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This is an archive of posts from Aug 1 - 8, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Anvilfire Auction Test

This is our new auction test site. Currently there are several items up for bid that were graciously donated to anvilfire by Bill Epps.

Still up for bid are two of Bill's famous diagonal pien hammers. These are custom made and hand polished. Although he is selling right and left hand hammers both can be used right handed.

The advantage of a diagonal pien hammer is that it puts the pien at a right angle to the work while working in a comfortable position. When a right handed person uses a left handed diaglon pien hammer it makes it easier to use the pien parallel to the work. So, the truth is they are not really right or left handed. It just depends on what you need the hammer for. A pair is a great way to go!

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 17:46:26 GMT

Punching: Mark, do not predrill the holes. But remember you need something to retract the punch. Its takes TONS not pounds.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 00:01:02 GMT

Hay Guru,
I've been offline for quite a while so have probably missed all kinds of neat stuff.
I made a bellows forge so I could do work at the living history place where I work, and was wondering if anyone has had experience burning charcoal (not briquettes). Like where to get it, how to do it, etc.
Roger  <r_lcollins at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 01:32:20 GMT

Guru ,
retraction of punch... how many tons 50% of punching force? or will I need more than that? not predrilling humm I see why now will just push a side stock. as always I learn something every time I log on here..
Thank you

Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 01:40:03 GMT

Retraction: Mark, I don't think it is nearly that much but you never have enough springs. The problem IS that the springs are also conteracting the punching force. I think 10% is more than enough but I have never seen it specified in engineering references.

I'll try to get a die set drawing posted but I've promissed too many things at this point. Just wasted an entire day installing a little video capture cable that I needed Saturday and its still raining SIRCAM on me. Somehow I screwed up the display on my PC and all the default fonts are screwy. I HATE WINDOWS!!!!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 02:17:56 GMT

Charcoal Production:

Simple: Rick charcoal- pile up the wood (mostly branches between wrist and no larger than leg size), set it on fire. When you have a good pile of coals (and before it all turns to ash) hose it down. Rake it out and hose it some more. Rake it out on some old metal sheeting and let it dry. Bounce it on a rat wire seive to screen out the ashes and fines and store in a cool, dry place.

More complex: Dig a hole in the ground, about 3' X 3' X 3' (or a cubic meter). Fill it full of wood, big pieces in the middle, branches towards the bottom and the outside, brush on the bottom and outside. Run a 3" (75mm) pipe down into the pile just about in the middle. a) set the brush in fire and cover with sheet metal and dirt, leaving some holes around the perimeter for edge vents and stack for control or b) drop flaming materials down stack. Control vents and stack as needed to keep fire going with smoke coming out of the stack. Not too hot and not too cold. When smoke stops after several hours and metal sheets slump down, cover and seal everything and leave to cool overnight or longer. Make sure it's air tight. Break open pit clamp and shovel out charcoal. MAKE SURE IT'S COLD!

Modern Industrial Method: Create air-tight retort out of 55 g. oil drum, old tank, etc. Run 3" pipe from the top, around the outside, and down to bottom. (Think plumbing.) Fill full of wood, fasten air-tight hatch and start a gas burner underneath. Smoke and volatiles from the top pipe will ignite and provide further heat. When gasses from the top pipe no longer sustain combustion turn off the burner, cap the pipe, and let sit until cool.

We'll just skip the method that requires a twelve to 24 foot mound, takes a week to produce the charcoal (with day and night attention) and imperils the colliers with death or injury.

Okay, it's an art, not a science. I've used the first two methods with varying degrees of success. There are several publications out there from Lindsey Books and the Shire series from England.

Charcoal fires need to be deep (deeper than coal). Welding may require piece of sheet metal over the mound to hold in the heat. They take a lot more tending with water, frequently applied with a broom-like whisk rather than a dipper. After they've been burning for an hour or two they tend to "blow out" spewing little hot coals all over.

Still, a charcoal fire is clean, has zero sulfer and very little clinker, and learning to use and tend it provides an extra talent to add to your arsenal.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come have a row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 03:21:33 GMT

What i havnt seen mentioned in regard to charcoal making is the fact that it was regarded as a dangerous occupation.
Those processes produced explosions not infrequently.
The smoke and volitiles that come off wood are so flammible that it is possible to run a car off it!
That heavy brown/black smoke is a rich fuel that will flash without warning when it mixes with the right amount of air...given just a dinky ignition source. Be careful or risk being blackface and hairless, if you are really lucky.
Pete F  <ironyworksathotmail> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 06:21:32 GMT

Try this site for making charcoal - www.velvitoil.com/Charmake.htm
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 08:03:56 GMT


Good point. That's one reason for keeping the pit clamp small. The ones used in the Carribean are about 6' X 12' X 3' and don't seem to have much of a problem with gas, but caution is always called for. It's not a problem with a rick, but they're more work and less efficient. Also, if you produce the stuff in any quantity and on a regular basis, there are dust/lung problems.

Inattention on the pit clamp can frequently result a flame-out or a pile of ashes as well as the gas flashing off.

There's also a variation of both the rick and the pit clamp where you shovel the hot coals from the rick into a hole in the ground and seal it with an air-tight cap of dirt. Good side: you don't have to dry the charcoal. Bad side: shoveling things out of pits is a pain.

Hey, it's hot, heavy, dirty and dangerous. Sounds like most of my hobbies... ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 10:18:53 GMT

Guru.. found a couple of greely punch and die sets that I had bought at a swap meet few years ago and put away "just incase" I will try them out to see if they'll do the job. as well as the 25 ton bottlejack I have a couple of 2 ton low profile bottle jacks will see if I can figure out how to set up one of them as the retraction ,maybe setting the die at /stripper upon that old anvil shaped object to give room for the 2 ton.
thanks again for all your help
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 11:43:27 GMT

Pete F, I get black on my face daily but only hairless on TOP of my head. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 12:30:33 GMT

Charcoal: Roger, I use lump hardwood charcoal. I get mine from Grove Charcoal in Wisconsin. 920.668.8080. Retail is $8 per 20 pounds. I pay less since I live near the guy who owns the place. I don't know where you are or if they ship to anywhere near you. But you should be able to find a maker near you if you don't want to be black faced and hairless, grin. The biggest pain is busting it up into 3/4" average sized chunks. But kids seem to like doing that. Make sure they wear a dust mask. You also get small sparks coming off the fire, but they have little mass so they don't realy hurt. Even if they get in the eye. But no noxious smoke to breathe. I use firebrick to shape the fire on the sides to conserve coal and avoid using water. I've never had a blowout. I use a house furnace blower with a ceiling fan speed control for air. Welding heat has not been a problem, but I think the firebrick help with that. I can melt and destroy good iron just fine, grin. On a real heavy full day, I might go through 20 pounds. I've made some by hosing down a big fire too. But busting that up is even a bigger mess if the fire was anything more than small branches.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 13:05:02 GMT

If the area of the top surface of an air cylinder piston is 10 square inches and 100 psi is applied to it, I assume the resultant static force is 1000 lbs. If that is acting on a 1 inch square tool do you then get 1000 lbs/sqaure inch of pressure. In otherwords, when the tool meets the table and comes to rest, if the tool is 1 sq in, is it pressing down with 1000 psi. I think this is enough pressure to forge weld. Will it also deform highly heated (orange / nearly white) mild steel. If the end of the tool had a 1/2 inch radius would that move, dent, or taper 1/2 x 1/2 heated bar stock by pressure alone. (with out percussion)?
L Sundstrom - Wednesday, 08/01/01 13:17:42 GMT

Larry, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But if the work has less area than 1 square inch, the pressure on the work goes up because the force capability from the cylinder stays the same. but the work area is less. And if the work will deform with less than 1000 pounds on the tool, you will not develop 1000 pounds. In other words, the resistance that the work offers determines the maximum force until the press is at its maximum capability. Friction in the cylinder and guides will detract from the maximum force applied a little. Depends on how good the guides are and how much side force, the work puts on the tool.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 14:01:02 GMT

WELL I'M BACK with my machete. I ended up taking an orbital sander to the rusted out thing and is starting to look pretty darn nice except for the discolored pitting. WHAT NEXT? What can I dip or treat this thing with? Is there anything in a hardware store? I'm starting to love this kind of work and need input. Anyone care to give a step by step process on how to refinish a rusted machete, sword, knife, etc;? I want a mirror finish on this, and would also like to know what materials I need to get started ! Brand names(3M,etc;). I think I need to take a buffer to it but what do I use? STUMPED! Sincerely, The Apprentice Loskby. p.s. Thanks for all your input guys on all of my previous(hopefully intelligent) questions.
Sir Locksby  <rustatsi at juno.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 16:57:06 GMT

Recently came into possession of a nice Lincoln AC/DC buzz box. I'm a fair welder, hobby-wise, but do not really understand the when and why of using either negative or positive polarity. Could someone explain the basics of DC welding, and why? Also, when someone refers to "reverse polarity", are they referring to negative or positive welding?
Drew  <drewj at uic.edu> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 17:28:53 GMT

Polishing: Try our 21st century page Polishing X (for don't). It also covers the do's.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 17:30:33 GMT

To be negative or not to be: Drew, DC current moves one way relative to the +/- terminals. In welding the direction of current flow determines which end gets the most heat, the rod or the work. In normal DC welding the work gets most of the heat and you get deeper penetration. In DC reverse the rod gets hotter and you get a more fluid puddle.

(I think I got that right, can't remember which is straight and which reverse though . .).

There are rods that work both AC and DC. But there are other rods that are designed for either one or the other. You CAN use them with either but will not get optimal results.

In general you can get deeper penetration with DC welding. But the character and feel are quite different than AC welding and take some getting used to if all you normally do is AC welding (like me).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 18:02:16 GMT

Stripper force: Mark Parkinson, I asked my stamping and forming die guy here about the stripper force. Were working on a new stamping die together and I was curious anyway. Per his die design book, with a reasonably sharp, properly designed punch, the stripper force required is thickness times length of hole times 1.5 = tons of stripper force. So a square hole in 1/4" thick stock would be .25 x 2 x 1.5 = .75 tons or 1500 pounds. I guessed a bit higher, grin.

Yeah, a die set would be nice for that job. You could set the stripper plate on springs so it got compressed against the work as you punched the hole. The stripper plate pressure would also help to keep the stock flat during punching. Then the stripper springs would help retract the bottle jack as well as pull the punch out. Id set the stripper springs so they provided 2500 pounds with the punch just through the work. We always leave some room to adjust spring pressures. Different spring rates, or shims or a different number of springs.

Or you could set your small bottle jacks between the die mounting plates to push them back apart.

A die set is two thick, flat, parallel plates that the punch and die are mounted between. The lower plate usually has posts sticking up and the upper plate has bushings that slide on the posts such that the plates can only be parallel to each other. Thus, no other guiding of the punch, die and stripper is required. The die set with punches is set in the punch press and the lower plate usually clamped down.

If the punch is dull, or the end is mushroomed, the hole is uglier and the stripper force goes up.

You can also set up a spring loaded latch to catch the last punched hole and fix the distance (spacing) between punched holes.

Lots of options.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmmilwpc.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 18:52:30 GMT

I am not usre if this is the right "site" to be asking this question...but I dont know where else to go. So, here it goes... Do you know where I can bring an anvil to, to find out about its origin, make, ect. ? HELP !! Thanks
linda  <lkpereira> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 19:49:16 GMT


Post a description, especially of any and all markings on the anvil. Look under the horn, on the feet, and on both sides of the body. Post that information, and I'll try to help you.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 20:02:50 GMT

If you could post some info here we would be glad to help, if we can.
Are there any markings on the anvil? If needed make a rubbing of it, so that you can more readily see any markings.
Usually they are found on the sides. Are the markings raised or indented into the anvil. Raised indicates it is more than likely a cast anvil.
Ralph  <ralphd at ihpc.net> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 20:03:39 GMT

Anvil ID: Linda, Yes, This is exactly the right site.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 20:13:29 GMT

I have two totally unrelated questions.

First, how has the recent ecomonic downturn affected those of you who are professional smiths? I know that in the corporate world this has lead to job cuts and budget reductions and i was wondering if professional smiths have seen a decline in the number and or size of orders.

My second question is about power hammers. Industrial hammers are often rated by the size of a mild steel bar that can be efficiently worked under it. It seems to me that this generally is about 50 lbs of hammer for every inch of bar i.e. a 50 lb hammer would be rated for 1" bar and a 150 lb. hammer would be rated for 3" square bar. Now for the question. I have seen people claim to work 3" bar under a 50 lb. hammer. So, how are the industrial ratings arrived at and what do they mean for the average smith?
patrick  <nowakp at timken.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 21:12:56 GMT

thanks for the spring loaded index idea, Had just come in from the smithy after setting the punches and strippers up and was mulling over how to set the centres.... I love this forum.
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 22:25:02 GMT

If you look at a fairly recent Encyclopedia Britannica, say 1956 or so, it says nobody understands electricity-- and then goes on to talk about it for the next 20 or 30 pages. Nonetheless, current (haha) thinking is the little electrons flow from negative to positive. So straight is when you got the stinger negative, juice going into the work, work cable plugged into the positive socket. Deeper, more satisfying penetration! Mmmm, my, but that was good! Here at CACA, the Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis, a special team is working on the question of howcum, if AC really and truly does alternate the way them scientists claim it does, they need those Gol-danged plugs with the different-sized holes that you can never get to match up down there in the dark behind the couch?
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 23:42:43 GMT

Economic Changes: Patrick, Most smiths are self employed Entrepreneurs. Most work alone or with one helper. They are not effected by the NEW math of corporate accounting practices where employees are cost centers rather than profit centers. However, most are effected by the general economy. But different smiths have different clientel and that makes a big difference.

Top architectural smiths tend to work for the super rich. As long as big finance, oil, movies and such are making mega bucks these smiths have lots of work. Smiths making the typical decorator items and small pieces sold to the general public are hurt more by down turns in the economy. The super rich are often getting richer at the same time as everyone else is starving so the status of the economy my have nothing to do with how good business is.

Power Hammer Ratings: Most hammers are rated by the ram weight. It doesn't matter if they are mechanical, air or steam. However, hydraulic forging presses are completely different and the hydraulic force is a significant factor. These are rated by the total force.

Some manufacturers rate their hammers by the energy of the blow. However, the anvil mass effects efficiency greatly and blow force may have to be modified by as much as 60% on hammers with light anvils. Unless you understand the engineering you end up comparing apples and oranges.

The 50 pound ram weight per square in cross section rating is an old one. Today 65 to 70 pounds is most often used. These are efficiency ratings. Yes you can forge a 3" bar under a 50 pound hammer but it will take many heats and probably a few hours. Commercial forge shops want to finish the jod in one heat and just a few blows. This also produces a better product as far as the condition of the steel is concerened. This rating is modified by forgability factors for tool and alloy steel which rapidly reduce the machines efficient capacity.

These ratings are based on the AREA of the cross section. A 3 inch square bar has 9 times the area of a 1 inch square bar. So a 50 pound hammer should work 1" bar at about the same rate of a 900 pound hammer working 3". However, the comparison is not really a true straight line function. The 900 pound hammer works 3" more like a 200 pound hammer working 1 inch.

The 50# rule is just a rule of thumb and helps correct hammer manufacturers ratings where they often used as big of piece of material as will fit in the hammer.

What most new smiths don't realize is that they can do just as small and delicate work with a 200# hammer as with a 25#. But you can't do the bigger work with any efficiency under the small hammer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 23:47:38 GMT

CHARCOAL: Here's an easy way to make charcoal, although if you live in a residential area the smoke may be objectionable. use a 30 to 55 gal oil drum with a removable lid. cut a 4" hole in the lid and two 4" holes opposite each other in the sides at the very bottom. Pile a few pounds of charcoal inside the barrel by the bottom holes. fill with hard wood chunks. (dry is best). Put on lid and start carcoal with bernzomatic torch. ( no flammable liquids please ). When smoke venting thins, cover top hole and pile dirt tightly around bottom holes to cut off air. Leave it alone till it is cold.Takes a couple of times to learn to time the process right. A barrel of wood will yield about 2/3 to 1/2 barrel of charcoal in about 4 hours or so. leave some charcoal in barrel to start next batch. experiment with partially covering top and or bottom holes to regulate draft. works great and is kind of fun....Bob.
bob  <bbeck at losch.net> - Wednesday, 08/01/01 23:50:46 GMT

SHANE  <jones4spkg at msn.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 04:01:19 GMT

I love the new auction page
I think I could see my self going broke from it when it realy get's going
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 04:18:01 GMT

Thanks for the info. on the "old-world" iron work. I'll bid high, and if I get the job, send in a nice contribution. Thanks for the great resource. I better go practice some acanthus leaves or something. Thanks.
Kevin - Thursday, 08/02/01 04:29:53 GMT

Wheels: Shane, Wagon tires are made of wrought iron or mild steel. They are rolled with a "tire bender" and welded. Then they are shrunk onto the wheel. Measuring the correct length and knowing how much shrink to put on the tire requires a lot of skill and experiance. Old wheels and new wheels need a different amount of shink and in both cases the wood needs to be exceptionaly dry.

Shrinking requires heating the entire tire to about 350-400F. Then putting it on the wheel hot. This requires special tire grabs and stretchers.

There are some books on the subject but I wouldn't want to ride on a wheel tired by a rookie that learned on his own. Most wheel wrights learn from other wheel wrights.

If a tire doesn't quite fit tight enough there are machines called "tire shrinkers" that upset a section of tire. Modern wheel wrights would just carefully saw out the amount of shrink and then reweld.

Try Centaur Forge and Norm Larson for books.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 06:07:38 GMT

Hi Paw Paw
This is chris makin again I think the website problem is fixed at least this morning it was.
Chris Makin
Chris Makin  <cfm15 at home> - Thursday, 08/02/01 12:37:06 GMT

I have a square bas. file thatI would like to make a couple of knifes out of.Could you tell me the steps of heat treating.
Thank You
Bill C.  <kaceycamp at aol.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 12:57:44 GMT


That got it! Nice looking blades!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 13:37:45 GMT

Heattreating, Hardening and Tempering: Bill, Try this:

Heat Treating

This is a new FAQ I generated this morning using the new search feature on our archives page.
Please note that thearchives with search is available from the drop down menu, not the side bar menu that displays the archives list.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 14:51:50 GMT

A little-known but significant feature of the slant pien hammer is the rotational back-draft, which imparts a subtle circularity to the blow. Cross-piens and straight-piens (which latter some early smiths favoured or their lesser wind-resistance) operate with simple transverse English, resulting in a ho-hum footprint. Here at CACA, Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis, we are on the threshhold of a swiveling spoiler that significantly reduces hammer-head atmospheric drag, increases striking force up to 15%, makes a really nifty whistling noise and serves as a handy shot-glass. Order yours for Christmas! Monograms extra!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 14:55:49 GMT

Thanks for the help.
Bill C.  <kaceycamp at aol.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 15:31:36 GMT

Heat Treating FAQ: I'm stll editing and adding to it. But it is more or less finished now.

Windows Fonts Somehow I trashed my Windows fonts setup the other day. I think it had to do with a combination of a Windows Update (big mistake) and a reinstall. Nothing uses the default fonts anymore. Not my browser or editors. . And nothing fits the way it should.

Anyone with a suggestion?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 16:21:01 GMT

I'm having trouble with my eyes seeing what my brain ain't believing. On the iforge demo for the box base candelabra,
it looks as though A of fig. 3 becomes C of fig. 4. If that is really what takes place I will need to order a hammer from CACA with the swiveling spoiler. Besides all the work involved, how do you go from stake to plate without a break in the edges?
L.Sundstrom  <lsundstrom at augustamed.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 17:03:06 GMT

Sheesh! Lessee, now: i before e except after c, right? Maybe it's not pien, after all. Sorry about that. Maybe it's pein? Or pane? or peen? Get me Noah Webster, at home! Meanwhile, let's offer a paean to the mighty whatever.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 17:24:20 GMT

Box Base: Larry, A becomes B then becomes C. The instructions said it required a very good grade of low carbon steel or Norway iron. Its a good candidate for some of that PURE IRON. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 18:01:39 GMT

Hammer drag... Cracked, swinging a hammer is a drag? No way! Say it ain't so!

I'll be interested in the spoiler, but how about getting rid of those nasty drag producing molecules altogether? I say use the patent pending VacuHammer. Hammer in a vacuum. No drag at all except for that produced by interaction with the solar wind. Contact me off forum for pricing. Or just off. As an agent for the ruskies, we only charged Dennis Tito what..... 10 million?

I see Boeing is finally shipping one of the big planes with winglets to reduce the wing tip vorticies. How 'bout winglets on your spoiler??

Mark P., you're welcome! Glad there is some use for the random ramblings. Grin.
Tony  <tca_b at mmmmmilwpc.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 18:37:40 GMT

What is the best machinable material I can use, so I can make a piston/cylinder set for a stirling cycle engine that can handle very high temp and still provide a tight seal between the piston and cylinder. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
robert escobal  <bjao1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:13:52 GMT

I am wanting to harden the jaws of a home made right angle bender but I dont have a forge.
Would it be posible to heat the components to a high enough temperature using a blow torch and quenching with some sort of oil?
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:23:39 GMT

What is anealed iron?
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:25:51 GMT

FONT PROBLEMS: Fixed! I had used "Microsoft Essential Updates" in an attempt to get a replacement video capture device to work. It proceeded to force the install of more fonts than my system could sustain (broke MS's own limit rules). After deleting the 100 or so fonts that were near duplicates of ones I already had and several system reboots (6) my system is back to normal. Just goes to show that MS doesn't even understant their own system.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:31:43 GMT

Piston Rings: Robert, These are normally made of special alloy cast iron. I'm not sure of the type. You may need to go to a specialist such as Perfect Circle Piston Rings.

The best rings I've had in an engine had a channel shaped cross section that was filled with graphite bearing material. The rings appeared to be made of steel (plus the graphite). I believe these were a GM product for engines with steel (rather than CI) cylinders as the late (1956) 235 straight 6's had. It seems to me there was a graphite filled ring, a plain ring and an oil ring on each cylinder.

This can get to be rather high tech stuff. That was 1960's tech for a 1950's engine. Today powdered metal techniques could be used to produce a special formulation with both high wear resistance and good lubricity.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:42:16 GMT

Hardening Jaws: Mark, To harden steel you have to start out with steel that has sufficient carbon to harden. Low carbon and mild steels are generaly considered unhardenable.

Heating with a torch works fine depending on the size of the part and the kind of torch. I would guess that your bender is too heavy to heat suitably with a bottle mount propane torch.

Annealing is the softening of metal by heat treatment. Ferrous metals are annealed by heating to just above the A3 point (a point above non-magnetic that varies with the carbon content), and then cooling slowly. For common carbon steels the cooling can be done in dry ashes or lime powder. For high carbon and alloy steels annealing requires cooling in a furnace that has temperature controls so that the rate of cooling is no more than ~20°F/hr.

Non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, brass, copper and silver are annealed by heating to a low red and quenching in water (the opposite of steel).

See Heat Treating FAQ
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/02/01 19:55:04 GMT

what is that square hole in an anvil called ?
r bravo  <bobmarybravo at exotrope.net> - Friday, 08/03/01 02:26:43 GMT

This is kind of a general question, but I am interested in learning blacksmithing as a semi-serious hobby, but I haven't been able to find people in my area that I could learn from. I have a feeling that I am looking in the wrong places. I live near cincinatti ohio, and if anybody lives in that general vincinity, or knows someone who does, and would be willing to help me out, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for you time in advance,

Evan Robert Hartman
Evan Hartman  <theironcolonel at hotmail.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 02:35:28 GMT

ok ok I know I should know this and I swear I did at one point but.... in the SAE#/AISI# system for steel grades what is the break down for the numbers like 1065, I remember that the 1 ment something the 0 something else same for the 6&5 is the last number carbon content on a 10 point scale or is the therd number carbon content.... I knew I should have keep my notes from school. I tryed looking it up in the machinery's handbook but I think I may have been looking in the wrong place and with that book half of makeing use of it is knowing what you are looking for.... so help please
thanks MP
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 04:43:29 GMT

SAE Steels: Matt, The first two digits are the alloy. 10 is for plain carbon steel. The second two digits are the carbon content in points or hundredths of a percent.

1020 = .20% carbon, 1095 = .95% carbon

The alloy series run up to 9800 or so in small increments. Machinery's Handbook has the lot. Three pages of fine print and that doesn't include the stainless alloys or tool steels.

AISI numbers equal SAE numbers with a leading C.

SAE 1020 = AISI C1020.

UNS numbers add zeros to one or both ends of SAE numbers. Then there are J numbers which are the Japanese Society of Automotive Engineers numbers.

The numbers that are the real bastards are the manufacturer's numbers like ATS-34 that get tossed around like a standard but they ARE NOT. If you want to deal in these numbers you need several references. Woldmans Alloys of the World, a huge 4" thick reference, then the ASTM-SAE Alloys in the Unified Numbering System, a 3/4" thick paperback and the ASM Metals Reference book. Then you can search and squint and go crosseyed looking at the fine print in your $300 references. . . But I didn't find ATS-34 in them. . .

Which is why I get a little peeved when people want to what "SuperSiliconXalloy" is. . . Well, its the figment of some knife dealer's imagination or MAYBE a trade name tacked on to a standard steel by a distributor so you can't buy it elsewhere.

Ask for the UNS number. Look it up in Machinery's Handbook.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 05:28:40 GMT

Cincinatti, OH: Evan, I'm from the Newport, Covington area of Kentucky. Say hi to all my Dempsey relatives up there!

I have ONE acronyme for you. SOFA. Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil. Look them up on our ABANA-Chapter.com page.

I also have a teenage friend over in Hamilton that might want to get to gether with you. He will call you if your intrested.

Square Hole in Anvil: Robert, There are several but the one in the top is called a "hardy hole". One of the first removeable tools used in anvils was a little short chisle that stick up out of the anvil. It is called a hardy, thus hardy hole.

Folks often mistakenly call other tools that fit the hardy hole "hardy tools" but they are not hardies. Dies, fullers, bickerns and swages are made to fit the hole. These are square shanked dies, fullers. . .

Now, . . the little round hole toward the corner of the heal of the anvil is called a "pritchel hole" because a special horseshoe making punch called a pritchel is used with it.

There are other square holes in the sides of the waist and the bottom of forged anvils. These are handling holes for the special tongs and porter bars that were used to handle the anvil while forging it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 05:42:12 GMT

Since Cracked and Tony are proposing improvements in the hand hammer, and certainly it needs to catch up to the modern world.....at least a little bit.
I got to thinking about those elegant pile drivers with the free floating piston in the vertical cylinder and the simple diesel injector; and wondered if the principle couldnt be applied to the hand hammer.
The smith would wear a small fuel tank on his hat, for maximum gravity feed with a tube down his or her arm to the hammer handle. Each face of the hammer would be a seperate mass that fit together as a precision cylinder and piston in a stepped series that would act to concentrate the pressure on the fuel charge at the moment of impact...the fuel would crack adding force to the blow and sending the hammer head back up in prep for the next blow....and so on.
Needless to say, all profits from the neo-hammer sales would go to Anvilfire. It is probable that considerable research grant funding will be necessary until that time; but i know we can always count on CACA in the field of BS.
Pete F  <ironyworksathotmail> - Friday, 08/03/01 08:24:08 GMT

Diesel hammer: Pete I'm sure as a Californian you will appreciate that after the prototype phase is complete that EPA regs will require the addition of 200 pounds of anti-emmisions gear and that California will outlaw the device entirely. Those of us in less restrictive areas may find the required annual emmisions testing rather unconfortable and end up running the devices secretly in non-compliance. When the feds get involved the disasters at Ruby Ridge and Waco will pale in contrast because as you well know we blacksmiths are an intirely different breed of independent. Not only can we make our own arms but also serious armor.

Take this hammer from my cold dead hand!

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 14:04:12 GMT

Can someone explain circular and weaving patterns when mig welding
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Friday, 08/03/01 16:46:39 GMT

Weld bead patterns: Mark, Do you doodle? Try drawing a continous line of connected overlaping ovals that make a wide line across the paper. Like in handwriting practice. That's a circular pattern. A weave is a little mome complicated. Its a series of arcs. Right, left, right, left. . . The puddle overlapping the bead in an arc. A zig-zag is similar but with straight lines. Now where it gets complicated is when you use a weave to weld something thin to something thick. Your dwell time on the thick is longest and on the thin it may be just long enough to wash the puddle onto it and melt in.

I run straight beads and weaves. On heavy multiple pass welds I hate the look of parallel stringer beads even though they are the standard, and run a weave on the top pass. But then I never needed to be a certified welder either.

All these patterns are illustrated in welding texts and are primarily used when stick welding. Automatic welding machines can also be programmed for these patterns.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 17:50:34 GMT

Thanks Guru
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Friday, 08/03/01 17:56:26 GMT

Hi, I have things up and running now, and want to thank everyone for the help you gave makeing the side draft work on my forge. Now can you tell me what you use for a finish, wax and oil or cooking oil. Thanks Jim
Jim Glines   <jglines at kdsi.net> - Friday, 08/03/01 18:56:52 GMT

I saw part of a demo about making Celtic crosses from 3/8" and 1/2" square stock which was bandsawn, heated, and shaped. The plans provided were vague and incomplete. The demonstrator said that he got the info from the anvilfire site. Can you help with this? Thanks, Tom
Tom  <wolfman at quik.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 19:01:22 GMT

Fredricks Cross: Tom, We have two on-line demos on our iForge page. #56 Christoff Fredricks, by Bill Epps and #79 Celtic Cross, by Glenn Conner. Bill's method does it with hot chisling and Glenn's method saws the slits.

Note that the amount of overlap of the splits determines the size of the center hole.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 19:26:30 GMT

Finishes: Jim, It depends on what you are making, where it will be and how well protected you want it. Architectural work should ALL be sandblasted, zinc primed, neutral primed and then a top coat.

Small decorative items and kitchen utensils can be waxed or oiled. Beeswax paste can be used but many have found that hard liquid floor wax works best. Bowling Alley (tm) wax works but is a little thin. Kitchen utensils can be oiled with mineral oil. Vegatable and linseed oil should be avoided as they can become traps for bacteria.

There are many formulae for wax/oil finishes but as soon as you start doing this you become an amature paint formulator. Instead of doing a poor job of "reinventing the wheel" go ahead and buy a professionaly formulated product like clear lacquer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/03/01 19:35:43 GMT

Anvilfire TOOL auction: CSI member Mark Parkinson has donated a beautiful pewter Civil War chess set to anvilfire as a fund raiser. This set would sell for well over a thousand dollars if it was coming from one of the so called "collectors" sources.

NOTE: The auction system is not just for items to be donated to anvilfire. Currently it is free for all to use. However, once we get an accounting system running non-CSI members will need to pay a small fee to sell on the system. All buyers can register free.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 03:13:49 GMT

thank you that was makeing me nuts I couldn't for the life of me remember it.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 05:21:33 GMT

LOL Good Guru
Pete F  <ironyworksathotmail> - Saturday, 08/04/01 06:15:22 GMT

Pete-- you've just invented the palm driver. Jock-- In 1798 the British commandant in Belfast decreed that all blacksmiths needed a license from him and that any smith found to have forged a pikehead or other weapon would be executed on the threshhold of his shop.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 14:45:39 GMT

I am new to the blacksmithing network. I have taught metal shop for a number of years, but know very little about the art of blacksmithing. Hope to use this and other sites to contunue my education and interests.
Charles Lee  <csl50 at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 15:35:11 GMT

Charles, Welcome to anvilfire! This is the place for all the blacksmithing information you need. We have on-line resources like no other place on the Internet.

We have the only active blacksmithing chat on the Internet. Slack-Tub Pub is where the blacksmiths from all over the world hang out. There are over 100 how-to tutorials on the iForge page.

Be sure to see our home page. There are descriptions of many of our features there. Our "What's New" link has the newest changes and we make changes and additions almost every day.

And you are welcome to join Cyber Smiths Internation. CSI is our support group that helps keep anvilfire on-line.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 16:17:32 GMT

Recently, I have become interested in learning more about blacksmithing. Currently, I don't know much about blacksmithing at all. I Grew up on a farm where we welded fences and equitment but that is about the extent of my metal work. Could you point me in a direction of basic blacksmithing? I am eager to learn.
Thanks, Rob
Rob Dickson  <Robertraid at cs.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 17:34:43 GMT

Getting Started: Rob, See the link posted at the top and bottom of this log "Getting Started in Blacksmithing".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 18:15:42 GMT

Does anyone know of anywhere showing pictures of different welds ie. too fast too slow weaves etc.
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Saturday, 08/04/01 20:02:01 GMT

Welds: Mark, I tried a variety of welding sites. However most folks (unlike us) want to SELL you and real information. I suspect you need to purchase a copy of WELDING Technology and Practice. Its the standard trade scholol welding text and Centaur Forge has it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 20:40:45 GMT

I have an Anvil aprox. 100 lbs. with the following info on it.ARM & HAMMER (with logo)WROUGHT IRON 11 3.Could someone tell me the origin,aprox. yearmade,and value ?
Jimbob  <d1217 at livingston.net> - Saturday, 08/04/01 22:03:05 GMT

Jock, every time I click on the Stryker banner (or pull down page), the Stryker homepage partly loads, then a bit "You have performed an illegal operation, and will be shut down", then the screen goes blank, and my desktop takes a dump (which is easily restored by clicking restore). I keep waiting for the FBI or some associate of CACA to kick in my window and drag me away from Uvalde, Texas screaming. What setting do I have wrong??
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 22:35:11 GMT


The Arm & Hammer Anvil was produced by the Columbus Anvil and Forging Company of Columbus, Ohio, between the years 1900 and 1950. Only about 51,000 to 52,000 were made, the majority of them before 1920. The 11 3 MIGHT mean November of 1903. That type of numbering is not listed anywhere in ANVILS IN AMERICA, and that is the ONLY anvil reference book ever printed.

Postman (the author) considers it one of the finest anvils ever made. The working face seems to last better than any of it's contemperaries.

If you can take a couple pictures of it, showing the condition of the face, and horn, I'll try to give you an APPROXIMATE value.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 08/04/01 22:35:53 GMT

hello I have no experience as a blacksmith, hopefully based on your getting started info my time as a welder will help. I would like to get any info on blacksmith instruction for beginers, I am in S.Jersey I have found one in Ontario, but i was hoping for somethign closer. Thank You Jeff Moore
jeff moore  <fourmore2 at aol.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 00:17:12 GMT

Link Crashing: Robert, The Striker page uses a lot Javascript that your browser may not like. What browser and what version are you using. System memory?

You may also need to clear your cache to make room for more graphic files. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 00:43:45 GMT

Hi guru,
I need some help. I used stock removal to fashion a double edge dagger blade (17 inch blade, 4cm width)from 1050 steel. I then covered the center third of the blade with clay and then heat treated to 1550f and quenched in water. The blade warped toward the side by about 1/2 inch near the top third of the blade. The resulting hardness is 58 rc for the edges and 35 r in the center and a beautiful temperline has formed. Question: How do i straighten the blade without destroying it and without erasing the temperline?
thanks in advance
joeyroxas   <limubai88 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 05:01:04 GMT

Mark try the US army adtdl version of US Army welding Circular. it should have the descriptions.
Here to help OE
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 08:38:41 GMT

should have given the URL i gues. here it is .
here to help OE

OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 09:23:52 GMT

Thanks Guys
Mark  <manicholas at lineone.net> - Sunday, 08/05/01 11:15:03 GMT

hello, ive been always interested in being a blacksmithy, i was wondering how to get started, i have no clue what most of the tools look like or what types of forges, and anvils i need, pleasehelp
matthew renn  <toohott at sunlink.net> - Sunday, 08/05/01 11:51:42 GMT

I have a Arm & Hammer Anvil also. I like it lots. Mine has a date stamp on it 1948 and a weight stamp at the other 20. Mine is in real good shape. Crest of hammer and arm is in real good shape. Not do many gouges in the face either.Paid 150. canadain for it at a auction...Keep smithing folks.. A cool 82 degress here today..North Bay Canada
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Sunday, 08/05/01 14:13:51 GMT

Guru or Kiwi..I logged on to the auction to submit a knife for auction. When I submit querey it says account suspended. I double checked and edited name,password, phone # and tried again,,,same message..account suspended. Dont know what I am doing wrong.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 14:38:46 GMT

This a good start place. Read the 'Getting Started' section on the anvilfire main site. Look at teh iForge Demo page, and stop in and tlk with folks on teh Slack Tub Pub.
Also after the Getting Started page find a local group near you and go to some of their gatherings. Should be able to find folks thru anvilfire. Go to the Links page and go to the ABANA Chapter link. It has a good listing of chapters all over the place
Ralph  <ralphd at ihpc.net> - Sunday, 08/05/01 14:57:15 GMT


The URL for the USArmy Library that OErjan suggested is:

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 15:44:56 GMT

Auction: Randal, I noticed a problem with your registration in the auction admin system. But I don't know why. I will have to drop a note to Kiwi and see if he can figure out what is wrong.

That is why we call it "testing" :(

Thank you for reporting the problem! We probably need an errors report form on the auction page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 16:07:25 GMT

What tools look like: Mathew, Go to the Kayne and Son Website. They have a complete on-line catalog with photographs of almost every tool they sell.

But I also recommend buying or borrowing a few books. As Ralph suggested our recomendations are in Getting Started.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 16:16:47 GMT

Public Test
webmaster  <webmaster at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 16:20:29 GMT

Guru..thanks, I will try to submit an item or two later. The Auction is a fantastic idea. Im sure you and Kiwi will have the bugs worked out soon.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 16:41:39 GMT

WARPED KNIFE: Joey, This is a real problem for knife makers and there is no good solution. On long blades like swords it has been recommended to strike the flat of the blade against a suitably stout (oak) tree to straighten. Other blades MAY be straightened in a press. However, there is a distinct possibility of breakage (wear those safety glasses!). If you carefully support the blade with wood blocks you may get away with it.

Like many things prevention is cheaper than the cure. IF the original bar stock didn't have any residual stess then the problem is in the heattreating. Even heating is critical and symetrical quenching equally critical. Uneven heat or quenching at an odd angle both contribute to warping. The use of clay shielding must allso be symetrical. In most clay shielding methods the clay keeps the body of the blade cool and only the thin edge is heated and quenched. Any time you get involved in these relatively exotic methods and technique where there is little control and many variables you greatly increase the chance for failure.

If you have a lot of effort in this blade I would recommend annealing in a salt bath, straightening, normalizing to remove straightening stress and then trying again. Yes, you will lose your temper line.

I'm not an expert on the re-heattreating of steel so others may have a better solution. OR one less likely to screwup the structure of the steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 17:41:36 GMT

Guru...Thanks for answering my ? re the Celtic cross. I have discovered a wealth of info in the Iforge section. Thank you, Tom
Tom  <wolfman at quik.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 17:53:09 GMT

Guru: I have read your section on getting started, and I'm interested in purcasing some books. You mentioned The Machinery's Handbook. When I searched for this book, it appeared that there might be more than 1 book with a similar title. Can you provide an author's name or other identifying option so that I get the right one? Also, I read that "Diderot's Encyclopedia" is a good reference. Please help. Thank you, Tom
Tom  <wolfman at quik.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 18:28:48 GMT

Diderot's was one of the first how-to encyclopedia's to crack the code of Omerta that kept craft secrets secret. The original was many volumes of text and many more volumes of plates. A two-volume Dover or some such precis-- so vastly abridged the editor felt it necessary to apologize-- is available from various sources. It is interesting, but of scant practical value to anyone trying to learn smithing. Get the late, truly great Alexander Weygers's books on smithing and tool-making, available in paperback in a three-volume set, I think.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 19:37:27 GMT

I am just getting into blacksmithing,(in fact I built a brake-drum forge off of plans on this website) and cannot come across an anvil in my price range, which...admittedly is small. I CAN however come across a piece of old railroad track. I was wondering if this would work until I can get an anvil, or if I shouldn't even bother with it.
Bond, James Bond  <sauruman at quik.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 20:26:20 GMT

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK: Tom, See our book review page the "BookShelf". Hmmmmm I see I have left out some information in the review. . . But the links to the publisher take care of that. However, most volumes were edited by Erik Oberg and Franklin D. Jones. Over nearly 100 years there has been only ONE MACHINERY'S handbook. The current edition is the 26th. Beware however of the "Guides to Machinery's". These are companion volumes for those that are intimidated by a thick volume and of little value.

The newest version I curently have is the 23rd. I had a 25th (see the review) but traded it for an out of print copy of the Little Giant Hammer book. . which is now back in print. But it was a good deal at the time.

I also have some very early editions. A fifth and and eighth as well as several inbetween then and the now. There is very little difference in a 5th and a 25th except that as new alloys have been developed and techniques change they have been added. Very little of the old information has been taken out. However, most of what has applies to us. That is why I recommend purchaseing older used volumes for blacksmithing references. You can also save about 75% over new cost. But if you want it for up to date information on alloys and heattreatment then buy a new one.

Diderots Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry is a good reference is you need some general information about 18th century technology. Its great for researchers but of little value for learning a trade as Cracked pointed out.

Weygers is good and very practical but I prefer Jack Andrews ' NEW Edge of the anvil.

Eventualy we will have reviews of all the key references but everything takes time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 20:44:40 GMT

Anvils: 007, You need to start thinking more like McGiver. . .

The problem in the Western world is that we have this steriotypical idea of a what an anvil should look like. The thing with a long rhino horn and shelf like heal that is THE symbol of blacksmithing to us IS a wonderful tool but it is not what tens of thousands of smiths in the East think of as an anvil.

For millenia an anvil was just a block of iron or steel. Recently I saw a page with some fellows in India using a heavy sledge hammer (maybe 25 pounds) as an anvil. It was set upright in a stump. I also have a piece of PBS video showing smith in the South pacific using an anvil about 6" (150mm) square and about a foot tall. He made his living making tools and the traditional Kris.

You will note that both of these are being used small end UP. This is because having the mass in line with the working blow resists movement greater than if it were setting on its side. The 122 pound anvil being used by the Kris maker is equivalent to using a 200 pound Western anvil. What is important is the mass directly under where you work.

The traditional RR-Rail anvil is almost useless. If you don't bolt them down securely they will bounce several feet due to the springyness. However, if you set the rail on end and use the little face provided by the end of the track head then you have lots of mass UNDER the hammer. If you study a smith working on his big Western anvil you will notice he tends to work in on small "sweet" spot no more than a few inches across. Working on the end of a piece of rail is not much different and it makes good accuracy training. See my iForge demo on making tools from RR-Rail.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 21:18:24 GMT

Guru:Thanks for the advice, now, having thought about it, it makes a lot of sense. I have been to the iforge page and have looked at most of the things there to make, but I wonder what the best things are for beginners like me. Should I start out making tongs, or should I try something simpler? I have a background in Tool and Die making, but pounding on a piece of steel with a hammer is fairly new.

Is it best to mount that rr track in an old stump, to absorb some of the impact?
Bond, James Bond  <sauruman at quik.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 21:38:39 GMT

link crashing - Jock I have outlook express, windows 98, with 2.99GB, and about half used (at least I think that's what you're asking for, being a woodworker, I'm not very conversant on PC stuff) Also, is cache the same as temp files? Couldnt' find it listed as such.
robert hensarling  <rhrocker at hilconet.com> - Sunday, 08/05/01 23:19:44 GMT

Crashing: Robert, OE is a mail client, but I'll assume you are using IE (MS Internet Explorer) and not Netscape.

The 2.99GB is probably disk space, not memory. If you go to Control panel, System. At the bottom it will say how much ram.

I just tested the links with IE 4.0 on my very similar machine. But I have 3 Netscape windows open, My HTML editor, Graphics editor, Calc and Mail. . . As well as the test window for IE.

Now I DO have 256Mb of memory and the system reports 1/3 used up. A typical system may have 32Mb memory which would have been overloaded forcing Windows to use disk swapping. This often slows things down and causes errors.

You may have something else running that is taking up a lot of resources or is using memory in a weird way. . . OR a buggy Internet connection can cause problems. . But anvilfire SHOULD run well on your system.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 02:28:03 GMT

Getting Started: 007, You want the working height of your anvil to be about knuckle height. Did you look at the iForge article on RR-Rail tools (#45, figs 16-19)? I only drew the top portion of the "stump" but you you should get the idea.

Anvils mounted on sections of oak log are good. But I build box stands using pine or fur framing lumber. See the box stand in the article Anvils - Low cost on the 21st Century page. This is made from 2 x 10" lumber, 1/2" plywood and some scraps. The advantage of a hollow box is that it will sit flater on an uneven surface. You can also laminate up a "stump" from pieces of construction grade lumber.

Tongs are a good starter project for several reasons.

1) You NEED tongs.
2) You don't need tongs to make tongs.
3) They require a lot of forging (good practice) to draw out the reins.
4) If it takes 1.5 hours to make a pair of tongs you are about on par for what a pair would cost new.
5) Every blacksmith needs to know how to make their own tools.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 03:01:10 GMT

I'm posting this question on behalf of my husband.
When redoing the end of a crowbar what color should it be taken to...cherry red? and then quenched in oil? any advice would be great. Thankyou in advance from Australia.
Loulou  <louisecross at angelfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 03:12:59 GMT

Crowbar: Louluo, That's about right but might be a little too hot. Heat slowly until a magnet won't stick to it, quench in oil is good. If you heat it in the forge again until most of the oil burns off it will be tempered about right (350 to 450F, 177 to 230C) .

You don't want to forget to temper. That reduces the brittleness a lot and the hardness a little. Thats so it won't break and you lose YOUR temper!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 03:24:41 GMT

Motorcycle chain damasuus didn't work very well. it stuck in sections 1 1/2 to 2". Guess I can scarf & weld the sections..... May be something in technique. Could you 'splain it more slowly? I musta missed something. Used a Japanese chain, (sans "o" rings); mech through my Harley chain in the dumpster.
Ron C  <h1office at aol.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 12:15:41 GMT

I am new to blacksmithing and very eager to have a coal forge set up at home(in S.Ontario), I think I have everything worked out except the blower...I would like an electric blower but I'm not sure what or where to look? The pot is approx. 4" deep by 10" across. Thanks in advance.
Brad  <bhotrum at sympatico.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 12:30:04 GMT


Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son are both advertisers here on anvilfire.

I know Centaur Forge sells blowers, I bought one from the years ago. I think Kayne and Son does also.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 12:52:48 GMT

Forge Blower: Brad, Ever use a blow drier on your hair? Yeah, I lnow real men don't eat quiche. . But I KNWOW your girl friend or sister does. . . (use a blow drier). You need a blower with about that much air. Anything from 140 to 300 CFM. Large forges use up to 500-600 CFM. Discharge size wants to be about 3" (75mm) to ~3.5" (~90mm). You can make a funnel shaped adaptor for larger blowers but there is a loss of flow doing so.

Blow driers HAVE been used on forges but you have to be sure to remove or disconnect the heating element (burned out is good) and isolate from the forge by a couple feet of pipe (exhust pipe works good). The reason you want to remove the heating element is the unit turns itself off when the heating element gets too hot.

The output of a vacuume cleaner has been used but generaly that is much too much air. They are also very noisy. In all cases you either need some type of valve or electronic control on the blower because once the fire is going good the "blast" wants to be adjusted down to a gentle breeze.

If all else fails you can purchase a blower from a heating and air-conditioning parts supply OR Centaur Forge. Centaur carries the little blowers as well as heavy duty units. They also carry electronic controls for the small units.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 12:58:25 GMT

Motor-Cycle Chain Damascus: Ron, I've never made it but I'm told that the key is to flux, flux, flux and more flux. Forge welding is an art and takes practice and more practice. I know there are a lot of folks that make motorcycle chain Damascus but I don't really get it. The probability of having good sound welds are the way through is very low.

O-Rings in the chain? That must be new. I've specified a lot of roller chain and none had seals. There ARE varietys with sintered (powder metal) rollers that absorb oil. But I don't think they use it on motorcycles because the chain must be derated for the size.

You may need to degrease better. I'm told light oil like kerosene doesn't hurt but heavy grease may burn and be resistant to the flux. Plated chain would also be a problem. If the welds are sticking in sections then you know it can be done. You may not fluxing enough or letting coal contaminate the metal at the fire fringe. If you are using coal that shiney black deposit that gets on pieces at the fringe of the fire is vaporized coal volitiles that have condensed and plated the cooler metal. This stuff is VERY hard to get off and flux won't do anything for it in the interior of the chain.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 13:17:57 GMT

At one time you where talking about making a micro-forge with a single refactory brick. Did you ever get to it on the to-do list? I was thinking about making one and would like to hear any pros/cons before I start cutting up the brick.. reason I'd like one is I'm beating a lot of small section 3/16x4" rods for hair pins and I keep losing the d&$n things in the coal...
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 13:39:41 GMT

Mark, never did get it made, although it's laid out on the brick. There is a picture of one in the anvilfire news. I'll see if I can find it and post a message with the location.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 13:54:01 GMT

wow, quick responce time :) thanks I have the pic of the one in the news archive...same one is on the 21C plans page was looking for more info, basic distrust of propane comes into play here after working with NG for so long
Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 14:07:26 GMT

Hello, I have a boyfriend who is so enthusiastic about blacksmithing, but he does not know where to get started. We live in North Carolina, and actually we are both looking for a place that will teach us together. Later down the road we had planned on learning the art of sword making. If there are any classes or groups that you know of in the NC area, could you please tell me i am very serious about blacksmithing and it would be a great opportunity for me and my boyfriend. Or could you e-mail me a site reference, pertaining to blacksmithing in my area. Thank you so much for your time.
sypriss wilson
Sypriss  <syprisss at bellsouth.net> - Monday, 08/06/01 14:31:28 GMT

karen hayden  <coloryourworld at aol.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 16:14:53 GMT

took some "just do it" advice the micro forge is now built


Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 16:18:46 GMT

Black Wire: Karen, That that is normally a hardware store item. But if they don't have the weight you need try McMaster-Carr (see our links page). They are a huge industrial supplier with warehouses all over the country. Their print catalogs are hard to get (like gold) but they have an on-line catalog and will sell to you on-line.

Iron/Steel is tough to solder. First the black has to come off. Some fine sandpaper will do. Then is needs to be copper flashed. This is done by dipping the ends in copper sulphate solution. You can get the copper sulphate at many hobby stores that have childrens chemistry sets.

THEN you need a good flux. Various places (Sears) sell a rosin paste flux that has powdered tin in it. When the exact right temperature is reached you can see the tin flashe the surface and you then you add a little solder.

My wife is a Hayden. . family from Illinois near Monticello. Please don't use ALL CAPS its considered yelling on the net!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 16:40:32 GMT

Micro Forge: Mark, I'm going to steal your page if you don't mind and link it to our micro-forge page.

One note on HTML. Your fonts are pretty BUT. . They depend on the local PC or MAC's font set. And everyone has something different.

That is what got me in trouble with the Microsoft "essential" update. MS ASSSUMED that everyone needs 100 or so more fonts. So they forced them into my system. I already had bucoo fonts from my Corel Suite and HP printer instalation. Matter of fact I had as many as the MS 98 system allows. So their backdoor installer routine did something the system will not let you do and that is over install fonts. THIS screwed up my system (you should see what EVERYTHING looks like in Copperplate BOLD). . I couldn't read fine prompts, my printer wouldn't work. MS-98 reinstalls didn't reset the number of fonts. . . It took me three days to figure it out. I finally had to manualy remove about 100 fonts out of about 1000 by my memory of what the old list contained!!!!! The REALLY stupid thing is that most of the new fonts were gimicky ugly things or near duplicates of those I had installed (just with different names).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 16:59:29 GMT

NC has a lot of smithing activity. There are several places that have classes. I will let PawPaw say what they are, as I am not sure. Brasstown is one I think and teh Campbell school is another(I think).
Also PawPaw is in NC.
another place to seek local smiths is the local guild.

Ralph  <ralphd at ihpc.net> - Monday, 08/06/01 17:20:49 GMT

Mark P. Your microforge looks great! That's a good idea for just doing small stuff, save on fuel big time! I'm going to have to make one one of these days now. I checked out the rest of your page too & saw the link to my page, thanks! Your work looks really good.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 17:22:39 GMT

"Brad" Come up to Northern Ontario -- North Bay... I can hook you up to a elt blower with controls...TTYL

Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Monday, 08/06/01 19:03:30 GMT

Guru: note taken on fonts...changed to Times New Roman thanks.....link all you want...

Mike: thank you

Mark Parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 19:40:05 GMT

Ron...I tried using motorcycle chain a couple times. I made 3 folds, wired them as tight as I could. heated to a little beyone cherry (relative term depending on the ambiant light in your shop)and beat it a bit to close up the spaces. Apply Lots of flux and reflux. It dosent all weld up tight. Draw it out and fold..flux and weld again. You may have to fold a few times to get rid of the holes (spaces between the links). It turned out ok, more of a novelty than a working knife/tool. Machinerys Handbook lists about 3 different metals used in drive chain. That may be part of the problem in getting a good weld.
R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Monday, 08/06/01 21:14:07 GMT

I have come up with a heavy weight piece of rail about 3 feet long. I am planning to make an anvil out of it. I probably will just rough out a horn and use if for a while. However, I was considering making something more elabrate in the long run. Would you consider just grinding down the top for the tool plate or welding on a plate? I don't know how hard the rail is. If I should weld on a plate, what do you recommend? i.e. 1" - 1 1/2" mild steel and then hardfacing or tool steel? Will I need to heat treat it? This is just a project for occasional use. Any drawings or links?


Dale  <Alexander_d at aps.edu> - Monday, 08/06/01 21:41:16 GMT

RR-Rail Anvil: Dale, LOOK UP, about a dozen posts for "Anvils:007" Then "Getting Started:007" and the articles they refer to.

If you have a way to cut the rail you have enough length to make the anvil in iForge demo #45 fig. 19 with the vertical piece going to the floor. Used horizontal it is like beating on a coil spring.

Rail is not hardened but is hardenable. From use it may be work hardened on the surface. Do not use hard facing rod. If you want a hard surface you can flame harden it. Use E7018 or better welding rod for the plan referenced above.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 00:43:28 GMT

Ibought 5 feet of 2" copper pipe. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. Besides making flowers leaves etc. from it I thought I might make it into 1/2 X 1/2 " billets to make hummingbirds and other items on Iforge. I thought about melting in a crucible and pouring into a sand mold or maybe welding it in the forge. I've tried searching the archives and haven't found anything on the subject. Is there any other solution, or do I have to much time on my hands to sit around and think about this?
Joe Marshok  <jmarshok at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 01:03:04 GMT

Got a question about flux. One should not use borax straight out of the box right? I read that it should be cooked till its a liquid, cooled and then ground to a powder again. Add alittle sal ammoniac and you're good to go. Last night I was welding everything in sight. Tonight I can't get anything to stick. I did change coal though. Hmmm,... I wonder. I'm heading down Hwy 81 thru VA in a few wks. Any coal suppliers on the way?
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 02:12:23 GMT

Copper Pipe: Joe, you have too much time on your hands. I have a BUNCH of casting information but have not posted any of it yet. . sorry.

COPPER, is a picky about being cast. Oxygen does REAL funny things to its properties. If you want to forge some then you are best to order a bar. We have it in our On-line Metals store.

You can always split the pipe and use it for flat stock or learn our to forge pipe and make balls on rods and such. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 02:21:08 GMT

Borax Flux: Pete, Almost everyone I know uses it straight from the box. It's so much fun to watch it do its little hot foot dance! :-)

And that is about all you save by dehydrationg it. Larry Sandstrom sent us his recipe for backing Borax and its floating on my desk SOMEWHERE. . . He bakes it in the oven at 450°F in a ceramic dish. It rises like a loaf of bread but doesn't melt to liquid. I REALLY need to add that to our borax article.

The problem with anhydrous borax is that it absorbs water from the air and returns to its natural state of having 10 molecules of water per ONE borax. . .

Bunch of little towns up in the Valley. Said Larry S. is up there near Staunton. He would know where coal is to be found. Otherwise you would have to get off in Roanoke/Salem and you don't EVEN want to do that!

Where I am down in the sticks is way the heck off the interstates. . . If you were going down I91 you could stop into Josh Greenwood's in Petersburg and buy a load of coal. . . how BIG is your truck???

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 02:35:48 GMT

when using battery charger to remove rust do you hook positive terminal to the discharge plate? I always forget when terminal goes where.
Ralph Neumeister  <mlforge at aol.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 03:52:00 GMT

I work in an auto parts store, and was just wondering if there were any type of oil that we sell, that makes a good quenching oil. We've got mostly automotive type stuff.
Bond, James Bond  <sauruman at quik.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 05:08:11 GMT

Quenchants: 007, ATF is best as it has the least additives. But mineral oil is recommended (Johnsons baby oil). Bakeries also use it by the barrel to oil trays and pans. Next is peanut oil. It can be gotten as deep fat frying oil. I prefer to stay away from the organics because some have a tendancy to go rancid.

Many old references are full of regular witch's brews of various oils that would give the EPA a heart attack. . It is best NOT to use automotive oil due to the additives that create some REAL nasty smoke when burnt.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 05:27:51 GMT

Can anyone give me ideas for some reference material for forge welding chain saw chain or some of there own experiences with this? I'v been trying to forge weld some for a knife blade for some time now and I just can't seem to get it. What I got was alot of burns. Picture holding on to a snake by the tail while it's head is white hot. I finaly did get a little piece about 2" long to start to take, but there has got to be a better way. THANKS!!!!
Keith  <kbarker1 at stny.rr.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 11:10:11 GMT

Dear Guru,
i am a blacksmith in Australia producing furniture and architectural type work. I am wanting to incorporate forging bronze into my designs and would appreciate some info on the forging of bronze:- what type of bronze can be forged, temperatures, surface treatment, inherent properties, suppliers, etc.?
I will appreciate any advice you can offer on this subject,
jeremy robinson, Fe26.
jerry  <fe26 at ozemail.com.au> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 12:13:01 GMT

Thanks so much. I went to the site, and almost all of the info i needed was there. I am in Lincolnton,NC, and there is really not too much blacksmithing going on around here, thats why i am guessing i will have to travel a good bit to find a place to teach us.
but i thank you for your help.
Sypriss  <syprisss at bellsouth.net> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 13:21:17 GMT


Contact the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. Their URL is:


Or contact the Penland School of Crafts. Their URL is:


My PERSONAL preference is the Folk School, but both have excellent blacksmithing programs and facilities.

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 17:06:54 GMT

Roller Chain Damascus Keith, try this link. It is a new FAQ composed of last week's discussion and one several years ago.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 18:20:58 GMT

Just picked up a leg vise with the name Indian Chief on the mounting plate, would you happen to know anythingbout this name?
Jeff  <Breezewayforge> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 18:48:49 GMT

What has to be considered in designing a way to attach the striking end and the "anvil" of a powerhammer. I think these parts are called dies but not sure. Can they be bolted on or is that not good form.
L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 08/07/01 19:34:31 GMT

There is a town off 81 East of Harrisonburg called Elkton.
All the smiths around here coal up there. The place is on the main road right outside Elkton on the left. It's called Monger Coal and Oil. Very nice people. about 5 dollar a bag (40 or 50 lb.)
L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 08/07/01 19:42:51 GMT

I have recently begun to make chain maille armor, I have gotten a basic pattern down and am able to make large pieces, but I want to be able to make rivited maille. It is supposedly the most difficult and highest quality to make.
Monkey  <crazymonkey936 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 20:34:13 GMT

Brass and Bronze: Jerry, sorry this took so long, but I've put together another FAQ file. This one on brass and bronze. It will get you started. I can't help you with suppliers in OZ but we have a number of folks from there that visit here that may be able to help with that.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 21:44:56 GMT

Furthermore, Mongers is on Rt.33 and they also sell by the ton for about 1/2 the price of bags.
L.Sundstrom - Tuesday, 08/07/01 21:52:05 GMT

Hammer Dies: Larry, The terminology varies depending on the manufacturer. In the U.S. the hard part on the ram and the anvil that strikes the work is the "die". In Europe the ram is called the "tup". The secondary block on the anvil that is often a higher grade of material (than the anvil) is called the "anvil cap" or commonly the "sow block" in the U.S. The Chinese translation of all their air hammer manuals calls both the upper and lower dies as well as the anvil cap, an "anvil cap".

I call dies upper and lower dies. And the block on the anvil is the "anvil cap" (because most U.S. manufacturers called it that). I think the British use the same but you never know about British terms!

On most industrial machines the dies are held in place by a dovetail and wedge. This goes back to the water powered trip hammer era. Today the majority of "new" hammer manufacturers (Kayne, Firedesign, Tripair) use bolt on dies because it is much cheaper to do. The KA hammers have dovetails and wedges.

The tapered dovetail and wedge is much sturdier than bolt on but it is expensive to make and expensive to make dies for. Bolt on makes it much easier for the user to make his own dies. All the bolt on dies use a mild steel flange with the die welded to it. Dies vary from being made of SAE 4140 to H-13.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 22:54:27 GMT

Riveted Maile: Crazy One, So what is your question? How to make riveted maile?

You take each ring and flatten the end the direction the ring lays. A blow from a hammer while the ring is supported on an anvil will do it cold. However, doing it hot prevents work hardening the metal foe the next step.

After flattening the ends holes mst pe punched or drilled. The problem with cold punching is that you can only punch up to the hole diameter in metal thickness. So you either hot punch or drill cold.

For drilling I recommend a small drill press. Hand held drills ruin bits to fast. The bits need to be short "stub length" bits to make them hold up better. I would rig up some kind of quick clamping device to hold the ring tightly. Probably something made from modified Vise-Grips.

Once you have made the rings with holes you thread your mail together and close the rings so that the holes line up. Insert a small plain steel round head rivet and give it a wack while supported on a heavy block like an anvil. You can purchase rivets this small from J-C Sales and it is well worth it.

The "best maile was supposedly welded but it it thought today that the old pieces that looked welded are just corroded to the point that the riveted joints all blend together.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 23:10:36 GMT

what is the metalurgical composition of reinforcing bar (rebar).

mike  <plano.pecks at verizon.net> - Tuesday, 08/07/01 23:20:47 GMT

Hi Guru,
I enter in the plans forge and I copied the EZ BURNER and it works very well, but it's not hot enough to make Damascus, than I put an other burner to work together at the same forge, but it doesn't work yet!
What can I do?
Ricardo Vilar  <ricardovilar at ig.com.br> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 00:11:37 GMT

EZ-Burner: Ricardo, That is an old Ron Reil plan hosted on his page. It has been built by thousands.

That burner is what is called an "Atmospheric Burner" because is runs on atmospheric pressure - there is no blower. They are used on many commercial forges.

They are very tricky to get everything balanced to run correctly. Any one burner will only work with one volume of forge. On commercial forges they add burners as the forge gets bigger. Make the forge twice as big and you need twice the number of burners. A single EZ-Burner will work on roughly a 1/3 of a cubic foot or about 10,000 cm3.

I quote from the Ron Reil site.
  1. You will need at least 450 BTUs per cubic inch of forge chamber volume if your forge is going to be able to forge-weld. Some would argue for a figure as high as 540 BTUs per cubic inch.

  2. The "Reil Burner" will deliver about 135,000 BTUs at medium to higher gas pressures, and can be cranked up to almost 200,000 BTUs by raising the pressure to 20 psi or more. In the lower pressure range of from 1-6 psi, where I do most of my work, it will produce about 60,000 BTUs, or even a little less. Use the middle figure in any design calculations.

  3. Shoot for a burner to volume ratio of 1:300 or less. Some smiths who are very
    knowledgeable would say a more conservative ratio of 1:250 would be safer and insure that your forge will be able to weld. To calculate how many 3/4" burners you will need just divide the total chamber volume of your forge, in cubic inches, by 250 or 300, and then round up. If you come out to a burner requirement of 2-1/3 burners, then you will need 3 burners for your planned forge volume. Always plan conservatively or you may end up with a forge that is too cold to forge-weld.
The above information is assuming that you will build a well insulated forge, having at least 2" of Kaowool lining coated with ITC-100, not Satinite, on the interior surface of the chamber. A 3" lining of Kaowool would be even better, and would probably pay for itself in fuel savings over the long run. If you elect to use a
rammable or pourable refractory, or bricks, you will have to address the lower insulation values associated with these materials. One option is a composite design, a pourable refractory shell for durability, inside a Kaowool shell for insulation value. These are more difficult to build but are long lasting and can work very well.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 03:33:09 GMT

Iwant to know how to melt alumanum but I dont have any gear to do so and I cant buy it at this moment what can I do in the alternitive?
brian   <bajorkman11 at yahoo.con> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 03:18:25 GMT

I have a couple of questions. the first is what is kaowool made of? asbestos? Secondly, if mild steel is iron with carbon added, how is the carbon added? Thanks
Charles - Wednesday, 08/08/01 03:48:44 GMT

Melting: Brian, You need fuel (charcoal, coal or propane) and a source of air (a blower or a possibly a venturi device). Then you need an enclosure to contain the fire made of refractory material. Fire brick, Kaowool or a refractory clay. The ancients knew where to get refractory clay but they were closer to the real world. Not all clay can take high temperatures and you have to either KNOW or buy it.

Then you need a crucible to melt the aluminium in. This can be an iron pot HOWEVER, liquid alluminium or zinc will disolve the iron. It is common to line them with refractory clay but this too fails rapidly. Commercial graphite crucibles are always the best.

So, while you don't have money for equipment you need to go to the library and get some books on blacksmithing and foundry work. DO NOT get stuck on 18th century methods. There are a lot of details you need to understand. Once you know HOW it can be done with a hole in the ground, a blanket, a helper and some charcoal. . .

Sounds kind of like a Sunday barbeque with your lady. . :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 03:58:49 GMT

Kaowool: Charles, Kaowool is a "kaolin" ceramic blanket developed by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. (the folks that designed the infamous Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant). It is the synthetic replacement for asbestoes made of fine fibers of refractory kaolin (and aluminium oxide clay).

However, it has been found to have some of the same problems as asbestoes. You shouldn't breath fine Kaowool dust. But both of these problems are WAY over rated. What you should NOT DO is breath any kind of dust day in and day out, organic or inorganic.

Carbon in Iron or Steel: In modern manufacturing methods the carbon gets in the iron from the fuel burnt to smelt the iron (coal, coke, charcoal). Generaly there is too much resulting in "cast iron". To reduce the carbon content air or pure oxygen is blown through the melted cast iron (this is the old "blast furnace process" invented by Bessemer in the 1800's). Modern systems are a little more controlled but work on the same premise.

Carbon CAN be added to wrought iron and low carbon steel by "carburization". In this process the iron is heated to a red heat in an atmosphere full of vaporized carbon. The steel absorbs the carbon. This happens to some degree in a forge under the right conditions but is usualy done in a sealed container (to keep out iron destroying oxygen) that is filled with powdered charcoal. The sealed container with the iron and charcoal is heated to a red heat and held there for one to four hours. In four hours you get a 1/32" (0.9mm) hardenable "case" on the surface of the steel. This is called case hardening.

During medieval times up until the late 1700's this process was used over longer periods to produce what was known as "blister" steel. The blister steel was then taken and forged, folded and forge welded over and over to produce a seni uniform product. In about 1780 an Englishman named Huntsman found you could melt blister steel in a sealed crucible and pour it into ingots thus producing a very uniform steel. Thus was born "crucible steel".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 04:23:19 GMT

EZ-Burner Numbers (more): Ricardo, I missed on the numbers for the Ron Reil burner (see how easy it is to screw up).

At his BTU value's (based on how much gas is used NOT how efficently it is burnt) the forge volume should:
  • 60,000 BTU - 120 cuin (2000 cm3)
  • 100,000BTU - 200 cuin (3300 cm3)
  • 150,000BTU - 300 cuin (5000 cm3)
  • 200,000BTU - 400 cuin (6500 cm3)

I have found that it is difficult to get one of these burners to run at that wide a range so the balance is more critical than it seems.

There is also a huge difference in the shape of pipe reduction bells. Some are a gently curving funnel (the right shape) and others are hemi-spherical and not a good shape for a venturi induction system.

Recently they have discovered that better designs of the same type burner with smooth induction bells, a good gas nozzle and a symetrical air damper (tubular) can operate at a much wider range.

Often the solution is simple. Close some of the forge off using a couple fire bricks, make the door opening smaller.

In all cases gas atmospheric forges take up to 45 minutes to get up to a good working heat and a couple hours for heavy refractory to abosorb enough heat that welding temperatures can be reached.

I hear these same problems from people over and over including folks with commercial gas forges. But there is almost never a failure using a blower type burner. If you have electricity to run one they are simplier to build and have a wider range of operation. The slightly higher presurization in the forge chambre assures a good high temperature for welding heats.

AND THAT brings up another point. If you are at high altitude your forge may not reach welding heat without a blower or preheating the air (a recuperative forge) or both.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 04:50:13 GMT

REBAR: Mike, Rebar is made according to a minimum performance spec and can vary greatly in composition but mostly it is carbon steel. There are 3 common grades with increasing carbon content. However, I have not found the specific percentage.

For more than you ever wanted to know (other than the carbon percentage) try this link.


You could also search our archives with our new search. See the notes about limiting the search to my answers. The V-Hammer-In December 15-31, 1998 archive has the best information. Meanwhile I am working on FAQ.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 05:10:58 GMT

REBAR FAQ: Hear it is.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 05:52:43 GMT

'Here' it is. . . up too late again.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 06:54:13 GMT


I have just started blacksmithing classes and have found that my arms need to be a lot stronger. Given that in my job I just go to meetings, sit at my desk and use the computer etc., my arms require some exercises to increase their strength and stamina for working metal. My instructor said that my arms will toughen up over time, but I was wondering if you had any ideas to hasten the process, given that classes are only once a week?

Tamara Mulherin
(absolute novice in Australia)
Tamara Mulherin  <mulherin.tamara.j at edumail.vic.gov.au> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 07:03:55 GMT

Thank you Guru,
I will try to make a burner with a blower!
Do you have anyone to suggest me?
Ricardo Vilar  <ricardovilar at ig.com.br> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 10:29:45 GMT

Thank you Guru,
I will try to make a burner with a blower!
Do you have anyone to suggest me?
Ricardo Vilar  <ricardovilar at ig.com.br> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 10:30:25 GMT

I own a small lawn care business and spend a lot of time sharpening mower blades. The mower I use generates a lot of blade speed so you can mow faster. I normally dull a set of three blades after 6 - 8 hours of mowing. I have heard that you can re temper the blade steel after sharpening by heating the blade and cooling it in motor oil. Is this true?
If not, is there a way for me to temper the steel at home?
I would like to get more cutting time out of my mower blades. Thanks.
Stephen Rogers  <rogers543 at msn.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 12:01:41 GMT

Ricardo, I drew up a plan for a good blown burner based on the Hans Peot design with a couple of my own modifications. It is at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth/Forge_Burner.html . If you have any questions on it, feel free to ask me or the good Guru.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 12:49:49 GMT

Thanks for the vocaulary lesson and your as usual thorough answer. I have a threaded "tup" but I am shy about bolting the upper die to it directly for fear of jamming the threads somehow and not being able to change dies down the road. Am i correct in thinking that the upper die comes down (hits) on the lower die which is attached to the anvil cap which is attached to the anvil? I was thinking of attaching the lower die directly to the anvil. We'll see.
Thanks again,
If you ever need any of that good valley coal I'd be happy to wind my way through those narrow country roads around
L-burg and bring you a couple bag, unless that is, you can tap that Greenwood vein whenever you please.
L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 08/08/01 13:14:20 GMT

hello,I have been interested in learning blacksmithing for a long time, and have been reading the posts on this page for nearly 6 months now. This is the one of the best sites I have found so far for learning about blacksmithing. I have built a brake drum forge, and have a small anvil and a few tools, and have just started using the forge and practicing on a few small items. I have joined cyber smiths international, and am planning on joining the NCABANA chapter. I am located in the Sanford area of NC, and just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. My one question for the moment is where I can find used tools in NC, especially looking for a post vice.
Brian Nalley  <bknalley at worldnet.att.net> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 13:34:06 GMT


After you join the NCABANA, go to the meetings. There will be some tail gater's there, and if you talk to the guys, some of them may have an extra. See you in September!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 13:44:58 GMT

Ricardo, I have plans for an excellent forge originally drawn up by Gordon Kirby. I use this forge in my Architectural shop every day. It is larger however than you might need if doing knives but it can be made to any size you want, just modify the plans to smaller dimensions. James Joyce (JJ) forwarded the plans to me and I have converted them digitally. I am on vacation now until the 12th. Will be happy to send them when I get home (They are on my home PC ) TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 13:55:58 GMT

Arm & Hammer Anvils There were *2* companies that used an Arm and Hammer logo. Columbus Anvil and Forging made wrought iron anvils with tool steel faces. They *incised* the arm&hammer logo into the side of their anvils---they are a very good brand of anvils. the 113 is probably the weight stamp in pounds.

The second company was produced the Vulcan anvil it is a cast iron anvil with a steel face. They had the Arm&Hammer logo *raised* from the surface in an Oval IIRC. They may also be date stamped (easy to do when casting). Vulcans have a rep for variation in face hardness, the one's I've used have a tendency to be too soft for my taste, other folks have had better luck with theirs.

I think the two of you have different brands of anvils!

Back from 3 solid days of Y1K smithing where we used a cube of steel for the anvil, charcoal for the fuel, two single action bellows for the blast and a side blown forge built from creek clay on top of a large soapstone slab. We did a heap of smithing and were even forge welding in it with no difficulty.


Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 14:35:30 GMT

Lawn Mower Blades: Stephen, The manufacturers makes those blades the exact hardeness that they do in order to prevent breakage and the resulting death or injury of you or some bystander. DO NOT play home metalurgist!

In the event of an injury (say your death), when your wife goes to collect from the mowers insurance company they will look at the blades and say YOU modified them and they are not responsible! WORSE, say you maim a small child. When the childs parents sue you AND the mower company the mower company will join their case against YOU and help take everything you or your family owns.

Mower injuries happen on a regular basis. Do not add to the problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 15:15:00 GMT

Where can I buy a new anvil for general purpose work? The only one I have is over a hundred years old and not suitable for some things (plus its not mine its my grandfathers). The anvil I want is between 300-400lbs but I cant find one so If you know of any references I would greatly appreciate it. Thanx- Alan Parks
Alan Parks  <quazymn at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 17:31:23 GMT

NEW ANVILS: Alan, All our general advertisers sell new anvils, Nimba, Kayne and Sons, Centaur Forge, Wallace Metal works.

Nimba sells a line of classical old world style anvils made in the US. They the only ones in your weight range.

The rest all sell Peddinghaus the last forged steel anvil made. However, their heaviest is 275 pounds. Centaur forge also sells several other lines but most are light farriers anvils.

Wallace metal Works sells Peddinghaus and also has an inventory of used anvils.

All these folks are listed on our drop down menu, the site map or our banners.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 18:55:48 GMT

A lot of my jobs consist of rolling different size rings.Anywhere from 1/8 x 1/2" flat to 1/2" round. Up until now I've used jigs and a torch.Now I've got a good size job and it's killing me. I know theres a better way, money being a problem.It's terrible being broke and hired out.I found a set of plans for a homemade sheetmetal roller at mealtalwebnews.com/howto/rolls/support.html and I was wondering if any of youall had built it or knew someone who had. What do youall think, will it work thanks
smitty  <rfsbj at webtv.net> - Wednesday, 08/08/01 20:29:47 GMT

Rings: Smitty, a set of rolls can be a pain in the neck for small rings. Neither of the sizes you give should need to be heated if you use hot rolled steel that is not work hardened.

If you need to make a bunch of rings from round or square stock it is best to use a slightly undersized mandrel that is long enough to wind a full length bar around. When finished you take the coil and cut sections out of it with a saw, band saw or torch. When you do this there are only two flat end pieces for a dozen or so rings (or none if cutting works out).

The mandrel can be stationary but that takes a lot of shop space to swing that long bar. You can mount it horizontal on a shaft and using a hand crank on the end coil up a 20 foot bar. If its a loose fit on a shaft that it slides off of then the parts of the rig can be used for other things.

For thin flats a bender like a Hossfeld or Diacro work fine. However these has the same problem as rolls in that you end up with flat ends. Springback must also be determined by trial and error.

The last time I had to make some rings from 1/2" (13mm) square I just bent them cold on a swage block using a hammer. I can't remember what they were for but I made a dozen in about an hour.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/09/01 00:04:45 GMT

Re: Lawnmower blades
Dear Guru,
That is some of the smartest advice I have heard in a long time. Thank you.
Stephen Rogers  <rogers543 at msn.com> - Thursday, 08/09/01 02:14:47 GMT

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