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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 1 - 7, 2007 on the Guru's Den
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Does anyone have the website address for Beverly Shear mfg. corp. I just aquired a b3 and was wanting to see if they had a manual online for it. I have tried all the spellings I can think of with no luck.
   David - Saturday, 06/30/07 23:01:52 EDT


I have not located any web address, but the manufacturer can be contacted at:

The Beverly Shear Manufacturing Corp.
3004 111th St.
Chicago, IL 60655
Phone: 773-238-0003
Fax: 773-238-0028

Hope this helps.
   Rob K - Sunday, 07/01/07 00:25:44 EDT

Philip: If you are going to buy off eBay see if a relative in the U.S. would be willing to act as a freight-forwarder of sort. Items are shipped to them and then sent to you as a consolidated shipment when justified.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Sunday, 07/01/07 07:18:02 EDT

Beverly Shear is an anachronism in this era of fake-believe imported tools. They are a small family outfit of people who do what they say they will do and do it well and promptly. Beverly was not using computers-- or accepting phone orders or using credit cards (!!!!)-- when I phoned them a couple of years back to get new blades and fittings for my Beverly Jr. They did fill the order (last set of blades in stock for this obsolete device) in a jiffy, sent it wrapped as if to survive a shipwreck. Wonderful people to do business with, I think.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 07/01/07 10:06:59 EDT

I would like to know where I could find a
1/4 inch square nail header tool. This will be used for making square nails for little kids at demos.
   kenneth - Sunday, 07/01/07 10:29:35 EDT

Punch Press to Fly press: Charlie, the problem with your plan is that a punch press has no mechanical advantage other than the diameter of the flywheel. A fly press has the advantage of the angle of the screw (over 4 to one I think - without calculating it) AND the flywheels are bigger in diameter giving more advantage to the weight. It is also turning faster do to the mechanical advantage which applies the velocity squared, thus it is not a simple mechanical ratio.

You have to remember that a punch press a X capacity assumes a relatively high flywheel speed (many times faster than you can turn). They only use 10 to 15% of the available energy but that is still a lot of energy.

I have hand operated punch presses while testing die alignments and punched work of low capacity. It works OK but gravity helps the ram go down but not UP. The 1:1 ratio will make it harder to return and you may want a return spring or counter weight.

Locking the clutch is no problem. Add a handle to the flywheel and give it a try. The frame will spring and the ram will "bounce" off work if setup right. If you let it operate too close to bottom dead center it will lock up. DO not try to take advantage of the "cam action" at the very bottom of the travel. Flypresses have a hard stop to prevent over-travel.

It is easy enough to try but I would not go out spending money on punch presses to "convert".
   - guru - Sunday, 07/01/07 10:45:18 EDT

Good morning,

I am having trouble accessing the search engine for this site so I am so sorry if I am asking a repetitive question. I am having trouble with picking the right finish for an outdoor dinner bell and other outdoor items that require other metals striking them and causing the coating to break and then having the metal rust. is there any way to get an original black finish that will not chip for something like this? also could you please guide me as to how to use the search engine and where it is located. I have tried to do a search in the archives but it does not seem to bring up the answer. I am probably doing something wrong

Thank you

   steve chilingirian - Sunday, 07/01/07 10:46:41 EDT

Nail Headers: Kenneth, The technique of using a nail header is trickier than making one. They are simply a bar of steel (medium to high carbon) with a tapered square hole punched in it. Due to tool steel being hard on small punches some folks drill a small hole first then "drift" it with the square punch.

The small end of the hole is the TOP. The nail is usually forged 1/2 to 1/4 of the nail bar size leaving a shoulder to start the head. Then the nail is cut 98% or so on the hardy, twisted off with the header and headed. The nail should drop right out. If the shank is tight in the header you can often quench the nail and then it will fall out. Sometimes they need a little tap to help them out but if the shank is too big they will stick in the header.

Old antique headers were steeled with a thin layer of steel over wrought iron. The steel was about 1/8 to 3/16" (3 to 5 mm) thick. This is what made the end of the header thicker. Then the wrought bar was forged narrower to save material. So the shape of old headers was greatly determined by how they were made as well as the sensibilities of the time. High use headers had a hole in both ends, often the same size as they tended to wear out.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/01/07 11:28:51 EDT

Hi all Im from south africa and new to blacksmithing. When forge welding what is the best flux to use?
   - Andre - Sunday, 07/01/07 11:32:41 EDT

Hi all Im from south africa and new to blacksmithing. When forge welding what is the best flux to use?
   - Andre - Sunday, 07/01/07 11:37:43 EDT

Steve, we have discussed finishes so many times that hundreds of results will be returned. I need to put a FAQ together on the subject.

For struck iron items there is no perfect finish. A thin coat of paint of your choice is the best you can do. Then inform the buyer that they will need to be repainted occasionally.

Chemical black oxide finishes like gun bluing only slow rust and are primarily a surface to hold oil.

The best finish would be galvanizing.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/01/07 11:41:30 EDT

FLUX: Andre, It depends on what you are welding.

When welding wrought and mild steel many smiths use no flux, just good fire management technique.

Borax is commonly used. But borax with boric acid in various ratios and 10% iron powder is a common commercial mixture. Saw swarf and brake drum machining swarf are good sources of iron/steel powder fine enough. DO NOT use grinder swarf as this contains a high proportion of burnt iron and refractory abrasive.

For welding high chrome/nickel alloy steels and stainless the flux must be much more aggressive. About 10% fluorite (fluorspar) powder is added to borax. Flux grade fluordspar is 98% CaF2 and is only found in a few places. Much of it comes from Italy. You can buy it from ceramic suppliers. It is also used in the foundry industry.

For welding laminated steels you want to use a pure flux with no iron powder. Most blademsmiths use plain borax or borax and fluorite as needed. Many also use a closed (but vented) stainless container with a few drops of kerosene or diesel fuel. This gases off either evacuating all the oxygen OR combining with it leaving an oxygen free environment for welding.

Soda sands and some clays are used as flux or protectants. Good red clays work and mud dauber (wasp nest) clay works in some cases. High alumina refractory clays (porcelain) types are also used as protectants. Availability and usefulness of sands and clays vary greatly world wide and from one specific spot to another.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/01/07 12:01:09 EDT

Thanks Guru
Look forward to the faq's
   steve chilingirian - Sunday, 07/01/07 12:16:49 EDT

Re: Punch press to Flypress:
Thanks Guru and Dave Boyer for your thoughts. It was not a project I was on the verge of undertaking, more of a "mind candy" musing. I find such daydreaming sometimes leads me to a place I did not anticipate, though. Also, just because something CAN be done does not mean it SHOULD be done. You both have added to my knowledge (i.e.; I hadn't considered the gravity issue); Thanks!
   Charlie Spademan - Sunday, 07/01/07 20:18:17 EDT

Thanks for the information on The Beverly Shear Manuf. Corp.
As the Brodhead Garrett catalog has them listed as still available for $1475.00, I figured I was not typing their name in right.

Thanks again
   David - Sunday, 07/01/07 22:43:58 EDT

Beverly Shear: I believe all three sizes and replacement blades are sold by McMaster-Carr. I bought OEM blades from them.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/01/07 23:39:19 EDT

Yahoo Yellow Pages shows: Beverly Shear Mfg Corp
(773) 233-2063 3004 W 111th St # 1
Chicago, IL When I phoned to order blades, the nice lady asked my zip code, checked with shipping, told me the total cost. I mailed check for same, and back came my blades in a few days. No Muzak, no waiting, no "if you want this push that," No "your call is important to us," no phone orders, no computers, no plastic. Just good stuff.

   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 07/01/07 23:47:01 EDT

I'm on the verge of undertaking a major fence repair and replacement project which will leave me with miles of old rusty barbed wire and a somewhat lesser quantity of stuff that still has zinc on it.

Is there anything worthwhile I could do with the stuff, or should I just take it for recycling.

I suppose folding up a few yards of the stuff, pickling it to get rid of the rust and forge welding it would be possible, but would the resulting billets be good for much after all that work. . .
   John Lowther - Monday, 07/02/07 16:19:29 EDT

John Lowther:

As a cattle farmer I can symphasize with your undertaking. Personally I cut up into about 100' lengths and then roll up hand over hand for a fairly tight coil. Your local metal recycler may or may not accept wire like this as it may cause problems with their metal chipper.

To haul I load it in a trailer and then pull it off with a poker with a hook on the other end.

I've seen some craft products made out of old barb wire, such as Christmas wreaths.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 07/02/07 16:59:42 EDT

John, Its good steel (can't make wire from bad steel) but unless the resulting billet and things made from it had some intrinsic significance to someone then it would be expensive recycled steel. . .

Now. . there ARE old styles of barbed with that collectors collect.
   - guru - Monday, 07/02/07 17:02:50 EDT

Could you advise on how to tension circular blades
   - Nicolas - Monday, 07/02/07 17:25:34 EDT

I've forged a basket hook from rusty barbwire before---but it would take a lot of basket hooks to use up that much barbwire.

Note that while wire is made from good steel it is not generally made from high carbon steel. If you just had to make a knife from it---after removing the rust you could carburize it in a charcoal forge and then weld it up into a solid chunk. Need a *very* good reason to go through all that work though.

Might advertise it and see if some tightwad wanted to come and get it for their fence project...

Nicholas; that question was answered about 2 days ago; don't think the answer is going to change anytime soon!

   Thomas P - Monday, 07/02/07 18:16:52 EDT

I just purchased a 127# Hay Budden anvil Saturday.It cleaded up pretty good. Top is flat and edges are OK. I am wondering about the base. It is somewhat concave with the edges about 1/4" thick. It tapers in about 3/8" from the inside edge to the center. Don't know if it was cast this way or caused by corrosion.Is it something to be concerned about?
   - Mike Broach - Monday, 07/02/07 18:35:49 EDT


That is a specialized field. A "saw doctor" (expert) would need to physically show you how it's done, meaning where to hit and why. I'm told that it is all done cold with an anvil, a hammer, and some soapstone. The blade is studied, marked with the soapstone, and hit a few times.

I worked on a high alloy, recently made, 12"D blade once, and that is considered dinky by old mill saw standards. This particular blade had a kink in it from misuse. Cold hammering a blade was new to me, so I made sure the customer knew that there was "no guarantee of success." I was able to straighted the blade, but I'm sure it took me to0 many blows compared to a saw doctor. These smaller alloy blades are dead flat from what I could see. They didn't need the old fashioned dish.

Mike Broach,

The Hay Budden anvils were forged, not cast, and the bases all looked as you describe. Not to worry; you got a good one. I'm a Hay Budden fan.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 07/02/07 19:04:32 EDT

Mike Broach:

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Turley. From Anvils in America by Richard Postman, and discussions with him: Trenton, H-B and A&M typically bought their bases from an outside source. They were typically cast. They didn't particularly care what the metal was as long as it would forge weld (or could be welded) to the top half. Occasionally they might not have the size base on hand, particularly for large anvils, and may have forged them in house.

Look on the front foot of your H-B. Should be a serial number there which can be roughly correlated to year it was made. About 1908 H-B switched from a top of wrought iron with a steel plate to a top out of tool steel.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Monday, 07/02/07 19:29:58 EDT

Nicolas, are You having a specific problem with a blade, or are You just curious?
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 07/02/07 20:52:53 EDT


I just re-read Postman's Hay Budden section, and I don't see anything about cast bases. I know that some Trentons had them. I had one Trenton that had a quite ugly, vertical parting line from the casting.

You piqued my curiosity. I went to the shop and looked at my four Hay Buddens. All four have a handling hole in their respective bases. Three of them have relatively flat bottoms, and one has a dished bottom. This latter one I believe is more recent in age that the others; it has one handling hole in the waist on the horn side. The other three have three handling holes each.

I trust what I see. I'm originally from Missouri, the Show Me state, so you gotta show me a cast base on a Hay Budden anvil.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 07/02/07 22:36:43 EDT

hi i'm somalian blacksmith knowing in somalia (tumaal) so there or i belong that clan somalian kill our grand-grand father's and take our land our blacksmith history, and we become minorety with no land and poor ppl.
So wat i need is to get back our BLACKSMITH with modern and tools to give and teach those ppl ho need it ca u help m that pls.
ur somalian BLACKSMITH
   SOMAL BLACSMITH - Tuesday, 07/03/07 00:57:23 EDT

hello all,
I recently picked up an Alldays and Onions 2oo cwt power hammer and am trying to find some foundation drawings for the thing. Can anybody point me in the right direction?
   Aussie Matt - Tuesday, 07/03/07 04:03:11 EDT

Alldays and Onions Aussie Matt, What type? They made both mechanical (spring) and self contained (dual cylinder air) hammers. Are you looking for specifics or generalities for a foundation?

In either type the foundation is normally concrete. The depth is often given but should be determined by the soil conditions. In hard clay soils that do not get saturated with water all you need is a heavy pad between 8" and a foot thick. Otherwise you dig down until you hit a good subsoil.

In the self contained hammers the anvil (which is often separate) the level relative to the machine is critical. If you over travel the ram you will wreck the machine. Running without dies will do the same. Normally there is a mark on the ram to indicate the maximum travel. Clean off the ram or let it drop on its own. The mark is normally about 1" short of the bottom of the travel. If there is no mark then use your own judgment based on stopping before damaging the machine.

These offset foundations often have open sides where the anvil is so that you can shim and wedge the anvil into position. The method recommended on some hammers is to build in a wooden pad into the concrete and then carve it to level, adjust and align the anvil. As the bottom of these are often as-cast they can be rough and out of flat. Even those that are machined are often not square to the anvil cap. In either case, carefully set and measure the anvil height from the machine foundation line. If it is too low then be sure to shim the machine. When the machine is set you need to check the squareness of the anvil to the ram and adjust as necessary. YES, it is a serious job that MIGHT require lifting the machine over the anvil more than once.

With a one piece offset foundation the base of the foundation extends about a foot below the anvil. There is a riser for the front of the frame if it extends around the anvil. Anchor bolts (studs) are set deep into the foundation (I would weld them to reinforcing steel). It is common practice to place a tube around the studs so they are not tight in the concrete and can be bent or sprung if necessary to fit the hammer.

After the hammer is set pairs of wooden wedges are used to center the ram and anvil and to keep them in relative position. After installation they should be cut level and a metal cap fitted over them.

I would never trust a foundation drawing that did not come from the factory with a specific self contained hammer. It is not that hard to take the measurements and be SURE that the whole is exact. Even then you need to double check that maximum travel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 07:41:51 EDT

Somali Blacksmith: There are many in the world who would like to help you and I do not doubt the situation in your country. However, due to the large number of scams coming out of Africa on the Internet you will need to prove your case through an independent organization such as the Red Cross or other international aid organization.

There are several organizations that specialize in what you ask. Tools For Self Reliance is one TFSR.ORG

TFSR is based in Great Britain. They have a fairly specific tool list for blacksmithing. Those wishing to donate to them are best sending cash donations rather than tools. This is because the cost of shipping anything less than a full container load is often greater than the value of sending the tools to England.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 08:06:35 EDT

Aussie Matt,

Did you mean that your new hammer is 2cwt (200#) ram or 200cwt (20,000#) ram? That makes a considerable difference in the foundation requirements! I'm not aware that Alldays made any hammers as big as ten tons, but they might have, so that should be cleared up.

I've seen a number of 200# hammers run with noom ore foundation than a layer or two of heavy timbers (12"x12") between them and a sound, reinforced concrete floor. I've even seen one steam hammer of around 500# operating on a similar timber bed over hard-packed earth.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/03/07 08:20:24 EDT

Everyone, I have written directly to Somali Blacksmith to see what happens. However, there is a high likelihood that this is someone fishing for email addresses.

We have just received a long updated version of Brent Baily's article on his trip to South Africa. He had both success and failure there. I can imagine such a project in Somalia where two aid workers from International Medical Corps were killed just a few days ago.

A poignant quote from a recent refugee from Mogadishu. It underlines why sending tools to that country at this time may NOT be a good thing.
It's not going to stop, and it's not going to cool down. The two sides are facing each other. They are making more technicals [battle wagons mounted with heavy weapons] every night and reorganizing. Every night we see and hear the welding. We can't sleep.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 08:32:46 EDT

Getting so you can't get away from people wanting to use your money and skills to help them kill someone else. Send in your taxes to help kill Iraqis, send tools to help Africans kill Africans, send your kids to school so they can be killed by other kids. Hard to believe that sometime in the future someone will refer to these as "the good old times."

When do you anticipate getting Brent's article posted, Jock? I'm interested to hear of his experiences that CSI helped to fund.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/03/07 08:51:56 EDT

Can anyone help me date a Hay-Budden anvil,serial# 20904.
   - Mike Broach - Tuesday, 07/03/07 10:05:36 EDT

Hi There,
About to build my first forge.
I will be burning coke (I'm in the UK).
Some designs I see on the net have a fire pot, others have a 'flat table'(with air holes under the fire).
I'm sure I've seen an article on the net somewhere giving the pros & cons of having a fire pot, but I cant find it.
Any ideas of where it is, and/or your thoughts as to which way is better (and why).

Many Thanks
   John - Tuesday, 07/03/07 10:56:20 EDT

Hay-Budden's have a quite distinct "underside"; many types of anvils have some sort of depression in the underside (besides the porter bar hole) as it helps them sit on a possibly slightly uneven surface without rocking.

The "pill" depression is seen on Arm&Hammer and Trenton's.

On Hay-Buddens they have the outside edge extended slightly making an "hourglass" shape. Note that particularly on the old ones this can be fairly small and often worn almost flat.

Actually the underside is often a good clue to the maker for anvils with the markings obscured; but people forget to post a picture of it when they ask for anvil ID help.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/03/07 11:42:53 EDT

Thanks for the barbed wire advice. Recycling center here we come.

Seems like barbed wire works pretty well for cattle, but is almost useless for sheep. For sheep you pretty much have to use woven wire "field fencing." Preferably with a couple of hot wires to keep idiot young rams from getting their horns caught in the fence.

Seems like horse people don't like it either.
   John Lowther - Tuesday, 07/03/07 11:46:07 EDT

When I was 14, I worked at a kennel. They had horses and one day I had to change their water (disgusting job). The fence was solar powered, so I figured it couldn't be that bad. I touched it with my hand and couldn't feel my arm for an hour! I could have sworn I heard the horses laughing at me.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 07/03/07 12:26:58 EDT

Frank: You could be correct. I've tried to call Richard but call doesn't go through - no ring.

H-B serial #20904 would be 1895 - give or take a year.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 07/03/07 13:29:52 EDT

Aussy Matt, foundation drawings emailed your way (well, a good start point anyway)

Ive had / rebuilt a couple of 2 cwt Alldays over the years, not a bad machine with some quite clever deisgn features - in the ram bore they only have a top air port so the ram is lifted by vacume. No stuffing box or piston rings either, just a back guide bolt.

The main probs ive had with them is the reed (flap) air valves - I replaced the last one with a section of 'Stanley' steel rule with the measurements ground off ! ( think / hope they are spring steel! )

Wear ear plugs when using it !!!!!! - especially if its got the gear drive on. Ive never had tinitus so bad as from testing one of those (weve all done it, only half hour so wont put them on)- suffered for about a month.

To my knowledge Alldays made (self contained) hammers up to 20 cwt, but Massey effectivly put them out of the power hammer business in the late 1960's with superior product. they made alot of nice cast iron forges / bellows etc aswell as the hammers.
   - John N - Tuesday, 07/03/07 14:14:26 EDT

Thanks Ken.
   - Mike Broach - Tuesday, 07/03/07 15:30:54 EDT

Somali blacksmiths mail bounced.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 16:47:24 EDT

Hay-Budden construction: I have yet to see a Hay-Budden with a mis-matched base or a cast base. Same with Peddinghaus, who people have tried to say they have a cast base. The bases all have trimming die marks. This is not something you would see on a forging. AND if you have running modern forge operation big enough then castings are less economical.

Early HayBuddens were the typical 3 piece forging. Wrought base and wrought top forge welded at the waist and a steel plate welded to the top. Late Hay-Buddens were two piece design with an all steel upper body welded to a wrought or mild steel base at the waist. Some were forge welded and the latest were arc welded. I've seen a late Hay-Budden that had the arc weld fail. It was V'd out then rewelded and was like new.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 16:55:55 EDT

Frank: I owe you an apology. Finally contacted Mr. Postman. He said as far as he knows H-B die forged all of their bases. He added they might have bought bases from an outside source in their last years of production, but he hasn't seen one he thought was cast.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 07/03/07 17:21:15 EDT

Hello Everyone,

I've just made my first forays into smithing and am looking to gather all of my equipment together. I am primarily interested in doing smaller and in time more detailed work, the problem is that I have been having rather a time at finding an anvil that is around the 50 lb weight range that isn't a cast iron monstrosity. If anyone could offer me some advice on where to look I would appreciate it. On a side note can anyone tell me if forming the forge body from kiln cement will be acceptable or should I hunt up some other material? Thanks for your time.
   Alexander - Tuesday, 07/03/07 21:23:02 EDT

Addendum: A friend has just directed me to Centaur Forge, but I am now wondering what if any limitations I would have if I work with a 35lbs anvil. Thanks again.
   Alexander - Tuesday, 07/03/07 21:28:20 EDT

Alexander, Please read my article on Selecting an Anvil (top of the FAQs page).

A few years ago you could get small anvils from Peddinghaus but they not longer produce the small models. See the anvil article above.

Not that good small used anvils sell for much more per pound than larger anvils. They are often as much a $8/lb.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/03/07 23:10:16 EDT

Ken, Apology accepted. No es un problema.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 07/03/07 23:34:19 EDT


You can do small work on a large anvil, but you can't do large work on a small anvil. I would't get anything less than a 90-100# anvil, even for jewelry work. For blacksmithing, I think 150-250# is a good shop size anvil for general work. A 35-50# anvil is too light to sit still when you really hit something; you need mass.

Kiln cement will form a forge body (firepot) for a solid fuel forge, but is a poor choice for a gas forge. It has relatively poor insulating qualities compared to lightweight firebrick or refractory fiber (Kaowool). You can get Kaowool from the Anvifire Store pretty reasonably, and it will save you some gas and save you a lot of trouble on bilding a good gas forge. To make the Kaowool more durable, you can paint it with a couple of coats of ITC-100 or some thinned-down kiln cement. The ITC-100 is infrared reflective so it increases forge efficiency somewhat.

If you want a perfectly serviceable gas forge at almost less than you can build one for, check out those sold by Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Tools on the Advertisers Menu). You can find him on eBay selling a wide range of tools for beginning and hobby blacksmiths. Ken is a very helpful guy and will treat you right. He's also very careful not to use this forum to advertise his wares, so I'll do it for him. :-)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 07/03/07 23:58:04 EDT

Hello All,
thanks for the feedback, the alldays is a self contained 2 hundred weight hammer with an automatic lube system and independant anvil, it has a toothed flywheel and gear set-up. The main air cylinder was ceased, but I have just recently freed it up, which has been a great releif.
   Aussie Matt - Wednesday, 07/04/07 07:24:11 EDT

So tell me about welding on anvils. I have no repair work, as I now have a new, shiney Branco anvil. But I think to myself about two things... stripping it down to the metal and filling the bondo holes with weld, and also adding a side-shelf. Anyone done that before?
   - Drew - Wednesday, 07/04/07 08:45:17 EDT

Hey Bud.

Just thinking about that little lip around the underside of the anvil leaving a recess within, and how it may similar in one respect to the recess (hollowing) on the flat back of a Japanese wood chisel. To quote from Toshio Odate's book*, the back of the chisel is "hollowed for faster sharpening and to maintain flatness." In thinking about the Hay Budden surrounding lip, there would be less work, less metal removal or flattering, in getting a plane surface. I'm not sure of H-B's methodology, but surface grinders were available in the 1890's.

* "Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use"
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/04/07 09:10:47 EDT

Is it possible for a concave base (of an anvil) to flatten out over years (centuries) of use and just sitting there?
   - NIppulini - Wednesday, 07/04/07 10:32:28 EDT

Drew: I suspect you will find those BRANCO anvils to be a poor quality of casting. I suspect you will not be able to weld on it at all.

Frank: I suspect H-B's hollow on the bottom would be the result of their dies. Perhaps shallow ones were from old dies or just not hit hard enough? Speculating here.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Wednesday, 07/04/07 10:41:02 EDT

Anvil Repair Mods: Drew, First step is to find out what alloy the anvil is. If good steel it can be welded. If cast iron then not.

Branco claims their steel is C = 0.3%, Mn = 1.3%, Si = 0.5%

The closest standard steel I could find was AISI 1527. This is a low carbon high manganese steel and is described by ASM as a "borderline" grade. The manganese makes it much more hardenable than the carbon content would indicate with 44-43 HRc being the normal as-harden (no tempering).

Then I quote in full:

Welding must be done with care, because the high manganese may raise the carbon equivalent to a dangerous degree unless preheating and postheating practices are used.

Modern welding says, preheat and weld using the correct rod and DC reverse current. Peen welds while cooling. Heat treat to OEM specs after welding.

AND THIS is the crux of welding on anvils. If you are not prepared to have screwed up hardnesses (hard and soft spots) OR cannot heat treat something that large then you shouldn't be welding on it.

Normally the preheat is just below the lowest tempering temperature (350 to 450°F). If post heating is needed it is usually similar to preheat for a prescribed period of time in hours then air cool.

E-8018, E-9018, and E-100188 class of covered welding electrodes are recommended if hard surface not needed.

If you want to add a shelf to your anvil the above is the way to go. However, you will have a hard/soft/hard zone where welded at the face. I would make the shelf out of a high strength steel like AISI/SAE 4140.

I would NOT try to repair pits unless they are in the work area of the anvil (face, top third of horn). In that case if they were puttied over you should return the anvil and demand a refund of all costs.

To repair casting pits you need to grind out all the garbage that caused the pit (usually mold sand and slag). When you have a clean smooth divot you can fill with weld. Note that any time there is a hole or porosity and you try to weld over it the hole will just become part of the weld and you still have a hole. SO you have to clean up the hole, and fill so as to not create more holes.

Note that if there are any internal flaws in your casting (very likely) that the stresses caused by welding on the outside may cause internal flaws to become worse even to the point of serious cracking.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/04/07 13:08:19 EDT


Anything's possible, but I think it very unlikely that the bottom would sag. These old anvils, though...we don't know their history. I think when some are retired, they sit out behind the barn and little kids beat them up with their little hammers. Some are used as welding tables. If an anvil's base gets screwed up, it may be from being used as a weight on a primitive "grader contraption" behind a vehicle to clear snow or level a dirt road. Maybe the anvil gets cattywampus and it gets dragged a ways.

If an anvil is just sitting there being used, I don't see how the base can get affected that much.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/04/07 13:41:36 EDT

IIRC: Postman said that the thickness/width of the HB "hourglass" increased over time compared to the early ones. My HB has a very thin one that has worn almost away, a bit odd as the face is still quite substantial and shows very little wear. Of course sitting on a wooden stump in a damp climate with temperature swings might increase rusting of the base---the stump it had been on for decades was pretty much rotten out.

Frank; if you wanted to true up the base to the face I would think a nice good wallop with a large steam hammer would be a lot faster and easier than surface grinding...

   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 07/04/07 14:19:27 EDT

Anvil Base Depressions: Just a thought. Could these depressions in cast bases be shrinkage cavities? Could they be using the base as a riser, pouring the casting upside down, and letting the base feed the rest of the casting?
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 07/04/07 14:28:07 EDT

poor quality casting? :::sniffle::: but it's so pretty! I like my new anvil! already I need a nimba?
   - Drew - Wednesday, 07/04/07 14:36:45 EDT

QC, Interesting ideas but no. Shrink looks a LOT different from the typeical lozenge shaped depressions.

Drew, If its "so pretty", why do you want to FIX IT?

Ugly castings are not a necessity. They are the result of using the lowest cost processes which often means lower quality. Yes, if you want pretty, buy a Nimba.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/04/07 16:02:58 EDT

More anvil base depressions.
In Postman's book there is a copy of an old Trenton ad that states: "Bottom view, showing base hollowed out permitting anvils to stand firm without rocking"

Also regarding the hourglass depression on some Hay Budden's, that is not a feature unique to Hay Budden. The early Trentons also had the hourglass shaped depression. One of my Trentons has the hourglass shape and one had the pill shape depression.
   Bernard Tappel - Wednesday, 07/04/07 16:21:54 EDT


The Branco anvils are *not* necessarily poor quality. Like all the Csech anvils, they vary some from one batch to the next, but are, generally, perfectly serviceable anvils. Branco is a distributor, not the foundry. They may even change foundries from time to time. The quality of the finish isn't that great, but that is somomething you can do yourself relatively easily.

If your anvil has Bondo on the face or working area of the horn, then it is a second and should not have been sold. Welding it would only make the situation worse. If the Bondo is on the body, it may not matter at all. If it is in an unimportant area, I wouldn't weld it up. Using fillers on casting flaws is certainly nothing new or inherently outrageous. Manufacturers have been doing it for decades to fix *cosmetic* flaws.

As for adding a side shelf, I say sure, why not? Keep it an inch or so below the level of the anvil's face so you don't have the weld affecting the face and you should be fine. Yes, preheat and post-heat if at all possible, but side shelves are usually used for little work like fork tines and such, and it won't see really heavy hammer blows. If you keep it below the face, you're not going risk anything, so go for it. I'm planning to do the very same thing to my Nimba Gladiator, and I damn sure wouldn't consider it on a $2300 anvil if I didn't have *highly* competent advice that tells me it is not a problem. Of course, if you're worried about it, then just forge yourself a nice bridge anvil to go in the hardie hole. No concerns that way.

Have fun with your new anvil, that's what it is all about.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 07/04/07 20:04:20 EDT

How does one forge a 'forged anvil'? I'm not talking about trying to do it in my back yard. I mean, if I happened whatever big machines I need what would they be & how would I use them? Is this the kind of thing Glen Moon could forge from his 10" bar? Is it done open die? How would a modern technique differ from the old days?
   andrew - Wednesday, 07/04/07 20:47:41 EDT

Just came across and bought (for a little too much money)a little #5 50 pound Vulcan; just right for the daughter and the light work she's planning (plus she has to move it about). I'm suggesting that she limit herself to 1/2" stock and no more than a 2 pound hammer, and anchor it to a good stump. It's marked "70" at one end, probably the last year they were made. (Postman had no evidence past '69.) The steel face is thin, and the casting work is not exactly first rate, but it matches the features of an earlier, smaller one that I came across. The cavity at the bottom is very defined, not like the result of shrinkage. (However, having cast sounding leads, the cavity for the tallow seems to form naturally, and probably inspired the deeper cavity used today.)

The same gentleman had a 225 pound Trenton with a farrier's clip horn for $500. Somewhat redundant to my needs; but I figured I'd mention it here for anybody who needs an excuse to come down to Southern Maryland and spend too much money. ;-)

Thunderstorms in the offing on the banks of the lower Potomac; some celestial fireworks perhaps are in store.

Happy 4th of July; don't burn any fingers!

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 07/04/07 20:56:32 EDT

I acquired a Hay Budden anvil. on the horn end is a deeply stamped #6. On the left foot under the horn is the # 139161.
This is a near replica to the anvil I have had for several years but could not identify. I did think that I could see Brooklynn Ny, so I suspected that it was a hay. Can you tell me the year of manufacture?

I am a newbie (a couple of years) to blacksmithing, and a member of NEB. I live in Gorham Maine.

Thanks in advance,

   Jon Hodgdon - Wednesday, 07/04/07 20:57:33 EDT

According to Postman serial # 139161 would have been made in 1907.
   Bernard Tappel - Wednesday, 07/04/07 21:10:28 EDT

How to forge an Anvil: Andrew, It depends on the size of the anvil and what level of technology you want to apply.

Until the late 19th century and in some cases well into the 20th anvils were made by hand. MANY hands. A team of five or six men would forge with sledges pieces of wrought iron into the shade they wanted then forge weld on a tool steel face. Water powered trip hammers were used for SOME of the consolidation and shaping but most was done by hand with sledges. Even after the invention of the steam hammer much of the work was still done by hand. Many anvil shops were relatively small industry and anvils forged on a drop hammer were open die forged on 3/4 and ton hammers.

Today forged anvils made by Peddinghaus are made in closed dies. Large anvils are made in two pieces and small anvils in one. The size of the hammer can vary. Small hammers of a couple tons make anvil parts using multiple blows. Large hammers or presses can make the parts in single blows.

After forging and welding together anvils are machined then heat treated. Machining on the best anvils includes base cleanup, facing, precision broaching the hardie hole, drilling the punching holes and radiusing the same.

With a huge forge, a jib crane (or a BUNCH of strong backs) and a handful of dedicated (or crazy) helpers an anvil can be be hand made. It is a dangerous hot and dirty job requiring people in very good physical condition.

Look at our articles on making a fabricated anvil. All those pieces could be forged to shape and forge welded. OR the preforms can be flame cut, forged to final shape and welded together.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 00:49:52 EDT

Hmmm... I guess the playful tone of my response didn't come through. I know the thing is rough, and I am interested in spiffin it up a little. Part of the whole reason I got into this stuff in the first place was a love of fine things, beautiful tools. Shouldn't be too alien to anyone here, I would think. That also means I would LOVE a nimba, but for now it was sadly a cost consideration. The deal I have with myself is that the nimba, when it comes, will be payed for off money made from the anvil I have now. If that don't happen, no nimba. Anyway, it still would be nice to make the one I have as pleasant to work around and look at as possible. Thanks, ya'll.
Vicopper... it does bring up another question. One thing I was unhappy about with the new anvil is that it has a 1.08" hardy hole, and I have a fair number of 1" hardie tools... including a little 3" x 3" block. Been figuring how the best way to handle that will be. Maybe make a little insert/adaptor type thing? Otherwise, maybe building up shanks with weld... or just making all new tools.
   - drew - Thursday, 07/05/07 07:17:27 EDT

Drew if you are trying to make money off your existing anvil:
1. Do a contract killing.
2. Weight the body with the anvil when you throw it in the sea.
3. Spend the contract proceeds on the new anvil.
Otherwise it could be a VERY slow job ;-)
   - philip in china - Thursday, 07/05/07 09:13:58 EDT

Drew, +.08 is a little loose but not bad. About the only tool that needs to be tight is the hardie. The rest can be pretty sloppy. I often use 3/4" shank tools in 1"+ holes. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 10:16:23 EDT

Tool Beautification:

Pits, creases and texture in castings are fairly common and as VIc noted they are often putties up. The bigger the casting the more so. However, the stuff you see on many castings today is more than what top quality castings have.

In the machine tool industry those beautiful glossy finishes have covered plaster for over a century. However, deep holes and pits were repaired with lead until the 1950's and then metal filled epoxy from Devcon was used. It is still used by top makers who know bondo is too soft. You start with a clean oil free casting and fill the pits with Devcon. Then you prime the whole with a good sanding primer and start sanding.

In the case of an anvil I would first make sure the horn and upper edges of the body were ground smooth using a belt sander. I would also dust of any sand texture. Then use black iron filled epoxy and dark grey (its almost black) Dupont high speed primer. Apply several heavy coats and sand with 180 grit wet-or-dry. Then another coat and sand with 320. When smooth to your satisfaction apply a good top coat of gloss black (or red or blue or red white and blue) over that. Finally, re-sand the face, edges and horn to remove paint to the non-working lines (chamfers, radii, and top half of the horn). If you want it to stay pretty put a coat of clear lacquer on the bare surfaces.

If the top half of the horn has pits that cannot be ground out then fill them with Devcon aliminium filled epoxy. It will not match the steel (its a light grey) but it will not be so obvious.

The best anvils are not perfect. Here are a couple I cleaned up to photograph. You are probably familiar with these photos.

My Kohlswa by Jock Dempsey
My Kohlswa by Jock Dempsey

Peddinghaus anvil by Jock Dempsey
Peddinghaus anvil by Jock Dempsey

My Kohlswa has no pits but at the time they brushed on a coat of mold sealer on the sand mold. This resulted in a broom like finish. Its not bad, its consistent, but not great.

The Peddinghaus is pretty good. As a forging it is smoother than most cast anvils but they use some pretty coarse grinding in the clean up process. They are no longer cleaning up the horn because they got many complaints. I cleaned up the horn on this one and it was PERFECT when I finished. Too perfect. so I painted it for the advertising pages. I've misplaced my photos of the anvil without paint on the horn. . . The body on this anvil is as-delivered except I put a fresh coat of cheap black spray paint on it to repair shipping damage. The Kohlswa above has the same cheap paint after dusting off cobwebs, dust and scale.

I've fixed up many tools to make them "special". In most cases it was because they were a gift. The Peddinghaus above was raffled off here on anvilfire to cover a former advertiser's debts. I cleaned up the horn for the raffle. Other tools were just cleaned and painted such as the group for the photo below.

However, making tools "special" is often a work of love. You start with smoothing every surface by whatever means available or necessary (grinders, sanders, files, sandpaper). Then if it is a bare metal tool you may want to make corner chamfers crisper or if style dictates rounder. If it is a small hand tool you may want to decorate it with white smith edge work. OR you may want to engrave it. Many old anvils are well known for having been dated, initialed and decorated with various symbols (religious, mystical). This is "folk art" type work.

OR you can make a real work of art out of it. Forget the alloy and just start weld build up to make a sculpture out of it. Take a torch to the places that need cutting off and remove them (Czech anvils are notorious for their ugly pattern work). Grind it to an new shape, add dragons to the sides, naked goddesses, whatever. . Make it what you want!
Anvil of Creation
The Anvil of Creation
Design sketch by Jock Dempsey (c) 2007
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 10:42:28 EDT


I understand you rdesire to have your tools be nice looking, believe me. I'm the guy with the polished and blued post vise, after all. There is a definite sense of satisfaction in a tool that looks nice because *you* made it look that way. Why else would people restore old cars?

I'm sure that if you approach your blacksmithing with that same attention to detail and quest for beauty, that you will have no trouble making enough money to buy a Nimba Gladiator of your very own. Then you 'll have two nice anvils. (That's how I got mine.)

As for your sloppy hardie hole, I'd probably just learn to live with it. I don't like hardie tools that are a tight fit in the anvil. Rather, I prefer that they be easily flicked out with the tongs or fingers if they're in my way or its time for a change of tooling. As long as they have collars that stop them from falling through, they'll be fine. If there's one or two that you feel need to be pretty snug, like the 3x3 block, then just build up the shanks with some weld bead.

An alternative, if you like, is to use a piece of angle iron to bush down two sides of the hole. You'll have to weld a flat collar to the end of the angle to keep it from dropping through, and that collar has to go all around four sides to keep the tools level to the anvil. If you're going to make one, I've found that the "angle iron" that cheap bed frames are made fromis pretty good for this. It really isn't angle iron from the mill; it is actually bent from flat sheet so it has a small radius, but no heavy radius in the inside of the corner and it doesn't ahve a sharp outside corner that you would just have to grind off anyway, since your hardie hole has radiused corners.

If the bed frame angle is a good fit, you can use sections of it tack welded to your hardy shanks to shim them up to size. I scrounge a lot of bed frames from the dumpster so I use that stuff for a lot of things. It's a medium carbon steel, by the way, around 40 points carbon, I'd say.

So...what color you goinig to paint your new anvil, and will you go with gold leaf or pinstriping for the accents? (grin)
   vicopper - Thursday, 07/05/07 10:58:42 EDT

What can be applied to raw steels beams to maintain appearance/arrest or slow rusting on beams exposed to the elements? Thanks!
   Lewis - Thursday, 07/05/07 11:19:38 EDT

A gold leafed anvil. . . Hmmmmmmmmmm only take about $10000 worth to cover the whole thing. . .

I once had an old $25 acoustic guitar that I inherited from my little brother who used to play "El Kabong" (very old cartoon refernce). It had cardboard sides. I patched it with bondo, and lacquered it with the left over metallic blue and creme colors from the car I had just painted. Compounded it to a mirror finish then used gold paint to hand paint filligree on the soundboard. Looked great. . and sounded better. Held up for about 20 years and then the sound board exploded as they tend to do on steel string guitars. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 11:21:28 EDT

Lewis, paint, paint paint. If you want to stop rust you have to paint. This means clean and paint. Then if you want a rust appearance, CREATE it with the final paint.

There are Quick and Dirty (IE cheap and lousy) ways to seal rust. One is to use Ospho (a phosphoric acid product used for cheap paint preprep). This turns the rust black and slows the rusting process. It is nasty stuff you do not want on your skin and even after it has been applied and washed off it effects the skin. . . It also streaks white with the black :(

Another is to apply clear lacquer over the rust. However, clear finishes do not have the durability of filled paint AND nothing applied over rust will stick for long as the rust continues under the finish. Eventually the paint will begin to flake off.

SO, sandblast, zinc prime, red oxide prime, then apply a wet coat and throw texturing material into the paint (mill scale works great, sand is OK, even ground paper can be used). Then paint again using rust colors and umbers misted on and wiped off. . . Experiment. It is ART. Use a spray gun or air brush to create shaded effects and shadowing or the texture. When done you will have a rough long lasting "rust" finish and no more rust for 20 or 30 years.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 11:46:39 EDT

I am in the process of cleaning up the (Mousehole?) anvil I recently acquired. The work is tedious, but as Jock says, it's a labor of love. Heating, welding, peening, grinding and sanding takes a lot of time, and when I'm done all that, I've only worked a few square inches. There are SO many (expletive) chisel marks on it I start getting real angry at whoever abused the poor thing. You've all seen the pics of when I first received it, so when I am finally done with all the repairs (i.e. next year) I will post pics to compare to.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 07/05/07 12:40:47 EDT

Forging an anvil - this can be done open die - Im sure Glenn Moon could have a pretty good go at it (even more so if he ever gets round to installing the 1000lb massey, instead of playing with the 700lb - er)

'Over the street' somone posted great photos of a step by step process for forging a mini 3" anvil 'open die' the procedure is the same for a big 'un

If you were closed die hammer forging a reasonble sized anvil you would need a BIG drop stamp - 6 ton + you would never do it in 1 hit, you would have a preform open die hammer (say 1 or 2 ton)to neck a bar down (poss 5 or 6 hits) then onto the closed die hammer - possibly 3 or 4 hits in a roughing die, and a final wollop in the finishing die. a clip press of 600 or so tons would knock the flash off.

I doubt there would be anyone on the planet daft enough to use a crank press to make a forging as low value as an anvil (which would do it in one stroke from a moderatly preformed billet) - I would guess yould easy need 4000 ton + , if youve got a press (or big hammer) of these capacities with all ancillary equipment your making commercial vehicle axles or similar in runs of tens of thousands to make the plant pay for its self.

(tooling costs might add up aswell)

Any eccentric lottery winning blacksmiths can give me a bell if they do want to set up a production line though ! :)
   - John N - Thursday, 07/05/07 13:20:23 EDT

The Best Modern Equivalent to a forged anvil is one fabricated from rolled heavy plate. Heavy plate has very nearly the same structural properties as a forging and is readily available in many alloys. The parts can be precision flame cut and then machined (horn, hardie, pritchel) then assembled and heat treated. A conical horn is easy to machine, requiring an old 30 to 36" turret lathe for large anvils. The rest can be done on a small to medium sized mill.

I have tried to convince several folks to go into the anvil manufacturing business this way. I think it would be profitable and make very good anvils. It would also allow a wide range of sizes which is something lacking in other lines today.

   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 16:56:22 EDT

I'm looking at a Buffalo drill press. It isn't a gear drive, but it is a lot stouter than my Delta: the column is about an inch bigger and the table is solid. It's at least a #3 Morse taper.

There is no table lift, and the table weights about as much as I can lift without too much trouble. The bare iron parts are lightly rusted, only a little more than browned.

The asking price is $100. Is that a reasonable price?

Any suggestions about how I would go about retrofitting a table lift? I wind up moving the table all the time on my delta as I go from small bits to big.
   John Lowther - Thursday, 07/05/07 18:11:03 EDT

PS: The spindle turns freely, & there doesn't seem to be much play in the quill.
   John Lowther - Thursday, 07/05/07 18:12:46 EDT

John, I've seen a table lift fabbed from a Scissors jack and a cheap VSR drill to provide the up and down movement. A jack designed for a car or minivan should deal with the table without a lot of ooomph needed.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 07/05/07 19:23:08 EDT

Thomas - Thanks. I was thinking of various sorts of car jacks, and had dismissed the scissors jack as having too limited a range.

I guess I could put put something like a tubular jackstand under one and adjust the range with a pin. . .

I was thinking of something comparatively exotic, like one of the old tripod and screw bumper jacks, but they are all but unobtanium nowadays anyway. . .

For that matter, the foot or 16" of a regular car model would pretty much cover drilling all but really oversize stuff. I guess a lot of the range of adjustment on a modern drill press is just because the column is cylindrical. . .
   John Lowther - Thursday, 07/05/07 19:56:51 EDT

John Lowther,
Many of the older drill presses with no table lift had an adjustable spindle support that removes the need for many table height adjustments. Look and see if there is an arm that carries the spindle, and if it is adjustable.The arm is loosened and the bottom of the spindle moves up and down. Most will allow perhaps 10" of travel on the bottom of the spindle without changing the spindel feed capacity.
   ptree - Thursday, 07/05/07 20:00:09 EDT

John L: How about a counterweight with a pulley and rope or cable? The other types are really slow to operate. $100 for something near usable doesn't sound bad.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 07/05/07 21:06:37 EDT

I have just been requested to forge some custom jewelry. The person wants iron, the design is relitavely simple and I have no doubt I can create what she wants. I have not done jewelry type pieces other than nail rings in the past. I asked her about a finish on the piece and she said it was up to me. Would you put a finish on the pieces or leave it natural?
   JLR - Thursday, 07/05/07 23:17:38 EDT

JRL, That is a tough one. If they want Iron I would use 304 stainless and leave the scale finish and wax it. Looks like mild steel, doesn't rust.

I got started in blacksmithing by looking for color case hardening recipes to use on jewelery. The color is a temper blue produced from air in a water quench. Even if you do not case harden you use the same process to get the heat without oxidizing the steel. It is not very durable and it must be kept oiled. Requires clean polished steel.

A gun smiths niter blue is beautiful if you polish the piece. You can also ask for Parkerizing. That is what is used on most flat black gun barrels. It is more durable than a bluing.

I made a series of horse shoe belt buckles. They were just cleaned and waxed. Held up well. The thing about this stuff is it does well if worn but not if just put into storage.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/05/07 23:30:49 EDT

The primary pieces she is wanting is a neclace and bracelet. I had not considered stainless, might be a good answer. My concern is being worn against the skin, many paints won't last long and the bracelet would be chipped in no time. So your suggestions are very appreciated and I will look into each one.
Thanks JLR
   JLR - Friday, 07/06/07 00:04:44 EDT


Be sure that you verify that she doesn't have any allergy to nickel or chrome if you're thinking about using stainless. There are surgical stainless steels that are supposedly hypo-allergenic, too.

   vicopper - Friday, 07/06/07 00:32:55 EDT

I was just reading about Parkerizing, health concerns for the wearer? I will have to check with her about allergies another good point much appreciated.

   JLR - Friday, 07/06/07 00:37:28 EDT

I use 316L stainless for all my jewelry that I make. 316L is implant grade steel, it used for ESFs (external skeletal fixators), cardiac stents, dental appliances and high grade body jewelry. I swear by it, use it on a daily basis and wear it myself. I agree with Jock about leaving the scale on it for that 'iron' look.

Now, the word allergy is used a lot without knowing what it really means. Technically an allergy is a reaction to introduced proteins that your body will create histamines to. The reactions vary from a simple rash to full out anaphylactic shock which could kill. Last I checked, metals do not contain protein. When someone claims to be allergic to nickel, they're hypersensitive to a material that normally is accepted by the body. There's also a bit of hypochondria involved. Probably someone got a cheap necklace that had too much copper in it and they developed skin discoloration. Doctors are quick to blame nickel, which in a pure state is not that great on the skin. I checked my certs for my 316L, it contains less than 9% nickel.

Another weird thing about the protein allergy is that your first time contact with it will not produce any reaction whatsoever. Once your body has established WHAT it is, any further contact with it will cause the reaction.

Sorry about the rant, but I have done LOTS of research into this topic and I deal with my body piercing clients about their "allergy" to steel. I have been piercing since 1993 and have performed about 15,000 piercings in my career. I have seen about 4 or 5 verified skin reactions to the 316L. You'd have a better chance at winning the lottery.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 07/06/07 09:16:16 EDT


I'm on the way out the door to invest my retirement savings in lottery tickets.

Sorry -- I couldn't resist. Your post looks well-researched and helpful, and it certainly rings true with me. But $1 for a 1:3000 shot at the big prize is a heckuva deal. (grin)
   Mike BR - Friday, 07/06/07 10:37:44 EDT


You're quite correct, I should have used the term "sensitivity". I have known a couple of people who were hypersensitive to nickel, and it was most definitely a true pathology, not hypochondria. I also had an ex-wife who *said* she was allergic to nickel and gold too, since she wanted to get platinum. I guess that made her a "platinum-digger." (GRIN)
   vicopper - Friday, 07/06/07 12:38:18 EDT

Heh heh... funny, there is a piercing shop in New Hope (about 40 miles from Philly) that doesnt see too much business, plus it's a 'ritzy' neighborhood. They INSIST on telling people they 'need' platinum or gold for their piercings because steel isn't good. A navel pierce (at our shop $45) turns out to cost them $95 and more!! What a scam. Plus, ASTM guidelines are quite clear that gold is NOT implant grade, nor 'hypo-allergenic'.

My ex-wife had "epstein-barre" syndrome, also associated with "chronic fatigue syndrome".... yeah, a nice technical term for being lazy and claiming to be sick whenever husbands want sex.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 07/06/07 13:09:34 EDT

John Lowther-- how about a garage door opener?
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 07/06/07 13:39:36 EDT

Dermititus can be brought on by any number of things and looks like an alergic reaction. Some people react to certain metals and others do not. I knew a fellow that was "allergic" to all kinds of metals except SS. He claimed it had to do with years of gunsmithing, getting is hands in metal dusts and disolved metals and such.
   - guru - Friday, 07/06/07 14:54:56 EDT

I'm forging an integral bolster knife blade from 9260 round stock. The numbers I've been able to find for 9260 indicate a maximum as-quenched hardness of about HRC 57, which is fairly soft for a knife blade. But the maximum as-quenched hardness of AISI 1060, which has the same carbon content, is about 62 HRC. And the major alloying elements in 9260 -- 2% silicon and 1% manganese -- shouldn't, to my knowledge, reduce the maximum attainable hardness of the steel. So I can't see why the as-quenched hardness of 9260 should be much different than that of 1060. What's going on here? Is my info for 9260 off? Or perhaps my info for 1060? Or are both correct, but there's something else going that I don't understand?
   Matt B - Friday, 07/06/07 15:21:39 EDT

John Lowther- Go to a thrift store or goodwill and pick up one of the easy up 115 volt chairs that lifts to help people get up. I have see them for as little as $25.00. They have an inline drive system. Then you would have a table that could be raised or lowered at the push of a button
   - ptpiddler - Friday, 07/06/07 15:23:55 EDT

We have surplus hydraulic dental chairs in our piercing shops. We got them from Temple Univ. School of Dentistry. We got them for $50 each. They have a lifting capacity of 400 pounds (with the chair removed) and lift up about 2 feet. They're from the 70's or 60's.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 07/06/07 15:40:39 EDT

How about reworking an under counter trash compactor? Nice squarish thread, forward and reverse motor, should have enough push to do some good. If the throw is not enough you could probably get a longer threaded rod for it

I'd check with plumbers or electricians to find on that was changed out.

   Thomas P - Friday, 07/06/07 16:44:44 EDT

John Lowther,

Your drill press must be a "recent model" with the Morse taper and all. I have a 1916 Buffalo catalog which shows three drill presses, all having rack-pinion-cranks for the table. I have a Buffalo drill press, gear driven, about 1919(?), and it has the same.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 07/06/07 18:28:22 EDT

John Lowther,
I was recently gifted a Buffalo drill press, flat belt drive but not a camel back. Has the mounted motor from the factory. It too does not have the table jack, but has the adjustable spindle guide I mentioned eariler. Mine is a #2 morse.
I would NOT put any powered table lift on this as any misalignment and you will probably have broken castings or a burred column. If you really need the table to lift, I would use a hand cranked device only.
   ptree - Friday, 07/06/07 19:10:26 EDT

Table Jacks. . . Like the spindle on these models which is counter weighted with a chain and heavy weight in the column. I would consider a counterbalance system attached to the flange (?). But I certainly prefer the screw or rack and pinion type built on the column.
   - guru - Friday, 07/06/07 19:19:50 EDT

Hey Nip thanks for the 316L tip. I have emailed my normal metal supply house to see what they have available along with pricing. I read on another site that 316L is lower in carbon than 316 does this have much effect in the lower reactivity to the skin? I am new to the whole jewelery scene but this is the most promising request I have ever had to actually make a profit from my hobby.

Thanks to all for your sharing your wisdom and experience.

   JLR - Friday, 07/06/07 21:49:36 EDT

I am a steal haller and wanted to know more about the steal industry what a funny web site weapons ????? Ha Ha weapons i helped deliver Vulcan (ha ha ) Barells for the war on yes a real weapon at 4000 rounds a minute they have a nice kill rate that a big knife is a tool now a days Bringing a knife to a NUKE fight is just wrong Steal for ever boys and girls
   robert palumbo - Saturday, 07/07/07 02:36:56 EDT

I am a steal haller and wanted to know more about the steal industry what a funny web site weapons ????? Ha Ha weapons i helped deliver Vulcan (ha ha ) Barells for the war on yes a real weapon at 4000 rounds a minute they have a nice kill rate that a big knife is a tool now a days Bringing a knife to a NUKE fight is just wrong Steal for ever boys and girls
   robert palumbo - Saturday, 07/07/07 02:38:44 EDT

John Lowther

A free, light duty rack and pinion is bicycle chain welded to flat plate. Or for your application maybe just the chain, the gear and hand crank and a pawl to to keep it from going back down. Like a boat winch sort of... or maybe bag he chain and just use a cheap boat winch I suppose, I have seen them used on hydraulic presses with heavy adjustable tables.
   - Leaf D - Saturday, 07/07/07 03:39:14 EDT

Hammer time!
Seriously, anyone have much to say about the Hofi system/hammers? I'm getting more serious and am considering going back to the beginning a bit and trying to discipline my basic technique. Does the system need the hammers, or the hammers the system? Would a heavier or lighter hammer be used to do comparable work?
Also, so far I've only used two faced sledges and one ball pein. I have a cross peen but I never use the peen... doing most drawing with sideways glances or the edge of the anvil. Anyone feel that a cross/straight peen is worth something that the edge of an anvil, side of the hammer face, or a bottom fuller isn't capable of doing as well (perhaps with more accuracy?)
   - Drew - Saturday, 07/07/07 06:19:00 EDT

JLR, the lower carbon just makes the steel easier to work, especially on heavier stock. I go to my local steel yard for sizes 3/16" up to 3/4". For thinner stock you can use plain 316L TIG rods.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 07/07/07 08:44:04 EDT

315L is a lower carbon grade of 316 often used in the piping industry. The lower carbon allows producing welds that are less susceptable to cracking. We used several hundred tons a year at the valve shop. Complete high pressure valves made from 316/316L. We dual stamped the forgings as they met both spec's.
In acidic service for steam coils in acid tanks( our own parkerize line) 304 would crack in a few months, and plain 316 was ok, except at the welds, the 316L was good to go.
IIRC "intergrannular stress corrosion cracking" was the culprit. Quenchcrack may have a better explanation.
   ptree - Saturday, 07/07/07 08:56:02 EDT

Dermatitis from metals exposure.
In the metals machineing world dermatitis is a real threat. We had several hundred folks that ran machine tools that were exposed to oil in water coolants and metal fines every day. We would see an explosion of cases. In these cases tha skin would resemble a burn scar, and would split into the fat layer. We would end up with the poor guys off work for up to a month, and when they came back, they would be in the same condition in a couple of hours.
Much hand wringing, research and testing, and a chance conversation with an ARMY civilian researcher led me to MY conclusion. Metal fines in the under ten micron size was in the coolant, and the fines would get into the poors of the skin and into the skin cracks from the oil defatting the skin and the person would become sensatized. Once sensatized, they would never be able to be exposed to that combo again without a quick relaspe.
The cure was several fold;
1. filter the coolant to remove those metal fines. We used a 5 micron filter. finer pulls out the emuslified oils.
2. Strict attention to the Ph of the coolant. The skin is better able to resist the ravages of the oily water at the right Ph. 8.2 to 8.7 as I recall.
3. strict attention to removal of the tramp oils to remove the food that bacteria live on. This reduces the acidic waste products from the coolant and lets the Ph stay in range. Also makes the coolant not go rank, and smell bad.
4. avoiding additions of any of the biocides and fungacides. Most of these have critical dilution rates that require lab accurcy in dilution especially in small tank sizes.

The above attention led to a zero dermatitis shop over a several year time frame. We had a 27,000 gallon central system and about 120 small systems. It took maintenance, but the reduced Workers comp costs, improved coolant life and reduced wear and tear on the employees made it all worthwhile.
   ptree - Saturday, 07/07/07 09:08:26 EDT


Yes, no, and maybe. The cross peen is handy for spreading metal, so you get more spread than draw, as in making a fishtail (flared) scroll end, for example.

Drawing with the edge of the hammer face, Hofi style, does work. However, you must realize that not all forging is done that way. There is bending, twisting, piercing, and the striking of tool heads. I saw Hofi make an oversized corkscrew that had an overhand knot in the shank. The tiny screw portion was done freehand with delicate blows. The knot and screw were done with skilled blows that had nothing to do with a drawing "system." Of course, whatever the work, the body must be postured correctly to the work being done.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 07/07/07 10:36:11 EDT

Anyone know where I can find info/illustrations on the proper way to dress various hammer faces, ie. square,cutler's, sledge,etc.

   - Mike Broach - Saturday, 07/07/07 19:56:26 EDT

Mike, I've been working on that but there are no real standards. Not too long ago all tools came dressed according to factory standards. Today many manufacturers do not and leave it up to the user. Oddly the era of poorly dressed hammers corresponded with the advent of CNC machinery that could do the job automatically . . but the export of manufacturing where the cheaper labor does not do the same job that was done by higher paid workers. . . Ironic isn't it?

Part of the trouble with giving specifics is that if I told you that a standard 3# cross pien had a 4" to 6" radius and a 45° chamfer from 70% of the width could you produce it?

Sheet metal working hammers have radii of 16" to 20" and a slightly radiused edge. These are hard to measure but are critical.

Rocker faced hammers have a radius in one direction and the edge should blend across the corners using a elipse to 1/6th the face width or radius of 1/8 the face width and slightly more on the corners.

After the factory standards then there are personal preferences.

The right was to dress a hammer is to work smooth even geometric faces then divide those in half then blend the results using an unsupported belt sander.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/07/07 23:07:53 EDT


This has been talked about and is archived, probably hard to find. A new hammer face is usually poorly dressed and has an edge chamfer leaving a "ring". I use a disc or belt sander and remove the ring. The face should have a little "rocker"; I liken it to the crystal of a pocket watch. The chamfered edge should be turned into a smooth radius. A horseshoer's rounding hammer face is slightly flatter than a blacksmiths, but it still has some rocker.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 07/07/07 23:09:22 EDT


I think hammer faces are a pretty personal thing. What works for one smith's style of hammering doesn't necessarlily work as well for another smith. SOme guys like a very narrow peen, while I hate 'em. SOme guys like rounding hammers, while I prefer a square faced hammer with a significant rocker. I happen to like HOfi/Haberman/Czech style hammers, while others say they're overrated. There are no absolutes, is what I'n saying. You have to find what works for you.

One suggestion that I'll offer on the dressing of hammer faces is this: Use a block of plasticine clay, (the stuff kids use to make greasy messes with), to test the effect your hammer face has. You can easily see what different blows will do, different rockers, angles, radii, etc. You can even use scrap wood to make mock-up hammer faces to test this on, until you find what suits you. Then do it to your hammer.
   vicopper - Sunday, 07/08/07 07:50:07 EDT

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