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Ask the Guru any reasonable blacksmithing or metalworking question. 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 August 1 - 15, 1999 on the Guru's Den

New to blacksmithing? Check out our FAQ Getting Started.

The Guru has four helpers that have been given a distinct colored "voice".
  • Bruce R. Wallace of Wallace Metal Work (purple) as of 12/98.

  • "grandpa" Daryl Meier of MEIER STEEL (green).

  • Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson, of Paw Paw's Forge and official demonstrator at Bethbara Historical Park, Winston-Salem, NC (OD green).

  • Bruce "Atli" Blackistone, asylum at of the Longship Co., color "ink" to be determined.

  • Please report any posting or retrieval problems to:

    webmaster at

    After posting and clicking on return, the page will automaticly reload and display your entry. If not then, click on LastPost after the file reloads. Your question will be answered as soon as possible.

    Your input, answers and comments on questions to the Guru are welcome.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/01/98 00:00:00 EDT
    I am new to black smithing and have just finihshed my first brake drum forge. I am planning to tackle my first big job by making a sword out of an asteriod my grandfather found. I plan to use coke from a Detroit MI company. Has any one tackled smelting an asteriod down? What kind of container do I need to melt it in? Will the brake drum forge give out before the asteriod? Is MI coke good for this sort of thing? I thank you for your help.

    Ken Bedwell

    Kenneth J Bedwell -- bedwell at Sunday, 08/01/99 05:04:06 GMT

    at the flea market here in the mountain west, a piece of asteroid the size of a postage stamp and 1/8 inch thick sells for $25. You reallllllly wanna turn that gorgeous hunk of extra-terrestrial majesty into a bunch of sparks and smoke and slag? How about sawing a slab off and trying to forge that little billet into an eency weency letter opener for starters before trying to do in a brake drum what it takes U.S. Steel or Bethlehem a few dozen acres of furnaces and ovens and rolling mills and a few hundred men including a lab full of metallurgical chemists to do?

    john neary -- jneary at Sunday, 08/01/99 05:35:44 GMT

    Ken, DON'T HURT THE ASTEROID! Many are not forgeable. Your brake drum forge IS NOT a foundry furnace! Even the most primitive foundry operations were HUGE compared to that little pot. I know guys with BIG furnaces that have spent years experimenting to learn how to make iron. On top of that you DO NOT MELT DOWN METEORS! If you do then you have nothing but a poor quality piece of junk iron. When meteoric iron is fashioned into something it is worked as little as possible to preserve the character and crystaline structure of the metal. Afterwards it is etched to display this uniqueness.

    Practice some forging of common mild steel before attempting even the simplest project from tool steel. After making tools and knives for a couple years research metoric iron. It is mined from huge strikes and sold through knifemakers suppliers. Some is forgeable some is not. That which is not is sawed with diamond saws and used as insets and for jewelery. That which IS forgeable is done very carefully and with great care.

    John, Thanks for getting there sooner than I did!

    -- guru Sunday, 08/01/99 14:29:57 GMT

    Jock, Paw-Paw, Bill Epps & everyone else that takes the time to demo on " I-forge". I wanted to take a few seconds and tell all of you --THANKS GUYS! Really like and appreciate the new I-forge page.
    Some of us folks out here need all the help we can get, and the new area gives us a lot better idea on how to accomplish some of the skills we need.

    Plain ol "Bill" -- wcottr at Sunday, 08/01/99 14:54:44 GMT

    Dear Guru,
    I bought a Vulcan anvil at a auction, it weighs around 70 lbs. It
    appears as though it has never been used. Could you tell me about
    Vulcan anvils, where they were made, and when. Should it be used
    or set aside as a antique? What would be a fair price for it? I
    wonder if I paid to much for it. Thank You, Rick

    Rick Smith -- nipride at Sunday, 08/01/99 15:10:59 GMT

    Rick the vulcan was made for 1875-1969 by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company of Carpentersville ,Illinois

    Bobby Neal -- bbneal at Sunday, 08/01/99 17:02:59 GMT

    Rick I scaned a copy from the book Anvils in America hope it helps

    Bobby Neal -- bbneal at Sunday, 08/01/99 17:22:14 GMT

    Plain ol "Bill",

    I appreciate your message, and I know the other guys will too. But I want to add that without the support of Andrew Hooper, the New Zealand blacksmith known as "Kiwi" none of iForge would have happened. At least not anywhere NEAR as quickly as it did. His computer expertise and skill with graphics has been invaluable.

    Rick Smith,

    Anvil prices are a matter of opinion, but that said: If the Vulcan is in "never been used" condition a fair price would have been anywhere up to $3.00 per pound or $210. Even $250 wouldn't have been TOO high.

    It's a good anvil, it was meant to be used. Not just admired in a museum, not ABused, but used. Take care of it, but by all means use it in good health!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 08/01/99 18:33:39 GMT

    I have a friend who is interested in doing some blacsmithing at his cabin. he is looking for some information on where to purchase the coal he needs.We are located in the St louis Mo area. his cabin is in the St James Mo area. Would appreciate any help.Thanks

    Joe Fournier -- fornea at Sunday, 08/01/99 21:01:16 GMT

    is any value to old square headed lag bolts

    ray Pellicore -- bicycle1 at Monday, 08/02/99 00:59:30 GMT

    RR Spikes, I after a good quantity, must all be of good quality as they will actually be used as RR Spikes, any ideas as to where i may be able to pick some up?... need pricing per 100 and 1000.


    Andrew Hooper (Kiwi) -- andrew at Monday, 08/02/99 03:59:05 GMT

    Dear Sir:
    I am an engineer and am interested in an occasional forge to make fittings or other items of hardware for whatever my current project is. I would like to know if there is a book on just forges. I am not an artist, or home decorator. I am more akin to my grand father who was a blacksmith for results sake. I am very interested in the parts of forges, the whys and where fors, data on size, air requirements, any background that would help in designing and building a forge. I think most of the work would be shoe box size or less, and have 1/2 inch or less thickness. It would involve welding, hot forming, and only incidently the things I have seen in these articles. An example is tools, I would probably buy the blowers, duck's nest(?), and pieces to put a forge together, I probably would buy tongs, aprons etc. Jigs and fixtures I probably would have to make. However, given good design data, I would probably design many forges after building one to get the job at hand done.

    The job at hand is to make brackets and other hardware for rigging of a portable multi-piece gin pole to use a block and tackle for erection in places where a it is not possible or practical to use a crane. In this case a basket crane for tree limb removal where felling is not possible. I have reasons why a welded plate approach is not desired . A further use would be getting rid of welding stresses.
    Thanks in advance,
    Bruce A. Foster, PE

    Bruce A. Foster, PE -- bafosterpe at Monday, 08/02/99 04:59:58 GMT

    Hi Guru,
    I have just started smithing but am a time served toolmaker. I have managed to get a grip of the basics and am begining to pick up a few commissions.

    The project I am working on is a gate. I am using a 2.5" scafold pole as a centre post (the gate is split into a single pedestrian and double car entry with the pole between) I want to draw out the post to a pointy end. Is it possible to do this without the wall of the tube collapsing under the hammer blow or do I have to weld on a solid end and draw this out?


    Best regards

    Rob aggett

    rob aggett -- raggett at Monday, 08/02/99 09:48:52 GMT

    Guru is the links page down I can't seem to get into it. Or I do but nothing is on the page but the banner.

    Bobby Neal -- nealbrusa at Monday, 08/02/99 12:47:11 GMT

    I'm a 40 year old with several trades under my belt but only new to blacksmithing. I started as a fitter and turner, can weld, know some electonics and electrical practice as well as understand hydraulics. I've made my own forge, tongs and a 2lb cross pane hammer through a local college course and am using a Peter Wright 295# at home. I want to eventually get into damascus billets to go with bladesmithing but am trying to find out how to make a power hammer. I hope this gives you enough info to point me to a book or some plans as there is very little help here in South Australia.

    I hope this is the first of many correspondances



    Trevor Ah Hang -- trevor.ahhang at Monday, 08/02/99 13:05:24 GMT

    Thanks guru's you just saved me alot of trouble

    Kenneth J.Bedwell -- bedwell at Monday, 08/02/99 15:02:46 GMT

    I need plans for a large bender or something that will bend 1" pipe into a large ring (3 ft dia). Can anyone help?

    Daniel -- irontree at Monday, 08/02/99 16:12:58 GMT

    I am trying to find a school or classes offered around my area...I live in Southern INdiana...I am close to Louisville,KY...Cincinatti,OH and Indpls, you know how I could find such a place.....Tanx so much

    Andrew -- Buadhmhor at Monday, 08/02/99 16:20:41 GMT

    Bobby THANKS! I'm not sure what I did when I reloaded the LINKS page but I screwed something up big time! Will fix ASAP.

    -- guru Monday, 08/02/99 20:36:36 GMT

    Rob: Yes it is possible to forge tapper pipe, it is a bit tricky but i have done it, 2.5" thast about 63mm, i have dome 50mm and reduced it down to 5mm, if you look at the "charcoal retort" under "anvilfire plans" you will see that the burner is 40mm and forged down to 10mm.


    Andrew Hooper -- andrew at Monday, 08/02/99 21:05:37 GMT

    COAL: Joe Fournier, Your best bet is to contact your nearest ABANA Chapter (see chapters/contacts) on the ABANA page. The local smiths will be able to tell you where to get GOOD coal.
    SQUARE HEAD lag bolts: Ray, they are hard to get unless you order them in bulk. A lot of smiths like them for decorative work.
    FORGES: Bruce Foster, I can't think of a book on forges only. Most blacksmithing references are rather general and the designs all based on what worked in the past say. . 3,000 years. About the most technical data I've ever seen was about air supply for multiple forges in a factory setting where they all ran off a common blower or air compressor. The fact is all a forge is, is a box, a fire and some air to blow on it. The twyeer or "ducks nest" can have sophisticated grates, air valves or "clinker breakers" but the best rule is to keep it simple. If you don't the fire, heat and abuse will simplify for you. The brake drum forge on the Plans is a little small for the work you want to do but all that is necessary is to increase the blower to about 250CFM and add a coal table around the drum.

    STRENGTH OF FORGED PARTS: Most of the thoughts on the superiority of forged parts was dated from the last two centuries. Modern thought (the last 25 years) is that many forged parts are actualy weaker. Properly designed and executed forgings ARE superior but poorly planned and executed forgings are not as strong as a part cut from plate or machined from solid. Shoulders on bolts are stronger machined than upset. The upsetting/cornering process pinches the grain of the metal under the head and produces a weak place where you want it to be strongest. Forge welds are only as strong as the base material when that material is wrought iron. In all other ferrous materials the weld is weaker because the weld zone tends to be a layer decarbonized pure iron OR in rare cases a carburized zone of higher carbon steel. In either case the part is more apt to fail at the weld. Even in the engineering profession old wives tales persist as fact. Consider your construction methods carefully before assuming the "old ways" were better.

    -- guru Monday, 08/02/99 22:00:30 GMT

    FORGING A TUBE: Rob, if you support the tube or pipe in a 60° or 90° "V" support block the forging upsets the tubing wall making it thicker while reducing the overall diameter. You have to work hot, rotate the work and not try to forge it all at once. It takes patience but it takes less total effort than forging solid. Some wonderful shapes have been forged from tube. NOTE: This works on most pipe (schedule 40 or greater) but may not necessarily work on thin wall structural tubing.

    -- guru Monday, 08/02/99 22:09:50 GMT

    BUILDING A POWER HAMMER: This is the place! There are no books specificaly on the subject. However, we will be publishing (on-line) instructions for designing and building your own hammer from junk. The junkyness factor is up to you. You can use all new materials if you like! Meanwhile check the anvilfire NEWS volumes 1 and 2.

    Official Sponsor of the ABANA 2000 JYH Event!

    -- guru Monday, 08/02/99 23:26:31 GMT

    Andrew there is a satalite group of the Indiana Blacksmithing Association that meets every 2nd saturday at Vernon Indiana. We're in the shop north of the courthouse and next to the museum. We would be more than happy to teach you a little and give you some hands on ex- perience. Vernon is in sou In betweeen cincy and lsville, just off hy 50. See ya there.

    KID -- N/A Tuesday, 08/03/99 01:07:54 GMT

    Hi, folks! Please do not flame this poor clueless neo, but here's my situation: I have no real experience with metalworking of any kind, but I'm a member of a role-playing gaming group and I'm about to start playing a character who has smithing skills. Our characters in this game spend a lot more "game time" in fast mounted travel through the hinterlands than they do in cities, and ideally I'd like for this character to be able to repair weapons and armor in the field. So I'm wondering if it’s theoretically possible to build a "portable smithy" that could be field-assembled and -disassembled and have its component parts carried by not more than three horses; I can’t put the smithy in a cart or wagon, because the group has to be able to ride fast and to ride across wilderness terrain. (Fortunately this is a tabletop game rather than a live-action game, so I don’t have to actually acquire, build, or operate any of this!) Thanks in advance for your help!

    Randy Hoffman -- wraith at Tuesday, 08/03/99 01:52:50 GMT

    Andrew, Listen to the KID, ABANA Chapters have a LOT to offer. There is almost always someone (or two or three) there with tools to sell. At most meetings there are demos and you get access to working shops.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/03/99 01:59:02 GMT

    Randy, Read my story Blacksmith of 1776 on the 21st Century, then check out the article on my portable blacksmith shop on the same page.

    The blacksmithing tools necessary are not that heavy. Cavalry carried small anvils (100-125#), and portable sheet metal forges (16ga) that weighed less than the anvil. The rest of your tools will be hammers and hand held tools similar to hammers, a few tongs and maybe a sledge hammer. Depending on the period you would need an air supply. A bellows or blower. The Japanese use a wooden box with a thin "piston" that was pushed and pulled with a long rod like a broom handle.

    I'd recommend reading Alex Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing for general background and maybe some historical info (see our book review).

    Hey, maybe if you learn something about blacksmithing you might really want to try it!

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/03/99 02:14:08 GMT


    I need your surface mail address so that I can mail Paw Paw's aluminium chainmail to you. Just e-mail it to the "asylum" address.

    Paw Paw:

    Do you want that to go air mail? First class? Parcel post? Also, if you send me YOUR surface address, I'll send my latest research on WBTS portable forges. One more source to go! I've got lists and drawings of all the tools, but no good list of the required supplies yet. Will try to pull the Ordnance Manual from our folks at Harpers Ferry.


    Jock has it right. The forge for the mountain howitzer unit was packed on two mules, probably a stripped down version of the standard artiillery wagon forge. I would guess a sheet metal forge, bellows, and coal bag counter packed with the hundred pound anvil, and tools and supplies on a second mount. It can be done, because they did it.

    Starting to get life going again on the banks of the lower Potomac, but it may take a while. Meanwhile, the drought continues.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Go viking: (cASE sENSITIVE)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Tuesday, 08/03/99 03:20:29 GMT

    Looking for information for my twin brother who is trying to build a power hammer.He doesn't have a computer and needs help with the clutch assembly. What kind of info do I need for you to help him? Do you have pictures, drawings, diagrams? Thanks for the help. Dan

    Dan -- DanMomMiAd at Tuesday, 08/03/99 06:06:29 GMT

    dear guru; I've got a 70# Common Sense hammer that had the casting holding the guides shattered. It was rebuilt with braising rod and a torch. There must be 15# of rod in it. I found cracks in the repair and chiseled them out. some are 2" deep. What's the right way to repair it? Preheat and use some kind of arc braising rod? Doing it with a torch is a possible but doggy prospect. That old rod must be full of zink..gaaah. Halp....Pete

    Pete Fels -- artgawk at Tuesday, 08/03/99 07:54:43 GMT


    Good to see you back!

    Parcel Post probably best. Snail mail address in email.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 08/03/99 13:13:32 GMT

    Got my roll forger going! Boy, you haven't lived till you've seen 2" bar drawn out at three and a half FEET per second! Course it takes special rolls for each thing you want to do, but man, talk about productive! Tapered pickets, anyone? Plan to start rolling "hammered" bar pretty quick, gotta satisfy the "know-nothings" desire for what looks to them like blacksmithing. Wonderful piece of machinery with a huge (3 foot diameter) diaphram air clutch and a twin disc brake. Flywheel going 200rpm that must weigh two ton. Step on the pedal and and the brake drops out and the clutch kicks in with REAL AUTHORITY, rolls turn one revolution and the clutch drops out and the brake kicks in, whole cycle takes about one second. Too much fun!

    grant -- nakedanvil at Tuesday, 08/03/99 15:32:29 GMT

    POWER HAMMER CLUTCH: Dan, A "slip belt" clutch is the simplist and also works better than an other type. I can be done with V-belts but a flat belt is better. The driven pulley should have side "guides" to keep the belt from coming off when slack. A friend of mine made one using an old multi-v-belt pulley and machined off the v's leaving the two outside edges. All that is required is a tensioner pulley attached to the treadle. Many commercial hammers came with them.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/03/99 20:52:15 GMT

    Yeah, they tried to make all sorts of neat clutch mechanisms, and NONE of them were as simple or worked as well as the ol' slack belt clutch. I really like real leather for this, but anything works. Keep the belt as short as you can for best control.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Tuesday, 08/03/99 21:21:41 GMT

    HAMMER FRAME REPAIR: Pete, A good braze job is often as good as any repair. The BEST casting repairs are generaly the expensive type -- Machine good perpendicular and square surfaces on whats left and then bolt on (custom made) replacement parts. Something half way between is often the most economical. Mild steel replacement parts fitted to good metal and brazed on.

    If the original repair was a good one to start with then there is something else probably wrong. Misaligned dies put a lot of load on the guides. Sloppy or worn guides put a lot of impact load on the supporting structure. On the other hand, 99% of all damaged to machinery is from handling (or mishandling). Broken levers, handles and frames on most equipment is from moving damage.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/03/99 23:00:36 GMT

    Andrew,thanks for the tips,unfortunately we can't use solder or any form of heat to join the silver to the oxidized nickle without changing the color of the oxidation .The way it looks now is white(silver )on black (oxidized nickle) so glue we must .I Know the glue exists I just can't find the name. I'll keep working at it .Thnx bill

    Bill Leithead -- wbl at Wednesday, 08/04/99 02:18:43 GMT


    How about one of the CynoAcrylic glues? Would they hold. I've used them to put emblems on Zippo lighters with good success.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/04/99 03:09:32 GMT


    Or one of the two part epoxies?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/04/99 03:10:36 GMT

    Part of my Father's estate is a 50 pound trip hammer. It looks similar to the pictures that you show of little giant hammers however I think it may be a Canadian version (copy). It looks fine and seems to work fine, but I don't know the condition of the machine when it comes to tolerances, etc.
    I am interested in acquiring the hammer to use, as well as for sentimental reasons since it was my Dad's hammer. I would like to pay a fair price for it. Does anyone have any information as to the price range of a 50 pound hammer? It currently runs off a line shaft but would be valued stand alone.

    Dave Schnell -- dschnell at Wednesday, 08/04/99 04:07:01 GMT

    I have two questions. First, have you ever heard of coating metal, especially for outdoor use, like railing, with linseed oil and does it harden up? Second, I want to try and do some copper work like weathervains. I need a good resource to find what thickness copper sheeting to use and the best way to aneal and pound out the shapes? I have a little ornamental iron business as a side job and have been very successful with beds, other furniture and interior and outdoor railing. I just built a gas forge last winter and do both cold and hot work. I think I have posed questions to you before. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Scott Vickrey

    Scott Vickrey -- vickrey at Wednesday, 08/04/99 07:10:55 GMT

    I am a beginning bladesmith and I need a steel that will be easy to move under my hammer,take an edge and hold it,and flex well.What would be the best kind?I need to get it from scrap resources because I have very low cashflow.

    Thank you,
    David Suitter

    Glow -- wkob at Wednesday, 08/04/99 11:43:53 GMT

    David : Automotive leaf spring is a good choice for knife blade material. Not all makes and years are the same steel though. All will make a good knife , but will require different heattreat methods.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at Wednesday, 08/04/99 12:59:08 GMT

    Dear Gurus:

    Darway is searching for a group of forges which might be asked to quote. The product is similar to pliers. Made of stainless steel. We propose to purchase in wholesale lots. Is there a published list?

    Bud Meyer -- palodent at Thursday, 08/05/99 00:03:24 GMT

    VALUE OF CANADIAN GIANT: Dave, Currently small older hammers (25#-100#) all sell for about the same price, $1,000 - $3,000US. Often there are bargains for considerably less and sometimes they sell for more if they are just rebuilt and are ready to install and use. Little Giants are always in demand but most of the lesser known hammers are better machines. Fairbanks and Bradley are the best, Champion follows close behind. Its nice when they have a motor but often they are three phase and will need to be replaced.

    Wear and tear seem to make less difference in the price than who's buying and who's selling. Things to look for:

    • Worn main bearings, use a pry bar to lift the ram up and down and look for vertical motion in the shaft. You can live with up to 1/16" (1.5mm).

    • Try to shake the ram side to side and front to back. There will always be a little motion but not much.

    • Any broken or missing parts. Most of these machines are orphans and you are on your own when you need spare parts.

    • Check the dies for cracks, chipping and spalling.

    In the end, they are a relatively simple machine. Keep it oiled. Don't beat cold metal, and it will last generations more.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/05/99 00:57:22 GMT

    I am interested in the field of blacksmithing and was wondering if my sources were telling the truth about adding powders into an alloy to help the metals bond? I dont know what the powder would be consistant of, do you?


    Ryan -- Thursday, 08/05/99 02:15:13 GMT

    Bill: The cyno acrylic glues break down with organics and moisture in time tho they are used commercially. Structural silicone might do pretty well and dont reguire a porus surface either.
    GURU; my question is more, how to repair the cracks in the existing mass of braising that was used on the origonal repair. I've Veed out the cracks (some of which are between the casting and the build up )and they are prepped to weld up. I think that the rest of the origonal repair is OK but Ill check the guide alignment as you say. Your moving damage hypothesis sounds probable.
    My remaining problem to braise up the prior braise job. It's likely that modern low fuming rod has a higher melting temp than the noxious old stuff on the hammer. Further, that's a lot of asymmetrical heat on the casting and even with preheat it makes me nervous. Would an arc type braising rod work?.......Thank you master.....Pete

    Pete Fels -- artgawk at Thursday, 08/05/99 07:18:55 GMT

    Pete, More brazing with a torch is the best way to repair an existing braze repair. The heat from the torch is relatively slow compared to arc and generaly creates less stress (low or spread out temperature diferential). The trick with brazing is in the preheat and torch manipulation. A circular movement to the puddle helps fuse old and new. Preheat prevents overheating and burning the zinc out of the brass. On castings its takes a LARGE tip, adjusted relatively soft.

    If you consult most welding references you will see that castings must be preheated on the OPPOSITE side (180 degrees on a wheel) so that both sides shrink at the same time and in the same direction. With some castings it takes a little be of study to figure out where to heat.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/05/99 13:20:19 GMT

    Ryan, The "powder" people may be telling you about is BORAX. It is used as a flux in brazing and forge welding. In use it becomes liquid and disolves the oxides while covering the metal to prevent further oxidation or burning.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/05/99 13:22:01 GMT

    FINISHING IRON: Scott, Boiled linseed oil hardens but is not a satifactory finish for outdoor use. No oil finish is, and neither is an improper paint job. See my article Corrosion and Its Prevention on the 21st Century page.

    COPPER: Copper weather vanes are normally no heavier than flashing material. What you DO have to be aware of is bimetalic corosion. Copper and steel make a good electrolic cell and the steel will disappear at an alarming rate. Make your weather vanes out of copper and brass. Use stainless if you MUST use iron/steel. Many old weather vanes were pressed in wooden or cast iron molds, often with some type of drop hammer. Repose' still works but check out Charles Lewton Brain's "form-folding" in the current news.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/05/99 21:44:25 GMT

    Dear Guru Imade an enquiry to you about a KLAFRESTROM spring hammer some time ago, however my modem packed up so i didnot recieve your answer. I have now bought the 50 lb hammer butit seems to have had habit of snaping off the hammer slide and rrar thrust quadrent, does any know of any mods or even this type of hammer that was made in Sweden any info would be greatly apreciated, sorry if I missed Your reply. This is an awsom site .thanks Pete.

    Peter Bates -- prbates at Friday, 08/06/99 09:28:06 GMT

    Peter, This is a spring helve type hammer (I think). I was sent a picture of one and should post it on the page (like a million others). They are all over the place in Sweden and are supposedly fairly durable. Machines of this nature that break things more than once may have been modified or are being improperly operated. Doing thin or small work when the hammer is adjusted for thick or tall work can over travel the springs and mechanism. Dies that are too short can create the same problem. Running hammers too fast (wrong motor/belt) can cause them to get out of sync and have the ram going up while the crank or helve is going down. This can cause enormous stresses. On Little Giants this is called the "Little Giant Hula" and is most common to those machines but is typical of all spring balanced hammers. Parts being too tight OR too loose contributes to the problem.

    On many hammers the ram guides wear at a taper. When adjusted to tighten then up they are too tight at the bottom of the stroke and actually jam in the guides. Often the machine continues to run with a jerky motion. Every down stroke is like sledge hammering the guides. Every up stroke is like the ram is bolts down and the linkage is over extended.

    Check any repairs and replacement parts carefully. Parts get put on upside down. Repairs are often at odd angles. Links get made too short. Adjustable parts get welded. You get the point. . .

    -- guru Friday, 08/06/99 12:21:05 GMT

    BEWARE! Happy99 is still making the rounds. DO NOT RUN THIS PROGRAM! If you are using a Microsoft mail product it may run itself. If it runs, your computer will be infected. See posts earlier in the month and on the Hammer-In for the cure.

    -- guru Friday, 08/06/99 12:23:25 GMT

    Are there any helve (beam) hammers in use?

    John Careatti -- john.careatti at Friday, 08/06/99 15:02:31 GMT

    There are indeed. I've got one. Mine is a Hawkeye #3 hammer.

    I am looking for other users of that hammer. Mine has a repaired spring that makes me nervous and since the cost of setup for a custom spring is about 20x the cost of each spring, I'm looking for people to share that with.

    Now for my question. What is the best thing to use for vibration isolation? I can't dig a seperate foundation so I must do my best to keep the shock from being transmitted to my floor. My shop is under the house so any shock and vibration will go up the walls and make the whole house rattle so I've got to isolate.

    Philippe Habib -- phabib at Friday, 08/06/99 21:33:33 GMT

    MASS is the best isolator of hammers. Since most old hammers are made for shorter people (like old machines in general) it doesn't hurt to jack them up. A 4" (100mm) steel plate about 24x48" (600x1200mm) adds a LOT of mass to a small hammer. Drill and tap the plate and bolt the hammer directly to the plate. Set the plate on a softwood pad. Although rubber is springy it acts as an incompressible liquid. A large sheet of rubber between two surfaces has almost no compression. Strips of rubber with air space between them has better compressibility.

    If you can't find or afford a big piece of plate you can also fabricate an "above ground" foundation from steel reinforced concrete. Fabricate a steel frame from angle, set anchors and lifting points, then fill the frame with concrete (See lowrider JYH on the plans page). A cheaper alternative is heavy timbers.

    -- guru Friday, 08/06/99 22:16:57 GMT

    Philippe Habib:

    Have you actually inquired about having a spring made? I've had special leaf springs made and the price was amazingly cheap! One example: I had two springs made that were 1/2 X 3 X 48 with 3/4 inch eyes that were bronze bushed and the cost was around $75.00. Let me know ALL the dimensions and I'll get you a quote if you want.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Saturday, 08/07/99 01:34:33 GMT

    John, There are lots of Bradley Helve's still in use. It's a testamony to their endurance.

    Philippe, you should be able to get the help you need from any local spring shop. Running a hammer with a repaired spring would make me real nervous. It's something that I would recommend you not do until you get it fixed. Whatever the price for a new spring, it's cheaper than someone getting hurt or killed!

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Saturday, 08/07/99 05:05:17 GMT

    how can I get that green color that copper turns on steel without
    using paint.

    JOE DONATHAN -- donathan at Saturday, 08/07/99 19:10:47 GMT

    Philippe, Grant and Bruce are right. Even coil springs are reasonable. I sent a drawing of a Little Giant coil spring to a manufacturer a few years ago and his quote was $125. That was for a spring with 5/8" diameter wire in a relatively tight coil. The ends had to be ground flat. Considering the value of the hammer this was cheap. At the time it was even cheaper to purchase a spring from Sid Sudemier. Of course at the time his prices were based on OLD inventory he had bought. Today the price is closer to the one off.

    Don't worry about the specs on the spring. Steel is such that any alloy will have very close to the same springyness. All you have to do is match the dimensions (length, width, thickness, ends). The spring manufacturer will temper it right.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/07/99 19:40:15 GMT

    Joe, Copper plate then patina.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/07/99 20:00:15 GMT


    Would copper plating polished steel, and then patinating the copper prevent rust on the steel>

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 08/08/99 01:56:35 GMT

    Only if it were heavy copper plate and the patinating didn't disolve through. A simple copper flash would not be sufficient.

    -- guru Sunday, 08/08/99 13:29:42 GMT

    How come you claim that linseed-oil isnīt suitable for outdoor use? Iīm not saying it is better than some modern stuff, neither do I claim it will last forever without some upkeep, but thereīs a lot of at least medievial ironwork outdoors in Europe thatīs never been treated with modern methods. Linseed-oil aplied on hot ( and I mean HOT, no blueing here ) iron will last a couple of years on its own and make a excellent ground for new coats of oil or oil-colour later. Wood-tar is an even better protector, but messier. Some 15:th century cannon fished out of lake Mälaren where fine on their tar-covered outsides but had rusted from the bore outwards.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at Sunday, 08/08/99 17:44:44 GMT

    Thank you for the answer about getting the green finish on steel.
    But most of us hobby blacksmiths don't have the equipment and there
    isn't a plater in my little community. Is there any chemical process
    that would turn the steel green?

    JOE DONATHAN -- donathan at Monday, 08/09/99 04:56:59 GMT

    Joe: How big is the item you want to give a green tinge?, if its only small rthen there is a simple household chemical solution that may work, if the item is large then you could use paint.. Combination spray pains can give a similar effect. (also some waxes/crayons can do the trick but would tend to melt in heat).

    Andrew Hooper -- andrew at Monday, 08/09/99 10:36:20 GMT


    I think Jock's point has been the matter of maintenance. It may be a particularly American attitude, but we seem to be inveterate backsliders when it comes to changing the oil, washing the car, cleaning the guns... My favorite is the people who pay extra for stainless steel reproductions of 19th century style cap and ball revolvers so that they don't have to worry about cleaning and oiling them as much. ("Let's see; you pour in the powder, tamp in the ball, fit in the lubed patch to prevent a chain fire, cap each of the six chambers on the cylinder, just to fire the revolver. Now you tell me you don't want to spend the time to clean and oil it afterwards?")

    My neighbor is after me because one of the hinges I fitted on her barn is showing some rust. (Another "Get around to it.") At a cathedral or other institution, you have folks who clean, burnish, wax, dust and otherwise maintain the gate, fence or sculpture. In the National Park Service we have procedures and schedules for non-invasive cleaning and waxing of the bronze statues that litter the battlefields, and painting or otherwise preserving the cannons (way behind on that one in some parks). It's part of our job. However, the average private owner wants the hardware or sculpture installed or erected, and then wants to have it admired, but otherwise not worry about it. Like boats, people can afford the purchase but have no idea of the cost, nor any desire to perform, the maintenance. Jock's theory is to put on a "bullet-proof" coating from the start, and not worry about explaining maintenance to the purchaser.

    Having said all of that; how hot should the linseed oil be? Parboiled in a double boiler? Raw or "boiled" (dryers added)linseed oil? I'd also love to give the wood tar (Stockholm pine tar?) treatment a try. I have a couple of "real wrought iron" pieces hanging around outside the house, untreated for experimental reasons, rusting merrily away. Time for experiments "b" and "c".

    So hot and dry that the leaves are falling off the magnolia tree outside my window. Blue sky and a hot bright sun on the banks of the Potomac.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Go viking: (cASE sENSITIVE)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Monday, 08/09/99 12:31:58 GMT

    Hello All,
    I am trying to collect plans for building a coal forge. It will be used indoors in a friend's metal shop, so there are some ventilation concerns. I'm familiar with a few different styles and could sort of "wing it", but the fellow who is helping me build it would like some drawings and specs if possible. In any case, it would be great to hear about features that people have found handy or problematic. Anyone reading this post can email me direct, too, if they'd like.
    Thanks for any advice!
    - Ann

    Ann Fleisher -- Ann_Fleisher at Monday, 08/09/99 13:37:16 GMT

    The oil can be cold, itīs the iron that should be hot, hot enough to sometimes ignite the first layer. Oil some more and hold your breath and throw whatever you are oiling out the door before it smokes up your whole shop. This works best, and looks best, on un-treated, scaly iron. Iīm using more-or-less handmade oil from a local producer, boiled for outdoor use and cold-pressed for indoor. Itīs actually not that important which kind you use, itīs just that boiled linseed oil dries much faster on hot iron than cold-pressed, so if you donīt want a thick layer you have to wipe it of rather fast before it becomes sticky. The biggest disadvantage for indoor use is that the object vill function as a very effective dust-collector if not perfectly dry.
    Hmm... maybe an alternative to vacuum-cleaners?

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at Monday, 08/09/99 16:06:11 GMT

    Bruce Blackistone, please tell me more about your corrosion experiments with "real wrought iron". I've always heard that genuine wrought iron is more corrosion resistant than mild steel. Is this true, or do we just think so because wrought iron goods were valuable and therefore maintained? How are you measuring corrosion? Also, regarding copper plating of ferrous metal, won't that be sort of "reverse galvanizing"? What I mean is, if the plating is intact, OK then oxidizing ions can't get at the iron, but if there's a scratch or other breach, won't oxidation of the iron be accelerated?

    Rob Curry -- Curry at Monday, 08/09/99 16:10:32 GMT

    Bruce (Atli): I have farm equipment-a 3 shovels a pick a (Dyng grep) no idea as to the Eng. name. Olle??.... treated in a rather brute manner against rust (by my great grandfather) he heated the pieces to a even dull red and threw them in a tar BARREL. They still have a thick scale (about 85-90%left) that won't rust. My grandfather did the same and showed me how -you NEED one barrel (about 125 litres) for a shovel otherwise it will burn like #Ī"%Ī) I use it in a milder manner for small stuff.
    Brush it on the metal clean (it must be) with a piece of steel wool (about a golf ball extra fine steel wool) firmly griped in a long handled tong IT WILL BURN (and it should)
    Try it and see yoiu may be surprised at how tough it is (it stains)
    any coments??exept the hazard warnings i mean
    good smithing all:)

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at Monday, 08/09/99 16:21:00 GMT

    Bruce, Olle - Boiled linseed oil IS paint. Clear oil paint. Grind pigment in and you have colored oil paint. Add a cobalt drier and some synthetic solvent you have faster drying oil paint (enamel). Olle, Bruce is right. In America we don't maintain ANYTHING. Sell your customer a work of art that needs maintence and it will be in the dump next year. Longevity. . The atmosphere has changed drasticaly in the last 200 years. Acid rain is disolving metal (bronze) AND stone public works that lasted a milenia but might not survive half way into the next century. Location makes a big difference too. In arid regions you can get away with almost no coating. Here in Virgina we have daily condensation (any time it is above freezing). In my shop the heavier pieces (machines, anvils) get a layer of condensation on them that is taller than any poured on water. On EVERY surface. Machines rust through fresh oil coatings. On our last two trips to the Washington National Cathedral Josh's railing was rusting and so were many of the other works. What's a "little" rust do? Well, we have NO (ABSOLUTELY NONE) of the architectural ironwork from the Late Egyptian, Classical Greek or Roman period. A little rust over one thousand years and you have nothing.

    COPPER/IRON: Joe, Iron turns RED or BLACK when it oxidizes. Plating IS a chemical process. It starts with copper flash (dip bright iron in copper sulphate solution). However, this is barely a molecule thick layer. Sandblast it, prime it and paint it.

    FORGE: Ann, Indoor forges need a GOOD vent. 12" to 14" dia (300-350mm). See the last pages of the ABANA issue of the NEWS for what called a side draft chimney. Then see the AFC issue for one in use. See our plans page for the brake drum forge. The Twyeer used is also good for a permanent forge. See also the Centaur Forge page for detailed pictures of comercial forges.

    -- guru Monday, 08/09/99 18:15:34 GMT

    Thanks for all of the advice on the hammer. I only had time to call one place for the spring and they asked me for $250 for the setup and then $10 per spring thereafter. This was for a spring with about a 3 inch OD and using 5/8 wire. 7 turns, ground on both ends. This company was in Sunnyvale CA, near where I live, and they're sitting on some of the most expensive real estate West of Manhattan. I figured I'd call around to some places in more industrial areas and get a price there. I was hoping to find others with the same hammer to help defray the setup cost. I just unloaded the new hammer out of the truck 2 days ago so it will be a few weekends before I'm able to fire it up anyways.

    Anyone have a few belt clips they want to sell?

    Philippe Habib -- phabib at Monday, 08/09/99 20:14:58 GMT

    I'm looking for info on a post or sawyer's anvil. I'm interested in bladsmithing, as well as blacksmithing.
    Any ideas where to find out more about
    such things? Internet searches hasn't
    turned up much.

    Dan Morris -- dan at Monday, 08/09/99 20:59:46 GMT

    Dan, the two anvils are greatly different.

    A sawyers anvil is roughly a rectangular block. Sometimes they look like the bottom half of a london pattern anvil. The face is hardened tool steel like a regular anvil.

    A post or stump anvil, also called a bickern, is a heavy type of stake anvil. Basicaly all horn (one round, conical the other square pyramidal) with a heavy stem or stake to support it. Bickerns were popular before modern anvils with long horns were developed. Today the nearest thing is a sheet metal stake such as a "blowhorn stake". Old ones are still fairly common in the Eastern U.S. Length, 18 to 24 inches with a weight of 50 to 100 pounds on average. Click on the image at the top of the V.Hammer-In page for a closer look at a large one.

    -- guru Monday, 08/09/99 23:30:52 GMT


    I've made springs like that right in the shop. Just wind it around a 1-3/4 inch mandrel, keep the coils tight against each other, gonna take around 5 feet of bar (1090 or even 4140, ANY good heat treatable steel). Working short heats is O.K. just pull backward a little to get it off the mandrel. After it's all wound up take a nice even heat on the middle portion and pull it open, adjust the coil spacing with a wedge that just tapers out to the distance you want between coils to obtain the needed length (remember: the spring you have is probably a little shorter than it started out). NO SHARP CORNERS ON ANY TOOLS YOU USE FOR ADJUSTING THE SPRING! Now you can cut the ends square with a chop saw and/or grind them flat. A good oil quench and draw around 800f ( hot enough to smoke a pine stick rubbed on it) and you got a new spring and some great blacksmithing experience (not to mention a good story to tell your grand-children)!

    grant -- nakedanvil at Tuesday, 08/10/99 00:46:20 GMT

    Hello Guru(s),
    I just moved to Brooklyn,N.y. from Baltimore,Md. and was wondering how to get in contact with local blacksmiths in my new home town. I am an ABANA member and have already tried getting in contact with a chapter called the N.Y. State Designers Blacksmith Guild. I have no idea where this chapter is based and would appreciate any information you could give me on chapters (or members, or blacksmiths) in my area. Again, I am in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, N.Y.. I hope this is appropriate to your column. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Rodney C. Cash

    Rodney Cash -- putouts at Tuesday, 08/10/99 04:01:48 GMT

    Thanks for your help,Iwill be sending andrew a digital photo in the post of ymy K/S hammer

    Peter Bates -- prbates at Tuesday, 08/10/99 09:38:18 GMT

    Rodney, go to the ABANA web-site. Then go to Chapters, Contacts. They will have the phone and e-mail of the local president and newsletter editor. Did you know that Hay-Budden anvils were made in Brooklyn, NY?

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/10/99 11:24:38 GMT

    I have a champion 400 forge.. I need a good design, supplier or an idea for a draft hood.. any Ideas???

    Bryan Scott Absher -- belleforge at Tuesday, 08/10/99 12:45:37 GMT

    I have a champion 400 forge.. I need a good design, supplier or an idea for a draft hood.. any Ideas???

    Bryan Scott Absher -- belleforge at Tuesday, 08/10/99 12:46:20 GMT


    You might check out centaur forge. They have 24" and 30" half hoods. As with all coal forges, the stack height and diameter are the two critical factors.

    Phil -- rosche at Tuesday, 08/10/99 17:54:19 GMT

    "Three-tined manure-fork"? That is a hard one to interpret. The tar-treatment is great for some objects, I just didnīt dare describe it to the innocents since it does, as you said, burn like Ī#*!

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at Tuesday, 08/10/99 19:47:15 GMT

    I have a champion crank blower that is in ecellent shape, but it makes an awful grinding noiz. What is a good lubrication for a crank blower? Does it need an oil bath or grease. I would like to keep the geers looking as good as they are now. Being as dry as they are I need to do something.

    George I. Pare' -- heritage at Tuesday, 08/10/99 20:24:29 GMT

    Another thing I have been wondering about is a good outdoor finish for my hinges and latches. Of course today this would not be a problem, I would simply apply spray paint. However I work in a logging camp museum from the turn of the century. It has been policy to stay away from spray paint because it is simply "not authentic". I would also rather use a more natural finish on my work. What would a logging camp blacksmith have used for a finish on his hinges. I'm not sure if an oil finish would hold up to the elements.

    George I. Pare' -- heritage at Tuesday, 08/10/99 20:34:54 GMT

    CHAMPION BLOWER: George, Any time gears make a lot of noise they are generaly worn out (so much for the good condition theory). When tight and new these devices work best on a light oil such as SAE 20W20 and do not make any noise under load. When worn they will last longer using SAE 90 or 80W100 gear oil. The gear oil would be best in a good unit too except that in cold weather it makes them difficult to crank. It also stinks.

    "Black Japaned" ie. black lacquer was a standard finish over a hundred years ago (hundreds of years ago in Japan). Most hand made barn and shed hinges were used as-is. Sometimes they had a burned on oil finish (see above several posts). I liked bee's wax. Melt your bee's wax in a double boiler, mix in about 10% by volume gum turpentine, then pour into a suitable container (paint can with lid). This makes a paste wax out of beeswax. The finish is a little gummy but can be polished after a few days. Keep the container closed or the turps will evaporate. Use the wax on a thouroughly oxidized and wire brushed surface (no loose scale). For a more permanent finish use clear Kryolon.

    Disclaimer: I do not endorse any finish for outdoor work other than the 4 step painting process discribed on the 21st Century page.

    OBTW- A logging camp blacksmith wouldn't have been making hinges. They would have been bought from someone somewhere else. The logging camp smith would have been too busy fixing and dressing every tool in sight, including repairing chains, tack, dressing wedges. . . Doubt he would get time to MAKE anything. The problem would be to determine what was the most important to fix first! Loging crews like a construction crew are HARD on tools. Things that you could not imagine breaking or bending would get broke or tied into knots. If something WAS made that needed a little rust prevention the nearest lubricating oil, bacon fat, ANYTHING would have been applied and singed off to leave a burnt oil finish.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/10/99 22:20:05 GMT

    trying to find new scrolling ideas, is thier any new sources of info. out there?

    Randy -- vicforge at Tuesday, 08/10/99 22:47:02 GMT

    Try our article on benders on the 21st Century page.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/10/99 23:19:00 GMT

    Guru, I have been in the welding field off and on {more on} since 1972 and have bet you might settle between my boss and me. He is trying to tell me that there is a "new" cutting table that uses WATER to cut metal . I say that there is a LAZER cutting table that uses WATER to cool . Please help . Thanks {RD} RadioDemon

    Dennis Lehnerz -- RadioDemon at Tuesday, 08/10/99 23:37:48 GMT


    Hmm, not really "new". Outfit down the street from me has had one for 'round twenty years! Straight water (at 40,000psi or so) is used for cutting meat, wood, plastic, rubber and other "soft" materials. Water jet cutting of steel uses the same technology. The big difference in metal cutting is that a slurry of garnet is introduced into the water stream so it’s actually a grinding process. No heat – no distortion of hardened edges. Absolutely burr free cutting with a kerf as small as .040! They cut two-inch plate or a stack of thinner plates. Same type of thing is used for cutting marble and other stone. Even with the abrasive it's known as "water jet" cutting.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Wednesday, 08/11/99 00:59:06 GMT

    Should read "no distortion OR hardened edges".

    grant -- nakedanvil at Wednesday, 08/11/99 01:32:42 GMT


    and guru,

    I'm going to put a little caveat on the guru's message. While in 99.9% of cases noisy gears are worn out, there are exceptions to the rule.

    Sometimes they just need to be adjusted and lubed.

    Quoting directly form the 1916 Buffalo Forge catalog, page 14.

    "The gears are to run in a bath of oil in an enclosed, dust and leak-proof case. The gears are to be carefully machined, and to operate on the highest grade radial ball bearings. End thrust carried on adjustable ball bearing"

    That's from the specs for a Buffalo 600 forge, with a Buffalo 200 hand crank blower with a 14" fan.

    Now, I realize that you were asking about a Champion, not a Buffalo. But the equipment is similar, and I would suspect that the operating procedures would also be similar.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/11/99 01:37:47 GMT


    I meant to add that here in N. Carolina, I operate both of my hand crank blowers with SAE 30 weight oil year round.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/11/99 01:40:10 GMT

    Jim, the problem with "adjustment" is that the noise problem is the gears wearing out of shape. Sometimes you can move gears closer together to solve this problem (partialy) but blowers are setup on "fixed centers". Worn bearings can cause gear noise by making the gears too close (over meshed) or varying in mesh (over AND under meshed). However, this rarely occurs unless the bearings have been rusted or seized up and then broken loose and run. The bearings rapidly wear out and cause noise in the gear train. Normaly the gears go first (from lack of lubrication or abuse). Then there is not much you can do. A set of relatively cheap cast iron gears would run $400-$500 US. . AND require a lot of machining and special fitting.

    -- guru Wednesday, 08/11/99 01:48:08 GMT

    Hellow out there this is my first time on line. I thought I would start out wiht people I have something in common with

    Ted Minzet -- tsminzy at Wednesday, 08/11/99 02:14:07 GMT

    Ted, Welcome to anvilfire and the world of cybersmiths!

    This is a Q&A page, we also have a general use page (the Virtual Hammer-In) and a chat (the Slack-Tub Pub). On Wednesday nights we have a live demo in the Pub. Tomarrow night Bill Epps is going to do a Rose demo.

    Then there are ALL the other pages. Enjoy your visits!

    -- guru Wednesday, 08/11/99 03:02:55 GMT

    After looking at the soap quench recipie in the virtual hammer in, the one question is: what is Shaklee Basic I?

    Tom Roberts -- troberts42 at Wednesday, 08/11/99 15:15:45 GMT


    It's a bio-degradeable soap product. Look up Shaklee in the phone book for a distributor near you.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/11/99 16:03:53 GMT

    and Guru,

    Thank you so verry much for your input it has been most helpfull. I tried a regular car oil and it was to thin, as a result it all leaked out. The blower is running twice as smooth however and I plan to try thicker oil as you sugested. Thanks again.

    George I. Pare' -- heritage at Thursday, 08/12/99 00:32:33 GMT

    Hello there,
    I have been asked by a friend to ask you how to resurface the face of an anvil. Apparently from what I have been told there are pot mark pieces missing from the strinking areas of the anvil. The owner has blacksmithing knowledge, but has never incountered this. He has had anvils at a shop he has worked in, but this one is an anvil he has acquired.

    Appreciate any help you can afford,

    Jack Mc Coy -- mccoyp at Thursday, 08/12/99 12:29:46 GMT


    I am trying to compose a cover photograph for a magazine which would depict a piece of modern technology being held by a pair of ancient-looking blacksmith's tongs. Would you be able to advise me about where I could find/rent such an implement, what it would be called, etc.?

    Thanks in advance,

    Paul DiMattia

    Paul DiMattia -- pauld at Thursday, 08/12/99 15:15:42 GMT

    The soap quench:
    Anyone got an idea what it actually does to the steel? Havenīt tried it myself,(Iīm taking Jimīs word for it) but was reminded of stories of ancient quenching mediums like leopard-blood, garlic and honey and others even less tasty. Maybe they wherenīt ALL mumbo-jumbo and wishfull thinking on the part of the ancients.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at Thursday, 08/12/99 18:53:11 GMT


    If the dents aren't TOO deep, use a belt sander, with aluminum oxide sanding belts. Start with about 50 grit, go from that to about 120 grit, and finish up with about 200 grit. The belt sander helps to keep the surface flat. If the dents are too deep for that, there is an article on re-surfacing anvils in the 21 Century section.


    Tell us where you are, most blacksmith's would probably be willing to lend you a pair, so we need to find a blacksmith close to you.


    The Salt in Super Quench raises the boiling point of the water, the soap acts as a surficant, keeping the water in closer contact with the steel, and retarding the process of the water turning to steam. So the quench is more severe than just plain water is capable of. Still doesn't work as well as the urine of a pre-puberescant red-headed boy, though. (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 08/12/99 19:37:01 GMT


    You know, there may be something to my mythical "bourbon and bleach" quench after all! Alchahol is a wonderful wetting agent, although the boiling point is a little low. At any rate, the blue flame would sure be impressive at evening demonstrations. I could demon-strate with demon rum, perhaps. So if the rapidity of quench runs: super-quench, brine, water, and oil, would a bourbon quench be to the gentle side of oil?

    This is actually more than an academic question, having recently come into half a case of stock, which is more than I could consume (safely and healthily) in several years. I'm willing to sacrifice a couple of 5ths in the name of science and blacksmithing.

    Dried out again on the banks of the Potomac (the weather, not me!)

    Visit your National Parks:

    Go viking:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Thursday, 08/12/99 20:02:35 GMT

    Bruce you won't find a real blacksmith that would such a thing to an acholic beverage. Sacralige!!!!!!!!!!!

    KID -- N/a Thursday, 08/12/99 23:22:17 GMT

    Here's the question. I have a friend who does metal sculpture and wants to speed up the rusting process. I am wondering if there is a simple recipe for "browning" like they used to use on gun barrels. As a gun owner, the idea of intentionally rusting something makes me break out in hives, but in this case it's actually appropriate. Can you help? Thanks!

    Joan Taramasso -- JTaramasso at Friday, 08/13/99 00:50:12 GMT


    NO! DON'T waste the bourbon! What a terrible thing to suggest for a noble beverage!

    SHAME on you!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 08/13/99 01:03:35 GMT

    Anvil-Cam is about to be launched, On (Sunday 15th August at 10am New Zealand Time) (Saturday 14th August 5pm Central, 6pm Eastern, 4pm Mountain or 3pm Pacific) Anvilfire will broadcast a Live Blacksmith Workshop in action, The Images will be broadcast from New Zealand, and the Forge is located at the Howick Historical Village in Auckland.

    Everyone is welcome, the address for the broadcast is

    See you there.

    Andrew Hooper -- andrew at Friday, 08/13/99 05:49:01 GMT

    Jim (et al)
    Thanks for your response to my photo inquiry. I am located in Boston

    Paul DiMattia -- pauld at Friday, 08/13/99 14:05:12 GMT

    Bourbon Quench:

    What can I say? We're barbarians, after all, so there's still the possibility of sippin' the quench after the experiments. Sort of like a hot toddy. REAL hot, and certainly sterile.

    You can pull up an article on the Blue Blazes whiskey still (in Catoctin Park, near Camp ["I sipped, but didn't drink."] David) at:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Friday, 08/13/99 15:47:49 GMT

    Joan, There is slow rust and then there is FAST rust. Chlorox bleach will give you a couple hundred years worth in a few days. Dilute about 50/50 with water for controlability in hot weather.

    -- guru Friday, 08/13/99 22:04:47 GMT

    Dirk? does it have a false edge or is both edges sharp.

    Small scotish knife? used for eating , cared in cuff or stocking name and pronouncing it ? Thank you

    Walter Haley -- chaley at Saturday, 08/14/99 22:14:51 GMT

    Dear Guru,

    My husband has been talking about building a blacksmith shop for hobby use , for a couple of years and is getting serious about doing something about it.

    Is it worthwhile to seek out used equipment or better to
    buy new?

    Is there a good source of information that includes safety and the basics of forge work, for enthusiastic neophytes?

    Any advice you can throw our way is greatly appreciated!

    Anne Moss

    Anne Moss -- JTMVMD at CHESCO.COM Sunday, 08/15/99 01:23:04 GMT

    Can you help me locate information about women blackmiths in the 1700s and 1800s? Doing some research about women in various trades.

    Many thanks,


    Stan -- stant at Sunday, 08/15/99 05:12:46 GMT


    I have seen dirks with one sharp edge, and I have seen double edged dirks.
    As for the stocking knife that would be a "Skean Dugh"

    Ralph Douglass

    Ralphg -- ralphd at Sunday, 08/15/99 06:20:52 GMT

    Anne, Used equipment is often the only equipment available in this field although new sources are becoming available every day. All the basic equipment is available NEW. See Kayne & Son and Centaur Forge. New equipment is less expensive than used if your time is worth anything.

    Most of the new books on modern blacksmithing such as Edge of the Anvil and Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork cover many of the safety issues. See Getting Started and our Book Shelf page for details.

    -- guru Sunday, 08/15/99 17:45:48 GMT

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