either a number of helpers or a shop crane to move it around. Shop cranes, gin poles and such have been in use for several centuries in one form or another.
   vicopper - Sunday, 07/24/05 13:00:25 EDT

Claudio T:

GOOD QUESTIONS! I'd say yes to all of them. More often it had to do with SEQUENCE. Pickets were usually heated, slid into place and headed over. After that was done, other connections were made by riveting or collaring.
   - grant - Sunday, 07/24/05 13:06:20 EDT

Durn you, vicopper, you posted less than two minutes before me! Gotta be quick I guess.
   - grant - Sunday, 07/24/05 13:09:16 EDT

Hi Guru's!

I am about to venture into blacksmithing and blade smithing after what seems like an age! I did make some enquiried a year or 2 back but wasnt able to pursue the venture at the time.

Now I am! I have just bought my forst Anvil that is a 300lb anvil but it has no makers marks, I can provide pics if anyone wants to tell me what it is! It has a nice face to it though and a great ring! I am going to build a stand for the anvil at the heights show in one of your Iforge demos with dippy duck! I was thinking of building a brick chimney and then filling that with builders sand to provide a nice firm steady stand, does that sound ok to you guys in your experience as this isnt going to be a portable anvil!

The next part of the project will be to build the forge, I was thinking of building a washtub style forge and was wondering on an ideal size for doing some decrative work and bladesmith work. I also need to line it with what I believe is called Adobe? This is a mix of clay and sand I think? can I just dog clay out of my garden and does it need to be a special type of sand or just builders sand again? any think else I need to add to that mix. I will be running the forge on charcoal to start with and then possibly coal as I gain more expertise!

I live in the Uk for those that may need to know, I am already a skilled sheet metal worker as I used to repair car bodies for Volvo a few years back, I will also be buying a few books on the subject, any reccomendations?

Look forward to your advice,


   basher - Sunday, 07/24/05 13:12:02 EDT

if I may suggest it have a look into the "Getting Started" area. It can be located in the pull down menu to the upper right. Talks about forges etc. After that if you have questions left over please ask. The getting started area is a good basic overview and it does answer many questions.... Of course the more you know the more things you think of asking about....

BTW we have several folks who are from the UK GB in particular.
   Ralph - Sunday, 07/24/05 14:00:33 EDT

I have been trying to make a brass guard for a knife and keep breaking my guard when I try to shape the brass. I have no experiance working brass and was wondering if I need to heat it or just bend and shape it cold? Any help would be appriciated.
   john - Sunday, 07/24/05 14:26:19 EDT

basher: The washtup style forge works well for bladesmithing with charcoal. However, since it doesn't have an ash dump or an easy way to clean it out, it's not suitable for coal, and isn't suitable for larger decrotive work since it automatically forms a narrow trench fire, which is only good for small or straight pieces.
   AwP - Sunday, 07/24/05 14:51:58 EDT


There are many alloys of brass...copper and zinc mixed in various proportions. Sometimes, other metals are added, such as lead or tin. The result is that one brass will not behave like another in terms of heat treatment and workablilty. You might try annealing your piece to make it softer to work at room temperature, less chance of it breaking. On some brasses, heating to a dark red and cooling slowly will anneal.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 07/24/05 15:04:02 EDT

Hello Friends,
At a house jumble, I bought a Buffalo nr.651 forge, its fitted with a Buffalo "Climax" blower. 50USD !
The firepot is round and little shallower than rectangular and deeper like my mentors set-up I am familiar with.

Ten miniutes sooner I could have bought an anvil too !

Anyway, The blower turns but its awfully stiff, I want to open the gearcase to scrape the crud out before oiling and it putting to use.

Are there any words of advise before I do it, Do parts want to fly out etc,,, Is it a bugger to hold everything right to get the case back together ?
Thanks, Håkan
   Håkan - Sunday, 07/24/05 15:53:00 EDT

OK, went out to Sunday Dinner up by Reelfoot Lake (catfish at the Lakeview!!!!)and on the way back, we pass a flea market. Naturally, we stop. Lying amid a pile of rusty farm tools is a complete 4" post vise. "How much for this rusty old vise" says me. "Fifteen dollars" says he. "Take Ten?" says me. "Gimme Twelve" says he. I take it home and check it out. All parts appear to be original except the turning handle and the bolt that goes through the moving leg. Threads and jaws are in good condition. The post and moving legs are chanfered so that they appear to have been twisted 45 degrees. Something is stamped into adjacent sides of the moving leg. It is just too pitted and I can't read either marking. Anyone have any ideas? I tried rubbing chalk into the marking but it failed to show anything legible.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/24/05 16:47:55 EDT

Get some oil clay. Clean out the stamps as best you can with a tooth brush so that you don't flake off anything important. Work the clay in your hand for a bit until i's nice and plastic then pack it into the stamp and let it sit for a minute so that it cools and stiffens up a bit. You may be able to get a clear image of the letters and marks that remain. You can get oil clay at Wal Mart, K Mart, Target, etc.
Good Luck
   Will - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:03:28 EDT

Post Vise: I went out and looked again and it appears that one side says "Pittsburgh". Still can't read the other side.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:11:16 EDT

Thanks for the responses folks!

I did look in the getting started section but couldnt see anything on the forge lining and the book that are listed I will be getting as they are all on my list from chatting with a few of you in the pub!

With regard to the forge is there any reason that you know of that I can convert the washtub forge to make a larger frie trence by adding an extra air feed (tuyrre? SP?) so that there are 2 side by side? Just thinking along of the lines of making something that can be a little more versatile! I would be using an electric fan to power it and that would prolly be a car heater fan or pair of so that I could vary the power! Working on the principle that more air is better than not enough air as I can restrict the flow if I need to! I would be making the washtub base from scratch with angle iron and sheet steel so I can make it to a size to suit.

   basher - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:21:13 EDT

I know there is a wax available that when applied prevents buffed or polished steel from rusting. Currently I am using candle wax but I'm not entirely happy with the end result though it does prevent the rust. What is the name of the wax and where is the best place for me to find it?
   Will - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:21:24 EDT

John: Most brasses work harden. If you heat it and let it cool, or even quench it ( id usually do as I am very impatient) it will soften again. heat it red to bend it, I havent had any success trying to hammer forge brass. Supposedly "Naval Brass", one alloy, hammer forges but most brasses are "red short" and crumble with hammering. Check the sword forum (www.swordforum.com) by the "search" function.
   jlw - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:41:49 EDT

Will: On polished steel I use Renaissance Wax. It's a pretty good protectant, but like all waxes has to be reapplied every so often. It's expensive, too.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 07/24/05 17:52:48 EDT

Will, canning parafin, olive oil, linseed oil, beeswax, Johnsons Paste Wax, and on and on. If you don't want it to rust, paint it.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 07/24/05 18:56:21 EDT

Pete ( Basher)
I would say for now not to worry about making longer fires in your forge. I wouls say make a basic simple forge for now and learn to use it. ANy mistakes you made in it will show up and you will then either correct them or build a new forge ( what most of us do anyway) to correct any mistakes.
Generally speaking when working steel you will usually only need 6 inches ( usually less) hot.

As for lining a forge that is usually not needed, unless you make the forge out of wood, then I would say line it with clay. ( yes this works I have built several like this) Or you could take a brake drum form a car and use that as the fire pot. If you have a piece of 1/4 or 1/8 inch plate you can use that as the table and use the brake drum as the firepot. bolt on pipe flanges and screw in some pipe into the flanges and you have a forge on legs.
   Ralph - Sunday, 07/24/05 18:57:52 EDT

Basher, email me a photo and i'll compare your anvil to my collection, I'm sure I will have something similar.
   Bob G - Sunday, 07/24/05 19:08:07 EDT

Will: Could the other side of your leg vise read Sherman & ??? Co.? Page 68 of Anvils in America lists them as a possible anvil manufacturer; however, like Smith & O'Leary they have just rebuilt anvils made by other. If they were a foundry, they might well have made vises.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 07/24/05 19:46:41 EDT


that's an interesting looking anvil with a distinctive base. I haven't seen one quite like it before.
   Bob G - Sunday, 07/24/05 21:08:31 EDT

Pete: Your anvil looks very much like an American Hay-Budden. Is there a depression in the bottom? If so, what shape? Is there a serial number on the front foot to the right as you face it? English anvils were exported to the U.S. Stands to reason some U.S. anvils may have been imported as well. Nothing I see indicates it is a farrier's anvil per se. Looks like a standard London pattern anvil.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 07/24/05 21:22:07 EDT

Ken: Actually my leg vise is an old 6" Iron City that I picked up for $90 at an antique store. Quenchcrack is the gent with the new aquisition and a GREAT deal it is too.
   Will - Sunday, 07/24/05 22:29:21 EDT

Hakan-- be careful when/if you remove the fan insde the blower-- the pin through the hub of the fan holding it to the shaft may be tapered.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 07/25/05 00:55:10 EDT

Will: My mistake on the post vise. Intended comment for quenchcrack instead.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 07/25/05 02:00:00 EDT

Which is stronger, cold rolled steel or hot rolled?

   Harley - Monday, 07/25/05 05:32:34 EDT

Couple of general questions:

1. About what year did mild steel largely replace wrought iron for horseshoes? In the early 1900s there was a blacksmith shop near where my mobilehome is now. When do yard work I occasionally find old wrought iron shoes and odds and ends. Would like to date about the latest it could have been here.

2. About when was the ductile iron process developed?

3. What is the melting point for typical ductile iron?
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 07/25/05 06:24:45 EDT

Quenchcrack, I was considering car polish but what about a clear coat of laquer? I'm making candle holders and that's why I originally went with the candle wax.
   Will - Monday, 07/25/05 08:31:20 EDT

Odd Observation:

On the ½” round braces that I was forging for ironing the sled- I swaged down the ends to half-round in my swage block. These were bent at the proper angle so that they would form a flat joint on the wooden frame of the sleigh, screwed in through a countersunk hole from the round side. Most of them came out just fine, but some of them have a “bark” appearance, as if there were cavities under the surface. I made sure that the swage was clean of scale as I forged them, so it’s not that. It’s the normal A-36, so not of highest quality, but has anybody here come across something similar?

Another triple-H day due on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 07/25/05 09:22:35 EDT

Bruce could this be an "orange peel" effect caused by large grain size in the metal that was bent?

Good Deal QC; I like country junk stores and I always ask if they know about smithing stuff for sale---I picked up a complete post vise from one for $21---though I did have to tell my wife I was taking her out to lunch at a nice place I had found while on the road trip the previous weekend and just happen to stop by the junk store and pick up the vise he said he would have there for me the next weekend...

Ken I can look up the ductile iron stuff but it will have to be when I get home; I'd assume it would melt around the point for a typical cast iron

   Thomas P - Monday, 07/25/05 10:50:46 EDT

Mild Steel: Ken, Note that "Ductile Iron" is a specific term used for a cast product and should not be applied to other irons, ductile or not.

The Bessemer process was the first to commercialy produce bulk mild steel in the 1860's. This process was in use in the U.S. by the end of the civil war but did not completely replace the old methods of producing iron until the 1880's.

As to when manufacturers stoped using wrought iron that is another question. The Byers company in Philadelphia (I think) mass produced wrought iron using the blast furnace process like the Bessemer process followed by adding slag to the pure iron and then rolling it. This was going on well into the early 20th century.

Some manufacturers and blacksmiths stood by wrought iron as a "superior" product well into the 1950's. However, supplies of wrought dissapeared as mild steel rapidly proved itself to be the superior material for most purposes as well as being much moe economical.

Setting an exact date to identify some products by material is almost impossible. You can say that any mild steel shoe was definitely made after 1861-1870 but wrought shoes MAY have been made well into the twentieth century.
   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 10:53:35 EDT

Strength of Steel: Harley, This a broad a question. Given the same chemistry the ultimate failure point of both forms of steel should be too close to tell a difference. The cold worked steel MIGHT have a slight advantage depending on the heat treatment of both pieces.

The cold finished steel will be work hardened and thus seem tougher than most hot roll. However, hot roll varies from dead soft (near annealed) to quenched semi-hard.

See my FAQ on steel product types.
   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 12:04:16 EDT

Is there such a thing as a 500lb anvil. A man I know said his father had a 00 lb anvil in his blacksmith shop. The heaviest I've been able to locate is a 275lb anvil. Any help with this would be appreciated. Thank you
   Fil Jimenez - Monday, 07/25/05 12:04:30 EDT

Is there such a thing as a 500lb anvil. A man I know said his father had a 500 lb anvil in his blacksmith shop. The heaviest I've been able to locate is a 275lb anvil. Any help with this would be appreciated. Thank you
   Fil Jimenez - Monday, 07/25/05 12:05:46 EDT

Anvil Weights: Fil, Production anvils are commonly made in 500 pound weights. RR-shops commonly had 600 pound anvils and today several manufacturers make anvils in the 500 pound range.

Euroanvils 500 pound
Nimba Gladiator 450 Pounds
Rat Hole 425

   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 12:09:33 EDT

Note that special and exhibit anvils of the London pattern have been made up to 5,000 pounds (yes THOUSANDS).
   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 12:11:06 EDT

re: A.M. Byers - they produced wrought iron in Pittsburgh area into the 1950's. The father of a friend was an A. M. Byers retiree - he passed away in his 80's in the early 1980's full of p*** & vinegar to the end, when he was down to about 1/2 a lung due to cancer, probably from all the cigarettes he smoked plus the smoky mill environment in Pittsburgh in the early through mid part of the 1900's.
   - Gavainh - Monday, 07/25/05 12:48:24 EDT

Basher, Nice buy, very nice anvil.
   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 12:52:06 EDT

Fairbanks Hammer Adjustments:

The stroke adjustment on the crank wheel determines how hard the hammer hits and how fast it can be run. The full rated speed of this hammer is at a short stroke. At longer strokes the hammer needs to be run a little slower. The short stroke is handy for planishing and hand held tooling work.

The height adjustment should be adjusted so that at the bottom of the stroke (stationary) is about 1/2" off the work before reduction by forging. At this point the toggle adjustment should have the toggles approximately horizontal in a straight line. However, for a harder blow at low speed the toggle adjustment can be made a little loose. For quick rapid blows especialy at short strokes the toggle adjustment should be tighter than "just enough to support the ram" (which is normal).

Keep your adjust tools on hand if you do a variety of work. This seems to be a pain but you get the absolute best performance out of a hammer by knowing when and how to adjust it. Fairbanks and Bradleys were made to be adjusted for different uses while Little Giants were designed to be adjusted at one optimum point.

   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 13:04:35 EDT

I am an intermediate blacksmith. I have done a few sets of hinges but never a hand rolled one.

Anyway right now I am totally stuck. I have a client who really wants hand rolled hinges for a door that is probably 100 lbs. I have been trying and trying to roll an accurate eye, and having a hell of a time.
Its a two piece butt hinge, of 1/4 x 2 1/2" stock.

I have read everything on your site on how to do it, but I figure there must be some other tips, or something I'm doing wrong.
Any suggestions?

thanks a lot,
   Hayes - Monday, 07/25/05 13:28:34 EDT

Hayes, Most of these are worked around a pin or drift. The European method of making heavy hinges are by bending a right angle FORWARD then rolling the eye back and making a butt joint, not welding the eye.

You will note that commercial hinges are much lighter and unwelded as well.

I have no tricks to forging hinge eyes. I get them started over the edge of the anvil, when tight enough to work around a pin I drive one in then work the eye until it is snug and round. The step on the anvil is very useful and so is a swage or swage block.
   - guru - Monday, 07/25/05 13:51:23 EDT

HI Guys!

Thanks for the comments and help with the anvil!

Just been out to have a proper look over it to find there are no markings on it at all. What I did find though was a square hole the same size as the hardy under the horn and also a little C like shape under the base of the anvil that looks like it could be a forging mark or something.

The hardy hole and the hole under the horn ar both about 1 1/4 inch square and seem to taper in a little and the Pritchell hole is about 3/4 inch wide if that helps any.

I have dont the rebound test with a 2.5lb club hammer and it has a nice 3/4 stroke rebound which I think incicates it is in good order and of good quality from what I read on the site! And it has a nice high ring to it too!

I took a few photos of the hole and the shape of the base etc so if you want to see them let me know and I will open a photobucket account and post the link or mail them to you.

Thanks loads Guys!

   basher - Monday, 07/25/05 13:55:47 EDT

the small hole under the horn is a handling hole. Had to have someplace to hold the silly thing as it was forged.....
   Ralph - Monday, 07/25/05 14:44:13 EDT

Shoot I own a 515# fisher anvil and the shop we had the last SWABA meeting at had a 750# anvil in it.

   Thomas P - Monday, 07/25/05 15:02:19 EDT

What is the blade of a bulldozer/front end loader made of. I picked up one at a construction site. I have had a lot of suggestions about tungsten and other exotica. It cut ok with a torch but I havent tried grinding or forging. I thought it might make a few thousand good blades or battleaxes or swords.
   JLW - Monday, 07/25/05 16:25:39 EDT

Basher - posting images

You can post images free on http://www.yourimg.com - no registration needed.
   - Conner - Monday, 07/25/05 16:47:44 EDT

JLW. I expect thats grader blade steel. I have made tools from it. It works and behaves much like axel steel (med carbon). Its hard to move (by hand) below yellow orange and it crumbles at lemon yellow. I have made some nice bending forks by torching out the rough shapes and refining with by forging and grinding. I found that preheating the cut line just before torch cutting gives a much cleaner cut.

P.S. To mark metal for torch cutting or other hot work use whiteout. It will persist and be clearly visible upto orange heat (thank you Frank Turley)
   adam - Monday, 07/25/05 16:51:13 EDT

Clarification: I have made tools from grader blades. :)
   adam - Monday, 07/25/05 16:51:51 EDT

Will, yes, I have used clear lacquer, Deft is pretty good.

Leg Vise, Ken, I will have to go look at it again and see if I can make it read Sherman and Co.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 07/25/05 19:37:01 EDT

Went out and looked again after soaking it in WD40 overnight. I can now read " OHN V (or W)_________RELL". Prolly not Sherman and Co. I guess it is JOHN _______something.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 07/25/05 19:41:56 EDT

Thank you all for your input on the Fairbanks hammer. I am sure I will have more questions like this one. What is the height of an uncompressed spring for the toggle on a 25# Fairbanks hammer.
   Mark@FrogValleyForge - Monday, 07/25/05 20:50:48 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:21:22 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:22:36 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:23:24 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:23:45 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:23:52 EDT

JLW, Most buckets, unless homemade, by someone who has no idea of what material to use, are T-1 steel. Usually med. carbon content,and chrome for wear resistance. Hard to forge by hand, but excellent quality steel otherwise. Should make good edged tools.
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:24:16 EDT

Sorry about so many posts, had trouble getting it to go through!
   - Big `Ol Anvil - Monday, 07/25/05 21:27:33 EDT

Bending tools I have torch cut from grader blade needed to be then annealed or they would break under stress.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 07/25/05 22:12:39 EDT


There's an article in the latest issue of Artist Blacksmith Quarterly in the Historic Tools Series with instructions to make a rolling tool out of bar stock.

According to the article, the tool they demo "was made in the 1920's patterned after traitional European tooling"


   sriver - Tuesday, 07/26/05 00:18:50 EDT

ive been tryin to use stainless 3/8 rod for a few projects and come up with many uh issuees its been a nitemare im usein wood coal[ that i made ] and grillin charcoal its all i have here in iraq any hints everything been a issue in every step and i am new to smithinG i have a heat chart and usein it and i know its something simple i missin here any ideas
   sgt pocan - Tuesday, 07/26/05 06:21:18 EDT

Sgt. Pocan,

There's stainless steel, and then there's stainless steel, to paraphrase Yogi. In short, there are a lot of different alloys of stainless steel, some of which are darn near unworkable by anyone or any method. For smithing, the fairly common 304 stainless, often called 18-8 stainless, works okay.

It does require more effort than mild steel, it doesn't conduct as well so it takes longer to heat through to the center, and it tends to anneal if quenched from a yellow heat. It needs to be worked pretty hot, and gets tough as woodpecker lips by the time it gets down to a red heat. I find it actually easier to work cold and annealed than to work it at a red heat.

The biggest problem that I think a lot of people have with working 304 stainless is that they don't realize how much longer it takes to get a heat through to the core of the bar. This stuff conducts heat slowly, so it takes more than twice as long in the fire to get the core up to heat. Orange hot isn't enough to getit really workable, either. It needs to be at a good yellow heat.

Try to find out just which alloy you are trying to deal with, then we can give specific recommendation.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/26/05 09:29:58 EDT


Scratch that, as I read the article closer, they are talking decorative curls with this roller using only 18 gauge sheet.
   - sriver - Tuesday, 07/26/05 09:38:20 EDT

sgt Pocan. Stainless steel is not a good choice for learning. Its considered an advanced material. Plain old mild steel, or even rebar, IMO, will work better.

Is propane available to you? Many of us use small shop made propane forges. These are easy to construct - we can point you to designs and help you with building
   adam - Tuesday, 07/26/05 10:07:32 EDT

Can anyone recomend a good vise?

On a side note I was looking at ebay a few days ago and I saw a 200lb+ old style post vice, the thing was absolutely massive. The picture had it parked infront of a lawn tractor and it was just huge in scale. What on earth was this monster used for? I wish I had the picture.
   - Michael Gora - Tuesday, 07/26/05 10:22:17 EDT

Another quickie! Looking at some anvils, found a 150lb peter wright and a 120lb acme. Are these any good, if so what price should I be looking to pay for them? Any way to spot if they are fakes or an aso?
   - Michael Gora - Tuesday, 07/26/05 10:56:26 EDT

Hi Michael
They are both good anvils. The peter wright if in nice condition could be worth up to 325.00. I looked at the Acme myself. It is in excellent condition. The acme anvil you are referring to is a haybudden. They were also made by Trenton for sears with the sears acme tradmark. The Acme is so nice I would suspect it will sell somewhere between 300.00-600.00 because of the like brand new condition. This is just my opinion as it may very among others.
   burntforge - Tuesday, 07/26/05 12:45:05 EDT

Dear Guru,
We moved to New Jersey from Ohio. Now we are trying to set up our small coal forge we had from Centaur Forge. It seems that this forge is an "unlisted UL" device and the Fire Marshal needs intallation instructions in order for him to approve our set up. You do have any "official" insructions or references to some international fire codes that could help us our here in our set up in New Jersey? Thanks.....Joe
   Joseph - Tuesday, 07/26/05 13:08:08 EDT

Ken; I did some research on ductile iron last night; one of my ASM books published in the 1940's mentioned it as a recent process and the Iron and Steel Textbook published in 1920 went into detail on how great it would be if there was a way to produce an alloy like malleable by casting rather than having to do a heat treat process after casting---indicating that it didn't exist at that point but folks were thinking hard about it...

Is this a close enough date for when ductile was invented?

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/26/05 13:24:49 EDT

I'm building a bench grinder for making knives and was wondering what the best arbor size would be? I'm going to use a seperate motor and mandrel. I'm not sure if I should go with a 5/8 or something bigger? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

thanks in advance
   Mike - Tuesday, 07/26/05 13:29:25 EDT

vicopper is there a way i can tell the alloys in the stainlass abook or something it was found in a scrap yard a real find for over here that is we even have problems welding it we just dont get it
   sgt pocan - Tuesday, 07/26/05 15:23:58 EDT

Mike who is building a bench grinder: Search the archives for "bench grinder" and "belt grinder." A bench "grinder" uses hard stone wheels and has extremely little use for knifemaking.

We had a long discussion of the subject last month, I think.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/26/05 16:26:16 EDT

I built a 10" bench grinder and used a 5/8" arbor with a 1.5 hp motor. Has worked fine for years.
   adam - Tuesday, 07/26/05 16:46:48 EDT

Adam, thanks for the advice. Do you think it would be a good idea to use maybe a 1" arbor so that I can use industrial grinding wheels?

Alan L, bench grinders are extremely important for knife making because that is what you use for doing the rough shaping and hollow grinding, etc. Every knifemaking book I've read suggest their use. I was just wanting an opinion on arbor size. Thanks
   Mike - Tuesday, 07/26/05 17:09:11 EDT

Sgt. Pocan,

Are you sure you're not dealing with depleted uranium, or titanium alloy, or monel™, or inconel™, or stellite™ or any of a jillion other proprietary alloys or other metals?

Metal found in a junkyard is an unknown, unless yo have the technical know-how and equipment to do an analysis on it. Without that, all else is just guesswork. With a goodly amount of experience, you can get better about the guessing, but ONLY an analysis is accurate. I get fooled on stainless steels from time to time.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/26/05 17:18:17 EDT

Hi Guys!

Thanks for all the info! I managed to pop the pics of the anvil in one of my photobucket accounts!

To see them visit this link: http://photobucket.com/albums/a159/basher3108/

If you cant see them let me know and drop me a line with your email and I will send them from there!

Also will be buying the following books and or videos/dvds if I can get them in a Uk format!

Tim Lively's video "How to make a camp/bowie knife" (Tim uses charcoal)

Wayne Goddard's video "How to make a cable Damascus Hunting knife". (Wayne uses gas)

Jim Hrisoulas' book "The complete bladesmith"

Will also be getting a few book off the BABA website too.

Thanks loads!

   basher - Tuesday, 07/26/05 17:48:15 EDT

Mike: My setup is underpowered for the wheel dia. Next time I will go 2HP and an 8" wheel for heavy stock removal. For a 2HP motor I would prefer a heavier arbor but 5/8" would work fine I think. Heavier is almost always better IMO but if you are buying the arbor it will cost quite a bit more. I think the heavy arbor pays off if you are going to do precision grinding on a lathe for instance where you want to suppress any vibration or flexing. For hand grinding and heavy stock removal, I dont think it makes that much difference. Still if I had had a 1" mandrel, I might have used that just because I like to overbuild.

Wheels from McMaster come with plastic bushings to adapt down from the 7/8" (check this) mounting hole on the wheel downto a range of smaller sizes including 5/8". Also you can buy spacers from them for just this purpose (about 50c ea). So, were I building from scrap I would use whatever arbor was handy and use bushings to fit the wheel.
   adam - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:01:49 EDT

I just aquired an older anvil without dressed edges and in pretty decent shape. Is there a certain way to go about dressing the edges of the face? Would you grind the edge at an angle then round off of that flat area? Also, what do you find as a common starting radius up by the step in the anvil then tapering back toward the heel? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
   Chad - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:04:34 EDT

Mike all the professional knifemakers I know use their bench grinder primarily as a place to hang their belt grinder belts on... Actually it is useful to remove forge scale before going to the belt grinder, but an angle grinder will do that even better.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:13:29 EDT

I was wondering what kind of steel would be best to find if i was going to a junk yard ...eg...leaf springs or spring tooth harrows or jack hammer bits that sort of thing.
   Joe - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:28:58 EDT

Let it be known that there are now TWO folks posting with the screen name Harley........His in black and mine in Blue (grin) .....Let us not be confused.
Black Dog Forge.
   Harley - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:32:42 EDT

Too late Harley. I was born confused and refuse to change!
   Bob H - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:39:36 EDT


I follow the suggestions in the UK book, "The Blacksmith's Craft". I put a 1/8" radius on the face from the step to just about the center of the anvil waist, near and far edges. The rest of the anvil is relatively sharp cornered.


Adding to what the alpha guru said about free handing and using a mandrel to roll a hinge barrel...

When you bend flat stock for hinge making, you get a slight concavo-convex cross-section. The outside of the bend "hollows" lengthwise. To avoid this, some hinge makers pre-curve in a vee-swage with cross peen, again slightly, so as to begin the bend with downward blows, keeping the convex side upward as they do so. If all is copasetic, you get a flat inner and outer surface as you work the roll. Some of the old Dutch (Netherlands)hinges from New Jersey and New York have a taper on the end in thickness down to about 1/32" before rolling. The hinges are still strong enough. The Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) hardly every welded their hinge barrels, but rolled them instead.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 07/26/05 18:53:14 EDT

Mike - sounds like you are reading some very OLD books
Belt grinders- 2" x 72" are the preferred grinders for knife making
   - ptpiddler - Tuesday, 07/26/05 19:13:12 EDT

Mike, I have to agree with ptpiddler and Thomas on this one. Hard stone grinders are handy for deburring and sharpening mower blades, and some folks use the soft stone wheels to sharpen their woodworking tools like chisels and lathe tools. With the proper tool rest you can indeed rough grind profiles, and if you're determined you may even be able to hollow grind a blade as opposed to a wood chisel. Not one single pro knifemaker I know of (and I know OF quite a few, know personally only about six or seven) uses one for any part of their production process. Belt grinders are the preferred tool because they keep the stock cooler, they can be run over different wheel diameters or flat platens or even the slack between wheels to produce numerous profiles, and most importantly because you can get belts in every imaginable grit from 24 up to the submicron range, all to be used on the same machine. A few of the pro maker I know OF have even switched their surface grinders over to belt abrasives instead of stone wheels.

I really don't mean to jump on you, but I do know whereof I speak on this matter. See the knifemaking forums at www.knifenetworks.com and www.dfoggknives.com for some more current information in the field. Incidentally, there are even certain professional makers who have almost renounced grinders entirely, using files and hand sanding instead in order to have more control over the finished product.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/26/05 20:03:46 EDT

Mike- If you decide that you would rather build a belt grinder, you can see one of the style that I like to build
under ANVILEFIRE news-- volume 32- NC Hammerfest- the GURU
(Jock) took some pictures of the one Paul Garrett ( John
Campbell Folk School resident blacksmith) and I built for him. T%his one uses a 2" x 48" belt but could be built to use the more popular 2" x 72" belt. The grinder shown has a 5 HP 3450 RPM motor - really removes the metal
   - ptpiddler - Tuesday, 07/26/05 21:05:28 EDT

Joe, the best steel would be the steel that's best for what you are trying to make; I'm afraid I missed where you mentioned what that was...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/26/05 23:18:30 EDT

Alan has hit the nail on the head as fer 'belt grinders " in knife and sword making. The advantage to a belted grinder or ' plane' sander is that it pulls the heat away from your work. Second, the flat surface helps to establish the face that the edge or sudo edge will become.
BUT! never under estimate the power of sand paper and time. I've made a good work knife from an scrap 90% iron by sanding it down using sand paper and elbow grease( was on a seven month Navy deployment).
Yes I tend to polish and final by hand , not ppower tools. It makes for a better finnish and a finer blade.
   - Timex - Wednesday, 07/27/05 01:46:33 EDT

I am trying to get started in blacksmithing. I bought a 50lb. anvil with USA on the front side of it. Could you tell me what kind it is and some history about it? Not knowing much about anvils I don't know what else to tell you. Can you recommend a good book?
   bessent - Wednesday, 07/27/05 02:02:11 EDT

Mike: If the others havn't changed Your mind about building a bench grinder, I would suggest building it with a large [1"to1.5"] diameter shaft long enough to get the wheels pretty far apart- 18" to 24" [like a buffer] Turn the ends of the shaft to 5/8 because You can always bush up to whatever hole the wheels have, but make the flanges about 3" or more in diameter. I would put the bearings about a foot apart, keep the center housing as compact as You can so it doesn't get in the way of Your work. 3" dia "A" belt pulleys will keep it small, You can use multiple belts if You really put power on it. A notched belt like a "Gates Green Stripe" or a "NAPPA Premium XL" will run well on the small pulleys.Put a contact wheel on instead of an abrasive wheel, mount an adjustable idler wheel on the wall behind the grinder and You can run abrasive belts, everything they said about them is true. If You put the contact wheel above and a drive wheel on the arbor below You have the belt machine everybody thinks You should have built anyway. In any case You need the bench grinder for wire wheels & buffing wheels.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 07/27/05 03:57:06 EDT

bessent, USA anvils are cast in Birmingham Ala in several sizes. They haven't been around very long and there is no history as such. They are found in flea markets and a guy at the Madison conference had several. They work ok for what they are and used in beginners classes. We have one in our shop for beginners, but if you get a chance to work on a Hay Budden, Peter Wtight, Arm & Hammer, Petinghause, Nimba or Euro you will see the difference. Radius the edges so you won't risk chipping the edges as bad. How much did you pay for it?
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 07/27/05 06:55:20 EDT

Thanks everybody for your input. I already built a 2 X 72 belt grinder and was just needing something for more agressive stock removal, buffing, etc. I like the 1" shaft 5/8" ends bushing up to hole size idea. Makes sense. Again, thanks for all the ideas.
   Mike - Wednesday, 07/27/05 10:03:21 EDT

The best book on Anvils is "Anvils in America" by Richard Postman

Now if you want to know the best books for getting started in smithing you should find a list at the "Bookshelf" link under Navigate Anvilfire.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 07/27/05 10:37:01 EDT

I am not a knifemaker and I know next to nothing about making them. I do find my bench grinder very handy for general purpose coarse work. The 10" stone cost $40 4 yrs ago and is now down to 9" - this is a lot less than I would have spent on belts or wheels for my angle grinders. I do have a belt grinder (home made) which I use for more particular work.
   adam - Wednesday, 07/27/05 10:54:04 EDT

Dressing an Anvil: This is largely a matter of preference. However, when anvils were considered "just tools" and not antiques or heirlooms they were routinely dressed a considerable amount. Today there is also a misbelief today that anvils must have sharp edges. Sharp edges mar your work, are not good for producing quality forgings and tend to get chipped and broken. Many folks go to a lot of effort to weld up the corners of anvils due to the misbelief that anvils should have sharp edges and in the process screw up the metallurgy of the hardest used part of the anvil.

All edges on all anvils should be radiused. The radiusing should be proportional to the weight of the anvil and the material. Wrought or forged anvils are tougher than cast anvils and can have slightly smaller radiuses. The side away from the smith sees the heaviest use and for fullering as well as with strikers with sledges. Thus the far side should have a heavier radius.

Radiusing usualy tapers from the heel, with very little, to the horn where there is the most. Or it should taper to just short of the waist then continue with and even radius. At the heel of an average anvil (100 to 200 pounds) the radius should be about 1/32" (.8mm) and at the middle of the body about 3/16" (5mm). On heavier anvils it should be more and on lighter anvils less. On blacksmiths anvils the MINIMUM on all edges should be 1/32" (.8mm).

On cheap cast iron (ASO's) heavily radiusing the edges will reduce chipping and help extend the life a little.

Even on good anvils the edges chip. This was especially true of old anvils made of questionable steel that was often over hardened and not tempered. Most of the old anvils I have had were dressed, chipped, then dressed some more. Thus I have gotten used to using rounded edges. But I HAVE used anvils with sharp edges and find round ones much easier to use. The best dressed anvil is one that is dressed to suit a variety of work and your personal style.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/27/05 11:38:09 EDT

Belt Grinders: The most agresive grinders I have seen were belt grinders. Any size belt grinder can be outfitted with coarse belts that remove stock VERY quickly. The only limitation is horsepower and the sturdiness of the grinder. Although it is more convienent to have multiple grinders the most flexible of all is the belt grinder due to the ease of changing belts.

I reserve my bench grinder for sharpening drill and lathe cutter bits. For safety you should NEVER grind anything with greater or equal mass to a vitrified grinding wheel. parts weighing as much as the wheel can bounce and shatter the wheel. This limits the work that should be done with hard wheels. You should also have a diamond dresser for bench grinder stones. This alows you to create a fresh smooth surface for precision grinding. Star wheel and carburumdom wheel dressers will let you roughly clean up a wheel but there is NOTHING like using a diamond for dressing wheels. Mounted industrial diamonds are inexpensive and an absolute necessity for getting the most out of grinding wheels.

For wire brushing I prefer a direct mounted wheel on an 1800 RPM motor. Grinders are generally 3600 RPM and too agressive for wire brushing in my opinion. Buffing wheels are more critical in their needs as they are often used in a range of sizes. The smaller the buff the faster it needs to go. My small 3.5" wheel for inside the corners of candle cups runs 5,400 RPM. My buffing wheels are set up on mandrels with selected pulley sets for the speed I wanted.

For buffing wheel, grinder and saw speeds in linear velocity as well as grinding grits see Machinery's Handbook's variety of articles for each subject. This is just one of the areas that Machinery's is the best general reference and is where the "experts" often get THEIR information.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/27/05 12:13:57 EDT

I agree with Jock on agressive stock removal- My 5 HP
belt grinder running at 6000fpm with a new 24 grit belt
is the most agressive stock removal I have ever seen. I have 2 Harbor Freight long arm buffers sent for wheel type
(flap wheel and Scotch Brite on one- Grinding wheel and buffing wheel on the other- These were only $69.00 ea
cheaper than I could purchase motor- bearings - etc
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 07/27/05 13:08:05 EDT

With my 1 hp 2x72 belt grinder and a $3 24 grit belt I can cut a 1/4" x 1.5" bar of 5160 spring steel in half in about 10 seconds. Is that aggressive enough? T

he belt will last quite a while as long as you don't deliberately try to strip the grit with a sharp corner.

The 24 and 36 grit belts actually scare me they're so aggressive. You have to wear a full-face shield, since each little grain of grit tears off a shaving of steel and throws it at you. I find myself using nothing coarser than about 60 grit for roughing cuts, anything coarser cuts too fast and deep.

   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/27/05 13:17:17 EDT

Alan L,
That is agressive. What speed are you running your belts at? I've been using 36 grit belts and haven't been moving near that amout of material.
   Mike - Wednesday, 07/27/05 13:41:11 EDT

UL Ratings: Joseph, If your local fire marshall needs "approved" installation instructions then I think you may be in trouble.

FIRST: The device was sold by Centaur Forge, an outfit still in business. Go to them FIRST, see the link in the pull down menu above. The manufacturer's instructions are the only "official" instructions.

SECOND: Most forges are treated by the code like free standing fireplaces. They must be no closer than 30" from walls other than masonry and the stack must be tripple wall insulated pipe or a lined masonry chimney of the appropriate size. However, free standing fireplaces usualy have UL/CSA labels. . .

Back when I applied for a building permit for my shop and the drawing showed a side draft masonry stack the building inspector said,
"We don't know anything about a forge or foundry. You build it to what you think best and meet the code where it applies (like anchoring the chimney to the building and footing depth) and we will approve it."
This was a sharp common sense fellow but he also knew I was an engineer and was building a structure that was far superior to what the code required.

Where building inspectors often have a problem is that ANYTHING that has a UL label, no matter how poorly made or improperly applied is considered to automaticaly meet the code. By requiring all equipment to be UL approved building inspectors take no responsibility upon themselves. Some localities take the decision making capacatiy away and just plain require ALL devices to be UL approved.

Start with Centaur, then go from there.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/27/05 13:48:47 EDT

Speaking of belt (and disc)grinders, you can get a WHOLE lot more life out of your abrasives, say, about 400%, with one of those natural rubber cleaning blocks. They're expendable, but a whole lot cheaper than belts and discs. I have one I use on my disc sander at work that I've used for 2 years, and I've only used up about half of it. $3-4 at Harbor Freight, or any other abrasives dealer.
   3dogs - Wednesday, 07/27/05 14:16:41 EDT

Mike: That's running at 1800 feet per minute. What size motor do you have on yours, and how is your belt driven? I'm using a KMG-1 from Beaumont metal works.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/27/05 14:51:18 EDT

Anvil Edges:

Some smiths kept (keep) the heel or part of the far edge sharp to serve as a crude hardy for cutting. A couple of blows on hot thinner stock held at 45 degrees over the edge would save the time it took to grab the hardy and drop it into the hole. Crude but effective; I've done it myself from time to time. I learned it from a farrier friend, but I don't know how common the practice is. As the Greater Guru points out, it could be a bad thing if the face is too hard and you're not too careful.

I remember one commercial illustration (I think in Richardson) of an anvil with a built-in chisel/hardy edge on the heel.

HHH on the banks of the Potomac. C'mon cold front!

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 07/27/05 15:46:24 EDT

Thanks to all for the advice on dressing an anvil's edges. This helps a great deal.
   Chad - Wednesday, 07/27/05 17:42:50 EDT

How useful are these arc welders? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7533219887&category=67043&rd=1? It is a 110v 100 amp welder. I dont know much about arc welders but even with shipping this is about 1/2 the price of the local home store's cheapest buzz box. will this work for sticking rods and billets together for forge welding, putting a reins on tongs, and stuff like that?
   JLW - Wednesday, 07/27/05 17:46:59 EDT

Thomas: On ductile iron, thank you. I was drilling a hole in an old anvil/vise combination and the chips came out looking much more like ductile than cast iron. I also did some welding on it and it seemed to weld like ductile also. I know these were mostly produced in the early quarter of the 1900s, but might have been later.
   - Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 07/27/05 17:51:43 EDT

Hi, I was wondering if any one could tell me about what I would call a quarterpien hammer and where I could get one I'm very new to blacksmithing and I'm still figureing out what I like and don't like and the gentlman I've been working with to learn has one but can't remember where he got it please help also I have been trying to get signed up with anvilfire and can't seem to get a response my Email is brucerdn@yahoo.com thanks for your help buck
   Buck - Wednesday, 07/27/05 18:24:13 EDT

I'm making some stands for a friend who makes beautiful ceramic platters with hopi indian designs on them. They are made to be set on a table, and I was wondering if any of you might know where I could buy some small rubber or plastic caps to go over the ends of the legs to protect nice furniture tops?

   FredlyFX - Wednesday, 07/27/05 18:51:44 EDT

Joseph, I just had my annual visit from the state fire inspector today. He's new to my area this year and was curious about my coal forge when he saw it in the forge shop. I explained it was a coal forge and he looked it over some more and said he was surprised to see one- did people still use them? He didn't seem to have any problems with it nor have any of the other inspectors over the last several years. He didn't see any violations to write up in the rest of the shop either. What part of New Jersey are you in and was it a local or state fire official you are daling with?
   SGensh - Wednesday, 07/27/05 19:01:48 EDT

Fredly, Check McMaster for one- though they don't have as many cap variations as a company called "caplugs" they do list lots of furniture glides, feet, and rubber bumpers. Another source might be Mid-Atlantic Rubber Company. If a google search doesn't find them I can find some phone numbers from the old catalogs for you.
   SGensh - Wednesday, 07/27/05 19:07:04 EDT

FredlyFX For cap plugs check out Sinclair- Rush Co- They
have a website- you used to have to buy very large quanities- but they items are very inexpensive- you might
be able to buy small quanities now
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 07/27/05 19:49:06 EDT

Belt sander VS vitrified wheel grinders.
Where I used to work we had several hundred vitrified wheel grinders and about 40 belt sanders. The wheel machines varied from the standard 8" wheel machines to huge 24" x 4" wheel grinders that were about 60 years old. The wheel grinders were mostly for tool dressing for the chip cutting machines. When metal was required to be removed for deburring and shaping, the belt sanders ruled. We made about 400,000 parts a month in screw machines, and most needed the cut off burr (cutoff tit) removed. The materials were monel, 300 and 400 stainless, low carbon alloy steel and some exotics like Hastaloy A & B ETC. Now those belt sanders were powered by 3 to 7 Hp 3 phase motors, with 24 grit Blue silicon carbide belts moveing at warp speed. A touch would remove a 1/4" by 1/8" cutt off burr. I now have one of these in my shop, with a much smaller motor, and moving much slower, and the thing still hogs of metal like nothing else.
For those who wonder why a 24" x 4" wheel, ever dress the twist drills and shave tools for a 8" bar size screw machine? Takes a wide wheel and strong arms to sharp a 5" twist drill!
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/27/05 20:06:29 EDT


As a welder, that would be not useful. As a doorstop, it might work...might.

To buy a welder, go to the welding supply and buy a brandname like Miller or Lincoln or Esab or even Hobart. Those cheapies are worth less than they cost, and they have no resale value when you find out how crummy they are. Real welders hold their value like classic cars.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/27/05 21:04:32 EDT

JLW--vicopper is right- I still use a Lincoln tombstone
stick welder I bought in 1966- sometimes you can pick up an
old Lincoln tombstone(225 amp AC) for a good price when
somebody moves up to a MIG welder
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 07/27/05 21:16:12 EDT

My Dayton DC stick welder is from the 50's and still used all the time. My early 60's Lincoln SA-200 gas engine welder sat out in the weather for years after hard use, $200 in ignition parts and tires for the running gear and it is used regularly. Quality counts.
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/27/05 22:41:20 EDT

Howdy! Once again I have a question or two about hydraulic presses. Last time i posted, it was about an H-frame press, which would flex way too much. So i am back to my original plan of building a C-frame press, out of 4" square tubing, with a 1/4" wall.

Having said that, i need to ask about a guide system. The plan is to weld a piece of plate to the tube, and then make an assembly(for lack of a better name) that will fit over the plate and guide the ram. Would 1/4" plate be too light for this job? Would 1/2" plate be better?

I also need to ask about the top mount for the cylinder. I have a 1"x2 1/2" bar that will fit in the top mount on the cylinder(1" is as wide as i can go). Would it work if i welded the bar to the tubing? I know welds are a good place for something to fail, so i'm a little nervous. Or would it be better to cut holes in the tube and run the bar all the way through, and weld on the outsides and insides?

I know i'm no mechanical engineer(yet, though I do plan to go into mechanical engineering once i graduate high school), so i really appreciate all the help that you guys can give, because you have the knowledge that i lack at the present.
Once again, thanks for everything!

Ian Wille
   Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Wednesday, 07/27/05 23:17:24 EDT

Blower repair follow-up,,
Hej Miles,
Thanks for the note about the fan, But this fan is held to its shaft by a simple setscrew.
Opening the blower was alot easier than I envisioned, Nothing like the "Swiss watch" assembly of my rivetforge blower. Remarkably its insides were alot cleaner than I thought they would be, The only thing it sort of needed was a couple shim/thrust washers that I managed to cut from a soupcan lid.
Back together and oiled it turns easy & will coast down slow, really puts out the air. I will have to watch out that I dont needlessly overblow my fire.
All the forge needs now is change the blower mounts and clinkerball to right handed operation.
   - Håkan - Thursday, 07/28/05 00:04:54 EDT

"Blueboy": All in all it is easier to build a rigid "H" frame press than it is to build an equally rigid "C" frame press unless You are set up to work with plate a few inches thick. How much tonnage are You planning on? The depth of the "C" or the width of the "H" determins how much a given member will flex. Are You going to use a bottle jack for power? I don't fully understand Your questions about the cilinder mounting and guide.
   dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/28/05 00:33:16 EDT

Fredly's rubber caps for pots? n stuff:
Wal- Mart and most Home - Depots sell sticky backed teflon or rubber ' feet ' in all manner of sizes that should meet your needs. If not find an old strip of leather and rough the side that is to be on the furniture side( makes it softer). The other side can be afixed by any clear or colored gule or silicone.
   - Timex - Thursday, 07/28/05 01:09:10 EDT

A scrounger's source for 3450 RPM motors is discarded jet or shallow well pumps. 3/4 HP is common, but they can be found in the 1 to 3 HP range as well. Afew months ao I described how to reverse the rotation, I wont go into it again.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/28/05 01:32:57 EDT

here's a question for the gurus...

i work as a furniture designer and my company just had me do up a "wrought iron" look collection. the tables came out looking sweet but they are quite jiggly, if you know what i mean. chairs a little too but its nice actually. i made these tables from 8mm x 30mm bar of "CT3" variety, (standard "quality" steel in vietnam, a russian standard i think, same as K 02501 or 360). anyway i left off the hammered-in details seen on most of these items in the market, and i was wondering if the hammered details (such as chamfers on the corners of the bar, pounded circular and evenly spaced) provide the stiffness i am lacking, and leaving them off left my table with so much motion. or, do i simply need to find a stiffer steel?

thanks in advance...


   bdubs - Thursday, 07/28/05 03:56:40 EDT

Thanks guys. I will look for a used Dayton or Lincoln welder. I need a small one in 110v and I think that may be harder to find than the larger ones.
   JLW - Thursday, 07/28/05 06:46:35 EDT

Anvil edge:

I, too, like to use sharp edges at the heel. But I use them to mark steel. I make the measurement on the anvil, lay the steel at the mark and then lower it to 45-deg and make the mark using the anvil edge.
   - Marc - Thursday, 07/28/05 07:53:18 EDT

Furniture Stiffness: bdubs, When using light stock the stiffness is largely determined by design. However, I do know that US furniture manufacturers use steel plate which has a high temper (work hardening) from the rolling process. It is often a medium to low carbon high strength material. I have friends in the industry but asking them or repeating what I know might be considered dealing in trade secrets.

The hammering of the metal if done cold will work harden it and add a little stifness. But I would not plan on this curing the problem.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/28/05 08:34:42 EDT

Hydraulic Press Design: Blueboy, First, as noted by Dave Boyer an H frame is much stiffer and easier to design than a C frame. On an H frame you have simple deflection of cross members supported on two sides by members in tension. On a C frame the entire frame flexes more must be much heavier. The advantage of the H frame is the ram and reaction surface stay parallel to each other. On a C frame they immediately start changing in angle as soon as any load is applied.

You incorrectly assumed a C frame stiffer in your first post and were corrected. The rules of engineering have not changed. The only problem H frames have is the current crop of low life manufacturers that make and sell equipment that is made way too cheap to take the rated load.

Those building "C" frame hydraulic presses for the blacksmith shop use a heavy steel beam (30 to 75 pound) for the spine and mount the ram and reaction plate close to the beam so there is little overhang. The ram and reaction plate usualy have long gusset plates to put more weld in shear as well as provide more support. They also often close in the beam with welded on side plates, trippling the stiffness. This is still considered a C frame but there is little C to it. As stiff as this is it will flex considerably.

Welds in structural design is quite an art. First you start with known loads. Then you determine the amount of weld cross section (material in shear) to withstand the load at 10,000 PSI. YES, this is a low number considering welding rods are rated at 60, 70 and 80 KIPS. However, this is a maximum theoretical number assuming perfect design, execution and no safety factor. In machine design you should stick to 10,000 PSI unless you are an engineer designing a high stressed high performance device.

When I design for weldments I assume no weld penetration, the beads just glued to the surface. In a 45 degree fillet weld the "depth" in shear is the height of the weld times the reciporcal of the square root of two (0.707). Use 70% OR half the width of the fillet. This assumes under powered welding by an amature welder using bad technique. Sounds cynical but I have gotten this quality weld from supposedly "professional" shops. So you design for the worst case. This is a good rule for anyone welding with a buzz box in the back yard as well. . .

The book Welding Fabrication and Repair by Frank Marlow and sold by Industrial Press is very good on the subject of joint design.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/28/05 09:30:56 EDT

E-Bay Welder: JLW, Etal, Besides the uselessness of this little box the shipping is more than the product and quite high for the size and weight of the item. This is a classic ebay scam. If the product doesn't work and you return it OR ask for a replacement the seller still makes a profit off the high non-refundable shipping.

DO NOT BUY cheap import junk tools on ebay!

Ebay is a great source of REAL used equipment but the vast majority of new stuff is specially manufactured as cheap as possible for the ebay market. The overseas manufacturers KNOW there will never be any returns so there is no need to properly design or engineer for ANY product life. Vast quantities of this junk is being manufactured for the "get rich quick" ebay market. It is a vast money making machine that preys on the inexperianced and gulible Ameican consumer that has more money than sense. In any other market at any other time these charlatans would be tared, feathered and run out of town.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/28/05 09:55:19 EDT

Quality: My little Miller Thunderbolt welder has been used, abused, left outdoors, flooded and continues to work. It has been used to weld things much heavier than it was designed for as well as long hours of structural welding. The insulation has fallen off the cables and are due to be replaced. It is still my preferred welder because it is is simple and easy to use.

This little welder cost me $165 in 1973 and still works. The department store brand "professional" oxy-acetylene set I purchased at the same time for $275 was orphaned in 1976 and the last parts useless in 1978. On the other hand I have pieces of Victor OA welding equipment that is 40 years old that still works.

When you buy non-professional, no-name, odd-ball equipment the odds are that you will be replacing it in a few years or LESS. When you spend a little more on the INITIAL purchase you have often made a lifetime purchase.

When you purchase cheap equipment and replace it over and over you end up paying way more than you would have for good equipment that might have only cost double initialy. Cheap tools are false economy.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/28/05 10:10:52 EDT

JLW an arc welder (of almost any size) is soooo useful in a blacksmiths shop that I would not cheap out on this purchase. I have a Lincoln tombstone AC buzz box about ($250) which I use for heavy stuff and can do all the things you mentioned. I also have a Hobart 135 MIG/Wire Feed which runs on 110v and can do light welding on a regular 15a outlet. This little machine is really nice for small stuff and sheet metal and runs about ($500). Its what I use most of the time. These are brand names that you can confidently buy 2nd hand.

IMO cheap tools have their place and there are some good buys from Harbor Freight. This isnt one of them.
   adam - Thursday, 07/28/05 10:27:26 EDT

Guru and Dave: Thanks. My first post was fairly vague. My C frame would be as you described Guru. The "anvil" would be welded to the spine with no space in between.In fact, the entire design would closely resemble Don Fogg's press (http://www.dfoggknives.com/hydralic.htm), except all i have to work with is 4" squre tubing.

The H-Frame i have is already built. I have no idea as to where it came from. I am also in doubt of its stiffness. The cross members are channel, C 6X8.2, and are 30" long from end to end, and 27" between the supports. I talked to Tom Clark about this H-frame when i was visiting him. He said that it would not work with the double acting cylinder i have( which should give about 20-30 tons of force). He said i would be better off going with the 4" square tubing. I also used Machinery's Handbook for the math, and frankly, i didn't quite know what i was doing. So, would this H-Frame flex too much if i were to use it with the cylinder i have? Is there anything i can do to make it usable? or would i be better off using the 4" tubing for a press like Don Fogg's?

Thank you for the correction also. I know that assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups, i should have known better than to assume.

Also, is there a place i can go to learn how to use all the equations, formulas, etc found in Machinery's handbook? I have attempted to use them on my own with no prior knowledge, and i belive the results were wrong. I would really appreciate any help with the calculations.

As i noted before, you guys KNOW your sutff. I am pretty ignorant when it comes to engineering and designing. I gratefully receive all the help and info you can give. Believe me when i say theat it will go to good use.

   Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Thursday, 07/28/05 10:48:29 EDT

Would taking Metal Shop at my High School help me if I were going to begin studying blacksmithing?
   Dylan Premo - Thursday, 07/28/05 11:05:19 EDT

Dylan Premo, yes yes yes and more yes. You may not learn anything in particular about actual blacksmithing but general metalworking skills are the corner stone of a good blacksmith. Learning how to weld and work with metal will go a long way towards helping you become a blacksmith and the more you learn earlier the better. I'm in college right now and I didnt have access to a Metal Shop class in high school which I regret so much since now it is much harder for me to get into courses that offer Metal Fab in college.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/28/05 12:27:27 EDT

"Wrought Iron" furniture design.
I have been closely involved with architects, interior designers, industrial designers, and furniture designers for almost 30 years now, designing, building others designs, manufacturing, and selling metal furniture.
And one thing that always gets my goat is the "designers" who have never even picked up a piece of steel, and usually have a very minimal knowledge of furniture history, designing totally inapproprate pieces, and then being befuddled when they are not functional.
I am not saying Bdubs is one of these, although the evidence points in that direction.
But to properly design a line of furniture that others will manufacture, and will be sold to the public, you need to know what you are doing- this means understanding metals, welds, mechanical connections, finishes, and manufacturing processes. It means building prototypes (a guy I used to know in So-Cal, Don Chadwick, who designed the famous Aero chair, spent 3 or 4 years, and close to 100 prototypes, on that one chair).
It means studying historical designs, in museums, in real life, and in books.
I have designed, built and sold over 100 different chair designs, and maybe 40 different tables. As I said, I have been at this for 30 years or so. I have shelves full of books on furniture design, ergonomics, historical chairs and tables. I have visited museums all around the world, taking pictures of furniture.
And I still make mistakes. And I sorta know what I am doing.
So to think you could just dive in, and design a line of metal furniture, and not have it be "a little jiggly" is sort of unrealistic.
Would you design a car engine, or a bridge, or a computer chip, without knowledge, experience, and practice?
Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.
Now as far as why the tables wiggle, no, its not because you didnt design in traditional forged details. Its because your design isnt sturdy, and your materials are probably the wrong size and shape. A quite sturdy table can be made entirely from 1/4" round (6mm) or from 2" square (50mm). Its all in the design.
   - ries - Thursday, 07/28/05 13:53:50 EDT

"Wrought Iron" furniture design.
I have been closely involved with architects, interior designers, industrial designers, and furniture designers for almost 30 years now, designing, building others designs, manufacturing, and selling metal furniture.
And one thing that always gets my goat is the "designers" who have never even picked up a piece of steel, and usually have a very minimal knowledge of furniture history, designing totally inapproprate pieces, and then being befuddled when they are not functional.
I am not saying Bdubs is one of these, although the evidence points in that direction.
But to properly design a line of furniture that others will manufacture, and will be sold to the public, you need to know what you are doing- this means understanding metals, welds, mechanical connections, finishes, and manufacturing processes. It means building prototypes (a guy I used to know in So-Cal, Don Chadwick, who designed the famous Aero chair, spent 3 or 4 years, and close to 100 prototypes, on that one chair).
It means studying historical designs, in museums, in real life, and in books.
I have designed, built and sold over 100 different chair designs, and maybe 40 different tables. As I said, I have been at this for 30 years or so. I have shelves full of books on furniture design, ergonomics, historical chairs and tables. I have visited museums all around the world, taking pictures of furniture.
And I still make mistakes. And I sorta know what I am doing.
So to think you could just dive in, and design a line of metal furniture, and not have it be "a little jiggly" is sort of unrealistic.
Would you design a car engine, or a bridge, or a computer chip, without knowledge, experience, and practice?
Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.
Now as far as why the tables wiggle, no, its not because you didnt design in traditional forged details. Its because your design isnt sturdy, and your materials are probably the wrong size and shape. A quite sturdy table can be made entirely from 1/4" round (6mm) or from 2" square (50mm). Its all in the design.
   - ries - Thursday, 07/28/05 13:53:52 EDT

Buck, have you tried looking at our advertiser there are several that deal in hammers, stock and custom.
Also how were you trying to sign up, slack-pub or CSI membership ? I think the Guru is backlogged on the slack-pub registry. but if it was the CSI membership go to the navigation bar and pick the store then pick the Cybersmiths international membership option at the bottom .
then just fill out the form.
   daveb - Thursday, 07/28/05 13:56:09 EDT

Can you direct me to any information regarding steel treated with muriatic acid, then heated and oiled for a durable lasting finish. This is in an exterior application.

   kat - Thursday, 07/28/05 14:01:43 EDT

Metal Shop: Sure, it will help with blacksmithing! You won't do any in the class, but you will learn a lot of useful things. Safety, for one! How to properly use a drill press. Think that is simple? MANY people have been hurt from misuse of a drill press. Fella from my school lost a bit of his scalp from a drill press. And there is always the metal lathe, darn handy tool that is. Layout procedures are good. Mill work too. And safety, did I mention safety? Lot's of things to go wrong if you don't know the proper procedures. Probably won't do any welding, at least when I was in school that was a seperate class. Take that one too! Yup, I know I am missing a lot, but yes, take the metal shop!
   Bob H - Thursday, 07/28/05 14:20:19 EDT

Ralph's Illness: details are in the Members forum and in the Hammer In forum.....Ralph is having emergency brain surgery today due a sizeable blood clot in his brain. Prayers and good wishes much welcomed.
   Ellen - Thursday, 07/28/05 14:48:30 EDT


Given your criterion of "durable lasting finish", there is nowhere to direct you. That type of finish is NOT durable or lasting. It will last maybe a few years indoors with good care, and as little as a few days outdoors, depending on the climate and care. That is not what I would call either durable or lasting. The "oil rubbed on hot metal" finish is just like seasoning a cast iron skillet, and just as durable. You know what happens to a cast iron skillet that is left out in the rain, right? Rust.

For a durable, lasting finish for interior work, you need to sandblast or beadblast the work to bare metal, prime with a good primer and paint with a good quality paint. For exterior work in a normal climate, you sandblast, then prime with a 90% zinc primer, then a coat of red-or black-oxide primer, then topcoat with automotive acrylic enamels with the urethane hardener additive, or use epoxy.

In a harsh marine environment, if you really want it to last, you sandblast it, hot-dip galvanize it, neutralize it, rinse it, etch it, phosphate it, rinse it, prime it, intercoat prime it, topcoat with epoxy, then topcoat again. That should last ten or so years if not badly chipped or abraded to bare steel. Then you repaint it. Or start out using marine grade stainless, thoroughly passivated.

   vicopper - Thursday, 07/28/05 15:45:15 EDT

I lived in shop class when I was in high school. Metal shop, welding, wood shop, small engine repair, and auto mechanics. I've used those skills elmost every day for the last 23 years since dropping out, because all I took was shop, and joining the Marines. I wish now I had also payed attention in math and science classes as I struggle now with those skills and have to do a lot of reading before I do some processes.

   FredlyFX - Thursday, 07/28/05 16:00:32 EDT

What do you think about this vise everyone?
Item # 7533574112
I know the shipping is a rip off but he says he will agree to send it via the method I choose with $20 for crating.
   - Michael Gora - Thursday, 07/28/05 16:50:37 EDT

Mounting my big bench vise:

I have the 6" Columbian vise I got from Ken Scharabok all fixed and prettied up, Ready to mount. (This has been mentioned in the Virtual Hammer-in section.) I'm thinking od mounting it on a post from a 17" dia, 3/8" thick circle of plate I have. The vise will need a 10" square mounting surface and will use 4 bolts, 5/8" dia.

For a top I have two choices, using material on hand:
(A) A 10" square cut from a piece of 10" channel a little less than 3/8" thick. or
(B) Cut a piece of 3/4" plate to 10" square. The plate has all irregular edges, and all four sides would need to be flame cut and ground.

For height I am considering mounting it lower than bench height so the top of the jaws will be about 38". When sitting on a 36" bench top it seems the work would bee too high. The vise is 10" from base to top of jaw.

How can I keep the 3/8" circle from warping to make a convex and unstable bottom when I weld it to a post?

Thanks, again, Ken
   John Odom - Thursday, 07/28/05 16:57:28 EDT

Re Metal Shop:
I'm a chemist. I've made my living mostly at chemistry. BUT my college required each graduate to have TWO skills, one Head, and one hand. I took Machine shop for my second skill.

I've used my metaslworking skills every day. At one job, I was given a bench in the model shop. I was the only non-union professional ever allowed to touch a machine in that company, and I earned the respect of the instrument makers/machineists. I make instrument [parts that don't otherwise exist. I can design and build equipemnt for special applications. I've also had fun fabricating and blacksmithing and have something to do in retirement.

Go for it. Learn ALL You can
   John Odom - Thursday, 07/28/05 17:05:57 EDT


I don't know where you are, so I can't comment on the shipping, other than to say that the shipping industry has historically been full of ripoffs. I will say that vises like that are to be found all over the country if you are persistent and patient. The $65 is about right, as it may be an orphan as far as any repair parts are concerned. Personally, I prefer Parker or Prentiss vises, but Athol is a good name.

Keep in mind that that vise is NOT designed to be banged on with big hammers. I twill stand some banging on, but it is not a chipping vise, it is a mechanics vise.
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/28/05 17:38:47 EDT

Thanks for the help ptpiddler & timex. I found them at Sinclair-Rush who sent me to Mc Master-Carr. I should have thought to go there first probably.

   FredlyFX - Thursday, 07/28/05 17:55:19 EDT

Re: Arc welders. You are probably going to suggest that it is not a coincidence that the cheapo's ship for $40 anywhere in the universe and the Lincolns cost $129 for shipping to the east coast.
   JLW - Thursday, 07/28/05 18:01:16 EDT

John, If you don't want the plate to warp when welding it to a post just drill or torch a hole the same size as the OD of your vertical pipe. Weld the vertical to the plate from the bottom so the disc will tend to pull into an extrememly shallow cone. If you are tig welding set the vertical tube level with the bottom of your disc and fusion weld (no filler) if mig or stick set the vertical pipe about halfway through the disc and fillet weld. Resist the temptation to weld the top of the disc too. If you really feel the need you can always add three equally spaced triangular braces at that top surface but you will risk pulling the disc out of plane at the welds. I'd choose the 3/4" plate for the top mounting.
   SGensh - Thursday, 07/28/05 18:01:21 EDT

daveb; I was trying for the slacktub pub and I'll be patient
as far as the Quarter pien hammer could you advise me as to which advertisers have it I have seen it sdvertised it but I can't find it again and I really want to get one as for csi membership that will come after I sll a few more pieces
thanks for your help everybody Buck
   Buck - Thursday, 07/28/05 18:36:35 EDT

H vs C frame press.
I would think a H frame press the easiest press to design and fab. A H frame press can usea double acting or a single acting cylinder. I did not notice the ram size mentioned, but 4" square with a 1/4" wall is going to bend at fairly light loads. The rule of thumb is to always double the depth of the throat in a C frame press for the depth of the frame. Every C frame press I have designed or dealt with has had a massive frame compared to that required for the H frame with equal tonnage. For the 50 ton production presses I did, the throat was about 12" and the frame was 4" plate weldement of rather size. Did not move to any noticable amount, but the frame by itselt was probably 4000#.
   ptree - Thursday, 07/28/05 20:29:35 EDT

"wrought iron" furniture:

thank you for the posts regarding my question... admittedly i lack experience with steel working having jumped industries a few times, but i was hoping one of you with more experience than i would perhaps recognize the type of steel my workshop used and be able to recommend something that would be a little stiffer or a good cost effective method of hardening whatever dodgy steel we can get in vietnam. i am quite certain my design is fine, the same table made in a robust aluminum profile would have no problems at all and the play isnt in the hardware for the knockdown construction. so if anyone can help me out with that i would really appreciate it. i mentioned i'm a "designer", my background is actually mechanical engineering but ive made many more plastic assemblies and sheet metal housings and cast aluminum parts than i have worked with steel. i mention this so anyone with advice isnt afraid to get technical about a response, which is actually what i was looking for rather than comments about the design itself, which i am confident is not the problem and clearly cannot be evaluated through a question posted on this forum.

ries: if you have a website id love to see your 30 years of work.
   bdubs - Thursday, 07/28/05 21:57:00 EDT

Fairbanks Hammer

To reforge or not to reforge? That is the question. I have almost completed the tear down/clean up/repaint of my newly aquired Fairbanks 25# hammer. Its mostly back together and I have attempted the Guru reccomended adjustments to the ram. Something didn't seem right to me. After much consideration and review of pics of other FB hammers, it seems that the toggle arms have lost a bit of their shape, one is a replacement/handmade one that has a weld at the crook of the elbow(nice job, couldn't tell till I removed all the old paint) and neither one seems the right shape. When the crank is up and the ram hanging loose up from the anvil, the arms are not anywhere near straight across no matter how I adjust the spring or the height adjustment.

So what to do? I can reforge them both, using a pattern from a pic to get them pretty close, but what is the proper hardness? Are there drawings available so that I could do this right? Should I weld buttresses at the elbows? Here is a pic of the toggle arms- http://www.frogvalley.com/blacksmithimages/togglelinkage.jpg
This pic was taken with the ram resting on a one inch spacer with the crank at bottom of stroke, stroke set at half of max.


   mark-frogvalleyforge - Thursday, 07/28/05 22:29:23 EDT


I dunno about that shipping thing, my new Miller was shipped free. They sell Lincolns too, also free shipping. Pretty decent folks to do business with all the way around, in my experience. The folks I deal with are:


I have no affiliation with them, they just have good prices and treated me right. If you have a good welding supply with decent prices near you, (I don't), you should deal with them as they will be there to serve you in the future and answer all your questions.
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/28/05 22:30:12 EDT

Blueboy: I think in Your situation I would put a bottle jack in the "H" frame press You have and see how much deflection You get when You pump it up. DON'T WRECK THE FRAME. If it moves too much You could reduce the span to whatever size You think You will need. If You made it 10" narower it would get a whole lot stiffer, this would most likley be less work than building anything from scratch.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/28/05 22:36:02 EDT

I have an old mouse hole anvil that I bought that has had a lot of damage on the face I have pad welded, ground and reshaped it into a nice looking peice. I used 7018 electrodes to do the work and I know that the metal is to soft to be used in this state, I was wondering if it could be hardened and tempered into a useable tool? If so could you give me a procedure for doing it?
   mack - Thursday, 07/28/05 22:40:55 EDT

Dave Boyer, thanks. Once again, i want to apologize for being unclear in my previous posts. I will give your suggestion a try( i have a friend who may have a bottle jack i could borrow). You are definitely right; it would be a lot easier to narrow the press than start from scratch.
Would 1/8" of deflection be acceptable in the frame, or should it be less?

thanks for your help on this(and Guru and ptree). I really appreciate you taking time to give answers to my questions. I have learned a good deal from it.

   Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Thursday, 07/28/05 23:16:04 EDT

What is the best way to preserve Mild steel, my aim is to polish the steel and then cut a shape with oxy acetylene leaving the shine with the fame blueing where it has been cut, then oil it or laquer to finish.
   Justin Passmore - Friday, 07/29/05 00:47:32 EDT

Hello,again! I have another "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?" type of question. My husband has a blacksmithing tool in his collection that he can't identify. He doesn't even remember why he bought it (twenty-some years ago), except that it looked very interesting.

The long,square shape of the shaft makes one think that it is either an anvil hardy or a stake hardy. The shaft branches out into two horns I'd love to send you a picture, but I don't know how to get it to you My thanks in advance.
   Lauren - Friday, 07/29/05 01:21:56 EDT

Blueboy: The problem with deflection becomes one of stored energy. It will depend to some degree what You plan to use the press for. EXAMPLE: if You are pressing a shaft out of a gear at enough load to deflect the press when the shaft comes free the stored energy will send it flying. If You were using the press for forming, that danger would not be present, however deflection does lead to fatigue problems, particularly at the ends of welded joints, and becomes more of a problem the more cycles the parts are subjected too. If You plan to work the press to 20 to 30 tons continually, It had better be really strong. I have a little press rated at 20 tons, I dont think it would take a steady diet of full load, in practice, most times I use it I dont need over 5 to 6 tons. That little press is made of 2 pices of 2" wide x 4.75" high channel for the platten, same for the ram support, fastners are 24" apart. This press deflects enough at 10 tons that I don't want to stress it more, for My safety and it's own. I was injured when a length of heavy wall tube I was trying to straighten flew out of a press, jaw broken in 2 places. Once bitten, twice shy. That pipe was deflected a couple of inches at about 10 tons, when it came out it did it all at once. Yes it was My fault for being in a hurry and a bit careless with the setup, but BE CAREFULL.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 07/29/05 01:29:45 EDT

Hello Gurus
I have just aquired a Chambersburg 200 pound utility hammer and am in need of information on maintaining and operating this hammer. Also plans for foundation. Any information would be appreciated. I have a couple Little Giants 25&50 but know nothing of this type hammer.
Thanks for your time.
Virgil Campbell
   V. Campbell - Friday, 07/29/05 03:14:24 EDT

Lauren: From your description it sounds like a bending fork to me, but alot of smithing tools look kinda weird and are hard to describe, so maybe I'm not picturing the right thing. If you got a digital pic and uploaded it to a free photo hosting site (photobucket.com works well for me), you could post a link to it and get more certain answers.
   AwP - Friday, 07/29/05 04:23:42 EDT

Mack: At this point there is nothing you can do to further harden the top since 7018 is mild steel. You will just have to live with it. You may be surprised at how well it holds up. When I use 7018 I hard peen as each bead is laid down. This seems to work harden it a tad a bit at a time.
   - Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/29/05 06:21:05 EDT

Thanks for the vise mounting feedpack. I plan to use the vise free-standing a while, then bolt it down when I find the "right" place. I've mounted things permanently too many times, only to find later, with use, that they were in the way or a little too far this way or that.

Thanks for the warpage control suggestion too. I once saw a smith heat the center of a disk with a rosebud, then hammer the hot spot to and make the disc warp. When he then welded a pipe coupling to the convex side it flattened out and made a perfect base. I didn't ful;ly understand the process, and he was a man of few words, now deceased, so I am afraid to try that method
   John Odom - Friday, 07/29/05 08:38:46 EDT

John Odom: You can also control wrappage by just doing a short weld at a time, or at least spaced out, such as a short one on each side, allowing the metal to cool between beads.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/29/05 08:44:37 EDT

Lauren's doohicky could also be a tinsmith's stake, they have long square-ish shanks and thin "horns" on top. The question now is, is it shaped like a "T" or like an "F"?
   Alan-L - Friday, 07/29/05 08:51:51 EDT

Ian "Blueboy" Wille,
A usefull contruction technique for stiffening members that are deflecting is adding a truss. I know this sounds difficult, but is often as simple as adding a rod, fastened at each end of the deflecting member, on the side the member is deflecting to, and fabricating the rod to have a standoff or several, that hold the rod at a distance from the member. In this manner, the rod becomes the upper cord, and is placed in tension. With the tensile strenght of steel being what it is, the rod would have to stretch, or the standoffs collaspe in compression to allow the member to bend. This does require an adaquate fastening of the rod. An excellent example of this method of stiffening is the engine hoists used in most garages. The boom that lifts the engine would bend under load, except the rod raised above the tube boom stiffens the boom. Many trailers are trussed along the sides of the frame, as the sides that also hold the cargo in are in reality trusses.
Look in your Machineries manual under "truss" and you can see many styles of truss. In reality the channel members used in most presses are a sort of truss. The channel used with the web vertical places the flanges into the role of upper and lower cord. The I-beam is stiffer, as it has more steel in the flanges. This is why when you look at a tall I-beam, say a 24", you see a pretty thin web, yet a pretty thick flange and transition from the web to the flange. This is really a 24" truss, with a solid web.

If building a press, use the Guru's formula for sizing! He is very right about welding, and strenghts. Steel is cheap, and life and health very dear.

"Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried or in jail" Qouted in Uncle Atli's very thin book of wisdom.
   ptree - Friday, 07/29/05 08:55:09 EDT


My understanding is that all steels flex about the same amount under the same load. The difference is that harder and stronger steels can flex further (and accept more load) before they bend permanently. So if your table legs are springing back after they jiggle, changing the alloy or the heat treatment won't help. You need thicker legs or a different design
   Mike B - Friday, 07/29/05 09:27:05 EDT

A comment on Industrial Arts:

Do, take and learn all you can. But don't be put off if you have a horrible instructor. Put me back 5-10 years because I hated the experience. Fight to be learn.
   Escher - Friday, 07/29/05 09:53:38 EDT

Should be "Fight to learn"

I dun lerned my letters real good.
   Escher - Friday, 07/29/05 09:54:26 EDT

Buck, I just sent the last hour and a half looking through the advertisers, but to no avial, all I saw was straight cross peens too. Maybe some of the others here could chim in as to where to find this hammer.That is a hammer with the peen running at a 45 deg to the handle or am I wrong.
   daveb - Friday, 07/29/05 10:34:43 EDT

Hardening steel in Vietnam- the hardness of the steel is not your problem. As Mike said, a given profile and size of steel will be just as wiggly, no matter the hardness. So the makeup of your steel is most likely irrelevant.
And production hardening of steel, either before or after fabricating into furrniture, is gonna be economically unfeasible, and just plain hard to do consistently anyway. I sincerely doubt there is enough carbon in your garden variety vietnamese mild steel to harden anyway.
It is vaguely possible you are getting a very low carbon, annealed steel, which is soft and easily bendable. We actually try to get stuff like that here in the US, but it is not made except in a few very special sizes, like the tie wire used to wire rebar together in concrete forms. So I cant think of why it would be the only stuff you can get there- but I guess its possible. If so, again, hardening wont work anyway- not enough carbon in it.

Seeing your designs would help a lot. Again, my best guess is the design is inappropriate for the material being used. Is this rectangular bar your only option? Rectangular bar is notoriously bad as far as sagging in the "easy way"- that is why most aluminum garden furniture is made from hollow sections, angles, and other shaped extrusions, rather than flat bar.
Shoot me a digital pic at my email, and I will be able to give you a better opinion. As far as my work goes- there is some of my furniture on my website, www.riesniemi.com, although most of the site is devoted to my more recent, larger scale work.
   ries - Friday, 07/29/05 11:59:19 EDT

Ken could it be Malleable iron instead? That technology goes back farther. Malleable forms the nodular rather than lenticular graphite by soaking the white cast iron castings at high temp where as ductile adds Mg to the pour to form them as it cools.

Justin; the best way to preserve mild steel would be to keep it in a hard vacuum. Clear coating it might work OK for your needs depending on the details though.

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/29/05 12:24:13 EDT

Diagonal Pien Hammers-

I have not seen any of the major supply companies selling these. I made my own, but I know that Nathan Robertson of Jackpine Forge will custom make them. He can be reached at jpine@paulbunyan.net

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 07/29/05 12:42:41 EDT

thank you gentlesmiths I appreciate your help buck
   Buck - Friday, 07/29/05 13:48:53 EDT

Slash peen hammer
Ok, it's been a while since I gave this rant when someone is looking where to buy a certain tool, so here it is. YOUR A BLACKSMITH!!!!! BUILD IT YOURSELF!!!!!!!
Blacksmiths traditionaly have made the tools for every other trade, I'll be sent to Halifax if I'm gonna rely on others to supply my tools.

Now that said there are lots of reasons to buy forging tools, mainly cause you find them cheap, or for the coolness factor of having tools from other smiths in your shop.

But making your own tools is great training. You learn so much. And if you make a mistake? GREAT you've learned even more. And as a smith you can toss it back in the fire and start over.

Just remember when making a slashpeen to get the peen running the correct way. The hammers I use daily are all slashpeens made by me, but I rarely use the peen anymore. I did used to use the peen to draw, but I learned how to use the edge of the anvil, and find it much more effeicent and faster.

Good luck with it.
   JimG - Friday, 07/29/05 14:06:24 EDT

JimG, I think you misunderstood my post, I was looking to help out Buck and our advertisers who pay to list here so a sell now and again doesn't hurt. and I agree sometimes it's easier to buy, but it's more fun to D.I.Y. it gives a sense of accomplishment and pride. not to mention being able to show-off what you'll made.
   daveb - Friday, 07/29/05 14:39:55 EDT

Personally I've never figured out what advantage a diagonal pein has over a cross pein if you have the use of both arms and can change your stance at the anvil. Maybe I'll patent the Roto-Pein hammer, which will feature a pein that rotates 360 degrees with positive detent click-stops every 5 degrees so you never have to move again...

Remember, when you see it in stores, you heard it here first!

(no offense Jim or Dave! {evil grin!})
   Alan-L - Friday, 07/29/05 14:52:32 EDT

Yup I sure did Dave, sorry about that,but I still stand behind my rant!!!!!!!!:o)

Alan, the advantage I found with a slashpeen before I learned how to draw out using the anvil edge, was that the peen is at a right angle to the work in my off hand with my arms in a natural position. Now it's mostly for the "ooo ahh" factor when I have visitors in the shop.
As for the Roto-Pein......if you work a spring return in that pein to give it a bit of boost you might beable to market it to the users of ASO's........(equaly evil grin back at you)
   JimG - Friday, 07/29/05 15:04:59 EDT

Thomas: It might be malleable. I have drilled and welded on about a half-dozen of these old anvil/vise combinations. In the past each drilled like cast iron (sand like cuttings) and welded like cast iron (noticeable valley between cast iron weld. This one was different as the top plate was only about 1/2" thick (rest I have seen were about 1" thick). I do a fair bit of ductile iron drilling on bell couplings and the cutting curls came out much like them. Also, when I did the welding it just looked and 'felt' different - like it was getting a good solid connection from the start. Normally I would have just tack welded, heated and then completed the full weld. Tack welds took so well I just did all the welding at once. Item does not have manufacturing markings. May well have been someone's effort to build that better mousetrap, but if I were trying to make a superior product to the competition I would sure want my name on it.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/29/05 15:19:00 EDT

daveb: check out the (anvilfire) NEWS! edition #35, Sept 24, 2004; pg 14. Scroll down about half way. Examples of various hammers by Nathan Robertson are shown.

Pleasant day on Vancouver Island; about 26 Cel. with low humidity and a few scattered clouds.

   - Don Shears - Friday, 07/29/05 15:25:31 EDT

My motor shaft is .889 in (7/8?) and the id of the wheel hole is 1.186 (1 3/16). How can I bush it.I have gone through the McMasters list of bushings and shim materials, but can't find anything that looks like it would work. Obviously there is a simple solution staring me in the face but I dont see it.
   JLW - Friday, 07/29/05 16:14:03 EDT

JLW, sometimes you just need to make what you need. If you have a lathe or access to one, it is a simple job. A machine shop could make one quickly, probably would be a minimum charge though, like $50 or $75, ask, you never know.
   Wayne P - Friday, 07/29/05 16:25:32 EDT

The easiest thing would be to find someone with a lathe to turn 2 adaptor flanges - about 5 minutes- I make mine
out of aluminum and just part them off a piece of bar stock.
   - ptpiddler - Friday, 07/29/05 16:28:14 EDT

If you can't find someone email me and I will make you a couple of flange adaptors. My rate is a lot cheaper than the ones quoted above.(home shop-low overhead)
   ptpiddler - Friday, 07/29/05 16:34:00 EDT

Ok, I have a buddy who has a machine shop who will help me. He is the guy who started getting me interested in blacksmithing. John Braxton. He is sort of a second generation blacksmith, prefers to make rifles mostly, but he has a pretty complete, if antique, machine shop.
   JLW - Friday, 07/29/05 16:56:03 EDT

JLW - Heck, now days, from what I've seen, an antique machine shop is tons better than a modern machine shop.

HSMHS here at the mouth of the St Johns... (Hot, sweltering, muggy, humid, stagnant)
   Monica - Friday, 07/29/05 17:37:19 EDT

Advice form an "old school" smith to the young fellow considering a shop class. I took every shop class my school system offered in the 60's, and I don't regret a single one of them. I have been working as a machinist for many years now, but very often I will use something that I learned in wood,print,textiles,plastics,smithing, casting,electrical,and automotive classes. Take any and all classes you can. You will never regret it!!!
   ChipS - Friday, 07/29/05 17:43:18 EDT

OK here is another daft question that more than likely has a dead simple and obvious answer!

Anvils! Is there a way they should be mounted? as in with the horn to one side and the heel to the other or is it a matter preference.

If anyone needs to know I am a right handed person!

Cheers in advance!

   Basher - Friday, 07/29/05 18:30:06 EDT

IMHO, horn to the left, forge on the left about 1/4 turn and one long step away. Slack tub in between. MOst of the books, Beeler's Art of Blacksmithing, Edge of the Anvil, Modern Blacksmithing, have suggested layouts and tool suggestions. Also directions about how to make the tools you need. Very good to refer to if you dont have a mentor locally.
   JLW - Friday, 07/29/05 19:36:11 EDT

Yes the anvil should be mounted to present the best place for your work at the best place for your hammer. This of course will change as you do different things---I have used an anvil upside down to use the depression in the base as a dishing mold...

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/29/05 19:39:25 EDT

My solution is to have more than one anvil so I get a variety of choices depending on what I'm doing. When I only had one anvil, I started out using it with the horn to the left, as I had been taught years ago, but then I switched. With the horn on the right, you can leave a cutoff hardy in the hole and not whack your hand on it accidentally.
   vicopper - Friday, 07/29/05 22:24:34 EDT

i am a student of mechanical engg. so i will going to make a project on automated guided vehicle so please send me a litrature on this topic
   - kishor c shingala - Saturday, 07/30/05 01:17:48 EDT

Athol Vise: This is a very good make (one of the best) and very nice vise. It is NOT a replacement for a forged blacksmiths leg vise. These old American made bench vises were nearly indestructable but they DO NOT replace a leg vise.

As to the value of these, one like this would have sold new for around $500 a decade ago before junk imported vises flooded the market. They are a wonderful tool and will take a reasonable amount of pounding.

PLEASE DO NOT post long Ebay URL's. They break our page and I must find them and edit them out. Use ebay item numbers only.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/30/05 10:21:12 EDT

Anvil Handedness: In production use or repeditive use where work is looped around the horn such as fairier work making shoes the horn is to the left (if you are right handed). This is so that when you remove something wrapped around the horn you move it AWAY from by body rather than directly toward your groin.

Professional smiths all have a prefference as to where to stand but there is no right position. When using the anvil to its best advantage you may stand on either side or at either end. However the most common position is to the side with horn to the left OR to the back with the horn at about 10 or 11 o'clock.

Positioning the anvil in the shop is also important. You want it close to the forge BUT not so close as to create a place that is hard to get through. Paw-Paw did this when bolting his anvil stand to the floor. It left a space of only 10 inches between the blower crank and the anvil. This means you cannot move easily from forge to the opposite side of the anvil. You should have about 3 feet minimum in all directions. The same goes for mounting a vise. You should be able to approach it from about a 270 degree sweep with at least 3 feet clearance in all directions. In line of the jaws there should be 10 feet or more in either direction for clamping long bars.

When I arrange equipment on paper I draw the tool first then the standing/working space around the tool followed by axiis of use. The working space is usualy a circle but I also draw irregular paths. The working spaces MAY overlap but should only do so about 50% or less.

Coal forges tend to be permanent but gas forges are often put on wheeled carts so that they can be used where most convienient. Vises need to be bolted to a post, bench or floor (sometimes the forge) thus are imovable. The anvil stand does not need to be bolted down (unless poorly made) and is best loose so that it can be moved as needed. When working small work the anvil is often very near the forge but when working large or long work you will need it farther away. There are also odd tasks when you need the anvil other than where it is so moveability is best. So plan on the "best" position of the anvil but do not think of it as a permanent position.

   - guru - Saturday, 07/30/05 10:45:03 EDT

200# Chambersburg: These are a very standard hammer. They take a LOT of air. Chambersburg is out of business but would have told you a 20 HP compressor (min) with a 30-50 gallon reciever as close to the hammer as practical and piping the full port size. They run on 100 to 120 PSI. Piping needs a right angle turn to alow flex as the hammer moves.

Originaly designed for steam these hammers need to be oiled and have oil in the air. Some were outfitted with external oilers but most often they are missing. These oilers worked a variety of ways. The automatic oilers connected to the valve linkage and each stroke of the hammer pumper a little oil.

These hammers usualy have a safety cap that needs an air line run to it. This provided a pressurized cushion at the top of the travel.

The ram is attached to the drive rod via a taper on the rod. To seperate them you remove the upper die and use a hardened steel rod in the end of the ram bore dropping the ram lightly on the pin. If lightly does not work then a little more power is used.

The ram adjustments are standard tapered gib adjustments like many other machine tools. Be sure to adjust equaly so as not to put load on the drive rod bearing and seal.

Most old forging manuals have some instructions on the controls and setup.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/30/05 10:56:58 EDT

Mr Shingala,
try these folks http://www.egeminusa.com/ or these folks http://www.swisslog.com/hcs-index/hcs-systems/hcs-agv.htm or these folks http://www.fmcsgvs.com/index.htm or a whole buch of others if you use google on 'automated guided vehicles'.
Unless you are clearer in your question the folks here can't help and this isn't a site dedicated to that kind of project, but I hope these help some.
   Tinker - Saturday, 07/30/05 13:19:29 EDT

Thanks for the info on the handednes of anvils Guys!

I have a little planning to do with regard to where I will put all my bits but it looks like the rest of the shop (Outdoor!) will be based about the anvil stand as I am trying to make it a feature in the garden too!

As and when I get things done I will post a link to the Pics on photobucket so you can all see what I am doing!

Thanks loads,

   Basher - Saturday, 07/30/05 13:37:25 EDT

I found folks talking about "Super Quench". They said it was some form of salt water, and that it worked better than plain water. Any info?

   David - Saturday, 07/30/05 14:30:31 EDT

David: I suspect you are referring to soap based quenching. Formula somewhere under NAVIGATE function.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 07/30/05 17:42:29 EDT

110V stick welders

Hi JLW. Sorry I got back to you so late, but I have been super busy. I would advise against fooling around with a 110V stick welder since they don't work very well. Or, I should say most don't work very well. There are some motable exceptions, such as the Miller Maxstar, which I will bring up later.

You may be trying to avoid putting in a 220V line. Unless you really know what you are doing, you will end up spending more time fooling around with the 110V welder than it is worth. If you are trying to save money, there is really no savings in fooling around with the 110V welder. Take it from me. I know. I have one, and it still does not work. I am still trying to make it work, since it is interesting. Of course, I would also like to weld, so I bought a Miller Thunderbolt (wow, same welder as guru, this is great!). It took me a few hours to put in a 50A 220V outlet in place of a defunct spa wire. It works just great, although I have trouble welding stock that is less than 5/64th of an inch. Funny, I can weld the 5/64, but burn through 1/16th terribly. It works great on bigger steel like hardy tools and railroad track anvils. And, I have been welding instead of tinkering.

Here is why the 110V welder is weak. Low open circuit voltage makes it difficult to keep the arc lit. The electrode will either stick or, if you turn the current up, burn through. The reason for this is that there is not enough power available from the outlet to use the proper inductor ballast combined with high OCV transformer. Either the transformer must be low voltage, or the leakage inductance of the transformer must be so large (to limit current) that the output is not useful.

There are a few ways to fix the problem. One way is to use an electronic regulator instead of the standard "leaky" transformer that is used on a stick welder. The variable voltage is produced by a buck (half bridge) converter, and starts high to light the arc, then dips low, with bucked current amplification to keep up the current. This is the approach that Miller uses in their inverter Maxstar, and this box can burn 7018 1/8th inch on 110V well. But, the box cost several hundred dollars.

Another approach is detailed on www.diywelder.com. Here, the low power limitation is circumvented by paralleling two separate 20A 110V lines. Risky and tricky to implement. There are other tricks, such as rectifying the output and using DC inductors.

Finally, another approach is to ignore the requirement for high OCV for starting the arc. Just use low voltage at high current, and stabilize the arc with high voltage RF. This will not work for stick welding, since flux will not burn enough to protect the weld, so you will need to protect it with inert gas, and use a sharply pointed tungsten electrode. This method works, and is called Micro TIG. Again, a lot of tinkering.
   EricC - Saturday, 07/30/05 20:09:16 EDT

Welding without 220v: A few months ago somebody posted that He was using a "Ready Welder" This is a 200 amp MIG Spoolgun that runs off ganged up car bateries. He said it worked well. $470 from Northern Tool
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 07/30/05 23:19:05 EDT

Hello again! I have an idea to run by you guys in regards to stiffening my H-frame Hydraulic press, in addition to narrowing by ten inches.

Today, at an Abana chapter meeting in my state, i talked to a few of the smiths there, and they all felt that the frame would not withstand the strain. One of them suggested that i get some 1/2" plate, 6" wide, and then weld that to the web of the channel cross members in order to stiffen it. This idea seems to make sense to me. In reality, though, would it do much good, provided that the proper welding was done? Also, how would i figure deflection if i were to do that?

Also, i tried to find in my machinery's where it talked about trusses, but i was unable to locate it. Maybe someone could direct me to the section its found in, or the page number( i have the 21st edition)? i would really appreciate any help here.

One last thing...Guru, i didn't quite comprehend the info you had in your post about welding, like designing for weldments. i'm fairly new to welding. You could describe me as the amature using bad technique and a buzz box in my backyard(literally).

I appreciate any help that you can send my way on these topics.

   - Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Sunday, 07/31/05 00:04:56 EDT

It makes sense that that might work if you did all the welding. But Im no expert on trusses. If I recall correctly, the point of a truss was to have similar support to a solid piece, but much lighter. I think that that will make it stronger, although much much heavier.
   - Nolan - Sunday, 07/31/05 00:40:14 EDT

Blueboy: What are You planning to use the press for? If I remember You have 6
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 07/31/05 04:27:33 EDT

In my reference books I can find were one cubic inch of mild steel weighs right at 4.5 ounces. However, I cannot find the equivalent information for typical bronze. Anyone know?

By the way, keep an eye out for a copy of Farm Arc Welding. It was put out by the Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. My copy is 1950. "...456 pages with 742 drawings, plans, photographs and instructions for hundreds of different kinds of farm equipment." Rather nifty idea generating book.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 07/31/05 09:44:33 EDT

Ian Wille,
I lead you astray by suggesting that you look under "truss" in the machineries manual. As in most things in this excellent guide to things mechanical, knowing how to enter the index is critical. I looked in my 13th edition(1946) and truss does not show. Look however under "Strenght of materials" and enter the wonderland of "Section Modulas", "moment of inertia" ETC. In my edition there is a section titled" Section Modulas, area,ETC of sections for punch and shear presses" The math for press frame deflection is to be had here.

If the Guru's math for the design of weldaments is not clear, then you need help from an experienced mathamatician to guide you. Press design when using the loads you mention is not for those unable to work through the math, unless you are willing to take the risks of failure. Even with the math clear, an experienced welder, and good design, overbuilding is a good investment in a healthy future. I typically overbuild anything that I am going to load like a press by at least 6 times safety factor.
Have you considered the safety aspects of the hydraulics if this press is used in forging hot metal? A hydraulic leak, from a small pinhole atomizes the oil, much like a furnace burner, and it an ignition source(hot metal) is in the line of the spray, a flame thrower like fire results.
Please think through every aspect of this forging press.
Good luck.
   ptree - Sunday, 07/31/05 10:07:21 EDT

Ptree, the thing that threw me off is where he said, "In a 45 degree fillet weld the "depth" in shear is the height of the weld times the reciporcal of the square root of two (0.707). Use 70% OR half the width of the fillet." Now the math i can understand( i'm taing trig and math analysis this year). I just don't understand what is meant by the depth in shear, and use 70% or half the width of the fillet. Also, is there a formula to figure the amount of weld cross section to withstand the load at 10,000psi?

I have looked a lot under Strength of materials in my machinery's. Thats where i've been finding the math to figure for delfection. would the math still be the same if i were to weld 1/2' x 6" into the channels?

Yes, i already know about the potential of a flamethrower effect. That is why i plan on running the hoses through some tubing to contain any leaks. Correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe that there are some nonflammable hydraulic fluids out there, which i would much rather use.

I wouldn't even begin to think about starting this project without thinking everything through. I'm only 16, and i plan on living a good long while yet. I know that safety is the most important issue here. Thats why i'm asking for your help here before i even start.

Dave: I will use this press for forging a variety of things. i will not use it to do anything else.

Thanks abunch (again)!
   - Ian "Blueboy" Wille - Sunday, 07/31/05 11:26:47 EDT

Ken, did you look at the Mass3j calculator on this site? That came up with 5.3 oz. It was listed as Bronze SAE-660. Is that what you were looking for?

I use that calculator quite often. Thanks, Jock, for putting that up for us.

   - Marc - Sunday, 07/31/05 12:50:55 EDT

Thanks for the info on my Chambersburg.
   V. Campbell - Sunday, 07/31/05 14:45:59 EDT


A fillet weld is a weld that fills up the inside corner where two plates come together at 90 degrees. Think of the cross section of the weld as a 45-45-90 triangle, with the hypotenuse being the top of the weld. Guru gave you the formula for the height of the triangle, which is in effect the thickness of the weld.
   Mike B - Sunday, 07/31/05 14:59:58 EDT

Marc: Thank you. Didn't know that had been added to the NAVIGATE function. It appears, for my purposes, bronze and mild steel weight about the same.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 07/31/05 16:07:10 EDT

Did you ever find your sketch of the great bellows in the picture and post it on the site? My Dad is into woodworking and wanting to build one, and I was looking for some plans for him.

   CharlieB - Sunday, 07/31/05 16:10:25 EDT

Ian Wille,
Mike B explained the fillet weld. I am not sure what you mean by welding the 1/2" by 6" into the channels. Open you Machineries Manual to the strenght of materials section, then go to the press section. Now look at the sketch of the C-frame press. OK, now if you manual still uses the same sketch as mine, look at the rear portion of the C-frame. See the the middle of the frame is quite thick, perhaps twice the depth of the throat. Note that the frame as drawn shows a portion of the frame that is thickened in the direction perpendicular to the frame C shape, at both the front and back of the C. This thickened the frame at the point of the highest stresses.The thick portion closest to the throat is in tension, and the rear flange is in compression with the web mostly in tension. To make a C-frame press stronger, one needs to make the depth of the web bigger, or the flanges thicker, or both, assuming that everything else such as weld and material strenght stay the same.

The only flame proofhydraulic fluid that I know of is pure water. Every practical hydraulic fluid for forge shop use is flame resistant. The difference is that the popular water-glycols will increase the concentration of glycol as water evaporates, and increase in flamability. To combat this issue requires a handheld refractometer to test the concentrate and to add water as required to maintain the safe ratio. A hand held refractometer runs in the $90 to $100 range for the cheapies. Straight oil will definetely burn.Citgo makes a easy to find water glycol hydraulic fluid. I believe that the going rate will be in the $6.00/gallon range in a 55 gallon drum. The going rate for staight oils is in the $4.15/gallon for name brand oil.
For a small quantity of oil, If a straight oil, I would use automatic transmission oil as it is a high grade hydraulic oil, and has a nice high flash point. If I needed a flame resistant, and could not afford the water-Glycol hydraulic fluid, I would use a 50:50 anti-freeze to water.
Be aware that the water based fluids all require some pretty significant changes in system design to get maximum life from the components. Seals that are made from urathane will normally fail quickly, and to help the pump survive the inlet is normally supercharged by placing the tank above the pump. This is because the water based fluids have much lower vapor pressures, and will cavitate and erode the pump inlet to failure otherwise. There are many issues with the water based fluids that will often shorten the life of normal hydraulic components.
Good luck
   ptree - Sunday, 07/31/05 18:57:17 EDT

Analyzing Frames: First, When you reinforce a beam by adding other structurals the strenght and deflection is calculated by first determining the section modulas of the assembly THEN using that value in the deflection formula. You start with a detail dimensioned drawing of the sections and how they relate to each other. The math is in the book. . . its involved.

The other way is to shotgun it by summing the section modulas of the parts. This can be reasonably accurate if the parts are side by side but if stacked you lose a lot of advantage in this method.

Machinery's has many section modulae for various common sections. However if you have odd steel then you may need the AISC Steel Construction Manual. It includes all sections in production as wel as historical sections.

If the press has press brake bent channel (round corneres not square) then you will need to calculate the section modulas of the round cornered section. When I do these I use 1/4 hollow cylinder sections for each corner. However this is only worthwhile when extream accuracy is needed. Many published sections do not include these bits of section as they add little to the strength.

Today most engineers have software tools to do these tasks. Sometimes they are integrated into CAD programs. I have my own program that does deflection of simple sections based on the AISC database seventh edition.

The math is not hard but there are a lot of steps. Deflection should be limited to less than 1/8" at overload conditions.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/31/05 20:48:34 EDT

thanks for the help all...

ries ill send you a photo or two and if you can let me know what you think i would greatly appreciate it...

   - bdubs - Sunday, 07/31/05 21:29:44 EDT

Jock, section modulus for stress or strength. Moment of inertia for deflection.

A press should be designed for a given deflection and checked for stress level. A good deflection (low, maybe 1/16" for a typical size forging press) will usually result in reasonable stresses. If you are not an experienced mechanical engineer, I suggest you copy a design that you know works. And I mean copy IN EVERY DETAIL of design and manufacture! Deflection in a general purpose forging press is a waste of time and energy. An H frame press will be far easier to build with less deflection than a C frame. However, if the columns of an H frame press fail, they can give little warning. This is not stuff to be trifled with. The frame of a press stores much energy. If it fails, that energy is released in sometimes deadly ways. A good H frame press will have something else fail visually long before the columns fail. Like elongated adjustment pin holes from high bearing stress.

10,000 PSI in the frame should be an absolute maximum if typical structural steel is used. Stress concentrations at welds and holes can create local stresses that are far higher and may result in cracks forming. You are calculating stresses due to stress concentrations aren't you? Machinery's has those also.

When a composite beam is made up, the stresses at the joints are usually higher due to welding or fastening stresses. Assuming the material is at a constant stress before loading is usually a mistake.

For something like a one of a kind forging press, PUT LOTS OF STEEEL IN IT! Steel is cheap. Failure is not. Many young engineers try to design close to a stress level. The reality is that there are many things you cannot see that can give you problems.

Ian, please do your design and have an experienced professional engineer review it. Your ambition is good and to be commended. Please make sure it's safe before it's used. This is not intended to put you off. It's intended to help make sure you or someone else are not going to get hurt.
   - Tony - Sunday, 07/31/05 22:35:12 EDT

Blueboy: Sorry about the incomplete post last night, it got messed up on transmission, and it was too late to re-do it. Pretty much everything I had in the lost part has been covered, in greater detail than I went into, but in Your case because so much of the press is already built, I think I would chop the 10" and only load it to a safe deflection, keeping an eye on EVERYTHING, and see if it suits Your needs. If not, You will have an idea how heavy to build a new frame, You can build exactly what You need.I think someone had mentioned 8 tons per square inch as a minimum forging pressure some time ago.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 07/31/05 23:42:54 EDT

Blueboy: In Guru's formula for the weld "the reciprical of the square rooof two [.70711]" is the SIN function of 45 degrees. What You are calculating is the usefull volume of the weld fillet.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/01/05 02:31:55 EDT

Blueboy: That still isnt clear, so I will try again. For a 90 degree joint:The depth of the fillet from the hypotenuse to the corner where the pieces join is the critical dimension to figure the loaded area. That depth is 1/2 the length of the hypotenuse of the weld fillet. So: A 3/8 fillet weld x .707 =.265" To get 1 square inch of that weld: 1 divided by .265" = 3.77" Using this formula You need 3.77 inches of 3/8 fillet weld to carry 10,000 # in shear. This could be divided in half and put on both sides of a "T" joint.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/01/05 03:25:15 EDT

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