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This is an archive of posts from July 1 - 7, 2006 on the Guru's Den
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Ralph Douglas 1960 - 2006

Ralph passed away this morning June 30, about 1:30 am. Ralph was our one of our first CSI members and first CSI vice Chairman under Jim Paw-Paw Wilson, his close friend who passed away May 13, 2005.

Ralph was a long time friend to anvilfire and is survived by his wife Dawn, son Nathan and daughter Shannon. Dawn's cartoon business provided the cartoon on our story page.

Ralph's service is this coming Wed, July 5, at 11am, with a reception (luncheon) following at 12:15. There will also be a rosary for Ralph at 10:30, for anybody who would like to participate.

St. Matthew's Catholic Church
475 SE Third Avenue (that's 3rd and Oak)
Hillsboro, OR

Time to ring the anvil for Ralph would be July 5th at 11 AM pacific, 2 PM Eastern, 1 PM central, 12 mountain.

He last posted here a week ago. He will be missed by us all.
   - guru - Friday, 06/30/06 21:38:10 EDT

for quick rust I have found ammonium chloride, gotten from a chemical supply as powder and mixed with water say a tablespoon or two per quart, and sprayed on, works very fast, overnight. It might be helpful to neutralize it after you get the colors, because I've had it lift flakes months later, when I was impatient and keep spraying it over and over. If the steel turns black, it is going to look rusty when it dries, no need to hit it again. I have also found that it tends to lift the mill scale en masse in flakes after a few months, so you might want to grind that away first to prevent this.
   brian kennedy - Friday, 06/30/06 23:47:45 EDT

I used to have several Foxfire books that showed how to do things the way the old mountain men did them. I remember one article on browning gun barrels etc. the way they did during the Civil War. It involved putting steel wool in nitric acid until the acid would not absorb any more. Then rubbing the metal down with the solution, waiting for a layer of rust to develop, then cleaning the rust off and oiling the metal. I don't remember what else was involved, but I do like the looks of browned metal. It also amazes me that you can use rust to prevent rust, sort of like fighting fire with fire.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 07/01/06 08:32:57 EDT

Darn, all this time I thought I was working with high carbon tool steel! The knives hold an edge real well, and the leftover tool portions make nice handles that get noticed. I use old jackhammer chisels for my hardie cuts.

The aluminum anvil was my idea for another ASO to lift with my piercings. Now that I am retired from show biz, I focus my energies into the metal arts. I find it WAY more gratifying to beat hot metal and create something wonderful than to deal with putting togethre shows and performing for peanuts.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 07/01/06 09:10:32 EDT

The folks at J & M Labs have formulated an improved forge and punch lube especially for the blacksmith trade. They boosted the solids content by 3%, and still sell at the same price as the previous product. It is called JMSeal Release 920.
I can forward MSDS and data sheet for those interested. I have a sample on the way and will report as soon as i have tried it. From past experience with these guys, I would predict a good product.
   - ptree - Saturday, 07/01/06 09:21:08 EDT

So long, Ralph. May your forge always burn clean, your anvil ring clear, and your hammer fairly float in your hand!
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/01/06 12:11:12 EDT

Just for the record, a "point" of any alloy element is .01% or one one-hunredth of one percent; 1% is One Percent. Tool steels would be in the 1% range and low carbon steel would be in the .10% or ten points range.

TNG-I well remember your quest to make an aluminum anvil to lift with nipple rings. I thought you were a certifiable wacko but you were so enthusiastic, we just had to encourage you just to see what would happen.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 07/01/06 12:20:05 EDT

Ralph. Black news indeed. He was a fine and gentle man. A man of great courage. Even in his last weeks, with his body failing him and with cold breath of Death falling on his neck, he was trying to help others and to comfort his friends. There are no words to say how heavy my heart feels. Someone else should have gone in his place.
   adam - Saturday, 07/01/06 14:01:01 EDT

Nippulini a whacko? Well I guess so. But he's hardly a standout in this crowd, is he now? :)
   adam - Saturday, 07/01/06 14:38:15 EDT

Ralph Douglass will be missed by many of us; he was an ardent supporter of CSI through its inception and first years, and a good friend to many. He was tireless in his willingness to help others and offer them support. His illness was a true tragedy, his passing probably a relief to him. My sympathies go out to Dawn and his children.

While I can't claim to be religious person, my thoughts are with Dawn, who has health issues of her own, and those of you who do so could offer up a prayer for her. I'm sure she would appreciate it.
   vicopper - Saturday, 07/01/06 14:46:18 EDT

Sorry about Ralph,
I cant say I knew him, Just met a few times over the past couple years.
My regular job keeps my commitments fairly well set, I will try to make to Hillsboro wed.

TGNs fake anvil,
I once found a fiberglass anvil that was sold by a Hollywood stage props company. It was a typical London style about the size of a 250lb. very authentic appearance, weighed about 20 lb.
I thought about having fun with it too(but not lifting it with my willie or whatever,,,)until I found it costs nearly 2/3 much as a real anvil.
I enjoy my fun, But I have limits...
   - HŚkan - Saturday, 07/01/06 17:30:10 EDT

I have an old miller Falls barn beam drill and one of the gears has 2 teeth missing. the gear is about 2" diameter and the teeth are about 1/8" thick x 1/4"long x 1/4" high. I have it all apart and was wondering what the best way to build up this casting so I can grind it to make the 2 new teeth. I have MIG with 7018, 23th. wire, DC buzz box and a small oxy-acelean torch. Any ideas on pre-heating and cooling, and proper rod and welding procedure? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! Rick
   rick - Saturday, 07/01/06 18:21:07 EDT

I will miss teasing Ralph about being a Bubblehead, and his dissing Doggies in return. (submariner to those who don't know) He always had good reasonable advice. The world is a poorer place.
   - ptree - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:00:49 EDT

Rick, I've done similar stuff by oxy-acet brazing a big lump of brass where the missing teeth are, and filing away everything that doesn't look like the missing teeth.
   mike-hr - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:15:08 EDT

Hi, I just fired up my 3b Nazel for the first time. When The ram lifts, it makes a clanking noise like it just hit the top of the cylinder. Also, when I step on the treadle, it makes a more pronounced clanking noise just before the ram drops down. What do I have to do to adjust it? Thanks, Jim
   welder_jim - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:31:32 EDT

Rick: what material is the gear made of? It it a standard pitch gear that could be made by modifying a stock gear from Boston or Martin?

I have done as mike-hr discussed, but you still need to know what material you are dealing with.
   - John Odom - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:47:28 EDT

Like Hakan, I can't say I knew Ralph but my deepest condolences to his family. I will pray for Dawn as vicopper requested as well. I must also thank you vicopper for saying that even though you are not religious.

---Rob
   - Rob - Saturday, 07/01/06 20:21:31 EDT

I too offer deep sympathy to Ralph's family, I hope the Hospice was able to ease it for Him.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 07/01/06 22:13:40 EDT

Gear Repair: You are probably a wizard with putting stuff together (else you wouldn't be a blacksmith), but I'm including this here just because I happen to know someone. If you choose to hire this out, this guy repairs town hall and grandfather clocks. I remember him telling me about repairing gears with a dovetailed cutout-and-replacement. Email if you want his contact information.
   Paymeister - Saturday, 07/01/06 22:17:16 EDT

My sympathy goes out to Dawn on Ralph's passing. I'm sure he would not have wanted this relief from his own suffering knowing she would still be fighting her own battle with cancer. While I may have had deep philosphical differences with him I always respected the depth of his convictions and am glad to have known him if only through this electronic medium. Go in peace my friend to a just reward.
   SGensh - Saturday, 07/01/06 22:25:37 EDT

Finally got my home computer limping along. My new computer at work has died, and the old one crashes something fierce, so I'm on my travel laptop there. Plus a number of critical projects keep bubbling up. I'm afraid communications may be sporadic for a while.

Terribly sorry to hear about Ralph. He was a great help and a good influence around here. We'll remember him at Church tomorrow.

I have to say that The Great Nippleini (sp?) has come to blacksmithing in one of the most unique ways I have seen. Most of us come through an interest in art or metalwork or mechanics or history. He came to us at Anvilfire while inquiring about a stage prop! An aluminum anvil to lift with his piercings! I think it's a credit to Anvilfire and to him that he saw the virtues and fascination of this area of craft while in pursuit of "something completely different." TGN: Please keep up the good work! :-)

I'll try to post a review of Camp Fenby on the Hammer-In between now and the 4th.

Dodged the flood damage on the banks of the lower Potomac. The swamp is so dry from the drought it pretty much sucked up the 3-4" of rain down here (far less than DC) and the streambed is back to mud again. Corn looks good, though!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 07/01/06 22:49:24 EDT

Nazel Hammer: Welder Jim, STOP running it. It sounds like the cushion plug is broken. This will shred metal everywhere and wreck the system. To determine if this is the problem remove the head and look at the parts. It is also possible that there is other serious damage. If so, get Bruce Wallace on the phone while you are looking in the cylinder.

Also be warned that all it takes is a few strokes running these machines without dies or the proper anvil height to stop the ram to prevent significant damage.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 00:01:34 EDT

Hand Crank Drill Gear: These are all cast iron, generally part of the shaft or sleave they are on. Brazing works but it is helpfull to drill several holes about 3/32" in diameter where the old tooth was and drive in some small pins. These will help hold the tooth in place. Build up the tooth with braze around the pins. Carefull hand fitting is necesary. Loose gear fits are noisy and wear but tight gear fits wreck machinery. A template made from the other teeth works best.

There is also the option of using a stock gear as mentioned. However, a gear this size will run just under $200 and will require significant machining to fit where the current gear is. These small pinion gears are always a problem because there is not much betwen the teeth and the shaft or fit.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 00:09:34 EDT

Dear Guru,
I build gates professionally, I do a little forging but the gates are mainly fabricated so my blacksmithing skills are basic and repetitive. I have a job for an X framed gate. the horizontal rails are 25mm nb (ie 1 inch internal, 1 1/4 external pipe) and the X frame is 45 mm x 6mm ( ie about 1 3/4 inch x 5/8 ths flat bar)There are 5 horizontal rails with a small circle in the middle that the X flat bars joins too coming from the corners. 18 mths ago I made the same gate and cut the pipe at an angle where it joined the flat bar. I wasted a lot of pipe getting the angles wrong (I do not have a pipe notcher as i do not build this style very often) and then having to throw out the pipe because it was too short. Plus you really have to get all of the pipes dead straight otherwise it looks a mess.
Have you or anyone tried drilling the flat bar at an angle and threading the pipe through it? a boilermaker friend built an x frame gate like that- drilled at 90 degrees as he said there was no way to drill 1 1/4 inch at an angle and then used a die grinder to get the angle on the flat bar. He said it was just as difficult as my method. Any suggestions gratefully received. Thenks for a great service guru, I am one of your fans from across the ocean in Sydney Australia
Steve
   Steve - Sunday, 07/02/06 06:03:53 EDT

Steve in Oz,
If you check out Harbor Freight's web site, you will see a jig that uses a hole saw to notch pipe at angles to allow pipe to be joined at an angle or straight. This jig goes in a prill press and is adjustable for angle. Perhaps a similar set up, would allow you to drill at the angle you desire. A bi-metal hole saw is required. If you build, make the rig as stiff as possible, and the spindle for the saw as short as possible.
Good luck.
   - ptree - Sunday, 07/02/06 09:29:53 EDT

Thanks for the information. I'll get it pulled apart and see how bad it is inside. I don't know how long its been like that, it came out of a maintance shop that had been shut down for a couple of years.
   Welder_jim - Sunday, 07/02/06 10:09:28 EDT

Welder Jim, The primary problem with old power hammers is that because they are a "hammer" people think they are a primitive indestructable machine and treat them as such. Often fixing a hammer with a bigger hammer. In fact, they are a sophisticated tool with parts just as critical as any machine tool.

Your Nazel is one of the most sophisticated power hammers built. The "snubber" I spoke of is a part that other hammers of the type so not have. It is a cylindrical extension of the head that extends down into the ram with a very snug fit. They often become worn OR if the cylinder guides are worn the missalignment can cause problems (maybe the clanking noise).

The other thing to be very careful of is IF you have a seperate anvil or the dies are not orignial there is a mark on the ram that is a do not exceed stroke mark. The hammer should always be setup such that the dies hold the ram higher than this mark (a half inch allowance is good but if the anvil is not well supported I would give it an inch).

Nazels were one of the finest hammers built and have exceptional control when operating correctly. Usualy they are worth putting a significant amount into repairing. 80 year old "antique" Nazels often sell for as much as new Chinese hammer of similar design.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 10:34:04 EDT

Pipe Fits: Besides the tool mentioned by Ptree there is a heavier version that I saw at the NOMMA trade show this spring. It was a compact gear motor milling head and a cross slide with a vice. The vice had several angle detents but could also be adjusted anywhere between. The milling head held a heavy milling cutter the same diameter as the pipe. You clamped the pipe, turned the crank in and out and in about 20 seconds you had a perfect notch. Very nice machine. But definitely a production tool. However, the same could be done on a horizontal milling machine if needed.

Otherwise, the hole cutting rig suggested above is reasonable. It could be used on a heavy duty drill press, small milling machine OR as suggested a custom built fixture. If the bearings are in your fixture they do not need to be in the driving tool. It requires a high quality industrial hole saw designed for metal.

For a one off I would carefully layout the geometry, scrib it on the pipe, saw as close as possible either by hand or in a band saw then fit with a grinder. Careful layout is required for a clean job. Even when using the machines mentioned above the you have to be careful to mark an axis and machine exactly on that axis.

When I have something very picky like this to make I start with a pasteboard model. Ocassionaly the flattened pieces can be used as a template but mostly they help define the geometry. But in the end it all comes down to careful cutting and grinding. There is no magic short cut.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 10:53:55 EDT

When I installed the hammer, I left an 1 1/4" safety on the ram. The dies need to have .125 machined off of each face so it will leave an inch of safety.The ram didn't have a mark on it so I measured and calculated what needed to go where for anvil height. I have a 7500 square foot welding/machine/blacksmith shop so making the parts shouldn't be a problem, I've never worked on this type of hammer before and plan on having it for a long time. It was bought right so time and a little material isn't much of an issue. I was hoping that the valves were out of time and could just be adjusted to correct the problem. This hammer was luckey, the scrappers started at the other end of the shop and I was able to save the hammer and 15000 lbs of spring dies,tongs, hammer tooling and other assorted goodies that a week later would have been gone forever. This was another case of the people came to work one day to find it padlocked. Personal effects were still on peoples desks. Tools were left right where the were used the day before.I've been in numerous shops where this has happened and still find it fairly disturbing.
   Welder_jim - Sunday, 07/02/06 11:16:16 EDT

Welder Jim, There are some very critical fits on these machines. The valves require a very snug fit in their bores for the machine to operate efficiently.

The only other place I could think of that would make a clanking sound is if there is a problem with the compressor side of the hammer. It is unusual for this to get so bad it clanks but it IS a piston and crank device with bearings that go bad. As I mentioned above, these machines as a class often got treated very badly so excessive wear that would have gotten fixed long before it was a "clank" is often overlooked.

As I mentioned, Bruce Wallace may be able to help. He has rebuilt a number of these machines and knws them bettr than anyone I know. However, he works for a living like many of us and he tends to get short with people that are wasting his time.

Much of rebuilding these machines comes under the farily obvious to anyone with practical machine knowledge. Parts whould fit well and work smoothly. The only thing "hammer" like should be what occurs between the dies.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 12:06:17 EDT

I've started gathering supplies to build my first forge.
Here's my plan, any observations or ideas woud be helpful.
First I've got a piece of 6"x18" casing. I'm going to put a whole about 12" back for the torch.
I have a friend who has some castable left over from the last kiln we built to use it instead of kaowool.
I thought i would use a 2" cardboard tube(gives about 60 cubic inches) to form the forge area and another(how big a whole does the torch need?) for the tip of the torch.I have some angle stock to give it legs and a porch.

My grandfather gave me a oxy/acy torch and guages all i need is the bottles. Will this work for the forge? What size tip, rosebud?, would i need?

I've used oxy/acy at work but how much are the bottle rental\refill?
Thanks ahead of time I hope it was clear.
chris
THANKS AGAIN

   chris r - Sunday, 07/02/06 15:02:49 EDT

Tubing notching. You might do a search for tubemiter.exe this is free software i encountered on a bicycle frame building site that lets you print a full size template to transfer to your pipe for mitering at angles this has been useful to me in the past. Aaron
   aaron - Sunday, 07/02/06 15:53:19 EDT

I was having a slight argument with a coworker. Anyways, I was telling him that it could be destructive to an anvil if you strike it with a hammer without anything between the two. He was insisting that it wouldn't do anything. I myself have used sheet metal anvils, but I don't consider myself knowledgable in this field. Please settle this little thing please. Thanks-Amos
   amos - Sunday, 07/02/06 17:47:37 EDT

Forge plans:

You can run a forge on an OA torch but its expensive and I think in the long run it will hurt the torch itself.

Those of us that dont use coal, use propane / air forges. We make our own propane air burners, this is easy enough and there are plans right here on anvilfire. There are two main flavors, venturi style burners and forced air burners. For a first forge I strongly recommend a forced air burner. FABs require a small blower and they are a bit more work to build but they are much easier to tune up. MUCH

The burn chamber should be about 5" dia - 2" is very very small and while it sure will get hot enough, there isnt enough room for the hot gas to swirl and mix properly. Also its not a terribly useful size. The length of the chamber should be about 2.5 x the dia say 12".

You should have at least 2" of insulation. Castable will work but its not a great insulator and it soaks up a lot of heat before it gets hot. Kaowool heats up quick and is a good insulator. Kaowool around an inner liner of castable is very nice. What temp is your castable rated for? Kilns usually use lower temps. You need at least a 2400F rated refractory for the inner layer - 3000F would be ideal. I have melted refractory rated for kilns in my forge.

I strongly urge you to copy a known design for your first forge and not to mess with the dimensions. There is much more to getting a forge to work properly than meets the untrained eye. Its not hard, but if you have no experience you are likely to make some serious mistakes and waste work and money. We get this routinely on anvilfire. I built my first forge, my own design after looking at other people's forges (or not sometimes) and now I can get it run hot enough. Generally blacksmiths are the kind of people who like to make their own stuff and use their own designs and this is a very good quality but its a very poor idea for a first gas forge. There are lots of good designs on the web, here and elswhere, look at them and then come back and talk some more. We will help.
   adam - Sunday, 07/02/06 18:18:09 EDT

We are talking about a real anvil, yes? Its ok to tap the anvil with a hammer but a strike is bad. Smiths are careful to avoid this and will not let inexperienced workers use their anvils for just this reason. At the best there will be a dent on the anvil or hammer face. There is a real possibility of a chip flying off the hardened face of the anvil - very hard to repair. And the flying chip itself is very dangerous. People sometimes go to hospital to have such chips removed from their innards.

For the same reasons one shouldnt strike two hammers together.
   adam - Sunday, 07/02/06 18:25:47 EDT

thanks adam I was trying to use what i had lying around. The castable is for a woodfire kiln so i know it's the right stuff (but i'm still gonna recheck the rating). I'll modify and use the kaowool as a liner. For now i'm gonna stick with OA if it will work. I have need of the torch with other stuff so it won't be used just in the forge.
I have a propane venturi burner from a disassembled gas kiln, but i think a 4 inch burner would be a little overkill.

A couple of other Q's

Round or Square, is it better for the inside of the gas forge to be round or sqare? Does it matter?

what size tip for the OA torch?
   chris r - Sunday, 07/02/06 19:01:29 EDT

Chris, Note everthing Adam had to say above.

Besides his comments starting with 6" will end with a quite small forge, almost a micro forge. The problem is that you cannot get but so much heat into that small space and much of it is going to soak into that heavy lining. The result will be a forge that requires hours to get up to temperature IF at all.

OA equipment is NOT suitable to fire a forge. It is hot enough to rapidly melt steel as well as damage itself if not used in an open air environment where there is lots of air to cool the tip, mixer, valves. . . The castable refractory will also not be suitable to use with OA.

Save the OA for cutting, brazing, welding and direct heating. It is MUCH more valuable doing what it was designed for and IS expensive equipment. A typical industrial duty set is $300 to $500. Cylinders vary according to the locality (different states have different rules). Generally to BUY the cylinder it costs about the same as the torch setup. Do NOT purchase mini cylinders unless you have a serious business reason for portability. They run our of gas MUCH to quickly. Go to your local welding supplier and ask for advice. Also see about taking a professional course on their use.

See our plans page for forge plans as well as the Michael Porter book on forges and burners.

You did not say what your age or metalworking experiance was. However, I highly recommend you start with a coal or charcoal forge until you have some metalworking experiance. These can be built in the most primitive way and stll work (simplier is BETTER) and do not have the possibility of blowing up your shop, garage or home, or setting yourself on fire.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 19:16:57 EDT

Castable ratings Wood fired kiln MIGHT reach 2,400 F. Forges and smelters run 3,000 to 3,300 F. OA runs 5,900 F. and many refractories will not take that.

OA That over 2:1 temperature is a REAL problem in a forge. part of what happens in forges is steel in not a great conductor of heat. It takes TIME for it to heat to the center. Idealy you want a piece of metal that is equaly heated to the center. Nature has provided us with fuels (charcoal, coal, oil, propane) that all just happen to burn just at the right temperature to heat steel without melting it or burning it up before the core is the same as the outside temperature. OA is way too hot. Great for welding, even general heating by playing the flame over the work, but NOT by trying to soak the piece.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 19:26:07 EDT

Chris R - At some point You will decide to build a propane burner, weather before or after You melt the rosebud is up to You. The venturi burner plans from this site makes a pretty good burner, but regardless what You make be sure to read ALL of the RON RIEL burner information, is it goes into enough detail that YOU will understand what You are doing. Oxy acetylene is MUCH too expensive for this use as well as being way too hot.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 07/02/06 21:54:37 EDT

Chris R - Cylinders: A good combination is a #3[75 CuFt] acetylene and a #4[125 CuFt] oxygen. The pair will cost aprox $450 where I live. The reason I suggest a larger Oxy cilinder is that cutting torches use a lot of oxy. If You were running only heating tips cilinders of the same size range would make sense. Following the 1/7 rule You won't be able to run a small rosebud any length of time on an acetylene cilinder smaller than #3, and on a #3 time is limited.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 07/02/06 22:10:07 EDT

Steve: I made a simple fixture out of angle iron and bar stock to align railing parts where another member passes through. Esentially it is like "V" blocks on a bar spaced to get around the obstruction. It is easy to make and saves a lot of time and frustration. I use Bi Metal hole saws in a milling machine to cope pipe and to drill holes at an angle through flat stock, they need to run really slow in order to last.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 07/02/06 22:22:12 EDT

Chris R,

If you stick an O/A rosebud into a refractory chamber, one of two things will happen: the refractory will slag, or thethe rosebud will melt. Either one is a disaster for the forge, and potentially terribly dangerous!

That torch setup lyou got may not have flashback arrestors installed in the tip or handpiece. When the tip melts, (which it absolutely, surely will), there is suddenly no backpressure from the gas jets. Those jets speed up the gas flow to the point that the jet velocity is higher than the burn rate of the O/A mixture. When the tip melts off, the tip is "open" and may not have sufficient velocity ot pervent burnback. I know you've never see a regulator explode, because you're still obviously healthy and alive. People who are near exploding regulators aren't healthy and frequently not alive.

Oxy/Acetylene is DANGEROUS. Those who have not taken weldor's training for O/A really shouldn't use it. For anything.

For the cost of just one of the two cylinders you'll need, you can buy a perfectly useable propane forge already built and guaranteed to work. Use the drop down menu at the upper right and scroll down to the Advertisers section. Poor Boy Tools, run by Ken Scharabok, makes and sells very reasonably priced entry-level forges. You'll be happier and safer starting out this way, and can actually use it and begin to amass the experience you'll need to decide what kind of forge you want for the long haul. You may find that Ken's forge is all you ever need.
   vicopper - Sunday, 07/02/06 23:10:29 EDT

Re X frame gates. Thanks to ptree, guru,aaron and Dave Boyer for your suggestions. I could build many more of this style of gate but turn the customer to another style I am more confident with. Last job I did make a jig like Dave suggested and destroyed the hole saw in 10 seconds - yes Dave, too much speed. I am determined to master this and will report back with the results for the benefit of anyone else.
regards -Steve in Oz
   Steve - Monday, 07/03/06 01:26:59 EDT

Steve in OZ: I think I ran the 1 5/8" holesaw 200-250 RPM. Lenox is a popular brand of top quality holesaws and other sawblades in the US, the kit had the proper speed for steel listed on a chart. 100 surface feet per minute is aproxametly corect. The simplified formula is 4 x surface feetper minute divided by diameter in inches = RPM. I don't have an easy metric formula. This is slower than all but the largest[1 1/4"] drill motors, and slower than many small drilpresses. I use cutting oil, the water soluable oil cutting fluids will let You get away with a little higher speed.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 07/03/06 03:38:32 EDT

OA is great. I use it a lot, I know it well. I have 3 OA sets, of different sizes, for different putposes. It would be an extremely poor choice for a forge. For what it would cost for fuel alone to run a forge for a day on OA one could build a nice propane forge. This does not consider the fact that the OA tip would be destroyed before the day was done.

I recommend starting with coal or charcoal. The forge can be very primitive and is much safer.
   - John Odom - Monday, 07/03/06 08:18:20 EDT

I sometimes use OxyFuel for a small forging when my forges is cold. I set up 2 or 3 firebricks to reflect back the heat, the cheapy yellow ones, and play the torch softly over the work. It's tricky and you have to be patient. Its hard to avoid burning the surface, especialy the corners and at the same time its hard to tell when the inside is hot. If the inside is cold and you do a bend you are likely to get cracks in the surface. But it makes no never mind since you already burned the surface and you are going to have to start over anyways. :)
   adam - Monday, 07/03/06 10:38:10 EDT

I do the same for quicky jobs if the forge is not hot OR for odd pieces that do not fit the forge. It helps to preheat the bricks so that they can heat and reflect heat into the work.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 11:11:13 EDT

If anyone wants to check it out, the latest edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not is out this month. Thumb through a copy of it and eventually you'll find a picture of some weird guy lifting a 55 pound ASO from his nipples! What a freak! I'm glad that kind of riff raff looney type doesn't hang around the Guru's Den posting about newbie blacksmithing. ;)
   - Nippulini - Monday, 07/03/06 12:29:24 EDT

TGN, Good way to retire!
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 13:13:48 EDT

Thanks for all the input. I want to start with small projects, so i want to start with a small forge. I thought I could fab it from the leftovers and other equipment i had lying around.
GURU: I am looking for something like a mocro forge. Between the I-forge demos and a couple of other projects I have seen I think it will do well to help "amass the experience I'll need to decide what kind of forge I want for the long haul" to quote vicopper.
Thanks again
Chris
   chris r - Monday, 07/03/06 13:22:37 EDT

Chris, As noted, a gas micro forge is problematic with dense hard refractory. Some things do not scale down well. You need light weight insulating brick (light as styrofoam) or Kaowool which requires a coating of ITC-100. You can do micro forging with charcoal held in any kind of container as long as it can take the heat. Solid fuels have a higher heat density and do not need the careful balance of burning gas.

The scale of the forge to the work is what is critical. Micro forges are suitable for making nails from nail rod and smaller items like dollhouse furniture or small lock parts or jewelery. Anything over 1/4" (7mm) square is pushing the capacity of a micro forge.

Most smiths end up with a full size solid fuel forge and several gas forges of different sizes that get used according to the size of the work. The best general purpose forge is a full size solid fuel forge. They can be used for very small work as well as very large.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 13:44:53 EDT

Chris, from your earlier posts you had mentioned something like a forge with a 2" inner diameter. A couple things you won't be able to do with that are scrolls and bends, unless you can get it right the first time. Once you put a curve in something, it will be too wide for a micro forge, unless it's a small hook. And think of things like candle stands, ornamental bases, etc. That leaves out a whole bunch of techniques and projects to experiment with.

Just some more to think about.

   - Marc - Monday, 07/03/06 15:37:50 EDT

At last year's Folk Festival on the National Mall there was a Yemeni locksmith. He used a charcoal forge made from a small steel ammo box filled with some kind of refractory clay. A roughly fist-sized area was left open for the charcoal.
   Mike B - Monday, 07/03/06 16:05:43 EDT

I need some help with deciding how much to sell some BIG tongs I have. One is V-bit that is 36" long. The other is, actually I don't know what it is called. It's like a box jaw except it has two boxes instead of a box and a depresser. It is 42" long. They are in great condition just a little rusty.
   Tyler Murch - Monday, 07/03/06 16:20:37 EDT

Quick Rust

Would perhaps applying lemon juice or vinegar help it rust, or would this just corrode?
   - Boogerman - Monday, 07/03/06 16:20:57 EDT

Also I have an anvil that I need help ID. It has a star with a crown in it, and says MADE IN SWEDEN. It's cast steel because on the horn I can see a seam. I know Paragon and Kohlswa were swedish, but which one could it be?
   Tyler Murch - Monday, 07/03/06 16:23:35 EDT

Rust = Corrosion: Boogerman, Rust is just the common term for the hydrous red oxide that results from corroding iron or steel. Yep any acid will speed things along. Avoid using them with bleach which is a strong alkali. Adding acid to bleach liberates copious quantites of chlorine gas which can damage the eye, lungs and mucus membranes as well as be just plain leathal. . .
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 17:07:33 EDT

Tyler, If you NEED those big tongs they are worth about $100 or more each depending on the actual size and how well made they are. But otherwise they will be what junk dealers give/take for them ($5/$15).
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 17:11:21 EDT

Do one inch automotive coil springs exist? If yes, where can I find them? Well, 1" might be a bit far out, how about 3/4"? I want coil springs because I like to flatten my work out before I shape it. Thanks in advance!


---Rob
   - Rob - Monday, 07/03/06 17:46:09 EDT

rob
look for coil springs off of a 1 ton diesel truck. The heavy engines require the extra girth in the spring. Also look for old big block cars. Not sure of the type or size exactly but they're big honkers. As far where to find them a junk yard or pick a part would be where i would look.


   chris r - Monday, 07/03/06 18:21:57 EDT

Dear Sir:
I was hoping to send pictures of an anvil(?) I purchased today at a yardsale. I'll try to describe it but photos are so much better. Here goes....imagine an ice cube as it would fall from the tray widest side down. This 75 lb. solid block of steel (?) is embossed FISHER on the bottom edge. On the side of this "cube" is an eagle in a circle. On the back side is 1882 in an arc. Two front edges are beveled and about an inch or so from flat top it is radiused to meet these bevels. This avil appear to be in excellent condition. There is a 1" Hardy hole just above the name. I've seen a lot of anvils and have 32 myself but never have I seen anything like this...any information would be greatly appreciated. If you'll give me an email address I will gladly send photos...perhaps members would like to see this also. Thank you for your time. Don
   Donald Neumann - Monday, 07/03/06 18:57:10 EDT

that's a saw maker's anvil, Donald. Click on my name and send a picture.
   Tyler Murch - Monday, 07/03/06 19:06:37 EDT

I bet you got a good deal on it. Those usually bring a pretty penny.
   Tyler Murch - Monday, 07/03/06 19:07:53 EDT

Smithsonian Folklife Festival:

There seems to be no blacksmith at the Folklife Festival on the Mall for the first time in many years. At least none were mentioned in the program, and I didn't see any today in my scouting expedition. Hardly seem like a festival without a smith. ;-)

Striking Unoccupied Anvils:

I was tired the other night and missed the stock I was working on. The rebound was enough to almost land the cross pein end of the hammer on my forehead. So striking an empty anvil is not only bad for the anvil, but if you hit one hard enough, it can be bad for you. 8-0

Hot and humid on the banks of the lower Potomac. Are we ready for the Glorious Fourth?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 07/03/06 23:05:07 EDT

Fisher Norris Anvils:

Click the link for Fisher Eagle anvils including a sawyers anvil.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 23:27:01 EDT

Heavy Spring Steel:

Sway bars (relatively plain bar that extends from one axel to the other) are also spring steel and a large protion is STRAIGHT.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/06 23:28:24 EDT

I posted a question 7/1/06 on fixing a gear on an old miller falls barn beam boring machine. The gear I want to fix is made of cast iron, about 2" in diameter and the teeth are about 1/8"thick x 1/4"high x 1/4"long and 2 in a row are missing. Any ideas on how to fix these teeth, weld, braze, perheat or not and if welding what rod to use? I have dc buzzbox, mig with 7018 23th wire and a small oxy-acelean torch. Thank you for any of your ideas!!!
   rick - Tuesday, 07/04/06 11:50:50 EDT

Rick,

Four people responsed to you, the first less than an hour after you posted. See the messages from these folks:

mike-hr - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:15:08 EDT
John Odom - Saturday, 07/01/06 19:47:28 EDT
Paymeister - Saturday, 07/01/06 22:17:16 EDT
guru - Sunday, 07/02/06 00:09:34 EDT

Hope this helps...
   Paymeister - Tuesday, 07/04/06 12:08:14 EDT

Rick, There were several responses posted.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/04/06 12:08:29 EDT

One of my past buyers has asked if I could build him an armour's forge (for lack of a better term) like the one used in by Eric Thing (see the Armouy link under Navigate anvilfire). Essentially it appears to be the propane equivalent of a stationary O/A rosebud unit.

The devil in the details appears to be the head directly above the support table. I am tentitively planning to use one of my propane forge blower units with a bell coupler on top for the gas/oxygen area and another bell coupler on the bottom as a bit of a flare out. Any advice? Keep in mind my shop has minimal equipment so machine shop type answers are pretty well out of consideration. I need to keep it simple, yet effective.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 07/04/06 15:29:22 EDT

Ken two thoughts:

I usually do this kind of work at the mouth of a 4" forge. If the plate has to be held horizontally and I dont see why, then the forge can be mounted vertically and the interior chamber can be modified to a cone shape with a single burner set at the far end

(I do most of my work at the mouth of my forge with a pc of refractory set 2" back to reflect back the heat)

Another idea is just to expand the burner in steps with successively larger sections of pipe the telescope over each other.

Got my new propane forge running today and I am making some Russian roses
   adam - Tuesday, 07/04/06 18:46:43 EDT

Ken, Eric has considered sharing those details numerous times but has worried about the libility issues. I'll send you his e-mail address.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/04/06 18:58:27 EDT

HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA!


Probably the biggest problem with our government officials is that they take themselves MUCH too seriously and REALLY do not have a sense of hummor. President g.W.bush among others has no sense of timing or humor as displayed by his refusing to join with the PM of Japan in a bit of karioki at Graceland, TN.

So, I will say it for him.

THANK YOU NORTH KOREA!

Thank you for helping us celebrate the 4th of July with the launching of rockets!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA!

   - guru - Tuesday, 07/04/06 19:11:15 EDT

If their missile were to land on Graceland and take out all the world's karaoke singers at the same time, well ...."tis a consummation devoutly to be wished" as the Prince of Denmark murmured.

;)
   adam - Tuesday, 07/04/06 22:25:16 EDT

This is a question that has some of us puzzled. When laying railroad track on the bed and ties how do they bend the rails? (We are a bunch of engineers and none of us are metal workers, but this is one of those questions that won't go away!) We would be very grateful for any light shed on the subject. I assume that the techniques varied over time, and this question was asked in the USA.
   John Leggett - Wednesday, 07/05/06 09:38:06 EDT

John Leggett:

While rail is steel, it is not inflexible. There is a minimum radius that a rail car can turn due to its length, so the track cannot curve any tighter than that. I think that radius is somewhere around 300 feet for normal situations. That radius is sufficiently large that men with pry bars can shift the rail to conform to it. Rail comes in something like 39 foot lengths, as I recall, and even heavy 130#/yd rail can be deflected enough over that length to conform to the large radii of heavy-gauge railroad turns. I have seen Union Pacific crews warping track into place on curves with pry bars.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/05/06 10:06:17 EDT

RR-Rail. John, As VIcopper pointed out, steel is much more flexible than you think. A twenty foot section of RR-rail will sag 6" or so under its own weight when supported by the ends and more when on its side.

I do not have numbers for rail but here are deflections of structurals under their own weight.

W12x14# .020" in 20 feet, .316" in 40 feet
W10x21# .024" in 20 feet, .389" in 40 feet
S6x12.5# .0702" in 20 feet, 1.1" in 40 feet.
2x2x.25 wall tube .8751 in 20 feet
1" S40 PIPE 2.39" in 20 feet
1/8 S40 PIPE 28.7" in 20 feet makes a U in 40 feet.

The above are under their own weight on the long axis. Laying on their sides the beams above will deflect about twice as much

RR-rail is not as efficient as the Wide Flange beam sections above. It is designed to take high point loading via wheels so it is not as stiff as beam sections.

Now, actually BENDING (not just deflecting) rail is another story. I have seen heavy rail used as flower bed edging at a California silver mine. Radius was about two feet. This would have been done hot and probably bent to a form on a weld platten, using pry bars. . . or a hydraulic press.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 10:57:57 EDT

More RR-rail. . . now the INTERESTING thing is to see rail hauling cars with racks of a dozen pieces of continous welded rail a mile long, the rail going from car to car to car. . . and the cars following the curves on the track and the rail deflecting in multiple directions as the train moves. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 11:04:57 EDT

Guru,
I too have seen the mile long continous welded rails snaking along on railcars. Pretty impressive.
At the boiler shop, we used W-24 x 120# (the weight is from Memory) We used 72' long pieces for side frames, and they came in on rail cars. We had to straighten them, as they were never straight enough to use. We had to set them on accurate saw horses as the sag was enough to throw you off. from there we used the extremely high tech string method to check straighteness. We had used a 1200 ton water hydraulic press from 1913 to straighten, but when the rails exceeded 50' we did not have the manuevere room. I built a 1000 ton portable straightening press that we moved along the rail to straighten. Portable of course being defined in that shop as abled to be moved with a 150 ton crane. :)
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/05/06 12:54:10 EDT

RR-Rail: Did a little research, a 300 foot radius curve is very tight in RR terms and not used in much of the world other than the US. 800 feet is more common.

For a 300 foot radius you only need 2" deflection per 20 feet.
For a 400 foot radius you only need 1.5" deflection per 20 feet.
For a 800 foot radius you only need .75" deflection per 20 feet.

For a radius that is less than what the deflection from gravity would be, the rail will remain in place from friction. You push it over and it stay put.

To create this amount of deflection only requires a few hundred pounds at the center of a 20 foot section. In actual service a few pounds is only required every few feet. Several men on crew would apply load at one time. For the tight curves a compound leverage device called a "track liner" is used with the heavy pry bar. This tool can produce over a half ton push against the rail. Realigning old rail takes more force than new because the ties or sleepers must be moved in the gravel bed. . . Most of this is done by automatic machine now and the old Gandy dancers are a thing of the past.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 13:41:43 EDT

I am unable to replace a tortion spring, of 6 turns of 4mm steel. I have some galvanised fencing wire and access to an oxyacetylene welding kit. Is this feasible? or am I being naive.
   Peter Moulder - Wednesday, 07/05/06 13:46:59 EDT

Wow, I don't check in for a week and a bunch of stuff happens!

First things first: Sorry to hear about Ralph. He'll be missed.

Anvil dating: Ken, while England enacted their export mark law in 1910, the USA required all imports to be marked with country of origin starting in 1891 via the McKinley Tariff Act. Most English firms of quality were marking their wares as "England" well before that, though.

Oxy-acetylene in microforges: I know a guy who tried that. It got hot, alright. Turned the refractory lining (low-density firebrick and 2800-degree inswool) into a puddle of glass in about 45 seconds.

Rail bending: Look up "Gandy Dancers." These were track crews who would realign rails using only muscle power and several 6-foot crowbars. Four to six guys could and did wrestle every rail section individually prior to the mile-long continuous rails. You guys should be ashamed to call yourselves engineers if you couldn't figure that one out.

Peter Moulder: That will not work. Galvanized fence wire is a very low carbon steel tempered dead soft. You can bend it cold. It does not have the strength to be a torsion spring, as it would stay permanently deformed under the stress. For more info on Galvanizing and why you shouldn't heat it, look at the last iForge saftety demo on this site.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/05/06 14:38:24 EDT

"Portable" machinery: When we were in the Nuclear business all our machinery was classified as "portable". This included machines that were assembled in place and required several 40' flat bed trucks to carry the pieces. . .

In our shop "portable" was up to 10 tons, as you say, defined by what the crane could handle. But much of what we built went together in pieces and often weighed more than 10 tons. On two ocassions we lifted a 32,000 pound assembly a few inches as a 1.5:1 "load test". In my shop at the Mill about 5 tons was the max I could unload.

Heavy is relative. A 50 pound auto transmission is the max when you are lying on your back trying to maneuver it into place alone. Anything over a couple hundred pounds setting on soft ground can be a serious moving problem. OR anything heavy placed with a fork lift when you do not have one to move it the NEXT time. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 15:23:43 EDT

Torsion Spring: Peter, most springs need to be the same performance material as they were originaly. Many springs are made by bending pre heat treated blue spring wire. The "blue" is the temper color. This is usualy a high carbon grade spring steel that can be bent cold if you are careful not to have to rework it several times. This means you need a jig or a careful plan to get the bends right the first time.

Another material that is used similarly is stainless steel spring wire. This is a "non heat treatable" stainless that is hard from the drawing process. You can make fairly decent springs cold working this material. But again, you need to be ready to make the spring right the first time.

For special bending jigs see our 21st Century page article on benders. Note that the "make it right the first time" means that you will need to use trial and error with the same material you are going to use. Therefore you will need some extra. The reason for using the same material is "spring back". You cannot test a bending jig with soft low carbon steel then make the final part in spring steel. The part made from hard steel will have straightened enough that it will not be anything like the soft steel part.

Alternately you can take any spring that has the same diameter wire, heat to a red to soften, bend while hot to the correct shape then heat treat it (harden and temper). The last part is fairly technical and requires knowledge and practice. Using the cold working methods above avoids all that.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 15:37:50 EDT

Heavy is not only relative, it is also very much perceptual, I discovered. When I was a skinny lad of twenty, the transmission in my van crapped out. Being young and impoverished, I worked out a deal with the transmission shop to rebuild it if I did the R&R.

I put the van up on blocks and unbolted the bellhousing from the engine and disconnected the driveshaft. Since I neither had a transmission jack, (nor good sense), I pulled that 350 Turbohydro auto trans off the engine and onto my chest on a creeper. I rolled out from under the van, set the trans on the floor, then picked it up and put it in the trunk of my friend's car. Then I took it to the trans shop and had to carry it half a block from the parking area.

When I got into the trans shop, three guys came running over, telling me, " You can't lift that, it weighs over 300# with the torque converter!" Torque converter was still attached as I had no idea I should take it off).

Up to then, I was doing pretty well, but the minute they told me what that thing actually weighed, I could no longer support it. I had to borrow a jack to get it back in the van, of course. Ignorance truly is bliss, I guess. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/05/06 15:47:20 EDT

Prising-- * Decades ago, like back in the 1950s, a section of streetcar track in Balmer, Merlin came unglued on the waterfront, hon. The blunt end of it sprang up through the floorboard of the vehicle of some hapless motorist and impaled him. Dunno what the denouement of that was. * Lifting-- People in great stress have lifted incredible weight. Moms have freed kids trapped under cars by lifting. People with backs like mine, or who do not wish to have one down the road, lift absolutely nothing, not even their voices in song.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 07/05/06 19:28:44 EDT

Well... certainly nothing more than maybe 50 pounds.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 07/05/06 19:31:29 EDT

I just started working for a little company in upstate ny that plates steel parts. The machines use copper plates(to conduct the current) with the plating material molded into it. They throw the plates away when they are finished. I was told i could have them if i asked before i took any. The plates are 2" x 8" one one machine. It uses about 4 a week. It has a tinalox material on it. Three of the other machines have 4" x 12" plates with titanium nitride? on them they use probably 10 plates a week. The last machine has plates that are 4" x 24" don't know what the material is yet. All of the plates are + - 1/4" thick. I'm trying to figure out how to salvage the copper. Any ideas on separating them?


   chris r - Wednesday, 07/05/06 20:24:05 EDT

I am relatively new to this type of work. I have been making fire place tools with twisted handles. I have been highlighting the handles with a brass brush. Will this finish last, or should I put a coat of clear over it to preserve the brass highlights? Any info would be a great help. Thanks.
   - horseman - Wednesday, 07/05/06 20:31:56 EDT

I am relatively new to this type of work. I have been making fire place tools with twisted handles. I have been highlighting the handles with a brass brush. Will this finish last, or should I put a coat of clear over it to preserve the brass highlights? Any info would be a great help. Thanks.
   - HORSEMAN - Wednesday, 07/05/06 20:34:40 EDT

Welder Jim, I'll agree with Jock. It sounds like your problem is with the cushion plug, cushion plug bushing or both. You should determine the serial number on the hammer because the cushion plug and bushing design changed over the years on Nazel hammers. The later designed cushion plug was much less likely to break.

Itís simple enough to check the cushion plug and cushion plug bushing regardless of the age of your hammer. You do not have to take it completely apart to diagnose if this is the problem. If you take the muffler off the top of the hammer and look down inside the head with the ram at the bottom of its stroke you can see the cushion bushing in the bottom center of the head. The cushion bushing should be made of brass. If itís not that is a problem but it will not stop the hammer from running correctly. We have found some hammers with no cushion bushing in them at all. However, all Nazel hammer came from the factory with a brass cushion bushing. If it is not in the hammer something is wrong of it was removed buy someone who thought they had a better idea or thought they knew what they were doing. It there is no cushion bushing in the head the ram will hit the head causing a banging, clanking or knocking noise. If you find there is a cushion bushing you need to tag out/lock out the hammer to make sure it doesnít mistakenly get turned on for the next check.

With the hammer SHUT OFF and secured youíll need to pry and jack up the ram. Looking inside the head as you jack up the ram you should see the cushion plug engage the cushion bushing at about 1/3 to the top of the ram stroke. Continue to jack until the ram is completely at the top of its stoke. If there is no cushion plug of only part of the plug it perhaps broke. If it is missing it could have been removed by some genius that thought they knew better. If the plug is completely or partially broken off the piece could be between the ram and head causing damage. We have seen both cushion plugs and bushings removed and replaced with rubber between the head and ram. If there is a plug and bushing they should fit together on center with less the .010 fit all the way around checked with a feeler gauge. If you can fit a .010 leaf in between the plug and bushing the clearance is probable larger then .010. If the plug or bushing is missing broken or worn the cause should be found. Everything in the front cylinder works off center of the plug and bushing. If the ram and head are off center the cause needs to be fixed. The cushion plug and bushing need to work together to provide an air cushion between the ram and head. If there is no air cushion the ram will hit the head causing a banging, clanking, damage or a knocking noise. If the cushion plug and bushing are not the problem further diagnoses is needed. Iíve found Nazelís that have had a bolt between the ram and hammer that have caused major damage. Anything is possible and with any hammer if you hear an unusual noise of sound the hammer needs to be shut down immediately to find the cause.
   Bruce Wallace - Wednesday, 07/05/06 21:15:50 EDT

Yesm you need to seal the metal. The brass will tarnish green and the iron rust red and . . oh my how pretty!

Clear Kryalon spray works great. It is not suitable for outdoors or long long term but neither is the atomic thin brass color. .
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 21:19:57 EDT

Copper plates, Donno. . sounds like interesting material. Maybe you need to forge something out of them as-is and see what you get.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 21:21:54 EDT

Thanks a lot for yor information about the Clear Krylon. Will Clear Rustoleum work as well? I have some of this right in front of me.
   - HORSEMAN - Wednesday, 07/05/06 22:58:45 EDT

Maybe, never used it. Kryalon is OK, I prefer real clear lacquer but it is pricey and doesn't come in spray cans. .
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/06 23:18:54 EDT

what is the difarence between tubing and pipe?
   jeremihia - Wednesday, 07/05/06 23:27:55 EDT

Horseman,
I use a clear acrylic spray in several brands, and they all seem to work fine indoors. I have also used spray polyurathane, and that also seems to work OK.
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/05/06 23:35:25 EDT

Tubing-vs-Pipe.
Maybe I should let others answer...
I've always known its a sort of variable definition depending on the material, its size and its application.

Pipe is usually a standardised product described in "Schedule" to reflect the wall thickness and in normal trade sizes 3/4",1", etc, so on, And often intended to be coupled by threading and screwing together, But often as not the couplings may be bolted or grooved flanges, or welded. Also pipe is usually a (but not always)construction formed from flat metal strip into a round profile then welded.
Tubing on the other hand is manufactured in near infinite sizes, wall thickness, precision of tolerances, etc,etc, and may or not be a welded seam construction.
   - Mike - Thursday, 07/06/06 04:59:55 EDT

Thanks,both you guys, for the help on this paint matter.
   - HORSEMAN - Thursday, 07/06/06 08:43:04 EDT

Tubing vs. Pipe Jeremihia, Mike's definition is pretty good. The two products can be nearly identical but "Pipe" is made especially to be used in plumbing. The most noticable difference is how they are measured.

Nominal plumbing pipe sizes are always the same on the exterior and are based on an approximate inch diameter for schedule 40 (general purpose domestic plumbing). Lower rated pipe (10, 20 and 30) have thinner walls but the same OD. Higher rated pipe (60, 80, 100. . .) have thicker walls and still have the same OD. Thus a 1/2" pipe thread is ALWAYS a 1/2" pipe thread.

Tubing is measured by the OD and wall thickness. Where 2" pipe is 2.375" OD, 2" tubing is 2" OD. IF you buy 2.375" x .154" wall tube it may have the same dimensions as pipe but may not be properly manufactured to use as pipe.

Certain grades of "tubing" (usualy DOM) are used for high pressure applications such as hyraulics or low pressure applications such as auto fuel lines and are NOT called pipe.

Pipe and tubing can both be made by welding. High strength high pressure tubing is made by a forging/drawing process called DOM for Drawn Over Mandrel. This has no seam and is more expensive than welded but is also stronger.

Structural tubing is welded and not garanteed to be leak proof. It is not designed to contain fluids. It comes in different shapes including rectangular, square and round.

In copper, "pipe" is a thin wall work hardened product. "Tubing" has a thicker wall and is annealed. These two properties are required to make it bendable.

Then there is "EMT" or Electrical Metalic Tubing, commonly called "conduit". EMT special thin wall tubing made to fit special fittings that are standard pipe sized. EMT fittings have straight threads and are not liquid tight. "Rigid Conduit" is the same as galvanized pipe and has tapered liquid tight threads. Mixing EMT couplings and Pipe couplings results in leaking pipe. . .

So they are they same but not the same. The terms depend on the application and material. But in English "pipe" sizes are nominals and "tubing sizes are actual size.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 09:15:49 EDT

Guru, all,

Has anyone used one of the Tailgate Shears that are available from Centaur Forge? I'm thinking about trying to make one from a piece of car leaf spring. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks,
   Paul Bilodeau - Thursday, 07/06/06 10:05:35 EDT

Hi,
I'm not new to working metal but haven't done many anvil repairs either.
I bought a 365 pound (its weight now) what I think is a Wilkinson anvil from the guy who used to run the RR shop that had ordered the anvil new in 1914.
This anvil has the swollen horn with a bump underneath but no pritchel hole.
Been too many years and he can't remember who the manufacturer was.
I'm running an industrial 250 mig machine with the Rankin DDG for the face but what would be the best wire to weld the cracks between the face and body and a small missing chunk under the tail?
The top plate back of the hardy is dead, no rebound, due to the cracking.
Any help is much appreciated
   Duncan - Thursday, 07/06/06 10:36:01 EDT

Clear Rustoleum:

I use it quite a bit. It holds up very nicely indoors. It dries quickly, letting you get a couple coats on in an evening.
   - Marc - Thursday, 07/06/06 11:39:50 EDT

Anvil Repair: Duncan, Face repair procedures are the same as welding any hard die steel. Preheat to the hottest for minimum temper (about 350°F), weld and peen, clean and weld. Do as little as possible. On this size anvil the corners along the body should have up to a 1/4" radius or a little more. Normally this tapers to the heel where it is much smaller radius. Dressing the corners to start reduces most of what people think needs to be repaired to very little or NONE. Sharp corners are a fools errand.

Most plated anvils have a wrought iron body. There are no good ways to electric weld wrought. The slag integral to the metal tends to cause the metal to flow out easily and leave big holes. Welding flat and horizontal helps keep the metal from running away. Welding is a series of welds and repairs. The best you can do on that heel is to V out and weld as deeply as you can while avoiding overheating the face.

Generaly lack of a pritchel hole in a London pattern anvil indicates pre 1830's. I always advise to carfully consider repairs and avoid doing them if possible. Especially if it is a very old anvil. If is is very old (pre Civil war) then it should be marked "repaired DATE".
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 11:41:22 EDT

Simple Shear: Paul, This looks like a simple enough device. The trick is to cut the the notches accurately and cleanly with square bottoms. I suspect Centaur's is machined or laser cut. Unless you are VERY good with a torch I doubt that torching will work. You might get away with notching with a chop saw.

The trick to these devices is they MUST be attached to something very stout, thus the "tailgate".

I made a small vise mounted shear from small car leaf springs many years ago. I drilled 3 holes in both pieces. A 5/16" for the pivot, an "F" (.257") to shear 1/4 round and a #12 (.1890") for 3/16. The stationary piece was welded to a piece of angle iron to clamp in the vise and the movable part was tapered to fit into the end of a piece of flattened EMT which was brazed on. The EMT is about 30" long. The pivot in the 5/16" hole is a high strength (grade 5) bolt just long enough to not have threads where it fit the shear plates.

On the angle iron I added a piece of 1/4" pipe on a stand off as a support to help keep the bar in the shear. You can snap off 1/4" round as fast as you can feed it. It is very handy for cutting stock for basket twists where you need hundreds of short pieces.

The 1/4" round capacity seems to be about the limit of this straight leverage shear when vise mounted. It springs and twists a secure leg vise considerably. I would not want to try to mount the Centaur type shear the same way. On the side of a heavy bench, platten or truck bed seems right.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 12:04:41 EDT

guru,

Thanks for the advice. I have a bench that is fastened to the wall so, I thought I would try to mount it on the end of that. The Centaur shear doesn't show if the "F" handle part of the shear has a hole in it for pivoting. I wondered if it is used by simply placing the bar into the slot of the bench mount jaw and then setting the "F" over the square bar and twisting so that the bar is cut by a shearing AND twisting action. Does that make any sense? It would seem to me that you would get a mangled end on the bar. Also, should I try to anneal the leaf spring prior to drilling the holes in it or should it be O.K. to leave as is? I was also thinking about rigging up an adjustable stop so I could feed rod up to the stop and quickly shear off many pieces of the same length. One more question, (sorry for all this rambling) should I use as thick a leaf as possible? I have some of the curved pieces from the center of the spring set that are quite thick. Maybe those will last longer?

Thanks,
   Paul Bilodeau - Thursday, 07/06/06 12:36:01 EDT

Thank you for the help!
   Duncan - Thursday, 07/06/06 12:45:17 EDT

Note on piping, I was told by a gas pipe fitter once that the shipping couplings are straight threaded to protect the pipe threads and should be taken off and discarded, The couplings bought seperately are threaded from both ends and tapper inward to make a tight fit. Sounded right but he could have been pulling my leg.
   daveb - Thursday, 07/06/06 13:17:57 EDT

More on Shear Design: Paul, The Centaur shear is two seperate pieces. It does cut by close twisting. This takes less force than the one I built since the leverage is from the center of the stock when twisting.

The minimum a shear blade should be is 1.5 times the largest work thickness. Just a rule of thumb. Spring hard is very good and sometimes can be drilled. I drilled mine from normalized temper using a slow hand crank drill. Low speed and high pressure is required. I did not harden afterwards. If you anneal the bar you should be able to saw and file the slots to fit.

How clean a shear cuts is relative to how snuggly the dies fit. Loose fitting dies leave a rough edge. Since the Centaur shear does not hold the blades together I am not sure how clean they will cut. But I suspect that due to being a twisting shear that friction holds the dies where you put them.

Please note the maximum stock size the Centaur shear cuts is 3/8". I suspect that is a good limit for this style. It also means it is probably made from 1/2" steel.

A stock stop is handy but I would test the shear first before getting too involved.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 13:46:54 EDT

Guru,

I noticed that the upper limit of the Centaur unit is 3/8". I have small bandsaw that I can try cutting the slots with and filing as necessary. I'll experiment a little and see how well it comes out. I want to use this for some 1/8" round rod, so I think I will drill for a pivot like you did but also allow for the twisting method for the bigger stuff. I also think that the spring stock that I have is more than 1/2" so I'll use something thicker and be conservative. Thanks for all the great advice!!!
   Paul Bilodeau - Thursday, 07/06/06 14:01:25 EDT

I want to buy my first real anvil. I would like to buy
a well made American anvil. Could you offer some brands or vendors who sell American made anvils or is there any such thing as an American made anvil?
If no, could you make a suggestion for the next best thing. I am looking for around a 250 to 300 lb. anvil.

Thanks,
Michael Byrd
   Michael Byrd - Thursday, 07/06/06 14:15:03 EDT

Michael Byrd,
I asked a similar question last week. You should be able to find all of the replies if you scroll up a bit.

Nimba anvils are good american made anvils. I am planning on buying one of their 260lb anvils sometime in the next few months. There is a link to their website at the bottom of the anvil selection FAQ.
   Steven Galonska - Thursday, 07/06/06 14:34:31 EDT

Michael,

Delta 100 to 400 lb. TFS Double Horn Anvil - BlacksmithsDepot.

Delta 200 - 300 lb. TFS Double Horn Anvil - Centaur Forge

JHM 260 lb. Competitor Anvil - Centaur Forge

Nimba Gladiator (450 lbs.) Centurion (260 lbs.) sold direct.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 14:59:08 EDT

Post vice question- would a 5" post vice in good overall condition be worth $60 + $40 to ship? Weight=@ 40lbs. I'm sure that there are many variables involved but generally if anyone could help it would be appreciated. I tried a general search but could not find the info.
thanks- Darrell
   - Darrell S - Thursday, 07/06/06 16:47:24 EDT

Leg VisesDarrell, IF (BIG IF) the vise is in really good condition and you do not pay too much for it then a total of $100 to $150 at your door is an OK price in todays market. However, a "5in." vise should weigh 60 to 65 pounds.

Like many used tools in today's market they are often a good deal compared to new. Currently leg vises are underpriced for their value. The trouble is evaluating them. Worn screws are common and without careful inspection two vises of similar condition will go for the same price while one is worn out and the other not. .
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 17:13:52 EDT

Leg Vise Rating:

Now, folks will argue this point to death but these tools were originaly sold by the POUND. Not jaw width. See our Leg Vise FAQ for a size/weight chart. When you compared brand A to brand B you did not compare the differences in jaw width you compared the amount of IRON you got for your money. Charts gave the dimensions but prices were so many cents per pound.

If a 100 pound vise with 6" jaws is compared to a 100 pound vise with 8" jaws which one would you say is the most durable heavy duty vise? OR if you had two 6" vises and one weighed 30 pounds more than the other which one is the more durable tool???

OR look at it this way. Is a 32" long anvil worth more than a 28" long anvil even if the longer one weighs 30 pounds less?

One person said, "I don't see folks shoping for leg vises carrying around scales!"

Well. . maybe they should. But more reasonably, the seller should know the weight. Many anvils and hammers are not marked but are all sold by the pound if nothing else as a description. If all else fails and you are comparing two vises PICK THEM UP. There is a huge difference between a 50 pound vise and a 75 pound vise. They are both great tools and ANY leg vise is better than most common bench vises for blacksmithing. But the heavier ones are much more durable. AND since a lot of what blacksmiths do in a leg vise is hammer, the weight, just like an anvil's weight makes a difference.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 17:30:33 EDT

Thanks everyone for the American anvil info.
I just might be on my way now to becoming an American
Blacksmith !!

Michael Byrd
   Michael Byrd - Thursday, 07/06/06 17:39:58 EDT

Hi folks. I have another rather easy question for someone. Will a 2 burner gas forge (Whisper Moma) create more heat than a single burner (Whisper Baby) I realize there is more area inside the larger, but will there be more heat? I don't need the size as of yet. I have both, but don't need to waste the gas
   - HORSEMAN - Thursday, 07/06/06 19:15:14 EDT

Horseman

I got my Wisper Daddy as a presant and have found that it is way way to big. I do need it on occation but not for 90% of what I have worked on.

All Whisper forges are rated for 2,350 no matter the size. I have bought two other hand made forges from a friend and found that the high placment of the Whisper pass throughs is a disadvantage for most things but the door pass through that is low is just right.

I have had my Whisper Daddy for 3 years now and it has worked correctly every time. You will need firebrick or a Kiln Shelf for the floor of the forge or you will eat right through the ligning with the first fluxing.

Oh ya and a biger forge then what you need just eats up gas.

I hope this helps
   Arron Cissell - Thursday, 07/06/06 20:02:40 EDT

Thank you Arron. Your information is what I needed. I thought this was the fact but I thought I'd ask to be sure. I don't want to waste gas.
   - HORSEMAN - Thursday, 07/06/06 20:15:51 EDT

With due respect to the GURU: EMT, Electrical Metalic tubing is the same as "Thin wall conduit" and is smaller that standard threaded couduit. EMT is too thin for threads, and is joined with fittings made for it. They are either ferrule and nut or more commonly set screw retained.
Regular conduit is straight, not taper threaded, is the same OD as pipe, but a little thinner. to be specific it is called "ridgid conduit." The IBEW electricians around here use "Conduit" to mean ridgid and "EMT" or "thinwall" for the other. They tend to get up tight if you call EMT "conduit" and vise versa.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 07/06/06 20:21:06 EDT

That is the biggest problem with gas forges. You need several different sizes to be efficent. The advantage of solid fuel is you can make a small fire in a large forge.

The other problem with gas forges is that they are most efficient heating stacks of short pieces to feed a power hammer. A four burner Whisper Daddy or similar forge will feed a power hammer as fast as you can run it. This then becomes a very efficient combination.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/06 20:25:04 EDT

Darrell, where I live now that would be considered a decent price, where I used to live 2 years ago that would be about 4 *times* too much at a fleamarket. Where *you* live I have no clue.

Check what condition the scre thread and screw box is in as they are the most difficult to repair and do wear.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Thursday, 07/06/06 21:09:45 EDT

Post vise- Thanks to all the suggestions- I live in Wyoming where anything that's older than 10 years is deemed an "antique" along with such a label's pricing. I really have no way to check the vise as the seller is @1800 miles east. I'll have to ask more questions about the vise and maybe flip a coin.
   - Darrell S - Thursday, 07/06/06 21:18:32 EDT

I found out today that my grandfather had a machine made by Champion that my dad said was used for stretching the metal bands for a wagon wheel. Just curious if anyone had seen one of these before. Also found out that my grandfather had wanted to do blacksmithing, but never got started. He had several tools which will do good for me to start out with. I am curious as to what some of these are and will post pictures later as soon as I can get them. One I remember had a U shaped end. I was wondering if someone could clarify what this would be used for.
   - Boogerman - Thursday, 07/06/06 22:01:08 EDT

Horsemen, NC Forges are very efficient. They burn 1-1/2 pounds of propane per hour, per burner at 15 psi. We run our NC Forges at 5 to 6 psi and very rarely turn the pressure up higher. Weíve found it a waste to run at higher pressures for production work. All NC Forge will self regulate at 2350 degrees. The advantage of two burners over a one burner is recovery time. A two-burner will heat material to forging temperature almost twice as fast as a one burner. I our shop we have a Deluxe with back door, 4 Burner, large Johnson Forge and a coal forge. We use the Deluxe 95% of the time for most of the production work we do. We only use the large forges when jobs require their use. We havenít used our Johnson Forge in over a year and a half and I can't remember the last time we burned coal. The Johnson gets used so little weíve disconnected it and itís outside under a tarp because shop space is at a premium. Both NC Forges are on wheeled carts so we can move them around the shop.
   Bruce Wallace - Thursday, 07/06/06 23:07:41 EDT

Boogerman, I know Champion made a tire shrinker. It was used to the gather martial or tighten the inner circumference of a tire to fit a wagon wheel. Perhaps, a U shaper tool to fit in a hardy could be used as a bending fork.
   Bruce Wallace - Thursday, 07/06/06 23:26:30 EDT

I HAVE A CHAMPION BLOWER AND FORGE CO. LANCASTER, PA USA MIDWAY SPIRAL GEAR BLOWER PATENT 1901. AM NOT A BL. SMITH! WANT TO SELL CAN ANYONE GIVE ME AN IDEA OF IT'S WORTH? THANK YOU HARRY
   HARRY EASLEY - Friday, 07/07/06 05:57:27 EDT

Harry, Your question was responded to in the Hammer-In. As these are "working" tools the condition sets the price. Rust reduces the value, missing handles reduce the value, gear noise reduces the value, locked up. . forget it. Average price has been $150 or LESS especialy in your area.

Note that ALL CAPS is considered yelling on the web.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 08:38:32 EDT

Tire Shrinker: Boogerman, yep I think Bruce is right. Several manufacturers made tire shrinkers. They were quite heavy because they upset the tire by the use of clamps and leverage. Mole was a popular brand shrinker. I have parts of one that anyone is welcome to haul off.

   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 08:45:06 EDT

Was forge welding a desired effect, or do you think it was discovered by accident (as most of mankinds inventions and techniques were)? I mean, did some ancient smith get two pieces of iron stuck together in the fire and had a 'eureka' moment? Or was it a goal that ancient smiths strove to achieve?
   - Nippulini - Friday, 07/07/06 12:33:51 EDT

I would like to acrh a piece of 15 ft 2x4 inch tubing the hard way, can I do it in my blacksmith shop?
   Steven - Friday, 07/07/06 12:42:38 EDT

Nippulini, I think that's something that no one will know for sure. My guess would be that they were trying to figure out how to weld, and found that in an experiment. They had to have some inspiration the way I see it. With brass, they just melted and formed it, so maybe they were trying to do aomething like that.
   - Rob - Friday, 07/07/06 13:14:12 EDT

Is there a site on the web I could go to, to try and identify a logo on an old anvil? I tried to make a smudge impression with a pencil and paper, but the stamp is so light, it's not legible. Thought I might be able to identify it buy comparing what I did get to something readable.
   Thumper - Friday, 07/07/06 13:57:34 EDT

Thumper: The Bible here is Richard Postman's Anvils in America. The method I suggest is laying the anvil on its side with the stampings up. Dust with flour and brush off excess. Sometimes letters and numbers jump right out and sometimes the placement of a single one can help identify brand. Richard has now identified some 300 British anvil manufacturers of some nature. U.S.? Likely 100 or so. Once you have done the flour trick you can send me a photo of the results if you like. Just click on my name and send as an attachment.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/07/06 14:11:27 EDT

TGN and Rob: Nope. Welding is a necessary part of making iron from ore. After you reduce the ore from Fe2O3 or Fe3O4, resulting in Fe and a bunch of silicate slag, it does not come out of the smelter as a useful bar. It is a big glowing lump of what looks like cinders with wet goo dripping out. You have to take that pile of goo to welding heat and carefully forge out the slag, during which time the iron particles will weld into larger iron particles. You repeat this process to refine the iron into usable bars, with the ultimate goal being a nearly slag-free mass of iron. This involved stacking and welding several smaller bars until the desired size was reached. This a vast oversimplification, but it gets the general idea.

The real question is, how did the ancients figure out that rusty rocks could be made into bars of iron! Copper was easy enough, it occurs in nuggets in nearly pure form. From there, it's not a big step to brass and bronze. Iron, though, doesn't act like those metals in the smelter until a much higher temperature is reached. So high, in fact, that it took the Chinese until around 300 BC to figure out how to make cast iron, when they'd been casting bronze for a couple thousand years before that. It took the west another 1500 years before they started getting good at casting it. Not that they couldn't produce it by accident, but if you're geared towards the bloomery process, cast iron is an unusable waste product that has to go back in the smelter to burn out the extra carbon.

Again, a WILD oversimplification that ought to get me smacked upside the head, but what do you expect when I condense the history of metallurgy into two short paragraphs? (GRIN!)
   Alan-L - Friday, 07/07/06 15:08:15 EDT

Bending tubing: Steven, It can be done the hard way but it depends on the radius. You cannot go but so far without tight fitting dies and then there is still a limit. There are also blacksmith shops and BLACKSMITH shops. It is a job for a hydraulic press (the first major piece of machinery I built) or a bottle jack, shoes and a weld platten. Weld plattens are standard modern welding and blacksmith shop equipment but few small shops have them.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 15:28:25 EDT

Your tubing job might also be possible with a heavy Hossfeld in cam and shoe mode.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 15:34:07 EDT

My speculation is a forest fire cause an intense flume of heat up through a natural rock chimney, which was already lined with iron ore, maybe even embedded in limestone. Afterwards someone noticed molten metal globs at the bottom and went "hummmmmm".

I read someplace eureka moments are relatively rare. Mostly a result of "Hummmmm, that's interesting."
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 07/07/06 16:42:33 EDT

i am looking to make a power hammer for my make shift blacksmith shop and i cant seem to find any plans to sute me, does any one have sugestions. thanks justin H

   - Justin H - Friday, 07/07/06 16:59:55 EDT

Waht advantages does a ground-forge have over other forges when forge-welding?


---Rob
   - Rob - Friday, 07/07/06 17:30:33 EDT

It is speculated that the first metal smelting was the result of a pottery operation. In pottery they use all kings of metal bearing rocks for glazes so you have both in the same proximity and the temperatures are possible. In wood and charcoal fired ceramics they often produce reducing atmospheres, also needed to reduce ores.

On the other hand charcoaling operations had a large mound of fuel that was covered with dirt and its rock content. It is easy for a coaling operation to get out of control and produce very high heats and a dense reducing atmosphere.

And do not foget that man built fires for millions of years before working native metals, using fire. Gold, copper and copper alloys were melted and poured for a long time before iron smelting was discovered. In fact, the density of high percentage ores are similar and an early copper smelter may have suspected that they could get SOMETHING out of those dense black rocks and just kept trying until they did. And this is the most likely way iron smelting was discovered.

When a bloomery smelt goes right you get a very nice sense bloom that needs little compacting. But then you also get foamy blooms that are sponge metal requiring lots of compacting. And then there are those that result in a loose mess of cunks and pellets. . . As Alan noted it would be a natural thing to reheat this mess that had taken so much effort to produce and try to save it. Welding the iron would have been part of learning to make the iron.

Now, GOOD forge welding practice took a very long time to perfect and the proper use of convex scarfs was not a general rule until after Nasmyth studied the problem in 1845. After that it was recommended to all manufacturers to create scarfs that were curved so that all the scale and dross would be forced out of the joint. Prior to this the shape of the weld prep was random and varies from concave to flat to convex. It could be that some other smiths had discovered this fact but none had widely distributed the knowledge.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 17:32:39 EDT

Justin, most of the "plans" for DIY hammers have been of the JunkYard type (JYH), meaning that you scrounged what you you thought would make a hammer and then figured it out from there. Because of the great variabilities in pieces and parts as well as the capacity of the maker there could be no one "plan" for such a hammer.

In fact, after designing a number of mechanical hammers using as many stock components as possible I came to the conclusion that it is just about as easy to make ALL the parts from scratch as to build from existing parts. this means you need a job shop size lathe, milling machine, drill press, welding equipment. . In other words a fairly decent small machine shop. Do you have this?

The simplest hammer to build is an air hammer. The reason is because the only critical part is the sliding guide for the ram and this can be made of pieces of purchased flat bar that is bolted and welded together. Then all you need is the air cylinder, valves and piping (About $500 to $1000 worth of parts) and a LOT of steel.

You do not need just enough steel for a frame, you need a compact mass of 500 to 1500 pounds for the anvil. This can be one piece or it can be a bundle of welded and capped bars. But what ever you do you DO NOT want to short yourself on anvil mass. Without it you hammer is inefficient and the power ends up going into the ground and shaking your shop instead of productive work. Start with the ABANA Simple Air Hammer plans and then ignore their pipe stand anvil and put solid mass under it.

I highly recommed you get together with a group that is building hammers. There are groups building NC-JYH "tire" hammers and also air hammers. However, the cost is not insignificant and the results are so-so. After building your own you will find that a BigBLU is a bargain and wonder how they can build them for what they do.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 17:52:20 EDT

Ground Forge: Rob, Who says it has advantages?
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 17:53:18 EDT

U shaped tool---could be a wagon wrench, a swage, a bending fork, a staple for attaching wire to a fence post or an eating fork missing a few tines---you gotta provide a better description than that!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Friday, 07/07/06 18:22:39 EDT

Do you folks know of a method of mounting an anvil on plate in a box filled with sand ? A coworker told me of this way.
   Paul - Friday, 07/07/06 18:39:02 EDT

Anvil Stand: Paul, The anvil just sits in the sand. This is a popular system in Europe and Peddinghaus sold a stand for this purpose. Fine sand does not work very well and most smiths use fine gravel and forge ashes or a mix of sand gravel and ashes. If you have no ashes pea gravel works.

This type stand does several things. It helps quiet the anvil (but not much), it lets you adjust the height by twisting the anvil into the fill or lifting and scooting more fill under it. You can tilt or level the anvil as needed.

The stand can be made from a small diameter oil drum or from welded plate. So it can be light OR heavy when empty but they are always heavy when filled (300 to 500 pounds).

I saw this system used at an ABANA conference in the 1980's where Freddy Habbeman complained about the stump mounted anvil. He said the anvil on the stump was too noisy and not steady enough. . . A cut off oil drum that had been being used as a trash can was "borrowed" and Earth, sand and gravel fill was shoveled in to his satisfaction. Despite this brief bit of being a primadona he was a great showman and demonstrator.

See our iForge demo on anvil stands.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/06 19:30:19 EDT

I'm sorry I did not provide a very good explanation about the tool. Here is a link to a rough sketch of it (obviously I'm not very good at drawing). http://img81.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tool5ge.jpg

Also would anyone care to explain exactly how the ducks nest in a forge is setup, or is a coal/coke forge usually built without one?
   - Boogerman - Friday, 07/07/06 20:22:41 EDT

I'm working on putting together some designs for a small gas forge and have noticed that the links to Ron Reil's website in the gas forge FAQ and the links page are no longer valid. Does anyone know if his website has been moved to a different address?
   Steven Galonska - Friday, 07/07/06 22:32:19 EDT

Steve Galonska:

I believe Ron Reil's information was moved to ABANA's website.

http://ronreil.abana.org/design1.shtml
   vicopper - Friday, 07/07/06 23:48:15 EDT

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