WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you. This is an archive of posts from August 15 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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1. Need information on Large post drillpress made by Champion Blower and Forge Co. Lancaster, PA Model no. 200 pat. # 767282 August 9, 1904. Would like to see pictures of complete drillpress of this model because I am missing parts.
2. Need date of manufacture for Canedy Otto Mfg. Co. for a lever operated blower by the name Western Chief. There is a capitol letter B on the blower. Just want some idea how old it is and any info you can tell me. Thanks, Jeff
Jeff  <L.Bottiger at worldnet.att.net> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 01:57:34 GMT

Drill Press: Jeff, Is it a blacksmiths post drill or a floor model drill press? The floor model drill presses were made in a variety of sizes (12", 16", 20", . .) by many manufacturers. The standard geared head drill press was almost a "comodity" item like PC clones. Everyone made them, they were all alike to the point that many parts were interchangable. I've got a Champion Blower and Forge, a Royersford-Excelsior, a Joseph T. Ryerson and Sons and an Arora. All the same except the last and its a little heavier duty. There are dozens more. These are all 20-22" which was aparently a common size.

There are two Sears blacksmiths drill press pictures posted on the the 21st Century page. A large and a small. Sears had these made by a number of manufactures. Hard to tell who made them. These machines changed almost annualy. Everyone had a new patent every couple years. LOTS of little detail changes. Hm m m . . I've got a 1899 catalog and a 1930. . . neither have a model 200.

Canedy Otto made some nice tools. They were in production well into the 1900's but I'm not sure when they went out of business. Bill Pieh used to say they were much better than the others and put themselves out of business by insisting on selling quality equipment. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 03:22:21 GMT

How is a spiral scroll made on an anvil. You can gather from my question, I am not a blacksmith but I hope to be in the future. Akron, Ohio.
Bret A.  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 12:37:53 GMT

Spiral: Bret, Depending on your artistic ability it can be very easy or very difficult. Some folks can see a smooth spiral in their mind and others cannot. Many of us form scrolls by eye but many also use bending jigs. Any time more than 8-10 identical scrolls are made it is best for anyone to use jig.

We have three demos on the iForge page. These are archives of live step-by-step demonstrations that we have on the Slack-Tub Pub on Wednesday nights (I better get busy on tonights!).

Spirals_1 Spiral and Scroll Layout
Scroll2 Scroll Ends
Peter Ross Demo Leaf and Scroll

On the 21st Century page we have two articles covering bending jigs, Benders 1 and Benders 2.

Check them out! Then we can talk again.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 14:50:40 GMT

Drill Press II: Jeff, I'm told "In the Champion January 1, 1909 catalog. It is on page 18. There is a picture and detailed description of the Model 200 drill press. Sold for twenty-five bucks!"

Reprints of the catalog are available. Try Norm Larson.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 15:31:16 GMT

how to temper a chisel
BILL NEWMAN  <reba at icx.net> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 18:14:42 GMT

how to temper a chisel
BILL NEWMAN  <reba at icx.net> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 18:15:23 GMT

how to put temper into a wood lathe knives
BILL NEWMAN  <reba at icx.net> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 18:23:01 GMT

If I need to make more than 2 scrolls the same I make a jig. I would rather take the extra 1/2 hour to make the jig, then the scrolls come out exactly the same without excessive fussing.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 20:13:06 GMT

Temper: Bill, There is a long post hardening steel up about a dozen posts. Without specifics about the EXACT steel you are using there is little more we can tell you. There are a lot more details to hardening and tempering but many are specific to the steel (one of tens of thousands) that you may be using.

If you have existing tools or scrap steel then YOU become the metalurgist and have to apply a lot of trial and error and testing to the steel before you can determine the proper procedure and the applicability of the steel. In this case you need to start by studying some references on the subject, THEN asking questions about the parts you don't understand.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 20:35:45 GMT

Tonight's iForge Demo: Matrix and Eye punches

Kiwi says the backlog of demos will be posted soon.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/16/00 22:27:58 GMT

Twister: My twister is an old pipe threader. Table top. I also use it to produce circles up 8" dia. Works very well and cost little. Have made up a collection of attachments for it also...
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Thursday, 08/17/00 00:15:47 GMT

My neighbor is looking for an anvil that is approx. 130-200lbs and is made in England. He cannot remember the name of the manufacturer but he thinks it has h-holes ( holes for hammers and shapes). Can you help?
Helene Thomas  <hthomas at waceo.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 00:40:48 GMT

I need to find a source for plans to make forges. I am
planning to make a coal forge(with electric blower) as well
as a small gas forge(I have heard of some made from a
small freon container). Could you please supply me with
a source for these plans. Thank you for your time and
Chuck Wood
Chuck Wood  <Swords109 at Juno.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 02:11:25 GMT

Greetings: Does anyone know where I might be able to obtain plans to build a leaf shredder around 10 hp.Thanks kindly..alvoight at spacestar.net
al voight  <alvoight at spacestar.net> - Thursday, 08/17/00 04:06:28 GMT

English Anvil Helene, Most of the old used anvils on the market are British made. M&H Armitage and others operated the largest factory called "Mouse Hole Forge" and their anvils often had "Mouse Hole" on the anvil. Peter Wright was the second largest and maybe more popular. There were many others

In modern anvils there is a cast (the others were forged) anvil made by Vaughn/Brooks and sold by Centaur Forge.

THEN, there is the fact that most modern anvils made and used in North America are of the "London" pattern. These aren't English anvils but the style was developed there in the 1800's. The "h" hole is called a "hardy" hole. It is square and varies from 3/4" to 1-1/8" depending on the size of the anvil. Then there is a little round hole called a "pritchell" hole used for punching small holes (a development for farriers). Even the European double horn pattern anvil like the German Peddinghaus have both hardy hole and pritchell hole. The hardy hole is probably the one most standard feature of all anvils (but not in size).

Wallace Metal Works carries both new and used anvils including the Peddinghaus (the last forged anvil made). Kayne and Son also carry Peddinghaus and may carry other brands.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 04:21:35 GMT

Leaf Shreader Plans: AL, Try Mother Earth News or Popular Mechanics.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 04:23:04 GMT

Forge Plans: Chuck, Look on our plans page. Our gas forge plan has links to other sites with more plans.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 04:24:21 GMT

I have been a very sporadic guest here for a while(work).
I was looking at the I-forge page, and it had several sessions missing.
when do you think the missing ones will be posted?.
and btw the zamac was not quite up to the task, the machine had wrecked a steel nut so...I guess I was too cheap.
on the other hand the machine worked for as long as it was needed(I had to make a second nut).
Thanks for a great forum.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 12:17:02 GMT

iForge: OErjan, Kiwi says the demos should be posted today.

Zamak: Yep, its good stuff (almost matching bronze) but there is nothing that replaces steel. There are many alloys that come close to mild steel but almost nothing that matches tool steel other than some expensive chrome nickle cobalt alloys. When metals match the hardness they don't have the ductility. When they have the ductility they don't have the ultimate strength.

If steel were not as irreplaceable and universaly applicable to so many things then we as blacksmiths would not have the technological importance that we have had historicaly, and continue to have.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/17/00 13:45:41 GMT

I'd like to know how I can calculate how much a metal expands when heated without having to actually heat the metal and measure it.

For example, lets say I have a 1mm thick piece of Be(rylium). I heat it to 1 degree before melting. How thick will it be. If I melt it, what will the volume become? What is the formula for this. I would start at standard pressure (if that makes any difference).

I have found all the data about melting temps and boiling points, but can't find anything about expansion.


michael at idi.org.il
michael  <michael at idi.org.il> - Thursday, 08/17/00 16:11:39 GMT

Pressure don't mean nothin in this case. The coefficient of expansion is the difference in the size of the material for each degree of of heat. Ie: the coeficient of expansion for copper is .00000900 per inch per degree F. Starting from 68F. So if you took a 1" cube of copper, started at 68deg. heated it to 1068F it would measure 1.009"
My machenery's handbook doesn't have a statistic for berylium. But I would caution you about working with that stuff, it's poisonous just maching it! and probably even more so if you melted it.
Take care.
Moldy  <eeeeeeeeeek> - Thursday, 08/17/00 21:16:01 GMT

That is "it's poisonous just Machining it
Moldy  <EEEEk> - Thursday, 08/17/00 22:54:47 GMT

Berylium Its poisonous if the dust is inhaled. The symptoms are almost always misdiagnosed as pneumonia. Often leathal. Asimov wrote a short story titled "Sucker Bait" that featured this rare problem. Explorers find a beautiful planet full of plant and insect life. Perfect temperatures and oxygen levels. Eden! But where we have high levels of silicon and aluminum in rock the soil this planet had high levels of Berylium. Most of the landing party was sick and near death before they figured out what it was. .

Coefient of Expansion: Michael, The coeficient of expansion is given as:

distance per degree per unit of material

In English units it is:

millionths of an inch (microns) per degree F per inch of material. AND

millionths of an inch (microns) per degree C per inch of material.

Mixed English/metric units. . . Talk about STUPID!!!! (That's from the ASM Metals Reference Book!!) But since that's the most complete reference I've got, that's what we will use below.

I could find no standard or customary metric units. But it would be something along:

millimeters per degree C per meter

The coeficient of expansion is not a linear constant. It varies with the change in temperature and must be given within ranges. . . OR read from graphed data. The common data is given from 20°C (room temp) to 100°C. The complete range of data is rarely published and in many cases has not been determined for the full range.

"Standard" pressure has no effect, however when dealing with rare metals in physics we are often talking about very NON-standard pressures such as planetary core matter. At these enonmous pressures things ARE different.

In µ in./in. °C
  • 23.6 Aluminium
  • 11.6 Berylium
  • 6.2 Chromium
  • 17 Copper
  • ~11 Steel
  • 14.2 Gold
  • 56 Lithium
  • 22 Manganese
Some of the above are given at 20°C and others within the range.

If you need complete data you will need to go to an engineering school library (probably a University) and look for the ASM Metals Reference Book and the Binary Alloy Series.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 01:48:22 GMT

I want a power hammer. I love the little red Bradley Compact featured on the Power Hammmer's web page. How can I find more info. about this one?
Tammy  <metaladdict at aol.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 13:59:08 GMT

Hammers: Tammy, You ARE addicted if you are intrested in that size hammer. . ;) The picture at the TOP of the Power hammer Page is a Bradley Compact. It is a mechanical hammer. Bradley made the best of the mechanical hammers and this is the largest Compact. However, there are no mechanicical hammer makers any longer. The last went out of business in the 1970's. These are only available as used machines today. However, there are MANY 80 year old machine still in use. These machines were made to last.

Making cookiesThat pretty red hammer is a 500 pound Chambersburg Utility hammer shown here "making cookies". The animation is short about 3 or 4 images but it really IS fast!

The Chambersburg Engineering Co. is still in business but these hammers are rarely made and VERY expensive (6 digit prices). Industry is getting rid of these hammers as fast as possible making many available to smiths at affordable prices. Niles-Bement originaly made this design machine and many of their's are on the market too.

These machines come in steam/air models requiring a big air compressor. There are also self contained models (the compressor is built in). Chambersburg makes these machines too and the most popular brand is Nazel.

Bruce Wallace of Wallace Metal Works currently has a wide variety of used machines available. Ask about the 500 Bradley.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 15:16:05 GMT

Hi. I am interested in how to patina/age new brass. Is it possible to do it quickly? Thanks so much for your help.
Irene  <irocbras at aol.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 18:54:21 GMT

HI, Can you tell me how a forged scaled or antique finish is done on a piece of steel? thanks
doug price  <GDMPRICE at aol.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 19:53:26 GMT

Antique Brass: Irene, Brass and Bronze are used because they RESIST corrosion. To do so quickly in general requires very strong chemicals, corrosive acids or alkalies like hydrochloric, nitric, sulphuric acid or sodium hydroxide. Check with MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for industrial finishing techniques.

I'm told that a paste of "Miracle Grow" fertilizer works in a period of days. Chlorox bleach works very fast on iron/steel. Use it outdoors with personal protection.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS test the method before applying it to the whole piece. A test sample is the best method.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 21:09:45 GMT

Forged Scale Finish: Doug, It comes from heating the metal to aproximately 2,000°F and hammering (forging) the material. There is no magic trick. There is no way to "reproduce" a forged finish. It is the result of the manufacturing process.

Antique Brass II Irene, It is always a good idea to seal the finish under clear lacquer when you are finished. If you are going to use clear lacquer you could also use a thin translucent olive brown or green in the lacquer to create the "old" look.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/18/00 21:19:11 GMT

Talk about stupid questions----do you know of anyplace that delivers coal in less than 20 to 24 tons? I live in southeast Alabama and would be happy to pay extra for delivery (within reason) for a ton or 3 of good metalurgical coal for my shop and be able to share some with other blacksmiths who are also having trouble locating and obtaining coal. Please help me if you can.
Billy Hollon/Sereinity Forge/Southeast Pioneer Village/4016 Hwy 231 N./Troy, Al/36081/(334)566-6912
Billy  <serenityforge at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 01:40:43 GMT

Talk about stupid questions----do you know of anyplace that delivers coal in less than 20 to 24 tons? I live in southeast Alabama and would be happy to pay extra for delivery (within reason) for a ton or 3 of good metalurgical coal for my shop and be able to share some with other blacksmiths who are also having trouble locating and obtaining coal. Please help me if you can.
Billy Hollon/Sereinity Forge/Southeast Pioneer Village/4016 Hwy 231 N./Troy, Al/36081/(334)566-6912
Billy  <serenityforge at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 01:43:21 GMT

COAL: Billy, It's not a stupid question. Its getting harder and and harder to locate good coal in reasonable quantities.

Contact your local ABANA-Chapter. The Alabama Forge Council should be able to help. They are one of the most active groups in the country.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 02:34:47 GMT

Hi - I have a bench top hand shear and I am unable to loctate any imformation on the blade clearances. It is a Whitney No. 38 with a 3/16" capacity, the blades are about 5-1/2" long.

Dale  <dale at savagecreekforge.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 10:37:30 GMT

Shear: Dale, Shears have 0 clearance and sometimes interference (springing the blade and frame to create 0 clearance under load).

I've got an old Whitney catalog and could check further but it will have to be tomarrow as I'm on the road today (Saturday).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 11:09:07 GMT

Irene: I've used a substance sold to gunsmiths to "age" brass. I get it from Birchwood-Casey (ask at a gun store). The product is called "Brass black" and is meant to blacken brass bladed sights. It will turn brass black in about a minute. Just put it on and then wash it off, and polish the black off with 0000 steel wool until the color is what you want. Other companies make similar stuff. It's basically selenic acid, which is VERY bad for you, so be careful!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Saturday, 08/19/00 15:34:41 GMT

Copper and brass can also be aged with "liver of sulphur". IF I remember correctly, it's actually a copper sulphate solutions,, so it's acidic. I wonder how some of the milder acids, vinegar, lemon juce, would work? Might work slower, but be much safer and environmentally more friendly.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 18:34:04 GMT

I have just fashioned a knife (letter opener/paper weight) from a railroad spike which I understand is +- 48% carbon. should I reheat (to what color?) and quinch in water, oil or Robb Gunter's Super Quinch? Can I successfully use spikes for tools? Thanks, Chuck
Chuck Smithers  <csmithers at macnexus.org> - Saturday, 08/19/00 18:59:17 GMT

If you are looking for patina solutions try stained glass suppliers/craft stores. They have a bunch of different stuff for putting decorative patinas in the frames and lead channel on the windows that work great. I have used a solution that plates lead with copper just by brushing it on.
Check it out, you'll be pleased.
moldy  <wha?> - Saturday, 08/19/00 19:00:01 GMT


That carbon spec is very flexible. I've made RR spike knives and quenced in Robb's Super Quench. Seem to hold an edge fairly well. For working hot steel, tools from spikes should be OK.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 08/19/00 21:18:22 GMT

Guru i am new to blacksmithing can you tell me the differance between coal and coke as coke in australia is hard to get ... thanks chopper
chopper  <russells10 at telstra.easymail.com.au> - Saturday, 08/19/00 22:36:53 GMT

Today one of my customers traded me some things that look like missle heads. They are hollow, 30" tall and taper from nothing to 13 1/2". Made from 1/4 to 5/16" steel. There is no seam. I'm thinking mandrel. Noisey, but a mandrel just the same. They are more bullet shaped than a normal or average mandrel, but there is no part that keeps the same diameter. What do you think? Should I try to fill them with sand or soething? Do you have any other suggested uses? I have 4 of them. Thanks, Billy.
Billy  <serenityforge at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 02:36:45 GMT

I am working on a science project that involves a (thus far)
unexplained phenomenon. When cooking in cast iron, the pot
handle (also iron) may get warm, but not too warm to hold.
If I then dunk the hot pan in a sink full of water, the temperature in the handle rises suddenly to an uncomfortable level. My father says this also happens in the shop when quenching hot metalwork. This is counter to
intuition, which says the heat should be drawn away into the cooler water, not "chased" toward the handle. I have
sent inquiries to professional metallurgists, but they seem
to doubt it occurs at all. In your work, you probably experienced this many times. If you have, can you think of an explanation? It does not involve "austenitic transformation" because the temperature is too low, (and it
occurs in aluminum also). I realize this is a bit "off topic", but it is fascinating to me and any help would be greatly appreciated. I am in ninth grade. Thank You!

A Whitmore  <awhitmore at muscanet.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 16:14:57 GMT

I need info on refacing a anvil and if you can retemper the face.. thks.
Tim  <tee1022 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 16:43:28 GMT

Strange Science: A Witmore, sounds like old wives tales to me and this business (as others) are full of myths and tales.

If this is to be a "scientific" investigation the first thing to do it disregard ALL non imperical measurements. If you are not measuring the temperature change with a mechanical of electro mechanical device then you wasteing everyone's time.

What you MAY be observing is heating of the extension by steam or just plain heating by the hot water (convection). Iron and steel are relatively poor conductors of heat. If you quench a piece in water while one end is 1000°F and the other is room temperature (70°F) you may raise the temperature of the water to 150°F. If the "cool" end or parts nearby are submerged in the water then they will be heated by the water which equalizes in temperature VERY rapidly by convection. In the end you are equalizing the temperature of the water and metal (the cool end gets hotter).

Another thing that happens when quenching is that steam is given off. If a smith is wearing gloves they will become saturated with hot steam, heating the glove and occasionaly burning the smith. The steam can also condense in the glove making it a much better conductor of heat. A wet clove is no protection from heat as water is a rapid conductor of heat and distributor by convection and conversion to steam.

The above are too very good logical, factual and scientific explainations of what is possibly being observed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 17:57:01 GMT

Nose cones: Billy, Build a cruise missle? A bell? Send me one. I could find numerous uses for such and interesting piece of steel.

To use for a mandrel I'd weld some supports inside. Perhaps a series of flame cut rings. Perhaps some ribs toward the larger end.

Although it doesn't add impact resistance and will eventualy shrink you could fill them with concrete. That will bring the weight up. Combined with the rings and ribs above it would be pretty stout.

If you need to make "heavy" concrete you can use nuts, bolts, punching slugs and other small scrap to replace the stone in concrete. The ratio between the usual stone fill and steel is two to one. Use clean material. Heavily rusted stuff can weaken the concrete.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 18:08:14 GMT

Coal vs Coke: Chopper the difference is the same as between wood and charcoal. Coal is the "green" stuff and coke has had the volatiles cooked out of it.

Coke occurs naturaly in the smith's forge if he is using good coal (poor quality coal does not coke). Some smiths collect the coke that is produced just outside of the fire and set it aside for later use such as forge welding. Coke has a similar consistancy to charcoal but is denser due to being made from a denser substance. Both charcoal and coke are nearly pure carbon.

Modern coke is made from both coal and petroleum. Petroleum coke is made basicaly the same way as charcoke and coke. It is heated in an air tight container or "retort" that has a vent for the volitiles that gas off. Usualy the the volatiles are used for other purposes or are burned as fuel. Modern coke is a dense fuel made primarily for use in foundry operations. Although made basicaly the same way it is compressed as the coke forms making it a denser fuel than that produced in a smith's forge. In large foundry size lumps it is not suitable for blacksmithing.

Smiths the world over use whatever fuel they can find. Years ago charcoal was used universaly and it was not much of a problem. High grade coal is a more efficient hotter burning fuel so we tend WANT it. Commercial coke is not as convienient as it needs a continous blast to remain burning and is difficult to get started. However, in some parts of the world THAT is what's available so smiths have adjusted to it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/20/00 18:28:08 GMT

Anvil Repair: Tim, Anvils are often repaired using hard facing rod. However heat treating them was tough enough for the factory. They often had failures.

You don't mention what type of anvil you have. Anvils are manufactured by several different methods. The earliest is a forge welded tool steel face on a wrought iron body. Then there are the anvils with the faces welded onto cast iron bodies "in the mold" by patent process. Later anvils were made with forged tool steel upper bodies and all steel cast anvils.

The forge welded faces on wrought iron bodies are one of the best constructions yet it is reported that welds occasionaly failed catastophicaly at the factory with the entire face popping of with an explosive "pop".

The joint on steel faced cast iron anvils is a joint that is not supposed to be able to be made in the first place. Thermal shock from heating or quenching are both likely to cause the joint to fail.

Each anvil type requires different consideration. All require preheating the entire anvil before welding. I rarely recommend repairing anvils. Grind and finish the face by hand if need be. Work around bad spots.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 03:10:37 GMT

RR-Spikes: Chuck, there are supposedly two grades of rail-road spike. Regular and High Carbon. I have yet to see a specification on either. I do know that I've seen spikes being made from scrap RR axels that were supposedly 4140 or similar. The High Carbon spikes are supposedly marked "HC" on the head but without a spec that is still meaningless.

When dealing with steels of unknown characteristics you need to test the steel for yourself. Harden samples using different methods under the most controlled conditions you can manage. Temper the samples and test the hardness. Anneal and test the hardness. Use a spark test to try to determine the carbon or alloy content. Steels with high alloy content can be determined by accurate measurment of the density using a laboratory scale.

Can you make tools from spikes? Of course, but what type of tool? Tools are made of of everything from cast iron and mild steel through High Speed Steel and non-ferrous super alloys. It depends on what you want to make and how long you want it last.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 03:31:22 GMT

I am doing a school assignment on Blacksmithing, so i need some help.
Besides wrought iron, what other things do blacksmiths commonly make?
How did a blacksmith join pieces of metal and iron together?
What sort of tools and equipment did a blacksmith use to shape iron or steel?
What is the difference between the mild steel and wrought iron that a blacksmith would use?
B Hunter  <hunterb at bigpond.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 08:52:01 GMT

B Hunter: wrought iron is to me more a material, it is sometimes used as a term for things made by a smith though.
Take a look in the i-Forge section, there you will find some things that a smith can/have make/have made, there are tousands more.

There are several ways to join steel here are some:
Riveting - make a hole in both pieces, thread a piece of iron thru and flatten the ends of that piece, actually make a dome shaped end.

Soldering - melting tin/lead or some other aloy with low melting point onto the clean ends and letting it cool, that wil form a "weak" bond.

Brazing - melting brass, bronze or silver like abowe that will be slightly stronger.

Forge welding - heating the clean pieces of steel to a semi molten stage and carefully hammer them together (if done well it's somewhat stronger than brazing maybe even as strong as 90% of the base metals strenght.

Collaring - simply wraping the two cold pieces with a yelow hot piece of iron that will shrink when cooled.

The smiths main tools are: forge (a fireplace where he can blow air on the fire to make it burn hotter, it is to heat the steel so it will be easier to shape), hammer, anvil (see here http://anvilfire.com/21centbs.htm for lots of info on anvils), leg vise and tongs. Those are the main tools then you have benders, shears, chisles, sets, fullers and several more.

Wrought iron is to me defined as iron that has a fibrous structure low carbon content and has never been completly molten in the proses of making it. steel has so many diferent characteristics that it is impossible to say in this forum (a few books might get us close).
I think I will decribe the simplest form of hardenable iron based alloy as steel (like the term is used in daily conversation).
Steel is iron with more than 0.05% and less than 1.2% carbon some silicon and manganese. It can be forged and hardened by heating to a certain temperature (transformation point roughly 1400-1600F 800-900C) and rapidly cooled. that makes it hard and brittle.

To make it less brittle (tempering) it is heated some (400-1500F 200-700C) which will make it less hard but much tougher.
Hope this is of any help.

OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 12:59:16 GMT

wow do i need my spellchecker or what(on a borowed puter with no text editor at all)
OE  <same as abowe> - Monday, 08/21/00 13:00:43 GMT

SPELLing: OE, Will fix :) But your spelling is better than most of us that grew up speaking and writing English!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 14:20:41 GMT

If I use a piece of hardened steel such as an old car spring, do I need to anneal it before I start heating and pounding it? Thanks.
Gale Livelsberger  <n3rbo at blazenet.net> - Monday, 08/21/00 14:28:11 GMT

Tempering and Annealing: Gale, generally you can start with steel in the as-found condition but you should probably normalize it first. Normalizing is heating the entire piece above the transformation point (approximately where the steel becomes non-magnetic) and then letting it cool in air.

The difference between annealing and normalizing is that in annealing you want to cool the steel as slow as possible to make it soft. This is done in an insulating medium or temperature controlled furnace. Common annealing mediums are quick lime and vermiculite. Normalizing makes the entire piece the same unhardened state so that there are not hard and soft places.

Note that HSS, air hardening, hot hard or hot work steels all need to be treated very carefully and common annealing methods MAY still be too fast a cooling rate for these steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 15:38:04 GMT

More for B. Hunter: As artist-craftsman we often forget the industrial smith. Industrial blacksmiths operating huge forging machines make important machine parts such as crank shafts for all type of engines, propeller shafts for ships and all sorts of tools. Prior to the invention of the steam hammer in the early 1800's all tools were had by blacksmiths forging them by hand using hammer and anvil. The modern industrial smith makes tools in a single blow using closed dies (like a mold) and the power of a huge drop hammer or press.

IF, something is made of steel it is made by a smith. All steel mechanics and carpenters tools are forged. Good scissors are forged. Stainless eating utensils (the heavier type) are forged. And, as mentioned above almost ALL shafts are forged OR made from forged steel. This includes the shafts and gears in automobiles, aircraft, Rail road engines and cars, earth moving equipment and military vehicals. Farm equipment and military arms are both full of forgings.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 16:02:25 GMT


How can one tell a cast iron anvil from a cast steel one. Also, what is the best way to tell if the face has been hardened?

Thank you!
Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 20:29:37 GMT

Anvil face: Dean, See our anvil series on our 21st Century page
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/21/00 21:48:36 GMT

Guru... I am looking around for a list of junk yard metal qualities. I at one time had a short list but for some reason can not find it! Is there a list on this sight or do you know where I could find a good list? By the way I want to tell you how much I appreciate your sight, My five years on the anvil has been alot of trial and error and several little details that I found on this sight has reserected a few pieces from the ooops! pile. Thank YOU!
Liberty  <liberty at custom.net> - Monday, 08/21/00 23:59:53 GMT


List forwarded via e-mail.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 08/22/00 00:21:40 GMT

Guru... second question for today... Like I said I have been smithing for about 5 years and 99% of all I do is early 1800's Most of my goodies are sold to reenactors but that market is very limited in this area. What kind of places do you go to sell? Do you have a secret to getting around the ignorance of some people comparing hand forged iron with the junk they buy at the garden centre? I appreciate your opinions and your knowledge...
Liberty  <liberty at custom.net> - Tuesday, 08/22/00 00:31:41 GMT

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