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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 16 - 31, 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.

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    -- guru Saturday, 08/01/98 00:00:00 EDT
    what would be the most inexpensive but still efficient method of building a forge so I can get started

    yancafis Monday, 08/16/99 03:11:35 GMT

    See the Brake Drum Forge on the plans page. The parts can all be reused later to build an even bigger and better forge when you are ready.

    -- guru Monday, 08/16/99 03:28:10 GMT

    HI There from New Zealand

    Tui -- tuis at Monday, 08/16/99 09:03:00 GMT

    Im a 27 year old looking to some blacksmithing and knifemaking. Im in the process of getting started building my shop. I was wanting to know what would be a good brand anvil, the poundage i would need, and the amount of $$ i would be looking to fork over. Thanks in advance. Chris

    Chris Anderson -- barret50 at Monday, 08/16/99 09:15:48 GMT

    I was wondering in morter would work as a lining for a homemade forge.

    Heath Lindholm -- flippside at Monday, 08/16/99 14:29:51 GMT


    There are a number of brands of good used anvils. A few are Hay Budden, Peter Wright, Mouse Hole, Wilkinson, and Fisher Norris, but there are others. A used anvil in good or better condition will probably run you at least $2/pound. A couple of new anvils I like are Peddinghaus (which Kayne and Son and Wallace Metal Work sell) and Laurel Machine and Foundry anvils ( I think the minimum weight for a usable anvil is 120 pounds.

    Phil -- rosche at Monday, 08/16/99 19:20:40 GMT

    Chris, Phil is right. Peddinghaus is the only forged anvil made today. The other brands in cast steel are good when properly heat treated. Check the 21st Century page and read the anvil series before purchasing a used anvil. There are a lot of good ones out there but there is also a lot of junk. Don't buy cast iron anvils!

    Poundage depends on the type of work you want to do. For general purpose iron pounding a 120 to 200 pound anvil is good. If you are going to do serious heavy work (architectual) then you want 200 pounds and up. Small hardware, cutlery and that scale of work can be done on a 75-100 pound anvil. Two things to remember, ANY anvil is better than no anvil and you get what you can find. Unless you can afford new, don't turn up your nose at any size anvil. You can always sell or trade up.

    -- guru Monday, 08/16/99 22:36:50 GMT

    Heath, Mortar can't take the heat. For high temperatures, refractories are made with clays that are "high aluminia". That is, they are mostly aluminium oxide. High temperature cements have the alumina and a small amount of a Portland cement binder and some other things that still work at high temperature.

    Most small coal forges don't need a lining. Gas forges can be lined with refractory bricks or "moldable refractory" (like cement but high temperature). They are also lined with Kaowool. For high temperatures all these products should be purchased from a foundry supplier.

    -- guru Monday, 08/16/99 23:21:35 GMT

    Hi, i have a three y. o. thoroughbred colt that had won two starts very impressively. Then he started cutting just inside hte lower part of his near knee...i believe with the outer quarter of his near hind hoof. The vets have not been able to find any soreness or a reason for him to be compensating his stride. Can you suggest a way that he might be shod to correct ?...
    Thanks, Glenn

    Glenn Mendez -- glendez at Monday, 08/16/99 23:58:52 GMT

    Glen take those Louisiana grabs off the front of the colt. and raise the angel of his hoof

    Bill Epps -- B-Epps at Tuesday, 08/17/99 01:13:35 GMT

    We found an old leg box vise and am interested in how it works and how it's mounted. It has a different kind of spring then what is dispalyed in a recent catalog. Thanks, any info will be helpful and appreciated.

    Mike -- Guerrazzi at Tuesday, 08/17/99 03:06:40 GMT

    wtb hossfeld No. 2 w/in 1/2 day's drive of Santa Fe. Reasonable, no trolling, please. thanks.

    john neary -- jneary at Tuesday, 08/17/99 04:55:23 GMT

    Mortar as a forge lining- A coal forge is a fairly simple device. I known a sand mix of portland cement will make a good base for a coal forge. Many coal burning forges in eastern Va. were simply a concrete dish with blower attached. As long as you can get a nice deep fire the container should not get that hot. The heat in a coal burning forge is concentrated above the air blast. Gas and oil forges require refractory.

    John -- john.careatti at Tuesday, 08/17/99 12:05:49 GMT

    I'm looking for information on the game of QUOTES. It was used by the Lewis & Clark expedition for exercise in the Mandan Village.It is like horseshoes but uses a ring instead of shoes. Im looking for the diameter of the ring.

    R.L. DACK -- dackattack at Wednesday, 08/18/99 04:24:37 GMT

    R.L. - I had always heard the game called "Quirts". We made quirt "sets" at Colonial Williamsburg, for the Colonial Games that took place at Christmas time. We made the quirt rings out of 3/16"X3/4" flat bar. We made them the same size as our round trivets, so that would be 22" of stock, ending up in a circle about 7" in diameter.

    Phil -- rosche at Wednesday, 08/18/99 11:56:20 GMT

    R.L.- Boy, no spelling bees are being won here. It's Quoits. If you have access to the Internet, try the search engine, type in Quoits and go fetch. Plenty of info and pictures available.

    Wayne -- wlpier at Wednesday, 08/18/99 14:09:07 GMT

    I'm beginning to build riveted European chain mail armour in my apartment and its back balcony. I need normalize the rings at several stages of production. What would be best in my situation to do this? Mapp torch, tiny kiln, tiny forge. Where would I get one? I may want to cast my own silver beads and such for renaissance jewelry, too.

    Matthew Ransom -- spiritflight at Wednesday, 08/18/99 14:52:47 GMT

    Last year you attended a hammer-in at my place, along with Bruce Wallace and Josh Greenwood. At the event you watch Hap Fisher demonstrate Pewter Spinning, you also posted digital photos of Hap at work in the ANVILFIRE. Hap was a true artist not just in Pewter but also Blacksmithing. Unfortunately he passed away August 16, at the age of 94. I wanted to find out if you still have the digital photos that you took last year, and if so can I get a copy disc? Hap was my mentor and was also like grandfather to me. Thank You, Dave

    David Fisher -- fleetref at Wednesday, 08/18/99 16:12:38 GMT

    Hi, I am new to blacksmithing and just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina . I am now a woman without a forge. I am looking for other blacksmiths in the area that I might contact. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Anna Kieffer

    Anna -- akiefferbirdy at Wednesday, 08/18/99 18:00:15 GMT

    Where can i buy the small drill bits and chuck adapter used in making a gas burner. I'm making my first forge. What kind of flexible hose can i use for propane. I've just bought my oxy-ace. stuff and am learning to use it.Thanks for any help.

    Tom Black

    Tom Black -- vango at Wednesday, 08/18/99 18:20:03 GMT

    What is a reasonable price to pay for a nineteenth edition (1973) of Machinery's Handbook in very fine condition. (If it was used, the previous owner washed his hands very well first.)

    Bob Rackers -- rackersr at Wednesday, 08/18/99 19:51:01 GMT


    The September meeting of NCABANA will be held at Vega Metals at 214 Hunt Street in Durham, NC.

    The Western North Carolina Blacksmiths (a chapter of NCABANA) meets the 2nd Wnenesday evening each month at Steve Kayne's shop in Candler, NC.

    If neither of those is possible for you, contact me email and I'll give you the rest of the NC meetings. There are seven NCABANA chapters, so one of them is bound to work for you.

    Bob, the 19th edition doesn't have nearly as much informations as the editions prior to the 18th. The 17th editions (the one I have) is the last to have all of the Blacksmith information. That said, the 19th edition would still be of value, if only for the information on the various heat treating methods, etc. But I wouldn't pay over $40 - $50
    for it.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 08/18/99 20:46:26 GMT

    Tom Black,
    I got my drill bits and the adapter from a tool store. No,not a hardware store but one that only sells tools. Total cost for 5 bits and adapter 5 dollars. It turned out that I did not need all the bits.
    Did not break a single one!

    ralph -- ralphd at Wednesday, 08/18/99 21:21:49 GMT

    I have ammassed most of the materials for the JYH rear axel hammer. I have a few questions. 1. What is the best way to use the hammer longer stroke heavier weight or shorter stroke and lighter weight? 2. What was the weight of the hammer in the peototype shown on the hammer page? and last but not ;east what shock did yoou use and what was its bolt size? I don't care what make just it specifications.
    Also if I used a larger motor could I conceivably use a hevier hammer.
    Thank you for any info you can give me. I will take pictures and a progress report if your interested.
    Thank you. Thomas laman

    Thomas Laman -- tlmn at Thursday, 08/19/99 04:49:35 GMT

    HAP FISHER (1905-1999) Dave, Sorry to hear about your (our) loss. E-mail me your mailing address and I'll send everything I've got. I'm afraid that in the low light many of the photos were out of focus but I'll send them anyway. webmaster at

    -- guru Thursday, 08/19/99 12:15:28 GMT

    NORMALIZING, Matthew, It is very much the same a annealing which is what you actualy want to do, make the steel as workable as possible. For small stock or an assembly of small pieces you probably want to do it in an air tight container. The entire container is brought up to the critical point (non-magnetic) and allowed to cool as slowly as posible. This is similar to case hardening except in case hardening the container is filled with crushed charcoal to provide carbon. In your case you might want to fill the container with dry powdered lime, or vermivulite to keep the air from oxidizing the work. The container can be a box made from 1/8" (3mm) steel plate or ceramic.

    An option (albiet expensive one) is to wrap the parts in stainless steel foil. This can be purchased from a heat treaters supply or McMaster-Carr.

    A small atomospheric propane forge is quiet and inconspicuos. NC Forge's makes a varried line including a little single burner unit called a Wisper Baby. Check with Kayne & Son or Centaur Forge

    Many folks build their own but I do not recommend it in your environment. The little forge above is about the same a propane barbque (but a LOT hotter). Check to see if a gas cooker is allowed before buying the forge.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/19/99 12:59:39 GMT


    Seen a lot of guys doing this work just using a hand-held propane torch like a Berz-o-matic. Building a small chamber out of refractory fire brick like you can get at pottery supplies will save a lot of fuel. Try to point the torch in so the flame swirls around the box inside. Using a box of some sort like Guru is sugesting will help to eliminate scaling. Even table salt works good to protect the work. I forget what temperature the salt melts at, but once you get it melted in a little steel cup you can dip a bunch of rings in strung on a wire and they will get hot real quick. Bring them out and put them it a box of talc (un-sented baby powder) to slow cool. The excess salt will rinse off with hot water.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Thursday, 08/19/99 16:17:49 GMT

    Hey, I LIKE the scented baby talc! Used it for refractory in some molds for pouring bronze. Smells great when drying in the oven. . .

    One of C.W. Amen's recipes for core sand binder uses molases. Claims to let less complaints from the wife when baking cores in the kitchen oven. . .

    -- guru Thursday, 08/19/99 18:02:48 GMT

    OBTW- Be careful not to confuse corn starch with talc. Both come in the same shape and color containers! A few years ago on a movie set the products were confused. Talc was being used to fill fire extinguishers for use in the scenes. When the corn starch hit the flames "whoom!". Several actors were burned and it scared the heck out of everyone.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/19/99 18:07:32 GMT

    I am the blacksmith at a living history musuem. I have noticed that the local coal somtimes burns with a green flame. I am assuming it is copper. Are there copper deposits in some coal seams. I am in WV by the way.

    Tannis -- celtoi at Thursday, 08/19/99 22:28:52 GMT


    Actually, that is probably sulphur burning off. It may be copper sulphate. WV coal frequently has both. I'm in NC, but was born in Malden, WV. The coal that we buy down here comes from up there. (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 08/20/99 00:59:36 GMT

    Hope you can help this artist blacksmith from Ireland.
    We want to patinate stainless steel sheet and get as many interesting colours as possible. We have forged stainless steel in the past and used heat but as this is sheet, we need to use chemicals. Our problem is that we do not know what chemicals to use !!
    Thanking you in advance,

    Edward Bisgood -- bushypark at Friday, 08/20/99 09:25:03 GMT

    Can I line a gas forge with fire-clay? And is mortar clay the same as
    fire clay? All the hardware stores I asked said mortar clay is fire clay. What should I do? I do have access to kaowool, but only the 2300 degree type. Thanks for any help.

    Jesse Escobedo -- esfam at Saturday, 08/21/99 03:25:07 GMT

    has anyone got any information on alldays & onion power hammers 1935 model 3cwt thanks lloyd

    lloyd -- Saturday, 08/21/99 06:27:06 GMT

    I am looking for a suppler of 4140 tool steel. I live in southwestern part of Virginia.

    william phelps -- ironclay at Saturday, 08/21/99 11:03:49 GMT

    4140 Can be purchased from many steel service centers. Try the Roanoke phone directory. You can purchase small stock from McMaster-Carr (see their link on the links page) or larger quantities from J.T. Ryerson and Sons out of Baltimore. Ryerson delivers throughout Virginia on a weekly basis.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/21/99 16:36:38 GMT

    Lining a gas forge. Hardware store refractories will be marginal at best. If they can't tell you exactly what it is, the temperature rating and applicable uses then I wouldn't waste money on it. Moldable refractory from a foundry supplier is the cheapest solution and works well. Fire-clay comes in various grades. Alumina determines its temperature resistance. There are great variations in "fire-clays". Some is suitable only for use in a domestic fireplace while others are used for foundry furnace linings.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/21/99 16:43:06 GMT

    Guru : I am a total beginner, but eager to learn because I would like to make my own knives etc. on top of collecting. I would like to know how I might turn an old gas grill into a forge. I would also like instructions on building a pit forge. Thanks for your help in advance.

    Robert -- bodhi at Saturday, 08/21/99 16:53:44 GMT

    Robert, Few of the parts in a gas grill are suitable for a forge unless you are building a VERY small one. The regulator limits the volume of gas thereby the maximum BTU. The best instructions currently on the web for building atmospheric gas forges can be found on the Ron Reil page (see our links). For "pit" type forges see my article Blacksmith of 1776 on the 21st Century page.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/21/99 22:21:59 GMT

    Hello Guru,I have been a sheetmetal fabricator / welder for 11 years and for the last 4 years I have been teaching myself from books and trial and error the art of blacksmithing. I have a small workshop with a forge at my home in which I have made a selection of things.
    In June of this year I was commissioned to design and make a metal tree, standing 10 feet in height by a local landscape designer, to be used as the centre piece for his display at 'The House and Garden' exhibition at Olympia in London. It received a lot of interest and I have been commissioned to make several other pieces by people who were impressed by it.
    My problem is:- I cannot whatever I try, work out how to make a basket/cage that is not misshapen, especially using only one piece of steel. It is something that is really annoying me and I hope that you can put me out of my misery.I look forward to hearing from you.

    Tony -- scroll_man at Saturday, 08/21/99 22:27:34 GMT

    Tony, although you CAN make a basket twist from solid it is much easier to make them from several bars welded together. The big mistake is trying to twist and open at the same time.

    • First heat, twist the bars in a tight closed twist.

    • Second heat (if necessary) untwist the bars and watch it open up! Tap axialy a little if desired and make final adjustments.

    In the first heat the outside of each bar is stretched. When opening, the stretched bars want to retain their curve. Viola' a perfect basket twist!

    If working from solid the technique is the same. However, it takes great skill to make the splits. Mark all four sides carefully before starting. Use center punch marks to indicate the ends and a cold chisle to mark the cuts. Accurate layout is important. Clean and debur the inner edges before closing and twisting. Yep, you've got to be really anal to do this one right.

    In round stock five or more bars looks best. I stack the bars and use a hand fitted core bar when making a twist from five pieces. The short core bars in the welds at the ends keep the bundle round and from collapsing.

    -- guru Sunday, 08/22/99 00:32:16 GMT

    Robert; gas grills:

    Old gas grills may not do for forging, but I've used them to put a fire blue on arms and armor; and to heat cookware and candlesticks so that I could apply oil or oil and beeswax coatings to them. Just stash it for now, and you'll find further uses for it.

    First night back at the forge in a long time, due to weather, work and family situations. Cooler and humid on the banks of the lower Potomac, and finally a little rain.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Go viking: (cASE Sensitive)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at Sunday, 08/22/99 04:32:08 GMT


    Good to have you back. Hope everything is coming together for you.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 08/22/99 11:56:03 GMT

    Hi Guru,I am writing again to thank you for the excellent instructions you gave me last night on how to make baskets / cages. I gave it a go today and I was delighted with the results. I am sure that I will have more questions in the future, bye for now from England.

    Tony -- scroll_man at Sunday, 08/22/99 20:50:21 GMT

    Guru what is a English wheel used for?could it be used for forming vaines in large leaves?? also would it work for hot work????/

    Bill Epps -- B-Epps at Monday, 08/23/99 00:31:19 GMT

    Hi Guru, I'm a newbee. How can I join two peices of copper together? I know how to solder it with 60/40. But I want to join it so the joint won't show. I'm trying to make some right angle copper pieces to put on picture frames. Do you know a source for copper sheets?
    Thanks a bunch from Alabama. Are you going to Tannie Hill State Park Sept. 10-12? (Between B'ham and Tuscaloosa Al.)

    Tom Black
    vango at

    tom black -- vango at Monday, 08/23/99 01:34:46 GMT

    Tom Black,

    I think the guru and I will both be at Tannehill.

    Check your local supplier for gutter and downspout material. They usually have at least two grade of copper sheet.

    There is a web site that sell rivets. Can't remember the URL at them moment, but they do sell copper rivets. Both the "pop" rivets, and regular rivets.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 08/23/99 01:42:30 GMT


    The rivet supplier that I couldn't remember is located at:

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 08/23/99 01:53:14 GMT

    Hi, Can you please help me with bending stainless steel.
    Do I bend it cold, or do I bend it hot (red hot ? ) ?
    If hot ,do I quench it ( oil or water ) or do I let it cool.
    My experience is several years of welding & machining
    as a hobbyist. Thankyou in anticipation Cheers...RMS.

    Rowan Smith -- rmsmith at Monday, 08/23/99 02:08:29 GMT

    What is a good cheap scource of 1050 steel. I'm working on an extremely limited budget.


    Rob -- albagobragh99 Monday, 08/23/99 04:24:27 GMT

    Bill, An English wheel is used for forming sheet metal. I have seen them used mostly in the auto body trade for making body panels and parts. I'm not too familiar with how they work but I guess there are other application they could be used for.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Monday, 08/23/99 06:23:32 GMT

    Hi; This question is for a project my son is workingon. He is an architect but is well versed in metal sculptures, etc. I'm a retired EE who had a small jewelry repair business. He is looking for info on patinas for an aluminum project he is now working on and I volunteered to help. Hopefully you may know of a source. Thanks, Roger

    Roger Trudeau -- rogertrudeau at Monday, 08/23/99 18:07:28 GMT


    I am vitually clueless regarding the iron-forging process, but I have an important question. I am a collector of Plains Indian weapons. Every now and again, I encounter mid-19th-century iron trade items, such as iron spikes and triangular blades, that are attached to the heads of well-used wooden war clubs. These iron items are weathered, pitted, and oxidized to mostly brown but have a distinctly bluish tone to the fresher, relatively unoxidized surfaces. What does this blue to gray-blue color come from? Could it be part of the forging process when these trade items were made by white blacksmiths and other metal workers? Thanks very much!

    Tucker Hentz -- tucker.hentz at Monday, 08/23/99 20:05:13 GMT

    well,being bran new to the world of black smithing i was wondering where is a good place on the internet to buy an anvil

    Raylin Wiggin -- carasse at Monday, 08/23/99 21:49:58 GMT



    BILL RICHMAN -- WRICH at AOL.COM Monday, 08/23/99 21:58:43 GMT

    I'm just getting started on bladesmithing so please bear with me on the terminology I've only been researching for 3-4months on the trade. Got any helpful hints? Oh yeah....What is the average price for a medium carbon alloy steel (like around 1050)?

    Robert -- albagobragh99 at Monday, 08/23/99 22:26:53 GMT


    I am guessing Troy is in Eastern Oregon? How far from Boise are you?
    I know of several smiths in the Boise area, and most use coal at least part-time. In the links page there is a link to Ron Reil, go there and email him about a coal source.
    For that matter I think the Guru has a coal source page.
    On the west side of Oregon we get our coal from a farrier supply house in Beavercreek, Or.


    ralph -- ralphd at Monday, 08/23/99 23:47:26 GMT

    Newbee question again...This may sound stupid, but how do I get propane from the tank to the forge I am building? I would like to use a regulator with a gauge. I understand that I can use the one off my newly aquired acetelyne tank and it will work ok. All these weird thread sizes, reverse threads, etc.etc.... I'm going to end up with $100. in adapters.. Does anyone recommend an electric selenoid cut-off in case of an emergency so you could flip a switch and instantly cutoff gas supply? (thanks pawpaw for the previous help).

    Tom Black

    Tom Black -- vango at Monday, 08/23/99 23:52:29 GMT

    My husband is 44 y/o and is interested in learning how to temper steel. He works as a tow truck operator and mechanic. In the tow truck business, he wants to try to make tempered steel. Do you have a book(s) that would help him get started?

    lavern brooks -- jlbrooks at Tuesday, 08/24/99 01:24:36 GMT

    I am so new to metal working it is pathetic....what i am wanting to find information on and learn how to do is making my own coins for a medieval group i belong to. Where do i find pewter? how do i melt it down? what kind of molds can i pour it into? clay? wood? what is best? how long does it take to cool and harden? anything you can give me on how to do this and where to find history of that type of work would be greatly appreciated.....


    shelaine -- dame_shel at Tuesday, 08/24/99 03:29:03 GMT

    Tom Black,
    re: propane forge.
    Get a high pressure reg for propane(0-30psig) and also get a gage to read that pressure range. I got mine from a local supplier of propane equipment. Plus a 5ft hose. All said and done it cost $35.00 In fact it is my most spendy item so far. Old gas grill propane tank(free out of the dumpster) as the forge body, $10.00 of black pipe for burner, and tomorrow I pick up Kao-wool at the best possible price(free)to line the forge. Now I just need to scavenge/scrounge some fire brick to make end caps(adjustable) and final assembly!

    Ralph -- ralphd at Tuesday, 08/24/99 04:11:13 GMT

    Tom Black;
    Centaur Forge sells a LP gas regulator for $28 US and a gauge to go with it for $8.75.A propane dealer may be even cheaper than that.
    Get a variable pressure reg.,mine goes from 0 to 30 psi.You can sometimes find a reg like that on tiger torches at garage should get a gasfitter to check out the garage sale ones.
    If you want your forge to be portable,you will have to buy a hose,depending on where you buy them, they can be a little expensive,get a good one.If the forge is going to be fixed in one place then copper tubing and flare fittings will do the job at considerably less cost.If you are using a hose make sure it is placed so hot things can't land on it.
    For a shut off, a ball valve(or two)should be put on the gas line.Mine is up next to my forge, but you can put it anywhere in the feed line.
    An electrical switch would probably be expensive and complicated to set up.If you have to flip a switch you may as well turn a ball valve.
    Remember one thing above all,SAFETY FIRST!

    Paul DiMaggio -- dimag at Tuesday, 08/24/99 16:39:44 GMT

    I would have to fall into the bright eyed teen category seeing as how i have no experience whatsoever. I am not looking too build a portable forge just a plane and simple backyard forge with all the fixens'. Some details on what types of metals are best to use and were to find them would be great. I have the anvil and several other tools,I just need some basic blacksmithing blueprints. Thanks.

    Tim Blevins -- Monica789 at Tuesday, 08/24/99 21:10:29 GMT

    SORRY TO ALL FOR THE BACKLOG! I've been busy elsewhere. . .

    ALUMINIUM PATINAS: Roger, I get a LOT of questions lately about the patination process. The problem is that the color is produced by oxides or sulfates of the metal. You can not get bronze greens and blues on iron or aluminium. Aluminium oxides are primarily white or black. Oxides of iron are red, orange and black.

    Aluminium can be anodized. In this process the surface is oxidized with acids then dyed with laquer based dyes. Almost any color can be achievied. The aluminium oxide surface is very hard and durable. I've never heard of an artist using the process but I've thought about it and I'm sure it has been done.

    Check the ASM web site (see our links). They will have books on anodizing.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/24/99 21:46:52 GMT

    Bill, Bruce is right. Try this link for more info on English Wheels

    Tucker Hentz, That blue-black is the color of freshly forged iron/steel. It is a type of anhydrous iron oxide scale that forms when the steel is heated for forging.
    Raylin Wiggin, THIS IS IT! These anvilfire advertisers sell new and used anvils. Check with Kayne & Son, Bruce Wallace or Centaur Forge

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/24/99 22:00:50 GMT

    Tim Blevins, Get the books recommended in Getting Started at the top of this page. Also check out the article on the brake drum forge on plans page.
    Shel, Coin making is a very old craft. Most coins are made using a great deal of force on cold blanks. Dies are made of tool steel. Limited production coins CAN be cast.

    In the casting process you will need to heat your metal to the melting point (+700-800F for tin Pewter, 850 for zinc and hotter for silver/gold). You will need crucibles to melt your metal in. Jewelers use small disposable ones. Artists and founders use larger more expensive graphite crucibles.

    Permanent steel molds can be used but they are quite expensive to make. Disposable plaster molds would be best for your purpose. First you will need to make a master pattern in wax, metal or plastic. It would be used to make two piece plaster molds with a pouring hole (sprue) and vents. The master coin would be set halfway into oil clay along with pieces to represent the sprue, vents and alignment pins. This is done in a "mold box". Then plaster is poured in and alowed to set. The box is then turned over and the clay removed. Plaster is then poured in this half. A parting agent (soap) is used to keep the plaster from sticking to the parts or the other half of the mold. When the plaster is set the mold is opened and the parts removed. Tada! You have a mold. In a production two hard plaster master molds are used to produce the two halves so that the master pattern and oil clay is not necessary.

    The mold is then "calcined" this is baking to remove ALL the water including a lot bonded in the plaster. This is done at around 1,100F. While the mold is being calcined the metal is melted and then poured into the hot mold. When the metal has cooled (minutes) the mold is broken open and there is your nasty crusty looking part. It will need to be cleaned and polished to look lik anything valuable.

    If you are not familiar with the mold making process you can learn some of the skills in a ceramics class. A fellow named C.W. Amen has written dozens of books on the foundry process that are all very good. They will help you understand the processes. See the link to ArtMetal on our home page. They have lots of Jewlery resources that are the scale you want to work in.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/24/99 22:53:41 GMT

    Lavern Brooks, Tempering steel is part of the "Heat Treating" process. I could explain it here (for the thousandth time) but you would be better off if you got a copy of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. It would be a nice gift to your husband (about $75 new, $25-$50 used in good condition). You can also borrow them from the library.

    The problem with describing the process is that it it very dependant on the specific steel alloy and there are tens of thousands of alloys. When he has studied the subject a little and can ask his own questions I be glad to be more specific.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/24/99 23:01:00 GMT

    GAS FORGE REG HOSE QUESTION: Tom Black, I use a solenoid valve on the forge I built. It also has auto ignition, a fan with a delay before the gas comes on and a dwell-on dwell-off feature. Parts were about $400 without the regulator. . . Your actylene regulator is OK but won't fit the propane. Removing adaptors or using screw on ones is pad for the regulator and can result in a lot of leaks. You are best off to purchase a regulator designed for propane. I use a 0-50 with gauge.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/24/99 23:08:05 GMT

    We are selling our antique collection of farm tractors, implements, and tools by auction. We have forges, anvils, and a very large assortment of antique blacksmithing tools. Do you have any suggestions of how we can get the word out to blacksmithing enthusiasts? Thanks for the help. Terry

    Terry Rilkoff -- rilkoff at Wednesday, 08/25/99 00:19:28 GMT

    Terry, the word just got out. Post where to auction is going to be and when in anvilfire's "hammer-in" page.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Wednesday, 08/25/99 01:40:45 GMT

    What is an easy to make fire-holder for a gas burner? (One that does not require welding).

    Jesse Escobedo -- esfam at Wednesday, 08/25/99 19:53:36 GMT

    Where could I possibly find a bellows for a low price in North Texas?
    Or, since I'm making my forge, how could I Make a bellows.

    Thank you.

    scotsman -- albagobragh99 at Wednesday, 08/25/99 20:15:53 GMT

    Jesse Escobedo,

    Are you asking about how to build a forge 'box'? Or are you asking how to make a burner? If a burner, go to Ron Reil's web page. The guru has a link to his page.

    As to a forge, it can be made from anything.(well almost) I am making mine from an old propane tank. Cut the ends off, cut a hole(or holes) for your burner/s, line with a refractory(I am using a ceramic wool blanket), make end caps(I am using fire brick so I can vary opening size). Then assorted valves, hoses, and regulator.

    Ralph -- ralphd at Wednesday, 08/25/99 20:37:52 GMT

    I`m new at this and am trying to find some plans for a gas/coal forge large enough that I could do some blade making too. Anyone ahve some plans or leads to some, please e-mail them to me. Thanks

    Roan -- boone at Thursday, 08/26/99 04:12:54 GMT

    CUTTING PROPANE TANKS.....WHOAH! and LOOKOUT! If you don't know exactly what you are doing; dont do it! The most common way for welders to kill themselves is cutting old fuel tanks. That said, I admit to having I've cut up a lot of them. Here's the method I used but don't recommend. Pull all the valves and plugs. Old tanks have a puddle of very smelly oil in the bottom. Drain that into a container that you can seal and dispose of as toxic waste (could have PCBs). Wash the tank with hot water and strong detergent..let it soak. Rinse and fill with clean water with the valve holes at the very top so no air is trapped. Leave the water running. Use a cutting torch with the preheat jets cranked up high and cut a port out of the top about 1/4 of the tanks diameter. Remove the port and drain. salt and pepper to taste. happy cooking but be very's spooky stuff. Pete

    Pete F -- ironyworks at Thursday, 08/26/99 06:48:36 GMT


    Thanks very much for your answer regarding the bluish coloration I see on vintage American Indian iron trade items. I have two follow-up questions, please: (1) Does the blue-black anhydrous iron oxide scale form on *both* iron as well as steel when the metal is heated for forging? The reason for the clarification is that the Indian trade items are most likely made of iron. (2) When the scale is removed, what is the texture of the underlying surface? Thanks again very much!

    Tucker Hentz -- Thursday, 08/26/99 13:15:40 GMT

    Pete F.
    Yeah, what you said about propane tanks is true. I should have said that I cut them like you said but I used a hacksaw. Yeah it was slow, but I only got one body!
    Thanks for the safety part that I left out.


    ralph -- ralphd at Thursday, 08/26/99 14:55:11 GMT

    Tucker, Both steel and wrought iron form the same scale. However, wrought iron often forms a bright red oxide along with the blue grey. The "Indian" trade in the U.S. included a LOT of steel items. Although most items were made of wrought Many edged tools were made of steel or had steel inserts.

    The surface under the scale is about the same as the scale unless it is extreamly heavy scale.

    Crucible steel was invented in the 1780's and the Bessemer process in the 1850's. Each process made steel less expensive and more common. Until these developements there could be no railroads and our American Civil War would have been much different.

    Even in today's jargon, smiths speak of any type of ferrous product as IRON. It has almost never been correct but was no different 200 years ago.

    In technical terms iron is an element. Wrought Iron is a carbonless form of iron that is not nearly so "pure" as one would be led to believe and cannot be hardened. Steel is iron with less than 2% carbon disolved in it. Cast Iron is iron with a huge amount of carbon disolved in it. Cast Iron is brittle and virtualy inflexible. Alloy Steel is steel with other metals mixed into it. They are ALL "Iron". . .

    -- guru Thursday, 08/26/99 22:12:24 GMT

    THANKS for the Safety Warning, Pete! Tanks and torches are a bad mix. The big misconception is that if the tank never had a flamable material in it then it is safe to torch.
    The torch itself injects unburnt fuel and massive amounts of pure oxygen into the tank. When the mix reaches that explosive proportion then say goodby to your head! For this reason your water fill or careful ventilation is required.

    I recently heard of the practice of filling a tank with exhaust fumes prior to cutting. The problem WAS that the guy doing it didn't know the truck he was using needed a tune-up. He filled the tank with hot vaporized diesel fuel. . . It didn't take much waste oxygen from the torch. . . Luckily there was a seam in the tank that split releasing the explosion upward instead of sideways killing the guy.

    Work safe and prosper!

    Arc-air torches are a very good way to cut tanks that are properly ventilated.

    -- guru Thursday, 08/26/99 22:29:25 GMT

    Just getting into smithing although I have run a welding shop for a number of years specializing in boat propeller repair -real whitesmithing. I have recently acquired a propane forge 79000 BTU input and need to vent it. I am going to install a hood over the forge and duct it through the wall under a suitable rain cap. I am assuming that the only thing coming out of this forge is heat and a small amount of gases and therefore see no reason for install a fan in the hood. Am I on the right track and making the right assumptions

    Peter -- pstaples at Friday, 08/27/99 02:56:37 GMT

    Dear Guru
    We have been researching the use of oaks to make charcoal and found that smithys used charcoal made from oaks. Do you have any information about this? We are in California and heard that charcoal was made from oaks in the Capay Valley near here for use by blacksmiths. We are very curious adults who develop theories about things then research to find out if we were right! It's a lot of fun, but so far we haven't had too much luck with oaks and charcoal. Thanks for any information you can give us.

    Carol and Alan -- Alan6401 at Friday, 08/27/99 03:42:12 GMT

    I'm seeking information on foundfations for larger air hammers. I just worked a deal for a 158kg Pirna hammer. East german built in 1953.I've set my nazel 1b three times and understand the basics of hammer foundations, but there are six uh, spring plates with this one. That's two heavy plates about 18" sq. with what appear to be leveling lugs on one side. Reinhart, from whom I am buying it says they go under the footing....but it seems to me that makes one really big hole. I don't want to dig more than necessary. I don't think these springs are necessary to the hamer's function, butI do think they would cut down considerable on the amount of earth shaking that will be done.As I have recently moved my shop to a place I hope to stay for a looong time I want to put this in right.

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Friday, 08/27/99 04:48:36 GMT

    That's two heavy plates 18" sq. with four heavy coil springs betwixt them, and leveling...etc..

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Friday, 08/27/99 04:52:50 GMT

    Carol and Allen
    Charcoal is what happened to most of California's industry that still exists(though not for BSing). Oaks make superior charcoal. I think youll find that you can forge passibly just using plain old dry oak bark if you can get it before the bar-B-Qers

    Pete F -- ironyworks at Friday, 08/27/99 07:19:33 GMT

    Kirk, Is your hammer a one piece or two piece? Sound like either way you could do away with the spring plates but why would you. If the hammer is set up and working with it's present foundation just copy it at your location. Your right to do it right the first time! I know it's a pain to dig a big hole. It's something I'm not willing to do myself by hand. I learned a long time ago to work smarter not harder. Hire or rent a backhoe if needed. The time and aggravation you'll save will be well worth the money spent.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Friday, 08/27/99 12:42:25 GMT

    If anybody is interested, stop by the Pub this evening about
    See ya there!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 08/27/99 13:04:36 GMT


    I GREATLY appreciate your insights regarding American Indian trade iron!


    Tucker Hentz -- tucker.hentz at Friday, 08/27/99 13:24:57 GMT

    Carol and Allen,

    Additional note re: Oak for charcoal.

    Most pallets are made from scrub oak and/or maple. When cut into managable pieces, they make good charcoal for smithing use.

    There are plans for a simple, cheap charcoal retort on the 21st Century page here at Anvilfire.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 08/27/99 14:02:09 GMT

    the Hammer is a two piece. it was imported from Germany last fall and is sitting on loading dock in Oakland.If it was installed, yeah, no problem copying...As I understand it was sitting in Acim Kuhn's yard for many years because he didn't have the space.
    Appreciate all input greatly.
    Thanx, kirk

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Friday, 08/27/99 14:22:20 GMT

    Re venting propane forge.
    Your forge ,if burning correctly will emit heat,water vapour,carbon dioxide[CO2] and carbon monoxide[CO].Co is what you have to worry about the most.
    Use an approved "B"vent and wall jack or thimble for your wall installation,and chiminey.You can use "C"vent from the forge to the "B"vent going through the wall.A minimum of 6" clearance from combustable materials is required for "C" vent.
    Insure there are no dips and sags in any lateral runs.Keep horizontal runs as short as is practical.If you have to run horizontally more than 3',then a slight rise of 1/4" every 6'or so should suffice.
    For the chiminey["B"vent]the top should be 24"above the highest roof line to prevent backdrafting.

    Paul DiMaggio -- dimag at Friday, 08/27/99 15:38:22 GMT

    You shouldn't need a fan.(too early in the AM):>)

    Paul Dimaggio -- dimag at Friday, 08/27/99 16:03:50 GMT

    I am looking to accelerate the black patina that forms on unfinished brass over time. To give it that antique look. Do you know what I can I used to do that. It's for a very fine piece of ornamental work...

    Thank youl

    Alex -- fullrun at Friday, 08/27/99 18:12:08 GMT

    A little trivia here. California Live Oak (eastern live oak is what the "Constitution" was planked with) is one of the stronger oaks around, trouble is it grows all windy and crooked so it's only good for charcoal. Oregon Post Oak, which grows in California too, but from it's name you can assume what it's used for. You know what the favorite fence post material was in colonial times? Black Walnut! Saw where one Black Walnut sold for $25,000.00 on the stump in Ohio a few years back. Probably would have made a nice batch of charcoal!

    grant -- nakedanvil Friday, 08/27/99 18:14:18 GMT

    We are trying to build an air hammer, but are having trouble locating the controls and the cylinder. Could you advise us what controls and cylinder we need as well as where to purchase them.

    Thanks for your help.

    Dean Bowles -- dbowles at Friday, 08/27/99 18:23:17 GMT

    BLACK WALNUT CHARCOAL: Actually doesn't work very well. . Walnut burns very peculiarly. It sits and simmers for a while then snaps and pops in a shower of flying sparks and then sits and does the same again. . . Weird stuff! Had some scraps (and I do mean SCRAPS) left over from a tree we split up for boards. . . Love working it!
    Because walnut and chestnut split easily into boards it was common barn building material in the East. It was also used as core material to put mahogany over because it was a stable hardwood! Today they use tulip poplar. Soft punky stuff compared to real hardwoods but still classified as hard wood for furniture making..

    -- guru Friday, 08/27/99 22:37:04 GMT

    Woodworking. I hate anything having to do with wood. Only thing it's good for when I get done with it is tooth picks...

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Friday, 08/27/99 22:58:49 GMT

    Black Walnut for $25,000. No fricking way would I pay that much for tooth picks. Then some bitch about the price paid for power hammers.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Saturday, 08/28/99 02:02:47 GMT

    Alex, Black does not form naturally on bronze. Greens to white. Oiled bronze turns brown but not black. Any time you see black bronze it was done chemicaly. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK gives three methods both using arsnical compounds and one using lead and sulfur compounds. The black is lead sulphide. Pre-prep cleaning uses another list of nasties. . I suggest you pick up a copy of MACHINERY'S or paint the piece. Whatever you do. Test it on something else!

    -- guru Saturday, 08/28/99 03:20:59 GMT

    AIR CYLINDERS and CONTROLS: Dean, You WILL NOT find them at hardware stores or even machinery suppliers. Look for engineering product sales reps or industrial suppliers. You can also buy from McMaster-Carr (see our links page). They have an on-line catalog and will take credit cards. They are very good and STOCK what is in their catalog (almost EVERYTHING).

    ABANA sells a set of plans and there is a plan for modifying those controls (with diagrams) on the Alabama Forge Council web site.

    The control and cylinder sizes depend on the size hammer you are building. Lift at 100PSI should be about 15 times the ram weight at 100 pounds. The ratio drops as the size goes up but increases as the size goes down. The ration at 100 pounds also happens to be the same for the anvil to ram. Stroke should be sufficient to not work too close to the ends. Internal snubbers are a good idea but should not be depended upon 100%. Common aluminium wall cylinders are not suitable for long duty (All the makers of the "new" small air hammers are converting to steel or stainless).

    -- guru Saturday, 08/28/99 03:36:12 GMT

    SPRING FOUNDATION (158Kg = 348#) Kirk, This is a common foundation in Europe where they are concerned about masonry buildings or vibration transmission. It also provides some cushion so that instead of a harsh shocking blow the hammer gives a more penetrating "squeeze". This produces better forgings (high strength aps) and is why the industry is moving toward hydraulic forging presses.

    Old hammer ANVIL foundations were set on stacks of timbers burried in the ground. This effectively gave a lot of spring and good return to original position. Modern foundations are HUGE and put both the frame and anvil on the same giant "floating" foundation but use proprietary elastomers (foam rubber mats) under the anvil.

    Whats important is that it is big enough. Most hammers just get bolted to a big isolation slab.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/28/99 03:52:20 GMT

    RE black walnut....There's a guy in San Luis Obispo CA who has big black walnut logs for sale cheap; However, they are GREEN. His name is Don Seawater at Pacific Access. E-mail me for his # if you like. Curing the stuff is the problem.

    Pete F -- ironyworks at Saturday, 08/28/99 07:49:46 GMT

    CHARCOAL from OAK: Carol and Alan, Charcoal can be made from almost any type of wood and most works about equally well. There are a few exceptions. Most of the conifers make good charcoal but a few have the sparking problem I mentioned with walnut. Hardwoods are a little better because they make slightly denser charcoal. Some woods like tulip poplar don't make charcoal at all. Charcoal was the primary fuel for making iron the world over and lasted longer in the U.S. due to our forest resources. In the East, where most of the early iron industry was located, they burned everything including large amounts of chestnut. Whatever forests were in close proximity to the iron ore and water power were used. Spruce, Hemlock, Pine, Chestnut, Oak, Hickory and Ash were most common. More trees were cut for ironmaking in the first centurys of North American settlement than for any other purpose.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/28/99 13:53:41 GMT

    Ah, Grant. . . Shipbuilders loved live oak BECAUSE of the way they grow on windy sea shores. The huge corner braces (knees) in wooden ships were made from sections where the limbs meet the trunk. The grain of the wood naturally following the shape of the corner.

    -- guru Saturday, 08/28/99 14:53:02 GMT

    Thanx for the feedback, My next question is ,do the springs go under the hammer, or the footing?. I'm picturing a really deep hole with a thick slab at the bottom, then the springs then the footing then the hammer. All this somehow isolated, so the springs could be retrieved should it have to be (shudder) moved.Does this sound right?

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Saturday, 08/28/99 16:47:28 GMT

    In a 2.5' long forge, how many forced-air burners should I have? how much of an area does one cover? Is it possible to split one blower and gas supply between two nozzles?
    Thank you!

    Firedemon -- esfam at Sunday, 08/29/99 07:27:58 GMT

    Kirk, It's unclear what you mean by footing? I'm not to familiar with European type foundations. I have done my share of what I guess we will call a US foundation. If big is good bigger is better, lot's of concrete and timbers. If I had springs plates this is how I would do it. Reinforced concrete, springs, timbers and hammer. I'm sure the Guru could correct this if I'm wrong.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Sunday, 08/29/99 14:05:01 GMT

    Bruce,When I say footing I mean foundation...bad habit of speach.Thanx for the input.

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Sunday, 08/29/99 15:24:47 GMT

    The only hammer I've ever seen mounted on springs had them UNDER the concrete block of concrete. A "box" was first formed of concrete, more like a basement actually. Then a large concrete block sat on the springs with the hammer mounted on top. Lot of work just to keep the neighbors happy. I usually just pour a large block in the ground and mount the hammer on it with timbers in between.

    grant -- nakedanvil Sunday, 08/29/99 16:24:47 GMT

    do you have the specks on building a set of #10 crucible tongs. I priced them around and it is about 200.00 dollars I don't have

    jeff spoor -- sktools at Sunday, 08/29/99 18:02:21 GMT

    I live in Charleston S.C and want to attend a Blacksmith school. Is there any that are somewhat close? Thanks

    Kerry Moylan -- Kerrycount at Sunday, 08/29/99 20:30:45 GMT


    I don't have the specs, but if you find them, there are several folks here who could make them for you.


    The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC is probably one of the closest to where you are, and they are a QUALITY institution.
    You can find them on the net at:

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 08/29/99 20:50:50 GMT

    Bill Epps -- Bill I tried sending you an e-mail msg. today using the link from the Iforge page about the heart hooks. Something wrong with the address from the link. It got returned & said it never heard of you. Anyway the msg. was thanks for the lesson, it is appreciated. I got out ther this AM and made about six of them. The first was just a lump on the end of a stick of stock and by the time I made the last one it looked almost like I might be able to perfect this skill with time. I'll get out there again next weekend, make some more and maybe even get one that I think is good enough for "keepers". The scrap pile grows with knowledge. Thanks again to everyone involved in I Forge.

    Just plain ol "Bill"

    plain ol "Bill" -- wcottr at Monday, 08/30/99 00:29:29 GMT

    Question, If concrete is poured over the springs, how did Kirk salvage them with his hammer? Anyhow, seems like too much work for me if a simple concrete and timber foundation will work, plus I really don't like my fussy Dutch neighbors. They would just as soon run me out of town if they could. The fun part is seeing if I can rattle their dishes out of their cabinets. Pisses them off real good, lots of heavy negative waves, hate and discontent but I love it.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Monday, 08/30/99 01:50:08 GMT

    Kirk, Its seems we have several opinions on your foundation. Grant is right on this one. The only reference I could find with a spring mounted hammer was on a counter blow machine. It had an air cyclinder under the pad along with the springs.

    The fun part of this problem is the engineering. The floating pad wants to be as heavy as possible with the total weight including the hammer compressing the springs no more than about 20% of their travel. This means determining the spring's travel to shut height and their spring rate. Since these are probably very heavy springs it will probably be necessary to calculate both. I'd put a bunch of shock absorbers in the pit too. . . . :)

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 02:11:36 GMT

    Firedemon (friend of Bruce's?), Blower type burners are not limited like atmospheric burners. One big on will do. Often these are plumbed up to a distribution system to get a more even distribution of heat but it is not neccessary (you answered your own question). Multiple burners tend to fight each other and can be problematic.

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 02:17:04 GMT

    I don't see the problem retrieving the springs, as long as I have a piece of equipment that will lift the machine itself it should be able to lift the foundation as well.I've moved my shop three times in nine years. Only the first time because I irritated the neighbors, but I don't wanna do it again, especially as I seem to be aquiring very heavy stuff at an alarming rate.Hmmmm gabriel striders?

    Kirk McNeill -- kirk at Monday, 08/30/99 12:59:52 GMT

    Kirk, I swore I would never move agian but I have contemplated it recently. I have out grown my shop but I'm reserved to adding on. Good luck with what ever you decide. I hope you don't ever have to move agian because it sound like a big hassle setting up a hammer on a spring foundation. If moving and setting up isn't hassle enough.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Wallace Metal Work Monday, 08/30/99 14:32:51 GMT

    Guru, yesterday I cleaned a rusty carbide tipped dado blade with naval jelly and it occurred to me that that might not be the best thing to do. Will it attack the carbide (Appears to be unaffected) or the braze (slight discoloration)? Is this a good way to clean them or do you have a better one? OBTW I am a shipbuilder and we don't use too much scrub oak anymore except for pallets :)

    Rob. Curry -- curry at Monday, 08/30/99 14:40:49 GMT

    Guru, yesterday I cleaned a rusty carbide tipped dado blade with naval jelly and it occurred to me that that might not be the best thing to do. Will it attack the carbide (Appears to be unaffected) or the braze (slight discoloration)? Is this a good way to clean them or do you have a better one? OBTW I am a shipbuilder and we don't use too much scrub oak anymore except for pallets :)

    Rob. Curry -- curry at Monday, 08/30/99 14:41:04 GMT

    Guru, I think the one I saw DID have shocks as well as springs, probably never stop bouncing if it did'nt. I believe the inertia block (as they are called nowadays) was cast in a box and lowered on to the springs. I agree with Bruce; pour concrete in the ground and use timbers between it and the hammer. Although the other way you can always take it with you if you move. (can you spell "BIG CRANE"?)

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at FORGETOOLS.COM Monday, 08/30/99 15:45:39 GMT

    Just for a little perspective; the hammer I saw mounted on springs was a 10,000 lb. steam drop. The inertia block was somthing like a 30 foot cube! That would be about 1,000 yards of concrete. What's concrete weigh per yard? Damn CRS! The springs were in gangs of eight, looked like boxcar springs. They had a machine shop next door and did'nt want the hammer putting a pattern in the parts!

    grant -- nakedanvil at Monday, 08/30/99 16:21:39 GMT

    Re Air Cylinders:

    Didn't find any close by home either when I went looking. I ahve heard that Surplus Center in Nebraska sells air & hydraulic cylinders at good prices.

    Question on Hammer Foundations: I have been considering on how to mount a recently aquired 50 lb L Giant. Bruce was nice enough to send me an article on an isolated concrete pad system a while ago. However I was wondering if I filled the hole with gravel\sand & then had several layers of timbers on top, maybe cinched together. the concrete floor is poured & the timbers would fit in the existing hole. I have a high water table & was thinking a solid concrete pad might have problem with this....thoughts?


    Bob -- robert_miller at Monday, 08/30/99 17:28:43 GMT

    Re hydraulic Presses: I know this topic has come up a few times on this & other web sites. Recently I saw an H Frame press that has me interested in building one & I know reservations have been expressed about contructing these, but do folks have any ideas on building them any safer, ie: better/worse ways to do it....Guru, Grant any others

    Bob -- robert_miller at Monday, 08/30/99 17:33:18 GMT

    Robert, the naval jelly shouldn't hurt the blade. It WRECKS drill bits however! The carbide is sintered in cobalt which is fairly acid resistant, so is the silver solder. You can clean drill bits but don't soak them. I lost a whole set that soaked overnight. . . The black finish on drills is an oxide coating that instantly disappears. . . then the acid starts on the HSS.

    Like a lot of trees there used to be huge live oaks that were much more useful than those today. . .

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 19:22:14 GMT

    This is a copy from my archive that was posted in the Junkyard a while back:


    With a limited amount of horsepower this is usually the trade-off we have to make with a hydraulic press. Hydraulic presses are usually low powered or painfully slow. There are a number of "tricks" we can use to make a hydraulic press perform better. With a given horsepower I used to assume you could not get relatively high speed and high force at the same time. I've more recently concluded that you can't get high speed and high force at the same time CONTINUOUSLY.

    This is a very significant difference! There are a number of differing requirements in a FORGING press cycle.

    1) RETURN STROKE, requires relatively little force, and is ďdeadĒ time in the cycle, so should be maximum speed, may be long duration.

    2) APPROACH STROKE, again requires little force, maximum speed, may be long duration.

    3) PRESSING STROKE, initially modest force required, rapidly increasing as stroke continues usually short duration.

    How do we tailor the motor/pump/control system to meet these requirements?

    We need to make a few assumptions first.

    1) Most folks are limited by having only single-phase power available, so we are limited to 7-1/2 or maybe 10 horsepower. For this discussion weíll assume 7-1/2 H.P. max.

    2) If we can get sufficient speed, then 25-30 tons of force will be adequate.

    4) We donít want more than 2500 p.s.i. system pressure for practical reasons.

    As you can see, we have varying requirements and limitations. Given the above parameters we can do a few basic calculations:

    1) Maximum force of 30 tons with 2500 p.s.i. means weíll need a 5-1/2 inch diameter cylinder.

    2) The largest pump we can run with 7-1/2 H.P. at 2500 p.s.i. is about five-gallon per minute continuous or 7.5 G.P.M. intermittently.

    3) With a 5-1/2 inch cylinder and 7.5 G.P.M. flow we have a travel speed of about 1 inch per second. That may sound fast, but consider the following: If weíre running a four inch stroke (disregarding the area of the rod) that would be about eight seconds per stroke or only 7 to 8 strokes per minute. Even a two inch stroke only gives us about 15 strokes per minute. When youíre forging hot steel, thatís pathetically slow!

    What can we do to improve the performance of this press?

    grant -- nakedanvil Monday, 08/30/99 20:34:31 GMT

    What can we do to improve the performance of this press? Well letís make a list and see how many thing we can come up with:

    KDK brought up the idea of using a variable displacement pump. These are usually piston pumps, although I remember seeing variable displacement vane pumps too.

    The basic idea here is a pump that varies its output depending on the nature of the load. They can put out a high volume when the load is light and high pressure at lower volume when the load increases; they can do this in a smooth, constantly variable manner from their maximum volume to zero volume. They also create far less heat in the system because they are generally used with closed center valves and only pump enough fluid to maintain system pressure when the valve is in the neutral position. They are almost the perfect solution to all the requirements weíve laid out.

    Unfortunately they have a couple of drawbacks. Wouldnít you know it! First is initial cost, they are five to ten times the cost of vane or gear pumps. Second is tolerance for contamination. They have none! Particles in the fluid that would go right through a gear pump can ruin a piston pump. Almost anything that gets in the tank will ruin the pump. Suction filters are a no-no on hydraulic pumps and especially on piston pumps. After replacing a $3000.00 pump on one of my systems once, the next time that it went south I replaced it with a vane pump. The performance was much degraded by this change, but itís been running for ten year now without a problem. I will admit I was using quick-connects to allow me to run four different pieces of equipment with the same power source and thatís a good way to introduce contaminants into the system.

    A similar solution is a two-stage pump or hi-lo as they are sometimes called. These usually have two pumps in the body, although sometimes two totally separate pumps are used on the same motor. At low pressures both pumps are pushing fluid through the system. When the pressure requirement goes up, as when the ram contacts the work, one pump unloads to the tank allowing the other to pump the required pressure at a much reduced volume. These often pump as much as four times the amount of fluid at low pressure and work well at increasing the speed of our return and approach strokes. These would be a good choice for a forging press. One disadvantage Iíve encountered with some of these is slow response, but I think some brands are better than others are in this regard.

    Another similar solution is used at the other end of the circuit. Instead of reducing the volume output we could reduce the volume requirement. This can be done in two ways; a differential cylinder or multiple cylinders.

    A differential cylinder is one that has a rod roughly one-half the area of the piston. I have one press with an eight-inch cylinder that has a five-inch rod. The piston is about fifty square inches and the rod about twenty square inches. This means that the fluid act on all fifty square inches going down, but only on thirty square inches going up. At 3000 p.s.i. I get about 75 tons of force going down and about 45 tons going up. The main thing this does is reducing the amount of fluid required to raise the ram, so the ram goes up almost twice as fast as it goes down! The rod takes up almost half the volume of the lower part of the cylinder, space that would otherwise have to be filled with fluid. With some tricky valving, the cylinder can be made to do a fast rapid approach too. In rapid approach, fluid is ported to the top and bottom AT THE SAME TIME. Because the area of the top is twice the bottom the ram advances. The fluid that is pushed out of the bottom helps to fill the top. The net result is the ram advances at almost double speed! When the ram contacts the work it is usually shifted to normal operation.

    Multiple cylinders can be used to give fast return and approach and high force. The scheme here is to use a small cylinder for return and rapid advance and a larger cylinder to add force when needed. Letís say we use a three-inch cylinder for return and rapid advance. This gives us about three and one-half tons of force and a speed of five inches per second (using our fixed displacement example from earlier). Quite an improvement! Now if we add a five-inch push-only cylinder we can get just about the same pressing power we had before. This cylinder is connected straight to the tank most of the time and just sucks its own oil out of the tank and pushes it back on the return. All we need now is a pressure operated valve to put system pressure to this cylinder when its force is required Say when system pressure goes over 1500 p.s.i., as it would when the ram contacts the work.

    grant -- ditto Monday, 08/30/99 20:38:41 GMT

    As kid pointed out, air over oil can be used to advantage. The main advantage to air is STORED ENERGY. Itís not practical to store a large volume of pressurized fluid in a hydraulic system. Iíll not be giving much time to hydraulic accumulators, as I donít think theyíre practical for our application.

    One way to use air would be similar to the two-cylinder arrangement above. We could use a large air cylinder to give the rapid advance and return and a hydraulic cylinder to apply the heavy force of pressing. Or, using the same two hydraulic cylinders as above, the small hydraulic cylinder would still give the rapid advance and return and an air/hydraulic intensifier used to power the pressing cylinder. An intensifier is just a large air cylinder coupled to a small hydraulic cylinder and is actually just an air powered piston pump. When air is put to the cylinder it pushes out a few cubic inches of oil at high pressure real fast. This has the capability of giving a nice quick, powerful pressing stroke, although it is limited in volume and would only give maybe 1/2 inch to 1 inch of full pressure push after the rapid advance.

    Commercial forging presses today just use direct connected hydraulic pumps and as much horsepower as it takes to get the job done. We donít have that luxury, and so must resort to every trick we can to get reasonable performance. One more trick Iíve considered takes advantage of the fact that we only need full pressure for a few moments. A KINETIC ACCUMULATOR! Otherwise known as a flywheel. One reason we canít use a bigger pump on our little motor is that it would stall when the pressure went up. With a flywheel, we could handle that pressure peak for a few moments without stalling the motor. In order to reduce the size of the flywheel Iíd want to run it direct connected to a 3600 rpm motor and pump. This is one area worthy of some experimenting. It fits well with the operating characteristics of a forging press, that is, needing full pressure and volume for only a few moment out of the total cycle.

    I think my ideal forging press, given all the limitations outlined would be pretty much as follows: 3600 r.p.m. 7-1/2 H.P. motor with a large flywheel driving a variable displacement pump and a press having multiple cylinders as described above, all operated with solenoid valves to allow programmed operating cycles. Different programmed cycle might include: jog mode, where the ram advances when you push the switch and retract when you let off. Punch press mode, runs one complete cycle when you push the switch, just like a punch press. Reciprocating mode, as long as you hold the switch down the press cycles between a top travel limit switch and a bottom travel limit switch or over pressure limit, which ever it encounters first.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Monday, 08/30/99 20:40:01 GMT

    Bob, Hammer foundations are largely dependant on soil conditions. Many of the huge deep wood timber foundations were for huge hammers on sandy soil (most early industry was located near coastal industrial centers). That said. . . I've run 50# hammers sitting bare bottomed on a regular concrete shop floor. Josh is running a 500# Chambersburg Utility (one piece "C" frame) just sitting on a plywood pad on the floor. . .

    I'd fill the hole with concrete. The high water table shouldn't be a problem unless you have swamp like conditions and you can't get down to something solid in your digging. In that case you may need a timber load distribution pad that extends well outside of the hole in the floor.

    Used air cylinders: I asked for people to look for them and the next thing you know I had four. Two big 4" bore four foot LONG ones and two cute little 1.5 - 2" cylinders about a foot long. Junk Air Hammers. . . .

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 21:53:00 GMT

    Making my second knife. Metal is from a fireplow coulter and is rather wear resistant. Shaped and close to finish size by using a Makita angle grinder with a "flapper" abrasive disk (NOT a wheel with loose pieces flying around as is found for drills). I have seen a buffing wheel with tube emery/rouge compound that cut steel and throw sparks from high carbon steel. I may have found a rough equlivlent material (COLUMBIAN Emery Compound). At least it works better on the 4" buffing wheel on my 2500 RPM drill.

    What RPM/wheel diameter do I need to be running to do a better job of final shapeing and finishing? 6" & 8" bench grinders seem to be locked in at between about 3,400 and 3,600 RPM. I know the wheel diameter will change the rim speed (feet per second) but have no idea of what the desireable speed is.


    Bill Lamp -- bill.lamp at Monday, 08/30/99 22:34:14 GMT


    "WHoops! . . We need another Timmy!",
    Mr. Lizard, Dinosaurs, ABC, as Timmy is blown up, set on fire, crushed or meets some other untimely end via one of Mr. Lizards "enlightening" experiments.

    Flywheels are limited by some very simple laws of physics. To store a large amount of energy you need high mass. Mass is dependant on size. Size however is limited by the strength of the material of the wheel. Spin a "fly"wheel fast enough and it will fly, APART! If you run the calcs on a 30" standard old fashioned flywheel you will find that the limiting RPM is around 1,000 RPM. For safety you reduce this to 800 RPM (with a known prime mover that cannot go faster).

    So, How much energy can you get from a flywheel? Theoreticaly a whole lot. Practically, a lot less. Stop any moving mass instantly and you create an infinite force. Since there is no such thing as "instantly" in the real world the force is considerably less. However, thousands of wrecked punch presses are testimony to that near infinite force when you stall one.. . .

    In machinery the energy taken from a flywheel is that portion that can be absorbed by a reduction in speed of 10-15%. Why? Because the flywheel is normally coupled to an electric motor (via belt or gearing) and the motor does not like running less than 15-20% below scyronous speed. An 1800 RPM motor develops its full HP at 1725-1775. Below this speed the motor develops more than its rated HP. It can only withstand this occasionaly or it will burn up. In normal operation most motors are run at a lot less than full capacity except for brief periods of time (start-up and re-accelerating flywheels).

    The point is. Before applying a flywheel experimentaly, do your home work. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK has all the particulars for designing systems with flywheels. These caculations are also very useful for determining just how fast that OLD punch press was supposed to run. . . so you can put the right size pulleys on it!

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 22:45:07 GMT

    Bill, see my article "Wheels" at the bottom of the 21st Century page. I think it covers most of your question. RPM is irrelavent, Surface Speed (F/m, M/m) is the key item. For heavy "cutting" with a buffing wheel coarse fibre (looks like sewn hemp rope) wheels are used. For general buffing hard sewn cotton wheels are used and for "coloring" soft cotton laminated wheels are used. The abrasive used should be matched to the wheel. There is no point using a fine rouge on a rough hemp wheel. Emery compound can be purchased in various grits (abrasive size).

    Another intresting wheel is the type used by jewlers (someone help me here). They are a rubber type material with fine abrasive mixed in. They cut very fast AND leave a near buffed finish. I've never used one but I've seen them used and wouldn't mind having a few in my tool chest. . .

    NOTE: As mentioned above with flywheels, all grinding and buffing wheels come with different maximum RPM ratings. These are safety ratings. Above the rated speed they are likely to fly apart and can be very dangerous.

    -- guru Monday, 08/30/99 23:06:42 GMT

    Good point, Guru. We used to figure 60,000 feet per minute rim speed on dragsters, max! Course we exeeded that sometimes and got away with it, sometimes not! Sometimes those things get red hot too! Changes the calcs a little.

    I would be assuming a piece of solid shaft somthing like 10 inch round by 8 or ten inches long. At 3600 r.p.m. thats less than 10,000 s.f.p.m. Wouldn't consider a cast iron flywheel for this. This would be around 200 pounds or 300 pounds if we used 12 inch diameter.

    This is one more reason for the solinoid valving I sugested. Motor r.p.m. could be monitored to stop the down stroke if amperage draw exceeded a pre-set value (amperage being a function of "slip" or how much the motor is turning less than it's rating).

    Guru makes a point that I often overlook. If you don't have SOME empirical data to work from, find out how to calculate to see if you're even in the ballpark. Machinery's Handbook is always the best place to start.

    grant -- nakedanvil at Monday, 08/30/99 23:43:46 GMT

    what tool would you recomend for bending tight radius bends in 1/2"through 1" .120 wall steel tubing? I don't want any creeses or kincks and i don't want to spend a fortune either. i want to build go-kart frames and sand-rails.

    Matthew -- hazmat at Tuesday, 08/31/99 00:19:19 GMT

    Matthew, Electricians conduit benders or "hickies" are made for those sizes and are relatively inexpensive. If they don't make a tight enough bend for you then you are going to have to go high tech and fill the tube with something to keep it from collapsing.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 00:25:04 GMT

    Great guru -- Can you describe for me the process of "shooting the Anvil"? My great grandfather was known for his finesse in preparing the charge and shooting the anvil. I was never present when it was done.

    doc wilson -- jestfolks at Tuesday, 08/31/99 01:30:34 GMT

    Dear Guru,
    Laurel Machine and Foundry, manufacturers of anvils, cone mandrels, swedge blocks, and coal forges now has a website at:

    I usually look for blacksmithing links on your site and I noticed that you do not have this one yet. Keep up the good work.

    John Crouchet -- jac at Tuesday, 08/31/99 02:23:21 GMT

    Ive seen a lot of people asking about setting up their first gas forges and I think my design solves a few problems. Its been posted here before a while back but thought Id repost after seeing a few questions about plumbing etc. Basically if you have an oxy/propane torch setup you can use that as the nozzle , and no its not the fla$h allstates one just a acetelene converted one , anyhow take a look at

    shannell -- sjs at Tuesday, 08/31/99 06:37:08 GMT

    Howdy guru.....RE rubber based abraisive wheel....The 2 I bought 20 odd years ago and still use are Cratex brand (div. of Norton?) and were expensive then. the XF(fine) will put a satin finish on hardened tool steel because the abraisive is carbide grit.

    Pete F -- ironyworks at Tuesday, 08/31/99 06:59:45 GMT

    Howdy guru.....RE rubber based abraisive wheel....The 2 I bought 20 odd years ago and still use are Cratex brand (div. of Norton?) and were expensive then. the XF(fine) will put a satin finish on hardened tool steel because the abraisive is carbide grit.

    Pete F -- ironyworks at Tuesday, 08/31/99 06:59:47 GMT

    Continued......the reason they have lasted so long is that no one else uses them and they are only used for what other wheels wont do. I use them for chasing tools and punches, final passes on hammer faces etc. They are easy to gouge...all edges, points and corners are presented to the wheel down-stream with the edge trailing. I think other Mfg have similar products......I see my message is getting thru twice but it isnt that good somehow

    Pete Cont. -- bla at blab Tuesday, 08/31/99 07:10:50 GMT


    JOE BERNIER -- JBERN97 at AOL.COM Tuesday, 08/31/99 11:53:22 GMT

    For info on Anvil Firing try`mikej/anvils.html. Haven't tried it myself. Only have a 2 acre lot and still afraid of broken windows or the anvil through the roof..... besides my cannon is loud enough! But then again there's only one millenium celebration!

    Have fun, but count your finger occasionally. Should have 10.

    Wayne -- wlpier at Tuesday, 08/31/99 12:39:04 GMT

    What are your thoughts on flipping (swaping ends;rotating 180 ) the dies on a Nazel 3b and operating without the locating pin. The key (wedge) is an excellent fit.

    John Careatti -- john.careatti at Tuesday, 08/31/99 13:11:58 GMT

    Re Hydraulic Presses:

    Grant, Guru thanks for the comments & I haven't diggested all of it yet. I was thinking of using one of the presses designed with Jim batson's plans, except making it an H frame rather then a C Frame. Two stage hydraulic pump 16/4 GPM for the hi-lo & running this off a 5 hp electric motor on single phase.Thinking of using a 30-50 ton cylinder about an 8" extension, for mostly damascuss work...Sorry I should have added that part but have been posting from work while running on other things.

    I did see one H frame prior to Caniron & it was appeared to be constructed very well & appeared to be reasonably safe, but saw a 30 ton at Caniron that was a commercial unit for pressing bearings being used for forging & it was twisting the frame and obviously wasn't designed for the stress. (Guru did you catch that one?) Unfortunately my hydraulic math isn't holding up to the comments greatfully appreciated.

    Bob -- robert_miller at Tuesday, 08/31/99 16:04:13 GMT

    Wayne- Thanks for the address to learn about shooting the anvil. I am just curious, not all that stupid. I doubt that anyone who would shoot the anvil in this day and age would be capable of counting to ten.
    Thanks -

    doc -- jestfolks at Tuesday, 08/31/99 17:36:42 GMT

    Shooting the Anvil: Doc, check out the Spring Fling Edition of the News! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, . . .? We also have video that will be posted whenever I get the equipment to edit it.

    I spent hard cash and over a week of my time screwing with an Iomega BUZ and all I did was learn that you NEVER NEVER NEVER want to see the Win98 emergency system error warning screen! If someone knows of a decent PC based video editing system I'd like to know about it. Heck, it wouldn't even have to be good, just WORK!

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 18:03:12 GMT


    An "H" frame makes a lot of sense. You can reduce flexing by keeping the columns as close together as you can for work you intend to do. A usefull machine can be had from your outline. The two-stage pump is a nice way to go. If you can find a cylinder with a large rod it will help speed the cycle time. They sell them as "differential" cylinders. In any case, try to make a more or less flexible connection to the ram so you don't put a strain on the rod or rod seal.

    grant -- nakedanvil Tuesday, 08/31/99 18:54:23 GMT

    I am a begenier at Blacksmithing and I just purchased a anvil and blower, I was wondering if you could tell me anything about them?
    the anvil is a 100lb Peter Wright, and the blower is a Champion #400
    the blower is about 12 inches in diameter. Thanks for your help

    Richard Borchard -- rich at Tuesday, 08/31/99 18:54:57 GMT

    I am a begenier at Blacksmithing and I just purchased a anvil and blower, I was wondering if you could tell me anything about them?
    the anvil is a 100lb Peter Wright, and the blower is a Champion #400
    the blower is about 12 inches in diameter. Thanks for your help

    Richard Borchard -- rich at Tuesday, 08/31/99 18:55:33 GMT

    Hello - I'm a blacksmith new to Brooklyn,N.y. and am trying to locate other blacksmiths who might know of people in my area to contact for work and education. If anyone can help me out please get back with me. Thanks, Rodney

    Rodney C. Cash -- putouts at Tuesday, 08/31/99 19:04:48 GMT

    SWAPPING DIES: John, I wouldn't want to second guess the designer but I think the pins are so the die doesn't move while tightening the wedge. Some have said it is for safety but I don't think so. I've seen too many old hammers with loose dies that had no problem trying to slide or pop out (sideways).

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 19:40:34 GMT

    "I've seen too many old hammers with loose dies that had no problem trying to slide or pop out (sideways)."
    What do you mean by pop out sideways?

    John Careatti -- John.careatti at Tuesday, 08/31/99 20:21:14 GMT

    Richard Bochard, Both pieces (The Peter Wright and the Champion) are two of the better pieces of blacksmithing equipment around. Neither company is around any more. The anvil is a little small for general work but is a VERY good starter anvil and also good for when you need portability. It was the best of the English made anvils. The blower was made by Champion Blower and Forge. They made all types of blacksmith's tools and machines and eventualy made industrial tools.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 21:26:37 GMT

    I'm looking for a corrosion resistant steel for a leaf spring that will be 3/32 or 1/8 an inch thick, several inches long, and expected to repeatedly flex 20-45 degrees.

    I have asked elsewhere and gotten some conflicting responses, but two steels that come up often are 316 and 440C.

    Would either of those steels suffice, for that matter would any stainless steel work? If not, my other thought was a coating of some sort, perhaps one of the titanium oxides.

    If it helps, this spring will be used as part of the lockwork for a folding knife, a navaja if you're familiar with the pattern.

    Thank you.

    Nick Rushala -- Snickersnee at Tuesday, 08/31/99 21:30:43 GMT

    John, bad sentence. Top dies can fall out when the wedge is loose, bottom dies generaly can't go anywhere unless they are fairly radical like bit pointing dies or drawing dies. Then there is a lot of lateral force on the dies but generaly not in the direction that the pin would help. A few machines like the Fairbanks have dovetails perpendicular to the length of the die. In those the pin would resist the lateral force produced with drawing dies.

    But back to your question. I can't remember if Nazel dies are perfectly symetrical. Reversing them might offset them to one side.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 21:37:29 GMT

    Nick, I'm not familiar with the knife pattern. The angle of flex means nothing without the radius and section thickness. Generaly if a spring can be made of carbon steel it can be made of stainless.

    SPRINGS 101: All, ALL, ferrous material has the same modulus of elasticity. Wrought iron has the same spring rate as 4150. Stainless the same as 1095. All of it is the same. The difference is that the soft wrought will yeild (permanently deform) at a much lower point than the higher carbon steel. You can make torsion springs and other low deflection out of mild steel and they work just fine. Hardened and tempered steel has a much higher yeild point than the soft unhardened steel. The spring made of high carbon steel can be deflected 3-4 times further than the one made of mild steel without taking a permanent bend. Up to the point where the mild steel bends both springs have the same resistance to force (or springyness as defined by the modulus of elasticity).

    Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 22:07:34 GMT

    Guru,do you or any of your readers know of a source for rubber tires for a "Wells horizontal band saw"? I need 14"x1.24" Thank you'Pete

    Pete -- Ravnstudio at Tuesday, 08/31/99 22:37:43 GMT

    Guru,do you or any of your readers know of a source for rubber tires for a "Wells horizontal band saw"? I need 14"x1.24" Thank you'Pete

    Pete -- Ravnstudio at Tuesday, 08/31/99 22:38:04 GMT

    H-frame presses: Bob, Yes, some low life manufacturers without an iota of pride manufacture the H-frame press you are speaking of. I'm embarassed to say it was probably made in the USA and in North Carolina of all places. . . AND to add insult to injury put the name "American" on the product. The frames are labled "30 Ton" and come with a 20 ton jack that will make a pretzel out of the press.

    OK, Did I ever send you that copy of my unfinished engineering program??? It has a deflection calculator. You take the maximum capacity of the press in pounds or tons, take whatever beam or channel you are supporting the load with and limit the deflection to 1/32" (.8mm) or less. If the deflection is too much make the press narrower or use heavier steel. Note that deflection goes up by the cube of the increase in length.

    The deflection is the amount of spring in the frame and equals stored energy which you do not want in the frame. When you design a hoist beam, bridge deck or floor for your house you design for 1/4" (6mm) or less deflection. If you design for maximum stress your crane will act like a rubber band and your floor like a trampolean.

    In H-frame presses this springyness results in stored energy which is what sends parts flying when being pressed apart! In a properly designed frame the parts being pushed move no faster than the press cylinder. When things come apart with a "POP" that is the spring in the frame being released. This is uncontrolled stored energy. A bad thing.

    -- guru Tuesday, 08/31/99 22:40:04 GMT

    need help cleaning up a chamion 400 blower. How does the top of the gear box come off.What do i use for oil? Is the fan nut right or left hand thead. thanks for any help.

    Buck -- wmrjcjdt at Tuesday, 08/31/99 23:14:56 GMT

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